No one was really sure what happened at that moment, it all happened too quickly. They knew Skadi had reached Dagur, but then her movements slowed... and he reacted.
Then they both froze.
They hadn’t heard Hicca scream for Skadi to stop. They hadn’t seen Dagur’s blade make contact with Skadi, and they didn’t see his blade pierced her heart.
Skadi had been so shocked by Hicca’s yell that she’d hesitated, and Dagur had taken the chance and attacked. She didn’t know why Hicca had told her to stop, but she didn’t have the chance to ask now. Dagur didn’t know why Skadi hesitated either, but he didn’t care. He’d pierced the Goddess’s heart and killed her, the crystal would be forced out of Hicca’s body and then it would be his.
The glow in Skadi’s eyes began to fade, as she dropped her sword she could feel herself slipping away. It wasn’t really dying, she was a god after all. But sharing a body with Hicca had given her form a human shell, and as that shell suffered a fatal blow, she could do nothing to stop her soul ripping apart from Hicca’s.
From the outside, it seemed like an explosion just went off.
A pillar of energy ruptured from where Skadi and Dagur had been standing. It was twice the size of the energy pillar from Skadi’s first appearance, but instead of expanding outward, it rocketed into the sky and pierced the clouds. The energy still changed its form, but its colours were different. Instead of a swirling rainbow of colour, the energy started as a continues skyward stream of light blue. But as the blue moved upwards, flecks of dark green started to appear and travelled in the opposite direction, downwards from the sky to the ice platform. The flecks grew in size until they became waves, and then into rivers of green amongst the blue. They continued to grow until the stream of energy was half down flowing green, and half upward rocketing blue. But the green still continued to grow, slowly engulfing the blue light.
As the Vikings watched they started to realise what the meaning of this was. The light blue colour represented Skadi’s icy shades, while the green was someone else. The crystal was being ripped out of Hicca and plunged into Dagur. In turn, Skadi was separated from the gem and sent back to Asgard, while a new god took her place and merged with Dagur.
Hicca didn’t know for sure what was going on. Inside the vortex she could feel herself getting weaker, Skadi’s strength was torn away from her and the effects of the torture made her feel faint. She lost conciseness.
For Dagur, it was the opposite. He felt a presence merge with his own, and a name imbed itself in his mind. He felt stronger than ever and the power kept getting greater as the God took over. Before he allowed the god to take over completely, he left one command, “Show them your strength.”
From the outside, the pillar of energy was now completely green, completely overwhelming the light blue from before. What happened to Hicca? The Berserker soldiers were wondering the same thing about Dagur.
Then the energy vanished, everyone rushing forward to get a better look.
In the spot where Skadi and Dagur had fought, now stood an imposing looking man. At his feet lay Hicca. Her tribe stared in shock, unsure if she was just unconscious, or...
Some of the Vikings readied their weapons, prepared to rescue their heiress once more, but the dragons started backing up and some even whimpered, they sensed something the humans couldn’t. Then the man opened his eyes, the glowing green stopped the Vikings in their tracks. His eyes not only held the dominance that Skadi’s had, but also a great evil power. They had no idea how powerful this God was, but for all they knew, he could kill them all with a single finger.
He was much taller than Dagur had been, possible taller than Stoick. His skin was pale and his hair was dark and loose, just brushing against his shoulders. His armour was mostly black, but with intricate swirling details in gold. His clothes underneath were green and grey, with a long green cape reaching his ankles, and attached to his shoulders with gold clasps. On his head was a golden helmet, with two long horns in the front pointing upwards.
The new god turned and took in his surroundings. As he did so, his foot bumped into Hicca’s prone form. He looked down at her before looking up at the Vikings on the ship. The dragons and Vikings were all ready to fight, but they couldn’t stop themselves from hesitating.
When the god spoke, his voice was deep and uncaring. “Did you all come here for this girl?” He asked them. As he did, he lifted one of his feet and placed it heavily on Hicca’s side, angering the people of Berk further. “Well then... you can have her back.”
With that, the God drew his foot back and kicked Hicca solidly in the stomach. The impact sent her rocketing back towards the boat, she hit the mast of the main ship and fell limply to the ground.
“Hicca!” The teens and Toothless imminently rushed over to Hicca. The force had done more damage to her body as well as reopened some of her wounds, she wasn’t moving, but at least she was breathing.
