Caysen Tallis is only a boy when his life in Salinthas is ripped away from him. Caysen is cast into an epic quest to avenge those he lost. But he is not strong enough yet. With the help of his King he flees to the remote town of Palith to complete his education and training. Will he satiate his thirst for revenge and put an end to the menace that plagues his home? Is it possible for a hero to be afraid?
Tragedy of Salinthas
Caysen Tallis is a boy of thirteen years, and his fourteenth is but days away. He has read hair and green eyes, and lives in the town of Salinthas on the western part of the Kelgonian kingdom with his father, Derrith, his mother, Seena, and his sister, Kira. Caysen has a good friend by the name of Teris Gahl. Teris was the older of the two of them by two years, and had already begun his regiments to join the Kelgonian military as a soldier.
The people of Salinthas led happy lives and felt themselves outside of Falin's tyrannical rule. The King of Kelgo opposed the oppressor at every step, and as a result, Falin had not been able to extend his rule to the eastern part of Kelthan so far. The tyrant's influence had been growing recently and the war was beginning to shift in that favor. The people of Salinthas often spent time nursing the soldiers and the knights back to fighting health.
Caysen led a very happy life. He dreamt of becoming a knight and fighting off tyranny, becoming a legend of his time. He mostly spent his days playing with the other children, training with Kira or sparring with Teris. Training and sparring were his favorite things to do because of his aspirations. He felt alive when a sword was in his hand, as if it were an extension of his arm. His family had no aptitude with Divinity, the magic of Terath. Kira had taken him to see divinalists, the wielders of Divinity, to see this power at work. He listened as she explained the two halves, Holy and Forbidden. Holy Divinity was obtained through spiritual enlightenment and worship. It was often seen as good, healing spells and aids. Forbidden Divinity was obtained through reading a divinal, a book or scroll containing the runic Divinity. The use of a spell erased it from your mind and the divinalist had to read the divinal once again for the information of casting the spell another time. The runes were a combination of the common alphabet. It was extremely difficult to learn to read, and he was never able to concentrate hard enough to do so. At this very moment, he was sparring with Teris in the field that the children played in. The other children had gathered around to watch them, as they so often did.
Caysen spun around on his right foot swinging his left out and under one of Teris' legs. Teris managed to block his strike, just as Caysen had counted on. The distraction of the sword had left Teris unaware of the sweeping kick and the older boy toppled to the ground. He marveled at how quickly Teris was able to recover; he'd known Teris wasn't exactly balanced or nimble in comparison to himself. He flourished his wooden sword and knocked the stab that Teris had aimed at him to a more favorable direction. He switched his sword to his left hand and struck Teris in the ribs. He became angry when Teris struck him in the back with a particularly quick counter to the switch that he had pulled. He shrugged it off and rolled forward to dodge the next strike. Recovering quickly, he stepped to his left and switched sword hands once again. He pivoted on his right foot toward his right, knocking away a second attack. He used the momentum to make the entire spin back around and struck Teris hard in the back.
Caysen noticed that Teris was beginning to pant. He felt now that it was indeed time to end this. He shifted his body into a backhand strike and hit Teris in the ribs, kept going with the momentum and spun around with a particularly violent overhead backhand strike, connecting with the older boy's collar. He reversed his spin at this point and delivered a truly quick and violent stab to the sternum. He traded the practice sword off to his left hand again and then spun to his left, ending the combo with another backhand strike to the other side of the ribs. Teris put out a hand to stop himself from hitting the ground face first. Caysen kicked the hand just at the right moment and smirked as Teris received a face full of dirt and grass.
Caysen started laughing with the rest of the children. "Keep that guard up, Teris!"
Teris wiped his face off with the back of his hand. "Where do you get your skill? You're as good as Kira is now, I'd guess."
"No, she beat me just this morning. I didn't stand a chance. She keeps telling me to keep my emotions in check. Always something about being able to read me like a book." Caysen laughed again, but on the inside he was fuming. I don't like to lose. I love Kira, but she picks on me too much.
