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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter 5

by felistia


Art by @FlamingPhoenix

“Ahh, Zoltar,” Hisster said, looking up from the scroll he’d been studying, “Good to see you back in one piece. One of my soldiers reported the storm over the Sea Talon Isles. I was afraid that you’d have to shelter in Moon Talon territory until it passed, thus delaying your return.”

“The storm lost power once it hit land. I was able to fly through it without too much trouble, Sir.”

“Good,” Hisster rolled up the scroll and placed it in a large crevasse in the wall alongside a few other scrolls. “Now onto business. What did you manage to find out about the island? Would we be able to inhabit it?”

“It seems that way, Sir. I only circled the island as you instructed, but from the looks of it, it would be just right for us.”

“There is a fresh water lake and plenty of prey animals. From a defensive outlook, the maze of misty pillars ringing the island will provide some decent protection. Its low enough for the Wind Talons to fly over it, but it makes for a great defence against low flying dragons like the Sea Talons as it’s not the easiest to navigate. From my judgment, the island is the best land yet, though it is more wooded than we would like.”

“Excellent, don’t worry about the trees. We can clear some land once we get there. Now onto my main concern,” Hisster grabbed another scroll from the pile and unfurled it, the edges an ashen black, “What about the Wisp Talons? Did you manage to see any?”

“No, Sir. The tree cover was quite thick and there didn’t seem to be any inhabitation in or around clearings.”

“Hmm,” Hisster rubbed a scar along the base of his jaw, “That’s promising, but doesn’t grantee that the island is clear. There hasn’t been a major disaster on the island so there’s no reason for them to have left or died out. Not to mention that they are part of the chameleon class. They could have camouflaged as you flew overhead, which just makes things harder.”

“You do make a point, Sir. What do you wish to do?” Zoltar asked.

“Their village could be located in the forest somewhere. That would explain why you weren’t able to see anything from the air,” Hisster said, examining the scroll again as he beckoned Zoltar over.

Curious, Zoltar walking up to the Chief and leaned in to see that the scroll was covered in scrawling drawings and crud notes depicting the Wisp Talon Tribe. It all dated back to around six years ago.

A small growl of frustration escaped his jaws as he squinted, trying to make out the words on the scroll. Most of it was almost impossible to read due the text having faded, though the silhouette of the slender, snake like dragon in the middle of the scroll was unmistakable. Its features were blurred, but it was still enough to send a shiver down Zoltar’s spine.

“Unfortunately, we no longer know much about this tribe,” Hisster said, rolling up the scroll and putting it back, “Many of the documents on them were lost on that fateful day. This is the only one we have left and it ain’t much.”

Zoltar lowered his eyes, his back spines sagging. He remembered it all too clearly. A few days after the initial eruption, Hisster had instructed a band of Shadow Talons to salvage what they could from around Mount Mokewtu. They’d found a few scrolls, but mostly metal objects in the form of weapons and armour. That’s not what burned the memory into his mind though. Scattered all around had been the ghostly white remains of bones, many half buried in hardened lava.

Zoltar quickly shook his head as he tried to get the image out of his mind. He couldn’t think about it. He couldn’t go back to that dark place.

He turned back to Hisster and tried to focus on the present.

“Anyway, I think it would be best that I send a scout group to search the island before going any further. If the Wisp Talons are still there, I’ll want to know before I tell the tribe about this island.”

“And what if the Wisp Talons are still there?” Zoltar gave Hisster a worried glance. Their tribe wouldn’t be permitted onto another groups land without a fight. The Shadow Talons would have no chance in a war with their numbers and condition.

It was the main reason they’d been searching for so long. All the inhabitable regions in Megalonia were already occupied. The only places left to look were the few scattered islands around the continent. They were running out of options.

“In that case, I’m afraid we’ll have to take... a more drastic approach to the matter,” Hisster said, his tail flicking back and forth, “The Wisp Talons were never a very large tribe. I have a few ideas that could get rid of them.”

“Very well, Sir. When do you want to organize the scouting mission?” Zoltar asked, stepping back.

“Nira and Scorpus should be back in the next day or so. I’ll will arrange a meeting then. In the meantime get some rest. Moons know that we need it. ”

Zoltar nodded and turned to leave. It was well past dark by now and only the sound of his own paws thudding against the dry earth disturbed the silence hanging in the air.

