auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 21: "Love Her and Despair"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Rikku, Gippal
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3000
Summary: Revelations from Yuna's pilgrimage.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | >Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

illustration by [personal profile] mintywolf

Our Story So Far: On a rampage to destroy the temples of Yevon, Sin transports Isaaru and companions to Bikanel Island, where Wakka and Rikku are raising a family. Gippal gives Isaaru's party a lift to the new Al Bhed Home.


The flyer wobbled under the weight of extra passengers, accompanied by Rikku's swearing in two languages. Maroda rode white-knuckled, his brother with serene resignation. Elma, the machina-phobe, clung to her seat with a dour expression, but gave herself away with a whoop when the flier hopped over a sand-worm that unexpectedly rose behind a crumbling ruin. Auron simply played barnacle. Gippal was quiet too, for once, focused on steering a smooth course for the sake of his unsecured passengers.

They were streaking towards a gray hump emerging from the dunes. The shape soon resolved itself into a bulbous, unlovely hulk of an airship with the profile of an oversized bathtub, its hull a crude patchwork of fins, engine pods, exhaust ports and mismatched panels. It was moored on the southern tip of the island with the bulk of its fuselage hanging over open water. An aft loading ramp extended down to the beach.

The flyer slowed to a crawl and slithered up the ramp into the belly of the ship, coming to an abrupt halt against a stack of barrels. The engines screamed in the enclosed space, then faded to silence. Deafened passengers roused themselves and looked around. Floor-to-ceiling stacks of crates and gun racks loomed on all sides, making it a wonder they had not struck anything on the way in.

"Well, here we are," Gippal said, hopping up onto the flyer's windshield to kick a knob on the wall. The ramp and cargo bay doors began to close with a hiss of hydraulics. Dingy amber lights flickered to life in the ceiling as the rectangle of daylight behind them narrowed and vanished.

Read more... )

auronlu: (emptiness)

HOLY FIRAGA.

I just had the most incredible dream. Lemme see if I can get it down before I forget. Tonight's LHAD chapter will be posted late, because I have a gazillion things to do, but at least i can give you this.

____

They were exhausted. So much the better. "Rest," Auron commanded. "I'll scout ahead. Don't follow." 

One by one they dropped to the floor of the tunnel, grateful for the reprieve. Auron gave Kimahri a sharp look. The Ronso's eyes narrowed, but he gave a grudging nod.

Wearily, Auron picked himself up and started down the left-hand tunnel. Great cracks in the walls and broken rubble on the floor told him it was the right place. He slowed, wary, as he came to a place where the left-hand wall had broken away altogether. Frigid wind blew through jagged gaps in the rock. Silvered moonlight shone in as well, making the stone surfaces gleam like teeth. Auron moved from shadow to shadow, using the rubble for cover.

There. Three wide black archways spanned floor to ceiling, with hewn square columns between them, on the wall facing the open sky. Were the gates still there? 

Yes. Stone. Metal. Ice, maintained by a magic he could not fathom.The fangs of the heavy portcullises were sunk into the floor. Something massive scraped restlessly on the other side. He sidestepped into the lee of a broken pillar, just as a rush of flame leapt out through the stone grating of the nearest arch. His coat flapped and smoked in the hot wind. As the fiery gust faded, he took a quick look, then ducked back as another blast answered him.

Wonderful. No chance of sneaking up on it, then. Not that he thought there would be.

He pondered how to reach the ancient rune glowing dully on the wall just past the triple gate. It would be suicide to reach it. It would be suicide to activate it, to release the monster trapped on the other side. He knew that all too well, haunted by the memory of a friend's charred hand slapping down on the rune.He knew something of suicide, though. He lived it. After a fashion. 

Trusting Kimahri would keep the others safe, he launched himself into the open, rolled under the first volley of fire and came up with his sword braced to parry the second. Flames licked at his shoulders, and again his coat was smoldering. He threw himself down again to snuff it before it could burst into flame, then flung himself flat against the square column between the second and third gate. One more opening to cross before he reached the rune.

