|Tamith walked around the giant library. Normally, she would have been thrilled at the sight of so many scrolls filled with histories of a clan she didn't know, but not today. A war was about to start above her and there was nothing she could do to help. Karua and Tri were up there... some how they had sensed the trouble brewing and had come. Dylan walked up to her and pulled her apart from the group. He looked around making sure that no one that could that understood him was within hearing range. He looked at her seriously then reached down into his knapsack and took out a series of things. Tamith watched in amazement as he began to put them together. She stared at him seeing the final product. A bow.
"What do you think you're doing?" she asked him. To her surprise, he gave the bow to her. With out replying, he reached into his pack again and took out more sticks. Snapping them together, she saw that they were arrows.
"You can't fool me pretending that you're perfectly content waiting down here. Not when Triforce is up there."
"Weapons are enemies even to there owners," she quoted, "there's no way I'll use this against another living thing."
Dylan built another bow from the remaining material before replying.
"You're an excellent archer Tamith. Remember when we used to target practice at your uncle's place? No mater what the target, you always hit it. Apples, planks, clothing on the line, and if you or I can save a life up there, I think we should go. One raindrop raises the sea, remember?"
He waited for her answer. Tamith played around with the bow and looked around.
"There's no way that raptor will let us back out," she told him. Dylan grinned.
"I have this funny feeling that we aren't the only ones that want to help out."
Tamith stared at him. Were they?
Why this is just a little bit TOO obvious… LiquidFire thought. No-one even seemed to notice the scrolls, the humans were talking in their own language, OBVIOUSLY up to something. The Gallimimus looked like she'd actually be able to go and try to bite the Allosaurs…
It sure didn't look like many would actually STAY in the library if she'd leave to warn the other healers of the disaster that was happening above ground. "Why isn't this absolutely fantastic." She muttered. First aid was going to be needed above ground but first she'd have to warn the others. She growled to get the attention and made a 'get over here' signal to the humans who were now pathetically trying to hide a… A BOW! Where did they get a bow that fast? Ah well, never mind.
"I'm going to warn other clan-healers now as well as assemble some equipment and medicine I might need to give first aid up there." Sigh, "If you guys just can't stay down here and obey Lunar Frost's orders, so it be but wait for me! Now all promise you won't try anything while I'm gone, I'll be back very soon. Okay?"
That Tamith understood without any need of translation but pretended not to. She told Dylan what LiquidFire had said and watched as he smiled mischievously.
"Sure," he said softly so only Tamith could hear him and crossed his fingers, "We promise." He was absentmindedly toying with his bow.
"This should be interesting," Tamith told him, "I wonder how many seconds will we wait after the raptor leaves?"
Herak stood in back, watching his warriors advance. This would be too easy; the Sanctuary had no warning and was ripe for attack. He would greatly increase his territory. He stepped forward roaring at the other warriors to follow in a frontal attack to the entrance of the sanctuary. A massive mountain of muscle and pent up rage, he moved to the front to lead the attack himself. This was not a battle to lead from the back; he was a leader, strong, confident, and willing to do almost anything to win.
Azonthus stared as she watched Herak run under her tree followed by what seemed like hundreds of allosaurs. They had not expected Herak to lead; he was supposed to be in the back! Azonthus desperately wished she had her bow. She had a clear shot of his eye. One shot, and the war would be over. Herak would be dead before he even knew he had been hit.
She waited patiently, still unmoving. The plan of action had been changed. She had planned to attack Herak with other raptors that were hidden, but they had expected him to be in the back. Now they would have to let him pass and try to find him in the melee afterwards.
If only this battle was already over! Az desperately wished. If it were over, she would be safe at home, with her family. Who cared if she was leader? She would be happy just to survive another war.
Her hand floated up to the scars on the left side of her face, as she remained deep in thought. Those very scars had been part of the reason she had left the Basin in the first place. She had always of thought them as a punishment for being unable to save her brother from Hunters; but now she knew better. She had been young and naďve, full of ideas of the glory of being a warrior. Now the truth stared her in the face. Her inexperience has given her the scars. If only she would not fail as badly in this battle…
LunarFrost observed the strange raptor. A sudden roar emitted from behind her and she ducked and hissed, spinning around in time to catch one of the allosaurs across the neck. It fell unconscious to the forest floor.
