The Valhalla Crystal

Past

The waves were calm as the Hooligan ship sailed back to Berk. It’s almost as if the end of the world wasn’t hanging over them.

As the sun rose, most of the Vikings lay beside their dragons and took the chance to sleep, only a few stayed awake to keep watch on the ship. Below deck of the main ship, Stoick stayed awake to watch over Hicca. Toothless also seemed to be awake, but was curled up underneath Hicca’s hammock, while his tail was wrapped around the leg of Stoick’s stool. Stoick had pulled the small wooden seat over not long ago, so that he could sit beside her.

She looked so small.

He was almost afraid to touch her, for fear that she’d break under his large clumsy hand. She’d always been small, lacking in physical strength with hardly any muscles on her bones, but she was agile, quick and with a brilliant mind. She got that from her mother.

Now that he took the time to look at her, he realised just how similar Hicca and Valka were. There was a bit of him in Hicca, but it was mostly Val. Shining green eyes, and a beautiful smile that could brighten anyone’s day. Hicca’s auburn hair was from both of him and Valka, he often wondered if Hicca ever would tie it into two long braids like her mother had done. But looking at her hair’s new shorter length, that wouldn’t happen any time soon. One thing his wife and daughter also shared was a love of dragons.

As he thought that, the memories came flooding back.

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

>>>Flash Back<<<

“See, I told you so!” The young girl shouted, as she slammed the book down in front of the boy.

The impact of the heavy book on the wooden table made him jump slightly, “Okay, okay, you were right. Nadders are much faster than Nightmares.” The boy sighed as he turned back to his food.

This scene was from 32 years ago. The two children were both 15 at the time.

The boy was quite large, with shaggy ginger hair and green eyes. He wore and greenish blue sleeveless tunic, with a thick leather belt and dark leggings and boots. He also wore a thick fur mantle over his shoulders and leather cuffs on his lower arms.

The girl had long copper hair woven into two thick braids down her back. Her eyes were also green like his, but unlike the boy, she was a quite small compared to the other teens on the island. She wore a yellowy green tunic with long sleeves bunched up at her elbows, the tunic was tucked into a brown leather skirt. She also had armoured shoulders pads, light brown leggings and boots.

The boy was Stoick Haddock, and the girl was Valka Hallarama, the top two students in dragon training.

“You need to know this stuff if you want to get better in training, I’m still beating you by a long shot.” Valka lectured him.

Stoick rolled his eyes, “That’s just because you keep doing all these weird tricks.” Stoick argued. “Seriously, what was that thing you did with your hands? That dragon passed out right in front of you.”

Stoick was the only one who knew that Valka used tricks in the arena. In truth, she didn’t like killing dragons or any other living things, the sight of blood made her stomach turn fiercely. Stoick didn’t like the idea of using trickery, but as long as Valka stayed safe he’d promised not to tell anyone.

“It’s nothing, just a pressure point. I wish I could teach them to everyone, things would be so much better if we didn’t have to kill the dragons.”

“Not this again,” Stoick sighed tiredly. “We have to kill the dragons, or they’ll kill us. They’re dangerous, you know that.” He said sternly.

“But imagine what we could learn from them, maybe there’s a reason they’re attacking.”

“They attack because they’re hungry, what other explanation is there?”

The two sat quietly for a moment. They were good friends, but when it came to dragons, it was always something they disagreed on.

But then Valka gave a short laugh, “You know I’m right. You don’t see it yet, but you will.” She got up to leave and turned to him once more. “And make sure you read the book, it’ll help you in the ring.”

Stoick also smiled. “Whatever, book-worm.”

Valka laughed louder as she made her way towards the entrance to the grand hall. “See you tomorrow, rock-head.”

They weren’t really insults, just nicknames. Stoick watched her leave and then he turned to the book and started lazily flicking through its pages. Valka was usually right about a lot of things, maybe it was female intuition, but when it came to dragons...

He never quite understood her, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love listening to her talk. She was so animated when talking about dragons, he eyes seemed brighter and she spoke so enthusiastically, it was fun to watch.

Stoick wondered if that was the moment he started to fall in love with Valka. Stoick’s best friend often teased him about it, Alvin would constantly call them love-birds and say what a cute couple they were.

