|Ava gratefully took refuge behind the much larger Corythosaurus, her lightly bleeding side hurting. What was this creature that hunted her?
Rico stared in amazement at the huge creatures before him. The one was as tall as some of the buildings back in the city! Still... they looked like already plucked chickens, maybe they'd taste as good.
"Lucas, we could send Namir after the smaller one. Bet they taste good."
Lucas inspected the two creatures thoughtfully. What in the world were they? He had traveled since infancy and never had he come across similar things. Still, Rico had a point. If this was the big game of the island so be it. He'd eaten weirder things before.
"That big one doesn't look very happy," he commented. "Get behind me and prepare to run if things get out of hand. I'll get his attention."
With that he dropped to a crouch and made his way minding to keep himself hidden under the tall grass. The giant was too busy with Namir to notice him so he took that chance to aim. Lucky for them, he was downwind from the creature. He noticed the thick hide and knew that these bullets wouldn't do much harm. He'd had to shoot repeatedly if he wanted to bring it down, but that wasn't his purpose. If he could just panic it enough to give Namir... Aiming for the upper left thigh, he fired.
Karua bellowed in surprise and spun around quickly, throwing Dylan off his back. The tiger saw his chance and once again leapt at the Parasaurolophus. This time, the tiger landed on her back and dug deeply into the tough skin.
Ava dropped and tried rolling on the tiger, but the large cat was faster and leapt off. Ava felt the weight off her back and tried her hardest to get up again, but the tiger was on her side in a flash. The one thing saving her was the predators' complete lack of knowledge about her species...
Dylan didn't even have time to cry out a warning. Everything moved in slow motion after the deafening noise of the shot. Having been thrown off his partner's back, he landed hard on the floor loosing his breath for a few eternal seconds after landing hard of the floor. He crawled up to his knees and heaved in precious oxygen desperately. His head twirled and his vision blurred for a moment but he held on to consciousness with all his might. Looking up, he saw the stripped creature pouncing on the defenseless hadrosaur.
"No…" he muttered gathering what was left of his strength and leaping towards the great cat that stood a few feet away.
Half stunned, but not willing to let the saurian die while he could still fight, Dylan leaped at the large cat. The cat was bigger than as he was, but that didn't deter the human. He punched the cat hard in the head and wrestled it off the injured saurian. Still, the feline’s tremendous strength won out. Namir roared his rage at the puny humans attempt to stop him and simply rolled over the already stunned human, trying to get him off his back. The stunt worked, and Dylan was left completely unconscious and well hidden in the tall grass.
Again, Namir turned to his prey, roaring and claws out, he moved in for the kill. But, the saurian would not feed the cat this day. Karua, though slightly stunned, moved in and swiped the cat away with his forearms. Turning to the side, he struck a defensive position and again advanced on the tiger, bellowing far louder than anything the massive feline could produce.
Too confused by the many attacks and the strange creature advancing on him, Namir turned around and ran back to Lucas. He would find easier prey later.
Lucas had been too busy trying to distract the larger saurian to notice the human from its back, or see the human attack his cat.
The head trapper patted his exhausted tiger. "That’s Ok, Boy," he told him. "You’ll get him next time." Perhaps Namir had injured the creature enough for him to simply shoot it and put it out of any pain it had to be in.
"Lucas! There's a human there! I saw him! He fell from el más grande de los animales back!"
The older man frowned. "Are you sure? I didn't see anything."
"Sí! When you shot the things leg, he fell off! Then he tried to fight Namir!"
"Rico, if you're playing one of your jokes…"
"I'm not! He's there!"
Lucas reloaded the rifle. "Stay here. One of those animals could try to trample you if you got too close. I'm going to see if we can't eat that smaller one." Amazingly, the human was able to walk right up to the injured animal, without any protest from either it or the larger creatures.
Not paying any attention to the order, Rico ran out from under the trees and started looking around the area where he knew he saw the human fall. He made sure to keep a fair distance from both of the creatures, but when he noticed the big one nosing something on the ground, he went over to investigate. There, he found what he had known was there.
"Mira! I found him! See? He's right here!"
Lucas hurried over to look. Sure enough, Rico had been telling the truth. Stupid kid, he could hardly believe him because of his pranks!
Lucas knelt by the unconscious boy. It was indeed a human, not any older than Rico. Putting the rifle down, Lucas lightly nudged the boy, but received no response.
"Rico, you listen to me this time. Get something to lead that smaller animal with. I don't think it'll try to hurt us, but be careful. Something that size could do a lot of damage just by stepping in the wrong place. Maybe if we take the smaller one, the bigger one will follow."
When Rico reached the smaller creature, he was surprised when it actually took a couple steps closer to him, limping slightly. Namir had left many wounds on the beast’s side and back, but the creature still lived. Lucas lowered the rifle and gently stroked the animal’s neck where it wasn't injured. In the end, both took off their belts and used them as a leash.
