Icavor and Yanna’Reh

In the great country when the world was young and the inhabitants were far from each other, was a small family. They lived in a land where trees grew short despite the frequent rains. Bathor had brought his wife Foina’Dor and built a small house on the top of a hill. From here he could look down upon his herd of arvdil which he grew for food to sell to the few random travelers which happened by.

They had a single child, a daughter named Yanna’Reh. She was beautiful with her fair skin, curly red hair, gray eyes, and freckled face. As a child she liked to play in the flowers under the window while her mother knitted nearby. Her favorite was a dark flower which had four deep blue petals and four dark purple petals. It was the puble flower. Her father often told her the names of things around her. The publes were her favorite though.

As Yanna’Reh grew in stature, her beauty grew. Her long red curls would flutter in the breeze as she stood in the doorway of the house watching her father feed the fat arvdil. She wore a long gown of yellow, the best of cloth that her mother could make. They had a few scraps of blue and red cloth they had received in payment for various goods but they did not have enough to make her a dress.

One hot afternoon as Yanna’Reh sat on a bench outside the house holding a puble in her hand when she saw a stranger approaching in the distance. He wore leather fitted as armor and a green cloak hung from his shoulders. A sword hung from his side and a quiver stuck from the pack on his back. She called her father who came to greet the young man as he drew near.

Yanna’Reh looked down at the puble in her hand as the man glanced at her. When she looked up, she could see the man still looking at her. Their eyes met and she could feel her interest in the man growing. She had seen travelers come by all her life but this man was different. His hair was black and his eyes matched the color of his cloak. He was armed for battle but she could tell it was not what he was looking for.

Her father also noticed the difference. “Good day stranger! I see you have no need of my goods so why have you come to such a distant place?”

The man smiled. “I am Icavor and I travel in search of two goals. My first goal is to do my part to defeat the evil which darkens our world.”

Bathor laughed. “That is a commendable goal, Icavor, but I assure you, we are quite safe from evil here. Is your second goal as lofty as the first?”

Icavor glanced at Yanna’Reh once again. “The second goal is such that it cannot be compared with the first.” He held up a small pot from which grew a single flower. Its yellow center was surrounded by white petals fringed with red. It shone with the radiance of the sun and Bathor gasped at its magnificence. “I have here a flower of the Lunari. Its beauty is such that kings would give anything to have just one in their garden. My goal is to find a woman whose beauty even comes close to that of this flower.”

“Then I wish you luck in your endeavors,” replied Bathor courteously.

Icavor looked down at his white flower and then at Yanna’Reh. “I have been told I would never find a woman whose beauty even comes close to that of this flower but that fair maiden with the red hair and yellow gown sitting on the bench in the publes exceeds even this. Her red hair is more beautiful than a sunset over the Red Mountains in the west. Her gray eyes are more beautiful than the morning mist under the eastern sunrise. I would do anything if I could have her hand in marriage.”

Yanna’Reh had been listening to the entire conversation and stood up. She smiled at Icavor as she came and stood next to her father. However, Bathor did not want to give up his daughter so easily. “I have heard stories of great beasts with fire breath living on the northern continent. Bring me the hide of one of these creatures and I shall consider your proposal.”

Icavor bowed to Bathor. “Before I go, I only desire to know her name.”

“My name is Yanna’Reh,” she said before her father could respond.

Icavor looked at her once more and handed her the pot with his flower. “Here, I leave you this flower until I return. Until then, the memory of your name will bring me through even the greatest trials.”

As Icavor departed, Bathor turned to his daughter. “You need not remember him. He will never return.”

“Even so,” she replied looking at the flower, “I will not forget him, for there is no other in the world who would leave behind such a priceless treasure.”

Yanna’Reh then set the potted flower on the window sill. Every day she watered it and every day she longed to see the return of the man who had left it. Five times the white flower budded, blossomed, and withered before he returned.

One warm evening as she sat on her bench among the publes and holding the potted flower given her by Icavor, she saw a cart being pulled by two white horses coming up the trail. There was a large bundle in the back of the cart. A single man wearing bright silver armor and wearing a green cloak on his shoulders led the horses along the narrow trail. She called her father who came to greet the stranger.

As the man drew near, he lifted his face and Yanna’Reh recognized the man she had been waiting for. She jumped to her feet and ran to meet him before her father could stop her. Their embrace lasted only until Bathor managed to make his way down the trail to them.

Her father examined the bundle on the cart. “If this is truly a dragon’s hide, then you have done more than I had expected in your attempt to wed my daughter. You are indeed a fine man but there is one more even greater task I must ask before I can give her away.”

Icavor released Yanna’Reh and glared at Bathor. “For five years I have struggled to get the dragon hide you demanded. Every day since I first set eyes on her, I have thought only of her name and now that I have brought you not one but three dragon hides, you are to demand more of me? I can see that you think not of Yanna’Reh and me, but only of your own wealth.”

Bathor refused to acknowledge this truth. “If you truly love my daughter, you will do as I ask. Now go...”

Yanna’Reh interrupted. “Father, you are growing old and Icavor would be a great help to you. There is only one thing I desire: a dress of blue and purple to match the colors of the puble. If Icavor must do something, let him go and return with such a dress to prove his love for there is nothing else I desire and I would have no other man.”

Icavor smiled at her. “If only you had asked for the dress when we first met, I would have brought one with the dragon hides. I will return with your dress within a year before the flower I gave you has fully withered.”

