In a cold night, there were four human wide-awake in a little hut, while everyone else slept peacefully in their beds.
„What is she saying Gobber?“ asked Stoic the Vast, chief of the Hairy Hooligans, his old friend with the hook as a hand and the wooden leg. Gobber leaned further forward. Gothi, the old shaman woman of their village never spoke, she only drew pictures into the sand with her staff, which only very few could read and Gobber was one of them. A bit beside them sat a young woman, her stomach was round and very big - a child would arrive soon. The child of a chief.
“The kid is born… under a yak with three legs?” Gothi hit him at the head with her staff and drew some more. “Oh, no, it´s born under a strange star.”
Stoic huffed - that didn´t actually help him. But Gothi hasn´t finished yet. “She says it will have… a touch of destiny within it.”
The woman smiled and stroked her stomach, where she felt a little movement from within. “That´s good, isn´t it?” Stoic asked, a bit of concern laid in his look he shot his wife. Gothi shrugged, before she drew some more signs. “The stars are very discreet and won´t tell her more. But it shouldn´t be that bad, it´s just strange.” Gobber translated and that was all Gothi had to say.
These words stayed long in the thoughts of the chief, after his son was born, after his wife disappeared and while he had to rise his son by himself.
He and everyone else saw it - his son was a Hiccup and that wouldn´t change. He was… different. For Stoic it wasn´t a good different, seeing how his son wasn´t anything like a Viking would be.
Now you would ask:
But what about Hiccup? What about the strange star? Did he lie? Did Gothi read them wrong?
And Hiccup knew he was different, but he didn´t want to believe it.
It was dark and cold, but not long, because another dragon raid came. He wasn´t older than five when a Monstrous Nightmare crashed into their house right next to him. He stared at the beast in terrified awe, and after some time it stared back. He knew it was his end; he knew he would die now, the beast would spit fire and burn him to ash – but it didn´t. It only stared and sniffed while slowly crouching closer, until he screamed at the top of his lungs, finally getting his voice back. The beast flew off startled as it was. Hiccup continued to scream, too caught up in his fear and terror. Then it happened. His fingernails grew to sharp claws and his teeth hurt. His eyes burned and his back ached terribly. The pain was too much for him and he stopped screaming soon after it begun. But it didn´t stop. He fell to his knees and immediately after stood on all four, feeling a burning heat in his chest, as if there would be a fire inside of him. Then he saw his hands, the razor sharp nails that looked rather like claws - like dragon claws. He felt a strange tingling under the skin of his limbs, his face, back and chest, getting further and further to the outside, then little scales begun to dig through his skin like tiny knives. It hurt, it hurt so much, he couldn´t handle it any longer and tried to scream. But there only came a whimper, scratchy and weak. Like from a dragon hatchling. He tried and tried again, but stopped when it worked. Because that wasn´t his voice, it wasn´t even human. He… he had roared. Like a real dragon. The shock silenced him and when the pain suddenly doubled he passed out.
With a little scream he shot up and found himself in his bed. Panting, startled and sweating.
“Not this again, why does it keep coming up?” he whispered to himself while rubbing his forehead.
“Hiccup? I heard you scream, is everything okay?” his father called from below. Did he scream that loud?
“Yes dad, everything is fine, just – just a nightmare.”
Further down stood the chief, the slightly concerned look flew from his face. It seemed tired and old now. “Is 15 and screams because of a nightmare like a little girl in front of a dragon…” he mumbled into his red beard. When he was four, Hiccup had made the braids that were still in it. He had been so lively back then, always showing his father his makings and pictures, but after the one dragon raid, where a Nightmare had crashed into their house and he had awoken the day after with strange cuts, he had changed so suddenly it was shocking. Before, he laughed so often and jumped around and wanted to learn more and more, demanded to hear stories from the elder Vikings and searched for – for trolls instead of fishing! He would go into the woods for hours and come back dirty, sweaty but with a wide grin and some flower he found to be pretty enough to show his father. Then he was suddenly still and calm. He obeyed and listened, he never caused trouble like some had feared he would. But he would leap out of the forge and argue playfully with their smith Gobber. He would go to the woods or strode randomly around the island, always returning without even a scratch, making Stoic assume that he was really just walking without taking any risks. He would write into his notebook or draw into it, but refuse to show. At another raid when he had snuck out he was nearly killed. He had rescued his little lad from another Monstrous Nightmare and shut him into their house. After that night (he has heard some screams from him) he has changed again. He never spoke up if he wasn´t asked, he didn´t even lift his head without needing to, he never left the forge or the house (except for switching between them) on his own and never got out discovering when he could.
“Son, come down here.” Stoic ordered and soon enough heard the little footsteps his scrawny son made. With a waiting expression he came down, but it soon saddened when he saw what his father carried with him. “We will go for one more search for the nest before the ice sets in. I want you to enter the dragon training with the other teens.” Hiccup seemed troubled by that, seeing as how he fiddled with his sleeves. “Can´t – can´t I just stay in the forge instead? I don´t think I´d be fit fighting dragons…”, “But it´s time son.”, “Okay, rephrase: I can´t kill dragons.” The mere thought made his chest tighten and his heart beat like he would be asked to kill one of the villagers. But he didn´t say that, it would only make him stranger. “But you WILL.”, “Dad I-“, “Son. It´s time.” He handed him an axe he could barely hold, let alone swing. “If you carry this with you, you carry all of us with you. You talk like us, you walk like us, you think like us.” Hiccup remained silent. Stoic had appreciated that he had spoken up to him for this moment, his usual self showed up, but it seemed like it only lasted short. “You understood?” Hiccup looked down. “Yes…dad.”, “Good.” He headed for the door and stopped when he was already half out of it. “Train hard, I will be back… probably.”, “And I will be here… maybe…” Stoic huffed a last time before he went.
Hiccup leaned the axe against the wall and tried to calm himself down while he seated himself on the staircase and slung his arms around his upper body, which caged his fluttering heart inside of it. “It´s okay, you can control your fear and your feelings, it won´t happen again. It happened twice, it hurt both times, yes, but it won´t happen again. It won´t happen again, you can do this.” He told himself and calmed down pretty fast. Later he would tell himself it never ever happened to begin with, because it were just dreams and thus couldn´t happen again at all. Too bad he wasn´t a good liar.