Having seen the condition of the raptor who had been carried up the stairs of the Inn after having been exposed to the freezing conditions which swirled continuously about Thermala, Ajzik knew from previous contact with those not of this region that the icy temperatures could have a devastating, if not fatal effect, on those not acclimated to the terrain.
"Come on, Mathaira, it looks like we're going to need more of those blankets from the Trading Post," she urged her human companion.
"You're right, Ajzik," Mathaira agreed. She offered several of the blankets from their packs to Saazuka, a human woman who had been upstairs with the chilled raptor, as the woman returned to carry more hot water to fill the tub in the room above. "These will help to keep her warm," Mathaira indicated the room upstairs which housed the raptor. "We're going to get more blankets. I think that we're going to need them for this mission."
The woman thanked the pair before heading to refill the bucket and returned to the room with more hot water and the blankets for the raptor.
Mathaira retrieved her parka and other outer garments, which had been drying by the fire, and bundled up as necessary to endure the frigid cold. Ajzik's thick fur being the only insulation she needed.
Az stayed with her friend through the night, constantly adding warm water to the tub and trying to bring up the Utahraptors body temperature. The extreme cold of the Forbidden Mountains had taken its toll on the theropod, but Az refused to let her friend die.
Blue Eyes, despite his best attempts, could not manage to stay awake. He had exerted himself too much through the day and needed to rest. He had climbed into an unused chair around one in the morning and fallen into a deep sleep.
Sunlight began peeking through the window and adding it's warmth to the room.
Az checked on MistReaver one more time and added some more warm water. Mist's skin was a better color, and felt a little warmer to the touch.
Az's eyelids were as heavy as a young sapling laden with snow, her head bent slightly at the weight of them. MistReaver had been moved from the slowly cooling water and was now wrapped in thick fur on top an extra padded nest bed. She lay quite still, her breath came in short gasps but her skin looked healthy. Blue Eyes, the troodon, was curled up on a large human chair that was padded, a hint of worry on his face.
Kilo opened the door quietly and pushed his head into the room. His bulky shoulders came next at a rather tight fit and his smaller plates protested by scraping against the thatches roof; his stomach, plates and the rest of him down to the lazily swinging tail refused to enter though. All he wanted to do was to check if they were awake and well.
Az snapped awake; it was so very hard to sneak up on a predator. Az looked at the big orange tinted stegosaur with surprise, words escaped from her mouth in wonder before she could stop them. "How did you get up the stairs?" she blurted quietly.
Kilo smiled, "What stairs?"
Fortunately, the Inn was well equipped for large animals. Their stairs were covered with wood for ease on frostbitten feet, the actual structure was carved from stone, and with enough maneuvering Kilo had worked his way up, curiosity fueling him.
Kilo had been back at the bar, lounging on a resting chair after delivering another message to his friend when he heard the commotion behind him. It had been a while since he was back in Thermala and he had been surprised to find that there were yet again raptors and all sorts of saurians in the Inn. Half listening half drinking his peppery soup (Stegosaurs are fond of raw onions and hot peppers) he listened as a human named Dylan had leaped up on his table and announced they needed volunteers. Kilo had just been standing up and about to walk over and offer his help when duty called him, or rather his lunch of onions, cabbages and ginkgo leaves, added with a few bowls of hot peppers called him.
A few hours later and a few pounds lighter, Kilo walked back into the Inn and found, to his surprise, it empty and deserted. He questioned a small didelphadon that ran by his feet in a rush.
"Everyone is upstairs helping that raptor. Came in in a very bad way, yep it did."
"Thanks," grumbled Kilo in his deep voice. He watched as the Didelphadon scuttled off into the small mammals quarters, a place specially designed to a small mammal's comfort which is quite different from a dinosaurs’.
Kilo, worried but more so curious (after all he'd never met the clawed thing) about the visitor's condition, decided he'd tackle the stairs and have a look. It did take him a while to get upstairs; he slept downstairs in a small stable area normally. It surprised him to find the majority of all the room doors shut, small signs inscribed on their doors told him they were resting and did not want to be disturbed. Slowly he moved along the corridors, wide enough for the more agile Hadrosaurs who came to stay. Still it was a tight fit and his big "hip plates" (plates on top of his hip area, not poking out the sides) scraped along the roof all the way, thankfully not loudly. About to give up he'd stumbled upon a door ajar and looked in.
