A/N: Well, here it is. After -what, 3? 3.5? years-, a *crap* ton of plot changes, and even a pairing switch-up from Thora/Tuffnut to Thora/Dagur in the fic's infancy, Taming a Monster has FINALLY reached its end. In total, this thing is 790 pages total and has close to 450k words. At some points, I honestly started to wonder if this monstrosity of a fanfiction would ever reach this point; gods know I kept coming up with more and more plot to add to it.
I want to thank all of you who have been reading it since the beginning. You have no idea how much it means to me that you stayed and kept reading this story. There were points when I was extremely close to just abandoning this fic, but after reading the comments from you guys, gals, and gentlethem, I got inspired all over again and kept writing.
I won't lie and say I'm horribly upset it's over-I'm actually quite relieved, lol. Finishing TaM means I'm finally able to go onto other projects that have been sitting on the back burner for a few years. It's been a refreshing change of pace from all the dragons and trolls I've been writing about for the last who-knows-how-long!
For those curious, I will still be writing. If you're interested, I have a Mulan fanfiction trilogy in the works; the first part being titled 'Daughter of Death'. It's...actually nearly done, lol, but is MUCH, MUCH shorter than TaM and its sequels will be as well. Hopefully. Soon, I'll also be posting an original story titled 'The Warlock's Auction'. It's an urban fantasy set here in the Pacific Northwest and, I assure you, there will be no obsessive vampires or abusive millionaire playboys.
Anyway. I think that's about it, so...Again, thank you for reading my fanfiction and I'm glad to find that there are people out there who enjoy my writing. Now, on to the final chapter!
"It's goin' t' be so nice t' sleep in my own bed again," Thora yawned. "Granted, I'm goin' t' have to magic it bigger so both o' ya fit in it, but that shouldn't be too difficult."
Cæna, leaning against her, raised a brow. "I could always, you know, build us a bed. It's not as easy as magic, but it produces the same result." Tilting his head back, he looked up at Thora's face only to get a face-full of her hair as it whipped about. He stuck his tongue out, moving the hair away.
Dagur was strewn across their laps, his eyes closed as he held a sleeping Dagrun on his chest. "I didn't know you were a woodsmith as well as a blacksmith," he said, frowning somewhat. Thanks to Thora's magic, they were pleasantly warm on Death Dance's back. It was hard for him to not join his daughter in napping.
"I'm not, but how hard can it be? It's making a few notches in some logs, resting more logs in those notches, and tying them together."
Rolling her eyes, Thora shook her head with a small laugh. "It's harder than that," she said. "I've worked a bit with wood, but never made a bed from it. But I have seen beds being made by other people." She glanced up at the sky and somewhat frowned; it was almost noon. Below them was nothing but clouds and ocean that stretched for miles around.
But something felt…off.
She couldn't think of anything that could possibly be wrong right then. Dagrun was sleeping peacefully; Death Dance was flying well and feeling fine; Dagur and Cæna were happily chatting away…
'It's got to just be my shot nerves,' she told herself, closing her eyes. 'They don't know what it's like to be at peace. It's going to take them a while to calm down and realize that things are finally going alright.'
"Well, then I'll learn how to make a bed," Cæna continued. "Should be easy enough to find a woodsmith willing to take on a temporary apprentice."
"Why are you so hung up on making us a bed?" Dagur asked, opening an eye. Despite his words, he wore a small grin. "I thought you'd be more eager to make swords or helmets or something."
He shrugged. "I'm just itching to make anything, really. So long as it's not cooking pots or spoons, I'll be happy." Shifting somewhat, he wrapped his arms around Thora. "Your dad's a blacksmith. Do you think he'd be willing to share his smithy?"
"More than likely," she answered, her eyes still shut. "He'd appreciate the help, really. Ever since Hiccup became a dragon rider, da' hasn't had much help. He tried t' train Snotlout for a bit, but…Well, y'know. Dragon riding comes first." Her ear twitched ever so slightly; she could hear something in the distance. What it was, though, she wasn't yet able to tell.
