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Quest for Fire ~ Chapter 11 ~ The Dream

by felistia

The shadows grew longer as Zoltar ran through the ever darkening woods. He had to get home before the sun set. He knew that the Wisp Talon had been dead serious when she’d warned him not to stay out after dark. Who knew what strange and terrifying creatures came out after sundown?

The noises in the forest had warped from sweet chirps and whistles to a more threatening tune. Insects started to play their music from the leaves on the trees, their sounds traveling through the hazy air like the shaky notes from a violin. Small animals scuttled through the undergrowth, causing the dry foliage to rustle as they went. Robins called from the tree tops, their songs like a band of flutes and whistles cutting through the evening air, while the black bird’s rich melodies seemed to float through the canopy.

At last the clearing he'd landed in before yawned in front of Zoltar as he sprinted towards it. The dirt crumbled under his talons as he galloped across the burnt patch of land. Spreading his vast wings, Zoltar lifted into the air as the sun slowly sank below the far off mountains. He set off in the direction of the cave he'd slept in the day before as the suns razes lifted off the sea and shadows replaced the departing light.

What was he going to do? The Wisp Talons weren’t the terrible dragons he’d imagined and now his quest for revenge had given them two choices; leave or die. If only he’d know about the Fangtar. He’d have never even gone along with the island’s take over if he’d known. Now the Wisp Talons would either end up like the extinct Lightning Talons or the homeless Sea Talons and it would be all his fault. If only he’d persuaded Hisster to find another island, but he’d been consumed by anger and sorrow. He’d been even more adamant about taking over the island than Hisster. Hisster probably would have left the island alone after the disappearance of the last three soldiers if Zoltar hadn’t jumped in.

Now he was caught between two tribes. The Shadow Talons needed the island and were bound to a deal that the Howler Dragons didn’t look like they’d break for anything. The Wisp Talons were a simple tribe of dragons isolated from the rest of Megalonia by their leaders and didn’t have anywhere to go if the Shadow Talon took over the island. In the end one of the tribes would come off second best and it would be his fault.

The forest below him was a rich amber olive in the suns golden gleam. Orange flames of light licked his onyx scales as he neared the caves entrance. Zoltar dived through the twisted green vines blocking the opening.

The caves features were a blurred grey in the dim light peaking from between the creepers behind Zoltar. He scanned the area, letting he amethyst eye beams run over the walls and boulders.

Suddenly something seized his neck and slammed him to the rock floor, making his head spin.

“Who are you!” the dragon demanded, painfully digging her claws between his scales.

“Zoltar!” Zoltar growled trying to wriggle out from under the muscular dragon clamping him to the ground.

Instantly the talons released as the dragon leapt off Zoltar. He scrambled to his feet to face his attacker, snarling. He was surprised to find himself staring at Shiraku, the Sea Talon he’d met the day before.

“Suffering serpents, what are you doing?” Zoltar thundered, “That is the second time someone has done that to me, today!”

“Sorry,” Shiraku apologized, but quickly barked, “well you shouldn’t have gone out so early and you can’t just dive in here unannounced. What did you think was going to happen?”

“I…I…rrr,” Zoltar huffed, pacing the cave floor, his tail lashing, sending small pebbles bouncing across the ground.

He was almost relived when Felistia swooped in through the vines, making them sway from side to side. She frowned when she saw Shiraku and Zoltar.

“What are you growling about now?” Felistia sighed in an exasperated way, her silver claws clacking on the hard rock as she stalked up to Shiraku.

Shiraku dramatically lit up her scales so that her scowling face shimmered in an eerie blue glow.

“He just flew in here and I attacked him and now he’s cross with me,” Shiraku snapped, the webbed spikes on her head raised in anger.

“How was I supposed to know that there was a secret entrance code or something?” Zoltar growled sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

“Well maybe you shouldn’t have gone out so early!” Shiraku yelled back, her ears laid back and the spin along the whole length of her back bristling.

“Enough you two!” Felistia roared, leaping between Zoltar and Shiraku. Her eyes were drooping and her wings looked heavy.

“I have had a long, tiring day and I don’t feel like dealing with you two fighting!” she bellowed, “Now start acting like mature dragons and go to sleep.” She shot a you'd-better-listen look as Shiraku. Yawning, she padded off to a far corner of the cave and flopped down on the rock and seemed to instantly fall asleep.

“Yes mother,” Shiraku mumbled mockingly under her breath as she trudged over to the opposite end of the cavern and lay down with her wings draped over her head. Zoltar could hear her grousing and grumbling softly to herself.

'What a pair,' Zoltar thought to himself, half amused. The cave was dark now that Shiraku was asleep and Zoltar could see the two moons rising over the mountains, their silver glow floating in through the gaps in the vines, casting thin blades of light over the floor.

All the day’s work seemed to flood over Zoltar as he lay down near the caves entrance and he was surprised at how tired he was. Zoltar yawned and closed his eyes. Almost immediately sleep swept over him, washing away the day’s aches and pains.

