A story of a boy, a champion, a Viking, chosen to compete in the Games created to sate the Dragon and Viking's natural desure to hunt and kill- and even submit an OC for your chance to be featured within the story! AU set a few years after the movie.
No, the characters from the movie are not going to be main characters in this fanfiction.
Also, I respect the rarity and how unique it is to find an actual Night Fury, so for that reason I chose not to use Night Furies (despite what a wonderful dragon they are) as the main character's dragon, given the circumstances I much prefer to bring other milked down and original breeds into the light for this fiction.
This is set after the movie, with a FEW references to the books that the internet has provided me but not SOLIDLY based on the books' plotlines at all.
Chapter One; Spire's Fall
The howl of Vikings was probably the loudest, most obnoxious sound you would ever come across, most of the Vikings in this huge crowd colonising to feast their eyes upon this event had either hearty bets placed on these contestants or were there to give support to the contestants that represented their tribe- or to threaten them not to lose, one of the two.
Rex tuned it all out as his magnificent Timberjack rested on it's long, curled serpentine tail lined with vicious dorsal-shaped hooked spines over it's lanturn-oil coloured hide. His wings were amazing and awestriking to those to admired, sharp as razors and just as deadly and strong, Rex's seafoam green eyes rested on the animal's body, recalling his perfect health and how proud he was of his dragon that had spent his whole life with him. The two didn't know how to be without the other.
His dark brass-coloured hair was thick and heavy over his handsome face, painted with russet, richly sun-kissed skin over a defined, trained body, ambition was Rex's mantra and his determination his weapon. He was clothed in hues of black leather and brown cloth, no fur on his body, just belts and thick, tight hide, under the leather tunic he adorned held with a leather utility belt snug and tight was a black cloth suit that served as gloves, leggings, an undershirt and a hood over his head, made of a coarse fleece to protect him from the chilling colds that lie ahead and fitted with a cloth extra that covered his face all but his piercing eyes lined with thick, generous lashes and the oil-slick ebony horns and silver rings around the bases revealed of his helmet through holes in the hood.
His dragon, Spire's eyes were closed, also tuning out the roar of the crowd in a seemingly trance-like state as Rex approached him and ran his gloved hand also tightened with leather belts and gauntlets up the side of the huge dragon's neck, "Nearly time Spire, nearly time." His voice was a slow breath as the dragon lowered it's head and a crackling sort of rumble sparked from his throat as Rex approached his specialised shelf of equipment, which with the last tournament event he won supplied him with a new saddle to replace the one he'd broken and armour pieces and weapons. It was not common for a Viking to wield themselves with a bow and arrow, but Rex was known throughout the games for it, the Shadow Shot they called his 'team' which was referring to both the dragon and rider as one.
The once golden light of the afternoon was dying into a dark hue of night creeping across the sky, making Spire's skin look greasy umber as his eyes opened to reveal large, golden eyes that fixated on the sky as his fanned out frill-like wingspan quivered to pick up pressures in the air, most dragons could sense when the weather was going south, and as Rex glanced at the other people equipping their dragons try to calm the more spirited ones that started snarling and squirming.
It was probably going to storm, the news did not appear to bother Rex at all despite the danger storms posed. Spire was still calm as Rex retrieved the leather saddle soft and moist to touch and heavy to shift as he walked it back to the dragon and then throwing it over his back he hiked up Spire's spined back to the point where his wings ended and his neck began and attached the first belt around the base of the dragon's neck, Spire's wing positioning like a set of walls for Rex's feet to hold himself up as he located sections of Spire's metal-hard but somehow flexible membrane in his wings that had been surgically removed to make slits at the base of his wings for the belts to fit through at both sides so Rex could let himself drop and then circle around to the front of the dragon to connect the belts tightly around Spire's chest and belly.
He strapped his quiver across his torso and his bow criss-crossing over the other angle of his chest. Hearing a slight rumble over the sound of yelling Vikings wanting a good show.
Fully equipped Rex recalled the interview in front of the crowd before he'd participated in the events whilst Spire was being checked over by the squad in charge of making sure the dragons were fit for the games. He had stood on an elevated stone plate with the chief of his village plus the caretaker of the games, a tall broad Viking named Rorzhaunt with that characteristic, long garnet beard and beady white-blue eyes, Rorzhaunt was blind, but he was still an exceptional warrior because he was also granted with slightly abnormally shaped and sized ears, which made him much more attune with his sense of hearing than most dragons even.
Rorzhaunt had asked Rex what place he aimed to come out in, and Rex had responded with 'Victor' as probably every other interviewed contestant had said, nothing about him made him special besides his masked face, the Vikings seemed to appeal to the mysterious seriousness Rex carried on his composure, and out of previous events every he entered he managed to stand out, a few he even won.
But this was his event, he'd won this one last year with Spire, and the year before was the first time he'd entered and he'd come out third. This year he had every intention of keeping his championship.
As the riders claimed their dragons by mounting them, finishing up stirrup adjustments and belts and fixing their helmets the announcer for the Sky Brawl event banged his hammer on his breastplate repeatedly to get the attention of all the crowd from his podium high above them, His voice was booming and loud as he yelled the mandatory explanation for this event.
"Sky Brawl event be here Vikings! Where the contestants will fight it out in the sky, if either dragon or rider touches the ground their team is out of the event! The sky is the battlefield but if a winning team does not present themselves by dawn then they cannot claim victory."
