As Brume is the Mother of All Witches, so this was the mother of all fairy tales and further proof that McKillip ranks alongside J.K. Rowling and Diana Wynne Jones in the tier below Tolkien. Why? Because in an Enchanted Forest a Prince killed the favorite hen of a witch and got cursed and lost as his unwilling bride, a foreign Princess, approached with her wizard bodyguard.
What happens next is a secret I shall leave with the Firebird, but I have always said that Heart is the most important aspect of a person and that without its unwritten language singing within you, one is lost; a fact this tale proves most aptly and, for once, by direct example.
May you live happily ever after Prince Ronan of Serre & Princess Sidonie of Dacia, Wizards Unciel (hopefully now you can rest) and Gyre, scribe Euan Ash, and the rest.
(And if you see a white hen and/or cottage made of bones, steer clear. Seriously.)