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The Quest for Fire - Into the Mists - Chapter Four

by felistia

The mountains shone a flaming crimson as the sun rose over the towering peaks. It bathed the Moon Talon village below in bright ruby and golden copper rays, driving the mist curling around the houses back to the shadows. The bright green fields surrounding the village blushed golden emerald as the sun’s light swept over the swaying grasses. A roaring river cascaded down from the tree covered mountains behind the village. It twisted and turned like a writhing serpent on its course down through the fields and out to the far off sea. Willows bowed over the gushing water, their long vines whipped up by the raging current.

Zoltar gliding over the village’s mud houses, his scales shining like black crystal. The wind brushed his wing tips and whistled in his ears. He took a deep breath of the sweet, early morning air. A ripple of nervous anticipation crossed his obsidian scales like electric sparks as he scanned the ground below with his eagle eyes.

As he surveyed the landscape below his thoughts wandered back to what Hisster had said. Hisster was prepared to go to war with the Wisp Talons if they were on the island. Zoltar didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he had said something about a plan if they needed to go to war. The last thing Zoltar wanted was another war.

They’d fought for land with the Sea Talons many years ago and neither side had won in his eyes. Many dragons from both sides were lost and many left the battle with permanent scars. The Shadow Talons had got their land by the sea, but in doing so they’d made a permanent enemy out of the Sea Talons and had had to guard the coast from further attaches back when the coast had been worth fighting for. The whole thing just wasn’t worth it for the little they’d gained.

Sure the fight with the Wisp Talons would be for the Shadow Talons very survival, but Zoltar just couldn’t see why they couldn’t try to find a less violent way. Maybe if they approached the Wisp Talons with an appeal to share the land? The island looked big enough for it and who knew the Wisp Talons might agree to them sharing the island. All he knew was that it would be better to try something along these lines before announcing war.

On the other paw though, he might be worrying for no reason. The Wisp Talons may no longer live on the island and it would be available for the Shadow Talons.

His thoughts were broken by the roar of waves on the shore ahead. Zoltar looked up to see the sparkling, blue ocean in the distance, its frothing waves catching the sun’s golden light as they curled. The thick forest in front of him shone emerald, its leaves dancing in the wind. Birds warbled and chirped from the waving branches and small, silver, winged lizards glided from tree to tree. The waves crashed onto the golden beach’s sand bordering the forest as Zoltar flew past. Small fish darted in the shallows, their bright, violet shapes shooting through the water like torpedoes.

He looked over at Nira who was flying just a little ways off from him. She smiled when he caught her eye, but didn’t say anything.

Zoltar breathed in the salty air happily as he soared out over the sea. His shadow danced on the water below him as he sped along. The sun’s yellow beams warmed his back and white sea spray cooled his belly. Dolphins leapt out of the sea, the crystal clear water streaming down their silver bodies. Zoltar eyed them hungrily. One dolphin would make a nice meal for a dragon, but they looked so happy leaping in and out of his shadow that he decided to leave them be.

Scorpus had glided in from the back and was now flying beside Zoltar and Nira. His eyes were trained on the sea ahead. Zoltar followed his gaze.

Far off in the distance he could see mist swirling around tall pillars of seaweed covered rock, their peaks reaching for the sky like dragon claws.

Zoltar felt his stomach start to churn. They could fly over the maze with relative easy, but he hadn’t flown very low last time and had opted to make a quick pass around the island staying close to the pillars. He had no idea what would be waiting for them beyond the beach.

“That the island?” Scorpus asked, his eyes still trained on the pillars ahead

“Yes Sir. We can fly over the pillars, but I haven’t been beyond the beach.”

Scorpus nodded, tilted his wings and began to gain height. Zoltar and Nira followed.

Soon they were far above the ocean and on course to fly straight over the maze. The mist swirled below Zoltar like a writhing sea. Strange echoing calls reverberated from the haze, but he couldn’t see nothing.

