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Author Topic: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0  (Read 1731 times)

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rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2018, 01:53:30 AM »
I think the decision to not deviate much from the formula of an opening to a LBT film was a good call for this chapter.  Though the already effective flow of the film was retained in this passage, the thoughts and perspective of Ducky were much better conveyed as is possible through the medium of the written word.  The introduction of Littlefoot here was also well done, as he is presented as he typically is in the films, carefree and joyful.  In establishing him in this manner his experience serves as a contrast to the hardships of Shorty and Ali.  And it gives us, the readers, a better feel for the clash of experiences that is to come.  Nicely done!


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Mender's Tale
Mender's Tale.

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2018, 07:01:56 PM »
Chapter 4: Dawn of a new life

A few days later, the adult longneck was still with Shorty and the hatchlings. They had been making good progress on their path, however it was a mostly quiet journey, both the adult and the child keeping to themselves, only the hatchlings occasionally crying or playing. Somewhere deep inside Shorty was really glad not having to watch over them himself now but still that grown-up longneck puzzled him. He may have told him briefly what he was doing out here all alone but it still raised suspicions in the young boy.

The day was reaching its peak and the heat was particularly excruciating that day with not a single cloud on the sky. The adult was walking at a whole different speed than what he had been journeying at with the hatchlings. He carried the smaller children most of the time since they were no match for his speed but Shorty was sturdy enough to keep up if he walked fast. As the day progressed, his legs had gone more and more tired and his walk was slumping more and more, his breath going at a noticeable speed. They weren't taking any breaks while walking uphill, about to reach the peak of the mountains they had to cross in order to reach better lands, and slowly but surely Shorty was reaching his limit...  not that he'd ever admit such a thing. His exhaustion wasn't lost on the brown longneck and when Shorty started lagging behind, he decided to stop and bring it up, though quite aware of the little boy's distrust and pride.

"If the walk is too hard on you, I can carry you for a while too," he spoke casually, sending a look of understanding in the little child's direction. Shorty, though, sent a gruff glare back.

"Thanks, but I'm not a weak hatchling anymore. I'm fine!"

"Well, I'm not gonna slow down so you gotta keep up with me," the adult explained calmly. "If we get down these mountains before dusk, there's a chance we'll get a refreshing drink or even a meal today."

As much as Shorty wanted to rest, his pride and his life-long goal to be the strongest and the best at everything kept him from saying that out loud. Moreover, the thought of riding on a stranger who he hardly knew and trusted even less gave him chills. Heck, he didn't even know his name though, to be fair, he hadn't let the stranger on about his name either.

"I'll be honest," Shorty suddenly announced sharply, deciding to bring his misgivings to the surface. "I might not be able to... keep your speed - I'm much smaller after all, it's no fair!"

"Did you consider this a challenge? A competition?" the adult interrupted wondering, trying hard to remain serious and neutral but he couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the boy's antics which reminded him so much of his younger self.

"S-sorta, I guess..." Shorty shrugged, seeing the knowing glance of the adult but decided not to give it any thought. "Anyway, to be honest, I still don't feel comfortable around you."

"Blunt but honest..." the stranger mused, again recognizing himself in the little boy.

"For starters, you never told me your name, stranger."

"Neither did you tell me yours or the names of the little ones up here," the grown up replied, raising one eyebrow. "Well, let's get that of the way shall we? They call me Bron." Bron offered a friendly smile which was met by the boy's squinted glare.

"I'm Shorty... but don't you dare..."

"No worries, I'm too old for teasing people's names. One can only muse what some dinosaurs are thinking when naming their offspring sometimes." Bron mused. Hadn't he given his only son his silly childhood nickname?

"So, how about it, Shorty? Feeling a little less strange around me?"

"Not really," Shorty spoke a little coldly. Bron looked slightly disappointed.

"Kid, I don't know what you've been through before and I'm not gonna ask but it's not very convenient to be distrusting of those you travel with. I guarantee you I wouldn't bother to put up with you and the little ones if I didn't have something to gain. These years have been very lonely and it feels good being able to help someone." Bron's expression changed into a friendly smile.

"Don't worry, I don't bite. You can talk about anything." Bron cast a glance ahead of their way. "But we've gotta get going again for now so what about it now? Need a lift or not? It's no problem for me..."

Shorty pondered hard, torn between taking the offer and getting a little respite from the tiresome ascent and keeping his pride. In the back of his mind, he also hadn't forgotten his father's words. But Bron was acting rather kind and, slowly, the boy began to believe him more than his father.

"Only 'till we've reached the top..." Shorty eventually gave in reluctantly. As he allowed the adult to lift him using his tail, he added. "But don't think I'm doing this because I'm too weak to carry on, that's not it!"

"Alright," Bron exclaimed. "Let's get this over with, this is good exercise!"And with that he entered a pace Shorty would have never been able to keep up with even if he jogged along. Shorty noticed the change of attitude in the adult who was now far more outgoing and lively. Admittedly, it didn't support his objections against him at all and it was getting harder to sustain them. It was even kind of a cool feeling just being carried around like that. He'd had to walk himself wherever his family had been going for as long as he remembered.

Bron reached the top soon, allowing Shorty who was now in much better shape to continue the trek on his own. And their long necks perked up when they saw the distant river, clearly carrying less water than during better times but supplying some green here and there along its path.

"It's worse than I remember but better than I feared. Let's head for that small pond right at the base of the mountains," Bron suggested, leading the children to their first food in several days. By the time they arrived, the sky was slowly switching to its evening palette.

The pond was small but its water was clean and not too warm. Greedily they drank, the water moistening their dry throats. Then they turned their attention to a few dozen trees that were growing in the vicinity. Bron took a few bites out of the greenest they could find, dropping the food on the ground for the children to eat. Nobody said anything as they ate many days worth of food - the only way to restore their strength even if it put a strain on their stomachs. Eventually, the last light of the day slowly fading, they were all stuffed and tired, the hatchlings soon sleeping tight as Bron was watching over them with a slight smile. It was a sight he'd wanted to see for years, although the fact that he wasn't watching his own son sleep somehow didn't sit well with him. The adult longneck's glance wandered a short distance away to the spot Shorty had chosen for the night - it seemed that the boy was rather reclusive. However, when he looked his way, Bron couldn't see him.

"Hmm, did he give me the slip?" The grown-up pondered about this. Maybe this boy was only looking for someone to take care of the hatchlings because he couldn't take care of them himself? Then again, he was awfully lost and probably wouldn't get very far before he'd perish one way or another. Even though he'd never admit it, obviously, Bron just couldn't believe that so he started scanning the area for any signs of the green coloured boy, only the light of the Night Circle supporting him in his quest. And indeed, just a little further away, perching on a rock, he found the child.

"Probably can't sleep either tonight..." the grown-up mused, quietly getting to his feet and sneaking closer to the boy on silent toes - well, as silent as a longneck of his size could operate, after making sure that all hatchlings were sound asleep. Chances were the boy would reject his attempt to talk again but just perhaps this was the perfect time to approach the boy...

"Hey Shorty," he spoke quietly after making sure for his arrival to be heard lest to startle the boy. Shorty didn't turn his face towards him so it was impossible to tell his reaction but his initial response wasn't hostile.

"Hi..." Shorty flinched when he noticed that his new caretaker had figured out that he wasn't at his designated sleeping spot. Would he have to expect punishment? His father would have never allowed such a thing and although Bron didn't seem like the strict type, just his size and muscular build gave him a bit of a familiar resemblance.

"What'cha doing?" Bron asked mildly curious. "I'm not trying to intrude but you really should be resting. I never stay anywhere, you see, and surely you don't want me to carry you again, do you?" A glint of youthful mirth appeared on the adult longneck's face.

"Or course not," the boy answered though not retorting as Bron would have expected. "I couldn't sleep. Sometimes that happens when I have things on my mind. Looking at the blinky lights and the Night Circle helps me think so I went somewhere you can see them clearly."

Bron tilted his head slightly as he listened. He actually knew exactly what the boy was going through, having seen many of these moments during his lonely search whenever his conscience had caught up to him.

"Are you mad? I should've told you I guess..."

"Hey, remember I'm not a parent to you or anything, just happen to have an eye on you kids so maybe one day you can find a place to call home or a herd to belong to. Maybe even a family. It'd only be fair to be given that chance rather than meeting a likely end.”

At this, Shorty visibly relaxed, all tension falling from the child.

“Gee, thanks… I guess?” Shorty muttered awkwardly.

“So looking at the blinky lights, are we?” Bron picked up the conversation again. “Hatchlings are sleeping so... if you don’t mind…” A questioning smile underlined his unspoken request. Shorty understood and, to his surprise, nodded.

“Sure… since we’re now travelling together and all… there’s something I’ve been curious about anyway…”

“Same here, same here…” Bron admitted as he took a seat next to the boy. “First of all, do these hatchlings have names to go by? They’re too young to talk, can’t be older than a season, maybe.”

“Dunno, I just gave them nicknames based on how they look and act…” Shorty answered, shrugging. “No clue what their actual names are… the black girl for example, I call her Shadow because she looks so ugly…”

“Not very nice, are you?” Bron chuckled while Shorty merely shrugged. “If it’s okay to ask… how’d you come to care for them, being only a child yourself?”

“Only?” the green longneck snorted, “Well, I sorta ran into them. They were all alone and began following me. Had no clue what to do with them half of the time but it sorta worked out until now.” It wasn’t the full truth but Shorty really didn’t feel like telling how it really happened…

“Fair enough,” Bron acknowledged. “Although you really don’t seem like the type of dinosaur to be selfless like that…”

“Well, they are orphans too,” Shorty pointed out. “Just didn’t feel right.”

“Yes, I completely understand… for I have agreed to travel with you for no other reason than that…” Bron suddenly became very contemplative and Shorty also seemed to be reminded of something unpleasant.

“Hmm, how about it, Shorty? I’d like to know a little more about you and I think same goes to you. Seeing unspoken questions on your lips there.”

“Mhm… yeah,” Shorty admitted reluctantly.

“Still doubting me?” Bron inquired though with an understanding look. “I can understand and maybe I’ll be able to understand you even better once I’ve learned about your background.”

“My background?” Shorty wondered.

“Well, yeah. Things you’ve been up to before you became an orphan… some info about your folks, your family.” When Shorty gave him an odd look, Bron quickly added. “I will tell you more about me as well, let’s be fair there.” A quick twinkle of his eye took the hesitation out of the boy.

“Oh alright… I guess it doesn’t hurt… not too much,” Shorty sighed, giving in reluctantly. “But you go first.”

“Can be arranged,” Bron replied. “Let’s see… where do I start?” Truth be told, Bron had met so many dinosaurs on his journey whom he’d tell his story in order to get information which almost nobody possessed - how could they after all, the world was so big that even the oldest farwalker hadn’t seen it all, that he knew all the words by heart but time and again it hurt so much to go through these darkest moments of his life again…

“So, I already told you I had a family once. A mate… and an egg that would hatch eventually. Together with my parents in law, we were a family.”

“Sorry to interrupt…” Shorty spoke up but he had a burning question on his mind. “What are parents in law? I’ve never heard my dad using that term…”

“No worries, I’ll explain,” Bron stated kindly. “It’s what you call the parents of your mate, of your partner who you chose to be together with. Not many are living with their in-laws since every so often children leave their families when they find a partner for life or explore the world when they’re grown up. Or, simply put, some just don’t survive long enough to witness the hatching of their grandchildren. Does that explain it?”

“Yeah, I think I’ve understood, thanks,” Shorty spoke, continuing to listen to the adult with mild interest.

“So, a family we were. My mate and I already settled on a name for the only egg that came out intact, prospering. If you’re curious, we called him ‘Littlefoot’.”

