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Authors: Kate Bloomfield


BOOK: Flamethroat
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Book Two

The Fire Mage Trilogy

By Kate Bloomfield

: Several weeks ago



Kenneth Redding tucked his ten-year-old daughter Helena into bed. She smiled sleepily as he gave her a whiskery kiss on her cheek and left the room. As he closed the door, he saw her tiny frame curl under the blankets and prepare for sleep. While he stood in the hall he heaved a sigh and ignored the pressing thoughts that were tumbling around in his mind. He was over tired. Kenneth had worked another twelve-hour day and all it would amount to was an extra loaf of bread upon the table. He shuffled towards his own bedroom door and peeked inside. His wife Anya was already asleep, curled up, facing away from the door. He entered the room, slipped off his work clothes and changed into fresh night garments. As he sunk into bed, his wife stirred. Anya rolled onto her other side to face him. Her eyes were red and puffy. She had once again been crying before she had fallen asleep. Kenneth had become used to the
sobs. Often he would wake during the night to hear Anya crying quietly. He usually pretended to be asleep, he knew there was nothing he could do to make her feel better. Things had gone down hill for his family since Anya had become very ill and was no longer fit to work. The town

s folk whispered that she had lost her mind, but Kenneth knew it was depression that plagued her. It had been months since their eldest daughter Avalon had vanished in the middle of the night. Kenneth should have known that Avalon would run away, she had expressed her desire to leave Mortlock only hours prior to her disappearance. That was what had disturbed his family the most, that Avalon had been so ready and willing to never see them again. Though he didn

t like to admit it, his youngest child Helena had been much safer since Avalon had left. Safer, yes, but lonelier too.

Helena was forbidden from leaving the house for she didn

t appear to posses any known Powers. If the townsfolk realised that Helena was not the same as them, she would be taken away by
he Realm of Mages and forced into slavery with the other Humans. Kenneth shuddered as the word entered his mind. Human. He refused to think of his youngest as one of
. His daughter was of a Mage bloodline yet there was no explaining her lack of Power. If
he Realm of Mages
discovered this, the entire family would be implicated.

This was why Avalon had run away. From a very young age she

d had difficulty controlling her Power like the other children. It wasn

t easy being a Fire-Mage though
t was difficult to be trusted
Fire-Mages had a reputation as destroyers and troublemakers; therefore control over the fire was essential. Avalon had no such control. The fire would just explode from her at random times as though her body could not contain it. She had always been a very
child, quick to anger, defensive, with little-to-no people skills. The fact that Avalon was often so emotional contributed to her lack of control. She often had nightmares too, so in the middle of the night the house would go up in flames.

This was a serious danger to Helena, who was not a Fire-Mage
like the rest of
Helena could feel heat and her flesh could burn. Her safety had been
on so many occasions that Avalon hadn

t been able to handle the guilt any longer and had decided to run away.

The Redding family had only received one letter from Avalon in the many months she had been missing. They didn

t know where she was or if she was still safe. Kenneth had wanted to search for Avalon, but he could not leave his wife and youngest child. He needed to work to provide for the family he had left. Anya could not journey in search of Avalon, she needed to care for Helena who could not leave the house. So the Redding family waited patiently for their eldest daughter to return, wondering if she ever would. As Kenneth rolled over in bed to face his wife, he realised that she had been watching him think. He gave her a small smile that she did not return. Kenneth sighed internally and put a hand to his wife

s shoulder.


t sleep?

he asked.

She shook her head.

Anything I can do? Warm milk?

he offered.

Anya shook her head again.

Kenneth licked his lips and swallowed, rubbing his hand up and down Anya

s arm comfortingly,

More pillows?


s eyes seemed empty.


t you care?

Kenneth frowned at her.

Of course I care about you.

Not me,

she breathed.

Kenneth didn

t say anything. He didn

t want to talk about this. He thought about it every second of every day.


m tired, sweetheart,

he yawned and began to rearrange his pillows.

You never talk,


s voice broke.

I have nothing to say,

Kenneth said quickly.

I need to talk about it, Ken,


s eyes began brimming with tears.


m bottling it all in.

Kenneth remained silent. He stared at the roof, ignoring the rising heat building inside him. If he got mad he knew an argument would quickly follow.



s features were harsh now.

I don

t know how much longer I can handle this. It

s tearing the family apart.

Well it

s hardly my fault, is it?

Kenneth snapped.

I didn

t make her run away.

Anya sat up quickly and glared at him, a sight that wrenched at Kenneth

s heartstrings.

We knew she wanted to leave. We should have known!


s voice was getting louder now.

She snuck out in the middle of the night, Anya. We can

t keep blaming ourselves.

Kenneth found his own voice rising now.

We should have done something,

said Anya.

Like what?

he snapped.

Watch her every second of the day?



s bottom lip trembled.

I can

t bear this.

Well you

re going to have to,

he said sharply.

You think this doesn

t tear me up inside too Anya? I don

t have the luxury of sitting at home like you. I have to get up at the crack of dawn and continue working in order to put bread on the table for what is left of this family. I have to put on a straight face every time I see my co-workers and pretend that everything is okay. They don

t know my eldest daughter is
. I can

t even hire someone to search for her, because they would want to know
she ran away in the first place!


Anya began, her eyes widening, but Kenneth cut her off.

Not to mention I couldn

t even
to hire someone to look for Avalon, because I

m the only bloody person in this house who earns a single

Anya tried to speak again.

Ken, just listen-


m sick of all these guilt trips Anya.

Kenneth was raising his voice now. He had bottled this all in for many weeks.

I think it is best if we just go on with our everyday lives. Avalon will come back when she sees fit. She

s a clever girl and she doesn

t trust easily. Not to mention, she is perfectly capable of protecting herself.

Just stop for a-

Anya grabbed Kenneth

s arm tightly.

I know what you

re going to say,

Kenneth said.


re going to tell me


s not what you said when Avalon tried to leave the first time


He put on a high pitch voice in mock of his wife


But you know as well as I do that Avalon is a danger to others. If we weren

t Fire-Mages we would have been killed years ago because of all those blasted fires.

Kenneth, shut up!

Anya said, panicked.

For gods sake listen!

Kenneth breathed heavily and waited for his wife to speak.



she closed her eyes and seemed to be waiting for something.

What is it?

Kenneth was getting impatient now.

I … I think I heard something.


Kenneth sighed and put his face in his hands.

In the hall,

Anya whispered.

I heard the floorboards creaking.


s probably Helena,

Ken was highly irritated and just wanted to sleep.

She probably heard us arguing.

Just check,

Anya breathed.


s nothing,

Kenneth insisted.


she said,
her eyes wide.

BOOK: Flamethroat
7.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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