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This is an OC character created to adopt a small fan-species called the Honeybumble, created and offered by SpaceyQueen on the SOD Forums. The thread is "The Honeybumble Returns! - Adoptables!". Hertha was successful! :)
Hertha helped a Pygmy Dragon! See "New Adoptables - The Pygmys" on the SOD Forums to see this little dragon fan-species created by Selethesis.

An Important Viking Duty gets an Avid Observer

The thick dark amber honey glistened in the sunlight as Hertha held up a ladle of the stuff. It lazily slid back down into the large crock her son brought over. "Good job, Realf," Hertha congratulated her son. "Did you have to smoke any hives?" she asked.

"Not a one. You taught us well," Realf replied. He unloaded another crock from his cart with the honey water. "Just remember your children get first pick," he added with a smile. He turned to the other side of the cart. "Come on Kylli, we need to get to town." His young daughter - Hertha's granddaughter - was scrutinizing a large beetle amongst some flowers. Realf picked up Kylli and trundled on with his cart of goods to Berk proper.

Hertha may be an older Viking woman with salted hair, but she was still hale and hearty, and easily brought the two big crocks over to two others of her own. She had her own bee skeps, had them most of her life, and passed her knowledge to her children. Making the Nectar of the Gods - mead - was an activity reserved only for her and passed to her daughters, however. Her hives buzzed loudly, just having their precious stores taken from the upper, super-skep, and immediately started working on making more combs and collecting more flower nectar. Despite the loud droning of her own bees, there had been a low variable buzz heard by all living nearby, emanating from the forest. The humming was a curiosity, but didn't bother anyone much, so Hertha set about her work. She got a fire pit crackling lively with dancing flames. A cauldron was hanging above the flames. Large, but not so large she couldn't handle it herself. She may need to repeat her crafting tomorrow, but she was ready and willing to make the delicious drink. She had also already gathered a large wooden spoon and paddle, a basket of lingonberries, juniperberries and twigs, heather, yarrow, and a few jugs of clean spring water from the mountains.

Hertha tipped in the water and the aromatic herbs and berries, as well as the honey water. And then she began to stir and stir. As the wort slowly heated to boiling, a sweet, spiced aroma filled the air. Hertha sang softly to herself, biding time.

A buzzing louder than Hertha's bees arose at one point. She glanced up from her work and saw a group of five small dragons, roughly the size of Terrible Terrors, alight on the fence near her bee skeps. They looked curiously around every which way.

"Well, I'll be. Are those Honeybumbles? I haven't seen them around in ages!" she exclaimed to herself. They were rather colorful creatures. They all had shiny black stripes along their bodies like the bees they mimicked. Their base colors varied though - there was a yellow and a red, two oranges and a green.

One of the orange titled her head this way and that, and hopped over to a skep and sniffed. She swung her little brown mace tail and thunked the hive. The bees buzzed angrily and the little orange dragon snapped at a few and swallowed them. She sniffed again, then lost interest. Hertha wasn't overly concerned - she had just harvested the honey, and probably the HoneyBumble had just determined that for herself.

The others ranged out across her yard. the green one found that large beetle from earlier and happily crunched on it. The others also investigated the skeps and also her garden. These dragons could be mischievous. The red one watched her, and buzzed closer to inspect her supplies and what she was up to. He cocked his head inquisitively, as Hertha picked up the paddle. Her wort was getting a little frothy with scum as it started to boil. She slid the paddle across the surface and pushed off the froth. The little red hopped over to inspect it on the ground and tasted a few things in it - bits of berry and plant material, a bee, a little melted honeycomb.

OC-HoneybumbleRED-SpaceyQueen

With the little red watching, she continued to stir the boiling wort a while longer. The other dragons had lost interest and buzzed off into the forest.

Being satisfied with the state of the wort, Hertha stopped stirring and picked up a crock of honey. The Little Red dragon stood up and chirped, took a few steps forward and stopped.

"Well, Little Red, we shall see how much is left after I scrape the crock," Hertha explained. The honey looped out of the crock and into the brew. She ran her spoon around the inside to loose the honey sticking to the sides, but took care to leave some inside. She placed the crock on the ground near the eager Honeybumble.

