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The Story of Scorched Earth.


This is a fictitious adventure of a small group of individuals that get lost in the Arizona Territory as they are fleeing from a gang of thieves looking for the fabled Lost Dutchman Gold Mine during the early 1900s. In an area of that territory later known as the Superstition Mountains, they end up teleported into a strange land as they take shelter in a mine shaft from a vicious electrical storm. They find themselves lost in a strange harsh land called Scorched Earth. Rated M due to adult subjects and graphic violence.


The cast of main characters in this story;


Desert Pete. A middle age prospector, who is barely making a living off of his claim, he has come across a map to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine that a stranger has brought with him while staying at the hotel in the old mining town of Oatman.

Jessie. A Spanish American war veteran in his late 20s, he had been attracted to the Arizona Territory with the promise of finding gold in the surrounding mountains. He has won a map to the Lost Dutchman Mine from an old Mexican while playing poker in a saloon in Laughlin. Getting lost, while heading to Kingman, he has wandered into Oatman.

Charlie. Age, mid 30s. He operate the local blacksmith shop at the stable where he would shoe horses, repair mining tools, and manages the livery stable for a living.

Winslow. A newspaper reporter from the New York Times, who was researching a story about the Arizona Territory becoming a state and the latest gold rush around Oatman, he just happened to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Whitefeather. A Mohave youth, 17, from the nearby reservation, he worked as the room service for the Oatman Hotel located above the saloon.

James. Age 38. He is the Deputy Marshal in Oatman at the time of this story.

Dolly. Age 24. Barmaid and hooker who worked at the Oatman Hotel.

The town of Oatman, Laughlin, and Kingman are actual locations in Arizona.

Scorched Earth is based upon a paid DLC for Ark Survival Evolved. It is a desert themed map with dinosaurs and fantasy creatures such as dragons.


Chapter 1, The Map to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.


It is in late in the spring of 1904 when this strange adventure takes place. Rumors of prospectors finding rich gold deposits in the surrounding mountains has started a population boom in the tiny mining town of Oatman, which is located in the rocky hills east of the Colorado River in the Arizona Territory. Those rumors have resulted in an influx of those seeking to get rich quick, those seeking to get rich quick by supplying goods and services to the prospectors, and those that would get rich quick by swindling, even robbing, the prospectors in this mining town or stealing their claims. It has kept the local assayer office busy with filing claims in the surrounding area for those hoping to get rich quick and the deputy marshal chasing away those criminals that were robbing from the miners or attempting to steal their claims.

The story begins when Peter, known to the locals as Desert Pete, has arrived late that Friday afternoon to pay a visit to the assayer’s office in Oatman to trade his small bag of gold nuggets for cash. He has had to walk several miles to town from his claim as he doesn’t have a horse and his burrow, used to pack his mining tools, has ran off on him at the last moment to parts unknown.

“Where’s Jenny?” asks Jeff the assayer at the office when he sees Desert Pete coming into town without his burro. “I usually see you riding her into town every Friday when you come here to sell your gold.”

“She ran off with that white Jack that’s been hanging around my camp the past several days,” Peter tells him. “It wouldn’t have been so bad had I had the chance to take the pack saddle off of her first so she wouldn’t have ran off with my mining tools. I’m probably going to end up finding them scattered all over the place when I get back to the claim in the morning. Fortunately, I had this in my pocket instead of in one of the saddlebags or at my camp. I’ve had issues dealing with claim jumpers that have been snooping around the past several days rummaging through my stuff.”

“All the prospectors have had issues with them,” Jeff tells him as he takes the bag of gold and empties it onto the scales. “Deputy Marshal James has been kept busy chasing them out of the territory.”

“It’s bad enough having to deal with the occasional four legged predators out there,” answers Peter. “Now, I have to worry about these two legged varmints as well.”

“The more that the word gets out that there is gold in them hills, the worse it will get,” answers Jeff. “At least, you were able to bring this in with you. Several of the other prospectors working out there have had their stash stolen from their camps while they were busy working on their claims.”

Having been paid for the gold he has brought into the assayer’s office, Peter decides that it would be better to stay into town for the night rather then chance walking back to his camp in the approaching darkness. Monsoon season has arrived early where vicious lightning storms can blow up suddenly to dump heavy rain and hail in short order. Such storms can cause dangerous flash floods throughout the numerous dry washes in this rugged arid landscape. With lightning flashing in the evening sky from several thunderheads surrounding the town, he heads over to the Oatman Hotel to rent a room for the night. There, he is assigned an upstairs room where he is able to take a bath in the commons down the hall and get into some cleaner clothes. Refreshed, with his backpack locked in his room, he heads downstairs to a small private dining room behind the kitchen where he orders a beefsteak for supper while sitting at the table with his good friend Charlie, who is sitting there with two other strangers, one dressed in a wool business suit, another dressed in an old tattered army uniform.

“Where’s Jenny?” asks Charlie as Peter sits down in the one empty chair at the dinner table. “You usually leave her at the stable when you come into town for the night.”

“She ran off after that white jack that's been hanging around my claim the past couple of days,” answers Peter.

“You should have bought one of the gelded burrows instead of her for prospecting,” suggests Charlie.

“She has always been good company, staying close to my claim when I was not using her to pack my mining supplies,” answers Peter. “Besides, I found her in trouble last fall with an old steer skull wedged into her front hoof. She makes a good watchdog by warning me when those blasted claim jumpers are snooping around.”

“You will probably have a second burrow by this time next year,” Charlie tells him.

“I don’t doubt that,” answers Peter.

“I can be good company as well,” Dolly, who is the barmaid and hooker for the hotel, tells Peter as she massages his neck and back.

“You are soooo tempting,” answers Peter with a smile. “It has been a rough week at the claim. I barely have enough money for the supplies I will need when I head back to my camp in the morning.”

“Here’s your grub gentlemen,” Whitefeather, their waiter interrupts them as he brings in their meal.

As they are finishing their meal, Peter and Charlie are getting to know the two strangers that are staying at the hotel with them. “I find it unusual that a big city news reporter would make such a long trip to a mining camp in the middle of nowhere,” Peter tells Winslow as the introductions are made.

“As you may know, the politicians in Phoenix are lobbying Congress to turn the Arizona Territory into a state,” answers Winslow. “My boss sent me out here to get the story of why Arizona should become a state and not remain a territory. I am also wondering why there is a second gold rush taking place in a town that’s been basically a mining camp for years.”

“What brings you to this town Jessie?” asks Charlie.

“I got lost while heading towards Kingman from Laughlin.” answers Jessie. “I though that I knew the shortcut through the mountains to get there, but I got twisted up following the burro trails instead of the stagecoach road.”

“You should have had a compass and a map,” answers Peter. “It’s so easy to get lost in these parts once in these mountains where everything looks the same.”

“I do have this old map I won in a poker game back in Laughlin,” answers Jessie. “The old Mexican I won it from claims that it is a map to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. While it is suppose to be from this area, these landmarks just don’t make any sense.”

“Can we have a look at it?” asks Peter.

“Sure,” answers Jessie as he takes a strange looking parchment map out of his shirt and unfolds it on the table.

“This is interesting,” comments Charlie as he studies the landmarks on the unusual map. “It looks like that Oatman might be this settlement marked in the lower left corner. I do see where finger rock is located on this map as well. I just don’t recognize any of the other landmarks on this map or what these three strange markers represent.”

“I’m at a lost of what is to the North and East of Oatman if that is Oatman,” answers Peter. “There is nothing there that looks familiar. Dolly, go find Whitefeather. He is from the reservation that’s in that area. He may be able to recognize what we are looking at.”

Dolly soon returns with Whitefeather who looks like he is in shock when he sees the details in the old parchment map. “Where did you find this?” he asks the four men. “It vanished from the reservation years ago.”

“I won it from a seedy looking character in a poker game in the bar in Laughlin.” answers Jessie. “He claims that this map would lead me to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.”

“Can you tell us what we are looking at?” asks Charlie.

“According to the stories from my elders, this map was created by Chief Turok in the 1600s when he found a portal into a strange land while his tribe was fleeing from the Spanish invaders who were looking for gold.” answers Whitefeather. “The land was brutal due to the daytime heat, lack of water, terrible storms, and giant carnivorous feathered lizards that walked on two legs. The story goes that the Spaniards had followed them into that strange land where they found huge boulders of gold laying along a dry riverbed. While mining them, they were killed by a giant flying lizard that incinerated them with fire. Turok’s tribe was trapped in that strange land for years until one day, they found the portal to get back to this world. Many invaders to our reservation have searched for centuries looking for that portal to the land of giant gold boulders but none have ever....”

Suddenly, their conversation is interrupted by a fight that breaks out in the bar when a group of ruffians storm through the door. Shouts of “Where’s Carlos!” are heard above the noise of kicked over tables and chairs. More noise is heard of running feet and doors being kicked in upstairs above them. A gunshot is heard followed by twin blast from a double barreled shotgun, then more gunfire as a bullet come flying through the wall facing the kitchen. “We better get out of here and fast,” warns Dolly. “That was Mike’s shotgun that he keeps behind the bar. Follow me out through the tunnel to the stable.”

Charlie, who is the last one out, pulls the hidden door shut before following the rest of the party through the tunnel connecting the stable. The noise continues in the bar and upstairs area as more shots get fired. Sometime during the room to room searches, a kerosene lantern gets tipped over which soon starts a raging fire in one of the upstairs room.

The townspeople, awakened by the noise, are rushing to the hotel with fire buckets, as they see the flames coming out of an upstairs front window. They are soon pinned down in a gun battle with the ruffians holed up inside.

“We had better get out of town and fast!” warns James, the deputy marshal as he and Charlie quickly get seven horses from the stable saddled up. “That’s the Marcus Gang. There’s too many of them to take on at once.”

“How do we get out of town without being spotted?” asks Jessie.

“Lets head up to my camp for now,” Peter tells him. “Walk the horses up the burrow trail behind the stable until we are far enough away from town to ride them without being seen.”

“Good idea,” answers James. “We will need to head to Kingman through the back way. They must have cut the telegraph wire somewhere before entering town. I got a telegraph message that they were in Laughlin stirring up trouble before the line went dead. Hopefully, they can all be rounded up once I come back with the District Marshal and his men.”

Quietly sneaking out the back door of the stable office, the seven individuals with their horses, use the cover of darkness and the stable to start up the burrow trail. The light from the fire, reflecting off of the approaching storm clouds, give them just enough light to see where the trail is. Traveling single file up the trail, they find their way to Peter’s camp. “We better take shelter in the mine before that storm hits,” orders Peter as they stop just long enough to grab some beans, jerky, coffee, and some cooking utensils.

Reaching the mine entrance, the horses are unsaddled and staked to a picket line at the mine entrance. The wind soon picks up as the lightning gets worse. The glow from the fire in Oatman soon vanishes in the approaching downpour that can be heard above the noise of the wind.

Suddenly, a blinding bolt of lightning strikes just above the mine entrance causing a shower of gravel to splatter everywhere. The horses bolt in a panic pulling the picket line apart and head off to parts unknown. Then the rain and hail come pouring down.

“There goes our rides,” warns Winslow.

“Don’t even try to follow them in this,” warns Charlie. “They will probably head back to the stable in the morning.”

“We had better shelter in here for the night, then be prepared for a long hike to Kingman in the morning,” orders James.

Under the light of a mining helmet, everyone drags the saddles and saddlebags back deep into the mine. It is a sleepless night as the storm rages for hours. Then all is quiet allowing everyone to get some rest the best they can before daylight arrives.


Author's note. The offsprings of that white jack can still be found today begging from the tourist that visit the ghost town of Oatman.

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Chapter 2, Scorched Earth


It is early morning as everyone wakes up to the daylight starting to illuminate the mine interior. “Who was this Carlos?” James asks Jessie as everyone is sorting through the saddlebags to figure what to take with them and what to leave behind.

“He was the seedy character I got the map from in that poker game,” answers Jessie.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that he stole it from one of the gang members,” answers James. “I’ve never seen such a desperate effort to tear a town apart looking for a person that stole something from them.”

“Do you think that it is safe to go back into town at this time?” asks Winslow.

“No,” answers James. “Once they find out that our horses are milling around loose at the stable, they are going to fan out and go looking for us.”

“I would have to agree with you,” answers Charlie. “They are eventually going to find out from anyone still in town that we are missing and come looking for us.”

“It’s going to be a rough hike to Kingman on foot especially for Dolly,” warns Peter.

“I should have no problem keeping up with you men,” answers Dolly. “I put up with all of your antics every payday at the bar. Besides I have my walking shoes with me instead of my high heels.”

“Then, lets get started,” orders Whitefeather. “I can guide you through the back way to Kingman.”

It is a beautiful cold morning in the rugged badlands as everyone steps outside of the mine shaft into the daylight. Light fluffy clouds are high up in the sky. Only a light breeze is blowing as everyone adjust their saddle bags and canteen to start their long journey to Kingman. But, something is not right as they look around. Everything around them is totally out of place.

“Where’s my camp?” asks Peter in alarm, “Did that storm wipe it out?”

“I don’t think so,” answers Charlie. “There should be boards and other items scattered about. I don’t see any signs that anyone has set up a camp here.”

“Isn’t Oatman suppose to be visible down in that valley?” asks James. “I could always see it from here when I come up here to check on Peter.”

“The fire must have completely burned down the town last night,” answers Charlie. “But still, we should be seeing the foundations of the structures and the company mine from here. It looks like the entire town and mine was replaced with a desert.”

“That’s impossible,” answers Peter. “Oatman is surround by several easily recognizable landmarks including Finger Rock. Yet, I am seeing desert where there should be several rocky outcroppings next to the mine and bordering the dry wash leading to the pump house by the spring.”

“What is that floating in the sky to the West?” asks Dolly in alarm.

“I don’t know,” answers Winslow.

“I have no idea,” Whitefeather tells everyone. “The terrain we are in is no longer familiar to me. It is as if we have been relocated to some place totally unknown to us.”

“Lets see that map to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine,” Peter asks Jessie.

Taking it out of his shirt, the parchment map is unfolded and laid on a large flat table sized rock. As soon as it is oriented to the sun rising in the East, Whitefeather has a look at it. He is in shock as he observes the terrain around him, then he is able to pinpoint their location on the map.

“Somehow, somewhere, we must have stepped through a portal into the land of Turok,” Whitefeather finally tells everyone. “From the landmarks I can see, two of those floating structures marked on the map and other objects on the map, we are located halfway up this hill in this spot.”

“How can we get back?” asks Winslow.

“Lets try going back through the mine,” answers Peter.

Picking up the lantern that was left at the mine entrance, everyone heads back into the mine where, only ten feet into it’s interior, they run into a dead end. “Did the mine just suffer a cave in?” asks Charlie.

“No,” answers Peter. “This is solid rock. It is if this mine was only just started.”

“What happened to the saddles?” asks Charlie.

“I don’t know,” answers Peter. “They must have vanished along with most of the mine shaft.”

“What’s this on the ground in the corner?” asks Jessie.

“It looks like someone’s journal,” answers Winslow as he picks it up. “We had better leave before we also vanish like the saddles and the mine’s interior.”

“Now, how do we get out of here if we can’t leave the way we came in here?” asks Dolly.

“We don’t, unless we can find the portal to return,” answers Whitefeather. “Unfortunately that portal is not marked on the map. I don’t think that Turok knew where it was when he finally returned with his tribe.”

“You mention finding giant carnivorous feathered lizards in this world that walked on two legs,” answered Peter. “Are we likely to run into them when we start looking for the return portal?”

“I don’t know,” answers Whitefeather. “No one has been to this land since Turok last visited it hundreds of years ago.”

“How do we stop them those lizards they show up to attack us?” asks Dolly. “My derringer only has two rounds in it.”

“I’m not sure that we can,” warns James. “We only have a couple of 45 revolvers among us, my rifle, and Pete’s scatter gun. Our supply of ammo is very limited.”

“It may be possible to craft up bolas, spears, bows, and arrows,” answers Whitefeather.

“At least that will give us something to defend ourselves with once our ammo is gone,” answers Charlie.

“Lets get up on top of this hill so we can get a better idea where we should go,” orders Whitefeather.

It is a 15 minute hike to the top following a natural path lined with cactus and brush where a bunch of unusual minerals have been showing up. There are shiny glass like black rocks found lying about. Others look like large crystals formations. Still other have the appearance of salt pillars, There are also some strange looking yellowish colored ones similar in appearance. Peter has been testing those strange looking rocks with his mining pick finding that he has been able to get some unique materials from them.

“Is that a giant solid gold boulder?” asks Jessie with excitement as he sees the sunlight glisten off of the gold colored rock.

“No,” answers Peter as he hits the boulder with his mining pick. “This boulder is brittle, like Fools Gold. If this were real gold, my pick would be just be making dents in it.”