He felt a brush on his left wing and looked over to see Nira fly beside him, her wing just brushing his. Her eyes reflected the fear he felt, but they pushed on.

Before long they broke through the heaviest of the fog and landed on a beach. Tendrils of mist snaked over the dark grey pebbles that made up with coast. Thick forest boarded the beach. Not a blade of the weak sunlight could break through the dense foliage. The sky was still hazy with mist and it was hard to make out anything beyond the forest’s edge.

“Are we going to fly over the island or do you wish to have a look on foot, Sir?” Nira asked Scorpus after a quick look around.

“I think we should go on foot for the moment and then maybe make a pass over the island later today,” Scorpus said and began heading up the slight incline from the beach towards the forest.

Zoltar sucked in a deep breath and followed him, Nira close at his side.

Vivid blades of honey gold streaked through the forest canopy, the dappled light waving over the forest floor. An evening wind was starting to blow, the colors of the forest slowly growing dim as the sun dipped behind the mountains.

They’d been walking for hours with no sign of a native tribe. The only sign of life coming from the forest around them had been the occasional snap of a twig.

“Don’t you think we should make a quick pass over the island now before the sun sets?” Zoltar inquired Scorpus.

“We can carry on just a little while longer, until the sun sets below the western peak. Then we can make a few passes over the island” Scorpus said, continuing on his path through the trees.

“You do want to head back to the Shadow Lands before night settles right?” Nira asked, her voice ever so slightly trembling.

“I think we should stay the night. We don’t know what might happen after dark here.”

“I agree Sir, but as you said we DON’T know what happens after dark and we don’t have safe place to roost. Are you sure we shouldn’t call it a day and come back tomorrow. We could look for a safe place to sleep tomorrow while there’s day light and then stay the night.” Zoltar urged. He swallowed the lump building in his throat and tried to calm his shaking nerves. The night creatures were starting to play their eerie songs, the shaky notes bouncing through the damp air. Who knew what was out there, watch them from the shadows? Just because they hadn’t seen anything didn’t mean there was nothing out there.

“I appreciate you concern, but we haven’t seen anything today that would signal any danger to us. I doubt that tonight will be any different. It’s just a precaution so that we can tell Hisster that the island is safe. Besides it’s a long flight back,” sighing, Scorpus moved on, the dry leaves rustling ever so slightly under his claws. The forest was almost black now. The moon had yet to rise and the only thing preventing Zoltar from being completely blind was his extraordinary night vision.

Suddenly some movement off to his right caught his eye. It was so slight he almost missed it. For all he knew it could have been some leaves blowing in the wind, except there was no wind. The breeze from before had died off a few minutes ago. There was nothing to make the foliage move.

“Guys,” he hissed, crouching with his wings flared out. Nira and Scorpus looked sharply over at him. He bared his fangs and nodded towards where the movement had come from. But what had moved only a moment ago now looked like a clump of bushes, unmoving and still in the cool night air.

“What did you see?” Nira asked, slowly walking over to Zoltar. Her amethyst eyes seemed to glowing the ever darkening shadows of the forest.

“I don’t know,” Zoltar whispered, glaring at the spot, “I’m sure I just saw something move that bush.”

“Are you sure you didn’t just imagine it?” Scorpus said, moving on.

“Maybe,” Zoltar said, relaxing a bit, “I swear I saw something though.”

“It might have been a rodent or small bird?” Nira suggested as they followed Scorpus.

“No. I don’t think so,” Zoltar growled, looking back over his shoulder. The forest seemed shrouded in darkness thick enough to touch. Shadows appeared distorted and the ever louder moans of the night creatures seemed to be warping in the cooling air.

“Scorpus, I….” he never got to finish the sentence.

Chapter 5:

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Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:30 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...


He had no idea what would be waiting for them beyond the beach.

“That the island?” Scorpus asked, his eyes still trained on the pillars ahead

“Yes Sir. We can fly over the pillars, but I haven’t been beyond the beach.

