(Act I) Chapter 1: Arrival
Act I: A New World
Chapter 1: Arrival
"People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes." - Neil Gaiman
Darkness. The kind of darkness he could not perceive with his mere eyes but rather with his heart. With his soul. The absence of everything. No life. No hope. Nothing.
For someone who had always felt safe in the dark, this was truly a horrifying experience. He was deeply lost in his mind and his body would not obey him just yet. He didn't even know if he still actually had a body.
It felt almost like the moment before dying to him. His body not obeying his commands anymore and his mind slowly drifting into nothingness.
Suddenly, however, out of this pitch black realm, he could see a single beam of light. He could feel it. A feeling which originated from deep inside. But it was steadily drifting away from him. As if to mock him further, a voice could be heard from the vast distance this world of darkness represented.
His own voice. His own words. His last wish. At first they were inaudible, but they grew louder with each repetition of the fateful wish he didn't really chose to make upon this strange blue glowing stone.
"I want to be someone! I want to use my knowledge to change the world to a better place! I want to leave a legacy behind nobody will ever forget!"
Each time the voice repeated itself it felt like a needle being stabbed into his brain. Not the physical kind of pain that mended after a while but the psychological pain of realization that would scar one's mind forever.
Thoughts were racing back and forth, forming no words, emotions or meanings at all. With great trepidation, he finally worked up the courage to fight against his own mind, to gain back control.
"Stop this already! Get... OUT... of my head!"
Distant laughter could be heard. But it was not an evil laugh or a laugh at the expense of his current state, rather an understanding laugh. The laugh which parents would give their child after it had asked them a question which they would respond to with a completely obvious answer.
"Feeling lost, young one?"
"Who...?! Where... am I?" He asked into the blackness.
"At the end." Came the calm response.
And it was at this point that he was sure he was dead. What else could that voice have possibly meant? Still, he had to inquire further.
"Does... that mean... I'm...?"
"No, it does not. Endings are always beginnings, too. It's your choice now. To become what you want to be."
The thoughts stopped racing immediately, as this female voice echoed inside his mind. He did not recognize that voice but it felt warm, as if it was hope itself. But who was it? And where did it come from?
"But I don't know what I want to be! This is a mistake! I'm not ready to die! I... I can't even see you!"
The distant laughter could be heard again, again carrying the kindness and understanding that could calm one's nerves.
"That's because there are some things you see with your eyes, but others you see with your heart."
For a moment, he wanted to just dismiss that sentence and press for an answer to his questions. But he had no time to do that, as the voice continued.
"Wake up, Specter."
He suddenly gasped for air. He was alive, and air filled his lungs. Wet, warm air, which was extremely strange, given that it should've been quite cold by now.
Ugh... What happened? How long did I pass out?
The realization that he was in control of his mind again made him feel a lot less stressed, but that feeling immediately turned into utter horror, as the air he just inhaled was processed by his senses.
Millions of strong scents at once reached his brain. Scents of plants, scents of water and...
Myself?! I can... smell myself?!
He could feel his heart pumping in a higher frequency again. His attempt to calm down was now futile. At this point, it was just all too much for him as he lay prone on the ground, still twitching heavily, having seemingly avoided almost certain death. After a few more seconds though, he could feel nothing but exhaustion and passed back out.
He didn't even open his piercing yellow eyes once during that inner battle he had just fought.
It wasn't until the moon was high in the sky that he finally came back to his senses again, although he kept his eyes shut for now.
Please tell me it's over now...? He carefully thought to himself.
Nothing happened. He was fully in control again. And this time for good.
Everything hurts! What in the name of sanity happened?! Why can I smell all these things now?! Why...? No! Calm down, everything's alright. I just hit my head, that's all.
He let out a deep sigh to recompose himself.
A deep growl filled his highly sensitive ears. His own growl.
What?! Did I just... growl?! What the... He couldn't finish his thoughts as his eyes sprang open now.
He could see everything clearly, even though it was dark and the moon was covered by thick clouds. But most noticeable to him was the fact that he was not wearing his glasses anymore.
He had perfect eyesight.
Nonononono! This is not how it works! Argh... Just where am I?!
He had been lying on his side up until now, so he didn't get a glance at his own body just yet, which didn't really intrigue him thus far. Why would it? He could still feel his two legs and two arms, so what could have changed?
