The Kolarin Cycle, Book One: Wildfire

(Haven't edited yet, there may be a few mistakes)
I came up with the idea for Wildfire a while ago but i was busy at the time and i never got around to it, but now i've finally started so here it goes. Wildfire is about a boy named Castir who was abandoned by his mother when he was little, she had given him into the care of a travelling circus of thieves, he quickly learns the skills of an acrobat and starts being sent on more dangerous missions, but the death of a loved one followed by the biggest heist of his life could ruin his.

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2. Chapter 1 Silence

'Come on, we need to go, they could come home any minute,’ whispered Emelra.

'Just a minute, I'm almost done,' Castir whispered back. He finished erasing their tracks from the room. When there was the sound of a key jingling inside a lock. Castir swore.

'No need for that kind of language Castir,' Naran said coming down the stairs. He was swinging the key they were supposed to steal for the ring master on one finger. It was small and was made of brass, yet when it clanged against the floor, when Naran dropped it, it made a hollow sound.

'You idiot,' Emelra whispered.

'Let’s go there is a window up stairs,' Naran whispered, fumbling to pick up the key. Castir picked his bow and arrows up off the floor and swung them over his shoulder.

Castir was right on the landing when he hears a woman's voice say;

'I'm going upstairs to take off my jewellery.' Castir was just through the window when a fat, overly dressed woman waddles through the door.

'Thieves!' she shouted.

The three were perched on one of the metal beams that jut out from the buildings. They leaped from beam to beam sometimes swinging to gain momentum and even holding onto each other’s ankles to give each other a boost.

When they reached the top of the building, they took off along the house next door. Castir leapt from house to house, Emelra and Naran following suit.

Castir picked up one of the poles they had placed carefully the day before, and used it to volt over a large gap using poles we placed a few days ago to pole-vault over the larger gaps. Castir glanced down towards the street. There were already three guards chasing after the thieves, with swords drawn. Those swords were practically useless, as the people they were chasing were up high out of their reach although one was smart enough to be using a bow, but could barely keep an arrow in his hand before he dropped it.

He had run out of arrows by the time the person he was attempting to shoot at had reached the church at the end of the street. Emelra dropped off the edge of the low roof, Castir following closely behind and Naran front flipping off, his feet planted on the ground expertly.

'It's a habit.' He said, shrugging his shoulders. The trio ran into the graveyard behind the church and lurked behind gravestones and trees that were on the edge of the graveyard.

The guards jogged into the churchyard, and squinted into the foggy graveyard.

'If dey wants to leave dey has to pass through dis 'ere church again. So I thinks we should wait 'ere for a bit and wait for dem to be eider caught or try to sneak through, what do you'se think?' asked a particularly stupid looking guard. The other two mumbled their agreement, and they begin to set up camp.

'Even though he's pronunciation is terrible, he's got a point, the walls surrounding the cemetery are heavily guarded and there are patrols all through the cemetery itself.' Emelra explained.

'What are they protecting, dead people?' Naran asks, sarcastically.

'Yes, well sort of, Varmalan's like to be buried with their riches. Even in death Varmalan's are still greedy.' Emelra explained.

'So how do you suggest we get past them?' Naran asked.

'The Ringmaster told us this mission is of highest importance and that we cannot fail or be caught,' Castir added.

'So?' Naran asked.

'It means, we will have to kill them.' Castir finished.

'No we can’t do that Castir, what did they do to us?' Emelra pleaded.

'Emelra, listen to reason,' Naran said softly.

'What is the punishment for stealing?' Castir asked.

'Immediate death, but....’

'Exactly, they would kill us on sight, without hesitation, why shouldn't we give them the same treatment?' Castir cut across.

'I suppose your right but I'm not doing it, you two can,' Emelra said turning away from them. By spoken agreement they decided to do it once the guards have fallen asleep.

'Dammit they posted a sentry,' Naran whispered.

'That’s ok,' Castir shrugged off his bow and loaded an arrow. He pressed the string to his lips. It was cold. He shivered. The bow shook. This would be the first person he would ever kill, and it wouldn’t just be him but the others as well. Castir thought about the families and friends of these guards. About how devastated they would be when they found out he was shot by an unknown person. He was just about to back out when Naran tapped him on the shoulder and whispered;

'Shoot!' and startled, Castir let go of the string.

Unfortunately Castir's aim was perfect as always and pierced the guard right in the neck. He went down without a sound. He hit the soft grass without a sound. Naran slit another's throat without a sound, and stabbed another in the chest without a sound.

'You can take the last one,' He whispered. Castir shook his head slowly still staring at the arrow.

