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Author Topic: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0  (Read 639 times)

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Ducky123

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Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« on: August 04, 2018, 10:36:30 am »
As I was announcing a while ago, I decided to revamp Shorty's Dark Past. Parts of the plot will be altered but there won't be any major scenes cut. I seriously hope that this new version will be a major improvement over my first draft, especially as far as the first 20-30 chapters are concerned.

That being said, I have not fully finished writing my chapter synopsis, however I've got the first part of the story down by now so I decided to start writing. Current planned schedule is two chapters a week, however I cannot guarantee it due to the scorching heat in my area which drains my motivation.

Anyway, have a look at my completely rewritten prologue  :^^spike

~~~~~

Shorty's Dark Past

Prologue:

The child opened its eyes, still feeling sleepy. Drowsily, while uttering a hearty yawn, it rose to its feet, taking in its surroundings. It seemed as though it had woken up in a valley the child had never been to before. Mountains, so steep that climbing them seemed futile, with occasional vegetation somehow holding on to the bare rock, surrounded the location. Forests were growing at the edges and the grass beneath the child’s feet was green and moist.

Looking ahead, the valley seemed to conclude in a rocky passageway of sorts while there was no end in sight behind. A very narrow but long valley, as it seemed.

As the last remnants of drowsiness fell from its eyes, it suddenly began to notice the most obscene of all details around it.

Longnecks, hundreds of them, it seemed. They were all headed towards what seemed to be an exit somewhere ahead. And, above all, they were flying! Hovering a few meters above the ground! Since when could longnecks fly?

Suddenly, the child still awe-struck about the new discovery, it felt a sudden force, first pulling on its long tail, then on it’s even longer neck until it, too, was hovering a little bit above the green grass.

“Whoa!” it thought, simultaneously scared and amazed by the sudden ability. A careful kick of its leg drove it further up. Soon, it knew how to navigate and aimed for a hovering rock not too far away. As it leaped onto the rock, it began spinning really fast, momentarily confusing the child’s head but as soon as the rock halted again, a magnificient view greeted it.

Just at that moment, the Bright Circle had appeared behind some Sky Puffies, shining with brilliance upon the whole valley. Abruptly, without the child’s consent, it began hovering towards the mysterious exit of the valley that everyone seemed to head to. But strangely enough, the child was in the least worried. Some subconscious feeling told it that this was a good thing to happen.

So it quietly hovered along the other longnecks until it had reached the narrow and steep passageway, that lead across the humongous walls of the valley. But, hardly in, the situation changed rapidly. Suddenly, the Bright Circle slowly disappeared not behind clouds but behind what appeared to the child like a black ball on the sky. Clouds, looking more like smoke than anything, began rapidly developing around the weakening Bright Circle, spiralling closer and closer.

“What is happening!?”

Terrified by the events, terrified by the darkness that spread over the land quickly, it closed its eyes shut. However, children were too curious for their own good. They always were. Such it was with this one. If only just a little bit, it opened one eye only to see the Bright Circle reappear. But something was wrong. Terribly wrong. It went too fast for the child to even realize what was happening. One moment there was a ball of fire approaching fast until it filled the whole sky, and then there was… nothing. It was then that the child screamed at the top of its lungs…

That was, when three little longnecks rose from their sleep with little warning, uttering a panicked scream as they did, heart pumping, breath going fast, only to realize they had once again had the very same sleepstory which had been bothering them for a good while. Little did they know that those were no ordinary sleepstories… and little did they know that these sleepstories would one day lead them all to the same place...

Grunting in annoyance, Littlefoot, Ali and Shorty slowly calmed down before they went back to sleep.

~~~~~

So there you have it. Just my personal take on that sleepstory sequence as seen in movie 10 with some foreshadowing added for those who read it the first time. The others should know where this is leading to eventually ;)

If nothing serious happens here, I should have the next one up on Monday :)
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DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2018, 10:48:45 am »
This has me very intrigued. I never read the original version of Shorty's Dark Past, and I only watched the tenth movie once, so I remember little about it, but this looks like a very promising start. :) I can only wonder what this premonition will bring the Longnecks to.
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Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2018, 02:28:40 pm »
This scene is always a great way to begin the story. You managed to replicate the scene's mysterious feeling very well and this promises that the modified parts of this fic will improve SDP's storytelling quite a bit. It'll be intriguing to see just which chapters you plan to redo but I'm sure they'll make this already-great fic even better. Anyway, nice job with this prologue. :^^spike

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 07:39:19 am »
Quote
This has me very intrigued. I never read the original version of Shorty's Dark Past, and I only watched the tenth movie once, so I remember little about it, but this looks like a very promising start. :) I can only wonder what this premonition will bring the Longnecks to.
Thanks for the review! I hope that the coming chapters will not disappoint then :)

Quote
This scene is always a great way to begin the story. You managed to replicate the scene's mysterious feeling very well and this promises that the modified parts of this fic will improve SDP's storytelling quite a bit. It'll be intriguing to see just which chapters you plan to redo but I'm sure they'll make this already-great fic even better. Anyway, nice job with this prologue. :^^spike
Ah, I'm really glad that it worked as an introduction  :^^spike

Thanks for the review and, yeah, it'll be interesting to compare to the old version every now and then I guess :P The prologue was originally like... 3 sentences. And chapter 1 is written from scratch too. And soon the number of chapters won't correlate anyway because I added quite a bit early on  :lol
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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 06:24:49 pm »
Now this is an excellent way to introduce a story - present just enough that the reader sees that the three main characters are connected, but leave how they come together as a mystery that has yet to be told. I don't really have much more to say at the moment, but I look forward to seeing how the narrative goes from here relative to SDP's original incarnation.  :)


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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 05:33:39 am »
I remember reading the original on Fanfiction.net never left a review cause I’m
apparently a lazy ass but I loved it even if I did want to slap the green off of Shorty at times.

