wordmage: Pen nib with a paw print (Default)
Crimson-Sun did a fantastic piece of art of Lazard and Sephiroth, from the shoulders up, and you're looking at Sephiroth's back but he has his head bowed a little, and Lazard is touching his face with this tender, compassionate look. Obviously, I had to write about it.

[Original Tumblr Post X]


“They’re gone.”
 
Lazard looked up immediately at the quiet words, lips parting though he could find none of his own at the sight of his lover. In so many ways, Sephiroth had always embodied strength to him, and if you gave him a passing glance tonight he was no different. He stood tall, posture perfect, an imposing figure of black, silver and porcelain. His face was schooled into neutrality, deep voice steady.
 
But his eyes, those brilliant green eyes… something was broken, and threatened to lose him in the wash of pain like nothing he’d ever known. In that moment, he felt a nearly blinding fury towards the two missing SOLDIERs, that they could just go without a word. They were his friends as well, and he would likely miss them, but Sephiroth… he was devastated.
 
For all his strength, for all his skill, for all the battles he’d fought and the war he’d won… he was not prepared for this. This injury cut deeper than a blade and would not heal anywhere near as quickly. It might never heal completely, as stricken as he was, but all he could do was hope.
 
He’d risen at some point, crossing to his lover and touching his cheek with a gloved hand. That he bowed his head into it without reservation made his heart ache, and he touched their heads together. “Sephiroth…”
 
“They left me.” The words were a whisper, lost and hurting in ways the younger man didn’t understand, had never had to deal with before. “Not a word. Angeal and I had breakfast that morning, and…”
 
And he was gone, without a word, without a hint that he would do so, in the middle of a mission. Yes, Lazard knew. He’d been there, if not in the thick of it. Zack had been baffled, and the others kept in the dark, but he knew the moment he’d seen Sephiroth’s face that he had been betrayed again.
 
The abandonment cut him to the core, but he’d barely had time to react until now. Part of him was touched that he was considered safe enough, a haven for his general - his love, because this went so far beyond the bond of comrades, this wasn’t the silver general standing so close that their heads touched and his bangs obscured his expression. He’d lost so much more than subordinates. Most of him, however, ached that he hurt so badly he needed someone else to cling to.
 
He could have happily lived his life with Sephiroth never needing to lean on his strength, never being hurt like this. But life was often cruel, and even if Angeal and Genesis came back through the door this very night, the damage was done. Even a mended heart would always have fine cracks, broken bits where it was weakened. Where it could break once more.
 
“I don’t understand,” for a moment, his hands were simply clenched at his sides, but then they were holding his jacket as tightly as they dared. Ever mindful of his strength, ever mindful of the needs of others even when he didn’t understand why. He tried so hard.
 
And they left.
 

wordmage: FF7 comet logo with FFVII written in black in the corner on a white background. (FF7)
 [Original Post X]

This post was used to explain why I roleplay and write Lazard the way I do, having taken time to really look at his character objectively and try to apply logic and reason. If you haven't read the first part, it's easy to find here on DW [X] and would be useful to read. The simple fact is, however, that as much as I love FFVII - perhaps even because I love it - I can be very critical. Also the burden of being a writer, I suppose, in always analyzing the stories of others. And I think there were some issues that even hard core fans really do have to admit to if they’re being honest with themselves. For one, the original game, FFVII, was released first. Now, that’s rather understandable on the one hand, given everything centers around it. BUT!

It immediately boxed in all releases that were placed earlier in the timeline. Everything that occurred in Before Crisis and Crisis Core 
had to line up with the events of FFVII. That meant that any character that wasn’t seen in the original game had to die or disappear. Zack and Angeal are prime examples. It was also a foregone conclusion that Sephiroth had to lose his mind and destroy Nibelheim, setting him on the path to become the villain seen in the original game.

And all of that is their right, naturally, but you have to consider the wider range of effects that has. There 
is a story being told, and you have to stick with it, because canon has been set, and these projects have too many people and funds tied up in them to justify fussing over something as small as a side character’s motivations and how realistic they are.

But as I
 write and roleplay at my own pleasure, and I’m not so restrained. I have the chance to write Lazard Deusericus as I believe, were there more of a nod to realism on his behalf, he would have been played.

There are core, indisputable traits to some characters that need to be taken into consideration if you’re going to claim any real relation to them. The biggest example no one can argue: Angeal’s honor fixation. Lazard has some of those traits, too, which I’ve taken care to consider.