“That’s a silly name,” Shorty couldn’t stop himself from chuckling. “Though, to be fair, mine ain’t any better.”

“Well, especially my mate thought it was a cute name so I gave in.” Bron smiled. “Anyway, look around us. The drought isn’t just chasing us here, it seems to reach as far as word can spread. My family knew that Littlefoot wouldn’t be able to grow up nicely in the environment we lived in which was suffering under the drought just as much as this place. Migrating with a hatchling to lands unknown seemed too risky for us so I offered to go on a long journey to find us all a new home.”

“Have you found such a place?” Shorty inquired with some curiosity.

“I regret to say this but… I haven’t.” Bron frowned. “Even during these years wandering about, even though I was looking for a specific place rumoured to exist far away in the west where the Bright Circle leaves the sky each day… I never found what they call ‘The Great Valley’ nor any similar place that might sustain my family in the long run. But having walked so far, I didn’t want to return without having accomplished something so I kept on searching. Everywhere I was going, the land was changing, the drought advancing, fear and despair spreading. It took very long until I realized how much time had passed and that I’d been gone for more than two full season cycles. Took me many more seasons to find my way back to lands that I’d been to before and even then I lost my way many times. When I finally found the place we used to live at, all that greeted me was a crack in the ground as wide as the broadest rivers and deeper than the eye could see. As I learned later, a terrible eathshake unlike anything anyone had ever seen split the land in half just where we used to live. That crack stretched on much farther than the most distant mountains and there was no way to get across. I doubted that my family would have waited all these years for me so I started walking into the direction my mate said she’d be going if ever something forced them to leave before I could reunite with them. So I began to follow the Bright Circle to the place she touches down each day, asking anyone I could find about their whereabouts. After a while, I got a few clues and changed my course. It still took me many many night circle cycles until I finally found someone who knew…” Bron’s neutral narration suddenly took a sharp turn when emotions meddled with his voice.

“Knew what?” Shorty immediately caught a touch of anger and grief, assuming that he was about to learn about a tragedy. Oh how right he was.

“That day I learned the terrible truth!” Shorty wasn’t sure whether grief or anger were stronger in the brown longneck but he decided not to interrupt him for now, unsure about how he might react.

“They must have walked very far from our home by then because so had I. The stranger gave me directions, apparently just a few days of travel until I’d reach the dreaded crack in the ground that spread even to places so far away. And before I went, he told me what had transpired there only a mere season ago… after hearing that I… I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go anymore…”

“What did he tell you?” Shorty asked carefully.

“On the day that the earthshake struck, a gigantic Sharptooth appeared, chasing Littlefoot. I was glad to hear he had survived for so long but…” Bron was struggling to go on. “His mother, she… she died trying to defend him. As they fought, the earthshake happened. She was injured but, according to the eye witness I met, she did save Littlefoot, pushing the Sharptooth into the abyss when it was forming. But… she had obtained a terrible injury during the fight and… she died…”

“Oh no… I’m sorry to hear that, Bron…” Shorty immediately stated as Bron regained his composure.

“Thank you, although I’m used to dinosaurs not caring… So, Littlefoot was saved but nobody had seen him again either. Did he end up perishing in the earthshake? Did he remain with his mother until some other sharpteeth found the corpse… or did he bravely wander all alone to find his grandparents who had apparently survived, though they were on the other side of the crack that split the lands? I really don’t know what to believe, Shorty, but unless I hear otherwise… he might very well be alive, wandering around like you did, all alone. I have to find him if he’s still there somewhere…”

“But where? He could be anywhere!” Shorty realized.

“Or dead… if he died alone, nobody will ever know… Shorty, I don’t know how long I should keep this up…” Deep regret and pain was apparent in the adult. “I’ve been doing nothing but wandering around for an eternity… but what good did it do? I literally amounted to nothing and lost my only family too along the way…”

“A-are you asking me for advice now? H-how should I…” Shorty was confused about Bron’s sudden outburst who soon explained.

“No, it was more… thinking out loud. These things are what often keeps me awake at night when my conscience haunts me again. But that should be enough about me. Feel like you know me a little better?”

“Well…” Shorty pondered. While Bron shared his tragic story with him, his sympathies for the adult grew a thousand-fold while his doubts shrunk. Lonely for so long himself, save for the hatchlings, Shorty could finally relate to the tall longneck… especially when he considered his own story…

“I think I no longer doubt you… not really anyway. Thanks for telling me, Bron. I guess that makes it my turn then?” Shorty shifted around uncomfortably.

“I suppose so. Unless you’ve decided otherwise of course.”

“I suppose it doesn’t hurt too much…” the green boy shrugged. “Though my story ain’t pretty either…”

“Thought no less than that,” Bron commented. “Well, I’m all ear then.”

Shorty took a deep breath and recollected his thoughts though even then he had no clue where to start.

“Unlike you, though, I… haven’t told anyone this story before…”

“I see, then how about your family, or your herd if you were part of one? Tell me about them,” Bron asked in an attempt to help the little longneck. Apparently, he was being helpful enough.

“Well, it was just my dad and my four siblings. Never got to know my mother, dad only said she was tall and beautiful…”

“Any clues why you’ve never got to know her?” Bron questioned.

“Well, yeah. Dad said she’s just been stupid but personally I’m pretty sure dad just pissed her off. He’s a jerk, I should mention.” Subdued anger and disappointment began heating his emotions up.

“Hmm, you say a jerk… what did he do to earn such a title?” Bron inquired with curiosity but also with concern, seeing as the boy’s family life clearly hadn’t been very healthy.

“Whacked my siblings and me when we misbehaved, never showing any affection or the like. He treated us terribly and to top it off he’d been addicted to a certain kind of leaves. Whenever he had it, he was totally crazy and whenever he didn’t, he was violent and aggressive. He hadn’t found any for several seasons and things just got worse and worse. One day I couldn’t bear it anymore and ran away…”

Bron didn't comment on Shorty's story immediately, considering his word choices carefully.

"I can't even begin to comprehend the stupidity of your actions, Shorty. Why run away from your family? You could have gotten yourself killed..."

"You don't understand..." Shorty pleaded, attempting to explain. "You don't understand until you've met my dad. Before I ran away, I almost got beaten to death if it weren't for my siblings pleading for him to stop! I ran away as soon as I was able to walk again..."

"Still..."

"I was gonna die there sooner or later..." Shorty snorted.

Bron gave a loud sigh.

"Alright, it's not my right to critisize your decisions. I'll believe your story. You got really lucky though to have met me."

"Thanks," Shorty sighed with relief, the memories messing with him. "What I still don't quite get though... why would you protect me?"

"For the same reason that you were protecting the hatchlings, Shorty. Only unlike you I'm quite capable of doing so." A slight grin flashed across his face. "Or do you think I survived all these years through sheer luck like you?"

"Proooobably not..." Shorty replied with an unreadable expression. Bron chuckled.

"Well, I'll go back to the little ones, you don't stay up too late, alright?"

"I..." the boy hesitated.

"Yes, Shorty? Speak your mind, it's okay." Bron was curious. He'd noticed that the boy's guard was dropping more and more which meant that he trusted him by now.

"Well... I'll sleep with you guys anyway... I'm actually a little sleepy now..." As if on command, a hearty yawn escaped from his mouth.

"Alright," Bron replied, smiling at the child. Having earned his trust meant a lot to the brown longneck and, somehow, it felt like a new episode of his life was about to begin. That night, for the first time in ages, Bron didn't have any nightmares, watching Shorty and the little ones sleep huddled close to each other for a while before he, too, allowed himself to get some rest.

~~~~~

I daresay this is a lot better than their original chapter :lol

Shorty and Bron begin to connect and, as you should know, they eventually form a loose father-son relationship, albeit one with many faults. I feel making Shorty a lot more hesitant while also making him act more mature and reasonable was very important and I hope you will agree. At any case, let me know! ^^

~~~~~

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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. :)

Not sure if you've ever seen the 10th film but that was actually taken almost 1 to 1 from the 10th movie :P Anyway, thanks! :DD

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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!  :)

Thank you very much, glad to hear that I delivered :smile

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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.  :)

Thank you very much! :)

Yeah, I figured it'd be best to follow this great opening sequence for his introduction. Don't worry, there will be some additional content for sure in both Littlefoot's and the gang's parts :yes


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I think the decision to not deviate much from the formula of an opening to a LBT film was a good call for this chapter.  Though the already effective flow of the film was retained in this passage, the thoughts and perspective of Ducky were much better conveyed as is possible through the medium of the written word.  The introduction of Littlefoot here was also well done, as he is presented as he typically is in the films, carefree and joyful.  In establishing him in this manner his experience serves as a contrast to the hardships of Shorty and Ali.  And it gives us, the readers, a better feel for the clash of experiences that is to come.  Nicely done!

Thank you very much, rhombus! Of course I had to introduce that flatheaded goofball properly :P The next chapter that features Littlefoot might not be as light-hearted as this one though.

Thanks for the reviews everyone, really pushes me to try stay on schedule (or at least close to that lol).

In the next chapter, we'll see Ali standing up to her views. Is she going to get into trouble? I'll hurry so you won't have to wait :P
Note to self: finally create that signature lazy bum! :P

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2018, 07:41:09 PM »
Wow. This was quite a read for me. Shorty seems to be acting a lot like Cera, but Bron sure is one to not give up on getting him to open up.

Bron has apparently been struggling to stay strong when coping with the loss of his family, but not letting himself fall into despair has kept him going through all the droughts he's faced.

Shorty's story seemed quite tragic. I'm actually wondering myself what really became of his mother, but once I read about his father, I got these vibes that made me think about my own recent stories with my short-lived Swimmer OC characters. I couldn't blame the kid for running away from his family, although he sure seemed to have taken a gamble when he ended up in the middle of nowhere with these orphaned hatchlings. His short life seems to have been filled with bad luck.

I'm liking this slow buildup between Bron and Shorty, and I can sense that it won't be long before Shorty starts seeing Bron as a fatherly figure that his own father could not be. This is turning into quite a dynamic story. Keep up the good work!  :)

OwlsCantRead

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2018, 08:42:39 AM »
*sees Ducky's reply* Wow, it really is. I'm sorry, I really have not seen LBT X in forever. Uh, that's awkward... I'm not sure if the fact I can't remember is more telling on me or the film... I better rewatch that movie before I type a silly comment again... after this comment.

Shorty's story is pretty darn tragic. Self-orphaning by running away tugged at me.

Bron and Shorty's talk with each other is written really well. It's probably the writing style or the setting, but I get the sense that they're both withholding information from the other when it first begins as a conversation on a serene night, before relenting and revealing more bout their own lives as it plays on and turns deep and personal. The scene and background is captured really well. :D

(On a personal note do you want me to transfer all my reviews to the FFN mirror of this story as well? I mean, I don't mind since I intend to try and review more and go into more in-depth analysis for the forum. Might as well get my personal submitted review count on that FFN account up a bit)
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.

When it comes to LBT, I love to write stories! :)
Current Fics: Waves Crashing Upon the Sky, The Threehorn Way, Five Stages of Grief, Scrambled Eggs, and Our Safe Haven.



