"What are you doing?” Zoltar growled through the paw clamping him to the floor.
“I was about to ask you that,” the creature snarled back, shoving Zoltar deeper into the musty leaf litter, “what are you doing here?”
“Why would I tell you? Now get off me you lousy Wisp Talon before you make me do something nasty,” Zoltar hissed crossly, wriggling to get his tail barb loose
“Oh, I know about your tail, but I’ve got something nastier. One false move and I’ll send my fangs straight through your neck. The poison is fast acting and you’ll be dead in a few seconds, so don’t try anything.”
Zoltar’s heart nearly stopped. Poison… as if shifting scales wasn’t enough. He stopped struggling and went still, hoping he could catch the Wisp Talon off guard.
Time seemed to stop as the two sat poised, each waiting for the other to make a wrong move. The eerie hoots and whistle of the forest echoed around them as the minutes passed by.
“Why are you doing this?” Zoltar finally asked after he could take the silence no more. He felt the Wisp Talon tighten her grip.
“It’s the law to keep outsiders off the island,” The Wisp Talon said stiffly, “Especially when they go rampaging through the forest, stealing Wisp Talon food.”
Was it just him or did he feel as though there was more in that statement than she was letting on? Zoltar decided he’d dig a bit, “But why have a law like that? Surly it would be beneficial to trade and communicate with the outside world?”
“I didn’t make the law,” the Wisp Talon retorted.
“So you don’t agree with the law?” Maybe he could get out of this predicament without getting a neckful of poison,
“Would that mean I can get up? You’d be surprised to know how sticky the ground gets when you’re being shoved into it,” Zoltar hoped the attempt at humour would loosen the Wisp Talon’s claws from around his neck.
The Wisp Talon snorted softly, “Fine. I’ll let you up, but not sudden moves.”
Zoltar breathed a sigh of relief as he felt her slowly release her grip. Careful, he got to his paws and turned to face his attacker. He couldn’t help, but gasp with surprise. Her scales were rippling streams of colors. Her tail was long and whip like and her claws were hooks that could easily open a coconut in one slash.
“Wow,” Zoltar murmured staring at the waves of gold and emerald rolling down the Wisp Talon’s sides. These wasn’t what he’d expected to see at all. He’d imagined a vicious, blood stained dragon that would kill anything on sight. She seemed like a normal dragon. How could she be the same dragon that had attacked him a week ago?
The Wisp Talon had backed off a few steps and was watching him nervously. She didn’t look much older than him. Her scales kept changing from violent scarlet to artic blue and back again.
“So what exactly are you doing here?” the Wisp Talon finally asked after a few agonisingly long moments, “You don’t seem to be like the other dragons that land on the island.”
“Well,” Zoltar started, wondering what on earth he was going to tell her. He couldn’t tell her his real reason and right now all excuses seemed to have vacated his brain. He could feel her brilliant gold eyes on him, scanning him as if she was reading his mind. He had to say something.
“I’m actually here because of what happen a week or so ago,” Zoltar swallowed the growing lump in his throat. He knew that he was treading on thin ground here, but he just had to find out more about the attack, “You wouldn’t know about an attack on three Shadow Talons, would you? My father and fellow tribe mate were killed…I was the only one to escape.” Anger surged through Zoltar’s veins as he remember the dreadful day.Maybe she was one of the Wisp Talons that had been in the attack.
The Wisp Talon’s face blanched of all color, “Y-y-you must have r-r-run into the F-f-fangtars.”
“Fangtars?” Zoltar cocked his head. What was she talking about now?
“Y-yes. They’re the leaders in the Wisp Talon society. They never used to be in charge, but then…” She trailed off
“What? What?” Zoltar ruffled his wings in enthusiasm. This was getting interesting. Maybe there was more to the Wisp Talons than met the eye.
“They managed to tame an Exltron. They were said to be mad. That beast had terrorized us since the dawn of time, but somehow they managed to earn its trust. Now they control the island…and everyone on it. Life’s never been the same since. There’s nothing the Wisp Talon tribe can do about them. We’ve been trying to get rid of them for centuries,” The Wisp Talon sagged to the ground, curling her tail over her talons. Her scales had faded to a cloud grey, “I’m sorry that they hurt you. I would have tried to stop them if I could. We never wanted it to be this way.”
“Oh,” Zoltar whispered. He felt as weak as a young sapling and he couldn’t get his paws to stop trembling. He’d directed his anger at the wrong dragons. All the rumours and myths about them had made them seem like blood thirsty killers. The Wisp Talon tribe weren’t monsters, they were a normal, innocent tribe oppressed by their leaders. They weren’t to blame for the accident, but now they were going to suffer its consequences. The Shadow Talons were going to take over their land and regardless of who’d done it, they’d take revenge for their fallen by killing every Wisp Talon on the Island. It would be like the whole Sea Talon war all over again and would be his fault.
“You know, you really shouldn’t be here.” Zoltar flinched at the sudden sound, but the Wisp Talon didn’t seem to notice and carried on talking, “I don’t know why you’ve come to this island, but it’s dangerous. I shouldn’t even be letting you go. It’s the law to kill outsiders on sight and I could be executed for this, but … I’m going to let you go, okay. But if I find you again, things will be different.”
Zoltar nodded sullenly. She was doing him a big favour and was potentially risking her life to do so.
“Oh and one other thing,” she paused, looking over her shoulder at Zoltar, “Don’t go out after dark,” and with a flick of her tail she faded into the dark green forest
“Wait. Can I at least know what your…” It was too late. The Wisp Talon had disappeared and Zoltar was left alone in the gathering dusk.