HTTYD Eclipse Chapter Fourteen

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LissaFish
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Berk's Power Player
Joined: 02/12/2017

 

 

 

ECLIPSE

 

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

 

By Lissafish the ever so slightly Eccentric

 

 

 

LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Offline
Berk's Power Player
Joined: 02/12/2017
Chapter Fourteen

I grew dizzy watching the magnificent creature circle us.

He was incredible. Rich purple eyes glanced from one Viking and dragon to another, powerful wings cut effortlessly and silently through the air. It was like gravity had no effect.

Almost twice the size of Ebony, the little flaps under his chin, of which Toothless had four of, had all but grown into a full beard. Although difficult to count while he was in motion I estimated about ten to twelve on each side.

The mountain groaned and our little seastack tremored. Dust and rock fell where it leaned against the other stack.

Studying each of us individually, Purple eyes rested his gaze upon Toothless. His ear flaps vibrated.

Toothless cocked his head to the side.

Stormfly sniffed the air. She looked away from the circling dragon and towards Caldera. I followed her gaze.

“Look!” Tuffnut pointed before I could utter a word.

Like Night Terrors there burst from the mountain cave a dozen or so black, winged beasts. Silhouetted against a fiery red glow they fluttered swiftly in tight groups together, first here and then there.

Purple eyes continued to circle with ear flaps vibrating. The swarm of creatures turned in unison and dove down toward us. When they arrived they followed his lead.

Surrounded. Surrounded by a pack of gorgeous, radiant, incredible Nightfuries!

“Guys we di.ed and went to Valhalla!” Ruff and Tuff threw their arms out.

Fishlegs swooned. As Heather tried to shake him out of it he muttered statistics of rediscovering a species previously thought to be extinct.

“Wow,” Hiccup was beyond words. He steadied himself against Toothless.

The dragons weaved under and over each other deftly. Even though tightly knit not one wing touched another.

“Baby!” Snotlout pointed, eyes as wide as Hookfangs’. “Baby Nightfury, two- three- four O’ clock!”

Flying close to its’ mother a marbled black and brown hatchling stared with innocent green eyes. He let out the most adorable squeak of a roar.

My heart melted inside of me.

“What? Baby Nightfury?? Where?!?” Fishlegs sat up suddenly.

“Over here,” Tuff and Belch leaned outward to the circle.

The nearest dragons snarled aggressively.

“Hey whoa,” Hiccup warned. “No sudden moves.”

So many expressions. Some looked as wide eyed and curious as the marbled baby, others suspicious and aloof, and yet others feisty and full of confidence.

Two more babies were spotted in the pack. There were a couple of teens and adolescents, and a handful of full grown adults, but no Ebony.

All the dragons, both ours and the nightfuries, buzzed with excitement. Only Purple Eyes remained silent. His ears continued to vibrate.

A new sound met our ears. It was like trilling but constant and unchanging. The swirling sea of dragons rippled as a single figure broke through.

All eyes turned. The sea stack shuddered as four rigid legs set down. The dragon they belonged to took our breath away.

Ghastly white. She looked more like a ghost than a living creature. Six little flaps under were on both sides of her jaw. The area around her eyes and her nose, on the tips of her toes, her tail, and much of the patagium between the fingers of her wings, was fleshy pink. Because of the lack of pigment in her skin every scar she had ever acquired shone brightly the same color, looking like wounds that had never truly healed.

Usually we could tell a lot about what’s going on in a Nightfuries’ head by what’s on his face. True for both that we had encountered so far, but not for this one. Her blood red eyes showed no expression at all as she reviewed our lot.

So stark in contrast was she in every way to anything we had ever seen or been told about, that we half wondered if she even was a Nightfury.

The double fin tail wagged irritably behind her but she lowered her wings. Slowly.

Turning her head from one Viking to another I noticed the ruby red eyes weren’t doing the tracking. As the origin of the constant trilling sound her ears and flaps vibrated unceasingly. Her tiny little nose seemed to be hard at work too, so if I had to guess, I’d say she relied more on what she heard and smelled than what she saw.

