Merida aimed carefully at the target across the field. The three lords stood by and watched as the princess tried to focus. "Give it up lass, not even you can make from this distance." Ian said as he leaned against a nearby tree. Boyd stood beside him giving a blank stare at a butterfly. Bart on the other hand watched closely seeing if the princess could really make such a shot.
The red head closed one of her eyes and stared a bit longer before releasing her grip on the arrow. It flew through the air before piercing the middle of the target. Merida smiled and turned towards the young lords. "Bullseye!" She said spinning her bow in her hands. "Would any of ye boys like to try and top that?" She asked.
Ian held his hands up defeated. "Okay princess, your made your point. I admit it. You're the best archer in the land." He said bitterly. He hated losing, but he had to admit the girl had skills. Boyd nodded in agreement as Bart said something that was completely lost to them all. Given that he was smiling and nodding as he said it, Merida assumed it was a compliment.
"Um, thanks ye big lug." She said giving him a light punch on the arm. Since he didn't argue or complain, she guessed she must have got it right. She looked to Ian for conformation but he simply shrugged. He was just as lost to the boy's speech as she was. "Anyone up for a little sword play?" She asked.
Ian rubbed his hands together. "Now that's something I definitely have ye beat in!" He said eagerly. Boyd still seemed out of it and Bart nodded in agreement. They began heading towards the training grounds, but suddenly heard something. It was a loud horn. Ian looked confused. "What's that then?" He asked looking towards the castle.
Merida looked up as well. "Ah think that's the horn me da uses to signal for enemy attacks. But that can't be. I haven't heard that thing since I was a wee lass." She said. No enemey had ever managed to get to castle DunBroch. It was right smack dab in the middle of the highlands. To even get close to it you would have needed to get past one of the three clans.
Suddenly they saw Queen Elinor approaching them. "Children! Children, you must get to the castle immediately!" She yelled.
"Ma, what's going on?" Merida asked.
Elinor quickly began shoving her daughter towards the direction of the castle. "There is no time te explain! You must hurry back to the castle immediately, all of you, go!" She instructed.
They all looked at each other clearly confused, but began making their way to the castle with haste. Once there they saw that the guards were all hurrying to positions. Warriors were standing by with swords and shields in hand, arches were positions at the top of the castle walls, everyone was armed to the teeth. "Ma! What in the world is going on?!" Merida asked.
"Vikings!" The Queen answered before hurrying the children inside.
Ian suddenly stopped. "Vikings? Are you serious?" He asked with an angered expression. "Did they nae get enough of us the first time we sent them running away like the savages they are?!"
"How did they get here? Wouldn't we have gotten words from one of the other clans?!" Merida asked confused. Even if the Lords weren't there, the defenses would still be at the ready. Word should have been sent for the return of such a serious enemy.
"How they got here is not important! We need to get you all to safety right now!" Elinor said.
Ian turned around and pulled out his sword. "With all due respect milady, I will nae turn tail and run from some Viking scum! If they want a fight that's what we'll give em!" He said heading back towards the gate.
Merida armed her bow. "Aye! We'll send em packing just like before!"
Elinor quickly grabbed her daughter arms. "Yer not going anywhere! Yer the princess and the rest of ye are the next heads of your clans! Protecting you children is top priority!"
"But we can fight!" Ian argued.
"Ah know you can fight, but today is nae the day for it!" Elinor said. "Now all of you, get inside noo!" She ordered. Merida frowned as Boyd and Bart ran into the main hall. "Merida, Ian!"
"Aye mom." Merida said as she reluctantly followed the young lords.
Ian looked back and then cursed under his breath. He followed after Merida. "You'll get your chance to fight, I promise." Elinor assured as she closed the door behind them.
Meanwhile outside the Fergus and the Lords stood in front of the castle gates. Fergus made his way to the front of the large group of warriors and then looked up at Lord Macintosh who sat at the top of the castle wall with bow and arrow in hand. "How many are there?" Fergus shouted.
Macintosh looked closely. "Not many from what I can tell. Definitely not enough for an army." He confirmed. Fergus grunted. They must have sent a small force so they would go unnoticed. If the clans hadn't met together for the games today, they would have been completely unprepared.
"One of them approaches!" Macintosh yelled.
Fergus looked up confused. "Just one?"
"Aye!" Macintosh confirmed.
"Is he armed?" Fergus asked.
"Nae! Not even a shield!"
Fergus glared at the door. This wasn't right. Vikings may have been savages, but they were not stupid. They had to be planning something. Suddenly there was a knock on the gates. Everyone stood in silence. After a few more moments of silence, Fergus spoke. "Open it." He ordered.
The two guards nodded before pulling the locks of the gates and then slowly opening them. The arches all took aim and the guards prepared to attack as the single man walked through the gates. He looked around and then smirked. "I see I'm not exactly receiving a warm welcome."
