z
  • Home

Young Writers Society



The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter 51

by felistia


Zoltar came too slowly. He groaned as he blearily opened his eyes. Sunlight flooded them and he quickly scrunched them shut with a muffled yelp. His head was pounding. Maybe sleeping among these flowers every night was a bad idea. Must be the pollen. It might explain why he kept falling asleep so easily.

Groaning again, he squinted open his eyes, bracing for the brightness.

Wait! Why was there sunlight?

His eyes flew open as he scrambled to his paws, or at least he tried to. He barely cleared the floor before losing his grip and slamming back into it with a dull thud.

Sharp splinters of pain shot through his skull and neck. Zoltar gritted his teeth, hissing in pain. Nausea clawed at his stomach and his vision spun wildly, the sudden dizziness threatening to take him back into the darkness if he didn’t lie still.

The events of the previous night came flooding back to him, the attempt at finding the village, the Wisp talon ambush and him losing consciousness. The sickly weakness from before still clung to his scales and his mouth tasted bitter. Whatever was on that dart mustn’t have worn off yet.

Shifting slightly, he brought his front paws up. They were bound in thick vines, his claws barely visible through them. Glancing behind him, he could see that his back paws weren’t much better. It was no wonder that he couldn’t get a grip of the wooden floor.

He hissed, noticing the tightness around his jaws. Vines were roped around his snout too, tight enough to make breathing painful. There was no way he could use his fire…not without seriously hurting himself in the process.

A similar tightness was pressing against his tail barb and Zoltar glanced behind him to find that his tail was lashed to a large tree trunk growing through middle of the room.

He gave his tail an experimentally yank, but it didn’t budge. Without his claws or teeth, he wouldn’t be able to do much about that either.

He sucked in a shaky breath, wincing as the vines bit into his snout, ‘Just stay calm. You’ve got a few days to get out of this. Don’t panic.’

He knew he was lying to himself. He was doomed. There was no way out of this. Even if he did somehow manage to get himself out of these restraints, he still had to get out of the village. At least he assumed he was in the village. He couldn’t really tell.

He strained his eyes, squinting through the harsh sunlight streaming through the barred door of his cell. He couldn’t see much, just some blurry patches of green and brown. He shook his head in an attempt to clear his vision. It wasn’t always this blurry in sunlight was it? It couldn’t just be the contrast in lighting that was causing this. Blue moons, what was in that dart?

He growled again, rubbing his front paws haphazardly against the bonds on his snout.

Still, he had to be in the village. The bird song and rustling leaves said as much, not to mention the giant tree trunk impaling the center of the room. He was probably half way up a tree.

“Well, well, look who’s finally awake,” a crackling voice hissed.

Zoltar scrambled back, or at least tried to, his paws unable to grab purchase on the floor. His scales crawled at the sight in front of him.

A blood copper Wisp Talon had materialized outside the cell, except it was upside down, only its front claws and snout visible through the bars at it observed him.

“Now, now, don’t go making sudden movements like that. You’ll only make the effect of the poison worse.” He cackled, slinking down from his perch, “Best to just stay still.”

Zoltar backed up against the tree trunk, his back spines bristling. Oh, how he wished he could hide, use his wings to break that dragon’s line of sight from him, but they remained lashed to his sides, useless.

The Wisp Talon chuffed, seemingly enjoying Zoltar’s terror. His bronze eyes narrowed as he held him under his gaze, studying him like one would a small animal pinned beneath their claws.

Zoltar remained crouched, curling in on himself in a vain attempt to make himself smaller as the Wisp Talon’s eyes ran over him.

The dragon hummed after a few moments, seemingly satisfied with what he saw. Rubbing two talons together, he turned and barked, “Nova!”

Another Wisp Talon emerged from the canopy, his scales spattered dark blue and black. He dipped his head at the other Wisp Talon upon landing, “Yes?”

“See to it the Shadow Talon gets another dose. He’s getting a little to sprightly for my liking.”

