Penny: Hey! Whad'ya know! We're BACK!
Lax: Indeed we are! Sorry it took so long but reality decided it wanted to pop in and say hi
Forge: yes, yes, hello to you too reality.
Lax: sigh, as you can see, (deadpans) he hasn't left yet.
Penny: You do realize he's not likely to anytime soon, right?
Lax: Yyeesss, but you don't have to actually say it! mabey if we ignore him long enough he'll go away (nods in satisfaction)
Forge and Penny facepalm: You're an idiot
Lax: ANYWHOO! REVIEW!
After spending a week and a half tree leaping and the last half week hunting, Myth decided it was time to find the raptors.
(Forge)'So, how do you plan on going about this?'
(Penny)'Yeah, i mean it's not like they put up signs or anything?'
(Lax/Myth)'Wait until they make an appearance in The Clearing, and follow them through the trees.'
He sat up in one of the high branches of Hometree, one he was quickly coming to refer to as The Look Out. It was a good sturdy limb, seemingly capable of holding another ten people at the end, not that he had that many people.
The main thing about this branch, was that the end had grown into a structure very
reminiscent of a catchers mitt. Which, with the addition of some decent branches and
pliable vines that Myth had managed to cut with his knives, had been reinforced into a safe, weight bearing structure that he had no fear of falling out of, as well as conveniently overlooking the majority of The Clearing.
'Don't you think that might take a while? there's no telling when they'll hunt next after all, or even if it'll be here that they do.'
'Or not, as the case may be. check your 10.'
Myth turned to the aforementioned direction to see heard of edmontosaurus roaming about near the stretch of river that looked more like a very long lake due to the shape of the valley. It seemed one of the adolescent hadrosaurs had wandered a little too far away from the herd in search of greener growth. To its detriment.
Not two seconds later, three of the raptors burst out of trees and leapt upon the young titan. Fascinated by the immense display of teamwork and efficiency they portrayed, Myth sat there studying them as they finished the kill in less than a minute.
'Hey uh Lax? Weren't you planning on following them back to the nest?'
"OH! That's right!" With his focus broken and goal reminded to him, Myth quickly took off towards through the treetops.
Five minutes later found him in the bows overlooking the scene of carnage below. In the time it had taken him to get there the rest of the pack had already joined in on the feast, not being able to take it back to the nest with them, save in their stomachs.
While they were busy gorging themselves, Myth took note of size and state of the kill.
'Hmm, 30' long, formerly of decent health, probably weighed close to 3 tons. Not a bad kill at all. I'll have to come back later and see if I can't scrounge anything useful out of there.' However, the cadaver diving would have to wait, as the raptors it seemed had had their fill at last and were retreating back into the jungle from whence they arrived.
'Right. time to go say hello to my new neighbors.' And with that he was off through the trees.
It took almost an hour before they at last reached their destination, Myth only barely
managing to keep up through the trees. He had lost them four times during the trip and had only managed to find them again due their distinct vocals and some help from Forge. He came to rest at last in one of the several large trees that created something of a natural barrier to anything much bigger than the raptors that couldn't climb.
The nesting area itself was a mostly dirt clearing roughly the size of a high school football and track area. Scattered around approximately 10' apart from each other, were large dirt mounds roughly 4' high and ranging from 9' to 15' wide with 3' depressions inside them, obviously the individual nests themselves.
Moving on, Myth set about studying the raptors themselves, and he noticed one very
important thing right off the bat. There were a lot of them.
'Damn! There's almost twenty of them! Why the hell are so many? How are they supporting that many?' While attempting to comprehend why there was such a large group of predators on such a small island (one that also happened to host a sizable amount of other predators both large and small), he saw one of the ones he had followed go up to a much older one, an old male judging by faded coloration and size, and regurgitate at least 6 lbs of meat for it. As he looked around he saw similar action elsewhere in the clearing, and noticed the old ones all looked malnourished and tired.
'Oh... They can't.' That was it. The island couldn't support a group this large. It seemed the only reason these Old Ones were alive at all was because they were being cared for by the younger generations in the pack. It was an amazing thing to behold. There was nothing in the fossil records to even suggest such a group dynamic occurring; though, possibly, given this new knowledge evidence supporting it might be found with the new eyes such info might breed. But that was neither here nor there.
'Hey, what's going on over there?'
'Hmm?' Myth turned in the direction Forge had indicated and saw three more raptors emerge from another end of the clearing. What was different about these ones though, was the fact that all the others in the clearing made their way to them and lower their heads in respect to them.
'No, wait. Not them. Him'
The one in the lead of the new arrivals had an air of authority and power none of the others really had. He cocked his head to either side to better view those assembled, raised head up straighter and gave a loud bark. This apparently prompted the the original three Myth had seen make the kill to make their way forward, giving an odd bow that left their head pointing down to the side as if presenting their neck/throat. The main raptor gave a rumbling purr, and with thst they raised their heads and began chittering, hissing, and growling.
