So I have dropped all kinds of hints here and there about a part of AGL that's been long-written, that I was both impatient to get to and reluctant to give up. Of course, this is it. Not the whole chapter, but the heart of it -- Auron discovering Liss and reuniting with Arelle. This reunion is a destination, something the whole story has been leading up to. It's changed, of course, but the original core is still recognizably there. This section was the third or perhaps the fourth section I wrote, after the first two chapters and maybe the beginning of Chapter 25, the other reunion chapter. And I've gone back to it many times -- when I've been blocked on something else, or when I've been inspired to fix some bit that was bothering me. It's been essentially done for months. The only real changes lately have involved the characterizations of Relle and Liss. When I first drafted it, I didn't know them very well yet, and as I became more closely acquainted with them, I found all kinds of changes necessary to keep them in character here.
These last interactions with Kinoc and Arelle are in many ways the heart of the story. In a sense, they are the reason the story was written. To my mind, Auron's backstory, as presented in the game, raises several questions that are never really answered: Why did he turn down the offer of marriage? What happened between him and Kinoc that took them from friends to enemies? Why did his promise to care for Tidus keep him tied to the world after his death? There are others, but these are the key ones to my mind, the ones that I was exploring in this story. I think they are all answered now, to my satisfaction at least.
The story isn't quite finished. I have the shape of at least two more chapters in mind and an epilogue completely drafted. Those chapters may spread out over more. But the end is coming -- I can finally see it, after all these months. My feelings about this are understandably mixed. I'm excited to think that the story is finally going to be complete. But I'm really going to miss it.