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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter 7

by felistia


The Shyfu had it beak like jaws buried into the deer Zoltar had seen earlier and was gulping down chunks of flesh. To Zoltar’s relief, it looked like a juvenile as its ash black scales didn’t yet have the full protective layer of hardened lava that most adult Shyfu had.

Nira let out a small growl of delight, “This is perfect.”

The creature had its back to them and was too busy trying to wrestle what little meat remained on the small antelope to notice the two dragons stalking up on it.

Zoltar hissed in agreement. There were no adults or the pack. It was a perfect opportunity to secure the tribe more food. They couldn’t waste this.

“We’ll use the usual tactic right,” Nira whispered, her wings quivering with excitement.

Zoltar nodded and flexed his talons in preparation for the attack. Nira hung back in wait as he slunk forward, his belly low to the ground. Just a few more steps and he’d be in striking range. The Shyfu still seemed oblivious to the danger as he tensed his muscles ready to pounce.

Then like a coiled spring snapping back, he lunged forward, landing talons outstretched on the Shyfu’s back.

The creature let out a terrible screech as he dug his talons into its hide and clamped down on its neck. It bucked wildly in an attempt to throw him off, all the while shrieking for its pack mates.

Zoltar held on grimly as he waited for it to tire. It was flailing too much for him to get a stab in with his barbed tail and the scales protecting its spine were too thick for his jaws to penetrate. Nira would have to grab it by the throat.

He glanced over to where she was crouched. Her eyes were locked on the Shyfu as she waited for just the right time to attack.

The creature was slowing, its struggles growing weaker as the weight of an adult dragon clamped onto its back began to wear it down.

That’s when Nira lunged, dipping under its thrashing tail as she seized its throat, sinking her teeth into the jugular vein. The Shyfu let out a last strangled cry before collapsing.

At the same time, Zoltar jumped from its back and stabbed his barbed tail into its chest, bringing an end to it struggles.

Panting, Zoltar stepped back. He had a few scratches where the Shyfu’s back spines had scraped his scales, but he was otherwise fine.

Nira was standing over the body, licking a wound on her front leg where the Shyfu’s flailing claws had caught her.

After a few moments to catch his breath, he moved forward and grabbed the back of the creature’s spine and with Nira’s help proceeded to drag it over to where he’d stashed the melons earlier.

The tribe would all be a little fuller in the morning thanks to their work tonight.

...

Back in their cave, Zoltar flopped down onto his bed, exhausted. Between the flight back and the battle with the Shyfu, today had been more eventful than most and his less than health body was letting him know it.

Nira was curled up next to him, her head resting on his back. Her breathes were slow and even as she began to drift in and out of sleep.

Between the burning of the scratches he’d received and the pulsing ache in his wings, Zoltar was sure that he would lie awake for hours. Little by little though, the pain began to ebb and the pull of sleep took over as he faded into a comforting darkness.

Nira was the first to wake. Licking Zoltar behind the ear, she whispered, “Time to get up.”

Zoltar groaned as he opened his eyes. It felt like he’d only just got to sleep a few moments ago, but he couldn’t deny the fact that a good few hours had passed. The fire rocks burned bright against the cave walls, indicating that the sun was just beyond the horizon. It was almost morning.

“Come on,” Nira continued as she got up, spreading her talons wide as she stretched. She yawned, her crystal white fangs sparkling, “Hisster will be waiting for us.”

Reluctantly, Zoltar hauled himself out of bed, his vision blurred with the lack of rest. He’d never been the morning type regardless of the amount of sleep he got. Back before the volcano had laid waste his home, life had been a little more relaxed, not now though. Days began early and ended well past dark.

“Do you want to get something to eat before we meet Hisster?” Zoltar asked, shaking out his wings.

Nira looked tempted for a moment, but shook her head, “No. I ate just before I flew back yesterday. I can go a few days without food. The tribe needs it more than I do.”

“Okay,” Zoltar said. She was right, but he didn’t like the fact that they may have to go on a potentially dangerous mission on empty stomachs. He was fine to go without a few meals, but with her wound Nira would need more food than she usually permitted herself if it was to heal.

Nira caught him staring at her injured leg and bumped him affectionately with her snout, “I’ll be fine.”

