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Quest for Fire ~ Chapter 8 ~ Felistia and Shiraku

by felistia


Time seemed to stand still as the Shang Fu's stinger zoomed towards Zoltar’s exposed spine. 

Suddenly, there was a blast of air as an ice blue rocket slammed into the Shang Fu, flinging him off Zoltar’s back. The force of the collision knocked Zoltar off his feet. The hard sand hitting him flat in the snout as he tumbled onto the beach. It got up his nose and he released an enormous sneeze, tossing sand in all directions.

He heard bones crack behind him and hurriedly got to his feet. Zoltar whipped around to see the Shang Fu hanging limp between an Ice Talons vice like jaws.

She dropped the Shang Fu and spat, “Pathetic little creatures.”

She slowly, with caution, walked over to Zoltar, her spiked tail ready to strike if needed. Zoltar stood still, his heart pounding He knew how dangerous Ice Talons could be, with their ice breath and claws like shards of ice. If he acted aggressively in the slightest way she could lash out. But what was she doing here? The island was miles away from the Ice Kingdom and her tribe. Zoltar remained still as stone, while this thoughts whirled around and around his head.

After a few seconds, the Ice Talon asked in a voice like icicles jingling together, “What's your name?”

“I-i-it’s Zoltar,” Zoltar replied quickly, daring to lift his eyes for a moment to have a look at her. Ice Talons could be very aggressive and strike out for no reason, so he was still rather cautious of her. Until he'd figured her out a bit better, he'd be careful what he said and did.

The Ice Talon was a beautiful dragoness with a crown of silver horns on the back of her head gleamed in the dim light and a trail of ridged white spines ran along the length of her back. Her long tail swept from side to side, the four large spikes on the end of it leaving deep gouges in the sand. She shook out her magnificent wings, the scales shining like millions of miniature moons.

“What are you doing here?” she asked as she cocked her head, looking Zoltar from horns to tail with her shimmering gold eyes. They were deep and unreadable like that of the sun and made Zoltar slightly dizzy after staring straight into them.

“I-I-I. Umm. Ahh,” Zoltar didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t been expecting to find anyone except the Wisp Talons.

“Yes?” The Ice Talon gave him a look of amusement. “You’re here for the same reason as me, yes?”

“And that reason would be?”

“Ha. You’re a funny dragon,” The Ice Talon arched her eye brows, “You are here because your tribe kicked you out, right?”

“Oh yes. Yes of course. That’s the reason.” Zoltar blurted, his insides now felt like a twisted mass. This was a dangerous position to be in. Outcasts were usually the most treacherous dragons in Megalonia, known to savage and bitter. But then he might have more in common with an outcast then his own tribe.

“My queen had quite a problem with me. Shipped me off to Dark Claw prison, but I escaped. Won’t she be surprised when I rock up on her door step again,” the Ice Talon hissed bitterly, whipping her tail. Zoltar had to duck to avoid accidentally been skewered by her sharp tail spikes. She didn't seem to notice that her tail was waving dangerously close to him, so Zoltar took a few steps away from her lashing tail.

“So how long have you been here?” Zoltar asked, now that he was a safe distance away from her tail spikes.

“About four months, I think,” the Ice Talon said, sitting down on the soft sand, her tail neatly curled around her talons.

“May I ask what your name is?” Zoltar breathed a quiet sigh, relieved that her tail wasn’t waving all over the place anymore.

“It’s Felistia,” she said, slightly batting her eyes as she looking up at the sky and adding, “Would you like to come back to my cave? All the dragons landing on the island stay there since it’s a little dangerous after dark and I really don’t want to have saved you for nothing.” Felistia smiled slyly and yet it had a touch of softness.

'Strange,' Zoltar thought a little confused, 'In my experience dragons are normally a bit more cautious around new dragons, especially one from another tribe, but then my only comparisons are the Shadow Talons. Maybe dragon tribes outside the Shadow Lands treat each other differently and are more willing to help one another? Or maybe that’s because she doesn’t really have tribe.'

“Mmm hmm,” Zoltar said, hoping he didn’t sound too suspicious. He'd be wondering where he'd stay the night on the way over from the Shadow Lands and had decided on roosting in a tree, but now he'd just been offered a place to stay. Sure Felistia was a new dragon so he'd be careful, but how dangerous could she be compared to the Exltron and with Wisp Talons, which would most definitely by about at night. Given the choice between the two he'd take the strange Ice Talon's cave. He'd just stay the night and decide in the morning whether to find a new place to sleep while he looked for the four missing Shadow Talon soldiers.

“Follow me then,” Felistia shouted as she opened her wings and leapt into the misty air. She flew towards some large rock columns a few kilometers from the beach.

