Noble Maiden Fair
Merida and her friends didn't stop moving until they were a very large distance from her kingdom. There were points on their journey that they flew on Toothless to get over areas that will take people hours to walk around. But Merida couldn't help but to look back. Pitch literally has the keys to the kingdom and will do whatever it takes to ruin her. Her father and brothers won't be safe as long as he's in charge.
But what of her mother? She never got him to talk about what he did to her. Did he make her disappear? Turn her into a nightmare? No, he can't do that, she's human. But maybe something like what he did to Hiccup back on Berk. Impossible, the queen never had that level of hate inside her. She has the pride of a lion, but not enough to want to hurt the people she loves. But at this stage, all Merida could do is guess without an accurate answer.
Soon, rain started to poor down on everyone. The trees made some drops a little heavier than others. The group managed to find an old stone ware house in the middle of the forest and thought that was a good place to rest. It was big enough to hold everyone, including the dragon. Though one side was missing and part of the ceiling collapse, it was the best option they had.
Jack and Merida helped put some stray planks of wood to make a roof, while Hiccup and Toothless got a fire going. Rapunzel and baby tooth were busy trying to clear out the ware house. Picking up the snapped twigs and put them in the fire and picking up any bones or leaves.
When everyone was all set, they all sit by the fire to get warm and to dry off the clothes.
But Merida sat further from the fire then everyone else. She sat near the opening, looking out into the forest. Her thoughts kept coming around to her kingdom, and to her family. She brought her knees to her chest, and wraps them with her arms. Her thoughts were expressed on her face, about how worried she was on her family. She even took out her little necklace from under her bosom, and looked at it. It's the only thing she has that's close to her mother. But it didn't really help her feel any better, just made her more worried and stressed about what could be happening to her mother.
Merida quickly shoves the necklace away as she turned her head to see Rapunzel towering above her. Rapunzel smiles as she holds some bread in her hand she got from Toothless's saddle bag.
"You need to eat something," Rapunzel assisted while trying to hand Merida the bread.
"I'm not hungry," Merida said trying to eye away from her.
"Come on," Rapunzel keeps assisting. "You've got to eat-"
"I said I'm not hungry!" Merida yells as she swats the bread out of Rapunzel's hands and made it tumble outside.
"That's was a little uncalled for," Jack said as he and Hiccup view the scene.
"I don't care," Merida slums with anger.
As much as everyone wants to scold her for her attitude, they can also understand where that anger is coming from. Her kingdom has been taken over, her mother is missing and the clans are on the verge of going to war. It's a lot to take in. But that isn't really a good reason to take her anger out on her friends, especially when they're trying to help her out.
"Merida," Rapunzel said as she sits beside her. "I know you have a lot going on right now, but we are here to help. We'll figure this out, together."
Merida refused to look at her, or any of her friends. How could they understand how she feels?
"She's right," Hiccup said while rubbing Toothless's head. "We're here for you and we will help-"
"Shut it!" Merida sad covering her ears to not hear any more good things. She buries her head into her knees, trying to hide her frustration and tears. "I don't want to talk about it! Whatever Pitch has planned for my kingdom, I will stop him no matter what!"
"We're here to stop him too," Jack shouts at her. "Don't think you're the only one that's against him. He's helped Rapunzel's mother trap her, and nearly burned Hiccup's tribe. We won't let him take your kingdom."
"Then we shouldn't have stopped here!" Merida snaps. "We should be out there, and running a bow into his head."
"Yeah, but your arrows won't do any good remember," Hiccup reminds her.
"Besides," Rapunzel add. "It will do no good if you are too exhausted. You need to rest and-"
"I don't want to rest!" Merida yells at Rapunzel. "I'll be fine!"
But Rapunzel could see the dark circles starting to form, and her eyes having a tint of water and red.
"No you're not!" Rapunzel yells.
"Do you want to start something with me?!" Merida threatens as she leans close into Rapunzel's personal space.
"Merida, enough," Hiccup said trying to calm her down.
"Need me to help you cool off," Jack said while making a snowflake with his hand.
But Merida was slowing becoming an animal that's been locked up in a cage, anything could set her off. And she's on the edge of tipping. She's quick to stand up and yell at the boys in the back. "I thought I told everyone to shut it! I don't need your kind of help!"
