The Stinging Cold
Ongull Oltorsk looked down at the Deepwater Redfish on the snow and whistled appreciatively through his grey-streaked beard. ZipZap, his green-blue Shockjaw, had caught the fish from the frigid waters off the Northwest coast of Icestorm Island. He knelt over the Redfish and held out his arm, noting its length relative to his forearm and fingers.
"One and a half Ells, about. That's a big 'un," he murmured to himself. ZipZap had already left to fish the waters more. Ongull wrote down his description of the redfish carefully in his journal, then wrapped the fish in some oiled cloth and stuffed it into his backpack. He was one of four people, including Phlegma the Fierce and Molda Fungisteinn, sent by Berk's chief to do an in-depth survey of Icestorm Island and its resources. Berk was ever-expanding, and food and raw materials were in greater demand. Ongull was studying the sea's diversity and he found it very rich indeed. ZipZap had already brought him a mouthful of Arctic Cod and a large Arctic Char.
With ZipZap's saddle propped up on a boulder away from the salty sea waves, Ongull meandered along the rocky shoreline, noting the Knotted Kelp and Sweet Kelp washed up upon the rocks and pebbles. Those would certainly be useful and filling, to humans and livestock alike.
There was a bit of a rocky rise ahead, and Ongull decided to climb over it to survey the other side. He might not be a spring chicken, but he was still flexible and fit, even weighed down by warm dense furs and a sack of fish on his back. As he foisted himself over the dark snowy rock, he heard a commotion on the other side. There was a single, deep raspy dragon voice sounding amongst smaller and shriller voices. Ongull frowned to himself. The ruckus sounded in part to be Speed Stingers, at least the higher-pitches sounds.
He heaved himself over the top of the rise and looked down at a scene of survival, repeated so often in Nature. It wasn't hunting, but rather scavenging. There was a boon of food laying upon the shore in the form of a beached beluga carcass. A large spiky dragon had laid claim on the bountiful meal, but had to defend it from a pack of Speed Stingers wanting a taste of the whale, too.
Ongull wasn't entirely sure what type of dragon the large one was - a Sawback perhaps? The dragon looked older, with scars here and there, a few crusty spikes, and what appeared to be an old injury to his short right rear leg. A thick white scar spiraled down the leg, very old but probably hampering some movement. Despite that, the Sawback whipped around snapping at the Speed Stingers and lashing out with his pronged tail like a whip. The Stingers were also very fast on their feet, darting in and out of his defensive circle, taking jabs at him with their poison tails ans bites of the beluga. Finally one Speed Stinger darted in and stabbed him with her stinger in the side and jumped away just as quickly. The other Stingers suddenly stopped harassing the old Sawback and waited, as he wobbled and dropped to his knees. His body sank to the snow, while his tail still thrashed about and his jaws snapped. Finally he was immobile enough for the Stingers to feast upon the carcass.
The Arctic was a tough place to live, and meals such as the perished beluga were like gold, especially for the Speed Stingers and for dragons that might not be in perfect health for hunting. Ongull noted the Sawback was surviving just fine with his old leg injury, but he wasn't fat and sleek as a well-fed, trained dragon.
Ongull suddenly felt an incredibly sharp pain in his posterior. "Youch! Oi! Whaa??" He jumped up and wheeled his arms around frantically, loosing his balance in the process. He slid down the snowy ridge and careened toward the carcass, setting the Stingers twittering in agitation. He came to rest nearly face to face with the Sawback. Ongull looked up and saw a juvenile Stinger standing where he had just been, eyeing him quizzically. Another two juvenile Stingers appeared, then slid gracefully down the rise to join the adults in their meal.
"Oh you bloody buggers!" Ongull shouted at them, as he lost control of most of his body except for his head and right arm. The Sawback glared at him and roared in his face angrily, sending Ongull into a coughing fit from the dragon's rancid breath. Digesting blubber did not smell appealing.
Frustrated at his predicament, Ongull roared back at the dragon with deep Viking lungs, huffing his breath at him. His breath was not nearly as rank, but the Sawback wrinkled up his nose in distaste. The dragon grumbled grumpily, but stayed quiet afterwards. He got the point.
