Darkness. The first thing I could remember. It was dark... and it was cold. I was scared.
Then...then I saw the Moon. It was so big, so bright... It seemed to, chase the darkness away. And when it did... I wasn't scared any more.
Why I was there and what I was meant to do... Was the only thing I could remember at that time, and it really made me hate the fact I was a Viking at that precise moment.
Let's just step back a second.
The yaks had broken out of their pens during a particularly strong gust of devastating winter's premium grade shrieking wind and it was left up to me to round them up before they became yak-sicles.
Of course, there is the minor fact that I have as much personal insulation as a toothpick, plus furs tend to get in the way when you're flying in a ninety mile-per-hour crosswind on the back of a reptile in the middle of a blizzard, so you could guess that I was probably not the guy for the job. But I did have to try, or else Gobber wouldn't be the only one leaving the great hall in the spring with missing limbs, so Dad sent me out with some spit and a prayer to try and retrieve our livestock.
"C'mon bud, the faster we get them, the faster we can get ourselves some roasted haddock." I whispered to a reluctant dragon, urging him further into the blizzard. Toothless let out a few shots into the flurries to shed some light, but the frost giants seemed to be having a badminton match over Berk that day.
The problem with having a cool prosthetic augmentation is that even though the metal parts of your body are much stronger than the rest of you, they are susceptible to rust, loose screws and freezing over. I'd not seen the low hanging cumulus before plunging us head first into it, causing Toothless' fin to jam and my stirrup to fuse to my "foot".
"Toothless, Pull up! Just a little further pal, we need a landing spot-"
This excursion kept getting better when we began to plummet into the pitch blackness of the previously visible frozen wasteland: Time to kiss my right leg goodbye, or more likely my useless butt.
"NonoNONONO-" Blackness. Ice. Fear. All of these things seemed to wrestle in my brain until a sudden jolt caused everything to silence.
A sharp, icy pinch on my nose brought me back to the world of the living while simultaneously introducing me to a world of hurt. Everything was dark, I ached everywhere and breathing seemed hard, like gargling nails in my oesophagus hard. I felt a leathery wing underneath my hands and the sudden tug below as Toothless turned to nudge me into action with his face. It wasn't happening since quite a lot of my pieces were rattling about inside, so to speak.
"Thor Smite you, Jokul Frosti..." I managed to choke out and even to me it sounded corny, non threatening and fairly bad as the last sentence I'd speak. To be honest though, the last words most Vikings had were along the lines of "Call that Disembowelment-?" and "AARRGGHH."
"Your cruddy piloting skills are not my fault, little man." Another voice? Surely I was hallucinating unless Toothless had recently learned to jibe.
I cracked open my eyes a fraction and was almost blinded by the bright glare of the uncharacteristically large (and visible) moon. It looked fuzzy around the edges for some reason, but then I realised it was my eyes causing the problem.
A deathly pale hand suddenly reached down and pinched my nose again. Tears stung my eyes and forced me to blink a few more times. It was then that I saw that the moon was a normal size, but a head of snowy hair had caught its light, refracting right into my line of vision.
"Hey, I haven't got all night: Get up." The guy went for a third squeeze but I batted his hand away, anger giving me strength.
"Stop that crud right now, snow cone. What's the big idea?" I forced myself to rise to my bruised elbows, fixing a glare on this idiot. "Seriously, this is how you treat a guy who's been in a major aeronautical accident? You assault his face?" I rocked forward onto my hands and knees while the stranger did nothing from what I could make out through the sudden waves of dizziness.
"Like there isn't enough wrong with it..." I churned out through gritted teeth, pushing with all I had to rise slowly to my feet. " Really, you must have a problem?"
When the spots stopped dancing I looked down at the perching pin head. He was actually leaning on Toothless, absently scratching behind his ears, observing me with a calm but unmistakable superiority. Toothless looked happy as pie, purring away as the stranger stood smoothly and swung what looked like a battered herding crook over his shoulder.
"Hm. It seems like even though I might have a problem, you have one less," He tapped my ankle with the base of his crook. "You can stand at least."
A sudden blankness washed over my brain while I slowly gave myself a once over. He was right (of course) and I seemed to be OK for the present, nothing seemed broken or even sprained. How that had happened I'll never know. I also noticed a fur cloak had been pinned to my vest and my helmet rested in the snow near my feet.
"So I can. I wonder how that happened..." I said carefully, taking my time to examine the (really strange) stranger.
The boy was probably a little older and possible a few inches taller than me, with a certainty that he was much colder than I was. His skin was almost blue, his bare feet and fingers were definitely purple. Although his fashion sense was a little foreign, it wasn't too outrageous with a pair of beaten brown breeches and a woven white tunic. A Leather cloak hung heavily around his skinny shoulders and shone with something silvery. I stumbled forward slightly to get a better look; The kid didn't seem to care.
Like I said, his hair was white, not blonde, white. I'd never seen anyone with all their teeth with hair like that, and this guy certainly had teeth, like little pearly bricks. His lips were chilled purple like his feet and his eyes were like blocks of cave ice. Where had this freak come from? He didn't look like he was from here and something about him didn't feel right, like he wasn't quite...
My right knee decided to take a break and like a flash the boy grabbed my arm to catch me. That was when I really felt it, like someone had just dropped a glacier down my spine.
I looked one more time and saw that the silver on his cloak was actually ice; there were snowflakes on his eyebrows, his fingernails had blackened and frost sparkled softly on his face and hair.
He quickly let go and I saw the blue indents in my arm fade back to white. I straightened, pulling the pale furs – that suddenly made sense- more tightly around me.
"You're... How can you...It can't be, can it?" He released my arm and raised his palm to shut me up.
"Please, let's just stick to Jack?"