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Quest for Fire ~ Chapter 1 ~ The Island

by felistia


Vivid blades of honey gold streaked through the forest canopy, the dappled light waving over the forest floor. An evening wind was starting to blow. The colors of the forest slowly growing dim as the sun dipped behind the mountains. The three black dragons crept silent as mice under the ancient trees, their eyes darting from shadow to shadow.

“D-don’t you think we should start heading back now?” the youngest of the dragons asked, trembling from head to tail. He swallowed the lump building in his throat and tried to calm his shaking nerves. The night creatures were starting to play their eerie songs, the shaky notes bouncing through the damp air. Who knew what was out there, watch him from the shadows? “It’s starting to get dark and I don’t think staying out is a good idea.”

“Nonsense, Zoltar,” the oldest stated confidently, “We were sent on an important mission and we’re going to finish it, even it means staying out a little bit longer.”

“But, Scorpus,” Zoltar protested.

“Come on, Zoltar. Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the dark now,” sneered another dragon. Muscles rippled under his obsidian black scales and there was a mean glint in his eyes.

“You really are a loser, you know that? First, you’re born without acid fangs and now you’re scared of the dark. Really, I don’t know why Scorpus even brought you on this mission?” He made a swipe at Zoltar, who leapt out of reach.

“Mowzan,” Scorpus barked, turning to glare at the younger dragon, “Don’t you dare talk to Zoltar like that. It’s not his fault he was born with a defect.” He cast a look of pity in Zoltar’s direction.

Zoltar simply stared at his talons. He’d had this abuse from the day he'd hatched and although he was used to it by now, it still didn’t dull the pain of being called an outcast or loser. The last thing he needed was Scorpus’s pity; it just made him feel more weak and useless.

Sighing, Scorpus moved on, the dry leaves rustling ever so slightly under his claws. The forest was almost black now. The moon had yet to rise and the only thing preventing Zoltar from being completely blind was his extraordinary night vision.

Suddenly a thundering roar ripped through the night air. Zoltar yelped in alarm, instinctively jumping back. His heart was now pounding in his chest and cold sweat was breaking out from between his scales. What had made that unearthly sound? Before now he just had a feeling that there was something wrong out there, but now he was sure they had to leave.

Meanwhile Mowzan and Scorpus had snapped into attention, their ears swiveling this way and that as they tried to pinpoint the direction of the sound. Scorpus had decided that it was coming from the east of the island and had flicked his wings, signaling the group to start moving in that direction.

“What are you doing?” Zoltar hissed in a hoarse whisper, “Why are you going towards that sound? Wouldn’t the best idea be to turn around and head in the opposite directing as fast as possible?”

“No, Zoltar,” Scorpus growled in a disapproving voice, “Hisster sent us here to find out if the native tribe really are like the legend says. That roar might have come from a potential threat.”

“But isn’t the roar enough to tell you that it’s dangerous?” Zoltar asked, almost hysterically. He was shaking uncontrollably and his stomach felt like claws where slowly being raked across it. There was a myth spread among all of Megalonia’s dragon tribes that the Wisp Talons weren’t really dragons, but ghosts, able to appear and disappear instantly. Just the thought of it sent shivers down Zoltar’s spine.

Scorpus shot Zoltar a you’d-better-listen-to-me look, “Zoltar….you still have a lot to learn about being a soldier, okay? I’ve been a soldier in Hisster’s army for over thirty years. You on the other paw have only been training for ten years and have only just became a soldier. I think that makes me the more experienced Shadow Talon here. Yes?”

“Yes sir,” Zoltar murmured. Scorpus was right. He was the more experienced of the three and to top it he was Zoltar’s adoptive father, so he shouldn’t really argue with him.

“That’s okay son. You’ll learn as you go,” Scorpus wrapped a vast black wing over Zoltar, comforting him.

Zoltar heard an arrogant snort come from Mowzan’s direction as they continued on their trek through the undergrowth. Not a bird called for the trees and not an insect could be heard. The forest had fallen into deathly silence.

Every nerve in Zoltar’s body was tingling and his legs were tense as they prepared to bolt at the slightest sigh of danger. Mowzan and Scorpus were also strangely silent, their poisonous tails poised to strike.

There was a rustle from the bushes behind them. All three dragons whirled around, their dagger sharp teeth bared. No one moved.

