Astrid Hofferson would never admit it, being a tough Viking and all, but she did care a lot about her friends. So when Hiccup was suddenly nowhere to be found she became worried. It was only in the afternoon when Ruffnut gave her the sword that her father had asked to be made and a letter from Hiccup that she learned of his sudden voyage.
Three weeks after receiving the sword and letter, Astrid noticed that Ruffnut had become uncharacteristically quiet. Although when asked about it she brushed it off and engaged someone in conversation. Even without telling, Astrid knew that something was wrong but decided to let it slide since she had her own problems to sort out.
It had been been almost a year since they had defeated Green death and almost two months since Hiccup abruptly left making her the unofficial emissary to the Dragons. Particularly toothless who absolutely refused anyone else to come near him and even more stubborn when somebody tried to ride him. When he wanted to fly he would just seek out Astrid with the fin Hiccup made to allow him to fly without a rider. Astrid never tried to ride the night fury but was really tempted to but she thought better and just flew with her Deadly Nadder which she has christened 'Stormfly'.
It was the crack of dawn and she felt like just taking a walk instead of the usual intense training menu that she had followed for the last eight years. This allowed her to try and sort out the relationship between her and the chiefs' son as she trudged towards the old training arena which had been converted into a roost for dragons.
Before the peace with the dragons, she had always thought of him as a failure and a detriment to the tribe. But she didn't voice out her opinions or frustrations about him because she knew that he was a good blacksmith and she had seen his ideas. While not understanding them completely, knew that they had merit.
It was not until the second session of Dragon training that she reached her boiling point. There they were, trying to learn how to kill dragons and he just would not shut up about night furies. It was infuriating. It felt like he didn't even care about the training itself, which turned out to be true but at the time it was an enviable opportunity to serve the village and he was wasting it.
Then he started repeatedly 'taking down' dragons. She thought nothing of it at first but her pride eventually couldn't accept the fact that the person they had dubbed 'useless' was actually useful. To make matters even more irritating, the remaining Vikings fell at his feet. As if they discovered that he is the long lost son of Odin.
Astrid shook her head at the memory.
Then there was the flight. She didn't know what to make of it because unknown to most of the population of Berk. Astrid Hofferson has a boyfriend. He wasn't in Berk. He was at a neighboring village. She met him the summer before and had been in correspondence ever since.
Then the flight came. She was awed by the beauty that Hiccup showed her. Never before had she been swept off her feet. Who knew that her plot to find out how Hiccup cheated will turn out to be the reason for her to want to get to know him more.
And there lies the problem. She realized that she knew absolutely nothing about him except that he was the Chiefs Son and Gobbers apprentice. She then began to feel guilty because she wanted to stay loyal to her boyfriend.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she saw something unusual. Track marks which seemed to lead to the forest behind the arena. As far as she knew that area has not been inhabited or used. Curiosity got the best of her so she changed direction and walked carefully along the road she had discovered.
The path didn't go far. After a few minutes she stepped into a clearing and was awed by it.
It was filled with different colored flowers arranged by colors and kind. It was obvious that someone had been taking care of it but she saw a few weeds indicating that the person may have been absent for a while. In the middle of the mini field of flowers was a small obelisk, barely larger that herself and a stone path which began a few steps from where she stood and led to the shrine.
Deciding that she was already here anyway, she closed the distance and went to it.
As she neared the strange mini pillar she saw that it had a hollow base and had a chest in it. When she was face to face with it she read out the runes engraved at the site.
Astrid recognized the name but couldn't quite place where she had heard it before. Her focus shifted to the chest at the base. After a few minutes of internal debate she sat down, pulled the chest and opened it.
Inside she saw about 5 journals. She hesitated again, but decided that she wanted to know besides a viking should always investigate.
She grabbed the oldest looking book and started to read the first entry on what seems to be a journal.
It's been 3 moons since your funeral and I finally understand that you are not coming back. Grandma said that you didn't really leave us and just went to a better place. I hope you like this headstone I made for you. It's in your favorite flower spot in the forest behind the training arena. The flowers you planted are thriving although I may have to weed it out a bit.
Dad is still sad about you leaving us. He hasn't smiled in two weeks. Can you visit him sometime? I hate seeing dad so miserable. Hope you are happy wherever you are mom
Snotlout is bullying me, he calls me useless cause I can't lift the adults weapons. Hmph, It's not a big deal right mom? I hope my muscles grow faster so dad won't look at me like he did last night. I want dad to be proud of me so he can smile once more. I can't be weak forever right?
I'm going to train now mom. Please watch over dad because I can tell that he really misses you.