Rapunzel stood up and pulls Merida's arm to make her face her. Without warning, Rapunzel's hand slaps across Merida's face hard, nearly knocking her over and leaving a red hand print on her cheek. The boys held their breath, almost scared for what might come next.
"You need to shut it for a second and listen to us!" Rapunzel nearly yells.
Merida rubs her cheek, looking at Rapunzel puzzled.
"I know that you are troubled. I mean...who wouldn't when the people they care about are in trouble. But you can't face this evil on your own. Hiccup and I did and look where that landed us. I was nearly taken away by my mother with my boyfriend dead, and Hiccup was put under a spell. Pitch will do anything to make you feel like you're alone, like it's you against the world. But that's why we're here; we are here to remind you that you are not in this alone. We will find out what's happen to your mother, and save your kingdom, and we will do it together. I promise."
The group was silent, almost afraid to break the moment of power and reason. The boys continue to try to hold their breath and not react. Even toothless tries to not speak; he instead buries his head in his paw.
Merida rose to meet Rapunzel eye to eye while rubbing her arm. Rapunzel fully expects her to yell at her, maybe even hit her back. What she didn't expect was Merida to be crying.
What surprised everyone more was Merida coming in close and hugging Rapunzel, letting her tears soak her neck and shoulders.
Rapunzel sighs as she places her hand at the back of Merida's head, gently patting it. "Let it go Merida," she whispers. "It's alright. We're here."
Hiccup and Jack could help but stare, trying to comprehend what just happened here.
After sometime Merida pulls away from Rapunzel and tries to dry the tears on her face. "Thanks," She said, "I guess I really needed that."
"Your welcome," Rapunzel said as she leads Merida back to the warmth of the fire, and sits her down with her friends.
Hiccup reaches into Toothless's saddle bag and pulled out another bread bun and tosses it to Merida. She caught it with ease and takes a big bite out of it.
"There you go," Rapunzel said sitting down next to her. "A bit of food will do you good."
"Thanks," Merida said as she swallows her food. She looks at her friends, feeling slightly ashamed. She's done nothing but yelling and ordering them ever since they've got here. And yet they've stayed with her, even though her worst.
"I'm sorry that I've been taking my anger at you lot," She said with her eyes to the fire. "I just...I..."
"We totally get it," Jack said while leaning on a wall and making the snowflake disappears. "You've got a lot going on right now."
"I just..." Merida's words stumble out of her mouth. "I...I don't know how to deal with something like this. Usually I go up to my room and attack my bed post with my sword. But now I don't have that option. How do you guys deal with something like this?"
The three people looked at her, hoping to try to help.
"I usually go on a flight and freeze a lake or two," Jack said with a smile.
Merida shook her head, not even capable of doing that.
"I go to the forge and work of something there," Hiccup shrugs, "Gets my mind off of things."
"I don't think so," Merida said not impressed.
"Well...I," Rapunzel said while stroking her long braid, "I usually sing."
"I am not singing your hair song," Merida nearly shouts.
"It doesn't have to be my hair song," Rapunzel said as gently as she can. "It can be a song that means something to you."
Merida thought about that, it didn't hurt to try. She looks to her memories to look for an old song her mother used to sing whenever she was afraid.
"I do know one song," Merida confesses to her friends. "But it's my language."
"It's ok," Rapunzel said with a smile.
"But what if you guys don't get it?" Merida said. "Then I'll look like an idiot."
"Don't worry," Hiccup said. "I can understand a little Gaelic."
"I've lived for 300 years," Jack said with a smile. "I understand every language, from the dead ones to todays."
"Say what you need to say," Rapunzel said with a smile. "And sing what you need to sing."
Merida looked back to the fire, feeling the heat on her face. It suddenly made her think back to the time when she remembers her mother singing the song. It was by a fire like this one, but in the palace's study room. Her mother was working on one of her tapestries while she was playing with her toys. There was a big storm outside and a flash of lightning caught her by surprise and made her scream. The next thing she remembers was curling up in her mother's embrace and hearing her voice.
Channeling that emotion, Merida drew in a breath and began to sing.
