Eclipse Chapter Ten: How to perform a Dragon Eulogy

1 reply [Last post]
LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017

 

 

Eclipse

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

 

How to Perform a Dragon Eulogy

 

 

LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017
Chapter Ten

Leaving Seagull dropping Island in our dust, we each took a turn dunking ourselves and our dirty dragons into the ocean below. It’s no fun to air dry after a chilly dip like that and then itch like crazy from the salt, but we all agreed it was better than being covered in droppings.

Ebony was a little chubby and had tired herself out chasing Hookfang everywhere. In the air she floated back and forth between each dragon and rider, occasionally playing tag with Shattermaster.

Hiccup was flying wingman to me. I glanced back at him, and saw Ebony very cautiously making her way towards Toothless.

Toothless felt her wet nose on his tail fin. He looked back.

Unaware that she was being watched, she slowly moved up his tail towards Hiccup and the saddlebag with her little friend in it, sniffing very carefully.

Toothless cooed.

Ebony’s eyes met his. She snorted and fell back.

“Whoa, hey, watch where you’re going, bud!”

The boys ran into me and Stormfly. She squawked irritably.

“Sorry Astrid. SOMEBODY is very distracted.”

“I know. And somebody else is very distracting. She’s so different from Toothless.”

Ebony was now flying above Dagur and Sleuther. She put her paws on his head, then started playing with his hair. Sleuther rolled his eyes.

“She’s so much more outgoing.” Dagur slapped at her paws.

“So much bolder. Toothless lived in fear of Vikings that’s why he was cautious. Either she’s never seen Vikings as a threat or not the brightest Nightfury there’s ever been.”

“A threat to her, anyway.” Hiccup reached back and felt inside the saddlebag. His face became sober.

Stormfly flared her spines and rawked. Her speed increased.

“She’s got something!”

“Fishlegs, what’s our position?”

“Gimme a second… umm… okay. So we are headed northwest towards… uh oh.”

“What?”

“Melody Island.”

“Melody Island?” Snotlout repeated. “Somebody had a death wish.”

“Does everyone have their dragon earplugs?”

“We don’t,” Dagur and Heather said. “We’ve never been to Melody Island.”

“Don’t worry I brought extras,” Fishlegs handed three pair over.

“Thanks, Fishface! You the viking.” Dagur tossed a set to Heather and stuffed the plugs in Sleuther’s ears. He went crosseyed for a second but shook it off.

“Shattermaster! Here boy!”

Fishlegs shrugged pleasantly. “I always come prepared.”

“So whose going to put earplugs in her face?” Snotlout pointed to Ebony.

“Viking Bludgeon Yakhide!” Ruff and Tuff chanted, pounding their fists on their palms.

“Yakhide beats bludgeon! Yeah!” Ruff shouted, wrapping her hand around Tuff’s fist of a bludgeon.

“Nooo! How do you always beat me?”

“Try doing something other than a bludgeon one of these days and maybe I won’t.”

Fishlegs tossed another set of earplugs Tuffnuts’ way. “It was nice knowing you,”

He leaned towards Heather and Windshear, putting a hand to his mouth “not really though.” He snickered.

“I heard that my passive aggressive pescado of a friend. Eres muy grosero. Ugh. Here, Ebby Ebby Ebby… nice dragon…”

Barf and Belch flew up on her left, but she veered off. They tried again but she did the same thing. I think she thought it was some weird kind of game.

 

This went on for half an hour with no success.

 

“Would you guys hurry up? We’re almost there!” Hiccup snapped.

“OH. Well why don’t you get off your high and mighty dragon and try it? It’s not as easy as it looks!”

Hiccup set his jaw. He locked Toothless’s tail in glide, took the saddlebag off his back and placed it around Toothless neck.

He then stood up and walked across the dragons back, leapt off, and landed on Ebony’s face.

She stared at him in bewilderment.

“Plugs!” He demanded.

