Okay, here goes a story... XD
The warm breeze ruffled Dagur's long, shaggy headfur as he leaned over the side of the Stopdog lazily, trailing his paw in the water. That morning, he and Arthur had gone with Deyna in his little ship down the river from Cuddletown, to the sea. Now they were sailing around, having random fun like the random sort of people Cuddletowners tended to be. Dagur looked up, ajusting his sunglasses. Deyna was at the tiller, steering his boat and eating an apple with a silly, spaced out look on his face. Arthur laid back against the mast, with his sunglasses on, so it was hard to tell if his eyes were open or not. Dagur shifted his bottom to a more comfortable position, feeling sleepy with the warm sun heating up the fur on his back. He continued to stare into the water, not bothering to brush away the hair in his face. It was always in his face anyway. He watched as the occasianal fish swam by under the clear green-blue water, seaweed floated by, and once in a while a jellyfish, or something unidentifiable. Then he saw something that did not belong in the ocean. A bottle. Ugh, litter. He thought angrily as he reached for it and pulled it out of the water. Wish people wouldn't throw their derned garbage around. It was a grape juice bottle. He was about to toss it into the bottom of the ship to put in the garbage when they got back on land, when he noticed there was something inside it. It appeared to be a peice of paper.
"What's that?" asked Arthur, sitting up. "Oh, litter? Ugh. Just toss it in here." He motioned to the boat. Dagur shook his head.
"There's something inside, a peice of paper."
"It's prob'ly an S.O.S." suggested Deyna jokingly, tossing his apple core into the water. Arthur gave him a look.
"What? It's just an apple core. It's not littering. Some fish will prob'ly enjoy it." said Deyna defensively. Arthur shrugged, then turned back to Dagur, who was opening the plastic bottle. The lid was screwed on very tightly. Once he unscrewed it, he tipped it and the paper fell into his paw. He set down the bottle and opened the paper.
"Whatsit say?" asked Deyna, looking over his shoulder.
"It says, Help me! I have been raided by pirates and they are holding me prisoner!" read the young fox. "And there are some coordinates, which I don't know how to read, to be honest."
"Toldja it was an S.O.S." said Deyna, grabbing the paper. "Seriously, you don't? Well lucky fer us, I do." He grinned.
Dagur rolled his eyes. "Alright. Well, should we go?"
"Of course!" put in Arthur. "Skipper would want us to, and anyway, we don't have anything better to do. I'm getting kinda bored."
"Alright, let's go!" Deyna began to turn the boat.
"Wait, Deyna." said Dagur. "We don't know how far it is, and we don't have provisions or anything. Let's go into town and grab some stuff first."
"Okay!" said Deyna, and he turned in the direction of land.
"So, what you kids doin' taday?" asked the friendly crane at the checkout counter as the three friends bought their provisions.
"We're going out to help somebody." explained Dagur. "We found an S.O.S. in a bottle in the ocean. It says somebody has been captured by pirates."
The smile suddenly dissapeared from the crane's beak. "Don't tell me it was a grape juice bottle."
Dagur was a bit taken aback. "What? Yes! H-how did you know?"
The crane pushed the bag of groceries toward them, wiping his wings on his shirt. "I know several people who've found messages just like that, all in grape juice bottles. They went out to help whoever it is... but never returned."
Dagur paid, a puzzled look on his face. "Hm. Well, maybe they just didn't return to this port, y'know."
The crane shook his head. "Nope. I know 'em all, they all come here on a regular basis. I haven't heard from them since."
"Strange." said Dagur. "Well, we're gonna go now. Thanks! We'll be careful!" He grinned and waved as they walked out the door, Deyna carrying all the bags. The checker waved back.
"Have fun!" Then he mumbled to himself, "Sure hope they do make it back. They're such nice kids. 'Cept for that otter." He made a face to himself, then went back to his regular routine as another customer approached the counter.
The team walked out of Tolavana, back to the Stopdog. They packed their new provisions in and headed out to sea.
They had been sailing for a while, and Arthur was taking a turn at the tiller, when Deyna let out a sudden giggle. "Hey, guys, you know what we are when it's just the three of us together?" he paused for effect. "DAD! Hahaha!"
Dagur gave a small laugh too. "What about when the girls are with us?"
Deyna thought for a moment. "JDAGD? Nahh, doesn't sound as good."
They sailed on and on, for several hours at least, until at last, as Dagur was at the tiller, Arthur shouted, "Land!" Sure enough, straight ahead of them was a dark smudge on the horizon. They sailed on toward it.
As they neared the island, they saw it was a fairly good-sized one, but apparently uninhabitated. There was no smoke, no ships, no sign of life anywhere. There was something else strange, too. A sound... but what was it? Dagur's ears were standing straight up in the air, pointed at the island and straining to listen. Then he realized that the sound was what was missing. There were no birds singing, no squirrels chattering, no dragons even.
"That is a little... creepy..." said Deyna, uneasiness in his voice. He subconciously fingered the dagger at the back of his belt. Without noticing, Arthur and Dagur both loosened their daggers in their sheaths as well.
