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Author Topic: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0  (Read 7755 times)

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rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #60 on: July 09, 2019, 09:44:47 AM »
The banter at the beginning of this chapter was quite well done.  The interchange between a food-obsessed Shorty and a wise (and a bit teasing) Bron made for a relatable exchange between the two.  It also highlights what the herd is risking in this journey in following their feelings to go to a totally new, and unknown, destination.

The use of voting here again shows the somewhat democratic nature of Bron’s herd, which is understandable considering the nature of its genesis.  It was born of other longnecks joining it of their own free will and thus some degree of democratic choice is understandable when a major decision needs to be made, even if Bron is the leader in most day-to-day respects.

The parting of Littlefoot from his friends was handled in a rather straightforward fashion, but the characterizations of each of the gang was handled well.  One can clearly get an appreciation for Cera’s annoyance of Littlefoot dashing off on an adventure to follow something he saw in a sleep story. That being said there is some delicious irony in her emotions here on that the gang has certainly gone on adventures for sillier reasons in the past… which I am sure will factor in to their decisions later on in this story.

As for Ali’s storyline it seems that her decision in the heat of the moment has had more of an immediate effect than I would have assumed.  Here we can see the ‘collective responsibility’ of a family for its young being applied in the herd, and it is clear the tensions from Ali’s insolence has spilled over in the Old One’s opinion of the situation.  The reaction of Ali’s mother is understandable considering the Old One’s annoyance and lack of empathy, but it has placed her in just as perilous of a situation as her daughter. 

Overall this chapter has moved forward all three storylines quite nicely.  Although I am unsure of the characterization of the Old One in her meeting with Ali’s mother, the other characters seemed quite in-character to me and their banter and thoughts were quite relatable.  I look forward to seeing how all three of our journeying parties fare in the coming chapter. :)


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

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #61 on: July 10, 2019, 05:05:45 PM »
Thanks for the reviews, everyone. Due to the fact that I only have access to my phone here (and, I'm on my 4th vodka lemon too, mind you  :bestsharptooth) I think it is for the best if I attach my thorough responses to the next chapter which I'll likely release around the 20th of this month  :^^spike
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 :)

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2019, 03:54:51 PM »
Alright, I reckon this story will get close to weekly updates for a while, considering that chapters tend to be short and considering that I have a lot of time on my hands now.  :^^spike

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 12: Old One vs Bron

After walking two days and a whole night without a break, Bron’s herd finally arrived at the small valley at the base of a tall mountain range. They were sourced up and tired but the sight of green food and water was well worth their efforts. Greedily, they spread out to eat their fill.

Shorty was overjoyed when he saw the green valley, although it wasn’t quite as lush as the lands they usually roamed. Bron watched him with a smile as the boy was feasting upon the leaves he had shaken from a tall tree. Though that smile didn’t last long. His herd had hardly arrived when trouble arose…

*

It was evening when Old One finally returned from her thorough search. That insolent mother of that even more insolent child may have agreed to take her leave but Old One didn’t like to trust a word of someone she despised. All day long she had combed through the small valley only to realize that it hadn’t been necessary. The longneck who dared to question her leadership was no longer around but it never hurt to make sure.

A little later, the herd had gathered and Old One made the announcement of the banishment. Old One’s word was truth and the announcement was therefore taken without any questions whatsoever just as always. Old One had always made sure only to keep those around her that had absolute faith in her lest she’d be overthrown one day. The herd was just about to be disbanded when distant chatter arose, the gentle breeze carrying faint voices that clearly didn’t belong to her kin.

“Intruders?” Old One puzzled. If there truly were other dinosaurs entering their valley, she’d have to make sure that they drove those bastards out. It’d take them several months until they could travel on due to the eggs that were being raised after they’d met up with a smaller herd of males. Their valley could hardly grow back the food they ate so they absolutely couldn’t share it with anyone. Absolutely not!

“Longnecks, we must find the origin of these voices and drive them out of this place!” Old one shouted. “This valley is ours for as long as we roam here. This is our place; this is our food! Spread out, follow the voices! They should lead us to the culprits!”

*

Bron was just about to start digging in when the trees further inside the valley began to rumble. He squeezed his eyes to make out what was approaching his herd. Was it something dangerous or just whoever was living there? Would it be a happy greeting? His herd wasn’t migratory in nature so meeting other herds was a rather rare situation he didn’t have much experience with. His expression lighted up when the images of numerous longnecks emerging from the forests greeted his eyes, however it quickly darkened when he realized that their overall behavior didn’t appear all that friendly and aggressive.

“A huge herd of longnecks is living here? And they’re… they’re all females? What’s going on here?” Bron’s confusion grew bigger by the second. What should he do in this situation?

“Bron, who are they?” Shorty said through a mouthful of leaves but stopped in the middle of chewing when he noticed Bron’s troubled glance. “Bron?”

“I… I don’t know but… they look like trouble…” Bron said through gritted teeth. With a sigh, he raised his voice above the carefree chatter of his fellow kin.

“Everyone, enter formation at once! We’re not alone here so let’s greet our neighbors!”

Quickly, as the other herd of longnecks arrived at the scene, member’s of Bron’s herd abandoned their meals halfway to aggregate around their leader in a formation that resembled a semi-circle. In the middle of it stood Bron and his first deputy, Will, who was second-in-command. Old One’s herd lined up behind their leader with rather firm expressions. Both leaders stepped forward.

“What are you doing here on our lands, stranger?! Leave at once!” Old One spoke up first, taking an aggressive stance and facing Bron bravely who was not only taller but also in much better condition than her. Bron studied the old female with a mixture of confusion and disbelief. This wasn’t how to greet other herds for sure, that much he could tell.

“Excuse me, old lady, but… isn’t it a little rude to make demands without giving someone your name?” Bron spoke politely, putting a fake smile on as he conversed with the old longneck leading the other herd. “Well, I suppose it’d be rude of me as well to say that without telling you mine, right?” He gave a small wink. “Bron’s the name. I’m the leader of this herd behind me.”

Old One looked at the younger male with a hateful expressions and a frown. At first, it seemed like she was unwilling to give in to the words of the other herd leader (some members of her herd had been gasping) but, eventually, her lips moved.

“My people refer to me as “Old One”. I am the wisest of our kin and thus the one in charge. Perhaps you should show some more respect, young one?”

“Crap, she is sensitive about that?” Bron cursed, realizing his faux pas at once.

“Please forgive me, Old One,” he spoke formally while bowing slightly. “It wasn’t my intention to come off as rude at all. However, I sense that my herd isn’t welcome here.”

“That is correct,” Old One said drily. “Leave at once, you are not welcome here.”

“Great, we are dealing with a witch of all personalities…” Bron realized with obvious discomfort. Diplomacy wasn’t something he was accustomed to but, he surmised, he simply had to learn it as he was dealing with this Old One person for the sake of his herd who had travelled all this way for a recharge of energy. For them to be denied access to the large amount of food this valley offered… it was simply something he couldn’t allow.

“I’m afraid that we can’t accept such a request,” Bron explained with a calm but firm voice. “We don’t want to intrude but would you give me a chance to explain ourselves? I assure you, Old One, that we won’t be here for long.”

“You need not explain yourselves. There is no place for another herd of longnecks here. Begone!” Old One shouted rather angrily.

Bron mustered the old female and her followers again, his keen eyes seeing through the game the other herd leader was playing.

“Once again, I request that you hear us out and I assure you that I will listen to your story too,” Bron explained calmly but then he added with a sly undertone. “Don’t you think I’m easily fooled; I can tell easily that you’re not residents. Your legs are sturdy and your bodies strong. You’re a migrating herd after all.”

Old One’s expression froze a little but she recovered almost instantly.

“It does not matter whether we are a herd migratory in nature! Right now, this is where we reside and this is as far as we’re letting you in!!!”

Bron flinched a little. No matter what he said, no matter how polite he was acting, he was talking to a wall thicker than the skull of a threehorn. The other herd did not falter even though he had numbers in his favors. He didn’t like to give in that easily though.

“Listen, we are on a great journey and we do not, I repeat, we do not intend to stay!” Bron repeated, almost begging for the old female to understand. “Let us have a meal and allow us to rest for a night and we’ll be gone again. I’m giving you my word on that.”

“Oh?” Old One said, unimpressed. “Listen, young one, no matter what nonsense you are throwing at me, my decision has already been cast. You shall not enter this valley!”

Shorty trembled with rage. What problem did this big old longneck even have? He was about to scream at Bron to start acting more fierce but Bron had no intention of doing so just yet.

“May I ask why you won’t let us in?” Bron inquired, calm on the outside but annoyance and anger growing within his stomach. “I hate to repeat myself but we’re just peaceful travellers stopping by at this valley for a quick snack before going our way again. Don’t you think it’d be a little cruel to send us back into the deserts?”

“There is no fair when it comes to survival!” Old One blurted out angrily. “I have a herd to feed and food needs to last us until our offspring is ready to move! Only the wellbeing of my people concerns me, you’re in the way!”

“Offspring without males? Well, I’m not gonna ask…”

“Unfortunately,” Bron said in a stern voice. “You’re not the only one with a herd to feed. Let’s not fight but come to an agreement. Shall we?”

“There is no agreement with your kin that would turn out in our favor, unless you were to strengthen our ranks but, if I take a good look at your people, I doubt they would be of any use for me…”

Suddenly, Bron’s deputy, Will, stepped forward to whisper something into Bron’s ear. Bron quickly considered and then nodded.

“Well, I regret that you’re not willing to negotiate, Old One,” he exclaimed, his voice making painfully sure that he meant it. “Before we continue this, allow me to verify something… you haven’t had… issues with sleepstories, have you?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Old One grunted but the reaction of her followers gave her away. Bron smiled.

“Very well, so you have decided against going? That is too unfortunate… don’t you wonder what’s going to happen?”

“You can die in the deserts for all I care, take your leave now!” the old dinosaur screamed furiously, her followers stepping closer to their leader to symbolize the threat hanging tangible in the air.

“Very well, I got the information I wanted anyhow…” Bron grunted. His face hardening, nodding towards his deputy, his tone changed.

“Make demands until your bones fall apart, old lady,” he said with authority that matched Old One’s. The punch definitely showed its effects immediately. The old dinosaur staggered.

“H-how dare you belittle me, young one?! HOW DARE YOU DISOBEY ME?!” Old one was furious now.

“I’m sorry but my herd is tired from walking and starved. If you won’t let us eat here, we’ll have to resort to violence and if I take a good look at your herd… well, I daresay that we’re more likely to get what we want,” Bron gave Old One a firm look. “If the wellbeing of your herd is really what you care about most, then you should back down now.”

“You little…” Old One hissed, unwilling to back down but slowly catching that the other herd was indeed bigger in numbers and stature.

“Alternatively, if I may speak…” the deep, threatening voice of Will, Bron’s deputy, shook the forest as he stepped forward to stand aside his leader. “We could also settle this with a fight between the strongest of each herd only. I have faith in my herd and their strength but a serious fight with a herd of your size would surely result in unnecessary casualties on both ends.”

Will was not only very tall but his muscles and overall mass were quite an asset to consider. His dark-grey skin and his orange eyes glimmering with aggression only aided his intimidating presence. Walking up to Old One he added.

“I will offer to fight for my herd. If you have anyone matching my strength in your herd, then we could settle things this way… of course you could also back away. Your choice, old hag…”

Old One stammered but didn’t bring out any coherent words anymore. Bron took the opportunity to underline his deputies words.

“Longnecks, form a wall five longnecks thick and slowly advance. Let’s show them our strength and make them grant us a meal and a place to stay the night!” Bron ordered and noted with a smile when his herd listened without complaints. His herd was the closest to a family he had left and he was willing to protect it with everything he had and, likewise, his herd had absolute faith in him.

Old One had a terrified look on her face. Members of her herd soon began to back away as the wall of longnecks under Bron’s command slowly drove them further into the valley.

“FINE!!!” Old One eventually screamed. “Have your meal and then leave at once!!!”

“Thank you,” Bron simply said with a slightly smug smile. “You could have granted us just that right from the start, you know?”

