Author Topic: Separate Ways  (Read 12118 times)

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Separate Ways
« Reply #40 on: October 24, 2017, 01:49:20 AM »
I kind of forgot to review the next two chapters when I read them. Since my memory of the details isn't really good at the moment so I'll just say here that I enjoyed the developments greatly! :lol

Now onto the chapter I just read, the one about Petrie.

I'm happy to see that Petrie is on the way to full recovery. :) His hopes to find the gang again were, as was to be expected, crushed pretty quickly. I really love the introspective nature of this chapter, it really gives you an accurate insight into the young flyer's troubled mind yep yep yep! :)

I was kind of wondering what Petrie would do any meeting Pterano was actually one of those that came to my mind. I must say it was a pleasant surprise to see him rescue his nephew in an act of bravery and offer him to join the herd he's with all the time. That'll be something I'd imagine! :lol

Curious to see where this is going next :yes


EDIT: Just read the next chapter too so I'll just add my review of that here ;)

Oddly enough, I don't really have anything specific to point out here. Greentail and her brother seem to be very similar to Ruby in more than one way and it seems like a collaboration like this is nothing short of advantages for both parties. However, your AN at the end of the chapter makes me a bit suspicious :p

Another great chapter, Ruby sure is having interesting adventures! :lol
mostly inactive due to exam preparation. Includes my creative work in particular which is entirely on hiatus. Hit me on discord if you need something, I'm more active there :)


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« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2017, 06:09:37 AM »
Sorry for the double post but it's been three days since my last review already :p

I really love Petrie's next chapter! You did a lot of world-building in a way, developing the herd in a way that just makes me wonder what life in this herd would be like for Petrie.

The ritual of accepting Petrie was executed in a believable way. Just the right amount of strictness but not over the top :)

The challenge was awesome, probably much better going this route than having them fight to death. I'm not sure if it should have been a bit more prolonged (there was little to no interaction between the contestants but that was, given the circumstances you picked, not really easy to add. Either way, I'm guessing there will be more dialogue between the two soon :p

Great chapter again :lol

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« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2017, 10:40:33 AM »
I'm happy to hear you liked those chapters and thank your the reviews! :yes

I'm happy to see that Petrie is on the way to full recovery. smile.gif His hopes to find the gang again were, as was to be expected, crushed pretty quickly. I really love the introspective nature of this chapter, it really gives you an accurate insight into the young flyer's troubled mind yep yep yep! smile.gif

I was kind of wondering what Petrie would do any meeting Pterano was actually one of those that came to my mind. I must say it was a pleasant surprise to see him rescue his nephew in an act of bravery and offer him to join the herd he's with all the time. That'll be something I'd imagine!

Yeah, even if Petrie wasn't willing to accept the truth when he wasn't forced to face it, he had to come to terms with his reality at some point. I felt he needed some time to think about his situation and this chapter offered a good way opportunity for that. It's good to hear you found those thoughts enjoyable and enlightening about what was going on in Petrie's mind. :smile

I'm not sure if this was a too easy way to continue the flier's story but it felt natural to include Pterano in this plot. :lol: Pterano doesn't hesitate to help Petrie at this point and trying to provide him with shelter and company on this dark hour is the only way he can help his nephew.

Oddly enough, I don't really have anything specific to point out here. Greentail and her brother seem to be very similar to Ruby in more than one way and it seems like a collaboration like this is nothing short of advantages for both parties. However, your AN at the end of the chapter makes me a bit suspicious

In this story, most omnivores are willing to forge real friendships and trust but they also know that misplacing them can lead to their own demise. You're right that the trio have very much in common as they all wish to live and find happiness but things don't always go like that. We'll see how far their friendship takes them.

I really love Petrie's next chapter! You did a lot of world-building in a way, developing the herd in a way that just makes me wonder what life in this herd would be like for Petrie.

The ritual of accepting Petrie was executed in a believable way. Just the right amount of strictness but not over the top smile.gif

The challenge was awesome, probably much better going this route than having them fight to death. I'm not sure if it should have been a bit more prolonged (there was little to no interaction between the contestants but that was, given the circumstances you picked, not really easy to add. Either way, I'm guessing there will be more dialogue between the two soon

Thank you for your kind words with this one! There will be a lot more we don't know about the herd but I'm glad the introduction to them worked well. Petrie's life will be very different from now on and he'll have a lot of adjusting to do but for now, his hardest ordeal is done. As for the ritual, even if the herd has it's share of them, the initiation test is largely only routine check if the joining flier is worthy. In any case, I'm glad you found it well done! :)

The challenge was quite fun to write and it seems I did most of it in a believably way! There could certainly have been some interaction between Glide and Petrie already but don't worry, we'll see that in the next chapter! ;)

In any case, thank you for these detailed and thoughtful reviews! I'm very glad to hear you've found these last chapters enjoyable! :smile


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« Reply #43 on: October 30, 2017, 06:25:41 AM »
You're welcome Sovereign ^^spike

Now, I finally caught up so here's my review!

If the two thinclaws were a bit younger, I reckon they could fit in well with the RP cast, seeing as they're just as lonely and lost there. :lol The flashback helped me a lot to grasp onto their personality more and, needless to say, you made it very exciting to read. Adding the flyer gave the whole scene some extra pepper :DD

As it seems, the first day of collaboration was rather successful for both parties and it sure made Ruby hungry :p It is also nice to see them interact more, talking about their backgrounds and asking questions without making quick judgements.

However, how long will it take them to realize Ruby is leading them to possibly deadly situations :sducky:

Either I didn't notice it before/didn't pay attention or this is the first time you used a full-scale cliffhanger on us... and now I can't just read the next chapter :p

Keep it up!  :)littlefoot
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Separate Ways
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2017, 01:21:54 PM »

A Tale from the Beloved Past

The young flier’s eyes resonated with bother as he followed Glide’s shocked and somewhat resigned composure as she flew towards him. In the hours following the end of the newcomer’s challenge, Ortin had tried to come to terms with the surprising outcome. Not only had Petrie, or whatever his name was, defeated Glide in that test but he had also done so in a seemingly injured wing, only magnifying his upset victory. Ortin was deeply impressed by Petrie’s showing but he feared it would take a heavy toll on his friend. Glide had always been quite a self-confident flier and this disappointment would surely rattle her. Glide wasn’t used to losing and it remained to be seen how she’d handle it.

Even then, Ortin was confident that she’d face this defeat as a lesson, as something that would show her the way to improve her own flying tactics and teach that there were more ways to victory than one. Glide was a clever flyer who wouldn’t be beaten by this setback. The young flier was stationed in a small tree overlooking a narrow but deep gorge on its right side as he waited for his oldest friend to land near him. His eyes looked at the sky as Glide’s familiar form grew steadily larger and clearer. It wasn’t long before the female landed on another branch in a clearly annoyed fashion. Ortin decided to open the conversation in a somewhat cheeky remark, trying to see if Glide was alright after her humiliation. To his slight relief, her voice was only slightly sharp.

“That was a nice trick the outsider did back there. I never saw that coming and clearly you didn’t either I’m sorry about that.” Ortin smiled slightly, happy to see Glide’s expression being confused above all else. Neither of them were strangers to setbacks but hits to their dignity still hurt somewhat as they’d always be remembered for quite some time. Glide took a small sigh before she answered to the boy.

“Hmph! No one ever told us to try any tricks like that but it seems they are just as useful as simply flying! The newcomer is good, I give him that, but that isn’t how I would have wanted that race to end. Some idiots won’t let me forget that in many seasons!” Glide lamented, her voice tense as she crossed her arms angrily to emphasize her stance. Ortin cocked his head slightly, understanding Glide’s point of view as did any of the herd’s children. She was quite a respected flier for her age and these kinds of public defeats were never something any flier would want to go through, especially Glide.

“Just forget about them! You did your best back there and many of those morons wouldn’t have fared any better. I’m just glad I didn’t have to be there… It’s too bad it had to be you.” The male said, affirming that there was a point in his friend’s concerns about the situation. Glide cringed slightly and decided against the banging outrage in her head that there was no reason to dwell in these fears for any longer. After a small pause, she decided to change the subject and leave the unfortunate incident behind her for now. It would return back to haunt her soon enough anyway.

“Well, what have you been doing, Ortin? I haven’t seen you anywhere since the challenge ended and that was quite a while ago already.” The question wasn’t too meaningful in itself as most of the fliers in the herd were often on different tasks and it was likely that Ortin simply didn’t have time to follow the ceremony to its end. The boy answered in a neutral voice, clearly indifferent to the question as a whole.

“Nothing special. Dad asked me to find Lightcrest and his mate and to tell them we’ll be moving on tomorrow. They weren’t easy to find, as you can guess.” The young flier smiled a little, the mentioned group of fliers unusually fond of exploring and chasing stories gathered in the lands the herd was passing through. This tendency made them often oblivious to the herd’s plans and even if this was often a major problem for everyone, they were allowed to remain as they were strong, noble fliers whose loss would be a blow to the herd’s prestige and strength. Glide returned the understanding smile as she answered.

“Then it’s a small wonder you’re here even now! Does Peak have any other orders he’d like to tell anytime soon?” The girl asked in interest, knowing that Ortin’s father was an influential member of the herd and his son often knew things before the others did. He was a cousin to Peak and his most trusted assistant and deputy in the herd. This position was something he had always tried not to use to his advantage and it had often only served to strengthen the trust one of the herd’s leaders had in him. Ortin crossed his hands and shook his hand as he answered.

“Nope. We’ll start our journey towards Streli’s hills tomorrow as we know but right now, we have nothing else to do. But I think you’d want to rest before the long flight? That race looked pretty intense.” Ortin asked carefully, knowing that the challenge had largely drained his friend but Glide’s answer wasn’t what he had expected.

“Not at all. It isn’t even evening yet and I’m not going to waste time sleeping too long! If tomorrow will be a long one, there’s much better things to do today! Why don’t you try to catch me first…” The girl felt her good mood drift away as she was suddenly interrupted. After a brief sigh, Glide turned to look at the source of the familiar voice behind her.

“Here you be, Glide! Petrie… Petrie just wanted to thank for the race you gave me! You did very well!” The boy landed on another branch near the two friends. Glide knew she had absolutely no reason to be angry at the male for beating her but she still wasn’t ready to welcome his company.  Even if he hadn’t humiliated her in front of the herd, he was still a virtual outsider who was most likely dumb enough to understand anything of any worth. It would be a long time before he would be a true part of the herd. Glide turned to Petrie with a sour look and answered to him in a clearly displeased voice.

“Be my guest. It’s not like I had any choice in that matter once I was chosen as your opponent.” The flier said to Petrie who frowned at this answer. Even if he had a lot of experience of trying to stay away from any embarrassing behavior with his siblings, the notion of actual, concrete reputation in a large group was still an unclear thing for him. The Valley had been a largely herd-segregated place and there wasn’t too much reputation to hold inside the families or small group of dinosaurs as opposed to such a large herd as this. Still, Petrie wanted to express his gratitude and maybe, just maybe, earn a friend.

“Petrie guess so but you still fly very well! M… me sorry me didn’t have time to say this back then but you would have beaten Petrie if me didn’t use me trick.” Petrie knew his words were unlikely to completely change Glide’s behavior but he wanted to make sure she understood what he thought. Glide looked at the gorge as she spoke, trying to keep her calm in her answer even if the conversation wasn’t going as she wished.

“Well, you used it and now everybody thinks I’m a weakling! You did your best Petrie but it wasn’t a good thing for me. An outsider like you hasn’t probably even learned half of what we have to here and still you managed to do that dive. Congratulations.” The last word was spoken extremely coldly as she felt her pride being hurt in a major way. Petrie’s command of his movements was something she had never seen from such a young flier and the fact that Petrie had done it without effort rattled Glide greatly. For all she knew, Petrie could as well be the lonely, pampered child he had claimed to be to the four leaders. Petrie looked at her in thoughtful look as he answered.

“Petrie sorry if me cause trouble but neither did me have a choice. If me had lost, me and uncle would have been driven away and things would be even worse than they are now. Me hope you can understand. It was Lenel’s choice to put you against me, not Petrie’s.” The young flier tried to keep his voice down in order not to upset the other flier any further and it looked like a small touch of guilt was forming in the corners of Glide’s eyes. However, it was clear that this was a more emotional issue and she still looked saddened by the turn of events. Ortin looked at his friend in sympathy and decided to give her some reprieve of this conversation. He took a more excited expression and spoke to Petrie with some enthusiasm.

“Anyway, that was a great trick you did, Petrie. In fact, it looked like it was a bit too impressive for a novice like yourself. When did you learn something like that?” The other boy asked in a half-interested, half-suspicious voice from Petrie who cringed at the question. Even if Glide’s friend sounded friendlier and less bitter than the girl, his question hit right at the nerve of Petrie’s claimed past. He couldn’t tell of all the times he had helped his friends against sharpteeth, all his hard work to keep them safe from dangers or about his endless struggle to win the approval of his family. Petrie thought frantically for a moment before he came up with a way to answer believably enough.

“That was the first time Petrie ever did something like that but momma always told us to try to do things differently than sharpteeth think. What Petrie did was very dangerous but momma told me to always try to make our use of the different winds in surprising ways.” The flier said, hoping for the other male to catch his bait. However, it turned out be a false hope as Ortin frowned slightly and answered with another question.

“That is what we do often try to do too but none of us can do such a fall without hitting the ground or losing control of ourselves! There must be more to it than small-scale training or luck!” Ortin didn’t sound too worried about Petrie’s ability to answer but he sounded a bit puzzled by the newcomer’s claims. Petrie knew he had to make a believable lie here but it was easier said than done.

“O… our home was in the middle of the desert, as me said, and there were often flying sharpteeth around there which we had to escape from. Petrie met them only three times but we had to use everything me knew to escape them. Me had no time to think what me did… Petrie only do it like me did today. It wasn’t a trick as me did it only to survive. Petrie didn’t think about what me do, Petrie just… do it.” The flier managed to force his voice to stay in a somewhat natural range but Ortin still didn’t seem completely satisfied. Glide, however, spoke before the conversation could continue.

“In any case, you’re now part of us so I guess we’ll have to learn to live with that fact. Just do as well as you did against me and you might just survive even if you’re just an outsider still. That’s more than I’d say from most fliers here but don’t think we’ll do any further favors for you anymore. Good luck here but don’t think too much of yourself. Let’s go, Ortin.” The girl said and turned to look at Ortin who looked at her in slight worry. He wasn’t too excited by Petrie’s presence either but he thought Glide was acting rather brashly in the face of her defeat. It was clear it’d take more than just a talk for Glide to see herself as the same flyer who woke up in the morning. Ortin cleared his throat before answering.

“Well… try to survive, Petrie. Try to avoid the likes of Hoist in the future as they can really make your life a pain if you’re not careful. I guess we’ll see again soon enough.” The bluish flier said and tried to form something between a smile and a nod. Petrie was rather disappointed by this turn of events but he knew he couldn’t push the issue further. After a moment, he bid his own farewells at the duo.

“That bully won’t surprise Petrie again! Me hope you’re right… who were you again?” Petrie remembered he hadn’t heard the other boy’s name yet. Ortin looked at him in surprise as he didn’t remember he hadn’t told Petrie his name. He answered briefly before he and Glide took off.

“My name’s Ortin. Take care!” Petrie looked at the two friends’ departure in disappointment and completely overtaken by the sense of utter loneliness. He had managed to approach the two but Glide seemed clearly disapproving of him now and Ortin had seemed mostly cordial because of manners. The young flier’s efforts to earn new friends had stalled for now and he was left alone to stand on a branch with no company and only the utter feeling of emptiness. He might have saved himself from becoming an outcast but being a member of the herd was little better if the best relationships he could forge were lukewarm and the worst ones horrific torture.

Still, those were issues for tomorrow. Despite his fears, this was still his evening of triumph and he wouldn’t completely squander it with his dark thoughts. With a worried sigh, he took off to see his uncle before he’d draw any unwanted attention.

Two eyes scoured the slowly darkening woodland below as Pterano waited for his nephew’s return in slight worry. He had warned Petrie against wandering around on his own just yet but the younger flier had insisted on meeting his competitor again. Pterano wasn’t afraid of Glide but he was fully aware of them implications Petrie’s victory meant for her. Also, even if he had seen that scene only briefly, the brownish adult had seen that not everything was well when he had found Petrie talking to Glide. His nephew had looked extremely rattled and still fearful, implicating there had been an unsavory encounter he didn’t know of.

Deep worry could be read from the flier’s eyes as he thought about the coming day. He hadn’t had the time to tell about it just yet but every older member of the herd knew about the coming migration to Streli’s Hills, a large mountain range far to the west which would serve as the fliers’ home for the duration of the Cold Time. The Hills were a harsh, cold place which wouldn’t normally draw a lot of dinosaurs trying to escape the chill. However, it was a traditional land of the fliers and thus they would return there to spend the season and to wait for its passing.

However, the real thing that gleamed in Pterano’s mind was the planned journey in the next spring. There had been talk among the herd’s leaders to embark on a migration to a fabled land far, far away. It was the legendary location of the last, untouched refuge of the fliers before the landwalkers moved in there too. it was an important place that most flier herds visited once in few decades to pay their respects to the ancient, grand flier society of legend. That occasion would be accompanied by two days of wishing for the return of those days, remembering the fliers of old as well as strengthening the fliers’ internal unity. Pterano had never been there himself but he had heard it was one of the most sacred flier sanctuaries anywhere in the world. The brownish flier had dreamt of visiting it for a long time and in a month, that dream would finally be a reality. He was even more overjoyed to be able to share this most precious of journeys with his nephew.

Even if Petrie wouldn’t agree with everything about the fliers’ wish to return to that fabled era, Pterano had no doubts about his nephew’s wish to accompany him on this journey. Pterano’s eyes were slowly starting to feel heavy when he finally saw his nephew flying towards him from the lower slopes of the mountain plateau. The evening was bringing a chilly wind with it, a clear sign of the coming Cold Time, but it wasn’t enough to hinder any healthy flier’s flight just yet. However, as the younger dinosaur drew closer to his uncle, Pterano could see Petrie’s expression becoming darker than he would have wanted. He waited for Petrie to land near him until he asked the obvious question.

“Petrie, did something go wrong? Did you run into trouble with her?” The older flier asked in clear worry, knowing that Glide was unlikely to completely approve of the defeat Petrie had caused her. However, this time Petrie wasn’t as downtrodden as before even if a certain flicker of melancholy could be read from the corner of his eye.

“Not really… but Glide only see me as opponent and not friend. And Ortin didn’t seem like he care about me presence at all.” The boy said and raised his gaze to meet that of his uncle’s. Pterano knew this had been the most probable course of action all along. He knew about Glide’s friend and even if Pterano had a rather good opinion of the two, they were as proud fliers as any. He knew his nephew was in a serious disadvantage due to his recent joining to the herd but it couldn’t be helped. He could only try to encourage his nephew at this point and hope that his terrible misfortunes would come to an end soon enough.

“It’s alright, nephew. Glide’s disappointment will wear off at some point and Ortin will often follow her in these kinds of decisions. They are good kids and they should be easier to approach later on. Also, there are many other fliers your age here. I’m sure you’ll blend in before you know it. You already made a good impression on all of us: the rest will be easy.” Pterano smiled to the younger flier, trying to calm Petrie down before he would begin to blame himself any further. Petrie sighed in disappointment and answered to his uncle in a more silent voice than usual.

“But they never see Petrie as one of them. Me might win the challenge but me still outsider. Me could see it with the two.” The young boy said, looking in worry at the dancing streams which dotted the lush mountain plateau. His uncle frowned at this comment but answered quickly, trying to make his point of view clear to the younger flier.

“Well… you’re right about that but only for a short while. If you do your part well and show that you are as good as the others are in the coming days, getting closer to them will be easy. Glide and Ortin didn’t chase you away, did they? Trust me Petrie, things will end up as good as they can at this point.” the older flier had laid his hand on Petrie’s shoulder as a show of support to the distressed child. He added soon after in a silent voice.

“You’ll continue to make me and our family proud, Petrie. In many more ways than I ever can.” Petrie raised his head in affection, clearly moved by Pterano’s kind words to him. This was the most vocal show of support he had received in ages and his uncle’s honest eyes seemed to breath new hope into Petrie’s eyes. He could only stutter in a loss of words as the warmth slowly spread into his limbs at this display.

“Th… thank you, uncle Pterano. Me hope you’re right.” The young flier’s mouth turned into something that resembled a smile when his uncle slowly drew his hand from his shoulder. He spoke in a normal voice as he had risen back to his full height.

“But for this day at least, try to calm down. You’ve been through so much and we have a long flight tomorrow. We must be ready by the rising of the Bright Circle.” The older flier left his statement somewhat vague, prompting a wondering look from Petrie. His uncle had implied the herd would fly far and wide but were they already going to depart the very next day? He had proved he could fly with his wing and it could well be in a good condition by tomorrow… but why had his uncle stayed silent for so long?

“Ready for what? Where we going, uncle?” The young flier’s eyes widened in anticipation, eager to know about their destination. Pterano cringed slightly, not sure if this was the right time to tell Petrie about all the traditional migrations of the greatest flier herds as it would be close to impossible to tell about the Hills without going into those details. He thought for a moment until he answered in an unsure way.

“Well… let’s just stay that is it a place where we’re going to spend the Cold Time. You’ll hear more about it later on.” Pterano said, trying to make Petrie content with the situation. The younger dinosaur looked somewhat disappointed but there was another thing that had troubled his mind: the clear disagreements and distrust between the herd’s leaders. They seemed to be working merely for themselves and any cooperation seemed only official. With a careful voice, Petrie changed the subject.

“Alright, Petrie will ask about that later. B… but, me like to know… The fliers who allowed me into the herd were quite silent and they hardly speak with each other. What is wrong with them?” The young flier was extremely puzzled by this as it was far from the type of leadership he was accustomed to. Pterano understood what his nephew meant but the answer wouldn’t be simple. Well, I always knew he’d have to know sooner or later.

“Petrie… they are nothing like the adults in the Valley. They don’t share their thoughts because they don’t trust each other. They can work together but they know that each and every one of the four is just as vain and proud as the next one. They don’t want to work as a team but the flyer traditions force them to look over the boundaries of their lineages. You see, as I told you earlier, these four wise fliers are the heads of four of the legendary lineages of the past.” Pterano said, not knowing whether Petrie had paid any attention to his words before the test. The younger flier seemed thoughtful at those words. He remembered his uncle’s words but he had given any thought to what those “lineages” were in the first place. With an embarrassed voice, he asked the older flier.

“M… me remember but Petrie never understood. Uhh… what is a “lineage”?” The boy’s words were rather sheepish and Pterano realized immediately that this was a word Petrie wouldn’t have heard earlier. With a slight sigh, he answered.

“It is like a family, Petrie, but it is more than just the family you see. Most fliers are extremely interested about who was their mom and dad’s parents and who was theirs. The greatest families say they know about their families’ deeds before even your mother’s grandparent’s grandparent and so on was even born. It is they who made it possible our birth in the first place and the more traditional herds, like this one, believe the things that enabled our grandparents’ greatness passes down to their children. At least the respect they earned so long ago will never wear off. Our leaders’ families did great things in the ancient times and that is why they are allowed to lead us.” The brownish flier knew this was a lot for Petrie’s mind to register at this time and he simply hoped Petrie wouldn’t find this idea disgusting. After all, this was one of the very basics of the herd’s hierarchy. The younger flier looked at his uncle in astonishment, deeply surprised by his words.

“B… but that isn’t right! Did the four fliers do nothing before they could lead the others? Why?” In the younger flier’s eyes, counting a dead flier’s deeds as another one’s credit didn’t seem natural or acceptable at all. Petrie hardly knew about his own grandparents and everything beyond them was a mystery. Trying to live off with their efforts seemed extremely hard to understand for Petrie. His uncle seemed somewhat disappointed by his answer and he moved on to lean on a cliff’s wall as he continued to explain.

“I know your mother hasn’t told you much about our family’s history and that’s because we simply don’t have any great stories going on in our family. All of these are of course tales but the stories passing down in most of the flier families support some other lineages’ tales and their right to rule. I don’t know whether I believe them but most others do. And the four have led well so I don’t think this is wrong, at least not overly so.” The older flier had never given up much thought on four leaders’ right to rule the herd as he, unlike Petrie, had been introduced to these traditions at a young age. However, it didn’t give too much place for mistakes on those who were lucky enough to born to their families. They had a reputation to uphold and if they in any way violated their position, they’d be immediately expelled from the herd and their families. Life had given some fliers a great gift at birth but with that gift came even greater responsibility. The younger flier was still upset by his uncle’s words but he knew there was no point in trying to argue about it. With a curious gaze, he asked his uncle shortly.

“Petrie don’t understand but me want to know what have the leaders’ grandparents’ parents done so good we still have to follow those fliers? Is there some great stories Petrie should know?” The young flier was a curious boy and despite his scorning of the fliers’ leadership, he was always eager to learn something new about the past. Even if his earlier adoration of Pterano’s “wisdom” had vanished, he still had learned to appreciate all the knowledge of the fliers his uncle still held. He had no doubts that the older dinosaur knew more than he had let out thus far. Pterano, on the other hand, realized he wasn’t about to get away from this situation without telling at least about one leader’s lineage to his eager nephew. After a moment of thinking, the brownish flier decided to stick with one of the leaders whose ancestor’s tale wouldn’t upset the younger flier too much further.

“There are numerous tales that are all worth learning at some point, Petrie. However, most of them are rather grim and hold a lot of things I wouldn’t want to tell you about right now. This night, I’ll tell you about Nira’s family’s distant past and how her ancestor managed to lead his herd through a time of long and painful dry time, one that we no longer have to luckily go through anymore. It happens a lot later than many other lineage’s but the courage and determination this flyer showed passed down for generations, rising to the same place in our memories as the others. Anyway, the herd was suffering due to the weakness caused by the heat and lack of food  and some of them were already beginning to drop down from the sky, never rising to it again. Most were ready to give up but Nira’s distant grandfather, called Nourin, wouldn’t let his herd die down because of the Bright Circle’s newfound malice.” Petrie listened with great interest, deep in thought about this tale. Littlefoot’s grandfather’s stories came to his mind as he listened to his uncle but it was clear that this tale held a more concrete, clearer meaning to it. Pterano recited the tale as if it had really happened, not as some kind of a funny lesson like the ones Petrie had listened to in the Great Valley. It was clear that this was a tale believed by many. His uncle continued momentarily after his short pause.

“But no matter what he did, the other, newer kinds had eaten empty the few surviving forests that had once fed the fliers and no matter what Nourin seemed to do, only tragedy after tragedy followed in his wake. The lack of food took its toll on many and the heat did little to help them. Once in a while, they would find some food but every time the fliers were denied it because of selfish longnecks and spiketails. Many fliers fell during those fights for nothing.” The older flier grimaced in slight sadness as he saw his nephew’s face fall at this point. During his early childhood, Pterano had only told him about the flyers’ great deeds but he hadn’t told him about the problems his kind had had with Spike and Littlefoot’s kinds. With a disapproving wave of his head and in an annoyed expression, he answered.

“That no how it go! Longnecks would never hurt fliers because of food! Littlefoot and his family not like that!” The young flier tried to tell himself that what his uncle told was wrong but to his surprise, the older dinosaur’s expression changed little. Instead, they took on a faraway gaze as he explained his point.

“Maybe not them but things like these are far from uncommon, nephew. In fact, it also happened to me once when I was young. I can tell about it sometime but let’s just say that I’m glad I made it out alive. In any case, Nourin had lost most of his followers during those dark days. The tale says he did many mistakes that caused the others dearly even if he always tried to do what he thought was right. But the thing that kept the others following him was that whenever there was danger, he was always the first to face it and always the last one to eat the little food they found. He never raised himself even to the same level as his followers. Nourin wasn’t a wise leader but he knew what true companionship and trust was all about. But that isn’t why he is remembered even today.

The final part of this story is the reason why he and his children were added to the legends of the fliers, long after we thought the time for such deeds had passed. After many passings of the Night Circle, Nourin and his followers found something that changed everything. It was a high, small peak standing in the middle of a flat wasteland. Such hills are rare in themselves but this particular one seemed to call him with some mysterious force. Weakened by weeks of wandering with little to drink or eat, he flew to the top of the hill with great effort and that is when it happened. It seemed like the Bright Circle or its rays spoke to him even if the words themselves are lost to time.” The older flier took a brief pause and his words left Petrie completely dumbstruck. The Bright Circle, talking to someone? The boy had often spoken to it himself but not once had he received an answer. Petrie knew many fliers respected the Bright Circle as he did but this kind of knowledge about it was new to him. Petrie looked at his uncle in anticipation and sat down to a small rock. Pterano’s gaze turned to look at a small shooting star lighting the sky in the distant horizon before he continued.

“Nourin’s herd looked at him trying to calm the Bright Circle’s wrath but no matter what he did, it would never ease its endless scarring of the already-dry land. Nourin was desperate, knowing he and his herd, his family and friends as well as those who trusted and relied on him, wouldn’t last for another week. With a heavy heart, he offered the only thing he had left at that point.” The older flier’s eyes took a sad look to them as he thought about his next words. He could see that Petrie kept on a hope for happy ending and in a way, he would have it. Very few of the legendary fliers found happiness in their own lives but their gifts to the others were invaluable. Petrie asked in a trembling voice, breaking the silence from his part.

“D… do you mean…? Why would the Bright Circle ask something like that!? It make no sense!” Petrie tried in an almost pleading voice but his uncle only shook his heads in an unknowing way.

“Nobody knows, Petrie. There are many mysteries in these tales but they are something we have to live with, my nephew. Not everything has a clear or easy answer such as the question why the Bright Circle would ever demand such things from us. Some have blamed Nourin’s family’s untraditional choices, some have blamed the fliers of becoming too soft. In any case, this flier of legend agreed to the Bright Circle’s request and immediately the sky started to grow darker to the endless joy of everyone present. Nourin turned one last time to address those to whom he had caused so much pain while still sacrificing his all to defend them.

“His last words have been passed on to this day but I cannot remember them right now, Petrie. In any case, from the last clear, uncovered spot of the sky appeared a ray of the Bright Circle, far more powerful than any anyone had ever seen before or since that monumental day. Nourin turned to ash before his herd but as an exchange for his life, sky water started to pour from the sky, saving those fliers strong or lucky enough to have lived this long. That day marked the beginning of a full year of bountiful green food and safety, a time known as the Time of Blessed Happiness, made possible by the noble deed of one flier.” Pterano concluded, looking at his nephew in interest. It was clear that the younger dinosaur wasn’t completely convinced but even then, this tale had seemed to awake deep curiosity within him. There were so many questions Petrie wanted to ask that he didn’t know where to begin.

“That be a great story, uncle Pterano! But… Petrie wonder… Where did this happen? How Nourin could talk to the Bright Circle? Do you believe that this story really happened? And… and when did this happen? There so much Petrie not understand!” The younger flier looked at his uncle in interest and Pterano answered in a thoughtful look at first. He looked at one withering flower beside him as he tried to find the right words to say. After a moment, he returned his eyes to Petrie whose curious look had only deepened during the wait.

“Well, as I said, not all has to be clear about these legends. There’s much more even to this one than I know but as far as I’ve heard, nobody knows where the place of Nourin’s sacrifice happened. It is said his herd came far from the south, from a great forest of formerly almost never-ending rain and wondrous amount of life which was slowly dying due to the draught but the place of this sacrifice isn’t known. As for when this happened… as I said, it was a lot later than the other tales and actually, one of the oldest members of one other herd I met on my travels as a young flier said he had met one of the members of Nourin’s herd. I don’t know if it is true but that would mean it couldn’t happen more than hundred Cold Times ago, at most.” Those words stunned Petrie greatly. One hundred Cold Times? That was far more than he could think of at such a young age but on the other hand, he had expected these things to happen in times no one could remember. One hundred Cold Times… in the end, that was only ten times his own age!