The repetition between narration and Zoltar's dialogue just made this sound goofy. XD

I'm confused as to how we immediately assume these pllars are guarding a maze, unless Zoltar identified it as a maze in his previous scouting mission. Does Scorpus also recognize this as a maze? Also, how does Zoltar have any idea that the island is uninhabited if he only flew around the island? That's rather presumptuous of him, telling Hisster he didn't see anyone when he didn't really give it a good look.

Yes, Scorpus, I totally agree. If this island is a few hours away from home, then to give this scouting mission a fair shot, you need to stay the night. Someone keep watch though, it'll be fine. YOU DRAGONS GOT THIS. This does make me wonder still, though, how they hadn't found this island sooner if it's only a few hours away uuuless when Scorpus says "a long way away" or whatever, he means days' worth of travel. I guess the timeline is a bit blurry to me.

ZOLTAR. Last time you thought you saw something, it turned out being SCORPUS.


Okay so going back to my previous thought, I like that Zoltar seeing a shadow in the distance is kind of a result of a little foreshadowing earlier when he thought he saw Scorpus. This is really building off of Zoltar's observation skills. He's rather sharp, nothing seems to really get by him. He seems to detect almost any movement, which is incredible, and you do a good job in proving how strong that ability is in this little trio of soldiers.

It's also interesting how critical Scorpus can be of Zoltar. I'm intrigued by this relationship. I wonder if Scorpus doesn't really care as much, or maybe he's just too old to be bothered to care. We don't know much about him, but I imagine we will learn a whole lot more soon enough. Their relationship is interesting to me, and I also wonder how he feels about working with the only two other soldiers in their community, and they're lovers. Like... does he feel like a third wheel here, or does he, again, simply not care at all and is driven by other motivations? I'M EXCITED.

I like the build-up in this chapter. It starts out slow, eerie. I'm a little confused by the maze acknowledgment earlier 'cause their travels on the island don't feel like they're in a maze or any sort of labyrinth, but maybe it was just a creative way of describing a dense forested area. I'm not really sure. I could be thinking too hard about that.

This cliffhanger is gonna drive me nuts. XD OH BOY.

felistia says...

Thank you for another review. I can see I'm going to have to do quite a bit of editing once I go back over this draft. :D

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Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:15 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Hey felistia,

Shady back with another review for you! Let's jump right on in...

Zoltar gliding over the village’s mud houses

I think you're missing a word here? Maybe you were going for Zoltar /was/ gliding over... ?

They could fly over the maze with relative easy,

Another minor grammar comment but I think you mean either "with relative ease" or "relatively easy" nixing the "with" before that.

but he couldn’t see nothing.

Wow sorry for my grammar-heavy critiques this time. Usually I try to focus more on broader picture things, but this caught my attention. You shouldn't use double negatives -- but that's what you've got here with a "couldn't see nothing" like you have. It should either be "he couldn't see anything" or "He could see nothing" and honestly I'd prefer the former of those suggestions.

“Scorpus, I….” he never got to finish the sentence.

I think this might be a bit more impactful if we see WHY he never finished the sentence. I mean this is a good cliffhanger, but right now it's not overly tense because I don't know what happened. Did he get hit with something? Did he see something and get scared? Did he pass out? I don't know what made him not finish the sentence so I'm not feeling a sense of urgency here.

~ ~ ~

Okay! Overall this was another nice chapter. I like the steady forward progression we have with the plot. Things are happening and I LIKE it! It keeps things interesting and makes me want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

As far as characterization for this chapter goes, since I'm pretty sure you asked me to comment on that if I remember correctly, I think your characters seem pretty... naive? in this chapter. And not particularly in a good way.

These three are soldiers. They're supposed to be trained, hardened for battle. All through this novel Zoltar has been being super cautious and there's a bunch of stuff at stake and it's all tense -- and now Scorpus, supposedly the best trained soldier of their entire race, is taking these pointless, fool-hardy risks -- despite moments before being warned that there was imminent danger.

