A/N: YES! I'm still planning on continuing Avenging Those We Lost, I just kinda got writers block for that story. And now this popped up into my head, so I wrote a chapter for a new story.
Keep an eye on my profile, I'll keep you guys up-to-date on my stories there. If you're interested, that is.
Just Another Killer
"The Beginning of The Blood Trail"
It was early morning. The air was brisk and cold, it nipped at my face and uncovered arms. I tried to counter by folding them across one another. It only worked so well.
It looked like it was the start of a nice day, a cold day, but a nice one nonetheless. Of course, for my village, how nice the day was going to be was definitely the last thing on their minds.
Myself and a few other villagers were gathered around a still and mangled body. It was quite a horrific sight, if I'm completely honest. The body had been found in the woods by Mr. Thorston, who was doing his daily morning routine of jogging along a trail in the woods.
A conversation awhile back, the man told me he liked to jog the many trails of the Berkian woods as a way to get away from the hard life a viking man, like himself, led.
Back to the matter at hand; we were still in the woods, the body still lay in the trail where Mr. Thorston found it. My mother was here, but the others were unrelated to me, though I knew them by name. Gobber, Sven, Gothi, and Astrid. Astrid was doing her morning ax throwing in the woods when she heard our commotion, and came to investigate.
The dirt on which the body lay had absorbed some of the blood that had spilled from the flesh, painting it a dark crimson color. The body's bare chest was facing upwards, a nasty gash on the man's chest wrapped around to his side. His left hand had two broken fingers, and his right went off into the brush. His right leg was twisted in an awkward position.
The most disturbing thing about the body was the face, however. The eyes were gouged out, the skin was scraped off close to the bone, and the hair, well, there was only a couple strands of black hair left.
It made me want to barf the moment I saw it. My stomach twisted and I got light headed, but the chief fainting at a possible murder scene wasn't exactly a quality a leader should possess. Of course, the thought who could have done this came to mind, but that mystery was oh so graciously given to me to find out.
Gobber leaned over the body. "Ah, poor fellow." Not the words I would have used.
Astrid crouched down on her haunches. "Who could have done this?" That's what I thought.
"Some sick, twisted..." I shook my head in disgust, a shiver rocked my spine. Damn it was cold.
Gothi drew some signs in the dirt. Gobber translated, "She wants us to move the body to her hut. She wants to clean it up."
"For departure," I said. It was viking tradition to send the dead in a flaming ship out into the ocean. "Uh, alright. Astrid, can you go get a large blanket? We'll carry him back in that."
She looked at me with those beautiful blue eyes, which, for a rare moment, looked a little upset. She nodded, mounted Stormfly – her dragon companion had taken to watching her practice with her ax – and took off into the brisk air. The village wasn't to far, they'd be there within minutes, at the longest.
My headache acted up, the constant pulsing inside my skull quickly became annoying. I hadn't slept too well last night, and what little sleep I got was quickly abrupt with, well, a dead body.
I'm still fairly new as chief. My father had left me with the island and the village after his passing on the battlefield. This lifeless corpse reminded me of his still body. Thankfully, my father's body wasn't mangled like this poor soul's.
I would have to break the news with the family, as soon as we could identify who the body was. His core features were shredded in a gruesome and horrible way. My stomach did another flip, my head thumped.
For a second, my vision doubled. I felt like I'd been hit by a dragon crash landing. I grabbed my head, groaned, and got a worried look from Gobber. I took a deep breath and signaled that I was okay. I'd have to find time to get some more sleep later today, or else I might pass out.
Astrid came back quickly with a large sheet we could use to transport the body. She must have noticed my unsettled face. I probably looked a little green in the face. I gave her a reassuring smile and ordered Gobber and Sven to take the body to Gothi''s hut. Though, I never had a very strong voice that gave orders, so it came out sounding more like a suggestion than anything.
But, nonetheless, the body was lifted and carted away.
I shook my head in disgust. "That's terrible."
