| Not usually one to submit to wandering, the lone Ornitholestes was looking for discoveries and new things.
She had been wandering the Blackwood Flats at this point in her adventure. She wanted to learn more about the island, the island that she had been brought into the world and brought up upon. She had a fascination with all life and found beauty in all living things. Always marveling at the flight of the Pterosaurs, she had been watching and following a flock of them when, to her horror, she saw one swoop from the sky and crash headfirst into a grove of trees.
Concerned for the health of the great flyer, she quickly ran into the unknown forest. Soon disorientating herself, she was relived when she heard its call for help. Hurrying towards the injured creature, she found it in the pain-free mercy of unconsciousness.
FireEyes woke up after an hour of being unconscious, and saw a raptor standing over him. He shrieked in panic, and asked the raptor where he was. But, all too late he remembered no dinosaur or human could understand his language, then he let a mournful caw for his mother.
Cometracer looked around for her son. She could have sworn on her life that he had called out for help, nevertheless, she zigzagged around the clan to see if he was there. He wasn't.
She alerted the clan that he was missing and went of to look for him. Dazzlewing paused for thought. He was certain FireEyes would learn something out of this, but he flew off to join the clan before he thought it through.
The seven-foot long Ornitholestes became worried that the Pterosaur was going to try and fly away. His wing was broken and if he tried to fly, it would only make things worse. At first she tried to calm down the agitated flyer by cooing and making soothing gestures. When this did not work she resolved what she must do. In her mind and looking towards the sky she asked her friend for forgiveness. For what she was about to do would break her promise, but a life was more important right now than an oath. Steeling her nerves, she took a deep breath and said, "Be calm, I am a friend," in pterosaur.
FireEyes was unsure. Should he trust this dinosaur? He decided he would, because he felt a strange kinship with this Ornitholestes.
Kael O’Connor hurried up the walked up the steps to the Great Library taking time to savor the pastry he was having of his dessert. He had taken a lunch break an hour earlier that he had used to wonder around the colorful streets of Waterfall City in search of an appetizing lunch and to give his mind a rest of the books he had been translating. He took a moment to look up at the sky and noticed how cloudy it was. He grinned at his luck, knowing that it would rain soon and that he had finished his break without having to run for shelter.
Once inside the library, he smiled his greetings at Enit, Chief Librarian and headed straight to his office where his tasks awaited.
Kael started in surprise, then turned to find Hikari Sakamoto smiling at him. Hikari’s parents had come form Japan and had arrived to Dinotopia after a storm sank the boat they had been traveling on. Hikari and her twin sister Satsuki had survived thanks to their parent’s super human efforts at keeping them alive on the small lifeboat they had arrived in for two days when they had only been a year old. Fourteen years later, Satsuki had decided on becoming a Savanna Habitat partner while her sister, Hikari, had come to the Great Library to learn language and philosophy in order to become a teacher. Kael had taken the young teenager under his wing and for the last year and a half; he had been teaching her all he knew in order for her to achieve her dream. She, on the other hand, had also taught him a great deal. Since both her parents had been born and raised in Japan, they had spoken to their children in Japanese as well as taught them in their costumes. As a result of this, both the twins still had many mannerisms from their distant homeland.
“Good afternoon to you too, Hikari,” Kael replied smiling. “Had a nice lunch, I hope.”
“Hai,” she said. “I was just starting to translate some of the books Tossan and Cassan brought with them like you asked.”
“Ah yes,” he replied eyeing the Japanese script warily. Hikaru’s parents had donated what few books they had salvaged to the Library and it was now up to him to translate them, with Hikari’s help. Speaking Japanese was one thing, but reading it…. Let’s just say he hadn’t had much practice up until now. He sat down and began studying the complex characters when a little Dimorphodon flew in through the window and landed before him.
“What is it,” he asked the little flying reptile assuming it was another massage from Sauropolis.
The Dimorphodon began squawking a message excitedly and Kael listened attentively to every word he said. When he was finished, Kael frowned thoughtfully.
“What is it?” Hikari asked him when she noticed his worried face.
