A flood of memory washes over him.
A lonely boy betrayed and battered, contrives affection from a dragon, thinking it will be the only love he'll ever know. His spirit is in pieces, his heart, broken at the seams. He craves one drop of kindness. He curses the injustice and begs to know the reason why he suffers in this prison. His life is not of value, condemned to be forgotten. He swallows his rebellion, but there's a storm within his breast. He tries to quell the downpour, yet cannot tame his soul's contention.
A creak of a door. A guard. That was the shadow he had seen entering the area. The man carried a long staff with a small bucket at the end attached to it. Hiccup's throat began to tighten as it has sensed the aura of the element swinging in the bucket. Under the light of the moon, he could see the water sparkle right before his eyes.
Hiccup looked on from his hanging cage. Where was he? Oh yes, about twenty feet off the ground, in a tight iron cage dangling over sharp rocks and angry wild dragons by all but a rusty chain.
Much better than his previous engagement. The guard, on ground floor too low under Hiccup, lifted the staff as it came closer to the boy's cage. Slowly, and weakly, he gladly drank a small sip that the guard would allow.
This was their dinner.
Hiccup smiled upon the guard and gradually thanked the man for the refreshment. The man raised an eyebrow, finding it strange to show kindness in such low condition. As the man left to give the prisoners their "dinner," he began to wonder if the boy had either a good spirit, was a moron, or if he had finally lost it...
Hiccup was none of the above; because he had something else in mind.
"Pst, hey." A strange whisper was heard, and the boy looked around. It was a few seconds before he saw an old man looking at him. He too was caged. "Yeah, you, what's your name?" he asked.
Relieved that someone, for once, would accept sociality, he happily responded, "they call me Wart."
"What's with the smile?" he asked again, sneering at the boy.
The question itself had dragged the prisoners' curiosity, as well as the guard.
Hiccup chuckled, realizing that maybe he had been acting a little different than expected by the head trader. He had always been different, but this time for a good reason, "It's my son..." he began, now with everyone eyeing on him, "He was born here, born a slave, yet he was set free."
"H-How?" his prison mate shivered, wondering how in the world the boy did it.
"I can't tell, and it would never work for a man, not men of this evil place." He kept his mouth shut on his ability of dragon training. Who knows what on Midgard would they do to him if they know his hidden talent; especially the guard. If someone had leaked to Alvin...The prisoners, they would do whatever it took to get a single luxury, even revealing his secret to the head master for a small piece of bread would do the job. "It doesn't matter to me now. He's safe, away from this garbage, far up north where he's free and taken cared by...the people I trusted," he gulped at his last word. He hated to admit it, but somehow, the situation seemed different when it came to Pippin, he knew and would trust Berk with his life to raise his boy. "There is no leverage on me now," he laughed. Knowing this in his heart brought him joy that these bastards could never take away. It was impossible, they would be walking in enemy's territory and be blown to oblivion by Berk's dragons.
However, this didn't come as surprise to the brunet. The same question was already asked about him before...
When the head trader was punishing him.
Hiccup used the same answer before, and it infuriated the head trader, knowing that the boy had done something remarkable that no slaves has ever done before. He hated that, knowing that a puny slave had himself happiness that could not be taken away. He hated that, knowing that he was powerless...
Well, then it was done, and Hiccup was left with the other insubordinates to rot away.
The guard stared at Hiccup, as if he had no idea what to do to a person who was happy in life and knowing that suffering would not bring him down.
It seemed Hiccup had succeed in beating the system.
Everyone thought of the same thing, and they could only envy his strength.
For the first time, some would look up to him...
Still, despite the utter joy he felt in Pippin's freedom, he could only dread what was to come. Especially with what had preceded him.
Aching wrists, throbbing cheeks, stinging flesh from bloody wounds, his worst on his back, where he had been flogged. Hiccup leaned against the iron bars that held him, seeking relief for his temples against the cool metal. His victory was short lived as the traders came in the morning to review the prisoners. Eight were taken back to the thrall, but little happy Hiccup, the bug that frustrated the head trader to no end, was raised another eighty feet in the air.
The head master trader had deemed him worth less to the thrall than was worth. It would be an inconvenience to them to keep him alive, so they put him to better use: as a dragon lure.
The boy looked over to some of the other cages containing skeletal remains of others.
"Hey, how's it going?"
No reply, obviously.
"It's a little chilly up here. When's lunch?"
