An orphan kid delivered in a backpack, a refugee girl scrambling to save her life, the two sons of a failed village chief and an old miller. What can you do with such a motley crew? They stood penniless and very much alone against a villainous king and his great army of heartless horsemen. All the friends had was loyalty, love and a faith in the Lord of the Forest. Everyone thought they were crazy, and in a sense they were – crazy enough to believe that “right” could conquer “might” against all odds.
Our story takes place far away and a long time ago, in a world in which three peoples lived in determined isolation, even though their borders touched one another. The “people of the forest” lived in a simple life in small scattered villages. They were farmers, but had no concept of land ownership. They “borrowed” land from the forest and cleared small plots and grew their crops, but when the fertility diminished, they gave the land back to the forest and cleared another field. They were the “free men of the forest” and their observance of the ways of the forest was their expression of faith in the “Lord of the Forest”.
In the higher land above the tree line, the “mountain people” lived a pastoral and hunting life. They were organised only to the extent necessary to support one another in the harsh environment.
The third of these peoples needs little description because their life was so like our own weary existence. This folk had originally come from the forest. Having rejected the Lord of the Forest, they also despised his ways. They had descended into a vast valley and had cleared the land and set up towns and one large walled city where their king lived. Although it was the mightiest, it was also the saddest group in our story. The society had degenerated into a group of people scrambling to climb the social ladder by treading on those below and flattering those above. The monarchy had sunk down to a vain, pathetic dynasty who ruled by the principle of fear and with the help of an oppressive army of soldiers. It was a godless, soulless place where “wealth accumulates and men decay”.
With growing boldness, the king sends his cavalry deeper and deeper into the forest, with brutality and fear as their weapons of choice.
How then could this be? It was because the village leaders of the forest had forgotten the great stories of old in which their heroes chased out the Kingdom’s soldiers in a great demonstration of both boldness and faith. The village chiefs, the elders and their folk all trembled at the thought of confrontation, and turned a blind eye to the obvious oppression. But all was not lost. A handful of people didn’t just believe in, but were also ready to live and die for the old ways and they dreamt of the time when the forest’s “Freemen” would be truly free again.
They boldly set out to free a prisoner and everything flew out of control. Common sense said to run for their lives, but love and loyalty said otherwise. With every step things get worse and their desperate spiralled into confusion.
In the midst of all this chaos, little did anyone know that everything was being orchestrated by invisible hands. The Lord of Forest was using them to pick a fight, a fight with a mighty king, and instead of lining up an army, he sent a few friends who would stand – and fall – together.