“Yes, Eclipse. Right away,” Nova bobbed his head again as he backed away.

Zoltar shivered, his paws trembling as the name echoed through his ears. It was him.

“Good…” Eclipse purred, examining his claws as he eyed Nova. Suddenly he lunged forward, grabbing the other Wisp Talon by the throat as he growled in a steely voice, “and keep an eye on him this time. We wouldn’t want another incident now would we?”

“No, no,” Nova yelped, tugging at the talons wrapped around his neck, “It won’t happen again, I promise.”

Eclipse stare at him for a long moment, before shoving the Wisp Talon backwards, “It better not…for your sake. Now get out of here.”

Nova nodded frantically, clutching his neck as he took off.

Eclipse watched him leave, his tail slowly sweeping from side to side like waiting snake.

“You don’t have to be so rough with him you know.”

Zoltar couldn’t help, but flinch as a rush of wings cut through the morning air. The thatch roof above him creaked as the dragon landed.

Eclipse turned and glared up at the other Wisp Talon, “I don’t know why you’re getting under my scales about this Solar. You were the one who threatened to rip his teeth out when that Shadow Talon escaped.”

Zoltar tensed. ‘Other Shadow Talon?’

Solar huffed, “I might have gotten a little carried away.”

“Hmmm… doesn’t matter,” Eclipse hummed, before scuttling up the hut wall, “It’s not like he made it far.”

They were talking about Scorpus. Who else could it be? Zoltar squeezed his eyes shut at the image of his old general standing broken on that beach. Was he going to end up like that…before ultimately meeting his end at the fangs of the Death Grippers?

He shuddered, trying to shake off the thought.

Another rustle overhead pulled his attention back to the two Wisp Talons.

“What’s eating at you?” Solar asked, “You don’t usually lose your temper like that, even in the face of Nova’s…less than brilliant moments. What’s bothering you?”

A low growl rumbled through the branches after a few moments of heavy silence, “This is the same one that we saw less than a moon cycle ago. The one that escaped. Why would he come back? Something’s up and I intend to find out.”

Zoltar shrank in on himself. Eclipse had been there that night? He remembered him? How could this get any worse?

“You sure?” Solar hissed, dipping his head down to peer through the bars. His pitch black eyes met Zoltar’s and he grinned, before quickly facing Eclipse again, “You’re right. It is him.”

There was another long pause and the sound of snickering, before Eclipse growled in a slightly irritated voice, “We best go. No point waiting around. I don’t think Nova’s going to come back as long as you or I are here. Coward’s probably waiting for us to leave.”

Solar snorted, “Can’t really blame him after the way you grabbed him. I’d probably do the same if I were in his scales.”

A heave sigh followed the sound of opening wings as Eclipse snapped, “Just go.”

More snickering floated through the roof as both dragons took off. The last of their words were covered by their wings beats as they flew off into the forest, leaving Zoltar with his thoughts. What was he going to do?


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
1524 Reviews

Points: 160372
Reviews: 1524

Donate
Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:09 pm
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey there felistia!

Once again I am reading this out of order in an effort to review green room works and for that I can only apologise. If you do want feedback on the full novel when it's finished please let me know, as I'm happy to read it in a Google doc or similar format. For now though, I at least know the characters and have a reasonable idea of how the story has progressed recently so I hope that will be enough.

I remember wondering if Zoltar was going to remember anything from the previous night and his encounter with the dart. I'm not surprised he's groggy when he wakes up, and I liked the description of him struggling to pull himself together. It continues well from the previous chapter (I think it was the last one) and it seems pretty realistic as I wouldn't have expected him to just get up and be fine.

For all the build up he's had, I didn't find Eclipse to be super intimidating. I'm not sure if it was just because of how he was interacting with Solar but because Solar seemed pretty unfazed by him I was almost left wondering why Zoltar was afraid.

