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Prelude to 'Eva' [Closed]


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Fourteen Months Ago


A young Wildwood of around thirty years whose jet black hair waved down to his shoulders stood beside one of a series of benches by the lake. He smiled proudly at his beau, a Duskwight of around the same age whose long, blonde hair was tied back up in a ponytail with a narrow leather band. "I got in, Kessy! They accepted me!" He held up a folded letter jubilantly in his right hand.


The ambivalence displayed upon her face must have been apparent, as the young elezen man continued quickly, "It will only be three months, my love. And it will allow me to prove to myself that I can really do this! I will write to you every day, I promise. I love you, Kes."


She forced a smile, "I love you too. And I'm really happy for you Pemmy. You know I'll wait for you, right here, for as long as it takes. But what about your writing? I mean, is this really what you want to do...?"


He took a couple steps towards her, still beaming with excitement as he held the letter up in his hand, "It's a big deal, but I've wanted something like this for a long time! Your father might even come to respect me! You said he served in the military when he was younger, right?"


His arms were around her now and she stood there for a few seconds, stunned, before reaching up around his neck and nuzzling her cheek against his stubble. "Aye, Father's always talking about the old days, but please promise me that you're not doing this to win his approval. That doesn't ma-"


"It's been over seven years now, Kes. People who've been together not half as long as we have are married. Yes, I would like your father's permission, if possible. But I am also doing this for myself. Someday even the gods will sing our song!" Still holding her shoulders gently, he tilted his head back slightly, giving her a considering look as he took a pace backwards.


She smiled faintly as his blasphemy. He'd always had a way of embellishing things, and he always knew just what to say to make her smile even when she was down or frustrated. "I know, Pemmy, but..."


"No buts! I was going to wait until after I'd spoken with him..." He cleared his throat, shifting his weight to one side as he reached into his breast pocket and withdrew an ornately chased, silver ring with a small diamond cut brilliantly in the center. It caught the sun, dazzling her eyes, and every frustration that was on her mind melted away. The sound of children's laughter could be heard somewhere in the distance, but Kes and Pemmy were alone in this glade. They had long ago decided that it was their spot, amidst the sunflowers and their pungent aroma. They would often come to this lake to swim together. It was no surprise at all to her that this would be where he would choose to propose to her. Still, she was somehow caught off guard.


"Kes Zelorius..." Mock formality took over his voice as he took to one knee, and she knew quite well that he would already know her answer to the next question, as it had been a topic of conversation many times in the past. "Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"


Throwing her arms up around his neck, she beamed up at him and responded without any hesitation, "Y-yes!! Of course I will Pemmy!!"


As she rested her head on his chest glancing at the engagement ring, she realized that there was still a great deal to be discussed. Her father would not have approved of her relations with a Wildwood, though his mind had failed several years earlier. That Pemmy would even concern himself at all with seeking her father's approval seemed a moot point, though he had indicated in the past that the tradition meant a great deal to him. He'd only met her father twice before, and on both occasions he'd been presented to him as an acquaintance rather than as her lover. If he intended on following through with requesting her father's permission, it should have been clear that it was not mandatory for her. However, she realized how stubborn he could be, and would not let this go.


Of course on the flipside of the same coin was the disdain his own parents had towards her. Though his younger brother and sister got along well enough with her, his parents had been kept in the dark about their secret love affair until only recently when it came to light that the girl he had been seeing was not of their clan. His parents had gone to great lengths to put an end to the relationship, and even now she suspected that his intentions to leave for the military may have been made at their urging. She would never dare to make mention of that to him though, as he often spoke of how he felt like a rope in an unpleasant game of tug-o-war.


It was clear that he felt he had something he needed to prove, though she wasn't convinced he was doing this entirely for himself. But for all she knew, maybe he was right - maybe her father would look upon him more respectfully as a fellow veteran.


She knew, probably better than anyone else, that he was a pacifist. She was almost certain that he wouldn't want to take up a weapon and fight if the situation demanded it. He wouldn't even harm insects! Pemenicaux had a gentle soul, and she questioned if this was really right for him, or worse if it would change him. At the same time, she felt somewhat guilty to be excited. Something about the notion of having her beloved return home from battle to her arms exhilerated her.