And then what? Was he really going to release this fiend on the world again? Could he stop it?

As he pondered his next move, a grating, rumbling sound set his teeth on edge. What was the beast doing? It sounded like it was right on top of him.

On both sides of him. Were there two of them?

The grating sound was too regular, a ratcheting clack-clack-clack like the links of heavy chains sliding across stone.

The heavy gates were rising on their own.

A trap. He did not know how the beast had sprung its fetters, but this was a trap. He turned, just as a huge head emerged from the central archway. Armored hide was the color of his coat in shadow. Ember eyes gleamed. It turned like an adder to look at him. Recognition was there in that malevolent gaze, and triumph, if he was not imagining it.

He flung himself into action, charging into the side of the dragon's head, the only way to avoid its breath. It reared up, as he expected it would, not quite high enough to escape his tall blade with the archway hemming it in. The battle was on, strikes and fire and searing heat. He should have lost the coat before he came. 

The blade could parry, but not slice the iron hide. Time for a trick he had learned since his youth. Focusing his own fury into armor break, he swung at the treetrunk neck whipping towards him. Sparks flew from the black sword. 

It was the sword that snapped. A third of the blade flipped end over end in a deadly windmill he barely dodged. He did not have an eye to spare.

The beast had screamed and jerked away, but he had not hewn through its spine. Damn the creature. Before he could regroup, another blast caught him. Shutting his eye, he dropped, tried to roll before the fire took hold, fetched up behind a block he knew provided scant protection. 

Sir Auron! The cries cut through the agony, focused his mind. Don't you dare, you idiots, he thought, missing the irony. 

RUN! That was Kimahri. He would keep them back. He never broke promises the way Auron did, even promises the Ronso had never made. 

The beast was on the move. He heard its heavy tread, its ragged breathing as it began to emerge from its cell.

From nowhere in particular, a curtain of water splashed down on him, extinguishing the flames, followed by a curious crunch and a sting on one shoulder that might as well have been a gnat's, compared to the damage he had taken already. A glass phial shattering. The Hi-Potion felt like salvation, or at least life. Both were lies, but he staggered up as the wyrm's body slid past him, luckily on the outside of the natural parapet. Seizing the hilt of his sundered weapon, he ran to the shadowed alcove where the mage was hiding, inside the lip of the first archway.

"This is not your fight."

"Nor is it yours, Guardian," she hissed.

The wyrm slowed, stopped, and began to reverse along the passageway, its back legs rucked up and waddling like a crocodile's beside their hiding place.

"Any ideas?" Lulu said. "I don't suppose you came here with any sort of a plan." 

He winced, but nodded to the flat shard of sword lying on the stony floor. "Not much of one, no. Weak to ice."

"Well, that's something, at least," she said, taking a long breath. "Shall we?"

He stepped from their hiding place first, shifting his grip to allow for the sword's lighter weight, driving its broken edge straight into the flank before him to test its sharpness. The monster jerked, roared. Ice shards rained down as he stepped back, swung the blade down and around in a glancing blow that was the best opening he could give her. It was a variant of armor break he had learned on this journey, and it seemed to do the trick. The beast roared again as the ice struck.

They might even survive this folly. 

Still an optimist, Auron, he thought sourly, as the beast's thrashing swept him off his feet. He skidded, fighting to keep upright. The beast's writhing had it hanging halfway out onto the mountainside through the broken wall, which was good, with room for its neck to bend back in a U towards them, which was not. Lulu froze as the great head turned to inspect her.

Auron began to creep forward, holding his breath. He wanted to bellow and catch its attention, but this brief pause might be their only chance. Seize the moment.

