This character was created to accompany a fan-species dragon called the Solarflare Skrill. Solarflares are the invention of Wutend Bonfire on the School of Dragons Forum thread, "The Solarflare Skrill - Bonfire Original Species, Request Page".
Ylva rode through the dimness over the sea on her Snifflehunch, Nobbin, along with her comrades. Unna was on her Gronckle, Pella on her Groncicle, Annfrid on her Nightmare, and Eistla led the way on her glowing Flightmare showing the way. Normally Annfrid was at the front of the pack, but Eistla was this time out of necessity. The season of Eternal Night was upon them, and Flightmare light shined farther than a lantern. Well Nightmares could, but not without risking their riders to prolonged flame exposure.
A few of the friendly resident Gronckles living on Dragon's Edge followed along, mostly clustered around Unna and Pella. Each of the riders had a sack of olivine and other rocks that Gronckles found particularly tasty. They might not have come with them otherwise.
The five Viking women and the dragons were on their way to Overcast Island on a mission assigned by Hiccup Haddock himself. Four dragons were stranded on that island, and seemed to be in poor health. The young master seemed a bit frustrated at not handling the situation himself, but he and his Riders had much to take care of on Berk.
Eistla slowed down and held up her arm, then swung it down to point at the land mass below her. A rocky mountain loomed below. The group descended and circled around the island. Eistla and her Flightmare stayed close to the ground so the surface was well lighted. The bluish light eerily bounced off the patches of snow and cast long shadows.
"I don't see them," Pella yelled. They circled the island again.
"Maybe they left on their own," Annfrid yelled back.
Nobbin grunted and sniffed the air. "Do you smell them?" Ylva asked her dragon. She grunted in return. Ylva took that as a yes. "Nobbin might smell something," she yelled out to her comrades, and flew ahead closer to the Flightmare. The Snifflehunch was sniffing in earnest now, then dipped down over the snow. A gray head with gleaming white teeth suddenly lifted out of the gloom and snapped at her belly. Nobbin roared in surprise and landed quickly. In the Flightmare light, the women could see four snow-covered mounds. They were the dragons they were looking for, hidden under a blanket of snow. One's dull grey head was raised, glaring at them all for a moment, then he lowered it again to the ground with a rumbling sigh.
The others had landed as well. Annfrid patted her Nightmare. "Just a light puff, okay?" she asked her dragon. He blew out a short burst of flame over the other dragons to melt the snow.
"What if that wasn't the best thing to do?" Pella frowned, thumbing rapidly through her large volume of the Dragon Journal. The four stranded bests shifted and rolled in agitation, then settled again.
"They're so weak, like they don't have much life in them," Ylva said, approaching one slowly. The dragon glared at the human and growled. Ylva withdrew. "What if they have some sort of dragon scourge?" The women all looked apprehensive for a moment at that thought.
"No, no, I don't think so, I'm pretty sure I've seen this dragon ... Yes, here it is!" Pella said triumphantly. They clustered around her journal and tried to read. Solarflare Skrill. Pella read aloud the pertinent information. "If kept away from sunlight too long, the Solarflare Skrill will be rendered defenseless and become ill."
Ylva leaned over the shorter woman's shoulders and scanned the pages quickly. Migratory and follow the sun. Absorbs sunlight with wings. Glowing veins and throat. She glanced at the dragons. None were glowing at all. In fact, they all looked like dull grey charcoal, with washed out colors here and there. Ylva stepped away and walked in between the four dragons, looking closely at them. The first one appeared to be a young adult male. Two were female. The fourth was a male older than the first, perhaps in his prime. "Why would these sun-lovers be on a dreary island in the middle of Eternal Night?" she wondered aloud.
"They were probably migrating South where there was still daylight," Pella answered.
Ylva stopped next to the older male and looked at him closely. He grumbled at her warily but stayed still. He had a light grey and pink scarred patch on the left side, over the back of his skull. She reached out to touch it. The dragon lifted his head and swung it at the offending Viking, but didn't try to snap. As he did so, his head tilted just a little too much to the left than Ylva thought normal. She moved to the front of him, unafraid that she would get burned down, and looked at him directly in the face. He stared back, head slightly canted to the left. "Usually one dragon leads a pack, right?" Ylva called out.
