auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 18: "The Falcon Cannot Hear"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Rikku
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1600
Summary: Discussing the fallout from Yuna's sphere.
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Our Story So Far: En route to the Al Bhed Home to ask Cid for aid, Isaaru's party learns the truth of the Final Summoning from Yuna's Sphere. Maroda and Auron come to blows, until Rikku intervenes.

"What have you done to them?" Isaaru hurried towards his unconscious guardians, stumbling over his robes. "In Yevon's name—"

"Calm down. They're fine!" Rikku said, tapping the back of Auron's head. "Funguar pollen: works better than a hammer on skulls like his. They'll wake in a few. You'd better sit down till your head clears."

The intercom activated with a burst of static. "Rikku, what are you doing to my ship?"

Rikku pressed her hands over her ears. "Nothing, Gip. Maroda and Auron got into a fistfight. I hit 'em with a nightcap."

"Oh, great. Hull breach? Dents in the deck?"

"Ummm..." She lifted Auron's feet, first one and then the other, letting them drop with a clunk. "Nope!"

"Keep it that way."

"Right-o!"

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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
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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.

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 16: "The Gippal Express"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Wakka/Rikku, Gippal
Rating: G
Word Count:2300
Summary: Gippal crashes the party.
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Our Story So Far: Following a disastrous Crusader operation, Sin/Lulu transports Summoner Isaaru and his companions to the desert island where Wakka and Rikku are raising a family. Rikku realizes Sin is headed for Baaj Island, the new Al Bhed Home, and sends word to her father to evacuate.

"S-Sir Auron?" Yuna clambered onto his knees, clutching at his belt. "Are you going to make the Lady go away?"

Wakka made a strangled sound, shooting a panicked glance at Rikku.

For once, Rikku's inventiveness had exhausted itself. All she could manage was a strained, "C'mon, Yunie, he's a stranger. He's not gonna understand."

Auron contemplated the small, tear-stricken face before him. Her mismatched eyes were a haunting reminder of her namesake and the fate that had claimed her. How often had he tried to push against the spiral of death?

"She wants you to," Yuna said softly. "She feels sick inside. Can't somebody fix her?"

"Yuna," Auron said, choosing his gruff words with care. "Can anyone but the Lady change the weather?"

"Um..." The girl pondered, then shook her head, curls flopping around her ears. "No, 'cause she's the Lady!"

"Then how can we change her? The Lady is stronger than the weather," Auron said. "But if she leaves, she will give you a gift."

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 15: "Attack of the Cactuars"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Wakka/Rikku
Rating: G
Word Count: 2400
Summary: Isaaru and Maroda arrive at Wakka and Rikku's house.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Following a disastrous Crusader operation at Djose, Sin transports Summoner Isaaru and some of his companions to the desert island where Rikku and Wakka are raising a family.

Auron stepped out into the late afternoon sun, ears ringing from Wakka's marching orders. Isaaru and Maroda were waiting under the shade of the fruit trees, the one meditating, the other pacing.

Maroda tensed at the scrape of the door. "Oh. It's you." He kept both hands on his spear as Auron trudged towards them. "What's going on?"

"Sir Auron," said Isaaru. "I had faith we would meet again. What is this place? We seem to have flustered the natives."

"Bikanel Island," Auron said. "Former Home of the Al Bhed."

"Ah! That would explain their alarm. Sir Auron, have you seen Pacce or the rest of our party?"

"Elma's inside. No sign of the others."

"Elma!" Maroda said. "I thought we'd lost her. That's something, at least."

Isaaru exchanged an apprehensive look with his brother. "May we come inside? The man we met at the oasis seemed uneasy, but he invited us to follow. He told us to wait while he spoke to his wife of our arrival."

"And you don't look like the wife," Maroda said. "Say, am I crazy, or wasn't that Sir Wakka? He shooed off the kids and bolted before we had a chance to talk."

