Fan-Fic Fridays: The Secret Symbol - Chapter 14: Dragon Rescue
Hope you guys enjoy this chapter.
TRR and SoD has not been working well for me today, keeps crashing and locking up, so I decided to just take a small break and finish this week's chapter. Then go back fully recharged and earn some more trophies for Clash of Clans.
The action will pick up now and the mystery as well. Questions will be answered soon, but new clues will be found.
Can Jarl and his friends figure this all out?
Stay tuned for these next chapters to see where the mystery is heading!
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“Annabeth?!” I exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”
“If you would give me a chance to explain,” she replied. “Instead of tackling people at random.”
“I had a reason for tackling you,” I said and pointed to show her the bridge is out.
“Oh,” she had a slight change in tone to agree with me. “But I was going to jump off the bridge anyway. Anora is waiting down below.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Sure, I’m sure,” Annabeth stated and whistled for her dragon.
Her dragon did not come.
“That’s strange,” Annabeth answered.
“Are you thinking of another ridge, not the West Ridge?” I questioned.
“Maybe,” Annabeth returned and then yawned. “It has been a long night, I probably need to get some sleep.”
I agreed, “I think you better, come on I’ll walk you over to the other ridge.”
“Thanks, but I shouldn’t be seen with you,” Annabeth slightly raised her right hand up to me.
I smiled, “Why should I not be seen with you? We’re going steady are we not?”
She chuckled and rolled her eyes, “That’s not what I meant.”
“I know,” I added. “Would that explain the new get-up?”
“Yes,” Annabeth responded. “Actually, starting to like their style of clothing, or at least the Hunters I am with.”
“Hunters?” I echoed.
“Oh yes, Dragon Hunters,” continued Annabeth. “That’s why I came to tell you the group of Dragon Hunters I was assigned to are going to strike a nearby island full of Nadders and Nightmares. There has been talk of a special dragon that the group I am now with has been talking, but sightings have been few and far between. Might want to keep an eye out for that. Oh, by the way, the Hunters already know the formula for Gronckle Iron. I still haven’t been able to get close enough to the room where the keep the formula locked up. But if you search one of the ships’ captain’s quarters, you should find it. That is something that we have all been wanting and waiting for, for a long time. Weapons, saddles, and tools made from Gronckle Iron is something we need that can give us an edge. I’ve had some ideas for weapons made from Gronckle Iron for a long time. I have been dying to try them out, but without the formula, nothing could be done.”
“Thankfully, for the intel on the raid I am giving you, I will be with Dagur at the time. Although he treated me like the little sister as I got stuck with a company of Hunters that are not a part of the main battalion, I will be with Dagur’s crew over the next several days. But I wanted to tell you about the attack so you could thwart it. Come prepared. Head northwest from here and try to arrive at an island about an hour’s ride in the middle of the afternoon. Not only will there be just a small group of ships, three to five at the most, but their commanding officer will be there,” Annabeth finished. “Guess who that is?”
“Koll,” I simply stated.
“I said, guess. That is where you say something the first time and you’re wrong so you have to keep guessing. You took a wild guess, but really you already knew the answer to the question even before I answered it. Anyway, you are right,” she retorted.
I was about to open my mouth when Annabeth added, “And to answer the question you are thinking about, the answer is no. Koll did not see me. I just heard the drop of his name among some of the crew where they were going to be. When we bed down for the night on an island for shelter from the storm, I had to wait a few hours into the storm and even find another way out of the cave we were in just leave without their notice. By the way, I do not want you to tell the others I was here. The less they know the better. If you are the only one I know that is actually working but not ‘working’ with the hunters, if you know what I am trying to get at, then if you are captured or they are captured by you and someone starts asking questions, they will not know to ask about me. And what I have begun to notice and highly appreciate, you always tell the truth no matter what is happening. You just tell the part of the truth that keeps everyone safe. You will never lie, but you say what needs to be said to do the right thing.”
“I actually had a case of that tonight,” I said.
Annabeth asked for me to explain further, and so I did. I told her all that happened tonight when I got back and came across two new players in the mystery, Dawn and Michia.
“Huh,” Annabeth looked deep in thought. “The name of Dawn sounds familiar, as if someone I knew once during childhood, but the way you are describing the person you saw is nothing like the person I knew. I would be wary of Michia. He’s acting much how Throst did when we first found him, and look where that got us. Still, I hope he too is trustworthy.”
