The rays of light from the sun rise washed over Berk as the Vikings were repairing the damage done by the previous attack that early morning. There were houses that needed rebuilding, things that needed repair and wounds that needed healing. This had become a normal thing for the past two years, ever since the Outcast decided they didn't want the Hooligans around anymore. Seems while some people took quickly to the idea of Dragon beings friends, some die hard Vikings, like the Outcast's, wanting nothing more than to splatter all their blood on the ground.
A group of Viking passed by Stoick and Gobber, hauling wood and tools with them to repair the damage to the houses. Looking around, you could even see their dragons helping their Viking fix their home by doing things like hauling twice the amount of wood one man could carry, removing hold burnt and broken wood and even holding up pails of nails and tools for them to get to easily.
While this wasn't the worst of the previous attacks, it had hit them just as hard. And Stoick knew it. A thick hand took of his helm to allow his other to rub a spot on his head where a headache was soon growing. "Ha...this is a mess....they actually burned some of our crops....and a lot of the sheep are missing..." Speaking as he walk, Goober walking next to him in toe as they looked at all that needed repairing.
"Well, at least they didn't kill anyone this time...maiming yes, but not killed...but look at it this way. We're not the only ones that want to defend this Island. This isn't just our home now, right?" Nodding, Stoick silently agreed with Gobber as he looked both the Viking and Dragons that were walking around, fixing and resting up from the Night battle. He was right, it wasn't just their home. When his son had defeated the Queen, the Dragons came to live with them, side by side as allies and friends. This was their home too and that meant they wanted to defend just as much as the Vikings did.
But still, looking around the damage was evident. They had burned some crops that were reserved for Winter Rations, killed some Sheep and even a lot of the fish, the main diet for their dragons. Stoick knew exactly what they were trying to do. They were trying to starve them out. And it looks like it was working.
"Ha...at this rate, we won't have enough food to last the Winter....especially if they attack again..." Stoick huffed, hoisting his hammer back onto his shoulder to head toward the Village main meeting/eating hall. Gobber knew that look in Stoick face. A look of frustration and despair. That look usually follow a rash plan that would, although mostly work, would spread their forces even thinner. Scratching some dirt off of the hammer that stood in place of his hand, he patted Stoick on the back with his real one as they got to the top of the steps leading to the Great Hall.
"Ah, look on the bright side: if it weren't for Hiccup and Toothless, things could've gotten a lot worse, eh?"
Stoick face from being contorted in concern, to relaxed and agreeable as he nodded at Gobber's comment. "Aye...that boy and his dragon are indeed a blessing during these hard times...hahahahaha..to think he used to be a public nuisance, eh? Hahahahaha!" Stoick and Gobber laughed as they walked to a table, sitting down and getting each a Stein of Mead for themselves.
"Haa..hahahah...I have to admit, seeing the look in those Outcast's faces when they heard Toothless' attack scream was a sight to behold! To think my son could strike such fear in peoples hearts...and he can barely lift an axe....hmm...by the way, where is he? He ran off a little while after the attack.."
Having switched his Hammer hand for his Mug hand, Gobber put the cup down as he smeared the remaining liquid away from his lip. "Eh...I think he went back up to the house...guess he and Toothless wanted to go back to sleep after all the commotion."
The inside of the Horrendous home was quiet and peaceful. Swords and shields decorated the home, a large table stood to one side with three chairs around it. The fire pit in the middle had long been extinguished, a few wisps of smoke still coming off the charred wood. There were even some books and a couple of simple paintings here and there, mostly of Hiccup and his family.
In Hiccup's room, the decor was a bit different. Yes, there were still shields and knives here and there. But there were more books and paper with notes. Most of which had to due with his new inventions and ideas for the Village. However, the most worked in book in his room was the new "Dragon Manual" he had just finished writing for the Dragon Taming Classes. Hiccup had started writing it half a year ago, taking the time before to really study the different types of Dragons. The old Dragon Manual sat next to his own version. While the old one had more violent writings in it, pertaining to when killing dragons was a right of passage, there was still important information in there that Hiccup felt needed to be added to the new book.
On the other side of the room, Hiccup and Toothless had crashed as soon as they got up to his room, wanting nothing more then to pick up where they started: sleeping. A deep and content breath of air left Toothless as he scooted closer to the smaller source of body heat that was Hiccup. They hadn't bothered to climb into bed, rather they just sat on the floor and just fell asleep that way. Hiccup was resting on his side, using one of Toothless' arms as a pillow.