Dad took me to the Forge today. He said that Uncle Gobber will teach me to make weapons! I'm so excited! However dad still looks worried I kind of messed up last night when we were raided by the 'pests', I was trying to help put out the fires but all the older vikings keep tripping over me. And I might have splashed oil instead of water in the flour store room. It could happen to anyone, right? The villagers are irate with me and taking it out on dad. Don't worry mom, I'll make it up to him. Please continue watching over us.
We miss you.
Snotlout still calls me useless but I'll show him.
Remember the story you told me about the valkyrie that is meant for each male Viking? Do they come in miniatures? Mr. Hofferson was at the forge today and ordered an axe to be made as a birthday present to someone. When he left I saw a little girl walk up to him, she was so pretty, So I thought that maybe she was the valkyrie you were referring to. Anyway, Gobber let me forge the weapon. He said it's better to learn on the Job. I'm really beginning to question his teaching methods because he lets me do all the work.
Dad always looks at me with a scowl now, but I guess that is an improvement from ignoring me right?
I know I haven't been able to write in a while but hear me out. Dad took me to Freezing to death because he had to meet with the other chiefs. While we were there I was kidnapped. Before you start worrying, I'm alright; Dad got us out but we were already escaping promise. Oh yeah, I finally made a friend mom. Two, actually. They were already captured when they threw me in a pen with the others. One was a boy named Thuggory. I like him, he listened to my ideas! Unlike everyone on Berk who pointedly ignores me. The other is Camicazi, She is a rambunctious girl, she never shuts up! She keeps trying to convince us that she had already loosened her shackles but she failed to show it time and again. But I like her. They are nice and we worked together to escape.
I want to tell you more but I hear Dad calling for me. It feels nice to have friends.
I'll talk to you again soon mom.
Dad keeps getting angrier and angrier at me. Just because I happen to cause a few accidents, He actually told me not to go out during raids anymore. But I don't want to mom. I want to make him proud but my body just doesn't know that I am a Viking. I made weapons but everyone thinks they are nuisances. All they really need is a calibration adjustment.
I'll explain it to you in detail later mom. Gobber has been increasing my workload and his own seems to be dwindling suspiciously.
Next time you visit dad, can you tell him to praise me a bit? Because all of the put downs are really starting to hit home.
None of the other kids want to be my friend. They keep calling me useless. Even Snotlout doesn't want anything to do with me. He got all the kids our age to ignore me or insult me. Am I really that repulsive?
Wish you were here mom, I have no one to listen to my problems.
Dad didn't like the picture I drew for him. I drew you in hope that he would cheer up but he just tore it up and forbade me to do anything of the sort ever again. Good thing I didn't show him all my other sketches. I'll bring them over sometime and show it to you.
Remember the Valkyrie I was telling you about? Well I saw her again so I drew you a picture. Isn't she beautiful? I just wanted to show it to you but I can't be here long. Mid day break will end soon.
I am slightly sad that she hangs around with snotlout but I guess I can't blame her. Snot is turning into one hell of a Viking. I wish I was too.
Dad is always leaving. Trying to find the Dragons nest in Helheims gate. I'm scared because every time he goes away nobody visits me to check if I'm alright. No one makes sure I am still there. Nobody even notices me when I am at the mead hall. I tried fitting in with Snotlout and his gang but after getting the cold shoulder and being ignored I took the hint and just left.
I started working on my new weapon. I call it the bola launcher! I'll show it to you when it is finished. It's something to do while nobody looks for me. I feel so lonely mom.
I have thought of a way to fight my loneliness! I will kill a dragon! But not with weapons, I still can't lift them. Instead I started building Dragon killing machines that are 10 times more efficient than the catapult. They are bound to notice me after that.
Wish me luck mom! Me and Dad still miss you.
Waiting for the traders boat is excruciating. I've written to Thug and Cami (their nicknames) because I need something to deter my feeling of isolation. No one really pays attention to me anymore.I think they had come to a conclusion that if they ignore me I will go away. They were right.
Snotlout and his new buddy Tuffnut is making sure of that. It's a good thing I still have the notebook you gave to me. I can feel at ease when I am drawing. Makes it seem that I am doing something that justifies not being disturbed instead of being pointedly ignored.
Dad took me to Bog and I met up with Cami, coincidentally Thug was there and we had a really great time. We fished, We hunted , we went searching for treasure that we didn't know if it's real. I like this feeling of belongingness mom. I wish that I didn't have to return to Berk but I couldn't leave dad alone.
I have it planned out. The next raid I will take my finished bola launcher and kill a night fury. Then dad will be proud of me. If I do kill one I'm gonna ask her out on a date, Wish me luck mom!