With deliberately slow movement he tried to use his arms to push himself up from the ground.
"Ow! What the hell?!"
Only for him to lose his grip in the mud below him and fall right into it with his face.
Damn, something is wrong... Maybe I hurt my...
And it was only now that he flexed his neck around to get a good look at his supposedly injured body that he first laid eyes on it.
What?! Feathers?! Claws?! A tail?!
It was too dark for him to actually see the colors and all the 'utilities' his body now had but it was enough for him to realize what he now was. Had he paid more attention to what reached his ears, he would've come to the same conclusion nonetheless.
Three fingers, sickle claws... I... am a... raptor?!
He knew he was about to panic, and that was something he wanted to avoid under all circumstances, so he tried to organize his mind as best as he could.
Ok...Ok... Let's be reasonable. Stuff like that doesn't happen. I should be... I mean THEY should be dead for at least 60 million years! And even if they weren't, humans don't just change into... Wait a second...
His head was wrapped into silence at the dawn of the realization he was about to make. There was only one possible way how this could have happened.
"THE STONE!" He screamed in rage, and immediately shut his mouth again after that sudden outburst. He only just noticed what he had done but it was too late. His angry, piercing shriek echoed through air and into the night.
The fastbiter with his brown feathers and blood-red crest stopped his motion and looked up in surprise at the distant shout. He couldn't make out the meaning it carried but it was clear to him that it was a sharptooth scream, likely from a fastbiter, containing as much anger as despair. He continued to listen closely into the night, trying to make out any following words.
None came. Only the rustling of leaves and bushes could be heard behind him, but that seemed to elude his senses at that time.
He nearly jumped into a stance of aggression before he realized that this voice came from another fastbiter. A fastbiter he knew all too well.
"Damn it, Taunt! Come out already."
"What, did I scare our great leader?"
Upon saying this, an orange-colored fastbiter with tell-tale black stripes across his back strutted into the clearing.
"Seems like I did." He noted with a wide smirk on his face. "Here, I got some more of the..."
"Later." The brown fastbiter interrupted him. "Did you hear that?"
"Besides you jumping like a one-legged swimmer after they notice Path is after them...? No." Taunt replied plainly, flashing his teeth once again.
Ignoring his packmate's try to make a fool out of him, the brown fastbiter just kept staring into the distance.
"Get the Orange Death back to the pack. There is something I have to take care of. Just... give me one of the flowers, will you? And then head back."
"Seeker..." The orange fastbiter started with an annoyed undertone in his voice, as he now knew something was wrong. His leader must've indeed heard something important that he didn't notice. The fact that he wanted to take one of those deadly plants with him did not make the whole situation any better.
"Trust me on this, Taunt." The brown fastbiter started again after a few seconds. "I just want to check something out... This is our territory but you can never be too careful."
He gave the orange fastbiter a friendly smile, to which he could only nod. As Taunt handed his leader one of the orange glowing flowers, he was about to make one last snarky remark when the brown fastbiter interrupted his thought process for good.
"And don't tell the others about it. Just... tell them I am going for a drink and I will be back in a bit, ok?"
Taunt was taken aback by the seriousness in his leader's tone and thus decided not to disobey him. That didn't stop him from being him, of course.
"Sure. See you in a bit, Littlefoot!"
Taunt made sure he put special weight on his leader's old leaf-eater name, as he allowed himself one last smirk before he disappeared into the bushes again. The brown fastbiter smiled for a while as well before taking on a contemplative expression.
He would have none of it if a group of outsiders wandered into his pack's territory and started making trouble. They would have to leave or die. However, he also knew that the sharptooth in question was more or less likely to be alone, given the tone of sorrow he found in his cry as well.
Or was it a trap?
In hindsight, he deduced, it would've really been better to inform his pack about this and approach together but it was too late for that now. He had to act. Apparently, there was indeed something like 'The Lone Sharptooth'. He chuckled a bit at that thought.
The calculating mind of the predator he was, though, brought him back to his senses instantly. He was determined to get to the bottom of this. He would find out who that intruder was and would see him to leave. Preferably in peace. But one could never be too careful, he thought again, looking at the single orange flower he was holding in his claws.