He hadn't eaten in two days, thanks to his masters. He sighed and fell back, causing the cage to sway. It was relaxing, if he ignored the impeding doom of his inevitable death and the freezing cold wind biting at his naked skin.
"A regular balmy vacation, if I do say myself."
He closed his eyes as the cage continued to sway. He could stay there all day, he really could, no one was coming to get him.
Suddenly, he heard a loud 'Chink' as the cage started to lower.
"Hello..." He peered down. He seemed to speak too soon as he saw huge men with distinct Viking helmets lowering the cage. This didn't look good exactly.
"Hurry up, before the traders come!" A strangely familiar voice called. He landed on the ground and immediately the door was pried open, Hiccup pulled out.
Dah-da-dah, he was examined again. They weren't so thorough as the traders, but mostly just surveying his wounds.
"He's a little worse for wear, but I think with a couple days of healing, he would be alright."
"What's your name boy?" A gruff voice spoke.
Hiccup looked up to the man speaking and his voice went dry in his throat.
The man that, for years, wanted nothing more then to leave waste to his home. The man that planted the Screaming Death under Berk, to destroy it from the bottom up. The same man who used a innocent girl to trick the academy and steal his life's work. The man his own father had banished from Berk for unforgivable crimes. The man he hated more then life itself. He was staring up to the one and only, spawn of Loki himself, Alvin the Treacherous.
"Uh...uh..." Hiccup just stuttered. There was no recognition in the man's eyes. Thankfully the boy had grown so much over the last six months, he looked different from the last time he had come face to face with the man. His hair was a bit shorter, and a bit of foliage was filling in his chin. His added height and lack of clothing and dragon helped.
"Does he know how to speak?" Whispered another man. Alvin elbowed him and patiently waited for Hiccup to answer.
"Uh...Wart." He remembered his title (or absence of one) from the thrall, and stuck to it for safety.
"That was your slave name, what's your birth name?"
Hiccup gulped, but played his cards carefully. "I...I don't remember...I've been in it for so long." He acted choked up.
"Well, Wart will be fine then." He scratched his beard. "M'name is Alvin the Treacherous, most blood thirsty Viking in the archipelago."
Hiccup gulped. "Are you going to put me back into slavery?" He asked carefully.
Alvin clapped his back. "Slavery is such a strong word, I prefer servant hood. I need all my best men for fighting, and we don't allow women on the main island..."
"So, cooking, cleaning, and serving?"
"Exactly! Can you do that? If not, we can put you right back into the cage and feed you to the dragons." He laughed.
Oh, he didn't want that. "You're in luck, I'm a home type."
"Perfect. Let's get back to the base, we'll talk details." The Viking started to lead him away, when he realized he was hopping on one leg.
"Ah..." Alvin raised a quizzical eyebrow. "I can see why you're a home type. What happened?"
"Dragon wound." He shrugged.
A smile broke out on the man's face. "I surmise that you hate the creatures too, then."
"Uh...well, they are dragons, they'll do what they do. Sure, I'm mad that he bit off my leg..."
"Then you're going to like what we're doing." He called over another man. "Carry him."
Hiccup was caught in surprise as he was lifted and then put on a man's shoulder.
"Uh, Alvin?" The boy asked shyly.
"Speak up, boy! You're in the presence of Vikings, now!"
He cleared his throat. "Why me?"
The huge man laughed. "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"
He was put on a small sized boat and off they sailed to Outcast island. Hiccup sat in the back of the boat, shivering as the bigger men laughed and joked towards the front. It made sense, when he thought about it. Why go to a trader and get ripped off, when you could 'rescue' someone and have them indebted to you? Alvin was a smart man, being the chief and all, he probably enjoyed finding outcasts.
On the main island, Hiccup was taken to a small cave, acting as the healer's hut. There was little vegetation on the island, but lots of pockets for rooms. The man carrying him set him down on a bench and then addressed the healer. "Clean him up before dinner. Alvin's orders."
The healer was a frail old man, but he looked wise beyond comprehension. He wordlessly began to prepare salve for the wounds. Hiccup shivered in the damp cave, still bare to the elements. The man noticed and spoke, "We shall have proper clothing for you after you are bandaged. As for now, I'm afraid you must stay like this. Your wounds are too extensive."
Hiccup understood and laid down on his stomach to give the man access to the lacerations spanning from his neck to the back of his knees.
"You must have done something awfully bad to be punished like this."
