This OC character was devised to accompany two adoptable dragons: The Cave Runner and the Seashell Armortail. The Cave Runner was created by Selethesis on the SOD forum thread "Adoptables - request". The Seashell Armortail was created by WitcherForever on the SOD forum thread "Seashell Armortail Adoptables by Witcherforever".
A Spoonful of Honey or Vinegar?
A few of the young Vikings flinched as Birgr the Brash's meaty fists came down hard on the wooden long table. "We must do something NOW!" he gritted out behind clenched teeth.
"No one rides a Prickleboggle here, Gothi and any healer is hours and hours away, and trying to find a Tide Glider in the open sea is like, trying to find a twig in an avalanche," explained Einvaldr, the Viking from Chilblain.
"The dragons are wailing in pain. Some may die!" Birgr gestured at a small wingless dragon shivering in a cloth-lined basket.
"I know a few herbs that might help, like lavender. I think," Alfny offered.
"That's something. Let's go find some," Varinn replied. The two jumped up from the table and scuttled out the door in search of anything that might soothe the burns.
The group was quiet for a moment, then Ragna piped up. "On Green Island," she said, the others turning to her, "You know that island nearby with all the seaweed beds? Some Seashell Armortails live their. They have healing saliva!"
Before anyone could respond, Birgr threw his hands up. "Then I'm going to get one," he said heading for the door and gently scooping up the basket with the little suffering dragon in it. "If I have to chain it and force it to come, so be it," he finished as he stormed out the door.
"But!" Ragna tried to interject, but Birgr was gone. "That would make you no better than they are," she finished quietly to herself.
Birgr blamed himself and fumed silently, as he and his Moldruffle, BurnBelly, sped through the skies. The little green Cave Runner quietly moaned from the basket.
Hiccup and the senior riders were gone from Dragon's Edge to attend their various duties and quests. This left many less seasoned students at the Outpost, and many of those were young and head-strong. His team had gone out across the seas, looking for action, looking for glory, looking to help. They found a lone Dragon Hunter ship and attacked, with little strategy or reconnaissance. Birgr had been the most vocal to carry it out. Their fresh exuberance paid off, and by Thor's hammer, with little injury to themselves or their dragons. But as they swung open the cages to the captive dragons on the ship, ecstatic at their victory, a hidden mechanism tripped and poured Changewing acid all over the already weakened captives. Again, by the Gods' own luck, none of the riders were physically injured. But as the acid ate through the scales and flesh of the screaming dragons, it ate through the Vikings' hearts, too.
"You're as frail as a leaf," Birgr murmured to the Cave Runner. He slid his hand under the cloths to stroke the dappled dragon's neck, but she bit him from her continuing pain. He withdrew his hand gently, unperturbed.
The small Green Island loomed ahead, surrounded by forests of seaweed. "There!" Birgr shouted, pointing at a long serpentine figure lounging on a dark sand and pebble beach. BurnBelly shifted course, careful to jostle his injured passenger as little as possible. Birgr fished out a thick rope from the saddlebags, and as BurnBelly flew over the Armortail, he launched himself from his dragon's back and sailed through the air toward the Armortail.
BurnBelly quickly landed on the beach, and in a surprising feat of dexterity for a stocky dragon, turned to the side and carefully loosed the dragon-containing basket and lowered it to the ground.
Yet again with blind good luck, Birgr landed heavily on the Armortail, squarely on her neck behind the spikes and spiraling ram's-horns. The dragon screamed in surprise and rage. Birgr was a solid oak trunk in human flesh, with a thatch of gold on his head, and a bristling yellow mustache beneath his nose. His hefty weight drove the dragon's head into the sand. He quickly wound the rope around her horns, in an attempt to rein her in. But, as anyone could have surmised, she was far larger and stronger than he. She jerked her head up quickly and shook. Birgr lost his perch behind her head, but still clung to the rope. He swung back and forth, coming dangerously close to being gored on one of the dragon's many deadly sharp protuberances. BurnBelly blasted the rope and severed the connection. Again, Birgr sailed through the air without a dragon, and thudded into the sand. His herky-jerky landing knocked the basket with the little injured dragon, and she rolled out screeching in pain. She righted herself quickly and huddled next to a rock, sand clinging to the raw skinless oozing swath across her back.
"No!" Birgr bellowed, jumping up and drawing his sword, then crouched in a defensive position over the Cave Runner. BurnBelly dashed over and lent his bulk to cover the little dragon. The Armortail reared back upon her muscular tail, towering over the lot of them.
"Heal this dragon!" Birgr yelled up at her.
The Armortail growled and swayed menacingly, evaluating the trio before her. Unlike Birgr and perhaps many brash and headstrong Vikings, this dragon considered her situation.
She was aware of the humans and dragons taking up residence on that island near her own. As far as she could sense from out at sea, none of the dragons were unhappy or suffering. Some of those humans had come to Green Island and watched the Armortails, but hurt no one. She thought this Viking smelled of those people. But she also knew there were other Vikings, often in their ships, who tried to harm her kind and bind them up, and the other dragons aboard smelt of suffering. This Viking had made a pitiful attempt to tie her down. Yet there he was in a position of protection any creature could understand, above a small hurt dragon, bellowing gibberish at her. The Moldruffle, who seemed able to go as he pleased, yet stood next to this Viking, sensed her dilemma. He took his big head and rubbed it casually on the Viking, in familiarity and friendship.
"Ah, not not ya big lout, we've a job to do," Birgr patted BurnBelly absently on his snout. Now was not the time for a chin rub.