In his leaf-eater days, he would have probably offered the dinosaur in the distance to join him and his friends, at least if it was another leaf-eater, but such a gesture was unheard of for sharpteeth, especially for fastbiters, since the whole concept of a pack was based on trust. A pack consisted of more than just friends. A pack was a family. A family, which someone would join for life and leave in death.
With all the speed he could muster, he sprinted into the night towards the source of the shout. He only left the wind in his wake.
"Ok, one foot after the other... There we go!"
The tall fastbiter was quickly getting accustomed to his new body. Even though a challenge like this was far beyond anything he could have ever imagined, and he was rather stumbling than actually walking, he was doing quite well, he deduced.
Hm... No wonder. I walked on two feet before. But my head didn't weigh as much as a boulder. He thought to himself. He still wasn't quite the professional he needed to be with using his tail as a counterweight, but he was getting there. Ever so slowly.
After a few more minutes of walking practice he decided that it was time to get something to drink. His throat was feeling dry and something from deep inside told him that it would be not a good idea to go out exploring with a dry throat. Despite his species, being a fearsome carnivore now, he would not be as intimidating if he couldn't let out a mighty roar or a frightening shriek.
Wait... Why did I think of this?
The thoughts inside his head started racing again but with a quick shake of it, they were gone as quickly as they came.
Doesn't matter. Let's see if that new nose of mine can lead me to some water.
Sniff. Sniff. Sniff.
Is that... what water really smells like? Well... We'll see, I guess...
With that, he started moving, and it didn't take him long to find the source of the scent he followed. The scent of clean water was something deeply refreshing. Something that made him cool down inside even thinking about it.
His incredible sense of smell led him to a big pond, which was connected to a small waterfall by a short torrent. A beautiful little place.
He didn't care much about the beauty of it though, as he ran as fast as he could with his new body and submerged himself wholly into the fresh, cool water. He quickly realized, however, that he was not able to drink anymore like he had been able to as a human.
I have a damn snout now... Can't even move my jaw left or right...
So he just imitated how his pet dog always drank, or how he had seen other carnivores doing it. Lowering his muzzle into the water, using his long tongue to guide it into his mouth, and then tilting his head backwards to swallow it down.
It felt like an eternity to him, just taking sip after sip of this life essence and feeling the cool sensation washing off the dirt his feathers were covered with after lying in the mud of the forest for so long.
It was only when he finished drinking and washing himself that another thought crossed his mind.
Ok, now... how exactly do I look like? What... am I?
Carefully, he moved out of the water, gave his body a few shakes and waited for the clear liquid to settle down again, so that he could get a good look at himself. The moon was now noticeably lower in the sky, giving the light a perfect path to create the desired reflection. It also made him finally see a few glimpses of his new colors.
And he had to admit, even for the raptor standards he knew out of movies, books and cartoons, he looked pretty imposing. Dangerous even.
Black feathers covered most of his body and he had a very distinctive golden crest running down from his head to his tail, ending in a spread-out feathering at his tail's tip. Size-wise, he was unbelievably massive for all he knew. Around one meter taller than the 194cm human he once was, giving him a new height of just under three meters, 275cm to be exact, with a length of just over ten meters, and making him probably at least 15 times as heavy now, too, he estimated.
Though he was far more interested in what was left of his old self, rather than what has become of him. This gave him some pause as he looked into the pond again with sorrow eyes.
So I'm a... Utahraptor now. A... big one, I guess... Huh... At least I maintained my 'hair' color... He thought to himself, smiling a little bit. His smile immediately fell, however, at the realization that followed next. Imposing? Dangerous? Yeah right... I just learned how to walk straight and I'm alone out here. Raptors are pack hunters. A lone raptor can't do shit, I know that at least... Well... Maybe they can, but... Me? Yeah, other predators will tremble in fear!
His sarcastic self-reflection soon came to a stop as his nose suddenly picked up a very special scent. The scent was very familiar to that of a flower he knew all too well from his human days. His grandmother and his mother used to have some of these plants. They were beautiful to look at but highly poisonous if they somehow made their way inside one's body in a great amount.
He sniffed the air another few times.
Is that some sort of... prehistoric Rhododendron? But... that plant is highly toxic. Why the hell do I smell a poisonous...?
Everything seemed to pause in an instant, and two sides of his mind were having a fearsome battle. His new predatory senses were screaming in rage. Danger! Fight! Kill! Act! DO SOMETHING!
