That night, Hicca had a dream.
She was standing on a beach, but it wasn’t one she’d ever seen before. Hicca started looking round the beach but as she turned, her eyes could only widen at the person in front of her.
It was Skadi.
“Skadi! Is it really you!? Are you alright!? I thought you were-” Hicca was relieved to see Skadi unharmed, but the goddess held up her hand to stop the girl’s frantic questions. It was then that Hicca really looked at Skadi, her eyes weren’t glowing and she looked slightly sad, Hicca could also see right through her, as if she were a ghost. It was obvious that they were no longer connected. Skadi was probably using most of her strength to create a link to Hicca, there wasn’t enough energy left for her to speak or make herself more visible.
But she was still here, which means she was trying to tell Hicca something.
“Skadi, I don’t know what to do. Dagur and Loki will be at our shores in 3 days, please... tell me what I should do?”
Skadi turned and pointed up the beach to a grassy plain. Hicca was then able to get a better look at her surroundings, the island was small, no mountains and a handful of trees in a wide circle. In the centre of the tree ring was a grand looking stone statue, the stone had been expertly chiselled into the shape of tree dragons locked in combat, just in front of the stone dragons was a headstone. This was a grave. But who did the grand grave belong to?
Hicca stepped closer, she knelt in front of the headstone and read ruins on the stone.
‘In memory of the very first Viking. Varan the Brave’
Hicca fell back with a gasp. This was Varan Island, the final resting place of Varan the Brave. Slowly Hicca turned back to the goddess, “Skadi... Do you need me to come to this island?” Skadi nodded. “Then what? What do I do here?”
Skadi slowly turned towards the grave and looked up at the stone dragons, then she did something unexpected. Hicca watched as Skadi closed her eyes and bowed her head, she brought her hands together in front of her, she was... praying.
“Pray? But who-” But before Hicca could ask, there was a blinding light and Hicca was thrown backwards, and out of the dream.
The first thing Hicca became aware of was a large dragon head resting on her stomach. As Hicca became more aware of her surroundings, it became obvious that Toothless must have also been having a weird dream last night. He was lying half-on half-off the bed, with one of his wings stretched wide across the room, and his head lying on Hicca’s stomach with his tongue hanging out. He looked like a lazing dog, but Hicca knew how to wake him.
“Toothless? Do you want to go flying?” She said it quietly, but Toothless’s eye’s shot open. He was instantly awake at the promise of a flight.
Hicca knew her father was already worried about her, so unlike the other times she gone out early for a flight, she wrote a note for her father saying she’d be back in a little while. She left the note on her bedroom door in case he came to check on her, then she and Toothless set off.
In the sky over Berk, Hicca and Toothless were flying in gentle circles over the forest. Unlike their previous flights, this was slow and scenic, instead of an acrobatic adrenaline rush to wake themselves up. The last time they’d flown was before Hicca went missing, the flight where they’d spotted the Berserker ship. Hicca took the time to think back everything that’d happened and everything she’d learnt.
The day she’d found the map amongst some old pottery, she had no clue it would lead to her fusing with a god, Toothless being poisoned, Dagur kidnapping her, being tortured and almost rapped, and now her tribe being in danger. The whole reason Dagur had gotten involved, was because he knew Hicca could decipher the clues, if Hicca had just thrown the map away to begin with, then none of this would have happened. But she couldn’t change any of that now. She had to focus on a plan.
If only Skadi was still here, at least with a god on their side, they would have a fighting chance. As she thought of the goddess, she suddenly remembered the dream last night. How on earth had she forgotten about it?
But one thing was clear. She had to get to Varan Island.
She turned Toothless around and the two started heading back towards their home.
Stoick slept well last night, he was still slightly on edge, but having his daughter back where she belonged, made him much more relaxed.
As he exited his room, he was about to go upstairs to check on Hicca, but some rustling from down stairs made him turn. He found his daughter and her dragon at the main table, a handful maps scattered around them, Hicca seemed to be searching over each and every one of them, looking for something
“Hicca? What are you doing?” Stoick asked curiously.
“I had a dream last night, it was a message from Skadi.”
That got Stoicks attention, he quickly made his way down the remaining steps and stood next to Hicca. “What happened? What did she say?”
“She could say anything, we’re not connected anymore, so it must have taken a lot of power to just to form a link into my dreams. But she was able to communicate some things.”
“Varan Island,” Hicca answered as she finally found said Island on the map. “If I can get there, then I might be able to call on Skadi again.”
Stoick looked over her shoulder at the small island in the centre of the map. Varan island was at the very heart of the archipelago, and the 7 main tribes were on the largest islands surrounding the sacred grave. “You think something’s there?”
“I don’t know, but there might be a way for me to contact Skadi.”
“But why there of all places?” Stoick wondered aloud.
