Author note: Sorry for the long wait. College is hell with tentacles. Hope to update sooner next time!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the elaborate parts, and the re-imagining of the plot.
How to train your dragon is Copyright to Dream-works, How to be a pirate is Copyright Cressida Cowell.
If it's in a sentence and no one is thinking, italics are used as emphasis.
"If there is a quote." and then text in italics, it will be a recollection in a person's head and their thoughts.
_= end of the section, usually a time, perspective or place shift.
-= end of sequence, usually the two scenes are related eg: the same scene but from someone else's POV.
"You're so busted."
"Dun da da, we're dead. Hey! We'd do you think you're going?" –Astrid and Hiccup after Astrid discovers Toothless.
Part the sixth: Lies and the telling of tales
The Whole of the Tribe sat, their eyes as round as pennies, in the Viking equivalent of silence (meaning there was the occasional grunt, clang of metal on wood, mumblings and the occasional chewing of beards) as Alvin made himself comfortable on the Chief's chair. Hiccup and Astrid were joined by their friends and the new trainee's on the floor nearest the mysterious stranger. Toothless curled himself around his two favourite humans, resting on his elbows at hiccups knee while looking narrowed eyed at Alvin. Astrid subtly shifted closer to Hiccup, turning slightly away from heat of the fire that was between them and Alvin, leaning on muted warmth of Toothless's flank instead. Hiccup met her eyes momentarily, before crossing his legs.
Clearing his throat, an eerie hush fell over the hall as Alvin began his tale.
"I was put in the coffin," He began, "by some very uncivilised people who, not only disbelieved the Tale I am about to tell you, but also suspected me of being a common thief-" Astrid snorted silently in agreement with this assessment.
"They dumped me over a cliff on their island, with a lot of the mistaken laughter people laugh when they think they are being clever."
"Meatheads." Rumbled Stoick, folding his arms and frowning. "It sounds like something they would do. Were they lead by a tall, one-eyed Viking, answers to Mogadon?"
"That does ring a familiar bell, it is true." Nodded Alvin, reclining onto one elbow.
"But how did you discover the coffin in the first place?" Queried Old Wrinkly from the shadows, sitting bent over his stick, clutching it with both hands: he was looking suspiciously at the back of Alvin's head.
"I am a poor but honest farmer," replied Alvin, without looking back, "and a long time ago in the Peaceable Country, far far away from here, I was digging up some turf for..." he coughed "planting potatoes when I came across this coffin. Which then..." he coughed again "blasted seawater, where was- Oh yes, just fell open in my hands."
"And when you opened this coffin which says quite clearly 'DO NOT OPEN' on the front," asked Old Wrinkly thoughtfully, "was there not some sort of surprise?"
"You could say that." Admitted Alvin with a good natured smile which perhaps did not quite reach his eyes. "I cannot read as well as you hooligans, so I opened the coffin and reached quite innocently to grasp something inside... and the coffin lid snapped shut with the force of a sharks jaws and in one stroke cut off my hand."
Alvin held up his right arm.
There, were his hand should of been emerging from his sleeve, was a black iron claw in the shape of a hook.
"Mmm." Grunted Stoick, " Booby-trapped. I apologise for my great grandfather, he had a nasty sense of humour."
"Yes, well. " Alvin smiled oily at him once more "Luckily we poor-but-honest-farmers can take a joke. And this," he gestured to the claw, "is very good at opening oysters. Now, back to my tale. I was careful the next time I opened the coffin to dismantle the booby-trap first, but there was no sign of treasure inside, not even the body of Grimbeard the Ghastly. What there was..."
The entire tribe leaned forwards straining with anticipation, mouths open, eyes wide...
"...was this map (1), and this riddle." Alvin reached under his still soggy cape, and into his jerkin's breast pocket. He pulled out the map and riddle with a flourish and held them up for all to see.
"Oh." Stated Stoick, very disappointed. He had hoped that Alvin had simply found a valuable object and was naive enough to return it to its rightful owners. "No Grimbeard? No treasure? No stormblade? Just two pieces of paper?" Vikings didn't really hold paper in the highest of regards, seeing as few of them could read and fewer could write in a form that was legible to anybody else.
