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Shadow's Rising Chapter 9 (part 2)

by dragonight9

Shadow flew as fast as he could to the river and plunged in. He rinsed himself thoroughly and scrubbed off all the remaining muck. As he did so he had a terrible realisation. The dragonets had mentioned that Quake would have the only key to the door. It wouldn’t matter how long Shadow put him to sleep if the dragonets couldn’t get out!

In a panic Shadow quickly raced over to check on Quake who was still deeply asleep. Shadow knew that it might reveal his presence to the guardians if he opened the door, but he had to take the key from around Quake’s neck and use it to open the door.

The key was on a leather loop around Quake’s neck. Shadow nervously tapped Quake’s scales and backed away. No reaction. Then Shadow lifted Quake’s head, which was surprisingly heavy, and held it up with one hand as he reached for the key with the other. He had just wrapped his claw around the necklace holding the key when Quake’s head slipped from his grasp. Quake’s head thudded to the ground with a heavy thump. The sound felt as loud as a cannon shot to Shadow as he leapt back. A shiver of fear traveling from the base of his neck all the way to his tail.


Quake continued sleeping and had even started snoring a bit. Shadow breathed out a sigh of relief. This time he first slid the key up Quake’s neck to just below his head, then lifted slightly, worked it around his horns and slid it off his nose. Finally, he let Quake’s head down gently and slowly backed away. Again, Shadow breathed another sigh of relief. He had the key. Now he could go free the dragonets!

Shadow quickly flew over to the cave entrance and found the door hidden among the vines and moss. He inserted the key and paused. Up until this point he had never really considered if he could actually meet the dragonets. He’d always assumed it would never happen since he couldn’t reveal he was there, but now he was giving away the fact that he was here simply by opening the door. If he turned this key he would have to spend the rest of his days watching his tail until Jarid returned. He might even have to leave Denbark forest altogether.

Shadow took a deep breath. He’d already come this far for the dragonet’s freedom, and he wasn’t about to back out now. With all his determination he gave the key a firm turn clockwise, knowing that this was the moment his life would change forever… and nothing happened.

Confused Shadow turned the key the other way and it easily turned with a clack. Shadow put a talon up to his face and shook his head. Of course, it would be the other way! With a sigh he swung the door open the moment now ruined.

Whatever. I’ll have my cool moment later. He thought as he turned to walk away. Then he paused, looking back at the dark hole in the ground leading to the dragonet’s home. He’d already come this far, what was the harm in taking a peek?

Lured by curiosity and excitement at seeing the place he had only caught vague glimpses of in the dragonet’s minds, he came up to the entrance. Then, trembling with excitement and nervousness, Shadow took a deep breath and descended into the cave. Inside the door was a natural tunnel that had been smoothed out with stairs carved into the floor leading steeply down. Shadow closed the door behind him and immediately heard voices from down the tunnel.

“Quake! Get down here! The dragonets are attacking me!” A female voice shouted. Shadow assumed that must be Shear. There were torches on the walls of the cave that gave off just enough light to see clearly. Shadow walked slowly and carefully down the stairs.

In the silence after Shear’s call, his footsteps on the stone seemed to echo around the whole cave. He reached the base of the stairs and saw what looked like a larger tunnel curving off to his right and a cave that opened to his left. In that cave was a group of dragons all frozen in place staring at the stairs as they waited for who they thought was Quake to descend. He saw a large sleek grey dragon surrounded by five smaller dragons. Shadow could hear all the dragonets thoughts and they all were thinking the same thing.

Quake is back already! We’ve lost! Our only chance at freedom is gone! Their thoughts came at him loud and clear but quickly quieted as he stepped into the cave. Their faces were frozen in fear but quickly turned to confusion as he stepped into the flickering light of the torches. Shear looked horrified.

Somebody found us! They’re going to take the dragonets! She thought as she leapt over the dragonet’s heads to place herself between them.

“Who are you?! What do you…” She trailed off as she realised she was talking to a dragonet. Then her mind reeled as she also noticed what kind of dragonet she was talking to. “Wait, are you a…”

“A Night Wing.” Hailstorm gasped in awe. The other dragonets quickly realised this fact as well and their minds exploded with so many thoughts it gave Shadow a headache.

“Yes, I am a Night wing. My name is Shadow and I’m here to rescue you,” Shadow said, clutching his head and trying to sound as heroic as possible.

“Rescue us?” Tempest, Gale and Aurora said all at once. Shadow nodded.

“Yes, I…”

“You were the one sending us those messages!” Hailstorm said as he realised it.

“But you’re just a dragonet.” Tempest said in confusion. Her comment hurt a lot more than Shadow had expected. He knew that they thought he was an adult dragon in the wings of protection, but it still stung to be referred to as, ‘just a dragonet’.

“What do you mean you’re here to rescue us?” Boulder asked. Shadow smiled. Even as everyone was reeling in confusion, trust Boulder to be the one to ask the important question.