A barrage of thoughts filled his head. What if this was it and they could finally leave this place? They could rebuild. Have a home again. He’d be able to see his fellow dragons happy again. He and Nira could live in comfort and maybe even start a family. They’d talked about it before, but had both agreed that they’d hold off until they’d found a new home. It would be so wonderful to have a dragonet of his own after all this time.

If only his brother could hear his thoughts right now.

Zoltar smiled sadly at the thought. Maybe he’d see him again someday when he made that journey and become one with the stars like his ancestors before him.

Turning down a different passageway from the one before, he made a detour past the food storage room.

Zoltar had to suppress the feeling of despair rising within him as he survived the stash. Besides his six melons, there was a scrawny dear that looked like it had died before the Shadow Talon got hold of it and a few rats. This was supposed to be a whole day’s catch. It was barely enough to be considered a meal for three dragons, let alone a tribe of almost a hundred.

Sighing, Zoltar moved on. They couldn’t last much longer. This island was their last hope. If it didn’t work out, they’d end up starving to death.

But what if the Wisp Talons were still on the island? They couldn’t just move in if that was the case.

Hisster supposedly had a plan, but surely he wasn’t planning on going to war with another tribe. They didn’t have enough soldiers regardless of how small the Wisp Talon tribe was. They’d lose before they’d even started.

Hisster knew that. He had been their General before the eruption after all. He must have something else in mind.


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Sun May 23, 2021 1:18 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi felistia,

Mailice back with a new review! :D

What I really like about your story is the development of the Shadow Talons, and how they are partly forced to go to war - via Hisster's plan - in order to survive themselves. I would consider it a partial human reference, which takes place here. Most of all, though, I like how Zoltar has doubts about what Hisster has discussed. It shows how desperate they are to consider such a thing. I like it because one has been there from the beginning and witnesses how in an instant one's whole life changes. :D

Some things that struck me while reading:

"Good," Hisster rolled up the scroll and placed it in a large crevasse in the wall alongside a few other scrolls. "Now onto business. What did you manage to find out about the island? Would we be able to inhabit it?"


I like how Hisster indirectly hints at how he's worried about something happening to Zoltar and yet he's very much referring to the mission. I don't know how to interpret that - as a sign of an inner conflict to see every life as important to preserve the race - or as a sign to look to the future, and be optimistic. What I also don't know is to what extent Zoltar sees through it. But he seems to trust him for once.

From my judgment, the island is the best land yet, though it is more wooded than we would like."


I am not familiar with military language and other polite phrases, so this is just a suggestion; I would add a "sir" at the end so that Hisster knows that Zoltar has finished explaining.

Not to mention that they are part of the chameleon class.


With that, we officially enter my beloved details that I love about fictional worlds. The so called world building with all its nuances. :D

Scattered all around had been the ghostly white remains of bones, many half buried in hardened lava.


This brings to mind an image from a video game that I don't like because it's so sad. It must be terrible for the survivors to see that too. I guess it makes them feel guilty just because they survived. Even though it's such a short sentence, it has a strong impact on the reader.

Hisster said, his tail flicking back and forth,


I don't know what exactly that means in dragon language, but when my dog flicks his tail, he's happy. Hmm....

I liked the conversation a lot here in the chapter. I like how you portray Hisster as the wise commander, and Zoltar as a simple soldier. I like how every now and then you put in these short remarks about how they react when the other one speaks. When I picture Hisster there with the scrolls, I can picture him with reading glasses. :D

I also like how towards the end, a conflict develops in Zoltar. I like this point a lot because it contrasts with this change of path that the Shadow Talons are taking. The more I think about how the story has developed from the prologue to this point, I find the plot extremely exciting. You notice how it develops from chapter to chapter, and as a reader reading it for the first time, you can't be sure if the Shadow Talons are jumping from one disaster to the next.

Enjoy the writing!

Mailice.




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Fri May 14, 2021 9:05 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 baaaaack....almost caught up with this now.....aand right away some really awesome art there by Flames as always....well anyway, without putting this potentially very sad chapter off for too long, lemme get right to this.