Tuffnut handed them over looking a little terrified.

Hiccup grabbed one in each hand and shoved them into Ebonys ears. She shook her head and he fell off, right onto Toothless waiting below.

Getting all situated right, saddlebag with the little terror in it back over his shoulders, he turned and glared at Tuffnut.

“Namaste.” Tuffnut bowed. “Teach me your ways, ninja dragon riding sensei.”

“I’ve been trying to do that for eight years!”

“Teach me harder.”

“WHAAAT! That was Beserk! I knew you had it in you brother!” Dagur was thoroughly delighted with the display.

I couldn’t say the same.

“What if she decided to blow off your head?” I growled at my husband.

“I would have let go before she did. And Toothless would have caught me. Funfact, she is about seven.”

“How do you know?”

“The little… errr- floppy things. You know right here,” He stroked the four under Toothless’ jaw. “She has only one.”

Stormfly rawked.

“I’m guessing that’s Melody Island?” Heather pointed.

“Sure is,” Fishlegs answered.

“We should take it from the backside. The bay is perfect for ships and the Deathsong doesn’t seem to patrol it as carefully.” Snotlout spoke up.

“Good idea. Low and slow, riders. Keep quiet, be on guard for the hunters and for that dragon.”

Heather and I reached for our axes. Hiccup held inferno and Fishlegs’ javelin magically reappeared. Dagur and Snotlout brandished their swords and the twins fought with savage whispers over macey. The dragons felt our tension and readied for evasive maneuvers.

Diamond formation, we dropped about three hundred feet and glided over that sandy beach. Ebony and Shattermaster followed close behind.

Fresh bones warned us that our not-so-friendly neighbor had feasted on monstrous nightmare the night before.

Silently we searched. But not a ship, cage, or footprint was to be found. We split off into two groups and circled the island’s shores, meeting on the other side.

At last Hiccup gave the signal to circle.

“Nothing!” the twins shrugged.

“This place is a rip off,” Dagur returned his swords to their sheath. “No hunters, no dragon, I haven’t even heard a single sonnet.”

“Not one note.” Hiccup looked the terrain over carefully. “Where is the Deathsong?”

“Oh, probably picking his teeth with the bones of one of Hookfangs relatives,” Snotlout bristled.

“He’s always singing. Even when he’s full he sings so he can lure dragons in and save them for later.”

Fishlegs eyes grew wide. “Oh no! You don’t think he’s been trapped again do you?? It was hard enough getting him away from Kroger without being eaten! I don’t know if Meatlug can take that kind of pressure again.”

“Let’s check out the nest. With the earplugs our dragons are immune.”

Hiccup lead the way.

 

We landed and dismounted in the forest, just at the edge of the clearing.

Dagur put a hand on Hiccups’ shoulder. “Ambered dragon at 3 o’clock,” He whispered.

A remorseful smothering smokebreath turned to us with a listless stare and a half-hearted hiss.

Hiccup snuck out into the open. He turned on Inferno and cut through the amber.

Liberated from a cocoon of death, the smokey dragon flew one grateful circle around Hiccup and took off.

“Uh, guys, you might want to take a look at this,” Ruff and Tuff were peaking around the corner.

We did the same.

The usual collection of Nadders, Terrible Terrors and Gronckles lay hapless in the Deathsong’s lair.

“Yes. We’ll try to set them free while the Deathsong is gone, but he does have a right to eat, too.”

“He isn’t gone,” Tuffnut pointed.

Our eyes followed to a morbid scene.

The long tail of the Deathsong lay still, trailing up to a pile of gigantic boulders and disappearing underneath. His wingtips, though they had obviously been spread at full length just barely showed between the rocks.

It was dead.

We circled the rocks. Our dragons who had made the acquaintance of this unpleasant fellow held back, but Shattermaster, Sleuther, and Ebony were curious.

Ebony pranced right up and sniffed the tail. She swat at it, then started playing.

