There is something very interesting over there, thought the little chick, as she crept ever so delicately over to the thing, which was, coincidentally, the tip of the tail of another Utahraptor chick. It was one of her siblings, a smaller male, and he was thoroughly enjoying the crunchy, sloppy mess of a nest of eggs of a local lizard. The lizard itself was off scavenging for her own meal, leaving the nest unprotected.
At first, the little chick was intent upon tormenting her sibling, but then the sounds and smells of delightful eating reached her, so she wasted no time in biting and growling her way in, and his way out. She, in turn, delighted in the initial crunch, and slimy sensation that oozed in her mouth and down her throat. It's not a bad idea on snooping on my brothers and sisters, was her first mental note on this fine early morning day.
And in a few moments she will make her second one, for her brother, dejected and a bit miffed that his stronger sibling had found his prize, was sniffing around the thorny branches, hearing the sounds and smells he was just enjoying himself, when an ounce of movement caught his eye.
It was the lizard, circling back after a pre-dawn hunt to check her eggs, before she'd begin sunning herself on a nearby rock to aid in the digestion process. But lo and behold, someone had found her nest, and she wasn't about to lose two months of finding a proper male to a couple of nosy chicks. She charged, a raging fury a foot long with wiry strength that couldn't be contested by any other lizard in the area. Even so, weight wise, she was no contest to the male chick, who was now debating if this brightly colored thing was worth taking a bite out of. With all her hissing and tail whacking, the lizard looked just as frightening as his bigger sister
With that realization an angry hiss of defiance spouted from his miniature mouth, a heartbeat before his mouth closed in on her tail. The lizard, surprised that her seemingly apparent win had turned so badly, twisted her more agile body and clamped her small teeth on the soft skin between the jaw and throat.
His sister, finished with her meal and curious to see what the scuffle was all about strode confidently from underneath the bush, poised and ready in case it was another game. Instead, she saw her brother trying to attack yet another tasty looking morsel. Jealous that her brother seemed to be hogging all the free meals hereabouts, the female chick darted in, her jaws snapping at the thing that should be her meal, and not his.
The male, able to get a better grip on his attacker, whose grip on his neck had released, gave the lizard a vigorous shake that broke its spine in two places, leaving the lizard unable to defend itself.
The female, by now, was dancing and jerking, trying to steal the fresh kill right from her brother's very jaws. He, rather then let his sibling pose another victory, quickly swallowed the creature whole.
The last thing the female saw was the lizard's bright yellow patches disappear into her brother's gullet. Angered, she flashed her fore claws, threatening him in his moment of victory as she has seen her parents do with the Deinonychs when they've wandered too close to the cave.
The male, aware of the serious glint in his sister's eye, was beginning to back away when something triggered. Unbeknown-st to the chicks, that lizard had one major defense. Its skin is poisonous. Offensively, so was the saliva in the lizard's mouth. Thus, the male had four things going against him; the poison in the bite and now being digested in the skin was beginning to race through his blood. Stress, from the attack and now his sister's aggression, was making his already fast heart rate exceedingly so. As for his youth, his size and immune system could not cope with the toxicity now coursing through his blood stream. For an adult Utahraptor the poison would have only caused a slight belly ache, but for a chick of his size and condition, it was deadly. And now, it was beginning to surface as a struggle for life; a struggle that consisted of madness.
The male choked out a struggled cry of hostility and pain. A cry that immediately alerted the pack, most specifically the parents of the chick. They had been relaxing after a solid meal of the mountainous sub-species of iguanodont, keeping an eye on both parents' youngsters as they played together. As a whole, the watchful eye of the adults had not noticed two of the chicks venturing just out of sight on the other side of the slope, and so, when the sounds of a squabble reached them, the oldest female and her mate, who have identified the cries as one of their own, reluctantly got to their feet and began taking relaxed strides to their chicks when the male's cry reached them. Alerted, both sets of parents set off, the chicks mother and father reaching the duet before the other two.