“Well... Varan was the first person to use the Valhalla Crystal, maybe there’s something about his final resting place that gives the island a stronger connection to the gods.” Hicca thought for a little while longer and studied the map, before making her decision. “It’ll take a day to fly there, I have to get going now.”
Hicca rolled up the map and grabbed her satchel from the chair, but as she started heading towards the door, Stoick was suddenly in front of her, blocking her path. “Whoa, wait a second. Just where do you think you’re going all of a sudden?” He said in an almost stereotypical fatherly tone.
“If there’s a chance I can get in contact with Skadi, then I have to try,” Hicca argued.
“Not without a plan,” Her father said sternly. He had only just gotten her back, he wasn’t about to just let her go without knowing exactly what was going on. “What are you going to do when you get to the island?”
Hicca knew the answer, but that didn’t stop it from sounding any less vague. “Pray.”
Needless to say, Stoick was utterly confused. “Pray? You honestly think praying will stop Loki!?”
“That’s what Skadi told me to do, if there’s even a chance it’ll help us fight Dagur, then I plan on taking it. I’m not giving up,” Hicca wasn’t sure when she started raising her voice, she was just desperate to get to Skadi. “Skadi wouldn’t have contacted me for no reason, I trust her, and I need her help if we’re going to take Dagur down. I’m not going to let him get away with everything he’s done, not just to me, but defeating Skadi, and threatening our tribe as well.”
Stoick was a little concerned about Hicca sudden outburst, she didn’t seem to be acting like herself. But given everything she’s been though, it was understandable. He took a breath before choosing his words. “If you really believe that going to this island can help our chances against Dagur and his god, then I want you to at least take the other dragon riders with you. The rest of us will hold Dagur off as long as possible until you return.”
He knew that against her determination, there was nothing he could do to stop her. He stepped aside to allow Toothless and Hicca to start heading towards the door again, but as Hicca passed him, Stoick placed a hand on her shoulder. “Just be careful, you don’t know what’s on that island. Also, if something goes wrong... then you and the other riders need to forget about us, and get as far away from Berk as you can.”
“What!? No, I-”
“Hicca!” Stoick yelled to get her attention. “I don’t want you getting hurt anymore. Promise me, if something goes wrong and you can’t get a hold of Skadi, then you and the other dragon riders need to get somewhere safe.”
The heavy conversation was silence for a while, even Toothless stood back and looked nervously between the two humans.
“That’s not a promise I can make.”
“This isn’t just about us,” Hicca interrupted. “If we don’t stop Dagur and Loki here, then Ragnarok won’t just fall on us, the entire archipelago, and even the lands beyond, will all be at risk. I don’t want any more people get hurt.”
Stoicks eyes started to widen slowly. Even after everything she’d been through, she wasn’t just fighting for herself. By the look on her face, Stoick new she would succeed, his still young daughter... really would save everyone. Stoick couldn’t be more proud and thankfully.
He pulled his daughter into a tight hug and wished her luck, then patted Toothless on the head and shared a look, Toothless was promising to keep her safe. Hicca and Toothless were just about to run out the door to find the other teens, when she suddenly thought of something. She ran back upstairs and grabbed the fur jacket Snotlout had given her, she hadn’t gotten the chance to give it back to him last time he was here, she tucked it into her satchel and set off with Toothless.
Since her cousin’s house was closest, Hicca decided to start there.
She knocked on the door and soon her aunt Cecilia answered. She was quite a plump woman with light brown hair tied into a tight bun, she was very sweet, but could also be very stubborn. She was Valka’s older sister, and often visited Hicca after Val disappeared, she was one of the few people who didn’t treat Hicca as an outcast when she was younger.
“Hicca, good morning dear.” Despite the looming Ragnarok, Cecilia greeted Hicca with a smile, and the baby nightmare on her shoulders also gave a chirp in greeting.
“Good morning aunty, is Snotlout up yet?”
“I doubt it, if his dragon is still asleep then he is as well, you know how lazy my boy is.” Although she sounded annoyed, she also said it with a smile, as she gestured to the side of the building towards a small shed.
Hicca looked around the side of the building and saw Hookfang lazing on his side, almost taking up the entire space of the shed, smoke pluming from his nostrils every now and then as he snored.
“I’ve already tried waking Snotlout up, you’re welcome to give it a go if you think you can do it.” Cecilia stepped to the side and allowed Hicca to entre.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Hicca said and started trudging up the stairs as Toothless waited outside for her.
“By the way...” Hicca stopped on the stairs and turned back to aunt, she looked a little worried. “How are you feeling today?”
Hicca knew she was being subtle, and it was very sweet of her to worry. Hicca decided to be honest with her aunt, “I’m trying not to think about everything that’s happened, right now I’m just focusing on the mission to defeat Dagur, which is why I’m gathering the riders.”
Cecilia gave her a small nod, and Hicca carried on up the stairs to her cousin’s room.