The two older males laid there, attempting to look anywhere else than at the other, as the Stingers sloppily noshed on the whale. "Well, this is awkward, isn't it?" Ongull muttered to the Sawback. The dragon grunted as if in agreeance. To the embarrassment of the Sawback, his innards gurgled loudly. Even a few Stingers paused in their meal to glance at the paralyzed dragon.
"Hungry, aren't ya?" Ongull asked. The Sawback's tummy rumbled an affirmative. The Viking flapped his right arm back, trying to grab the backpack still strapped to his back. He tugged at it vigorously, trying to dislodge the strap from around his frozen left arm. His herky-jerky movement attracted the attention of a Speed Stinger, which came over to sniff curiously at the sack. Detecting the aroma of fresh fish, she grabbed it with her jaws and pulled.
"Hey! You have a whole whale to eat! Let my fish be!" Ongull yelled as he tugged back with his mobile arm. Though the tug-of-war was a little amusing to the Sawback, he was already quite annoyed with the Speed Stingers. He flipped his un-paralysed tail forward in an arc just above Ongull and drove back the Stinger. Getting sliced up for a few fish with a whale to eat nearby was not at all worth the effort. She unhinged her bite on the backpack, causing Ongull's pull to fling the bag forcefully in front of him and in front of the Sawback's face.
"Umm, thanks, I think. That's a pretty dangerous rump ya got there," Ongull admitted.
The Sawback's nostril flared, as he caught the scent of the fish in the bag. He clacked his jaws, and Ongull thought he saw a little dab of drool trickled down from the corner of his mouth. "Well, I've taken my notes on these specimens, and we have other supplies back at camp, so you're welcome to these," Ongull offered the grumpy, but hungry dragon. He fought one-handed with the bag latch and finally popped it open. He fished out a cod and held it out to the Sawback. The dragon whined for a moment, warring internally with skepticism and hunger. Of course his hungry belly spoke louder and the Sawback slipped out his rough tongue and pulled the cod into his mouth with relish. He let the fishy goodness sit on his tongue before swallowing. The dragon could certainly fish, but with the old injury it made it just a bit harder. Ongull fed him another cod and then another, until the cod were all gone. Code certainly weren't the largest fish of the sea, but they were tasty, apparently so for dragons as they were for Vikings.
"Glad you liked those," Ongull said jovially to the Sawback. He reached out and patted the dragon carefully on the snout in friendship, reasonably sure the Sawback wouldn't snap it off. The dragon didn't do much more than grumble, appreciative of the food in his stomach. Ongull pulled out the big Char next. The Sawback's mouth started watering abundantly as the Viking held out the fish. He grasped it carefully, then started crunching on it happily.
Just then, a loud roar sounded in the distance and rapidly got closer. Ongull recognized his own dragon's angry voice; it was ZipZap coming. "You know," Ongull said conversationally to the Sawback, "You'll get to have what's left of the carcass in just a few moments."
ZipZap closed in, sending charged bolts amongst the Speed Stingers. They screeched in alarm ans scattered. The lead Stinger valiantly sprung into the air in an attempt to confront the aerial attacker. But ZipZap sent him sailing backward though the air, twitching madly, with another shock blast. The pack of Stingers retreated rapidly, the lead Stinger trailing behind, dazed. ZipZap landed and nudged his immobile rider.
"Thank you, ZipZap, yer a good boy!" Ongull praised, patting him awkwardly on the cheek with his usable arm. The Shockjaw grunted at the Sawback, who grumbled in return. ZipZap left briefly, then returned with his saddle and dropped it next to Ongull. He shrugged helplessly. "I can't mount ya, boy. Best if you go get some help for us old codgers, here." He waved in the general direction of the camp and hoped ZipZap would understand. The Shockjaw nudged him once more to see if he would move, then sprang into the air and flew out of sight.
Ongull sighed. The Speed Stingers would pose a lot of trouble for anyone settling on Icestorm Island. Perhaps that's why the ancient Vikings on this island had appeared to live in the caves with the Groncicles and let the Stingers have the surface. They were ornery and volatile, and got into anything that might be edible. Its a wonder they didn't cause more problems for Mildew. Guess they didn't like cabbages and sourpusses.
The Sawback was shuddering now, and his spiky wings looked like they were loosening up from paralysis. Ongull hoped his own immobility would wear off soon, too.
"Well, its been fun, ehh, RidgeRump?"
The Sawback grunted in return.