This is going to sound unbelievable but I'm gonna tell you anyway. I shot down the night fury. Don't laugh! But the thing is I couldn't find it in my heart to kill it. It looked so lost and frightened so I set it free. Dad told me I start dragon training tomorrow. It's funny because the one time he grants me my wish I don't want it anymore.
Dad is going to try and find the nest again. Please keep watching over him mom. Talk to you soon! I miss you more than ever.
The last three weeks have been like a dream. People are finally acknowledging me without scorn or disdain. I am the top student at dragon training can you believe it? Earlier today the elder picked me to slay the monstrous nightmare in front of the village.
Wait! Before you congratulate me, I have to confess something to you mom. I don't deserve that 'honor' as they call it. Because Astrid, a classmate, is leaps and bounds better than me at just about everything. Everything I used to 'defeat' the dragons in training was just a ruse. I learned that the dragons are actually friendly and they are tamable. I have discovered their quirks while taking care of toothless (The night fury I couldn't kill. I know you have lots of questions but I can't answer them right now. I'm in a rush.
I finally see pride in dads eyes when he is looking at me but I feel guilty because I know that it is undeserved but I also can't bear to see him disappointed again. I can't do that to him. So I had made the decision to exile myself. I left dad a note explaining things and now I'll fly away with toothless.
There is so much more that I wish to tell you mom, but I need to get out as fast as I can so they don't pull me in the all night celebration in the mead hall. I don't want to kill dragons anymore.
Thank you for always being with me mom. I love you.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
She didn't read all of it. She just read at random and it didn't take her long to figure out that this was Hiccups. This is his Journal. All of his feelings were written there page after page. She didn't read all of it but the random pages she read were enough to gauge her behavior.
The loneliness expressed in the few entries that she read made a pang of guilt well up inside her. Were they really that callous to a growing boy?
She grabbed the biggest journal and flipped through it. They were sketches of village life. The Hall during a celebration, The Vikings going about the day, His father and Gobber talking, The forge, She even found a picture of her whole gang sitting together by the cliff, which was odd because she had never seen him in that part of the village.
His whole life was in those journals and sketches, and Astrid felt like she was rediscovering him as she flipped through drawing after drawing. There were pages on his various inventions, with notes and calculations that Astrid didn't really understand but the last sketch in the sketchbook made her pause.
It was a drawing of her and Stormfly flying down the mountain that one time that they raced, the details on the nadder was amazing but she was even more amazed at her portrayal. It was obvious that a lot of care went into the drawing.
As she flipped through the drawings again she noticed on horrible pattern. 'Not one of the drawings had Hiccup in them' then she realized. He had never been part of a crowd. He had always been on the sidelines, watching, waiting; maybe wishing to be a part of the drawings.
'Had they really ignored him that much?'
Deep inside she knew that she wanted to get to know him more. And somehow she got her wish.
She was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard the village bell ringing and she immediately started to count.
Two rings meant a meeting
Three meant a hearing
Four means an attack
Five means that a ship was approaching.
As soon as the fifth toll sounded she returned the journals and sketchbooks to their original place and ran to the cliff overlooking the docks. She got there just in time to see the people disembarking. She scanned the mast and immediately found what she was looking for. The chiefs' flag. That meant that Stoick the Vast had returned. More importantly, it meant that Hiccup was home.
She scanned the people who were carrying their basket of provisions and clothes. She saw Hiccup beside Stoick immediately but he was not alone. There were two people beside him. A girl with long sleek blonde hair and cerulean eyes and a boy whose back was turned to her but had brown hair. She frowned as she looked at the girl who was chatting with the village chiefs son and she felt something bubbling inside her.
A tap on her shoulder snapped her out of her stupor. It was Ruffnut looking incredibly relieved and guilty at the same time. She was carrying her fathers basket and apparently had just come from the dock.
"Fancy meeting you here Astrid" She said with a smile.
"Hey Ruffnut, I was just looking" the blonde twinless Viking replied.
Ruffnut raised her eyebrows in suspicion, as if saying 'Who were you looking at?'
To get her friend off the topic, she asked the first thing that came to her mind at that time.
"Do you know who those two are?" she said gesturing to the teen trio around Stoick.
"Yeah, Hicup just introduced me" she replied "They seem like good friends. I've never seen Hiccup so open and genuine before."
That remark caused another sting to well in Astrids chest but she shrugged it off and goaded.
"Well who are they?"
"They will be our guests for the rest of the month. The guys name is Thuggory, The girl is…"
Astrid didn't need to hear. She already knew the name of the girl beside Hiccup.
'Camicazi' she said to no one in particular and in that moment one part of the journal entry seemed to reverberate in her mind.
She is a rambunctious girl, she never shuts up! ...But I like her...
And she did not like it one bit.