"There you go Little Red, Littl-Rus," Hertha encouraged. Littl-Rus went over to the crock, placed his front paws on the rim and inhaled deeply, making a satisfied purr sound. As Heather started stirring the bubbling wort again, the Honeybumble stretched his neck in the crock, licking the sides as far as he could reach. Before long he had hopped in to finish it all. Littl-Rus was not concerned with her proximity at all; Hertha recalled Honeybumbles were a rather outgoing friendly species.

Hertha kept stirring, melting the honey into the wort. After about 30 minutes or so, she doused the flames and let the pot cool. She sat down for a bit and rested, while Littl-Rus likewise sat down to preen and get the last bits of honey off his striped hide.

With the wort cool enough to handle, but still very warm, Hertha ladled the brew into several clean buckets to take inside the kitchen, where a vat lines with juniper branches awaited. She had also laid juniper branches on top, which served to filter the brew as she poured it in. Littl-Rus, still curious as to her actions, fluttered over to the window sill and watched. Hertha pulled out a long bundle from a cabinet and carefully unwrapped the cloth from around it. It was a long, carved alder stick - her family's totem stick. Half of it was stained, from countless uses making the magic happen to the honey concoction. She slid it into the vat and stirred for a while. After she stopped, she left the totem stick in the brew and covered it with a dark cloth.

When she looked up again, Littl-Rus had gone.


The next day Hertha repeated the process of the previous day, with her son's batch of honey. Three of the honeybumbles returned - a yellow, an orange, and Littl-Rus. After rummaging around Hertha's yard for a bit and angering her bees, the yellow and orange ones buzzed away. Littl-Rus, however, sat quietly with Hertha as she stirred.

"Well Little Red, perhaps I should weave more skeps, so we all have some honey," she told the little dragon. He chirruped as if in agreement. "I don't think your kin are likely to behave once my bees build up their stores again."

Again she left him some honey in the crock and took the second batch inside to pour into another vat. Hertha took the totem stick from the first vat and swirled the new batch with it. When she was finished, Littl-Rus was gone.

For the next three days, Littl-Rus came to visit, perching on the kitchen window sill. He inspected the vats by sniffing them. At one point, he pushed aside the cloth and took a little taste. His tongue flicked in and out and he smacked his jaw. Hertha wasn't sure if the brew was to his liking now, or if he should have it at all, and quickly covered the vat back up.

He also accompanied her while she tended the garden, eating any insects he found. He also took a few of her elderberries, but there was plenty to go around. When she had to root in the earth, he eagerly stepped in close watching, possibly waiting to see if a fat grub rolled out. He was so close Hertha couldn't help herself - she gently reached over and stroked his shoulders between his folded wings. Startled, he squeaked and stepped back, then regarded her with a baleful gaze as she smiled. "Too quick, eh? Who knows, you might like it!" Hertha chided, and went back to work.


The next day, Littl-Rus seemed to have come to the conclusion that Hertha's probing hands were not a threat after all. Still, he hopped onto her back as she bend over weeding, so he could see what she was doing, but Hertha could not so easily bend around to touch him, or even look at him. For the moment, he literally had the upper paw.

Hertha also started working on a few more skeps. Littl-Rus watched as she worked and bound the straw in coils. She wasn't sure if the repetitive motions somehow mesmerized him, or perhaps he was fascinated as something was being created before his eyes. Or maybe he was just waiting to see if something tasty would drop out.


On the fourth day, Littl-Rus was hunting bugs. Hertha heard her son walking up, whistling a cheerful tune. By the time Realf appeared around the house, the little red dragon had disappeared.

Hertha and Realf exchanged pleasantries, vegetables, and salted fish.

"So is your liquid gold ready, Mamma?" Realf rubbed his hands together greedily. He was just like most other Vikings - they loved their meads, ales, and beers.

Hertha smiled. "Yes it is. I'll put it up in jugs today. But I can ladle some out now for you."

They walked into her home and entered the kitchen to admire her handiwork in the vats. Instead they found the covering cloths pushed back and Littl-Rus standing unsteadily on the floor.

"A Honeybumble!" Realf exclaimed in surprise. "This means there's probably hundreds in the forest!"

"You best dragon-proof your skeps, or try to get more bee broods," Hertha advised.

"I wonder if the chief's son has a trick to train a Honeybumble to stay away from honey," Realf mused.

Littl-Rus swayed, then sat down. He belched, blurting out a sticky ball of hot steaming dragonized honey.

"Hmm, apparently little dragons can get drunk quickly," Hertha said and scooped up the tipsy creature. She placed him in one of the upturned skeps she had been working on. The little red dragon curled up in a ball and fell soundly asleep.

