This character was created to accompany two fan dragon species, the Clicking Claw and the Glowy Cave Lizard. The Clicking Claw is the creation of Wutend Bonfire and can be seen on the School of Dragons Forum threads, "Bonfire's Left-over Adopts!" and "Clicking Claw - dragon adoptables". ScarfyWings created the Glowy Cave Lizard, and can be seen at the SOD Forum thread: "Scarfy's Adoptables".
The Real Tunnel Run
Snotra Snozzlestein held the charcoal and journal somewhat awkwardly. Droplaug was always the one to take notes, not her. Yet here they were, standing at the entrance of the Whispering Death Caves below Berk. Why hadn't they sealed this entrance up? Or at least made it easier to get in to. It was a hole in the ground right next to the Great Hall. The Outcasts had either sealed off or utilized all of their tunnels, after all. The Berkians had made the largest cavern into their Dragon Hangar, but there were countless other tunnels.
The Berkian Elders, i.e. the Chief and Gobber, had tasked her team to explore the tunnels and note any changes or new branches that might have been chewed out. It was of course important that Berk did not collapse. In their dealings with Whispering Deaths however, the Outcasts had found that the dragons had the uncanny ability to know just where to tunnel and how much they could do, yet maintain stability of the surface. Of course, that is, unless they wanted an island to collapse. Baby Deaths were a little less sensible to stability, and the Outcasts couldn't speak about other tunnels and rock-chewing species.
Snotra and Droplaug shimmied down a rope, equipped with shuttered oil lamps and their note-taking supplies. Bera, their other teammate, was not with them, but instead enjoying time with her Mistwhirl Dragon.
"I'd rather be exploring the woods," Droplaug muttered.
"Or, you know, training dragons or something?" Snotra agreed sarcastically.
Droplaug sighed and squared her shoulders. "Well, we are training, training to follow orders, collect information, and help the tribe."
"But this isn't our tribe!" Snotra continued to complain.
"No, but, it kind of is, until we are done learning. At the least, we are allies," Droplaug said.
"Yeah, yeah," Snotra grumped. Droplaug was right of course. She'd just rather be riding a dragon.
The girls wandered down the main tunnel, and were very quickly presented with a fork in the path.
"I'll take the right!" Snotra called dibs, hoping it would be easier, as it went in the direction of the stables and hangar.
Evidently Droplaug has the same idea. "I wanted to go right, too."
Both girls frowned at each other and held out their fists. "Rock - Parchment - Dagger," they both said simultaneously.
Snotra concentrated hard.
"Rock - Parchment - Dagger."
Snotra held out her index finger for Dagger at Droplaug's fist for Rock.
"Rock - Parchment - Dagger."
This time she kept a fist for Rock to Droplaug's index finger dagger.
Both girls grinned determinedly at each other.
"Rock - Parchment - Dagger!"
Snotra kept her winning fist-Rock. Droplaug flattened her hand for Parchment. Snotra hissed like a dragon.
Droplaug snorted. "You're a little predictable, Snotra. See ya later!" She waved and started down the right side tunnel, but turned back for a moment. "We're just looking, okay? We aren't here to get hurt or anything. Just go back topside if you find anything ... dangerous," she advised her friend.
Snotra crossed her arms indignantly. "Whatever, wouldn't that be something if these empty caves got a little exciting." She just hoped she wouldn't step in any Whisper dung.
Snotra started off down the left-side tunnel, holding out the lantern in front of her. The sides had shutters of sorts, so that the light of the flame was pointing forward and not back into her face.
The tunnels split even more, but all were marked on the map of the caverns. Nothing new to note. The tunnels had very few bats in them, probably because they made a convenient meal for cave dragons from time to time. A Whispering Death slithered through the air past her, whirring its teeth at Snotra angrily as the light hit its eyes suddenly.
"Sorry," she called after the dragon, then stumbled on something hard and crumbly. She shined the lantern down. Oh nice, Whisper dung. At least Whisper dung wasn't too smelly. The stool was both a bit chalky and a bit clay-like, owing to all the rocks they ingested. It laid across the tunnel floor and led to a small tunnel. Evidently the Whispers had nearly filled up this particular tunnel, using it as a toilet. Definitely not passable anymore.
Snotra moved on down the Whisper warrens. Her foot skidded across the floor again. "Ewww!" She grimaced at the smell that hit her nose. It was almost as if someone was burning roses to cover up the stench of a midden. She looked down. More dung. Only this big pile was not deposited near any other in a toilet area like the previous Whisper dung. It was right in the middle where anyone could step in it.
"I thought Berk potty-trained their dragons," Snotra muttered, disgusted. This wasn't even Whisper dung, for sure.
She jotted a note down in her journal. She was definitely going to bring this up to the Elders. She scraped what she could off the bottom of her boot.