Hiccup had discovered some time ago, much to his amusement, that his dragon friend was a cuddler. As such, Toothless had one arm draped around Hiccup's smaller form, pulling him into a makeshift hug as the top of Hiccup's head was resting against the nape of Toothless' neck. While Hiccup had pulled one of his covers off of his bed to stave off the cold, Toothless had one of his black wings wrapped around the both of them.
They had fallen asleep like this before in the past, whenever they were out in the forest late at night and wanted to camp outside. At first, it felt a bit suffocating to Hiccup, but when the temperature started to drop, he learned to appreciate the times that Toothless wanted to sleep with him. Being a dragon, Toothless naturally had a bit more body heat then Hiccup. So together with his covers, Toothless' arm and his wing curled around them, he was feeling rather cozy at the moment.
If it were up to the both of them, they'd rather just sleep all day after a night like last night. They had run full speed from the other side of the Island. They were doing some late night patrolling when they decided to stop and rest their eyes for a moment. They had managed to get an hour or two of sleep..until the Outcast's attack interrupted their rest. Even so, once Toothless heard the attack, they wasted no time running through the forest and taking to the skies to put an end to the night attack.
Hiccup, for the life of him, didn't understand what the Outcast's problem was. He had tried reasoning with them at one point, to bring about a peaceful resolution. And after getting punched in the face by the Outcast' chief, Stoick decided the time for words were over. But he was grateful he and Toothless were able to end these attacks as quick as they start.
A ray of light slowly made it's way across Hiccup's room before hitting his face with it. Groaning, he turned in his sleep to face Toothless and pulled the covers over his head to shield himself from what woke him up. Laying like that for a while longer, the ray of light shinned on Toothless' face next; imitating Hiccup by then putting his face further under his own wings.
The two companions managed to get another hour of sleep...before something else demanded they wake up from their slumber. A loud knock on the door woke Toothless up first, just barely, though. Lifting his head, he listened to the sound continue before it turned into the sound of the door opening. Footsteps came next, following by more light knocking and a voice he recognized very well.
"Hiccup? Toothless? Are you two still sleeping?" Astrid's voice asked from beyond the door. She got her answer when she heard Toothless yawn/purr from the other side of the door. Chuckling, she slowly opened the door just in time to see Toothless shaking the sleep from his head and uncurl his wing so she could see Hiccup for herself. "Heheheh...morning Toothless." She said as he walked over, giving Toothless a gentle scratch behind his ear before looking down at her boyfriend. "Hiccup? Hiccup, get up, it's morning!" Astrid nudged the boy with her foot, trying to get him to stir from his sleep. Finally, Toothless decided it was time for him to awake now and started to nudge and lick his face and neck.
"Hrrm...hn, Toothless cut it out....it's too early...." Hiccup mumbling sleepily as he tried to turn his head away from the flying reptiles licking onslaught. Defeated, Hiccup gave into one last nudge of Toothless' nose that had forced him to sit up somewhat. Wiping away the Dragon saliva from his face, Hiccup yawned as he rubbed the sleep away from his eyes. Looking around, he finally noticed looking down at him with an amused smirk. "Oh...morning Astrid...hmm, how's it going?"
Astrid chuckled, setting her axe down on her should as Hiccup stretched his arms out. "Hiccup, you have to be the only Viking I know on this island that cuddles with their dragon at night! Hahahahah!"
Hiccup blushed, reaching over and grabbing his metal foot and clasping it back around his leg. "I...w-we weren't cuddling! I-It was cold last night after the battle and me and Toothless just..sorta...fell asleep here!" Checking that his metal food was on securely, Hiccup stood up and put his fur vest back on. Shaking her head, Astrid nodded her head toward the door. "Come on. Go eat some breakfast then we can go..." She said, as she walked down the stairs with Hiccup and Toothless. Sitting on a spit over a fire were two large mackerels, cooked and ready to be eaten. By the door was a big basket of fish for Toothless to enjoy by himself. Hiccup took one of the fishes along with Astrid and began to eat it as Toothless rush over to his breakfast. "Mmm...where are we going?"
Taking a bite of hers, Astrid sat by the fire to keep warm. "Stoick's calling a town meeting and he wants us there. I didn't get the full details but it was along the lines of trying to fix our food situation. The Outcast's burned some of our crops last night and took out some of the fishing boats..so unless we do something, food is gonna be a major issue this winter.."
