A Friendship Sealed With Spit
Wilfred the Wacko watched as a small debilitated Dragon Hunter ship limped into Berk's port. He sat with his friends, Dillweed and Ichor, on a house roof. The chief's son and his cohort had raided another Dragon Hunter ship to free the captured dragons. The ship itself would most likely be disassembled and used for parts and scrap. The Hunters on board had either been put in a small boat and set adrift, or possibly brought to Berk for questioning. Berk was unusual in the Viking world in that their tribe did not have thralls. Everyone was free. It might've been what helped its residents accept dragons so readily. Other tribes might think them odd or 'soft', but Berkians didn't care. They were proud Vikings and successful without subjugating men or dragons.
But Wilfred wasn't really interested in any of that cultural or political stuff. He and his friends were only interested in dragons. Dragons were freed from Hunter ships and camps, but sometimes they were brought back to Berk because they were injured and neglected, or mentally traumatized and did not even remember how to be a free dragon. It was these dragons that Wilfred eagerly watched for.
"I wonder if they found any new or unusual dragons?" Dillweed asked excitedly.
"Looks like they are starting to unload some cages!" Ichor replied.
"But they are free now, why do they still need to be in cages?" Wilfred questioned. He was the most sensitive of the group if perhaps not the brightest.
"Oh you know why," Ichor said, but not unkindly. Since getting accepted into the Dragon Academy and taming a strange Night Fury-like dragon he named Mid-Mon, Ichor had become quite studious. He was more responsible now, but his trickster ways still surfaced now and then. "Those dragons don't trust people and aren't trained. Or too weak to fly on their own. They might hurt themselves or people."
The few cages that were carted off the ship were covered as best as could be, but the boys could still see an occasional jaw prying at the bars or hear a reptilian cry. There were a few freed dragons that had followed the ship back on their own, uncertain of what to do. The resident Berk dragons were clustered nearby, to see what was going on and to inspect the newcomers. The caged dragons would get taken to the Arena and housed in the pens there.
Ichor continued. "I know they are going from one cage to another, but its for their own good. They need to be convinced to let us help them and train them. And show that people aren't too bad. And dragon on Berk needs some kind of training. I mean, don't you remember before our dragons were trained? All the poo??"
"Ha, ha, that's your job," Dillweed joked. Ichor frowned at him. Ichor had gotten into so much trouble, that he had practically become the garbage man of Berk.
Before the Dragon Riders had done basic training with the dragons residing on Berk, they pooped everywhere. Potty-trained dragons made much better neighbors.
"I know, its still sad to see though," Wilfred finally replied.
"I'd love to get a closer look," Dillweed commented. This was the truth, but Wilfred suspected he also said that to stir up Ichor.
Predictably, Ichor replied. "The Arena will be closed for a while," he said seriously. "We don't want just anybody wandering in and oogling the dragons. But we are dragon-riders in training so it ought to be okay if we look. It will be a learning experience after all. But let's go tonight," Ichor said, completely justifying the mischievousness.
"Tonight then," Dillweed agree.
"Can we bring some fish? Like some nice salmon. They probably haven't had a nice juicy fish in a long time," Wilfred wondered.
Wilfred dragged two buckets of fat salmon and trout into the Arena, following Ichor and Dillweed. Ichor was sitting on his Septic Fury, Mid-Mon. Mid-Mon was not a particularly social dragon, and stepped into the ring grumbling. "Don't you want to see the new dragons?" Ichor cajoled his dragon. Ichor slid off Mid-Mon's back. The dragon walked along the back wall where the pens were, sniffing at each one and giving a brief greeting grunt into each. He paused for a moment, then exited the Arena. "Hey Mid-Mon! Where are you going?" Ichor called after him. Mid-Mon had sniffed out the new dragons, so he was finished with his visit and flew back to his pit.
Wilfred and his friends turned back to the four pens. The first had a ribby Gronckle who looked quite tired, but not terribly scared of humans. As soon as it saw the fish it came forward and opened its mouth expectantly. Then the boys saw why the Gronckle was there - most of its teeth were blackened or gone, and its mouth and throat looked raw and inflamed. It swallowed the fish anyway, despite the pain. Most likely the Gronckle had been worked too long to make Granckle Iron. Vomiting up molten rock one too many times was bound to cause problems.
The next case had a small Rumblehorn cowering at the back. It visibly shivered every time one of the boys said something, and remained very still, even when they slid in a few fish. Wilfred hoped it at least ate the fish when they were gone.
The third cage had a very angry stumbling Nadder. It roared and shot one spine at the pen gate. Evidently it had no other spines to shoot. Probably the Hunters has pulled them forcefully, before the spines were fully mature. Its leg was also badly infected where a manacle had been. The boys tried to throw in fish. The Nadder snapped them up and rage at them after each one.