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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2018, 02:54:03 PM »
This chapter certainly began developing the duo’s relationship far better than the original version did. The initial description of the scene was done in a nice way and the leadup to the main conversation was rather believable as the brief talk about Shorty’s ability to keep us with Bron was one of the few ways to break the ice with the boy. The duo’s initial banter leading to their backgrounds flowed seamlessly as it was made clear that the relationship flourished mostly because they knew they were both in horrible situations.
Bron’s backstory was told rather nicely but damn, those additional, broken eggs which Bron left unmentioned again bother me. :boohoo Also, the “in law” caught my eye as there are no laws in LBT. Otherwise, this was a good way to deepen and develop the longneck’s story from the actual film. Shorty’s story, on the other hand, was cut short briefly but I know that his actual background wasn’t revealed until much later in the original story. Yet, the ending with the duo’s easing mental trauma seemed like a quick one as I’d think their troubles run deeper than one discussion. But being able to speak about one’s troubles is quite easing so I guess the ending works quite well. Overall, nice job as usual. I’ve got the feeling the revised version of SDP is turning out quite nicely.  :yes

rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2018, 10:05:32 PM »
This chapter did a far superior job of introducing the Bron / Shorty relationship than the original incarnation of this story.  Though Shorty is still standoffish and Bron is still distant, we can see the need in both of them to find someone else to care for and to be cared for in return.  For Bron part of this drive comes from a need to find his son that he believes to possibly be lost forever, whereas for Shorty it comes from a need to find the loving father he never had.  In the end we are left with two broken dinosaurs who have found one another and, along the way, have found that they perhaps have more in common than they suspected.  Though certain plot points that were held in reserve in the first story are being told earlier in this case, I think that actually works better here.  We get to more immediately see what has driven Shorty's actions and to relate to him in a more relatable manner. 

Besides the improvement in character development and narrative in this installment versus the older story I must also applaud you on the improvement in prose.  In much the same manner as the original Shorty's Dark Past had superior writing to your first story, this revised SDP shows a skill with the English language that is much improved over the original.  The dialogue feels much more natural and fits the characters in a much more individualized fashion.

All in all this story is moving along very nicely and I look forward to seeing how things develop from here.  :)

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2018, 11:44:48 PM »
When did these chapters slip past me? I thought I was only 1 behind but I guess not :lol

Chapter 3 is a faithful re-telling from the movie, which was done well and serves as a good introduction as we now get a short glimpse into each longnecks lives after their sleepstory. I like how you showed how Spike's ducking down was actually intentional and not just coincidental :p

Chapter 4 was the exciting one of the two for sure as we're given some interesting developments on both sides. Bron seems a lot more regretful and broken in his story telling here, which seems about right since he did lose everything at this point (though maybe his relationship with Shorty helped ease the pain a little by the time he told the story to Littlefoot? Or maybe just knowing Littlefoot was still alive helped him deal with it?). Shorty's past was also teased here with a very not surprising rough past, though it's interesting to see an actual abusive relationship here. I must admit that I found the whole addictive leaves to be kinda funny (somebody's been eating the golden petals of the night flower for more then medicinal purposes it seems :lol ).

Joking aside it was an enjoyable read and am looking forward to seeing what's in store for Ali next (even if it takes me longer then normal to get around to it :p )

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2018, 04:39:31 PM »
Chapter 5: Conflict and meeting

Laughter was sounding as the two little longnecks played to their heart’s content, chasing each other back to fro and wrestling on the ground in tease fights. Eventually, they were tired from their games, resting in the shade of a large tree and reflecting on the day in the late afternoon sun.

"That was so much fun," the pink coloured girl spoke with a content smile, her male purple-brown-ish counterpart nodding eagerly.

"You bet, Ali, you bet," the boy laughed, their tails touching.

"I like you, Littlefoot," the girl spoke with a shy smile, inching closer to the boy.

"Me too," the boy replied, blushing slightly as his friend inched even closer until she was leaning against him smiling contently.

*

"Ali, wake up sleepyhead!"

The scene changed abruptly, the face of the handsome boy being replaced by that of her mother pushing her awake impatiently.

"I am awake..." Ali sighed as she groggily uncurled her extremities, stretching her limbs while trying to hold on onto the dream she'd just had. But her mother wouldn't let her.

"Have a quick meal and wash yourself, Ali. We have a meeting to attend - yes, you as well."

Ali's expression went from groggy to confused to annoyed faster than a fastrunner could run.

"Wait, why do I need to attend some stupid meeting that goes on for hours and in the end everyone agrees with Old One anyway?"

"You have to," her mother stated simply. It was a rule after all and in this herd rules were best not to be broken.

"Well, I don't want to!" Ali complained. Meetings were no fun, not that she had anything better to do but going about her usual ways at least gave her some freedom.

"Whether you go or not is not for you to decide, Ali," her mother spoke in a calm but agitated tone. "What do you think would happen to the herd if everyone did as they pleased?"

"They would be happy..." Ali muttered quietly.

"Chaos, Ali, chaos," her mother explained with dramatic gestures. "What if the Old One made an important decision - a new rule perhaps, and you are not aware of it? Surely, you should know what that means, my daughter..."

"No need to remind me, mum," Ali groaned, getting ever so annoyed. She’d already been reminded of her harsh punishment after her adventure with Littlefoot long ago… enough was enough!

"That's right, now stand still, your face is all dirty..."

Reluctantly, Ali endured the procedure but her mother did so painfully meticulous. At some point, Ali had enough.

"Cut it out already, it's clean now!"

"It's not clean enough yet," the grown-up replied casually. "You want to look nice so Old One approves of you."

"I couldn't care less about that, you know?"

"How dare you, Ali!" Now the tone changed drastically. "It is bad behavior to attend a meeting dirty. Do you want everyone to think of you as a dirty girl with no manners?"

"Hrm..." the child grunted.

"Girls who aren't looking nice don't get attention from the males either," her mother warned but little did Ali care.

"Yeah... like there are any boys my age in this herd... don't be ridiculous mum..." Ali rolled her eyes. "Besides, I don't need to look nice for boys, I already made my choice long ago!"

"Oh, like a little child like you understands that kind of thing at that age, you are being the ridiculous one here!" The adult glared at her daughter. "You know as well as me that you won't be seeing this Great Valley boy again, forget him already..."

"Will not!" Ali retorted. "That's my decision, not yours..."

"Ali, stop being naughty!" her mother warned but Ali finally had enough of this.

"Leave me alone!"

"No, I will most certainly not!" the adult retorted fiercely. "Don't make me report your bad manners to our glorious leader... you would regret that."

"Bla Bla Bla..." Ali sighed. "That never worked on me you know mum?"

"Young lady, don't you dare..." Her mother was now fully agitated, lowering her voice in a threatening manner.

"Is that all?" Ali wondered in a bored manner.

"Ali, come on! Can't you just be obedient like you used to be?!"

"Nay!"

"Ali!"

"I’m SICK of it, mum!"

"Nobody cares, you are to follow our herd's rules and that's final!" The grown up was panting in anger now.

"Well, try and make me," Ali challenged, almost playfully.

"YOU ATTEND THAT MEETING NOW!!!" The adult was fuming. "Don't you dare, Ali..."

The girl faked a yawn.

"ALI!!!" her mother yelled.

"This herd is BOOOOOOOORING!!!" Ali screamed back." I wanna have FUN!!! And I won't let you spoil it!!! Seeya!!!" Ali started running towards a nearby forest.

"YOU STAY WHERE YOU ARE, YOUNG LADY!!!" the female thundered but Ali merely waved her tail.

"Catch me if you can!"

"ALI!!! This will have consequences!!!" her mother threatened in a last attempt to dissuade the child from leaving. But Ali had already disappeared into the thick foliage.

"That girl, what is she thinking?!"Sighing, the grown up took a deep breath before she went to attend the meeting alone.

*

When the Bright Circle rose over the wide clearing which was the designated place to gather for meetings and other important meetups, Ali’s mother was still fuming over her daughter’s behavior. Why couldn’t the girl just do as she was told? She herself wasn’t always happy with how Ali had to grow up but it was the best for her as this herd provided her with all the safety and life experiences she’d need to survive on her own one day. Sure, a sheltered life in the Great Valley which Ali, or so she assumed, was dreaming of, was nice but if it came down to survival, the girl would be helpless if she never learned the ways of the barren lands. Although she didn’t always agree with her leader, the Old One, who was surveying the crowd to assess the participation of the meeting, a strong longneck like her at the top of the herd meant stability and safety for Ali as well as her. If only the girl came to appreciate these values…

“Ahem!”

The chit-chat of the assembled longnecks quickly ceased as their leader cleared her throat with remarkable effect. The dinosaurs standing loosely scattered in small groups quickly formed a perfect semi-circle into which the old dinosaur walked with sublime steps.

“Good morning,” she spoke dryly, her gaze wandering through the ranks.

A chorus of sleepy “good mornings” sounded through the forest.

“I know many of you would have preferred this meeting to be held a little later, including myself, but does it not seem appropriate to do so when the very reason for holding it is also the reason why we can’t seem to sleep through the night anymore?” And so Old One began her monotonous monologue. “Fellow longnecks, there is a reason why our sleep is weak and our tempers short. It is the sleep stories. I still remember the day when I first had this specific type that is haunting me ever since with a striking recitation. Certainly, one could classify it as a nightmare, however it hardly came with the usual side effects. Normally, one would expect a sleep story of the nightmare-ish sort to leave oneself in a state of fright, shock and uneasiness. Normally as well, one would be able to calm their nerves and go back to their slumber rather quickly. However, what I experience each night differs from this archetype in a significant manner.”

Come to think of it, Ali’s mother could really understand why the girl hated it so much to attend these meetings. Old One’s way of talking truly was hard to follow even for an adult like her.

“Quite amazingly, I find that, instead of the aforementioned effects, something else, a very different collection of emotions, takes hold of me, rendering me incapable of shaking them off for hours on some nights. There is a deep longing I cannot place, a place, so far away that it seems ridiculous, and yet… I feel an urge to be there. I have received words from many that similar emotions well up in you, fellow longnecks. Just to confirm, is everyone affected or are there any exceptions?”

A murmur spread through the crowd, Old One’s gaze surveying the reactions carefully.

“Very well, so I was correct to call this meetings as the majority, if not everyone, is suffering from this disaster.” The old dinosaur sighed contently. “It truly nags on not just my mind that I am unable to rest, even during daytime. While you have gone about your daily life, I have been investigating this outrageous phenomenon. First of all, one can state without a doubt that this is a systemic phenomenon. My findings indicate that every longneck, both the young and the old, are affected. In order to learn more, I shared my knowledge with a flyer, requesting a survey about other… kinds. Surely, I would like to do something about this if it is in my range of abilities. In this special case, knowledge is the key to success. Discovering the cause is my prime goal!” The herd leader waited for a few moments until the uprising unrest in the crowd settled down again.

“So what did I learn? The flyer reported back to me after observing several herds and his findings are very valuable for our cause. Certainly, I was also pondering if, perhaps for some unknown reason this was like a disease contagious in nature, only affecting our herd. Moreover, the fact that this phenomenon began to occur for everyone around the same time fails to back up this particular theory but I needed an answer without any doubt left floating around.” Old One briefly interrupted her speech and took a deep breath. “One herd was mixed in nature. Why a sane dinosaur would agree to such measures is beyond my comprehension but that is not the point at the moment. So, why that herd was of interest is because a group of longnecks was a part of it. Those longnecks also showed the same signs of unrest during sleep as has occurred in our herd so it is likely and reasonable to assume that it is not limited to our very herd. In other words: All longnecks are affected.”

This time, it took a little longer until the gossip within the assembled longnecks died down. Old One listened carefully and patiently.

“As such,” she eventually resumed,” one also needs to mention that no other species was showing these signs. Now, I do not intend to raise any conspiracies but this truly is suspicious to say the least. Then again, nobody knows the cause. Unless I know the cause, I am left without anything but my suspicions. Anyway, until we know of a cure, we should focus on limiting the damage. Even worse than the loss of sleep is my inability to settle down, my constant restlessness.”