Stoick wanted desperately to rush to his daughter’s side. But while facing against a god, he had to get his people out of here. “Phlegma, get Hicca below deck! Everyone, get ready to retreat!” He hated saying it, but they couldn’t stay here.
Phlegma the Fierce was a great warrior, as well as a healer. She quickly rushed over to where Hicca had fallen and gently picked her up, just by the look of Hicca’s visible wounds, Phlegma knew she’d need assistance. “Astrid, Ruffnut, give me a hand.” The two girls nodded and quickly demounted their dragons before following Phlegma below deck.
The ropes were attached to the dragon’s harnesses again and they took to the sky quickly, they had to head towards the exit Skadi had made. The god watched them in amusement, he raised his hand and directed his power through it. “So, you’re trying to escape?” A long golden staff formed in his hand, at the lower end it split into three strands and wrapped around forming a spiralled point. The top end it thickened and split into five, each limb twisting and curling over itself forming a mass of golden hooks, almost like a hideous misshapen claw. A green gem grew in the centre of the gold swirls and started to glow ominously. “Then allow me to assist you,” he said with a smirk.
He raised his staff high and slammed it into the ice below him. The impact was only caused by the end of his staff, but the shockwave was beyond intense. It cracked the ice the shot streams of fire in five directions and forced the ice apart, the tremors caused turrets of water to shoot through the ice and break it apart even more. The cracks travelled all the way up the icy mountains and brought them tumbling down, freeing the armada ships but also pushing them back as a strong hot air current pulsed through the air.
That same air current swept the Hooligan ships forward, forcing everyone to hold on tight for fear of being blown away. Some of the dragons were sent spinning through the air, but thankfully they were able to recover. The ships was thrown through the ice opening, barely missing the crumbling ice walls, but thankfully they made contract with the water again without serious damage. For a moment it seemed as though the ships would capsize, but the dragons pushed against the sides to keep them afloat.
They had cleared the exit, and there was now nothing but open water around them.
But it was too early for them to celebrate. Stoick ran to the back of the ship to see the god floating towards them. He had to think of something, but what could they do against a god?
But the god stopped.
When he reached the edge of Skadi’s former ice walls, he stopped and hovered there, his cape trailing behind him. “What’s the matter Vikings? Are you afraid? You should be. I’m not going to kill you this moment, but your deaths will come soon enough. Now that I’m free, your tribe’s personal Ragnarok will occur in three days.” The god was about to say more, but he suddenly felt another force inside of him. It must be the human he was now connected to, he was kicking up quite a fuss. He turned back to the Vikings once again, “You should use this time to say goodbye to your loved ones.” With that he turned and headed back towards the Berserker Island.
There was silence for a long time among the Hooligan ships. Some afraid, some shocked, others still angry. Then Stoick finally spoke, “Set course for Berk, release the sails and let the dragons rest.” The sails were lowered and the dragons took their opportunity to rest, luckily there was still enough room on the remaining ships for the dragons to lie down. With Astrid and Ruffnut still below deck, the male dragon riders helped out with the dragons, making sure they were given water and food. They had all flown for 10 hours straight before being thrown into battle, the dragons deserved to rest.
Once the Berserker Island was mostly out of sight, the Hooligan tribe finally felt as though they could breath. They had fought hard, and with Hicca returned to them, they could start heading home. But by the sounds of it, their peace would only hold for three more days.
As the island grew smaller, Stoick and Toothless allowed their thoughts to return to Hicca. Gobber sensed this and patted Stoick on the shoulder. “You two should go, we’ll take care of things here.”
Stoick nodded, he and Toothless walked towards the entrance to the lower deck, Stoick hesitated slightly before walking down. The lower deck was mostly stocked with food, weapons and other supplies, but on the main ship, there was a small room at the back with several hammocks. People could rest here, and the wounded could be attended to.
Stoick knocked on the door before entering. Ruffnut and Astrid were both standing beside one of the hammocks while Phlegma kneeled on the other side. Snotlout’s fur jacket, Hicca’s ripped tunic, metal leg and boot lay beside them. In the hammock lay Hicca. Toothless gave a low gurgle and lumbered up to Hicca’s side, he didn’t nudge or try to wake her, just sat and waited. Stoick’s heart almost broke at the sight. Most of her body was already heavily bandaged with Phlegma now wrapping her left arm, he could just make out some of the bruises and cuts before they were covered. As Stoick walked closer, Phlegma finished and pulled a blanket over Hicca’s body.
