A crimson and yellow striped velociraptor sat quietly on a moss covered boulder, staring at the green tinted light flickering through the tree leaves. She carefully studied the patterns of light and shadow on the surrounding rocks and foliage, locking the picture into her memory.
“Windy! WindSong Sharpclaw, get your tail over to the training field before I cut it off and serve it to the compies!”
BattleBlood, a very large red and black raptor, glared at his sister. “And I’ll do it, too.”
WindSong cringed. Again, she had been caught dreaming. “Sorry.” She got up and hurried to the large field where young raptors were instructed in the warrior arts.
Battles voices softened. “Zusje, you can’t keep dreaming and live in the Basin.”
The young Theropod shrugged. “Sorry. I just like looking at everything! The light in the leaves, the archaeopteryx flying from tree to tree, the,”
“Windy,” he interrupted, “That would be find if you lived in the Outer Realm; but, you’ll be a warrior soon. Stay focused.”
They soon reached the wide, grassy expanse and Windy began her warm-up stretches while Battle retrieved the spears and archery equipment. Anything that may accidentally harm a wandering hatchling or half trained warrior was kept in the nook of a gigantic oak tree. Few Theropods enjoyed climbing, but many in the Sharpclaw did not mind it. For Battle Blood, the trees were another place to hide.
The field was quickly set up and another days lessons began.
WindSong picked up the crudely made bow she had labored over for a season to create. It was the first weapons she had ever taken the time to hunt down the materials for and go through the long process of bending the wood, braiding the string, and fletching the arrows with discarded Iberomesornis feathers.
After a few more stretches, the young raptor strung her bow, chose an arrow from her quiver, and carefully aimed at the slightly swinging piece of wood hung from a ginkgo tree.
“Good, but keep that elbow straight or you’re going to get slapped,” Battle coached.
Windy nodded and twisted her left elbow around slightly, making sure her arm was straight. She had been hit by the bow string too many times and knew how it hurt. When she released the arrow, it sped right past the wood to land somewhere in the jungle beyond. She growled quietly to herself and knocked another arrow.
“Cock feather up,” Battle reminded.
Windy checked her arrows position. Sure enough, the green feather was not pointed up, a red one was. Could she do nothing right today? Embarrassed, she corrected the arrows position and tried again. This time, s he hit the chunk of wood, making it swing wildly.
“Good! Keep practicing.” Battle moved on to his other students, instructing and coaching them.
Windy had had a long, hard day. Her back ached, her right arm felt as if it was on fire, and her brother hadn’t let up on her all day! Now, night had fallen and the diminutive dromaeosaur finally had some time to herself.
She easily scaled a giant redwood and perched high up in its branches. It was always so quiet, so peaceful up here. She could just glimpse the stars through the dense forest canopy.
As the carnosaurs lounged in the trees limbs, she thought back to her second summer.
She had been very small when her mother finally allowed WindSong to follow her brother around.
He was a full eight summers older, and already mostly through his training. Teasingly, he chose the straightest, tallest tree he could and quickly scaled it, using his claws to cling to the rough bark.
WindSong had insisted on following him, but couldn’t get more than her own meager height off the ground.
Laughing, BattleBlood, then SharpEye, came down and showed her how to flex her claws, to dig into the bark, but not too deeply lest she scar the ancient giant.
Tonight’s moon was full and cast its silver light over the Rainy Basin. The jade green fern leaves turned a soft, viredescent color and shadows held the secrets of night.
By chance, something white moving through the forests bright night caught Windys eye. To her surprise, the arboreal velociraptor saw a large Utahraptor making his way towards the main clan grounds.
The closest Utahraptors were from the Sanctuary of the Clans, three days journey from Sharpclaw land. And no raptor from the Sanctuary would be sneaking in.
Acting quickly, Windy descended and jumped the last few feet to the ground.
“Breath Deep, Seek Peace,” she called out. “I am WindSong, warrior of the Sharpclaw.”
Startled, the Utahraptor turned around and stared down at his smaller cousin. He was a good twenty feet from nose to tail, and the curved killing claw on the second toe of each foot was easily a foot long. His pearly white hide was luminescent in Lunars light. The only markings on his hide were a black dorsal stripe that extended over his head and to his nose, and black feet. He also had a red tattoo of the Sharpclaw crest on his right arm.
Snarling, he advanced on WindSong. At just under six feet long, Windy was dwarfed by his immense form.
“A warrior of the Sharpclaw, young one?”