"She said that I was disrespectful and lazy, and a bunch of other things that weren't true."
"The traders aren't known for their mercy. You are lucky you weren't killed."
"I almost was. They intended for me to rot up in a cage."
"And Alvin saved you. Quick way to save a couple chickens." He started to spread the salve. "But, there's not much to worry about now. He's getting you medical treatment. That should count for something."
"Still, he'll kill me somewhere down the line."
"Hmm, not necessarily. He needs as many men as he can get, so I'm sure you'll be safe. Just don't tell him you're from Berk."
Hiccup's eyes widened. "How did you know I was from Berk?"
The man stopped. "I didn't, I was making a joke."
"Eh, I don't care. I'm not prejudice."
Hiccup sighed as the man continued to work in silence.
Later, as dinner time rolled around, Hiccup was escorted to the dinning hall. He tried his hardest to conceal the happy grin on his face. It was the first time in six months that he wore clothes, actually warm, clean, and fitting clothes! He was also provided a peg leg, which was the appropriate height for him now that he had grown. He felt good, despite the fact that he was approaching a group of Outcasts.
A chair was drawn up for him by Alvin and he took a seat. Sheepishly, he scanned the food on the table, his mouth watering at the meat and bread. But he made no move to grab anything; he wasn't given permission.
"Wart, Wart, Wart, Wart, Wart, Wart, Wart." Alvin said turning to him. "No, that's too many Warts. Let's try that again. Wart, Wart, Wart. It's your first night with us, relax! Your job can start in the morning! Eat! You must be starving!"
Hiccup smiled gratefully and tore into a chicken leg. The men poured him a mug of mead and he gulped it down, regardless of the alcohol. It was almost comical; a scrawny boy, sitting around all these massive vikings with full beards, helmets and armor.
"So boy, where are you from?"
A long pause as Hiccup pondered the question. "I'm from the Atolls, like I said."
The man laughed. "That may have worked when I asked you your name, but you must get homesick. Remember home?"
Oh how he remembered, oh how he missed. The dragons, his friends, his family, even the sheep. Yes, Hiccup had a Berk sized hole in his heart as he craved to hear the sounds of the wind in the trees, the soaring gulls above, and the occasional swear of a viking almost losing a limb. Home.
"I'm from the Gaul tribe." He lied, to save his skin, of course.
"My, that's a distance south. What brought you up here?"
"I…I ran away." He needn't lie anymore. "My father, for the sake of the tribe, thought it was best for me to get married. I had a girl I loved, very much so…"
Someone interrupted. "Was she pretty?"
Hiccup smiled. "Prettiest girl on the island! And she was my best friend. But…she rejected my offer. Even when I offered her a substantial bride price…she said she didn't want to marry me for obligation."
"So, your heart was broken." Alvin said in a mocking tone, as if to say, 'I bet you regretted that quickly.'
"Yes, I was heart broken, but that didn't keep my father from taking matters into his own hands."
Alvin smiled at this, raising an eyebrow in interest.
"He arranged a marriage by himself to…well…Darla the Disagreeable."
A round of uproarious laughter laced with the tinniest hints of pity echoed throughout the room. Darla's rancid infamy proceeded her as the Gaul's were a very large profitable tribe. They travelled and traded with places as far north as the Outcasts, to lands so far south that the archipelago had never heard of. Of course, Blackmold always took his daughter with him on his travels, and Darla sure knew how to make an impression.
Alvin reigned over his jocular laughter and responded. "No wonder you ran away!"
"That's not even the worst part! I consented to it, but she wouldn't have it! She said she could do better!"
"Yeah, she could marry a deaf, dumb, blind, mute. I'm sure even then she'd have a hard time."
The men continued to laugh. "So are the rumors true? I heard that when she was being formed in the womb, Odin accidentally used yak feces instead of clay."
That was a new one. "I could believe that. As far as I can tell, she is the prime example of an appalling dump heap, overflowing with the most deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!" He exasperated.
The men were impressed. "That's some mighty fine vocabulary, you have there."
He blushed. "I don't know what came over me…the spirit of disgust has a colorful tongue."
"I will say this." He stated firmly. "Vikings are supposed to be brutal, heartless, and cruel, but this girl…oh, no one comes near her. She…she…oh! Her ass must be jealous of the crap that comes out of her mouth!"
Someone fell out of their chair.
Hiccup breathed a sigh of relief. Things were looking up.
