Forgotten Nostalgia

a/n: Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria is one of my favorite games, so I hope you all will enjoy this!

Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria © Square Enix

Almia Averle slowly closed her eyes and inhaled a breath of an all-too-familiar scent. It was strange. She couldn't quite place what she had smelled or where it was coming from. It could have been the scent of the fresh breeze that brushed against her skin—or was it the evergreen grass she currently lied in that tickled her face, arms, and legs? The faint sound of crickets could be heard from a distance. Coriander had been Almia's home for her entire life, and she had never stepped farther from it than the outskirts of the little village. Almia exhaled and inhaled a new breath.

Maybe the scent was from the Weeping Lily Meadow. She had almost ventured into there once. It was about five years old, and she was only thirteen years old at that time. The sight just amazed her and drew her in almost instantaneously. It was beautiful. A sea of lavender flowers lied right ahead of her in its own little untouched utopia. She remembered walking slowly but surely towards the meadow, and she wasn't quite sure why. Almia felt like the Weeping Lily Meadow felt so familiar, as if she had been there once before, although she knew this was her first time being here. Of course, the overwhelming feeling that was pushing her confused her and scared her a little, another feeling took hold—an urgent feeling, and at the same time, a warm feeling.

And at the very moment, Almia saw something, someone, in the middle of the weeping lilies. It was someone tall and cloaked in a brown cloak. A sudden gust of wind shot through the meadow. The ends of his cloak rustled against the wind as several petals of the lilies scattered. It took Almia some seconds, but she recognized him. She had seen the cloaked person before. She had bumped into him in the village once when she was much younger. How she remembered such a brief memory—she wasn't quite sure—but it did leave a lasting impression on her. Not many people traveled into such a small village like Coriander. But, for some reason, Almia felt that was wrong, that that time wasn't the only time she had seen the man. Then when else? When else had she seen him before? Almia did not know. When Almia laid eyes on the man in the brown cloak, the warm feeling in her heart only grew warmer and warmer, and drawing her in even more. And as Almia's steps brought her closer to the meadow, she had hoped that once she did she would be able to name the strange feelings she felt, and who that person in the middle of the meadow was, and why the meadow and the person was making her feel the way she did.

But that mystery would be left unanswered—before Almia could a step into the Weeping Lily Meadow, she heard someone yell out her name, and the next thing Almia knew, she was down on the ground and winced over the abrupt pain. She rubbed the back of her head and groaned a little as she sat up. Her eyes automatically turned towards the Weeping Lily Meadow—and not to whoever had tackled her—only to find that the cloaked man was gone, and there was nothing there to prove that he was even there, not a trace other than the memory of what Almia saw and felt, and even she wasn't even sure if that real or just her imagination. With a newly discovered heavy feeling that replaced all else in her heart, Almia had turned away to find out who had pushed her and caused the man to leave. Just when she did, Almia heard a voice that was louder than her thoughts, an all-too-familiar voice. Mm…? Who…? She opened her eyes and blinked twice. Her sight registered and she realized who it was.

"Almia, there you are!" the young man squatting beside her said with some relief. He was about twenty-two or twenty-three years old, had light brunette hair, and wore a long royal purple coat that trailed behind him. Carrying a few thick books and wearing the glasses he had always been wearing for as long as she knew him, Almia knew this young man was unmistakable.

It was Lezard Valeth. It was her childhood friend, and it was the boy who had tackled her that very day, stopping her from venturing any further from the Weeping Lily Meadow. Although she was a little fussy with him for making the cloaked man disappear, Almia knew that what Lezard did was only to protect her—if Almia were to inhale too much of the poisonous pollen of the weeping lilies, she would have surely died. Lezard had saved her that day, but she had forgotten to thank him.

Her expression automatically turned from surprise to joy. "Lezard!" she exclaimed as she hastily sat up to face him properly before embracing him. "You didn't tell me you'd return so soon! And how did you find me?"

"Your hiding places are too obvious," Lezard teased as he returned the embrace. "Besides, anyone can notice a strange girl lying in the grass."

"Not just anyone. You did."

Lezard laughed and Almia joined in. It was rare that these two childhood friends could share any moments together now. Lezard would only return to Coriander for the holidays, and when that short term would end he would have to return to his studies and leave Coriander… and Almia. It saddened her. She wished she had some sort of magical potential so she could have gone with Lezard, but Almia was plain normal and plain human. She would probably spend the rest of her life in Coriander.

