Disclaimer: I'd rather not die, so please, don't hate me.
Second Disclaimer: I'm not a dragon rider, nor do I control the weather.
Wowzers! Been awhile eh? There really isn't an excuse. I stopped having writers block a couple months ago, I just got so sucked into reading other stories and doing other things that I never sat down to write this chapter. But it's here now, and hopefully my Creative Writing course I'm taking this semester will encourage me to keep better update times.
One last thing. This story's rating is going to come into question (much) later on in the story. While I have no issue writing M, as it's typically the level I read at anyway, I want to know whether or not you guys wanted to see a more thought out romance between Elsa and Hiccup. If I decide to go M, I will write things a little differently so that we may see more of that progression (not that there won't be a lot already)
But if I keep it T, I move on to other parts and draw focus elsewhere. So let me know! Sorry for the long AN, here is the story. Let me know how you like it! (or hate it D:)
The promise Agdar had made had kept Hiccup with high hopes and pleasant thoughts of his future. Being able to proficiently work at a forge was great, but helping the royal family outfit the kingdoms military? That was a completely different animal. For an entire week, when he wasn't helping Hadvar at the forge, he was munching on some of Helen's bread, slaving over possible designs for armor to outfit the city guards. Arendelle was peaceful, but they weren't ignorant to dangers that could potentially lead to their ruin, and Hiccup knew better than most how to appropriately defend one's home. His ancestors had been doing so for the past 300 years.
Weeks went by, and Hiccup's attention focus shifted to how he himself could help protect the town. It had been two and a half years since he had come to Arendelle, and his observing mind had picked up on all the patrol routes throughout the city. The guards covered the city well, but it wasn't completely covered. This bothered him, as did all things that put his city in potential danger, and he wanted to help.
The only way to help however, was to patrol the city himself, which, when riding the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself, especially under the cover of night, didn't raise too much of a problem.
Toothless would certainly get enjoyment out of it. Hiccup thought, as he fiddled with a piece of leather, etching a design into a shoulder guard. The dragon loved to fly, and giving him an excuse to fly every night four a few hours would definitely ease the guilt Hiccup had for not being able to keep his dragon company more often.
The only issue with the patrolling idea, was himself. Sure it may be dark, and he'll be in the sky, but if actual problems arise, he would need to protect himself from both danger and being seen.
Hiccup glanced at his flight suit that lay in pieces over his desk. The original design was only made for helping him fight the elements, mainly wind and rain, but after going over the design, Hiccup had been able to effectively cover himself with hard black leather armor. The leather was light, but had been covered with dragon scales that Toothless had shed over the years, giving it just as much protection from arrows as a normal dragon hide.
It was then that Toothless, who had been dozing off in the corner while Hiccup worked on stylizing the suit, suddenly sneezed.
Hiccup knew a lot about dragons, probably more than anyone else, and he was certain of one thing. Night Furies never miss. Except when they sneeze. He had found out quickly that his scaled brother in all but blood had a nasty habit of shooting out a projectile sneeze, which could go in any random direction with any random amount of strength and force behind the shot.
It just so happened that this time, the shot was directed towards the armor that lay on the table. Initially, Hiccup cried out at the injustice to the world, and moved to scold his dragon for ruining two weeks' worth of work, when he looked to see the amount of damage that had been done.
There, lying on top of his now scorched desk, was his flight suit, completely unharmed by the blast. It seemed that while Hiccup knew the most about Night Furies, he didn't know everything.
Night Fury scales were completely impenetrable to Night Fury fire. Go figure.
It had been a month and a half since Agdar had left, and Hiccup was worried. The storm that had taken place two weeks before was nasty, one that had forced him and Toothless to abandon their planned trip to the archipelago for more supplies. Not only that, but apparently the King and Queen had been coming back from a wedding in Corona during the storm, and hadn't come out of the storm they foolishly sailed into.
Hiccup knew little of the royal family, but he knew they were a fair and just people who watched over Arendelle, even if it was behind closed doors. The day they had been declared dead had been a somber, and depressing one. While the day before had been an unsuspecting spring day, filled with sunshine and high temperatures, the day of the declaration had been anything but.