“Iron Pyrite,” answers Charlie. “It could be a good source for obtaining raw iron for making tools in a forge.”

“I see more of those boulders up near the top of the hill,” reports Winslow.

“If this is the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, whoever discovered it was as big a fool as the content of those gold colored boulders,” reports Peter.

“What about these other unusual looking rock formations?” asks Winslow.

“I got some quartz crystal from the white clear ones,” answers Peter. “The other ones contained what looked like raw salt, sulfur, and obsidian. I also found flint in the normal looking boulders.”

“Those sound like very useful minerals that could be very valuable in a mining community,” answers Charlie.

In the meantime, Whitefeather observes the terrain in the distance spotting a possible watering hole in the nearby canyon. “I can see what looks like a watering hole in the canyon below us” he tells everyone. “We should be able to get down there if we head for that dry wash to the South of us.”

“Wasps!” A strange hissing sound is heard close by as a large scaly four legged lizard, loaded with quills on it’s tail comes into view.

“Look Out!” warns James as he pulls out his six shooter.

“There’s another one,” warns Dolly.

“We better get out of here and fast,” warns James. “They don’t look friendly.”

Just as they start running down the hill, two giant eagles show up out of the sun as everyone ducks for cover behind the boulders. They go after the two lizards which pitches quills at the eagles. One of the eagles falls out of the sky as the second one finishes tearing up the two lizards with it’s talons. Then, it too falls unconscious as it starts feasting on the dead lizard.

“What happened to the eagles?” asks Winslow as everyone starts coming back out from the shelter of the nearby boulder.

“I’ll find out,” answers Whitefeather as he cautiously approaches the scene of the battle. He examines the two eagles pulling out some quills stuck in their neck, then come running back to the others ordering them to get back down the hill to the mine entrance.

Gathered back at the mine entrance, Whitefeather tell everyone what he has found with his quick examination. “Those lizards pitched quills at the eagles when they flew in to attack them. Those quills contain some kind of a toxin that cause the eagles to lose conscious. As they appeared to be unharmed otherwise, I realized that they could soon wake up becoming a threat to us. I would like to examine these quills when I have a chance to see if they could be used to make knockout arrows.

“Were those the two legged lizards that you warned us about in Turok’s story” asks James.

“No,” answers Whitefeather. “Those were walking on four legs. They didn’t have any feathers like the giant eagles. Nothing is mentioned in the story about these two creatures.”

“Then, we will have to be very careful when we head down to the canyon below,” answers James. “There’s no water up here and it’s already starting to get hot out.”

“Lets get going then,” orders Peter. “Hopefully we will be able to find water down in the canyon as well as a place to shelter from the heat once that sun gets high into the sky.”

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Chapter Three, The Dangerous Environment.


Using the map and his observations from the top of the hill, Whitefeather has plotted a route to take everyone down through a dry wash into the canyon below where he has seen what looks like a small pond down there. With the saddlebags of supplies, canteens, and what weapons they have, the seven start down the boulder lined path towards the dry wash.

After several minutes of hiking down the trail, Whitefeather calls for a halt to the march when he spots something abnormal up ahead. Peter soon joins him to see what he has just found.

“How did Jenny’s pack saddle end up down here?” asks Peter as he spots it. “It looks like something just ripped it open and scattered everything all over the place.”

“She must have somehow went through the portal,” answers Charlie. “Lets take if we can find some useful items from the pack saddle and what got scattered around.” The quick search yields some mining tools, cooking pots, and torn clothing. Some canned goods lie scattered about, the cans themselves having been crushed or punched open by some hard pointed object. There are several broken bottles laying nearby along with a bag of coffee, it’s content scattered all over the sandy ground.

“Oh, oh.” warns Whitefeather as the others are looking for useful items from the ripped open pack. “Look at the size of these lizard tracks.”

“I see vultures up ahead,” warns Jessie. Continuing around a boulder that is blocking what the vultures are circling over, they come upon a gruesome sight. Among the giant lizard tracks are the bloody remains of two burrows that have been ripped to pieces.

“Oh NO!” says Peter as he sees the carnage up ahead. “There’s what’s left of Jenny and her boyfriend.” A roar from some unknown creature is heard uncomfortably close by.

“We better get out of here before whatever killed them comes after us,” warns Whitefeather as everyone hears another roar being made by a large unknown creature.

Before they leave, Whitefeather and Winslow climb up a small rock outcropping so that they can observe what is making the roar in that direction. Peaking over the top they observed a large feathered lizard along with three smaller leathery scale ones that have stubby arms and horns on their head. “Damn, it is a good thing that the wind is blowing towards us,” Whitefeather tells him quietly.

“Those smaller ones look like Carnotaurs,” answers Winslow. “Those went extinct millions of years ago. I have no idea what that feathered one is. Thankfully, they are heading away from us. Lets get out of here before they decide to come back to claim their kill from the vultures.”

The group continue down the path as the roar of the creature fades with distance, But soon, they are facing another problem as they enter a sandstone plateau. “How do we get across this?” asks James as they come across a crevasse blocking their path that drops hundreds of feet into the void below.

“I have seen such formations before along the Grand Canyon,” reports Peter. “Lets see if we can find a spot narrow enough to jump across.”

As they are heading along the crevasse looking for a place to cross, a small crumbling stone structure is seen ahead. It is built like some kind of a shrine with one of the stone columns having broken off along with part of it’s roof. Stopping to check it out, a decorated metallic box is spotted in a corner. Winslow opens the lid on the box finding a parchment note inside.

“This is interesting,” he tells the others as he reads the note which is written in English. “The note is written by a biologist named Helena from Australia. It has a sketch of that feathered lizard Whitefeather and I observed with those carnos. She calls it a Yuti. Unbelievable! She says that it and those carnos can be domesticated and ridden with a custom built saddle.”

“It looks like others have been in this land besides Turok and his tribe,” answers Whitefeather. “Do you think that she could still be here with us?”

“I don’t know,” answers Winslow. “She was scheduled to meet with the Biological Society at Harvard two months ago but never showed up. No one knows what happened to her when her latest expedition to the Australian Outback failed to return from their trip into unexplored territory.”

“I found a place where we can get across,” reports James as he comes back to get the others.

“We better get going then,” orders Desert Pete. “It’s already starting to get very hot. We have a long ways to go to reach that oasis in the canyon.”

Crossing over a log laid across the crevasse to continue their journey over the sandstone table, they finally reach the edge where it start descending into the dry wash. Carefully climbing down the rock face, they reach the dry wash where the going is much easier.

“Take cover,” warns Whitefeather when he spots what looks like danger up ahead.

“What are those things?” asks Peter as a herd of six elephant size camel like reptiles are spotted in their way.

“They should not be a threat to us so long as we don’t threaten them,” reports Winslow as he looks at some notes in Helena’s journal while observing them feeding on the brush growing in the dry wash. Picking one of the bushes that is loaded with purple berries, he walks slowly up to one of the big creatures that stops to look at him. Holding the berry bush out towards the creature’s head, it is taken gently out of his hand to be eaten.

“Wow!, You got some big balls to go feed that strange looking creature,” answers Jessie.

“I’ve been reading through Helena’s journal as I have had the chance,” answers Winslow. “She calls this creature a Morallotop. As long as you don’t do anything to threaten them, they will just ignore you. We should try to tame some once we can get some shelter constructed at the pond. Helena writes that they are very useful creatures to have as pack animals, for harvesting the cactus and other plants, and can easily defend us from the smaller predators.”

“Lets just walk by them in single file for now,” orders James. “It’s getting much too hot to stay here much longer.”

“I’m in agreement with you,” answers Winslow as he sheds his wool business suit jacket and vest. “Lets get down to someplace cooler.”

“Leave your undershirt on,” warns Peter. “You will get badly sun burnt if you go bare chested in this desert.”

A furry little rodent with fox like ears is observed making a chattering noise as it is digging at the ground. Several of it’s friends are observed doing the same thing as the seven continue the trek down the dry wash.

“What are those little rodents doing?” asks Dolly.

“I don’t know,” answers Winslow. “Something is certainly annoying them and it’s not us.” The chattering continues as the seven head further down into the dry wash.

Then, they suddenly see it. A shimmering blast of super hot air is felt by everyone as it comes in from the direction of the desert. The sky quickly turns to a fiery orange in response as the sun now feels like a blowtorch. “Lets get to that pond before we all pass out from heatstroke.” warns Charlie.

It is a tortuous five minutes of fast walking in the furnace like heat before they reach the canyon floor and the dry riverbed. Everyone is sweating like crazy as they soon drink the canteens dry in an effort to stay hydrated, their faces becoming flush from the exposure. Heading to the right, they spot the pond and jump into it to cool down. “Damn, I hope that this water is safe to drink,” warns James as everyone has drained their canteen long ago. “This water looks much too clean.”

“There’s fish in here,” answers Peter with assurance. “They wouldn’t be living in this pond if it were poisoned with arsenic.”

It had taken them till late morning from the time they started from the mine, to reach the pond that was observed from on top of the rocky peak. Interestingly, they find the pond area to be relatively cool compared to the surrounding higher elevation. They spend the noontime in the pond in order to escape from the furnace like heat.

“Good, the sky is returning to normal,” reports Peter as it finally starts cooling down. “Lets see if we can find a place to build a suitable shelter for the night. I’m sure that our next problem will be freezing to death once the sun goes down.”

With the cooler conditions found in the canyon, the seven set about preparing to construct some shelter from the brush, grasses, and Joshua Trees growing nearby. They work on a shelf of sandstone about 40 feet above the pond. Given that there are no signs of water erosion above it, they are able to assume that the location is safe from any flash flooding. Most interesting, it is relatively comfortable where they are, given if they venture too far back up the dry wash, it becomes uncomfortably hot in the higher elevations.

Calling a quick meeting to get everyone together, Winslow tells the group more information he has read from the Journal. “Helena tells us that we should build a thatch shelter for now. It will give us some protection from the heat and cold. She says that we should build a more permanent structure from adobe as it will serve as insulation from the extreme heat wave we recently experienced as well as from the bitter cold nights. She has the instruction on how we should construct it along with crafting the clay we need for it from sand and cactus sap.”

“For food, we can eat any of the colored berries from the bushes with two exceptions. Don’t eat the white ones unless you have access to water. While they will give you a burst of energy and help you resist a poisonous bite, they will badly dehydrate you.”

“The black ones, while they have healing properties, will cause you to lose conscious for several minutes. They can be used, along with spoiled meat, to make what she calls narcotics. That can be applied to a flint tipped arrow to give it the ability to knock out most any of the creatures found in this world for taming.”

“So she was not kidding about being able to tame those carnivorous lizards that killed those burrows?” asks Jessie.

“I could have tamed that morellotop had I wanted to spend some time feeding it,” answers Winslow. “Still, we should wait until we are better equipped to have the tools needed for taming and the means to defend ourselves in case we run into trouble.

“Then, lets get our shelter built so we can be better prepared to survive living in this strange new world,” orders Peter. “There’s no telling what sort of predators are going to show up to hunt the wildlife coming down here to get a drink from that pond.”

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Chapter 4. Establishing their camp in Scorched Earth.

Using the flat sandstone table as a foundation for their temporary shelter, the seven survivors go about the task of gathering the materials to build a thatch shelter for the night. Several dead trees are cut up for poles using the tools they have found from the saddle pack or brought with them. Thatch is gathered from some nearby cactus as the fiber is found among the bushes which also yield an assortment of berries and some seeds. Whitefeather and Dolly are kept busy weaving everything into walls and a ceiling for a roof. A door and door frame complete the structure. It has taken much of the afternoon to get the shelter constructed.

A campfire is constructed with a stand so that a meal of beans can be prepared from what food was salvaged from Pete’s camp and the ripped open pack saddle. Unfortunately, none of the canned goods were salvageable due to them having been crushed and ruptured by the feathered lizard that had attempted to open them to eat their contents. Having not eaten anything all day but berries, everyone takes an afternoon break to eat something more substantial then just berries and cactus sap.

“That was the last of our beans and jerky,” reports Peter as everyone has taken a break for a meal. “We will need to find some game out there to hunt for meat.”

“Oh, don’t kill any of those cute little rodent thing,” Dolly tells him.

“Why don’t you try taming one of them,” Winslow tells her. “According to Helena’s Journal, they make good weather forecasters. That behavior of theirs, we witness in the dry wash, was a warning of a coming heat wave.”

“How will I tame one?” asks Dolly.

“According to Helena, you can just feed it some of these strange looking seeds,” answers Winslow.

“I’ll go looking for one in the morning,” Dolly answers.

“If we can catch some of those fish in the pond, they will help supplement our food supply,” Charlie tells the group. “I’ll see if I can make us some fish traps and fishing poles.”

About then, the conversation is interrupted by a lot of noise taking place at the far end of the pond. Three feathered bipedal lizards, about twice their height, are attacking a morellotop that came down to the pond for a drink. Everyone has taken cover behind the boulders as the fight commences. It’s starts looking like the three lizards are going to take down the morellotop when the rest of the herd comes charging in cutting off their escape. One of the lizards, badly hurt, is able to escape up the dry wash. The other two are crushed by the morellotops that stomp on them. With the fight over, they all head down to the pond to get a drink, then, they head back up into the canyon to continue grazing.

“What were those predators that attacked the morellotop?” asks Peter.

“Those were the feathered lizards Turok found while trapped in this world,” answered Whitefeather.

“Helena calls them raptors,” reports Winslow. “She says that they can be tamed, but the process is far more dangerous then just feeding them like we can do with the Morleys.”

“We had better build a barricade to protect us,” warns James. “Those raptors could easily rip our thatch shelter to shreds if they wanted to get at us while we are hiding in there.”

“Lets do so by finding as much of this wood and stones that we can to build a spiked wall around our camp,” answers Peter. “In the meantime, Whitefeather and I are going to check out those dead raptors and see if we can get some raw meat and hide off of them.”

As the others head out to gather the materials for a spiked wall, Peter and Whitefeather head out to check out the dead raptors before the vultures show up to eat them. “Excellent,” Whitefeather comments as the two skin the raptors for their hide. “We can use this hide for bolas, moccasins, and gloves.”

“I wonder what this meat will taste like once we cook some of it up,” asks Peter. “I’ll get some of it on the fire and place the rest on a drying rack before it spoils.”

Carrying everything that they can, the two head back to camp. It takes three trips to get everything from the two dead raptors. The vultures soon show up to clean up the rest.

Dolly is put to work cooking and drying the raw meat as the two men work on preparing and testing bolas. “This does taste like chicken,” Peter comments as he samples a piece of the cooked meat.

“I had read in a scientific journal where it was suggested that the predatory dinosaurs might be related to birds,” answers Winslow. “A lot of my colleges laughed at such a theory. This certainly proves that theory is the correct one.”

Construction has progressed well on the spike fence. A movable gate has been placed so that everyone has a path to get in and out. Several torches are set up along the fence. They are fueled with a strange substance made from the stone called Spark powder. It is made by grinding flint and stone in a makeshift mortar and pestle. Winslow has provided them with the recipe from Helena’s notes on how to craft this unusual long lasting fuel.

Working with some of the tough stiff smaller Joshua Trees in the area and the rawhide taken off of the dead raptors, Whitefeather has managed to craft up several bows and a batch of flint tipped arrows. It may have something to do with the strange world they are in but he and Peter find them to be of superior quality with good hitting power. Several of the giant bugs are shot out of the sky with them. They yield some meat, oil, and hard shells known as chitin.

As the sun starts to set in the evening sky, it quickly starts to get chilly out. A campfire has been constructed close to the shelter with water being boiled in a kettle for coffee. Additional water for drinking has been stored in some pots as well as all canteens have been filled. Fresh, cooked, and dry meat has been stored in a makeshift preserving bin using preserving salts crafted from the samples Peter brought with him from the hill and some crafted spark powder. Again, the instructions for the bin and storage chest, were taken from Helena’s Journal.

“This Journal has been a godsend for our survival,” Winslow tells everyone as he continues reading through it by the light of the campfire. “I found some instructions for crafting a forge and workbench we can use to make better tools and weapons. We can make use of that fools gold to refine metal from them.”

“I can get to work on both of them in the morning after I check out the fish traps,” answers Charles.

As predicted by Peter, the desert badlands can get quite cold at night. The land of Scorched Earth is no exception as the temperature quickly reaches freezing forcing everyone to sit around the fire or seek shelter inside the thatch hut. A violent electrical storm rages in the distance, the lightning outlining the huge thunderhead that dominates the Eastern Horizon. The moon soon comes out in the starlit sky as the storm moves away. Wolves in the distance are soon heard howling at it.

“Whitefeather, have you ever seen wolves on the reservation?” asks Peter.

“No,” he answers. “They sound like they are much larger then normal.”

