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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter Five

by felistia

First came the whistle, then the flash of silver as the spear hurtled through the air and landed with a sickening thud in Scorpus’s chest. He let out an ear piercing roar and collapsed to the ground, writhing before stiffening and going still.

“Run,” Zoltar roared, pushing Nira ahead of him as he broke into a full sprint.

A volley of spears ripped through the air around them, but all missed their mark as they ducked and dodged this way and that through the tangled undergrowth.

Zoltar’s heart felt like it was going to burst out of his chest as he bolted through a patch of bushes as he followed Nira. Trees and bushes whipped past, lashing at his eyes. Sticks and stone flew from under his claws. Branches reached out with their clawed fingers, grabbing at the scaly wings of the two dragons bolting through the forest.

Zoltar’s lungs felt like they were on fire and his breathing came out quick and shaky. His claws thudded against the wet earth like rocks, but still he ran, urging himself to go faster. Creepers snatched at his wings and tail like a nest of serpents and gnarled tree roots threatened to trip him with every step he took. A giant log loomed only a little way off, nearing with each passing second. He and Nira leapt over the fallen tree, their paws barely clearing the trunk.

Blood curdling roars filled the air around him, vibrated through his skull and body, willing him to push himself to the brink of exhaustion. The thunder of many paws hitting the earth echoed from behind him, growing louder by the second.

Zoltar risked a quick glance over his shoulder and instantly regretted it. The first blade of moon light had sliced through the canopy above, illuminating a dark figure as it shot over the log he’d just jumped.

In those few fleeting seconds he made out the thin shape of a snake like dragon as it sprung over the log, its long fangs exposed as it screamed its blood thirst call. It disappeared again as soon as the shadows hit it, cloaking it once again in darkness, but Zoltar had seen enough. It was a Wisp Talon. More shrieks filled the forest behind the dragon as more creatures leapt the log.

“Nira, we have to take off!! They’re catching up,” Zoltar roared as he hurtled through the undergrowth.

“We have to make it back to the beach or find a break in the trees!! It’s too thick to fly through here.” Nira called, her voice raw.

“We have no choice. They’ll catch us any second. We’ll have to climb.”

Zoltar flung open his wings as he leapt for the trees. Nira was just behind him as they reached the lower branches and desperately began to climb, ripping through the foliage in their panic to escape.

Their pursuers had disappeared, melting back into the darkness of the forest, but Zoltar could hear them as they darted through the branches below them. They were still gaining.

Finally they broke through the canopy. They sprang skyward, their claws racking the air as they beat their wings.

Zoltar thought they’d gotten away, but just as he was about to level out into a flight path away from the forest, a serpent like figure burst from the leaves, lunging with its fangs bared towards Nira’s tail. They sank between the scales as the Wisp Talon drove it’s fangs through her hide.

Nira roared, but didn’t lose height as she struggled to throw the creature off

More Wisp Talons shot from the canopy, their black wings spread. Like giant winged snakes they streaked through the air to join their leader.

“Nira keep climbing,” Zoltar cried as he doubled back. Summoning the heat with in him, Zoltar fired a red hot fire ball from his jaws. It collided with the Wisp Talon hanging from Nira’s tail. The creature let go with a shriek as it plummeted into the forest below.

The moon was now full and bright in the sky, its ghostly light illuminating the pack of Wisp Talons as they streaked through the air.

“We have to lose them in the mist,” Zoltar shouted as he and Nira raced towards the ever nearing pillars.

Nira was gasping beside him, but she kept level as they plunged into the mists of the maze. The shrieks and screams of the Wisp Talons faded as they sped through the maze, dodging groping pillars as they flew.

Only once they’d excited the maze did they slow to a steady glide over the ocean. The coast was just a few miles away.

Zoltar breathed a sigh of relief. They’d made it. 

As the panic from the attack started to slowly drain away, the realization of what had just happened came collapsing down on him like a pile of rocks.

