One Year Later
"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!" Astrid's scream rang throughout the house.
A bunch of nervously excited women buzzed around her as her father placed her on a stretcher and picked up by one end while Stoic grabbed the other. Together, they rushed her from the house, Prince on their heels. The Deadly Nadder squawked and growled as it followed them down the hill toward the elder's house. The women screamed for others to get out of the way as they charged through the village.
Snotlout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Fishlegs were passing by when the group of women practically flew past them. They couldn't tell who was on the stretcher between the female Vikings until Astrid let out another cry of pain, this one echoing off the buildings and floating through the entire village. Her friends rushed after her, trying not to get too close to Prince's madly waving tail.
The two men carrying the stretcher and the group of mothers rushed the moaning woman into the elder's house, slamming the door on Prince, who squawked angrily. The dragon was about to bust the door in when it reopened and Stoic walked out. He looked up from the door as he closed it and patted the Nadder reassuringly. He stopped when he noticed what looked like all of the Vikings in the village and most of their dragons in a semi-circle around him.
Silence fell between them for a moment before Snotlout asked, "What's going on?"
The Viking Chief seemed to come out of a sort of trance, "SOMEONE FIND HICCUP!" Stoic roared.
The group gathered before him scattered as they ran through the village, calling the young man's name. No one noticed as Prince, instead of staying dutifully by the door, took off into the sky. Tuffnut was the first to notice the dragon's absence, and he and the others followed the rapidly shrinking dot in the sky, beckoning for Prince to come back.
Wind whistled in Hiccup's ear as he reveled in this wondrous moment, unaware of something far more monumental occurring back home. The beat of Toothless' wings, the sound and feel of the wind, the adrenaline rush, and the fact that no one was trying to kill him filled the young Viking with joy. He and Toothless soared above the clouds, the island and ocean completely vanishing from sight.
The clouds suddenly opened up, revealing the water far below, and a small group of seagulls. Hiccup gently guided the dragon into the midst of the flock. The white birds gave the Night Fury terrified looks and a wide birth while he gave them a smug look. Suddenly, Toothless snapped his jaws, causing the birds to shriek and scatter. The dragon laughed, his master tried not to.
"Toothless!" Hiccup attempted to scold his friend, though he was unable to contain a chuckle.
Then they heard a familiar squawk behind them. Hiccup stopped Toothless and turned to see Prince flying towards them. Hiccup wondered what the Nadder was doing here by himself.
"Prince? What's going on?" Hiccup asked the dragon.
Astrid's dragon squawked some more and Toothless grunted in return. Hiccup felt Toothless grow tense as the conversation continued. Finally, Prince finished whatever he had to say, and turned to return to the village. Hiccup looked down at the black dragon.
"Toothless what is it? What's WROOOOOONNNGG?" The Viking shouted as Toothless suddenly took off back toward the island. All Hiccup could do was hang on and keep them from falling from the sky.
When the island came into view, Toothless increased his speed. As they came closer, Hiccup could see the villagers moving about energetically, like ants around a disturbed anthill. The dragon dived, the familiar screech ringing through the air. Suddenly, Toothless leveled out and slowly flew to a landing in front of the elder's house. Hiccup dismounted as Tuffnut and Snotlout rushed towards him.
"Hey guys, what's going on?" Hiccup questioned. Astrid's scream erupted from the house, making the three Vikings flinch. Concern welled up inside of Hiccup, and he attempted to run to the house. He was stopped short as Snotlout and Tuffnut each grabbed him by the arm. All three began talking at once.
"You guys! What are you doing? Let me go!" Hiccup demanded.
"I really don't think you should go in there," Snotlout said.
"Your wife's got it in for you," Tuffnut tried to tell him; "She's like a dragon herself right now."
"I have to see Astrid!" Hiccup continued to resist.
"You're not listening! Astrid isn't in her right mind!" Snotlout tried to see if shouting worked better, it didn't.
Astrid's voice blasted from the house, drowning out their argument, "I'M GOING TO KILL THE SON OF A HALF-TROLL THAT DID THIS TO ME!"