Legs stiff she made her way over, stepping like a rooster and lifting her tail ever so slightly.

“Okay… this… is… okay, everyone. She just wants to check us out, so… keep your dragons calm, and don’t move.” Hiccup instructed.

Now I know Hiccup’s voice is… well… Hiccup’s voice, but it sounded a little off, even for him. He’s not one to slur.

Most of our dragons were willing to listen but there is always that one in the crowd… and for once it wasn’t Hookfang.

Sleuther was up in arms and there was nothing Dagur could do about it. He tried to get the Triple Stryke to lower his poisonous tails and fold his wings.  Sleuther was smart enough not to do anything but he refused to back down either. Claws barred and head low he was ready to fight.

Unlike Ebony the albino seemed much more interested in our dragons than in us. Her first inspection was Windshear. The Razorwhip was much more at ease than she would have been if this dragon had been male, so things went as well as they could.

The albino made a slow and determined circle around the Razorwhip; extremely careful not to let her nose make contact. She spent a lot of time focused on her tail, again not so much studying with her eyes as with her ears. Apparently satisfied she moved on.

One sniff in Meatlugs direction and she passed over the Gronckle entirely uninterested. Barf and Belch required a little extra vibrating, but she did the same for them too. And to Shattermaster.

This was all fine and dandy to Stormfly until the albino finally made it to us, and with two sniffs we too, were overlooked. I tried not to smile at my Nadders’ frivolous embarrassment.

With Sleuther she kept her distance, clearly wanting to get a better ‘look’ at him but just not able to bring herself to risk it. First she slinked a wide circle wide one way. Sleuther tracked her making sure to stay between her and Dagur at all times. She ran out of ground, then circled the other way, walking past Shattermaster twice like he was nothing.

Hitting the ground with a forepaw and snapped her teeth our inspector sent a message out amongst the Furies. All of them cooed and trilled and hummed. All but silent Purple Eyes.

Last but not least, her attention finally turned toward Toothless.

He bobbed his head slowly in greeting but like Windshear she was more interested in his tail- at least at the time. Toothless allowed her to smell his false tail fin. He tilted his head sideways, watching as she vibrated in fascination.

“Like that, do you?” Hiccup said.

For the first time, the eyes turned from their complacent stare to look directly at someone- Hiccup. Her expression changed as she walked towards him, ears following his handiwork up Toothless’ side to his saddle, where the gears that gave his prosthetic leg control over the tail connected. She paused, letting her nose make the jump from the gears to Hiccups’ false leg. That’s when she figured out how he came into the picture.

She stood as tall as she could over him, blood red eyes looking intensely into Hiccups’ face. Toothless was quick to turn and stand at his side, sticking his head under Hiccup’s arm. The two dragons were identical in size.

The albino’s stoic stare rested on Toothless. She snorted and nodded her head.

His tail wagged. He lolled his tongue, teeth retracted.

She turned her vibrating ears back, cranking the volume up on the trilling.

Toothless looked confused. He glanced around uneasily and rubbed against Hiccup, cooing.

The albino growled low and sinister like. Toothless’ mouth dropped open, eyes wide. The circling dragons flew in just a little closer.

She growled again.

Our Nightfury’s eyes turned fierce. He barred his teeth, crouching low and pushed Hiccup behind him. He squealed to our dragons.

Stormfly immediately looked up in alarm. Her spines flared. Hookfang looked back and forth with his only-half-here expression, Meatlug grabbed Fishlegs with a paw, Barf and Belch got their necks crossed fighting over which Thorston they wanted to pick up, Windshear hissed and spread her wings and Sleuther-  Sleuther roared his battle cry.

“Heyy… bud… I don’t know what they’re up to but this really isn’t the best time to start a wa- hey! What are you doing?”

The white Nightfury held her head high, looking down upon Toothless as he tried to snarl at her and force Hiccup onto his back at the same time.

She spread her wings. Together each Nightfury dove out of sight.

“Where are they going?” The Twins asked in alarm.