“You should probably go before you are missed,” I said.
“I think I am already missed… hopefully by you?” Annabeth said and smiled at the end of here statement.
“Yes, for sure,” I replied. “Want a hug for the road?”
Annabeth nodded. At first, we both hesitated as we did not want to get the other wet… Rather silly to do that because we are both soaking wet. We laughed, hugged, and I watched Annabeth run down the west to east ridge to find her way to the East Ridge. As I watched her disappearing into the blackness of the night, I suddenly remembered I did not tell her about Dawn recognizing Star Scream.
I thought, “Maybe that is for the best. If it is true that Dawn and Annabeth know each other, it would be better for them to find out the truth when they meet each other soon.”
Now running back to the outpost, I wondered how everyone fared. The rain still coming down as hard as ever. As soon as I got back, I could see that all the fires were out, dragons back in their stables, and I think everyone back in the Clubhouse. I stopped to check on the dragons, and they all seemed fine. Also, stopped, to be sure Fredrick knew I am okay. He had already curled up and had his eyes closed. When I said his name, Fredrick opened only his right eye, looked up at me, gave a slight nod, and then adjusted and went back to sleep.
“Well fine, be that way,” I quipped.
Going back to the Clubhouse I saw everybody hanging their clothes near the fire to dry off. A little surprised to see Dawn still here. Half expected her to try and escape, but with the rain, she might wait until morning. Michia is still here too. In fact, he asked me if I needed to get into my room to change into some dry clothing first before he headed back to bed. He did not hesitate to mention that Asvord almost had to pry Dawn out of her own room so Asvord could to her clothes. I smelled a hint of exaggeration; however, not a whole lot. Probably is also a bit biased because of the ongoing feud between the two vikings.
I changed into another outfit and was one of the last to get ready to go asleep. Even sleeping on the hard floor, I still fell asleep fast. By the way, if we have more time to prepare, we do have spare bunks, but they are not in the Clubhouse. We should probably bring a few extra in for the next time.
The next morning, while eating Asvord’s Special Oatmeal for breakfast… my sister still will not give up what is the secret ingredient, but whatever it is, it makes plain old Oatmeal taste three times better… I announced to the group what we are doing for the day.
“With the new arrival of Dawn and Michia,” I began. “It shows we need to patrol our waters better. We need to do some thorough patrols today so we can be sure our outpost is secure. Not saying you two, Dawn and Michia, are conspiring behind our backs or anything, you’ve just shown we need to have a better understanding of what is going around us. Once you all finish eating, go pack your saddlebags and prepare for a long day. We do not know what we will find, so be ready for anything. Dawn and Michia will go with us, so we can keep an eye on you for one thing, but to keep you two separate of each other.”
Everyone agreed and went to prepare a few minutes later. Dawn and Michia finally agreed, but protested coming along… Dawn four times as much as Michia; Michia did really protest, just seemed nervous about going where potentially there could be a battle. Then the question arose: Who will double with Dawn? Since Michia has Albatross, he does need to double with anybody. But when I asked, who would double with Dawn…
I said, rhetorically, “Don’t everybody jump up at once. Please, retain your excitement.”
This hardly effected Dawn and she just stated, “Guess I’m going with you.”
Because I am the only one that knows why I want everybody to go, I wanted everybody to go at once. If I did not know about what Annabeth told me, I would send small patrols out in different directions. Since I do know and I need as many dragons and vikings to be sure we thwart Koll’s plans, we need to go in a large group. And believe me, all of the guys were sure to tell me this was not the best way to do this.
My reason for going all at once, which is still the truth, was, “If we all go at once, we will all know right away and all be on the same page if something happens or if nothing happens.”
A few of them and even some of the girls that came up, especially Cazi, voiced their disagreements, but still agreed with my reason.
I kept thinking, “If I can just get them in the air and stall long enough and time it right so we will be at the place where Annabeth described.”
The place at which Annabeth needs us to be is mid-afternoon at an island I have never been. So really, I have no idea where we are going. Hopefully, everything will fall into place.