Scorpus was gone. His commander of twenty years was dead. Zoltar could hardly believe it. It had all happened so fast. He’d had no time to think, but now as he flew over the still ocean waters, the weight of the situation came tumbling down on him. He and Nira were the only soldiers left to defend the tribe and there was a war looming. It had been a desperate situation before, but now their leader wouldn’t be there to help and guide them.

Zoltar let out a long sigh. At least Nira was here with him. He couldn’t think what he’d do if he lost her. She’d be there for him and together they’d get their tribe out of the Shadow Lands.

“Are you okay Nira,” Zoltar asked, brushing wings with her.

She looked at him with wild eyes and shook her head.

Zoltar felt the terror start to rush back in as he looked back at the gash on her tail. The Wisp Talon bite had been right on her wound from the day before and the whole tail look like it was starting to swell.

“It’s just a few more miles to the coast. We’ll be there in a few minutes. Do you think you can make it?,” Zoltar tried to keep his voice steady. He couldn’t panic. She needed him right now.

Nira nodded, gritting her teeth. She was starting to lose altitude, her wings stiffening.

They only just made the shallows a few meters from the beach before Nira’s wings seized up. She crashed into the water sending up a shower of spray.

Zoltar landed beside her, his heart pounding with panic. She struggled to her feet and he half walked, half dragged her to the beach before she collapsed. Her breathes were short and sharp, her limbs twitching uncontrollably.

“Nira! Nira! Can you hear me? Hold on just a bit longer,” Zoltar cried as he looked at her tail. The whole thing had swollen and was stiff as a log. With a jolt of fear, Zoltar realize that seeping out of the bite wound was a thick black substance; poison. The Wisp Talons bites were poisonous.

A sinking feeling filled the pit of his stomach and a cold mist seemed to settle over him as he realize that there was nothing he could do for her. It was too late to stop the poison from spreading. He was going to lose her too.

With tears streaming down his eyes, Zoltar lay down next to Nira, his head resting beside hers. He laid a wing over her. She was so cold.

Nira looked over at him, her now blood red eyes meeting his, “I love you.” She whispered, the words barely escaping her jaws.

“Oh Nira. I’m so sorry,” Zoltar cried, his tears wetting her scales, “I tried..,” the words caught in his throat.

“You did your best and I’d love you no matter what happened.”

“I love you too, so very much,” Zoltar nuzzled her.

Nira gave him a weak lick on the snout before the last breathe escaped her jaws as her body stilled. Sobs threatened to break forth from Zoltar as he lifted his wing from her. Not a sound broke the still night apart from the gentle lapping of the waves on the beach.

That was it. The only dragon left in his life that he loved was gone forever. Taken from him by the Wisp Talons. What was left for him now? Without her, what meaning was there to his life? His tribe was on the brink of extinction. His commander was gone and war loomed over them with no one to fight it. There was nothing left for him.

As the moon’s cold rays drifted over the rolling ocean waves, the last of the stars shimmering into view, he began the ancient dance of ascent. Waving his wings back and forth in a wave like motion, the moon light rippling off his scales, he swept up the sand. It swirled through the air in a delicate cloud as he twirled below, sweeping his wings towards the heavens. Silver talons flashed as he swayed in rhythm to the stars’ song. He began to hum a slow mournful tune that moved in time to his dance.

Nira started to gleam and sparkle a brilliant gold as Zoltar leapt into the evening air and continued to dance. His tail flowed across the night sky as he circled around Nira. The silver stars moved with him, pulsing and singing their pained song as Nira burst into a cloud of sparks like fine gold dust.

The shimmering mist climbed higher and higher into the night sky as the dance continued unbroken like the flow of the tides. Finally it seemed to dissolve into the very stars themselves and gave a final twinkle before disappearing. Zoltar slowly sank to the ground and bowed his wings over where Nira had lain.

He remained there unmoving, staring down at the place she’d been. Nothing remained, nothing to show that she’d been there.

Heart torn and bleeding, Zoltar gazed up at the night sky, tears still shimmering in his eyes. The stars were so bright tonight, their silver light seeming to pulse and dance in the darkness. The gentle murmur of the ocean seemed to be trying to comfort him as he stood alone on the beach, stare up at the heavens, but he would not be comforted.

