This Character was created to "adopt" a fan-species dragon called the Thorny Sea Hound. These dragons were created by WitcherForever on the SOD Forum topic "Thorny Sea Hound Adoptables!!!! by Witcherforever".
A Trading Tangle
Tarvald looked behind him uneasily, as he manned the steerboard. The reddish shape in the distance behind them had been following their Knarr for a day and a half, shortly leaving Cadiz at the bottom of the Iberian Peninsula.
Tarvald was a trader from Berk, sailing on a Knarr with traders from other tribes like Chilblain, Outcast, and others. Each had good to trade from their lands like iron and copper ores, lovely dyed skeins of yard and other woolen goods, leather crafts, walrus ivory, furs, dried fish, and of course, dragon products. Tarvald and the others got their dragon goods without harming the dragons, which was more than they could say for some peoples of the Archipelago and beyond. The Dragon Hunters had some very lucrative trading in dragon bone, dragon hides, various other dragon parts, and even live dragons. Tarvald had even heard that some people ate dragon.
The market at Cadiz was vibrantly bustling with activity, with peoples from all over the known world. There were people of so many shades of brown, Tarvald thought of a rainbow of earth and soil from pale chalky pebbles to the darkest rich humus. Most of its residents and visitors to Cadiz were also strange to the Viking in that they all - Muslin, Jewish, Christian - worshiped only a single god rather than the many that a Norseman enjoyed. He must be a very busy God, Torvald thought.
There was one particular merchant, who was quite jovial, with a neatly trimmed salt and pepper beard, that knew a few Norse words and eagerly paid in silver and merchandise for Viking goods. His rotund belly was covered with fine cloth robes and a pile of wound fabric sat atop his head. Tarvald lifted the lid on one of his crates, and pulled out a well-crafted chain-mail haubergeon. Except it was more than just simple chain mail - it was composed of Monstrous Nightmare scales plated together with Gronckle Iron links. Very hard to penetrate and fire proof. There were more pieces to the set, decorated with Deadly Nadder spines on the pauldrons and greaves. He had this in addition to the more usual woolen products, iron blanks, daggers of Gronckle Iron, figurines and bowls of Deathsong Amber, and so on.
Tarvald received silk, exotic fruits, spices and herbs, a strange alcoholic beverage called 'wine', fine dishware, and even silver. Vikings loved their silver. Then the merchant brought out three clay jars to present to Tarvald. "You people, have physician?" he asked.
Tarvald furrowed his brow. "Fie-zish-an?" he sounded out, the word strange to his tongue.
The merchant thought for a moment. "The man who make sick go away. Ehm, fix cuts," he made a hacking motions on his arm, followed by sewing motions.
"Oh, a healer! Yes, we have healers, especially one particular old woman," Tarvald said, thinking of Gothi and her tall staff.
The merchant made a dismissive gesture. "Ahh, old woman. You heel-er like this," he said, lifting the lid on one jar. Inside was a mucousy substance. It smelled a little stale. "Make man and dragon sleep. Sleep very good."
Now Gothi had communicated her interest in anything medicinal. "But what is it?" Tarvald asked, expecting the name of some obscure plant, like the greenish translucent goo from a plant called Aloe.
"Ahh, from dragon. Loafer dragon, ehh, Lazy Dragon?" the merchant trailed off into a question, unsure of how to translate "loafer".
At hearing the goo was a dragon product, Tarvald pulled his hand away. Berk was not like many other Viking tribes. They were quite proud of their new status living with dragons, rather than living against them and killing or subjugating them. The merchant was familiar with some Vikings thoughts on the matter of dragons. "Ahh, Lazy Dragon okay. Dragon alive. Dragon happy. He eat garlic. Like very much." Tarvald was assured, but ended up wondering what "gar-lick" was. Anticipating this, the merchant retrieved a rope with bulbs tied to it for drying. They had a sharp smell, which reminded Tarvald of something, but couldn't quite place his finger on it. They were comprised of cloves and flaky skins, and seemed somewhat similar to onions.
"This garlic. Very good to eat. Cook many ways. You take this. Maybe will like you cold place," the merchant said, handing the rope of gar-lick over to Tarvald.
The Viking and moorish merchant parted ways, each pleased with their new wares ans eager to trade again some day.
The trader from Chilblain joined Tarvald near the rear of the ship, looking out over the water with a looking glass. "I don't recognize what kind of serpent that is," he commented. "Best I can tell, he's eel-like and, oh, maybe as long as a Tide Glider?"
Tarvald nodded. "Must be some species that likes warm waters. Masters Hiccup and Fishlegs would be very excited to see all the exotic dragons in the world that traders see."