As the old female was being reminded of her desire to follow this dubious feeling floating in the air all the time, her gaze wandered to a nearby mountain chain for a short moment. They had discovered this place being quite hospitable from up there, dwelling there for quite some time since two young females would become mothers very soon. The place was about the size of the Great Valley, though it was in reach of Sharpteeth and offered less food and water. As long as there was enough food to last, so the Old One had decided, they'd stay until the little ones could walk on their own. She gazed for any possible threats - an important thing to do being the leader of a herd and a role the Old One was more than willing to take due to being born over-cautious and apprehensive. Since she didn't spot any possible threats, she continued.

“Another finding that one needs to address: That flyer also reported to me to have seen several groups of our kind of various sizes heading towards a certain direction and it matches the direction my instincts are telling me to journey… Does that mean longnecks far and wide are all going on a journey into the unknown?”

A journey into the unknown that everybody was taking. Slowly but surely Ali’s mother began to suspect that Ali understood these dreams far better than she herself did. But could they just walk into the blind? Knowing Old One, that was the least she would do.

“I am puzzling what the sleepstory is trying to tell me, to tell us longnecks. Everyone is having the same one so explaining mine is a futile waste of time. But let me tell you, I absolutely do not know what it means that I see myself floating through the air, that I seem to follow a crowd blindly each time and that it always ends with our glorious Bright Circle disappearing in a dramatic fashion. I am having my doubts. Fishy, if you ask me. What would cause every longneck to gather at one place? What purpose would that serve? Our reasons for migrating are and have always been to survive. Our survival here is granted for a fair while - at least long enough for the eggs to see the light of this world, so I do not see any reason to move on prematurely. However, we do not know what’s behind all of this. It could be important, that is what my mind is trying to tell me all the time yet it clashes with what I consider safe, what I consider right and good for the herd. In other words…” Now she raised her voice,” In other words, it is a decision that we need to do as a herd. It is too much of an uncertainty for me to make a decision because the consequences are beyond my grasp. Therefore, fellow, longnecks, let us vote on the matter. The usual rules apply. I shall vote to stay here so those who think likewise may move over to where I am standing. Those who believe it is right to go, please move to the opposite side of this clearing. Indecisive ones, just position yourselves somewhere inbetween. Alright, let the vote commence!”

In the following, chaos completely destroyed the perfect semi-circle of longnecks, dinosaurs walking back and forth in order to let their opinion be heard or, in this case, seen. Some did not head to either side immediately, still in the process of making up their minds. One of those was Ali’s mother who was still processing the possible outcomes of either situation.

“What is best for Ali?” What exactly was? Ali had been extremely unhappy as of late and of course that hadn’t slipped past her. It finally came to bite her this previous morning and who knew what the girl was really thinking. She highly doubted it was out of spite that she was being so defiant and grumpy but she also doubted that she was happy about her very own behavior. But what she had done and said was what’s best for her survival. She knew Ali would want to go in the slim hope of seeing that boy again but what would it give if they perished halfway there? Ali absolutely had to be safe no matter what!

“I will go with Old One on that one, seems to be the majority anyway. Thankfully…”

