Zoltar woke to the sound of snarls all around him. As he slowly opened his eyes, hideous, horned snouts focused into his vision. His heart nearly stopped upon seeing the sight. A large frill splayed out from the dragons’ heads, with a silver horn curving from the middle of their forehead and wickedly sharp teeth framed their beak like jaws, but it was their glowing red eyes that sent fear scuttling down his spiny back.
Memories of the previous day flashed before Zoltar's eyes, the Exltron's massive blood stained tail spearing down onto Mowzan's chest, its crazed red eyes ravenous for dragon blood. Zoltar swallowed the lump building up in his throat. He could have maybe saved Mowzan's life if he'd fought to protect him against the Exltron. But instead he had ran and survived as a coward. If he didn't fight these Howler Dragons he would just be being a cowered again and would be proving to Hisster that he wasn't worthy of being a soldier. He wasn’t sure whether he could try to fight these Howler Dragons though. Each of them was his size and there where easily ten of them around him.
'Scorpus would want you to fight,' a small voice whispered inside his head. A spark of confidence lit inside Zoltar urging him on, 'It's time to stop being such a coward and to use the training Scorpus as taught you. You may not be like the other Shadow Talons, but you are still a dragon and these are just pitiful little lizards. Fight them.'
Zoltar snorted a cloud of black smoke, his amethyst eyes gleaming through the dark plume. He gave a low, threatening growl and pawed the ground tossing up ash and stones into the dragons behind him. The Howler Dragons let out a yelp of surprise as with a roar he charged into the black creatures, butting them out the way with his long horns. Zoltar thrust out his wings, flinging yowling reptiles through the air and into other Howler Dragons. Clouds of dark dust swirled through the air as Zoltar fought the Howler Dragons.
One large dragon sank his teeth into the middle of Zoltar’s tail. Zoltar bellowed in pain and whipped his tail violently, dislodging the creature. Another Howler Dragon leapt onto Zoltar’s back, digging its claws into Zoltar’s scales. Twisted his neck round, Zoltar seized the wretched reptile and tossed it across the grey plain, straight into Hisster, who had just walked out of another gaping tunnel.
“Zoltar! What are you doing?” Hisster thundered, picking up the Howler Dragon Zoltar had thrown. Zoltar and all the Howler Dragons stopped fighting to stare at Hisster.
“We’re being attacked, aren’t we?” Zoltar asked, staring at Hisster like he'd gone mad.
“No, you pin head!” Hisster yelled, marching up to Zoltar. "They thought we were intruders. I talked to them when I woke up. They were watching you to make sure nothing attacked you. They insisted on it,” Hisster explained calmly, although in his eyes he looked like he wanted to strangle Zoltar.
“Oh. Sorry!” Zoltar apologized to Howler Dragons sprawled around him. There was a wave of low hisses and snarls from the Howler Dragons, but none that Zoltar could hear properly.
The big Howler Dragon that had climbed onto Zoltar’s back scowled at him and whispered something to Hisster. Hisster nodded and whispered something back.
Zoltar only caught a few words like "new...just died...will listen...see chief". The rest was blown away by a sudden gust of wind sweeping over the desolate waste land.
Hisster motioned for Zoltar to follow him as he padded towards a hill with a gaping hole gouged out of the side. Zoltar tailed Hisster silently, his nerves still pumped with adrenaline.
'Nothing I do for this reptile is good enough. Honestly, how was I supposed to know that the Howler Dragons weren't attacking? I mean I appreciate the fact that he got the Howler Dragons to watch over me, but he is still treating me like I am defenseless. I may not have the acid fangs that all the other Shadow Talons have, but I can still look after myself. I'm not a small dragonet anymore.' Zoltar thought bitterly to himself as he walked down the tunnel after Hisster. His tail was burning and the scratches he had received were starting to sting as he walked.
It was dark inside that passage and full of ash and the smell of death. If it wasn’t for Zoltar’s nocturnal vision he wouldn’t have been able to see his paw in front of his face down here. He could hear the pack of Howler Dragons trailing them, their snarls and growls echoing off the burrows walls.
They finely reached a room after a few prolonging minutes. It was small and lit by a few fire stones, which glowed dimly in the dark like red dragon eyes. There was no furnishings in the room, not even a bed. As Zoltar slowly scanned the area his eyes caught on a huge, dark figure standing in the corner. His heart jumped into his throat for the second time that day. The figure’s eyes were like burning pools of red flame that gleamed in the darkness of the room, a raging fire that could swallow your soul and mind forever.
Here's a picture of what a Howler Dragon looks like. I don't own the image.