Merida sat at a table in a large, two story house that sat on a peak overlooking the island. Right now she was waiting for Hiccup to return. He had brought the boys upstairs and laid them out some cots for them to sleep. Still being fairly early in the morning Merida thought it'd be best for the boys to get some real sleep for a while.
Hiccup climbed down the ladder and walked to the table where Merida was sitting, taking in her surroundings. He had to admit, it was pretty intimidating thanks to Astrid's decorating.
When you walked through the door you were in the living area, a few benches and chairs set up lining the perimeter of the room with table sitting in the middle. To your left was the ladder to go upstairs to the main bedroom area, and to the right was the kitchen and dining area. A large table sat in the corner with bench seating, and a large fire pit was set up next to the wash bay. There were two doors in the living area, one led to a guest room, and the other led to the bathroom. The walls were adorned with nets full of objects, knick knacks, and weapons, swords, bows, daggers.
Hiccup sat at the table across from Merida, placing his hands on the wooden surface.
"So, are you going to tell me who you are?" Hiccup asked softly. Merida looked past him at the walls behind him.
"Yah might want ta put those somewhere else." She said, gesturing toward the weapons on the walls.
"Why?" Hiccup asked, brow quirked.
"Mah brothers are wee devils, they could get away with murder." Merida said, a light smile playing on her lips.
"Noted." Hiccup chuckled. "So, what's your name?" Merida sighed. There was no use hiding who she was, was there? If her home was burnt down, someone needed to know.
"A'm Merida, Princess of Dun'broch. The three devils are Hamish, Harris, and Hubert." Hiccup nodded slowly, taking in the information.
"Dun'broch? Isn't that in Scotland?"
"Why are you all the way out here?" Hiccup asked curiously.
"A'd like ta speak ta yer chief. I'd be more comfortable talking to them than some stranger."
"Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Hiccup Haddock, chief of the Harry Hooligans tribe." Merida laughed, shaking her head and holding her sides.
"You? Yer just a wee lamb! Where's the man from the statue on the beach?" Merida asked, gaining her composure.
"That's my dad… He, passed, about two months ago." Merida's face hardened.
"A'm sorry. A, A didn't know."
"It's okay. I'm not much compared to him, am I?" Hiccup asked, more to himself than anyone. Merida realized this and didn't answer his question, instead she answered his.
"Dun'broch was attaked, about four days ago. We were celibratin' an anniversary, everyone was there. We were also preparin' for the fight for mah hand." Hiccup looked at her confused.
"Every year, since A was sixteen, princes, sons of chiefs, barrons, whatever noble family, would come from all over ta fight for mah hand. Five years ago A fought for mah own hand, which started a whole train of events, and ended with the killing of a monstrous bear that had been terrorizin' mah land for a very long time. Et even took mah dad's leg when I was a wee lass. Since that night, every year we'd celebrate, and many more men came for mah hand, and each year A'd fight for mah own hand.
"This year was different though. We didn't get ta compete. The night before, the celebration night, we had a big feast in honor of all the competitors. Et was, off, yah know? A could feel that somethin' was wrong. My mum told me ta find mah brothers, and when A did the castle was attacked. I got back to everyone in time ta see the roof bein' ripped apart. Fire sprayed everywhere. People were dyin' around me. My dad and mum saved us, and A took the boys and ran. The castle was destroyed, and so was the village. We ran ta the docks. We have emergency boats just in case somethin' happened." Merida looked at her hands the whole time, refusing to let the tears stinging her eyes fall.
"Do you know who attacked you?"
"Et wasn' a who. Et was a whole mess of, of those things from the beach. They attacked the castle, with no sound. A ran inta one who burst inta flames."
"Wait, your castle was attacked by dragons?"
"Aye." Hiccup's brow furrowed in thought. He stood up quickly and began pacing the room.