Before long, ZipZap returned with Phlegma on her gray Gronckle. "Well, this is quite a pickle you two are in!" she said sternly, fists on her hips.
The Speed Stinger induced paralysis was now rapidly wearing off both the Viking and the sharp-ridged dragon. Ongull managed to sit up. "Ahh well, you know, first hand experience is always the best, isn't it?" he replied, rubbing his head. He was getting a headache. Phlegma cinched on the saddle to ZipZap and helped Ongull aboard and strapped in.
The Sawback was standing on wobbly legs. He didn't care much for the presence of the Shockjaw and Gronckle, but they weren't competing with him for food and he was in no shape to bicker with other dragons.
"Well, my friend, may Thor's fortune shine upon you!" Ongull bid goodbye. He reached into the backpack and pulled out the Deepsea Redfish and sighed. He had been looking forward to stewing it. "You need this more than me," he said and flung the fish at the Sawback. The dragon eyed it for just a quick moment, then slowly chewed it, enjoying every bit.
"Appreciative for a Sawback, isn't he?" Phlegma laughed. "Alright, let's go then." Both Vikings launched into the air on their dragons. "I've got some good tea you should drink when we get back," Phlegma yelled to Ongull through the chilly air.
After a good night's sleep and some good tea (followed by some good ale, of course), Ongull awoke to grunting and growling outside the patched-up house the surveyors were staying in. They were making use of the abandoned houses from Hiccup's foray onto Icestorm Island, holes filled in with surprisingly insulating snow.
Ongull yawned mightily. It seemed the others had already left for the day to do their studies. He stepped outside, feeling invigorated by the cold air. Suddenly a rancid gust of air blew across him, making him gag. "What tha...?" The Sawback huffed his bad breath at him and then bumped him over into the snow. "Is that how ya greet people?" Ongull guffawed. The Viking went into the house and came back with some fish and a slice of dried yak, which the Sawback ate readily.
"I see yer a smart one! Comin' her for tha' food. Question is, old man, do ya want to follow us back to Berk?"
Grumpy. He's middle-aged, and not very spooked or surprised by much anymore. Age has also made him a wee bit more tolerant of some humans and other dragons. But he will not fail to be roused to battle if the need arises!
Sawback Species Information:
Sawbacks are strong sharp class dragons that make great war machines. They are being hunted down and captured for war and for their spikes, making the species endangered. They are spikey and sharp indeed; from their head to their tail, to their toes to their wings. Riding one is nearly impossible, unless you have the proper saddle. They are a streamlined species, making them very fast, probably one of the fastest dragons out there. Every part of its body can be used as a weapon, even its shoulders. Known for its fierce bite, sharp wings and body, you'll be broken by the time on these is done with you.
Weapons: Whip-like tail that can be used to squeeze enemies to death; powerful jaws and teeth strong enough to crush bone; razor sharp wings that act similar to a Razorwhip's; many, many spikes everywhere. Fire: The Sawback breathes a blazing white fire instead of regular, orange fire.
Size: Sawbacks resemble a Fireworm Queen somewhat; they are almost two times larger than a Night Fury. However, the wingspan is only about as long as a FQ's.
Strengths: Very strong, battle dragon. Also very clever. Fast and agile.
Weaknesses: Sawbacks are extremely stubborn and confident, usually getting themselves in tight situations. They hate bright light, so you will rarely see one in the middle of the day. Also known to have terrible tempers.
Habitat: Sawbacks can be found in cold climates, such as Icestorm Island.
Behavior: They are usually very aggressive around other dragons, sometimes even other Sawbacks. They are quiet and mysterious, but active during the night.
Hearing, Smell, and Sight: Sawbacks don't have good eyesight. However, they have excellent hearing and smell.
Colors: They come in basically any color out there.
- Attack: 24
- Speed: 16
- Armor: 15
- Firepower: 18
- Shot Limit: 4
- Venom: 0
- Jaw Strength: 14
- Stealth: 9
- Ongull is an Old Norse name meaning "fishhook". The last name is a combination of Ol, meaning "ale" or "beer", and Torsk, meaning "cod".
- An Ell is a measurement for length used by the Vikings. It is the distance between the elbow and the end of the middle finger. For Vikings, this was approximately 18 inches.
- Ongull is part of a four person survey team, that included Phlegma the Fierce (a Canon character) and Molda Fungisteinn.