She did not budge a muscle, as rigid as the straps and bindings holding her in. The smoking nostrils swung towards her, snuffing. The wyrm's yellow eyes gleamed. Lulu's bare skin above her collarline reddened enough that Auron winced, but still she did not flinch. If he could just strike the spot where her spell had made a weak point—

The wyrm snarled, head whipping towards him. He struck down, broken blade biting deep. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Lulu's hand flash in the moonlight, slamming down a spear of ice into one of the creature's eyes at point blank range. She was nearly crushed as the dragon screamed and writhed. 

There was another of those flurried seconds of blood and blows and fire, Auron raining hammer-blows on the entry point in its hide, Lulu flailing now, some of her spells grazing him as she tried to support his onslaught. The beast jerked and thrashed, front claws coming into play as it tried to bend double and engulf them in fire. 

Somehow, in Lulu's nimble-footed dance that always kept her scant inches from being crushed, she ended up on the outside of the tunnel, teetering on the edge when the mountainside broke away. 

"Lulu!" Diving through a curtain of flame, he charged under the beast's head as it bent round to bite or burn him. It twisted awkwardly, trying to follow him.

He saw his chance. One of the dragon's eyes was a dark bleeding socket, the other glowing with fury. Into the second he drove the sword nearly to the hilt. 

It howled, shuddered, reared. The jaws opened wide. Firebreath at close range was not survivable.

Knowing he might well be sealing her death warrant, Auron seized Lulu's waist as he threw himself backwards, down and out onto the mountainside.

There was no side. This was an almost sheer cliff, and they were tumbling. 

Scant comfort that the dragon, whether in its death-throes or trying to follow their scent, had rolled over the edge as well, thrashing like a severed earthworm. At least it was probably not going to land on top of them. 

Auron's boots thudded heavily against the slope. He gritted his teeth at the jarring pain in his ankles. They were still tumbling head over heels. Any minute a foot or head might be broken on the rock face blurring past them. If he could just time their spin so he wound up beneath her when they hit the ground, the mage might survive this. He was vaguely aware of her struggling, fumbling with her hair— now, of all times? With her braids whipping around them like a cometary tail? and then a rocky shelf was coming up fast and fatally beneath them, and Auron tried with every last ounce of will to twist himself under her.

Something that glittered flashed past his face. There was a faint crunch. Then his heels and hips and shoulders and the back of his skull struck hard enough to crack. Dimly, very dimly, he was aware of the strange sensation of dying and benison, life and agony, a curious binary thunderclap of sensations that his brain could not make sense of. For a split second he gave himself over to the pyreflies, but a Guardian had a job to do, and he had failed another guardian very badly.

Lulu stirred weakly. Knitting bone and healing magic sorted itself out, leaving him unspeakably sore with a headache and the wind knocked out of him, but no more dead than usual. 

She had dropped one of their precious megalixirs just before they hit.

They were still alive. Wonderful. That meant they'd have to walk back up the damned mountain.

"Satisfied?" she said, sitting up stiffly and pulling an ordinary potion from the unraveling bun of her hair. Noticing a few broken ones lying on the ground, he scooped up a handful and sprinkled them over himself, feeling slightly more human.

"Let's just get back to the others," he said. "Thanks." 

"Don't you ever dare do that again," she snapped. "Yuna needs me, as well as Sir Auron."

He inclined his head in mute apology, but made no promise. Promises, like swords, could be broken. 

They began to search for a path.

_________________

Note: pretty much all of this is a transcription of the dream as best I can remember it, except that the ice gate was ivory (gates of horn and ivory, a garbled image from Greek mythology), and I tweaked some of the fight choreography, and the dream actually ended with Lulu saying "Let's get back to the others," instead of "Satisfied..." etc. I was in
 Auron's headspace during the dream.