Fergus glared. "Stoick the Vast. Ah suppose ah should consider myself honored ye showed yer ugly mug here in person. Though fer sure ye would send one of yer dogs to do yer dirty work."
Stoick frowned. "I'm no coward Bear King. I'm here to talk to face to face Man to man."
"We have nothin' to talk aboot with you Viking animals." Fergus spat.
"Not even if it involves DunBroch burning to the ground?" Stoick asked.
"Is that ah threat?" Fergus asked angrily.
"It's a warning." Stoick said glaring back the the bear king. "Look, I only brought a small number of people. We're all unarmed. Why don't you let us inside so we can explain."
Fergus threw his head back and laughed. "Ha, ye actually expect us to believe that? For all we know yer people could be readying to attack as we speak!"
"If we wanted to burn Dunbroch to the ground, we would have done it by now." Stoick stated bluntly. "The only reason we haven't taken the highlands by now is because we have a much bigger problem to deal with."
Fergus looked furious. "Haven't taken-? Did ya nae remember who sent yoo sorry lot back to yer little islands in the first place?!" He shouted.
"Look Fergus, personally I could care less whether you trust me or not! I sure as hel don't trust you either! But regardless of what you believe, this place will be burned the ground along with the rest of the highlands if you don't hear what I have ta say! Now are you willing to listen or not?!" Stoick shouted back.
The two glared at each other for nearly a minute before Fergus looked up towards Macintosh. "Do their people have any weapons?" He asked.
Macintosh shook his head. "None ah can see."
He turned back to Stoick. "We'll listen to what ye have to say. But if ye or yer people try ANYTHING, we'll fill you full of arrow before ye can even draw a sword."
Merida and the young lords watched as the Great Hall filled with highland warriors, and of course, Vikings. The Vikings sat on one side of the room, but were being closely watched by the guards. "I still can't believe they managed to slip through out defenses. Even with a small group like they, they shouldn't have been able to slip through." Merida said.
"Forget how they got here. I can't believe we're even listening to these mongrols. We should have just skinned them on the spot!" Ian said twirling his sword in his hand. He was itching for one of the Vikings to make a move so he could draw first blood.
After everyone had been seated Merida looked down at the Viking leader, Stoick the Vast. Her father had talked a bit about him when he and the lords reminisced about their old war days, but he'd never gone into detail. She supposed her father didn't like pulling up the more gruesome memories of the war.
She then glanced over at the boy to Stoick's right. He was wearing a horned helmet, but other than that there was no other evidence pointing to him behind a Viking. Compared to the others, he was scrawny, frail, and weak. Merida could probably knock down with ease.
"So Stoick, what did ye come here for?" Fergus asked impatiently.
Stoick took his helmet off and placed it on the table. "I'm sure most of us here remember the war between our people."
"Aye. Ye tried to steal out land from us." Lord Dingwall said crossing his arm.
Stoick nodded. "That we did. But you united against us and-"
"We sent yer sorry asses back to where you belong!" Ian shouted angrily.
Suddenly a young Viking stood up and glared at him. "Say that again you punk!"
Ian glared back at him before jumping over the railing and onto the table. "I'll say it a thousand times you no good scavengers!"
Before they could go any further a man reached forward and pulled the young Vikings back. "Snotlout! Calm down and keep quiet!" He shouted.
"But dad, he called us scavengers! I'm not going to let some prissy highlander punk bad mouth us!" He shouted back.
"Spitelout, keep you boy under control!" Stoick ordered.
"Ian, back off!" Lord Macintosh yelled.
"But why?! We don't have to sit here and listen to these savages! We should just gut every last one of them-"
"SIT. DOWN." Macintosh repeated more firmly.
Ian glared over at Snotloud and then put his sword away. "Aye."
After everyone had calmed down at bit Stoick continued. "As I was saying. It's true that the clans banding together were certainly a formidable force. But make no mistake, we were prepared to combat you. We simply had bigger problems to deal with at the time." He said.
"Is that so?" Fergus asked raising an eyebrow. He wasn't sure if Stoick was telling the truth of making excuses. He was a stubborn bastard after all. Not that he had room to talk.
"It is." He said getting up. He nudged the skinny boy beside him to who quickly stood up and made his way towards the door. "I'd like to show you something." As the boy neared the door, a few of the guards prepared to stop him.
Fergus lifted his hand signaling them to let the boy go. He was interested in where this was going Besides, if they were planning a surprise attack the last person they would send for the task was this boy. He looked like he could barely lift a weapon let alone use one.
When the boy left Stoick turned towards the others. "What we're about to show you will probably be a shock, but it's not dangerous. Don't make any sudden movements or point any weapons at it, otherwise you'll spook it."
