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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter 28

by felistia


An icy breeze swept through the early morning air, murmuring as it whistled through the maze. The echo of waves crashing against the columns filled Zoltar’s ears as he stared down at the beach. Despite the roar of the ocean, the water failed to reach the blood soaked pebbles below, failed to wash away the pain of the previous night.

He shivered as another breath of wind brushed over his scales, though he wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or the memories.

Shuffling on the column, Zoltar shifted his gaze to the forest bordering in the beach. He couldn’t just sit here all day, staring at the shore. Though…what else was he going to do?

He could scout the island and try to think of a plan. After all, he still was no closer to stealing the Wisp Talon gem.

Zoltar wrinkled his snout. Somehow he just couldn’t stomach the thought of that right now.

He gazed off into the distance for a moment, before sighing. Still, the point remained. It wasn’t doing him any good sitting here.

Groaning reluctantly, he unfurled his wings, letting the ocean air catch them as he leapt off the pillar.

It wasn’t long before he was soaring over the forest. The sun was only just beginning to clear the horizon, its light not yet able to drive the mist hanging over the trees. The warbling notes of insects floated through the canopy below, their melody drawing to a close as the oncoming day approached.

Zoltar’s thoughts drifted back to his mission as he flew. Despite his disinterest in the matter, he couldn’t help but linger on the issue. How was he going to get the gem? He had no idea where the Wisp Talon settlement was. Not to mention that the forest was swarming with the creatures.

He’d been lucky yesterday. There was no way that would happen again if he was caught a second time. Even if the Wisp Talon didn’t kill him on sight, he’d probably end up the next full moon sacrifice.

A sickly chill ran through his scales at the thought. He couldn’t imagine how Scorpus must have felt, all alone there on that beach with no hope of rescue. If he ever ended up in that situation, he knew he wouldn’t fare much better. Felistia and Shiraku wouldn’t help. It would be suicide and besides that, why would they?Sidious wouldn’t be of any use either. He had made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested in his safety. There was no way he’d help if Zoltar ever found himself captured by the Wisp Talons.

‘He’ll probably skulk back to Krakatoa and wait for another less useless lackey,’ Zoltar thought as he bared his teeth in disgust.

Sidious provided no help or incite on the problem at paw. He was just a source of arrogance and disdain towards him. Zoltar often found himself wishing the Ghost Talon hadn’t come along on the mission in the first place. He’d probably be better off on his own. At least then there wouldn’t be a dragon looking down on him constantly and threatening the lives of those that were actually trying to help him.

Zoltar sighed. He knew why Krakatoa had wanted Sidious to come along. He wasn’t helper or a companion. He was a spy, a way to keep him in line.

‘One couldn’t have a Shadow Talon thinking for themselves now could they?’ Zoltar thought bitterly.

He snorted, focusing his eyes back on the trees below a he tried to stop thinking about Sidious. That dragon really got under his scales.

He was nearing the western slopes of the mountains, their twin peaks towering over the impossibly green landscape. The foliage was thinner here and Zoltar could just make out the forest floor through the overhanging boughs.

It wasn’t long before he spotted a shallow stream snaking through the trees on its way down the alp. He circled overhead for a few moments, contemplating if he should land or not.

The sun was climbing steadily, its warm rays beating down on the land. It had been comforting at first, but now the endless heat was begin to wear down on him. It had been a few days since his last drink and he was beginning to feel the effects.

Carefully, he began to descend. The tree cover was still thick enough to injury a careless dragon if they landed too hastily. Circling in a slow glide, he floated down through the top most branches, taking great care not to hook his wings on the outstretched boughs.

Finally he landed, his paws sinking into the shallow leaf litter. The stream’s gentle gurgle filled the damp air as it trickled down the mountain side. Multi coloured birds fluttered through the canopy overhead, chirruping their joyful songs for the whole forest to hear.

