This month sees, by sheer coincidence, the publication of two stories from my series about the itinerant teenage sorcerers, Karaghr and Failiu, known to their friends as Kari and Fai. Steal Away is featured in the summer edition of Golden Visions, while The Temple of Taak-Resh is released as an ebook by Darwin’s Evolutions.
So I thought I’d give a bit of background on this pair of fantasy juvenile delinquents. Karaghr, in fact, first figured at a much later stage of his life in my trilogy The Winter Legend, where he gives a hint of his past life, referring to a girl called Failiu he loved when he was young.
Rightly or wrongly, I can’t see a backstory without writing about it, so I began writing stories about their time together. There are three so far – besides these two, Rainy Season was published last year in Golden Visions – and I hope to write more.
Kari and Fai met in the great city of Errish, at a turbulent time in its history. The city had just seized its independence from the Empire of the Demon Queen and was now at the head of a growing alliance against her, but the two young people paid little attention to great affairs. They met in the Temple of the god Taliqi, where both were acolytes.
Failiu grew up on the streets of Errish, a homeless waif who begged and stole and, if she’d been left there, would probably have ended up a prostitute by her teens and dead before twenty. However, a kindly priest of Taliqi called Jareo took her into the temple when she was ten, where she remained in the boring but safe service of the god.
Karaghr, on the other hand, was born in a village in the Kheoshe Valley, far from the Demon Queen’s influence. Bored by the routine life of a farming community, he leapt at the chance to go with a travelling Errishi priest and live in the greatest city in the world – even if that did mean enduring the discipline of temple life.
Kari and Fai were in their mid teens when they met, and the bond that grew between them worked on many levels: lust, caring, lust, a shared sense of adventure, lust, a thirst for knowledge. Oh, and did I mention lust? Their relationship became sexual by stages – strictly contrary to their vows, but what are vows against teenage hormones? – and they found their way to forbidden volumes of sorcery in the temple’s library. It was against the laws of Taliqi to study such things – but, as Kari has pointed out, the books shouldn’t have been there, in that case. It was all the temple’s fault.
The inevitable happened. Kari and Fai were found out and expelled from the Temple of Taliqi. They had no money, and nowhere to go, but what did that matter? They were Outlaws and Outcasts, together against the world: what more can you ask at seventeen? They were also proficient sorcerers. Well, fairly proficient. Well, they could fake what they didn’t actually remember. The world wasn’t going to know what had hit it.
So there we have them, off on their great adventure. Failiu has a little common sense and caution, but it tends to get blown away by her love of adventure. And as for Karaghr, he’s a seventeen-year-old boy determined to impress the whole world – not mention his girlfriend. What do you expect?