Az now looked more comforted and looked at Kilo wearily. "Morning already?" she asked, glancing out the condensation soaked window at the warm sunlight filtering in.
"Hmm," Kilo replied realizing it'd taken him the best part of the night to use the lavatory and get up the stairs.
"Is your friend alright?" he asked looking towards the twitching MistReaver.
"She'll be fine..." Azonthus replied looking curiously at Kilo, who still stood in the doorway blocking any hope of a view. "Um, who are you and why did you come up here, and why are you still in the doorway?" Az wondered puzzled and too tired to be anything but blunt.
"Well I was going to volunteer to help you people out with evacuation, but ah, bathroom called. Then I heard about your rather wild friend in trouble. So I came up to investigate. I've been wondering for a while now what you and your friends have been doing in Thermala. And I'm still in the doorway because I'm stuck," Kilo said calmly. Az chuckled quietly in a rumbling growl and Kilo chortled in his raspy voice too.
"Well my friend and I are heading towards Blackfeather Village, but it seems we've been sidetracked..." Az spilled out the whole story quietly and Kilo listened with interest. Finally, after a very tired and bothered Azonthus had finished, Kilo found his legs going numb; they needed to be moved. Blue Eyes was starting to stir too, although MistReaver slept on.
"Well, thank you, Azonthus, for sharing your story, but I must be going. My legs are going numb from standing here so long and I don't wish to interfere to greatly while your friend is so weak. I would be honored to help you out and can walk for miles, and I have seats too." With this Kilo twitched the muscles on the back of his neck making his plates move. People and small saurians alike often rode wedged between the swaying plates of a stegosaur.
Azonthus nodded and thanked Kilo, saying, "I thought you said you were stuck though? Don't you need help to get out of the dooorwa-"
Before Azonthus could finish Kilo had stepped backwards and with ease pulled the wooden doorframe away on his plate tips. The doorway now looked somewhat raw. "Breathe Deep, Seek Peace. The owner of his Inn is a good friend, it's not the first time I've broken something," he said casually quietly walking away down the corridor and tackling the stairs once more.
Az's eyes showed her surprise as she shook her head briefly. Then she stalked over to MistReaver and touched her skin once more. She was back to normal, her skin felt warm.
From the corner Blue Eyes whispered, "Where did the door frame go?"
Moraine watched skeptically as the whole thing with the Utahraptor unfolded itself. She wondered about the raptor's sanity; who would run out into the snow like that then come back half dead? It was miraculous those raptors could survive the trip to Thermala through the bitterly cold winter storms at all. She shook her head.
Never mind the strange one, messengers had been sent on their way to the settlements on the mountain. The evacuation was slowly starting.
A groggy Azonthus came downstairs to find some breakfast for herself and her friends. When they were done eating, Az planned to go in search of Quickstride and her clan. How she would do this and not end up like MistReaver, she didn't know.
"Good morning," Moraine greeted her.
"Hey," Az said, staring at the well rested Habitat partner.
"Hope you and your friend will think twice before taking a walk in the snow again without any cloths?" She smiled.
Cloths… Yes, that would work! Az could borrow a child's cloths and she would be safer from the cold!
"Thanks!" she shouted as she ran the basket of fish and nuts up to her room.
Moraine shook her head, chuckling at the idea of a raptor in cloths… She started to walk out to find if any of her messages through the light towers had been answered yet.
All but two of the messages had been received successfully and most villages were in the process of evacuation.
Quickstride, Highsoar and Klaw arrived in Thermala as night was falling, not to mention the temperature. Weary from traveling uphill in the increasingly decreasing climate, they decided to check into an inn for the night. In the morning they would find their friends.
Kilo had spent the whole day wandering around every house he saw, warning them of the impending danger that the volcano threatened them with. He had spoken to mastodons, humans, Eohippus, and even the cats and now, as the night air crusted with frost, he headed back to the inn. He could feel the icicles on his plates.
The warm air from the inn swamped around Kilo with a welcoming effect that caused his whole body to feel like a melting ice cube. He shivered sending cold droplets flying. He walked up to his favorite resting couch by the bar and sat facing outwards. Already strange saurians were beginning to assemble, looking rather cold. He'd already made a presence of himself to the strange raptors; now he'd go and meet these folks. Casually he made his way over to the small group.
"Breath Deep, Seek Peace," he gurgled.