“Stormfly,” I said urgently. She got in position for me to mount.

With one powerful stroke the albino lifted off our sea stack. Toothless tried to drag Hiccup onto his back with his teeth.

“Yeah, I think it’s about that-“ Hiccup was almost in the saddle when we were blinded by multi-colored flashes of light.

It was instantly followed by ear-splitting thunder. The ground beneath our feet gave way as the entire sea stack plummeted into the ocean.

Stormfly rawked in alarm, catching me by the arm. She turned sideways and allowed herself to fall a little, making it possible for me to crawl up her leg and into the saddle.

Sleuther was just as quick to get Dagur on his back. He even managed to help Shattermaster get up and flying by grabbing one of his legs with a tail. Snotlout had good instincts. When the blue light flashed he had launched himself at Hookfangs neck. The monstrous rider and his dragon ignited with rage. Barf grabbed Tuff and Belch grabbed Ruff, placing each Viking to the opposite head. Windshear caught Heather by the hood and placed her on her back, Meatlug used all for legs to catch Fishlegs. She spun around, tossing him in the air screaming until he landed squarely on her back.

Prosthetic leg slipping out of the stirrup, Hiccup and Toothless careened toward the water as the albino looked upon her work without expression.

“Pull up!” Dagur yelled to them.

About ten feet above the water Hiccup got himself and Toothless together. They collected and made a clean dive, avoiding the rubble of the demolished sea stack.

Angry, our dragons prepared to fight back.

“Hold your fire!” I took command, knowing something they didn’t know.

Albino studied me and my Nadder with new interest, but she quickly turned her ears toward Sleuther. The nightfuries, ever circling came in close to him. He snarled defiantly.

“Hold it,” I warned once more. It was all Stormfly could do to obey my command.

Silent Purple Eyes lead the swarm, awaiting the white dragon’s cue. Her ears went back.

He and the other dragons opened their mouths, blue glow of plasma shining bright.

Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaooooor!

Out of the ocean burst Toothless and Hiccup!

They spun, blasting three shots; two toward the dragons readying to fire on Sleuther and one at the Albino.

“Fire!” I yelled to everyone else. “Target adults only! None-lethal!”

Nightfuries broke formation to practice evasive maneuvers… but only for a few brief seconds. Out of all our blasts maybe two hit their marks.

“FLY!” Hiccup shouted, pointing to an opening through the attacking dragons. “It’s our only chance!”

As one we turned tail and slipped through their circle. Waiting command from their alpha, the Nightfuries held back.

“They’re crazy!” Snotlout gasped, he and Hookfang booking it. “They want to k.ill us!”

“They’re going to catch up, we’re no match to their speed!” I yelled.

“Then we should go to the defenders! They can help us fight them off!”

“No!” Hiccup shouted. “We’ve got to lead these dragons away from defenders or they will be destroyed. They’re no match in those broken-down ships and we can’t ask them to fight against what they protect.”

I looked back. The dragons dove toward the water, gaining on us fast. “They’re coming,”

Sleuther fought Dagur all the way for the reigns. “He wants to go up,” Dagur said.

“That will just slow us down even more! Just keep flying,” Hiccup told them. “We need a battle strategy.”

He shook his head over and over. Toothless veered one way and then another at Hiccup’s sloppy cues.

“That doesn’t include hurting those endangered dragons?” Fishlegs added hopefully.

“HURTING THEM? They’re about to k.ill us!” Snotlout roared. “I vote for a plan where we survive.”

“Hate to agree with a Jorgenson there, Fishlegs but as much as I like an endangered species I really don’t want to become one.” Tuff added.

“No one wants to hurt them and no one is going to! But we’ve got to do someth-“

An idea stuck the Chief. He started digging wildly through his saddle bags.

“DO we have a plan yet?!?” Snotlout cringed, looking back. “Because they do! It’s called dinner!”

“Everyone put earplugs in your dragon’s ears!”

“What??”
“Just do it!”

We did what he said.

Hiccup fumbled with stuff as he searched. Things fell out of the saddlebags right and left, and his ability to guide Toothless worsened. He held onto some twine he brought for emergency saddle-mending.

