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The Quest for Fire - Touch the Sky - Chapter Four

by felistia


Zoltar’s ears filled with the rush of water surging down channels carved into the palace’s marble walls. The spray was tinged a fiery pink in the dying light as the streams converged together to form two roaring waterfalls cascading down either side of the outcrop extending from the palace.

Zoltar’s legs were still weak under him as his captor swooped in to make a landing. He braced himself for the drop and inevitable crushing blow that would follow, but was surprised when the Wind Talon didn’t just release him. Instead he seemed to hover, waiting for him to find his footing before letting go.

He glanced behind him as his captor landed along with another four Wind Talons. Their indigo blue neck ruffs fluttered gently in the evening breeze, the dim light still reflecting off the silver spines along their backs.

‘Why did he do that?’ Zoltar thought. He could have just let go, letting him fall to the ground. It would have been easier for him and wasn’t that what you did do to prisoners?

His momentary confusion was broken by the sight of Felistia’s limp body being flown down to another level. He hobbled over to the edge as fast as he could in his chains, watching as the Wind Talons carrying her disappeared into another cave.

Zoltar felt his stomach churn. Where were they taking her and why was she still unconscious? The poison should have worn off by now.

A flash of movement caught Zoltar’s attention and he turned to see what seemed to be the lead Wind Talon, stride up to him. He began unhooking some of Zoltar’s chains, allowing him to walk.

“Come on. Let’s go,” the General said, walking ahead of Zoltar. The other four remaining Wind Talon soldiers took up their positions on either side of Zoltar as they strode forwards.

Great white marble pillars marked the way into the palace. Vines of juniper green ivy twisted their way around the columns, their silvery flowers curling closed for the night.

Guards were stationed on either side of the archway leading into the palace, spears gripped in their front paws. They gave an acknowledging nod as the General approached and stepped aside to let them through.

Zoltar didn’t like the lingering looks they gave him as they watched them pass.

The hallways were quiet apart from the odd guard here and there. No Wind Talons bustling around carrying messages for the Queen or running to check whether the chefs were on time with preparing the evening meal. It wasn’t what Zoltar had expected.

Even in the Ice Talon Palace, Zoltar had heard the coming and goings of palace life while he and Felistia were in their cell.

This place felt deserted almost, the once jeweled pillars now empty of their treasures and the unkempt marble floors etched with scratches from years of frantic talons rushing to and fro.

As they journeyed deeper into the mountain, firestones replaced the dying rays of the sun, their rich ember red centers pulsing with light.

Even through the nausea gripping his stomach, Zoltar felt a brush of comfort upon seeing the stones. He hadn’t seen them since he’d left the Shadow Lands and it was somehow calming to see something from home.

The feeling was short lived however as he was taking down a side passage into the belly of the palace. Even with the firestones, it was pretty dark down here, the crimson glow causing the Wind Talons scales to take on a toxic purple hue.

Zoltar shifted his wings, feeling the bite of the chains that pinned them against his sides. This must lead to the palace’s prison. Unlike the Ice Talon one though, there would be no window, not this deep into the mountain.

Before long they reached the end of the passage which opened up into another tunnel with cells spaced out about a dragon width from each other along the length.

Zoltar could feel himself starting to panic, the walls pressing in on him as they walked towards the chamber closest to the tunnel they’d come from.

He couldn’t stay down here, not without light. Being able to see out had been one of the only things that had kept him sane while in the Ice Talon prison. The thought of being trapped in a small space, in the dark was almost more than he could bare.

It was too similar…he couldn’t think about it again.

Zoltar squeezed his eyes shut, trying to bloke out the memories as one of the soldiers opening the cell. The screech of the key grinding in the lock was not enough to break through to Zoltar as the memories began to flood him. The thought of being trapped beneath the ground, in the dark with no one there while the mountain collapsed on you.