"Yes, that's right," Pella replied, as the women started circulating amongst the downed dragons.
"This guy's got something wrong with his head," Ylva said, pointing at the male in front of her. "Maybe he led them on the wrong direction."
"Maybe," Pella replied, feeling on the thick wings of a female.
"Looks like you all should've followed this guy instead," Annfrid chimed in, admiring the little bit of spunk the younger male had left in him.
Ylva frowned at her feisty colleague. "Not your fault you're injured," she murmured, and patted the older male on the snout before he could think about nipping.
"Comm'on guys. The Gronckles are loosing interest," Unna reported, reaching far into her sack of rocks. She had been feeding the Edge Gronckles.
"Alright, alright. Eistla ..." Annfrid motioned to the Flightmare rider. Her Flightmare stepped forward and blew her paralyzing breath over the four Solarflares. The girls barely had time to retreat and covered their noses.
Sick or not, wild dragons would not take well to being transported, whether it was for their own good or not. The women unloaded long thick straps and harnesses and quickly wrapped them securely around each Solarflare.
"Don't worry, try to relax," Ylva murmured to the male with the scar. "We're just trying to help."
Once the straps and harnesses were in place, the other dragons - except for the small Flightmare - grabbed up their straps and lifted the dragons into the sky. They slowly made their way back to Dragon's Edge, to see what they could do about the Solarflares. There was still a good several weeks of night to get through for the whole Archipelago.
"You be on good behavior, okay? Don't anger the Queen," Ylva advised the still paralyzed Solarflare with the scar.
"She's not going to like this," Annfrid scowled and crossed her arms. For her comments, she received a wrap on the shoulders from Gothi's cane.
Gothi had arrived at Dragon's Edge on her purple Gronckle with a slight girl who was one of her apprentices. The two poked and prodded at the Solarflares, then huddled together while Gothi wordlessly jotted something down and pointed at things on a few scrolls. The Girl listened, or rather, watched and read. Finally, Gothi poked the apprentice with her staff and prodded her toward Ylva's group, who were waiting for instructions.
The Girl shifted on her feet for a moment a little nervously, but then spoke with a clear voice. "These dragons need the power of the sun to sustain them through Eternal Night."
"Well I could've figured that out," Annfrid blurted out. Ylva elbowed her in the ribs and both women glared at each other.
"Let her finish," Ylva hissed, though the same thought had crossed her mind. Louder, she asked the Girl politely "How can we give them the Sun? There's no way we can fly them that far South to reach it."
The Girl's cheeks colored slightly at first, then she frowned at being interrupted. Ylva thought her expression was nearly identical to Gothi's at that moment. "So, firelight isn't sufficient and most dragon's flames aren't either. However the Fireworm is said to burn as hot as the Sun. Perhaps Fireworm gel might help, too, but might not sustain them for a long time. Further more, they appear physically sound - other than the lack of glow. But the Solarflares are most definitely depressed."
Ylva nodded in understanding. She had seen it happen to Vikings. While the season of the Midnight Sun led many people to be sleep-deprived and act oddly, the Eternal Night and the otherwise short days of Winter led some to get very sad and loose energy. It seemed the Seasons Affected Vikings and Dragons with Disorder. Well, at least certain dragons, like the Solarflare Skrill.
"Tart cherries should be added to their feedings, too," Gothi's apprentice continued. Annfrid wrinkled up her nose at the thought of the sour berries.
So there they all were, in front of the cave of the Edge's resident Fireworm Queen, hoping that she and her drones were pleased with the logs and branches of berrywood they had just placed inside. Fireworms seemed to love the smell of berrywood.
The scarred Solarflare started shuddering and shifting his feet. The Flightmare paralysis was wearing off. "We need to get going," Ylva said, patting the Solarflare.