Will be following this new version closely.
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Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 05:47:52 pm »
welp! This was supposed to go online days ago  :sducky

~~~~~

Chapter 1: The lone boy and the mysterious stranger

“Urgh, where do I bloody have to go?!”

As the scorching sun penetrated the land just like it did yesterday and the day before that, a young longneck halted in his movement. He was still very young yet a bunch of even smaller longnecks - hatchlings that were barely able to walk on their own, were looking up at the boy with big, curious eyes.

Squinting his eyes, he tried to make anything of the field of rocks loosely scattered in the desolate desert but, all truth be told, he didn’t know where to go.

“Will I ever escape this bloody hell?”

He’d been roughly trying to maintain a straight direction during his journey but, lately, he was really just walking towards whatever direction he deemed to be the best. And, right now, that was the hilly field of rocks to their left. Maybe some of these rocks would at least offer some shade during the worst hours of the day? Reluctantly, he started walking towards his new destination, the small hatchlings following him.

The Mysterious Beyond had become a hostile place ever since the drought had started. Finding food and water was near impossible, the places still offering them became fewer and fewer. The boy didn’t know how much longer he would be able to survive under these conditions but he had to try his best, no matter what.

As soon as they found a rock large enough to offer shade for all of them, the little hatchlings fell asleep immediately which left the boy alone with his thoughts. For alone, he was…

“Shorty no, don’t leave!”

The boy named Shorty closed his eyes in a mixture of sadness and anger. Whenever he was feeling lonely, images from his past and, sometimes, even the voices of those he dearly loved found a way into his mind. It wasn’t pleasant, considering what he’d done. It had been his decision after all that led to all of this… What would he give to be with his family right now…

Well, at least certain members of it.

“No, I mustn’t think about this all the time, it’s not helping!”

With a resolute expression, the boy focussed on his surroundings again but the heat of the early afternoon sun soon got the better of him and Shorty fell into an uneasy slumber...

*

It wasn’t until two or three hours later, that the boy rose from his sleep. Tired and exhausted at first, he immediately jumped to his feet when distant footsteps could be heard, shaking the very ground beneath his feet. Something was approaching, something large!

“A Sharptooth?!” Shorty immediately panicked, rushing over to the hatchlings to wake them up. Why he was still protecting them despite them being a nuisance and competition for the little food he could find... it was beyond him but he guessed it kinda had to do with how he came to be with them in the first place. Losing them now would only mean that his brave acts would have been for vain!

“Get up!” he yelled quietly, glancing over his shoulders as the rumble increased. The footsteps, upon paying attention to their rhythm, didn’t seem to be originating from a bipedal creature like a sharptooth. No, that was the same rhythm that he knew all too well from his endless journey…

“A longneck?!” Shorty didn’t drop his guard but the realization meant that there was no immediate reason to run. With careful steps, the confused and frightened baby longnecks scattering behind him, he stepped out into the scorching sun again, only to see a fully grown longneck with a brown colouration walking very close. It looked very strong but there was no fight in its faraway expression.

*

The longneck noticed them immediately, a glint of curiosity entering his face. Wasn’t he just looking for a sign of his lost son in this goddamn desert? In front of him stood a lone longneck child, coloured green, looking at him in a mixture of suspicion, fear and mild interest, clearly trying to appear strong as he paid his attention to the child. Behind the kid, a bundle of hatchlings of different colours, still very young, looking frightened, were hiding behind their older protector.

The longneck could only muse how that constellation came to be but, frankly, it didn’t concern him. The hatchlings were much too young and the older child, while certainly about the size he’d expect his son to be, was of the sort with a bumpy head - that wasn’t his son. There was no need for further proof so he turned around and left the scene in a slow trot, head hanging low. Just another disappointment during his endless search.

“Maybe it’s about time to give up…” the male thought bitterly while tears welled up in his eyes. Would he ever find the only family that was still left?

*

“What the hell was that?”

Shorty blinked in confusion as the adult turned away and left without a word. He was relieved that there was nothing to fear from the grown-up after all but still something about the encounter nagged him. Something he couldn’t quite place yet.

Shorty felt a sensation at his side when one of the hatchlings nudged him with a questioning look on their face. A quick glance confirmed that all of them were following the retreating stranger with their eyes.

“Yeah… I know what you mean…” Shorty suddenly sighed before he knew quite what he was thinking about this himself. Seeing the grown-up go caused a strange feeling of loss inside of him that he couldn’t quite explain and a sense of longing which also seemed to radiate off the hatchlings. He may have been leading and protecting them but he wasn’t a father figure at all. The little ones were probably better off with a real family.

“That guy was strange though…” Shorty noted. After all, most longnecks didn’t walk around all alone. They formed herds or stuck to their family at least. But this folk had been all alone. The fact that he left without a word, without even a sign that he cared about their predicament, being orphaned and all alone, didn’t exactly encourage Shorty. But that was when something else made its way back to his mind.

“I have no clue where to go, maybe I should follow this guy? If he’s surviving on his own, he probably knows what he’s doing…” It was a bit far stretched but it was the best plan the little boy could come up with. Wherever he had been walking, things were either terrible or even worse than that. It was his only reasonable chance to escape the iron grip of the desert. If there was an end to it at all, that was.

And so he quietly told the hatchlings that they’d be following.

“...but, I’d like to observe that guy for a little while. We still don’t know if he’s dangerous or if he’ll chase us away so we’ve got to keep distance and be quiet so he won’t notice that we’re following, got it?”

Shorty never truly knew if they understood what he was saying but, regardless, they seemed to obey so he began moving before he’d lose sight of the stranger. The ground was mostly consisting of rocks so he wouldn’t leave much of a trail to be followed. Therefore, he’d have to be alert from now on.

They followed unsuspiciously for the rest of the day. Shorty couldn’t learn anything about the stranger that he didn’t already know. When it was getting dark, he settled down for the night soon so Shorty did the same thing in close proximity but still out of hearing range since the hatchlings would often cry from hunger and thirst. And this night was no exception after all…

*

The longneck jerked awake. He’d been dreaming about his son again and, as occurred so often, had to witness him dying a painful death. He’d been having such sleep stories for a little too long to be left disturbed by them in any way but it was an ever so frequent source of sorrow. With a slight groan, he heaved his heavy body up. Soon, it would be time to leave this cursed desert for it was devoid of food and water which had drained his stamina a lot during the past weeks.

Besides, his son clearly wasn’t here - nor was anyone for that matter. Anyone roaming these lands was either stupid or lost. The longneck was ready to continue his lone journey when, suddenly, a peculiar feeling struck him. He didn’t know why but something told him that he was being followed and the male could usually trust his instincts very well.

“Stupid or lost… I’m betting these lost kids decided to follow me.”

With heavy steps, he retracted his path from the previous day just a little bit… only to learn that his instincts hadn’t let him down that morning…


*

A weak rumble of the ground shook Shorty awake. Groggily, he raised his neck just a little, just in time to see a rather familiar longneck walk in onto the scene. Shorty immediately jumped to his feet but the longneck didn’t make any aggressive gestures. Quite the opposite, his expression was rather laid back.

“I should have known you guys would follow me…” the grown-up spoke. His voice was deep and strangely soothing. No matter what past lessons told him, something told Shorty that this individual meant no harm so he, reluctantly, relaxed a little.

“I guess it’s only natural for a lost lone child to do that…”

“Hey, I’m not lost at all! And anyway, we weren’t following you!” Shorty found his bravado much quicker than he’d expected, retorting to the stranger who, apparently, found his response amusing.

“Of course not,” the grown-up mused. “Only an idiot would roam these lands. Admittedly, things are going downhill everywhere but this area has been a desert even before the land dried up.”

“Oh yeah?” Shorty exclaimed, irritated. “Well, maybe I was just passing through?!”

“Kid, this acting tough thing doesn’t work on me and neither does lying,” the grown-up sighed. “But, alas, I should move on…”

Shorty panicked for a moment. This longneck had seen through him immediately. Every instinct was screaming at him not to trust strangers but what choice did he have? Going back to being all alone, slowly watching the hatchlings die one after one until he, too, would lose the strength to keep going? What a disgraceful end of his short life that would be! No, he couldn’t let things end like that. This was a rare chance he needed to take even if it’d mean losing the last bit of pride he still had in him…

“Wait…” Shorty called weakly, his bravado gone, only fear and concern left.

“Huh? Changed your mind?” the grown-up wondered casually, halting in his movement.

“Actually…” Shorty hummed and hawwed. “You see… yes, I’m lost.” Saying these words hurt but maybe the grown-up could give him directions. “Could… could you tell me how to escape this desert? If we don’t find something to eat and drink soon…” His gaze wandered over to the hatchlings who were still very sleepy.

“Hmm, guess I could,” the longneck mused.

“Anyway…” another thought just struck the green bumphead longneck. “I really wonder… you were walking in on us like that yesterday and left without a word and now you’re suddenly playing the nice guy? I’m not sure I can trust you, stranger…”

“Oh, about that…” the stranger put a thoughtful face on. “Well, I suppose it won’t hurt telling you lot… I was actually looking for someone when I met you the other day.”

“Who were you looking for? Me?” Shorty’s bravado was back and his father’s lessons about not trusting strangers now fully surfaced.

“No, I was searching for my son. I was a little surprised to see you who should be around his age but you got the bumpy head so I turned around and left.”

“How’d you lose your son? Damn, you must suck as a father…” These words slipped past Shorty’s mouth before he realized the potential impact but, rather surprisingly, the stranger reacted with calm words.

“Truth is, I never met my son but I don’t think that is a story you’d be interested in hearing.”

“Well…” Shorty considered for a moment. The stranger’s statement hadn’t really convinced him of being a trustworthy guy but at least he didn’t seem to shrug him off or call him out of his blunt statement. Maybe following him was a real option there but he still knew too little.

Meanwhile, the adult surveyed the little longnecks carefully, a conflict between radical and emotional thinking breaking lose. Little could he care about a bunch of kids that weren’t his when he couldn’t even find his own. Little should he care, thus. What he should do was to move on as fast as he could searching somewhere else, finding other dinosaurs who might have heard something about a boy called Littlefoot. It had taken him long enough to hear about the fate of his mate already... However, as his gaze fell on the poor longnecks who were marked by hunger, thirst and loneliness, some parental instincts kicked in. If he left them again without another word, surely they would never make their way to adulthood. It didn’t make any sense in a logical way of speaking to look after them but not doing so might just very well add to the burden he was carrying around day after day. He surely wouldn’t ask the kids but if they asked… could he really tell them to go on alone?

“So, what about the directions now?” the grown-up inquired, offering a small smile. The boy was still mistrusting him so maybe that’d help. “I will be leaving for greener lands soon,” he explained calmly. “There is no place around that doesn’t suffer from drought but where I’m going there should be enough to go around. No promises though, the land is changing faster than I like…”

Shorty considered this. There was currently no telling whether that was an offer to tag along or just him telling them that where he was going would be less desolate than where they were right now. There was only one way to know…

“Where would those lands be?”

“So you are interested?”

“Why, sure I am? Didn’t I already admit I’m lost?!”

“Right…” Bron collected his memory. Pointing towards a direction roughly behind him, he explained. “Well, if you head about this way, you should soon see some mountains. They’re not tall from what I recall and easy to climb. There are many rivers and small lakes though I can’t guarantee they haven’t dried by now. I’ll be heading there to look for my son anyhow. Can’t really recommend the areas I’ve been to lately so this is the best shot I can offer you kids.”

“Interesting…” Shorty commented, distrust still apparent in his voice. “So… basically, we’ll be heading the same way?”

“If you decide to follow my directions, then yes,” the male replied casually. “But in this open land there are no set paths to take."

Shorty felt another nudge to his side. The hatchlings were all giving him a look of plead and it didn’t take a genius to understand - they wanted to follow the stranger. Frankly, Shorty wanted this lonesome life to end as well but he still couldn’t bring himself to step over his distrust and the little pride he had managed to preserve. Besides, would that strange guy even accept? At least he wasn’t taking any measures to discourage them.

“Well, I’ll be taking my leave here,” the longneck spoke with a sense of finality. “I won’t chase you away if I see you on my heels again though…”

Even though it was just for a split second, Shorty noticed the subdued wink in the strangers eyes and that was just the confirmation he needed to make up his mind. Giving a small nod to the hatchlings, he also set into motion, going after the stranger. Maybe, soon, he would be a little more than that but some unwariness still remained. Shorty would have to see whether it was a good decision but for now he would rather take the chance.

*

The adult didn’t need to look back to know that they were following him at a safe distance and, therefore, reduced his speed a little not to give them a hard time keeping up. In due time, he would formally offer them to tag along but, for now his gaze was far on the horizon, carrying a weak smile. Maybe he would never find his own son but he might have very well just saved another parent’s child from almost certain death. At the very least, it was enough to give his spirits a little boost. Maybe there was a point in life even without Littlefoot, his mate who passed away and his in-laws?

Feeling a little lighter, he lead them out into the open lands where the burning morning sun greeted them like an old friend.