No matter how he felt about the dragon, Toothless hurried over and slapped Ebony’s paw for being so disrespectful. She rolled her eyes and walked away.

“What in the Archipelago?” Hiccup ran his fingers through his hair in distress.

“A freak accident?” Fishlegs asked, staring up at the cliffs above.

“This happened this morning,” I said.

“That’s too weird, and I know weird.” Dagur joined us.

“You know our cousin Weird? When did you guys meet? And where? Did you invite him to Beserker Island before inviting us??”

“Okay, okay,” Hiccup shut his eyes and ignored the twins, just trying to follow his train of thought. “Snotlout, do you have any Monstrous gel?”

“Always.”

“Good. If you and Hookfang would take that group of dragons and set them free, I’ll take this group,” He sectioned the trapped animals off.

“On it,” Snotlout said. Hookfang lit himself on fire.

“Fishlegs, could you and the others go out and… and get some more rocks and dirt? He deserves a proper burial.”

“Of course Hiccup.”

They took off.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

He turned to me. “I want you to find where this rockslide started. If anything seems out of place, have Stormfly signal.”

 

Stormfly and I flew up along the cliffside.

What was going on? First, Toothless goes on a destructive rampage. then we find a Nightfury, who is protecting a courier Terror, savagely attacked. Now, after following his scent all the way back to Melody Island, we are faced with the mighty Deathsong, dead under a pile of rocks. A freak accident? It didn’t seem possible.

I couldn’t shake the feeling something sinister was happening in the archipelago.

Stormfly felt my uneasiness. She looked back, concerned.

“Maybe the Deathsong lured in more than he could chew,” I suggested. “Like some Quakens. Or maybe he lured in some Gronckles and the Quakens came to rescue them.”

My Nadder blinked, confused.

A few small rocks and some pebbles fell off the ledge above.

“There girl! That’s where the slide began.”

We landed very tenderly on the unstable cliffside. A huge, gaping hole clearly marked where the boulder had been.

Nothing seemed out of place at first glance. Stormfly sniffed the air.

“You got something?”

My Nadder walked on twinkle toes, loose gravel sliding through the cracks beneath her feet, rocks and boulders threatening to give way. We stopped at the edge of where the boulder once stood. She smelled the spot for a good five minutes, but I couldn’t see anything.

We returned to find Hiccup and Toothless had released all their dragons and were helping Snotlout and Hookfang out with theirs. Ebony was very helpful as she followed them around qnawing on the amber.

“Find anything?” Hiccup asked, carefully prying out a Gronckle.

“No.“

“Just another wild goose chase.” Snotlout ran with Hookfang as they lit the monstrous nightmare gel.

“I think that’s it,” The chief looked around, two liberated dragons taking to the sky.

The boulder patrol returned.

 

 

We buried what was left of the Deathsong. Ruff and Tuff brought out a chisel and hammer and got to work on one of the stones, Fishlegs and Heather gathered flowers.

“Okay, we’re ready,” The twins brought forward the headstone.

“Go ahead,” Hiccup gestured.

“O sweet >sniff< sweet…. whaaa I can’t do it!” Tuff bawled. “Ruffnut take over. Your voice and pitch are perfect for this.”

“Okay. Hmm! Hm hm,” Ruffnut cleared her throat. “The Ballad of a Deathsong, dictated by Tuffnut Thorston. O sweet song of death, you have yourself been called. O Sweet sweet song of death, at last you are now cold. Though savage and cruel and a riddled with fear, we’ll always mourn that you are not here. The havoc and mayhem you wrought was great, may Loki greet you after fate. O sweet sweet song of death, your sonnet no dragon shall hear, until you meet in Valhalla once more. Copyright Tuffnut Thorston. All rights reserved.”

Tuff sniffled. “Beautiful.”

“It’s not going to be cool meeting him in Valhalla.” Ruff thought.

“Well think of all the dragons he ate that are just waiting for him to come up.”

