HTTYD Eclipse Chapter Eight

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LissaFish
Online
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017

 

 

 

 

ECLIPSE

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

 

By Lissafish the ever so slightly Eccentric

LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Online
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017
Chapter Twelve

In spite of high hopes to reduce a hunter ship to ash, the sea spread out before us wide and empty. Not a mast on the grey horizon.

On an upside though the rain finally stopped.

Ebony drifted lazily between dragon riders. Thank goodness no one had to wake her up earlier. When we got back to camp we found that she’d eaten everything but the perch out of the cache Meatlug and Shattermaster brought back. I was irritated with her but she seemed ridiculously pleased with herself.

 

We were making good time. It’s about a day’s flight to Caldera Cay from Melody Island and by ten we had already passed Algae Island.

Before it had disappeared from sight I found myself staring down at the water far below. Was that a shimmer, or a strange black and white creature I saw? I searched more intently.

 

There it was again, between the grey waves a flash of black and white. And another. And another. All at once it seemed. I tapped Stormfly and we broke formation.

Gliding down to the sea we were met only by waves. Not a beastie in sight.

“What are you doing?” My husband glided down next to me.

“Nothing. Thought I saw something but it was probably just a dolphin.”

“Mmm.”

“Mmm? I say I think I saw something and all you have to say is mmm? You really aren’t feeling well are you?”

He shivered, involuntarily.

“You may have been right earlier. About me coming down with something. The others are such sickiephobes about the flu that I didn’t want to say anything, but I’ve been feeling nauseated all day.”

“Ick. Don’t get too close,” I pulled Stormfly to the side.

Both Hiccup and Toothless gave us a look.

 

The rest of the gang swooped in to join us.

“What are you two love birds talking about?” Snotlout interrupted with one of his smug grins.

“Gross stuff.”

“Ugh. Nevermind I don’t want to know.”

“Okay so we all know that Dragon Hunter Island is only about two day’s distance from Caldera Cay. By boat of course. Who wants to put money on those rapscallions?” Fishlegs growled.

“MONEY? I want to put macey on those rapscallions. And IN those rapscallions.”

“All in good time, all in good time,” Dagur chuckled wickedly. “My sword is thirsty too.”

“Ehhh, you guys remember the part where we don’t fire first, right?” Hiccup turned in the saddle. “And the goal isn’t to end them.”

“Of course. But it’s a guarantee they’re going to shoot so, might as well anticipate.”

“Just remember -cough- some of us -cough- were just as bad as they are once.”

“Owww bringing up old wounds eh Hiccup?” Dagur rolled his eyes. “That’s beneath you.”

“Just to prove a point is all.”

“Speaking of beneath us, canvases at nine o’ clock!” Snotlout pointed due west.

Six to seven white masts gave away a substantial fleet. We hooted and hollered. Out came the javalin again.

Hiccup set his jaw. “Formation!”

 

We rose in the sky, leveled and formed a diamond. Hiccup and Toothless the head Dagur and Sleuther the tail. Hiccup checked and tightened the strap of the saddlebag holding Trooper.

“Shattermaster, middle,” Dagur gestured his loose dragon.

“What are we going to do with her?” The twins gestured our newest member.

Hiccup looked down at Toothless. “Wanna see if she’ll work with you, bud?”

Toothless looked behind him and cooed at Ebony. She stared with her wide yellow eyes.

He cooed again. Slow but sure, she edged her way up and flew above him and Hiccup.

“Double Fury strike bet they won’t see that coming!” Ruff and Tuff fist pumped.

Thanks to the cloud cover we closed the gap quickly and quietly. Just as suspected the ships crest belonged to the hunters. We had found our quarry.

Almost on top of them, Hiccup raised his right hand. We waited in silence.

He dropped it and we dove.

With one hand I reached for my axe, with the other I clasped Stormfly’s saddle, breathing in and out heavy.

“Let’s do this, girl!” I whispered in her ear.

She raised her spines in excitement.

 

Together we emerged from the clouds, each Viking and dragon shrieking their own battle cry!

Circling the ships at high speed we fired one or two warning shots. Stormfly launched a couple spikes at the deck. Heather, Windshear and Shattermaster prepared to catapult the latter through the ships’ hulls.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Toothless and Ebony about to fire, and to my surprise Toothless swallowed his blast and stopped Ebony.

