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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3. Chapter 2 Dangers Lurk In Known Lands

They arrived at VarReeda two days after the ambush, all of which time, Castir thought about how it was his fault she died. He could've told someone about the four men he saw whilst hunting, but he didn't and it cost Lemrana her life, because of it. Castir sat in his tent all day. But he snuck out at night to sneak around the camp, going to his lessons and vising Emelra and Naran, and of course Erman. Neither Castir nor Erman were performing, because Castir was a wanted criminal and Erman because he was still grieving. So Castir spent most of his time with Erman distracting him, keeping him occupied. One morning Castir was sitting cross legged on his bed roll, thinking about the ambush trying to clear some of the fuzzy bits. I wonder how it would've changed, if I hadn't killed that first person when they surprised us. Would I still be here? Would Naran? Would Emelra? Castir couldn't bear the thought of Emelra or Naran dying, they were his partners and, more importantly, friends. Castir then looked towards his bow, stared at it intently. He picked it up and laid it across his lap. He was pretty good with it, but he was much better with his throwing knives. I don't think I would've survived if I had have used my bow to fight those men. So Castir decided to wrap his bow up in some cloth along with his quiver and place it back in its tube. He thought about the guard that Castir killed back in VarMern, he was an innocent man, and the bandits weren't. Castir did not care about the families of those bandits. Castir doubted that they even had families.

Late that night, Castir snuck out to go and see Emelra, he found her outside her tent, sitting in front of a fire. It crackled and popped softly. Castir sat down next to Emelra. 'Oh Castir, what are we going to do?' she said sobbing, she placed her head on his shoulder, and she cried. 'Everything will be alright, don't worry, I won't let anybody hurt you.' Castir whispered to her. 'I'm not worried about me, I'm worried about you, what happens if you get caught, you'll be executed, and I can't live with that.' She sobbed. 'I'll be fine; I'm as hard to catch as a cold during summer.' He whispered back. 'Why can't we inform the king?' she asked. 'because then he would throw me in jail and write me down for the ornings execution,' Castir replied, but she had fallen asleep. Castir carried her into her bedroll, and pulled the covers over her. Then he left to go back to his own tent, to let his dreams control the last hours of the night.

Castir woke up with a start. How long had I been sleeping? Castir thought. He looked outside, it was just getting dark. He had slept through the entire day! He got up and dressed, he went for a walk in the afternoon air. He found himself outside the ringmaster’s pavilion. He was about to knock on the pole when he heard voices. Castir couldn't help but listen. He could hear the ringmaster’s high pitched voice, Dorin's calm and collected Erman's frantic voice that it has become since Lemrana's death and a deep baritone which belonged to the strong man, Kelo. 'What if the kids aren't up to it?' He heard Dorin ask. 'Don't worry they'll be up to it, I reckon they will be keen to rob the palace. Rob the palace that would be their most dangerous mission ever, and the most difficult. 'So how are we going to do this?' Kelo asked. They started whispering in hushed tones, Castir had to strain his ears to hear, but he heard the plan and it was a good one. 'I'll go tell them,' he heard Dorin say. There was a scraping of chairs and Castir bolted off towards his tent, silently.

Dorin showed up a bit later, and explained everything that Castir already knew. He waited for Castir to act surprised, when he didn't, he raised an eyebrow. Castir quickly feigned shock, but it was too late. Dorin suddenly grinned, 'I'm glad that you understand, also no mistakes.' He said. Dorin went to leave the tent, when he added. 'It's good to see your eavesdropping skills are improving, but next time eavesdrop on the nobles you've been assigned to rob. Not your fellow criminals.' Then he left the tent, leaving Castir quite stunned, but unsurprised by how quickly Dorin figured it out.

The robbery of the palace wasn't to happen for three days, so Castir went about his business as normal, visiting Naran in the mornings, who was almost completely healed, after the morning show, Erman before the midday show and Emelra in the evenings. Both Emelra and Naran were excited, and they had every right to be, they were going to rob the palace. On the day before the heist, Castir was so pumped he couldn't rest even though he knew it was going to be a long night.