At 15, Alvin was around the same size as Stoick, though a little shorter and wider. He had shaggy black hair, blue eyes and crooked teeth. His tunic was dark brown and his leggings and boots were grey. He also wore armour on his shoulders, arms and legs.

Over the next few years, Stoick and Valka became more than just friends. Alvin still teased them constantly, saying he’d seen it coming a mile away, which he had. It was actually Alvin who had pushed Stoick to tell Valka how he really felt. Valka knew that Alvin and Stoick had been friends since they were little, and to her it looked as though they would be friends for many years to come.

But then things started to change.

When Stoick turned 20, he started his training to become the future chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe. Once his father passed away or once Stoick was married, the responsibilities would fall to him. He wasn’t sure why exactly, but Alvin started acting differently after that. But at the same time, Stoick met Gobber.

Gobber was couple of years older than Stoick and a bit larger, he was the son of the tribe’s blacksmith. He had shoulder length blond hair and dull green eyes. His tunic was a greyish green and was often stained with soot and grease from his work in the forge, his leggings were dark blue and his boots were stained black, he also wore a vest made of strong leather. It quickly became known that Gobber had this strange ability to calm those around him, and with Stoick’s chiefdom looming over him, Gobber was a great friend to have.

But a few years later, a dragon attack changed everything.

Stoick had been 23 at the time, and it was his first real chance to prove himself as a chief. As his father ran to help fight off the dragons, he’d put Stoick in charge of protecting the storage building. Stoick commanded the Vikings to each and every building, and he’d charged the grand hall to Valka, Alvin and Gobber, he knew they could handle it.

They fought for what felt like hours, the dragons coming thick and fast. But thankfully they only ended up taking half a dozen sheep and a yak, they’d had worse raids. But just as the final dragons were leaving, Stoick heard a loud cry of pain from the grand hall. By the time he got close, he found Valka on the steps, he knees drawn to her chest and breathing deeply.

He’d seen her in this position before, after coming into contact with blood, it was her way of calming her stomach. “Val, are you okay?” Stoick asked worriedly.

Valka shook her head, “B-Blood...” Stoick looked her over trying to find an injury, but it wasn’t herself she was referring to. “G...Gobber...”

Stoick followed her gaze up the steps towards the entrance to the grand hall, where a small crowd had formed. “Stay here,” He told Valka. She nodded and watched as Stoick rushed up the steps and pushed his way through the crowd.

Gobber was half leaning against the side of the great hall, his father kneeling to his right, with another Viking to his left. The other Viking was wrapping a leather cord around Gobber’s left arm... or at least... what remained of his left arm.

There was nothing after his elbow, just blood and jagged bone, no wonder Valka had looked so pale. The cord was tightened to prevent any more blood loss, then Gobber was carried away to the healer’s hut. Stoick was shocked still for a little while, before he turned and rushed back to Valka.

“What happened? Where in Odin’s name is Alvin?” He asked, only just realising that the other Viking was nowhere to be seen.

It’s was then that Alvin returned. “Ah, Stoick there you are. Yer’ missed a great fight, Ah’ beat that dragon off the island single ‘anded.” He broke into a loud laughter.

Stoick was furious, Alvin had abandoned his friends to go off and fight a dragon on his own. But before Stoick could do anything, Valka leapt forward with fire in her eyes, she grabbed Alvin’s tunic and yelled at him furiously. “Where were you!? You were supposed to stay with us! Gobber needed you to watch his back while I helped put out the fires, so where in Thor’s name were you!?”

Stoick had never seen Valka this angry before, but it was understandable. He took a deep breath and walked over to Valka, he gently pulled her hands off of Alvin. Then Stoick turned to him, “Alvin, there will be consequences for your actions.”

“What? Ah’ just chased a dragon off our island, what are you gettin’ so upset up about?” Alvin asked annoyed.

“You were supposed to stay with your group, you disobeyed a direct order.” Stoick said sternly.

Alvin’s expression turned from surprise into hatred as he locked eyes with Stoick, “Watch it, Stoick. Yer not chief yet.”

Not wanting this to go any further, Valka gripped Stoick’s arm and quickly started pulling him away. Alvin huffed and stormed off, while Valka and Stoick walked towards the healer’s hut to check on Gobber.

