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The Valhalla Crystal

By Kathryn Mills

Action / Fantasy

The Crystal

A power surge.

That’s really the only way to describe it.

As soon as Hicca touched the glowing gem, a spark shot from the tips of her fingers, through her spine, to the very tips of her toe nails and through every single strand of her long hair. As soon as she made contact with the Valhalla Crystal, her mind broke. She hadn’t really been thinking at the time, just that she absolutely could not allow Dagur to steal the power away for himself.

It was no secret that the Vikings of Berk had recently recaptured some of their old artefacts from the Berserker tribe, and it was among these old treasures that Hicca had come across the map of Old Chief Hiccup the Second.

Her friends instantly gathered around her in interest, their excitement peaked as their eyes gazed over the detailed sketches and riddles on the parchment. They then realised what the map was leading them to, The Valhalla Crystal. 

The legends said that whoever came into contact with the crystal could command the power of the gods, in the hands of someone like Dagur the Deranged, Chief of the Berserker Tribe, it would surely mean nothing but death and destruction for all. As soon as Chief Stoick realised what the treasure was, he sent the team of Dragon Riders on a mission to find it.

It had taken the team almost the entire day to decipher the clues and follow the map. Actually it was Hicca and Fishlegs who had decoded the clues, Astrid’s ideas were good but a little too straight forward, Snotlout’s ideas weren’t helpful at all, and the twins... well... they were being themselves.

Eventually they found the cave entrance in the forest. The entrance itself was wide but as the passageway sloped under the mountain it had started to narrow drastically, it soon became clear to the gang that the dragons wouldn’t be able to accompany them any further.

The team split up. Tuffnut, Ruffnut and Fishlegs stayed behind to watch the dragons, while Astrid, Hicca and Snotlout travelled further into the chasm. At first it seemed like the only thing they’d find in the tunnel would be darkness, but thankfully a little while later a small steam of light made itself visible, as they moved closer, they found they’re goal. 

The tunnel opened into a large chamber, the walls seemed man-made allowing old runes and images to line the walls, if it weren’t for their current situation they would have taken the time to admire the space around them further. The ceiling stretched upwards where some of stones from the roof had broken away, the streams of sunlight that leaked through fell onto the alter in the centre of the room. There were 2 sets of steps and then a grand looking podium, and on top of the podium, was the crystal.

It was about the size and shape of a chickens’ egg, but the colour was like nothing they’d ever seen before. It was as if the very night sky and stars were encapsulated in the gem, the shifting deep blues and purples mixed and spread as the constellations danced on its surface. It was a beautiful artefact, but unfortunately they had not come to admire it, they had come to destroy it. Under no circumstances could they allow its power to fall into the wrong hands, even the slow minded Snotlout understood that, and he offered his hammer and brute strength to the task.

It was then that the situation took a turn, Dagur’s soldiers swept in and ambushed them from behind. The riders realised with dread that they had lead him straight to the crystal, Dagur may have been deranged but he was also cunning. His Berserker soldiers surrounded the three as Dagur stepped forward in all his Berserker chef glory, “Well done, Hicca, I knew you could do it.” He stepped closed and gave Hicca a condescending pat on the head, “You’re the weakest Viking in the whole archipelago, but your brain does seem to have some uses.” As he stepped forward, his soldiers threw something towards the team, Hicca, Astrid and Snotlout realised with dread that it was the tied and gagged forms of Fishlegs, Tuffnut and Ruffnut.

Hicca hadn’t been expecting a fight, so she didn’t have her shield with her, Snotlout tightened his grip on his hammer as Astrid grabbed her battle axe and aimed it at Dagur, “What have you done to our dragons, Dagur?”

Dagur turned he attention from Hicca to the taller, blond hair fighter, a sickening smirk growing on his face. “Oh, don’t worry about them, I don’t have a reason to kill them yet. I’ll save them for a little while longer, at least until I have the power to crush them with my bare hands. You should count yourselves lucky, I’m allowing you mortals to witness the birth of my god-like powers.”