Emelra, Naran, Dorin and Castir were waiting around the outside of the palace walls; they looked up to the watch tower, waiting for the signal. Naran was completely healed, not even a slight limp, which was weird, the spear mustn't have sunk very far. Emelra had two spears strapped in a cross, on her back, Dorin a sabre strapped to his hip. Naran's short sword was strapped across his back, whilst Castir's own knives ran around his hip, and around his right leg. That was when the signal appeared. The watch tower torches went out all at once. Naran threw a grappling hook up and over the wall. He tested the weight, it held, so Naran began to climb, Emelra went next, then Castir with Dorin taking up the rear. Once they had reached the top, they silently crept along the wall, they came across a sentry. His eyes widened, he was about to call out when Castir neatly tossed a knife into his chest. They tip-toed past, Castir retrieved his knife and wiped it clean. They climbed down a ladder into a stone courtyard; it was quiet except for the gurgling of a fountain, and the chirping of the birds inside the menagerie. Dorin opened the door at the back end of the courtyard, he beckoned them all through. The massive hall was deserted. Everything was made out of stone, there were red tapestries bearing the Varmalan coat of arms. A sword, point down above a jewel. Dorin had memorised the map of the palace, and led them down a long corridor, doors were regularly placed every few steps. Castir wanted to see what was behind them, but they were running out of time. They needed to have been in and out of the treasury before midnight when the ball ended and the corridors would be full of rich nobles. Three men were guarding the treasury, Castir peeped around the corner. 'I might be able to take out two but the other would have time to call out,' Castir whispered. 'Do your best,' Emelra whispered back, Castir smiled at her and pulled two of his shorter, more silent knives out of their sheathes. He jumped out from around the corner and threw both of his knives. Neither knife missed. The victims fell to the ground. Castir quickly pulled out another knife but it was too late. 'THEIF IN THE ROYAL TREASURY IT'S…' One of Castir's knives materialised in the man’s neck, and he fell to the ground. 'Come on we don't have much time,' Castir said. All three of them bolted down to the door, Castir picked the lock easily, and they were in. The treasury was huge, vast amounts of gold were piled high, jewel encrusted goblets and crowns were scattered throughout the room. That was when Castir saw it, the hooded cloak, they had come for, it was smooth and silky it was silvery and felt like water had been woven into the fabric, and Castir shoved in into his pockets and turned around. Naran was stuffing his pockets full of gold. 'Naran put it back, we've got what we came for now let’s go!' Castir shouted. Naran reluctantly emptied his pockets. They ran out the wooden door and came back the way they came. Six guards cam pelting around the corner. Castir pulled out three knives juggled them then threw all of them; each one killed its target. Naran drew his sword and slashed the chest one of the men, while Emelra used her spear to stab another through the heart. Dorin was using his sabre against the last guard, with a flourish Dorin disarmed the guard and with neat jab, impaled him through the neck. They kept running, killing the guards that got in their way. Castir had got over the usual sorrow that came with killing; he had done it so much by now that it didn’t matter to him anymore. Though he couldn't say the same for Emelra her eyes were red and her lips were pursed. It was the first life she had ever taken; it would be a while until she got over it. They hacked and slashed their way through guards and eventually came to the courtyard. Guards were streaming into the courtyard, Castir ran out of knives pretty fast, he was stupid enough to throw the last one, so Emelra tossed him her other spear, they were fighting well, for a while but numbers were starting to over whelm them, when the back-up arrived. The entire circus was there helping them push the guards back. It was working when the ringmaster fought his way over to him; he was armed with a menacing whip. 'Go,' he shouted 'Take the cloak and key and travel to Tanania go up through VarEld, don't worry we have been spreading rumours that you dyed your hair brown, you can travel safely now. Goodbye,' He embraced all of them. Then he fought his way back into the crowd. 'Are you coming with us Dorin?' Naran asked, stabbing a guard through the heart. 'Yes until we get to TaCara, where I will leave you, now let’s get out of here.’ Castir fought his way to the wall, and climbed up one of the grappling hooks ropes that someone had used to climb down. When they reached the top, Dorin said. 'We will go back to the tent to pick up some stuff but then we need to leave.' They climbed down a scaling ladder and ran in the direction of the circus tent.