The fact that Scorpus has already escaped both gives me hope and worries me. If Scorpus escaped then the place Zoltar is being held captive can't be too secure... but they might have tripled any kind of security to stop it happening again. I again find myself wanting to hug Zoltar. He just seems to get himself into trouble, doesn't he?

I'm going to quickly read through the next couple of chapters, then I'll be back to review 54 & 55 :)

Hope this was helpful!

Icy




User avatar
545 Reviews

Points: 41814
Reviews: 545

Donate
Sat Sep 03, 2022 4:38 pm
View Likes
Liminality wrote a review...



Hiya felistia!

First Impressions
Something I found interesting about this chapter is what the Wisp Talon village looks like. It’s my first time encountering it, since I’ve not read this story continuously from the start. I didn’t feel particularly intimidated by Eclipse and Solar, even though Eclipse obviously displays some violent and domineering tendencies. I could see how he could scare Zoltar, though, since being completely restrained, Zoltar was already feeling pretty vulnerable. I’m curious about Solar, since he seems to be in between Eclipse and the other Wisp Talons – not quite ‘just following orders’ but seemingly not as cruel as Eclipse in general. I could be wrong though!

Setting and Worldbuilding
I like the little details that show this is a village, for instance the wooden floor. The peaceful feeling that birdsong gives also contrasts sharply with the situation that Zoltar is in. To me, at least, it seemed to reflect how Eclipse feels like there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing. (In general, Eclipse and Solar talk very casually about doing terrible things to other dragons, so that might be what’s giving me this impression too.)

The bird song and rustling leaves said as much, not to mention the giant tree trunk impaling the center of the room.

I particularly like the image of a trunk “impaling” the room. Usually a building around a tree would make me think ‘oh, how lovely’, but in this case there’s the creepy juxtaposition with the fact that Zoltar is being held captive there.

Characterisation
“Well, well, look who’s finally awake,” a crackling voice hissed.

When I read this ‘introduction’ to Eclipse’s character (though from what I can tell, he’s been introduce din some way before), I initially thought it would be just another Wisp Talon supporting character. I kind of expected someone who opens with the classic “well, well, well” to be a bit more ‘bark and no bite’, if that makes sense. I also noticed the word “snickering” is used to describe Zoltar’s captors laughing. To me that makes it feel more like this is a bullying situation? I wouldn’t usually associate “snickering” with characters that could decide the protagonist’s life or death, but maybe that’s just me.
“This is the same one that we saw less than a moon cycle ago. The one that escaped. Why would he come back? Something’s up and I intend to find out.”

I do like that Eclipse’s intention is revealed here. I think Zoltar might not quite end up like Scorpus, since it seems Eclipse still needs information from him. This bit also suggests that Eclipse is smart, which would make him a bigger obstacle to overcome.

Plot
From what I can tell, the main thing that happens in this chapter is that Zoltar is getting some information about what the Wisp Talons’ ‘management’ is like. Eclipse is at the top, Solar seems to be his right-hand, and other Wisp Talons like Nova seem to be getting pushed around by the two of them. I guess this would confirm what Emerald has been telling him.
Solar snorted, “Can’t really blame him after the way you grabbed him. I’d probably do the same if I were in his scales.”

Solar seems pretty okay with criticising (lightly) Eclipse, which is quite interesting. I don’t think Solar is going to be very helpful to Zoltar here. He seems to just be bothered by how Eclipse treated one of the other Wisp Talons.
I think the tension and anticipation are building up here for Zoltar to do something and hopefully succeed. The past few chapters have been a lot of planning, preparing and trying things out that just don’t seem to work. So my feeling is he’s either going to get a breakthrough on something soon, or some other big event might happen.

Overall

I thought this was an interesting chapter. I’m looking forward to see how Zoltar plans to get out of this predicament – maybe Eclipse might get overconfident with security or something like that.
Hope some of this helps and feel free to ask for more feedback!
-Lim

Image





Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places, you’re off and away!
— Dr. Seuss