Mathaira and Ajzik returned to the Inn after a frigid trek to the Trading Post, Mathaira thankful for the knowledge imparted by Ajzik as her Sabertooth friend had instructed her in how to protect herself against the icy temperatures of the Forbidden Mountains. The two friends were laden down with packs containing a good portion of the blanket supply stocked by the Trading Post, the beautifully decorated blankets woven skillfully out of mammal fur by the Tentpole weavers and necessary in this climate to keep individuals from succumbing to the almost fatal exposure which had nearly killed the raptor.
"Breathe Deep, Seek Peace," replied the saber-toothed cat with a purring voice. Kilo spoke "mammal" well as he often was up in this area. Standing next to the cat was a human female wrapped up warmly in spare furs from all sorts of creatures. The furs were damp; they had just come in from the cold too. The human female nodded politely to Kilo, not sure what language to speak to him in.
Kilo replied with, "Greetings, my name's Kilo. You look as cold as I am; do you want to join me by the fire?" This was in near perfect human tongue.
The human smiled; Kilo was always impressed by this human gesture, he wished he could do it himself. "Why thank you Kilo, My name is Mathaira and this is my companion Ajzik," she replied, following Kilo's lazy walk towards the Inn's big fire; Ajzik trotting happily behind her.
Almost every habitat (house) in Thermala had a fire place in it, but the Inn's fireplace was huge, big enough so that even if the Inn was packed full everyone could have a warm spot. The huge stone fireplace was built towards the back of the Inn and almost took up the whole wall. Unlike the front half of the Inn, which had a bar, tables, chairs and games, the back half was a big clearing, the stone floor covered in wood and then latticed with fur, except for around the fire itself, which was left bare stone so no fires could start.
Already, as Kilo waltzed over, he could see horsy looking mammals and humans of every shape and color and the sweet burning smell filled his nostrils. In Thermala, fires aren't burnt totally of wood, if this had been so then there would be no huge pine forests surrounding it. There is wood in the fire but it is from selected trees, fallen ones, dead ones and spare branches; the rest of the fire is composed of herbivore mammals dung. Leaf eating dinosaur dung is very acidic and smells strongly of Ammonia, but herbivores mammal's dung smells of the grass and greenery they've eaten. Of course herbivorous dinosaurs find this smell very pleasant and welcoming, reminding them of green meadows. Humans don't mind it at all; compared to the smell of strong ammonia from dinosaurs it's welcome; and their noses aren't as sharp as a saurian's or mammal's either. Kilo was never too sure what they could smell through their noses. The herbivore mammals themselves are not bothered by the smell and, of course, the carnivores love it too.
The only group that may not find the smell of burning dung so pleasant is the carnivorous saurians; however it's not so bad as to make them leave and not many came to Thermala anyway.
Kilo lounged himself carefully onto some furs a little way away from the fire (he didn't enjoy sitting too close) relaxing as the warmth swamped over him. Ajzik came and lay down cat fashion next to him. Mathaira sat next to Ajzik in turn contentedly, laying the sodden furs out before her, noticing that one particular pattern matched the hide of a giant Elk near her.
"So, are you both here helping out with the evacuation and such?" Kilo asked.
"Yes, pretty much," replied Ajzik, staring, mesmerized by the fire.
"We didn't come here for that intention though," added Mathaira.
"Oh?" Soon Kilo found himself warm, cozy and listening intently to Mathaira and Ajzik's stories of hatchery worker and life at the trading post.
Now and then the door at the far end of the Inn could be heard opening and closing as more saurians and mammals arrived from out the cold. Kilo also noticed the slender figure of a Gallimimus and even the gawky out-of-place form of a skybax with another saurian join them near the fire. He wondered if these three had anything to do with the situation.
Lacking the keen eyesight of either of her companions, Mathaira squinted in the relative dimness of the common room in contrast to the blazing fire which flickered in her vision even as she turned away. She followed Kilo's gaze as he intently studied the trio of unlikely travelers which had entered the Inn moments before and now stood along the wall-length fireplace several paces away.
"Who are they?" Mathaira asked Kilo, still straining to adjust to the low light as she peered toward the small group.
The Stegosaurus confessed, "I don't know. I wonder if they're here because of the situation in the Forbiddens." Kilo didn't have to mention the geological problems in Thermala and surrounding regions as well as the ongoing evacuation of nearby villages.
