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The Roman Observation Balloon is a mode of transportation for the Romans at Fort Sinister, seen in How to Speak Dragonese.

History

Escape from Fort Sinister

The Roman Empire situated an outpost at Fort Sinister in the Barbaric Archipelago for Dragon Rustling - catching dragons and shipping most back to Rome for food and goods. The Fort is equipped with at least four Observation Balloons, presumable for transport and providing a high point to watch the goings-on at the fort and surrounding areas.

During the events of Saturn's Day Saturday, Hiccup, Fishlegs, and Camicazi take over the balloon while escaping from Roman captivity. The Balloon is powered by a caged Gronckle. Hiccup speaks to him nicely in Dragonese, and the sad Gronckle operates balloon and flies them to safety.

The balloon crash-lands aboard The Blue Whale and the three Viking children and the Gronckle emerge unscathed.

Physical Appearance

The Roman Observation Balloon has a basket that appears to be from woven plant material, big enough to fit at least several people. It is attached to a large, inverted-pear-shaped balloon with a Roman emblem of wings on it. A caged Gronckle blows hot breath into the interior of the balloon, causing it to rise into the air.

It was empty except for a rather depressed-looking Gronckle, trapped in a cage right underneath the open mouth of the balloon. Every now and then he shot out a burst of flame that heated the air, and this would send the balloon bouncing upward for a moment before it was stopped by the rope that moored it.
  — Book 3  


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