The bigger female chick ducked, was unable to avoid dual slashes from her brother's clawed hands, leaving a trio of cuts above her left eye and down to the corner of her lip. Yet she avoided an even closer metallic click of teeth just centimeters from her neck. The female chick was hurt, confused, and scared. This wasn't like her brother, who never has challenged her since the day they were competing for food in the Cave-Nest. And now his uncharacteristic malevolence was beginning to frighten her This isn't natural, her little mind pieced together.
And so noted both sets of guardians. The female chick was the most vigorous out of the older female's brood, and her persistently aggressive behavior has never folded against one of her sibs nor the other brood of chicks now standing behind their blood parents. The older adult female, formerly known as Raptor Red, watched in perplexity at the situation. It was normal for chicks to have their rivalries. She remembers herself of her own rivalries with her siblings, including, at one point in time, against her dead sister. Now that the tables have been unnaturally turned over, Raptor Red wasn't entirely sure if she should intervene, or let natural selection take its course.
She changed her mind; however, when she noted the slight foamy spittle forming at the corners of the male chick's mouth, and the almost crazed look in her son's eyes. Raptor Red cannot recall any of these signs in her repertoire. Nothing in her personal experience could prepare her for this tragic moment. Only instinct. And now instinct was waving an army of red flags before her muzzle, and by instinct alone did she even move at all to save her chicks.
By reflex, she picked up the big female tenderly in her mouth, mostly because the female chick was aiming for her parent's protective shadow, even though the chick was just beginning to get too big for Raptor Red's muscled neck to support. That action alone saves the chick, for the male landed with a Thwump! His killing claws sinking into the soft mat of pine needles and cones. He, in turn, scrambled viciously at his mother's feet, trying to attack and stand all at once. Again, by reflex, Raptor Red kicked her son away, careful not to use her claws, as well as not to push too hard. Even so, with the male's frantic state, he rolled a few times down hill, convulsed, and died.
Raptor Red's consort watched the procession with tense nervousness. He, too, had seen the signs of diseased madness, yet he was more unwilling then Red to intervene. He can still remember Red's harsh accusations when he had accidentally attacked Red's sister's chicks just months before. He was more unwilling to lose her again because of another accusation, but to see her do so herself, even however gently she did it, was a bit overwhelming, leaving his brain unable to properly file this sudden mass of information.
Raptor Red was stunned. She hadn't expected that the action would kill the chick, she's done it multiple of times when her hands have been busy holding other things while the chicks insist upon taking a curious nip at it. And now one of her chicks was dead
The weight of the surviving chick in her mouth awoke her from her daze. She set the chick gently on her feet, and proceeded to investigate the chick's wounds. Nothing seemed serious, even the cuts across her face were just deep enough to probably scar the chick for life. Other then that she was okay. The chick was very lucky, if she had been bitten, she could have shared a fate similar to her brother's, though not nearly so deadly.
Raptor Red gave her daughter a few tender licks, washing the wound as best as a raptor can. Her sister's chick and mate were already investigating the dead chick and the signs around it, trying to put the story together and understand the danger that had passed. Red's consort joined them, studying the fallen chick with eyes and nose. Red, once satisfied that the frightened, shivering chick would live, walked slowly to the body of the chick, before sitting right next to the lifeless form. She is, at first, quiet, and at a loss. Then as the realization dawns on her, she gurgles and coos frantically, as if trying to calm the lifeless chick, but mostly she's trying to calm herself.
Her mate sits and leans against her, grooming around her ear and neck, trying to soften his mate's pain. Raptor Red's sister's chick leans against her other side, cooing and gurgling calmly. Her mate stands at attention, forlorn, but keeping an eye on the combined chicks. There was no need; however, the chicks sense the loss from their parents and hovered close. One chick, the biggest chick, remains where she was, shivering, eying the corpse between the adults. Subconsciously aware that that could have been her. Small drying drops of scarlet drip down, passing the eye, and then splashing on her cheek.
Her name. Scarlet.