The Valhalla Crystal

Taken

Stoick didn’t get back till late that night. He had to watch over several different groups of workers building new houses, dragon feeding units and a new watchtower on the other side of the island. He also had to break up a fight at the grand hall, and it was the worst kind of fight, one between and mother and daughter, even he had found it a little terrifying. But that was how families were sometimes, he and Hicca were a prime example of how things can go from fine on minute to a yelling match the next. It was in times like those that Stoick really wished that Valka was here, she would be so much better at handling this.

Hicca had gotten all of Valka’s good qualities. They were both passionate and always did their best regardless of what people thought of them, in truth, Valka’s obsession with dragons had caused her to be regarded as weird when they were children. And yet it was that same passion that made Stoick fall in love with her. He did miss her, the worst part was that he didn’t even know where she was right now. He refused to think that she was dead, but he knew one thing for sure... Valka was missing their daughter grow up.

Unfortunately all this thinking made his head pound, he had already been on the verge of a headache when he arrived home, and now he was heading into the kitchen to grab an ice block for his head. Things had been much easier when he had Thornado, but his dragon was long gone, looking after the younger of his species, letting him go had been the right thing to do. As he thought of his former companion he remembered Toothless was upstairs and decided to go check on him.

He was surprised to find the dragon on his own and still resting, it was already late and Hicca didn’t do much without Toothless, but she could still just be at the forge or maybe visiting one of her friends. Stoick walked over and patted Toothless on the head, the dragon gave a low gurgle and opened his eyes tiredly, he tried to focus on Stoick but soon gave up and covered his eyes with his paws as dizziness over took him.

“It’s okay boy, just take it easy,” Stoick patted Toothless again. The Dragon looked up again, looking round the room before burbling in question, Stoick guessed he was looking for his rider, “Hicca’s not here right now, but don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be here when you wake up.”

The dragon seemed to nod before allowing sleep to overtake him again. Stoick said it to reassure both the dragon and himself, but it was starting to worry him, normally Hicca would be here watching over Toothless as he slept, just as he had done for her. But maybe she was just busy, she has a lot of responsibilities after all, she’d definitely be back later. In the mean time Stoick decided to take his lead from Toothless and head to bed, he also prayed to the gods that his headache would be gone by morning.

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Alvin had his doubts about teaming up with Dagur again, but when the man young man had mentioned his island and regaining his men, he at least decided to hear him out.

It had all started just after Hicca first gained her powers. She had scared Dagur out of the cavern but not off the island, and Hicca’s friends had been too worried about her to check that Dagur was gone, he had circled around the village and avoided the dragons until he found Alvin’s rundown home. As Alvin listened to the boys plan, he became more and more intrigued with the end result. Dagur’s main goal was to get the crystal and become a god, he’d have no need for soldiers or islands so Alvin could have those. Dagur planned on travelling to the far reaches of the archipelago and taking over all the new lands, taking its treasures and becoming a god of the new words he invaded.

Alvin knew that Dagur was mad, but taking over the lands beyond the archipelago... it was unheard of. Alvin doubted that Dagur would succeed but he didn’t care, Alvin had no need for the crystal, he simply wanted power through weapons and manpower, Dagur could go off and kill himself for all he cared. They’d made plans to meet a few days later, which was luckily the day that Stoick had held the meeting to meet Hicca’s Goddess, he’d lied about going fishing in his small boat and had rowed west until he met with the Berserker ship. It was the perfect distance away from Berk, far enough away so that Berk wouldn’t think it was a direct threat, but near enough so that Alvin could get to it, deliver Hicca, and then get back to the island all in one night.

A little after sunset, Alvin headed back to his home and collected Hicca, her arms were bound to her sides and the herb infused cloth was tied around her mouth and nose, it would keep her unconscious until she reached Berserker Island. He was thankful that the new watchtower on the other side of the island wasn’t quite finished yet, if he had waited another day he would have lost his escape route, it was a long distance but Alvin was willing to do anything to get his power back. Alvin had reached the ship and signalled to them using a small lamp, they signalled back and threw down a rope ladder, Alvin picked up Hicca under his arm and started climbing.

As he climbed, one of the guards called down to him, “Did you bring the girl?”

The other Berserker soldiers standing firm ready to attack just in case, the Outcasts soldiers that had joined the Berserker tribe were hiding below deck, scared about what their former leader would do if he saw them.

Instead of answering, Alvin just threw Hicca over the railing of the ship and onto the deck in front of them, she hit the floor with a heavy thud and made a small groan in pain, “Jus’ remember t’ keep ‘er mouth covered with that cloth, if she wakes up she’ll unleash the full powers of the goddess on ya’.”

As Alvin said those words, a handful of soldiers took a step back, remembering what had happened the first time Hicca had released her goddess powers. Two soldiers stepped forward and picked up Hicca before dragging her down to the lower deck, Alvin vaguely wondered what would happen to the young girl, what was Dagur planning on doing in order to get the crystal from her? But he only thought about it for a second before shrugging.