“That not so long ago… It be kind of funny… But what about me other questions?” Petrie stuttered, willing to satisfy his curiosity as much as he simply could at this point. This time his uncle answered without any mentionable pause.

“Nobody knows how he could talk to the Bright Circle or how could it demand anything from Nourin in the first place. It is another mystery like the Stone of Cold Fire was back when we last met. I still like to think there is such a miraculous stone somewhere out there, ready to realize our deepest dreams. I no longer wish to search for them as there’s too large a risk I’d use it for evil again. But it is a story, like that of Nourin’s sacrifice, that I’d like to believe. They give us hope and trust in dark times and give us new dreams to dream. That’s all I have to know about these stories today.” The older flier smiled as he thought about his earlier foolishness in trying to control the Stone of Cold Fire and everything he had given away to get to that point. Luckily those days were over.

Petrie, on the other hand, turned his eyes away from his uncle to think about what he said. The light of the stars and the cold breeze of the fall made something gleam in Petrie’s eyes as he thought about the story. The fact that he had been born into such beauty was a miracle in itself but it was also easy for him to hate it at the same time. It had given him everything but it had also robbed him of his friends and everything he had known before. In a way, he could relate to Nourin’s deed as he would have also been ready to give up on his life to save his friends. The world, like the legend, was a flawed miracle that gave endless blessings but it didn’t hesitate to take them away either. Something in Petrie’s mind told him to trust in his uncle’s words, no how unlikely they seemed in the first place. The young flier had long wanted to believe in things he couldn’t see: he might as well follow that road to the end.

“Petrie guess you right, uncle. Me and me friends have seen many things that we never thought would happen but… Petrie guess anything can happen. But me still don’t think Nira should rule the herd because of what Nourin did. It doesn’t seem right.” The young flier said. Even after this tale, it was hard for to accept that anyone can take credit for what others have done. The older dinosaur looked at his nephew and smiled briefly before he sat down and answered.

“Don’t think about it, Petrie. This is how things have always been done and as I said, I’ve grown to trust them. But that’s enough for today: I think we both need a good night’s sleep at this point.” Pterano said as he begun to move deeper to the groove in the hill, waiting to see how his nephew would react to his proposition. It was clear that there was still so much Petrie would have wanted to know but his fatigue was also beginning to catch up to him. The boy’s body started to yawn against his will and the drowsiness was indeed beginning to set upon him. With a suddenly sleepy voice, he answered to his uncle.

“Alright, uncle. But Petrie want to know more about those stories some other time! There be so much for me to learn!” The young flier said as he followed his uncle. Pterano turned to his nephew and answered in a kind voice.

“I’ll tell them at some point, Petrie. But now it is our time to rest.” The brownish flyer said to Petrie who set on a grassy spot under a small cliff sticking out from the above hill. Petrie’s mind raced in the desperate search for his friends, his meeting with uncle as well as the story he had just heard. Some thoughts tortured him while others brought shivers of excitement upon his body. However, all of those conflicting feelings were quickly overwhelmed by the absolute fatigue and it wasn’t long before the flyer drifted into unconsciousness.

The first rays of the newborn day were casting their grace to the plateau, causing its still-green fields to bask in its cooling but still warming light. The first of the fliers were slowly opening their eyes, knowing it was time to begin their final preparations for their journey. The early morning was starting like any other, though, with the members of the herd waking up one by one and looking for their final meals before the inevitable departure. However, none of them knew that something had happened during the night, something that would bear grave consequences for them all.

One of those who were still completely oblivious to the aging morning was Petrie who seemingly could have slept the whole day. His sleep, however, was completely and immediately stopped by a loud, piercing screech from the lower sloped of the hills. His eyes snapped open immediately, shocked by the sudden and sharp voice. Petrie rose to a sitting position immediately, looking at his uncle who had already been awake for quite some time. The older flier’s eyes were alerted and fearful as he answered.

“What was that, uncle? What has happened?” The boy asked carefully, not having the slightest of ideas of what was going on. With a silent but serious voice, Pterano answered.

“That was the alarm call, Petrie. It called us to hear what has happened. Quickly, follow me!”

Shocked gasps and terrified panting were Ortin’s companions as he followed the scene around him. Only a short while ago, he had been sleeping without the least of worries like in every other morning in the past. However, after he opened his eyes, a sight greeted his eyes that he would never forget, no matter how he wished so. His father lied beside him but his throat had been sliced open, the ground covered in dried blood and the older flier’s body was cooling at a rapid rate. Ortin had blinked a few times, his mind not being able to register what had happened at first. However, as the last vestiges of sleep disappeared, he realized the situation’s full implications. The following scream was one that would haunt everyone who heard it for a long time.

“Make way for Peak and the others! He demands to see what has happened to his cousin!”

And now, the young flier stood in shock, looking as countless fliers run and flew back and forth, spreading the news about this shocking development. He couldn’t think clearly, everyone around him seemed like images drifting by as he stood still, the flyer not being able to process what was happening. Here he was standing, looking at the fuss of the other fliers going to see his murdered father who would never again rise from the ground, comfort him or teach or play with him… The ground beneath Ortin’s drooping head started to turn wet as the tears finally begun to flow to the ground. They were still far and between as the emotional blockade of his mind still held its final stance against the realization that slowly flooded into Ortin’s mind.

“Call everyone here, now! We have to find the one who did this to my cousin and punish him justly! This… this is a crime against our whole family and our herd.” The young flier looked with increasingly tear-filled eyes as Peak bowed down to his fallen kin and deputy as he slowly and practically without conscious thinking turned around and finally let his emotional wave flash through him. His life was irrevocably altered as he had been robbed from a loved one by someone in this herd. It was many, long moments before until someone finally notified the boy’s inner turmoil and he gasped noticeably as he felt a familiar and gentle hand on his shoulder.

“It’s alright, Ortin. I’m here.” The voice was feminine but it held the powerful hue of creak and old age. The young flier didn’t flinch in the least at this display as he put away the comforting hand. He choked on his tears as he tried desperately to form something intelligible to say to his grandmother.

“Why…? Why would anyone do this? Dad was… he was always nice to everyone… why, grandma?” Ortin wanted to collapse at the ground and he still hadn’t gathered enough strength to face the other flier. The elderly dinosaur took a long pause, her own words broken by the situation as well. Even if her daughter, Ortin’s mother, had gone to her untimely rest in a fight with a competing herd, she had grown to love her child’s mate as her own son. Now, all that she had left was her brave but young grandson whose life had just taken a far darker turn than anyone should experience at his age. Still, the old flier tried to fight her own emotions to make this as easy to Ortin as she simply could.

“He was, Ortin. He would have deserved to live for many, many Cold Times but things don’t always go like that. His death was ordered by someone, that is for certain.” The old flier said glumly, her voice burdened by the implications of her own words. Finally, Ortin turned to look at the older flier, his eyes rose-red by his tears. He then asked in a sharp, disbelieving voice as his mind raced on overdrive. Surely his grandmother didn’t mean…?

“Wh… what do you mean? There’s no one here who could do such a thing! There simply isn’t!” The young flier cried, his mind denying the possibility of there being someone with such murderous intent among his lifelong companions. To even think about it brought great disbelief to his mind as he turned to look at the flyers who were slowly filling the sky after the gathering call. His ponderings were interrupted by a melancholy voice of her grandmother which chilled the younger flyer to the heart.

“I have no idea who would have wanted this but believe me, Ortin, not everyone you see wish to live in peace. But they will never get away with this. One of the fliers in this herd killed your father and we will find out who.” The older flier’s voice finally took a more vengeful character as she, too, looked at the mass of fliers who were landing at the same spot where Petrie’s test had begun the previous day. This was the only time when she had raised her voice and its effect was clear: she would spare no quarter in finding the culprit.

Suddenly the air felt extremely cold around Ortin. Not only was he almost alone but he would likely be in the mercy of the killer if he ever decided to continue his attacks. At this moment, he couldn’t trust anyone other but his grandmother and Glide as suddenly Ortin saw only potential threats around him. Even if the culprit was found today, his father and his feeling of safety and happiness wouldn’t return. The boy’s fear-filled thoughts were interrupted by one last whisper from his grandmother.

“Let’s go. We have to be there to support Peak and to make sure we do what we can. The meeting will begin soon.” The elderly flier’s voice returned to the earlier melancholic one as she spread her wings in preparation for takeoff. Ortin’s eyes turned to her slowly as he replicated her preparations. The loss and betrayal in Ortin’s eyes was evident to everyone observing but buried beneath these emotions was something more: something that resembled the yearn for retribution and justice. Ortin knew the one who did this wouldn’t live to see the evening: this he and his remaining family would make sure of.

With Ortin's father's tragic passing, the entire situation in Petrie's new herd has become considerably more dangerous. Will the culprit be caught and how will Peak and the other leaders react to this outrage? This development marks the beginning of a threatening time for the fliers and for Petrie trying to blend in to the herd. Thank you very much for all your reviews and see you all next time! :)

Ducky123: Thank you for catching up to this story! It is an interesting thought but Ruby’s friends have a lot in common with the RP characters. I’m glad to hear the backstory worked well as a way to deepen Yarel and Greentail’s backstory! As I said in my last answer, the siblings wish to genuinely see if they can become friends with Ruby but it’s true that dark clouds are gathering quickly in the small group’s future. Whether their friendship survives it remains to be seen. In any case, I truly appreciate your reviews! Thank you a lot for them! :)


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« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2017, 10:06:11 PM »
This chapter was a rather interesting examination of the honor and reputation system of this band of flyers.  In many ways the fixation on one's reputation, which is hard to earn but easy to ruin, and the focus on lineages mirrors many human cultures though it may seem a bit foreign to a contemporary Western perspective. As such Petrie is placed in a situation where he would be both well justified in enjoying his success, while also fearing that he has created another potential adversary.  Though he has begun to understand some of the undertones I fear that he does not quite understand the full ramifications of this cultural mindset.  When family bonds are the only ones that can be trusted and reputations mean more than safety, then vendettas and feuds can often become the order the day.

...which brings me to the final scene.  The death of Ortin's father (who, importantly, is also Peak's cousin) creates a very troubling dynamic in the times ahead.  Now the usual mutual distrust of the flyers might turn into outright paranoia.  I fear that Petrie might have flown straight into a crisis that could shake this flock to its core.

This was an excellent chapter as always.  With the exception of the ending it was quite introspective and elaborative in nature, but in this case it was certainly justified.   Now that both us readers and Petrie has an idea of the culture he now inhabits we have a good picture of what the stakes are in the chapters ahead.  Both Ruby and Petrie are in dangerous situations in their own ways, with the specter of violence hanging over their heads. I suppose only time will tell how each will fare in the looming crises ahead.

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


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« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2017, 01:51:12 AM »
Somehow I'm getting this feeling that some idiot is going to blame Petrie for the death :sducky

Well, that was certainly an interesting chapter. One the one hand we learn more about the herd dynamics and traditions (Petrie is gonna love the place they are flying to next... lots of girl flyers *cough* :P ). The story Pterano told certainly sounds like one of those tales Grandpa Longneck would tell :smile

On the other hand, we also see how Petrie tries to integrate, however his first try didn't exactly go smooth ^^

Curious to see what's going to happen with that cliffhanger :DD

mostly inactive due to exam preparation. Includes my creative work in particular which is entirely on hiatus. Hit me on discord if you need something, I'm more active there :)


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« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2017, 01:23:09 PM »
The Hunt in The Nightly Valley

The sound of powerful steps rang through the darkened forest as two massive sharptooth ran through it in unwavering, deadly determination. The slightly larger one of the duo, Dein, could see the river opening far below him and his mate as the two prepared to finish their long and mentally-wrenching journey. The male had been a mental wreck himself since that terrible day but his mate had been in an even worse condition. Dein still shuddered at the mere thought of the day about week ago, a day that had hit the duo like nothing before. At first, Terri had spent many hours just crying on her son’s side, a situation which would never leave any parent’s mind. Dein fought against the most terrifying image of his life from reentering his memory as it was still too much for him to handle.

However, dwelling in that most dreadful of moments would help none even if Dein had apologized to his son many times since finding what remained of him. Despite his odd habits and inconceivable friendship with the pitiful leaf eaters, he had still been their son and both of the sharpteeth would have given up their lives for him without a second thought. However, neither of them could do even that to protect their beloved child. Chomper had been killed, not because of hunger, but by some other, sick motive. However, all of that mattered nothing to the sharpteeth at this point. In the end, there was only one dinosaur who was responsible for Chomper’s departure to the Great Beyond well before his time.

The male’s eyes turned red with rage as the sight of the fast runner family entered his mind’s eye. The day when he and his mate had left Chomper with the cowardly, treacherous omnivores would be the day both of the sharpteeth would curse for the rest of their lives more than anything else. Detras and Pearl had done their all to convince the other family to leave Chomper with them until the duo would have dealt with Red Claw. Dein had told his mate letting Chomper go to the Great Valley was a blunder in the first place but his fleeting moment of weakness had made him accept this outrageous plan. One way or another, Chomper had paid for his parents’ mistake but Ruby and his family wouldn’t get away with their mortal failure. This he had promised to his mate long ago. Dein’s eyes were focused on the approaching cliffs overlooking the river when he heard Terri speak to him.

“As we expected, those bastards are trying to get to the river! We can’t let that happen!” The female said, her voice dry with the overwhelming emotions swirling in her mind. Dein looked at his mate in sympathy but his voice was highly calculating as he answered.

“They won’t. They may be quick but we’ll make sure they won’t leave this valley alive. I don’t know who Ruby’s companions are but they’ll share her fate.” The sharptooth practically spit out the fast runner’s name and his whole composure radiated nothing but murderous intent. Terri turned to look at him and answered to the other sharptooth in deep betterment, her claws hungering for the blood of those who had caused her all this sorrow and regret during the past weeks.

“We can’t be too careful, Dein. Those cursed half teeth can be very hard to catch if we just rush there headlong. We can’t afford any mistakes or we’ll give them an opening from which to escape.” She left her comment extremely vague, strongly implicating to Dein she had a plan she was thinking about. The male looked at his mate with an urgent but interested look, knowing Terri would leave no stone unturned before Ruby followed their son to the Great Beyond.

“What is it that you are planning to do? I truly hope it’s a good plan.” Dein turned his head back to the nightly forest around them, knowing it would be just a few minutes before he and Terri would reach their prey. The fast runner’s scent was growing stronger by the second and soon, they could give what little reprieve they could to their fallen child. Dein listened in deep interest as Terri voiced her thoughts.

“There’s only one way to cut their escape. This is what we should do…”

The fast runner’s heart felt like it was going to explode as it beat desperately in her chest. Ruby looked at the river which was still a good distance away but her and her companions’ desperate rush was closing the distance at a rapid pace. The sky was covered with clouds, covering the nightly woods into complete darkness. Even the omnivores’ eyes struggled to see the ground but there was no time to waste. Either they’d wash away their scent and escape or they’d perish in this place, as a payback for the most terrifying mistake in Ruby’s life.

The same thoughts run over and over in Ruby’s mind as she pondered feverishly her situation. How had Chomper’s parents found their way to this distant place and had they found Chomper or what remained of him? Would they try to slaughter Yarel and Greentail alongside with her? No matter how much she wanted to know those answers, she knew the escape was far more important at this point. The night was eerily silent and, to her immense worry, she couldn’t hear anything except her and the siblings’ steps. It was as if the sharpteeth had suddenly disappeared or staying still but the fast runner knew they were out there, waiting for their moment to attack the unsuspecting friends.
Yarel’s thoughts mirrored highly those of his friend’s but his mind wandered further to the tales he had heard about that fearsome pair of predators. For countless Cold Times, the stories of their brutality had been spread as warnings to stay away from their path. Their style of hunting was highly savage and they had absolutely no respect to their opponents or to giving them a clean death if they thought torturing their victims further helped their goals. Yarel felt his heart turn cold as he thought that he was forced to face those monsters face-to-face, simply because of Ruby’s past deeds. Yarel knew better than to question her motives but the fact that Ruby hadn’t warned the siblings about this danger as a real one made Yarel frown heavily. However, his concerns were interrupted by a silent call from his sister.

“Let’s go that way! The quicker we can cross the river, the easier it’ll be for us to hide our scent” The thinclaw pointed to the right where the river made a quick turn, opening an unhindered way to safety and the body of water was also narrower at that point. However, the thought brought additional worries to Ruby’s mind. Dein and Terri were far from stupid and they’d suspect their prey to take the easier route. Even if the fast runner knew it’d be a risky move, she answered to Greentail in deep worry.

“That’s what they want us to do! I think we should take the harder way because if we take the harder route, the sharpteeth will have a harder time finding us!” Ruby cringed at her words as she knew it could easily backfire but at least it’d provide a brief reprieve to the three friends. Greentail returned a stunned look, the other female clearly disapproving of Ruby’s words. Her words were condemning and urgent as she answered.

“They’ll find us without a doubt if we waste any more time here! Our only option is to leave this place as soon as we simply can!” Greentail cried, knowing that the three couldn’t overestimate the sniffers of the sharpteeth and that mistake would be a fatal one. Ruby’s teeth ached as she bit them together but she couldn’t really question the thinclaw’s reasoning. There was simply no time for any hopeful thoughts or clever plans. Two of the most dangerous dinosaurs alive were on their trail and any hopes of trying to outsmart them would be suicidal at this point.

Greentail’s eyes were fixed on the pitch-black ground as the trio approached the river. The thinclaw jumped down to a small ravine which would be the group’s springboard to the bottom of the steep valley. Despite the female’s best efforts to keep her balance, the rocky bottom of the small ravine nearly tripping Greentail but it wouldn’t keep her still for a second. Ruby cringed at the complete darkness and she grabbed at the gorge’s wall slightly, throwing herself more comfortably to the ground. All of the three omnivores knew that any falling could easily prove fatal in this rocky ground but each of them got through it without any major drama.
The river glimmered in the starlight like a touch of light in the night and its surface was only slightly rippled by the wind. Yarel ran beside his sister towards it, knowing that their fates would be decided very soon. The trees surrounding the river seemed completely calm but they hid a deadly threat among them. The male cried in a restrained voice as the group prepared to jump into the water and begin their escape from the valley and the danger they now found themselves in.

“Let’s swim to the right until we reach the turn! From there, the way is clear!” His words echoed the group’s earlier decision but repeating them gave them more confidence that their struggles weren’t for nothing. With a deep breath, Yarel jumped into the chilly river, quickly followed by his companions. The boy gasped for breath in alarm at first until he found his confidence in swimming again. It was far from the preferred environment for a thinclaw but some situations, like these, demanded action. The river was surprisingly deep but it was no use worrying about it. The male heard his sister’s voice soon after he had started swimming towards their destination.

“Only a few more moments is all we need… how I hope they won’t find us now…” The weight of the situation was beginning to weigh on Greentail’s mind as she started to speak only to calm herself. Yarel gazed at her in worry but was relieved to see she was following him and Ruby with good pace.

“It’s only a few more moments and we’ll be safe. Those sharpteeth will never find us here.” Yarel realized himself how utterly stupid his words were. This was the most obvious place the half teeth could be in but the trio had to hope for the best. They had nothing else to hold on at this point.

Yarel panted heavily as he pulled himself up from the stream. The coldness, despite his feathers’ protection, had quickly creeped under his skin and the boy was trembling as the cool night air once again greeted his body. He was more than astounded the trio had reached this point without being seen but he was growing really uneasy. It was highly probable that the sharpteeth would have already reached the river but where were they? Why were they nowhere to be seen? Yarel looked at his companions with a weary expression but he didn’t stop to talk. Now all that remained was to sprint through the forest and exit the valley from its eastern opening.

“Come on, quick! We have no time to waste!” Neither of his companions questioned his command and the trio quickly disappeared into the forest once again. Yarel looked at the surrounding trees in fear as his eyes couldn’t see anything about what lurked between them. Still, if the sharpteeth hadn’t found them by now, the half teeth stood a good chance of escape. Yarel tried to stay calm and concentrate his efforts of the way ahead…. before his and his companions’ luck ran out.

Quickly, as if a deadly wind between the trees, a yellow-greenish form of a sharptooth jumped from the woods and before any of the omnivores had the time to react, the predator moved towards Ruby and kicked her with a powerful force. The fast runner screamed in pain and horror as she hit a nearby tree, her right leg and head taking a powerful hit. The claws of the sharptooth had opened a deep wound to her thigh but, to her immense relief, she quickly realized it wasn’t serious enough to hold her down.

“Ruby, run! We have to go!” Yarel screamed in horror as he looked at the fast runner who did her best to rise from the ground. However, the charging sharptooth forced her to regain her footing and a few seconds before the predator’s tail crushed the place where she had lied, Ruby could rise to her wobbly feet. With a frenzied sprint, she rejoined her friends but to their misfortune, the sharptooth’s charge had made them lose track of their direction. For now, all mattered was escape. Her escape was accompanied by a horrifying roar of the carnivore.

“Run as much as you want, coward! You’ll pay soon enough!”

Terri looked at the trio in extreme agitation but she was also relieved that she had managed to confuse the half teeth enough to heading back towards the river. She had hoped to slaughter Ruby during the initial contact but that was exactly the reason she had proposed splitting up to her mate. Now her strategy had begun moving forward as she was leading Ruby and her friends into a trap from which there was no escape. No matter what, Chomper’s death wouldn’t go unavenged. However, Terri wasn’t going to let Dein have all the reprieve of this hunt. With a mighty roar, the female darted after the trio in full speed.

In her mind Ruby cursed having to be drawn to this chase in night. Escaping from a sharptooth was extremely difficult even in daylight and now the carnivore had even the advantage of better night vision than her. Even more so than before, the trio struggled to find a safe footing whereas Terri simply seemed to float through the woods with no effort. However, as her mind begun to clear from the nasty hit, a horrifying fear started to form in Ruby’s mind.
Why was Terri hunting alone? It was her roar Ruby had heard crying in the distance and she hadn’t seen a glimpse of Chomper’s father this whole night. Had he faced his end on some previous hunt? If that was the case, Ruby could certainly understand even better why Terri was so extremely upset. However, there was no proof of Dein’s demise, a possibility which embraced Ruby’s heart in an icy grip. If Dein was here alongside his mate, where was he? The fast runner could see that similar thoughts were floating in her companions’ minds but they simply had no chance of thinking about the implications of those possibilities. A sharptooth was on their tail and she was gaining on the three
friends at a rapid rate.

Ruby’s whole body was trembling as she heard her chaser’s step growing ever closer and louder, knowing she and her friends would have to come up with something quick if they wished to survive. Ever since that dreadful sand cloud, the girl had finally come to the realization how precious and fleeting one’s life was and she could already see in her mind’s eye her and her friends’ bodies lying in the ground as mere haunting remembers of the lives and dreams that had passed away in the predators’ claws. However, the fast runner wasn’t going to give up. She had gone so far in her search for her family and she owed it to them to help them against the very threat she was facing now. However, Ruby’s already taxed mind took only another blow as she saw the sight opening up between the trees.

The same river the trio had crossed earlier opened before them, cutting their escape forward. The friends had hoped they were running to the right direction but their hopes had been proven misplaced. Not only were they further away from the rescue but they were already too close to be surrounded. Greentail cried in fear as she saw the disheartening sight.

“We can’t cross it, the river’s too wide! We have to try to turn around and…” The thinclaw’s yell was cut short by another loud roar from their right side and before the omnivores could turn their heads, another sharptooth charged towards them from the woods near them. Ruby looked at Dein’s advancing form, knowing that her chances of survival were growing increasingly small. However, there was still one way she and her friends could run to and none of them hesitated a moment before they took off to that direction.

Terri exchanged glances with her mate, affirming that their plan was going on as planned. The three pitiful child killers were running straight towards their doom and there was nothing they could do about it anymore. While Terri was making sure they wouldn’t escape back to the forest, Dein was charging at the trio in a merciless gleam in his eyes. This unusual and personal hunt was very quickly nearing its end.

The fast runner cringed as she felt the ground growing softer by the second. It felt like her feet were sinking into it, making her advance increasingly forced. With a sickened feeling, she realized the plan of the sharpteeth. Before the omnivores opened a well-hidden, sinking swamp which would very quickly halt their escape, making it easy for the massive predators to finish the job. There was only one she could do at this point. Knowing that their chances for survival were minimal in any case, she jumped to her right and headed towards the river despite the clear danger.

“It’s a trap! We have to cross the river or we’re lost!” The fast runner yelled, not waiting for her friends’ answer. If they wanted to see the rising of the Bright Circle, she knew they’d follow her. Even the small chance of the trio being able to cross the river was better than a certain death in the swamp.

Greentail and Yarel looked at each other, knowing that Ruby was right. There was no escape for them now: they were also being chased alongside their new friend. The thinclaws quickly followed Ruby but they saw Dein getting alarmingly close to the fast runner. She had locked her eyes on the stream, preparing to jump as far into it as she simply was able. She knew Dein was dangerously close to her but there was nothing she could about it. With a sick feeling, Ruby jumped into the water… only to feel an overwhelming pain in her back. Her mind was completely incapacitated by the wounds the sharptooth’s claws had left on her upper back and the base of her neck and her shock prevented her from allowing to fight against the powerful current. The thinclaws looked in fear as they saw their friend being swept downstream, nearly knocked unconscious by the pain and bleeding. She would likely survive them but both of the thinclaws knew they couldn’t follow Ruby without endangering themselves further. The duo quickly swam over the river, seeing that Dein merely snorted after them before darting after Ruby.

The pain of numerous rocks hitting her body only worsened Ruby’s pain as she did her best to regain her composure. She was still bleeding heavily but the overall shock of her injury was starting to wear off. However, she looked in panic around her as she saw the narrow but quick river taking her along with it. With herculean struggles, the young fast runner managed to stay afloat but soon enough, she saw that she’d have to do something quickly or face immediate attack. Terri had joined her mate in tracking her down and they were closing in on her. It wouldn’t be long before they dared to assault her directly and when that moment came, her life would be forfeit. The immense pain in her back did its best to prevent Ruby from escaping but the fast runner understood everything that was at stake.

The girl grabbed on a nearby rock with all her might, the impact hitting her ribs with a great force but with desperate efforts, she pulled her up on the boulder and with slight stumbles, resumed her running.

“That’s brat’s not going to escape! Quickly, after her! Dein said in growing anger as she looked at Ruby disappearing into the forest. He could feel a similar sentiment rising within her mate who merely snorted before answering.

“Then follow them, Dein, and stop jabbering! Luckily she won’t be able to lose us anymore…” Terri said, sniffing at the sweet smell of blood, before she jumped over the river with one mighty leap. Meanwhile, a smile appeared on her face as she looked at the stone Ruby had used to climb to the shore. It was painted red by the fast runner’s blood and that was a smell trail no sharptooth could ever be shaken off from. The female carnivore looked at the woods in satisfaction as Terri felt the thud of her mate joining her just behind her. Ruby’s final chase was on.

“Come on, the sharpteeth won’t reach us anymore if we get away now!” Yarel said in a confused voice as he looked at the forested hills around him. The entire night had suddenly turned into a nightmare and the thinclaw’s thoughts were a complete mess. He had seen Ruby being swept down the river seriously injured and disappearing behind a turn not far downstream. Ruby’s disaster could turn to the siblings’ salvation if they decided to seize the opportunity. However, his voice didn’t convince even himself and he could see his sister’s eyes bearing the same thoughts as he was. Greentail looked at the river with burdened eyes, her mind clearly burdened by the dilemma she and her brother were forced to face.

“She can never escape alone. The sharpteeth are not going to lose her scent anymore, that is for certain.” Greentail’s voice wavered as she spoke, not willing to go as far as calling for the two to sprint off to save Ruby from her horrifying fate. However, she couldn’t force her legs to take another step uphill even if there opened the way to freedom. Ruby had been the first one to offer her friendship to the siblings and even this one, short day together had felt like an endless relief to the two after their long, lonely months in the forest. However, even against his conscience, Yarel’s lips formed the only words that made sense anymore.

“B…but it would be pure madness! It’s against all our wisdoms! You said it yourself: Ruby is injured and it’d be a miracle if she can even run! We’d just get ourselves killed without any reason! We didn’t try to survive all this time just to get killed now!” The male felt miserable as it had been him who had initially argued for joining Ruby in her journey and now he was telling his sister to abandon her. The silhouette of the sharptooth by the river in the far distance chilled him greatly but he couldn’t help but feel grateful that they weren’t after him now. However, it was clear that neither of the two were really arguing about this issue: rather, they were mirroring each other’s opposite emotions. And it was clear to all which side would win.

“We already broke the wisdoms by coming here and she needs our help, Yarel! You wanted to get on this journey and I already thought you to be better than this! We don’t have more time: if we don’t go now, Ruby will surely die!” With decisive movements, Greentail turned around to face the forest near the right bank of the river. Somewhere down there, Ruby was fighting for her life against two mighty predators. Greentail’s mind was too overwhelmed to be able to think about the situation rationally but it was clear she had made up her mind. Yarel took another glance at the forest but he had to admit that neither could he force himself to run there. With a deep sigh and a pained expression, Yarel answered to her sister.

“I guess you’re right. We owe it to her. Now, come on! We don’t have a second to waste!” And with those words, the thinclaws turned their backs to the option which any half tooth should have chosen. They could only hope that their gamble wouldn’t be for nothing.

Heavy panting and wavering steps accompanied Ruby as she against all hope tried to create as much distance between herself and her chasers before it would be too late. She knew her injuries would draw the carnivores towards her but what else could she do? The fast runner felt pain in her chest as she thought that she was once again on her own, her new friends most likely running for their lives at this point. The girl couldn’t even begin to imagine they’d choose anything but the safe option here.

The omnivore’s eyes scoured the terrain before her for any help or shelter. The lack of lighting complicated those efforts and to her growing horror, she could slowly begin to hear the now-familiar steps far behind her. There was no chance she’d be able to outrun them with her injury so hiding and swift covering of her would was the only option she had left. They’d find me under those rocks and there’s no way a sharptooth wouldn’t see me under some pile of leaves! Oh, what can I do? Would that… that’s it!

As a rare reprieve this night, Ruby spotted a small groove between two large trees, it’s mouth small enough so that there was a chance the sharptooth wouldn’t find her there. The fast runner quickly gathered a good handful of leaves to end her bleeding and quickly jumped to her perceived shelter. And not a moment too early: the sharpteeth reached her position after a very short while. Ruby cringed in pain as she forcefully put the leaves against her would in an effort to quickly stop the blood pouring to the soft ground. However, it wasn’t long before the girl realized she was already too late.

The fast runner looked in fear as the two carnivores started to sniff for the air, apparently noticing the sudden end of the trail. Ruby started to shiver ever more violently as they moved ever closer, the thuds of their steps making the soil start to slowly fall upon the hapless dinosaur. She tried to make her way deeper into the tunnel but those hopes were crushed shortly. As if a thunder from the clear sky, a sharptooth’s claws dug through the ground, penetrating the entire groove Ruby was hiding in. She gasped for air as she realized that she would have been impaled if she was sitting only a bit nearer the sinkhole’s mouth. Before she could do anything more, the whole ceiling of the tunnel was dug up by a mighty swipe from the sharptooth. Suddenly, Ruby’s whole shelter had been taken away, leaving her wide open for the decisive blow.

At this point, Ruby could no longer take it. All of this had come to pass because of her own mistakes but on every leg of her journey thus far, she had tried to do the right thing but despite that, it seemed like the world was throwing each and every disaster her way. The sudden appearance of her best friend’s parents was only another blow and it seemed like it would be the final one. Tears formed in Ruby’s eyes as she turned her eyes at the two sharpteeth who looked at her in loathing and hate. With a broken voice, she cried to the predators in a pleading voice.

