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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter 20

by felistia


Just then a stream of ice cold air blasted over Zoltar, showering the pack in a beam of frost breath. He snapped open his eyes to see the alpha standing over him, frozen solid, its jaws agape in an eternal screech of fiery.

The rest of the creatures scattered, yelping and hissing at one another as they fled back into the maze. A few remained, now lifeless statues coated in a shell of shimmering blue ice.

Sharp bolts of pain shot over Zoltar’s belly scales as he scrambled to get to his paws. Looking down, he saw a layer of frost crusting them. He gingerly used a paw to brush it off, wincing at the cold that stabbed through his talons.

What had just happened?

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to catch you as well,” a cool voice jingled behind him.

Zoltar whipped around to see an Ice Talon dragoness standing a few dragon lengths away from him. The crown of silver horns along the back of her head gleamed in the dim light as she cocked her snout at him.

“You’ll be alright. You didn’t get a direct hit. It will heal up in no time,” she said as she approached him, her long, spiked tail sweeping gracefully over the sand.

Zoltar stared back at her, his heart still hammering painfully against his chest. An Ice Talon. What was she doing so far away from her homeland?

“It’s not safe here you know?” she continued as she circled him, “Though, I guess you’ve already figured that out being that you were nearly Death Gripper food.”

She flashed her fangs in a smile as she sat down, her tail curled neatly over her talons.

“What’s your name?” she asked, looking Zoltar from horns to tail with her shimmering gold eyes. They were as deep and unreadable as the sun and Zoltar found himself staring straight into them.

“I-i-it’s Zoltar,” Zoltar replied, quickly lowering his eyes. What was he going to do? There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else on the island?

“So…Zoltar, what is a Shadow Talon doing so far away from the Shadow Lands?” She kept her gaze trained on him, but her ears twitched back and forth with every sound that imitated from the maze.

“I-I-I. Umm. Ah,” Zoltar stammered, feeling slightly panicked. What could he say? He couldn’t tell her why he was really here. That was information for Shadow Talon ears only.

“Yes?” The Ice Talon probed, leaning in closer.

A thought flashed through his head. She must be an exile. That could be the only reason she was on the island. It wasn’t uncommon. Many dragon tribes banished their own tribe members for various reasons; competition for the throne, disobeying the tribe’s rules, murder.

“I was exiled,” Zoltar blurted, immediately wincing. That had come out way too enthusiastically.

“Really?” the Ice Talon hissed, eyeing him sceptically, “You were cast out?”

Zoltar nodded slowly, trying his best to look dejected about the whole thing. If he was going to pull off this lie, he needed to at least look convincing.

“Hmmph,” the Ice Talon pocked a talon at him, “You don’t look very dangerous. What exactly were you banished for?”

Zoltar racked his mind. What was a good reason for being thrown out of his tribe? He need to be believable, but at the same time not make her uneasy. The last thing that would make her relax around him was the prospect that he’d murdered someone and stealing didn’t sound much better.

Besides from the sound of it, she wouldn’t buy that. After all, he apparently didn’t look dangerous enough for that. He tried his best not to take it personally.

Maybe if he said he’d fought for the throne? It was the safest way to go. He might even get some sympathy as it was the same case for many outcasts.

“I challenged my chief for the throne,” Zoltar said, avoiding her eyes, “He let me live, but I’m never to return to my tribe.”

The Ice Talon’s face fell for a moment as she clinched her claws. She sighed, “I’m sorry it ended that way for you.”

Zoltar nodded, shuffling nervously on his paws.

“So, you know my name. May I ask what’s yours?” Zoltar said playfully, hoping to sway the subject away from why he was on the island.

The dragoness smiled at him as she shook out her wings, the scales shining like millions of miniature moons, “It’s Felistia.”

“That’s a nice name,” Zoltar said a little awkwardly.

Avoiding her gaze, he looked down at the pouch around his neck. The strap was torn in a few places, but it was still intact. He breathed a quiet sigh of thanks. He couldn’t bear to think what might have happened if he’d lost the Stones during the fight with the Death Grippers.

Turning back to Felistia, he asked, “So, how long have you been on the island?”

Felistia didn’t answer and Zoltar looked up to see that the Ice Talon dragoness had stiffened. She hastily got to her paws as she scanned the trees bordering the beach. She scented the air, her ears pricked as she listened intently.

“We need to go,” she hissed softly after a moment.

Silently, she padded over to the water’s edge. The mist curling off of the ocean enveloped her, causing her to take on an almost ghostly appearance as she shifted in and out of view.

Zoltar stood there for a moment as he registered what she’d just said, “You want me to come with you?”

She nodded, gesturing from him to be quiet.

