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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sorrow and Bright Blade Rivers

Around the Sorrow and Bright Blade Rivers persists an old tradition, harkening back to when both rivers were named after the Ithalosian Monarch Vilal Kynnyn for his two legendary blades. Supposedly, the monarch lost his famous ‘Bright Blade’ on the verge of battle to a thief, but his guards were able to slay the miscreant before he fled too far. Alas, the thief had cast the monarch’s famed blade from a bridge and it was lost in the churning waters of river beneath.

Now, the king was wroth that evening while his enemies laughed and plotted for his doom at the break of light. Yet, the king, no matter how deep his ire, was wily and wise. He turned misfortune around in a way they could not foresee. On morn, when the armies gathered for war in the cold mist that clung to the low hills, his enemies were dumbfounded as the sun burned off the mist and lit the river like fire. Calling out to them from a nearby hill, King Vilal Kynnyn said boldly that they would feel the light of his blade no matter how they tried their treachery! The monarch then released the dams he had commanded built and swept a low, but powerful wave of water down towards his foes, all the time with the river shining and sparking like flames! As the enemy panicked and its troops milled around demoralized, King Vilal rode them down twirling his famous blade Sorrow and a mighty hammer, in the other. Before an hour was spent more than half of the enemy were slain and the rest sent them fleeing for the trees.

That evening, he recounted the tale, speaking how he had commanded half his soldiers to work all night damming the river, while the other half fashioned clay and grass ‘boats’. These he ordered filled with ‘mirrors’ of polished brass. In the morning before the battle, while the mist lay on the land, he had them loose the little clay ‘boats’ with polished brass mirrors, so that as light fell on them it would light the river like fire. Combining this with breaking the dams utterly unnerved the enemy, who feared he had someone how mastered the river to his power.

Every year on the 22nd of Khoros, the people who dwell along the river will commemorate this battle and light its length with clay and paper boats to bring ‘light to the king’s shining blade once again’. The display is quite beautiful at first light when the bobbing boats are released t0 catch the sun.

A similar tale involves the king’s blade ‘Sorrow’, and is an echo to this one but involving the shattering of his blade over the remorse of accidentally killing his son while enflamed with battle. Those who dwell near both rivers relive these acts, taking the day to honor this legend of their first monarch.

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