Annfrid nodded and motioned for her Nightmare to drag in the Solarflares one by one. The Nightmare snorted irritably but obliged, nearly like his rider would have. It was better to have just one dragon bring them in, rather than all of them crowd in together in the Fireworm's cave.
The group could hear the angry roars of the Queen from outside. Ylva whispered again to the scarred Solarflare. "Remember, be polite!" as if dragons heeded the same social mores as humans. The dragon grumbled at her, then hissed when Annfrid's Nightmare approached him. He was the last to go in. He was shimmied onto a large tarp and harnessed to the huffing Nightmare. Ylva jumped on at the last moment, which earned her a puff of flame from the Nightmare.
She ducked it easily. "Sorry," she muttered, "but I want to see him settled." They rode along down the dark tunnel until it opened into a colossal chamber with a wall of firecombs in the back. The irate golden Fireworm Queen reared in front of it, branches of berrywood hanging from her mouth. Her minions were spread across the floor and mobbing the piles of berrywood. Still more were running all over the Solarflare Skrills.
Ylva sucked in her breath at the sight of the militant little dragons all over the sick dragons. But as she watched, the Solarflares were beginning to loosen from their paralysis and almost seemed to accept the invasive little dragon. The minions were glowing brightly, as well as the Queen, so brightly that the wood was smoking and Ylva had to shield her eyes at times.
The Nightmare deposited the scarred Solarflare and retreated from the cave. Ylva stroked the Solarflare over his right eye ridge. He stayed quiet. "I hope this works out, she said dubiously. The Fireworm minions swarmed over their latest unwanted guest and chittered angrily and glowed brightly. Ylva stepped away. Perhaps dragons could, but she could not take the tiny dragons' scorching heat. The scarred Solarflare almost sighed and slowly inched his wings outward. Ylva picked up a wing end and pulled it out. The black sun-collecting spots were ink black, but she thought she saw something shine in them, just a little.
The other Vikings filed in and stayed against the wall, observing how the dragons were settling in.
"It's gonna take a whole lotta fish to feed this bunch," Annfrid muttered.
"And don't forget the Queen! She should get tribute for the use of her cave," Pella added, earning a glare from Annfrid.
"And cherries, the tart kind," Gothi's girl added, coming up behind them.
Annfrid sighed irritably, then got down to business. "Alright then, the dragons seem settled enough." She turned and pointed at Unna, Eistla, and Ylva. "You three start fishing. "Pella and I will go back to Berk with Gothi and get the cherries," she ordered.
"Oh goodie, night fishing," Eistla rubbed her hands together eagerly.
The young women all left the cavern to go about their tasks. "See you soon," Ylva cooed to the scarred Solarflare. He merely grunted in return.
The Fireworm cave was filling with fish-packed barrels and jars of preserved tart cherries. Fortunately there was always a stock pile of cherries for eating and for their medicinal effects. There were a few trough into which the riders dumped snow. It quickly melted in the dragon-warmed cavern.
Ylva stayed with the scarred male Solarflare and saw to his care. The three others were tended to by her teammates. The dragon were visibly more relaxed the next day, and had variously arrayed themselves with back to the Queen and her wall of firecomb and their wings spread. Two sat up on their muscular legs, while the other two stayed in a crouched position.
"Come on, you need to eat. There's no cherries in it," Ylva encouraged the scarred one, holding up a handful of roughly diced salmon. The dragon grumbled at her. None of them really had any appetite, not yet. Getting exacerbated, she smeared some fish on the dragons mouth in hopes that he'd get a taste. Instead, he burped in her face and smacked his lips irritably.
"For not eating anything, your breath is awfully rank," Ylva waved her hand in front of her face. She sighed and tried to blot the smeared fish from his muzzle with he sleeve. She continued rubbing over his head. It was pretty dusty and his skin was so dry. "Can't really feel happy when you're all dirty, can you?" Ylva crooned. The dragon huffed and laid his head down.