The guard walked over to him and handed him a large bag, “What’s this?” Alvin asked cautiously.

“A token of gratitude from chief Dagur, he says that all you have to do now is wait,” the guard said. Alvin took the bag and slowly opened it, his eyes widened.

He’d heard rumours of the resources on Berserker Island, but Dagur and most of the previous chiefs were careful not to let the other tribes know about their riches. If the others realised just how bountiful the island was, then it cause even more fighting over the land. But right now Alvin realised the rumours were true... the bag was full of gold coins, Alvin took one out to examine it, it was definitely real.

Alvin smirked evilly and nodded to the soldier, “Pleasure doin’ business with ya’,” he climbed over the railing and descended the rope ladder to the small row boat bellow, then he started the long journey back to Berk.

In the lower deck of the ship, the guards left Hicca in a holding cell and locked the door. Despite being unconscious it still made some of the other men a little more comfortable to have the goddess locked away. But there were questions buzzing in the minds of several soldiers, they never said anything out loud, but they were all wondering the same thing. Was this little girl really such a threat?

They had heard of her intellect and bravery, but they had also heard that she was a peacekeeper, not a fighter. Dagur obviously wanted the crystal and he had wanted the dragons before that, but his obsession over the girl went much further back. Some of the older soldiers had seen Dagur’s infatuation going as far back as their first ever meeting.

Dagur had been eight years old when he accompanied his father to Berk for the first time, and when he first laid eyes on the young four year old girl, his first comment had been about how weak she looked. As their fathers spent the day discussing their peace treaty, Dagur had spent the rest of the day throwing rocks at her and pushing her into the mud, he’d laugh when ever she cried and only left her alone when the girls godfather came to her rescue. No one had really known why he’d done it, maybe he was just bored.

After that first meeting, Dagur was constantly asking father when he could next see Hicca. At first the old chief had been delighted with his son’s enthusiasm, it’s possible the man was already thinking about marriage. But those thoughts soon shattered as his son started listing off different ways of hurting the younger girl. Many of the soldiers used to think that Dagur was simply teasing the girl to get her attention, but as Dagur’s attempts to kill her grew more serious, those ideas were also scrapped.

None of them really knew for sure what Dagur wanted with the girl when they were little, but right now Dagur wanted the crystal. With that in mind, they made sure everything was secure and the ship raised its anchor and unfurled its sail, the mark of their tribe proudly portrayed, the sail’s soon picked up a strong western wind and set sail for Berserker Island.

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

The next morning on Berk, Stoick knew something was wrong.

He had woken up and gone into Hicca’s room to check on Toothless, but he had found the dragon up from his bed and shakily trying to make it down stairs. He looked better than yesterday but still not well enough to be up and moving around, “Whoa, hold on boy, you’re still not well enough, you need to go back to bed.” The dragon kept trying to get passed him and made deep gurgling sounds, but Stoick soon managed to herd the dragon back to his bed, “What in Thor’s name has gotten into you?” the dragon paused for a moment and nodded his head in the direction of Hicca’s bed, Stoick finally turned to it and he realised why the dragon was so determined to get out.

Hicca’s bed was untouched, she hadn’t come home last night.

Now under normal circumstances, that alone wouldn’t be that big of a deal, Hicca had spent a couple of nights at the cove with Toothless and accidently fallen asleep there before. But Toothless wasn’t with Hicca this time. His first thought was the Berserker ship they had spotted, had Dagur and his men taken his daughter in the night? But surely the watchmen would have noticed something. Berk’s security had definitely improved with the help of the dragons, they not only had watchtowers overlooking the sea, but there were also men and dragons patrolling the village at night. It would have been impossible for even one solider to sneak past the dragons.

The other dragon riders had gone out again last night to check on the ship. Surely they would have reported to him if something had happened. Hicca was most likely still on the island, where exactly was another question entirely, “Toothless, just stay here, I’ll find her.” He promised the dragon. Toothless stared at him for a moment before burbling sadly and lying back down on his bed, Stoick patted Toothless on the head and quickly headed out the door.

The first place he went to was Gobber’s forge, he found Gobber happily humming away as he hammered a sword against the anvil. “Gobber!” Stoick yelled in order to be heard over the hammering and Gobbers off tune humming.

Thankfully Gobber stopped and turned, “Ah, Stoick, what brings you ‘ere?” He asked casually.

“Have you seen Hicca at all this morning?” Stoick asked quickly.

Gobber looked confused for a moment before answering, “No, I ‘aven’t, Stoick what’s going on? Is she missing?”

“She didn’t come home last night, I’m hoping someone has seen her around, maybe she just lost track of time.”

