Part 3: End of an Era
The starving Dicynodon, led by Toothless, were in the last hours of their existence. They weren’t adaptable enough to survive the Great Dying. Toothless’ mate collapsed, panting and gasping heavily. She was severely weakened by hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Toothless tended to her, who bellowed, telling him to raise their three offspring. She then stopped moving completely, left for dead by the Great Dying.
Toothless cried out in mourning as his oldest son collapsed from hunger. He was surrounded by the corpses of his family, as his oldest daughter fell over soon after, quite literally starved to death. He was left only with his youngest daughter, the world’s last two Dicynodon. The alpha-male weakly staggered over to her, feeling the effects of his malnutrition. His daughter dropped to the ground, moaning weakly. She continued her sorrow song for two minutes before she finally died.
With nothing and nobody left to lose, Toothless, the last Dicynodon ever, desperately followed the herd of Lystrosaurus. He suddenly felt his body hit the ground, his vision becoming blurry. His stomach burned from lack of food as his breathing became labored, before completely stopping. His death would mean life for other animals, as Rex and Regina approached the corpse of Toothless. They began to sink their teeth into flesh, pulling back the skin to reach the meat.
Trident and her three young cautiously watched Rex and Regina, watching them leave in the direction of the Lystrosaurus herd. Tusk led the strongest of his species towards what he hoped would be a safe haven. Trident and her offspring saw that Toothless’ corpse had been stripped, instead choosing to feed on his mate. They savored the taste of meat, barely getting to eat before they detected a threat. Vladimir, the last Inostrancevia, approached the area, ribs visible through his flanks. He began to feed on Toothless’ mate as Trident ran into a burrow, followed by her young. Vladimir chased after them, desperately digging into the ground to no avail.
A week later, Tusk’s herd, weary and exhausted, continued their long trek across the vast Pangaean deserts. Eventually, they found a lake--hope for their species. They began to drink the water, quenching their thirst. There was even sparse bushes for vegetation. These were the only signs of life in an otherwise dead planet. Or so it seemed; another herd of Lystrosaurus approached. The two groups mingled, neither minding the other. Interbreeding would toughen the species. Lystrosaurus would survive the Great Dying. Other Archosaurus and Thrinaxodon approached the lake, including Trident and her three.
Not too far away were the two animals destined to change the face of life on Earth. Rex and Regina, who carried their only egg, were on the final stretch. They smelled the Lystrosaurus nearby. However, fate had one more challenge--a final test, to see if they would survive or die. Vladimir, the last of his kind, stood before the two Archosaurus. Rex released a rumble, telling Regina to get out of the area. Vladimir was severely malnourished, and willing to attack anything for food--even two hardy archosaurs determined to survive.
Rex and Vladimir circled each-other, one with everything to lose, the other with nothing to lose. Despite this, Vladimir’s instinct urged him to survive. The two predators hissed and snarled, Vladimir making the first lunge. The Gorgonopsid lunged at the archosaur’s neck, Rex groaning in pain. If they had been fighting near a body of water, Rex would have won easily. However, they were fighting in the middle of a desert, leaving Rex at a disadvantage. The two beasts clambered and clashed, both drawing blood with their teeth. Vladimir eventually flipped over Rex onto his soft underbelly before something rammed into him--Regina!
The Inostrancevia turned around to face the female Archosaurus, hissing at her. The starving beast began to realize that he couldn’t take on them both, especially in a state of famine and starvation. Vladimir let out a low growl, slowly limping off. It would be his last walk, as he looked around at a vast, empty desert world. He slowed down, his raspy breathing becoming weaker. The former apex predator of the Permian had come to a somber end. He collapsed on his side, the last casualty of the extinction. This was the end; the Great Dying had come to a close--and with it, ninety-five percent of all life had been annihilated, never to return.
The faintest signs of life remained, Rex and Regina finally arriving at the lake. They watched the Lystrosaurus herds, content for the moment. The two were surprised at how such beauty existed in such a harsh world. Only the strongest, toughest, and hardiest were here. These lucky few would survive to repopulate the empty Earth. Rex and Regina watched as their egg cracked, hatching. The two were now parents, relieved that they would pass on their genes to the next generation. Tusk watched over the young brought to the world by the two herds of Lystrosaurus, and Trident watched her young playing. However, it was Regina and Rex who had a special dynasty.
Life’s resilience had been pushed to the very brink by the Great Dying, but slowly and surely, it bounced back from the brink of total annihilation. Tusk’s kind would go on to make up most of Earth’s population in the Early Triassic. However, the Lystrosaurus’ days of dominance would be over quickly, along with the reign of the mammal-like reptiles. The future belonged to the archosaurs, who would go on to conquer every corner of the Earth. With the extinction of the mammal-like reptiles at the end of the Triassic, they had no competition and quickly took over the planet, evolving into dinosaurs. The dinosaurs would rule the Earth for 160 million years, eventually culminating in the most-powerful animal that would ever walk the planet. However, to get there, the early dinosaurs would have to pass their first true test: the Triassic Extinction…
Pangaea, 200,000,000 BC
Life had finally pulled itself from the ashes of the Great Dying, evolving into larger and more diverse forms. However, the mammal-like reptiles, who had dominated the Earth for so long, were at the end of the line. Placerias and Desmatosuchus dominated the landscape. The world was still a harsh desert with sparse vegetation and hot temperatures. In the shadows of these declining beasts, something special was evolving: the first dinosaurs. However, it wouldn’t be certain if they would go on to dominate the planet, for something was coming. Pangaea shook crazily, as the ground began to crack apart. Geysers and lava shot up into the air, beginning the Triassic Extinction.
"Part of the journey is the end..."
Solid ending. This was a very educational and unique venture, I'm glad you decided to write about something other than what we're used to.
"...I hope they remember you."-Thanos
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