The next morning, Hicca woke to the thumping on her roof. She still felt a little upset over her dream, it felt a very intrusive of her to be looking into Skadi’s memories. But the connection they shared most likely went both ways, meaning that Skadi was able to see into her memories as well. She decided not to let it bother her, if anything it gave her a better insight into what kind of person Skadi was. Just like yesterday, she got ready for the day and went with Toothless for their morning flight. Toothless noticed that Hicca was definitely more relaxed than she had been yesterday, like she was finally get used to everything, and for that he was happy. They performed a few tricks in the air, enjoying the feeling of the wind whizzing past them, over his wings and through her hair.
As they soared through the clouds, Hicca thought about her dreams last night and the night before. She also thought about the meeting that would be held tonight. Based on the dreams she had, she honestly believed that Skadi was a good person. In fact, compared to some of the stories she’d heard about the other gods, Skadi seemed surprisingly normal. She was seen as violent and vengeful, but given the circumstances she was in it was understandable. She did have questions for Skadi, and she intended to ask them tonight.
The rest of the day went as normal after that. In dragon training they went over hand signals and target practice, and she then accompanied her father in the afternoon and observed as he handled some domestic disputes. She was also able to help out a little. One of the fishermen at the docks was blaming another for stealing some of his haul, Stoick tried to calm him down but the man was adamant and refused to do so until Stoick did something. It was Hicca who realised that some Terrible Terrors were taking the fish, and all because the man had forgotten to lock his baskets. The man stuttered and blushed slightly in embarrassment before hurriedly going back to his business, Hicca gave a small laugh while Stoick looked at her proudly.
Later that night, the grand hall was filled with people. Since they weren’t sure how Skadi would react to the dragons, they were not allowed inside, so Toothless and was forced to wait just outside the door. Alvin was the only person in the village who didn’t attend, it seems he didn’t feel it worth his time and went late night fishing instead. Hicca was unbelievably nervous. The villagers knew about the Valhalla Crystal, but only eight people knew that Hicca was the new vessel, and now everyone was about to be told. Would they start treating her differently? What if they acted like Fishlegs and were afraid of her? Hicca was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Gobber walking up behind her.
She jumped slightly when he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay, lass?”
“Um... not really,” she said honestly. “What if... what if they react badly?”
“Hicca,” Gobber said calmly. “These are your friends and villagers here. It’s true they tend to jump to conclusions, but they all know you, they know you would never do anything to endanger them.” Gobber patted her back reassuringly, “Now, you’re father’s about to go up there and tell everyone. Are you ready?”
Hicca took and deep breath and nodded. She and Gobber watched as Stoick took the platform, he held his hands up to draw attention and everyone gradually went silent. “I’m sure you’re all wondering why I called this meeting. Well I’ll get straight to the point, this is about the Valhalla Crystal.” There were murmurs throughout the room. The most common thing Hicca picked up on was people asking what the Valhalla Crystal was. Stoick also heard this and answered, “For those of you who don’t know, the Valhalla Crystal is a mystic artefact that allows someone to control the power of the gods.”
There were more murmurs and also some yelling, wondering why Stoick was even telling them about an old legend. Again Stoick answered, “I am telling you all this, because the legends are not just legends... We have found the crystal.”
More yelling began. “What!?” “Where is it now!?” “Shouldn’t it have been destroyed!?” “What happened to it!?”
The shouting was getting louder by the second, Stoick raised his hands again and order was slowly restored. He gave a quick look to Hicca, silently asking if it was okay for him to tell everyone, she gave a nod and he turned back to the crowd. “The crystal is now inside of my daughter,” he said simply. “She is now in control of its power.”
There was a pause as everyone turned from the stage to Hicca. She was looking at the ground just waiting for someone to say something, even the other teens at the back of the room stopped and waited.
Then everyone flooded Hicca, they crowded her and started yelling questions. Hicca tried to answer, “W-Well... I just... it’s not that... p-please just... wait a second.” Hicca tried to back up and give herself some more room, but every time she took one step back the crowd took two forward. Thank goodness for Gobber.
“Alright, alright! Back up the lot of ya’ and give the girl some room to breathe!” Gobber bellowed as he stood in front of Hicca and waved him mace arm threateningly in the air. Gobber, Stoick and Hicca all breathed a sigh of relief as everyone quieted down and backed up slightly. Stoick then gestured her to come onto the platform, Hicca collected herself and started walking towards her father.
As she walked towards the stage, she could practically hear her heat beating in her throat. Stoick pulled her to one side and whispered to her gently. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m just... What if something goes wrong? What if they don’t trust me anymore? What if Skadi does something?” She was whispering and panicking slightly at the same time.
“Hicca, calm down,” he said as he rubbed her back calmly. “It’ll all be alright.”
His confidence somehow calmed her instantly. She look out over the crowd and took one last calming breath, she then turned back to her father. “You might want to stand back a bit”
Stoick allowed Hicca some room as she remained standing slightly off centre on the platform. She closed her eyes and thought about Skadi, trying to find a glimpse of Skadi inside her own soul. Right there, at the back of her mind, she found a small spark of ice. That was Skadi. Then, barely above a whisper, she spoke to her. “Skadi... help me.”
