(For Elethor, Claire, Zenton and Evensong. I'd like to think that before the Cataclysm we were all friends, maybe now not so much due to faction lines, but before...)
It had been a long few days of battle and suffering for both Aalairius and I, with skirmishes in the Abyss, covert operations in the Kaidan Headquarters and forays into Asmodae to discover their fetid pox of a plot against Elysea. We were both exhausted and when we were finally given leave we returned to our small home in Sanctum for a time, and it was here that we finally were able to lay our weapons down and take off our armor and act like the lovers we were for a few hours instead of the battle weary comrades we had been for the last few days.
I felt terrible, and I know he did too, we had been growing increasingly short with one another the more our senses frayed under the pressures of our missions. He had grown irritated with the constant burning anger that had grown in me, and I had grown shrewish at his apparent inability to take our mission seriously. I know now that I had been mistaken, that Aalairius, though a young Daeva was more correct in his attempts to keep the situation light. He did more to improve the morale of our contingent than I had, and for that I was sorry.
Aion save me from myself, sometimes I thought I was going mad. Now we were at peace with one another, warm and close in our bed, bodies entwined as we drifted into a sea of dream, why Aion, why? Why then, did I not dream this night? Why did I not dream but instead, remember?
The sun was warm and the dull roar of the falls sounded distant from up here on the wind swept bluff. I lay on the grass surrounded by my friends and fellow Daevas, all of us new, all of us recently ascended and all of us still considered acolytes, as we learned both the capabilities and limitations of our new powers and mastered the use of our snowy white wings. Today was a day of rest for all across Atreia as the summer days reached their peak. Today was Solstice and today was somber, for the night before my human mother had passed into Aion's embrace.
I was Daeva, yes, but I was one of the unlucky Daeva born of human parents. My father had passed over the winter of the sweating sickness, and I was convinced my mother had simply lost her will to live. Some of the young Daevas around me understood my sorrow, and some, the fortunate ones who were born to Daevic parents, would never know... but all were here by my side as we lay beneath the sun on a mattress of lush green grasses, breathing in the earthy green scent. My friends, Claire a fellow acolyte of Aion, like me in His divine order, and Evensong, whose voice was unparallel in the mantras she sang. The three of us girls, all priestess' in training two of us destined to become warrior clerics and one of us a warrior chantress.
Elethor, however, was kind hearted, both inside and out, and made everyone feel as if they were kin. Funny and exhuberant the son of a Daevic man and Human woman, Elethor was quick to make new friends but very quiet about how he actually felt, his good nature a well honed mask.
Of all of my dear friends only Evensong knew my pain, both her parents human and both lost to her in the war with the Balaur. Evensong had been closest to me in the last few hours, and the best friend a heartbroken priestess could have in the hours since my mother's death.
All of us lay there near the falls that summer day, all of us relaxing, shoulder to shoulder in the grass, simply enjoying one another’s company, quietly chuckling when Elethor made a joke, or each of us silently appreciative as we listened to Evensong sing a hymn. When she stopped, we listened to Zenton's stories of life in the Sorceric academy or his rendition of the old tales. All of them were quiet as I related stories about my family and life as an only child, and all of us were attentive, laughing softly as we listened to Claire's stories about life with siblings...
I watched my friends, memorizing the lines of their faces that perfect summer day. Evensong with her sea green eyes and pale skin, I was so envious of her deep red hair, the color of spun garnets.
Elethor, handsome and strong, tanned golden by the sun, his hair somewhere between regulations short and too-long but always beautifully unkempt and a rich burnished bronze in the light.
Claire, golden hair kept short and pixie-like, matching so well her features, her spring green eyes always smiling, lips rich and lush I envied her too, I always felt so plain with my mouse brown hair and simple blue eyes beside her and Evensong.
And Zenton, strong, proud and seemingly arrogant Zenton, who held my hand in the grass that day and let me grieve the loss of my family, silent and with understanding. I admired the strong line of his jaw as he clenched it. Silently enduring the crushing grip of my hand in his as I fought not to cry, scream and wail my anguish to the serene blue skies. Who knew that under his wintery expression the depth of caring?
We sat on the cliff in the warm summer sun, the Tower of Eternity looming at the center of our world, stretching as far as the eye could see. We lay in the grass and laughed, and I cried, and Evensong sang and as twilight fell we joined in the revelry of Solstice down in the village and I watched them as they all danced...
and a thousand years and two worlds later I woke, in the deepest of night, my lover warm beside me, breathing deep and even, and instead of dreaming... I remembered, and I bitterly wept. My friends I remembered them all so clearly now. I have not seen them since the Cataclysm... my friends were all dead lost in the Cataclysm.
I did not dream that night I know I didn’t. I remembered Aion save me from myself. I remembered everything before the Cataclysm.