The human part of his mind, however, reasoned him to not freak out now. This couldn't be anything else but a dream. Not even a few hours ago, he was a human, not caring about a single thing in the world. Now, he was 60 million years back in time, in a place where he just didn't belong, probably even on an entirely different continent, with a lot of other dangerous predators.
And he could smell a toxic plant, in a highly concentrated amount, it seemed.
Out of instinct, and with determined movement, he swung his head around and stared at a single bush about a dozen meters to his side. Another quick sniff made him confirm his fateful discovery.
Poison?! Please don't tell me...
"Damn it! He's on to me." Littlefoot muttered to himself angrily.
He was petrified. He couldn't remember the last time he was shocked like this. Shocked, that his initial attempt to just observe the stranger had failed completely and he now had to resolve to his emergency plan. Revealing himself to this outsider head-on.
Him and his mate have always been the most rational and logical thinkers of their pack. They knew all too well that a single mistake could cost one or several packmembers their lives.
And with a sharptooth of that stranger's size, it was no different here.
But... how?! I washed my scent away only just before I got here. There is just NO way this stranger could possibly...
His thought process soon got interrupted by the dawning look of horror and anger on his face. He raised his claws, which were still dripping slightly from the venomous plant he knew as Orange Death.
...unless he knows. Unless he was there...
Few of Calin's and Red Claw's minions had made it out alive after that legendary battle in the Great Valley. Most of them must have started a new life.
But not all of them, it seems...
His expression grew even darker. But there was no mistake here. It couldn't be coincidence.
This sharptooth knows the scent of the Orange Death and he is in our territory. He probably wants revenge and went out all alone. Stupid brute!
He also couldn't remember the last time he was so angry. The attack on the valley had left a deep emotional scar on his psyche that would never fully heal. The images of gutted piles of bodies, children and adults alike, lying in their own pools of blood and innards, flashed up in his mind. With a slight shake of his head, he dismissed those horrible memories as best as he could.
No, he would not sink to that level unless someone forced him to, and he considered this strange sharptooth's presence just not enough of that force.
He was carefully thinking about how to approach now. The sharptooth was on to him so he didn't have much time to plan his next move. He was aware of his fighting skills, but fighting a fastbiter that was almost as tall as a two-footer? That would surely result in a lot of trouble. One thing Littlefoot was sure of, however.
He would be the one to make the first move.
Maybe I can just scare him off. I don't need that kind of trouble on such a peaceful evening... He thought to himself.
It was only now that he stepped out of his cover and into the clearing, and let the light of the Night Circle illuminate his brown feathers and red crest. The black fastbiter let out an audible gasp of shock and stared at him in utter horror, as Littlefoot finally revealed himself in all his menacingness and started slowly approaching the stranger with a murderous look in his eyes and the Orange Death on his claws.
"He did what?!"
Taunt flinched at what he already expected would be coming from his mate. He had told them at first that their leader should be back any moment, as he was just getting something to drink, just like he demanded, but all of that was ruined when a certain voice from above his head spoke.
"Then why me see Seeker heading towards shout?"
"Damn it, Spotter! Seeker wanted to..." That was when he was cut off by his mate's yell.
Despite his nature, Taunt couldn't help but feel ashamed that he had actually obeyed that order.
Everyone in the pack trusted Littlefoot with their lives, but that did not mean he was infallible. And since that one time where he had decided to reveal his change into a sharptooth to his father all by himself without any help from his pack, without wanting them to even know about it, to be exact, he rarely tried something bold without his pack's consent again.
"You're damn lucky Ponder, Finder, Haven and the children are already sleeping after tonight's hunt! Though I would've liked seeing Ponder slapping your stripes off."
"Aww Stern Claw, you're killing me!"
"I will do even worse if you won't show us exactly where Seeker went! Now! Spotter, you're coming with us, too."
"Sure thing! Me will find him in no time!"
"Alright, let's get moving!" Came the order from the yellow fastbiter before they all headed out into the night.
What are you doing? Just yield! Run away already! I don't want to use this stuff on you!
Littlefoot's anger had already long since vanished. Annoyance, but even more so surprise, had taken its place. With every slow step in his combat posture, he was getting closer to that black fastbiter. Just moments ago, he had expected this whole situation to turn into a bloody fight to the death.
