TITLE: Flying through Mud
CHAPTER: Chapter One
WORDS: 2, 777 words
DISCLAIMER: I do not own HTTYD or any of its characters
Before reading this story
These are not the same characters you are used to in the books or movie. They are not even my interpretation of the characters. They are in a different place, a different time and a different context. They are out of character and are meant to be that way. If you are still fine with this, continue reading and I hope you enjoy this story :)
"Miss Thorston is here to see you, Miss, should I let her in?"
The words seemed to shift in and out of Astrid's mind as if through a dream.
Astrid snapped out of her dream world to look towards the servant. "Yes, send her in." She said, brushing her skirts, although having done nothing all day assured that nothing would be on there. After straightening them, she found her eyes shifting towards the window again.
After a moment, she heard loud footsteps which could only belong to her friend. "You'd think after all these years Adolph would know he doesn't have to introduce me."
"My mother has insisted on it." Astrid said quietly, continuing to look out the window, otherwise she would have seen the face her friend made.
"Your mother has got you under lock and key. It isn't healthy, especially with the good weather coming. Come, let's go out and do something, shall we?"
Astrid turned to look at her friend, Ruffnut Thorston, then down to the hems of her skirts. She raised an eyebrow. "Walked here did you?"
Ruffnut smirked. "How could you tell?" she kicked up her skirts to reveal the mud caked fabric. "Mother will throw a fit. Not that I care anyway. Tuffnut took Havier into town, probably to see Selina, and so I had no choice but to walk here."
Astrid raised an eyebrow. "I'm sure your mother will see it that way."
"Oh stop with that no-nonsense attitude, Astrid. I know you want to go out and frolic around, I could see your face through the window when I was approaching the house. Let's go explore the grounds around Tadfield, it won't be long before we lose that chance.
Astrid eventually gave in to her friends badgering, changed into suitable clothes, laced her boots, and was out on the trail with her friend.
"Can you believe it was bought? Father said it was bought by relatives of the Jorgensen's. I hope they don't have the same attitude. I would rip my hair out if I had to deal with more of those. Selina hopes that they'll host a ball—which is another thing to dread. Mother will insist that I wear a proper gown—and you know how I feel about corsets—are you listening Astrid?" Ruffnut said sharply as he pinched her companion's ear.
"Ow." Astrid snapped, swatting her friends hand away. "What was that for?" she demanded.
Ruffnut smirked. "There she is, the old Astrid."
Astrid frowned at her. "What is that supposed to mean?"
Ruffnut shrugged her shoulders and looked away. "Nothing."
Ruffnut was horrible at telling lies, and Astrid could see right through this one. "There is something up." She said, crossing her arms. "You want to tell me but you don't want to tell me, so I'll just do what you want and not pursue the idea." She continued walking at a faster pace.
"Wait—that's not it—it's just…" Ruffnut exclaimed, hurrying to keep up. "It's just that you seem to be spending so much time these days practicing your art, and your embroidery, and language and music and everything else that is so 'ladylike' that you have no time to…."
"Be with you?" Astrid finished.
Ruffnut blushed and looked away. "Just to be yourself." She mumbled, embarrassed to be seen through so easily.
Astrid sighed. This wasn't an uncommon subject between them. As children, they were inseparable. Exploring the forests surrounding the then vacant Tadfield, playing pirates and fairies, and Ruffnut was right, in the recent months Astrid had been spending less and less time with her friend.
It's not like I wanted to do all those things, Astrid thought bitterly. It was her mother's idea to have her start practicing all those things that would hopefully turn her into prime marriageable material. Some days she would willingly do it just to escape her mother's woes about not starting earlier, or how she should never have let her run around like a boy with that tomboy friend of hers. Astrid shook her head. No, now is not the time for that. She looked up at the sky. It was overcast, as it often is this time of year. The air was heavy and moist, but Astrid liked that.
"It's still hard to believe that it's been bought. It's like all our childhood memories now belong to someone else." Ruffnut said sadly.
"Who knows, if mother has her way and I marry a rich young man, maybe he'll buy this estate and we can continue rollicking in the mud the rest of our lives." Astrid suggested playfully.
"Maybe you'll marry the man who bought this estate," Ruffnut joked.
"Maybe he was a son," Astrid said. "Actually, no. Then mother will do everything in her power to make me irresistible to him."
"I thought that your mother wants you to marry Snotlout?"
Astrid shuddered. The only son of the Jorgenson family, the wealthiest family in Ervenshire, was not the first on her list to marry. He was pompous and too proud and full of himself. He paid her attention but only for her looks, and Astrid hated that. She hated that men only looked at her when she was playing the part her mother wrote for her. She hoped that the family moving in did not have a son. To afford buying Tadfield, they must be even wealthier than the Jorgenson family, and therefore even more suitable in her mother's eyes. And if they're related to that snot-filled family, they must be even worse, with all that money… Astrid thought, closing her eyes.
"Astrid watch out!"
Astrid felt it before she realized she was falling. Her boot snagged on a root and she opened her eyes and saw a large puddle of mud zooming up to meet her. She didn't even have time to brace herself with her arms.
She lay there, spluttering, spitting mud out of her mouth and trying to grasp what had happened.
Ruffnut stood a little ways behind her, laughing uncontrollably. "Oh Astrid, you should have seen your face—it was like in slow motion…" the tall girl trailed off in another fit of laughter.
Astrid spat out some more mud and saliva as she managed to pull herself from the mud and stand up. "If it was in slow motion why didn't you warn me," she muttered dangerously, pulling one boot from the mud and placing it carefully before hoisting the other leg alone. Finally, she managed to reach the path again.