"But that's not possible. I've never heard of dragons being so far out there. This means, this means that there could be a whole new species that we don't know of! This is amazing!" Hiccup turned around, flinging his hands toward the ground and locked eyes with Merida, who was watching him with an apprehensive expression.
"Sorry, I just… yeah." Hiccup said, rubbing his neck. Merida nodded her head and sighed. Hiccup took his seat across from Merida and looked at her.
"So, being new here, I'm obliged to tell you about Berk." Merida looked up at him. "We're twelve days north of hopeless, and a few degrees south of freezing to death. It's located solidly on the Meridian of Misery. It snows nine months of the year-and hails the other three, boasting the kind of balmy fun in the sun climate that will give you frostbite on your spleen. Right now it's a bit trampled, and busted, and covered in ice, but it's home. And while most places have sheep, or cats, or dogs for pets we, well, we have dragons."
"Yer all crazy." Merida said shaking her head. Hiccup sighed. He stood up and walked to the opposite side of the table. Hiccup paused and thought about something for a second before he grabbed her hand.
"Where are yah takin' me Hiccup?" Merida asked.
"To show you someone." Hiccup said determined. He knew that Toothless was going to be on the roof, that's where he usually sat as he over looked the happenings of Berk. When Hiccup stepped out of the house, Toothless jumped down in front of him, excitedly bobbing his head in anticipation. Hiccup got closer to Toothless and he felt Merida try and pull her arm out of his grip, but it only tightened.
"Hiccup, what are yah doin?" She asked nervously.
"I told you, I'm introducing you to someone. Merida, this is Toothless, my dragon. Bud, this is Merida." Toothless looked around Hiccup with curious eyes and when they landed on Merida his face split into a toothless grin.
Merida felt her heart melt, for a reptile, he was pretty cute. But when Hiccup moved her hand closer to the animal, she started to freak out. Toothless sensed this, and started eyeing her a little differently and Merida felt like she was being sized up.
"Merida, calm down. Trust me. Please." Hiccup looked at Merida and she let out a deep sigh. She closed her eyes and stretched her arm out. Toothless looked at it for a second before he nuzzled into her touch. Merida's eyes snapped open and she looked at the dragon astonished. She smiled and looked up at Hiccup, her eyes sparkling with happiness. Hiccup's smiled back down at her before he mounted the dragon, clicking his foot in place. He grabbed Merida's hand and pulled her behind him and, without Merida time to object, took off into the sky.
Merida's screech echoed through Berk and she clung to Hiccup for dear life.
"What are yah doin? Take me back down! Right now!" Merida's cries fell on deaf ears as Hiccup led Toothless higher and higher into the sky. Merida pounded on his back, pulled at his arms, but Hiccup ignored her protests. The trio burst through the clouds, the sun painting the clouds pink with light. Hiccup heard Merida gasp at the sight in front of her. She held her hand out and it passed through the cloud. Merida laughed and sucked in the sweet air. Hiccup turned back to look at her, and his breath caught in his throat.
Merida sat behind him arms outstretched, eyes closed, with a soft, peaceful smile on her lips. Dew was stuck to her curls, glimmering in the light, casting rainbows to glow around her. Hiccup smiled to himself, trying to push down the feelings he couldn't have for this stranger.
"Dragons have saved Berk more than once, and for that all of us are in debt… But it wasn't always like that." Hiccup said, laying on his elbows on the edge of an isolated sea stack, looking out at the ocean. He, Merida, and Toothless had flew for a while, Toothless swirling and diving as he please, paying no attention to the complaints from both of the riders. After an hour of flying, and finally getting Merida comfortable with the dragon, they landed.
"Really?" Merida asked, flipping over onto her stomach, making sure she crossed her ankles like a proper lady.
"Yeah. Dragons would attack Berk, destroy our houses, take our livestock, and killed many of our inhabitants. We were always at war, if not with another tribe, then with the dragons. I was, well I was scrawny."
"You? Never." Merida jabbed. Hiccup shook his head and continued.