My mother gave me a sympathetic look. To be honest, I love my mother, but I didn't really care for sympathy, especially not when there was nothing to be sorry about for me. I guess it just made me feel like how I was treated before the dragon change. Like every time I seemed upset, those around me – with the exception of a few, of course – remembered what they did to me all those years ago, and they suddenly wanted to be nicer to me. To try and make themselves feel better about themselves for those first 15 years of my life.
Of course, it could just be a stupid thought and they genuinely cared for me. In fact, I knew that was true.
"I just don't see who could such a thing," my mother, Valka, said. She hugged her staff and leaned on it. I looked at the two most important women in my life. There was a strong possibility that this killer wasn't a resident from Berk. I bet on it. But, whoever – or whatever – it is, could very well still be on the island. And if they murdered that man in cold blood, than who's to say he's going to stop after one body.
No. From this point on, if there are any other deaths on the island from this man or beast, it would be on my hands. For a chief protects his own.
It was midday and the meeting had just ended with the council.
I never liked meetings. And, honestly, who does?
It went pretty much how I thought it would go... discussing the murder of a resident, that is. People were outraged. They were shouting, ordering that I find the man who did this and burn him at the stakes. Even if I found the killer, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't be able to stomach it.
Anyhow. We were able to identify the dead man by a birthmark on his... butt. Not how I would imagine we would figure out his identity, but whatever works.
I tried to help and calm his family; a wife and two daughters – who weren't quite old enough to fully grasp the situation.
It felt like a Whispering Death had wrapped around my heart and squeezed it hard. Just looking into their eyes made me want to promise that their father and husband wasn't dead. That we had found a way to save his life. But I'm just man, I can't promise a happy ending to my people. I did, unfortunately, promise that I would find whomever did this and make sure he paid for his crimes (not at the stake, mind you!).
His ceremony was scheduled for tomorrow morning.
My legs practically gave out from underneath me as I rested in my father's old chair. I closed my eyes tightly, waiting for the sudden thumping in my head to go away again. The headache had a nasty habit of coming and going, as if it had a mind of it's own.
Toothless crooned sadly and nudged my hand. I unconsciously scratched his snout. I looked at him, a bead of sweat running down my forehead. I must be coming down with a cold, or something.
"We haven't flown yet, have we?" I asked. Toothless warbled and looked away, like he was guilty. I humphed. "Astrid took you while I was in the meeting, didn't she?" Toothless warbled sadly.
I laughed. The dragon felt guilty.
"Come on, now. Don't be like that. You told Astrid thank you, didn't you?" I asked again. Toothless tilted his head, like he didn't understand the question.
"You know, giving her a nice, big, slobbery like on the cheek?" Toothless looked down sadly again. That made me laugh.
And, speak of the devil, my lovely fiance walked through the door. I laughed again because Toothless must have decided to right his wrong. Trotting over, he gave Astrid his thanks for taking him out flying. I won't lie, the look on Astrid's face did manage to lift my spirits.
Astrid made a sound of disgust. "Thanks, Toothless. I was going to wait for a bath later tonight, though." She suddenly turned serious, looking at me with concerned eyes. "Are you okay? You don't look okay."
I straitened up in the chair. "I didn't know I looked bad." I chuckled, trying to make it seem like I was fine.
"Don't even, Hiccup. What's up?" she pressed. I honestly didn't want to tell her. I was in one of those moods where I didn't want to talk to anyone, and instead just curl up in a ball in a dark corner. I made another attempt to get out of talking, saying, "I just didn't have a good night."
Astrid just humphed and crossed her arms, giving me "the glare". I groaned.
"Nothing is going on. Just a rough day being chief. I was hoping to have a few weeks to get used to the position before a problem of this magnitude popped up," I said. And that was honestly one of the problems. "How am I suppose to deal with a murder?"
She looked around the room, trying herself to come up with an answer. "Firstly, put parolees around the island at night." Then she said to herself, "I don't know why we stopped doing that in the first place."
I agreed with that, and said that I'd get a few people to parole the night.