Castir ran into his tent and gathered up a few things, he took his bedroll, all 30 knives, his bow and quiver and some money he had stolen a while ago he stuffed them into a sack and took off. He met Dorin and Naran outside Naran's tent which was closest to the exit. Emelra caught up to them, with a sack slung over her shoulder. 'I've got enough food to last us into VarEld, and then we'll either have to buy or steal more, I also packed the key do you still have the cloak Castir?' Dorin asked. Castir nodded and patted his pocket. They took a horse each, and strapped saddles to it, then the sack containing the things they packed. Castir mounted his horse and galloped out of the park, and out of VarReeda.

Travelling along the plains without a cart is very tiring, so instead of making camp every two nights like they did with the circus, they stopped every night, with sore butts from bouncing in the saddles all day. When they reached VarEld, and Castir could enter the city without his life being in danger, but he still wasn't allowed to draw attention to himself. VarEld was a beautiful town; its cobblestone streets were pristine. The market place was equally as grand, several shops all selling different things, were standing around a fountain which was spewing clear water from the top. All around the fountain performers were busking for money, it was spectacular, fire breathers, magicians, acrobats and even a woman singing, her voice was rich and melodic, the pitch of the song, complimented the hustle and bustle of the market place. Castir couldn't help himself, he walked over to a space beside one of the acrobats, Castir performed a handstand, and the acrobat must have understood, so she leapt up and stood on Castir's feet, her balance was perfect, as was Castir's the Acrobat leant down and, on one hand, performed a handstand. It would've looked amazing. The acrobat jumped down and Castir stood up straight, Next the acrobat got down onto her hands and knees, then, keeping her forearms on the ground, she slowly lifted his feet up, raised them until they were perfectly straight, but he kept going until she formed an arch, Castir was about to summersault over it when Emelra beat him to it, she grinned and Naran followed after her, Castir beamed at them, Castir ran forward and summersaulted over it. Emelra placed her hand on the Acrobat's stomach and raised her legs into a handstand. Castir knew what they were going to do. Naran nodded and moved in front of Castir, between him and the tower. Castir ran forward, and Naran gave him a boost, he threw him into the air and Castir landed on Emelra's feet. By now a crowd had gathered around the four performers, they were cheering and clapping furiously. Castir back flipped off Emelra and planted his feet he bent his knees to absorb the impact. Emelra cartwheeled in the air off; the street acrobat reversed her pose. The crowd roared they were flinging money so witlessly and so un-Varmalanly, that Castir was surprised somebody didn't dive down and start scooping it up. Castir helped the street acrobat scoop up as much of the money as possible. 'Please take some,' the acrobat said, she offered out a large portion of it to his three co-performers. 'We couldn't,' Castir said before Naran could take the gold. 'If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have earned half this much.' She made to deposit the gold in an eager Naran's arm, but Castir pushed Naran behind him. 'Again, we couldn't take it, you have it.' Castir said, with a bit more finality. 'Very well, anyway my name is Veld, I was named after this beautiful city, if you ever need anything, just let me know, I have connections everywhere.' And with that Veld disappeared. Castir turned around into the face of an angry Dorin. 'Come with me, now.' He said. Castir, Naran and Emelra followed Dorin, out of the city gates and back to their camp. 'So if that wasn't drawing attention, I'd hate to see what is.' Dorin said, his face was bent into a frown, he had never worn before. 'I didn't mean to, I just wanted to help her.' Castir started. 'I don't care why you did it; I just want to let you know that you won't be coming into any city or towns until we reach TaRin.' Dorin said, and then he turned on his heel and started furiously brushing his horse. Castir could live with the fact that he wasn't going into any cities until TaCara; He had performed in all three cities in Zanuland and Moorland. The only reasonably pretty city was Valur and they wouldn't be passing through there or Moorland. Other than that travel was very ordinary, and boring. So while the other three were in the city, Castir practiced with his knives, throwing them and close combat fighting, as well as hand to hand combat. He had set up a daily routine, he would practice with his knives during the morning and when he didn't have anyone to spar, and combat in the evenings, when on the road. Naran would spar with him during that time, and occasionally when Emelra stayed back with Castir, he would spar with her, they were both very good opponents, Naran strong and resilient, Emelra fast and agile, so he had practice against both styles of fighting. His own style was a sort of combination, he was a heavy hitter, not as hard as Naran, but he could get those heavy hits in and out of an opponent’s guard, quickly. He was also a very proficient dodger. One time he spared with Dorin. Castir lost very quickly. It turns out, Dorin was as good at trading, as he was sparing, so they never went hungry, he was also good at decreasing prices of the things he was buying and increasing the worth of that which he was selling.