“There could be direwolves out there,” reports Winslow. “Helena mentions seeing them in her journal. Like most everything else we are seeing out there, they went extinct long ago.”

“What are direwolves?” asks Peter.

“They are wolves that were as big as small horses,” answers Whitefeather. “They were reported by the ancestors to have been found in the land of Turok. They are often found in hunting packs of three or more.”

“This is definitely one strange land we ended up in,” answers Peter. “We had better make sure that we are well armed before we venture out from this camp in the morning to gather resources to build an adobe shelter.”

With all of the wildlife activities of the night, it is a long restless wait for morning to arrive. A watch has been set up to keep the fires stoked in the torches and campfire to provide warmth and light to ward off any predators nearby. The full moon illuminates the strange landscape as the three strange floating objects in the sky cast their strange glow of colored static discharge into the sky around them.

“What could be the purpose of those strange floating landmarks?” Dolly asks Whitefeather as they are on watch.

“I do not know,” he answers. “There is no mention of them by the elders in the stories of Turok. Perhaps, we can find out once we have the chance to go over to where one of them are.”

The rest of the night remains clear and cold. The lit torches seem to be doing their job of keeping the predators away as the occasional herbivore is seen being slightly illuminated by their glow, looking like ghosts from the prehistoric past as they walk by.

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Chapter 5. The most unusual tames.


The dawn finally arrives cold and clear over this most unusual wasteland. With everyone awake, a planning meeting is taking place as everyone has a breakfast of berries, grilled raptor, and fresh caught fried fish. There is no coffee or other food given that those items have been either used up, or were lost to the predators that destroyed the pack saddle.

“We should set us up a more secure camp made from Adobe before we attempt searching through this dangerous land looking for a way back,” reports James. “There were a lot of tracks outside of the perimeter fence from whatever was investigating us during the night. Some look like they were made by giant chickens. There were also wolf tracks the size of hoof prints out there. I can only assume that they were made by Whitefeather’s Direwolves. When we head out to gather resources for an adobe shelter, we need to make sure that we are well armed and only travel in groups of two or more. Lets not travel too far from here so that we don’t get caught away from shelter should another one of those heat waves show up.”

“There is a description in Helen’s Journal on how we can make a portable tent for shelter against the heat and sand storms” reports Winslow. “We can also make what she calls desert armor for protection from the heat. We will need to build a Smithy so we can craft that armor and better tools.”

“The Smithy will need to be built with refined metal,” reports Charlie as he studies the drawings in the journal. “Help me get a forge built with some of that fools gold refining in it before we do anything else. I saw more of it by the pond close by here.”

“We’re going to need some pack animals to carry a tent and other supplies if we plan on exploring any distance from here,” reports Peter. “Winslow, do you think that those Morley things can do the job for us?”

“Yes,” answers Winslow “Helena reports that they can also store water for us in their hump. Dolly and I can go try to tame some of the ones living close to our campsite.”

“You two go ahead, look for those Morleys, and tame up some of them,” orders James. “Whitefeather, head out with them to watch for predators. The rest of us are going to get that forge built before we go anywhere.”

In the game of Ark Survival Evolved, there is a mod for PC available called Immersive Taming. Creatures do not need to be knocked out for taming. Most herbivores can be passive tamed by just feeding them. Larger predators, such as Allosaurus, do need to have their health knocked down either by combat or some other means before they will accept being passive tamed. That process will also work with adult wyverns that normally cannot be tamed by any other means. This story takes advantage of the use of the Immersive Taming mod.

Dolly, Winslow, and Whitefeather have headed out to where the Morleys were last seen the evening before. Dolly soon spots one of the long eared cute little rodents known as a Jarboa and feeds it one of the odd seeds Helena calls a Specie Y Seed in her journal. Before long, the Jarboa is riding on her shoulder enjoying the sights from it’s perch.

“Good, you tamed one,” Winslow tells her. “It will make a good weather forecaster for us.”

“Hiss,” something large hiding in the bushes makes a threatening sound as it heads towards them.

“Get up on these rocks,” warns Whitefeather as he grabs his bow to take a shot at whatever is threatening them. He is quickly up on the rocks with the others as the threat soon becomes visible. Taking careful aim, the threat is soon eliminated as several arrows hit the giant snake in it’s head killing it.

“I thought that our sidewinders were bad,” Dolly comments in shock when she sees what Whitfeather has killed with his bow and arrows. “That thing is huge!”

“A Titanboa,” comments Winslow. “They were also suppose to have gone extinct long ago.”

As Whitefeather proceeds to butcher the huge snake, Dolly and Winslow are busy feeding the two Morleys that have taken an interest in them. Before Whitefeather has finished butchering the Titanboa, placing the hide and raw meat into a makeshift storage box and cooking up the raw prime on a campfire, the two Morleys have been tamed.

“This is most unusual,” Whitefeather tells Winslow. “How did this snake end up with a crossbow and two dozen tranc arrows in it’s stomach?”

“As snakes swallow their prey whole, it must have killed someone that had a crossbow with those arrows on them,” answers Winslow. “It must mean that there are other people in this world with us. But who, or where?”

“I wonder if the Dalton Gang has followed us here?” asks Dolly.

“If they did, I don’t believe that they would have had crossbows and tranc arrows on them,” answers Winslow. “I wonder if this poor chap is from the Helena Expedition? Lets get these Morleys back to camp and see if Charlie can craft up some proper saddles for them.” With some of the hide formed into temporary saddlebags placed over the Morley’s necks, everything from the Titanboa is packed on them as they follow the others back to camp.

Returning to camp, they find that a primitive forge has been constructed from stone and is in the process of melting down the pyrite into metal for a Smithy. “Where did you find those strange looking camels?” asks Jessie.

“They were grazing in the dry wash,” answers Winslow.

“So interesting,” answers Jessie. “They look like they got crossed with a camel and a reptile.”

“With a body like a camel and a head like a turtle, they are strange looking indeed,” answers Winslow. “Charlie, do you think that you can make saddles for them from the instructions in this journal?”

“Yes,” answers Charlie after he studies the drawings. “I will need to get a workbench constructed first. Where did you get all of that hide?”

“We got it off of a giant snake,” answers Winslow.

“Unbelievable.” answers Charlie. “Those large pieces will make the job a lot easier. Still, it is going to take a while before I can make those saddles. Take the Morleys down to the pond so that they can fill their humps with water. Helena writes that they can store water for us given how our canteens are losing their contents so badly in this desert wastelands.”

With enough metal being processed in the crude refining forge, Charlie and James are able to construct a Smithy from the rest of the raw materials they have collected nearby. With the new metal tools and those brought with them from Peter’s saddle pack, two Morley saddles are crafted up and placed on the Morleys. Dolly and Winslow ride on the two Morleys finding out that they are good resource harvesters of the berries, loads of wood from the scrub trees, thatch, and lots of cactus sap.

“Where’s Whitfeather?” asks Charlie as the two are out gathering additional resources on the Morleys. “I though that he went out with you to keep an eye out for danger.”

“He told us he wanted to check out something he spotted in the rocks,” answers Dolly.

“Here he comes now,” reports James. “Oh my gosh! He has a raptor walking alongside of him. He is holding on to its arm.”

“He’s safe,” reports Whitefeather. “I found him laying behind some rocks and was able to tame him with some raw prime meat from the snake. This is the raptor that escaped being killed by the Morleys. Be easy on him when you come up to check him out. He is still recovering from those injuries he suffered last evening.”

“What about our tamed Morleys?” asks Dolly. “Will they attack him?”

“According to Helen’s Journal, they will actually protect each other,” reports Winslow. “I know that it sounds strange, but the tamed creatures in a tribe will work together regardless if they were predators and prey in the wild. There is even a blueprint for constructing a saddle for one.” The behavior of the Morleys around the raptor soon proves to the rest of the group that they will get along with each other with no issues.

“That will be so interesting to actually ride on him once he has recovered from his injuries” Whitefeather tells the group as the raptor lays down beside him. “The story from the elders reported that one of the warriors in Turok’s tribe tamed a hunting pack of eight of them. I may try to tame more of them once I learn more about the behavior of the wild ones.”

When the crude refining forge had been completed and loaded with wood and metal, Peter and Jessie had taken off to explore down the canyon together to do some hunting and exploration. It is with a surprise to those back in the camp when they return riding on Direwolves with two more following. “These were the ones that visited our camp last night,” reports Peter. “When I was able to tame the pack leader, the rest of his pack became our friends. And, as you can tell, they can be easily ridden like burrows.”

“They will make for good protection from the other wild predators,” reports Whitefeather as he checks out the four wolves in the pack.

“Do you think that the females have a den somewhere nearby with pups?’ asks Winslow.

“No,” answers Whitefeather. “The two females don’t appear to have been nursing pups or show any signs of being pregnant. If they had pups, they would have never followed Peter back here without them.”

“Now that you have mention that they don’t have a litter, has anyone seen any signs of youngsters in this world with their mothers?” asks Dolly.

“No,” answers Winslow. “According to Helena’s Journal, she is at a loss how the creatures of this world maintain their population in this harsh world. That is a mystery we may need to look into to figure out how evolution works in this strange world.”

“I now have the proper tools we need to start the construction of an adobe shelter,” reports Charlie. “Help me with gathering the resources we need to start on that shelter.”

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  • 2 months later...

Been a while but I am still working on this story and updating others.


Chapter 6, A Secure Campsite.


It has been a mostly quiet night for the survivors on Scorched Earth. Only a couple of shadows have showed up in the torch light along the fence before rapidly vanishing after a warning growl from the Direwolf Pack Leader. The one exception is when a Titanboa attempted to crawl over the spike fence impaling itself on it before being put down for good with a crossbow bolt. It yields a metal shield, a helmet, some metal armor, and another crossbow as it is butchered. Everyone has slept either with a Direwolf, or a Morley. Whitefeather has been with his raptor who is looking a lot better as he is healing up from his injuries he got in the fight with the wild Morleys.

“How do you think that those giant snakes are ending up with those items in their stomach?” asks Dolly.

“As snakes generally swallow their prey whole, those items were likely swallowed with the Spaniards they had killed for food.” answers Winslow. “They are certainly big enough to do so.”

The morning arrives clear and cold as everyone wakes up to get a breakfast of berry types, grilled fish, and titanboa steaks. With a basin and stone piping that runs down from a spring found nearby up in the dry wash, water is available in their fenced in compound. Everyone is at a loss just how that plumbing can even work let alone Charlie being able to craft it out of stone according to the instructions found in Helena’s Journal.

“I now have the metal tools we need to start the construction of a proper adobe shelter,” reports Charlie. “Help me with gathering the resources we need to start on that shelter.”

Charlie and Whitefeather are soon working on casting the sections needed to construct the Adobe structure as the rest work to gather the needed sand, cactus sap used for a binder, and the wood needed to frame it together. The foundation is first poured to set up in the morning sun. Walls are built up of layers of the clay with wood used for the door and window frames. It is noon by the time those walls are being formed. A frame of wood is placed next for the roof but they will need to wait until late afternoon for the walls to properly harden before pouring the first clay layers on top of that.

“We could have used just wood, stone, and the clay for a binder for the structure,” Jessie tells them. “Why didn’t we build from those materials?”

“Adobe stays a lot cooler in the day and holds the heat better at night,” reports Whitefeather. “A stone and wood structure would get unbearably hot in the daytime and would quickly get freezing cold at night. We can always use those materials to build a strong fence for a pen to protect our tames from the larger predators out there.”

“Lets do so while we are waiting for the adobe walls to set up,” orders Charlie.

As they get started on building a stone fence, it is quickly becoming obvious that the task of gathering and breaking up the rocks into usable materials is going to take days. “Is there a faster way of doing this?” asks James after everyone has spent much of the afternoon wearing out their new metal hatchets on such a laborious task.

I had heard from one of the Turok stories that a tribe member used a Doed for that task.” answers Whitefeather. “It’s club like tail was able to shatter boulders into the materials needed for a stone fence.”

“What a usual ability from a dinosaur,” comments Peter.

“Do you think that it is possible to tame one and find out if it can shatter the boulders into building stone?” asks James.

“Lets go find one,” Winslow tells them. “I can show you what it looks like. It will save us a lot of work if it can gather stone as Whitefeather says it’s capable of doing.”

Peter, James, Winslow, and Whitefeather head out into the canyon where the area is broad and quite flat. Whitefeather has brought his raptor along but still doesn’t have a saddle for it as he is not yet healed enough to go riding on him. “Is he going to attack the doed if we spot one?” asks Peter.

“Only if I tell him to,” answers Whitefeather. “Otherwise, he will just watch what we are doing.”

It isn’t long before they find one in a fight with two female raptors trying to kill it for a meal. It’s tough shell is protecting it from injury as it swats both raptors with it’s club tail. Both raptors limp away as a result of their injuries as the Doed curls up into a ball to protect it’s head and legs. Whitefeather’s raptor calls to them as they spot him with the foursome and cautiously approach.

“Now what?” warns James as the raptors are approaching them.

“Hold your ground but have your crossbows at the ready,” orders Whitefeather. “My raptor has the situation under control.” With his raptor by his side, Whitefeather carefully approaches them, then offers them each some cooked Titanboa prime meat that he has on him. It isn’t long before he is taking care of their injuries with a narcoberry solution as they socialize with him and his raptor.

“Lets co check on that doed,” orders Peter. The three of them go over to check out the balled up Doed.

“What’s he doing?” asks James as they see the doed rolled up into a ball like position.

“He appears to have placed himself in a defensive posture, similar to when a turtle hides in his shell,” answers Winslow. “We will have to wait until he feels that he is no longer in any danger from the raptors that attacked him earlier.”

“What do you think that they eat for food?” asks Peter.

“They are herbivores,” answers Winslow. “We could try feeding it some of those purple berry bushes like we did with those Morleys.” The doed, comes out of it’s shell to accepts the first offering of berries but then, goes into a panic when it spots the three raptors by Whitefeather. With a snort, it bashes the nearby boulder with his club like tail into a million pieces and runs off down the canyon.

“I think that we better wait until it has calmed down,” orders Peter. “Then, we can try later to tame it without Whitefeather’s raptor pack nearby.”

“I agree,” answers Winslow as he is digging the rocks and sand out of his clothing. “Let him calm down before we try that again. At least we know that he can shatter those boulder with that club tail.”

“Lets head back to camp before the others start worrying about us,” orders Peter. “Then we can come back out to get that doed.

Back at the campsite, Dolly is amazed to see Whitefeather with his growing pack that now contains three raptors. “Looks like you have started getting your hunting pack,” she tells him.

“I need to let them heal up before I take them hunting,” he tells her. “I can use your help in tending to their injuries while I go back with the others to tame the Doed we found.”

“It should be an interesting task.” she tells Whitefeather as his three raptors have taken a liking to Dolly looking for more attention.

Back down in the canyon, the foursome are able to locate the Doed. As he has calmed down a lot, they continue to feed him Mejoberries. Tamed, his injuries are taken care of. He follows the three men back to the camp. With a saddle crafted in his new Smithy, Charlie has the Doed saddled and put him to work on the nearby boulders.

“Wow, we should have tamed a Doed much sooner,” Charlie tells the others. “It would have saved us so much time in obtaining the sand we needed for making the clay for the adobe shelter.”

“At this rate, we will have both the fence and the shelter finished by morning.”

By late evening, the work has been completed in building the adobe shelter and a secure stone pen for their new tames.

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Chapter 7, Preparations to go exploring.


Later that evening, as everyone is sitting around a campfire, a discussion is taking place about where they should start their exploration in order to find their way back to the real world. With the map laid out where everyone can see it, the question is raised about the settlement marked to the Southeast.

“Is it possible that it’s actually Oatman located to the South of us?” asks Jessie.

“If it were, why is there all of this desert?” questions Charlie. “When we were up on that rocky hill. I could see what looked like some sort of a settlement in the desert to the South past those rocky crags in the canyon area.”

“We should go check it out as soon as we can,” answers Peter. “If someone is living there, perhaps they could help us find a way back to our world.”

“Then it is settled,” answers James. “We’ll get prepared to make the trip to get there in the morning.”

It is their fourth day in this strange new world as everyone is getting prepared for the trip to the mystery settlement marked on the parchment map. Whitefeather’s raptors have healed up from their injuries and are eager to be involved with him and Dolly. During the night, another female raptor has shown up along the spike fence. Whitefeather has befriended her at the gate and lets her in to join the rest of his pack. She is a gorgeous green color in the morning light with lighter shades of yellow green on her feathers, chest, and belly. This is quite a contrast from the male who is tan in color, but has much brighter colored feathers on it’s head and tail. Such a strange world it is that one can so easily tame these prehistoric creatures. Strange indeed when Dolly comes riding back on a saddled Parasaur after she has gone down to the pond to clean up. “He just came up to me as I was getting dressed.” Dolly explains to the rest of the group.