The Armortail finally snorted and shook her head. She lowered it slowly, eyeing the Viking. Birgr hiked up his sword, but BurnBelly bumped his arm. He glanced at his dragon, and finally a little understanding seeped through his thick skull. "Well, I don't think these guys eat other dragons, so it should be alright," the Viking relented. He lowered his sword and stepped back to make room for the Armortail's sizeable head.
The Armortail snuffled gently over the injured Cave Runner, then seemed to jerk her neck and chin as if she were a cat coughing up a hairball. A stream of sticky water washed out of her mouth, flushing the sand and dirt from the little dragon's back. The raw flesh seemed to immediately calm, becoming less angry red and the little serpent visibly relaxed, as the analgesic effect kicked in. The water-saliva mixture seemed to also congeal on the wounds like a stick healing glue. Birgr reached out and patted the healer dragon's horny beak. The Armortail flinched, but finished her work. She snuffled over the little dragon once more, then satisfied, lifted her head away.
Birgr carefully scooped up the Cave Runner and nestled her back in the basket. She bit him yet again, on his finger, but almost as a baby needed to put a pacifier in its mouth. He carefully detached his finger and the little dragon rolled in a ball and fell asleep.
The Armortail saliva was no miracle potion; nothing was. Bit it soothed the pain and helped speed healing tremendously and could even make a mortal wound a little less deadly, on occasion.
"Oi! Healer dragon! How about we go to Dragon's Edge?" Birgr commanded. "I'll wrestle you again and again if I must."
The Armortail watched the Viking babble and gesticulate. He kept pointing away, in the direction of that other island where the humans and dragons had moved in. He also pointed at the little Cave Runner. Were there others? She turned around and slid into the sea.
"Where are you going?" Birgr bellowed. BurnBelly grunted and squatted in front of him, and indication to mount up. Birgr carefully secured the basket to the saddle and jumped aboard. Man and dragons launched into the air, leaving a trail of flames. They flew just ahead of the Armortail, though it looked to Birgr she knew perfectly well where to go. The graceful sea serpent slipped effortlessly in and out of the water, and sometimes spread her colossal wings and glided across the waves.
Birgr and Burnbelly streaked in hot to the Edge stables. More bellowing. "Get the injured to the docks! Now!" But a great beating of wings followed him and the Armortail scrambled up the cliff. Her huge wings were made for swimming and gliding, not full-on flight. She heaved herself up over the edge, huffing mightily. Alfny gawked at the spiral-horned dragon.
Birgr grabbed up some dragon nip to relax her with, as she swayed uncertainly and grumbled at the humans. Ragna quietly came up behind him and pulled the dragon nip from his hand. "They are allergic to dragon nip. Try this instead," as she slipped something hard and oblong in his hand. It was a clam. Birgr held it up to the Armortail. The dragon peered at it momentarily, then plucked it from his hand. She held it in her beak, manipulating it with her tongue, then split it in two and slurped the gooey invertebrate from inside. The shell dropped from her mouth, useless.
Einvaldr brought out two more baskets of Cave Runners. Alfny and Varinn led out a moaning Zippleback, his soft hide eaten away in patches across his back and neck. The Armortail belched out her healing fluids upon them and a few others as the Vikings brought them forth.
"She is Eir's own hand bestowed upon us", Birgr admired.
Ragna brought up a bucket of clams - it turns out she had just gone clamming recently - and laid them out for the draconic form of Eir's hand. "Is that her name then? Eirmund?" Ragna asked Birgr.
"Well, now that you say it, yes, yes it is," he replied.
"And what of the little Cave Runner you stole?"
Birgr turned and frowned down at the much shorter woman. She was smiling.
"Steal. Humph." He muttered, checking in on the little dragon. Again, she chomped on his finger and chewed it like a pacifier. "She's like a speckled delicate leaf. So DappleLeaf," he withdrew his finger and found it covered in glowing goo. "Look! She's feeling better already!"
Eirmund finished her healing, pleased that all the dragons afflicted with acid burns were resting comfortably. For her troubles she scooped up the clams, sometimes only crunching and swallowing, instead of prying them apart with precision. Satisfied, she pushed herself up with her tail, and launched backward into the sea beyond the docks below.
Birgr dashed up to the edge of the cliff to watch her go and waved. She sunk beneath the waves and disappeared.
Every few days she reappeared, offering her healing to the dragons, until she didn't any longer. But Birgr always found her amongst the seaweed a short flight away. DappleLeaf made a home in Birgr's tunic, and passed the time chewing his ears.
About the Cave Runner
(Out of 12 just because)
Size: Smaller than most dragons; smaller than a human
This dragon is very sneaky, alert, and mischievous. They hatch from very hard and leathery eggs. The hatchlings develop really tough skin as younglings, but never grow any real protecting armor. The skin only protects from accidentally bumping into sharp rocks. This is needed because of the habitat they live in. They live in dark underground caves that have very little light. The adults never develop much armor either. Because of living in such a tricky environment, they develop skills such as high agility, speed and stealth. They very rarely have a full out fight with any other creatures, so they have low defense and attack. To help identify objects in their dark, they have glow-in-the-dark spit that they can spit to help see better. Because they aren't in the sun much, they have very pale skin. They travel in packs mostly, to help each other out. There is usually one or two leaders in a group. These dragons are very mischievous, you can see it in their eyes. They love playing tricks on one another and sneaking around.
- Eir is a Norse Goddess (or sometimes considered a Valkyrie) associated with healing and medicine.
- Birgr the Brash features in the story of Qiajuk the Wanderer.