Take a step back from reality. Imagine a world of little technology. There was a small city, that sat beneath the only hill on a large plain, somewhere in this world.
The top of the hill is where the proud Count ruled with a just hand. All of the people in the entire plain respected him, even the poor peasants.
To strengthen the city's ties, he sought to marry his eldest daughter to the Earl of a neighboring city. Though well-schooled as a leader of people, the beloved ruler was ignorant of hearts. His daughter refused to marry before even meeting her future husband; she wanted to marry for love.
The Count hosted a party in his modest palace, inviting the Earl to come and woo his daughter's heart. A renowned war hero, the Earl came to the party expecting another easy conquest. In addition to a few personal servants, he brought with him the court wizard.
Though impressed with the Earl's words and stories, it was the young wizard's utter silence that captivated her. Her father's wizard was a fountain of knowledge, and was quick to share his wealth. The advisor of the Earl would not respond to anyone, and the Earl refused to explain his behavior.
When the wizard silently left the reception hall, the heiress excused herself to follow. She found him outside the palace, sitting beneath a tree on the hillside, staring into the night.
She asked what he was looking at, and he responded for the first time. He said, memory. When she asked of what, images flashed before her. Death, destruction, lightning, and fire. They were battles, the ones in the Earl's stories. The Earl's lands appeared, shown dying. With a trinkle of time, they became what they were known to be.
The explanation came soon after. The magical changes were the Wizard's spells, working with perfect balance. Every life saved through nurturing the land was taken on the battlefield. Thus, the Earl had saved his lands. And forever haunted his wizard.
The Earl married the daughter of another count, and his lands prospered … with the use of more magic. The lands of the Count saw unprecedented suffering, even after the Count's life came to its natural end.
That year the Countess was invited to visit the Earl. The young wizard, a decade older, was again quiet. Yet, when the Countess spoke to him, he lit up. He spoke only to her, all night long. Unable to help her people's suffering, she resolved to save the servant forced to cause it.
An alliance formed between the Countess and the Earl, the Wizard's life being the price. She wedded him during the following years, and the two restored her lands without the use of magic.
Years later, at the end of the Wizard's life, he whispered gratefulness for a life of happiness with her, the memories forgotten.