A little hesitant at first, Zoltar edged over to her, “Okay, but why must we go?”

He had a good idea of what it might be. Evening’s grip was tightening on the island and the shadows had deepened since they’d been talking. Before long night would be upon them.

“My goodness, you wouldn’t have lasted a night if I hadn’t found you,” Felistia hissed, looking back over her shoulder at him, “Wisp Talons! They’ll grab you and feed you to the Death Grippers if they don’t kill you first. You don’t want to be out in the open when night falls around here. Come on.”

She continued along the shoreline.

Zoltar hung back. Should he follow? She obviously had a hiding place for the night and he wasn’t going to be able to find anything before nightfall.

He looked around anxiously. But what about Sidious? He couldn’t just leave without him, but where was he? He should have made it to the beach by now…unless.

Zoltar lowered his eyes, realizing what must have befallen the Ghost Talon.

He quickly snapped out of it though, shaking out his wings as he cleared the image from his head. He couldn’t dwell on it. Sidious had made his choice to split up.

Taking a deep breath, he continued after Felistia, who was already a fair way ahead of him. He could still complete the mission on his own.

Felistia by @FlamingPhoenix


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Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:10 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi felistia,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

That was a very unexpected chapter. I don't think I would have thought that the plot would turn like that, and maybe even for the better for Zoltar.

I think this was already so fated that Zoltar was saved, and maybe even has a new hope, and more or less thanks to Sidious who wanted to split. I felt it was a valuable chapter in terms of Zoltar's development, as he again comes to a point in such spontaneous unplanned situations where he himself doesn't know what to do.

I liked that build up he had, still out of sheer wonderment not knowing what just happened. I also liked that Zoltar quickly built up a lie so as not to give away the plan and yet now I wonder how far this will develop for the possible collaboration with Felistia. I am very curious to see what will come out of this and how Sidious will react if he is still alive. (Which I hope on the one hand, but on the other hand I don't hope).

I noticed, and I liked it, was the introduction of Felistia. Somehow every time she spoke, a new description of her showed up, so that as a reader you got more and more of a good picture, almost as if the icy fog around her cleared and just like Zoltar, you then finally recognised her. Her presentation was great; I think she was very open and skeptical and also don't think she believes everything Zoltar told her.

I also thought it was a good explanation to resolve the cliffhanger from the last chapter. It was a bit predictable though (I thought Sidious might come and then also give Zoltar a telling off about how stupid he is. :D) but I'm glad it resolved that way.

The chapter seemed a bit short to me. I think that was also due to the rapid dynamics between the dialogue and the hurried change of conversation (it took Zoltar a really long time to ask for a name...) and the short, beautiful descriptions. I liked how he flies with her at the end but continues to keep the mission in mind. I'm very interested to see what happens next, and you've raised some questions that I want answered very quickly. To put it this way, with the addition of Felistia, I'm more curious about the backstory, what happened to Sidious, if the mission will still be completed, etc....

It was definitely a very interesting and exciting chapter. I liked the portrayal of Felistia and how it also flowed smoothly into the story.

Other points that caught my eye: (Only two things this time. :D)

"Hmmph," the Ice Talon pocked a talon at him, "You don't look very dangerous. What exactly were you banished for?"

I like very much here how Zoltar's pride is partly shaken. Of course, it's clear that he can't reveal anything to maintain his cover, but his first thought was well chosen on the one hand because it expected a quick answer without sounding suspicious, but also without thinking further. I liked this point a lot because it showed that he didn't trust her at the beginning either and I think Zoltar wouldn't have waited for that answer from Felistia either.

The dragoness smiled at him as she shook out her wings, the scales shining like millions of miniature moons, "It's Felistia."

This is another great point with descriptions you inserted every time Felistia spoke. I liked this dynamic of making it special without making it directly special. I also liked that the plot didn't get bogged down because of a single paragraph of descriptions.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




felistia says...


Thank you so much for the review. I was just about to start writing the next one when I saw that you'd posted. :D



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Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:14 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm baaack for another review!!!

First Impression: Wooohoo...20 chapters in and we finally get to meet felistia and Sidious has mysteriously vanished only to be presumed dead..well, this was definitely a very exciting chapter to read here. :D

Anyway let's get right to it,

Just then a stream of ice cold air blasted over Zoltar, showering the pack in a beam of frost breath. He snapped open his eyes to see the alpha standing over him, frozen solid, its jaws agape in an eternal screech of fiery.


Woohoo...its the icy breath...which is exactly what I was hoping it was going to be...we finally get to meet felistia...ahh...I am so excited to see how this is going to go now that we have an extra and rather unlikeable dragon added into the mix along with just Zoltar. It should be very interesting to see how things go from here.