~~~~~

For some reason I'm really proud of that last paragraph  :o Like... it's not a cliffhanger and all and actually sounds nice  :lol

So, instead of Shorty retelling the event, I decided to rewrite this chapter completely from scratch and take a more direct approach. That way, I was able to pay more attention to the feelings of both Bron (which, I believe, I didn't pay any heed to in the original) and Shorty. The chapter also concludes at an earlier point which means the scene will continue at some point while in the original I just left it there mostly. Feel free to tell me what you think about the changes (or the chapter in general, I think it's a much better than before but I may be biased :P )

Before I move on to the reviews, here's one thing that I'm still undecided about so I thought I'd give my readers a chance to give me some advice on the matter.

As you may know, Littlefoot originally only shows up in the story once he reaches the oasis where most of LBT 10 (and most of SDP) are taking place. My earliest drafts of the story (still written in my native language, little fun fact haha) included his journey to that place as well, however I scrapped it rather early in the development of the story. Given how Littlefoot and Sue (nor the gang for that matter) are properly introduced and kinda just pop in into the story at some point, I feel inclined to add his early story too. It would give the story a more complete look even if it mightn't be the most thrilling addition. There is *some* room for character development during his journey, probably not too much but maybe think of it as a bit of a LBT 10 novellization embetted into this story (which is pretty much that anyhow, just my very personal take on it). So what are your thoughts on this matter? I'd really appreciate hearing any opinions, good or bad :)

Anyway, review time :^^spike

~~~~~

Quote
Now this is an excellent way to introduce a story - present just enough that the reader sees that the three main characters are connected, but leave how they come together as a mystery that has yet to be told. I don't really have much more to say at the moment, but I look forward to seeing how the narrative goes from here relative to SDP's original incarnation.  :)
thanks rhombus, I'm glad you liked the introduction I came up with :)

Quote
I remember reading the original on Fanfiction.net never left a review cause I’m
apparently a lazy ass but I loved it even if I did want to slap the green off of Shorty at times.

Will be following this new version closely.
That's cool, well I'm glad you did at last :smile Though I think you'll still want to slap "the green off Shorty" from time to time (gee that's a pretty creative phrase anyhow :lol ) Feel free to review either here or on there. I know I used to just dump my chapters on there but I realized I actually had quite a few readers on there who really enjoyed my stuff haha.

~~~~~

Due to being behind on schedule, the next chapter might be up really soon, hope you have enough time to read  :oops
Inactive until further notice. Don't feel at home here anymore.

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2018, 06:15:46 pm »
I like this early development of Bron and Shorty, and how their stories begin to join together. This is a great way to begin their journey, and you brilliantly captured Shorty's predicaments concerning the possibly orphaned hatchlings he's been looking after and wondering if this "stranger" can be trusted. It'll be very interesting to see how Bron and Shorty's journey progress before they eventually become a herd by the events of LBT 10.  :)
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Flathead770

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 12:41:56 am »
Oh I forgot to post a comment for the prologue. Whoops (though I did give my thoughts already so I guess it's all good :p )

As for this chapter, I really enjoyed! I like how you took the first encounter between Shorty and Bron and gave it more of the setting and feeling of the first LBT. It was also nice to see the natural progression of their first meeting to the tagging along at the end, while also leaving some interesting clues to Shorty's past. Looking forward to seeing more! :DD

I guess the only slight nitpick that I can give is that it seems Bron's name was randomly dropped into the chapter at one point with no real proper introduction? (I mean, of course all of us reading it here knew it was him :lol ). This is the part I'm talking about:

“Why, sure I am? Didn’t I already admit I’m lost?!”

“Right…” Bron collected his memory.


Quote
For some reason I'm really proud of that last paragraph  :o Like... it's not a cliffhanger and all and actually sounds nice  :lol
Now that you bring it up, I think the part I like specifically about the last sentence is that it ends almost the way the chapter begins with the sun's description matching the situation in a sort of pathetic fallacy style. The first paragraph opens with the sun reflecting the harsh nature of the landscape and ends with the sun rising and greeting them with a sorta feeling of hope.

Quote
Before I move on to the reviews, here's one thing that I'm still undecided about so I thought I'd give my readers a chance to give me some advice on the matter.
I don't think I need to say much more on this as I've given my thoughts on this over Discord. Hope it helps in some way! :smile

Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2018, 10:59:58 am »
Yeah, this was a great way to introduce Shorty’s group and Bron to this story and a rather important one considering the fic’s name. The way you changed the perspective between Bron and Shorty throughout the chapter was a rather effective one as it brought the misgivings and competing distrust of the duo to the surface nicely. I especially liked Bron’s reactions to Shorty’s antics as they mirrored his speaking style of the film perfectly. I wonder, though, if it would have been a good idea to have some kind of leadup or backstory to this scene if you are starting this far back in his life? It is probable he could have felt some extra responsibility to some of the younger children he liked better than the others, for example.