Ylva left the cave for a bit and returned with a bucket of warm water scented with lavender, heated courtesy of Nobbin. "You know, lavender is good for everything, including skin," Ylva chatted conversationally to the quiet dragon. She rolled up her sleeves, pulled out a soft cloth, wet it in the bucket, then started wiping down the scarred dragon's hide. He shuddered his skin a few times, then leaned into the cloth. He obediently shifted around his wings and limbs, so Ylva could reach all over him. The dampness quickly dried under the Fireworm's heat and the dust was wiped away.
After a good wiping down, Ylva pulled out a small jar of lanolin and rubbed it in well on the particularly dry areas of skin and to his tender scar. The flesh there was bumpy and hard underneath with old damaged tissue. It had healed long ago, so she really couldn't surmise what caused it and may never know. But she could see the effects as the dragon monitored her washing with a distinctly tilted head. Its a wonder he could fly, yet he had ended up on Overcast Island somehow.
The dragon grunted in satisfaction and sat upright, spreading his wings further to catch the Fireworm glow. The other Solarflares looked on, decidedly with a jealous glint. Finally one of the females bumped over Unna and started using her like a wash cloth for her head. Ylva snickered and took her bucket of lavender-infused water over to her. "I guess they like being clean," Ylva smiled.
"Alright, alright, you lousy dragon," Unna grumbled and started wiping down her Solarflare charge.
Eventually the dragons picked at the fish brought to them and their appetites grew. Ylva made a nice hearty cherry compote and stuffed the fish with it for the scarred dragon. He began to move around more, butting her and expecting a washing frequently. She noticed that his wing veins started to glow just the littlest bit. The Fireworm light was bright and sun-like, but nothing could replace the light of the actual Sun.
"Scar-Light. I'll name you Scar-Light," Ylva blurted out one day, informing the dragon of his new name. The dragon grunted, which she took as approval.
"You sure you should name him?" Pella asked. "They'll probably be on their way once Eternal Night is past."
Ylva shrugged. "Why not? Maybe we'll meet again someday."
The dragons chittered amongst themselves and grew restless. Eternal Night was slowly brightening into twilight. Scar-Light usually stayed on the outside of the group. Ylva watched. Had he led them astray? Perhaps so, and the others were politely ignoring him.
Finally, after weeks that seemed to carry on forever, the sun broke over the horizon. The women went down to the Fireworm cave to care for their charges.
"Whelp, they're gone. Didn't say good-bye or anything," Annfrid said bluntly.
Ylva looked around sadly, but her eyes alighted on the gray, slightly luminescent dragon setting up against the wall. Scar-Light looked at her quizzically, tilting his head even farther around to the left. She strode over to him and gave him an affectionate pat. "Well, it looks like they left you," she said, not the least bit sad of that fact. "Let's go get you some real sun!"
The women ushered him out of the cave and into the day. Scar-Light spread his wings wide and flapped them, letting out a happy roar. He jumped up and stroked heavily, slowly getting airborne.
"Well, there goes the last one," Annfrid announced.
"But ... do you think he's strong enough?" Ylva asked worriedly.
Scar-Light curved around to the left, and then made a stumbling landing. He ruffled his wings and walked over to a boulder to perch on. He spread his wings again to catch every bit of sunlight he could.
Ylva smiled. "Maybe he'll stay," she murmured.
About the Solarflare Skrill
(Quoted directly from "The Solarflare Skrill - Bonfire Original Species, Request Page" by Wutend Bonfire)
The Solarflare Skrill is a Stoker Class dragon who holds many similarities with its storm-loving cousin [the Skrill], like the ability to contain and release massive amounts of energy in short, but extremely powerful bursts.
Bulky in appearance, its two large wings aren’t built very well for flight, instead thick with a soft, spongy flesh to help contain the energy in the wings. Its legs are quite developed due to its preference of staying on the ground, and are rather agile. Able to walk long distances, they are possibly a migratory species. Its wings are largely covered in black spots for sunlight absorption, and each has a visible glowing vein connecting each one to the other and channelling towards the throat. This can act as a visible metre to how much charge they have left, for the more charge is collected in the dragon, the brighter they will glow. However they can lose charge overtime, so a Solarflare kept away from sunlight for too long will not only leave it defenceless, but can also make it ill.
