Chapter 1

He swung his sword round making the familiar clashing sound of the weapons. Metallic red sparks flew from Hunter's sword, ice-blue from his opponents. Hunter had his mind focused on channelling the magic into his sword in order to win what would be his second tournament today. He was certainly hoping to make it to the final. People crowded round the battling pair and watched in awe at the fight unfolding before them.

His opponent, Vaux, had the upper hand so far, but Hunter could see he was tiring as the fight had been going on for about ten minutes now. He wasn't going to let his guard down. The determination in his hooded brown eyes was clear.

Vaux took a breath, but his mind became unfocused as he steadied himself and his guard was let down. Hunter recognised the mistake and went in for the final strike; more red sparks flew as Hunter hit the chest plate of his opponents armour, knocking him backwards. Vaux's sword fell out of his hand and rested next to him, dull silver, unlike the pure ice-blue it had been during the battle. The battle was over.

The tournament judge strode over to Hunter and lifted his arm up.

"Hunter rises against Vaux!" He shouted over the noise of the crowd.

Everyone cheered and whistled. The judged dropped his hand and he put his sword back into his sheath attached to his belt and walked over to his opponent, who was still flat on his back. He held out a hand for him and helped him up. Vaux picked up his sword and put it back into his sheath. They shook hands, nodded and walked away from the arena.

The final was in a week's time. He had won six battles and lost two. He had time to train up and perfect his skills with his instructor, Taiven.

He stopped off at his house on the way back to his own home to tell him of the good news.

He knocked on the door and Taiven opened it.

"I'm in the final!" He exclaimed excitedly.

"Well done, Hunter. I'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning. Early." He patted the teen on the back and they said his goodbyes.

He ran the rest of the way home, weaving in and out of people on the streets and down dark alleyways in between the wooden houses but stopped short when he noticed billowing smoke coming from the village where he lived his whole life. There were only eight houses in his village. He ran past the old shops, now he saw whose house was alight with raging flames. It was his.

There were several people from the village stood around.

"Dad!" He called, there was no answer. He was about to run into the burning house when someone pulled him back. It was Shade, his best friend.

"You can't go in there." He warned him.

"Yes I can!" He pulled away from his friends grip and ran through the front door of the house. Smoke stung his eyes and irritated his throat. Flames licked at his heels and when he got to the living area, he noticed that the glass box in the corner was empty.

"No." He choked silently. "No." He rummaged through the fallen debris searching for his father. Finally he saw something. It couldn't be.

"Dad!" He shouted shaking his shoulders. "DAD! The sword's gone!" The man's eyes flickered open and he spoke hoarsely to his son.

"Someone has stolen it. You have to find it Hunter. Find it for me. I'm dying son. I'm sorry. The men they're ver-..." He broke off his eyelids closed and tears filled Hunters eyes.

"Dad! Don't go. Please." It took all his strength to pick his father up, but he managed it. The building was getting hotter and hotter. He was sweating buckets and he wasn't sure if he would make it out. The smell of the smoke was getting stronger and it was making it harder to breath. A piece of the wooden ceiling fell in front of Hunter, it burnt his hands and the searing pain just made him keep going. He had to get out.

Stepping over pieces of burnt and flaming wood he headed towards the doorway. He could just make out the doorway – or what was the doorway when a the ceiling above him gave way and landed on top of him, the weight of his father in his arms already weighing him down caused him to crash heavily to the ground. He let out a loud yell of pain. No one had heard him.

Outside Shade was waiting for Hunter to come out of the blazing building. He looked from the disintegrating door at the front to the smashed windows on the side of the single floored house and back to the door. His father Ridge now stood behind him holding his shoulders, telling him it would be alright. For some reason Shade didn't believe him. He waited and then he saw something appear at the door, a shadow. Was it Hunter? He stepped forward out of his father's grip but was quickly pulled back again.

"It's not him Shade. I'm sorry." A single tear rolled slowly down his cheek, which he quickly wiped away. Sixteen years he had know Hunter for, when they had first started their sword fighting school with Taiven. There hadn't been many kids attending as it was very expensive. They had known each other since they were three, the age they are enrolled at TSFA – Taiven's Sword Fighting Academy.

Then he saw him, a silhouette emerged from the ablaze building, carrying a larger figure in his arms, his face was black from the smoke and soot and his clothes has holes burnt in them. Hunter's hands were red and the skin was scorched. Shade looked up at his father then ran towards his friend.

"Hunter!" He called to him then he noticed who the figure was in his arms. It was Ramon. There was blood pouring from a wound in his stomach. Had he been stabbed?

"It was stolen. Men came into the house stabbed my dad and stole the Fire Sword." Tears leaked over the edge of his eyes leaving trails behind on his soot covered cheeks. Hunter laid his dad on the grassy floor and stepped back wiping his tears away with his sleeve. Shade took him by the shoulders pulled him away from the horrifying scene. He was surprised when Hunter came with him.