As for your question, it would certainly be a plus if you added Littlefoot’s journey to the crater but only if you have some idea on how to make it interesting. A mere retelling would hardly add too much into the fic but if you have some ideas or twists, by all means, add that plot to the story. As a whole, thus far this rewriting has been a massive improvement from the original one. :)littlefoot

OwlsCantRead

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2018, 11:50:09 am »
Yeah, I'd never read the original either but this looks good.
Bron and Shorty interaction was really good too!
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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2018, 05:22:06 pm »
Chapter 2: Sleepstories

The longneck girl rose from her sleep in a quick movement, looking frantically around as heavy gasps for air shook her little body.

Only to realize she’d been having one of these weird dreams again.

“Calm down, Ali, it was just a sleepstory… just… a sleepstory…” With a heavy sigh, little Ali got to her feet, adrenaline slowly retreating from her body, pulse and breathing getting back to healthier levels. Sleep was an unthinkable thing now, her blood still stirring, her mind still coping with the nightmare so she walked over to a nearby pond of water to take a drink. She wasn’t exactly thirsty but a cool sip of water might just be what she needed at the moment to help her calm down as images of flying longnecks and the Bright Circle falling on her head swarmed about in her head.

The water was cool and fresh as expected and Ali immediately felt a little better. Just then, the Night Circle found an opening in the rather thick blanket of harmless clouds obscuring most of the blinking lights that would often be visible at night, illuminating her reflection on the calm water surface, only a little disturbed by the small ripples that her little sip of water had caused. Strange how much it reminded her of the Bright Circle from her dream. Come to think about it, it was just as big and round, only that it wouldn’t show itself unless it got dark and wouldn’t shine as brightly. And then again, sometimes only some of it was there or it couldn’t be seen at all, coming in regular circles of a little more than two dozen days. That night was one of the few rare nights where it was fully there, watching over all dinosaurs as they slept.

Or, in her case, tried to.

“It sure must be boring to watch everyone sleep just like that… at least the Bright Circle gets to watch over us when we’re awake…” Ali’s pondering brought her attention back to her reflection in the water which had completely cleared by now, the girl staring at her perfect counterpart whose blue eyes were staring back at her just as thoughtfully as she was. Although it was hard to see during the gloomy dark at night, her body’s colour had a pink-ish tint to it.

“I wonder what he’s doing right now? Is he sleeping too?”

Two cold times ago, her herd had been driven out of their former home by extreme, persisting rain which had turned their homeland into a murky, foggy paradise for any predators. It had no longer been safe to roam these lands so they had been migrating around ever since, looking for a similar place to call their home. It hadn’t even taken them that long to find such a place - the Great Valley, but her herd leader apparently didn’t like it enough to settle down. It was one of quite a few decisions that Ali had never understood and likely never would. Right now they were residing in a forest that was growing at the base of a larger mountainous area which they had crossed a few weeks ago only to discover it. There was a fair amount of food and a few smaller rivers and ponds provided water for the plants to grow. However, it was too small to sustain a herd of such size forever.

And frankly speaking, Ali didn’t like it there. Even more frankly speaking, she didn’t like anywhere her herd had been to ever since that one time visiting at the Great Valley…

“If only I could be with you there in the Valley… Littlefoot…”

Her herd was a bit of an unusual sort. It largely consisted of females, many of which were rather old. And one of them, the Old One as she was called, was their leader. As a result, few children were born to this herd and those who were didn’t like Ali for some reason. As such, she didn’t have any friends in her herd, leaving her mother as the only friendly face to interact with. But even her mother was harder and harder to be around with lately. Ali clearly wasn’t happy with the current situation she found herself in. With noone to goof around with, she was often bored and, as of late, snappy.

"If only we had stayed at the Great Valley with Littlefoot and the others…”

A yawn escaped her mouth quickly. The influence of her nightmare was finally wearing off and, although a little stirred up from her thoughts, the warm feeling that often accompanied sleepiness spread through her body making her feel all relaxed and cozy.

While walking back to where they were sleeping, Ali could hear someone else waking up from a bad dream. She didn’t know why but everyone had been having these weird nightmares as of late and nobody knew the cause. But Ali was too tired now to ponder about it. Another yawn slipping from her lips, she curled up next to her mother. For a moment, it seemed as if she’d be able to drift back to sleep but just then her mother started to groan in her sleep.

“Oh great, not you too…” Ali rolled her eyes in annoyance. As frustrating as it was waking up at least once every night from a weird sleep story, not being able to because others were making noises in their sleep was even worse.

Suddenly, a rumble went through the body of her mother as she began rapidly moving in her sleep, throwing her massive weight sideways…

“Aaaaaaahhh!!!” Ali managed to leap out of the way just in time before her mother rolled over in her sleep, not even waking in the process and continuing her uneasy slumber while trying to find a more comfortable sleeping pose again. Ali however, was once again wide awake with a dangerous amount of adrenaline flooding her veins once more, fueling her rising anger until it turned into wrath.

“Mom, wake up!!!”

The grown-up stirred slightly. Then, her eyes opened, confused for a moment until she realized that she was back in the real world.

“Huh? What’s with that face dear?” Ali had a rather mad expression on her face, panting from anger.

“You! You almost rolled all over me while you were sleeping!”

“Oh? Did I?” her mother replied drowsily, getting to her feet.

“Yes you did!” Ali yelled, not caring a single bit that everyone in close proximity had probably just woken up from the ruckus she was making. “You’ve rolled all over me just at the end of the previous circle of the Night Circle! I for once don’t feel like being flattened in my sleep again! That really hurt!”

“Ali, please keep it down…”

“No!” The young longneck was really pissed off and she wouldn’t let her mother escape with a lame statement… not this time.

“Geez, I was sleeping, Ali. You can’t blame me for things I do while I’m all out cold, can you?”

“I can if it keeps me from sleeping in the first place,” Ali retorted, lowering her voice a little but not turning down her anger at all. “I was just about to go back to sleep after the sleep story woke me up when this happened… now how do you expect me to calm down again? This is outrageous!”

“It is indeed!”

Both mother and daughter turned to their right as an elderly female longneck walked in on the scene.

“What is this ruckus all about? It is plenty enough that these sleepstories are keeping me up each night…”

“Old One…” As it turned out, Ali had woken up their leader of all dinosaurs and she didn’t look too pleased. Ali’s mother gulped. “My apologies for Ali’s behavior. I-it seems the sleepstories are causing us some trouble ourselves…”

“Such as?” the old dinosaur inquired.

“Mother almost rolled all over me in her sleep!” Ali blurted out, again raising her voice dangerously high.

“Would you keep it down?! There is no reason to wake up the whole forest!” Old One reprimanded but Ali merely glared back at her and then at her mother.

“Listen to our leader, will you Ali?” her mother spoke with a slightly agitated voice. “I still don’t really know why you’re so upset about this but I’m sorry sweetheart. Now if you could please…”

“Do I still look like a hatchling?! I’m not your ‘sweetheart’ anymore, geez!” Ali shouted, clearly offended.

“Well, you clearly are acting like one right now!” Now even her mother had had enough, beginning to retort but not before sending an apologetic glance towards the Old One. “Don’t make me remind you of last night! You were crying after me in your sleep during your sleepstory! Still blaming me for things that happen while we sleep?”

Ali looked at her feet in shame and subdued rage. It was below the belt as she felt but making any further ruckus in front of Old One might very well result in unpleasant punishment so she simply swallowed it for the time being.

“Very well, now that is one less thing to worry about…” the Old One spoke with relief as the child lost her fight. Now a little calmer, the old dinosaur began to speak to Ali’s mother. “Don’t you think it is a little strange that all of a sudden all longnecks of this herd are experiencing these sleepstories? It is not dangerous per se but surely very unnerving…”

“I have to agree with that statement,” the younger female replied. With regret, she added. “Sadly, I don’t know why this is happening either.”

“Neither do I, I am afraid,” their leader admitted, Ali listening while pouting. “I’ve sent flyers to gather information regarding this matter and their findings are not exactly helpful to determine the cause of this problem. Certainly, it seems like only longnecks are seeing this increase in nightmares and an awful lot of us are apparently on the move… I will have to call a meeting tomorrow.”