“How is she?”
“She’ll live, but there are some extensive injuries on her body, and it’s very possible she’ll suffer from trauma and scarring.” Phlegma told him honestly.
Stoick nodded slightly and turned to the two girls at his side, “Can you two give us a moment.”
“Sure.” Astrid answered as she and Ruffnut turned towards the door, Ruffnut gave Toothless a quick scratch under the chin before the two girls walked back above deck. Astrid’s voice had stayed strong, but the two girls were obviously shaken.
Once they’d left, Stoick turned back to Phlegma. “Is there any sigh that she was... that she was rapped?” He had to know.
Phlegma chose her words carefully before answering. “There are hand prints on her body, including her chest and thighs. I didn’t find and bruising on other elements elsewhere to suggest he went further than that though. However...” She paused again. “The extent of the bruises on her wrists suggests that she was restrained, and there are bite marks on her shoulder and chest. I haven’t done an internal check yet, that’s the only way we’ll know for sure.”
Stoick winced at the thought and Toothless gave a quiet growl, they both agreed that Hicca had been violated enough. “Is that really necessary? Surely we can just wait until she’s awake, then we can just ask her.”
Phlegma sighed slightly, she knew what Stoick was thinking. “Stoick,” she said gently. “You know how your daughter is. If something did happen and we were to ask her straight out, do you really think she’d tell us the truth? Not to mention, from the looks of some of these marks, Hicca may have been unconscious at some point. It’s possible something may have been done to her without her even knowing about it.”
Stoick realised what Phlegma was saying, she was right of course, but her words still troubled him greatly. Phlegma watched as Stoicks face turned sorrowful, “But...” she added. “I understand what you’re worried about. I still need to examine her further, but I won’t do anything else until she’s awake.”
Stoick breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank you.” He said.
Phlegma stood and walked around the hammock, she placed a hand on Stoicks shoulder. “I’ll give you three a moment alone.” With that she left the room.
Stoick just stood and stared at Hicca for a while. She looked so small and fragile right now. He looked down at her prosthetic and then back to her battered body. Why did she have to suffer so much? She had been through so much in life already, and yet there was always something just around the corner ready to cause her more pain.
It wasn’t fair.
Hicca was the kindest and selfless person in the entire archipelago, why did these things always happen to her. Maybe it was his fault. He had allowed her to explore and fight, maybe if he had sheltered her more...
No. If he had done that she would definitely hate him. Hicca was not meant to be locked away, and if she was she would fight harder for her freedom. He was just being over protective of her. But what else was a father to do? Especially after what she’d been through, he wanted to wrap her in his arms and never let her go.
When Astrid and Ruffnut finally arrived above deck, the boys immediately ran over to them.
“How’s Hicca? Is she okay?” Tuffnut asked.
Honestly, the girls only knew the basics of first aid, while tending to Hicca, they had just done as Phlegma asked. When the ship had been thrown they had helped keep Hicca stable, then they’d helped remove Hicca’s torn clothes, and had handed Phlegma anything she needed. They had seen most of the marks that littered her body, and quite a few times they had been afraid to look at the extent of them.
“She’ll be okay, but we’ll need to be careful. Phlegma says she’ll most likely suffer from scars and trauma after this.” Astrid had managed to harden herself, but Ruffnut was still shaken.
“H-Hey... Dagur said... he said something about a b-bite mark... was he telling the truth?” Fishlegs asked nervously.
“He was,” The others turned to Snotlout. He had his arms crossed and seemed to be glaring down at his feet. “I saw it when I rescued her... it was still bleeding, he must have done it not long ago.”
“But, why?” Tuffnut asked confused. “I mean, I get that he wanted to hurt Hicca, but still, why would Dagur bite her?”
“Are you really that dense?” Ruffnut snapped at him. She hadn’t meant to, but she felt so angry right now. The others understood, they knew what the mark meant. In particular... what it meant to the girls.
Ruffnut pulled her brother aside and spoke to him, “Do you really not know what a bite mark means for a girl?”
“No,” Tuffnut said annoyed. What was the big deal, he and Ruffnut had gotten into lots of fights over the years, at time they had resorted to biting and hair pulling. ”Sis, what is it? How is it so different than other battle scars?” Tuffnut asked again. He was starting to get worried.
