|Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.
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|The Forests of Silence|
The Forests of Silence is a fantasy novel written by Emily Rodda. It is the first book in the first series of Deltora Quest. It is the only book in the series divided into two distinct parts; Part I: The Belt of Deltora, wherein the story is told from Jarred's point of view, and Part II: Under the Shadow, which begins the main story of the series, with Lief as the protagonist.
"The evil Shadow Lord is plotting to invade Deltora and enslave its people. All that stands against him is the magic Belt of Deltora with its seven gems of great and mysterious power. When the gems are stolen and hidden in dark, terrible places throughout the kingdom, the Shadow Lord triumphs and Deltora is lost.
In secrecy, with only a hand-drawn map to guide them, two unlikely companions set out on a perilous quest. Determined to find the lost gems and rid their land of the tyrant, they struggle towards their first goal — the sinister Forests of Silence."
The book is 131 pages long.
Part I: The Belt of Deltora
The prince at the time, Endon, was good friends with Jarred, the son of a palace servant that had died while in service to Endon's father, King Alton. Jarred had been given to Endon as a companion to keep him from getting lonely. They had grown up together almost like brothers.
For centuries, the royal family had unknowingly been corrupted by their chief advisors, who were in reality the Shadow Lord's servants. It was the Rule never to venture from the palace, and the Belt of Deltora was to be worn only on the day that the heir to the throne became king or queen.
When Endon's parents died of illness, he was forced to become king at an early age. Being obedient and quiet, he had never questioned the Rule, and was an easy victim of the treachery of his chief advisor, Prandine. Jarred, on the other hand, was reckless and restless, and longed to see the city of Del, leading to his doubt of the Rule's wisdom.
Jarred begins to suspect Prandine of treachery and searched for evidence that the Rule was corrupt. He went to the library for research and found The Belt of Deltora, a book containing information about the Belt of Deltora. He learned that it was Adin's original intent for the king or queen to always wear the Belt and never let it out of their sight.
Jarred headed to the chapel to try to show this to Endon, but Prandine intervened, preventing him from doing so, and, when Jarred reaches into his shirt to produce the book, drapes Endon in his cape and accuses Jarred of attempting to murder Endon with a hidden knife. Jarred, seeing that Endon believes him, is forced to flee from the palace and is taken in by a blacksmith, Crian, who trained him to be a blacksmith as if he were his own son. Before leaving, Jarred left a note in code for Endon saying that, should he ever need him, he would only have to shoot an arrow in the topmost fork of a hollow tree (it was originally a game called 'Aim High' that both of them played when they were young) and he would come.
Jarred married the blacksmith's grand-daughter, Anna, and seven years passed. On the eve of the anniversary of Endon's becoming King, Jarred was lying in bed, unable to sleep. Anna, who was now with child, went to open the window, thinking it too warm in the room. She saw seven Ak-Baba circling the palace. Alarmed, she screamed out for Jarred. Jarred looked out the window and noticed the arrow in the tree. He ran to the outside of the palace and found a drawing with a rhyme on it drawn by Endon in his childhood describing how to enter the palace using a passage, which was a secret even to the chief advisors.
Jarred followed the instructions on the drawing, and finds himself climbing out of a tunnel in the chapel. He found a man waiting for him, who fell to his knees at Jarred's feet, begging for his help. Jarred then realised to his complete shock that the man was Endon.
Glancing around the chapel, Jarred saw a body on the stand and realised that it was Min, his and Endon's old nursemaid. Endon explained that Min had come to him to warn him that she had overheard two people speaking of a danger that would occur that night, and that she had begged him to try and prevent it. He brushed her aside, thinking her talk to be ridiculous. An hour later, she was dead, having fallen down the stairs. Endon heard that she had a son, and sent for him, but was told that he could not be found. Endon told Jarred that he believed that Prandine killed Min, and that his wife, Queen Sharn, believed that also. He also mentioned that Sharn was with child, and that she would give birth at summer's end. Jarred then said that his own wife would give birth in early autumn.