First Impression: Well, well, well...here's the setup to the saddest scene of this entire story getting thrown right at us...oh dear...hmm....loving the new additions here on first glance....well...you know the drill...more details below.

Anyway let's get right to it,

“Ahh, Zoltar,” Hisster said, looking up from the scroll he’d been studying, “Good to see you back in one piece. One of my soldiers reported the storm over the Sea Talon Isles. I was afraid that you’d have to shelter in Moon Talon territory until it passed, thus delaying your return.”

“The storm lost power once it hit land. I was able to fly through it without too much trouble, Sir.”


Well that worked out very well for him. Hmm...although we've never met the Moon Talons....and I don't think the night they spent in their territory went too badly if I remember....so its probably that bad if he got stuck there.

“Good,” Hisster rolled up the scroll and placed it in a large crevasse in the wall alongside a few other scrolls. “Now onto business. What did you manage to find out about the island? Would we be able to inhabit it?”

“It seems that way, Sir. I only circled the island as you instructed, but from the looks of it, it would be just right for us.”


But you see...you must look a bit closer Zoltar..you always have to take a closer look...

“There is a fresh water lake and plenty of prey animals. From a defensive outlook, the maze of misty pillars ringing the island will provide some decent protection. Its low enough for the Wind Talons to fly over it, but it makes for a great defence against low flying dragons like the Sea Talons as it’s not the easiest to navigate. From my judgment, the island is the best land yet, though it is more wooded than we would like.”


Well...Zoltar demonstrating some battle know how...that's fun to see, I somehow don't think this was a part of this conversation the first time they had it...so...definitely a great addition here.

“Excellent, don’t worry about the trees. We can clear some land once we get there. Now onto my main concern,” Hisster grabbed another scroll from the pile and unfurled it, the edges an ashen black, “What about the Wisp Talons? Did you manage to see any?”

“No, Sir. The tree cover was quite thick and there didn’t seem to be any inhabitation in or around clearings.”


Oh there's definitely a bunch of verryyy scary things down there...the volcano things will pale in comparison.

“Hmm,” Hisster rubbed a scar along the base of his jaw, “That’s promising, but doesn’t grantee that the island is clear. There hasn’t been a major disaster on the island so there’s no reason for them to have left or died out. Not to mention that they are part of the chameleon class. They could have camouflaged as you flew overhead, which just makes things harder.”

“You do make a point, Sir. What do you wish to do?” Zoltar asked.


See...I know Hisster was smart....that is precisely how you need to be thinking if you're the one leading a tribe there...you've got to look at all the possibly angles.

“Their village could be located in the forest somewhere. That would explain why you weren’t able to see anything from the air,” Hisster said, examining the scroll again as he beckoned Zoltar over.

Curious, Zoltar walking up to the Chief and leaned in to see that the scroll was covered in scrawling drawings and crud notes depicting the Wisp Talon Tribe. It all dated back to around six years ago.


Well...that's fun...its been a looong time since I saw a mysterious scroll that is less than a century old, much less one that's less than a decade old.

A small growl of frustration escaped his jaws as he squinted, trying to make out the words on the scroll. Most of it was almost impossible to read due the text having faded, though the silhouette of the slender, snake like dragon in the middle of the scroll was unmistakable. Its features were blurred, but it was still enough to send a shiver down Zoltar’s spine.

“Unfortunately, we no longer know much about this tribe,” Hisster said, rolling up the scroll and putting it back, “Many of the documents on them were lost on that fateful day. This is the only one we have left and it ain’t much.”


Well...fateful day definitely sounds terrible...and I guess he's referring to the day the volcano erupted. Also...the Wisp Talons certainly do sound quite mysterious here....the hype is building up here and you can just tell that we will definitely be running into them sometime soon. Obviously I know but even if I didn't this is definitely showing clues to that.

Zoltar lowered his eyes, his back spines sagging. He remembered it all too clearly. A few days after the initial eruption, Hisster had instructed a band of Shadow Talons to salvage what they could from around Mount Mokewtu. They’d found a few scrolls, but mostly metal objects in the form of weapons and armour. That’s not what burned the memory into his mind though. Scattered all around had been the ghostly white remains of bones, many half buried in hardened lava.