Hookfang ignited and flew gracefully between the masts, lighting each one.

“Snotlout Snotlout Oi Oi Oi!”

…So much for not firing first.

The twins, never to be outdone in mayhem by a Jorgenson, crossed his path, Barf pouring gas and Belch sparking.

CABOOM!

 

Toothless groaned, refusing to take Hiccups cues. The latter studied the ships… and his face turned pale.

“Stand down! Stand down!” He shouted as loud as he could. “Cease fire!”

Nothing changed.

Toothless bellowed a mighty roar to his fellow dragons.

The Vikings may not have heard their chief but the dragons sure listened to their alpha. Everyone stopped what they were doing.

I turned to our quarry. It was true that most of them had the hunter’s crest, including the flagship but some paraded a different flag entirely- an Eruptodon.

Of those carrying the hunters flag as I looked more closely I saw that many were badly damaged and then repaired in haste. The masts were torn and frayed, big burn spots dotted the deck and the hulls had suffered critical damage from… what appeared to be… the Gronckle maneuver?

Heather and Shattermaster hovered by. It wasn’t their doing.

 “What gives?” Ruff demanded. “Can’t you see we are in the middle of total annihilation? You should know better than to get between Thorstons and total destruction.”

“LOOK who you’re annihilating,” He gestured.

The people aboard the ships were making no attempt to fight back. They were too busy hurling bucket loads of water over the decks. Two in particular, a man with a red, shaved-sides pony tail, and a woman in black and gold stood out.

“Would you look at that,” Tuff smiled pleasantly. “It’s the Defenders of the Wing! Hey I can see Queen Mala from here! Ugh and Throk. Between you and me, that guy’s a weirdo.”

“Ohhhh these are the creepy dragon worshipers you’ve talked about in the past!” Dagur swung into the conversation. “Didn’t realize that’s who we were headed out to meet. Right on.”

“Wait- what are they all doing out here?” Snotlout and Hookfang looked to each other, perplexed. “And by ‘they all’ I mean ALL of them??”

“Does it really matter right now Snotlout? Look what we’ve done to their fleet!”

“Oi!” Throk yelled from the deck of the largest vessel. “Put out the masts!”

“Oops.”

Snotlout turned red in the face.

 

War dragons switched to rescue dragons in the blink of an eye. Stormfly and I swung low for a mouthful of salty water to spew at the sails in flame. For her to spew at the flame. The others followed our lead.

As we put out the fire Hiccup flew alongside the flag ship, assessing damage.

“You guys are taking on water?” He asked.

“Yes,” Mala leaned over the side. “These vessels are not seaworthy but we had little choice. Could your riders bring wood and tar from Algae Island and help us repair?”

“Not a problem, Mala. Guys!”

The chief split us up into teams. Snotlout and Hookfang were to board and help stop-up leaks, Heather and Dagur to collect wood, the twins to find tar, and Fishlegs, Meatlug and Shattermaster to see about Gronckle iron because you can’t go wrong with it when you’re making repairs.

 

Once the masts were put out Hiccup and I landed aboard the largest vessel for a meeting of the minds. We bowed sheepishly to Mala.

“This is incredibly embarrassing, Mala. We’re soo sorry for threatening your fleet like that. When we saw the sails-”

“We know what you thought. If we saw these sails nearing our harbor we would have prepared for battle as well. We hold nothing against you.” She glanced behind him to Toothless and Ebony who were making faces at each other. “You have found another one,”

“Yes! Long story short, yeah. On Seagull Droppings Island of all places.”

Throk cringed.

Mala leaned a little too far to the left and stumbled. Throk, ever at her side, offered his arm for her to lean on. She did not look well. There were bandages around her arms. Covered in soot and exhausted, the spark had left her grey-blue eyes. Her hair was a mess, her face was downcast and her posture spoke defeat. Now she could barely stand.

Hiccup found a chair for her. “You don’t look so good, Mala.”

“She has been leading us without rest or food for the last forty-eight hours,” Throk defended. He too looked tired and was covered in ash. In fact, all the defenders were covered with it, and many wore bandage wraps.

“It is a dark time for our people, Hiccup,” She said, wearily sitting. “I gather you received our messages?”

He looked down. “One. We received one. I’m sorry to tell you, but Stoker gave his life getting that message to us. He was shot down.”