There was an inquisitive chirping from the fourth. Wilfred peered in, holding out a fatty salmon. Inside was a smaller sized dragon. It looked very much like a royal red and gold Speed Stinger. However, it had an extra pair of yellow eyes and what appeared to be large but crumpled wings at its sides. The wings had probably been tied down for so long that they had become misshapen. Time would tell if they were able to stretch back out or were permanently damaged.
"Hey, a four-eyed, winged Speed Stinger!" Wilfred exclaimed quietly. The dragon stepped forward and sniffed his hand and the fish, then took it and ate it in two hungry bites.
"Hmm, no, its not a Speed Stinger. They don't have wings or four eyes," Dillweed said, considering the dragon species.
"Well I know, but he kind of looks like one," Wilfred said, holding out another fish, which the dragon ate. "You're hungry, aren't you?" Wilfred addressed the dragon. He nuzzled Wilfred's hand for more fish. The boy rubbed him on the nose. At least this dragon wasn't terribly scared, only cautious. Wilfred gave the dragon a third fish.
"Don't feed him too much," Ichor advised. "They aren't used to having so much. Their stomachs might explode or something." All three boys cringed at the thought.
The dragon peered at Wilfred for a moment, then chirped at him. He started drooling, and literally hocked a loogie at the pen gate, then looked at Wilfred again. The boy half-expected a terrible odor or sizzling of acid or something, but nothing happened. The dragon spit again and looked at Wilfred. Then he did it a third time.
"Well that's kind of neat. This dragon likes spitballs. Maybe I should spit, too, so we can relate?" Wilfred wondered.
Dillweed had been wracking his brain to remember what species this dragon was. "Well, I think this is a Scuttling Twin Stinger. So its probably not a good idea to ..." The boys were thrown backwards as the gate exploded. As a friendly gesture Wilfred had spit on the gate, too, but evidently a Twin Stinger's spit was flammable with the addition of another creature's saliva.
"Ouch," Dillweed groaned. "Don't ever hock a loogie again, okay?"
"Well, but that was kind of cool," Ichor said, rubbing his head.
Wilfred just sat up and grinned. The Twin Stinger stepped out of the pen and went over to Wilfred and sniffed his red-brown hair. "You are smart, aren't you," he complemented, not quite ready to stand up yet. Then the dragon zipped away on muscular legs. Even though the dragon's legs were a little atrophied, he was still fast, and vanished from the Arena in the blink of an eye.
"I think we have a problem," Wilfred stated the obvious.
The twin Stinger left the Arena and stood in the town of Berk. He could smell and hear humans and dragons all around. It felt so good to stretch his cramped legs, that he ran right up and down the middle of the town and back. But he hadn't been able to run for such a long time that he soon tired. He also felt a gnawing need for companionship. He could tell the houses had dragons in them, and sometimes the dragons had their own stables. There were dragons on roosts, too. He did not smell fear or pain from any of them. He tried to stretch his wings, but they creaked and popped and would not spread out enough to fly. Most of the other dragons were sleeping and also larger than himself.
There were Night Terrors active right now though, so he sought out a small group. They were up on their lookout perches, but dropped down to sniff the new dragon. He chirped at them and they exchanged sniffs, but then they moved on and he could not follow. He was weary and still hungry and in an unfamiliar place. Where would he go?
"We need to split up and find that dragon," Ichor said.
"And we are already in heaps of trouble, even if we get the dragon back," Dillweed whined. Ichor shrugged.
"I hope he's not scared. He can't fly," Wilfred worried.
Ichor pulled out a net and some rope out from the Arena stores for them to use to capture the dragon and bring him back. "We need to get going now before he gets too far!" Ichor and Dillweed jogged out of the Arena in different directions.
Ichor looked at the rope and frowned. The dragon had already seen too much of ropes, chains, and cages. Hadn't Dillweed said the Twin Stingers were related to Speed Stingers? Except more friendly, had four eyes, and could fly. Oh, and flammable spit and no stinger. But they might be similar as a pack animal. So a lone Twin Stinger might look for company. He was probably still hungry, too, so Wilfred decided to use the rope to tie on a few of the remaining fish instead. At this time of night, most of Berk's dragon residents were sleeping, along with the humans. Except the nocturnal ones like Night Terrors. So Wilfred set out to look around the Night Terror posts.
The Night Terrors glanced at him curiously, as he looked up at them. Then Wilfred looked at the ground. There were dragon foot prints in the dirt, but it was hard to tell from which kind. Maybe they would learn about dragon tracking later on at the Academy? The ground was also a little on the dry side, so it was hard to tell what was fresh or not. Maybe the Terrors had been on the ground? The Terrors and the Twin Stinger both had three-toed feet. But Wilfred saw foot prints that were larger with longer toes, that weren't as frequent as the others. He could sort of pair up the prints, too, and it seemed the smaller prints may have been made by four legs. The more slender prints seemed to only occur from two legs. He wasn't certain, but it was the only lead he could see, especially in dim light.
