As Snotlout crept into the underground tunnels, he was surprised to see how many passages branched off from the entrance. It would take him a while to search them all, so he’d have to get started. He trudged down the middle corridor and started searching.
After a little while with no luck, Snotlout wondered if he was just going round in circles. ‘Why do all these hallways look the same?’ He thought as he kept walking. ‘Seriously... if this keeps up I’ll never find Hic-!’ His train of thought was interrupted as a shield suddenly slammed into his face.
As Hicca lay on the ground, she allowed her tears to fall silently. Once she was sure Dagur wasn’t coming back any time soon, she breathing deeply and took a moment to compose herself. She thanked the gods that Dagur had stopped when he had.
She sat up and quickly readjusted her tunic to cover her near naked body. It was littered with holes, one of the sleeves was barely hanging on, and the neck line was torn over her left shoulder so the bite mark was visible. Despite this, it still made her feel better to wear it than be on full display. She looked around at the rest of her clothes, her fur vest and leggings were nothing but rags, the only still intact items of clothing she had was her fur boot and belt.
With such minimal clothing, if anyone saw her they would most likely assume that Dagur violated her completely, but she’d have to bear with it. Unless she found some spare clothes lying around, there was nothing she could do to fix her appearance. Hicca stood shakily and looked around her cell, but nothing had changed. There was still only one small window and the walls were bare, she then turned to the large heavy door. Then a thought struck her.
She hadn’t heard Dagur lock it behind him.
Hicca slowly moved towards it and placed her hand on the solid wood. She pushed a little... but the door didn’t budge.
So she pushed a little harder... and it opened.
Hicca gasped in disbelieve, there was no way she could be that lucky. Could this be what people called ‘the luck of the gods’? Maybe Skadi was still looking out for her, even though Hicca had blocked her out. Hicca pushed the door open just enough for her to look out. After making sure no one was around she pushed the door open the rest of the way and slipped out.
She wondered for a little while, trying to find her way out, but her progress slow because her legs were still shaking. She had to stop and lean against wall every now and then, thankfully the hallway was still lit with torches. She’d walked past several other prison doors, all with bars on their small windows, but there was no one in them. Maybe she was the only one down here.
She then came across a door without a window. She put her ear to the wood but no sounds came from the other side. Maybe this was the way out. She pulled open the door, relieved to find it unlocked, but this wasn’t the exit. Instead she found a store room full of weapons. At least something in here could be useful, she walked inside and soon came across a pile of shields. Some were broken and splintered, but amongst the pile she was able to find one intact.
‘It won’t be as strong as my Gronckle Iron shield, but it’ll have to do.’ Hicca thought pulling the shield towards her and inspecting it. She took the shield with her and went back into the hallway.
But then she hears footsteps coming towards her.
Hicca quickly ran to the corner and readied her shield, she could only hear one set of footsteps, so hopefully this should work. This was finally her chance to fight back. Dagur wouldn’t be expecting her, especially not with a weapon, this was her chance to get a little revenge for some of the things he’d done to her. She waited for him to get a little closer, just until she could see the tip of his boot around the corner. Then she swung her shield as hard as she could, the wood and metal making solid contact with his face.
She heard the body slump to the ground and silently cheered to herself. But as she turned the corner, it wasn’t Dagur she saw on the ground... It was Snotlout.
She gazed down at him is disbelief, unsure whether he was real or not. “S... Snotlout?”
A groan sounded from Snotlout as he slowly sat up into a sitting position, his head spinning and nose bleeding. “Yeah, it’s me... Who’s asking?” Snotlout looked up at his attacker and waited for his vision to clear.
Hicca couldn’t believe it. She crouched down and slowly reached out to touch Snotlouts arm. He was real. He was really here. “It’s really you? You actually came for me...” Hicca’s voice shook slightly as relief and happiness washed over her.
