Reflection Among Buzzards - 07/17/20


To the south of Bentbranch was a small cove oft ignored by those save the local fishermen. A wake of buzzards lined the shore like solemn sentinels. They left Blue alone as she approached and took a seat on the damp rock, listening to the sounds of water lapping the coast.

The Au Ri had been brooding for the past few days on both her near-failed attempt at thievery and the consequences that came from 'said thieving. She looked down at her hands and sighed.

“What do you think?” Blue questioned the buzzard nearest her, pulling from her dress a crumpled package and setting it in her lap. “Do you think I went too far?” The bird studied the woman with a glare and the rustling of dark feathers.

“Oh, don't give me that look. I know I need to be more careful. Doubt Tret would be happy if I came back hurt because I saw the need to paint a target on my back.”

Blue unraveled the package - a sandwich - and took a nibble, staring thoughtfully at the buzzard. “Why am I clipping my own wings?”


Veldi was suddenly leaning over Blue’s shoulder, looking at what she was doing.

“This what passes for fun round you?”

She was wearing a long yellow trench coat with black slacks, and was sporting several new scratches across her face, as well as a bloody nose.


Blue jumped when she felt more than heard Veldi leaning over her.

“What the- Veldi?!?” The Au Ri is quite unabashed about trying to give her fellow lizard a hug before dropping back and examining her face.

“Was wondering where all you went to. You don't look so good.” Blue offers her the rest of her sandwich while she reaches over and dips a part of her dress in the nearby water.


“Yeah well I’m pretty somewhere.”

She wiped at her bloody nose with her sleeve, mostly only succeeding to smudge blood over the white paint on her face.

“Who is all you anyway? You got a list of drunks you go around hugging?”


Blue dips the end of her dress in the water, then rips it off completely. She turns to Veldi and would begin to wipe at her face and her bloody nose if permitted.

“Nah, just you really. I don't have many drunken friends.”

She'd set the scrap of dress on the ground and offer the wrapped sandwich to Veldi with a pleasant grin.



She backs away out of reach, looking around the area now and taking in the surroundings.

“Nah not really hungry. Heard you ran into an angry little footstool. He didn’t try to stick you with any needles or nothin’ right?”


The area around the two was pretty quiet for the most part even with the appearance of a second mlem. In the near distance a couple more buzzards had dropped down onto the rock, leering out at the lake. Blue pulls back the sandwich, shrugs, and begins shredding it into pieces. She gives a blank look for a moment. Angry…foot..-oh

“Ah that guy. He seemed really serious but no, no needles. Not that I'm aware of anyway.”

She checks herself just to make sure before looking up again.

“Kept going on about how things were gonna change and be different and I thought he knew-”

Blue stops for a moment, contemplating.

“You ever feel like you can't really be yourself?”


“I’d bet everyone feels like that once they learn some form of communication. Almost as if it’s synonymous with lying.”

She pulls a crumpled cigar from her coat and sticks it into her mouth, lighting it a moment later with a spark from her fingertips.

“Lying with words, lying with our bodies—even lying through objects and other people. Why? Your lies getting to you?”


Blue crossed her arms and leaned back.

“I…wouldn't have called it lying, but I guess you're right and that's what it is.”

She throws the bits of scrap over to the birds of prey who snap and fight over the portions, large looming wings batting and beating.

“I guess I'm an imposter and I'm recognizing it more and more in interacting with others. Playing the part I should be playing, because it's safe.”


“Oh yeah? And what part is that?”


“The ever happy, the ever positive, the always supportive.”

Blue looks down at the water silently.

“Give them the light so that none would ever be cast upon myself. Course, doesn't mean I'm heartless. I do very much care. But if I focus wholeheartedly upon you and nothing else, there's no longer any room for doubt or questioning for that matter.”


“That’s….a terrible plan.”

She takes a long drag from her cigar before blowing a thick cloud that obscured her face.

“People look extra closely at the lights in the world. Look at me here right now, looking at you. You’re also particularly bad at the whole blending in bit to anyone with the eyes to look.”


Blue coughs and waves her hand in front of her own face to dissipate the smoke, earfins flicking at Veldi's words, blinking and giving a huff.

“I don't know what you mean! How do I not blend in?”

She peers over at her fellow Au Ri, tail giving a rhythmic wag.

“You just notice because you're different too.”


“You’d think.”

She waves the smoke from her face but blows yet more smoke out of her mouth to replace it, rendering her action useless.

“For one, one does not really see chocobo caretakers fighting in a violent tournament. Perhaps there would be a…thingy, to explain this if you were ishgardian, but that’s a whole other thing on its own. You are clearly not attached to possessions like your dress for example, but you are oddly fixated on people—like say, a random drunk passing through. On its own it is not much, but when you consider the external factors such as your occupation…it’s just something that would make you stand out. Even if it’s as a good person, you were the one to extend your helping hand. That means something, especially here in the shroud.”

She takes another puff of her cigar, it’s crinkled ends glaring through the smoke like a flaming headlight.

“And those are just things anyone would notice.”


Upon realizing Veldi has quite a good point there, Blue coughs into the back of her hand before responding weakly,

“Gotta..protect the chocobos?”

She pauses, then shakes her head.

“'re right. It is rather strange isn't it? To be fighting in a tournament every week spilling blood and all. I'd like to imagine that any good person would take care of you though Veldi. That doesn't seem so strange to me, but I guess I don't really understand how other Gridanians would take to you either. Shoo you off because you're drunk and a mess? Doesn't seem right regardless.”

Blue catches herself staring at the glowing embers of the cigar, lost in thought for a moment.

“Well..maybe I could be doing better with the blending in part I guess.”


“If that’s what you wanna do sure. Don’t really seem that way to me really. Seems like you just think you need to.”