Snotlout wasn’t happy about being woken up, but the knock on the door was different to either of his parents. He was barely awake, but soon recognised Hicca’s voice.
“Snotlout, are you awake?”
He gave a groan and rolled over, he was still tired, but that wasn’t the only reason he didn’t want to answer. He honestly felt a little awkward around Hicca.
For years he’d bullied and teased her for being a weak little girl, and most people agreed with him, there were even those who thought Snotlout would become the next chief instead of her. But then Hicca had changed. She was still small, sarcastic and could barely lift a sword, but then she suddenly become confident and courageous. She became the best dragon trainer and a brave Viking, and someone worthy of being chief. He wasn’t sure when it happened... but she surpassed him.
He was still stronger, but Hicca was intelligent, brave, understanding, protective, respectful and open minded, and with the views of the people changing, everyone realised just how wrong they’d been. Snotlout realised it as well, but he was stubborn and would never admit it to Hicca, he instead took every opportunity to prove he was still stronger than her. But just like everything else... she now surpassed him in strength as well.
He had been shaken to his core when he thought about everything Hicca had experienced, if he had been in her position, he would have been a complete wreck. But Hicca was keeping her head, and was focused on stopping Dagur. Snotlout knew that he wouldn’t be able to do that keep going like Hicca, it really was unbelievable how she was able to keep going.
But now Snotlout wasn’t sure what to do. She had truly proven herself, and there was nothing more he could tease her about. But was he supposed to just obey her every word now? Or maybe treat her as his true superior? He hated both of those options, and he had a feeling Hicca would as well. Ever since the start of this whole ordeal, the one thing Hicca had wanted, was for everything to go back to normal, so maybe that’s what he should do. So he closed his eyes, completely ignored her, and went back to sleep.
A little while later, he was woken with bang as Hicca threw his helmet at him, at least she was careful with the horns.
“What was that for!?” He yelled groggily.
“It was the only thing I could think of,” she said with a small smile.
“What are you doing here anyway?” He asked. He placed his helmet on top of his shaggy hair, and finally turned to look at her.
Her hair was still short and ragged, and for some reason her eyes looked much older, not as shiny as they normally looked, she also had a couple of bandages wrapped across her nose. Aside from that, she wore her normal clothes, and stood with her hands on her hips. Her smile faded into a serious look, “We have a mission.” That got his attention, he quickly turned to face her, “We might have a way of defeating Dagur, but it’s all the way on Varan Island.”
“Varan Island, but that’s ages away!”
“That’s why we need to gather the other riders and get moving,” Hicca finished as she started moving towards the door.
Snotlout quickly swung his legs out of the bed and put his boots on, but as he reached for the bed post, where he usually kept his jacket, he found Hicca holding it out for him instead.
“I didn’t get a chance to thank you yet,” She said as he took his jacket from her. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d probably still be stuck in that dungeon, so... thank you.”
Hicca and Snotlout both blushed at the awkward situation, “Well... You know... We’re family, so... you’re welcome.”
Hicca smiled and exited the room, Snotlout followed close behind as they made their way down stairs.
“Oh, so are still alive.” Cecilia said sarcastically as the two reached the bottom of the stairs, causing Hicca to give a small giggle, Snotlout just gave a grumble in return.
“Thanks for your help, aunty.” Hicca gave her aunt a smile, before walking out o find Toothless, Snotlout following to see Hookfang. As they walked round the side of the house to the shed, it seemed that Toothless had been successful in waking the large Nightmare, although they weren’t sure why Hookfang was covered in hay.
They then split up, while Hicca went to find Fishlegs and Astrid, Snotlout went to get Ruffnut and Tuffnut. When they then all met up with their dragons in the plaza, Hicca unfurled the map, she found Varan Island and pointed to it.
“This is where we’re heading.”
Fishlegs was the first to read the name, “But isn’t that-”
Ruff and Tuff finished, “Varan Island!” The twins almost fell over each other, both trying to get a better look at the map.
“Skadi said he was the first ever Viking.”
“I bet he’s really strong.”
“Do you think we can meet him?”
Hicca gave a small sigh and Tuffnut’s last comment, “I doubt it, it’s his grave we’re going to.”
“Why? What are we going to find there?” Astrid asked.
“I had a vision from Skadi, she wasn’t able to tell me much, but she made it clear that we need to go there.” Hicca said as she rolled up the map and stuffed it into her satchel.
“Did she say what to do once we got there?” Snotlout asked, already sitting on top of Hookfang.
Hicca paused for a moment, “She did... but she wasn’t able to tell me everything. But it’ll take an entire day to fly there, so we need to leave now, we’ll have to deal with it when we land on the island.”
With that, the dragon riders mounted up and took off.In a day’s time, they would have to reach Varan Island. The day after that they’d fly back, and at sun rise the next day, Loki would be at their shores.