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auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 11: "Her Favorite Color Is Death"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Luzzu, Elma, Lucil, Maroda, Pacce
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2200
Summary: SHIT GETS REAL.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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The Story So Far: Summoner Isaaru, Auron and Maester Lucil are racing to save the temple fayth from Sin's destruction. In support of that mission, the Crusaders of Djose must once again take a stand against their old foe.

I want to show you the bouquet I've picked out for an old friend. It's just her color.



Luzzu's jest was salt for an old wound. Auron's time with Lulu had been brief, too occupied by their pilgrimage to permit much idle conversation, in which neither saw much point. Whereas her friends from Besaid had shared years of her life he had never known. Still, he had seen her in battle enough to know that Luzzu was right: lightning was her favorite color.

Lightning was fine, but Auron could do without the rain. The slow drip from his white forelock was growing maddening. How long must this charade continue?

It had taken the work-crews half a day to extricate the statue from the temple cloisters. Auron had kept Luzzu busy, suffering himself to be led in a meticulous inspection of Djose's defenses. The day had been a blur of names, introductions, handshakes, until the unexpected arrival of a maester had put his tour on hold.

Lucil must have emptied every storehouse in Luca, bringing her troops an entire cartload of armor, swords and medical provisions as "gifts of Yevon." Their hurried distribution threw the ordered frenzy of battle preparations into chaos. During the confusion, Elma's team trundled the covered statue into the back of the wagon without anyone noticing. It was neatly done, Auron had to admit. Now if only the engineers did not forget their oaths of silence.

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 10: "Breach of Fayth"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, cast
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1870
Summary: Operation Stolen Fayth, Phase I
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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Our Story Thus Far: Trying to thwart a new Sin bent on destroying temples, Summoner Isaaru and Auron hatch a plan to rescue Djose's fayth. Most of the Crusaders in the operation are kept in the dark, especially Captain Luzzu, who is suspected of having some way of communicating with Sin.

"Sir Auron, I must protest! You mean to tell me they're not even guardians? They should never have been permitted—"

"Neither are you, Father," Elma said.

The priest stood spreadeagled in the doorway of the Chamber of the Fayth, blocking the workers who had been dismantling its frame. "Your presence here is sheer outrage! Your men have defiled the Cloister of Trials, desecrated the fayth's sanctuary! Why, it will take us years to repair the damage!"

"If there's anything left to repair," Pacce said.

"Hey," Maroda said. "Isaaru's communing with the fayth, remember? If you want your aeon in one piece, I respectfully suggest you shut up."

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 9: "Memorial Gardens"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Elma, Luzzu
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2850
Summary: Journey to Djose. At the Mushroom Rock Crusader Lodge, Luzzu and Auron discuss an old friend.
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, Auron has joined Isaaru on a new pilgrimage. A Cult of Sin has arisen, and some now call Sin the Lady, both destroyer and benefactor. Whatever Sin's nature, she seems to be attacking the temples, and Djose may be the next target.


Three days out from Luca, they were approaching the turnoff to Mushroom Ridge. The Highroad had once been a beaten shelf of dirt exposed to the elements and scoured by the wind, but now berms or seawalls shielded it on the seaward side. Out of sight, leaden waves sighed against the rocks. Ahead, a finger from the cliffs arced down over the road to form a flying buttress. Beyond it, the land was transformed.

It was difficult to make out individual shapes in the growing dusk, but swaying dark fronds draped over the arch in a lush curtain. Nodding white flowers as wide as a woman's hand winked between broad leaves. A profusion of plants carpeted the path below, crushed or snapped by the passing prints of travellers, despite which they seemed to thrive: blue blossoms from Besaid and the coral-pink orchids of Kilika, ivy and hibiscus, lilies and irises, even the glassy trunk of a Macalania sapling with glowing seed-pods in the forks of slender stems.

"Yevon," Isaaru breathed, reining in his chocobo and gazing up at the floral tapestry in wonder. "What enchantment is this?"