Suddenly a gigantic reptilian panther lunged out of the bushes. Zoltar shrieked and dove out the way just before the beast’s fanged beak could slam shut on his barbed tail. His heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest as he bolted through a patch of bushes, closely followed by Scorpus and Mowzan. Trees and bushes whipped past, lashing at his eyes. Sticks and stone flew from under his claws and the wind howled overhead like an angry wolf. Branches reached out with their clawed fingers, grabbing at the scaly wings of the three dragons bolting through the forest.

Zoltar’s lungs felt like they were on fire and his breathing came out quick and shaky. His claws thudded against the wet earth like rocks, but still he ran. The bloodcurdling screams of the creature vibrated through his skull and body, willing him to push himself to the brink of exhaustion. He risked a quick glance over his shoulder and instantly regretted it.

The monster was speeding through the forest at an alarming rate, it was going to close the gap between them soon. Great oaks parted like water as it lashed through branches and bark.

Zoltar urged himself to go faster. Creepers snatched at his wings and tail like a nest of serpents and gnarled tree roots threatened to trip him with every step he took. He passed a panting Mowzan, his heaving sides brushing against the older Shadow Talon's wings for a few fleeting seconds. Scorpus was only a few meters ahead of him. A giant log loomed only a little way off, nearing with each passing second. All three dragons leapt over the fallen tree, their talons barely clearing the trunk.

The beast burst through the log a few seconds later. A shower of broken branches and splinters rained down on the three dragons, spearing into their wings and tails as they swerved this way and that way. The sharp wood cut into the thin membranes of Zoltar's wings, sending sharp spears of pain shooting through his body.

Suddenly Mowzan shrieked and fell back. Cold fear clinched Zoltar's heart as he whipped his head around. Mowzan lay dead with a spear jutting out of his side. Letting out an involuntary cry, Zoltar stumbled backwards, only to run into Scorpus.

“What is going on,” growled Zoltar, his wings flared. Adrenalin rushed through his body as he stared at Mowzan's still body. What had happened? 

“I don’t know. Just stick close,” Scorpus hissed.

Zoltar looked around wildly. Where had that spear come from? His eyes caught on the panther like creature. It had stopped and was looking straight at him, its red glowing eyes burning straight through his heart.

“Leave him. There's nothing we can do for him now. Come on,” Scorpus surged forward, hurtling through bushes like they weren’t even there. Zoltar sprinted after him only to trip on a hidden tree root and tumble to the ground. A spear whistled over his head and slammed into Scorpus’s back. The older dragon let out a thundering roar of pain before falling to the ground. Zoltar whipped his head around, terror shimmering in his glowing amethyst eyes. A shape flashed behind him, revealing a dragon for a few seconds before disappearing again. A Wisp Talon.

“Zoltar! Go, go. Get out of here,” Scorpus rasped as he struggled to get to his feet.

"But.."

"Just go," Scorpus commanded, his voice ringing with urgency. Crimson blood was streaming from the wound in his back and he collapsed with a sickening thud. 

Shocked, Zoltar stood there in horror for a second before he carried on running, ashamed of leaving Scorpus. Spears shot through the air around him, but he swerved this way and that, avoiding them by a scale’s breath.

His hear felt like it would break but he kept on going. There was nothing he could do for Scorpus. He was gone. Taken.

Finally Zoltar saw light ahead of him as the tangled forest gave way to a wide, open lake. Beating his wings, he soared into the air, a few last spears flying past him as he tried to gain height.

After he was safely up a few hundred meters, he looked back at the now silent forest. Nothing stirred under the trees, not a sound could be heard in those dark shadowy woods. There was nothing to show of what had just happened. The Wisp Talons were gone.

For those of you that want a picture of what a Shadow talon looks like here's a picture

and if you want a picture of an Exltron here's a rough picture.


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Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:20 pm
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Featherstone wrote a review...



Hello! Fea here to review!

So first off, I love dragons, and will read the rest of this. Tag me as you write more, would you? The world map looks great, the dragons' personalities are great, the hook is great, and the plot looks great. Overall, very nice job!

However, there were some nitpicks I found"


'“But, Scorpus,' Zoltar protested." I think this would be more emotional if it was 'But Scorpus!'

'“Mowzan,' Scorpus barked, turning to glare at the younger dragon," A period should be on the end and again an exclamation point might be good.

"The last thing he needed was Scorpus’s pity; it just made him feel more weak and useless." When putting an apostrophe on something that ends with an 's' it shouldn't be an apostrophe 's'. Like this: Scorpus'

"Suddenly a thundering roar ripped through the night air." I feel like this is telling me it is sudden instead of making it feel sudden. Maybe rephrasing it to something like "A thundering roar ripped through the air, piercing the silence of the night."