'Alright then,' Naran shrugged and slit the last ones throat, wiped his blade on the tunic of his last victim, and gestured for them to leave. Emelra and Castir slowly walked towards the Church yard gate. As they bolted down the street in front of the church towards the tent, Castir thought about how easily and thoughtlessly, Naran killed those men.

They arrived back at the tent, just as the late show finished. They made their way through the crowd to the ringmaster’s tent. They knocked on the tent pole and were admitted entrance. The ringmaster was a squat, puffy cheeked man, who wore too much blush. He looked like a male doll.

'So I guess you succeeded judging by your presence.' The ringmaster said beaming up at them, with white teeth. Naran nodded.

'Wonderful, wonderful,' the ring master said clapping his hands excitedly.

'Now let’s have a look at that key,' the ring master said looking around them. Castir silently passed the ring master the key.

'Wonderful,' he repeated.

'You can go now,' he added, and Castir turned and solemnly walked out from the tent. Naran said goodbye as he walked off to his own tent. But neither Castir nor Emelra said anything they walked towards the cluster of tents that held their own bed rolls. They reached Emelras first, she said goodbye softly, gave Castir a hug, which she had never done before, and pushed through the tent flap. Leaving Castir to think about the crime he committed. His thoughts wandered back to the possibility of a family who would wake up tomorrow to the dreadful news about a woman's husband and a child's father being murdered by a thief.

Castir walked right past his own tent and continued on until he reached the place he would continue his lessons. There was a soft light creeping out from between the two tent flaps, Dorin was of course, still awake. Castir knocked on the tent pole and was admitted entry. Dorin was sitting on the floor reading three books simultaneously. He glanced up and put a bit of string between the pages of the books and closed them shut.

'Hello Castir, how did your day go?' He asked.

'Hmm, oh umm fine,' Castir lied.

'Stop lying and tell me what happened,' Dorin said more firmly. That was the funny thing about Dorin, not his strange addiction to staring at meaningless symbols on a page, not the ability to do it with three different books at the same time. But his ability to see through everyone's lies, and Castir was the best liar in the circus, Dorin and Emelra were the only people who could tell when he lied. Castir sighed and told him about what happened during tonight's heist. He was patient, and didn’t say anything, but he did frown when Castir got to the part about the man Castir killed.

'Is that all that’s bothering you?' Dorin asked. Castir was confused, but mumbled a yes.

'Worrying about something like that is just plain stupid Castir; this man was part of the Rebels enemy, the Imperial crown. He wouldn't have hesitated to kill you if your roles were reversed so stop worrying.' He said flatly. He got up off the ground and started rummaging through books and paper on his desk.

Castir took this as an opportunity to look around Dorin's tent. Books were stacked precariously in piles, everywhere you turned. There was a basket surrounded by bits of scrunched up parchment, not a single one was in the basket. There was a drawer in the far corner with a candle and another book sitting on top.

'Found them,' Dorin said showing Castir a quill and pot of ink. He sat Castir down at his desk and picked up a sheaf of parchment with notes scribbled all over it and pictures of strange exotic plants covering it. Dorin placed a scroll of parchment on the oaken desk and weighed down the edges with the inkpot and a rock.

'This is the letter 'a' it makes the 'ah' sound.' Dorin explained drawing a circle with a stick sprouting out the bottom right. This went on until 'z' where Dorin helped Castir write his name. This was Castir's second lesson, he had already learned how to say each letter out loud. The Ring master was making Castir do this just encase he had to steal a document; he needed to be able to recognise it first. After about an hour Castir could write 'My name is Castir' without Dorin helping him. He could also read that same sentence as well as several made up addresses Dorin had thought up. Castir was keen to keep going but Dorin said he was getting tired so Castir headed back to his tent. Both of them needed their rest, because tomorrow they would be performing, then packing up ready to head off to VarReeda.

The next day the last performance went perfectly. Not a single fall. Castir was in better spirits after it, so when he went back to his tent he wasn't angry that Erman and Lemrana had let themselves in. Erman was standing with his back to Castir and Lemrana was sitting on Castir's bed.

'Sit down, Castir,' Erman still had his back to him even when he spoke. He turned around. Erman was middle aged, and strong. He was the juggler of the circus. He had chocolate brown skin and had brown eyes. He normally had a shaved head but was still wearing the orange wig he wore during performances. He pulled the wig off to show the tattoos that cover the sides of his head.

'As you know we will be moving onto VarReeda, and the ringmaster informed me that you can't perform. The woman that saw you last night was from VarReeda, she was visiting her husband as they live in separate cities. She has gone up there and have informed the police to look out for a flaming red haired boy looking around the age of 17. They have wanted posters all over the Segment. So while we are in VarReeda you must stay low, no performing and no missions until the ringmaster thinks it’s safe, luckily they hadn't reached here yet so that’s why you were allowed to perform this morning.' Castir was really disappointed, He and Naran had been practicing a new move and they were eager to show it off.