 Come to think of it, the arched gates and wingless wyrm-type dragon are probably borrowed from Nargothrond in the Silmarillion. I also blame Tolkien for my subconscious fixation with swords that are broken.


auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 12: "How Does Her Garden Grow?"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron/Lulu, Wakka
Rating: T
Word Count: 2300
Summary: A meeting of old friends (and enemies).
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: The Crusaders mount a new Operation Mi'ihen in an attempt to save Djose Temple's aeon, to no avail. Auron, guarding Summoner Isaaru, is felled by lightning during Sin's attack.

"Walk with Me" by [personal profile] mintywolf


The sky was singing. No, not the Hymn of the Fayth. It was a simpler lullaby, rocking with the ocean's rhythm, a tune suited to a child's cradle on some lush tropical island where the afternoons were drowsy and sweet. Auron wondered what had put that image into his mind, monastery-raised as he was. A nun had sung over him once, laving his fevered brow while he lay on a hard pallet fighting sickness after spending the night on Lake Macalania for the sake of a dare.

The hand stroking his brow paused. "I don't think I'd like being a nun, Auron."

Read More... )
auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 5: "Pearl"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce, Auron, Lulu
Rating: T
Word Count: 2800
Summary: "Well, I am a goddess, you know."
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters)

The Story So Far: Sir Auron, Maester Isaaru and his brothers take up the pilgrimage 13 years after Yuna dies defeating Sin. Attacking the new Sin at Kilika, Auron is lost when it disappears beneath the waves.


Auron slogged through darkness. He felt the lash of rain against his skin like tiny sullen barbs, warning him to keep his distance. Now and again lightning flickered, but never long enough to show him what kind of landscape this dream-world might be. He felt parched despite the rain, and his feet were numb with cold. At last, after he had forgotten what time and distance meant, he found a wall of leaping flame barring his path. He braced himself for searing heat and pushed through.

On the far side, darkness took on clarity and shape. It was the black and silver of moonlight, wisps of cloud and patches of night sky overhead where stars glittered. At his back was a whispering jungle, shimmering with crickets and the distant cries of fiends. Its lush, fiercely alive scents nearly smothered him. Before him lay a placid harbor, gentle flecks of crested waves rising and falling like a woman's breast in sleep.

He trudged through sand towards the breakers where kelp flexed over hidden shoals just offshore. When the sand gave out, he clambered over submerged rocks encrusted with shells. Mussels crackled underfoot. Water had never been his element, but it was Sin's, and it suited her now as much as fire's wrath, lightning's flash and icy disdain had suited her before.

There. A glimmer of white. He pulled up short, arrested by the same vision that had spawned a cult. Familiarity was no defense.

Read more... )
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Me and my bizarre shoulder kink. *hides face* I can't remember what possessed me to let slip this personal foible, but I can't really regret the indiscretion, since Flynn-the-Cat keeps catering to it.

Putting this here for ease of future ogling; thank you!






Back: Nyssa and Romana from classic Doctor Who
Front: Lulu and Fang
auronlu: (Yuna + Lulu)

Braids
by DippyWerewolf on deviantART

...so I can find it later. (Of course, I can look back on her dA as well).

Thank you so much!

...Rikku, Yuna and Lulu playing with each other's hair. And braids, because braiding hair (or having someone else braid one's hair) is fun and soothing.
auronlu: (behindyou)
...because it's Mintywolf's birthday!

and then I did another thing, because the first thing was coming out awful!

And on the second thing, I used onionskinning and still screwed up an arm, but at least this is kinda sorta what was in my head!


Lulu + Yuna: Sin's Return
by ~auronlu on deviantART

I really REALLY really wish I hadn't lost my art skills. I have an image in my head, but it won't come out. And arthritis means I can't do much at a time, which is one reason I got out of the habit. BUT I WANT TO DRAW THIS THING DAMMIT.

(I was initially trying to draw Yuna arriving in Besaid, getting her first glimpse of goth girl standing aloof from everyone else and watching her.)

i keep looking up twelve year old and seven year old girls on image search, trying to find art references, and being paranoid that someone's going to think I'm an awful person. :(

They're 13 and 8 in the picture above. Poor Yuna; it must've upset her more than anyone else in Spira when Sin came back.
auronlu: (behindyou)
Reposted from Tumblr, because Tumblr blows as a place to talk about anything or find anything you posted earlier.