Going around until they found a small harbor like area where the beach sloped gently, they landed the Stopdog and jumped out onto the pebbly beach. The only sound was the waves crashing against the shore, and the wind in the foliage of the trees.
"Okay, this place is ca-reepy." decided Deyna. He pushed the Stopdog back out into shallow water and brought her around behind a large sheltered rock, where she would be safe and hidden.
"Okay, so let's find these pirates, and rescue whoever it is that needs our help." said Dagur, taking the lead as usual. "We have no idea where they are, so let's all fan out and scout around. Remember to keep a low profile and stay hidden."
"Dagur, do you really think that would be safe?" asked Arthur. "I mean, if there are pirates here, we want to stay together. Strength in numbers."
"You're right, Arthur." said Dagur. "Okay, we'll all stick together and search the island for the pirates. Once we find 'em, we'll... uh, see what happens. Sound like a plan?"
"Not really." said Deyna, but Arthur nodded, and they started down the beach.
They walked along the pebbled beach until they reached a stream that ran out of the thick forest. Deyna stepped in it, he loved water, of course, but he stepped back out again a moment later, shaking off his footpaws.
"Ew, what? That water stinks. And it's greenish." Dagur and Arthur sniffed. It did smell awful, like a portapotty on a hot day.
"Ukkk, what is that?" said Arthur, pulling his tunic up over his nose. They all looked at each other. They didn't even need to say it, they all knew what the other was thinking. Something fishy was going on here. Of course, Dagur and Arthur could read minds, but they didn't have to this time to know.
"Let's follow this smelly stream and see what happns." said Dagur, and they all followed without a word. They were sure to not walk in the stream, as it smelled too awful, but it was hard to walk right beside it, with the steep banksides covered in thick brush. Deyna was in front, hacking down the plants with his sharp dagger, and clearing out spiderwebs as well, which he prefered not to do with his face. The stream went for a good way inland, getting smaller and smaller, until they reached a pool, where the green tinted water came splashing out of a crack in a rock above it.
"Trail seems to end here." mused Dagur, inspecting the crack in the rock. "So... what next?"
Arthur shrugged. Deyna pointed up. "We could continue searching up there." Above the crack, the rock went up for a ways before flattening out, with trees and greenery on top of it.
"Sure." said Dagur, and they climbed up the rock, which was a couple of feet higher than them. They glanced around, then walked on, more cautious than ever. Arthur was about to brush aside a branch, when a gruff voice came out of seemingly nowhere.
"Stop right where ya are!"
They all stopped, very startled. Deyna's knife was out in a second. "I wouldn't touch that if I were you!" said the voice. "Put it down!"
There was an ominous click, and a scruffy looking jaguarundi dropped lightly out of a tree, holding a loaded crossbow. He was light brown, wearing rather ragged clothing and a blue bandanna on his head, and a beard. Deyna decided the smart move would be to put his knife back, which he did. Dagur and Arthur had both been reaching for their weapons, but when they saw the crossbow they put their paws up, knowing they had no chance.
"What do you want?" asked Dagur calmly, though he knew it was kind of pointless to ask. The jaguarundi ignored him.
"Our guests are here, boys!" he called, and about a dozen assorted creatures dropped out of the trees where they had been hiding. Most of them had nocked bows, and some knives in their mouths. The three were hopelessly outnumbered. A few of the pirates grabbed the helpless boys and tied their paws behind their backs, taking their weapons as well. Deyna growled and lunged at the rat who took his dagger, but he was tied up, and anyway another pirate grabbed him and held him back. The young rogue otter hated being seperated from his dagger, and everyone who knew him knew he would do anything to get it back if it was taken from him, which it had on several occasions, and the results were not pleasant.
"Take 'em ta the caves." ordered the jaguarundi, who seemed to be the leader. A well built but ragged stoat grabbed Dagur and threw him over his shoulder, laughing at how light and easy to carry the undersized young fox was.
"Oof!" It was not a comfortable position. "I c-can walk on my own... feet, thank you." Dagur said with all the sarcasm he could get in his voice in this position. The stoat pirate ignored him and followed the others.
Arthur had been picked up in much the same way his brother had, and Deyna was struggling in the headlock a muscly weasel had on him. It was hard for anybeast to grab Deyna in any way, so this was probably the most effective method, though it was still very tricky. The pirates took the young Cuddletowners down a tunnel concealed in a nearby bush, down into the darkness.
"Got 'em, cap'n." the jaguarundi saluted, as an ocelot stepped out of the darkness of the room they had been brought to.
"Good, Diego." he said. He was well muscled, with a large beard and an eyepatch, as well as a limp in his right leg. His clothing consisted of an old red coat, striped pants, and seaboots, as well as a battered hat with a broken feather stuck in it. He looked the prisoners over with his good eye. "Is this it, Diego? This?! Shiver me timbers, how is this sufficent?!" He felt Dagur's small arm, and shoved him over, striding toward Diego, who began to look very nervous.