For right now though, all the rest didn't matter. The love of her life was in her arms, and she knew that somehow they would find a way to get past the family issues, even if it meant running away together. Holding one other amidst the sunflowers by the lakeside, everything was as perfect as it could possibly be.

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Two Weeks Later


Pemenicaux was shipping off the next morning and his parents would be there to see him off, so it was agreed that this evening would be their last together until he returned in three months. Having spent most of the afternoon at the lakeside amidst the sunflowers, enjoying a picnic and some wine, the happy couple had finally returned back to civilization once their clothes had dried from swimming when the fireflies started fluttering about. Kes suddenly stopped, glancing at the structure that stood before them on the side of the path.


"There's no time like the present, Kessy! You've been talking about this for months... I'll tell ya what, I'll do it with you!" Pemenicaux smiled warmly at her as the pair stood in front of a dilapidated old building. "Are you sure about her, though...?" His grin remained as he indicated one of the windows that was missing and replaced by two large planks of wood with a slight nod.


Her jaw dropped even before he had finished, "You... would do that...?"


He nodded in response, "Why not? I think it looks quite fetching, actually."


"Your parents will kill you... This isn't really something that Wild-"


"I'm not a child, Kes. I'm 32 years old. And frankly, that's almost incentive. I'll get a design to match yours, so everyone will know when they see us together." His smile was warm and reassuring, but she was certain that the amount of hot water he would find himself in with his family would be immeasurable. Still, it was sweet of him to want to express himself as such. That was enough for her.


"Pemmy, no. Your family... They're going to blame me. I don't want them to hate me..." She paused, taking a deep breath. "And you know they will, for this..."


Looking her square in the eye, he grinned at her and pushed his way past her into the parlor. She followed him, murmuring something inaudible behind him.


"It'll look good, Kes! See all the designs?"


"I mean it Pemmy!" Her hands found their way to her hips and she gave him a very stern glare.


"It won't matter," his voice lowered. "When I get back in a few months... I want you to move away from here with me."


Her stern expression gave way to shock. She'd thought about moving away from all of this ever since he'd proposed two weeks before, but she hadn't said a word of it to anyone.


"I... I..." words escaped her lips.


"What do you think of Ul'dah?" His hand now rested gently on her shoulder, and the weight of everything came crashing down on her. Thrilled as she was to be far away from his parents, the thought of leaving her own father behind upset her - especially in his condition. She knew that Garmekor or one of the others would look after him, and probably even would have encouraged her to go ahead with the move if it was what she wanted. And aside from some travel with her father when she was too young to remember, she'd only ever really known Gridania. The thought of moving elsewhere was completely foreign to her.


"They have a guild for weavers and tailors there. You can continue working your trade. You promised me a cloak for the winter! And I'll hold you to that! I hear those desert nights can be pretty cold..."


And then there was the desert. They had the trees and the lake and the water here. It would be strange to not be able to swim every day. She had never done well with heat, either. But she had lost a considerable amount of weight over the past three years, largely due to Pemenicaux's wanting to swim all the time, which she had grown to love. The both of them had been quite chubby back then. The activity had worked wonders for him, his body rippled now as he swam. And it had clearly made a difference in her as well, but some days she still felt she could have given more effort. She had noted the way that men sometimes looked at her now - something she'd never really experienced before and would probably never get used to. Maybe the heat wouldn't touch her as much as it once had in the past, after all.




He was still in his thoughts, "And I hear there's a lot of excitement out there. Games and fun and-"


"Okay, Pem! I'll do it!" She smiled up at him. He stood over a head taller than her when he wasn't slouching, and she stood on her tippy-toes and pecked him on the lips. "We'll move to Ul'dah together. I just want to be with you."


"Excellent!" he beamed back at her, clearly surprised at the impulse of the response. "We'll start making the arrangements as soon as I'm back. Three months - it'll go like nothing! Think how fast the past two weeks has gone!" She had, and she knew that time would go from moving at a racing speed to a near halt while he wasn't around. "In the meantime, we both have a lot to think about."


Nodding, Kes walked over to a particular design on the wall that caught her intrigue. "Hey Pemmy, what about this one...?" She traced a line over her face with her right hand, tracing a similar line over Pem's face with her other hand, visualizing what the tattoo would look like on his face.


