Path of the Tempest: A School of Dragons

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Hiccup created a School of Dragons four years ago to select and train the newest generation of dragon riders. A very selective school where very few students get in every year. In the meantime he has led Berk for a peaceful four years... well mostly. Local prankster Hyrra has enjoyed making his job more difficult, with weekly disasters and a no-care attitude to match. Somehow Hiccup loops her into helping take care of and heal an injured Skrill. It wouldn’t be so bad if the dragon would just work with them, but this has to be one of the most ornery and aggressive dragons Hiccup has ever faced. And that is where this Saga begins...

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                                Music                               

Story Theme Songs

Path of the Tempest, A School of Dragons

This is War | Become the Beast

Path of the Tempest, Dawn of the Fallen

Awake My Soul | Dark Storms

 

Character Theme Songs

Hyrra

Stand By Me | Save Me A Spark

Stormbreaker

Like Lions | I Of The Storm

 

Storm's Art Corner

 

Stormbreaker does not appreciate you staring.

(c) Wutend Bonfire

 

Stormbreaker only plays nice for Hyrra... and only occasionally!

(c)  Sky and Ocean

 

 

 

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Reference Page

Character Facts:
[Name/Species/Gender/Age (At the Beginning and Human Years Only): FirstName Meaning/LastName Meaning. Family History. Personality.] {Other Pictures}

* Edit by the wonderful Nessie!

* Art by the superb Spygirl!

 

Hyrra Boandi*/Human/F/15: (Hyrr = Fire) + a/Peasant. Daughter of peasants Tropper and Gyda, has baby brother Midge. Fiesty, stubborn, and a touch mischievous. Cunning and determined, but impatient.

Calder Arud/Human/M/16: Rough Waters/River Clearing.  Son of a fishing family. Thinks of himself as cool and tries to act it (particularly in front of girls). He is physically strong and a great swimmer. Kind, but can be lazy.

Stormbreaker/Skrill/M/Unknown: N.A. Formerly wild dragon. Independent and intelligent, unpredictable and aggressive to those he doesn’t know (And even to some he does). Dominating personality. Despite his appearant confidence, he's actually very unsure and is terrified of bodies of water. Agile and quick. {By:Witcherforever}

Brey Fettleston*/Human/F/15: Strength, Force/"Fettle"To Prepare. From the Southern Archipelago. Bubbly, Optomistic, Unassumingly Intelligent, and a Good Listener.

Pearl*/Sliquifier/F/About 16: N.A. Beautiful Tidal Class dragon, very calm and gentle, but a fast flier and an even faster swimmer. Very protective of her rider and friends. Ridden by Calder. {By:Witcherforever}

Dizzy/Nadder/F/About 14: N.A. Hyper, quick on her feet, and bouncy. Has a bad habit of making herself 'dizzy' when running around. Ridden by Brey.

Axel Elklund/Human/M/17: Father of Peace/Oak Grove. Eldest son of the wealthy Elklund family. Brave, smart, narcissistic but not evil. Excellent rider and great warrior.

Goldtyr/Monstrous Nightmare/M/16: Tyr=God of War. Has been with Axel since he was an adolescent, around 6 years now. Very loyal, not fiesty like other Nightmares and is happy to follow Axel's lead.

Bjorn Clasharm/Human/M/17: Bear. Met Axel when they came to School, has been his loyal friend since. Intimidating, quiet, strong, but never questions Axel. He is very literal and has almost no sense of humor.

Thrain Silvgard/Human/M/19: Yearner/Unknown. The best Scout at the School. He is very kind and has a good sense of humor that has made him popular with nearly everyone. Due to his age and experience he often teaches the youngest Scouts and helps teach even the older ones. He is Hyrra's tutor. He rides a Snaptrapper.

Sage, Olive, Basil, and Mint "The Ladies/Sisters"/Snaptrapper/F/18: All are named for fragrant plants. A wild-born egg, the sisters were abandoned by their mother. Their egg was found by scouts and brought back to the school where they hatched and grew. Not many people wanted to deal with four large, high-maintenance dragons, each with their own personality, so they went overlooked for nearly a year before Thrain bonded with them. They are incredibly loyal to Thrain and dote on him constantly. Towards others, both dragons and humans, they tend to be aloof and snooty.

 

Another thanks to any artists who have contributed to this page!

 

Reference Pictures

(I made these in paint so they are not pretty, just wanted to give you a visual, for all those who need them. If anyone wants to redraw them be my guest!)

Map of School

Close-up on lake

Stormbreaker's Saddle

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Index Of Chapters

Index of Chapters

[Click on the chapter you’d like to skip to.]

 

Prologue

Chapter 1: Hyrra

Chapter 2: A Dragon of Storms

Chapter 3: The Healing Touch?

Chapter 4: Saddles and Shirts

Chapter 5: Prescriptions

Chapter 6: Test Drive

Chapter 7: Acceptance

Chapter 8: Schooled

Chapter 9: Axels and Bears, Oh My!

Chapter 10: Metals and Mysteries

Chapter 11: The Placement Ceremony

Chapter 12: Graveyards and Stonehearts

Chapter 13: The Dragon Rider Games

Chapter 14: The Dragon Rider Games: Shocktide vs Gold Swords

Chapter 15: Showdown! Hyrra vs Axel!

Chapter 16: A Party for Champions

Chapter 17: Combat Training

Chapter 18: Dragon Slayers

Chapter 19: Know Thy Enemy
Chapter 20: Tragic Accidents

Chapter 21: ... with Tragic Consequences

Chapter 22: Reveries

Chapter 23: A Dragon of the Abyss

Chapter 24: Brother of Mine

Chapter 25: Submerged

Chapter 26: Weekend Getaway!

Chapter 27: Baby Gone

Chapter 28: Fear Not the Night

Chapter 29: Loki's Day?

Chapter 30: Squall and Fury

Chapter 31: The Darkness Within

Chapter 32: A Fireside Chat

Chapter 33: Lies, Truths, and Promises

Chapter 34: Matching Calamities

Chapter 35: Gelgja for a Fylgja

Chapter 36: A Lady of Lightning

Chapter 37: The Darkness Emergent

Chapter 38: Introspection Incidents

Chapter 39: Brey's Big Birthday Bash

Chapter 40: Never Challenge a Skrill

Chapter 41: ... Unless You're Prepared to Lose

Chapter 42: Island, Interrupted

Chapter 43: Battle of the Caldera

Chapter 44: The Strike that Rends Stonehearts

Chapter 45: Where's Hyrra?

Epilogue *New

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Prologue

Prologue

 

            Calder leaned over the ship’s side and watched the water lapping against the wood. His boredom was at an all-time high today, a striking lack of fish had kept him and his father out at sea longer than they had estimated. His father thumped the back of his head, “Yer not goin’ to get any fish starin’ into the water.”

            No he wasn’t, but it was better than tossing nets into the water only to drag them back and get nothing. It was a huge waste of time. He peeked over his shoulder at his father -who had already gone back to tossing out nets and dragging them back in. Ulf Arud was as large as any Viking man, he was tanned thanks to long hours spent on the deck of ships, and his arms could easily pick up huge barrels filled with fish. Calder wasn’t a pipsqueak either, after all he had been, quite literally, born on a deck and he had been fishing since then. But he hated it. A couple of other large men were toiling on the deck and while some had names to go with their faces most of them were temporary workers just looking for a little bit of coin before Snoggletog in a couple of months.

            The ocean around them was still and there were only a couple large clouds covering the sky to the west. Calder squinted into the sun, which was being just as merciless as any other day, even the scenery was boring him today. Sometimes there were Sliquifiers or Seashockers to watch swim but even they weren’t out today, because they’re smart enough to follow the fish, he thought bitterly. He’d tried telling his father that they should try a new spot, but he had gotten the cryptic answer, “This is where the Gods put us so this is where we will throw our nets” back. What he means is that this is where we lost the wind and you’re too lazy to get the oars out. The muted sounds of the waves did nothing to dampen the sounds of the men pulling in their nets and grunting or mumbling the whole time.

            “What’s that?” Calder jumped at the suddenly loud voice next to him, a newcomer was staring high into the thick clouds. Clouds that had suddenly become much more intimidating. Slow rumbling thunder echoed across the glassy waters and a sinking feeling had gripped his stomach. Calder stared hard into the sky, a small dot had appeared in the clouds, and it looked like a bird, but intuition told him that, whatever it was, was much bigger than a mere bird. And it was coming straight at them.

            “Dragon!” Somebody behind him yelled the dreaded word that sent everyone scrambling for their weapons. On Berk, where Calder and his father were from, dragons and humans had coexisted peacefully for nearly a decade. But out on the open sea dragon attacks were still quite common, they often came because they wanted to steal the fish. Calder already had an arrow notched in his bow when the dragon came close enough to identify it.

            At first Calder thought his eyes were deceiving him, this dragon was too rare (and some people would even argue that it was extinct). But as the dragon swooped within a couple meters of the boat Calder felt electricity dancing in the air and he knew it was real: a Skrill. Midnight blue with striking eyes that glared at the boat. Calder had a thing for dragons, after all he had always wanted to apply to the School of Dragons, so he knew just how dangerous a Skrill could be. The hairs on Calder’s neck stood up and he got a strange sensation just before a blinding blue light hit the deck beside him. Lightning. Splinters went flying, a couple bounced off of his pants. Shaken from his shocked state Calder began to notch and fire arrow after arrow at the wings of the dragon, the only unarmored part. A part of him felt guilty, after all this was an unusual dragon, but the other part knew that if they didn’t bring this dragon down, the ship would go down instead.

            The dragon’s speed was breathtaking, one second it was circling and the next it was attacking from the other side. All of his arrows weren’t even coming close to hitting the dragon, half the time he could barely keep his eyes on the beast. They certainly didn’t over exaggerate the Skrill’s speed, he mused. It was only by chance that a thrown spear glanced off the dragon’s head. It slowed down, perhaps in shock that it had actually been hit, but Calder took the opportunity to fire an arrow. The sharpened edge of the arrowhead sliced easily through the center of the right wing’s membrane. The dragon roared and began frantically flapping its wings; however, the wild movements only served to make the small tear grow larger until the wing was flapping uselessly like a rag. It fell into the water, the animal’s desperate struggling only served to make Calder feel worse.

           Apparently he wasn’t the only one.

            “GET THE NETS!” His father thundered, the crew quickly knotted two nets together, Calder grabbed one edge and heaved the net over the side and onto the struggling dragon. With the help of most of the crew they were able to drag the large reptile on board, “Tie it up!” His father ordered. Thick ropes were drawn in around the net and pinned to the deck. A couple of the more senior fishermen stood watch over the dragon, but keeping a good amount of space between them and the wild beast.

            “And don’t let it dry off!” Calder warned, everyone looked at him for a split second but nodded and began filling up buckets to pour onto the dragon. Calder followed his dad up to the bow, “What are we going to do with it?”

            “We’ll take it back to Berk, let the chief decide.” The young man nodded, just glad that they weren’t going to kill it. The hairs were standing on the back of his neck again, he looked back at the dragon and found it staring right at him. Icy, intelligent eyes were staring directly into his. Those were not kind eyes though, they were not thanking him for saving it from drowning. No. They were full of murderous wrath, and it was all directed at Calder.

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Chapter 1: Hyrra

Chapter 1

Hyrra

            Berk sat peacefully as the first rays of sun began to crest over the ocean, dew sat on the grass and the sheep still slept peacefully in their pens. Nothing stirred except a young woman climbing up to Gothi’s hut.

            Hyrra grinned as the wind whipped her face, she was almost to the top. They won’t know what hit ‘em! She thought wickedly. At the top she edged around the hut and looked inside, the impossibly old woman was still fast asleep with dozens of Terrible Terrors surrounding her like a breathing blanket. Looking over the ledge a couple of folks had woken up and even a few of the dragons were beginning to move about. Hyrra untied a small sack from her homemade belt and opened it slowly. The pungent odor of sardines filled her nose, she had learned that these were the favorites of the Terrors. Apparently they would go crazy for them. We’ll see how crazy they can get…

            She heard movement behind her and upon looking saw a wall of Terrors staring at her with the biggest eyes she had ever seen. Their noses twitched at the smelly bag she held in her hand, this is going to be so good. She smiled innocently at the dragons as she dumped the sardines over the edge. Immediately the Terrors took off, diving over the edge like maniacs as they dove for the falling fish.

            Down below Tuffnut Thorston had just walked outside when a small fish hit him on top of the head, holding his hand out as if feeling for raindrops, he looked over to Snotlout Jorgenson and grinned, “Hey look it’s raining food!” The confusion on the Jorgenson clansman’s face quickly turned to horror when a Terror dived onto Tuffnut’s face and began chewing on his nose.

            Back up above Hyrra was laughing at the chaos down below, “Oh I’m hurt! I am VERY much hurt!” Echoed up the hill as Tuffnut was running around with a couple of Terrors clinging to his face and hair. He wasn’t the only one, the Terrors were living up to their name as they dutifully searched for their favorite snacks, even if that meant crawling into the breeches of an unsuspecting Viking. Too busy laughing and gasping for breath at their misery, Hyrra didn’t realize a certain someone was awake until she was smacked on the head by a stick. “Ow! Hey what do you-” She turned and was given a very disapproving look by the silent village elder. “Oh… morning Gothi?”

            Dragged back down the hill by the old woman, and hit many different times with a staff on the way, Hyrra was all but paraded through the village to the main hall. The inhabitants of Berk and even the dragons, were growling at her, “Jeez someone really ought to keep her on a leash…” “What a nuisance…” “Her parents must be ashamed…” Those were just a couple of the things she heard whispered. Hyrra rolled her eyes as she was forced inside of the main hall, behind her Gothi shut the door, leaving the girl standing alone in the doorway. She pushed a stray red curl from her eyes with her dirty hands, I really should have come up with an escape plan, she thought as she looked to the other side of the hall.

            Next to one of the fires a man sat looking a little tired. She took a couple steps closer to him and saw he was rubbing his temples as if to soothe the headache he more than likely had. It wasn’t just him looking tired, the black dragon lying next to him was giving her an irritated look as well.

            “Really? Again? This has to be what, the fourth event this month? We just finished the repairs from the Nadder-Spike Explosion. Poor Stormfly just managed to regrow her spines.” He rubbed his face, scratching at his short beard as he did so.

            “Exactly you wouldn’t expect it so soon!” Hyrra grinned, but it quickly wilted when the chief’s green eyes cut into her amber ones.

            “Honestly Hyrra, you do realize most of them out there would love for me to exile you for all the chaos you’ve caused?” She resisted the urge to roll her eyes, she’d heard all this before, “Why can’t you find a slightly less…” He gesticulated his arms as if trying to find the right word “… destructive hobby?”

            “Oh you mean like being a servant like my parents? Or maybe I should just start looking for a man twice my age to marry, because you know those are the only two options I’ve really got available.” The redhead retorted, not caring that her tone was particularly insolent but she knew throwing that into the chief’s face would startle him.

            It worked. Perhaps it worked as well as it did because it was the truth, Hyrra came from arguably the poorest clan in Berk, if not the archipelago. The Boandi family have never really owned any property, instead they currently live on someone else’s farm and worked his lands for him.

            “Perhaps you could help your family’s situation. Instead of making it worse.” An older woman stepped out of the shadows, has she been there the whole time? Hyrra looked down, unable to meet Valka’s gaze, How could I do anything for my family? No amount of work will ever pay off my family’s debt and I’ll never be able to marry anyone of worth. She wanted to voice her questions but she stifled it, simply wanting to leave.

            “Can I go?” Hyrra’s good mood had quickly soured, a complete 180 from where she had been only minutes before. She didn’t think she could stay in their presence much longer without saying something she would definitely get exiled for.

            “Not just yet, I am not letting you off easily again. You’re going to help clean up any mess the Terrors caused and while you’re at it why don’t you help muck the streets as well? Now you can go.” The chief ruled, his mother stood next to him nodding in agreement.

            She blanched at the thought of helping to clean the streets, Dragons are disgusting. As she left the great hall she found that the crowd had already dispersed. Weird. Normally the crowd would have been waiting to ask Hiccup if he had exiled her yet. While descending the steps, and pondering her own cruel fate, a villager came running up the steps, out of breath and looking a little panicked. Pausing only for a second the redhead just shrugged it off, probably just a runaway cart again.

            Just as she was about to turn to go home, and maybe escape her punishment for a day, the chief and his dragon raced over her head. She overheard something about the docks and a “new arrival” as he passed. Ok now I’m interested.

            Down at the docks a rather terrifying event was unfolding. The Arud’s fishing ship had come in carrying a lot more than just fish, instead they had an irate passenger, and said passenger was not making it easy for the dragon handlers to move him to the stables. Hyrra was leaning over the edge when she saw Calder making a bee-line away from the ship.

            “Oy, blondie!” Hyrra punched the taller boy in his arm as she caught up to him, “So what’s up with the reptile cargo?”

            Calder had a strange look in his eyes, it was almost anxious even a bit fearful. Which was quite rare considering Calder’s cool demeanor. “Uh, it attacked our ship, and uh…” He trailed off looking over the edge of the cliff down at the docks.

            “You okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

            The boy frowned, seeming to get a hold of himself, “No, but that dragon was staring at me the whole way back.” He visibly shuddered, “It was so creepy!”

            “Maybe he was hypnotized by your sparkling green eyes,” She offered with a raised eyebrow.

            He grinned, “Yeah maybe, I mean they work so well on the ladies, why not on a dragon?” The redhead rolled her eyes and looked back over the edge.

            Hiccup had taken control of the situation, he stood on the ship in front of a very tense dragon and, next to him, Toothless looked edgy as well as he growled at the dark dragon. From their vantage point Calder and Hyrra could not hear what Hiccup was saying as he drew closer to the trapped dragon, but it was probably something soft and soothing. He gave a swift cut to the thick fishing net, effectively freeing the irritated animal. Hiccup moved back quickly giving the reptile its space as it made a move to get up and take off. Only to find it couldn’t. The dragon’s right wing had a huge slit in the center membrane that kept it from getting any lift. Hiccup drew close to the dragon again, this time approaching even slower and offering his hand, Hyrra had seen him do this before with lots of dragons. It always worked.

            Calder was shaking his head next to her, and mumbling something like “that won’t work”, and it became apparent why when electricity snapped from the injured dragon’s head towards the chief. Toothless quickly grabbed Hiccup and, just as dexterously, hopped off the ship as Astrid tossed a dragon nip bomb on board. It didn’t take long for the hissing green gas to affect the dark dragon, within seconds it fell to the ship deck, passed out.  

            The crowd began scattering as it became apparent that the show was now over. “Wow, what kind of dragon doesn’t like the chief?” Hyrra wondered, not really wanting an answer.

            “From what I’ve read Skrills pretty much hate anything that moves, oh! I heard this one story that Skrill…” She blocked out the rest, but she should have known he would answer her, after all Calder was a fanatic for dragons. If he could he would have joined the School of Dragons, but the school was extremely selective, less than a dozen students got in every year, and he’s expected to inherit his father’s ship.

            “Sounds like a peach,” She mumbled as he continued to ramble, “Anyways, I’ve got better things to do that learn all this dragon mumbo-jumbo.”

            “Avoiding punishment again?” He called after his childhood friend, a knowing smile on his face, as she waved and jogged off.

            After escaping the village and entering the rolling hills of the farmland she slowed down to a walk, hooking her thumbs into the rope-belt around her waist she casually strolled past Mulch’s farm. He gave her a discriminating eye but, after realizing she wasn’t up to anything, gave a friendly wave. She smirked back and continued on her way. Hyrra raised an eyebrow as she passed a sign with the runes ᛬ᛖᚲᛚᚢᚾᛞ᛫ᚠᚫᛗᛁᛚᛃ᛫ᚠᚫᚱᛗ᛬ (“Eklund Family Farm”) painted elegantly onto it. Home sweet home.

            The fields weren’t the largest but they were immaculately kept and produced a lot of food. In the center of the fields was a huge wooden cabin that housed the Eklund family, a wealthy and extended clan. Hyrra walked past the fields, and the large house, to the very back of the property where a small shack was standing hidden under some trees. On first look one might think it was a tool shed, but no…

            “I’m home.” She announced as she walked through the door, wondering if they were here or already working in the fields somewhere. The hut inside was actually divided into two areas, there was the ‘ground floor’ (quite literally since the ground was dirt) and a small lofted area that served as a Hyrra’s bedroom. The ground floor was pretty sparse it only had her parents sleeping mat, a table and a baby’s basket occupying its space. There wasn’t much room for anything else and since they couldn’t have a fire inside, after all old wood catches fire easily, they cooked all their meals over a fire pit outside.

            “Your father is already in the fields… Where have you been?” Hyrra’s mother, Gyda, was currently securing Hyrra’s baby brother, Midge, into a homemade baby sling around her body as she spoke. When she finished she looked up at her daughter expecting an answer. Gyda definitely looked like a woman who had been working hard her entire life; her face was tired and once bright copper hair was now streaked heavily with silver, despite not being very old.

            “Down at the docks, Calder and his father came back.” It’s not a total lie.

            “So are you actually going to help us today?” She asked. Hyrra’s first instinct was to make up some excuse to get out of work but Valka’s words still echoed around in her skull. Biting back her tongue she nodded and headed out to the fields.

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Chapter 2: A Dragon of Storms

Chapter 2

A Dragon of Storms

                Sweeping the dirt streets seemed a bit unnecessary to Hyrra, as she pushed the large broom sluggishly. This lazy cleaning didn’t go unnoticed by her supervisor, “you’re going to be out here for weeks if you keep using the broom that a’ way!”

                Hyrra all but growled at Gobber, the old smith had been chosen by Hiccup to make sure she did all of her ‘community service’, “Don’t forget you still have to help the street cleaners with the dragon… er… messes.”

                Her arms and back already hurt from working the fields earlier that day, that’s what I get for trying to ‘help’ my family, she thought bitterly. “I’ve been sweeping the same dusty path forever, can’t I get a break?”

                The man scratched his tangled beard, “It is teatime after all… and I don’t want to miss a meal. Come on, we’ll go eat and then you get right back to work.” Hyrra thanked the Gods as she dropped the broom and followed her supervisor down the road. On their way he bought a smoked chicken that had Hyrra drooling as soon as she smelt it, continuing down the road they took a seat on a cliff that faced the old Dragon Fighting Arena. Hyrra devoured the chicken leg thinking about nothing in particular and occasionally stopping to pick a bone from her mouth. “So I’ve got a question.”

                She turned her amber eyes to Gobber as he wiped grease from his lip, “Shoot,” she said through a mouth full of chicken.

                “You are obviously very clever, you come up with elaborate pranks and see them through. But you always get caught, someone as smart as you should be able to plan forward. I mean I think you are plenty smart enough to learn to read and write, even if you think it’s a waste of time, but you should most definitely know how to come up with an escape plan” He looked pointedly at her.

                “What are you implying? And by-the-way learning to read and write is a definite waste of time. I’ve not used either of those once and I’m fifteen.”

                “I think you do all of it for the attention.”

                “Tch, attention? That’s a stupid reason to pull pranks and I could definitely come up with an escape plan but part of the fun is too… uh… come up with one on the fly!” She said defensively, though a feeling in her gut was telling her he might be right.

                “I didn’t mean to offend you, I’ve just been thinkin’ that a girl as smart as you could do a lot with her smarts, a lot more than just pullin’ pranks.” He said returning to his meal nonchalantly.

                Hyrra put down the chicken leg, her appetite suddenly gone. She spaced out as she stared at the former arena, it was mostly dark until a flash of blue lit it up followed by a muffled sound, a bit like chirping birds, which had her sit up quickly. “What was that?”

                “Hm? Oh, they’re keepin’ the injured dragon in the academy to keep it away from the village. Apparently it hasn’t eaten since it arrived. Hiccup claims the beast is just stressed but I’ll tell you,” Hyrra looked over at him and noticed that his normally cheerful expression was clouded with something darker, “A dragon of storms is a dangerous dragon, nothing good’ll come from keeping it here.”

                A dragon of storms? What does that mean? Shaking off her questions she stretched her arms, suddenly stood up, and began walking away from the cliff, “Where are you goin’?”

                “I’m going to sweep. The break is over right?” She said with a grin over her shoulder.

                The sun was setting when Hyrra finished her community service for the day, but instead of walking home she found her feet pointing towards the, now dark, arena. Her curiosity kept her feet going but her brain was telling her to turn around and go home. It hasn’t eaten since it arrived, that was four days ago! She thought, but she was not sure why it bothered her so much. Wasn’t the chief supposed to be the best dragon trainer out there? If so then, why couldn’t he get one stupid dragon to eat? She didn’t realize until a flash of blue blinded her temporarily and sent the hairs on her body standing straight up that she had arrived at the arena. She climbed up to the overlook and peeked down into the ring.

                Down below a menagerie of people stood, most looking irritated, “I don’t get it! Dragons love to eat but this one tries to blow our heads off every time we try to give it fish!” A burly, dark haired man strode around the arena as he growled and basically threw an adult temper tantrum, Snotlout is his name I think.

                “Snotlout you yelling won’t help, we just need to be patient.” A tall, blonde woman said her voice carrying her authority, that’s Astrid the chief’s wife.

                “Patient? We’ve been plenty patient, it’s been four days this dragon obviously has a death wish… and you guys call me stubborn!”

                “I hate to say it but Snotlout’s right we can’t keep going like this, HE can’t keeping going like this. Soon he’ll starve.” Another man intervened before the other two could truly get an argument going. He was a stouter man with blonde hair and short beard, is that Fishlegs? Hyrra wondered, she didn’t really keep up with most of the people in the village.

                The three quieted down as they all seemed to be in thought, “Maybe we could sedate him and feed him while he’s asleep?” Astrid thought aloud.

                “No,” Hyrra hadn’t even noticed the chief’s arrival, “he is very intelligent if we do something like that we might hurt any chance of gaining his trust. You all know what happened with the last Skrill we ran into.” The chief walked by one of the cells and looked into it with pity, rubbing the back of his head, a blue glow and growl met his gaze.

                “Hiccup… trust doesn’t mean anything if he’s dead.” Astrid looked pleadingly at her husband. Starving? Dead? The dragon is dying?

                The chief sighed, shaking his head as he did so, “I can’t force feed him, not yet at least. We’ll just have to keep trying but if he doesn’t eat by tomorrow night we’ll sedate him.” There was a palpable lessening of the tension in the air as everyone agreed to the plan. “We should let him rest for tonight, let’s go.” Following that the first generation of dragon riders filtered out of the academy and soon it was silent.

                Hyrra was still hanging out above the arena, overhead the sky had turned black and only a sliver of moon was lighting the night. She too was about to leave when she heard a low groaning noise followed by a sigh, she peered further into the arena, towards the cage bars she knew the ‘dragon of storms’ was behind. Down in the ring she saw a barrel, I bet that’s where the fish are.

                She sat there going back and forth but finally, having made up her mind, Hyrra crept into the academy warily, when she reach the barrel the sane part of her was hoping that it was empty, but instead she found that it was, in fact, filled to the top with fresh fish. I’ve lost my mind. She grabbed a fish from the top, the slimy food was hard to hold with her already shaking fingers. Adjusting her grip to the tail, she tiptoed nervously to the edge of the cage, peeking around the edge she saw… nothing but darkness.

                Was it empty? I could have sworn this was the right cage… Her initial nervousness was overridden by her confusion, to get a better look she leaned further and squinted into the darkness. Twin lights appeared in the pitch black of the cage, followed by a fierce rumbling followed by the feeling of electricity crawling up her spine. Hyrra hid quickly again, gasping and gulping to calm herself, before taking another peek beyond the bars. As her eyes adjusted a bit more to the darkness she could make out the form of the dragon and saw it crouching defensively in the back. Honestly, it really didn’t look aggressive to Hyrra, instead it looked pitiful.

                She cleared her throat, getting another rumble in response, “I…uh… brought you this… fish.” She held the fish by the tail in front of the cage, the dragon stopped growling but made no move to take the fish, well at least he doesn’t sound mad now. Hyrra set the fish close to the bars, not daring to put her hands through them. She was about to run out of the academy and forget that she had ever been there… but instead her legs went out from underneath her and she sat down. She kept a large distance between herself and the bars (and the creature behind them).

                As her nervousness increased she found herself unable to hold her tongue, “Hicc-I mean the chief, seems to think you’re pretty smart, but starving yourself to death seems pretty stupid to me.” Silence, why did I think he would answer? The redhead continued to blabber, “Though I guess I know what it’s like to not live up to expectations... you don’t know me but I cause a lot of trouble around here,” that was harder to admit than she thought it would be, “well anyways the chief always has me do these stupid chores around the village to ‘Mend my relationships with the good citizens of Berk’.” Hyrra puffed out her chest as she imitated the chief and then gave a nervous giggle, “So anyways I’m doing these chores today right? And Gobber, you don’t know him, but…uh anyways, he tells me that I’m smart, which is weird. I’ve never been called smart, most people just tell me I’m a nuisance.” Hyrra continued for a long while after this, talking about her family, the farms, how to pick corn, and anything else that crossed her mind.

                She stopped suddenly when she saw the dragon’s clawed wing reach between the bars and drag the fish into the cage. She looked around the corner and saw the dragon laying against the wall opposite her, he had already swallowed the fish whole and was staring at her expectantly. It took her a second to realize what he wanted, “O-oh right!” She got up and fetched more fish, grabbing as many as she could in her arms and then dumped them in front of where the dragon was laying, it took a second to realize that this was the closest she had gotten to it.

                Out of the gloom of the cage it was actually quite an interesting looking dragon. He was mostly dark gray with the occasional blue tint, truly reminiscent of a storm cloud, his eyes were a striking, electric blue and around his eyes were dark purple markings. He eagerly snapped up the offered fish as Hyrra continued to prattle on. Soon enough he finished and retreated to the back of his cage again. When she felt him emanating electricity again she decided it might be best to leave him alone.

                She snuck back out of the academy, closing the door carefully behind her. “That was nice work.” Having nearly jumped out of her skin, the redhead wheeled around to face the chief, who was sitting on the overlook, “How did you know talking would get him to eat?”

                “I-I didn’t,” She replied, still trying to calm down after being scared half to death, she took a deep calming breath.

                “Sorry I didn’t mean to scare you I just wanted to swing by the academy before I went home for the night, good thing too because I would have missed this.”

                “I honestly didn’t know if it would help him or not, I just started talking to keep myself calm more than anything.” Hyrra stood their awkwardly when the chief didn’t answer, he was still looking thoughtfully into the arena. “I better get going…” She said making a couple steps towards home.

                “Why don’t you come back tomorrow?” That stopped her in her tracks.

                “Back? Why? He’ll eat now won’t he?”

                “I’m not sure, you’ve gained his trust… a little bit. I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

                “I guess I’ll come by.” With those words she took off, heading back home.

What have I gotten myself into?

 

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WolfMunster
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Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 3: The Healing Touch?

Chapter 3

The Healing Touch?

            Birds chirped incessantly on the roof as the sun just began to peek over the trees and the morning frost sparkled on the grass and crops. Inside the hut Hyrra grumbled and glared at the roof, sighing as she threw off the thin sheet and made her way down the old ladder to the ground floor. Running a hand to try and calm her red mane, only managed to muss the tangled curls even more. Shrugging it off, she wandered over to the bucket of water her father had fetched and splashed her face. The cold water was a rude awakening for her tired face and she shivered as the water dripped down her neck. Grabbing an old shirt, she dried her face and neck feeling much more awake, though her muscles were still quite sore.

            Having only a single change of clothes really simplified her daily routine as she dusted off her oversized brown tunic, which really looked like a dress on her, and checked her tights for any more holes, No new ones but this one on my knee is bigger. Soon she’d have to either fix the holes or ‘borrow’ another pair from someone in Berk. She pulled on her boots and as she was about to walk out she realized she was missing her belt, turning around she grabbed the rope off the ladder and tied it around her waist. Better.

            Heading outside she saw her father harvesting the carrots and her mother washing and preparing the cabbages they had pulled yesterday to be stored for the winter. They were trying to get in all the crops before the next big freeze, after all Snoggletog was now less than two months away, so the first freeze could be there any day. She shuddered against the morning chill but picked up a basket next to the hut and set to work.

            Picking carrots was easy enough, just grab a couple of green shoots and pull, but after a while her arms and back began to ache making the whole process much more difficult. Her father took her nearly full basket, “Thanks, go help your mother, there’s a lot of storing to be done.” Thankful for the break she nodded, heading over to the table her mother was sitting at. Gyda sat washing the cabbages carefully in a large bucket before setting them on the table to dry, at her feet Midge was playing with a few discarded cabbage leaves. She looked up as her daughter approached, smiling a little bit.

            “I’ve got a couple of barrels that need to go down to the root cellar, once you’ve gotten those down you can go… do whatever you do all day.” Hyrra had yet to tell her parents about the dragon she was working with, so instead she set dutifully to work grabbing one large barrel and dragging it to the root cellar behind the main house, near the kitchen door. She hated the cellar mostly because it was cold but also because it was dark, both kept the vegetables from rotting but also made Hyrra have nightmares of that one time that she got locked in the cellar by the Eklund’s eldest son. Every time she went in there she felt like the door was only moments from slamming behind her and leaving her in an ice box forever. But after six, uneventful trips into the root cellar she was finally able to breathe again.

            She returned to her mother rubbing her sore, and cold, hands. “Thank you for your help… now try not to cause too much trouble.” It was a brisk goodbye but suddenly her mother gave her a kiss on the forehead before turning back to her work. Hyrra was surprised for a second but than she smiled a little bit and set on down the road. Behind her, her mother watched her disappear around the corner, Thank you Hiccup.

            As Hyrra walked through Berk, towards the arena, she began to take stock of what had been going on in the last month. Since she had agreed to work with the chief to help the dragon, it had been very slow going. Although the dragon was now eating everyday its temperament had not improved, and neither had its wing. Nobody could get close to the dragon! They had tried everything from waiting until it went to sleep to giving it dragon nip, but no matter what, the dragon would always wake up before anybody could get close enough to get a good look at the wing. So they were back to square one every day, and frankly Hyrra was already very tired of this dragon’s attitude.

            She walked into the arena to a peculiar scene. Toothless was sitting on Snotlout who was yelling at Hiccup who was pleading with Astrid who was rubbing her temples. When Astrid saw Hyrra walk in she gave grateful sigh, “What’s going on?” Hyrra asked.

            “Hiccup wants to sedate the dragon but we don’t have the necessary drug here on Berk for that, and Snotlout…” Astrid began to try to clarify the situation when Snotlout decided to answer as well.

            “I say let that stupid dragon take care of itself since it clearly doesn’t want our help! Also… TOOTHLESS GET OFF!” Snotlout roared, Toothless grumbled and rolled his eyes in response.

            “We CAN’T Snotlout if we let that dragon out of here it will die. If it can’t fly, it will starve!” The chief had desperation laced in his voice, “Astrid please we need the sedative from the school.”

            Astrid sighed, “I don’t want to say this Hiccup but that sedative is very hard to make… and we’ve tried everything to get this dragon to like us... I just can’t see the point in healing a dragon that is so aggressive and unpredictable. He’s… dangerous.”

            The chief rubbed his forehead and ran his fingers through his brown hair, “So you’re saying this dragon isn’t worth it?” He sounded defeated. The blonde looked sadly at her husband’s back. “Just let me try again, I’m not ready to give up on him yet.”

          Astrid sighed but nodded, “Ok I’m going to leave... maybe that’ll help him calm down.”

          “Good idea, Snotlout you go with Astrid. The fewer people in here the better.” Toothless got off of Snotlout who quickly got up in a huff. Hyrra made a move to follow Astrid out of the arena, “Hyrra stay here, try to talk to him again… maybe he’ll calm down.”

          She nodded, nervously brushing a curl out of her face, she closed the arena door trapping them in with the injured dragon. The Skrill growled at the cage door as Hyrra and Hiccup moved closer. “Alright here goes nothing…” Hyrra groaned, “Hey there Mr. Skrill, remember me? We were really hoping that you would let us look at your wing. Nothing major, just look at it.” The Skrill had stopped growling but he still looked tense.

          Hiccup glanced at Hyrra and smiled weakly, “Eh, what’s the worst that could happen?” He said with a tinge of nervousness to his voice. He moved to open the cage door, and the Skrill tensed up even further. The door opened slowly and the Skrill, thankfully, made no move to charge the opening instead he curled up tighter, pulling his tail around his body protectively. Hyrra moved back and Hiccup moved forward into the cage, speaking softly and reassuringly while also offering his hand to the Skrill, he also made a point of avoiding the Skrill’s direct gaze.

          His hand came within inches of the Skrill when it suddenly smacked Hiccup with the full force of its spiked tail, sending the chieftain flying backwards to be cushioned by Toothless, who then turned on the Skrill. Toothless growled protectively while the Skrill hissed and roared as if asserting some dominance, and Hyrra snapped.

            She charged into the cage, pointing at the angry dragon, “You will be quiet! You are the most ornery, selfish dragon I’ve ever seen! In fact you don’t even deserve to be called a dragon! Dragons are magnificent and you! You’re just… an overgrown, arrogant lizard!” The more she ranted the closer she stood to the, now, cowering dragon. “You should be grateful Calder and his father even dragged you out of the water! After all you attacked their ship! The Chief of Berk has wasted a month, A MONTH, of his time to help you! And you, a Skrill, are supposed to be one of the smartest dragons around,” Behind her Toothless huffed indignantly, “But somehow you can’t comprehend any of it!” She got quiet, realizing how close she was actually standing to the dragon. He wasn’t meeting her eyes anymore and had completely pressed himself into the back of the cage. Somehow he did seem to understand her tirade.

            She took a deep, calming breath, “And if you don’t let us help you, you will never fly again.” A blue eye suddenly looked at her, the thin pupil slowly relaxed until the intimidating gaze turned into something… softer. She wasn’t sure what possessed her to slowly raise her hand, offering it to the dragon almost like how she would let a dog sniff it. The cowering Skrill turned his head towards her slowly, eyes shifting from her face to her hand, he came within arm’s reach of her. She felt the very warm breath ghost over her knuckles as he took a slow breath, smelling her, before lowering his head and pushing her hand onto his nose until it was flat against his scales. Warm scales and, when he breathed, warm air rushed from his nostrils down both sides of her arm. There was an odd prickling sensation as well that could only be attributed to his electricity, which had the hairs on her arms sticking straight up.

          She pulled her hand away from the dragon and moved to his side, he watched her carefully but the injured wing slowly unfolded, “What should I be looking for?” She asked Hiccup shakily. Looking up for instruction she saw a chief and his, equally, confused dragon both tilting their heads at her.

           “Uh… how…? Wha…?” The chief scratched his head, “…honestly I was afraid you were going to get killed charging in like that. I guess he’s never had anyone challenge him like that.” He pulled a notepad and pencil from a pocket on his suit, “Describe the tear to me, I’ll give these notes to Fishlegs and, hopefully, he’ll design a treatment for it.”

            Hyrra nodded as she took a closer look at the injured wing, “Okay it’s in the first… segment closest to the body.”

            “The plagiopatagium? Between the body and fifth finger?” Hiccup asked as he drew out a rough sketch of a dragon wing.

            “Finger? Dragons have fingers?” Hiccup held up his drawing and pointed at the membrane stretching between the dragon’s body and a bone. “Uh, yeah that looks right.”

            “Ok how big? Roughly? Is it a clean cut, tattered, or is it a hole?” He returned to his drawing intently.

            “It’s pretty clean looking near the top, I guess that is where the arrow went through, but the rest of the tear is pretty frayed. All together it’s… almost the same length as my arm, hand to shoulder.”

            “Hmm… I wonder if he would let you touch his wing. If he does see if the area around the tear is warmer than the rest of his wing.” Hyrra couldn’t understand why that would be important but she decided to play along.

            The Skrill growled at her and pulled his wing against his body when she went to touch it, “Hey come on, work with me here.” He seemed to huff but didn’t try to pull his wing away this time, she looked at the dragon’s eyes, “He seems tired,” and when she dragged her hand from one part of his wing to the torn part there was a noticeable heat around the tear, “and the tear is really warm.”

            Hiccup looked up at her, narrowing his eyes, “That’s not good,” He furiously scribbled something next to the drawing and then got up and put the notebook back. “He probably has an infection, we need to put something on that wing quickly so we can buy Fishlegs enough time to come up with a treatment. Stay here with him I’m going to go grab a few things.” Within seconds he and Toothless were flying quickly back towards Berk.

            She sighed, taking a look at the dragon he really did look tired. She paced a back and forth before coming back to the dragon, she noticed him panting a little. “Why don’t you drink some water?” She pushed the water bucket closer to him, he hissed at her when the water sloshed. “It’s just water you crybaby.” He growled but did take some of the offered water.

            It had only been about five minutes when Hiccup returned with a small satchel. When he jumped down from Toothless he was already pulling things out of his satchel and setting them down: rags, a jar of honey, and another jar of orange liquid.

            “Alright let’s hope this is enough for now.” He sat down and motioned for Hyrra to do the same, he handed her a clean rag and then poured the honey on top of the rag.

            “Honey?”

            “It will help with the inflammation on the tear,” and then he grabbed the little jar and very gently dripped a few drops on the rag, it had a very potent, but pleasant, smell “This is oregano oil, very expensive, anytime a trader has some I buy it up, it helps with infections. Plus it smells pretty good.” After applying the oil he sat up, “Now just rub the rag over the whole tear. Be gentle about it, but makes sure to cover the whole thing.”

            She looked up at him, alarmed, “You mean touch the dragon, again? He barely let me touch him before you think he’s going to let me put something weird smelling on his injury?”

            “I don’t think he’s going to fight back very hard, he looks like his fever is making him pretty weak,” she looked over her shoulder and noticed that the dragon, who only about 30 minutes ago was roaring at them, was lying on his side and breathing heavily, “his infection is spreading fast which is why we can’t wait. This may be his only means of surviving.”

            Seconds later, Hyrra stood by the dragon, who seemed oblivious to her presence, thankfully he was so weak he didn’t put up much of a struggle when Hiccup gently pulled his wing open. She took the rag and applied the gelatinous mixture to the edge of the tear, starting at the top and working her way to the bottom, and doing both the left and right side of the tear, and finally doing the underside of the wing as well. By the time she was done the wound was well coated honey and oil, and the dragon itself had gone to sleep.

            “I doubt he’s had a good sleep since he got here. Hopefully the mixture will help.” Hiccup sighed, “Now I am going to take these notes to Fishlegs, maybe he and his students can come up with a plan.” He was about to jump on Toothless when the dragon bumped him and then gave him a disappointed look, “What?” Toothless ‘mrr’ed back at him and nodded back towards Berk, “Wha…? Oh! Right, Astrid wanted me to get Stormfly’s saddle, but that’ll just have to wait!” Toothless frowned at him.

            “I’ll get it,” Hyrra piped in.

            Hiccup regarded her for a second, “Alright… it’s at Gobber’s forge, he was fixing the girth. No funny business, ok? Just take it straight to Astrid, she should be at home.” He was already mounting Toothless during that last little bit.

            “Get the saddle, no funny business, straight back to Astrid. Got it!” Hiccup nodded and then zoomed off in, what she supposed, was the direction of the School. “Alrighty then…” she mumbled, “off to Gobber’s.”

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WolfMunster
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Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 4: Saddles and Shirts

Chapter 4

Saddles and Shirts

            “Why do you want Astrid’s saddle? And why do you think I would just give it to you?” The old smith interrogated a certain redhead.

            She sighed, “I’ll say it again, Hiccup sent me to get Astrid’s saddle because he had to go to the School to give Fishlegs his notes on the injured dragon.” Gobber looked at her skeptically, “I promise!”

            He switched out his hammer-hand for his hook, scratched his chin and then turned back to Hyrra, “Hmm, well I guess this would be a terribly planned prank, even for you.” She glared at him, “Speakin’ of which I haven’t seen or heard of any pranks lately, you takin’ a break?” He joked as he pulled a large leather saddle down from a peg.

            She frowned, “I’ve just gotten busy doing… stuff.” She took the saddle from him, nearly dropping it in the process, “Eh, this is heavy!” as she was trying to get her arms around it.

            “Stuff you say… and of course it’s heavy that’s Grade A yak leather! One of my finest saddles, I’d reckon.” He helped her readjust her grip, “So don’t drop it.”

            She nodded, and started walking, more like waddling, towards the Haddock home. Desperately holding onto the expensive, substantial saddle the whole way, hidden behind the giant saddle she was mostly feeling her way along the path, and hoping she was going the right way. The leather began to slip as her fingers began to sweat, she stopped to readjust her grip, but really it didn’t help. She was cutting around a corner when the Saddle suddenly slammed into her gut, “Oof!” Did I run into a wall!? I hope no one saw that! She nearly panicked when she felt the saddle falling with her, but suddenly she was on the ground and the saddle wasn’t on top of her.

            “I am so sorry! I didn’t mean… Hyrra?” She looked up, I did run into a wall… just not a wooden one. Calder stood over her, holding the saddle easily, he adjusted his grip to one-handed to offer his other one to her, “You okay?”

            She took the offered hand and then brushed off her tunic, not that it was exactly clean beforehand, “Yeah I’m fine, nothing like running into a human wall to make my day better.”

            “You’re just jealous I can carry this saddle. What are you doing with a Nadder saddle anyways?” He looked at the saddle admiringly when his eyes suddenly went wide as he started imagining all the horrible things Hyrra could accomplish with a Nadder, “Please tell me you aren’t trying to learn how to ride a dragon.”

            “What? No, I’m just taking Astrid’s saddle to her,”

            “You run errands for the chief’s wife now? What happened?”

            “Ye- No! I’m just helping out the chief, he had something important to do so I offered to help.” Planting her hands on her hips.

            He looked at her incredulously, “’Offered to help’? Woah, woah, woah! What is going on here?! Have you gone soft?” He went to poke her stomach for emphasis and she smacked his hand to the side.

            “Of course not, I’m… evolving…” She said, why was everyone so surprised she was helping?

            “Now that is a terrifying idea.” He smirked, “Hey you want help getting this to Astrid?” He said motioning to the heavy saddle, now, effortlessly resting on his shoulder.

            “Sure, why not, you do owe me for putting me on the ground.” So they walked together, mostly in a comfortable silence.

            “I haven’t seen you much since we got back from the fishing trip, have you been busy?”

            “Yeah.” Clearly he was looking for something ‘more’.

            “Doing…? Come on why so secretive?” He nudged her with his elbow.

            “It’s nothing big, I’ve just been doing a lot of chores at the farm that’s all.”

            “Really? That’s weird I was pretty sure I’ve seen you going to the old dragon arena, I mean unless you guys relocated the farms or something…” She glared at him, “What?! I’m curious!”

            Sighing she finally decided to open up, “Alright, but! You can’t tell anyone! Hiccup told me to keep it quiet.” He nodded enthusiastically, like a young girl about to hear gossip, “I’ve been helping him work with that dragon you guys brought back-”

            “THE SKRILL?!” She all but shoved him into a building, she shushed him, “Sorry! But seriously? No offense, but why would Hiccup have you helping him? This cannot be a part of your community service.”

            “It’s not, I… I don’t know why he’s letting me help him to be honest…” After much prodding by him, she proceeded to tell Calder everything that had happened in the past month, including all the times the dragon had tried to fry Snotlout, all the weird ways they’d tried to earn its trust, and finally today, “…so I helped him put that weird mixture on his wing, hopefully that will make him feel better. At least until Hiccup gets back with a plan.” When she looked over at Calder he was extremely deep in thought, his dark green eyes seemed far away, “Hey you in there?” She snapped her fingers in front of his face.

            “Huh, yeah! I was just thinking you said you touched the dragon right, like did the whole hand to nose touch thing, right?” She nodded, “I’m not entirely sure but I’m pretty sure that means you and the dragon now have a special connection or something.” Hyrra rolled her eyes, “You think I’m joking but I’m not! Have you guys named him? I think you should name him something dramatic like: Shocker or maybe Electro.

            She shook her head and smirked, “Shut up, Calder, he’s a wild dragon we aren’t naming him. Hiccup says we are going to heal him and then put him back in the wild.” Just as she said that, they walked up to the path leading up to the Haddock family home. “I’ll take that of your hands now.”

            He handed it over gently, “So you seriously aren’t interested in riding a dragon?”

            “Why would I be? Flying’s overrated anyways.” He chuckled at her nonchalant demeanor before waving and walking off.

            She made the final few steps to the door and then realized that knocking would be hard to do with her hand currently preoccupied with the heavy saddle. “Oh come on… maybe if I try…” she was fumbling with the saddle trying to hold it like how Calder had been, but she simply wasn’t strong enough to hold it one-handed. “Sqwak!” Hyrra froze, looking to her right she saw a curious blue and yellow Nadder staring her down with a yellow eye. Great hopefully she doesn’t recognize me… after all Stormfly had been a victim of one of Hyrra’s more destructive pranks, one that caused quite a few Nadders to lose the majority of their spines, Who knew those took so long to grow back?

            “SQWAK!” Stormfly did, in fact, recognize the redhead but, more importantly, she recognized her saddle. She stalked towards Hyrra, her head tilting back and forth, like she was trying to figure out how to get her saddle from the girl. “Hey, Stormfly… good Nadder… I’m really sorry about the spines…”- “SQWAAK!” Touchy subject obviously… Hyrra was pinned to the door, No were to go… I died trying to do a good deed!

            “Stormfly what in the world is going o- ah!” Suddenly the door behind her opened and she fell in, the heavy saddle falling in on top of her, she looked up at a perplexed woman in the doorway.

            “Delivery?” She croaked out.

            Now with the door shut, and the Nadder gone, Hyrra sat awkwardly in front of the fire, not entirely sure why Astrid didn’t make her leave immediately, “Sorry about Stormfly, she does tend to carry grudges.” The older woman was placing the saddle back on its peg on the wall.

            “Well I mean it was my fault,” A long silence followed, she tapped her toes nervously, looking around the house with inquiring eyes. It wasn’t a huge house, in fact it wasn’t even half as big as the Elklund home, but it was decorated with a multitude of cool artifacts including a bunch of Toothless’ old tails, exotic looking dragon art, and ancient tools.

            “I wanted to thank you actually,” Astrid moved to sit in front of the fire with Hyrra, who was blinking blankly back at her.

            “For what? The pranks? I was pretty sure everyone hated those.”

            “Oh yeah, of course I hated those.” She said casually as she brushed a thread of blonde hair from her face, “No, I’m talking about helping Hiccup out with the dragon.”

            “Why? I’ve not really done anything…”

            “It’s not what you’ve done it’s… well, it’s the first time he’s had somebody to teach since he helped found the School, before that he helped teach myself and the other dragon riders. Now that he’s chief, I think he misses all of that most of all. Honestly, it has been a long time since he has seemed this excited about working with a dragon.”

            “I think that part has more to do with the rare dragon than me.”

            She chuckled, “Well I supposed, he does enjoy a good challenge,”

            It got quiet, Hyrra began picking at her leggings when she noticed that the hole on her knee had grown very large, probably from her fall after running into Calder. She grumbled under her breath, something about the ‘gods’ and ‘human walls’.

            “Is something wrong?”

            Hyrra looked up, “It’s nothing just the hole in my pants got bigger. Not a bit deal, I’ll just sew it when I get home.” Or find another pair on somebody’s laundry line.

            She didn’t notice the look on Astrid’s face, and it was probably for the best, because the wide-eyed look would have made her feel pathetic. It was clear there were gears working in Astrid’s head.

            “I think I have some of my clothing from when I was around your age, somewhere around here… I think you might be a little shorter than me but they’d probably fit.” Astrid was already getting up and moving up the stairs,

            “You don’t-” need to do that. She was sitting quietly when she started hearing some moving furniture upstairs and then a creaking sound, maybe a chest? She heard Astrid talking to herself, “This? ... nah too big… ew… when did I wear this?” Hyrra almost wanted to laugh, she’d never heard the chief’s wife sound so…uncertain? How much clothing did she keep from her childhood?

            Suddenly the woman was coming back down the stairs with a lot more than just a pair of pants in her hand. “I forgot how much was in there! So I just grabbed a little bit of everything!” She put down three pairs of pants, five shirts, and a pair of boots. “Hm, I was thinking this green shirt would probably fit you best, and maybe these blue… no the gray pants!” She handed them to Hyrra and then proceeded to push her behind a privacy screen, “Change!”

            Standing behind the screen, she was a little confused by Astrid but shrugged it off and began to change into the clothing given to her. The long sleeve green shirt fit more like a tunic, but the pants fit her well enough, she guessed. Stepping out from behind the screen to Astrid’s scrutinizing gaze was a bit unnerving, she and her dragon have something in common. Astrid sighed, “Sorry, it’s a bit big on you isn’t it?”

            Hyrra looked down, “Really? I was just thinking it fit me better than my shirt and the pants don’t have holes in them, so that’s a plus.”

            “Try this one on too!” She tossed her a lavender short sleeve, which fit pretty well, “I wore that one when I was… 14, I think. I only wore it once or twice before I had a growth spurt.” She explained. The other three shirts were tried on, the sleeveless black one fit her fairly well, along with the pants, one a bit too large for her, but the other pair, a dark blue pair, fit decently. “Since they fit you can have them all.”

            “Eh? I only needed a pair of pants…”

            “Like I said I needed to clean out that chest, I doubt my children will be able to fit those clothes… especially if they’re all as thin as Hiccup.” She giggled. “Oh also try on these boots.” Hyrra sat back down by the fire and pulled the shin boots on, they were made of dark brown fur all over, something she had never had, and they slid on her feet fairly easily. “How do they fit?”

            “Pretty good, actually maybe better than my other ones. Are you sure you don’t mind me taking these? They seem… expensive.”

            “Of course it’s no problem, I don’t want them going to waste since I can’t wear them.” Hyrra took a long look in the mirror and realized she had never seen herself in the color purple before. The shirt was a little long, but fit nicely otherwise and the pants… well they didn’t have any holes so that was definitely an improvement. But something was missing…

            “Oh!” She went back behind the screen and came back around with her rope belt now tied securely around her waist. “Much better… thank you.”

            Astrid was looking into a boiling pot, “Hm? Oh, you don’t need to thank me. In fact think of this has my ‘thank you’ for helping Hiccup. On another note, would you like to stay for dinner? I doubt Hiccup will be back in time and it seems a shame to put all of this to waste.”

            Hyrra was tempted to decline the offer but whatever was cooking smelt amazing and soon she was sitting with Astrid eating her third bowl of chicken-onion-carrot deliciousness. So nearly two hours after arriving to simply deliver a saddle, Hyrra left with a full belly, three new shirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of boots nicer than anything her parents had ever owned, and a new view of the chief that had sent her there.

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WolfMunster
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Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 5: Prescriptions

Chapter 5

Prescriptions

            The next day Hiccup returned with a plan and a prescription for their injured dragon. When Hyrra walked into the arena she found only the chief and his dragon there, on the barrel in front of him he had a row of jars sitting and a piece of paper with scribbles on it. Hyrra looked around the arena, half expecting to see Astrid come flying in.

            As if sensing her confusion Hiccup spoke up, “I told everyone else to stay away, to keep this place a little quieter maybe.” He looked up at her but then cocked his head to the side and that was followed by a disapproving frown and his arms crossing over his chest.

            She followed his gaze to the boots on her feet, the new ones Astrid had given her, “I promise I didn’t steal these,” A raised eyebrow in response, “Astrid gave them to me, and she also gave me the shirt and pants.” She said pointing out her new green top.

            “Huh, I guess that shirt does look familiar…” He seemed to brush off his worries, “Anyways we have some important stuff to do today so we should probably get started.” He picked up one of the bottles, filled with a clear liquid, “Could you grab a fish?” Hyrra went to the barrel and retrieved a halibut. She heard the dragon moving in his cage, clearly he was excited to eat, but she walked back to Hiccup, away from the dragon’s cage, “Open the mouth,” She gave him an odd look but held the mouth open while he poured a little bit of the liquid into the mouth. “Alright now go give that to him quickly.”

            She took the fish to the waiting dragon and threw the fish in, which he grabbed in mid-air and promptly swallowed. He looked to her for more but she just shrugged at him and moved away, “What is that stuff?” He pointed at the notes lying on the barrel, she looked at it but to her it was just a bunch of lines and dots, not wanting to admit her weakness she said, “Ah.”

            “Concentrated lavender and dragon nip oil has strong sedative abilities, give him a few minutes and he will be napping happily, so we can use Fishlegs’ notes to mend his wing.” They waited a little bit until they heard the dragon sigh deeply and then begin to snore. He had Hyrra pick up the jars and piece of paper, while he opened the cage. “Alright, you sit there and read his notes.” Hyrra began to panic, maybe she could act like she knew what it said…

            Hiccup walked into the cage and pulled the sleeping dragon’s wing open, appraising it. “Fishlegs said he wrote a few different plans, each one is based on the starting condition of the tear, and whether or not it is infected still.” He touched the edge of the tear, “Well it seems like the infection has gotten better, though it still seems a little warm. Look for a plan that starts with a mildly infected wing and a clean tear.” Hyrra looked up and down the page, willing for some knowledge to spring forth or for her to suddenly know how to read, but instead all she saw was a bunch of lines, dots, with the occasional squiggle. “Well?” He’s getting impatient, now she actually was beginning to panic.

            “His handwriting’s kind of hard to read.” She lied.

            “Fishlegs’s? Really? I always thought he had great handwriting. So what can you make out?”

            “…I don’t know.”

            “What do you mean? I know he can get a little carried away with the details and the extra information, but you just have to read past that.”

            “No, I mean that I don’t know, like at all… I can’t read.” She stared down, embarrassed, trying to look anywhere but the villainous piece of paper, reading is overrated, remember? She refused to acknowledge the warmth in her face.

            “Switch places with me, I’ll read, you just do what I say okay?” She eagerly got up off the ground and got into the cage with the sleeping dragon, not even looking directly at the chief for fear that he would see her shame. “Here it is: Step one, extend the dragon’s wing,” She did so, “Step two, inspect for any dead tissue, which will appear like dry, darkened skin, if you find any remove it carefully with a sharp blade.” She flinched at the thought of cutting the dragon’s wing even more, but upon looking over the tear top-to-bottom she saw nothing, reported that to him, “Well that’s good, anyways step three, take the marigold mixture and apply to the entire wing with a clean cloth.” Hiccup looked at the labeling on the jars before he found it, poured it over a cloth and handed it to her, which she lathered the wing with. “Step four, close and wrap the wing with bandages in order to prevent more tearing.” This took some time to get the wing folded neatly and then wrap it with a plethora of bandages, “Finally wrap the lemon, orange scented bandage around the other bandages.” He handed it to her, and again she did what was asked, but she couldn’t help her curiosity.

            “Why lemon and orange?” She asked as she stepped out of the cage and closed the bars behind her.

            “Dragon’s dislike both of those smells, this should keep him from pulling or biting his bandages off, at least in theory. Well, that looks like everything, other than what we just did, we are supposed to start feeding him a special diet in order to speed up the healing process. We won’t start that until tomorrow; however we should probably gather all the different foods we will need for tomorrow.” He was already packing up the jars and Hyrra began to wrap up the extra bandages.

            “Like what?”

            “These notes say he should only be eating salmon, for the protein and nutrients, beans, for energy, milk, for the vitamins, and this for everything else,” He said as he held up one of the jars, which had a bunch of odd-looking round objects, “these are pea seeds that have been emptied and filled with dried herbs, something dragons won’t eat but he’s going to need if he’s going to heal quickly.”