A large hand clapped hard against his back. "I like you!" Alvin shouted in joy. "You will sleep on a mat outside my door."
For a servant, that was a high honor. It just one day, he was favored heavily by the chief of the clan. Maybe, just maybe he would serve out the rest of his sentence in the approval of this man, and then be able to go home, scot free. He only needed to survive six years.
Hiccup resumed eating the chicken he had forgotten about when he went into his tirade.
Alvin spoke up. "Wart, while you are only a servant around here, I think it's only fair that we let you in on our plans."
"That's nice of you." He smirked.
"Have you heard of the isle of Berk?"
"Hmm…vaguely. Isn't that the place where they live in peace with dragons, or something stupid like that?"
"Oh, you'll fit right in around here!" He chuckled. "The chief has this boy, Hiccup, tiny thing!"
"Tinier then me?"
"Oh yes, I conclude he's about four feet tall, and maybe 70 pounds."
It was alleviating to know that Alvin really hadn't paid too much attention to Hiccup's appearance. Hiccup played along. "What a runt!"
"And the worst part is, is that he learned how to train dragons, so they do whatever he asks. They call him the Dragon Conqueror."
"Dragon Conqueror? If he's controlling them, I would think he would go by Dragon Whisperer."
"So now Berk has this defense, and we can't get passed it to invade."
"If we can get Hiccup, then we can get him to train the dragons here, and then we can take over Berk!"
"Why would you want to take it over? Isn't it small?" He played dumb.
"Aye, the village is, but not the island. The island is huge and full of forest and plants…things we don't have here."
"Oh, so you want it for the resources." He hadn't actually known why Alvin had always wanted Berk. He had assumed it was just a stupid grudge. Vikings loved their grudge matches.
"Exactly! You have the resources, you trade, you get rich, and die a happy viking." Alvin burped as he finished his mug. "Now, there's a small problem."
"The boy has been missing for a long time. Our spies haven't see him anywhere on the island."
Hiccup boiled an acute panic and wondered if Alvin would put two and two together. "Maybe…he's on a rite of passage?"
"I don't know where he could be, because he left his dragon behind."
"Yes," Alvin stated in a deep gruff voice. "A Nightfury! That little runt trained a Nightfury to follow him like a trained puppy!"
"That's pretty amazing."
"It's damn near insane! It just frustrates me how he did it! We have the book he wrote on it, every note about every type he's come across. We've even seen him train someone in it, and we still can't figure it out!"
Hiccup knew what the problem was right off the bat. They lacked compassion and were extremely threatening, two things that were imperative if training was going to happen. He said nothing though.
"We just need to wait until he comes back."
Bed time. The most wonderful feeling in the world. For you know, anyone who wasn't hiding their identity as they were outside the door of the viking with the longest kill streak. Hiccup was wide awake with trepidation, so many things could go wrong, and for him, they usually did. In this circumstance, he might just run his mouth too much and say something that would give everything away. He had to be more careful. Thankfully, Alvin's lack of knowledge gave him some peace, but he was still dangerously close to finding the truth. Most importantly, Berk would be safe from the Outcasts as long as he was here in hiding.
The next day, his job did start, but it was more pleasant then what he had been through. The Outcasts actually tolerated his slip ups, and they usually laughed. It was odd, all his life he was taught to be enemies with these people, taught that they were evil, right down to the core. But, as he went about his daily chores, he discovered that they weren't preparing for a raid, they were just keeping up with fighting.
That evening at dinner, he was the source of entertainment. He would be eating after everyone else, so he simply stood in the back of the room, ready to fetch whatever was required.
"Wart!" Alvin called waving his hand over.
The boy obediently came and stood next to him. "Yes, sir?"
"Know any jokes?"
Hiccup held a half grimace, half smirk. "Really stupid ones."
"Well, go on!"
Hiccup cleared his throat. "What does the god of thunder say after a long day of work?"
"What?" Alvin smiled.
He spoke with a voice, uncannily like his father. "I've been carrin' this hammer all day, and my arms are tho Thor!"
Alvin lost it, not expecting it in the least. "Another!"
"How does Odin like his mug?"
More laughter. Hiccup was vaguely surprised, but soon wrote it off as an attribute of the mead they were each gulping down.
"How did the god of mischief sneak out of Asgard?…He was low-key." The teen was on a roll as the laughter motivated him to go on. "What kind of armor protects the buttocks? Asgardian!"
