I'm happy with the outcome of Princessia In the Snow. In the Xillia cannon, princessia in flower language means "Precious treasure" (Eng.) and "long and healthy life"; or "Irreplaceable treasure" (Jap.).
People probably question my choice of character focus and pairing in my Xillia fic if not my choice of the Tales of series. I like Elize's character and her quirky alter ego Teepo. Having written stories in the Vesperia and Graces universe, it was fitting for me to choose Xillia.
The main event that triggered this pairing to begin with was a side quest when Gaius and his new friends from Trigleph agreed to go on a trip to Rieze Maxia (I forget the name of the forest) and he fell asleep mid-sentence because he had been working too hard. I never felt bad for Gaius until then, and just as with Elize, I decided Erston also had a right to be happy. That's when my ship sailed (waves goodbye).
This wasn't just another romance but the story of a girl who was struggling to be free of her dark past, and in the process of going through that gritty mire she found her OTP. The concept of "intertwining fates" was something Milla had said in the game and I borrowed it as inspiration to draw their connections by bringing Wingul, Jiao, Labari, Rowen and Jude to the forefront.
Surprisingly when I peeked inside Gaius I found he has A LOT of feels, just like Elize. To be a good king he must be empathetic and responsible, but he has probably never wanted anything for himself since that battle when he was 13. Underneath, he is still Erston and I wanted to draw out who he really was under the stern exterior. When you think about it these two were damaged from the start but I couldn't figure out how they could be catalysts for one another. It wasn't just another love story not only because these two aren't cannon but these two are extremely different. I didn't have much to work off of which makes fanfiction so much harder, hence the length of the story was really a lot of character development to make the pairing likable and believable.
It was natural for Elize to be working in politics (due to Rowen and Chancellor Marcia and even Driselle's influence) but also medicine, since she is a healer. Using the princessia flower as a center for the storyline proved useful as it constantly threw them in each other's paths.
Since my ship was uncharted territory I was giddy to invent it all, just as I had with Shinigami Nonsense. My tastes for unusual pairings probably started with Taiyou tou Tsuki.
Eventually, what I used to mold their characters was Sakuraba's themes for Kanbalar and Hamil; "A Lord's City Towering in the Mountains," and "A Mountain Village in the Dawn." Elize and Gaius are uniquely tied to both those towns and it helped that they were both written/blended in the same flavor. I had an entire soundtrack by the end, relying on inspiration from Trusty Bell/Eternal Sonata, Kingdom Hearts, Austenland, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Escaflowne, Kung Fu Panda, Master's Sun, Ouran High School Host Club and the Xilla OSTs. Needless to say, my OST collection is kinda big...
I also collected all 100 cats and played all tag team levels in the Coliseum with Elize/Gaius and the interaction between them, as well as after battle commentary proved very inspiring. Gaius on "auto" uses "Chivalry" and if you change his settings to "act together" he will literally be her shield and insert himself when she's attacked. Also, Teepo's chomping on Gaius skits cracks me up every time.
Gaius' powers are referenced to light and the sun while Elize's powers are all rooted in darkness. These are two complicated people who would at first seem to be polar opposites, but by their differences they draw out their true selves and accept each other wholly.
The princessia flower, a plant that glows in the darkness despite the extreme cold in which it grows, becomes the symbol of their relationship. I know it's weird but I ship it. I ship it badly.