Snotra moved on, until she came to a wide water pool, with a few small falls trickling into it from the rocks. Every now and again, a blind cave fish flashed by just beneath the surface. The pool itself was already well documented though. She frowned at the sight of two more piles of that sweet-stinking stool. Two more Whispers floated through, pausing just long enough to glare at her, then moved on.
Snotra walked around to the far side, avoiding the dung piles. The lantern light speared ahead, then fell upon a thick-ribbed moving body in the darkness. It came into her sights so abruptly she screamed and hurled a rock at it just as the creature was grabbing up a small dragon whole in its mouth. It was a Sweet Death that Snotra had stumbled upon in the act of eating a meal. "Yahhh! Yahh!" Snotra yelled at it, a little embarrassed she had just squealed, and hurled another rock at it. The Sweet Death was equally surprised and spit back out the little dragon and whipped his head around to roar at her. Snotra charged at him, lantern swinging in front of her. The Sweet Death blinked his beady eyes against the light and the Viking girl. Potential prey was not supposed to run toward you. Perhaps she wasn't for eating. The bewildered Sweet Death turned away and ran down another tunnel. That tunnel was new and definitely not on the map.
Snotra ran up to the spit-out little dragon. It lay still for a moment and then took in a single heaving breath. Still alive. She grabbed up the grey dragon, gooey with Sweet Death spit. It was caustic and her hands started to get red and felt like they were burning. She rushed the dragon to a small waterfall and plunged him into the cold water. He wailed and stuck his long claws into her arm, clinging tightly. Snotra hissed as blood trickled from the pricks, but ignored it and splashed and rubbed the little dragon all over, trying to wash off the acidic saliva. The dragon's scales were a bit pitted and the skin was as red as hers, but the damage looked like it would heal just fine with the application of some ointment or other from a Healer. She peeled off her outer tunic and wrapped up the wet little beast. He flexed his long claws and grumbled weakly. Snotra stuffed him into her backpack and put it back on. The dragon struggled a little, then fell still.
Darn Droplaug for insisting Snotra study the map before going into the caves. She remembered the tunnel the Sweet Death had run down was not on the map, which was now at the bottom of her pack, along with her journal, They were essentially unreachable, as she didn't want to disturb the recently eaten dragon. She did still have her charcoal out, so she drew an "X" on the wall of the unfamiliar tunnel, picked up the lantern, and started down it. She would definitely need to say something to the Elders. Not only were dragon defecating willy-nilly, but someone wasn't feeding their Sweet Death enough to keep them satisfied and un-interested in hunting! Unless ... Snotra felt a pang of apprehension. Maybe it was a wild dragon. There was free fish for all above ground at the feeding stations. Or it could be a resident dragon who just had a high hunting drive, and the little dragon was a perfect target. She didn't recall hearing about any dragons being down here other than the resident Whispering Deaths, though. Or she just hadn't been paying attention.
Snotra continued down the tunnel, marking "X"s on the walls as she went. The tunnel was pretty straight though. There were several side tunnels, but they all dead-ended in cobwebs and discarded bat bones and bodiless wings. She snorted in irritation as the cobwebs stuck to her hair. Where was that Sweet Death?
Snotra's nose wrinkled again. The close air of the tunnel was starting to get heavy with a sweet smell. It was actually fairly pleasant except for an undertone of something unpleasant. Like a rot smell. The little dragon in her sack poked his long head out and sniffed. He made a low, worried whistle, then slid back into the sack. It seemed safe there.
"Ugh, stinky dragons," Snotra complained to herself. There was more dung splatted on the cave floors. The main, undocumented tunnel gently curved right. Snotra rounded it and stopped. The tunnel dead-ended, with three deep and shrouded crevices. A single purple dragon - not a Sweet Death - peered with wonder at the pink tree saplings growing out of the crevices. The purple dragon leaned toward one of the pink trees.
"No! Get back!" Snotra yelled, her voice echoing loudly on the cave rocks. The dragon reared back in surprise and squealed, just as three Sweet Deaths lunged forward from the crevices at the dragon. One grabbed her tail, but quickly let go as the cave was suddenly bathed in a light even brighter than the lantern Snotra held. All the dragon's spines and wings and tail lit up. The dragon screeched again and started barrelling down the tunnel straight at Snotra. The Sweet Deaths roared in anger and pursued their dinner. Though the element of surprise was gone, it was still three against one.
"Oh Thor," Snotra muttered, then turned and started running herself. The dragon that was lit up like a Candle rushed past. There was no way a Viking was going to outrun a cave dragon in a cave, so she grabbed at the purple dragon as she dashed by. "I'm coming along whether you like it or not. Sorry Candle!" Snotra barked. She was counting on the panicked dragon to be more pre-occupied with escaping the predators than biting at an unwanted rider. Candle shook her leg on the run, but Snotra hung on and crawled onto her back. I ought to advance straight to flying classes for this, Snotra thought.
