Chapter One: Eggs of Raptors
The moon hung low in the sky, casting its light over the barren landscape. Underneath a rock shelf sat an elderly Deinonychus. She lay on the cave floor, moonlight washing over a feathered, blood red body. She was exhausted. After a long silent moment passed, the female gradually sat up, brown eyes instantly filling with hate at the thing that caused her this pain, this exhaustion. An egg.
She never thought she would bare another egg in her long lifetime, especially at this age. Her mate, Silver Scale, had died cold times ago of a respiratory infection. As his name implied, he was pale gray in coloring with darker gray, horizontal stripes from the back of his head to a few inches from his tail tip, along with an almost white under throat, belly, and tail. He had also possessed simple blue eyes, like the color of a blue river. He was a quiet character, like his mate, but they got along just as well as any other pair.
The old female looked up to the moon, a sudden thought crossing her mind. A shudder ran through her body, the thought unfolding into a memory, the memory of the night she was violated over a month ago.
From a distance, the male had appeared to be a large Deinonychus. When she had approached him that night to ask if he needed help, she soon learned that he was not of her kind, nor was he of a friendly nature. When the blood red female had called out to him, he turned around. She had instantly noticed the bright, glowing, hellish yellow eyes that pierced her soul as he stared her down. He possessed no feathers of any kind on his body. It was covered in midnight blue scales. He had not possessed the lethal toe claw that the Deinonychus possess, the weapon that earned one of their nicknames from the herbivores, Sickle Claws. His tail wave back and forth in a fluid motion at the sight of her. This smooth movement was something she had only seen long necked dinosaurs able to do. She knew no type of carnivores with that much motion in their tail. The last and most noticeable differences, strange fleshy, midnight blue appendages growing out of his back and a set of smooth, four inch, straight black horns that grew at the back of his head.
Only a moment had passed between the two before the bizarre, male creature took his chance over the elderly female. The one reason for it. He needed to produce an offspring, even if it would be a half-breed and bore from an elderly female. All he wanted to do was continued his bloodline in this world. In his condition, he knew he would die within a matter of days, the poison raging through his body.
The female shook her head, clearing her mind of the terrifying thoughts. She did become pregnant with the male’s egg, carrying it much longer inside her body than a normal Deinonychus. The result of it, the egg was much larger than the average one for the smaller species of feathered carnivores.
Letting out a small grown, the blood red Deinonychus turned away from the egg. She began to preen herself, gnawing at the long, decorative feathered arms. These darker red feathers covered not only her arms but also the back of her legs and along the tip of her tail. She stopped for a moment, flexing her large, lethal toe claws at the sound of scraping claws. Sitting up taller, she looked over her shoulder, brown eyes searching for the source of the sound.
“Blood Stone!” The elderly raptor jumped at the female voice from behind her. “You laid your egg.”
A young adult, female Velociraptor walked up to the elder, her brown feathered body much of the same scheme as the Deinonychus’s decreased mate. With black horizontal stripes, tan colored underbody, and yellow eyes. “I thought you never would. I thought that maybe it would have turned to stone like my aunts. That was terrible. We never knew she had stone eggs in her until she died.” The female’s large yellow eyes stared back at the large egg laying on the cool, damp cave ground. After a moment, she tilted her head to one side, eyes now narrowed. “Shouldn’t you nest it?”
“Don’t you have your own clutch to look after, Pebble?” Blood Stone asked, acid laced in her voice.
“No, Torrent is looking over them.”
The older female gave an annoyed huff. She wanted this little Velociraptor female gone. She would only get in the way if she decided to crush the egg she had just laid. Blood Stone turned to it. The lone egg would be her eighth laying. Every other time she had laid, the blood red female would have had at least four of more small white eggs in each clutch. Another sign that this egg was not normal.
“So,” the brown female started, standing beside Blood Stone. “Any pointers for a new mother. My eggs should be hatching in a few days.”
The bright red Deinonychus did not respond. She only gazed at her own, lone egg. After a long moment, she turned to Pebble. “Death is everywhere. Do not become too attached, even if they are your young.”
Pebble blinked her yellow eyes at the other female’s advice. “What?”
“Do I need to repeat myself?” Blood Stone snapped, standing up to face the smaller, younger female. She towered over the smaller raptor, her kind almost three times the size of Pebble’s.
Before Pebble could reply, a screech rang through the air. On instincts, the brown Velociraptor spun around, running toward the sound. “Torrent!” she called out to her mate.
Pebble raced into the small cove she and her mate had chosen to live and nest their clutch. The female could only see the gray splotched back of a Struthiomimus. She could though, hear the hissing threats of her blue feathered mate as he stood over their nest of five eggs.