“Incredible” a shocked Peter answers.

“There has to be someone else living in this world who this tamed Parasaur belongs to, answers Winslow. “There is no way that Dolly could have tamed one so quickly let alone craft up a saddle for it. I wonder if he belongs to Helena and somehow got separated from her.”

“It’s possible,” Whitefeather tells the group after examining the parasaur for any injuries. “He has some old scars on him from being in a fight with some unknown predator. It’s possible that we may find his owner during our exploration. Why don’t you make him your tame for the time being.”

“Helena writes in the later part of her journal about being ambushed by a raptor pack while riding on her parasaur Billy,” reports Winslow. “They ended up getting separated during the fight. She doesn’t know if he got away or not as they got separated when he jumped off of a ledge to get away from the raptors chasing after him.”

“Then, this must be Helena’s Parasaur,” answers Dolly as she is petting him. “He even responds to that name.”

“If he was attacked by a raptor pack, why is he being so calm around Whitefeather’s raptors,” asks Peter.

“He must sense that our raptors will not harm him,” answers Dolly. “Otherwise, I could not have ridden him into the pen with them and the direwolves that are here with us.

“While the rest of you are getting ready for the trip, I would like to take my raptor pack out hunting.” Whitefeather tells the group. “I’d like to test out my pack leader’s abilities now that I have a saddle for him and he has recovered enough for me to ride him.”

“Travel light on them,” reports Winslow. “They don’t have a lot of weight carrying ability.”

“Place these pack saddles I just crafted on the other three,” Charlie tells him. “They will give them some protection in case you run into any of those larger predators out there. You can also pack some supplies on them while you are out hunting for game animals. We’ll take care of preparations while you are gone.”

It is around noon when Whitefeather comes back from hunting with his raptor pack. An additional female raptor has joined the pack. What is most interesting is that she has a pack saddle on her. The raptors are following Whitefeather in a formation of twos. All four females are packing hide and raw meat on them. The meat that is not needed to feed the direwolves and raptors is soon being cooked up or has been placed on a drying rack to make jerky.

“Where did you find a saddled raptor?” ask Peter as Whitefeather brings them all into the pen and they start unpacking the raw meat to get it cooking.

“She was with a wild raptor pack that attacked us,” answered Whitefeather. “She cautiously came up to me looking for the assurance that we wouldn’t harm her when I called to her. As she did not participate in the attack, my pack accepted her into their group. She was so hungry and scared from being bullied by that pack of males she was with. She was crying as I was feeding her some raw meat from a pig like creature we had killed earlier. I never knew that these raptors could have such emotions.”

“I wonder if she is one of Helena’s tames that was lost when she was attack by wild raptors,” asks Winslow.

“That’s a possibility,” answers Whitefeather. “She had a metal pickax, a spyglass, and a shovel in her backpack. When the wild raptors ran in to attack us, I ordered my raptors to attack their pack leader. With him gone, it was quick work to kill the other three as they were no longer working together as a team. We’re going to have to be on our guard if there are any more threats like that roaming around out there. That pack leader was a tough SOB to take out. Help me take care of their injuries. That was a tough fight they had to endure to protect me and each other. I’m just glad that they had these pack saddles on them. Their injuries could have been a lot worse without them.”

“This is indeed one very strange world.” Winslow tells everyone as the rest of the group works on cleaning and applying a narcoberry solution to the wounds on the five raptors in Whitefeather’s pack. “The spyglass will be most useful for our exploration. I Just wonder what other surprises are in store for us as we start exploring this strange new world?”

“Perhaps, we will find out when we make the trip to that settlement located on the map,” answers Charlie. “I think that we better wait until the raptors are healed up from that fight they got into this morning. We may need them to protect us from whatever may be out there in that desert.”

Dolly has also been out on an adventure of her own with Billy the Parasaur. They have gone up into the other side of the wash that leads into the canyon. While up in that dry wash, a wild female parasaur has spotted them. She comes up to them out of curiosity. Offering her some Mejoberries, Dolly has managed to tame the female parasaur that she names Patty. Patty follows them back to the camp where Dolly tells everyone that is there, the unusual discovery she has found near the base of a high stone butte. “I found what looked like oil seeping out of the ground by those buttes to the East,” she tells Charlie. “It was black in color and smelled like kerosene.”

“Can you take me over there?” asks Charlie. “If I can find some way to distill it, we could have something to fuel Peter’s lanterns that we brought along with us.” Packing an empty kerosene can and a ladle on a new Parasaur saddle, Charlie rides on Patty with Dollie guiding the way to where the oil seep has been spotted.

Arriving at the site, Charlie gets off of Patty and uses the ladle to examine the pool of the black liquid. “It’s definitely oil with a high kerosene content.” he tells Dollie. “It should work like kerosene so long as I can scoop this clear liquid off of the surface and avoid the tar under it.” After ten minutes of careful ladling using a rag as a filter, the kerosene can has been filled and placed in the saddle bag on Patty. They make the return trip is made back with nothing dangerous being spotted that would threaten them or their parasaurs.

Back at camp, everybody gets together to study the map to plot the best way to get to the settlement they saw in the distance while up on the mountain. “We should stick to traveling along this canyon,” Whitefeather tells them. “We will have shelter from the heat and a source for water until we reach the end to enter into the desert.”

“Will there be anything dangerous we may run into along the way?” asks Dolly.

“That is always a possibility,” answers Whitefeather. “With my raptors and the wolves, we should be able to deal with anything that we can’t bola and take down with the crossbows.”

“Then, we are set,” answers James. “Lets leave early in the morning so we can avoid the heat in the afternoon.”

“We can dress up in these desert clothes I was able to craft in the Smithy using a recipe Helena left us in her journal,” reports Charlie. “They were certainly a lot cooler then my heavy jeans I use for black smithing when I went out with Dollie to check out the oil seep. I can have a set for everyone by morning.”

With the preparations set, everyone retires for the night to await the early down so they can start on the trip to the settlement in the desert beyond.

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Chapter 8 The settlement.


It is day five of being trapped in this strange new world as the group of seven get saddled up to make the trip through the desert to reach the settlement they could see from the hill. Dolly and Winslow will be riding on the two parasaurs. Whitefeather will be in lead on his raptor with the rest of his pack. Peter and Jessie are riding on the two male wolves with the females following. Charlie and James on the two Morleys. They are leaving behind the Doed as it travels much too slow for the desert trip.

Whitefeather is letting the female raptor he had rescued the day before lead the way. It appears that she knows the way to their destination so he has let her take the lead. “I do believe that she has been on this trail before,” Whitefeather tells the others. “She keeps making sure that we are following close behind.”

“I wonder if she could be taking us to where Helena was exploring before getting separated from her when those males attacked them?” asks Winslow.”

“That’s a distinct possibility,” answers Charlie. “She has been picking out the easiest path for us to follow so far.”

The trek through the canyon continues for much of the morning. Some wild raptors, the larger horned lizards with the stubby arms, and some dangerous looking flightless birds are spotted along the way. They keep their distance when they spot the wolf and raptor pack that are traveling together with the Morley pair. Reaching the end of the canyon at the edge of the desert, they stop to rest at a large pond before heading to the settlement which is now visible in the distance.

As they dismount to take a break and fill their canteens from the large pond, James has spotted something abnormal by the pond closer to a rocky outcropping. “We may have some other people near us,” warns James. “There is a tent set up by the pond with three camels laying down next to it.”

Before the group can react, Whitefeather’s new female raptor, that has been leading the way, takes off running to the tent in the distance. Placing the spotting scope on the tent, James observes another saddled raptor that comes out of the tent and races back to her. “That must be her mate,” James tells the others as the two raptors make contact with each other, then come trotting back to Whitefeather who goes out in front of his pack to meet them.

“Did anybody come out of the tent?” asks Winslow.

“No,” answers James. “Lets head over there as soon as Whitefeather has checked over this new raptor.”

“Ronnie and Ronda Raptor,” Whitefeather reports after checking the male’s backpack for supplies. “They are definitely mates. They have to be Helena’s raptors given that the backpack contains Australian Tea, jerky, beans, canteens, a camp stove, and an extra set of desert clothes. He looks to be in excellent shape in spite of some scars from being in a fight. The pond must have been supplying him with all of the fish he needed for food.”

James is the first one to reach the tent to go inside to check it out.“There’s nobody here,” James reports to the others when they reach the campsite as he comes back out with a Jarboa on his shoulder. “This little guy was just chilling out in the back by a sleeping bag, some saddlebags, and the saddles for the camels. It looks like that no one has been back here for days. I’m willing to bet that these tames came back here to wait for someone to return after being separated by whatever attacked them up in those mesas.”

“Let us leave a note telling her that we have her four tames and the camels traveling with us, that they are safe, and where our camp is located,” Peter tells the others. “Then, lets continue on to that settlement before it gets too hot to travel.”

The three camels are saddled so that Whitefeather, Peter and James can ride on them. It makes it easier for the raptors and wolves to protect the group as Whitefeather can easily control them using voice and whistle commands.


The Ruins of Nosti


The trip now continues with Whitefeather in the lead followed by the raptors with the rest following with James and the wolves watching their rear. Due to the way the shimmering heat work like a mirage, the settlement is much further away then they have estimated. As they reach the outskirts of the settlement, the two Jarboas are starting to act crazy with their chattering as the sky is getting darker on the southern horizon. Then, the ground starts shaking as a mound of sand is seen coming towards them from behind.

“Scatter!” warns James with a shout.

A giant worm like creature burst out of the sand where they were gathered moments ago. The raptors and wolves promptly charge in to attack it’s body that is still in the sand. That confuses the worm for a moment as it tries to go after it’s intended victim.

Two large shadows from what looks like giant bats suddenly appear overhead as everyone else scatters in a panic. An intense blast of fire burst forth from the two giant flying lizards hitting the giant worm directly in the head setting it on fire. It falls to the ground dead as acrid smoke drifts off of it’s smoldering head. A person dressed in desert gear is spotted riding on one of the flying creatures as they land in front of the dead worm. The raptors and wolves head back to be with Whitefeather as he whistles for them to break off their attack and return to him.

“Head for that domes structure and get inside,” a female voice warns them with authority. “You don’t want to be out here when that sandstorm hits.” The two flying creatures take off disappearing into the dome structure as the weather quickly deteriorates into blowing sand and a darkening sky.

“Lets get to some shelter,” orders Whitefeather. “Head for that dome structure.” Taking lead on his camel with the raptors following close behind, Whitefeather heads into the settlement directly to the dome structure. It looks so much like a church as he finds the main entrance which is large enough for all of the tames to get inside. The two Morleys can just barely squeeze through the entrance. The double doors are pushed shut and secured with planks to keep out the blowing sand as the wind starts to roar like thunder.

Several standing torches have been lit by the stranger as the seven with the tames have gathered into the main sanctuary. The two flying lizards show up in the glow of the standing torches. The female, still dressed in her desert gear, stands in front of them. Recognizing her, Billy and the new raptor pair run over to her for a tearful reunion.

“I though that I had lost them forever,” a tearful stranger tells the others. “Where did you find them?”

“Dolly found Billy when he came up to her back by our camp,” answers Winslow. “Whitefeather found your frightened and starving Ronda hiding among the rocks in the canyon after his raptors had killed the four males that attacked him. We found Ronnie and the rest of your tames back at your tent on the edge of this desert.”

“Incredible,” answers the stranger. “Those four raptors were the ones that attacked us days ago as we were exploring up in the mesa. They killed my two escorts who sacrificed themselves so that I could get away.”

“Oh, my apologies, I’m Winslow from the New York Times. My friends with me are Desert Pete, Jessie, the veteran that found a map to this world, Charlie, our Blacksmith, Whitefeather, our historian and guide, James, the Deputy Marshal of Oatman, and Dolly, who works at the Oatman Bar.”

“Oh, I’m Sorry.” the stranger answers. “I’m Helena from the Archaeological Expedition, of Harvard that was exploring the outback of Australia when we got lost and somehow ended up in this God forsaken land called Scorched Earth. These two dragons behind me are Flame and Torch. I accidentally found them while running away from the raptors jumping into what I though was an unusual rock formation. They became my very good friends when they realize that I wasn’t going to do anything to harm them.”

“While flying to this church to shelter from that approaching sandstorm, I spotted your expedition in a fight with that Death Worm. Seeing that you had tames that were attempting to protect you from it’s attack, I had my dragon friends set it’s head on fire. I’m so glad that they helped out given that my lost tames had joined your expedition and were attempting to protect your group.”

“How did you end up on Scorched Earth?” asks Winslow.

“We were way back into an unexplored area of the Australian Outback when a strange storm approached us out of a clear hot sky.” answers Helena. “Our Native Australian Porters abandoned us in a panic screaming something about how we had violated the sacred hunting grounds of their Gods. My two Australian Guides, Dundee and Jack, ushered me into a small cave we used for shelter. When the storm had cleared, we found ourselves in a totally unfamiliar area. It still looked like The Australian Outback, but none of the landmarks made any sense. Even the mountain size stone we had come to investigate had vanished.”

“How did you end up on Scorched Earth?”

“We were taking shelter from a storm in Pete’s gold mine.” answers Winslow. “We were forced to flee Oatman when a gang of ruffians raided the hotel looking for someone they called Carlos. They were after a map they believed would lead them to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. When we came back out after the storm had ended, we found ourselves in this strange new world. When we attempted to go back into the mine, we found that it no longer existed. Your Journal was laying by the entrance. We have been using it as a guide on how to survive in this desert wasteland.”

“My journal?” questions Helena. “I never left my journal anywhere. My journal is right here in my backpack.”

“I have it right here in my backpack,” answers Winslow as he searches for it only to find that it is now missing. “That’s strange,” he tells Helena. “I still had it when I went into your tent to look for you. It even had notes in it about you being attacked by raptors and losing Billy as he jumped off of a cliff.”

“I never wrote that entry into my journal,” answers Helena.

“This may have something to do with those three floating structures,” suggest Whitefeather. “Someone or something must have planted a journal with your hand writing and name in the mine entrance for the purpose of guiding us to surviving in this world.”

“Can I have a look at that map?” she asks Whitefeather.

“Sure,” answers Whitefeather as he lays out the parchment map on a stone in the sanctuary.

“Interesting,” she tells him as she studies the map. “I can see where my camp is by the pond at the edge of the desert. I also see the ruins of Nosti where we are now located in it’s church. How did you obtain a map of Scorched Earth?”

“According to the story of my tribe elders, a nomadic tribe led by Turok, were running away from Spanish invaders who were looking for gold. Somehow, they found a way to enter this world as they were looking for a way to hide from those invaders. Turok himself drew up this map as he was exploring this world looking for a way back out. The Spanish Invaders had followed them into this world only to get distracted with the boulders of fools gold that they started mining up on the mountain. They were killed when they got into a fight with the dragons. Several years later, Turok found his way back but never marked where it was on this map. The elders kept this map in the Medicine Man’s hut until one day, it just vanished. I never saw it again until it showed up a week ago when Jessie told us that he has won it in a poker game.”

“That is most interesting,” answers Helena. “I always thought that the story of Turok discovering a lost land of dinosaurs was just a childhood story.”

“Why do you think that he never tried to reach those distance mountains to the West,” asks Dolly.

“Probably, because the further you attempt to travel away from the badlands in the desert, the more common those death worms become.” answers Helena. “Even the dragons are frightened by something out there as they won’t fly out beyond the boundaries of your map into those mountains.”

“That is so scary.” comments Peter. “How are we ever going to find our way back home?”

“We don’t, unless we can find the same path that Turok used to get back to our world.” answers Whitefeather.

“We had better prepare to spend the night here,” James tells everyone. “Even if that storm lets up soon, it will be too late and dangerous to travel across that desert so late in the afternoon.”

“Agree,” answers Helena. “There is a well in the cellar of this church where we can get water. There is food available for the herbivores in the settlement. With the dried meat you have packed on the raptors, there will be more then enough food for them and your wolves for the next couple of days. We can go over into the sanctuary to get away from the sand coming in through the hole in the dome roof. Lets set up camp in there for the night, then trade stories about our adventure in this strange new world.”

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I just finished reading everything you have thus far.

Overall the narrative style reminds me of someone who's played D&D, and perhaps has had some experience as a dungeon master. When you explain a setting, in those paragraphs it really reminds me of the "flavor text" that I would insert before asking my players: "Now what do you want to do". I like how you are introducing Helena and wonder if your group will end up meeting Rockwell. That could be very interesting, given how manipulative he is. There's definitely a lot of places you could go with this story and I like how you've tied it into early 1900 gold mining. It makes sense that characters from that time and place could find themselves on the Scorched Earth ark.