"I always seemed to get in the way. My dad put me in the forge. But, being the son of a chief made me feel like I needed to do something more. I'd always try and help during a dragon raid, but I'd always be put back in the forge to repair weapons, or make more arrows. It was annoying, and I felt useless.
"One night, on a particularly bad dragon raid, I was determined to help. But, yet again, I was put back into the forge. My teacher, a man named Gobber who you'll meet later today, went to go fight with them and left me alone. That night there was a particularly deadly dragon, a Night Fury showed. Night Fury's are the unholy offspring of lightening and death itself, and they never miss their target. On that night, neither did I. I had made a weapon that would take down any dragon, and when I saw the Night Fury I knew it was my only chance to make a name for myself.
"You see, no one had even seen a Night Fury, and in all the books, all the legends, if you were to see a Night Fury you were supposed to run, and pray to the Gods that it didn't find you. But I, Hiccup, the one thought not capable of anything, did it. I tried to tell people about it, that I'd shot one down, but they didn't believe me and, to be honest, there was a part of me that didn't believe it either. But the morning after I went looking for him. I found him in the woods, tied up in the net. I went to kill him so I could bring him back to the village and prove my worth, but when I looked into his eyes, I couldn't do it, and I knew that I'd never be able to kill a dragon. I let him go, and he pounced on me. I thought, for sure, I was going to die, but instead of attacking me he just roared in my face, scaring me to death, before he took off.
"In the meantime, I was put into the Dragon Academy, a place where Vikings were trained to kill and fight off dragons. My dad said that I needed to know how to be a proper Viking. I was placed in the class with five other kids, really the only other kids my age in the village. They were proper Vikings, each one muscular and ruthless. They were ready to take on any task assigned, while I, on the other hand, would have rather been anywhere but there. The first two weeks were hell, I was constantly teased, always the butt of the jokes, always in the way. But all that changed.
"I was going through the woods one afternoon on my day off of training, when I heard a noise coming from a gorge. I went to the edge to check it out, and was astounded to find the Night Fury was in there. I tried to carefully get a better look, I made it down the gorge safe, but misplaced my foot and snapped a twig. It caught the attention of the dragon and caused him to give me unwanted attention. When he realized I wasn't a threat, he left me alone, not caring at all about my presence.
As the weeks passed, I learned more about the dragon, and used what I learned in the Dragon Academy to keep the dragons at bay without harming them. It gained me a lot of attention, going from the worst in the class to the best. One day in particular I was studying the dragon, sketching him in the Book of Dragons, when I noticed something strange. He only had one tailfin. I noticed that when I saw the dragon try to fly out of the gorge. He couldn't stay at altitude without it, and that's when the idea struck me. I quickly made my way to the village, and the forge. It took me a while to figure out the exact measurements and construction of it, but within a week I had figured it out. I strapped the tailfin on the dragon and with that, he was off."
"Hiccup," Merida said, looking back at Toothless, "is the dragon yer describin' Toothless?" Merida asked, eyeing Toothless's tail. Hiccup smiled, knowing that sooner or later she'd figure it out.
"Yes, now, let me finish the story." Merida nodded, still watching the playful dragon, who was now doodling in the sand with a log.
"Anyway, that first flight was amazing, and after that, I was hooked. I'd never felt more alive than when I was on Toothless. Every night I would go out to ride him, but being under scrutiny from the other teenagers, it was dangerous. One night, I went out into the woods, and a girl, Astrid, was training, or something, when I passed. She was especially upset with me, because I had been granted the First Kill, a blessing bestowed upon one of the academy students who was at the top of the class. Astrid had been at the top, but in a single challenge I had passed her, and she didn't like it.
"When she saw me in the woods that night she followed me, questioning why I was out there, but I couldn't let her know about Toothless, it'd wreck everything, and she still was against dragons. I couldn't risk her killing him. So I tried to hide him, but we ended up in the gorge with Toothless, introduced himself in all his dragon glory. She tried to run back to the village but Toothless and I got to her in time. We did the same thing that we did with you, took her for a ride. But Astrid's ride was a little more, exciting.