“I’m sorry about all this! It was my fault and Chomper had no part in anything that happened! But it was all an accident… We lost all of our friends and Chomper was with us! I was the only one who survived… poor Chomper…” The memories of the blue sharptooth returned to her mind but her heartfelt answer didn’t help any in this situation. The two carnivores’ expressions were unmoved but they didn’t strike the deadly blow right away. After a few seconds, Terri raised her head close to Ruby and answered with a similarly emotional outburst.

“You mean that you left Chomper to die so you could escape yourself?! We should have expected no less from your kind in the first place and don’t worry, our son’s sacrifice wasn’t for nothing! Your family will pay alongside with you as Chomper’s wellbeing was on all your shoulders. Once we’re done with you, they will be next.” The female carnivore’s voice communicated finality but it was also heavily burdened by sorrow and despair. The toll the news had taken on Terri was evident to everyone present. Her words, however, caught Ruby’s attention far more than her expression. Ruby’s tears stopped flowing as the implications begun to really dawn on Ruby. The fast runner could see that the threat was very clear. With some struggling, Ruby rose to her feet and spoke in a fearful and desperate voice.

“No, please listen to me! This whole mess was my doing and I am the only one you can blame for it! My family had nothing to do with this, please leave them be!” Her personal lamenting had disappeared under her gripping fear for her family. In that moment, Ruby was completely prepared to pay for her mistake if it would save her family from the predators’ revenge. However, the duo’s first answer to her plead was far from encouraging. Dein snorted loathingly, taking another step towards Ruby and speaking a snarling tone.

“Chomper deserved so much better than to be betrayed by you, someone he was foolish enough to call his friend. I truly thought you cared of him enough to keep him safe, and for a long time we thought we had chosen right. We had helped your family to live without fear from the other sharpteeth and with their help, we were gaining an upper hand against Red Claw. That bastard was losing many allies to us and we were preparing to finally take him down once and for all. You can only think how our plans changed when a flier flew to us telling us of something we would have to see.” At this point, Dein’s eyes begun to grow moist even if Terri looked more than eager to embowel the source of their misery but it was clear that her mate wanted to finish his speech. Ruby turned her head to the ground, knowing what was coming. She already braced for the mental images that would soon be burned to her mind.

“Hearing he had news of Chomper, we immediately followed him and after almost a day’s trek, we arrived at the scene we should see. It was a desert near the Great Valley and he had nearly been submerged by the recent sand cloud. But there he was, lying without the least reminder of life in his broken body. The joyful twinkle in his eyes had been snuffed out and only an empty glare stared to the sky. But as a further insult to his memory he had been merely slaughtered and not a mouthful of his body had been eaten. You were the only one who could have prevented it and you failed pitifully!” The last words were roared and the mournful wail brought a sick feeling to Ruby’s stomach.
Even then, the thing she had accepted long ago had finally been confirmed. Chomper was truly dead, the two would never never share a miraculous reunion in this life. The one thought that Ruby had tried to avoid even after all hope was gone finally flooded into her consciousness: Chomper, her dearest friend, was not returning. Deep gulps rose to the fast runner’s mind as she realized the full magnitude of that knowledge. The only thing that prevented her complete mental collapse was the immense danger she still found herself in. The fast runner stuttered heavily, fighting against her own tears as she spoke.

“We were separated in that very sand cloud. We lost each other in it because we were attacked by fast biters. The last I saw of Chomper was when he wouldn’t leave Littlefoot and Cera to die. I told him to follow me but he didn’t listen. I would have wanted to go back for him but it wouldn’t have helped. The whole situation was hopeless.” Ruby was too overcome with emotions to even begin coming up with a lie on this moment, no matter the consequences to herself. As was to be expected, her words did little to ease the tension of this conversation. It was Terri who once again addressed the young fast runner and her voice was, if possible, even more toxic than it had been the last time.

“And because of that, all is lost! Don’t worry Ruby, Chomper will soon have the luxury of knowing that those whose fault his demise was will join him!” And with those words, Terri quickly took a few steps forward to finish the job when something highly surprising happened. The sharptooth suddenly felt a small but stinging pain in her leg that momentarily caught her off guard. The sharptooth quickly turned around to see the attacker and she was extremely surprised to see who it was. One of the insufferable half teeth had seemingly decided to knowingly search for death but Terri couldn’t come up with any reason why a juvenile thinclaw would attack her this brashly. With an annoyed roar, Terri turned around to strike her down when another, extremely important development happened. While she was preparing to strike Greentail down, Yarel jumped on her head from a nearby hill, immediately heading to attack the carnivore’s eyes.

Terri couldn’t understand at first what was happening but she very quickly bowed her head and tried to strike the puny attacker away. Yarel cringed in fear as he did his best to dodge the furious attacks but with quick coordination and reflexes, he managed to avoid the deadly claws searching for his blood. Ruby looked at the new development in astonishment, already resigned to the fact that the duo had escaped as any sensible dinosaur would do. However. they had returned and they were risking their lives in this fight. Ruby quickly started moving when he heard Greentail’s cry.

“Run, Ruby! We can’t keep them at bay for long!” She shouted in leaf eater to hide their meaning for at least a moment. Time was truly off the essence and every second only increased the possibility of the two failing to contain the threat. However, the female thinclaw could see that Yarel was up to something. He still tried to injure Terri’s eyes but there was something more to his plans. Dein was moving to help her mate and Yarel realized that there was a chance for further damage to the sharptooth than he had initially thought. As the predators, did the most realistic thing they could, Yarel cried to Greentail in alert.

“Move behind her leg! Prevent her from getting a good footing!” Yarel cried as Terri bowed to her mate to let Dein take out the troublesome half tooth. However, as the male thinclaw dodged the first attack, Terri suddenly moved to the left to crush Yarel against a tree. A mistake that would prove extremely costly. The female sharptooth’s heel rose from the ground and while Yarel did his best trying to get Terri off-balance, his sister moved to stand near her foot and when Terri was reeling at her mate’s efforts and Yarel’s mischief, Greentail pushed at the foot with all her might. This caught the predator completely by surprise and she could feel her footing grow unbalanced. However, Ruby could see that it wasn’t yet enough. Terri was looking extremely fearful but she could yet regain her balance.  With immense risk and pain, the fast runner knew he’d have to help her friends and with immense pain and risk, Ruby ran to the location where she saw Terri’s foot falling.

The fast runner’s whole vertebrae were hit by an immense force as the sharptooth’s leg fell upon it. Ruby would have wanted to cry in agony but the situation was far too dangerous for that. After a second that seemed to stretch for an eternity, she could feel the pressure easing as she realized she had succeeded in her effort. Ruby raised her gaze and saw that the giant sharptooth was finally tripped… but it was falling right at her! With panicked movements, Ruby jumped away from the sharptooth’s way and looked in horror as Terri’s body fell at protruding logs and nasty rocks near her, causing the predator to scream in immense pain and immediately causing large amounts of blood pouring to the ground. Terri started to immediately writhe and twist in agony and she tried to rise to her feet but the injuries were too severe for her to regain her footing. Ruby looked at the sight in shock, relieved to see that the siblings’ plan had worked but also disgusted and saddened at this display. Despite their recent disagreements, this was Chomper’s mother and the fact that she had caused this to her sickened the fast runner greatly. She could only begin to think what would have done had the young sharptooth been here to see the result of their clash. With a single tear falling out from her eye, Ruby apologized to her fallen friend.

I’m so sorry, Chomper. I never wanted this but it was the only way to save myself. Wherever you are, please… please, forgive me for this!

The fast runner’s sorrow and guilt was nothing compared to what Dein felt at this moment. Only a minute ago, he and his mate had been standing triumphant, preparing to get rid of the one dinosaur whose fault Chomper’s passing was. But now, he was looking at the injured form of his beloved mate whose blood was painting the black ground red. And beside her was standing the very same dinosaur who had taken his son away from him. Dein cry could be heard across the valley as he contemplated at everything Ruby had taken from him. His mate was still alive but she was horribly injured, thanks to Ruby and her outrageously fearless friends.  There were no time for futile words the predators exchanged a brief, understanding gaze as Terri nodded on her mate to continue the hunt. The three omnivores looked at the male sharptooth, the tension tangible in the air. Dein’s mind worked in overdrive on how to finish the job he and her mate had started and now he had even more reason to see that Ruby would not survive until the morning.

The fast runner on the other hand, looked at the sharptooth, knowing that she would have to resume her flight any second now. Somehow, Terri’s injury had frozen the situation. Ruby knew that it hadn’t been many seconds since her fall but each moment seemed to stretch on for hours. The girl took her time to make appreciating glances at her friends who had saved her from certain death. She had wondered whether the two truly wanted to follow her but at this
point, Ruby had no more doubts about their loyalties. They would see this danger off together or die trying.

All of those thoughts were immediately shattered as Dein started to charge against the three with a more mournful and enraged growl than Ruby had imagined possible from a sharptooth. Immediately, the half teeth took off again, Greentail leading them forward. She screamed in deep fear as she knew Dein would reach them at any moment and now, they had no chance to take him off by any imaginable means.

“We saw a small pass leading to the plains somewhere in this direction! We must find it before that sharptooth catches us!” Greentail said as she jumped another stone with a powerful jump, making her way to the higher ground
overlooking the base of the valley. She cringed heavily as she knew these forced rises only benefited Dein due to their differences in size but there was nothing she or any of the others could do about it. All the while, she could hear Dein roaring behind them as they struggled to even preserve the existing gap between them and the beast.

“This ends here, half tooth scum! You have run long enough!” The sharptooth said as he jumped above the rise the omnivores had struggled to rise, standing less than a longneck’s tail’s length from his prey. The walls of the valley were approaching quickly but Dein knew he had more than enough time to finish the job. To his chagrin, Ruby and Yarel had spread out further to the forest but Greentail had stayed near the middle, apparently thinking she could move faster without trees to hinder her. Dein snorted as he thought about her plan. That just shows how stupid those kids are! That’s a fatal mistake! The male sharptooth darted on an unforeseen sprint and o her horror, Greentail noticed it immediately.

With growing despair, the thinclaw realized her situation was growing increasingly hopeless. The hapless half tooth turned left and tried to move behind a small cliff to take cover from the incoming attack. However, Dein was this time faster than she could have imagined. Before Greentail could get into hiding, she could see that the sharptooth’s jaws were quickly closing in around her. The thinclaw let out a silent, desperate cry and tried to jump away from Dein’s reach. However, that last resort led to another, unforeseen disaster for the omnivore.

Seeing that the smaller dinosaur was off guard for a moment, he hit Greentail with his hand, all his claws aimed at her throat. However, his hit missed by the tiniest of margins but it was enough to interrupt Greentail’s jump. With an uncontrolled flight, the omnivore hurled towards a large, sharp rock, her head hitting its sharp edge with a terrifying force. The impact darkened Greentail’s world immediately but she could still feel the stinging, unimaginable pain flushing through her body. The hit had struck a deep wound to her forehead but even to her own amazement, she hadn’t lost her consciousness by a long shot. Mere seconds later, she was completely shaken off from her mental slumber by her brother’s call nearby.

“Greentail, come now! We’ll heal your wound when we get safe!” Yarel felt numbness take over his mind as he looked at his sister’s injured head and her unsure steps. Her whole face was suddenly being painted red but to his immense relief, the male could see his sister being able to walk and perhaps even escape from Dein’s grasp as the tunnel was very near and the forest was growing too dense from the sharptooth to chase them effectively. Ruby also noticed what had happened and both of them quickly headed towards their injured companion, no matter the danger to themselves.

Dein looked at the thinclaw in ever-growing anger. She had received a nasty hit to her head but she still wasn’t dead or mortally wounded. The sharptooth didn’t waste time resuming his chase and ending the annoying brat’s seemingly endless flight. However, Dein, too, realized he was running out of time. No matter which way the half teeth were running to, they would reach it soon as the highest hills bordering the river valley were growing ever higher and imposing as he approached them.

Even while she tried to keep her attention on her friends, Greentail’s head felt like it was slowly being grinded to dust by an ever-strengthening headache that slowly engulfed her whole consciousness. She could see that the escape was near but that knowledge was slowly being overshadowed by her deteriorating situation. To her alarm and extreme fear, Ruby could see that Greentail wouldn’t be able to escape at this rate as her pace was growing slower by the minute. With a fearful look, Ruby quickly looked around herself and distinct memories were growing in her mind. The bushes around her were bearing the last remains of the Warm Time’s berries and some of them were rather strong-smelling. While by no means as effective as those in the Hidden Canyon, these could be enough to give Greentail the few moments she’d need to escape even in her current, highly worrying state.

“Yarel, gather a few of these! We need to confuse Dein for just a few seconds!” The girl said as she gathered a few dozen of the yellowish berries. She wasted no time heading towards the sharptooth at this point and without any hesitation, she cried aloud.

“You’ve already gone far enough, sharptooth! Chase me for a change!” Ruby yelled as she suddenly tore the berries open, Dein not paying much attention to her odd gestures. The predator’s eyes bored into Ruby as it was still her he wanted the most. His eyes narrowed one more time as he hissed his answer.

Dein merely growled as an answer and begun to move towards Ruby but the fast runner quickly disappeared into the dark woods, invisible even to the carnivore’s eyes. He quickly raised his sniffer to the air but to his shock, all he could smell was some strong, overly sweet smell coming from near him. It wasn’t long before he saw the crushed berries all around him, apparently dropped by the two brats. Once again, he’d been tricked as he wouldn’t find Ruby in the woods before the smell would wear off. It was time to throw away all caution. The sharptooth quickly headed towards the mountains, knowing Greentail had escaped in that direction.

“Just a little more, Greentail! We’re there soon!” Yarel said as he tried to help his sister stay on her feet. No one would call her steps running but she still managed to jog slightly. Yarel was more than grateful to Ruby for her taunting but Greentail’s situation was only growing worse. He could already see the very narrow pass the two had seen earlier, opening before them like a tiny gate to freedom after this night of horrors. The forest was extremely dense but the light of the Bright Circle illuminated the heavenly sight. In just a few moments, everything would be well again. Just a few more seconds…

“Hurry, Yarel! He’s coming!” Ruby yelled as she quickly joined the two, only then noticing Greentail’s slow and unsure footing. The fast runner’s face fell immediately but she quickly moved to her side and said to her friend softly.

“Run now, Greentail, and you’ll be able to run again! You won’t join your parents just yet!” Ruby knew those words would be sure to raise some feelings in her friend’s fleeting consciousness and to be sure, the thinclaw’s dimming eyes seemed to register those words. The omnivore’s pace improved somewhat and not a second too soon. As a final resort, Dein charged through the woods in his last effort to slaughter the trio and they looked in fear as the massive form of the predator grew closer by the minute. His body was cast against the sky as a pitch-black shadow of death in the night and Ruby and Yarel quickly took firm grips of Greentail’s arms and quickly pulled her with them, determined to take her with them. The walls of the narrow pass slowly rose around them but it was still not narrow enough.

Dein could see that he was on the verge of being outsmarted and as final effort to save his face he run straight into the pass, hoping to crush the juvenile omnivores under her feet but all too soon, he could feel his last hopes fading. The walls of the pass quickly seemed to grab on his sides, preventing him from taking the last few steps to finish the job. However, that knowledge only worsened his struggles, no matter how futile they would be. The one guilty of Chomper’s demise would escape and he would leave his mate’s injury unavenged. After a moment, he hissed to Ruby as he resigned to the unchangeable reality.

“This isn’t over, fast runner. We will find you and your family again. The next time we meet will be our last.”
Ruby on the other hand, looked at the sharptooth in unending relief, almost willing to collapse against the cliff in mental exhaustion. She only looked at the raging sharptooth who was slowly moving away from the tunnel. The fast runner had already accepted that her demise had come but once again, she had managed to escape from the jaws of death. However, there was another one who still needed help. Ruby quickly run to Yarel’s side who had put Greentail sitting against the wall. She looked extremely pale and her gaze had lost any focus it had once had.

“Come, help me stop the bleeding! She’s getting too weak! She’s passing out!” Yarel cried in growing desperation as the bleeding from her head continued unabated, telling its own sad tale of her condition. The thinclaw’s body seemed to be completely still as Yarel and Ruby gathered fallen leaves and dust from the ground to finally stop the bleeding from the gaping wound. They weren’t hard to find and the duo quickly moved to cover her wound with whatever they could find. However, both Ruby and Yarel were growing increasingly fearful as they saw the streaming blood and Greentail’s increasingly hazy and directionless eyes. Their only relief was that their companion seemed to be unconscious and the apparent pain didn’t prevent their help.

However, Greentail wasn’t completely unconscious. Not yet anyway. Her eyes could see the fuss around her and somehow, the girl realized they were safe now. However, all parts of her mind were overshadowed by the all-numbing pain in her head and the increasingly sick feeling in her belly and every other deeper meaning around her was beyond her mental reach. Even if she didn’t realize it herself, her stomach suddenly started to gurgle and she started to writhe heavily. Following them, Greentail vomited on her helpers stunning them in ever-deepening alarm but her mind was too hazy to even realize it. Only seconds afterwards, the girl slowly fell to the ground, the last pieces of knowledge still tying her into the reality finally turning off.

Ruby and her friends have managed to escape for now but not without a heavy price. Will Greentail survive her horrendous injury or will one of Ruby's companions meet her end here? And just as importantly, what can the fast runner do to save her family from the sharpteeth? No matter what happens, these developments mark a major blow for Ruby's efforts to salvage what she can of her broken life. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and see you next time! :)

Ducky123: Thank you for your kind words! Yes, I thought this was the correct time to build some more backstory for this herd and, as with most ancient societies, oral traditions are quite important. It’s true that Pterano’s tales bear similarity to those of Grandpa but I hope to create more differences between them later on. Also, I always imagined Petrie being quite socially awkward without his friends but we’ll see how things will develop for our favorite flier.


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Separate Ways
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2017, 03:16:16 PM »
This was an absolutely brutal chapter, and I mean that in a good way.  Now that Ruby has been found and the truth of their son's death has been confirmed, Ruby is now directly confronted with not only the possibility of her death, but also that of her family.  This can only cause her to redouble her efforts to find her family at all costs.

But now it seems that one of Ruby's allies has now paid a heavy price in order to save their traveling companion.  Whether Greenrail survives this ordeal or not, nothing will be the same after this.

Very nicely done.  :)  I both look forward to and (on Greentail's behalf) dread what will happen next.

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


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« Reply #49 on: December 03, 2017, 04:29:09 PM »
Solving the Crisis

The anxious, waiting mood in the quickly assembling flyer herd was quite tangible. Each of the arriving dinosaurs could tell that something terrible had come to pass during the night but only very few knew what that something was. The calling of all of the herd members together was far from usual and it had used usually if there had been some kind of natural disaster or attack. However, all of the flyers could tell that no such things had happened today so what was the reason for alarm call? Everyone knew that wouldn’t be a secret for long but it did little to help the fearful atmosphere.

Pterano was just as oblivious to the latest development as most others as he and Petrie slowly approached the already sizable crowd and the older flyer cringed heavily as he thought about the coming minutes. This certainly wasn’t something he had hoped Petrie to face this quickly but it couldn’t be helped. However, there was also another thing that worried the brownish male deeply. In situations like these, he’d usually meet up with Lenel to see if he had anything he’d want to tell his assistants. Pterano had always done so but the yesterday’s incident had seemed highly worrying. When he had found his nephew and Glide before Petrie’s test, the boy had seemed clearly troubled by something and Pterano couldn’t help but fear there had been some kind of incident with some other flyer.

Even then, Pterano wasn’t going to let his benefactor down at this point. Not only had Lenel helped him countless times during their times together, Pterano had grown to respect the light-colored flyer greatly. He had serious doubts about leaving Petrie alone but he simply had no chance. The flyer was still lost in his own thoughts when he heard Petrie speak to him with a somewhat concerned tone.

“What has happened, uncle? You seem to know why we gathering here.” Petrie had noticed that his uncle knew what this occasion meant and the older flyer’s silence did little to alleviate the boy’s fears. The younger flyer wanted to know if there would be anything to worry here. Pterano glanced at him and after a short pause, answered Petrie’s question.

“It’s been something really bad but I cannot say what, Petrie. Still, don’t worry, we’ll know soon enough. But there’s one thing you should know, nephew. I’ll have to go for a while to see if Lenel has something he’d want from me. You have to wait some time but there shouldn’t happen anything too dangerous at this point.” Pterano regretted his words but he had no options at this point. Petrie frowned to his uncle slightly and answered quickly as the two started their landing on the eerily silent plain which was being filled with flyers.

“Why you go to see Lenel, uncle Pterano? Doesn’t he have to be there to tell what has happened with the other leaders?” Petrie asked oddly, not having the slightest of ideas about his uncle’s intentions. Pterano immediately twitched in annoyance, suddenly remembering he hadn’t told Petrie anything about his relationship with Lenel and he didn’t have a lot of time to explain things to Petrie. The older flyer took a sigh and answered quickly to his nephew’s question.

“You’re right, I never told about it, Petrie. All of the leading flyers have one or two herd members who help them in their leading tasks or other requests and in return receive some favors from them. I often help Lenel in times of trouble like this one and actually, Petrie, getting you to join the herd would have been much harder without Lenel’s help. I don’t know if he has something he wants of me today but I’ll have to go see if there’s something I can do. Is that alright?” Pterano looked at Petrie in slight worry and the younger dinosaur was slightly surprised by this news and he simply nodded and answered silently.

“Alright, uncle! Just try to make sure things are okay! Petrie wait here.” The boy said, earning a slightly relieved smile from his uncle who, despite his nephew unsuccessful attempts to find friends in the herd, trusted that Petrie would be alright. The older flyer nodded to Petrie briefly before he started to take off.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can, nephew. Let’s just hope nothing terrible has happened.” And with those words, the older flier rose to his wings again but this flight wouldn’t be a long one. It was mere seconds before he spotted the light-colored flyer standing near a steep cliff with his another follower, a slightly smaller female. He also spotted Peak not far from the other leader, seemingly shocked and angered by something. Pterano frowned at the sight, having the feeling that the alarm call had something to do with this unusual outburst from the usually calm flyer. However, all of that would be made clear as the brownish flyer landed near Lenel. The slightly larger flier quickly turned to look at the newcomer and his face was unmoved by Pterano’s appearance. However, his voice was close to friendly as he spoke.

“Greetings, Pterano. It’s good that you came here. A tragedy has struck us and we’re trying to find a way to find a response to it.” The flyer said, his voice clearly worried by his words. The green-colored looked at Pterano with some unease, her composure resembling that of Lenel’s. Pterano looked at the other male with some confusion and asked the obvious question.

“What has happened? It isn’t like you and the others to call everyone here without a clear threat upon us!” The brownish flyer said to which Lenel took a brief nod at Peak’s direction. He was surrounded mostly by his family relatives as he was preparing to break the news to everyone. Lenel quickly turned back to Pterano and answered silently.

“One of the flyers of this herd murdered Peak’s cousin in the dark of the night, slicing his throat open before he could even move his wing to protect himself. We called everyone here to ensure the murderer doesn’t get away. Peak’s cousin was one of his closest allies and his death certainly will raise his doubts against everyone here until this thing is resolved once and for all. We cannot afford this accident spread mistrust among us. Sadly, he is far too suspicious by this disaster to let anyone else but his family to do any investigations. There are many flyers more capable than them but I guess we have to respect his choice.” Lenel’s eyes turned into deep frown as he spoke and he moved his hands nervously. Pterano, however, was greatly saddened by these news as he had often found Ortin and his father quite respectable flyers and it was clear that this knowledge would spread to Petrie soon enough. The brownish male understood extremely well what Lenel meant by his call for quick and decisive resolution. There was no telling if the killer would strike again before long. This time one of the other flyers, a greenish female, asked in a somewhat frustrated voice.

“Isn’t there anything we can do? Can we really trust Peak is capable enough to handle this thing by himself?!” The female said as she looked at the mournful flyer speak to the others about the night’s tragedy. His voice nearly thundered with saddened rage and clear gasps of shock and surprise could be heard among the crowd. Nira and Nimble had moved to Peak’s side in a show of support and Lenel knew he had to follow their example soon enough. He quickly spoke to his allies as he prepared to join his peers in the morbid gathering.

“As much as I regret his stubbornness, there’s not lot of help we are able to offer at this point. He deserves to be able to hand these things on his own. However, I’d appreciate if you both stayed here to follow the situation in case I need your help and try to make sure that nothing unexpected happens among the herd. I don’t believe the killer strikes again at this point but keep your eyes open. I’ll call you if I have further instructions.” Lenel cringed at his lack of better options but even a small attempt to serve the herd would be better than merely sitting on his heels doing nothing.
Pterano and the greenish female turned and nodded to each other, agreeing to their leader’s proposition. Pterano regretted that he couldn’t return to his nephew’s side but he was far from ready to leave Lenel’s side. The light-colored flyer had helped him restore some parts of his lost sense of pride and he regretted to be forced to put those duties and Petrie against each other. However, for now his choice was clear.

“Very well, Lenel. We’ll do our best to ensure safety among the herd and to wait if you have any requests later on. Don’t worry about this.” The brownish male said with slight bow, a gesture which was soon replicated by the other flyers around him shortly. The light-colored dinosaur took a careful smile as he waved his helpers off with a small wave of his wing.
“Let’s just hope you don’t need to do anything else. This day has already started badly enough.” Lenel said as he started to walk to Nira and Nimble’s side. Pterano and his companion followed him about halfway and then went their own ways to safeguard two spots within the herd. Everyone knew the leaders’ nearest allies and few would pick a fight with them. Pterano, seeing that everything was calm for now, turned to look at Peak’s speech in deep worry.

“…and that is why none of you will leave this field before I allow it! One of you killed my flesh and blood and that flyer will pay with for this deed with his life! I swear this!” Disbelief and fear were the dominating hues in Petrie’s eyes as he listened to Peak’s words. He had seen more than enough death during his life but, no matter how difficult that was to accept emotionally, the flyer knew losing a loved to a sharptooth was all part of the great circle of life and the sharptooth weren’t given a chance to choose in life. However, this was something completely different.

The mere thought of someone willingly killing another flyer without the urgent need to do so turned Petrie’s stomach upside down. He didn’t know who the murdered flyer was but the boy could see the clear pain on Peak’s face. However, that thought was mixed with another, just as worrying one. How were the leaders planning to find out the killer among all those who had gathered in the large field? The knowledge that the killer could be the large male near him or another, young female near the other flyer brought deep anxiety to Petrie whose forehead was beginning to get soaked with cold sweat. Why hadn’t Pterano returned yet? The atmosphere was growing quickly colder around the young boy when the worried gossip was again silenced by another remark from Peak.

“We know this abomination happened only a few hours ago and that the killer was rather small-sized but still clearly an adult. We are still gathering information but…” Petrie’s listening was suddenly interrupted by a voice that immediately caught Petrie’s attention. The speaker was a female, slightly older than he was, and her voice sounded surprisingly friendly to the boy’s ears.

“This speech is growing quickly tiresome, don’t you think! I thought you did well yesterday so I wondered if you’d like to come to play? My name is Eleria.” The girl asked in a seemingly genuine voice as she nodded to the nearby woods’ direction. Petrie looked at her oddly, not understanding why this flyer would even consider plying at this grave hour, especially since Peak had just told them to stay as a group until the murderer had been found. The male answered to the newcomer with a slight frown but he sounded as friendly as ever.

“B…but we have to stay here and not go anywhere! Do you not hear what Peak say?” The boy said, his gestures mirroring his unsure composure. The female took a slight smile and quickly answered to Petrie’s comment.

“I did but he just said that the killer is an adult so who cares about us? Just come on, nobody will miss two kids in a good while!” The girl said, finally starting to turn Petrie’s mind. He took one last glance at the still-speaking Peak and he couldn’t question the newcomer’s logic. The older flyer had said he was confident the killer had been an adult so there was no need for him stay here. If he had a chance to make a new friend at this point, was there any reason for him to turn her away? Also, there were no signs of his uncle’s return so there was nothing keeping him here listening to this speech. The male’s face finally abandoned its earlier concern and he quickly formed a slight smile and quickly answered to the other young flyer.

“Alright, Petrie come! Let’s go before anyone notices us!” He quickly started to follow the newcomer who readily turned around and silently headed towards the edge of the forest which was very near to the duo. Both of them could see that there were some older flyers circling in the sky but they could move just slowly enough for them to miss their intermittent movements. The girl entered the woods first but Petrie followed her quickly, both of them disappearing into the thick forest safe from the gaze of the herd.

It was at this point that another pair of eyes suddenly caught the sight of the duo. Glide’s eyes were moist with deep sympathy for her friend as she knew just how deeply Ortin had loved his father. Glide was standing with another one of her friends called Brownbeak who was similarly shocked by the event. However, the corner of Glide’s eye caught the sight of the two young flyers walking towards the edge of the forest. Even through her sorrow and shock, the sight of Petrie still made her only remember her own failure and along with those memories, her dislike for the newcomer.

However, his companion immediately caused deep concern in the young girl’s mind. She was another young flyer who Glide knew and hated deeply and she knew she was likely up to no good. For a few short seconds, Glide wondered whether to stop her plans or if she’d only stay away from that issue. Even then, Glide soon realized her mind was already made up. If Petrie was as great and skilled as he had made out himself to be, he could save himself very well. In a mixture of bitterness and sorrow, Glide crossed her arms and turned her gaze away from the duo that was entering the woods at that very moment.

After a short walk, Petrie sighed in deep relief as he looked at a small forest river quickly streaming towards a long rapid further downhill. He turned to look at his companion who seemed as lighthearted as ever.

“It much better to be out of there! The mood was getting really bad out on that field! What you wanted to play?” Petrie asked, the sudden silence calming his stretched nerved instantly. He was happy to have accepted the girl’s offer and Petrie was preparing to listen to her… when he heard another voice speak to him which suddenly gripped his heart in deep fear. It was a low male voice, one that he had heard only yesterday and one Petrie had hoped to never hear again.

“Just the next day after you had to come to our burden, somebody dies! Pretty convenient, isn’t it, Petrie?” Hoist appeared from between two high trees, his expression radiating with cruel malice. It was clear that the situation was just what he had wished for. Petrie turned to him immediately and answered with a voice that bordered between annoyed and alarmed, not knowing what had brought Hoist here on this hour.

“You know Petrie had nothing to do with this death! Even if me wanted, me couldn’t have done something like that!” The mere fact that he was forced to defend himself about this incident caused deep outrage in the boy’s mind. However, his internal alarm was only doubled as he heard his new “friend’s” voice speak to him with clear ridicule.

“Of course you couldn’t because you’re far too stupid to succeed in something like that! Someone who follows me away from the other’s eyes would have never come up with any plan that actually works!” The female flyer hit Petrie’s back as she spoke, sending Petrie falling on the bare ground. The hit was far from painful but this development shocked him immensely. He couldn’t even begin to process what had happened as he found himself lying on the ground. He quickly turned around and stuttered in a shocked and hurt voice.

“W… what? Petrie thought you wanted to pl… play with me!” The boy knew just how pathetic those words sounded but he couldn’t just find any other words at this point. The girl had seemed completely genuine when she had first approached him but now she was a completely different person. Was… was he truly deceived this badly? The young flyer’s expression turned into a more panicked one as the girl answered to him once again.

“And you believed me! You are every bit as annoying and stupid as Hoist told me!” The female turned to look at Hoist who returned the approving gaze to his friend. The male moved onto ensure that Petrie would have absolutely no chance to escape this time and nobody would be there to help him.

“This time Glide won’t appear out of nowhere, outsider! Prepare for a good lesson this time around! You may consider our coming race the “playing” you were so eager for!” Something concerning flashed in Hoist’s eyes as he suddenly announced at least some part of his plan. Petrie quickly turned to look at him in a mixture of surprise and fear. After a second, he started to stutter in disbelief, not knowing what to make out of the other boy’s words.