"Maybe we'll get our own dragons?" Dagur chirped. "Maybe I'll finally get my Skrill!" He smiled innocently as Thora opened an eye to give him a scolding look. "Or…a different dragon would be nice, too."
Cæna chuckled, rolling his eyes. "I don't know if I'd want a dragon, to be honest. At least, not a big one. For the most part, I enjoy keeping my feet on the ground. Having one to help around the smithy, though, would be fine."
"I think you'd get along with a brood o' Terrible Terrors, then," Thora smiled. "They're mischievous, but once ya get them trained, they can be really sweet an' helpful."
At that, Dagur snorted. "Terrible Terrors? Sweet and helpful? Thora, my love, as much faith as I have in Hiccup's dragon taming abilities, even I know it's damn near impossible to train a Terrible Terror."
"Hiccup an' the others were able t' train a brood o' Terrors while I was away," she told him. "Not sure what happened t' them since, though…Probably still wanderin' around Berk."
"When I see them, then I'll believe you. But for now, I'm really doubting that claim."
"I believe her," Cæna yawned. "Even if I don't know what sort of dragon a Terrible Terror is or how it acts."
Reaching over, Dagur gave him a light shove. "He who knows naught of dragons is he who gets no say in talk of dragons."
"Sounds to me like someone wants me t' dangle him over the edge o' Death Dance," Thora said, voice dry.
"You wouldn't do that! You love me too much!" His eyes opened wide in panic as he felt her tail curl around his ankle. "I have a baby on my chest! A sleeping baby!"
"Aye, an' I can very easily take her off your—" She suddenly fell silent, her head tilting to the side. She was now able to better make out the sounds she was hearing; it sounded like yelling. She was just about to untangle herself from Dagur and Cæna when a different noise -this one of somewhat metallic wingbeats- came rushing towards them.
"Thora!" Heather, Tuulikki, and Windshear appeared alongside Death Dance. Both Heather and Tuulikki looked worried. "Thora, bad news: Berk's under attack!"
Her eyes shot open. "What!?"
Dagur clutched Dagrun to his chest as he sat up. "Under attack?! By who!?"
A grim look passed over Heather's face. "The Grimborn brothers. And they've got Berk pretty well outnumbered in both men and dragons. Almost the entire village is on fire."
Her lips pulling back in a snarl, Thora narrowed her eyes. "I thought we were done with those two," she growled. Standing up, she made her way to Death's neck where, holding onto a vertebra with her tail, she let herself lean far over the edge to look down towards the sea.
There was Berk, black smoke rising into the sky from the village and its southern beaches filled to the brim with enemy ships. Groups of dragons were scattered about, trying to protect the island as best they could. She could see the main team -Hiccup's team- still whole, though the three auxiliary teams looked like they were missing riders.
"Heather, can Windshear take any more passengers?" She glanced up at the smaller dragon and rider. "I've got a bone t' pick with those two."
Heather glanced back at Tuulikki, who merely nodded. Sliding from Windshear's back, the Laumè floated in the air alongside her, leaving enough space for the other humans.
Dagur frowned, watching his wife come back over to the saddle. "Thora, what are you going to do? We've only got two dragons and—" He was silenced with a kiss.
"Trust me," she told him, her voice quiet against his lips. "Everythin' will be fine." She gently kissed the top of Dagrun's head.
"When you talk like that, it sounds like things aren't going to be fine," he pouted.
"When she talks like this, the only thing you can do is to trust her," Cæna told him, setting a hand on his shoulder. Standing on tiptoe, he kissed Thora's chin. "Kick their asses, love."
A tired smile came to her lips. "I plan to. Now both o' ya get on Windshear. Heather, I want ya t' stay at least as far away as the sea stacks, alright? I don't want you lot gettin' caught up anythin' by accident."