Wilfred followed the sporadically-occurring footprints and ended up walking up and down the length of the main part of Berk's village. At one point Dillweed saw him and called out from the shadows. "The dragon isn't going to be hiding in the middle of the road." Dillweed was the smart one, and also the skeptical one.
"Maybe he needed to stretch his legs a bit," Wilfred answered back. The boys went their separate ways looking for the missing dragon. Surely a scared dragon might hide, but Wilfred hadn't thought the Twin Stinger had acted too particularly frightened.
Eventually Wilfred ended up back at the Night Terror Station. The fish he had tied around his waist were beginning to smell a little, so he off-loaded one for the Terrors. "Do you know where the Twin Stinger went?" He waved his hands about to gesture size and shape. "He's about this big with two legs and four eyes."
The Night Terrors chittered amongst themselves for a moment, then jumped in the air and formed a single line. Their heads were all pointing to the North East.
"Okay then, thank you," Wilfred thanked them politely. He dropped another fish. The Terrors descended and bickered over the fish. Wilfred was not entirely sure what the Night Terrors had meant, but he cast about for more footprints and did find one in the North Easterly direction, so he followed it. He found another footprint every now and again. After awhile he realized he was heading back to the Arena. But that was silly for a dragon to head back to the Arena! Well, wasn't it? Wilfred thought some more. If he were all alone and tired and hungry in a place he didn't know, he would probably go back to the place he knew a teeny bit and where there was a bed and he knew food had been. Right? Wilfred sighed. His two friends were not around to tease him for a silly idea, so he would just look anyway.
He trudged into the ring. "Zippy Twin Stinger, are you here?" he called out. A growl came from the Nadder's pen. Wilfred went over to the fourth pen and peered inside. "Oh there you are. You must have run all around Berk and then came back here. You are very ... Zippy."
The dragon was sitting upright in the corner licking and chewing at his crumpled wings. There was a big fresh pile of hay in the other corner for the dragon to sleep on, but it was possible he didn't know what to make of it.
"Come over here, Zippy. You sleep here," Wilfred said quietly. He went over to the hay stack himself and sat down. He also held out the remaining fish he had. The Twin Stinger stood up and cocked his head, cautious and considering. It was a delicious-looking fish, and the boy did not give off the same vibes as his previous captors. The dragon walked over slowly, took the fish, and ate it. The dragon's tummy was getting a bit distended. "Now come lay down," Wilfred patted the hay. He lay back himself. His eyes were getting droopy and the hay was comfortable. "Aren't you tired, Zippy? I am." Wilfred yawned.
Zippy, as it seemed he was being called, sniffed at the hay and stepped on it. It was pleasant, and his four eyes also became heavy with sleep.
The next morning in the Arena, Dillweed and Ichor were scowling and kicking at the ground. Wilfred and the Twin Stinger were tangled up together, sleeping in the hay. Instead, they had been up all might searching, and now had to listen to Gobber mete out their punishment. As usual it was trash duty, as well as fixing the pen gate.
"Should I wake up Wilfred, then, so we can get to it?" Dillweed offered sulkily.
"No, lad, he's got a few lessons to start with his new dragon," Gobber replied.
Dillweed was irritated Wilfred was getting out of punishment, but deep down he was happy for his friend. And a little sad. When would he get a dragon of his own?
Dragon Name (10%):
Zippy. This is a simple name reflective of something that Wilfred would come up with. Zippy because the Twin Stinger is very "Zippy!"
Zippy is like other Twin Stingers - loyal and fun. But we are only learning this about Zippy. He is pretty up beat and sunny, and his captivity with the Dragon Hunters did not damage him too much mentally. He is perhaps a little too trusting or not cautious enough, in new situations. He is from a pack species, so is very social and accepting of other dragons. If he is alone too long, he can get anxious. He loves running, and flying. However, he needs some massage and physical therapy to his wing before we know if he can fly again. He had enjoyed sort of running and flying on top of the sea, and in a way, walking the waves, in the past.
About the Scuttling Twin Stinger:
(direct quote from creator Grumpyforlife2)
the scuttling twin stinger is a sharp class dragon and the long lost cosin of the speed stinger. they have large canopy like wings, and four eyes, and two muscled legs for running. the scuttling twin stinger is a speedy dragon ether on land or in the sky. they are about the size of their cosin, the speed stinger and can easily keep up with them in a race. allthough the scuttling twin stinger and the speed stinger are close relatives, they are barley anything alike.
the scuttling twin stinger is not hostile or territorial like the speed stinger. instead it is a loyal, fun loving companion. they dont have barbed tails ether, but shoot a gross slimey spit that eglnites as soon as it is activated by a secret element. (other dragons and human's saliva, for some reason)
dragon hunters have nearly whiped out this species for its special spit. they use it to coat their ropes so their captives will think twice about biting though them. so far, only one has been saved. hopefully hiccup and the dragon riders will free more soon.