Arthen is the main character of the story and eighteen years old at the beginning of O Burning Star. He is the second child of the once Marshall of the county Clearmont. After the burning and destruction of his family's house, Arthen is the supposed lone survivor and is taken in by Rhoystrar the Farmer. When his brother, Ketrian, finds him in Drywood, Arthen is abandoned once again with his village being burned and has to find a new home.
Arthen lived his childhood in his family's house in the county of Clearmont where his father was Marshall. After his brother, Ketrian, disappeared suddenly in the night when Arthen was ten years old, the family house is attacked by mysterious raiders and Arthen is seemingly the lone survivor as one of the servant girls, Saoirse, hides him in a hidden cupboard to escape the carnage. He leaves the wreckage of his house with no one alive to find him.
After walking for a day to find help, Arthen reaches the outskirts of the nearest village from his family's house, Saltwell. There, a girl named Reflynn finds him on the edge of unconsciousness with fireflies around him and names her Gleim. Her father, Rhoystrar the Farmer, takes Arthen back to their home. Arthen is taken in by Reflynn and her parents as helps them with working on the farm.
When Arthen hears of Golden Legionnaires in town, Arthen rushes to them for their aid to help him with the burning of his family. But the Legionnaires threaten to kill Arthen for saying he is the Marshall of Clearmont's son and tells him his father isa traitor for his plot in the assassination of King Augustus. Arthen retreats to his new common name of Gleim as his new identity to not risk anyone else finding out who he really is.
Because of the Farmer being a runaway Stahlg, the family is fluent in the Stahlg language which Arthen learns to speak rather quickly to fit in. After his defection from the Stahlgs, the Farmer found religion with For the Rebirth and made his family adopt the same. Because of his humbling turn from Marshall's son to disowned farmhand, Arthen finds some peace with worshipping For the Rebirth.
When the crops go dry for three seasons in Saltwell, the Farmer takes the family and Arthen up north to Drywood for better farming. Reflynn's longstanding illness finally takes her life and her mother not long after walks into the woods one night and doesn't return. Thus Arthen and the Farmer remain to live alone with each other.
Ketrian finds Arthen in Drywood eight years after the burning of their house and his Folams destroy the town and kill all the people including the Farmer. After giving Arthen a curse mark on his right hand, Ketrian and his followers disappear leaving Arthen alone in the cinders of Drywood. Arthen journeys with the wolves and is led to the Alchemists' hut where his curse wound is contained but not healed. The Alchemists then banish Arthen from their house and Arthen makes his way to Acres to find a job.
When Arthen is forced to sell his mother's pendant after failing to get a job in Acres, Booker finds the boy and offers to give him money so he may keep the pendant instead of selling it. Arthen joins Booker and his friend Frayne for dinner and is recruited by them to be their interpreter on their mission to the Stahlg settlement of Barsteen.
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