"But I wonder why he seems to be following us?" the Chilblain trader wondered. "Not quite like Golphins playing with boats."
Tarvald shrugged. "He's very determined for something."
"Well, let's hope its not Viking hides."
That night, the ocean was calm, and the knarr hardly progressed at all. They could row the boat, but being nighttime, the traders-turned-sailors opted to rest and row if needed in the morning.
But as a strange purple mist descended upon the ship in the eerie moonlight, they did not sleep. The sea dragon caught up with the knarr and circled beneath the surface, then lifted his red head and breathed a purple gas down the length of the ship. Surprised, the med checked their own skin and limbs, expecting the dragon gas to cause damage. All was intact and undamaged. But out of the mists emerged figures, each one different for each Viking. As the ship lurched suddenly and rocked, the Vikings confronted their mirages.
Tarvald squinted through the violet mist. "Brother?" His older brother Arnhallr stepped forward.
Vivid imagery played before Tarvald's eyes. Disbelief and gods and ghosts and death. "Arnhallr, how are you here? Is Loki pranking us this night? Have we angered him?"
The apparition shrugged nonchalantly. "Maybe?" his brother answered. "Who are we to understand the will of the gods?"
Tarvald nodded. "But you haven't died back on Berk, have you? Are you a ghost? Has something happened back home?"
"I don't think so," Arnhallr replied vaguely. He walked - or was it floated - past Tarvald and picked up a jar of the sleeping goo from Cadiz. He pushed off the lid and stuck his hand in the goo with relish and licked it from his fingers like honey.
Tarvald grimaced. The goo did not seem particularly inviting to eat. "But that is a sleeping medicine. What use has an apparition for that?"
"Oh, is it medicine? But it is delicious. Try some and tell me all about your travels," Arnhallr beckoned.
God or ghost or other, it was best not to anger him, so Tarvald stepped forward and stuck his finger in the jar and brought some to his lips. It was quite pungent, but not in a bad way. It warmed his mouth and his insides pleasantly. Arnhallr sat down on a crate and Tarvald joined him. Would it hurt to have another taste?
Soon Tarvald was prattling away to his brother-ghost-god well into the night, getting drunk from the stuff in the jar, and finally falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning.
Tarvald grunted in discomfort. His head was throbbing. It felt like he had drank an excessive amount of strong ale. The sun was well along its track across the heavens. The other traders were laid up around the boat, sleeping or groaning. Tarvald was propped up on the crates, leaning on something warm. The jars of Loafer Dragon goo were rolling around, completely and utterly empty.
He was startled when his prop rose and fell as if breathing. He flipped around quickly, though his brain followed uncomfortably along at a slower pace. A dragon. The same dragon that had been following them was laid out on their boat, with sleepy half-lidded eyes. He belched and a puff of purple mist came out. From all of Tarvald's experience - this dragon looked drunk. Drunk and indeed sleepy from the goo from Cadiz. In fact it was very similar to the effects of Dragon Nip. The dragon hiccuped and coiled up in a loop, right around Tarvald. The Viking just stayed put, aching head trying to process this predicament.
One, he was physically safe - kind of - despite being essentially hugged by a drunken wild dragon in the middle of the ocean. As far as he could see, everyone was alive, if not exactly well. Two, this was the dragon that had been following the ship, and following them perhaps by the smell of the gooey potion. Three, the smell of the goo produced by a dragon that ate the garlic stuff - he was able to finally place the smell. It smelled similar to Dragon Nip from back home. Yes, indeed this potion could put man and dragon to sleep all night. Four, well, it appeared he had hallucinated that the dragon was his brother and had a drunken night of talking with him.
"So, Arni, is it," Tarvald murmured to the dragon, using his brother's nickname. "This will certainly be strange to explain to the Berk chieftain, that a tippled dragon climbed aboard and ate this gooey stuff for Gothi." He supposed he should be angry and at least somewhat on edge, but he was not. It just all seemed rather funny.
The trader from Chilblain very slowly got to his feet. "Oh by Loki's back hair, what mess is this? I thought my wife was nagging me all last night!" He blinked wide-eyed for a moment and then burst out in booming guffaws.
"Well, this here is my brother, Arni," Tarvald said, patting 'Arni's' red scaled hide. He belted out a laugh, too. Then the serpent lifted his head and let out a repetitive guttural noise from his throat that could only be laughter. Then the dragon rolled over, belly up to catch the sun. Tarvald extricated himself from the dragon's coils and slowly stretched.
One of the other traders arose, with his hand on a sword, glaring angrily at the dragon.
Tarvald spoke up. "Best to leave sleeping dragons lie."