'“That’s okay son. You’ll learn as you go,' Scorpus wrapped a vast black wing over Zoltar, comforting him." After 'go' there should be a period and I think a comma after 'okay' and before 'son' would make it flow more smoothly.

"Suddenly a gigantic reptilian panther lunged out of the bushes." Same as the last time you used suddenly.

'“What is going on,' growled Zoltar, his wings flared. Adrenalin rushed through his body as he stared at Mowzan's still body." A question mark after 'going on'.

'“Zoltar! Go, go. Get out of here,' Scorpus rasped as he struggled to get to his feet." Again, I'd suggest more exclamation points.

'"Just go,' Scorpus commanded, his voice ringing with urgency." Same here.

Other than those nitpicks, great job!

-Feather




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Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:04 pm
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SacredPen wrote a review...



"Keep holding on when my brain's ticking like a bomb; Guess the black thoughts have come again to get me..."
- Korn (Coming Undone)

*When I'm playing a stealth section in any videogame, I actually hum Coming Undone to keep myself calm. Perhaps Zoltar ought to pick up that little skill, lest his enemies hear that train engine heart of his and get all Edgar Allen Poe up in this piece.

So, first off, my personal reactions to this piece. I feel as if I would 1000% be Zoltar in this situation, you know, minus the severe inferiority thing he's sorta got going on here. I see no reason to act overconfident when proceeding through darkness on a mission with a few people scouting an unknown enemy. I feel almost like, even though they're dragons, they ought to have some level of technology or ability to provide them a form of detection in the dark, but it's perfectly fine to not have any, I suppose. I do LOVE the imagery here, as I can actually see and feel (as much as sympathy allows) the tension of the situation and can almost compare it to patrolling a forest late at night in Vietnam. It's an interesting way to convey emotion aside from explicit statement or sympathetic implications. That's all.

Now, the actual review.

I have a couple of questions pertaining to the plot and the characters. Primarily, let me get this straight:

Zoltar is the relatively wimpy dragon born with literal inferiority as well as mental inferiority
Scorpus is the adoptive father of Zoltar (I feel like a little more context to that relationship would help) and is the calm-minded rational one
Mowzan is the cocky, tough type who either screws with Zoltar for the fun of it, or legitimately believes him to be a detriment and is just being objective. Well, was, anyway.
*Cause did I mention they both somehow died two minutes into the story?

I don't know what the plot plans to do here, and I'm not sure if this series is a prequel, a sequel, or a standalone, but the fact that these characters were established only to be killed off moments later by some (to me) undefined antagonist who Zoltar was rightfully afraid of and thus was prepared to escape from kind of makes my eyes twitch. It's sort of like that thing that FE Fates did with Corrin's mother. It became a plot point in Birthright, but didn't matter for the most part in Conquest.

What I'm saying is...don't go Birthright on me. Though I understand that this is your story and I haven't the right to emotionally guide its progress, I feel like it'd be a little expected for Zoltar to go through some quest of self-fulfillment and gain godlike confidence and some ability to destroy that which he's most afraid of. Not only that, but he doesn't seem like the vengeful type regardless, and I'd rather him not do the same thing that virtually every wimpy main character does and turn into a hero for the sake of plot development.

That's all for the review, so now the only question I have is...

How big are these dragons?

I mean, they crash through a "huge log" and manage to shatter it with enough PSI to send shards literally flying through their bodies from sheer impactual force, which signifies that something of medium size going at a high speed crashed into them. Next, the branches somehow grab their wings and are obviously some type of impediment to them. Considering my limited knowledge of dragon anatomy, I find it odd that something that breaks a tree by moving fast enough to shatter it on impact without the assistance of an outer apparatus or any other means and take significant damage from it is simultaneously tall enough to be impeded by tree branches and YET fall to spears and spears alone.

So, as I asked before, what is the relative size of these dragons? Are they roughly as tall as trees, or are they small enough to go through a downed log and take damage due to fast movement possible only by small-to-medium-sized objects moving at high velocity? Am I thinking about this too hard?

Alright, bye!




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Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:58 pm
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello my dear felistia <3 This is my 800th review by the way :)

“D-don’t you think we should start heading back now?” the youngest of the dragons asked, trembling from head to tail. He swallowed the lump building in his throat and tried to calm his shaking nerves. The night creatures were starting to play their eerie songs, the shaky notes bouncing through the damp air. Who knew what was out there, watch him from the shadows?

“It’s starting to get dark and I don’t think staying out is a good idea.”

