My children, Petr and Edita, when they were younger and the future was still bright
My name is Izabela Kovarova. I was born on a beautiful spring day in Stary Yar, Chernarus, on May 20, 1985, to Pavel Kovar and Martina Noskova. At the time I was born my parents already had a two-year-old son named Arnost. With my birth my parents had the family they always wanted . . . two children, a boy and a girl. I was a happy child who dearly loved my parents and idolized my big brother.
My parents ran a small market in Stary Yar called Kovar’s Market. It kept them busy, but, they always tried to find time for me and my brother. We were a close and loving family, but, managing a business meant Arno and I were often on our own. When Arno and I were not in school, we were running around the countryside looking for adventures. But, don’t think we were wild children, because we were not. We were curious and lively and sometimes little mischief-makers, but, we always knew our boundaries.
I was not as good in school as my brother, but, that was okay because I only wanted to grow up to have my own family one day. When I was 14, the Dusek family moved to Stary Yar. Their eldest son, Oskar, soon joined my brother and me on our escapades. Oskar had clear blue eyes, light brown hair, and an impish grin. I have to admit the first time I laid eyes on Oskar, I knew he was the one. I knew one day I would marry Oskar.
When I was 16, Arno was conscripted into the CDF. I was devastated because I could not imagine life without my big brother by my side. Oskar held my hand as I kissed my brother on his cheek and whispered “I love you. Please come home safe.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched my brother board the bus that would take him away from me. Oskar whispered, “It’ll be okay Bela, Arno will be home before you know it.”
But, Arno did not return home. After he got out of the military he traveled the world before settling down in Norway and starting his own family. Arno returned to fight in our civil war, but, I saw him for only a couple short weeks before he returned to Norway. That was the last time I saw Arno until he brought his wife, Eirin, and daughter, Liah to visit his Chernarussian family.
On my 19th birthday, Oskar got down on one knee and said, “Izabela Kovarova, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” I dropped to my knees and wrapped my arms around him and whispered in his ear, “I love you with all my heart, Oskar. I would love nothing more than to be your wife.”
We married six months later and moved into a small cottage owned by his parents. As time went on, we had two wonderful children. Petr, our first born, was the spitting image of his father with clear blue eyes and soft light brown hair. The little girls in the village followed him wherever he went. Edita, our daughter took after me with hazel eyes and blond hair. Edita was a handful and was the joy of our life. We couldn’t have been happier. Life was perfect most of the time.
In June of 2017, my brother Arnost and his family traveled to Chernarus. While the families had always kept in contact, we had never met Eirin and Liah in person. The moment they met, Liah and my children were instant friends, though at times Liah was a bit distant. But, my children knew to let her have space when she needed it. My parents doted on Liah and were very patient and loving. As the time grew near for Arno and his family to return to Norway, my parents and I convinced them to extend their stay for another month. I wanted them to stay permanently, but, I was happy with the one month extension.
And then it happened. In early July a horrible infection that turned living human beings zombie-like monsters started to spread west from Severograd. My parents were the first to show symptoms when they started to cough and sneeze and run high fevers. Soon after, my husband and children fell sick. Arno and I stood by helpless as we watched them grow progressively worse. Eventually they developed rashes and blood began to run out of their eyes. The men in our village made Arno and me leave their bedside so they could do what had to be done. Arno and I stood outside with our arms wrapped tightly around each other. We fell to our knees as we heard first one shot and then in quick succession, four more. And then there was only the sound of our weeping.
We buried our parents, my husband, my children, and other villagers the next morning in the Stary Yar graveyard. I was devastated. I fell into a deep, dark abyss with no way to climb out. When the solemn ceremony was finished, everyone slowly turned to walk back to town. Everyone except me and my sister-in-law Eirin. Eirin stood by my side as I fell to my knees. She stood by my side as I lay curled up on my daughter’s grave and started to hum my daughter’s favorite lullaby, Hush-a-bye, The Horses are in the Cabbage Patch.
The next day we packed what we could in my husband’s old sedan and headed west towards Novigrad with the hope we would be able to evacuate to Norway. But, by the time we reached our destination, all airports were closed to civilian travel. We spent the next two years barely surviving until I convinced Eirin and Arno it would be best to return to Stary Yar for Liah’s sake.
When we finally reached Stary Yar, we were disappointed to find it abandoned and crumbling. The area surrounding Stary Yar was dangerous with various groups vying for power and control. We stayed in the village for a few days trying to decide our next move. The day before we intended to leave, a large horde of infected wandered into the village and managed to catch Eirin while she was hanging out clothes to dry. The moment we heard her screams, we ran to her. I held Liah as Arno started to shoot the infected to clear a path to his wife. When he ran out of bullets he pulled his knife and started wildly swinging at the horde. I could see we were too late to save Eirin, so, I ran and pulled Arno away from the horde.
By the time I got Arno to safety, night had descended on the village. As soon as we realized Liah was nowhere to be found, Arno ran out to search for her. I stayed behind in case Liah returned. And in the chaos of that night, the three of us became separated and lost to each other.
So, now I wander South Zagoria following leads on my brother and niece’s whereabouts and also a rumor of a young woman named Kira Kovar who may be my brother's long lost daughter. I will find them. I will find them all. They are the only family I have left.