He could have used more words, but in claiming so, Sky Brawling was one of the most dangerous- and exciting events for the Vikings. Any dragon that could carry their rider was permitted, and killing was not against the rules. Many Sky Brawlers enter once and are downed for good. One thing Rex learned the first time in Sky Brawling, there was no harm in tapping out to fight another event next year.
Then there was the pounding silence as the announcer lifted his hammer again as with a shift of his legs Rex shifted Spire into the circle that all the contestants made, in that second, both Rex and Spire's eyes scanned each and everyone of their competitors, looking for targets, weaknesses, every Dragon had one, so did every Rider, and the two were focused on finding them.
Three heartbeats slowly passed, and everyone's eyes moved to the hammer as it crashed down and the crowd sprung to life as all the competitor dragons brayed to the skies and then in their own harmonies took flight. The first few minutes Rex knew would be chaos and bloodshed as he held Spire back from springing via his tail into the air.
And then the first blow was made, a Gronckle collided head on with another dragon as it tried to gain altitude and the sound of crunching bones caused joyous uproar in the crowds as Rex watched the split second it took for the rider to jump onto the injured dragon's back and swing his mace and crunch the bicep bone of the dragon's wing as it howled and the Rider swung his heavy broadsword at the intruding Rider and was dodged and then kicked in the stomach, falling off of his struggling dragon as the two of them fell back to the ground, they'd only been about twelve feet off of the ground.
If they stayed on the ground for more than ten seconds after the hammer dropped, Rex knew he and Spire would be disqualified, so seeing a clearing in the sky he told Spire what to do with his body language and the intelligent dragon obeyed, leaving the ground with two seconds to spare.
The untrained reflex would barely be enough to see all that was going on above the ground as Spire's Timberjack genetics guaranteed smooth, easily manipulative flight patterns as Rex directed his dragon into a sideways spiral around the edges of the battling dragons, taking his time rather than rushing into the fray to spill unnecessary blood or have Spire injured, he would much rather have the fighters tire themselves out.
The weather up there was not promising, the rumble of thunder disorientated the dragons, not to mention the thick haze of dark grey storm clouds and the cold chill that raised the hairs even though covered on Rex's arms. Not to mention the confusing flashes of lightning that darted through patches of the clearing, inducing the sense that it may have been a dragon shooting a projectile flame towards you even though it was not.
As always, he was not the only one hanging back, and he quickly caught sight of a Deadly Nadder circling the other side of the sphere of action, and it's female, brunette rider brandishing a shield and a knife pointing it right at his face to tell him she'd spotted him and was after him. He accepted the challenge passively, but in a sudden flick of movement he'd freed his bow and strung an arrow to it to aim at her as shock crossed her features and right after a Hideous Zippleback and another Gronckle zoomed by his vision he let the arrow loose, aiming for the Rider's chest, the Rider was in most cases the biggest weakness nowadays of a dragon.
She was surprised by his sudden projectile attack and he restrung his bow just as her swinging of her weapon to parry the wooden shaft gave her a blindspot as he released this arrow, that would embed itself deep within her chest as he stared her in the eyes as she stared back in horror as the impact rippled through her body as her weapon still poised mid-swing above her head. That look in her eyes was captivating for Rex, that helpless fear like a dying animal in the woods he would hunt to eat or feed Spire- he was barely aware of the adjusting of angles he made to keep eye contact as Spire continued to circle. And then a threesome of bloody dragons rippling at each other and Riders hacking tumbled into view, one of the dragon's leathery wings obstructing the Viking girl from view.
When they passed the girl and her Death Nadder were both gone.
Rex looked ahead, things seemingly moving in slow motion, as killer-instinctual and aggressive as Vikings were, he still had trouble dealing with his first slaughter in the sky brawls. These events, the Dragon-Rider events were held every year to mark the end of a new year and the beginning of another. Crude, harsh games created to sate the natures of both dragon and Viking, they were made to fight and compete.
He was pulled back to earth when a splatter of blood from a Zippleback being beheaded by a Monstrous Nightmare about nine feet 2'oclock from them whipped Rex's brow and stained his clothes and Spire's neck as the dragon, cackling in an impatient way shifted his head to fixate one of his dirty yellow eyes on Rex questioningly.
"I'm fine," He nodded, "Let's shave down these numbers." In barely half an hour, the dragons and Vikings had cut down or scared off about half of the original number that had entered, Rex counted thirteen teams left not including Shadow Shot.
Spire was an intelligent dragon, he knew exactly what Rex meant when he said that, and the thought appeared to delight the dragon as his stunning wings gleamed and hooked slightly as the dragon's momentum shifted from a gentle sail to a shooting bullet, closing in towards the outer strayers of the fight, two facing off were interrupted then Spire shot by, completely severing the unfortunate dragon's right wing straight off with the sound of sliding metal and an inky cloud of coagulated blood in it's place as the dragon screamed and fell as the Rider clung loyally to the falling dragon.
During this Rex merely pressed himself close as possible to Spire's back in the saddle. The wind pulled and smacked his exposed skin around his eyes and forced his eyes almost completely closed, and his hood and mask whipped like a dying raven's wings in the speed levels Spire was reaching as he torpedoed in a corkscrew spin by to slice through the hides of two more dragons, cutting the contestants down one by one.