Hmm...well I'm no expert on the temperature of lava or the burning of bodies in general but I think that checks out for what would be burned and what wouldn't be...or at least I think so. And of course it looks like this is also a lovely new edition...well not lovely...but very much creating the haunting image of what a terrible tragedy it was that we started the story on.

“Anyway, I think it would be best that I send a scout group to search the island before going any further. If the Wisp Talons are still there, I’ll want to know before I tell the tribe about this island.”

“And what if the Wisp Talons are still there?” Zoltar gave Hisster a worried glance. Their tribe wouldn’t be permitted onto another groups land without a fight. The Shadow Talons would have no chance in a war with their numbers and condition.


Oh yeah....there is that huuge problem....

It was the main reason they’d been searching for so long. All the inhabitable regions in Megalonia were already occupied. The only places left to look were the few scattered islands around the continent. They were running out of options.


Well...that definitely is not the kind of situation you want to be stuck in...oh well....definitely is a very drastic scenario so I guess the racist action that they plan on taking later will be the only option for them.

“In that case, I’m afraid we’ll have to take... a more drastic approach to the matter,” Hisster said, his tail flicking back and forth, “The Wisp Talons were never a very large tribe. I have a few ideas that could get rid of them.”


Oooh...HIsster...has some..."connections" I see....hehe...;)

“Very well, Sir. When do you want to organize the scouting mission?” Zoltar asked, stepping back.

“Nira and Scorpus should be back in the next day or so. I’ll will arrange a meeting then. In the meantime get some rest. Moons know that we need it. ”


Rest is definitely a good idea.

Zoltar nodded and turned to leave. It was well past dark by now and only the sound of his own paws thudding against the dry earth disturbed the silence hanging in the air.

A barrage of thoughts filled his head. What if this was it and they could finally leave this place? They could rebuild. Have a home again. He’d be able to see his fellow dragons happy again. He and Nira could live in comfort and maybe even start a family. They’d talked about it before, but had both agreed that they’d hold off until they’d found a new home. It would be so wonderful to have a dragonet of his own after all this time.


Well smart decisions although...ahhh....he's never going to get this is he...or maybe he is but....its not going to be Nira....well....this is some sweet torture....let's just move right past this for now.

If only his brother could hear his thoughts right now.

Zoltar smiled sadly at the thought. Maybe he’d see him again someday when he made that journey and become one with the stars like his ancestors before him.


Well...that's a thought for the future there....

Turning down a different passageway from the one before, he made a detour past the food storage room.

Zoltar had to suppress the feeling of despair rising within him as he survived the stash. Besides his six melons, there was a scrawny dear that looked like it had died before the Shadow Talon got hold of it and a few rats. This was supposed to be a whole day’s catch. It was barely enough to be considered a meal for three dragons, let alone a tribe of almost a hundred.


Definitely putting into perspective just how desperate the situation there is...oh dear.

Sighing, Zoltar moved on. They couldn’t last much longer. This island was their last hope. If it didn’t work out, they’d end up starving to death.

But what if the Wisp Talons were still on the island? They couldn’t just move in if that was the case.


Oh yeah...there's going to be at least three more sequels before you can do that...oh wait....that's a spoiler...my bad.

Hisster supposedly had a plan, but surely he wasn’t planning on going to war with another tribe. They didn’t have enough soldiers regardless of how small the Wisp Talon tribe was. They’d lose before they’d even started.

Hisster knew that. He had been their General before the eruption after all. He must have something else in mind.


Hmm....he definitely has something else in mind...that much I can tell you Zoltar...hang tight buddy...and get this rest, you're not going to get any more rest for quite a while.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, another wonderful chapter we've got here...love the new addition of that horrifying image and then that little map...aaand more attention to detail given by both our main characters. Well anyway, that's all I've gotta say for now. Hopefully I can get to that one remaining chapter soon...and before you post yet another one.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




felistia says...


Thank you so much for another review. I was so excited for you to read this chapter.
I basically rewrote it as I didn't like Hisster's character in the previous draft.
I'm glad that the extra parts detailing the situation they are in are proving impactful. I really wasn't happy with that in the previous draft.
Look forward to your thoughts on the next few chapters. The next three I do believe are going to be rewritten from scratch as I didn't like that filler chapter before.




Perfection is lots of little things done well.
— Marco Pierre White