~ ~ ~

The air was sweet and fresh on the sunlit plains of grass. Bright colourful fish darted under Zoltar as he flew over a crystal clear lake. The wind brushed his wing tips with invisible feathers and whistled in his ears. Zoltar let out a roar of joy as he swooped over the pine covered slopes of Kie Shoo Mountain. Deer and rabbits leapt for cover as his shadow swept over the ground below. The sun was warm on his spines and the sky was pure blue with not a cloud in sight.

Suddenly there was a rumble and the trees beneath Zoltar shook and trembled. Birds flew from the mountain in great, vivid flocks of colour, their shrill calls piercing the still air. There was another growl from the mountain and then with an ear-splitting boom the alp exploded into a cloud of red, hot lava and smoke. The sky went black and smouldering rocks of flame roared past Zoltar as he swerved to avoid being hit. He watched in horror as the searing projectiles crashed into the town below, smashing houses and streets. Hissing rivers of glowing, crimson lava gushing down the mountain, flooding what was left of the village. The air was stiflingly hot and the gasses seeping from the volcano in great plumes were suffocating. There was another thundering bang as half the mountain broke away from the volcano in an avalanche of rock, molten lava and gas. It sped down the slope towards Zoltar like a great, angry beast. Zoltar pumped his wings as he gained tried to gain enough height to avoid the raging beast. The landslide past under him and roared over the village, sweeping away his family and his home forever in a river of molten lava and smoke.

Zoltar leapt up, cold sweat streaming down his obsidian scales and his heart thundering in his chest. After a few deep, shaky breaths he came to realize what had happened. He'd had a recollection of the day the volcano in the shadow lands had erupted. It had been worse as a dream though. In real life he’d watched from afar as the volcano had destroyed his home and his life forever.

With a sigh, Zoltar settled back down on the cave floor, letting the cool, rough stone scrape the scales on his belly. His sides were still heaving with fright and his breath came out raspy and short. The cave was dark and he could hear Shiraku snoring softly in the back of the cavern. A nightingale was calling somewhere in the forest below, its sharp notes cutting through the cold night air.

“Had a nightmare?” a quiet voice whispered.

Zoltar whipped his head around and found himself staring into Felistia’s golden eyes.

“Yes,” he breathed, sitting up.

“What was it about?” Felistia asked, her wing tip brushing his as she sat down next to him.

“It was about home, the shadow lands. A volcano was erupting and I was caught in it.” Zoltar didn't want to give any details and tried to squish all emotions out of his voice.

There was silence between them.

“I have nightmares about my home too,” Felistia replied suddenly, after a few long moments.

“What about?” Zoltar asked, intrigued. He hoped that she'd tell him a bit about her past. For the short time Zoltar had known her he'd felt that she kept most of her emotions to herself and didn't really show feelings such as joy or sadness. He wondered what had caused her to be so withdrawn. Maybe some past trauma or family issue had affected her, but then showing little emotions could just be an Ice Talon thing.

“Avalanches of ice, deadly snow storms. You know the usual stuff,” Felistia answered coldly, showing no emotion in her voice what so ever, but Zoltar could feel that she was holding something back.

“So how'd you end up here?” Zoltar enquired, hoping to squeeze even a little bit of information out of her.

“I was banished from the Ice Kingdom, because of…problems. I found the island about a month afterward and decided I’d stay since it’s fairly easy to get enough food here relative to elsewhere. Shiraku arrived soon after, much to my annoyance,” Felistia explained, shooting a quick glance in the direction of Shiraku, "But we've managed to stake it out on the island by staying near the cave and not going out after sun down."

Zoltar knew that she'd steered away from the subject of her past and wasn't going to tell him anything, at least not for now, so he changed the subject and asked, “Why were you so tired when you got home yesterday?”

“I was out hunting. I haven’t caught anything in two days, so I am feeling a bit hungry. I'm sure I'll catch something sooner or later.”

“I could help you hunt in the morning. I am quite good at catching prey,” Zoltar offered. Felistia seemed to perk up.

“Alright,” she whispered, smiling as she gently wrapping her tail around his.

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1114 Reviews

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Wed May 03, 2017 12:08 am
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Carlito wrote a review...

Okay I'm back again!! :D I'm sorry I'm the slowest ever reviewing this!!

This was a quieter chapter, which is fine. I really liked that you took the time to show Zoltar's thoughts and inner monologue in the first chunk of this chapter. You know how I love to harp about thoughts :p But really, it was the perfect place for it because we've had several exciting, fast-paced scenes and things have changed for Zoltar. I'm glad that we had time to process everything that's happened and see Zoltar's take on everything. I love seeing his empathetic side come through and I love seeing how he's dealing with everything because that's good insight into who he is as a character.

I feel like in the previous draft Shiraku was more fun and Felistia was more serious, but I could be getting that wrong. I get why Shiraku was upset when Zoltar strolled back in, but I think you could expand that moment a tad. Like maybe showing more of Zoltar's thoughts as he's approaching the cave about how he's going to enter the cave and speculating what the others will say when he returns after leaving with no warning this morning. But that's up to you. It would also work to have him lost in thought about other things that he enters without thinking. I think when Shiraku attacks and they have that little moment, that could be an opportunity for Shiraku to share a little more about the island and the dangers of the island so Zoltar understands why what he did wasn't okay and why Shiraku reacted the way she did.