Queen Sharn entered the chapel, and screamed when she saw Jarred, frightened by his appearance. Endon reassured her, saying that it was Jarred. Sharn smiled in relief, crying out, 'Jarred, you came!' Jarred told Endon that he had to go to the tower where the Belt was kept and put the Belt on. Endon did not want to do this, saying that his duty was to follow the Rule. Sharn told him that his duty to Deltora was greater than his duty to follow the Rule. This convinced Endon to go with Jarred to the tower.
Upon arriving at the tower room, Endon, Sharn and Jarred saw that the guards outside were dead. Endon rushed into the room, and cried out in anguish. Jarred and Sharn followed him, and saw that the Belt of Deltora had been broken and the Gems had been stolen.
They heard a triumphant laugh, and looked up to see Prandine gloating at them. Prandine revealed that he killed Endon's parents, and that he was a servant of the Shadow Lord like the chief advisors before him. He said that he planned to kill Endon, Sharn and the child she carried. Jarred was murderously enraged and attacked Prandine, but ended up injuring his sword arm. Jarred tried to distract Prandine to give Endon and Sharn a chance to escape, but it did not work. It seemed as if all was lost, when Sharn looked out the window, and shrank back as if she saw someone outside. Prandine grew suspicious, and walked towards the window, warning the men that if they moved Sharn would die. Sharn cried out to Prandine that there was no one out there, but he did not believe her and stuck his head out the window. Instantly, Sharn was on her knees and tipped Prandine out the window.
Endon and Jarred gave her shocked looks, and Sharn said that she had often seen smaller jesters do a similar trick. Jarred asked if there actually was anyone outside. Sharn replied that of course there wasn't, but she knew Prandine would not believe her when she said so. Jarred gave Sharn a look of frank admiration, and told Endon that he was as fortunate in his choice of a wife as Jarred was in his. They hurried back to the chapel, where they left the palace the way Jarred came.
Part II: Under the Shadow
On Lief's sixteenth birthday he, along with Barda (a former palace guard), leave Del on a quest to restore the Belt of Deltora by finding the gems. Lief's parents give him a sword forged by his father, in addition to a cloak crafted by his mother. Lief and Barda then head off to the Forests of Silence, since it is the closest route from Del. Despite the warning signs along the path leading up to the Forests of Silence, the two head into the forest and are captured by the Wenn.
Knocked unconscious by the ambush, Lief and Barda wake up to find themselves paralysed and tied down inside the Forests of Silence. Thinking them to be Grey Guards, Jasmine (a girl who has grown up within the Forests) attempts to steal Lief's cloak. Lief pleads for her to help, and asks for her family's aid so that he and Barda may be carried away to safety. Jasmine mentions that her mother and father were taken by the Grey Guards, and appears to leave them when Jasmine's raven, Kree begins to screech, warning her of danger.
Having given up hope of rescue, Lief and Barda are startled by the return of Jasmine. She goes to Lief first, orders him to open his mouth and pours a few drops of a disgusting liquid on Lief's tongue that gives Lief a painful prickling sensation in his bones. Wild with panic, Lief unknowingly begins to thrash around while Jasmine shouts at him to get up and run, because he can move. Realising that he can move, Lief gets up and begins to climb the nearest tree. Jasmine tells him to hurry, because the Wennbar is nearly upon them, and helps Barda who is still recovering from the poison.
Terrified, Lief climbs as fast as he can, and can hear Jasmine and Barda following him. Soon, they are of a height where the Wennbar cannot follow them or bring them down. He, Jasmine and Barda sit on the branch, and Barda is shivering so hard that Lief is worried that he will fall. Lief spreads his cloak so that it covers not just him, but Jasmine and Barda as well. To their surprise, the Wennbar begins to act as if they are not their, and leaves them alone. To Lief's disgust, two Wenn are eaten by the Wennbar in place of Lief and Barda. Lief realises with awe that the cloak camouflages the wearer.