"Stop! Stop!" Alvin pounded on the table. "I can't breathe!"
The teen smiled to himself. He was safe.
Over the next few weeks, the Outcasts became fairly fond of the boy. He was praised because of his cooking, for one. Vikings loved their food, and to have someone on the island with more experience in cooking, well, they had an island of happy vikings. After some conversing, Alvin found out about his blacksmithing skills. While the men had target practice, Hiccup would sharpen weapons and bring them out. This lead to lessons from the men on how to properly use weapons. Hiccup knew, of course, since everyone on Berk had tried to teach him. At first, Hiccup was not enthusiastic about the pointers, but then he changed his mind when he realized he was stronger, and therefore more capable of lifting the weapons. The most astonishing thing was when one of the experts saw his difficulties and suggested him to switch hands. No one on Berk had ever thought about the fact that he was left handed! Alvin saw his progress and was pleased.
At night, the Blacksmith would allow him to use whatever scrap metal was lying around to fix his leg.
Within a few weeks, Hiccup had found favor in so many in of the Outcasts, he was promoted from servant to…well, there wasn't really a term for him; protege, maybe. Everyone took time to teach him skills, yet he wasn't considered part of the tribe or a warrior.
Which was perfectly fine with him.
Throughout his time, he had developed ears everywhere. People where not afraid to say what they wanted around him, and he soon found that all he had ever known about blood thirsty, cruel Outcasts was untrue, in fact, Alvin was the cruelest of them all. Listening on conversations, he was elated to find that the men were unhappy with Alvin's methods.
"I miss my wife, I haven't seen her in months..."
"I wasn't able to be there when my wife gave birth…"
"My father is ill, I'd like to go help him…"
These were all things that were talked about. Not once did he hear, "I really hate those Hooligans." He came to the conclusion that while this was a land of exiled criminals, most, if not all of the men felt remorse for what they had done in the past. If it wasn't for Alvin, well…
There would be no Outcasts.
One night, one month into his 'job,' Alvin called him into the dining room. He had been there for a very long time, and Hiccup had refilled his mug at least ten times. The man was sauced.
"Warrrt." He slurred. "Come an' take a load off!"
The teen obediently sat in the seat across from the man, his hands folded calmly in his lap.
"Now, you been 'ere for…about a month." He blinked heavily. "I've taken a shinin' to ya!"
That was a weird phrase to say to a person of the same sex.
"You're a good boy. I never 'ad any sons of me own. Never been married."
Hiccup feared where this was going.
"Butchu? You've been like a son to me. Always willin' ta do want I ask, ne'r complainin'."
He wasn't about to point out the fact that he only did that because he was terrified of being killed by this man.
"Is a shame…you bein' 'ere, all by yer lonesome." He hiccuped. "I think someday you'll think of this as yer home."
Hiccup doubted that.
It was late in the middle of the night. Hiccup was awoken by the sound of a struggle. Behooved to check, Hiccup pressed his ear to the wooden door and heard the distinct sound of a blade cutting flesh, and a gasp of pain.
"Alvin!" His eyes widened as he opened the door. A figure, dressed in black, stood over the large viking. It looked to him and then jumped out the window, out into the night. Alvin laid on the bed, his throat slit. Hiccup ran to him to see if he was still alive. He would be damned if the man was killed and he was the only witness.
Luckily, Alvin was still gasping for air. He reached out and grabbed the boy's arm. "Wart. Wart my boy, listen."
A bit panicked, Hiccup called out. "Help! Alvin's been injured! Knife! Throat! Dying! HELP!" He really didn't want the man to die…well, without anybody knowing the truth. He may be blamed, and then killed himself. Heavy footsteps were heard from down the hall.
"Wart, listen. I'm tired."
Oh great. Whenever someone confessed to being tired, it meant they were giving up on life. Luckily, the guards came into the room just in time.
Alvin shakily removed his helmet and put it on Hiccup's head. "You've been so helpful to us. I've felt, like you were a son to me." And the guilt was building. "Wart, you'll be a great man…lead our tribe to victory. I have faith in you." Then he let out his last breath.
Hiccup slowly turned to the two guards. "You heard that, right?"
They nodded slowly.
"Well, then, I believe a meeting of the troops is in order."
"Whatever you say," The man smiled. "Chief."
Hiccup did what every proud, strong viking would do. He stood, smiled, and then passed out.