This character was created to accompany the "adoption" of a fan-species dragon called the Whirlpool, created by DatOneTrumpet. The Whirlpool is featured on the SOD Forum thread, "Whirlpools are here! (adoptables)."
Listening to the Bright Side
The young Whirlpool dragon hung about her lair, floating outside the icy not-ice cavern, deep deep in the chilly sea. She was neither tired nor hungry, but rather bored instead. There was no one around who wanted to eat her - which was just fine - but not very exciting.
So the idle sea-dragon wiggled her tail round and round, and flapped her sleek water-dragon wings, and ascended toward the far away surface to look for something fun to do.
As she got closer she could feel the water around her rocking to and fro. The surface sounded rather loud, like something was happening. The Whirlpool was not fond of loud noises, but often it was so at the surface, as the water up top sloshed against the air above it.
The dragon hesitated just for a moment and then floated onto the surface. The air spoke mightily, roaring about, and the sea heaved high and low. She felt very small stings peppering her hide from above. The little dragon was surprised, and tried to nip at her back from the onslaught of pricks. She blasted her not-ice breath into the sky, only to feel the pricks become sharper. This was not fun.
She dove back down under the sea surface and thought. She did not smell another dragon or any other creature around, only the air and salty sea and water a little less salty in the air. Was the sky crying? She swam back up and poked her head out. The sea swelled and dipped. The sky's tears prickled her skin. Actually, they kind of tickled. She came out of the sea a little more and spread her wings across the surface. The sea rolled up high like a watery mountain, then fell down low like a valley made of water. The sea dragon floated along. The tears tickled her back side. Actually this was fun!
The Whirlpool dragon surfed the stormy waves in the chilly rain storm. Sometimes scary things were actually not so scary after all.
The Lot of Viking Seafarers
Herbjert Svellheim looked out at the vast North Sea, as the traders' knorr bobbed up and down in the choppy water. We'll be home again soon, he thought to himself. Home for him was Chilblain, where his nagging wife - Thor love her - and children waited to see what wares he had gotten in trade from far away lands. He didn't mind the warmer climates too much, but rather preferred his own frozen and snowy land.
The other traders - Tarvald from Berk, Ulfarr from Outcast Island, and a few more from around the Barbaric Archipelago - sailed and traded together for mutual benefit of each other and their respective Tribes. They traded for just about everything - textiles, fine porcelain, precious jewels and metals, weapons, exotic foods, medicines and spices, wine, anything and everything - except human or dragon slaves. Slaves may be a hot commodity to Vikings elsewhere, but not to these traders and their Tribes. They were fiercely proud of their freedom and independence.
As Herbjert gazed out and up at the sky and where it touched the sea, Tarvald stared straight down into the murky depths below the ship. "Do you see this, Herbjert? It looks like there are shadowed stars below us, and they're getting closer."
Herbjert pulled his sight back into focus and stepped over to the younger Berkian trader where he was peering over the railing. In the watery dark, there appeared to be tear drops of light dancing in the depths, getting closer and closer. He thought he saw the lights illuminate things that were not the sea, but something other. Herbjert grunted, unconcerned. "Too many to be anglerfish and they don't school neither."
"Well, if they are the lights of anglerfish, perhaps we should catch some," Tarvald replied, straightening up to rummage around for something to fish with.
"Don't bother," Herbjert advised. "Those are probably dragons, come to play with the ship, most like."
"Or eat us," one of the other traders muttered.
Herbjert ignored the comment. "Sea Shockers have those dangly light from their chins." Tarvald nodded. He had seen those dragons on Berk and occasionally in the seas. They seemed a friendly enough species.
"Or Whirlpools. We've a local pod off our coast in Chilblain," Herbjert continued.
Tarvald frowned. "Haven't heard of those before."
"Yeh, they live in deep waters. A bit strange. Love to play. Fine enough if ya don't spook them, or else they'll nearly shatter a ship - or man - with ice colder than any at the North Pole."
The water around the ship started churning with bodies and tear drop lights. Draconic heads of different colors bobbed in the surf, with domed foreheads like a porpoise.
