The Cold Has A Voice
Many an age ago, in the valley of a high mountain, hidden by deep fir forests and bordered on the north by the coldest, clearest blue lake anyone has ever seen, was a land called Eventyr. In this land there lived a young girl named Runa. Or, at least, that is what she wished her name was. Her real name was Veronika, and, while there really was nothing wrong with that name, it was so, so very common in Eventyr – there were seven in each village at least – and our Veronika wanted to be anything but common. So, she begged everyone who knew and loved her, which, truth be told, was quite a number of people, to call her Runa instead.
“Why Runa?” you ask. If anyone asked her, she always just shrugged her thin little shoulders and answered, “It’s pretty.”
And pretty was just the word everyone used to describe little Runa herself. Shiny hair the color of dark honey framed her lovely little round face, her eyes were the color of the fjords after a summer storm. Her smile was said to have brightened even the darkest winter evening and her laugh was like the joyous sound of the fairies themselves.
When Runa was just eight years old, her father vanished. Finn had taken his ship and crew out fishing well before dawn, as he had done every day of every fishing season. There was no storm, no shipwreck. But a strange light had appeared in the distance, just above the water and Finn, thinking perhaps it was a mermaid who might foretell if their catch would be blessed that day, had taken a boat out for a closer look.
The crew said they lost sight of him as he paddled the boat into the darkness. Then, the golden-white light flashed brilliantly. They took to the boats to search for their Captain, but found his boat empty. There had been no splash, no cry. Just a flash of light, and then – nothing.
And just like that, little Runa was left without a family. She had never known her mother, and her father had not spoken of her but a handful of times. So she had made up stories about how her mother had been a beautiful Elven maiden, who had fallen in love with the handsome Finn, but had been unable to leave her misty meadow to help raise their half-human child, and had given Runa over to her father’s loving care.
But when her father disappeared, Runa had no stories to comfort herself. All she had was fear and tears. She wanted to help search for her father, but her Nana Dagmar had told her she was far too young. So Runa spent her days with Nana Dagmar, playing quietly by the fire or helping her dry out herbs for the remedies she prepared for the villagers.
And she waited for the day that her father would return.
copyright 2015 J.I. O’Neal