This story is dedicated to Markus who suggested the crossover and helped in the story's development. Enjoy!
The whole tale of the egg's journey unfolded, as told by Kit and Flit, and, ultimately Delsie, whose mother snatched the egg from the river and carried it to the Lemur Island. What Delsie related corroborated her late sister's story of a dropped egg. Even Plio concluded the stolen egg came from Kamura's nest. After all, she said, how that egg miraculously and quite mysteriously fell into the lemurs' midst had puzzled her all these years. Yes, Plio finally learned just who dropped that egg, but she had no idea how the pteranodon got hold of the egg in the first place, let alone the identity of the hatchling's birth mother. Now Plio knew all the facts, and she hoped Aladar would be happy his birth mother was indeed alive and well. She was so wrong.
"Why did you leave me?!," Aladar shouted at his mother. "You said you tried to shield the nest but the carnotaur came too fast. Kamura – and I refuse to call you Mother – you could have let the monster get you, giving your eggs a fighting chance. But no! You chose to run away. Coward! Heartless! How could you do such a thing? Then you leave the Herd, choosing to wander all over without letting those who love you wonder what became of you. Why did you leave in the first place? Did you know that some of the Herd thought you dead? Well, to me you are dead!"
"And that's what happened," said Eema to Artmo Hox who had just arrived with Kirel Tasou.
The Jedi had been on the other side of the valley while the meeting between Aladar and Kamura got underway. They missed the big reveal and Aladar's shocking reaction, and they were quite disturbed one who so seemingly had a solid grasp of the Force had given into his anger and hate. The Jedi learned Aladar and Neera later had words, and neither were presently speaking to each other. Plio and Yar tried to talk sense into Aladar, and Zini and Suri tried to cheer him up. Nothing worked, and Aladar resigned himself to his anger, going off into the deep forest in a childish sulk. Kamura, in tears, ran inside the cave, followed by Plio and Anakin. Xander and Mac had just gone into the cave themselves hoping to persuade Kamura to come back. No word on Marbe and Sarama who were still in the cave or if they happened to see a distraught Kamura rushing past them.
"After Aladar attacked Kamura like that, everyone was mad. Neera won't speak to Aladar, Plio is trying to get Kamura to come back, and Zini and Suri are just at a lost for words. You know, Artmo, you talk of the dark side. And that's just what Aladar is doing, giving into his anger and sulking like a spoiled brat. I don't think I know him anymore, and I thought he'd be thrilled to learn his mother is alive after all these years. I was just talking to Kamura before she revealed herself to Aladar. She was so happy to see her only surviving child all grown up and with kids of his own, and that he is the Herd's leader. No mother could be more proud of her son, but Aladar won't see it that way. I tried to talk sense into him, tell him that Kamura was so depressed after losing her nest. That is why she left the Herd, to get away from the sad memories. She's seen the light since, but Aladar is determined to go to the dark. I feel something bad is about to happen to the Herd. This is all I ask, Artmo. I want you to talk to Aladar, tell him that he can't go on hating his mother for something she had no control over."
Eema, the tears trickling down her wrinkled cheeks, could say no more.
Master Hox thought it over, allowing the Force to speak to him. Eema was right: There is that sudden rumble suggesting tremendous events taking place in his home galaxy, but there was something afoot here, an event that could spell certain death to several dinosaurs as well as a Jedi. He immediately dispatched Kirel to the cave; Marbe was still inside though Hox sensed she had gone after Kamura. Perhaps they are on the outside now facing unknown danger. Hox also ordered the astromechs R2 and R4 to the cave. If predators indeed lurked in the canyon, those droids could evade the monsters' big feet and teeth. Besides, both had defense mechanisms in the event a lone lightsaber could not readily dispatch the carnotaurs.
This Master Hox sensed and prepared to go to the cave himself. However, Eema's concern over Aladar and the fate of the Herd came first. Yet, just as Hox decided to remain to counsel Aladar, he spotted Xander heading into the forest. Artmo had a good feeling about Xander, the iguanodon with the mysterious past. Somehow, he felt Xander and one of Marbe's descendants will some day cross paths, perhaps become firm friends. This will not happen unless Aladar lets go of his anger and bitterness towards his mother. Aladar will, in time, ask Xander to be his second in command, and from this alliance will set the stage for a grand relocation for the Herd. This, too, Artmo Hox foresaw in his own dreams. A land of wonderment and enchantment awaits the Herd. There they will encounter the very creatures of old, those met by Ricar Tasou so many years ago. All must go well, thought Hox, as he turned to Eema.
"Eema," he said, "I feel Xander will help Aladar turn away from the dark side. But, for now, I sense impending danger. Have the Herd move to a safe place within the Nesting Grounds. I, along with Kirel, will head for the cave. My guess is Marbe and Kamura are on the outside, in the canyon. If so, they will need much help. Do not tell the Herd anything to alarm; I do not want to start a widespread panic."
He glanced into the distance to see Baylene consoling a dejected Neera. Oh yes, the Force runs strong within that one. I feel it is she who will turn the tide...
