Yarikh Khoury - Name and Appearance

Image by muratkalenderoglu from Pixabay

The Y's Have It

The name Yarikh Khoury begins and ends with Ys—or “why”s. As I’ve previously noted, Yarikh is the embodiment of the mysterious, dark-haired, handsome stranger. I wanted questions swirling around him, especially for the sceptical Henry who needed to learn that not everyone who appears in their lives is a potential threat.

“Yarikh” is the name of the moon god in Canaanite religion, one followed by the ancient Phoenicians who inhabited, among other places, what is now modern Lebanon. The moon conjures thoughts of darkness and mystery, the perfect choice for an enigmatic character.

“Khoury” is a common Lebanese surname that means “priest”. Gay men are often portrayed as irreligious so giving him such a holy surname subverted that stereotype.

Dark Matters

This is how Lucy first describes Yarikh when they meet during her, very short, trip back through time. “He had pale brown skin, with thick ebony hair and a closely cropped beard”. Again, I was creating an archetype so he needed to be striking, with dark hair to fit that dark-handsome-stranger trope.

Lucy also thinks he smells of cedar. That seems a little on the nose, given the connection between Lebanon and that tree—it’s on the flag after all! But that’s actually an in-joke for my husband whose favourite cologne is cedar-scented.

Yarikh has Henry’s tattoo, though we see Yarikh’s before Henry’s is revealed. I love stories involving time travel so it was fun introducing the tattoo on Yarikh about half a book before it appears magically on Henry’s arm.

Light Work

We know almost nothing about the three items of light Yarikh is able to conjure. They consist of a curved sword (red), round shield (indigo), and lantern (green). But while I haven’t yet answered the questions about their origins, here’s some inside information on why I chose each item.

All great fictional warriors need a distinctive weapon. As a Middle Eastern man, the red sabre—he describes it as a kilij rather than a scimitar—reflects his heritage. Red is symbolically aggressive hence why I chose that colour for the weapon.

There are warrior characters who tend to go into battle with no shielding or armour—Henry for example. Therefore, I gave Yarikh a companion-shield to differentiate him from the more brutish man-bull. His indigo shield is circular as Middle Eastern warriors tended to sport smaller, round shields than their foes. As to the colour, purple is typically associated with nobility and wealth in the Middle East. Yarikh isn’t “royalty” per se, but as the son of a Mythic he’s as good as.

Yarikh’s father was a teacher. Knowledge is often associated with light so that side of Yarikh’s ancestry is reflected in an actual lantern. Also, it’s always useful to have characters who can see in the dark or create light to illuminate the way for others! As to the colour of the lantern, well that one is fairly obvious. I’m a super-hero fan and so when I bestowed Yarikh with a magic lamp it had to be green!

These three magical items confound even the knowledgeable Decimal sisters and Yarikh himself reveals nothing about how he, a human, came into their possession, or whether they are related to his seeming agelessness.

But there’s one clue as to when he might have gotten them. He possesses an original Picasso of a dark-haired, bearded man holding a red sabre, the sword glowing “as though made of light”. This sounds a lot like Picasso’s cubist or surrealist periods, so perhaps anywhere from around 1912 to 1929, which means if that is Yarikh in the painting then had the sword at least by then. Yes, I overthink everything!

Bonus Round

You’ll notice a lot of K names in my books. Lucy Knight. Amber Kim. Yarikh Khoury. Book Five has brought us Vikram Varma-Khan. The protagonist of my first book Finding Home is Kevin Garrick. I’m not clear whether this is simply chance or some subconscious love of the letter which doesn’t appear actually in any of my own names. That said Dominic ends with a K-sound so perhaps there’s some link there? It does seem a large coincidence…