Information for Honeybumbles

Desired Honeybumble:

Number 3 the Common RED

Name:

Little Red or Littl-Rus, used interchangably (since they mean the same thing). The latter is derived for the Norse words for Little Red. Nothing fancy here; just the common everyday folk noticing traits on the spot.

Personality:

Little Red is, as most of his species, generally not fearful, outgoing and friendly. He and his kind can be a nuisance, as they like to check out everything, and may become a problem for bee-keepers in particular. Little Rus, however, is just a wee more respectful of space than others of his kind, but just a little. He prefers to watch just a little before diving in to something. Because the Honeybumbles are great builders of their nests and hives, he seems to have an innate understanding and fascination for building, and in general seems quite intelligent. However, he can also get bored easily. Littl-Rus has also discovered that delicious honey can be made into a delicious, if a bit bitter, drink. Turns out a little mead can get a little dragon drunk quite quickly. He will soon claim Hertha's yard for himself, and "manage" it well - not letting the other Honeybumbles raid the skeps and destroy them. However, he will take some honey to his Hive for his kindred to feast on. Hertha's home is his hive-away-from-hive. Ultimately he will have to decide whether he will overwinter with her and her ample food stores and warm hearth, or migrate south with his kind for the winter.

Backstory:

See Above!

Other Info:

If anyone has questions about terminology used in this story, please ask in the comments section. I pretty much did some Google searching on Viking mead-making and apiculture (not too much info on either), and cobbled something together. Thanks!

Honeybumble Species Information:

(as written by the creator SpaceyQueen, on "The Honeybumble Returns! - Adoptables!" on the SOD Forums)

Description:

A new species of dragon are now returning within the reach of the archipelago in the warm season months of Spring to breed.

Honeybumbles are here!

These tiny and adorable dragons are good-tempered and fairly easy to train. But beware! These dragons are feisty and can take quite the time to put up with! Do you have the time and patience to train these Honeybumbles?

Height: 1.5 ft average

Length: 2 ft

Class: Tracker

Fire type: Heated air and honey

Attack: 8

Speed: 12

Armor: 5 (9)

Firepower: 7

Shot Limit: 10

Venom: 14

Jaw strength: 2

Stealth: 11

Honeybumbles live in warm, sunny regions with lots of vegetation. They can be usually found nesting in trees or rarely, caves. They build their nests out of hardened, cool and sticky honey. They usually nest inside the holes and crevices of trees or caves, and will use their honey-like spit to build hives and communities within that area. Other Honeybumbles will look out for each other, and even raise other's offspring. They live in hives consisting up to five-hundred strong. Honeybumbles are social and active. They rely on each other, and one can rarely see a Honeybumble living alone.

Honeybumbles share many attributes with bees. They buzz; especially when flying. It is their main form of communication between others of their hive. Furthermore, they possess the black stripes seen on bees that most other dragons would lack.

Lastly, like wasps and other venomous bees, Honeybumbles own a substantial amount of venom. This venom can only be passed into the bloodstream by biting. However, there is only one main problem of a Honeybumble using this venom. Honeybumbles have a weak jaw strength. In order for the venom to pass into the bloodstream more effectively, a Honeybumble will need to bite down hard. And doing so can result in injury of the Honeybumble's jaws. Honeybumbles rarely bite, however. And will only use their venom as a last resort or defense in a battle.

Honeybumbles are overall friendly and energetic, yet fierce and possess a lot of spunk. They have been known to take on creatures many times their size. But Honeybumbles shouldn't be underestimated. Even when alone, there is almost a guarantee that more of their hive is around, and when Honeybumbles come together in a large group they can cause considerable damage.

Honeybumbles will use their speed and size to their advantage. They will zip and dodge then strike their foes with a surprising quickness, then dodge again. They will repeat this tactic many times until their enemy is dazed and either backs down or retreats. After flying into the air, a Honeybumble will charge with amazing speed and then proceed to use it's signature move- clubbing their enemy with it's hard, bony tail. A Honeybumble will defend it's nest and hive with their life and while they do not look like the most intimidating or strong they are fierce fighters in spirit and will continue to attack until either one or both stop moving in a fight.