"Ah, but Stoick," Said Alvin in a patient tone of voice; "these two pieces of paper will lead us to Grimbeard's treasure."
"Us?" asked Gobber, confused. "If you had the paper with the riddle on it, and the map, why not go and get it yourself? Why come here?" (2) He scratched under his helmet bemused. To Vikings, if you had treasure and couldn't remember where you hid it without a very-easily-lost map, you deserved to have it stolen. Honesty was never one of their strong points.
"But that would be dishonest!" protested Alvin virtuously. "Even we peaceable folk know the saga of 'The Lost Treasure of Grimbeard the Ghastly'...the treasure belongs to you, his descendants. Besides there the little matter of the riddle, which makes it clear that this treasure cannot be found by just anybody." Alvin cleared his throat and read to the silent audience:
'Dare ye brave the watery grave?
The Death's Head pricketh of fire and sleep?
If ye dare ye are my Heir
For my Heir and his Beast shall seek it there
And he shall tell me underground
Am I lost or am I found?'
"So you see," finished Alvin, " it seems only the Heir to Grimbeard the Ghastly can find the treasure... And only he and his 'Beast' can find it. By Beast I assume he means a dog or a..." Alvin paused and looked uncomfortably at Toothless. (Although the news had spread quickly that the dragons were tameable, and it had been STOICK's son to start it, some Vikings found it harder to adjust than others.) "Dragon."
I might point out that dragons are excellent finders of treasure, they excelled at it. Finding it even if it was buried several feet down and for long periods of time. They collected it as far as Hiccup could tell, because it was shiny and flameproof, which was attractive to a mate. The Male with the best nest/cave/rock/hole would win the girl.
"And I couldn't possibly find this treasure myself," beguiled Alvin, "because I don't have a way with animals. They just don't like me, I can't imagine why. Anyway do you have any idea what the riddle is talking about? You, for instance Stoick, with your quick and lively brain?"
Astrid and Old Wrinkly choked on spit, coughing suddenly and loudly. Stoick struggled to look intelligent.
"Hmm, it's a hard one." He scowled and rubbed where his chin would have been if not for all the beard. Hiccup stood up and hobbled over, nudging his father in the ribs to get him to notice he was there in the process, he took the map from Stoick's giant paw and unrolled it fully. Inside was a large detailed map of the area around berk and their neighbouring tribes, with borderlines, safe routes and little notes on each Island painfully copied out in Norse (the Vikings native tongue and Latin. Why it would be copied out in their sworn enemy's language Hiccup could only guess.
"Do you think the 'Death's Head' thing might be referring to the isle of Skullions? A Death's head is a skull after all, or a really poisonous mushroom (3)." Hiccup suggested albeit with hefty dose of sarcasm.
"Of course!" Stoick boomed delighted, "the Isle of Skullions! That's where it will be!"
The isle of Skullions was a small island off the west coast of Berk that formed the rough shape of a skull and crossbones. It was this shape that Grimbeard had adopted for his flag and, more importantly, his helmet.
"So this island here," Alvin pointed to a point and an X on the paper, "is the Isle of Skullions, is it?" purred Alvin gleefully, stabbing the map with a sharp finger. "And this will be where we'll find the treasure?"
To Alvin's eternal surprise, the entire tribe burst into laughter.
"Oh there's no question of finding the treasure if it's on the Isle of the Scullions," said Stoick cheerfully. "Nobody has ever returned from that island alive! Hiccup, read to Alvin from our new Dragon manual." He clapped Hiccup on the shoulder, sending him stumbling several steps towards the table with the new dragon manual on it. Hiccup picked up the new book, momentarily admiring the craftsmanship of the dragon-proof cover ; before licking his thumb and flicking through to a double page spread about the dragon in question.
At ten feet tall, the scullion is a dragon that has lost its ability of flight, eyesight and hearing. However its sense of smell is phenomenal and it will eat anything it comes across, this animal has not been trained thus far and is very, very dangerous. The Scullion will attack it's victims with its extra long super sharp claw, cutting the Achilles tendon at the back of their heels, making them unable to walk, it then eats them alive. Avoid at all costs, Kill on sight."