They had just arrived at the border of Zanuland, when bandits struck. Naran jumped up and drew his sword, Emelra picked up her spear. Dorin drew his sabre, Castir had his back to the bandits so, he spun and rose at the same time, and he drew two knives and held them ready. He stepped back and stood next to Dorin. There were 8 bandits, two for each of them. 'Emelra you take the two on the left, Naran the next two along. Castir take out the two on your side.' Castir nodded. 'Ready, GO!' He shouted Castir leapt at the bandit on the outside, throwing one knife into the neck of the other. With a thud Castir crashed into the remaining bandits legs. They both fell, but the bandit got up very quickly and stood back. Castir rolled backwards and jumped to his feet. Drawing another knife he charged at the bandit. He hacked and slashed, but not a single stroke hit. This was no ordinary bandit. This was no human, the hunched way it stood, how it snarled rather than frowned, it was a Kaninsan. 'They aren't human, their Kaninsan!' Castir yelled back to them. The Kaninsan spoke, 'our cover has been blown, change now!' it yelled to its remaining partners. They all stopped fighting and dropped their swords. They grew in height, and their face lengthened until it formed a snout, its arms grew and the joints in its legs, reversed. It grew a tail, and hair sprouted all over its body, the clothes tore, and fell off. In the place of the bandit stood a huge Kaninsan, its red and white eyes glinted; a pink scar ran from its temple to its jaw. It snarled at Castir then turned when Dorin spoke. 'You have the most disgusting fur I have ever seen,' Dorin said to his one Kaninsan. 'Why thank you,' the black furred Kaninsan said. Dorin gestured to follow his lead. So Castir threw every insult about its appearance he could think of. 'Your eyes are sickening,' 'your fur is matted,' 'I HATE your teeth,' Emelra was doing the same to her Kaninsan's both of which were still alive but one had a large hole in its leg. Naran had killed one of his Kaninsan's and was yelling about how nauseating its claws were. He was really over doing it, but the Kaninsan accepted the "compliments" greedily. 'Aren't I the foulest Kaninsan to ever walk this earth?' Castir's Kaninsan asked him. 'Why yes, of course,' a thought struck Castir, it was risky, but it was all he had. 'But that one over there looks terribly frightening doesn't he?' Castir said pointing to Dorin's Kaninsan. 'What, I am the most frightening Kaninsan in the entire world.' It shouted 'Listen to the boy he has it right, don't yah mate?' He turned towards Castir both shapes are looming over him. 'Well...’ Castir looked over at one of Emelra's Kaninsan's, the one with the full leg. As if noticing it for the first time, he widened his eyes in feigned shock. 'GET IT AWAY FROM ME, IT'S TERRIFING!' Castir shouted. The Kaninsan's whirled around and attacked the other, all the while screaming “I’M THE SCARIEST”. The other Kaninsan's joined the fray. Castir quickly began to edge towards the tent. He clambered in and grabbed as much stuff as possible, including his bow. He picked up Naran's spare sword, and the rest of his knives. He crawled out of the tent. Dorin was crawling out of his carrying a sack of what was probably food. Emelra was carrying her other spear and a small object, Castir couldn't quite see properly. They mounted their still saddled horses; Dorin strapped the sack to his horse. Castir tossed Naran his other sword, and sheathe, and they sped off towards TaRin. While they were riding, Castir's thoughts wandered back to the time he first learned to fight. Kelo had taught him, Kelo tried to teach him how to use a sword, but the test failed miserably. He chuckled to himself, he looked ridiculous when he swung his sword and ended up face down in the dirt, but when Kelo gave him a bow, Castir out shot all the other performers. After that everyone assumed he was Buran, and he probably was, he had first-hand experience with Burans, he had performed in Darla and Calor. Though back then he had no idea about his abilities with a bow. They stopped for a rest, at the edge of the border. 'I think were far enough away,' Naran said. 'We might as well set up camp here tonight, though it will be uncomfortable, no fires, we will sleep in the trees,' Dorin said. Emelra picketed the horses in the cover of a bush and they all climbed into a tree, everyone except Castir, who stayed at the base of the trunk. ‘Dorin, why were you insulting the Kaninsan?’ Castir asked him. ‘Kaninsan’s are terribly vain, though their ideas of what a compliment is, differs from ours,’ Dorin answered. 'Can't you climb Castir?' Naran called down. 'Of course I can, I can climb better then you Naran,' he called back. 'Prove it,' Naran replied. Castir stood and began to climb the tree, he reached Naran pretty quickly. He heard Emelra mutter ‘boys’ under her breath when he passed her. 'First one to the top wins,' Naran said. 'Ready, set, GO!' Naran shouted, and they took off, climbing swiftly through the branches. Both of them were proficient climbers, being trained as an acrobat almost all their lives. Castir started to edge in front of Naran, and eventually he was a fair distance ahead. The trees of the forest were ancient oaks, so they were huge. His face hit the cool night air, all Castir could see in any direction were trees. Castir smiled, he felt right at home up high in the trees. Naran caught up to him, he was breathing heavily. 'Yep you’re definitely Buran,' Naran said. 'You think?' Castir replied. 'I would but I haven't seen you use a bow since those bandits killed… since those bandits attacked us on the way to VarReeda.' He changed what he was saying midsentence. But Castir knew what he was going to say. Since those bandits killed Lemrana. 'Yeah well I took all four of those bandits on with just those knives,' he said as dryly as possible. 'You’re allowed more than one weapon you know,' Naran said, his blue eyes staring into his green ones. 'But I'm better with knives and…' Castir started. 'Your equally as good with a bow, Burans are known for deadly accuracy, whether that be with a knife or a bow,' Naran cut off. Castir didn't reply. 'Promise me you'll use the bow again, I don't like seeing wasted talent.' Naran finished and he began the climb back down. Castir would've followed but he wasn't done in the trees. He moved down a little bit, then leapt to the next tree along. He landed gracefully, and then leapt to the next branch; he repeated this until he was a goodly distance away. He still had his knives on him so he neatly tossed a knife and killed a deer which was still wandering around. He retrieved his kill and walked across the ground back to the tree. 'I've got dinner!' Castir shouted up into the tree. 'And how do you suppose we cook it without a fire?' Dorin shouted back. 'Umm I didn't think of that,' Castir admitted lamely. 'Of course you didn't, you wasted a life Castir, know go and lay it under some bushes.' Dorin shouted. Castir did as he was told then climbed the tree and nestled in a fork next to Emelra. She was already asleep, so Castir followed suit.

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