I have a little bit of critique. For me, you start with your cast of characters and giving a brief description of each, and I feel like learning about the characters and seeing them develop is a big motivator for the reader. Without the cast section, I wouldn't be able to tell one character apart from another. You get right on with the action but we don't really learn about anyone's motivations or thoughts during it all. How do they feel about what's going on? If it were me, I'd be really freaked out. Especially WhiteFeather. He's 17. How the heck is he keeping it together? So that would be my bit of critique to maybe have some moments for character development - perhaps have them sit around a campfire at night from time to time, so we can learn about their thoughts and how their backgrounds flavor what is currently happening to them.

Edited by ArkWriter
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While I have not played D&D but am very familiar with how it works, I do based many of my stories on the game play aspect of Ark. The Cave of Quang Binh Province is a story based upon some of my the Vietnam War experience, an actual cave discovered most recently in Vietnam,  and game play on the player created map Amissa. It is, of course straight game experience right down to the implant and crafting.

Chapter 9 already has some campfire talk being added with Helena and the others as the eight are waiting out the sandstorm. I can certainly continue on that development and may add it in previous chapters where they first establish their camp at the watering hole.. In addition, I have not been keeping up with updating changes to the story I make as I reread through it and other posted stories.

Training Flight 19 is one such story that saw many changes and additions in which intelligent dragons, from Rock Drakes in Aberration, to an Alpha Wyvern in Ragnarok, become key characters. I learned many interesting facts about the real flight from  Captain Powers having lost his gunner two months earlier flying over the same area, to his wife calling him with concern, to Lt. Taylor having second thought about taking the mission out, to a strange telegraph received days later by the parents of Sargent Paoenssa. Like your story where something unknown is guiding your characters, Training Flight 19 has similar elements as part of it. I can see a sequel coming out with the release of Valhalla.

I do plan on them doing cave explorations and looking for clues left by Turok in their search for the way back home. Still, you are right, there are many ways this story can go although a boss fight will not be one of them.

Spoiler Alert! I have an actual photo of the White Jack I took when visiting Oatman in 1969. It is a tourist town where all structures are zoned to be built from existing structures using original materials. Also, one of the Superstition Mountains, an abandoned gold mine, and the view to the valley below.

Another story in the works, hinted in another post on this forum is an adventure based upon Elan Musk's plans to colonize Mars. That story is still in the process of developing the crew characters, many of them former military forced out of the service by COVID mandates and hired by Musk to fly one of his rockets to Mars. They end up being reborn on the Genesis Ship when their star ship is destroyed by a meteor. The story will then be three part, one with them discovering how Rockwell has sabotaged the ship, then his defeat, then their survival on Ark 2.

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Chapter 9. Sheltering in the Church of Nosti.


As the storm continues to rage outside, everyone is continuing to get introduce to each other and their tames up close and personnel. Helena is soon over by Whitefeather to check out his raptor pack along with her two raptors that are by them.

“Whitefeather, How did you manage to obtain your raptors?” asks Helena.

“I first found this male that was injured by the Morelys a day earlier hiding in the boulder near our camp,” answers Whitefeather. “When I found that he wasn’t going to be aggressive, I decided to see if the stories I heard from the elders about Turok taming the raptors were true. I carefully approached him and gave him a piece of raw Titanboa which he carefully took out of my hand. As I continued to care for him, I found that he was starting to bond with me in friendship. I have never had a creature respond like that before in the reservation. When he finally stood up, he held out his arm so that I could hold on to it. Mike, as I now call him, walked back with me to our camp. The others were astonished to see me walk into our camp with a raptor given how they had witnessed the attack they saw on a Morley by the pond. Even more so was the fact that the two Morleys Winslow had tamed accepted Mike as one of them.”

“The two females, Mary and Margret, I tamed when we were out looking for a Doed. They had been injured in a fight with one. Mike called out to them to come over to us. They became the first members of his pack when I fed them some cooked meat and tended to their injuries.”

“Marge, the pretty green female, just showed up by the fence the next morning. She just decided on her own to become our friends.”

“When Mike was finally strong enough to be ridden with a saddle, I started training the three females how to hunt as a pack. It wasn’t long before they were able to take out some of the larger creatures with ease. That’s when we ran into that pack of males with your Ronda following closely behind them.”

“You have done well with training your raptor pack” Helena tells Whitefeather as she checks them over. “The leader of that pack of males that attacked me and later your pack, was what one would call an Alpha. They are just plain mean, tough as a Yuti, and hard to kill. While I have learned that raptors in general are easy to tame if approached with strength, an Alpha cannot be tamed or even be knocked out with tranc arrow. They will attack you on sight and fight to the death.”

“No wonder your Ronda was crying as I fed her and took care of her wounds,” answers Whitefeather as he is petting her on her neck. “Even with several crossbow arrows stuck in his head, it was still one tough fight to take him down. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to survive that attack by those four males. Thankfully, having those saddles that Charlie made for my raptors gave them the protection they needed to win that fight. After Mike and I had killed their pack leader, my three females took out those other three males. I have never knew that female raptors could be so vicious against their own kind, especially those three males.”

“They must have sense that your attackers were just plain evil and had to be killed,” Helena tells him.

“When my pack had finished off the last male raptor, I noticed Ronda cowering against a boulder. Seeing that she was wearing a pack saddle, I told my raptors to stand down. I got off of Mike and carefully approached her. Once she realize that we were not going to harm her, that was when she broke down crying. The pack accepted her as an equal as I tended to her needs.”

“She looks so happy being with you and your pack. In fact, Ronnie looks quite content being with you and your pack as well. They were all working well together when you were attacked by that Death Worm. If you wish, why don’t you let them become part of your pack.”

“Won’t you miss them if they become part of my pack?” asks Whitefeather.

“If I can join your group so we can find the way out of Scorch Earth together, I will always be with them.” answers Helena.

“You should join us,” Winslow tells her. “By combining our knowledge of what we know about this place, we may still find the portal Turok used to return to our world.

“We would be more then happy to have you traveling with us,” answers James. “We can certainly use your knowledge about this place and the creatures living in it.”

“Yes, do join us,” Peter tells her.

“I definitely need someone to talk to besides these men,” answers Dolly.

“Thank you,” answers Helena. “It has been so lonely around here after Dundee and Jack were killed by those raptors.”

“How did you obtain Billy?” Dolly asks Helena.

“He seem to be quite curious about us riding on our camels,” answers Helena. “When I found out that he liked the purple berries from the bushes, it wasn’t long before he decided to travel with us. One day, out of curiosity, I decided to craft up a saddle for him. He was quick to learn how to be ridden with one. I found it so hard to believe that one could do such a thing with a dinosaur. It wasn’t long before I found out that I could do the same thing with the raptors, that they would get along together, and protect us and each others from any of the threats living in this world.”

“Now, I understand how it was possible for me to obtain Patty when I was out riding Billy for the first time.”

“Where did you find Direwolves?” asks Helena.

“Jessie and I found them in the rocks near out camp as we were out looking for cactus sap,” answers Peter. “They had been hanging around our camp the night before. When they came running towards us, something told me that I should hold my ground and not run away in terror. With Jessie up on the rocks, I slowly came down and approached their leader who accepted a piece of cooked Titanboa that I offered him. Jessie then came down and was with the second male soon petting him. The two females quickly joined in looking for attention. Out of a joke Jessie suggested that we should try riding on them like horses. We were soon doing just that as we headed back to camp.”

“How did you obtain the two Morellotops?” asks Helena.

“Your journal described how we could tame them with Mejoberries, then craft the saddles for them,” answers Winslow.

“That is so interesting given that I never wrote those instructions in my journal,” Helena tells him.

“When we first started setting up our camp, I saw these two kill a pair of raptors and drive off a third one that was attacking one of their friends.” answers Winslow. “I tamed them the next day by feeding them the bushes with the purple berries. Whitefeather later found the injured raptor and tamed him. I later learned that they can store water for us in that hump, that we can access with a tap. It taste like piss but it doesn’t seem to harm them.”

“From what I have studied of them, they appear to be an evolutionary impossibility.” answers Helena. “A cross between a mammal and a turtle. With their ability to survive on the cactus and brush in this land, defend themselves when in a herd from the predators, and resist the worst of the weather this land can throw at them, I can only conclude that they were somehow genetically engineered to live in this harsh environment.”

“Interesting,” answers Winslow. “We also found a note planted in a metal box describing a large feathered carnivore that hunts with carnos. It was called a Yuti. It claimed that both of those creatures can be tamed for out use. We actually saw one up on the big hill after it had killed Peter’s burrow and her boyfriend. Needless to say, we didn’t stick around to find out if it wanted to have us for an after dinner snack or not.”

“This is indeed one strange world,” Helena tells everyone. “It has redefined the biology of the prehistoric creatures that I have studied based upon the fossils that I have found in Montana and Australia.”

As quickly as the raging sandstorm came roaring in, it suddenly blows itself out. The late afternoon sun is now lighting up the interior of the church and the sanctuary where the group has taken shelter. The two dragons get up to shake off the sand that was accumulating on them. They both look at Helena as if they are talking to her. Then, they take off flying out of the hole in the roof.

“Where are they going?” asks Peter.

“They are heading out to go hunting for some food,” answers Helena. “They told me that they would be will be back by sunset.”

“They told you that they would be back by evening?” ask Peter in puzzlement. “How is that possible?”

“I don’t know,” answers Helena. “I just seem to know what they are thinking when they look at me. They appear to know what I want of them as well. It must be some kind of a mental connection that we have formed with each other. I always thought that dragons were the creation of Viking and Midevil mythology. Yet, here they are in this world. And, as you saw when they killed that Death Worm that attacked you, they can actually breathe fire.”

“Prehistoric creatures that one can tame like domestic animals, fantasy creatures from our Middle Ages, creatures that are impossible to explain, this is one strange world we find ourselves in,” comments Winslow.

“And like those flying water and oil containers you have seen, there are giant acid spitting centipedes, huge scorpions, and mantas big enough to ride on out in that desolate desert.” warns Helena.

“We should take the Parasaurs, camels, and Morelys outside and let them graze on the plants in the ruins before it gets dark out” suggest Charlie. “We certainly don’t want to be out there once it gets dark.”

“Lets do so,” answers Helena. “The raptors and wolves can keep guard as we check out these nearby structures. We might just get lucky and find a clue for getting out of here.”

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Chapter 10, The buried city.


The group move the herbivores among their tames outside to a green area next to the Church and several abandoned structures so they can feed on the bushes. The wolves lay down near them to keep watch for any danger. “Billy will warn us if there is any danger approaching them,” Helena tells the group as they finish getting them into a grazing area. The late afternoon sun is shining brightly through a clear blue sky as the herbivores start grazing on the bushes. The temperature is actually quite comfortable for a settlement being located in the high desert.

With the tames settled down, the group splits into two. Whitefeather, Winslow, and the two women proceed to enter the nearest structure while the rest of the men start to look for materials they can use to secure the church for an overnight stay.

Whitefeather is finding that the archaeological inspection of the settlement by Helena, Dolly and Winslow, is actually quite interesting. Having studied the history of his people and the stories from Turok in that unplanned visit to Scorched Earth, he has expressed an interest in learning if Turok had visited Nosti in his search for a way back home. The entire raptor pack has come along with them. They wait outside with Mike wanting to keep close watch on what Whitefeather and Helena are doing inside the stone structure.

“He is acting like your watchdog,” Winslow comments as the foursome pick through the dusty furnishing of the first structure they have entered.

“Oh, it’s quite all right,” Helena tells him. “Having him in here with us is a good assurance that there is nothing hiding in here that can threaten us.”

“It feels good to get away from those uneducated men for a while,” Dolly tells the threesome as they are poking through the dust covered furnishing. “By the way, what are they doing while we are in here searching through these structures?”

“They are out looking for materials to construct a fence and secure the broken windows of the church for the night,” answers Winslow.

“Well, at least they are doing something useful,” Helena tells him. “What can you tell me about those four while they are not here with us?”

“Peter has been pretty much of a loner out there on his claim working hard on his dream to someday strike it rich,” Dolly tells her. “He may look and act a bit scruffy around the others but he has always been a gentleman around me.”

“Charlie, while being an uneducated man, is very good in his trade as a Blacksmith. It has been a surprise just how quickly he has been able to use the raw materials available in this world to build a forge, refine those iron pyrite stones into tools that we have used for building our camp, and even crafted saddles for our tames. He has lived in Oatman through it’s boom and bad times, always helping out those that were in need of his Blacksmithing skills.

“James represents the law in what would otherwise be a lawless town. He has kept order in Oatman when the prospectors would tend to get out of control at the bar on a Friday night. I believe that he made the right decision to get us out of town the night the Marquis Gang showed up to look for someone called Carlos and started tearing the hotel apart. We were on our way to Kingman to bring back the District Marshal when we ended up here by accident.”

“I know very little about Jessie other then he was a solder that fought in the Spanish American War.” reports Winslow. “I do know that we wouldn’t have ended up here had he not stumbled into Oatman with that strange looking map he claimed that he won in a poker game while in Laughlan. While he hasn’t done anything to cause us any concern, I still don’t trust him.”

“I’m in agreement with you,” answers Dolly. “Some of his stories he told us of his military activities in the Philippines border on pure fiction, even more so then what I read about the war in old copies of the New York Times.”

“He makes me wonder if he was going to sneak into the reservation to look for the portal to this world in his quest to find the so called Lost Dutchman Mine” answers Whitefeather.

“Given that the Marquis Gang was looking for someone else, and your telling us that the map had vanished some time ago, he may very well be telling the truth on how he obtained the map,” answers Winslow.

The search continues through several more structures, but nothing has been found that could give them a clue as to what had happened to the settlement or to their inhabitants. It is if they had just fled in terror from some unknown danger. Disappointed, the foursome head back to the church as the sun is now starting to set behind the distant mountains. They join the other four men who have completed boarding up the broken windows and building a fence. With all of the tames inside, the door is barricaded for the night. Torches are set up for light as the two dragons fly back as promised to join them. Flame has brought back a freshly killed carno to be shared with the carnivorousness tames for their supper. The men butcher it cooking up part of it and sharing the rest of it with their wolves and raptors.

It is a mostly peaceful night as the moon is soon shining through the hole in the roof. There is activity in the high desert from the creatures hunting out there but they remain mostly beyond the boundaries of the settlement. It might be the fact that the dragons are in the church with the group that keeps them away.

It is the following morning as the group are preparing to make the return trip out of the high desert when an important discovery is made by Jessie. I think that there may be a tunnel beyond this boarded up wall in the cellar,” he tells Peter and James. “Come down here with a lantern and check it out.” It isn’t long before the others have joined them as the three men pull apart the boards soon exposing a passageway into the cave below complete with a stone stairway heading down into the darkness.”

“We definitely need to check this cave out,” Helena tells the group.

“Agreed,” the others tell her.

“Let me tell my dragon friends what we have found and plan on doing,” answers Helena.

As the group prepare for a mission of caving, Helena is in mental communication with the two dragons. “They have told me to be careful down there.” she tells the group. “They are heading back out into the badlands for the next couple of days. They will look for us later on.”

“So your dragons are not your tames?” asks Whitefeather in puzzlement.

“One cannot tame a dragon,” answers Helena. “To obtain a tamed dragon, you would have to steal a fertile egg from their nest and hand raise the baby to an adult. The very act of stealing a dragon egg from their nest would result in all of them hunting for you. You, and your tamed dragon, would be turned into charcoal if you ever succeeded in taming one. Otherwise, there is nothing that would prevent you from being their friend.”

“Do you think that these creatures have any connection to those alien looking floating obelisks?” asks Winslow.

“I don’t know,” answers Helena. “From what Whitefeather has told me about what happened to the Spaniards, I’m just glad that they are our friends and not our enemy.”

“Lets see if we can bring the raptors and wolves down with us,” suggest Whitefeather. “They can at least alert us to anything dangerous down there.”

Armed with a lantern, torches, and spares, the group descends down the stone stairway into the unknown ahead of them. The passageway is big enough for the raptors and wolves to go with them. Whitefeather and Helena are in the lead with Mike and Ronnie raptor close by them. “I do believe that they are concern for our safety,” she tells Whitefeather.

After ten minuted of descending down the long winding stairway, the tunnel opens up into a large room. Sunlight and sand are filtering down through a hole in the ceiling. Several stone structures line the wall. Some contain doorways and windows. However access to their interiors are blocked by the stones and sand in side.

“Do you think that we should dig our way inside one of those buildings?” asks Winslow.

“No,” answers Peter as he inspects one of the blocked doorways. “The rock and sand inside of here look very unstable. We could bring this entire cavern down on us if we start digging in here.”

“Do you think that an underground settlement was constructed down in this cave?” asks Helena.

“No,” answers Peter. “It looks like that the ground just opened up and swallowed this settlement.”

Looking around the cavern, a wicker container is found next to one of the blocked doorways. Helena carefully opens up the top and pulls out a parchment containing some strange writing along with drawings that look like some sort of a map on it in charcoal. She shows it to Whitefeather.

