The Tale of the Broken Heart
The story takes place near the Town of Thornvale, a simple farming near the edges of the Plains of Echoing Thunder, Serving as a sort of far off suburb to the city of Mithrendain (The city that holds as a barrier against the Feydark). I’ll jump around a bit as you’re most concerned with the before the beginning of the story stuff, which actually gets revealed in the middle of the book as Minreth and Gerard are looking for clues sort of thing. It seems to have been a sort of traditional Beauty and Beast story. The farming village is constantly dealing with encroaching woody thorned vines, like a briar patch meets kudzu, but mostly brown and woody, with just a few very pretty white flowers when the plants bloom. Out in a large patch of this stuff outside of the village lived a Brass Dragon, who loved talking with everyone and everything that came by or through the town. He especially loved talking with the travelling merchants, and would visit them often in the guise of a handsome, intelligent man. Some knew of his true nature, as he did not seek to hide it, but neither did he confirm or deny it. However, many did not, and were also frightened by the dragon sightings they would often see in the sky or on the Horizon. The Brass Dragon, named Wilmer in his human guise (Wastirek in dragon), thought this was a harmless way of keeping the townsfolk from travelling too far into the dangerous countryside…and also protected his treasure from wandering eyes and hands.
As it turns out, he began falling for a young woman in the household of one of his merchant friends. This friend had lost all his business when all of his caravans were attacked by centaurs or goblins, or other hazards. However, the Bronze dragon wanted to keep seeing his daughter, and so made a deal with the merchant to keep up pretenses for him, but maintaining his and his family’s lifestyle so that he could still come visit, but he mustn’t tell anyone of this agreement, for if his charity and largess were known, it wouldn’t be fair for him to selfishly help one person and not all (and he was NOT willing to give up all his treasure to others, he felt it was his right to spend his money as he would). Things seemed to be going well, and the Dragon and the Maid (Sorry her name is Valerie) were hitting it off, he decided to show his true nature to her, she became wroth and screamed at him for keeping something so important from her while twisting her emotions, this behavior came out of nowhere for poor Wastirek, and he became inconsolable, and his thoughts turned darker and darker, even as the thorns surrounding the town starting dripping virulent poison in response to his mood. Whosoever was pricked by this poison would see every friend as an enemy until it wore off, becoming consumed by paranoia.
Minreth and Girard were able to hear this tale from the Lady of the Well. A powerful Archfey that is cursed to remain near her well until True Love claims her. The Dark Fabulist used her as one of the materials in his spell to turn their True Love into darkness. As she is a very powerful Archfey (some say among the most powerful, rivaling the Summer Queen, though she is trapped near her well, so can really only affect the world through her champions – Men and Women she deems Worthy, but that she ultimately does not feel true love for).In either case, she told them she was visited by a handsome man, kind and charming, the best of all qualities. She instantly was smitten with him, and he seemed generous and kind. He asked to fill a flask with water from her well, as he was parched from long travel. While he was close, drawing the water from her depths, The lady leaned in close as if to kiss him or be kissed by him. However, in that moment of closeness she finally beheld that this man was not to be her True Love, so long awaited. Some powerful magic have given him a powerful aura of destiny…a false destiny, tricking her heart into believing that this was her True Love. In that moment, she pushed him from her well, and fled into it’s depths to mourn something that never even was. However, she realized too late, not before he escaped with some of her water. This water freely given was filled with Eons of True Love denied, and surely was a component of whatever dark ritual the Dark Fabulist performed.
In any case, Minreth and Girard found out about the problems because of the poison briars, Minreth cast divinations and spells (While Gerard helped the town clear out new growths of now poisonous and even more deadly briar patches). They travelled to the Lady of the White Wells grove, 4 days travel north into the woods, past the Briar Fields. After speaking with her, and learning the cause of the poison on the land, they went about seeing to the problem of the Brass Dragon. He was a wily opponent, and used the briar fields to his best advantage. Minreth tried diplomacy on him, but his heart was too filled with Darkness and poison that no mere words could clear away. He tried several powerful enchantments at his disposal, and even invoked the Names of the Seven Truths of Love (powerful magic words of enchantment Minreth learned from the Book of Names), but even they fell on deaf ears. In the end they had to put the noble beast down for the good of the valley. While the poison alone was dangerous enough, Wastirek was become aggressive and beginning to attack the town, stealing from caravans and killing those who travelled out into the fields.