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Recap / A Thing of Vikings Chapter 66 "A Downed Dragon..."

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Book II, Chapter 35

Scylla: Boulder-class dragon

Overview: High-stealth, pack-oriented dragon optimized for terra-urban supremacy. Instinctive ambush tactics render the dragon highly effective in the close quarters of the tunnels of terra-urban environments, and the telescoping neck allows the dragon to attack and retreat with its main body remaining unexposed. In addition, they are skilled pack hunters, to the point where the ancient Greeks assumed that a pack of Scylla was a single dragon; this tendency can be trained in terra-urban units, allowing significant close-quarters synergistic combat effectiveness. Above ground, they are only primarily of military use in congested areas, where the dragon's slower speed and larger core body will not allow them to be targeted easily.

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Breath Type: Ethylbenzene/Oxygen-melted mineral projectiles. Due to the telescoping nature of the neck and throat, Scylla have a biological valve that will inhibit firebreathing when the neck is past half-extension. Scylla will preferentially consume mafic rocks over felsic rocks to fuel their projectiles, as the viscosity of the felsic magma risks damage to their tissues. As a result, Scylla magma projectiles tend to be of low viscosity and closer to a spray.

Identification: Medium Size. Dark brown to gray-black scales and hide. Four legs with digging/shovel paws capable of grasping only large objects; moderate single wing-pair. Bilateral spike rows along thorax's frontal plane, parallel with belly, used for anchoring in tunnels. Long armored head with jaws optimized for grasping and crunching, single nose horn used for digging. Central thorax roughly egg-shaped. Most significant feature is the extensible neck; normally in a contracted position, with a length of half that of the thorax, it can extend out to four or five times the length of the thorax, and still maintain flexibility at joints. Purple eyes; iris width varies minimally on mood; secondary eyelids shield against bright light.

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Strategic Role: Terra-urban supremacy; urban supremacy; close-quarters infantry support

Known Weaknesses: Scylla are highly pack-oriented; removing their packmates, especially their riders, will typically put the dragon into full fight-or-flight mode. At full extension, the neck is highly vulnerable to injury along its length. In flight, the Scylla is also very slow. If injured in open air, Scylla are known to develop agoraphobia as a result.

Phenotype Cluster: B5^F3-SØSØS1+MØTØT5+

Populations: Small to Moderate. Originally located primarily around sea caves in the Aegean Sea and Black Sea, Scylla have never have had significant success in spreading from their original territories. However, the Turkish Empire has had a successful breeding program in keeping their numbers up for conservation purposes, and many of their urban infantry units are paired with Scylla, to the point where it is those units' signature dragon breed.

North Sea Empire, Office of Draconic Intelligence, Dragon Breed Profiles (Declassified), 1822 Edition
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Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:

  • Character Death: Fritjof and his dragon Nott and Delling die giving the rest of Hiccup's party time enough to escape.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Both Father Henriksson and Father Burkhard are of this opinion calling dragons demons and hellbeasts.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Fritjof clan Jorgenson. His last words are that he has a date with a Valkyrie... but with a hundred or so Anglo horsemen going with him, he has company.
  • The Fundamentalist: Henrikssons motives for everything he's done are because he's this trope, see Motive Rant below for more.
  • He Didn't Make It: After the Roman dragon-riders escaped from the trap at Bari, Sigurd finds that command of the unit has devolved to him—starting with the casualty totals. One of the Roman dragon-riders is said to have "bought us time" after he saw his dragon's body.
  • Motive Rant: Henriksson gives one when he was asked why he did all the horrible stuff he's done.
    Henriksson: Fine. You want to know why? Because of him. (Points his chin at Magnus)
    Magnus: What?
    Henriksson: Your father was a good, God-fearing man. He did his best to bring the people of this kingdom to God during his time. But what have you done? You invited pagans into your home! Pagans who ride on the backs of demons, using vile magics and bargains with Satan Himself! And you were put on the throne using the forces of your cowardly uncle, who does not have the strength of will to bring his own kingdom to the service of God! No, he has an agreement with the pagan cult to not interfere, and let them hold their rites! And as if to prove my fears right, you even married a pagan bride without bringing her to God! You're worse than the third servant, who buried his talent, but at least he didn't throw it away! So I prepared for the day when you'd be weak against Satan's temptations, like your uncle is! I found those men of True Faith, whose willingness to follow the Light of God, regardless of the darkness of the path, was unshakable! And when temptation arrived, you having invited it, I had to act!
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Fritjof clan Jorgenson's last moments. He turns back to slow down the approaching Anglo army, smiling, with his last words being that he and his dragon have a date with a Valkyrie.
  • Peaceful in Death: Fritjof clan Jorgenson; when Hiccup and his party find Fritjof's body, he's smiling.
  • The Reveal: We finally find out how Rasmus got that ax way back in chapter 48. It was given to him by Father Burkhard.
  • Taking You with Me: Fritjof's last stand; he wiped out over ninety percent of the pursing English horsemen, and fulfilled his oath to protect and guard Hiccup and his family to the last breath.
  • You Fool!: Einar calls Henriksson a fool twice when he finds out about the fanatics plots.
    (After finding out he tried to have Hiccup murdered) You fool. They are a great power, and you tried to have their heir and his intended murdered!? What if you had succeeded? The boy's father would have burned the kingdom down around our ears!
    (After finding out he married Wulfhild to Hiccup) —you fool! Were you trying to provoke them!?
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Fritjof clan Jorgenson and his dragon, the Zippleback Nott & Delling, are both wounded, and the English army has almost overtaken Hiccup's party. So the two of them turn back, facing over a hundred mounted cavalry to buy the rest of the party time. They die, but a valley full of Zippleback gas wiped out the majority of the cavalry, sending the rest running for their lives.


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