  • He was born a bastard child to President Shinra, and grew up in the Slums.
  • He holds deep concern for the people - particularly children - in the Slums.
  • He worked his way to being Director of SOLDIER very quickly, indicating high intelligence and competency.
  • He didn’t know that he was President ShinRa’s son until he became the Director of SOLDIER.
  • He always thanks the SOLDIERs in the mails he sends out, before saying anything else, something no one else does even in mass mails.
  • He uses the word ‘we’ in reference to his department, indicating a sense of camaraderie.
  • He is never shown losing his composure, always calm and reasonable, even portrayed as understanding and sympathetic.

All of this is solid fact for Lazard Deusericus, stated in canon and shown in his actions. They paint the picture of a man who grew up in the Slums and worked his ass off to climb the corporate ladder with his intelligence, competence and apparent skill with politics. Let me stress, he had no knowledge of being President Shinra’s son, prior to his final promotion to the executive position of Director of SOLDIER.

Regarding his position as Director, the image portrayed by his actions in Crisis Core show that he has a passion for his work - that he cares not only about the efficiency of SOLDIER, but about the SOLDIERs 
themselves, reinforced by his gentle demeanor when dealing with Zack, and the respect that Sephiroth seems to have for him.

The overall picture painted above of just who Lazard Deusericus is, I’d like to remind you, is one 
fully supported by canon. The facts are right there in bullets.

And yet, there is a huge disconnect between who this man is defined as, and how he acts in Crisis Core. Allow me, for a moment, to quote from the first part of my assessment of the role Lazard plays in canon, and the significance of that.

… Lazard was hardly the only one on a quest for vengeance. However, the man was in politics, and one would assume quite intelligent. There were many more ways - safer ways - to see to his father’s downfall, without having to betray the men who looked to him and trusted his orders. If one wants to say he was lumping SOLDIER in with the organization, and saw that as needing destroyed, I’d like to draw your attention to one more thing that Lazard should - and likely did - know.

ShinRa was more than a power company. They were, by Crisis Core, 
the most widely influencing political power. The entire eastern world had come to rely on ShinRa for mako power, for protection, for steady jobs and for a stabilizing influence on the economy. If ShinRa was destroyed before any sort of alternative was in place, there would, at best, be anarchy. Quite possibly a collapse of economy, and a lot of people would suddenly be out of work. ShinRa was corrupt, and did a lot of horrible things, but they were a necessary evil. Did they need replaced? Yes. But the key word is replaced.You can’t just take out something that so many people rely on in one swoop, with nothing to fall back on, and “hope for the best” because it’s not going to work out well.

In conclusion, I’d like to sum up my musings by restating that canonically, Lazard was either the biggest 
idiot by thinking it was a good idea to use mentally unstable SOLDIERs to destroy his father’s empire, creating an energy crisis and sudden anarchy with the loss of a key political power that also provided most of the world with mako power, technology, and military might - or he was the biggest villain because he didn’t care what happened to the rest of the world, or the people who had trusted him, so long as his father and his company was destroyed in the process.

The actions stated above do not add up with the person Lazard is said to be. You cannot have a compassionate, empathetic man who would do that. And, assuming that all of that is fake, that he really is that cruel, I’ll point you to the middle paragraph one more time and ask you how, exactly, someone as intelligent as Lazard seems to be, could or even would do that?

This is a man who supposedly managed to embezzle from ShinRa Company - and I assure you, if there is 
anything President Shinra pays attention to, it’s his wealth - without getting caught by the Turks until quite a bit later in the game. A man who apparently has the intelligence, cunning, willpower, and sheer audacity to plot with Hollander and Genesis while still staying within the company, and not only doesn’t get caught - he pulls it all off with no one the wiser.

At no point is there any indication given that Lazard has the sort of training to outwit Turks, who are 
trained to pick up on this sort of thing - and I’m sure they had a very close eye on the President’s bastard son once he gained such influential rank. And yet he defies the odds and does exactly that.

This doesn’t add up for me. I 
adore the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, but as I’ve said, it’s not without its flaws. Lazard Deusericus takes a backseat to everyone else, because he’s essentially a side character, with a dash of plot device. The story is centered around Zack and Sephiroth, and everyone else fills in the blanks, even people like Aerith and Tseng, who go on to play much bigger roles. Some of these characters you never hear of again come the original game, even in mention, which makes sense, because FFVII came first. But as far as seamless continuity, it’s leaves us hanging.