The old blacksmith sat comfortably in his chair in the corner, surveying what he jokingly called his Kingdom, something that he remembers amusing the late King many years before. While his death deeply saddened the old man, Hadvar was worried more about his apprentice. Hiccup didn't know Agdar was the king, and while the blacksmith wished he could tell him of his surrogate father's death, Agdar had made him promise not say anything. Only now, Hiccup would never know, and Hadvar had to watch the fear, sadness and uncertainty take root in the young man's eyes.
He knew Hiccup hid his troubles from others, putting the city before his own needs, but the man, who was really still just a boy, seemed to carry the world on his shoulders. It was times like this when Hadvar would grow upset towards his majesty. The man's cowardice was causing pain to the ones he cared about the most.
When Hadvar looked around to find his apprentice, he couldn't help the smile that broke out on his face. In the midst of all that was going on, between the funeral arrangements, the rather dismal weather, and the increased workload that seemed to have popped up earlier on in the week, Hiccup was finally making friends.
Rain poured heavily, increasing the already quite loud atmosphere of the Arendelle forge. The stray dog, who had been at constant odds with Hiccup over Helen's beloved bread, was curled up next to the furnace keeping nice and dry. The sight wasn't all that uncommon in and of itself, but Hiccup was sitting next to it, stroking its coat and actually sharing the bread he had fought tooth and nail over since he first started working.
"It's no wonder the weather has gone to hel," he said in a gruff voice. He kept his stern look focused on the boy until he finally looked up from the mutt in his lap, confused at the comment.
"You? Making friends with your mortal enemy? I thought I'd never see the day!"
His apprentice gave him a mock look of offence before begrudgingly admitting that the joke was funny. He waved his hands in defeat at the forge master, before replying with that nasally tone that everyone found so endearing.
"Yea yea, laugh all you want. I know how to make friends, you know. The skill isn't that hard to figure out," he said, giving an annoyed huff before returning his attention to the dog.
"Oh sure, making friends isn't very hard, but I wonder when you'll decide to challenge yourself and actually make friends with a human being. Thor's already angry with this turn of events as it is, I fear Ragnorak may occur when that happens," the blacksmith replied, laughing at his own joke.
In truth, he did worry about the boy's solitude. He was a very personable lad, always getting along with everyone. Hadvar couldn't think of a single person who hated the Haddock boy, and yet Hiccup didn't attempt any form of bonding with the townsfolk.
Hiccup carried on with the conversation, unaware of the blacksmiths thoughts. "Har-har, you're hilarious. I'll have you know I'm pretty good pals with that Kristoff fellow. He was in hear the other day looking to fix part of his sleigh, we ended up getting drinks afterwards, talking about his reindeer."
The blacksmith leveled him an unimpressed look. "That's impressive. You decide out of all the people in the city, including the swarms of girls who would just love to get to know you," he paused, winking at the blushing lad before continuing, "that you want to be friends with the only other person in the village, who likes animals better than actual people. Good job there laddie, I'm deeply impressed."
"Hey!" Hiccup said in defense. "Sven happens to be a very interesting companion! The way he talks for the reindeer is a little strange, but at least he's an honest guy. He doesn't let what people say get to him, I can respect that."
Hadvar shook his head in mock exasperation, though on the inside he was proud of the boy. There would come a time where he would no longer be there to watch over him, and he only wanted the lad to have companions to seek comfort from during rough times when he was no longer there to offer it himself.
Hiccup Haddock had become a man, and there would come a time when a woman would eventually catch his eye. He only prayed the girl had enough patience to deal with the lad's oddities. The thought made the old man laugh.
He ignored the weird look Hiccup gave him.
It was around midday when a finely dressed man walked into the shop. Though he was dressed in the colors of the royal house, he appeared to be well at ease within the dirty confine of the forge. Hiccup's respect for him went up even before he opened his mouth.
"Is there something I can help you with today, sir…?" He asked, wiping his hands on a clean rag before approaching the nobleman.
