The Pilgrims of the Valley, and the Beginnings of the City of Havrelée
The downpour was merciless, as it had been for weeks. This year's Rainy Season had come early, and it had come violently. Word had it that rivers across the Dántaine were flooding, farms and villages all but swept away in the storms.
The lowlands, clearly, were not ideal for travel for the time being. So our small band of pilgrims had abandoned the roads and taken to the southern mountains in hopes of avoiding the flood.
It still wasn't pleasant.
But alas, a bit of wetness wasn't going to stop us. Not until we found what we sought.
The trek had been months long, sometimes treacherous, but always slow. The further south we traveled, the smaller the towns and villages became. And it had now been several days since we'd seen another living soul. We were starting to wonder if our quest would ever bear fruit. But we had faith in Ántou's will.
Suddenly, through the dark grey of the clouds and the unyielding muddy torrent, a flash of color. A brief glimpse of violet ahead of us on the ridge. Had I imagined it?
"Prieur Claude!" shouted one of the other monks. "Regardez! Down below!"
I turned, shielding my face from the sharp, cold rain drops. Indeed, several yards down, stood a small bush. Flowers of brilliant purple, peeking out through the rain.
"Lavenders... They're lavenders!" I shouted. I hadn't imagined it.
Young Frère Vincent stumbled up next to me. "But Prieur Claude... No flowers should be blooming this time of year. Does this mean something?"
Before I could answer, I felt a sudden heat on my neck, and realized the grey was subsiding. The flowers grew brighter, and the harsh rain was beginning to let up. I turned, and behind us, to the west, the afternoon sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. As we watched, the clouds parted more and more, and the light became too much to face.
I turned back to look down the ridge and my breath caught in my throat. As light filled the world, more violet shrubs became visible down along the ridge. The earth flattened out, and with every passing second, more lavenders came into view. Before we knew it, a vast field of flowers stretched before us. Miles of the things, as far as the eye could see.
An entire valley of bright purple flowers. Even the grass seemed to have miraculously thrived in the storms. All of it was walled by steep mountains, which rolled south and met not far away, creating a small inlet raised a bit above the rest of the valley.
Several of the monks muttered prayers of gratitude, of reverence, of wonder. We lowered our hoods and gazed out over the sea of purple and green. After a moment of silence, I placed a hand on Frère Vincent's shoulder.
"It seems, mes frères, that Ántou has found us a new home."
For historical context, I'd like to provide some information. This event takes place sometime around the year 180 BP, or in the common calendar, about 210 after the First comet. The quest referred to by Prior Claude is the quest to establish Ántouïst presence in the south of Martoise. Upon finding the Valley, dubbed the Lavender Valley for obvious reasons, they set up a small monastery at the very southern end, tucked away in the mountains. The existence of the monastery allowed southern Martois citizens living in towns and villages to travel just a few days, as opposed to the weeks it would normally have taken before, to come and ask for guidance from the monks. And after a few centuries, the region would become settled by many--first miners, then traders, and eventually growing into what is now the city of Havrelée.
Unfortunately, occupation of the valley caused the lavender population in the region to dwindle. But the monastery, adopting the flower as a holy symbol, kept the species alive and spread them across the Dántaine. It is no longer known whether or not lavenders grew elsewhere before the intervention of humans, but legend has it that all lavenders in the Dántaine are descendants of flowers grown in the Valley, possibly even in the gardens of the monastery alone. Lavender is now a rather hot commodity in Martoise.