Note that some of my comments derive from backstory provided by the Ultimania guide rather than from the game itself. Ultimania is a supplement put out by Square employees, rather than what really happened or what was said in-game. So I regard Ultimania as subject to fan interpretation and selection. Here's what I took from it.

When Lulu Broke (and Why), a Character Study )
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Two of my favorite fanartists posting the same night?  Gah.

[personal profile] leyna  has just served up a five-star banquet of incredible FF fanart, paintings that include Balthier, Fang, Lulu — who should now be in a crossover adventuring party full of witty banter and icy put-downs — plus cameos by Lightning, Squall, Namingway (who?) and some Type-O character.

Go. Ogle. Swoon.
auronlu: (memories)
SQUEE.

Go look! Latest panel in MintyWolf's graphic novel on Lulu's childhood. (Go here to start reading if you haven't seen it before).


Guardian: Page 7
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART
auronlu: (memories)
Yet another recommendation for [livejournal.com profile] mintywolf's graphic novel for Lulu's childhood, Guardian. New page up!



Guardian: Page 6
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART



EDIT: ALSO, APROPOS OF NOTHING...


... Sissy PMed me with this fanart of Auron. I blame Spira Claus.
auronlu: (Yuna's Final Aeon)
[livejournal.com profile] mintywolf, artist of that Lulu graphic novel I've been reccing, just left me an unexpected and wonderful fanart.

It illustrates a scene in the "Eight of Swords" chapter of Love Her and Despair, when Yu Yevon clamped down hard on Lulu for defying its will and taking too many liberties with Sin to aid her friends. As usual, the dream-interior of Sin is fashioned from its prisoner's hopes, loves, and fears. 

Full-sized version is probably NSFW:


Eight of Swords
by ~DippyWerewolf on deviantART


I love all of it, but especially the Yu Yevon glyph in blood. When I tried and failed to illustrate this scene, I sketched the shadow of the rune printed on the snow, but this is more dramatic.

Also, every one of Auron's swords is perfectly reproduced. Beautiful work. 

And Lulu's expression and posture say, "Bite me." Which is exactly right. She couldn't do much at this point in the story, but she could at least be cussedly stubborn. 

(Thanks again!)
auronlu: (memories)
[livejournal.com profile] mintywolf has posted another couple of panels of her Lulu graphic novel, currently dramatizing her childhood and relationship with Lady Ginnem. Five pages so far, already a good story.

Lots of heart-tug moments. Great FFX backstory. Clicky the banner to get to the table of contents.


"Guardian"
by *DippyWerewolf on deviantART
auronlu: (clueless)
Snerk. I want to rescue this from a deep-down buried comment in my Bahamut Is Not Your Friend post.

mintywolf
Gameplay and story separation is a tricky thing to deal with in writing, haha. I've been fiddling around with the Venus Sigil and its significance for a later chapter in Guardian but I had to come up with a better reason for her finding it than "And then Lulu made Tidus go out in the rain and dodge 200 bolts of lightning." ;)
 

my reply: 
HAHAHA now I'm imagining Lulu sending Tidus out into the rain because she's tired of his clueless questions or has caught him sneaking into Yuna's room. 


Rikku starts giggling after the door shuts. "Well, that's one way to get him out of your hair. Think I could trick him into chasing butterflies all over Macalania?"

"Have Kimahri request it," Lulu says tonelessly. "Tidus might suspect something, if it comes from you." 

"Wow!" Rikku stares in appalled admiration. "Lulu, you're way more evil than I thought." 
auronlu: (Yuna's Final Aeon)

Five pages of it so far, but oh, I hope this story continues:

Guardian 

With Ginnem! 