“Hicca?” Snotlout blinked to clear his vision more. He could just make out the green of her tunic and her auburn hair, when suddenly she threw herself against him and wrapped her arms around him tightly.
“I can’t believe you’re really here,” Hicca’s shoulders were shaking slightly.
“Hicca, are you crying?” Snotlout reached up to Hicca’s shoulder and was about to push Hicca away, but then he noticed something. Hicca’s hair was a lot short than before. “What happened to your hair?”
Hicca tightened her grip on her cousin, but Snotlout placed his hands on her shoulder and pushed her back gently to get a better look at her. With his now clear vision... he saw the state she was in. Her clothes were torn, her hair cut, and her visible skin littered with bruises, cuts and burns. But those weren’t the worst marks. Handprints on her legs, a hickey on her neck, and a deep bite mark on her shoulder. He had no doubt there were more marks under her clothes, it almost made him scared to ask.
“Hicca... What in Thor’s name happened to you?”
Hicca didn’t look at him. She knew what he was thinking, and it wasn’t far off from the truth.
Her silence made Snotlouts blood boil, Dagur was going to pay for this. He didn’t waste any more time. He stood and pulled Hicca up with him, then he did something unexpected. He took off his fur jacket and helped Hicca feed her arms through the holes.
“Thanks,” she said quietly, as she pulled the jacket tighter around her.
Snotlout then gripped her hand tightly and started running back the way he’d came, pulling her behind him. He was going to get her back to Hookfang , off this island, and far away from that monster.
Just off the Berserk shore, Dagur’s fleet met the Hooligan ships.
Stoick lead the charge, he jumped onto an enemy ship and started slamming his fists into anyone who got in his way, followed quickly by Toothless and Gobber. Although he couldn’t get air born by himself, Toothless still used his wings and Plasma Blasts to sweep away any soldiers before Gobber also came barrelling forward, swinging his mace hand and knocking out those who remained. While the three of them took care of an entire ship by themselves, the rest of their tribe handled the other enemy ships.
As soon as the fighting started, the Hooligans released the dragons. The riders directed the adolescent dragons to the enemy ships, attacking from the air and sinking as many ships as possible. But they were still very close to the shore line. They not only had to deal with the enemy Vikings below, but also the projectiles from the land.
Dagur watched from the docks, “Reload and light the oil! Aim for the dragons!” The catapults were loaded with oil coated boulders, the oil was then set alight as the marksmen took aim. “Fire!” Dagur roared.
The burning rocks were thrown into the air, aimed high at the flight of dragons. Most of the agile dragons were able to dodge, and some of the Gronckles were even able to catch the rocks mid air, like a dog being thrown a treat. But one of the rocks soared towards Barf and Belch, and hit Barf square in the jaw. Thankfully it only stunned him, but his jerk reaction cause Ruffnut to lose her grip.
“Ruffnut,” Tuffnut yelled after his sister as he tried to control the dazed half of their dragon.
Ruffnut fell for a short while before a strong pair of arms caught her. “Are you okay?” Ruffnut looked up to see Fishlegs looking down at her.
She blushed slightly as he held her, “Um... yeah, I’m fine.” Fishlegs directed Meatlug up to Tuffnut, who had now gotten Barf and Belch under control. Ruffnut jumped back onto her dragon and gave Fishlegs a short wave before the two dragons separated, flying back into the fray.
Cannons were fired, arrows were shot, swords clashed, dragons attacked, and Vikings fought. Slowly but surely, the Hooligans were battling their way through the handful of Berserker ships, making their way closer to the island.
But Dagur just smirked, “Signal the fleet! Surround and destroy them!”
One of the Berserker soldiers loaded an arrow into their crossbow, and fired it into the sky towards the mountain. As the arrow flew, a long blue shawl tailed behind it. That was the signal. From two opposite sides of the island, the Berserker armada advanced towards the battle.