Before Rex could allow himself to feel confident though he could hear the distinct sound of dragon wing-beats behind them and risked a haughty glance under his armpit to see he was in hot pursuit by one of the last teams standing. "Spire, we have company." He yelled over the wind to his dragon, "Lose him!"
Spire let out a call in acknowledgement of his pursuer and then in a wild flap of his titanic, razor-sharp characteristic wings started to pick up both velocity and altitude, the aggressive change in Spire's flight pattern mirrored Rex's growing need to have this dragon out of their tail wind. A dragon in pursuit is a dragon exposed to fire projectiles, and he had not been able to determine the dragon's race in his fleeting glance. He tried to look again this time twisting his torso to look over his shoulder, but Spire's zigzagging and the clouds they'd entered made it hard to see more than a shadow or a wing in this low light.
The moment he gave up on that mission and looked forward a flash of lightning stabbed his eyes with a bright light as he sharply closed them with a grunt and shivered, the higher they climbed, the colder the vapours on his lashes, skin and clothes became and the thinner the air became. He was starting to feel dizzy and light-headed as he breathed out a stream of mist and sighted the flecks of frost along his arms, "Spire we're going too high." He wanted to yell but his voice was a hoarse, stammering whisper.
He'd almost forgotten about their pursuer as he used a heel to kick Spire's rib on the right and the dragon acknowledged him with a slight screech and with a 'fwipping' sound like turning sails his wings redirected them into a diagonal descent. As the dragon's body arched, elevating Rex enough to see the horizon ahead before him he was caught in a momentary awe.
And suddenly there was another flash of light.
But this time, rather than a sheet of lightning, it was a fork. The flash lit up his eyes, and there was a moment of silence and then the ear-bursting crack of thunder as the fork struck against his chest in a horrific crackle and a terrifying series of spasms and convulsions followed as the jolts passed through his body and into Spire's as the dragon yowled in pain and seemed to shrivel mid-flight, their flight coming to an abrupt halt as gravity grasped them and started ripping them down mercilessly.
Rex had never fallen, on or off a dragon from so high, but everything shook and blurred and the wind sounded like a thunderous roar in his ears that would not subside, he had no idea what was going on, Spire didn't seem to be in an any better position. The storm clouds parted into a no-mans-land between the heavens and a blue surface that was the ocean from how far from the arena they'd strayed. Rocky temples for ghosts to rest in brilliant browns all around, but the two of them would plummet with a mile-high splash into the sea before either of them realised they were falling.
Chapter Two; Rex's Wounds
Lortus, the region of land stretched out through dense forest with many active rivers and mild mountains and meeting with the ocean, that's where the events were held that year. It was a good span away from Berk, and happened to be Rex's homeland where he had lived quite isolated from the mainland where the Viking tribe dominating the region resided, in fact, barely anyone would recognize him unless he wore his hood and mask with the horns. He had lived his eighteen years happy that way.
As it was, the young man was now sprawled along a strip of sand under a rocky ravine that served as a shelter from the pouring rain, a small ray of orange light flickered along his unmasked face, in fact, he was completely stripped save from his underwear and a thick fur throw-over concealing him. Completely unconscious for now, the crackle of embers and tiny flecks of orange burned near him as a hunched over figure sat on the other side of the fire, crushing something green and leafy in a mortar and pestle with a single-minded focus.
What wasn't there before, was a long, jagged diagonal red, enflamed gash streaking from the left side of his brow down across the bridge of his nose and under his right eye, ending on the far side of his right cheek. The fire flickering made it look even more hideous and noticeable than not against the fine features otherwise that dawned his face, his mother often regarded him and his younger sister; Dorrigo as her 'elf' children because of these features rather than the broadness and brutality of the typical Viking- especially Viking males that both Rex and Dorri lacked. But saying so, Rex was not feminine at all, his strict, defined features gave him a commanding, immaculate sort of masculinity. But despite that, he felt far too different to go out venturing among other Vikings without his hood at the very least as a child, and the habit stuck with him.
Dorrigo on the other hand, the sixteen year old girl with her amazingly delicate features, pale skin, striking green eyes and ginger long hair was sought after by many of her age group, well, she would be if not for the fact that she was not allowed to go into the village without Rex's company for her fragile, harmless nature. And no one dared approach.
Mother told them their father was the same, and the first one to come out that way, he was called Kirl-Goblin the Hawkeye, when he'd died, his bow and arrow was passed onto Rex, who his mother claimed exceeded even Goblin and thus took the name of Rex the Hawkeye.
His late night autumn-coloured bangs tangled in his lashes and the silver bead on the left side of his head that clamped in a tiny braid in his hair scraped across the sand as he stirred if only a little, his lips parting as if he were out of breath, and a thin, sticky layer of water had dried into his skin unpleasantly, that grains of sand clung to as the figure, revealing to be a tribal woman of little height and large age, silver hair in braids and dressed in fire-orange and white robes and silver approached the boy and coated her bony fingers with a wet green pulp she'd created and smeared it over the gash.
Rex was previously in a void of uncomfortable, cloudy black, not quite asleep, but unable to wake up, until a sharp pain burning through the skin of his face and making his eyes water broke through the trance and brought him to life, back to horrifically agonising life as he cried at the intense sting and flung himself upright throwing the fur to his waist as he made to grasp at his face but was stopped by said tribal woman's hand.