"I didn't realize you were going to trip—but it's your fault for walking with your eyes closed." Ruffnut said, now only giggling. "I don't want to be around when your mother sees you…" she began to laugh again at the petrified look that covered Astrid's face.
My mother… this dress… the mud… "Oh lord…" Astrid murmured quietly. "And this dress is new too… mother is going to kill me…"
"No doubt." Ruffnut said, sobering now. "You can't go back like this… and my house is farther than yours—I usually cut through your land to get to mine… plus it's closer to town so there's a chance someone will see you if you go back that way."
"Then what do you suggest I do?" Astrid snapped angrily. Her friend was right though. Her mother would not have her risk being seen plastered with mud from head to toe.
"We could go to the Jorgenson's estate. Who knows, maybe it'll make him like you less?"
"No." Astrid said firmly. There is no way that she'd go there. Sure, it may make Snotlout's family think less of her, which wouldn't be bad in the long run, not when they see her as a possible wife to their perfect son, but she will not ever be at the mercy of that insufferable brat. Not only would she rather die than see his smirking face at her current predicament, but... no. She would not go there. "I will just have to stay out here till it rains." She said, crossing her arms, which was somewhat difficult when her arms are plastered with now slowly drying mud.
Ruffnut looked like she was resisting another wave of laughter. "And what, hope that the rain washes away all the mud and you will look as good as new? Even Tuffnut isn't that stupid. Look, why don't you go up to Tadfield Estate. We're already here and I'm sure no one will mind. According to Selina only the staff has arrived, to clean the place up. The family hasn't moved in yet, so it's not like you'll ridicule yourself or your mother. Just go and ask if you can clean yourself up, or just go to the stables and use the troughs—" she easily avoided Astrid's punch. "Look, I know that it's embarrassing, but it's better than nothing, right?"
"I suppose…" Astrid said, although she knew that, at this point, it was her only option. "Let's head over I guess."
"Hold it, hold it, hold it." Ruffnut said, holding up a hand. "I'm sorry to betray a fellow maiden in distress, but I have my own problems to worry about."
"What does that mean?" Astrid asked, turning to give her friend an incredulous look. "It was your idea to come out in the first place!"
"I'm afraid I'm running out of time," Ruffnut said, pulling a watch from her waistcoat. "Looks like I'm needed somewhere in just the right about of time to get there." She said, putting it back in the pocket and patting it gently.
"Where did you get that watch?" Astrid asked, intrigued.
Ruffnut blushed a deep crimson. "Nowhere." She mumbled.
Astrid figured that wherever she needed to go had something to do with whoever gave the watch to her. "Fine, go to your mysterious engagement." Astrid said, waving her off and trying to fight the wave of irritability that fought to get to the surface. Now was not the time to let her anger get the better of her.
Ruffnut thanked Astrid and turned around, and after a second or two, Astrid called after her friend, "And tell Fishlegs I said 'hi', ok?" and promptly dodged the rock Ruffnut immediately threw at her.
Sighing and turning around, careful to not step andanymore mud, Astrid chose the quickest past to the Tadfield mansion.
As she stepped into the light, she was struck by how large the place was. Luckily she entered the back, where the stables and the smithies were. She wouldn't risk entered the front gardens. Imagine that, a girl, caked in mud, entered the front door as if an expected guest. No, hopefully she wouldn't be spotted and be able to find someplace where she could bathe and be in and out of there before anyone of any importance could find her. She glanced at the stables. There would probably be water troughs there… she blushed at the thought. She wouldn't lower herself to that level. Plus she would stink of horse, which her mother would definitely notice.
She glanced towards the smithy. It looked empty, or at least, it sounded empty, which was usually a clear indication that it was vacant. There would be water in there, probably warm water too, and she could bathe there and clean her clothes without anyone noticing. Walking as quickly as she could, and then breaking into a run, she entered through the archway and into the smithy. Looking around quickly to find water, she paused a moment to stare at the contents of the room. It wasn't just a simple smithy with horse shoes and other boring basic needs that one would usually find in this sort of place. There were swords and helmets, toys and… she gasped as she stared at an intricate piece of jewelry. Whoever the smithy was he must be a master to be able to make all these.
Astrid shook her head, no time to think of these things. Must be in and out as soon as possible. She saw that, close to the fire, there was a barrel of water. She walked up to it quickly and stuck her finger in. It was hot, but not too hot. It would probably melt the mud right off her.
"Perfect." She whispered, and set to work peeling the dress and petticoats off of her. Some of it was completely destroyed, she noticed with dismay. At this point, there was no way her mother wouldn't notice, unless she threw them out as soon as she got home. Once completely naked, and looking around quickly to make sure no one was around, she slipped into the water, exhaling slowly as she did so. All baths should be like this, she thought, you wouldn't have to wait for the water to boil, and it would stay warm throughout the bath… she ducked her head under the water, holding her breath as she did so, scrubbing her face and then her hair, and then just seeing how long she could stand to have the hot water against her face. She came to the surface with a gasp and flipping her hair back with a sigh. She sat in the water, breathing slowly with her eyes closed, completely calm.
Then, suddenly, her heart skipped a beat when she heard something clear their breath.
Opening her eyes she looked towards the noise with a snap. His face dark red with embarrassment and his eyes wide, she saw a young gangly man with a smithy apron standing at the entrance, staring at her in shock.
Thank you for giving this story a shot,