The air crackled with electricity as the two dragons took to the air, the fine dust below them billowing up in the rush of wind from their wings. They rose rapidly, beating their wings as they raced the oncoming storm. Strong gusts of wind pelted them, threatening to hurl them from the sky.
They‘d almost reached the clouds when the rain started. At first it was a shallow shower, but before long it was coming down in icy torrents.
Lighting flashed around them, closely followed by a deafening roar as thunder ripped through the sky. Thick sheets of water battered against them, weighing down their wings as they fought through storm.
Finally after an exhausting climb, they broke through the top of the clouds.
The warmth of the sun was a welcome feeling as Zoltar leveled out into even flight. Below, the clouds churned and growled like an angry sea.
He was drenched and freezing. Hisster wasn’t looking much better as he glided beside Zoltar.
Shivering, Zoltar glanced over at him, debating what he should say. They had to talk about what had happened.
First, Hisster had gone to see Krakatoa however many moon cycles ago and no one had known about it. Well…at least he and Nira hadn’t known. They were only soldiers after all. Scorpus may have been in on it. He was the second in command after all.
Zoltar took in a shaky breath as he shook away the image of his old commander. He’d avenge him soon enough, once this was all over.
Still, how could they have kept a secret like this? It wasn’t exactly a small thing.
Just talking about a Power Stone Quest was big news. Only a few select tribes managed to earn the right to a Power Stone. It wasn’t like going and trading in fish. A tribe would have to work on its relations with other tribes for years before even thinking about it.
He couldn’t believe that Hisster had just agreed to do this for the Ghost Talons. It was unheard of to claim a Power Stone for another tribe. Not to mention almost impossible.
The whole point of the quest in the first place was to see if the tribe in question was trustworthy enough to have a Power Stone. That’s why they had to collect a Stone from each tribe. If one tribe didn’t see them as fit to have a Power Stone, they wouldn’t get that tribes stone. That was how the custom worked.
How in blue moons were they going to do this? Sure, they’d have four Stones before they started, but that didn’t make the task much easier.
The Wind Talons may give them a Stone. They hadn’t had a war with them in recorded history and trade before the eruption had been good between the two tribes.
The smooth sailing ended there though.
The Ice Talons without a doubt would refuse to give a Stone. Their Queen had tried her paw at a Quest a decade or so ago. The Shadow Talons had been one of the tribes to refuse her their Stone. No way would she give them hers after that.
The only way to get an Ice Talon Stone would be to steal it. That would undermine the whole point of the quest, not to mention that it could get him killed.
The Wisp Talons were another issue entirely. They didn’t seem to even abide by traditional tribe laws anymore. Did they even have a Stone to give and if so, how in blue moons would he get it? They seemed to kill strange dragons on sight.
Zoltar shook his head and stared off at the distant horizon as he rubbed his talons anxiously.
Even if they did manage to get all the Stones and completed the Quest, was it right to give the Ruby of Fire to the Ghost Talons? Everyone in Megalonia knew they were a slimy bunch.
The only reason they were sending them on this quest in first place was because they knew the Keepers would never give them the Ruby of Fire back. There was a reason it had been taken away in the first place. They’d used it to black mail and coerce other tribes into doing their biding.
What was to say that they wouldn’t do that again once they had the Ruby? They had no guaranty that the Ghost Talons would fight for them after they’d got their precious Power Stone. They were more likely to get rid of them, than help them. What was Hisster thinking?
“What in blue moons happened back there?” Zoltar burst out, unable to contain it anymore.
Hisster visibly flinched, faltering a little before regaining an even flight rhythm. He look over at Zoltar, guilt clouding his eyes, “You were never supposed to be the one to do it. Scorpus and I always agreed that it could be one of us, but…”
He turned away, unable to face Zoltar as he continued with a steel edge to his voice, “It doesn’t matter now. Krakatoa’s made up his mind. If we want his army, we’re going to have to do it his way.”
Zoltar lowered his eyes, feeling slightly guilt for yelling as Hisster. He’d kind of gotten himself into this mess if he was honest.
If Scorpus had been around, he would have never been invited on the mission. Not to mention that Hisster had wanted to go alone in the first place. Zoltar had insisted on coming. If he’d listened and stayed behind, Krakatoa wouldn’t have been able to force this Quest on him. Hisster would have been the only one there.
“You won’t be doing it alone you know. Sidious may not be the most…pleasant Ghost Talon, but he is the second highest ranking dragon after Krakatoa. He is good at what he does,” Hisster added.
Zoltar resisted the urge to snort. Sidious was a slimy eel of a dragon. Even those inside his tribe seemed to find him distasteful. If he was like that around his fellow tribe mates, how much worse would he be when he was alone with Zoltar?
Zoltar couldn’t bear the thought of it. Even the idea of doing this alone sounded better.
He heaved a long sigh. Sulking about this wasn’t going to change anything. The sooner he faced facts the better. He was going to have to do this and grousing about Hisster or Sidious wasn’t going to help. He needed to prepare. He had less than a day before Sidious returned. He had to be ready by then.