'Have you told them yet?' Castir asked.

'I spoke to Emelra after the show,' Lemrana said. The horse trainer swept her long black hair out of eyes. She had brown eyes like Erman except she had very pale skin.

'Also I would like to inform you that Erman and I are engaged.' Lemrana said smiling. Castir grinned.

'It's about time,' he said embracing both of them.

'And we also would like you to be the ring bearer.' Erman finished. Castir was so surprised; he couldn’t help but leap back into their arms again.

'I won't let you down,' he said tears in his eyes. Lemrana and Erman had been like a mother and father to him, and now they were getting married.

Both Lemrana and Erman left to go tell Naran. Castir felt like all this excitement would cause him to explode. Castir looked into the mirror and ran his fingers through his bright red hair, he didn't normally care about his appearance, but he was going to see Emelra.

When he arrived at the familiar tent he knocked on the tent pole and he was admitted entry with a small 'Come in.' Castir looked around the neat and orderly tent, Castir had been making excuses to enter since he was 13. Emelra glanced up from what she was doing; her brown hair was perfect as usual, her grey eyes shining.

'What do you want this time?' Emelra asked. She was smiling, she knew, like Dorin, Emelra could see right through Castir.

'I thought I saw you take a fall during the performance today, I was wondering whether you were ok,' He said not meeting her eyes he glanced around the room.

'Well I thank you for your concern but I didn't fall today, now why are you really here?' She replied.

'Well I thought you might want some help packing up?' Castir said feebly. She raised an eyebrow, and pursed her lips.

'Sure you were, I can manage packing up myself, as you can see I’m almost done and you should be almost done too, now scoot.' She said.

'Ok, ok I’ll go,' Castir said, he grinned and dashed out of the tent. He heard Emelra sigh and say to herself, 'Isn't he sweet.' Castir ran back towards his tent, jumping and pumping his fist. He arrived back to his tent, or where his tent was supposed to be. But everything was packed in a neat pile on the ground. On top of his case was a note. It read:

Dear Castir

I stopped by your tent to see how you were going with packing, I saw you weren't there and I knew where you had gone immediately. So I packed your stuff up, I hope I didn't lose or miss anything

Love Lemrana

Castir smiled, of course it was Lemrana. Nobody else except maybe Erman would've done this for him. He gathered all his stuff up in his arms and walked in the general direction of the carts. He found the cart Emelra, Naran and himself shared. Emelra was already there and so was Naran, He loaded all his stuff into the back and joined Emelra at the reins. Naran was in the back with their luggage.

'About time,' Emelra said shortly.

'At least I didn't have to pack everything up otherwise the rest of the circus would be half way to VarReeda.' Castir said.

'Yes, how did you pack up so fast?' Emelra asked, releasing her frown.

'Lemrana did it for me; I think she came to help me, because of last time…' Castir drifted off, last time, he held up the circus so he had to walk to VarMern all the way from VarSear. Emelra squeezed his hand. Immediately Castir's spirits lifted.

They stopped for the night, and set up a temporary camp just on the edge of the River Var. After they set up tents, it was customary for whoever was the last person to get to the cart had to provide the food for the people who ride in the cart with them.

As Castir didn't have any he had to hunt. He grabbed his bow and a quiver of arrows and set out into the plains, he walked with Erman for a bit but he spotted a nesting crow. Castir let Erman have the crow and he headed back to camp. So Castir was all alone, he preferred it that way.

He was walking among the green grass, when he saw a mark in the ground. He bent down and touched it, and smelt the dirt. He identified the owner as some kind of horse, The mark was deep so it was carrying some kind of load, a person perhaps.

He followed the trail until he saw a light. He slowly crept toward it staying low. He sunk to his belly amidst the tall grass and crawled across the ground. The light was a fire blazing brightly. Four men sat with their backs to Castir. They laughed and smacked mugs of drink together, they were silent for a moment while they drank deeply ale splashing all over the place. More laughter filled the air after one of the with broader shoulders then the rest told a bad joke about a farmer and a milk maid. Castir rolled his eyes and wriggled through the grass, away from the happy men.

After he was far enough away he stood, and continued hunting, a little while later he spotted a wild goose; he shot it and carried it back to camp. Castir sat his bow in the cart along with the quiver, substituting them for a long knife and a few throwing knives. He dumped the goose down and started to skin it with a pocket knife.

The goose was roasting on a spit over the fire, when a high pitched scream pierced the night air. The three looked among themselves. Naran drew his sword and Castir readied his long knife and a single throwing knife. Castir mouthed 'get behind me,' and for once she did as she was told.