            “Beans? Milk? Dragons will eat that stuff?” She glanced over at the, still sleeping, Skrill doubtfully.

            “He might not like them too much but hopefully we can stuff the beans and his medicine into the salmon, the milk could be quite easy. I’ve heard some dragons enjoy it.” They continued to pack up the extra equipment, Hyrra moved to the fish barrel and began to go through it, removing all the non-salmon fish and feeding them to Toothless.

           A deep grumbling sigh and a shuffle, “Our patient is awake,” Hiccup called to her, the Skrill was sitting on his hind legs groggily, rubbing his nose against his uninjured wing, like a boy rubbing the sleep from his eyes, when he went to stretch his wings and found the right one bound. “Here we go,” Hiccup mumbled, but to both of their surprise the, normally, irate dragon sniffed his bandages, turned up his nose and laid back down to nap. “That was… odd? He didn’t seem to mind at all. Even Toothless probably would have at least hissed or growled.”

           “Maybe he knows it’s helping him?” She theorized.

           “Or maybe he’s still to sleepy to bother with it right now. Either way he will probably be okay if we leave him for the day. I’ll check on him tonight when I bring back the beans and milk, I’ll make sure he has water and hasn’t torn off his bandages.” He walked back to his satchel and began to slowly put away his items. She went back to going through the barrel and was just closing it back up when she heard something behind her.

           Hiccup sighed, mumbled something to himself, and then cleared his throat, “I wanted to… apologize for the note, I didn’t realize you didn’t know how to… well…” She could barely focus on his words because the sight of him, seemingly, embarrassed, by her embarrassment, and rubbing the back of his head, had her wondering was the chief always this…goofy? “I mean if you wanted to learn how to read, I could teach you… Only if you wanted to, of course.” Well that got her attention quickly, she stared at him like he had grown a second head. Catching the look, he quickly returned to trying, to appear, like he was packing up. A snide remark about the wastefulness of learning to read began to creep up her throat but it got stuck when Astrid’s voice echoed in the back of her skull, ‘it’s the first time he’s had somebody to teach since he helped found the School… Now that he’s chief, I think he misses all of that most of all.’

            “You’d teach me to read? Aren’t you a little busy for that?”

            “Things have gotten pretty quiet now, and with winter around the corner, the most we have to worry about are the snowstorms, during which there really isn’t anything to do but read anyways. So yes I will teach you… but only if you are dedicated and want to learn.” She bit her lip, why was this even tempting to her? She’d always believed that reading was useless, but after being embarrassed by it…

           Calder was right, I really am going soft “So when do we start?”

           “We can start today! I don’t have anything important that needs doing, so let’s begin immediately.” His mood did a 180 as he grabbed the, suddenly packed, satchel and slung it up onto Toothless, “You ready to go?”

           She blinked at him blankly before she suddenly understood what he was saying, “Oh you mean on a dragon? We have to ride a dragon? We can’t walk?”

           “We could but this is always quicker, plus now Toothless needs to work off all that extra fish, right buddy?” The black dragon growled at him, “I’m only saying you are going to start gaining weight if you don’t watch what you eat. Although I suppose we could walk if you’re scared of flying.”

           That hit a nerve. “I’m definitely not scare of flying.” She strode confidently up to the dragon, Hiccup smiled knowing he had won. He jumped up into the saddle and offered his hand to the redhead, who suddenly felt very unsure when standing next to Toothless, regardless she took the chief’s hand and found herself sitting on the dragon’s back. This isn’t so bad.

           “You might want to hold on.” He warned her, to what? Was her response but it never left her lips because Toothless shot out of the arena so quickly that, for a second, she was floating in the air. She wrapped her arms completely around the chief’s middle, closed her eyes, and hung on for her life as the dragon made for the clouds. It only took a few seconds for the turbulent ride to smooth out and she relaxed her grasp on the chief, who had been forced to hold his breath under her constricting hug.

           It was colder up here, that was the first thing she noticed, then she took in how small the village looked, before she completely absorbed that she was flying. She peeked down, and blanched, when she saw how far away the ocean was, her grip on the chief tightened, “Yeah, looking down, not a great idea.” He said to her, they banked heading along the other side of the village, towards the farmlands. It was obvious which plot of land belonged to the Elklund’s, the stately house demanded attention even from the air. The crops were gone, put away for winter, which meant her parents were now working inside the house, cleaning or repairing.

           They circled back to the village, slowing down as they approached the Great Hall. She clutched to the chief as Toothless dived and landed on the steps. “You ready to get off or do you want to sit here all day?” He teased his passenger. She wrenched her arms from around his waist and slid off the dragon, her knees felt a little weak upon landing, but she managed to hide that by leaning on Toothless for a second. “So as bad as you though it was going to be?” He questioned as he dismounted.

           “Piece of cake.” Having regained her legs she marched confidently into the Great Hall with the chief and his dragon on her heels, both shaking their heads.

           They sat at a quiet, corner table with a bright brazier to light the pages in front of them. “So the basics: this is the runic alphabet” He pointed at a list of odd symbols, dots, lines, “each one has a sound, like this one” he pointed at the letter “ᚠ” “This is pronounced ‘fe’.” She nodded, a little spaced out, but mostly understanding what he was saying.

           This is how their lessons went, day to day, for three months. They went out to the Skrill, fed him, checked his bandages, and then went to the Great Hall where they practiced reading and, by extension, writing. Occasionally, she would sit in the Great Hall on her own, looking over the symbols, studying sentences, and the like, while Hiccup performed his duties as chief. She began to talk to Calder more, and even began to borrow some of his books on dragons, though for the most part she could only pick up on certain terms, dragon, fire, fast, strong, being the terms she knew the best.

           Then after Snoggletog everything began to change.

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WolfMunster
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Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 6: Test Drive

Chapter 6

Test Drive

            “So a Skrill can survive incased in ice for years?” A certain redhead had her nose buried in a small journal, one of the little books Calder had lent her, specifically on the Skrill. She was, somehow, simultaneously walking through the deep snow and reading the journal, a feat that was currently impressing her teacher.

            Walking ahead of her, he was nodding his head, “Mmmhm, the first Skrill I ever encountered was frozen in a glacier.”

            “Was he as temperamental as this one?” Hyrra said, making a reference to the dragon in the arena, which they were currently making their way towards.

            “Definitely, I’ve come to expect Skrills to be grouchy, but they aren’t completely untrainable.”

            “Oh yeah, it says here that their trainable… with… tre-tree...treemendoos? Tremendous?” Hiccup slowed down to look over her shoulder before giving her a thumbs up, she continued, “Tremendous care... what’s that mean?”

            “Extreme care, basically be prepared for the dragon to not want to be trained.” Hiccup opened the arena, allowing her to walk in first.

            “Oh, that makes sense.” She put the journal down on a barrel that was littered with pencils and note scribbles, most of which were from her practicing her writing. “How are you feeling this morning?” She asked the dragon, who huffed, clearly annoyed, back.

            Hiccup had taken out his journal, “Well day 90, let’s check out his wing, it looked really good last week, if it’s thickened up a little bit, he might be ready for a test flight by tomorrow.” The ‘thickening up’ that Hiccup was referring to was the new membrane that had grown, connecting the tear back together.

            She walked into the cage with no fear, she’d gotten pretty used to this dragon and his bad attitude, because it was mostly just that: attitude. He growled at her, but she growled back, “Stop that nonsense,” and he did, without any further dramatics the dragon opened up his wing for her appraisal. She gave the new membrane a pinch, guestimating the thickness in comparison to the surrounding skin, “If it weren’t for the scar I wouldn’t know there had been a tear here.” The skin had filled back in, but the skin that had come back was paler than the rest of him, creating a dramatic gray line through his wing. She let his wing go and he took the opportunity to, lightly, smack her with his newly-healed wing, “Hey!”

            Hiccup rolled his eyes, he had gotten used to their antics, “Now for the most difficult part, how are we going to test his wing? He’s been grounded for so long we are going to need to build up his strength again or at least test his strength before letting him fly.” He was deep in thought for a little bit, before his eyes lit up, “I’ll be right back.” He and Toothless were up and off towards the village before Hyrra had even left the cage, not bothering to close the door behind her.

            “Hmph,” She sighed, and behind her the dragon copied her sigh, she glared over her shoulder at the dragon, “Don’t you dare start this.” The Skrill opened and closed his mouth, mocking her, and flicked his tongue at her a couple times for good measure. She grumbled under her breath, and took a couple steps towards the dragon and pointed at him, “You are totally unlikeable you know that?” He took a deep breath and then proceeded to sneeze on her. She all but shrieked, “EW!!! GROSS!” she took one of the bandages and tried to wipe off the dragon’s snot, behind her the Skrill was huffing, his form of a laugh, clearly enjoying watching her misery.

            Hiccup returned to find Hyrra squealing as she wiped snot off her arms, and yelling at the Skrill, “Ugh, you are disgusting!”

            “Did I miss something?” He inquired, but he was having trouble hiding his smirk. Although it appeared as though neither the dragon nor the redhead had noticed their growing relationship, the chief had.

            “He’s a terrible dragon.” She complained, “Why does he have to spit and snot all over me?! Where’d you go anyway?”

            The chief cleared his throat, getting back to business, “I think we can make a leash or harness of sorts with this extra leather, that way we can test his wing without taking him for a full flight.” He pulled out long straps of leather, and they set to work braiding them together into a strong lead. Hyrra picked up the leather braid and dragged it to the dragon, he glared at her and she glared back, but again he didn’t fight back when she followed Hiccup’s instructions. She wrapped the leather around his neck and around the base of his tail, making sure not to tighten it too much. “Well that should at least keep him from flying off.” Hiccup theorized, “We will just go right outside the arena.” She nodded and handed the end of the lead to Hiccup, who tied it to Toothless’s saddle. Hiccup and Hyrra began leading Toothless out, but the lead pulled taut when the Skrill refused to move from his cage. “He might be a bit nervous to leave the cage, it has probably become his safety net, why don’t you go talk to him?” Hiccup whispered to her, she rolled her eyes, but began to trudge back to the cage.

            Well Hiccup was right about one thing: the dragon was scared of leaving the cage. He had hunkered down into the corner, like he had been the first time she had seen him. She tried explaining to him, “Come on big guy, we are going to let you fly around a little bit.” He shook his head, “No? Why?” He huffed, “We aren’t going far and I’ll be right there, okay?” She reached out and stroked his head, he made a deep whining noise but got up and brushed her hand off. Together they walked out of the cage, “…big baby.” She teased, only to be tripped by his tail, “…oof!” She landed flat on her face, while he did his huffing laugh; however, he waited for her to get up before continuing to follow Toothless and Hiccup.

            They stood just outside of the arena, on the cliffs, “I did something similar with Toothless when I was first testing the tail idea,” Hiccup explained as he took the lead and tied it around a boulder. Both Hyrra and the Skrill sat watching him go round and round the rock, finally he tied it off, leaving about 10 feet of lead for the Skrill. He stood back, admiring his work, “Is he ready to go?”

            Hyrra looked over to the Skrill, who was preoccupied with staring at the clear sky as if it were some novel idea, “You ready?” she poked the dragon’s shoulder to get his attention, he ‘hmphed’ and walked over to the boulder.

            “Whenever you are ready.” Hiccup stood back, because the Skrill often growled at him. The Skrill spread his wings, giving his healed one a look and stretch, before pushing off from the ground. At first he seemed to be struggling to gain altitude, but recovered quickly, and flapped his wings a few extra times until he was at the end of the lead. “Very good! He managed that easier than I thought! He might actually be ready to fly by tomorrow afternoon.” Hiccup stared up at the dragon’s silhouette.

            “Are we going to use the lead to fly him tomorrow?” she asked.

            “We could, I don’t want you alone on that dragon, he seems to have taken a liking to you but I’d be nervous about just letting you loose on one of the most unpredictable dragons we’ve ever had.”

            “Wait, why am I riding him? I thought we weren’t going to do any of that, he’s going back to the wild, right?”

            Hiccup looked at her, equally confused, “I thought you wanted to ride him? You two have an interesting relationship, and the more I think about it the more I am convinced he cannot return to the wild.” Hyrra cocked her head to the side, “His wing has healed: yes. But he’s become far too familiar with people, plus I have learned from Fishlegs that the tear in his wing may never fully recover… it may re-tear if he’s not careful.”

            “So you want me to what…? Take care of a dragon for the rest of his life? I don’t have the money for that!” Hyrra began to panic.

            “Woah! Calm down, I’m not asking that you devote yourself to this dragon right now… but I’d like you to keep an open mind about it. On another note, we need to prepare for tomorrow, hopefully Gobber has a saddle that we can modify to fit him well enough so that you can ride him safely.” They watched the Skrill glide and test his wing for over an hour, until he dropped out of the sky, grumbling contently, deep in his chest. “Why don’t you take him back in, get him some food, and I’ll go try and find a saddle for tomorrow.” When Hyrra nodded, Hiccup took off with Toothless.

            The next afternoon, Hyrra was leaving the farm after helping her father sharpen and polish the gardening tools, when she bumped into her mother, who was returning from the market. “Are you leaving to go help Hiccup again?” Hyrra’s eyebrows shot up, how long has she known? “What you thought I didn’t know? I love that you’ve been working with the chief, but this dragon business…” Does she know everything? Do I come clean or…?

            “I know they’re kind of dangerous, but the chief’s really good with them and I’ve only done minimal hands-on work with them.” She lied, she decided to completely forgo telling her mother about the Skrill’s attitude, sneezing on her, and the fact that she was supposed to be flying said dragon today.

            Her mother didn’t seem entirely convinced, “Well, I suppose I can’t fault you, after all this is keeping you out of trouble. At least now people don’t glare at me when I’m at the market!” She taunted her daughter, Now I know who I get that from. “Well have fun today, doing… whatever it is you do.” She patted the red hair, which looked so similar to her own when she was younger, before heading back to the farm, then stopped suddenly, “Oh make sure you get home early tonight, I heard people in the market saying there’s a storm coming in tonight.”

            By the time Hyrra arrived at the arena she was freezing, I hate the cold. “There you are!” Hiccup called to her, he had a saddle in front of him that looked… oddly familiar.

            “Whose saddle is that?”

            “Actually this one is Toothless’s old ones, Gobber didn’t have any that I could just take so I went home and grabbed this one off the wall,” So that’s why it looks so familiar, Hyrra thought back to all the meals and lessons she had had over the last few months in the Haddock home. “It might not be a perfect fit but it should be enough for a test flight. Especially since we aren’t going far.”

            Hiccup handed Hyrra the saddle, then he turned around to open the cage. The Skrill sat up and narrowed his eyes when he saw the bundle in her hands, “By the way have you come up with a name yet?” Hiccup asked, “It might help you build your relationship even more, if we could stop calling him ‘the dragon’.”

            She shrugged, “I hadn’t really given it much thought to be honest.” The only names she’d come up with were: ‘Thorboom’, ‘Thunderwind’, and ‘Sourpuss’. I like Sourpuss, fits him perfectly.

            “Well there’s no need to rush it.” Yeah, good idea, something tells me if I named him Sourpuss I’d get electrified.

            She walked towards the dragon, who moved to avoid her, then when she went to put the saddle on he sidestepped and laughed at her when the saddle fell to the floor, “Nothing can ever be easy with you, huh?” She mumbled under her breath, but after picking it up and dusting it off he allowed her to put it on his back, though he did growl at her the whole time. After tightening it up she stepped back, the dragon shook himself, and then tried to bite at the straps, “Stop that,” she scolded. Honestly it’s like trying to get Midge to wear hats.

            “Well I guess we should start now, that way he doesn’t totally chew through the girth,” Hiccup tied one end of the lead to the metal ring on the back of Toothless’s saddle, “…hopefully these rings hold…” He mumbled as he secured the other end to a similar ring on the front of the modified saddle.

            “What was that?” Hyrra asked, from her place at the dragon’s side.

            “Nothing, just talking to myself. Let’s go over the basics, okay?” He straightened up and she nodded, “Alright mount up,” Hyrra and the dragon made eye contact, expecting him to be glaring at her or growling, but he seemed calm. So she put her foot into the stirrup and hung there for a second, just waiting for the explosive dragon to fight back, but when nothing came she finished her ascent and found herself sitting on top of the Skrill’s back.

            It seemed to her that the Skrill was a little taller than Toothless, that and she was sitting at a slight angle, “Hm… definitely need a better saddle, probably one that will allow you to sit more on his neck and less on his back.” She nodded in agreement, mostly because his first spine was digging into her butt, “Quick rundown: Keeping your balance is the most important, that saddle doesn’t have a ton of structure, so you need to keep yourself centered, lean with his body when he turns, that’ll helpl… what else? Oh, don’t let your skin touch his bare scales, or the metal ring, he’s done fairly well to control his lightning but that could change when he gets to fly.” She nodded, and grabbed the handles on the front. “Good, you shouldn’t have to worry though, as long as he just follows our lead we’ll all get home safe.” Hiccup gave the lead one last look before mounting up, and looked over his shoulder, “You ready?”

            “Sure, what could go wrong?” She called back, he smiled and turned back around. She took a deep breath and held on to the saddle tightly. Thankfully Toothless took it easy, taking a few slow hops before taking flight, the Skrill followed giving a testing flap of his wings before leaping off the cliff. Hyrra clung to the saddle as the Skrill adjusted to the added weight and settled in to his first flight in about four months. Once he stilled she loosened her grip, and sat up. Cold, biting wind grabbed at her curls and easily sliced through her shirt, but the heat emanating from the Skrill. The lead had been kept longer this time, it was about 20 feet long, and right now they were hanging back about the full length. The Skrill seemed to be testing his wings still, occasionally flapping them harder or softer, and banking left and right rhythmically. His cobalt and gray patterned wings stretched easily, and she made sure to watch the scar, the gray line that ran like a vein of silver up his wing.

            Ahead of her Hiccup turned around and waved for her to get closer, she leaned forward, “Hey catch up with them,” the Skrill shook his head stubbornly, but after she ‘tsked’ at him he tucked his wings in a little bit and closed the gap between them and the other dragon.

            “So what do you think?” Hiccup asked casually, while Toothless flashed her a gummy grin.

            “Ah, well, it’s interesting. Cold, but interesting!”

            “How’s he doing?” Motioning towards the Skrill.

“He still has his attitude problem, so I guess okay?”

            He laughed, “Let’s see if we can have some fun, try and keep up!” Upon hearing this the Skrill growled, something about the challenge seemed to appeal to him. Toothless tucked his wings and began a steady dive, with Hyrra and the Skrill close behind. The black dragon and rider banked hard to the left, around the island, Hyrra lowered herself so that she was almost laying on the Skrill’s neck as he bent his body into a U, causing a very quick turn. She couldn’t help the laugh that escaped her, a mixture of relief and hysteria, as they slung around.

            They continued this game of chase for some time, up and down the island, over the ocean, diving, turning, and even the occasional spiral. They were just coming back around, when the Skrill suddenly seemed very distracted, he began to look around wildly and making an odd noise, a high pitched chirping sound. Hyrra felt a knot in her stomach, something’s wrong, but up ahead Toothless and Hiccup seemed oblivious, surely Toothless would sense something too right? Maybe this dragon is just messing with me…

            Then she looked to her left, over the ocean, high in the air: a thunderstorm, it wasn’t the biggest storm cloud but it was a storm. A dragon of storms. A low rumbling from over the waves was all it took for the Skrill to suddenly pitch hard left, pulling the lead taut. Snap. Hyrra watched, in horror, as the metal ring on the saddle bent in half and fell away with the lead. She saw Toothless and Hiccup jerked so hard that they lost their momentum, falling a couple of feet before coming to a stop, they had already began to climb the air, but it didn’t matter, it was too late for them to help. The Skrill had already launched himself full speed at the thundercloud. And Hyrra had frozen in panic.

            The thunderstorm was right in front of her: freezing wind, snow, rain, all smacking her face, and all she could do was cling to a thin piece of leather. The Skrill dove up into the main column of the cloud, and something cold smacked Hyrra on her leg, Ice. Survival instincts took over as she squished herself as close to the Skrill as possible, kept her head down and her hands securely on the saddle. The Skrill roared, and all the hair on Hyrra’s body stood, she had to close her eyes as blinding blue lights flashed sporadically all around them. Her whole body felt tingly, and the boom that followed after was so loud it was disorienting, she felt her head swim. “We need to get out of here!” Her voice was quick and shrill with panic.

            For a second she wasn’t sure he heard her over the wind and rain or if he had and that he was ignoring her. She knew he was ignoring her when he dove further up into the thick cloud, but it was here that she saw something incredible. The Skrill’s whole body glowed blue as strike after strike hit the spines along his back behind her, then he tucked his wings around his body, He’s diving. The wings covered her and blacked out her vision, I’m going to be fried, she thought, closing her eyes tightly. Her stomach dropped as they fell from the sky. When suddenly she heard a loud boom, not like thunder at all. They stopped diving and the rain and wind had disappeared. Light flickered across her eyelids. Confused she opened her eyes.

            They were back outside the cloud, she saw Toothless and Hiccup racing to them. Hiccup had a confounded look on his face but it was directed behind her, not at her. She followed his gaze back to the thunderstorm. But it wasn’t there. The storm cloud had been severed into two smaller halves that were quickly dissolving away, “He… broke the storm? But…how? I’ve never seen anything like that!” Hiccup’s concern very quickly turned to excitement.

            “What happened?”

            Hiccup already had his journal out, “You disappeared into the storm and then the next thing I see is this… wave… pushing the clouds apart.”

            “He broke the storm?” She repeated, still dazed.

            Hiccup nodded excitedly, “It must have been a supersonic boom... or something, and he got the air to move out of his way so fast that it completely disrupted the lift of the thunderstorm- That’s it! Without lift the moisture just fell apart! Maybe… although it could also be…” He went back to furiously scribbling when he heard something, “Did you say something?” He looked up at the red head who still looked pretty shaken.

            “Stormbreaker… That’s his name.” Underneath her the Skrill, Stormbreaker, purred his approval.

            “Stormbreaker? I like it.”

WolfMunster's picture
WolfMunster
Offline
Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 7: Acceptance

Chapter 7:

Acceptance

            “Stop fidgeting!” The dragon smacked her again with his wing and hissed, “Oh shut it,” Hyrra was trying to measure him for his new saddle but Stormbreaker wasn’t having any of it. He shoved her with his head and danced out of her reach, “You are such a child!” She lunged after the dragon, but of course he got out of the way and she tumbled into a barrel.

            “What were you going to do if you actually got him? Wrestle a 27 foot dragon to the ground?” Hiccup said matter-of-factly, he was leaning on his elbow and watching the debacle unfold below in the arena. Next to him Calder snickered, both men were smart enough to stay out of the reach of both dragon and rider.

            “You aren’t helping!” She snapped back; however, after unsuccessfully trying to grab the dragon many times, she finally just stayed down on the ground, “I give up!” Hyrra glared at the sky above her, and cringed when she heard Stormbreaker laughing at her, “Ha ha… whatever.” She huffed.

            “Ah well, keep trying. He’s bound to give up at some point. In the mean time I have business to attend to.” Hiccup stretched his arms above his head as he began to walk off, leaving the two friends alone.

            “Man who’d of thought you would get to take care of a dragon.” Calder said as he had a dreamy, faraway look in his eyes.

            She sat up, “If you want him you can have him,” Calder looked at the Skrill hopefully but considering the moment he did the dragon hissed and started charging his electricity, he quickly shook his head.

            “Uh no I’m good.” The Skrill snorted and calmed back down, “So what are you thinking about doing?”

            “I’m wondering if I can pin him into a corner…” Hyrra said as she menacingly squinted at the dragon, who growled back.

            “No. I mean in the future? You’ve got a dragon, albeit a stubborn and slightly dangerous one, you can go anywhere or do anything now.” He was motioning wildly with his arms in all directions.

            “I don’t know… I hadn’t thought ahead that far. I can’t just leave though, what about my parents? Where on earth would I go? I can’t just fly out into the wilderness forever.”

            “Technically you could… isn’t that what Valka did?” Well technically, yes, that is what happened. Now Hyrra sat there deep in thought, she could actually do that: Disappear forever and avoid other people… she’d be lying if she said it wasn’t tempting.

            Seeing her pensive, and slightly troubled, expression Calder spoke up, “Why don’t we go get lunch, we can try to get his measurements later.” She nodded, standing up and brushing the dirt from her pants. Before leaving the arena she threw some fish to the, very smug, dragon.

            She pointed at the dragon as they walked out, “I’ll be seeing you this afternoon and this time I’ll win!” He snarled at her and sparked up. “How cute, he’s excited.” 

            Calder raised a pale eyebrow, “You think so?” He closed the door behind them effortlessly, its hefty weight trivial to him.

            Hyrra had her hands clasped behind her head and smirked at her childhood friend, “Of course not, I’m just surprised I haven’t been fried yet.” She walked ahead as he locked the door, looking around at the frosty scenery.

            “He likes you a lot more than anyone else right now, that has to mean something.” Calder offered as he caught back up to her.

            “Only because I feed him, I doubt I’ll ever be able to actually trust him. It’s one of the reasons I doubt I’ll ever be a real dragon rider.”

            “Maybe it’ll just take some time? I mean even Hiccup and Toothless didn’t get their relationship in a single day.”

            “Calder it’s been over four months since I met him and three weeks since I named him. You’d think by now that we could at least measure him for a saddle without issue, and he still won’t let other people too close to him.”

            Calder looked away, “That last bit maybe more mine and my father’s fault then his though… I mean I did injure him and we did trap him and keep him soaked in water…”

            She shook her head, “It’s not your fault, he attacked your ship, and you protected yourselves. Honestly you didn’t let him drown or get eaten by a Scauldron, so really everything has evened out.” They wandered into Berk, where people were starting to get ready for springtime by buying new tools and seeds.

           “This winter has been brutal.” Calder sighed, as they watched people shop excitedly, “I doubt it’s going to get any warmer in the next few weeks.”

           “Mmhm, I think people are just trying to stay optimistic... what do you want to eat? Fish?”

           Calder shuddered, “Please no fish, it’s all I’ve had the last few days.” He continued to mope, “Ugh and when the ice goes away my dad wants to go back out, as soon as possible.”

           “You really hate fishing, huh?”

           “What gave it away?” He said miserably, “And it’s not like I hate the ocean, I love it, but spending weeks at sea doing nothing but throwing nets out… it’s so tedious.” He breathed heavily.

           “Tedious, eh?” A gruff voice and a strong hand grabbed Calder’s shoulder, and attention. Behind him a man, built like an ox and with an attitude to match, stood with his bushy brows covering his eyes almost completely.

           “Dad! Uh… I meant it’s-” Calder was fumbling as he tried to recover gracefully.

           “No excuses, we are goin’ ice fishin’. You’ll see how tedious fishin’ can really be. Evenin’ Hyrra.” Ulf Arud nodded at the red head and then, quite literally, drug his son away from Hyrra’s side, the blonde male looked back at her pathetically, but she could only shrug apologetically as the father and son disappeared into the crowded plaza.

           Hyrra began to wander through the shopping area towards the great hall, maybe there’s some new interesting story or a free meal. She had been kind of hoping Calder would buy her some food but now that wasn’t an option. Climbing the steps to the great hall she was hearing a little bit of commotion, promising. There was a thick smell of chicken in the air, Thank Thor. She snuck into the food line behind someone and managed to snag a chicken leg while nobody was looking. She took a seat in a corner and eavesdropped on the news around her. Nothing interesting… just more frost and bad weather. She sighed and focused on eating instead.

           She was nearly done with her meal when a tap on her shoulder made her choke on the food in her mouth, the tapping on her shoulder quickly turned to a slap on the back, making her cough violently, “Sorry, sorry!” The person apologized profusely.

           When she managed to calm down and regain her breath, she glared over her shoulder at the chief, “I was eating.”

           He rubbed the back of his neck, “Yeah sorry about that… I wanted to show you something though, if you’re done choking on your food that is.” She continued to glare but dropped her chicken leg back on the plate. She got up and followed the chief out of the hall and back out into the chilly air.

           “I thought you had stuff to do?” She asked as they walked through the plaza, she noted they were walking towards the docks.

           “I did, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would though. One of the perks of dragons I guess.” At his side, Toothless ‘mrowed’ happily at that.

           “It’s only a perk when the dragon works with you,” Hyrra bitterly pointed out, thinking back to Stormbreaker.

           Hiccup sighed, “That’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about… I can’t expect you to take care of Stormbreaker, he’s too unpredictable and he has very little trust in anybody.” Hyrra looked at him, her eyebrows knitted together, but she didn’t interupt, “I can’t expect you to take care of him without teaching you both, and I can’t do that with my limited time.”

           “What are you saying?” She asked skeptically.

           “Come see,” Hiccup nodded excitedly to the docks, they were standing on the overlook. She frowned but peeked over the edge.

           Down below there were two large ships, each had a plethora of boxes and people working on them, “What is this? Trading ships?”

           “What? No, it’s the School’s boats! The School of Dragons,” He looked at her meaningfully, but she just stood there staring back at him blankly, so he continued, “The School accepts new students every spring, anyone from the age of 8 to 18 can apply.”

           Now she got it, “I know that, but I can’t apply. I don’t have the money for the application.” It was true the application was fairly expensive, though the money was used to cover costs of running the school like the dragon eggs and the fish needed to feed them.

           “You don’t need to apply,” He said happily.

           “What do you mean by that?” She narrowed her amber eyes at him, and, for a second, Hiccup was actually scared, she looked a lot like a wolf.

           “I created the School, if you want me to I can get you in no problem, and I’d be more than happy to cover any costs.” Silence. She was still staring at him, but not saying anything, “Is that okay?” His face became concerned, “I mean if you don’t want to go, I understand.”

           “No it’s…just… I don’t think I can.”

           “Huh? Why not?”

           “You said the school starts in spring right? I need to be here to help my parents plant the springtime crops.”

           “Oh…” They stood their quietly for a few seconds, Hiccup awkwardly shuffling his feet, feeling particularly terrible for having planted the seed of hope in Hyrra’s mind.

           “Nope, you’re going.” Hyrra jumped out of her skin at the deep voice behind her.

           “Why does everyone keep doing that today!?” She asked as she whirled around to face… father?

           Her father was grinning at her, Tropper Boandi, all dark silvery hair and strong arms, “Your mother and I can handle planting some crops.” He patted her fondly on the head like she was a small child, “It’s a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, honey: take it. I’ll talk to the Elklund’s about your leaving, chances are they won’t even care.”

           “But, if they object I’d be happy to vouch for Hyrra.” The chief spoke up, Tropper gratefully nodded at him.

           “See? Go to School Hyrra. We’ll still be here, and so will the crops, when you come back.” She looked from the chief to her father, before throwing her arms around him. As she began to think about going to the school, a kernel of panic began to spread, I’d be all alone, the poor kid…

           When she pulled away she looked at the chief, “I know this might sound greedy, but I have a request.”

           Hiccup raised an eyebrow, “And that would be?”

           “Could you get someone else into the School too? Someone who probably has enough money to cover the cost?”

           “I suppose if the person wanted too… who is it?” He asked, though he already had an idea.

           “Calder, he’s really good with dragons and he’s smart, he’d be great for the School!” And I don’t want to be alone.

           “Don’t Calder’s parents want him to inherit the boat?” Hiccup nodded down to the docks, where the Arud’s ship sat rocking slowly in the waves.

           “Well yeah… but who says he can’t do both?” She said hopefully, and let’s face it even if he doesn’t his cousin Raider would be happy to take over the Arud ship.

           “Chief- If I may intervene- I know Ulf, he’s stubborn, but he isn’t going to deny his son a chance like this. I’ll talk to him, maybe I can convince him.” Tropper threw a big arm around his daughter’s shoulders.

           Hiccup took a deep breath and released it, “Alright, I’ll get you both in, if his parents agree.” As the two began to walk away, smiling and chatting excitedly. Hiccup couldn’t help but smirk, it was easy to see the resemblance between father and daughter, both had the same bright amber eyes and the same never-say- hideattitude. “I hope the headmaster is ready for this year…” Hiccup said under his breath.

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Spy Girl
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Dragon Master
Joined: 09/30/2015
Tracking

Tracking

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Phoenix my nightfury created by linkwolf on this thread.

 

 

Phoenix by Nessie on this thread.

 

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My female Grumbling Rufflewing, Blossom and Sparky, created by ladybrasa on this thread.

 

Blossom and Sparky's backstory: [from Vikings PoV]

 

   It is the first warm day since the last winter.

My name is Ruffnuff, I am fifeen years old. To make a long story
short on how I got my name, my parents are friends with the Thorstons
and our parents both had babies within the same week. My mother really
liked the name that the Thorstons had named their daughter (Ruffnut)
and decided to name me Ruffnuff. Me and my Sand Wraith, Sandstorm are
very anxious for a race taking place tomorrow. The race is going to be
held at Amourwing Island, it will be just a few of my friends and me.
   

   I spent most of the morning doing my daily chores. When afternoon
rolled around I decided to take a short flight with Sandstorm before
making food for tomorrow and designing our war paint. Our short flight
ended up taking longer than we thought it would as we got sidetracked.
As we were flying around the Wilderness we found a place to land and
the flowers are beautiful this year and I really wanted to draw some
of the beautiful lilac blossoms. I was almost done with my drawing
when I saw a rather large shadow pass over the ground I looked up to
see a beautiful lilac colored dragon  headed in the direction of
Amourwing Island, it looked a lot like a zippleback but the sun was so
bright I couldn’t get that good of a look at it. I watched it until it
flew out of view, then went back to finishing my drawing. After I
finished I whistled for Sandstorm who was enjoying a pool of water
close by, I mounted and we started back for our house.


   After arriving back home I feed Sandstorm his favorite meal of salmon
and a few halibuts, grabbed a sandwich which my mother had left on the
counter for me, and headed up to may room to design our war paint for
the following day. An hour later I had finally finished my design, I
ended up being a simple design with a few lines on the face and a
flame going down the wings, the colors were going to be lilac and
orange because every time I tried to think different colors my mind
kept going back to the dragon that I saw earlier. I then realized that
I didn’t have the paint colors for my design so I decided to take a
walk down to the port to visit Trader Johann’s ship which had just
arrived yesterday. He had the perfect colors and I had brought just
enough to pay for them I saw that it was getting dark and I knew that
my parents might get a little worried seeing as I had not brought a
dragon with me, so I decided to take the short cut home. When I got
home my parents were also just arriving home, they had been visiting
with some of their friends. I went inside and started to pack my bag
for tomorrow I put in the paints that I had bought and threw in my war
paint design then started to make our food. I put an apple in the bag
then went straight way to making a perch sandwich for lunch. For
Sandstorm I tossed in some salmon and halibut. I headed out to the
stable to check on Sandstorm before going to bed, seeing that
Sandstorm had already fallen asleep I headed up to my room to do the
same.


   The next morning I woke up early I was excited and nervous for the
race later today, I had done plenty of races in the past but neither
my friends nor I have ever raced at Amourwing Island that is part of
the reason we choose to hold the race there then none of us will have
an unfair advantage. After getting dressed in my racing outfit which
was a pair of long gray legging with a black skirt and shirt, I
slipped on my shoes with the leather bands. I did my hair in a simple
French braid in the back with lilac and orange highlights to
compliment my chosen colors, then I placed one of my favorite helmets
on my head, I grabbed some of my black wristbands and shoulder pads
and quietly went downstairs not wanting to wake my parents. I prepared
myself some breakfast which consisted of a piece of toast from some
bread that my mother made earlier this week, and I fried up some eggs
over the hot coals from last night. I hastily ate my breakfast, and
cleaned up after myself. I wanted to get to Amourwing Island early and
seeing as my parents hadn’t woken yet I decided to leave them a note.
Then I grabbed my shield, walked out the door and headed to the stable
just a few yards away.


   I opened up the heavy door to our stable, walked inside and lighted
our monstrous nightmare gel lamp we have inside. Seeing that Sandstorm
was still asleep I went over to where I kept his racing saddle. It was
a little dusty from not using it much this winter so I decided while
Sandstorm slept for a little longer I would polish it. I grabbed the
oil we use for polishing our saddles and a cloth and got straight to
work. Ten minutes later the saddle was polished and looked good as
new, I could tell that Sandstorm was stirring so I went to grab some
breakfast for him. I went to the corner where we kept the fish and
noticed that there wasn’t much left so I grabbed my fishing poll and
chose to get him some fresh fish from the stream next to our house
while he finished waking up. The fish were biting really well this
morning so it didn’t take me long to fetch him a good size breakfast
of a two salmon, one herring, and one halibut. When I went back in the
stable Sandstorm was completely awake and hopping around waiting for
his breakfast. I tossed him the fish and he quickly gulped them down.
I strapped on his saddle and saddlebag then we walked outside. After
closing the door I mounted Sandstorm and started the hour trip to
Amourwing Island.


   When I arrived at the island I got the paint and design out from my
saddlebag then started painting Sandstorm, first I paint the flame on
his wings and finished on his face. Then I did a quick few lines on my
face and watched for my friends to arrive, they were all going to come
together as they all were at Berk for the weekend. Beautiful Wind and
her night terror, Runaway landed on the Island, I was excited to see
her and ran right up to give her a hug. I then realized that my other
friends weren’t with her.


“Hi, Wind where is Lisard and Scarlet?” I asked.


“They ended up not being able to make it their parents made important
last minute plans that they had to attend to.” Wind said.


“Well then I guess it will just be a fun one-on-one race. I guess we
should probably set up the track we want to use, did you bring the
colored flags?” I questioned.


“Yeah I have them right here in my pack.” Wind answered.


“Good lets fly out and set them up” I responded.


   Wind and I flew out and set up the track, it had a lot of ups and
downs and turns. We would do three laps. We went to the starting line
and counted down from five together. When we got to one to both yelled
go and took off like an arrow, because my dragon has bigger wings we
were in front. We were almost half way through the first lap and were
almost neck in neck with Wind when Sandstorms ears shot up seeing my
dragons ear go up we slowed our pace and let Wind pull ahead, it was
then that I heard it too an ear piercing scream from that of a dragon
that is injured. Completely forgetting the race me and Sandstorm sped
toward the scream at full speed, only slowing down when we got there.
When we got there I saw that it was indeed a scream from an injured
dragon, the lilac dragon that I had mistaken for a zippleback but now
saw that it is a Grumbling Rufflewing, which is an extremely rare
dragon of a massive size, has two heads, a split tail and is
considered aggressive. The Rufflewing had its left wing pinned under a
pile of large boulders that must have fallen from the cliff up above
it. I realized that if it is aggressive I would have a hard time
getting close to it, but I had to try to help it because it would be
harder for me to just leave a dragon helplessly injured then try to
help them even if they are aggressive.


   We landed close to the Rufflewing but far enough away that it hadn’t
noticed us yet; I got off of Sandstorm, pulled out a halibut from the
saddlebag and slowly made my way closer to the Rufflewing. When the
Rufflewing saw me, she got startled and started flapping her wings
which resulted in one of the rocks rolling do from the cliff and
landing on her wing making her yelp in pain, it was then that she saw
she could not fly away and she started to get defensive she shot a
blast in my direction; the blast upset Sandstorm who is very gentle
but is extremely protective of me, he got into a protective stance
between me and the Rufflewing, and would have blasted it with one of
his powerful blasts had I not pushed his head away at the right time.


“Sandstorm, calm down I just startled her she’s fine she won’t hurt me.”


   I tried to calm Sandstorm down with my voice and thankfully it
worked. Sandstorm, pouting walked a few steps away and sat down
watching the Rufflewing as if to say ‘she’s my human, don’t even think
about hurting her’.


   I then continued walking toward the Rufflewing with each step I took
the Rufflewing seemed to get more and more anxious but I knew I
couldn’t do anything from a distance so I slowly crept forward toward
her. When I was almost an arms distance away I held out the halibut,
the Rufflewing at first just sniffed at the fish then quickly and
unexpectedly snapped up the fish in one bite. As I stood there I
slowly reached out my hand to the dragon and looked away, had it not
been for Sandstorm I probably would not have my hand the Rufflewing
had unexpectedly snapped at my hand just has Sandstorm had pulled me
away. Then and there I realized that it would take a lot more than a
fish for this dragon to trust me.


   Even though the dragon had snapped at me I knew I still had to get
the boulders off of his wing. Slowly I walked around the dragon to its
left side with Sandstorm following my every move not wanting to leave
me by myself. I reached for the first boulder but then realized I
would have a hard time trying to move the boulder without hurting the
Grumbling Rufflewing anymore then it already was, so using hand
motions I told Sandstorm to grab the large boulder on top. Sandstorm
grudgingly listened, he flew overtop and picked up the heavy looking
boulder, Sandstorm then set the rock down next to me. When Sandstorm
had picked up the rock it upset the Rufflewing even more and she
emitted a gas similar to that of a zipplebacks but in a way it was
different, the other head than set the gas on fire it was a large
blast and I would have been burnt had it not once again been for
Sandstorm. I tried one last time to try to get close to the Rufflewing
but I could tell that it wasn’t so keen on me being there and neither
was Sandstorm. I backed up a little to try and get another idea on how
to help it.


   After another failed attempt to get the boulders off of its wing, I
had to sadly come to the conclusion that the dragon didn’t want help
or at least not from me. I started to back away to go find Wind when
the Grumbling Rufflewing made a strange gurgling noise, similar to the
noise Sandstorm makes when he is sad. I decided to try one more time
to help the dragon, this time it was slightly calmer and seemed to
finally realize that I wasn’t there to hurt it. I reached out my hand
one more time slightly more apprehensive this time but still knew it
is the first step of trust on both sides. After what seemed like
minutes the Rufflewing reached her heads and touched my hand, I guess
it finally trusted me.


“I will name you Blossom” I said talking to the left head.


“And you will be Sparky” I stated gesturing to the right head. “Now
what do you say we get to work getting those boulders off of your
wing.”


   When we finally had the boulders off I examined her wing surprisingly
it was not broken just a few scratches here and there. I then gave
them another fish and mounted Sandstorm to go find Wind. I found
Beautiful Wind setting up camp.


“What happened to you?” she asked.


“Oh, just helping injured dragons.” I replied.


   Shrugging her shoulders Wind walked off towards the trees I presume
to find fire wood. I looked up a few minutes later when I saw a shadow
on the ground to see Blossom and Sparky coming with a couple of fish
in their mouth. I was so excited to see them, when we had flown off in
opposite directions I never thought I would see them again, but here
they were right in front of me.


“Blossom, Sparky oh I’m so excited to see you. Now I can show Wind
that I was telling the truth.” I said smiling.


   Runaway came out of the woods a few paces in front of Wind, as soon
as Blossom and Sparky saw the Night Terror they immediately got in to
a defensive stance between me and the night terror.


“Sparky, Blossom what wrong?” I asked not seeing Runaway yet.


   Wind came out of the woods a few seconds later just as Sparky and
Blossom shot a warning blast toward the woods to try to scare away the
smaller dragon. The blast narrowly missed Beautiful Wind, she dropped
all the wood that she was carrying, if I wasn’t so worried about
getting Sparky and Blossom to calm down it probably would have been a
funny scene. I finally was able to calm Sparky and Blossom down by
getting between them and Runaway to show them that Runaway wasn’t a
threat.


“Wow you guys sure are defensive” I muttered to them.


“What was that for?” Wind asked a bit perturbed.


“Wind meet Sparky and Blossom, Blossom and Sparky meet Beautiful
Wind.” I said. “This is the dragon I told you about earlier.”


“Honestly, to tell you the truth, I didn’t believe what you said
earlier I thought it was just an excuse for losing.” Wind replied
playfully.


“Oh, come on, me and Sandstorm lose?” I said trying you fluster her.
“Well anyways, Sparky and Blossom brought supper lets get the fire
started then we can cook supper.”


“Okay, coming right up.” Wind answered.

 

   Supper was really good, it consisted of grilled fish and the apples

that I brought. After supper we packed up and headed for home. We
arrived home a little before dark. Sparky and Blossom had followed us
all the way home and I

Meta4's picture
Meta4
Offline
Berk's Power Player
Joined: 08/29/2014
Tracking like a dragon maniac!

Hello again!

 

First of all, thank you for your kind comment on the other thread, to speak truthfully, although English was my number on class, it's been a long time since I actively made use of this knowledge. The forum here was the first reason for me reclaim this skill and use I still use the spell checking feature. But I'm pleased to see that I'm regaining my English writing skills, making less mistakes every day!

 

Returning to the topic, Congratulations on the new thread, personally, I loved the title but also like this one a lot!

 

I've finished reading the latest chapter and can't wait to see what awaits Hyrra, Stormbreaker and Calder here at School!

 

(I specially loved the name Stormbreaker, I mean I love my two Skrills, Fallingstar and Neon, but it never crossed my mine using that name,  do you mind if I use that name if I ever get a chance at training a third Skrill?)

 

See you soon!

__________________

Welcome to my Siggy!!!

(a work in progress and please forgive me for any spelling errors,

I'm from Portugal and it's been a while since I wrote anything in English):

 

Hello I'm Meta4, Zinax in game,
I'm no kid anymore but I became a huge fan of HTTYD when I least
expected to and SoD became quite a passion for me when I came across it.
I'm kind of shy and don't have much confidence in my self to start a conversation,
But for those who are willing to try me out, you'll find a respect full and loyal friend,
who will always help you out to the best of his ability.
See you around! :)
 
Hobbies (in game):
 
Farming (and proud of it)
Flying around with my Dragons (of course)
Practicing racing (partners anyone?)
 
Hobbies (all around):
 
Anything about Dragons, especially HTTYD
Animals/Nature
Games,

 

etc (a bit of everything) 

 

oh and a tiny little something I forgot to tell you all about me is:

 

I'm Really, Seriously

 

and Completely Against Hacking!

 

Viking Stats:

 

Adventurer Level: 35

Farming Level: 30

Fishing Level: 30

Trophies: 2967(as of 10/02/2016)

 

Proud Member of

 

 

 

 

(Valor Banner's by Stworzydlak, Gyoa and Aurora the Swift)

 

My Proud Dragon Family (By Hatching Order)

 

Blaze

(male - 03/02/2014 - lvl 20)

 

 

Awesome Spore version by BeaReptileLover

 

Thorneedle

(female - 15/09/2014 - lvl 20)

Awesome Spore version by BeaReptileLover

 

Stonegrinder

(male - 03/11/2014 - lvl 20)

 

Fishlump

(female - 04/11/2014 - lvl 20)

 

Viper & Cobra

(male - 04/11/2014 - lvl 20)

 

Oceansong

(female - 27/12/2014 - lvl 20)

 

Falling Star

(male - 12/01/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Wind Dancer

(female - 20/01/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Goldgorger

(female - 25/01/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Sand Spitter

(male - 03/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Steamie

(female - 09/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Furnace

(male - 16/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Aurora

(female - 16/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Worm Slurper

(male - 17/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

White Fang

(male - 29/03/2015 - lvl 20)

 

Frozen Claw

(male - 29/03/2015)

 

Ignis

(female - 30/03/2015)

 

Awesome Spore version by BeaReptileLover

 

Fuss

(male - 31/03/2015)

 

Puff & Whiff

(female - 01/04/2015)

 

Thunderstroke

(male - 23/04/2015)

 

Storm Wind

(female - 29/04/2015)

 

Frostbite

(male - 02/05/2015)

 

Neon

(female - 31/05/2015)

 

Gale Glider

(male - 01/06/2015)

 

Spear Dart

(male - 03/06/2015)

 

Stonemasher

(male - 05/06/2015)

 

Shout Wave

(male - 10/06/2015)

 

Scorch

(female - 27/07/2015)

 

Searinglight

(male - 31/07/2015)

 

Gravelswimmer

(female - 03/08/2015)

 

Boilie

(male - 09/08/2015)

 

Screech

(female - 22/08/2015)

 

Stingchill

(male - 01/09/2015)

 

Streamjolt

(female - 19/09/2015)

 

Chestburster

(male - 08/12/2015)

 

Grumble

(female - 09/12/2015)

 

Shriekingscream

(female - 10/12/2015)

 

Silverwind

(male - 10/12/2015)

 

Bloodscale

(male - 11/12/2015)

 

Requiem

(female - 12/12/2015)

 

Windslash

(female - 12/12/2015)

 

Waveskimmer

(male - 14/12/2015)

 

And Lastly (but still proud of it) My Farm:

 

OC's:

 

Darkling (male)

 

 

 

Moonlight (female)

 

Backstory:

 

(Honestly? I'm still thinking about it, the only thing certain is that Darkling and Moonlight are mated dragons)

 

Darkling and Moonlight's Head Sculpture by kimbenoso

 

Banners Section:

 

By Skypeoplephoenix732

 

WolfMunster's picture
WolfMunster
Offline
Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Hey! Thanks again so much for

Hey! Thanks again so much for the nice words. I really wanted to change the title because: A. I didn't really think it fit the overall story anymore. And B. I noticed a lot of other people had similar titles.

 

Of course you can use the name Stormbreaker! I don't really play online much anymore (I refuse to buy a membership so there's not much for me to do) so I doubt our Skrills will ever be in the same place at the same time :P

 

Also after "Test Flight" the story really is taking off, we will be meeting our antagonists/villains soon enough and some new, hopefully fun, characters are going to also be introduced! The next chapter is VERY long, I was going to chop it in half but it would have ruined the flow of the narration so long chapter tonight/tomorrow. Also I will normally only be able to probably upload once or twice a week, this weekend has just been very good for my writing.

 

Thanks a million (again), hope you continue to love it!

SpaceyQueen's picture
SpaceyQueen
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 01/12/2016
Tracking! This is an

Tracking! This is an incredible story with excellent writing and I enjoy it.

__________________

Hello! And welcome to my siggy! My username is SpaceyQueen, but you could just call me Spacey.

I really have been enjoying the forums so far, and if you'd like to talk to me on anything, you are welcome to!

 

 

-

-Queen of Space-

-

 

Viking rank: 35

Frostbite the nadder: lvl 22

SweetTooth the whispering death: lvl 14

SeaFoam the shockjaw: lvl 14

Stokerface the singetail: lvl 11

StomacheAche the eruptodon: lvl 11

RedScales the razorwhip: lvl 7

Lyrical the death song: lvl 7

RockEater the gronckle: lvl 4

Trial and Error the zippleback: lvl 12

FrostTooth the groncicle: lvl 5

Trophy count: 400+

 

PM me for my friend code c:

 

 

My adoptables:

Claynut the Clever Clayspitter by Halla

-

By Wutend bonfire

-

WolfMunster's picture
WolfMunster
Offline
Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 8: Schooled

[A.N: This was going to be two seperate chapters but it would have disrupted the flow of the story... so enjoy this SUPER long chapter :D]

 

Chapter 8

Schooled

            The birds are back, Hyrra thought groggily as she sat up. She began her routine: climbing down, slipping on her boots, tying her rope belt around her waist, and washing her face. It wasn’t until she was drying the water off her face that it hit her: it’s today. She looked to the door for conformation: yes her tiny bag was there. Containing only the clothing Astrid had given her and a book that Calder had given her. She gingerly picked up the bag, as if it might disappear like a dream. She held it around her shoulder and walked outside.

            Calder had been right about winter not leaving soon, even in early March the snow was still not relenting. Her feet crunched on new snowfall as she stepped outside. Her mother was pacing with Midge on her hip, when she saw Hyrra she broke into a large grin, though there was a hint of sadness to it. “Oh my big girl on her way to school!” Her mother pulled her into a one armed, yet very constricting, hug Midge made a small attempt at a hug as well, “Ugh I want to see you off so bad… but work never ends.”

            Hyrra smiled as she pulled away, “It’s alright mom, I understand.” She pinched her brother’s cheek, he grinned and swatted her hand, “Hi! Hi!” Over the last few weeks Midge had said his first word: Hi. Now he wanted to say it constantly, normally it was endearing, but today it left Hyrra with a pit in her stomach.

            “Nope sorry buddy, its ‘bye’ today.” She gave his chubby hand a kiss, and had to swallow back the lump in her throat. She could see her mother was also struggling to hold back her emotions, “Alright I guess I need to go before we both start blubbering!” She said trying to make light of the situation

            “Well, Good luck, study hard, and send us plenty of letters!” Her mother gave her hand another squeeze before letting go.

Hyrra was almost to the main road when she saw her father standing by the fence with something in his hands. Tropper cleared his throat, “I know your mom wants you to send us letters and I thought that this would help with that… think of it has a… going away gift.” He handed her a charcoal pen, it was simple but clearly well-made and probably cost her father most of the wages he earned that month.

            She knew saying ‘you didn’t need to get me this’ would probably only make her father more uncomfortable so she opted for, “Thanks, I’ll definitely use it. I’ll makes sure to send you letters at least once a week!” She smiled and gave him a hug, which he returned.

            He cleared his throat again, “I guess I should be heading back… study hard!” He told her as he patted her curly head of hair and then walked the way she had just come from. She looked down at the little pen in her hand: a fine, dark wooden handle wrapped in white, soft cloth. She grinned and put the pen into her bag.

            She first went to the arena where she met Hiccup, she opened up the cage and out came Stormbreaker. Maybe he sensed her nervousness or maybe he was in a good mood, either way he gave her no trouble as they walked down to the docks. There they met up with Calder, who had a larger bag hoisted on his shoulder but he looked just as nervous as she did. He was standing looking at the ship with apprehension, “Never took you to be afraid of a ship.”

            “Tch, I’m not afraid.” He said and took a few confident steps onto the deck of the ship. Hyrra smirked and made way to follow him.

           “I’ll see you at the island tonight.” Hiccup waved as they climbed onto the boat. She turned around to wave back and also to see Stormbreaker sniffing the ship and shaking his head.

            “Come on Storm.” She called, and that’s all it took for Stormbreaker to gain the confidence to jump over the railing and onto the deck. The ship rocked under his weight, and Hyrra felt her stomach rock with it, this is going to be a long trip.

            And it was. Hyrra very quickly found out that, unlike Calder, she was not made for life out at sea. Every shift of the boat had her stomach doing flips and turns. She stood at the rail the entire ride, Stormbreaker sat behind her, occasionally growling when sea spray hit him. “Come on Hyrra you’re a Viking, act like it.” Calder nagged. She shook her head, not able to speak, he sighed, “The captain says we are getting pretty close, we should see the island pretty soon.” He sounded hopeful, but all Hyrra wanted was to be off this boat, I have a dragon I should have flown.

            It was only a few moments and then she saw it: a great peak jutting out from the ocean, on both sides of the peak were areas of flat land, but the side that they were approaching from had steep, black walls. She was so taken with the odd geography she had forgotten her seasickness. The ship sailed easily into a crack in the black wall. Overhead the ceiling was oddly smooth and glossy, “What is this stuff?”

            “Obsidian.” The captain gruffly answered, “This used to be a volcano, many thousands of years ago.” Calder stood next to her looking just as shocked as she did, but it didn’t take long before they were out of the crack and back out into the sunshine. “You might want to duck.” The captain warned, Calder and Hyrra shared a confused look, until they heard a “SQWAK” and both of them hit the deck. Hyrra looked up as two Nadders flew overhead with riders who were laughing, “Oy! Watch it you lugheads!” The captain roared, “They always do that.”

            “Calder look!” The ship had sailed into a lake, or what seemed like a lake, in the center was a tall tower with a dock at its base, and it was connected to the far side of the ‘lake’ by a hanging bridge. But most impressively were the dragons. There were dozens flying around, some with riders and some without. Now that they were inside of the walls she could see that the black wall continued all the way around the lake, in a circle.

            The boat docked at the tower where a familiar face was waiting, “Gobber?”

            The peg-legged man helped her out of the boat, “Aye! I’m workin’ at the school this year. You won’t be rid of me that easily!” Great. “And I wanted to be the one to escort you to the Main Hall, everyone else has arrived.” How many students are there?

            They climbed the tower, it was little more than a flight of wooden stairs, up to the bridge which led to a large cliff, for lack of a better term. Stormbreaker met them at the top, he also refused to walk across the bridge. On the other side of it, they met a large man with a surly face, and a short, squat woman with two long braids draped over her shoulders, “Oh I’m so excited to meet you!” The woman took Hyrra’s and Calder’s hands and clasped them in her own, “I’m Kyne, the house mother here!”

            “House mother?” Hyrra asked.

            “Yes! I make sure all our students are as comfortable as possible! This here is Vetrkarl, but you can just call him Vet though, everyone does!” She introduced the large man on her left, and then leaned into the two new students, “He’s also my hubby.” She winked at them. Hyrra couldn’t help but giggle at the very obvious difference between the two.

            Vet sighed, “I’m the Stable Master here. I take care of the dragons. I’m here to take your dragon to the stable.” Well he’s straight forward.

            Stormbreaker growled, “It’s okay, go on Stormbreaker. I’ll see you tonight.” She gave the Skrill a comforting pat, but he just shrugged it off and went to follow the giant man.

            “Now, now, Hyrra. He’ll be just fine, my love is great with even the most ornery dragons! Now come on we’ve got to get you two to the opening ceremony!” She whisked the two away from Gobber and towards a bunch of wooden buildings, but one of them definitely stood out. It stood in the center of the cliff, and it was huge. They walked through a large set of elaborate, double doors into a brightly lit hall with a few long benches set up, there were only about a dozen other students in the hall, despite its large size. Kyne had them sit next to a girl, who looked about Hyrra’s age.

           The girl immediately offered her hand, “Hi! I’m Brey! Brey Fettleston.” She vigorously shook Hyrra and Calder’s hands.

            “Wow strong grip,” Calder remarked, and he was right, the girl had a grip like steel. Which was kind of strange considering her petite frame, other than that, Brey had raven hair, cut short, honey eyes, and dark, golden skin, which Hyrra had only seen once or twice with a few of the traders that came through Berk.

            “Where are you from?” It came off a bit rude, and Calder nearly smacked the back of her head, but Brey seemed unaffected.

            “The southern archipelago! From the Stalwart tribe,” Well that explained it, the southern archipelago was pretty far away, “that’s why I have this tattoo,” She pointed to her right cheek, a silver tattoo it was a simple circle with a dot in the center, “Are you guys from Berk?”

            “Uh yeah, how’d you know?” Hyrra said.

            “Everyone else here isn’t from Berk, I’d find it pretty unusual if the founders of dragon riding wouldn’t have some representatives!”

            “So who are the other students?” Calder asked, looking around the hall at the other clusters of students.

            Brey seemed happy to provide that info, “Over there, in the front, are the little ones, they’re from somewhere around here I think… they called it the Lopsided Tribe, funny name, huh?” She was pointing towards a group of three boys, no more than ten years old, “In the back over there are the siblings from the Dark isles, the Shaded Tribe.” Two sisters sat close to each other, both had remarkably light colored hair, they might have been 13, “Over there are the kids from the Frippery Tribe,” There were a group of three kids, two boys and a girl, the eldest was a boy with black hair arguing with the younger boy, who also had dark hair, the girl with brown hair sat on the edge looking uncomfortable, “And then there are a couple of others,” she said pointing at a few others scattered around.

            “So are we the oldest ones here?” Calder asked.

            “Probably.” Brey answered with a shrug, “I don’t care though, I’m just happy I finally got accepted!”

