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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4. Chapter 3 The Forest Protector

Castir woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go, the others however were complaining of a terrible night sleep, especially Naran.

Castir mounted his chestnut horse, and he started ahead towards TaRin. Naran caught up to him first, they rode in silence for a while before Naran finally spoke.

'So…' he said grinning broadly. 'How's it going with Emelra.'

'I don't know what your talking about.' Castir said not looking at Naran, afraid he'll see the colour in his cheeks.

'I think you do,' Naran said slyly.

'No I don't,' Castir said, he suddenly found a bush up ahead to be quite interesting.

'Come on, it's so obvious Castir, pick up your game.' Then he rode back a bit to talk to Dorin. Of course the next person to ride up to talk to Castir would be Emelra.

'What did Naran say to you?' She asked.

'Not much, just about the attack,' He lied.

'So that’s why you were blushing?' She asked.

'My, your full of questions today,' He said trying to change the subject.

'Castir, answer the question.' She said, her eyes were starting narrow.

'I'm sorry but it was something embarrassing to hear, that Naran admitted up in the tree last night,' Castir lied quickly.

'Oh did he, what was it?' She asked, she thought she had him cornered.

'Its not my place to tell you, if you want to know ask him.' Castir said.

'Sorry I just thought you were talking about me is all, anyway are you excited to be visiting TaCara?' She asked.

'Yeah, I heard it is huge and is the most beautiful city in all of Tanania,' Castir replied.

'I heard that too, unfortunately that’s when Dorin leaves us,' Emelra said looking down. With a sudden realisation Castir thought about all the reading and writing lessons.

'What about my reading and writing lessons?' He asked her.

'I'll continue them.' Emelra said absently.

'Thank you Emelra.' Castir replied. Like Naran, Emelra stopped to let the others catch up, and to Castir's surprise Dorin rode ahead to talk to him.

'Castir, I will be leaving you soon, so you need your next instructions, go to TaMor and seek out a woman named Lavender, she will give you your next mission, but remember to give her this,' He passed Castir a scroll with a tight wax seal, the seal was imprinted with a circle that was divided into four and in each segment was a strange symbol, that definitely wasn't from the language he was learning. 'Then show her the gem and the key, did you get all that?' He finished.

'Yes,' Castir replied.

'Good, now lets hurry up I want to get to TaRin before nightfall.' Dorin replied.

'Dorin, why were you insulting the Kaninsan's back there?' Castir asked.

'Because Kaninsan's are terribly vain, they just have a different opinion on beauty that’s all.' Dorin replied.

'Why were they up in the grasslands?' Castir asked. Dorin rolled his eyes.

'So many questions, they were probably ordered to kill us.' Dorin answered, he shook his head. 'No more questions, if you need to know anything more ask Lavender, the woman enjoys answering questions.' Dorin quickly added, because another question was burning inside Castir's mind.

'Lets get a move on, you two,' Dorin called over his shoulder. Emelra and Naran hastily caught up and they rode at a walk to TaRin.

Once they arrived, Dorin let Castir come into the city, but only if he kept to the inn they were staying at. Naturally he disobeyed and went exploring the city at night. He found himself in a street, the pavers on the road were cracked and the windows on the houses on both sides of the street were boarded up. But it wasn't uninhabited, because smoke was rising from every chimney. He turned a corner and saw a woman just about finished boarding up her house, she laughed at him, and said.

'I'd get home quick if I were you.' then she sped back into her house slamming the door shut. Castir heard a heavy lock click. Castir was utterly bewildered, so he took the woman's advice and climber her house and started to leap from building to building, in the direction of the inn. When he got back he saw an angry Dorin standing in front of the window. Castir crept back inside and closed the window.

'Where have you been?' He asked.

'Dorin I hate having to sit inside all day and night, it's boring.' Castir said.

'Well it’s a good thing you were out, the inn keeper just came in asking if we had seen a person who matched your description, even the red hair.' Dorin said. Castir was stunned, Dorin didn't care that he had left, well that was good news.

'What did you say?' Castir asked. Emelra walked in and said.

'We told her that we saw you dying your hair we were just about to catch you but you took off, she asked what colour and we said brown, so don't dye your hair brown or I'll kill you.' She said.

'Well they really want to catch me don't they, it was just a key it wasn't anything important.' Castir said casually.

'Castir, that key is very important, especially for you.' Dorin said. 'Well why is it important.' Castir demanded. 'Let me guess you can't tell me?' He added.

'No I can't you have to figure both of them out for yourself.' Dorin said, he looked down at his feet when he said this.

'But I can tell you this; if you seek what isn't yours, show me too your foe, and I will show, you a way that is easy as straight, left, back.' Dorin said.

