Legend Of Mare Loviatha

“Papa, I desire the finest black horse in all the lands.” This was what the young elf princess Loviatha repeated for days to her weary father, Emperor of the Frost Kingdoms.

“Of course, my darling,” he would reply.

Loviatha made her requests before each birthday from her third to her one hundred-and-eleventh year of her childhood, by which time she possessed a stable of fine steeds with shiny black coats, each horse captured or appropriated from the four corners of the Frost Kingdoms. At each birthday, when a new horse was presented to her after six days of festivities, she would pull on her black leather riding boots and don a fine fur coat, then call the stablemen to saddle the new horse and boost her for a ride.

“At least she is predictable,” the emperor would express to his trusted aides.

“She has highborn taste,” her mother would explain to visiting noblewomen from across the lands.

“Some day soon,” Loviatha explained to an entourage of her fair girlfriends, “I shall rule the Kingdoms as surely as I command these horses.” One might wonder who would listen to a little elf girl in lace and fur. Loviatha would provide an answer to herself in the mirror while brushing her fine silver hair. “All a horse needs is a nudge and some direction. The horse can’t even see me and yet it proceeds at my whim.” Indeed, Loviatha was a talented rider, and her parents never needed to worry whether their only daughter might take a fall.

Loviatha also had four strapping older brothers, who all earnestly believed one among the four of them would inherit the Kingdom. Little Loviatha would watch the brothers’ bicker and scheme against each other right in front of her; she listened, and at times when one or another was alone, she might ask a question, offer a gift, or suggest an action. If the boys had brains equal to their two hundred years, she thought, they would have realized she was manipulating them.

On her one hundred-twelfth birthday, Loviatha announced, “I wish not for a mere horse, but a black unicorn. And I shall not be appeased by a mage-bred horse with a faux horn.” The whole court eyed her incredulously. “Besides,” she explained, “The legends say a black unicorn will only allow a future king or queen to ride it.”

At these words, her four brothers enthusiastically set out in search of a black unicorn. Japheth, the eldest, climbed the Frost Kingdom’s mountains and searched its caves. He’d heard that within one cave lay a wondrous grotto of eternal summer, and a black unicorn. He stumbled upon the cave but alas, he was turned to stone by the medusa who lived there, and he stood in that silent, lantern-lit garden of stone for many centuries right next to a stony unicorn.

Calithil, the next older brother, traveled to the sylvan Pools of Airamor. When the beautiful nymphs there refused his questions, he announced, “I am the future emperor of the Frost Kingdoms. I shall raze this forest of yours to the ground if that’s what it takes to find a black unicorn.” Calithil was coincidentally the least comely brother. Loviatha chuckled at the irony that he died from the nymph queen’s reply to his threatening demand. She gave him a single deadly glance. Her furious beauty no mortal man or elf could comprehend.

By now the third brother, Tomith should have been more cautions, but he was a terrible bully, comparable to an orc on some days. One of his own soldiers flew into a murderous rage and killed him with a spear in his back as he sat on his horse, not a hundred paces outside the palace gates. Apparently, the soldier had learned a rumor that Tomith had slept with his wife.

Now, the youngest brother, Yade, also prepared to search for a black unicorn. Or so it appeared. He was in fact a summoner of spirits, a secret he kept from all living things, which included Loviatha. Among his prize spirits was a lonely ice genie who had been stranded among mortals for thousands of years.

After news reached the imperial family that the first three brothers had died, Loviatha shed tears. Her mother was so distraught that she committed suicide. At her mother’s funeral, Loviatha said sweetly to Yade, “I wish to be with you always, brother. I don’t care about a black unicorn.”

“Nonsense,” Yade replied, “I have already found your black unicorn, though he will not let me ride him.”

Loviatha was stunned and in awe. She put on her best furs, and Yade took her down to the fortress’s quietest courtyard. A light summer snow fell upon the crystal roofs and tickled the pleasing trees’ verdant leaves. There a black unicorn stood proudly in a shallow still pool, which shone like a smooth opal of liquid night beneath the moon.

“You shall be queen,” Yade confided. “Father told me.” Loviatha’s heart leapt. She ran to the unicorn and asked,

“Tell me, black unicorn, what is your name?” Unicorns of all kinds freely spoke to elves.

“I am the lonely King of Ice,” he said. “I have been waiting here for you for thousands of years. What do you wish for?”

Loviatha thought for a moment, and whispered in his ear, “I wish to be queen, of course.”

“Your wish is granted,” he said, revealing himself as a genie. A horn sprouted from Loviatha’s forehead as a short mat of thick black hair sprouted all over her. Her boots popped off as her feet become hooves. She cried out with indiscernible words that become a horse’s bay. Thus, Mare Loviatha’s wish came true that very day, though not in the manner she intended.

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