There was a flash and Hicca was gone in a blinding light. Most of the people started to panic, Gobber and Stoick even more so, the only ones who were acting somewhat calm were the other dragon riders. They’d seen this before, it didn’t seem as violent as the first time, but the swirl of light and colours and the ever shifting form was just as impressive as they remembered.
And then, just like before, the energy was gone just as quickly as it came. There on the stage stood Skadi. With her shining black armour, flowing white hair, and swords ready at her sides. She stood still for a moment before her eyes open, her emotionless glowing eyes look over the crowd. She was completely unlike Hicca and the look alone unnerved them, but no one made a move. Then Skadi slowly turn to look at Stoick, as she did so, the swords at her sides twitched slightly. The teens watched for what felt like ages, a small part of them worried that something may have gone wrong and that Skadi was about to make use of her swords.
But then Skadi’s expression turned into one of annoyance. She crossed her arms over her chest and gave a sigh, then she spoke, her voice sounding bored with its usual undertone of whispers. “So, Chief Stoick, I hear you have some questions for me.”
Stoick collected himself and stood strong in front of his people. “Indeed, are you really the Goddess Skadi?”
Skadi rolled her eyes. “I am, or where the glowing eyes and white hair not a big enough of a giveaway that I’m not exactly human?” Her rude response was enough to convinced Stoick that the person standing in front of them was definitely not his daughter. This wasn’t even a human.
“Why are you here?” Stoick asked.
“Why?” Skadi looked confused for a second before shrugging. “I honestly don’t know. When someone takes control of the Valhalla Crystal, a god is assigned to them, simple as that. I used to think they were picked randomly, but now... I’m starting to think that there is a method to choosing them.”
“And just what is it? Why were you chosen for my daughter?”
There was another pause before Skadi answered. “Simply put... When a god is summoned through the Valhalla Crystal, they give something to the person they’re attached to. Sometimes it’s strength, or wisdom, or courage. In this case though, I’m simply here because she needs me.”
It was a short and sweet response, but it did nothing to answer Stoicks question. “What? How does my daughter need you?”
Skadi sighed again. “Even I don’t know the full details, it’s just the answer I was given when I asked. But by the looks of it this girl wants nothing to do with me. Normal when a human has this much power at their disposal, they don’t hide it away, they make use of it. I’ve seen into the girls memories, she may not be very strong but she’s more than capable of handling herself. I honestly don’t know the real reason why someone like me was chosen for her.”
Skadi’s honest answer seemed to calm everyone. She may be powerful, but she was also sensible and had no ill will towards humans. But just to make sure, Stoick asked her. “Do you have any other intentions here?”
Again Skadi’s answer was straight forward and honest. “Nope, I’m just supposed to do whatever the girl tells me to.”
Suddenly Astrid’s voice was heard from the back of the room, “Hicca!” Skadi, Stoick and many other people turned to her, but Astrid stood firm. “Her name is Hicca, not ‘that girl’.”
Skadi paused and looked at Astrid with calculating eyes, everyone else looked back and forth between the two nervously. Then Skadi sighed again, “Fine, I’m just supposed to do whatever... Hicca... tells me to.” She gave Astrid a look before turnings back to Stoick. “When Hicca summons me it has to be with a purpose, the first time she wanted to protect her friends and get rid of that mad man, and this time she just wanted me to answer your questions. It’s an odd request, but if she doesn’t ask me for something then there’s nothing I can do to intervene.”
Stoick nodded. He didn’t have any more questions personally, so he turned to the rest of the room. “Does anyone else have any questions?”
There was silence for a little while. But then Fishlegs raised his shaking hand. “Um, well... w-what do you do while Hicca’s in control? Are you inside her body or... somewhere else?”
Skadi turned her head to the side slightly and thought for a moment. “Hmm... I guess it’s a bit of both. I’m conscious of what Hicca is doing when she’s in control, so I know when she needs me. But at the same time I’m somewhere else, a place where I can see into her memories and know about her relationships with others. She’s able to do the same when I’m in control, but she’s not used to the transfer between us yet. She can only views my memories in her dreams, and she is somewhat conscious of my actions when I’m here.”
“So you’re aware of the dragons then?” Gobber asked.
“I am. I remember hunting them when they were on my mountain, it was quite a surprised to find them so domesticated here. I‘m very impressed that Hicca is the one responsible for it. She’s a very interesting girl...” Skadi features relaxed as she trailed off, as if she was recalling a distant memory.
“Hey, hey, I got one!” Snotlout yelled while standing on a chair. “Who was the first god to ever be summoned by the Valhalla Crystal?”
There were several murmurs in the room, it seemed the Snotlout wasn’t the only one curious of the crystals history. “It was Odin himself of course,” Skadi answered in matter of fact tone. “He was the one who created the crystal after all.” This only caused more questioning murmurs through the room, Skadi thought for a moment before coming to her conclusion. She turned back to Stoick, “None of you know anything about the crystals origins, do you?”