“Old hag, try to pull something funny and we’ll definitely be fighting for survival, is that clear?” Will added with a fierce stare, Old One almost falling as she stumbled across a root while on the retreat, timid as a youngling. Angrily, she scowled before turning around and leading her herd back into the deeper parts of the valley but not before making one last, desperate attempt to scare them.

“I’ll kill anyone still roaming this land tomorrow after the mighty Great Circle rises… Enjoy your stay while it lasts… although it will be awfully, awfully short…”

Bron and Will watched the old dinosaur take her leave until she disappeared in the foliage of the forest. Exchanging glances while everyone resumed their feast, Bron commented.

“Well, I don’t think I’d be staying here for very long even if I wanted to…”

“This “Old One” has a screw loose if yer ask me…” Will grunted.

“Let’s have a meal too, shall we?” Bron suggested.

*

“We really showed them!” Shorty boasted as he gobbled up more and more green food greedily.

Bron had soon reunited with the little troublemaker, stuffing himself with as much food as he could and, instinctively, everyone did the same, not knowing when the next meal would wait for them.

“We sure did, huh?” he mused as he ate. “Although I had hoped for this to go more smoothly. Oh well…”

“Why did that old longneck act like a moron anyway? She had no chance to begin with!” Shorty puzzled aloud with some anger and confusion mixing into his statement.

“There was a clash of interest, that’s all,” Bron spoke sadly. “About one thing, she was perfectly correct. There’s no fair when it comes to survival. She was fighting for the survival of her herd. Still, I wouldn’t say she was approaching us correctly… Shorty?”

“Hmm?” Shorty mumbled through his stuffed mouth. Had the boy even been listening?

“Have you noticed anything strange about that old herd leader? Or about her herd?”

“You mean other than her being a moron? Nope.”

Bron chuckled at this.

“Well, I suppose that wasn’t hard to catch, was it?” He gave Shorty a wink. “Anyway, I suppose she’s a great example to teach you a few things about herds…”

“Huh?” Shorty looked up from his meal.

“You see, Shorty, that wasn’t an ordinary herd we just met…” Bron began explaining to the boy. “Take that leader for instance. There are various qualifications a herd leader should have. Any come to your mind?”

“You’ve gotta be brave and strong!” Shorty answered promptly with slight admiration apparent on his expression. Bron laughed.

“Haha, is that how you think of me, Shorty?” The grown-up gave the little boy a playful push. “Well, that’s certainly one quality favouring a leading position, however just being brave isn’t getting you very far, you know? If you look at that old herd leader we fought with, she certainly didn’t obtain that position through strength. She’s old after all. If old dinosaurs are in charge, it’s often because they’re experienced and wise. Wisdom can get others to follow you just as much as strength and bravery.”

“I suppose so…” Shorty said with a funny look on his face. “But that leader wasn’t wise at all… I mean she shoulda known we’re stronger than them but she still tried to chase us away. You gotta be the stronger one if you’re picking a fight with someone or you’re just stupid!”

“Can’t argue with you there though I wonder who taught you that mindset…” Bron said, his curious glance resting on Shorty’s back for a second who had gone back to munching very suddenly. “Well, to be frank, I don’t know why that old longneck is the leader of that herd either. She held a lot of authority and pride which are also qualities favourable for a leading position, however that’s the only qualities I could sense. She had no tact and didn’t even consider negotiating with us. Besides, I don’t think she’s fair. Shorty, remember one thing.”

Shorty finally looked up again.

“The most important thing is that you are fair to the people that are following you.”

“I… see,” Shorty mumbled thoughtfully though he didn’t really grasp onto it.

“From what I can gather from our encounter, that herd is led in a very authoritative manner. That old longneck’s word is rule and anyone disobeying her will be tossed out… well, that’s the vibe I’m getting from that herd anyway. There were no males either as far as I could tell.”

“Oh really?” Shorty piped up.

“Do you ever pay attention?” Bron teased with a witty look on his face.

“I usually do but I was hungry,” Shorty said innocently which made Bron laugh.

“Oh well, just remember what I just told you, alright?”

“Sure but… what exactly makes you a fair leader?” Shorty puzzled. “I didn’t really get it yet…”

“Being fair means treating everyone the same; being fair also means giving everyone a voice,” Bron explained with a slight smile. “You see, Shorty, I could make most decisions on my own just fine but every now and then I might make one that the herd disapproves of. Part of the reason why I’m the undisputed leader of our herd is because I listen to my followers. In the herd I was part of when I was a kid like you, there would be constant fighting by the higher-ups because they all wanted to lead the herd but everyone had a different idea about leadership. It… wasn’t pretty and I was trying to avoid that at all costs when I became leader of this herd, you see?”

“Oh, that totally makes sense!” Shorty declared after a while.

“I’m glad that you understand,” Bron said with a smile. “Well, eat up. After taking a sip from the nearby watering hole, it’s time to rest.”

“Alright!” Shorty replied, quite unusually so without any resistance. The long march had taken its toll on him after all, Bron mused with a slightly mirthful smile.

Little later, they fell to sleep like rocks without another word, the combination of no sleep and full bellies doing its effective work.

*

Another day had passed for Ali. The Bright Circle had finally taken her leave and the unchanging deserts were finally a little more bearable to travel. Albeit Ali was extremely exhausted and quite sleepy, she knew that she had to take advantage of the cooler temperatures at night to get closer to her goal and escape from those deserts before they could take their toll on her young body. It wasn’t that unusual to walk well into the night during migrations so Ali was used to it although she would usually let her mother carry her from time to time. A few days with only half a night of sleep were probably no big deal if it meant escaping those hostile, lifeless lands a day or two sooner so Ali kept pushing her little legs on, walking with double speed, the fear of a search party finding her or starving before achieving her goal powering her on regardless of how much those little legs ached. She could lose here. She simply mustn’t. Only when the Night Circle passed its highest point on the night sky, did Ali allow her body to rest but at the first sign of the next day, she would rise again and continue to push on… until she’d arrive at that place… where Littlefoot would be!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here you go, a heavily improved version of the old scene. Bron wasn't even present in the old version which completely changed my options here. I hope I was able to work out the central theme of this chapter, to point out the differences in leadership between these two herds. Meanwhile, Ali is racing away from her mother. Though, will she be able to keep up that pace for very long? Time will tell ;)

The next chapter will likely show us what Littlefoot is up to now that he's left the Valley  :olittlefoot


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Posted by: DiddyKF1
« on: July 06, 2019, 10:05:28 PM » Insert Quote
Wow! A chapter that covers all three arcs! :)petrie

Well, Shorty and Bron's journey sure seems to be going at a slow yet steady pace. Having not read the old version, I don't have too much to say other than good job at bringing up some of what this story earns its name for. We are beginning to see more clues of Shorty's past and that he has never recovered from those terrible memories that could be considered cringe-worthy for someone like him.

You've done justice once again in Littlefoot's story. Why does the series always have to cut down on reunions and goodbyes? First, movie VII denied us a proper reunion scene between Ducky and her mother, and then movie X denied us a goodbye scene between Littlefoot and his beloved friends. "Bestest Friends" did little to fix that problem. You, on the other hand, gave the Gang a very brief, but emotional goodbye scene we rightfully should have gotten. It was also interesting to see how mixed their feelings were, regarding Littlefoot's departure. Somehow, even I was saddened by the fact he couldn't bring them along, even though you're trying to remain somewhat loyal to the movie. I honestly felt as if I was in one of their places, feeling just as saddened as the characters were. It demonstrates your excellent ability in incorporating character emotions.

As for Ali, determination and outright hatred for her mother and herd are the only things keeping her going right now, and now we're seeing how each of the three Longnecks are beginning to feel doubt in their journeys for different reasons. It could be argued that she's still being quite foolish doing this all by herself, but sometimes anger fuels the desire to escape what makes you so angry or miserable, and I'm afraid that's just what the case was for her.

And finally, the Old One has become a complete nuisance, and she's taken Ali's place as the character that makes my blood boil. She shows absolutely no concern for Ali and completely disregards her mother's concerns for her safety, and then she blames her entirely for her daughter's actions. I don't know who's more of a cruel, bigoted, loathsome authoritarian leader. She even makes Cera's father look like a saint!

I know I probably didn't have too much to say about this chapter, possibly because I've been a bit lazy with typing lately, but it's nice to see that this story continues to build and bring more development into everyone. Great job, Ducky! :)petrie

Thanks for the review  :duckyhappy

Won't be spoiling anything about Shorty's past ofc but I think I can safely confirm that these clues are just the top of the iceberg  ;)Cera Sadl, I'm afraid it's still a little while before things truly get going for Shorty.

Aww thank you for your words on my writing abilities. Emotional scenes are my favourite scenes, frankly speaking  :exactly While I'm at it, yes, I do plan on staying somewhat true to the movie, particularly Littlefoot's arc, but, generally, there's a lot of stuff that needs fixing if you ask me  :thinking

Yes indeed, you're completely right, although Ali is also fueled by her heart's yearning to see Littlefoot again but, still, you got that quite right.  :duckyhappy

You know, your comment about Old One just made me laugh because my proofreader recently suggested that I should write a crack fic featuring Topps and Old One having a row  :)petrie

oh this is far from a short review by all means, don't worry :P I greatly appreciate your comments!  :cheers


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Posted by: Sovereign
« on: July 08, 2019, 09:11:57 PM » Insert Quote
Here the three storylines were advanced quite well and it was indeed a surprise to see all of them combined in one chapter. While they didn’t offer any major developments, they built up the plot quite decently. Bron and Shorty’s part deepened their relationship well. it was fun to see Shorty’s efforts to hide his hunger even if it was the only thing in his mind. At this point, they seem to be quite close which makes the eventual events far more tragic. I really agree with Diddy that Littlefoot and his friends’ goodbye should have been portrayed in the film as you showed in this chapter. The emotions were very tangible here and Spike and Ducky’s last question indeed paves the way for the inevitable answer. That was overall a good scene and one we needed badly.

And here we need only the beginnings of the damage the idiotic Ali has caused. Her mother’s situation is far from enviable and the worst part is that she deserved none of it. I know your opinions about the Old One but even then, I don’t think her characterization here matches her behavior in the fourth film. Even then, Ali’s mother’s concern was portrayed very well here and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Thanks for the review as always, Sovereign  :duckyhappy

I'm glad you enjoyed my portrayal of the parting between Littlefoot and his friends as well as the scene between Shorty and Bron. Indeed they are close, almost father-son like, but, you know as well as I do that things won't remain like that.

The reverbations of Ali's behavior are immense indeed.

My portrayal of Old One isn't 100% canon quite on purpose (I seem to recall that I explained this at some point but I'm not sure so I'll do so now). It's essentially my personal headcanon that she's a bit evil, leading a herd consisting of females only, acting up to the role of a dictatory matriach. Ali never seemed to have any friends in her herd and, since this would contribute greatly to a lack of children in the herd, I think it makes sense in a way.


Quote
Posted by: rhombus
« on: July 09, 2019, 03:44:47 PM » Insert Quote
The banter at the beginning of this chapter was quite well done.  The interchange between a food-obsessed Shorty and a wise (and a bit teasing) Bron made for a relatable exchange between the two.  It also highlights what the herd is risking in this journey in following their feelings to go to a totally new, and unknown, destination.

The use of voting here again shows the somewhat democratic nature of Bron’s herd, which is understandable considering the nature of its genesis.  It was born of other longnecks joining it of their own free will and thus some degree of democratic choice is understandable when a major decision needs to be made, even if Bron is the leader in most day-to-day respects.

The parting of Littlefoot from his friends was handled in a rather straightforward fashion, but the characterizations of each of the gang was handled well.  One can clearly get an appreciation for Cera’s annoyance of Littlefoot dashing off on an adventure to follow something he saw in a sleep story. That being said there is some delicious irony in her emotions here on that the gang has certainly gone on adventures for sillier reasons in the past… which I am sure will factor in to their decisions later on in this story.