“Stoick, we’ve got more ships coming on our left.” Stoick turned to see the bigger ships sailing towards them. He was about to give an order, when another Viking ran to his other side, “There are ships approaching from the right as well.” The two flanks were planning on surrounding them. Stoick realized if they wanted to get out of this, they’d have to retreat now. But what about Hicca? They couldn’t just leave her. He hesitated for a moment as the battle continued around him.
Dagur’s troops were loading another set of rocks in to their catapults, this time aiming for the Hooligan ships. “On my mark!” He called. But just as he was about to give the order, when a couple of the catapults burst into flames. “What the-!?” He looked up just in time to see a Monstrous Nightmare soar over their heads.
The other dragon riders also looked to the shore just in time to see the dragon flying from the island, destroying catapults as it flew. “It’s Snotlout and Hookfang!” Astrid called to the others, she felt herself fill with joy at the sight of them.
But there was something else, a flash of green and brown clinging to Snotlout from behind. “And he’s got Hicca with him!” Fishlegs yelled giving a slight cheer. They watched as Hookfang swooped round again and spew flames over most of the remaining catapults.
Dagur roared and fumed in anger as he watched the dragon destroy his weapons, but not only that, he was forced to watch as that dragon flew away carrying his crystal. “Shoot that dragon down! And someone prepare me a ship!”
Arrows shot into the sky, but Hookfang flew higher to protect the two humans on his back, he was now much higher than the other riders, almost above the cloud line. “Ha! Just try and catch us Dagur,” Snotlout taunted from the air. Every now and then he would look over his shoulder to check on Hicca. Her face pressed between his shoulder blades and arms wound tightly around his chest, she was still shaking slightly. Snotlout started steering Hookfang towards the Hooligan ships, but as he did so, he saw the lines of enemy ships approaching on both sides. “Hicca, take a look at this.”
Hicca slowly raised her head and looked forward, at first she didn’t see what Snotlout was referring to. But as she turned to her left she saw one of the fleets, and to her right she saw the other. “Their closing in on them, we need to help.”
The Hooligans had destroyed most of the Berserker ships, but they also had to deal with their own losses. One of their own ships had been destroyed, and another was filled with injured dragons and Vikings. The armada was closing on them, it wouldn’t be long until their escape route was gone.
“There’s no time!” Snotlout yelled, even he could see their window was closing. They had to do something now.
Then Hicca remembered she wasn’t alone.
At that moment she tore down the walls she’d built in her mind and searched for Skadi. It had been an entire day since Hicca had blocked her out, as soon as she opened her mind to the Goddess Skadi was upon her.
‘What the hell were you thinking!?’ Skadi screamed at her, Hicca felt as if Skadi had just slapped her. ‘Why did you allowed him to do this to you instead!? If you had just summoned me the moment you were awake, I could have rescued you.’
‘I didn’t want you to rescue me, I needed to do this on my own!’
‘Because I don’t want you constantly coming to my rescue! We’re a team, which means I protect you just as much as you protect me. I was not about to let Dagur get to you.’
There was a pause, ‘We’re a... team?’
‘Of course. We may not be equals, but we will fight together.’
Skadi was frozen for a moment, she realised what Hicca was saying. She didn’t want to be protected by Skadi... she wanted to fight alongside her. Skadi came to a decision. ‘Alright... we’ll fight together in the future. But right now, at least let me help your tribe. Consider this a ‘thank you’, for protecting me.’
Hicca nodded, ‘Alright then... help me’
Snotlout felt Hicca’s arms let go of him, he turned just in time to see her slip from Hookfang’s saddle and fall through the sky. “Hicca!!”