Psychology and Mannerisms
Vain and prideful, they spend just as much time sunbathing as they do pruning and cleaning themselves. A sure-fire way to pit out against you is to throw dirt or mud at it, and the greatest gift to it would be a soapy scrub or something shiny for it to see itself in. Probably both. While Solarflares can be very loving, they’re not particularly loyal. Once you gain their trust, you will have to work to keep it, and if you lose it then there’s no getting it back. If one is living with you, then frequent baths would be best to uphold good relations, and decorating their stable is a fantastic gift.
Their general behaviour could best be compared to a bear. Unless they are really angry, they’re a whole lot of bark and very little bite (or laser). When tamed, they’re quite cuddly on a good day, and sulk on the low days.
Almost like a mix of a bear and a lorikeet, their call is surprisingly quiet for their size. Since the voice box was shrunk to give way to the laser mechanisms, the loudest decibels they can reach is around 75 (ref).
The egg is large, mottled and grey. Made with a bone-like shell, an outer silicone layer adds some extra bounce and shock resistance. The hatch in extreme cold rather than heat, for it makes the shell more brittle and easier to crack. There is also less competition for the young dragon, and they can survive off minerals and nutrients in dirt until the cold passes. Eggs can lay dormant for years at a time, the oldest recorded at 73 years, and hatchlings will eat the silicone layer of the shell to kick-start production of reflective saliva and solar cell formation.
Flame and Saliva
The laser itself is a concentrated, controlled blast of heat and light. Intense enough to burn through most materials, even Gronckle Iron will succumb to it. The duration of a shot a Solarflare can maintain depends on the age- hatchlings cannot fire until 3 years of age, juveniles can only fire for a few seconds, and at 19 years of age their top duration will typically peak at 30 seconds. Specially trained or very old individuals may be able to develop longer blasts of up to a full minute, with some ancient Titanwings capable of 3 minute long sustained blasts. A laser is dangerous to anything, especially the wieldier, so they have developed a special saliva- highly reflective and with a high boiling point, not much of it is water, and is believed to be mostly metal. This gives its mouth a metallic look, and while its exact chemical makeup is unknown, it can be collected from it with care.
- This term is used in the HTTYD game "Rise of Berk." It is several weeks long and occurs around the time of Harvest Haunt and Dreadfall.
- In actuality, places in the far Northern latitudes do experience a period of time with no sun, or very short daylight, or only twilight. This is called Polar Night. However, this usually occurs around Winter Solstice in December. The opposite phenomenon occurring around Summer Solstice, is the Midnight Sun, where there is no nighttime. The Midnight sun is the subject of an episode of Season 4 of "Race to the Edge".
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- This is a disorder of humans, causing depression brought about the shortened access to sunlight in Northern latitudes in the Winter months. It occurs seasonally, and people that are affected are fine during other times of the year. SAD may also be associated with other ills.
- Treatment of SAD can include light therapy, among other treatments. This is simply supplying the affected person with a lightbox that emits full-spectrum light, mimicking sunlight.
- Other treatments can include taking a melatonin supplement. Tart cherries (as opposed to sweet cherries like Bing cherries) are extremely high in melatonin. Melatonin is a neurochemical that is involved in sleep/wake cycles and the Biological clock.
- This is an island mentioned in the game, "Rise of Berk". There is not much information about this island. In the game Toothless can travel there to search for a Thunderclaw egg.
- In the game, "Rise of Berk", Snotlout has a journey on Dragon's Edge. In it, depending on the options the play chooses, he may disguise and protect a Monstrous Nightmare nest in a cave with "Berrywood". The Berrywood attracts Fireworms to the cave. He promptly throws out the wood and the Fireworms follow the wood out of the cave.
- Gothi's Apprentice Girl also appears in the story of Fjara Thorstabitur.