As for Ali’s storyline it seems that her decision in the heat of the moment has had more of an immediate effect than I would have assumed.  Here we can see the ‘collective responsibility’ of a family for its young being applied in the herd, and it is clear the tensions from Ali’s insolence has spilled over in the Old One’s opinion of the situation.  The reaction of Ali’s mother is understandable considering the Old One’s annoyance and lack of empathy, but it has placed her in just as perilous of a situation as her daughter. 

Overall this chapter has moved forward all three storylines quite nicely.  Although I am unsure of the characterization of the Old One in her meeting with Ali’s mother, the other characters seemed quite in-character to me and their banter and thoughts were quite relatable.  I look forward to seeing how all three of our journeying parties fare in the coming chapter. :)

Thanks for your review, rhombus! ::)littlefoot

I'm glad that you like the Bron-Shorty dialogue here. Moreover, you are completely right that the genesis of Bron's herd contributes to the democratic nature of it although there are a few more factors as to why Bron chose that kind of style to lead.

Oh, that comment about the gang going on adventures is glorious, I should really make the others say something like that to convince Cera of going after Littlefoot :DD

Quite so have Ali's action an immediate effect. You're quite right that Ali's mother is in hardly a better spot now that she's wandering around on her own too but what options did she have really after getting banned from the herd? Time will tell if she'll be able to catch up with Ali.

Old One's characterization is not canon quite on purpose. See my response to Sovereign above :)

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 :)

UnionRags123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2019, 04:05:43 PM »
Omg this is great!

Old One’s use of an “aggressive” approach really backfired...

And yes, a one shot of Old One v Topps would definitely be welcomed!  :lol

Poor Ali...out in the desert by herself...
AAMBDDGLGLLLMMMOOPRSSSSB

Major kudos to anyone who figures out what that means :)

I will find ways to make sure “lol dino” is in all of my posts :lol

DiddyKF1

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #64 on: July 19, 2019, 05:30:09 PM »
That does it! I have absolutely no respect for the Old One in this story whatsoever! I hate her here just as much as I hated the original Cera and her father! :anger She is behaving like someone who only knows how to rule through fear, and after seeing a certain character like that on HBO for nine years, you know that characters like that will only leave behind a loathsome legacy. I'm honestly not sure how much longer she'll remain in her position with the over-authoritarian antics she's been showing.

Bron sure seemed to have done a good job at trying to keep things as peaceful as possible, even if his new enemy has no shred of compassion for practically, ... well, ... anyone, it seems. They are clearly complete opposites, and such personalities could never mix together, much like how it was once believed that different kinds could never mix together. I would say that this chapter was the beginning of the end of Old One's dominant influence over her herd, and it's only a matter of time before she begins to lose her power.

Poor Ali. All alone and in the middle of nowhere, but I suppose she is learning her lesson the hard way whether she succeeds on her journey or not. Just as we think this story is supposed to bring all Longnecks together, it's sure doing a good job at tearing some apart.

This was quite a nice surprise to brighten my boring day, ... aside from Old One's abysmal behavior.
Suddenly, I've written so many fanfics that I can't possibly list them all! :P



Ducky x Petrie forever! :)petrie :duckyhappy

Sovereign

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2019, 02:50:02 PM »
This was quite an interesting scene and one that showed the highly differing personalities of Bron and your Old One. The difference between the former’s efforts to protect his herd and the latter’s hesitancy to help in that were really stark and showed just how capable a leader Bron really is. The argument was written quite well and the tension that rose during it were very tangible here. I liked the way Bron pushed her into a hesitant acceptance to acting the way any decent dinosaur should act. And indeed, he proved his capability to lead once again.

As for Ali, I’m not a fan of these kinds of one-scene sequences during a chapter as there is almost always something more to be built from scenes like that. It wasn’t too bothering but it’s something I prefer to avoid myself. And again, Old one seemed like a complete OC here and the herd is far from what we saw in the films. I know I’ve complained of it before but it strikes me again with every chapter. However, the main part of this installment was very good so well done with that.



rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #66 on: July 27, 2019, 09:13:56 PM »
Now this was quite an enjoyable read considering what I personally think of the Old One in this particular continuity.  :p At first I thought that Bron would let the Old One have her way after exhausting every opportunity for a peaceful solution, but instead we get to see his abilities as leader firsthand. He expertly allows her to show herself to be intransigent in her demands and then he finally shows his hand - that he is willing to use force to achieve his just demands.  Considering the Old One's desire to maintain power and to quash dissent I do wonder what will happen now that she has shown weakness here.


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

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #67 on: September 10, 2019, 04:31:05 PM »
I'm frequently working on the story, however I am only advancing Ali's/Shorty's arc at the moment since I'm a bit unsure how to handle Littlefoot's arc yet. And since the next chapter on the schedule is Littlefoot's, I'm stuck here  :opetrie I've got several chapters written and proofread at this point so whenever I manage to solve this issue, the uploads will go back up. (I'm writing chapter 22 now to give you an idea, however I skipped three chapters :P)

I'll do a proper response on the reviews on the next chapter but thanks for your kind words as always  ;)Cera
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 :)

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #68 on: July 26, 2020, 07:36:41 PM »
Me: *casually doesn't upload a chapter for an entire year*

Someone slap me for this?  :angel

Okay good news is I still have a pretty decent amount of chapters pre-written and I've managed to work out how the upcoming travel arcs for Littlefoot and the Gang need to go (I just wish I was able to come up with more original scenes to make them distinct from the movie, but, alas, such an original scene is waiting for you now!)

I would like to apologize for the extreme hiatus and I hope that you will still continue to give this story a read despite its slow speed  :bolt


________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 13: How to defeat fastbiters

The first two days of their journey were awfully uneventful, much to Littlefoot’s displeasure. Their journey took them right through the dry and barren deserts that surrounded the Great Valley safe for the area that was overlooked by Saurus Rock which had some forests. Heat, no food and water and the fact that he missed his friends greatly gave rise to a very foul mood that was even further supported by the sheer lack of things to see. Littlefoot had gone on this adventure, hoping to see many new and exciting things, however this desert was as far from these expectations as things could possibly be.

On the bright side, having started their adventure seemed to have a positive effect on the sleep story situation. His sleep story had changed somewhat; it was less horrifying that it used to be and waking up from it no longer felt like just having completed a game of catch with a hungry sharptooth.

A first glint of hope was rising in the young boy when, towards the end of the second day of their journey, some dry grass seemed to start growing, soon to be replaced by an actual forest.

“Looks like we’ve found a pretty good place to rest tonight,” Grandpa eventually announced as the small group stood in front of it just as the Bright Circle started approaching the horizon in the west.

“There’s even a small lake!” Littlefoot said excitedly as he, fueled by his adventure spirit, sprinted ahead into the foliage to satisfy his jammed up curiosity.

“Perfect,” Grandpa commented with a slight smile, seeing his grandson finally expressing something other than gloom.

The small family ate and stilled their thirst as evening turned into dusk. They were about to settle down and close their eyes when Littlefoot’s attention perked at a rattle in the nearby underbrush, ever so faint so that he had to doubletake.

“Grandpa?” he spoke quietly, trying to get his grandfather’s attention but the old longneck was already alert.

“Behind me, Littlefoot,” the old longneck muttered, his eyes rapidly scanning the surroundings to find the source. “We’re not alone in this forest.”

As Grandma Longneck, too, got into position, tail ready to smash any attacker, Littlefoot wasted no more time, rushing behind the protective line that his grandparents were setting up for his protection. If their attackers had planned a surprise attack, then they had obviously failed in that aspect. Some angry snarls could be heard in a neighboring area full with thick undergrowth and bushes before several creatures broke out of it.

“Fastbiters!” Littlefoot’s grandparents cried out simultaneously while swinging their tails at six approaching fastbiters who jumped out of range as they saw the incoming tails. Littlefoot noted with some surprise that they were pretty small, only about a neck taller and longer than he was but it didn’t change the fact that they were deadly, at least to a child like him [Author's Note: The intended species of fastbiter is Deinonychus for better reference and understanding]. The claws on their arms and feet had a terrifying effect on him and, suddenly he couldn’t be more glad to have his grandparents with him. Had he been travelling with his friends exclusively, their only chance would be to outrun the predators but fastbiters didn’t get their name without a reason. They were super fast and relied on numbers and deadly claws to make up for their lack of strength. After their initial assault, the six fastbiters, all coloured dark-red with black stripes across their backs, snarled at his grandparents but didn’t attack just yet.

“Careful, they’re smart,” Grandpa muttered in a worrisome tone. “If they don’t attack you head-on, they probably have an ambush prepared…”

“Either that, or they thought we were old, weak and inexperienced despite being longnecks,” Grandma added grimly, not leaving her eyes from the group of predators staying just clear off their tails’ swinging range.

“Littlefoot, do you remember what we talked about before we left the Valley concerning sharpteeth?” his grandfather inquired rather sharply. Despite being no match for them, the fastbiters could still harm Littlefoot if they split up in a smart manner so the old longneck took the situation very serious.

Littlefoot quickly recollected the conversation from two days ago…

*

Littlefoot arrived at his nest with a very mixed expression, though the sight of his grandparents looking rather cheerful and determined brightened his mood somewhat.

“Are you ready to start our adventure, Littlefoot?” Grandma welcomed him with a warm smile, nuzzling the boy for a greeting which he took with a slight chuckle.

“I think I am, Grandma,” Littlefoot responded, some doubt remaining in his voice. “What direction are we going? I mean… we obviously don’t know where we are going, right?”

“That is true, Littlefoot,” his grandfather replied with his knowing smile that was so full of wisdom. “However, as I’m sure you can feel it too deep down, I think you should be able to tell by yourself. Go on, try to feel it, Littlefoot. It could be important if ever we were to be separated.”

Littlefoot couldn’t find any fault in his grandfather’s logic. Besides, he indeed had a certain, rough sense of direction and had actually been curious to find out if it matched the direction of their journey.

“Hmm, I think we need to follow the mid-afternoon position of the Bright Circle, maybe a little closer to its late afternoon position…”

Littlefoot was surprised when he saw both of his grandparents smile at him.

“Very good,” he heard his grandfather say with a pleased nod. “That is indeed the direction we will travel, at least for the time being. We have talked to some travellers and Mr. Thicknose of course who has spoken with countless travellers before and I think we roughly know where to go.”

“Cool!” Littlefoot exclaimed with a genuine smile, the adventure spirit slowly taking over.

“On another note, Littlefoot,” his grandmother suddenly began to speak up more seriously. “Since we will be travelling through dangerous lands, it is very important to know a few strategies to deal with sharpteeth and other dangers that we might encounter during our journey. Since you already know how to react to earthshakes, storms and smoking mountains, I think we only need to address sharpteeth.”

“Good idea,” Littlefoot agreed a little hesitantly. As amazing as adventures were, Sharpteeth could always ruin the day and, in the heat of the moment, it was better to have a plan in mind rather than having to make it up on the spot.

“What do you think is the worst that can happen?” Grandpa prompted the young boy with an inquiring expression.

Littlefoot pondered for a few seconds before he had an answer ready.

“Well, aside from you guys being taken out… I think it’d be really bad to be separated during the fight…”

“Yes, I see your thoughts are going in the right direction, very good, Littlefoot,” Grandpa said, nodding approvingly in Littlefoot’s direction before elaborating.

“You must always stay close to us, unless there happens to be a place where you can hide safely while Grandma and I take care of the threat. Never forget that you, due to your small size and lack of combat ability, are a welcome target, especially to smaller sharpteeth. To be honest with you, I am less concerned about fighting big and strong sharpteeth but packs of fastbiters can be a huge pain to deal with. Do you know why, Littlefoot?”

“Uhh… well, they aren’t very strong but they usually form packs… like that time when we were fighting a pack of them while trying to free the water!”

“And can you think of a possible threat that a normal big sharptooth wouldn’t pose to you, Littlefoot?” Grandma chimed in.

“Let me see…” Littlefoot took a little longer to ponder this time but, ultimately, he again arrived at the correct answer.

“Well, if there are a lot of them, some of them could just sneak around you to get to me, right?”