Zoltar sucked in a deep breath. The scent of dew soaked moss and millennium old trees filled his snout as he cautiously padded over to the water’s edge. He took one last look around. The forest was serene around him.

The icy water swept over his paws as he stepped further into the stream. Leaning down, he lapped up cool, refreshing liquid, savouring the feeling as it flowed through him.

After a few long moments, he lifted his head, the water dripping off his snout and paws as he stepped away from the river bed.

Shaking out his wings, he took another sniff of the air. A light breeze had begun to blow, streaming up the mountain. It carried with it a faint, but familiar scent. Prey.

Excitement coursed through Zoltar’s veins at the prospect of a hunt. It had been so long since he’d had a successful one. It was just the thing to take his mind off the nights events.

Slowly, Zoltar slunk into the undergrowth surrounded the banks of the stream, being sure to keep his wings tucked close and paw steps soft. He flicked out his forked tongue, tasting the air. It was musky. A herd of deer must be close, probably a little way down the slope. The wind was blowing towards him. It was a perfect set up for a surprise attack.

The ground was damp under Zoltar’s paws as he crept through the undergrowth. Progress was painfully slow, but he had to be careful. It was thicker than he was used to. Twigs and leaves littered the muddy floor, making silence almost impossible.

It wasn’t long before his sharp hearing picked up the grating sound of jaws grinding grass. The herd must be grazing along the streams banks.

The pungent scent of antelope was so strong now he could almost taste it. His stomach growled in anticipation. It had been many moon cycles since he’d last had deer.

His nerves felt like they were on fire, his coiled muscles ready to spring at a moment’s notice, but he knew he had to be patient. He inched forward, painstakingly placing each paw down. One crack of a twig and the herd would bolt.

He stopped just a few steps from the forests edge, his dark shape hidden by the trees shadows. He could just make out their shapes now as they grazed around to the forest’s edge. They were so close. The herd was right in front of him, completely unaware of the danger lurking just beyond the trees.

Zoltar waited, watching for just the right moment to pounce. One just needed to wander a little too close.

‘Just a little further,’ Zoltar thought, his talons itching with anticipation as he watched one stag break away from the herd and drift up the bank, ‘Just one step more.’

He exploded from the bushes, leaping with his claws stretched wide towards the buck. The stag reared up, bellowing in alarm as it turned to bolt, but it was too late. Zoltar’s talons sank into its hide as his jaws locked onto the deer’s shoulder.

He held on grimly as the crazed animal bucked and kicked in a vain attempt to throw him off.

Growling through his teeth, Zoltar hooked his back claws into his prey’s flank and beat his wings, hoping to throw the deer off balance. The buck staggered as it desperately tried to keep its footing, but after a few moments it toppled.

Zoltar lunged for its throat, ignoring the flailing hooves as he bit down, severing the spinal column. The buck instantly went still, its head falling limp in his jaws.

The rest of the herd had scattered, the surrounding forest filled with their panicked trumpets. Birds shrieked from the canopy, their warning carrying on the breeze.

After a moment, Zoltar dropped the deer and stepped back, panting. He cursed the fact that he hadn’t managed to grab his prey’s throat on the first attempt. The kill would have been quicker and wouldn’t have stirred up the entire forest in the process.

He stood there for a moment, trying catch his breath. He groaned at the thought of carrying the deer all the way back to the beach. It was heavy and it wasn’t a short flight.

He glanced around him again. He couldn’t stay here though. Every predator in a two mile radius would have heard the buck’s cries. Not to mention the island’s local dragons.

Zoltar shuddered and shook out his wings, before hooking his talons into the carcass. The last thing he wanted was to run into a Wisp Talon with the stolen prey.

Spreading his wings, he was about to lift off when the metallic brush of scales against leaves caught his attention.


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Fri Oct 22, 2021 1:43 pm
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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 here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Woohoo...its good to see a chapter of this after so long, and it looks like we have a little bit of filler happening in this one here, with just a little hint of a cliffhanger towards the very end.

