I don't own Deltora Quest, it belongs to Emily Rodda the writer of all its books. Now please enjoy the story and be sure to tell me what you think in the reviews.

Chapter One: A Heart of Fire

He stood on a cliff overlooking the small town of RimDale that sat at the northern most reaches of Deltora. His white cloak flapped gently around him in the morning wind, his hood shielded his face from prying eyes. He looked up towards the mountains to the north that seemed to loom closer with each passing moment.

He could feel the darkness of the Shadowlands, and the sadistic, cold presence of the Shadow Lord even here.

The Shadow Lord. The evil entity that in times past had brought the Land of Dragons to its knees and nearly crushed it, only to be stopped by Adin and the rest of the of the six tribes from across the land, that they had renamed Deltora, and cast back into the Shadowlands.

The same Shadow Lord, whose name struck fear into the hearts of the innocent, was also his Master.

Lifting his right hand up before him he chanted a string of magical words. When he had completed his chant blue fire erupted from his back into the shape of wings.

The Shadow Lord was his Master, and like his Master he had an insatiable, want for the suffering of others.

He stood amongst the burning houses of RimDale, what was left of the townspeople coward before him. None spoke and he knew that fear had paralyzed their pathetic human tongues.

He despised humans. They were weak, feeble minded, and doomed to fail, their lives meant nothing to him….and yet even as he thought those very words his hand hesitated to finish the townspeople off.

"You can't!" He searched for the brave owner of the voice, who had spoken in the face of death with the kind of unwavering voice that he so rarely heard from a human.

His eyes rested on a boy who couldn't have been over twelve years old. He had short spiky black hair and his dark blue eyes stared straight into the Sorcerers emotionless face.

"You can't hurt these people! I won't let you!" He yelled unsheathing a dagger. The dagger's golden hilt glinted in the firelight making it easy to see how priceless the weapon could be.

Slightly taken aback by the boy's show of fearlessness, he did not respond to the outburst.

He felt something welling up inside him; it was a warmness that didn't come from his fire. It came from….

The townspeople screamed as the fire burned their human flesh. He lowered his hand and looked at the boy who has spoken. He had a shocked look on his face. The Sorcerer's reaction had been too fast for his young eyes see.

Watching the boy's eyes, he became aware that the screaming sickened him.

When the boy looked at him after a few long moments, there was no hint of fear in his young eyes. Only anger.

The boy cried out and ran towards the Sorcerer. He jerked his dagger forward when he was close enough desperate to pierce anything.

"Esbada." He whispered the spell under his breath, drawing out his blue sword to block the boy's blade. He knew that he didn't even have to put in an effort in order to defeat this boy, the golden dagger he had was nothing compared to the magic he possessed. But the spell that would finish the boy off would not pass through his lips.

A tear rolled down the boy's anger filled face and he screamed, "Don't you have a heart!"

For a moment he did not respond. His empty heart lay silent inside him growing colder by the second. Then suddenly, like the striking of a match, it burned like fire. His answer echoed out in a mixture of cruel anger, and pure sadness.