Scarlet is a young Hilurin pedlar. He is the son of a wainwright (Scaja, son of Herec) from the small mountain village of Lysia, in northern Byzantur. His real mother is unnamed, but he has a stepmother (Linhona), and a half-sister (Annaya) living in Patra, and possibly another step-brother (Gedda) living somewhere in Minh, most likely as a slave. Since Scarlet was 2 years old when Gedda was kidnapped - and Gedda was 7 - that would make Gedda around 24 in the first novel.

Scarlet is fifteen years old when he leaves his village home of Lysia to become a pedlar. Being a pedlar is not a normal occupation for a Hilurin, but it's no secret that Scarlet has the wilding. His people are aware of this peculiar Hilurin affliction, and it confers on Scarlet the kind of freedom that a young man of his society normally cannot enjoy and be accepted. Mekit, for example, is a Hilurin leathersmith originally from Lysia, now living in Ankar. Mekit doesn't have the wilding and he's a drunkard, so he isn't thought very well of back home.

Scarlet travels with a Morturii karwaneer named Rannon his first journey out. Though only mentioned in the novels, Rannon looks after Scarlet and teaches him the art of long-knives, the traditional weapon of Byzantur. Scarlet works as a pedlar over the next two years, traveling the lesser routes between Rusa and Lysia in good weather, and traveling to Ankar to work in the great souk during the winters. In Ankar, Scarlet boards with Masdren , the leathersmith, and works for him in his shop.

Book One in the series begins on Scarlet's penultimate journey home from the Morturii city.

When he reaches Lysia, he's warned by Kev that a Kasiri band of outlaws is blocking Whetstone Pass and charging a toll for travelers. Since the Pass is the only comfortable route to take on foot without going around the entire mountain, Scarlet realizes that if he wants to get to Khurelen, he'll have to deal with these outlaws.

Scarlet rests only a few days at his parent's house in Lysia before he travels onward to Khurelen. He leaves Lysia and makes his way up the Owl's Road to the Nerit, and finds the road blocked by Kasiri, just as Kev said. There he meets Liall, atya of the Kasiri. Scarlet's manner is haughty, but he is willing to pay Liall the toll. Despite that, something in his manner annoys Liall. The chieftain refuses Scarlet passage and sends him packing.

Morose but determined, Scarlet tries to sneak pass the camp at night and is quickly captured. Brought before the Wolf's, he finds that the toll has risen. This time, Liall informs the outraged pedlar, the price of passage is a kiss.

Buy at Amazon