Forest carpeted the valleys surrounding the pillars and the echoes of birds calling to each other rang through the damp air. Feathery clumps of moss fluttered in the breeze as they clung to the sides of the tall rocks. Cracks and gouges covered the columns like scars on an old dragon of war. Small caves carved out of the craggy rocks surface were everywhere like deep black holes leading to another land.

Felistia hovered over one particularly large cave. It was high above the dark forest and was well hidden by the vines draping over the opening. She tucked in her wings and disappeared into the black hole. Zoltar followed her through the slimy creepers, which slid along his scales as he walked into the cave.

Zoltar breathed a column of fire, its orange glow lighting up the cavern. Cracks scuttled across the amber walls like small amazon rivers on their way to the sea. Olive green moss flowered all over the ceiling, their delicate tendrils wet with dew. Small streams of water run down the caves sides, their ripples shining gold in the fires light. Brown stalactites hang from the ceiling. Small beads of water fell from their sharp points onto the floor, their hollow sounds echoing through the cavern.

Felistia was standing in the far corner, her scales gleaming like white gold in the flame’s orange glow. Next to her was a burly Sea Talon. The Sea Talon hissed at Zoltar. Flinching in surprise, he snuffed his flame down to a spark and then a puff of smoke. There was another one? How many dragons were there on this island?

“How are guys going to see anything?” Zoltar asked, looking at the fuzzy shapes of the two dragons in front of him. He could see them quite well in the amethyst light shining from his eyes, but Shadow Talons were the only dragons in Megalonia to have nocturnal vision. Sea Talons and Ice Talons were practically blind at night.

Zoltar saw the Sea Talon roll her eyes in an exasperated way, before there was a flash of brilliant blue light, blinding Zoltar temporarily. After a few moments he opened his scrunched up eyes and blinked away the tears streaming from them. The Sea Talon was standing in the middle of the cave and every scale on her body was glowing in an eerie turquoise light.

“Ooo, I didn’t know Sea Talons’ could do that,” Zoltar exclaimed excitedly. 'Wow, that's so much cooler than the stupid acid fangs the Shadow Talons have,' Zoltar thought excitedly, momentarily forgetting to be suspicious of this new dragon.

“It’s to help us when we are deep sea fishing. The water down there is black as ink since the sun can’t penetrate the water that far down and it attracts fish,” the Sea Talon explained in a voice laced with bordoem. She yawned as though she’d explained this a million times over.

“What's your name?” Zoltar asked, hoping to gain a little of the Sea Talons trust and to stop her from looking at him as though he were a small bug on the wall.

“It’s Shiraku,” Shiraku replied brashly, lying down on the cool cave floor, her scales still shimmering in a luminous blue light, “yours?”

“Zoltar,”

“I'm going to bed,” Felistia stated loudly, interrupting the small talk. She shot a look at Shiraku and arched her eyebrows when the Sea Talon didn't respond, " You too, Shiraku. You know how grumpy you get when you don't get enough sleep."

Huffing to herself, Shiraku closed her golden eyes as she curled her head under her wing and began to snore. Her scales slowly dimmed back to a dark blue in the cave’s shadows.

“You should also get some sleep Zoltar,” Felistia yawned, displaying her sparkling white fangs, “Every day on this island’s a battle and you’re going to need your sleep.” She said as she laid her head on her paws and closed her eyes.

Zoltar yawned, his mouth opening so wide you could see the back of his throat. It had been a long day and he had very little energy left. He was glad to be on the island though and meeting Felistia and Shiraku had been an unexpected, but pleasant surprise. It was nice to know that he wasn’t alone on the island.

Zoltar stared out through the vines hanging from the cave entrance. The forest was dark and gloomy. The sun had fallen behind the mountains and dusk was crawling over the island. Eerie calls were floating through the humid air, their sounds warped by the dank wind that was blowing over the trees. The two full moons were slowly rising over the mountains like antique silver dishes on a star studded table cloth of cobalt blue.

Zoltar looked up at the twinkling stars and sighed. It was going to be a long year.


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Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:09 am
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Featherstone wrote a review...



Guess who's back? Me!

"He heard bones crack behind him and hurriedly got to his feet. Zoltar whipped around to see the Shang Fu hanging limp between an Ice Talons vice like jaws." Ice Talon's.

"Zoltar stood still, his heart pounding He knew how dangerous Ice Talons could be, with their ice breath and claws like shards of ice." First, this is missing a period. Second, I'd suggest changing the second sentence to stop saying ice so many times. For instance: "He knew how dangerous Ice Talons could be, with their frosty breath and claws like glacial shards."

"The Ice Talon was a beautiful dragoness with a crown of silver horns on the back of her head gleamed in the dim light and a trail of ridged white spines ran along the length of her back." That gleamed in the dim light.

"The Sea Talon hissed at Zoltar." Saying Sea Talon twice gets repetitive. Maybe saying 'it'?