Chapter 6:

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1171 Reviews

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Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:06 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...

omg this chapter

The pacing of this chapter is phenomenal. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing, it pulled my emotions in different directions, it gave me hope and it gave me grief. There was just so much to this, and it didn't drag at all.

Nira's death was beautiful. But before I get to that, let's discuss Wisp Talons. I feel like Hisster would brief them on Wisp Talons, including the poisonous bite. So if anything, he'd warn them not to get bitten, whether there was an antidote they could take or not. We'll assume not, to allow for Nira's death to take place.

Now unless Hisster briefs them on the Wisp Talons, and the poisonous bite is new, like a result of evolution, or maybe Hisster purposely didn't mention the poisonous bite like he's taking down the tribe (I don't see this happening xD), then the poison would be left out of Hisster's briefing before their departure. However, Hisster has history with these guys. Scorpus might even have history with these guys. If the suspicion is that Wisp Talons are still living here, this information would be included in their meeting.

OKAY SO NIRA'S DEATH. This was absolutely GORGEOUS. It adds such a beautiful element of fantasy to your story the way a dragon dies. I couldn't help but wonder, however, about Scorpus. Nira's death was drawn out so freaking well, giving us a glimmer of hope that she'll actually be okay. Zoltar's grief was strong, though I do wonder... okay, so I have two thoughts I guess.

1) Zoltar's grief was borderline depression. Apparently Nira was the only thing he had in his life, but I didn't get that impression. I understood that she was the only dragon he truly loved, but I wasn't given the sense that she was his only purpose. This is totally a good motivation, totally acceptable, I simply just didn't get that impression. So this could be looked at in earlier chapters. I was led to believe Zoltar was still a soldier with a sense of duty. While he loved Nira with all his heart, he had this sense of duty for his tribe too. So I was a little shocked that Zoltar was questioning life here:

That was it. The only dragon left in his life that he loved was gone forever. Taken from him by the Wisp Talons. What was left for him now? Without her, what meaning was there to his life? His tribe was on the brink of extinction. His commander was gone and war loomed over them with no one to fight it. There was nothing left for him.

This feeling of surrender, or giving up, wasn't really foreshadowed as well as it could have been. I understand he'd be heartbroken and would take time to mourn the loss of his fellow soldiers, but I expected him to just wholly invest himself in his duties. I didn't this deep of depression that typically leads to suicidal thoughts.

2) Scorpus is presumably dead, though we have yet to confirm this. What has me wondering is if Scorpus also exploded into stars like Nira did, and if Zoltar would be able to see that from a distance to confirm Scorpus did, in fact, die. (And maybe this would be the case, and you're purposely leaving this open-ended because HE IS IN FACT ALIVE AND WILL MAKE A SURPRISE APPEARANCE. <3)

I also think Zoltar's grief was not as strong as I'd have guessed. I think his relationship with Scorpus could actually be revealed a little more, or at least help the reader love Scorpus a little more to appreciate the loss better. Basically, I didn't feel like losing Scorpus was the end of the world. He didn't seem to be making ground-breaking decisions for Zoltar or easing any sort of concern for him. I didn't really see the trust between commander and soldier. No admiration or anything, just a sense of duty to his officer.

Scorpus was gone. His commander of twenty years was dead. Zoltar could hardly believe it. It had all happened so fast. He’d had no time to think, but now as he flew over the still ocean waters, the weight of the situation came tumbling down on him. He and Nira were the only soldiers left to defend the tribe and there was a war looming. It had been a desperate situation before, but now their leader wouldn’t be there to help and guide them.

It's also pretty telling that his moment of mourning for Scorpus IMMEDIATELY flips to his concerns for the tribe and how he (and Nira) would have to work for the tribe alone. This kinda piggybacks off the idea I was discussing earlier, how I expected Zoltar to hang on to this sense of duty as well as his love for Nira and how I didn't expect him to give up. With Scorpus' death, it's almost the exact opposite. We see his sense of duty, but there's a shocking lack of grief considering the length of time they worked together.