“I found it!” Hiccup slurred, pulling a bugle up. You would have thought it was gold by the look on his face. Not paying attention, he ran Toothless into the twins.

“Lookout!” They pointed.

We looked up. There was the albino nightfury, and she had ears on Toothless. Gliding down to our level her eyes worked hard to focus on him. She trilled loudly.

Once more we were surrounded by the black dragons. Purple Eyes was closest to me. He stared at Stormfly with a look of pity that unnerved her.

“It’s okay, girl,” I stroked her forehead, “I won’t let him do anything to you.”

He turned his gaze from her to me, wonder in his eyes.

Toothless listened as the Albino continued. She looked up at Hiccup and back down to him. Apparently, what she said was an insult because Toothless made a face of disgust and snarled back at her. Hiccup stuffed the earplugs in his dragon’s ears.

The white dragon snorted, pulling away from us. Purple eyes followed her lead, and the rest followed him.

“Okay…” Ruff said.

Before she finished the Albino turned a sharp 180. A blast of red plasma flew through the night sky and hit Toothless in the shoulder. He cried out.

It demolished the gear system and left his false tail fluttering in the wind.

“No no no!” Hiccup grasped at his flailing dragon.

As quickly as she turned so did the others. Under a reign of plasma fire we scarcely could keep in the air.

They weren’t just random shots, either. These dragons were smart. A yellow ball of plasma narrowly missed Stormfly’s head; only because she had turned just at that second. She wouldn’t have survived if it had hit. I looked back to see an impressively fat Nightfury with yellow eyes casually looking away from us.

Having two heads Barf and Belch were targeted in the wings instead. Less volatile purple blasts pelted them. Sure enough it was the work of silent purple eyes.

Hookfang got two adolescent Nightfuries on his tail. They apparently didn’t have any fire yet, but fire didn’t seem to bother them either. One clamped down on his flaming tail and the other tried coming at his neck. He was quick to snake around and take a snap himself. The two dragons fell back.

“Hookfang Hookfang Oi Oi Oi!”

Sleuther was in full combat mode. No dragon had as many antagonists as he did, they seemed to flock to him like magnets. Over and over he blocked head shots with his claws. Wing attacks were almost futile for the Triple Stryke who was about as agile as the Nightfuries. Poisonous tails and a fiery breath deterred any ‘claw to claw’ combat, but still the dragons relentlessly crept in. He ended up siding with Windshear who was also taking a lot of heat.

Strangely enough none of them did anything to Toothless. And very few took any interest in the Gronckles. Once or twice one would fly up and try to pull Fishlegs out of the saddle but that was about it.

Stormfly rawked in anger. She shot her most powerful blast into the swarming, aggressive dragons. It held them at bay just a few seconds longer. We rushed to Hiccup and Toothless side.

“What can we do?” I asked, desperately wanting to help.

“Take this twine, rope it around the false tail,” With heavy hands he gave me the rope. “I can use it to guide his tail.”

We slipped back behind them. Toothless did his best to keep in a straight line so we wouldn’t have to chase his tail everywhere.

I was making a little loop to tighten around one of the tail barbs when Heather yelled to us. Fishlegs joined her.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her. Blood red eyes filled with rage, ears vibrating, carefully on point. In her mouth was a k.ill shot of a fireball, and it was aimed at Hiccup.

Time stopped. My mind told me to rush in front of him but my body could not move fast enough. All I could do was watch in horror as the blast left her mouth and came at my husband.

A blaze of red and black zipped past me and Stormfly. It came between the fireball and it’s intended target.

The monstrous nightmare, hit squarely in the chest was flung by impact against Toothless and Hiccup, knocking the latter out of the saddle and away from his dragon.

Shattermaster jumped into action. He dropped like a rock, catching Toothless just before he crashed once more into the sea.

Stormfly dove. She plucked Hiccup carefully out of the air with her talons.

“Trooper!” He gasped, hooking the saddlebag with his false foot just before it slipped away.

