This character was created to adopt a fan-species Dragon called the Dwarf Death, by Wutend Bonfire. Check out her adoption thread on the School of Dragon forums called, "The Dwarf Death; Bonfire Inspired Species, Adoptables".
A Nettling Affair
Barnakarl Thorstabitur threaded the twisted cord of nettle-hemp between the other cords and knotted it, then threaded it through again and knotted it methodically. Making fishing nets was important work, but one, after all his years, Barnakarl could do in his sleep. Vaeni and Baldi twisted the prepared fibers into cord and rope, while Barnakarl and Rickety weaved it into nets. The four old men set out on creates and barrels on the sunny docks of Berk, working and yammering on about the good old days when they were lads out at sea, or fighting, or wooing the women.
"That dragon was huge! The Chief did a right number on him, too. Stoick is a good warrior," Rickety nodded in agreeance with his own statement.
"Praise Thor the Red Death is gone, but its awful quiet around here," Vaeni piped up as he rolled the nettle fibers on his palms. His skin was so pale the blue-purple veins stood up in long lines down his arms.
"Pshaw! You weren't there Rickety, none of us were. And Vaeni, its so quiet because you can't hear out of one ear," Barnakarl countered. Vaeni stayed silent and watched his work, since Barnakarl was beside his bad ear.
"They say it was the boy that killed it," Baldi said, "That's how he lost his leg."
"I thought it was that black dragon of his that follows him like a dog that did it. Ya know since the boy shot off his tail fin," Rickety pondered. "An eye for and eye."
"Naw, the Night Fury saved the boy from worse harm by the Red Death. That's why Stoick let's the Thor-forsaken beast run around Berk," Barnakarl corrected.
"And no more Red Death. It's quiet," Vaeni muttered.
The old men fell silent for a bit, mulling over the old days and the ropes.
"Crate's gettin' low," Baldi poked his thumb absently at the crate of dried nettle-hemp fibers beside him, without lifting his eyes.
"We'll get some in the morn," Barnakarl pointed at himself and Rickety. Rickety just grunted. The men continued on making the netting, and started talking about this year's fishing harvest.
Barnakarl and Rickety arrived at one of the several fields around Berk that was pretty much all stinging nettle. The plant grew well, all on its own, in a variety of environments, so the villagers didn't bother much with cultivating it. This patch was almost straight nettle, with some dragon nip growing along its edges, which then gave way to grass. In the Spring the shepherds had to keep their sheep away, else they'd eat all the young plants themselves and leave none for the villagers for its various edible and medicinal uses. But it was late Summer now, and the nettle was tall and woody and not terribly edible at this point, but perfect for harvesting its fibers.
Rickety laid down his crate to sit on and put on his gloves. Barnakarl pulled out his knife and put on his gloves, too. The nettle stings didn't horribly bother the old men anymore, but a lot could be bothersome. They both had jars of a soothing salve from Gothi tucked away, too.
Barnakarl stretched his slightly bent back and heard a few pops. Then he stooped back over and started slicing the long nettle stalks at the base. He then put his fingers on the shaft at the base and ran them up the stalk, pushing off leaves as he went. This took off the stinging hairs, too - well, most of them. Barnakarl handed the cleaned stalks off to Rickety, who gently mashed them then opened them up and peeled away the inner woody part. The skin of sorts that was left contained the valuable fibers they were after.
The men went on in silence. Barnakarl shooed away a few inquisitive Terrible Terrors that snuffled around him and his belt pouches, which contained - among other things - a bit of food for him to munch on. He still marveled at the old days, the days most of his life took place in, when Berk fought dragons. These days, the days of his elder years, were completely different. He had killed and injured many a dragon in his day, and then, suddenly, he wasn't. Suddenly, dragons helped people, were friendly with people. That is, when they weren't being a nuisance. They were kind of like overgrown scaly dogs, really. Barnakarl had accepted the new reality, but sometimes it was still hard to wrap his old brain around it.
Barnakarl grunted to himself. He stooped lower momentarily and pinched a few sprigs of dragon nip to chew on. The garlicky flavor spiced his tongue. There was so much more to talk about than Dragons. There were sports - like who to root for in the Dragon Races, or the latest new about battles with the Dragon Hunters, or even the latest haul of fish ... which was often aided by Dragons these days.
"Gahh!" Barnakarl muttered irritably as a stalk of nettle poked him on a tender bare spot on his neck. To pre-occupied with thoughts of Dragons. He dabbed a bit of Gothi's salve on the area, and felt a cooling relief that took away much of the sting.