Zoltar’s paws felt like lead as he entered the cell, the door shutting closed behind him with a wailing creak. It was almost pitch black, the glow of the ancient firestone used to light the chamber barely more than a whisper as it flickered faintly.

He curled up in the corner, his once again shackled tail tucked in close as he allowed the memories to flow.

He’d tried to keep them under for years now after the eruption. He could still feel the suffocation heat, the guilt of leaving his brother and his wife after the earthquake, the months of wondering what could have happened if he’d stayed with them. Would he have been able to get them out in time?

The pain of the months following the eruption was still as fresh as if it had been yesterday. The first night spent huddled with Nira on the hill overlooking the erupting volcano. Watching the fires consuming his home like ravenous beasts, all the time hoping against hopes that someone he loved had survived.

Zoltar tried to wrap his wings over his head, only stopped by the chains as he tried to block out the memory of the wails and cries that had filled that terrible night.

He knew now, he’d known back then already, that no one within a twenty mile radius had survived. Anyone out in the open had been almost instantly killed, incinerated by the blast. Those trapped in their caves, including his brother, had soon followed.


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Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:51 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...



I love your dragon art so muuuch. They always make me so happy to see, and this one is just so vibrant and beautiful. <3 <3 <3

So omg the fact that we're now flashing back to the beginning of book one makes me so happy. It's been a while since I've revisited those memories (aside from Nira) and I actually didn't catch on right away that he was flashing back to the original problem that took out his tribe. But I'm glad that we ARE revisiting this because it's reminding the readers why Zoltar is even on this adventure to begin with and why it affects him so much, why he's so determined and why he feels so much pressure to save his tribe and find them a new home.

I TOTALLY had a feeling the wind talons were going to be nicer. They were really polite in allowing him to land on his own and walk along side them. There's more trust involved, like they give dragons the benefit of the doubt. For this reason, I can totally see how the ice talon kingdom were allowed to step all over them; but I'm also really happy to see that there's still goodness in this conflict. c:

Your imagery was so on point again, I just love your descriptions here. It was probably the biggest reason why the narration read so well. I'm really ready for some action or dialogue to help speed things along. Despite the references to the first book, I'm still getting strong deja vu of how they were imprisoned in book two as well, so I'm looking forward to something that makes this book (or third part) stand out on its own.

My memory is foggy, but I believe they still have the lightning stone on them. Since they're prisoners though, wouldn't the guards have a process for ensuring that all "pockets were emptied"? Like they know how dragons can carry items and, therefore, store potential weapons or tools that could help them escape, so I feel like they'd find the lightning diamond on him before throwing him into the cell. At... which point, Zoltar would be in deep doodoo 'cause he'll promptly look like a threat (if he didn't already by being with Felistia XD).

Also, I hope they're tending to Felistia's wounds. Imagine, despite being enemies, they still care about life itself and would help her -- assuming I'm correct. I guess they could be torturing her too or taking her to the queen immediately upon arrival or something -- yeeeeah, maybe I'm giving the wind talons the benefit of the doubt. YOU BETTER BE NICE TO HER.

I just really liked that Zoltar was getting flashbacks to the start. I'm just really happy you did that and are bringing the original story back to the forefront, and also giving him another weakness here too. He's clearly still scarred by the event -- I'm sure it's very difficult to get over that kind of event honestly -- and it makes him feel more "human," if you will. Easy to relate to. I thought it felt goofy when he was freaked out by complete darkness when he probably has the best nightvision in the entire mountain right now, but I do like that he was getting flashbacks as a result of his environment. The inside of a mountain, I'm sure, looks a lot like every other inside of a mountain. XD

Looking forward to next chapterrr! Be nice to Felistia plz i love her too much thx




felistia says...


Thank you for another review. :D

The reason the Wind Talons didn't find the diamonds are because they didn't know about Zoltar's extra layer of scales. It's unique to Shadow Talons and it's not something a lot of other tribes know about. I'll probably have to have Zoltar think something along that line when I come back to editing. :D



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Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:45 am
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alliyah says...



