Since his father had tossed him out as a child, he had apprenticed to be a huntsman. The mark on his forehead did not frighten his adopted father, who was thrilled to have a boy so eager to please, even more so when he realized his natural skills.
Stories of the Veiled Forest had been a part of Ansel. They had haunted his dreams, images of a glimmering fortress; impenetrable with something like moonlight flickering through the trees. He often wondered how he knew, it was over one hundred miles away. Shortly after his father released him from his apprenticeship, he set out to find his own. His father had always been sure he would prosper, he never spoke of it, but there was something fantastic about Verin’s hunting skills, at eight he had already been the best marksman from here to Lysteria. As he sent him off with a cross-bow and a dog, pride and wonder beamed on his face.
Ansel got as far as Westtown on his first day, happy to have made it so far. Securing a room for the night, he joined the other travelers in the tavern. The noise and laughter hit him as soon as he walked in the door, it was a warm and happy place; a bard with a lyre, kept the room lively. The scent of roasting meat reminded him how hungry he was – so he quickly found an empty chair. The bar maiden appeared with a pint and a wonderful roast.
Having spent his whole life in what could barely pass for a village, the stories told by the worldly travelers fascinated him. One man, in particular, caught his attention. As a matter of fact he seemed to have caught the attention of many a man in the room. His eyes were bright with the tale, his hair was wild and barely contained by a leather band wrapped around the length of it. His cloak looked as if it was once quite fine, but now had seen the roughness of not having a place to call home. Most everyone listened and laughed, as if his tale was fascinating but such as made up a wild children’s tale. He spoke of a beautiful and most wondrous beast who lived in a forest that was at once the most magnificent place and then the most frightening. A fortress that shone like glass, always out of reach, yet offering glory to whomsoever could attain entrance. Many a hunter had tried to catch this beast, whose hide shown like silver and whose mane was more glorious than starlight. From the edge of the forest one could catch glimpses of it’s sublime light flashing in between the trees. However, once a hunter, entranced by this marvelous beast, entered the forest, he was never seen again. Ansel felt a tug in his chest, a memory of something just out of his grasp. Something told him catching this glorious beast was not what his ambition should be. He listened intently until just he and the story teller were left. The man, Verin, grabbed his hands and stared him straight in the eye. “Everything has changed, the forest waits for you, she needs your help.” And all at once he was gone. Ansel sat alone in the tavern, staring at a blank wall. It was decided, he had found his way.