Zoltar smiled sheepishly, before licking her lightly on the snout, “I know. Come on, I want to tell you about the island I found.”

Before long, they left the confines of the branching passageways and entered the main corridor that led into the heart of the warren. They met a few Shadow Talons as they walked, but most kept to themselves, preferring to save their energy for the gruelling day ahead.

Zoltar found himself avoiding eye contact with the dragons they passed. He was ashamed to admit it, but he didn’t want to see the pain and hopelessness in them. It was more than he could bare.

Nira managed to flash a smile here and there, but Zoltar could see that it was surface level. Her face carried the same despair as those around her.

Zoltar sighed as he dropped his head. Being away from the Shadow Lands most of the time only reminded them of what had been, how life outside was still bright and filled with colour. Sometimes, one could almost pretend this deathly place didn’t exist.

But that would all came crashing down every time he made the journey back, flying across the sunny Sea Talon archipelago only to be met by Mount Mokewtu whose cruel grip strangled the land before him.

He could only hope that this island was the answer. So far it looked very promising. Even Nira was hopeful. If this scouting mission went to plan and there were no Wisp Talons, he and his tribe could be living like a normal tribe within a week. They’d have enough food, clean water and fresh air to breath. If they could have that, everything else would follow.

Maybe, just maybe, this one would be right.

The scarlet light of many fire rocks reflected off Zoltar’s obsidian black scales as he and Nira entered the throne room.

Hisster and another large Shadow Talon were gathered around a rock platform and were examining the same burned scroll Zoltar had seen the day before. They were both talking in hushed voices as they discussed the faded texts.

Zoltar thought for a moment that they’d stumbled in on a private meeting. However, his hesitation was soon calmed when Scorpus noticed them and beckoned them over.

Bowing respectfully towards Hisster, Zoltar and Nira joined the small circle.

“It’s good to see you back Nira,” Hisster said, dipping his horns at her.

He turned to Zoltar, “I have already briefed Scorpus in regards to today’s meeting and I assume you have filled Nira in too?” Hisster asked, flicking out his forked tongue.

“Yes sir.”

“Good,” Hisster said, rolling up the scroll, “Now that you know all the details, let’s go over the plan. It’s pretty simple. You three will make a short scouting mission to the island and will investigate the area. As you know, it is likely that the Wisp Talon tribe still inhabits the island’s forest, so be on the lookout for them. The flight to the island is half a day from here so you shouldn’t be gone longer than two to three days.”

Zoltar could feel his talons begin to tingle as his heart began to beat faster. If this all went to plan, they could be on the island within the week. He couldn’t help the small smile that spread across his snout. He knew he shouldn’t get his hopes up like this, but he just couldn’t help it. They were so close.

“Scorpus and I have gone over all the notes in regards to the Wisp Talons and haven’t found anything of concern other than the fact that they can camouflage. However, as I have said before, the scrolls are not completely conclusive. You should still be on your guard once on the island.”

Hisster paused looking from one dragon to another, “Any questions?”

Nira and Zoltar shook their heads.

“Good. Then you will leave this morning. May the moons light your path and bring our tribe peace once more.”


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Sun May 23, 2021 8:47 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi felistia,

Mailice back here with a short review! :D


Zoltar nodded and flexed his talons in preparation for the attack. Nira hung back in wait as he slunk forward, his belly low to the ground. Just a few more steps and he'd be in striking range.


I have the impression here that one or two sentences are missing between the second and third. It's going a little too fast for me.

The Shyfu still seemed oblivious to the danger as he tensed his muscles ready to pounce.
Then like a coiled spring snapping back, he lunged forward, landing talons outstretched on the Shyfu's back.


Since you are talking about Shyfu in the first sentence quoted here, and there is a "he", it is easy to misinterpret it and attribute it to Shyfu. In the next paragraph, too, one can assume at first that this action that Zoltar is doing is the Shyfu. I would simply replace this "he" here with Zoltar to prevent unnecessary confusion. Especially since this is a small battle scene where one quickly loses track, it is better to read one name too many than too few.

The tribe would all be a little fuller in the morning thanks to their work tonight.


That's nice to read. :D

Between the flight back and the battle with the Shyfu, today had been more eventful than most and his less than health body was letting him know it.


