Vondrakenhof here. First off, I have to apologise. What follows is quite simply the most disturbing thing I have ever written. Or at least written so far. It actually disturbed me to write this but it wouldn't leave me alone. There is gore, there is character death and there is a lot of pain and a bit of angst. I would not blame anyone if they didn't want to read this.
I suppose I should explain what possessed me to do this. While researching Vikings I stumbled upon the Blood Eagle. Whether it's something Vikings actually did or that the Christians made up as propaganda isn't clear. But it was described pretty much as I've written it.
The fic starts in the Kill Ring when Tootless is captured. So read on, unless you're squeamish. And whether you like it or are utterly repulsed, please leave a review.
The Blood Eagle
"Put it with the others," growled Stoick the Vast. The chief was glaring son with a face like a thundercloud. Even the sons of Loki would have backed away from the Viking's gaze. Hiccup was not so wise.
"Please Dad," he begged, tearing away from Astrid. "I know you're angry, but be angry at me, punish me!" Hiccup's eyes were pleading with his father now. Those eyes that reminded him of his late wife every time he saw them. "Just don't hurt Toothless!"
"The Dragon?" Incredulity filled Stoick's voice. "That's what you're worried about? Not the people you almost killed?"
"He was protecting me, Dad!" asserted Hiccup. "They're not that bad."
"Not that bad?" Stoick bent down, closer to the boy's face. "They've killed hundreds of us!" he roared.
"And we've killed thousands of them!" Hiccup roared right back. "They raid us because they have to. If they don't bring enough food…" Hiccup stopped himself from finishing that sentence. Nothing good came from the Vikings knowing about the nest. He quickly changed the direction of his speech. "Look, they can be trained. We could learn to work together."
Stoick's already frayed patience tore. He backhanded Hiccup in the face, sending the boy tumbling to the ground. Hiccup stared up at him in shock. As strained as their relationship had been Stoick had never hit his son like that before.
"You've thrown your lot in with them," he whispered. "You're not a Viking. You're not my son." Stoick had to swallow the suddenly hard lump in his throat before he could continue. "You're a traitor and a blasphemer!" he shouted. He turned away. "Lock him up too."
Hiccup sat in the perfect darkness of his tiny cell. It was just a small wooden box, with bits of scattered hay for bedding and a bucket in the corner. Already all Hiccup could smell was the waste that filled the thing. He supposed he should be grateful they even left a bucket, but if he still had anything in his stomach he would've thrown up.
He didn't know how long he'd been there. He supposed it didn't matter. He wouldn't be surprised if they left him to starve. His life was over. A traitor and a blasphemer, that's what he was. When they came for him, when they finally opened that door, he would die a traitor's death. Never mind that he wasn't even a man yet, never mind that he was the chief's son. Never mind that he had tamed a Dragon.
Toothless. The Dragon had been his first friend. His only friend. The only one who didn't look upon him as if he were a sack of shit. What had happened to him? Was he to be executed too? Had they already done it? Or were they keeping him to be pitted against future trainees? He hoped the Dragon was okay.
And what about Astrid? The remarkable girl had actually listened to him the night before the final exam. She had agreed to keep Toothless a secret. And then she had kissed him. Hiccup still shivered at the thought of it. It had been so long since another human being had touched him with anything like affection. But she had been the first to rush to his aid when the Monstrous Nightmare attacked. He hoped the other Vikings hadn't punished her for that. It would be better if he suffered alone for his treason. He silently beseeched Freyja to watch out for the girl.
Finally Hiccup though of Stoick. Not as his father, after all the man had disowned him, but as Stoick the Vast, as the chief of the tribe. Hiccup felt he should have known better. There was no way he could have convinced that stubborn as the Gods Viking to see the good in dragons, even if he'd managed to get the Nightmare to sit up and do tricks.
Why hadn't he run? Jumped on Toothless and flown south. Hiccup knew why. It was his own damned stubbornness. It was the only thing about him that could relate to the other inhabitants of Berk. And now it was going to get him killed. He only had himself to blame.
At last the door to his cell was opened, letting in a welcome breath of fresh air. Less welcome was the blinding light which forced him to shield his eyes. Even worse were the sounds of approaching footsteps and the rough hands that pulled him into the light.
Stoick watched impassively as Hoark and Spitelout carried Hiccup to the centre of the village. He looked even smaller than usual, barefoot and missing his vest. He didn't make a sound.
When they reached the chief the men set the boy down. They didn't let him go but his feet were on the ground. Neither man looked at Stoick, afraid to catch his gaze. Hiccup did.
