Prologue No. 2
Shadows of the flickering fire danced across her earnest face, both hands propped underneath her rosy cheek as she waited. At every end of the week, when the weary day has ended, her father came to her bedroom to tell her a bedtime story. She lay against the cushioned ground, staring at the mysterious glow of orange.
"They talk of a forest." Her father began a tale that would not end until weeks later, a tale that has been retold in the castle for centuries. Her father had a strong profile, and short bronze locks with a hint of grey hair behind his ears. He was a handsome middle-aged man, but his character had grown sturdy and firm over the years from war. "The Wise People—they tell the story of the forest of the east. I will tell it to you now, child, are you ready?"
Young Heather nodded earnestly. Her father's words warmed her heart and she yearned to hear more of this forest.
"This forest they speak of is like no other. It's a magical forest." He sat down with her, also staring into the fire.
Her eyes shined with quiet curiosity and wonder as her father unfurled the magical story.
From this forest grew many things. Many things, she was familiar with. These things included the town, the wood in the houses came from the trees, forest leaves and flowers became cloths, and the forest animals were their food and coats. Their kingdom also thrived with dragons. They say that the dragons came from the forest—how they came to their land is another story which will also be told.
But there are also many things that most people have never encountered—such as the mischievous but loyal dwarfs. Those are never to be trusted. And there are the ancient spirits. You will have their guidance and security if you can impress them—which is a very difficult feat because they have seen many things in their lifetimes. There are stories about giants. There is always someone in the neighbourhood who have heard their thundering voices, and seen the large footprint of a giant—the length of a man and the height of your castle's biggest cooking pot. The rumoured elves are proud creatures, which live in the trees—away from the annoying dwarfs. These elves help the trees grow. They nourish the plants with their magic so that it could grow taller and they could live higher and more away from the dangers of the ground. But the most mesmerising, ancient myth of all was that of the Enchantress.
The Enchantress of the forest, a very fearsome ruler in her own realm of deity, has a story of her own. They say that the Enchantress had founded the forest when it was still in its young stages of nature, and had made it her home. They claim that she brought forth the elves, dwarfs, giants, dragons, and spirits. They say that she lives in the forest, remaining as its ruler.
The myth says that the Enchantress had a name once, a name of a flower. They say that whoever can guess the name of the Enchantress receives a special gift from the forest. They say that is why the Hatholian kingdoms have tamed dragons, and that their enemy people, the Ravons, have magic in their blood. It is all from the forest—from someone once knowing the name of the Enchantress.
But the story of the Enchantress talks of something unimaginable. They say that she fell in love. But what was most unfathomable was how she was betrayed.
No one really knows how she met him, but the Enchantress was in love with a crown prince. They daresay that he didn't court her in her majestic form; they propose that she disguised herself as human. Legend has it; she told him her real name. Driven by the obligation to his country as the crown prince, he married to another princess to make amends. Or, perhaps he knew of the Enchantress and her identity thereof, and, in fear, tried to escape from her love.
What a foolish man; for not only did he break her heart by falling in love with another, but he told his new wife the name of the Enchantress.
They used it against her to become the most powerful countries in the world. Tied with the ancient bond, the broken hearted, melancholy deity granted one country magic, and the other the ability to tame wild beasts—such as dragons.
This is why Ravons can wield magic—even better than so any other humans. And this is why dragons are the norm in Hatholia. It was their Gift.
But they had insulted the Enchanted in the most unforgiveable manner possible, and so their kingdoms paid. The Enchantress had cursed their marriage. And instead of peace, war broke out throughout the land. A war, they say, that will never end. A war that will never end because of jealousy, because of hatred, because of revenge. And centuries will be passed, and the war and cold wars and rivalry and hatred will continue because of tradition.
This, indeed, is the everlasting feud between the Land of Ravona and the Kingdom of Hatholia. This is their Curse.
There is one more loose end to this tale. For years, scholars and wizards have joined forces to break the curse. Yet they only concluded with one solution. They must receive another Gift from the Enchantress, and ask for the feud to end. They must remember her name.
But Her name has been long Forgotten.
Heather asked, "Is that why they call it Forgotten?"
"Yes, child. Some call the forest of the east the Forgotten forest. It's truly enchanted."