Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #133: The Painted Mystery

Monday, May 3, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #133: The Painted Mystery

Turok: Son of Stone #69

The buffalo never wanted this to be its legacy.

While escaping the wrath of an angry honker, Turok and Andar take refuge in a cave until it clears off and finds better things to do. The cave happens to be one of the few with homemade decorations, in this case a cave painting of various scaly monsters… with a buffalo as the curious outlier! It’s been a long dang time since they saw one of the shaggy brutes back in their homeland, but if one happened to get immortalised in illustration this far from home, then surely that means there’s got to be an exit somewhere around here, right?
Turok regards the picture by saying “there is a suggestion of a buffalo!” That– that’s a buffalo, buddy. You couldn’t ask for a more accurate representation of a buffalo from people who still haven’t invented proper pants.

The honker has since begun terrorising another group of people, but the pair slay it and offer them its meat in exchange for answers: who painted the mural? They claim it was the work of a tribe who have since relocated, but are renowned for their merciless nature, attacking all strangers on sight. And they’d be right — a gang of ne’er-do-wells are lying in wait for someone to bludgeon with their twin-spiked maces, and aren’t giving up without a fight.
It’s only when the pair reach a curious hill of standing stones that the mob simmer down. Why, there’s a buffalo horn as its centrepiece! The tribe claim the horn is a powerful artefact that’ll kill them all if disturbed, but Turok uses the superstition to his advantage by touching it and not dropping dead to get answers: who killed the buffalo?

Why, another tribe, of course! Even stronger and nastier than this strong, nasty lot! It doesn’t take long to find them, and they know for certain they’ve found the right ones — their leader, Mossa, is garbed in buffalo hide and wields the other horn as a wand. Our heroes lay down their arms to humbly ask where he got the pelt. Mossa’s not one for talking to strangers, and launches another assault on them, chasing them into the jungle. If there was ever a backlog for unwarranted attempts on their life, today’s the day they wiped the slate.

The tribe are feared and respected for a reason, as they’re not giving up the hunt until the trespassers are well and truly cooked, forcing T & A to lie low and play stealth games, hiding in the trees to leave no trail. Come dusk, the pair manage to catch them unawares with some explosive tinder, using the confusion to abduct Mossa and politely squeeze some answers out of him. Knowing they’re not out to kill him, the medicine man becomes surprisingly loose-lipped.

A generation ago, a wall in the Lost Valley’s border crumbled, and in that moment of opportunity a single buffalo entered their domain. The creature remained on the outskirts of their community and was little more than a curiosity, but in a time of drought, it was what led them to prosperous new plains, with water and shelter abounds! Alas, it came a cropper fending off a honker, but its memory is still respected — its final resting place is marked with standing stones, and its horn is believed to grant ‘medicine’ to whatever it touches, hence the alleged killing power of the spears during their hunts.

Mossa’s men catch up to them and his tune changes in an instant, threatening to feed T & A to the honkers for doing him dirty like this. Because fragile egos are such a reliable way of saving their bacon, Turok demands he prove his medicine is stronger than theirs, by firing two arrows at the t-rex, one blessed with the buffalo’s horn. This, of course, is an excuse to shoot one untainted arrow and one poisoned arrow, and the tribe leg it when they realise who they’ve been messing with. Their search for a way home has unwittingly tarnished the reputation of a magical buffalo, but nobody said escaping from a primeval hell realm wouldn’t be without casualties.

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