It took more than a sword and shield to be a Viking. It took more than a horned helmet and a thick beard. It took bravery and stamina and a crude, rough attitude to everything Odin threw at you. It took looking at the world as it darkened into black and facing it all the same.
If you carried a sword and could wield it then you could call yourself a fighter. If you could carry a shield and use it for defence then you could call yourself a warrior. But only if you could engage a powerful enemy with nothing but raw stamina and guts could you call yourself a Viking.
But now as the rain began to drip from the gloomy sky and onto the shoulders of Stoic the Vast he felt like the exact opposite of a Viking.
He couldn't concentrate on the cheers of the gathering crowd or the beating wings of the dragons above, no; he couldn't tear his eyes away from the ragged, bruised and beaten body of his son.
His brave, intelligent and bloody fool of a son who lay unmoving in his fathers arms. The son who had managed in the course of a single day to change the hearts of hundreds of stubborn Vikings with a single act of compassion.
Shame burned like cold fire in his heart as he thought back to when he had angrily berated Hiccup for becoming friends with a dragon. For defying the laws and the very foundation of their village. But most of all, for defying him. The stubborn, hot blooded Viking in him had been most furious at his son's blatant insolence in the face of his father.
You're not my son.
Tears gently spilled from his eyes as he recalled the cold words he had thrown at his son and how he had walked away and nearly leading his people into their complete destruction. Only the actions of the village's children had saved them and it was something he would remember till the day he died.
Tightening his grip on his sons still body he gently placed his hand on Hiccup's chest for the reassuring heartbeat. The consistent and steady comforting sign of life in his sons pale and still body.
Holding his son here and now, was like nothing he had ever done before. So much had changed and if recent events were anything to go by, many things would keep changing. As Viking chieftain that would be the most important thing in the world right now. But as a father with a beaten son in his arms it couldn't be further form his mind.
All that mattered right now was Hiccup. He felt his body shake as a few more tears escaped from his eyes, falling into his sons face. Everything around him was a blur of noise and colour. He vaguely took in the words of the Vikings around him but he felt a strange, almost surreal sense of detachment to the world.
Shallow breathing caught his attention and he immediately looked down to see small dots of colour slowly return to his son's face. His precious, valiant and bloody hero of a son began to breathe with a steadiness and sureness. . He was going to live.
And suddenly the world felt a little bit brighter.