Much to her relief, the vote leaned majorly towards staying where they were. Old One seemed pleased with the result and soon called the meeting off. Though relieved, the female still had many things on her mind as she strolled back towards her nest...

~~~~~

I was hoping to squeeze this one out a little earlier, oh well.

This chapter is still covering old chapter 2. Ali's fight with her mother was terribly written imho. Now the flow is better. I still kept some of the dialogue as it was still quite intense already back then.

The dream sequence at the beginning was hopefully a nice introduction and also a request by a reader. I may add these infrequently here and there :)

Old One's part was heavily edited and most of the meeting was written from scratch completely. But some paragraphs were still reimplemented. I completely reworked her and gave Old One a distinct style of speech (a pain, folks, a pain :P ). As a result, this ended up being a monologue of her talking for the most part so I tried to break it up with short sequences of Ali's mother. This is an addition the original didn't have. Ali's mother also originally voted to go on the journey but I changed that to increase the conflict between mother and daughter and increase the room for character development.

That's it from me, next chapter will be released in two weeks when I get back from a vacation :)


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Wow. This was quite a read for me. Shorty seems to be acting a lot like Cera, but Bron sure is one to not give up on getting him to open up.

Bron has apparently been struggling to stay strong when coping with the loss of his family, but not letting himself fall into despair has kept him going through all the droughts he's faced.

Shorty's story seemed quite tragic. I'm actually wondering myself what really became of his mother, but once I read about his father, I got these vibes that made me think about my own recent stories with my short-lived Swimmer OC characters. I couldn't blame the kid for running away from his family, although he sure seemed to have taken a gamble when he ended up in the middle of nowhere with these orphaned hatchlings. His short life seems to have been filled with bad luck.

I'm liking this slow buildup between Bron and Shorty, and I can sense that it won't be long before Shorty starts seeing Bron as a fatherly figure that his own father could not be. This is turning into quite a dynamic story. Keep up the good work!  :)
Thank you very much!  :)littlefoot

Your analysis is spot on, I'm glad you liked the developments between those two :)


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*sees Ducky's reply* Wow, it really is. I'm sorry, I really have not seen LBT X in forever. Uh, that's awkward... I'm not sure if the fact I can't remember is more telling on me or the film... I better rewatch that movie before I type a silly comment again... after this comment.

Shorty's story is pretty darn tragic. Self-orphaning by running away tugged at me.

Bron and Shorty's talk with each other is written really well. It's probably the writing style or the setting, but I get the sense that they're both withholding information from the other when it first begins as a conversation on a serene night, before relenting and revealing more bout their own lives as it plays on and turns deep and personal. The scene and background is captured really well. :D

(On a personal note do you want me to transfer all my reviews to the FFN mirror of this story as well? I mean, I don't mind since I intend to try and review more and go into more in-depth analysis for the forum. Might as well get my personal submitted review count on that FFN account up a bit)

Thank you very much for the review :)

Yep, dark and tragic. No wonder he's a little messed up.

Yep, what I didn't like about this scene in the original version of the story is that Shorty began to trust Bron really easily. I had him keep his distrust but he does realize that he sort of needs Bron and admits to himself that he needs to learn more about Bron in order to trust him one day. And when he finds out that Bron's past is no less tragic, it's much easier for him to connect :) The setting just sort of... came to me as the story progressed. A nightly scene seemed appropriate.

Personally, I do not mind if you review on ff.net or not. It'd certainly look as if the story's a tad more popular though :DD


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This chapter certainly began developing the duo’s relationship far better than the original version did. The initial description of the scene was done in a nice way and the leadup to the main conversation was rather believable as the brief talk about Shorty’s ability to keep us with Bron was one of the few ways to break the ice with the boy. The duo’s initial banter leading to their backgrounds flowed seamlessly as it was made clear that the relationship flourished mostly because they knew they were both in horrible situations.
Bron’s backstory was told rather nicely but damn, those additional, broken eggs which Bron left unmentioned again bother me. :boohoo Also, the “in law” caught my eye as there are no laws in LBT. Otherwise, this was a good way to deepen and develop the longneck’s story from the actual film. Shorty’s story, on the other hand, was cut short briefly but I know that his actual background wasn’t revealed until much later in the original story. Yet, the ending with the duo’s easing mental trauma seemed like a quick one as I’d think their troubles run deeper than one discussion. But being able to speak about one’s troubles is quite easing so I guess the ending works quite well. Overall, nice job as usual. I’ve got the feeling the revised version of SDP is turning out quite nicely.  :yes

Thank you very much for the review!  :^^spike

I'm glad you think that this is a major improvement over the original :smile Bron and Shorty manage to find a connection through their shared misery indeed, you amalyzed that quite well :yes

Bron left before the eggs were laid so he wouldn't know about broken egg shells. I do see some logic error there now that you mention in though. How would he know he only had one child? Hmm need to give this another thought at some point  :confused

I deleberately keep any information about Shorty's Past vague, yep. As you said, it'll all be revealed later. I think adding additional scenes of Shorty and Bron discussion their troubles would make the story drag...

I've got to agree with your last statement wholeheartedly. The story is coming along nicely, if a little slower than I was hoping for. I guess quality shouldn't be rushed  :^^spike


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This chapter did a far superior job of introducing the Bron / Shorty relationship than the original incarnation of this story.  Though Shorty is still standoffish and Bron is still distant, we can see the need in both of them to find someone else to care for and to be cared for in return.  For Bron part of this drive comes from a need to find his son that he believes to possibly be lost forever, whereas for Shorty it comes from a need to find the loving father he never had.  In the end we are left with two broken dinosaurs who have found one another and, along the way, have found that they perhaps have more in common than they suspected.  Though certain plot points that were held in reserve in the first story are being told earlier in this case, I think that actually works better here.  We get to more immediately see what has driven Shorty's actions and to relate to him in a more relatable manner. 

Besides the improvement in character development and narrative in this installment versus the older story I must also applaud you on the improvement in prose.  In much the same manner as the original Shorty's Dark Past had superior writing to your first story, this revised SDP shows a skill with the English language that is much improved over the original.  The dialogue feels much more natural and fits the characters in a much more individualized fashion.

All in all this story is moving along very nicely and I look forward to seeing how things develop from here.  :)

Thank you very much for this review  :smile

It's interesting to see how everyone is basically saying the same but doing so in different ways. You too have captured their situation accurately, yep yep yep!  :P I do not think I revealed significantly more than in the original. Shorty was talking about his father there as well  :^^spike

Your compliment about my writing skills really honours me. My main issue has always been writing style and the focus on dialogue. I still mainly use dialogue (unlike you who relies on thoughts a lot) but I suppose I've become more eloquent in doing so  :angel. The chapter I just uploaded above should be a good example of what I can pull off if I try hard :DD


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When did these chapters slip past me? I thought I was only 1 behind but I guess not :lol

Chapter 3 is a faithful re-telling from the movie, which was done well and serves as a good introduction as we now get a short glimpse into each longnecks lives after their sleepstory. I like how you showed how Spike's ducking down was actually intentional and not just coincidental :p

Chapter 4 was the exciting one of the two for sure as we're given some interesting developments on both sides. Bron seems a lot more regretful and broken in his story telling here, which seems about right since he did lose everything at this point (though maybe his relationship with Shorty helped ease the pain a little by the time he told the story to Littlefoot? Or maybe just knowing Littlefoot was still alive helped him deal with it?). Shorty's past was also teased here with a very not surprising rough past, though it's interesting to see an actual abusive relationship here. I must admit that I found the whole addictive leaves to be kinda funny (somebody's been eating the golden petals of the night flower for more then medicinal purposes it seems :lol ).

Joking aside it was an enjoyable read and am looking forward to seeing what's in store for Ali next (even if it takes me longer then normal to get around to it :p )

...and that even though I usually notify you of updates? tsk tsk tsk  :OhYou

Yeah, I thought having Spike duck on purpose to troll Ducky would be funny :smile

Yeah, Bron is a broken dinosaur by the time he meets Shorty. Both help each other to feel better eventually as they begin to rely on each other :yes As for Shorty's Past, yeah it quite lives up to the story's title. The idea of Shorty's father having something akin to drug addiction was a random thought I implemented way back but I've already revolved too much of the story around that to cut it again. Don't think it has been done before so why not?  :D

Thanks for the review mate and just to make sure you're not missing this one, have a free mention @Flathead770  :p

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2018, 06:20:07 PM »
Well, it seems I was right in predicting that Ali would become quite a pain for her mother to handle, but I can't blame her, for the most part. The tense argument between the two got out of hand so quickly that I felt as if I was there, trying to listen in and couldn't keep up with what they were saying. It was as if it just happened so fast!  :P I do have my concerns over the Old One's decision to not make the journey, so I think it'll be intriguing to see where this herd's story goes from here.

I only hope that Ali doesn't start acting like Shorty, ... or will all three of our main Longneck heroes go through the same mood swings because of their nightmares? This should be very interesting!  :o

Oh, and have a nice vacation!  :)

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2018, 12:55:34 AM »
This is yet another great improvement on the original.  :) We get to see Ali's remembrance of her time in the valley and the wonderful freedom she felt within its protective walls, only to have the spell be broken by her awakening. The argument with her mother is much more reasonable than I remember it in the original as it slowly builds and then finally eases as the meeting arrives.  The meeting itself is another sign of improvement as the Old One's dialogue takes on a very distinct, and anti-laconic tone.  Both being long-winded, but not superfluous as she explains her reasoning and misgivings on the situation.  The fact that she allows a vote does show that she is the matriarch of a somewhat democratic system but that her words and instructions carry great weight in the community.  This makes her a bit more relatable than in the previous tale and it also makes me curious about what will happen next.  :yes

OwlsCantRead

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2018, 08:13:14 AM »
The argument between Ali and her mom was curt and very reminiscent of a kid trying to rebel against an overly protective parental figure. The exchanges were brief, yet heated... pretty much like a real life argument with parents.

It's also quite telling that the Old One refuses to make the journey despite the instincts of her herd and even herself. Really shows that even after LBT4, she still prefers to be in her own comfort zone and refuses to take risks to endanger the herd.

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2018, 05:31:50 PM »
Just breaking my hiatus to provide you with the fruits of my hard work. Here is the next chapter of SDP, almost entirely written on paper during school lessons but you will see, it shall not disappoint :)

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Chapter 6: A conversation at night

It was several hours later, in the middle of the night in fact, when Littlefoot was ungently woken up by the usual nightly sleepstory. With a yelp, a look of panic visible on his features, his long neck shot up. It didn't take him long to realize that he was perfectly safe in the shelter of the Great Valley under a crystal-clear sky. Littlefoot sighed.

"It never skips a single night..." Slightly annoyed now that he was wide awake, his glance wandered into the landscape until his gaze fell onto the two massive boulders a few body lengths away snoring contently. No, wait. One of the two had their eyes open; it was his grandfather. Their eyes met and in no time the old longneck had risen to his feet to lumber over to the child.

"What is it, Littlefoot? What's the matter?"

Obviously his troubles hadn't gone unnoticed. His grandparents were experts in reading his moods, the good ones just as well as the bad. There was only so long he could hide his emotions until they'd discover something.

"I... I dunno," the boy spoke evasively. "I just couldn't sleep for some reason."

"Oh neither can I, Littlefoot," the old longneck replied, his mind seemingly restless as he spoke. "And I think I know why. For some time now I've been feeling restless... as if there's some place I need to go but I don't know where."
Littlefoot hung on his grandfather's lips, the words appearing as though he'd stolen them from his very mind.

"Me too, Grandpa, me too!" Littlefoot exclaimed in excitement. "That's just how I feel tonight!"

"I think this feeling has something to do with the sleepstories I've been having lately," he continued thoughtfully.

"You've been having them too?!" Littlefoot was looking at his grandfather, perplexed. He hadn't come to understand yet why he'd keep having these weird nightmares, however he wouldn't have thought that wasn't alone with this strange phenomenon.

"Yes," his grandfather said.

"The same one? What was yours like? Is it always the same one? Does it haunt you every night?!" Littlefoot was suddenly so excited that he didn't even notice asking the same inquiry twice.

"Well, I wasn't unaware of your sleep problems, Littlefoot; I only just learned myself that there may be something that we are having in common though," his grandpa spoke with a lively voice. "Of course I'm unaware of the exact details of your sleep story. Mind telling me?"

Littlefoot gave a happy smile before reciting the sleepstory in as much detail as he could master, having learned a fair bit about storytelling from his old grandfather who used to be a storyteller in his younger years. As soon as he had ended, Littlefoot watched him closely and his suspicion turned into truth.

"That is the very sleepstory that I am having every night. Grandma too," he added as the other massive longneck joined their small circle. "Grandma and I have talked about it, Littlefoot. Many times, in fact. Remember what I told you a little earlier?"

"About?" Littlefoot quickly pondered. "Uhh about feeling restless?"

"Exactly!" his grandpa exclaimed excitedly.

"Yeah, as I said, grandpa, I'm feeling just the same. Like..." The boy quickly considered if he should be telling this his caretakers but decided it would be best to speak his entire thoughts. "Like... I constantly feel like leaving the valley to go on an adventure! I have no idea where to go but I can sort of tell where I need to go... if that makes sense..." He shot an uncertain glance over to grandma, half expecting to be scolded for even thinking of such a thing but to his utter amazement she was smiling, Grandpa nodding approvingly.

"Littlefoot, neither Grandma nor I know why this is happening but I have a feeling that something great is going to happen. Therefore," Grandpa announced while beaming," I think the time has come to go on a journey."

"A journey!? When? Where? Just you and me?" Littlefoot was on the edge of his seat.