Merida, as well as every other highlander in the room looked confused. Spook what exactly? The door opened back up and the boy walked in slowly. Fergus rolled his eyes. "Look Stoick, I'm tired of waitin' for this nonsense. Would you jist..."
He stopped when he saw a large black figure making it's way into the room. Merida watched in shock as a huge reptile like creature, complete with a set of wings, entered into the room. The highlanders all lifted their weapons and the creature suddenly bared it's teeth and looked read to strike. Merida quickly pulled up her own weapon ready to shoot the creature down if it attacked.
The skinny boy suddenly turned around. "Wait, everyone, please drop your weapons! You're making him uncomfortable."
Fergus kept a tight grip on his sword. "What in the blazes is that thing?" He asked glaring at Stoick. Was this part of their plans? To bring these beast here to slaughter them? He knew he shouldn't have trusted these backstabbing animals! He prepare to lunge at the beast, but Stoick lifted his hand.
"Don't do that." He warned.
"King Fergus, I swear to you that he is not dangerous. He's just perceiving you as a threat. Just drop you weapon and it'll be fine." The boy assured.
Fergus looked at the beast skeptically and then slowly placed his weapon on the table. "Put em down." He ordered to everyone else. The highlanders all looked at each other in confusion. "I said drop your weapons." He ordered.
Everyone slowly sheathed or dropped their weapons. The second they had the fierceness in the creatures eyes vanished. It was replaced with a more innocent, curious look. "There you go bud." The boy said patting the creature on the head.
"Okay Stoick, what the devil is that thing?" Fergus asked still eyeing the creature.
"That Fergus, is a dragon. They've been infesting Berk for years, but around the time the clans united the infestation spiked. We couldn't deal with waging war with you while we had these rascals nipping at our heels." Stoick explained.
Fergus rubbed his chin. "Is it dangerous?"
"No. All the dragons on Berk are completely tamed. They won't harm people, not without reason anyway." Stoick said. Fergus grunted. He didn't like the idea of the Vikings having an army of dragons at their disposal. This did explained how they so deep into highland territory without being detected.
"Where are the others?" Fergus asked. "The ones you rode here on."
"We have the ones we rode here on hidden in a small cave a few miles away. Don't worry, we're not planning anything." Stoick assured. "We just thought if we came flying in you'd try to shoot us down before hearing what we had to say."
Fergus nodded. "You were right. So, are ye saying that dragons are coming here to the highlands then?" He asked. He knew his arch enemy couldn't have come here to simply warn him about some overgrown reptiles.
"Sort of. Do you remember Alvin?"
Fergus looked angry. "Aye, Alvin the Treacherous. One of your scum bag allies." During the war Alvin had been the most hated of all the Vikings. Most Vikings pillaged of course, but they at least let the women and children go. Alvin on the other hand was ruthless, bloodthirsty.
"He's no ally of ours anymore. He was banished years ago." Stoick said. "He was sent to outcast island along with the other traitors. But there's a problem. Alvin has learned how to tame the dragons, and he's gathering forces."
"To take Berk?" Fergus asked with a smirk. He had to admit, the idea of Stoick coming to him for help was pretty satisfying.
"No, to take the highlands."
The highlanders all began muttering amongst themselves. "Well, looks like Alvin had finally lost his rocker. No Vikings will be able to take the highlands from us." Stoick said. "Even if they have a few little lizards with them, they don't have the man power to take us on."
"You don't understand. Many of the other Vikings tribes have already joined him, and I'm sure even more will stand with him as well."
"And why haven't yoo?" Fergus asked. "Ye tried before, and with the dragons I'm sure ye THINK all the Vikings would be able to take the highlands from us easily."
"I have no doubt that we could. But I'm not stupid Fergus. Alvin would betray us the minute we stepped foot on the battlefield. Even if the prize was the highlands, he wouldn't be able to let the feud between us go." Stoick said balling his fist up.
Fergus looked at him curiously. "So, the enemy of yer enemy is yer friend?"
"Basically. I've convinced a few other tribes to stand against Alvin, and we agreed that the best move would be to aline ourselves with you."
Fergus nodded in thought. "Ah see. And what would ye ask for in return?"
"The only thing we would ask is that you allow us and the other tribes who've agreed to join us to live on your land."
There were mutters among the room. The highlanders thought the proposal was crazy. Surely Fergus would not allow such a long time enemy to simply move onto their homeland. The Vikings also seemed against this idea. Their homes had always been on the seas. How could they suddenly up and move onto enemy territory.
Fergus glared at Stoick. "And why should ah even consider yer proposal?"
"The highlands have more than enough land to support the tribes and then some, and it'd be pretty damn hard to help you fight a war when we're a week's trip away." Stoick argued.