“A… a race? But why you want to do that?” The brown flyer asked, cocking his head nervously to his right side. Eleria suddenly answered to the question in clear mockery, further deepening Petrie’s concerns.

“That doesn’t belong to you! And if I were you, I’d start to prepare for that challenge! It isn’t like you have any options!” The female’s voice didn’t calm down Petrie’s mind any but he realized now he didn’t have a choice. Hoist started to explain his plans after Petrie had turned to look back at him.

“I just want to see how pitiful Glide has to be if she lost to a moron like you! I’ll never let her forget it… But before that, we will fly to the highest tree of this forest that way! You have seen it, haven’t you?” Hoist’s voice turned into a considerably friendlier one as he presented his proposition. Petrie gulped as he thought about the larger male’s words. Actually, now that he thought about it, Petrie remembered what Hoist meant: there had been a giant tree sticking out of the woods’ canopy like a longneck’s head. Petrie still didn’t know what to make out of his situation but he realized he didn’t have a choice here. With a nervous smile-like expression, he answered.

“Oh, Petrie remember it! Me think me can find the way there, too! Is that all?” Petrie wanted nothing more than to get over this terrible surprise, no matter what. Hoist’s expression stayed surprisingly neutral as he answered to Petrie’s announcement.

“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s begin! We’ll go when I count to five!” This sudden, odd challenge puzzled Petrie’s already taxed mind but if this was all Hoist had in mind, he had to consider himself lucky if he survived without any worse beating. He listened with deep concentration as Hoist counted.

“… three, four, five!” The two flyers flushed to the air, Hoist once again surprising his opponent by not trying to hinder his start with any tricks. Petrie was even deeply surprised that he could stay completely on Hoist’s heels and with a few tricks, there would even be a chance he’d be able to win this challenge! The trees only flashed around the two flyers as Petrie did his best to find the fastest ways to bypass the trees without sacrificing any of his speed. Their goal was approaching quickly: it would hardly be a minute before they’d reach it. However, it was at this point when Petrie saw something that caused him to frown. Two extremely thick and large trees surrounded by sizable cliffs. The flyer knew immediately he’d have to fly through it and apparently Hoist had the same idea. The slightly smaller flyer looked with some puzzlement as he saw Hoist taking a quick turn upwards, his speed suffering greatly in the process. Petrie couldn’t tell about Hoist’s plans… until it was too late.

As the flyer approached the trees, he could suddenly see ever so narrow, ever so vague threads dotting the opening, apparently tied to it by another dinosaur. They were just thick enough to catch him off-balance and Petrie no longer had time to halt his rapid advance. His desperate attempts to slow down were cut short by an impact against the mix of branches, lianas and other hindrances and the flyer, his body aching with the impact, was sent rolling into the ground before him. However, as he soon realized, it wasn’t just any ground. It was covered with disgusting-smelling, extremely thick goo that soon covered every inch of his body. However, the aching and the smell were only the beginning of his woes.

“And Glide lost to this idiot? He cannot even fly in a straight line without falling! He looks much more like himself, covered in that crap, don’t you think, Eleria?” The two flyers quickly landed near Petrie, looks of triumph evident in their faces. The girl answered to her friend while still continuing to look at Petrie.

“I can’t believe any of our leaders thought this worthless twit could ever join us! There are many spineless, gullible weaklings here but this one exceeds them all! Nice flying, Petrie!” The female bowed to look at the poor flyer who struggled to find any words to say. Only feelings of utter humiliation and sorrow filled his mind as he realized what had come to pass. Once again, he had been tricked, his usual tendency to trust others once again used against him. And soon he would be forced to pay for his mistake, no matter how innocent his intentions originally were. Petrie tried to come up with something to say but he knew it would all be for nothing. The young flyer’s last desperate attempt to stop the inevitable were far from successful.

“Please, me promise Petrie not tell anyone! Can… can we just not forget all of this?” The boy said as he looked at Eleria climb a bit higher to a nearby hill and before long, Petrie could feel additional ordeal upon him as a barrage of ice cold water fell upon his body. The female had removed a small set of rocks blocking a tiny stream but the gathered mass of water was enough to cause a major wave fall on Petrie. Hoist silently started moving closer to Petrie who
looked at his two tormentors with increasingly moist eyes and growing panic.

“I don’t think this is a day you’ll forget, Petrie. We promise you that.” Hoist said as he hit Petrie’s leg with his own, causing Petrie to scream in pain. Eleria soon moved to grab the boy’s hands and hold him still while Hoist moved on to proceed with his despicable deed. As he looked at the duo’s expressions, Petrie realized his ordeal had only just began.

The whole gathering was becoming a chore for Pterano who couldn’t help but feel that Peak’s search would never yield any results. He had spent a long time looking at the flyers around him, trying to see any suspicious behavior but seemingly for naught. Everyone around him seemed more than preoccupied with the search to plan anything funny. Still, the brownish flyer knew the killer was near him and he’d… but what is that?

The corner of Pterano’s saw two flyers whispering to each other, one’s hand painted in red, possibly blood, and his face holding a clearly guilty expression. Pterano immediately turned to look at the duo and instinctually, he could see there was no other probable explanation for the sight than the fact that the red-handed dinosaur was the murderer. Sure, Lenel had ordered him just to oversee that nothing bad was happening but here he had a chance to end this charade once and for all. He suddenly started to run towards the two and suddenly, without a warning, he grabbed the red-handed flyer’s wrist and spoke to him with clear determination in his voice.

“What is this? A bloody hand and suspicious plotting? I’d say I found what everyone was looking for.” A slight smile crept to Pterano’s mind as he enjoyed his moment of triumph. The other flyer looked at him in shock until his companion retorted to Pterano’s accusation.

“Is this a joke, Pterano? Can’t you see that his hand has a deep cut to it! It isn’t the blood of Peak’s cousin!” His voice hissed in annoyance, not amused in the least by the other flyer’s appearance. Pterano, however, wasn’t moved in the least by his words and he quickly waved one of Peak’s followers to him. The flyer came but he was clearly annoyed by this interruption. He asked the obvious question soon after he joined the trio.

“What is it, Pterano? You better not waste my time on a day like this.” The male’s voice was dry and enraged by the never-ending search and he was far from amused by this interruption. Pterano saw this but he answered with enthusiasm.

“Can’t you see that this flyer here has bloody hands? I caught him whispering with him, apparently planning to escape before we catch him.” The brownish dinosaur was already trying to add more details to his story in order to make sure the other flyer believed him. However, this was far from what came to pass.

“Stay away from this, idiot! Can’t you see that this flyer’s claws are too short to kill anyone quickly enough and additionally, his feet don’t resemble those of the killer’s in the least and he has a wound which explains the blood! Let him go and stay away from this!” The other flyer turned his back and left Pterano stunned and humiliated looking at the dinosaur he had blamed without a reason. A forced, awkward smile rose to his cheeks as he looked at the male’s claws. They indeed were incapable of taking down anyone. Pterano knew he had messed up big time and he spoke to the other dinosaur before he left.

“My apologies for this mistake. Please forgive me for it.” The brownish flyer then went his own way, willing to wash the sight of the duo from his mind’s eye and the memory of this shameful display into the past.

Deep displeasure could be read from Nimble’s face as she looked at Peak’s family and two followers interrogating and investigating a host of other flyers who were apparently in some way under their suspicions. Peak himself had to oversee this operation even if he would have wanted nothing more to join the search. However, any sensible flyer would understand that such physical threats and useless clues would get anyone anywhere.
Nimble turned to look at Peak who was standing near her on a small hill, allowing him to oversee the search. The female flyer knew full well why he had ordered this kind of response to the murder and she was far from pleased with his approach. If someone was willing to go as far as to kill another flyer, he or she had most likely hidden their trail well and interrogating that traitor wouldn’t bring any results. Nimble eagerly wanted to get over this issue over with but Peak’s shortsighted strategy upset her greatly despite her usual calm demeanor. She quickly walked to Peak and spoke to him with a hissing and angered voice.

“I know this loss is a hard one for you, Peak, but you cannot order the whole herd to be harassed like this! Call your followers back and stop this ridiculous hunt!” Nimble said quickly, somewhat surprising the other flyer, However, Peak’s answer was far from approving as he turned to look at the somewhat dark-colored dinosaur.

“And let the killer get away with this? I don’t care which methods we will have to use but I won’t let our herd to sink into fearful, chaotic mess because we can’t catch those who’d hurt our companions! This is something we have to do, Nimble, and you know it as well as I do!” The orange flyer said as his allies continued to move among the crowd, attacking anyone who they deemed suspicious. The only thing that kept the other flyers calm was their trust and respect in Peak’s decisions. Nimble frowned at those words as she regretted deeply that the other leader, who was usually renowned for his wisdom and just decisions, wasn’t thinking rationally. She raised her voice somewhat and took a much sharper look as she retorted Peak’s claim.

“I do know it but we’ll never get anywhere unless we aren’t think about this logically! We have to try to know who we are chasing if we are to even have a slight hope of ever catching the culprit! Just calm down and start to see things from other points of view than through your own hate! We need Longcrest’s help, now!” Nimble said, the conversation slowly beginning to catch the attention of Nira and Lenel as well. Longcrest was an unbelievably gifted tracker who could help greatly but Nimble knew getting Peak to accept it would be difficult as Longcrest was her close friend and follower. Seeing that the debate was heating up, Lenel started to approach the duo when Peak’s enraged cry rang through the field.

“My own hate? I have every right to demand for that bastard’s death and none of you are going to stand in my way! We know that my cousin’s throat was sliced open and that someone in this herd declared war against my family! As far as I know, it could even be one of you! And if you want to get that fool involved to all of this, forget it! I’ll finish this search myself!” Peak yelled, his expression hardened with deep rage but his voice revealed the depth of the hurt the flyer was experiencing. However, mere emotions wouldn’t get him far. Lenel’s voice suddenly rang behind them, sounding far calmer than the other two leaders. He was rising to the hill the two were standing as he outlined his vision of the best course of action.

“That’s enough, Peak! You cannot begin to begin to blame us for something like this! And what comes to your plan, can’t you see it isn’t working! At this rate, this day will be remembered only of our failure to do our duty!” The light-colored flyer said as he turned to face the other male who looked at Lenel and Nimble with growing frustration. He was doing what he thought was right and these two, who had nothing to do with his tragedy, were here telling him what to do, as if their course of action was the correct one! He was about to answer when Nimble interrupted him.

“Exactly! Try to see reason, Peak! We only want what’s best for all of us, not to mock or order you around! We’ll help you to…” Those words were a mistake which only fed Peak’s rage. He had never trusted the other leader’s loyalty to the herd in the first place and their eagerness to trespass into his family’s issues weren’t helping. He suddenly raised his voice and cried with a loud voice.

 “I won’t allow such things! This is my personal issue alone and that’s final! We may lead this herd together but this thing doesn’t concern you!” Peak’s mind was being clouded with hate which certainly wasn’t lessened as he heard Nira’s voice speak to him.

“Snap out of it! You know this concerns all of us! We…” This comment was being shouted over by a response from Peak which in turn was countered by Nira who joined her peers soon after Lenel. Suddenly, none of the four didn’t seem to even hear their own words. For the first time in many Cold Times, the leaders’ discussion descended into a full-blown accusation and shouting contest.

Increasing desperation was filling Ortin’s mind as he followed his second cousin’s fight with his peers, all of them seemingly forgetting the real issue at hand. The boy was sitting on a rock not too far from the four even if he wouldn’t have minded missing this display completely. Everything around the poor flyer seemed blurred and unreal, the voices around him melting into an unintelligible mess and his line of sight consisting of his own knees against which his head was lying. The only thing that seemed to fill his broken world was the powerful, crushing pain inside him and the slowly but surely easing cry that had never stopped since the terrible morning. At first, the knowledge that that his
dad’s killer would be brought to justice had brought him some reprieve but those hopes were increasingly swept away by increasing cynicism as he followed the debate on the hills.

As Ortin slowly raised his head in an effort to ease the agony inside him but even that only made him feel more miserable. His grandmother and the rest of his family were all doing Peak’s bidding, all of them paying all of their attention only to the head of their extended family, finally making Ortin realize another terrifying fact about what he had lost. In a way, only his dad had acknowledged him as he was, most other members of his lineage only doing their best to get closer to Peak or to get to know his children better. He, on the other hand, had seemed to be of little interest to anyone due to the fact that he was only Peak’s cousin’s son. That thought only flooded the young boy’s mind with more bitterness and the only thought in his anxious mind was to find an explanation to all this. Why did this have to happen!? N.. now I’m all alone and I have nobody to turn to! D… dad, please come back! Tell me that this is just a terrible sleep story! Please, I beg you… someone, anyone…

“I don’t care about your stupid relative in the least at this point! The killer can be far away from here by now!”

Ortin’s desperate thoughts were interrupted by a loud call from Nira, an unusually direct attack against a fellow leader’s family. This cry was the straw that finally broke the last remains of Ortin’s patience. The female was mocking his father which was more than enough to raise the child’s bitterness but he was also mad at Peak who had seemed to abandon the goal of finding the killer in order to begin a fight with the others. Nobody cared about his father or about what was right at this point. The young flyer quickly rose up from his rock and headed towards the woods, unable to take the oppressing atmosphere and the endless mockery of his father anymore. If nobody else cared about him, he might as well stay away from their sight for now.

Shocked tears of pain and humiliation flowed from Petrie’s eyes as he tried to come to terms about the terrifying incident. How could he have been so naÔve as to follow Eleria to the forest like this, completely trusting her at first glance? Petrie sat there in deep shock, the young flyer feeling completely worthless and humiliated by Hoist’s appearance and the way he beat him in the brief and dishonest flying race but it and the following beating had seemed to shatter something in Petrie’s already wobbly confidence. How could he tell anyone that he had been proven to be a naÔve, stupid and pathetic weakling Hoist had said he was from the very beginning? Maybe… maybe he was right, maybe Petrie had no part in the herd.

The young flyer rose up from the ground, his mind completely numb of anything but hate and fear. Aside from his newfound self-pity, Hoist’s appearance had started to stir something within the boy’s mind, something he hadn’t felt before: a personal, deep hate against the flyer who had forced him to go through this torture. In the back of his mind, Petrie tried to hold on to his natural sympathy and understanding against others. Petrie had tried to understand even Hyp and his friends to some degree but they had never attacked him this directly or hurt him this severely. Also back then, he had had his friends to support him but now it was harder for him to see the light in his situation. Sure, he had his uncle but it just wasn’t the same. Without Littlefoot’s endless optimism and comfort and Ducky’s ever-joyful and reassuring words, he just wasn’t the same flyer he had been back then. The mere thought of Ducky took the boy back into his last conversation with the most likely late swimmer, causing another wave of self-pity flow on him. At this point, he couldn’t even begin to understand what had caused him to try to preach anything to his best friend, only upsetting her further. Petrie shook his head in despair as he slowly rose up from the ground and raised his gaze to the canopy of the forest and the endless void before it. Petrie’s eyes bored into the blue as his mind bid one, last apology to his long-lost friend and all the happy times they had gone through together.

Petrie is so sorry, Ducky. Me never should have tried to make you so upset. Me… me just hope that wherever you are, there… there aren’t any stupid jerks like Petrie!

Those thoughts hurt him very deeply. This was the first time he had fallen so low into self-hate but the flyer realized he had to begin moving to get his thoughts to the point where he could begin the process of regaining his composure. With weary and beaten steps, Petrie started to scrap the now-dried mud from his wings and face. Without a doubt, he’d be back before anybody could even miss him as at this point, Petrie felt that not even his uncle needed him. Only the calming voices of the buzzers and scaly swimmers in the small streams broke the monotony of Petrie’s forced inhaling and frequent sighs. Even the warming rays of the Bright Circle meant little to the flyer whose head drooped between his shoulders.

After many minutes of walking, he heard something that for the first time since Hoist’s disappearance caught his attention. Somewhere within the woods could be heard slight sobbing and that took Petrie’s attention momentarily away from his woes. If nothing else, the other child didn’t seem to be in much better spirits than he was. Only after a few moments, Petrie caught the sighting of the flyer in question, his identity catching him by slight surprise.

Ortin? What is he doing here? What’s wrong with him? Per… perhaps me should go ask him?

The flyer’s mood hardly was suitable to try to cheer Ortin up but at least he could try to see what was the problem with the other dinosaur and see if there was anything they could do to help each other. With forced and nervous steps, Petrie moved closer to the rock Ortin was sitting on and with an even surprisingly downtrodden, beaten voice he opened the discussion.

“H… hi, Ortin. Wh… what you doing here?”

The voice took Ortin off-guard as he hadn’t expected anyone to find him here. He turned his head to look at the newcomer and he was surprised to see who the newcomer was. What would bring Petrie here? The two barely knew each other and it was beyond weird that he’d come here to meet him at a moment like this. However, as the other flyer drew closer, he could see some weird and concerning details in Petrie he hadn’t noticed right away. The other boy was mostly covered in smelly goo and wherever it had been removed could be seen small cuts that seemed quite painful. In addition to them, Petrie’s eyes were still red from obvious crying. However, all of that made little impact on Ortin whose own mind was too blurred by grief to care about Petrie’s woes. However, he answered to Petrie’s question with an equally downtrodden voice.

“Oh, hi again, Petrie. I came here to just take a pause from that crap the grown-ups are throwing against dad. I… I could no longer take it. What happened to you?” Ortin looked at the other boy from the corner of his eye, most of his attention still concentrated in all his memories about his father. Petrie seemed rather puzzled by his answer and he also let it show in his next words.

“Petrie… Petrie met Hoist… and his friend but me not want to speak about it. But… why they speaking bad things about your dad? What happen to him?” Petrie asked these questions in good will, knowing nothing about the identity of Ortin’s father. However, that question was far from appreciated from the other young flyer who raised his voice slightly as he answered.

“What happened to him?! He was the one who was damn killed this morning! In case you didn’t know, the whole herd is there gathered because of him! I should have known an outsider like you knows nothing about anything!” At this point, Ortin took his eyes away from Petrie and continued in a more silent and hurt voice. “I’m sorry for that. I was just carried away.” Another tear formed in Ortin’s eye as he turned his head towards a small belly slider moving away from him. Petrie’s heart dropped a little as he heard the news. Had it really been Ortin’s father who had died? Of all the flyers. Petrie’s head dropped immediately as he heard the news, fully well knowing what he was going through. Suddenly his own problems seemed highly trivial. Petrie’s voice was meek as he answered.

“Me so sorry, Ortin. Petrie not know it was your dad.” There wasn’t anything more he could say, was there? There was nothing that could undo the tragedy as the brown flyer very well knew. His own father had died before his own birth but his mother had never told him that story. However, that would have to wait until, or rather if, he’d rejoin his family ever again. However, his personal ramifications were stopped by Ortin’s voice.

“Well, now you know. Peak and the others only care about their own name and at this rate we’ll never know who killed my dad. But what does that even matter…. it wouldn’t bring him back anyway. I don’t even know what to do at this point.” Ortin’s voice sounded extremely tortured and it was a voice Petrie knew very well. It was the voice he had heard from Cera when she had heard that her mother hadn’t made it to the Valley. However, he couldn’t even begin to think how it actually felt. Even then, there was no reason not to try to utilize his own experiences to approach the other distressed boy.

“Me never knew me dad. He already gone the day Petrie hatched. It’s terrifying how usual it actually is. Me once had a group of friends and all of them had at least one parent who… who was no longer there. Petrie so sorry these things happen but… perhaps it be easier for me as me dad was never there.” The brown flyer was far from certain if his approach was the correct one but it was the only way he could take in this discussion. He followed the evolution of Ortin’s expression as the other flyer raised his head slightly.

“I’ve heard such stories too but it doesn’t really help. Also, Petrie… I thought you were living with your family on some desert? Were the other flyers there too?” Ortin asked with some puzzlement, remembering Petrie’s story on the preceding day. The boy knew that few children survived to adulthood with both of their parents alive but now he had lost them both. But according to Petrie’s story, he wasn’t in a much better situation anyway. Back when he had seen Petrie for the first time in the joining ceremony, he had thought of Petrie’s loss as a distant, unrealistic event but here he was, in the very same situation as the other male was. Petrie looked at Ortin for a moment in puzzlement until he realized he had let out more of his past than he should have. With some stuttering, he tried to come up with something to say.

“Uhh… me friends lived far away from me home and me only met them a few times in a Cold Time. Those were good times playing Hide a… I mean trying to beat each other with great flying tricks!” Petrie cringed heavily as he realized he had slipped something that he hoped Ortin wouldn’t have caught. Flyers didn’t play Hide and Seek together and even the mere mentioning of it could raise Ortin’s suspicions. It was already bad enough to try to lie about his friends, let alone come up with new lies at this point.

Ortin, on the other hand, kept a neutral face but Petrie’s slip or his far from believable story brought some puzzlement to his mind. He could see that the other flyer was extremely distressed after the incident with Hoist but that wasn’t enough of an excuse to forget about important details of one’s past. Ortin decided not to press this issue further at this point but he was slowly coming to the conclusion that Petrie’s backstory was far from the truth. He answered soon with a slightly less anxious voice but which still dipped with sorrow.

“We’ve also done that a lot with Glide and the others. It’s not always been easy living here but there have been many days I would never trade away and I’m sure dad had many of them too. I… I just hope that he is happy looking over us out there, in the Great Beyond. It’s just so hard to accept he’s not coming back… but at least he was the greatest dad I could have asked for. I… I hope he has a great flight to the Great Beyond.” Ortin said as his composure broke down once again as he thought about those words. Petrie’s own eyes were also growing even if he had never met Ortin’s father but he could see how much he meant to the other flyer. Petrie sat beside him and tried to come up with something Littlefoot had said not long after their arrival in the Valley. He couldn’t recite it perfectly but none of their meaning had been lost to the flyer. It felt terrifying and heartbreaking that the longneck who had said those words back then was more than likely dead himself.

“I’m sure he has, Ortin. One of me friends once said to Petrie that he believes our loved ones are out there watching over us from those tiny lights in the sky. But more than that, they follow us in the winds all around us, begging us to know that we are home wherever we are just as long as we realize everything that matters is still with us. I don’t know if that is true but Petrie like to think that me dad also be near me even if he can’t be seen.” The young flyer said as the sight of Littlefoot on that day returned to his mind. He couldn’t even begin to think how dearly he missed the longneck but for a moment, he was grateful that Ortin was here beside him at this moment. The other flyer, however, didn’t seem to be too accepting of his ideas. He snorted with some dismissal even if his face communicated no disapproval. However, he soon waved his head and answered.

“Peak has tried to tell me similar tales to yours but it just sounds so stupid. There’s no reason to come up with such hopes. My dad’s gone to wherever he has and he can’t be there and here at the same time. Sorry, Petrie, but I just can’t believe something like that. It’s just not possible.” Ortin said as he rose up from the rock with clearly disturbed gestures. He then turned to Petrie who was somewhat disappointed by Ortin’s answer and spoke to him in an almost kind voice.

“But thanks for coming here, Petrie. I needed someone to talk to. See you sometime soon.” The flyer tried to force a slight smile to his face even if it was still clear that he was mentally broken inside. Petrie was slightly disappointed by Ortin’s dismissal of his words as, even if he didn’t know it, Petrie couldn’t help but feel the other flyer was insulting the memory of his friends. However, he also realized that despite his faults, Ortin was genuine in his interest to talk to the newcomer to the herd and there were no hidden thoughts in his mind. Trying to hide his chagrin, Petrie returned Ortin’s smile as he felt the Bright Circle’s light warm his back.

“You too, Ortin. Me look forward to seeing you again.” The young flyer looked at the other boy disappearing to the woods as he knew better than well that he needed some time alone. Petrie was still shocked by the news of the other flyer’s father’s death but his own encounter with Hoist was slowly leaving his mind. On the positive side, Hoist had taught Petrie not to ever trust another dinosaur without careful consideration again. And, even if by accident, Hoist had helped him find his first friend since that terrible sand cloud.

Even if he didn’t realize it itself, Petrie’s beak turned slowly into a smile.



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Separate Ways
« Reply #50 on: December 03, 2017, 04:30:12 PM »

The orange flyer’s thoughts were a flux of hateful thoughts as he looked at a group of flyers fly towards him and the other flyers, returning from a rip to investigate the site of the murder once again. Peak would have wanted to see this through by himself and it had been a long and difficult battle to force him to abandon that hope. He and his allies had investigated his cousin’s corpse, of course, but Nimble in particular insisted that her flyers would be allowed there as well. She had tried to prove to the others that one of her followers in particular was a master in tracking and finding clues about hunts or sharpteeth and those attributes were likely to help in this situation, too. Peak had accepted her proposal after a long battle but not without his own allies making sure they weren’t up for anything interesting. Peak spoke in a hate-filled voice as Nimble’s best tracker landed before him.

“Well, did you find anything? Speak so we can get over this nonsense!” Peak gritted his teeth together as he spoke, knowing that further losing of his temper wouldn’t be helpful. The other flyer was an extremely tall, deep-brown dinosaur whose expression radiated with cold self-confidence and his voice wasn’t exactly friendly either but he knew better than to get into a fight with Peak.

“In addition to the way the wound was caused, there were countless other important things you missed, honored leader. For example, the killer’s scent was clearly a male’s and the way he walked told me that he was a rather elderly flyer. He walked a short distance to your cousin but he had planned his act well. There are certainly no witnesses to the murder.” The brown flyer had an outstanding sense of smell for a leaf eating flyer and his somewhat hazy eyes saw just enough to confirm what his sniffer told him. However, his words seemed to bring little reprieve to Peak who hissed to him as an answer.

“Is that it? I put my trust in you and you still cannot tell me more!? I always knew this idea was doomed to fail!” The flyer dragged his eyes from the larger male, but he couldn’t take a step until he continued almost stoically.

“I wouldn’t say so. I believe I’ll be able to tell from the way the culprit moves and by his scent who he is. Just remove all the others from that brainless crowd and I’ll find you the killer soon enough!” As he concluded, the large male’s voice suddenly turned to an angrier one even if it still refrained from any threat. Peak, however, had had enough. He waved his hand and spoke in a dismissing voice.

“I’m not going to put my trust on a flyer who doesn’t hold any respect to me or my family. For all I know, you could just use this opportunity to get rid off some of your opponents and letting the real killer just get away. We will be…” At this point, a female voice interrupted him again, one that was beginning to get on Peak’s nerves.

“We have to do this! There is nobody else here who can find the one who killed your cousin! You know this flyer and you’ve trusted him many times before!” Nimble spoke in a mixture of pleading and outrage. Peak turned to her to answer her when another, new voice spoke to him.

“She… she’s right, Peak. Longcrest is the best tracker of all of us. We have to listen to him.” The speaker was one of Peak’s own followers and his face seemed completely genuine. No matter how much he’d want to dismiss it, in his heart the orange flyer knew he was right. Longcrest, despite serving first of all Nimble, had been an invaluable help in helping the herd avoid sharpteeth and finding their way through extreme weather and sure enough, Peak had grown to respect him greatly. The flyer’s eyes circled on the other leaders and the mass of flyers in the field, who were slowly turning agitated, and realized the ramifications of staying stubborn. It would be a huge blow to his reputation
among the herd and he would be seen as an unreasonable and paranoid fool. Even if the thought was still a painful one for him, Peak knew he had reached a situation where he had only one choice. He sighed and turned to Longcrest.

“Very well. I will order all females, children and younger males away from here and just tell me who are innocent and I’ll do the rest. But I warn you: if I find later on you’ve lied or chosen wrong, I will make sure you will share my cousin’s fate! Is that clear?” The orange male asked Longcrest who merely snorted before answering.

“More than clear, Peak. Just let me do my job.” The large flyer’s self-confident voice was beginning to get on the orange flyer’s nerves but he decided against escalating the situation. After one, last disapproving look to him, Peak turned to the crowd and his words finally started to calm the situation down.

“Females, children and males who have seen less than thirty Cold Times may leave this field right now! All others, stay there!” The flyer looked at those flyers leaving the field and he couldn’t help but feel that the reprieve to his problem would soon be at hand. Only a fraction of the earlier mass of dinosaurs stood there and he nodded to Longcrest to begin the final investigation. The remaining flyers gazed at Peak with nervous looks, apparently shocked to find themselves on the list of those who were suspected for the heinous crime. Longcrest moved to look at the group telling one flyer after another to leave the opening. The departing males were seemingly relieved by their clearance and those who remained seemed ever more distressed. However, Longcrest’s sniffer and sharp wit guided his efforts to thin down the suspects and not a long time later, only four flyers were left standing on the line and Longcrest’s search was interrupted momentarily. He thought about the best way to proceed and he soon asked one of the remaining dinosaurs a quick question.

“Where were you four hours ago? Speak!” Longcrest said, putting his face close to that of the elderly flyer’s. The older male frowned deeply before he answered.

“I was trying to sleep with my mate far away from Peak or his cousin! Neither of us can sleep really well these days so she can confirm to you that I wasn’t there sneaking on anyone at that time!” Those words made the larger dinosaur look at Peak with an asking look and he realized immediately what Longcrest meant. He whispered briefly to one of his allies who immediately took off to the skies. After a couple more questions, two more of the remaining suspects were freed from the interrogation. Longcrest looked at them with suspicious eyes. One of the two was a rather short, very old flyer with a blind eye while other one was quite a bit younger and normal-sized male. The older one of the two looked at the other flyer in a clearly agitated expression as Longcrest walked towards the two.

“I couldn’t have done it if I wanted to. It is ridiculous to even think it was me!” His voice was hoarse but Longcrest could see his body wasn’t quite as fragile as he wanted to show out. The younger flyer immediately protested to the old male’s words.

“We’ve known each other for dozens of Cold Times, Longcrest! You can’t really believe I could have done something like that!” He said with a voice that was bordering despair but the larger flyer’s expression didn’t change in the least. He was completely resolved to finish his task, no matter what. Even then, the situation was extremely complex and in essence, he was here to decide which was one of the two flyer would die. For a moment, his doubts about his own judgement were growing in his mind. He couldn’t get to decide this issue… unless…

He suddenly grabbed he older dinosaur’s hand and took a long look at it and he could see something that raised his interest. The hand was even unusually wrinkled, as if it had been washed in water for a long time. The younger one’s hands, on the other hand, were as smooth as could be expected from a flyer his age. The situation was finally becoming clear as Longcrest spoke to the older suspect.

“Why have you washed your hands this frantically early on the morning?” The question was meant to be rhetoric and both of the dinosaurs knew it had no satisfactory answer. The elderly flyer stuttered for a moment as he tried to answer.

“I was trying to eat a large, rotten berry in the woods which broke down in my hands. The smell didn’t leave me quickly.” The voice, despite its wavering tone, was surprisingly calm even if the words themselves raised deep suspicion within Longcrest. He asked another question which he knew would reveal the truth.

“Where did you find that berry and what kind was it?” Longcrest knew the woods better than most and he could tell whether the old male could actually make a believable answer. He thought for a moment before he answered.

“It was near the giant tree, on a small opening ar…” His words were stopped by the interrogator as Longcrest realized he had found what he was looking for.

“There are no openings around it! I knew an old fool like you doesn’t know this plateau well enough to lie to me! Peak, here he is!” The large flyer yelled as he waved his hand to call the higher-ranked flyer to the scene. The elderly male was clearly growing fearful but he realized he couldn’t escape at this point. The best chance he had was to hope Peak believed him. The orange flyer quickly flew to the scene, his eyes stunned by the dinosaur who met his eyes. He quickly turned to Longcrest and spoke to him in disbelief.

“What is this? Do you seriously suggest this decrepit dinosaur did it? Are you insane?” Peak was extremely disturbed by this revelation but he could see the growing acceptance in the geriatric flyer’s eyes. Longcrest answered in his usual cold voice.