The queen shook her head miserably. “I should not have sent him, it was against my better judgement to have a dragon do my bidding. I should not have sent him,”

Worn to a fray, this last bit of bad news proved a little too much. Silent tears fell down her cheeks.

“Who would do such a thing?”

“Someone who didn’t want us to know you guys were in trouble.” I said, bristling.

“What of the other courier? Did he make it?” Throk inquired.

“He did,” Hiccup was quick to point out a little bit of light. “He’s fought hard. I have him in one of Toothless’ saddle bags. Hope you don’t mind we named him Trooper.”

“It is a well-deserved name.”

“Let me return him to you,”

“No,” Mala answered, attempting to regain composure. “He is better off with you and your dragon riders than with us now. You did not receive his message?”

“It had been burned off. What did it say?”

“Stoker was our first messenger. When we did not hear from you we intended to send Mauve, or Trooper, as you call him. But disaster struck.”

She looked up with sorrowful eyes.

“Hiccup, Caldera Cay is no more, and our beloved Protector may be lost.”

“…It’s gone?” I repeated, aghast. “The Island is gone? And the Eruptodon, too??”

“Caldera is nothing but molten rock now. That we could recover from, but we lost some of our own, and I fear for the Protector.”

Hiccup stared. “Mala, what happened?”

“Honestly I do not know. Two nights ago a thunderstorm blew in. I was awakened in the first morning hours by the Protector’s mighty roar, and the distress calls of what few wild dragons were left on our island. When I looked out I found the streets of our ancestral village flowing with lava. We hurried to evacuate, every second hoping the Protector would come and stop the flow, but he never did. So we did what we had to. We loaded everyone into the boats, resurrecting some hunter’s ships in sheer desperation, set sail and have been adrift in our misshapen fleet since. The lava destroyed our village and has overtaken the entire island. Nothing is left.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing. In the absence of our Protector there is and always has been, total ruin.”

“Did… did he leave? With the other dragons that have disappeared?”

“He could not. The only one reason a Protector would not perform his duty is if he is not able. Something kept him from it; whether a terrible illness, an injury, or an outside force. I fear the worst.” She cupped her hands over her face. “Twelve. I have failed twelve of my people. The lava cut them off and we could not reach them in time. It was a terrible thing to watch.”

“Oh, Mala,” Hiccup’s voice wavered.

“What she will not tell you,” Throk commended is Queen. “There were twenty cut off from us, in all, but the strongest of them were able to toss the children over the molten rock to us. My Queen suffered severe burns on her arms catching one of the infants.”  

“The walls of our village have stood for over a thousand years, guarded so carefully by the Eruptodons of the past.” Mala continued. “Hiccup Horrendous Haddock, we have lost our home, our heritage, our island, twelve of our people and I fear a dear friend. You cannot know the pain I feel right now, or the burden of a people without a place to call their own. In a single night, we have been laid out desolate.”

He put a hand on her shoulder. “I- I don’t know what to say. I am truly sorry.”

“There is nothing that can be said. Words are but clanging symbols in the ear of a mourner.” She breathed in deeply. “There is something you can do though.”

This is what my husband wanted to hear. “Anything.”

Mala looked up once more. “It is a difficult thing, but I must know. Are you and your riders brave enough to search Caldera for our beloved Protector, to know, once and for all, what has become of him?”

“You can count on it,” he nodded.

 

 

The gang returned with supplies and everyone pitched in to patch the crippled fleet. Snotlout and Hookfang had marked unstable beams and weak spots in the hulls, they also organized work teams. Heather and Windshear helped the defenders measure and cut the lumber brought in. Dagur who was very familiar with patching up dragon-raided ships made quick work with the wood, and Sleuther tripled that speed by hammering nails in with his tails.

Hiccup Toothless and Ebony followed behind Dagur and Sleuther with the tar… but that didn’t last long.

“Keep the wood coming! I need a two-by-four at a 60-degree cut. Almost ready for the main beam,” I yelled up-deck.

“Astrid,” Hiccup pulled me aside. “I hate to ask you but could you take over with the tar? The smell is really getting to me.”

“Sure.”

“I owe you one.”

“You always owe me one.” I teased.

The old unusable wood was taken to Hookfang who burned it, then given to Fishlegs who mixed it into a pot of warm water and saliva from Shattermaster, creating black paint. He and Meatlug rose up to the mast and painted an Eruptodon over the Hunter’s emblem. Meanwhile Barf and Belch stitched together the sails that were torn.