The rest of the creatures scattered, yelping and hissing at one another as they fled back into the maze. A few remained, now lifeless statues coated in a shell of shimmering blue ice.

Sharp bolts of pain shot over Zoltar’s belly scales as he scrambled to get to his paws. Looking down, he say a layer of frost crusting them. He gingerly used a paw to brush it off, wincing at the cold that stabbed through his talons.


Hmm, well, that was a very smart tactic employed by felistia there, taking the leader out like that is always the best way to get a pack like that to immediately run off screaming...well, that was one of the coolest character introductions you will get...sorry...pun was kind of intended ;)

What had just happened?

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to catch you as well,” a cool voice jingled behind him.

Zoltar whipped around to see an Ice Talon dragoness standing a few dragon lengths away from him. The crown of silver horns along the back of her head gleamed in the dim light as she cocked her snout at him.


Hmm...I dunno if in the previous version he was hit as well, but considering the position the alpha death gripper was in, this does make a lot of sense that Zoltar would also get hit by the blast that was intended for the death gripper.

“You’ll be alright. You didn’t get a direct hit. It will heal up in no time,” she said as she approached him, her long, spiked tail sweeping gracefully over the sand.

Zoltar stared back at her, his heart still hammering painfully against his chest. An Ice Talon. What was she doing so far away from her homeland?


Ahh..I love how felistia is just calmly trying to introduce herself to Zoltar and explain to him what just happened while Zoltar is straight up just staring open mouthed at her and trying to figure out what on Earth and Ice Talon is doing there...

“It’s not safe here you know?” she continued as she circled him, “Though, I guess you’ve already figured that out being that you were nearly Death Gripper food.”

She flashed her fangs in a smile as she sat down, her tail curled neatly over her talons.

“What’s your name?” she asked, looking Zoltar from horns to tail with her shimmering gold eyes. They were as deep and unreadable as the sun and Zoltar found himself staring straight into them.


Well, you can't blame Zoltar for being confused like that, after all I highly doubt he's heard anything about the whole near civil war going on in the Ice Talon kingdom...at any rate, this is a really fun little introduction here.

“I-i-it’s Zoltar,” Zoltar replied, quickly lowering his eyes. What was he going to do? There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else on the island?

“So…Zoltar, what is a Shadow Talon doing so far away from the Shadow Lands?” She kept her gaze trained on him, but her ears twitched back and forth with every sound that imitated from the maze.


Well I'm guessing that would be far above her clearance level to know...xD...well, here come the serous of lies I suppose, this should be quite exciting cause knowing the truth about all of the dragons does make it a lot more fun to try and spot how they hide their true stories.

“I-I-I. Umm. Ah,” Zoltar stammered, feeling slightly panicked. What could he say? He couldn’t tell her why he was really here. That was information for Shadow Talon ears only.

“Yes?” The Ice Talon probed, leaning in closer.

A thought flashed through his head. She must be an exile. That could be the only reason she was on the island. It’s wasn’t uncommon. Many dragon tribes banished their own tribe members for various reasons; competition for the throne, disobeying the tribe’s rules, murder.


Well I guess technically she did in fact perform those first two reasons, so she was kind of legitimately cast out from her tribe...although whether she actually ends up telling anything is sounding doubtful at the moment, it looks like Zoltar is fully on the backfoot here and she's asking all the questions.

“I was exiled,” Zoltar blurted, immediately wincing. That had come out way too enthusiastically.

“Really?” the Ice Talon hissed, eyeing him skeptically, “You were cast out?”

Zoltar nodded slowly, trying his best to look dejected about the whole thing. If he was going to pull off this lie, he needed to at least look convincing.


Oh dear...well I suppose was never exactly trained in going undercover at anything so you can't blame him for being a little bit all over the place here as he's talking...I do wonder if Sidious is going to show up and make everything a lot more complicated here.

“Hmmph,” the Ice Talon pocked a talon at him, “You don’t look very dangerous. What exactly were you banished for?”

Zoltar racked his mind. What was a good reason for being thrown out of his tribe? He need to be believable, but at the same time not make her uneasy. The last thing that would make her relax around him was the prospect that he’d murdered someone and stealing didn’t sound much better.


Well that's a nice little catch 22, he's gotta make sure he mentions a crime severe enough to be banished but one that's not severe enough for this dragon to not trust him...murder and stealing definitely aren't qualities that establish any sort of trust.

Besides from the sound of it, she wouldn’t buy that. After all, he apparently didn’t look dangerous enough for that. He tried his best not to take it personally.

Maybe if he said he’d fought for the throne? It was the safest way to go. He might even get some sympathy as it was the same case for many outcasts.


