Crickets chirped loudly as Rex, Swipe, and Thorn broke away from the forest in the midst of the cool summer night. The tyrannosaur’s neck had the beginnings of scarlet-red, crusty scabs over his wounds. As Swipe darted ahead to chase after a lightning bug, Thorn stood still for a moment, looking up to the moonless sky in awe. To his utmost surprise, he realized that he had never gazed at the stars in such a mood before. He was suddenly fascinated by it all, by the seeming futility and smallness of his existence in the universe, and yet, how important he had become in the lives of these two dinosaurs.
“What do you think they are?” He asked. It managed to stop Rex in his tracks, despite his own deep desires to return to Rust. He turned to the ceratosaurus, and followed his gaze heavenward, his monstrous mouth gaping open in awe as well.
“I…have never wondered about it in my life to be honest. About as much as I’ve pondered the existence of trees, grass, or beasts.”
“It inspires you, doesn’t it?” Thorn asked softly, smirking softly to the young beast’s youthful tone. “To find life’s little mysteries, to enlighten yourself, and yet, remain attached to this world.” Rex looked back down, blinking once as he pondered the other’s words.
“You’re not like most beasts, are you?”
“Simply one who has had too much time alone sir.”
“I…don’t care to think about it. Not anymore. Maybe someday I can relive it all, but not now.”
“I understand.” Rex replied after a long silence and polite nod. Thorn slowly made his way toward the tyrannosaurus, bowing his respects to the massive leader when he looked back up to him.
“Thank you sir for what you have done. We can ask no more of you.”
“Roight! And you had a bloody good show back there!” Swipe added as he appeared at Thorn’s side. Rex, with a smile and a relieved sigh, simply nodded to both of the dinosaurs.
“It’s been an honor. I hope you two find yourselves at home here, and you’re more than welcome to visit whenever you wish.” Thorn bowed his respects to the T. Rex once more, to which the raptor almost immediately mimicked the gesture.
“Thank you sir. May you live longer than any of us.” Rex simply dipped his head in thanks to Thorn’s kind words when he turned and ventured back off toward the thicker wild grass below. He left Swipe to turn to Thorn almost immediately, as his long, stiff tail swayed back and forth with his widening grin.
“So, whaddya wanna do now? I meself could go for a meal.”
“Aye lad, as could I. But this isn’t over. Not after what we saw back there. The Eira, the thing that gang was after…why?”
“Ah, another adventure, eh?”
“If we must, then yes. Are you sayin’ you’re in then, lad?”
“Of course I am, mate! Could neva leave me best friend to go and have all the fun.” Thorn could only smile at the raptor’s enthusiasm. For once, it was nice to see someone on his side so willingly.
Finn stared into the fire that Eira had created to both warm them and cook their fish. At first the spinosaurus sprang into action and nearly kicked a pile of dirt onto the small embers, but once Eira calmed him with her gentle gestures and explained herself, he would only grow riveted. As one who had only known fire as a means of destruction, the dinosaur stared longingly into Eira’s remarkable invention. It seemed as if he was pining for the wisdom she had in controlling the spark and embers. He didn’t mind the extra light either, as the night in these woods could grow quite dark.
Never one to taste and savor his meals, instead swallowing them whole, Finn fell in love with Eira’s cooked fish, as he even began to lick at the backs of his teeth and watched her nibble on her well-charred meal. At one point the Green Folk feared that he might gobble her up, but with a reassuring chuckle the spinosaur stated that he was a strict fish-eater.
He nodded his respects to a herd of duckbill silhouettes drinking from the river some ways away when he and Eira conversed. Likewise, the herbivores gave their thanks to Finn, with some thanking him outright for his good service and others warning him to be wary of the fire beside him. Finn shrugged the compliments off as he returned his attention to Eira. His greenish-gold stare was so piercing it managed to discourage the girl from eating further.
“How can I help you?” She asked softly. Finn looked back into her eyes with a jolt of surprise and embarrassment.
“Oh! I’m sorry. I…I simply can’t stop. I mean, I’ve lived in these woods all my life, and yet, I’ve never encountered one quite like you.”
“You’re not the first to say that to me.” Eira snickered as she took another small bite from her dinner.
“Oh yes that’s right. Any names that you know of?”
