Snotlout's Bride Chapter 27
The newlyweds got up slowly the next morning, not sure what their next move should be. They didn't want to eat breakfast in the Mead Hall because they knew Spitelout would be there, and they didn't want another scene in public. They settled on bowls of oatmeal in their house – after the debacle with the fish, they'd made sure they kept something edible on the shelves in case of emergency. Snotlout watched Su as she mixed in the water and the yak's milk.
"That doesn't look so hard," he commented.
"It isn't hard," she nodded. "I bet you could make it. If you really had to."
"I hope I don't have to," he shrugged, "but yeah, I could probably do something like that, if I was starving or something."
Their meal was interrupted by a firm knocking on the door. Snotlout opened it hesitantly, and found his parents standing in front of his house. "Your father has something he wants to say to you," his mother said firmly, and nudged Spitelout with her elbow.
"Uhh… maybe I was a little too hasty in what I said to you yesterday," Spitelout said reluctantly.
"Go on," Saybull demanded.
"And, uhh… I take it all back. You're still a Jorgenson and you're still part of the family."
"And…?" she threatened.
"And, uhh…" He paused; she elbowed him again. "I'm sorry."
Snotlout was speechless. In the awkward silence that followed, Su finally said, "We're willing to let bygones be bygones. I know I'm glad to still be part of such an amazing family." She reached under the bed and pulled out a bludgeon. "I... kind of... found this lying around someplace. This isn't yours, is it?" Spitelout snatched it out of her hands with a scowl.
"Once the dust from this little misunderstanding has settled," Saybull smiled, "you'll be invited to our house for supper. I'd like to get to know my new daughter-in-law better, and I'm sure my husband does, too. Right, dear?" He nodded unhappily.
"Oh, didn't you have a meeting with Stoick this morning?" she asked him. He nodded with much more enthusiasm and took off toward the chief's house at a run. Saybull turned back to her son.
"Part of being a Jorgenson is making hard decisions and standing by them when you know you're going to pay a price for it," she said earnestly. "I married into the family, and I've learned that lesson. You did it as though it came naturally to you, and I don't care what my husband says – what you did yesterday was in the best Jorgenson tradition. Our ancestors are proud of you." She faced her daughter. "You must be an amazing lady, to inspire my son to stand up to his father like that. I really would like to get to know you better. But… can you arrange it so my husband's belongings don't wander away anymore? That sort of thing really makes him hot under the collar."
"I'll try," she said, without a trace of self-consciousness.
"Good," Saybull replied. "I've got all kinds of household chores to do, so I have to get back home. Don't be afraid to drop by and visit." She kissed her son on the cheek, turned, and headed for home.
Again, the departure of one of Snotlout's parents left the new couple in shock.
"Okay, I wasn't expecting that," he finally said. "Not even a little."
"Me, neither," she agreed. "Maybe we aren't the only Jorgensons who are living with a permanent truce... and the occasional misunderstanding."
"Dad mentioned something like that when he got us engaged," he nodded. "I wish he'd told me more about that, and less about family ideals that don't work in real life. So... what do we do now?"
"I guess we're back to normal," she thought out loud. "Our oatmeal is cold by now, so let's ride our dragons instead." They were both out the door in moments. Su looked all around, and finally focused on the roof. "Spotwing! There you are! Come on down; let's go flying!"
"Where?" Snotlout asked. "I can't see anything."
"I'm getting used to her camouflage," Su answered. "If I'm in familiar surroundings, I can usually see where she is, even if she's hiding." The dragon appeared on the roof a moment later, spread her wings, and glided down to the ground, where Su climbed on board while her husband ran for the training ring. She got there just before he did, Spotwing circled while he jumped onto his own dragon, and they rose up to the clouds together.
Snotlout glanced at his bride and shook his head. "You can actually see a hidden Changewing? Is there anything you can't do?"
"Well," she said thoughtfully, "since I moved to this island, I can't seem to burgle anything without causing a disaster. Maybe Astrid was right. Maybe I should find some other way to live. But I don't have any idea what that might be."
"You're pretty good with those beads," he observed. "Maybe that could be your role in the village – making bead crafts and teaching other people how to do it. It's something new for us, it's something we can use, and I won't object because it's woman's work."