“Dolphinbacks,” Kael replied. “But not entirely lost and helpless, apparently.”
“This is a message from Tamith, do you remember her? She hangs around with Dylan, the curly-hair girl Forest partner with the Triceratops?”
“Hai,” Hikari replied the affirmative.
“Well, apparently a group of them has landed in the Blackwood Flats area and they have brought with them firearms, so far there have been no regrettable occurrences, but Featherlight here says that one of their animals attacked a saurian and that in an attempt to help, my brother was stunned, maybe injured,” he sighed. “Tamith sent him to ask us for a team of Ambassadors to greet the new comers.”
“That’s great,” the Japanese girl said. “After all, you are an ambassador. This is perfect!”
“Yes,” Kael agreed. ”But this is a very delicate situation… Tell you what, I’ll go talk to Nallab and see what he suggests and let you know.”
“Sounds good,” Hikari said. “I’ll take Featherlight to get some food; after all, he has had an exhausting flight! When I’m done, I’ll return here and pick the translating up.”
“Thank you,” Kael said standing. “Oh, one thing, after he’s eaten, could you please bring him to Nallab and me?”
“Sure thing! Good luck!”
As the party huddled behind the protective bulk of the sand dune, the wind and rain began to slack. Light grey clouds began to be visible on the horizon and tiny patches of blue sky appeared.
They had been sheltering from the storm for over a day now and it seemed like the hurricane had finally blown itself away.
Gareth peeped over the lip of the dune, quickly ducking his head back as his face was barraged by stinging sand and seawater. Even under his cloak the young man was soaked to the skin. His companions were as wet and miserable as he was. He slipped quickly back down to where Tamith was replacing the blood and water sodden bandage on Dylan's head.
"I'd say we should be able to move in about an hour and a half so you might want to get ready. Dylan, saddle up Kaura and ask her if she might be able to carry one of the sailors. Ask Mathaira to help you. See you in a minute." Gareth jumped down from his position into the trough and walked quickly along to the bedraggled sailors.
Lucas, Rico and McGreggor where talking quietly to each other.
"Well, gentlemen. It seems as if this storm is almost over so I have come with a proposal. This Island welcomes all newcomers to it and gives them a chance to start a new life. I give you two choices: you can stay here until more, um, 'convenient' transport can be arranged or you can come with us when we return to Chandara today. I leave your decision to you, but please hurry. It is my duty to aid these people and several of our number have been injured by your antics though no doubt unintentional. I'm afraid at least Dylan, the boy, needs serious medical attention and in this weather a skybax paramedic won't be able to fly down here. All up to you now gents!
Lucas nodded. "I agree about the boy. It would be the wisest thing to get him out of this hellish weather as soon as possible."
He paused for a moment and looked around. "Though I personally would love to see more of this charming little place we find ourselves temporarily stranded on, I'm afraid that sadly, we've only just arrive and the men you see before you are the ones that came within two of the three life boats that left our ship. There is still a chance that some of our shipmates came to shore, and leaving without a proper search would not be truly advisable. However, I will stand with my shipmates, whatever decision they may take."
He now turned to the others that came with him. "Lieutenant? Captain? Good Jebar? What would you propose we do?"
Water dripping on his face woke Tony. He groaned and spat out the beaches sand that filled his mouth. His whole body hurt and his throat burned from the sea water he had swallowed.
Looking up, the marooned trapper glared at the dark clouds. Rain drops splattered on the already damp sand.
Grumbling to himself, Tony retreated to the cliffs lining the beach. The beach was no place to be in a storm and he hoped a shelter could be found. None could, and the man huddled against the stone face, nursing his hatred for Rico. If that Mexican hadn’t pulled that prank with the lifeboats, his boat wouldn't have been overflowing and so many lives wouldn't have been swallowed by the sea.
Kael watched as the elderly Dinotopian furrowed his brow in thought and sat down. There was silence for a few moments while the information sank in.
"Things like this have happened before," Nallab said suddenly. "We should be thankful that your friends are there. Both habitat partners will be an excellent example of how we Dinotopians are. Yet I do agree with the girl, Tamith you called her, it would be wise to send a team from here that knows their language and can help with the culture shock."