“I’m here to hep you get out of this cave, which means helping you stop Shear.” Shadow explained turning to Shear and crouching down. Shear held up a talon as she was still very confused.

“Wait, wait, wait. How did you get in here? Where’s Quake? Are you the prophecy dragonet of the Night Wings? How do you know the dragonets? And most of all, why are you all attacking me?!” Shear roared in utter confusion.

“Well, your first two questions are easy.” Shadow said holding up the key. “I put Quake to sleep and stole his key to help the dragonets escape.” Everyone stood stunned for a moment. They couldn’t believe that a single dragonet had taken down Quake. Shadow loved the looks of shock on their faces but quickly continued before they started talking again.

“The dragonets deserve to see the world and from what I’ve heard, you guardians have been treating them horribly. Beating them and insulting them when they should have been comforted and loved. You took them from their parents and didn’t even have the decency to give them that?! They deserve to be free and I’m going to help them escape from here,” Shadow finished determinedly. The dragonets were still in shock as they listened to Shadow explain why he had come, but Shear merely hung her head and nodded in agreement at his assessment of their situation.

“Yes, it’s true we haven’t been the parents these dragonets needed. I couldn’t even stop Surge from harming them. But I still want to protect them.” Shear said somberly.

“Then let us go. We need to be a part of the world we’re trying to save someday. Please Shear,” Aurora mewed pleadingly.

Shear sighed.

“You’re right. But before you go will you at least listen to some information I have? If you’re going to leave please let me give some advice before you go.” She asked hopefully.

“Of course.” Boulder nodded.

“Thank you,” Shear said with a slight smile.

“Wait, I only put Quake to sleep. He could wake up any minute!” Shadow said worriedly.

“Don’t worry. I’ve promised to let you go,” Shear assured them. “If Quake tries to stop you I’ll hold him down while you escape. It is about time you dragonets carved your own path in the world.”

“What about the Flame Wing dragonet that was coming here. Will you help him find us too?” Aurora asked. Shear smiled kindly at her.

“Don’t worry Aurora. It’s your destiny to find each other so I wouldn’t worry about that. I’m sure you’ll meet him or her soon enough. And while they’re here I’ll do my best to keep Surge and Quake from treating them too badly,” She said before sitting down and gesturing for the others to join her.

“Now, gather around dragonets. I’m about to tell you everything you need to know for your journey… including everything we guardians have kept from you about your parents.”

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369 Reviews

Points: 75415
Reviews: 369

Fri Dec 29, 2023 3:19 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...

Hello again, my friend!

Ah, what a chapter! There's a lot of eagerness as we're reading about Shadow retrieving the key from that sleeping brute of a dragon, and then going as far as to enter the cave. On a side note, that failed "cool moment" with the key was funny, the perfect way to inject a little humor. Now, I thought Shadow would want to look around, and someone *may* catch a glimpse and get suspicious, but dang! Full speed ahead, Shadow just put himself out in the open! It was a very tense moment, captured well. You describe utter shock from the dragonets, fear of Quake returning, and a sense of horror and betrayal from Shear. All well in line with what we know about their characters.

The emotional roller coaster toward the end was the perfect way to close off this grand moment. Truth be told, I was a little afraid the dragonets would just down Shear by luck, escape, and that'd be it for the guardians and their cave. Should have known better, haha. I'm very glad Shadow presented that dramatic monologue about the dragonets' freedom and how they've been mistreated, and I love that you took the time to capture Shear's sobering response and how the dragonets still empathize with her even after this realization. It gives the impression of redemption, and says a lot about Shear's character as she's willing to give them their freedom. Maybe, for one minute here, she *can* be the parent these dragonets want/need...

And that cliffhanger is a perfect way to end the chapter. Finally, we get to see a compromise between the guardians and the dragonets, foreshadowing what the guardians have been keeping from them, and potentially *why* they've been treating the dragonets this way. It's quite the setup for a big revelation.

I have no complaints about the chapter! It was really good, and I'm excited to continue!

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558 Reviews

Points: 33785
Reviews: 558

Thu Sep 28, 2023 12:36 am
Ventomology wrote a review...

Heyy! Back for yet more dragons.

So, I've been trying to put my finger on the thing that would really elevate your action from good to great. Like I've said, I think you have a pretty good sense for pacing, and you actually do a great job with getting from step to step in the action. I rarely feel like you skip over parts or speed through things.

However, what I think you'll want to try next is to get rid of 'was' to the extent that you can.

Let me preface by saying it's not bad to use the word 'was' (or 'is', if you're writing in present tense). The word exists for a reason. It's useful. It gets the job done. It's just not especially evocative, and I see a lot of it in your writing--not so much in the action itself, which is good, but in your descriptive passages, where it'll really make an impact if you don't use 'was'.