"A naoidhean bhig, cluinn mo ghuth
Mise ri d' thaobh, O mhaighdean bhàn"
Everyone leaned in to listen to Merida's beautiful voice, hearing the vulnerability in her throat.
"Ar rìbhinn òg, fàs a's faic
Do thìr, dìleas féin
A ghrian a's a ghealach, stiùir sinn
Gu uair ar cliù 's ar glòir
Naoidhean bhig, ar rìbhinn òg
Mhaighdean uasal bhàn"
When she was done, she looks to her friends' reactions. They were silent with their mouths hanging wide.
"See," Merida said. "I told you that you wouldn't get it."
"Are you kidding," Rapunzel said putting an arm around Merida. "I loved it."
"Really?" Merida said almost surprised.
"Yeah," Hiccup said nodding his head. Toothless also nods his head in agreement.
"I totally got that song," Jack said. "It was really well done."
Merida wasn't too sure what to say. She's been complimented by her archery and bravery, not for singing and showing emotion. "Thanks," she said with a small smile.
"Maybe on that note, we should get some rest now," Rapunzel suggests. "It will help get some energy for tomorrow."
Everyone couldn't agree to that statement. Jack and Baby tooth took their positions of standing guard for the night while everyone else laid down to have a good night sleep.
The rain outside started to slow down, only hiring the ground a few times. Jack took this time to step out for a few minutes to stretch his legs. Baby Tooth followed him and looks up at the dark sky. Jack also looked up to see a giant stream of golden dust race across it like a scar, opening a way for the moon to shine down. No doubt this is sandman's work.
It made Jack think about him, and North back in his time. How are they're doing? No doubt they're busy over there. Christmas is who knows when and they've got to make the kids keep believing. That fact made Jack remember that he is on a time limit to stop Pitch, and save his friends. But how? He still has to find Merida's stone and then find his. But now there's Merida's missing mom and her kingdom is in danger.
It will be tricky, but somehow he and his group have to put all this together and save the day.
"Just like the Avengers," he said to himself, finding the little bit of humour in this whole thing.
Just then, he heard a whisper, a faint whisper. It sounded so distant and near at the same time.
He felt Baby tooth's tug on his hold, making him turn his head around and see something very particular up ahead.
In between two trees was a small blue flame floating off the ground. But it had arms and a small face on it. It waved its arms around, as if it was asking to come closer.
But Jack did the opposite, he paced himself back to ware house and shook the first person he came across.
"Hey," he whispers as he shakes Merida's shoulder. "Hey, wake up."
"Mmh, what?" Merida stirs as Jack jumps above her and wakes up everyone else.
"Look," Jack said to his sleepy friends as he points his staff to the flame.
While Hiccup and Rapunzel looked at it with confusion, Merida gasps in wonder.
"A wisp," she whispers as she leaves the house and creeps towards it.
Hiccup leans closer to the opening, studying it. "I've heard of them," he whispers to the others. "The will-o'-the-wisps are spirits. They're guides that can lead you to treasure...or your doom."
"They lead you to your fate," Merida whispers out loud. As she approaches the little flame, and noticed that the flame wasn't facing them. She looks down the road to see a row of wisps all lined up past the trees and down the path.
"I wonder what they mean." Rapunzel said as she and the others race to meet Merida and look at the wisps. "I wonder what they're leading us to?"
Merida looks at the wisp in front of her, and took a closer inspection of it. She saw that the arms weren't moving for them to come closer, they were for the person at the end of the line.
"They're not," Merida said while backing away a bit. "They're leading someone to us!"
Everyone reacts by stepping back near the warehouse and grab whatever they can reach for as a weapon. Merida grabbed her bow and quiver, while Jack grips his staff tight. Hiccup and Rapunzel manage to grab a few rocks and stood at the ready near Toothless.
Then, they wait till their visitor appears out of the darkness of the forest. Thoughts race on who it will be. Pitch? The lords? Merida's mother?
"Let's slow down," Hiccup suggests to the group. "Maybe this person is friendly."
But when the light of the moon shone on the path and a large figure was coming at them. The shadow of the trees covered their identity, but they seem very large and covered with fur.
"Maybe not," Jack said.