"'Ooo, I didn’t know Sea Talons’ could do that,”' Sea Talons- minus the apostrophe.

"...hoping to gain a little of the Sea Talons trust and to stop her from looking at him as though he were a small bug on the wall." This time there should be an apostrophe.

"“It’s Shiraku,” Shiraku replied brashly." Maybe she replied brashly?

"...her scales still shimmering in a luminous blue light, “yours?”" I'd change the last comma to a period and capitalize 'Yours?'

“Zoltar,” This should be a period.

Nice conclusion! I like hearing what he thinks as the plot develops. Also, now I know where your username comes from! XD

Once again, wonderful work!

Feather




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Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:22 am
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello hello!! :D Oooh I'm liking the title of this chapter because we finally get to meet Zoltar's friends again! And oh look! A map!

The hard sand hitting him flat in the snout as he tumbled onto the beach.

"hit" instead of "hitting"

It got up his nose and he released an enormous sneeze,

I would specify what "it" is.

He heard bones crack behind him and hurriedly got to his feet.

I'm not convinced "hurriedly" is a word :) Is there a verb you can place there instead to make it stronger? Verbs are always stronger than adverbs.

Ice Talons could be very aggressive and strike out for no reason, so he was still rather cautious of her. Until he'd figured her out a bit better, he'd be careful what he said and did.

I feel like you said this in the other paragraph about ice talons.

Won’t she be surprised when I rock up on her door step again,”

The wording of this sentence is a little funny in my opinion.

'Strange,' Zoltar thought a little confused, 'In my experience dragons are normally a bit more cautious around new dragons, especially one from another tribe, but then my only comparisons are the Shadow Talons. Maybe dragon tribes outside the Shadow Lands treat each other differently and are more willing to help one another? Or maybe that’s because she doesn’t really have tribe.'

Lovely! I think I remember in the last draft wondering why she was so willing to accept this strange dragon into her home (or maybe I'm making that up :p). Anyway, I'm glad he thought about it! The only thing I would add, he just spent some time thinking about how dangerous ice talons can be, especially those that have been kicked out of their tribes. How does he feel or what does he think about going with this dragon to her home? Does he fear ambush/attack/betrayal/etc. or is he giving her the benefit of the doubt?

Sure Felistia was a new dragon so he'd be careful, but how dangerous could she be compared to the Exltron and with Wisp Talons, which would most definitely by about at night. Given the choice between the two he'd take the strange Ice Talon's cave. He'd just stay the night and decide in the morning whether to find a new place to sleep while he looked for the four missing Shadow Talon soldiers.

Well I spoke too soon! :P

The water down there is black as ink since the sun can’t penetrate the water

This is a very minute wording detail, but "black as ink". In dragon world, do they have ink? How would dragons use ink? If this isn't a common thing in their world, it would be weird for a dragon to use that as a descriptor or a comparison, you know? This is the first time I've noticed something like this, but there could be other little things like this that I've passed over. Just be mindful of your comparisons and what exists in this world versus their world and whether it would make sense for the dragons to use it to compare something.


I liked this chapter! I love Felistia already because she's so confident and cool. Which came first, your name or her name? or are you actually an ice dragon???? I loved how you tried to incorporate more thoughts into this chapter! I know it's probably tough at times, but it really will help your reader connect with Zoltar and the story because it'll help us feel like we're there and we're a part of this.

The ending came up a little quick for me. They got in the cave, showed off their skills, did introductions, bam. bed. Does Zoltar have any pressing questions he wants answered about why they're here, where he is, if they can help him, what dangers are out there, where he can get food, etc.? I feel like there could be a little more conversation before they all pass out. After all, we're going to be traveling with these guys for awhile. It's never too early to help us get to know them :) I already like Felistia, I'm not sure how I feel about Shiraku.

I'll leave things there for now, but you know the drill about questions and such. I'm going to take another brief break to get caught up on a few other stories, but I'll be back soon for more! Looking forward to seeing how it all continues! :D




felistia says...


Thank you so much for another round of reviews. Sorry I haven't been to responsive.

I completely agree on the bit with Felistia, Zoltar and Shiraku in the cave being too short. I was actually thinking about it when I received your review. What a coincidence. :D



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Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:30 am
EternalRain wrote a review...



Hello!

Yay! Friends! Well, maybe not friends... but... other dragons, haha. I'm very excited to see how Zoltar's relationships will develop with the two of them.

I'm fond of Shiraku and Felistia already. Felistia seems bitter but so cool and I'm sure that's going to affect Zoltar's behaviors or characteristics in some sort of way! We didn't get to see much of Shiraku, but a bit off her personality came through. Can't wait to get to know more about them.