Well, she wasn’t quite one yet, but she would be. “Y, yes. You’re Sharpclaw?”
The Utah’s eyes narrowed. “I was. And I will claim my clan once more.” He turned and vanished back into the jungles noisy night.
“You did what?” Battle’s voice was dangerously low.
“I scared off a Utahraptor.” Windy had thought he’d be proud of her.
“You should have gotten more of the pack to help you. He clearly wasn’t on a social visit. If had wanted to eat you, what would you have done?”
“Uhhhh…” He had a point. Stupid raptor. Why didn’t she think before acting? “Run, I guess.”
“Right. You can out-run someone who takes one step and they’ve already matched five of yours.”
“I’m the fastest of your students!”
“It doesn’t matter. Even the jungle must give way to the river.”
Windys head hung. “Yes, shra’ga.”
His voice softened. “You need to be more careful.”
She nodded miserable.
“Hm.” He paused. “So, what did he look like? What do you think he was doing here?”
Windy quickly described the intruder, making sure to mention the tattoo.
At the mention of the Sharpclaw mark, Battle suddenly became reserved. “What else did he say?”
“That he was once Sharpclaw and would claim his clan again.”
“Go back to the pack,” he ordered.
“Who was he?”
“Don’t question me. Go back now.”
“Battle, what happened? How do you know who he is?”
“Zusje, go. Now.” He left no room for argument.
Angrily, she turned and stalked off.
Later that night, when she asked her father, StrongBow, the clan leader, about the strange Utahraptor, she got the same refusal to explain.
Windy went to her nest that night wondering what in Ogthar’s name was going on.
Determined not to be late for her lessons again, Windy got up early. The sky was a light gray and a light drizzle was falling; but that would probably stop soon enough.
StrongBow was in the training field, giving orders to his warriors. BattleBlood stood amongst them, listening to his father and leader intently.
“Daya, Rogth, you travel up the Sunstream while Varme and Gar scout downstream.”
The four warriors quickly complied, knowing that the safety of the whole clan was at stake.
“Arnaka, I need you to go to the Cross-Basin Trail and stop the caravan that’s supposed to come through soon. We can’t let the Hunters get to them”
Windy gasped. Hunters? Here? But none of the rogue carnosaurs had been in this part of the Basin for centuries!
StrongBow continued. “Battle, how many of your,” but trailed off as he saw Windy. He nodded to her. “WindSong! Good morning. There will be no training today. Battle, I need to speak to you privately.” The green and red mottled velociraptor turned to the remaining warriors. “The rest of you, make more arrows, spears, and staves. We’ll need everything we can throw at these Hunters.”
Father and son headed to StrongBows to cave, leaving WindSong waiting with the warriors.
Windy followed them and listened outside, but couldn’t hear much of what was going on, so she went back to the training field to see how she could help.
Many of the warriors who had been left behind chatted amongst themselves as they worked. Quietly, Windy sat next to three raptors who were weaving tough grasses into bow strings. She grabbed a handful and started a new string.
While helping, Windy learned what had set the whole clan on edge; an old enemy had returned, and brought the Hunters with him.
Hungers were carnosaurs w ho clung to the ancient ways. They used their strength and claws to attack any saurian or human who passed through the Rainy Basin. Sometimes, they were successful and made kills. They always ate the flesh of their victims; those habits had been left behind by most carnosaurs when they took the Oath of Peace and agreed to sustain their lives with the meat from death caravans full of sick and dieing saurians. Any carnosaurs who gave in to their hunger was welcome as a Hunter, making the packs particularly strange as a dilophosaur could hunt with a Megaraptor.
Six hundred years ago, the Sharpclaw had driven Hunters out of the Northern Basin and secured safe caravan routes for the herbivorous Dinotopians. Last night, Battle had taken four other raptors and hunted out the strange Utahraptor. They had been attacked by Hunters and Orlo, a well-trained warrior, had been injured. Now, the Sharpclaw were preparing to keep their pact with the Outer Dinotopians and once more drive the Hunters out of this part of the Rainy Basin.
What Windy was unable to learn was the identity of the Utahraptor or why he would bring Hunters with him. Everyone was reluctant to speak of him and his name was never mentioned.
“Zusje, come with me.” BattleBlood appeared in front of his little sister.
She looked up from her work. “Just a minute.” Quickly, she tied off the strand she was working on and set it next to the raptor she had been working with.
“Where are we going?” she asked as she followed her brother. The small bag around his neck did not escape her notice.