"Ah, sorry, I'm Kai, Head Adviser within the Castle. I'm to be watching over the kingdom until Princess Elsa comes of age in three years' time," he paused, looking somewhat saddened at the idea. Hiccup guessed the man was still in mourning for the king and queen.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you sir," he said, holding out his now clean hand. "Though I wish it were through happier terms. I'm Hiccup Haddock, I work for Hadvar here at the forge. Was there something you need?"
Kai took the hand without hesitation, with something like recognition in his eyes when Hiccup told him his name. The feeling was gone before Hiccup could think any harder about it, and Kai responded in the same downcast manner as before.
"Unfortunately there is. I require a ceremonial sword for the funeral tomorrow, and the Royal Family's Sword was lost with the King and Queen. I know that this is quite the short notice, but I've heard of the wonders this forge has made. I was hoping one could be produced before tomorrow at midday?"
When he was finished, he looked to be holding his breath. Hiccup placated him with a warm smile, before gesturing for him to follow.
Kai let out what seemed to be a relieved breath and hurried to where Hiccup was headed.
"I can assure you your sword will be ready by tomorrow, though I'll need to know the design you wish me to replicate. I myself am unfamiliar with the Royal Family or their sigils."
The response seemed to confuse Kai, who was staring a little disbelieving at Hiccup. The look was starting to make him feel a little uncomfortable, when Hadvar finally looked up from what he was doing.
"Ah, Kai, I was told you would be arriving. Alas the boy is right. We'd need a picture or a sketch of the sword before re-forging it."
Kai's eyes lingered on Hiccup with the same puzzled expression for only a moment before he turned to the blacksmith. "I have a picture with me, and forgive me for my request, but I must insist that the metal be of the finest quality you can manage. The sword will be passed down to the Queen when she comes of age, and must match the beauty that the gods have bestowed upon her."
Hiccup had to suppress an eye roll at that. He didn't know what it was with royal females, but they always seemed to be gifted with beauty beyond measure, even if they were fat and over the age of ninety. It's just how the world worked, he supposed. Hadvar however, chuckled good naturedly at the nobleman's comment.
"I didn't take you for a pious man, Kai. Though I have seen the late Queen's beauty before, I wouldn't think to lay blame for her children's beauty on the gods themselves."
Kai had the decency to look a little embarrassed at what he had said, but responded nonetheless.
"I have come to see the princesses as nieces, so no doubt my vision of them is somewhat biased, but I can say they take after the queen quite splendidly."
Hiccup was becoming bored with the current talk. The idea of making a sword for the royal family fascinated him, much more so than the idea of the royal family itself.
His restless nature seemed to be noticed by the old blacksmith, because he smiled, before addressing the nobleman.
"Alright Kai, I think it's time we see this picture. My apprentice here is itching to get to work on something, and he can't do so until I start the project."
Hiccup internally sighed in relief. He was a little afraid that he wouldn't be able to make the sword, due to his young age and therefore apparent lack of experience. The fact that Hadvar was covering that by saying he would only be aiding in the work brought down his rising anxiety levels a bit.
Kai rummaged through his coat, pulling out a sheet of paper before placing it in Hadvar's outstretched hand.
"Thank you again for this, Hadvar. I'll pay you well for it on the morrow."
With that, he bid the blacksmith and Hiccup farewell and taking his leave, wrapping his coat tighter around him to avoid the elements.
When he was out of sight, Hadvar handed the drawing over to him and smiled. "Good luck, lad. This is your final project as an apprentice."
That was not what Hiccup was expecting. Wide eyed, he looked over to the old man, trying to search his face for a sign that he had said what Hiccup just heard. Hadvar seemed to share a private joke with himself, because he shook his head, laughing at him. "You have nothing more to learn from me. It's time you started putting your name on your own work, and not mine."
Voice filled with emotion, Hiccup spoke. "I-I can't, Hadvar. My name isn't a common one in these parts. I'd rather not risk my location being discovered by my old village," His response was saddening, but true. Hiccup wasn't a common name, and if he publicly started selling his craft, the name was sure to spread far.
Hadvar scratched his chin in contemplation for a moment, going over what he just heard. "Well, you seem so set on fitting in around here, why not change your first name? Haddock is a fine enough surname, there would be no need to change that."