That one lone line out there by itself makes it a little unclear as to who is talking. It's Zoltar, but since it's not in the same paragraph as Zoltar's other dialogue, I wasn't really sure until I read on a little bit. You could do one of three things. One, just add it to the previous paragraph. Two, keep it as is, and just add a dialogue tag to that last line. Third, you could split up and restructure the two paragraphs, so maybe cut after "tail" and start a new paragraph and then add the last piece of dialogue to that second paragraph.

What had made that unearthly sound? Now he was sure that this forest was dangerous and that they had to leave. Before it had just been a feeling that there was something wrong out there, but now it was a strong urge to flee.

I think those last two lines could be a bit more concise because they're saying similar things. Maybe something like "before now he just had a feeling that there was something wrong out there, but now he was sure they had to leave". See how the same information gets across but with less words?

Scorpus had decided that it was coming from the east of the island and was actually starting to move in that direction.

How did he decide this and how did he let the others know? Did he tell him? Signal them in some way?

Zoltar sprinted after him only to suddenly trip on a hidden tree root

The adverb isn't needed here.

I really did miss this story :) I remember reading this opening chapter way back when, and it definitely bears some resemblance to the previous draft, but I think this draft is already showing a huge improvement.

Overall, I thought this was an effective opening chapter. Your descriptions are on point (as always), and I loved how you propelled us straight into the plot. I don't know what Zoltar's goal is yet, other than to be a good soldier and to prove people wrong, but I love the a problem was introduced right away. Actually, several problems were introduced right away.

So far the characters are more dynamic in this new version as well. Zoltar seems pretty easily scared for someone that's been in training for the last ten years. But, it's obviously a lot different learning about it and training for it and actually doing it, so I do get some of his nerves. I liked the element you added about him being made fun of and ridiculed all his life because he was born without a poisonous barb. It's a small detail, but I think it helps round out the character.

I remember the last time around the other two dragons with Zoltar in this moment had names that started with the same letter and I was super confused. It was much easier for me to tell them apart this time :) There wasn't a lot of time for Zoltar to stop and process these two deaths because he was trying to keep himself alive, so I'm hoping in the next chapter we get to see his emotion and his thoughts about everything that just happened. I'm also super curious to learn what the deal is with these wisp dragons and why they killed two dragons with seemingly no mercy.

That's all I have for now, but I'll hop on over to the next chapter very soon! In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or if you would like feedback about something I didn't already mention! :D




felistia says...


Thank you so much for reviewing my story again. I'm so happy to see that you think it's improved.

I'll get onto editing those mistakes as soon as possible.

Thanks again and I hope you have a wonderful day. :D



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Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:37 am
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inktopus wrote a review...



Hi, felistia! Storm's here to do a review!

I'll start with your beginning line.

Vivid blades of honey gold streaked through the forest canopy, the dappled light waving over the forest floor.

Often novels start with a bit of description. It sets the scene and forms an image in the reader's mind. The thing is, this isn't particularly unique because it's been done so often before. I'm not saying that opening with a description of the scene is bad, but it's not something that you have to do or even something that you should do. The one thing I have a problem with is the purple prose here. It becomes too cluttered and gets hard to decipher when purple prose is used.

The night creatures were starting to play their eerie songs, the shaky notes bouncing through the damp air.

This just confused me. Are these actual songs? Or is it a metaphor? I just don't get what you mean by this.

“You really are a looser, you know that? First, you’re born without acid fangs and now you’re scared of the dark. Really, I don’t know why Scorpus even brought you on this mission?”

First of all, loser is spelled incorrectly. Second of all, this seems like a pretty bland reason for Mowzan to dislike Zoltar. Can't there be a better reason for him to be upset about the inclusion of Zoltar on the mission? It's common to see characters be nasty to the main character for very little reason. It just feels contrived and like it's only included to give the main character more reason to feel angsty.

Zoltar simply stared at his talons. He’d had this abuse from the day he'd hatched and although he was used to it by now, it still didn’t dull the pain of being called an outcast or loser. The last thing he needed was Scorpus’s pity; it just made him feel more weak and useless.

With this passage, it becomes clear that Zoltar is an outcast. This is a very tired, overdone trope. You can make it good, but often it's not good. Just be careful that this doesn't turn into a pity party for Zoltar.

Suddenly Mowzan shrieked and fell back. Cold fear clinched Zoltar's heart as he whipped his head around. Mowzan lay dead with a spear jutting out of his side. Letting out an involuntary cry, Zoltar stumbled backwards, only to run into Scorpus.