She felt her pockets for something she could throw at him, but she didn't have anything. "When we get back on the ground, I'm going to hit you!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah, yeah. Promises, promises," he smiled. "But, seriously, maybe you shouldn't totally quit the Bog-Burglar thing. I mean, it keeps life interesting. We need somebody to stir things up on this boring little island, sometimes."
"Even if it gets you put out of your own family now and then?" she asked.
"I'll chance it," he nodded. "You're worth it." He blew her a kiss. She whispered something in Spotwing's ear, and the dragon blew a small blob of green acid back at him. It wasn't remotely close enough to endanger him or his dragon, but he ducked anyway.
"Hey! What was that for?" he demanded.
"You're the one who doesn't want a boring life, right?" she shouted back happily. "I swear by Nocha, from now until the day you die, 'boring' is one thing I will never give you!"
"Excellent!" he answered. "After all, I'm Snotlout. I deserve the best."
And I've got her, he thought.
Timeline of events. The number at the start of each line is Snotlout's age at that time.
0: Snotlout is born to Spitelout and Saybull. Hiccup and his other friends are also born that year, as is Camicazi.
2: Sukiaqui is born.
15: Snotlout helps kill the Red Death and trains Hookfang.
18: All the events in this story take place.
19: Astrid gives Hiccup a daughter, Edda. A few weeks later, Su announces that she's pregnant. Snotlout struts around town like a peacock for months.
20: Su gives birth to a son, Sloblout. Snotlout struts even more proudly, especially because Astrid had given birth to "just" a daughter. His strutting abruptly ends on the day he has to change a diaper for the first time.
21: Su and Astrid help Bertha train a Gronckle, whom she names Lavagirl. To Bertha's embarrassment, she later has to change the name to Lavaboy. (I guess those Gronckles are really hard to tell apart.) Some members of her tribe object to her riding a male dragon, but she has grown attached to him and ignores the complainers.
22: Su gives birth to another boy, Stinklout. Snotlout bets Stoick twenty-five silver coins that she will break the Berk record by giving her husband four healthy sons in a row.
23: Su and Bertha, with Spotwing and Lavaboy, successfully burgle the Golden Helmet of Mambrino from the Berserkers, then sneak it into Camicazi's room. Cami returns from another unsuccessful bid to steal the Helmet, only to find it sitting on her bed. This causes much confusion, which Su enjoys from a distance.
24: Snotlout makes one last half-hearted attempt to put Su in her place. She whacks him on the head with his own helmet, then goes about her chores as though nothing had happened. When Snotlout wakes up an hour later, he decides he'll stick to their agreement for a lifetime truce.
25: Su gives birth to a third son, Scumlout. Stoick doubles down on his bet with Snotlout.
26: Bertha's leg is badly injured by a spear when the Murderous Vikings raid her island. Unable to walk without a cane, she decides to step down from the chieftainship. Camicazi takes her place as Chief of the Bog-Burglars.
27: Su gives birth to a fourth son, Swaglout; Snotlout wins his bet with the chief. Stoick tells Snotlout he doesn't have to pay because Swaglout is small and doesn't qualify as a "healthy" son. Five nights later, the chief's ceremonial belt with the gold buckle mysteriously disappears, and later turns up among the Bog-Burglar tribe's stolen prizes. Stoick demands that Chief Camicazi give it back; she refuses, saying "Finders keepers," without being 100% sure how it got there. She also suggests that the loss of his belt might be the gods' judgment on him for something he did wrong. He finally agrees to pay the fifty silver coins to Snotlout, at which point Su enlists the other dragon-riders to create a diversion while she steals Stoick's belt back. The chief is never able to prove Sukiaqui's role in any of this. Cami finds the whole thing mildly amusing.
28: Stoick steps down and allows Hiccup to become chief of Berk. Snotlout talks it over with Su and takes her advice not to challenge him.
29: Chief Cami finally learns exactly how her sister stole their mother's ceremonial helmet, and recommends that the tribal elders consider Su for addition to the Big Book of Burglaries. The vote is 4-0 in favor (with Bertha abstaining).