"While we were flying, we found a group of dragons. We decided to follow them, and they led us to Dragon Island. It was an island with a volcano like structure in the middle cloaked in fog and darkness. It was eerie, and gave me a twisting feeling in my stomach. Toothless flew us into the volcano and we watched from a ledge as the dragons dumped their food into the void. We were confused until a Gronckle tried to get away with a half-eaten fish. When the fish disappeared, a giant, red dragon, appeared, and ate the Gronckle in a single snap of his teeth. All the rest of the dragons started flying, and we barely made it out of there alive.
"The next day was the day I had to kill a dragon, and things were going great, until I announced that I wasn't going to kill it. I tried to train it, tried to show them that dragons weren't a problem, but my dad knocked the cage and scared the dragon. I was in trouble, and I guess Toothless sensed it too, because right before the dragon was going to pounce, Toothless bust through the gates and jumped on it, saving my life. That's when hell broke loose.
"My dad and all the villagers surrounded Toothless and I, and when I tried to defend him, I let it slip that he'd brought us to the island. He tied up Toothless, and disowned me as his son. I was broken, but I knew that I needed to do something. Astrid and I wrangled up the rest of the teenagers, and I showed them how to ride the dragons. Within a half hour we were off and headed to Dragon Island.
"When we got there it was a disaster. The large red dragon, we named the Red Death, was on the beach, and many Vikings were trying, but failing, at fighting the beast. All of the ships were on fire, and I saw Toothless, defenseless, on a ship about to sink. I got dropped off and tried to save him, but we sank to the bottom. I vaguely remember feeling large arms pull me out of the water, and when I woke up I saw my dad going back under the water. I can only assume he'd freed Toothless, because within a minute they zoomed from the bottom and broke the surface. My dad looked at me and apologized for what he'd said to me, and to be careful. And after years of hearing it, I told him that it was an 'occupational hazard' and took off.
"We got the dragon distracted, but it did us no good. It controlled the other dragons, sending them on a rampage. Toothless and I got the dragon in the air, we weaved in and out of sea stacks, and climbed into the sky. We hid in the dark clouds and attacked the Red Death, but it was smart. The dragon spun all around, causing a rain of fire to spray down on us. Toothless's tailfin caught fire, and we only had one option left. We dove back down toward the island, the Red Death on our tail. At the last second we turned on the dragon. The Red Death opened its mouth, filling it with combustible gas. Toothless fired a blast into its mouth, causing it to crash into the ground and explode. We flew as fast as we could, weaving in and out of spikes, but the tailfin was already gone. We reached the end of the Red Death, and then we saw it. The large, spiked tail came out of nowhere. It crashed down on us, sending us back into the flame." Merida gasped and Hiccup nodded. "I woke up three days later, and my dad told me that Toothless had wrapped me up in his wings and took the brunt of the fire, and landing, but you just had to get even, huh bud? Couldn't save all of me?" Hiccup laughed as Toothless jumped on the Viking, play batting at his face.
As the boys rough housed, Merida looked at Hiccup and noticed that he was missing a foot. She sighed as she sat up. She grabbed her knees and pulled them into her chest. While listening to Hiccup's story, she understood, she understood why they loved the dragons, but there was this nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, and she suddenly felt terrible. Hiccup stopped playing with Toothless, a worried expression on his face.
"Merida," he said standing up, wiping the dragon spit off himself, "what's wrong?"
"Yer story was amazin', et really was Hiccup, but A can't help but feelin' like mah dad would have loved et too. A just, A wish A knew what happened ta them." Hiccup placed a soft hand on her shoulder and Merida looked up at him, blue eyes full of a sadness Hiccup knew all too well.