I think the comma placement slipped a little in this sentence. The comma should come after the "today" and then the second half needs to be reworded a bit: "today, his less than optimal health body".
Just remove the "between" at the beginning and put the comma after "today", then it's fine, I think. (Why simple when it can be complicated... I sat on this longer than I planned. :D)

He'd never been the morning type regardless of the amount of sleep he got.


Me too Zoltar, me too. Why not just create a two shift society where the early risers work during the day and the others only in the evening? :D

I like the whole scene you set up after Zoltar and Nira wake up. It feels like Zoltar is starting to think about starting a family. If there weren't other problems that would prevent and limit all this planning... This short dialogue is important to me for character relationship and bonding and even if it's not always necessary for the reader to read it, I think it just helps build more empathy for the characters.

Zoltar found himself avoiding eye contact with the dragons they passed. He was ashamed to admit it, but he didn't want to see the pain and hopelessness in them. It was more than he could bare.


I already had this impression in some chapters before that, that Zoltar is a little afraid of making friends with new Shadow Talons, precisely because of the fear of not being able to fulfil his duties or of losing them again. Here I notice that he puts too much responsibility on his shoulders. Good point you've inserted here.

"Yes sir."


In the last few conversations the "sir" was always capitalised and after a comma.

The chapter was very exciting. Firstly, it builds on the last one well and also ends within a few paragraphs and develops in an interesting direction. I like that you get to read a few different points here, which makes one a little familiar with life after the catastrophe. Even though it was a bit short, I think it was enough to give at least a brief picture of it. If you have some time to expand the chapter, I would add something to the passage to Hisster, what the Shadow Talons are doing there or something, to show the hopelessness and despair better.

What I also missed was that there was no reaction to the captured Shyfu. I would have liked at least a small act of gratitude there. Or on the part of Hisster, who wonders where the wounds on Nira and Zoltar came from and thus the topic was addressed.

The fight scene was a varied interlude on your part. I think it could be expanded in a few places.

I like how the chapter ends and Hisster focuses more on the mission again here and doesn't give much in the way of explanation other than the little bit of information he reveals to them. I think to myself that maybe he knows a little more about the Wisp Talons than he actually lets on.

In summary, it was a diverse chapter with lots of little points that made it special.

Have fun writing!

Mailice.




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Thu May 20, 2021 10:56 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 with another review!!!

First Impression: Well...this was a pretty neat little action scene there...aaand looks like we're finally gearing up to that island scene now..well..let's see where this ends up taking us at this point...as for this chapter...well...as you know...more details below...

Anyway let's get right to it,

The Shyfu had it beak like jaws buried into the deer Zoltar had seen earlier and was gulping down chunks of flesh. To Zoltar’s relief, it looked like a juvenile as its ash black scales didn’t yet have the full protective layer of hardened lava that most adult Shyfu had.

Nira let out a small growl of delight, “This is perfect.”


Phew....good thing the creature is not an adult...although I guess that also means it'll provide less food...on the bright side, it can at least replace the meat it's stealing by eating that antelope.

The creature had its back to them and was too busy trying to wrestle what little meat remained on the small antelope to notice the two dragons stalking up on it.

Zoltar hissed in agreement. There were no adults or the pack. It was a perfect opportunity to secure the tribe more food. They couldn’t waste this.


Yeah wasting that would definitely be...well...a waste.

“We’ll use the usual tactic right,” Nira whispered, her wings quivering with excitement.

Zoltar nodded and flexed his talons in preparation for the attack. Nira hung back in wait as he slunk forward, his belly low to the ground. Just a few more steps and he’d be in striking range. The Shyfu still seemed oblivious to the danger as he tensed his muscles ready to pounce.


Ooooh...this will be good..well..terrible from the Shyfu's point of view but good for the dragons xD

Then like a coiled spring snapping back, he lunged forward, landing talons outstretched on the Shyfu’s back.

The creature let out a terrible screech as he dug his talons into its hide and clamped down on its neck. It bucked wildly in an attempt to throw him off, all the while shrieking for its pack mates.


Hopefully that shrieking doesn't manage to successfully summon any of those pack mates or its parents.

Zoltar held on grimly as he waited for it to tire. It was flailing too much for him to get a stab in with his barbed tail and the scales protecting its spine were too thick for his jaws to penetrate. Nira would have to grab it by the throat.