I especially love this description of Felistia's voice:

the Ice Talon asked in a voice like icicles jingling together,


In this chapter (I'm not sure if it's this one particularly or all, I've just noticed this), the dialogue tags tend to be a word other than "said". In some cases it's alright (like replacing "said excitedly" with "exclaimed") but "said" is a pretty valuable word. In my opinion, it gets more flexible when you've got larger paragraphs with other actions in them (like yours) that break up the dialogue tags, but it can still catch the reader. Here's an article that describes it more in depth.

I find it a bit weird how quickly Zoltar agreed to stay the night with Felistia. Even maybe changing how enthusiastic he was (the "yes please" part) to something more "Hmmm...." like would make it a bit easier for the reader to understand. There's this,

Sure Felistia was a new dragon so he'd be careful,


but to me that isn't quite enough. Just a little more thought on Zoltar's part about staying with the other two dragons, to me, would make it feel a bit more believable.

I liked this chapter. :) Hope this helped!

~EternalRain




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Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:21 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Ooh, it's your namesake. Or are you her namesake? xD

I really like Felistia. She certainly has an edge to her in the bitterness with which she speaks about her tribe. Her personality feels a lot more distinctive and well-defined earlier than most of the other characters so far, so great job with that. Shiraku I don't like as much because she's so brash, but I get the feeling that's the point. (Also, Shiraku sounds like a very Japanese name, which was a little odd to me since all the other names aren't very obviously from a particular origin. Out of curiosity, why did you pick it?)

So, the way Zoltar said that yes, he was kicked out makes me think he kind of wasn't really, just because it seemed like he was just saying it to agree with Felistia. But being kicked out is honestly the most likely scenario I can think of right now. I guess we'll see. :P

The night vision feels oddly handled to me. I can't really tell what level of detail he can make out at night vs. during the day, or what feels "dark" to him. You make references to things being dark, and Zoltar lit up the cavern so the others could see, but if he can see in the dark and has been around people who can see in the dark his whole life, why would he comment on a place being dark and why would he think to light up the cave when the others clearly aren't too bothered? Also, "night vision" is a very broad term, and if you haven't narrowed it down to the type you're talking about, you probably should. There's infrared vision, which basically senses heat and is what the military and some animals use, and then there's also just having really large eyes and/or well-developed cones that gather more light than human eyes do, which I don't know a lot about. I don't think you want to use infrared, because I'm pretty sure that animals that see in infrared pretty much only see in infrared, and I think you want to keep it a little more "normal." So I'd recommend researching a bit more how owls and other creatures with good night vision see, and then basing it off of that. Remember, no one can see in absolute darkness, but even at night it's not absolutely dark. I like the idea of having his eyes emit light, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't have basis in the real world - most of the time eyes that seem to glow are actually just really reflective. Of course, he's a dragon, so you can kind of have him do whatever. :P

The only other thing is that the way you were describing the tails felt a little odd to me - dragon tails are just massive, and the way you describe them waving around made it feel more like they were cats' tails or other types of more flexible tails that stay in the air instead of on the ground.

I really like how you're pointing out the different abilities/traits that the different dragons have - they're cool and it makes it easier to keep track of them.

And that's all I've got this time!




felistia says...


Thank you so much for yet another review. (You're a bit early today. :D)

I'm glad you like Felistia. She's the easiest character to write since she's the closest to my personality.

Shiraku was inspired by the Japanese and Chinese names for Water and Tsunami (Tsunami was Shiraku's original name.) Also it's a hint to the tribes culture as I'm going to base if off of the Japanese culture to a certain extent. Shiraku's personality is not the typical version of a Sea Talon.

Zoltar never got kicked out. Hisster agreed to work with him for the tribes sake.

Thank you for giving impute on the whole night vision thing. I'll defiantly looking into explaining that a bit more. I still think I'm going to have Zoltar actually emit light from his eyes though as that makes it cool and feel a bit more out of this world.

On the whole thin tails issue, yes the dragons tails are a lot more thin and flexible compared to the normally thought of kind. I though this made it more realistic that they can fly and in general move more like a cat.

Thanks again and I hope to see you soon. Have a great day. :D



Mea says...


I'm early because I did it in the morning instead of the evening. :P

That's cool! I look forward to seeing more of the Sea Talon culture. Also, I wish I could draw because I want to try drawing dragons with the longer, thinner tails like you describe, plus all of the other cool features.



felistia says...


Do you think it would be a good idea to place picture of character and the creatures they meet at the bottom of the chapter when we come across them. Or would that not be good, because I've seen other people do it in book and it helps a ton for me. It eliminates quite a few questions.



Mea says...


Honestly, I think you could totally do that, as long as you still describe them in the text. Lots of published novels have pictures of the cool creatures in them, at the end or at the start of every chapter. And I think it would help, yeah.




It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
— Voltaire