31: Camicazi announces that she likes her life just fine the way it is, and she intends to never marry. This means she will produce no heir. The Bog-Burglars suddenly besiege Su and Snotlout with marriage offers for their oldest son Sloblout – the girl who marries Bertha's oldest grandson will have a strong claim to become the future Bog-Burglar chief. Su handles most of the negotiations, but Lout demands a reverse bride-price as part of the deal (Hiccup suggested it as a joke, and Snotlout thought it was a great idea). The results: Sloblout is engaged to a high-ranking Bog-Burglar warrior girl named Beatrix the Buxom, with the marriage to occur in three years (he's still young), at which time Snotlout and Sukiaqui will become quite well-off financially. Sloblout isn't pleased at the thought of marrying a Bog-Burglar princess, but his father reassures him – "If I could do it, then you can do it. After all, we're Jorgensons."
34: As his final act as a citizen of Berk, Sloblout wins the Thawfest Games, continuing a long, proud Jorgenson tradition. Grandpa Spitelout is even prouder than Snotlout is.
? ?: Snotlout and Sukiaqui actually live happily ever after.
Here's how this story came about: a faithful reader named Haganeochibi sent me a review of "Lightning and Death Itself: First Contact," chapter 19. One of her comments was to wonder why Snotlout hadn't said anything about his impending engagement to Fluffernut. This was my reply:
I hadn't thought it through, but you're right about Snotlout not reacting to his own engagement. The most likely reason for this is that he doesn't know about it yet. Remember, this engagement isn't official; the young people's fathers have to clasp hands on the deal first. That means there hasn't been a public announcement about it. Spitelout is definitely the kind of father who would sit down with his son and start the conversation by saying, "Congratulations, you're engaged." The only reason Ruff and Tuff know is that they probably eavesdropped on the conversation between Spitelout and Mr. Thorston – we know how sneaky they can be. As for Snotlout, he can be totally oblivious to what's going on around him, especially if events don't line up with the way he thinks they ought to be. He's probably hoping to go to the next Thing with his father and find a girl who's beautiful, Viking-like, and subservient. Fluff is pretty but not beautiful, she falls far short of the Viking ideal in terms of zeal for battle and resistance to pain, and she'll never kiss Snotlout's boots, or any other boy's boots for that matter. She's not his kind of girl; he's convinced he deserves better than her.
Hmmm, now you've got me thinking. What if I wrote "Snotlout's Bride," in which he gets the girl he deserves – in other words, a girl who's just like him? She'd be good-looking, strong-willed, warlike, fearless, self-centered, and reluctant to ever admit it when she's wrong. If they didn't kill each other in their first month of marriage, they might learn to be happy together, and they might even help each other become better people, as well as better Vikings. I'll have to think about that.
I thought about it, and this story is the result.
Even though Snotlout is the protagonist, this story is mostly told from Sukiaqui's point of view. That wasn't a conscious decision; it just came out that way, as the best way to tell the tale. The awkward romance between Lout and Su is the premise of the story, but the heart of the narrative is Snotlout's coming of age. His willingness to confront his father and disagree with him over Su is the moment when Snotlout becomes a man. He's still Snotlout and he still has a long way to go. But he has a patient, surprisingly understanding wife who wants to see him succeed, so he'll grow to be a reasonably mature adult. Some day. Definitely not today.
Nocha is named after No Cha, the Chinese god of thieves (at least, according to an old Dungeons & Dragons book I used to own). Saybull got her name from Sable, an infamous woman wrestler. Naginatta comes from "naginata," a Japanese polearm. Peatcooker, the priest who conducted the spiritual part of the marriage ceremony, got his name from Peter Cook, who played The Impressive Clergyman in "The Princess Bride;" thus, the "mawwiage" reference.
I also owe a quick "thank you" to Tasermon's Partner, for inspiring the line of thought that led to the part in the epilogue about Stoick's ceremonial belt.
I'm always a little bit sad when I post the final chapter of a story. Part of me wants to keep it going, even though the rest of me knows I've finished telling the story I set out to tell, and if I kept going anyway, it would just be second-rate fluff. (Rarely, as in "Did Anybody See That?", the readers persuade me to write some more, and it works out well, but that is definitely the exception to the rule.) So this tale is over. I hope you liked it; it was certainly a lot of fun to write. Other tales beckon, though. You haven't seen the last of me!