He glanced over to where she was crouched. Her eyes were locked on the Shyfu as she waited for just the right time to attack.


Oooh...timing it perfectly is always important.

The creature was slowing, its struggles growing weaker as the weight of an adult dragon clamped onto its back began to wear it down.

That’s when Nira lunged, dipping under its thrashing tail as she seized its throat, sinking her teeth into the jugular vein. The Shyfu let out a last strangled cry before collapsing.


Oof...right for the jugular, well...there's no escaping from that one...

At the same time, Zoltar jumped from its back and stabbed his barbed tail into its chest, bringing an end to it struggles.

Panting, Zoltar stepped back. He had a few scratches where the Shyfu’s back spines had scraped his scales, but he was otherwise fine.


Yeah that went much better than I was expecting it to go.

Nira was standing over the body, licking a wound on her front leg where the Shyfu’s flailing claws had caught her.

After a few moments to catch his breath, he moved forward and grabbed the back of the creature’s spine and with Nira’s help proceeded to drag it over to where he’d stashed the melons earlier.

The tribe would all be a little fuller in the morning thanks to their work tonight.


Hmm...not a bad spot of midnight hunting I suppose...every bit of food does count in trying times like these.

Back in their cave, Zoltar flopped down onto his bed, exhausted. Between the flight back and the battle with the Shyfu, today had been more eventful than most and his less than health body was letting him know it.

Nira was curled up next to him, her head resting on his back. Her breathes were slow and even as she began to drift in and out of sleep.

Between the burning of the scratches he’d received and the pulsing ache in his wings, Zoltar was sure that he would lie awake for hours. Little by little though, the pain began to ebb and the pull of sleep took over as he faded into a comforting darkness.


Well that's a sweet little scene to show the two tired dragons drifting off to sleep next to each other...a moment of solace there among all the craziness of the fight earlier.

Nira was the first to wake. Licking Zoltar behind the ear, she whispered, “Time to get up.”

Zoltar groaned as he opened his eyes. It felt like he’d only just got to sleep a few moments ago, but he couldn’t deny the fact that a good few hours had passed. The fire rocks burned bright against the cave walls, indicating that the sun was just beyond the horizon. It was almost morning.


Hmm...getting up nice and early is a pretty good idea in times like those.

“Come on,” Nira continued as she got up, spreading her talons wide as she stretched. She yawned, her crystal white fangs sparkling, “Hisster will be waiting for us.”

Reluctantly, Zoltar hauled himself out of bed, his vision blurred with the lack of rest. He’d never been the morning type regardless of the amount of sleep he got. Back before the volcano had laid waste his home, life had been a little more relaxed, not now though. Days began early and ended well past dark.


Oh dear...the poor guy missing out on a lot of his sleep I see...well sadly it doesn't get too much better for him in the coming days either.

“Do you want to get something to eat before we meet Hisster?” Zoltar asked, shaking out his wings.

Nira looked tempted for a moment, but shook her head, “No. I ate just before I flew back yesterday. I can go a few days without food. The tribe needs it more than I do.”


Hm...as sad as that sounds...I suppose conserving meals like that is the only way all of them are gonna survive this situation.

“Okay,” Zoltar said. She was right, but he didn’t like the fact that they may have to go on a potentially dangerous mission on empty stomachs. He was fine to go without a few meals, but with her wound Nira would need more food than she usually permitted herself if it was to heal.


Oh yeah...you definitely need to eat up a lot...if you're gonna think about healing from the wounds to come...aaand just like that....I remember what's supposed to happen next....ahhh...this is sad.

Nira caught him staring at her injured leg and bumped him affectionately with her snout, “I’ll be fine.”

Zoltar smiled sheepishly, before licking her lightly on the snout, “I know. Come on, I want to tell you about the island I found.”


Awww...that's a sweet moment....ruined by my knowledge of what awaits them in the island of doom that Zoltar brings up

Before long, they left the confines of the branching passageways and entered the main corridor that led into the heart of the warren. They met a few Shadow Talons as they walked, but most kept to themselves, preferring to save their energy for the gruelling day ahead.

Zoltar found himself avoiding eye contact with the dragons they passed. He was ashamed to admit it, but he didn’t want to see the pain and hopelessness in them. It was more than he could bare.