He patted her shoulder and smiled. “It’s a surprise.”
He led her to the small waterfall that Windy enjoyed visiting. The rocks in and around the river were vibrant green with moss and light sparkled on the turquoise water. Five other trainees who were nearly finished with their training waited for them.
Windy joined her fellow students and waited for whatever announcement Battle was going to make.
He sat on a boulder, watching the water for quit some time, before speaking.
“Hunters have returned and we may need more warriors to help fight. You six are my best students. I have trained you for the past five summers to one end. You are to protect the clan and honor our heritage. The Sharpclaw were first great warriors, and then they were hunted. In the fight for their freedom, they gained the trust and friendship of humans. They promised to keep this area safe for any traveler. Now, Hunters threaten that promise, and I will not see the Sharpclaw shamed.
“I give you this task; take the bag from my neck. Those of you who can will be apprenticed to a single warrior and given the opportunity, once this is over, to undergo the Trials and become full warriors.” He eyed each of them carefully. “You have till sundown.”
Through the day, each tried to surprise Battle or ambush him, and failed. Windy stayed back and watched each of her packmates attempts, carefully noting what did and didn’t work.
Sundown was nearing, and Windy still hadn’t made her attempt. She went back to the waterfall and listened to Areesh commiserating with E’dume while Anka and Rid lightly splashed each other water, trying to take their minds off their failure. Canyo sat on the same boulder BattleBlood had earlier and started at nothing.
Suddenly, Windy understood why no one had succeeded. They had tried alone. But, if they worked as a pack, they stood a chance.
“Hey!” She got their attention. “I know how we can all get our apprenticeships!”
“It’s too late,” Canyo said. “We all tried and failed.”
“NO! It’s not. The sun hasn’t gone to its nest yet; we can try one more time.” Windy quickly laid out her plan and everyone agreed.
Rid found Battle with the clan warriors, making more arrows, and ran up to him while E’dume came at him from the other side. Areesh screamed her battle cry from afar, drawing Battles attention away from the attack. Still, the warrior noticed the two advancing raptors and easily side-stepped. He deflected their blows with well-practiced grace. Then, Canyo pounced him from behind, knocking Battle down. Areesh too joined in and sat on Battle’s tail. From nowhere, Windy ran across the field and snapped the string that held the bag to Battles neck with her claws. Triumphantly, she held it up.
BattleBlood shook off the three other raptors. He bowed first to WindSong, then to Areesh, Canyo, E’dume, Anka, and Rid each in turn. Their concentrated effort had brought him down long enough for Windy to snatch the bag.
“Congratulations. WindSong, may I have the bag back?”
She handed it over, curious as to what the contents were.
Battle opened the pouch and pulled out a red, white, and black arm band made from saurian skin. “And who planned the attack?” he asked his students.
Windy remained silent, but Rid quickly singled her out.
“Then,” Battle held up the armband, “This belongs to WindSong.” He tied it around her right arm. “And WindSong will be my apprentice.”
The raptors who had been present to witness the sneak attack clapped and shouted their congratulations to the young raptors.
Windy whooped with glee and danced in place. “Naglé veni!” she shouted happily.
Battle laughed. “I take it you’re not that excited?”
Still smiling, Windy forced herself to calm down.
“Windy, meet me by StrongBow’s cave. The rest of you, come with me. Battle took his victorious former-students to their new shra’ga’s.
Again, Windy touched the armband. Could she really have done it? Apparently so, because her prize was still there. She happily watched the jungle grow dark from the hill her fathers cave rested in.
Battle came striding up the steep incline. “Congratulations!” he called again.
“Thank you,” Windy smiled.
“I hope you’re a better apprentice than you were trainee,” he joked.
“And I hope you’re a better teacher!”
He chuckled quietly. “Come, Ra’napa wants to tell us something.”
Together, they entered their fathers cave. The clan leaders cave was almost a sacred place; none dared enter, not even family, unless invited. There must always be one alpha who had complete control of the clan; it had always been so.
“Breath deep,” StrongBow greeted.
“Run fast,” Windy replied.
“Seek peace,” Battle returned.
“So,” StrongBow began, “My daughter follows in the trail of her brother.”
Windy remained silent, but her heart swelled with joy at his praise.
“She has listened, observed, and learned well.”
“Let’s hope you will both stay safe.” StrongBow turned to his daughter. “WindSong, I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you, Ra’napa.” Windy was never sure where she stood with him. He was her Ra’napa, her father, but he was also leader. How could one be dully loyal to the same saurian?