“Get away from my eggs!” Pebble screeched, jumping at the gray backed Struthiomimus, the little predator managing to latch onto his back, large toe claw digging into his flesh.
The Egg Stealer gave a cry of pain. He spun around, trying to dislodge his small attacker. Seeing his chance, Torrent lunged at the larger, scaled dinosaur’s throat. He only managed to slice through the tough, tan scaly hide of the Egg Stealer’s chest, not able to jump high enough for his throat. The Struthiomimus did let out another cry of pain at the harsh, stinging sensation. He backed off, shaking his body, still trying to dislodge the brown female from his back.
Unknown to the brawling trio, another Struthiomimus slipped into the cave behind them. His brown splotched back and yellow eyes the only thing different from his amber eyed, gray backed brother. The brown backed male glanced at the fight before him, fear evident in his yellow eyes. Watching them for only seconds more, he bent down and grabbed a small Velociraptor egg in each clawed hand. With eggs in hand, he gave a cautious glanced at the fight before sprinting out of the cave.
Catching the running body of his brother, the other Struthiomimus backed off. With a sly grin at the two panting Velociraptor parents who now both stood on the ground. He gave a hard kick to the blue raptor’s chest, sending the little male skidding across the ground. Pebble gave a cry to her mate, rushing over to his side, as he lay motionless on the ground. Seeing as the pair was distracted, the amber eyed Egg Stealer ran, following the now tiny form of his brother in the desert landscape.
Pebble glanced over her shoulder to watch the Struthiomimus leave before turning to her mate. As she did so, the female caught sight of her nest. “No…,” she breathed. “No…” The female immediately stood up, running to the nest at the back of the cave. She nuzzled the brown, dried plant matter and multi colored feathers of it. Two of her children were gone.
Hearing his mate’s distraught voice, Torrent pushed himself up into a sitting position, bruised left arm cradled against his body. He turned to the nest, green eyes instantly filling with tears as his heart dropped. The Struthiomimus had done what the herbivores name them for, stolen eggs. Torrent gazed at the ground at his feet. He had been unable to protect the nest, now his mate and he had lost two children. “I’m sorry, Pebble,” Torrent whispered, not looking up at his brown feathered mate.
Pebble did not respond, just nuzzling her three remaining eggs. Torrent approached her, burying his muzzle into her side, taking in the scent that wafted off her brown pinfeathers. This helped him cope, just a little. At least he still had her and their other three children left. Immediately a thought drifted to his mind. What would his other children have been like when they hatched? Now, he would never know.
At the sound of claws scraping against stone, the pair looked up from their grieving. A raptor’s silhouette three times larger than them stood before the small cove. Moonlight washed over its body as the darkness of the night obscured its features. The large raptor took a step forward into the small cove, ducking its head to fit in. Her blood red feathers now visible without the contrasting moon light and shadows.
“Blood Stone!” Pebble shrieked, brandishing her claws at the elderly female Deinonychus. “Why didn’t you help us?”
“Death is everywhere,” the female answered with a slow blink of her brown eyes. She then turned away, feathered tail brushing against the cave celling.
Slowly the Deinonychus made her way to her own nest. She glared at the egg still laying against the cool, damp cave ground. The egg that she had laid not even an hour ago. As the elderly female continued to glare, she walked to her nest, settling herself into it. There was no way she would nest that thing. With her legs tucked underneath her and arms pressed against her sides, Blood Stone let her head drop, as sleep took over her.
Only seconds passed before the female was disturbed once more. The fearful, yellow-eyed Struthiomimus was back. He stood in front of her, flexing his clawed hands. Blood Stone only tilted her head to one side, curious at why the brown backed male was here. They already had eggs and there was no good reason for this male to go up against a full-grown Deinonychus like her. Yes, her kind was slightly smaller than his, but she had much deadlier weapons.
His yellow eyes darted to the egg behind her. She glanced over at it. For a long moment, the elderly female just stared at her new egg. Would it just be easier to give it to an Egg Stealer? No, she would not let the child die at the teeth of the Struthiomimus. She would be the one to get rid of it, no one else.
Blood Stone stood up letting out a low, vicious hiss at the tan and brown Egg Stealer. To her surprise, it ran off, howling in fear. She tilted her head to one side in confusion. Normally it took a bit more to chase off the pesky creatures. Most of the time a bite to the back or a swipe at the face. That one sure was fearful.Watching the Struthiomimus’s form fade into the distance, the blood red female nestled back into her nest. She glanced over at her egg before closing her eyes. Now it was time for some much needed rest.