"Got it," she replied.
"I will help to keep them safe," Tuulikki said, her eyes glowing with an ethereal silver light. A small smile came to her lips as she looked at Heather. "I will not let anything harm them."
"Thank ya." Running a hand over her hair, she let out a quiet curse as Dagur and Cæna managed to crawl from Death Dance onto Windshear. Just a minute later and the Razorwhip had banked off, taking her riders away from the Boneknapper.
Turning, Thora held onto Death's neck once again. "Death Dance, get us in there as fast as ya can. An' let those bastards know we're comin'."
With a quick clack of her jaws, Death Dance folded in her wings and angled herself into a sharp dive. She tore through the air, the distance between them and Berk being closed in a fraction of the time it would take to reach it by flying normally. As they came ever closer, Thora could see and hear the battle taking place between the humans. Cries of pain and anger filled her ears; the sharp clang of blades meeting made her ears ring.
All that was momentarily blocked out as Death Dance let out one of her deafening roars. Feeling a small, cool tug on her mind, she gave in to it and let it guide her to her target: The largest ship of the attacking fleet. As she swept past it, she felt the tug disappear and felt the slight weight that was Thora disappear.
"Ah, Lady Gretasdotter. I was beginning to wonder where you had gone." Viggo didn't look the least bit surprised when Thora landed before him. "A shame, really. You've missed the majority of the battle. As you can see, I'm-" His brows furrowed somewhat as his voice suddenly faltered in his throat.
Around the ship, the sea began to violently churn. The other ships started to rock to and fro, but their ship remained still. Whipping around, Viggo looked out towards the beaches where the battle had suddenly stopped. His men were struggling against something -what, though, he was too far away to see.
"Ya have some nerve about ya, attackin' my home." She stalked towards him, teeth barred and eyes glowing blue. "Attackin' my friends. My family. An' all this after attemptin' t' kill my husband."
Viggo did his best to remain calm, but the panic was all too clear in his eyes. He tried to speak, but his voice remained silent. From nowhere, a bitter wind picked up. It filled the sails of the fleet and started to pull them off of the beaches and back into deep water.
"I'm done playin' games," Thora hissed. By now, her entire body was glowing. "I'm done lettin' other people try t' hurt me an' my loved ones. I'm done bein' amusement for the Æsir."
Swallowing hard, Viggo turned and sprinted towards the edge of the ship. He leapt onto the bannister and threw himself overboard—only, the second his feet left the wood, he was grabbed by an invisible force that then slammed him back down onto the deck. A foot was placed on his chest and he found himself staring up at the glowing form of Thora.
"I may have been late t' the battle, but I'm just in time t' end it—an' you."
Over on the sea stacks, Heather, Cæna, and Dagur sat atop Windshear. They watched in horrified fascination as the fleet of dragon hunter ships was dragged back into the ocean, where a massive whirlpool had opened up. Ship after ship was sucked down into the vortex with such speed and such power, they were ripped apart like cloth.
What was happening on land was harder to see. If they squinted, they could just barely see the hunters trying to run away from the ocean. Something was stopping them, however, and was dragging them backwards. Whatever had ahold of them also took hold of the siege weapons, tearing them apart and flinging them into the raging ocean.
The dragons, however, remained unharmed.
"How is she doing all of this?" Dagur murmured, his skin pale as he watched things unfold.
"She's a witch," Cæna told him. "And she's a troll. Combine the two…"
"But she lost her magic." He frowned, looking up at Cæna. "Those scars on her neck—you were there. You should have known that."
Heather shook her head. "She got her magic back," she explained. "I'm not sure on the specifics of it, but it happened the day after you—after you 'died'. Hiccup said something about her yelling and screaming on the beach."
"Strong emotions can sometimes negate the effects of potions and spells," Tuulikki said, her voice soft. She sat, legs crossed and her hair billowing around her, in the air above them with her arms held out. She had the area bathed in soft, white light; without it, the group would have been picked up and thrown about by the savage winds. "Anger, grief, joy, sorrow…they are all powerful emotions, even when there is no magic behind them. That is why some magic users center their magic around emotions."