"Hiccup," said Stoick in his official voice. "Formerly Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, you are here before the village to answer for your crimes. For you treason against your people and against the Æsir, the Blood Eagle is your punishment." Hiccup lost what little colour was left in his face. Of course he did, he'd heard Gobber's tales of the Blood Eagle. "Remove his shirt and bind him to the stone," he ordered his lieutenants.
Stoick forced himself to ignore the gasps from the crowd as his son's –the boy's– tunic was torn from him. To ignore the small body covered in bruises. To ignore the scars that covered his arms, too regular to be from the forge. To ignore the fact that it was his son being tied face down to a rock.
Stoick took the blade from the village Elder. There was no one else to do this. No one else he would let do this. The knife had been sharpened that morning. He lowered it to Hiccup's bare back, just to the side of the spine, where it bit into the boy's flesh. He could feel him tense beneath him, but Hiccup did not cry out. Even as the chief cut parallel to the spine, from the uppermost rib to the lowest, the boy made no sound, apart from the occasional sharp intake in breath. Stoick made two more cuts, one each along the highest and lowest rib. Then, as though skinning a rabbit, he peeled the flesh from his son's back. Stoick could hear Hiccup gritting his teeth, trying to hold back a scream. But he was sure he was the only one.
Where did Hiccup find this strength? he pondered, looking down at the ribs he had just exposed. It was strange, how much the boy looked like a partially carved piece of game. Shaking himself Stoick repeated the process on Hiccup's right side.
This time the screams were more audible, though Hiccup still tried to strangle them behind his teeth. It wasn't enough to stop the villagers from hearing him. Several turned their faces away in sympathy.
Stoick handed the knife to the Elder, who immediately replaced it with a bone saw. He took the instrument, usually only used in dire circumstances where the loss of a limb would allow the owner to survive, to one of the boy's ribs. As Stoick cut the bone Hiccup whimpered. The painful vibration as the saw moved back and forth, biting bone and flesh, became too much. The chief tried to ignore it.
He should have passed out by now, thought Stoick, looking at his blood covered hands and his shaking son. He should be on his way to Helheim.
He closed his eyes. He had cut through the first rib, now came the worst part. With one hand steadying the spine Stoick gripped the severed rib. And pulled.
One moment the bone was where it should be. The next it was pointing skyward. And Hiccup was screaming with all his might. It was a loud, wordless scream, telling of pain so awful that agony was too mild a description. Stoick forced himself to listen to the scream. His heart was breaking, condemning him for what he was doing. But he couldn't stop now.
Only when the scream subsided did Stoick once again take the saw to bone. Tears leaked from Hiccup's eyes as the second rib was cut. Though he gritted his teeth as Stoick once again closed his eyes and pulled on the bone another primal scream escaped him. And Stoick moved to the third rib.
Again Stoick cut through the bone. Again he closed his eyes. Again he pulled on the rib, pointing it at the sky. Again Hiccup screamed. But this time it wasn't wordless.
Stoick's eyes shot open. The Dragon? The Night Fury? His son was about to meet Loki's daughter and he was screaming for a devil? Anger flooded the chief. He grasped a fourth rib and, without sawing through the bone, broke it, aligning it with the others.
Stoick started on the boy's other side, grabbing hold of the rib opposite the first to be broken. With a snap it joined the others.
"Your beast can't help you boy," Stoick snarled. He broke a sixth rib. "It's dead."
"Toothless," Hiccup sobbed. It was obvious that all the strength Hiccup had, surprising as it was, was gone. He didn't even scream as the seventh rib was pulled from his back. He couldn't.
Stoick gripped another bone. It was nearly over; this would be the last break. He looked down at the bloody mess that had been his son. Still alive, still breathing; barely. Still conscious, still suffering.
Stoick shook himself. It was time to end it. He broke the eighth rib as he had done for the others. Hiccup barely reacted this time. Perhaps he was finally slipping from Midgard.
The four ribs jutting out from either side of Hiccup's back looked like bloody wings. The Blood Eagle. But there was one more thing to do.
Stoick put his already blood covered hands into the holes he had made in his son. He pulled put two lumps of meat. The lungs. For a moment Hiccup panicked, not being able to breath. The he relaxed and finally, death took him.
Stoick turned away from what he had done. It was over. He would let the Elder prepare the body. Now, he had to mourn. Mourn the son he had never truly known. Mourn the son he had let become a traitor to his own kind. Mourn Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III.
Author's note: There. I did warn you. I hope that if you actually read it all you're not too disturbed. Then again, I was and I wrote the damn thing. Hopefully you'll review and if you do (and it's not anonymous) I will reply to it.