"Mira eso!" Rico exclaimed. "Tame as a horse!” He gently tugged on the makeshift leash and the animal followed. So, it seemed they had caught something worth far more to the zoo than a simple elephant!
Lucas picked up the strange youth and carried him. "Let's head back to camp. Hopefully Lt. Tates will know something about medicine."
Rico nodded, but remained silent. He kept a firm hold on the creature’s leash and made note that the larger beast was indeed following just behind them. Maybe they were related somehow? The smaller could be the female of the species… Or maybe it was the largers child…
Blue Eyes' head snapped up as he heard the gunshots. "Thunder? No... It wasn't thunder, wrong pitch... Landslide? No...Couldn’t be a landslide....Tree falling... No that’s impossible; it’s something else..." He began to head for the source of the sound, running on his swift, agile legs and allowing the armor to clang and shift around him, probably drawing more attention to himself than he should. What he can't run around he leaps over with strong legs.
Minstelae heard the sounds of the little troodont she had been following. She had noticed him leaving, and had tried to get his attention, but he hadn't noticed her. She had decided to follow him, mainly out of boredom and want for companionship. But the sounds she heard nearby as she caught up to the running troodont scared and worried her. She had never heard sounds quite like this before, and it was hard to place them. Even though scared, she continued on her way, being ready to assist if anything had gone awry.
As the group dragged the Chicken-thing along, they became painfully aware of the fact that something else was following.
In the long grass, several of the men thought they saw a figure flitting from cover to cover.
"Namir!" Lucas called, the great cat bounding over to him quickly. "See if you can see or smell that thing that is following..."
He never had the chance to finish the sentence, for the 'thing' that had been following them appeared, less than three meters away from him.
A man, tall and wrapped in a cloak and hood appeared, as if from nowhere, right next to the group of men. A large staff of ironbound wood extended towards them. From under the cowl, a voice spoke. "I would advise you Master Lucas, to leave that cat to its own devices, and talk awhile with me."
Lucas simply stared. "And you are?" he asked, fingering his rifle in case this man proved dangerous.
"Just what you are, a shipwrecked sailor on this island; I advise you to put that stupid thing away, it will do you no good here." He strode confidently towards where the astonished sailors stood.
Lucas narrowed his eyes taking a few seconds to study the stranger. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Rico was doing the same thing. There was something about the stranger he didn't like, but he decided to simply take it as his usual lack of trust people appearing out of the blue. Still, he was stranded here, much like them.
"My apologies,” Lucas started lowering his rifle. “It’s simply a reaction. No harm intended. As you can see, sir," he continued. "This young man may need medical attention." Lucas motioned at the limp form of the brown-hair youth he was carrying. “It would seem unwise to me to simply deny my responsibilities to my shipmates who are expecting our return and to him, so please, come with us and join us at camp. We can offer you some dinner and shelter from these stormy winds. There, if you wish, we can talk.”
“Señor?” Rico said with doubt all over his voice.
“Come,” Lucas told him, “Lead on the beast, and let’s head back to camp.”
He turned around motioning for the stranger to follow setting his mind on not speaking another word to him until they reached camp.
“Vamos, Namir,” Rico called at the tiger. Namir took one last look at the strange man and trudged over to his master’s side.
Gareth walked along with the trappers, staring the one called Lucas, who owned the tiger, in the face. "I hope you gentlemen don't mind me interfering with your hunting party, but it would be best for all of us if you let those two go," he gestured with his hooded head towards the two dinosaurs. “I'm sure they didn't appreciate the thrashing you and your pet cat gave them."
Lucas frowned. "Who are you, the warden of this place or something? And how do you know our names?"
Gareth just laughed. "I am no more the warden of this place than I am the queen of England; but, this place and these people are under my protection, yes. As for me knowing your names, you and your friends ought to have been more observant since you got here. I've been shadowing you ever since."
"What do you mean, 'these people'," asked Rico, puzzled. "There's no one here but us!"
"And you think that the two you are pulling along are dumb animals, Eh?"
"Que?” Rico asked, still slightly confused. Nobody else was around! He glanced around, hoping to find other humans.
Gareth smiled inwardly, amused by these obviously dumb dolphinbacks.
Blue eyes circled the group quickly as he approached, watching the tiger in particular. After about a minute, he positioned himself downwind and watched carefully, not wanting to bound into the situation. Sharp saurian eyes glanced the group over to see their reaction. He was aware of his 'shadow,' the saurian that had been following him since the beach. He let out a faint squawk-like noise, to alert it of his position, hoping the sound would be mistaken for a bird by most of the humans. He paced anxiously as he watched, occasionally his retractable claw taping against a stone or branch.