Aladar thought he was alone, away from prying eyes and ears, but once he reached the shelter of dense forest, he felt a presence. No, it wasn't Neera or any other of the Herd, but a telling presence he couldn't quite figure out. He, in his anger and frustration, had to get away, find some way to deal with the recent bombshell dropped by a long absent parent. Well, to Aladar, he had only one mother, and that was Plio. Oh, he often wondered about which Herd female gave him life, and how the unhatched egg found its way to Lemur Island. The last half of that mystery he learned a year ago; and now, with Kamura finally making herself known, Aladar wished he hadn't learned the truth. He really regretted – now – the things he said to his mother, but all the pent-up anger and sense of abandonment got the better of him.
"Am I that angry? Did I really say those awful things to Kamura? I don't understand. All my life I've wondered about my real mother, the one who laid my egg. After all these years, though, I thought she was dead. I should have been thrilled to learn my mother is indeed alive and well, and that she still loves me. So why do I feel nothing for her?"
"Maybe it's the shock of learning Kamura fled at the last moment, leaving her nest vulnerable to not just the carnotaur but egg thieves. Who knows what could have happened if those oviraptors broke and ate that egg – with me inside! What if Delsie's mother hadn't scooped it up from the river? What if she hadn't dropped it?"
He heard someone come up from behind. He turned around to see Xander.
"Oh," said Aladar sadly, "it's you. I thought maybe Eema or Neera would come. But since it's you, maybe you can tell me what's so wrong with me."
Xander approached cautiously, but he could tell Aladar completely regretted that bad reaction once Kamura revealed herself. But what could he say to Aladar? He hardly knew the Herd's leader; but he could, from his own family history, help Aladar understand the pain of loss and abandonment.
"Aladar," he said, standing beside his new friend, "I think I understand your reaction. I did the same thing when I lost all my family to sickness. I was angry, bitter, wondering why I was spared. I was, of course, just a kid, so all that time being alone in the world made me think I'd been abandoned. I was mad at everyone and everything. Then came Anakin and Kamura. Without them, I might be dead or still wandering around, taking my chances with the predators."
Then Xander, staring out into space, added, quite out of the blue, "Sometimes I have these dreams that I've left behind a former life, and the woman I love."
Aladar looked at Xander with questioning expression. Didn't he mention a lost love? Hmm...I had a similar dream not long after Kamura arrived, but it was not her presence that triggered those dreams; it was Marbe's. He recalled that dream where he saw himself and Herd at the old lakebed. There, on the dry, cracked ground dotted with little pools of water, Xander and a human female danced. She came to help relocate the Herd to a new home; and, during the trek across the desert, she became frustrated and tired. She broke down halfway across, and Xander offered to carry her the rest of the way on his back. Once arrived at the lake, her thirst slaked, she revived and quite spontaneously danced. Xander joined in the merriment, and the Herd soon followed. Aladar saw himself and Neera dancing, and he saw Baylene cut a nice rhythm with her big feet. There would be, of course, despite this present revelry, danger ahead, but the Herd would soon find itself in a land of magic and wonder. No more predators or other dangers to upset a promising idyllic life, but a profound event would finally reveal just who Xander really is...
Aladar said at last, "Yeah, I have dreams, too. The latest was about the Herd and a trip to a new home."
He sighed, thinking Xander didn't come here to discuss dreams or visions. He knew Xander was trying to talk him out a blue funk, and he felt a special connection with the iguanodon. After all, he and Xander were about the same age, and both had lost family – Aladar was not born when his mother thought her nest destroyed, while Xander was barely a hatchling when his parents died. Both dinosaurs wondered about their birth parents. Both pondered reasons they were spared while their families were wiped out. Both felt anger and frustration, but they found a sense of family and belonging among strangers.
"Come on," said Aladar to his new friend, "I think I feel better now. I really should find Kamura and apologize to her."
Xander smiled, saying, "Yeah, you said some pretty mean things, but I guess it had to come out. I'm sure Kamura will accept your apology. She'll have to if she and Anakin plan to live here."
Aladar returned the smile, replying, "You're right. I've been a big fool, and I've should've known better than reacting like I did. Come on, let's get out of here."
The two iguanodons hadn't left the forest too soon. Just as they approached the clearing, Suri and Ola rushed up, both panting and crying.
"What's up, Suri?," asked a concerned Aladar. His lemur sister never acted like this unless something was seriously wrong.
A sobbing Suri said, "They're in the cave. Marbe and Kamura got to the exit but they're cornered by carnotaurs."
"Three of them!," said a crying Ola. "Mama and Papa are there, too. And Marbe is trying to fight all the carnotaurs with her lightsaber. Artmo and Kirel have gone into cave, and..."
Xander looked in the direction of the cave. While he could not see the events, he sensed awful trouble. Another unwanted presence he felt, and it wasn't just three hungry carnotaurs. There is someone else, that bounty hunter Artmo suspected HK-47 contacted.
Len Targ...He's coming to kill the Jedi...He just might take Kamura and Anakin, too. Perhaps kill half the Herd...
"Suri," Xander said, "you and Ola stay here where it's safe. Don't go near that cave until Aladar and I give the all clear. Understood?"
After the children left, he turned to Aladar and said, "Let's go. If what I've long suspected is going down...Kamura and the others have walked into a trap."
Caught between carnotaurs and a vicious bounty hunter. Aladar had heard stories of bounty hunters from Artmo and the Tasous, and these guys show no mercy. His heart ached that Kamura could meet certain doom believing her son does not love or accept her. Aladar's guilt gave way to a sense of protection. He had to save his mother at any cost.
Copyright @2006 by P.R. Parker. All Rights Reserved.