“There is no doubt about it. He’s the one. What you choose to do with him is up to you.” The large male turned his back on Peak and started to walk away. The higher-ranked flyer was more than happy to see him leave and he quickly turned to the accused dinosaur. Peak raised his other eyebrow as he spoke.

“Is there anything you can say to defend yourself? You know what happens if I don’t believe your excuses?” The leader had excepted some kind of attempt from the other male to save himself and he was stunned to hear the answer. It was a mix of bitterness and determination and any hope of survival had apparently been drained from the culprit.

“I don’t care about your threats, Peak. I murdered your cousin because I had always found him unworthy to help you in leading us. He was arrogant, weak and he always tried to eat away at your peers’ power! He was a danger to the herd’s stability!” The old male spoke in a hissing voice, causing the other flyer to hit him in deep outrage. The elderly dinosaur fell to the ground as he heard Peak answer to his words.

“I won’t hear you mocking him! He was a far better person than any of the traitors like you will ever be! Tell me who sent you and I’ll make it quick!” The orange flyer put his right leg to the fallen elderly male’s neck. To Peak’s puzzlement, his enemy’s eyes seemed completely serene and absolutely no signs of remorse or fear could be read in them.

“Do what you want but nobody sent me. I decided to act to save the others from a coming conflict inside our herd. Your family will bring ruin to us all.” At this point, his words were interrupted as Peak pressed his throat more forcefully against the ground and with a quick, powerful hit, the higher-ranked dinosaur cut the murderer’s throat open, ending his struggles immediately. Peak lamented he had to let him go this easily but any brutal display wouldn’t have given him any sympathies at this point. He turned to his two followers and hissed to them in outrage.

“Get rid of this scum immediately and make sure his name will be forgotten for good. After that, prepare for departure to Streli’s Hills.” Peak said to them as he left to gather his thoughts. For the sake of the herd, he’d have to accept that the old flyer had worked alone but a clear, bothering fear lingered in the male’s mind. There was a chance that someone, perhaps even one of his fellow leaders, might have ordered this murder to weaken him and his family. Peak cast one last look behind him, knowing that the crisis could still be on. No matter what, he’d ensure that the next possible attack wouldn’t come as a surprise.

The murderer has been found and neutralized and the herd is finally preparing for their long flight. However, are the flyers now safe or are there, as Peak suspects, more potential killers and mutineers among the herd? And will Petrie's mental wounds start to heal with Ortin's newfound friendship or will his situation only grow more miserable? A lot happened in this installment and I hope you found it intriguing! Thank you for reading and see you next time!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 04:30:32 PM by Sovereign »


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Separate Ways
« Reply #51 on: December 19, 2017, 04:06:37 AM »
And now justice has been done for the fallen flyer, and we can see that the method of justice in the flyer flock is both brutal and expedient.  This is to be expected, of course, but the combination of an execution on top of a murder undoubtedly indicate to Petrie that he is in uncharted social territory out here.  Not that the humiliation inflicted upon Petrie in the previous installment, and his heart-to-heart with Ortin, haven't already shaken the perspective of the young flyer about the nature of his kind and his new flock.  I fear that the plots among the flyer families have only begun to materialize and that Petrie and Pterano both will have to be careful about their alliances.  As recent events have shown, a killing blow can come from those who are least suspected...

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


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Separate Ways
« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2017, 01:15:14 PM »
A Nightmarish Awakening

The entire situation turned into a horrifying mess the moment the greenish thinclaw collapsed to the ground. Yarel lost the rest of his composure as he tried to make sure his sister still lived while Ruby did her absolute best to help him in trying to finally end the bleeding in her head. Greentail was completely covered in her own blood and Yarel sobbed uncontrollably as he prepared to hear her heart's very last beat and a similar sentiment was apparent in the fast runner's eyes. Her blood loss was massive and any recovery at this point would be a miracle. However, the seconds passed on slowly but Greentail still breathed. Her clinging to life gave Yarel the strength he needed to go on with the little treatment he could offer and after what seemed like an eternity, Yarel whispered in a barely audible voice.

"It's over, Ruby. Her head has stopped bleeding but… I fear it's not enough." Yarel's voice was haunted and they were hindered by tears of fear and sorrow. However, his voice also carried the slightest of bitter tones which wasn't lost on Ruby. Still, the fast runner decided to ignore it as she, too, was completely broken by Greentail's horrifying injury. Most of her head was now covered with the drying leaves which were painted completely red and her face held a pained look to it. But Yarel was right: the blood leaving Greentai's body was only minimal at this point even if it promised little in regards to the thinclaw's survival.

"We can only hope. I never thought she'd be alive anymore but it seems she's stronger than most I have known. B… but I have a bad feeling, a bad feeling I have. Mom once told me that hits to the head are the worst ones of all. They leave too easily… injuries that will probably never heal." Ruby said in a faraway voice as she turned to look at Yarel whose eyes was locked on his sister's face. Her parents had always made sure when Ruby or one of her siblings had hurt themselves in games that no harm had come to their heads and Greentail's hit had been truly a horrifying one. The mere thought of it made her stomach turn upside down.

"I know. Why did we have to come to this stupid search in the first place! It's all my fault! Greentail would still be fine if it weren't for me!" Yarel leaned on the wall as he started to sob at the new thought that had come to his mind. It was he who had insisted to accompany Ruby on this journey and if he had listened to Greentail back then, the two would still be safe and sound. Ruby looked at him in sympathy, full well knowing the damage your own mistakes can cause. But even then, Ruby couldn't help but feel that she was also to blame for Greentail's condition. This was her quest after all and Greentail had come to help her find her parents.

"It's also my fault, Yarel. We all many choices which led us here and believe me, I'd take each and every one of them back if I only could. The sharpteeth were after me for a reason because it was because of my mistake that Chomper died! So many have died because of me! And now my family is also in danger because I survived this night!" Ruby suddenly said, thinking of his friends, the poor clubtail who Chomper had killed in the Valley as well as well the terribly injured Greentail before her. But the sudden remembrance of Dein's threat suddenly flooded back into her mind. Dein would have to try to help Terri recover at first but after that, they'd go after her family. She had only begun to think about her situation when Yarel turned to look at her and said in a stunningly bitter voice.

"Then go to your parents. Surely it's much more valuable to you and we are. Go save your family if that's what you want!" Yarel knew he was being unreasonable but the thought that Ruby would just bring his sister to this situation and then just leave was an outrageous one for him. He knew Ruby was rightfully worried for her family but in the case she left, he would be left alone to care for Greentail and if even one fastbiter happened to find him, he would have no choice but to abandon Greentail which wasn't something he was going to do. More than likely, her departure would be a death sentence for both him and his sister.

Ruby, on the other hand, frowned at his words, completely stunned by his hostile words. Her mind had already wandered to the last moments of her family if Chomper's parents ever reached them and it took a moment for her to realize Yarel's situation. Without his sister, he would be alone and defenseless and left with the memory how she ruined Greentail and then vanished into thin air. But… he couldn't stay here! Dein and Terri were on a quest to slaughter her family right now! Certainly, there was only one correct choice here… or was there another one?

The fast runner's thoughts seemed to halt immediately as Greentail's motionless, damaged body lie before her and her grief-stricken brother beside her, not knowing how he would survive without his beloved sibling. And this heartbreaking sight had happened because of her. With a sickened realization, Ruby realized her mind had already been made up. After all that had happened, leaving the two first two dinosaurs who had decided to help her, even risk their lives for her, to a certain death would be a deed she'd never forgive herself for. Yarel needed her help and deep down, Ruby knew her parents were extremely cunning and wise fast runners when it came to their survival. The girl decided to trust them with this charge, even if she knew more than well that it could easily be just another continuation to her seemingly endless list of fatal failures. Even then, her conscience wouldn't allow her to choose the other alternative.

Mom and dad, just keep our family safe. I'll return to you once everything is well again. Just keep Chomper's parents away long enough.

And with a long sigh, Ruby finally answered to Yarel even if those words wavered considerably. The fast runner felt like her own voice was somewhere far, far away when they emerged from her mouth.

"Actually, Yarel, I'm not going to them just yet, just yet to them I won't go. I just can't leave you two here after all you did for me." Yarel had once turned away from her sister when he heard Ruby's answer. Immediately his eyes widened with those words, the boy already being resigned to the thought that Ruby would leave him and Greentail to help her own family. To hear those thoughts debunked amazed the male considerably even if he still held the slight decree of bitterness towards the fast runner.

"What? Are you serious? B… but every dinosaur has to care for themselves and their own love ones first! You'd be insane to stay here with us!" Yarel stuttered in disbelief, a slight spark of hope beginning to grow within his heart as the silvery glow of the Night Circle washed his face as the branches of a nearby tree flushed away and back in the song of the night wind. Ruby took a few steps towards Yarel and took a forced smile intended to signal Yarel that she meant what she said.

"Being insane would be the smallest of my faults, Yarel. I can't just leave you two here after you came back just to save me from certain death, even at the risk of something like this. Let's just say that I owe you that much. Also, my parents should be able to keep our family safe for some time." The fast runner's face was apologetic but it held clear honesty which finally convinced Yarel of her willingness to help him in this terrible hour. He took a more serious face, wholeheartedly welcoming Ruby's help but he slowly begun to realize the large amount of blood could easily lure fast biters this way. He rose back to his legs and spoke to Ruby in a voice which was a mixture between endless relief and intensifying fear.

"Thank you, Ruby. I'm… I'm sorry about what I said earlier but… we're not safe here. We need to find a place where we can take Greentail and to wash the blood away. It will surely draw other sharpteeth our way." The boy's earlier friendly composure was returning but it was clearly just a side effect of his overall slow but steady regaining of his senses after the terrible shock. Ruby looked at him in alarm, only realizing now that the danger they were in was more than concrete. Quickly, after Yarel's words, Ruby answered to him with a disturbed voice.

"You're right. I almost forgot that Dein and Terri aren't the only sharpteeth around here! Wait here, I'll go look if I can find some cave or other place where Greentail can rest and we also need some water to get rid of the blood." Ruby proposed but Yarel objected to it quickly. He felt like he need to do it himself as a favor to his sister and he spoke to Ruby briefly.

"I'll do that, Ruby. She's my sister after all and it's best if I take care of her. I…" The male was about to continue when Ruby interrupted him carefully. The fast runner understood the boy's sentiment but Greentail needed him by her side. This was a charge Ruby was determined to take.

"No, Yarel. I'm sure Greentail would want you to be here in… in case the worst happens. We met only yesterday and you can take care of her far better than I ever could. I'll be back as soon as I can." Ruby tried to reason to Yarel who was about to protest but almost immediately, he realized the depth of Ruby's words. Even if neither of the half teeth wanted to admit it, Greentail was still on death's door. If she passed away while he was adventuring away from her… Yarel didn't know whether he'd ever be able to forgive himself. The boy turned to look at Ruby and whispered carefully.

"Very well, Ruby. I'll make sure to look after her. Try to find a place where she can try to recover in peace." Yarel said mournfully when he sat to the rocky ground near his sister who had started to pale slightly but it was most likely due to her blood loss. Ruby looked at the beaten thinclaw with an apologetic look and answered to him briefly.

"I'll come back as soon as I can. Stay safe, Yarel." And with those words, Ruby started her sprint and in a matter of seconds, she disappeared into the nearby woods, leaving Yarel alone with his sister. After a moment, he rose up and moved to put Greentail into a more comfortable position as opposed to the awkward angle she had fallen to when she had lost her consciousness. After Greentail had been put to a position in which she looked like she was sleeping, Yarel returned to his previous spot, praying that Ruby would return shortly.

The terrain quickly turned dryer and less hospitable the further away the omnivore got from the river valley. The immediate outskirts of the mighty hills were still green but even fifteen longneck lengths from them started the seemingly never-ending, wind-swept wastes which characterized the Mysterious Beyond. If there was some kind of spot where Greentail could rest, it had to be close to the mountains, Ruby figured.

The fast runner couldn't help but think about Greentail's situation. She didn't quite understand how or why but her parents had told her that hits to the head, even if they seemed to heal, easily changed people forever or limited their abilities. Her parents hadn't explained why it was like that as even they didn't know but that mattered little at this point. The thought that Greentail, if she even survived at all, would wake up as a maimed or mentally changed dinosaur than she or Yarel had known only a short time earlier seemed to horrify Ruby beyond measure. Even if she seemed to survive the injury, inside her head could be born a totally different Greentail than before.

The wind made Ruby shiver as the cold masses of air charged through the plains into the tiny oasis of green in the middle of the cold plains. Ruby was walking just under the imposing rocks, keeping a sharp eye in case a hospitable cave appeared from somewhere. However, none came into her sight and she and Yarel wouldn't be able to carry Greentail too far by themselves. Their sanctuary would have to lie somewhere near the narrow pass and Ruby was more than determined to find it. She owed it to both of the thinclaws after all that they had done for her. Also, if Greentail didn't survive, her gambit with not going to find her family could backfire terribly. If both the female thinclaw and her family would be lost because of her decision, Ruby didn't know if she could carry on in this world anymore. But she would have to live one day at a time. For now, the only thing that mattered now was to survive this terrible night with she and her companions all alive.

After a while of searching, distant, silvery glitters caught Ruby's eye. It was like a white sky color stone buried in the middle of the forest and there was only one thing that it could be. Excitedly but carefully, Ruby moved towards it and after a few moments, her initial hopes were proven correct. A small lake opened in the middle of the dying bushes even if it was still somewhat well hidden by the dense groupings of trees around it. Ruby ran towards it quickly, hoping dearly that some kind of sheltered refuge would show itself around it. The ground was surprisingly hilly and after a moment, the fast runner found something that raised her interest quickly. it was a depression between two high mounds, safe from the worst of winds coming from the wastes and hidden from the eyes of most predators. It wasn't the cave she had hoped for but it was better than nothing and it lied close enough to the lake. All that remained was to get Greentail here without…

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a sudden screech from somewhere around and almost immediately, she spotted a group of flyer heading down to some place beyond the horizon, most likely moving to devour the remains of some poor dinosaur who hadn't had the strength to survive the long march to this valley. However, that poor fellow's tragedy brought some relief came to the fast runner as she realized it wasn't another walking sharptooth heading for her. After carefully memorizing her position, Ruby darted back towards Yarel, preparing to tell him of her findings. She could only hope her search hadn't been for nothing.

The seconds seemed to stretch on forever as Yarel followed his sister's pulse and breathing. There had been no developments in either direction which was probably a good thing but he couldn't help but shake the feeling that Greentail's each gasp for air could be her last. He had never experienced a situation like this, facing a possibility where he could be left alone in this world. All his life his sister had been there to help him and he didn't have the slightest of ideas what he'd do should the worst come to pass. Sure, he was grateful to Ruby for deciding to stick with him but the fast runner was far from the dominant thought in his head. He bowed to his sister's unmoving form and whispered silently to her ear, full well knowing that she didn't hear him at this point.

"You can go through this, Greentail. I know it. Remember all the things we once dreamt of doing when we were still back home… to see the dancing lights in the distant north, to one day taste what a giant swimmer would taste like… to perhaps even lead a family of our own some day. Please… please, wake up!"

Yarel almost teared up himself but the precious memories of his childhood brought him some comfort. Greentail was still alive and as long as she lived, there was hope that kept him from losing hope. Ruby would return soon enough and everything would be well again once the Bright Circle reached its zenith in the coming day. Luckily, no sharpteeth had made their presence known at this point even if the normal serene and violent voices of nature swirled all around him.

After a while which felt like eternity, quickly strengthening steps begun to approach him. Yarel's gaze rose from the ground and to his relief, Ruby ran towards him with a clearly cheerful expression. Her voice mirrored her face as she stopped near the boy, panting slightly from her quick sprint.

"I… I have good news, Yarel! There is a safe spot not far from here where Greentail can stay until she feels better! There is even a small pond nearby, a small pond there is!" The fast runner said to Yarel's who let out a deep sigh of relief he hadn't realized he was keeping. He quickly rose to his feet and answered with a similarly glad voice.

"Thank you so much, Ruby! She… she is doing as well as we can expect at this point, I guess. She still lives… but what about you? Did you see any sharpteeth around there? Are there anything we should be worried about?" He asked the obvious question, not wanting to face another hunt on the same day. Ruby shook her head and answered to him quickly.

"I saw no sharpteeth or anything else we should worry about. Of course, we cannot know what can come from the wastes but then again, there are always things we cannot know about. But let's go, it shouldn't take us long to get Greentail there!" Ruby said to Yarel who felt slightly awkward at the prospect of carrying his unconscious sister but it was the only way to get her to safety. With a determined look, he grabbed Greentail's shoulders while Ruby took a firm grasp of her legs. Yarel looked at the fast runner and affirmed the obvious thing.

"Are you ready? Remember to be careful." Yarel bit his lips as he received Ruby's answer. Hopefully the trip wouldn't take too long as even the slightest of ordeals could prove dangerous at this point. The two friends carefully raised Greentail to the air and resumed their trek to the slightly downwards path toward the direction Ruby had pointed towards. The fast runner looked carefully at her steps, willing to see this charge to the end without any surprises. After a few moments, the terrain turned into a softer but also more treacherous one. The two omnivores advanced slowly and carefully and to both of their relief, they soon reached the spot Ruby had told about. Both of them were more than happy to see that at least this part of their night had succeeded without a major disaster. However, there was one more thing to before any of them could finally rest for the rest of the quickly aging night. The blood and vomit which still covered all three of the omnivores would have to be washed away in the pond.

It took only a short while until Ruby and Yarel had managed to clean themselves but it proved much trickier for Greentail. She was completely covered in now-dried heavy cover of blood and it took a long time before the two could get her to a good enough condition that they could sleep safe and sound from some wandering predator. Despite Yarel's worries, Ruby had told him that Dein and Terri wouldn't be a threat in a while as the female threehorn's injuries were also quite serious and Dein wouldn't just leave her there in such a condition. For this night at least, the sorrow and danger was a thing of the past. As the two dragged Greentail back to the edge of the pond, Yarel panted in exhaustion.

"That's all we can do. I'd just hope there was some more we could help her with." Yarel said mournfully as he shook his head. The blood that had covered his sister was gone but there were no signs of returning consciousness in her hazy eyes. Ruby looked at the male thinclaw with a sad expression and said in a silent voice which nonetheless carried a certain reassuring voice.

"So do I but for now there isn't. But don't worry: she'll make it through all of this. I'm sure of it." Ruby tried to recreate the voice she had used to comfort Chomper in times of sorrow but this time it wasn't the right path to take. The seriousness of the moment once again came crashing down on the boy as he realized all that he could do anymore was to pray and hope for a miracle. He turned to look away from Ruby, trying to hide his tears from Ruby.

"And what if she doesn't? Some head wounds can kill only a short time after it looks like everything is well again. I… it's still possible that she'll die!" Yarel shuddered as he saw in his mind's eye his sister's chest taking a deep, rasping breath and then falling down, never to rise again. She was already as pale as many dead dinosaurs he'd seen and that terrifying sight rolled over his eyes every time he looked at her sister's green form. Ruby looked at him in a mix of sympathy and slight frustration. Greentail's life was on a razor's edge and she could very well feel her own concern for the other girl's survival but after all the stress and shocks of the last hour, Ruby's patience was slowly beginning to get tested. Against all odds, all of the three half teeth were hear alive and Ruby wanted to believe things would stay that way. She quickly responded to Yarel, trying to keep her voice as friendly as she only could.

"It is but we could have already fallen in the valley but we're all still here. That's more than we could have asked for when Dein and Terri attacked us. We'll survive this, Yarel." A certain sense of finality radiated from the fast runner's eyes as she turned to look at the foreboding and mysterious expanse of the Mysterious Beyond momentarily. Somewhere out there family was sleeping, likely still believing she would be far, far with all her friends. Yarel was slightly angered by Ruby's words as he couldn't shake the feeling that Ruby didn't fully understand his situation. In truth there were too many conflicting responsibilities and concerns in the girl's mind to wholeheartedly think of only one. However, Yarel only sighed and swept his tears away, knowing that Ruby's help had been more than he initially had hoped for.

"Let's pray for that. I don't think if I can sleep at this point but let's at least try to rest. I'm exhausted. Where did you say the spot where we would be safe was?" Yarel tried to calm down and the toll the long march to the valley and the intense chase helped him in it somewhat. It was true that he couldn't probably sleep due to his worry for his sister but it was good to know that the situation had finally calmed down. Ruby turned to gaze to her left to the thick woods and nodded to that direction as she answered.

"It's just behind those trees but don't worry: no one will find us in there. Let's go." The two half teeth once again raised Greentail from the ground and after only a few minutes of walking, carefully put her to the ground in the pit-like formation between the hills. It was large enough for all the three omnivores to fit in it but not too comfortably. However, neither Ruby or Yarel minded it as the wind wouldn't carry their scent from the pit. It was the safest place either of them could come up with at this point.

It took some effort for Ruby to fall asleep but it was even more difficult for Yarel. He would still glance at Greentail every now and then but still, he couldn't deny Ruby's words. It was a miracle at least one of three hadn't fallen during the fight with the sharpteeth and in that light the situation could have been worse. Even then, the boy couldn't decide whether he should be thankful or angry at Ruby: on one hand, if it wasn't for her, everything would be well again but on the other, her help had been invaluable and she had decided to stay with him through this time and cast aside her personal concerns. That knowledge made the boy somewhat concerned about what the three half teeth would find once they could resume their journey. He didn't want to think what Ruby would do if her family died for her decision.

However, the fact that she had chosen to help her friends first also brought some warmth to Yarel's heart. It seemed Ruby had truly been a genuine friend from the beginning and both of the thinclaws had been wrong to ever doubt her motives. Slowly, the utter exhaustion made its way into Yarel's consciousness and slowly but ever slow surely, everything around him grew increasingly blurred until everything around him were finally swept away by the finally-falling curtain of dreams.

The next morning dawned much colder than the previous ones, a chilling wind roaming over the endless steppes and beating the small forest resting at the foot of the mountains without mercy. The trees whooshed heavily in its grasp even if it slowly grew weaker the higher the Bright Circle rose to the sky. Moreover, heavy, grey clouds hung over the land, heavy, solid drops of something which resembled frozen sky stars but was already turning back to water fell to the ground. It would melt out before long but for this day at least, the ground would be covered with this slippery, strange mess that was the most annoying aspect of a coming Cold Time.

Those melting sky stars were what brought Ruby's mind from the realm of sleep stories. The first thing she noticed after her eyes started to see again was that she was shuddering and that her feathers were wet and the ground covered with water. Her yes quickly opened with surprise and looked around herself, seeing that the melting ground sparkles were flowing to the pit the three half teeth were sleeping in but they were only streaming at her sleeping spot, leaving the two thinclaws completely dry. Ruby looked at them with slight chagrin and snorted as she shook her plumes, sending drops of water all around her and with slow steps, left the pit and went to look around her, braving the slight mist that had begun to fall upon the chilly woods. The morning was far from young but still there was no other living beings anywhere near save for a few critters in the ground. There was something in the hollow and moist forest around her that seemed to speak to her deeply.

The fast runner spread her arms and took a deep breath of the fresh air while thinking that this was a perfect moment to bask in this rare moment of reprieve while waiting for Yarel to wake up and perhaps even to brace for Greentail's recovery or final decline. For now, however, Ruby walked back towards the pond and one drop at a time, the melting sky stars turned back into regular sky water which caused the ground sparkles to slowly begin melting away. Nevertheless, even this strange phenomenon told that it wouldn't be long anymore until the Cold Time begun in earnest. Ruby knew the dangers of staying in a place like this when the chilling winds would obliterate this small refuge of life under its murderous force. In addition to the gloomy but still wondrous sight around her, Ruby's mind wandered to another thing that had bothered her ever since her desperate discussion with Dein and Terri.

The omnivore's eyes turned into a frown as she bowed over the grey waters, waiting to catch a breakfast for herself when she thought about the words of the sharpteeth about Chomper's death. The overall confirmation about his passing had hit her greatly but it was nothing more than a final seal to the morbid end of his young life. That thought pulled the girl's mouth to a mask of sadness as she hit the water with her claws, missing her target by a few inches. Ruby cursed slightly as she returned to her thoughts.

Dein had said that Chomper's body hadn't been eaten in the slightest and that he was lying near a mountain range as if he had only been surprised by the heat of the wasteland of sand. That thought puzzled Ruby greatly as the fast biters had seemed more than eager to devour her and her friends when she had last seen them. They were continuously reaching for the first bite and it didn't sound sensible for them to merely… merely kill Chomper and leave him to be after that. Ruby fought against her raw emotions as she felt her claws penetrate a rather large scaly swimmer, raising it from the water as she braced for the warm but still-bitter taste of raw flesh in her mouth. However, even the crushing of the swimmer's viscera between her jaws didn't distract her from those thoughts.

What in earth had happened? After those observations, Ruby found it hard to happen the fast biters would have simply chased Chomper for a long time merely to kill him and then leave him there. That fact bothered Ruby without end as the more she thought of it, the harder it became for her to believe it had been those sharpteeth who had been the end of her dear friend. But who other would have wanted to do such a monstrous thing? The first thing that came to Ruby's mind was Dein and Terri's ally who had called them to look at his corpse. Maybe he had thought he'd benefit somehow if the only child of the two sharpteeth was swept away? But what did all of that matter. The only certain thing was that she'd never see Chomper's cheerful face or hear his adorable voice ever again in this world. Ruby's head drooped towards the ground in melancholy as she swale the second swimmer and decided that was all she needed. She continued to follow the gentle, steady ripple of the pond's waters and the slowly dying whistle of the wind for a time she couldn't even begin to estimate. Her lonely time was only interrupted when he heard a careful call behind her. The voice belonged to Yarel.

"What are you doing here, ruby? Is everything alright?" The thinclaw walked towards her and Ruby took a brief sigh before she answered him. The scene slowly turned into a silent one which allowed the two to greet the new day which still was reflected by every tragedy and glory of their pasts.

That day slowly reached its height and before either of the omnivores even realized it, the Bright Circle was once again beginning its journey towards the west. The morning's chilliness slowly gave way to a more hospitable and warmer weather but it did little to cheer the two adolescent dinosaurs up as they here and then moved away from their temporary nest to look for food or simply take a breather from the seemingly endless foreboding atmosphere. Time passed and Greentail was still unconscious with no signs of waking up. Both of the dinosaurs knew that each passing second only made it more unlikely that she would never wake up again. The slight reprieve of the night was slowly turning to despair and sorrow as both of the omnivores did their all to keep their hopes up.

Silent steps were the only sounds in the dying forest as Yarel returned to Ruby and Greentail after taking a short patrol. The two had decided to take turns to follow Greentail's condition while the other one could go explore their surroundings. Yarel's heart fell once again as he saw that no developments had happened since his departure and Ruby's melancholic eyes confirmed the situation. The fast runner raised her head as she looked at Yarel. She shook her head and spoke as Yarel carefully walked down the hill.

"It's still the same. I'm sorry, Yarel, but it's been a long time already." Ruby said with sad eyes, disheartened by the fact that her optimistic promise last night had been proven wrong. Yarel made sure his footing was on firm soil and took a deep sigh before he answered.

"We have to keep our hopes up! At least she still swallowed the green food we gave her earlier! She still has hope!" Yarel knew his words were mostly meant to encourage himself but they didn't seem to have much effect on Ruby. The fast runner dearly hoped Greentail would wake up but she felt like she had already said her final farewells to the thinclaw. Still, she had no heart to push the issue further instead, she only answered to Yarel briefly.

"Let's hope so. No matter what, I'll return when the Bright Circle touches the trees over the pond. Try to…" Ruby's words were suddenly interrupted by a rustling voice behind her. Alarmed by the possible threat, she quickly turned around only to face a shock but a completely different one than she had expected. The movement was extremely weak but Greentail's leg twitched ever so slowly at the fallen leaves around her. Yarel noticed this immediately too and the duo quickly sprinted to her side, heartened by this sudden development. The seconds seemed to go ever so slowly as the two waited for any more signs of her recovery. They were almost ready to give up until something, even more relieving happened.

The female thinclaw's right eye opened slightly and from under her lid, the two could see her eye beginning to move weakly. Yarel nearly jumped at this development and he did his best to hide his utmost affection and excitement over her sister's slow awakening. He quickly put his head close to hers and whispered to her, determined to make her return to the world of the living as gentle as possible.

"Just take it easy, Greentail. It's okay. It's okay. Can you hear me?" That was the first thing that Yarel needed to make sure of. Nasty head injuries seldom healed without leaving a mark on the poor dinosaurs but he hoped Greentail would be okay. However, the next developments quickly dampened his triumphant mood. His sister didn't communicate her understanding in any way and her eye wandered slowly around without apparently focusing on anything. After a few moments, a completely unintelligible groan the volume of most silent whisper left her mouth. Yarel and Ruby exchanged extremely worried looks and the latter decided to try again. The fast runner's mind moved to quickly wander the most terrifying of scenarios if Greentail didn't get any better than this. For now, however, her awakening served as an unexpected gift.

"Greentail, it is us. Do you remember?" The fast runner looked at the thinclaw, completely knowing that she wasn't likely to receive an answer as she couldn't even begin to imagine what was going on inside her friend's head.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 02:40:37 PM by Sovereign »


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Separate Ways
« Reply #53 on: December 22, 2017, 01:17:39 PM »

To say that Greentail was awake would have been an optimistic claim even if the seemingly never-ending, complete darkness within her mind was slowly starting to drift. However, it was only replaced by a hellish, banging ache inside her cranium and to make things even worse, the damaged mind of the omnivore felt unable to do anything about it. She didn't realize that she had moved her legs by accident and the changing visions of her eye didn't seem to make any sense.

Her gaze wandered at the ground and trees around her but she was unable to make any sense of them. And to hurt her even more, the voices around her only seemed to make the omnivore's headache even more agonizing. The last, thundering voice felt even stranger to her than the first one which felt some odd, distant sense of familiarity, as if a memory from some different life. However, Ruby's voice didn't awake any feelings without Greentail but, unknown to herself, she once again attempted to silence the voices.

"S… sttt..." As before, the word died down within her mouth but this time her two companions felt slightly more relieved. They realized what Greentail had meant to say which meant that there were still thoughts running inside her mind. There was still hope for her survival. Yarel moved a bit further from his sister and lowered his voice even further to avoid causing more pain to Greentail without a good reason.

"Alright, we'll stay silent. How do you feel?" It pained Yarel to ask such stupid, obvious questions at this point and it was more than likely that he wouldn't receive an answer.

This time, the more familiar voice seemed to raise even more feelings within Greentail's mind. Who was this mysterious voice and how did she know its source? W… was it some other dinosaur she knew? However, she still couldn't bring his name to her mind. On the positive side, the wandering of her eye calmed down slightly and it seemed to start stop to investigate some objects in more detail even if Greentail's conscious mind couldn't realize what. Among the bright light seemed to form some strange forms but she couldn't make up what.

In fact, the confused and broken mind couldn't even remember its own identity and all of her memories were locked behind an impenetrable barrier of fog and pain. The headache seemed to block any coherent feelings and even under her conscious thoughts, she couldn't form any full words. The truth was slowly dawning upon her companions in its full terror. Greentail's brain was seriously, perhaps even irrevocably, damaged but that damage's full extent was yet to be seen. Yarel's voice was still painful to her ears but at least it didn't feel like her head would break with agony. She tried to listen to his words but to no avail. However, she slowly turned her gaze at the source of the voice and at first, she saw nothing.

However, after a moment of herculean efforts in attempting to see something, some extremely vague tone of blue begun to form before her eyes. It seemed to have no concrete form but soon enough, she raised her eyes to look at the direction of Yarel's face and there seemed to be something in it that raised a familiar feeling within the thinclaw. However, her attempts to keep her head at least high enough to look at the other thinclaw's head tired her quickly. Shortly, her head returned to its former resting position and she tried again to form a few words to get a glimpse of what was going on.