"Cap'n Timbers, this was all that come here this time! Ain't my fault they found the note!" The captain now had him backed up against the wall.
"Wull'n get out'n there an' send out another one! These scrawny kids won't last long! Go!"
He shoved the scared jaguarundi toward the entrance, and Diego stumbled out in a hurry. "Aye, cap'n!"
When he was gone, Dagur managed to stand up. He had a bad feeling in his stomach, but he asked the question they were all wondering anyway. "What are you going to do with us?"
Timbers laughed, a dry, cruel laugh. "Ya sure ya wanna know? Well lemme tell ya, ya don't, but I'll tell ya anyway." He looked rather frightening in the torchlight. "I'm goin'ta give ya ta my Spitefang." The three boys exchanged glances. They didn't know what on earth it was, but it sure didn't sound very nice.
"What... is that?" asked Dagur, half not wanting to know. The captain leaned back in his rough chair. "He ain't very nice, I kin tell ya that." he said, as if he had read the fox's thoughts. "But I need ta keep 'im fed while I'm doin' my job, an' I can't spare enough men, so that's why I been sendin' out fake S.O.S.'s, ta lure some food here fer Spitefang."
Three stomachs lurched a bit, and three pairs of eyes widened. He was going to feed them to... whatever this monster thing was?! Arthur felt a little sick as he realized that was what had happened to the other people who had come here and never returned.
"Uhh... ew." Deyna said quietly.
"Why? Why are you luring innocent people here and feeding them to this monster thing?" Dagur said in a somewhat demanding tone. He wished he could get his hands on this villain, but he was tied up, and helpless, even with his magic. He couldn't do much magic when he was restrained in any way.
Captain Timbers thought a moment, then decided he could tell them, since they were about to die anyway. "My father left a treasure in these caves somewhere." he explained. "He told me it was somewheres in this area, but not the exact location. So I've had my crew searchin' 'em. But he also left a big monster chained up in 'ere, so it couldn't get away, and it gaurds th' place and eats anyone who come in 'ere. So that's why I been trickin' people into comin' here, so the Spitefang won't eat us." he shrugged, as if he didn't care about the people he had fed to the monster, which, sadly, he didn't.
Diego came back in. "Got another sent out, cap'n."
"Good, Diego." he stood up. "Enough talk. Take 'em to the Spitefang."
Deyna growled warningly at the jaguarundi as he grabbed him and the other two young foxes, and led them down into a dark passageway. As they went farther into the darkness, Diego holding a torch, they heard a rumbling sound. It seemed to come from the rocks all around them, and got louder as they walked on. Then as they came out into a huge cavern, the rumbling stopped. There was a huge lake in the cavern, leaving only a walkway about the width of a sidewalk in most places around it.
Diego used his torch to light some others nearby on the wall, then shoved the boys forward, standing back a bit nervously. They stood there in expectant silence for a moment, then the ground seemed to vibrate slightly and they heard a rushing sound from inside the pool, along with a faint glow in the water. Then they all jumped a bit as there was a big splash, and the head of the Spitefang burst from the water, roaring.
It was a huge, scaly, dark green head, with long jagged teeth and yellow eyes. Then they realized this was not a monster after all, but a dragon. Two huge clawed front feet came up from the lake as well, and rested on the ledges as the creature roared. There was a shackle on each leg, with weed-covered chains leading into the water. No wonder it was so hungry all the time, it couldn't get away to get its own food, so it had to eat whatever came in here.
The dragon brought its head down, almost level to the walkway, and began sniffing the boys. It was terrifying, with its huge nostrils right in front of their faces, sniffing and snuffling. Dagur knew that if they wanted to survive this, they would have to act fast, right now.
"Guys," he said in a low voice to Arthur and Deyna, "This isn't just a monster, it's a dragon, so we must be able to train it. We just have to make friends with it, and we'll be fine."
"How in the whowhatwhere are we s'posed to do that?!" answered Deyna. "We're still tied up, and anyway, you know some dragons are untrainable. What if this is one of those ones?"
"We'll just have to try it." chimed in Arthur. "How do we do it, Dagur?"
Dagur flinched a little as the dragon's sniffing snout touched his long hair. "I don't know, I was hoping you would have some ideas!"
"Guys, it's about to eat us!" said Deyna, as the Spitefang reared back its head, about to fire.
"Quick, back into the tunnel!" said Dagur quickly. Diego had left long before, and the passage was still open. They scrambled into it, Dagur tripping on a rock and falling into it, unable to stop himself with his paws tied behind his back, as they heard a splatting, sizzling something land on the ground right where they had been standing a moment before. Arthur tripped over his fallen brother, and landed on top of him. "Oof!"
"Woah, it shoots acid, guys!" sid Deyna. "How cool is that?! ... Well, cool if we weren't just nearly hit by it."
The Spitefang roared, and they heard it lunge at its chains, but it couldn't reach the tunnel, and even if it had, it wouldn't have been able to fit even its head in. The three friends pressed themselves against the wall as best they could, avoiding the acid that came splattering and sizzling in, burning everything in its path.