Hour after hour, everybody increasingly started becoming bored; just after the first half hour, Dawn started complaining. It took, initially, a few minutes to let Dawn sit on Fredrick. But typical of dragons wanting to make a “good” first impression, Fredrick took off quick and constantly tried to make Dawn afraid. Dawn has some potential, she grabbed the saddle tight, but hardly anything phased her. Fredrick eventually gave up, which in it of itself is quite an accomplishment. I have to give her credit for even getting on a dragon let alone one she stole something from Fredrick’s saddlebags and then be able to last through a first flight on a dragon… so far.
“Okay, Jarl,” Cazi said when it was nearly the middle of the afternoon. “We’ve completed a circle around Mystery three times, each further out than the next. What did you bring us out here for?”
Hattori spoke up, “Not finding any action is a good thing. We know that our outpost is secure and that we can leave it with just the Speed Stingers as our last line, if the need should ever arise we all had to leave Mystery.”
“Yeah,” Cazi reluctantly agreed. “Maybe I just want something to do.”
I had been leading the group the entire time, so on the third lap around the outpost, I had drifted far enough to the right continuously that we should arrive shortly to the island where Annabeth thought.
Thinking I had missed the island, as my gut was saying we were nearby, Cazi pointed off in the distance, “Look. Ships docked at an island.”
I nearly said out loud, “Finally.” Now putting into place the plan I had been thinking about since meeting up with Annabeth, I declared, “Alright. In case they are hostile, we need to stay low and investigate what they are doing. We can stay by the forest and come in from the east to stay away from all the action for right now. We’ll do some recon, find out what they are doing and go from there.”
Everyone agreed, slower than usual. I think they are getting the vibe that I knew this was coming and had already thought of a plan.
The island is an oblong-ish island resembling a comma or an apostrophe, roughly, with several sea stacks and small island jutting up out of the water. From our vantage point, there was some type of clearing or village on the wider part of the island, closer to the west where the ships were docked.
As we flew into land on the eastern shore, the island became larger than I was expecting. About the same length as Berk, but nowhere near as wide. The distance the point where we landed to where we would be heading to the clearing is about a mile. Even as we landed, we could hear quite a bit of commotion going on, metal cling every once in a while, but what might be more disturbing: dragon cries and blasting followed by vikings yelling. My whole crew at once knew this was serious and let go any notion I knew we were coming here.
After dismounting Fredrick, I offered a hand for Dawn to help her, but she had her back turn and got off on her own.
I was thinking, “Independent much?”
From my saddlebags, I reached for my Gronckle Iron bow, a few bolas, and then grabbed from the back of my saddle, my quiver. I slid my quiver into the lock position on the back of my shoulder strap I have on nearly all the time. I do have more than just the one shoulder strap, but I wear one pair, daily switching between the ones I have. Checking my weapons, I opened my main weapon from the sword position to bow position.
“Are you guys ready?” I asked my twelve friends with me, along with Dawn and Michia.
Dawn did not reply and just stood there waiting for us to go. Michia, although, said he would prefer to stay on his Stormcutter as he is not too partial to close combat; he feels much safer on Albatross. Everyone else was ready, so we all headed off.
A few minutes later we arrived at a slight incline. By the sounds of activity on the other side, we all knew what was beyond the ridge. Keeping the dragons behind us, we all crawled up and barely poked our heads over the edge to see what is going on.
Most of the girls gasped at what we all saw. Several Deadly Nadders and Monstrous Nightmares all in cages or being led to them.
“Dragon Hunters,” I said with disgust.
I could feel the tension building in all of us, “We all need to be calm for right now. We will attack soon enough. First, let’s see what we are up against.”
Staying there, we watched the small clearing. Small could be a relative term here. It is small, but the clearing is about twenty-five to thirty yards in diameter. Furthermore, it looked as if a small settlement stood here at one point as the ground on which the clearing is located is laid with stone, worn stone from age.
With each moment, we all became filled with angry as we watched them corral all the dragons and use a few Gronckles to pull the dragon-proof-cages to the ships.
The dialogue was random chatter and crude remarks about the dragons.
Then, there came some viking guy from a main path near our side of the clearing but in about ten yards, saying, “Do you think she will show?”
The Hunter next to him replied, “She said she was coming. And with a special catch like this, I’m sure she is going to come. But who knows? No one hardly ever sees the woman. Besides, here comes the one we can count on the most.”
From a pathway to our right, we could see another man coming.
Surprised, but not at the same time, I declared in a whisper, “Koll.”
“What is he doing here?” asked Asvord.