But when he finally stopped around a threehorn-length away from the stranger, even his last thought about fighting was gone. Littlefoot had yet to find out if that fastbiter was a male or female, as the intruder had not spoken a single word yet and he surprisingly could not pick up its scents right now, but that didn't really matter to him, either.
Because the black fastbiter was shaking with fear, clawed forelimbs held close to its body and its sickle claws almost buried in the ground. Its whole stance looked utterly helpless.
However, Littlefoot would have none of those silly antics. Before him stood a full-grown fastbiter that was much bigger than him in every aspect. Bigger claws, bigger teeth, et cetera. And he knew what that meant. Bigger meant more dangerous. It was just how things worked with sharpteeth. There was a reason why two-footers were the unchallenged, and often most dangerous, rulers in throughout the lands.
And when he took another daunting step into its direction, the other fastbiter flinched and finally spoke up.
"Please... don't hurt me... I... I mean you no harm..."
Littlefoot was seriously taken aback by that. He knew now that the black fastbiter was a male. And that male emitted honest fear and terror through his voice and widely opened eyes.
He's... afraid of me? That much? He quickly noted to himself, but he still wanted an answer as to why this fastbiter had invaded his pack's territory like that.
"Who are you? And what are you doing in our territory? Answer me!" He demanded from the stranger in a grave tone, coming another step closer to him.
"I... I don't know! I... kind of... just... woke up here..." The stranger answered.
"Stop lying to me! What are you doing in our territory? I won't ask again." Came Littlefoot's immediate, angered response.
Having said that, he moved even closer to the other sharptooth.
"No! You have to believe me! I'm... sorry if I'm in your territory! I will leave! Just... please don't kill me! I... I don't know how I got here! The last thing I remember is that I touched some sort of... glowing stone."
Littlefoot instantly lowered his claws and froze in his tracks.
"What... 'glowing stone'?"
"An asteroid! It fell from the sky... and I touched it and... then I woke up here... like this... I know, this sounds..."
"Did it glow blue?" Littlefoot interrupted the stranger. Personally, he had no clue what an 'asteroid' was supposed to be, but he understood what the stranger had meant with that word.
"It... Yes, how do you know that?" The black fastbiter responded in massive surprise.
Littlefoot almost fainted after hearing this. He saw his whole life flash before his eyes. His happy days as a little longneck together with his four leaf-eater friends, a threehorn, a swimmer, a flyer, a spiketail, and his two friends with the opposite tendency, namely a two-footer and a fastrunner, up until now where he was the leader of a fastbiter pack with the exact same six friends, many more companions and even their own children.
Except that everyone was a sharptooth now. And that all started with a wish on a blue glowing stone. The Stone of Cold Fire. And also, it was only now that he consciously realized that the big fastbiter had feathers. Just like himself and those of his friends that had been changed by the Stone.
"You are not the only one with wishes... Sit down. We need to talk." He finally offered.
The black fastbiter gasped again, this time in surprise, but obeyed without hesitation, laid down on his haunches and shifted uneasily on his behind, which made Littlefoot smile slightly.
That... looks familiar... So, you really were not lying... Littlefoot thought to himself as he sat down as well.
"Tell me about it. How did that happen to you?"
The stranger took a deep breath and began to retell what happened to him over the last few hours, although there wasn't really much to tell.
"If anything's happened to him, I swear, Taunt, I'm going to rip your spleen out. For real, this time!" Came the angry scolding from the yellow fastbiter, even in her headlong sprint expressing all of her annoyance and concern through a firm voice.
"Relax, dear! He probably just met a little ankle-biter that got lost. If even that. No need to worry, I'm telling you!"
"For your own sake, I hope so!"
"... and then I woke up from that dream, here, in... your territory, in that forest back there. I... was a raptor and my head felt like it had been hit by a mountain and when I started smelling things, it knocked me back out. I came back to my senses to the sight of the moon, and then I had to learn how to walk properly. I mean, I used to walk on two legs but... not like this, you know?"
Although he kept a safe distance to the stranger, Littlefoot was very intrigued by now. These words were proof that he couldn't possibly be lying. Nobody that did not have their life twisted around like he and his friends had would know. The black fastbiter used some strange words like 'asteroid', 'raptor', 'dream' or 'moon', which could be so much easier spoken as 'flying rock', 'fastbiter', 'sleep story' or 'Night Circle', but he didn't pay that much heed.
