Story Saturday: The Forbidden Kingdom (Once Upon a Time)

"The Forbidden Kingdom"

Once upon a time, there was a princess who was named Briar after the magical kingdom of Briarwood where she resided. The princess liked her kingdom as much as any other princess would, but she was fascinated by the other kingdom that was hidden just on the other side of a portal deep in the woods. This place was filled with people who used technology instead of magic and had presidents and prime ministers instead of kings and queens. She visited often and liked to pretend that she was an ordinary girl who attended what they called high school. She stopped wanting to pretend after she met Mark. Princess Briar was certain that she and Mark were soulmates, so she told him all about her realm and how traveling between the two worlds was forbidden.

Mark could not have visited Briarwood even if he wanted to, for the portal was only accessible to those who possessed the potential for magic, meaning that only people from Briarwood could travel freely between the worlds. However, Princess Briar's travels were soon forced to come to an end because she had a duty to begin her training as queen after her parents were tragically slain in the Ogre Wars. Her time with Mark became more and more precious as it drew to an inevitable close, and the princess decided that if she could never see him again, she would leave him with a parting gift.

Briar, like many princesses, had a Fairy Godmother who she consulted often about such matters. Though her Fairy Godmother never judged Briar for her feelings toward Mark, she encouraged her to place her duties as princess first in order to keep her people safe. When Briar asked her godmother for a magical gift to bring to Mark, the godmother saw this as an opportunity to keep Briar and the people of Briarwood safe in case of an emergency. She gave Princess Briar a magical ruby ring that would be activated if she were ever in danger. This ring would allow Mark to cross between the worlds and guide him through the portal to wherever Briar was.

Princess Briar agreed that this was a wonderful gift and presented it to Mark the next time she saw him. She told him the sad news that she would not be able to visit him anymore now that she needed to devote all her time to training to become queen. Mark held Princess Briar in his arms, trying to memorize everything about her before they parted ways for the last time. Though Briar explained the rules of the ring to Mark, he attempted many times to activate it and find her again but to no avail. He missed her so much that he could barely focus on his mid-term exams.

Meanwhile, Princess Briar worked hard on her training under the tutelage of many noble elves, mages, and beasts. When it came time for her to ascend the throne, her uncle, who had been training her on royal duties, called her into the study for one final lesson. After he made certain no one else was nearby, he gave the princess an enchanted quill to sign a document that would end the Ogre Wars that had killed her parents. However, he handed her the quill upside-down, causing her to prick her finger on the tip, and spread poisoned ink through her body that placed her into a deep sleep. Her uncle, the duke, carried the unconscious princess into a secret room and locked her away. Then he told the people of Briarwood that Princess Briar had met an unfortunate end while protecting a baby unicorn from a dragon, making him next in line for the throne.

The people were horrified for they knew the duke would rule with an iron fist. He was known throughout the land for his greed and selfishness. Soon, they would all starve to death and the magic of the land would be depleted to fill the duke's endless thirst for power. Still, Briar's Fairy Godmother knew that there was hope. This event activated the ruby ring that she had given the princess to present to her love in the forbidden kingdom.

As soon as Mark knew Briar was in danger, he raced through the thorny woods, trudged through swamps, and hiked up mountains until he found the castle. The ring led him to a secret entrance where he was undetected by the guards and found a locked door at the end of a passageway. He banged on the door until his knuckles bled, and soon, the ring's power unlocked it with an unassuming click. Mark's heart skipped a beat when he found Briar lying lifeless on the ground with the color drained from her cheeks. Luckily, he came from a world where fairy tales were popular and knew that true love's kiss often broke spells like this. He knelt down and gently kissed Briar, which caused the poison ink from the quill to race toward her mouth. He instinctively jumped aside as she coughed up the black ink, spilling it onto the floor of the dark room. Princess Briar was elated to see that Mark had successfully crossed through the portal from the forbidden kingdom and insisted that he join her when she went to confront her uncle, who was still at the coronation ceremony.

When the people saw that Princess Briar was still alive, the duke knew he had been thwarted. He begged the new queen for mercy, but she and Mark agreed that the best punishment was to lock him in the hidden chamber just as he had done to her and hope that someone as brave as Mark would rescue him.

Some of the people of Briarwood began to panic when they realized someone from the forbidden kingdom had passed through their gates, but Briar's Fairy Godmother explained that Mark was the princess's true love and that she had granted him an enchanted ring that would only let him pass during a time of crisis. The enchanted item saved them all.

The people were so impressed with Mark's bravery that they agreed to let him stay and rule Briarwood at the princess's side. The rest, as they say, is history.


Sugar said…
Nice story! Now I keep thinking that guy will be there waiting for someone to take him out sometime...maybe a brave ogre will rescue him because he needs a servant lol.
I must ask, was part of the inspiration for this "Lost in Averell"? or the cards coincided in this way?
I have always loved stories about magical portals.
Lisa Dawn said…
It was probably a bit of both. :) I read another series called Fae Bloodlines by Rose Garcia that probably inspired it a little more. I recommend it if you enjoy portal stories! (I do too.)
jar1234 said…
A beautiful story. I enjoyed your review about it.

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