"You may join the battle for now. After that I shall speak to you personally but any help would be appreciated." She let out a quiet hiss as another allo approached her from the back and was struck unconscious by a strike to the back of the head. Allosaurs on clan ground, again. LunarFrost shook her head and rushed to help Xilon who was battling a particularly large brute of an allosaur within the temple. More utahs poured from hiding places and the war battled on, impervious and ignorant to the faint shower that rained down on the temple and across the battlefield.
As Thistlebud perused numerous scrolls within the Clan's library she picked up snatches of conversation between the humans. Obviously forgetting that the Ovinutrix could speak their language, Tamith and Dylan made no effort to lower their voices in her presence. She edged over closer to them on the pretense of reaching for another scroll and viewed what was unmistakably a bow in each of their hands!
Not yet wanting to reveal herself, she removed the scroll from it's section on the shelf and pretended interest in reading it. Her interest soon became genuine when she realized that the scroll was actually a map of the Sanctuary grounds and surrounding territories, it's furthermost southern border revealing an broad expanse of adjoining territory not within Clan boundaries and indicated as being inhabited by an Oviraptor Clan!
Fireblood came forward to take his place by the other warriors and plan his move. Highsoar flew overhead, unable to fight as she was not a warrior but watching the battle nonetheless.
ShadowStriker's dark coloring enabled him to blend in with the deepening shadows of the jungle foliage, a gray mist which had arrived with the faint shower whose drops barely reached through the canopy to the forest floor. True to the name that his mentor Azonthus had bestowed upon him when he had achieved warrior status and belying his massive size, the Tyrannosaur warrior struck the invading Allosaurs with a stealth and quickness not usually seen in his species. Though he lacked the agility of the smaller Utahraptors and Velociraptors who he had aligned himself with, he made up for it with a sheer brute force which took the unsuspecting Allosaurs by surprise, as they had not expected a Tyrannosaur in the midst of so many raptors.
A young male Allosaur warrior, obviously inexperienced and eager to prove himself against such a formidable foe, let out a deafening roar before charging directly at ShadowStriker. The more experienced Tyrannosaur deftly sidestepped his attacker and knocked him to the ground with one swift blow.
ShadowStriker's next attacker proved to be a more challenging opponent, a larger female Allosaur who bore many scars as a result of previous battle experiences. The two circled each other numerous times, she patiently waiting for the younger Tyrannosaur to strike first. However, Azonthus had taught her charge well and had instilled in him the value of patience and observance in judging an enemy's weakness. He noticed a slight limp in her right hind leg, which she favored just barely enough to be noticeable. Keeping his eyes locked on hers and not given any indication that he had noticed the discomfort in her leg, ShadowStriker lived up to his reputation, striking quickly and cleanly when least expected. His dagger-like teeth sunk into the flesh of her injured leg, while at the same moment his muscular body pushed her onto the now damp ground. As an experienced warrior, the Allosaur fought tenaciously against ShadowStriker, who would later bear a scar above right eye as a result of her last ditch effort to ward him off with her claws.
His adrenaline still pumping as a result of his battle with the female Allosaur, ShadowStriker's keen eyes briefly roamed the battlefield in order that he might position himself to be most effective in striking against the enemies of the Clan. He watched in horror as his eyes came to rest upon the female Velociraptor who had briefly been his companion as the small group had trekked the Rainy Basin and ventured into the Sanctuary territory. She was in a prone position on the stony ground of the Basin just a stone's width from being stomped into the earth by an Allosaur warrior. Recalling Esk's initial distrust of him and then her grudging acceptance of him into the group, ShadowStriker growled low and menacing as he charged the Allosaur directly, both warriors tumbling onto the ground locked in combat. So intense was the battle between them that ShadowStriker had not a moment to ascertain whether Esk was safe or not...