Cæna cocked his head, intrigued. "I never knew that. There are really people who can do that?"
She nodded. "It is a difficult skill to master and those who use it improperly can severely damage their minds."
"Is that what Thora's doing right now? Using her emotions to fuel her magic?" Dagur asked, his brows furrowed with worry. He looked up at Tuulikki before looking back out at Berk. "Because if she is, she needs to stop. I don't want her hurting herself!"
"I assure you, my lord, that the magic she is using comes entirely from the earth." She closed her eyes, able to feel the vast amounts of magic being used. "She calls it forth from the depths of Midgard and it listens to her needs and her wants. But to use this amount of magic can be extremely dangerous -not just to herself, but to those around her. Those not her enemy, I mean."
Cupping the back of Dagrun's head, Dagur held his daughter a bit closer. "I don't like the sound of that…" He felt Cæna wrap his arms around him and he let himself lean into his touch.
"If she were someone with less control over their magic, she would be in danger," Tuulikki told him.
"But Thora's handling it well?" Heather asked, glancing up at the Laumè.
She nodded. "Yes. But, it is understandable as she is the daughter of Greta Peace-Bringer."
"If this is how her mom brought about peace, I don't want to know what she was like when there wasn't peace," Dagur murmured.
Tuulikki sat up straighter. "Ah…the magic is gone. She must be finished." As she spoke, the ocean calmed; there was no sign of the devastated fleet.
But one ship did remain: The flagship. Throughout the whole thing, it had remained anchored in place, unmoving despite the forces around it.
"Then let's get going!" Dagur urged, giving his sister a pleading look. "Come on—you saw what happened! I want—no, need—to know that Thora's alright!"
Cæna gave him a gentle squeeze. "She's fine," he assured him. "We both know she is. But it'd be best to still wait a few minutes, just in case she isn't finished."
Dagur said nothing, though he continued to wear a pout as he slumped further into Cæna's embrace.
The soft light faded from their bodies as Tuulikki stood upright. "We will approach with caution," she gently ordered, "by following the southern beach. Should trouble arise, though I doubt it will, you must fly away as soon as I tell you."
"Sounds good," Heather agreed. She looked up as Tuulikki glided past her only to blush as her fingers brushed against her cheek. "L-Lead the way," she murmured, voice betraying her bashfulness.
The smile Tuulikki wore was almost teasing as she started to fly away.
"Sure, you get to flirt with your non-human girlfriend," Dagur grumbled, "but we have to sit here wondering if our non-human wife is still alive. Ouch!" He clapped a hand over his face; Heather had slammed her elbow into it. "What was that for!?" he yelped. He pouted, looking down at Dagrun as she giggled. "Oh, and now my daughter thinks my pain is funny. Everyone team up against Dagur now!"
"If you don't stop whining, I'm going to take Dagrun from you and throw you into the ocean," Cæna told him, voice humorless. "Thora's fine, Heather has every right to flirt, and Dagrun…well, she is your daughter. Her tastes in humor are going to be questionable."
Heather laughed, impressed by how well he had handled her brother. "You know what, Cæna? I think you're on your way to being my favorite brother-in-law."
A goofy grin came to his lips. "I'm going to be your only brother-in-law!"
Her head was pounding.
Groaning quietly, Thora raised her hand to her head and clenched her already-shut eyes. Thankfully, the pain in her head seemed to start ebbing away as she became more conscious, but in its place came a dull pain that ached through her entire body.
"Definitely overdid it," she murmured. Opening her eyes, she found herself looking at a familiar, moss-covered ceiling. "Must've passed out…"
"Yes, you did. And you scared the life out of poor Dagur when we found you on that ship, covered in blood."