"Other than that, I don't know. You saw the crime scene. There was nothing to give us a clue. Just that the victim struggled," Astrid said. She sighed and sat down at the table.
My head thumped again. This was going to be a long day.
"Get the chief!"
A panicked viking quickly led me to the problem. It was midnight, perhaps a little later... or did that mean it was earlier? It was freezing and I hadn't even had time to grab my fur coat.
I feared I knew what was coming. That the guards hadn't done their job and another life was lost to this unseen sicko.
My stomach was churning and I hadn't even seen the body yet. In fact, my whole body ached; my eyes hurt, like they had been strained. My fists hurt, my fingers feeling bruised, almost like I'd gotten into a fist fight. And my headache was back, or, still there. It hurt like hell, thumping against my head. I just didn't feel good, plain and simple. I just wanted to curl up on my bead with some herbal tea.
The viking led me to two others, and then they all took to me to the outskirts of the village. To literally the last four huts before the forest. My stomach wanted to get rid of the bile as soon as I saw it... or, more accurately, smelled it.
There, in the alleyway between two huts, were two horribly mangled bodies. It seemed as if something had dug into their stomachs and ripped out whatever was inside. The gore and smell were unbearable. I pushed past a viking and stumbled away from the crime scene.
The vikings called to me, but stayed where they were. I walked a good ways away. Far enough to get away from the smell.
My legs gave out and I fell to my knees, releasing the contents of my stomach onto the ground. And I collapsed fully on the ground.
I stayed there for a few moments. Just needing a break. But I couldn't stay down. No matter how much my body hurt, no matter how much seeing those bodies made me sick. I was a chief, their chief. Berk, unfortunately, needed me to pick myself up. To keep it together. To lead.
But, I didn't think I had it me. I'm not strong enough to see those bodies.
Not strong enough.
Not strong enough.
I staggered on my metal foot. My body swayed and my vision blurred. But just for a second. I straitened my back, put on my best Stoick the Vast face (meaning I tried to show no emotion) and turned to walk back to the viking guards.
I walked past the bodies, keeping my back to them as I addressed the guards. They seemed to hide away their fearful faces when they looked into my eyes. Cold and fearless, ready to fight another Red Death.
"Tell me what you know." My voice was cold, a way I didn't think my voice could sound. It was so foreign sounding to me, and probably to the guards.
One of the vikings shuffled around in his fur coat pocket. He pulled out a white letter with blood splatters in the corner. I looked at the letter with detest, then unfolded it.
Dear leaders of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe,
I hope you'll enjoy your funerals, for you'll be seeing more of them.
I'm no beast, but I've been called one by so many.
You will pay for your wrong doings, Hiccup Haddock III. For the sins you have committed will be punished. You have condemned your whole tribe to a hell you can't even begin to imagine.
We are the ones who will steel your sanity, Hiccup. I can already see it at work.
P.S. Show this letter to anyone will be a death sentence for them. Tell anyone one about me, and it'll be a death sentence for them. Don't test me, Haddock! It'll get your loved ones killed.
"Sir?" A viking said, but my eyes stayed glued to the paper.
"Sir, I know what it says, I think you should keep arm guards with you at all times," the viking continued. I looked at him, trying to keep a calm face.
But I didn't. I could feel my face stiffen.
"No," I said, crumbling the paper in my hand. "Get the rest of the Berk Guard, order everyone to the great hall. And lock down the village. No one gets in, and no gets out." Before they could respond, I asked the guard who gave me the letter, "What's your name?"
"Bliar, sir," the guard said. I nodded to myself.
"Afterwards, go spend time with your family," I said. Then I addressed all of them, "Now go."
I was met with 'yes sirs' and the vikings hurried off to complete their tasks. I turned to the mangled bodies.
No more will end up like these.
Don't worry, I'm not going to kill a character every chapter...
Fun fact; I planned on this story to tie into with 'Avenging Those We Lost', but my stories have a mind of their own, so that won't be happening.
Review, and I'll read it, and I'll most likely reply to you!
Enjoy the remainder of your day!