Once Upon a Time, in a faraway world, there lived an Evil Queen. Her reign extended to all of the Enchanted Forest, and she was feared by all who lived within its borders, except for one man, or one monster… her tutor, Rumplestiltskin.
Long before the queen or her teacher had ever been born, or before anyone had called the place “The Enchanted Forest”, that same place had been swarmed by Giants. When they moved to live in the clouds thousands of years ago, humans started building their own kingdoms below, and for a long while there was peace between the two races.
As a token of good will, the Giants gave the humans five Gems of Life. Each Gem of Life would make the earth around it more fertile and would give increased health and lifespan to the humans in its proximity.
The Gems were distributed evenly over the world, and one was given to each kingdom: Arendelle in the north-west, the Empire in the north-east, Camelot in the south-west, Agrabah in the south-east, and the Enchanted Forest in the middle of it all.
The peace did not last though, and when mankind and giants finally began to fight, that war lasted over a hundred years.
After the war between the last of the Giants and mankind, the Giants went extinct, but their gems and beans continued to work.
Over the past years, Queen Regina has tried to gain control over the gems. She was able to persuade the rulers of Camelot and Arendelle to trade away their gems for other magical objects, but Agrabah and the Empire were not as easily convinced to give up their gems in return for other riches. Their lands had always been on rather infertile soil, and without those gems, food would become scarce and their people would starve. Queen Regina was unable to convince them to trade their gems away, and so one day she did what everybody had feared since her quest had begun: she stole the gem of Agrabah. Without its gem, crops and orchards withered to dust within minutes, and the people were forced to flee.
The Enchanted Forest would not take in these refugees though, for Queen Regina had built a massive wall not too far from the border of their kingdom, and so the poor people of Agrabah were forced to run to the Empire instead, the only land that still had their Gem of Life and was willing to care for them. They took in the refugees and prepared for war, but one thing was for certain: this war would not be won by soldiers. They would need stealth and intellect in order to outsmart the Evil Queen and figure out her next move.
Nobody dared to spy on the Evil Queen, but she had an ally that seemed to know more than most. After all, the Dark One always knew everything that went on everywhere. If someone could get the monster to talk, perhaps they’d finally know how to end this war.