"Wh… whe…" That question stopped quickly, as if Greentail no longer had the idea how to form the next sound of her sentence. Yarel accepted that Greentail wasn't in the condition to speak just yet and he spoke once again, even more softly than before.

"We're safe for now. Try to sleep for some time. All will be well soon enough." He said, rising to his full height while looking as Greentail closed her eyes carefully. It wasn't long until her tasked mind had drifted to sleep and Yarel didn't have the slightest of ideas what to make about all this. She had awoken for a short time but she hadn't managed to form any words and for now, there were no implications towards the fact that she ever would. He thought in silence when Ruby turned towards him with an issue she had kept to herself as long as Greentail's very life had been in the balance. An issue that couldn't wait for long.

"We have to get moving soon, Yarel. It won't take many days before Dein and Terri resume their journey and each day is getting colder than the last one. We cannot stay here when the sky stars start to really fall." The fast runner said, knowing the dangers of their position if they overstayed their welcome in this temporary refuge. Yarel looked at her, not seeming to approve of his companion's words in the slightest. He quickly glanced at her, taking a moment to think about his words before answering.

"Does she look like she is able to go anywhere?! It'll take days before she'll even have a chance to walk and even that would be a miracle! We'll stay here as long as we need to!" He said in outrage, preparing to turn away and go his own way for a moment. Ruby, on the other hand, suddenly grabbed his hand spoke to him a stern and somewhat annoyed voice.

"Don't you realize we don't have a choice? Whether or not she's ready, we have two days at most before we have to go! Greentail ending as Dein and Terri's meal or her freezing to death won't help us at this point and you know it! The coming days will be hard for her but we have to do what we have to do!" The girl said almost pleadingly, earning an angry look from Yarel as he broke away from Ruby's grasp and before he headed away, he spoke to Ruby with a voice which sounded something between a roar and a sob.

"She needs rest and she will get rest! My sister has been through too much already without you trying to push her even further!" Yarel said, walking into the forest in deep anger. Ruby looked at him, her hands on her hips as a show of utter disappointment. He had hoped the thinclaw to act more maturely than this but she still hoped that he'd see reason soon enough. For now, however, there was nothing more she could do about this issue than to wait for Greentail to wake up again and to hope things would be better by then.

Many long hours passed with the tension between the two omnivores lingering clearly. The day was almost over when Yarel was waiting for Ruby's return from her trip. The events of the past day still lingered in his mind when he suddenly saw Greentail's hands looking for some kind of support from the ground. Her movements were stronger this time around but they still lacked clear focus. Yarel suddenly approached her quickly and tried again to get through to her. His hopes weren't too high from the first effort but maybe things were different now.

"Greentail, it's me, Yarel. How are you feeling?" He said, expecting some kind of grunt as an answer at best. The injured thinclaw stayed still for a moment, trying to realize what the other dinosaur had just said. After a long while of thinking, the female thinclaw's finally understood the word "feeling" and instinctually, she got the slightest of ideas what he was saying. She still remembered close to nothing and the only word she formed was completely created by mere instinct.

"T… trrble." The voice was extremely blurred and stiff as she spoke but it was more than enough for Yarel's eyes to open wide with surprise. This was her first words since the disaster and even if her voice was almost unrecognizable right now, it was still better than nothing. The answer itself was to be expected, though. Yarel answered in as slow and clear voice as he simply could.

"It'll get better eventually, just try to stay still. You took quite a hit to your head. Can you remember anything?" The boy asked carefully, not knowing if Greentail could speak well enough to answer. Greentail's mind did its best to remember one thing about her whole life and that turned out to be the name of the dinosaur before her. The same thing which she had wondered when she first woke up. Who is he? A… are we related? Could he be my brother or something like that? H… he is… but was his name? I… A… Ya…. Yaron? No, Yarel! The excitement of that memory was overwhelming to the maimed dinosaur and she whispered soon after her brother's name.

"You… you're Yarel. M… my brher." Greentail answered under a long, forced sigh which clearly drained a lot of her energy. Yarel knew he was likely pushing Greentail too far with his questioning but deep inside he knew that Ruby had been right. Time was of the essence and neither would Greentail have the luxury of a safe recovery. He had to try to get as much out of her as he simply was able to. The fact that Greentail seemed to remember him was a reason for optimism and he wanted to believe that his sister was on a fast track to the condition she'd been only a day before.

"That's right. I don't even know how you feel right now but… do you feel as bad as you did earlier? Or is the pain as bad as before?" He asked, knowing that his sister was in terrible pain but even then, he wanted to know if her head was beginning to finally settle down. Greentail thought about those words and to be sure, the flow of thoughts was slowly easing inside her skull even if still felt like her brain was trying to tear itself to pieces.

"Maybe. It's eaer to thnk but it still feel horrible But… it isn't as bad… as it used to be." Greentail said and with great effort, she decided to test if she could escape in any way from her terrible, death-like immobility. For a moment, the thinclaw felt panic rise within her as her limbs stood still despite her efforts to move them but after a moment, her fingers opened slowly from the grip they had been locked since the last night. She then leaned against the nearby slope and with immense pain and effort, tried to raise herself to a sitting position. However, something gave up within her arm and the poor dinosaur fell back to the ground, the omnivore managing to avoid hitting her head again.

That moment had another spectator, however, Ruby had decided to check if the situation had developed in any additional way but the sight that opened between the trees didn't raise her spirits in any ways. The fast runner quickly ran towards the girl to see everything was alright. She could see Yarel doing the same thing and with some hesitation, stopped near the two. She could hear Greentail panting in rising fear.

"My… my arm just couldn't hold me up! I… I just fell…" She said slowly, trying to move her hand to the same direction which had just failed. To her horror, the hand didn't stretch in any way behind her chest, as if an invisible wall blocked its movement. Also, another issue was slowly dawning on the poor omnivore: despite trying to look around herself for some time but the blurred, vague figures didn't seem to sharpen in any way. In deep fear, she grabbed a small stone but couldn't even see it properly. And there was no telling what other parts of her body or mind didn't work. Greentail could remember absolutely nothing of most of her life which only worsened her anguish.

"I can't see and I can't move! I…I…" The thinclaw's breaths grew increasingly violent and shocked and the air rasped immensely in her throat. Both of her companions quickly moved to help her calm down and after a few seconds of terrifying hyperventilating, it seemed like she'd start to calm down. Ruby looked at her movements and all of them seemed extremely stiff and forced but she wanted to hope they would return in time.

"Just calm down! They might get better soon but this kind of panicking doesn't help!" The fast runner said and the thinclaw's hazy eyes turned to look at Ruby in surprise and even fear. She tried to look at the speaker but no matter what she tried, she couldn't get the slightest of ideas who this pink-colored dinosaur was. She quickly moved away from her and whispered in shock.

"Wh… who are and what do you want? I… I don't want strangers near me like this!" The omnivore would have backed down even more if she were able. Ruby looked at her with sad eyes, suddenly remembering that forgetting the last few days wasn't uncommon with really bad hits to the head. Nevertheless, she was disappointed and greatly saddened by this development and to calm the thinclaw down, she stayed where she was as she spoke.

"Don't worry about me. I'm your friend. We may have met only recently but we've already been a lot through together with you and your brother. Actually, that's how you hurt your head. I'm so sorry I asked you to come with me. Things would have been so much better if I had just left you in peace." Any healthy dinosaur would have easily seen Ruby's sincerity but Greentail's eyes couldn't see her face nor was her brain ready to process the different tones of her voice. Greentail glanced at her brother who didn't seem worried in any way and decided to accept Ruby's words. There was so much she didn't remember that it was more than possible that this mysterious dinosaur was speaking the truth.

Ruby and Yarel nodded at each other in fear but Yarel had come to regret his selfish words for Ruby. Even in this state, he knew there was one more thing that they'd have to tell Greentail before she could be allowed to rest further. It would likely cause her some additional worry but that couldn't be helped. With a deep sigh, Yarel continued from where Ruby had left off.

"About the journey Ruby mentioned… I can only imagine how it must feel for you but we have to continue it before long. The danger of sharpteeth only grows the longer we stay here and we have to reach… our destination before the sky stars begin falling again. I'm sorry but we don't have many days here." Those words made Greentail twitch heavily, her eyes opening up completely. A few days? She didn't have the slightest of ideas how long she had already slept but she'd never be able to go anywhere that quickly! She couldn't even properly move her legs!

"I can't! You know that's impossible! I…" She tried to continue but Ruby finally moved closer to her, knowing that the two were asking a lot from the maimed thinclaw. It was still impossible to say if her eyesight would ever return or whether she'd be able to walk again but the Mysterious Beyond was a merciless place and even in her condition, she'd have to live by its rules. However, that still didn't mean she'd have to face it alone. Ruby tried to take a friendly expression as she offered her hand to the maimed thinclaw. Yarel followed her gesture as the fast runner spoke to Greentail.

"But we'll try to make it as easy for you as we can. We'll get through this together." Ruby said as she looked at Greentail's still-unmoving face and its lack of expressions. She knew her optimism was likely to be misplaced but pessimism wouldn't lead anywhere at this point. The thinclaw seemed to ponder her options for a while but she knew she didn't really have any. With a heavy heart and massive efforts, she offered her hand to Ruby who accepted the symbolic gesture. She then moved slightly away from Greentail and spoke one more time with a slightly relieved twinkle at the corner of her eye.

"But rest for a bit longer. We'll try to get you walking in no time." And after those words, both Ruby and Yarel left Greentail alone for a moment, allowing to let her gather her strength in peace and to clear her thoughts. Ruby's thoughts wandered already in the coming days, knowing that soon enough they'd have to move on with or without the perhaps irrevocably maimed thinclaw, no matter how monstrous that option would seem. A failure to do so would help no one and it would only endanger all three of the half teeth. The fast runner hated herself for those but no matter how she looked at it, there were no other options. Ruby only hoped that deep down, Yarel would understand the necessity of that course of action should that morbid choice ever fall upon them.

Even if Greentail has survived her terrible injury, her future hardly looks bright. The prehistoric world is full of dangers to a dinosaur with serious handicaps but for now, the main challenge for her is to walk again. Also, Ruby has to face the consequences of her difficult decision as the danger slowly encroaches on her family... This chapter was quite heavy in tone but I hope it was a worthy installment to this story. I already said it in my another fic but have a Merry Christmas everyone!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 01:20:42 PM by Sovereign »


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Separate Ways
« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2017, 07:59:27 PM »
Things certainly are not looking good for Greentail as the full scope of her injuries are becoming known to us.  Though the ability to form words and even sentences has returned, the visual and physical impairments resulting from her head trauma are deeply concerning. As an omnivore she could still use her sense of smell to assist her in detecting threats and prey, and she does not need high acuity vision for hunting with such tools (most nocturnal predators rely upon the rods in their retinas), but the loss of such a powerful tool as acute eyesight is a massive blow if it is indeed permanent.

As for the tension between Ruby and Yarel, this is both perfectly understandable and somewhat tragic.  They need one another right now in order to keep moral up, assist Greentail, and keep the look out for predators, but their antagonism eats away at both of their peace of mind at the exact time when that is in short supply.  It seems that they have come to a bit of an understanding, but the tension is still there.  I wonder if Greentail might eventually have to call them out on it.

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


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« Reply #55 on: January 01, 2018, 12:41:26 PM »
A Friendship's Birth

The young flyer’s eyes were a mask of pure fear and shock as she looked at Peak walking away from the field, leaving a group of confused flyers looking at each other around the murderer’s body which was left to lie on the green meadow. This wasn’t the first time when the herd had resorted to this kind of punishment but it hadn’t usually been committed before the observant eyes of the others. For Glide, actually observing this bloody display was a shocking experience, one she wouldn’t have wanted to see. Her observations were, however, ended by another voice from her right.

“Well, at least they found the killer. We’re all much better off without such dinosaurs among us.” The speaker was Brownbeak, another one of Glide’s friends. He was a tall flyer and slightly older than Glide and the two enjoyed each other’s company a lot. However, those words raised conflict within Glide as she couldn’t, despite the fallen dinosaur’s terrible crime, feel that he actually deserved to be killed like this. She didn’t want to argue about this but she only sighed silently before she answered neutrally.

“I just wish we never have to go through something like that ever again. It’s terrible to see someone killed in cold blood, no matter what they have done. It just isn’t like how things should be. But I just hope that this mess is over now.” The female wanted nothing more than to avoid these kinds of bigger disasters as she was far from content with her own life, namely her own family, at this point. Glide only wanted things to go smoothly within the herd and maybe her own personal issues would solve themselves in time. Brownbeak crossed his hands and nodded to Glide in a seemingly encouraging and relieving gesture.

“So do I. Peak is a strong leader and he will make sure no one will try anything like this ever again. I’m just sorry for your friend. Nobody wants these things to happen but at least we could get him some reprieve.” He said, willing to once more relay his condolences to Ortin. Glide turned to look at her friend and formed a slight if melancholic smile as she answered.

“Poor Ortin. He of all flyers shouldn’t be put through all this. I know he’s strong enough to go through this and I’m sure he’d appreciate your words. But I wonder what…” Her words were suddenly interrupted by a loud shriek from the meadow and all eyes turned to look at its source in deep interest and concern. They knew this call meant that there was some kind of announcement and the fact that the speaker was one of Peak’s deputies told them there was something important that he’d tell. That much was true but the message itself was far shorter and any of the flyers would have expected.

“Now that this mess has been dealt with, prepare for departure. We will leave for Streli’s Hills once the Bright Circle touches the highest peak you can see in the north. Make sure you’re ready by then.” The flyer than took off and left the flyers in the surrounding forest look at each other in confusion. Brownbeak frowned at the briefness of those words and spoke quickly before he, too, prepared to head back to his family.

“Well, that was the most important thing, wasn’t it? I’ll go to see my folks before we leave but see you soon, Glide! It’s a long flight se we better be ready!” Brownbeak forced a smile to his face before he took off. Glide was left looking after her friend, figuring she should follow his example. However, the mere thought of his tyrannical mother, indifferent father and unbearable siblings made her cringe in anger. Despite that, in the knowledge that she had no real choice at this point, Glide sighed and joined the quickly dispersing crowd of flyers which was quickly filling the blue morning sky.

Another young flyer was also left into a similar mental void after the brief announcement. Even when he wondered where his uncle lingered, another, more morbid thought flooded into the young boy’s mind. Petrie still felt sick at the sight of Peak taking the life of the old flyer and it vividly returned his mind to the moment when Chomper’s claws had brought the clubtail down back in the Valley. However, his old friend had done it only to save Ruby’s life from the grief-blinded mother whereas nothing had forced Peak to act the way he did.

Yet, Petrie had heard that Ruby and Chomper had agreed that should either of them ever hurt a denizen of the Valley, they’d both pay the ultimate price. Back then, all of that had felt as a distant threat but now he was forced to face that terrible punishment face-to-face and he hoped to never see such a terrible act ever again. The brown dinosaur shuddered as he looked at the rest of the herd going their own ways. For a moment, he wondered what to do until he finally heard to his relief one very familiar voice, one that prompted Petrie to escape from his former thoughtful state.

“There you are, Petrie! I searched for you everywhere! I’m… I’m sorry you had to see that but Peak had his reasons.” The older flyer suddenly lowered his voice as he saw Petrie’s terrified expression and he could tell without asking what had caused this mood on his nephew. Petrie looked at his uncle, confused by the amount of things he wanted to tell his uncle. However, only one formed in his mouth, the voice wavering heavily.

“Why, uncle? Why do we kill each other? If… if that old dinosaur never attacked Ortin’s dad, everything be well and they both would still be with us! Why?” His countless encounters with the sharpteeth were suddenly overshadowed by the thoughts of these two deaths as well as the whole chain of events concerning Ruby and Chomper. Pterano was completely taken aback by this question and he felt sorry for Petrie when he saw his head droop towards the ground in sadness. The older flyer had been too preoccupied with his own thoughts to be prepared to answer into something like this. He, however, did his best to give Petrie a satisfactory answer to his even childish and naÔve question.

“Oh, nephew. There are countless reasons why these kinds of things happen. Sometimes two dinosaurs want two different things and they think killing the other will solve something. Some others envy another flyer and the third is simply wrong in the head and Peak only did what he had to return peace to the herd. I regret every day that it has to be like this but as long as we can’t trust each other, these kinds of things cannot be avoided.” Pterano said in a clearly apologizing voice, prompting Petrie to raise his head slightly. The young flyer was far from content, however. Petrie wanted to know the whole reason why it had to be like his uncle said.

“But it make no sense! All of us want to live in peace with each other and to have long and fun life! No one want to take it away from other and give up their own life because of it!” The boy said, completely lost in his thoughts. His encounter with Ortin had relieved him somewhat but that had been buried under the shock he had felt when he had seen the killer’s blood color the ground red. Pterano frowned as he thought about the answer, the irony of the fact that he had caused great tragedy to others not escaping his notice.

“Most want that, yes, but there are others who always think they know best and think they are better than others. Take me for an example. Countless dinosaurs died because I led them astray and… and for a moment I thought that your swimmer friend’s death was worth my eventual triumph and the recovery of the Stone of Cold Fire. I’ve never told you about this, nephew, as I’ve been too ashamed by that one, most disgusting moment in my life. I didn’t try to kill Ducky myself but neither did I help her when she fell into the cave from where she apparently escaped from later. I was a monster and a fool, Petrie, but dinosaurs like my former self are the reason why the world isn’t a paradise!” The older flyer’s voice fell as he confessed the moment when he had left Ducky for death because of his former subordinates’ pressure. On that moment, he genuinely believed that others paying for his success was something he was willing to accept and the memory of that horrifying thought had haunted him on many dark, lonely nights.

Petrie’s eyes widened in shock as he heard his uncle’s words, not willing to believe his ears. Ducky herself had thought him Pterano truly was sorry for her but it seems like there was another side to this story. However, those words didn’t invoke the reaction that either of the flyers had initially expected. Petrie’s face dropped even further but his voice wasn’t angered in any way as he answered.

“I’m sorry about all that, uncle. Ducky told Petrie other things but me guess me just don’t know what to think anymore. Me just happy you no longer be like that. But… but everything went well with you in the end, why not with the others?” The young flyer asked, knowing the answer inside him before even asked. The boy’s thoughts were just a complete mess and he wanted to calm himself down somewhat. The older dinosaur looked back towards the meadow where the murderer’s corpse was slowly being dragged away.

“I’d like to believe that also, Petrie, but things don’t often go like they did with me. Answer me honestly, nephew. Could you have forgiven me if Ducky had actually met her end? And what about your other friends? If the Stone had really granted me the power I sought for, all of you would have been in danger. What if I had taken all of you down while I was overtaken by the glory of my newfound powers?” That was another question Petrie had never wanted to ask himself. He had never thought about the Stone again but what if it had actually been magical? The mere thought of what would have happened chilled the boy to the bone as he couldn’t realize just how far his uncle could have gone. But the answer to his question was easy.

“No, Pterano. Petrie always looked up to you but you never really hurt me or me friends. But if you did… me not think me could forgive you for that. That just be too much.” The flyer breathed heavily as he thought, feeling extremely uncomfortable with the conversation. However, Pterano seemed to make him understand why Peak had acted the way he did. The older dinosaur also took a serious expression, knowing his luck in avoiding actual bloodshed during the duo’s first adventure together. To be honest, he didn’t know even himself whether he would have been able to live with himself had those terrifying visions come to pass despite his newfound supernatural strength. He simply decided to let those thoughts be for now and to address another, important issue for now.

“I know that, Petrie. But that’s enough of such things. It isn’t long until it’s our time to embark on a new journey, nephew. Are you ready?” The older flyer tried to sound encouraging after this morbid talk and Petrie, despite his internal conflict, decided to try to act like he was getting over it. The boy forced a more encouraged expression to his beak as he answered.

“Petrie is ready for that! Uhh… how long the flight take again? And how your meeting with Lenel go?” He asked, willing to also show interest in his uncle’s whereabouts. Pterano looked somewhat happy with these questions even if he wasn’t proud of his failure in trying to catch the killer. He decided to answer the questions in the order they were presented.

“It’ll be a long trip, Petrie. It’ll take at least half of a cycle of a Night Circle and it should get really cold near the end. But don’t worry, we’ll manage it. As for my meeting with Lenel, I don’t have much to tell about it. He asked me to help in trying to find the culprit but my efforts weren’t… as efficient as I would have liked. In the end, he was only happy that the justice was served and he hoped that we could live in peace from now on. But it would be best if we ate something before we left. It’ll be a while before we’re going to stop next time.” Pterano said, hoping Lenel’s opinion of him hadn’t suffered by his lackluster help. Still, to his relief, the higher-ranked flyer seemed only concerned with finding the killer so maybe he hadn’t paid attention to his failure so much.

Petrie looked at his uncle with slight chagrin, surprised by the length of the flight they were embarking on. Yet, it mattered little as his wing was almost completely recovered already. He was just slightly worried by the availability of food at this time as most of the areas he’d seen earlier were completely barren. Petrie was somewhat relieved that everything had gone well enough with Lenel as the boy still the four leaders’ positions distasteful. However, he was more than happy to comply to the older flyer’s last proposition and he nodded quickly as he grabbed a drying leaf from a branch near him.

“Alright! Me just hope things will be as Lenel say and no one else want to do bad things! Let’s get ready uncle, it’ll be a big journey!”

The moments passed slowly for Ortin whose earlier alarm had returned the moment he had returned to the only family he had left. Not even his grandmother seemed to pay him any heed as everyone seemed to be only looking after Peak’s offspring. However, to his relief, he was able to return to his meeting with Petrie within his mind which seemed to save him from the worst mental anguish. The other young flyer had been extremely awkward and Ortin was still undecided whether he wanted to get to know him better. He was a member of one of the most prestigious flyer families there were and he was a mere, lowly outsider!

Yet, there was something within the boy’s mind which revolted against that very thought. In the end, only Petrie had tried to help him in his darkest hour whereas his “family” hadn’t paid him nearly any heed and even Glide was nowhere to be seen. Petrie hadn’t been looking for him but in the end, that mattered little. Maybe, just maybe, the other flyer’s small gesture had been more important than his “status” within the herd. No matter what, the boy knew he was in Petrie’s debt and he’d be ill-advised to forget his friendliness, no matter his ridiculous speech pattern and misguided beliefs. Ortin’s mind swirled around those thoughts when a large shadow suddenly formed around him. The flyer gasped as he turned around and saw someone he hadn’t expected to see land next to him.

“P… Peak! What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be giving orders to others or something?” Ortin was far from used to speaking to his distant if revered relative as he very seldom seemed to pay any heed to the young boy. Even now, a look of authority and superiority emanated from the tall flyer’s eyes as he dropped his gaze to look at the younger male.

“Hush, Ortin. I apologize for overlooking you for this long but now I see that members of our family cannot remain this distant during times of great danger. I’m terribly sorry about your father.” The older flyer tried to offer, knowing that it wouldn’t be a miracle if the young flyer would be stunned by his sudden appearance but he knew it couldn’t be helped. The grim situation called for him to do this conversation and he would see it through for the sake of Ortin and the rest of his followers. The former looked at Peak with eyes that communicated something between sadness and astonishment and he decided to see what the older dinosaur had to say.

“I know he was very close to you also, Peak. I like what you are doing for our herd and family but… but the danger is over! You got rid of the killer!” Ortin said, willing to know what Peak was after. He knew his words weren’t probably what Peak wanted to hear but for a long time, he had seen the orange-colored flyer as a leader rather than as family and his more formal speech revealed that. Peak frowned slightly, surprised by the somewhat distant welcome the child had given him.

“Ortin… you must understand that I’ve always been busy with my duties but I also thought you were happy with how my cousin raised you. Now that he’s gone, I’d… I’d like to make up for that at least to some degree. You are my flesh and blood and those are the ties that hold us closer than you could even imagine.” At this point, Peak held a small pause, earning a conflicted look from Ortin. Those were the words he had waited all his life to hear but for some reason, this situation didn’t seem to give them the same emphasis he had hoped for. Still, he knew far better than to question Peak further at this critical moment. If he had an opportunity to have some kind of family again, he’d take it.

“T… thank you, Peak. I… I never thought I’d hear you say that. Dad always told me about our eternal bonds with you and the others but I never understood them. I’m honored.” Ortin felt awkward beyond words as he tried to accept the offer but Peak’s imposing form and his delicate state of mind prevented him from finding better words. The older flyer turned to look elsewhere, somewhat relieved that Ortin at least didn’t seem angry with him. He continued soon from a completely different issue as he looked at the Bright Circle approaching the mountain his deputy had spoken of earlier.

“About one other thing I wanted to speak about, don’t think for a moment that we’re safe. That old fool said he acted alone but that’s all lies! I’m sure there is far more to this issue. It is most likely that someone wishes ill for all our family. Someone or some other family in this herd.” Peak nearly whispered, willing to make sure that no one else would hear his words. Ortin gulped as he answered to his higher-ranked relative.

“Do you have any idea who? It’s terrible to think someone here would really want to hurt us.” Despite his age, Ortin realized the full implications of these kinds of things due to his father’s teachings about the families’ histories. Peak frowned deeply as he wondered for a moment whether or not to reveal his speculations to the boy but after a moment, he decided Ortin deserved to hear the truth. Even if his motivations to approaching him like this weren’t completely unselfish, he still wanted to make a good impression on his long-overlooked relative. He put his hand on Ortin’s shoulder as he spoke, barely audibly, to the younger flyer.

“Don’t speak about this to anyone but I’ve got a feeling that Nira and her followers are behind all this. She has always opposed to me in our meetings for some reason and their behavior is highly suspicious. She might very well be trying to weaken me as a way to clear her worst rival away. But don’t worry about this too much, Ortin. I’ll take care of all this but now that you know about this, try to stay away from them and keep yourself safe, no matter what.” The older flyer said, leaving Ortin stared at a narrow river in the distance. Nira ordered the murder of his father? The same Nira whom he had seen countless times in his life and even shared a few, short words? And her family which had seemed so much like this was behind her in this nightmarish deed? Ortin felt his breath grow heavy as he thought about those implications. He couldn’t believe it but he also knew Peak was a wise and just flyer who wouldn’t blame others without a good reason. He nearly hyperventilated as he answered to those stunning words.

“H… how could she do something like that? I know she’s a bit cranky sometimes but I never thought that she’d…” His words were cut short as he spoke, overwhelmed by the situation heavily. Peak crossed his arms, knowing that the situation was a difficult one for Ortin. However, he could see that his time was quickly being spent as the Bright Circle continued its daily journey and he spoke one last time before he took off.

“As I said, just keep your eyes open and try to see if there’s something suspicious going on in our herd. But remember the glory of our family’s past and take pride you are one of us. We are all children of Warekli, the most graceful flyer who ever blessed the skies with his presence. Remember that his memory is the source of our strength and unity and all will go well. Don’t linger for much longer, we’re leaving in a few moments. It was a pleasant talk, Ortin!” Peak said as he rose to his winds to gather the rest of the herd together, leaving a very confused flyer in his wake. Ortin’s mind was a complete flux as he thought about the words that had been exchanged. He was more than grateful for Peak’s words but the fact that even he was in grave danger within his own herd sickened the boy without measure. Feeling the ground beginning to burn under his feet, Ortin quickly followed Peak to the rest of the herd, hoping beyond hoping beyond hope that Peak had been mistaken and that peace would reign supreme in the days to come.

Nimble’s eyes scoured the still-confused herd around her as she prepared to initiate the long journey towards Streli’s Hills. For her, the morning’s terrible ordeal was a thing of the past and she seemed more than ready to move on from that one, isolated event. The Bright Circle would touch the distant mountain in a few moments, telling that the long wait was finally over. Nimble eyed at her fellow leaders who nodded to her in agreement, allowing her to move forward with her declaration. The yellowish flyer could see that something was wrong between Peak and Nira but she couldn’t really figure out what. Lenel looked at them with a worried glance, deeply concerned by the lingering distrust between the two. Nimble, however, decided to shake that off for now and opened her beak to speak for the rest of the herd.

“My fellow flyers, the time has finally come! After one more Warm Time of wandering, it’s time for us to return to our sacred grounds in Streli’s Hills! It’s much colder now than it should usually be at this time but it won’t hold us back! In addition to this journey being an integral part of our lives’ cycles, this journey will also offer us a chance to put today’s terrible crime after us! We will honor the Hills’ namesake by arriving there more united and resolute than never before, with the petty distrust between our families buried for good!” Slight cheers greeted her words as she took a short pause. Nimble herself, however, knew that it would take a wonder for her words to become the truth, at least among the most prestigious families of the herd. She felt sick at the situation but she hoped things would calm down from now on.

“We joined together to protect ourselves from sharpteeth and I beg of you, make sure we don’t have to begin protecting ourselves from each other! So, embark on this flight knowing that you will be asked to cleanse the hate from yourselves before we reach the last resting place of Streli, one of the most courageous and kind-hearted flyers who ever lived! Follow us my friends on this flight and remember my words! Let us go now but we won’t stop until the late evening! So be prepared for a long flight!” Nimble said as she took off, prompting the other leaders to follow her shortly. After their departure, the first lines of the gathered herd took top the skies, willing to once again follow the four on this long journey.

The mere thought of flying with over a hundred flyers made the unsavory memories from the Great Day of the Flyers return to his mind and despite his slight hopes, he was quite sure no one would approve of his innovations during that test. However, another kind of feeling awoke in Petrie’s heart as he begun to flap his wings under the warmth of the midday sun. The thought of accompanying his uncle on a journey like this, surrounded by countless powerful and honorable flyers made a slight pride swell within the boy’s mind. The faint wind whizzed in his beak as the ground grew ever more distant under him. Petrie was slightly sad to leave the beautiful meadow-like plateau behind him but from what he had heard, these Streli’s Hills wouldn’t lose much to them in their natural splendor. Petrie waited eagerly to see those famed mountains and he would certainly follow his uncle on this flight. He soon spoke to Pterano who was flying near him.

“It good to be back in the sky! Me kinda liked those mountains but a bit too much happened there! Petrie just glad those times behind now and Petrie even got a new friend! Me found Ortin in the forest and he seemed really nice this time!” Petrie said, earning a relieved smile from his uncle. The two had been earlier too preoccupied with Petrie’s questions for the younger flyer to tell about his meeting with the broken flyer.

“Very good, Petrie! H… how was he? I can’t imagine it was an easy thing to get to him now.” The orange-colored flyer said with some relief but still careful as he couldn’t imagine how the poor boy must be feeling today. Petrie’s face turned into a slightly more serious one but it didn’t completely fall as Pterano had expected.

“Yeah, it wasn’t. But me found him alone in the forest far from the others. I know we shouldn’t have been there but… both of us wanted to get away from the other flyers.” Petrie still wasn’t ready to speak about Hoist’s terrible attack on him as he wanted to push those still-fresh memories as far back in his mind as he simply was able. Pterano nearly twitched as he heard those words as it had been his and his peers’ charge to oversee the meeting and the duo’s claimed departure casted yet another shadow on his vigilance. He snapped quickly back at Petrie, willing to make sure such things would never happen.

“When you’re told to do something, that’s what you do! My sister might have overlooked it but I won’t have you getting yourself to trouble for failing to obey direct orders! I won’t take this issue farther than this but never do something like that again!  Is that clear?” Pterano said with an angry voice, immediately earning a stunned and hurt look from his nephew. The younger flyer knew he shouldn’t have told about his and Ortin’s meeting place but it only slipped from his beak. Petrie simply turned to look at his uncle and answered silently.