"I think we should get back to Berk." Merida nodded and stood up. The two of them mounted Toothless, and made their way to the village. They landed back at Hiccup's house, Toothless taking his place back on the roof. Merida walked inside took her seat back at the table. Hiccup went to check up on the sleeping triplets and came down, worry etched into his face.
"What is it?" Merida asked, instantly on her feet.
"They're not in bed."
"What do yah mean they're not in bed?" Merida yelled, throwing the door open and running outside. She cupped her hands over her mouth and ran through the village, yelling for her brothers.
"Hamish! Harris! Hubert! A swear, if yah don' get out here, right now, when A find yah you won' have ta worry about anyone else killin' yah!" There was a crash from across the village and Merida took off in that direction, Hiccup on her heels.
They ended up at the academy, the metal dome ringing from something hitting it. Merida stopped just short of the entrance, which was wide open. Hiccup, however, ran straight through, stepping on a wire that caused a barrel of fish guts and bones to cover the Viking. Merida laughed, dropping to the floor as she held her sides. Three pairs of feet pittered on the ground and they tackled Merida.
"Oh boys, don' do that ta me again!"
"We didn't mean ta scare yah."
"But we found friends!" the boys said, their eyes lighting up. Merida looked up to see two people, about her age, high five each other. One was a girl, her hair a dirty blonde hair tied in two braids thrown over her shoulder, a metal helmet donned her head, with four large horns stuck out the sides, while smaller horns lined the center of her scalp. She was pretty, not overly so, but a natural beauty that you couldn't replicate with makeup. She had a basic figure, small curves, and long appendages. She wore a crème fur vest and a grey top underneath. A green skirt was wrapped around her waist and brown leggings were underneath, Merida figured that they were for warmth. Grey arm wraps went up past her elbows and she wore dark grey, fuzzy boots.
The boy standing next to her looked similar, a long face, and very lanky, but with a more round nose and chin. He was muscular, but not much, smaller than Hiccup Merida noted. His hair was the same dirty blonde as, she presumed, his sister's, but instead of braids his hair was in dreadlocks. His helmet was similar to his sisters, but with larger bottom horns, tips down. He wore a dark grey, presumably wolf, fur vest with armor plates in the shoulders with a plate of spikes on one shoulder. A grey tunic was under the vest and under the tunic was a pair of dark green pants that led to a pair of metal plated boots.
"That was awesome little dudes!" The man said, running up to the triplets, each receiving a high five. Hiccup brushed off as much as he could from himself before helping Merida to her feet.
"Ruff, Tuff, this is Merida and her brothers, who I believe you've already met." Hiccup said, gesturing to the redhead next to him.
"These little dudes are awesome! That was their set up." Ruff said pointing to the contraption the boys put together. Hiccup inspected it with admariation while Merida glared at the boys.
"Must yew make trouble?"
"But Mer!" Hamish exclaimed.
"No, no, it's alright. Things like this always happen with Ruff and Tuff here." Hiccup explained to the angry Scott. Merida sighed. "Though, usually they end up in fights." Merida threw her hands into the air.
"Yes, that's who A want mah brother's ta be around…"
"We'll be careful!" The boys pleaded, giving Merida the best puppy-dog eyes they could muster, their green eyes pleading with their older sister. She gave the two adults an apprehensive look before she grabbed them each by the collar.
"If they come ta me hurt, A'm comin' after yah, and yer pelts will hangin' on the wall." Merida glared at the twins. They each held up their right hand.
"They'll be fine," Tuffnut said.
"Scouts honor." Ruffnut finished for her brother. Merida nodded and turned back to her brothers.
"Now, be back ta the house by nighfall. If yer not there-" Merida didn't get a chance to finish, because they were all gone.
Tuffnut looked at his sister, a grin plastered on his face as he looked at the three new trouble makers in Berk.
"We're not even scouts."
"She doesn't know that." Ruffnut smirked at Tuff, who let out a laugh as they continued to show the boys the best hiding spots in berk.