Well...nothing to be ashamed of there...that truly must be heartwrenching to have to see.

Nira managed to flash a smile here and there, but Zoltar could see that it was surface level. Her face carried the same despair as those around her.

Zoltar sighed as he dropped his head. Being away from the Shadow Lands most of the time only reminded them of what had been, how life outside was still bright and filled with colour. Sometimes, one could almost pretend this deathly place didn’t exist.


Well that's oddly relevant to us in these trying times...oh gosh..did my review just become serious...I won't stand for this....

But that would all came crashing down every time he made the journey back, flying across the sunny Sea Talon archipelago only to be met by Mount Mokewtu whose cruel grip strangled the land before him.

He could only hope that this island was the answer. So far it looked very promising. Even Nira was hopeful. If this scouting mission went to plan and there were no Wisp Talons, he and his tribe could be living like a normal tribe within a week. They’d have enough food, clean water and fresh air to breath. If they could have that, everything else would follow.

Maybe, just maybe, this one would be right.


Don't get our hopes up with inspiring speeches like that Zoltar, you know they're going to be totally dashed in the immediate future...

The scarlet light of many fire rocks reflected off Zoltar’s obsidian black scales as he and Nira entered the throne room.

Hisster and another large Shadow Talon were gathered around a rock platform and were examining the same burned scroll Zoltar had seen the day before. They were both talking in hushed voices as they discussed the faded texts.


Well that looks like an important meeting there.

Zoltar thought for a moment that they’d stumbled in on a private meeting. However, his hesitation was soon calmed when Scorpus noticed them and beckoned them over.

Bowing respectfully towards Hisster, Zoltar and Nira joined the small circle.


Hmm...well this should be some good information...well...good is relative at this point I suppose.

“It’s good to see you back Nira,” Hisster said, dipping his horns at her.

He turned to Zoltar, “I have already briefed Scorpus in regards to today’s meeting and I assume you have filled Nira in too?” Hisster asked, flicking out his forked tongue.

“Yes sir.”


Well I'm guessing the other dragon there is possibly Scorpus...or should we already know him...I've just forgotten at this point.

“Good,” Hisster said, rolling up the scroll, “Now that you know all the details, let’s go over the plan. It’s pretty simple. You three will make a short scouting mission to the island and will investigate the area. As you know, it is likely that the Wisp Talon tribe still inhabits the island’s forest, so be on the lookout for them. The flight to the island is half a day from here so you shouldn’t be gone longer than two to three days.”


Okay...well its a solid plan on paper at least.

Zoltar could feel his talons begin to tingle as his heart began to beat faster. If this all went to plan, they could be on the island within the week. He couldn’t help the small smile that spread across his snout. He knew he shouldn’t get his hopes up like this, but he just couldn’t help it. They were so close.

“Scorpus and I have gone over all the notes in regards to the Wisp Talons and haven’t found anything of concern other than the fact that they can camouflage. However, as I have said before, the scrolls are not completely conclusive. You should still be on your guard once on the island.”


Oh yeah...there's a lot more than camouflaging dragons to worry about on that particular island...I think all I'll say for now...xD

Hisster paused looking from one dragon to another, “Any questions?”

Nira and Zoltar shook their heads.

“Good. Then you will leave this morning. May the moons light your path and bring our tribe peace once more.”


Here we gooo...to death and despair...

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall...another wonderful chapter...its going really well so far...everything seems to be showing only signs of improvement....well...waiting patiently for that next chapter to arrive.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




felistia says...


Thank you for the review. :D
I'm going to post the next chapter in a few hours.
I can't believe I'm doing to do this to Zoltar again.



HarryHardy says...


You're welcome!!!
prepares the tissues



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Mon May 17, 2021 1:46 pm
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BEASTtheHUN wrote a review...



I like this text. The fight scene is nice, I have been waiting for it, and I have not been disappointed. I like how each chapter builds on the other, nothing seems out of place, nothing seems wrong. I like the names they have. Every name just seems to fit, and they are really cool. I hope there are more amazing fight scenes ahead. The dialogue in this chapter, as in your other chapters, is really smooth. And the flow is too. There isn't a critique I have, so I guess all I have to say is an awesome job. Again. You continue to build your story and make it even better each time. Good luck with your next chapter. Until next time!





The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.
— O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)