“Yes, uncle Pterano. Petrie never do something like that again.” He said, at this moment honestly thinking he could hold that promise as his friends weren’t around to get him join their adventures, a thought that still circled within his mind often. Pterano’s expression softened as he knew that Petrie wasn’t exactly the most obedient child there was. Still, he was content with his answer and let the issue go. He simply affirmed his support for Petrie’s first successes in making new friends within his new herd.

“In any case, I’m glad you’re doing better, Petrie. Things will get easier with time but you are already a different flyer than the one I found wandering alone in the Mysterious Beyond. But for now, take it a bit easier. We have a long while before we can do anything else than fly forward.” Pterano said, willing to let Petrie calm down a little from all of his ordeals. As he said, today would mark a major leg on of this long flight and it would be better if he left Petrie gather his thoughts a bit further. His own mind wandered back to the situation within the herd, deeply wondering whether Lenel had been right to believe that the internal danger within the herd had been dealt once and for all.

The minutes slowly turned into hours as the large group of flyers covered more and more ground and endless plains of the same, monotonous landscapes were left behind of them. Only an occasional line of hills or rivers would ever break the wide wastelands that stretched so much of the Mysterious Beyond. There was very little gossiping within the dinosaur as they knew they’d be well advised to preserve their strength for the flight and there was also the threat that getting carried away in a conversation could make them forget the danger they, despite their natural gift, constantly were in. One, powerful gust in the wrong place and an unforgiving lack of air resistance could potential cause any of the flyers to drop all the way to the ground with lethal consequences. However, that wasn’t the dominating thought within Petrie’s mind during those long, surprisingly lonely hours.

The younger flyer’s mind was still, to be sure, a complete mess but it slowly cleared itself from the worst shocks his encounter with Hoist and the old flyer’s execution had brought upon him. As more and more time passed, Petrie felt his confidence return as he spent the time looking at the changing landscapes below him. Petrie was a curious soul who, despite everything that had happened, yearned to know more about the world around him and even this wasteland wasn’t an exception. To the boy’s endless surprise, however, something came to his view that reminded him of the long passed, better days. As the noon slowly passed by, his eyes were fixed on a faraway spot of green in the distant horizon. The sight felt slightly familiar to him and for many long minutes, the forest far to the herd’s left bothered Petrie. He had seen it before but where had he possibly… oh wait, that’s it! A nostalgic smile rose to the flyer’s beak as the memory of his adventure in that place flooded back into his mind as if a ghost from another life time.

It was the same swamp that he, Cera, Ducky and Spike had passed through on their journey to find Littlefoot after he and his grandparents had embarked on their quest to find the meaning behind their odd sleep stories. Even if his short time there had been filled with danger and fear, the mere reminder of his adventures with his old friends raised a bitter smile to the flyer’s face. Again he argued with Ducky about on which rock to step on, again he was confronting the gigantic bellydragger which almost got him and again he was falling asleep aside beside the boulder which proved to be a grey sharptooth later on. Those were some memories Petrie didn’t ever expect to treasure but now the mere sight of the swamp caused an emotional flood fill his mind, hoping he could simply fly down there and join them once again in their journey to look for Littlefoot. Especially as that journey had introduced him with the longneck’s brother and father as well as allowed him to witness something so spectacular even his mother had never even heard stories about. Yes, that was one of his most treasured adventures with his friends, one that he would remember no matter how long he would live.

But as all other passing landscapes, the distant swamp slowly approached the horizon behind the flyer herd and soon enough, it had been left behind him, a thought that immediately raised other thoughts within the boy’s mind. Just as the swamp had been left behind him, so had his happy old life abruptly, without any warning, been simply taken away from him. There had been no goodbyes with mother, other denizens of the Valley or his friends… all of them had been with him and in the next, they were just… gone. Trying to fight the falling despair, Petrie turned his gaze forward, looking at a long gorge in front of him which had the rare privilege to bask in the Bright Circle’s light at this time of the day.

However, no matter how hard it was for him to accept, he had another life now and even if he one day could return to the Valley, the old times would never return without his friends. The flyer forced a neutral look to his face as he decided to face the reality as it was without any extra longing for the past. His happiness might hide behind the curtain of change behind him but his future lied with these flyers and with his uncle and only a miracle could change any of those facts anymore. He would forge his own way again but he would still hold the memories of his beloved friends in his heart to help him create that new lot in life. Of that the young flyer was sure as he cast on final nod towards the direction where the swamp had once been.

The day aged gently and the weather stayed surprisingly calm but eventually, an ever-increasing fatigue had started to settle within Petrie’s wings. It still wasn’t anything serious but he had to wonder how much longer today’s flight would be. In a way, the thought of weeks of these kinds of flights troubled Petrie but he knew he’d survive it somehow. He looked at the flyers around him and it was clear their flight wasn’t as easy as it had been in the morning. Petrie wondered how…

“Alright, prepare for landing! We’re going to rest on that flat mountain for the night!” The voice belonged to Lenel who pointed at a mesa-like hill far below the herd. It seemed extremely small and narrow for such a great herd but Petrie knew it would probably be wide enough for the flyers for one night. All of the dinosaurs complied to Lenel’s words immediately but they knew better than to act brashly as any kinds of chaotic swoops held the risk of collisions during the way down.

A slightly younger Petrie would have probably forgotten that but for some reason, the boy felt for the first time in his life like he should really try to bend among the others and he had learned to looked what the others did in situations like these and follow their example. Most of the dinosaurs seemed to search for a downward spiral of air and then adjusted their wings to begin an effective but tightly controlled descent towards the dry landscape below them. The ground grew quickly closer to the flyers and before long the first of their feet hit the sand-covered rock, causing slight clouds of dust to rise from the cliff. Lenel looked at the rest of the herd slowly reach the mesa but he decided to give his followers the few orders he had at this point. He, too, was exhausted by the flight and wanted to fulfill his duties as a leader as quickly as possible. The others had agreed to let him deliver these announcements to the herd as a token of the others’ trust towards his calm judgement.

“We covered a great distance today and you’ve more than earned your rest. Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of one of the most desolate regions in the lands known to any flyer and there is nothing to eat or drink around here. However, we should reach a slightly more hospitable region by tomorrow evening and I ask you to simply swallow your hunger and thirst until then. But for now, use this night to rest and recover your strength. You may sleep on this mesa or the hills surrounding it, I don’t care about that. But remember that we will leave when the first rays of the Bright Circle greet us in the morning.” Lenel said, signaling that his briefing was over before he walked away. Sighs of relief could be heard among the herd as the dinosaurs slowly prepared for the deserved rest after the long and tiring flight.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 12:53:35 PM by Sovereign »


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Separate Ways
« Reply #56 on: January 01, 2018, 12:42:02 PM »

However, there was also one flyer who wasn’t just yet ready for such things. Ortin looked in slight disappointment as Peak, his grandmother and other relatives didn’t seem to play him much heed despite the former’s speech with him earlier. It was good enough for him to know he had a place among them, the young flyer figured, but there was one thing h wanted to do before joining them. Getting to know the one flyer who had shown him true friendship of this terrible day. A deep, overwhelming sadness of his father’s loss festered within the boy’s heart but one part of him still pressed him forward. Knowing one would try to hold him back, Ortin started to walk towards one of the lower hills he had seen Petrie and his uncle move soon after the landing.

Ortin had been preparing to also confront Petrie’s uncle but the older flyer was nowhere to be seen. This puzzled Ortin somewhat but he wasn’t too disappointed to see Petrie preparing for a good night’s sleep. He seemed tired but it seemed like it would still take a while for him to calm down from the long day. Ortin knew Petrie would very likely welcome his arrival as he still seemed quite lonely within the herd. The flyer landed on the small hill Petrie was lying on and quickly spoke in a still heavy but friendly voice.

“Psst, Petrie! Do you have a moment?” Ortin whispered in a silent voice, willing to make sure he wasn’t interfering and Petrie rose slowly to a sitting position, looking at the other boy with a surprised expression, surprised by his arrival.

“Petrie always have time b… but why? What do me need a moment for? Shouldn’t you be preparing to sleep also?” Petrie frowned, not understanding Ortin’s sudden appearance at all. However, he was still grateful for his earlier kind approach to him so he decided to listen what he had to say. Not that he had much better things to do as it would still take a long time before he could fall to sleep after all the drama that had happened on this day. Ortin took a sad smile as he answered to that question.

“I guess but I wanted to come to thank you for your words earlier. I… it’ll take a long time for me to get better but at least you came for me and helped me through that the worst. In fact, you were the only one who tried to help me.” Ortin said somewhat bitterly and Petrie took a slightly apologetic smile as he heard Ortin’s answer. Where had Glide been and what was wrong with the rest of Ortin’s family? Still, Petrie was somewhat surprised by Ortin’s words and he answered in the only way he could.

“You welcome, Ortin but as Petrie said, me there only because of the bullies. Me never thought you’d be there.” He said, confused by where this conversation was going. Ortin remembered that Petrie had already said that during the initial conversation but that didn’t change the impact of his action. He took a slight smile as he answered to that remark.

“Maybe but you still helped me at terrible time. And because of that, I consider you my friend even if you said it all was a mistake. You seem like a decent flyer and I wanted to say make you know it.” He said, finally voicing his reason for this talk. The boy’s initial reservations at befriending with an outsider had long since passed and he wanted to tell it also to Petrie. The brown flyer looked at Ortin in astonishment, not realizing the impact he had made on the other dinosaur in the morning. Still, he was more than happy to hear Ortin’s words, relieved to finally hear some genuinely friendly words after the recent events. The wind seemed to rise a bit on the nightly hill and a silent scream emanated from somewhere in the plains below.

“P… Petrie happy to hear that! M… most other flyers have only dismissed me or attacked me without reason! Thanks for those words, they mean a lot to Petrie!” He said silently, reveling in this breakthrough. He hadn’t expected Ortin to approach him just yet but apparently he was in a better situation than he had thought at first. After that remark, the mood lightened up immediately. Both of them needed the reprieve of the moment but the day held still another
surprise for the day.

Her conscience troubled Glide greatly as the girl flew over the empty, silent peaks. There were still a few flyers here and there on their duties and nobody paid her any heed. The long day with her family still bothered her greatly but for now, there was one thing she wanted to do before calling it a day. She hadn’t met Ortin once since the terrifying news and she couldn’t help but feel like she had betrayed her charge to him as a friend but she had spent the morning with Brownbeak and the rest of the day had been far too busy to meet him. Glide cringed heavily at her failure to relay her condolences to her tragedy-struck friend. Why didn’t you see him earlier, Glide? He needs your support and he received none of it! Amazing thinking!

The female flyer beat herself mentally as her eyes scoured the mountains carefully, inspecting every dinosaur in great deal as her eyes couldn’t see in the dark too well. She had already spotted most of Ortin’s family but the boy himself was nowhere to be seen. She was already growing concerned about his whereabouts as there was always a chance that something had happened to him since the morning. However, her fears were soon proved wrong when she saw him talking to someone she couldn’t recognize immediately. However, when she did, she frowned somewhat. What was he doing with Petrie? They had met only once and it hadn’t seemed like a too friendly occasion. Also, the girl couldn’t quite shake off her slight guilt of letting him go with Eleria to the woods as it would be a miracle if he had survived without a good beating from that meeting. Glide took a deep sigh as she started her swoop towards the hills below.

“Your uncle seems to know quite a lot about the world and other flyers especially as he joined us only two Cold Times ago. I’ve met him only few times before but it’s too bad he isn’t here now. Where is he, by the way?” Ortin asked as the duo’s talk had moved from tragedy to slightly more normal topic and that was their remaining families. The talk was slightly uncomfortable for Petrie as it would take quite a bit of caution not to slip anything of his mother and siblings. No matter how unappetizing it seemed, he’d have to act like Pterano was his only living relative as he feared he couldn’t lie well enough about his “lost” family of his official backstory. Nevertheless, Petrie liked overall how the talk was going and any signs of nervousness were hidden under the genuine mask of relief.

“He join some other flyers in making sure there be no anything dangerous around here but that shouldn’t take too long. And yes, uncle Pterano be very wise! He’s been to more places and heard much more than any other flyer me ever met! Me only meet him a few times before as he always be on his journeys, away from me or me family. But he use those times well!” Petrie said with genuine excitement, still appreciating all the experience and knowledge Pterano had gathered during his years of lonely journeys. For reasons that slowly dawned on Petrie, Ortin wasn’t too eager to talk about the rest of his own family but the brown flyer still would have wanted to know more about it. Still, Ortin looked at the distance as he answered.

“It certainly sounds like it, Petrie. Sometimes I’d really want…” At this point, Ortin’s words were suddenly interrupted by another voice from above. That particular voice surprised him slightly as he hadn’t expected that flyer to show up this late. However, despite his and Glide’s long friendship, he couldn’t stop the sour expression that crept to his face as he turned to look at the newcomer.

“Hi, Ortin! I… I’m so sorry about your dad! I should have come to see you earlier but… but… I’m sorry.” Glide crossed her arms, not knowing at this moment why she hadn’t just told Brownbeak to wait for a moment when she’s pay her respects to the fallen flyer. Back then the situation had seemed too sudden and terrifying for her to think clearly. She could only hope Ortin could forgive her. Petrie, too, looked in surprise at the girl but decided to let the two friends handle this issue.

“Well, you really took your time! I know it’s not your problem but it certainly wasn’t funny to sit alone when my family is too busy to argue and my friends are nowhere to be seen! It be bad enough when nobody cared about my dad but everyone seemed to have forgotten me also! This day has been a nightmare and the fact that you hid all the time certainly didn’t help! Where were you?!” Tears formed into Ortin’s eyes as they met Glide’s gaze. The utter loneliness and his mental void returned to the boy’s gaze as he remembered his earlier confusion about his future and loneliness. And now that she was here, he couldn’t help but wonder what kind of explanation she would give.

“I’m sorry, Ortin, but another one of my friends needed me and besides, I thought that there would be someone in your family who would be with you. Of course I should have come to see you but for some reason, I never did. I guess I just felt like you would do better with your family.” Glide knew Ortin’s relations with the rest of his family weren’t that close but still, she had figured they’d be able to share his loss better than she could. Even then, the two had been close friends since they were mere hatchlings and if they weren’t together at moments of great strategy, when would they be? Ortin fought against his sobs, knowing it would have been a difficult situation for him too if it had been Glide’s father that had been murdered. He knew he didn’t have a right to judge Glide’s personal decisions but it was easier to acknowledge it than to calm his raging, raw emotions.

“If you had come to see me, you would have known I didn’t. But… but what’s done is done. Thank you for coming at all.” The boy knew there was no point in taking his accusations further, no matter how hard it was for him. In the end, the most important thing was that Glide hadn’t forgotten him completely. The female seemed somewhat relieved by Ortin’s latest reaction but she also lamented that her words could tear the deep and still open wounds within her friend’s mind all open again. Also, she wondered what was the reason for Petrie’s presence but it seemed like that question had to wait for a while longer.

“Of course I did, Ortin. At least it’s all over now… I never met your dad but I heard many good things about him. We lost a great flyer on this day and we are all in his debt for his services to our common cause. I’m so sorry for all this, Ortin.” Glide moved closer and hugged Ortin deeply, allowing him to let another release at least some of his internal pressure. Ortin’s composure fell completely as the two friends embraced for a long time under the light of the stars, the wind felling during that time. Glide sighed deeply as she her friend go. Ortin looked away as he spoke in a broken voice.

“Thank you, Glide. I miss him so much… Nothing will be the same without him… Why did he have to go?” Ortin asked the night wind, leaving his wo friends stare at him in sympathy. One of the two knew how he felt but it helped little at this point. Glide looked at Ortin, her eyes saddened by the simple fact that there was no answer to such a question. She only spoke to him in a soft voice, trying to ease the situation.

“We’ll never know that but at least he lived a good life. I don’t know how you feel but I think you should be happy that you knew him at all. Remember him for the rest of your life and I know he’ll be more than proud of you, Ortin.” She took a small pause, allowing Ortin to once regain some of his composure. Willing to get the discussion to a more comfortable zone, she suddenly glanced at Petrie, willing to know what was going on here.

“But… what are you doing here? Your family was sleeping far away from here.” The girl directed the question at Ortin but she looked more at Petrie, knowing he would be the more likely flyer to answer due to Ortin’s mood. And indeed, her guess was proven correct.

“We meet at morning when the others were at meeting. We were… badly hurt by different things and we found another and we help each other get over it, or at least try! Ortin then come here to thank Petrie for that talk!” The brown flyer said, minding Ortin’s despair and keeping his voice low because of that. Petrie’s words caused a deeply uncomforting feeling to grow within Glide, having a good idea about what had hurt Petrie during the morning. At this delicate moment, most of her antagonism towards the boy was gone and she didn’t mind Petrie’s presence at all. Ortin fought back another sob as he turned around and continued from where Petrie had left off.

“He’s right. I’m just glad he came there and I wanted to repay him now by telling him we’re friends now. I… I know how you feel about Petrie after yesterday but he’s a good flyer, Glide. I… I just wanted to tell him that.” Ortin sighed as he spoke, hoping that Glide wouldn’t begin to dwell within her hurt pride. The last thing he wanted to do now was to begin arguing with Glide simply because of her bitterness towards the boy. To his relief, Glide showed more understanding than he had initially expected.

“Well, at least someone came to you back then. I’m sorry for my earlier words to you, Petrie. I was just angry because I lost to an outsider. It isn’t something that many in this herd appreciate but… but thanks for helping Ortin.” Glide would have wanted to cringe as she had been an indirect cause of the beating Petrie had most likely received on the previous day but she didn’t want to raise that issue up yet Petrie, on the other hand, couldn’t begin to grasp what he was hearing. First Ortin had agreed to see him as his friend and then Glide simply forgave him despite the humiliation he had brought on her. Petrie’s eyes widened and he stuttered slightly as he prepared to answer.  

“Of course, Glide! Petrie happy me could help but… are you not mad at me anymore?” The boy wanted to confirm, earning a thoughtful look from the girl. Glide took a short pause, simply thinking how she would give her answer.

“Well… I’m still not happy about how things went but… I have enough problems without trying to see you as my enemy, Petrie. Let’s just say that there is no reason for me to try to keep the rivalry up.” She said matter-of-factly, earning a somewhat relieved look from Ortin. He hadn’t expected things to go this smooth and he certainly didn’t regret it. His earlier despair begun to ease somewhat but it was clear those were wounds that would never heal. Still, he took what little comfort he could from the new developments. He looked with some appreciation when Petrie answered to the girl.

“That great to hear, Glide! Me had actually feared things wouldn’t go like this but… I’m happy to be wrong. Petrie never wanted things to get bad between us so… thanks for forgiving me.” The brown flyer said, happy by the fact that the worst hadn’t happened between him and Glide. Ortin took a few steps forward the two and said to them, trying his best to fight back his raw emotions as he spoke.

“I… I’m just glad things didn’t go as bad as they could have. It’s getting late, though, and I’m still not ready for it but… would you two want to play tomorrow, after our long flight? I just want something fun to do and I doubt neither do you two mind a little rest after the tiring day.” He said, prompting Glide and Petrie look at each other with thoughtful looks. Petrie was more than happy to earn another new friend but Ortin’s words prompted a moment of hesitation within Glide.

She really liked Ortin and she’d certainly wish to spend some time with him but Petrie on the other hand… She had just forgiven him for his victory over her and to be sure, he seemed much funnier and friendlier flyer than most within the herd but he was still an outsider and slightly younger than she was. But as she thought more about the issue, he couldn’t find any real reasons to turn down Petrie’s companionship. After all, he had proven himself to be a cunning flyer and he also seemed like someone who could be worth getting to know better also for his friendship. After a moment, she nodded to Ortin in agreement.

“Sounds good! I’m in at this same time tomorrow, wherever we happen to be!” The girl said with some relief, her eyes looking at her two companions in approval. Her comment was soon followed by Petrie whose answer was even more enthusiastic.

“So is Petrie! Me look forward to it really much! Petrie just hope you feel better by then, Ortin.” Petrie said with some concern earning a slight shrug from the other boy. Ortin looked at the desolate landscape briefly before he answered to the two.

“So do I. However, have a good night you both. Let’s see again tomorrow.” He said, earning ordinary goodbyes from his two friends and he and Glide quickly headed into the dark night skies. Petrie looked at the duo disappearing into
the darkness, not able to believe how this terrible day had finally come to its conclusion.

The previous day’s fears had been replaced by two new friends, both of which had seemed more than happy to get to know him too. Even if he was still haunted by the morning and Ortin’s father’s terrifying end, things were much better than he had ever dreamed they would be after the loss of his old friends. Petrie turned to look towards a distant cry in the desert, a deep smile apparent in his face. That smile had a melancholic tone to it but the joy was still clear as the skies of the Great Valley. Yes, he would be able to ford through this broken time in his life and with Glide and Ortin’s help, he fight his back into life. More than relieved by the latest developments, Petrie took a deep yawn and felt the drowsiness creep into his limbs. Knowing his uncle would return before long, Petrie put his head against a small stone and prepared for the next day’s ordeals and possible glories.

The herd's journey has finally begun in full swing but there are signs that there is deep and dangerous mistrust among among the flyers. Those suspicions are unlikely to have good consequences for the herd as they move on on their long flight. On the positive side, Petrie has finally managed to forge a genuine friendship with Glide and Ortin but how will those bonds hold up in the storms to come? I truly hope you enjoyed the numerous developments in this offering and have a happy and delightful 2018 everyone!

rhombus: You're certainly correct that Greentail's situation is a dangerous one and to make matters even worse, the whole extent of her injuries are still to be revealed. We'll see how far she'll recover but it's safe to assume at this point that she isn't the same thinclaw Ruby met in the first place. We'll see what fate has in store for her but this tragedy changed everything for the omnivore and her friends. As for Yarel and Ruby, the coming days will test their friendship severely but there isn't a real choice for either of them at this point. The most any of them can hope is to survive at this point and trying to help Greentail may give them more to think than their bilateral problems. We'll see in the next chapter. ;)

« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 12:46:46 PM by Sovereign »


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Separate Ways
« Reply #57 on: January 06, 2018, 03:15:31 AM »
My apologies for the delay.  I finally found some time to read and review when the Internet was deciding to work over on the farm.

This chapter was in many ways a cleaning up and building upon of what came in the previous chapter featuring the flyers.  The aftermath to the execution was quite telling in Petrie, as we see that he had already developed a recognition for the need to self-defense, but the idea of death as a penalty was nearly a bridge too far for him.  This new reality, including the need for harsh punishment, is one that the flyer is having to learn quickly with little room for error.

Something else that we see in this chapter that especially caught my interest was the characterization of Pterano, in his own words, as being a monster before.  This is indicative of a person who is trying desperately to make a clean break with one's path in many respects, and with it the taking on of a new role.  I was left wondering (when Petrie was seeing the place where he and his friends had previously been go past them) if he was having the same realization about himself viz-a-viz his uncle.  That is, like his uncle said, he is not the same flyer that met his uncle several days prior.  By the time all is said and done will he still recognize the flyer in the reflection?  And will Petrie keep the parts of him that he values?  Ultimately this struggle may compel him to disobey his uncle further (as we have seen in this chapter) and it may propel him in the direction of danger, especially if his cover story is blown.

Overall I quite enjoyed this chapter and I look forward to what developments befall Petrie and his new herd next.  :)

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


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Separate Ways
« Reply #58 on: January 19, 2018, 04:13:50 PM »
The Trail Rediscovered

Heavy sweeps of sky water bashed the canopy of the small forest and shrouded it under its misty cover as it had done for two days already. The slowly dying leaves trembled under the force of the falling waters before finally falling to their last rest. Those drops slowly gathered into small lakes on the ground and soon growing streams penetrated the small woodland at the foot of the mountains surrounding the river valley. To make matters even worse, the cold air turned the flooding waters ice cold and the effect of the unsavory weather wasn’t lost on Ruby either. The fast runner was soaked by the raging sky water and she shivered noticeably as she spoke to Greentail who sat awkwardly on a rock, listening to her friend’s words.

“… and that is what happened before Terri and Dein attacked us. After our first journey together, we tried to rest on the higher slopes of the valley overlooking the river. Soon after, we were attacked by the sharpteeth and that is pretty much what has happened between us, between us has happened!” Despite the frigid water penetrating her feathers, Ruby was in somewhat good spirits as she spoke to the thinclaw. She had shown some encouraging signs of recovery during the past days as she had, after massive efforts, managed to rose on her feet and even walk with forced movements across the forest. However, those movements were slow and her limbs still couldn’t move as freely as they should have. Greentail frowned at those words, attempting to concentrate her gaze on the fast runner.

“I see. It’s a shame… but I can’t remember anything clearly enough. It still hurts so much… it almost drives me mad.” Greentail said slowly and with great intervals as she put her right hand on her forehead, her head still feeling like it would break up at any moment. She could form sentences but they took a lot of concentration and her pronunciation was still far from satisfactory. Moreover, her eyesight had seen only modest recovery, still struggling to even form a clear picture of her companions’ faces. Yarel, who was leaning against a high and thick tree, offered her an apologetic look as he answered.

“I’m so sorry about that, Greentail. You took a bad hit to it and I’m just happy to see that you’re here with us. Both of us feared for the worst for a long time. Let’s just hope the aching gets away soon.” The boy said, truly meaning what he said but he would have been lying if he claimed he wasn’t afraid by the situation. Without her sight and ability to run, Greentail would be easy prey to any sharptooth. His sister glanced at her brother with some appreciation as she answered to his remark.

“I hope that too but it’s gone on for so long… and I still feel so weak. I’m sorry I put you through all of this but thank you for sticking with me for this long. That’s all I can ask.” The girl said as she internally lamented the fact that she still couldn’t even see her brother’s eyes, let alone anything else behind him! These past few days had been a nightmare she would have wanted to wake up from but she knew it wasn’t going to happen. This was what she was now: a half-blind, half-immobile good-for-nothing that would only serve as extra weight for her brother and Ruby! She still appreciated the fact that she was alive but her present condition disgusted her beyond measure. She felt like she was trapped in her broken body without any hope for recovery. And even if the other omnivore’s words were meant to be as friendly as they could be, Ruby’s next remark only deepened the girl’s internal anxiety.

“You may not remember it but you came to save me from certain death so it was my duty to help you. But… there’s another thing I’d like to tell you. The sky water has been really bad for days now and it seems to be only getting more dangerous all the time. I know it’ll be difficult for you but we have to leave this evening or tomorrow at the very latest. If we don’t, we’ll all drown here!” Ruby’s words might have sounded a bit too extreme at first but the small rivers of water around the forest were growing alarmingly wide and powerful. It wouldn’t be long until it was more than probable that they could turn into a devastating flood.

Even Yarel merely looked into the horizon, fully realizing the implications of Ruby’s words but he also knew that Greentail simply wasn’t ready for this undertaking. The boy’s disagreements with Ruby had grown rarer during the past days as the initial mental anguish over Greentail’s potential death had worn off but the tension itself was still there and he had for days seen Ruby’s approach to the situation as too lighthearted. Still, fears for his sister’s life were now replaced with ever-growing concern for her recovery and the possibility that this could be the condition Greentail would have to spend in the rest of her life. It pained him that he could only offer an encouraging glance at the other thinclaw as Greentail pondered how to respond to Ruby’s remark. However, her answer was one that neither from them had expected.

“You know I cannot do that! There’s no reason to even suggest something like that! I… I…” At this point, the thinclaw’s breaths grew increasingly heavy as her brain did its absolute best to come up with something. However, her beating headache and forced thinking process managed only to destabilize her to the point that Yarel quickly moved towards her to ensure that she could breath properly. Greentail’s entire mind was a complete mess and every part of it seemed completely paralyzed in this moment. At least until she felt her brother’s hand on her shoulder and his fearful voice asking the obvious question.

“Greentail, calm down! What’s…” At this point, the deadlock within the girl’s mind seemed to dissipate but not in the way she or Yarel had expected or hoped for. Suddenly, with impulsive twitch, she turned around and hit Yarel with all her strength into his chest, sending the boy flying to the ground, leaving him look in shock and fear at his sister who moved towards him, raging with all her might, her screeches emanating through the small forest.

“I knew you were just here to mock me and to search for the right moment to humiliate and kill me! I should never have trusted on anything you said you despicable, plotting…” Ruby looked in fear at the thinclaw as she walked towards her brother in an almost murderous look. The fast runner knew that something was badly wrong and she quickly ran towards her, waving at Yarel to join her. No matter what, this odd outburst had to be contained. With quick movements, she grabbed Greentail’s hands while Yarel moved to block her potential escape. Greentail tried to pull herself free from her companions’ grasp but the duo’s grip was too much for her alone. All she could do was to listen to her brother’s shocked cries.

“Stop it, Greentail! We’re not your enemies and you know it! Please, just snap out of whatever you’re stuck in!” Yarel’s fearful and alarmed words slowly crept into the back of Greentail’s mind and in a matter of seconds, her mind seemed to calm down completely. Suddenly, the two were alarmed by Greentail growing completely limp in their hands but after seeing that her expression had returned to a somewhat-normal resembling look, they sighed in relief. However, Greentail’s gasps quickly brought them back into reality.

“What… what in earth got to me? I… I never wanted to hurt either of you, it just… happened. I’m sorry, Yarel. I’m so sorry.” Greentail’s empty gaze dropped to the ground as the realization about her mental seizure spread within her. One second, she had been shocked about Ruby’s comments and the next, she was held tightly in place by her brother and Ruby, as if she had been a danger to them! But… but how? She never wanted to hurt either of them at least willingly which could mean only one thing: she was no longer in control of her own actions. Yarel quickly lowered his voice, trying to calm the situation down as well as he only could.

“It’s alright, I wasn’t hurt. It’s over now.” He said as calmly as he could even if he couldn’t deny that her reaction still shocked and bothered him without measure. Greentail had never done anything like this before so it had to be another consequence of her injury. Yarel cursed that fact in his mind as he had already wanted to think the worst part had passed but it seemed like there were new terrifying things caused by his sister’s head injury that made themselves known only with time. He could only hope that these kinds of losses of control wouldn’t repeat themselves. Ruby also offered her condolences even if she was even more afraid than Yarel.

“Things like these can happen when you hurt your head badly enough! But for all of us, try to make sure this doesn’t happen again because if it happens again, things could get even worse!” She said, hoping that she could contain her impulses in the future but she knew it would difficult for the other girl. Greentail, pale with regret and fear, sat awkwardly down to a rock, holding her head between her arms while answering to her companions.

“I don’t know if I can hold these things in check! It just… happened. I… I just don’t know what to do.” She whimpered to herself, trying to make sense of her current life. Her companions merely looked at her, trying to offer what little support they could. After a moment, the two glanced at each other, both of their faces masks of helplessness and anxiety. Greentail’s recovery would prove to be a longer and more painful to process than either of the two could have ever imagined at dawn.

A few hours later, Yarel walked the woodland alone, the events of the day and the fears over his sister’s wellbeing swirling within his mind in complete flux. He and Ruby had more or less agreed that they’d have to depart the next morning at the very latest and the waters flowing around him only underlined the fact that it simply couldn’t be postponed any further. But how could they when Greentail could hardly walk and her normal, kind behavior could change at any moment. No matter how he looked at the issue, the near future seemed, if not hopeless, then at least highly dangerous and terrifying.

The sky water bashed the thinclaw’s reddish-yellow back as he slowly climbed a small, narrow path leading to a small ledge sticking out of the hillside in order to see if there would be any landmarks around the forest and to give himself something else to think. He had looked at the cliff many times before but he hadn’t had the time to visit it until now due to the fact that Greentail had needed constant supervision. Despite her problems, he felt like his sister deserved some privacy after all she had gone through.