“I have seen this before,” he tells Helena after examining the parchment sheet in the light of a lantern. “The Elders had several of these with Turok’s map before they were stolen by outsiders. Turok himself may have left this map here for others exploring this cave to use.”

“I see symbols on this map that look like giant bats,” Winslow tells them as he looks at the map.

“Given some of the giant creatures I have seen in this world so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are living down here,” answers Helena. “Even with the raptors and wolves, we had better avoid getting in a fight with them. The last thing that we need to deal with is rabies if that exist in this world.”

Continuing on down through stairway lined tunnel, they come into a large room with a large tiled mural decorating the wall. The subject of the mural appears to be well lit from light that is coming from some unknown source in the wall.

“What is that creature?” asks Dolly.

“It looks like a Mantacore,” answers Winslow.

“A lion face dragon with a scorpion’s tail,” reports Helena. “If that thing is for real, it would explain why the dragons will not fly to the western mountains I could see beyond this high desert.”

The group proceeds into the tunnel to the left of the mural as the path soon levels out. The two raptors are close to Whitefeather and Helena as they become strangely quiet. Strange noises are soon heard in the tunnel beyond.The tunnel soon opens up into a huge cavern where more structures can be seen in built into the walls.

“Bats,” warns Helena in a whisper as she places here spotting scope on a huge flock of them in the distance. “They’re huge.”

“How are we going to get past them?” asks Whitefeather with concern.

“We don’t,” answers Helena. “According to this map, it looks like that we can get around them if we take this tunnel to our right. Everyone slowly head back to the Manticore room. Take our raptors with you. Whitefeather and I will go through this tunnel and check out the structure beyond.”

With Mike and Ronnie being assured that it will be all right being separated from them for a while, Helena and Whitefeather go through the narrow tunnel avoiding the bats on the other side altogether. It seems like an eternity before they finally return. “Lets get out of here,” Helena quietly tells everyone as both she and Whitefeather look scared out of her wits.

Back in the cellar, Whitefeather has asked the men to help him board up the entrance to the cave. “If you thought that those bats were bad, you don’t want anything else that we saw down there coming up to the surface after us.” he tells them with a frightened voice.

“What did you see down there?” asks Winslow as they are putting the wooden barrier back in place.

“When we came back into view of the cavern, we could see a glowing object located in a room on the back wall.” answers Helena as Ronnie Raptor is next to her. “Between us and that room was a narrow path along a cliff crawling with giant insects of all kinds. Next to us was a huge pit. Whitefeather dropped a torch down into it. We never saw it hit the bottom. As it was falling down there, all of the crawling creatures started coming toward us. Many of them fell into the void below. As the giant bats started flying towards us, a yellow boulder suddenly came to life and started throwing rocks at us. Fortunately, they were too big to get at us as we quickly crawled back through the tunnel back to the Manticore room.”

“I don’t think that we could have reached what was in that room without getting killed,” answers Whitefeather who is still shaking from the experience as Mike is close by him. “According to this map, even Turok was unable to sneak by them into that room.”

“Do you think that the portal back to our world was that glowing object back in that room?” asks Winslow.

“No,” answers Whitefeather as they finish boarding up the entrance way to the cave. “He would have marked it on the map if it were the way back.”

“Lets get ready to leave back to my tent before it gets too hot to travel.” orders Helena. “I don’t think that we will find any other clues to what happened to this place. It’s not worth the risk of getting swarmed by whatever is down there in those caves.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 11. A Surprise Visit.


After their scary exploration of the buried settlement of Nosti the group has packed up to head back to Helena’s camp by the desert pond. Salt has been gathered from some deposits on the edge of the ruins. Helena states that it can be mixed with sulfur to help extend the shelf life of raw, cooked, and dried meats. As they are riding back to her camp, Whitefeather has asked Helena if she knows what lies beyond the borders of the map.

“Flame and Torch have told me that there is some sort of an invisible barrier that prevents them from flying further out into the dune desert,” Helena tells everyone. “They can see well beyond that distance seeing some distance mountains when they fly up as high as they can climb, but the barrier continues well beyond that. I saw that barrier myself the day I found your group being attacked by the Death Worm. Even though that barrier was solid to the touch, the sandstorm that hit us originated well beyond it in the distance. It appears to only block living organisms from passing through it given that I was able to throw a stone through the barrier with ease.”

“Is is possible to ride out to the barrier from here?” he asks her.

“No,” Helena answers. “It lies a long way from here, nearly half a day of riding. Being Death Worm habitat, I doubt that anyone could reach it on foot or by raptor without being overwhelmed by them.

“Why would there be an invisible barrier blocking our access beyond the edge of the map of this world?” asks Winslow.

“I don’t know,” answers Helena. “It’s as if something is trying to keep us in the confines of the map. Yet, there is no signs that this area belongs to any country what so ever. Even those civilizations that vanished long ago have no defined borders inside of that barrier. It is as if we have been placed into some kind of a cage for someone to study or experiment on us.”

“That is a most frightening thought,” answers Dolly with concern.

“Does Turok ever mention about an invisible barrier in those stories the Elders have passed down in your tribe?” asks Winslow.

“No,” answers Whitefeather.

“Does the barrier encircle the entire map?” asks Winslow.

“Flame mentioned to me about an area to the West past an abandoned city in the Dune Desert where the dragons can fly to a box canyon in the distance mountains.” answers Helena. “However their dragon friends have warned them about a most dangerous creature living there that killed two of their friends with ease. Numerous Death Worms and Rock Golems were reported to be living there protecting it. From the description Torch gave me and the mural we saw below in the ruins, the Manticore must exist for real.”

“That Death Worm was hard enough to deal with,” comments James. “How could we possibly kill a creature made of rock?”

“You would have to blow it up with dynamite,” answers Peter. “That’s something that we don’t have available to us in this world.”

“With the charcoal from the Forge, that sulfur you found up on the mountain by our camp, and if we can find saltpeter where the giant bats are living, I could craft us up some gunpowder,” answers Charlie. “Still, I wouldn’t want to attempt getting near something that could flatten us in an instant to try to blow it up.”

“There is no mention from the Elders about Turok having to do battle with such monsters,” answers Whitefeather. “That yellow colored one I saw was nasty enough. I can’t imagine having to fight several of them at once.”

“Given that Turok didn’t go over there, I don’t see why we would have to,” answers Jessie.

“I agree,” answers Helena. “Lets continue our search to find the portal back to our world.”

The trek across the Dune Desert to reach Helena’s camp continues with no issues other then it is starting to get hot out. Thankfully their desert armor and canteens, make the trip tolerable. Several huge scorpions, and mantas are observed close by but they keep their distance due to the presence of the wolves and raptors. A vicious electrical storm is observed raging in the badlands ahead, but thankfully, it stays away from their destination.

“Given that being in such an electrical storm resulted in the both of us ending up in this world, have you ever tried to see if being in one would get you back to the Australian Outback?” Winslow asks Helena.

“It doesn’t appear to work that way in this world,” answers Helena. “Last month, we got caught in one of those nasty storms and took shelter at the base of a ridge. We couldn’t touch any of our metal tools as the sparks were dancing off of them. A Morallotop up on the ridge got hit by a lightning strike. It was dead before it hit the ground next to us. The raptors that were attacking it came falling down with it. Two of them died from their injuries. The two that survived were Ronnie and Ronda. I was so surprised just how easy it was to tame them and how loyal they are as tames. That would have been impossible in the real Jurassic World.”

“You are definitely right about that,” Winslow tells her. “From what has been reported in the research books about them, their brains were about the size of a walnut. There is no way those raptors could have as intelligent as the ones in this world.”

“Mike knew exactly what to do the minute I placed a saddle on him,” reports Whitefeather. “No horse has ever been that well trained the first time that it has ever been ridden.”

“I learned the same thing with Patty the first time that I rode on her,” answers Peter. “It is as if these creatures were trained long before we tamed them.”

“It could have something to do with whoever placed the barrier around this world,” answers Charlie. “Perhaps, we can find the answer by checking out one of those floating obelisk.”

“We could start with the green one by our camp,” suggest Peter. “It is a lot closer to us then the other two.”

“The brush and rocks are now starting to show up as the caravan gets closer to the landmark they are using to head to Helen’s camp, the rock spires. A wild Jarboa is now scampering about in the sand by a berry bush. The hot breeze cools down some as they reach the edge of the canyon. The pond soon shows up with Helena’s tent becoming visible on the other side.

As they approach the pond, James has noticed something out of place by the tent. He places the spotting scope on it. “Helena, what would two giant kangaroos be doing resting next to your tent?”

“Giant kangaroos?” answers Helena. “What are they doing by the tent?”

“They have saddles on them,” reports James. “There must be other people in this world that we don’t know about.”

Taking the spotting scope from James, Helena focuses it on the two kangaroos, then the two individuals that come out of the tent. “It’s Dundee and Jack!” Helena shouts in surprise. How did they survive the raptor attack?”

“I guess we will find out when we talk to them,” answers James.

“Helena, is that you?” one of the men shouts as the caravan is spotted going around the pond heading towards the tent.

“Dundee, Jack, how did you survive the raptor attack?”

“We just don’t know,” Dundee answers as he runs up to hug her.

“Just before they were about to catch us, we were able to jump into a crack in the rock.” answers Jack. “Try as they might those buggers couldn’t reach us. They decided to leave when I stuck one of them in the eye with my spear. We waited all night just to be sure that they were gone before leaving the safety of that crevass.”

“While working our way back to the camp, we found something call an Explorer’s Note.” reports Dundee. “That’s how we found out that we could tame them. A short wile later, we found saddles for the Roos in a strange spinning metal container. I know that we have some big Roos in Australia, but I never heard of any being so big that they could be ridden.”

“Actually, this species of Kangraroos originates from Australia,” reports Helena. “I have found fossils of them when they existed millions of years ago.”

“How did you get away from the wild raptors?” asks Jack.

“When I ran to the cliff where Billy had jumped off,” reports Helena, “I landed on what I thought was an unusual rock formation. Next thing that I knew, I was sitting on the shoulder of a fire dragon. I ended up spending the week with them as they showed me around the Scorched Earth world.”

“Interesting,” answers Dundee. “How was that even possible?”

“I was able to mentally communicate with them,” answers Helena. “I found these seven survivors from a place called Oatman, Arizona, when an approaching sandstorm forced us to look for shelter.”

“Where are the dragons now?’ asks Jack.

“They told me that they were going to head into the badlands for a couple of days,” answers Helena.

“So, they are not your tames?” asks Dundee.

“One cannot tame a dragon,” answers Helena. “Still, that doesn’t prevent them from becoming your friend.”

“When did you find Ronnie and Ronda?” asks Dundee.

“Whitefeather found Ronda when his raptor pack was attacked by the four that attacked us.” answers Helena. “He was able to take them all out. Ronda was with them as their prisoner. He said that she was really shocked up by the stress of being forced to travel with them. Ronnie was back at the tent with the camels and our Jarboa. Billy found Dolly a couple of days ago by their camp.”

“Oh, my apologies, this is Whitefeather, leader of his raptor pack. This is Desert Peat, the prospector who's mine became the portal into this world. This is Jessie, the war veteran that obtained a map to this place in a poker game. This is James, the deputy marshal of Oatman. Charlie is the town Blacksmith. Dolly is the barmaid at the Oatman Hotel. Winslow is a newspaper reporter from the New York Times that was in Oatman at the time.

“Glad to meet you mates,” both Dundee and Mike answer as everyone mills around shaking hands. “You have all done well surviving in this God forsaken wasteland.”

“You are more then welcome to come back with us to our camp,” James tells them. “We have an adobe lodge big enough to protect everyone from the elements. The pen is more then big enough to protect all of our tames. We have access to a pond and running water. There is plenty of food available for everyone and our tames.”

“We’d be glad to join up with you mates,” answers both Dundee and Jack.

“Then, lets get everything packed up on the camels and head back with them before it gets dark out,” orders Helena.


Note, With other projects in the works, there may be some large gaps between posting. This story has a lot of possibilities which way it will be going. Genesis will be getting another chapter as the game playing gets some additions.

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  • 7 months later...

Didn't realize it was so long since I posted here. More of the story as it unfolds. That's what happens when one gets distracted by other adventures.


Chapter 12 The trip to the Obelisk.


Packed up with the supplies and tent of Helena’s temporary camp, the trip is made back to Pete’s Camp by evening. Surprisingly, Ronda Raptor has taken the lead in finding the easiest way back to the camp where the Doed, used for stone and sand mining, is waiting for them. The camp has remained secured the past couple of days with the local predators leaving it alone.

“That was amazing,” comments Helena as they enter the pen of the campsite. “She must really like living with you to lead the way back to your camp without having to tell her where to go. She is a natural pathfinder.”

“Such unbelievable intelligence,” answers Whitefeather. “They all knew what to do when they were first saddled up.”

“It has to have been genetically wired into them,” reports Helena. “Such behavior would have taken ages to teach them if they could even be taught to them at all. In the real Jurassic World, they would have been all like that alpha that attacked us.”

“Could an alpha be what such creatures would have behaved like in the real prehistoric world?” asks Winslow.

“It’s possible,” answers Helena. “We have to be in some alternative world under the control of something in those floating structures.”

“We should go make the trip to examine one of them in the morning,” suggest Winslow. “We may find an answer to all of our questions about this place. maybe even find the way back home.”

That evening, preparations are being made for an extended trip to reach the base of the nearest Obelisk. Under Helena’s instructions, three more tents are made up for shelter against any adverse weather. Two more Morleys are tamed to use as pack animals and as an emergency source for water. With preparations complete, the group retire for an evening of storytelling as Charlie spends much of the evening working on a secret project in his Smithy.

It is an interesting morning given that Whitefeather’s raptor pack has grown by two more females. They had been hunting early in the morning in the nearby area when they became aware of the campsite in the canyon. Coming down to investigate, they are quickly spotted by Mike who calls to them to come up by the gate. Whitefeather is soon by Mike and the rest of the pack as he evaluates their behavior, then opens the gate to let them in.

“I need two more raptor saddles,” he tells Charlie.

“If you keep taming every raptor that shows up, we will soon be overrun by them,” Charlie tells him.

“The more I have in a pack, the better they can protect us from any of the larger predators,” reports Whitefeather.

“It’s the same with having a direwolf pack,” reports Peter. “Two more showed up during the night and have bonded with our pack.”

“It might just be a blessing to have all of this protection,” suggest Helena. “When I flew by the one the other day on a dragon, I saw a lot of dangerous predators around and in the pond under it’s terminal. A small crocodile creature in the pond ambushed a small mammal that came down to the pond to get a drink. We will have to be very careful when we go down there. That thing just leaped out of the water, grabbed its prey in it’s mouth, and dragged it back into the water.”

“I don’t know how, but during the night, I learned how to craft up primitive lever action rifles and the ammo for them,” reports Charlie. “I also made some ammo for Pete’s scatter gun and our revolvers. We should be able to deal with any threats down there so long as nothing has a chance to ambush us.”

“Great! That makes us more then prepared for the expedition we have planned for today,” answers Helena.

With supplies packed on the Morleys and Camels, everyone and every creature, except for the Doed, are ready to make the trip to Green Obelisk. With Whitefeather’s raptors in the lead, everyone is riding on one of the tames following him

Surprisingly, Ronda Raptor is once again path finding for the expedition. “She really is a natural pathfinder,” Helena tells Whitefeather.

“She is really doing a good job of navigating terrain none of us has ever traveled in before,” answers Whitefeather.

The terrain leading out of the canyon turns out to be quite rugged. It is mostly a dry wash with dead trees and numerous large boulders to find a path around. The Green Obelisk makes for a good direction finder where the dry wash gets quite narrow. That dry wash also makes it hard to see what dangers lie up ahead. It isn’t long before Ronda, sensing that something isn’t right, suddenly stops and chirps out a warning to the rest of the raptor pack.

“What’s going on?” asks Helena.

“Ronda has detected some dangerous up ahead,” answers Whitefeather.

“Lets stop here, place our tames in a defensive position and have some of us armed with those new rifles climb up on this ridge to see what Ronda has detected,” suggest Winslow. A roar from something familiar that had been seen on their arrival is heard from over the ridge as they climb up on it.

Winslow and Whitefeather proceed to climb up on the ridge where they are able to see the threat up ahead while remaining undetected by it. “Isn’t that the Yuti we saw the other day?” asks Winslow.

“It certainly is,” answers Whitefeather.

“What are we going to do about them?” asks Winslow. “They are blocking our way to the Obelisk.”

“Ronda was correct to warn us about the danger ahead,” answers Whitefeather. “A story from Turok warns us that the Yuti’s courage roar had frightened his wolves and raptors who then ran off to parts unknown. He only escaped being killed by climbing up on a cliff where the Yuti and his carno pack couldn’t reach them.”