“Before all this, I just thought it was a legend passed through the blood line. Could you tell us what you know? It may be useful.” Stoick asked.
Skadi sighed for a third time and walked off stage. The crowd parted as she walked to towards one of the tables and sat down, she then turned back to the crowd. “You all might want to find a seat, I’ll start from the beginning, and it might take a while.”
It took a little while, but soon all of the benches had been pulled forward around Skadi. Everyone had either found a seat or sat on the floor, the teens sat on a table not far from Skadi.
Then she began.
“As some of you may be aware, at the very start of the world, the entire archipelago was ruled by one person. The very first Viking, known as Varan the Brave, he was strong, valiant, but also fair and kind. The gods saw him and recognised that he was a great man, so they decided to reward him for his bravery. All of the gods brought forth a drop of their blood, which Odin mixed together and hardened in to a gem, that gem was the Valhalla Crystal. The gods gave the gem to Varan and said that if he ever needed help then he could summon them. For many years, Varan used the crystals power to protect his people and his land, it was because of him that Vikings are so feared today.” There was a shared look of pride around the room as Skadi said that. But Skadi’s expression then turned hard.
“However, as Varan grew older, it became harder for him to keep track of all of his land. So he split the islands between his eight children. Each offspring took charge of the group of people on their islands and became the first chiefs of the eight main tribes in the archipelago. The Hairy Hooligans, the Hysteric tribe, the Meatheads, the Bashem Oiks, the Hysterias, the Berserker tribe, the Bog-Burglars and the Lava Louts. All the chiefs proved to be great leaders and all of the tribes thrived, but there were still some people who wanted the crystals power. Throughout most of his late life, Varan was constantly targeted by people wanting the crystal, thankfully he was protected by its power and couldn’t be killed in battle. But his experience made him realise that after he passer on, the crystal might fall into the wrong hands. So he made a deal with the gods, and they gods agreed to alter the crystal so that only those who shared the Varan’s bloodline could use its power”
“What’s a bloodline?” Snotlout called out.
“It’s where you share the same blood as your parents and ancestors” Skadi answered. “Of course this still meant that any of Varan’s eight children could still use the crystal, and so could any other their offspring, and so on. Needless to say, when Varan finally passed away and the crystal was released, the eight tribes fought over it. For centuries the crystal was stolen from tribe to tribe, the stories of its power passed down through the generations. Last I heard, the crystal fell into the hands of Grimbeard the Ghastly, chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe.” Skadi glanced over her shoulder to where the painted shields hung on the wall, Skadi saw the portrait of Hicca and Stoick, and 3 shields to the left was the painting of Grimbeard and his son Hiccup.
“That’s him there,” Skadi said gesturing to the painting. “Not a bad rendition I must say.” She then turned back to Stoick, “You probably know more about what happened after that.”
Stoick nodded, “My great grandfather knew that the crystal might fall into the wrong hands. So he had his son, my grandfather, hide it.”
“And then your daughter found it, and the story continues.” Skadi and everyone else in the room went quiet after that. Then the silence was broken by Tuffnut and Ruffnut, they both raised their hands and jumped around excitedly.
“Oh, oh! We finally thought of a question.”
“Can you show us your ice powers again?”
“Yeah, can you?” both twins finished and look at Skadi with wide eyes.
Skadi looked surprised. Their childish enthusiasm was quite a turn from the seriousness of the story. But then a sly smile over took her face, she pulled a hand behind her back casually. “Oh, you want to see that again?” The twins nodded impatiently. From just behind Skadi, Stoick could see blue lights swirly around her hand, from the energy two apple sized snow balls formed. He glanced at Skadi in surprise, it seemed as though this cool and collected woman had a playful side too.
Suddenly Skadi threw her hand forward towards the twins. The snowballs shot forward and hit the two directly in the faces, the two fell back in surprise before bursting out into laughter. The other teens and Gobber soon joined them and eventually most of the crowd were laughing as well. The rest of the villagers were smiling in relief, now that they knew the Goddess in front of them was not a danger to them.
Skadi turned back to Stoick with a smile, “I’ve decided,” she said to him as they listened to the crowd laugh and cheer happily. “These people aren’t as I imagined and they interest me. As long as Hicca allows me, I’ll protect them with all my power.”
Stoick looked at her for a moment, then he smiled and nodded. “Thank you, but there is one more thing I’d like you to do,” he added quietly.
“What is it?”
Stoick looked at her, and with the room stilled filled with sounds of joy, he whispered something that only she could hear. “Please protect my daughter.”
Skadi looked at him and frowned slight. “By all means, if she needs me to protect her I’ll be there. But there is a problem.”
“What is it?”
“I can only be there when she summons me. But from what I’ve observe, Hicca doesn’t like asking for help for herself. It’s possible that if she’s in trouble she’ll try and handle on her own, I won’t be able to do anything but watch if she chooses to do so.” Skadi didn’t look at Stoick as she told him this, she looked out over the crowd instead.
Hicca was willing to die for them but wouldn’t lift a finger to help herself. Skadi thought for a little longer.If there was ever a time when Hicca needed her but refused to call on her... was there really nothing she could do?