"Nobody knows," Elma said. "Good thing it's so remote. Even so, we rescue a few tourists from fiends every month. They forget the danger. Speaking of which, be on your guard. Those vines can hide a full-sized iguion. Nasty buggers— their bite can paralyze. We try to keep the path clear up to the lodge, but the plants grow back fast."

She turned into a narrow cleft in the cliff-face which widened into a ravine. Sentries drew back spears and saluted as they passed.

The path was mostly cleared, but creeping vegetation spilled over the lumps and crags of the cliffs on either side. Sea-fog had collected on rocky shelves and dimples along the edges of the winding track. The larger basins held mats of dark-green pads with pale flowers illuminating the shadowy ravine. Glowing wisps of pyreflies spiraled up from their fragrant blossoms.

"I don't believe it," Isaaru said. "Moon-lilies. I thought they were unique to the Moonflow."

"Well, it rains here fairly often now." Elma spoke in a hushed voice. "Folks say it's Sin's doing. Who knows?"

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auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 8: "Best-Laid Plans"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Lucil/Elma
Rating: G
Word Count: 2500
Summary: Planning the next Operation Mi'ihen. Is this a good idea?
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Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Isaaru sets the mantle of maester aside to resume his pilgrimage with his brothers. Teaming up with Auron in Besaid, they discover a pattern to Sin's attacks: it seems to be targeting temples. They meet Maester Lucil at Luca Stadium to report their findings.


Sin and an old friend...

The carnival ambiance of the blitzball tournament ebbed and flowed around Isaaru and his companions like another world pinned by pyreflies to a gigantic sphere. Fans cheered for their favorite players, bickered over team loyalties, lived and died with every goal. In the maesters' box, all was still.

Isaaru had been uncharacteristically stark, blunt, and brief as he narrated the bare bones of their journey. Now he and Lucil sat between two worlds, surrounded by a sea of noise. Clapping when the crowd roared, feigning interest in a match that no one but Pacce actually watched, they waited for the final moments of a Bevelle upset ("That's one for the history books, folks!") to play out so they could slip away to ponder the fate of the world.

As soon as the buzzer sounded, Isaaru and Lucil retired to a VIP suite below the maester's dais. The chamber was as dark as a Cloister of Trials, despite a few skylights. Luxurious furniture and refreshments could not disguise the fact that it had been built into the stadium's walls as a fortified retreat against attack— from Sin, or from an angry mob, to judge by its defenses. Years ago, Lucil had commanded the removal of the machina weapons embedded in the heavy doors leading out to the stadium, but the peepholes of gunsights and the stripped mountings on the doors' inner faces were a sober reminder of what Yevon could be.

Isaaru settled into a high-backed chair, his guardians forming a triangle around him. Elma helped Lucil into the seat across from him. The maester in charge of Yevon's military concealed her infirmity in public, but a chocobo accident had left her partially paralyzed. Her aide was no longer a starry-eyed cadet, but a seasoned officer with a scar half-hidden under short dark hair and a complexion weathered by years of riding.

Elma gave orders to the sentries outside and shut the doors. "There. No one's going to disturb us for anything short of a Sin sighting. The next match is in forty-five minutes, if you mean to keep up appearances."

"Thank you, Commander," Isaaru said, forgetting that he was no longer the senior official in the room.

"Djose, then." Lucil steepled her hands in her lap, expression grave. "Elma. Provide Summoner Isaaru and his party with mounts and escort them to Djose. Send couriers ahead to Mushroom Rock Lodge, advising the captain to begin battle preparations and await your arrival. We will need his ground forces as well for this operation."

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auronlu: (Lady)

Maester Lucil and Commander Elma portraitTitle: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 7: "We Interrupt This Broadcast"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Elma, Lucil
Rating: G
Word Count: 2300
Summary: Arrival in Luca with more fanfare than one could wish.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Grand Maester Isaaru resumes his pilgrimage with his brothers, investigating rumors of Sin's return and a heretical Cult of Sin. After dealing with Sin-attacks on Besaid and Kilika, they arrive in Luca.

