The Land Before Time: Far Away Home

By: Caustizer

Act 1: The Hunt for the Occular

Note that Wingtails are an original creation of Hakunaro, and he has a substantial database of art of them in his DeviantArt account, which bears the same name.

Prologue:

The sun was setting over the Great Valley as the children whispered to each other in anticipation. The trees around them were silent as the windless dusk passed in an awe-inspiring spectacle that beckoned in the night. Apart from the red sun the only light was the volcanic hue of the Glowing Cracks which smoked and bubbled making it the perfect place to tell stories, be they scary or rich in wisdom.

Just as the sun disappeared beneath the horizon the individual they had all been waiting for made his entrance with a loud swoop in the sky. They gasped as he looped once in the air and landed perfectly on his feet in front of them.

"Wow Mr. Sky that was pretty incredible!" commented a young longneck named Xavier, who stood to greet his teacher.

"Can you teach me to do that?" called down a flier who had roosted low in the tree above.

"Is that not the responsibility of your father Nincea?" Sky smiled warmly as he furrowed his wings to right some displaced feathers.

"Well… daddy's afraid of landing on his head," replied Nincea, which was true. Even after so many years Petrie still hadn't got used to the keener aspects of flying.

"… So what story are you going to tell us today Mr. Sky?" interrupted Wayne, a small grey threehorn who was clearly Cera's son.

"Ah so that's why you are all waiting for me," bemused Sky. All the children leaned forward to hear his answer and he chuckled. One of the greatest sources of satisfaction he got from teaching was how the young ones always came early to see him while other teachers – namely Grandpa Threehorn – had to round them up before they could begin.

"Well… which one would you like to hear?" Sky looked around slowly and calmly as he gave his answer. All the children then immediately began shouting out which ones they wanted, and he heard "The Amazing Threehorn Girl", "The Big Water", "The Storm Tide", and even "Black Rock" from Landar, one of Guido and Syndra's sons. When things finally quieted down Xavier spoke up above all the others.

"What about the Black Dawn?" he suggested. Sky was shocked, but on the outside he just raised an eyebrow.

"…Where did you learn about that Xavier?" Sky asked.

"Mother said it when she was cleaning me yesterday… she said I looked dirtier than the Black Dawn" Xavier replied. The other children were intrigued by the idea, and started begging Sky to tell them about it. He motioned with his hands for them to calm down.

"Now children… I'm sure your parents wouldn't approve of me telling you about such things." Sky told them as he tried to diffuse the situation.

"Please!" They all called out at once.

"Tell them about what?" A tall longneck emerged from the forest behind where the children had been sitting. Littlefoot was much bigger now then he was as a youngling and the steady bouncing of the loose pebbles on the ground proved that he no longer had little feet.

"Hi daddy… Mr. Sky was going to tell us about the Black Dawn!" proclaimed Xavier excitedly. Littlefoot looked slightly disturbed.

"Was he now?" Littlefoot looked questioningly at Sky, who withdrew slightly.

"As I was saying it's not a good story for you kids to be told just before you go to sleep for the night…" Sky looked down at the ground, "besides that point… it is best that we just left it untold…"

"Oh I'm sure you can tell them something…" adult Littlefoot smiled, "You are the most interesting friend I know and you should share your adventures," he glanced at his son Xavier with a knowing smile, "and of course if you don't tell them they will find out on their own."

Sky sighed in admission. "Ah, you're right as usual Littlefoot." He wags a finger at his large friend as a message of intellectual defeat.

"Now… where to begin…" Sky held his hand to his face in thought, before turning to the young longneck Xavier who was eagerly watching him and waving his tail back and forth.

"What's that behind your ear?" Sky said to him.

"Huh?" Xavier lowered his neck and scratched both of his ears, but found nothing. Sky stepped forward and reached behind his ear. With a small ring he palmed an object from inside his wing and caught it in his fingers. To the youngsters gathered and even to Littlefoot it looked like he pulled it from thin air.

"Wow that was amazing!" Xavier stated as he looked transfixed at the small pebble-like object that his teacher now carried. "…What is it?"

"This is called an Occular… or rather the Occular" As Sky revealed what he was holding to the group.

The Occular was a small, thin lens made of perfectly clear volcanic glass. It had no borders and apart from the fact it was transparent it didn't look all that significant. To the group of children though even a weirdly shaped pebble that you could see through was pretty impressive. None of them had ever seen anything like it before.

Littlefoot scoffed. "Oh it's that thing again… gave us a lot of trouble when we were still kids."

"Children…" started Sky, ignoring Littlefoot's comment, "Tonight I will tell you not just about the Dawn, but also of a terrible, terrible place called…" he twisted the lens and brought it to his left eye, which magnified it to look huge. "… The Eye of the World."

All the gathered young ones were in awe… Mr. Sky always told such good stories.

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