Candle bounded down the tunnel, half jumping and half flying. The Sweet Deaths were close behind, snarling and slobbering their acid spit. Candle and Snotra reached the larger cavern with the pool, and the dragon jumped into the air, headed for a tunnel that led deeper into the island.
"No! There!" Snotra directed to the tunnel she knew led to the exit. She leaned heavily on Candle on her Right side to make her turn. The dragon obliged. Anywhere to get away from the predators.
They blazed past the two patrolling Whispers, who screeched at the sudden bright light. The Whispers floated to the cave floor, momentarily befuddled. They quickly got their wits about them though, as the three Sweet Deaths roared up. It was suddenly Deaths facing Deaths. Snotra wasn't sure what happened, as she and Candle disappeared down the tunnels.
Snotra leaned on the dragon again on the left and then on the right. The fork where she and Droplaug split paths rushed by, along with a wide-eyed Droplaug.
"Get topside!" Snotra yelled at her dwindling teammate. The voice just behind her head startled the dragon even more and she screeched. The dead-end at the entrance speed forward and Candle banked sharply upward into daylight. Snotra clung tightly. The daylight didn't blind her as expected, probably because there was Dragon light already around her. Snotra leaned way back and to the right. The Great Hall. "There! Fly there!"
The dragon wobbled in the air and sharply turned to the Hall. The large heavy wooden doors were open, presenting a possible hiding place. Candle ducked in on wing and landed roughly on the floor. She screeched in anxiety at the unfamiliarity. The dragon bounded to a dark corner and wedged herself in it. She made one last attempt to shake off the human from her back, and when that failed, Candle flicked off her body's light and huddled stone still. Maybe the predators wouldn't see her.
Snotra slid off the dragon's back and huffed. "Well that was something." She looked about the Hall. The small grey dragon in her pack had been quiet this whole time, but now poked his head over her shoulder to glance at his surroundings.
There was a young man standing in the Hall with a Whispering Death looming over him. He was speaking with Gobber. Gobber excused himself and thumped over to Snotra.
"I hear somethin' is fishy - err - dragon-ey down in the tunnels, ehh?" Gobber eyed the dragons at Snotra's back. Candle squeaked and pushed her head into Snotra's back, pretending to be invisible. Gobber casually handed over two small herring to the Viking girl. Snotra handed one over her shoulder to the grey dragon, then slid the other behind her and up to Candle's snout. The little one sniffed the fish, then delicately pulled it into the pack. It was going to be smelly in there. Snotra just hoped her journal withstood the dragon "assault" okay.
Candle stood still, but Snotra could feel the dragon's warm breath tickling her palm. Finally she licked the herring from her hand. She chewed twice, swallowed, then was still again.
"Looks like a Glowy Cave Lizard and a Clicking Claw," Gobber informed her, scratching his chin. "What'er ya going ta name them?"
Snotra started at him incredulously for a moment. When did he think she had time to name them? "But don't you need to ...," Snotra cut herself off and shrugged. "This one's Candle," she pointed behind her at the purple dragon, "And this one is Scuttles. Is Gothi around? He needs some salve or something."
Aye, that Sweet Death spit can get corrosive," he grinned. He already knew something of what was going on, probably from the Rider with the Whispering Death. He motioned to the boy and yelled, "Go git Gothi, will ya?" The boy let out a big sigh and headed out the door.
"Now lass," he continued, turning back to Snotra, "How about you show me what ya saw?" He gestured for her to head over to a table with a ledger and a map on it. Candle squawked once her human shield disappeared, and shuffled in tightly behind Snotra, only sparing a few glances at her surrounding to look for enemies.
Droplaug ran huffing into the Hall, with a bewildered look on her face. "What in Thor's name is going on?" she exclaimed.
"Its more fun going the hard path," Snotra informed her haughtily. Then she smiled and beckoned her friend over, to explain to her and Gobber what had happened.
About the Glowy Cave Lizard
(Quoted from creator ScarfyWings)
As fierce as they look, Glowy Cave Lizards are actually quite shy creature. They can be found deep in caves, where light couldnt reach. Cave Lizards are Whispering Death's natural prey, but luckily, they can emit bright light from their spines, wings and tail as well as their patterns to temporarily scare off the predators.
I imagine them the size of flightmares but smaller. They have quite weak fire power and they are actually scaredy cat, making them easy prey. They just glow and run in danger.
About the Clicking Claw
(Quoted from creator Wutend Bonfire)
A small cave dwelling dragon, the Clicking Claw is a surprising member of the Tidal Class. Living in underground lakes they are more insect than dragon and have a high resistance to most toxins and poisons, specifics varying across individuals.
Scuttles is "A 17 year old male with immunity to all wasps, ants, etc."
The name "Snotra" is an actual Viking name! In fact it is the name of a minor Goddess who represents wisdom and cleverness. But I just used it because it has snot in the name, and therefore appropriate for the HTTYD Franchise!
- Read the story for Bera Brawnyboots, Snotra's teammate.