'Castir, I'm scared,' she whispered in his ear. Naran was standing, he had the short sword he took everywhere in his hand. Castir wordlessly followed his lead and stood.

'Emelra, please get my bow and quiver from the cart,' he whispered to Emelra, he wanted her somewhere safe from the attackers. He heard her whisper an 'ok' and she was gone. At least she was out of harm's way. He hoped.

Just as Emelra left. Lemrana burst into the fire light. 'Kids are you ok?' She yelled. Naran nodded. She opened her mouth to speak, but she fell forward and landed with a thud on the ground, a spear sticking out of her back. Castir's eyes opened in shock, and he fell to his knees next to her.

'No, Lemrana!' He screamed, tears streaming down his face.

'Bandits, four. No other casualties, they're looking for you.' Lemrana said. She was drawing in sharp ragged breaths, beads of sweat glistened upon her brow.

'They want to collect the reward.' She added. She reached up and ran her fingers down Castir's cheek and smiled up at him. Castir felt her hand go limp. Her final smile etched across her face, and she died. Castir didn't scream, he stood up and waited for the men, whom he would kill.

The men appeared in the fire light suddenly, but Castir was ready for them, he threw his knife as hard as he could, and it sunk deep into a bandit with extremely broad shoulders. He fell to his knees, pulled out the bloody knife and dropped dead onto his face. Two of the three men had swords drawn whilst the middle one had a spear in his right hand. He threw the spear straight at Naran. Who was still looking at the dead bandit.

'NARAN!' Castir yelled. Naran looked up and saw the spear flying towards him, he jumped and twisted, trying to avoid the spear, but failed and the point stabbed into his leg. He fell to the ground knocking himself unconscious. The one who had thrown the spear unsheathed a sword, that was strapped to his back. Castir spun towards the men, sending as much hatred as he could towards them though his glare.

Dorin and Kelo burst into the clearing, Dorin wielding his sabre and Kelo his broadsword. Rather then asking questions, Kelo stood by Castir's right and Dorin flew to his left. The goose fell from the spit and into the fire, sending sparks into the night sky.

The bandit's used the sparks as a distraction and barrelled forward towards an adversary for themselves.

Kelo swung his sword in an ark, just missing his opponent who had cleverly dodged finishing in a position where he could attack Kelo's exposed side with any resistance.

He was warded off by a loosely aimed arrow which had flown past his face, nearly missing his crooked nose.

Castir turned to see it was Emelra who had loosed the arrow.

She threw the bow into the air, Castir jumped and caught it in mid air, rolling on the ground to reach Emelra he grabbed his quiver and aimed an arrow at the crooked nosed bandit.

Although he was preoccupied with Kelo at that given moment.

He easily dodged Kelo's attacks but never got another opportunity to deploy the same tactics as before.

Dorin versed two enemies at once, although at a disadvantage, he parried thrusted and deflected with ease.

Kelo's arm was now drenched in blood from being cut across the forearm. Dorin sported a similar wound, though not as severe.

One of Dorin's opponents let his friend fight with Dorin for a bit, distracting him so he could kill Dorin from behind.

Realising this, Castir sped forward, tackling the bandit to the ground, his bow and quiver lying close by.

He grappled with the man, the bandit's superior strength slowly over coming Castir's.

But Castir had trained to fight against those much stronger then himself, using the filthy bandit's weight against him he pushed off the ground using as much force as he could muster, he hurled the bandit up off him then flat on his back in front. Castir dived forward before the man could escape. Castir's foot pinned the bandit's sword arm to the ground, with his left hand stopping any movement from the other.

'You killed Lemrana, so I'm going to kill you, slowly but painfully,' Castir said. He pulled out a short dagger and ran it down the man’s cheek. He grinned, and was about to push it through the man’s neck slowly when someone touched his shoulder.

Castir swivelled his head to see who it was, and the bandit took the opportunity to escape, he heaved Castir off his chest, scrambled up off the ground and bolted into the trees.

Castir spun around, scooping up his bow and knocked an arrow. By the time he had done this, the lucky bandit was nowhere to be seen.

'He got away.' Castir growled, then stormed off in the direction of Naran's limp form.

'Kelo could you organise a healer to travel with me and Emelra on the road, to tend to our wounds?' He asked.

Kelo nodded solemnly, then walked at a brisk pace towards the other camps.

At that moment Erman appeared in the fire light, he saw the dead body of Lemrana and fell to his knees with his head buried in his hands, tears escaped his palms and tumbled down his cheeks. He cried for an hour until the ring master showed up informing them to pack up, and that it was important to get to VarReeda as quickly as possible. They took about three minutes to pack up and there was a brief funeral, where the other horse trainers buried Lemrana's body with her horse’s reins. They placed her body under a tree with her name carved into the bark. They then moved onto VarReeda, in silence.

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