Anyway let's get right to it,

An icy breeze swept through the early morning air, murmuring as it whistled through the maze. The echo of waves crashing against the columns filled Zoltar’s ears as he stared down at the beach. Despite the roar of the ocean, the water failed to reach the blood soaked pebbles below, failed to wash away the pain of the previous night.

He shivered as another breath of wind brushed over his scales, though he wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or the memories.

Shuffling on the column, Zoltar shifted his gaze to the forest bordering in the beach. He couldn’t just sit here all day, staring at the shore. Though…what else was he going to do?

He could scout the island and try to think of a plan. After all, he still was no closer to stealing the Wisp Talon gem.


Ahhh, I hope I haven't forgotten anything here. Its been a while. This is a very appropriate picture to jump back into the feel of things though. With Zoltar's current state of mind being what it is, this does a wonderful job with quickly capturing the sort of scenario he is currently stuck in. Well, let's see how he moves past these things here...and I wonder what our man Sidious' reaction is going to be to all this. I don't believe that we saw his reaction to Sidious' fate just yet.

It wasn’t long before he was soaring over the forest. The sun was only just beginning to clear the horizon, its light not yet able to drive the mist hanging over the trees. The warbling notes of insects floated through the canopy below, their melody drawing to a close as the oncoming day approached.

Zoltar’s thoughts drifted back to his mission as he flew. Despite his disinterest in the matter, he couldn’t help but linger on the issue. How was he going to get the gem? He had no idea where the Wisp Talon settlement was. Not to mention that the forest was swarming with the creatures.

He’d been lucky yesterday. There was no way that would happen again if he was caught a second time. Even if the Wisp Talon didn’t kill him on sight, he’d probably end up the next full moon sacrifice.


Hmm, I love how Zoltar is currently just lost as far as the mission is concerned because he's still trying to process the fact that Scorpus was killed in that horrifying manner. You can really see just how much of a struggle it is proving to be at the moment cause it seems he just can't find the motivation especially cause it seems like he doesn't the first place to look when it comes to potentially finding the gem.

A sickly chill ran through his scales at the thought. He couldn’t imagine how Scorpus must have felt, all alone there on that beach with no hope of rescue. If he ever ended up in that situation, he knew he wouldn’t fare much better. Felistia and Shiraku wouldn’t help. It would be suicide and besides that, why would they?Sidious wouldn’t be of any use either. He had made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested in his safety. There was no way he’d help if Zoltar ever found himself captured by the Wisp Talons.

‘He’ll probably skulk back to Krakatoa and wait for another less useless lackey,’ Zoltar thought as he bared his teeth in disgust.


Well...this is also a very much justified direction for this thoughts to take after the kind of situation that he was in. I do like how you don't shy away from having these very emotional events spread their affects over multiple chapters and really strike home to us readers here.

Sidious provided no help or incite on the problem at paw. He was just a source of arrogance and disdain towards him. Zoltar often found himself wishing the Ghost Talon hadn’t come along on the mission in the first place. He’d probably be better off on his own. At least then there wouldn’t be a dragon looking down on him constantly and threatening the lives of those that were actually trying to help him.

Zoltar sighed. He knew why Krakatoa had wanted Sidious to come along. He wasn’t helper or a companion. He was a spy, a way to keep him in line.

‘One couldn’t have a Shadow Talon thinking for themselves now could they?’ Zoltar thought bitterly.


Hmm, having read the previous version where Zoltar was indeed on his own, I totally do agree with him. He worked much better when it was just him. I'm pretty sure that book was not this many chapters long..or at least it wasn't longer than 30 chapters so Zoltar was much closer to moving to his next destination. Here well...because Krakatoa was smart enough to send someone to keep and eye on Zoltar and with this ritual, things are much slower. :D

He snorted, focusing his eyes back on the trees below a he tried to stop thinking about Sidious. That dragon really got under his scales.