Sunlight once again shining on her face when there was supposed to the eternal darkness was Esk's first clue that she had somehow been rescued. She rolled over and pushed herself off the ground and looked around for her rescuer.
The earth shook as the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Allosaurus battled. Esk didn't waste a moment in rushing to her friends aid. She lunged into battle, attacking the fierce Allosaur.
Under the combined strength of the two warriors, the allosaur was swiftly dealt with. He was injured, but left alive and unable to fight.
Breathing heavily with exertion, Esk carefully watched ShadowStriker. He seemed ok for now, but may not for the rest of the battle; and she wanted to make sure he stayed Ok. "Thanks," she said, "I be sure watch your back for rest of battle."
Saar slowly woke up, and she didn't want to. Her whole brain was vibrating with a headache. Slowly, she rolled over and lifted her hear to look around. When she saw the Deinonych, baronyx, and utahraptors, she remembered what that blue Deinonychus had done. She reared up to her feet with a roar and glared at him.
"And just what was that, deinonych?" she demanded. "If you ever do something like that again, so help me, I will do worse to you than Herak would ever dream." Her voice was low and menacing.
Saar didn't give C'xoila a chance to answer before she turned her attention to the two raptors. "It is your clan that is being attacked. I am looking for others to fight against Herak with me. I assume you would accompany me?"
ShadowRunner was wiping the mud off himself, but he eyed the allosaur warily. "We shall help, but only if you swear that you will do nothing to us or my clan."
Saar gazed evenly at him. "If I had intended to do anything to you, you would already be dead. As for your clan, I could care less about them; it's Herak I want to battle." Turning her attention once again to C'xoila and Cerule, she asked, "Are you with me?"
Mist watched the allosaur converse with her brother. She saw his defiant look at the allo who spoke to him. She cringed and leaned on her staff waiting for the allo to turn to the other two blue creatures.
"Shadow.." she hissed quietly trying to draw his attention. "Shadow..." he turned and seeing her distressed quickly moved to her side. She regarded him and turned her head away in shame. "I can't fight. Go on without me and I'll catch up." Shadow seemed to have forgotten to pay attention to his sister's condition since he'd arrived but now saw her midsection was oddly shaped and she breathed shallowly. Dried up blood stains were seen at his mouth. He frowned and shook his head emphatically.
"I stay with you. But we must find shelter..." He helped pull her to her feet and he felt her lean on him heavily. Her staff supported her other side and with barely a glance behind them they quickly and quietly disappeared in the forest, hoping to come across friendly clans or at least somewhere to wait out Mist's injury.
Strongbow was more than worried now. It had been more than a week since he had sent Esk to find Azonthus. Esk had still not returned. What if something had happened to Esk? Worse, what if something had happened to Azonthus?
Azonthus, he shook his head despairingly. What will the clan do without her? Will we survive? Darkmoon is still out there, this is exactly the opportunity he needs.
"Well, now someone else must be sent," he said to nobody in particular. He sat in the ever-present shade of a giant redwood and contemplated what to do.
As he was sitting there, his adopted son, Twotalon, walked past. Talon was obviously on his way out looking for more herbs for healing.
"Talon!" he called out. "I have a mission for you."
Talon stopped when he heard Strongbows voice. Turning, he saw him sitting. He bowed to show the proper respect. "Do with me as you wish."
"Your sister has not returned to her clan yet. Esk was sent, and she has not returned. I have just been to see D'ial and he will no longer be able to make his way to the sacred grounds alone. If Azonthus is not back soon, he may die and this clan would be without a leader. I am sending you to find her."
Talon nodded once, "I shall find her before D'ial dies. You have my word."
Strongbow stood. "Good. Then I will see you again before the new moon rises."
Talon turned and headed back the way he had come at a slow jog.
Talon loped through the silent forest. He had been searching for two days now and had seen no sign of either Esk or Azonthus. Still, he kept on. He refused to give up on her, his sister must be found!