Everyone looked up at Snotlout’s cry, just in time to see the clouds part, and a familiar flash of energy fall through. It was like a white fireball falling through the clouds, but this time something different happened. The energy shattered to reveal Skadi in all her glory, shining white, blue and black could be seen amongst the glowing energy. But the energy didn’t disappear, it hardened, forming small ice crystals around her. Skadi decent slowed until it seemed as though she was floating in the air, the clenched her fists and brought he knees up towards her chest, curling up into a tight ball. As she did so, her body started to glow a light blue colour and the ice crystals started spinning a whizzing around her. She was building up the energy deep inside of her, stronger, colder and more powerful.
Those ships... The ones surrounding Hiccas tribe... The ones sent by that man.
They were her target.
With a fierce and loud battle cry, she released all of the ice she’d been building up. The rings of ice crystals spread out from her like a shockwave. They didn’t touch the Hooligan ships, or the area of water around them, and Skadi made sure to leave a path heading east for their escape. But everything else... was encased in ice.
The shockwave brought with it a strong wind spreading over the sea and freezing it, all of the Berserker ships were trapped and forced back as walls of ice formed from the frozen waves. But the only thing the Hooligan Vikings and dragons felt was a cold but gentle wind.
Stoick and the other Vikings had shielded their eyes because of the intense light coming from Skadi, but when the winds died down and their eyes opened, they could only to widen them in disbelief. All the way from the Berserker beach to a few meters in front of them was a thick sheet of ice lying across the surface of the water, and on their left and right were mountain lines of ice separating them from the enemy ships.
Stoick turned to see their gateway home was clear, now was their chance. “Make sure everyone is here and turn the ships around, we’re getting out of here.” The Vikings scattered to make sure there wasn’t any more damage, and that everyone was accounted for. There was then a loud thump as Skadi landed heavily on the deck of the main ship, Stoick turned to see her on one knee panting slightly. “Skadi, are you alright?”
“Not really,” She answered. “Hicca is hurt and losing strength, and I used up a lot of power just now, we barely have any energy left between the two of us.”
Stoick wanted to know what Hicca’s condition was, but right now she was protected by Skadi. The most he could do was get them away from here. “Don’t worry, we’ll be out of here as soon as possible and then you and Hicca can rest.”
The ships began to turn, and most of the dragons landed on the decks ready to be harnessed again, the dragon riders quickly scattering to help out where they could. They had almost forgotten about Dagur.
“It’s about time you showed yourself, Skadi!”
They all turned to see him. He and a couple of soldiers had taken a small boat from their island towards them. But like all the other ships in Dagur’s fleet, it was stuck in the iced-over water, allowing Dagur to get closer on foot. He now stood on the frozen surface just off to their side as the ships turned.
As Skadi’s eyes fell on him, she felt her anger burn. He was the one who caused Hicca so much pain. He had tortured her and almost raped her. How dare he show his face in front of her. “You...” She grit her teeth and clenched her fists, trying to think of the most vulgar word to call him.
But he spoke again, his words almost turned her mad with anger. “So tell me, Goddess Skadi... Does Hicca like the bite mark I gave her?”
There was a combine feeling of anger and fear as Dagur said that. Even if he was lying, just the thought of Dagur sinking his teeth into Hiccas flesh infuriated most of the Hooligan tribe. How dare this human... no... this monster, talk so casually about harming someone as innocent as Hicca. They all wanted to attack Dagur, but at the same time they wanted to know what happened to Hicca, and even though Snotlout had seen the marks on her skin, he still didn’t know the full extent of Hicca’s pain.
In the end, it was Skadi who reacted.
Despite being blocked out by Hicca, she was still fully aware of what he had done to her. But this man felt no remorse what so even. She could allow him to live a moment longer.
With a battle cry full of anger, she drew her sword and raised it high above her head. Even though her energy was running low, the others could barely follow her movement with their eyes. Skadi jumped from the ship onto the icy platform, then she charged at Dagur with great speed, ready to strike him down.
Dagur already had his sword drawn ready, but before he could raise it in defence, Skadi was already in front him. But then the unexpected happened.
“Skadi, stop!!”Skadi’s movements slowed and Dagur took the opportunity.