The story begins with the children on a herding exercise for their Pirate Training Program. It is a very hot day due to a heat wave Old Wrinkly had predicted in soothsaying. But no one takes into account. They're distracted by a huge fire rolling down the mountainside.They are saved by Humongously Hotshot the Hero, Gobber and the boys soon learn that the fire was caused by Exerminator Dragons, Humongously Hotshot advices them to flee because how destructive these creatures can be. Stoick the vast tell him he will stand and fight the Exerminator. Humongously is then offered to become Hiccup's "bardiguard." Then while Hiccup is sleeping, Hotshot tries to kill him. Instead, he tells him about Terrific Al, a jailkeeper who has lost a hand, his hair, a eye, and half a leg. He is actually Alvin the Treacherous.