“Who really cares what they are doing here,” demanded an irritated Cazi. “Let’s just kick their butts and be gone with a rescued bunch of dragons.”
“It may not be that easy, look,” I said, pointing at the ships. “It looks as though they have been at this for a few hours. Two of those ships are cargo ships and it looks like there is some overflow cargo on the other ship. Not only will we have to free the dragons in the clearing, but also in the ships. It is going to take all of us.”
Garth tapped my left shoulder and pointed out to the sea. Another ship is approaching. A ship unlike anything I have ever seen. It had the same crest as the other Hunter ships, however, how the ship was adorned is if it was a completely separate tribe or clan of the Hunters. The ship then disappeared from sight as it the rock formation hid most of the docks from us. There is only a single walkway leading into the clearing from that side.
Ali suggested, “Maybe that is the woman those two guys were talking about?”
Before I could answer that question with a guess, Koll answered it with a fact, “You two best be put on your good manners, our high commander is coming into port just now.”
Koll then moved past those two and called to the rest of the vikings to stop what they are doing and prepare to greet their high commanding officer. Minutes later, the ship had docked as we then heard the sounds of vikings walking off wood and onto the beach. The clearing became quiet to hear even the rustling of the sand between the Hunters feet. It is so quiet that even I feel like holding my breath so we are not found.
The gear that these new vikings are wearing resembles much like the gear Annabeth was wearing last night. They did not look like Koll and the other Dragon Hunters, yet, I think that is the point. These vikings looked as though they were once warriors or soldiers of a long-forgotten war; so, these soldiers had to move on to some other profession: Dragon Hunting.
As the vikings entered the clearing, the men in the front stopped as the lead viking announced, “Presenting the High Commander of the true Dragon Hunters. Ruthless and fearless, tamer of snow and ice, the magnificent… Thorgunna Vixxen the Audacious!”
The leading viking who announced the commander’s arrival, stepped out of the way to reveal the commander to be…
The rest of the vikings in the clearing came to attention and saluted by crossing their left arm and their hand over their hearts for a moment before being at-ease.
“Thank you, thank you,” Vixxen stated in a simple voice but with authority; she has her hands behind her back. “I come here today to see this… special dragon… I heard Koll talk about, saying you all caught it. The way Koll described the dragon to me, this dragon will bring in a hefty profit at the next Dragon Auction. You are all to be commended, if this dragon lives up to the hype. Where is this dragon?”
Koll answered, “The dragon is on its way as we speak.”
As the activity resumed of loading the dragons onto the ships, we could not hear what Koll and Vixxen are talking about. As my plan was taking shape in my thoughts I continued to watch closely the new player: Thorgunna Vixxen.
The first thing that stands out is Vixxen’s hair. Her hair is a bold red, much like Dagmar’s. On the other hand, most of Vixxen’s hair backwards over halfway down her back, with some strands going behind her ears and down in front of her. Some of the hair is in small, thin braids, but she does have a larger braid of her hair going down her back. Vixxen also has straight hair in addition to her braids. In her hair are also red and black beads at the ends of her smaller braids.
Vixxen’s gear is simple for that of a Dragon Hunter. All of her gear is black with the exception of her bracers and belt; both of which are a dark gold. A woman of her stature and experience probably has weapons and battle gear, none of which she has on at the moment. Her bracers seemed to be that of some type of metal with rows of metal bands going lengthwise of the bracers; the rows were as if you were looking down the rows of bean field. Vixxen’s belt is also of the same dark gold metal with compartments all the way around her waist; the belt buckle has the insignia of her clan, which looks slightly different from the traditional Dragon Hunter symbol.
The only other feature that is the most prominent are her eyes. Of all the red heads, I have ever seen, Thorgunna is the first to have bright blue eyes.
Vixxen looks to be six feet, one inches tall. Maybe around thirty years old, probably add a couple years to that. She is thin, but yet looks very athletic and could handle herself in any situation. One other thing, Vixxen’s voice sounds like what a caring voice would be like. But Thorgunna’s demeanor tells you she is anything but caring. Maybe at one point in her life she was, but the only thing left of that time is her voice.
I thought to myself, “I wonder what her main weapon is.”
Those few minutes Koll spoke of had passed with the coming of a larger noise of a heavier cage being moved. From a main road from the south, we all saw a much larger cage housing a beautiful, bright red Sand Wraith with bold, yellow highlights on the tips of their wings and spikes.