“That doesn’t sound like Valhalla at all.”

“Hmm. Your right. I doubt Loki would be there, too.”

Fishlegs set his bouquet on the mound of rocks, tearing up. “Oh, why? You were so young, so full of life, so vibrant in color! How could this happen? I’m sorry my enemyish friend, that your life was cut short.”

Heather set her flowers down with his.

Dagur walked up with the last boulder he’d brought and set it down. “Yo Deathsong, my man- or dragon. I never meet you but heard plenty. You were bold! Daring! Devious! Confident in yourself! My deranged side tips his hat. I’m just happy that you lived a filling life. Dagur out.”

“Deathsong. Me and Hookie here. Just wanted to say even though I hated you I’m sorry your dead. And… I’m sorry I thought of attacking you when I saw you ate one of Hookfangs cousins.”

Hookfang wasn’t sorry. He snorted, head held high and indignant as he walked away from the pile of rocks.

Stormfly nudged me. She had something in her mouth, so I held out my hand and she placed a slobbery rock in it.

My turn.

“Deathsong, we certainly didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but one thing sticks in my mind. Garf. Thanks for taking him under your wing, even when you knew his song was different. For that, me and Stormfly will always be grateful.”

I set the rock down.

 

Hiccup came up and held my hand. He didn’t say anything for a long time.

“You didn’t have an easy life but you made it a good one. You were strong and courageous, yet you showed kindness to one of our own even against your very nature. The brave will live on in Valhalla.”

We stood, a usually rowdy bunch of savage Norsemen in rare silence.

Ebony watched the whole display from afar. As we stood she got up and hurried around, collecting stuff off the ground in her mouth. Sidling up to us and Toothless, looking a little uncertain, she opened her mouth and poured rocks and dirt onto the grave. Hiccup reached out and pat her head.

“So, are we assuming the Deathsong is our Terrible Terror’s antagonist?” Snotlout asked.

“Not by a long shot. He was burned, not ambered. I suspect he turned to Deathsong Island to deter his enemy, and doubt that the trail ends there. Stormfly,”

“Okay! Onward then!” Dagur turned to Shattermaster. “You’re turn!” he said to the Gronckle.

Everyone followed his lead.

Hiccup opened the saddlebag and let Stormfly get the scent again. The Terror lay motionless, so he checked for a heartbeat.

“Well?” I joined him.

“Still beating, the little trooper. If he can just go into a healing sleep I think he’s got a chance.”

“Rawk!”

Stormfly stomped over to me, urging me to get on.

“What is your plan?”

“To backtrack and find the persons responsible for this guys injuries,” He answered without looking. “And something just doesn’t feel right about what happened here. You and I both know the Deathsong is most vulnerable in the morning.”

“Yes. Garf can’t fly until his wings have warmed up in the sun. That looks like what happened here.”

“It’s weird enough that it happened. It’s downright suspicious that it happened today, the only day we’ve been back for years.”

“That’s 364 by 24 multiplied by 3 and added to a chance of 1 in a 10,000, equaling a chance of one in 36,208. Unless you multiply the chances of both instances instead of adding then it would be 262,080,000. Not good odds but possible, people win the lottery every year my friends.” Tuff eves-dropped into our conversation. I grabbed him by the ear and threw him aside.

“You see my point.” Hiccup continued, un-phased.

“I do. And I agree. I’m just saying we do have other things to worry about, like why we left Berk.”

“To apologize for things Toothless probably didn’t even do? It can wait. The Bob Burglars are taken care of and I doubt anyone else would dream of attacking a village armed with dragons.”

 

As we moved out I thought about what Hiccup said. It surprised me. Since Drago and the Bewilderbeast Hiccup had become a different person. A responsible person. And important person. A true leader and Chief. But at what cost? His whole life had been dragons before that, now his whole life was people. I had hoped our trip would rekindle his old spirit…

 

But I didn’t expect it to take over.