Hiccup thought hard about what he just heard. Did he want to change his first name? It had become part of who he was, but it had also been the center of a large portion of the bullying he dealt with as a kid. Hiccup was the runt of the litter, a hiccup was useless, and Haddock of Arendelle was neither of those things.
He could be known as Hiccup by those who knew him personally, but he saw the merits of changing his name when selling his craft.
"Henry," he said finally. Looking up, he saw the approval on Hadvar's face. "Henry Haddock."
"Well, Master Haddock," he said, grinning that old man grin. "You better get to work."
And so he did. Hiccup spent the rest of the day shaping and bending the hilt of the sword, carefully engraving the designs that the picture so vividly depicted. The sword was more delicate than the typical blades Hiccup saw growing up. Those had been made for killing dragons, and lopping off the heads of raiding Vikings. The swords from Arendelle had more finesse to them, typically consisting of a hilt fit for one hand, and a guard that wrapped from the top to the bottom. The difference between a normal Arendelle sword and this one however, was that the guard was of the same design as the Royal Family's sigil.
Hiccup was rather impressed with the sword's hilt, being in the shape of a flower. He supposed it wouldn't be the best sword to fight with, as the guard was left open save for two thin beams that centered off at the bottom on either side of the handle, but it was rather beautiful. And after tonight, when Hiccup took it back to his home to create the blade, it would be a force to be reckoned with.
Kai did ask for the finest metal after all, and what better metal than that which could cut through other metal? He would just skip the part where he would tell Kai that his sword was made from dragon vomit. No one really needed to know that, right?
It was early the next day when Hiccup arrived, and he was both surprised and slightly aggravated to find Kai and Hadvar already there. Doesn't this nobleman know that he hasn't gotten his bread yet? Shop doesn't open till his supply of starch has been satisfactorily stocked.
Hadvar must have seen the look of betrayal on his face, because he roared with laughter as soon as he looked in his direction.
"Come now, Hiccup. Don't look at us like we've ruined your life. It's only a few loaves of bread," Hadvar said, waving his hand in dismissal before grinning at him mischievously.
The joking manner flew right over Hiccups head. No one messed with the bread. It could have been a crime. It should have been a crime. He'd have to talk to Kai later about the prospect of locking people up in the dungeon for treasonous acts such as the failure to comprehend the importance that was Helen's Baked Goods. As the royal family's chief adviser, surely he would see the wisdom behind such an action, right?
The cold, unamused stare that emanated from Hiccup's face seemed to be enough to placate the old blacksmith, because the man reached for something on the table behind him before turning around and handing Hiccup his daily meal.
With a cry of relief, Hiccup snatched it up and brought it over to his own desk, before cutting a large portion and shoving it into his mouth, eyes fluttering with apparent ecstasy.
"How very odd," Kai stated, bewilderment laced in his words.
The old man just huffed. "Aye, but he gets the job done better than I ever could."
Kai turned towards him with a confused look. "What do you mean by that?"
Instead of answering him, Hadvar cleared his throat before addressing his eccentric apprentice.
"Come on now, lad. Show the man what you've crafted for him."
Hiccup finished gulping down his meal, following it with a swig from his water skin before retrieving the newly finished blade.
"I stayed up until about one in the morning last night putting the finishing touches on it, I hope it suits your purpose. The blade perfectly balanced, and I took the liberty of shining it this morning, though the metal hardly needed the buffering," he rambled on about what methods he used during the forging, but the two older men had long since stopped listening, their eyes fixed on the blade that was slowly unraveled before them.
Twin exhales were heard, to which Hiccup promptly stopped talking, if only to nervously gauge their reactions. He was quite pleased with the results.
Both of the men were staring, wide-eyed at the finest crafted sword either had ever seen. The sword, which was unnaturally light, was a three foot long blade that gleamed of the brightest silver. The sharp side of the sword was honed down to the thinnest of edges, almost to the point of being invisible.
The hilt however, was an entire different story. A flawless recreation of its predecessor, the metal seemed to be alive, flowing naturally with masterfully crafted curves and engravings. There was no flaw, no blemish, no imperfection that the human eye could find.
The sword looked like it had been forged in the fires of Asgard.
"This…this is….beyond the need of recognition. This sword deserves songs. Poets should tell stories of the history of this blade. I am most grateful for your mastery of the craft, Hadvar," Kai began.
"As much as I wish I could take the credit for, well, any of this, I'm afraid it was the lad who forged the sword. His skill has well surpassed my own," the blacksmith replied truthfully, gesturing to a rather bashful looking Hiccup.
"Hiccup, lad your work is beyond incredible! I know the allies of Arendelle would spend entire coffins of gold for a single blade of this quality. You and I should talk business. Arendelle may be my main priority, but strengthening the ties with our neighbors will ensure future alliances. It may also take the pressure off the Queen when she comes of a marrying age. With our wares already being bestowed upon them, they could hardly ask for a marriage contract to keep the peace," said Kai, who at this point was speaking more to himself than Hiccup, but he didn't mind. Having a good reputation with the royal family could be beneficial later on.
"The price for these wares is surprisingly cheap. So long as you can find me the right rocks, I can craft this quality of weapon relatively easily. The rocks aren't the uncommon in the mountains, so I should be fine as is," Hiccup stated, rubbing the back of his neck in thought. "Just give me the orders and locations to sell the goods. I'll get the job done."
Hadvar looked at him like a proud grandfather, and excused himself a moment later claiming that it was rather stuffy in the room and his eyes were bothering him. Both of the remaining men shared a knowing smile, but showed pity for the sentimental old man.
"Master Haddock, I'm surprised we have not seen these kind of goods for sale before. You could make a fortune off your work."
Hiccup thought for a while whether or not to tell him about his old village, and decided that if he were to remain on good terms with the Royal Family, he shouldn't keep non-dragon-related knowledge from them.
"I would love to sell my craft, sir. However my name is rather uncommon in these parts. Quite frankly, it's one of a kind," he started, pausing only to see if Kai was following along. Satisfied, he continued.
"While a unique name would typically be a good thing, especially when selling your craft, I left my old village, intending to start a new life away from the hardships I faced there. It would be rather unfortunate if they caught wind of where I was."
Kai sat there staring intently at him, as if he were sizing him up or analyzing him. His unblinking stare started to unnerve Hiccup a bit, and he briefly wondered whether or not the man realized how often he did this sort of thing, and whether or not he did it on purpose.
His line of thinking was broken when the Advisor finally spoke.
"Well you could sell under a different name," he said at last, glancing at Hiccup's face before moving forward. "Though it appears you've already thought of that. I suggest you going to the kingdoms yourself instead of trading them in the markets here. No one needs to know the goods are from Arendelle until that information is required. So until that time comes, your anonymity will remain intact."
Hiccup nodded in agreement. "Yea, that could work. I can make it to the surrounding kingdoms quickly enough. No one will even notice I'm gone."
He gave Kai a childlike grin, which the man found both endearing and goofy. His noble stature stopped him from speaking such things, but he had grown rather fond of the young lad in the short time he'd known him. He only wished their meeting was under happier circumstances.
After bidding the man farewell, Hiccup was left to his own devices. Hadvar, still feeling a little sentimental over the whole thing, had given him the day off.
And as the rain pattered on, seemingly without end, Hiccup sat in a chair munching on a piece of bread. Though he seemed rather calm to anyone looking into the shop, his thoughts were racing at a mile a minute. Designs for weapons and armor, travel routes to the surrounding kingdoms, ideas for the map he was nearly close to finishing. All those thoughts, which when mixed together created his next large step in life, made their way to the forefront of his mind.
But in the back of his mind, he thought of Agdar, and in the way gloomy thoughts are born during gloomy days, he wished forlornly that his surrogate father was here to see it happen.
A few mixed feelings about this chapter, but I enjoyed writing the end of it. Next chapter is Berk guys, so it should mix it up a least a little, though honestly, this story hasn't been updated in so long that it's all probably brand spanking new to most of you.
As usual, let me know your likes and dislikes, your fears, your visions of the future, ideas that sprung to mind when reading this. I love feedback, both positive and negative. It's impossible to become a better writer if you learn nothing from your experiences :D
So please! Review! I love all of you.