"Let it seep in," Her slow, wise voice said as she fixated him with her honey-brown, white-lashed eyes as his jade-coloured eyes focused on her, and recognition started to sink in, this was Skiie, the chief of the tribe in Lortus, Skiie the Wisewoman. And he reluctantly forced his arms to his lap as he inwardly cringed and she shifted into a sitting position beside him, "You took quite a fall Hawkeye, that mark on your face will never go away now. And many troubles this one is going to cause you." Her eyes lowered to his torso, and Rex, uncollected and confused, allowed his gaze to drop also.
A raw-pink, almost star-shaped burn had scorched it's way into his chest. When he moved it smarted something shocking. And he couldn't remember what exactly was going on, "Why are we on the cove- and where are my clothes?" He found his voice, as hoarse as it sounded.
Skiie pointed gingerly over to a pile of neatly folded black and brown that was his clothes, "I must clean that wound too. Then you can put your clothes back on."
His spinning head overrided most of the normal intelligence that flowed thick through his brain as he blinked quietly a moment and then asked unsurely, "Fall…? Fall…" He lifted a hand to cautiously rub his temple, careful to avoid the gash to Skiie's relief and then it all came crashing back the moment the Wisewoman tipped the rest of the remedy on his chest and a searing, excruciating, skin-melting feeling rippled through his chest as he gasped and his heartbeat jumped and his lungs shuddered and he curled forward into a ball, screaming at the pain as he unfurled only to heave and then his stomach shrivelled and convulsed as he rasped and fell onto his hands to throw up all over the sand.
Skiie sat there watching him struggle like a dying animal with a passive, quiet thoughtful look on her face. "You're lucky to be alive for now." She simply told him without an ounce of visible sympathy in her expression as he coughed and hacked trying to catch his breath, tears trickling down his face, and making the gash on his cheek sting some more to add on.
His crying and screaming died down to grunts and growls in time, after what seemed like forever, his eyes began to stop watering and he started to gather himself back to his normal state to process what he remembered. The Sky Brawl, he obviously had not won, and he remembered the shock of lightning, he'd been stuck by lightning, him and- His milky-deep eyes lifted from the sand to search the clearing for his dragon, but at the same time he knew if Spire was in the scene he'd have noticed him, so he asked at the same time, "Where's Spire? Where is my dragon? Is he alright?" and then rested his gaze on hers, which had not changed nor left him despite his actions and words.
She did not speak, but she looked out to the ocean slowly. And Rex followed her gaze, barely noticing the icing white glimmer that danced across the rain-ravished ocean at the moment, and then glanced back, "He's fishing? Is it wise to let him be flying after this incident?"
But then Skiie looked to him, and he saw something in her eyes, sorrow, a deep pit of sorrow and shame. And that look in her eyes hit him like a ton of bricks on his head, something terrible-nay, utterly tragic had happened. And there was only one explanation linking the look in her eyes to the ocean, and to Spire…
"…" He was silent for a moment, and then horror took his expression and he jumped to his feet, ignoring the pain a moment as he darted thoughtlessly towards the water in a hasty series of hopping, running and hobbling as he heard the sound of someone baying; "SPIRE!" before realising it was himself as the water greeted his feet like ice, but did not deter him as he stepped out from under the cave and was pelted with layer upon layer of thick, heavy rain mercilessly, slapping against his bare skin and twice as hard against the burn on his chest as he paused a moment to cringe, and fell to his knees in the water, and continued to crawl clumsily, splashing out deeper and deeper. He was not sure of his intentions or his mentality at the current moment, he assumed Spire was still out there, drowning, but alive and needed him, and he was going to go find him and save him.
There was a heavy, sharp splash in front of him through his blurry vision as he swallowed sea water and coughed before eying the thick, gnarly but characteristic staff of Skiie the Wisewoman as the elder stood beside him, barricading his way in the water as he shouted to her through coughs, "Let me pass! I can't leave him out there! He needs me!" Desperately and demandingly as his hands and knees sunk into the ever-shifting sand bed beneath him.
"Him gone Hawkeye." A thick hood shielded her from the rain, Rex however was nearly naked and shivering in wild convulsions. "You will die in this cold."
A sinking sense of helplessness clenched and twisted his gut mercilessly as he blinked at the tribal leader. His heart pounded, he did not know how to process this information. Spire was a warrior, he was unmatched, he was Rex's family, his best friend, his life-long companion, his guardian. He couldn't be… He couldn't die… Not like this.
His mind retreated at the pain it caused that completely dulled out his whole feeling of reality, his emotions locked themselves away in his heart, the light and intelligent spark left his eyes and he became an empty shell, shut down mode. He was completely numb like then. And afterwards, as the woman lead him back under shelter, and dried him off all over again, it did not feel real, and he sat there for the whole time staring at the ocean with a lost look in his eyes.
He spent the rest of the night awake even after the Wisewoman had gone to sleep, after he was sure she was sound shut-eye he slowly glanced to her sidelong, and then out to the ocean again, and his eyes started to well up with liquid.
The boy wept until the moon had finished it's patrol across the sky quietly and mournfully like a child, he had never cried in his life since he had been but a small babe. Now it was as if all his strength had fled him with the loss of Spire. It was as if, if he just cried long and hard enough, his friend would see how much Rex needed him and somehow return from the land of the dead to spare him anymore pain, that, or that he would cry so long that Thor would pity him and strike him down with his hammer and put him out of his misery.