So, yes, I understand fully why Lazard was written as he was - makes sense enough, as long as no one delves too deeply into the “why” aspect - and he fills a necessary role. But as someone who wants to RP Lazard, I had to take a step back, really look at who he was in canon, compare it to his actions, and admit that they didn’t match up. I had to go back, take all the facts, everything that made Lazard who he was, and go from there, working in that bare bones framework, building from there to give you what you see today.

wordmage: FF7 comet logo with FFVII written in black in the corner on a white background. (FF7)
[Original post X]

I’ve gotten a lot of surprise from seeing a Lazard on Tumblr, and I think a lot of that has to do with his role in the fandom. Now, please don’t misunderstand me - I 
love Final Fantasy VII. I do. I think that there are a lot of things in it that were just completely brilliant. That said, I do also think everyone needs to take a moment and be honest: FFVII has a story, and anyone who has ever read or written a story will have to admit that it is planned ahead. All the more so for video games. FFVII had a planned story, and things were worked accordingly.

Now, that is 
not a criticism! I’m a writer, fanfic and original. I understand the reasoning and yes, necessity for there to be a plot, and have it stuck to, for something as big as a video game series. There’s too many people and resources tied up in that to just change it on a whim. But it does affect things, because something has to give. Real life is never so neatly packaged, because everyone is the main character in their own story, and people don’t fall into neat categories. So, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on who Lazard Deusericus is in Crisis Core, and who I think he really should have been.

Lazard is not a good person in Crisis Core, nor does he have much in the way of sense. Or, if he does, then he’s quite possibly the real villain of Crisis Core.

That’s quite a big statement to make, but if you take a moment, you’ll realize it’s true. Lazard worked his way up in ranks in ShinRa, gaining the respect of SOLDIER and one would assume many of the others. Around the time he makes Director, he finds out that his father is the very man who signs his checks. He is the illegitimate older brother of the vice president. He grew up with his mother in the Slums - and we’ve all seen how horrible it is down there, so there’s no believing it was ‘easy’ for anyone. There’s no knowing what he was told growing up, but obviously it left out the identity of his father’s side of the family. And finding out deeply affected him.

He plays loyal to the company from there out, but clearly his anger begins to gnaw at him. I’ve seen the phrase once - on someone’s Tumblr, actually - “hate is like taking poison and hoping someone else dies.” That’s entirely too accurate. Hate is a horrible, horrible thing that I could rant on all on itself, but the focus right now is 
Lazard’s hate in specific. It blinded him, and whatever sense he had, it was consumed within that one single emotion. When Genesis started degrading, Hollander approached Lazard - we’ll assume he figured out Lazard’s own 'origin’ issues - and they created an alliance. By the time Crisis Core begins and the fans meet Lazard, Genesis has defected with the bulk of SOLDIER at Hollander’s prodding. The game itself opens, and not too far into it, Zack is meeting Director Lazard for the first time as he gets his mission to Wutai. Lazard goes as well.

Whether it was to really see the end of the war personally, or because he wanted to peek in on Genesis’ army, Lazard did go, and assessed Zack’s performance while they were there. His entire presence, however, is overshadowed by Angeal disappearing at the end of the mission. Sephiroth is the first to outright state that Angeal has deserted as well.

From there, time passes to where Zack (and thus the player) are more or less on their own, and Zack is asking the director for word on his mentor. I certainly don’t blame him - Angeal clearly meant a great deal to Zack, and he can’t comprehend what’s happening. At this point, it’s reasonable to assume Angeal may have left just to try and bring Genesis back. Genesis, however, is mentally and physically degrading and just together enough to remember he certainly doesn’t intend to return to the place and people responsible for his declining health, even if he 
could.

By the time Zack is sent to Banora, Angeal has found out about Project G, and quite likely more than the player. His best friend since childhood is mentally unhinged and succumbing to a slow, painful death because his very body is destroying itself. Why? Because before he was born, Hollander and 
Angeal’s mother tampered with Genesis’ genetics. Angeal’s genes are likewise altered, and he might have sprouted his two wings by this point. While in Banora, there’s a good chance of Angeal actually having witnessed his mother committing suicide, but he did know that she did - and was then more or less accused by Zack of killing her. Granted, the teen was more than a little shaken up himself, but that didn’t help the situation.