"So, you actually remember my name, Averle," Lezard mentioned aloud as he clasped his cheek on the palm of his hand with some amusement.

This confused Almia, but she took it as a joke. She felt a leaf in her hair and dusted it off of her perfectly straight bangs. "How could I forget, Valeth?" Almia replied, grinning. She liked it when Lezard called her by her last name like when they were children. It reminded her of better times. But she still liked it whenever he called her by her nickname, Mia.

"You did once," he informed her, setting his books in a small pile next to him as he sat down and leaned back against a tree. "Remember that time when we were reading books in my study?"

"We've read books in your study thousands of times, Lezard," Almia sneered with grin.

"Well, my dearest Mia, on one occasion, you had called me by a different name. You had not even noticed, so I did not correct you. But you said a name that was not mine."

"Wh-What did I say?"

Lezard answered, "Dallas. You called me Dallas."

Almia's eyes widened slightly. The name felt familiar. Dallas… It gave her some warmth in her heart, but it wasn't the same warm feeling she felt when she was at the Weeping Lily Meadow. But that didn't mean it wasn't important. "Did I?" she asked him, a little bothered that she had said a name that was not Lezard's. "Did I say that name often?"

"Only occasionally, here and there. There was another name you said too. But it wasn't to me. You said it aloud one day, and you never said it again."

"Did I say that name in your study as well?"

"No, no. It was at the meadow. You remember that day, right? When you wandered off to Weeping Lily Meadow?"

Now Almia's eyes widened even more as her heart skipped a beat. Could the name had been the name of the cloaked person? She had to know. She didn't know why—she would probably never see that man again, either way—but something urged inside her. She just had to know the name of the cloaked man who gave her a warm and familiar feeling in her heart. "What was the name?" Almia insisted. "Tell me!"

"It was… Hm, now that I mention it, I can't seem to remember now," Lezard muttered, frowning. It was a lie. He did remember. He always remembered that single name Almia spoke of. But Lezard would not say it. Saying the name "Dallas" did nothing to waver him, but for Lezard say the other name… He felt like he would lose something if he said it. And so he lied. And Almia would never learn of this.

Almia's jaw opened in disbelief. "You're kidding, right?" she hissed in disappointment.

"I'm serious. And it was on the tip of my tongue too…"

"Gee, maybe all that studying is messing up your mind!"

Lezard laughed again. "Maybe. Maybe I should just stick around here instead of only on holidays," he teased her. "You'd like that too, wouldn't you, Mia?"

Then something occurred to Almia as she stared at Lezard. "Wait… the holidays aren't for a couple more months… Lezard, what on earth are you doing here?" she asked him, concerned.

It wasn't the question or reaction Lezard had expected of his childhood friend, but he still smiled knowingly. "Don't give me that face. I'm not in any sort of trouble," he reassured her, "If you must know, nothing in all of Midgard could keep me from missing my precious Mia's birthday."

Almia brushed back strands of her long blonde hair behind her ear, somewhat embarrassed. "That's not a real holiday, Lezard," she scolded him, but only lightly. "You shouldn't leave your studies for something as little as a birthday."

"Little? You shouldn't take the day you were born so lightly, Mia."

"My birthday really isn't anything special. It's just another reminder."

"Reminder?" Lezard asked, pausing. But then as his eyes flickered, he soon realized what Almia had just met. "Oh…"

Almia lowered her gaze and turned away. In only a matter of days, she would be eighteen years old. And in only a matter of days, her parents would allow her to marry the man they had chosen. Lezard had only learned of this several months ago. Her childhood friend had advised her quite a number of times to not marry a man she did not love, a man she had never even met before, but what could Almia say to her parents? There was nothing she could do. Almia shut her eyes. That fateful day five years ago in the Weeping Lily Meadow felt so far away now.

She felt the warmth of Lezard's hand pressing against her own. Almia raised her head once more. The strands of hair that she had pulled behind her ear fell out, so Lezard used his free hand to fix it for her. He let his hand linger there for a moment longer, but Almia hadn't noticed. It had been quite a while since she had been in the company of her childhood friend. It felt comforting. At that moment she could have forgotten about the days to come. She sighed and smiled.

Then Lezard said something Almia did not expect.

"Let's run away together."