"Are ye saying ye would be willing to serve under the rules of the Kingdom?" Fergus asked.
"We'd be willing to negotiate. You have to understand, there are certain traditions we're just not willing to give up."
"What? Like pillaging and burning down villages?" Merida asked. They all looked up at the red head. "Ye cannae seriously being considering this, can ye da? They're probably just tryin to gain yer trust so they can attack ya from our home front!"
"Merida!" Elinor said grabbing the girls arm.
"No ma! I will nae let some Viking savages smooth talk their way into the kingdom!"
"Ah! Why should we trust them?! Whether it be Alvin or this lot here, their all the same! Backstabbing traitorous scum!" Ian yelled.
The dragon suddenly sensed the hostility in the room and bared it's teeth again. It growled up at Ian and Merida who backed up slightly. "Oy! Ye keep that thing under control!" Fergus yelled.
"Why don't you keep that redheaded whelp under control!" One of the Viking shouted back.
"That whelp is my daughter ye bastard!"
Everyone began yelling and shouting at one another. Merida glared down at the Vikings as her mother began scolder her about how much trouble she had just called. She wasn't paying attention though. She was focusing on the scrawny boy who was trying to sooth the dragon.
He turned around and began shouting. "Hey! Wait a second, I have something to say!" Everyone ignored him and he sighed. Suddenly the dragon opened it's mouth and let out an ear shattering roar. Everyone covered their ears as the beast bellowed. When it finished the boy patted it on the head. "Thanks bud."
He turned around and faced Fergus. "You're majesty, if I may say something?"
"And who exactly are ye?" Fergus asked still trying to get the echoes of the black beasts roar out of his ears.
Stoick patted the boy on the back. "Fergus, this here is my boy Hiccup."
"Hiccup?" Fergus asked with a smirk. The other highlanders, and even a few Vikings, broke out into laughter. "Were all the manly names taken boy?"
"Yeah, I know..." Hiccup said sighing. At least he had broken some of the tension in the room. "I know long ago our people were at war, but don't you think we can find a way to get past that for the sake of everyone here? I mean the clans here were at war a long time ago, but you united for the greater good right?"
"Aye boy, we united against YOU." Fergus reminded. "Ah see where your coming from boy, ah really do. But ye can't think a few fancy can undo years of war and bloodshed do ye?"
Hiccup sighed. "Look, I'm much to young to remember anything about the war or whatever bad blood is boiling between you and my father. But I do know about Alvin. I know he's willing to stoop to any level to get what he wants. If we don't unite against him, he WILL take the highlands. And he won't stop there either."
"He's not interested in trying to take care or get more land for his tribe or his people. He's insane, he's twisted, and he's power crazy. He'll keep on trying to expand, and I think he's crazy enough to try and take over the world if he can. I know you don't trust us, but Alvin needs to be stopped here. If he wins, we ALL lose."
He took off his helmet and then dropped it on the table. "I'm asking you to at least consider working together with us so we can make a stand again him. This helmet is half of my mother's breast plate. I'm willing to swear an alliance over it."
Fergus looked at Hiccup suspiciously. Something about the boy's face told him he was serious about this. He rubbed his chin in thought. "Ye can bring your allied tribes to our land. Ye and the rest of the residents of Berk will stay with us, so we can keep an eye on ya." Fergus said. "Then we'll negotiate the terms of our alliance."
Stoick reached forward and patted Hiccup on the back. "That's my boy." He said proudly.
"By the way. Ah ain't really to comfortable about that... thing, being here. We'll make a stable for em, but OUR guards will be monitoring them at all clear?" Fergus said.
"That's reasonable. But we need to have some of our tribesmen there as well. The Dragons need to be handled carefully, and we wouldn't want any accidents." Stoick said.
Everyone muttered amongst themselves wondering if this shaky alliance would really hold. Ian balled his fist up angrily. "Ah, I don't believe we're teaming up with those filthy outlanders. Yer dad must be going mad if he thinks we can trust them." He said looking at the read.
Merida was staring down at Hiccup curiously. He was leading his dragon outside and away from the all ruckus. She had to admit, she was a little impressed on how he'd handled the situation. "What do you think of that one?" She asked.
Ian looked down at Hiccup as he walked out of the door. "Him? He's a scrawny wimp. If those other Vikings are really attacking he'll be nothing but a toothpick. Why?"
She shrugged. "Just curious. He doesn't seem like the Viking sort ta me."
Ian grunted and began walking off. "He's probably just as treacherous and backstabbing as the rest of his kind. C'mon guys." He said walking off. Bart and Boyd followed him.
Merida kept staring down towards the door where Hiccup had left. He seemed... interesting. She would keep an eye on him. "Merida, you comin?" Ian called.
"Aye, I'm comin." Merida said going after the young lords.