"And Grandma," Grandpa added with smile. "And others too I think..."

"You think so?"

"Why would we be the only ones, dear?" His grandmother smiled at him warmly. Of course! Why would they be so special after all. Maybe even all longnecks? Or all dinosaurs there were? How awesome would that be?

"I really don't know," Grandpa continued thoughtfully, "But we must leave soon..."

"How soon? Now?" Littlefoot inquired hopping up and down.

"Lie back down now, get some rest," the old longneck advised. "We may leave tomorrow..."

"A journey..." Littlefoot hummed in awe, a broad smile on his face as he lied back down without questioning his grandfather’s logic. If they were to leave tomorrow, he’d need the extra rest. One last look up at the Night Circle and he was sound asleep.

*

“How much further do I have to walk???"

Littlefoot stood still as he thoughtfully observed his surroundings. Quite frankly, it was rather futile trying to see anything of value considering the type of landscape he found himself in. The jungle he had been journeying through for the last few days had become thicker and thicker as he crossed it. The trees were very old, very strong and very annoying and relentless, Littlefoot noted through gritted teeth. The majority of the treetops were towering so high above that even both of his grandparents stacked on top of each other could never reach them. The vegetation stood so thick that one couldn't see far ahead. The boy couldn't even see what direction he was going yet a strange sensation within his chest seemed to know exactly the direction he needed to follow in order to reach his destination; a destination most mysterious and unknown, a faint promise hanging in the air whenever he gave it some thought. He wasn't even entirely sure why he was wandering around on this peculiar adventure but it did feel right to do so. In a way, he knew that it would be worth all the hassle this journey was putting the child through.

"Well, at least there is hardly any thick undergrowth to break through..." Littlefoot mused which helped him covering a considerable distance day after day, as dull and boring as it seemed. There wasn't anything exciting to see along the way although he couldn't deny that the gigantic trees and the endless green of leaves, vines and moss-covered tree trunks held a certain kind of beauty (needless to say, he was still tired of them). Moreover, he didn't have to worry about finding food and water which he didn't nearly appreciate as much as he should be.

There was another thing which puzzled him as he continued his quick and steady march, meandering his path past the humongous trees. Why was he all alone on this quest? Why weren't his grandparents accompanying him? Or his gang of friends for that matter? Why would he set on a journey without them? No matter how much he racked his brain, Littlefoot could not remember nor find any explanation or answer. On top of that, he did not exactly remember the rest of his journey. He knew his home but he could not remember leaving it. It was as if he had woken up here without a memory how he got there in the first place.

As the day progressed, gentle rain began to fall, which seemed to happen on a very frequent and regular basis in these lands he was trespassing, sometimes up to several times a day. The air quickly got very thick and misty which didn't help navigating at all. Littlefoot had no clue what the sky above him was preparing since he could not peek through the insanely prosperous foliage. However, it seemed as though it wasn't brewing a thunderstorm, not now anyway, which relieved the boy a little.

Just when he began considering where to spend the night (it appeared to him as though light was getting scarcer all of a sudden, though he could not tell for certain since neither directions nor the weather were observable), Littlefoot saw something which made his heart leap in excitement only for the feeling to turn into dread. Unexpectedly, the forest came to a sudden end as a wall of very bright, almost white, sharp rock replaced the omni-present hue of green around him.

"Wow!" he chanted as he came to stand in the open at last, the white wall in front of him and the bothersome forest behind. Littlefoot was getting excited; finally he got to explore something new! Although, his rejoice wasn't meant to last. A quick look up revealed a number of things. First of all, it became apparent that the wall belonged to an incredibly steep mountain range which began so abruptly where he stood, extending as far up and to both his left and right that any thought was crossing it, whether by climbing or circumnavigating, was brutally crushed in the making. Simultaneously, he realized that some of the trees in that forest reached up to 50 times his height though the awe that came with that realization didn't last any longer than a few seconds. Secondly, now that he could finally catch a glimpse of the sky above, he realized that he still had some time left before the night would embrace the land. Which meant...

"Then why is it so gloomy?" A distant rumble answered almost immediately. A quick look to the sky confirmed his suspicion.

"I'd better find shelter before this breaks loose..." Littlefoot muttered quietly. His options were rather limited though. He would either have to find a shelter or even a cave if he were to chose the mountain ahead. The forest on the other hand would certainly block some of the worst, however it was also kind of dangerous if trees or branches were blown off. Littlefoot didn't know where he needed to go either so he closed his eyes for a moment in order to commit to the feeling inside him. He'd come to trust it at least so he put his hope in what he suspected to be instincts.

"I need to cross the mountains, I can feel it but... how?" Frowning, his eyes scanned the mountainscape once more, not finding a single way. "And where can I hide? Where should I go to look for shelter? Left? Right? Or back to the forest after all?" Indecisive, he turned his head to either of the mentioned directions. "Let's try the right," he decided spontaneously, hoping that he wouldn't regret it. "I can still go back to the forest if things get rough..."

With that in mind and his determination and spirit anew, the longneck set off, walking along the scorched rocks, constantly checking the sky. However, it seemed to be giving him a chance, some more time before the storm would drench the whole area with torrents of rain, him included.

For the next twenty minutes, he wandered along the mountains, his hopes already diminishing. Clearly, these mountains weren't as rich in caverns as those he knew from his home, quite unfortunately. If he didn't find any soon... Up ahead, he saw a little bent as the mountain made a curve. If there wasn't any place to hide behind that bent in the area that he couldn't see from his current position, then he would be forced to choose the forest. The thunder growling threateningly, Littlefoot scurried on quickly. Apparently, luck was on his side that day though. Behind that curve, the longneck's eyes immediately fell on a wide entrance in the rockface.

"A cave! What do you know?!" His cheer immediately drowned in the rapidly strengthening rain; timing couldn't have been better. The boy rushed inside without hesitation. Still not believing his luck, he laid down, observing the rain fall in watery strings rather than single drops. An exemplary downpour, it was. Even though it was mostly just rain and very little storm (the forest would have been safe after all) even the extended foliage wouldn't have been able to keep himself dry.

"This is quite boring though..." the boy noted after a few minutes had passed. A child like him could hardly stay put for very long without going extremely unhappy. Just staying where he sat wasn't satisfactory.

"It's getting dark outside soon but I'm not tired yet. Maybe I should go explore this place?" A little adventure surely wouldn't hurt, the child supposed. While he was stuck in this cavern, he might as well explore it in the meantime and have some fun while he was at it. Yeah, that was a splendid idea!

Humming a random tune (something about going adventuring) he wandered deeper into the cavern. The tunnel was fairly and comfortably broad and the ceiling high above. The path was going rather straight and appeared to be extending deep into the mountain. It was in many ways an extraordinary and unique place, something he hadn't seen yet, and Littlefoot immediately rejoiced at his great idea to go on this expedition.

Soon, it was completely dark but Littlefoot didn't mind much. The tunnel continued to be straight and level and did not branch off at all as far as he could tell with his remaining senses. The longer he walked, the further he went, the bigger grew his excitement. Just how far would this tunnel continue? Maybe it'd even lead him all the way through the mountain?

"That'd be amazing..." the young longneck chuckled as the possibility came up. Who knew how far those damn mountains stretched on? It'd save him days of travel in the best possible case. With spirits higher as ever, Littlefoot increased his velocity significantly because surely it'd take him a while to cover the whole distance if this really were a secret passage underneath the rock.

As more time passed, another emotion mingled with his upbeat mood. After walking for what felt like hours (it must've been in the middle of the night) a strange emotion, something inbetween uneasiness and dread began spreading through his body. Weak at first, just an insignificant sensation in his chest, it began expanding, taking hold of his stomach, then his feet until it was eventually reaching his mind and his tail tip which had begun twitching in an awkward manner. The longer he was walking through a pitch-black tunnel, the longer he was hearing nothing but his very breath and the sound his feet made as they touched the cold, smooth rock rhythmically, the more a peculiar feeling was growing inside of him. A slight irritation turned into uneasiness, uneasiness into dread... and dread into fear. A creepy sensation was threatening to overwhelm him, thus robbing him of his curious, hopeful demeanor.

Littlefoot had one burning question on his mind. What if he wasn't alone in this darkness? What if something was following, watching, anticipating his very death? Suddenly, Littlefoot wasn't calm anymore and his priorities were shifting dramatically as he was losing his cool. When, at first, he had simply given in to his inquisitive nature, along the way elaborating that the tunnel might've been a valueful short cut, now he just wanted to go, just wanted to see light, wanted to feel the presence of another (friendly) alive being, wanted his grandparents to reassure him and his friends to cheer him up. Quite frankly, he simply wanted to escape this dark, seemingly never-ending cave.

"I shouldn't have walked so far..." Finally, he said these words out loud as his little heart was working overtime, his chest rising and lowering in an agitated rhythm but, calm his nerves they did little at all. Frantically, he was checking his surroundings only to be harshly reminded of the unrelentless, evil darkness in which he was drowning. In a way, it reminded him of the one time long ago when he had wandered far from the herd and ended up meeting the Sharptooth. His foolish actions had possibly lead to his mother's death and maybe now he was on the brink of leading himself into death's greedy fangs?

"What do I do now? Help me!" But no help came but a pebble he almost stumbled upon, bruising one of his front toes. Now fear had transitioned into panic. Not the kind of panic one was feeling after doing something wrong and being about to be reprimanded about it. No, it was much rather the kind of panic one was experiencing when one's life was on the line.

"I need to run away!!!" The young longneck's mind went berserk as panic, deep as the abyss he saw Sharptooth fall into so many years ago, turned the switch for rationing thinking off. As he began to sprint head over heels, he did not even spare any thought on where to run. Considering he had walked for a very long time, heading back would take just as long; and running further along the path could be as smart as it could be disastrous. Subconsciously, he had chosen to keep his direction (maybe the peculiar compass inside of him was leading him through this dark place towards his destination even now?), running at full speed, blindly charging forward into the unknown, blindly trusting that the tunnel would keep going in a straight line.

However, that was a foolish mistake.

*WHAM*

Due to the absolute absence of light, the longneck couldn't see nor anticipate the obstacle in front of him, standing in his straight-forward path. He could not know that the path was taking a sharp turn to the right. Completely oblivious to that, Littlefoot crashed at full speed into the unforgiving rock headfirst. Upon the impact, the little longneck's world exploded in a flash of excruciating pain as his skull and the brain within were shaken to the very core. Terrible, throbbing pain was rocking him; only with extreme effort Littlefoot didn't lose his conscience. He found himself lying on his back, heart racing, breath accelerating, limbs burning and head severed as blood trickled from the wound onto the ground, flowing in several small streams across his face.

"Now I've done it..." Littlefoot throught darkly as he used all his remaining strength on remaining aware. Who knew what'd happen if he passed out. His grandparents had taught him that staying aware of one's surroundings was crucial or one would be helpless.

"Yeah, like there are any surroundings to be aware of..." his tormented mind complained with sarcasm that would make Cera beam.

Littlefoot remembered the initial reason for his mad sprint; something was after him, he just knew it and the very thought of something eating him while he was blacking out gave him a sudden urge to throw up. Groaning, he tried to get back onto his feet.

And immediately regretted it.

"No... please!" Littlefoot's world was spinning fast, his insides cramping as he felt terribly sick, collapsing with a pained groan. More blood, warm and wet, ran down from the wound on his head. That, he reckoned, must have been how his mother must've felt before she'd died, bleeding and too weak to get up, refusing to black out by sheer will alone. But Littlefoot didn't have that kind of willpower, not yet anyway. His head fell into the developing puddle of his own blood, Littlefoot fainted.

*

The longneck couldn't tell whether he was awake or not - or even alive. Suddenly, there was a faint, distant light. His head was burning as if something was frying it which meant at least that he must have been still alive. His vision was terribly blurry and his eyes unable to focus but the light was growing in intensity, almost as if it was approaching him. Soon, the darkness was completely replace by light, a light so bright that it momentarily blinded Littlefoot. Once his vision was partly restored, the boy could make out a distant shape, contrasting against the White surrounding him. Upon closer observation, his vision improving, his ability to focus strengthening, he could recognize movement. As a matter of fact, whatever it was that he was looking at, was moving towards him.

"What is this?" he wondered, though he didn't have to wait for long. Finally, his eyes had fully adapted to the sudden brightness (there was nothing to see but light). His gaze fell on the approaching shape again. Strongly familiar it was. The pattern of movement was too familiar to deny it; a longneck was approaching him.

"A longneck, who might it be?!" Littlefoot perked up. Was it his grandpa? Or his grandma?!"

"No, this longneck is small... like... like me!" Littlefoot's headache was almost secondary now, too excited he was now to bother much with the throbbing pain. He remembered feeling scared and lonely in the darkness so this discovery was very pleasant. Littlefoot didn't know who might be approaching him but he was simply happy to see another fellow longneck, and a child too, likely! Once the longneck (now he could tell that it was a kid his age!) had walked within a longneck length (the length of an average adult of his species), it suddenly hit him like a brick to the face.

"A-Ali?!" The boy recognized the longneck, who was a girl with a kind, warm smile and a pink skin. "W-what are you doing here?! How..."

But the girl didn't reply at all. Only her smile, her shimmering blue eyes locking with his, was speaking to him, the boy completely perplexed.

"Ali..." Suddenly, he felt very dreamy. The girl formed words with her lips though he couldn't hear them. "Follow me!" was what he read from the lip movement. The girl winked at him, smiling once more before she turned around and began to run away laughing.

"Wait for me, Ali, I'm coming!!!" Littlefoot shouted, going after the girl, but a strange phenomenon was crossing his plans suddenly.

"I'm not moving at all!" Only now Littlefoot noticed that he wasn't standing on solid ground. Much rather, he was floating in an eternal room filled with nothing but light, light and more light. Ali was cheerfully galloping out of view, the boy looking after her, panicking.

"Ali, wait!" Wait Ali! Nooooooooo......."

*

Littlefoot opened his eyes. The unusual white space had vanished, replaced by the all too familiar set of trees and rocks in the vicinity of his home in the Great Valley.