It all clicked in Hicca’s mind at that moment. Dagur must have found the map in amongst the other artefacts, but since he was unable to test it on the island of Berk himself, he allowed it to be taken back by the Hooligan tribe. He had counted on Hicca and her friends finding the crystal and then he could swoop in and take it from them, and that’s exactly what had happened. As Dagur approached the central podium, he began his long winded gloat about how generous they’d been in leading him to the gem, and how if he were a nicer person he may have shown them mercy. “But honestly,” he continued, “after all the defeats you’ve handed me, you’re island will be the first one I’ll sink.”

Hicca stood frozen as Dagur’s soldiers started apprehending her friends, Astrid and Snotlout had their weapons ripped away and were bound and gagged along with the others. How could she have been so stupid? She should have known Dagur would follow them, it was just like him to let others do his dirty work and then take all the glory. All he wanted was power and complete control, no matter what or who stood in his way. She desperately tried to think of a plan, ‘Think of something, anything! We can’t let him get that power, but the dragons aren’t here and I don’t have my shield.’ Hicca was screaming at herself, she was starting to panic, ‘I have to do something! Do something!’

As her friends were shoved against the wall, one of the soldiers turned his attention to her, “Hey girly, get a move on!” He reached out to grab her arm, intending to throw her with the others. But his touch woke her from her trance, before anyone realised it Hicca had jolted forward, her speed and agility allowed her to easily slip past the heavy and slow soldiers. Even Dagur was so preoccupied with his still ongoing speech, he only noticed her when she rushed past him and ran up the steps towards the podium. He reached out to grab her, but it was too late.

He could only watch in horror as she reached out... and grasped the glowing gem.

The shockwave that erupted from the podium sent Dagur flying back, he collided with the stone wall, his helmet making a loud clang, he slid to the ground badly shaken. Hicca’s friends and the soldiers watched in a mix of awe and horror as the podium where Hicca once stood was now ablaze with a powerful energy, all unaware if Hicca was even alive still. The form of the energy seemed to constantly shift from looking like fire, to falling snow, to a torrent of water. And the colours changed even more violently. From bright white, to pitch black, deep scarlet, shining green, vibrant blue, pulsating purple and colours that they couldn’t even name. All of these were swirling around the altar where Hicca stood a few seconds ago.

Inside the vortex of energy, Hicca was frozen in place. She felt blazing heat one second and biting cold the next, blinded by light and suddenly thrown into deep darkness. All the while she could feel an entity merging with her own, the flow of power engulfed her. Then she blacked out.

In reality, this whole process only lasted a few seconds, and then it was gone. The scrawny little girl was no longer there, on the altar where Hicca had been standing now stood a beautiful older woman. Hicca’s waist length auburn hair had changed to shocking white and now reached her knees with blue ribbons woven into it. Her fur vest was gone and her simple green tunic was now pale blue and seemed to be made of the softest silk and hugger tightly to her... well curved figure. Her legs and arms were now free from fabric and instead were encased by shining ebony armour encrusted with fine jewels. Hanging from her waist by a thick leather belt were two impressive looking long swords. Her vastly different appearance made the others question whether the woman in front of them was still Hicca at all, or was it someone else entirely.

Even more impressive than her appearance, was the power that seemed to seep out of her. It felt like the kind of power that made you want to avoid eye contact or hideaway entirely. It soon became clear that her armour was completely unnecessary, her outward appearance and the way she held herself was even more intimidating than the strongest soldier carrying their greatest weapon. Then her eyes snapped open to reveal pure glowing white with flecks of light blue. The soldiers immediately took a few steps back out of fear, even Dagur gulped nervously.

Standing before them was no longer a weak little girl, in front of them was a warrior infused with the powers of the gods.

The woman’s glowing eyes moving slowly over the other souls in the room, all the soldiers who felt her glare held their weapons at the ready. Dagur slowly rose from the ground where he’d been flung, this wasn’t supposed to happen. That power was supposed to be his and that weak little girl was supposed to be trembling before him as he controlled the god powers. His fury only grew as Hicca’s empty eyes fell on him, the endless white pools held no emotion at all, simply observing, but to Dagur it seemed as if she was gloating.