“As you both now know, Hunters have returned. But, there’s something you don’t know, WindSong. DarkMoon, the Utahraptor you saw, is my brother.”
Windy frowned. “But… That can’t be right. It’s just not possible!”
StrongBow smiled slightly. “It is. Before my egg was laid, my Ra’napa found a wandering Utahraptor hatchling. He searched for the parents, but couldn’t find them. Instead of leaving the hatchling to fend for itself, he adopted it and cared for SilverFlash as if he was his own son. A few years later, I hatched.
“At first, SilverFlash was jealous, but he soon grew to love me as a brother. We grew up together, trained as warriors together. I found a mate, but SilverFlash couldn’t in this clan. Still, he refused to leave and stayed.
“When Ronvel knew it was time to pass on leadership, he gave me first battle. I defeated him and became leader. SilverFlash felt slighted that he had not been given first Battle as Ronvel’s first son. SilverFlash could never lead, but he felt it was his right.
“Soon after I became leader, BattleBloods egg was laid. SilverFlash grew bitter and refused to even acknowledge his nephew.” Here, StrongBow paused, reluctant to go on. “When Battle was barely a summer old, SilverFlash attacked him. Your mother fought him off and SilverFlash was banished.
“Before he left, SilverFlash called ‘You’ve turned your brother to the DarkMoon. I will claim what is mine.’ Then, he left and I haven’t heard from him until last night when Windy spotted him.
“Now, I fear he has returned to take the Sharpclaw by force.”
Windy shook her head. No wonder everyone refused to acknowledge the silver Utahraptor. Anyone that would harm a hatchling had no place in the clan.
“I didn’t want you two going out there without knowing the full story. Battle, you and Windy are to scout the eastern borders.”
“Very well,” Battle agreed. “We’ll leave in the morning.”
StrongBow hugged Windy as she got up to go. “You be careful, OK?”
“Of course, Ra’napa.”
“Hey, Zusje, wake up.” Battle gently shook his sisters’ shoulder.
“Ung.” She didn’t want to get up. Her nest was too warm and comfy!
“Zusje, I’m going to leave without you.”
“Oh, fine. I’m up!” Windy stretched and stood up. “How far do you think we’ll go today?”
“Half way there. Here,” he handed her a chunk of Saltosaurus meat and her bow and arrows. “We’re eating breakfast on the way.”
BattleBlood had already prepared provisions for the mission and gotten everything ready. He wanted to be gone as fast as possible.
Windy strapped the quiver to her side and strung the bow, then slung it over her shoulder. She also put the packet of food Battle handed her in the bottom of her quiver.
Besides his fighting staff, Battle had an oddly shaped package wrapped in sauropod skins strapped to his back. “Ready?”
Still sleepy, Windy nodded and they trekked east.
Though they kept a careful watch for anyone or anything that could pose a threat to the clan, the worst Battle and Windy ran into was a small flock of compsognathids. It was late into the night when Battle finally called a halt and they stopped for rest.
“Can I see your bow? I think it’s beginning to crack,” Battle said.
Windy frowned. It had been fine this morning. Still, she handed it over.
Battle carefully ran his claws along the shaft, nodded once to himself, and cut it in two with his sickle claw.
“Hey! That’s my bow!” Windy cried, horrified.
Battle tossed the pieces into a patch of horsetail trees. “It was. But it was getting old.”
Windy stared at him, astonished that he would do a thing like that. “But, why?”
Battle shrugged and nonchalantly untied the skins from the package he had been carrying. “Because you don’t need it.” Flipping back the thick leather, he revealed an intricately carved black bow with a matching quiver full of black arrows.
“Ooh…” Windy’s eyes went wide.
“Go on, you can touch it.”
Almost reverently, the Theropod picked it up and studied the carvings. Swirls and spirals ran up and down the shaft, and a space for a name was left blank near the top. It balanced perfectly in her hand and the grip fit her fingers as if carved specially for them. The wood smelled of cold, pine forests, something Windy had never seen. The arrows were made of the same ebony wood and fletched with violet feathers.
“Aren’t you going to string it?” Battle asked as he handed her the string.
Smiling, Windy slipped the noosed end over one end of the bow and turned the bow to the other end. Putting her foot between the wood and string, she pulled down on the bow and up on the string. It took a little more strength to string this bow than her old one, but she managed.
“It’s the best bow I’ve ever seen!”