SO IN THE END, I think the earlier chapters need to be slightly modified to include 1) foreshadowing of Zoltar's grief if he ever lost Nira and 2) Zoltar's relationship with Scorpus to better understand the loss and grief here. And I really do mean slight modifications, I don't think you need to rewrite chunks or anything. Just hints and clues that lead up to these deaths so we can appreciate, as readers, the loss of these characters.

This was a really well done chapter though, truly. I really think this was written well! Looking forward to reading more. You're successfully tearing this main character apart, leaving me wondering how he's going to bounce back and what's going to happen next. Will they continue investigating this island? Will they find another? Are they going to go to war now? Maybe Zoltar will be helping diplomatic relations now with Hisster and visit a fellow tribe that will help them. IT'S VERY INTRIGUING.

Great job!!

Jabber, the One and Only!

felistia says...

Thank you so much for another review. I'm going to go back and edit the other chapters when I can, but so far thankfully there's no reason to entirely rewrite the story (that happened in my last draft) All the things you're pointing out are really helping me see new angles and I've got a bunch of ideas buzzing around for how I should slightly modify the previous chapters.

I want Zoltar to be completely grief stricken her because it happened so suddenly. In the next chapter you'll see him think through it a bit more.

I'm glad you liked the funeral for Nira. I thought it would add an interesting bit to the story. However it only works if another dragon is there to perform the dance.

Thanks again. I look forward to seeing more reviews from you. :D

JabberHut says...

Ooooh of course! It slipped my mind that he had to perform a dance for it, so that wouldn't work for Scorpus. Derp!

I'm glad they're helping you out. :D It really helps to see the story from other perspectives to see if you need to modify/add/delete anything, and that's generally what I do. I just react. XD

Excellent! Good to know Zoltar will be thinking through that more. That makes this more of a world-has-stopped moment for him, so perhaps that just needs to be drawn out more or, again, foreshadowed a little bit better. I imagine you'll think through how to work that out!

You've got an incredible talent, though. I firmly believe this will turn out to be a phenomenal novel. Such a splendid job well done so far!

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Thu May 23, 2019 2:21 pm
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Liberty wrote a review...


I'm here to give you a... WHY?? SHE HAD TO DIE, DIDN'T SHE? :( WHY WHY WHY WHY? I ASK YOU: W.H.Y? This is so saaaad... I will be sad forever now. You have broken my heart. NIRA... Such a beautiful name, such a horrendous death, such a loving dragon. I've been torn. This is just sad. I'm dying from the inside.

Well you did do a pretty good job with giving me the details so I could understand and you did do a very good job in making me feel the pain... And also, the way you described the dance was pretty nice. It was good to know someone would do something for her. <3 Anyways, I did notice a few things that I'd like to show you. And then I'll go back to ranting about how horrible I feel about this death.

Nira roared, but didn’t lose height as she struggled to throw the creature off

You didn't add a punctuation mark at the end. A period would do good. And this is about Nira... <3 I will always miss her. Next:

“Are you okay Nira,” Zoltar asked, brushing wings with her.

Since Zoltar is asking our beloved Nira a question, there should be a question mark at the end of the sentence, if ya know what I mean. Last one:

Her breathes were short and sharp, her limbs twitching uncontrollably.

Note that the word breaths and breathes has two different meanings. In this context, you'd need to change that to breaths instead. And again, this sentence is about Nira, too.

Well anyways, I feel a bit better now, so, let's see. I have a couple other things to say real quick. First: This chapter was jam-packed with action and amazingness. I absolutely love it. It has that feeling that hits you in the heart and you feel like you're in the story and all that. Great job with that. And also, I am so glad I read this chapter as soon as possible, because I thought I was going to die of suspense, lol. Great job. But anyhoo... That's it for me. Onto the next chapter.

And as always...

Keep on writing!


(PS: I will always miss Nira. <3)

felistia says...

Thank you so much for the review. I'm happy that I managed to pull off a sad death (I've been terrible at that in the past), but I hate myself for doing it at the same time.

