Disclaimer: I do not own "How to Train Your Dragon" or any of the characters in the movie presented by Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, or in the novels written by Cressida Cowell. My purpose with this story is to provide the perspective of Stoick the Vast as father, friend and chief.
After viewing "How to Train Your Dragon", I had a desire to find out more about the movie's origins, history and popularity. I initially discovered the stories here after reviews of comments at another website. Most of the stories I've encountered have been wonderful in their scope and detail and I took time to register and begin providing comments and reviews. I decided to write this story about Stoick the Vast as my extended foray into writing to fill in the 'gaps' I found present in the movie. Please enjoy reading and feel free to make reviews and comments. Thanks.
I need to acknowledge Catnip-Packet and her excellent story "How to train your dragon: The Movie". I referred to her story at times initially to make sure that the dialogue was correct. Due to the amount of time invested into the story, I purchased and now use the DVD for support of the dialogue.
I want to express kudos to Backroads for her review and insightful critique. Her input into to the initial draft story showed where I lacked some details. Even after her comments and help, I felt that the writing needed additional work.
Most of all, I thank my loving wife Ochie for her full support and wholehearted encouragement to allow me to explore this new avenue of adventure and is providing the editing of the current story.
Note: Sentences in italics indicate Stoick's inner thoughts.
Chapter 1: This is Berk
This is Berk: population two thousand and fifteen Vikings comprised of four hundred ninety seven families, four thousand sheep, three hundred fifteen goats, and several hundred chickens. A village located on a large, wind swept island in the Northern Seas where the midnight sun arrives for one month every year. The winters are cold, but the people and their spirit are warm. We have hunting, fishing and a wonderful view of the sunset. The only problem is the pests. While most villages have to worry about mice or mosquitoes we have to worry about…
I was jarred from my thoughts, annoyed at the interruption of what I considered a very pleasant daydream, bragging to others how I felt about my village. I rose quickly from the remains of breakfast and ran from the Great Hall, hammer and helm in hand, other Vikings following behind.
Outside the hall threshold, I scanned the sky to determine the threats present in the moonlit night. There were a myriad of shapes and sizes of various creatures, as if I was looking up into a fish pond.
Some people would leave. Not us because we're Vikings. We have (ahem) stubbornness issues. My name is Stoick the Vast and I'm the Chieftain of the village. Parents believe that a good name will frighten off gnomes and trolls along with our charming Viking demeanor.
"Get the torches lit NOW! Get the catapults positioned along the shoreline! Get the nets out of storage! GO! GO! GO!" barking these orders out to those around me who then turned and ran off to make sure those orders were fulfilled.
People say that I had an air of command, possessing the physique of a barrel with arms and legs the size of tree trunks. My braided red beard, mustache and hair may have the appearance of a small rug but it keeps me warm in winter.
I accomplish things in this village by observing people. People say my eyes are "piercing to the soul", but I actually have a knack of reading people and their inner thoughts. A twitch, a sneer, flaring nostrils, a change in the eye, the position of the body, I use these characteristic signs when negotiating trades or when sitting in judgment. To me this knack helps to ensure the success of my village.
People also say that when I was a baby I popped a dragon's head clean off its shoulders. That's not true. I was a teenager when I did it to a Deadly Nadder attacking my brother Spitelout.
We've been here on this island and in this town for seven generations and will continue to stay here regardless of the attacks by the vile devils. We have an active(ahem) urban redevelopment program for the town that virtually insures that every building is new. The dragons help in that regard immensely.
A two headed monster dragon, a Zippleback, proved my point by using one of its two heads to fill a house with gas through the smoke hole in the roof of a house. The other head went and started sparking at the gas filled house, causing an explosion sending bits of wood in all directions.
I secured my helmet and proceeded to the docks. Approaching one of the main avenues, I paused to see if any dragons were making a strafing run. Sure enough, a red Monstrous Nightmare, a large red dragon with a wingspan of twenty strides and horns down its back, began to lay down a plume of fire along the pathway. A blur to my right caused me to grab a boy with brunette hair hanging unbraided by the shoulder, wearing a fur vest and a green tunic similar to mine.
"Hiccup! Wha…What is he doing...?" I turned him to look directly in his face. "What are you doing OUT? GET INSIDE!" The look on his face showed that he knew there would be consequences later. I shoved the teen in the general direction of the blacksmith shop across the pathway.
I scanned the sky again to see a blue dragon, a Deadly Nadder, carrying away a sheep. Quickly looking around, I grabbed an empty hay cart and hurled it at the Nadder attempting to steal away with its prize. The hay cart exploded against the dragon, causing it to stagger in midair and drop its cargo.
Hmmph. NOT tonight!
Striding to the bluff I turned to one of my lieutenants and asked, "What have we got?"
"Gronckles, Nadders, Zipplebacks. Oh and Hoark said he saw a Monstrous Nightmare." The lieutenant had the same physical characteristics of all the Vikings of Berk; large, muscular bodies with thick arms and legs. These characteristics were due to selective breeding and the ever constant need to battle against the winged raiders. Thin, slight or sickly children and adults normally didn't survive in this environment.
"Whoomm". An explosion bloomed behind me causing the lieutenant to cringe.
"Any Night Furies?" I asked.
"Not so far."
"Good. Hoist the torches!" brushing off a flaming ember on my shoulder. I then proceeded to the docks where the north and south catapults were positioned to examine the start of our counter-attack.
"We move to the lower defenses. We'll counterattack with the catapults."
I walked north along the dock platform and approached the north catapult, climbing to the lower deck and scanning the horizon to see the progress of the battle. I could see that some Nadders found some of the sheep and were beginning to carry them off.
A Viking cried, "They found the sheep!"
"Concentrate fire over the lower bank." I commanded. "Hurry up!"
"Fire!" roared one of my lieutenants.
After rotating, the catapult launched its payload and struck a Nadder directly in its chest. I started scanning the sheepcote to pick out the next target when a flash of light from below the catapult meant only one thing.
"Reload! I'll take care of this one." I drew my hammer. From underneath, another Monstrous Nightmare appeared, this one fully lit on fire. This creature usually attacked opponents while on fire; a very intimidating technique. I repeatedly struck the Nightmare on its snout and head to repel the beast. It lunged at me and tried to take a bite but I was able to dodge its strike.
That's when I heard it.
Then everyone heard the screech…
"Night Fury!"..."Get down!"
The blue plume struck the catapult tower I was standing on, knocking me down and temporarily stunning me. I was able to regain my senses in time to witness the collapse of the counterweight originally a part of the catapult and falling onto me. This meant only one thing.
"JUMP!" I yelled at the Vikings manning the catapult who were just regaining their bearings when I dove off of the tower away from the counterweight. I didn't want to look behind me, I knew that it was too close for comfort and I was at least ten strides off of the ground which meant I had my work cut out for me to NOT break my legs when I landed. As the ground approached, I went into a tuck before striking the ground, sticking out my left arm and hand to simulate a curve. My left hand hit the ground and by stiffening my arm, I proceeded to roll down my arm across my back to my legs before sliding five strides to a stop on my buttocks. I looked behind me after stopping my slide to notice how close the counterweight was. I reached out and used it to get up.
Another blue flash from the north catapult tower followed by a billowing, fiery explosion was the calling card of the only dragon the Vikings of Berk were unable to counter. The Night Fury was never seen, never took any animals and never missed a target. No one had any idea of what it was capable of and so was the most feared. What followed next was typical of attacks by the Night Fury where it usually preferred the watch towers and catapults but was not above attacking other structures in the village. There was no specific repetition or pattern that could be used against it.
This randomness was the main reason that the villagers were unable to bring down this creature.
I held up my left hand in front of my face, shielding it from the debris of the catapult. I turned and could still see some Deadly Nadders going after sheep. There was a net nearby so I rushed to pick it up and managed to hurl the net over three of them.
Net meet Nadders. Nadders meet net.
"Let's get 'em" I overheard as I ran to help secure the dragons.
"Mind yourselves! The devils still have some juice in them!" I yelled but managed to clamp the beast's beak shut as it attempted to spew fire.
Another blue flash followed by an explosion indicated another strike by the Night Fury, this time against the south catapult tower.
Towers can be rebuilt, but we can't live through the winter without livestock.
I watched as other Vikings continued the almost hand-to-claw combat with the raiders. I was still grappling with the Nadder when I heard a cry, human, in the distance. I glanced over to my left and noticed a small boy running for his life from a Monstrous Nightmare.
I got up and began sprinting to the south end of the town where the boy and the dragon approached. "Do NOT let them escape!"
I must help, I must help, I have to make it, I will make it…
I saw the boy hurriedly shield himself from the creature behind one of the raised braziers. A plume of sticky, red fire erupted around the boy as the Nightmare attempted to attack. The boy peered over his right shoulder to determine the location of the beast. What he couldn't see but easily guess and I could witness was the animal approaching from the left opening its maw. The Nightmare didn't catch sight of me as I barreled directly into the dragon's snout. We both went tumbling into the courtyard, squaring off at one another.