The scene break came a little quick for me as well. I do this too, like once the exciting part of the chapter or scene happens I rush to the end :p We had this moment with the trio bickering over Zoltar coming back and then boom time for bed. I think I want a little more winding down and a little more transition into them getting ready for bed. Zoltar and Shiraku at least were just amped up from their little spat, so they wouldn't be able to fall asleep right now anyway.

I liked the flashback dream at the end and Zoltar's connection to Felistia. I love that she's still pretty mysterious and that you're keeping the reader in suspense about what her story is. That gives us more incentive to read on ;) The ending with Zoltar changing the subject felt a little abrupt to me and I thought it could have been a smoother transition. Perhaps some of Zoltar's thoughts about what Felistia just said and her own deflection/changing the subject?

Overall, another fine chapter! I'll leave things there for now and skip on over to chapter 12, but let me know if you have any questions or if there's something you'd like feedback on that I didn't mention! :D

felistia says...

Thanks so much for another review. Don't feel worried about getting to these reviews slowly. I'm right in the middle of rewriting the first seven chapters so it's not like I'm waiting or anything. :D

Plus life's got a whole lot more busy so I don't have much time for writing anymore.

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Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:42 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...

Hey there! I'm on my phone, so please excuse any weird typos or something! :p

I loved the interactions with Shiraku and Felistia in this chapter, as well as the relationship Zoltar seems to be building with Felistia. The little argument between Shiraku and Zoltar was fantastic.

Though, if she had noticed he wasn't there, wouldn't she have been expecting him back? I get that it makes a great arguement scene, but the fact that she "attacks" him when he comes back is a bit weird because she should be expecting him back. I do love the arguement that follows, though, and keeping that would be great.

I know you've got a map up of all the islands now (I read your reply to Mea's review), but I feel like some sort of comparison between islands/land is needed in terms of how far away everything is compared to one another. The speed of the dragons is another thing, too, and I'm wondering if they can travel really fast through the air or...? I'm going to go check out the map right now, though (I feel like I remember seeing it, but can't recall remembering where everything is exactly).

I like the closed off part of Felistia we see here. Makes sense and feels realistic (she just met Zoltar - would be a little weird to have her spill out her whole life to him) and I'm hoping to know more about her!

I hope this helps.


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Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:11 pm
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Mea wrote a review...

Let's do this.

I like that he's taking time to reflect now and I really liked that you took the time to build his and Felistia's relationship at the end.

Hisster probably would have left the island alone after the disappearance of the last three soldiers if Zoltar hadn’t jumped in.

Okay, so that wasn't at all the impression I got - to me it seemed like Hisster was quite happy to try and take over the island. But I feel like that's intentional, and I think it shows another side to Zoltar's character - that he's pretty quick to blame himself. So that's cool. :)

Also... yeah, a map would be great because I'm starting to have a tiny bit of trouble picturing where everything is. I had thought that the Wisp Talons lived on the mainland, but I guess not, and then the island that Zoltar is on now is a different one, right?

“I have had a long, tiring day and I don’t feel like dealing with you two fighting!” she bellowed, “Now start acting like mature dragons and go to sleep."

I felt like this was a tiny bit too on-the-nose, but up until that I was really quite enjoying the argument. Poor Zoltar, he can't go anywhere without being slammed into the ground.

I thought the dream sequence was pretty good, but it would feel a lot more intense if the second paragraph were split up more - paragraph breaks actually have the counter-intuitive side effect of making the story feel like it's moving more quickly.

“Avalanches of ice, deadly snow storms. You know the usual stuff,” Felistia answered coldly, showing no emotion in her voice what so ever, but Zoltar could feel that she was holding something back.

You can be more subtle here. Just with the "coldly," the reader knows she's not opening up to Zoltar, and can easily infer she's holding something back, probably something that relates directly to why she was kicked out.

Okay, I'm *really* curious as to how bad the wildlife on the island can be. They're dragons, for heaven's sake. They're big and have thick scales and huge claws and can fly. Except for poison and other dragons, can there really be that much that poises such a danger to them? (Well, besides Exltrons.) Oh, also, it might be a good idea to at some point compare the dragons' size to some animal or plant that we have in our world, so we know whether they're Eragon-level big, or more like some of the smaller ones in How to Train Your Dragon.

And that's all I've got!

felistia says...

Thank you for another review.

I've placed a map of Megalonia in the first chapter and I'm busy working on one for the island. I'll let you know when it's done.

The Wisp Talons only live on the Misty island. I show this in the map. I can see how it can get confusing.

I agree with everything you've said and man do I have quite a bit of editing to do. :D

I'll try my best to compare the dragons size to something as I edit. It's hard to do so as I feel it sound forced most of the time, but I'll try. :D

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

Mea says...

Ooh, the map is great, thanks! :D

felistia says...

Just finished the Misty Mountain Island map in chapter 8 if you want to have a peek. :D

“Can a magician kill a man by magic?” Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. “I suppose a magician might,” he admitted, “but a gentleman never could.”
— Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell