Chapter 1: Inevitable Tragedy

The ash was strangling. Astrid had grown up among fires and the nasty aftermath, but nothing like this. It was like snow, falling thickly about her and turning the sky whiter than the prior mist could have ever hoped to have done. She could barely see in front of her. For a moment she thought how silly it was to rely on the movement of the rest of the warriors, but if they were lost they could all look like idiots together. Even so, she could vaguely see the figure of Stoick ahead. He moved faster than anyone. For another moment she felt guilty, like she should be up there with him.

But why? He was the village chief, important in her life, but the fact remained that she really had never had too many conversations with the man.

And there was the form of Toothless, lying prone on the ground. She was close enough she could make out the mess of metal attached to him, the harness and stirrups that had grudgingly impressed her—not that she ever would have told Hiccup. They looked terrible there.

Hiccup wasn't there. Maybe it was just the ash and mist, but she could not see Hiccup.

The rest of crowd stopped.

There was Stoick, kneeling before Toothless. Both were silent.

Astrid' heart froze in her chest. An odd feeling. She had promised herself she would never ever feel like that. That wasn't how a Viking warrior was supposed to feel. That wasn't how it worked. She closed her eyes. Couldn't she just act like a girl for once?

Hiccup was gone. Something had happened during that blast and that flight and now he was gone. He had been odd. Odd, but always kind of cute. And so unbelievably brave. The first boy she had kissed since she was six, and that had been on a dare. True, it had been on the cheek, but for someone like her that was fairly serious.

Then, for a moment, it seemed all right. Toothless' wings spread open, and for that one wonderful moment her heart thawed and moved and beat and did what hearts were supposed to do. There was Hiccup, eyes closed, but still Hiccup.

She held her breath as she and everyone else watched Stoick pick him up.

He had to be fine. Toothless... Toothless was amazing. Astrid could envision it. Some sort of disaster up in the sky, Toothless enveloping Hiccup in those fireproof wings. Protecting him. Not letting anything happen to him.

Stoick check him. She could see the signs. Breath. Heartbeat. The time passing was agonizing.

And then her wonderful moment was over.

Stoick sank forward, sobbing.


Saw the movie last night. Absolutely loved it. And then, whilst getting ready for church this morning, this popped into my head. Great Sunday activity, I know. My hubby says I'm extremely morbid, but I can't help it. I actually hope to get some happiness in this, eventually.

So, please read, express an opinion if you have one. Also… I don't have a dragon-aware beta. So if anyone would be interested to volunteer before I have to go begging…