Hiccup nodding, agreeing with that statement. This was the first time the Outcast had messed with their food supply and it caught Hiccup a little off guard to hear that. Before they would just try to set fire to the home. However, they probably knew that Houses could easily be replaced and repaired. So they were gonna try to starve them out now.
"Yeah...that was actually one of the reasons why me and Toothless were late getting to the battle. We were hoping to do some light night hunting while we were on patrol last night. We were almost on the other side of the island when Toothless heard the attack happening."
The three of them finished off their breakfast before heading out of the door. A shiver ran up Hiccup's spine for a second, readjusting to the change in temperature. He was still feeling warm from being wrapped up in Toothless' body heat and from being near the fire in his home.
Hiccup adjusted the straps and buckles of Toothless' saddle and harness before he deemed it fit to climb on top. Having done the same for her Nadder, "Stormfly", Astrid climb on top of her Dragon and the both of them rode their dragons through the pathways of Berk.
Through the entire ride, Hiccup could see the damage that was done to their home village. Some of the houses, although well under the way to being repairs, were charred and broken in some places. But the most damage, like Astrid had told him, was down to their fields and crops; a lot of which was burned to the ground. What a mess. Whatever his father had planned, Hiccup already decided he would help if it meant keeping food from getting scarce around here.
"Here come your fan boys, heheheh.." Astrid's voice broke through Hiccup's concentration as he looked ahead, seeing Fishlegs, Tuffnut and Ruffnut and Snotlout walking up to them with their dragons.
"Yo, Hiccup! You finally awake? 'Bout time, half the days gone!" Snotlout said as Tuffnut starting snickering. "I bet he and Astrid were making out, ooh-la-la! Heheheheh--OW!" Tuffnut was quickly shut up by a punch to the gut by Astrid. The rest of them chuckled at how Astrid got him to shut his mouth before riding toward the Grand Hall again.
On the way, they talked about the attack. Snotlout bragging about how many Viking's he punched in the face and teasing Fishlegs about how "lame" he was. But in the end of it all, it all came down to Hiccup and Toothless' fight. If you could call it that.
"Guys, me and Toothless didn't really do all that much fighting. We were half way across the island when we heard it, that's why we were late..." He said as they arrived to the hall and dismounted their dragons.
"Yeah but the way you made your big entrance was way cool, man! Hahahahaha! You should've seen the look on those guys' faces when they heard you and Toothless dive bombing onto the seen!" Tuffnut said before being pushed out of the way by Snotlout. "You were awesome...I think you made one guy crap his pants though, that was hilarious, hahahahaha!"
"And I think I saw one guys face go white, it was awesome!" Fishlegs complimented. "Yeah, no wonder everyone loves you...heheheh!" Ruffnut said, making googily eyes at Hiccup (still having that slight crush on him since forever). Walking up the stairs, Hiccup's cheeks were slightly red as all they did was brag about him and Toothless. "Guys, guys! Really, it's no big deal..."
Opening the doors to the Hall, they saw half the village was there. And as soon as they saw Hiccup, they all cheered and smiled at him. Hiccup could only smile bashfully at all the cheers he was getting. Sometimes he startled Hiccup at how much attention he got on a regular basis now. It was both a funny and welcoming feeling at the same time.
"Ah, there he is, the man of the hour! Finally awake I see!" Stoick's voice sounded over the crowd as he made his way to his son. Patting him the back, the force of which made Hiccup lurch forward slightly, Stoick led his son back to the head of the Meeting circle to stand by his side. "Hahaha, Hiccup, you and that dragon sure know how to make an entrance. But you sent those Outcast's running, eh? Hahahah!" Smiling, Hiccup sat down next to his father as he grabbed a near by cup of water.
"Thanks dad, sorry we got there so late. Me and Toothless were a little too far away on our patrol last night. If we were closer we might've been to save some of the crops.." Stoick waved off the apology, before grabbing his own cup.
"Ah, don't fret, son. I know you can't be in two places at once. Besides, I was the one who told you to go patrolling last night, remember? Ha...but, in any case, I think I might have a solution to our food problem..I just hope it doesn't backfire like last time.."
Soon, all of the tables began to fill up, save for a few gaps here and there. At the head table in the front of the hall, Stoick stood in the center, with his son at his right hand; Astrid and Snotlout (and his father) sitting beside him. Gobber sitting on his left hand followed by The twins and Fishlegs.
"Everyones here...good...now, as we all know, things have been rough. The Outcast's are getting boulder and fiercer with each attack. While we have the upper hand thanks to our dragons and patrols...I'm afraid they're now targeting out crops; they are trying to starve us out. And Odin knows we are NOT giving up our Island without a fight!"
Cheers echoed through the hall for a moment as Stoick raised his hand to continue his speech. "Yes...but...we cannot ignore the fact that if I don't do something soon, we won't have enough food to last the winter..so, here is my proposition: We're going to send out boats to the other neighboring Viking Villages...to begin trade relations.."
There were no cheers this time but merely talk and mumbles of concern. The last time they tried reaching out to other Vikings, it was with the Outcast's who caused this whole situation in the first place.
"How do we know they won't attack us too?" A voice spoke up as other agreed.
"We can't have two enemies to deal with if food and resources are scarce already!"
"It'd be a death wish!"
More voice spoke up in concern as Stoick raised his hands to calm them all down. "N-Now I know it sounds bad but we have a good reason to try and contact the others...for all we know, the other Viking Villages may have already learned that Dragon's aren't dangerous. The Meathead Vikings in the Southern Islands will probably respond as well...a year ago, we sent a message to them using a Terror and they responded; the Terror was unharmed! That probably means they know about Dragons.."
Hit with that fact, the talking died down into conversations as Stoick continued. "We're going to start up trade relations with the Meatheads and any others that will help us...look, I'd rather we help ourselves like we've always done in the past. And if you still believe the same, then by all means, walk out the door...however, if you're in favor for bring our village more food for the oncoming winter, say 'aye'.."
There was a silence for a moment, the look on their faces meaning their were still mulling it over on their heads. They were considering the dangers, the loose they've endured and resources they've lost. Thought some less then others, knowing it would probably come to this eventually. They all lived by the code of the occupational hazards of being vikings.
Finally, a few of the men raised their hands, followed in succession by the rest of the Vikings present in the hall; Hiccup and his team included. Although Hiccup had the same concerns of others. He knew his father meant well and this plan could go two ways: either very right...or horribly wrong. But even with the new confidence he gained over two years, he wasn't going to go against his father any time soon.
The people began to disperse to prepare for the plan ahead. They had to fix the homes, salvage what food was left...and possibly prepare for another attack. A sigh left Hiccup's lips as he walked up to his father, getting his attention for a moment. "Dad, I hope this is a good idea...I mean, I know being a Viking is an occupational hazard and all--"
"Hiccup, I know you're concerned but we don't have much of a choice right now...you and Toothless can't always be there to chase off the enemy...we need allies...I just hope this doesn't backfire like last time...." With that, Stoick patted his son on the shoulder before heading off to plan the travel and requests for trade.
Hiccup watched his father for a moment, a concerned look on his face as Astrid and his friends joined to watch the other adults talk and plan. "..You think this is a good idea?" Astrid asked, leaning her elbow on Hiccup's shoulder. Scratching his head he shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, why not...I mean, the last time we contacted another Viking Village it just started a whole 'nother war but I'm sure everyone else will fall in love with us the moment they get here.." His dry sense of humor showing it's face, Astrid just gave him a look before giving him a slight elbow to the side. "Come on....maybe some lunch will make you feel better..." She said, swinging her axe onto her shoulder as they walked out of the door.
Toothless was waiting outside for them, laying in a nice sunny spot. However, when he saw Hiccup exit, he got right up to his feet and walked over, sniffing his friends face. He could sense Hiccup was upset about something, and gave him a slightly nudge to his cheek, receiving a stroke on his head and ears. Even though Toothless couldn't speak, Hiccup could tell what he was asking just by the look on his face.
"I'm alright, buddy. But things are probably gonna get a lot more stressful around here..." He warned as he moved to climb onto Toothless' saddle. He watched Astrid for a moment as she smiled at Toothless, greeting him by scratching that spot on the back of his neck he just loved being scratched in. She must've hit a good nerve this time though because all of a sudden Toothless let out a content purr and shook his whole body from his head to his tail, forcing Hiccup to hold on even tighter.
They both laughed Astrid continued to scratched Toothless for a moment more before finally climbing on his back behind Hiccup. "Heheheh! Alright, where to?" He asked, feeling Astrid wrapped her arms around his waist. "Hmm...I'm feeling kinda Deer-ish today!"
"The forest it is then!" Clicking the gears on Toothless' harness into the right position, Toothless launched himself into the air, heading toward the denser forest areas of the Island. This was a regular routine for the three of them. Whenever they weren't busy with Viking affairs, they would take some time for themselves to just relax, hang out or just go hunting for a good meal. At times, Hiccup would feel a bit jealous on their hunting trips. Sure, he was a great fisherman, but when it came to taking down "red meat" animals like Deer, Oxen and Boars, he always fell short to both Astrid and Toothless. Well, he couldn't really count Toothless. Being a full grown Dragon, all he had to do was land on a deer and his weight would crush the poor thing, killing it instantly. Astrid, however, had the muscles and skill to throw her axe and hit a boar right between the eyes. It was gruesome, yes, but effective.
It took them no time at all to find some food in the forest. While Astrid wanted her deer meat, Hiccup and Toothless were more in the mood for fish.
Sitting around the camp fire, Hiccup took a bit of his salmon lost in some thoughts as Toothless was relaxing behind him, his head resting on his paws. Astrid was spit roasting her meal and left the rest to Cure on the sides. She spun the meat a few more times before taking a leg and munching on it. Astrid looked over to Hiccup and saw the look on his face. It was a kind of look she had seen before, the kind where he would stare at the ground whenever he was day dreaming. "What are you thinking about?" She asked out of the blue, bringing Hiccup from his thought process.
"Oh...it's nothing....well actually...I was thinking about my mom...." This came as a surprise to Astrid. Everyone knew Hiccup's mother to be one of the best Female Vikings Berk had ever seen. And also one of the smartest. Truth be told, when Astrid was a young child, she looked up to her in a way. However, she had disappeared when Hiccup and her were much younger...
The memory of the day she left was all too present in Hiccup's mind though. Although he had moved on and was happy with his life now, he did think about her on occasion. He thought about her face so he wouldn't forget it and also never forgot about the day she left either. She and a few other Vikings had decided to try and bring reinforcements from other Viking Villages to help with the dragon problem. It was supposed to just be a 1 month trip between the islands. But after a year had passed...it was assumed that she had either lost her way...or the more likely belief among their people was that she fell victim to a Dragon attack.
A sigh left Hiccup's mouth before he took another bite out of his fish as Astrid moved to sit next to him. "You miss her...?"
Hiccup shrugged his shoulders as he place his fish over the fire for a moment more. "I guess.....but....you know I miss most about her? Her cooking..."
That earned a chuckle from Astrid. "Her cooking?"
"Yeah..I know 'food is food' to most vikings here but...the things my mom could do with it was just...art. There was this one dish she made where she got some herbs and plants from the forest and cooked it with the chicken...ooh....it was amazing, Astrid..." Gushing over his taste-buds memories, Astrid laughed at Hiccup's antics as she took a bite out of her deer meat. "Hahahaha! So good food is the best way to win you over, huh? Guess I'll have to brush up on my cooking skills now!"
Hiccup laughed along with her for a moment before looking up to the sky. The sun was high in the sky and the clouds were sparse, allowing the sun's rays to warm them up a bit. Hiccup enjoyed this time of day before the winter set in. During the winter, the clouds gather and block out the sun, which meant it got a lot colder around there. Especially at night.
Hiccup leaned back, resting his back and head on Toothless' warm body, Astrid doing the same, and they both looked up at the sky. They just watched the clouds roll by in silence and content, the three of them relaxed and mellow.
"....you know....I remember your mom.....she was always so nice to me and the others.....your mom was the one to teach me how to throw an axe...."
Hiccup smiled and nodded at the memory. "Yeah, I remember that....she tried to teach me too but.....well....you know....back then I was the worst viking to ever set foot here....but....she didn't care....she always told me "try again"....and whenever I got frustrated....she'd just make me my favorite dinner....made me feel better just like that....."
A large cloud rolled past the edge of the sun, casting a shadow over the three of them before allowing the light to shine on them again. "...I wonder.....I wonder what she'd think if she saw me now...." Hiccup thought she would get the shock of her life, seeing her son relaxing by the fire using a deadly and mysterious Night Fury as a back rest.
The whole time, Astrid was watching Hiccup's face and saw the melancholy look on his face. He didn't have a look of sadness to any of his facial features...but she could see in his eyes that was feeling what she assumed was sadness. Not exactly sadness. But the kind of feeling that comes with acceptance of loosing a love one yet you can't get them out of your mind.
She scooted closer until her side was against his and she was close enough to place her arm around his and her head on his slender shoulder. "....you know what I think she would think? And stop me if this sounds corny....but....I think she would be happy....cause your turned out to be the best viking Berk has ever seen....Hiccup the Dragon Rider...."
Smiles cracked over each of their faces as they lied there, watching the clouds go by...