Matriarch

Matriarch

A Chapter by Saurian Guardian
"

This story is about the female Deinonychus and her pack.

"

Dawn, a cast of minute creatures have retired to their dens and the giant reptilian lords of the land have just awoken from a nights rest. This is the early Cretaceous period. The time of man, mammals even, has yet to come, but this planet has been ruled for millions of years by the giant reptiles we know as dinosaurs.

The morning dew glistens over patches of ferns, the sun just beginning to rise over the newborn eastern mountains, the faint rays illuminating the tops of the trees with yellow light. As the faint rays of sunlight filter through the trees, they dance on the multicolored hides of the dinosaur Tenontosaurus. One ton giants with long, stiff tails; like billboards the more colorful the tail, the more desirable the mate. They are feeding on ferns, horsetails, and low lying cycads and cycadeoids. One other thing they are fond of dining upon are the primitive flowers that have just made their appearance in the early Cretaceous.

As the herd makes its way through the twilight scrub forest, they are unaware that they are being watched.

….

A pair of eyes, intensely beautiful, amber colored, not unlike a hawks eyes, peer from the dry ferns at the edge of the game trail.

A female Deinonychus antirrhopus, a medium sized raptor species has been watching the Tenontosaurus herd all night. Deinonychus have excellent vision; day and night. Like an optical cross between a cat and an eagle, most raptor species can hunt any time they wish, preferably at dawn or dusk when the low light conditions leave their prey vulnerable. 

As the herd plods on through the forest, the female, who we shall call Firefly, gives a short, nearly inaudible caw.

Chaaawwk.

She looks up, the Tenontosaurs don’t notice the noise. She relaxes, and now scans the opposite side of the trail. She’s looking for her mate, the alpha male of the pack. He is the largest male of the group, which is scattered throughout the game trail, setting up an ambush. 

There! She picks out the faint yellow, lavender and azure crest that adorns her mate. She has a similar crest, but it is only crimson flecked with black. 

Her mate looks nervous, he responds with a high pitched quark, she reassures him, making soft cooing noises and he straightens up and nods, a sign that he trusts her decisions with his life, it could be loosely translated to: I’ll be with you to the death.

Firefly is larger than her mate, the matriarch of the group, which comprises of four subordinate females, all of them her daughters, their mates, and her grandchildren. She is the boss, and all members of the pack chip in for caring for her young. She has first pick of the packs kills, but she cares for everyone like they are her own children.   

As the Tenontosaurus herd moves along, the trail thins until they have to walk in single file. This would be the perfect place to single out an individual Tenontosaurus to attack, but this had already been done. Their target is an adult male, about twenty feet long, and over a ton in weight, over twenty times bigger than Firefly. But he’s special, he is deformed.

The middle toe of his right hind foot is twice the diameter of that of his left. This is a surprisingly common injury among dinosaurs, but it is hardly ever this severe. He must have broken his toe, which would have healed, but had gotten infected and the bones fused together. Now whenever he moves, the two outer toes rub the middle one raw, causing him excruciating pain and making him walk with a limp.

This male was targeted almost instantaneously, predators have a simple rule: always go for the one who limps. Raptors are no exception. It would be almost pointless attacking a perfectly healthy animal, a Tenontosaurus bull would lash out violently if it was attacked. Deinonychus, with their light, hollow skeleton, are easily damaged, and an adult Tenontosaur could effortlessly crush a Deinonychus flat.  

But the pack has three things on their side: slashing, speed and smarts. 

Deinonychus are extraordinarily fast and maneuverable, not as fast as the dinosaurian equivalents to the ostrich; the Ornithomimosaurs, but fleet of foot all the same. Raptors are like wolves, they aren’t the fastest dinosaurs, but they have a great sense of smell, hearing and sight that allows them to pursue their quarry for days on end.    

The pack realizes it is almost time. As the Tenontosaurus herd moves again into an area where they can spread out, this is where the assault shall begin. 

Firefly waits until the male is far enough behind the herd before calling in the rest of the pack. Five feet, ten feet, twenty five feet. He is now at the point where backup is unavailable. Firefly jumps onto a large fallen log, directly above the Tenontosaur. Her mate does the same. She gives the signal.

SKKkwwaaaark!

A male raptor jumps in front of the Tenontosaur, screaming with all his might. The bull stands confused, then rears on his hind legs and whips around. The Tenontosaur’s heavy tail threatens to smash the Deinonychus ribs in, but he reacts by jumping nine feet straight up in the air. 

As the bull smashes through the underbrush, stomping ferns and horsetails flat with every step, a young female Deinonychus leaps out of the bushes and latches onto the Tenontosaurs back, slashing at his flank with her hawk-like foot claws, dragging the huge talons three inches into his thick hide. 

The Tenontosaurus roars in pain, he can smell his own blood on the Deinonychus’s hand claws, he goes berserk. He rears up on his hind legs, and slams his forepaws into the earth. That seems ineffective, as the female raptor is in a frenzy tearing at the bull. 

As a last ditch effort, the Tenontosaur rolls over as an attempt to crush the Deinonychus flat. But the female has speed on her side, and manages to jump off the bulls flank to avoid being flattened.  

