|I always thought it was a beautiful and noble state of mind, noble and dignified, even if makes one unhappy. I've composed so many ballads about it. And it is organic, Geralt, meanly and heartbreakingly organic.|
|- Essi to Geralt, pg. 231 Sword of Destiny (U.S. edition)|
Essi Daven was a talented bard and a friend and professional rival of Dandelion. She was a rarity in the sense that Dandelion saw and treated her like a younger sister rather than a romantic interest.
Her nickname, Little Eye (Polish: Oczko), is in reference to the fact that usually only one of her blue eyes is ever seen as her unruly curls tend to fall over the other eye, hiding it most of the time.
When Geralt and Dandelion were visiting the city of Bremervoord, Essi was also in the area, having been hired to perform at the wedding banquet of two locals. After Essi sang a couple ballads, she took a break and approached Dandelion, who'd also been hired to play there due to his celebrity status, and the two went back and forth on witty remarks before Dandelion introduced her to his traveling companion, Geralt. However, Geralt unintentionally insulted her, and she responded back with one of her own before heading off to perform some more.
Sometime during the feast Geralt saw Essi head outside, away from the party, and he followed, apologizing for his earlier comments and she also apologized, stating she tended to take things too personally sometimes. The two then conversed, with Essi trying to see deeper into Geralt's character until the witcher suddenly kissed her. Taken aback, she broke off from it, asking him why he did such a thing, but Geralt couldn't respond. She then stated they should head back to the party, with both pretending nothing happened.
The next morning, she joined Geralt out on the beach, where he was looking to find someone to sail out to the Dragons Fangs as part of a contract Duke Agloval gave him. The two talked, with Essi continuing to try and see into Geralt's soul and revealing she grew up beside the sea. As the two discussed what could have killed the pearl divers, Essi continued to show her intelligence, making note that a monster like a kraken or a squid couldn't have done it as the boat remained intact, when Agloval approached. Angry and humiliated as he'd waited out on the rocks for the mermaid he loved, Sh'eenaz, to appear with no success, the duke berated the witcher for "messing things up" but Essi was able to get him to calm down after a veiled comment that she could paint a poor picture of Agloval in her ballads and the duke left, visibly calmer.
She then offered to sail the witcher out, as she knew how to sail a boat, but Geralt refused, not wanting to put her in danger. As the two then debated if mermaids could have done it out of retaliation, as Sh'eenaz loved Agloval but felt the human wasn't giving up anything in return for her, said mermaid appeared on nearby rocks and called out to the witcher. Geralt conversed in Elder Speech with the mermaid until Sh'eenaz asked if Essi was his beloved and asked about her and Essi responded back fluently in Elder Speech, astonishing Geralt. After asking the mermaid about what lurked near the Dragons Fangs, Sh'eenaz warned them not to go near there before going back out to sea.
Later, Geralt and Dandelion, having found nobody to sail them out there, waited for low tide to head out to the Dragons Fangs, but were attacked and had to retreat, with Geralt sustaining a serious injury to his left arm. Essi, who'd heard Teleri's wife screaming that she'd seen Geralt get hurt, ran out to the duo and proceeded to scold them for trying to use fishing line and a hook to suture the wound before properly bandaging it for them.
Confessing her feelings
After the group returned to the attic room Geralt and Dandelion had been staying in, she conversed for a bit about what happened while cleaning out Dandelion's soaked bag, filled with mollusk shells in his vain hopes to find a pearl for Essi's birthday, which was the next day. When she discovered the one cobalt shell Dandelion had found, Dandelion lied, saying it was a gift from Geralt for her birthday before excusing himself from the room. Essi began to open the shell to clean it out and save it as a gift when a beautiful blue pearl came out of it and Geralt told her the truth: that Dandelion had wanted to get her something for her birthday and for her to keep the priceless pearl. As they talked, Essi confessed she was in love with Geralt, no matter how she tried to look at it, but Geralt realized he couldn't reciprocate her feelings as he didn't feel any love for her and didn't want to hurt her further by lying, though he said nothing to her about this. Essi cried over the silence he was giving her and so Geralt urged her to save the pearl and put it in the center of a silver flower pendant and she agreed. The two then sat in silence for a long time until Dandelion returned and she left. Sometime later, with Drouhard's help, they found a craftsman to create the beautiful flower necklace they spoke of for Essi to wear around her neck.
She later went with Geralt and Dandelion as the witcher informed Agloval not to go near the Dragons Fangs. Agloval didn't take this well and once more insulted the witcher, trying to dangle gold over them, when Essi butted in and told the duke off, saying Geralt wasn't insulted by him as the witcher knew he was more superior to the duke. When Agloval tried to make a threat of why he hadn't killed the trio yet, Essi shot back, stating he still had some decency at the bottom of his heart, the very same heart that fell in love with a mermaid. Shocked at this, the duke asked them to leave him in peace and Essi gave him one last bit of advice: to stay away from the Dragons Fangs. However, Agloval was hellbent on the fact that they'd eventually deal with the ocean creatures, just like how they pushed the elves back. Before more could be said though, shouts could be heard and suddenly Sh'eenaz came into the room, having given up her tail for a pair of legs to marry Agloval and prevent him from entering a war with the ocean creatures.
Essi, along with Geralt and Dandelion, soon left the city and, with no particular plan in mind, traveled through Dol Adalatte valley and across the river. One afternoon on the road, she approached Geralt, stating they had to do something about the feelings between them and Dandelion told them it was about time and for both to lay it all out how they felt before excusing himself. Essi and Geralt then had a long talk, where Geralt told her he couldn't reciprocate her feelings but would sleep with her if that's what she wanted from him. The two then proceeded to have sex, clearing up all the tension between them.
The next day, the group prepared a ceremonial supper as they planned to all part ways the next morning. Not being much of a cook, Essi played on her lute and sang and later had a singing contest with Dandelion before the two finished with a duet. She then curled up with Geralt and soon fell to sleep.
After both Essi and Geralt went to sleep, Dandelion wrote a new ballad that told the story of a witcher and a poet who met on a seashore and fell in love at first sight and how powerful that love was, though he never sang this ballad to anyone.
Sadly, that was the last time Essi saw Geralt. Four years later, she died from the smallpox epidemic spreading through Vizima. Dandelion personally retrieved her body to bury her in the peaceful forest with the two things she had asked to be buried with: her lute and the pearl she'd never parted with.
- Her ballads are collected in The Blue Pearl. Some of the ballads were so moving that Ciri shed tears while reading them.
- Like Yennefer, Essi appeared to have a certain scent she loved to use. In her case, it was verbena.