Minstelae heard a bird-sound in the foliage nearby, but she knew that it wasn’t a bird. She knew that it was that troodont she had been following, mainly because that’s where his scent was, and because she understood the Troodontian language. She makes sure she is well-hidden herself, and grunts really softly in return, hoping that no one hears her except for the troodont. She slowly began to make her way over towards his direction, being exceedingly careful not to reveal to these strange people that she was around. Slowly, she makes her way over there...
Blue Eyes' head snaps up as he hears the gunshots. "Thunder? No....it wasn't thunder wrong pitch...landslide? No...Couldn’t be a landslide....Tree falling....no that’s impossible its something else..." He begins to head for the source of the sound running on his swift agile legs allowing the armor to clang and shift around him as he runs probably drawing more attention to himself then he should. What he can't run around he leaps over with strong legs.
Minstelae hears the sounds of the little troodont she had been following. She had noticed him leaving, and had tried to get his attention, but he hadn't noticed her. She had decided to follow him, mainly out of boredom and want for companionship. But the sounds she hears nearby as she catches up to the running troodont scare and worry her. She had never heard sounds quite like this before, and it was hard to place them. Even though scared, she continues on her way, being ready to assist if anything had gone awry
Having journeyed from Bonabba to Chandara for the Annual Southeastern Conference of Hatchery Workers, Mathaira trekked further down the coast. There she examined the nesting materials available in Chandara's bay, planning to return to the city's outskirts and the sky galley boarding platform where she would embark on the voyage back to her village home.
~~~~~Though not mandatory for hatchery workers residing in other regions of the Island, Mathaira had noted that each of Dinotopia's hatcheries were represented by at least one individual, even the distant Romano Hatchery. Thus she was pleased to encounter her Ovinutrix friend, Ruby, with whom she had worked during her previous service at the Romano Hatchery, the hatchery of her birth and younger years prior to her transfer to Bonabba's Hatchery. The two friends attended together a series of lectures pertinent to hatchery work, including:
'Comparative Differences and Similarities in Nesting Materials Preferred by Coastal Residing Saurians, Representing Each of Dinotopia's Quadrants'
' Herbal Teas: Infusions and Decoctions Useful for Facilitating the Expelling of Eggs in Expectant Female Saurians, A Continuing Study'
'Possible Techniques for Improving the Survival Rate Among Hatchlings Who Pre-Emerge from Their Eggshells, Including Extended Supplemental After-Care'
The last was expounded upon by Rojo, an aged and learned Ovinutrix, his wisdom, skill, and experience highly regarded among hatchery workers. Though quite unaware at the time, Mathaira would find the knowledge imparted by Rojo in the last lecture to prove invaluable...
After the closing of the Conference the two friends had embraced fondly as they bid one another farewell.
"Breathe deep, seek peace, travel safe," cautioned Ruby.
Mathaira replied in a like manner, "Breathe deep, seek peace, journey well."
The sudden storm which struck the southeastern region of the Island as Mathaira trekked the shoreline along Chadara's bay had taken Mathaira unaware but not unprepared. As a native Dinotopian having grown up along the northwestern coastal region, Mathaira knew to seek shelter in one of the many small caves created by rock formations common along the shores of the Island. Emerging from the security of her rocky retreat, Mathaira surveyed the desolate surroundings, noticing that the few sparse trees in the area seemed to have weathered the storm excepting a large palm tree which had been uprooted from the sandy soil bordering the beach. Anxious to continue her journey down the coastline Mathaira almost passed by, but years of viewing her environment through the eyes of a hatchery worker compelled her to pause.
Amidst the palm fronds which had once swayed gently with the ocean breezes but which were now scattered upon the sand lay the remains of a nest. Edging cautiously closer so as not to disturb the contents, Mathaira was dismayed to find a crushed egg within the nest, the fragile remains of a too early for life Rhamphorynchus visible among the shell fragments. Unnerved by the tiny life which would not have a chance to flourish Mathaira glanced away, her gaze encountering a scene which brought further sadness to her heart.
At the base of a nearby rocky outcropping lay the battered remains of a pair of Rhamphorynchus, no doubt the parents of the deceased nestling. Out of reverence for the winged family Mathaira gently scooped up in a large palm frond the remains of the pre-hatched Rhamphorynchus, laying it gently alongside its parents so that the trio could bid farewell together to their earthly life upon the Island.
Not covering the bodies but leaving them for the Island to reclaim its own, Mathaira removed a small pouch from her pack, remnants from the previous Festival of the Departed, and scattered upon the family the dried crushed petals of a white lily, the flower of the departed. She bid them well as they journeyed into their next life, "Sing every day," intoned Mathaira.
At that moment a barely perceptible gust of wind from the ocean blew the delicate wing membrane of the female Rhamphorhynchus, revealing what appeared to be an intact egg clutched in her footclaws. With the practiced eye of an experienced hatchery worker Mathaira detected a fine crack in the otherwise perfect egg, cautiously picking it up for closer inspection.