After all, the change to the predator he now was went pretty much exactly like that, so he let him continue.
"The problem is... I can't stay. I don't even know how I got here, but if this place is what I think it is, I'm a... danger to what I once was. And since I don't think there happens to be a time machine around..."
"A time what?" Littlefoot asked in confusion. "Sounds like something the rainbowfaces would say..."
The addition to his sentence was more muttered to himself than actually spoken aloud, but the black fastbiter seemed to have heard it regardless.
"What are 'rainbowfaces'?"
"A rainbowface is a rainbowface." Littlefoot said while tilting his head slightly, asking himself how the stranger could not understand this simple name for a species. "They're good friends of us, incredibly smart, although nobody really understands them. They are star people, after all."
"'Star people'?" The black fastbiter said and burst out into short laughter. At least until he realized that the other Utahraptor had been quite serious with that. And he realized something else, too. If it was actually true what the brown raptor was saying, those 'rainbowfaces' could very well be the solution to his little predicament. He didn't exactly believe in aliens, but since he was already talking to a dinosaur, he figured that his past judgement on those things would have to make way. "Seriously? That's awesome! I have to meet them!"
"Me see something!" Came the yell from way up in the night sky.
"What... is it?" Came the slightly exhausted responses from the yellow and orange fastbiters below. They had been in a non-stop sprint the whole way.
"It Seeker! But there be other sharptooth! Big sharptooth!"
Littlefoot could only stare at him in a mix of disbelief and surprise.
"You would have to travel to the Great Valley then... and speak leaf-eater. Unless you want to get killed by the residents. They don't really like sharpteeth. Why would you want to talk to them, anyway? You don't even know them. And they don't know you."
Leaf-eater? He's talking about that as if it was some sort of language... Maybe... it is. So... we're talking... 'sharptooth' right now then, I assume? The black fastbiter quickly thought about the brown male's words.
"You could just teach me that 'leaf-eater' and show me the way to that 'Great Valley', couldn't you? And, well... I need to do this because for my old kind to live, your kind... our kind... my new kind... Uhm... Forget it. Too complicated to explain. It doesn't really matter for now..." The stranger answered in a depressed tone, as he was far too aware that a dinosaur would never be able to understand his past life, nor would it understand that a mass extinction would 'soon' occur. But surely those rainbowfaces would, whatever they actually were. However, there was a little problem. "But... I think I will need your help anyway. I am... was... not exactly a hunter, so..."
Littlefoot's mouth hung wide agape after hearing this, but before he could even think about giving an answer, loud rustling could be heard from behind both predators.
Just moments later, a brown Ceradactylus was hovering above the brown raptor's head, its talons extended for an attack, and two other Utahraptors, an orange one with black stripes, surprisingly without any feathering, and a yellow one with an orange crest, were taking defensive positions to either side of the raptor who had found him.
All three eyed him with murderous intent, and the black raptor could already feel his heartbeat accelerating to unhealthy levels at this sight.
"Uhh... Guys?" Littlefoot immediately spoke up. "He isn't dangerous, calm down."
Everyone kept glaring at the large black sharptooth until something happened that confused them all.
Littlefoot started laughing slightly.
"What if I told you that this scary sharptooth here just learned how to walk? He could barely catch a legless swimmer in the dark."
Everyone was dumbstruck by this but nobody lowered their claws. In fact, the two sharpteeth next to Littlefoot seemed to grow even more uneasy on what their leader had just said. After all, what he had just done was gravely insulting a sharptooth taller than all of them. It was one of those insults he would throw at a runt as he chased him away from the pack's territory, Taunt thought to himself, and this stranger certainly was anything but a 'runt'.
They were even more surprised when the black sharptooth gave his response. He glared at the brown fastbiter for a while, as a voice deep inside him just made him notice the implications of exactly what he had called him, even though he couldn't understand all the words just yet. That didn't influence the action that would follow, however.
"He's right, actually. In a way... you could say I was just bo... uhh... hatched."
The yellow fastbiter took a contemplative look at her trusted leader, companion and friend, to which he only shrugged, still smiling a bit.