Kael nodded. "Should I send a rider to find Bix? She left for Sauropolis a few weeks back, but I'm sure she'd come for this. I can think of no one else that would do a better job than her."
"I would want her to be on the team, but with the storm it'd be suicide to send a Skybax to the Capital. I can, however, think of someone for the job," Nallab smiled making his wise eyes twinkle. "You, my young friend, have been her best student. Before you say anything, hear me out. You are fluent in 8 major outside languages, understand the major saurian dialects, and you have a gift with people. If I knew nothing more about you I'd say that was more than enough, but I do know more. Besides, your brother is there and I can tell you are worried about his well being. So I say this, gather a few people together both human and saurian, and go welcome these newcomers."
Kael was speechless for a moment but then nodded.
"I'll see about getting talking to Standtall to give you a lift," Nallab continued. "There’s a few people you must have, though." He stood up and paced around the office. "Take Ressa, he being your partner is the only person I've seen that can out guess you! And you should take Hikari as well, her resourcefulness and inventive is truly admirable, plus she arrive here as a babe and is not a native. That should bring them confidence. Old Irontail is too grumpy, forget him... That friend of yours, the Skybax Rider what's his name again?"
"Yes, him. He'd be perfect to," Nallab said. "Someone from Canyon City would be adequate, and a Rider can deliver messages because I think poor Featherlight has had a long trip."
"He's in the city right now; it shouldn't be hard to find him."
"Perfect! You do that, and this is what you'll tell him to do first...."
Kael made his way to the only place in the entire city where he knew his childhood friend to be. He had spoken to Hikari a few minutes later and had been content with the enthusiastic response from the Asian youth. Ressa, his Fabrosaur partner, had also been too happy to agree in tagging along such an important mission. Nallab had gone to find the young Camarasaurus from Treetown and that left for only another two members of the welcoming committee to be informed. One was Allen, and the other would be up to the young Skybax to notify.
As expected, the young rider was up in the rookery looking after his mount, Highwind. Allen, like Kael, was in his mid-twenties. His build was the typical one amongst most Riders but he was unusually tall. His blonde hair which he normally kept barely under control, was tied back in a brisk pony tail. Upon seeing him, Allen jumped down from the steps he was using to groom Highwind and jogged to greet him.
"Nice to see the moths haven't gotten to you yet," Allen said smiling.
"Yeah," Kael replied grinning. "Too bad lack of oxygen due to high altitudes fried what was left of your brains, Allen."
Allen laughed. "How's your life, old friend? It's been a while."
"Good," Kael replied walking past him towards Highwind. "Moths and all, how is all with you?"
"Perfect," Allen replied. "I was going to fly down to Chandara for the rest of the week, but the storm has us stranded up here. It wouldn't be to smart to go alone, so Highwind and I are waiting it out."
Kael walked towards the golden Skybax and patted his neck fondly. The great reptile turned its head towards him and acknowledged him by resting his beak on his shoulder.
"You know, I still have no idea how you do that," Allen said amazed. "No one can approach a Skybax but the rider, but you never seen to have a problem. Highwind even lets you ride him! I still think you should have come to Canyon City."
"I know," Kael said. "But I truly feel like I am needed here. Besides, you and I would have gotten kicked out. It was for the best that I decided to come here."
Allen nodded. "You are good at what you do. But tell me," at this he grinned. "What is a good librarian doing here, with the rouge rider?"
"I was wondering if you'd be interested in including yourself and Highwind in a welcoming committee for some newly arrived dolphinbacks," Kael said, his gray eyes twinkling. "I'd be like old times."
Allen's face light up. "You bet we would, wouldn't we, Highwind?" The great flyer squawked in agreement.
"Great," Kael said, "Could you do something for us, though? Another member of the party needs to know and we were wondering if you could go tell her."
"Sure," Allen told him. "Where to?"
"The Basin!" he exclaimed. "Who would we get there?"
"Ok," Kael started, "Let me explain the entire situation..."