“I would hope so! Took me long enough to make it. And that wood wasn’t easy to come by either. You take care of that now, or I’ll keep it for myself.”
“Thank you!” Windy hugged him tightly.
“Ung, Windy,” he teasingly pushed her away. “Suffocate me, why don’t you?”
“Sorry.” She backed off and picked up the quiver to study it some more.
“Hm?” Windy looked up.
“I think you’ll be Azonthus.”
Windy smiled. “Oh, a little warrior, huh?”
“I’d prefer, Gra’nashe, the Mighty One!”
“Nah… Sorroh, tiny claw.”
Windy made a face. “Naah, I’ll be,” she trailed off in thought. “Whitana!”
Battle laughed. “Think you’ll be as great as Jara the Just, huh?”
Again, Battle laughed. “Get to sleep, Zusje, before I bean you on the head with that fancy bow of yours.”
Windy smiled, unstrung her bow, and curled up on a bed of ferns.
Windy woke suddenly. Something wasn’t right. The jungle was too quiet and Battle was standing with his staff, ready to fight.
Windy hurriedly strung her bow and strapped the new quiver full of arrows to her side.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Sh!” Battle hushed her.
She turned to face the other way, keeping her back to his so they wouldn’t be surprised form behind. Knocking and arrow, she stood ready.
A ramyphorincus called noisily, and the soft chattering of a Dimorphodon answered. Then, a huge dilophosaur with a necklace of bones charged them.
Windy recognized him as a Hunter right away. The necklace was probably from bones of innocent saurians he had killed. She released the arrow and nodded with satisfaction as it pierced his thigh.
Suddenly, deinonychs and utahraptors appeared all around them. Growling and snarling, they moved as one on the Sharpclaw team.
Windy fired arrows as quickly as she could, but the raptors moved out of the way or weren’t hurt badly. Windy couldn’t bring herself to kill them.
“Zusje! Hit one hard or stop wasting arrows,” Battle ordered.
Steeling herself, Windy shot a deinonych in the neck, killing him instantly.
The six raptors left charged to take down their prey. Shrieking loudly, a Utahraptor came down on Windy, knocking her to the ground.
She jabbed her bow up, stabbing him in the soft flesh of his throat, stunning him enough for her to push the tremendous weight off. Swinging her bow like a staff, she fought bravely against carnosaurs many times larger than herself.
Lancing pain across her face blinded WindSong. She turned to face the Deinonychus that had clawed her left eye. Blood dripped off her face and onto the ground. For the moment, adrenaline kept the injury from crippling her.
“You’ll be a tasty one,” the deinonych taunted as he lunged for her throat.
BattleBlood had taught Windy well and she pulled back, leaving the deinonych to bite at air. “And you’ll not even be remembered once I’m through,” Windy shot back.
This time, when the Hunter lunged, he knocked her to the ground. They rolled in a shower of dirt and leaves, biting, kicking, clawing, battling for life itself.
It was Windy who stood, her right foot covered in blood from where she had slashed his belly open.
Before she had time to turn around, teeth clamped on the base of her skull and a huge weight pressed itself on her back, pushing her to the ground. The jaws pressure tightened, but not enough to snap her vertebra. Claws dug into her sides and Windy began loosing consciousness. The pain was unbearable; why didn’t he finish her already?
Suddenly, the jaws let go and the claws released their hold. Windy collapsed. The last thing she saw before a black Utahraptor foot came down on her injured face was Battle’s still form being carried off by three hunters.
Who knew how much later it was when Windy awoke, her whole body on fire.
Battle? Where was he?
The sickening vision of her brother being carried off returned and Windy retched.
She had to get back to the clan, but could hardly move without passing out. The whole left side of her face throbbed and she couldn’t see out of that eye. Steeling herself, Windy rolled onto her stomach and found her bow not too far away. She used that to help pull herself up.
The injured velociraptor took a step and fell. She waited for the pain to subside and pushed herself up again.
“You won’t get far like that,” a deep, rumbling voice addressed her.
Windy tried to turn to see who had spoken, and would have fallen again if not for a green, three fingered hand reaching down and steadying her.
“Breath deep, seek Peace. I’m Lyra.”
“Run fast,” Windy gasped. “Hunters. Battle.”
“Yes, I know. I smelled the blood, but came too late to stop them. I’m surprised you’re alive!”
“No. Battle,” Windy paused for breath. “Blood.”