Given that Hollander is still alive, Lazard is undoubtedly still aware of all of these ongoings, and does nothing to step in and stop it. By the time Zack is promoted to First, Genesis’ troops launch an attack on the Tower itself, and soon after, Zack meets with Angeal again. Though he looks healthy, Angeal 
does have wings, which indicate something happened on a genetic level. Possibly degradation. The one good part is Zack meeting Aerith, but things keep going downhill from there.

Lazard sends Zack to Modeoheim. He 
knows Genesis and Angeal are there, and less than sane at the moment. He has to realize what he’s setting him up for. They’re not coming back to ShinRa, Genesis is openly hostile, Angeal is depressed and not thinking straight, and with Tseng there, it’s not like Zack can just let them walk off.

It’s not until Hollander’s escape from Junon, well after Angeal has been killed and Genesis is assumed dead, that it’s realized Lazard was a traitor. He’s noted as giving intel and funding to Hollander and Genesis’ operation, and runs off. That leaves Sephiroth in charge, abandoned by his only two 
real friends, betrayed by a man he respected and probably trusted at least somewhat as a superior, and having to decide how to handle it all. Of course, he puts the “SOLDIER” in “soldier on” and decides that since Genesis has been going after reactors, let’s go check out NIBELHEIM.

And we all know how 
that went.

Never mind Lazard’s later attempts at redemption - a lot of that could be put on the fact that he’s been made into a clone of Angeal.

Was it all in the name of vengeance? It seemed so, certainly. But what does it boil down to? Lazard was hardly the only one on a quest for vengeance. However, the man was in politics, and one would assume quite intelligent. There were many more ways - 
safer ways - to see to his father’s downfall, without having to betray the men who looked to him and trusted his orders. If one wants to say he was lumping SOLDIER in with the organization, and saw that as needing destroyed, I’d like to draw your attention to one more thing that Lazard should - and likely did - know.

ShinRa was more than a power company. They were, by Crisis Core, 
the most widely influencing political power. The entire eastern world had come to rely on ShinRa for mako power, for protection, for steady jobs and for a stabilizing influence on the economy. If ShinRa was destroyed before any sort of alternative was in place, there would, at best, be anarchy. Quite possibly a collapse of economy, and a lot of people would suddenly be out of work. ShinRa was corrupt, and did a lot of horrible things, but they were a necessary evil. Did they need replaced? Yes. But the key word is replaced. You can’t just take out something that so many people rely on in one swoop, with nothing to fall back on, and “hope for the best” because it’s not going to work out well.

In conclusion, I’d like to sum up my musings by restating that canonically, Lazard was either the biggest 
idiot by thinking it was a good idea to use mentally unstable SOLDIERs to destroy his father’s empire, creating an energy crisis and sudden anarchy with the loss of a key political power that also provided most of the world with mako power, technology, and military might - or he was the biggest villain because he didn’t care what happened to the rest of the world, or the people who had trusted him, so long as his father and his company was destroyed in the process.

On to Part 2

wordmage: FF7 comet logo with FFVII written in black in the corner on a white background. (FF7)
Original post from my directorlazard blog on Tumblr, prompt: write five unconnected scenes (300 words maximum each) involving only two characters. after reading all five, the reader should have a firm understanding of the two characters and their relationship.

As I ship Lazard/Sephiroth, this was a fun exercise to try and explain it all.
-----------------------------------------
 

Scene 1: Lazard’s POV [211 words]

Heiddeger gave me a headache on the best days, but with casualty reports constantly coming in sleep was coming less and less, and I think I was about ready to just haul off and hit him to see if he was really that dense. The way he talked, like the men were just… expendable…. He didn’t even have the excuse that there was an overwhelming number of them - SOLDIER was a small, elite force. Not that anyone was expendable, but gods damn the man, sometimes he made me so angry.

Sitting at my side with quiet dignity, Sephiroth had just touched my wrist. Just a touch, but I was wound so tightly that I snapped my gaze to him.

A tiny smile danced on the edges of the general’s lips, understanding in his eyes. His voice was so soft, barely a breath, that it was almost more a matter of reading lips to be sure what he’d said.

'We know.’

It was just a moment, unnoticed by the others in those few seconds, but… slowly, I felt myself relax. There was no real point in fighting with Heiddeger - experience had proven that time and again. SOLDIER knew how I felt about them, and that was really what mattered.

 

 

Scene 2: Sephiroth’s POV [241 words]

Lazard was going to be the death of himself. It wouldn’t be an executive order, it wouldn’t be an assassination, it wouldn’t be from an ill-advised training exercise with the men - he was going to work himself to death.