"So, since we're already starting to gather here... How about we get to know each other? I'm Seeker." Littlefoot then introduced himself to the stranger.
"Me Spotter!" Came the instant and disciplined, yet nonetheless happy introduction from the flyer, who was on the ground by now and seemed to have relaxed every single muscle in his body after hearing his leader's order.
The yellow fastbiter let out an annoyed grunt. It was quite easily discernible that she didn't really like this whole situation and that her own opinion was a lot different from her leader's.
"I'm Stern Claw. And this insufferable ankle-biter..." She proceeded to gesture at the orange fastbiter. "...is my mate, Taunt."
"You certainly have... 'interesting' tastes, Taunt." The stranger remarked with a slight, coy smile.
Littlefoot swore to never forget the look on Taunt's face. It would be something he could mock him with to the end of their lives.
"I just realized, I haven't even asked for your name yet!" He suddenly exclaimed.
It was the black sharptooth's turn to look like he had just faced off a herd of threehorns.
He tried to tell them his name. His old name. His human name. But he couldn't. He had quickly settled with the fact that he was able to speak in a, to him, seemingly alien language now, then again, his thoughts were mostly untouched by this, but for some odd reason he could not pronounce own name. It was like he never knew it. He couldn't even think of it. Hesitantly, he spoke again.
"I... don't know."
"Oh please, not another one like..." Came the groaned response from Cera before she cut herself off. The particular glider she meant by that was simply not worth her nerves, she figured.
But the black raptor didn't react to that, still searching through his mind who he really was. It was only now that he recalled the strange voice that had appeared in his dream.
What did it say again?
"But... you could call me Specter. It's... an honor to meet all of you." He respectfully finished after some time.
Specter... Yeah, I like that name.
As the four sharpteeth were traveling back to their sleeping area with their new acquaintance, he couldn't help but feel great uncertainty about the path that would lie ahead of him.
They were walking in formation. Cera and Taunt at the front with him walking slightly behind both of them. Petrie kept an eye on him from above while Littlefoot volunteered to walk closely behind the large black fastbiter.
Ugh... I feel like I'm being walked to my execution. Specter thought to himself while eyeing the two predators in front of him. I guess they are only reasonable. I would probably do the same in their positions.
He didn't know why Littlefoot was so eager to be guarding their rear though. He figured that he must have been the pack's alpha, the leader, and leaders walked in the first line.
The brown fastbiter, however, knew exactly what he was doing.
Alright, maybe now I can make sure...
He sniffed a few times at the tall sharptooth in front of him. Of course he knew already why he wasn't able to smell him earlier, Specter's feathers were still slightly dripping with water, after all, but he still wanted to be sure about his words.
Fastbiter of our kind... interesting... male, young adult, healthy, unmated... Nothing seemed out of the ordinary with him. Again. But he wanted to inquire further. Feels lost, still a bit angry but a lot less than before, concerned, confused... and...
That was the scent he was looking for. He had been looking at him with inquisitive eyes for the whole walk and it was only now that his expression softened up a lot. The scent was barely noticeable. Nobody had spoken a single word since they had begun their journey back to their home. But it was still there, ever so faintly.
He was smiling again.
When they finally reached their sleeping area, 20 pairs of yellow eyes were looking right at Specter, with another one sternly staring at the leader of the pack. The black fastbiter could only roll his own eyes, as he knew he would have some more explaining to do.
Ohhh, this will be fun. Some carnivorous pterosaurs and a massive pack of raptors with domineering females. This is like Jurassic Park all over again... He thought to himself in mentally painful amusement.
Except... that I'm one of the raptors now... and this is Jurassic World... He added as an afterthought.
To his great surprise though, the pack quickly agreed to talk this through on the next day, which gave him much relief. He was far too confused and tired to reflect over his change again.
He watched the predators all gather up in their sleeping spaces and trotted a little bit further away. Still the empathic being he was not too long ago, he knew that 'impolite' would not even have been the right word to describe his intentions, had he decided to sleep right next to such a big pack of Utahraptors he barely knew. The fact that every one of them had children didn't make this whole situation any better for him.
He was in a very peculiar position indeed.
With these final thoughts, he soon found his sleeping spot, too, and quickly dismissed all of his concerns and fears, although he could see already that the next day would bring quite some more turmoil into his life.