Honeybumbles have a wide variety in their diet. They enjoy fish, but aren't too overly enthusiastic about it. They will eat insects, fruits and an assortment of nuts that can be found in the wild. They also enjoy the thrill of hunting down small critters, chicken or even sheep together in a group to be brought back to the hive and feasted upon. But their main source of food that they relish is precious honey that can be scavenged from beehives. This is where they get their firepower from; of which can also create their hives and nests as well as be used to defend themselves.

Upon digesting honey, Honeybumbles with melt and then cool the honey in a special organ so it can be saved for later use. When attacking, the honey is spit up and comes out as a glob of hot, thick sticky liquid which later cools again.

Honeybumbles surprisingly have an excellent nose. They are exceptional trackers, capable of picking up the tiniest whiff of a scent from weeks ago and tracking it down. It's the main reason why so many are afraid of getting on a Honeybumble's bad side; you never know when one will come along having tracked you from other hundreds of miles, gathering a hoard of over seven hundred hive-mates to hunt you down for a forgotten offense committed mere months ago.

Honeybumble's color schemes are naturally warm, bright colors. The cooler the color, the more uncommon or rare the Honeybumble is. Honeybumbles live in large hives, where only a single queen rules. Queens consist mainly of cool colors (commonly purple or violet) and are incredibly rare. Queens are a bit larger than the average Honeybumble, and much stronger with an upped armor strength of 9. Fuchsia colored Honeybumbles also super rare, considered the second rarest color on the hue caste.

The rarity of albino Honeybumbles are second to none. They are incredibly hard to find and the birth of one is almost near impossible to happen metaphorically speaking. Their lack of coloring and their obscurity makes them all the more valuable to some, hence why albino Honeybumbles are considered a beauty to look upon.

In From the Cold

Hertha and her Honeybumble were sitting at a small table near the hearth about to eat something. Littl-Rus was sitting on the table with a pickled herring slathered in his favorite - honey. Strangely enough, he has decided to over winter with Hertha rather than migrate south for the winter. He stayed in almost exclusively, guarding jars of honey and mead.

Outside the wind blew and snow thickly coated the ground. Hertha's bee skeps were covered and the bees themselves huddled tight inside their hives.

Yet someone knocked on her door. Littl-Rus watched suspiciously from the table as Hertha got up and answered. A grey-toned Gronckle loomed, just behind her son Realf and her little granddaughter, Kylli. Realf held a shovel and Kylli held out a quilted bundle to her grandmother.

"Well what do we have here?" Hertha said, gently taking the bundle from the little girl.

"She was in the snow," Kylli explained.

Realf elaborated. "We're just pushing snow from your pathway and heading to town," he explained. "Tugtooth here is really good at pushing snow," he patted the Gronckle affectionately. "Anyway, we found this Pygmy Dragon half-frozen in a snow bank, and figured who better to nurse her back to health than Grandma, right Kylli?"

The little girl nodded in agreement.

"Kylli, climb back up on Tugtooth so we can move on, will you?" Realf instructed his daughter. Kylli set to work climbing up the dragon's warty hide. "I'm not sure this little dragon'll make it, Mother, Realf confided in a low tone. "Plus Kylli would probably pester her the rest of the way to Valhalla."

Realf mounted Tugtooth then, and waved goodbye.

Hertha closed the door and sat down, carefully unwrapping the quilt. Littl-Rus peered over, too, and then set back, disgruntled. A small peach-shaded dragon shivered in the blanket. She attempted an indignant squawk, but nothing came from her mouth. She shook violently, her body trembling in an attempt to warn itself. She looked a bit underweight, too. It didn't look like there were any fat reserves under her skin.

OC-PygmyDragon-selethesis

"Oh poor thing. Littl-Rus, let's get her warm," Hertha said, and took the bundle ans set it in a basket as close to the hearth as she could. Hertha was worried about those big dainty wings. She hoped they hadn't gotten too severely frost bitten. She sat near the bundle, took up some wool yard, and started knitting quickly. Wool was an excellent insulator to the cold.

Littl-Rus shrugged draconically and ate his honeyed herring. As she knit, Hertha checked the little dragon. Little by little she warmed up. She was a wild dragon and protested the prying human fingers. Seeing another small dragon nearby may have been a slight comfort, Hertha hoped.

A few hours later she was sitting sternal and had her cold wings drawn close. Hertha was also finished her quick knitting. It was a coat of sorts - it had holes for the dragon's four legs and her tail, and tied closed on her back. Despite the dragon's now audible squeaks, Hertha wrapped the knitted coat around the dragon, tucking her wings inside to collect body heat. This agitated the little dragon, not being able to freely move her wings, but was still too weak to do any flying anyway.