“Does that mean that all longnecks are having them?” Ali suddenly piped up, perking up. If this was true, the implications were too wonderful to believe…

“I cannot answer your question with certainty,” the leader shrugged her off harshly. “However, I also cannot rule it out. Not yet.”

“Ah okay. Maybe Littlefoot is having them as well…”

“Who is that?!”

“A friend of mine,” Ali promptly responded. Old One tilted her head at an odd angle.

“He must not be a member of this herd, I conclude?”

“Littlefoot,” Ali’s mother butted in,” is that longneck from the Great Valley Ali ran off with to save his grandfather from disease with the Night Flowers from our old home.”

“Ah, oh that. Yes, now I remember,” Old One spoke, her glance hovering above Ali’s head. “And I do hope that gave you a good lesson young lady....”

“I’m sure it did,” her mother affirmed, giving her daughter another stern look. Ali merely stared back angrily. The argument still wasn’t over.

“Well, I shall not keep you up any longer than necessary. I shall see you during the meeting tomorrow, good night.” With that, the Old One walked away from the scene. Both Ali and her mother waited patiently until she was out of hearing range.

“You just got us reprimanded, good job Ali!”

“I’ll be sleeping over there, night…” Ali ignored her mother’s attempt at scolding her, still fuming over being embarrassed in front of their leader and being considered a hatchling, and began walking a good distance until she was once again at the pond. It was a place her mother could still see her but far enough to get some space after the heated argument. Ali glanced up at the sky one more time before she put her young body to rest with a deep sigh. Just how much longer would she be able to bear this?

~~~~~

Alright, here is Ali's introduction!  :^^spike

Same as with the first chapter, I decided to break it up into two chapters, considering how lengthy her introduction has become. A few sentences turned into some 2-3 pages on my doc, call that some improvement :smile

Same as Bron, Ali is also mentioning Littlefoot in this chapter already although we barely know anything about him yet but both will refer to our favourite goofy flathead a little more whenever their next chapters come up.

I also feel inclined to menntion Ali's behavior here a little. Surely, it seems a little out-of-character for her to flip out like this, seeing as she is usually portraited as a calm, shy and passionate character. Aggression such as seen in this chapter is rather unheard of but let me just say that her circumstances (which aren't aligning much with the situation in LBT 4 - as you can see I added my very own interpretation of her herd here. Always thought Old One was weird :P ) are to blame for this outburst. Surely the next chapter in which Ali appears should explain everything. :yes

*

Considering the general positive feedback of bringing Littlefoot's early story in as well, I guess it's time for me to rewatch LBT 10 for the next chapter  :idea (and rearranging chapters! Oh what joy!  :rolleyes )

Anyway, it is time for reviews again (and I might actually keep this style of replying to feedback I recently adopted over on ff.net where the only really effective way to respond is by responding below a the next chapter or by PM)

~~~~~

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I like this early development of Bron and Shorty, and how their stories begin to join together. This is a great way to begin their journey, and you brilliantly captured Shorty's predicaments concerning the possibly orphaned hatchlings he's been looking after and wondering if this "stranger" can be trusted. It'll be very interesting to see how Bron and Shorty's journey progress before they eventually become a herd by the events of LBT 10.  :)
Hey thanks, glad you liked it :D

Shorty naturally isn't that much of a person who cares much about others but, as later events will show (and have shown in the original story) he's not heartless. Regardless the circumstances, he tries to protect them to his abilities and at least bothers enough to be worried about their survival. I like how his personality clashes there and I'm glad you liked his thoughts there.

His strong wariness of strangers is a result of his upbringing.

I will not flesh out how they became a herd and everything, that would be a story of its own. But Shorty and Bron will get at least another chapter of the pre-Bron-having-a-herd time :P

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Oh I forgot to post a comment for the prologue. Whoops (though I did give my thoughts already so I guess it's all good :p )

As for this chapter, I really enjoyed! I like how you took the first encounter between Shorty and Bron and gave it more of the setting and feeling of the first LBT. It was also nice to see the natural progression of their first meeting to the tagging along at the end, while also leaving some interesting clues to Shorty's past. Looking forward to seeing more! :DD

I guess the only slight nitpick that I can give is that it seems Bron's name was randomly dropped into the chapter at one point with no real proper introduction? (I mean, of course all of us reading it here knew it was him :lol ). This is the part I'm talking about:

“Why, sure I am? Didn’t I already admit I’m lost?!”

“Right…” Bron collected his memory.

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For some reason I'm really proud of that last paragraph  :o Like... it's not a cliffhanger and all and actually sounds nice  :lol
Now that you bring it up, I think the part I like specifically about the last sentence is that it ends almost the way the chapter begins with the sun's description matching the situation in a sort of pathetic fallacy style. The first paragraph opens with the sun reflecting the harsh nature of the landscape and ends with the sun rising and greeting them with a sorta feeling of hope.

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Before I move on to the reviews, here's one thing that I'm still undecided about so I thought I'd give my readers a chance to give me some advice on the matter.
I don't think I need to say much more on this as I've given my thoughts on this over Discord. Hope it helps in some way! :smile

Thank you very much! :smile

About the LBT 1 comment, I do intend to keep the tone similar to that movie. Stories with a slightly darker feel while still also holding the bright, happy scenes as we know them from this masterpiece we all love, are simply the best and that's what I'm trying to achieve, yep yep yep  :exactly

As someone who hasn't read the original, obviously you would notice the clues. It is actually kind of difficult to keep things that I reveal about him (or clues in general) much later out of the story until they are supposed to be revealed. In the original story it was usually like this: I didn't have a plan and came up with things as I approached them. Hence some parts of the story seem unacceptable to me now :P But now I rewrite those earlier chapters while having this knowledge about the later story already so... yeah :P

Oh shoot, I was trying so hard to avoid that from happening and yet I revealed his name :oops Gonna fix it asap :P

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Yeah, this was a great way to introduce Shorty’s group and Bron to this story and a rather important one considering the fic’s name. The way you changed the perspective between Bron and Shorty throughout the chapter was a rather effective one as it brought the misgivings and competing distrust of the duo to the surface nicely. I especially liked Bron’s reactions to Shorty’s antics as they mirrored his speaking style of the film perfectly. I wonder, though, if it would have been a good idea to have some kind of leadup or backstory to this scene if you are starting this far back in his life? It is probable he could have felt some extra responsibility to some of the younger children he liked better than the others, for example.

As for your question, it would certainly be a plus if you added Littlefoot’s journey to the crater but only if you have some idea on how to make it interesting. A mere retelling would hardly add too much into the fic but if you have some ideas or twists, by all means, add that plot to the story. As a whole, thus far this rewriting has been a massive improvement from the original one. :)littlefoot

Thanks for the review as usual  :cheers

I'm glad that you liked the perspective change. It just occurred to me at some point that some scenes were more interesting from Bron's perspective, yep yep yep.

About your other comment, you are raising an interesting point. Certainly, I'm throwing the reader in and leaving him/her a little in the dark about some aspects. Shorty's earlier story (as you might recall) got its own flashback chapter and Bron will be telling his to Littlefoot at some point. Besides, I do plan to have Shorty and Bron briefly share their stories in one of the next chapters though I'd like to save the details for later. This story was meant not to tell certain things until much later from the start after all and that is a concept I'm not really planning to drop :)

About Littlefoot's arc, I'm thinking of doing it in a similar fashion than the LBT 1 novellization, sticking to the original plotline but adding a scene or two. It certainly won't be a mere retelling and perhaps I can come up with some rather interesting locations in addition to what we're seeing in the movie. I've got to give this some thought when I get around to adapting my chapter plan, hopefully this weekend  :^^spike Certainly Littlefoot will get a little more screentime than in the movie, yep yep yep!

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Yeah, I'd never read the original either but this looks good.
Bron and Shorty interaction was really good too!
Thanks, I'm glad you liked the first chapter!  :)littlefoot
Inactive until further notice. Don't feel at home here anymore.