'Why Spire?' he could not help but think, Rex was the one who was struck by the lightning, not Spire, Spire got the blunt end of the sword to say the least, and Rex knew Spire was stronger than he was, how had he survived when his mighty, looming Timberjack dragon had not??
Only when the sun rose, when that lemon-yellow glaze had melted the shadows away and bathed the land in warm and light and the Wisewoman awoke did Rex wipe his tears away in a hasty sweep and compress himself back into that vault, where on the outside he was indifferent and neutral and he could pretend he was strong enough to handle this.
If Skiie could see through his façade, she made no notion of it, she gave him a brief glance and then gestured with a point of the top end where curled, ripped roots were all crumbled in on themselves of her staff towards the forest before them, "Clothes, then back home with you." She grunted.
Rex did not need to be told twice despite the thoughts of how incredulous he regarded her sudden disdain with his presence and loss of interest in helping him. Not that he expected anymore from her, she was not a kindly old lady, she always seemed to have her head in some higher plane of existence beyond the likes of one the meagre Viking could comprehend. He dressed carefully, his misery coated with a thick layer of false-lack of emotion as he strapped his tunic around his torso, wincing at his newfound companion; pain, that he suspected was not going to be migrating on for a long time because of this lightning burn.
Nevertheless he did feel a tint of relief when his hood and mask were both back on, but the scar across his brow made him look ever the more menacing and less human and more angel-of-death like than ever. One thing, besides Spire that plagued him, he'd entered the events a Rider, a Champion. Now he hobbled back home a cripple…
The Wisewoman appeared to be following him as he maneuvered his way through the dense pine forest, the mulch thick and wet stained the felt of his boots and the scent of pine needles clung to his clothes as bristles got caught in the belts on his gauntlet and the cloth of his sleeve. Even though he could not hear her, when he looked over his shoulder he would see her shuffling along behind him, same distance away, her eyes never left him. If he did not know the tribal woman any better, then he may have been frightened, but as it was, he had come to associate her with a lost, kindred spirit long ago, so he was not surprised by her behaviour.
It was when he started the ascend up a steep hill wading off of the path that lead to the village and that he glanced over his shoulder once again when his foot tumbled from beneath him and a shot of pain rung it's way through him that he noted with disdain she was no longer tailing him now that he was not taking the direction home to the village.
But he did not think twice about it, he waited impatiently in his half-stand half-crumple for the pain to pass over, and eventually it dulled enough for him to continue his miserable journey alone.
He did not know what awaited him, nor did he particularly care, at the moment, all he wanted was to crawl into a corner, curl up and cry more. But he would not, his pride would not allow him anymore tears for now, he weaved tediously over a fallen log and through a brittle shrub as he reached the top of the climb practically on all fours with mulch all over his once clean clothes and face, surprisingly, the gash seemed unharmed by this and no longer hurt. On the top of the hill on a slot of even ground before the hill continued on into what became Mount Snowdropper was the broad, sturdy joint that was his cottage-sized home.
Two goats tied out the front they milked munched on feed from a trough they never left, and the chickens in the hen house clucked busily despite the early morning it was. Dorrigo loved those damn animals, she passed on having a dragon companion because she has already imprinted on a ginger-coloured chicken she always carried around in her arms called Tumeric.
He did not knock, he never had in the past, he lifted the bar with a stick he'd gathered up himself and let himself inside, shutting the door behind him and making to escape to his room, but the entrance went straight through the kitchen, where both his mother and sister appeared to be gathered. What Rex had not realised was that he'd actually been unconscious for two days before he'd been found, and his family was under the assumption their sibling/son was not coming home. They had been in each other's arms, mother soothing the weeping sixteen year old as she bawled her pretty eyes out when he shuffled by them in a cloud of single-minded procession.
"Rex!" there was a terrible pain in him when a weight fell against his back and his legs all but buckled as the small and willowy form of Dorrigo slipped her arms around him from behind, a stammer in her otherwise honey-smooth voice as she buried her face in his tunic, "We t-thought you were-"
"-Spire is." He finished in a painful, but blunt growl from between his gritted teeth just as his mother had been about to join in, but the broad, more Vikingly proportioned woman chose instead to carefully extract Dorrigo,
"Not now Dear," the woman crooned the all but hysterical young girl, who did not seem to want to let her big brother go, Rex paid them no heed, he continued on his trek to his room, where he would spend nearly a month doing nothing but surviving locked away in his room in a fit of mourning the loss of his best friend.
Chapter Three; Dorrigo's Gift
"Son, this cannot go on, it has been nearly two full moons…" Until today, Rex had not really stopped to study what he had inherited physically from his mother. Perched on the edge of his bed, which was composed of a wooden frame close to the floor with a moss-green scratchy fleece made mattress stuffed with hay and likewise pillows and a single garnet-brown thick furred quilt his behind sunk into and parted beneath him as his mother, dressed in brown felt house robes with white, grey dappled wolf fur cuffs knelt on the ground before him. She was a tall woman, so even on her knees as so she was equal to his sitting height.
His empty eyes took in her face but not her words, her eyes were a deep pine forest green, and her hair a wavy tumble of crudely cut short dark umber locks, her eyes were large as so were her lips, which brought a feminine charm to her otherwise stern, striking face. But Rex could see none of his own facial features in her.