Hiccup no longer resisted his friends' grip. The two Vikings let him go as he stepped back, looking fearful and pale.
"Told ya." Tuffnut said as he shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, I'm s-sure I can wait for her to m-maybe calm down a bit, right?" Hiccup asked his friends, seeking their approval.
"Hiccup?" Astrid's voice floated from the building again, "Is that you?" The three Vikings were astounded that she could hear them, and Hiccup cursed his luck as he slowly walked to the door. Before he opened it he turned to look at Snotlout and Tuffnut, who both gave him looks of pity.
Astrid was lying on a bed on the opposite side of the room to the door. The young woman was covered in sweat and looked up as the door opened. She spotted Hiccup past all the women that were running back and forth in front of her. He looked a little scared, but Astrid assumed it was from worry.
It was from worry all right, worry over seeing in this much pain and worry over what she was going to do to him. Hiccup crept carefully into the room, his eyes connecting with Astrid's. His wife extended her hand and motioned for him to come closer. Her voice was little more than a whisper and filled with exhaustion when she spoke.
"Hiccup, come here." The Viking dutifully approached her, taking her outstretched hand in his. Now that he was closer, all fear of personal harm was crushed by concern and pain of watching her suffer. "I'm so glad you're here," she continued, "I was afraid you were going to miss it- AAAAAAHH!" The soon-to-be mother cried in pain as another contraction hit her. Hiccup was forced to his knees while he restrained his own cries of pain. The gentle hand he had been holding felt like it was now crushing his in a vice-like grip.
This continued well into the night. Hiccup slowly built a tolerance for the pain and found himself more and more concerned for his wife's wellbeing. But then, after hours of pain, Astrid's exhausted cry was replaced by the wail of fresh lungs of a newborn baby. The child was taken and cleaned and then handed to his father wrapped in a warm blanket.
Hiccup held his son gently, his eyes filled with wonder, his mouth practically sitting on the floor. He sat down in a chair next to the head of the bed and stared at the now sleeping boy. He was lost in his own little world until Astrid tapped him on the shoulder.
"Can I hold him?" She asked.
Hiccup carefully handed their son to her. He watched happily as she smiled at the newborn. A certain glow seemed to emanate from her that wasn't there before. Both of the Haddocks looked up as the door opened again. Stoic, Astrid's father and mother, Toothless, and Prince entered the room. The grandparents stood back and beamed at their children and their grandchild while the dragons quietly approached. Both of them were transfixed on the tiny human in Astrid's arms. They sniffed the infant a little bit, debating on who this was. Finally, they seemed to make up their minds. Toothless purred at the child and then went to sit next to Hiccup, looking happily between his master and the newest Haddock. Prince let out a small squawk of approval and nudged Astrid's head. She laughed and rubbed his chin.
Astrid and Hiccup looked at each other, grinning from ear to ear. Astrid shifted closer to Hiccup so that they could both watch their child sleep. Things were going to be different for the young couple from now on, but no matter how different or challenging, they had an entire village to help them.
A woman, her physique hiding her true age, looked out one of the many windows of her grand mansion at the land before her. She had black hair, and a saddened face. Her skin was snow-white, as if it never saw the sun. She listened as the door at the back of the room opened. She heard a very slight sound as the intruder entered the room, sword drawn. She did not turn around, but spoke with a solemn voice.
"I know what you came for," she said.
"Is that so?" The intruder's deep, sinister voice had no effect on her.
"Yes. You have come to kill me and escape this place, and then you plan to unleash the secret held bound by the Gods since before even I was born."
The stranger shook his head as he approached, impressed. "So, if you know all of this, why have you not tried to stop me?"
She turned, her forlorn face inches from the end of his blade, "Because, what's the point. You won't be able to kill me, and even if you did, no human no matter how twisted could ever possibly hope to stand against Odin, king of the Gods."
The man smiled while he prepared to strike, "Goddess or not, you will die."
Those who said anything to me about it asked me to write a sequel, so I have posted this as a kind of preview of sorts and to announce my next story. I will begin How to Train Your Dragon: Battle for Valhalla soon. Hope you all enjoy it!