Author's Note: I'm sorry to everyone who read and reviewed this that I have had to restart it, though I did say in my last update of the story that this would happen. I realised when planning out the sequel that this one needed additional work, and the sequel could not be written without these edits. I hope to have these up quickly for you, including the new subplots that have been added to give the story more depth. Some characters names will be changed (Carolina, I have learned, is a shade of blue originating from Carolina University. Carolina University does not exist in this universe, thus that shade of blue would not be named as such. She has been renamed Sky. I think that's all for name changes but I'll let you know later if more occur.) Again, sorry to those who took time to review this before: I hope you enjoy the new plots that will be included.


Prologue


They were after him. Darian knew this as he skidded around a street corner, pushing off the wall of a building with one hand to project himself forward. He didn't know who they were. He had felt their eyes on him while he had been at the Eastern market. He had been waiting for an opportunity to swipe some fruit from the stalls or slip his hand into an unwary shopper's pocket, standing quietly and not bringing attention to himself. Street people had been going missing for weeks, maybe longer, but he had dismissed it as stories meant to scare the street children. The dark green cloaks had cast both of their faces in shadow, but as soon as he saw them something dropped in his stomach and he just knew who they were. He started to run straight away. His feet thundered on the cobble stones as he ran, occasionally looking back and seeing the flash of green against the grey and brown buildings that confirmed they were still behind him. He hurtled around another corner, barging through a small group of people and sending a woman tumbling to the ground.

"Get back here!" Her male companion roared, but Darian ignored him and instead sped onwards even faster. Two more corners, then he would just have to get over the alley wall and he would be close to the Roost – the large, abandoned building that had been claimed by those living on the streets. Once he made it inside the Roost, he would be safe, and he would be able to warn the others of what he had seen. They were real, and they wanted to take him.

Darian bolted around the last corner, smiling as the wall that created a dead end in the alley came into sight around the bend. The wall was high, but not high enough to stop him getting over it. He could always use the stack of crates that used to contain fabrics delivered to the clothes shop next door. He pushed on, until he tripped on a loose cobble stone and fell, twisting his ankle. He cried out as he fell, scraping his hands on the stones. He grunted and got up, limping to the wall and trying to scramble up. He fell back down. He couldn't get up if he could only place weight on one foot. He immediately turned to one of the crates that were piled up and seized one, dragging it away from the others. As he did so, he immediately unearthed the hiding place of a small girl, her hair messy and her eyes large and round as she looked up at him. She was one of the children from the Roost.

"Leto?" Darian asked, glancing down the alley. They weren't here yet, but they would be soon. "What are you doing here? You should be in the Roost, it's not safe for you here by yourself."

"I used to live here," she said in a quiet voice, and Darian looked down the alley again urgently. They weren't here yet, but they would be soon.

"Can you get over that wall?" He asked, and Leto shook her head. He shut his eyes for a moment. He didn't know if he could carry her in time, and he couldn't just leave her here –

Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement. The two green cloaks from the market were approaching him, slowly, as if they knew he had been cornered. Darian looked at Leto and hushed her quietly as he subtly shoved the crate back, hiding her again. He moved clumsily towards them, slowly and trying not to put weight on his twisted ankle as he bent his arm behind him and pressed his four spread fingers against his back. It was a sign that every street person in this city knew, meaning 'stay there' or 'wait'. He was sure Leto would be watching him, and he kept one hand behind him as he slowly unsheathed a knife and hobbled towards them. When they were close, close enough that Darian could smell sweet perfume emanating from them, Darian lunged with his knife and fists. He felt the knife tearing through fabric and ripping through skin. There was a moment, one bright moment, when Darian thought he might win. Then something sharp pierced his skin and everything went black in an instant.