Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #037: The Stone Builders

Monday, June 1, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #037: The Stone Builders

Turok: Son of Stone #22

Turok begins enforcing his friends-free lifestyle.

With no shelter of their own from the thunderstorm, Turok and Andar hit up the local cave tribes to ask if they’ve any room for spare. The crowd wouldn’t dare damage their reputation as hard men by looking out for fellow human beings, so they chase off our heroes with spears. The two retort with arrows to ward them off, and a set up small log fire to keep them at bay.

While the pair rest under their rocky nook, the leader of the tribe, Surl, marvels at their incredible tools. Why, if they had long-range arrows and fire at their disposal, they could turf out even more people from their caves! Brute force might have burned their bridges, but maybe if they feign friendship, they can learn their secrets?

T & A wake up to an empty cave the next day, and use the opportunity to scavenge for food without hostilities. Andar is saved from a tree-climbing honker by Surl — he wants to be pals now! He’s even willing to invite him back to the cave so he can join the feast…

… but Turok doesn’t approve of this seemingly underhanded gesture, and socks Surl when he gets too forceful. Andar’s gutted at the chance to not hang out with his new friends. “Stop treating me like a child! When will Turok ever realise that I can take care of myself?”

Surl initiates plan B: make a girl ask Andar if he works out. It never fails! He follows after like a giddy schoolboy and is immediately dog piled by assailants in hiding.

Time for the interrogation: They hold his feet above a pit of alligators as a potential snack if he doesn’t spill the beans on the business with the little spears and whatnot. His lips are sealed, but not even Turok’s arrival guarantees his release; now it’s a hostage negotiation! They demand Turok make them bows and a fire or else Andar gets the snap.

Turok gives them exactly what they ask for. He sets the dry grass ablaze and sends Surl and his flunkeys scarpering… but also leaves themselves with nowhere to run but through the den of alligators! Sinking one with a poison arrow, the others turn to feast on it, giving the two an opportunity to make it to safety.

Andar apologises for his naiveté, and Turok is adamant he not be so trusting in this strange land. They may have made friends in the past, but they are still outsiders, and it’s only their secret weapons of poison and fire that keeps them alive; to share it would dangerously even the playing field.

This is perhaps the big turning point in Son of Stone‘s approach to tribal relations. Where Turok and Andar used to make friends nearly everywhere they stepped, this story paints a very isolationist picture of their life in the Lost Valley, where they dare not become too close to anyone for fear of being exploited. To be fair, the natives have ranged from charming oafs to diabolical crusaders, so they’ve every right to play it safe, as bleak as it may be.
Still, the story suggests Andar is eager to make friends with new people; he’s a youngster separated from his peers and spending the best days of his youth trying not to become somebody’s lunch. That and spending every waking hour under his mentor’s gaze must be an awful drag. Stories further down the road would explore this angle further, and the variable nature of the series hardly means Turok’s going to be a johnny-no-friends for the entire run, but it’s a far cry from the early days or even the likes of Young Hawk.

While exploring another neck of the woods, T & A come across a mysterious slab of stone, gleaming white and perfectly rectangular — cut by man! While trying to find the source, they stumble across the tribe responsible and are quickly captured.

The stone builders take the name but none of the responsibility — that’s what slaves are for! The poor workers are forced to carve and carry great slabs of stone, hoisting them up to build a Stonehenge-like shrine. It’s perhaps some of the most advanced tech the Lost Valley has seen so far… and all for a pointlessly gruelling method of worship. Nuts to that — this calls for a revolution!

Or it would, if one foolhardy scab hadn’t alerted the bosses and gotten them thrown in the pit — the naughty corner for all disobeying slaves, where no one comes out alive!

Armed with only their knives as a captive honker descends upon them… that’s a typical Friday night for Turok and Andar. They first blind it using a vine as a sling, then go to town on it where it can barely see them. The pit has never had survivors before — talk about an upset! The two then book it out of the camp after feigning exhaustion…

… but while they’ve gotten themselves out of harm’s way, there’s still countless slaves toiling under the stone builders’ reign. There’s only one thing they can do — tear the place down!

Rustling a herd of triceratops towards the site with a controlled fire, the beasts make short work of the alleged monument, sending the tribe into such disarray they barely notice their slaves making a break for it. Andar is a little disappointed such a grand structure got destroyed, but Turok finds its ruins are more symbolic than they were before.

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