There's an image of them out in the rain with Ginnem holding up an umbrella that I really like. Can't explain. 
 

auronlu: (finishthatsentence)
I have never been entirely reconciled to the dolls, but I have to admit, this amuses me greatly. (Several other good cosplay photos in album.)



Lulu Cosplay (Final Fantasy X)
by ~IsilielCosplay on deviantART

(see full-sized photo on DA)
auronlu: (finishthatsentence)
Have you ever stumbled across something in an old folder you really don't remember writing or drawing? This is clearly my clumsy drawing, and it's a scene I am sure I wrote at some point, but I'd completely forgotten I tried to illustrate it.


So. Doodle. Set about a year prior to FFX, Lulu and Luzzu.

Title: "Message"

(If you've not played the game in a while, it's the moment when Lulu learned what had happened to Chappu.)



I've always liked Luzzu, partly because of his rueful "she hit me, too" comment about Lulu (direct Japanese translation: "She has furious fists!"), and partly because he's trying so hard to keep the cadets from getting themselves redshirted. 


The following ficbit is a backstory bridge picking up with the moment when Luzzu got on Lulu's bad side, segueing to the "Lulu's Contempt" FMV in which she rips Wakka a new one, and indirectly providing backstory for the "Kimahri Pounces* Tidus" FMV the next morning. Not all that exciting, but, character stuff, which used to be my forte. 

 

She Hit Me, Too... )

 


auronlu: (Default)

Oh, Mugs, you are too good to me, catering to my cheesy voice acting fix. FFX's voice acting is terribly choppy, yet I look past the bad to find the good.

Exhibit A: Interview with Matt McKenzie, Auron's VA, who seems to be absolutely as stodgy and serious as his alter ego:

Auron Speaks!

-- note: this websites a bit draggy; it may take a couple tries to load.

Favorite excerpts: 

McKenzie: "My agent called and said, 'Have you played some character named Auron? Disney wants you to do that character in some new game…' I said, 'Auron’s DEAD!' She said, 'You’re booked. Go make some money.'”

Mckenzie: "Take an occasional break from gaming for romance. It’s important! Have fun!"
(Compare to Auron's quote: "Make mistakes. That's what youth is for, after all. Do not waste it.") 

___ 


Exhibit B: Paula Tiso, VA for Lulu (and Col. Nabaat in XIII, not well-utilized): 

Lulu Speaks!

Tiso: "Leon [Kennedy of MGS Resident Evil] and Lulu would make a nice couple too- don’t you think? If there were ever a zombie attack I think my chances would be pretty good."


-----

Exhibit C: Interview with Alexander Smith, localization / translation for X, X-2, XII
After reading his discussion of why he translated "Arigatou" with 'I love you," I am a little more reconciled. Translation is SO HARD when you're trying to capture emotion/storytelling, not only literal meaning.

And I worship what he did with FFXII. The iambic pentameter for the Occuria rocked so hard. (Yes, I've gushed over the mannered translation for XII before.) 

 
auronlu: (Shani)
I've mucked around with Lulu's Inappropriate Applications of the Dark Arts as a trope ever since I started writing smut. Ice was always the weapon of choice. So when [livejournal.com profile] ff_yuri_drabble  put up "ice" as a prompt, I had to kick it up a notch. Total PWP.


Title: "Cold Snap" posted on [livejournal.com profile] ff_yuri_drabble 
Fandom: FFX
Characters: Lulu/Yuna/Shiva
Rating: NC-17 PWP
Word Count:  100 + 100
Prompt: Ice

(Fake cut to Pr0n)
auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 42: "The Lady"
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Characters:Auron,Isaaru,Rikku,Elma,Pacce,Lulu
Rating: R for violence.
Word Count: 4200
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls in the Final Summoning, another summoner and his guardians penetrate Sin's inner sanctum.

Chapter 42: The Lady )

April 2019

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