Suddenly, a loud wail emanated from the nettle patch. Barnakarl and Rickety glanced up, not horribly surprised by strange noises. But then Barnakarl did fall backward, as a Dragon reared up out of the vegetation and pawed the air. It roared again piteously and stumbled through the tall nettle stalks like a bull.
Barnakarl slowly flipped himself over on his knees and raised himself up. "What in Thor's name??" he muttered. That dragon wasn't a Gronckle or a Snafflefang or any other species he could place, but it looked terribly familiar. He moved back toward Rickety, as the Dragon tramped forward.
"Red Death! Red Death! I was there! We've got to save Berk!" Rickety shouted, waving his dagger around in front of him.
Red Death. That's why the Dragon looked so familiar. The dragon that caused so much loss and destruction to Berk all because of its insatiable appetite. A massive, dangerous creature vanquished by one wee boy. If a boy could save Berk, then perhaps two old men could, too.
Barnakarl joined Rickety, wielding his knife. The dragon wailed again and stumbled out of the nettle patch. He paused briefly to sniff at the dragon nip and grabbed a mouthful before starting to wail and whimper again. He moved forward a few steps more and sat down. The Dragon nosed at his wings with his four-eyed head.
"Leave Berk alone, you Thor-forsaken beast!" Rickety yelled defiantly.
"Hey," Barnakarl said, punching Rickety in the arm to get his attention. "Aren't they supposed to have six eyes? This one only has four. And be a wee bit bigger, too?" Barnakarl glanced back at the dragon. He was only a bit larger than a wolfhound or maybe a pony. And he looked ... sad. Not like he was about to go on a destructive rampage.
"Four. Six. They have more than two!" Rickety replied. "Maybe its a young one," he said, starting to look a bit doubtful. "The Red Death was colossal."
Barnakarl lowered his knife. The dragon had laid down and started chewing dragon nip, whimpering to himself, unconcerned he was being discussed nearby. "I don't know that we'd be helping Berk by killing a baby dragon."
"Eh? Well he does look rather pathetic ... maybe its a trick?" Rickety said, sounding less and less confident.
"Ahh, what the Helheim," Barnakarl spat and sheathed the knife. Fortunately, he still had decent eyesight. The dragon hung its wings low, nearly dragging the ground. Most dragons kept their wings above them out of harm's way. The membranes between the wing-fingers were reddened, too. And maybe around those four eyes.
Barnakarl pulled out Gothi's salve. "Fool Dragon got stung by the nettle, prolly looking for dragon nip," he sighed. He started walking slowly toward the dragon. He was already stooped and looked rather non-threatening.
"You're the fool for going to that thing," Rickety muttered. He sat back down and picked up a nettle stalk to work on, as he watched the scene before him.
Barnakarl put some salve on his fingers and reached out to touch the edge of a wing and swiped the salve across the membrane. The dragon shuddered and jerked his wing away. He turned his brown and tan head to blink four times over at the old Viking. The pupils were all huge from dragon nip euphoria. A moment passed, then the mini-Death Dragon rolled over on his side and stretched his wing back toward Barnakarl. The old man started rubbing the salve over the wing membranes sparingly, but had to take Rickety's salve, too.
"You just keep rubbing that Dragon, I've got work to do," Rickety grumped. He got back to teasing out nettle fibers.
Barnakarl grunted and got back to his own peculiar work. The dragon sighed in relief. The skin of the wing membranes was stretchy yet soft. That was probably why the nettle stings affected them and not the tough scaled skin of the dragon's body. In fact, as far as he could tell, the dragon's skin seemed tough and ... old. Not like he had seen or felt on a young dragon before, whose skin was usually supple and tender. There were some old scars and scratches, too, here and there. This dragon was no Spring chicken. Barnakarl grunted again. Maybe this dragon was as old as they were. Maybe he wasn't a Red Death after all, but something like a dwarf version that just looked like it.
There wasn't enough salve to rub both wings entirely, but the dragon looked relaxed, nonetheless. Barnakarl saved a little bit to rub around his eyes. The skin just around the eyes on most creatures was pretty delicate. The Viking moved hesitantly to the pygmy Death's head. The Dragon just blinked at him languidly. Barnakarl reached out and touched the skin around his eyes. The Dragon closed his eyes and allowed the touch. Once Barnakarl was finished, the Dragon turned his head to allow the human to rub his other two eyelids gently. The Dragon sighed, then reached up quickly at the Viking, lolling out his tongue and swiping it across the man's neck and face like a slobbering dog.
Barnakarl stumbled back in disgust. "Argh! Best not be poison, Dragon!" He could hear Rickety chuckling in the background. But the Dragon slobber was just slimy and icky, not toxic. "Well, don't go on a rampage or anything," Barnakarl muttered, and headed back to Rickety. "We prolly have enough for another day or two," he grumped at Rickety. "Let's head back."