Almia gulped, uncertain if the words that had just been said really came from Lezard. Her eyes stayed on Lezard, but her relieved smile was replaced with an open jaw of confusion. "What…?" she asked.

"Let's run away together. Just you and me. I-I can take you away from here."

"What are you saying? Lezard…"

"We can do this, Mia. You don't have to stay here anymore. You don't have to be around parents who don't love you. You don't have to get married to a guy that you don't even love. Or stay in at a home that's more of a trap," Lezard told her, clasping her hands in his. "We can go somewhere else. Somewhere they'll never find us. We can do this. Trust me, Almia."

Her blue eyes still conveyed uncertainty, but it gradually waned by the comfort of being by Lezard's side. Every word he had just said broke down any reason for her to stay in their hometown. Her parents only wanted to marry her off to get some sort of money out of it. They were basically selling her off to the highest bidder. The love Almia's parents had for her died along with her older brother on the day he did not return from the war. Despite their poor conditions when it came to money, her parents would still be able to live off what remains they had without her. They would have one mouth less to feed, one less burden off of their shoulders. Also, there was no one particular among Coriander to whom she would miss either. Half of the girls avoided her for how terribly strange and odd she was, while the other half scorned her for her beauty. But the boys were worse. They stared at Almia in a way that made her feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. It was not like how Lezard stared at her. They stared at her differently. A bad differently. And although Almia had never met the man whom she had been arranged to marry, she did not love him and figured while the man would be disappointed, he could find a better wife than Almia. Yes, there was really nothing holding Almia back from this choice.

Still, Almia found herself hesitating before she nodded and agreed. "I trust you. Okay."

Another gust of wind blew past, rustling the leaves of the trees. Several leaves breezed past Almia and Lezard. Almia blinked. In the corner of her eye, she saw something. She wasn't sure what it was, but when she turned, whatever it was, it was gone. Almia stared at the empty space between the trees with mixed feelings.

"Mia, is something wrong?" Lezard asked her.

Almia turned back to face him and shook her head. "I'm fine," she reassured him.

But for some reason, saying that felt like a lie.

"Are you sulking?"

"You just really know how to push my buttons, don't you, Freya?"

Freya gave a sly smile as she pushed her blonde hair over her shoulder. While she loathed her new ruler with great detest, she did find some amusement in provoking him so. A small pastime, Freya called it, until, at the very least, she found something more intriguing to better her spare time. "You're thinking about her, aren't you?" she sneered. "You're so obvious. You have this certain expression you only make when you think of her."

"Jealous much?" Rufus countered, knowing she'd be disgusted by such a suggestion. And she was. Freya's eyebrows furrowed together with an obvious repulse as she shuddered. Such a thought had never been considered in her mind, and such a thought would never be considered. It was an insult. Rufus chuckled. "What, no witty comeback?" he teased her.

"You've visited her too," Freya added, knowing just what to say to tick him off. Rufus stared at her, displeased. Looks like playtime's over, Freya thought. "What? Don't tell me it was supposed to be a secret. Surely even that precious girl of yours has felt your presence by now, hasn't she?"

Rufus shrugged and leaned back into his throne. Freya smiled and knew her assumption was correct. Rufus knew that the girl named Almia—the girl he once knew by a different name in a different time, so very long ago—must have had detected his presence by now. He knew that, and yet he continued his visits to Coriander. How it pained him to only be able to watch the girl from afar. To only be able to hear her voice from the shadows. And she would never know. Never know of him and of the moments they shared. Of a love that blossomed and now can never be. Never.

"You know what must be done," Freya reminded him sternly.

Rufus stared at the single ring he wore for a long moment before he shut his eyes. "I will not endanger her," he finally said, covering his face with his free hand.

"You don't have a choice in that matter, I'm afraid."

Gritting his teeth together, Rufus furiously slammed his fist against the arm of the throne, and the force echoed throughout the hall. Freya flinched only slightly, but quickly regained her composure before Rufus could even notice. She had never seen Rufus so angered that it surprised even her, but she would not shed fear upon a god who was once a lowly half elf. There was only one man—one god—to whom she had both feared and respected. But he was gone. Freya crossed her arms and stared at Rufus, waiting for an appropriate response.

Rufus sighed and closed his eyes. "I know," he replied softly. "I know…"

I hope no one got confused with this, but yes, Almia is the reincarnated Alicia from the epilogue.