"Well you are an amazing swordsman," Teris replied
Caysen pounded his chest. "I know. I'm going to be the best that ever has been or ever will be!"
"Arrogance doesn't become you, Cays," Teris stated.
Caysen waved a hand. "Just who I am. I'm going to Kira's to get some food. Are you coming along?"
Teris rose to his feet and dusted himself off. "Yes, I think I'll tag along."
The two of them set off toward Kira's house. They spoke a little of their fight and new combinations that could be used in a fight. Teris laughed. "That combo you used on me, I literally couldn't defend. Are you planning to show that one to Kira later?"
"Absolutely, but I doubt it'll do any good," Caysen answered.
Teris slapped him on the back. "Don't worry so much. You'll do fine."
Caysen smiled. "Yes. I'll just have to do better. I know that I can improve."
Teris returned the smile. "That's the spirit. Race you to the house! GO!"
Caysen shoved himself into a sprint with his right leg. He was surprised by the way Teris had suddenly begun running and the hesitation had allowed Teris to gain the lead. He was more than determined to catch and pass the older boy. He drove his legs faster than he ever had, gaining ever more ground on his friend. It took only moments to bring himself even with Teris, but the house was now close and he had to push himself harder to reach the door first. He barely stopped himself at the doorstep and tagged the door, rapping it with his knuckles to let Kira know he was there.
Kira opened the door. Caysen noticed Teris blush, as the older boy normally did when seeing Kira. Caysen and Kira were oddities in Salinthas, being the only two in town having red hair. The predominant hair color was brown or black and there were a few blondes. Kira smiled at him and beckoned them in. Upon entering, he smelled his favorite beef stew. He noticed two bowls on the table, and Kira was already getting a third to accommodate Teris. His sister seated herself at the head of the table, as she normally did.
"So, did you two have fun sparring?" Kira asked.
Teris piped up in answer. "Oh yes, Caysen hit me with this new combo. I couldn't defend myself at all."
Kira smirked. "Is that right?"
Caysen gulped. The way she was staring at him was overwhelmingly unnerving. "Yes. He hit me in the back just before and I wanted to get him back. I simply thought and acted."
Kira nodded. "I'd sure like to see it after the meal."
"Yes, sister." Caysen silently ate his food from this point. He was going over in his head of how to stop his emotions getting the better of him so that Kira couldn't read him as she'd told him just that morning.
Kira finished her bowl of the stew first. Teris was done just after. Caysen finished a minute after and stood, pushing his chair back under the table. Teris and Kira gave him their bowls to clean. He scowled, but had turned so that Kira would not see. His effort to hide it seemed inconsequential as Kira noticed despite it and made a comment that he should change his attitude. Kira stood and grabbed their practice swords, saying that she was going outside to stretch a bit while he cleaned the dishes. Teris followed Kira out and gave Caysen a pat on the back.
"I only have to master my action and reaction. She tells me that I can be better than she is, that I am better than she is, yet she beats me every single time. I don't know. I'm just going to give it all I have." Caysen said to himself. He finished cleaning the last bowl then put them away and walked outside.
Caysen watched Kira finishing up her stretches. Teris was standing a few paces away practicing his swordplay, slashing and parrying his imagined foes. He picked his own practice sword up where Kira had left it leaning against the wall of the house near the door. He worked his grip and gave a few swings with a flourish. He settled into his new frame of mind and grip of his emotions, seeing all that could be accomplished in an instant. He couldn't read Kira, so he had no instant vision of the fight, just what he could do.
Kira nodded at him as though she approved. He watched her lip curl up into that smirk that he was accustomed to seeing on her face. He held his stance, deciding to allow her the first move. He chose to goad her with his left hand, motioning for her to begin her attack. He smiled, but as soon as he had, Kira was upon him slashing, thrusting and twirling with a repeated combo. He stepped away as quickly as she moved forward, blocking and dodging where he could. He received a couple of bruises, but he shrugged it off and kept his focus on learning the way she was moving. The chance he'd been...