“It's a bit of a lot to take in. I don't know how others would react.”


She shrugs.

“Not telling you to stop, just saying what I’m seeing.”


“Well, what do you think of me? Since you've already seen past my charade but you still keep managing to find me of your own choice.”


“Seen past it is a bit of a strong way to put it. I know there is something strange about you, but I cheated in the first place. Other than that fucking footstool I doubt many people would notice so quickly unless they were…I dunno, mages of some sort. Besides, I never really had a reason to care what you’re hiding. It’s obvious you’re doin it, but it ain’t like I’m dying to tear it outta you. You helped me when I was uh…not doin so hot. Least I can do is respect some damn boundaries.”


Blue nods thoughtfully, though she does stiffen. So she was right to feel nervous earlier at the manor then with that lalafell.. She'd just need to be careful next time she went there. The Au Ri stares at Veldi and seems to be debating something internally in her head.

“I appreciate that more than you know. I think..if and when I decide to finally to share what makes me so strange in your eyes, I'd like you to be the first to know. And I'll just deal with what happens when that happens.”

She shrugs her shoulders.

“If you're not doing so hot again, you know I'd be more than willing to help you again.”


“I’m fine.”

She puts the remains of the cigar out in her palm before stowing it in her coat again, turning away.

“I’m just not used to thinking of war as a means to an end is all. No amount of pushing it down makes the faces go away.”


Blue hmms thoughtfully to herself, standing up and dusting off her dress.

“The most I know of war is the chatter and the stories from those around me. Of heroics sure, and death, a lot more of death than anything good or positive. It doesn't seem like a fruitful way to end anything. There should be better methods.”


“You’d think. But we do not have infinite time.”


“Do you believe in your cause?”


“….Yeah. Don’t mean I gotta like it though. But everything I tried failed. Everything I hoped for fell through. This is the only way that’s brought consistent results, and I hate it. But…well, I’m still doin it.”


Blue brings a finger up to her cheek, tapping idly.

“And I imagine there's no way for you to just turn away, let someone else handle all this? Cause or not, you already seem troubled by everything you've done or seen out there.”


“How’s that better? Knowing you just damned someone else to the horrors you wouldn’t stomach?”


“It's not better, but it's okay to be selfish sometimes. Whether it's you or someone else makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. War doesn't care what happens to all involved. It's just there. You've swallowed too many terrible things as is.”


“That’s a load o’ shite an you know it. It’s easy to just…let things be. Pretend that it won’t matter because whats meant to happen will, or some other thick chunk of garbage that we know is just an excuse. But I ain’t about to hide behind an excuse. The war you’re thinkin about ain’t the same thing. It’s not gonna stop just because I look away, it will just get worse. Knowing you have a chance to do what you can, and throwing that away? That ain’t an option no more.”

She turns her head and spits, clearly enraged and disgusted by the idea.

“None of you have seen that…*thing* yet. If you did, you wouldn’t be saying we need to turn away. I’ll not sit by and become fucking food quietly.”


Blue brings her hands up, waving them in front of her.

“Alright alright! You're right, I've no idea what you've witnessed or are going through. I'm not going to stop you from doing what you believe in, but I don't want you to be tormented for the rest of your life because of it, that's all.”

She's curious by the mention of the “thing”, tilts her head.

“And what is it then?”


“You’d have to see it first for it to make any sort of sense.”

“It’s like trying to explain to someone the concept of aether when they’ve neither heard of it nor have the ability to feel it.”

“You’ll sort of be able to imagine it, but you can’t feel it. You don’t see how dire the problem is.”


Blue's eyes flicker away at the mention of aether, before looking back and nodding in agreement.

“Well the thing about imagination at least is that I could imagine it to be worse than it is as well. More importantly, will you be able to take it down?”


“Not without doing what I’m doing no.”


“It just isn't fair..”

“You don't deserve the things you're going through.”


“Does anyone?”


“No. Doesn't make it any less right.”

“I'll just be greedy again and ask this one thing - Just come back. You can be as drunk as you want to be. You can attack the chocobos again if you like. I can't make faces go away or make your job any easier but I'll try to.”


“I never attacked any damn chocobo the stingy bastard tried to take my chaser!”


Blue giggles and shakes her head.

“Ahuh. Whatever the case, just hear me out. If you need more chasers, you know where to go.”


“Uhuh. So you’re feeling better now?”


“Yeah I guess I am. Feels good to talk to someone about it over conversing with the vultures. They don't know much. Still feel like an imposter but..maybe it doesn't always have to feel that way.”


“I dunno what you’re all ruffled about really. You got someone and he’s even blue like you—which is way more than most can say. If it’s that much of a pain to keep up whatever you’re doin then just stop. Someone starts bitchin I’ll just put em through a wall. To be clear, I’m using’ your own advice against you here. Let the world adjust an if they can’t or won’t….make em.”


Blue falters somewhat at these words, frowning softly.

“I mean yeah..And he is already quite aware. He would also be more than happy to put anyone who rejected me through a wall, so there is that…I mean you might be right. It's not like I'm a calamity bringer or anything. If anything, maybe I can help others more…hmm.”

She ponders then looks over at Veldi.

“And I could make them adjust..”


“Great! Let’s have drinks.”


“That tavern over in Limsa- Hearth and Home? - opens up soon. We can make it over there by airship if we leave now. Else there's Buscaroons nearby.”

Blue seems a little more confident, slightly more happy, smidgeon uncertain. Maybe some drink would loosen her tongue.


“You pick and I’ll meet you there after some work.”


“Okay! Hearth and Home it is! I'll see you there in a bit then.”

Blue skips away from the small silent cove in better spirits, heading towards Gridania at chocobo speeds.

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