Zoltar didn’t know how, but sometime during the night, he’d managed to drift off. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep, since an eerie gloom was all that met him when he opening his eyes. Judging by the ache in his chained wings, he guessed he’d been asleep for a good few hours, more than likely the whole night.
He looked around him, in no hurry to get up. It pretty much looked the same as the day before. It was dark as if it were still late evening outside, though with his nocturnal vision he could see what was going on fairly well. His cell was empty with the exception of the dim firestone and metal loops hammered into the floor to which he was chained.
Unlike the Ice Talon prison though, this one’s door was made up of metal bars, not a solid wooden frame.
With a sigh, Zoltar got to his feet, trying his best not to think about the metal clamp over his snout. The area ached and it felt unnatural to have his jaws pinned closed for so long.
‘Guess the Wind Talons aren’t taking any chances,’ Zoltar thought with a sullen huff. It was irritating to have a clamp on that wasn’t even necessary. His fire was still flickering at best and couldn’t be used to escape, not at the moment. Having his jaws pinned closed right now was just adding insult to injury.
The rattle of his chains scraping against the stone floor echoed through the tunnel as Zoltar walking up to the door. He peered through the bars, trying the push his snout far enough past the cold metal to see further than a few cells down.
It was no use, his mouth brace seemed to be made just a touch larger than the spaces between the poles, preventing him from getting no more than a nostril through.
Zoltar growled in frustration. He couldn’t believe he was in this situation…again.
He stomped back to his corner, hissing under his breath. In irritation, he lashed out at the rock walls, his talons creating an awful screech as they scratched against the stone. He knew it wouldn’t do any good, but he needed something to hit.
With another snarl, he whacked his tail again the bars of the cell, sending a satisfying ring through the corridor.
He was about to swinging his tail again when a stern ehhemm broke through his anger.
Zoltar whipped around, startled. It didn’t last though as his surprise was quickly replaced by a scowl when he saw the Wind Talon guard.
“The Queen will see you now,” The Wind Talon said, apparently choosing to ignore the dirty looks Zoltar gave him, which just infuriated the Shadow Talon further.
He was just about beyond caring at this point. Yes, another Queen wanted to scrutinize him, mocking how weak his tribe was and how stupid he was to think he could sneak into their kingdom.
He’d had enough of this whole situation. He’d lost the three friends he’d come to know over the last few weeks. Wailing moons only knew where they were right now and if they were even alive. His tribe was a mess, Ghost Talons were breathing down his back and he was in prison for the second time in less than a week. Yes, he’d had enough.
Sure, it might not be the smartest thing to do, but he was tired of being meek and cowering before other tribes. There was no Felistia to fight for him this time, no Shriken to save the day. This time he had to do it himself and he needed to get rid of the weak dragonet inside him to be able to do that.
Enough was enough. He was a Shadow Talon. Yes, his tribe was in ruins right now, but back in the day, they’d been one of the most powerful tribes in Megalonia. Other tribes needed to remember that.
All this flashed through his mind in a matter of seconds upon seeing the Wind Talon guard and the superior expression that marked his snout.
As the guard opened the door, Zoltar stood his ground, staring the Wind Talon down as he unlocked the chains bolting him to the floor.
His stride was steady as he was led back up the corridor towards the heart of the palace. He may be a prisoner, but he would walk into that throne room with dignity, not pushed and prodded like last time.
Soon they’d entered the hallway that ran through the palace. To the back of them, the wide archway let in a surprising amount of sun, giving the whole area an overall well-lit feel in comparison to the evening before. The firestones glowed brightly now that the morning had come, casting their scarlet rays over the clean marble pillars. Narrow tunnels carved from the walls let in shafts of brilliant sunlight, the beams spearing through the room like white arrows.
As they walked on, Zoltar kept noticing tunnels leading off to who knows where, but it was the sounds coming from them that caused him turn his head in their direction. Roars and the clanging of metal against talons echoed from the entrances, the occasional orange flash bouncing off the walls as a shot was fired.
It took Zoltar a moment to realize that the passageways must lead to training arenas. He recognized the sounds from back when the Shadow Lands had had a training area. He thought back to that awful day, when he’d flown over the dragonets practicing in front of their commander. He knew all too well what had happened to them.
A mournful sigh escaped his jaws as he was led on.
Before long they stopped in front of two towering doors, the walnut polished to a high sheen so as to highlighting the rich umber tones in the wood. Two Wind Talon guards were stationed by the doors, their golden armor stark against their cobalt scales.
“Greetings Delareth,” one of the guards said, “What brings you here?”
Zoltar saw the Wind Talon’s silvery eyes flash from his captor to him and back.
“The Queen requested a meeting with the Shadow Talon,” Delareth stated, gesturing to Zoltar with his wing.
Zoltar couldn’t help the scowl that crossed his snout and he shifted to the left to avoid being bumped by the wing.
Delareth didn’t seem to notice his disdain and tugged on the chain attached to Zoltar’s snout as the two guards opened the throne room doors.
Growling under his breath, Zoltar allowed himself to be led into the room.
His anger towards the Wind Talon was soon replaced however with surprise upon seeing the Queen.
Brilliant bolts of white and yellow streaked over her outstretched wings, cutting through the underlying cobalt scales. Her golden eyes flashed with intelligence as she looked up from the scroll grasped in her bronze talons.
She was a Lighting Talon.