Littl-Rus sniffed the Pygmy Dragon and her wool coat curiously. The cold little dragon squeaked at him as if requesting help. Littl-Rus appeared slightly baffled in turn - there was no danger here, only warmth, affection, and food. The little dragon just didn't realize it yet.

"Now, now little one, you'll have to get used to me, since there's no place to go. You'll freeze again if you go out, and have no more food to eat," Hertha chided sweetly. "Since you'll be with us for a while, you'll need a name, right Littl-Rus?"

Littl-Rus blinked and chirped affirmatively.

"Hmm, Berry? Flower? No. How about Rosehip? Yes, Rosehip," Hertha figured out.

Rosehip didn't really follow the human's mutterings and dosed off again.

Hertha started boiling a small pot of simple porridge over the fire, and added to it some finely chopped whey=pickled cod. She crushed a little garlic and a small amount of horseradish, and added a few precious slivers of ginger, which she had bartered with Trader Johann to get. Those three spices were rather warming to the body.

She stirred the fish porridge and let it simmer. This was to be everyone's supper.She grabbed three bowls and set the table. Hertha gathered a wrinkly apple and some crisp bread for herself. Littl-Rus flew to his accustomed place at the table. Hertha ladled the porridge into the bowls.

Rosehip was awakening again, her nostrils flaring as the scent reached her. Hertha lifted her up easily, as she was no bigger than a human head, and placed the fussing dragon in front of the bowl. She hardly shivered at all, now. Rosehip steadied herself and moved a few steps to get away, but the aroma of the porridge made her stomach rumble loudly. Rosehip looked quite distraught for a moment - should she flea or eat? She was very hungry. The unconscious drool starting to drip from her mouth made up her mind. She flicked out her tongue to taste and smacked her lips a few times, probably from the seasoning. Then she stuck her muzzle in the bowl and ate. Littl-Rus and Hertha ate a little more casually, watching Rosehip.

"Is it good, then?" Hertha asked. She got no response, abut wasn't expecting any.

Rosehip's belly bulged now, and she sat back down tiredly. Hertha scooped her up again and returned her to the quilt and basket. Rosehip nipped at her fingers at being handled so, but not hard enough to break skin. Settled in her basket, she quickly dosed off again.

Hertha cleaned up a bit, then sat down to work on some more knitting, and sipped on a cup of mead. Littl-Rus had a sip, too. After a while, Hertha retired to bed, and the Honeybumble rolled up near the fire to sleep.

The next morning, Rosehip was screeching angrily and fluttering about the house. She had felt much better during the night, and managed to untie her little coat. Littl-Rus was not in a great mood, either, with all the commotion. Rosehip had had enough of this captivity and wanted out. Hertha calmly built up the fire, and prepared another honey-slathered herring for Littl-Rus. She also laid out another Herring on the table, quite deliberately so Rosehip could see.

"Now, do you really want to leave? It looks like its snowing again," Hertha commented. Indeed the snow was falling heavily outside. She went to the door and opened it. A gust of cold air blew in. Rosehip saw her escape. She flew out the threshold and was buffeted by the biting wind and nearly crashed into the snow-packed ground. With difficultly she circled around the small home, snow clinging to her wings, then careened back through the door to the floor and sat there, already exhausted.

Hertha closed the door. She let the little wild dragon catch her breath, then scooped her up and brought her to the herring. Rosehip grumbled and shifted, but didn't fight. At the table, all three ate quietly.

"Come warmer weather, you may go as you please, but for now, you are stuck here," Hertha said. Rosehip didn't understand the human's words, but understood in this house there was food, warmth, and safety from the Winter.

By the time Spring rolled around on Berk, Rosehip was fattened up and content, and decided to stay with Hertha, at least a little longer.

Information on the Pygmy

Group and Number:

Group 2, Number 1

Name:

Rosehip

Gender:

Female

Personality:

Rosehip started off as a wild dragon, and resented being contained, even if it was for her own good. She is not a very cuddly dragon, but does enjoy a good scratch on her own terms. She enjoys companionship, but is still rather independent, or at least tries to be. Rosehip gets irritated if her personal space is breached too much. She likes fish and meat like most dragons, but especially likes insects and berries.