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2018, 05:56:38 pm »
You're right in saying this is very different from the Ali we grew up with after LBT 4 came out, but character development can enhance that of the story, whether it is for the better of that character, or the worse. In Ali's case, her constant nightmares that her herd are sharing are bringing with them a change in her character that will only be the beginning of her getting to know that this is something that every Longneck goes through, and I'm afraid this will only continue to affect her until "that time" arrives.  I'm very appreciative of stories with big character developments, "The Swimmer Trials" being a major example, and you've gotten off to a great start with Ali's.
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OwlsCantRead

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2018, 09:52:09 am »
My singular thought after reading this chapter: Children will never understand adults, and vice versa. :SmugSpike

Also reading this makes me feel that Ali's exclusion in LBT10 is such a waste
A quaint creature who soars when the Night Circle is highest in the dark sky, messing up his circadian rhythm in the process. Truly, a tragic flyer.

In terms of LBT, love to write stories! :)
Current Fics: Waves Crashing Upon the Sky, Five Stages of Grief, Scrambled Eggs, and Our Safe Haven.


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Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2018, 03:17:33 pm »
This chapter introduced another one of the protagonists quite nicely and it established Ali’s herd’s situation effectively. Ali’s thoughts felt natural even if her behavior was quite annoying near the end, imo. Still, her reaction to the sleep stories felt natural and I like the way you made her mirror her current life to the possibility of simply staying in the Great Valley. But her fight with her mother wasn’t really the most logical thing to do and it didn’t help that she just had to catch the Old One’s interest in her actions too. Those things hardly make things more pleasant for the duo in the herd. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what’ll happen in her second chapter and again, this installment was quite needed as I remember the early Ali chapters being quite clumsily written in the original version. Judging by the way things are developing, the next one will be Littlefoot’s introduction, if I’m not completely mistaken. :OhYou

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 01:20:57 am »
It has been awhile since I read the first few chapters of Shorty's Dark Past, but from what I remember this current incarnation is establishing the personalities, backstories, and situations much more effectively than in the first incarnation.  In chapter 1 we get to see a rather desperate Shorty, hotheaded as usual, but still concerned for his own safety and that of the hatchlings that are following him.  Shorty's "WTF" response to an adult looking at him desperately, only to turn away with disinterest is a very understandable reaction that I think anyone would have in that circumstance.  Likewise, Bron's single-minded search to the exclusion of all else does establish both his love for his (as of yet) unseen son and also a character weakness in him that he often shows such empathy for one person but can ignore those who are not kin.  It will be interesting to see how this dynamic develops.

As for chapter 2 we get to see a very different Ali than in LBT 4, but one that is understandably annoyed with the regimentation of her herd and the lack of understanding from the fellow herdmates. The obvious panic when she saw her mother rolling over in her sleep is certainly an understandable one.  Though this does make me wonder what are the statistics on longneck children being accidentally stepped on or rolled over on by parents.  :p  I think we might need to have flyers give Public Information Addresses to protect these vulnerable kids before their heads get any flatter.  :p All joking aside, this was a lovely addition to the story and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.  :)