“Yes, or, even worse, set up an ambush, using one group as distraction while the other group goes in to attack the children. I have seen it happen many times in my life, believe me Littlefoot, and it has me very worried if it were to happen again…”

*

...and as fate would have it, hardly two days later, they found themselves in just that very situation: A group of small fastbiters with very pronounced claws facing them, trying to find a way to sneak up to Littlefoot.

“Yes, Grandpa, I remember it well,” Littlefoot declared, taking a similar stance to his grandparents despite not having the strength to fend off a fully grown fastbiter with his tail if one were to jump at him.

“We’ll do it as discussed, alright, Littlefoot? Grandma?”

Both nodded as Littlefoot once again recalled the conversation to make absolutely sure that he would act correctly in the worst case scenario...

*

“You see, Littlefoot, Grandpa and I have been members of a herd for much of our lives,” Grandma elaborated to underline the threat that fastbiters posed to him. “During all this time, we never lost a single child to grown sharpteeth, though they would turn many into orphans. On the other hand, while we hardly lost any grown longnecks to fastbiters, they would often manage to kill our young either by sneaking around or breaking through our defenses with smart attacks…”

“Oh no… even though you were in a big herd?” Littlefoot inquired with some concern.

“Yes, sometimes even numbers can’t deal with their speed and sneaky behavior…” Grandpa sighed. “That is why I would like to teach you a strategy to use if we ever get attacked by a pack of fastbiters. Please listen carefully and remember it well.”

“Of course, Grandpa, I understand why you’re so worried. I’ll make sure to remember what you’re about to tell me,” Littlefoot assured his old grandfather with a reassuring smile.

“Much appreciated, Littlefoot,” the old dinosaur spoke with a nod of approval before explaining the strategy.

“To protect you, we need to prevent exactly three things: First, they mustn’t break through our defense in a head-on attack. There is little you can do about this, Littlefoot, but rest assured that grandma and I have had fastbiters trying to bite us on almost all imaginable places before but we’ve always lived to tell the tale. Please do not panic if there are fastbiters clinging to us, they cannot deal fatal wounds to a grown longneck unless they manage to cut our necks open - which, of course, we will try to prevent at all costs.”

Now Grandma took over.

“What we need to be wary of are the other two options the fastbiters have to reach you, Littlefoot. And that’s where you come in.”

“How so?” Littlefoot wondered, listening with a very concentrated expression as he took the lesson very seriously.

“If they are trying to go around us, it gets very dangerous very quickly. Depending on how many there are, if Grandma and I try to use our tails to fight those trying to sneak around us, we are forced to create an opening to any fastbiters staying in front of us, waiting for the moment to charge right through our middle, towards where you are, Littlefoot.”

“Grandpa and I will coordinate if this happens; one of us will try to attack the flanks while the other keeps an eye on our front, switching these roles as necessary to keep both flanks safe for you. You can help us by aiding us with another pair of eyes, Littlefoot, trying to spot any sneaky fastbiters that our eyes might miss in the heat of the situation.”

“I will do, Grandma!” Littlefoot declared with a firm voice. Being able to help his grandparents sounded like a great idea to him rather than just being helpless which, of course, he still was for the most part.

“Even more important, though, is that you keep an eye out for any ambushes they might have planned for us and alert us immediately. It is impossible for us to have that many eyes out since we only have two each. Especially when fighting in a forest or in a canyon with many rocks, it is very easy for a fastbiter to hide somewhere, waiting for the right time to launch a devastating attack. You will have to watch any suspicious features of the terrain for signs of movement or unusual sounds. In doing so, you would make things a lot easier for us and also help to protect yourself, Littlefoot. Can we count on you?”

“Of course!” Littlefoot exclaimed readily, facing his two grandparents assertively. “Though I hope I’ll never have to.”

“Likewise, Littlefoot, likewise, but we need to be prepared for everything,” his grandpa sighed with a grave voice.

“There is one last thing we must ask you to do and remember. If a fastbiter does manage to get to you despite our best combined efforts, there is one back-up plan that we have,” Grandma explained in a very serious voice that indicated that this was the most important part of the lesson.

“We must ask you not to scream for help unless this very situation arises. That way, we know when we need to defend you and will prioritize fighting the fastbiters attacking you. Furthermore, depending on the situation, we might attempt to lift you onto our backs, in which case one of us would defend you while the other would attempt to go into the offensive to drive them off or kill them.”

“But Grandma, why aren’t we doing this in the first place? Wouldn’t it… be safer to be on your back?” Littlefoot puzzled.

“Yes and no,” Grandpa answered cryptically. “You see, Littlefoot, a fastbiter is quite capable to jump as high as our backs, however they aren’t likely to make it across which is why we prefer to use our huge bodies as a shield and our long tails and necks as a weapon. If we can’t keep up this protective shield, then we will switch to the aforementioned back-up plan, however it will be much more dangerous for you and we have to be more careful while fighting which limits us too.”

“What’s important is that you remember this, Littlefoot,” his grandma reminded him once again. “We will always prioritize your well-being over ours and, since we got this large and sturdy body, we can take some risks for ourselves to ensure that you aren’t being hurt.” Littlefoot once again felt himself nuzzled by his grandma, much to his liking.

“Don’t worry, I will remember and I know that you will keep me safe,” the young longneck replied with a smile.

Little later, the group would abandon their long-time home in the Great valley and set off towards Lands Unknown.

*

Despite feeling a lot of fear, Littlefoot fully trusted his grandparents in what they were doing, especially after hearing how many strategies they knew just to protect him. Reassured, he swallowed his fear and focussed on his task - keeping an eye out.

The fastbiters had split into three groups of two. While one group was keeping just shy of his grandparents’ range, snarling and growling at them, the other two groups slowly, as not to be too obvious, went around his grandparents, their intention obvious.

“Situation two... “ the young longneck muttered to himself and, to no surprise, his grandparents had already begun to react. While his grandma shifted her position slightly to be able to strike down any attack from the front or the right flank, which she was defending, Grandpa made a sudden leap towards the left flank, swinging his tail and hitting one of the two fastbiters with the tip of his tail while the other just barely dodged. As both retreated out of range, Littlefoot noticed that the remaining four fastbiters had started a simultaneous attack on his grandmother. Littlefoot felt like shouting out to warn her but he held himself back, knowing that all he’d achieve would be to distract his grandmother during a crucial moment. Communication was crucial but any unnecessary word could already be a distracting rather than a means of support.

The old longneck had enough time to prepare as the four fastbiters charged from the front and the rear. With a routine that amazed Littlefoot, the old longneck flicked her tail at the group charging from the flank, hitting them both rather forcefully as they prepared to leap. At the same time (she hadn’t even had her eyes on her flank), she swung her neck forward by whirling her whole body around, also catching the other two fastbiters just shy of leaping at her throat, pushing them to the ground with little effort as their size truly paled against that of a fully grown longneck.

“What amazing teamwork,” Littlefoot noted in awe. “Grandma just coordinated two attacks at once, amazing!”

As the fastbiters retreated slightly to regroup, Littlefoot’s grandparents also regrouped, rebuilding the protective wall of their bodies, tails facing towards the fastbiters. After a series of grunts and roars, they split up into three groups again.

“Same strategy?” Grandma muttered as she observed the fastbiters renewed attempt to sneak around their protective wall.

“Seems like it,” Grandpa replied shortly. “They communicated so they might try doing something different this time. Be on alert.”

“Littlefoot.” The boy perked up when his grandpa addressed him directly. “What mistake did the fastbiters do during their first attack?”

Littlefoot, surprised to be asked such a thing in the heat of the battle, quickly let the scene replay in front of his inner eye.

“They tried to attack Grandma from two directions but she is good so she deflected the attack.”

“Correct analysis,” Grandpa muttered as his eyes kept flickering between the fastbiters slowly trying to make a way around him. “If they learn to split up into six single fastbiters all attacking from different directions while one of them goes for you, Littlefoot, then we are in trouble. As you’ve just seen, a longneck can only focus on two targets at a time. Be prepared, they might be able to succeed going around us. Grandma, I will go for the flank again. Littlefoot, you know what you need to do…”

“Yes, Grandpa,” Littlefoot spoke through gritted teeth, keeping a focused eye on the situation. As soon as the fastbiters were about halfway past Grandpa and Grandma (they kept a little more distance this time, he noted), Grandpa abandoned his protective position to charge after the two fastbiters on the left. Due to the extended distance the fastbiters were keeping, this time the wall truly broke which the two fastbiters staying at the front immediately attempted to take advantage of, sprinting towards Grandma while splitting up just enough that the longneck couldn’t hit them both at the same time. Simultaneously, the right flank group also split up, one attempting a sprint at Grandma while the other started a sprint to get behind the two longnecks, staying out of range.

“This is bad!” Littlefoot immediately realized, making sure to reposition himself so that Grandma’s huge body would still protect him. His grandmother now had to stop four fastbiters, two of which were directly attacking her and two of which were going for him, one of them out of range for now. His grandmother had to react in a split-second and, once again, her great experience showed as she sprung into action. The fastbiter attacking from the rear had no chance as it was met with the tail of the furious longneck which struck down square across its chest, sending it crashing against a nearby tree with a sickening sound. Littlefoot started to worry as the other two got close enough to jump onto Grandma which one of them attempted while the other one was clearly going for him, Littlefoot retreating further behind. Meanwhile, his grandma rotated her body with a fierce motion, smacking the fastbiter attacking her directly with her neck and flinging it away with relative ease, then moving her legs to support further rotation. Her tail was suddenly able to reach the fastbiter going around her, hitting it straight into the face and knocking it over. The other fastbiter going around her was now almost in striking distance to him but Littlefoot didn’t have to scream for help as his grandmother had just enough time to stop the rotation and fling her tail the other way to fling it away just in time.

His grandmother had just defended him against no less than four fastbiters all attacking from different directions without even taking a scratch, however, her heavy breathing was also confirming her high age. She couldn’t do this multiple times and Littlefoot knew that. Quickly, he threw a glance over to Grandpa who was also confronted with the split up of his two fastbiters, trying to chase the one going around to get to Littlefoot while the other one was trying to exploit this to launch an attack on the large Longneck. Grandpa eventually managed to trip the sprinting fastbiter with the tip of his tail, causing it to somersault right into Grandma’s range, her tail coming down like a hammer on the grounded predator which knocked it unconscious.

The remaining fastbiter managed to jump onto Grandpa’s lower back just above his tail but the elder longneck knew plenty of ways to shake a fastbiter off. Ramming into a tree was certainly one of them. The tree was sturdy enough to withstand the impact but the fastbiter cried in pain, letting go and falling to the ground.

“Littlefoot, between us!” Grandma ordered and the little longneck obeyed immediately as Grandpa (with two claw marks on his back) and Grandma built an improvised circle around the child as fastbiters had been flung into several directions, out of which one was unconscious, one likely dead and one badly bruised. Those that could still run quickly regrouped at one side of the forest, allowing the two longnecks to return to their old formation as well. Again, lots of growls and snarls hinted at a strategy meeting, however, this prompted Littlefoot’s grandparents.

“Let’s chase them off before they get any fresh ideas!” Grandpa proposed with a rather angry voice and he didn’t need to wait for Grandma’s word on this as the two knew and trusted each other blindly. Littlefoot couldn’t remember any orders on how to act on such an occasion so he remained where he was as his grandparents entered a sprint (more like a fast jog as their bones wouldn’t allow for a full-fledged sprint anymore), keeping an eye on the two fastbiters that were knocked out during the latest assault.

*rattle*

Suddenly, Littlefoot’s heart sank when there was movement in the vegetation behind him that could only be linked to something alive moving through it.

“Oh crap!” The little longneck turned to the source of the movement, quickly considering what to do in this situation and taking a split-second too long to make the correct decision. Although he managed to cry “AMBUSH!” in his grandparents’ direction, he was too far from them to get to their position in time (they had stopped their chase immediately upon hearing his warning). Helplessly, Littlefoot saw two figures leap out of the foliage, heading straight towards him with murderous intent. Although frightened to death, his eyes immediately picked up an important detail.