So Mowzan's dead... That was anti-climatic. There wasn't any buildup. I get that it was sudden, but there's no hype. During this, I felt like they were still walking through the forest like before. The panic just wasn't there. Later, when Scorpus and Zoltar realize that he's dead, they don't seem very concerned about him. They're just, "Oh, he's dead? Whatever." You could at least address that; like they're too worked up about the attack to freak out about the fact that their buddy is dead. The entire action sequence feels that way. Try to make Zoltar's panic more evident.

Overall, this wasn't bad. You didn't info dump all over the reader, which is a very common problem in first chapters, so bravo. However, your characters felt kind of flat. You used pretty good descriptive language, so that's great too. The biggest problems were what I addressed above. If you have any questions ask in a reply or feel free to pm me.




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Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:42 pm
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CaptainJack wrote a review...



Hey there felistia. It's just lizzy dropping by real quick, so without a further ado, let the reviewing begin.

First Thoughts
1. So I'm guessing this is part of a series of books just basing from the other novels of yours that I have seen. That was one of my main questions coming into this because I wasn't sure how much I would need to know about the other books. Is it hooked in to the other stories? And do I need to read the previous ones to get the gist of this one? I'm perfectly fine with jumping right into this one and reviewing it through the end, just wanted to know if it would be better if I read something else first.
2. Oooh. Dragons. Just from skimming over this quickly I see some things I want to point out further down in this review. The descriptions are pretty in depth, for the most part, but there are a few comments I have on possibly changing/adding on, down below. (Or I might save that for a later review to see if the quality maintains. I'll see once I've finished noting all of the other things.) And the dialogue is mixed in a bit here and there where I think it should maybe be separated. This will definitely have a section in the review so I'll see you down below.
*dives into the ocean*
3. This should be a fun adventure to follow and my reviews should give you something to laugh at while I try to follow the adventure.

Dialogue
1. So as I started to introduce a bit above, the dialogue is mixed in with the descriptions and actions here and there, which bothers me a bit as a reader. Not enough to annoy me, just frequent enough for it to be a slight bother while reading. Look at this one for example:

“D-don’t you think we should start heading back now?” the youngest of the dragons asked, trembling from head to tail. He swallowed the lump building in his throat and tried to calm his shaking nerves. The night creatures were starting to play their eerie songs, the shaky notes bouncing through the damp air. Who knew what was out there, watch him from the shadows?- “It’s starting to get dark and I don’t think stay out is a good idea.”

~It might be best to put a couple of splits in here or there, and I put red hyphens where I think some splits could go. This is just one opinion on the topic, so do whatever you like with it. I mean the splits are a tiny bit iffy considering these descriptions could mix in but they also feel out of place. Do you understand what I'm trying to get at with this? If not, message me and I'll try to explain myself better.

2. Another thing is the introduction of your dialogue in a few spots. It feels a bit rough to me and I think you might need to find another way. Take for instance the example in the quote below:
Muscles rippled under his obsidian black scales and there was a mean glint in his eyes, “You really are a looser, you know that? First you’re born without acid fangs and now you’re scared of the dark. Really, I don’t know why Scorpus even brought you? on this mission?” He made a swipe at Zoltar, who leapt out of reach.

~A couple of things to say here. So the opening introduction to this is great but it still seems a bit rough flowing into it. I think you could possibly go two ways with this: one, change the comma to the period and have the dialogue standing more or less alone, or two, add in a few words. Like 'as he hissed out the insults'. Yeah I know that sounds a bit odd but it was the best I could come up with in a short amount of time.
~And there's also a couple of spots that don't go right to me so I added in some stuff in red in the quote. I don't know if it was a typo or not, so if you could clear the spots up for me, that would be great.
~Really should have said 'a few things' but that doesn't matter at this point. I know my grammar knowledge is a bit iffy but when using 'First' in the context of a list, I believe there's supposed to be a comma there. Again, didn't know if this was just a typo/you knew but didn't see. Just clear it up and I'll get out of your hair.

Good-Bye
1. That's about all I have to say for now. Actually, I do have a couple of more things to say but I think I'll be reviewing your next couple of chapters. And I want to save the character analysis for a bit further into their development. Hopefully some of this will prove useful to you in some way.
Good day and good luck.
Lizzy
The Queen of the Book Clubs




felistia says...


Thank you so much for the review. I'll go back and make changes as soon as possible.
On your question is this attached to other of my book. Yes it is, but this is the first one in a series and you don't need to have read any of my other books to understand it. I hope you're enjoying it so far.




Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
— Plato