Gobber ended up losing his lower left arm, but he was more concerned with his missing front tooth, fearing he’d swallowed it. He would be in pain for a long while, but he’d live. After a few days Gobber had a new wooden limb attached to his left arm, and a small stone where his tooth had been. But strangely, the experience hadn’t dampened his cheery disposition, if anything, he was just excited about what kind of weapons he could equip to his new prosthetic.

It wasn’t long after this that Gobber lost his right leg as well, but that still didn’t stop him. He still insisted on fighting by Stoick’s side and continuing his trade as a blacksmith, Stoick wanted to argue but he knew nothing he said would stop Gobber once he had his mind set on something. But every time Stoick looked at Gobber’s arm, he couldn’t help thinking about Alvin. Their relationship was never the same after the incident, safe to say they were no longer friends at least.

Alvin hadn’t showed up to Stoick’s chiefdom ceremony, or his and Valka’s wedding. Stoick saw him every now and again, and they did talk a little, but it wasn’t the same. Alvin seemed to be jealous of Stoicks and constantly spoke against him, it wasn’t long before rumours started to spread, rumours that Alvin planned on challenging Stoick for the title of chief. But it never happened.

Stoick couldn’t just forget their friendship, he decided to give Alvin another chance. He needed all the help he could get now anyway.

Valka was pregnant.

It was both terrifying and fascinating to watch Valka’s body go through such changes, there were times when Stoick became a nervous wreck over her health. But she was tough, and despite the five month bulge she now sported, she still insisted on fighting alongside her husband. Again Stoick wanted to argue, but he knew nothing would change Val’s mind once it was made up. He still insisted that she have a bodyguard at least, and since Gobber was busy fixing weapons in the forge, the responsibility fell to Alvin.

But during another dragon raid, Alvin allowed himself to get carried away once again.

Since he was chief now, Stoick had to watch over the entire village, he eventually lost sight of Valka and Alvin. This time, the raid was one of the worst they’d ever experienced. Most of their livestock had been taken and many houses were destroyed, there were also many injured. As the last dragon flew away into the distance, Stoick was shocked to see Alvin on the beach, yelling after the dragons like a madman.

“Get back ‘ere you filthy beast! Is that the best you got!?” As Stoick got closer, Alvin gave a manic laugh before finally turning.

“Alvin, what are you doing here? Where’s Val?” Stoick asked worriedly.

“Valka? She’s... well... she’s...”But Alvin didn’t have an answer.

They both knew that Alvin had once again disobeyed orders, he had abandoned Valka to chase after dragons. Stoick would have beaten Alvin to a pulp then and there, if it wasn’t for his desperate need to find his pregnant wife. Instead he turned and ran back to the village, telling as many people as he could that Valka was missing. He and Gobber searched the hardest, all around the village until they eventually came across a small ravine at the edge of the forest. At the bottom, they found Valka.

Her breathing was shaky and she was clawing at her stomach in pain, there was so much blood. Stoick quickly climbed down and wrapped his arms around her protectively, once they were out Stoick ran nonstop to their home while Gobber ran to find the healer.

Thankfully Valka survived. But she and Stoick lost their baby.

As it turned out, when the raid started, Alvin had been doing his job. He and Valka had fought back to back against the dragons, but then two Deadly Nadders showed up, and once again Alvin felt the overwhelming urge to prove himself. He had shoved Valka out of the way and chased after the two dragons, not even sparing her a glance back. Had he done so, he would have seen her fall a long way to the bottom of the ravine.

Needless to say, when news of this came to life, a shared feeling of grief spread through the village. The vote to banish Alvin had been unanimous, he was given the title of Treacherous and shipped to Outcast Island.

But even with Alvin gone, Valka and Stoick still suffered. The village tried to be there for them, but while Stoick tried to stay strong, Valka locked herself away in their bedroom. As often as he could manage, Stoick would bring her food and try to talk to her, she gave signs that she was alive but didn’t leave the room or even open the door.

She felt so empty. The tiny life that had been growing inside of her for the past five months, had been ripped away in just a few painful second, leaving only a deep hole of despair. She had often imagined what the child would look like, would it be a girl or a boy? Would they look more like Stoick or her? Or maybe they’d be a perfect mix of the two of them. But no matter what they looked like, she would have loved them with all her heart. But now her heat was crushed and all her joy along with it, there was only darkness now. After so long of being locked away from view in that gloomy room, Valka considered going to Valhalla herself. Maybe there she could meet her child.