“Well don’t just stand there you useless dogs, shoot her!” Dagur roared at his men. They quickly jumped to attention and grabbed their crossbows to take aim.

But she was gone, vanished the second they took their eyes off her.

Sudden there was a sound of shock and pain. The others turned to see one of the soldiers crumpling on the ground, Hicca now standing right beside his prone form, her hand curled into a tight fist. In that split second she had rushed across the cave and punched him so hard that he had lost consciousness, if the other soldier weren’t scared of her before they certainly were now. Hicca slowly turned to the other soldiers and gently laid her hand on one of her swords. But the soldiers didn’t wait for her to draw it, they all turned and ran as fast as they could out of the cave.

If the other riders had not been gagged, they probably would have been laughing and cheering with joy as the soldiers ran away with their tails between their legs. But that feeling faded when the white haired woman turned towards them. The hand on her sword tightened as she slowly pulled the blade free, its sharp metal glinting in the streams of light coming from the ceiling as she began making her way towards Snotlout. The closer she got the more Snotlouts’ eyes widened, was Hicca about to kill him? Sure they’d had their share of family arguments, and yes he had teased and tormented Hicca for the better part of their childhood, but hadn’t they put all of that behind them? The closer she got the more Snotlout shuddered, maybe this was finally it... maybe after so many years of her cousins bullying, Hicca was finally going to exact her revenge.

She lifted her sword high above her head and brought it down with lightning speed, the others turned away not wanting to see the outcome.

When the pain never came, Snotlout slowly opened his eyes. When he saw his ropes lying cut at his sides, a wave of relief flowed through him and the others. Without needing to be asked Snotlout pulled the gag from his mouth and quickly scampered over to the others and started undoing their ropes.

“Are you okay? I thought she was going to kill you.” Tuffnut said jokingly as Snotlout untied him. But in truth he had also been worried about Hicca exacting revenge, he and his twin sister had often assisted Snotlout in his teasing of the young heiress.

“Yeah, I did too” Snotlout said as he undid their ropes.

As the other riders were untied and began to rise from the cold floor there was suddenly a whizzing sound through the air, Hicca’s hand shot up to capture an arrow aimed directly at her head. She slowly turned to see Dagur quickly reloading another arrow.

“Nice trick,” He commented picking up one of his soldiers discarded crossbows. He then pointed both at the white haired Hicca, “Let’s see if you can do it again.” He pulled the triggers and sent two arrows streaming towards Hicca.

But Hicca was faster now, she dropped the first arrow and swept her hand across the air in front of her. There was a flash of crystal blue light and the arrows landed with a clunk at her feet, both now frozen in blocks of ice.

But Hicca didn’t stop there, she raised one armour clad foot and stamped it down in front of her. Ice shot across the ground and encircled Dagur’s feet. With Dagur now frozen in place Hicca started walking towards him. As she did her expression became harder, she no longer looked calm and controlled, she now looked angry. When she was only a foot away from a still struggling Dagur, her hand shot out and grasped the collar of his dark tunic. She then lifted him off the ground so that his feet were freed from the ice and now dangled helplessly. She glared at him with cold eyes, and Dagur stared back with wide and genuinely frightened ones. The other riders waiting with baited breath, what was Hicca about to do?

 Then she spoke, her voice not sounding like her own. Hicca’s normal voice was soft and slightly nervous, but it was also the kind of voices that could make you relaxed and calm. But the voice that flowed from the paler lips was cold and commanding and was followed through with an undertone of whispers. “Leave this island and never return.”

With the threatening tone and air of power they held only those simple words were needed. Dagur whole body shook and he nodded dumbly. Then with the strength of several soldier, Hicca hurled him across the cavern to the entrance. He skidded for a bit before staggering to his feet and running out of the tunnel, hopefully all the way back to his own island.