Liberty says...

Lol, it's fine. And your welcome.

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155 Reviews

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Wed May 22, 2019 6:53 am
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Toboldlygo wrote a review...

Hey there! Toboldlygo here for a review! Let's get this piece out of the Green Room now, shall we?

First of all, THANK YOU for getting this out before we all died from the suspense. Last chapter was a great ending but man, was I ever impatient for the next chapter. On that note, however, for the sake of everyone who may be reading this chapter as an introduction to your story by finding it in a literary spotlight or elsewhere, or as a general suggestion for later chapters in the Green Room, I would recommend putting in a 2-4 sentence summary or recap of the previous chapter at the top. That way, people have somewhat of an idea what's going on before jumping in cold. But you did a fantastic job picking up the story where you left off!

I think this is an exciting, action-packed chapter! It's really an amazing feat, and it's not ridiculously drawn out or tedious or full of stupid little moments meant to be funny (looking at you, Marvel), but it is engaging, interesting, and comes alive for the reader. I feel drawn into the story. Your descriptions are beautiful and to be commended and your style makes the story fun to read.

I appreciate that you didn't use another cliff-hanger (can't have too much of that or it turns into Season 7 of Deep Space Nine), but I actually do think that the ending is not as strong as your previous chapters. It would be nice to see some more suspense in it. It sounds like an ending, a very sad ending, but an ending nonetheless. It actually makes me wonder when you'll be writing more. Is there a way you can give some more hint at what's coming without making it into another cliff-hanger?

I love this line here: "The shimmering mist climbed higher and higher into the night sky as the dance continued unbroken like the flow of the tides," but I want to draw attention to a bit of grammar I noticed before I comment on it. There should be commas after continued and unbroken. Otherwise, I think this is my favorite line in the entire piece. It's beautiful and dreamy and sounds like something that isn't quite happening in this world, and I love that!

One thing to watch for are some grammatical/sentence issues here and there. There were a few places where a comma would have been a great friend to you. But overall, this is a fantastic piece and there's very little for me to really give you in terms of improvement. I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Happy Writing!


felistia says...

Thank you for the review. I wanted to end the chapter with a sort of that's it feeling which is what Zoltar is feeling right now. A sort of it's over feeling. It's one of those reading breaks for people who can't stop reading a book once started (guilty). I was going to pick right back up in the next chapter. :D

Toboldlygo says...

Great! I could also see it being a really unsatisfying ending to the story entirely, which was mainly why I suggested that. :)

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Wed May 22, 2019 6:34 am
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TropicalRain wrote a review...

Hello it's me TropicalRain again.

May I just say this is one of the best chapters you have written so far. Right from the beginning to the very end it had a very good flow to it, and I just loved the battle with the Wisp Talons, it was a very good way to introduce a knew type of dragon. But you didn't show us who they were right away, making the moment feel so real, it even made me worry. And the attack wasn't drawn out like in most books, you added a lot of description, and yet the moments seemed to fly by.
I will say you description is just amazing, you must have been writing for a very long time for it to get this good. Along with your dialog. That is incredibly good.

After the battle there seemed to be a glimmer of hope for Nira because she had only been bitten, but when I found out that the Wisp Talons bight is poisonous it just sent tears to my eyes. The connections I as the read have formed with Zoltar are quit strong, and I feel like I know him quit well, so when I found out that Nira was going to die, I felt all the things Zoltar did. And what made it sadder was that Zoltar and Nira got to say their goodbyes, which just tipped it to a whole new level.
I will say I just loved the way Zoltar did the dance, and the way Nira went to join the other dragons in the sky. To me that was the saddest part. With the way you described it I can see the way Zoltar looks, with the sorrow and pain and probably wanting to seek revenge.

I really can't say I could have done this any better, I was just blown away with your writing skills, and the plot you are pulling together so well. Keep writing I look forward to the next chapter.

felistia says...

Thank you so much. I hate myself for this chapter (sniff)

TropicalRain says...

You shouldn't hate yourself, you have to do things like this to move the plot along.

As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin.
— Pablo Neruda