"It seems to be viable," Mathaira reflected hopefully.
Recalling Rojo's lecture at the Conference, Mathaira loosely wrapped the egg in a palm frond, packing moist sand around it before wrapping the egg in a palm frond again, this time tightly. Enclosing the entire egg parcel in one of her spare tunics, Mathaira placed it carefully into the pack slung over her shoulder before resuming her trek, addressing the unhatched egg as she did so, "One raindrop raises the sea," mentally naming the hatchling to be and murmuring, "Storm Rider."
Journeying further down the shoreline in search of other nestlings who might have survived the storm, Mathaira edged into the shadows of a ginko tree as she caught a glimpse of unfamiliar figures a bit further inland...
"Dad, you promised!" Kie exclaimed, slightly frustrated. His father was trying to convince him to go into the middle of nowhere and chase after his cousin, Ava. She was supposed to be having a quiet camping trip to herself, but Kie's father was known to be a bit of a worrywart.
"It will be lonely for her. She'll be glad to see you." Mr. Turtlecrest stated. They both knew it was a weak argument.
"You know, I did have plans for the school break." Kie said, doing his best to weasel out of the forced spying mission. Just then; Kie's best friend, an Ouranosarus named Peb, and two Sinosauropteryxes arrived.
"Please tell me you have something interesting for us to do over the holiday," Sharpfeather, the albino female Sinosauropteryx begged. Before Kie could stop him, Mr. Turtlecrest had the two carnivores hooked on the idea. Peb was unsure about going to an unfamiliar place, but even he had to admit surely the Flats would be safe.
In the end, Kie was dragged along. With Peb and Quickquill, the other Sinosauropteryx, chorusing "Ninety-nine bottles of Pompa Juice on the wall," they left the gates of Sauropolis and headed for the Flats.
Ava didn’t know what to think at first when the men put straps around her neck. Did they think she needed to be led? When she backed up a little, though, shooting pain in her left hip quickly made her forget the belts.
The human patted her on the neck and murmured something to her in some foreign language. Apparently, he didn’t realize the only thing keeping her on all fours was her injured leg. All it would take on her part to get away from him would be to stand up properly!
She followed willingly when the two humans started walking towards the beach. Hopefully, they had medicine and would care for her wounds. The Sabertooth she would not go near, or even the human who seemed to actually be the felines’ partner. Still, that human carried the unconscious Dinotopian boy. Perhaps they were helping him too.
“Are you all right?” The Corythosaur asked her.
“No!” She honked. “I can’t stand up straight because my leg hurts too much.”
The much larger saurian moved in next to her. “Lean on me,” he said.
Gratefully, Ava accepted the extra support.
“I’m Karua,” he introduced.
“Ava. Do you know what that thing attacking me was?”
“No, I’m sorry. Though it reminds me of a Sabertooth.”
Ava nodded. “That’s what I thought.” She studied the Dinotopian boy for a short time before realizing why his cloths looked familiar. “You’re Freshwater Habitat partners?”
“Yes. That’s Dylan. We came here to drop some ulieka in the river. Apparently, there was a cave in at the source and lime was leaching into the water. We came with some friends, habitat partners of the forest. I hope he’s Ok…” The saurian half of the Freshwater team was greatly concerned for his friend and partner. That fall hadn’t been an easy one, and being rolled over certainly hadn’t helped matters any.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Ava reassured.
By this time, they had reached the beach. There was a strange human there, apparently waiting for them. He seemed slightly hostile, and the Parasaurolophus was unsure what to make of him. Still, the humans accompanying the hadrosaurs seemed to understand his strange words and invited him along to wherever they were going.
Ava meekly followed, leaning on Karua for support and awaiting medical attention.
Blue eyes decided to try something. Realizing it’s a risk, but feeling it’s far more valuable to demonstrate to the dolphin backs that dinosaurs are intelligent, he raised his head up so that they could see him, then stretched out a scaly hand in a passive method.
"Breath Deep, Seek peace," he said in Dinotopian, hoping that the other human could understand and translate to the dolphin backs.
Minstelae decided that since there is somebody helping out the dinosaurs, that she might as well come out and say something. She just hoped she could remember the English she had learned so long ago. She often picked up languages, among other things, when she traveled from place to place, even if most of what she knew were various carnosaur languages. Still, she did know human and English, as well. She steps out of hiding, looks at the humans, and can't help but laugh to herself after what she had just heard about 'dumb animals.'
"Hello, how are you doing?" Minstelae says in perfect English, although, it does have quite a growling accent to it. She bobs her head. "Nice items you have trapped there... plan on releasing them soon?" she snickers; glad she had polished her claws today.