"They've no eyes!" Ulfarr exclaimed.
"Shush now, they've got sensitive hearing," Herbjert spoke in low tones. Indeed, the dragons' ear fins were frantically shifting and twisting about at all the sounds on the sea surface, though for the humans it was a fairly quiet day.
There were several adults, one a thick-necked and scarred bull, a couple lesser males, and females. There were a few young and three that looked nearly grown spinning on the outside of the group. The adults were carefully ignoring them.
The ship continued its journey, and the pod of Whirlpools swam along, dancing in the waves around the boat. One of the males, in a show of bravado, even jumped and glided over the ship. Herbjert did notice, though, that their ears kept flicking to the West, though there was nothing to be seen that way.
Eventually the Whirlpools grew tired of the knorr's novelty and slowly fell behind and sank deeper into the sea.
A couple of hours later, the trader-sailors were a bit closer to home.
The trader from Meathead Island, Refskegg, sidled up to Herbjert as he tugged on the sail's rigging. There was a brisk breeze, and the knorr clipped along at a quick pace. "My old eyes might be conjuring things, but the horizon line looks a mite dark," he pointed toward the West.
Herbjert nodded. "You might be right. Hard to tell. But we'll know soon enough."
Suddenly there was a loud thump and swoosh as an anglerfish hit the foredeck and skidded across it, not behaving at all like a soggy floppy fish ought to. Ulfarr reached down to pick it up and promptly dropped it with a curse. "It burns!"
Herbjert laughed. Two of the young adult Whirlpools had returned to the ship, or had been following all along. A bluish-purplish female squeaked beside them, and a green male hung back at the stern. "That fish is frozen colder than any ice we know, so cold it burns like fire to the touch."
He rummage around the crates destined for Chilblain, and pulled out a whizzled orange fruit. He tossed it into the air over the female. Her eyeless head tracked it expertly, ear fins twitching rapidly, and she shot out a stream of blue-white ice so cold it fogged in the air. It precisely hit the orange and the fruit dropped like a stone. The Whirlpool then thwacked it back toward the ship with her muzzle. It his the mast and shattered into a million pieces.
"She had naught an eye in her head, yet could see that clearer than I ever could," Ulfarr exclaimed, admiring the dragon's abilities.
"Aye, and she's a naughty, playful lass, too!" Herbjert smiled. "He looks a bit nervous, though," he thumbed at the green male, who was still lurking in the back merely watching, or listening as it were.
"Aren't they far from their family?" Tarvald asked.
"Perhaps. But they're old enough to go out on their own and seek their fortunes. Dragons are no different from other creatures. They don't want to in-breed the bloodlines," Herbjert explained.
The male kept slipping farther and farther behind, and finally slipped beneath the waves. The female, however, remained, dancing around the ship, unperturbed by the seemingly loud sounds of the surface.
Herbjert tossed out another orange for her to play with. "We ought to secure the cargo and ourselves, and start rolling up the sail, and grab our buckets," Refskegg said loudly. The horizon had quickly become very dark and hazy in the distance and was getting closer.
The trader-sailors unfurled a well-oiled canvas to cover the goods in the open hold amidship and lashed them down with rope. Bailing buckets dotted the deck, ready when the Vikings would inevitably have to toss the water overboard that crashed onto the knorr. The yard was lowered to half-mast and set in a broad reach position, in hopes of the storm winds pushing them at least North East, instead of purely East and therefore further from their destination. Any wind hitting the ship directly on her sides would risk toppling her over.
The naught-eyed Whirlpool seemed to have vanished. The surface was getting more and more turbulent and louder to the sensitive ear.
The squall suddenly roared upon them, bringing hard rain and sharp winds. The sail strained under the wind's repeated punches. The men used all their seasoned muscles to balance on the bucking ship. Two of them gripped the steerboard tightly, maneuvering the ship diagonally with the waves. Viking ships were immensely flexible and the knorr was no exception. She groaned and creaked, but her oaken skeleton bent with the onslaught. Water crashed down from above and below. The men scooped up the unwanted waters from the deck and tossed it back over, while trying their mightiest not to be tossed over themselves. It was a typical storm at sea unleashed on a typical Viking vessel.