But then a knock sounded, and snapped her from her suicidal thoughts.

“Val? I brought you some food. I’m sorry I had to leave for a few hours.” She heard a tray being set down outside the door, and then the heavy sound of Stoick sitting and leaning against the wall. “The whole village is asking about you, they miss you... I miss you...” He admitted quietly.

Valka’s heart broke at the sound of her husband, tears starting to fall from her eyes. How could she be so selfish? She wasn’t the only one suffering. Stoick had also lost their baby, and then she had separated herself from him as well. He must be so lonely. How could she have thought for a moment the dying was an acceptable idea? There were people here who needed her.

After a week of being closed off from the world, Valka finally opened the door.

Stoick had sat there in shock and just staring at her for a few seconds, before the two of them embraced tightly, refusing to let go. Their loss still hurt, but at least now they had each other again.

The village was so relieved to see Valka alive and well, almost everyone rushed over to her when she stepped outside, all of them asking how she was and telling her how glad they were to see her. The village had its ray of sunshine back.

Over the next 5 years, everything finally started to get back to normal. Then Valka fell pregnant again. This time however, she was much more careful, almost paranoid about doing anything to possibly harm the baby. But everything progressed as normal.

A small bump started to form, and with it Valka started developing morning sickness and fatigue. After five months, she felt the baby kick for the first time, of course the first thing she’d done was scream for Stoick to come feel. Stoick gently placed his large hand on the side of Valka’s stomach, and when he felt the small vibrations of tiny feet, his heart jump with joy. But for a moment, there was a shared feeling of sadness between the two of them, as they remembered the first time they’d felt the tiny kicks of their baby. But then they looked at each other, silently promising that this time would be different.

During the next few months, Valka continued to get bigger and more uncomfortable, her moods started to swing wildly, from happy and cheerful one moment, to miserable and violent the next. Stoick could honestly say he’d never been more terrified in all his life.

And then the day of the birth came upon them, almost three weeks early.

Valka had just been visiting her sister, Cecilia, when it happened, a tightening in her stomach caused her breath to hitch, and a slight panic set in.

She had been rushed home, and Gothi and Phlegma had been summoned.

Stoick had been asked to wait outside, he could do nothing but wait as his wife wailed and pushed in the other room. For hours he waited, pacing back and forth, and praying to every god and goddess he could think of that his wife and child would be alright. He was thankful Gobber was there to keep him somewhat sane, and to stop him from breaking the door down.

Then a shrill cry sounded.

A baby’s cry.

Gothi finally opened the door and allowed Stoick to enter. He quickly rushed in, but then stopped dead at the sight in front of him.

“It’s okay. She’s alright.” Valka smiled softly and gestured for him to come closer.

Stoick couldn’t speak. He slowly made his way over to where Valka lay, holding a bundled baby girl in her arms.

She was so small, Stoick could practically fit her in one hand. She was the most beautiful thing Stoick had ever seen, he almost cried.

Then it came time to name her. Had she been a boy, they would have called her Hiccup after Stoick’s great grandfather, since she was so small. But for a girl...

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

Everyone gathered in the great hall and waited for the announcement. The baby was quite early, were the mother and child alright? And if they were, was the child a boy or a girl?

Then Stoick entered, and raised his fist to call silence. “My tribe... Both Valka and the child are well.” A wave of relief washed over everyone, but then they held their breaths as Valka entered carrying a small bundle. “May I present, my daughter and heir... Hicca!”

A great cheer rang out, and everyone celebrated the birth of their heiress.

>>>End Flash Back<<<

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

Stoick was snapped out of his memories when a heavy hand landed on his shoulder, he hadn’t even realised he’d fallen asleep.

He looked around quickly, and found Phlegma standing at his side. Toothless was still under Hicca’s hammock, and was looking up at Stoick with large eyes. Stoick looked over to his daughter to find her still resting, she was still breathing but hadn’t moved since he’d last laid eyes on her.

“Stoick?” Phlegma sounded concerned, “We’ve reached Berk.”

Stoick nodded and stood slowly, he gently lifted Hicca into his arms with the blanket wrapped around her. She made a small groan, but didn’t move anymore after that. Stoick then carried her off the ship and back to their home, Toothless at his heels the entire time.


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