“They’re smaller than me, these are children!” Two juvenile fastbiters were attacking him, only being about two-thirds of his size each, carrying the same colour and stripes pattern as the grown-ups. They were just as fast as their parents though, too fast to outrun, anyway. His grandparents wouldn’t get to him in time which only left one option.

“I have to deflect their first attack until my grandparents can save me!” Littlefoot had never fought against a sharptooth before, however his usual disadvantage, his small size, was suddenly his advantage as the incoming juvenile fastbiters were smaller and weaker than he was. If he somehow managed to avoid their claws (which were no less sharp than those of their parents!), he had a decent chance. The only problem was that there were two of them. He was confident enough to apply the tricks he had seen his grandparents perform himself, however he could probably only hit one of them, unless…

“Grandma managed to do it too, if I rotate my body fast enough, I can hit one with my tail and the other with my neck! The speed should increase the impact too!” Although the adrenaline entering his blood system probably meddled with his flight or fight response, Littlefoot was more confident than he should be despite finding himself under direct assault by fastbiters for the first time in his life. Gathering all his courage, he took a firm stance, positioning his legs so that he could perform the rotation swiftly, his tail raised defensively. He could only hope that his two opponents were just as inexperienced as he was as he saw them get closer in slow-motion, their ugly faces painted with bloodlust and malice. One of them was a little faster than the other but it misjudged the right moment to jump, leaping one step too early and sailing right into Littlefoot’s waiting tail. The boy threw everything he had into that swing of his tail, feeling ecstatic as his tail connected with the fastbiter’s flank, his legs just strong enough to brace the impact and flinging the fastbiter a little to his side where it fell to the ground, which just happened to be right in the path of the second fastbiter who stumbled over its comrade just shy of leaping at him. That didn’t stop the two young fastbiters though. Littlefoot hadn’t managed to get enough distance between himself and the two predators during that short time and, with his grandparents still a few seconds away, he set up his defensive stance once again, knowing that he could handle them (besides, somewhere in the back of his mind, some part of him suddenly wanted to show off), disregarding the danger he was in at the moment. Once again, he was prepared to try rotating his body to get a double hit in and, this time, the two predators gave him a chance to try it. Both sprung to their feet in no time, entering a sprint so fast that Littlefoot couldn’t have outrun them even if he had wanted to. The flick of his tail came a little too late but still hit the first fastbiter to arrive at his position, stopping its assault and shoving it off to the side, however he didn’t have time to rotate his body in time for the second fastbiter using its momentum to leap head-first into his flank which threw him off balance to such a degree that Littlefoot fell with the fastbiter landing on-top of him.

“Crap, crap, CRAP!” Littlefoot’s mind was racing, fear and horror shoving every other emotion aside. The life-or-death situation mobilizing all energy he had stored in his little body, Littlefoot kicked his feet which, to his surprise, catapulted the fastbiter a fair distance off him. Despite their dangerous appearance, these creatures were light for their size. The other fastbiter was now leaping towards him but Littlefoot saw it coming just in time to deflect the attack with his tail, despite being on the ground. He hadn’t quite managed to push it away but it gave him a brief window to roll over and get to his feet. Neither of the two seemed willing to give up the chase despite the thundering footsteps of his grandparents approaching him rapidly. At worst, he had one attack to defend against before they would be able to reach him, though his two opponents wasted no time in trying to take him down just shy of his grandparents’ arrival. Once again, Littlefoot was confronted with the two young fastbiters launching themselves into motion with amazing speed and ferocity, however this time he managed to get the timing right, hitting the first one just right as he was accelerating to rotate his body, pushing it three body lengths away and whirling around swiftly to smash the other with his neck which didn’t fling it away but blocked off the attack nonetheless.

“I did it!” Littlefoot beamed as the arrival of his grandparents prompted the two younglings to dart off into the distance. He had just successfully (and with a lot of luck involved) fought off two juvenile fastbiters all alone without more than a light bruise from the headbutt he had received.

“Littlefoot!” he heard his grandparents shout with extreme concern in their voices, coming to a halt in front of him, completely out of breath.

“I’m fine… somehow…” Littlefoot replied, only now realizing that he had apparently forgotten to breathe properly during his fight, heavy exhaustion suddenly falling over his body like a the shadow of a dark rain cloud.

“Oh Littlefoot, I’m so s…” Grandma began but Littlefoot cut her short vehemently when he saw something he didn’t like at all.

“Save that for later, these guys aren’t done yet!” The four remaining fastbiters had used the distraction to launch another attack on the unsuspecting longnecks, leaping high into the air just as Littlefoot gave the alert.

“OH, I’ve HAD it with you guys!” Littlefoot heard his grandpa curse as he violently threw his tail around, smacking one of the incoming with such force that they were flung into a nearby tree which cracked in two upon the impact and, with it, probably every bone that fastbiter had, Littlefoot reckoned. His Grandma had done the same though her tail was sending one of the fastbiters high up into the air, way above the treetops while another one managed to grab onto her tail and sink its teeth into it. The fourth fastbiter made a landing on Grandpa’s back, sinking its sickle-like claws deep into his flesh to prevent falling off the irate longneck. Littlefoot’s eyes continued to follow the fastbiter that was tossed high into the air, screeching at the top of its lungs while it continued to sail for what seemed like an eternity before it crashed to the floor, never to screech again. His Grandma was rather quick to deal with the biter who dared to bite her tail. The predator still biting down, she raised her tail high up before slamming it with maximum strength into the ground, smashing the fastbiter hard against the floor. While that certainly wasn’t enough to kill it, Grandma didn’t hesitate to make sure that it would never bother them ever again, rearing up onto her hindlegs and then allowing herself to fall forwards, aiming her legs just for the fastbiter. Littlefoot cringed upon the impact which came with a skull-splitting, splattering sound. Not wanting to see what little was left of that particular fastbiter, his glance went over to his grandfather who had angrily grabbed the fastbiter’s tail with his mouth, swinging his head like a maze to build up momentum before, too, smashing it into the ground with a sickening sound and crushing it under his feet (Littlefoot looked away) in the same manner.

“Seriously, what were they trying to achieve?!” He thundered angrily as he took a quick glance at his minor injuries which were leaking some blood, certainly much less than the pool of blood that was quickly spreading under his and Grandma’s feet. Grandma’s tail was bleeding to some degree too but, in comparison to the longnecks’ sheer size, it was hardly more than a scratch to them and more of a stingy nuisance than an actual injury to brag about later.

“Well, it’s over at last,” Grandma sighed profoundly, her attention returning to Littlefoot while Grandpa checked the corpses of the fastbiters for any sign of movement. “Littlefoot, I am so sorry that you had to go through all of this just now, are you alright?”

Littlefoot took a moment to reply, still a little petrified by the brutality at display just now, anxiously eyeing the pool of blood at grandma’s feet.

“Well, I’m just glad I didn’t have too much for dinner after seeing… this happen,” he said rather quietly. His grandma quickly offered her bleeding tail to hop onto her while grandpa took care of one of the unconscious fast biters in the distance. Quickly, Littlefoot climbed on.

“That, I’m afraid, is part of fighting sharpteeth, Littlefoot,” she replied with a calmness in her voice that seemed unfitting for someone who had just put at least three fastbiters to their graves. “Grandpa and I were worried about being unable to protect you for much longer so we tried to attack the remaining fastbiters but we hadn’t considered the possibility of an ambush anymore. Thank goodness those were just children!”

Littlefoot could only second that after realizing how much luck he had had just now. He couldn’t have fought a grown-up version of the fastbiters that he had to deal with just now for he would simply lack the strength and body mass to withstand the force of their sprint.

“And thank goodness Littlefoot had his eyes open!”

Grandpa, still rather irate, returned to them, his feet coated in a fresh layer of fastbiter blood.

“Heaven knows what would have happened if you hadn’t noticed the ambush in time, Littlefoot. You alerting us was the right thing to do, however I still need an urgent word with you.”

Littlefoot looked at his rather angry grandfather from his perch on Grandma’s back, immediately knowing that he was going to be reprimanded about something even if he had no idea what he might have done wrong.

“It is very foolish of you to believe that you can take on two fastbiters even if they are smaller than you! A single swipe of their claws in the wrong place and you’re done for! With no experience and four feet to run, you still decided to fight them!”

“Well, I…” Littlefoot felt the sharp glance of his grandfather in his neck, awkwardly looking away as he realized what was the cause for his grandfather’s outburst. “For one thing, I think I couldn’t have outrun them, they were incredibly fast and the way the accelerated into a sprint was just brutal!” he tried to defend himself. “Between being bit in my tail while running and trying to hold them off until you would arrive, I think running was the poorer option as they would have definitely gotten me…” However, there was no denying his second motivation behind the decision to fight.

“I… might have been thinking I could handle them after seeing you two fight so well but, I guess, I was really lucky not to get hurt, right?” Not much to his surprise, both of his grandparents nodded, though his grandma was too worried to use a scolding expression on him.

“I won’t deny, Littlefoot, your actions have disappointed me today,” Littlefoot immediately sank a little lower, however the way his grandpa was pronouncing the words, there surely was bound to be a “but” to that statement.

“However… I am also very very proud.” All of a sudden, Littlefoot found himself nuzzled by both of his grandparents, his grandfather’s anger evaporated as suddenly as the flash of lightning.

“Huh?” Littlefoot uttered in confusion.

“Putting aside the fact that your keen eyes have limited our injuries to a minimum, despite my displeasure with your decision to fight, the bravery to make that decision and not give in to your fear is quite remarkable and I must say that it is largely your quick thinking and your ability to learn from observing others that prevented any significant injuries or worse. Well done, Littlefoot, well done!”

Littlefoot didn’t know what to feel anymore after going through so many emotions in such a short amount of time.

“Jeesh, I had a lot of luck too…” he replied weakly.

“We all did, Littlefoot, that second attack of theirs was extremely dangerous,” his grandmother admitted.

“Now I just want to sleep,” Littlefoot said with a slight groan as the tension slowly began to fall from his body at last.

“As do we, Littlefoot, as do we,” his grandfather spoke, throwing a last cautious glance over the battlefield. “I do suggest camping a little distance away from this mess, just in case another predator decides to pray on the cadavers. Also, one of us will have to stand watch as the juveniles are still alive.”

“On the other side of the pond over there, perhaps?” Grandma suggested. “We should probably clean our feet and wash the wounds anyway, given that we have an opportunity to do so.”

“Right, I agree,” Grandpa said, starting to move in that direction with Grandma following him. By the time they were at the pond, Littlefoot was already sound asleep which brought a momentary chuckle to the two elderly longnecks.

“Our brave Littlefoot…” Grandma cooed as she gently put him down on the floor next to the shore so she could clean herself. As the two elderly longnecks allowed the cool water to engulf their stinging wounds, a chat soon emerged between them.

“You know, this was to be expected at some point during our journey, but to be attacked so early during our adventure, how should I put it… it makes me worry that this journey is more dangerous than it is worth…” Grandpa sighed as he shared these thoughts with his mate. “Things got a little too close for Littlefoot just now, if things had gone just slightly different, we could have lost him just now. I am not saying that we should abandon this journey but…”

“I know, I wouldn’t want to turn around now after thinking this over for so long either,” Grandma admitted uneasily, sinking her neck a little deeper into the water. “Our ability to defend Littlefoot is limited by our old age and the fact that there is only the two of us. What we need is more protection if we want to continue this journey safely.”

“In other words, a herd?” Grandpa prompted.

“If our theory is right, many longnecks are making this journey so we should find some other longnecks to travel with sooner or later.”

“That’s what I hope,” Grandpa sighed as he, with some effort, dragged his tired body out of the water. “Come, dear, we should get some rest ourselves.”