            Calder looked like he was about to ask another question but then a large man came through the doors, with a loud bang! He was big, and intimidating with a thick black beard streaked with white, the hair on his head was the same, his icy blue eyes scanned the room intently. After taking a long, hard look he strode to the front of the room. Everyone sat silently.

            He stood at the front of the room and then… he laughed. A deep, booming laugh that seemed to shake the ground, “HA, HA, HA! You should have seen all yer faces!” He wiped a tear from his eye, “Ah… Well now that that’s over, I am the Headmaster. You may all call me as such, but if you must know my name is Visst Groundshaker.” Well the name fits, “If you are here than you must have been accepted to the prestigious School of Dragons. We are going to get down to business! For the first week you will be put into groups by your ages! After your first week you will be tested and then resorted into one of three groups based upon your strengths: Scientists, Scouts, and Warriors.” At this three people took to the stage, Hyrra smiled broadly because she recognized them all: Astrid, Hiccup, and Fishlegs, “These three are some of the best in their fields, and they will explain what it means to be a Dragon Rider.”

            Hiccup spoke first, “Hi, if you don’t know me, I’m Hiccup, chief of the Hooligan Tribe,”

            Next to her Brey was fidgeting excitedly but totally into the speech, Does everyone get this excited about the chief?

            “I am representing the Scouts today. First off I want to say that being a Dragon Rider is more than just about getting to fly a dragon, though it is a lot of fun,” that earned a couple of smiles and giggles, “You are going to have the responsibility of protecting your homes, families, and tribes. And each of these professions have to work together,” He motioned to the two next to him, “But I guess I shouldn’t ramble too much, so let’s get to it. Scouts are the first to the scene, you will need to be quick and brave; because chances are you won’t have anyone, but yourself, when danger occurs. Now, there are certain dragons who excel at Scout’s work,” At this Toothless bounded out onto the stage, proceeding to nuzzle Astrid and then sit gallantly behind Hiccup, “Dragons who are fast,” Toothless made it a point to jump around the room, when he passed Hyrra he licked her cheek, slathering her hair and cheek in sticky saliva,

            “Ugh, thanks Toothless…” She mumbled, next to her Brey was starry-eyed,

            “He licked you!” She squealed.

            “I wish he hadn’t, he knows how hard this saliva is to get out of my hair…” Brey opened her mouth to ask another question but then Hiccup spoke and she was, once again, completely enraptured in what he was saying.

            “And dragons who are agile,” Toothless zig-zagged across the stage, “Make great Scouts, because they are able to fly long distances quickly, and keep their riders safe without the need for a direct confrontation. Being a Scout will entail long hours of work, and a lot of flying practice. Before I scare you away, I’m going to give the stage to Astrid.”

            Astrid nodded to Hiccup, “Now if you are one of the strongest and toughest Vikings around, you’ll be a Warrior. Some Warriors go on to become Defenders for their villages, or even for this very school, other Warriors decide to become Guardians for Scouts, accompanying them into dangerous territory. This field is brutally difficult to get into, so work hard. Like the Scouts, there are dragons who are tougher than others,” She whistled and in flew Stormfly, who spotted Hyrra and hissed at her, so she still hasn’t forgotten that? “Nadders make great warriors, their fire is second to none and their spikes make for a very accurate weapon,” Stormfly flexed her spines, Brey jumped at that, but was still smiling like a loon. “Monstrous Nightmares are fairly common in this field as well. Now, I am going to turn it over to Fishlegs.”

            The large man grinned, “Thank you Astrid. If you enjoy gaining knowledge or figuring out the answers to complex problems, then Scientist is the class for you! The best part about being a Scientist is that there are many different fields you can go into! Everything from botany, ecology, and dragon knowledge, to engineering! Having a love of knowledge is good for this field, as well as a healthy dose of curiosity. As with the other classes, there are dragons who do best in this field, come here girl!” That last bit made Hyrra tilt her head, who’s he talking to? And then a Gronckle lumbered in, “This is Meatlug, Gronckle’s make GREAT partners for the Scientist! Their natural patience and gentle demeanor make them great for indoor studying!” Meatlug did seem pretty calm, she sat at Fishlegs’ side, her back end wagging like a dog’s tail.

           Headmaster Groundshaker returned to the stage, “I think that about covers the introductions. Welcome to the School of Dragons! Now you will be broken into three groups: Anyone 12 or under please come to the front,” The three boys from the Lopsided Tribe hopped to the front, along with the younger, dark haired boy from the Frippery Tribe, and another child Brey had pointed out, “Good, you all will be our ‘Gronckle’ group, Fishlegs will lead you around the school.” They all excitedly filed out, following Fishlegs and his dragon. “Next we have anyone age 13 or 14” Pretty small gap but Hyrra saw why, the majority of the students left were those ages, including the twins from the Shaded tribe, the remaining two from the Frippery tribe, and two others. “You are our Nadder group, would you please follow Astrid around the school,” They were much calmer than the group before.

           “Well that leaves us.” Hyrra said, standing up and stretching, the Headmaster gawked at her interruption, “What?” Hyrra said, catching the look.

           “So you must be Hyrra,” The Headmaster walked down to her, staring at her hard, before smiling and grabbing her hand and shaking it vigorously, “Good to meet you lass! Now the three of you are our Night Fury age group, obviously you three are older than the others. I am going to warn you, unlike the other two groups, once you are assigned your Classes, you are going to be thrown into new, existing groups. So, sadly, you are going to have a pretty sharp learning curve.”

           She shrugged, “Eh, what’s new? Right, Chief?” Hyrra grinned.

           Hiccup laughed as he walked down to meet them, “Alright, I’ll take these three off your hands Headmaster.” The big man clapped the Hooligan chief on the back as he nodded and walked off. “Well I know you and you,” He said motioning at Hyrra and Calder, “but I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Hiccup Haddack, just call me Hiccu-”

           “I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” Brey yelled enthusiastically, “Sorry! But it’s an honor to meet you! I’m Brey Fettleston!” She grabbed the offered hand and pumped it viciously.

           “Wow, what a grip!” Hiccup said as he managed to regain his hand, “Uh thanks, Brey,” he cleared his throat, “Well we are supposed to take you around, might as well get the boring stuff out of the way before we get to the really exciting stuff.”

           They left the Main Hall, but turned away from the docks and headed further into the other wooden buildings, “Right across from the Main Hall is the Mess Hall,” He said pointing to the large building situated against the wall of the volcano, “Also I should mention this part of the school is built on what was once the inside of a volcano, after a large explosion the inside fell apart creating a hole that was filled with sea water, it’s called a caldera.”

           “What about the land on both sides?” Calder asked.

           “We assume that came from the explosion, the ash and debris created by the volcano probably created a ‘faux’ island, which slowly grew over thousands of years. Anyways, here is the Dragon Hatchery and Hospital,” They were walking by an opening dug into the side of the volcano, a great heat was emanating from it, “We try not to hatch too many dragons here, we don’t want to overpopulate this small island. Over here, next to the Dragon Hospital, is the regular Hospital, if you ever feel ill or get injured, this is the place to go, the nurses and Dr. Yew will be happy to help.” Dr. Yew? Weird name. “Across the way, sitting on the edge over there, is the lab classroom, you’ll probably have a few in there next week, mostly to teach you how to care for your dragon, but the majority of your lessons will be in the Eastern Training Grounds, you’ll have you fly your dragons to get there, but it’s just over the caldera wall. On the other side are flight practice and obstacle courses, their all designed to help you and your dragon work together better.” I definitely need that.

           “So where are we going to stay? I imagine we aren’t sleeping with our dragons.” Calder asked sarcastically.

           “Oh yeah! Over that bridge are the boy’s dorms, you will have your own room assigned to you, and you should be on the same floor as those your own age.” There was a smaller ‘cliff’ past the Hospital, connected to the main ‘cliff’ by a short bridge, the building itself was fairly large and clearly had multiple floors. They began walking back, past the lab classroom and the main hall, “Right here are the Faculty Dorms, you shouldn’t ever have to come here, but it’s good to know where everything is. Now Hyrra, Brey: that is where you will sleep.” He was pointing to another cliff, further away than the Boys’ dorm had been, also connected by a bridge. It was pretty similar looking otherwise, “All of your luggage should already be in your rooms.” Oh that’s good I completely forgot about my bag.

           “But now for the fun part!” Hiccup was rubbing his hands together, “Dragons! You are going to meet your dragons, well except for you Hyrra.”

           She shrugged, “I’ll tag along I’d like to see what kind of pipsqueak dragon Calder will choose.” She snickered when Calder glared at her.

           “Why aren’t you getting a dragon Hyrra? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of being a dragon trainer?” Brey questioned, looking at her critically.

           “You’ll see.” Hyrra teased. They all walked up the steep steps to the Dragon Stables, which sat right on top of the caldera, it was huge, easily as large as the one in Berk.

           “Matching up with your dragon is fairly easy, look around, meet the dragons, and find out which one fits your personality. It’s hard to explain but you will know when you’ve met the right one. Also, don’t be worry about choosing someone else’s dragon, any dragon who already has a rider is on the first floor. We are going to the second floor.”

           “What about the younger groups, do they also go here for their dragon?” Brey asked excitedly, maybe wandering what-could-have-been if she had been accepted at a younger age.

           “The Nadder group will come tomorrow, but the Gronckle group will be paired with the adolescent dragons down in the Hatchery, that way they get a dragon who is a similar age.”

           As they drew closer to the doors, Hyrra noted that there seemed to be a huge ruckus going on inside, I’d bet my right arm that’s Storm. They cut around the corner and, yes, there was Stormbreaker in the center of the stables, growling at the other dragons, who were all crowding him, my antisocial dragon doesn’t want to meet the other dragons? What a shocker. “YOU HAVE SKRILLS HERE?!” Brey screamed happily. That sent all the dragons looking in their direction.

           Stormbreaker broke through the crowd of distracted dragons and made a beeline for Hyrra, both Hiccup and Calder knowingly jumped out of the way. The Skrill circled Hyrra and rubbed his head against her back, like he was trying to say, “Get me out of here!”

            “Brey, meet Stormbreaker, the reason I’m not getting another dragon… as much as I may want one.” Stormbreaker hissed and smacked her with his clawed wing, “Hey, watch it that’s spiky!”

           “Wow! He’s so handsome! I love his purple facial markings! And wow what a beautiful blue coloring!” Brey was gushing over the Skrill, who perked up at that and titled his head up proudly.

           “Don’t flatter him, his head’s big enough already.” Hyrra said crossing her arms over her chest. Brey laughed at that, “Alright Storm you need to be nice, or at least try not to injure any of the resident dragons or their riders. Got it?” He snorted at her, but grumbled in agreement.

           “That dragon of yours is a handful.” The deep booming voice clearly belonged to Vet, who came around the corner, “But he’s got spunk, which is good. Maybe once you really start working with him he’ll turn into something special.” And then Vet turned around and was gone before Hyrra could even reply.

           “Okay…? So should we head upstairs?” Hiccup seemed as put off as Hyrra did by Vet’s sudden appearance and disappearance. Calder and Brey both nodded vigorously and climbed the stairs, Hyrra was the last up, after all she wasn’t looking for a dragon.

           Upstairs was even more hectic than the downstairs had been, all the dragons seemed to be climbing and flying, and just generally doing whatever they wanted to. Brey and Calder stood, paralyzed, “Wow, anyone of these dragons could be ours?” They both asked. Hiccup nodded and gave them both a push towards the dragons. Hyrra and Hiccup took seats by the entrance and watched.

           Calder, not surprisingly, began approaching the dragons in the center, the more aggressive, dominate dragons. He first wandered up to a steel gray Monstrous nightmare, but after standing near him for a while, and being growled at, moved on. He was focusing more on big, muscular dragons: Monstrous nightmares, Thunderdrums, and Rumblehorns. But every time he got near one, he’d waver after a bit. He was slowly being drawn to the sides, where the calmer dragons sat. He suddenly came to a full stop, and Hyrra noticed he was peering into one of the cages, she couldn’t quite tell what was in there because a Gronckle had decided to sit in front of her view. As if on cue though, the Gronckle got up and moved. Inside the cage there was something small-ish curled into a pale-colored ball, whatever it was, probably wasn’t much bigger than Toothless. Calder crouched down and she saw his mouth move as he tried to get the dragon’s attention. The dragon slowly unraveled, a long neck covered in pointed, light blue fins, and a long, pointed face with keen pink eyes flashed in Calder’s direction.

           “Ah, a Sliquifier. Interesting, didn’t see that one coming!” Hiccup commented on the odd pairing, as Calder reached out and touched the pointed nose of the Sliquifier.

           Unlike Calder’s long search, Brey had found her dragon quickly. She had been, very quickly, drawn to a Deadly Nadder that had been hopping around the rafters. The two were already happily cuddling and playing, the Nadder was mostly a light orange with yellow stripes on the tail, giving it a very fiery appearance.

           After the two new dragon riders had become more familiar with their dragons, both female dragons oddly enough, and had moved them downstairs, they began discussing names. Calder ended up naming his dragon Pearl and Brey named hers Dizzy, “Dizzy? Seriously?” Hyrra questioned.

           Both Hyrra and Calder were giving Brey the same disappointed look, “Isn’t it cute sounding?! She kind of looked dizzy when I first saw her so… Dizzy!” Brey gushed, as she scratched ‘Dizzy’s’ chin.

           “Alright you three, your classes don’t start until Monday so you have tomorrow to get better acquainted with your dragons and the school. You’d best get to your respective halls.” Hiccup herded the trio out of the stables and down to their dorms.

           Hyrra and Brey were walking across the bridge when she stopped and looked over her shoulder,  “Hiccup, are you staying?” Hyrra asked hopefully.

           “Sadly, no. I’ll be stopping by periodically, but I’m sure you will like your teachers. Maybe you’ll even see them tomorrow.” Hyrra nodded but she was a bit disappointed, she said goodnight to Calder and continued with Brey up to the dorms.

           They were pretty quiet, it seemed like most people were still out-and-about. The first thing they saw when they walked in was a cozy room with a lit brazier in the middle of a bunch of fluffy couches, “Some kind of common area?” Brey thought aloud.

           “Probably. Are those the room assignments?” Hyrra pointed to a piece of paper stuck to the wall. They looked closer and indeed it was. Hyrra didn’t recognize any names but she found her own: “Boandi, Hyrra: room 310.” She read aloud.

           Brey gasped and threw her arms around Hyrra, “YAY! We’re close to each other! I’m room 312!” Yay for me. Now I know how Stormbreaker feels. “Let’s go! I want to decorate!” Decorate? They walked up the stairs, but these doors had 200 numbers written on them, so they continued up another flight of stairs. It was identical to the second floor: there were only two doors on the right side and three doors on the left. Hyrra opened up the door on the left closest to them, the odd door out. “It has running water?!” Brey exclaimed, indeed it did. Inside was the lavatory, it was nicer than anything Hyrra had ever seen. There were pipes on the ceiling with holes in them and pullies attached to the pipes, “Wow we only had these in the bath houses back home!”

           “Bath houses?” Hyrra asked.

           “Man I’m going to have to tell you all about home!” They closed the door and continued down the hall to the last set of doors, as it ends up they were right across the hall from each other. Yay. Hyrra was on the left and Brey on the right. Hyrra went into her room.

           It’s as big as my family’s house. She bit her lip and felt that sinking pit in her stomach again. Not only that, but there was a bed. My PARENTS don’t even sleep in a bed. Also in the room there was a chest, desk with a lantern, and her bag sitting on the bed. “Hey Hyrra!” She jumped as Brey yelled into her room, “How’d you get a dragon before getting here? Are you some kind of dragon-genius?”

           “Uh, no. It’s a long story.” Hyrra remarked.

           “We’ve got all night! Come on! You tell me the story and I’ll tell you about my hometown!” That’s really not that enticing. But Hyrra thought it might was help her feel better. So she and Brey sat in her room, she told Brey everything about Stormbreaker: how he was found, his injury, healing him, and even how she named him. Hyrra couldn’t help but think it was really nice to walk to Brey, she was a good listener and her enthusiasm was actually pretty infectious.

           So they talked, well into the night, about a lot of things: family, hometowns, and dragons. And Hyrra felt her nervousness and guilt slowly melt away, her parents had wanted this for her. She should enjoy it, and something told her tomorrow would be even better.

 

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SpaceyQueen
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Great writing

Great story! I love the new chapter. Keep up the writing! c:

 

I also wonder who are antagonists are in the future. :>

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Joined: 08/29/2014
Yeah! Keep it up!!!

This great, really!

 

I find it fitting that someone with a close connection with the sea, like Calder, would get a Tidal class although i was expecting that will to try and get some more flashy dragons.

 

And as for Dizzy... I just rolled on the floor with that name, just perfect!

 

And I think we really should have this kind of introduction to the school grounds on the game, and that team idea and roles like scout, warrior and scientist... really cool!

 

Please keep it up!!!

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Joined: 01/10/2014
Aw thanks :3 I really wanted

Aw thanks :3

I really wanted Calder to have a tidal class and I decided the Sliquifier for its unique abilities and personality. In my head Pearl is this absolutely gorgeous dragon I'd edit a picture for her but there's no good pictures of Sliquifiers around the Internet. :/ 

For Brey I was really uncertain as to what dragon I wanted her to have. I ended up choosing a Nadder because of their bird like personalities, which I felt fit well with her. 

I was going to give them both very flashy, rare dragons (like flightmare or woolly howl) but I felt like that might make the series boring or a bit too "marysue" if everyone had near-perfect Dragons. 

And Dizzy is probably my favorite name so far and I just made it up on the fly :P 

Thanks so much! I'm really enjoying how much everyone's engaging with the story and characters <3

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Chapter 9: Axels and Bears, Oh My!

Chapter 9:

Axels and Bears, Oh My!

            Hyrra and Brey were sitting in the Mess Hall the morning after their long chat. Hyrra was munching on bread and honey, but Brey had chosen to have a sweet pie for breakfast, “I wonder what’s taking Calder so long? We did agree to meet here for breakfast, right?”

            Brey gave her a funny look, “Where else would we get breakfast? It’s not like there’s anywhere else to eat.” Hyrra shrugged, she was feeling incredibly tired having talked to Brey all night, and into the early morning. Just then the door opened allowing a crisp breeze, and a few guys, in, some of them Hyrra recognized from the opening ceremony. Hyrra waved at Calder but her hand paused, he looked very worried, maybe even a little panicky.

            “What’s going on?” She asked narrowing her eyes at him, please tell me Stormbreaker didn’t attack someone.

            Calder’s hair was askew, and he was panting, “Uh, yeah. It’s nothing life threatening. But you might want to know-” Suddenly an arm looped its way around Calder’s shoulders and squeezed, effectively shutting him up.

            “Well, well. I thought the rumors were just rumors, but look at this: Hyrra BOANDI sitting in the Mess Hall of the School of Dragons. This place sure went downhill fast.” Silver eyes, immaculate, dark brown hair, and an annoyingly perfect jawline?

            “Nice to see you too, Axel.” She said through gritted teeth.

            “No need to sound so vicious doll, I’m just here to confirm the latest rumor.” He leaned down onto the table, smirking in her face.

            She tried her hardest to look unimpressed and sighed, “You’re going to make me ask you ‘what rumor?’ How cliché.”

            He chuckled, “I just wanted to confirm that the Chief is the one who bought your way into this School. Was it to get you out of his hair or out of pity?” She almost stood up and hit him, but Calder held her back, “And you brought along your favorite fisher? How cute.”

            “And you still can’t get that stupid cowlick on the back of your head to lay down, huh?” His face flushed, she knew that would work. Axel was notoriously conceited, particularly when it came to his looks.

            He cleared his throat, “Well then, I guess will be seeing each other around eh, Ginger?” Ugh is he going to keep calling me by that stupid nickname? The tall teen casually strolled away, a much larger male, whom Hyrra hadn’t even noticed before, followed him. When they left the Mess Hall, Hyrra flopped down into her seat and banged her head against the table.

            “NO! Why? I knew he was here but I thought that I could avoid him…”

            “Sorry, Hyrra. I was going to warn you but he caught up with me outside... by the way, that big guy he’s got following him is strong.

            Hyrra perked up, “Who is that guy?”

            “Bjorn Clasharm, from what I gathered they're  both Warrior class.” Fitting, I suppose.

            “Wait, how do you know that guy? Is he from Berk too?” Brey looked very confused, which she had a right to be.

            “Axel is from Berk… but he’s also the eldest son of the family who owns my family.” Hyrra admitted.

            “Oh, the Elklund family, right?” Brey recalled from their talk last night.

            “Yup, and he’s always been a narcissistic bully.” Calder grumbled, trying, in vain, to smooth down his hair.

            Hyrra pushed away from the table, “Ugh, I don’t want to talk about him. Let’s go see our dragons.” Brey and Calder followed, but Calder grabbed a meat pie from the table before leaving.

            As they were walking out the door a small voice asked them, “I’m sorry, but was Axel bothering you?” Hyrra looked towards the voice and saw a petite man with rounded glasses. “Oh let me introduce myself, I am Tic Lardsen, a teacher here. I believe you three will all be in my class tomorrow.”

            Calder cheered up and said, around a mouthful of meat pie, “Lardsen? You’re the person who wrote the Book of Infinite Dragon Knowledge!”

            “Yes I am.” He shook Calder’s hand, “I study dragons exclusively, and please call me Tic.”

            Hyrra, being in a foul mood, wanted to roll her eyes, “But to answer your question, I know Axel, and I can handle him.”

            “Okay… well than I suppose I will see you in class tomorrow.” Hyrra and Brey left the Mess Hall and had to wait a minute for Calder to catch up.

            “Aw, come on you two! He’s a cool guy!” When Calder caught up they began to walk towards the stables.

            Brey shrugged, “I’m more into blacksmithing.” That took Hyrra by surprise.

            Calder must have been thinking the same thing, “What? Blacksmithing, you?”

            “Yeah, my mother’s also a blacksmith, but I’d like to focus on saddles, not weapons.” Well that explains the freakish strength.

            The stables were quieter this morning, all the dragons seemed to have recovered from yesterday’s excitement. Stormbreaker looked up from his stall, yawned and laid back down. “Really? Don’t even greet me?” She rolled her eyes but took a seat next to her dragon leaning on his leg a little bit and yawned, Stormbreaker radiated a warm heat that made her want to sleep. On the other end of the spectrum was Brey and her rambunctious Nadder, Dizzy, who all but crashed into each other in their excitement.

            “When do we get to go flying?” Brey asked, already sitting astride her Nadder.

            Calder and his dragon Pearl were sitting quietly together, “Maybe a little later.” He said, stretching his arms over his head. Pearl gave a purr, and wrapped her long neck around Calder.

            “So a Sliquifier?” Hyrra said with a smirk, “A little smaller than I thought for you Calder... a little girly.”

            His face pinched up, “Whatever, size isn’t everything. At least she’s likeable unlike your dragon.” He remarked as he rubbed her neck.

            Stormbreaker woke up at that and gave a menacing growl in Calder’s direction, “Oy did I overhear someone talking about flying their dragon?” Hyrra looked over to the stable door and saw a familiar peg-legged man standing there with a large bundle in his arms.

            “Gobber, what have you got?” Hyrra asked.

            “A little present for ya’,” She stood up and walked over to the bundle as he put it down, “Now I know if your goin’ to be flyin’ that dragon more often, you’ll be needin’ a saddle made for him.” Hyrra took the cloth off the bundle and found a new saddle underneath it. “It’s made of thicker leather and we put some wooden slats in it to give it some more electrical resistance. Hiccup asked that I make sure I made handles and stirrups for it as well, guess your dragon enjoys doing flips and sharp turns?” Hyrra nodded, those will definitely come in handy. “I didn’t forget about you two either, I heard about your dragons and found these saddles for ya’. I had to make a few adjustments for your dragon though,” Gobber said as he handed Calder his saddle, “I didn’t have any Sliquifier saddles made but I had this Tide Glider saddle, so it should be pretty water resistant, all I did was add a bigger girth, a breastplate, and front leg girths.”

            Hyrra picked up the new saddle and took it over to Stormbreaker who frowned at her but stood up and let her replace Toothless’ old saddle with the new one. The handles were pretty similar to the ones on Stormbreaker’s old saddle, but instead of just simple handles cut all the way through the front of the saddle, the new handles were not ‘holes’ all the way through, instead a piece of leather kept Hyrra’s hands away from directly touching Stormbreaker’s neck. The other saddle hadn’t even had stirrups, and the ones on this saddle were interesting to say the least, they were mostly leather with wood stirrups. “Are they supposed to just hang there? And what are these?” She asked, pointing to two rings on the back of the saddle.

            “I know it’s not the prettiest thing but consider this saddle a prototype. I knew I couldn’t use any metal that might touch you. So instead of the normal, all metal stirrup I had to use leather and wood. Oh and those rings are for this,” He pulled a long, thin piece of leather out of his bag, “I’m quite proud of this, actually. We call it a crupper, it normally goes around the dragon’s tail or wings, but for a Skrill I’d say try to put it around his spines. Try and get this soft, leather piece centered on his back, it’ll keep him comfortable and keep the crupper from slippin’.” Hyrra took the long leather piece and hooked one clip end to the ring and looped the other end over his back, in between two of his longer spines, and then hooked the other metal clip to the ring on the other side. She then adjusted the length of both sides using the buckles on both sides to make sure the soft, paler leather ended up in between his spines.

            “This is awesome Gobber!” She said as she took a step back, admiring the new saddle. Stormbreaker stretched his body, wings, and moved his body side to side, checking out the stirrups, “I think he likes it.” Hyrra said. Dizzy hopped around, seemingly oblivious to her new saddle. Pearl gave her new saddle a long look, gently sniffing it and stretching her legs to get used to the leg girths.

            “Well I’ll leave ya’ to it! If you’ve got an issue come see me at the forge.” Gobber turned to leave.

            “Wait, where is the forge? I didn’t see it on our tour.” Hyrra asked, mostly for future reference.

            “It’s in the Hatchery, walk in and to the left.” And then he was gone.

            “So… LET’S TRY OUT THESE SADDLES!” Brey jumped up into the saddle and struck a heroic pose, but then looked confused, “Wait, how do I get her to go forward?”

            Hyrra sighed, “It’s not that hard, it’s controlling them in the air that’s the hard part.”

            “Indeed! Look how smart you are, Ginger!” Before she knew what was happening a strong hand was mussing up her hair, and she smacked it off as hard as possible, where did he come from? Stormbreaker charged and growled at Axel, getting in between Hyrra and Axel, good boy. “Woah!” His hand withdrew quickly and a golden Monstrous nightmare dropped from the stable ceiling between Axel and Stormbreaker, “Good Morning Goldtyr! By the way Ginger, where did this mutt come from? They normally don’t allow wild vagabonds in the stables.”

            Bjorn, that is his name right? All but growled at Stormbreaker, and it was terrifying. How can a human even make that sound? “Stupid dragon doesn’t know its place.” The bear-like male rumbled. He had black, cropped hair, intimidating dark eyes, and towered over everyone in the room.

            Stormbreaker hissed, and a snap of lightning between his wings showed just how angry he was becoming, “If I were you, I’d restrain your mutt Axel, because you see I can’t really control Stormbreaker yet. Something tells me lightning hits a lot harder than muscle.” It wasn’t a threat, it was a promise. Calder stood quietly next to Pearl who, oddly enough, looked as tense as Stormbreaker, with her fins spread wide and her pink eyes glaring at the two newcomers.

            Clearly, now with his bodyguard at his back, Axel’s confidence had returned. He walked over to the Nadder, “I don’t understand all of this aggression I’m just here to help as a senior dragon rider. Now, little lady, I’ve found the easiest way to get a dragon to fly is to give them an incentive.”

            “Like what?” Brey asked nervously, clearly she knew something was up, and underneath her Dizzy sidestepped timidly,  feeling what Brey was.

            “Like this,” Axel took something from his bag, it was only too late before Hyrra realized what it was, chicken, Axel hurled the chicken leg hard. Dizzy jumped, skipped, and then took off, with Brey barely clinging to the saddle.

            “Brey, hold on!” Hyrra was in the saddle and diving out of the stables in seconds, but she made sure to dive right over Axel’s head. She heard Calder squeal as Pearl leapt to the air behind her, and at any other time she would have laughed. But in front of her she was watching Dizzy diving to the forest floor, looking for the chicken leg, with Brey almost falling out of the saddle. Stormbreaker dove and they caught up to the Nadder quickly, “Brey! Grab the handles and hold on!” When she saw that Brey had the handles she leaned into Storm, “Bud, we need to stop that Nadder!” The blue dragon nodded and dove faster, getting ahead of Dizzy. Stormbreaker turned on his back, Hyrra had to cling to the saddle tightly with her hands and legs, as Storm flapped his wings at the Nadder, causing Dizzy to come to a sudden halt as wind smacked her scales catching her attention. Calder and Pearl were behind Brey and Dizzy, keeping the Nadder from going the other way. Hyrra saw that there was an open field below them, “Brey, lets land down there.”

            They landed and Hyrra jumped out of the saddle, “I’m sorry!” Brey wailed as she and Dizzy hit the ground. She slipped from the saddle, her legs looking very wobbly.

            The redhead frowned, “It isn’t your fault or Dizzy’s fault.” She said patting the tanned girl’s shoulder.

            “Right, Axel should have known better, he may be a bully but that was downright dangerous.” Calder said as he climbed off Pearl. He took a look around, the field was definitely one of the practice fields Hiccup had been telling them about, it had short grass and a few odd barrels and boxes around. Behind them it backed up to the forest, which backed up to the Caldera wall.

            Suddenly she heard clapping, resounding clapping, “Very good, very good!” The trio looked into the forest to see a woman, tall and lithe, stepping forward. “My goodness that was quite an interesting display. Are you three new riders?” They all nodded, “I am Korinta, the flight instructor here.”

            “I’m Calder,”

            “Hyrra.”

            “Hello, I’m Brey Fettleston… the one who fell out of the sky.” She said blushing.

            The woman shook each of their hands. “I saw this flying through the air,” Korinta pulled out a chicken leg, “Is this one of Axel’s ideas?” Calder and Hyrra snarled at the name. Korinta sighed pushing long, blonde bangs from her eyes, “What do we do with him? He’s an immaculate rider, and a one of our best warriors, but he doesn’t work well with anyone.” The woman gave the chicken leg to Dizzy, “Hyrra, correct?” She nodded, “That was some impressive riding, but that’s not a huge surprise. I’ve heard you’ve worked with Hiccup.”

            “A little bit,” She shrugged, “Though I’ll admit normally Stormbreaker doesn’t work with me as well as he did just now.”

            “So this is the infamous Skrill I’ve heard so much about?” She eyed the dangerous dragon carefully, “I can’t wait to work with you all this week.” She whistled and a huge, copper dragon appeared from the forest, it slithered upon the ground with its upper half standing up.

            Calder was awestruck, “You ride a Timberjack?”

            Korinta grinned, “Oh you mean gentle Viperra?” She reached up and stroked the belly of the Timberjack, before taking a careful hold of the sharp wing, Viperra lifted Korinta up onto her back, “I’ll be expecting you three on time tomorrow.” She called as she and the large dragon took flight easily. Buffeting the three teens below with wind.

            “Wow. I don’t think I’ve even seen someone ride a Timberjack.” Brey said as the dust cleared.

            “That is pretty impressive.” Calder stated, “So should we actually fly now? You know without all the drama?” The blond was already back in the saddle.

            “Yes! Hyrra show us what to do, you’re the one with the most flight experience!”

            Hyrra didn’t want to admit to either of them that she had only ever flown once and that had ended in near disaster, “Uh, sure.” She slid into the saddle, and whispered “Come on Storm we need to set a good example.” He snorted at her, “Bless you.” She said sarcastically. Stormbreaker easily jumped to the sky, Pearl followed. Her take off was very elegant, she almost seemed to float, whereas Dizzy jumped gracelessly into the sky, “See not so hard when you do it right.” Both nodded shakily, “We’ll start slow, just try and follow me.” Stormbreaker gave an easy flap and they began to ascend. Hyrra decided that she wanted to see more of the school, this time from the right perspective.

            She looked over her shoulder to check on her friends, both seemed to be adjusting quickly to life in the sky, of the two it was Calder, surprisingly, who seemed to be having the most issue. He looked a little pale and tense, she leaned back and Stormbreaker slowed, “You okay?” When he gave a shaky nod she decided it was time for a little revenge, “Come on you’re a Viking, act like it.” The color returned to his face a little bit as he glared at her.

            They circled over the Caldera, looking down at the lake and the school, Hyrra led them over the other side of the Caldera, into the Western Training Grounds. Stormbreaker came to a stop as they looked at the dense, stretching forest. This side of the island was a lot less developed, she noted. She stood up in the stirrups to look to her right, to the north side of the island.

            “The geography of this place is amazing!” Calder gushed, it was pretty diverse. Sitting behind the caldera was a huge peak, maybe once a part of the volcano, now it was just a tall, lonely mountain that sat on the cliffs with small meadows surrounding it on every side.

            “Let’s go see!” Brey charged forward, seemingly used to flying already. As they flew around the edge of the caldera, Hyrra noticed that a river flowed from underneath the caldera wall to the base of the mountain, “That’s so cool! I bet there’s a bunch of cool underwater caves!”

            Pearl made a happy bubbling sound at that, “Eh? You want to check those out someday, girl?” Calder asked, patting her neck, “Me too! We’ll have to do that before we graduate!”

            “Already planning for graduation?” Hyrra teased, “You’ve only been here a day!” He shrugged nonchalantly. They surveyed the area around the mountain, up close the mountain was much taller than she had originally thought, but it was also a lot thinner than she had originally believed too. Corresponding to what she had seen from afar, the base was surrounded by grassy meadows, and the back of the mountain, facing the ocean, had a small waterfall that appeared to come from the river that ran through the mountain. On the left and right sides of the meadows were sharp cliffs, in some areas there were small bays and beaches at the bottom. They were all perched on a cliff, staring over the edge when a voice spoke up behind them.

            “Fascinating, isn’t it?” The three turned around to see a brawny man, with an odd tattoo on his chin, sitting astride a Rumblehorn, “Ah, I apologize for interrupting. I’ve been making my rounds to meet the new students and I’ve never met any of you. I’m Eret, son of Eret, I primarily teach combat and survival skills.” The trio introduced themselves, “If any of you aspire to be Warriors, you’ll be training with me.” He gave them a ‘tip of the hat’ gesture before flying off.

            Brey was blushing, “I want to be a warrior now.”

            “BREY! He’s easily twice our age.” Hyrra was blushing now too.

            Meanwhile, Calder’s nose was pinched up in disgust, “You’re both horrible. Come on Pearl, let’s go get lunch, before my appetite is ruined.”

            “Last one to the Mess Hall has to eat the salted eel!” Brey called as both she and Calder took flight quickly before Hyrra could even respond.

            Hyrra cackled though, as the two new riders both seemed to have forgotten to grab their handles before taking off and were floundering around in the air clumsily, “Come on Stormbreaker we aren’t eating any eel tonight.” He chirped happily, she grabbed her handles, and Stormbreaker shot off the ground like an arrow, but they slowed down as they passed the other riders, “You challenged a Skrill to a race?” She called over her shoulder, sticking her tongue out at both of them before she and Stormbreaker dove past them. As the other two recovered and began trying to catch up, Hyrra made up her mind:

Who cares if Axel is here? This year will be mine. And who cares if he’s the best rider? By the end of this year:

I will be better than him.

 

[A.N: Bjorn means "bear", if you were wondering where the title came from :P. Also you may have noticed my "School of Dragons" has a slightly different island than the one in the game, that is done on purpose. I needed a bigger island for my fic :D]

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WolfMunster
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Joined: 01/10/2014
Update

Just wanted to tell everyone I added some maps and diagrams to the Character Fact sheet, now called "References". I made them in Paint so don't expect them to be very pretty but they should help you visualize the island :)

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Meta4
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Joined: 08/29/2014
Cool

Thanks for the maps, it wasn't very difficult to imagine the changes in the School thanks to your amazing description but now it's even easier.

 

And good work with Axel, I already don't like him XD

 

Good luck with the next one!

Winged Warden
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Hello.My name is Winged

Hello.My name is Winged Warden.I am a young trainer who wants to become a Scout.If you want my character's profile(Lillan Rose and Wild Claw),PM me.

__________________

Hello! Welcome to my (contructing) signature! This siggy is protected by Arrow, please procied with caution!

 

 

~Fan-Dragons Warden Adopted~

Name: Starslip

Species: Muddicry (Made by chameishida)

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Name: Kaito

Species: Solarflare Skrill (made by Wutend Bonfire)

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Name: Arrow

Species: Sinistrous Woodreaper(Made by chameishida)

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Chapter 10: Metals and Mysteries

Chapter 10

Metals and Mysteries

            “This is copper, used to make pots, pans, and was once used to make weapons.” Dr. Lardsen was holding up a chunk of orange stuff, why is this important? This won’t help anyone, “Now, what is the toughest naturally occurring mineral…?” Brey eagerly held her hand in the air, to which Dr. Lardsen nodded. Hyrra was about to fall asleep sitting up.

           “Carbon creates the toughest known mineral, known as a diamond!” Hyrra rolled her eyes, showoff. It had been like this for nearly three days, boring lectures with the occasional interesting flight lesson later in the day. Calder, sitting to her right, wasn’t much better at not showing off, he and Brey were almost always in an ‘answering war’.

           Hyrra was caught off guard by a yawn, “Hyrra,” She flinched and tried, in vain, to stifle her yawn, “Since this lecture seems to be oh-so-boring, let us make it relevant to you. Great. “What is the least conductive element?” The bespectacled teacher asked.

           “Conductive? Eh, that’s the one that electricity likes, right?” She thought aloud, she heard Calder snicker, “Um… Bronze?” Now Calder truly began to laugh, she turned to her right and glared at the blond, “Tch! Like you know the answer!”

           “Good job Hyrra, not only is Bronze not an element but it’s also very conductive. Calder?”

           Calder had raised his hand, using the other one to wipe a tear from his eye, “Sulfur is the least conductive element.” He said with a smirk. Hyrra wanted to get up and leave, this is so stupid. She proceeded to ignore the rest of the lecture and sulk.

           The hour was drawing to a close when Dr. Lardsen, once again, singled Hyrra out, “Hyrra I believe you need to do some field work.” This sounds promising, “I want you and Brey to try and find me some of this,” He held up an odd rock, with weird green lines running through it, “This is nickel, hard to find, but found naturally somewhere on this island.”

           Brey practically bounced from her seat, “Yes sir! We’ll find it and bring it to you tonight!” Why is she so ambitious?

           “Calder, I’m going to need you and your dragon’s help to find some manganese nodules for my experiment.” Apparently, Dr. Lardsen was performing tests on what different ores did when fed to a Gronckle. With the lesson over the doctor, Calder, and Pearl all left the Caldera for the open ocean. After the men left, Hyrra, Brey and their dragons formulated a plan. Meaning, Hyrra sat staring at the lake with Stormbreaker snoozing against her back, while Brey both prattled on and on about where nickel would most likely be found, and Dizzy bounced around her eagerly.

           “Red dirt is a good indicator for nickel, and because nickel is often found in the presence of sulfur, found in volcanos, we should start our search by the cliffs! And nickel is found deep underground, so we need to find caves.” She was nattering on and on, looking at the map in front of her of the cliffs.

           “So the doc is sending in even more people to look for nickel?” Brey nearly jumped out of her skin as Axel leaned over her shoulder, reading the map, “Good luck, nobody has ever found nickel on this island… well except for me that is.” Hyrra turned around and leveled a dark glare at Axel.

           “Nobody cares about your irrelevant achievements, Axel.”

           The steely-eyed teen covered his heart, as if in pain, “Woe is me! I cannot bear the brunt of Ginger’s harsh words.” He cried melodramatically, attracting the attention of everyone within earshot.

           Her frown deepened, and her face turned red. She stood up, Stormbreaker yawned as he was awoken by her sudden movement, “You’re only embarrassing yourself, you know that right?” She said as she climbed into the saddle, “Come on Brey.” The two took the sky, ignoring the look they got from Axel.

           “Do you think it’s true that only Axel has ever found nickel?” Brey asked, looking concerned.

           Hyrra bit her lip wondering whether or not she should tell the truth or not, “I hate to admit it, but he’s probably telling the truth. Axel’s a conceited jerk and he loves to boast… but he’s really smart and he isn’t a liar.”

           Brey’s expression saddened at first, but then she perked up, “We will find nickel! I won’t give up until we do!” Yay, Hyrra thought cynically. They flew to the cliffs and scanned them for caves. What they learned was that there were a lot of caves, “Um…” Brey’s eyebrows were knitted together as they contemplated their situation.

           Hyrra sighed, rubbing her face, “It will take years to search all of these caves.”

           “Let’s try the caves closest to the mountain!” Brey’s spirit seemed to never give up, they flew all around the mountain, and found five caves that looked promising.

           “These all have the brightest dirt,” Weird. They had landed on one of the beaches as Brey looked and marked all over her map. Meanwhile, Hyrra was wondering down the beach, kicking stones and the odd piece of kelp when a plank of wood sticking out of the sand caught her eye. It looked like it was once a part of a ship, and it was only about half as long as her arm. She flipped it over and frowned deeply. “Hey Brey, come here for a second.”

           Brey hopped over to her excitedly, “Did you find something cool?”

           “Not really.” Hyrra pointed to the plank of wood, on it was inscribed:

᛫ᛞᛖᚦ᛫ᛏᚢ᛫ᛞᚱᚫᚸᚣᚾᛋ᛫ (Death to Dragons)

          Next to the unpleasant message was an equally unsettling symbol of a dragon with a sword going through its middle, “Maybe it’s somebody’s idea of a prank?” Brey said.

          “Maybe, or it’s just some random old junk. Either way, I’m taking it.”

          Brey’s eyebrows shot up, “Why?”

          “To get rid of it obviously. Maybe give it to the Headmaster or Hiccup, one of them might know who could have written this.” She stuck the plank into her bag, “Back to the task at hand. Where should we start?” Hyrra was letting Brey take the lead, after all Hyrra didn’t even want to be here.

          “There was that really big cave on the north side of the mountain, remember? That one might connect to the inside of the mountain somehow.” Hyrra followed Brey back to the larger cave, sitting just above where the waterfall came out. The inside was pretty slick from the waterfall’s spray and had moss growing on the floor. Stormbreaker was particularly perturbed by the wetness. He walked around almost on his tiptoes, holding his wings up high, similar to a woman holding up her skirts. Hyrra giggled at the sight.

          Brey didn’t even take notice, she was too busy exploring the back of the cave, “Dead end?” Hyrra asked as she walked up. It looked like a dead end to her, there were a couple of cracks but none were big enough for a human to get through, much less a dragon. Suddenly Dizzy was hopping around excitedly, Stormbreaker hissed at the enthusiastic Nadder because she was splashing water with her hopping.

          “What is it, Dizzy?” Brey walked over to where the overly eager dragon was bouncing, “Hyrra! It’s a hole!” As Hyrra drew near she heard, very clearly, the sound of running water, when she looked into the hole it appeared to be another cave but this one was right above the river that ran through the mountain. Brey and Dizzy quickly jumped down the hole.

          “What does it look like down there?” Hyrra yelled down.

          “Come on and see! It’s HUGE!” Hyrra puffed out her cheeks and groaned, why couldn’t it just be another dead end? I hate caves. She mounted up, but Stormbreaker refused to move.

          “I don’t want to do this either.” She said patting his neck, the dragon exhaled theatrically before diving into the hole. Inside they saw Brey and Dizzy, hovering, Dizzy had her mouth open with fiery sparks in it, helping them see. Not to be outdone, Stormbreaker began to glow blue as lightning danced down his spine and across his wings, “Watch it Storm, I’d rather not be electrocuted today.” He gave a hiss as if saying, you think I can’t control it?

          “This way!” Brey said as she led them further into the cave where they found it split into four different directions, one went up, one to the left and right, and another straight ahead. Brey looked nervous, “Do these holes look too… smooth to you?”

          “Couldn’t water cause them to smooth out?” Water was trickling from both the forward tunnel and the top one, but not the side passages.

          “Yeah I guess so. Maybe when it rains these tunnels fill with water,” The dark haired girl theorized, “So which way?”

          Hyrra suddenly got an idea, “ECHO!” She shouted, grinning like a child when the echo returned tenfold from each of the tunnels.

          Brey jumped, “EEP! Don’t do that!”

          “Why not?” A rumbling echoed back, “…What was that?” Stormbreaker growled as he became tense.

          The rumbling was coming from the far left tunnel, “Lets go this way!” Brey quickly led them into the forward tunnel, and the rumbling faded, “Hopefully that was just your echo creating a rockslide and hopefully the nickel wasn’t down that tunnel.”

          “You can’t blame me if we don’t find this nickel, it is supposed to be hard to find.” Hyrra bickered back. They flew through the dark cavern slowly, being careful to not fly into any rocks, “How can we find this nickel if we can’t even see what is in front of our face?” Hyrra complained loudly.

          She heard Brey hiss, “Stop complaining and maybe you’d see something.” Bossy much?

          Then they heard the rumbling again, they both stopped and looked around, and they saw… something in front of them. “Daylight?” Hyrra questioned, but Brey shook her head. The glowing orange light radiated head and it was coming closer, “What is that?!” Stormbreaker roared at the speeding flame, Dizzy tried to fly away but ran straight into a rock and dropped to the cave floor.

          Brey looked back up, “Hyrra get out of the way!” But Stormbreaker wasn’t moving, despite Hyrra’s pulling on the saddle, he roared again and fired a lightning blast at the flame and the light went out quickly.

          “HEY WATCH IT!” She immediately recognized the voice, you’ve got to be kidding me.

          “Axel! Why are you following us?!” Hyrra yelled into the darkness, from the gloom she saw Goldtyr flame back up, illuminating the cave and his rider as they came closer. Axel’s hair was sticking straight up, she could assume it was from the electricity, and he looked angry.

          “Were you trying to kill me, you lunatic?!”

          Hyrra’s scowl deepened, “ME? You were chasing us! What did you expect Stormbreaker to do?”

          "I was not chasing you!"

          "Then you were following us, you creep!"

          “Uh, guys?” Brey interjected.

          The two rivals glared at the other girl and snapped in unison, “WHAT?”

          “Do you hear that?” She asked them, Hyrra calmed down for a second and she did hear something. A deep rumbling.

          “Axel is this another one of your brilliant ideas?” The redhead glared at him.

          He looked at her indignantly, “I’m sitting right here, what could I be doing?” The rumbling grew louder and suddenly a hole opened up behind them, and out came…

          “A WHISPERING DEATH!” Brey screeched as the wild dragon quickly turned on the intruders and roared at them, the rotating teeth a frightening sight to behold. Brey and Dizzy took off in the opposite direction, further into the cave, as Stormbreaker roared back at the wild dragon. Hyrra tried to pull Storm’s attention back but he was set on fighting the Whispering Death, just as the wild dragon made to charge them a bright flame smacked it in the face, making it flinch and screech.

          “Your dragon is trying to get you killed!” Axel snapped, Goldtyr got between the angry dragons and snarled at Storm, appearing to set the Skrill straight. Both dragons turned and fled further into the cave, catching up with Brey. They all stopped at another cross-section of tunnels.

          “Where do we go?” Brey asked the older male, who seemed to know his way around.

          “Psh, this is your task, I’m out of here.” Axel and Goldtyr took off through the top tunnel, of course he abandons us.

          Brey tried to follow him and Hyrra followed Brey, but after flying hastily through the tunnels, Dizzy became… dizzy. The Nadder stopped and fell, once again, to the cave’s floor, shaking her head, “Well you gave her a fitting name.” Hyrra said as she landed next to them.

          “What do we do? I had no idea there would be a Whispering Death down here!” She panicked.

          “Come on, we’ll just keep following these tunnels and leave, tell the doc that it was too dangerous for us to continue.”

          Brey nodded weakly, “Ok…” They took flight again but this time flew slower and quieter, listening carefully for the telltale rumbling. They came to a large opening, and it was pitch black, save for the soft glow from Storm and Dizzy’s mouth. Having not seen or heard from the Whispering Death, they stopped to rest, “What if we get lost in here forever? Whispering Deaths have been known to dig a year's worth of mazy tunnels in minutes…”

          “Stop saying stuff like that, we’re going to be fine.” Hyrra was walking around with Stormbreaker lighting her way, “How big is this cavern?” She asked, trying to get Brey’s mind off her dark thoughts.

          It seemed to work, “It could be the center of the mountain… what was once a magma chamber maybe.”

          Hyrra was walking around when, very suddenly, Stormbreaker’s lightning shot out towards the ceiling. She dropped to the floor out of reflex, “What in the world?! Storm, are you trying to shock me?” The Skrill’s lightning went out, leaving them both in darkness, as he grumbled lowly in apology.

          Brey and Dizzy hurried over, “Are you okay? What happened?”

          “I don’t know, his lightning just went nuts!” As Dizzy’s mouthful of fire lit up the area Hyrra and Brey looked up.

          “Is that…?” Brey and Dizzy flew up to the cavern’s ceiling, which was unusually smooth. “It’s obsidian! And-” She paused for a long while.

         “And?” Hyrra called from the floor of the cavern.

         “It’s- It’s nickel! Storm’s lightning must have been attracted to the metal!” Hyrra saw Brey take a chisel from her bag and then she heard her hitting it against the ceiling, a resoundingly metal sound echoed around the cavern. Brey flew back down to the cave floor, showing Hyrra the chunk of gray and green stone when she landed, “Now we can bring this back to Dr. Lardsen!”

         “Now, we just need to found our way out of here… and try not to run back into that Whispering Death.” They mounted back up and made a few circles around the cavern, mapping out any possible exits.

         “There’s this one at the top and then another at the back... not counting the one we came through. But which one?” Brey asked, they hovered a while and then they heard a rumbling come from the tunnel at the back.

         “Not that one, let’s go!” Hyrra led them through the tunnel in the ceiling, it was tighter than the other ones and getting tighter. Stormbreaker’s wide wingspan was making it far more difficult for him to fly than it was for Dizzy, after a while they were forced to land as the walls began to squeeze in. Behind them she heard the rumbling getting louder.

         “Up ahead is that light?” Brey questioned, Hyrra squinted, she was right there was light. They raced onward, and soon enough even Dizzy was forced to land as the tunnel grew narrower. Both dragon riders dismounted as the ceiling came closer, however so was the light and they were both feeling a soft breeze. Hyrra squeezed through a crack and popped out into the open air, behind her Brey also came through but there was a new problem, “Neither of our dragons can fit! They’re trapped!” But Dizzy had other ideas. She shot her molten hot fire at the wall of the cave, superheating it and then… she rammed through it as if it were made of paper.

         Hyrra stood back, mouth agape, “I’m actually kind of impressed.” Dizzy bounced around, clearly excited that she had done something helpful. Stormbreaker followed behind, looking similarly impressed by the Nadder. Hyrra looked around and took a deep, relieved breath, they were outside finally. They had somehow come out on the opposite side of the mountain, and were now standing on the mountain’s slope, facing the school.

         “We made it out! And away from that Whispering Death!” Brey cheered, a bit too soon it would seem, because just then the wild dragon tunneled out in front of them, trapping them against the mountainside. Stormbreaker and Dizzy jumped in front of their dragon riders, growling and ready to fight.

         “Woah, woah!” All dragons stopped growling as Dr. Lardsen appeared from behind a rock, “Nice job ladies!”

         “Dr. Lardsen, watch out!” The Whispering Death loomed over the teacher, its teeth rotating menacingly and then… it began to make a high-pitched whining sound and ducked its rounded head behind the doctor.

         “Oh sorry, buddy. Let me put on your goggles…” The doctor took out a pair of large, dark goggles and hooked them over the Whispering Death’s large head, “He has sensitive eyes.” The doctor explained, the once terrifying dragon now looked very silly with a pair of goggles covering his eyes.

         “You knew about the Whispering Death.” Hyrra stated crossly.

         “Well… yes, but you were never in any real danger. This is my dragon, Chaintooth, and he wouldn’t hurt a fly. I just wanted to see how you two would handle a 'dangerous' dragon.” Both girls were still glaring at him, “Hopefully Axel didn’t give you much trouble? I sent him in to make sure you weren’t getting too lost.” WHAT?!

         “Oh I didn’t give them much trouble at all.” Hyrra looked up to see Axel and Goldtyr hanging above them on the side of the mountain. He was grinning wickedly down at them, “Enjoyed working with you doc, now I have a class to get to.” He flew off in the direction of the Western training grounds.

         "Wait weren't you supposed to be with Calder?" Hyrra asked, confused.

         "Ah, yes, that didn't take much time. Sliquifier's are very quick swimmers, you know? And Axel knew he was supposed to watch you guys before class even started." He planned all of this? I never pegged him to be so manipulative. “Well, did you find anything?” Brey perked up immediately.

         “Yes, sir!” She pulled the chunk of ore from her bag and gave it to the teacher, who held it up to the light.

         “You actually found a piece of nickel? Impressive. I’ll be sure to include this feat in both of your reports for the end of the week.” Oh right that. Hyrra had kind of forgotten about the end-of-the-week sorting that was going to happen, “I’ll make sure both of you won’t be missed for flight practice this evening, enjoy a nice, quiet evening.” The small man began to walk away, his dragon slithering closely behind him.

         “That’s a weird pairing.” Brey thought aloud.

         “It has been a weird day.” The redhead reflected, as she put her hand in her bag she felt the smooth wooden plank, a very weird day.

SpaceyQueen's picture
SpaceyQueen
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 01/12/2016
Keep up the good work and the

Keep up the good work and the great writing! Loved this chapter especially.

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Meta4
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Joined: 08/29/2014
*My dragons roasted the subject*

Great work once again! Really like the surprise our good Doc. prepared with Axel's help (I'm starting to think there's more to them than meets the eye and I'm loving it) and awesome work with Dizzy, I figured something like that was coming when you said She and Stormbreaker where stuck!

 

Please keep up the good work and good luck with the next one!

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Chapter 11: The Placement Ceremony

Chapter 11

The Placement Ceremony         

         “Hyrra… Hyrra… WAKE UP!!!!” She bolted out of bed, and nearly slammed heads with a certain tanned girl.

         “What? What’s going on?” She asked groggily, there had better be a very good reason for her to be awake this early.

         “The Placement Test is today!” She yelled as she shook the redhead by her shoulders.

         “Oh, that.” Hyrra flopped back down and rolled over.

         “Come on get up! We need to get ready for it!”

         “How do we get ready for a test, when we have no idea what’s on it? They’ve probably already decided where we are going anyways and the test is just a formality.” She mumbled as she pulled her blankets back up to her chin. It was only a few minutes later that Brey must have gotten bored because she began to hum. Within seconds Hyrra was sitting up and glaring daggers at her friend, “Can’t you go back to your room?” She hissed.

          Brey smiled innocently, “Come on Hyrra lets go get breakfast. Calder’s probably already up!” Calder usually beat them to the Mess Hall, mostly because he was used to waking up early as a fisherman. Hyrra growled, but knew that the other girl wasn’t going to leave her alone until she got up. So she did.

          They were walking across the bridge when they saw some of the other new students nervously milling around the main hall, “The younger ones are having their test earlier right?” Brey asked, Hyrra shrugged and grumbled. While Spring had begun it was still chilly in the mornings, so with the added nippiness and waking up early Hyrra was in no mood to answer questions. All she knew was that their test was at the same time as the Nadder group’s, at noon.

         Inside the Mess Hall it was blissfully quiet, since most of the louder children were outside waiting to take their exam, and most of the upperclassmen were sitting eating. Brey and Hyrra got a few looks from some of them, and then they all started whispering. Hyrra’s tired mind registered that something was off, and they quickly made there way to Calder, “Why’s everyone whispering?” She asked quietly.

          “Their taking bets on where everyone’s going to be sorted.” Calder answered, in between bites of his bread, and he seemed a little irritated by that fact.

         “Where do they think you’ll be sorted?” Brey prodded.

           Calder’s face blossomed with red, “Ah, well you know it’s not a very accurate measurement of one’s-”

           "Everyone thinks he’ll be an Engineer.” Axel said smartly, as he walked by, bumping Calder with his arm as he did.

            An upperclassman strode over and gave a comforting pat on Calder’s shoulder, “Don’t worry about it too much, you’ll get teased, but engineering is… an interesting profession.” Hyrra recognized the upperclassman as Thrain, a scout, he was one of the best in his field, and arguably the best looking. With dark, tousled hair and bright blue eyes that popped against his fair skin. Aside from his looks, Hyrra was also impressed by his dragon riding, because he rode a Snaptrapper and he managed to remember each head’s name, there was Sage, Olive, Basil, and Mint, but he often just referred to them as ‘The Sisters’ or, even more simply, ‘Ladies’. “By the way, Brey, everyone thinks you’ll be an Engineer too,” Brey smiled widely, “And Hyrra… we’re all torn, half are saying Warriors and the other half are saying Scouts. Personally though I think you’d make a great Scout,” He smiled widely, and Hyrra would be lying if her heart didn’t skip a beat.

          “Wow, he’s sooo nice!” Brey swooned as the scout walked away from their table. Hyrra nodded dumbly, while Calder wrinkled his nose.

          “Yeah… real nice.” He said sarcastically, not that either girls heard him. The three sat and ate quietly after that, mulling over this new information.

         “I have a question.” Brey said suddenly, Calder and Hyrra gave her the ‘go ahead’ look, “Why is everyone here so against Engineers? Where I come from anyone with brains is pretty much the boss.”

          Calder shrugged, “I mean we’re Vikings, we’re supposed to be big and strong, not smart. Times are changing but it is hard to get over hundreds of years’ worth of tradition, that’s why most people here want to become a Warrior.” Brey nodded slowly as she understood. Hyrra had never thought of it that way, but it did make sense.

          The doors opened and the kids came back in, most looking tense, “What time is it?” Hyrra asked.

          “Probably about time for our exam. Let’s go.” Calder said as he stood up. They all filed out, followed by a few of the Nadder age group. While standing outside the Main Hall, Hyrra looked around to the other new students. The identical twins from the Shaded tribe, Mani and Sola, stood close to each other, like usual. Hyrra had seen them riding their dragons together, one of them rode a Hobblegrunt and the other rode a Raincutter, though Hyrra couldn’t tell which one rode which. The elder boy from the Frippery tribe, Mork, rode a large Gronckle, and his cousin, Freda, rode a Deathsong.

         It was an interesting group, to say the least. The doors to the Hall opened and the Headmaster stepped out, everyone grew silent. “I understand many of you are nervous, but please answer every question to the best of your ability and be honest in your answers. There’s nothing worse than being placed in the wrong class.” After the short speech they were funneled into the Hall and sat down at tables. Tests and pens were handed out and everyone set to work. Hyrra took a deep breath and turned over the paper.

         Question 1: What is your dragon’s class? Boulder, Stoker, Tracker, Sharp, Tidal, Mystery, or Strike?

         That’s easy. Strike. This might not be so bad.

         Question 2: What elements go into making Gronckle Iron? Circle all that apply. Limestone, Copper, Sandstone, Aluminum, Iron, and/or Bronze.

         Uh… iron (obviously), sandstone, and… I guess copper?

         Question 3: What is the weakness of a Nadder? Sensitive Eyes, Blindspot in Vision, Poor Sense of Smell, or Allergic to Grass?

         Blindspot, Dizzy can’t see anything in front of her face.