Read Hiccup, delighted at his and Fishlegs work. Although Stoick hadn't been happy about rewriting the rules they had lived by for the past seven generations and beyond, he had eventually agreed it was necessary when people had begun asking to be trained in the new art of dragon taming. Hiccup had been the obvious choice but he had protested, stating he only knew about how to approach a dragon and the different methods involved depending on the species, he had no clue about each dragons strengths, fire type or abilities. After a long and loud 'discussion' between Hiccup and his father, Fishlegs had bravely volunteered to help Hiccup write the book. The drawings though, we all Hiccup, the Skullions page showed the beast side on, a detailed sketch of the head and jaw, and several examples of how they killed. The Skullion is built along the lines of a very, very fat wolf, but with dark purple scales, a large snout for sniffing and a unique set of spikes for each dragon.
"Ah." Said Alvin sinking back into the chair, "I see the problem." He paused for a moment, before looking beguile up at Stoick with a small smile:
"But, I am sure a man as clever as you Stoick, will be able to lead a quest to the Isle of the Skullions to find this treasure nonetheless."
"A quest to the Isle of the Skullions would be total madness." Crackled Old Wrinkly firmly, (he pronounced Skull-uh-dill-li-ons) as Hiccup closed the book with a muffled clap.
"The Skullions are lethal," Agreed Hiccup (who pronounced it Skull-ee-ons) "We'd never make it out alive." Astrid and Hiccup looked apprehensively at one another, (Astrid was still clutching his left arm).
"Grimbeard's sword, the stormblade, will be part of this treasure," Wheedled Alvin "and if you held the stormblade the names of you and your tribe would be feared again throughout the Viking world..."
Stoick stroked his beard thoughtfully, sharing a glance with Gobber.
"And you Stoick," cooed Alvin, causing Astrid to snort with laughter "picture yourself with diamonds sprinkled in your beard, a golden breastplate, the Stormblade flaming terribly in one hand, bracelets for those handsome wrists of yours. I can see you already, Mogadon kneeling humbly before you feet. What a vision you shall be!"
Stoick held himself even more upright, this was saying something as Stoick usually held himself ramrod straight so as to appear more impressive (which let's face it was a bit difficult when your 6'6 ft). He had also always secretly fancied himself a pair of Viking earrings.
"I'LL DO IT!" He boomed.
"FELLOW VIKINGS!" he turned and bellowed to the crowd, "I SHALL LEAD US ON A QUEST TO FIND THE TREASURE OF OUR ANCESTORS! TOO LONG HAVE WE BEEN DENIED WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS! NOW, WHO'S WITH ME?"
"But it's insane!" yelped Hiccup. "Anyone who sets foot on that island will be eaten alive in moments!" but the tribe was too filled with the ideas of glory, and cheering so loudly no one could hear Hiccup. "Ow. Ow ow, ow." He winced as Astrid leapt into the air, yanking his arm out of it's socket. He then turned at a sympathetic hand on his right shoulder, and shared a look of long suffering with Old Wrinkly.
"GLORY AND RICHES WILL BE OURS!" Crowed Gobber patting Alvin painfully hard on the back. The tribe, including Astrid, roared in reply.
"Oh here we go..." muttered Hiccup to himself.
1) This is where you need to refer to your copy of "how to be a pirate" look at the first pages. If you don't have a copy: get a piece of paper (about A4 size.) In the middle of the paper, draw a 3cm diameter circle and label it "Berk". About 10cm south west from this circle make a 1cm circle and label it "Isle Of the Skullions". To the north west, about 6cm away from Berk, draw a 4cm diameter circle, label it "Meathead Isle". To the East, 25 cm away from berk, if you have room, draw a 20cm diameter circle, it WILL go off the map, this is intentional: and then label it "The peaceful country." There, all the significant places mapped out.
2) Again, refer to either book map or self-made map.
3) It really is, I have the delightful pleasure of knowing very little facts about the fungus, however that is one of them. Also known as a Death's Cap.
Saint over and out.