"...How long is this going to last? You barely eat-or speak, or go outside, or even leave your room. You're shirking your responsibilities as if we don't matter to you anymore…"
He could however spot Dorrigo's facial features in her, the upturn in her nose and slack wider bridge that made her nose, and her lashes flared in the same way that Dorrigo's did, and like Dorrigo her lips were fuller in the lower than the upper lip…
His mother's name was Fern Simperkiller. Since the domestication of dragons, Vikings have had the freedom to stray a little further throughout their homelands and expand their territories, bringing wake to discoveries of other creatures that delved in these lands in the shadows of dragons. Simpers were one of them- a native beast to Lortus. A creature of commendable size and power, identified by a phantom-like glowing tongue of coloured flame that flared from between it's shoulder-blades suspended above it's body. While it did not have wings to fly there was no denying how dangerous- and eerily beautiful in a mutated sort of fashion this beast was. It could grow to be the size of a Monstrous Nightmare and hunted in numbers of one to five and most of it’s vital organs were protected. It's head for example was coated in a thick, exoskeleton and it's throat and chest covered in near impenetrable layers of hair and fat, not that you could get to those places given it walks on four legs and it's paws were lined with long talons and it's uncannily long mouth lined with fangs.
It's one weakness appeared to be it's fragile joints in it's four legs and the fact that they are completely blind- some were even born without eyes for that reason and rely solely on hearing to hunt and survive.
Simpers were not common though as known as they are, and have only been sighted at night, it would appear and slaughter the adventurous Viking and then slip off into the night never to be found until it's next hunt. While considerably a good few Vikings have managed to fend off a Simper attack and survive, Fern was the only Viking in recorded history who had ever killed one of these beasts. Her proof was the white-skulled Simper head mounted up above her bed in her room.
Rex was not sure, but ever since she protected both him and baby Dorrigo- Simpers were known to target the defenceless- from a large Simper that had attempted to break into the cottage, and since she mounted the head in her room, no Simper had dared approach the cottage since, as if they could smell that waft that always surrounded Fern's room and out her window upstairs of their slain brother that kept them away, that and well, the looming, titanic Timberjack that used to sleep and guard on the roof of the cottage…
"Rex?" Said Viking woman fixated him with an agitated look and then in a sudden violent movement raised her calloused hand, grabbed Rex by the roots of the hair on his hand and yanked him to his feet, causing the boy to let out a surprised yelp as she demanded, "Go to town, buy a new bow and go train- take your mind off of things, I insist."
Rex knew that tone, it was Fern's famous 'don't-defy-me' tone, but honestly he had had barely an ounce of sleep for a month and he felt dead inside, he was sure if he even tried even if he wanted to; that his body would simply shut down and he would drop dead before he got out the front door, so he looked her in the eye with those cold green icy eyes and said simply, "No."
Dorrigo, who had been leaning against the wall outside said room, Turmeric cooing quietly to herself content in her arms had been listening to the conversation, it ended like the last two, everything mother was trying was not working to bring Rex out of his pit. She felt helpless as she looked down, her untamable amber hair wavy and thick toppling over her fair face, hiding her peridot green eyes from view as she pondered to herself quietly, Dorrigo garbed herself in light, pastel blues, light creams and shades between light grey and white unlike the crude blacks Rex wore or the forest browns and greens Fern wore.
She worried deeply for her brother, whilst Rex was strong enough to withdraw his emotions when it came to killing, Dorrigo was too empathetic and sympathetic to others, too caring to ever bring herself to hurt anyone, just like now, all she wanted to do was help Rex. She looked down at Turmeric, "What would you do…?"
The hen had no answer for the sixteen year old. But looking down at Turmeric it came to Dorri's attention that since Rex had not been to the village with her, they were running low on chicken feed, and Turmeric had been restless from the not-so-generous helpings she'd been fed for the last week or so. That was one thing she could deal with, she was sure mother would not mind her going to the village on her own just this once, I mean, she was sixteen after all- and she had been once when they'd thought Rex was dead, Fern had given her a wolfskin coat with a wolf head mask built into it of lovely snow white fur for her to hide her face with.
So she padded to her room where she slid her cream-coloured headdress into her sunset orange hair to keep it off of her face and then then strolled down the hallway, through the kitchen and lifted the bar that kept the front door closed and pulled it open with one hand, the other still cradling Turmeric and pulled the hood onto her head, the wolf head sitting like a crown on her brow ready for her to pull down over her face when she got close to the village as she slipped outside.
It was cold and wet from the recent storming, but besides the overcast shadow that hung in the air, the sky was free of all evidence of thunderstorms. Dorrigo's curious eyes scanned the forest as she tucked and weaved her way slowly and carefully down the wet, slippery with mulch hill, talking to Turmeric in a gentle tone the whole way as she slipped a tab here and there, but Dorrigo where she lacked speed and strength, she excelled in agility, being flexible, light-weighted, incredibly balanced and quiet as a mouse.
Rain droplets glittered on the tips of pine needles and dripped to the ground as she brushed by them, catching tiny rays of sun before they broke upon hitting the ground, it was a lovely day in her eyes, but Dorrigo was a very positive being, and the peace and quiet made it innocent and good in her eyes.