Just stopping by to say I love the illustrations & map you've added to your chapters; they look great and are really special additions. Great idea!




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Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:00 pm
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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 back.

First Impression: Some wonderful descriptions in this one. I like how this has so little dialogue but the visuals tell such a compelling story by themselves. Its a really well done chapter in that regard. You almost never see descriptions used for anything more than just setting the scene but here it does such a wonderful job. I feel like we are really building a ton of tension here for when we meet this queen and we are also getting a nice read on the Wind Talons as a species.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Zoltar’s ears filled with the rush of water surging down channels carved into the palace’s marble walls. The spray was tinged a fiery pink in the dying light as the streams converged together to form two roaring waterfalls cascading down either side of the outcrop extending from the palace.


Nice little description to start things off as always.

Zoltar’s legs were still weak under him as his captor swooped in to make a landing. He braced himself for the drop and inevitable crushing blow that would follow, but was surprised when the Wind Talon didn’t just release him. Instead he seemed to hover, waiting for him to find his footing before letting go.


Very subtle way of showing the Wind Talons being a lot more considerate about their prisoners at least the one that is a Shadow Talon.

His momentary confusion was broken by the sight of Felistia’s limp body being flown down to another level. He hobbled over to the edge as fast as he could in his chains, watching as the Wind Talons carrying her disappeared into another cave.


I guess Ice Talons have their own VIP block or maybe Felistia needs some medical attention judging by how she hasn't come to yet. I'm guessing its probably the former in this case.

A flash of movement caught Zoltar’s attention and he turned to see what seemed to be the lead Wind Talon, stride up to him. He began unhooking some of Zoltar’s chains, allowing him to walk.


More nods to the Wind Talons.

Even in the Ice Talon Palace, Zoltar had heard the coming and goings of palace life while he and Felistia were in their cell.

This place felt deserted almost, the once jeweled pillars now empty of their treasures and the unkempt marble floors etched with scratches from years of frantic talons rushing to and fro.


This part is just continuing that amazing visual reveal of the situation of the Wind Talons. This whole part is just done really well.

Even through the nausea gripping his stomach, Zoltar felt a brush of comfort upon seeing the stones. He hadn’t seen them since he’d left the Shadow Lands and it was somehow calming to see something from home.


Nice little nod to the fire stones and it also gives us just a small sense of comfort before the whole thing is brutally crushed by the ending making us feel the emotions running through Zoltar really well. And that is amazing.

He couldn’t stay down here, not without light. Being able to see out had been one of the only things that had kept him sane while in the Ice Talon prison. The thought of being trapped in a small space, in the dark was almost more than he could bare.


Excellent call back there with the volcano.

Zoltar tried to wrap his wings over his head, only stopped by the chains as he tried to block out the memory of the wails and cries that had filled that terrible night.

He knew now, he’d known back then already, that no one within a twenty mile radius had survived. Anyone out in the open had been almost instantly killed, incinerated by the blast. Those trapped in their caves, including his brother, had soon followed.


*totally is not chopping onions at 1am in the morning* A really impactful ending there.

Aaand that's it for this one.

Overall: A really well written chapter here. It feels just a teensy bit like we are stretching this sequence of them being capture out but I think I can see why that had to be done the way it was so that's okay. Besides that there really isn't anything here for me to point out. It's really well done. I also sense a possible big moment in the plot of this book approaching.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




felistia says...


Thank you so much for the review. Sorry for my late reply. I didn't see the notification for the review. So glad you liked this chapter. I thought it was about time I had a call back to the volcano.

I've almost finished the next chapter. I'm sure you're going to love it.



HarryHardy says...


Your Welcome!!
Ahh...we all miss a notification or two sometimes. That's okay. :D
Hmm...can't wait! :D



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Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:01 pm
_Missnoone_ says...



:)





Journeys end in lovers' meeting.
— William Shakespeare