He was nearing the western slopes of the mountains, their twin peaks towering over the impossibly green landscape. The foliage was thinner here and Zoltar could just make out the forest floor through the overhanging boughs.

It wasn’t long before he spotted a shallow stream snaking through the trees on its way down the alp. He circled overhead for a few moments, contemplating if he should land or not.


Hmm well alright so the descriptions here slowly shifting from the more targeted parts to sort of tell us the situation earlier to the now more general parts I see...well let's see what this is going to be like here.

The sun was climbing steadily, its warm rays beating down on the land. It had been comforting at first, but now the endless heat was begin to wear down on him. It had been a few days since his last drink and he was beginning to feel the effects.

Carefully, he began to descend. The tree cover was still thick enough to injury a careless dragon if they landed too hastily. Circling in a slow glide, he floated down through the top most branches, taking great care not to hook his wings on the outstretched boughs.

Finally he landed, his paws sinking into the shallow leaf litter. The stream’s gentle gurgle filled the damp air as it trickled down the mountain side. Multi coloured birds fluttered through the canopy overhead, chirruping their joyful songs for the whole forest to hear.


Ooh, I love the little bits of caution that Zoltar is using being displayed nicely in those little detail as we also get a bigger picture of the area with the description in general. It all really comes together to create quite a nice effect here and its wonderful to see.

After a few long moments, he lifted his head, the water dripping off his snout and paws as he stepped away from the river bed.

Shaking out his wings, he took another sniff of the air. A light breeze had begun to blow, streaming up the mountain. It carried with it a faint, but familiar scent. Prey.

Excitement coursed through Zoltar’s veins at the prospect of a hunt. It had been so long since he’d had a successful one. It was just the thing to take his mind off the nights events.


Okay, this is interesting, so that means he'd so far just sort of flown around without any real sense of direction. I thought he was perhaps trying to locate the Wisp Talon village or something but I guess that's not what he was doing...although I suppose we do now have another source of excitement with the prey situation.

The ground was damp under Zoltar’s paws as he crept through the undergrowth. Progress was painfully slow, but he had to be careful. It was thicker than he was used to. Twigs and leaves littered the muddy floor, making silence almost impossible.

It wasn’t long before his sharp hearing picked up the grating sound of jaws grinding grass. The herd must be grazing along the streams banks.

The pungent scent of antelope was so strong now he could almost taste it. His stomach growled in anticipation. It had been many moon cycles since he’d last had deer.


Oooh, well looks like we're about to be treated to another hunting scene. This is also being setup rather nicely although there is of course the possibility that this little hunt much like the previous one could end up going very wrong.

His nerves felt like they were on fire, his coiled muscles ready to spring at a moment’s notice, but he knew he had to be patient. He inched forward, painstakingly placing each paw down. One crack of a twig and the herd would bolt.

He stopped just a few steps from the forests edge, his dark shape hidden by the trees shadows. He could just make out their shapes now as they grazed around to the forest’s edge. They were so close. The herd was right in front of him, completely unaware of the danger lurking just beyond the trees.

Zoltar waited, watching for just the right moment to pounce. One just needed to wander a little too close.

‘Just a little further,’ Zoltar thought, his talons itching with anticipation as he watched one stag break away from the herd and drift up the bank, ‘Just one step more.’


Well here we go....hopefully this is going to end better than the previous hunt did. So far its been an excellent build up of tension much like it was in the previous hunting scene that we had although of course there Zoltar was the one who ended up being hunted.

Growling through his teeth, Zoltar hooked his back claws into his prey’s flank and beat his wings, hoping to throw the deer off balance. The buck staggered as it desperately tried to keep its footing, but after a few moments it toppled.

Zoltar lunged for its throat, ignoring the flailing hooves as he bit down, severing the spinal column. The buck instantly went still, its head falling limp in his jaws.