The village was built with a fence of sharpened wood in a horseshoe so there was only one way in without a dragon to fly you in, and the forest path lead Dorrigo right to it as she pulled the hood down so her face was now the face of a snow white wolf with closed eyes, a closed mouth and upright ears.
There was the bustling sound of active Vikings and dragons thick throughout the village, not quiet and peaceful like in their isolated little cottage. She stopped to allow a Hideous Zippleback scurry by with those curious, scatter-brained heads and clutched Turmeric closer to her chest as she watched a Terrible Terror eye the chook with hungry eyes from it's perch on someone's porch. She picked up her pace, striding along on light feet, moving to the side as a Gronckle hauled a large cart in her direction so it could pass and then slid between two market carts to move to the far farming parts of Horseshoe Point.
She was relatively undisturbed unless by the occasional glance at her choice of mask by the working Viking or the passing dragon or even a startled bleat by a goat or sheep that had mistaken her for a real wolf if but for a moment. Moving away from the crowded town centre area the loudness died down as she made her way towards the farm house where a nice Viking farmer by the name of Redbrow sold her cheap chickenfeed whereas the chickenfeed in the market range would be outside her price range.
She could see the farm just down the hill. As she was making her way down with a little skip in her step over the green grass she was stopped when she heard a sound in her tracks. It was the sound of an animal, a desperate cry for help, a chirping yowl for help that turned her to face another farm, smaller than Redbrow's but coloured in richer browns and decorated not with weeds like Redbrow's but with lovely trimmed flowers, the house itself smelled of jasmine and roses, the type of home that made you certain that a kindly couple ready to offer rosewater sweets and pink tea to those who knocked on the neatly fitted and latched door that even had a brass knocker fitted into it. But then beside it to the barn attached before it was a stone tablet, and beside it, a man with a golden neatly braided beard with green and moss-coloured felt clothing with a small white, flopping animal clutched by one of it's wings in one of his hulking hands, and an axe in the other.
A sickening sense of dread sunk into Dorrigo's stomach as she saw what the stone tablet was, a slaughtering table. And taking a split second to examine the creature she identified it as a baby dragon, and she darted forward, "What are you doing!?" Her already small voice was distorted strongly in a muffled way by the wolf head but the Viking male seemed to hear and acknowledge her as he paused and lifted a toned arm to rub the sweat off of his brow with his furry wristband. "Look little Lady, the Mrs. Likes her Glimmernymphs to be bred perfect. This one's a defect, gotta get rid of it, can't have that." He paused to snort in a breath, he sounded sick.
Dorrigo glanced to the dragon and then the man and debated with a sudden passionate desire, "B-But that's not the dragon's fault! Y-you don't need to kill it…"
"We ain't got the money to keep what won't sell kid." The Viking said grimly, "Glimmernymphs are made to be flawless, for expensive buyers, no one would want this freak of nature."
"…" Dorrigo desperately used one arm to dig into her pockets, "H-how much will you take for it…?"
She stared into this man's brown eyes, and he breathed a cloudy sigh, again, sounding quite ill, but then looked quite surprised as the dragon, intent on escaping certain death but seeming exhausted as he held it out like a dangling carcass, "Kid, you can have Starfyre for free."
Dorrigo was not aware of how impulsive she was being, but she carefully put Turmeric down on the ground as the brown hen ruffled it's feathers and approached the Viking, holding her arms out for him to place the baby dragon into, while it has appeared as tiny as an insect to this hulking Viking, it was about the size of a domestic cat, and somehow, as if she knew Dorrigo was her saviour the little baby dragon curled up frantically in her arms and made a series of both purring and chirping noises, hiding it's face before Dorrigo could get a good look at it in the fur of her coat, "Starfyre…"
As it turned out, she could not carry a chicken, a baby dragon and a sack of chickenfeed all together, so she let her hood rest behind her and slipped Starfyre into it- but not after she got a good look at the dragonling. It was a lovely seasalt white colour, lean and light-limbed as Glimmernymphs were supposed to be, with a lining of fin/featherlike material down it's back and making two large elf-like ears on it's narrow face. What made Glimmernymphs so special was that one; they were the fastest dragon alive, that's how Dorrigo knew the name, and two; the fin-feather materials that made it's ears and 'mohawk' down it's spine to where it bunched up on it's tail and even the membrane of it's delicate, agitated wings was made of a completely transparent sheen that lit up like a suncatcher would with the colour spectrum. They were known for their white, smooth but sandpaper-like bodies and their large, brightly coloured eyes, Starfyre lived up to that reputation with her titanic ultraviolet purple eyes. But she was different, on one of her eyes, there was a smear of black colouring on her, and on her wings, there were bat-like hooks, that made her look a little less graceful and more scruffy, which was not the desired appearance for Glimmernymphs at all.
Glimmernymph's were made to be in captivity, their lack of ferociousness and fruit-based diet made them unable to defend themselves in the wild and easy pickings with how much they stand out.
The thought of what breeders would do just to ensure they had a perfect breed disgusted Dorrigo as she hauled her trudging way through the gates out into the forest nearly three hours later, she had lingered talking to Redbrow again with a weaved sack of dried corn for the chooks, with Turmeric faithfully marching behind her with her bobbing head, and Starfyre curled up in her warm wolf-skin hood making a cooing, purring sound, another observation Dorrigo made of Glimmernymphs, their sound vocabulary was extremely broad and varied. Of what she discovered so far, Starfyre could chirp, purr, coo, growl, hiss, chime, giggle, bark, bleat, bray, crow, squeak, shriek, and even imitate some human-like sounds-even repeat words like a parrot even though Dorrigo was not sure if she could actually understand what she was repeating.