“What are we going to do about them if they can scare off our raptors and wolves?” asks Winslow.

“I would like to try to tame this Yuti,” answers Whitefeather. “I just don’t think that I can just walk up to it like I could with the raptors, especially with those carnos traveling with it. I don’t think that tranc arrows are going to be able to knock them all out before one of us gets hurt.”

“Are you sure about trying to tame that Yuti?” asks Winslow.

“One of the elder’s stories mentioned about Turok riding on one of those giant feathered creatures.” answers Whitefeather. “I would like to try so if it is possible.”

“What should we do with the carnos hanging around the Yuti?” asks Winslow.

“We will knock out the Yuti, then take out the carnos when he is unable to use his courage roar.” answers Whitefeather.

“Let me go down and talk to Charlie,” answers Winslow. “He was working on some tranc darts to use in these new rifles.”

“That might do the job,” answers Whitefeather. “Go bring him and Peter back up here with those darts.”

Winslow has headed back to the other where Charlie questions him on what dangers Ronda has detected. “There’s a Yuti with his carno escorts in the canyon ahead,” warns Winslow. “Whitefeather wants to knock out the Yuti, then, take out the carnos. We think that we can do this using tranc darts in the new rifles you have crafted. Do you think that they can do the job?”

“Most certainly,” answers Charlie. “Peter, come with us so we can hit that thing with four darts at once. It took two of then to drop a wild Morley I had cornered in a cliff when I was testing them this morning.”

Climbing back up on the cliff, the four men get into position with tranc darts in the rifle. “When I get it’s attention to start it’s courage roar, we’ll target it’s neck,” orders Charlie. “That should allow them to hit for maximum effect.”

“Lets go then,” answers Peter.

With a yell, Charlie hollers down at the Yuti. It spots the foursome up on the cliff cutting loose with it’s courage roar. Four tranc darts hit it in the neck. Staggering about, the Yuti drops to the ground unconscious.

The carno escort suddenly finds themselves in confusion. They lose all focus on what had attacked them as the foursome target their heads with regular ammunition. The threat is soon over as Whitefeather heads down to check on the unconscious feathered Yuti.

“Butcher up those three Carnos,” orders Whitefeather. “Bring me the raw prime you get from them and a stack of regular meat. This could take a while, so head back to the others until I come back for you.”

It is an hour later as everybody is wondering where Whitefeather is or what he is doing. “He must be all right given that his raptors are no longer worried about him,” Dolly tells the others. It is at that moment that Whitefeather shows up riding on his new tame as it lets out a roar that causes all of the tames with them to have a strange glow around their heads.

“What’s with that glow around all of our tames heads,” asks Dolly with concern.

“It’s the same glow the wild Carnos had when he made that same roar,” answers Winslow. “It would appear that all of our tames are now part of his pack.”

“That is most interesting,” answers Helena. “That makes our tames more then capable of defending themselves from the threats I have seen out there, even those Death Worms in the desert.”

Ronda has now taken the lead with Whitefeather following on the Yuti as the rest of the explorers follow.

Rounding the bend in the dry wash, a large pond comes into sight. In that pond lies a large metal ring like platform where a beam of light is shining down, from the huge floating structure above, on some kind of an alter in it’s center. Ronda is heading straight for it, but she has seemed to have thrown all caution to the wind when a Crock like creature, known as a Karpo, rushes out of the water grabbing her in it’s mouth. It is promptly grabbed by the Yuti forcing it to release Ronda from it’s jaws. Free of that creature, she runs screaming in panic towards Dolly. The rest of the raptor pack, encouraged by a Yuti roar, promptly go after three other Karpos living in the pond to quickly take them out.

“Ronda, It’s all right. You’re safe now,” Dolly tells her as she starts to calm down.

“Is she all right,” Whitefeather asks with concern as he has quickly dismounted the Yuti to run over to check on her.

“She’s fine,” answers Helena who has also ran over to check on her. “She only got some minor bruises from what had to be a most frightening experience for any carnivorous creature.”

“It’s all right girl,” Whitefeather tells her as Ronnie, the pack leader comes over to comfort her. She is soon calming down as she gets the assurance that everyone is concerned for her well being.

“Well, that’s enough excitement for the day,” comments Dundee. “We should get everyone over on the platform, place our tames into a defensive position, then check out this terminal.”

“Good idea,” answers Helena. “Then we can see if it is possible for us to get back home from here.” With everything finally organized, Helena goes over to the terminal to find out what it is used for and how it works.

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  • 3 months later...

Chapter 13. As the search continues.


With Ronda finally calmed down and the rest of the tames on the platform in a defensive position, Helena has accessed the terminal that has the green beam of light shining on it. After several minutes of searching through it’s alien database and making notes in her journal, Helena has completed her study of the alien device. She then makes her report to the rest of the survivors.

“Whitefeather, did your elders ever pass down any information about this Obelisk?” asks Helena.

“There was no mention about them visiting any of the three obelisks marked on their map.” answers Whitefeather. “Turok only mentions about them getting lost in a sandstone canyon. When they finally found their way out of that maze, they found themselves back in a place your prospectors call the Superstition Mountains. No one has ever been able to return to Scorched Earth by going back through that canyon. He did not mark where it was on their map.”

“Even if they did visit an Obelisk, I found nothing in the database that could have returned them to the real world,” answers Helena. “The database allows us to upload and download our stuff and our tames into the terminal. It would even transfer us to other worlds connected to this one. From what I have been able to learn about those other worlds in the database is that they are even more dangerous then this one. With tributes found in caves in this world, we could go fight the Manticore. I don’t recommend doing any of that especially getting into a fight with the Manticore. There are hoards of Death Worms and Rock Golems protecting him. Nowhere in the database is there any command that would transfer us back to our world.

“Damn,” curses Winslow. “How are we going to get back to civilization?”

“We need to go look for that sandstone canyon,” answers Whitefeather.

“We should go check out the other obelisks,” suggest Peter. “They might hold a clue to where we can find the sandstone canyon and a possible way back home.”

“Lets head back to camp for the night once I can get Ronda the assurance that she will be safe with the pack,” answers Whitefeather. “That Kapro really scared the wits out of her.”

“She might have more confidence in path finding if you can get her mate to stay close to her,” suggest Dundee.

“Good idea,” answers Whitefeather.

With Dolly by her side, Whitefeather, with Ronnie, serve to encourage her that she will be safe with her mate by her side. Encouraged by the support, Ronda indicates that she is ready to path find the way back to camp. The mated pair of raptors start leading the way back to camp as the rest follow close by.

A third of the way back, Ronda signals that something is not right up ahead. Whitefeather and Peter proceed to dismount and use the cover of the boulders to investigate what is up ahead.

Looking over the boulders, two ankylos are observed grazing close to a yellow colored boulder. “Why would Ronda sense danger from the ankylos?” asks Whitefeather. “They are normally not a threat to the raptors unless they attack one of them.”

“I don’t know,” answers Peter. “There is something strange about that odd colored rock those ankylos are near. Did that look like that rock is starting to move?”

“It did!” answers Whitefeather in alarm. “It looks like a bigger version of the one I saw in that buried city just before it came to life and threw a boulder at us.”

The strange colored boulder promptly comes to life as the two ankylos bash it with their tail, then run off away from the two observers. It picks up a rock tossing it at one of the ankylos which dodges it just in time. Both are soon out of the range of the rock monster which then stops and turns back into the strange colored boulder.

“We’ll, at least we know what they look like and can move faster then they can,” answers Peter. “I can see where we would need explosives if we ever had to deal with one.”

“Lets get back to the others and report what we just saw,” orders Whitefeather.

Back with the others, Whitefeather warns the group about the unusual danger they needs to watch out for as they continue on their journey. “Interesting” comments Helena. “I thought that those Rock Golems were just confined to the caves in this world.”

“Apparently not,” answers Whitefeather. “This one was much bigger then the ones we saw in that buried city.”

“Hopefully, we can continue to detect them by their odd color,” answers Helena. “At least, Ronda was able to sense it’s presence up ahead and recognize it as being dangerous.”

“A good thing that she is getting her confidence back” reports Whitefeather. “Running into that thing could have been bad news for sure.

The patrol continues back to camp as Ronda sets the path for everyone to follow. She has made some detours in the way back. No one questions why when they hear a roar of some large predators that is attacking some wild Morleys in the distance. It is early evening by the time they get back to the pond side camp.

“What a day,” comments Dolly as the group is preparing an evening meal of fish steaks with savroot they have obtained from a garden that was started days ago. “What are our plans for tomorrow?”

“Let us head over to the Red Obelisk and see if their is anything over there that can help us return to the real world,” suggest Winslow.

“We need to check out all possibilities,” answers Helena. “It’s the only way we will ever find out how Turok was able to escape from this strange new world. It looks like that it is a long ways over there. We had better prepare for a long trip.”

Being much further away then the Green Obelisk, the survivors have prepared to be gone for a couple of day. Since it has taken so much of the day to get prepared, the rest of the time has been spent hunting, gathering and sharpening their defensive skills using their crafted weapons. Their tamed Doed is turned out with a pack of wild ones as he is too slow to go along, and will have the company and protection of his own kind. A Thorny Dragon is tamed when it is discovered that a saddle that can double as a Smithy can be fabricated for it.

Whitefeather has managed to obtained three Carnos for his Yuti. The three males were easily passive tamed under her presence. It appears to be a strange relationship among the rare wild Yutis that have been observed on Scorched Earth. Those that have been observed always travel in groups of a lone Yuti with it’s three Carno escorts. Saddles are crafted for the three Carnos so that they can be ridden as well as to offer them protection in case of a confrontation with a Rex.

It has been over a week since this group of survivors have been stranded in Scorched Earth as they gets packed for the extended excursion to the Red Obelisk. The dawn has arrived bright and cold after last night’s electrical storm. Mounted, the entire group and all of their tames start off single file in the direction of the Red Obelisk. Ronda continues on her job as pathfinder with Whitefeather close behind her on the Yuti.

As it is a long climb out of the canyon where the camp was established, Ronda takes them on the many twists and turns in the dry wash. She picks out the best path where the wash branches off to continue towards the Red obelisk. Only one detour needs to be taken to avoid some dangerous yellow colored boulders. Otherwise, any predator, seeing Whitefeather’s Yuti, with her Carno escorts, the wolves, and raptor pack, decide that it’s best to avoid any confrontation.

It is mid afternoon when the caravan of explorers are forced to stop for the day. Bring up on the plateau, the afternoon heat is becoming an issue. A sheltered area by a cliffside has been located where there is some vegetation and a spring for a water source. Tents are set up in the shade for shelter from the afternoon heat. “If this place is anything like the Outback, I think that it’s best that we camp here for the night, then get an early start in the morning,” suggest Dundee.

“Agreed,” answers Helena. “We should be able to make it to the Red Obelisk by noon.

As the weather starts cooling down by the late afternoon, there is a surprise visit by the two dragons, Flame and Torch. “Who is riding on Flame?” asks Whitefeather.

“I don’t know,” answers Helena. “I didn’t know that he would let anyone else ride on him let alone that there are other survivors out here in this world.”

“We will soon find out,” answers Winslow. “They are coming in to land.”

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Chapter 14. The mystery survivor.


Flame soon lands next to Helena and Whitefeather, who is in shock when he recognizes the mystery rider. “Morning Dove!” Whitefeather gaps in disbelief. “How did you end up on Scorched Earth?”

“I’m so relieved to find you here,” she answers in excitement as she gets off of Flame and runs up to Whitefeather to hug him. “It has been such a nightmare when we were assaulted by the Marquis Gang. They forced us to look for the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. I only managed to escape thanks to finding this dragon when I was running away from one of the gang members. He mentally told me me to get on his back and hang on.”

Meanwhile, Helena is in mental contact with Flame when she calls Dolly to come over to her with their med kit. “Flame been hurt. He got hit in the head by a bullet.” The two of them examine the wound on his head, then apply some Narcoberry solution to the injury.

“He will be fine,” Dolly reports to the group. “The bullet only bounced off of his skull.”

“I’m happy to hear that it is only a flesh wound,” answers Morning Dove. “He turned Marquis’ brother Bob, the creep that was chasing me, into charcoal.”

“Serves him right.” comments James. “He has a long record of violent behavior against women, especially young ladies of your age. How are we going to be able to deal with the rest of the gang by ourselves in this world?”

“I believe that our tames can help us take them out,” answers Whitefeather. “We just need to catch them off guard when we find them. Morning Dove, how many members of your tribe did they take hostage?”

“They kidnapped the elders, my father, my two brothers, and three other tribe members.” she answers. “They forced them to search a cave that was near the Red Obelisk where they found several huge gold colored boulders inside and started mining them.”

“Could you tell if those boulders were brittle when they were being mined?” asks Peter.

“Yes, they were breaking off in brittle chunks.” answers Morning Dove.

“Looks like they found more of that Fools Gold,” announces Peter. “That’s such typical behavior of greedy outsiders that suffer from gold fever.”

“Flame tells me that he can help our tames determine who is friend and foe,” announces Helena. “He can pass on that information to our Yuti who can then alert the rest of the pack who to protect and who to take out.”

“That sounds like a most interesting plan,” answers James in surprise. “Still, we will need to carefully approach the Red Obelisk while staying out of their sight, observe how many gang members we are dealing with, how many hostages they have, then make our plans to take them out.”

“I could take Flame over there and observe their camp before nightfall,” answers Helena.

“Best that we don’t attempt to do so,” warns James. “It could tip them off that we are in the area. Let them continue mining that fools gold. It will be much safer that they don’t suspect that anyone else is around. We can then observe their activity using spotting scopes, then formulate a plan to rescue the hostages and take them out.”

“Agree,” answer Peter. “Lets get settled for the night, then observe their activity in the morning.”

It remains a quiet night as everyone gets some rest and prepares for the upcoming confrontation in the morning. During their planning session, the two dragons are able to supply Helena with basic intel of what they saw when they rescued Morning Dove.

Morning Dove is able to provide additional critical information on who came through the canyon into Scorched Earth when they were kidnapped by the Marquis Gang. She is able to describe in detail each gang member and those members of the tribe and how they were betrayed by Narvee, a Navajo from their village that had joined up with the gang months ago. With Flame mentally communicating the information with her, he tells her that their tames will now be able distinguish who is friend and foe. “This is really going to help in telling who we need to rescue and who our enemy is going to be” Whitefeather tells the group.

“Are your sure that your Yuti, Carnos, and Raptors are going to be able to tell who is friend and foe?” asks James.

“Yes,” answers Whitefeather. “It will be easy for them and your wolves to find them among the members of my tribe.”

“Then, lets plan on using them to sneak up and take out those gang members,” answers James.

During the night, a temporary pen has been constructed to keep the Parasaurs, Camels, Roos, and Morleys safe. Morning Dove and Dolly are going to stay with them. Helena has planned to ride on Flame to check for other threats in the area. The rest of the men plan to ride out on the Direwolves as Whitefeather rides on the Yuti to take command of the raptors and the escort carnos.

That morning, Ronda takes the lead path finding for the group as they head to the Red Obelisk. Before they have crested the ridge to where the basin containing a pond and terminal is located, Flame lands beside them. “It appears that they have entered a cave where it looks like they are mining those yellow boulders.” Helena tells them. “Two of the gang members are supervising packing a buckboard with the fools gold. It looks like that their horses are picketed outside by the cave. Two other gang members are on watch for trouble. It looks like that they had trouble with the local predators. I spotted a dead snake and a marsupial lion among their kills.”

Whitefeather and James now proceeds to crawl up over the ridge to get a view of the terrain below. Hiding in the bushes, they are able to observe where the gang members are loading the buckboard with the fake gold. They also observe them loading two mules with materials. The two gang members pulling guard duty are spotted on a small ridge near the entrance of the cave. After making their observation, they crawl back to where the others are waiting.

“The four gang members outside of the cave should be easy to take out,” Whitefeather informs the group. “How are we going to be able to get at the ones in the cave?”

“Flame tells me that there is a back way in on the other side of the ridge,” answers Helena. “I could take your raptors and surprise them by sneaking in from that direction.”

“Lets do it,” orders James. “Whitefeather can use the Yuti to alert us when he is ready to take out the guards. We can use the Direwolves to go after the two supervising packing the wagon and mules.” The raptors are all chirping in union as Helena gets on Mike to lead the pack around to the back entrance of the cave, then, they head out with Ronda path finding and using the available terrain for cover.

“What was that noise up on the ridge?” asks Kelly, one of the gang members supervising the loading of the wagon.

“It might be some raptors,” Billy tells his brother. “I heard that sound the other day when we first got here before they attacked Berry while he was out looking for game. Lets hurry up and get this wagon loaded so we can get out of here. The horses are starting to get nervous.”