He tested the air to see if he found anything ,and he did. Utahraptors! It's been so long since I've talked to one... He felt a yearning for the one who had raised him stir deep within. Yes, I will go speak with them. They may know something of Az.
He veered off the small hunting track he had been following and headed for the Utahraptors. What he saw startled him; one was practically being dragged along by another. Only the other Utah and her staff held up the clearly injured female. He rushed over to them. "Run Fast, Seek Peace. I am a healer. Perhaps I can help the lady?"
The pair of utahs had been walking along for over a day now. They had stopped to rest and Shadow constantly worried over his sister. She looked sick but refused to admit anything was truly wrong. They stopped for the night and rested in a tall tree. When the sun rose the next morning they were off, not sure where they were heading when ShadowRunner noticed a faint hunting trail. Following it he came to a branch and suddenly saw a form ahead of him.
A velociraptor stood in the path and suddenly rushed up to them. He spoke quickly and looked at MistReaver in concern. Shadow was ready to defend his sister but saw a sling of herbs across the velociraptor's shoulder. He seemed eager to help her and just in general to be in their presence. Shadow cocked his head warily and regarded his smaller cousin. Why did he speak to them in that manner? What did he want?
"Please," he asked, "I can help her."
Shadow looked from the small healer to his sister, who was leaning on him more than ever and seemed to be struggling more and more to even breath. Her weight leaned heavily on his shoulder and her head hung while she gasped for air. "Why you help her?" He knew his sister needed help, but why would this velociraptor just offer to?
Seeing her pain dug deeper into Talon than if he had been attacked by a Tyrannosaur. Just the fact that she was a Utahraptor and needed help made him think back. He could remember helping Darkmoon and other Hunters as a young hatchling. He had always liked to help. But, once the war with the Sharpclaw began, he realized just what it was he had to do. The image of his one-time father limping off into the Basin, injured and unable to defend himself, haunted him still. "Because, she needs it. You know it and I can tell it just by watching her. I can help her, but only if she will allow it."
Shadow reluctantly stepped aside to let the smaller raptor work on his sister. He half hooded his eyes and watched the velociraptor like a hawk, he knew the small healer was right; Mist was in poor shape. But if he dared hurt her...
ShadowRunner watched as the two sat back against some soft palm fronds and the velociraptor hurriedly wrapped her midsection in fern leaves. He gave her a pulpy mixture of something Shadow didn't recognize and Mist soon dropped off. While she slept the small velociraptor let some more mixtures sit and watched the dark gray raptor. In time he turned to ShadowRunner himself who sat a few paces behind him.
"I am Talon, of the Sharpclaw Clan." He seemed to pause saying this but then shook his head and held out his claw. "Run fast, seek peace." Shadow cocked his head and held out his claw in the same manner.
"The name is ShadowRunner, of the Sea of Cold clan. We were seeking shelter. My clan and our ancient clan grounds are under attack. You know of it? Named Sanctuary of the Clans...."
"No, I have never heard of the Sanctuary, but I do know what I can about shelter. My clan will offer what little protection we can. I know it isn't much, but it is better than sending someone in as bad a condition as your sister into battle. I can only tell you the way and then go. I wish I could stay to help, but Strongbow has sent me searching for Azonthus. Perhaps you have seen her?"
The large silver and black Utahraptor gazed at the smaller velociraptor while thinking. "Perhaps is you gave me a description… I do know of one velociraptor that I have seen recently, but she may not be the one you are looking for."
Talon nodded. "She's fairly small for a velociraptor, about two and half feet tall, red and yellow markings…" As he described his adoptive sister, Talon carefully watched ShadowRunner's face.
"Three scars across the left side of her face?" ShadowRunner offered.
"Yes! How did you…? You know where she is?"
"I found her several weeks ago in the Sanctuaries grounds. She wasn't in too good of shape at the time. Badly malnourished and hardly breathing as I recall."
Talon gasped in horror. What in Ogthar's name could have happened to her? Azonthus was a warrior; he had watched her train and knew she was a good one. "And now how is she?"
ShadowRunner shook his head sadly. "I do not know. Last I saw she was still in the healers, but recovering steadily."