“Yes, there was a battle and you’re covered in blood. You need help or it’s compy chow for you.”
“Gone. Battle… Gone.” Windy sank to the ground, crying softly.
“They’re gone for now. I take it you are Sharpclaw?” Lyra asked.
Miserably, Windy nodded.
“Good. I’m going to pick you up now. Don’t worry; I’m not going to eat you.”
Gently, the tan and indigo Aftovenators hands closed around the tiny velociraptor and lifted her off the ground. Windy managed to keep hold of her bow as she lost consciousness again.
When Windy next awoke, it was to the sound of rushing water and her mothers face. She must be somewhere near the Sunstream; the whole area smelled comforting and cool.
“WindSong!” Aka cried. She squeezed her daughters’ hand.
“Mother?” Windy weakly muttered.
“You’ve been asleep for two days,” Aka explained. “Do you remember what happened?”
Sadly, Windy nodded, ignoring the numbness that pervaded her whole body.
“I miss him! Why couldn’t Lyra have gotten there sooner?” Aka cried.
Windy squeezed her mothers’ hand. “Why couldn’t I have killed more Hunters when I had the chance?”
Aka patted Windy’s hand. “It’s a hard thing to kill.” She went quiet for a moment. “First I loose BattleBlood, and now StrongBow’s fighting that stupid battle, you’re sick… Don’t die, please,” Aka pleaded.
“Ra’napa’s fighting?” Windy questioned.
“He’s fighting DarkMoon for leadership.”
“Take me there!”
“WindSong, you’re not strong enough. You need to rest.”
“Take me there. Now.” Windy used the same tone of voice Battle had so many times.
“No,” Aka refused. Mothers were always immune to that kind of trick.
“I have to go there now. They can’t fight.”
“You’ve been unconscious two days and now you expect me to just help you over to watch your father kill himself?”
“No. I expect you to help me stop him.” Windy began struggling to stand. A few fern fronds clung to her side as she stood, swaying slightly.
Relenting, Aka helped Windy to the Standing Stones.
StrongBow and DarkMoon were circling, preparing to dual. Everyone in the clan was there, hoping and praying StrongBow would win. Hunters milled about outside the Standing Stones and Lyra used her four ton bulk to keep them in check.
“Stop!” Windy cried. She limped forward with her mothers help. “You can’t fight.”
DarkMoon glared at the velociraptor. “You should be grateful I didn’t finish you off.”
“And you should be grateful to the clan that adopted you!”
“Fool. They didn’t care for me. Now I’ve come to take what is mine.”
“Ra’napa, he’s your brother. You can’t fight him.”
“I have to, WindSong. He’s only here to fight for leadership because of Battle’s Rosh’kar.”
No. Battle couldn’t have claimed Rosh’kar!
DarkMoon laughed at the stricken look on Windy’s face. “Oh, that’s right. He claimed Rosh’kar. His life belongs to me, and you’ll never know what happened.”
“No!” Windy struggle free of Akas supporting hold. “I’ll kill you myself!” Anger gave her strength and Windy advanced on DarkMoon, only to be stopped by StrongBow.
“This is my battle,” StrongBow soothed. “I should have done this long ago, before any of my children’s lives were at stake.”
Windy sagged, suddenly exhausted. “Good luck.”
Aka hurried forward and helped Windy to a place where she could sit. Two raptors gave up their seats on a bowled out boulder for Windy to rest in.
Only vaguely could Windy pay attention. All she remembered later was thinking what a marvelous fighter her Ra’napa was and the distant cheer as he won. She could never be sure if it had happened or not, but she thought StrongBow cut off a foot of DarkMoon’s tail and banished him from the Rainy Basin.
Azonthus clung to her bow tightly. “I’m going with the caravan.”
“WindSong,” StrongBow began.
“Azonthus,” she corrected.
“Azonthus,” he began again. Please, we need you here.”
“I can’t stay. Not now. Besides, the healers in Treetown can help with my face.” The raptor that had slashed Windys face had left great gouges across her snout and eye. TwoTalon, the clan healer, had done what he could by packing the wounds with Arctium Longevus salve and sealing them over with a coating of river mud; but, without further help, her face would be horribly disfigured.
“You’ll be welcome back whenever you choose to return,” Aka told her.
Az hugged both parents, then turned to Eric, the leader of the caravan, for help into the Ultrasaurs saddle. She waved goodbye.
BattleBlood had always told her she could dream in the other parts of Dinotopia. She dreamed of seeing her brother one last time.