Prologue: Of A World Made Wrong

"Valka!" Stoick shouted at the top of his lungs, dodging roof tiles and flaming pieces of wood. Through the clouds of embers he could just see her. Heat turned the air into rippling waves.

"Stoick!" She shouted back, both frightened and relieved. She was backed against the far wall, only a short distance from the door.

"Valka, run!" He yelled at her, as he leapt over a destroyed roof beam, forcing his way through a hole in the wall. Landing on the floor, he scanned for the clearest path, trying to get to his infant son. The huge dragon was between them, though, and staring at his wife with a frightening intensity. As he ran closer, he swung his sword and let out a war cry, trying to distract the beast from his love- and it worked. The monster swung to face him, and made a small leap closer, practically on top of the cradle! "Come on you!" He yelled. Heat made his palms slick, and his throat raw, but the enormous Viking barely noticed. His one-minded intensity matched that of the dragon's. He started to work the beast away from his family, feinting and backing up to get it to stalk him. He glanced back, aiming to get back out through the hole in the wall after Valka had escaped. As she neared the dragons tail, inching closer to her child, a small cry sounded from the smoking box that was the cradle. An enormous head turned to look at the smoke-stained structure. No! He had to get it away from Hiccup!

Truly frightened now, Stoick ran right at the huge lizard, bringing his sword down on the edge of its wing. It hissed, breathing a torus of fire into the ceiling, adding to the growing inferno. Deciding that it was finished with all this, the behemoth violently cast Stoick off, lifting its wings. It lashed its tail to clear room for takeoff, knocking Valka away from the cradle and out the door. With a leap it was gone- taking most of the ceiling with it. Stoick panted, forcing himself to stand up from the pile of burning wood slats as his eyes legs wobbled slightly as he regained his footing from his short flight into the ashy wall. *creeeeeak* Through the smoke-induced tears he stared in horror at the last remaining ceiling beam. He charged towards where the cradle was, and stopped dead. "Beard of Thor, where is it!?" He looked frantically around, only leaping away just in time as the beam fell, pinning his arm.

Outside, Valka was sobbing in horror. "Where are they!?" Gobber yelled, running up.

"Still inside!" she cried. Without a word, he charged through the door and into the smoke stained red with flames. He didn't think twice about risking life and his dwindling amount of limbs to save his best friend and chief.

Valka continued to cry from both fear and smoke as neither man returned. All the while, there were the raging sounds of battle, roaring dragons, and above it all, an even louder roaring of flames consuming freshly cut timber. As she listened to the creaks and cracks of deteriorating wood, her heart sank. The walls had started to fall. Moments later a lumpy form became visible through the smoke. Gobber was returning with Stoick leaning heavily on his shoulder as the final walls collapsed inward. "Whe- where's Hiccup? Where's my baby boy!?"

Stoick looked like he could be barely conscious, but what was left of his bushy eyebrows fell. "Gone."