         Question 4: If all trozzles are floppers, and all floppers are stotters. Then, All trozzles are stotters. True or False?

         True? Ugh my brain hurts already.

         Question 5: Mulch has a bag of apples. He gives half to Bucket. Bucket eats two and gives four to his dragon. How many apples did Mulch have originally?

         He had 12… right?

         Question 6: While exploring with your dragon you see three different paths: the path straight ahead is over a dangerous chasm, to your right is a path lined with rare materials, and the path to your left has thick mist. Which do you choose, and why?
         The path covered in mist, there is a chance that that path has something even better than rare materials… and my dragon can fly in low visibility.

         Question 7: You are on your own when you find a new dragon: It is much larger than you or your dragon and appears aggressive, what do you do?

          I watch it from afar and take notes. I try to figure out the dragon’s abilities and maybe approach when I know more.

         Question 8: You are given a choice of chores, which one do you choose? Shearing sheep in the field, gathering herbs in the meadow, or collecting firewood in the forest?

         Collecting firewood. I hate sheep and meadows… I have allergies.

         Question 9: You enter a dark cabin with only one match. You see an oil lamp, a wooden stove, and a fireplace, all prepared and ready to light. Which do you light first?

         …what? Obviously you have to light the match before you light anything... wait… oh I see…

           Question 10: Describe yourself, in your own words.

          What? Me? I don’t know… I’m… what am I? I guess to keep it simple I’m impatient and not a morning person… I enjoy flying and reading (at least since I learned how to read), I guess you could call me stubborn. I hate learning about rocks.

         Hyrra put down her pen and flipped her paper back over, Dr. Lardsen came over and picked it up. He was giving it a quick look over when his eyebrow popped up, “Hate rocks, huh?” Hyrra’s face turned as red as her hair, the doc gave a soft chuckle, “I understand. You can go Hyrra.” She stood up and all but ran from the Hall. She took a seat outside waiting for Calder and Brey.

           “Hey, how’d it go?” Hyrra whipped around.

          “Hiccup! What’re you doing here?” Toothless shoved his way past the chief and licked the redhead’s face, “Of course, it’s good to see you too!”

         “I came to see where you and the other two were going to be placed, of course. So how did the test go?”

          “Uh, ok I guess? It wasn’t really much of test, it was a lot of opinions.” Hiccup nodded, suddenly Hyrra remembered something, “Hey, I wanted to show you something.” He looked at her quizzically. She went to her room and rustled through her trunk, before returning to Hiccup, “Brey and I found this while searching for nickel.” She handed the plank of wood to the chief, who, upon reading the engraving, frowned deeply.

          “Where’d you find this?”

          “On a beach, on the north side of the island.”

         “Was there anything else there?”

          “No, just that. I thought it might be just some stupid prank or… something.”

         “I’m thinking it’s ‘something’, but thanks for showing it to me.” He tucked the plank into Toothless’ bag, just as Calder and Brey walked up, “What did you think?” Hiccup urged.

         “Wasn’t that bad.” Brey said with a shrug.

          “I agree, but that one question about the cabin? Man… I was confused.” He said scratching his head. “We won’t be getting our results until the ceremony tonight right?” Hiccup nodded, “So what do you guys want to do while we wait?”

          “Hide-and-go-seek! With dragons!” Brey said excitedly, Hiccup backed out of this game to go help set up for the ceremony, but Calder and Hyrra joined Brey to play out in the woods. What they found out wasn’t surprising: Brey and Dizzy were bad hiders, Dizzy couldn’t sit still and Brey often giggled, but they were good finders, Dizzy’s nose was very sensitive. Calder and Pearl pretty much cheated by hiding underwater, and they used Pearl’s acid to destroy hiding spots. Hyrra and Stormbreaker often got found because you could feel Storm’s static electricity even when he was hiding. Hours went by, and it was Hyrra’s turn to search for the other two when she heard a horn blowing over the school.

           “Oh! The ceremony is about to start!” Brey and Dizzy popped up from a bush in front of Hyrra and Storm, startling them both.

          Pearl and Calder flew overhead, both dripping water, “Better hurry or you’re both going to be late!”

          The trio were a sight to see when they walked into the Hall: Calder was still dripping, Brey had sticks in her short hair, and Hyrra’s mane looked more like sheep’s wool than hair. Hiccup was standing on the stage and rubbed his face, embarrassed. They nonchalantly took their seats in the back, Hyrra sat next to one of the twins, who gave her a disgusted look.

          “Now that everyone is here let us commence the Placement Ceremony!” Headmaster Groundshaker boomed, “Alf of the Lopsided Tribe: Warriors.” A round of clapping as one of the young boys hopped to the front, where a steel medal was placed around his neck, “Bui of the Lopsided Tribe: Warriors,” More clapping, “Uni of the Lopsided Tribe: Engineers.” Clapping, though less pronounced, as the quietest of the three boys made his way to the front and a Gronckle Iron medal was placed around his neck.

          “Mani of the Shaded tribe: Scouts,” The twin sitting next to Hyrra quietly got up, so that one’s Mani, and made her way to the front to receive an obsidian medal, “Sola of the Shaded tribe: Engineers,” The other twin followed, though Hyrra noted a look of dissatisfaction on both twins’ faces as they stood apart.

          “Freda of the Frippery Tribe: Warriors” The Deathsong rider walked to the front, “Mork of the Frippery Tribe: Engineers” Not surprising, she heard he was pretty much a genius, “Hock of the Frippery Tribe: Warriors”, wow that is a lot of Warriors… that makes what… four? So far, three Engineers and only one Scout. As she was thinking to herself they called many names she didn’t really recognize. Of the three that were called, two went to the engineers and the last to the scouts. Now, only she, Brey, and Calder were left sitting.

          “Brey of the Stalwart tribe: Engineers,” Brey practically dove from her seat as she skipped to the stage, happily accepting her Gronckle Iron medal.

          There are now four Warriors, six Engineers, and two Scouts... “Calder of the Hooligan Tribe…” Hyrra saw Calder close his eyes tightly and she was pretty sure he was praying to not be an Engineer, “Warriors”, he literally leapt from his seat, but then noticed everyone was watching him and cleared his throat before walking calmly up to the front to receive his steel medal.

         “Hyrra of the Hooligan Tribe…” Hyrra looked up and saw both Brey and Calder looking at her excitedly, maybe hoping she’d be sorted into their class, everything seemed to slow down. I don’t care… but please not the Warriors… I can’t be around Axel all day, I’ll lose my mind…

“Scouts.”

 

[A.N: Not the longest chapter, but important! How many thought Hyrra would be a Scout? By the way, my update this weekend could be late or might not even happen, I may or may not be adopting a dog this Friday! (X_X) I'm so excited!]

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Meta4
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*My dragons roasted the subject*

Definitely a scout, everything you have been giving us about her tells the tale, Hyrra's smart and can think out side the box, to be a prankster as she was, she had to be able take a chance on what she observed around her, her only problem was the escaping part of the procedure but that's what is so funny about her XD

 

A great work as always, I don't mind having to wait, reading this so fun that I'll wait for it without a problem!

 

Good luck!

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Chapter 12: Graveyards and Stonehearts

Chapter 12

Graveyards and Stonehearts

            “Now Hyrra, I want you and Thrain to perform a figure-eight pass, make sure to pass the baton this time.” Hyrra flushed bright red, right it’s not just flying we have to get very close to each other and I have to hand him the baton. On the opposite side of the field, Thrain was giving her an encouraging grin, his large dragon was pretty intimidating, each of the heads were staring her and Storm down. Speaking of the Skrill, he had become both the star pupil and the class bully, his speed and agility made him perfect for high-speed maneuvers but he still tried to pick fights with other dragons for, seemingly, no reason.

            At Korinta’s signal, Hyrra and Thrain took flight, flying through the posts, as they curved around and flew at each other, their dragons turned outward, making them lean towards each other. Hyrra held the baton out with a firm but gentle hand, allowing it to smack into Thrain’s palm and out of her own without jarring her shoulder, she had made the mistake of holding onto the baton too tightly before and had nearly fallen off Stormbreaker. They landed where the other had taken off from.

            “Good, next I want to see-” She was cut off as Axel flew in, “Yes? You are interrupting our lesson.” The petite woman glared daggers at the teen.

            “The Headmaster is asking for Hyrra and her dragon.” Axel stated matter-of-factly.

            Korinta sighed, “Tch, alright go ahead Hyrra.” Hyrra followed the Warrior out of the field and into the air.

            “What’s this about, Axel?”

            “I don’t know,” He said shrugging, “I was pulled from my lesson too. Then they sent me to find you and Calder.” It was odd to hear Axel speak without a snide or belittling tone to it, in fact he sounded worried. They landed outside the Main Hall where Calder and Pearl, alongside Dr. Lardsen and Chaintooth, were waiting with the Headmaster, who was speaking to them lowly.

            As they landed the Headmaster looked at them, “Good you’re both here. We’ve received some very disturbing news from one of our Scouts: an island covered in bones of unknown origin. Our Scout did not feel safe enough to land on her own so she returned here, currently she can’t fly because her dragon needs rest, but she did give us this map.” He handed Dr. Lardsen the map, “I’ve chosen you four because you have shown promise and your dragons are among our fastest here. Now please hurry.”

            Without any other words they took to the skies, all following Dr. Lardsen. On Hyrra’s left was Calder, and on her right was Axel, both were being quiet. An island covered in bones? It’s probably nothing… right? Just a Scaldron’s nesting site… They were flying as fast as they could without stressing their dragons, though it appeared that both Goldtyr and Stormbreaker weren’t breaking a sweat. The afternoon sun was beginning to sink when Dr. Lardsen informed them to keep an eye out for the ‘island of bones’.

            A sudden cloud of fog was making it hard to locate much of anything. Hyrra was looking to the right when she heard Calder, “Hey, what is that?” They slowed down and peered into the thick fog, slowly flying in that direction, as a flat, small island came into view, it was all white.

            “It hasn’t snowed in a couple of week’s right?” Hyrra asked nervously.

            “That’s not snow.” Axel said tensely as the island came into view. He was right, it was bones. The whole island was covered in them, from shore to shore.

            Dr. Lardsen led them down and they landed on the clearest patch they could find, all of their dragons were hissing and edgy. “There’s a chance that this island is a place where old, sick dragons go to pass away. If it is we should be seeing dragons from around this area: Nadders and Timberjacks mostly. Look around and see if you can find the source of these dragons.” How is he so calm?

            Hyrra and Storm decided to take the north side of the island, she was examining skulls and what she was finding wasn’t good. “These aren’t Nadders or Timberjacks… in fact this one looks like a Wooly Howl and this one looks like a Scauldron.” Hyrra check her map quickly, there is no way a Wooly Howl would, naturally, be this far westwhat happened here?

            “Hey Hyrra what did you find?” It was Calder, his voice was tight with emotion, when she told him about the odd dragons, he nodded, “Same here, I found, what looked like, a Seashocker… lets head back.” They were walking back slowly, deep in thought, something is very wrong…

            “AH!” Calder tripped and fell forward, landing censored his face. He opened his eyes to see a dragon skull staring at him, “This place is made of nightmares!” He wailed massaging his hand, Pearl wrapped her neck comfortingly around him and licked the cut on his hand, healing it.

            Hyrra was busy looking at what he had tripped over: a plank of wood. She had a very large pit growing in her stomach as she stared at the all-too familiar sight. “This can’t be…” She picked up the smooth plank and turned it over, to see the same symbol as before: a dragon with a sword through its middle. Calder looked at her oddly, “I’ve seen this symbol… come on we need to show this to the doc.” They hurried back, Calder asked her about the symbol and she told him what she knew: nothing. “But it keeps showing up… something’s going on!”

            “What is going on?” Dr. Lardsen was examining a bone with Axel grimacing, because he was the one holding the dragon bone up.

            “This!” She showed the plank to the doctor, “I saw a similar looking plank on the island, when Brey and I were looking for the nickel.”
            The normally cool doctor, suddenly looked very worried, “Impossible.”

            “Do you know what it is?” Axel asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

            Dr. Lardsen traced a finger over the symbol “I supposed you all are going to find out anyways…” He sighed and pushed his glassed up his nose, “Dragon Slayers, I found out about them during my studies but I was sure they had become extinct a long time ago…”

            “Dragon Slayers?” Calder asked again, looking pale, “You mean the mythical tribe that specialized in the murder of dragons? The one that other Viking tribes could hire to take care of any big dragon issue?”

            “That’s the one. The original Viking tribe you could call them, but they were supposed to have gone extinct hundreds of years ago.” He sighed, “We should head back… if they really are back they could find us here and that would be bad.” They mounted up and left the sad island behind them.

            Dragon Slayers? “If they were such great warriors, what happened to them?” Hyrra thought aloud, not really searching for an answer.

            “No one is entirely sure… the most commonly accepted view is that they disappeared into the west. In fact, there used to be a myth that they sailed off the edge of the world.” The doctor said softly from the front. What? Hyrra didn’t ask any more questions, something told her she didn’t want the answers. They flew back as quickly as they could, but still didn’t arrive until after the sun had fallen. When they landed they quickly met the headmaster, Hiccup, Korinta, and Eret, inside the Main Hall.

            The leaders and teachers sat quietly as Dr. Lardsen explained their findings… and his theory, “Dragon Slayers? You’ve got to be kidding me!” Korinta said, turning her nose up.

            “Crazier things have happened…” Hiccup said quietly as the group compared the two planks, which most definitely came from the same wood and had the same symbol, “What should we do?”

            “Search the Dragon Graveyard more thoroughly?” The doctor advised.

            “Send out scouts?” Korinta said rubbing the back of her neck.

            “Up the security around the island?” Eret suggested, but the teachers, and chief, looked to the headmaster for the final decision.

            “No, too obvious. Let’s keep this quiet, that includes you three,” The headmaster leveled a stern look at the students, “Do not mention what you saw to the other students. There’s no reason to start a panic.” He looked back to the adults, “I’ll have the lookouts make sure to keep an eye out for any strange ships…” At that the three students were ushered back to their dorms. Hyrra waved to Calder slowly and patted Stormbreaker on the head, and then he flew off to the stables.

            As Hyrra walked across the bridge, she saw the door open and Kyne’s stout figure stood in the frame. She was wringing her apron in her hands, her face drawn and sad, mirroring Hyrra’s own mood, “You know?” Hyrra asked quietly.

            “Yes, dear… I’m sorry you had to be one of the ones to see that horrendous sight.” She gently patted Hyrra’s hand as she led her into the common room, “I’ve prepared a dinner for you. You must be hungry after flying all day!” She was, Hyrra sat in the quiet common room, eating her stew silently while Kyne absentmindedly dusted around the room. When she finished she quietly crept up the stairs and was opening her door when Brey’s door opened behind her.

            “Hyrra? Is that you? What happened? You and Calder just disappeared today!” The girl said sleepily.

            “It’s nothing… we just had a scout-warrior training exercise.” The lie came off her tongue far too easily, it was what the three students had agreed on as their cover story. Brey yawned but nodded as she retreated back into her bedroom. Hyrra sat awake, staring at her ceiling, Dragon Slayers? What if they really are back? Just how powerful are they? We have dragons that has always been enough… but they are specialists in killing dragons… what do we do?

            Four days had passed and school had gone on as normal. Hyrra quietly attended all her lessons, ate with Calder and Brey, all the while sharing distant looks with Calder as Brey chattered on and on, and in the afternoons she and Storm would fly around the island. She was currently in the stables, tightening Stormbreaker’s girth as he stood quietly. The normally irritable Skrill had been as quiet as his rider the last few days, but was currently grunting at Goldtyr, Axel’s abnormally friendly Monstrous Nightmare. Unlike his rider, Goldtyr was incredibly friendly, passive, and was one of the only dragons Stormbreaker got along with. Weird that he gets along so well with Goldtyr when he dislikes Axel. She did like seeing that they got along though, it was nice to know Stormbreaker had a friend here.

            She stepped into the stirrup and slung her other leg over, making sure her foot was fully in the stirrup before she and Storm took flight. The evening sun was still pretty high in the sky and Hyrra planned to be out until it was gone completely. The pair soared over the lake, passing other riders occasionally as they made their way over to the south side of the island, over the caldera and over the ocean. The ocean was a glassy reflection of the empty sky above it, nothing. What did I think? That were would just be an armada sitting out here? Yes… I did think that.

            She sighed and beneath her Stormbreaker echoed her relieved sigh, “Let’s make our rounds… kill some time before we have to go back.” They circle the island, flying over the forests on both sides and looking for anything out of place, when they had finished there they flew to the beaches and cliffs. There they landed on one of the cliffs on the backside of the old volcano.

            They sat observing the sky and occasionally watched other riders fly by and wave at them. Hyrra waved back half-heartedly as Freda and her Deathsong, Patina, flew by. Hyrra leaned back against Stormbreaker, “So what do you think about these Dragon Slayers? Do you think it’s just somebody trying to bring back the old clan? Or…” Is it actually them? Stormbreaker shifted behind her, his frilled head rose and he made a low growling in his throat as he gently bumped the redhead with his spiked nose, “Whatever happens we’ll be together, right?” She rubbed his favorite spot under his check, he made an affirmative ‘humph!’ and purred.

            As the sun began to set the duo packed up and left their perch. They were flying over the beaches, back towards the school when her heart fell. She saw something in the sand on one of the smaller beaches and it looked suspiciously like wood. “Stormbreaker…” He sensed her mood but followed her lead and flew down to the beach. They landed a few feet away but already Hyrra knew… it was a plank of wood.

            “That wasn’t here yesterday…” She whispered fearfully, the idea that someone could have landed on this beach and placed it here was incredibly unsettling… how?! Scouts have been in the air all day, looking for boats!  With trembling hands, she plucked the wood from the beach and brushed the sand off slowly. Her eyes widened and her heart stopped:

ᚹᛁ ᛋᚪ ᚹᛁ ᚾᚩ ᚹᛁ ᚪᚱ ᚴᚣᛗᛁᛝ

ᛋᛐᚮᚿᛂᚼᛂᛆᚱᛐ᛫

(We Saw. We Know. We are coming.

Stoneheart)

            Hyrra and Storm raced to the headmaster, almost in a panic, where she shoved the plank into his hands, “I just found it on a beach-how could someone have landed? Weren’t the scouts watching?!” She snapped, speaking so fast the older man had to have her repeat herself. The headmaster quickly calmed the flustered girl.

            “We will be doubling security, do not worry. I’ll be informing the surrounding clans to keep an eye out for any suspicious boats and we will have our best Warriors at the ready. Just keep going to class and remain calm.” Hyrra nodded weakly and wandered back to her dorm, dazed and her heart still hammering in her chest, what’s going on? What should I do…? As she walked into her room she made up her mind, I’ll do what the headmaster said… I’ll dive into my school work and get back to the top of the class. No way will these ‘Dragon Slayers’ keep me from my goal of becoming the best scout!

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WolfMunster
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Joined: 01/10/2014
Quick update

Hey everyone, I hope you are enjoying the latest chapter! Just wanted to give you a quick update on my life and the story.

 

So first: I've got a lot of tests and homework throughout this week so the next chapter might not happen until late this week (expect it around Thursday-Friday, hopefully, I'd like to get it here earlier but it maybe even later than that :/ Darn college getting in the way of creativity!)

 

Secondly: I REALLY want to get the next chapters to you ASAP because I think you all will LOVE them, I'm really excited for them! Hint: while we won't be meeting our villains face-to-face you can expect a lot of competition and dragon action!

 

Finally: Yes, I did get a puppy (a girl, an 8 month old Shepherd mix :3) my cat is a lot less excited about it but they're actually getting along much better than I expected! She is also part of the reason my updates have been so slow :P

 

Thanks again for being such understanding readers!

See you soon!

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Meta4
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Joined: 08/29/2014
Congrats on the new puppY :3

And good luck with your studies,

 

has I said before your story is so amazingly good I will gladly wait for you to continue, it's well worth it. I really enjoyed the last one, awesome work.

 

See you!

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Can I be in your story

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Chapter 13: The Dragon Rider Games

[A.N: SURPRISE! Somehow I managed to type out a full, long (hopefully good) chapter in two days! How? A lot of inspiration, caffeine, and willpower! I'm SUPER excited for these next few chapters! Hopefully you are as well!]

 

Chapter 13
The Dragon Rider Games

 

            Hyrra sat at her desk, head buried in her notebook as she scribbled in it. She was currently trying to get ahead in her Geography course, but memorizing thousands of individual islands was nearly impossible and her head was beginning to pound as a result. She leaned back and rubbed her temples, nearly a month of nothing… Since she found that threatening message on the beach the school had been eerily quiet and there had been no messages from nearby tribes, so what happened? Just more pranks? She was torn between thinking that someone, namely Axel or his friend Bjorn, were trying to prank her with that plank or if these ‘Dragon Slayers’ actually existed…

            Knock Knock Knock. Hyrra looked up at her door, she knew that fast paced knocking could only be            Brey, “Morning,” She called over her shoulder as the girl walked in and crashed on Hyrra’s bed, smiling like a loon, which wasn’t all that unusual for her.

           “What are you doing?” Brey asked, sitting up on her elbows.

           “Studying for Geography… I’m hoping to get ahead.” Hyrra bent her head back to her books.

           “Has no one told you?” Hyrra looked up, confused, “We don’t have classes today… or for the rest of the week for that matter!”

           “What? Why? …I haven’t been paying attention to anything outside of class to be honest.”

           “The Dragon Rider Games, of course! You know where some of the students form teams and go through challenges that show off their skills?” Hyrra had completely forgotten about that, though she had known they were supposed to happen soon.

           “Are you joining a team?” Hyrra asked, closing her books, no reason to study now…

           “Me? Nobody wants an engineer on their team.” Brey seemed upset by this, Hyrra frowned but didn’t press the issue. Instead she stood up and stretched, Brey followed her out of the room and down to the Mess Hall.

           The school grounds were abuzz with new energy as everyone prepared for the Games, decorations and streamers were being hung all over the school in a multitude of bright colors: red, blue, yellow, and green. Even tents were being erected on the school grounds, with flags flying over them. It was a bit strange considering the Games were mostly going to be held in the Eastern Training Grounds. As if reading her mind, Brey spoke up, “I bet all of this,” She motioned to the decorations, “Is for the dignitaries coming to watch the Games.” That’s right… there are a bunch of chieftains coming to watch the games.

           Inside the Mess Hall they sat down with Calder, listening to everyone around them chat excitedly, “Today people are joining teams and signing up with the Headmaster, right?” She asked as she looked at the people around them.

           “Yup! Then we have two days of relaxation, entertaining shows, and really awesome food from all over the archipelago. The teams usually use those days to practice for the Games.” Brey answered, clearly excited.

           “And the actual Games only last two days right?” Hyrra inquired.

           Brey nodded, “Right! There are usually three events per day… sometimes two or four depending on the length of each game. Each game has a set amount of points that are added to a team’s overall score. No one ever knows what the events will be year-to-year, they are kept secret up until the very last second. Usually they are given really basic names like ‘obstacle course’ or ‘race’, to keep things interesting. There is one event that has always occurred, the finale race which is a race that takes up the whole island and tests stamina, navigating skills, and speed. To win it is pretty exceptional, no matter if your team loses or wins overall.”

            Hyrra looked at her quiet friend, “Are you going to join a team Calder?” He looked up and shrugged at the redhead.

            “I guess if someone asks I will, otherwise I just want to watch. Are you?” He nodded back to Hyrra.

            “I’m in the same boat… in fact, I completely forgot about these Games.” She admitted, and then they went back to eating their breakfasts. They had all just finished and where talking about what they thought the Games would be like, when they heard a commotion behind them. It didn’t take long to figure out what it was, the doors stood open as four riders walked into the Mess Hall, each sporting a bright blue ribbon on their arms.

            Brey was hyperventilating, “It’s The Fearless Four!” She whispered excitedly, eyes glazing over as she stared at the four upperclassmen. So that’s the famous team?

           Hyrra wasn’t surprised to see Thrain among the four riders, he was looking particularly good in dark leather armor with a blue mystery class emblem over his heart. To his right was a sullen looking man with straight, black hair that fell over his eyes, he had black clothing with a small, blue sharp class symbol on his chest. To the far left was another man, large and proud, with auburn hair cropped short, he was wearing light steel armor with a blue stoker class symbol on his shoulder pauldron. But, it was the person in the middle that caught Hyrra’s eye the most, unlike the others this person was… female. She was tall, and wore heavy armor with a short, blue cape in the back, on the breastplate was a large, blue strike class emblem.

           The woman’s cutting, blue eyes made Hyrra avoid her gaze… but what was most unsettling was the fact that the woman was walking towards Hyrra. The Mess Hall grew quiet as the four upperclassman approached the trio’s table, the woman stopped less than two feet from Hyrra and leaned over her, what did I do now?

           “Hyrra. First Year. Scout. Rides a Skrill… correct?” The blue eyed woman asked coldly as she stared Hyrra down from behind her pale bangs. Hyrra nodded weakly, “Come with us.” That was not a question, and Hyrra felt like she was given no choice but to get up and follow the woman out of the Mess Hall. Behind her Calder, Brey, and the whole student body, sat with open mouths. Once outside, the Mess Hall blew up with noise. Hyrra nervously looked over to Thrain, who gave her a gentle grin, okay… so maybe I’m not in trouble? She followed them to the dragon stables, feeling very out of place. Once they stood on the ledge of the Caldera the woman stopped and turned to face Hyrra.

           “Now this is much better, nice and quiet.” They’re going to kill me, Hyrra’s irrational mind thought as the group surrounded her. “We are the Fearless Four, formerly known as Team Frosttrap. We are the most awarded team in the school’s history and have won the last two Dragon Rider Games with the highest scores ever. Our members have set records that have never been broken. We also ride the most unique dragons on campus.” She paused, staring hard at Hyrra again, “And we want you to join us.”

           What? “What?” Her brain came to a full stop and she stared blankly at the woman for a few seconds before she found her ability to speak again, “Why me? I’m just a first year.”

           The woman's eyebrow raised, “We were all once first years. When Thrain and I were first years we decided to found this team, we were joined by Gaut a fellow first year,” the muscular man with the stoker symbol nodded, “In that one year we destroyed our competition, including upperclassmen. We broke records that hadn’t been broken since the school’s opening. The next year Ravn joined us as a first year.” The shrouded man nodded his head slowly, “As the leader of the Fearless Four, I couldn’t care less about how old you are. The most important thing to me is that you work hard for our team.”

           “So what? I just say ‘yes’ and I’m in?”

           The woman scoffed, “Of course not, you will have to pass our tests today. But before that we should introduce ourselves and our dragons, properly.” Hyrra followed the woman into the stables, which were oddly quiet considering the excitement outside.

           “You know me,” Thrain grinned but was glared at by the blue eyed woman, “Ugh, okay… my name is Thrain, I’m a Scout…” He droned boringly, the woman’s glare grew and her face went red at his antics, but her lip was twitching upwards, as if she were fighting a smile, Thrain winked at the woman and he perked back up, “But of course you know the ladies: Sage, Basil, Olive, and Mint,” His multi-headed dragon licked his face, one lick from each head, and purred as they coiled around him, “I know you’ll pass the tests.” Hyrra smiled appreciatively at that.

           The large man stepped forward, “I’m Gaut, a Warrior, and I ride this fellow right here,” He said jovially as he set his arm around the neck of a red Typhoomerang, the first that Hyrra had seen in person. He was a very large dragon, but still seemed a bit small for a Typhoomerang, “This is Ruin. He’s a little small for a ‘rang, he was abandoned as a baby and a lack of nutrition meant he never grew as big as he should have.” That’s so sad. But Ruin seemed very happy as he rubbed his nose affectionately on Gaut’s head.

           Hyrra looked at the very quiet, shrouded figure, somehow, while everyone else was talking, his dragon had slunk over to his side, a dazzling silver Windstriker, “I am Ravn, an engineer,” interesting, the best team has an engineer on it… “This is Sterling.” And he said nothing else.

           “I am Ase, a Warrior. This is my dragon,” Next to her, a beautiful Wooly Howl sat nobly, his mane was a brilliant white and his body was gray, against these muted colors his green eyes stood out, “Frostclaw is my loyal dragon, and the main reason I’m at the top of my class.” She ran a gentle hand through his mane. “Now your dragon Hyrra? Where is this Skrill that Thrain has been telling me so much about?”

           “Right, he’s probably over there.” Hyrra was a bit embarrassed that her dragon hadn’t come to see her like the other dragon’s had when their riders had shown up, Hyrra walked over to the stall that Stormbreaker often occupied and found… nothing. Where are you Storm? This isn’t the time for hide and seek… “Oh, that’s right! I sent him out to fly, you know how strike class dragons can be if they don’t get their exercise!” She lied as the Fearless Four followed her back to the ledge, “I’ll just call him back.” She bit her lip, hoping that Storm would come back when she called. She whistled as loudly as she could, come on… They stood there for a minute, behind her she could feel Ase glaring at her back as the seconds ticked by.

           But at the last second, with a woosh of air and static, Stormbreaker flew by and then doubled back and landed behind Hyrra, he roared at the strangers. He stood tall on his back legs, looking both powerful and wild, just how a Skrill should look.

           “This is Stormbreaker my dragon.” She said smugly.

           Ase didn’t seem impressed, “A rare dragon does not mean you’re a good rider, but Thrain has convinced me to give you a chance. So let’s get started.”

           The first of the three trials involved a speed test, “I want you to fly as fast as possible from point A to point B. It’s that simple.” Hyrra shrugged, sounded pretty simple overall. They stood in the Western Training Grounds, which was pretty heavily forested but a long clearing, about 200 meters long, had been made for training. Hyrra mounted up and waited for Ase’s sign, “In order to even qualify for our team you must make it to the other end of the field in at least ten seconds, but if you want to impress me you’ll have to do it in seven.” WHAT?! That’s what… 20 meters per second?

           “Ten seconds? That’s impossible!”

           “For a Skrill this should be trivial.” Ase crossed her arms over her chest, “Get ready for the signal.”

           Hyrra’s heart was racing, but she knew she had to at least try to fly that fast, “Come on Storm, we got this.” The Skrill snorted at her, “Don’t give me attitude right now!” But then, she got an idea, “Oh I get it… you can’t fly that fast, huh?” The Skrill tensed at the taunt and growled, but settled into a rigid take-off stance, better hold on… this is going to be rough.

           And it was. At the other end of the field, Ruin shot a single fireball into the sky, and Hyrra’s life flashed before her eyes as Storm took off. She barely had to hold on, the sheer force from the speed at which Stormbreaker flew kept her glued to her saddle and, before she even knew what had happened, they were at the other end of the field. Hyrra was shaking. She had forgotten that Stormbreaker could actually fly that fast. That would have given even Toothless a run for his money!

           Ase and Frostclaw flew up behind them, “Seven-and-a-half seconds. Not bad.” Not BAD? That almost killed me! “Next is the agility course. Come with us.” Hyrra, reluctantly, followed Ase into the forest, where Hyrra was sure another horror show awaited.

           “We set up this course specifically to test both your’s and your dragon’s agility and ability to work together.” Hyrra stood, agape, at the course, who let them set this up? The course was an eclectic mix of flight and ground obstacles. On the ground were logs, set high and low, nets strewn over the field and up trees. Set on tall poles were circles that she knew were for Stormbreaker to fly through, but they were so closely spaced she wondered if he would be able to make the tight turns necessary for it. “You will be doing this obstacle course individually and meeting in the middle,” Ase pointed out the middle of the course, where two ropes were hanging, “Those ropes are connected and when both are pulled a bell will sound and you are done. You need to finish in one minute.” Storm and I have to meet at the middle and pull ropes at the same time? Awesome, we’ll be stuck there forever.

           At Ase’s hand signal, they began. Storm took off and began to fly through the rings, but was often forced to come to a full-stop in order to make the tight turns. Hyrra raced forward, climbing over and under logs and then up a net, which she hated with all of her being because she kept slipping. After climbing down the other side she saw Stormbreaker already sitting at the rope-pull, yanking the rope impatiently with his mouth. Hyrra raced up the last net and stood on the limb of a tree, opposite of her dragon, who stood on another limb a couple yards away. She tried to pull the rope but Stormbreaker’s constant tugging was making her side of the rope impossible to catch, “Calm down! We have to pull it at the same time!” She yelled across the gap, her dragon didn’t let the rope go but he did stop pulling it just long enough for her to grab the rope, then he pulled the rope. Hard. It pulled her clear off her feet, and, as she clung to the rope, the bell rang.

           “Fifty-three seconds. Cutting it very close. And not exactly how I thought you’d accomplish this task.” Ase stated matter-of-factly from her place on the forest floor, while Hyrra was still hanging by the rope. She yelped when Stormbreaker let go of his side of the rope, making her fall back to the ground. Ow. “Finally the combat round.” They are trying to kill me.

           They flew to the Warrior’s training grounds, close to the school, a simple bowl cut into the stony ground with dulled-training weapons lined up on every side. Hyrra, Thrain, and Ase stood inside the bowl while their dragons, Ravn, and Gaut stood on the edge, watching. “Pick your weapon Hyrra.”

            Hyrra had had very few combat training sessions, she wasn’t supposed to get serious about combat training until the next month, but from the few that she had had, she knew she was no good with swords and axes. So as she walked around the weapons she ignored those, they were simply too heavy for her to wiel,d, she saw Thrain pick up a slim short sword from the corner of her eye, maybe long-distance fighting would be best? She thought so she walked over to the staff weapons. Poleaxes, halberds, staves… no, no, no. Hmm… Hyrra picked up a dual-sided glaive, hopefully this will work. It was nice and light in her hands and she gave it a test twirl.

            She stood across from Thrain, who stood in a comfortable fighting stance. Meanwhile, she adopted the only stance she knew: once leg forward and the other slightly back. “I know you’ve not had a proper lesson yet, so I’ll try not to come at you too hard.”

            “Thanks.” She mumbled under her breath. Ase stood off to the side, arms cross over her armored chest.

            “There is no goal for you here except to do your best.” So what exactly does that entail? Hyrra thought bitterly as Ase raised her hand to give them the signal to begin. Thrain began first, stalking forward and taking a slow swipe at her with his sword, which she easily dodged. He’s going way too easy on me, Ase will definitely see through this. Hyrra decided to take matters into her own hands. She used the pole of her weapon to deflect Thrain’s next half-hearted cut, he was thrown off his balance and she took one end of her weapon and smacked him with it. She then backed off quickly, not giving him time to recover and hit her back.

            “Nice hit.” Thrain smiled, rubbing his side where she had smacked him. He then got back into his stance and took another jab at her, this time much faster. He was aiming for her stomach, but she moved out of his way, still he managed to hit her thigh. She tried to jab him with her spear but he was already out of range, and all she did was lose her balance. She caught herself on one knee, so when Thrain turned to deliver the ‘final blow’ she thought it was over, but instinct caught up with her. The sword was close to hitting her shoulder when she purposefully fell onto her back, out of reach of the short sword, and then used her long weapon to jab the gap under his arm, where the leather armor didn’t cover it.
            “Dead.” She pronounced between gasping breaths.

            “Ha! You got me! I didn’t expect you to do that!” He dropped his stance and offered her a hand up, which she took gratefully. Ase was giving Hyrra a critical look, and Hyrra saw the same look from the other half of The Fearless Four.

            “Let us head back to the school, we shall make our final decision there.” Ase proclaimed. Hyrra followed them back, exhausted from the long day. When they landed, The Fearless Four walked out of hearing range of Hyrra, and Hyrra sat down on the ground with a yawn. She was casually lounging, staring out at the lake when her momentary peace was interrupted.

            “Hyrra!” Brey all but jumped on the redhead, “Are you going to join The Fearless Four?!” Calder appeared on Hyrra’s other side.

            “I don’t know, I think I passed all of their tests.” She said looking up to her friends.

            “You don’t seem very excited.” Calder remarked.

            She furrowed her brow, “I’ve been thinking, they only seemed interested in the fact that I’m a Scout and that my dragon is rare. They tested my dragon’s speed, both of our abilities, and my fighting skills, or lack thereof. All classic tests for a Scout. I don’t really know much about any of them, except for Thrain, otherwise they all seem very standoffish.”

            “So?” Calder asked, raising a brow.

            “So, I’d rather be with you guys than with a bunch of strangers.” Brey smiled softly, and Calder looked like he was going to say something, when Ase reemerged with the rest of her team behind her.

            “Hyrra.” She stood up on weak legs, in front of the intimidating leader, “We have decided… we want you to join The Fearless Four, of course we’ll have to change the name to The Fearless Five.” It was the first time Hyrra had seen the woman smile, more like a smirk, but it was there. Hyrra stood there quietly, she looked to Thrain who was grinning at her still, like always. But she saw Ravn and Gaut looking disinterested in the proceedings.

            “Thanks for the offer, but… no thanks.” Ase’s eyes grew wide and Thrain looked at her with a confused expression.

            “May I ask, why?” Ase asked as she recovered from her momentary shock.

            “Don’t get me wrong: it’s really awesome you think I’m good enough to be a part of your team, but I think I’d rather join a team with these two.” She said, nodding to the gawking teens behind her, “Who knows? Maybe we’ll be the first years giving the upperclassmen a run for their money this year.”

            Ase’s expression softened, “Perhaps, but if you think you’re going to beat us you will be needing a lot more training. Come along you three.” The woman turned on her heel and walked away with a wave. Thrain smirked at Hyrra, he knew this would happen… She smirked back and waved casually as they left.

            “WHAT?! HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?!” Brey exclaimed in Hyrra’s ear, “You turned down THE FEARLESS FOUR! You could have been in the Games Hyrra!”

            “What do you mean? We are going to be in the Games! The Headmaster is still taking teams right? So what should we call ourselves?” Hyrra was already walking towards the Main Hall, Calder and Brey raced to catch up.

            “Wait, what? WE? NO! WE aren’t doing anything!” Calder cried, but a few minutes later the two were standing behind her as she talked to the Headmaster.

            “You three are entering the Games? I can’t wait to see it! I’m sure Hiccup will be happy to see you compete. So what will your team name be?”

            “Team Shocktide.” Hyrra said surely.

            “And color? To distinguish you from your opponents.” Hyrra hadn’t thought of that. Suddenly an all-to-familiar hand appeared in her hair.

            “How about red? Seems suitable! So Ginger, you want to join the ranks of the Dragon Rider Games failures?” She almost bit the hand on her head, but Axel removed his hand before she could make up her mind.

            The Headmaster clearly didn’t see the jest, “Red works!” Hyrra’s face glowed brightly as the Headmaster handed her three red ribbons. She heard Axel snicker and turned to glare at him. She noticed immediately that he had a yellow ribbon tied around his bicep.

            He checked his bracers casually, “So ‘Shocktide’, huh? Not very original. I’m sure my team, Gold Swords, will stomp yours into the ground.” He looked up and smirked as he loomed over her.

            Hyrra couldn’t hold her tongue, “Really? I just turned down a membership with The Fearless Four. I think, odds are, that we will be stomping you into the ground.” She saw a flash of worry in Axel’s gray eyes at the mention of The Fearless Four.

            “One Scout with an uncontrollable Skrill. One Warrior with a Sliquifier. And a measly Engineer and her Nadder. A pathetic excuse for a team if I ever saw one.” At this point the two rivals were mere inches from each other’s faces, glaring deeply. If she weren’t so tired from her day, Hyrra would have hit him across his perfect jawline.

            Axel straightened up and ran a hand through his brown hair, “I guess we will see what happens tomorrow, won’t we?” He gave one final glare before stalking out of the Main Hall.

            “Come on you two we have two days to prepare for the first round of Games!” Hyrra snapped irritably. Brey followed her out happily but Calder lagged behind.

            “I didn’t sign up for this.” Calder sighed dramatically as he walked out.

 

[A.N: FUNFACT! 20 meters per second is about 45 mph/72 kph. Pretty fast considering Toothless' horizontal speed is thought to be about 50-60 mph (80-96 kph)]

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Chapter 14: The Dragon Rider Games- Shocktide vs Gold Swords!

[A.N: Hope y'all enjoy! This chapter and the next will be very long :D I could have made them even longer but decided not to flood you with too much detail.]

 

Chapter 14

The Dragon Rider Games: Shocktide vs Gold Swords!

            Hyrra stood in their team tent, frowning at the list she had just been given. Precision Game, Hidden Challenge, and Obstacle Race. Brey was right… the name doesn’t really tell me anything about the actual event.

            “We can only be in one event right?” Calder asked as he read over Hyrra’s shoulder.

            “Yeah, that way a one-man team can’t sweep the competition. Like you and Stormbreaker for instance.” Brey confirmed, “I kind of want to do the Precision Game. It sounds like it might have a lot to do with quick thinking!” Hyrra nodded at that and wrote Brey’s name next to that event.

            “I’ll take the Hidden Challenge… what do you think that entails? Like hide-and-seek maybe? They’ve had something like that in years past…” Hyrra wrote Calder’s name next to the Hidden Challenge.

            “That leaves me with the Obstacle Race. Agility and speed? Storm and I have this one in the bag!” She excitedly scribbled her own name onto the paper. Hyrra folded the letter back up and looked up.

           Calder had changed into a light blue sleeveless shirt and dark gray pants, with leather bracers and boots for the games, he sported his red ribbon tied simply on his left bicep with the long ends trailing down the back of his arm. Brey had chosen to tie her ribbon into a bow around her wrist, and had changed into a rich purple shirt with light brown pants. Hyrra had decided to wear the black sleeveless top and the gray pants that Astrid had given her, it seemed like just yesterday but in fact it had been nearly five months since then. Hyrra hoped the dark colors would make her more intimidating to her opponents… mostly Axel. She had chosen to wear her ribbon wound tightly around her upper arm, so there wasn’t anything left flapping when she flew.

            The tent door flapped open as Hiccup strode in, “Have you decided who’s doing what?” Hyrra nodded and handed him the piece of paper, “hmm… smart choices. Though something tells me these names are going to be misleading… ‘Obstacle race’ could mean any number of locations, obstacles… But I’m sure you and Stormbreaker will be alright. Are you guys ready for the opening ceremony?” They all nodded, “Then we should be leaving, I’ll take your roster to the headmaster.” He tucked the letter into his flight suit and they all headed out.

            Their tent was one of many on the edge of the lake and, just like their ribbons, it was bright red. On their left was the Fearless Four’s blue tent, on their right was the black tent of the Twin Tornadoes, next to that one was the green tent of the NadderSpines team, and finally there was the yellow tent of the Gold Swords. Down below, the lake was full of boats strapped together with planks and ropes, creating walkways between them, allowing people to wander amongst the boats and peruse the goods and food from each. Even around the team tents there were more merchants and food stalls, the scent alone made Hyrra’s mouth water; however, she and her team had had very limited time amongst the stalls due to their training for the last couple of days.

           “Man next year we need to see the stalls more!” Calder grouched as they walked past the tents and to their awaiting dragons.

           Like many of the other teams they had decided to paint their dragons with their team colors. Of course Dizzy had needed very little painting due to her almost completely red coloring, but Brey had decided to paint two lines of red dots along her pale belly. Pearl had a red ‘war paint’ line sweeping under her eyes, highlighting her pink eyes, and had long red lines along her wings and wrapping her legs. Hyrra had decided to cover Stormbreaker’s purple eye markings with red, and had put dots and lines on his wings, being careful around his old wound.

           They mounted up, flew out of the caldera and down to the main field. Around the field, two tall stands, situated into two horseshoe shapes that mirrored each other, had been erected for the audience and two tall towers stood in between the stands, which housed the judges and announcers. The stands were far taller than the trees around them, allowing anyone sitting on them to get a full 360 degree of the fields around them, where most of the events would be held. In the center of the stands and towers was the field. Hyrra and her team landed just off the field, outside of the tower on the north side, near the Team Entrance. Upon landing she found, very quickly, all eyes on her and her team. They dismounted and stood close to each other as they took in their competition.

           The Twin Tornadoes stood out in all black. Mani and Sola, and their Hobblegrunt and Raincutter, made up the team, and Hyrra couldn’t tell which was which because they had dressed identically. They were the smallest team and Hyrra looked at Brey questioningly, “I thought you needed at least three members?”

           Brey shook her head and whispered, “Not necessarily… for teams of two the rule is that as long as a rider doesn’t ride back-to-back they can compete. So today it should be Mani-Sola-Mani, or Sola-Mani-Sola. I wonder how they’ve chosen to do it…” Hyrra wondered that as well. Hyrra moved on to look at the NadderSpines, it was made up of four young boys Hyrra had never met. They all rode Nadders, all of which were currently staring down Dizzy, who hadn’t even noticed.

           Standing across from Hyrra was Gold Swords, Hyrra obviously knew Axel and Goldtyr so she didn’t waste her time assessing them, and instead she looked at his companions. Of course there was Bjorn and his Snafflefang, a bulky navy blue and yellow dragon. Next to him was another boy with dark curly hair and a Rumblehorn, “That’s Thatch, he’s a warrior… pretty sure he’s graduating this year.” Calder whispered in her ear, “His dragon is notoriously foul tempered… kind of like yours.” Stormbreaker smacked Calder with his wing. Hyrra looked at the last member of Gold Swords, a hulking… woman? Hyrra wasn’t sure to be honest, “That’s Bertha, warrior. Freakishly strong. I would know… she punched me in the jaw once.” Hyrra flinched at the name, do her parents hate her? Her dragon was fitting at least, a dark gray Catastrophic Quaken.

           “A team of all warriors? Isn’t that a bit inconvenient? The only fast or agile looking flier is probably Goldtyr…”

           Brey nodded, “Knowing him, he probably wanted it to be like that.” Hyrra frowned, of course if he’s the only one with a brain and a quick dragon, he’ll become an immediate favorite with the crowd. It irritated her how well thought out his narcissism was.

           Hyrra heard the crowd inside the stadium suddenly boom to life, “Welcome students, alum, founders, and chieftains to the ninth annual Dragon Rider Games!” The voice of Headmaster Groundshaker roared over the field and the audience roared back their approval, “In the tradition of the games let us begin with the procession!” Hyrra felt her heart flutter nervously, that sounds like a lot of people. The audience grew quiet, “Please welcome, NadderSpines! With their Warrior leader: Eirek Jennson and his dragon Bristletail! Followed by Scout Knut and Sharpshot, Engineer Aulis and Windsong, and Warrior Niklas and Astrofang! This team may be our youngest this year, but they’re here to win!” Hyrra watched as the young team filed their way through the tunnel, snuggly between the stands and the tower, to a roar of applause.

           “Next up is our smallest team of the year… but don’t let that fool you! These sisters come prepared to fight for their right to the trophy! The Twin Tornadoes! Mani and Vann the Hobblegrunt, and Sola and Brann the Rain Cutter!” Oh… so Mani rides the Hobblegrunt and Sola rides the Rain Cutter? Hyrra was too interested in this new information to notice the roar of applause.

           “Up next a team of all, yes you heard that right, ALL Warriors! Please welcome, the ferocious and strong, Gold Swords!” The applause was louder this time than it had been before, Axel walked by and smirked at Hyrra.

           “Ready to embarrass yourself, Ginger?” She didn’t have time to respond as he kept walking, all she could do was turn red in the face and glare at his retreating form.

           “Led by Axel Elklund and his dragon Goldtyr! Followed by his team: Bjorn and Snaggletooth, Thatch and Feargrin, and Bertha and Deathstomp!” Even her dragon’s name is scary.

           Hyrra looked around, “Wait where’s the Four?”

           Brey shrugged, “I don’t know but I think it’s our turn!”

           “Next up, we have the trio who started this year as our Nightfury group! A group led by a fiery scout and her equally feisty dragon! Please welcome: Shocktide! Headed by Hyrra Boandi and her Skrill Stormbreaker! At her back: Warrior Calder and Pearl, and Engineer Brey and Dizzy!” Hyrra felt like her heart stopped as she walked through the tunnel and back out into the field, the roar of the crowd had her eardrums shaking. She looked up into the stands and it took all her strength to keep her legs moving, that is a lot of people! Ahead she saw the other teams standing in a circle. Next to her Stormbreaker roared at the crowd and sparked up a little bit, causing the crowd to go wild, putting on a show, what a showoff!

           They stopped when they reached the circle of teams, taking their position across from Gold Swords, she and Axel continued to glare at each other until Headmaster Groundshaker spoke again, “And last… but certainly not least. A team so highly skilled they broke most records their first year! And broke many of their own last year! Your champions for the past two years: The Fearless Four!” If Hyrra had thought it was loud before suddenly she could feel the audience’s roar in her chest. Hyrra looked up to see The Fearless Four stream overhead, Ase at the front with Thrain close behind, and Ravn and Gaut taking up the back. Thrain was definitely playing to the crowd, flying upside down occasionally and flexing for good measure. Ase led her team to the center of the field and they landed in the middle of the other teams.

           As the champions dismounted, the audience’s roar continued and a few took up the chant: ‘Fearless Four, forever more!’ within seconds the stands were shaking with the chant. Thrain was grinning widely and waving at the crowd, Ase was smirking with her hands on her hips, Ravn had pulled his hood over his head, and Gaut had raised his fist to the crowd. A few minutes of chanting went by until the audience began to quiet as Stoneheart launched into a speech, “These Games are much more than just games. They are proofs of your hard work, a symbol of the skills you have honed with your time at this school. These games will test not only your physical and mental abilities but the bond between dragon and rider, and the wills of both. These Games are also for our chieftains, who send us their best and brightest every year, allowing them to experience all that you are capable of. With that said let us begin The Ninth Dragon Rider Games!” A roar and whoop from the audience, “Our first game: The Accuracy Challenge! Would those not participating please leave the field.”

           Hyrra turned to Brey, who was rubbing her hands nervously, “Don’t worry you’ll do great, just keep Dizzy focused.” Brey nodded resolutely and stroked Dizzy’s jaw before saddling up. Calder wished her luck and then both left the field for the edge of the stands, which had been reserved for teammates not participating. Hyrra looked over to the tower on her left, up in it she saw a line of different chieftains. Hiccup looked pretty out of place, being that he was so much smaller than the others and his dragon was taking up an entire seat next to him. Down on the field targets were being placed on the field by a team of dragons and riders, some targets were up high and others were very low to the ground, but there wasn’t a clear pattern they just seemed to be scattered randomly.

           “The Accuracy Challenge! In order to get first place a competitor must simply hit as many targets, in any way possible, in less than a minute!” Ok not that unexpected. “But all competitors will be going at once!” Uh oh. “Interfering with another’s targeting is OK, In fact there is almost no way to cheat in this game. It is truly a free-for-all!” Brey is going to be run over… She’s too nice.

           Calder was obviously thinking the same thing, “You should have taken this one.” The dragons and riders who had set up the course now left, and the participants lined up in the center of the targets. “From The Fearless Four: Thrain. From Gold Swords: Thatch. From the Twin Tornadoes: Mani. From Shocktide: Brey. And from NadderSpines: Knut! At the signal from our Terror you shall begin!” A Terrible Terror had sat down on one of the targets, it yawned widely before shooting a single fireball up into the air.

           All five riders and dragons took off in different directions, immediately Thrain and the ladies hit four targets, his dragon can hit four targets at once and they are extremely accurate with their shots. But each head only gets one shot, so he’s out of shots. “Thrain of the Fearless Four takes an early lead and gets a 50 point bonus for getting the first hit of the game!” What?! Hyrra decided to focus on Brey now and she was doing surprisingly well. She and Dizzy had hit four targets already, two shots left, but she has spines to shoot too… she could actually win! Brey was currently trying to avoid Thatch, and his Rumblehorn, Feargrin, were chasing Dizzy, who was thankfully too fast for the other tracker class dragon. He’s trying to keep her from being able to shoot anything! Hyrra turned and glared darkly at Axel, he planned it. Dizzy shot off her last two shots, but only one hit a target. Only twenty seconds left… Brey and Dizzy began to use spine shot, but due to Feargrin’s chasing many of the spines fell uselessly to the ground. Hyrra looked over to Thrain, who had moved on to using his bow and arrow to hit multiple targets and she was surprised to see his dragon picking up Nadder spines, from both Dizzy and the other nadder, and throwing them at targets. Dizzy and Brey had to be in second place, or close to it. Even though Feargrin only had four shots his rider, Thatch, was using throwing daggers to hit targets and he had hit as many as, if not more than, Brey. Ten seconds left. Dizzy made to hit a few more targets but then Feargrin flew ahead of her and twirled.

           Oh NO. Dizzy shot her spines everywhere, including almost into the crowd, and then fell to the ground like a leaf in autumn. “That’s the Game!”

           The Headmaster roared, “We will now tally the scores!” Hyrra and Calder flew down to the field in a huff.

           “I’m sorry, I didn’t hit that many…” She was sniffling and patting Dizzy’s nose, who was still looking disoriented.

           Hyrra’s jaw clenched, and she marched over to Axel, who was expecting her, “That was a dirty trick and you know it! Brey could have gotten hurt!” Hyrra honestly didn’t care that the whole school could see her or that the other teams had immediately turned to watch.

           “It was strategy, knowing your rivals’ weaknesses is paramount to winning. Maybe you should try it. And people get hurt all the time, afterall we are dragon riders not seamstresses. Maybe that’s the reason I don’t have a weakling on my team.” He did not just say that. Thankfully Calder appeared and brought Hyrra back to the present.

           “Not here… you do something stupid and we might get disqualified.” She growled, but marched back to Brey and their dragons.

           “We have our scores! In first place the Fearless Four with a total of 150. In second place Gold Swords with 50 points. In third place Shocktide with 30 points. In fourth place Twin Tornados with 20. And Nadderspines with 10.” Ok… we can come back from that, “Our next Game will take place on the Southern Coast. If the teams would please fly to the start of the game.” All the teams mounted up and flew over the stands, on the other side was the steep southern side of the island. Hyrra looked back, curious as to how the audience would see this game. There were stands actually constructed on the back side of the arena, how did I not notice those? The teams landed just above the steep drop off, flying up behind them was the Headmaster on a large Grapple Grounder, which perched on top of the Caldera, allowing his voice to carry even further.

           “For this game one team member will have fifteen minutes to collect items that have been hidden in this area, marked by the boats in the water and by the yellow flags,” Hyrra saw two boats out in the water, pretty far away, and two yellow flags on either side of the cliff. “These items include: A Golden Clam worth 40 Points, a Silver Statuette worth 20 Points, a Black Sheep also worth 20 Points, there are Silver Rocks that are 10 points apiece, Bronze Coins which are 5 Points apiece, and anything copper is worth 5 Points apiece. You must return to this spot before the time is up, you will be given a five minute warning,” He nodded to the Grapple Grounder who roared loudly, “If you do not you will be disqualified. Understood? If you are not participating please step away from the cliff.” Hyrra and Brey took large steps away from the cliff, that’s a lot of water… Calder has this one in the bag.

           The Headmaster boomed, “For the Hidden Challenge, we have Gaut for The Fearless Four. For Gold Swords: Bjorn. For the Twin Tornadoes: Sola. For Shocktide: Calder. And for NadderSpines: Aulis.” The participants mounted their dragons and awaited the signal, “On your marks… get set… SEARCH!” As with the game before it everyone went in opposite directions, Sola and Aulis quickly disappeared from sight by going down the cliff face to search, but Calder and Pearl immediately went out to the water. Hyrra saw them dive into the water and they quickly disappeared from sight.

           “This game is pretty slow, huh?” Brey yawned, they were now ten minutes into the game and most of the riders had completely disappeared from sight while searching. They hadn’t seen Calder since he disappeared under the water. The Grapple Grounder roared signaling that there were five minutes remaining in the game.

           After another slow minute Aulis from the NadderSpines appeared carrying a silver rock and two bronze coins, “20 points for NadderSpines!” The Headmaster roared. Just then a soaked Calder flew in, behind him closely was Bjorn and Sola. Pearl opened her mouth and out fell: three silver rocks and… “The Golden Clam! A whopping 70 points for Shocktide!” Bjorn growled lowly as his dragon dropped the silver statuette, a silver rock and two copper chunks, “50 points for Gold Swords!” With only a minute to spare in soared Gaut, his dragon let go of the black sheep, which ran away quickly, a silver rock and four bronze coins, “It seems Shocktide takes this game!” Gaut looked confused, “The Fearless Four falls short with 50 points, tying with Gold Swords! Now onto the Twin Tornadoes,” Hyrra looked to Sola and saw something odd… her dragon seemed anxious, uncomfortable, it kept pulling and dancing away from its rider, “Sola would you please calm your dragon,” The pale woman nodded, stroking the Rain Cutter’s neck.

           “Headmaster, I don’t mean to intrude… but that’s not Sola. That’s Mani.” Thrain stepped forward, arms crossed over his chest, “I’ve helped train Mani as a part of the Scout program, so I know that’s how she calms her dragon.”

           “That is a grave accusation Thrain, have you any more proof?” The Headmaster inquired.

           Thrain nodded and walked over to the Hobblegrunt standing next to the other twin, “As you know Headmaster we train our dragons to find their riders on command.” He looked at the Hobblegrunt, “Vann, find your rider.”

           The Hobblegrunt ran immediately towards the twin competing, “I rest my case.”

           Groundshaker turned on his heel and marched over to the rider, “Mani! I expect far better things from you! You know as a two-person group you are required to alternate riders. I am afraid I must disqualify your team for cheating.” Hyrra shook her head, I heard Mani was crafty and devious but I never thought she’d try to cheat during the games.

           “Tch.” That was all Mani said as she mounted her dragon and flew off. Sola, on the other hand, quietly apologized to the Headmaster before following her sister.

           “Let us return to the arena and inform the audience as to what has occurred.” The Headmaster grumbled as he stroked his beard.

           Back in the arena the teams were greeted with thunderous applause, which was quickly quieted by the Headmaster, “Due to cheating the Twin Tornadoes have been disqualified for the entirety of the Games.” There was an uproar of hushed whispering amongst the audience, “We will be taking a quick lunch break in order to set up our last Game.” The audience walked, and flew if they had dragons, out of the arena, the other three teams left the field, presumably for their tents. Meanwhile Shocktide remained on the field.

           “Nice job Calder!” Hyrra smiled as she punched him playfully in the arm, “How’d you find the Golden Clam?”

           He rubbed his arm and grinned back, “Pearl’s the one who found that! She saw something shiny in the water so we dove to find it… it was pretty deep and inside a cave. I’m not sure how she saw it to be honest!” he said as he rubbed the Sliquifier’s face.

           “She certainly deserves a treat for that!” Brey cheered happily.

           “I think all of your dragons deserve a treat,” Hiccup said as Toothless dropped a barrel of fish. The three dragons quickly set to devouring the pile of fish, “Are you three hungry as well? There are a few food stalls nearby.” He said nodding back towards the caldera.

           The three shook their heads, “I’m more concerned about the next game. None of the games have been what we thought they would be…” Hyrra sat down on the grass and looked up at the sky, pondering the next game.

           Hiccup rubbed his chin, “An obstacle course, we can safely assume this will involve some sort of ‘race’ component and a willingness to work with your dragon to overcome obstacles. The big question is where will this course take place? They said that they were using this break to set up the obstacle course and I don’t see anything happening here,” Hiccup said, looking around the arena, “Which means it is somewhere else on the island.” Hiccup sat with them as the time wore on, and they talked about the Games. After nearly half an hour the audience began to slowly trickle back into their seats and the other teams returned not long after.