A barrel broke free of its tether and bounced across the deck. It leapt up at the railing and hit Herbjert square in the buttocks. He carried much weight in his shoulders and had a bucket of water in his hands. The bucket flung out to sea as Herbjert lost his precious balance and toppled over the low knorr railing. He plunged into the cold churning sea with little more than a grunt, as the loose barrel rolled back amidship and dropped into the corner of the open hold.
Herbjert knew how to swim and he tried desperately to tread water, but the storm surges pounded and pushed him under many times. He vaguely heard the other men shouting. Perhaps they were attempting to throw out a rope with a wooden plant attached for him. But the ship sped on, pushed by the violent wind. He fought to stay above the surface with all his might, but at the same time wondered with disappointment if he had seen his family for the last time months ago when the trading ship had set out. His fellow traders were honorable men; he at least was content that his tribe's trade goods would be delivered to them. Herbjert sputtered as he inhaled water when a wave crashed atop his head. The coughing only served to draw more water into his lungs and to loose his focus working his limbs. He started sinking, lungs and muscles burning.
For a brief moment, lights danced in front if his vision. Was it Ran's net closing in on him to pull him to her oceanic Hall? But instead the naught-eyed Whirlpool hung suspended in the water, gazing at him, but not gazing. Perhaps his mind was fading. The moment seemed so surreal and still. But then Herbjert's body involuntarily spasmed for air. Then the Whirlpool dove a short distance, turned upward, and came up under Herbjert. Her shoulders butted into him and his hand instinctively grabbed her hide. The Whirlpool rose to the surface. She leveled out, bobbing on the water, and spread her wing fins atop it. Herbjert lay sprawled along her back, coughing up water. The dragon shuddered with every cough he made, her ear fins rotating all about. The harsh noise should have spooked her, but somehow, the dragon understood that some creatures were beholden to the thin, dry air. Nor did the howling wind or stinging rain seem to bother her, over much.
"Well ... brave .. not ... eye ... girl ... " Herbjert wheezed out. At hearing his voice, Naught-Eye started paddling her fins and swirling her tail. They surfed the high swells, riding out the storm. Had Herbjert been in better shape, he would've almost thought it was fun.
The knorr sailed placidly on the sea, the storm long since blown over. Tarvald looked out over the water dismally. "If Arni had been with us ..." he muttered, wishing for things that weren't possible, like a warm climate dragon in a sub arctic sea.
"Now lad, you well know being lost at sea is ever a given for a sea-faring Viking," Refskegg patted the younger man on the shoulder. "We'll stop at Chilblain before anywhere else and give them the new and their rightful goods."
Tarvald sighed. Of course he knew well the risks. It just seemed wrong somehow. Perhaps he wasn't quite old enough to have the wisdom to accept what Fate doled out, just yet.
"Oh ho! What's this?" Refskegg exclaimed, pointing out at sea. The older man's eyesight was excellent, no matter how often he suggested otherwise. On the horizon a speck grew rapidly larger, materializing into some sort of dragon. It skimmed just above the water, occasionally dipping just below the surface. It was the friendly no-eyed Whirlpool. Atop her back was a hunched figure.
"Herbjert!" Tarvald yelled wildly. The other traders waved happily. Naught-Eye settled in the water and paddled up to the side of the ship. The traders reached down and lifted Herbjert up onto deck. He batted away their well-intentioned thumps. "Get tha' pickled Mullet. See if she likes that," he waved toward the cargo, his voice gnarly and scratched from almost drowning. What did you offer a dragon that saved your life?
Ulfarr pried open the barrel lid and pulled out a fillet. He tossed it overboard and it slapped onto the water's surface. Naught-Eye paddled over, ears forward, seeing if it moved. Its essence started diffusing into the sea and Naught-Eye sipped the water. Interesting. She gathered the fish into her mouth and chewed. It seemed every dragon liked a good preserved fish.
Ulfarr laid another filet onto a piece of crisp bread and slathered some soft cheese on it from their journey stores, then handed it to Herbjert.