The bull rights himself, and honks a distress call, no answer. No help will come. Tenontosaurus may live in herds, but all ties are broken when a member is under assault. Quite commonly the herd will try to turn the tables on the attackers, but this male is too far separated to receive backup.

Now he turns his attention to the raptor, where there used to be only one there is now thirteen raptors surrounding him. He tries to run away, but his leg gives out underneath him. He has run too long and hard, and his bad foot is unable to support his weight. He looks at his toe, it feels like he has broken it again, and it is oozing blood.  

Firefly notices, she walks over to the Tenontosaurus, taking long smooth strides in his direction. The bull rears up on his hind legs and roars. Firefly, unfazed raises he head as far as it will go and squawks.

Almost simultaneously, every Deinonychus leaps at the bull. Deinonychus means “terrible claw” and for good reason. One characteristic that all Dromaeosaurids share is the huge, sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of their hind foot. This claw is held off the ground while running, but when attacking or dismembering prey, the muscles in the foot contract, and the claw is drawn five inches deep into the flesh. 

The Tenontosaur bellows in pain, there are nine raptors clinging to his back, dragging their killing claws deep in between his ribs, tearing at his vital organs. He can see his own blood pouring out of five foot gashes in his side, staining the earth red.

The final blow is delivered by Firefly; she effortlessly jumps onto the bull’s shoulders, grabs his throat in her jaws, and butchers his neck with her hand-talons. She drags her huge foot-claw, creating great crimson chasms in his skin.   

The bull senses his impending death, he somewhat accepts it. He knows he will die, and his last moments are free of pain and fear.

….

The Deinonychus family gathers around the freshly killed Tenontosaur, and greets each other as a time honored ritual, congratulating each other for a job well done. Firefly’s mate has suffered the only injury, a broken outer finger. He will stay behind for the next few hunts while it heals, his family will take good care of him during that time.

Firefly trots over to her youngest daughter, this is her first hunt, and she did quite well. She whoops a congratulatory greeting, and nuzzles her with her muzzle. Two of her grandchildren run up to meet her, Firefly stoops over and makes soft cooing noises, preens the chicks downy feathers for a while, then saunters over to the carcass.

Firefly shoos away a couple of cheeky Pterosaurs, and then thrusts her featherless snout deep inside the Tenontosaurus’s ribcage. Her head is the only part of her body, besides her hands and feet, that is not covered with feathers. Surprisingly, many types of Dinosaurs have been found to have fathers (all of them Coelurosaurians “hollow lizards”, referring to their hollow bird-like skeletons). Even the Tyrant lizards, the Tyrannosaurs have feathers. The coelurosaurian dinosaurs are the only dinosaurs left alive, we know them as birds.

….

The group has eaten their fill, and bed down on a nest made of dried ferns for the night. Firefly is still awake, staring at the stars. She has no idea that in year 1964 AD, near Bridger, Montana, a Deinonychus pack much like hers will be freed from the earth for the first time in millennia, and change the way we think of the great reptiles forever. 

 

 

Raptor Profile:

Deinonychus antirrhopus, is a medium sized raptor species; nine feet long and around 70 kilograms with a particularly large killing claw for its body size. Deinonychus probably lived in packs, in 1964 a pack of the raptors was discovered near the herbivorous Dinosaur Tenontosaurus. Deinonychus like other Dromaeosaurus, probably had feathers. 

Deinonychus lived in Montana USA in the Early Cretaceous period.



© 2012 Saurian Guardian


My Review

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Featured Review

Wow, this is pretty long ahaha, but I read it all!
I really have no problems with this chapter or this story at all so far. It's greatly detailed and an all around exciting, good story line. Caught my attention from the beginning.
Although, I just have to say, it would probably be best to put the Raptor Profile at the beginning of the chapter, not the end, but that's just my opinion. It's youe story after all ahaha.
Anyway, great chapter, can't wait to read more.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Saurian Guardian

6 Years Ago

Thank you :)



Reviews

Wow, this is pretty long ahaha, but I read it all!
I really have no problems with this chapter or this story at all so far. It's greatly detailed and an all around exciting, good story line. Caught my attention from the beginning.
Although, I just have to say, it would probably be best to put the Raptor Profile at the beginning of the chapter, not the end, but that's just my opinion. It's youe story after all ahaha.
Anyway, great chapter, can't wait to read more.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Saurian Guardian

6 Years Ago

Thank you :)
You have amazing voice in your work! I love this so much! You are an excellent writer! Job well done!! Congratulations! I am in love with this!! :D A Perfect story idea and line! Amazing! :D

Posted 7 Years Ago


Saurian Guardian

7 Years Ago

Thank you so much :D
 Soul Fire

7 Years Ago

You're welcome :D

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Added on August 27, 2012
Last Updated on September 18, 2012
Tags: dinosaur, raptor, science fiction


Author

Saurian Guardian
Saurian Guardian

Canada



About
Hi, Im Damien. Im currently a student from Ontario with a passion for art and poetry. Ive also written a few short stories and plan on continuing my writing as the year progresses. I love designing .. more..

Writing