It was now just them in the cave. After watching Dagur flee, the others turned towards Hicca, wondering what would happen next. The white haired Hicca sheathed her sword and turn towards the others, her expression now calm again, she held their gaze for a little while before she closed her eyes. There was another flash of light around the woman, less flashy than before and lasting half as long. When the lights stopped swirling the real Hicca stood in its place, her eyes wide and her body ridged for a second longer before then going went limp and collapsed to the ground. Her friends snapped out of their shock and rushed over to her, all relieved that the real Hicca was back. At least for now.

////////////LINE BREAK/////////////

Outside the cave entrance, the dragons were worried for their riders.

The Berserker guards had come from nowhere, and had muzzled the dragons with bolas, and bound them with strong ropes. Fishlegs and the twins were quickly taken down by the stronger soldiers and were bound and gagged. Dagur barely spared them a glance as he strolled up to the powerful Night Fury, now bound at his feet. He smirked and gave the dragon a quick kick.

Toothless barely flinched and just continued to growl at Dagur through his muzzle. “Not so tough now are you? I can’t wait to have you skinned alive, but first I need to have a word with your little rider.” As Toothless gave a slight shudder Dagur just laughed loudly and sauntered down the tunnel, some of his soldiers followed him dragging the other riders behind them.

That had been a while ago. The dragons could only lie there and struggle to get free. They blamed themselves for being taken by surprised and overwhelmed, but Toothless remained calm. He had to think of a plan, he had to keep Hicca safe from that mad-man and anyone else who wanted to harm her. He looked over to the others, they were all pulling at their ropes but with their teeth and claws bound there wasn’t much they could do. But maybe the ropes could be burned off. Toothless looked over to Hookfang, the large Nightmare was also pulling at his binds but also looked towards the tunnel ever few seconds. He was worried for his rider.

Despite the way he acted towards Snotlout, the two did have a good relationship. They trusted each other and Hookfang would do anything for his rider, even if the boy needed to be reminded of his manners every now and then. But right now Hookfang couldn’t ignite himself, he could only do so when he was fighting or enraged, but right now he was too worried. Toothless came to a conclusion, the only way to make the other dragon focus was to get him angry. Hopefully he’d forgive Toothless later. Suddenly a group of soldiers came running out of the cave entrance, fear written across their faces as they headed away from the mountain and towards the sea. Toothless seized the opportunity and rolled himself towards Hookfang, his tail coming up as he suddenly slapped the Nightmare across the snout.

Needless to say Hookfang was angered by the sudden attack. He growled menacingly and set himself alight, the ropes sizzled and felt to the ground. Hookfang realised what had just happened and gave a small nod to Toothless, then he turned towards the soldiers. The humans stood frozen for a moment, but then Hookfang reared back to his full height and allowed the flames to engulf his entire body, he then lunged forward with a mighty roar. The soldiers scatter like scarred mice, Hookfang gave a satisfied nod and turned to the others.

After biting through the other ropes, the dragons huddled together and started thinking about their next move. They still couldn’t get through the tunnel, but they had to get to their humans, they’d wasted enough time already. Stormfly suddenly started squawking at the others, Barf, Belch, Hookfang and Toothless turned to see her gesturing with her speckled wings. A few feet away they could see Meatlugs bulbous form moving slowly but surely around the side of the mountain, her nose to the ground sniffing furiously like a bloodhound desperate to find its goal. In Meatlugs’ case, her goal was Fishlegs. The two had such a strong relationship that for her, finding Fishlegs would be like finding scales on a dragon. The others followed, hoping to find their own riders as well.

They eventually arrived at an odd outcrop of stones just to the side of the mountain. In amongst the outcrops was a series of holes, each one no bigger than a rabbits’ hole, as if something had burrowed out from bellow. Meatlug sniffed around one of the holes, before she started digging furiously with her front legs, Stormfly also helped and started snatching at the ground with her talons, and soon the holes collapsed and a much larger hole opened. It was soon big enough to allow even a fully grown Nightmare into the large chamber below. Then all the dragons could smell it. Their humans were inside, the right under them in the chamber bellow. Without a second though, the five dragons dived in.


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