She was sure she knew the perfect place for Starfyre to fit into their family, she herself did not have the energy nor the strength to raise a dragon, and Glimmernymphs could grow to be as large as a horse or pony. "Maybe…" She giggled when Starfyre poked her head over her shoulder, her two-pronged paws leaning on Dorrigo's shoulder so she could fixate her deep, large intense eyes on the Viking girl with a bright look, almost grateful, and Dorrigo lifted a finger to stroke the bridge of it's snout between it's eyes, and it cooed and purred, it's sensitive ears flickering back and forth to listen to it's surroundings as it nuzzled into her hand like a kitten.
As she walked, she could hear Turmeric clucking under her breath, and then Starfyre making a similar clucking sound back, leaning over the back of the hood with her two-toed front paws.
Rex had been kicked out of home, right now he situated himself at the edge of a lake near his house, a spring-water lake which reflected a vibrant blue to the heavens like melted liquid sapphire. He was perched in a crouch over a ledge hanging over the lake, overgrown with moss with tiny amber flowers that Rex located and smushed with his thumb one by slow one to pass the time. He was told to go make a bow. But he had no motivation to do so, he simply wanted to linger and stay hidden within himself, lost in a maze he had no intention of finding the exit to despite his mother's efforts to bring her son back to reality- it was easier to stay where he was with Spire gone now.
And Dorrigo found out the hard way Rex was not home when she'd come through the front door looking for him, and had been told by Fern that the boy was probably out brooding in the forest, nothing got by that woman, and through what felt like quite a long while of walking around the forest searching for her brother Dorrigo came across the lake, where she spotted the hunched over crouching form of her brother still staring intently at the moss.
Turmeric was safely at home, and the chicken feed in the shack, so now she only had Starfyre in her arms as she called out to her brother in her small voice and jogged over to begin her climb up the ledge. Rex barely noticed Starfyre from his stance when he cast Dorrigo the slightest glance before going back to crushing an already flattened flower under his whole hand.
"Rex, are you well?" She asked, hesitating resulting in a bit of a stagger in her step at the sudden force created by Rex's hand balling into a fist and crashing hard down three sharp, relentless times on the flower as if to answer her question, grazing the leather fingerless gauntlets he wore at the knuckles.
His lack of attention to her disgruntled Dorrigo, but she tried not to take it to heart. She had lifted the wolf coat so the head was hanging upside-down on her back, the thick fur of the cape rubbing with a peculiar sound against the white thick fleece poncho attached to her equally ivory tunic underneath. She had on grey gloves and colourless leather wrist-guards. She shifted her grip on Starfyre, whose attention was trained silently on Rex, her tail curling slowly around Dorrigo's arm in a way that might suggest that Rex intimidated the baby dragon a bit. "...I brought you something…" Dorrigo tried instead and almost sighed in relief when he actually stopped what he was doing and turned his attention to her full-heartedly, shuffling to face her in his off crouch as she gave Starfyre an assuring tickle under her chin before extending her arms holding the tiny dragon towards him, "A new dragon."
She was not sure what he was thinking as his amazingly milky green smooth-textured eyes focused and narrowed to look at the Glimmernymph held out to him, he was silent, the both of them were for a good while. Even Starfyre seemed silent and still unable to break the silence with anything more than her violet-eyed stare as her and Dorrigo waited for Rex to say something, or do something, anything. Dorrigo swore she could hear every squirrel and deer in the forest with how silent her brother was.
And then Rex stood up to his full height in a single, fluid movement, he was always good with coordinating his body to exert little to no effort where anyone else would need to use energy, and in a slow, tense stride that made Dorrigo's heart jump into her throat he approached where she stood with Starfyre, and for a moment his eyes lightened like he might smile.
But he walked right past her, carelessly pushing by her shoulder a bit- this confused Dorrigo to no end but also in a weird sense, shattered her inside as she cradled up Starfyre to her chest quickly as she tottered at the impact to keep from dropping the dragon as it squeaked in distress and she exhaled and inhaled slowly. She could still hear him walking, so she spun around and cried out; "Rex?? Did you hear me-?"
"Get rid of it." He told her in a tone that was cynical and cold.
If his lack of words shattered her, this cold, apathetic one ground the shards to dust as she opened her mouth to speak, but lost her voice a moment at the cold sting of rejection she felt. "B-but-" She attempted in a shaky, vulnerable tone; "T-they'll kill her… I saved her from being slaughtered like a lamb…" Her grip on Starfyre became tighter, and the dragon's ears flickered as it sensed the dread radiating from Dorrigo and made a rippling noise from between it's teeth in attempt to soothe her.
Dorrigo was desperate to have Rex reconsider, "She's just a baby… She needs to be raised and loved. A-and I cannot look after a dragon… Please Rex… She needs you."
"… It's of no use to me. Get rid of it."
-To submit a character please email a profile to Lukarara@gmail.com with a bio for dragon and human and a desired purpose in the story. to read more and recieve updates on chapters I recommend finding the version on fanfiction.net where there is also a picture of Rex on my fanfiction account; Bleedingautumn, which is easy to find in the search Authors option.