           “The Games will continue in five minutes!” The Headmaster boomed from his post in the tower. Hyrra stood up and brushed her pants off, Hiccup wished them luck before heading to his seat in the Chieftain’s tower. With the announcement people began to return quickly to their seats and the teams, once again, stood in their circle. This time with the absence of the Twin Tornadoes.

           “It is time for our final game of the day! The Obstacle Course! Would those not participating in these games please back away from the circle?” Calder and Brey gave Hyrra thumbs up before retreating from her side. Hyrra took a quick look at the other competitors: Ravn, Axel, and Niklas. Of course Axel would take this game, since it will probably require agility and speed. And Ravn, Windstrikers are agile and pretty fast, he could definitely be competition.

           “Our competitors, and their dragons, will be blindfolded and led to the starting point of the obstacle race, in order to ensure fairness.” Hyrra felt a rising pit in her stomach, I don’t like the sound of this. Clearly Stormbreaker agreed as he rumbled nervously next to her. Hyrra watched as Korinta and Viperra walked to her and Stormbreaker with two blindfolds, one much larger than the other.

           “It will be fine, I will be the one leading you to the course. The judges want to make sure nobody has an advantage because he or she saw the course early.” She said as she approached Stormbreaker, who growled, Hyrra patted the dragon on his side to calm him. He wasn’t happy about it, but the Skrill allowed the blindfold to be tied over his eyes. Hyrra too, allowed Korinta to blindfold her, and immediately Hyrra knew her sense of direction had been completely compromised. She wasn’t sure she could walk even two steps forward without tripping. She felt Korinta take her arm, “Don’t be afraid Viperra is going to pick you up.” What? Hyrra felt something grab the back of her shirt and she was lifted quickly and then placed back down, now sitting on something that must have been Viperra’s back.

           She heard Storm growling, “Storm, it’s okay.” She called into, what she thought, was his direction. She thought she heard him calm down, and then felt the dragon beneath her lift off. She knew they were flying, with the wind in her face and the familiar chill in the air, where are we going? She wanted to ask but knew she would get no answer. It didn’t take a long time to get there, Viperra landed and Hyrra was helped off the dragon by a person that she hoped was Korinta, she couldn’t hear Stormbreaker anymore but she could hear other dragons flapping their wings and growling. She heard Viperra lift off and she felt it, because the ground moved. Where am I?

           A few minutes passed by and she heard the sound of metal clanking, swords? Armor? What IS that? Her imagination was running amok, then she heard the Headmaster’s voice boom, “This is a race! It does not matter how fast one crosses the finish line, just in what order! If, for some reason, a participant gives up he or she will be awarded only five points! There is one simple rule to this game: No Flying!” Hyrra absorbed the information, No flying? “Now players please remove your blindfolds!” Hyrra slipped the cloth from her eyes and panic set in.

            “Welcome to the Oceanic Obstacle Race! The goal is to find, or ‘rescue’, your dragon and then ‘escape’ from the boats.” The obstacle course was nothing but boats, with random obstacles strewn about their decks, and planks connecting them! Four of the boats were arranged in a circle, with one of the combatants on each, connected to the circle of boats was a line of boats that led to the finish line on the beach. Hanging over the entire obstacle course was a large metal net, to prevent us from flying. It was then that Hyrra noticed the fact that the boats were shifting with the waves and her stomach began to shift too, not now! Keep it together! “Now BEGIN!” Hyrra tried to walk forward but her vision was already going blurry and she had to grab ahold of the rail to keep herself on her feet, “Right off the bat we see Team NadderSpines and Gold Swords swiftly making their way to their dragons! It appears that Shocktide’s Hyrra is struggling to walk, could it be she’s feeling a bit sick?” Thanks for announcing that Headmaster.

            She looked down the line of boats and she could hear Stormbreaker but couldn’t see him, he’s below one of the decks. Hyrra saw Axel already leaping and jumping from boat to boat, I’ll have to add his athleticism to things that annoy me, she thought bitterly. She also saw Niklas quickly making his way among the ships, looking for his dragon. She didn’t see Ravn. Hyrra began to crawl over the railing and then had to crawl her way along the plank to the other ship. When she flopped over the side of the rail she found Ravn sitting casually on the deck.

            “What are you doing? Don’t you want to win?” She questioned, in between hiccupping and having to hold down her breakfast.

            He sneered at her, “There’s no point. My dragon hates boats and won’t move no matter what. I’ll just take the five pity points, come what may our team will still be on top.”

            That angered her, “So you just give up!? That’s your solution? Just lay down and accept defeat?” She snapped, the shrouded Fearless Four member scowled at her.

            “You should give up too. You’re not going to beat either of the others at this point and you aren’t proving anything by puking your brains out in front of an audience.”

            “It doesn’t matter, third place is better than nothing! I’m going to find Storm and we’re going to cross the finish line! I didn’t come to this school to be a coward!” Hyrra stumbled back to her feet and began the long, slow process of crawling from ship to ship, while also trying her hardest to not get sick. I’m glad I didn’t eat lunch.

           Suddenly, she heard the Headmaster’s voice echo over the water, “Gold Swords’ leader Axel crosses the finish line, securing first place!” Ugh. Hyrra was stumbling across the ship’s deck when she heard noise coming from below.

           “Stormbreaker?!” She yelled down at the planks of wood, she heard an affirmative panicked roar back. “I’m coming, keep calm!” She found the stairs that led below deck and staggered down them. In the dark she immediately saw her dragon, a glowing panicked animal in a steel cage. She saw his electricity dancing along the steel bars, “You have to calm down and control yourself! I can’t open the cage otherwise!” But he was too worked up at this point to help her, so Hyrra began to look around, all I have to do is lift that latch… maybe there’s something I can use. She was looking for a piece of wood or a broom handle but only found a thick piece of canvas, hidden behind the stairs. This will have to do… She wrapped the thick cloth around her hand and arm, as many times as possible, before quickly flipped the latch, the hair on her arm stood up and she hastily retreated as the door opened.

           Stormbreaker cautiously exited the cage and followed Hyrra up the stairs, growling lowly the entire time. Then Hyrra heard it, “Niklas crosses the finish line, securing second!” Third it is then. Once back on the main deck, Hyrra’s nausea returned in full force and Stormbreaker figured out where they were. Water on every side. He growled and bellowed, before hunkering down onto the ship in a defensive posture.

           “Come on, we have to finish.” She stumbled to the railing and looked over her shoulder, Stormbreaker was watching her through narrow eyes, “You think I’m enjoying this?” She slurred as her stomach twisted. He made a high-keening noise she had never heard before as he began to slink along the ship towards her, she nodded at him and continued over the railing to the next boat. And the next. And the next. It was very slow going, especially since the seas had kicked up and where swaying the boats, causing both dragon and rider to whine considerably more.

           Dragon and rider were crawling across one of the neck when Hyrra heard shuffling and whining below deck, it must be Ravn's dragon... poor thing... his rider isn't even coming to comfort him. She stopped, she was tempted to go down below and help the Windstriker but Stormbreaker bumped her with his nose, no... the Headmaster stressed we are only supposed to go to our dragons, who knows? I could be disqualified for helping so best not chance it. Still it didn't put her conscious at ease to walk away from the crying dragon.

            They were crossing another boat when Hyrra’s legs gave out from the exhaustion brought about by her seasickness. She leaned against the railing and placed her head in her hands, maybe I should give up. I can’t even walk. She felt soft breath against her arm, and then a nudge. She looked up at Stormbreaker, he nudged her a bit rougher “I know, I know…” She took a deep breath and pulled herself back to her feet. Stormbreaker continued to nudge her every time she slowed down, “Thanks for the help” she said sarcastically, but every time water sprayed them it was Storm who would panic and she would have to nudge him, “It’s just water, you’re fine.”

            Finally Hyrra stumbled onto dry land and crossed the finish line, nearly a half an hour after Niklas had crossed it. Calder practically lifted Hyrra off her feet with his hug, “Are you okay? We all thought you were going to pass out!”

            “I still might…” She said weakly, she could see Gold Swords over Calder's shoulder, she saw Axel snickering to Bjorn and normally she would have been angry but she was too tired to be.

            “Hyrra of Shocktide finishes third and Fearless Four’s Ravn does not finish!” Headmaster Groundshaker's voice was the last thing Hyrra heard before her vision blurred out and everything seemed very far away.

            “She’s waking up…” Hyrra blinked, she was expecting to see the sky above her, so she was surprised to see a ceiling instead. She weakly sat up on her elbows and saw Brey, Calder, and Hiccup standing around a bed in a building she didn’t recognize.

            “What happened?”

            “You were suffering from severe motion sickness, which caused dehydration, in turn causing you to faint.” Hyrra looked at the source of the voice, a large man in a lab coat, “I’m Dr. Yew, next time you should drink one of these before getting on a boat.” He handed her a few small bottles of potent smelling liquid. So this is the clinic? It was pretty small, but clean, with wood panelling everywhere, and shelves stocked with numerous odd liquids and instruments.

            “I fainted?” She blushed bright red, “Everyone saw me faint!?” She covered her face, I should have taken the pity points and given up!

            “But guess what?” Calder prodded excitedly, “We are in third place! Only seventy points behind Gold Swords, tomorrow we can catch up with them!”

            Hyrra brightened up at that, “Really?”

            “Yeah! Because you finished third in the obstacle course, we were awarded 30 points!” Brey said happily.

            "Also Hyrra, next time you decide to push yourself to exhaustion make sure you eat something before, it certaintly doesn't help for you to be seasick and starving." The doctor said as he left the room.

           A litte while later, while leaving the clinic, Calder spoke up, “I have to warn you, the other teams did see you pass out, and they’ve started spreading rumors. Ridiculous rumors like you’re dying or you have rare fainting disease.” Hyrra frowned, great another thing Axel is going to hold over my head. She asked what had happened to Stormbreaker, “He wasn’t looking much better than you when they took him back to the stables, but Hiccup and I both checked on him before you woke up. He’s doing fine, just tired.” She nodded, relieved.

           Hyrra looked at her team, “Tomorrow is the races,” Brey and Calder nodded, “Then, tomorrow, we are going to catch up to Gold Swords no matter what!”

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Chapter 15: Showdown! Hyrra vs Axel!

Chapter 15

Showdown! Hyrra vs Axel!

            “What is this?” Hyrra questioned as Hiccup handed her another missive from the Headmaster.

            “I’m not sure, he told me to keep it closed until I handed it to you.” The chieftain crossed his arms over his chest, both Berkians looked to the tent opening when Calder and Brey walked in with their arms full of food.

            “Hyrra you have got to try one of these mini pies!” Calder said around a mouth full of mystery food.

            “Not hungry.” She said as she opened the letter.

           “It’s nice that the Games today don’t start until midday!” Brey smiled, taking a seat next to Hyrra.

           Hyrra groaned, “I think I know why.” She showed the letter to Brey and Calder.

           Hiccup raised his eyebrows, “Riddles?”

           “Yeah it says here there are two riddles for each of the first two races… to help us decide who to put into what race.”

           Hiccup sighed, “As much as I hate it, I suppose I should leave, something tells me I’m not allowed to help with this. Good luck!” Hiccup stepped out of the tent.

           “Well we already know you’ll be racing in the Finale. Stormbreaker’s the only dragon fast enough to stand up to Ase’s Wooly Howl and Goldtyr,” It was obvious that both Ase and Axel would be in the finale, they each had the fastest flying dragons on their teams, “So that leaves me or Brey for the other two… we need to be careful as to which one we choose.” Calder said, suddenly much more serious.

           They all sat down at the table “What’s the first riddle?” Brey asked.

           Hyrra cleared her throat, “Ok for ‘Race A’, the first riddle is…

What runs but never gets tired?”

           Brey giggled, “Axel’s mouth?”

           Calder ignored his joking friend, “Runs and doesn’t get tired… probably something nonliving. So…” He pinched the bridge of his nose as he thought and closed his green eyes, “Wind?” He guessed.

           Hyrra shook her head, “Wind blows, gusts, even whispers, but it doesn’t run.”

           A few more moments of silence, “A river! Rivers run!” Brey spoke up suddenly.

           “That’s right! So perhaps water will be involved?” Calder looked hopeful and Hyrra wrote down ‘river’ next to the first riddle, “What’s the next one for the first race?” Hyrra nodded and began to read.

“I was born by chance through fire and stone.

My parent above me, sits on me like a throne.

I disappear beneath her weight.

Darkness is my only mate.

Inside me I hide a precious reward.

Here you could find a dragon’s hoard.

What am I?”

           Calder rubbed his chin, “Long… but it talks about fire and stone. The volcano?”

           “But it also mentions darkness and what is the precious reward?” Brey pointed out.

           Hyrra rolled her eyes as they danced around the answer, “It’s a cave, the precious reward is gems and metal.” Her team stared at her curiously, “What…? I’m good with riddles.”

           “Caves and water? We can safely assume it has to do with the river that leads to the mountain, that’s the most notable river on the island, and one of the only ones that goes through a cave.” Brey said, “Dizzy flies well through caves, we found that out while looking for nickel.”

           “But Pearl wouldn’t even need to fly if we have the river.” Calder pointed out.

           “Let’s look at the next two riddles before we make any hasty choices.” Hyrra butted in, and the moved on to the next riddle,

“A man jumps from his dragon, but is not injured. How?”

            “He’s not flying, he’s on the ground. That’s easy enough.” Brey said casually.

            “This race will have something to do with the ground? What else could it mean? Are we going to have to jump from our dragons?” Calder theorized.

            Hyrra frowned, “Hopefully not, that’d be pretty dangerous for the younger riders... Let’s just move on to the last one and see if we can put the two together.”

“The more you take of me, the more you leave behind. What am I?”

            They sat there in silence for a little while, mulling over the riddle, when suddenly Calder smirked,            “Another easy one! Footsteps.” Hyrra rolled her eyes. Easy? It took you two minutes to come up with the answer.

            “But what does that have to do with a race? That doesn’t tell us anything about the location!” Brey asked, clearly a little annoyed by the riddle.

            “Maybe it’s not about the location?” Calder countered.

            “Footsteps could mean that this is going to be a ‘foot’ race.” Hyrra pointed out.

            Calder nodded, “That would make sense with the other one being ‘the ground’. Maybe this one won’t have any flying involved? Then Brey should take this one, Dizzy is much faster than Pearl on foot.” Brey was nodding along with that.

            “So Calder will take Race A, and Brey will take Race B.” Hyrra wrote that down onto the pieces of paper, “Hopefully we’re right about this… otherwise we may have put you in the wrong race.”

           They spent their next few hours wandering the stalls, Brey and Calder were trying to convince Hyrra to eat all of the offered food, but her stomach was still a little weak from yesterday’s disaster and all she managed to put in her stomach was a few crackers and dried fruits. Speaking of her episode yesterday, quite a few people gave her sad looks and asked her if she was ‘going to be okay’ or if she was ‘pulling out of the Games’. Hyrra frowned and knew who she had to blame for the rumors that she was ill and dropping out. Axel.

            When the sun had risen high in the sky they knew it was time for them to begin to head to the arena, and by the time they had arrived so had most of the audience and all of the teams. Standing in their circle once again the teams measured each other up, I wonder who Axel has racing in the ground race… none of their dragons are exactly built for speed. Or for the second race for that matter, big dragons will have a lot of trouble racing through the caves.

           The other teams giggled when they saw her land, and Hyrra overheard the Nadder boys whispering something about ‘Shocktide shivers’ and she could see Axel grinning like a dolt at whatever Thatch was telling him. Even the Fearless Four seemed in on the joke as Gaut, and even Ravn, was smiling a bit, though less than the others, and Hyrra noticed that Thrain seemed a bit peeved at his teammate’s behavior. Hyrra avoided looking directly at any of them.

            “Welcome back to the Ninth Dragon Rider Games!” A roar of applause as Headmaster Groundshaker spoke, “For the final day of our Games we will be focusing on races! One of the most common activities you can do with a dragon, but also one of the most challenging!” Particularly when your dragon hates everything and everyone. She looked sideways at her own dragon, who glared back at her, as if he had read her thoughts, “Our rules for the day are simple: we want good, clean races! No physical harm may be done to dragon or rider! So without further ado let us begin with what we have called ‘Race A’, if those not participating would leave the field.”

            Hyrra and Brey flew up to the stands as the headmaster began to introduce the combatants, who did Axel send in… Bjorn? I suppose that makes the most sense, given the other options. Knut from NadderSpines… and Ravn for the Fearless Four.

            “Race A is a race that will test a rider and dragon’s adaptability! This race begins atop the caldera, goes down past the volcanic river, through Dragon’s Gullet Cavern, to the waterfall and then back to where they started on top the caldera!” Exactly what we thought this race would be, Hyrra thought happily as she watched the contestants fly to the top of the black wall. Pearl and Calder were dwarfed by the other dragons, but that’s good in this race, short wings and quick, agile flying will be the main factors for winning.

            The headmaster’s Grapple Grounder stood on top the wall as well, and waited until everything got quiet… before firing a pulse blast into the air, signaling the start of the race.

           Calder and Pearl immediately dove down the wall, to the river, with the other dragons swiftly on their tails, “Ravn’s Windstriker is really fast, he’s keeping up with Pearl without even trying...” Brey said anxiously, “And Knut’s Nadder should be able to fly through the tunnels well enough...”

           Hyrra grinned, “But Calder has a Sliquifier and water.” Brey, and the audience, gasped when Calder and Pearl didn’t pull up at the river, like the other riders did, instead they flew into the river and then they reemerged and began to swim. Using her powerful tail she swam in a whale-like fashion and, very quickly, she outpaced the flying dragons, “Did you know a Sliquifier can swim at near supersonic speeds?” Hyrra said smartly, “Of course, that’s in the open ocean and often it’s because they’re escaping predators, but we don’t need Pearl to go supersonic… only to be faster than the other dragons.” Which she was doing fabulously. At this point the other dragons and their riders were fighting for second place… and everyone knew it. Hyrra saw Axel’s glare from her peripheral vision, so she turned and gave him the cutest smile she could muster. She saw his ears go red and she almost laughed as he temporarily lost his composure.

           Back to the race. Hyrra saw Pearl, or at least the dot that was Pearl, disappear into the cavern. Nearly a half minute behind her was Ravn, and behind him Bjorn and Knut. They sat there for another minute before they heard the horn blowing from the other side of the mountain, somebody made it to the other side… now they should be heading back. It was no surprise to Hyrra when Calder and Pearl reemerged from the cavern, still swimming instead of flying; however, she was surprised to see Bjorn hot on their heels, he must know the cave pretty well to have caught up with Calder and Pearl… Still it wasn’t enough, in the end Pearl was too fast for Bjorn’s Snafflefang to catch up to, but he did beat Ravn who had fallen behind. Pearl leapt from the water easily and flew up the sharp curve of the caldera wall to the finish line.

           “In first place: Calder of Shocktide! In second place: Bjorn of Gold Swords! In third: Ravn of the Fearless Four! And in fourth: Knut of NadderSpines.” You have to give it to the little guys, they don’t give up.

           Hyrra virtually tackled Calder in her excitement when they returned to the arena, “That was amazing! You and Pearl did awesome!”

           The blonde was soaking wet, “It was kind of terrifying, I knew she could swim fast but not that fast… especially in the cave! She must have great vision because we didn’t run into anything, despite it being pitch black!” He gave the female dragon an affectionate pet on the head, and she happily blew a bubble with her mouth in response, “Passing the baton to you now, Brey!” He joked.

           She giggled uneasily, “Great! Nothing stressful about that!”

           “At least you’re not Ravn.” Hyrra whispered to Brey. They all peeked over their shoulders at the Fearless Four, each of the members, including the normally jovial Thrain, were giving Ravn a very disapproving look, “I guess his poor performance in yesterday’s game has caught up with him…” I bet they really wish I would have joined their team…

           She smirked, enjoying their victory, when the Headmaster boomed, “Our next race, Race B, will be held in the arena. Teams please return to the stands.” The moment they flew back in, Hyrra noticed a difference on the field. An obstacle course, not unlike the one that the Fearless Four had made Hyrra and Storm run through, had been set up along the field. There was a plethora of logs, of many different sizes, strewn around the field, along with flags set up to show the direction of the race, which appeared to be in a ‘Z’ shape, with mostly straightaways but a few sharp turns.

           While Hyrra and Calder returned to the stands, Brey and Dizzy bounced down to the ground with the other competitors for the second race. “An obstacle course… and if we’re right this should be a foot race.” Calder said softly, but Hyrra was busy looking at their opposition: Bertha and the Quaken? They aren’t competition. Niklas from NadderSpines, he could be hard to beat… after all he also rides a Nadder. Gaut for the Fearless Four, a big dragon so he’ll move faster over the big obstacles. The participants lined up, with Gaut and his dragon towering over the others. Hyrra frowned, seems a bit unfair for such a large dragon to compete in this race, but as long as Brey beats Gold Swords it’s a win in my book.

           “This race is an Obstacle Race, but with a very special rule: No flying allowed! With that stipulation out of the way… let the race begin!” Seconds later the Grapple Grounder’s pulse blast meant that the race had begun.

           Immediately Brey and Dizzy raced ahead and jumped the first, small log with ease. Gaut’s dragon only had to step over the log, and then he stepped over Dizzy effortlessly. The Typhoomerang continued to simply step over all the obstacles; though, one especially high log did make him hesitate he ended up creeping over it. The sharp turns did require the crawling dragon to slow down, but he still finished the race far ahead of the other participants.

           Behind him, in order, was Brey, Niklas, and Bertha, who’s Catastrophic Quaken was struggling to get over even the small logs. Dizzy was easily outpacing Niklas and his Nadder, who was younger and smaller than Dizzy. She and Brey bounced over the last few logs, a high step up meant that Dizzy had to have a running start to make it, then she ran down some stairs, back to the ground, and under one of the taller logs. The red Nadder had little trouble with the sharp turns, which didn’t surprise Hyrra, but what was surprising Hyrra was that Bertha’s Quaken had somehow passed Niklas. The Quaken was climbing down the stairs slowly, and behind her Niklas’ Nadder was shying away from the high step repeatedly, despite Niklas’ attempts to calm the dragon. Brey and Dizzy passed the finish line, coming to rest beside Gaut and his large dragon. Niklas finally managed to get his dragon over the high step but Bertha was already too close to the finish line for him to catch up.

           “With Niklas’s finish we shall begin tallying our total scores, so each team knows where they stand for the Finale Race!” The headmaster roared and the teams flew down to the field as it was cleared off in preparation for the Finale race. Hyrra smiled at Brey, who was leaping around happily with her dragon.

           “We have to have more points than Gold Swords now!” Calder grinned as he high-fived the tanned dragon rider. They chatted excitedly until the headmaster began to speak, drawing all of their attention.

           “Our scores are simply unbelievable! In first is the Fearless Four with 335 points,” that’s not that unbelievable, “but folks we have a TIE for second place!” Oh “Between Gold Swords and Shocktide, each at 280 points!” Hyrra and Axel locked eyes, sharing, both shocked and determined looks, “Trailing them is Nadderspines with 80 points.” Well they certainly don’t give up, do they? “Our Finale Race will begin in a half an hour and we shall see who will take second place: Gold Swords’ Axel or Shocktide’s Hyrra?”

           The audience was stirring as some left to grab food and others began to gossip, “This maybe the first tie in the games!” Brey whispered excitedly, though from the look that Hyrra was getting from Axel, he wasn’t as excited as they were. He was glowering, resembling more of a dragon and less a human. She proceeded to ignored him for the rest of the time. When the Headmaster returned, so had the entire audience… and then some. It seemed to Hyrra that the stands had filled out even more than normal.

           Brey and Calder retreated back to the stands, after wishing Hyrra luck, “It is that time everyone… time for our Finale Race! The truest test of a dragon and rider! As in the past, the track is marked by yellow flags and there are four ring ‘checkpoints’ at each turning point. You must pass through each of these rings to finish the race!” I suppose this is to prevent someone from going completely off-track. “This race begins, in the arena, from here, our participants will race around the southern side of the caldera, across the western training grounds, back around the cliffs to the river, up the eastern side of the mountain and down the western slopes and back to this arena for the finish! Once again, harming your opponents is strongly discouraged; however, messing with them is considered okay.” The headmaster paused to let all of that information settle in, Hyrra looked over to the mountain, that’s a lot of fog sitting on top of the mountain… “Riders please mount your dragons!”

           Hyrra hooked her foot into the stirrup and leapt into the saddle, beneath her Stormbreaker shook his head and stretched his wings as he warmed up, growling lowly in his chest. The redhead ran a pale hand over his neck, calming him, “We got this…” She whispered to him, “We just need to pay attention and keep our eyes forward.” He nudged her hand away, and settled into his take-off stance.

           “Well folks we have an all Leader face-off! Ase of the Fearless Four!” Hyrra looked to her left and saw Ase right next to her, Frostclaw gave Hyrra and Storm a chilly glare.

           “I’m pleasantly surprised by you Hyrra... though hopefully you don’t pass out again.” The frosty blonde smirked playfully as Hyrra’s face heated up slightly.

           “Hyrra of Shocktide!” Hyrra’s eyebrows raised as there was quite a loud roar from the audience, “Axel of Gold Swords!”

           “Seems everyone wants to see you pass out again, Ginger.” He uttered smugly. She glared darkly up at the brunette on her right.

           “Are you sure about that Axel?” Ase said coolly from her place on Hyrra’s left, “As far as I understand it the audience was quiet taken with Hyrra’s show of spirit yesterday.” Axel glared at the older woman and turned away, “Seems you’ve become quite the crowd favorite, though that won’t help you beat me in this race.” Hyrra grinned at the challenge… we’ll see about that. Being introduced by the headmaster was Eirek and, despite his team’s low ranking, he seemed unperturbed.

           The Grapple Grounder landed in front of the racers. The snakelike dragon stood proudly in front of them as he settled in. Hyrra held tight to the saddle and leaned forward slightly, she noticed both Ase and Axel doing the same. The dragon shot a pulse blast so suddenly it took a second for Hyrra to react, but both Ase and Axel took off without hesitation, even Eirek’s Nadder took of a millisecond before she and Storm did. Hyrra shook it off, though, as they quickly climbed upward, “Let’s go!”

           The pair swiftly overtook Eirek as they flew around the side of the caldera, over the ocean. Hyrra was quite proud that Stormbreaker didn’t even flinch at the water and instead they both locked their eyes on Goldtyr’s bright wings ahead of them. Axel and Goldtyr flew through the first checkpoint, which hung off the side of the caldera. Hyrra and Storm were already hugging the side of it in order to build up speed, and flew through the checkpoint seconds after the golden dragon. They left the caldera behind as they flew over the dense forest that made up the western training grounds, now hot on Goldtyr’s tail.

           Hyrra saw the second checkpoint coming up, and also saw how far ahead Ase was. The checkpoint was lower and just barely above the tops of the trees. Goldtyr swooped lower to the trees, when Storm tried to follow his friend down, Hyrra yanked him back, “Not yet…” The dragon seemed to understand her intentions, getting that close to the trees is going to cause drag… So at the last possible second Hyrra and Stormbreaker dove sharply through the ring. So sharply in fact, that she heard the wood in Stormbreaker’s saddle creak and snap as some of the planks broke, I’ll have to visit Gobber after this. But the odd thought quickly disappeared as she caught up to Axel.

           They were leaving the training grounds and heading to the cliffs, this was a part of the island Hyrra was not totally comfortable with and had spent little time in. She decided trailing Axel was the best course of action, since he probably knew this side of the island better than her. He must had known her idea because he and Goldtyr dove down the side of the cliff and began to race through the short caves along the side of the bluff. Ugh nevermind. She and Stormbreaker decided to take the high road. Literally. They flew along the very edge of the cliffs, keeping out of the caves, and when Axel reemerged he was a little bit ahead of her again. She frowned deeply and saw a chance to get in front, she nudged Storm and they quickly looped over the cliffs and down the steep other side, cutting ahead of the Monstrous Nightmare and his rider. She heard Axel behind her yell something, and wasn’t sure if it was directed at her or at his dragon.

           They left the cliffs as they headed further inland, to the same river that Calder and Pearl had swam that morning, and she saw the third checkpoint on the river’s bank, close to the water. She felt Stormbreaker give a little resistance when she asked him to dive to the checkpoint, seeing this apprehension Axel and Goldtyr took their opportunity and dove ahead going through the checkpoint first. Seeing that caused Stormbreaker to angrily dive, quickly catching back up to the golden dragon, when suddenly Hyrra was soaking wet. Goldtyr had spat water onto both dragon and rider, he must have scooped up water when they dove. Axel was probably planning on her dragon dropping out of the sky in fear, but instead Stormbreaker roared his frustration and tried to snap aggressively at Axel.

           “Watch it!” He snarled at her as Goldtyr managed to tilt away to keep his rider safe.

           “Well than don’t anger my dragon, you dolt!” She was now damp, angry, and very determined. Hyrra saw Ase ahead of them, already climbing up the side of the mountain. Hyrra leaned into Stormbreaker, “Come on! Leave them in the dust!”

           The competitors began to climb up the side of the mountain, up ahead Ase disappeared into the heavy cloud coverage. We can lose Goldtyr in this fog, but not if they are both thinking clearly… I need them to lose their cool. Hyrra stuck out her tongue at Axel, before leaning over to Stormbreaker, “It’s time to awaken the monster.” Every Monstrous Nightmare has a mean side… even Goldtyr… and Storm knows how to bring out anyone’s bad side. Stormbreaker growled lowly before shooting a bolt of lightning at the rocks ahead of them, causing a minor rockslide which Goldtyr easily avoided, but growled at the Skrill for. Stormbreaker proceeded to nearly bump into the other dragon, making the other move out of his way. Goldtyr snarled louder but didn’t lose his cool, now for the finish. Stormbreaker flew up close to a bush on the slopes and hit it with his tail as they went by, causing a cascade of dust and leaves that fell onto the golden dragon as he flew by.

           Goldtyr flamed up angrily, Hyrra saw Axel struggle to maintain control of his irritated, and now burning, dragon. Goldtyr hates being dirty. She smirked as the dragon chased them up the mountain and into the fog, “Pay attention buddy!” She yelped as they barely skimmed by a large boulder. The Skrill snorted as if saying, you think I can’t fly through some light cloud cover? What do you take me for? A Gronckle? Storm deftly avoided boulders and trees as they climbed up the side of the mountain, Hyrra looked around and noticed a distinct lack of Monstrous Nightmares… it worked! Good thing Stormbreaker is used to flying in low visibility… but so is Frostclaw. The ground came close and suddenly the peak was in front of them, and on top of the peak of the mountain was the last checkpoint, Hyrra swore she saw a flat tail disappear down the other side of the mountain.

           They flew through the last checkpoint and immediately began to dive down the steep mountain. Behind them a horn blew, was somebody standing there? The fog began to lift as they came further down the mountain, and Hyrra saw that Ase and Frostclaw were further ahead of them than she had originally believed. Stormbreaker was gaining speed, but at this rate they would still lose… especially if they couldn’t catch up to Ase and Frostclaw before they hit flat ground. Stormbreaker grumbled at her, “I know… we’ve got to do it.” She nodded resolutely and flattened herself to the saddle, the sky quickly disappeared as Stormbreaker tucked his wings around himself and dove.

           Once again Hyrra felt her stomach in her throat, her heart hammered, and her ears began to pop painfully as they dropped quickly. She opened her eyes, and while it was mostly dark, she could see through a small gap between Storm’s head and wings, she saw the ground… and she saw Ase and Frostclaw as they passed them. Stormbreaker didn’t unfold his wings until the very last second, building up all the speed he could, before unfurling his wings and rapidly beating them as they streamed over the meadows and the arena wall and down to the finish line.

           Hyrra’s hearing slowly returned as her ears stopped popping, and when they did, the muffled sounds of the crowd turned into full on screaming and clapping. She looked around, stunned. Behind her she saw Ase and Frostclaw landing just milliseconds behind them, and less than a second behind her was Axel and Goldtyr, and behind him Eirek and Bristletail. Ase was pale in the face, looking just as dazed as Hyrra. Axel, on the other hand, was livid, his face red and his eyes dark. “Our Finale champion: Hyrra of Shocktide!” The crowd lost it. They clapped and cheered but Hyrra was still astonished… and feeling a little faint. She shook her head to clear it and clung to Stormbreaker’s saddle until the blood had returned to her limbs. “Our final scores will be totaled and we shall have our awards ceremony in a few minutes!”

           She slid from the saddle and was quickly arrested into the arms of Calder and Brey, “How did you do that?! The tucking thing?!” Brey asked, her eyes glowing with curiosity, well she’s an engineer for sure.

           “And getting Goldtyr angry? Genius!” Calder slapped her on the shoulder. Finally feeling more like herself, Hyrra grinned, her amber eyes mischievously looked over to Axel, and she was a little unsettled to see him coming her way.

           “YOU!” He looked like he might hit her, the veins in his neck looked ready to burst and his eyes were aflame, but she refused to cower, “HOW’D-I mean- Y- You- You cheated!” How articulate.

           “I didn’t cheat. The only rule is that my dragon couldn’t physically harm yours and he didn’t. We just used a little known weakness to our advantage… isn’t that called knowing your rival’s weakness? Maybe you should try it sometime.” She replied smugly and turned away from him. She heard him huff and walk off. Three stages were dragged out onto the field, of varying heights, the tallest in the center and the second tallest on the right. The four remaining teams stood in front of the stands, Hyrra stared hungrily at the second tallest pedestal, that’s ours.

           Headmaster Groundshaker landed in front of them, easily sliding from his dragon, “Our final results are in!” The crowd boomed their approval, “In first place… The Fearless Four with an impressive 385 points!” A roar from the audience, and they picked back up the chant, as each member of the Fearless Four, including their dragons, had golden medals placed around their necks by the headmaster and stood on their pedestal, with their dragons standing behind them. “And in a very close second… Shocktide with 380 points!” We were only five points from beating THE Fearless Four?! Hyrra wasn’t the only one thinking that, she saw Thrain and Ase look nervously at each other and the crowd went wild.

           Still, Hyrra happily accepted her silver medal and watched as Brey and Calder accepted theirs as well. Dizzy and Pearl showed off their medals proudly; whereas Stormbreaker looked like a child that had been dressed by his mother, with the medal hanging awkwardly from his nose horn… because his natural electricity hadn’t allowed the headmaster to get the medal around his neck.

           “In third place… Gold Swords with 330 points!” Axel and his team solemnly accepted their medals. It was a bit funny that NadderSpines, even though their total score was only 100 points, seemed happier than Gold Swords, “And that is our lineup for the Ninth Dragon Rider Games! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your time here with us and will continue to enjoy the festivities on campus this evening and tomorrow!”

           Hyrra smiled broadly at her friends as they stepped off their podium, “I told you we could do this!” Calder nodded sheepishly as he admitted it was more fun to be in the Games than he had originally thought and Brey talked about how they should do it again next year, but instead try to beat the Fearless Four.

           “Indeed?” Hyrra jumped at Ase’s cool voice behind her, Hyrra sheepishly grinned, “I wanted to congratulate you on your impressive win in the Finale Race… next year we won’t be underestimating you.” Then she turned and walked away, her team quickly on her heels.

           “Let’s go stuff ourselves to celebrate!” Brey cheered, Calder quickly agreed, and Hyrra’s stomach growled in response.

           “Already have celebration plans?” Hiccup said, as he and Toothless walked onto the field. Hyrra hugged the chieftain briefly and Toothless licked Hyrra’s face, “You all did extremely well considering you’re first years. Don’t party too much… the Champion’s Party is tomorrow night. I’d hate for you all to be too tired for it!”

           “Don’t worry about that! We could go four days without sleep!” Brey bragged, and Dizzy bounced around in agreement.

           “Maybe you could, but we can’t.” Calder said, pointing at himself and his dragon, who was quietly bobbing her head in agreement.

           Hyrra beamed, “I supposed we’ll be fine… so long as the party’s not on a boat!” She saw Stormbreaker’s scales pale at the thought and she laughed at his tense expression.

           The merry quartet headed out to explore the rest of the food stalls, enjoying the crisp spring air and delicious food. By the time the moon had risen they were sitting happily on the edge of the stables. Hyrra’s legs dangled over the side as she laid back and stared at the sky, “Next year…”

           “Hm?” Calder hummed from his place inclined on his dragon.

           “Next year we’ll take first place.” She said matter-of-factly.

           “Ambitious.” Hiccup stated, “Especially since that will be the Fearless Four’s last year competing.”

           “That’s what makes it fun, that and being with friends.” She grinned lethargically. Calder made an affirmative noise and Hyrra heard Brey snoring, so four days, huh?

 

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Great chapter. Keep up the

Great chapter. Keep up the writing! This story is so amazing

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I'm always excited to see a new chapter posted. I love the story.

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Sorry for the double post.

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Chapter 16: A Party for Champions

Chapter 16

A Party for Champions

            Hyrra awoke bright and early, wanting to enjoy the rest of the festivities and write a letter to her parents. In her letter she made sure to write about the Games, starting from the very beginning with the Fearless Four wanting her to join their team to the Finale Race where she finished first. She leaned back in her chair, it had been a little while since she had been able to write to her parents and this letter showed it. The letter was nearly two pages, front and back, detailing everything she could think of. Hyrra heard someone at her door and readied herself for Brey’s overly cheerful, morning disposition.

            Instead she heard a sharp knocking. She frowned, Brey doesn’t knock… who would be at my door at this hour? She walked over to the door and opened it up, “GOOOD Morning!” Kyne trilled, “Someone received a very important letter today!” The braided woman pushed a very official looking letter into her hands. It was a thick paper, folded up elegantly with a blue wax seal keeping it closed. Hyrra popped the seal and unfolded the letter.

This year’s champions, The Fearless Four,

Request the honor of your presence,

Hyrra Boandi,

As their Guest of Honor

At the Champion’s Festival to be held:

Tonight in the Great Hall.

            “A guest of honor?” Kyne squealed happily, “Oh my goodness we must get you ready!”

            “I suppose I could use a shower…” Hyrra said looking down at herself, she hadn’t showered since the day before, and so she was still covered in dust and sweat from the races.

            Kyne ‘tsked’ at her, “That won’t do! Come with me!” The buxom woman grabbed Hyrra’s wrist and dragged her from her room.

            “Wait! I have a letter that I need to take to-” Hyrra held up the letter to her parents.

            Kyne smiled broadly and plucked the letter from Hyrra’s grasp, “Don’t worry about that! I’ll make sure it’s sent to Berk! Now hurry along.” Hyrra knew from past experiences that the housemother could be very stubborn when she wanted to and wasn’t going to let Hyrra go until she had done… whatever she had planned. Hyrra followed the housemother down to the ground floor and into a backroom Hyrra had never seen.

            It was a bedroom. A very large one, with a fire pit in the center of it and a spacious living area, complete with a comfortable looking bed and a deep, copper bathtub, “Welcome to my room!” Kyne beamed, before pushing Hyrra behind a dressing screen, “Now strip! There’s a robe behind you!” Hyrra blinked, then sighed, and gave into the house maiden’s demands. She unstrapped her boots and stripped out of her dirty clothes, leaving them in a pile on the floor as she looked behind her for the robe. The robe was hanging on a floor-length mirror, and her reflection caught her off guard.

            It had been months since Hyrra had truly looked at herself, given more than just the ‘does my hair look like I flew into a tornado?’ check over. The first thing she noticed was that her face was rounder, with fuller cheeks… but then again her whole body seemed fuller. Having had a surplus of food for the first time in her life, Hyrra’s body was… adapting. Her ribs, hips, and spine, once all prominent bones, were now completely hidden beneath a soft layer of fat, giving her whole body a softer, more feminine appearance rather than her original boyish figure. Her hair also seemed longer to her, though with the tight curls it was nearly impossible to know, and the fact that it hadn’t been brushed in days wasn’t helping. It was like seeing a different person entirely. I look older…

           Hyrra slipped the soft robe over her arms and tied the belt around her waist, oddly enough the one part of her that didn’t seem to be growing any bigger. She stepped out from behind the screen to see Kyne standing next to the, now full, tub with a baby Nadder at her feet heating the bottom of the tub, “Oh! You’re not quite as gangly as your clothes make you seem!” Hyrra grimaced at that, but knew she was right. Kyne must have seen Hyrra staring at the little Nadder, “I often take care of little dragons who need some extra care. My hubby wanted me to look after this little guy. His name’s Simmer! Sim here needed someone to look after him until he gets big enough to move into the stables. Oh Sim, I think that’s enough fire!” The little orange Nadder looked up at Kyne and then bounced over to the comfortable bed and settled in for a nap.

           Kyne stuck her pinky into the steaming water, “Ah perfect! Come on, get in!” The woman said as she busied herself with collecting bottles and emptying them into the water, turning the water a light orange color. Hyrra waited until Kyne’s back was turned before shedding the robe and jumping into the tub. The warmth of the water caught her off guard, but now completely submerged in it, all she could do was watch her skin quickly turn red. It didn’t take too long until she was used to the temperature, and soon even found it a little relaxing. Kyne circled back to the tub, her large arms now full of bottles, combs, and brushes.

           “Water okay?” She asked as she set down her eclectic armful. Hyrra nodded, enjoying the floral scent coming from the sunset-colored water, when she felt Kyne’s hands on her head suddenly. She opened her eyes briefly but quickly shut them again when Kyne began combing her fingers through the dry, tight curls to loosen them, “You’ve got hair like my little sister.” Hyrra listened attentively to Kyne’s gentle voice, “When she was your age she hated her hair, said it was unmanageable and ugly.” The redhead nodded softly, she could understand that, “But I always thought curly hair was pretty, so long as you treat it right. It’s much nicer than straight hair, like mine. Straight as a Nadder’s spine and boring.” She paused as she worked out a particularly large tangle, “So one day, I got tired of my sister’s complaining so I set out to figure out how to help her. Finally I figured out this ‘special blend’ and every two days I’d wash her hair with it.” Kyne got quiet.

           “What happened to your sister?”

           “Oh she’s doing real well. She married this nice man from our village and they’ve got the cutest little boys,” Kyne chuckled, “They’ve both got her hair, too!” Hyrra smiled at that, “Sometimes I get to go see them… my boy Rune always loved to see his cousins.”

           That caught Hyrra’s attention, “You have a son?” Kyne began to soak Hyrra’s hair with the warm water.

           “Yup, my only one! Probably for the best, Rune was always a handful!” She gave a warm chuckle, “He’s a little older than you, being 20 years old. Actually he came to this school! Graduated top of his Engineering class…”

           “Where is he now?”

           “He’s doing some long-distance research out in the Southern Isles. He never could sit still and he loves dragons, just like his father! But he’s got my charisma!” Kyne twittered happily, “He sends us letters when he gets the time, but he’s very busy with his research… he’s studying dragons and how they adapt to different environments.” Somehow, it didn’t surprise Hyrra all that much that Kyne had a son, or that said son was very intelligent...  Vet always seemed, despite his silence, to be very smart.

           Kyne began to rub something, which smelled strongly of mint, into Hyrra’s scalp, “What about you Hyrra? I admit that outside of being from Berk, I don’t know much about you.”

           Hyrra hummed, having gotten quite drowsy from both the heavily scented water and the relaxing scalp-message she was receiving, “Hm… I have a little brother named Midge, my mom’s letters say he starting to learn new words, and he keeps asking for me.” Hyrra sighed quietly but then she chuckled, “My mum said his new favorite word is ‘turnip’… which, although funny, isn’t that surprising considering my mom and dad work on the Elklund farm.”

           “That explains you and Axel’s tense relations.” Hyrra nodded.

           Hyrra wondered what she could talk about, “I don’t know it you’d believe it, but the reason I’m here with Stormbreaker is because of a prank.”

           Kyne giggled, “I suppose I could believe that… what happened?” Hyrra proceeded to tell Kyne the story of the Terrible Terror prank, dealing with the Skrill’s bad attitude, and everything up until the moment she stepped foot on the boat to the school. Meanwhile, Kyne rinsed Hyrra’s hair and then drenched her hair in her ‘special blend’, which smelled strongly of coconut to Hyrra. She messaged the thick blend into Hyrra’s hair and combed it through with her fingers and after that with a multitude of different combs, the size of each one progressively getting smaller. Finally Kyne rinsed the thick mixture from Hyrra’s hair.

           “That should be it!” Kyne stood up and retrieved a plush towel, offering it to Hyrra. She grudgingly got out of the warm water and dried off, my fingers are all pruny, she noted with a soft frown. She slipped the comfortable robe back on, once she was mostly dry. As she dried her skin she marveled in its newfound softness, what was in that water?

           Kyne motioned for Hyrra to sit down on a stool and used a second cloth to gently blot the excess water from Hyrra’s hair. In front of Hyrra was a variety of bottles, creams, and tools that she didn’t recognize. The braided woman took one of said creams and rubbed it on Hyrra’s hands, leaving them smelling blossomy and very soft, helping to alleviate the pruny-ness in her fingers. Kyne used a pale, wide-toothed comb on her hair, “My goodness your hair is long!” The woman smiled as the comb pulled through Hyrra’s hair, straightening it out. Hyrra had never actually seen her hair this straight, where it usually would sit at her shoulder blades now it was hitting her at her waist.

           “Now we wait for it to dry!” Kyne said, putting down the comb, “While we are waiting let’s figure out what you will be wearing!”

           “I don’t have anything ‘fancy’, it that’s what you’re asking.”

           She chuckled lightly, “Nonsense! I have plenty of things you can try!” The housemaid rushed to a door and pulled it open, revealing a closet stuffed with clothes. Kyne immediately began digging through the stacks of clothing and pulling out dress after dress, “Maybe this one…? No, not pink! No, no, no. Pretty! Maybe…” Hyrra watched the perspective clothing pile get larger and larger, until finally Kyne closed the door and set down the huge pile on her bed, forcing Sim to move his nap to the floor.

           “I love to buy clothing! Every time Johann comes through I’m always there looking at the dresses! Though, I know most of these will never fit me! I always wanted a daughter to dress up, you can imagine Rune never would let me do that!” She began holding up the dresses and squinting at Hyrra, “You look better in green, purple, and white…” Kyne tossed away any dress that didn’t include these colors quickly. “Now for the fun part!” Kyne had Hyrra try on a bunch of at least a dozen dresses, most were quickly ripped off and thrown away, but two managed to appease Kyne’s discerning eye.

           “The green one or the purple one?” Kyne asked softly, eyes shifting between the two dresses. The ‘green one’ was composed of a simple sleeveless white chemise under a strapless emerald green dress with a wrapping effect on the top and white embroidery along the bottom. This dress also had a white belt with golden-button accents that tied around her waist and left the ends of the belt hang long down the front of the dress. The ‘purple one’ was actually mostly white. It was made up of a simple, white dress, the bottom of which was a royal purple bordered by a silver, cloudlike pattern on the top and bottom. The dress had long sleeves, which were tight on her upper arms but hung loose after her elbows. On top of the dress was a purple vest with a corset in the front, the border of the vest was black with intricate silver threads interwoven into it. To finish the look was a tight black belt with a silver floral buckle in the front.

           Hyrra shrugged, “I lean towards the purple one personally.” The green one was pretty but left her feeling very exposed due to the lack of sleeves, not that the other one was entirely modest as it had a lower neckline than the other.

           Kyne grinned and threw the green one off her bed, “Well than purple it is!” Hyrra stepped behind the dressing screen again, and let the robe fall off. Kyne handed her the white under-dress, which she slipped over her head, adjusting it once it was on. It fit perfectly, though a big loose around her waist. She stepped out from behind the screen, where Kyne was waiting with the vest in her hands. Kyne helped her put the vest on, and made sure to tie the corset tightly, then she took the belt and clipped it around Hyrra’s waist, “It fits you like a glove! Now to fix your hair and makeup!” She beamed as she steered Hyrra back to the stool, where she caught glimpse of her reflection. Makeup?

           If she had thought she had looked older before, now she truly did look older. The tight vest and thick black belt created the illusion of a smaller waist, and the long, simple dress made Hyrra look taller. Beyond that her hair had mostly dried at this point and had dried into long, looser curls, rather than their normal tight, frizzy ones. Hyrra sat back down on the stool, and had to adjust her breathing due to the tightness of the vest, not exactly easy to breathe in.

           Kyne began gently running her fingers through Hyrra’s hair, making sure not to disturb the curls too much, “Oh what do I want to do with this…? It’s beautiful down… maybe… Oh I know!” Kyne dug through the pile of instruments in front of them and pulled out a beautiful ebony pin. The pin was decorated to look like a dragon, including silver dots for eyes, it didn’t look like any dragon in particular but it did reminded her of a Monstrous Nightmare, “One of my favorite pieces!” Kyne said happily as she gathered Hyrra’s bangs and began to braid them, one braid on each side. She pulled the braided bangs back and held them with the ebony pin. She pulled a few loose curls towards Hyrra’s face and then stood back, “Ah simplicity is always best! Now turn around and face me.” Hyrra did so, wondering what the housemother was up to.

           Kyne hummed as she stared Hyrra down, “I think we should go bold on your makeup… seeing as everything else is so simple,” Hyrra was a little nervous as Kyne picked up a thick black pencil-like tool, which she dipped in a small jar of clear oil, “Close your eyes.” Hyrra did so but not without worrying for her safety, after all she’d never worn makeup. She felt Kyne’s hand on her chin, holding her head still, and then felt the pencil against her eyelid, but Kyne was careful to only apply as much pressure as she needed and no more. Hyrra tried to imagine what Kyne was doing, the pencil first traced her eyelids and then she began to stroke it over the entire lid. I’m going to look like a raccoon, Hyrra decided. Then she heard the pencil drop onto the desk behind her and heard Kyne shuffling the bottles, it got quiet again and then Hyrra felt a soft, small brush stroking her eyelid. After a few seconds of the brush, Kyne pulled back, “Okay now open up!” Hyrra did so, “Wow now that is electrifying! Pun most definitely intended!” Kyne giggled and winked, turning Hyrra’s chin so she could see her own reflection.

           “Kohl always looks great on people with bright eyes!” It definitely did. Hyrra’s entire eyelid had been brushed a smoky black, making her amber eyes appear just that much more intense, “Such a she-wolfish gaze: fabulous and fierce! Perfect for the young lady who just won the Finale Race, yes?” Hyrra nodded, the makeup, unlike what she had been expecting, didn’t make her look girly at all! In fact, it made her look ready for war, a very fabulous war, “Final touches!” Kyne announced, picking up another, small brush and dipping it into a bright pink powder, than into the oil. Hyrra sat very still, per Kyne’s orders, as the older woman brushed the mixture onto Hyrra’s lips with all the practice of a painter. Then she had to sit there with her mouth slightly open as the liquid dried, feeling quite silly the entire time, I probably look like a fish. Once it was dry, Kyne was able to apply another layer of oil, giving her lips a shine, “Done!”

           Hyrra stood up and walked over to the full-length mirror with some fear, I hope I’m not overdressed… but regardless, she looked beautiful. The dress was fitting her handsomely, the bell sleeves and soft coloring lent it a soft appearance, but her makeup gave her just enough edge to say that she was definitely not a child, but a dragon rider, “I wonder how Vet is doing with your dragon? I hope he hasn’t forgot to clean him up! Would be quite a shame if you looked this amazing and your dragon was still dusty.”

           “What? I thought this was an indoor party? Seems like you’d have some trouble fitting a bunch of dragons into the Great Hall.”

           “It is happening at the Great Hall but they’ll also have the area around it closed off tonight, allowing guests to go in and out as they please… to explore the vendors and such. Most of the dragons will hang out there, and they’ll be pampered and fed a plethora of fish and treats. This also allows the chieftains to get up-close and personal with the dragons.” I’m sure Storm will love that.

           Hyrra finished up with Kyne, including picking out shoes, which somehow took longer than her hair and makeup had. They ended up choosing a flat, tan shoe, very simple, considering it wasn’t going to be seen because of the length of her dress. By the time they had finished it was time for her to head down to the Great Hall for the festival. Hyrra suddenly felt very shy, standing outside of the Great Hall, until someone tapped her on her arm, gently, “You clean up well.”

           Hyrra smiled at the Berkian Chief, “So do you.” Hiccup wasn’t wearing his usual leather flight suit, instead he was wearing more traditional chieftain’s garb, complete with a chainmail shirt, charcoal pants, a dark teal cape, and a silver fur over his shoulders. Toothless bounded up to Hyrra and went to lick her but she quickly stepped back, covering her face with her arms.

           “Ruin my hair or makeup and you’ll have Kyne to deal with!” She warned the energetic, black dragon. The dragon opted to nudge her with his nose, instead of licking her.

           “My goodness that is quite an improvement from my old rags!” Astrid approached, her blonde hair had been gathered into a bun with a small braid coming over her shoulder. She was wearing a sleeveless, deep maroon dress with light blue straps, which were decorated with gold and black dots. Overtop her dress was an apron, but not a cooking apron, this apron was white with expensive looking gold and blue embroidery all over it. Tied around her waist was a black, blue, and white belt with long tassels that hung from it, “Should we enter? I believe there was a certain chieftain who was just waiting to me you.” Astrid goaded her husband. Hyrra saw Hiccup sigh and roll his eyes.

           “Might as well get it over with… I guess we’ll see you around.” Hyrra waved as they walked into the hall.

           “Hyrra.” She jumped at the deep voice behind her.

           “Ah! Vet! Sorry… you just scared me a little bit.”

           “I brought Stormbreaker.” And with that the stable master was gone, how did he and Kyne have a child?

           Hyrra shook it off and looked to her dragon, who looked about how she looked: dressed to the nines. He had, obviously, been scrubbed and brushed because every navy blue scale was gleaming, I bet that was fun. His wing nails and claws had been trimmed and cleaned, and his saddle had been removed for the night, “Well you are looking really fancy! And is that a smidge of coloring on your face?” She reached out to touch his eye markings, which seemed to be more purple than usual, but he growled at her, “Ah, so you didn’t enjoy your pampering?” She joked, but he glared daggers at her, snorted, and stalked off in the direction of a few other dragons, among them she could see Goldtyr gleaming. Probably should avoid Axel tonight… he’s probably in a foul mood.

           She walked into the Great Hall and was immediately greeted by the smell of food, not sure if I’ll be able to eat much with this tight dress on. “You finally made it!” Calder smiled as he approached her, he was wearing a more casual outfit, but still nicer than his normal clothing, being made up of a nice light blue tunic and white pants.

           “How much have you had to eat?” She asked with a frown, looking pointedly at the chicken leg in his hand.

           “Uh… I don’t know? A whole boar at least…” To emphasize that point he burped loudly.

           “You’re going to get fat.” She smirked.

           He shrugged, “Well not all of us have to fit into corsets.” Poking her waist as he spoke.

           “I’d punch you right now but that wouldn’t be very Guest of Honor-y.”

           “I heard about that, pretty cool! Oh and Brey was looking for you, I think she was heading towards the back.” He must have caught the scent of something else he wanted to eat because he very quickly turned and began sniffing his way through the crowd. Hyrra decided to go looking for Brey, and managed to run smack into the headmaster.

           “Hyrra, congratulations of being the Guest of Honor! That was an impressive win yesterday!” She grimaced at his loud voice, “Very pretty dress, you look like quite the young lady!” He gave her a pat on the shoulder and walked off to greet other guests. The redhead gave a relieved sigh, rubbed her ears, and began to look for Brey. After a few minutes she found Brey quite easily… just follow the loud, high pitched voice.

           She saw Brey talking with another tall, tanner man, when Brey saw her, she smiled broadly and ran over, “Hyrrrrraaa!” The loud, singsong voice echoed in her eardrums, and the honey-eyed girl grabbed Hyrra’s hands, “You look so… pretty!”

           “You say that like it’s weird.”

           “Well it’s not weird just… not normal! I’m so used to you being all ‘rough and tumble’!” Thanks. “I have someone I want you to meet!” The girl dragged her back to the person she had been talking too, “This is the Chief of my village!”

           “Ailill, pleased to me you.” How do you spell that? Hyrra wondered, “You were the leader of Brey’s team, correct?” He had a very pleasant accent, odd Brey doesn’t have that accent. He was very tall and handsome, and he didn’t look to be any older than Hiccup. His dark hair was cropped very short, his face was clean-shaven, and he had dark brown eyes.

           “Yes, that’s correct. So you guys are from the Southern Archipelago?”

           He grinned broadly, “Indeed we are! A wonderful place to visit, Brey ought to fly home with you sometime, give you a tour! Speaking of flying, I saw your win yesterday. Extraordinary stuff, your dragon is quite intriguing. I’ve never seen such a dragon, is it here tonight as well? I’d like to see it up-close!” He’s easily excited… like Brey. Is that a tribe thing?

           “Thank you, yes he is. Stormbreaker is his name, he’s a Skrill, a strike class dragon known for their lightning breath. Brey can show you him, if she doesn’t mind.”

           Brey was beaming, “Of course! Come on sir, right this way!”

           “It was a pleasure to meet you!” Ailill said quickly as they hustled off. Maybe I should look for Ase? Thank her for having me as their Guest of Honor and all that? Hyrra was trying to find said leader when she was accosted by a crowd of Chieftains, shown by their clothing and their tribe emblems on their belts.

           They all were trying to greet her at once, “You are Hyrra, yes?” A fat, bearded chief, shook her hand vigorously, “My you look quite different up-close!” His emblem had a face on it, half of the face had a war mask on it, and the other half didn’t.

           Another chief, younger in appearance with a well-kept beard, took her hand and kissed it, her face went bright red, “What a beautiful dress for an equally beautiful woman.” Creepy. She smiled and thanked him for the compliment. She noted his belt buckle had the image of a sun with a moon in the center.

           A third chief, an older woman dressed in gold armor with an emblem of a war horn, grumbled at her, “So you’re just another pretty girl?” Hyrra frowned at that, but politely told the woman that this was, in fact, her first time wearing a dress. That seemed to appease the silver-haired woman, who then asked her about her dragon. In fact they were all interested in her dragon, and they were chatting her ear off about it, and any other topic they could think of. She kept trying to escape the conversation, only for one of the chiefs to ask her another question.

           She wasn’t sure how long she had been speaking with them when somebody appeared behind her. “May I borrow the Guest of Honor my lords and lady?” The chiefs all nodded, allowing her savior to take her elbow and lead her away. Hyrra hadn’t even placed the voice when she turned around to thank, whoever it was.

           She opened her mouth to thank the stranger and stopped cold, “Axel?” He raised an eyebrow at her reaction, “Oh uh, thanks for… stepping in. They probably would have kept talking for hours if you hadn’t.” He was dressed well, not surprising given his wealth, in a fine leather vest with an amber undershirt with gold clasps at the neck.

           He seemed pretty disinterested, “Hm? No problem.” He stopped and looked like he might walk off, but then turned back, “Listen I wanted to apologize for what I said yesterday, or more how I said it. My mom would kill me if she found out I yelled at a girl… even if said girl was you.” Not much of an apology but whatever.

           She shrugged, “Its fine, I’d already forgotten about it. Was that all?” He rescued me to tell me some stupid apology? I don’t buy it, where’s the insult? Where’s the snide remark?

           “Well, now that that’s out of the way,” Here it comes, “I guess I better go find Bjorn.” Weird, no insult? “...You look actually, kind of… nice,” What? That bit came out pretty fast and for a second Hyrra didn’t think she had heard it. He must have seen her perplexed face, “Don’t be stupid, I’m just stating the obvious. This” He made a motion to her outfit, “is a pretty big improvement on… normal Ginger.” There it is.