Ruffnut paused, trying to think of the right words. She had been told by her mother when she was 12, it still scared her, the very thought making her wrap her arms around herself. “It means ‘Claimed’. When a woman has her virginity taken by a man before marriage, he’ll often mark her to show that she belongs to him. It’s a mark to show that her body has been used, that’s it’s nothing more than a slab of meat now.”
As Tuffnut listened, his body started to shake in anger. No wonder his sister was so upset. He knew he wasn’t the brightest spark, but he wanted to do something to make his twin feel better. He stepped closer and wrapped his arms around her tightly. It was a little awkward, but it was the only thing he could think of. He found it hard to imagine, had Hicca really been put through that? And is there a chance it could happen to Ruffnut or Astrid in the future? It was a scary thought.
“Hicca must have been really scared,” He thought out load.
“Yeah,” Ruffnut said simply when they finally separated.
“So what now?”
“Well... Like Astrid said, we should be careful about what we say and do, Hicca will most likely get nightmares and flashbacks after this.”
“Right... So how is she now?”
“She’s resting, her dad is with her right now.”
“Oh.” There was another pause as the twins turned back to the other dragon riders. “So... what are we going to do?”
“We need to prepare ourselves.” Astrid answered. “You heard that new god, unless we do something to stop him, he’s going to release Ragnarok upon us in three days.”
“B-But Ragnarok is the end of the world. It’s a great battle that will cause the deaths of multiple gods, and submerge the world in water.” Fishlegs asked growing more nervous by the second. “I’ve never heard anything about one single god being about to cause it.”
“Me neither, but maybe there’s a god connected to it.” Snotlout said, trying to think.
“Didn’t he say something else?” Tuffnut asked trying to remember. “Something about being free...”
“I remember. He said now that he was free, Ragnarok would occur.” Ruffnut said, hoping it would help.
It did. Astrid and Fishlegs instantly realised who the God was, their faces turned pale with dread.
“W-W-Wait a minute. Y-Y-You don’t think it’s...” Fishleg’s stutter prevented him from continuing.
“It must be. But why him of all people?”
“Hey, you two, what’s wrong?” Snotlout asked shaking their shoulders, trying to snap them out of their daze.
Astrid spoke up, but her voice shook slightly as she did so. “It’s Loki... That’s who’s possessed Dagur.”
“Loki!?” The other three yelled in disbelief.
They had all heard the stories. Loki, the shape-shifter and trickster among the gods. The stories say that after he caused the death of Baldr, the god of Purity, he had been tied to three boulders as punishment until the end of days. The day he broke free, would be the start of Ragnarok.
And now he was bound to Dagur. This couldn’t get much worse.
“Why him? Of all the gods Dagur could have joined with, why Loki?” Astrid asked under her breath.
“It makes sense when you think about it.” Fishlegs thought out loud.
“What are you talking about?” Ruffnut asked.
Fishlegs thought for a moment, then he turned and walked over to Meatlug. He riffled through her saddle bags until he found what he was looking for. He pulled out a thick book, but it wasn’t the Book of Dragons. It was the Book of Norse Mythology, he had brought it with him just in case, and now it would be useful.
He quickly turned through its pages as he walked back towards the others. “Well, it turns out there’s a lot of history between Loki and Skadi.” He finally found the page the page he was looking for, his eye’s scanning over the page. “The two pretty much hated each other. Remember what Gobber said? When Loki was finally captured, it was Skadi who hung a poisonous snake over him.”
“You think he’s out for revenge?” Astrid asked.
“It’s possible. But since Skadi isn’t here anymore, he’ll most likely be coming after Hicca. That’s why, instead of releasing Ragnarok on the entire word, he wants to destroy us first.”
“Then we need to do something.” Snotlout almost yelled. He desperately tried to think of something, but thinking wasn’t his strong point.
“What would Hicca do?” Tuffnut thought out loud again.
“She’d try and save everyone, like she always does.” Astrid answered firmly. “When she finds out that Loki is most likely after her specifically, she’ll try and lead him somewhere else so the village won’t be involved.”
“She’d fight too.” Snotlout said. He wasn’t very smart, but he knew his cousin. “If there’s even a chance that she could defeat Loki, then she’ll definitely fight.”
“So we need to help her.” Fishlegs said, his voice shaky but determined. “Hicca’s our friend, we can’t let her take him on alone.”
For possibly the first time ever, all of the teens agreed on their plan of action.Once Hicca was awake, they would fight together.