The rest of the herd had scattered, the surrounding forest filled with their panicked trumpets. Birds shrieked from the canopy, their warning carrying on the breeze.


Yay!!! Poor deer but it looks like Zoltar is going to get a meal that he likes a bit more here....and perhaps he can finally make good on that promise he made earlier to bring food back. Its good to see Zoltar getting some success.

He stood there for a moment, trying catch his breath. He groaned at the thought of carrying the deer all the way back to the beach. It was heavy and it wasn’t a short flight.

He glanced around him again. He couldn’t stay here though. Every predator in a two mile radius would have heard the buck’s cries. Not to mention the island’s local dragons.

Zoltar shuddered and shook out his wings, before hooking his talons into the carcass. The last thing he wanted was to run into a Wisp Talon with the stolen prey.

Spreading his wings, he was about to lift off when the metallic brush of scales against leaves caught his attention.


Oooh...I like how you for a moment teased the fact that this could end just normally with Zoltar flying off into the sunset to enjoy his meal, but of course we have ourselves a slight twist in the tale there.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, it was a solid chapter. Not much really happened to comment on here, but that ending does promise some interesting things to come, so the wait begins once more. :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. I'll probably post the next chapter tomorrow.

P.S My previous draft of this book actually had 29 chapters total. I'm about to pass that and I don't think I'm even half way through this book. Let's just say things aren't going to go the same route as last time (wink):D



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!

Oooooh ;)



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Fri Oct 22, 2021 8:26 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi felistia,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

You know how to wow me with a chapter. :D Zoltar is definitely a very interesting and well-developed character, he seems realistic and great. You can understand him and comprehend his actions and thoughts. The fact that we as readers get all this information helps immensely to understand him.

I found the chapter to be a good break down after the horrors Zoltar has seen. You build it up in a good tone and always combine it with the beautiful descriptions. I think that's also what doesn't seem so halting here; you alternate these trains of thought with the plot and the outside world. Zoltar is thinking and moving on, a movement that is not directly visible in his head. I'm pleased that on the one hand he's not just grieving more, but questioning everything he's done so far and now dealing with desires and moments that only play in his head. But these scenarios do not stop him from moving on and "surviving".

The tension is set quite well here, considering how we have been moving in this direction for a while now, where Zoltar is only concerned with himself. I especially like that here, that we only hear from Felistia and Shiraku once, and that it makes this loneliness feel much better crushing. Together with the descriptions of the distance, it creates this emptiness that one knows after a loss.

It's definitely very great how you always build that up and manage to give you goosebumps. I'm always very excited when people put their characters through that kind of suffering to show them that spark of humanity. Kudos to you for that.

In general, the pacing of the chapter was nice and I really liked the switching between perspectives. I found it quite a "relaxing" and calm read despite the grief and heavy emotional feelings because it is only towards the end that a danger arises which now ensures that Zoltar must probably finally get out of his head.

Other points I noticed while reading:

Despite the roar of the ocean, the water failed to reach the blood soaked pebbles below, failed to wash away the pain of the previous night.

Your beginnings are always so strong and extensive, one can't really get enough of them. :D

Though…what else was he going to do?

Tiny nitpick here; a space is missing after the three dots.

they?Sidious wouldn’t be of any use either.

Here again, a space is missing. :D

Zoltar often found himself wishing the Ghost Talon hadn’t come along on the mission in the first place. He’d probably be better off on his own. At least then there wouldn’t be a dragon looking down on him constantly and threatening the lives of those that were actually trying to help him.

This is exactly what you actually feel after a loss. You don't want to have anything to do with anyone and so suddenly you develop what-if thoughts. I like that you show that here.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




felistia says...


Thank you so much for the review. I'll probably post the next one tomorrow. Don't want to keep you hanging. :D





Thanks :D




"Think of all the beauty still left around you, and smile."
— Anne Frank