Ajzik, whose involvement with her human parents' running of the Glacier Ridge Trading Post left her in a position to know the majority of the residents within Thermala and the outlying areas, interjected, "The Gallimimus looks vaguely familiar." The Sabertooth's keen night vision enabled her to see within the dim confines of the Inn's common room as clearly as if it were daylight; however, the slender figure of the Gallimimus was partially blocked by her companions, the majestic figure of a Skybax and the slightly larger yet mysterious form of another saurian of indeterminate species.
"I wish that Struthiomimus would move over so you can see if you know the Gallie," Kilo addressed Ajzik and raised his head up over his shorter companions.
Mathaira, who could see the somewhat larger form of the mysterious saurian even in the dimness, informed Kilo, "That's not a Struthie! That's an Utahraptor! I've seen plenty of them in the Basin."
Kilo countered, "Nuh-uh! I don't think so, Mathaira. Look at the long neck! And the legs and tail are those of a Struthie! Definitely!"
"But, Kilo..." Mathaira tried to reason with her newfound friend, "Just look at those claws and teeth. Those are Utahraptor for sure!"
"Well, there's just one way to find out!" Kilo determined. "Let's go over and introduce ourselves." The orange tinted Stegosaurus blended in with the glowing firelight as he strode toward the small group standing several paces away.
Likewise Ajzik's silken fur glinted with golden highlights from the blazing fire as she nudged Mathaira to follow after Kilo, the human female and the Sabertooth trailing closely in the Stegosaur's wake.
Blue Eyes glanced over and bowed slightly to the newcomers. Thinking they were talking about him, he smiled and moved aside a little so that the others could have more room. "Breath Deep, Seek Peace."
Kilo turned around to see what Mathaira and Ajzik were staring at; he followed their stunned gazed to the Troodon in front of him. Kilo recognized it as the same one curled asleep on the human chair with the two raptors. The troodon this time was covered in chinking amour, the flames rippled off his suit like water.
"Breathe Heavily Seek Pie," the Troodon greeted in sketchy stegosaur tongue. Clearly it spoke a lot of languages; not many talked to Kilo in his native tongue. Kilo smiled and replied in Carnosaur tongue; Blue eyes could be seen to physically relax. Ajzik and Mathaira said their hellos and Ajzik lay down next to the Troodon. Mathaira and Kilo still had a bet though. Mathaira, after re-assuring Ajzik she'd be back, continued a little way more round the fire, heading towards the bright glow of light that was the fire's glow through a skybax's wing. Kilo, due to his bulky size, couldn't very well turn around and talk to Mathaira, nor could she walk aside him, it was a tight fit through warming bodies and many pardons had to be made on behalf of Kilo's swinging tail. Mathaira wondered why Kilo simply didn't hold it still when he walked. Still she felt it rude to ask.
The skybax peered nervously at Kilo. Mathaira was now standing by Kilo's side as the duo had stopped walking and come to their desired destination.
Kilo didn't have a clue how to talk Skybax, and he stared dumbly at the creature that was roughly the same size as him. Mathaira didn't seem to know what to say either. Kilo could hear her going through all the "Breathe Deep Seek Peace's," she knew as the skybax looked increasingly more alarmed by their upfront visit.
"Breathe softly don't screech." Kilo whistled. He remembered a human friend talking to their friend archaeyoperix once. He thought that was the right term at least. Kilo as such couldn't whistle, his beak didn't allow him to purse lips instead it was more of a high pitch noise that came from his voice box. The skybax stumbled backwards both at the terrible accent and the greeting. It was when Mathaira kindly hinted that hatchlings might be trying to sleep did Kilo finally stop his attempts at communication. The Skybax sighed with relief, as did the neighboring family of Eohippus.
"I can speak some saurian," it said bluntly.
"Oh," said Kilo simply. "Hello, my name is Kilo and this is Mathaira. Sorry about the whole communication thing."
"My name is Highsoar. These are my friends Quickstride and Klaw."
Kilo glanced at Mathaira sideways as the other two saurians, on hearing their names, ventured forwards. The Gallimimus they previously saw had, to their surprise a plume of feathers on top it's head, it held a satchel around its arm.
Kilo turned back towards where Blue Eyes and Ajzik were laid in conversation, Mathaira hopping out the way of his spiked tail just in time. He motioned for them to come over and join them; satisfied that they were on their way over, Kilo turned back to the Gallimimus only to find another creature standing beside her.