"A dream, huh?" The longneck was still sleepy and perplexed; the experiences he had made within his sleepstory were still very alive. He could still feel (or, rather, recall) the heavy pain from his injury, the fear of being caught in the endless darkness or his fast-beating heart when Ali appeared to him.

"Ali..." A weak, content smile flashed across the corners of his mouth. "I really wonder how she is doing..." Littlefoot gave a hearty yawn as he rolled over onto his other flank, not quite ready to get up but too mentally occupied to take another nap, catching a glimpse at his grandfather, who gave him a mirthful smile (Grandma was still sleeping).

"Whatever that was about..." The boy grunted, reluctantly rolling back to his original position, deciding not to mind his grandpa for now; he had some thinking to do and his thoughts returned to Ali.

"Gee, I haven't been thinking about her lately..." Well, in his defense, it had been well over two cold times since Littlefoot had met the girl. It had been on a nice day long ago. The Valley had been expecting a herd of longnecks that day. After greeting them formally, he and his friends had been playing a game of Hide and Seek when Littlefoot suddenly found a shy but friendly longneck instead of his gang, Ali. He ended up playing with her that day, having a lot of fun while slowing her around the Valley, becoming friends in no time. Unfortunately, just then his grandfather had fallen gravely sick.

He had been worried sick; it hadn't been looking good. When his grandmother asked the visiting herd for advice, he heard about a mysterious flower said to grow in the herd's former homeland, which had succumbed to heavy flooding. It was said to heal the sick but nobody had been willing to show them the way. Angry and disappointed, he had forged up a devious plan. With Ali's help, who knew the way, they set off on a perilous adventure to retrieve the mysterious Night Flower, later joined by his friends, succeeding in the end to bring his grandfather the cure just in time. Soon after, Ali's herd had left suddenly. Before leaving, they promised to see each other again one day but there hadn't been a trace of her herd ever since.

"Gee, I kinda miss her..." Littlefoot mumbled, quiet enough so that his grandpa wouldn't catch was he was breeding about. He got a little melancholic as his thoughts lingered on the girl. Where had she been all this time? Wouldn't she ever return to the valley again? He had certainly expected her to visit one of these days but such a visit hadn't become reality yet.

"I really hope that one day I can see Ali again..." the purple-brown boy mumbled a little sadly. Playing with Ali has been a special kind of fun, one that even the gang could never achieve. Ali had been special and maybe it was because she was a longneck too. He couldn't quite tell that but as he recalled how Ali once used to pull all sorts of funky faces, he immediately laughed and felt so much better. It was okay to be sad about those far away every now and then but it shouldn't dissuade him from being silly and happy. Under his grandfather's gaze that suggested interest in whatever he was going on about, Littlefoot got up to have breakfast before he made for the meeting place he and his friends had agreed on the other day. Another day filled with silly laughter and ridicule was awaiting him.

Or so he hoped.

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I really don't know what happened but I think my writing has changed a little since last month. I was on vacation, read a lot of books, which certainly inspired my style and vocabulary. I was also involved in some fights with admins and members alike which resulted from alienations towards me, disagreements and fishy decisions but I shall not go on about that here. For those curious, it's the reason for my hiatus though. (save for creative stuff, I'm not around until further notice)

Anyways, I actually wanted the talking scene to be longer but couldn't think of much else to extend the scene with. I had an idea a while back but seem to have forgotten about it. Well, it works the way it is I think :)

I was afraid I would fall into the dreaded writer's block when I started tackling the dream (chapter 7 was already finished by the time I began working on the dream). I knew that Ali should play a role at some point and I wanted Littlefoot to dream about the journey ahead of him. After some brainstorming, I came up with the scenario I ended up with though I'll admit the cave scenes were created on the spot (aka. during school lessons xD) Considering that, I think it's even more impressive. I seem to be very productive there while whenever I write at home I quickly lose my spirit. Weird.

Well, that's it from me. Since I've already done chapter 7, expect that to follow soon!


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Quote
Well, it seems I was right in predicting that Ali would become quite a pain for her mother to handle, but I can't blame her, for the most part. The tense argument between the two got out of hand so quickly that I felt as if I was there, trying to listen in and couldn't keep up with what they were saying. It was as if it just happened so fast!  :P I do have my concerns over the Old One's decision to not make the journey, so I think it'll be intriguing to see where this herd's story goes from here.

I only hope that Ali doesn't start acting like Shorty, ... or will all three of our main Longneck heroes go through the same mood swings because of their nightmares? This should be very interesting!  :o

Oh, and have a nice vacation!  :)

Thanks, I'm glad that you think so :) Dialogues like that need to be fast-paced. I guess I'm somewhat known for writing dialogue heavy stories in general while not going as much into details as far as thoughts, world-building and every day descriptions go but I think the dream scene is a good example that I can pull something like that off as well if I try :) But anyway, an argument like that with tons of interrupting words just doesn't feel as intense :P

Hmm, mood swings you say. I honestly haven't thought of them as them having mood swings but it's not that bad of an idea. It certainly influences their minds. That much is certain. Shorty is unstable as it is and Ali's outburst is the result of suppressed emotions and her general displeasure with her situation. I'll certainly keep it in mind  :^^spike


Quote
This is yet another great improvement on the original.  :) We get to see Ali's remembrance of her time in the valley and the wonderful freedom she felt within its protective walls, only to have the spell be broken by her awakening. The argument with her mother is much more reasonable than I remember it in the original as it slowly builds and then finally eases as the meeting arrives.  The meeting itself is another sign of improvement as the Old One's dialogue takes on a very distinct, and anti-laconic tone.  Both being long-winded, but not superfluous as she explains her reasoning and misgivings on the situation.  The fact that she allows a vote does show that she is the matriarch of a somewhat democratic system but that her words and instructions carry great weight in the community.  This makes her a bit more relatable than in the previous tale and it also makes me curious about what will happen next.  :yes

(I'll be replying as if the discord hassle hadn't happened)

Thank you very much! The dream at the beginning (As a huge fan of this story who is not a member here put it, I apparently love to write them and seem to be doing great at it) was yet another sign how much Ali missed Littlefoot and how much she disliked her current life. Obviously, as she was taken away from that fantasy by force, she is very disgruntled and takes out all her subdued anger on her mother, who is only partly to blame of course but Ali still sees her as the great evil who is the reason for all her distress and melancholy. The original was rather, uhh, having a fight for the sake of it. I tried to give the whole scene a flow to it and I think (as you said) it's worked rather well. :)

As always, you've summed up the scene very well. Old One has a more distinct character now and I agree that the previous chapter was terrible :P I wrote that in german back in the days and later translated it and... it shows  :lol


Quote
The argument between Ali and her mom was curt and very reminiscent of a kid trying to rebel against an overly protective parental figure. The exchanges were brief, yet heated... pretty much like a real life argument with parents.

It's also quite telling that the Old One refuses to make the journey despite the instincts of her herd and even herself. Really shows that even after LBT4, she still prefers to be in her own comfort zone and refuses to take risks to endanger the herd.
Yup, you've said that really well. Nothing to add here but... thanks for the review :D

OwlsCantRead

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2018, 10:43:58 AM »
That sleep story is such a tease, hinting for things to come. The whiplash in it was nicely done too.

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2018, 11:55:33 AM »
As of the time I'm writing this review, I finally watched the movie, so now I can tell what's different from the rest. In this case, Littlefoot's sleep story gave the chapter such an intense atmosphere. It seems that with every night that passes, his nightmares will keep getting worse and worse, and continuously plague his mind, until ... it happens. That last bit with the mention of Ali has me very intrigued, and I have this strange hunch that we could be expecting a Littlefoot x Ali reunion at some point during the story. Then again, that's just my prediction, and I have no way of telling whether or not I'm a good fortuneteller.  :P As before, nice job with the buildups in Littlefoot's story. Compared to Ali and Shorty, Littlefoot has been having the most tense buildup in my opinion.

rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2018, 10:57:06 PM »
The sleep story, and Littlefoot's confusion during it, nicely encapsulates the conflicting emotions that he is going through when contemplating the coming journey.  Though the dream sequences are a bit of a tease, as OwlsCantRead has tested, it is a tease that makes us readers consider the possibilities of what Littlefoot's coming journey will entail.  As such the dreams are not only foreshadowing possibilities to our favorite flathead, but also to ourselves as well.  Though both Ali and Shorty have had more eventful occurrences thus far, Littlefoot's slow buildup has me curious for what is to come.  :yes

Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2018, 03:05:58 PM »
Sorry for the late review but I still thought I’d give my thoughts. This chapter elaborated the future of the story quite well and this is another example of how ridiculously easy it would have been for Universal to make the tenth film better. The longer dialogue in the first part of the fic made that conversation feel more natural and complete and it wrapped that brief scene up well.

However, it is the latter part of this installment that made this an intriguing read. Littlefoot’s dream was quite intense and the way that scene was built was really impressive. The ending of that sequence with Ali was powerful and it brought up Littlefoot’s missing for her quite tangibly. The last scene of this chapter with Littlefoot’s thoughts was not only a good look into how the longneck views his old friend these days but a great indicator for what’s to come and one I’m not sure was included in the original version of this fic. In any case, it was a good inclusion and well done with this one! :DD

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2019, 08:55:49 PM »
ZOMG! A new chapter!  :Mo

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Chapter 7: Thinking place

Old One was overlooking the deserted clearing, grunting dismissively. The decision her herd had just cast was highly infuriating. Or, more precisely, the feeling that would surely cease to haunt her during her waking and sleeping hours if only she'd given in on her instincts.

"Hrrmmmphh," the old female snorted in a manner that suggested disgust more than anything. Regardless, it had been the better decision for the herd. A decision that would surely bring more grief over her fellow longnecks but they would be safe and that was all that mattered. Safety was always the priority. Always. What good would a journey do them after all? A journey that would exonerate her herd from the terror of the nightmare. A terrible terror indeed but a terror one could arrange oneself with. A terror that didn't kill. If they'd go out into the unknown, chances were fate would lead them into a massive desert until the whole herd would die of thirst and hunger. No, it was simply impossible to take such a risk.

Her thoughts soon shifted to a slightly different yet just as annoying matter. One face had been missing from the meeting. She knew every member by name and appearance but one of the youngest hadn't attended...

"That little bratty girl, what was she thinking?!" She would have to put her through a disciplinary trial again - as if there weren't more urgent matters to devote her attention to! Why couldn't that girl behave? Why couldn't she see the importance that attendance held? Old One grunted once more as she too left the clearing. The trial could wait until tomorrow.

*

"Ali will be pleased to hear the result..."

Ali's mother lumbered back to her nest feeling terrible. She had noticed the stern look on their leader's face for sure and even though it wasn't her fault that Ali had been absent she knew she'd be partly held responsible as well.

"That girl better be home before the dark..." she muttered, angry and disappointed. At least she could get some pleasure from Ali when the girl'd realize that they'd be staying. Or perhaps...

"Yes, I should withhold that information from her. It's the least punishment I can put her through!" With a grim expression, she returned to her nest, anticipating the moment she'd get back at her insufferable girl for her misbehavior.

*

"I hate her!"

Ali's words echoed through the empty forest. She had stormed along a narrow path she had forged through the undergrowth over time which lead to a place only a child could reach. Ali had found the small pond by accident, nobody else knew about it, and had been using it as a hideout and thinking place ever since. The extremely thick underbrush and the tight trees prevented any bigger dinosaur to pass through so she was safe from annoying mothers and the like.

"Ugh why can't she understand me?! Why can't she acknowledge my feelings?!" Once again the girl's agitated voice rang through the thick air. As Ali arrived at the small pond, her anger quickly dissipated like a puddle of water on a warm summer day, turning into melancholy and sadness instead. With a heavy sigh, she sat down on a small ledge that was overlooking the water. The pond was roughly circular and about 5 longneck lengths in diameter. Various sorts of reed were growing along the muddy area where water met solid ground, much higher than her long neck could reach, obscuring it from view nicely. Some water plants could be recognized below the shallow, murky floor. It was a quiet, secluded place and it had a strangely comforting effect on Ali. Just like on this day, her anger never lasted long while she was here, however...

"It makes me so so depressed being here..."

Yet Ali would rather be depressed alone at her special place where she could do as she pleased, where noone would tease her, where noone could bother her... where she could simply be. Reflecting, dreaming, thinking, suffering.

"What's the point of all this?" the girl interrogated her reflection which was dancing across the calm surface. Slightly annoyed, she noted that it merely shrugged.

"Yeah, right..." she grunted dismissively. "What's the point if you have noone to play with and noone right in their head to talk to? Mother is so stupid. You hear me? Stuuuuuupid!" Ali could almost hear her reflection adding that the whole bloody herd was stupid but there was no point saying that too. After living in this herd her entire life, it was like common knowledge and didn't need further mention.

"What should I do?" Ali lamented quietly. "If mother doesn't roast me for this then stupid Old One will! I can't stand it anymore! You hear me? I CAN'T STAND IT!" Some leaves shook as the girl screamed out in a desperate rage. Her whole body was in heavy unrest, her mind in a turmoil of thoughts and desires. Every ounce of her body was yearning to leave, to follow her instincts, to follow her sleepstories. Every part of her small body, from her ears to her stomach to the tip of her tail, was longing for adventure, uprising and change… and for one particular longneck.

"Littlefoot..."


Immedialy as her crush entered her mind, big, salty tears began falling quickly from the little longneck's face, impacting the water surface and blurring the reflection. Occasional sobs broke the silence as Ali's thoughts spiralled around the brown longneck. His goofy smile, his infectious laugh and his tender touch, not to mention the handsome look. Oh what would she give to see him right here, right now. Immediately, she sobbed a little harder. As she wept mostly quietly, memories of the time she spent with him kept resurfacing. How she'd met him in the Great Valley, playing a prank on him and ending up falling from a rotten tree trunk, how they'd played together, became friends, met Littlefoot's friends Cera, Ducky, Petrie and Spike, ran away together in order to save Littlefoot's grandfather from severe illness... how much fun they had regardless of the danger they had faced. Oh what would she give to do that again.