We looked up to see a terrible sight. Hookfang spiraled toward the ocean. His eyes were shut and his mouth was open. Snotlout had been thrown off at the same time as Hiccup. Thankfully the twins had managed to nab him.

A mighty splash and the Monstrous Nightmare disappeared beneath the waves. The two adolescent Nightfuries broke off to follow him. An adult popped out of nowhere and joined them, fighting savagely over the pickings.

“Hookfang!” Hiccup was distraught. He reached out toward the fallen dragon.

“Guys help him!” Snotlout cried out. “You know he can’t swim!”

Our fleeing party came to a halt, not sure what to do. None of our dragons were strong enough to pull the monstrous nightmare out of the water.

Once again the dragons of night surrounded us. This time though there was no firing because they had run out of shots.

But so had we.

The new tactic was to take turns diving in and snapping at our dragons. It was an old game but a classic, played many times by hunting wolves very successfully. Each would take a turn harassing the target and when their prey was completely turned around, one would go for kill.

We made a protective circle, each dragon and rider pointed outward, guarding one another’s wings. Windshear, Stormfly and Sleuther flared their tails as a deterrent to any dragon that might think of entering from the inside of our circle.

Back and forth they dipped and rose, testing the strength of our shield. Even the babies joined in the antagonizing.

Albino circled around us, not taking a part in the pack’s work. She had not used up all her shots.

Toothless struggled to keep himself and Shattermaster in the air. He looked up at the devious white creature. Anger spread across the usually cheerful dragon’s face.

Hiccup suddenly realized he was still holding the string and bugle in his hand and got to work. He pulled Trooper’s bag up and put it around his shoulders, then he took off his false foot.

“What are you doing?” I ducked as the same impressively fat Nightfury snapped at me.

He was covered in cold sweat, shaking his head and trying to steady his hands. “Ugh.” He groaned, breathing heavily. “Something’s wrong. Astrid, when I drop this you guys take off at your highest speed. Try to save Hookfang.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

He didn’t answer. “Everyone better have the earplugs in their dragons’ ears!”

“Hiccup-”

Hiccup looked over his contraption. He had wrapped one end of the twine around the outer part of the mouthpiece of the bugle, and then tied the other end to his false leg.

He dropped it.

The horn, dragged down by the weight of the metal leg caught the wind in the mouthpiece and sang as it sailed.

Every dragon not wearing earplugs stopped what they were doing. The pupils of their eyes turned to slits and they followed, mesmerized, as the Deathsong Horn careened downward.

“Go!” Hiccup gasped, slumping over.

“Hiccup? Hiccup!” I screamed at him. He just dangled there looking lifeless. Toothless roared at his boy, flapping against Shattermaster to get closer to him, terror on his face.

Another dragon gave an angry roar. The albino. She sealed her earflaps to her neck and made as much noise as possible, counter-acting the draw of the bugle- at least for herself.

Free from the call of the deathsong, she turned and flew away.

Sleuther looked around. Hiccup was down. Toothless was down. Snotlout and Hookfang, down. Barf and Belch struggled with the weight of an extra Viking, Shattermaster was giving it everything he had to keep airborn, and Stormfly and I were preoccupied trying wake Hiccup. In the meantime a bloodthirsty dragon lurked in the cover of darkness, and as soon as the bugle fell into the ocean, her pack would return.

With a mighty toss of his head the Triple Stryke roared, taking control whether Dagur or the rest of us liked it or not.  He broke our circle and flew straight up into the sky.

“Sleuther what are you doing?!?” Dagur yelled out.

Stormfly turned an eye his way, the others looked hesitant.

The Triple Styke roared again, urging haste.

My girl gave up on our defense. She turned to the others and rawked, encouraging them to follow Sluether into the clouds. Shattermaster was the first to break off and follow his friend, with Meatlug and Windshear close behind. Neither giving much thought to what their riders were saying.

Barf and Belch quickly joined the vertical travelers.

“No you can’t leave him! You can’t leave him!” Snotlout hit the Zippleback’s legs with his fists. “Let me go I’ll fend them off myself!”