Grandma didn’t need to be told twice as her bones didn’t like all the stress of journeying and fighting sharpteeth either. Grandpa decided to take the first shift of night watch just as night itself fell over the land, the Night Circle watching over the three longnecks.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Oh boy, how do I write an Author's Note again? Oh right!  :PAli

I thought a journey without some sharpteeth to ruin the day would be a little boring and, besides, there was plenty of potential for character development here which I hopefully managed to exploit with this rather strategy-heavy battle. It was one of those chapters that you just start writing and then it starts writing itself and, given that I love to come up with strategies in games and what not, the rest was a piece of cake for me. I'm glad to see I haven't lost my touch though my writing speed could still see some improvements haha. This chapter took my an entire day from noon to early morning to get done (editing and discussing with my editor included). Either way, my writing energy has been more than replenished and I am enjoying spending day and night writing while listening to good music  :^^spike

I do hope this action-rich chapter is a decent way to bring the story back to life and, at least for the next two months, I will be able to work on SDP at least once a week so updates should be somewhat reasonably frequent (I won't spam, you never know when you need some backlog). As always, any reviews, critique and praise are very much welcome and I'm looking forward to hearing them, yep yep yep!  :duckyhappy

Next chapter is already written (probably way over a year ago lol) and will be continuing Ali's (mis)adventure :)

It does feel awkward replying to 1 year old reviews but I still owe you guys a proper reply  :angel



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Posted by: UnionRags123
« on: July 19, 2019, 10:05:43 PM » Insert Quote
Omg this is great!

Old One’s use of an “aggressive” approach really backfired...

And yes, a one shot of Old One v Topps would definitely be welcomed!  :lol

Poor Ali...out in the desert by herself...

Sometimes being confrontional does indeed backfire as we see too frequently in politics and society or just every day life really. It can work if the pther person isn't strong-willed but more often than not a diplomatic approach will be the smarter one (unless we're talking computer games. Warmongering ftw! :lol )

I still have a note to remind me of that particular crackfic idea which my editor once suggested half-jokingly :lol

Yes, poor Ali. Also, stupid Ali.  :rhett_ohsnap


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That does it! I have absolutely no respect for the Old One in this story whatsoever! I hate her here just as much as I hated the original Cera and her father! :anger She is behaving like someone who only knows how to rule through fear, and after seeing a certain character like that on HBO for nine years, you know that characters like that will only leave behind a loathsome legacy. I'm honestly not sure how much longer she'll remain in her position with the over-authoritarian antics she's been showing.

Bron sure seemed to have done a good job at trying to keep things as peaceful as possible, even if his new enemy has no shred of compassion for practically, ... well, ... anyone, it seems. They are clearly complete opposites, and such personalities could never mix together, much like how it was once believed that different kinds could never mix together. I would say that this chapter was the beginning of the end of Old One's dominant influence over her herd, and it's only a matter of time before she begins to lose her power.

Poor Ali. All alone and in the middle of nowhere, but I suppose she is learning her lesson the hard way whether she succeeds on her journey or not. Just as we think this story is supposed to bring all Longnecks together, it's sure doing a good job at tearing some apart.

This was quite a nice surprise to brighten my boring day, ... aside from Old One's abysmal behavior.

The thing is, if someone like Old One manages to brainwash her followers into worshipping her regardless of what she does and says, she is likely to remain on top of command. :sducky

I really like your comment about this story tearing some longnecks apart although I'd like to blame this on the sequels not keeping together what was supposed to remain together  :bolt I think we can all tell that Ali's adventure won't go without consequences but how dire will they be? I'm glad I was able to free you of boredom for a little while on a random day a year ago :lol


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This was quite an interesting scene and one that showed the highly differing personalities of Bron and your Old One. The difference between the former’s efforts to protect his herd and the latter’s hesitancy to help in that were really stark and showed just how capable a leader Bron really is. The argument was written quite well and the tension that rose during it were very tangible here. I liked the way Bron pushed her into a hesitant acceptance to acting the way any decent dinosaur should act. And indeed, he proved his capability to lead once again.

As for Ali, I’m not a fan of these kinds of one-scene sequences during a chapter as there is almost always something more to be built from scenes like that. It wasn’t too bothering but it’s something I prefer to avoid myself. And again, Old one seemed like a complete OC here and the herd is far from what we saw in the films. I know I’ve complained of it before but it strikes me again with every chapter. However, the main part of this installment was very good so well done with that

Thanks, I recall cringing at this scene in the original SDP when I reread it for reference so hearing you saying that Bron was written as a very capable leader showing his qualities in a well written argument means a lot to me :)

I will be frank, I agree with your statement about the short Ali sequence here. It's not a very bright way to cover this part of her story this way. My problem here is that I do not have enough things to cover during her journey to make this a full-fledged scene and any significant character development can only occur at a later point when her journey comes to a very difficult part. I simply wrote a short scene here as to prevent having a time skip of a few days without any signs of Ali doing anything whatsoever. I dislike timeskips if they can be prevented so sometimes even a small scene like this, while not extremely efficient, might find its way into a chapter. Certainly this is not something I do frequently and I will certainly keep the concerns you have raised concerning such scenes in the back of my mind from now on. If there's something you (or anyone else) would add to this scene if you were in my shoes, I'll gladly hear them and edit the chapter if it can be used without contradicting anything that comes later in the story  :^^spike


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Posted by: rhombus
« on: July 28, 2019, 03:13:56 AM » Insert Quote
Now this was quite an enjoyable read considering what I personally think of the Old One in this particular continuity.  :p At first I thought that Bron would let the Old One have her way after exhausting every opportunity for a peaceful solution, but instead we get to see his abilities as leader firsthand. He expertly allows her to show herself to be intransigent in her demands and then he finally shows his hand - that he is willing to use force to achieve his just demands.  Considering the Old One's desire to maintain power and to quash dissent I do wonder what will happen now that she has shown weakness here.

Thank you, like Sovereign, for confirming that this is a major improvement over the first iteration of this scene lol :lol

I will be frank here as well, writing a side arc about Old One facing the consequences of her leadership in her herd could be very intriguing but, given just how many side plots this story is destined to have already now (Remember I have a tendency to develop random thoughts into spontaneous side stories, this is how Cho was born back then if you remember), I think may not want to dwell on that particular aspect on the story haha. Given Old One's tendency to disregard the sleepstories as mere nuisance as opposed to trying to understand them and given her overprotectiveness, we likely will not ever see her again in this story once Bron's herd will leave. I'm open to ideas though if you think this should be incorporated into the story :)


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 :)

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #69 on: August 02, 2020, 08:09:50 AM »
Hmm, I was gonna upload the next chapter today but since no one gave a review yet, I'll give you guys another week to read if you haven't done so already.
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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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #70 on: August 10, 2020, 02:29:19 PM »
Chapter 14: Footprints

Ali’s mother crashed to the ground with a groan. No matter how hard she tried, she had to realize that her body wouldn’t be able to keep up with the things she wanted it to do. In order to rescue Ali, she’d have to walk day and night at her fastest pace, however she wasn’t as young as she used to be; her mid-aged body had limits which were entirely oblivious of her magnificent quest to find the girl. Moreover, her bottomless worry about her daughter's well-being was eating up all her remaining energy. It was a maddening condition. Didn't she have to mobilize everything she got in order to maximize the odds of success? Or, maybe, was this all her body could do?

It was barely nightbreak when she had to surrender for the day and lie down to sleep, her legs hurting from the fast pace she had maintained all day. Certainly, she had been going at double the speed they would travel at during their migrations. Ali couldn't possibly be traveling at such a rate, considering the fact that she was a lot smaller and couldn't cover nearly enough distance even if she broke into a jog.

As the longneck took a gaze into the distance, a number of bad feelings began to emerge. Somewhere out there, Ali was probably sleeping all by herself, a little lonely longneck with no means of direction and protection from predators. Although Ali's journey appeared to be roughly following the vague sense of direction so far which she could sense somewhere inside of her there was no telling if the child was able to feel it too. It might just be a case of luck; purely coincidental.

"More importantly, could I even protect her?"

Of course, sharpteeth could sneak up on Ali while she was wandering around all alone, all the more reason to hurry. However, even if she managed to find the girl could she prompt Ali to follow her back home? And even if she did manage to convince her, a feat quite unlikely after their horrendous quarrel, how could she even protect the child? How could she protect herself to begin with? Returning home to the herd was something as unlikely as sharpteeth being nice now that she was banned. There would be no safety for either of them.

Ali's words had stung but the little girl, even in her fury, did say a few things that weren't outright delusional. Her calling the herd members 'cowards' was certainly correct and she could tell that Ali's words had also referred to her own mother. In a world where survival was the most important thing to strive for, cowardice wasn't a sin. It was a life-preserving character trait; it had kept her alive all these harsh years. Throughout her life, she had always been surrounded by stronger longnecks to keep herself from danger. Only after Ali had lost her father back then, she had been forced to be the protective parent. Her cowardice had led her to join the first herd of longnecks that she had come across, a decision she regretted now. The adult knew exactly what Old One had meant when she had called her a useless member. She had never fought a predator.

She couldn't protect anyone.

Adding to the fear for Ali's safety as well as her own, the feelings of regret and low self-esteem became ever so profound as the last light slowly retreated in the west, the night now fully dark and gloomy.

Suddenly, she felt a sense of fright creep up her spine. What if a predator was just lying in wait to eat her once she had fallen asleep? What if Ali was targeted? Would she ever be able to find her sweet little Ali before something happened to either of them? The trails were thankfully still recognizable in the loose layer of dust and sand which covered a layer of sunbaked soil becoming hard as rock. One windy day and the dust would be stirred up; any clues about Ali's whereabouts would be gone forever. She absolutely mustn’t let that happen but there was nothing she could do to influence the wind. She felt powerless. For now, all she could do was rest her legs and hope that tomorrow she’d be able to walk further.

Worries were continuing to gnaw at her even as she attempted to rest. Tears falling from her eyes for quite a while, she eventually found into an uneasy sleep.

*

If by some peculiar instinct, Bron woke up when the night was still not quite over yet. The Night Circle still roamed on the sky although it was already sinking close to the horizon at this point. Dawn was only an hour away at best.

As he lay awake, unable to fall back asleep, a lot of worries plagued him. The brown longneck was once again reminded of the fight with the other herd as he threw a glance into the forest behind him. Even though Old One had claimed to grant him and his herd reluctant permission to stay for a night, Bron had an awful feeling. The old longneck might have enough spite inside of her to exploit the limits of her statement to the maximum. There was a possibility, at least, that they wouldn't let them have a full night of rest, appearing at the first sign of dawn to chase them out. Bron knew for a fact that the old leader wouldn't back down a second time if he challenged her sense of time. A fight between the two herds mustn't break out!

On a whim, Bron decided to wake his herd just before the Night Circle left the sky. As it turned out, his predictions were perfectly accurate. The sky was barely beginning to light up in the east and Bron’s herd had hardly finished eating another few days’ worth of food while drinking plenty of water when a line of longnecks emerged from the central parts of the valley.

“I see you weren’t lying about your ambitions at all, young one.” Old One emerged from the line of longnecks, approaching Bron who quickly rushed to the scene while his herd gathered behind him again.

“Unfortunately, that also goes for the amount of food you stole from us so greedily…” she sighed with a hint of anger, looking at the whole area which was pretty much stripped of its food. “I take it you are leaving now?”

“Yes, we will be on our way any moment now,” Bron confirmed with a nod, noting that Old One wasn’t nearly as rude as on the previous evening although this probably had something to do with the fact that his deputy was glaring at the old dinosaur rather sharply.

“Just out of curiosity, where are you headed to?” Old One interrogated almost formally. Bron could only muse where that sudden interest arose from but he answered her nevertheless, appreciating the more diplomatic encounter for what it was after expecting to be chased out.

“As I mentioned yesterday, we are embarking on a journey to find out what the sleepstories are telling us,” Bron explained calmly. “I take it you are thinking little of it?”

“Quite correctly so,” Old One growled. “You have got to be delusional to go on a journey, blindly following some intuition or whatever else is giving you directions. There is no gain if safety is at stake.”

“I beg to differ,” Bron replied with a smile. “If you honestly paid any attention to your sleepstories then you would know that there’s a great event all longnecks are supposed to be seeing and participating in. Who knows, maybe it’ll be something incredible or maybe there’s something we need to do? I really can’t tell but sitting around with this feeling would drive me crazy, not knowing what I might encounter, not knowing what I might miss. Don’t you feel the same, Old One?”