Okay....Zoltar being slightly offended that he doesn't look dangerous enough to be a murderer cracks me up far more than something like that should...and well, it looks like he's going to go with a pretty safe bet there...felistia can certainly relate to a story like that.

“I challenged my chief for the throne,” Zoltar said, avoiding her eyes, “He let me live, but I’m never to return to my tribe.”

The Ice Talon’s face fell for a moment as she clinched her claws. She sighed, “I’m sorry it ended that way for you.”


Hmm, pretty sure that is some genuine empathy there on felistia's part so that is quite nice to see there, although hopefully Sidious is not going to come along and ruin the entire cover story immediately.

Zoltar nodded, shuffling nervously on his paws.

“So, you know my name. May I ask what’s yours?” Zoltar said playfully, hoping to sway the subject away from why he was on the island.

The dragoness smiled at him as she shook out her wings, the scales shining like millions of miniature moons, “It’s Felistia.”


Ahh...Zoltar is finally understanding how to survive in undercover situations, turning the tables on the one interrogating you is always a very good strategy.

Avoiding her gaze, he looked down at the pouch around his neck. The strap was torn in a few places, but it was still intact. He breathed a quiet sigh of thanks. He couldn’t bear to think what might have happened if he’d lost the Stones during the fight with the Death Grippers.

Turning back to Felistia, he asked, “So, how long have you been on the island?”


Hmm, well that's a question even I don't remember the answer to so, I do hope she actually ends up answering that particular question there.

Felistia didn’t answer and Zoltar looked up to see that the Ice Talon dragoness had stiffened. She hastily got to her paws as she scanned the trees bordering the beach. She scented the air, her ears pricked as she listened intently.

“We need to go,” she hissed softly after a moment.


Hm, could that be Sidious approaching is that some of the islands native inhabitants out on a bit of a hunt there...it is hard to tell the difference from there.

Silently, she padded over to the water’s edge. The mist curling off of the ocean enveloped her, causing her to take on an almost ghostly appearance as she shifted in and out of view.

Zoltar stood there for a moment as he registered what she’d just said, “You want me to come with you?”


Hmm, well, this should be quite entertaining to see Zoltar try to figure out whether he should be going along with felistia or not in this next scene.

She nodded, gesturing from him to be quiet.

A little hesitant at first, Zoltar edged over to her, “Okay, but why must we go?”

He had a good idea of what it might be. Evening’s grip was tightening on the island and the shadows had deepened since they’d been talking. Before long night would be upon them.


Hmm, nighttime is definitely not the kind of time you want to be out and about at, especially for those who are not Shadow Talons and don't have the very handy night vision which would make things extra scary in the darkness.

“My goodness, you wouldn’t have lasted a night if I hadn’t found you,” Felistia hissed, looking back over her shoulder at him, “Wisp Talons! They’ll grab you and feed you to the Death Grippers if they don’t kill you first. You don’t want to be out in the open when night falls around here. Come on.”

She continued along the shoreline.


Well this time the decision to follow Felistia is going to be a little bit harder for Zoltar to make because he is also going to have to contend with the fact that Sidious is also on this quest with him and is currently missing in action so there's no way to tell what ended up happening to that one...for all we know, he flew to a different beach and is not currently yelling all sorts of insults at Zoltar for being late or being dead.

Zoltar hung back. Should he follow? She obviously had a hiding place for the night and he wasn’t going to be able to find anything before nightfall.

He looked around anxiously. But what about Sidious? He couldn’t just leave without he, but where was he? He should have made it to the beach by now…unless.


Right...the ghost talon could also be quite dead..although...it would certainly be an easy way to get rid of him and have this whole journey end up being as it once was but somehow I doubt that we're going to be getting rid of Sidious quite this early...ahhh...more things to theorize about.

Zoltar lowered his eyes, realizing what must have befallen the Ghost Talon.

He quickly snapped out of it though, shaking out his wings as he cleared the image from his head. He couldn’t dwell on it. Sidious had made his choice to split up.

Taking a deep breath, he continued after Felistia, who was already a fair way ahead of him. He could still complete the mission on his own.


Well Zoltar has clearly already made up his mind about the Ghost Talon having fallen victim to one of the many horrors on the island..but well, I'm not quite going to by that just yet...there has to be more proof before declaring someone like Sidious to be dead and gone.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, a pretty solid chapter as always, the introduction between these two went pretty nicely...aaand a very mysterious disappearance by Sidious that I really must look into here...well, this should be an interesting couple of chapters to come when the whole gang has to meet. :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




felistia says...


Thank you so much for the review. They are always such a joy to read. I'll hopefully get the next chapter out soon. :D



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!! :D




Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
— Mark Twain