They watch as the figure walked into light on two legs, both of them with claws and full of fur.
Everyone's eyes widen to see their visitor was covered in fur and had claws, a snot, and tiny ears.
"BEAR!" Merida cries out as she steps back and readies her bow. It wasn't Mor'du, but it's probably here to attack her friends. Merida can't let that happen. She aims her arrow almost at the bear's head, ready to fire when ready.
The bear was on its back legs and stood straight up, towering over 6 feet. It roars at the group, showing its sharp teeth.
Jack shoots some ice past the beast, hoping to scare the beast off. But the bear ducked out of the line of fire, or in this case ice.
The bear roars again, but it had a hint of fear in it. But the bear was persistent; it keeps taking a step forward towards the group, waving its front paws in front of its body.
Toothless growls at the bear, while giving it his usual look that says 'back off'. Rapunzel tries to throw her stone to scare the bear. But the rock hit the bear square on the nose.
"Uh, oh," Rapunzel said as she backs off a bit. She should've remembered not to piss off a bear. They are very strong and their claws are very sharp.
But the bear didn't seem to get angry or pissed. Instead it seemed to get very scared. It fell back to the trunk of a nearby tree and puts an arm around its head, as if it's begging not to get hurt.
Everyone lowered what they had, looking confused. Everyone but Toothless, he just kept growling at the bear.
"Easy Toothless," Hiccup said while settling Toothless down a bit.
Jack still kept his staff on the bear, ready for it to reacts. Merida too had her bow at the ready, though she became a little confused. She's used to see a lot of bears roam the kingdom, but she's never seen any bear behave like that.
Something was off, and she needs to investigate. She kept her bow and arrow in place as she takes a couple steps forward towards the bear.
"Merida," Jack gasps.
"Be careful," Rapunzel warns.
Merida remained true to her course and continues to walk to the bear. It lifted its paws and nearly lunges at her. It made Merida back up and readied her bow. The bear took the hint and backed up back on its hind legs. It looked at Merida straight in the eyes, with a sorrowful look.
Merida looks up to the beast, still a little uneasy and confused. There was something in its eyes that was haunting, yet familiar at the same time. Like Merida knows those eyes, she's seen them before.
She lowers her bow a bit and walked closer to the bear, which reacts by raising a paw and waving it.
"Ummm...hi," Merida reacts back with confusion. This is defiantly not normal bear behaviour.
The bear groans as it nods its head closer to Merida. Merida then thought back to how Hiccup and Toothless usually bond, a hand on the face and some weird connection forms. Merida reached out her hand, to try to tame the bear. The bear stood up and instead of the head, the bear's paw reached out and curled her hand in its claws.
Everyone in the back flinch a bit, fearing for Merida's safety.
Merida looked up as the bear looked down at her. It looked sad and happy at the same time.
Merida looked in the eyes of the bear, seeing something she didn't see before. A reflection. But instead of seeing herself, she saw her younger self, a little timid and curious. She felt warmth in the bear paw that was like a hug, and suddenly she felt safe and secure. But how can a bear do that?
Merida looked closer at the bear's eyes, sensing something very familiar in them. With a few blinks, the bear's face started to fade, and was replaced by a woman's face. It was young but had tiny wrinkles. She also had long flowing chestnut hair with a streak of grey.
Merida's eyes widen at what she's seeing. She knew this woman too well. But she couldn't believe it, it just wasn't possible. But after she's been through in this adventure, Merida could guess anything was possible.
Merida blinked a bit. A memory replayed in her head of the woman, and what she said the last time Merida was lost and scared.
"My brave wee lasse..."
Merida looked back up to the bear...at the woman's face...and saw her speak the words she said before.
"I'm here... I am always right here..."
The woman's face disappears, and the bear looked down at Merida. But Merida can still see the eyes belonged to the woman, to the queen, to her mother.
"M... Mum," Merida tremble with emotion, water almost filled her eyes. "It... It's you…isn't it...it really is you!"
Elinor pulled her daughter and gave her a great bear hug. Merida wrapped her arms as much as she can around her mother and returned the hug. It was clear that they've missed each other and don't want to let go.
Everyone watching those two became speechless. Just when they've thought they've seen everything, something new comes their way.