The precipice opened before the boy as the narrow path slowly gave way to the small precipice which provided a great view over the surrounding lands. It was about two longneck lengths from the ground and Yarel panted heavily when he finally reached the top. He looked in worry as large streams of water flowed from the higher slopes of the hill and then flowed across the precipice to then fall to the forest below as small waterfalls. Still, it took all of Yarel’s willpower to give them any attention as his sister was the foremost thought in his mind. Was there any chance that she could ever return to the thinclaw she once was or could she actually stay forever the way she was now? He simply couldn’t believe it after the siblings’ long journey from the Lonely Heights and the months they had spent together. Yarel shuddered at the thought that despite their occasional fights, neither of the two could have even imagined a life without each other. Now, to his immense sadness, that was a real possibility the boy was being forced to face if Greentail couldn’t get a hold on her disabilities in time.

The thinclaw took a deep breath as his eyes explored the distant horizon, disappointed to see that only wider fields of dry, frigid steppe greeted his eyes. There seemed to be completely no kinds of landmarks anywhere, not even some memorable formations of rocks among the seemingly flat expanse of lifeless land. Even the foot of the mountains anywhere on his left or right seemed to… wait, what was that?

Yarel immediately turned his gaze to a rather large dinosaur walking by the mountain range in the distance, moving slowly away from his position. How had it managed to escape his and his companions’ notice for this long and even more importantly: what was it? The thick rain made that question a difficult one for Yarel but if he were forced to guess, it was either a swimmer or a domehead. Perhaps he’d have to tell the others of this….

At this point, a powerful cracking sound interrupted Yarel’s thoughts completely. With an alarmed turn, the thinclaw turned to look at the source of the voice. On the cliffs above him, a great mass of brown, wet mud was flowing over a group of boulders and one of them had fallen to the lower slopes of the hills but that was only a small detail for Yarel. The thinclaw’s eyes opened wide as he realized what was happening. Earthfalls often occurred after many days of falling sky waters and they could easily bury entire herds under it if they were slow or unfortunate enough. More and more the moving soil was flowing over the cliff and Yarel knew that he and his companions were in massive danger. Knowing that time was off the essence, Yarel sprinted to the path leading back towards the ground. Should the wall of rocks break before he reached Ruby and Greentail, there could be truly terrifying consequences.

The fast runner shook her head as she looked at the pond that had just two days before been a tiny and calm body of water. Now it was overflowing the surrounding lands and the sky water only worsened the situation by the minute. In addition to the flooding ground, the air was unbelievably raw and chilly and  Ruby wouldn’t have been surprised in the least if the sky water were going to turn into ground sparkles at any moment. Still, similarly to Yarel, the weather took the backseat within Ruby’s mind as she, too, felt sick at the fears of where this journey would end. Greentail’s survival was still by no means certain and any of the omnivores could still end up in a sharptooth’s maw before all was over. But the thoughts that had swirled in the girl’s mind over and over in the past days were swept away by the same sound that had startled Yarel.

All of her worries moved immediately from dominating her thoughts into bothering background noise within her as she moved to look where the crashing sound had come. It came from the mountains but the thick canopy of the forest and the heavy sky water prevented her from seeing high enough to say where the thundering rumble had emanated. That was until she heard a familiar voice crying to her from the far distance.

“Come on, Ruby! We have to get my sister now! This place will soon be drowned under a mass of mud!” Those words puzzled and alarmed Ruby greatly as she could see he was being dead serious but he didn’t really tell what was that terribly amiss. Still, she joined Yarel in his sprint and shouted back to him to find out what was wrong with the thinclaw.

“What’s happening, Yarel? What is that badly wrong?!” Ruby called even if she dreaded the answer. The boy answered to her immediately, the words only serving to deepen Ruby’s growing panic.

“Massive amounts of soil are beginning to fall from the mountains! It’s going to bury us if we’re not quick!” Yarel cried, his expression stiff with despair as more and more of the wet mud fell to the ground as it wouldn’t be long before it would begin spreading towards the trees. Ruby swallowed audibly at those news and the two half teeth sprinted towards their temporary nest as quickly as they only could.

The growing danger, however, wasn’t lost on Greentail either. Even through her fears of what had happened earlier, the girl had noticed the falling rocks and the ever increasing flow of water on her sleeping face. At first she had tried to simply ignore it but as her feet were submerged ever deeper into the forest, she decided to rise up from the tree stump she had been sitting on and head for higher ground. It proved to be far from easy to the maimed thinclaw as it proved more than taxing for her to try to find a good footholds as her legs still didn’t move even close to normal. They felt like sticks she had to move uphill with the mere movements of her hips. The girl cursed severely at her difficulties as she fought her way upwards against the streams of water flowing down into the pit she and her friends had used as their home in the past few days.

After many minutes of forced struggles, she finally reached the solid ground but she panted heavily at the taxing effort. She felt some reprieve that she had managed to complete the climb at all but it was a far cry from what she should have accomplished. Truth be told, she still couldn’t remember a whole lot from her past and the parts she could were distant, vague images of events that had happened long ago. Still, she had seen how Yarel and Ruby moved and the fact that she couldn’t move nearly as easily as they frustrated the girl heavily. She was just beginning to try again to bend her legs to the positions she hadn’t been able to since her injury until she heard a loud cry from her left.

“Greentail, come quickly! The whole mountainside can collapse at any moment!” The voice belonged to Ruby who quickly approached the other girl from the forest. The thinclaw would have been far more severely startled if she’d been able to see Ruby’s terrified expression but the urgency in her voice was more than enough to get the message through to the thinclaw. Her unseeing eyes flashed wide open as she heard Ruby’s voice and with forced, awkward steps started to move towards the other girl who was closely followed by Yarel.

“Of course something like this has to happen in this cursed forest! Everything seems to be going just as terribly as they only can! How do you know it?” Greentail asked but immediately, the rumbling voice followed her question. Ruby and Yarel looked in utter horror as the entire mountainside near them seemed to twitch slightly forward and then quickly fall to towards the ground. Unspeakable amounts of wet soil was on the move, threatening to bury anything unfortunate enough to stand in its path forever. Yarel was the first one to snap out of the initial shock and he quickly moved to his sister’s hand and yelled to her in deep fear.

“Follow me as quickly as you can! There’s no telling how far the earthfall will go! We have to get as far from it as we just can!” The boy cried as he started to run, trying to adapt to Greentail’s handicap by slowing down his pace but it took all of his will power not to run away with all his might before this overwhelming display of the nature’s power. To Greentail, the flurry of overwhelming noises, imminent danger, her lack of eyesight and the slippery ground formed a hellish combination of elements that hindered her flight severely. It was as if she was struggling to run in complete darkness, surrounded by unknown dangers that existed only in the beating, aching flux that now was her mind. The thinclaw managed to turn her awkward walking into extremely difficult jogging but any talk of actual running would have been extremely exaggerated. To the girl’s further displeasure, her efforts were only rewarded by further orders from Ruby who was running a good distance before her.

“We’re moving too slowly, Greentail! You have to run faster!” The fast runner shouted, looking in desperation as Greentail tried to increase her speed but the stiffness of her knees and feet seemed to hinder those efforts. Furthermore, the mass of mud had already reached the ground and it was already starting to engulf the land under its terrifying force. Ruby looked with a sickened feeling as their temporary home was buried under the wet soil and it wouldn’t be too long before it would reach the half teeth as well. The fast runner realized that she and her friends would have to reach higher ground and fast as there was nothing more they could do for Greentail at this point. She’d have to complete this run by herself as she and Yarel couldn’t run for her. Ruby looked in deep fear around herself, trying to find some place she and the thinclaws could escape to. After a moment, she let out a brief and fearful cry and pointed to her left.

“I think we should go this way as I remember that the ground slopes higher out there! It’s our only hope!” She yelled, making Yarel frown with some puzzlement but he didn’t have any better ideas himself. He took a brief sigh before he quickly turned to his sister who panted in clear impatience.

“Let’s do as she says! You’re doing great, sister, but we don’t have much more time! Please, try to hurry!” Yarel hoped his words would help his sister in finding her courage to move forwards with her running but it seemed that at least some of her former pride was left within her as she snapped back at him.

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m doing my best all the time!” Her voice was extremely irritated and it caught Yarel completely off-guard but soon he realized that he wouldn’t be in much better spirits if he were on Greentail’s place. He merely cringed and turned his gaze forward, dearly hoping that Ruby knew what she was doing. That was all he could at this point.

Many trees fell upon the onslaught of the earthfall as more and more of the wet ground overwhelmed them with brute mass. The mud was advancing unbelievably fast in the soaked ground and the seemingly endless flow of sky water showed no signs of halting. More and more parts of the mountain walls were beginning to be covered with the falling soil which was highly unusual due to the cold weather. The ground had already turned hard due to the cold but apparently the endless masses of water had been enough to destabilize the ground packed on the mountain wall, creating a perfect deathtrap for those slow enough to escape from its path and Ruby dearly hoped she and her friends wouldn’t fall into that category.

The fast runner’s eyes searched the plains around her for signs of the hilly region she had spoken of and she was already growing fearful she had remembered wrong. However, after many minutes of running, the ground begun to clearly slope upwards, gently at first, but behind it rose a far steeper hill. Ruby knew that was the trio’s best hope of surviving the earthfall but it would certainly pose another, distasteful ordeal for Greentail. Still, Ruby knew she didn’t have real options at this point so she quickly called to her companions who were following her closely.

“We must get to the top of that hill and we should be safe! Come quickly!” The fast runner shouted as she moved to the foot of hill but she decided to wait for the two in case Greentail needed help and it wasn’t long before the duo reached her and begun moving uphill as fast as they could. However, similarly to her efforts in climbing up from the small group’s temporary nest, her legs refused to bend into the right positions for her to accomplish such a climb, at least quickly enough. Still, she didn’t want to ask for her companions’ help but it wasn’t until a few seconds later that Yarel noticed his sister’s immense troubles and cried to Ruby in horror as he saw the masses of mud flow only a few longneck lengths behind the maimed thinclaw.

“We have to help her, Ruby! She cannot do this alone!” The boy yelled as he quickly returned to Greentail, shortly followed by Ruby. The female thinclaw was about to object to the help but she decided against her before any sounds escaped from her mouth. She realized that such efforts would only complicate the situation further without achieving anything. Ruby quickly took Greentail’s left leg and put it on higher ground into an angle that the other girl couldn’t have managed herself. However, the latter soon realized that the muscles needed to support herself in that position didn’t work and she simply fell painfully on her knees. Still, Greentail realized she had managed to get slightly further uphill so she merely nodded to her companions, prompting them to continue their efforts. Yarel quickly moved her other foot a bit further in hurry as time was quickly running out. Greentail cursed heavily as she fell to the ground one time after another but even then, she was nearing the top at a surprising pace. Yarel and Ruby looked at the approaching mass of mud and after herculean efforts, the trio collapsed to the top of the hill, panting in relief and exhaustion.
Ruby quickly looked backwards and to her utmost happiness, she could see that the earthfall had seemed to stop at the middle of the hill, the wet earth waving slightly before it begun to retreat back towards the actual ground level. The fast runner fell to her back and exclaimed in utter fatigue.

“We… we did it! You did well, Greentail, well you did! I almost thought we weren’t going to make it!” The girl said as she slowly rose back to a sitting position only to see that the female thinclaw was waving her head in desperation. It seemed like she was in the brink of tears but she held them at bay for now. Still, she sniffed slightly before she spoke again.

“Th… thank you for saving me but… this is all for nothing. You could see that I could never have climbed the hill myself and I couldn’t even run properly. I’m… I’m just a complete burden for you and most likely I’ll always be. Just think if we had been running from sharpteeth and not from earthfall. I’m simply done for.” She said as she buried her head into her hands, looking completely beaten by her difficulties. Suddenly, Yarel took a more decisive expression as he moved towards his sister. He had listened to Greentail’s self-bashing for days and now he felt like he was ready to give her the talk Greentail had deserved for days.

“I know things are hard for you right now and that you don’t remember what happened before your injury but listen to me, sister. Our whole life has been a struggle for a long time now and all that time, you were there to comfort me and help me through those times. Mom and dad’s end was my fault and I did nothing but cry and whine for days afterwards. I was a complete burden to you during those days yet you never even thought to leave me to die! Yes, it would have been bad if a sharptooth had chased us now but what matters is that it wasn’t a sharptooth! Do you understand what I’m saying?” Yarel softened his voice near the end, willing to underline his feelings at this point. He had felt like useless weight to his usually strong-willed and more practical sister and in addition to the things he just said, this was a chance for him to pay at least a part of his former weakness back to his sister. Greentail looked at the boy with some astonishment, regretting the fact that she couldn’t remember those times well enough to know whether her brother had just made those things up to reassure her at least to degree.

“I’d like to but I just can’t remember how we survived back then! Even if it was your fault that our parents died, you at least could recover from the guilt in time! I cannot and things will only get worse when the Cold Time truly comes! I don’t want to sit in some cave for that whole time and just wait until all my food is brought to me and with good luck I’ll even hit the one feeding me! I don’t want to be like that!” She said in despair, unable to believe that her recovery could bring any immense benefits anymore. However, those words seemed to ignite a new idea within Ruby’s mind and the fast runner and she then joined the conversation.

“Perhaps it doesn’t have to be like that! Greentail, listen to me. My parents know a lot about many kinds of things and I remember that head injuries are one of those things they know about! I’m not sure how much they can help you but at least they should be able to say something about how well you’re recovering and what you should do to help your head heal as well as it can!” The fast runner said, remembering how they had told her about different injuries she’d have to face during her life. However, the girl dreaded the possibility that her parents, if the trio could find them in the first place, would only confirm Greentail’s own worst fears and tell that she’d never survive even into her adulthood. However, her proposition didn’t sit too well on Yarel who was rather disappointed to hear that Ruby still thought only about her own quest. He snorted quickly before answering.

“We have much more important things to focus on right now, Ruby. Besides, we don’t have an idea where they are! We took you as far to the east as we could but they could be anywhere in these lands!” Yarel said, only now realizing how stupid his original promise of ever helping Ruby find her family actually was with the little information the two siblings had. Ruby looked at him oddly, understanding that the boy had given a slightly too optimistic picture of his and his sister’s knowledge in the first place. Still, she wasn’t ready to give up knowing that her family’s very lives could depend on her warning them in time about Dein and Terri’s vendetta. The sharpteeth could find the fast runners with their sniffers but Ruby nor her companions had such a gift. After a moment of pondering, she finally opened her mouth again.

“My parents like to stay hidden from most other dinosaurs but it isn’t impossible that someone has more knowledge of the lands around us. I don’t think we can even hope to expect someone to have met them but I think I could guess where they are if I knew the places I should guess about! But there’s really no one around here… except Chomper’s parents.” Ruby ended with a slight cringe, knowing that even if the trio could find someone out there, he or she could be far from friendly.

Yarel frowned in deep thought, glancing at his sister who seemed to simply resign to the role of a listener in this discussion. The boy knew that Ruby was probably right that finding her family could still be the group’s best option at this point but there was little chance of finding them at this point… except that dinosaur he’d seen in the rain earlier! It was a long shot but if that dinosaur could give the trio some direction at all, Yarel figured he should tell about his sighting earlier. Even if he still hated Ruby’s seemingly selfish motives, he still had to accept that didn’t have a better plan than she did. Not anymore.

“Actually, there’s another dinosaur somewhere near us. It was either a swimmer or a domehead and I saw him or her walking away from us in the rain but it couldn’t have gone too far from us in this weather.” Yarel said, biting his teeth. Even if he knew that few leafeaters held any love for his kind, they still weren’t likely to pose a threat on him or his companions. Ruby’s expression turned immediately into a more hopeful one as she turned to look at the direction Ortin had nodded at. If the swimmer or domehead had lived in these lands all his life, he might be of help after all! Ruby smiled to Yarel slightly as she answered.

“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s find him and see if he knows anything of value! The earthfall hasn’t blocked this direction at…” Ruby was already walking downhill when Greentail spoke to her silently. It was clear she didn’t like to tell what she had to say but it was still urgent.

“I cannot take another step right now. I don’t think I can come with you yet.” She said, looking at the two in clear regret. Ruby seemed thoughtful for a moment but after a moment, the confident and optimistic smile returned to her face. It would be a bit risky to leave Greentail alone like this but it was highly unlikely that any sharptooth would find her during this kind of sky water.

“That’s alright, Greentail. Try to calm down and recover your strength. We’ll be back before you know it!” The fast runner said, waving Yarel to follow her. Greentail let out a small sigh of relief as she sat down, looking downhill in astonishment. Even her injured eyesight could see that the mass of mud was slowly retreating but the mere violence of the phenomenon chilled her without measure. Without her companions, she would have surely been buried under those waves before she had even managed to start her escape. The two other half teeth slowly turned around and headed downward the hill’s opposing side. With any luck, the small group would have a direction once again soon enough.


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Separate Ways
« Reply #59 on: January 19, 2018, 04:14:07 PM »

After a few minutes of walking, Ruby finally broke the silence. The sky water was slowly losing its intensity but it was still enough to prevent the duo from seeing clearly. Ruby’s voice was almost happy at the thought that maybe she’d finally be able to end this endless march of sorrow and never-ending hardships.

“Where did you say you saw the swimmer again? We’ve walked quite a bit already!” It was clear from the girl’s voice that she was by no means complaining but Yarel’s answer broke the feeling of friendliness between the two. Even if he had proposed this search himself, the absence of his sister seemed to allow his long-buried frustrations about the recent events, which he hadn't even noticed himself before, to resurface with full force. The thinclaw’s sharp tone surprised even the boy himself but the words were the ones he would have wanted to say many days ago.

“I bet you’re excited to find that dinosaur as all that you’ve seemed to care for the past few days is to find your precious family! It’s a good change from simply helping me and my sister, isn’t it?” He asked, stopping his walk immediately and crossing his arms. The fast runner’s relatively carefree behavior had annoyed him for a long time but his sister’s presence had prevented him from opening this issue earlier. Ruby felt like she had just been hit to her head as she turned to look at Yarel whose expression turned sourer by the minute. Had she actually heard what she thought? What was the thinclaw thinking?

“W… what? Of course I’m excited to find the swimmer but only because…” Ruby started but she couldn’t even finish her sentence before Yarel finished it with his own version.

“… because you want to find your family! Our more pressing problem here doesn’t seem to bother at all! You seemed to forget my sister immediately the moment I told you about the swimmer! And you’ve never really seemed to care about her condition in the first place!” It was apparent that this outburst had been building inside Yarel for a long time. The last conversation and Ruby’s selfish interests had been the final straw that had forced him to speak up his mind. Ruby gasped for a few times, struggling to find the right words to say to her companion. After a few moments, she started to stutter slowly.

“B… but I’ve helped both of you as much as I’ve been able in the past few days! What more would you wanted? I’ve mostly let you handle talking to her, it’s true, but you are her brother for goodness’ sake! You know her much better than I do!” Ruby frowned deeply as she spoke, feeling extremely outraged by Yarel’s words. She had possibly endangered her family to help him and this was this way of saying thank you? Who did he think he was?

“Maybe but all you’ve done in the past days has been simply to telling her what to do and only worsening her condition while dreaming about your own things otherwise! I knew we had to leave all along but I tried to encourage her, not frighten! It almost feels like you beat her that hard only to force her onwards on your quest to find your family and after you so readily forgot her to search for clues about their whereabouts, I’m only more certain about it!” Yarel nearly shouted as he spoke, his genuine concerns mixing with the incredible anxiety and unrealistic fears to form this abrupt moment of enmity within the young thinclaw. Ruby moved a few steps closer to him, speaking in a lower but just as hateful voice.

“My family is danger because I decided to stay here and help you! Of course I want to help them as quickly as I can and you saw yourself we couldn’t have waited for any longer here! What else could I have done for you two?!” Ruby asked, narrowing her eyes as she spoke. Yarel’s words infuriated her greatly despite remembering what could have happened if Yarel and Greentail hadn’t come to her aid when they did. Yarel’s voice dropped immediately but the antagonism in it remained.

“I want you to care but you seem to mostly think about your own things, not about us!” He only said, trying to show Ruby his point wasn’t anything too far-fetched but they managed to only puzzle the fast runner further. She stuttered for a few seconds before she answered, taking a few steps towards her companion.

“In that case, why do you think I stayed with you in the first place and not disappeared into the night when Greentail was injured? Don’t you think that would have been what I’d do if I truly was the jerk you think I am?” She growled, the argument getting on her nerves very quickly. Yarel, on the other hand, took a short pause, thinking about the best answer to her argument. It was true that he had been surprised by Ruby’s decision and back then he hadn’t had any second thoughts about the girl’s motives. After a few moments, he rebuked with another claim.

“I’m not sure what I think about you, Ruby, but even an idiot knows better than to head into danger alone when he has a choice on the matter! Maybe you wanted us only to safeguard your back?! I don’t even know but you haven’t at least proven me otherwise lately!” The boy cried, not noticing a large shadow to his left which was slowly approaching from the forest. Both of the omnivores were too intensely focused on their fight to pay attention to the world around them. A mistake which usually would be any dinosaur’s last in the Mysterious Beyond.

“I don’t have to prove anything to you as you don’t believe anything I try to prove to you! What are…” At this point, the fast runner’s sentence was quickly interrupted as she felt a powerful hit to her back and her legs being swept away under her. After a few, shocking moments, Ruby found herself lying on her belly and felt a foot on top of her back, preventing her from attempting any kind of escape. Yarel’s terrified expression only deepened her fear as she heard an old, male voice speak.

“Don’t take one step if you don’t want to see your friend’s back being crushed, egg stealer. She won’t stand a chance at this point.” Yarel looked at the speaker who had to be the same swimmer he had spotted from the cliff. He was dark green with a slightly lighter underbelly but all of the boy’s attention was being fixed on his face which communicated nothing but deep hate towards the duo. Yarel could see Ruby looking at him with a pleading look, clearly asking him to comply. For a brief moment, the thinclaw seemed to question whether or not to take his chance to run but soon enough, he knew his choice was already made. Despite their fight, he wouldn’t leave Ruby to die like this. Not simply because of his own doubts and fears. After a few seconds, he spoke to the swimmer carefully.

“Let her go! We don’t mean any harm to you, I promise! W… we were just passing through these lands!” He tried to reason with the sudden attacker, attempting to prove that neither he or Ruby was a threat to him. His attempts to calm the situation down were, however, met only by a bitter laugh.

“Of course brats like you aren’t a threat to me! All your kinds are good for is murdering unborn children and attacking far better dinosaurs when they’re asleep! I know little more despicable creatures than half teeth! Tell me one reason why I wouldn’t kill you now and save countless parents from losing their children, fast runner.” He said, increasing the pressure on Ruby’s back to emphasize he was being serious. The half tooth gasped in fear and pain as she tried to form a few intelligible words. Her voice was forced and weak as she spoke but strong enough for the swimmer to understand what she was saying.

“I… I’ve never stolen an egg in my life or hurt anyone! As Yarel said, we were only trying to get away from here as fast as possible! You’d never have to hear from us again!” Ruby’s claim was far from the truth as she hadn’t had the luxury to choose her diet during her early childhood but facts were of little importance in this threatening situation. However, the swimmer didn’t seem to be convinced by Ruby’s words and he kicked her again to emphasize his point. After that he spoke in an even lower but just as threatening voice.

“Don’t lie to me, scum! I gave you a chance but you decided to waste it by trying to slither your way away from my questions! Just like a true fast runner…” He said as he prepared to finish his job. He knew that he couldn’t catch the male omnivore no matter what but even the pink female would be better than nothing. However, just as he was moving to finish Ruby’s already broken life, she cried to him once again, her conscious reasoning disappearing under her growing panic.

“Please, don’t do this! We have to find my family before Dein and Terri do or they’re all lost! We escaped from them once before and they wish to slaughter my parents and siblings to punish me! You must believe me!” Ruby was already preparing for the end but shortly she felt the swimmer’s foot rise from her back, slowly releasing her from his deadly grip. The larger dinosaur took a deep, regretful sigh as his eyes met those of the astonished omnivore, his gaze communicating deep disdain but the hate had vanished from them with the girl’s last words.

“Did you just say Dein and Terri?” He asked, still close enough to strike Ruby down if she tried to escape and after a short moment of hesitating, the omnivore answered to the male carefully.

“W… why yes, I did. They swore to take me down when I did… something terrible to them. Terri was badly injured during our last meeting but she should be on the move again soon. You have to let us stop them!” She pleaded again,
surprised to see even a glimmer of approval in the old swimmer’s eyes as he turned his gaze into the horizon. He then answered slowly, his words stunning Ruby completely.

“The cursed half teeth may have taken my unborn children from me but those two sharpteeth sent my mate to the Great Beyond even before that. The sight of them tearing her to pieces is one I’ll never forget. I may have had only bad experiences with your kind but at least it wasn’t you two who attacked us. I may come to regret this but if you plan to turn against those two monsters, I guess I’ll have to let you go. Hindering their plans is more important than crushing one brat anyway.” The swimmer spoke the last sentence under his breath but it was still audible to Ruby’s chagrin. Yarel, who had followed the scene in deep fear, took a few steps forward and joined the forced conversation. He was as nervous as Ruby but he decided that this was the correct moment to voice his and Ruby’s reason to seek him out in the first place.

“There have been many stories about Dein and Terri’s attacks around the world. I’m sorry about what happened but… we came looking for you to hear if you can actually help us.” Yarel gulped as he finished, dearly hoping he hadn’t stepped too far. It was still clear the swimmer was agitated by the whole situation but to the boy’s relief, no further outbursts came from the older dinosaur. Instead, he shook his head slightly as he turned to look at the thinclaw, the situation clearly weighing down on him heavily. The older dinosaur’s voice was mocking but also interested as he answered.

“Two fast runners asking a swimmer for help? Neither of you will live for long with that attitude and if you hadn’t brought those two bastards up, your companion would be dead already. What do you want to know?” The older male said wearily, earning careful smiles from the omnivores, not believing their luck after the initial terrifying meeting with the unusually furious leaf eater. Ruby and Yarel exchanged glances and it was the girl who answered to the swimmer.

“Well… we were wondering whether you’ve seen my family anywhere around here. Or at least some place which looks like my family could be there!” The fast runner crossed her hands, dearly hoping she’d receive a satisfactory answer. She knew the swimmer would be unlikely to have a cordial relation with her parents but any clues about their whereabouts would be highly welcome. The swimmer frowned at the question and he took a more thoughtful look and after a moment, he finally gave his answer.

“I try to avoid fast runners at any cost and to my relief, no, I haven’t seen any others of your kind here in many cycles of a Night Circle, not since… that day.” The old swimmer’s voice dropped at his last remark and Ruby felt her fears rise again. For now, this dinosaur was her only hope of trying to save her family and she’d have to get more information out of him than this. With a more worried expression, she continued the questioning.
“But surely you know more about this land than we do! My parents used to live in the middle of maze-like hills where they could live in peace without sharpteeth! Please, we must find them to stop Dein and Terri!” Ruby tried to remind the older dinosaur and her encouragement seemed to work somewhat on the swimmer. It was clear that he had had quite a history with the two sharpteeth and Ruby couldn’t help but feel like there was even more to it than the male let out.

“It’s impossible to say as these cursed steppes go on for many long days’ walks in almost every direction. However, there are some hilly regions a bit further north from here and there which could indeed house some half teeth. It’s a long shot but that’s the best answer I can give you two. Dinosaurs of your age should reach them after the Bright Circle has set two times.” The male crossed his arms to emphasize his point and both Ruby and Yarel seemed a bit disappointed by the swimmer’s words but even then, Ruby knew she was lucky to even be alive after the swimmer’s attack. However, the frigid breath of the wind returned her to the harsh reality she now found herself in. She quickly glanced towards the vast, empty plains, dreading the coming journey in advance. It didn’t help her any that her teeth clanked together as she prepared to bid farewell to their unlikely helper.

“That isn’t too much but we’ll go see those hills anyway! Thank you very much for helping us!” Ruby smiled carefully, earning a conflicted snort from the male. It was clear that he still held little sympathy for the fast runner. However, he had been forced to choose the lesser of two evils which was more than Ruby had had the right to hope for in the first place. The swimmer turned his back on the two young dinosaurs as he prepared to move on with his own, lonely life.

“Just make sure to make it count and try to stop whatever those monsters are up to. Besides, I have to give credit to anyone who even dreams of heading to the empty plains at this time. It’ll take a real miracle for you to survive the chill of the coming Cold Time…” The swimmer spoke silently as he headed into the still-heavy cover of falling rain, leaving the two omnivores staring after him with deep concerns for their future. Ruby knew that his warning had been more than a reasonable one as he remembered more than well the chilliest Cold Times in the Valley and that place had been shielded by the mighty walls which protected it from the worst winds. Here, the chilly bite would be her companion every moment of her life and the mere thought of that was more than enough to make her shiver. However, there was another issue that would have to be addressed before the coming search.

The earlier inflamed atmosphere had turned into an awkward, bothered silence the moment the swimmer’s back had disappeared into the wall of sweeping waters. The fast runner was somewhat encouraged by the fact that Yarel hadn’t attacked her immediately: maybe there was a chance that their earlier argument hadn’t caused anything irreversible. The girl took a brief sigh and turned to look at Yarel and offered her amends to the boy who looked equally conflicted and unsure at the situation.

“I’m sorry if I’ve behaved the way you told but… I truly wish to see all of us surviving through all this. And I’d still like you to come with me.” She suddenly turned look at the boy, her eyes meeting those of Yarel. Several thoughts were swirling within the thinclaw’s mind, first and foremost the question whether he believed Ruby about her motivations and her willingness to stand for him and his sister. Yarel already dreaded making that journey with Greentail and once again, Ruby hadn’t brought her up at all when she had apologized to him. For a brief moment, Yarel was seriously considering sending Ruby on her journey alone but just as the words were about to form in his mouth, they seemed to freeze still.

Only a few days earlier, he and his sister had been prepared to risk their lives for this fast runner and even if he couldn’t recall his reasons for that in this delicate moment, he remembered how promisingly his, Ruby and Greentail’s friendship had started and the optimism they had for their quest. But ever since his sister’s injury, all of that had changed. Ruby had seemed like a completely different dinosaur since that night and a small part in his mind was screaming for him to attack Ruby again and make her face the reality the boy now found himself in. However, even through his fatigued mind, Yarel had to admit that the girl wasn’t the only one who had been changed by Greentail’s disaster. And if there was a small chance the fast runners could help his sister, he’d have to take that chance.

“I… I guess I have to apologize too. I just want you to remember our problems too and I cannot speak for my sister but all that has happened seems like a waste if we give up now. I guess I have no real choice here but promise that
you won’t push my sister too hard. This journey will be a difficult one for her.” Yarel gritted his teeth together as she looked at the direction the swimmer had pointed. Dein and Terri were most likely on their way there by now and she wanted to reach her family as quickly as possible but… Yarel’s plead wasn’t an unreasonable one. She still wanted to keep her only living friends near her in these terrifying times and if he’d have to give this small favor to the thinclaws, it was one she was willing to give them.

“I promise that, Yarel. But we should go get her and get moving. If the swimmer was right, it shouldn’t be long until we find my family even with your sister’s pace. I’m sure they’ll find at least some way to help Greentail too. I’m sure of it. Let’s tell her the news and get on the move!” Ruby said, waving Yarel to follow her. The boy answered with a careful smile before he turned his gaze behind him, hoping beyond hope that Ruby’s optimism wasn’t based on false hope. After looking at the slowly freezing sky water, Yarel took a brief sigh before he begun to follow Ruby into the chilly, slowly darkening night.

To their immense relief, the three omnivores have a clear destination once again and Ruby and Yarel’s quarrels seemed to have been resolved for now. However, their journey is still unfinished and the coming chill and the uncertain situation hardly promise good for their upcoming search… This chapter’s release was delayed by a few days because I had to do some planning for the story’s future but I believe I’m back on track now. So, without further words, I hope you enjoy this installment!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 04:40:38 PM by Sovereign »