"Hehe, dontcha wanna bathe some more?" Rickety grinned, pointing back at the Dragon. The Dragon had rolled back up into a sitting position, watching the two old men contentedly.
Barnakarl glared at Rickety. "We need more salve," he snapped, pocketing the two empty jars. The men packed up their nettle fiber and gear, and started hobbling back to the village.
The Dwarf Death huffed at the receding humans. Then he bounced up, holding his soothed wings a bit higher than before, and bounded after them.
"Argh!" Barnakarl spat loudly as a Dragon tongue swiped him up his shoulders and on the back of the head. His coarse grey hair stood straight up in the air and his horned helmet fell forward in his face.
"Haw! Haw! Haw!" Rickety guffawed so hard he had to catch himself from falling over.
Barnakarl whipped around to the puppy-like Dragon. "You infernal SlobberClod! Dragons! Nothing but trouble." The Dwarf Death merely looked at him, almost happily, his tongue hanging out.
It was hard to be angry at such a grinning four-eyed face. "Humpf." Barnakarl patted SlobberClod on the nose and turned back around. The two old men and the Dragon continued back to the village.
About the Dwarf Death
(Quoted directly from Wutend Bonfire at "The Dwarf Death; Bonfire Inspired Species, Adoptables")
- Class: Tracker
- Size: 6
- Bite Force: 17
- Fire: 3
- Hostility: 4
- Air Speed: 12
- Ground Speed: 12
- Swim Speed: 5
The Dwarf Death is a believed-to-be pygmy cousin of the Great Death that so often rules over dragon nests with iron claws. A much more docile and likable version, it luckily has a few distinct differences from the Great Death, which is helpful for when you don’t want to bring home a baby Great Death instead. For starters, they only have four eyes- two on each side of the head, rather than the Great’s six. Their teeth are rounded and evenly spaced, there are only two rows of spikes along their back, and the tail club is smaller in proportion.
Another great separation factor is colour; Dwarfs have a more vibrant and diverse palette than Great’s, and the markings are usually quite obvious. The scales are structured differently as well, a mix of squares and circles in contrast to the Greats complete circular shaped scales.
Their typical personality can be compared to that of an old dog. Calm, affectionate, and not one for wild nights or daring tricks. While it isn’t unheard of them to be aggressive, it takes a lot to get them to that point. Hatchlings, on the other hand, have the energy of a Speed Stinger, and the cheek of a young Thunderdrum. Always in clutches of 2 that stick together until maturity, siblings prove to be quite a handful from day 1.
Their fire is shot in large plumes that give off lots of smoke, with a shot limit of 17. It is used only for intimidation and showing off, and is largely useless as an offensive tool for the fire is quite cold. Scarlet in colour, it is usually quite a dim flame
Their lifespan is a surprisingly wild one for such a mellow dragon, taking course over a brief 50 years. The first stage, in the egg, lasts 4 months in a treetop attached to their siblings’ egg by a sticky wax that repels everything else. There are rare cases that one or both of the eggs will be twins, and the siblings will still band together, their higher numbers often able to combat any adverse effects from sharing an egg. After that, they stay together for about 20 years, maturing at around 15, going their own ways for long-term partners, which they track down with calling out, picking up scents, and then fight to test each other’s prowess. If they can last for a few hours, then they know the other can defend themselves properly, and in turn, each other and any future eggs. Parents will take turns watching over the eggs for 2 week shifts over about 3 months, then leave to check on territory. The eggs hatch alone, and the newborns will climb out of the tree in search of food.
They have no known Titan Wing stage, though some think the Great Death to be it, and swim out to sea before passing. If you have a very old Dwarf trained and with you, do not try to stop them if they start to try swimming in deep water- it’s better for the both of you.
- Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), despite its stinging hairs, has been used for clothing and textiles for at least a couple millennia. It also has many applications in herbal medicines, as a nutritious food item, as dyes, and even as a gardening aid to encourage beneficial insects.
- The names "Barnakarl", "Vaeni", and "Baldi" are all actual names used by Vikings!
- The name "Barnakarl" is actually a Norse Byname, which could also be called a nickname. Some examples we know in the HTTYD Franchise are Stoick the Vast, Gobber the Belch, and Silent Sven. "Barnakarl" actually means "a friend to children". However, in this case, I used it as a formal name (Fishlegs, anyone?) and because it sounds similar to "barnacle". The character Barnakarl is an old crusty fisherman.
Barnakarl is a Thorstabitur, who are a family of fisher-people. Other Thorstabitur relations that have stories are: