Hello! Thank you so very much for your reviews! (Also, I'm sorry for not updating earlier.)
To Celestial Rainstorm: Thank you so very much! I am thrilled that someone read and liked it. Thanks; I wanted to give them cool-sounding names that sounded like the ones in the movie. You were the only reviewer for a while, and I must thank you for being the first!
To Noah Schlogl: Thanks, I'm really glad- I love writing from the misunderstood 'villain's' point of view. There'll be more of this here story soon- probably one more chapter after this one.
To NorthAmericanJaguar: Thank you! I tried to make it really heart-breaking so there'd be lots of sympathy for the predators. They're just hungry. (Awesome name by the way!)
"Anor...?" The Carnotaur stared back toward her dead mate, pleading hopelessly one more time for him to be alive, to wake and to surge powerfully from the rubble and call back a reassuring answer.
There was no reply to her soft entreaty. He remained still, buried under the mounds of boulders. He didn't move. Or blink. Or even breathe. She had been right; he was gone.
The female Carnotaur let out a wailing roar, an anguished sound of grief for her mate, despair at being without him, and a numb anger that she was too dazed to act upon yet. She was alive, but there didn't seem to be any meaning in that.
Most of the prey-creatures were alive, but she was too injured and sad to chase them now. Anor was dead, and she had not stopped him from dying.
"I'm so sorry...!" She limped out of the cave, moaning thinly as she abandoned the corpse of her mate.
'What do I do now? Anor is gone. He is dead, the way prey-creatures are dead after we wound and kill them. After a prey-creature is dead it gets eaten, but Anor is not a prey-creature, so he should not be dead for some other creature to eat. Only prey-creatures are supposed to get killed.' The female Carnotaur shuddered and shook her head, closing her eyes with a sighing moan.
'The old spike-thumb made the rocks fall and kill Anor. It was too dark to tell if the other prey-creatures helped to cause the collapse of the rocks.' A broken hiss slowly worked its way up the Carnotaur's throat and grew into a wavering snarl.
'Either way... THEY were the ones that were supposed to die, not Anor!'
"Anor, we should-..." ...It hadn't seemed possible, but for just a heartbeat she had forgotten that he was not there to hear her.
"...It is not right that the injured and weak prey-creatures lived and you died, Anor. It is not... fair." Rarely had she come across the concept of unfairness, except possibly when other hunters stole their kills.
Strong and smart creatures survived and learned and grew stronger, so they could have young who could survive. Anor was a strong, healthy adult- not yet mid-aged, clever, resourceful. And the most of those prey creatures had been weak, old, and would die soon even without a hungry predator to benefit from their death.
"It is not fair that the prey-creatures- who we should have caught and eaten- lived, so I will change that." She and Anor had first met when he'd attempted to steal a carcass from her when she was distracted by chasing off many of the tiny sharp-snout hunters.
She'd bitten him and he'd given most of the carcass back, after eating part of it. She'd found it amusing somehow. And he'd followed her (helping out with kills along the way) until they both decided that he was not going to leave, and neither was she.
'Perhaps on the way I will come across some of Anor's kin. He'd told me that his cousin Gifor and her young could still be alive, farther north.' It was a comforting thought.
'Easy prey would be most welcome for them; perhaps they could join our-... I could join their pack.' Carnataurs rarely travelled in large packs unless desperate for food, but three or four was an acceptable number for a mid-sized group, especially if they were family.
'Anor's eldest sister Vori might not have made it, though her young are spread far and are nearly adults. My brother Orlan and his mate travelled east; they are too far away to have been badly harmed by the storm of fire, but are also close enough to have reached the many dead prey-creatures that it killed.' Disasters that killed could also result in unexpected feasts for the land's hunters and scavengers.
'Both our family lines shall continue, Anor. And, with help, thrive.' The female Carnotaur lifted her head to the rain, staring unseeingly past the flashes of lightning that blazed in the sky. A growl rumbled in her throat and burst into a massive roar, howling her rage and loss and determination to the sky.
"I will kill the ones that should have died instead of Anor," Tsora vowed, growling harshly as the echoes of her roar rebounded off the mountains, punctuated by the steady beat of her footsteps as she stalked forward.