Turning her head, she saw Cæna sitting some feet away. He was in her rocking chair, holding Dagrun against his shoulder as he gently patted her back.
"How long was I out…?" she asked, slowly pushing herself upright.
"Four days." He couldn't help but chuckle when a surprisingly loud burp came out of Dagrun. "I had to assure everyone that you would be alright. I don't think any of them believed me, though."
She smiled tiredly at him. "I don't blame them. Where's Dagur now?"
"He and Heather went over to Berserk so Dagur could get some of his things." Standing up, he carried Dagrun over to the bed and sat down on the edge with her. "They left this morning, so they should be back soon."
Nodding in understanding, she took Dagrun from him before kissing his cheek. "Sorry I scared everyone. I—I just didn't want anyone else t' get hurt."
He nodded as well, cupping her cheek. "I know. And you did well." He kissed her on the lips. "Very well. There's not a single trace of those guys left."
"Good." Closing her eyes, she rested her forehead against his. "Did ya get t' see your uncle?"
"He hasn't wanted to let me out of his sight," he smiled. "Your dad had to pry him away today so that they could do repairs to the roof of their house."
She smiled, her eyes still shut. "Johann? Doing physical labor? Preposterous," she joked.
He rolled his eyes, chuckling. "Hey now…my uncle has done plenty of physical work. How else would he be able to fill that ship of his with rare and exotic goods?" As Dagrun started squirming, he pulled back from Thora. He sat the child down on her lap, watching as she wobbled for a second before falling backwards slightly. She landed against Thora's stomach, her eyes wide.
"Were there any deaths durin' that battle?" She brought her tail out from under the covers and began dangling it over Dagrun's face. A tender smile came to her lips as she watched her daughter try to grab it.
"From what I've heard, there were a few. I don't know who, though, since…well, I don't know anyone here." He also smiled as he watched Dagrun. "Everyone's been busy rebuilding the homes that were destroyed. I'm pretty surprised by how fast they're getting things done."
"A lot o' us grew up durin' the times when dragons would attack every other week," she explained. "We got real good at rebuildin' an' fixin' things real fast."
He nodded in understanding. Reaching over, he tickled the bottom of Dagrun's foot, making her laugh as she played with Thora's tail. "I believe it. I suppose they're able to work even faster now with the dragons' help."
"Aye. Especially since Kenna got that Timberjack o' hers an' Yngling got his Monstrous Nightmare. They're able t' make lumber so much faster with the help o' those two."
Cæna cocked his head to the side. "Kenna and Yngling…I've heard those names before. I think you mentioned them while also talking about Ruffnut and Tuffnut."
Her brow rose. "Aye, I mentioned them—a few years ago," she chuckled. "I'm surprised ya remember."
"You were excited when you talked about them, that's why. Something about Kenna and Ruffnut…?" He shrugged. "I just remember whatever Ruffnut had wrote to you about made you really happy and you were practically bouncing with joy."
"One o' my best friends had finally gotten herself a girlfriend," she told him, cheeks turning a bit red. "O' course I was happy." She then slightly tilted her head to the side. "I think Dagur's back."
He glanced over his shoulder, looking through the bedroom doorway. "It was cute," he said. "Yep, it's Dagur. Looks like he's struggling with something. I better go-"
There was a curse followed by a lot of loud clattering and clanging from the front of the house.
Cæna shook his head. "Of course. He brought an insane amount of weapons with him."
Thora smiled, rolling her eyes. "O' course. That's our Dagur." She looked down at Dagrun, who had a very concerned expression for an eight-month-old as more clanging filled their ears. "Your daddy is makin' quite the racket, isn't he? He needs t' take some lessons from your papa on how t' be quiet."
"'Papa', huh?" A thoughtful look came to Cæna's face. "I like that a lot better than 'daddy number two'."
"I thought ya might." She looked up as Dagur poked his head through the doorway. "There's Lord Loud-pants."
Dagur guiltily grinned. "I didn't wake you, did I?"