           “Tch, whatever.” She turned and walked away with that, now where is… Ase! She saw the blonde leader standing, surrounded, by chieftains, a few she recognized as the ones who had practically abducted her earlier. She waited around, hiding behind pillars, until most of the chiefs had wandered off. “Hello, Ase.” She smiled as she walked over to the other woman.

           “Hyrra? I almost didn’t recognize you… you know without the dirt and fainting.”

           “Am I ever going to hear the end of that?” Hyrra groaned.

           Ase chuckled, “I doubt it.”

           “I just wanted to thank you for having me as your Guest of Honor.”

           “Your showing was remarkable. You and Stormbreaker work surprisingly well together, despite everything. I’m quite sure you, and your team, will become amazing dragon riders. Maybe you’ll even become the next Champions?”

           “You can bet on that.” Hyrra grinned and Ase gave a demure smile before being approached by another round of guests. Hyrra excused herself and stepped away. The rest of her night was spent schmoozing with chiefs, joking around with some of the other students, and then finally she regrouped with Calder, who dragged her to the food table and showed her what to eat.

           It came to the time of the night when they began to play music, Hyrra was more than surprised to find herself neck deep in potential dance partners. “You’re certainly popular.” Calder said around his mouthful of food when she returned from her third dance of the evening, “Must be because you’re the Guest of Honor.”

           “You sure it nothing to do with the fact that I look pretty?” She asked, and then rolled her eyes as he shrugged in response.

           Hyrra heard someone clearing their throat behind her, she was about to turn around and scream at whoever it was when, “May I have this dance?” Aw he looks so cute! It was Eirek, the leader of NadderSpines, the twelve year old boy only came up to her ribs and his face was bright red, a marked contrast to his auburn mop of hair and hazel eyes. Behind her she heard Calder snort.

           “Of course, I’d be delighted!” It was kind of cute to see his face brighten up, he has freckles… honestly Eirek looked like a grown up version of Midge. So she danced with the younger leader, and Hyrra caught quite a few people ‘awwing’ at them, including Brey. Once the dance was over she smiled down at him, “You know you’re quite a good dancer!”

           She walked back to Calder, and Brey soon joined them, but despite her best efforts Hyrra was still being offered hands to dance with. Brey smiled broadly at her, “Wow! So many guys want to dance with you… it’s like you’re a princess or something.” Oh no she has that dreamy look again, “Imagine it: Flowing red hair, queen of dragons!”

           “They want to dance with me because I’m the Guest of Honor, not because I’m some mythical woman.” Hyrra said lackadaisically, and she heard Calder say something like ‘told you so’.

           Brey smacked Calder’s shoulder, “Well, I want to dance with you! And not because you are the Guest of Honor.” She said holding out her hand, Hyrra giggled, but then saw that she was serious.

           “Wait, really?” Brey nodded, Hyrra shrugged, why not? So she and Brey danced to one of those fast-paced musical numbers, it was actually quite fun. Later she went back outside to check on Storm and found him surrounded by new, adoring fans, most of which were keeping a good distance from the Skrill or offering him exotic foods, which he happily accepted. Other than that he seemed to be just hanging out with Goldtyr, who many people were clamoring over and asking Vet if he had any of his shed gold scales for sale. When she returned inside the music was still going and people, now both male and female, were asking to dance with Hyrra.

           By the time the evening was drawing to a close Hyrra felt like she had danced with everyone in the archipelago and had eaten her way through the archipelago, thanks to Calder’s persistence. She and Brey wandered back to their rooms, yawning and talking slowly. Once back in her room Hyrra caught her reflection again, and ran a hand through her hair, which was already starting to frizz and curl back up, well back to ‘rough and tumble’ Hyrra.

 

{A.N: So here ends the Dragon Rider Games arc! Hope you enjoyed, it really helped me with writing action sequences... which will be coming in handy very soon ;), see you in the next chapter!}

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Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 17: Combat Training

Chapter 17

Combat Training

            “I’m just not sure what to do!” Brey banged her head against the breakfast table, while Hyrra looked on with a frown.

            “What is you have to do again?” Hyrra asked, she was still half-asleep and hadn’t been really listening to Brey’s morning rant on the way over to the Mess Hall.

            Brey sighed, “I have to smith a weapon for my class…”

            “Aren’t you really good at smithing…? Or whatever you call that.”

            “Well, yeah, but I don’t know what to make! Everyone’s just making swords or axes and I want mine to stand out!” Brey whined as she rubbed her face, she took out her journal, “And I’ve drawn a million sketches but none of them are unique enough!” She flipped through the journal, showing Hyrra some of her ideas, she’s right most of these just look like a basic sword, “Wait! Don’t you have your combat training today?” Hyrra nodded, “Can I tag along? Maybe seeing some more weapons in action will help me come up with a good idea.”

            “Sure, whatever.” Hyrra shrugged, “We should probably leave now though. I’d hate to be late on my first day of combat training.”

            Standing outside she stretched her arms overhead and yawned, there was a lot of morning dew on the ground and the air had a seasonal chill still hanging in the air, “The scouts and warriors are practicing together today right?” Brey asked, rubbing her arms to shake off the chill.

            “Yeah, something about it ‘helping us to work together in the future’.” Hyrra explained as they began the walk up to the stables, “Korinta really stresses that scouts and warriors need to get along.”

            Brey nodded, “Makes sense. I mean scouts and warriors have to have each other’s backs, right?” They strode into the stables and found their dragons. Dizzy was already up and bouncing around, does that dragon ever sleep? Meanwhile, Stormbreaker awoke with a yawn, stretched his wings ahead of him and leaned on them, like a cat, to stretch out his back. He shook his body afterwards and the four left for the practice field.

            They arrived at around the same time as the other students, Brey and Dizzy sat down on the side of the field to observe the proceedings, while Hyrra and Storm landed near Korinta and the other scouts. After a few minutes most of the other riders had appeared, and on the other side of the field Hyrra could see Eret speaking to the warriors.

            “As many of you know a scout should have a weapon that is easily carried, meaning it should not be too bulky, and, for many of you, it will be imperative that your weapon can double as a long range weapon.” Korinta explained as she showed them her weapon of choice, a pair of long, sleek knives which could also be thrown. Hyrra knew that Thrain tended to favor bows, his personal bow was made of a tough wood that could also be used to block an axe or sword. Hyrra remembered the glaive she had used during her test for the Fearless Four, though that didn’t look to be one of the weapon options today. Hyrra could see a sword, axe, bow, spear, and a shield, among the weapon choices.

            Once Korinta had finished her spiel, Hyrra walked over and snatched up the polearm before anyone else did. It looked like the warriors were beginning to wander their way as well, Calder immediately found Hyrra, “A spear?” He looked down at the wooden weapon with a frown.

            “What? I hate bows, and swords and axes are too heavy!” He chuckled at her explanation and hoisted his axe easily onto his shoulder, showoff. “Come on, Eret wants us to run you guys through the basics.” She and Calder stood across from each other, Eret or Korinta would occasionally walk by and critique them on their techniques.

            “Foot forward Hyrra. Not too far, or you won’t be able to move quickly. A wider stance, unless you want to lose your balance.” Korinta scolded as she watched Hyrra closely, much more than her other students, because I’ve not had their experience, “Good,” The sharp-eyed woman watched as Calder took a few practice swipes at Hyrra, who kept just out of reach of the axe and made a few jabs back at him. Korinta made a motion for them to pause, “A polearm is a smart choice for a scout because it keeps your enemy at a safe distance.” She prowled over to Hyrra, and then got very close to Hyrra pushing the spear across Hyrra’s chest, “But if they get too close your spear will become utterly useless, a polearm wielder must be fast on their feet, keeping just out of range at all times” She then backed up, “I think, with some practice and the right polearm, you could be a formidable opponent. Keep practicing you two.” Hyrra and Calder continued their practice, slowly ramping up the speed, until they were trading blows and dancing around each other with ease.

           They stopped to rest and Hyrra noticed a few of the other pairs having duels, which were a lot more intense then the practicing that she and Calder had been doing. Hyrra looked at the simple spear in her hands, already showing notches in it from Calder’s axe, not as good as the one I used last week. Unlike the glaive, the head of this spear was just a sharpened point, meaning it could only be used to stab, and not to cut.

           “Jeez, Ase and Thrain are really going at it.” Calder nodded over to where the upperclassmen were trading sword hits. The two were going at each other as if they were old enemies, and neither really seemed to be winning. This was because Ase was tough and agile, but Thrain was also strong and quick. It was a bit like a cat fighting a snake, “Are they actually friends? Looks to me like they fight a lot.

           “They seemed to get along pretty well during the games… and they did found they're team together. I just think they’re comfortable around each other and that they know when to fight and when not to. And I also think their rivals, but you know… friendly rivals.”

           “Friendly rivals? Is that thing?” Calder looked at her questioningly and she shrugged at him, “Come on, better get back at it or Eret may come over here a yell at us.” He sighed as he stood up, Hyrra soon followed his example. They had only been practicing a little while when Eret called for everyone to switch to a new partner. I wonder if I can partner with Ase…

           Hyrra blanched though when Bjorn appeared behind Calder and grabbed his shoulder, making it very obvious that they were now partners. Taking a wild guess my next partner is… “Afternoon Ginger, hope your pet wasn’t going too easily on you.”

           She groaned, “Do you have to give everyone nicknames? And what is with you calling Calder my ‘pet’?”

           “I only give them to the people I like,” he grinned a toothy smile, “And, let’s face it, Calder’s been at your beck and call since the two of you were children. Now are we going to practice or not?” Hyrra didn’t want to admit it, but she was scared of practicing with Axel. Not only was he probably still upset about Hyrra beating him in the Games, but he was also an amazing warrior. Not to mention, he had his characteristic long, light sword, giving him great reach and speed.

           A few minutes in and, surprisingly, their practice was going well. Axel was definitely not guarding his blows as much as Calder had been, but he also wasn’t trying to take off her head. Though as the practice wore on, she began to tire and her feet began to move slower; on the other hand, Axel was constant and wasn’t slowing down. She found herself having to use the spear’s shaft to deflect and absorb the blows, rather than dodging them. Hyrra knew that Axel could see her waning strength, but he clearly didn’t care, or he had decided to use this as an opportunity. Or both. When she went to take a stab at him, he easily countered her and swept the spear up. She flinched when she felt the flat of the blade smack her side.

           “Ow!” She fell to the ground, glaring at the silver-eyed Warrior, who shrugged nonchalantly at her as he looked at his sword. If only I had that glaive… then she would have been able to use it like a sword.

           “A sharp blade would have hurt a lot more.” He reminded her coldly, just as Korinta and Eret called for the end of practice. Hyrra grumbled under her breath as she stood up and marched over to her teacher, glowering. Hyrra listened as Korinta gave another flowery speech and then excused them for the day.

           The redhead went and sat down by Brey, who was scribbling in her sketchpad, “I don’t know why I never thought of that! A polearm! I doubt a lot of people will be doing those! But how do I make it unique?” The girl stopped, staring at her sketch.

           “Make it a glaive,” Hyrra offered. Brey nodded ecstatically, and began to sketch out the blade.

           She sat down her pencil, “Still seems kind of blank… what if I made it double sided?” Hyrra perked up and watched Brey draw another blade on the other end of the polearm, on the opposing side to the other one, “Oh and what if I could make it also function as a sword?”

           Hyrra rolled her eyes, now she’s going too far, “How could you accomplish that?”

           “Don’t know! I’ll fiddle around with it once I’ve started building it.” Brey smiled. Calder wandered up to them, finally having gotten away from Eret

           “You okay, Hyrra? I hope Axel didn’t get to rough, he’s pretty competitive and doesn’t really know how to dial-it-back.”

           Hyrra shook her head, “I’m okay… though I think my ribs are bruised.” She touched the spot where she had been hit and immediately felt pain, “Yup. Bruised.” She grimaced.

           In the next few days Hyrra and Calder saw very little of Brey, and almost a full week later the engineer reappeared, looking tired but very happy, “It’s finished!” She announced to the two friends sitting on the lakeshore.

           “Your weapon you had to work on? What did Gobber think of it?” Hyrra asked, knowing that Gobber was the teacher who was grading their work.

           “If it tells you anything…he loved it! He even thought it was good enough to be an actual weapon!” Brey dropped a bag on the ground and pulled a short, only about as long as the handle of a sword, silver pole from it.

           “I thought you were making a glaive? You know… has blades? Is long?” Calder looked critically at the simple, silver pole.

           Brey glared, “Watch!” she pressed down on a small button on the front of the pole and immediately afterwards the pole elongated on both sides, with a sharp blade on either end.

           Hyrra’s eyes widened, “Cool!” she jumped up excitedly when Brey held it out to her.

           “Made of Gronckle Iron! Originally it was just made of regular iron, but after Gobber said he thought it should be a real weapon, he let me use some of his Gronkle Iron to make it!” Hyrra bounced the staff in her hands, testing the balance and grinned at how well made it was.

           “You really are a master at smithing!” Brey beamed at that. Hyrra gave the weapon a test swing, wow it’s so light!

           “Well I’m glad you like it because I made it for you.”

           Hyrra stopped, “Huh? Why?” Looking at the silver weapon reverently.

           “Other than the fact that you’re my friend and need a good weapon? It’s your birthday tomorrow… April 23rd is your birthday, right?”

            It’s my birthday tomorrow? I forgot! “Yeah it is… thank you!”

            “So you’re going to be… 16, right?” Calder asked, and she nodded “Caught up to me! You know… for two months and then I turn 17.” She stuck her tongue out at him.

            “I won’t be 16 until September…” Brey whined, “Nevertheless, I wanted to make sure you had a good weapon… especially since you’re supposed to be going on a few, short missions soon.” Hyrra nodded, she was quite nervous about that.

            Hyrra pressed the button on the side, again, and watched, as the weapon shortened on one side and one of the blades disappeared into the hilt, making it a very short polearm with a blade on one end, “I never could get it to double as a sword but this way you won’t be in too much trouble if you do have to fight in closer quarters.” She pressed the button again and the other side slipped back into the hilt.

           “This will definitely come in handy, thank you…” Hyrra as caught off guard when Brey threw her arms around her neck, giving her a big hug before stepping back.

            “Now I’m going to take a nap! I’ve not had a good night’s sleep in a week!” She yawned as she walked off towards the dorm, waving back at them as she disappeared indoors.

           “Birthday brawl?” Calder offered once she had disappeared.

           “Technically, it’s a Before-birthday brawl.” She corrected as they walked to the stables, and from there they flew to the practice field. There they spent the rest of the afternoon testing the integrity of Hyrra’s gift, this will definitely help. Hyrra thought about the next week, she would be shadowing Thrain for the entirety of the week.

Flying out further than I’ve ever gone… what could go wrong?

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Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 18: Dragon Slayers

Chapter 18

Dragon Slayers

            Cold wind whipped Hyrra’s face, so she pulled her scarf further over her mouth. Her eyes were stinging too, but there wasn’t much she could do to stop that without goggles. She grumbled under her breath and glanced at Thrain’s back. They had been flying for at least two hours and Hyrra still wasn’t exactly sure what their mission was supposed to be. She just knew she was supposed to follow the elder scout. Yesterday’s mission had been very successful, though it had been a pretty simple surveying job.

            Suddenly the emerald dragon ahead of her began to dive towards the ground, pulling up on an icy beach. Stormbreaker landed roughly next to the larger dragon, with a huff, “This is where the notes said a Snow Wraith has been spotted.” He hopped down from his dragon and stared at his journal critically.

            “We’re looking for a dragon? Why?” Hyrra shivered as she dismounted, and then decided to stand closely to her warm dragon, who glared at how close she was to him. The Ladies regarded Stormbreaker with a cool, haughty look, Mint, in particular, looked down upon him. Each of the heads were slightly different in their personalities and coloring… Mint was a bit bluer than the rest and the ‘lead’ head, Basil was darker green and tended to be the curious head, Olive was bright green and very peaceful, and Sage was almost a teal and tended to be the smartest.

            Thrain gave his dragon a pat on the shoulder, “There is some suspicion that this dragon has been targeting ships… a lot of ships pass this area and a good deal have gone missing.” He closed his journal, “Let’s take a look around, look for anything that would signal a Snow Wraith has been here.” When she didn’t answer, he sighed, “You know… ice caves, fish bones, the obvious claw marks…” He rolled his eyes as he headed off in one direction, “Signal if you find something. Otherwise we’ll meet back here before sundown.”

            Only minutes into their hike and Hyrra was hating it, “Stupid ice. Stupid snow.” Hyrra complained, the dark dragon next to her rolled his blue eyes, “Shut up Mr. I-can-survive-subzero-temperatures!” Storm purposefully snorted in her direction, soaking her arm in his saliva, “You are disgusting.” She growled through her teeth, “There’s probably not even a dragon on this freezing rock.” Next to her Storm began to growl lowly, “What? I’m right and you know it!” Suddenly Storm jumped on her, shoving her out of the way as a hook, and a net, flew harmlessly over their heads.

            “Well you’re right about there being no dragon! At least anymore…” Hyrra scrambled back to her feet, staring down the man that had thrown the hooked spear at them. Hyrra saw that the large man had another odd hooked spear in his hand already, but then she noticed he wasn’t alone. One man stood to his left and another stood atop a rock on his right. We’re outnumbered… but I have Stormbreaker. Stormbreaker growled at the stranger, lightning dancing down his spine.

            “Oy Malice that dragon’s a Skrill!” The one on the rock slobbered.

            The one on the left nodded fiercely, “Yeah! Stoneheart’s going to real happy with us if we bring ‘em this one!” Stoneheart… I know that name… from the wooden plank? Her heart stopped beating, these are Dragon Slayers!?

            “A Skrill? Now there’s a nasty piece of work…” The one called Malice replied as he eyed Hyrra’s dragon. The redhead reached behind the saddle and felt the smooth hilt of her glaive there, “Well then, what are you waiting for boys? Bring them in!”

            Hyrra’s heart hammered as the large men suddenly jumped at her. On instinct, she grabbed the staff and pressed the button, feeling it elongate to its full size. Within seconds she felt the hair on her arms standing up as Storm fired a shot at one of the men, the ball of lightning moved too fast for him to avoid and it hit in the center of his chest, sending the man flying backwards and twitching. Hyrra was too busy watching the drooling man to see Malice’s weapon launch in their direction. But she did feel Storm smack her with his tail to knock her out of the way, behind her the Skrill was quickly encapsulated in a net which was jammed into the ground by the spear. Hyrra was trying to get up to free her dragon when a boot landed on her stomach and an axe was pointed at her throat, pinning her to the earth.

            “Drivel, get her weapon.” Her weapon was stolen from her hand by the slavering buffoon of a man, really? I lost to this guy? Malice threw a ball towards the netted, angry Skrill and upon landing the ball began to hiss and purple smoke began to fill the area around him. Hyrra watched, horrified, as her dragon began to cough, stumble, and then fall over onto his side, completely unconscious. She made to hit the leg pinning her down when he moved his leg and grabbed her by her messy hair, dragging her to her feet. The man that had been electrocuted by Stormbreaker reappeared, growling and irritated, “Did you finally decide to wake up, Nem?” Malice grinned darkly.

            The broad shouldered man strode over to the struggling redhead, “What do we do with ‘er? You ask me, I think we should string ‘er up! Maybe give ‘er a taste of ‘er own medicine?” He said pointing at the burnt mark on his chest from where Stormbreaker had hit him.

            “Back off, Nem. You know the boss will want to see her first. Why don’t you get this dragon back to camp?” Malice suggested, his dark eyes locking on the aggressive male, who growled but grabbed the net and began to drag the heavy dragon off. Hyrra tried to kick Drivel in his knee but he just lifted her off her feet by her hair.

            Hyrra yelped, “Ow! Watch it you stupid, drooling, bird-brained-” she scratched at the hands in her hair to no avail.

            Drivel giggled as he yanked her hair again to quiet her, “I like her, Malice! She’s funny!”

            “Let’s go back, chances are they found the other one already.” They know about Thrain?

            She was dragged over the icy island by her hair, until Drivel got tired of her kicking him and hoisted her over his shoulder like a sack of grain. Maybe Thrain managed to outwit or fight these guys off… she tried to think positive but suddenly she was dropped onto her butt and her hands were tied behind her back, around a thick pole. And there’s something warm sitting on the other side of this pole.

            She sighed, “You too?”

            She heard Thrain sigh in return, “Yeah… they’re well- trained… way more than what vagabonds should be.”

            “Well, well, well.” Malice reappeared, rubbing his hands together, “Looks like it’s your lucky day! Stoneheart is on a little… vacation right now and won’t be back until tomorrow. So until then you are our guests!”

            “Where are our dragons?” Hyrra hissed.

            “Alive… for now. Though once Stoneheart gets back, who knows?” Hyrra glared sinisterly at the threat. “Welcome to the Dragon Slayers camp, ma ’lady.” He gave a flamboyant bow as he left them. Hyrra looked up and tried to guess the time, maybe 5:00? If they’re telling the truth we need to get out of here before midday tomorrow. And I’d rather not stick around through the night.

            Clearly Thrain was thinking the same, “Before you showed up I saw them dragging Stormbreaker down into that ice cave,” She looked to her right and saw what he was talking about, a dark blue cave cut into the ice, probably made by the poor Snow Wraith that lived here…

            “How do we get out though?” She wiggled her tied hands against his for emphasis.

            “Working on it.” Time ticked by and Hyrra decided to watch their captors closely, in order to avoid thinking about the fact that she was freezing, tired, and hungry.

            Straight in front of her Hyrra saw, what appeared to be, parts of ships, masts, planks... they're the ones behind the attacks. Not the Snow Wraith. There was a lot of loud, celebratory sounds coming from the cave, she overhead a few talking about the reason they were celebrating was because Stoneheart wasn’t there to stop them, are they that scared of him? But the men, and they were all men, filed in and out of the cave all evening. They were all fairly young, she noticed, and none seemed to be from the same tribe. She noticed some had tattoos distinctly from the northern tribes and even a few had the darker skin associated with the southern archipelago. So they aren’t the original Dragon Slayers. Just a bunch of loners collecting together to try and bring back the old ways? “I think I’ve got it.” She heard Thrain whisper, just in time, overhead the sun had begun to disappear, “How tight are your ropes?” Really?

            She wiggled her wrists, this time trying to see how much space she had between her hands, “Not much… but they aren’t too tight.”

            “I thought as much, these guys are used to tying up big dragons… not petite girls.” Hyrra rolled her eyes at his choice of words but saw where he was going with the idea. She began to rotate her wrists, hoping that the knots would loosen up and give her more room to work with. Thrain would occasionally stop her when one of the men walked by. For almost an hour she rubbed, rotated, and twisted her wrists until they were painfully raw.

            Finally she quit, irritated, “I can’t, the knots are too tight!” She angrily shook her whole body, as if she might bring down the whole pole, when her hands hit something, you’ve got to be joking. “Did they take your ‘secret’ knife?” She wanted to hit the guy behind her, when my hands are free...

            She heard him mumble something under his breath, “Right… um… no they didn’t.” She pinched his hand as hard as she could and began to try and grab the hilt of the blade from the back of his waist, “Hey!... Watch it!... Ow!… That’s my finger!” He complained softly as she scrounged for the hilt, finally the belt holding the blade gave way and it fell into her hand awkwardly. Unable to see what she was doing she had to use her sense of touch to position the knife against the ropes to begin to cut them. Thick ropes… this might take a while.

            Her hand came to a still when a small group of the Dragon Slayers wandered over to them, at the head was Drivel, “Dribble, right?” she sneered, “Listen I’m sure you have something very intelligent to… slobber… but I’m busy so can you leave?”

            The guys following Drivel chuckled, “I told you guys she was funny!” He elbowed the others.

            “Yeah! Stoneheart’s going to have a field day with this one!” One of the men nudged her boot and she scowled at him.

            Thrain cleared his throat from behind them, “Speaking of this ‘Stoneheart’ who is he exactly? You know… just for reference tomorrow?”

            One of the other guys spoke up, “Stoneheart? A real brute, even by our standards, strong as any dragon and far more vicious. Stoneheart has been real interested in your school, but you’ll meet ‘em tomorrow so I’m sure you’ll have all your questions answered…” that was followed by an evil smirk. Good thing we won’t be around to find out. She leveled a dark look at them as they wandered off, then set back to trying to cut the ropes.

            Snap. She felt the ropes suddenly loosen, she looked around and saw nobody, it’s almost midnight. Maybe they’re all asleep? She turned around and quickly cut the ropes on Thrain’s wrists. “We need to find our dragons… and I’d like to get our weapons back as soon as possible.” She nodded as they both stood up, rubbing their sore wrists, before sneaking their way to the ice cave. Inside they saw a lot of guys passed out on boxes and on the floor, party too hard, lads?

            The cave itself wasn’t very extensive, there was a path to the left that led to a circular room with a desk and a chest, which they found held their weapons. She was pulling out her polearm and Thrain’s Bow when she heard him whisper, “This is impossible…”

            She walked over, “What are you reading? We need to go!” She hissed under her breath.

            “These are in-depth details of the school! Maps… notes on professors… even a few students are listed by name. Axel’s on here, Ase, even you!” He pointed out her name among the list of students, and a shiver ran through her, this is odd, “How could they have gotten that close to the island?”

            Hyrra spoke up, “Maybe they haven’t? What if there’s someone on the island reporting back to them? A spy?” Thrain’s jaw flexed, and he shook his head. He put down the notes and they left the room, heading down the other pathway. They quickly found their dragons, both looking very angry and uncomfortable, “This is just cruel!” Hyrra growled. The Ladies were all muzzled, and each head was tied separately to the ceiling, so they couldn’t see each other. The large dragon’s legs were chained to the ground and the wings had been tied to her body. Thrain ran to his dragon and she ran to hers. Storm was submersed up to his neck in freezing water, the only way his head was staying up was because a rope was around his neck, his wings were tied against his body, and he had his mouth strapped closed with thick leather. She didn’t think twice before wading into the water and swimming out to her dragon, she sliced the ropes off his wings and unstrapped the leather muzzle. Very quickly he leaped from the water, carrying her with him. It wasn’t until they were out of the water that she realized how cold the water had been…this time, when she cuddled up to her dragon, he didn’t seem to mind.

            Thrain was reassuring each of the heads, as they sniffed and licked him, that he was fine. Hyrra heard a stirring outside, “We need to go now.” Thrain whispered, mounting his dragon quickly. Up above Hyrra saw a small crack, she went to have Storm fire at it but Thrain stopped her, “We need to be quiet, we’re scouts, not warriors.” He had the Ladies shoot acid at the ice, and Hyrra watched as the ceiling quickly opened up as the ice melted. But then a chunk of ice fell. And there was an explosion of activity coming from the tunnel when the chunk smashed against the floor.

            “Time to go!” Hyrra and Storm zoomed through the opening, with the four-headed dragon hot on their heels.

            Hyrra wasn’t sure how long it took to get back to the school, but the sun was rising when they landed in front of the Main Hall. Tired, but driven, the two riders stumbled into the Hall to the sight of three, very relieved, teachers, “We were so-”

            Thrain cut the headmaster off, “The Dragon Slayers exist!” That had all of the teachers come to a full stop. The Headmaster’s face darkened, Korinta tensed, and Dr. Lardsen blanched, “They’re the ones behind the attacks on the missing ships up north.” Thrain told their tale of being captured and what they managed to learn about the leader, Stoneheart, before coming to the grimmest part, “They have maps of the school. Names of teachers and students. Even some of our dragons are on the list! They’ve got in-depth reports of our movements around the island.”

            "This is bad.” Really? I hadn’t realized. Korinta said softly, at a complete loss for words it would seem.

            “Very severe indeed. This Stoneheart appears to be the ‘head of the snake’ so-to-speak, if we can find and capture him perhaps we have a chance of stopping any attacks…” The Headmaster theorized, rubbing his black and white beard thoughtfully, “You two should go rest… you’ve been through quite enough. But I’m proud of both of you for figuring it out and working together. This could have ended very badly.” The two left without saying anymore to the teachers, or each other.

            Hyrra escaped to her room, closed the door, and hid under her blankets, like a child.

They weren’t supposed to be real. Dragon Slayers are just tales parents told… professional dragon killers… and Stoneheart… so evil his own men feared his presence? How do we fight that?

 

[A.N: How do the Dragon Slayers know so much about the school? Is there a spy? If so, who? Who is 'Stoneheart'? Why are the Dragon Slayers back? Are Hyrra and Stormbreaker strong enough to defeat this enemy? So many questions! I'd like to hear what you guys think is going on :D p.s. sorry it took me a while to get this chapter out, been busy with life and school!]

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Chapter 19: Know Thy Enemy

Chapter 19:
Know Thy Enemy

            Hyrra was wandering back towards the dorms after a fairly tame training session when she was accosted by Brey, “Hey! What are you doing?”

            Hyrra narrowed her eyes at the other, “… going back to my room?” Something about Brey’s demeanor seemed off.

            Brey fidgeted a little bit, “I don’t know how else to ask you except to be direct… Dr. Lardsen and I were wondering if you would help us with our research.”

            Hyrra’s eyebrows raised, “Research? What kind of research?”

            “On the Dragon Slayers… only you and Thrain have seen them face-to-face, and Thrain is really busy…”

            “I guess I could help… though I don’t know what information I can offer. I only met a few and didn’t learn that much.”

            Brey smiled brightly, “That’s okay! You’d be surprised what kind of information can be useful!” She grabbed Hyrra’s hand and pulled her towards the lab classroom. Stepping through the doors felt very strange to Hyrra, she hadn’t been in a lab since the first week of school, over two months ago.

            “Ah, Hyrra! Thank you for helping us.” Dr. Lardsen had a large journal in front of him, “These are the historical accounts I could find of the Dragon Slayers, along with my own notes.” Hyrra sat down across from the teacher and Brey, “Now I have a few questions, just be honest and think back as hard as you can… I know it’s been almost a week since you saw them, so I don’t expect you to remember every little detail.” Hyrra nodded, “First, did you catch any names?”

            “Yes, there was a guy named Drivel, not a smart guy,” She watched him write in his journal, “The other one was …Ren? No… Nem? Yeah, Nem was his name, really aggressive and strong.” She remembered he was the guy who dragged Storm like he weighed nothing, “Then there was Malice, he seemed to be higher up on the food chain than the other two. He did a lot of the commanding.”

            The bespectacled man nodded, “Now what did the Dragon Slayers look like? Similar? Very different? Could they have been from the same tribe?”

            “No, I think they’re all from different tribes. Some of them had tattoos from the Northern Tribes and others had darker skin.”

            Brey frowned, “From the Southern Archipelago?” Hyrra nodded, “Weird… so maybe they’ve spread farther than we thought?” She looked at the map in front of her.

            “The original Dragon Slayers were a northern tribe, so I’m not surprised by the presence of northerners. But southerners? That is strange. Dragon Slayers weren’t well known for accepting those different from themselves.” He pushed his glasses up his nose, “Now anything odd you noticed, for instance, strange weapons?”

            That is a very specific question, “Yes… Malice had a hooked spear with a net attached to it, and they used this purple gas to knock out Stormbreaker.” She saw Dr. Lardsen’s jaw clench, Hyrra frowned, “Sir, how do you know so much about the Dragon Slayers?”

            “I’ve done my research.” He said evasively, not looking up at her.

            “That question though… about the weapons? That was pretty specific.”

            The teacher took off his glasses and cleaned them, “I suppose it can’t hurt to tell the truth… I’m originally from a Northern tribe. One that no longer exists.”

            Brey looked at him, “Because of the Dragon Slayers?”

            He nodded, “… I know I told you that the Dragon Slayers disappeared dozens of years ago, and they did, but when I was about eight they returned to the far north. My clan suffered gravely because of it. The gas they use is actually Zippleback gas that has been purified into a hyper-potent asphyxiant… it chokes anything that breathes it by flooding the lungs.” Poor Stormbreaker. “The hooked spear you mentioned is one of their prized weapons, they call it a Bill. It can be used without the net when the goal is to kill a dragon versus just capturing it. Which they generally prefer. The Dragon Slayers have almost zero tolerance for dragons. Unless they’re dead.” He slipped his glasses back onto his face.

            “So how do they get money? What do they trade? If they don’t keep the dragons alive or sell them...” Brey asked, and Hyrra was wondering that as well.

            “In the old days they were almost totally self-sufficient and got extra income from taking jobs from other tribes. I suppose these new Dragon Slayers have decided that stealing is the best way to supplement their profits.” That would explain the ships.

            It got quiet for a few minutes, “I’m sorry about your tribe…” Hyrra swallowed thickly, he was eight and lost his entire family? Hyrra had always just assumed that Dr. Lardsen came from some regular, old tribe and had a boring life before the school.

            The instructor sighed, “It’s fine… it was a long time ago.”

            Brey cleared her throat, “So, what’s next?”

            Dr. Lardsen jumped up and retrieved a large book, he seemed to have returned to his normal self very quickly, “This ‘Stoneheart’ individual worries me greatly.” He dropped the book on the desk, “Stoneheart may not be their actual clan name… but if it is we might be able to figure out from where they originated with this book. My predecessor, at this school, compiled a book of known clans and where they come from.” They flipped through the book, going straight to the ‘S’s but found little, there was a ‘Stoneheart’ clan but they had been totally extinct for a hundred years and came from the eastern shores. “Well then… that leaves us with nothing other than a nickname. We don’t even know the face of our adversary.”

            Hyrra spoke up, “Well we know something: he’s greatly feared by his men, who are all powerful men in their own right.”

            “There’s another thing I’m wondering… you said that his men admitted that Stoneheart is interested in the school, yes?” Hyrra nodded, “Then why haven’t we seen anything? Not to mention, you and Thrain escaped almost a full week ago, so I find it strange that they haven’t retaliated in some way.” He’s right that is weird.

            “Maybe they don’t think they’re strong enough to face us head on?” Brey asked.

            Hyrra shook her head, “I doubt it. They were very confident and defeated Thrain and I, and our dragons, in less than twenty minutes. I didn’t even have time to actually fight them; though, if there was ever a day that we were going to find them it would be today. I know that a bunch of the scouts have been sent out to survey all neighboring islands.” Dr. Lardsen nodded, deep in thought as he began to tidy up the desk.

            Brey perked up, “Oh! Speaking of Stormbreaker, how is he? I heard he was acting a little… off since you got back.”

            “Yeah, he’s been almost… nervous? I’m not sure, but he’s been very protective of me since we got back…” ‘Protective’ was one word but ‘possessive’ probably fit better. Storm had slid backwards in his tameness, and had become more feral-aggressive. Again. But when they were together he seemed better, until someone they didn’t know approached and then he would get incredibly protective, to the point that he would ‘herd’ her away from the strange person or dragon.

            Dr. Lardsen looked up at her, appearing concerned, “You need to be careful, he might have been traumatized by his experience with the Dragon Slayers… that encounter has probably injured his view of humans in general. If you don’t help him through this he may return to his full feral state, which could mean he’ll eventually turn on the humans he knows… like you.” Hyrra frowned, she was fairly certain Stormbreaker would never intentionally hurt her, Dr. Lardsen must have seen her facial expression, “We often forget that dragons are still animals. Very large, powerful, smart animals that remember negative experiences for a long time. Perhaps you should go spend some quality time with him? Outside school activities? That could help build up his confidence and trust again.” Hyrra nodded, he’s probably right… I’ve not just ‘hung out’ with Storm in a while, “Thank you for giving us some much needed information, Hyrra.”

            A few minutes later Hyrra and Brey left the lab, “You heading back to the dorm?” Brey asked, looking up at the sky. The sun was just beginning to sink over the caldera wall.

            “No… I think I’ll go be with Storm for a little while.” Brey smiled at her and waved as she walked off. Hyrra was worried after hearing what the teacher had told her. Her greatest fear had always been that Stormbreaker would return to that terrified, wild dragon she had met in a cage last October. She entered the stable and found her dragon in his usual spot, in a quiet corner basking in the sun from an open window. He opened an eye, as if asking if he needed to get up, but she sat down next to him and leaned against the wall. He closed his eye and sighed, he lifted his heavy head and set it on her lap, before falling back to sleep quickly. She chuckled when he began to snore, I think the worst is over… I hope it is at least.

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Chapter 20: Tragic Accidents

Chapter 20:

Tragic Accidents

            Hyrra woke up to Calder looming over her, poking her forehead, “What?” Why is he in my room? Then she looked around, oh, I must have fallen asleep in the stables… gross. Stormbreaker abruptly woke up with her stirring and stared at Calder distrustfully. Three days of ‘quality time’ and he’s not getting better.

            “Sleeping in the stables now? What’s next eating raw fish?” Calder joked.

            “Haha,” She laughed dryly “… what time is it?” She yawned, stretching her arms overhead.

            “Almost noon.”

            She gaped at him, “I missed class!” Korinta’s going to be angry.

            Calder chuckled, “You’ll be fine it was an obstacle course from what I heard, which we all know you two are good enough at.”

            “Still… Korinta’s going to chew me out.” She sighed, guess I should try to avoid her for a little while. She stood up, “I need a shower.” She grumbled as she knocked straw off of her pants. Stormbreaker got up to follow her and she shook her head, “No buddy, I’m going to the dorms… why don’t you go find Goldtyr or Pearl?” Those being the only two dragons he still seemed comfortable around. The dragon grumbled but stood up and walked in the opposite direction of her.

            “Wow… he really is clingy right now isn’t he?” Calder sighed as the dragon disappeared.

            “I know… and he’s not getting any better.”

            “It’s only been, what? Eight days since you were captured? It’ll take time for him to get over that kind of trauma, I mean the poor dragon was gassed, tied up and nearly drowned in water, which, if I have to remind you, he’s been deathly afraid of for months, if not years.” Something about what Calder said made her hopeful.

            “Maybe… I guess we will see. Are you done for the day?”

            He sighed, “Sadly no, I’m supposed to practice dragon-assisted battling today.” Hyrra smirked knowing that that was Calder’s least favorite class, mostly because his dragon was dwarfed by his classmates’ dragons. She left the stables rubbing her neck, she supposed it hurt from having slept against a wall… and she clearly hadn’t slept very well because she was exhausted. Walking back to her dorm, she took a quick, scalding shower and then returned to her room, where she sat down on her bed and peered out the window. The sun was already starting to descend by that time, I slept the whole day and yet I still feel tired? She’d been pretty drained lately with Stormbreaker being so anxious and having to make sure he didn’t attack other riders and their dragons was more than a little bit taxing on her.

            The redhead noticed something odd going on outside suddenly, there seemed to be a buzz outside… and not the good kind. She immediately grabbed her glaive and slipped it into her belt before running out the door and down the stairs. As she ran across the bridge she bumped into Ase, who grabbed her wrist in a vice grip, “Come with me!” The armored woman growled.

            Hyrra took a wild look around as she was all but dragged up to the stables. She saw Korinta’s massive dragon, along with Dr. Lardsen and his goggle-wearing Whispering Death, hovering over the caldera, “What’s happening?”

            “Scouts reported three scouting ships flying the Dragon Slayers’ crest. Korinta and Dr. Lardsen are leading a team out to, hopefully, apprehend them.” Ase informed her as they stepped into the stables. Hyrra saw Calder, Brey, Bjorn, Axel, and Thrain among the others that had been collected for the job, Storm instantly came to her side and she mounted up, “We’re taking as many dragons as possible… thanks to you and Thrain we know just how dangerous these Dragon Slayers can be.” Hyrra felt Stormbreaker shift at the words, I don’t know if he’s ready for this… but we have to do it!

            They took off to catch up to Korinta and Dr. Lardsen. And very quickly Storm wasn’t himself. Instead of flying at the front, he was flying very slowly, even Bjorn’s Snafflefang was flying faster than them. They caught up to the teachers and began to fly over the western training grounds, Hyrra was too worried about the fight to come, to realize that Storm began to slow even more. But she noticed when he suddenly banked right.

            “Storm? Bud? We’re supposed to be going that way!” She pointed at the other dragons and riders, who hadn’t even noticed her absence yet, and who were very quickly disappearing into the skyline. I’m being abducted by my own dragon. She tried pulling on the saddle but that didn’t deter the dragon from diving down to the cliffs and coming to a full stop. She leapt off his back in a huff, “Excuse you! You can’t just not do a mission! We need to be there, they are all counting on us!” She was hoping the others would realize soon that she wasn’t there. Storm growled at her, which shocked her, “Your attitude has become unacceptable! I understand that the Slayers incident was upsetting… but we have to keep going! We can’t just give up!” He continued his intense growling during her tirade. “Fine. I’ll go back… maybe I can get another dragon who will work with me.” She began to move towards the caldera, but Storm quickly cut her path off by standing in it.

            He seemed angry, after all he was growling and baring his teeth, but Hyrra wasn’t so sure. His eyes seemed panicked and his wings were tucked close to his body, very reminiscent of the dragon she had met in the cage. Hyrra ignored him and went to move around him, and he lit up. She jumped back, “Woah!” He’s using his lightning against me?! “What is wrong with you?! Stop that!” The lightning along his spine fizzled out, maybe it was just an accident? This time, instead of walking around him, she walked at him, hoping he would move. He didn’t. He stood fast in one spot, snarling. She snorted back at him and went to push his nose out of the way with her right hand.

            She saw the flash of blue too late. Time seemed to slow down. She was mysteriously calm, given the situation, the lightning didn’t disappear… I should have known better… she silently scolded herself as she saw a flash of blue lightning ark from his spiked nose and towards her open palm. Point blank range. This won’t be good.

            It was weird. It didn’t really hurt, but she felt all of the muscles in her hand spasm at once. Her fingers curled hard and involuntarily, and as the current traveled up her arm, her muscles tightened and convulsed so hard it launched her off of her feet. As she was falling backwards, she saw Stormbreaker’s face. There was no anger. There was no growling. It was pure horror. But then his face was gone and she was seeing the tree line and then the sky, as she fell backwards. Oh, hey… look its Dr. Lardsen! They must have realized I was gone. She got a small look of two riders coming her way, but they were too far away for her to see their expressions. I wonder… what are they thinking? She felt the electricity leave her, now numb, arm and sweep through her chest, my heart. Her heart hammered painfully and her lungs seemed to stop working altogether. My heart’s going to explode… and that was her final thought as the sky faded to black.

 

………The teacher ran to the unconscious young woman’s side. Yelling to the warrior to control the dragon. Whispering Death and Monstrous Nightmare worked together to wrestle the hysterical Skrill to the ground. The teacher urgently began to push on the young woman’s chest. He told the frantic warrior that the woman’s heart had stopped beating on its own………..

 

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d do that. I just wanted to protect you. I didn’t know. I couldn’t control it. Many-toothed dragon! Help! Friend! Help! I’m sorry. Help her. What did I do?! What have I done?!

I’m Sorry.

 

[A.N: Ah yes two chapters in one day! Both Chapter 19 and 20 were a little shorter than normal so I decided to give you both. Chapter 21 is almost complete so it should be out soon. As much as I love cliffhangers it would be a bit cruel to leave you wondering for too long!]

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Woah! You got these couple of

Woah! You got these couple of chapters uploaded fast. Keep writing! You're doing a great job.

 

The recent chapter really shocked me (no pun intended!). It was just... wow. Stormbreaker's reaction to it at the end broke my heart.

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Chapter 21: … with Tragic Consequences

Chapter 21:

… with Tragic Consequences

            …Control that dragon! ... Is she dead?!...Her heart isn’t beating… Where’s the DOCTOR?!... Superficial burns on the right palm… keraunographic markings from palm to shoulder on right arm… Right shoulder injured, possibly during muscle seizures… Heartbeat is irregular, most concerning… Lungs traumatized either…  force of lightning or fall… Minor concussion…Yew, will she be okay?...We can’t be sure, it appears she was struck by lightning at point-blank range…. no time for the lightning’s energy to dissipate before… impact…..

            That was a weird dream. Amber eyes fluttered opened to a log ceiling, this isn’t my bedroom. Her eyes shifted to the left, a table with bandages and liquid vials, not a good sign, and then to the right, there was a bench and she saw the outline of somebody lying under a blanket. Curious, Hyrra tried to pull herself up into a sitting position, but she only managed to prop herself up on her elbows and immediately hissed in pain, my whole body aches. Her noise awoke whoever was lying under the blanket.

            She heard a distinctive yawn and then Brey’s head popped up from the bench. Short, raven black hair stuck out in all directions, and groggy eyes locked onto Hyrra and then brightened immediately… with tears, “Hyrra! You’re alive!” The girl tossed the blanket off and jumped up, “Dr. Yew! She’s awake!!!” Hyrra flinched as pain bounced around her skull, “Oh, right, sorry! I forgot about the concussion.” She whispered and went to hug Hyrra, but then stopped as if she was afraid she was going to hurt the redhead.

            Hyrra blinked, confused, “Concussion? What?” Then Hyrra coughed violently, my lungs feel like they’re full of water.

            “You are very lucky to be alive.” Dr. Yew said as he entered the room, the large, severe man with the shaved head stared Hyrra down, “You have minor burns on your right hand,” She looked to her bandaged arm, “Your right shoulder was out of socket when you arrived,” She flinched, now suddenly feeling the pain in her arm, “Your heartbeat was irregular, though we’ve managed to fix that, and your lungs were traumatized…” She tilted her head to the side, what does that mean? The doctor cleared his throat, “You were bleeding into your lungs, we’ve got that to stop but it will take some time for the… fluid to drain, and to top it all off you have a concussion.”

            She had never been more confused in her life, “What happened? Did I fall off the caldera wall? Or did Axel finally lose his head?”

            Brey giggled, “No, funny enough Axel actually carried you here!” Hyrra shuddered at the image, Ew.

            “Having amnesia after electrocution isn’t uncommon.” Electrocution…? So… it wasn’t a dream? But I saw myself… I wasn’t me in that dream. Is that what they call an out of body experience? “Especially after one ‘dies’.”

            Hyrra coughed abruptly, “Wait, what? I died?”

            The doctor nodded, “Your dragon gave you a powerful shock at extremely close range that stopped your heart. Dr. Lardsen was able to get your heart beating again, though by that time you had been technically ‘dead’ for almost three minutes.”

            Hyrra slowly absorbed the information as her own memories began to come back, “Okay... this is all very exciting but when can I leave?”

            The doctor sighed, “Whenever you feel strong enough; though, you will not be allowed to go back to class until I give you the all-clear.” With that Dr. Yew left the room.

            Hyrra frowned, “What day is it?”

            “Hm? Oh! It’s Monday.” I’ve been out for three days?!

            They sat there for some time in silence, “…can you help me up? My shoulder’s killing me.” Hyrra grumbled, not liking the fact that she was having to ask for help. Brey nodded eagerly and helped her up into a sitting position. For a second her head was spinning and she thought she was going to pass out, but then it passed, and was replaced by a growing sense of anxiety, “Wait, what happened to the scouting ships?”

            Brey sighed, “They were gone before we could get there… pretty fast ships apparently.”

            “…and Stormbreaker?”

            Brey got quiet, the dreaded question obviously, “He’s… been… isolated. Quarantined. A lot of the teachers are trying to figure out what to do with him. They’re calling him a dangerous dragon.”

            Hyrra frowned, what ‘to do with him’? That’s just a fancy way of saying they’re trying to find the nicest way to kill him, “He’s always been dangerous, we all knew that.”

            “But he’s never attacked anyone he wasn’t supposed to… especially not his own rider!”

            Hyrra would have crossed her arms if they didn’t hurt so much, “He didn’t attack me. It was an accident.” Brey clearly didn’t believe that, “Listen… I don’t think he can control his lightning as well as we think he can.” The scientist in Brey made her perk up and listen, “Sure he can aim lightning from the clouds, but what about the lightning around his body… his spines? If it doesn’t come out of his mouth it doesn’t get aimed… and I, if I remember correctly, got shocked because I tried to push him out of my way while he was lit up.”

            Brey waved her arms to get Hyrra to shut her mouth, “Wait! You touched him… he didn’t shoot you?”

            “Of course he didn’t!”

            Brey’s eyes widened, “Oh… Oh, the teachers need to hear that. I think they’re convinced he shot you on purpose.”

            Hyrra frowned deeply, “Help me up,” Hyrra demanded as she managed to swing her legs off the bed, “... and I’m going to need clothes.” She added as she looked down at the sleeping gown she had been changed into while unconscious.

            Brey tried to stop her, “No! You just woke up, you’re not strong enough to stand on your own!”

            “I won’t be ‘on my own’, I did just ask you to help me up didn’t I?” Brey grimaced, sighed, and then walked over to a bag and pulled out a change of clothes, which definitely belonged to Brey and not Hyrra. Hyrra changed into the florally shirt and lilac pants, suddenly she was grateful that Brey liked loose shirts because otherwise she wasn’t sure her injured shoulder could have gone into the sleeve.

            Once she was changed, Brey helped her up by hooking her arm around the redhead’s waist. Hyrra had to grit her teeth because she was sore, her arms and chest felt like she had tried to lift a tree. Both girls heard an exasperated sigh coming from the door, “Somehow I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep you in bed. Fine, at least put this on to immobilize your shoulder. And no running, fast flying, lifting anything heavier than a cup, or any other extraneous exercise. If you start coughing excessively you are to return here as soon as possible, understood?” Dr. Yew chattered as he fixed her bandaged arm into a tight sling within seconds, “Also I want to see you back here tonight. You will make sure she follows these directions, right?” He leveled a stern look at Brey who nodded timidly. At that the Doctor allowed her to hobble out of the hospital.

            She flinched when the sunlight hit her eyes, “Where’s Storm being kept?” She asked as she continued to grimace and shield her eyes from the sun.

            “Third level of the stables.” Hyrra didn’t want Brey to know that she was nervous about trying to climb up to the stables in her condition, “Shouldn’t we eat first…? You haven’t had anything to eat in nearly four days.”

            She shook her head, “I’m fine.” Not hungry.

            “Okay… Dizzy!” Brey whistled for her dragon and Hyrra wanted to sigh with relief, “Let’s fly up, Dr. Yew did say to avoid too much exercise.” As Dizzy landed and Brey got the excited dragon to calm down, Hyrra looked around and saw quite a few people eyeing her. She had a feeling a lot of people had heard what had happened by this point. Dizzy crouched lower to the ground to help Hyrra climb into the saddle and then Brey jumped up behind her.

            Hyrra was pleasantly surprised by Dizzy’s flying, it was fairly smooth, but her shoulder still throbbed whenever the dragon flapped her wings to gain altitude. They landed in the stables and Brey jumped off, but made a motion for Hyrra to stay put. She was incredibly grateful, to not have to walk up the stairs. Dizzy hopped up the steps to the second level and then found the next set of stairs and bounced up them as well. Each step made Hyrra grimace and she coughed a few times on the way up, it’s like riding a large, hyper rabbit.

            At the top, Hyrra could hear muffled conversation that trailed off as Dizzy noisily bounced up the stairs. The tall dragon crouched back down and Hyrra slipped off her back, losing her balance as she did so. She managed to regain her poise just as the headmaster, Dr. Lardsen, Vet, and Korinta walked around the corner, “Hyrra? You should be resting.” Korinta scolded her.

            Hyrra shook her head, “I’m fine, how’s Stormbreaker?”

            Vet took the initiative, “He’s not eating.”

            The headmaster looked like he wanted to smack the dragon master, “Are you sure you should be up and walking around?” He frowned.

            “I needed to tell you that it was my fault.” The teachers all looked at her doubtfully, “I was pushing him even though I knew he wasn’t ready to face the Dragon Slayers, and I went to touch him even though I saw his lightning spark up. Just… don’t hurt him. It wasn’t his fault.”

            The adults looked to Dr. Lardsen, specifically because he was the dragon expert, who sighed as he pushed his glasses up his nose, “Regardless of what happened, Stormbreaker needs to learn some manners… and we don’t know how he’ll react to seeing you. This latest trauma could have changed his personality, for better or for worse.” He paused, thinking, “Perhaps we should allow you to see him, and then decide what to do based on his reaction.” He looked to the other adults, who apprehensively agreed to the plan. They stood aside, allowing her to walk past them towards the back of the third floor. Hyrra looked around at the empty stalls, unlike the first floor where the stalls had no doors and were almost completely open, these had bars and iron-wrought doors on them. Some showed signs of abuse, like claws marks and dents. And all the stalls were empty, apart from one.

            She stopped in front of the only occupied cage. Inside she could see Stormbreaker’s back, as he was laying down facing away from her. She wasn’t sure how to get his attention so she just said the first thing that came to mind, “Hey, you bully.” Immediately the dragon stiffened and his head whipped around to look at her. He made a high-keening noise as he stood up and turned to face her, he’s unsteady on his feet, she noticed, they did say he hasn’t eaten in what… probably three days? “No, I’m not mad,” answering his nervous gaze. At that he stumbled over to the bars and sniffed her, she watched his electric blue eyes zero-in on her arm in the sling, “This?” She gave the arm a wiggle, “It’s nothing, give it a couple of days and I’ll be as right as rain!” She grinned at her own use of the old adage. Deciding to test the waters, she reached her good arm passed the bars, and for a second she watched for lightning. But nothing happened, so she reached forward and scratched his chin, “Are you hungry?” Storm’s eyes brightened, and he bobbed his head in response. She smiled back, “Okay, let me go talk to them about that.”

            She walked back to the teachers and sat down on a box, feeling very tired, Brey shoved a piece of bread into her hands, which she happily ate as the adults talked, “He seemed unaggressive.” Dr. Lardsen pointed out to them, “And he’s now willing to eat? Seems to me that he was depressed, not exactly the vicious dragon we were expecting.” Vet picked up a barrel of fish and took it over to the Skrill. He dropped a few through the cage bars and the dragon ate eagerly.

            Headmaster Groundshaker stroked his beard thoughtfully, “Hm… Korinta? You’ve been quiet and you know these two best… what are your thoughts?”

            The thin blonde sighed, “They’ve been working so well together, I was honestly the most surprised by news of the… accident. Perhaps it was just a fluke? The result of a fiery, inexperienced rider and stubborn, upset dragon. It may be partly our faults,” She looked pointedly at Dr. Lardsen, “We both knew Stormbreaker wasn’t acting like himself but we still asked for them to come with us to find the scouting ships.”

            “I agree… it was a fluke, one that can never happen again.” The headmaster stated, aiming a serious look at Hyrra, “Somehow we have to teach Stormbreaker to control his negative emotions in a more constructive way.”

            Hyrra swallowed the last chunk of bread as she thought of something, “What if we had another dragon teach him? One that has good manners?”

            Everyone, once again, focused on Dr. Lardsen, “We’ve used similar ideas in the past to help feral dragons adjust to domestic life… but Stormbreaker doesn’t exactly have a good track record with other dragons. Both he and the other dragon would have to work together.”

            “Stormbreaker gets along with Goldtyr.” Vet pointed out as he walked back from feeding the Skrill, who had eaten his weight in fish.

            “Goldtyr?” Korinta’s head cocked, “Really? That’s quite an odd pairing, isn’t it?”

            “But it works,” The headmaster boomed, clapping his hands, “Goldtyr has perfect manners!” Hyrra grinned, this might actually work, “We’ll need Axel’s permission of course,” Oh, “He should be back soon, Eret had a short lesson planned today.”

            Stormbreaker’s my dragon, “… I can ask him.” He’s my responsibility. The Headmaster nodded, obviously approving of her resolve, “Hey Brey, can I get a ride back down?” She looked up to the other girl with a sheepish grin. The tan teen nodded, which meant Hyrra had to endure another bouncy ride back down to the first floor. At the bottom floor Hyrra slid off the dragon’s back, “Can you stay here Brey? I want to do this by myself.” I really don’t want Axel to think I need babysitting.

            It felt nice to stretch her legs as she walked through the stables looking for the telltale, golden shimmer of Goldtyr’s hide. She passed by Pearl, I wonder where Calder is, and stopped for a moment to pet the beautiful tidal dragon. She got a lick from the pale dragon on her hand in return, which left her hand tingling, healing saliva, pretty convenient for a warrior. When she spotted the Monstrous Nightmare’s head pop up near the center of the stables she said goodbye to Pearl, and made a straight line towards Goldtyr.

            “Stop fidgeting… you’re the one who landed in the mud puddle!” Well I can hear him. Bjorn’s Snafflefang, Snaggletooth right?, stepped aside to let her pass, leaning against his dragon Bjorn glanced her way, but otherwise largely ignored her, he won’t do anything unless Axel tells him to. In the center of the stables Axel was wiping down his dragon’s wings, which had the remnants of dried mud on them. Goldtyr growled at the mud on his other wing and steam began to come off of him, “Don’t you dare flame-up in the stables!” He scolded the dragon, which looked at the tall, lithe male and whined as the steam disappeared, “Do I need to remind you what happened last time you did that? You know I’m not made for building floors!” The wealthy teen growled. Hyrra decided to wait for him to finish cleaning up Goldtyr, who had already noticed Hyrra’s presence and was happily wagging his tail and staring at her, it took a few minutes before Axel saw his dragon’s flailing tail, “What are you doing?” He followed his dragon’s gaze, “Oh… so you’re alive.” He went back to wiping the last bit of mud from his dragon.

            She narrowed her eyes at his back, “Don’t sound so surprised.”

            “I knew you’d be okay, you’re too stubborn to die.” He’s probably right. “So what are you doing here? Trying to find a new dragon that won’t attack you?” Once done, he threw the towel to Snaggetooth, who promptly lit it on fire, “That’s not what I wanted you to do, Snag.” He rubbed his forehead, clearly annoyed. Meanwhile, Bjorn patted his dragon’s head, he openly approved of his dragon’s action.

            “No, and he didn’t attack me.” Axel clearly didn’t believe her, “Ugh, I don’t have to explain that part to you!” She snapped, “I’m just going to get straight to the point: Dr. Lardsen believes we can teach Storm some… anger management techniques if we have another dragon show him.” Axel looked at her blankly, “… a dragon with good manners?” Still nothing, “…a dragon like Goldtyr?” She added.

            Axel’s eyebrow raised at the question, “You want me to lend you, my dragon to, maybe, help your dragon learn not to be such an unpredictable beast?” She went to reply with something sarcastic when she coughed violently, all this talking is really helping me clear out my lungs! She thought cheerfully, but when she looked up Axel had a curiously anxious look on his face, “Uh… you okay?”

            “Yeah, fine. Just a little side-effect from getting electrocuted!” She joked.

            He sighed, and peered up at his dragon, “What do you think Goldtyr? Do you want to play therapist for the crazy dragon?” Goldtyr nodded, “Well, fine then. I need him back by tomorrow.” Goldtyr happily jaunted over to Hyrra and blew hot air over her face.

            “…thanks Axel.” The warrior nonchalantly shrugged off the gratitude, grabbed Goldtyr’s saddle, and left the stable, “I guess we should head up.” She said to the large dragon and began to walk back towards the front when Goldtyr lowered his neck to her level, “Uh… thanks?” She sat down across his neck and he hoisted her up easily. Due to his crawling motion her shoulder didn’t bounce around at all, “I found a ride!” She told Brey as she and Goldtyr appeared.

            Brey looked up from her place next to Dizzy, “That was quick, so Axel actually said yes?”

            “Wasn’t that hard to be honest,” Hyrra said as Goldtyr began to climb the stairs with slow, methodical steps. He slithered up both sets of steps without bumping his rider, a much nicer ride. Back at the top of the stables Hyrra noted that now Korinta was gone, she must have class to teach.