“Well, the first of the speaking beasts, sort of like you, was a being named Giant, and then…”
“Giant?” Finn interrupted. “I haven’t heard that name in years.”
“You know him?”
“Oh yes. Grew up with him in fact. My mother and his father were quite the allies in their time. She was his reason, where he was her strength. Giant and I were raised by them, like they both were our parents almost.”
“May I ask what happened then?”
“Well…you see, Giant’s father went mad as age affected him. I remember him attacking my mother for a petty argument, and he later recounted that he knew nothing of it. I never saw Giant very often after that. I only know that madness eventually overcame his father.”
“That sounds terrible.”
“Aye, and it only grows worse when you have to be the one to kill your own father.” Eira nearly coughed her food back up with this addition. She looked back up to the dinosaur.
“From the tales I’ve heard, Giant celebrated his second decade of age when his father lashed out, wanting to kill him. Some say he mistook his own son as an enemy, others say he was paranoid of his son overthrowing him. My old friend, feeling cornered, was the one to end his own father’s life in self-defense. I haven’t heard from him in years, but others tell me he isn’t the same as he used to be.”
“My goodness...” Eira whimpered. Finn gave a disgruntled sigh as one hand rested over another in his resting position, and he lowered his head toward the girl.
“That’s enough with that. Tell me, what is life like for you, little Green Folk?” Eira smiled with a shrug as her eyes fell back to the fish in hand, when she took a lazy bite from it. She chewed, if just to bide time, and swallowed before looking back up at the dinosaur.
“Well, we like to live quiet lives. Men hunt for meat every so often, otherwise they keep the village from ruin, and the girls, like me, venture off to find anything from the forest to use for eating, and we don’t slack on chores either. Plus we raise our own plants and animals to save for winter.”
“Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.” The dinosaur tried to picture more creatures like Eira, scurrying about like hardy ants, but he couldn’t. He’d have her describe everything in meticulous detail, but as his heart raced, he had another idea. “Well, you know I certainly hope to meet the others of your kind when I take you back to them.” Eira perked up, looking up at Finn as he gave her a sly smirk.
“You…are taking me home? Th-that wasn’t part of the original plan.”
“You’ve enthralled me Eira. I want to know more about you and your people. To know that this little world of mine isn’t so small. Heh, when you get to be my size, tiny little creatures like you become quite fascinating. In the very least, it would be my honor to escort you home.”
“Well thank you. Thank you so much.” Eira replied as she brushed her hair up over her left ear. The two smiled warmly at one another, just as the girl broke off another cooked fish from the fire and tossed it before Finn, who gladly gobbled it up while the girl continued to nibble at her single fish.
“Tell me about those around you won’t you?” Finn lowered his head to the ground, like a child waiting to be told a story for the night, but his eyes never strayed from the girl.
“Hmm?” Eira hummed as she wiped at the side of her mouth, tossing aside a sloppy piece of fish.
“Well, your family, your friends, I’d like to get an idea of what they’re like before I meet them. I wouldn’t want it to be too awkward eh?” The two snickered amongst themselves when Eira set the fish down. She had so much to tell him; from her parents to her status as a single woman just shy of her prime, from the boy’s hand she sought to take to the boys who sought out her’s, as well as the Piermont Kingdom to Sir Bernard, and not to mention the Coffin Spawn.
Much like Giant, Eira had grown comfortable in Finn’s presence rather quickly, and spilled much of her deepest secrets out to him, knowing that he wasn’t the gossip other Folk girls in her village were. Finn listened intently as he blinked lazily, and just as Giant would have, he held onto every word with a polite, yet sincere, smile.
My, he thought, how could such a fascinating creature as Eira go so long without being found? As he listened on, offering tidbits of feedback and conversation here and there, the two hardly noticed an ominous ankylosaur standing at the water’s edge some ways away.
With numerous other herbivores, namely duckbills, ceratopsians, and dome-headed pachycephalosaurs at his side, Boulder narrowed his eyes. Though his sights were poor, he could easily make out Finn and the tiny creature thanks to the distinctive fire fluttering about between them. The creature, the Eira, as others called it, was unlike anything he had ever seen. Never one to confront others initially, Boulder nodded to the others, and together they ventured back off into the dark woods, to give word to their new leader.