I'm just honestly not buying it fully? This seems more like a plot device to get them into the next crisis. Now, when I say that, please don't take it the wrong way. There's no judgment there at all lol. We all have to use devices sometimes to move the plot along -- but ideally you should keep those to a minimum and make your plot progress naturally. Which means when you go through to edit this I'd suggest finding a more natural way to get from point a to point b without them taking senseless risks.

Maybe that means they stumble into a trap. Maybe they get ambushed. Maybe they take all the right precautions and scout out a camp and do everything exactly right -- but their enemies still manage to capture/attack them somehow. I don't know -- this is your novel and that's up to you to figure out. But I would suggest making the soldiers less naive so that they are more believable.

That's all I've got for you tonight! Keep writing!

~Shady 8)

felistia says...

Thank you so much for another great review. :D

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Thu May 23, 2019 3:27 am
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Liberty wrote a review...

Hi once again!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what the time it is at your place. I'm here to give you a review. :) Let's get right into it, now, shall we? Alright. So, one huge thing that I would again like to point out is, you always have these amazing details in there an I LOVE IT TO DEATH!

You started off your story perfectly and my god, do you have to do this to us? Ending it right there kinda killed me. But don't worry, I'm alive now, in zombie form. Lol. Okay, so just two things that I have to point out today. :smt023

Zoltar gliding over the village’s mud houses, his scales shining like black crystal.

Over here, you changed tenses, which kinda made me hold my horses. So, you probably wanna change that to glided, instead. On wards!

Are you sure we shouldn’t call it a day and come back tomorrow.

Right here: The thing that keeps on coming over and over again. You need to put question marks at the end of these question sentences. I understand that you posted all these all at once and that you most likely did not have time to fix these. But that's fine. I'd suggest fixing this in your sixth chapter. :D

Speaking of, don't forget to tag me for the sixth chapter! :mrgreen: In the meantime, I shall move on to reading the next chapter! Hope this review helped, and also if you found anything of mine rude, IGNORE it. Please.

And as always...

Keep on writing!



felistia says...

Thank you so much for another review. I do try to look for these mistakes, but I have a habit of reading over them. Oh well. Gives you something to critic. Lol. Thanks again for pointing them out.

Liberty says...

Oh, not a problem. Lol.

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Wed May 22, 2019 5:18 am
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Toboldlygo wrote a review...

Hey there! Toboldlygo here for a review!

First of all, I really love how you describe everything in your story! Lines such as, "The forest seemed shrouded in darkness thick enough to touch," for example, tell me so much about the darkness of the forest! I'm synesthetic, so I love descriptions that are super detailed and that utilize multiple senses!

I think you have both a very strong opening and ending to this chapter! I really love how you make the opening something that doesn't pick up on a previous chapter so suddenly that the reader is lost, and then you also put in a suspenseful ending! Reading previous comments, everyone who reads this wants to come back to read more, and that's fantastic! I also am looking forward to reading more, so well done.

Happy Writing!


felistia says...

Thank you so much for the review. :D

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Tue May 21, 2019 10:46 am
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IceOfDawn says...

Your description is amazing, I am really looking forward to reading more. :D :D :D :D I would love to here the next chapter soon, pleas will you tag me?

felistia says...

Sure. Thank you. :D

IceOfDawn says...

Welcome. also sorry for reading all the chapters in the wrong way around lol.

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15 Reviews

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Tue May 21, 2019 10:32 am
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TropicalRain says...

This chapter was really well written. But...WHY!!! Why would you do this to me!?

felistia says...

I told you. Don't worry I'll post the next chapter as soon as possible. Do you want me to tag you?

TropicalRain says...

Oh yes please do!

Live your life how you want, but don't confuse drama with happiness.
— Ron, Parks & Rec