'Oi! any idea what's going on down there?'
Pennys intrusion shattered his focus like so much glass and he almost jumped.
'Gah! uh, Yeah. That one in the the middle is the leader of the pack. I think. He's high up at the very least. Anyway it looks like he's getting a report of todays hunt from the three that made the kill back at The Clearing.'
'Well it looks the big guy just gave the 'as you were'.'
True enough, the gathered pack had dispersed back to their previous activities, such as they were. The Big Guy, as Forge had dubbed him, made his way over to a much larger mound Myth had overlooked in his earlier observance, mainly due to the fact that it was within a hollow in the base of one of the larger trees. Upon arrival he gave a low rumbling... croon, he supposed was the best he could use to describe it, and another Old One emerged. 'That one is much older than the others. And female I believe as well. I wonder who she is?' The Leader bowed to her in deference.
It seemed that the offering of the neck was a sign of respect and humblance to them, probably because if they chose to, they could end the supplicants life in a flash from such a position. When she gave a quiet purr of acceptance he brought his muzzle down and, as the others before him had done for the other Old Ones, regurgitated a large quantity of meat for her. As she made her way down the earthen wall of her nest any nearby paused in what they were doing and watched as she made her way delicately to her food.
'She must be the Matriarch.' He mused. It would explain much.
'Lax.' Forge said in his head, his tone hushed.
'She's blind Lax.'
"Really now?" In an increasingly rare moment, Myth had spoken aloud to himself. And that, apparently was all the Matriarch needed to know he was there.
It had been a very long time since she had heard that cry. Though it was not in any voice she recognized, she knew what had made it. The loss of her eyes years ago had ended in the heightening of her other senses, namely sound and smell. This was the only reason she had caught the quiet murmur at all. Still, it had been a long time since she had last eaten, so she finished what meager meat she had left.
By her lost eyes this was degrading. To all the Old Ones, though they did their best not to let it show. They were Hunters. They should be out there, with the rest of the pack, chasing and killing their prey as their pride said they should. But they were too old now. The others were working hard to keep them alive, but they all knew it was only delaying the inevitable. Now they stayed at the nests, ostensibly to guard them should something come after the eggs, but it seemed they had a new purpose now in caring for the young hatchlings. And it became something unexpected.
Teaching them. It was a new concept, but one that seemed to have taken root rather quickly. Some of the youngest, however, were starting to treat her...oddly. With the loss of her eyes and her continued existence, some of them had come to the idea that she was 'special' somehow. She didn't know how nor what made them think this, nor was she entirely certain they themselves understood what they felt. They lacked the concept for such things as the supernatural as of yet, and so had no way of expressing their belief in it.
A chill went down her spine as she swallowed her last scrap, and she shuddered to erase the felling. Reminded of the fact she had heard the cry of one from The Old Times, she scented the air. At first there was nothing, and she thought herself becoming lost as all did with age eventually if lived long enough. She sniffed again, only this time an errant breeze brought her the scent she knew to be there after all.
It was male, she thought at least, her memory, while not gone, was not as it once was. but it was enough. He was young, it seemed, and also very far away. no, he was in the trees. that would explain why none of the pack had noticed him yet. she vaguely remembered being able base emotions by scent. calm, hostility, fear. she could scent no fear. strange, all the others smelled strongly of fear she recalled. Or hostility. Often both, but yet again she scented none. Nothing but the purest calm, and something that reminded her of the feeling of watching eggs hatch. Joy perhaps? Mabey excitement? She became aware of the others looking at her, wondering what had intrigued her interest. Not much did recently. She lowered her head and rumbled a dismissal before making her way back into her nest. While she heard the rest of her pack go back to their activities, she knew that her son, the current Alpha, was still there, but she also felt the gaze of something else. Something she could only assume was the scaleless one. She looked up into the trees, somehow knowing, exactly where he was. She nodded, something only she and he knew the meaning of anymore. She turned back to her offspring.
"Stay at the nests for awhile." And with that she was gone, back to her cool comfortable place of residence.
Lax: Well...this'll be interesting won't it?
Penny: You know there'll be questions about all this right?
Lax: Damnit Penny! Why do you always have to do that?
Penny: It's my job to give you a hard time?
Forge: Technically it's our job to make him think, but I guess in this case they're the same thing.
Lax: WAHHHH! Their being mean to meeheehee!
REALITY!: SEND HIM REVIEWS! IT ACTUALLY HELPS!
Forge: Hey, Reality? I've been wondering. Why do you look like a cross between Naruto, Luffy, Ranma, and Calvin?
REALITY!: AH! WELL, YOU SEE, THAT! IS A SECRET!