"Then I must go to her!" Talon stood immediately. "Which way is your clan?"
"To the East, but you wouldn't find it on your own. And you must not go there now! It is under attack. I fear it is not well for your sister if the raptors of the Sanctuary do not win the battle."
"All the more reason I have to go to her. Please, where is she?"
"Take Mist to your clan first, then I will show you the way."
Talon considered. If he did not leave now he had no idea of what could happen to Azonthus. She needed his help. But, Azonthus was not here and these Utahraptors needed his help too. He carefully weighted the consequences of each action. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he sat back down. "We will wait for your sister to awaken, then I will take you to my clan. But, you must take me to yours the moment MistReaver is safe. It's a matter of my clans survival."
Shadow wandered a few yards away into the forest. He needed to be alone. Now. He sighed heavily and contemplated a large millipede crawling across a fern palm. What was wrong..?
Azonthus leapt from the tree as the last Allosaur passed her, initiating the pinscher movement that had been planned. Soon, others followed and all the Allosaurs were surrounded. Her goal was Herak, but she wasn't sure if she could find him. If only I had a view from the sky! Then I could find him.
Azonthus looked up at the sky as she wished for an aerial view, and to her amazement saw a Skybax! "Hey! Bax!" she whistled. "I need your help!"
"What do you need?" Highsoar asked, a bit surprised by the yell from the raptor.
Thakur raised his head from the now dead allosaur. He hadn't wanted to kill it but it had nearly crushed one of the clan members. He shook his head sadly and looked around.
There weren't many allosaurs left, both utahs and carnosaurs lay bleeding, dying. He looked on, a mixture of pain and disgust rising in him. The slaughter had to end.
He noticed the small raptor he was training in a tree, with her eyes on the sky. The fool...in a battle one wasn't to contemplate the stars! He growled but was stopped by a large allosaur backing into him. He snapped at its thigh and noticed it was being charged by a large group of raptors. Were they winning after all?
Tamith listened as Liquidfire's steps sounded farther and farther away down the hall she had taken. As soon as the sound vanished, Dylan turned and walked out of the library. Tamith, Thistlebud and Quickstride followed.
"Where are you going?" Thistlebud asked.
"I don't know about you," he replied, "but I'm not about to stay down here and wait while some allosaurs destroy the place up there. I know what happened over at Waterfall City and I'm not going to let them ruin this place too. And besides, my partner is somewhere up there."
Both saurians looked at each other and nodded.
"What can we do to help?" Quickstride asked.
"Well," Dylan said, "I only have two bows, but you'll think of something, if you want just hang around the shadows until you feel you're needed," he turned to Tamith,
"We better get going."
Tamith nodded and followed him up to the surface. She felt excitement and apprehension swell inside of her. A few minutes later, they got their first real glimpse of the battle. Allosaurs everywhere, she wasn't sure if it was because they looked so huge or if it really was that many but it looked like over a hundred. A sudden flashback at what had happened back at Waterfall City sent a chill down her back.
She swallowed hard and kneeled besides Dylan who was analyzing the situation.
"We'll be safer up on a tree out of biting range..." he commented.
"Those two over there look fine," Tamith said pointing at a pair some meters away, "and it won't be hard to get there without being noticed."
Dylan nodded, inhaled deeply and smiled.
"Ok, I'll watch your back and you watch mine."
Tamith nodded, "And everyone else's," she grinned, "Why is it that you always get us in the middle of some trouble?"
Dylan smiled innocently and pointed at himself in disbelief.
"Yeah, you," Tamith told him, "Good luck and make sure you come back in one piece ok?" He smiled.
Mentally bracing herself, Tamith sprinted across the stretch of ground between her and her tree as low as she possibly could. Throwing the bow over her shoulder, she climbed up the tree until she was sure she was above the large carnivores' biting range. Looking around, she saw many twigs and branches that only needed a little sharpening to make decent arrows. She placed her first arrow on her bow and began to draw it in towards her and made sure that Dylan had made it safely to his tree. Here goes nothing.
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