            Goldtyr lowered his head again to allow Hyrra to get off, “Goldtyr, fantastic!” The headmaster chuckled, “I assume you know your role, hm?” The dragon nodded his head, “Good! Dr. Lardsen if you would…”

            The scientist took a length of plain rope and tied one end around Goldtyr’s leg, and gave the other end of the rope to Hyrra, “I know you’re probably tired, but this is the last thing we’ll ask you to do today.” She sighed but took the rope. She walked wearily to Storm’s cage, where Vet was standing to open the door for her.

            On the other side of the door Stormbreaker was already looking more energetic, he paused a second when he saw the rope in her hands but allowed her to walk up to him and tie it around his foot. He stared as he lifted and dropped his foot repeatedly, testing the rope, before setting his foot down, seeming to accept it. He looked down at her and ‘mrred’ happily before bumping his nose against her forehead. She smiled and scratched his jaw as he rubbed his cheeks gently on hers, “Alright, that’s enough, you big sap,” She gently pushed his head away after a few seconds of the lovey-dovey behavior, “You’ve got to learn manners from Goldtyr… so be good, okay?” He snorted, “Yes, you do need to learn manners.” He opened and shut his mouth, copying her, “Don’t you start that again!”

            He followed her happily out of the cage and stepped over to Goldtyr, to whom he ‘mrred’ at as well, and Goldtyr grumbled back a pleased ‘err’, “Hyrra there you are, the doc told me you were up and walking around.” Calder was standing with the teachers, but quickly came over and hugged her gently, and trying to avoid her right shoulder.

            “Yeah… did they tell you their plan?”

            “We did,” Dr. Lardsen said as he fixed his glasses, “Goldtyr will escort Stormbreaker around the school, under supervision of course, and teach him more appropriate responses to surprising, irritating, or otherwise negative experiences.” Stormbreaker was opening and closing his mouth, mocking the doctor, who glared at the dragon, “Does he do this often?” Goldtyr nudged his friend with his wing to make him stop, to which the Skrill rolled his eyes and grumbled.

            Hyrra chuckled, “He does.”

            The professor sighed, “Goldtyr has his work cut out for him… I’ll be able to supervise them for a few hours but I have a class tonight. I’ll leave it up to the rest of you to figure out who should take the other shift.” At this the doctor led the two tied dragon down the stairs, Stormbreaker looked back at her and she nodded for him to go. Once they were gone the headmaster, Vet, Brey, and Calder began to discuss who would take the next stint of the ‘dragon retraining’. Hyrra sat down on a box again, feeling exhausted and even a bit dizzy.

            Brey broke away from the group, “Hey, are you feeling alright?”

            She shook her head, she wasn’t going to lie, “Just really tired… and a little wooz-” She was interrupted by another coughing fit.

            “Let’s take you back to the hospital… the doctor has a medicine he can give you for your cough.” Brey helped Hyrra to her feet.

            “You doing okay?” Calder asked concernedly as he saw her standing up, Brey explained to Calder her symptoms, and Hyrra interjected when she asked who would be watching Storm, “If it makes you feel better Hyrra, I’ll take the second watch and keep up with him.”

            Hyrra smiled softly and, with raspy voice, replied “Thanks.”

            Brey proceeded to all but carry Hyrra back to the infirmary, where the bald doctor was waiting with his arms over his chest. “Did she overdo it?” He asked as he ushered them into her room again, where he gave her a syrup that made her throat tingle. Once she had changed back into the ugly, yet oddly comfortable, gown again, she laid down on the bed.

            She hadn’t noticed that there was a window on the left side of her bed that faced out over the lake. She laid on her side and could see the boys’ dorm and the docks. She also noticed that the sun was only just starting to fall, I was only awake for maybe two hours, but I feel like I haven’t slept for days. She watched dragons fly in the distance and small boats sail into, and out of, the lake; meanwhile, her head was beginning to feel fuzzy, but not in an uncomfortable way, more like she was slowly drifting away.

            The days passed quickly with Hyrra sleeping more often than not. When she was awake, she spent the day building her strength by walking around the lake. By the middle of the week Stormbreaker was joining her on these walks, having pleased the teachers with his ‘retraining’… though he seemed as ornery to her as usual. Still, it felt like things were, perhaps, finally settling back down, and her arm was beginning to feel stronger as well. She often ran into other students, many asked her questions about her future at the school, ‘How will you stay here without a dragon?’ and ‘Are you getting a new dragon?’ where two very popular questions, and she’d have to tell them that, in fact, she and Stormbreaker were going to continue to fly together. Others, mostly warriors, were more interested in her injuries, such as ‘Do you have any cool scars?’ and ‘What’d it feel like to get electrocuted?’, even Ase asked her questions, though she was more interested in how Hyrra was physically doing. Thrain came to talk to her quite a few times, and even brought her notes from a couple of their classes for her to read over, and he didn’t ask very much about her injuries... which was nice.

            It was the end of the week and Hyrra was still unable to return to class, but today was the day that Dr. Yew had decided to take off her bandages and sling. He cut the bandages with a practiced hand and unwrapped her arm, “Thankfully your shoulder wasn’t injured terribly, still I’m surprised at how quickly it’s healing… you’re sure it doesn’t hurt anymore?” She nodded, she hadn’t had any pain from her shoulder in nearly two days, “Pretty remarkable, you must have great genes. You should thank your parents next time you see them.” He said as the last of the bandages fell off. It felt good to finally get the tight bandages off and to wiggle her fingers freely, but she noticed something odd on her arm, “What’s this?” She pointed at the pale, slightly raised lines, they had a treelike pattern that started at the center of her palm as a raggedly shaped circle, and then branched up her arm and stopped at her shoulder with little straying lines.

            “We call them keraunographic markings, also known as skin feathers or lightning flowers,” He gently assessed the markings, “They’re quite common on someone who was struck by lightning, interestingly enough these lines are created by the current as it travels through the skin and breaks blood vessels… though I would have thought they would have disappeared by now.” He placed her hand gently back down, “They’ll probably disappear in the next couple of days. How has your head been? Anymore dizziness or headaches?”

            “It’s been about two days since I felt dizzy and no major headaches in three days.”

            “Good, and your coughing has ceased, yes?” She nodded, “Can you breathe deeply? When you do so does your chest feel tight?” She shook her head and took a deep breath for emphasis, and he nodded as he made marks on his paper, “Good…good. Now how are you feeling overall?”

            She shrugged, “Fine. I’m still a little tired but I can stay awake most of the day now, I’m eating regularly, and I’m bored with walking around the lake.” The stern doctor smirked at that last comment.

            “While I can’t let you return to class until you feel one hundred percent, I can tell you that you can start flying again, but only slow flights. No crazy loops or tricks,” He gave her a strict look, “Your shoulder is free to move now, and I encourage you to move it gently to build up its strength, but still don’t lift anything heavier than a boot for atleast another week. Last thing I need is for you to come back with another, probably worse, dislocated shoulder,” She flinched at the thought, “Also you can return to your sleeping quarters, I don’t need to keep a constant eye on you anymore.” The doctor got up to leave, “Any questions?”

            “When can I return to class?”

            He looked at his paper critically, “Come back on Sunday and I’ll reassess your condition, we’ll go from there.” Hyrra sighed once the doctor was gone, he made it sound like I won’t be going to class for a while… but at least I can leave the caldera now. I wonder what I can do with all my free time…

 

[A.N: Woo! This one was a lot longer than I expected but I cranked it out... so hopefully there aren't that many grammatical errors. And yay! Stormbreaker and Hyrra are okay! And with their relationship in tact? That's the real miracle here!]

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Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 22: Reveries

Chapter 22:

Reveries

            Cool wind brushed against her face as she soared over the island, she was wondering where she was going. She recognized that she was on the western side of the island, the water on this side of the island was rougher and the moon’s reflection was constantly being broken by the waves crashing against the isle. She landed on a tall cliff and peered out to the horizon, what am I doing? She wondered. Am I looking for something? Waiting? She felt, and heard, the air around her move moments before a large dragon landed next to her, startling her.

            She awoke with a jump as the dream quickly faded away into obscurity, looking out the window she guessed it was already around mid-morning. Hyrra stretched her arms over her head, being careful of her shoulder despite the fact that it hadn’t bothered her in nearly three days. While looking out her window, the redhead watched, jealously, as other students milled around the lakeshore and Mess Hall. She had seen Dr. Yew two days prior, on Sunday, but he was still adamant that she couldn’t return to class. Speaking of the doctor… Hyrra looked down at her right hand, hoping that the marring lines would be gone. But they weren’t. The stubborn scar was holding on fiercely; however, she did notice that the puffiness of the scarring had subsided.

            Sighing, she crawled out of bed and got dressed. She decided to put on her long sleeve shirt in order to hide the worst of the scarring, last thing I want is for people to stare. Walking out of her bedroom and down into the common room, she noticed that everyone seemed to be gone already, not surprising, Brey said she had a project to work on. She also knew that Calder was busy with his Tactics class. Which means I’m on my own today, she thought as she walked outside. So far she had always had someone to kill time with so walking by herself felt very alien. Walking into the hall she noticed few familiar faces in the crowd, and she wandered through the tables trying to find a face that she knew.

            “Hyrra, you need a seat?” Hyrra took a second to find the owner of the tiny voice and, took even longer, to recognize who was speaking to her. Tall, brunette, hazel eyes…

            “Uh sure, thanks… Freda, right?” The younger teen nodded happily at having been acknowledged, practically bouncing out of her seat, I thought she was shy?

            Hyrra took a seat across from the warrior and quickly began to munch on an apple, “First off I just want to say I love you!” Hyrra choked on her apple at the abrupt confession, Freda quickly backpedaled, “Not like love-LOVE, you. But, I- I mean, I think you’re really cool!”

            The redhead took a second to clear her throat before looking up at the brunette, who was bright red in the face, “Why? You’re a warrior right? Shouldn’t you look up to someone like Ase?”

            “Well… yeah I guess I should, but you’re soooo much cooler than her.” Hyrra could practically see stars in the other girl’s eyes, I hope I was never this... avid when I was younger… why do I sound so old? “I mean Ase’s all ‘do this’ and ‘do that’” She does a pretty good Ase impression, Hyrra smirked, “I don’t know… you’re just more… chill.

            Hyrra laughed, “Me? ‘Chill’? When have I ever been calm?”

            “During the Games! You were so cool” Hyrra grimaced, overusing the phrase ‘so cool’ is kind of uncool, her facial expression went unnoticed by her admirer, “I mean, you fought tooth and nail to finish the Obstacle Race even though you could have quit at any time!” Hyrra was about to interrupt, I fainted, remember?And your finish in the Finale race?! SO COOL! Even Ase was impressed!” She was kind of hoping nobody heard that outburst, but as she looked around the table she noticed that they were being watched.

            “You were pretty cool... especially fighting off Dragon Slayers” One of the younger boys agreed shyly. She was about to inform him that she did not fight the Dragon Slayers when she was cut off again.

            “Oh! And sticking with a dragon that tried to kill you… pretty awesome!” One of the big guys pointed out, “You really should have been a warrior.” He pointed at her with his fork.

            Hyrra blushed at all the attention, “Nah, you guys have enough cool characters I think. The scouts are where Stormbreaker and I belong.” The table shrugged almost in unison and went back to eating, Hyrra made quick work of her apple, grabbed a piece of bread, and escaped the hall before another conversation about her ‘heroics’ could start up. She headed up to the stables, since nobody’s available today I might as well go out to see the island. She hadn’t been flying on her own in almost a week.

            Inside the stables was quiet, which made sense considering many of the older students and their dragons were at class. Hyrra noticed Freda’s brilliantly colored Death Song, named Patina, hanging out near the front, I wonder what it’s like to ride one? She eyed the turquoise and copper dragon but quickly made her way past as the dragon watched her in return. Stormbreaker wasn’t far from the Death Song, though he was too enraptured by a fly buzzing around the ceiling to notice her approach.

            She cleared her throat to get his attention, “Don’t tell me you’re going to start eating flies?” He looked at her crossly, and made a motion with his head for her to mount up. Her eyebrow raised, “Oh, so now you’re ordering me around? What happened to all that retraining?” She joked as she climbed into the saddle, “So what to do today?” She posed the question to the dragon as they took off. Storm shrugged his wings slightly, “You’re not much help you know that?” Hyrra leaned back against Storm’s spikes, thinking, as they circled slowly. “Oh!” She shot up, “Let’s go to the west side of the island!” Storm peeked up at her, “There’s that cool cliff over there?” He nodded and shifted their course to the western shores.

            They flew close to the cliffs until they had reached the cliff. It was almost a straight drop down into a calm, deep pool that had been formed into a naturally tiny, circular bay, protected against the rough sea, “Fly down to the bottom,” Storm eyed her curiously but did as he was instructed and landed on the tiny beach below, as far from the gently lapping waves as he could get. She crawled off and peered up the cliff, it had a lot of natural foot and handholds… Stormbreaker obviously saw what she was thinking, he grumbled at her, “I’ll be fine! I need to start exercising my shoulder!” He sighed but settled in to watch her, and possibly to catch her… just in case.

            She stretched her arm over her head and flexed it a few times, testing the shoulder, seems fine. Hyrra grabbed ahold of the rough rock and began to climb her way to the top, at first she was very careful to avoid putting too much weight on her injured shoulder, but that went out the window when the rocks became slicker and she needed her dominant hand to hold on. A resounding complaint ran up the cliff and made her look down at the dragon below, “I’m okay, go back to taking a nap!” She growled, quickly looking back up, because looking down had her vision swimming. I’m over half way up, it’ll be easier to climb the rest. She set her mind to it and began to double her efforts, this is a bit familiar, she thought with a smile as she remembered climbing Gothi’s hut. But unlike Gothi’s dry, easy-to-climb cliff, this time she had to use all of her strength to hold onto the slick rocks. I should have taken off my boots, she thought as her feet began to slip on some of the smaller footholds. She came to a sudden stop though when she realized what was ahead of her.

            I forgot about this. At the top of the cliff there wasn’t a regular straight-up-and-over, instead, thanks to erosion, the cliff hung over her head. Meaning she’d have to hang and climb. She stopped for a second and rested her right shoulder, below she could feel Storm watching her tensely. Taking a deep breath, she grabbed ahold of the rock over her head securely, before letting her feet drop from the rock’s face. She felt her healing shoulder protest against the weight being applied. Left hand, right hand, left hand… She just focused on the process of climbing, until a rock crumbled in her hand. Her right shoulder screamed at her as it took all of her weight and she swung gracelessly under the cliff, before she managed to find another handhold. She took a deep breath, and took the next couple of handholds quickly as her right shoulder’s strength began to fail.

            Finally she made it to the edge of the cliff, grabbing ahold of the rocks she breathed heavily as she rested on the edge of the cliff, “Pretty good for someone who was dead a couple of days ago.” She jumped at the voice, and nearly slipped off the cliff, but something wet grabbed her left arm. She looked up at Toothless as he dragged her up the rest of the cliff and then let her arm fall out of his gummy mouth. Stormbreaker was up at the top of the cliff in seconds, having seen her fall, “And here’s the culprit?” Hyrra sat cross-legged in front of the Berkian chief, who was eyeing the Skrill.

            “…not his fault.” She mumbled as she ducked her head, expecting some reprimand from the older male.

            He shrugged, “It normally isn’t. We’re humans, we’re impatient and we like to test our boundaries. Case and point.” He nodded to the cliff she had just climbed. He sat down next to her, “So how’ve you been? Obviously feeling pretty good, I take it?”

            “I’m fine,” she shrugged as she relaxed, realizing this wasn’t going to turn into a lecture, “just a scar and a lot of missed classes.”          

            “Well at least your dragon didn’t cost you a leg,” He jested, lifting his metal appendage, Toothless smacked him with his tail, “Okay, fine it wasn’t entirely your fault.”

            Hyrra grinned at the two. It was nice for someone to believe her that Storm hadn’t viciously attacked her, most people were sure that he would attack her again someday. Hyrra leaned back onto her arms and flinched as her right shoulder echoed with pain, “Did you overdo it?” The chief chuckled when he saw her cringe.

            She puffed out her cheeks, “No! Just sore…” I’m supposed to see the doctor again tomorrow morning… hopefully my shoulder feels better by then. Hyrra and Hiccup sat and talked about the past couple of weeks, behind them Toothless tried, and failed, many times to get the Skrill to play with him. Hyrra was particularly entertained by them. Toothless would gently bat and poke at Storm’s tail, which he mostly ignored, though he did glare at the older dragon. Finally, having had enough, the Skrill made to hit the older dragon with his wing, which the agile Night Fury dodged easily, now standing, and irritated, Storm tried chasing Toothless off, but was far slower than the Night Fury and never did catch up. Instead, Storm was just following Toothless, who was very happy to be ‘playing’, all around the cliff. Hyrra chuckled as Stormbreaker duck-waddled around the cliff chasing the far more agile Night Fury, “How are my parents?”

            “They took the news of your injury pretty easily, surprisingly enough. Though I did make sure to tell them you were healing fast,” Hyrra nodded, happy her parents weren’t worrying about her too much, “And, now, I can go and tell them you’re back to climbing obscure cliffs.” She laughed at that, they’ll enjoy hearing that.

            Later that day she said goodbye to the chief as he headed back to Berk, Toothless made sure to lick Hyrra’s face and ‘boop’ the exhausted Skrill’s nose before leaving. The redhead crawled into bed, her shoulder truly aching now that she had let it sit still for too long. For a second she was worried the pain would keep her awake, but the moment her head hit the pillow, she fell asleep.

            Tired. Phantom shoulder pains. Shouldn’t have climbed that cliff. It’s dark and cool outside… can’t see the stars… clouds? Rain? A storm coming? Maybe… that would be nice. Singing in the distance? Patina? Death Songs always choose weird times to sing.

            The next morning, a tired Hyrra was waiting outside the medical building to see Dr. Yew when she saw Freda walk by, “Hey Freda, can I speak to you for a second?” The brunette quickly flounced over to the redhead, “Was your dragon singing last night?”

            Freda blushed bright red, “Oh no! Was she being noisy again? I’ve told her to go out to the forest when she does that!”

            Brey came walking out of the Mess Hall and saw Hyrra, she quickly walked in the redhead’s direction with a wave, “It’s fine,” not really it kept me up all night, “Just wanted to make sure that is was your Death Song and not one of the one’s in the hatchery.” She lied to relax the younger girl who nodded, thanked her, and walked off in the direction of the stables.

            “What was that about?” Brey inquired.

            Hyrra stared at her friend, wondering, “… did you hear a Death Song singing last night?” 

            “No…? Did you?”

            Weird, “I guess not, must have just been in my dream.” Just then, Dr. Yew appeared in the doorway and ushered Hyrra into a room.

            He didn’t even bother to sit down, “I’m going to say that if you’re already climbing cliffs than you’re probably okay to return to class,” Hyrra’s face flushed, “Didn’t think I knew about that, hm?” He smirked, “A little bird may have told me.”

            She quickly recovered from her initial shock, “So I can return to class?”

            “I don’t see why you shouldn’t, if your shoulder is strong enough to support your own body weight than it should be able to handle flying and holding a weapon again.” He wrote something down on his papers before slamming the notebook closed, “I hope I don’t see you again for some time, agreed?” She nodded as the doctor left the room, she kept composed until she made it back outside and then she all but jumped for joy.

            Brey watched her with a knowing smile, “Good news?”

            “Oh yes,” Hyrra was more than relieved to know she could get back to her courses, “Finally back to class! Hopefully I haven’t fallen too far behind.”

            “Knowing you? You’ll probably catch up in just a few days.”

            “I better hurry off than! Shouldn’t miss my first day back, right?” She said happily, her tiredness completely forgotten as she rushed off to the stables to find her dragon.

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WolfMunster
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Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 23: A Dragon of the Abyss

Chapter 23:

A Dragon of the Abyss

            “Hyrra, good job,” Korinta said as she inspected the target, “We might make a bowman of you yet!” Thrain nodded his approval from Hyrra’s side, “Now try and hit the next target.” Hyrra sighed, I hate archery, it hurt her arms and back, plus it took so much focus. She drew the string back to her chin, the way Thrain had been showing her. She could see her arm beginning to waver with fatigue. She held her breath momentarily and then let the arrow fly. Thwack. Hyrra groaned, disappointed, when she saw the arrow had hit the very top edge of the target, Thrain patted her shoulder comfortingly, “See I can tell Thrain’s been training you because you’ve learned to hold your breath when you aim. He’s one of the few who’s learned to do that... still doesn’t make you as skilled as him though.” Hyrra glared at her teacher’s back, “But you’ve done well today, you should be proud.” Korinta straightened up as she collected the arrow, “We’re finished for now, go rest up, and we’ll meet back here this afternoon.” Oh joy. It had been three weeks of nonstop work to catch back up to her lessons, occasionally meaning she had to take two lessons a day.

            Hyrra and Thrain wandered back to their dragons, who were waiting for them in a field, Storm was stretched out in the sun while The Ladies stood motionless with their mouths’ open, that is so weird. Hyrra knew that the stance was very natural for the Snaptrapper… but to her it just looked like the dragon was ready to eat her. As they stepped out of the forest, The Ladies’ closed their mouths and lumbered over to Thrain. She always forgot just how large the dragon, dragons?, was until it, they?, were right next to her. Meanwhile, Stormbreaker lazily got up and made his way over to her without any sort of haste.  

            “Do you want to get lunch?” Thrain asked as he climbed, quite literally, into his saddle.

            “Sure,” Might as well, Brey and Calder were busy until the afternoon. They flew back to the lake, leaving their dragons at the stable, she knew that Vet would be feeding them lunch soon. The duo were traveling down the stairs when Hyrra heard a whistle, sharp and loud, coming from the Main Hall. Both of them stopped as the air grew silent, “Would the following students immediately report to the Main Hall: Ase Ironhill, Axel Elklund, Bertha Heror, Bjorn Rekkr, Calder Arud…” What’s happening? Are they just collecting all of the warriors? “…Gaut Trolart, Hyrra Boandi…” Why me? I’m not a warrior! “…Ravn Shaderun…” Ravn? He’s an engineer, “…Thatch Langskip, Thrain Silvgard…” She and Thrain shared a look and quickly made their way to the main hall as the headmaster continued to boom out the last few names.

            Korinta was already inside, and, within minutes of their arrival, Eret also arrived, marching in with many of the warriors on his heels. Hyrra saw a few other scouts hanging around the hall, most she didn’t know because they were more Thrain’s class. The headmaster had come back inside and was now discussing something with Dr. Lardsen as they leaned over a map, “Something big is about to happen.” Thrain said to Ase when she found them.

            “What do you think, Thrain? An attack?” An attack? On what?! On us?!

            “No, too much planning. If we were about to be attacked we wouldn’t be waiting around and the alarms would be going off. I think we’re about to attack something.” Hyrra felt a nudge at her side and turned to see Calder.

            “Hey, do you know what’s going on?” He asked with his blonde hair askew, either from his training or from running to the main hall, she wasn’t entirely sure which.

            She shook her head, “Not really, hopefully nothing too bad.”

            The hall fell silent as the headmaster cleared his throat, “Good morning everyone, we’ve received some unsettling news from our latest scouting party.” Behind the headmaster, Dr. Lardsen put the map that they had been looking at, up on the wall, on it Hyrra saw a black circle around a small island to the north of the school, that’s not that far away… “At this location,” he pointed to the circle, “We’ve gotten reports that the Dragon Slayers have been spotted building an outpost. Right now the outpost is rudimentary at best, and open to attack. The sooner we can get out there, the less time they’ll have to build up their defenses.” Great. Dragon Slayers again? Do those guys ever rest? “We know from experience, thanks to our scouts, that these foes are well-trained and are familiar with the weaknesses of many of our best dragons.” Hyrra looked at Thrain, we know… our dragons were the guinea pigs, “So in order to succeed we are sending all of you, our best and brightest, along with some of our graduated warriors and scouts. Together you can fight back this force. Eret, Korinta, do you have anything to say?”

            Korinta clasped her hands behind her back, “Scouts and Engineers, you are to find and stay with a warrior, at all times. You’ve practiced fighting side-by-side with them many times now, so you know who you’ll work best with, I’d like to know who our pairs are before we leave.” Hyrra sidled up to Calder, who nodded back at her. She saw Thrain and Ase pair up in the corner of her eye, “Good. Most of you have dragons who excel at quick, long-range attacks, make use of those abilities and do not try to fight this enemy on the ground.”

            Eret stood next to Korinta, “Warriors, watch over your partner. They can make fast attacks that most of you won’t be able to keep up with, so just make sure that their back is always covered. Work together, not only as a pair but with other pairs. We are all stronger together.”

            As rousing as those speeches were… Hyrra was still nervous, what is Stormbreaker going do when he finds out? After hearing the ‘battle plan’, she and Calder quickly filed into the stables with all of the other students, and alumni. Inside the dragons seemed far more spirited than usual, even Pearl seemed to be picking up on the energy and was gnashing her teeth. Storm appeared from the busy crowd and found her as he calmly surveyed the other dragons, so when everything else is chaotic, suddenly my dragon is the calm one? “You ready to finally get some payback?” She asked the Skrill, who perked up immediately, and knowingly nodded, “Good, because I don’t think we have a choice.” She looked around at the others. All of the warriors had their weapons, not the dull ones that they used during practice, but the sharp weapons. Hyrra double-checked that she had hers as well, making sure that the glaive was attached to the saddle.

            Within moments Hyrra found herself flying, she looked to her right to see Calder looking strangely composed, given the situation. She was finding it hard to focus because her thoughts were racing the entire flight, and was taken by surprise when they suddenly stopped. Oh, we must be getting close. Hyrra saw one of the graduated scouts, who she noticed rode a Changewing, continue to fly ahead, disappearing into the fog. They hovered in the air for a few minutes until the Changewing rider reappeared and nodded at Korinta and Eret, wait, what was the rest of the plan? We break into two groups right?... Do I follow Eret or do I follow Korinta? Suddenly she had to choose because the professors began to fly in two different directions, she saw Calder following Korinta, oh right! And followed her.

            The fog was incredibly dense, she almost lost Calder multiple times. Abruptly through the fog she heard an explosion and, not even a moment later, the fog dissipated, revealing the ‘outpost’. Hyrra frowned, this barely looked like an outpost, it was very cheaply made, the Dragon Slayers have been such good planners… why would they suddenly make such a poorly defended outpost? She didn’t get to dwell on it long though, because an arrow flew by her head, barely missing Storm’s wing, he growled and swerved to avoid another arrow. She focused on the archer, “Take him out!” Storm rotated his shoulders, clearly very happy to have been given that order, as he shot lightning that struck down the archer, and two of his allies, as the lightning vaulted from the archer to the metal-wearing warriors.

            Hyrra spotted a familiar, slobbery Dragon Slayer poised to throw a hooked spear at Calder’s exposed back. She didn’t even have to give the order, because Storm took Drivel out with a single flash of lightning. “Nice going, Storm!” Thrain praised as he flew by. Hyrra followed his flightpath and then her eyes focused on a figure that was, very quickly, moving away from the battle and towards the other side of the island. This figure was taller than the rest and wearing, what appeared to be, a bear coat. Stoneheart. She just knew it was him.

            Hyrra looked around and saw Calder, he’s fine… he’s got Bjorn and Axel over there. “Storm, let’s figure out why their leader is leaving…” The Skrill snorted excitedly as he took off to follow the darkly clad figure. The small island had very rough terrain and the person disappeared into a small canyon cut between two towering cliffs, “Cut him off.” Stormbreaker hurried to where the canyon ended and landed just as the figure stepped out of the darkness.

            Hyrra jumped out of the saddle, “Leaving so early? I heard you were supposed to be brutal. Not a coward.” The bear hide he was wearing hid his face from view, but Hyrra could see that the person underneath the bear hide was tall and thin, not as muscular as she had been expecting. This is Stoneheart? She could see dark pants and fur boots, and a torso wrapped in brown leather and fur. But hanging around his neck was the most condemning evidence, a necklace of teeth. Dragon teeth.

            A chuckle, “Ah… you must be the loud-mouthed one I’ve heard so much about?” The voice stunned her, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! Hyrra watched, fixated, as the figure reached up and pushed the hood back.

            STONEHEART IS A WOMAN?!

            “You seem surprised.” The woman said smugly, “You were expecting a man? Someone larger…?” Yes, yes, and yes. Stoneheart was very much a woman, probably in her mid to late twenties, not much older than Hiccup, and might have been beautiful if not for the extensive scarring covering the left side of her face and neck. She had extremely pale skin and delicate features, but those qualities were in stark contrast to her harsh, nearly white hair, collected into a low ponytail in the back and two braids in the front, and arctic blue eyes. Even Stormbreaker seemed confused, as he tilted his head back and forth.

            “YOU are Stoneheart?” Hyrra was pretty sure this woman was pulling her leg.

            The woman nodded, “Yes, Svigar Stoneheart. And an original Dragon Slayer, of the Throatfang clan, if you must know,.” She pulled at the necklace of teeth proudly for emphasis, “And you are Hyrra, correct?”

            Hyrra felt a chill run through her, “How do you know who I am?”

            “I’ve been watching you.” She said matter-of-factly, “I’ve been very interested in your… development.” Creepy.

            Hyrra grinned, “There’s no way you could have been watching me. The island is guarded and I haven’t left it in nearly a month.”

            The woman’s eyes narrowed, “There are some ways I can watch you without ever setting foot on that island.” She’s insane, Hyrra realized, “Let me guess.” Hyrra jumped at the cunning voice, “You’ve been having some strange dreams lately…” The redhead glared at the older woman, how could she know about that? “Maybe you’re flying in these dreams?” Some of the dreams she had been having came back to her, the blonde smirked, knowing she had hit a nerve, “So you have? And let me take another guess… they began shortly after you were injured gravely? Maybe you even died?” Her heart was hammering, how does she know so much?! “Now you have a scar that won’t go away?” Hyrra looked down at her right hand, which had a glove on it. She’d been hiding her marred hand for weeks… because the scar won’t go away.

            “Is it there?” Within seconds the intimidating woman was within an arm’s reach of Hyrra, “May I see it?” Stormbreaker growled and went to charge the woman when the cold eyes locked on Storm’s electric ones, the Skrill froze and ducked his head as he backed up, is he afraid? But she could understand because even she was having a very hard time meeting the cutting, blue eyes as they now stared, unblinking, down at Hyrra’s hand. Without waiting for Hyrra’s permission, the woman grabbed her wrist, I’m too scared to do anything. The woman’s grip was cold, not wintry cold but empty cold. A complete lack of heat. It felt like Hyrra’s body heat was being stolen from her.

            Stoneheart took the glove off easily and threw it aside, “Interesting…” She flipped Hyrra’s hand over and looked at her palm, tracing the pale lines over the girl’s wrist, “Much nicer looking than mine.” ‘Than mine’… what does that mean? Stoneheart chuckled as she stepped back a couple of feet, “I know about the dreams… the scar… because I have them as well.” She pulled the fur away from her throat, exposing a large patch of darkened skin that went from her neck and spread down her shoulder and chest, it looks like… frostbite?

            “So what does that mean exactly? The dreams? Scar?” Hyrra was now on edge, awaiting the answer.

            “Fylgja. Do you know what that is?” Yup, it means she’s officially a loon.

            Hyrra laughed hysterically and saw the blonde woman frown, “A flygja? You really had me going for a second!” She wiped a tear from her eye, “You want me to believe that you are a… spirit? A witch?”

            “Not a witch. And not a spirit. People have always gotten it wrong.” She rubbed her forehead, irritated, “Fylgja are those humans who have had their souls tied to another’s… typically an animal. Or a dragon in our cases. In any event, it gives the user special… abilities. It happens during a great trauma when a very strong soul is at its weakest, maybe even near death, in this case the soul looks for something to anchor it into this world… generally it finds the soul that most compliments its own.”

            Hyrra interrupted, “‘Dragons in our cases’… what do you mean?” She did not like the way that that sounded.

            Svigar glared at her, “I’m getting to that part,” She hissed, “Like I said before, I never set foot on your island. That’s because, as a fylgja, I can see through my other half’s eyes while I sleep. You’ve experienced this, yes?” No I haven’t, because you are insane and fylgja don’t exist. “My dragon has been on your island many times and not a soul knew he was there.” Impossible, the dragons would have noticed. “Wrath! Show yourself!” Hyrra’s heart stopped, her legs turned to lead, and she froze. Next to her, Stormbreaker whined pathetically.

            He was there the whole time? But how? He’s humongous! Even Storm didn’t know he was there! The whole canyon seemed to be moving, the shadows stirred as a mammoth form crawled out of it. It was larger than The Ladies… even bigger than a Typhoomerang. The dragon had a black body, so dark she could not distinguish between its scales. It had a figure like a cat, lengthy, lean, and muscular with a long tail that ended in a huge caudal fin. The back of its tail and along its spine where lined with more fins and a broad pair of strong wings. The rear of its head and neck had long, jagged icicle-like protrusions. But its eyes were the most terrifying part. Piercingly green. And when it opened its maw, she saw that its countless teeth and forked tongue were the same unnatural shade. This is what dwells in the abyss.

            “Meet Wrath, my partner and a Doomfang.” The woman grinned evilly, “Suddenly your Skrill seems insignificant, true?” Hyrra was shaking, to be honest she’d never been this scared, she tried to calm herself but she couldn’t even drag her eyes from the black dragon’s, “But we don’t have to be enemies.” Hyrra seemed to wake back up with those words, she eyed the other woman suspiciously, “I can teach you to be better. Stronger. The both of you have such potential, but you have no one to teach you as I did.”

            A few moments of silence followed before Hyrra found her voice, “Why would a dragon work with a Dragon Slayer?”

            “Because Wrath hates dragons as much as I do.”

            Hyrra could believe it, the way that Wrath was staring down Stormbreaker had her stomach in a knot. He could swallow Storm in one bite, Hyrra began to slowly back up, “As intriguing as it might be to join you in your fantasy world where you murder dragons for their teeth and fly through dreams. I’m going to have to decline the offer.” She felt Storm’s heat right behind her.

            Stoneheart frowned, “Then you’ll perish with the rest of them.” Hyrra quickly grabbed Storm’s saddle as he took off to avoid a flash of… blue fire! Hyrra swung back into the saddle quickly and caught a glimpse of the odd, blue fire and saw that it hadn’t burnt the ground but instead had turned the grass dry and brown, what is that?!

            “We need to get back to the others now!” Storm took off, using every ounce of his innate speed to get back to the main battle. The battle was going well, but only for so long. This was all a trap, Stoneheart knew we’d send dragons and riders if the outpost looked weak! Hyrra saw Axel and that fact that he had a horn on his hip, he’s one of the ones that can signal the retreat. She flew to him quickly, “Axel!”

            “Ginger, what are you doing over here?! You’re supposed to be with Cal-“

            She cut him off, Stoneheart and her monster could be here any second! “Shut up and sound the retreat!”

            “Are you insane? We’re winning, why would we retreat?” He snapped back.

            “This is all a trap!” She yelled at him.

            He clearly didn’t believe her, and looked like he was about to give her a smart mouthed reply when he paled and his mouth made a perfect ‘o’ as he stared at something over her shoulder. It didn’t take much detective work to know what it was that he was looking at. Hyrra’s head whipped around and she saw the titanic dragon crawling out of the ocean with Stoneheart standing on his head. Hyrra heard the horn blast three seperate times, and from varying locations, so clearly everyone else had seen the monster. Hyrra was following Axel away from the island when she began to look around for Calder. Her heart sunk.

            Calder and Pearl were stuck between a rock and a very large dragon. Calder and Ase were both over there but Ase escaped easily because Wrath seemed intent on Calder, he’s going after Pearl! The tiny tidal class dragon went to fly over the ebony dragon’s head, out of his reach, but not out of the range of his breath! “Storm go!” Still, Hyrra could only watch, in horror, as Wrath spit blue fire up into the air. Calder and Pearl disappeared into the flame.

            Storm stopped short, both in shock and not wanting to fly directly into the path of the flame. But then Hyrra saw a pale figure floundering in the air. It was Pearl, her left wing appeared to be completely immobilized and she was trying to use her other wing to right herself, but all she was doing was falling closer and closer to the awaiting, gaping mouth of Wrath. Hyrra didn’t trust herself to speak she just pushed Storm to continue flying. They dove to catch the flailing dragon, and Hyrra saw that Calder was awake and, seemingly, unharmed. “Calder hold on to the saddle!” She yelled, but Pearl completely lost her equilibrium and was now rotated onto her back, so she couldn’t be sure if he heard her. Storm snatched the small tidal class, hooking his claws with hers and then used their joint momentum to swing up and away from Wrath.

            As they did so, Hyrra and Stoneheart made eye contact, “Ask your dear Dr. Lardsen about Svigar!” She yelled up to Hyrra, laughing darkly afterwards. Hyrra glared back, Dr. Lardsen?

            As they flew away Hyrra stood up and peeked over Storm’s shoulder, “Calder?! Are you okay?” She could see that Storm had grabbed Pearl’s back feet which left the seadragon dangling clumsily.

            “Uh… I think so? What was that!? And can I not hang upside down?” She looked down and finally spotted the blonde, swinging back and forth, and also upside down. Pearl used her long neck to hook over Storm’s and she ‘mrred’ happily at them, while nuzzling the Skrill. Storm growled at the show of affection. Hyrra saw that Pearl’s left wing was crusted in ice… what kind of fire leaves behind ice?

            Behind them the island disappeared and Thrain emerged below them, “Hey Calder, need a lift?” Calder stuck his tongue out at the scout but then screeched when Storm unceremoniously dropped Pearl onto the large Snaptrapper’s back. The Ladies looked very annoyed at being used like a cargo ship and glowered at the Skrill.

            “What. Was. THAT?! Is no one going to talk about the gigantic, black dragon?!” Thatch barked as he caught up to them.

            “We’ll discuss more once we’ve landed back at the School.” Eret said, reassuring most of the students with his calm demeanor. But Hyrra saw Korinta’s face, and she didn’t look as calm. They landed at the school and were quickly surrounded by other students. Vet pushed through the crowd and began to assess Pearl quickly.

            Brey ran up to them, “Oh no! Is Pearl okay?”

            “She’s fine.” Vet said, “Warm bath will melt the ice.” Calder sighed, clearly relieved, and followed the dragon master, and his dragon, over to the hatchery.

            “Are you okay, Hyrra?” Brey had noticed that Hyrra was staring hard at the laboratory building.

            “Is Dr. Lardsen in his lab?” She asked.

            “I believe so… why?”

            “I need to ask him a few questions.” Her mouth was set in a deep frown as she pushed through the crowd towards the laboratory, Dr. Lardsen you’ve been hiding something. And I intend to find out what.

 

[A.N: So we've finally met Stoneheart... not exactly the villain you were all expecting I'm sure. And it seems like Dr. Lardsen is going to have to answer to Hyrra now! We'll see what happens in the next chapter... Also, Hyrra has a new picture above on the Reference page, courtesy of Nessie! Brey and Calder will also, hopefully soon, have their own pictures!]

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WolfMunster
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Chief
Joined: 01/10/2014
Chapter 24: Brother of Mine

Chapter 24

Brother of Mine

            Hyrra threw the door to the lab open. Behind her, Brey hurried to quietly close the door, “Sorry to interrupt Dr. Lardsen.” Brey apologized.

            The professor stood at one of the tables looking at his maps and books, “Well I’m not!” Hyrra slammed her hands onto the table, causing the petite man to jump.

            “Hyrra!” Brey yelped, shocked by Hyrra’s rude manner.

            “Care to explain?” He narrowed his eyes at the redhead.

            “No, sir, I think it’s your turn to explain. You’ve been lying to us, haven’t you?” Hyrra stared him down, focusing her fiery amber eyes at him.

            He wiped his inky hands on his shirt, “I’ve no idea-”

            “Stop lying! Svigar Stoneheart said you knew her, how?” Hyrra watched, mildly fascinated, as the doctor’s face paled.

            She even saw a flash of shock cross his normally impassive face “Svigar? You’re sure?”

            “Yeah, Svigar Stoneheart, she said that her clan name use to be Throatfang and that she’s an original Dragon Slayer. The clan you were sure was extinct! So come clean!”

            Tic Lardsen sighed as he sunk into a chair. Rubbing his face tiredly, he slipped his glasses off and put them down, Hyrra had never realized that Dr. Lardsen really only looked to be in his early twenties, “I suppose it won’t do any harm to tell you the truth now.” He looked directly at the two of them, “Svigar is my sister.” Hyrra stared blankly at the teacher.

            “Dr. Lardsen… wait…? Wouldn’t that mean…?” Brey gawked at her teacher.

            He nodded, “I was born a Dragon Slayer.” Hyrra looked the small man up and down, “I know I don’t look it, and I never acted like one… one of the many reasons Mother disliked me so much.” He said softly, “My name used to be Tic Throatfang.”

            “So you’ve been what…? Spying on the school for your sister?!” Hyrra accused, that would explain how she’s been getting information.

            Tic shook his head vigorously, “No! Just let me explain, okay?” Brey grabbed Hyrra’s arm and urged her to sit down into a chair across from the man, “I was born Tic Throatfang to Chieftain Badwa of the Dragon Slayers, my mother. I was the youngest child. Besides myself, there was my older brother, Ullr, and my eldest sibling was Svigar. Svigar and Ullr excelled early in life as warriors, they were both ruthless, even as children and often practiced together with their sharpest weapons… after all whoever lived to adulthood became chief.” Hyrra gulped, man that sounds rough, “But they were actually very fond of each other, it helped that they were only a year apart in age. My mother took them both under her wing and taught them everything she knew about hunting dragons… which is a lot. Meanwhile, I was often at home left to my own devices, so I taught myself to read and write. I began to read the books we would plunder from villages and learned of other places, and of dragons.” He paused.

            “So how did you end up here? Weren’t the Dragon Slayers far away?” Brey pushed.

            “We were, we lived on a large, icy island across a huge sea, and had been there for a few generations. But, my mother grew bored of living there, so we voyaged back across the Empty Sea... though it was not as empty as we’d always believed. The clan raided and robbed every village we came across, and any dragons that came within a few miles of our camp or ships were slain. But our actions of violence did not go unnoticed,” He cleared his throat, “When I was seven, we had set up our camp on the very edge of the northern islands and the Empty Sea. During the night, we were attacked by a black dragon, huge and fast. It came from the ocean and within minutes it was gone, and it took with it the entire clan.”

            “It was a Doomfang...” Hyrra whispered.

            The scientist’s head snapped up to look at her, “How would you know about Doomfangs? They only exist in the farthest Polar Regions and, even then, only in the abysses of the Empty Sea.”

            “Svigar had one with her, named Wrath, a big, nasty monster of a dragon.”

            “You’re sure it was a Doomfang?”

            “Positive, she told me what he was and he was huge.” The air fell silent.

            Brey cleared her throat, “What happened? How’d you survive?”

            Tic refocused, “My brother Ullr did not have my sister’s intelligence and thought he could defeat the dragon on his own. I used the distraction he created to hide.” Hyrra’s jaw clenched, he used his brother as bait? Somehow I never thought he could be so callous. The former Dragon Slayer looked at Hyrra, “You have to understand I wasn’t raised to love my brother or my sister. My mother all but abandoned me in favor of training and caring for my elder siblings. Honestly, my mother probably would have preferred if I had never been born.” He straightened back up, “In the end, the only ones who survived the dragon’s attack were myself and Svigar. She decided to try to raise me to become a fighter, I suppose to replace Ullr, and, to her credit, she tried everything to get me to hate dragons and to love fighting… But I already knew I was going to escape and come to the east. So I did. A little under a year after the Dragon Slayers were destroyed, I slipped out of camp while my sister was asleep and took the boat. I sailed east. When I finally found an inhabited island I changed my name, studied hard, and came to help establish the school. And this is where I’ve been for four years.”

            “Wow.” Was all Brey could say. Dr. Lardsen slipped his glasses back on and cleared his throat.

            “So my sister has a Doomfang on her side?” He stood up, seemingly back to his normal self, he opened up a drawer and pulled out a journal, crudely bound in yak leather and wire. He opened it up, inside there were simple drawings. He flipped through it, and Hyrra noticed many of the dragons were entirely new to her, including one with a large horn coming out of its nose, “This is my journal from childhood… many of these dragons are only found in the polar regions… ah here it is.” He turned the journal around and showed them a sketch of a black dragon’s head, with sharp projections at the back of its skull, and a long tongue sticking out, “Is this what she had?” Hyrra nodded, “I’m surprised. Doomfang’s are very elusive and typically stay at the bottom of the ocean… how did she come across it?” The question didn’t seem to be poised to them.

            “So they’re tidal class?” Brey asked.

            “Yes, possibly one of the largest. They hunt smaller tidal class dragons,” that would explain why Wrath went after Pearl, “but typically they’re quite peaceful. They’re also extremely intelligent, I’d put them on par with Night Furies and Skrills in terms of intellect… in fact they almost could be classified as strike class as well, due to their speed.”

            “Wonderful, so not only is it big, smart, and fast, but Svigar just happens to have found one with a bad attitude.” Hyrra leaned back in her chair, frowning.

            “What else did Svigar tell you?”

            “Nothing much useful… by the way, is your sister insane?”

            Dr. Lardsen chuckled, “Insane? No, the girl I knew was very stable. Is she crafty and cruel? Yes. Why do you ask?”

            “She was pretty convinced that she was a fylgja with Wrath being her ‘other half’.” Brey even frowned at that.

            “A what?”

            “A fylgja, it’s a northern belief. Depending on the region they all have different ideas of what a fylgja truly is. Some places, like Berk and the central regions, believe it to be a totem animal or spirit.” Hyrra nodded, “Among the Dragon Slayers it is thought of as a spiritual connection between a person, often called a fylgja, and an animal.”

            Brey snapped her fingers, “Oh! Like a kelpie or a fairy?”

            “Uh… sure?” Hyrra shrugged, having no idea what her friend was talking about, must be a southern thing.

            Tic rubbed his chin, “Svigar thinks she’s a fylgja? I’m not superstitious but the fact that she’s managed to control a Doomfang is quite remarkable and being a fylgja would certainly explain it.”

            Hyrra frowned deeply, “You’ve got to be kidding me! You believe that she’s some mythical creature?”

             “I’ve come to find that every myth has a kernel of truth in it somewhere.”

            “So other than having a connection to an animal what would a fylgja be able to do?” Brey asked, I can’t believe this! They’re both serious about this?!

            “In the Dragon Slayer’s myths, it really depends on what animal the person it connected to. Most myths say that they can somehow see through each other’s eyes, feel when the other is in danger, and that if one is seriously injured, or slain, the other will be seriously crippled, often for life.”

            “Sounds like a lot of negative abilities to me.” Hyrra growled, annoyed.

            “Yes, but those are the ones that affect all fylgja in the myths. But each of these legends tends to have a couple of unique abilities. For example, in one of our myths, there was a man who was bonded to a polar bear, therefore he could survive for weeks without food and never felt cold.” He opened his old journal again, “Doomfangs are tidal class and they can live up to two days on the bottom of the ocean by holding their breath. Theoretically this could mean Svigar could now have some of these abilities… if fylgja were real of course.” He shrugged, finally some common sense.

            Brey giggled nervously, “Of course!”

            “Other than deep sea living, I’m afraid not much is known about the Doomfang. The only one I’ve seen in person was when I was seven, and you know how that went. You’ve essentially had more time around one than I have… in fact what do you remember about the Doomfang you saw, Wrath was his name right?” So he’s back into scientist-mode? Wonderful.

            “Uh, other than being big and terrifying? He had a large tail fin, and fins on his back, large icicle looking spikes on his head and neck, green eyes, which are horrifying by the way… oh! And he had this really weird shade of green coating the entirety of his mouth, including his teeth.”

            “That is odd… I wonder if this is some sort of deep sea adaptation, because I’m fairly certain Doomfang’s don’t have any venom. The eyes… even I remember being frozen in my steps by a Doomfang’s gaze, something about the shade of green is paralyzing,” Hyrra shivered as she remembered the intense green eyes, “Now I almost want to see this ‘Wrath’ up-close.”

            “You really don’t,” Hyrra said bluntly.

            “I did say ‘almost’, didn’t I? Trust me, I’ve seen my fair share of Doomfangs. What about its breath? Fire? Acid?"

           "I'm not sure, it was really strange blue fire that didn't burn like normal fire. Actually it seems to be some kind of cold fire, that's why Pearl had ice on her wing... She got struck by Wrath's breath."

           "Blue fire? I've never heard of such a thing... Maybe it's a special chemical? I wonder if I can replicate this 'fire' in a lab setting..."

            Brey interjected once the teacher grew quiet, “What strikes me as odd is a dragon work with a Dragon Slayer.”

            Hyrra nodded, “I actually asked her, and she told me Wrath hates other dragons.”

            Tic snickered, “You seem to have talked quite a bit with my sister.” Hyrra glared at him, “Nevertheless, it is possible something very negative happened in the dragon’s past that would make him dislike other dragons. We don’t know anything about the early lives of Doomfangs, but many other large dragons abandon their young as quick as possible. Considering the solitary lives of Doomfangs, it’s safe to assume they are very quick to leave their young. Which could leave them open to attack by other dragons or even sharks.”

            “If he was attacked by another dragon at a young age that could definitely make him distrust other dragons.” Brey theorized.

            “I didn’t see any extensive scarring on him… though I guess I wasn’t really looking for it at the time.” Hyrra realized.

            “The chance of us being able to find another Doomfang to study is very small. Perhaps if we spent more time studying other tidal classes we could figure out a universal ‘weakness’ or behavioral trait. I admit that I don’t particularly enjoy studying tidal classes, and so I’ve done very little of it. Also I’m going to dig through my information on polar dragons and I might be able to dig up some more historical information that might lead to some new Doomfang data, and I am going to try and create this 'cold fire' in my labs, maybe then we'll have abetted understanding of the danger it poses.” Dr. Lardsen said.

            Hyrra thought about it, “I could probably get Calder and Pearl to help me study tidal classes sometime next week.”

            “I’ll help Dr. Lardsen sort through the information!” Brey offered happily.

            Tic nodded, “Learning as much as we can about both Svigar and her dragon will help us decide how to fight these new Dragon Slayers.” Feeling better about the professor’s involvement, Hyrra and Brey left the laboratory.

            “Wow, who’d of thought Dr. Lardsen used to be a Dragon Slayer?” Brey said softly.

            “Do you think he told us the whole truth this time?” Hyrra asked her friend.

            Brey thought about it for a second, “I think so. At this point what would he be trying to hide? I mean he told us a lot and it was pretty detailed. He could have just told us he used to be a Dragon Slayer but he also told us that Svigar’s his sister… seems unlikely to me that he’d be hiding anything more incriminating than that.”

            Hyrra exhaled, “You’re probably right. Plus, he did seem genuinely surprised to find out about the Doomfang, makes me think he hasn’t had any contact with his sister in a long time.” On top of that, why would Stoneheart have exposed Dr. Lardsen if not to make us suspect him? If he was spying on us she wouldn’t have mentioned him. Then why do I still feel like he was withholding some information?

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Chapter 25: Submerged

Chapter 25

Submerged

            Hyrra was waiting in the stables for a certain warrior to return from class. She was leaning against the entrance, a bit tired considering it was so early. She’d had class before dawn, because Korinta had wanted her to practice flying in the dark, which was pretty easy considering Storm had excellent vision. She and Calder had decided today would be the best day for them to study tidal class dragons, since he was also supposed to be finished very early in the morning.

            Outside the sun had only just come over the horizon and dew still sat on the grass. She was beginning to nod off when she heard wings, Calder and Pearl flew into the stables, both surprisingly awake given the time, “Hyrra, you ready to go fishing?” He asked with a grin.

            “Whatever, where are we going?” Stormbreaker yawned as Hyrra nudged him awake and mounted up.

            “Angler Atoll, it’s a place my dad used to love fishing at. There’s always a huge array of sea dragons out there.” He said as the two dragons flew off, leaving the school behind them quickly. Hyrra nodded, she knew she had volunteered to study tidal classes but she didn’t particularly like swimming. It’s not that she couldn’t swim… but she wasn’t very good at it, and now that she knew what lived in the water she was even more apprehensive about diving in.

            It was almost a half an hour of flying, so Hyrra passed the time by trying to name the islands they passed and what dragons inhabited them, “Uh… that one’s Sif’s Rest, home to… Changewings?”

            And Calder passed the time by correcting her, “Nope, that one is Feartop, notice the mountain? Home to mostly Nadders and the occasional Razorwhip.”

            She glared at his smug look, “Oh! That one is definitely Isolated Point,”

            “Isolated Point is farther east and has nothing growing on it. Notice that that island has a few shrubs and trees? That looks like Eel Trap to me.”

            She huffed at him, “When are we going to get there?”

            He looked around, “In about… ten minutes?” He pointed towards a beautiful, sandy, semi-circular beach, only a few feet above sea level. As they drew nearer Hyrra could see that in the center of the slim atoll was a lagoon with peculiarly clear, shallow water. In that water Hyrra could make out many different large, moving shapes.

            Pearl ‘mrred’ happily at the sight of other tidal classes and Calder had to hold her back from diving in when they landed. Storm was a lot less excited about the sandy beach, he landed at the highest point of the island, which was a whopping six feet above sea level, and refused to move from that spot. By the time Hyrra walked to Calder he had already thrown off his boots and leather armor, keeping his light shirt and cotton pants on. Grudgingly, Hyrra followed suit, kicking off her heavy boots, thankfully she’d left her armor back home. She had decided that her lightweight sleeveless shirt would be better suited to swimming than her other clothing pieces. She sat down on the beach and pulled out her journal, leaving it open on the beach for the notes she planned to take.

            “You ready?” Calder knew that Hyrra was not particularly fond of swimming, “You know as well as I do that Tidal Classes aren’t particularly well known for their love of people, but they should see Pearl and feel more relaxed. Also as long as we don’t try to touch them or get between them and their food we should be okay.” Thanks for trying to calm me down, “Looks to me like possibly a Sand Wraith, Tide Gliders, a close relative of the Sliquifier, and… even a few Sliquifier’s. All relatively peaceful dragons.”

            Hyrra tried to distract herself as they waded out into the water, “I didn’t know Tide Gliders and Sliquifier’s were related?”

            “They share an evolutionary history. Both of them shoot acid, and for a long time it was thought that only Tide Glider’s had healing saliva, but now we know they both do. Apparently healing saliva is pretty common for Tidal Classes.”

            “I wonder if the Doomfang has healing saliva…”

            “That odd green color you described doesn’t sound like ‘healing’ saliva to me.” They were now up to their waists in the water and Hyrra saw that after this the lagoon dropped off, under the water she could see the wild dragons eyeing them, “Go on Pearl.” The Sliquifier slipped happily into the water. Hyrra watched as the pale dragon quickly swam to the wild dragons, which seemed quite eager to meet this new individual. Soon the dragons began ignoring Hyrra and Calder and went back to swimming together happily, “You ready?”

            Hyrra frowned, “Not really.”

            “Remember salt water will sting your eyes but only for a few seconds, so don’t panic.” She nodded and waited until he had disappeared beneath the surface before taking a deep breath and diving in. She recoiled almost instantly from the stinging in her eyes, she blinked rapidly and waited until the stinging subsided before taking a look around her. She’d forgotten how fuzzy everything looked underwater, it was pretty disorienting at first but she quickly made out Calder’s form and swam down to him. She also noticed that all of the dragon shapes around them seemed to be circling them, that’s certainly uncomfortable.

            Calder pointed below them, Hyrra squinted but didn’t see anything at first. The longer she squinted though, a shape in the sand became apparent, Sand Wraith? An unsuspecting fish swam by the figure in the sand and then sand exploded as the dragon lunged and caught the fish. The Sand Wraith moved along the bottom before burying itself again. Hyrra felt the water behind her move so she whirled around and nearly swallowed ocean water, because a light blue shape was moving in her direction.

            She got ready to, maybe, fight off whatever was coming at her, but then she saw that it wasn’t alone, three more similar shapes appeared, then as they drew closer she realized what they were, Tide Gliders! The peaceful, mermaid-like dragons swam slowly around her, coming closer and closer with every pass. Soon the largest one was within an arm’s reach of Hyrra, she could make out pupiless blue eyes that were appraising her carefully as it swam in a tight, slow circle around her. Against Calder’s earlier warning she reached out and ran the back of her hand against the smooth scales of the dragon’s side. The dragon twitched at having been touched but didn’t retaliate, sensitive skin, she noted.

            She had to ascend for air but she didn’t stay up long, only long enough to catch her breath, and then she eagerly swam back down. Hyrra saw the Sand Wraith reappear and swim to the surface for air, she watched him swim to the surface easily, break the surface for a few seconds, and then return to the bottom, swimming right past her without acknowledging her existence. Hyrra watched as Calder was surrounded by Sliquifiers, including his own, they swim like whales, the Sliquifiers were chasing each other in circles happily around the blonde. The Tide Gliders noticed Hyrra’s reappearance and swam back to her, the large one once again got very close and let Hyrra run her hand along its back, feeling the stiff dorsal fins on its neck. When it made another pass Hyrra hung on to the dorsal fin lightly, letting the dragon gently pull her along, she let go before she annoyed the dragon though.

            She heard an odd clicking noise, it almost sounded like metal clanking together, she tried to find where it was coming from, but with her limited vision if was very difficult. Calder tapped her arm and pointed to the surface, it was then that she realized she had run out of air. She struggled to the surface quickly, and gulped air when she got up there, “Did you hear that?” He said enthusiastically, he could have probably stayed down for another minute, “Sounded like echolocation, I know it’s pretty common among Tidal Classes but it’s the first time I’ve heard it underwater. I bet that means most all Tidal Classes have great hearing, in order to hear the all the high-pitched clicks.”

            Having caught her breath, she nodded, “Echolocation and great hearing. Got it. I also think they may have very sensitive scales.”

            “I could have told you that, Pearl’s very sensitive on her sides, underbelly, and chest. We should found out about vision and smell now.”

            “All of these dragons are shallow water dragons, right?” Calder nodded, “Doomfang’s are deep sea dwellers, so I doubt that they’ll have the same vision. As far as a sense of smell… how do we test for that?”

            Calder floated for a second as he thought about it, “Oh! I got an idea!” He whistled for Pearl, who almost immediately popped up in front of them, “Can you go catch a few fish?” Pearl squeaked excitedly at the request and dove back under, “We can at least theorize on vision then. Pearl has pretty good vision both in and out of water, after all during the Games she’s the one who found most of the little pieces in the Hidden Game.” Hyrra thought back to the Games, “But Sliquifiers are also shallow water dragons who hunt during the day. If we consider that, it seems more and more likely that Doomfangs may have poor vision, in fact they probably rely solely on their echolocation when they’re down in the depths.” At that moment, Pearl’s head popped up, her mouth full of fish, “Good job girl!” He took two fish from her and tossed one to Hyrra, “You can have the rest, Pearl.” The dragon ‘mrred’ and tossed the remaining fish down her throat.

            “Let’s see how quickly your Tide Gliders figure out we have free food.” They ducked their heads back under, Hyrra’s eyes didn’t sting nearly as much this time when she opened them. Hyrra watched as Calder let the fish dangle from his fingers. She knew from past experience that most dragons would immediately find the source of the smell… but nearly a minute passed and none of the dragons below even noticed the offered fish. Finally Calder let the fish go, it floated down slowly still being ignored by the dragons until it passed within their field of vision and then they darted after it.