The last clouds had now passed over head and a warm summer sun was shining down over the bedraggled party of dolphinbacks and Dinotopians. Gareth and Mathaira had saddled up Karua and Ava and the two hadrosaurs were stamping impatiently, making the ground shake.
As Dylan tightened the final straps on Karua's back, Gareth walked over to where the sailors were stripping off their shirts and hanging them on a crudely constructed clothesline in the full glare of the sun.
"Well, it seems like you sailors are going to stay here. I cannot tell how long it will take a rescue party to arrive here, but I should say it won't take any longer than forty-eight hours. K'ren has volunteered to stay here and aid you in your search. The rest of my companions shall journey as quickly as we can to Chandara and requisition aid for you and your comrades. That is all; unless, any of you still wish to accompany us?" Gareth looked over the bunch of ragtag trappers and sailors. Namir shook himself and let out a long purr as his fur stood straight up making him look as he had accidentally fallen into a clothes drier.
Tates looked up from his work. "Yes, most of us will be staying here, but Rico and myself have volunteered to come with you to the city and make inquiries in town. I hope you can accept us into your group." Rico appeared on cue, nibbling on a rockmelon, the juice dribbling down his tanned neck. Gareth grinned.
"You don't need to ask me whether you are acceptable. Ask them!" He pointed to where Kaura, Ava and the other large dinosaurs were lying down to enable the humans and smaller dinosaurs to scramble into seats and cling onto the pebbly or scaly skin.
"Do you mean, we are going to ride those?" asked Tates incredulously
"Uh-huh, and you had better hurry before they stand up, too!"
With that the two dolphinbacks dashed over and with a quick helping hand from the Dinotopians already in the saddle, swung themselves awkwardly into the saddle.
Mathaira watched as Rico and Lt. Tates climbed awkwardly into the saddles atop the large saurians. She turned to Gareth and grinned as if to say This is going to be a long trip. The twinkle in his eyes confirmed that he agreed with her sentiments. To the surprise of the native Dinotopians, the dolphinbacks soon adjusted too their new mode of travel, much to their credit. Rico's wiry frame and natural agility enabled him to accustom himself to the rhythm of the saurians movements beneath him. As muscular in build as Rico was compact, the rigors of Lt. Tates' life in the military and at sea had developed in him a natural athleticism which now served him in good stead as he rode atop the large dinosaur towards Chandara.
Settled comfortably into the saddle, Mathaira busied herself with checking the contents of the pack slung over her shoulder. Having been jostled about considerably during the storm and its aftermath, Mathaira had carefully tended to the unhatched Rhamphorynchus egg before climbing into the saddle. Knowing that it was imperative that the egg remain warm and moist, the hatchery worker had unwrapped the parcel from her tunic and carefully peeled back the outer palm frond. She then dampened the sand and inner palm frond which encased the egg before re-wrapping the entire egg parcel and gently placing it back into her pack. The dampened sand and palm frond would keep the egg moist and the heat from her body would keep it warm.
As she had cared for the egg before the group set forth, Mathaira thought she had heard the first faint pipings of the Rhamphorynchus inside. Usually audible before the egg hatched, the pipings grew louder and more frequent as time for the emerging drew nearer. Though there was still some time before the egg hatched, Mathaira was sure that it would do so before the group reached Chandara. She smiled to herself as she thought that this would be one more surprise in the lives of the recently arrived dolphinbacks.
Gareth strode along between the two massive hadrosaurs, his long, cross country strides easily keeping pace with the dinosaurs. A brisk wind, al that was left to remind him of the storm, whipped his hair around as the young warrior walked along, talking rapidly in English and saurian with the various saurians and humans that wandered or rode near him. Many of the Dinotopians had seen him and all had heard of him. Gareth had been stranded on the island some years before, the only possessions he still had were a pair of long ceremonial daggers and his life as well as the clothes he swam ashore in. Since then he had taken to wandering the land, helping with problems where not necessarily swords but amazing speed, precision and dexterity were needed. Gareth had spent two of his five years on the island among the residents of the lost city, learning the troodon's way of fighting to supplement his own, self taught skill with blade and staff. He had also spent time among the raptor clans, single-handedly besting the leader of the burning talon clan of raptors without weapons. He had also there made one of his greatest friends, Azonthus, the young leader of another clan of raptors. A comment from Rico snapped him back to the present.