"Hang on," Jack said, "that's your mother?"
Merida turns her head to everyone and nods. "It is her… I know it."
"Well," Hiccup said, "you can't say our time in DunBroch is boring."
"Yeah," Rapunzel sarcastically said to him. "Cause the time that we encounter the imposter queen and got chased by the lords with swords was a nice vacation."
Elinor raised an eyebrow at them, confused. Merida saw that and stepped back from her and gestures at the people around them. "These are my friends," She said while trying to gather herself. "They've been with me for a while now. This is Hiccup and his dragon Toothless."
Elinor looked very concern with the thought that her daughter is with a dragon.
Merida caught that, "don't worry, he's friendly." She then turns to the other two. "And this is Rapunzel, Jack and Baby tooth is somewhere..." She looks around for the little fairy. Lucky the fairy was easy to find near Jack. It looked up at the big bear and chirps a hello.
The queen was still a little confused, but was happy that Merida was in some questionable good company. At least she was safe.
Merida walks back to her mother, and holds her paw again. "How did this happen?"
Elinor explains what happened, but words her stolen, and in their place was some groans and moans.
"What did she say?" Merida asks Jack.
"Why are you looking at me?" He asks.
"You said you knew every language," she reminds him.
"I know every human language," he said with force. "But bear is a whole new ground for me."
"Great," Merida said while rolling her eyes.
"But I can guess what happened," Hiccup said while taking a step forward. He looks at the queen bear, trying to gather a hypothesis in his head. "My theory is that Pitch has gained some magic and is able to do things he couldn't do in Rapunzel's and my home. Now he has the ability to change things...and people apparently. He got you, queen, when you were feeling low. He came to you, probably having a way for you to see your daughter."
Elinor nods her head, agreeing to that statement.
"But Pitch lied to you," Hiccup continued. "He tricked you. And in the end, he transformed you into a bear and transported you out here in the woods. Now he's transformed himself into you and has taken over the kingdom."
That statement made Elinor growl with anger, wanting to tear Pitch to shreds. But she remained postured and regal. She maybe a bear on the outside, but she's still a queen and needs to be a good example in front of people.
"Then you had to wait for Merida," Hiccup said coming closer to the queen. "You know you couldn't return to the palace looking like this, especially with your husband being known as the bear king."
"He would've killed you," Merida finished. She looked at her mother, feeling sad that's she's being put in this situation because of her. "I swear we'll fix this, I promise."
Elinor looked at Merida, not too sure if she can do that. The queen is still really confused with this group; she was full of questions that needed answers. Where did Merida go to? Why was she missing for days? Who were these people? Why do they have a dragon? And how did Jack shoot ice? It made Elinor's head hurt. She groans with an uneasy feeling.
"Is she ok?" Rapunzel asks.
"How would you feel if you're turned into a bear?" Jack asks with a hint of sarcasm.
"Good point," Rapunzel she said as she goes to the queen. "Why don't you join us? Get some rest. You look pretty tired."
The queen staggered a bit, trying to get her balance. As much as she didn't want to appear tired infront of her daughter, but it couldn't be helped. It was true that she's been in these woods for days and didn't get a decent good night sleep. She could use a bit of a rest.
With help from Merida and Rapunzel, Elinor made her way to the ware house and took a lay down near the fire. Hiccup and Rapunzel also lay down and slept near the fire. Seeing as there was no room anymore, Toothless was forced to sleep outside. Normally his stubborn attitude would eventually led him back inside, he had to consider that the queen needed the space more than he does.
As for Jack and Baby tooth, they took their usual guard stance, ready to watch the night. Merida leaned on the wall near the doorway, and looked out into the forest.
Her mother is with her, she should be happy. But Pitch's threat still looms over her, and her Kingdom is still in danger.
But first she has to figure out a way to change her mother back. And she'll find a a way, no matter what it takes.
Noble Maiden Fair (A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal) from Brave
As an added bonus, even though it isn't much, here is the song lyrics in english.
Little baby, hear my voice
I'm beside you, O maiden fair
Our young Lady, grow and see
Your land, your own faithful land
Sun and moon, guide us
To the hour of our glory and honour
Little baby, our young Lady
Noble maiden fair