            They resurface, “I don’t think they have a sense of smell at all, at least underwater.” Hyrra theorized. Pearl popped back up with them, “Let me try something.” Hyrra took a small piece of the fish and tucked it into her right hand, out of view from the sea dragon, and then turned around and offered her closed fists to the dragon, “Which hand has the fish?” Stormbreaker was very good at this game, they’d play it with barrels hiding the fish or sometimes she’d hide it within a mile radius… somehow he always found the fish, this should be no problem for a dragon with a half decent sense of smell, even I can smell the fish!

            Pearl eyed both her fists, poked them with her nose and sniffed hard and long on both of them, and quickly grew frustrated. Finally the dragon took a lonnggg sniff of her right fist and chose that one. Hyrra opened it up and revealed the fish, giving the piece and remainders to the dragon, “Wow I had no idea her sense of smell was that bad!” Calder patted his dragon’s face.        

            “Couldn’t that be evolutionary? I mean, why would a large underwater animal need their sense of smell? Especially if they have echolocation.”

            “I guess so… let’s head back to the beach.” They swam back to where Stormbreaker was crouched angrily.

            He smacked sand at Hyrra with his tail, “Now you’re pouting? You could have gone swimming with us.” She joked as she washed the sand off her hands and sat down on a rock. She picked up her journal to record what they’d seen, “Okay so Wrath possibly has the following senses: Echolocation, superior hearing, sensitive scales, a poor sense of smell, and might have poor vision.” She wrote a star next to echolocation and hearing, those are the most likely to be correct. She heard Calder snickering and looked up to see him staring at her, “What?”

            He shrugged, “Nothing… Just glad I don’t have such fair skin.” Hyrra frowned and looked at her arms, oh no. Her skin was already bright red and she just knew it would start hurting soon.

            “You could have told me sooner!” She squealed as she ducked under her dragon’s wing, he glared at her intrusion into his personal space.

            “We should probably be heading back soon,” They waited around until they had mostly dried off, Hyrra immediately noticed her hair in the water’s reflection, jeez and I thought it couldn’t get any bigger. It didn’t help that her face was the same color as her hair. While flying back, she realized just how tired she was... this flight seemed shorter to her, though that could have been because she fell asleep. When they landed back at the School, Hyrra immediately regretted swimming. Her skin was on fire. Not literally, but it certainly felt like the sun had set her on fire.

            “Oh wow… you are looking really red.” Calder flinched just from looking at her, and she glared back at him. They both noticed some commotion going on at the Stable’s entrance and made their way over to the gathering crowd. In the center was a smug looking Axel holding… a very large, black scale. The scale was the length of his forearm and diamond in shape.

            “Where did you find it?” One of the girls in the crowd asked, practically trembling with excitement.

            Calder was frowning, “Why don’t girls fawn over me?” He asked her suddenly.

            She choked back her laugh, “That’s what you’re upset about?”

            “I found this on the beaches of Dewdrop.” Dewdrop? All of the girls gasped, that’s only a few minutes away. The dragons around them had taken only a sniff of the scale and then had back up, eyeing the scale with fear, being afraid of Doomfang’s must be instinctive.  

            Suddenly Ase appeared and snatched the scale from him, she then proceeded to smack him over the head with it, “You didn’t find anything, you were too busy fixing your hair to notice it.” Axel was back to fixing his hair after being struck over the head. Ase spotted Hyrra, “Does this look like a Doomfang scale to you?” She pushed the large, heavy scale into her hands.

            “Uh… yeah, I mean it’s certainly big enough and it’s the right shade of black to be Wrath’s… wow this thing is heavy and thick.” He’s got some serious armor.

            “I say when we defeat this beast we take his scales and turn them into our own armor.” Axel crossed his arms over his chest, his own dragon looked at him aghast, “What? He won’t need them…” Goldtyr shook his head vehemently.

            Hyrra handed the scale back to Ase, “I’ll deliver this to Dr. Lardsen, maybe he’ll be able to get some insight from it.” Ase marched off, dragging Axel behind her.

            “So Wrath really has been watching the school?” Calder said tensely as they stood on the Stable’s overlook, but he was not nearly as anxious as Hyrra, who was busy thinking back on her meeting with Stoneheart.

There are some ways I can watch you without ever setting foot on that island.

 

[A.N: Brey now has her own art! Done by Nessie! Check out the Reference Page and click on her name to see it! :D ]

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Chapter 26: Weekend Getaway!

Chapter 26

Weekend Getaway!

            Friday afternoon and Hyrra was sitting in Dr. Lardsen’s lab, tapping her fingers against the table as she waited for the teacher and Brey to return from their class. She had only been there for ten minutes but she was already getting impatient, they said they’d be done by noon… it’s now past noon. The redhead distracted herself by examining her hands and arms: the red had faded and they’d finally stopped hurting after her misadventure with Calder earlier in the week. The peeling had been minimal, and mostly localized to her shoulders, thanks to Kyne’s extensive knowledge of lotions.

            She tried sitting still for a few minutes, whatever, the doc won’t mind me looking around, she thought as she stood up and began to wander around the lab. Drifting around the room, she began to peek into the drawers and cabinets, I can’t pronounce half of this stuff, she thought as she looked at the powders and liquids, chloride, hydrogen, magnesium… oooh! Silver! She plucked up the little vial of silver shavings, held them up to the light and watched them sparkle.

            She heard the door open as she was admiring the metal slivers, “You’re like a fish, distracted by shiny things.”

            “Don’t compare me to a fish!” She snapped as she put the vial back, closed the cabinet, and turned around to face Calder.

            “Are you packed and ready to go?” He asked her, brushing off her glare.

            “Yeah, I’ve got my stuff waiting in the stables with Storm.”  

            The door opened again, “Ah, here they are.” Dr. Lardsen said as he and Brey walked in, “I suppose you all are very excited to head out then?”

            “Of course, doc! Exciting new places and dragons? Count us in!” Calder joked.

            “Well, I hope you packed your warm clothes. Ice Island is freezing year-round, in fact you’ll be getting there during the ‘warm months’.”

            “‘Ice Island’? Dragon Slayers aren’t very good at naming places, huh Tic?” Hyrra snickered, crossing her arms over her chest. She’d gotten into a habit of calling the professor by his first name, which he didn’t seem to mind.

            Dr. Lardsen pushed his glasses up his nose, “Keep laughing, you’ll see that its name fits.” The teacher walked over to his desk and pulled out his childhood journal, he handed it to Brey, “This should guide you to the island, and has information on a good many dragons in that region. You know I want you three to try and learn more about these glacial dragons, hopefully we can learn more about how the Doomfang acts based on its habitat. While you are gone I’m going to be trying to figure out what this ‘blue flame’ is. Remember you need to be back by Sunday night, otherwise the other professors might get concerned, that gives you almost a full two days to study… you may want to get going or you’ll lose the light.”

            The three quickly made their way to the stables, not discussing their trip at all as they saddled up their dragons and finished packing up their supplies, “Hey Hyrra! Where are you three heading off to?” Thrain asked as he and the Ladies returned from practice.

            Hyrra jumped at his voice, “Oh! We are, uh, heading back to Berk! You know… visiting parents… giving Brey the tour of our hometown… the works.”

            “Well, have fun!” Thrain waved as he headed off, Hyrra heaved a sigh of relief. Good thing Thrain’s super trusting and didn’t ask too many questions. Technically this trip was unauthorized, as the Headmaster would have never allowed three first-year students to fly out as far as they were going to. They quickly finished packing and headed out before anyone else could question their motives, once they were in the air, Hyrra gave a ‘whoop’ and flailed her arms happily.

            Calder joined her celebration, “Weekend retreat!” Stormbreaker gave a twirl and Pearl did a happy loop.

            Meanwhile, “Calm down you two! This is a research expedition, not a vacation!” Brey scolded as she opened up the doctor’s journal and began to follow the map in it. Hyrra and Calder chuckled at Brey’s change in personality and shared grins before following the Nadder rider.

            Two hours of flying and Hyrra’s excitement had waned dramatically, “Are we going the right way?” Stormbreaker snarled with her.

            “It’s cold!” Calder added.

            Brey turned around and glared at them both, “We could have been there by now if we hadn’t had to stop for somebody.” She pointedly looked at Calder. Dizzy chirped her agreement.

            “We’d been flying for over an hour! My butt was sore!” He groaned, leaning back onto his dragon dramatically. Hyrra was leaning on Storm’s neck, both for his warmth and for somewhere to rest her head, when she spotted something.

            “There it is! Ice Island.” Brey said looking up from the journal, and pulling her fur vest around her tighter as the temperature seemed to drop drastically. The island was huge, in fact Hyrra couldn’t see the other side at all! Other than that, it was… well… exactly how the doctor had said it was: covered in ice, “Let’s land down there.” Brey pointed to a relatively flat piece of ice.

            Stormbreaker landed first and seemed very happy to be back in the wild, and away from open water, until he began to slide on the ice. Both rider and dragon slipped and fell within moments of landing, but Hyrra laughed it off, “We should begin exploring the island, and let’s stay close to the coast to avoid losing our way. We might as well walk to give our dragons a break.” Brey advised as she dismounted Dizzy, completely ignoring the icy terrain.

            “Come on, Brey! Loosen up!” Hyrra called as she stood up, her bipedal dragon struggled to keep his feet underneath him and soon adopted walking on his wing claws in order to maintain his balance. Hyrra’s delicate poise was ruined when she was smacked with a snowball, she slipped and fell again. She stuck her tongue out at Calder, “Storm, a little help?” Her dragon swept Calder’s feet out from underneath him with his tail. Hyrra heard Brey sigh heavily and whisper something along the lines of ‘Friga help me’.

            They began to move north over the island, very quickly realizing that the island was quite desolate, with seemingly not much going on, “Hey! Do you think we’ll get to see the Lights?” Calder asked hopefully, looking up to the sky, “I saw them once when I was really little with my dad on a fishing trip.”

            “I doubt it.” Brey said bluntly, instantly crushing Calder’s hopes, “The Lights are a mostly winter occurrence, we probably won’t even see a real nighttime due to this island’s northerly position.”

            Wonderful, a Midnight Sun? Guess I won’t be getting any sleep. Hyrra thought as she walked along and looked around. She wouldn’t mind seeing the Lights either, they were really rare in Berk and the one time they did happen she had slept right through it, “Aw… come on Valkyries, it’s my birthday tomorrow! You can break some rules, right?” Calder pleaded with the sky.

            “Begging the Valkyries isn’t going to help anything.” Brey said sternly as she continued to study the journal. Hyrra frowned, she’d forgotten that Calder’s birthday was tomorrow. They were walking through a crevice in the icy land when Hyrra heard something splashing to their right, Brey and Calder didn’t seem to hear it, probably because of their arguing, but Hyrra turned the corner and saw a bunch of holes in the ice.

            “Huh?” Hyrra walked over to the holes, examining them, these look like they were cut…

            “Hyrra… don’t move!” She heard Brey hiss from behind her, Hyrra blinked, confused. But then she saw motion out of the corner of her eye. To her right was standing a dragon, completely white in color and blending in with the blank landscape.

            It wasn’t very big, only about the size of a small yak, but moved like a cat with long legs and a willowy tail, it shares a similar body shape to Wrath. It had two pointed ear-like appendages on its head and four light blue horns, irregularly shaped like broken ice, running down the back of its neck. But the most obvious feature was a long, spiraling horn-like projection stretching from its nose with the end tapering to a very sharp point. The horn was so long it added at least two feet to the dragon’s overall length. She heard Stormbreaker growling, but Hyrra turned and made a motion for him to stay put, she’d noticed something.

            This dragon isn’t scared at all! It had big, inquisitive blue eyes, which were staring at her, as it used its short wings, they seemed to function like a third set of limbs, to balance on its back legs while getting a better view of her and her friends, it had its forelegs curled up to its chest… it’s actually very cute! The dragon cocked its head to the side, “Hey there… are you friendly?” Hyrra asked it.

            She heard Brey furiously flipping through Dr. Lardsen’s journal, “It’s called a Polar Serpent,” She said softly, “Not much is written here about them…” She faded out, because the dragon had dropped itself to the ground fully, and was sniffing the air timidly as it stalked towards her. She noticed it was swaying its head back and forth, keeping its sharp horn between itself and Hyrra as it circled and smelled her. She stood up slowly, but that didn’t seem to bother the lanky dragon as it came to a stop and continued to watch her. They stood like that for a second or two before Hyrra offered her hand to the snowy dragon. The dragon looked at it shyly before turning its sharp horn away from her hand and approaching her from the side. Hyrra felt the warm dragon’s breath on her palm only a moment before the dragon bumped the side of its nose against Hyrra’s hand, gently rubbing its nostril on her.

            “Hey it’s friendly!” She called to her friends. At her loud voice the white dragon perked up, wagged its long tail, and hopped around her in excited circles, “Really friendly,” Hyrra rolled her eyes as the Polar Serpent bounced around. Brey and Calder walked over slowly, afraid the dragon would react negatively to them, but the wild dragon enthusiastically bounded over to them and sniffed them both as well. Storm glared at the other dragon’s eagerness, but Dizzy and Pearl quickly joined in on the excitement.

            “Wow, why is it so friendly?” Calder asked as the dragon rubbed the side of its face on his leg.

            “It probably doesn’t have any reason not to trust humans.” Brey pointed out, “We are on a very isolated island… it says here that the Polar Serpent tends to live in large communities... so maybe it is just a social dragon species?” Hyrra looked around at the holes in the ice, so did this Polar Serpent make all of these? “It also says here that female Polar Serpents are the only ones who live in these ‘communities’, males tend to wander alone.”

            “This dragon is a male?” Hyrra asked.

            “I don’t think so.” Calder pointed behind her, Hyrra followed his gesture and saw a piece of floating ice covered in Polar Serpents. All of which were lounging and watching them, “They must have ran when they heard us coming.”

            The Polar Serpent bounced over to Hyrra, letting her pet its chin, “But not you?”

            “She looks a little small… maybe she’s young and curious?” Brey thought aloud.

            “What should we name her?” Calder asked excitedly.

            “We aren’t naming her!” Brey snapped at Calder, and smacked him with her journal, “She’s a wild dragon!”

            Hyrra ignored Brey, “What about… Minnow? For her color and size?”

            “That’s cute! But a little long… what about Mini? That fits her!” Brey gave an exasperated sigh as her friends continued to ignore her.

            “Mini! I like it!” The dragon’s tail wagged again, “Do you like the name ‘Mini’?” Mini wiggled excitedly, then froze. Her ear-like appendages twitched and she crawled over to one of the ice holes carefully. She sat perfectly still and then… thrust her horn into the hole with lightning speed. Hyrra and the others watched, both impressed and horrified, as the cute dragon pulled her horn out of the water. Speared upon her horn was a large fish. Mini tossed her head back, dislodging the fish, and caught the fish midair in her mouth.

            “So that’s what the horn is for.” Brey said as she jotted notes down in her journal. What was funny though, was suddenly Storm, Pearl, and Dizzy were all lined up around holes trying to catch fish in a similar way. Pearl was lunging face-first into the water, while Dizzy tried to use her nose-horn to spear fish. Stormbreaker stole a spine from Dizzy and held it in his mouth as he tried to harpoon a fish. They spent the afternoon watching their dragons’ attempts to catch fish… but most of the time the dragons just ended up wet.

            They set up camp inside a nearby icy cave as their dragons continued to play outside. After their dragons gave up, Calder went out and caught a healthy amount of fish, with some help from Mini who was proving to be an amazing angler. Hyrra helped Brey set up camp, by setting out their bedrolls and using some of the wood they brought to start a fire, good thing we brought wood, there isn’t any here! When Calder returned they sat down around the fire to enjoy their dinner.

            “Well for our first day I say we did really well, we found a dragon and learned some new things!” Brey said happily.

            Hyrra hummed in agreement, next to her Mini was already sleeping and Storm was quickly eating his pile of fish, “Though I don’t know how much it will help us with Wrath.” She sighed.

            “Hmm… well! This body structure has to mean something right?” Calder pointed out, “Mini looks like… well… a miniaturized version of Wrath: long legs, body style, smooth scales…”

            “Long limbs could help navigate this rough terrain, the body is probably well suited for both land and water, and the smooth scales are probably to help them be more streamlined in the water. The more we learn about Mini, the more we’ll learn about Wrath… possibly.” Brey shrugged at that last bit. Hyrra decided to lay down, though the near constant stream of sunlight outside made that difficult. A few hours later the sun finally sank behind the glaciers, painting the sky red and orange, letting her sleep for a few hours until the sun returned. Upon awaking she noticed that both of her friends, and their dragons, were still fast asleep. Except for Mini, who was already up and sitting out by one of the holes patiently. Hyrra got up slowly, as to not awaken her dragon, who was out like a log and snoring.

            The morning, evening?, was particularly chilly, the sun was beginning to climb back up the sky, I hate Midnight Suns, coloring the heavens a dull blue and gray, “Catch anything?” She asked the dragon, who stood up and moved away from her hole, hopping around, “So what do we do until those other guys wake up?” Mini began to walk away from the ice holes and over a hill, “A hike?” She shrugged, why not? Hyrra climbed the snowy bank and looked around the large island, does this place ever end? “We’ll never cover even half of this place on foot!” She said under her breath.

            Suddenly there was something between her ankles and then she was slung up onto Mini’s back, “Oh!” was all she could say. It was odd to ride a dragon shaped like Mini, she imagined this is what it would feel like to ride one of those horses Brey talked about. It was actually quite comfortable, “Well? Are we going to go exploring?” She goaded the dragon, who lunged forward excitedly and then slid down the hill, tucking her long legs against her body and using her wings to push herself forward. It was so baffling and ludicrous that she could only laugh as the dragon slid over the ice with ease on her smooth belly. They slid along the ice for some time until they hit actual snow, then Mini lurched to her feet and picked up a loping run, her long claws perfectly shaped for digging into the snow for traction. Around them, Hyrra watched the environment change, from glaciers to snow banks to rocky, snowcapped mountains with sparse grass, the amount of diversity perplexed her. Hyrra was also pretty sure she saw the telltale smoking cone of a volcano in the distance.

            Mini came to rest on a rocky hill, giving her a good look at the island around them, “Wow… so this is where the Dragon Slayers were living? I don’t know if I would have left.” It was an oddly beautiful island, with the center of it looking more habitable than the rest… and the closer you got to the volcano the greener the grass looked. Still there didn’t seem to be much life on the island, she saw an eagle and could have sworn she saw a fox. As she continued to look around she saw something moving in the distance, almost in a herd-like fashion, deer? Yaks? Hyrra looked behind them and could make out the white glaciers that surrounded their camp, “Maybe they’re up by now…” She was pretty sure she didn’t want to figure out what was moving in a herd on her own, “Let’s head back… how fast can you run?” She asked the dragon teasingly. Mini jumped down the rocky hill with ease, using her long-toed feet to keep balance, when they hit the ground, the white dragon dug her front legs into the ground, pushing off like a sprinter.

            It wasn’t the smoothest ride she’d ever had, but it was the fastest she’d had on land. Mini ran like no other dragon Hyrra had ever seen. Having four, symmetrical legs meant that Mini could use them to run at much quicker speeds, Hyrra tried to get an idea of how Mini was running. She figured out that the dragon had, at least, two moments in her running cycle where all four legs were off the ground, in those moments Hyrra felt her stomach flip. They raced from the hills down to the plains, where Mini really hit her stride, and then they hit the snow and ice. As they made it back to the ice Mini threw herself down onto the ice, scaring Hyrra nearly to death, and skidded along the ice like an arrow. Hyrra was laughing and enjoying herself… until she saw the hill looming ahead, and quickly approaching. It was the same hill they’d slid down when they left but this time Mini hit the hill and it acted like a ramp, launching both of them straight up and into the air. They soared for a second or two before Mini opened up her wings and glided safety back down to the ice, coming to a skidding stop in front of a shocked Brey and Calder.

            “What on earth are you doing?!” Brey snapped, “She’s a wild dragon! Why are you riding her?”

            Hyrra was laughing raucously and trying to fix her windswept hair as she slid off the dragon, “Don’t ask me, it was her idea!” She pointed at the silvery serpent, who wagged her tail happily. Stormbreaker was frowning at her, “Hey did you see that?! Do you think you can slid on your belly?” The Skrill gave her an indignant snort.

            “That’s so cool! What was it like?” Calder asked.

            “Fast! Really, really fast!” Hyrra heaved a sigh, “I wanted to show you guys something, I think I saw another herd… of something. Couldn’t be sure what it was.”

            Brey seemed to forget her anger with Hyrra immediately, “Where?” They mounted up, this time Hyrra rode Storm, and she led them back to where Mini had taken her. Speaking of the frosty dragon, she continued to follow them happily, until they drew close to the volcano then she stopped and landed, weird. “This island is so varied!” Brey said excitedly as she scribbled in her journal. They hovered over the hill while Hyrra tried to remember what direction the herd had been moving.

            “Um… I believe they were just to the right of the volcano and moving further to the east.” Hopefully. They took off and flew towards the volcano, keeping an eye out for movement.

            “What was that?” Calder pointed towards a rocky outcropping. Both girls shrugged, they hadn’t seen anything, but they headed in that direction. They landed on the rocky hill above the outcropping, “Weird, I could have sworn I saw something!” The trio dismounted and looked around the crag, but didn’t see anything moving, so they climbed down the rocky hill. When they got to the bottom Hyrra saw that there was a lot of tunnels cut into the side of the hill.

            “Must be lava tubes from the volcano.” Brey admired the rough cut tunnels. Then they all heard a ‘chittering’ sound that made Hyrra’s hair stand up on her arms. In the darkness of the tunnel Hyrra saw quick movement, she grabbed Brey’s arm and pulled her back, just in time as a stinging tail slung out of it.

            “Speed Stingers.” Hyrra muttered as they all backed up quickly. The flightless, irate dragons quickly poured out of the lava pipes all around them, hissing and swinging their tails, “I guess this is what I saw.” There were at least two dozen of them, severely outnumbering them, even with their own dragons counted in. Hyrra immediately noticed one Speed Stinger in particular who was larger and had a bright red fin on his head, whereas all the others had blue… that’s the alpha.

            Stormbreaker shot lighting that frightened the smaller Speed Stingers away, but the Alpha simply hissed as he stepped out of the way of the strike. Now he seemed even more irritated as he swung his venomous, barbed tail in Calder’s direction, targeting the most threatening individual first.

            The pack mentality set in quickly as the other Speed Stingers targeted Calder, but Pearl was down the hill and spitting acid at the Speed Stinger’s feet in a flash, keeping them at bay, “Retreat?” Calder asked, which they all very quickly agreed to. Calder jumped into Pearl’s saddle as they took off quickly, within seconds Dizzy swooped down and picked Brey up, and Storm swept down and used his powerful wings to knock over the Speed Stingers who tried to attack her as she grabbed onto his saddle. She reunited with Brey and Calder up in the sky, Mini quickly joined them in the air.

            “So… another pack dragon… that’s something, right?” Calder giggled as he tried to see the bright side.

            “Yes… how about we search on the other side of the volcano? Away from the Speed Stingers.” Brey suggested, the other two nodded and they took to flying towards the volcano, “The land here looks really fertile… not surprising considering the volcanic activity.” Hyrra watched the volcano as they passed it, there as a steady stream of smoke coming from the cone and a bright orange river flowing down its side and disappearing into another cave, is that really lava? She’d never seen it in person, not sure I want to get much closer. They landed on the other side, which was flatter than the adjacent one, “Let’s walk towards the bay… I think that’s what it was.” They had seen, what looked to be, a cove in the distance before they had landed.

            They walked across the flatlands slowly, keeping an eye out for any dragons or new animals but saw nothing, Hyrra’s hopes of finding a weakness of Wrath’s were quickly falling. Hyrra was staring off into the distance when Brey tapped her arm, “Hey… does that look like a house to you?”

            Hyrra and Calder followed Brey’s gaze, “Yes… yes it does.” In the distance Hyrra saw a wooden structure standing alone, leaning quietly on a hill. They quickly made their way towards it, upon cresting the hill they all came to the startling realization.

            “This is a village.” Calder’s whisper was almost completely disregarded as both girls stared wide-eyed at the clusters of log homes, all backing up to the bay.

            “This was a village.” Hyrra corrected quietly as if the still in the air might break. It was hauntingly vacant, just the memories of a tribe, “Do you think this belonged to…?” Nobody answered because it was obvious, this is the former Dragon Slayer village. They moved into the village slowly staring at the abandoned fire-pits and fishing nets. Behind them their dragons shook their heads at the smells around them and refused to move further into the forgotten village, “I can only imagine the things that they are smelling.” Hyrra thought aloud, Brey nodded. Many of the houses were falling and dilapidated from years of neglect… but one house stood out.

            It was larger than the rest and set in the middle of the village, with a rounded shape rather than a rectangular one. The roof was falling in after years of snow buildup, but the door was wide open, inviting the trio into its abandoned depths. Hyrra stepped over the threshold and immediately felt like she shouldn’t be there. Oh, this is why the dragons refused to come into the village. Dragon skulls lined the walls of the hut, alongside other ‘trophies’… the tusk of a Polar Serpent, the jaws of a Whispering Death… even a Skrill’s skull. 

            They spread out around the house as the initial shock wore off and began to pick through the house’s remains. Hyrra found a stash of old weapons, all dulled from age, alongside a box with a few odd pieces of armor that looked like they might fit a child, tough childhood. She heard Calder chuckle as they looked around, “Take a wild guess who lived here.” She looked over her shoulder to see him picking up a few pieces of paper, hidden under a mat.

            Brey snatched them from Calder’s hand, “This looks like…” She whipped out Dr. Lardsen’s old journal, “This is Dr. Lardsen’s writing!”

            The dread in Hyrra’s stomach was officially realized, “This was the Throatfang home.” Maybe there’s something in here I can use against Stoneheart… what am I thinking? There’s nothing here! If I find her journal from her teenage years what could I do with that?! Embarrass her to death? Hyrra smacked her own forehead, as if that might dislodge the censored thoughts, Brey and Calder watched her with confused expressions.

            “You okay?” Brey asked.

            Hyrra blushed as she realized they were watching her, “Um… yeah. Just stupid thoughts.” Hyrra spun back around and continued searching through the old trunks while listening to Brey read over Dr. Lardsen’s old notes.

            “He must have been pretty young when he wrote these… the writing’s really hard to read. These seem more like diary entries than research notes.” Brey paused as she struggled to read, “A lot of these entries seem to focus on his siblings, ‘Ullr defeated Svigar for the first time today, she’s very upset…’ what is this word?” Hyrra looked over her shoulder to see Brey frowning, “Oh! ‘Mother seems disappointed too. I heard Svigar say that the reason she lost the fight against Ullr was because she didn’t see his blade.’ Some more stuff about family drama-”

            Hyrra stopped Brey mid-sentence, “Wait…” Hyrra had her repeat the last bit she had read, “Brey… doesn’t Tic have some eyesight problems?”

            The brunette rolled her eyes at the obvious answer, “Yes... that’s why he wears glasses.”

            “But what are those problems?” Hyrra pushed.

             “He can’t see well in dim-light and,” Brey’s expression became shocked as it hit her, “…sometimes he has blind spots!” 

            Calder frowned, “I’m not following… why are you guys so shocked by that?”

            Hyrra flipped around, “What if Tic’s eye problems are inherited? His journal says that Svigar lost a fight because she couldn’t see the blade…”

            Calder’s eyes lit up, “Svigar could also have bad vision… and she’s clearly not wearing any glasses to help with it! So it could be worse than Dr. Lardsen’s.”

            “She didn’t seem to have any issues with her eyesight when I met her…” Wait. Hyrra abruptly thought back to when Svigar had grabbed her hand, the intense, unblinking stare she’d had… could that have been because she was having trouble seeing the scar on my hand? The lines are pretty fine… Moreover she seems to always look directly at an object, never from her peripheral vision, “I think Svigar may have limited peripheral vision.”

            Calder quickly slid into his warrior mindset, “If that’s true than she’s always open to an attack from the side.”

            “You know… when she’s not with her gigantic dragon.” Brey pointed out, “And sure… her vision isn’t great but she isn’t blind, and she’s clearly a formidable warrior on her own for all of those men to follow her orders. She must also be pretty good at hiding her vision impairment considering Dr. Lardsen never told us about that.”

            “I don’t want to end our brainstorming session, but can we leave this house of horrors?” Hyrra asked as she looked around the walls again, the Skrill skull staring back at her made her shiver. They retreated from the village and met back up with their dragons, Storm growled lowly when he smelled her, “Sorry bud, I must smell pretty bad.” Dizzy’s sensitive nose had her bouncing around nervously, while Pearl looked completely unaffected. Mini was nowhere to be seen, she must had returned to the camp.

            By the time they returned to camp the sun was beginning to arch towards the horizon, though who knows how long it will take for it to disappear completely, they also found Mini. She was busy swimming in the frigid water with a few other Polar Serpents, who disappeared beneath the water as soon as they landed. Mini saw them land and quickly flopped out of the water and onto her belly, sliding over to them happily.

            “… if Svigar has bad vision how could we test that?” Brey finished as they climbed off their dragons, who quickly ran off to play with Mini, other than Storm who curled up in the sun and slept.

            “Other than risking our lives? I doubt we can test it.” Calder sighed.

            “I agree with Calder, something tells me we can’t walk up to Stoneheart and ask ‘have you had spotty vision? Maybe blurry vision?’” Hyrra stated sarcastically.

            Brey stuck her tongue out at Hyrra, “Joke all you want, but it’d be nice to know for sure rather than just hoping she has bad vision.” They set out to remake camp, Hyrra pulled out their last pieces of firewood while Brey marked down the things they had begun to suspect, and outside Calder was fishing.

            They were eating around the fire later that evening when Mini came bounding in excitedly, she used her long horn to poke the sleeping Skrill, and hit Hyrra on the head with her horn in her excitement, “What’s gotten into her?” Calder asked as the dragon raced over to the cave opening, and looked back at them with her tail wagging.

            “Seems like she wants us to follow her.” Brey said as she got up, Hyrra shrugged at Calder and stood up to follow. Their dragons dragged themselves behind them, grumbling as the three had been sleeping. Outside the sky was darkening as the sun sank behind the distant, icy mountains, “I don’t see what she’s so excited ab…” Brey trailed off as the lanky dragon looked skyward. The sky was painted a gradient of dark blue and red with twinkling stars but the most beautiful thing was an ethereal, pink, dancing light high above their heads. With every passing minute the sky grew darker and the light became brighter, and as the red in the sky faded, more lights joined their sister in the sky: turquoise, emerald, jade, aqua, lapis… The trio found themselves sitting on the ice for hours watching the shifting lights. And never saying a word.

            Until, Hyrra nudged Calder with her shoulder, “Hm?” Not taking his gaze from the sky.

            “Happy Birthday.” She said with a soft grin.

            He finally broke his gaze, “I guess the Valkyries do take bribes.” He said matter-of-factly, his comment aimed at Brey, who chuckled from her position on Hyrra’s other side.

            “I guess so…” The only reason they crawled back into their cave was because the sun came up, effectively ending the light’s dance. Having stayed up all night, even if had been a short one, they slept fitfully until nearly noon. Hyrra was jostled awake by Calder.

            “Hey, we need to be leaving soon.” Hyrra grumbled as she sat up, and whined the entire time as she helped them pack up. When she stepped outside for the first time she was quickly greeted by Mini, who rubbed the side of her face against Hyrra’s leg, “I’m gonna miss her.” Calder frowned as he followed Hyrra out of the cave, and gave Mini a loving pat on the head.

            “She can’t come with us,” Brey said sternly, Mini gave the tanned girl her most pitiful expression, “Even if she is very cute! She needs to be with her own species… who knows what the climate down south would do to her? It could make her very sick for all we know.” Brey’s right…

            They met their dragons out closer to the ocean, where the Nadder and Skrill were in the midst a tiff, something not completely abnormal for them. Often these tiffs happened because Storm would step on Dizzy’s tail, on purpose, or Dizzy would agitate Storm by poking or pecking at him, the fights were never violent and almost always ended in the two dragons taking a nap side-by-side, “What are they fighting over this time?” Hyrra sighed, walking over to her dragon, “Calm down, I’m sure she didn’t mean to… do whatever she did.”

            Calder chuckled as he sidled up to his peaceful dragon, “Maybe Storm said she had a big nose? You know how Nadders are... they’re so sensitive about their looks.” He joked. Brey glared at him but continued to try and calm her dragon. Both dragons refused to calm down, and were hissing and growling at each other until a deep rumble shook the ice, making all of them come to a dead stop, “You both heard that right?” Calder whispered lowly.

            Hyrra looked at Mini, who had cocked her head to the side at the noise and was now wagging her tail, she doesn’t seem worried, Hyrra was going to ask Brey what she thought it was, when she saw something in the distance moving behind Brey. She motioned for Brey and Calder to look, I’m not the only one seeing this am I? All three saw it: a big, black head out in the water that disappeared from view as it cut around a corner. It’s heading for Open Ocean.

            Calder found his voice first, “Is that Wrath? Did he follow us?!” He hissed lowly.

            Hyrra shook her head, trying to calm him, “No! I don’t think so, if that was Wrath he would have killed us, no questions asked!” She could see the cogs turning in her friends’ heads but she didn’t wait around for their answers as she took off in the direction that the dragon had been swimming. She told Storm to stay, and heard Brey and Calder try to stop her, but she wasn’t listening. She ran and climbed down the small cliff that was the edge of ‘real’ land, and raced along the ice to its jagged edge, somehow managing to not fall the entire way. She stopped to catch her breath as she looked around at the still water and the large chunks of floating ice on it. She peered back the way she had come, where are you?

            There it was, a massive head submerged only a few feet with the spikes along the back of its skull sticking out of the water like a shark’s fin. Not quite thinking clearly in her desperation to keep the rare dragon from disappearing, Hyrra did the first thing that came to her mind, “Hey!” She saw the dragon stop for a second, before it sank deeper into the water and disappeared, No! She kicked herself angrily, “That was so stupid! ‘Hey!’ That’s how you get a dragon’s attention Hyrra! Good going!” She was so preoccupied with her own scolding she failed to notice a dark shape approaching until a small wave lapped over the edge of the ice and hit her boots.

            She jumped as she looked into the water and immediately saw burning green eyes, each the size of her arm, staring at her curiously. Hyrra was frozen as the titanic dragon raised itself out of the water, only so that its head, and a little bit of its neck, were above water. Maybe this wasn’t so smart. Wrath had been big. This wild Doomfang was bigger. She wasn’t even as tall as the dragon’s head, and she could only imagine that its teeth were nearly as long as her legs. It also occurred to her that she was only seeing maybe a fifth of this dragon’s entire body, as the rest was still submerged in the dark, cold waters. It was still a magnificent dragon though, with ebony scales that were gleaming with the water running off of them and emerald eyes.

            All of her fears quickly vanished as the wild dragon seemed to care little about harming her. It just seemed interested. After all… I’m an ant to this dragon. Why would it bother to waste energy on me? The sable dragon took a deep inhale, so hard that Hyrra’s hair was sucked along with it, and when it exhaled Hyrra had to close her eyes against the hot gust of wind. A high-pitched, earsplitting clicking made Hyrra cover her ears, it definitely has echolocation! When she heard the clicking subside, she looked up at the dragon, “Was that necessary?” She whispered under her breath. The green eyes, much darker than Wrath’s, had an amused glint in them. The eyes were so intelligent and expressive they almost looked… human. Now that the dragon seemed calm, and mysteriously friendly, she decided to take a chance… she reached out and brushed her fingers against its huge nose. She watched, mesmerized, as the scales quivered at her touch, sensitive… just like Pearl. It took her by surprise when the dragon shook its head, did I make it mad?... oops.

            And then the dragon sneezed. Thankfully it didn’t sneeze in her direction, but the sheer sound and power of its sneeze made the ice shake. The dragon settled back in and cocked its head to the side, bringing one of his eyes within arm’s reach of her, now or never for the vision test. Hyrra suddenly raised her hand and waved it rapidly in front of the dragon’s eye, waiting for a response. The dragon didn’t blink for at least ten seconds and then shied away from her hand, it has awful vision! “Well, uh… thank you for your help, sir.” The dragon suddenly growled, a sound that reverberated through Hyrra’s body and the ice, “I mean… ma’am?” That seemed to placate the dragon, a bit touchy. The dragoness proudly bowed her head before sinking back into the water and disappearing almost immediately.

            It took Hyrra a minute to process what had just happened. In less than ten minutes she had succeeded in touching and examining a Doomfang, a wild Doomfang. She returned to Calder and Brey, who had been watching the entire exchange, “You touched it?!” Brey asked excitedly, “What’d you learn?”

            Hyrra shook her head, noticing that it was now after midday, “We need to start flying back… I’ll tell you on the way.” They said their goodbyes to Mini, Dizzy and Pearl both gave a sad nudge to the leggy dragon in goodbye, meanwhile Storm poked the smaller dragon with his wing claw when she tried to bump him affectionately. As they were leaving, Hyrra turned around and saw the other Polar Serpents returning from the water, quickly reembracing Mini into their flock, good… she’s best off here.

            The redhead told her friends everything she’d learned from her encounter with the female Doomfang: female Doomfangs seem larger than the males. Like they had thought their scales are very sensitive and they have echolocation, and their eyesight is very poor, “Tic was right they are very intelligent and I think that normal Doomfangs are peaceful… like the one I met.” So what happened to Wrath? The rest of the flight, they bounced questions back and forth, Calder theorized that they could get the female Doomfang to defeat Wrath, which both Brey and Hyrra shot down. First off, I doubt that we could find the female Doomfang again and she is probably too passive to fight a dragon as vicious as Wrath.

            By the time they had returned to the school, the sun was painting the sky orange, “Should we return to Dr. Lardsen tonight…?” Calder asked, probably hoping that the girls would say ‘no’, but was quickly disappointed as he was dragged down to the teacher’s lab.

            “Dr. Lardsen we’re back!” Brey announced as they walked in.

            “Finally, I was beginning to think I’d have to come looking for you.” The mousy man looked up from his notes, “Before you start I have something to show you.” He brought out a tightly sealed metal can, Hyrra also noticed he was wearing thick gloves, “In this can is the element I found that most closely resembled what you told me, now stand back… it’s quite volatile,” They all watched as the professor poured a blue liquid out onto an apple, which was lying in a metal pan on a desk, the liquid almost immediately began to give off an odd wispy, blue smoke that looked like blue fire.

            “That's it!” Hyrra and Calder both said in unison.

            “I thought as much.” The teacher put the lid on the can tightly and put it aside, “It is called liquid oxygen.”

            “Liquid oxygen…? How did you make that?” Brey asked excitedly.

            “I’ll explain it in class later,” He shrugged off the question, “What you need to know is that this Liquid Oxygen is very dangerous, it’s extremely cold, even the vapors you see are cold enough to cause major damage to skin. Alongside this, too much of this ‘mist’ and you’ll pass out, because the gas steals the oxygen from your lungs.” He pulled off his gloves, “I also may have accidently splashed a bit on myself.” His thumb was bright red, like a sun burn, “It’s quite painful but I could have lost my thumb had I not known what to do.” He picked up a hammer, “And this is what happens to things that are covered in the liquid,” He hit the apple, and it shattered into clean shards… like glass.

            They all gulped, “How did you survive Calder?! You and Pearl were covered in it!”

            “Well… I guess we were mostly touched by the mist. Honestly, I passed out before it hit us.”

            Tic nodded, “As I suspected. You also mentioned that Pearl had been in the water before you got hit by Wrath’s breath. This means that the reason Pearl wasn’t horribly injured is because the water froze before her wing, and the liquid evaporates very quickly meaning it wasn’t there long enough to get down to her wing.” The professor put the hammer back down, “So! What did you learn while you were away?”

 

[A.N: My longest chapter ever! Phew! The next chapter will hopefully be out by Thursday... but if not it may not get here until May 8th as I am going on vacation.]

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Chapter 27: Baby Gone

Chapter 27

Baby Gone

            “Good job Mani! Thrain, it’s your turn!” Korinta called. The scouting expert was standing on the caldera wall, critically assessing each of the scouts as they went through some of their more daring exercises. She wasn’t the only one observing them though, a lot of Warriors and Engineers were sitting around and watching the scouts practice. Hyrra was sitting next to Brey and Calder, waiting for her turn.

            She watched as Thrain completed his signature move the ‘Confusion Spin’, it always seemed like an impractical move but Hyrra knew better. The move was signature to him because you needed to have a multi-headed dragon in order to complete it. Confusion Spin was used in battle to confound the enemy, and it wasn’t hard to see how it did so. Thrain and the Ladies dove from the caldera wall, the Snaptrapper opened their mouths and released their potently sweet smoke as they began to spin. Thrain leapt from his saddle to one of his dragon’s heads, aimed an arrow and shot, then jumped to another and repeated his shot. By constantly moving from head-to-head, and adding the dragon’s smoke and spinning, it would be exceptionally tricky for someone to target Thrain, and considering that the only soft spot on a Snaptrapper is their head, it would be difficult to take the dragon down. Just before they hit the ground, the Ladies pulled sharply up and doubled back to Korinta.

            “Five out of six shots made… not your best Thrain, but still impressive. Hyrra you’re up.” Hyrra stood and mounted up, and flew to her teacher. She’d had a hard time coming up with a signature move for herself and Storm. She ended up embracing Storm’s natural ability to fly at near ninety degree angles and upside down… not to mention her own ability to survive hitting the ground at 20 meters per second, “I want to see you complete Zap and Dash… without breaking your legs please.” The sharp-eyed teacher said out of the corner of her mouth.

            Hyrra grinned, “When have I ever messed this move up?” She heard her trainer mutter something like, “Pretty brash for a newbie.” Which was true, she’d been practicing risky moves for only a few weeks, since she’d returned from Ice Island. “You know what to do,” The redhead patted Storm’s neck and he groaned, “What? It’ll be fine!” The last few times they’d done this move Hyrra had, more often than not, found herself eating dirt. Korinta gave her the motion to begin. Hyrra pulled her glaive from behind her, making sure her thumb was on the button.

            Stormbreaker hopped off the edge of the caldera and immediately began to dive, the caldera is a bit shorter than the cliff we were practicing on, his speed increased and just before they hit the ground, she kicked her feet out of the stirrups and Storm pulled up, about five feet from the ground, flipped onto his back for a split second, just long enough for Hyrra to jump, and then he pitched himself backwards, into a tight loop. Hyrra had to quickly let her knees collapse, allowing her to roll forward and jump to her feet, experiencing some wooziness with the sudden change in blood flow. She quickly regained her posture, pressed the button on the weapon and jabbed at the target a few feet in front of her, feeling a bit silly as she did so, but if this were a real person he’d be having a very bad day.

            She had little time to dwell on it though as she quickly pressed the button twice, making it shorten again, crouched and then launched herself upwards and backwards, using all the strength in her legs to jump as high as possible, I hope I jumped high enough. As she sailed backwards she craned her head back and could see the dark gray and upside down, at least to her, shape that was Stormbreaker very quickly approaching after his loop, his mouth already open and filled with lightning as he zeroed-in on the target. He flew under her, barely missing the ground, and she had to awkwardly try to grab the saddle’s handholds upside down… but she accidently grabbed Storm’s head fringe instead. She let Storm’s movement pull her right-side up, this move puts a lot stress on my shoulder. She slid back into the saddle as Storm shot off a bolt of lightning and pulled up sharply, in order to avoid smacking into the target he had just sniped. They made a circle back to Korinta as some of the Warriors and Engineers whistled and clapped their approval.

            “Well, I’ll give you extra points for style.” The blonde rolled her eyes and Hyrra grinned, I thought she might like the backflip. In the original plans for Zap and Dash, Hyrra simply stood to the side when Storm came by and she would grab the saddle as he shot the target. She returned to Brey and Calder. When she dismounted, Storm smacked her with his wing claw.          

            “What did I do?” The Skrill proceeded to grab her curly hair with his mouth and tug, “Hey, ow! Okay, okay! I’m sorry I pulled your fringe!” The dragon spat out her air and huffed.

            Calder was grinning, “That was amazing! …why do scouts get to do all the cool stuff?”

            “You mean all the dangerously stupid stuff.” Brey was frowning, Hyrra sighed. She knew trying to convince Brey that the moves they were showing off were applicable to real life was a losing battle. Hyrra didn’t get the chance to really speak with them because Korinta called on all the scouts for their group practice. The scouts and their dragons lined up alongside Korinta, awaiting further orders.

            “I want to see…” The woman looked deep in thought but Hyrra already knew she had something in mind, “The Switch.” Hyrra groaned, I hate this move. It wasn’t hard… but… “Thrain I want you to switch with Hyrra. You two are going first.” I have to ride the Snaptrapper. Thrain and the Ladies sat parallel to Hyrra and Storm, at their teacher’s motion their dragons dove in tandem. About halfway down they leveled off until both of their dragons were calmly gliding side-by-side.

            “You ready?” Thrain asked, standing on his large dragon’s back with ease. Hyrra nodded, as before, she let the stirrups fall from her feet. She gave Storm a nudge and he tilted so that he flew over the Snaptrapper. Hyrra slipped from his back and onto the other dragon, she saw Thrain move quickly to jump from his dragon to Storm as the Skrill came back down on the other side. Once Hyrra was back in a saddle, she looked up to Thrain, “That wasn’t so bad!” He grinned.

            As they flew back over to Kortina, the woman barked off another instruction, “Aerial Switch! NOW!”

            Hyrra was taken by surprise, but thankfully she knew this move pretty well, she locked eyes with Thrain, making sure he was ready before giving the Ladies the order, “Up!” Each of the heads turned to look at Hyrra crossly, “Come on work with me here!” The heads growled but pitched sharply upwards, having to work incredibly hard to keep their bulky body at a similar level to the far more dexterous Skrill. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Thrain was still a few feet away, too far, clearly Thrain saw that too, and knew his dragon wasn’t flexible enough to close the gap. So he pulled on Storm’s saddle, who beat his wings to close the gap between himself and the other dragon.

            Now Thrain was less than a foot away and the dragons were working extra hard to not bump their wings together. Looking over her shoulder, she locked eyes with Thrain as he reached a hand back towards his dragon and she reached for Storm. They were back to back and her hand was hovering over the handholds, waiting for Thrain to let go, Hyrra’s eyes strayed downwards and she saw just how far away the island was and her stomach fluttered. She almost missed Thrain letting go and had to use her hand to push off of the Ladies to close the growing gap between herself and Storm. She snatched the saddle and struggled for to pull herself fully into it, until Storm leveled back out. Finally back on her own dragon, she was really hoping Korinta didn’t want them to do anymore Switches.

            And she didn’t. The teacher allowed them to land without giving another order, “You two did well… a bit slow though.” Hyrra wanted to give a smart-mouthed reply, but Thrain, knowing her well, quickly dragged her away. Back on solid ground, Hyrra didn’t really pay attention to the other group exercises.

            “That looked exhausting!” Brey frowned, “How could that be useful in battle… ever?”

            Hyrra shook her head, “The Switches are more to help you learn to work with another dragon and rider, not really for battle.” Korinta was about to call out another pair of names when Dr. Lardsen and his Whispering Death appeared.

            The specialist said something to Korinta who rolled her eyes, “Hyrra and Calder, you are wanted with the Headmaster… right now.” She added when the other teacher continued to stand there staring at her.

            “What did you two do?” Brey asked exasperatedly.

            “Nothing! At least I don’t think so.” Calder frowned, but stood up and followed Hyrra to the Main Hall, inside they found Axel leaning against a pillar, what’s he doing here?

            The Headmaster walked in after the duo, “Ah, here you three are. I don’t want you to panic,” Immediately Hyrra was on red alert, “but Berk was targeted by, what appears to have been, the Dragon Slayers last night.” All three were standing right in front of the Headmaster in seconds, “Hiccup was adamant that no one was gravely injured, but there were a couple of buildings destroyed. I think it’s best if you three head home for the weekend, at least to see your families and maybe to help in the rebuilding.” Well at least no one was hurt.

            They were flying back when Axel spoke up for the first time, “Why would the Dragon Slayers target Berk? I thought Stoneheart was more interested in the school?”

            Hyrra had been wondering that as well, “Hiccup is the original dragon rider, he basically stands for everything that the Dragon Slayers want to destroy… why wouldn’t they go after Berk?” Calder pointed out, he has a good argument but…

            “Berk is a lot further south than the School. Why wouldn’t they attack the School first? Both are pretty heavily defended but Berk has legions of well-trained dragons, while the School has more inexperienced riders. It seems logical that they should have gone after the School first.” Axel and Calder both agreed with that and they flew the rest of the way in silence.

            Their first glimpse of Berk was a good one, it didn’t seem too heavily damaged and people were milling around with logs to help repair the few homes that had been hit. They landed near the main hall where they were quickly greeted by Hiccup and Toothless, “Ah, there you are!” Before any of them could start badgering him with questions he nullified their concerns, “Calder your family is fine, though your house did take a bit of a beating. Axel, Hyrra, you’ll be happy to know that the farmlands were almost completely untouched.” Something in the chief’s tone troubled her though, but she held her tongue back. Calder quickly excused himself and ran off in the direction of his family home, Pearl followed him as she looked around curiously, having never seen Berk before.

            “Come with me you two.” They followed Hiccup back to the Elklund farm, Hyrra’s stomach was knotted up, somethings wrong. When they landed on the farm Hyrra didn’t see any sign of her parents out in the fields. Axel hurriedly made his way to his parent’s home; meanwhile, Hyrra’s anxiety only got worse as Storm almost immediately hissed and growled when they arrived. Once Hyrra dismounted the dragon stalked off into the forest that backed up to the Elklund farm and returned with something in his mouth. Hyrra stiffened as Storm dropped the black tuff into her hands.

            This looks like… bear fur. “… Does this have Svigar’s scent?” She asked the dragon, who nodded in response.

            “I was worried about that.” Hiccup said softly, the door to the Elklund family home opened and Hyrra saw her mother and father appear from it, odd why were they in there?, at first Hyrra was happy to see them alive and healthy, but then she saw their faces.

            A distraught, sobbing Gyda rushed down the stairs and clutched Hyrra in a crushing hug, “Mom…?” Hyrra caught her father’s expression, he was staring at the ground, unable to look up at her, Hyrra managed to disentangle herself from her mom, “What happened?” She looked around and quickly realized Midge was nowhere to be seen, “Where’s Midge?” Please say he’s just inside taking a nap.

            “We… we were just out in the fields to water them! I left Midge in the house because he was sleeping and it was late and I didn’t want to wake him up for something so quick!” Her mother wept, and became unable to continue telling the story.

            Her father’s voice was unusually quiet, “We heard the village get hit, we didn’t know what it was at first… it wasn’t until we heard Midge crying that... by the time we got back here he was just gone.”

            The redhead turned on the chief, “You said no one got hurt!”

            Hiccup flinched at her anger, “I didn’t want you to panic or do anything rash. I promise, I’ll find Midge… please stay here with your parents.” Hyrra gritted her teeth but her mother taking her hand and squeezing it brought her back to the present, and she forced a smile instead. Hiccup used the momentary distraction to leave the family alone.

            Despite her mother’s very obvious sadness she seemed to be gathering her emotional faculties, that’s my mom. Tough as nails, “Let me get a good look at you!” Her mother gave Hyrra an appraising look through teary eyes, “My goodness your hair is getting so long! And look at your cheeks!” Hyrra couldn’t help but grin as her full cheeks were pinched, “What’s it been now? Four months? Five? ... Is this your dragon? He’s quite… imposing.” Her mother eyed the dark dragon who stared back at her.

            Hyrra took the opportunity to, maybe, get her mother’s mind off of Midge a bit, “Yeah, this is Stormbreaker. He’s a Skrill, a strike class, like the chief’s! That means he’s quick and smart, for the most part.” Storm cuffed her gently with his wing.

            Her father looked up for the first time since she’d arrived, with a small smile, “He appears quite the character.”

            The matriarch of the Elklund family came down the steps, “Please come inside we’ve prepared a meal.” I guess it only takes a child abduction for the Elklunds to treat us like human beings. Hyrra had never actually been inside of the Elklund family home. The inside reminded her of Hiccup’s, big and spacious, but the Elklunds had a large table set in the center of their home. Hyrra sat between her parents, and across from Axel, which was weird. At the head of the table was Domnall Elklund, Axel’s father, he looked nothing like his clean, slim son. Domnall was a short, burly man with a huge gut and a trimmed, dark beard. Axel definitely got all of his looks from his mother, Cecilie, a lovely, thin woman with a proud and sharp face. Sitting between Axel and Cecilie was Guss, Axel’s younger brother, a six year old who already had as much attitude as Axel. Hyrra disliked him greatly.

            The meal was… extravagant. A roasted boar, more fit for a huge party instead of a seven person dinner, and vegetables galore. Hyrra tried to eat but her mind kept slipping to Midge and to the person who had taken him. Svigar… what are you trying to prove?

            After an uncomfortably quiet couple of minutes, Domnall spoke up, “Axel, how is school? We’ve not seen you since Snoggletog.”

            Hyrra could practically see the contempt rolling off of Axel in waves. It was known throughout Berk that Axel and his father were at odds. In fact, Axel had pretty much always been on his father’s bad side, and when Axel chose to go to the School over being apprenticed by his father in the trading business, that just seemed to solidify the family feud, “Fine.” Axel answered tersely.

            Hyrra saw Domnall narrow his eyes at the short answer, but Cecilie quickly redirected the discussion, “Hyrra, how has your first year been going? We never did learn what you were sorted into.”

            “It’s been…” scary? Crazy? “A learning experience. I was put into the Scouts.”

            The lithe woman suddenly gasped, “Axel, darling, what of the Dragon Rider Games? You were quite excited about that when you left.” Hyrra snorted and tried to cover it up by coughing, but Axel was glaring daggers at her.

            “My team did well, we took third place.” Out of four teams, Hyrra wanted to add.

            “Well that’s good! I suppose the famous, Fearless Four took first again?” Axel nodded, “Who took second?”         

            Axel was scowling across the table, “A team called Shocktide.”

            “Oh? I don’t remember that being a team last year… who led it?”

            There was a very pregnant pause, Hyrra wondered if Axel was going to lie, “Hyrra did.”

            Suddenly, Domnall gave a barking laugh from the head of the table, Axel turned his glower onto his father, “You lost to her?” Hyrra watched as Cecilie, very obviously, stomped on her husband’s foot under the table, “Uh… I mean, she must be a formidable dragon rider then.” The rest of the dinner was painfully awkward and Hyrra was relieved when they were finally allowed to leave the Elklund residence and return to the little hut she’d called home for sixteen years.

            She didn’t spend much time inside though, because her mother returned to crying as soon as she stepped foot into the hut. And Hyrra couldn’t handle the sound of someone crying. Especially her mother. She sat outside with Storm, staring down at the black piece of fur as if it had taken her baby brother, I just don’t understand. Why take Midge? He’s a baby and he can’t be used for ransom since my parents have no money… Storm laid his large head on her lap, and she traced the violet and cobalt markings behind his eyes as she thought.

            “Your mother’s asleep,” Hyrra jumped at her father’s voice as he sat down next to her, “He seems quite gentle.” He peered over at the napping Skrill.

            Hyrra chuckled, “Only when he’s sleeping. He’s normally pretty stubborn.” She glanced down at her gloved hand.

            “Kind of sounds like you.” Her father smiled, it does doesn’t it? They fell silent, with the crickets chirping and the wind blowing lightly it seemed like a perfect night, “I know Hiccup will do his best to find Midge… but he’s the chief and he’s so busy, I just worry that these ‘Dragon Slayers’ have taken him far away.” They probably have… and I think I know where, “I’m going to head to bed… don’t stay up too late!” He patted her shoulder as he stood up and wandered back into the house.

            The redhead sat quietly under the stars for nearly a half an hour before peering inside the hut and making sure her parents were fast asleep. She snuck into the hut and grabbed Midge’s favorite blanket, sneaking back out she nudged her dragon with her boot, he grumbled as he woke up, “Come on,” She whispered and began to sneak away from the house, Storm dragged himself behind her.

            They were passing by the Elklund’s home when she was arrested by a voice, “You shouldn’t go.” Axel was sitting on the steps of his family home, staring her down from the top of the stairs.

            “I know where they are.” Axel’s frown didn’t change, “I can’t leave Midge alone with that woman, who knows what she’ll do to him?”

            Axel stood up, “Why do you think they took Midge? You don’t find it odd that they took the child of peasant farmers?” He posed the question she’d been wondering.

            Hyrra crossed her arms, “I mean… yes I guess it’s weird… but does it matter? He’s my baby brother, what if it were Guss? You wouldn’t just sit here and act like nothing’s wrong!”

            Axel sighed, “Let me be transparent: it’s obviously a trap.” 

            Hadn’t thought of that, Hyrra bit her lip, that doesn’t change my mind though, “I guess you’re not just going to let me leave, are you?” Axel narrowed his eyes at her, she sighed, “Fine… Storm?” The Skrill swept his tail quickly at Axel’s head, connecting with a thud that made Hyrra flinch. The brunette fell unconscious, “You didn’t hit him too hard right?” Last thing I need is for his parents to hate me for harming their son. She leaned over and checked the boy’s head, he seemed fine, but he’s going to have a major headache.

            “Let’s go,” Hyrra mounted up and Storm took off, quickly making for the thick clouds, “You know where we’re going?” The dragon sighed heavily, “Yup...” She followed her instincts back to the large, icy island she and Thrain had found earlier that year… and had been captured on. It looked just as deceptively empty as it had back then, but this time she knew better.

            They stayed high up in the clouds and circled over the ice cave that Storm had been tortured in, it seems quiet… there must be somewhere else on this island they stay at. They flew further across the island and found a tall, frozen mountain. Storm landed on an overhang, far from the mountain, and Hyrra dismounted to get a better look, because they could see fires lighting up the base of the peak. It looked like a village, she could see that there were makeshift huts around a couple of fires, a blacksmith’s forge… the mountain itself had a giant cave cut into it, and judging from the sounds coming from within, it was safe to assume that was where they kept the dragons they caught. The camp was buzzing with men, but I don’t see Svigar or Wrath.

            She looked over to her dragon, “Do you smell Wrath?” The dragon took a deep inhale and looked around, electricity sparking slowly up and down his fringe and spine, he’s sensing for Wrath’s electrical field. Storm calmed down and shook his head, if Svigar’s not here maybe Midge isn’t here either… “Is Midge here?” She offered the blanket she’d taken to her dragon’s sensitive nose, he sniffed it and walked around the cliff inhaling intensely, when the breeze came into their face from the mountain her dragon tensed and swung his head in the wind’s direction, “I take it that’s a yes?” Her dragon shuffled back over to her.

            Why would Svigar leave Midge? Where did she go…? Hyrra shook her head, Ugh, it doesn’t matter! If she and her demonic dragon aren’t here that makes my life easier! Still.... I can’t let Storm get captured again. But I need to find Midge… how do I do this?  
          

[A.N: To be continued... in a few weeks! I always hate to leave people on cliffhangers but this one was unavoidable as I am going on vacation until the 15th. I'm hoping I can get back rested with a ton of creative juice and power out another chapter within a day or two :3 Happy reading!]