"Wow Kes... I like it!"


A stirring behind a curtained doorway pulled their focus away from the design, as a hyur man emerged, a white bandage firmly enveloped most of his right arm. He smiled slightly at the pair as he strode out of the waiting room.


An elderly woman's voice from behind the curtain called out, "Next!"

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((To clarify a bit regarding the timelines, this will take place exactly one year prior to when the initial T.A.L.E. gathering happens, and about a month and a half after the preceding 'Trepidation' post.






Nearly one year ago


"Kes Zelorius?"


She jumped, startled, as the gray-skinned roegadyn approached the bench near that lake upon which she was seated. Her fingers delicately held a pen over a sheet of paper - a response to a letter that she had received from her fiancee earlier that day. Her tension subsided slightly when she noticed his left arm was held firmly in place over his chest by a large cotton sling. It wasn't unheard of for strangers to approach this secluded spot near the lake, but his sudden arrival had startled her, jolting her away from her writing. The forlorn expression on his face signaled some great sorrow though.


"Yes?" She spoke timidly, unsure at what the stranger's intentions were.


"You know Pemenicaux Ianneira, right? I mean, you're his girl?"


She nodded, a knot forming in the back of her throat as she grew more and more concerned by the grim expression on his face.


"There... w-was an accident..." The roegadyn looked down at his feet as he stuttered. Kes only stared blankly at him.


"Pemenicaux... d-didn't make it..." He looked as though he wanted to reach out with his good arm to pat her consolingly but was restraining himself. He was clearly not accustomed to delivering news of misfortune like this.


"No... No, no, no..." Tears began to form in the fair-skinned elezen's eyes as the roegadyn fidgeted awkwardly.


"We were in the s-same unit, and early this m-morning there was... an ex- an explosion. My arm..." The large man gave a sidelong glance at the lame arm slung over his chest as though it no longer belonged to him. He then seemed to realize his own injury was rather trivial compared to what she had lost and cut off his explanation.


"I... I'm sorry. There was nothing we could do. In his last minutes alive, he said that no one would have told you. He and I had become... g-good friends. It was... it was his last wish that I find you and tell you. He said you came to this spot often." He cleared his throat before continuing, "An envoy will be deployed to carry word to his f-f-family, but he said no one would have found you and told you..." He seemed confused about all of this, and it would have made perfect sense to her if she hadn't been overcome with grief.


Tears streamed down her face as she wept openly. He looked shaken, as though he might join her and break down bawling at any moment himself. Opening her mouth to speak, the knot that had formed in her throat blocked any kind of sound from projecting, and she began crying more intensely.


"He had a gentle way about him..." He finally sat down on one of the adjacent benches. "N-never really made much sense for him to be a s-s-soldier. Didn't really suit the man..." Sighing, he shrugged, his good hand wiping an imaginary smudge from his face. It was clear he wasn't sure what to say.


"He... spoke about you a great deal. It was obvious he was in l-love with you." The roegadyn looked down at the ground between his feet as her sobs grew louder. "I am so sorry..."


After several moments of her crying and his sitting nervously beside her, she wiped her face and peered at the man through still-watery eyes. He sat awkwardly on his bench, scratching an itch that wasn't real, unable to make eye contact with her. She took a deep breath and swallowed the lump in her throat, "I'm sorry about your arm, Mister...?" She sniffled. It seemed silly and deflective, but she was ashamed at her response and wanted to find something, anything else to talk about for the moment.


"Oh, it's Thormi. Just Thormi. And thank you. They say I might be able to use it again someday..."


Sensing his nervousness, she nodded absently and looked away from him, staring blankly out at the rippling surface of the nearby lake. "You can go Thormi. Thank you for letting me know..."


He looked relieved as he stood back up from his bench. "If you need me, I'll be at the inn until tomorrow. I am so s-sorry for your loss..." Bowing his head, he trudged away slowly with his head hung low, walking across the grass parallel to a field of overgrown sunflowers until he finally disappeared from sight.


Once he was gone, she allowed the floodgates to open, crying unabashedly for hours over the loss of the only man she had ever truly loved.

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