Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #015: Valley of the Vines

Monday, March 16, 2020 at 9:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #015: Valley of the Vines

Turok: Son of Stone #11

Turok contends with blitheringly stupid superstition.

Still searching for a means of restocking their poison, Turok and Andar are chased into a den of vines by a t-rex, and it blocks all other exits. On the bright side, it’s an easy trek through the vines — they don’t even need to cut them, they part so effortlessly!

… except when they don’t. Not even their tomahawks can pierce them. What’s worse, they only now see the vines have inward-facing barbs, making it easy for them to enter, but dangerous to leave. With no choice, they keep soldiering forward — right into the mouth of a man-eating plant!

They’re freed by a tribe of hunters who use these plants to catch game, and they’re surprised to find outsiders in their land — they’ve been here for generations but have never found a way out. They’re happy to take in our heroes, but Ulf the leader and Dal the hunter come to blows over who should have the privilege of showing them around; Turok and Andar settle it by having each host take one of them.

Turok and Andar continue looking for a way out the next day, and find Ulf snared by vines — with Dal advancing for the kill! They sock him before he can usurp leadership, but Ulf warns them they’ve made a dangerous enemy. Indeed, back at camp Dal tells the tribe of his ingenious new plan for escaping the vines — chucking Turok and Andar into them! The two make themselves scarce–

— but find the honker that chased them in has also gotten lost in the vines. It might just be their ticket out of here! They cook themselves some flaming arrows and set the brush on fire — while it doesn’t effect the vines, it does send the beast high-tailing it back the way it came, tearing down the vines in its struggle!

They double back to inform Ulf of this, who finally leads his people to freedom; the tribe’s faith in his leadership is renewed, and he’s grateful to Turok and Andar for making this possible.

And most convenient of all, the exit leads right to a patch of poison berries, restocking the heroes with their secret weapon. And there’s a passing honker, the perfect target to test it on!

The warrior Lorl says nuh uh, it was his etching that killed it, actually. Whatever he draws is prophesied to die, so this is his catch.

Also, they’re his slaves now. He doesn’t have to draw that, he just has dudes beat them up.

Lorl’s men explain whatever he draws in his cave is what they’re sure to catch during their hunt… and if Lorl doesn’t draw, their hunt is always fruitless. Clearly the intention is for Lorl to sound like a prophet, but the limited vocabulary of the tribesmen only makes them sound obedient to a fault. A stupid, stupid fault.

Turok’s sent to hunt a mastodon without Andar, to ensure he doesn’t try to escape. He figures nobody will know the difference if he brings home triceratops meat instead… but Lorl bonks him with a rock, having followed him this whole time. The alleged prophet tells him he can’t kill what he hasn’t drawn, his reasoning being “because I said so”. It’s a bad story, Turok. Just ride it out.

In any case, Turok eventually bags a mastodon and the tribe’s faith in their leader is as steady as ever. Turok and Andar are caught attempting to escape, and they try to call out Lorl’s idiotic lies; apparently his etchings impress the hunters so much they don’t bother looking for any other game. To be fair, honing your drawing skills in a hunter-gatherer society is probably regarded as either a waste of capable hands or a rare luxury, so fair play to Lorl for finding an art gig that actually pays.

Anyway, the pair test Lorl’s doctrine by hunting something he hasn’t drawn, and he puts that to the test by not drawing anything. This is supposed to deny them game for that day, though the two spy themselves a triceratops; Lorl, desperate to keep up his charade, drops a big pile of rocks on them.

This only succeeds in separating the two from their bows, but they don’t need them to take down a beast — all they need is to get close enough to stab it with their poison arrows!

The tribe are astonished this was possible without Lorl’s foresight, and soon discover for themselves they don’t need his sweet cave art to help them bag a meal. Lorl is sent packing, and Turok and Andar are free to leave, hopefully finding themselves in a better story next issue.

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