“Stop talking about this nonsense already,” the old dinosaur demanded. “Anyway, what direction are you headed to?”

“Gee, I wonder why that even concerns you after everything you’ve said,” Bron answered with a mirthful glance. “Well, you’ll probably spy after us either way so I might as well… You see, we’re walking with the Great Circle in our backs, moving slightly towards its evening position each day. That’s the rough direction we need to go but I’m certain that you, too, can feel it, right?”

“That does not concern you, young one,” Old One said drily with a derogative look at Bron. “Either way, that’s excellent. In return for granting you food and a place to stay, I demand that you follow and find a fugitive from our ranks who dared challenge my leadership. They should be headed the same direction so capture them and return them to this oasis!”

Bron deadpanned.

“Uhm, excuse me but what exactly are you planning to do with that fugitive longneck?” the brown-ish coloured longneck requested with a befuddled look.

“That is a matter of my herd, it does not concern you,” Old One shrugged him off.

“Also, if I may,” Will chimed in. “What’s in for us? We don’t gain a thing from such a deal.”

“Indeed, you are in my debt after all,” Old One said in direct response to the deputy with a matter-of-fact, sly grin. “And, as such, I expect – no, demand that you take my quest.”

“Well, we’re on a tight schedule so… I respectfully decline,” Bron explained with a grin. “After all, it’s none of our concern. I humbly recommend that you take your herd matters into your own responsibility.”

“You…” Old one hissed but Will stepped forward.

“You bunch of lunatics shall not pursue us or cause us any trouble, is that clear?” he said quietly but it had just the same effect as yelling around. Old One slowly backed away.

“Well, we’ll be on our way,” Bron said, apparently in great spirits. “If you change your mind about going, you'd better hurry or you won’t make it!”

“Not bloody thinking about it…” Old One mumbled through gritted teeth.”

“Very well, longnecks, follow me!” Bron called and, before sunrise they had left the small valley.

Shorty looked back at the valley where the other herd was still standing, still observing and making sure they were really departing.

“What a crazy herd indeed…” he muttered as the first rays of the Bright Circle enriched the land with light and warmth, soon to turn into unbearable heat.

“Capturing someone… what a funny request,” Bron wondered out loud too.

“You know,” Shorty piped up as his focus returned to the path ahead, rocky and somewhat dusty wasteland with nothing but the occasional boulder standing out from the monotony wherever he looked. “I’ve just been thinking, Bron… I’m really happy I didn’t bump into some old witch like Old One back then. I’m glad I found you instead.”

Bron slowed down significantly to look down at the green-coloured boy.

“Oh my, I didn’t realize but, every once in a season, you actually say something nice, Shorty.” Bron bent down his neck to nuzzle Shorty who backed away at first until he reluctantly endured it. “I’m glad that I met you too. Life would be boring without you. Come along now.”

Although a bit embarrassed, Shorty returned Bron’s smile and they continued to walk for a while. Soon the valley was out of sight, nothing but endless wastelands surrounding them. The longer he thought about it, the more it actually began to bother Shorty. He certainly wasn’t born with great empathy for others but being kicked out of a herd sounded a bit harsh in his ears. Old One may have called them a fugitive but even Shorty could read between the lines.

“A fugitive questioning her leadership… they must have left knowing they’d be booted…”

Sending a longneck away like that to travel such a dangerous and hostile landscape all alone didn’t sit well with him no matter from what perspective he tried to look at the situation. Or perhaps he could simply relate?

“Bron, can’t we do something about that longneck they kicked out? I kinda wanna help them, you know?”

Bron raised his eyebrows quite a lot as his attention turned to Shorty.

“My, what’s up with you today?” he wondered curiously. “You haven’t done something bad, acting all nice so I don’t get suspicious of you, have you?”

Shorty responded with a shocked expression.

“Uhm, what? No, I didn’t do anything, honestly! It’s just… it kinda bothers me what happened to that longneck…”

“Speaking from experience there, are we?” Bron raised another eyebrow.

“I guess so,” Shorty simply replied with a shrug, not feeling like reminiscing in the past right now. “I wouldn’t wanna be kicked from my herd… then again… I wouldn’t wanna be in that herd to begin with!”

“Neither would I want to be in that herd,” Bron confirmed with a sigh. “Well, I can relate to your concerns and, to be frank, I share them too. If that longneck is following their sleepstories too, then we should bump into them sooner or later unless they’re really fast.”

“Maybe we could look for their foot trails?” Shorty suggested.

“Brilliant!” Bron exclaimed happily. “Keep your eyes open then.”

“Okay!” Shorty immediately began looking although it would take him until late in the evening to spot the trail far to their right.

"Bron, I think I'm seeing it!" the boy eventually exclaimed. The Bright Circle stood low, helping with the discovery as the long shadows increased the contrast of anything that wasn't too flat to throw a shadow in the first place.

Immediately after confirming Shorty's discovery with his own eyes, Bron adapted their course slightly so they could inspect it.

“Hmm, a trail of just one longneck heading roughly the same direction as we do,” Bron spoke as he slowly followed the trail for a moment. The desert was particularly dusty where they were, almost sandy in some patches even, so trails were very well visible.

“I guess it won’t hurt to follow as long as that longneck doesn’t deviate from our path too much, right?”

“Yeah!” Shorty agreed eagerly. “Let’s go after them!”

“Wait a second, Bron…” both Bron and Shorty turned around to see deputy Will approach them, apparently overhearing their talk. The tall longneck wore an uneasy expression.

“Hey Will, what’s the matter?” Bron interrogated with a happy smile. “It’s not sharpteeth, is it?”

“No, although one can never rule that out…” Will replied drily. “Bron, don’t you think it’s better to stay out of that herd’s business? We can only guess how lunatic that leader is… she might just try to hunt that longneck down on her own or try to assault us… I think meddling with their business only leads to no good!”

“Hmm…” Bron pondered. “Can’t argue there but what can those guys really do? There isn’t anyone following us, is there?”

“Who knows, wouldn't surprise me,” Will grunted. “We should leave that longneck be and be on our way.”

“I see your point but we’re headed the same direction so I think it’s safe to follow those footprints for now. If they start to differ from our path, we can think about it again? I feel like there’s something we can gain if we follow that longneck.” Bron tried to convince his deputy but it wasn’t quite as easy.

“Urgh, Bron, I don’t know…”

Meanwhile, Shorty continued to study the footprints. Every now and then, smaller footprints seemed to stick out between the big ones, almost as if another, much smaller longneck, had walked this path too. A child? Shorty's curiosity was immediately awakened. As Bron began to try arguing with emotions and empathy, the boy investigated the footprints with utmost concentration, glad to have something to do as boredom was a common problem during their journey. No matter how far he looked, it always seemed like the grown-up had stepped onto the small ones which meant…

“Bron, can I say something real quick?” he piped up excitedly.

“What is it?” Will grunted angrily, strongly disliking Shorty for all the mischief he would often cause. “Don’t you see we’re busy here?!”

“It’s about the footprints!” Shorty cried. “Look at them closely, there’s a second pair and it belongs to someone with feet of my size!”

“A child’s footprints?” Bron bent down his neck to take a closer look. Indeed, Shorty hadn’t been lying. Although a little washed out from the wind and constantly covered up by the bigger ones, one could clearly recognize a second trail - the trail of a child about Shorty’s size.

“Maybe that longneck had a child and took it along?” Shorty suggested.

“Those trails are older than the ones the adult left,” Will grunted. “Probably that child’s a runaway, a no-good and the parent is going after them.”

“Shut up…” Shorty grunted sourly. “They might need our help…”

“I’d say forget them and move on!” the deputy thundered. “Bron?”

“Well, I also believe that we should follow them, especially if your guess about the runaway is true, Will…” Bron said in a troubled voice. “They wouldn’t last long against the sharpteeth here and I’d rather save them if it’s within my range of possibilities.”

“Urgh, do whatever you want then, Bron!” Will ranted and turned away, leaving him alone with Shorty.

“What’s his problem?!” Shorty grunted in annoyance.

“Beats me,” Bron shrugged. “Well, let’s follow the footprints for a little longer and see if we can catch up to them.”

“Yeah, thanks Bron!” Shorty agreed and so they walked well into the night that day.

*

Ali looked up at the starry sky. Her legs hurt like crazy and the combined efforts of hunger, thirst and exhaustion were beginning to take a serious toll on her. Moreover so, loneliness was eventually creeping up on her like an old friend as she spent day and night all by herself without a soul to accompany her. At first, the outlook of meeting Littlefoot and his friends was enough to comfort her but, gradually, being the only dinosaur in an endless desert began gnawing at her. Had it really been the right thing to leave home, leave her herd, leave her mother? Hadn’t she been a little bit too rash in her desperate attempt to run away?

No matter how long these thoughts continued to spiral in her head that night, Ali knew that it was already too late to turn around. Regret was growing stronger within her heart but all she could do was hoping it’d somehow work out.

The moment she gave up was the moment she lost the game after all and Ali wouldn’t lose faith that easily. Tomorrow, she would rise again and walk endless distances through neverending dry lands, hoping that her sleepstories wouldn’t lead her astray…

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

A little unusual to have no feedback but I suppose a 1-year hiatus can do that to you  :bolt

This chapter continues where I left off last year. Bron leaves the small valley where Old One resides and decides to follow Ali's mother who trying to find Ali while struggling with insecurities from a (not quite yet) disclosed past. I know Ali's part is really short again but there is little to write. Going chronologically, it made sense to write a small update about her mental and physical state as she continues her reckless journey. She'll certainly have a somewhat bigger scene in the next chapter  :yes

This chapter was only grazing a 2k word count (wrote it way over a year ago) but I did a lot of editing here (now slightly over 3k). Particularly the initial scene about Ali's Mother and the scene before Bron has another chat with Old One have been extended quite a bit. There's also another idea that's been brought to my attention (Shorty finding Ali's foofprints could be written better) but, for now, I'll save it for an eventual overhaul of the earlier chapters (it's definitely coming, I wasn't aware of certain things back then and my writing style evolved a bit since then). For now, my priority is to keep the updates strong and regular though.

Chapters for SDP are definitely going to be much shorter than chapters for other stories, at least for the moment as there's only so much I can pack into these right now. I'm trying to stay within the bounds of 2,5-7.5k for now.

The next chapter will elaborate on the events of chapter 14. Are they going to find Ali's Mother? Is Ali's Mother going to find Ali? How's Ali faring? And how is Bron going to deal with a new discovery they make? Come back next week to find out!  :PAli
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 :)

Ducky123

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #71 on: August 16, 2020, 11:52:32 PM »
Chapter 15: A slice of danger

Two days later, the riddle around the footprints still hadn’t been solved. Naturally, Bron and his herd had been following the trail ever since. It didn't divert from their supposed route at all but they hadn't been able to catch up to their targets despite Bron urging his herd to walk as fast as they could.

He still had no idea why he was so keen on getting involved with the other herd's matters, however he supposed that he was simply too kind a dinosaur to ignore the matter at hand. He had lost too much during his life to look away at the prospect of a longneck much like himself losing their home and, if Shorty’s hunch turned out to be true, their child too. After all, the trails were still strongly suggesting that the adult was following the more washed out tracks of the longneck child.

Shorty's interest in the fate of the longnecks didn't waver either for, Bron surmised, the boy, unpopular as he was among the herd's youth and adults alike, was hoping to find a playmate at last. Frankly speaking, Bron wouldn't be unhappy if this hunch would turn out to be true. To think that Shorty would quit hanging out with him due to the sheer depth of his boredom… As a matter of fact, it'd mean Shorty wouldn't be pestering him half of the day and get up to mischief the other half of it.

Helping out these poor longnecks might actually improve his life significantly. They'd just have to find the longneck and its child before something bad happened to them. Bron doubted greatly that a lone child could survive a land like the one they were passing for long - and chances weren't too glorious for a lone longneck either to be fair. The only reason he could travel with relative ease of mind was the protection that their sheer numbers provided. A lone traveler, not to mention a kid, didn't have that sharptooth-repelling advantage after all and chances were rather slim that they possessed great combat abilities either. They were prime targets as a matter of fact.