The Chilblain trader nodded in agreement. The Outcast trader was sitting up, looking a little haunted from his personal ghosts, but he nodded as well. "Ya don't wanna mess with an angry serpent and I don't wanna see that mist again, neither."
The fifth trader had backed away from the dragon, but reluctantly agreed with the others. "If he fights and thrashes about, the goods or the ship could be damaged."
The sword-wielding trader slowly slid the sword back in its scabbard and crossed his arms sullenly.
The trader-sailors are some food - just simple water and some fermented fish and pickled vegetables. The pungent fish was a good wake-up call to their systems. Tarvald placed a few fillets in front of the dragon's nose. Many of Berk's dragons liked a good rotted fish, would Arni? The dragon licked up the fish and smacked his jaws, seeming to like the flavor.
The ship was still fairly stationary in the water, so the men worked in shifts to row the knarr until a decent sea breeze could catch the sail. In the meantime, Arni slept for a bit longer, then slowly became more and more alert. He peered at the humans and at the ship he was on. Perhaps he was embarrassed, or becoming aware of his predicament and didn't want to make any sudden moves to provoke the Vikings. At least that's what Tarvald supposed. He retrieved some more fermented fish and held it out gingerly to the dragon, as a friendly gesture. Arni jerked his head away quickly, then brought it back slowly, nostrils flaring and eying Tarvald skeptically. His tongue slipped out and tasted the fish, then daintily took it from Tarvald's hand. The Viking brought up his other hand and stroked the dragon's muzzle. For a moment Arni was still, then he slid off the knarr into the water. The dragon followed along side for a little while, considering, then turned away to head back to warmer waters.
Arni never did venture any farther North, as he was a tropical dragon, and sub-tropical temperatures was all he could tolerate. But every trip Tarvald made to the Iberian Peninsula for trade, he would bring along Berkian Dragon Nip for the trip South, and the more exotic 'Dragon Nip' for the trip North, as a treat for Arni. And every trip the dragon would join him for a drunken night of human and draconian laughter.
About the Thorny Sea Hound:
Fire Type: Toxic mist that makes its prey see mirages Abilities: The dragons are the perfect tracker, they can sense their prey from miles away and track it for days without losing the scent. Their mist is also one of their most powerful abilities
Size: The size of a Tide Glider
Habitat: Tropical seas and small reefs
Sailors tell legends about a mystery dragon that ambushes ships in its mysterious fog and makes the crew see all kind of strange things, using their distraction to steal from the ship. Not only that but once it senses your ship it never stops following it until it gets what it wants. The dragon was also told to be one of the fastest swimmers, it could also breathe on land and its silhouette could be easily spotted on some of the rocks by the shore. The Thorny Sea hound is a very territorial dragon, it’s also very smart and prefers to steal food from ships instead of hunting on its own. Once trained they can be very loyal to their rider, but their independence can easily get in the way when it comes to taking commands, but with time, even the most stubborn ones start to listen to their trainers. The Sea Hounds are also very proud and easily get offended, do not insult their pride or you’ll get in a lot of trouble, they are very stealthy and have very strong jaws.
- Viking traders often hired a boat and several pooled their resources for it. They often were the ones sailing the ship themselves and split the work evenly.
- A "knarr" is a Viking Merchant ship. It was wider and heftier than the traditional longship used for war. It had oars, but not as many as a war longship.
- In real life history, slaves were one of the most traded "goods" by Vikings :( In Norse, the word for slaves is "thrall".
- I attempted to incorporate elements of the Book Dragons. Golphins and Loafer Dragons are book species. The Books have Dragon Nip, but instead of being a plant, it is sweat from the Loafer Dragon and causes drunkenness and drowsiness.
- Some fans speculate that the Dragon Nip from the Franchise is a type of wild garlic or ramps or wild onion or garlic grass or something related to what we think of as garlic. Garlic as we know it grows in temperate weather areas, so might not grow well in northern Scandinavia? So, going on this theory, the Loafer dragon was fed garlic (in theory related to Dragon Nip) to make its sweat even more potent.
- Most of the Iberian Peninsula, starting around 756 AD was ruled by an Islamic Caliphate (the "moors" you may recall mentioned in "Othello"). Though of course as in those days everyone wasn't equal like in modern times, the peoples of the caliphate were very diverse and relatively tolerant of all religions and colors. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all lived together, as well as peoples from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.
- Vikings actually raided as far as the Iberian Peninsula (and traded, too). Cadiz was raided in about 844 AD.
- The trader from Chilblain and Tarvald's comrade aboard the trade ship is Herbjert Svellheim. He has his own story.