I tried to turn Stormfly back but she refused. She looked me in the eye, sadness in hers, then glanced down at Hiccup. I knew what she was saying. In her mind and the rest of our dragon’s minds, the only thing we Vikings would accomplish if we tried to save Hookfang now was get ourselves k.illed, and they weren’t willing to lose us, too.

Tears burned in my eyes while Stormfly took up the end of the procession, Snotlout’s heartbroken cries clear and crisp in the open sky above us. She breathed heavily as we flew straight up with powerful wing-strokes. All the dragons did, but Sleuther roared mercilessly at them demanding they go faster.

The air grew thinner. Going the exact opposite direction of the mesmerized Nightfuries we were fast to lose sight of them in the clouds.

Every wing beat became a struggle, even for those not burdened with extra weight. Still the Triple Stryke flew quickly and vertically, beckoning to the others with tough love to pick up the pace.

Then with dread I recognized a constant trill. It grew louder with every second as the albino Nightfury gained on me and my Nadder.

“Faster girl,” I found myself urging. She raised her spikes and this time I didn’t care if she dealt that dragon a savage blow. I looked beneath us.

Ugly white skin and blood red eyes broke through the fog below. She was right on our tail!

Toothless snarled fiercely, not hesitating blast three fireballs at her.

She ducked for one, got her tail nicked on the second, but with the third… with the third she turned her ears to him and waited. When he shot it, she shot one back.

The blasts hit each other and the result was phenomenal. On impact they exploded; all the fire power of the two shots combined scattered into bright fingers of purple lightning, stretching out across the darkened sky. It was both beautiful and terrifying, and we were flat out lucky no one got struck by it.

Toothless coughed, trying to blast again but he had reached his six-shot limit. The Albino on the other hand still had three more.

She snorted and turned away from him. Unable to fly, unable to fire, he was no concern to her.

Working her way up and ignoring our struggling dragons she now focused on the biggest threat among us; Sluether. And by the speed and effort she put into catching up she aimed to finish this fast.

Sleuther roared one last time with urgency. We could hardly breath now, we were so high up, and the dragons were gasping for air. Yet they listened, and with their last ounce of energy they thrust themselves upward.

The fog fell away from us and we were greeted by the moon and stars. Safely a hundred yards above this second ocean made of cloud, Sleuther at long last stopped.

I felt dizzy because of how thin the air was. We had to be at least twenty-five thousand feet up. My breath turned to ice crystals almost before it left my mouth.

Before we could see her, we heard her, circling below before rising out of the cloud cover.

She glowed deathly white in the light of the moon, her red eyes almost ablaze.

Sleuther snorted angrily and flew between her and the rest of us. He lowered his head in challenge.

She stopped her circling and hissed at him. Her mouth opened but nothing came out of it.

Sleuther raised his tails and came closer, threatening to strike.

Again she opened her mouth but nothing came. She grew angry and nervous, flying back a few paces.

“What’s happening?” Heather asked, fearing for her brother.

Fishlegs wheezed. “The air is too thin up here for her to spark a fireball! Sleuther’s got the upper wing now, because he doesn’t need a spark for the poison in his tails!”

The Triple Stryke belted out an intimidating roar.

The albino roared back but flew down under the cover of cloud.

She was retreating!

“We have to get out of here,” Dagur said and Sleuther grunted as they flew past. “Hiccup bought us time with that Bugle, but it won’t do any good if we don’t leave now.”

“Stay above the cloud cover,” Fishlegs warned. “They can’t see us, may not be able to hear us, and most importantly , can’t fire at us.”

It wasn’t like we had a choice. These were the things the dragons were already doing, we were, for our own sanity, voicing them.

Silent tears fell from the Jorgenson’s face. There was nothing anyone could say or do.

Toothless forced Shattermaster over toward me and Stormfly. He cried pitifully as he licked Hiccup’s face and didn’t get a response.

Icy fingers of fear gripped at my heart. We were only ten feet apart but I didn’t even know if he was still breathing.