“Get to work you savages!” Kelly threatens them with his scattergun as he notices how they have a look of the possibly of their being rescued.

The three groups of survivors proceed to quietly move into position to launch their rescue effort. Whitefeather has position the Yuti and it’s escorts above the two brothers watching guard. James, with the rest of the men, lead the wolves to a hidden place close to the hostages loading the wagon. Helena, having the longest distance to travel to reach the other cave interest, is able to rapidly advance on the raptors to reach the cave. Quietly, the raptors sneak into the cave taking advantage of all of the boulders to quicky get behind the gang members and one of the young warriors.

Two of the elders have taken notice of a rescue attempt when they spot Helena riding on Mike. They pass the word on to the others as they spot more saddled raptors moving about in the shadows.

Suddenly, there is a loud roar heard from outside the cave followed by screams of terror. An Elder shouts “Turok is here,” as all of the gang members, except for Marquis, get pounced on and killed by the saddled raptors before they can react. Narvee, the warrior that has betrayed his tribe by leading the Marquis Gang to the village elders, is pinned in the corner by Ronda. He loses his hand when he tries to stab her.

Outside, the two guards are hit from behind by the carnos and taken out. At the same time, the Yuti’s roar has caused all of the horses and mules to bolt in a panic for parts unknown. The buckboard gets demolished as the team of horses hitched to it, try to run between the rocks near the ridge. One of the gang members supervising the loading of the wagon, gets run over by the heavy buckboard and soon dies from his injuries. The others are quickly subdued by the direwolves.

Marquis, who was closest to the cave entrance, makes a mad dash for safety. Expecting to find his horse to make a quick getaway, he gets surprised by Whitefeather who is still on his Yuti. He literally runs into the Yuti’s open mouth and gets crushed in it’s jaws.

With the battle over, the elders and warriors confront Narvee over his betrayal. That soon ends when he picks up his knife with his other hand and falls on it when he passes out from a lack of blood.

Back outside at the temporary camp by the Red Obelisk, the survivors and the rescued Navajo tribe members are introduced to each other. Dundee and Jack head back to the overnight camp to pick up Dolly and Morning Dove and the rest of their tames. Peter, Jessie, Charlie, and James fan out to bring the horses and mules back to the camp. The animals quickly settle down when they realize that they are not on the menu of the carnivorous tames. With the hostages rescued and everyone back together, it is a long night of trading stories on the survival of the strange land of Scorched Earth.

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Chapter 15. The Return Back Home.


As the introductions are completed, along with the stories on how the three groups arrived in Scorched Earth, the subject on where everyone arrived is brought up. During that discussion, Jessie pulls out the map from his shirt to unfold it so they can pinpoint the location of their arrival.

“You found Turok’s Map,” Chief Traska answers in astonishment. “Where did you find it?”

“I won it in a poker game in Laughlin,” Jessie tells the Chief. “It was in the possession of a seedy old Mexican named Carlos. I suspect that he stole it from Marquis given that his gang followed me to Oatman and ransacked the Oatman Hotel looking for him.”

“I’m now sure how they obtained it from the Elders,” answers Chief Traska. “Now that I learned that Narvee was one of the gang members, he must have stolen it from the Elder’s hut and gave it to him.”

“You might as well have it back,” Jessie tells the Chief as he hands him the old parchment map. “Given that this map doesn’t lead to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, it is no longer of any value to me.”

“Thank you for returning it to us,” Chief Traska tells Jessie as he is handed the map from Jessie.

“Can you show us on the map where you entered Scorched Earth?” asks Peter.

“Yes,” answers Chief Traska as he unfolds the map and looks at it. “We appeared at this location inside this sandstone canyon. We had entered a sandstone canyon up in what you call the Superstition Mountains.”

“Do you think that it’s possible for us to return back to the real world?” asks Winslow.

“Yes,” answers Chief Traska. “Marquis and Kelly went back through to get a buckboard and pack mules from our village.”

“That’s the best news I have heard yet,” answers Helena. “We can finally leave Scorched Earth to return to civilization.”

Flame has returned for a short visit with Helena and Morning Dove. They are there with each other for several minutes as if they are talking to each other. Then, Flame takes off flying to the West up into the mountains.

“What was that all about?” asks James.

“Flame wishes us a safe return to our world,” answers Helena.

“Do those dragons have connection to whoever is up in the Obelisks?” asks Winslow.

“He told me no,” answers Helena. “Still, it’s possible that they may be acting as ambassadors between us and the Obelisks. I just don’t know. I don’t believe that they even know.”

“This is just going to be one of those mysteries that will never have an answer,” suggest Winslow.

“What will happen to our tames when we leave this world?” asks Whitefeather.

“Flame says that we can take them with us,” answers Helena. “You will still have control of them as you do in this world.”

“May I suggest that they be used to keep trespassers away from the sandstone canyon,” suggests Helena.

“That’s a great idea,” answers Winslow. “The Superstition Mountains already have a reputation of being a dangerous location for prospecting. That reputation will be further reinforced by any prospectors that trespasses on reservation land and come face to face with any of Whitefeather’s tames.”

“What happens in the future if they start reproducing and spread out throughout the territory looking for food?” asks Winslow.

“Flame told me that when they enter our world, they will be unable to reproduce,” answers Helena. “They will just live out their lives until they die out from old age.”

“That is what happened to the Direwolves that Turok brought back with him.” reports one of the Elders. “They should be capable of bringing under control the overpopulation of wild burros in that area.”

“What am I going to do for a burro when I return to working my claim?” asks Peter.

“Why don’t you use my camels instead,” suggest Helena. “Your Arizona has a similar climate to what they are used to in the Outback. Besides, they will need someone to care for them when I return to New York.”

“Thank you for your kind offer,” answers Peter. “I’ll be sure to take good care of these girls.”

With the Navajos on horses and mules, Whitefeather on his Yuti, Morning Dove on a Carno, Peter on one of the camels, and the rest on other tames or wolves, Ronda takes the lead for the Sandstone Canyon.

“How is it that your Ronda knows where we want to go?” asks Chief Traska.

“She has always been a natural pathfinder,” answers Whitefeather.

“Turok had a wolf that behaved the same way,” reports one of the Elders. “He always took lead for their tribe whenever they were traveling in this world.”

“Then, that must be a natural behavior given to one of the tames by whatever controls those Obelisk,” answers Helena. “That is most interesting. It’s going to completely upset everything we know about these prehistoric creatures.”

“Best that we keep such knowledge secret,” suggest Winslow. “Like my one college being laughed at for suggesting that raptors are related to chickens, we could find ourselves locked up in an asylum in New York for telling anyone what we have actually seen for real.”

“You are right,” answers Helena. “All of what we have learned about these creatures stay here with the Navajo and us. I’ll conduct my delayed seminar in New York, then head back to Australia to continue my exploration of the Outback with my guides.”

“I’m declaring all of you honorary Navajo,” Chief Traska tells the survivors from Oatman and Helena’s Expedition.

By now, the group has reached the entrance to the Sandstone Canyon. It is a strange trip with how narrow and high this canyon is as the sounds of their travel and conversations echo off of the canyon walls. Eventually, they reach a fork in the path that enters into a tunnel. Ronda leads the expedition through the strangely lit tunnel which soon returns them to a sandstone canyon of a more familiar color. Now, in a bright sunny afternoon, the group finds themselves in the familiar terrain of the Western Slope of the Superstition Mountains.

That evening, as the group reach the outskirts of the village, there is panic among many of the natives of the village when they first see Whitefeather’s Yuti and the carnos followed by the raptors. That fear soon subsides into curiosity when they see Chief Traska, the Elders, and Whitefeather riding on the strange creatures from the world of Turok.

Later that evening, Whitefeather, Peter, and the others are removing the saddles from their dino tames. They then form up around Ronda who soon leads them back into the Superstition Mountains.

“Where are they going?” asks Road Runner, one of the village warriors.

“They are heading back to live in the Superstition Mountains where they will guard the portal from outsiders,” answers Whitefeather.

“What happened to Marquis and his gang?” asks Road Runner.

“They became food for my carnivorous tames,” answers Whitefeather.

“Once the word gets out about the dangerous monsters hiding in the Superstition Mountains, you should no longer be bother by prospectors trespassing in that land.” answers Peter.

“Will we be bothered by you prospecting there given that those predators are your friends?” asks Road Runner.

“No,” answers Peter. “There was only Fools Gold to be found out there and in Scorched Earth. Not everything living there can be tamed. There are snakes living there that are big enough to swallow you whole. We also saw boulders come to life that attacked other creatures living there. Beside, I have my claim to continue working on. I have no desire to return to that hell. I don’t think that any of us want to go back there again.”

It is about this time that the Jarboa, which is still sitting on Dolly’s shoulder starts crying.

“What’s wrong with this little guy,” Morning Dove asks her.

“I don’t know,” answers Dolly as it starts raining. “Oh, I forgot that she acts as a weather forecaster. She would warn us of an approaching storm. It must be her alerting us to this gentle rain that has just started. Would you like to keep her as her pet? I don’t think that it would be safe to take her back to Oatman with us.”

“Sure,” answers Morning Dove. “She is so cute.”

“Just find her some seeds and berries to keep her fed,” answer Dolly.

The evening is spent in the Navajo village where the Oatman and Helena group stay overnight as guest of the tribe.

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Chapter 16. Back Home.


It is early morning in the Navajo Village, nearly two weeks after Peter’s group became stranded on Scorched Earth, when Winslow asks the elders a puzzling question. “How did you know that there was a way to enter and leave Scorched Earth when you were kidnapped by Marquis?”

“The portal has always been available to us since the time when Turok used it to escape from the Spanish Invaders,” answers the old elder woman in charge of the tribal history. “How is it that you found the portal on reservation land?”

“We didn’t,” answers Winslow. “We were sheltering in Peter gold mine from a severe monsoon storm during the night. When we stepped out of the mine the next morning, we found ourselves high up on a mountain on Scorched Earth.”

“The three of us were in the Australian Outback hiding in a cave from a sudden storm that blew up out of nowhere,” Helena tells the old woman. “We were halfway around the world from your reservation at the time we ended up on Scorched Earth.”

“That is most interesting,” answers the old woman. “Our Gods must have sent you there to test how you would survive in such an unfamiliar place. I find it most interesting how Whitefeather and your group were able to make allies of it’s many creatures, especially that giant white feathered lizard that walks on two legs, or the dragons that killed the Spanish invaders.”

“It was a most interesting experience,” answers Helena. “Especially those two dragons that I was able to communicate with. Still, there were creatures living there that we couldn’t becomes allies with. They just wanted us all dead.”

“We now have an interesting problem,” answers the old woman. “I’ve been informed that Jessie, Whitefeather, Morning Dove, and three of the tribal warriors are nowhere to be found. Now that so many outsiders know about our little secret, how do we know that everyone will keep their word to not tell the outside world about the existence of a portal to Scorched Earth?”

“You do have Whitefeather’s Yuti army guarding the portal from outsiders,” answers Winslow. “I have no idea what Jessie might be up to. I never did trust him. If the politicians in Washington find out about your secret, there is the possibly of the military invading your reservation with weapons that could easily kill them.”

“That is true,” answers James. “As you know, treaty have been broken on a regular bases by our Federal Government. When the Arizona Territory becomes a state, the status of your reservation could change. I don’t know what might happen to the reservation and your tribe if the military decide that they want access to Scorched Earth.”

As the group is getting ready to leave to take the trail to Kingman, Whitefeather, morning Dove, and the missing warriors has returned to the village with some interesting news. After talking to the old elder woman for several minutes, Whitefeather comes over to the group to make an announcement. “The portal to Scorched Earth no longer exist.” he tells everyone. “Something called us in a dream to go over there by dawn. We saw Flame standing by the portal entrance. Morning Dove was in contact with him, then rubbed his forehead as if to say good bye. He, and all of the tames then went through it back to Scorched Earth. Then, the tunnel in the Sandstone Canyon just vanished.”

“That is true,” answers Jessie who has just returned with the others. “I saw it with my own eyes. The portal to Scorched Earth no longer exist.”

“That solves the problem of outsiders finding that portal,” answers Winslow. “Since it no longer exist, it’s story will just becomes another one of those mysteries of the Superstition Mountains.”

“Thank you for your opinion on that subject,” answers the elders. “You have given us some faith in your intentions as a result of your adventure.”

“Lets get ready to make that trip to Kingman.” orders Winslow. “I can use my credit from the bank there to put everyone up in the hotel for the night. The Helena’s expedition can return with me to New York while the rest of you head back to Oatman.”

Of an interesting note, it turns out that seven of the horses in the village were the ones that used by the group from Oatman to escape from the Marquis Gang. “Where did you find my stable horses and their saddles?” Charlie asks Chief Traska as the village Navajo bring out the horses to the group.

“Marquis had them with him,” Chief Traska answers.

“They must have found them and their saddles at my claim,” answers Peter.

“What should we do with the Marquis Gang horses?” ask Whitefeather.

“You might just as well keep them,” James tells him. “They no longer have any need of them after what the raptors and your Yuti did to them.”

“Thank you,” answers Chief Traska. “We will make good use of them.”

Using the seven horses and three camels, the nine remaining survivors make the day long trip to Kingman. There, the animals are stabled for the night as the group sleeps in the upstairs of the nearby hotel. The next morning, James visits the District Marshal and informs him that the Marquis Gang were killed in a landslide while digging at the base of what they thought was the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in a sandstone canyon on reservation land. As proof of their demise, he has presented the blood stained ID of Marquis and three of the gang members he had recovered when Whitefeather’s Raptors took them out. Satisfied with that news, The District Marshal files his report that the gang has met up with frontier justice and is no longer in business. Winslow goes to the train station with Helena and her two guide where tickets are purchased for the trip to New York City. Upon James return to the stable from his visit to the District Marshal, the five of them get their horses and Helena’s camels to make the trip back to Oatman.

The way back to Oatman has resulted in the five taking the burrow trails back to the Navajo Village. “You’re more then welcomed to work for me at the stable,” Charlie tells Whitefeather as they visit.

“Thanks for the kind offer,” Whitefeather tells him. “Actually, I found work rebuilding the hotel. It should be back in business in a couple of weeks. Mike survived the raid by Marquis and wants me back when he reopens for business.”

“That’s good news,” Charlies tells him.

As they head back to Oatman, a short detour is made to stop at Peter’s claim. There, it is confirmed that the camp is still intact with the saddles no longer at the back of the mine. What is of interest is a small pile of gold nuggets is now lying on the floor where the survivors had spent the night. “This is a godsend,” Peter reports to the others. “This will allow me to purchase the supplies I need to continue working my claim.”

Jeff is in absolute surprise when he sees Peter riding in to his office on one of Helena’s Camels with the other two following. “Where have you been for the past two weeks,” Jeff asks him. “I was so worried that Marquis had bushwacked you after tearing this town apart.”

“You do not want to know,” Peter tells him. “I’m just glad to be back to my claim in Oatman. You no longer have to worry about Marquis. He and his gang are now living in Hell.”

“Did you ever find Jenny?” asks Jeff.

“Unfortunately yes,” answers Peter. “Her and that wild Jack she was running with, were killed by wild animals out in the badlands.”

“I’m so sorry,” answers Jeff. “You really liked her. Where did you find those three camels?”

“They were gifted to me by an explorer named Helena.” answers Peter. “She needed someone to care for them when she needed to return to New York City.”

“You got some unique animals there,” answers Jeff. “This is the first time that I have seen camels in this area being used by prospectors. They must really like you given that you didn’t even tie them up to the hitching post or have halters on them.”

“They are such sweet girls,” Peter tells him. “Just don’t get on their wrong side because they can get real nasty to people that they don’t like.”

“What brings you in Oatman today.” asks Jeff.

“I need some cash so that I can stock up on supplies,” answer Peter as he gives Jeff the bag of gold nuggets.

“Wow, you must have hit it big,” answers Jeff as he weighs out the gold, then hands him a sizable amount of cash.

“Thanks,” Peter tells him. “This will be more then enough to get me stocked up with supplies for the week.”

As this strange tale of Scorched Earth comes to an end, Peter is finally living his dream of striking it rich. While the newly discovered quartz vein in his mine continues to yield gold, it remains at the right yield to keep Peter in the money, but is not so large as to warrant a commercial venture. Peter lives out his life at working his claim where the three camels hang out with him being very useful as pack animals.

Helena and her guides make it back to Australia where they continue their exploration of the Outback with trips back to New York prior to the outbreak of WW1.

The Oatman Hotel gets rebuilt with the town hanging on to the small gold strike in the area until finally dying as all of the claims play out.

Oatman thrives today as a tourist attraction by being maintained by it’s residents as a living ghost town. The dry climate of Arizona has made it possible to preserve much of it’s building in their original condition. The wild burrows still remain as an attraction to visitors from all over the world.

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