As night was drawing ever closer that day, putting an end to another day of walking in tormenting, scorching heat across devastated landscapes, Will walked up to Bron just shortly after stopping for the night in the middle of nowhere, although the place was slightly elevated from the surrounding area. Immediately, it became clear that the tall and muscular longneck didn't drop by for a chunk of gossip.

"Bron!" he called rather loudly, drawing Shorty's attention as well who was sitting a little distance away gazing in the distance in apparent boredom.

Bron, who immediately recognized Will's agitation, hurried over to meet him halfway.

"What's the matter? Any trouble arising?" the brownish longneck inquired.

"Possibly," came Will's immediate response. "Intelligence has taken sight of two sharpteeth in the far distance."

"Sharpteeth, you say?" Bron's eyebrows rippled as his mind worked vividly. "What kind of sharpteeth are we talking about?"

"Can't say for certain," the deputy grunted. "Getting dark and they're far ahead. One good thing about this blasted flat desert - you can spot anything coming hours before it reaches you. Looks like big biters either way."

"Where were they spotted?" Bron asked casually as he reviewed his options.

"When I got a glimpse of them myself, they were headed the same direction as us though they were far to the right of our path." Will looked at the herd leader with an expression of concern. "How shall we act now that we know of these sharpteeth?"

Bron's forehead grew ripples as well.

"If it's just two of them, there shouldn't be a problem," he spoke slowly, still working on a thorough plan as he answered. "We should take all our usual precautions; increased night guards, a tighter formation, keeping children in the center of the herd and so on…" he elaborated while still obtaining his pondering expression.

"Obviously," Will grunted grumpily. "What about our path? I'd say let's stray somewhat to the left where the Circle rises in the morning."

Bron examined the suggestion carefully when Shorty, having overheard everything from his position, jogged up to the two adults.

"Bron, you're not going to abandon those trails, are you?"

Bron cast a quick look at the newcomer which was a mixture of a scowl and gratitude. Albeit clearly mingling with adult matters (Will sent a very unamused stare the green boy's way as Bron didn't fail to register), Shorty had voiced what he was afraid of suggesting. Deep inside, he knew that Will's suggestion was based on cold logic and facts - usually the best thing to keep in mind when making important decisions, however his heart was speaking a different language. These sharpteeth surely hadn't noticed them yet (or else, he surmised, they'd have turned around) but what if they had taken notice of something else? Yes, what if they were stalking the lone longneck from afar, waiting for the right moment to catch them off-guard? And even if they happened to take notice of his herd, what could they possibly do other than hope for a lucky miracle (or a thorough battering, Bron thought grimly)? Numbers were on his side whereas a single longneck would be an ideal target, especially after many days of travel without food and water. Bron felt responsible for the well-being of the lone longneck and its runaway child, thus arguing against his deputy's proposal.

"I surmise two sharpteeth can hardly cause any significant harm to the herd as long as we take all precautions and keep them where we can see them," Bron explained matter-of-factly to a disgruntled Will. "I'd like to keep the current course regardless of this new danger for it is a danger we can and will deal with if circumstances demand for it."

"Are you listening to the insolent boy again?!" Will shouted in significant displeasure, his eyes flickering at innocent Shorty who was looking expectantly at Bron.

"Not exactly," Bron said evasively, avoiding Will's direct stare. "It just so happens that I share his thoughts and concerns about the dinosaurs these trails unmistakably belong to."

"Nonsense, you must do what is best for the herd and that's avoiding those blasted sharpteeth, not walking straight towards them!" Will took a heavy breath in his agitated state.

"The herd is hardly in danger," Bron said casually. "But I daresay that longneck whose trails we're tailing is significantly in danger. Who do you think those sharpteeth might be after? They're likely stalking, waiting for a chance to attack. I reckon we should… "

"No we ruddy shouldn't!" Will thundered, loud enough to stir nearby herd members. "Will you stop letting your ruddy emotions get in the way of making decisions you need to make? Will you ruddy stop endangering the herd's safety unnecessarily?!"

Bron's casual look vanished from his face.

"Why take risks when there's a safer way? Why risk a brawl with deadly sharpteeth when it can be avoided for a stupid longneck who mightn't even want our help?"

Bron gave a mighty sigh. Will was undoubtedly someone relying on cold, cruel logic. It was part of the reason why he was chosen deputy not soon after the herd had formed and, although his ideals often clashed with his own, they had always been able to make good decisions. It seemed to Bron though that Will was more irritating than usual ever since they had set off on their journey. Casting aside those musings, Bron spoke up.

"I stand firm in my belief that we should be following the trails. Those sharpteeth aren't likely to be a threat and if they indeed have any ambitions you know we'll crush them like we always do."

"Tomorrow we stray from the trails," Will grunted more quietly. "Last word's yours 'f course but know that I'll blame you for anything that'll happen." And before Bron could get another word in, he had stormed off. Exchanging shrugs with Shorty, Bron assumed that the deputy had given in, although reluctant, to his plan.

"Tomorrow we'll find that longneck, I surmise," Bron spoke quietly, a dark vibe mixing into his tired voice. Would they arrive in time to save them from the sharpteeth? Both longnecks had a rather restless sleep that night.

*

*thud*

A cloud of dust rose from the ground as the small pink longneck dropped to the ground under the watch of the rising Night Circle. The last remnants of daylight were vanishing at last; the heat was finally on the retreat. The desert had turned from a flat, rocky hellscape into an even more hellish sandscape. Dunes tall as mountains reigned mercilessly over the area and, after crossing one too many of those monstrosities, her legs could move no more. It had been another day full of pain and suffering.

Although nighttime was much more bearable than the scorching afternoon heat, Ali could still feel the relentless heat even now. The Bright Circle was still burning her weakening body after its disappearance from the sky, the irritating pain still present. Shivers ran through her body soon as the Night Circle fully took reign of the sky, bringing the cold of the night along. Ironic, wasn't it, that after being tortured by the heat of the day, she was now freezing. Freezing so bad that Ali found enough strength to shake, yet her body wouldn't rise.

Her mouth was dry, so dry in fact that part of the skin inside was cut and inflamed. Ever since dropping head-first into the dune, sand was filling it too. Ali couldn't seem to find the strength to spit it out.

Things had deteriorated alarmingly fast. Two days ago, the girl had been full of spirit, dreaming of the day she'd meet Littlefoot again whereas now she wasn't even sure if she'd be able to get up in the morning to come. Ali was hungry but that wasn't the problem. Her thirst was killing her and her whole body had begun to ache not only from exhaustion but from the scorching heat as well, joined by an ever worsening, pulsating headache. It was particularly pronounced on her back and the back of her head. Would she even be able to take another day out in the unforgiving desert?

As Ali lay there, unable to move, shivering and suffering from great pain, she finally began to allow a thought she had constantly blocked from her consciousness to reach the surface of her mind.

"It was a mistake!" Suddenly, a few hot tears shot into her dry eyes though her body almost immediately shut the supply as Ali wept quietly and drily for there was simply not enough water in her body for it to go to waste like that.

"Running from home, running from mother, it was all a big mistake! I will never… I will never see him again!"

Heavy sobs shook her battered body, causing additional pain and exhaustion. Panic and fear, not to lose Littlefoot but to lose her very life, was grasping her tight as if attempting to suffocate the little girl. Ali had walked too fast; she had walked too far to turn around, knowing that the distance was enormous and her resources drained. Her only chance was to keep going until her legs would break, leaning on the miniscule hope that, behind the dunes, water was waiting. However, even if it was there in reach, would Ali even have enough energy left to rise again?

"Littlefoot, what am I supposed to do? Help me!" she screamed though no sound escaped her mouth - it was all in her head. The image of Littlefoot didn't turn up this time; had even her best friend abandoned her? Ali only cried harder as despair did its frightening handiwork. Would she really die here in this hell, all alone? Would anyone ever know?

Ali's despair grew to such heights that her body managed to rock, squeeze out some more tears and cry out for help despite the fact that she was injuring the skin of her dry mouth with every cry, despite the fact that the desert was completely devoid of life.

She was all alone; nobody could hear her pleas for help. Only when the Night Circle stood high above her, Ali passed out at last.

*

Another day had passed; another day of fighting her way through this blasted desert, another day seeing nothing but the footprints Ali had left on the rocky floor which was merely covered by a thin layer of powder-like sand and dust. The footprints didn't seem to lead her any closer to her dear daughter no matter how far she walked and no matter how much she pushed herself to increase her speed. There was no doubt that the trails belonged to Ali, but where was she? Her head start had been about a day, she reckoned, but, after a couple of days, shouldn’t she have caught up with the small child by now? Ali was barely reaching the height of her knees; there was no way the girl could walk as fast as she could with those little legs of hers!

Regardless, she hadn't caught up. The trails were slightly washed out by the gentle breeze which meant they were at least a few hours old.

"I'd never have guessed that a little child could walk so fast… oh Ali." With a heavy sigh, Ali's mother collapsed onto the still warm floor, the last of her strength leaving her at once. No matter how much she pushed herself, she was too exhausted by the end of the day to walk into the night. Now if that was what the girl was doing each night… but where did she take the energy? And, surely, the girl couldn’t keep it up forever? She was bound to crash from lack of sleep sooner or later, right?

It was only on second thought that the grown-up realized that she may have underestimated the amount of growth Ali had undertaken in recent time, possibly blurring her understanding of the speed at which Ali seemed to be traveling.

None of this really mattered at this point though. All she could do was to keep doing her very best catching up with Ali, hoping (or dreading?) that Ali would struggle with the harsh conditions before she would, allowing her to get closer at last. Although determined to rest well in order to be full of strength in the next morning, the thoughts about Ali and her well-being kept her from finding rest for a long time just like every night.

A fair distance from her, a pair of sharpteeth also settled down for the night - she hadn't noticed them whereas the predators had certainly taken notice of her.

And they were starving.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here's chapter 15 everyone. Another two days have passed out there in the Mysterious Beyond and while this chapter is short, it comes with some interesting developments. While Bron and Will are clashing over the decision how to react to some sharpteeth, Ali's Mother could possibly be targeted by them but she isn't aware of the danger due to her worries about Ali overshadowing everything,
Meanwhile, Ali has reached her limits, realizing her folly. Everyone is in a bit of a tough spot, how are things going to play out? The next chapter will cover Littlefoot's journey again, however this storyline will continue in chapter 17, yep yep yep!
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 :)

rhombus

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Re: Shorty's Dark Past 2.0
« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2020, 11:06:22 AM »
A Slice of Danger:

The initial scene really makes us feel for Bron's dilemma here and his decision-making.  He wishes to help Ali and her mother out of kindness (and also Shorty's opinion on the matter) but in the process he is putting the herd under some risk.  I can't help but think that Will has a point here and his cold, cruel logic is not necessarily cruel.  Rather I see him looking at the situation from a utilitarian perspective with his main concern being his herd.  However, Will does seem to be overlooking the advantages that their herd would have over a few sharptooth.  As such, I cant help but think that both Bron and Will are being guided by their emotions here.  I just fear that Bron might be overlooking the risk of a schism here if things go poorly...

And then comes the final scene and the risks that Ali and her mother are now facing comes into clear focus, especially as the starving sharpteeth notice a rather suitable meal...

Thoughts, stories and a canyon:

In light of the current character showcase (the useless sharptooth from LBT 6) I do appreciate the shout out in the discussion between Littlefoot and the grandparents in this scene considering the events of that film. :)  Additionally it was interesting to see Littlefoot's thoughts as he goes on his (almost) lonely journey in the Mysterious Beyond.  It is understandable that he thinks about those who live like this everyday, such as Pterano and Doc, and wonder how they do it.  With an extrovert like Littlefoot it must be a disturbing thought.

In any case, this chapter sets up a nice contrast between the far-walker protagonists (Bron, Ali, and Ali's mother).  This showcases the collision of perspectives that is about to occur.

I look forward to seeing what happens next.


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