Koll singled for his men to stop again and introduced Vixxen to the new dragon, “I would like to present you with the best Sand Wraith I have ever seen.”
As the cage was rolled to the center of the clearing, Vixxen then demanded, “Get that dragon out of that cage and let me get a closer look at it.”
The Sand Wraith is putting up very little fight. For one thing it is also chained, which is probably why getting out of the cage was not that big a deal.
“This dragon looks amazing,” Vixxen declared as she went right up to the dragon and started to “pet” it. “I’ve seen many Sand Wraiths in my day, but this hide will take the cake.” Vixxen stood up and faced Koll, after checking the legs and wings, “I was expecting a little more though. Is there something else you want to show me about this dragon.”
“Glad you asked,” Koll smiled.
Koll picked up a nearby shield and spear, then walked to the front of the dragon; as he went, Koll added, “You might want to take a step back.”
Vixxen took a small step back.
“Eh, I would suggest a little more,” Koll responded.
With this, Vixxen looked intrigued and took a larger step backwards and crossed her arms.
Banging the spear on the shield, he yelled at the dragon, “Wake up you dirty dragon. Wake up I said!”
Koll then took the butt of the spear and wacked it against the ground, right next to the head of the Sand Wraith. The Sand Wraith was aroused and struggled with the chains for a moment. When the dragon saw Koll, the Sand Wraith took its tail, raised it high in the air and…
…And threw spines at Koll!
Koll lifted up his shield to protect himself as three spines struck it and three other spines struck the ground next to him.
Vixxen’s eyes widened in amazement, but also me and my friends did too.
Vixxen asked, astonished, “A Sand Wraith that shoots spines?”
Koll answered, “I told you this was a special dragon.”
“Indeed, it is,” Vixxen applauded Koll. “You have out done yourself this time. We will make a Dragon Hunter out of you yet. A dragon with these abilities could be better served as being trained instead of killed. The spines could also be used for crafting weapons. This is the first time I have ever come across a hybrid dragon. This one must have some Deadly Nadders in its heritage, most likely why it is living among the Nadders now.”
A brief moment passed by as she stood admiring the dragon.
But like at the flip of a sheep, Vixxen’s whole demeaning changed, “Take it away!”
I thought, “Ah, there’s the ruthless and audacious coming through.”
With that note, I could not bear to let this go any further.
“Alright,” I turned back to my friends and slid down some on the hill so I could talk a little louder. “We need to strike with precision and be decisive if we are to pull off a full rescue of the dragons. Elsa, Michia, Ashley, and Explod, I need you four to lay down covering fire from the air; keep any ranged attacks busy or just take them out and disable them. Angie, Garth, and Ali, wait a few moments after my group and the covering group go and then overwhelm the ground troops anyway you can. Stay on the ground as much as you can and try to free that Sand Wraith, but get to the air as soon as the ground troops are down and support Ashley’s group. Hyrith, Hattori, and Asvord, as soon as Garth’s group goes, wait a moment and then follow them to back them up. Cazi and Meen, you’re with me. We are going to take out those ships and rescue those dragons. When all the enemy vikings come into the clearing, Fredrick and I will block the clearing’s entrance to the docks by causing a rock slide. That should give us the time we need to rescue all of those dragons. Once everyone is in the air, we are out of here, regardless of if there are still ships or Hunters still standing. Our highest priority is those dragons.”
I finished with, “Now, the signal for all of what I just said to start will be me and Fredrick causing the rockslide to block their exit to the docks. Cazi, Meen, and I will sneak around the south side of the clearing, sticking to the forest. Now Dawn… Wait,” I started to panic. “Where’s Dawn?”
I looked around before I looked back up to the ridge. Dawn is still staring into the clearing.
“Dawn,” I said in a loud whisper, scrambling to my feet. “What are you doing? We need to be stealthy and surprise them.”
Dawn did not answer me. The very next moment Dawn jumped over the ridge and screamed down the other side of the hill into a “hornet’s nest” of Dragon Hunters.
Standing up and slapping the sides of my legs and before jumping onto my dragon, I spoke in a normal but a fed-up tone, “Or we could just go in dragons blazing and ad lib on the fly. Still stick to the plan, just now everybody go at once!”