Castle Utgard: The Legend of Hogi and Lugi
The Journey to Utgard
When Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was born, the full moon turned black.
Darkness covered the orb and the stars gleamed mockingly as the Vikings panicked. During the night, the wind howled like the grey wolves, invisible fingers gripping at the trees, almost tearing them out of the ground. Roofing on houses was almost ripped off, sending a few families into the shelter of the mess hall.
They were not astrologists, they were not philosophers or learned men; only warriors, leaving the lunar eclipse to send them into chaos. Believed that Loki would touch upon the child and mother going into labor that same night, Stoick fell to prayer. They all knew that the child was too early, was expected to be small, and possibly, dead.
But the act was not caused by Loki, no, The Goddess Nótt touched the night with her gentle caress as her fellows did their own work. Most of the Gods felt that the boy would be useless. "Let him die," one had said, but Baldr would not have it. The God of peace and rebirth breathed life into the baby, as Vör and Kvasir placed upon him their own blessings.
Stoick's prayer had been answered by the most unlikely of fellows while, under the large roots of Yggdrasill, the World Tree, four other gods created a beast to do their bidding at Ragnarök. Hel, who was forced by Odin, filled the monster with a breath of death and scales that could withstand even the sharpest sword, Thor granted it the speed with agility of lightning, giving it beautiful and powerful wings, and Reés breathed fire into its soul.
When they had left to come back another day, however, Hlín whispered it the secrets of consolation and sang lullabies of coves and fish… and a boy with green eyes and hair like a unkept sword, quelling nightmares only a Dragon of Death could have.
When the creature was finally placed on Midgard, Hiccup's mother departed from the world, and Night touched them both with gentle, soothing hands. To each, it made them different. For one, he would never fit in, ridiculed and harassed to the point of exhaustion. The other would be the unholy offspring; to destroy and bring fear to all that it challenged.
The gods had touched them both for their own purposes—Thor even nicknamed the boy Hogi—but only the Norns would ever recognize and see the future for what they would become.
And what would become of them.
"Hiccup!" Astrid cried, looking around frantically before choosing the hammer sitting on the ground. A swift motion of her foot and the handle landed in her hand. She spun around on her heel and the weapon smacked the dragon in the snout, bringing furious, gleaming eyes to her small form. The Nightmare gave the blonde no warning as it switched targets, coming easily after her and forcing the young woman to scramble frantically out of its way, slipping on the smooth stone.
The gate blocking their escape was easily wrenched open. "This way!" Stoick yelled out, his hands motioning frantically even as Astrid and Hiccup already moved to sprint towards him. Always being more athletic, the girl got to the opening first, caught by the chief when she stumbled.
Flames sprung up before Hiccup, lighting up the wall and making his father cover Astrid with his powerful body. The fire and heat sent the boy careening backwards, racing away from the Nightmare as it latched onto the wall, talons digging viciously into the grey stone. It launched towards the boy, knocking him over. Hiccup rolled just in time to avoid being skewered by the curved claws creating an inescapable cage around his body.
Something else, however, awoke over the cries and furious grumbling of the dragon; the unmistakable sound of something splitting the air in half. Toothless, in one single bound, soared over the heads of the audience and blasted a hole through the iron. The arena filled with dark smoke as the blackness swirled off the yellow colored metal. Hiccup pushed against the Nightmare's claws as it was momentarily distracted by the mass of ebony scales ripping and tearing at its own red and orange armor.
"Somebody get in there and help him!" Someone roared over the crowd as forms began to make shape once more, flapping wings clearing the smoke. A roar of agony tore through the air and Hiccup was let loose, the Nightmare focusing on the hatred of the dragon on its back.
The Night Fury gave the bigger creature no mercy; talons that could cut through rock gouged deep into the muscle of the Nightmare even as they rolled into full view of everyone, out of the smoke and into the light.
Gobbler proclaimed Toothless' species aloud, awed at his first glimpse of the legendary figure, but the dragon could've cared less when the Nightmare used its flexibility to its advantage and turned the tables, getting the ebony dragon onto his back. Their jaws snapped, long, sharp teeth coming dangerously close to the unprotected, ebony underbelly. But still, Toothless clawed, throwing the creature off with a mighty shove of his back feet and rolling onto his awkward but powerful legs.
A stalemate was reached with the larger beast, not daring to evoke the rage filled Night Fury as it defended Hiccup—who was on the floor both in shock and rubbing his heavily bruised arm from where the larger dragon had ran him over before as he had tried to grab a shield. They both roared and screeched before the Nightmare backed down, flinching away, then scrambled away to get as far from Toothless as it could, dark blood splattering on the arena floor.
Seeing the minor danger pass, Hiccup scrambled to his feet, rushing underneath the raised wing and clutched frantically at his friend's head. "All right, Toothless; go! Get out of here!" He tried to push the dragon away, but the green eyes were narrowed and watching the swarm of Vikings (big and small) sliding past the iron bars blocking the captured dragons' escapes. "Go! Go!"
Then Hiccup saw his father grab an axe off the wall. His leaf-like eyes widened in horror before he made a quick and rash decision; he mounted the dragon. "GO!" He ordered, and Toothless was too eager to oblige. With a powerful thrust, they were air born, and a swift ball of blue fire made short work of the chains above. The two of them soared through the roof before shooting off over the island, heading towards the valley where they had first formed their friendship.
Hiccup was shaking, his eyes wide, hands slick with sweat. He steered Toothless by instinct and when they landed, quickly dismounted and stumbled onto his knees. "What have I done?" The teen whispered, only his hands holding him above the ground, green eyes staring at the dirt blankly. "Odin, what have I done?"
Nudging the boy softly with his nose, the dragon looked the boy over, his lips curling up into a snarl at the sight of an ugly navy slowly appearing on his arm. Whining, Toothless curled around the frantic boy—too far deep in shock—and purred softly, easing the teen back into awareness.
For a long moment, they sat there, both taking comfort in the other before Hiccup raised a small hand and rested it on the black scales. "I can't go back," he said matter-of-factly. "T-they won't…" he trailed off and sniffed, rubbing at his eyes with his sleeve. "We got to… got to think this through," The teen's voice became softer, thoughtful, "because that idea certainly didn't go as planned."
Toothless huffed in agreement and pulled the boy closer, snuggling against the small body, offering his own warmth. Hiccup closed his eyes, but him thoughts were focused on one thing alone; the unadulterated rage etched across his father's face.
The redhead quickly stood, looking over his friend and grabbing the woven bag he had left the night before. It held everything he would've needed before, and it served the same purpose now. His hands worked clumsily as he strapped on the harness he had discarded last night, pulling the vest over the leather. "Toothless, we have to get out of here, before… before they—" The dragon snorted and turned, giving the boy easy access to his back before, once again, shooting up into the heavy summer air, the sun beating down on their backs.
Hiccup found himself guiding the dragon absently; he didn't dare look back, but the temptation was too much and, with a soft sigh, the teen glanced over his shoulder. There was a flash of blonde in the trees before it was gone, vanishing behind bark and needles. Small hands latched onto the saddle harder than necessary as the boy found his breath hitching once more, tears stinging at the corners of his eyes. Angrily, he rubbed at them with his sleeve, but couldn't stop the flow now running down his cheeks.
Rumbling in worry, Toothless angled himself at a dark splotch on the horizon, flying horizontal to the cloud of mist blocking the nest from view.
Home—no Hiccup thought viciously—Berk was behind them now, further and further behind as large wings flapped and the teen automatically adjusted.
Home was where the heart lived.
The first part of this chapter has been edited for modernization purposes.
No information has been changed, only the writing.
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