Despite Isaaru's pleas, Kiyuri insisted on flying Bevelle's banners for arrival in Luca. The grand maester would have his due, even if it dashed his hopes of slipping through the city quickly and quietly. Judging by the din from the docks, he would do neither. Other towns welcomed maesters with hymns and ceremonial. Only Luca could sprout souvenir stands and hawkers in the time it took for the S.S. Konna to hoist sails and put into port. Cheering crowds waved prayer flags. Sphere cameras flashed up and down the waterfront like so many pyreflies. Children clutched collectible summoner statues and played dueling aeons while waiting for the ship to dock. Over the general hubbub, the public address system blared a breezy patter, the local equivalent of pious homage.

"Ladieeees and gentleman, we'll return to the pre-game show shortly. But first, here's an exclusive update on today's developing news story. The S.S. Konna has arrived at Dock Three. We can now confirm that Grand Maester Isaaru is aboard. We repeat, Grand Maester Isaaru has arrived! We missed him at the High Summoner's festival, but he's joined us for Luca's most famous tournament, the Eleventh Annual Sir Tidus and Sir Wakka Memorial Cup! And it looks like all Luca's turned out to welcome the ruler of Yevon and the undisputed leader of Spira!"

"While we wait for the maester's party to disembark, Jimma, this is a good time to remind folks of the new security measures in place at the stadium for our fans' safety. All bags will be searched, and machina not approved by Yevon will be confiscated. Sphere cameras with Yevon's seal are permitted. If you're wearing goggles, please remove them as you approach the turnstyles."

Isaaru waved to the crowd placidly while the crew secured the moorings and lowered the ship's gangway. Maroda shook his head at the broadcast. "It's only going to get worse, the longer Sin's out there."

Isaaru nodded. "One more reason to be on our way."

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 6: Half-Truths
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Maroda, Auron, Isaaru
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2600
Summary: Maroda calls Auron on his BS. Auron doesn't call out Isaaru on his.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Isaaru and his brothers return to pilgrimage, teaming up with Auron. Lulu-Sin has attacked Besaid and Kilika, destroying their temples and fayth.


illustration by [personal profile] mintywolf

A Kilikan sunset of amber and gold had painted a dramatic backdrop for Isaaru's departure, duly sphere-recorded by spectators. The whole village had turned out to see him off. He and his guardians had embarked with cheers, hymns, a refill of Auron's jug from Kulukan, and an unusually frank, "Good luck, Isaaru— sorry you're finally getting your chance," from Dona. Now they sailed north, muffled in a fog that seemed intent on blotting out the ship's lanterns, crew's voices, and any sign of a world beyond the ship's rails. The gates to the Farplane could hardly be more impenetrable.

Auron sat outside Isaaru's cabin, sharpening the Crusader's blade that Pacce and Barthello had found for him. It had barely sufficed to cut through an ochu's hide. While that had given them a chance to show off to their idol, it might cost someone dearly in his next battle. He wondered if his katana was still lodged in Sin's skull.

Maroda slouched against the wall on the other side of the door. The steady snick of the whetstone had been cutting the air between them for some time, keeping awkward questions at bay. A delaying action at best, but it had given Auron time to prepare.

At last Maroda broke the unspoken armistice. "So, who was the wreath for?" Auron had gone aft and cast the bedraggled garland overboard soon after departure.

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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.

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auronlu: (Lady)

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 4: "For the Fallen"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce, Auron, Lulu
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2600
Summary: Sin's going after Kilika. Again.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna fell defeating Sin, Maester Isaaru returns to the pilgrimage with his brothers. They find and team up with Sir Auron at Besaid in the wake of a devastating Sin attack.


"You have my thanks. And Lady Yuna's as well, you may be sure. May she guide our path and shield us from Sin's fury. For now we sail...to Kilika!" The maester raised his hands and drew them together in Yevon's sign.

