Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: What Aus Sees in Them

Tonight’s exercise is a “What do you see in these people?” riff featuring Aus, my current primary D&D character and general source of confusion and frustration—or at least, featuring her opinions on the oddballs with whom she investigates cults, saves cities, and occasionally chases random children through crowded cities. One of the things I found most interesting about doing this one was just how much of her managed to get into her opinions of everyone else.

She’s not quite sure what she sees in Zen. Then again, she’s not quite sure what he sees in her, either, aside from the fact that apparently a very distinctive band of companions looks good on someone who wants to be seen as a hero, and he probably chose her because most people will definitely look twice at someone with brightly colored hair and dragon wings. On the other hand, even if his ego is heavier than she can carry, he makes a good distraction when she needs to do something subtle, particularly when he can hide egging her on from across the street in the distracting performance—and his ability to blind her enemies, or even better to talk his way out of a fight so she doesn’t have to worry about who she needs to stab how quickly, doesn’t hurt, and neither does the fact that for all he takes the credit for everything, most of what he does in a given situation is help everyone else do their own jobs better. She’d much rather have that than someone who was just plain Better At Everything but handed off credit to other people like sweets to a child; she does not do well with praise she hasn’t earned in her own eyes, and Zen is good at deflecting all of that to himself.

In Lars, she sees a kindred spirit. He’s better at the blending in thing than she is, at the weaving through crowds quietly—but they both know from tactical positioning, from subtlety (more than either of them can say for some people), and from solving problems in ways that either don’t necessarily involve the application of shiny weapons or that involve the extremely precise application of shiny weapons. And they can both look at each other and roll their eyes when Zen is letting his ego do the talking or Gortrex is failing to acknowledge other people’s need to finish their own conversation.

Gortrex has been growing on her. How someone with the most dramatic apparent deathwish she’s ever seen and an apparent need to get in a fight at least once an hour when not on the march manages to grow on her, she’s not entirely sure. But somehow she’s at the point where she accompanies the group’s nearly-official motto–“We apologize for the dwarf”–with a slight laugh rather than her old eyeroll. They’ve saved each other’s lives a couple of times—or rather, she saved his life but given that was because he’d been a More Tempting Target for a mess of small demons which had been better at hitting him than at hitting her, and since part of why she’d been able to was that he’d set her up for some good strikes—well, at that point the incident had been a repeating knot of life-saving involving the lot of them. And she’d gotten weirder looks for some of the ways she handled situations from a lot of other people than she got from him. There’s an enthusiasm about him, as well—he didn’t always get it, but he tried, and more importantly, he knew when to step back and let the specialists take over. Besides, he’d tolerated her verbal sniping during some of the Incidents remarkably well, and thanked her for that one time with the illusions. She’s still getting used to thanks coming from anyone but her sister.

That and there’s the other one. She hasn’t known him long, nor through near as much peril. He happened to them, came in through Zen, condescended to her a bit regarding tactics—just because she knows she’s defective doesn’t mean people who don’t know need to treat her as defective in other areas, and she’s not sure if he hasn’t shown signs of being a team player, or if it’s just that the last battle didn’t give him too much time in which to do so. Perhaps he’s too effective, and makes her wonder at how well she can keep her place with this odd group in any way other than being Zen’s Requisite Person With Wings, even if she was here first. He puts her on edge, either way, but he’s necessary, so she tries to keep the sniping to a minimum.

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