He gratefully took the meal, but before settling down to eat, he fed a few more to Naught-Eye. "Lass, would ya like to follow us some more?" he rasped. Naught-Eye's ear fins twitched forward at his voice. "There's a nice little Whirlpool pod near Chilblain ya might find to your liking ..."
About the Whirlpool
(Quoted from creator, DatOneTrumpet, on the SOD Forum thread: "Whirlpools are here! (adoptables).". Please visit the link for additional pictorial references from the creator about the Whirlpool dragon.)
- Species: Whirl Pool
- Class: Tidal
- Attack: 8/10
- Speed: 9.9/10
- Firepower: 7.2/10
- Shot Limit: 4
- Jaw Strength: 8.7/10
- Stealth: 10/10
- Fire Type: solid CO2 (dry ice)
- Intelligence: 8/10
- Average length: 16 feet
This dragon has the speed, stealth, intelligence, and deadliness of a Strike class dragon. Though, it spends most of its life deep in the ocean. It breathes a solid form of carbon dioxide, a gas at standard temperature and pressure with the chemical formula CO2 (also known as dry ice). It breathes this chemical wherever it smells or hears potential prey. The chemical does the rest of the work by freezing and choking the fish to death. The Whirl Pool will store its food in an underwater cave, where it will stay fresh in the solid CO2 for many hours.
The dry ice method has one problem, however. The bubbling of the chemical in the salt water draws lots of attention from other sea creatures. After lots of time, the Whirl Pools learned to coat their dens in more solid CO2, which burns any fish that touches it.
Whirl Pools are the fastest known sea creature, reaching speeds up to 1600 km/h in the ocean.
On land, the Whirl Pool can breath like it can under water. This means it can fly. Since water is 784 more dense than air, it's wings move quicker in the air since it is a lot easier. You would think that the Whirl Pool could reach 1254400 km/h, but no, it's lack of aerodynamics slows it down to only 2300 km/h. Though, that's still extremely fast (almost as fast as a Night Fury). But, why does this dragon fly? Whirl Pools are actually prey to many sea dragons like the Scauldron and the Shockjaw. It flees quickly by flapping its wings and moving its tail like a propeller very quickly. Though, due to its silent and cunning behavior, it thankfully doesn't get into trouble all that much.
Whirl Pools are rarely seen out of the water, but happen to encounter many viking ships. They get easily irritated by the loud disruptive sounds, and attack very quickly. Their aerial attacks are stealthy and fast. They usually gang up with other Whirl Pools and fly in a circle above their target, blasting dry ice at whatever they can. This usually ends up in mysterious viking disappearances.
When it comes to being tamed, Whirl Pools are very open at first, but one bad move and you're basically already dead. Though, after a week or so of no mistakes, this dragon trusts you completely and will even die you. While being ridden, this dragon loves to test your loyalty by letting you have full directional control.
- The Vikings had several kinds or types of ships, the most popular being the Longship. This was mostly used for short trips and for battle. On the other hand, the Knorr or Knarr was a bit wider and built for trading and open ocean voyages, though they could be used for war as well. The Knorr relied primarily on sail power, while the Longship relied primarily on the use of many oars.
- I have attempted to have some sort of nautical truth in this story. Sailing and everything associated with it is quite complex! The terms I used such as steerboard, amidship, broad reach point of sail, foredeck, and others were obtained from searching Google for parts of a Viking ship, sailing in a storm, etc. Hopefully I have used the information correctly!
- Ran is a Norse goddess who lives in the ocean. She is said to have a net that she casts out to catch sailors who have fallen overboard and drowns them, then brings them to her underwater Great Hall for feasting.
- Pickled Mullet is a popular dish in Spain and around the Mediterranean. Grey Mullet are native fish able to live in both salt and fresh waters, mainly around the coast lines. Mullet has been known to be consumed since at least the Roman times, and most likely even earlier.
- The name "Herbjert" is just a Scandinavian-ish play on the name "Herbert". Herbjert's last name of "Svellheim", however, is the combination of the old Norse words "Svell", meaning ice, and "Heim", meaning home.
- Tarvald the Trader is another trader on the same ship, from Berk.