'Well that was helpful, I'm going to bed, tell me where it is or do I have to find that out for myself as well?' Castir said getting angry. 'Castir it's not like that, it's just he can't tell us can't you respect that?' Emelra whimpered. Castir face softened for a moment. 'First door on your left down that hall.' Dorin said, pointing to a birch wood door. Castir stormed off thinking angry thoughts about where Dorin could stick that blasted key.

Castir couldn't sleep that night, he kept tossing and turning about what the key and cloak could do, and that was when he heard it, a large shaking sound, something was moving around the city. And it was big.

'Castir we have to go,' Naran burst into Castir's room. But Castir was already up and ready to leave.

'Oh your ready well, Dorin said that the thing outside is probably looking for you.' Naran said as he bustled out the door. Castir hurried after him. Dorin and Emelra were standing next to the door, Dorin put one finger up to his lips, signalling quiet. Castir stopped and stared at the door, he slowly drew a knife out of one of the holster wrapped around his waist. Dorin tried to open the door. It was locked.

'It knows were here,' Dorin whispered.

'What is it?' Naran asked.

'Do you have the key Castir?' Dorin whispered. Castir nodded.

'Good, use it to open the door.' he said. Castir drew the key out of the pocket, using the hand that wasn't gripping the knife so tightly his knuckles were going white.

'I still want to know what it is.' Naran said impatiently.

'Hopefully you won't have to know what it is,' Dorin whispered. Castir approached the door, but there wasn't any key hole.

'There isn't a key hole.' Castir whispered.

'You don't use it to open doors you idiot, you use it to create portals.' Dorin whispered.

'Say this; hille phulando portalis.' Dorin whispered. Castir repeated the words.

'Good your accent needs some work but it will have to do, now insert the key through the door, as if there was a real key hole.' Dorin instructed. Castir did as he was told. The key sunk through the door like it was water. Castir licked his lips and looked over at Emelra and Naran, the looks on their faces showed utter shock and disbelief.

'Now whisper these words over and over again; hille phulando portalis doordom ba TaRinta autistirik.' Dorin whispered again.

'hille phulando,' the key started to glow.

'portalis doordom,' The door started glowing.

'Ba TaRinta autistirik,' The entire door erupted in lights. Castir kept repeating the words. Dorin whispered,

'keep repeating them until everyone is through including yourself.' Then Dorin jumped through the door, followed by Emelra, then Naran. Finally Castir jumped through the portal. Still whispering

'hille phulando portalis doordom ba TaRinta autistirik,' He spun round and round the suddenly. Thump. He landed on his back, he sat up their was a single oaken door identical to the one in the inn. It was standing in front of a tree with the strange brass key sticking out of it. The door started to fade, then vanished entirely.

The key dropped to the ground. Dorin was standing to the side of the tree, with Naran and Emelra sitting, cross legged beside him.

He smiled and started to walk over to them, but an intense pain erupted in Castir's left wrist, he screamed and fell over, clutching his wrist. It felt like some one had smacked him with a red hot poker. He ripped back his sleeve to reveal a flaming scar that was looked like a key, the redness started to die down, as did the pain. Until nothing was left but a black tattoo that was shaped like the key. Naran picked the real key up off the forest floor.

'The key is tied to Castir, only he can use it now.' Dorin said.

'What was the thing in town?' Emelra asked Dorin.

'It was a legend that was supposed to be just that, a legend. It states that when the full moon is in the sky, a beast will wake and will patrol the streets, hoping that somebody is outside, so the creature can eat that person. That’s why people were boarding up their houses so the monster doesn't see them.' Dorin explained. Castir looked up at the full moon hanging in the sky.

'What does the creature look like?' Castir asked getting up off the ground.

'Nobody knows, everybody always boards up their houses like I said.' Dorin said.

'Lets camp here for tonight, I packed all the things I bought in the market so we won't have to sleep in the trees again.' Dorin said. He tossed Castir a bag which contained a two man tent. He unpacked it and began setting it up.

'Not here, lets find a place less out in the open.' Emelra explained.

'Good idea.' Dorin replied. They found a clearing surrounded by bushes, that stretched up and over the top of them like a roof. They set up their tent, none of them were hungry so everybody went to bed, except Dorin and Emelra who stayed up talking for a bit longer. Castir climbed into his bedroll which was next to Naran's whom he shared the tent with, like Emelra, Dorin had his own tent. Castir fell asleep quickly, dreaming about what the hooded cloak could do.

Castir was the first one up so he went for a walk to stretch his legs. He found a shaded patch of green grass. So he tried to teleport using the tattoo. He rubbed it and pinched it, but nothing happened. He tried repeating the words, he used to get everyone out of town yesterday. Again nothing happened.

'Try focusing on were you want to go.' Said a voice. Castir whirled around a knife already in his hand. It was just Dorin,

'Focus on where you want to go, breathe deeply,  then think of the word; hevari,' Dorin said. Castir did as he was instructed. He pictured a spot a little to Dorin's left, he breathed deeply, Hevari, Castir thought. Instead of being a little to Dorin's left he was a good twenty paces away.

'Try again, picture the location more clearly, this time.' Castir nodded and tried again. Hevari he thought and found himself above Dorin, he fell down on top of him.

'Ouch!' Dorin squeaked.

'Sorry.' Castir said. They both scrambled to their feet. Dorin shook his head.

'You were too focused on the location you forgot to breathe go back to the tree and try again.' Castir stepped back to the tree. He pictured the location as clearly as possible, he realised he had is eyes closed. The location will probably be clearer if he could see it. Hevari he thought and he found himself next to Dorin, exactly were he pictured. 'Is that were you pictured?' Dorin asked. Castir nodded.

'Well done Castir, again.' This time Castir pictured a branch up in the tree. Hevari. In a swirl of blue smoke, Castir was up in the tree. 'Well done, this time tell me where you plan to teleport.' Dorin said. 'Over under the shadow of that oak tree.' Castir said.

 Dorin nodded and Castir pictured the place over under the oak tree. Hevari. Another swirl of blue smoke and he was standing under the tree. Dorin nodded and said,

'I'll be right back.' he walked back to the tents. Ten minutes later he came back carrying some of Castir's knives and 6 large rocks. He dropped the rocks at different places around the clearing. Using one of the knives he carved a number into each rock. 'When I say a number teleport to the rock.' Dorin said. Castir nodded. '3!' Dorin shouted. Castir appeared at three. '6!' Castir disappeared and reappeared at 6. Dorin continued shouting numbers, for a while until Castir could teleport without having to concentrate.

Castir was having to teleport so quickly, because as soon as he appeared Dorin would be saying the next number, that you would barely see him. This ability would be very useful. They finished with the rocks, and started with knives. Dorin would throw a knife at Castir, they were blunted before he came back except for the one that he carved the rocks with, all they could do was bruise, and Castir would have to teleport to dodge.

For a while Castir dodged without teleporting, because he shouldn't always rely on that. After a bit he started to teleport and dodge at the same time. Dorin would also move now as well.

Unfortunately Naran and Emelra found us during mid throw. Emelra screamed Castir turned to look and he got hit in the arm with the blunted knife.

'OUCH!' He yelled.

'What the hell are you doing Dorin!' Emelra screamed. 'Why are you throwing knives at Castir?' Naran asked a bit more calmly then Emelra.

'We're training.' Castir explained shortly.

'Training? How?' Emelra asked, she was starting to calm down a bit, but she kept her eyes locked on Dorin.

'Watch, Dorin.' Castir turned to face Dorin. Dorin threw the knife, it came hurtling toward Castir. Castir teleported at the last second, with a swirl of blue smoke, and appeared again up in the tree behind Dorin. Castir jumped down out of the tree. The look on Naran and Emelra's face was priceless.

'YOU CAN TELEPORT!' They both yelled excitedly. Castir nodded grinning broadly. They turned on Dorin, 'Please can we stay and watch?' they both begged.

'It's alright by me, Castir?' Dorin asked. Castir grinned and nodded. I won't be teleporting in front of them okay, Dorin.' Castir said. Dorin nodded an threw the first knife. Castir ran sideways. Another knife flew towards him. He jumped against the tree trunk, spinning and teleporting at the same time. He appeared in another swirl of blue smoke in the trees. But he lost his balance and fell. He landed on the ground with a thump. He saw Dorin go to throw another knife. Come one, he thought and teleported behind Dorin. He saw the last of the blue smoke and the knife cut through it and land with a smack against the tree.  Castir teleported again and again. So quickly he would teleport twice before Dorin threw a knife.

'Enough,' Dorin shouted. 'You can clearly teleport properly now, only use it when you need to, don't go using it freely.' Dorin said. Castir nodded. Naran and Emelra began a recount of their favourite parts during the training session. Castir smiled at them in response.

'No teleporting during our races though.' Naran was saying. 'How could you suggest such a thing' Castir feigned shock. Naran raised an eyebrow. Castir grinned in response. They walked back into the camp site, talking loudly.

Dorin hissed for them to be silent, they all instinctively shut their mouths and drew their weapons. Castir crept over to where Dorin was peering through the gaps in the bush.

'Imperial troops.' Dorin breathed. 'Do you want me to take them out?' Castir whispered back.

'No, lets find out what they're doing, go with Naran into the trees and listen to them, then come back here.' Castir nodded and beckoned for Naran to follow him. They scrambled out from under the bush and crawled along the ground. They climbed into one of the trees by the road, hidden by the leaves. The soldiers stopped right under the tree they were hiding in.

'We'll camp here tonight.' One of the soldiers said, judging by he way he carried himself, and the many badges gleaming on his chest, he was the captain of the group. The soldiers began preparing to set up camp, two walked off away from Castir and Naran, probably to gather wood for a fire. In a matter of minutes five tents were constructed and a fire was blazing in the fire. Castir counted ten soldiers. He might be able to take out three from here, Naran could jump down and take another three, that would mean four onto two, those were good odds. But Dorin said to see what they were up to, so Castir bided his time.

Night fell and the soldiers sat around the camp fire eating some deer one of the soldiers had caught. The captain began addressing the soldiers.

'Now it's about time I think you should know what we have been sent to do. The king has sent us.' He motioned around the area.

'To go and find a very special artefact, it looks like a regular jewel, but in fact it has magical properties, the king did not inform me of these properties, except that should we fail. He will have our heads, so sleep well tonight for tomorrow shall bring triumph, in which so many company's before us have failed.' He finished his speech with a bow. The soldiers raised there tankards,

'TO TRIUMPH!' they cheered.

`They drank noisily most of the ale spilling down their front, staining their red over shirts. One of them emitted a loud burp, and the others, including the captain, burst into fits of hysterical laughter. While they were laughing, Castir whispered to Naran,

'even when drunk they're bound to notice you climbing down the trunk, I'll teleport back to Dorin and ask what he wants us to do.' Naran nodded and turned back to look at the soldiers. Castir focused back into the clearing, the spot next to his tent. Hevari, he thought and in a swirl of blue smoke he disappeared, only to reappear next to his tent.

'Well?' Dorin asked. Castir told him what he had heard and Naran's predicament. He thought for a moment and smiled 'Kill them, but let one go, use your bow and don't be seen.' Dorin said. Castir didn't say anything, he just nodded he clambered into the tent to retrieve his bow and arrows. He swung them over his shoulder, and teleported to the tree where Naran sat in a fork, his leg hanging loosely. He indicated to Naran to stay where he was he nodded. Castir turned to face into the clearing. Three had gone into tents, while one was asleep on the ground. Castir silently drew an arrow. He fitted it into the draw string and pulled it back. His two fingers touched his lip, he aimed at one of the awake soldiers the one drinking deeply from his tankard.

Then he focused his mind on a spot just behind the trunk of a tree on the other side of the clearing. He adjusted his aim, and let loose a speeding, bolt of death. It sunk into the back of the mans head, killing him instantly, he slumped forward, face first into the fire. The more sober soldiers jumped up and drew their swords, while the less sober got up clumsily and attempted to draw their own swords, giggling like mad the entire time.

He whispered Hevari and shot another arrow, killing a drunken soldier. Hevari, another dead. The soldiers were running around in confusion, wondering where the archers were, whoever ran towards where the arrow was shot, died next, the arrow coming from somewhere different. Castir never teleported to the same place twice. The men in the tents must have heard the noise so they cam bursting out of their tents, only to fall to Castir's bow. In a matter of minutes all, except one, were dead.

He lay there waiting for death to claim him, wondering if the unknown archers thought he was dead or were waiting for him to move his heart out from under the body of one of his comrades. He was surrounded by death, who was taking the form of arrows.

Castir waited for the man to get up and leave but he never did, he wondered if he had been shot by accident or had fallen on a sword. Then he remembered that one was supposed to live, to bring word back to the imperials, so they believe that the woods are inhabited by archers, who are never seen. So that those who are instructed to go looking for the jewel in these woods are too terrified by the fact of the Forest Protectors  claiming them. The soldier finally looked up, he must have thought the archer had left because he got up and ran back the way they came, disappearing among the trees. Naran climbed down from the tree and frowned at Castir,

'Why did you let him go?' he asked. 'Dorin told me too, he must want the imperials to be too scared to come into the forest.' he replied. They walked back to the tents and crawled under the bushes, that formed a natural wall.

'I could here the confusion from here, well done.' Dorin said. 'How did you do it?' Emelra asked. Castir explained what he had done and she smiled.

'Were you seen?' Dorin asked firmly. Castir shook his head.

'Well lets hope not, we don't need a red haired archer to go with our red haired thief, now do we?' Dorin said.

'No its time for bed, we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.' Dorin shooed them into the tents, where Castir fell asleep quickly.

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