This creature was roughly the size of an utahraptor, perhaps a little bigger; its legs were long and slender almost too much for its stealthy body. Wicked claws ended each finger and toe and were accompanied by a row of sharp teeth. Its tail was held rigid and high behind it; it's neck muscles twitched with anxiety. Kilo wondered what on earth he was but knew better than to ask.
"Breathe Deep, Seek Peace," he said smiling. "Who's who?"
"I Klaw," replied Klaw, stopping himself from using his new found accent just in time.
"Greetings, I'm Quickstride," replied the Gallimimus.
"My name is Mathaira and this is Ajzik, my friend," announced Mathaira as her saber- toothed friend pulled up aside her. Blue Eyes stood to the left of Kilo now and introduced himself too, then did Kilo. They all spoke in carnivore tongue although the majority of them weren't.
"Well, I know for certain you aren't from around here, where are you from?" Kilo asked beginning to lie down, careful not to upset the Eohippus family. Kilo had the sort of effect that rippled and very soon everyone else was beginning to seat themselves in a circle. Klaw sat opposite Kilo and studied his bright plates and spiked tail with great interest. Soon, a long friendly conversation erupted about where everyone came from and of course the situation that faced them. Half way through the conversation Mathaira gave Kilo a nudge and a human smile;; Kilo chuckled, he knew she meant they both had lost the bet.
After the moon was halfway to the top of the sky they saw the small and large figures of two raptors approaching them. Kilo recognized these two also.
Quickstride frowned at the news of the volcano, which is very hard to do for someone with no lips. "Blackfeather is right under Mt. Helios, the old volcano," she said. She turned to her traveling companions, Klaw and Highsoar. "Well, I don't know about you, but there's no choice for me. After some rest tonight, I'll have to get supplies in the morning and trek up there immediately to warn the tribe." She groaned a little in spite of herself. "This was supposed to be my vacation!"
Blue Eyes looked at the Gallie and smiled "I'll help if I can. I understand what its like to be away from home during a disaster." He smiled and lowered his head a little. "Were is your clan anyways Quickstride?"
Kaak said goodbye to Altanden in Powdertop, climbing down from the Rookery there and setting out on the cold trail north. He was wearing a jacket of furs over his warm flying pants and his regular, long-sleeved flying shirt with the red apprentice badge visible on the side.
The first few houses he passed in the few days that followed weren't surprised to see him there. As he climbed higher towards Thermala, the air began to slow him down and when he finally came over a hump in the wide track and saw the lights of the city below him in the darkness, he breathed a sigh of relief and didn't bother to pull out his tent for the night, but pressed on down the hill instead.
"Who's that?" Kilo said lazily. Everyone was dropping off to sleep. The two raptors that had joined them were already fast asleep, saving energy for the journey. These raptors have an energy sapping system, thought Kilo, who could walk for miles without tiring.
Quickstride, the young Gallimimus, looked to where Kilo was staring placidly. "He tired," she said worriedly, snapping up the attention of the other dozing-off saurians and humans.
Ajzik got up to her feet, helping Mathaira up too, as Kilo stared the long awkward process in standing himself. Blue Eyes and Highsoar shuffled out the way just in time to miss a blow from his tail. Klaw wasn't so lucky. With a THWAP, Kilo's tail that had just swung lazily with no power behind it went straight into Klaw. Mathaira covered her eyes not wanting to see the effects, when she finally re-opened them she saw Klaw standing quite happily, in one of his clawed hands was the tip of Kilo's tail. He'd caught it!
"Oh, I'm so sorry Klaw! This thing swings like you wouldn't know... Good catch though," Kilo apologized finally stood up.
Klaw nodded, ecstatic to have done something good. "You have very armor tail. It do lot of bad if Klaw not caught," Klaw laughed a peculiar hooting sound and Kilo joined in with his gurgling chuckle.
No one else had noticed the soaking traveler who was still looking about blankly, amazed at the amount of creatures in the inn. Even Mack, Kilo's human friend and headwaiter of the bar, was too busy to notice. Swiftly the group headed towards the man. Quickstride, in the lead, easily got there first, followed by Mathaira and Ajzik. By the time Kilo arrived, most introductions had already been made. Mathaira was already wrapping a warm fur over the man who, as Kilo could see, was quite young.
Back to LibraryPrevious