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Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2018, 04:17:59 pm »
Alright, it is very obvious that I can't meet the schedule I wanted to pull through. I've also put off uploading this one for about a week but from now on I'll try to upload one chapter a week. (have to catch up though)

~~~~~

Chapter 3: Littlefoot and his friends

Something inbetween a yelp and a panicked scream echoed through the Great Valley one starry night. The source of this disturbance was no less than a small child who had just leaped to his feet after experiencing the same peculiar sleepstory that had been haunting him for many days already.

“It was just a sleepstory…” Littlefoot, as the purple-brown-ish-coloured little longneck was called, uttered a deep sigh, taking a quick glance up at the sky where the Night Circle was full and the little lights on the sky plentiful. Trees were growing here and there, a few rocks scattered around on the green meadows, and high mountain in the distance fenced in little Littlefoot’s home, the Great Valley, sheltering it from many hazards of the surrounding lands. Most of it were dry and hostile deserts and clearly terra incognita for most dinosaurs who lived in the valley hence it was commonly dubbed “The Mysterious Beyond”.

The small boy’s grandparents were snoozing next to each other behind Littlefoot, their bodies and necks snuggled against each other’s, though their sleep seemed far from peaceful either.

“I should go back to sleep…” Littlefoot thought, a content, sleepy yawn assisting him in his decision. As disturbing and weird as his dream had been, the sleep he’d been missing each night due to these nightmares made him too tired to be stirred up much longer than necessary. He could always reflect on what he’d experienced in the morning after all.

As the little longneck slowly drifted back into his slumber, his grandparents were also shifting their necks around, their sleep just as troubled. Littlefoot hadn’t noticed yet that his grandparents were also suffering from the same sleepstories and they hadn’t even been woken up by his daily noisy rake-ups. However, he would soon learn about that. Neither had he told them about it nor had he let them on about his struggles. These scary dreams happened every so often, sometimes more often than others. He hadn’t been concerned up until now but this most recent series was alarming to say the least, especially considering that it was always the same dream…

*

The following morning, Littlefoot had all forgotten about his dream. After a fulfilling breakfast, he was fully energized, sprinting off immediately to get in touch with his friends. Unless something particular came up, they would meet each day to play various games together or explore the outskirts of their valley. Though, on this day, a game of tag was being played.

“I’m going to get you, yep yep yep!”

“Oh no you’re not!”

Laughing in a goofy way, Littlefoot raced up a small hill as he was being chased by a green swimmer who was laughing just as heartily as she desperately tried to catch up to her much taller friend.

Littlefoot loved these sort of games. They were a lot of fun and all the running helped a lot to stay in a good shape despite their relatively sheltered lives. Besides, it was one of those games perfect to get things off one’s mind and just be silly. Wasn’t that what games were about after all?

A tall tree was growing on the top of the hill he’d raced up, muscles burning a little but that was just about right, he thought. Tall roots were digging into the ground, forcing the longneck to jump. Despite the significant downslope behind them, he managed to make a safe landing, continuing to run. Not much of an obstacle for him, it was however quite difficult for his smaller friend to leap across the tree’s root. The swimmer barely made it, however her butt and tail touched down on the wood, throwing her off balance, causing the girl to make a rough landing, sliding down the steep slope. However, she simply laughed off the slight fail and picked up her sprint merrily.

“Can’t catch me, Ducky!” Littlefoot teased, allowing the cheerful swimmer to gain on him a little, knowing that she couldn’t run as fast as he could, realistically. Ducky was a swimmer after all. He was built to walk long distances but the hadrosaur would outswim him in the blink of an eye if they ever decided to play catch in the water.

“I can, too! Yep yep yep!” Ducky exclaimed confidently, gathering all her speed and strength and putting it all into a powerful leap. Littlefoot’s tail was awfully close, if only she could touch it with the tips of her fingers…

… but as she reached out in mid-air, her fingers did not grasp on anything but void and gravity did the rest. Ducky crashed belly-first onto the grass-padded floor.

“Hahaha!” Littlefoot, happy to have fooled Ducky by making her too confident, jogged away from the scene before his friend could decide to continue the chase.

“Oof…” Drowsily, the girl raised her head. The impact wasn’t too heavy but it still temporarily knocked  the senses out of her. With a sigh, she added. “...or maybe not.” Maybe Littlefoot was a tad too fast for her to catch after all. Perhaps she should take a look for her other friends who were hanging around nearby. However, Ducky had hardly set her mind upon it when one of these friends made a pompous entry on the scene.

“Me know you no catch me neither!” Laughing goofily, a brown flyer came approaching fast from above, flapping low above the ground so that Ducky had a realistic chance to reach him.

The swimmer needed no prompting. Quickly, she took position in preparation to jump at the flyer hovering in front of her, hoping to catch him instead of Littlefoot. Narrowing her eyes in a grim but determined look, the swimmer leaped once again but the flyer was out of reach in no time so Ducky reluctantly gave up on the chase.

“You are no fair Petrie, oh no no no…” she quietly complained in a downcast expression, watching the flyer take to the skies while laughing with a triumphant grin on his beakface, however that didn’t last long as a new target presented itself to her immediately.

“Spike…”
Not far from her current position, a dark green coloured spiketail was munching on some vegetation contently, not paying much heed to the ongoing game. He was the perfect target; surely the girl would be able to take advantage of the situation? Ducky knew Spike too well. He was her adopted little brother after all, though he was by far not little and could run fast if he wanted to. She would have to be sneaky unless she wanted to catch him in another head-over-heels chase through half of the Great Valley. Quietly, Ducky got back on her feet, a little smirk appearing on her face as she got in position for a short sprint on silent toes.

“Then I will get Spike!” she thought out loud. However, she couldn’t contain her excitement and ended up giggling a lot as she ran towards the spiketail.

Spike was just enjoying some ground stars - a whole field of them was growing just there on the ground instead of the usual patch of grassy green, when he heard his sister’s cheerful laughter approaching fast. At the back of his mind, he recalled that they decided to play tag but he couldn’t really care much about such a game when such a delicious delicatesse was bewitching his stomach like that. He could tell that the swimmer was trying to use the rock he was sitting next to in order to jump onto him, thus tagging him. All Spike had to do was to duck for more food at the right moment and, as expected, Ducky sailed past him, landing in the middle of the ground stars behind him with a notable thud. Grinning, pleased with himself, Spike tucked into more food.

“Ouwww…” Ducky had taken a rather unpleasant landing on her back which now hurt a little. However, that led her to the next opportunity.

“Cera is also eating at the moment, maybe she will not notice me?” Quietly, Ducky got back to her feet, tiptoeing closer to the orange threehorn, however the girl had noticed her.

“Don’t even think about it, Ducky…” the threehorn warned with her mouth stuffed as she, too, fed on some ground stars.

Slightly, disappointed, Ducky retreated from her friend. If nobody wanted to be caught and she wasn’t able to catch those who would, then how was she supposed to ever rid herself of the chaser role?

“Ducky…” The teasing voice of Littlefoot who was wagging his tail in anticipation sounded from a field of tall grass a little distance away, prompting her to give chase yet again.

“This time I will get him, yes I will!” Ducky thought with grim determination, once more entering a mad sprint to chase after the longneck who fled into the cover of the tall grass which was growing even taller than his long neck. Uttering lots of “can’t catch me’s” and “I’m right behind you’s”, they darted through the wide field of green grass, a few grazing dinosaurs looking up from their meal in confusion as the camouflaged children raced past them laughing and yelling.

After some moments, Littlefoot had found an exit, unable to lose his pursuer. Taking a sharp turn, he ran out into the open only to stop very suddenly as a sudden flashback made him completely oblivious to the game.

*

Clouds were appearing everywhere on the sky, huge, grey thunderclouds giving an apocalyptic impression. The Bright Circle was being approached by them from all sides, the landscape becoming darker and darker as its light faded. Then, the clouds blocked the Bright Circle completely and suddenly it was pitch-black. Screams could be heard everywhere and Littlefoot found himself joining in, the lack of sight frightening him. After a few moments, a small ray of light returned to the sky. It was the Bright Circle breaking through the thick clouds, however, it suddenly got so much brighter, so much bigger… and all so fast. Before Littlefoot knew, there was a boom and then… nothing…

*

Abruptly, Littlefoot stopped dead in his tracks. His attention was no longer on Ducky whose legs had reached their limits as she stumbled out of the tall grass, exhausted. The Bright Circle was shining from the sky as always, no Sky Puffies obscuring his view. Littlefoot was squinting his eyes as he stared into the bright ball above him intensely. How bright it was, blinding his eyes, memories from the dream returning to him, the view ensnaring him.

Meanwhile, Ducky was slowly walking up to the longneck in a slumped manner, gasping for air from the intense running. She reached her tiny hand out and ultimately touched Littlefoot’s leg.

“Tag… you are it… yep yep… yeeeeeeuuup…”

Littlefoot was completely oblivious to that, Ducky sinking into the grass as he walked a few steps towards the bright yellow fireball above him. Climbing onto a tree root sticking out of the ground, he continued to stare while his other friends also emerged from the tall grass. When Littlefoot wouldn’t react, Petrie took it upon himself to remind the longneck of the ongoing game, hovering in front of his face to gain his attention.

“Did you no hear? You it… “

“Huh?!” Littlefoot shook his head as he slipped out of his trance.

“What part of ‘it’ don’t you understand?” Cera questioned with a slight mocking undertone.

“Uh, I-I’m sorry, it’s just…” Littlefoot gave a heavy sigh as his gaze returned to the Bright Circle.

“It’s the Bright Circle; you see it everyday! Why is it suddenly so interesting?” the threehorn continued, puzzled.

“I dunno,” Littlefoot replied. “It looks like something I saw in my sleepstory last night…”

“Sleepstory?!”

“Yup yup yup! I have sleepstories all of the time!” Ducky chimed in, having recovered from the exertion enough, explaining as she gestured expressively. “I love them! I am seeing myself floating down wide waters with good-smelling flowers… ahhhhhh…” While Ducky was spacing out, Petrie took over.

“Me have sleepy stories about flying up high hills and tall trees,” he declared dreamily as he took a short flight to underline his point. As he saw Spike munching on more ground stars again, his flew over to the Spiketail. “Me wonder what Spike have sleepstories about.” It was a rather obvious question, really. Spike was always eating something when he could so most of his dreams must have been about food in one way or another.

“What about you, Cera? Don’t you ever have sleepstories?” Littlefoot pondered, looking back to the threehorn who was mustering him sceptically.

“Threehorns NEVER have any sleepstories; they’re for babies! They’re all just full of dumb stuff that could NEVER happen!” The threehorn walked away, clearly disgusted by the sheer thought of having sleepstories.

“Hmm, I guess you’re right…” Littlefoot admitted though he didn’t agree with the threehorn girl at all. Every once in a while there were dreams Littlefoot would rather keep dreaming forever and never wake up but reality wasn’t the utopia he’d sometimes find himself in. Though, then again, their home was the closest to utopia one could find in their world…

Soon a smug grin appeared on Littlefoot’s face as he came up with a good counter.

“In my sleepstory last night, I saw you butt your head against this tall rock and it split right in half!”

“Really?” Cera turned back to him, curiosity joining with the pride she was wearing. “Did I really do that?”

“Yeah… but like you said, sleepstories are dumb,” Littlefoot mentioned, using her own words against the threehorn. “Stuff like that could never really happen.”

“Oh wait!” Now Cera got a tad nervous. “I didn’t say everything in a sleepstory is dumb…”

“Sure you did,” Littlefoot grinned smugly, supported by his other three friends who were wearing the same emotions and expressions.

“I did not! I said some things!” Cera retorted fiercely. “But this headbutting thing, I could do that.”

If anything, that announcement only caused them to mock her even more.

“Suuure you could,” Littlefoot teased as Ducky broke into a hearty chuckle.

“Yeah right,” Petrie added, both he and Spike giving Cera an encouraging glance to try her luck while Littlefoot also joined the laughter.

“I could too!” Now Cera was angry. For a quick moment, she charged towards her friends. “There’s not a single rock in the Great Valley I couldn’t crack!”

“Yea?” Littlefoot took this as an invitation to make this challenge official. “Hmm, let’s see… how about that one?”

Cera turned around to see where her friend was pointing to, only to see a rock several times her size, made of compact granite, showing no weak spots to take advantage of. It was also positioned next to a very strong tree.

“Yeah, that one!” Petrie cheered, flapping over to perch on it.

Fright found its way into Cera’s emotions, clear to see for everyone present.

“Well? Littlefoot stated, waiting for the confirmation.

“S-sure, I could do that, no problem…” Cera spoke though she sounded far from determined and confident about this. Her friends’ eyes were all on her. She took a few steps back, took a deep breath before the fight returned to her all at once. With a loud scream, she charged madly at the rock, running faster and faster until…

*crash*

Everyone closed their eyes upon the heavy collision of horn and rock. Who would be the winner? A quick glance was enough to tell. While the rock was still standing as unscathed as ever, Cera had bounced back onto her back, drowsily getting back to her feet.

“I’m going home, my head hurts…” Everybody could tell immediately, that the pain wasn’t fake but still they knew Cera a little too long already.

“I didn’t mean to make her hurt her head…” Littlefoot spoke hesitantly - there was no doubt that he was regretting his actions but Cera more often than not teased them quite badly so he had thought to take his chance while he had one. But that backfired quite badly. Though, Petrie knew how to cheer the longneck up.

“Me think you mainly hurt her bragbone…” Littlefoot contemplated about that as he watched the threehorn slowly trot away. Cera held a lot of pride for being a threehorn, strong, tough, good at everything and seeing things as the were while not believing in ridiculous things like sleepstories. When she couldn’t crack the rock, being made a fool by all of her friends, surely that might have hurt her on an emotional level as well. Littlefoot would make sure to apologize the other day although Cera would probably just deny something like this had ever happened. She tended to be that kind of character after all. From the corner of his eye, Littlefoot saw Ducky offering a small smile.

“Do not worry, she will be alright, yep yep yep.”

It was most natural of Ducky to be caring and supportive like that and it brought a smile to Littlefoot’s face.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, grinning sheepishly. “Well, let’s play something else, I guess…”

And so they spent the rest of the day playing Hide and Seek until lunch and then frolicking in several water activities until the Bright Circle began her journey beyond the horizon, their parents calling them home one by one.

On the way home, Littlefoot remembered many things; his mind was a mess. However, by the time he arrived at home, he was simply too tired to engage his grandparents in any discussions about it so he fell asleep with lots of things on his mind...