It was easy to tell when he was exhausted, particularly once the glasses came off. His eyes were too bright, mako eating through increasingly lower reserves, and there was a dark bruising beneath them that spoke of many sleepless nights. He had trouble sleeping to begin with, but he’d get stuck in his own head and run himself in circles - more than once I’d returned from a mission in the dead of night and found him awake, sometimes not even fully changed as he plowed through paperwork.

It didn’t help that he’d gone and caught something - I couldn’t tell what, he was doing a good job hiding it, but there was a husky note to his voice that would normally have been quite enticing if I didn’t know it was from pain. The usual handkerchief was conspicuously absent halfway through the day, an occasional breathless sneeze escaping despite his efforts as his body rebelled.

The look on his face when I came in and took his coffee, replacing it with honeyed tea, waspriceless. Somewhere between offended, embarrassed, and touched, but really, if the man wouldn’t take care of himself, then I suppose I had to do it myself.

 

 

Scene 3: Lazard’s POV [296 words]

I saw genuine pain in Veld’s eyes when he came to tell me - personally came instead of sending someone, though I doubted he was supposed to be out of the infirmary; I suppose I should have felt something for that - but it meant nothing.

My hand moved to my throat, uncovered this late at night, thumb brushing the scar still easily felt if not so easily seen, and my eyes lingered over the bandaged shoulder that was all that remained of a once strong arm.

A bitter smile twisted my lips as I met his eyes. Sorry was not enough. My mother… Veld, how could you? Mother… and your wife. Your daughter. I could tell they hadn’t survived it either, from the strain in his voice, and spared a brief moment to hope the three innocent women had died quickly and without suffering.

“How much does he get to take, Veld? Do you even have a line you won’t cross anymore?” Vicious words, despite the quiet delivery. But I meant them. Let him think on it. Let it haunt him. I didn’t care about his answer, however. “Go back to your Turks, Director.”

You have no place here, Veld. Not with me, not now.

I closed the door on him, swallowing thickly and leaning against it. I was barely aware of my surroundings until I was pulled against a broad, warm chest, heartbeat strong and alive beneath my ear. Young as my lover was, as awkward as he could be in his words, we never lacked for understanding in the silent reality of touch.

I needed that, then, turning to press my face to his shoulder, silver bangs tickling my cheek as he bowed his head and held me while I silently fell apart.

 

 

Scene 4: Sephiroth’s POV [194 words]

Do you trust me?

How can you ask me that, Lazard? How can you melt all this down, strip away all the confusion and conflict and pain and make this about trust? Genesis is gone. He left, and we both know he has no plans to come back. Not with what we know now.

What we know now… I can’t even… it’s too much. Too much. I focus on the now, on one of my best friends’ pain and suffering, and the question you’ve asked. Do I trust you? I barely recognize my voice, strained and harsh. “Yes.”

There’s a calm certainty in your gaze, the fierce determination that I love in you - love, are you really making it about that? Love and trust… that’s what it always comes down to with you. Trust, more than anything.

My hand grips yours as tight as I dare, mindful that you’re nowhere near my strength - unnatural, inhuman power - and I stare into your eyes as you promise me that if it is at all possible, this will be made right. That you will do everything you can for us.

And I trust you.

 

 

Scene 5: Third person [236 words]

It had been inevitable that eventually, with Genesis being taken care of and no immediate struggle he could take action on, Sephiroth would have to confront the very personal ramifications of the whole situation.

Project G.

Project S.

Jenova.

A massive black wing, two white wings, anger and pain and betrayal on the most fundamental of levels. Genesis was torn between seething rage and despair when his mind was clear, and when his mind began to slip… it was horrifying to watch, even more than the hint of white in his hair and the pallor of his skin.

Lazard was doing what he could, but it was hard. This wasn’t all right, and there was no guarantee it would ever be again. No guarantee that if - IF - they saved Genesis’ body there would be anything left of his mind. No guarantee Angeal wouldn’t go the same way, not now.

It was no comfort that it did seem much more certain that Sephiroth would survive, though not unscathed after witnessing this most personal of losses.

No guarantees, save one whispered with complete sincerity. Words backed by deed with unfailing consistency. Words whispered against the general’s lips, within a tight embrace.

You are who you have always been, Sephiroth. Knowing what they did to you well before you were born doesn’t change who you have become unless you let it. It makes no difference to me.

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