A tepid cheer rose from the sailors and monks gathered at the waterline. They scattered at once to make ready the rowboats, even before the torches had reverted from blue to orange. It was disrespectful to the dead, but Isaaru did not begrudge their eagerness to quit this marred island paradise. 

They had worked hard. The beach was swept clean, and they had even washed down trunks and leaves to remove clinging ash. Prayer flags— many of them products of Besaid's weavers— fluttered on poles thrust into the sand. The ocean sparkled under a noonday sun, masking the pyreflies drifting up from submerged coffins jostling on beds of coral. Besaid's harbor had been too choked with flotsam to use for the sending, but they had ferried the dead around to a more sheltered cove.

"Will somebody rebuild here, do you think?" Pacce asked Maroda as they headed for the boats.

"In the next Calm, maybe," Maroda said. "Not before."

Both looked to their brother. Isaaru seemed oblivious to the exchange, although he walked between them. By silent accord they held a boat steady for him to board before dragging it down into the water where the stern floated free.

"Hey," Pacce said, tumbling into his seat, "Where's Sir Auron?"

"For a guardian, he sure doesn't seem to guard much," Maroda said.

Isaaru smiled. Auron was descending the short cliff at the back of the cove. He trudged out to them and stepped into the bow without breaking stride.

"No sign of Sin," he said. "We should have clear running tonight, although it may be another story in Kilika."

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auronlu: (Auron2)

Click for full-size:by SchmutzigeBanane

Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 2: "Memorial"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce, Auron
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1700
Summary: Isaaru and his guardians make an unsettling discovery on Besaid, and seek the aid of a legend.
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Thirteen years into High Summoner's Calm, Maester Isaaru and his brothers take a ship to Besaid to investigate rumors of a Sin attack. Auron is waiting for them.

"So have you been on Besaid all this time? Or did you just come here to fight Sin?" Pacce seemed bent on extracting every scrap of information from his idol as soon as Sir Auron stepped aboard.

Not that the legendary guardian was doling out many scraps. He stood in his customary slouch with an arm tucked in his coat, a dour expression, and a crop of more white hair than Isaaru recalled from their last unhappy encounter. Warrior monks shoved forward to form an impromptu honor guard. Maroda and Pacce, as usual, stood to Isaaru's right and left.

Auron shrugged. "I followed a hunch."

"A hunch?" Maroda said, incredulous. "You can predict where Sin will strike?"

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auronlu: (Lady)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 1: "Schism"
Final Fantasy X / X-2
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce (this chapter), Auron. Later chapters: Elma, Lucil, the Crimson Squad, Cid, Yuna's surviving guardians.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2200
Summary: [AU] 13 years after Yuna falls in the Final Summoning, a Cult of Sin has arisen, Isaaru must resume his pilgrimage, and Auron must try once again to kill a friend before his time runs out. They'll need all the help they can get from the Crusaders, the Al Bhed, Yuna's surviving guardians and the Crimson Squad to combat a Sin like none before.
Navigation: Next Chapter | Map & Table of Contents

digital painting of Lulu's face carved out of a shark's tooth Illustration by [personal profile] mintywolf

"In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!" (J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring)


Burgundy sails snapped in a fitful wind that set the sailors muttering. The sea-witch had her ways, they said, and owned both sea and sky. Ships plied the waves by her permission, or not at all. There had been frost at sunrise, great spears of rime coating the rigging. The tropical sun had banished it quickly, but it was one more sign of Sin's proximity. That, and the lightning's balefire dancing on the mast at midnight.

"Land ho!"

The call was hardly needed. All eyes not bent to shipboard tasks were fixed on the wisps of smoke billowing on the horizon, fading now like the last breath of a dying fire. The rising column veiled half the sky in a grayish-pink fume that stretched clear back to Djose. For six disquieting days, the SS Konna had sailed under that gray pall, seeing only an orange smudge where the sun should be. Flecks of ash came fluttering down, dissolving to powder wherever they touched. A stark whiff of burning hung in the air.