Stormfly supported the deck as the main beam was replaced, as she did with all the beams. When that was done, the Gronckles came down and poured Gronckle iron from top to bottom of each beam. They also covered any weak areas on the outside of the hull with Gronckle iron

Working with dragons is soo much faster than trying to do everything alone. What would have taken the average Viking crew days to get done we managed to finish in about four hours. The hardest part of the whole job was trying to convince Mala her people needed her rested and alert more than they needed her help with repairs. We almost had to go on strike just to get her to go to bed!

 

When the work was finished I recruited Snotlout and Fishlegs to help me catch some fish for the defenders, who had to leave in such a hurry there wasn’t even time to load provisions aboard, just people.

“Here,” Hiccup was saying as we got back. He handed our entire supply of food over to Throk. “You guys take these.”

“We cannot accept this,” Throk tried to turn the stubborn Haddock down. “You need these rations for your own journey.”

“Nonsense. We have dragons, remember? They’re experts at catching fish!”

“This isn’t just fish, you have produce and bread in here. Dragons can do many things, but I’ve never seen a dough-”

“Heads up!”

Before the strong defender could argue another word we dropped our catch on the deck next to him. As he watched, distracted, Hiccup took the opportunity to load him down with the food for our journey.

Ebony ran up, excited to see so many tasty things all in one place.

“Oh no you don’t,” Fishlegs stood between her and the catch. “You pulled a fast one this morning but that’s only going to work once. Shoo! You’ll get your fish later.”

“…And then loop the yak-bone back through… tie it in a knot, and there we go!”

Belch chomped down on the excess string.

“There you have it. Ten splendidly sewn masts for the Voyage of the Dawn Defenders. That’s a great name and I’m copyrighting it now.”

I looked up and their handiwork. String hung in random places, ugly patches marked the burn holes, and some stiches spanned a length of three feet. The Eruptodon Fishlegs had worked so h.ard on looked like he’d been hit repeatedly by a Quaken. It was disconcerting.

“Thanks to us, these sails will hold through the thickest of storms!”

“I do say, my dear bro, this business of mending has been therapeutic.”

“It has indeed, sister. Perhaps not as therapeutic as arson, but soothing, none the less. Make a note of that for our upcoming New Bork Times best seller, ‘Chicken Soup for the Viking’s Soul’.”

“Consider it done.” Ruff tossed the bone and string behind her. Ebony, Meatlug, and Shattermaster chased after it.

 

“You guys ready to go?” Hiccup and Toothless joined us.

“…less thinking, more reacting. That’s how you keep a ship afloat after a dragon attack. The adrenaline of pure rage against your enemy is key. Keeps your mind off the freezing cold water and on the task at hand.” Dagur was explaining to a very confused Defender.

“But you’re a dragon rider. And I’m a Defender Why would a dragon be our enemy?”

“Well maybe not yours but at one time they were mine. Let me tell you the whole long and extended directors cut of the story, signed and autographed by me of course. You might want to take a seat because this’ll take the rest of the day. Hmm hmm! Once upon a time-”

“Dagur!”

“-Another time then!” He hopped up on Sleuther.

Throk saw us off, as Mala was finally getting some much needed and well-deserved rest.

“So I’m guessing you’re headed for Algae Island,” I said.

“That is correct. We will weigh anchor until the ships are fully mended and we have gathered enough provisions to make it to Odin’s Respite.”

I glanced back at Hiccup. He nodded. “Throk, we want to invite you and your people to take refuge at Dragons Edge. The outpost island has not been used to its fullest capacity for a few years now, and it would be wonderful to know it’s being looked after once more.”

"We couldn’t possibly-”

“We insist,” Hiccup stopped him. “Odin’s Respite has never been settled and we have buildings standing idle on Dragon’s edge. Besides, it would be nice to leave the home of the Buffalord as it is,” He added temptingly.

Throk bowed, a faint smile on his face. “How can I argue with that?” He ordered a change in course. “When my Queen awakes I will let her know of your hospitality. Thank you.”

“If all goes well we’ll meet up with you at the ‘Edge in two days.”

He nodded. “Odin’s speed to you. And take care, the mountain is fierce.”

LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Online
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017
PS

Sorry for the typo! This is Chapter TWELVE, not Eight. It autocorrected, :(