"When are we going to reach Chandara, Señor Gareth?"
"Uh, we should arrive at the city by tomorrow morning if we keep up this pace constantly. You should get some sleep, you're going to need it!" replied Gareth
Tamith watched in relief as the beach finally disappeared from sight. Behind her, Dylan winced as Triforce tripped one of her great feet over a rock causing them both to jump in the saddle.
“Hanging on back there?” Tamith asked her friend.
“Yes…” he replied none to happily. “Had better days though.”
“Maybe from this one you’ll learn not to pounce creatures with five times your strength, genius.”
“Shut up,” he grumbled weakly.
“You know, I was wondering,” she started.
“What did you tell the lead dolphinback when he came over to check on you before we left?”
“That there would soon be someone coming for them from Waterfall City, family of mine,” Dylan replied.
“Think he understood?” Tamith insisted.
“Because Granda didn’t drill English into Kael and me in vain. I may not use it much, but he said the equivalent of an affirmative,” Dylan told her, then smiled. “Don’t worry, help is on the way. And besides, how much more havoc can they cause here?”
Tamith chuckled. “Let’s hope they aren’t like you, then.” She then looked up and noticed the dolphinbacks’ riding the enormous Karua and smiled. “He seems to be behaving,” she commented.
Dylan looked up to his partner and nodded. “As long as they don’t kick him or a carnivore comes into view, they should be fine. He’s the greatest for a partner.”
Tamith would have said more, but then she heard Mathaira gasp. She turned around worried, but the Hatchery worker smiled back at her reassuringly.
“It’s hatching,” the other young woman said. Tamith then noticed for the first time what Mathaira had treasured within her pack all this time: an egg.
She smiled happily knowing what an honor it would be to witness and be present in the welcoming of another life in this land she so loved.
Dromaeosaur hadn't rested all night and he was tired. He smelled humans, four Hadrosaurs, and a strange smell like a Sabertooth. Mingled in with these smells was the smell of water. These must be Dolphinbacks. He ran forward as fast as he could, despite his sleepiness. "Hello inshnashkabba" He yelled in his usual cross between English and Megorian. The dolphinbacks where trembling once they saw him. Obviously they have never seen a pearly white Megaraptor before.
"I'm so glad to devoire ney." At this, the humans had seemed more frightened. They must have thought he said, "I'm so glad to devour you." What he had meant to say was, "I'm so glad to meet you." "Le Watterfalle Citen? (Waterfall City?) I could take [points to dolphinbacks] there ne."
FireEyes cawed suddenly. He did know her language! He had learned how to write it in Chandaran!
He hoped she would understand, for she was his only hope of ever finding his home!
Dromaeosaur Lucy looked up; Tinsue was barking, which meant that something was going on. She had traveled to Prosperine to see an aunt; but, while she was picking berries, she had gotten lost. She had been lost for two days now. She hid in the bushes, and saw what had been causing Tinsue to act weirdly. A man, on his own,was stumbling on the beach.
"Ashed mon heret gra?" She asked him. What she had actually said was, "What are you doing?" But he seemed more interested in Tinsue. Only then did see notice he was a dolphinback. She slowly backed away....
Stormtracer smiled inwardly.
"Myops not winning. Must win." Myops was a friend of hers, and by a stroke of luck, they had happened to meet each other in a small fishing village.
"Ovinutrix play chess?" he had asked. So they had both gone to a faraway beach to play. But Stormtracer was worried; she had heard a scream.
"Man kids, no find, no look," Myops said. But she wanted to look.
"Myops, they might be in trouble..." but before Myops had a chance to say anything, the Ovinutrix sped off.
"Myops fool," Myops said but followed her.
Then they found a girl staring at a young man. "Hear, what is this about?" Myops shushed her. "Dolphinback." he whispered.