One of the harpooners began to sing the Hymn of the Fayth. The subdued refrain spread out in ripples from the ship's bow as roughened sailors' voices took up the chorus. A squad of warrior monks, cleaning their weapons on deck, looked up and added their voices in prayer. On the railing above, a red-haired man in priestly robes smiled and cupped his hands in Yevon's sign. Neither he nor the pair of guards flanking him joined in the singing, however.

Clattering up the ladder to the observation deck, the captain raised her arm in salute. "Your Grace. We'll make Besaid by sunset."

"Very good, Kiyuri. Tell your crew the danger is past. Sin is at least a day from here by now."

"With all due respect, milord—” she began. Suddenly, she pivoted towards the woman keeping watch. "Naya, what's that thing you're wearing around your neck?"

The sailor's hands flew to the bone pendant that had slipped out from the bib of her overalls. "It's, ah, it's nothing, Cap'n. Just a carving of a pretty lady, y'know, that caught me fancy." Her cheeks reddened.

"Sin!" Kiyuri spat, stalking towards her. "The Grand Maester of Yevon sails with us, and I have an idol-worshipper who wears Sin over her heart! Hand it over, or I'll throw you overboard with it."

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auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 3: "Broken Bones"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce, Auron, Lulu
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2100
Summary: Besaid village: Guardians get a warm-up. Auron dwells on the past (even though he knows better).
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

The Story So Far: Maester Isaaru and his brothers arrive at Besaid to investigate a Sin attack. There they find Auron and learn that the village, its temple and its fayth have been wiped out.
Chapter 3: Broken Bones )
auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 33: "Via Purifico"
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Pacce, Shuyin, Sin
Rating: PG-13 (Language)
Word Count: 2100
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Baralai has found an ancient weapon that may be enough to end Sin— but also Spira. Before they face Sin, however, Isaaru and his guardians must finish off Shuyin. A/N: So tempted to name this chapter "The Bridge at Z'ha'dum."

Chapter 33: Via Purifico )

auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 32: "Otherworld"
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Elma, Pacce, Paine
Rating: PG-13 (Violence) Word Count: 1450
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters Our Story So Far: Isaaru's pilgrimage derails when the unquiet ghost Shuyin shows up, possessing one host after another in his quest for vengeance. They chase him into the depths of Bevelle, where the Crimson Squad members are trying to keep Vegnagun out of the wrong hands.

Chapter 32: Otherworld )

auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 31: "Nightmare in C Minor"
Final Fantasy X/X-2 (Yes, both. AU.)
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, cast
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3200
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Isaaru and his allies free Cid from Shuyin, but the vengeful ghost latches onto Isaaru's younger brother Pacce and eludes them in the labyrinth beneath Bevelle. Meanwhile the Crimson Squad, reunited but not reconciled, follow Maester Baralai to the doomsday weapon Vegnagun, hoping to move it away before it falls into the wrong hands. (Chapter title reference: "Nightmare in a Cave", piano arrangement of "Vegnagun Awakens" from FFX-2 OST)

Chapter 31: Nightmare in C Minor )

auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 30: "The Tower"
Final Fantasy X/X-2
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Rikku, Elma
Rating: PG-13 Word Count: 3000
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Cid, possessed by Shuyin, has attacked Bevelle, and now seeks the doomsday weapon beneath the Tower of Light. Summoner Isaaru, his guardians and Rikku give chase.

Chapter 30: The Tower )

 

auronlu: (Default)
Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 29: "Illusions That Exalt Us"
Final Fantasy X/X-2 (Yes, both. AU.)
Characters: Auron, Isaaru, Maroda, Rikku, Elma, Nooj, Gippal, Paine, Baralai
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2600
Navigation: Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters

Our Story So Far: Cid, possessed by Shuyin, has attacked Bevelle and forced his way into the palace. Summoner Isaaru, his guardians and Rikku give chase after stunning Maester Baralai and Captain Juno (Paine) when they bar the way.

Chapter 29: Illusions That Exalt Us )

 

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