~~~~~

Alright, here you finally have it. Littlefoot's entry into this story (and the gang's, obviously). As I said before, after some consideration I decided to add Littlefoot's story too, considering that the gang will get their part as well later on.

Not much different from the movie here except for the introduction and the extended ending. I feel like that scene from the movies serves rather well to introduce these characters (I tried giving everyone some screentime but the characterizations will come in one of the next chapters (writing the story as if introducing characters not formerly known to the reader which is a nice practise for me as a writer and also easier for readers who may not be too familiar with The Land Before Time (who knows who reads this story... xD)

The ending may seem a little sudden and lame but trust me I had something in mind there which just didn't fit into this chapter and will make up the next Littlefoot-centered one (Chapter 6 aka. the chapter supposed to be released this weekend :o)

So yeah, enough babbling, next chapter will develop Bron's and Shorty's relationship and shows how the initial distrust of Shorty slowly turns into something completely else. Also... backstories :)

Hope you liked this chapter and again apologies for the super late update, I was so busy, still am :(


~~~~~~~

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You're right in saying this is very different from the Ali we grew up with after LBT 4 came out, but character development can enhance that of the story, whether it is for the better of that character, or the worse. In Ali's case, her constant nightmares that her herd are sharing are bringing with them a change in her character that will only be the beginning of her getting to know that this is something that every Longneck goes through, and I'm afraid this will only continue to affect her until "that time" arrives.  I'm very appreciative of stories with big character developments, "The Swimmer Trials" being a major example, and you've gotten off to a great start with Ali's.

Thank you very much for the review!  :^^spike I'm also a big supporter of characters discovering new sides to them as part of their character development. Glad to hear that my approach worked, apparently  :idea

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My singular thought after reading this chapter: Children will never understand adults, and vice versa. :SmugSpike

Also reading this makes me feel that Ali's exclusion in LBT10 is such a waste

 :add  :^^spike

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This chapter introduced another one of the protagonists quite nicely and it established Ali’s herd’s situation effectively. Ali’s thoughts felt natural even if her behavior was quite annoying near the end, imo. Still, her reaction to the sleep stories felt natural and I like the way you made her mirror her current life to the possibility of simply staying in the Great Valley. But her fight with her mother wasn’t really the most logical thing to do and it didn’t help that she just had to catch the Old One’s interest in her actions too. Those things hardly make things more pleasant for the duo in the herd. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what’ll happen in her second chapter and again, this installment was quite needed as I remember the early Ali chapters being quite clumsily written in the original version. Judging by the way things are developing, the next one will be Littlefoot’s introduction, if I’m not completely mistaken. :OhYou

Yes, you were spot on there  :^^spike

I can see why Ali might be seen as annoying in that chapter. Let's be honest, it's not her brightest moment after all. But people do stupid things if they're in love  :sducky

And yes... Ali's early chapters were... uhh  :bolt

Thanks for the review :)


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It has been awhile since I read the first few chapters of Shorty's Dark Past, but from what I remember this current incarnation is establishing the personalities, backstories, and situations much more effectively than in the first incarnation.  In chapter 1 we get to see a rather desperate Shorty, hotheaded as usual, but still concerned for his own safety and that of the hatchlings that are following him.  Shorty's "WTF" response to an adult looking at him desperately, only to turn away with disinterest is a very understandable reaction that I think anyone would have in that circumstance.  Likewise, Bron's single-minded search to the exclusion of all else does establish both his love for his (as of yet) unseen son and also a character weakness in him that he often shows such empathy for one person but can ignore those who are not kin.  It will be interesting to see how this dynamic develops.

Thanks rhombus, you bring up thoughts about Bron I haven't been considering so far. I'll have to keep that in mind to make use of it later in the story :yes

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As for chapter 2 we get to see a very different Ali than in LBT 4, but one that is understandably annoyed with the regimentation of her herd and the lack of understanding from the fellow herdmates. The obvious panic when she saw her mother rolling over in her sleep is certainly an understandable one.  Though this does make me wonder what are the statistics on longneck children being accidentally stepped on or rolled over on by parents.  :p  I think we might need to have flyers give Public Information Addresses to protect these vulnerable kids before their heads get any flatter.  :p All joking aside, this was a lovely addition to the story and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.  :)

Heh, gee I wonder ;)

Thank you very much, glad you liked these two chapters so far :)
Inactive until further notice. Don't feel at home here anymore.

OwlsCantRead

  • ^ This owl wishes on the Stone of Cold Fire that his sleep schedule isn't so awful
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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2018, 10:24:44 am »
Oh, I like this!

My favorite part is the gang four-in-one cornering after Littlefoot baited Cera with the sleep stories. That was written so fluidly that it was almost like the interaction came out of a legit film. :)
A quaint creature who soars when the Night Circle is highest in the dark sky, messing up his circadian rhythm in the process. Truly, a tragic flyer.

In terms of LBT, love to write stories! :)
Current Fics: Waves Crashing Upon the Sky, Five Stages of Grief, Scrambled Eggs, and Our Safe Haven.


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DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2018, 10:58:14 am »
That moment between Littlefoot and his friends felt just like a typical scene from the movies. You can't go without their all-so-familiar, cute, funny and friendly conversations with occasional teasing. It's the perfect way to start Littlefoot's story. He is having these strange visions, and yet his friends suspect nothing coming. Now, like I said, I only watched the tenth film once, so I feel as if I'm seeing something new all over again, since I remember almost nothing about it. I felt the scenes with the Gang were cute, and I can't wait to see more!  :)
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Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2018, 02:45:52 pm »
To be honest, this chapter didn’t leave me with a whole lot to review. You managed to retell the tenth film’s opening parts quite effectively and I liked the way you described these familiar events unfold. I especially liked the tag scene as I found it to be written rather effectively and it shed some light into Ducky’s thoughts. The Gang’s discussion with Cera was also done quite well even if the retelling didn’t add a whole lot to that scene. Overall, this chapter followed the film from start to finish which isn’t a bad thing but I hope there will be some new stuff in the next ones. Your use of “terra incognita” also caught my eye as I’m not sure if such phrases fit LBT too well. But other than that, you opened Littlefoot’s story quite nicely.  :)