Jasmine leads Lief and Barda to her tree-top home, which happens to be a nest. There Jasmine shares a strange meal of fruit and nuts with Lief and Barda. Lief asks Jasmine how she had come to live alone in the Forest. Jasmine says that when she was seven years old, she was fetching water at the stream when she heard the Grey Guards approaching the home she shared with her parents. Running back, she saw her parents with two Guards. Her mother saw Jasmine and made a sign to her to stay in the ferns and be silent. Then, after the Guards set fire to the house, they left with her parents. Jasmine believed that if she was good and stayed quiet, her parents would come back, but they did not. Lief notices that Jasmine almost cries, and that Jasmine probably has not cried for a long time. She then gathered up any possessions that were not burnt from the house and made a new home in the treetops, and that is how she has lived ever since. Barda asks is she is ever lonely. Jasmine replies that she had the animals and trees to talk to, so she was not lonely. Barda does not believe Jasmine when she says she can talk to trees and animals, and believes she is insane.
After that Jasmine reluctantly agrees to show them the way to the most dangerous location in the Forests of Silence. A place called "The Dark, where a formidable former Jalis knight clad in golden battle armour, named Gorl, resided. They reach their goal, and Barda thanks Jasmine for leading them and tells her that she need not go any further.
Gorl had created a dome of vines to protect what he thinks Lief and Barda want to steal: the Lilies of Life, fabled magic flowers said to give eternal life to the one that drink its nectar. Gorl wanted to drink the nectar and rule the seven tribes of Deltora, but he had been in the Forests for so long that he had never heard about the first king, Adin. Gorl uses his powers to control Lief's will and draws him towards himself. They fight him, and they almost fail. To distract him, Barda asks Gorl about his journey to the Forests, saying that surely Gorl was not alone on his quest. Lief and Barda find out that Gorl did not come alone to the Forests, but with his two fellow knight brothers, Greddock and Gudden. They fought over the Lilies, but in the end they were killed by their older brother Gorl. As Gorl loses focus grieving over the death of his brothers, his grip around Lief and Barda weakens and Barda attacks Gorl by piercing Gorl's neck with his sword, but it goes through the opening in the armour and does nothing. Enraged, Gorl turns around and deals a mortal blow to Barda's chest. All seems lost when Jasmine comes to their rescue, persuading the tallest tree among the vines to sacrifice one limb in return for freedom. The tree obeys her, dropping a large branch on Gorl and crushing him. Lief and Jasmine find that there's no body inside the armour, and that it was only darkness and a strong will that kept Gorl alive. When the sun shone on it, it could not survive.
Lief then runs to Gorl's sword and takes the Topaz from the hilt. He then notices Barda's body and uses the nectar of the Lilies of Life to save him.
Lief and Barda show the Topaz to Jasmine, who takes it in her hands but suddenly the place is filled with mist, and a pale figure of a woman appears, who is 'sweet-faced and smiling.' This is revealed to be the spirit of Jasmine's dead mother. Her mother requests her to go with Lief and Barda to rid the land from the Shadow Lord and then vanishes.
Lief puts the Topaz in the Belt of Deltora and together he, Barda and Jasmine and her two animal friends, Filli and Kree, set out on the quest to free the land of Deltora, by searching for the rest of the gems.
- King Alton (mentioned)
- Min, an old nursemaid of Endon and Jarred, Barda's mother
- Crian, the blacksmith
- This is the only book in the Deltora Quest series that is divided into two parts.
- This book has the most debuts in the series, only rivaled by The Shadowlands.
- Though it is never said in the book itself, Gorl is a Jalis knight and his story of how he came to the Forests is told in a Tenna Birdsong Tale, The Tale of the Three Knights.