Okay, now that I'm in this predicament, how many shots does this Nightmare have left?
The Nightmare glared at me before firing off a plume that sputtered after only a few feet.
"You're all out", I noted with grim satisfaction.
I will kill you for what you tried to do to him and I'm REALLY going to enjoy this!
I repeatedly pummeled the Nightmare with my fists, once, twice, three times before throwing a kick in for good measure. The dragon decided to leave before taking any more blows from me; an extremely agitated human, flying away from the courtyard back into the night.
I was then able to take in the situation and see the results of the raid and would have been satisfied if it weren't for the collapse of the brazier tower directly in front of me with a "THUMP", the bowl crashing to the ground and rolling directly down to the docks. I could hear the increasingly muted and distant cries of several men and women as the brazier continued on its path of destruction. To make matters worse, the Vikings in the brazier's path had to release the nets used to capture the Deadly Nadders, not only allowing them to escape, but also take additional sheep back to their lair. The brazier continued on its chaotic course until it splashed into the cove.
The boy who hid behind the brazier stood directly in front of me, Stoick the Vast and could only say…
I could only glare at him.
"Okay, but I got a Night Fury", Hiccup said in a quick matter-of-fact way
I grabbed him, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, by the collar of his tunic and proceeded back to our home.
"Oh, but Dad it wasn't like last time. I really did get one. You guys were busy and I had a clear shot. It went down just off of Raven Point. If we can get a search party…"
"STOP… Just…stop…EVERY time you step outside…disaster follows. Can't you see that I have bigger problems? Winter is almost here and I have a village to feed!"
"Yeah, well just between you and me, the village could do with a little less feeding, don't you think?" Several of the villagers overheard Hiccup and started looking at each other. In some cases they placed arms over their stomachs as if to say, "Who me?"
"This isn't a joke Hiccup...Awww why can't you follow the simplest orders?"
"I…I…I can't stop myself. I see a dragon and I just want to…kill it! You know, it's who I am Dad." Hiccup looked as if he was trying to strangle the air in front of him.
I started to rub my closed eyes to remove the dull pain beginning in my head. "Ohhh, you're many things Hiccup but a dragon killer isn't one of them. Get back to the house."
I noticed Gobber the blacksmith was standing off to the side. He is my best friend, confidant and former comrade-of-arms who lost his right hand and left foot in dragon raids years ago. However, what he lost physically did not affect his mind as he is a great tactician and an asset to the village. He teaches the youngsters of Berk how to survive and fight against dragons and his insight into a lot of the activities around Berk proves invaluable to me. He is not only someone who listens and improves plans but can also provide alternatives not previously considered.
Hiccup was also Gobber's apprentice at the blacksmith shop where he trained Hiccup into the proper techniques required to heat, forge, grind and bend metal. Some occupational injuries occurred to Hiccup, and even Gobber, but Gobber considered that as learning 'on-the-job' for both of them. He even provided Hiccup a room in back of his shop to allow Hiccup to try out some ideas even though he had concerns about some of the inventions, but as long as the shop remained in one piece he would accept it.
"Make sure he gets there…I have his mess to clean up", I growled, fed up with his latest antics.
Gobber took Hiccup by the shoulder, slapping him upside his head and directed him back to the house, snide comments coming from a group of teens standing off to the side.
I returned to survey the damage. Spitelout approached from the docks.
"Spitelout, what are the casualties?" I bent over slightly, placing my hands on my knees as I experienced muscle spasms in my back. This was a common occurrence for me after a raid.
Hiccup, what am I going to do with you?
Spitelout returned, "No one was killed, however there were some burns and broken bones. They were caused mainly from the fall of the brazier tower."
Hiccup… I wish you weren't out and I wish you would listen!
"Someone was knocked out by a bola…trying to figure out how that happened. We had four men attempt to knock out Gronckles in mid-flight using hammers with predictable results. We'll have the number of dragons taken down later today."
"Alright Spite, how many sheep?"
"Around three hundred."
This is going to be a hard winter. That… is a months worth of food for the entire village!
I straightened myself, "Okay, no one lost their lives. That's good. Make sure all the fires are out and begin repairs. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the Hall."
Upon approaching the Great Hall, it dawned on me as the sun was rising over the mountains regarding the raid…
Author's note: The unit of measurement I used here, the stride, represents the distance taken between the toe of one foot to the heel of the other foot if the user were to take a normal step, hence a stride. It would approximate one meter. Also the back spasms felt by Stoick were the result of withdrawal of adrenaline from his system.
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