'Was' is a state-of-being verb, which is why it feels really natural to use it to describe things. But as a state-of-being verb, it can't carry the kind of weight, connotation, action, or emotion that other verbs can. Let's take a look at the second and third paragraphs and the instances of 'was' that show up there.

The first is:

In a panic Shadow quickly raced over to check on Quake who was still deeply asleep.

(First of all... you have a prepositional phrase, 'In a panic', and relational clause, 'who was still deeply asleep', which both need to be separated by a comma.)

What does it look like for Quake to be deeply asleep? Does he snore? Does he get the dreamy eye-twitchies that people get when they're in REM? We like to think of sleeping as a pretty sedate verb, but there are tons of synonyms that have other, more complex meanings. A person can doze, nap, or slumber, and those are all kinds of sleeping that add a different tone to your writing. So, one possible fix to the use of 'was' here could be: "In a panic, Shadow raced over to check on Quake, who let out a deep, rumbling snore." If he's snoring, then we know he's asleep, and we get the benefit of a little more evocative phrasing to see or hear the situation.

For the next one:
The key was on a leather loop around Quake’s neck.

I suppose this is short enough and innocuous enough that you don't have to do much to it, but a simple switch like 'hung' or 'dangled' wouldn't be amiss. Actually, if you use 'dangled,' its tantalizing connotation means you can reinforce the idea that this key is something Shadow needs and wants to get.

And lastly:
Then Shadow lifted Quake’s head, which was surprisingly heavy, and held it up with one hand as he reached for the key with the other.

In this instance, I'm not even sure you needed to add that Quake's head is heavy. You've made it pretty clear in past chapters that he's a big guy, and one would assume that a sandy or earthy dragon would be on the heavier side regardless of size. If you want to really sell the weight here, I'd actually focus on the word 'lifted,' which could be improved by using a verb that indicates on its own that Shadow is lifting something heavy. A word like 'hefted,' 'hoisted,' or 'heaved,' all of which mean 'lifting something heavy, or lifting with great strain' will elevate the verb 'lift' so that you don't have to add that Quake's head is heavy. It's implied by your use of a strong, meaning-laden verb.

Plotwise, it's nice of Shear to be so understanding. I wish you'd spent a little more time on the sounds of the children fighting her, and gave her a little more resistance before she let the kiddos go (she may understand them and be supportive... but as a grown-up myself, I don't think I could in good conscious send a bunch of children off on their own. I'd actually insist on coming along to keep them safe!), but I'm excited for the secrets she's about to reveal. I think you've done a good job with witholding information and setting up the anticipation for this new info.

Great work! Hope this helps,

dragonight9 says...

I thought of adding a reason Shear couldn't come but ended up kind of ignoring it. Thanks for pointing it out. If readers are noticing something off it really motivates me to improve/fix it.

Thanks again for all the good tips. I will definitely try to incorporate more specific verbs when I do my grammar editing. I liked the examples you gave in the story to show what you meant. Very helpful.

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50 Reviews

Points: 1072
Reviews: 50

Fri Sep 22, 2023 4:57 pm
Serrurie wrote a review...

I've never read this before, but it looks quite interesting, and I love dragons! Let's dive in.

The good stuff: Your grammar is amazing! Never do I see someone who tajes the time to put all of the commas in the right places.

Things to work on: I think the sentences could flow a bit smoother. Grammar here is amazing, but instead of making one-subject sentences, add a little flare, like so:
'Shadow quickly flew over to the cave entrance and found the door hidden among the vines and moss. He inserted the key and paused.' to: 'Shadow quickly flew over to the cave entrance, found the door, inserted the key, and paused'. That was a wordier example, but I think you'll get the gist.
Second, you don't have to constantly add tags lines after speech a conversation. I get it's a large group in this work, but if it's only two people, you can go a bit like this:
"Where's my cake?" Dan asked.
"I don't know."
"You ate it."
Mary blushed and nodded her head.
"You know chocolate is my favorite."

Personal Thoughts: WINGS of FIRE?! Can we be best friends? I haven't been able to dork out on WOF for a while, and your book seems very creative! I have a feeling that Shadow isn't the normal Nightwing. Perhaps a prisoner for his own kind? I doubt they'd do that, but it would be an interesting twist! Though I thought the names were a tad bit strange. I'm used to the names of the dragons not being human, but more of something that reflect's their tribe's culture, or their appearance.

Overall, this is really good! I'm excited to see what this books takes on!
Happy writing!

dragonight9 says...

Thanks for the review! I love dragons and Wings of Fire too!

I used WoF as heavy inspiration for this book and the dragon names are based off the element their tribe is associated with.
I would really love it if you read the story from the start as I think you'd enjoy it (especially if you like WoF).

I get what you mean about adding tags though. I'll see what I can do.
Have a great day and happy reading/writing!

I also wish you good mouth rocks
— figget