Author's note: hello everyone, and welcome to Meridian of Misery! There's a few things I'd like to point out before starting to avoid confusion;

This fanfic is set a year after HTTYD 1, so sometime during the Riders/Defenders of Berk series, and sometime after the Clash of the Titans/Castle Utgard arc but before the Uprising arc (so no one's kidnapped anyone or anything yet) and there are some minor changes (such as Erwin still having his arm and Hiccup has already started going around looking for new islands). Also the HTTYD side is mostly movie-based but there will be some references to the book-verse as well.

(EDIT from the 2nd chapter I'll be including a glossary for any old Norse or book-verse references just incase)
Ilse of the Skullions- an island from the books filled with dragons called Skullions which have no eyes or ears or even wings but have a large mouth and claws and a heightened sense of smell

With all that aside, I hope you enjoy!

Flying through the air is a great feeling. Even if you're not the one actually doing it. The feeling of wind going through your hair, the plunge your stomach takes when you dive or look down. The adrenaline running through your veins and the feeling that you can do anything and go anywhere...the feeling of freedom.

But the feelling isn't enough for some people.

Those who desire and feel the need to be truly free will not let anything stop them from acheiving their goal.

Not even a missing limb or two.

"C'mon bud, let's see how far we can go today!"

The Night Fury hopped about excitedly, eyes wide. His rider chuckled and placed a hand on his scaled head as the two left the house. The sky was painted the colours of early dawn, with violet clouds draped over the now-dim stars. He had wanted to go out early that day, so as not to lose daylight and also in the hopes of breaking his record for distance travelled away from his island home in a single day. He also wanted to add to the map of the world he had taken to create-not that he was shocked that the world was much larger than what they had initially thought (for him and Astrid, atleast), it felt more like a pleasant surprise to him.

He shut the door as quietly as he could and used Toothless for support as he descended the steps of his porch. Though he had had his prosthetic leg for almost a year now, it still felt quite alien to him and sometimes gave him grief. Walking up and down stairs was a pain and he was going to have to get used to it. He had faith his father would be able to figure out that he was going to be out for the day and was just about to hop onto his saddle when he heard a voice.

"Going somewhere, Hiccup?"

The boy in question winced, his left leg still hovering awkwardly in the air as though he were performing some innocent leg stretches. He slowly turned his head and saw none other than Astrid standing, arms crossed and leaning against a tree with a small scowl on her face.

"Erm." He began lamely but the girl had already begun walking towards them. Toothless glanced up to his rider and nudged him with a mischievous glint in his eyes. Hiccup almost toppled over and he heard the dragon let out a laughing sound. Hiccup would have laughed with him but he had Astrid to answer to.

"Well?" she said in a more demanding tone. Now the two were practically nose to nose.

"I was going to, er, make some-"
His voice died in his throat when he felt her eyes boring into him. She looked unimpressed. "Alright, I'm going out for the day. Does that satisfy you, milady?"
He let out a grunt when she punched his arm. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see Toothless wearing a smirk, as if he was trying to hold in another laugh.

Before he could ask what the assault was for she had turned on her heel and started walking away.

"That was for lying. Make sure you come back in one piece, both of you." She ordered them before heading back into the village. Hiccup breathed a sigh of relief and looked down at Toothless who was watching Astrid leave. Feeling the boy's eyes on him he looked up with an expectant look. Hiccup shook his head and got onto Toothless' saddle, slipping his legs into place.

"You ready buddy?"

Toothless' mouth stretched into an attempted grin and he nodded once before bounding down the pathway and taking off into the early morning sky like an ebony screeching bullet and pierced the clouds. Astrid watched from infront of her own house and rolled her eyes at the two when the heavy huffing of her awakening Deadly Nadder caught her attention. She looked down at it with a fond look on her face that only those closest to her would be able to pick out. Her three eyelids opened wide and she raised her rounded spiked head and looked up at her rider sleepily. Astrid sighed and placed a hand on her dragon's head with a small smile.

