Monday, October 11, 2010
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 4
Birmisia was full of life the spring. Wildflowers seemed to suddenly appear just about everywhere. The days were warm and wet, with frequent fog and almost daily rain showers. The giant maples grew new leaves, adding their lustrous green to the ever-present deep emerald of the tremendous pines. Ferns opened up their fronds in the dappled light beneath the mighty trees and in those places with no light, large and varied mushrooms showed their rounded heads. Plants were not the only life forms present though. The land was alive with both birds and beasts. Once could easily spot cormorants, snipes, rails, and wrens hopping through the trees along with the strange four-winged microraptors. A few godwits, grebes, puffins, and pelicans occasionally strayed inland from the shore. On the ground caudipteryx, buitreraptors, bambiraptors, meilong, and mahakala ran among the ferns looking for small lizards and snakes and large insects which were everywhere. They didn’t bother the opossums, which stayed sung in their dens until nightfall. In the open areas huge iguanodon grazed, sometimes accompanied by triceratops and ankylosaurs. Most of the large predators like the tyrannosaurs and the utahraptors had become scarce due to the presence of man, though the velociraptors and deinonychus were still thick, as happy to scavenge human trash as to hunt the other Birmisian creatures.
A flock of seven velociraptors made their way down the road. They went in fits and starts, pausing to snatch a lizard or small rodent from among the ferns and squawking at each other. They were like all of their species covered with hairy feathers, yellow near their small arms, green everywhere else. Most of this particular group had a black band across what in any other bird would have been called the wings. They were only about two and a half feet tall, but their long tails stretched straight out almost five feet. The most famous features of the velociraptors were their feet, each of which had a five inch claw curving upward, and their long many-toothed snouts, more like something one would expect to see on a crocodile than on a bird. The leader of the flock raised its head as it spotted a human walking toward them from down the lane.