"No. I've been awake for a while." She held her arm out to him and he came over, giving her a kiss before hugging her tightly. "Sorry I slept so long."
"You did a lot of magic," he said, burying his face in the crook of her neck. "I don't blame you. But I do wish you hadn't been covered in blood."
It was her turn to wear a guilty smile. "If it makes ya feel any better, most o' it was Viggo's." She then frowned, pulling back from him. "Did ya let him go?"
Both men nodded. "Yeah," Dagur told her. "We didn't want to, but when we saw what you did to him and what you wrote, we let him go. What you did was brilliant, by the way; cutting out his tongue and taking some of his teeth?" A sigh of admiration left his mouth. "By the gods, that just made me fall for you all over again."
She cocked her brow, not impressed. Then, she shook her head and let out a small, defeated chuckle. "Ah, well…I was able t' get ya t' stop most o' your violent tendencies. I suppose it's alright if ya still enjoy the occasional bit o' gore."
Dagur kissed her cheek. "It was brilliant, though! He took your hair and your tusks—your two most defining physical features—so you took his tongue and his teeth, his most defining physical features!"
Cæna looked downright horrified. "He took your hair and your tusks?!" he squeaked, growing two shades paler.
"He did," Thora sighed. "He did it as a way t' get back at Dagur an' Heather. He did it as an…an 'incentive' for them t' not betray him."
Dagur's upper lip pulled back in a slight snarl. "But instead, he just gave us all the more reason to betray," he growled, slamming his fist into his opposite palm. "Ugh, I wish I could have beaten his face to a bloody pulp when we found him on the ship! Actually, no, I wish I could have beaten his face to a bloody pulp and then taken a knife to his—"
He suddenly paused. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply through his nose. Then, slowly, he exhaled through his mouth. He did this three more times. "New subject," he said at length. "How do you feel?"
"Tired an' sore," she replied, impressed by his method of calming himself. "Where did ya learn that?"
"Cæna," he answered. He lightly nudged the other man. "He taught me a few tricks to help calm me when I get angry, since we didn't have any teas or scent pouches at Urd's."
Cæna raised his brow. "Yeah…didn't really help when you decided to open your mouth, though."
He pouted. "I tried to stop myself, but Urd just made me—just made me so angry every time she opened her mouth, I couldn't stop myself. Cookie, the non-slave servants, the guards…all of them I could keep my mouth shut around when they got abusive. But something about Urd just…" He made an angry noise and throttled the air in front of him.
"It's kind of understandable," Cæna sighed. "She did really enjoy picking on us…" A small smile came to his lips as Dagur wrapped his arms around him and kissed his cheek.
"But then our amazingly beautiful and powerful wife and my totally badass sister came to rescue us," Dagur said, voice muffled against Cæna neck.
He smiled, brow rising. "Too true, though I'm still just your twos' fiancé, remember?"
Lifting Dagrun slightly, Thora scooted closer to the two men and wrapped her tail around the both of them. Both of them wrapped an arm around her in return as she rested her head on Cæna's shoulder.
"We'll fix that soon," she murmured, eyes closing. "Ya know…when I was younger, I could never picture myself havin' a family."
"Why not?" Dagur frowned.
She shrugged. "Well, when half o' your village was terrified o' ya even when ya were scrawnier than Hiccup an' constantly let ya know ya were an ugly half-blood monster, ya kind o' lose hope o' ever findin' love." Her tail tightened around them slightly, bringing them even closer to her. "But now, here I sit with my husband, our fiancé, an' our miracle child."
Dagur reached up, running his fingers through her hair. "You had to go through Hel to get here though," he murmured, a small frown on his face.
"More like she had to go through Niflheim, Muspelheim, and Helheim," Cæna sighed.
Tilting her head back, Thora gave them each a lingering kiss. "But now I'm back in Midgard with my little family an' I have no intentions on leavin' anytime soon."