If only they'd go on that bloody journey.

The thought improved her situation a little though the tears still fell just as frequently. If only she could go on that adventure. Ali just knew that this mysterious phenomenon was affecting all longnecks, some observations among the herd giving enough proof to believe in it firmly. Littlefoot was much braver than she'd ever been, than she could ever be. If he didn't set off into the unknown, then who would?

"Certainly not stupid fat grail annoying Old One!" her mind shouted indignantly and, in a way, it helped shake off the sadness. Ali hadn't been to the meeting but something told her that it must have been about the sleepstory problem and its consequences. Old One was the biggest coward Ali knew (and the biggest idiot, her reflection added angrily) so the outcome was more than obvious. She'd still be stuck here facing another trial for non-attendance and everything would be terrible. TERRIBLE. (Your whole life is terrible, her reflection yelled).

"What would you do?" she asked to noone in particular. "I cannot stay where I am right now... it'd drive me mad! But I cannot leave unless they do..." Infuriating, wasn't it? To be caught like that with no real option which could improve her current situation? Without the freedom and power to make your own decision? Restricted by the chains of her mother; restricted by the laws of the herd...

"What would you do, Littlefoot?" she mumbled quietly, looking up into the slightly cloudy sky. "Cera, Ducky, Petrie, Spike? I need your help." But none came. Obviously. Her friends were who knows how far away after all. But that was when he reflection, stronger and sharper than ever, piped up encouragingly.

"Run away, run away and chase your dreams, Ali!"

"I can't do that!" Ali replied with shock. "I can't leave the herd... and mother!"

"A herd you despise? A mother who you hate? Who opposes you? Ali, wake up dear!"

"I am awake," Ali protested before realizing that she hadn't caught the figurative meaning at all.

"Then run! You cry because of them, you're angry, sad, disappointed and a brat. You're not your true self unless you get away!"

Ali couldn't argue with that. All the shouting, all the arguing and crying... that wasn't her. Not really anyway. The real Ali was a very kind and compassionate nature who wouldn't dare tease her mother like some bratty kid with no manners and education. She could be quite lady-like if she wanted, mother and Old One had made sure to that. Ali couldn't argue either that those morons (yes, she was pissed enough to use such a word) were effectively ruining her already poor life even more. Maybe it really was about time that she broke ties and did what she wanted to do, what she considered right? However...

"I'm just a child though, any sharptooth would get me if I wander around on my own..."

"Yes, but that didn't stop you last time, didn't it?"

Indeed, Ali hadn't been the least worried about sharpteeth and other dangers when she lead Littlefoot into the Land of Mists. Which she'd regretted. She'd almost died a few times along that journey if it hadn't been for sheer luck. Both of them had, in fact, and Ducky had barely escaped being eaten. Could she really expect that kind of luck again? She'd have to find water, have to find food and shelter... and she'd have to find the way - though that was the least of her worries since some part of her could sense what way to go, and she'd have to avoid anything with malicious intent. Not exactly an easy task and even more so for a little child who'd never had to care for herself before.

"I'm not sure..." Ali lamented and new tears burned in the corner of her eyes. "I don't know what's wrong and what's right! I don't want to stay and I'm too scared to go!" Now she really did tear up, fresh tears tattering the surface of the pond, blurring her reflection up to the point of being unrecognizable as her reflection, as Ali. Though her reflection had teeth, it'd take more than a few disturbances for it to go away. In a way, Ali mused, it was the only existence that never truly left her. Whether appearing to her as a reflection on water or as her shadow under the light of the Bright Circle, it was always there, a mostly mute companion but a companion all the same. A companion one could rely on and ask for advice. Right now it was telling her to leave her previous life away in order to follow her heart blindly to escape her crappy life with her mother in Old One's herd and hunt after her distant friend whose presence she desired more than anything in the whole world. Could she trust that voice? Perhaps it had just had enough of her childish whining and crying trying to get rid of her? Or perhaps it simply didn't care whether she'd die halfway through her trek.

"Littlefoot, what do you say? What should I do? Please help me!" Of course Littlefoot didn't hear her but Ali tried imagining his goofy face until her reflection instead displayed that of Littlefoot. Littlefoot gave her a smile.

"If you want to see me, you've gotta follow the sleepstories. They will guide you to me."

"But!" Ali protested. "It's extremely dangerous!"

"Of course it is but it wouldn't be an adventure otherwise, Ali. Be brave and follow your heart for it will never lead you astray." And as soon as he had appeared, the reflection of the boy was gone again. It had been the version of Littlefoot that lived in her memories that she had just spoken to but she supposed the real Littlefoot would have told her to do the same.

"Follow my heart he said. Follow the sleepstories too. In other words, go wherever it feels right to go? Sounds fishy to me but Littlefoot wants to meet me! I HAVE to go! Reflection, are you listening?"

The blurry mirrored image of Ali grunted.

"Tonight I will run away to find Littlefoot! I don't care if it means having to leave mother; she is not acting like a mother anymore and I hate her, from the bottom of my heart I do!" Ali panted as she shouted all of this out loud. She would escape tonight and noone, yes, NOBODY would keep her from carrying out her plan! NOBODY would stop her from seeing Littlefoot!

"Littlefoot, you can't hear this but know that I will come to meet you, definitely! I will come to meet you, it's a promise, see?" Ali felt slightly stupid for talking to plain air like that but it helped her stay sane. She still had several hours before nightfall and, against all odds, she wanted to check first what decision the herd had made in the morning. It would be easier sneaking away at night after all (her hideout was in the heart of the forest so she was bound to be seen by someone at day). Moreover...

"I need to prepare and eat and drink a lot and sleep some!"

The girl needed no further prompting. Ali had probably never eaten this much food before. By the time she was done, her belly ached and her eyes fell shut almost with no effort as she fell into an uneasy afternoon nap which was characterized by snippet-like dreams that made no sense. At the break of dawn, she ate some more regardless of her stomach ache as she slowly headed back home, dreading the coming encounter. All the green food inside her belly annoyed her greatly but, in hindsight, it had probably saved her life.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Oh, it's been too awfully long, hasn't it? My apologies for disappearing again without a trace for a good while but I was too busy to keep my writing updated. I'm not saying that I haven't been writing at all, thankfully I have worked on things here and there, but I couldn't be bothered to provide random updates until I had a little bit of writing done to get back into somewhat of a schedule or whatever you wanna call it lol. There will be one update per week for now on any of my stories (and I also have a short story related to this story coming soon) until I run out of ammo. It's winter break atm so I'm working hard to create a bit of a headstart in case I fall behind so terribly again.

*

Anyway, now concerning the actual chapter. I've written this like 3 months ago already and it was already done before I had finished chapter 6 haha. I just picked it up and changed a few things, some wording etc. The old version of this scene was considerably shorter. I did like it more than most of my early chapters back then but I still felt I had to take a different approach. Ali ending up at the border of sanity having conversations with her reflection and imaginary Littlefoot certainly hadn't been planned but rather occurred to me spontaneously as I was working myself into Ali's mental turmoil. Please do let me know if it feels out of place but I think Ali's gone through a lot and it's not too unlikely for someone to end up like this.

Secondly (and this was the main reason I gave this chapter another revamp), I wanted to point out that even though Ali is terribly blinded by her feelings, she still has enough sense in her to be aware of the dangers that such a journey would obviously entail and be hesitant about it. If it hadn't been for imaginary Littlefoot, she mightn't have come to the decision after all. A decision she is still conflicted about but still she made up her mind, no longer willing to bear the chains of her mother and her herd.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter :)


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awkward to reply to old reviews but I always read them when I receive them, just more convenient to adapt to how I do things on ff.net lately which has a poor review system imho. Anyway, these are always appreciated and if there's something that needs immediate clarification I'll respond by PM, probably :)


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That sleep story is such a tease, hinting for things to come. The whiplash in it was nicely done too.

Thank you very much, a bit of foreshadowing seemed like a nice idea :D

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As of the time I'm writing this review, I finally watched the movie, so now I can tell what's different from the rest. In this case, Littlefoot's sleep story gave the chapter such an intense atmosphere. It seems that with every night that passes, his nightmares will keep getting worse and worse, and continuously plague his mind, until ... it happens. That last bit with the mention of Ali has me very intrigued, and I have this strange hunch that we could be expecting a Littlefoot x Ali reunion at some point during the story. Then again, that's just my prediction, and I have no way of telling whether or not I'm a good fortuneteller.  :P As before, nice job with the buildups in Littlefoot's story. Compared to Ali and Shorty, Littlefoot has been having the most tense buildup in my opinion.

...And that in spite of the fact that I kinda added Littlefoot's part late into my new concept. Yes, this dream took me a lot of thinking but it was well worth it. It was certainly intense, I have to agree yep. Concerning the sleepstories, I wouldn't say they're getting any worse, this one wasn't even a regular sleepstory related to the eventual eclipse. But it is a nice theory which makes sense when you think about it :)

Gotta remember that you haven't read the original haha so I'm not going to comment on the last paragraph lest I accidently reveal something haha. Anyways, thanks for the review!


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The sleep story, and Littlefoot's confusion during it, nicely encapsulates the conflicting emotions that he is going through when contemplating the coming journey.  Though the dream sequences are a bit of a tease, as OwlsCantRead has tested, it is a tease that makes us readers consider the possibilities of what Littlefoot's coming journey will entail.  As such the dreams are not only foreshadowing possibilities to our favorite flathead, but also to ourselves as well.  Though both Ali and Shorty have had more eventful occurrences thus far, Littlefoot's slow buildup has me curious for what is to come.  :yes

Thank you very much :)

Littlefoot's arc is just as exciting for me because unlike the rest of the story which has the first draft to reference (both as a good and a bad example at times  :sducky ) this is written completely from scratch and has only very little guidance from the movie as his journey is reduced to very few short events with little screentime safe for meeting Sue. And of course I can't wait for
Spoiler: ShowHide
 the three arcs to merge eventually :)


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Sorry for the late review but I still thought I’d give my thoughts. This chapter elaborated the future of the story quite well and this is another example of how ridiculously easy it would have been for Universal to make the tenth film better. The longer dialogue in the first part of the fic made that conversation feel more natural and complete and it wrapped that brief scene up well.

However, it is the latter part of this installment that made this an intriguing read. Littlefoot’s dream was quite intense and the way that scene was built was really impressive. The ending of that sequence with Ali was powerful and it brought up Littlefoot’s missing for her quite tangibly. The last scene of this chapter with Littlefoot’s thoughts was not only a good look into how the longneck views his old friend these days but a great indicator for what’s to come and one I’m not sure was included in the original version of this fic. In any case, it was a good inclusion and well done with this one! :DD

Aww thank you very much, Sovereign! It's rare to read a review from you that has nothing to criticize (which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong, your constructive thoughts and advice have helped not only me  :lol ) so uhh I guess i did a pretty good joob. :olittlefoot Speaking of which, I feel like I've improved a lot lately even though I haven't been reading a lot (which is usually a great source of both inspiration and also ideas and reference of stylistic elements which I may or may not know due to my native tongue being a different one ;) so it is even more surprising.

Though I've recently been talking a lot to a person who has been following me on ff.net for a long time and they are a talented analyst (and a big fan  :lol) and their ideas and critical eye have been a great guidance over the last few months and certainly have been an influence worth a mention on this story and my other work as well :)


My next upload will probably be a new chapter of my novellization project so keep your eyes and ears open  :smile

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2019, 09:50:24 PM »
Now, this is the perfect example of signs of mental turmoil. I know mostly because my nephew has a mental illness and keeps having these random screaming episodes as if he's schizophrenic or something. To me, it really does seem that Ali is on the verge of going insane unless she gathers up the courage to run away from this "miserable life" she's been trapped in. You have a great skill of expressing character emotions in situations like these, and I'm excited yet dreading what will happen in the next part of her story. She knows it will be a perilous one, but she just wants to be with those she knows will care about her, and she will do whatever it takes to start another chapter in her young life.

Short, but good chapter, and BTW, Happy New Year! :smile

Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2019, 02:47:58 PM »
This was a rather quick look into Ali’s thoughts and showed very well just how difficult her situation is. I’m not sure if her mental anguish was even more profound this time around but still, you did a fine job in portraying her frustrations about her herd and her inability to be with Littlefoot. That conflict is shown quite deeply which is vital in portraying a character make decisions like these.

Yet, again, you aren’t making Ali especially likable to me in this fic.  :p “Why can’t she acknowledge my feelings?” is the kind of stuff that often makes kind of shun a character and later in the chapter, her planned journey is, as in the original fic, a complete folly. Though, it was a good idea to show her try to argue with herself about her situation as it showed how torn she is between her wishful thoughts and reality. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see just how you’ll change the next parts of Ali’s story.  :)

rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2019, 02:33:50 AM »
Though this chapter was a bit on the short side it did present us with a good inner view of Ali's thought process and inner turmoil.  We get to see how the small taste of relative freedom and happiness in the valley has put her herd life into a very unflattering light.  With this being combined with a lack of companionship from many kids her age, hormones, and what looks like a budding mental breakdown, it really puts her motivations into perspective and into a much more sympathetic light than what we were presented with in the previous incarnation of this tale.  Though in this case her youthful and hopeful dreams have overpowered her logical mind, we do see that she is thinking about things with some sense of rationality as shown by her stocking up on food for the long journey ahead.  I eagerly look forward to what the coming confrontation will lead to, and how Ali's journey will proceed.  :yes