“Very well,” replied her father, “fulfill this request from my daughter and I will give her to you.”

Icavor then left the dragon hides, the cart, and the horses with Bathor and once again departed.

Once again, Yanna’Reh set the flower pot on the window sill. Every day she watered it and every day she waited for the return of the man who had given it to her. The white flower budded, blossomed, and began to wither. As the petals began to fall off one by one, she grew more anxious. Icavor had not yet returned as he had said.

One cool morning when she sat watching to see when the last petal would fall from the white flower, she looked from the window and saw the man she loved walking up the narrow path as he had said he would. He wore his silver armor and green cloak and in his arms was the dress he had promised to bring her.

She ran from the house to meet him without calling her father. Their arms wrapped around each other and there they stood embraced until her father looked out the window to see where she had gone.

Her father stepped through the doorway and bowed. “I will keep my promise to you as you have kept yours for my daughter.”

Icavor handed Yanna’Reh the dress and she disappeared into the house to put it on. When she emerged, Icavor placed a chain of publes on her curly red hair. He then placed her upon one of the white horses and led her away as Bathor and Foina’Dor watched from the doorway, both happy for their daughter.

Icavor took his wife Yanna’Reh and began to build a small house on a hill. From there they could look at her father Bathor’s house across the valley and down on the herd of arvdil her father grew as food to sell to the few travelers which happened by.

When the house was complete, Yanna’Reh set the white flower on the window sill. Every day she watered it and every day she waited for Icavor to return from his daily labor. Three times the flower budded, blossomed, and wilted as she remembered the struggles Icavor had undergone on her behalf.

One stormy night as Yanna’Reh sat awake looking at the white flower in the flashes of lightning, she saw a dark figure making his way up the path to her father’s house. He wore a hooded black cloak and carried a flickering torch. On his side he wore a sword and a shield hung from his back. She called Icavor who went to investigate the stranger.

She sat and watched from her window as the stranger knocked on her father’s door. The old man opened the door and stepped out with a sword. The stranger pushed Bathor to the ground and stepped inside.

“Icavor!” she screamed. “Come back.” Icavor never heard her warning. He was almost to her father’s house and too far to hear her. He saw the body of her father outside the door and stooped down. Bathor was dead, his blood no longer flowing in his veins but among the publes under the window. Icavor looked around for a weapon. His sword was back at home and here he was defenseless with a strange man killing his family. He picked up the old man’s sword which lay nearby.

A flame shot up through the roof and the hooded man stepped back through the door.

“Who are you?” questioned Icavor.

The silent figure turned its head toward Yanna’Reh’s husband and pulled out its sword. “Zovanik. I kill all I find.”

“Your accent gives you away, fiend of darkness,” yelled Icavor as he swung at Zovanik.

Yanna’Reh watched from her window as the two men battled. Their swords flashed in the stormy night. Neither could land a blow on the other but Icavor was being slowly pushed back toward their house. Behind them, her father’s house was engulfed in flames.

She grabbed her husband’s sword and stepped to the door. A strong gust of rain and wind hit her as she opened the door. A thick section of her curly red hair got stuck to her face and she struggled to wipe it away. When she could see again, Icavor was standing in front of her still fighting the dark figure.

Lightning flashed across the sky and she watched as Icavor fell beneath the same sword that had killed her father and mother. A tear fell from her eye as she stood behind her husband’s body, face to face with his killer.

“Zovanik. I kill all I find.”

“I don’t think so,” she replied and thrust Icavor’s sword into the enemy with all her might.

Yanna’Reh now stood over two bodies. One she loved and one she hated, their blood mingling as it slowly flowed down the wet hill. She slowly sank to her knees and pulled Icavor close to her. All night she sat holding the body of her husband and in the morning she buried Icavor along the path where she first saw him nine years before.

Yanna’Reh still had her white flower on the window sill. Every day she watered it and every day she mourned the loss of the man who gave it to her. Eight times it budded, blossomed, and wilted and not even its beauty could cheer her.

One day as she stood in her doorway holding the potted flower and tearfully watching the last petals fall, she saw a man coming up the weedy trail to her house. She didn’t call to greet him but returned her attention to her white flower. Only four more petals remained; one for her father, one for her mother, one for Icavor, and one for herself.

“I have heard tales,” said the man as he drew near, “of a beauty far exceeding any thought possible. Long ago a man bought a dress of purple and blue for a woman far away and I have come to see that which he once talked about.”

She raised her eyes and looked at the man. His brown hair matched his eyes and he wore an orange cloak. “Beauty only lasts as long as it has purpose,” she replied and looked down at her flower. Two of the petals had just fallen off. “My father and mother have both fallen.”

The man looked at the flower in the pot she held. “There are two petals left. Who are they for?”

“Icavor has fallen,” she said as another fell.

For a moment neither said a word and then the last petal fell.

Yanna’Reh dropped the flower and her body fell beside it. Never again would she water it and never again would she mourn her loss of love. Never again would she see the flower bud, blossom, and wilt as the long years passed her by.

The man slowly stepped back and then dropped to his knees and bowed his head. He had seen the loss of beauty to suffering. He wrapped her in the blue and purple dress he had sold to a man long before and buried her aside another mound along the path in the valley.

Years went by and the valley filled with water and became a heart shaped lake. They say the tears of Yanna’Reh gave the lake its salt. The shores are lined with publes and every year, a single white flower can be found as it buds, blossoms, and wilts where a woman dropped it long ago.