"Don't worry, Toothless and Hiccup have just gone off for the day again. You can go back to sleep, Stormfly."
The Nadder in question leaned into her touch and the look in her eyes was almost questioning. Astrid allowed her smile to grow slightly. "I know, but I'm sure they'll be fine. They always are."

Meanwhile, high in the sky, darting through clouds and yelling praises and the occasional 'WOOHOO!' Hiccup and Toothless had been thoroughly enjoying themselves. When the morning had well and truly broke, Hiccup decided that it was time to go under the cloud canopy to search for any undiscovered islands. The snow white of the clouds dispersed and became a neverending plain of navy, occasionally breached by the spiny dorsal fins from a pod of Seashockers. He could tell that they had already passed over the Isle of the Skullions and had ventured into unknown waters. The question was, how far out were they now?

A lone giant trudged through a forest of impossibly tall trees grumbling to itself though its emerald eyes were watchful and its pointed ears perked, listening out for the slightest sound. It stopped for a moment and glanced about its surroundings before laying its large eyes on a single tree. It rolled its eyes and let out an exasperated roar before punching a hole in the trunk with a massive fist and turning on its heel and choosing another direction to walk in. Steam puffed from its mouth as it huffed in a frustrated manner. Five minutes later and it stood in a clearing with one hand on its hip and another scratching at the back of its head, ruffling its hair.

'Great. Just great. How could I get separated and lost so easily?' Eren thought to himself, 'at this rate I'll be killed before anyone finds me.'

On their latest expedition, the elites of the Scouting Legion had been ambushed by a group of Aberrant Titans. The new Squad Levi had been forced to retreat into the Forest of Giant Trees. Seeing no other way out of their predicament, Eren transformed against Corporal Levi's orders to combat the Aberrants, managing to stray from the group as he did so. He sighed and looked up, squinting as a ray of sunight that had managed to pierce the leafy canopy got in his eyes. About to continue on his way, a howling whistling sound that tore through the air caught his attention and was startled to find that it seemed to be coming increasingly louder very quickly. His eyes darted about, trying to pinpoint the source of the noise when the sound had escalated to a high-pitched screeching. Before he could do anything else something small collided with his lower jaw so hard and fast that it came clean off. Eren made an odd squeak of surprise and a low groan of pain, feeling around his bleeding mouth. Steam poured out like a waterfall but he was preoccupied with what had caused it in the first place. He saw a smoking pile of crumbled bone that used to be his jaw sitting in a crater and in it...was the most peculiar-looking creature he had ever seen.

Uncertain whether it was dead or alive, he took a cautious step forward and crouched down to get a better look at it. If he were in human form it would certainly be bigger than him. It was blacker than the night sky and covered in scales, with four clawed paws and a set of large bat-like wings. It also had a long, thin tail that had a wing-like flap on the end. Interestingly enough, there was a prosthetic flap on the other side of the tail that had a large hole in it attached to a...saddle?
Eren frowned and looked around. A saddle meant that there was a rider, and from the looks of it the rider had control of the prosthetic tail flap. Could the creature not fly without it? That had to be the case, Eren reasoned. But the real issue at hand was; where was the rider?

First he checked on the ground, worried he might find a bloody mangled pulp instead of a recognisable human being but he could find nothing. He checked the trees and almost jumped when he thought he saw a giant (well it would have been if he were human) spider sitting in a tree but he calmed down when he realised it was just an extremely gangly person that had been tangled in the branches. Upon closer inspection he found that the person had long-ish messy auburn hair and was wearing a furry vest over a green shirt that looked almost exactly the same as Eren's. On one leg he wore a single Ugg boot but the other was made of metal. Eren's head tilted to the side and his eyes widened. The prosthetic was so intricately designed, but he had no time to admire it as the boy had raised his head, blinking in confusion. Eren leaned forwards, ears twitching as he picked up the boy's voice.