“You really think she would leave Toothless alone for so long while ‘e’s ill?” Gobber questioned already knowing the answer.

“No, but I don’t want to think about the alternative right now,” Stoick admitted, and Gobber understood. Hicca was a magnet for trouble when it came to the dragons. She had already been kidnapped and involved in several fights, but now the crystal was involved. If Hicca had been kidnapped, then Dagur was the obvious suspect, but how on earth did Dagur get to her? There were so many questions in Stoick’s head, but he had to focus. Hopefully Hicca was still on the island, but it seemed undeniable that she was in trouble. Stoick and Gobber gathered the other riders and told them the situation.

“She’s missing!?” The twins were the first to raise their voices.

“I’m afraid so, did you see anything strange about the Berserker ship last night?” Stoick asked hopefully.

But the teens shook their heads as Snotlout answered, “It was still in the same place as last time, the crew seemed like it was a little more active, but they still didn’t make a move towards Berk while we were watching them.”

“To be honest, we were only there for a couple of hours, but if they started sailing after we headed back, they would have been here a little after sunrise,” Fishlegs answered a little nervously.

Stoick thought for a moment, completely unaware that the riders had missed Alvin’s much smaller boat on the dark waters. “The watchmen would have definitely spotted it if it arrived in the morning,” he sighed, maybe the ship really wasn’t connected. He turned back to the teens, “Did any of you see Hicca yesterday afternoon?”

Astrid answered, “She came to talk to me and Fishlegs yesterday about taking over lessons at the academy, but that was around midday.”

Gobber then piped in, “It was probably just after that when she came over to mine, she most likely went home to give Toothless the medicine after that.”

“Did she say anything about what else she needed to do yesterday?” Ruffnut asked worriedly.

“She did say she needed to go over to Alvin’s, he’s had some trouble with some terrible terrors,” Stoick said with concern. He really did want to trust Alvin again, but if it turned out he did have something to do with Hicca’s disappearance, it wouldn’t really surprise him.

Gobber instantly had a look of distrust on his face, “Why am I not surprised?” He murmured under his breath.

“Let’s not throw around blame just yet, let’s see what he has to say about his whereabouts last night,” Stoick said trying to calm his friend down.

“We’re coming too,” Astrid said practically jumping forward, but Stoick stopped her.

“Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut will, but I want you and Snotlout to check on the ship again. If it has moved at all then it’s very possible that Hicca’s been taken to Berserk island, if that happens then I want you to come back and tell me as soon as possible, understand?”

Astrid and Snotlout both nodding and mounted their dragons, then they flew west towards the ships location, the others watched them go before the five humans and two dragons made their way to Alvin’s home.

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

When they got there they soon realised that Alvin hadn’t been lying about the Terrible Terrors, there were now five of them scurrying on Alvin’s roof, Fishlegs was the first to spot something off.

“That’s quite a number of Terrors, it’s normal to see two or three in a group, but I wonder what’s attracting this many here.”

Stoick also knew something was off. It seemed as though Alvin hadn’t been lying about the Terrors, but if Hicca had been here then wouldn’t she have done something to stop them? As they reached the front door Stoick raised his fist and knocked loudly, but to their surprise the door opened with a creek.

“Did he forget to lock it or something?” Tuffnut asked from on top of Belch’s head.

Gobber’s expression turned even more suspicious, “Maybe he left in a hurry.”

As Gobber and Stoick entered the house to take a look around, Fishlegs flew Meatlug up to the roof to get a closer look. “Maybe there’s something strange about the wood that’s attracting the Terrors,” he thought out load. Just then Meatlug flew closer to the roof and sniffed heavily, “What is it girl? Do you smell something?”

Out of curiosity Barf and Belch also raised their heads, taking their riders with them. Tuffnut also took a sniff of the planks, “Eww, it smells like Ruff’s hair.”

Tuffnut laughed a little before Ruffnut punched the back of his head, but Fishlegs’s next comment made them both turn, “No, he’s right for once. I think the roof’s been coated in fish oil.”

“But why would Alvin attract Terrors to his house?” Ruffnut asked confused.

“So that he had a reason to get Hicca here,” the teens turned to see Gobber and Stoick exiting the house. They both looked worried and then the teens realized why, gripped tightly in Stoick’s large hands was Hicca’s satchel.

She had been here, and now she and Alvin were missing.

Stoick’s expression changed from worried to furious. He had truly believed his old friend had changed, and Stoick had welcomed him back onto Berk, but now Alvin’s list of crimes had increased even more so. Alvin had caused Gobber to lose his arm, and he had almost gotten Valka killed, and now he had kidnapped Hicca for the second time. When Stoick got his hands on Alvin, he wouldn’t show mercy by simply banishing him.

“Spread the word, I want this entire island searched, don’t leave a stone unturned!” He commanded, the teens started flying back to the village with Gobber and Stoick not far behind.
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