Loura



An excerpt from the Reader's Companion to the Year of the Red Door

Loura was a Firstborn of the House of Fairlinden, and was the wife of Cupeldain.

Loura was exceedingly shy, and would never say of what spirit she was born.  She was brown-skinned, with silver hair, and her wings were like flakes of snow while her eyes were as the blue sky.  She kept to herself, preferring the treeless mountaintops so that she could fly into the sky if anyone else approached.  Legends say that Cupeldain flew over her mountaintop one day and when she saw him, so handsome and fair of form, she did not run away to hide among the rocks or fly off the mountain to avoid him.  Seeing her staring at him, he alit and asked her why she gazed at him so.  She did not speak, but her cheeks blushed and she turned away.  When she lifted her wings to fly away, Cupeldain took her hand and begged her to wait, for he was smitten by her beauty.  When he asked again why she gazed at him so, she turned back to him and stroked his long, brown hair, and touched his strong wings.  She touched his face, running her fingers over his brow and nose and lips, and she put her hands upon his broad chest.

"Will you come with me?" he asked.  "I have built a palace upon a high mountain lake.  It is fair to look upon, but needs someone of your beauty to grace it.  Will you come look upon it?"

She nodded and together they went to Linlally's high falls, called Tiandari, and he showed her the palace built at the top of the falls upon a blue lake.

Loura never spoke a word, and never would her entire life, and Cupeldain knew that she would not.  But, somehow, he always knew what she wanted, and what her gestures meant, and could tell from the expression of her face and the light in her eyes what she had to say.   And, mysteriously, without words, Loura was able to impart anything she wished to those around her without the use of words or sound, and with only a few graceful gestures of her hands or expressions of her beautiful face.

Loura stayed with Cupeldain, and could not bear to be parted from him from that moment on.  Such was their love that they vowed themselves to each other, and from their union was born Parthais, their son.   With Parthais flying along, the threesome enjoyed life.   Cupeldain worked to improve his city, and Loura helped him shape it, often indicating to Cupeldain where Alonair the Sculpture might place one of his works, or where gardens might be.   It was Loura who befriended a flock of swans and they came to live in Linlally to be near her, gliding across the lake while Loura and Parthais played with them.   When Parthais fell in love with Mena, a Faerekind of the forest, Loura encouraged their union, and from it Parthais had a daughter and a son, called Ellyn and Thurdon.

But Cupeldain was ever harassed by Secundur and perplexed with thought and consideration, so that he often flew away to be alone to think his thoughts.  When Kalzar attacked the Faerekind, she clung to Cupeldain to try to prevent him from going away with his bright sword.  Later, when Aperion called all of the Faerekind to gather, Loura went, too, and as Aperion spoke, she sought out Cupeldain and found him, breathing hard with his hatred for the Dragonkind.  When Aperion departed, and Cupeldain flew away southward to continue his attack upon Kalzar's people, Loura followed after him, with Parthais, Ellyn, and Thurdun, too.  And when Cupeldain's wings withered and he fell to earth, hers melted away into the air, and she fell, too, many miles away.  Legends say that it was many years before they found each other once more, and even longer before they were reunited with their children and grandchildren.  But during these years Cupeldain gathered to him others of the Elifaen who had fallen, and strove with them to remake their lives upon the hard earth, Loura was always with him.  It was she who pointed out the linden tree to Cupeldain, and after which he named his House.

They were separated only once more, when Aperion called the leaders of the High Houses and gave to them the Forty-Nine.  When he returned, and explained the purpose of his seven sapphire objects, Loura most excitedly nodded her head, but he shook his, saying that he could not leave the earth for the Dragonkind alone to have.  This deeply disappointed Loura, but she nodded in understanding.

In later years, Loura was with Cupeldain when he became King of Vanara, and she became his queen.  Loura was there when Cupeldain decided to call again upon the High Houses to use the Forty-Nine, and she saw how Ormace defied him, and how Cupeldain checked Heneil's wrath against the lord of Fairbirch.  And, she saw the sadness in Cupeldain's heart that never went away from that moment on.

The centuries passed, and under the rule of Cupeldain and Loura, Vanara prospered and grew.   But all was not well in Vanara's eastern regions, across the River Iredelin nearby to Forest Islindia.  There, disputes amongst the forest Elifaen led to violence, and Cupeldain worked hard to resolve the disagreements and end the bloodshed.  In the year 920 of the First Age, Cupeldain at last negotiated a truce between the feuding parties, threatening to bring his own army to quash the violence should a settlement not be reached.   His terms were quite generous, promising aid to all parties once peace was established.   But Cupeldain was led to believe that the truce he had negotiated held only until he could personally oversee a permanent treaty between the feuding factions.   He and Loura, with a small party of peace-minded Vanarans, gladly traveled into those lands, and they expected to be received as honored guests.   However, his company was attacked by a large party of masked Elifaen and all were captured and taken to a forest lake.   Loura and Cupeldain were forced to watch as their friends, including Shevalia and Bychanter, were drowned.   Then Cupeldain was forced to watch as Loura was drowned.  His spirit soon joined hers at the bottom of the cursed lake wherein they were cast.

A sole member of Cupeldain's party survived and escaped to Linlally, saying that the blame was upon the House of Hemlock, one of the feuding houses, for it was within the lands of that house that the murders took place.   When Parthais heard the news, he immediately brought his army into those lands and, after a brief campaign, put down the fighting there.   Then, it is told, he executed many members of each clan of Elifaen by having them drowned in the same lake as Cupeldain and Loura.   Afterwards, Parthais released a demon-serpent into the lake to feed upon the spirits there, both the guilty and the innocent, to show that he alone was now the sole ruler of Vanara.   Serith Ellyn and Thurdun were not with their father when all this happened, as they were far away in Glareth.   When they returned and heard the news, they were devastated, and went to the lake to mourn and weep for their grandparents and for their good friends.

It is said that sometimes the lake almost gives up its dead, Loura, Cupeldain, and all the others who were murdered there.  Sometimes, on moonlit nights, their ghosts are seen rising up from the dark waters of the lake.  Witnesses say these spirits are likened unto those the forms they had in the Time Before Time, yearning to be free of the lake and the world, but unable to lift their drooping wings.  But, somehow, the creature that Parthais released into the waters holds them to the lake.  It is whispered that Parthais uttered an oath when he put the serpent into the lake, that those spirits would never be released, until the world itself is remade, when all oaths are made meaningless, when all bonds are broken, when those who wish to be free may become free, when those who long for reunion will be reunited, and when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.


Courtesy of The Reader's Companion to the Year of the Red Door
© 2016 by William Timothy Murray

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William Timothy Murray