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And It's Always Raining In the Shroud

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It starts with a letter. A letter to Yda. She rolls her eyes and won't read it for days. She doesn't tell anyone about it but Papalymo sees her bending the corners of the envelope and fussing about it. He tells her to open it. She waits another three days. Papalymo walks in on her throwing shredded pieces of the letter into the fire. She wants to be alone. Yda leaves and doesn't return for a whole week. He worries about her but doesn't let it show. He sits with his back against the Lifemend Stump at night — counting fireflies.

Yda finds him there and sits down next to him. He doesn't speak.

“Where do we draw the line, Papalymo? Where do we finally decide it's just too much to protect Eorzea?” And the question is out of the blue. Papalymo turns to look at her.

“Is this about that letter?”

Yda is holding her mask in her hands, staring at it, “The letter was from my family.”

Papalymo grits his teeth, “You got a letter from the Garlean Empire and didn't tell anyone? Is that where you went? Back to Garlemald? Yda, this isn't something you can hide. We need people to trust us and you sneaking around won't help.”

A tear runs down her cheek and Papalymo curses under his breath. The days have been tense and hard. He didn't mean to take it out on her. He reaches out and touches her arm.

“My family...has never really seen eye to eye with the Emperor,” Yda explains, “Look, you don't want to hear about my problems.”

“You wouldn't be bring this up if it didn't matter.”

She sighs, “I hate them. I will never consider them my family...but... My mother,” she kind of spits the word, “leads a very large group. They want the Emperor to focus on rebuilding their own land, instead of trying to conquer more. She is Garlean to the core, will never renounce the Empire, blah blah blah... but they have power.”

“What does this have to do with you?”

Yda takes a deep breath, “They promised to convince the Emperor to give up his plans for conquest.”

“If?”

“If I marry someone of power in Eorzea.”

“Who would possibly agree to marry you if they knew you were Garlean?!” Papalymo exclaims. He jumps to his feet, throwing his hands up. Yda wants to hit him. He's making such a big deal over nothing. She won't do it.

“Do you really think I plan on going through with this? They'll make me wear a dress! Never!”

Papalymo calms himself, taking a deep breath, “We can just forget this ever happened then. It's not like you can just walk up to Kan-E-Senna and propose to her!” He laughs awkwardly.

Yda chews at her lip, “I wouldn't even be able to marry just anyone. The City-States aren't united enough for their taste.”

“Then who do they expect you to marry?!”

“The Scions of the Seventh Dawn are the only true power that holds together all of Eorzea.”

“You cannot mean to marry Thancred?”

Yda does hit him then, a fist straight to the back of his head, “You! I want to marry you!”

Papalymo nearly faints.