Chapter 3: A New Fate

A/N: Hello again fellow readers and writers! Welcome back! We're now back with our favorite Dragon Rider! Or at least mine. So a reminder that this chapter takes place 6 months after the second chapter. And this is another long one, hope you like it! Call this an early gift for those in self quarantine.

I also hope that everyone is staying safe during this trying time and hope that this pandemic blows over soon. But as the saying goes, "It'll get worse before it gets better."

Stay safe everyone!

Now, on with the story!


Merida had just gotten back home from one of her more amazing Free Days. Able to wake up later in the morning, a quick but filling breakfast, followed by a gallop through her Target Path, hanging out with Hiccup, he even joined in on climbing up Croons Tooth with her. And she even came up with a song throughout her day, which Hiccup helped write down.

They had such a blast, but all good things came to an end when she headed back home in time for dinner.

Her mother had just excused her younger siblings, which either meant she did something wrong (as if that wasn't normal) or she was about to say something that was meant for adults in discussion that they didn't need to worry about yet.

"Whae did Ah do now?" Merida asked anxiously.

"Yer father has something to discuss with you," Elinor replied, gesturing to her husband, who obviously didn't expect to be put on the spot. If his spit-take was any indication.

Glancing between his wife and daughter, he nervously cleared his throat, hesitating to say anything. "Merida…"

Elinor sighed before picking up after him, much to his slight frustration. "The Lord's are presenting their sons as suitors for your betrothal!" She was happy and clearly expected, if not a little bit, for her daughter to be as well. But… Nope.

"Whae?" Merida unsure yet irritatedly said.

"The clans have accepted!" Elinor clarified.

"DAD!" Merida yelled as she looked over to him. Throughout the years the only close relationship she had to her parents that she was still able to maintain was with her Dad. She believed she could trust him, but now she wasn't so sure.

"What? I… you… she… Elinor!" He was once again at a loss of what to say.

"Honestly, Merida! I don't know why you're acting this way," Elinor said. "This year each clan will present a suitor to compete in the games for your hand."

"I suppose a princess does whae's she's told!" Merida retorted hotly.

"A princess does not raise her voice," Elinor told her strictly, straightening herself. "Merida, this is what you've been preparing for your whole life."

"No! It's what you've been preparing me for my whole life!" Merida retorted harshly, her hair bouncing with her head as she slammed her hand on the table as she stood up. "Ah won't go through with it! And ya can't make me!" Merida shouted as she grabbed her bow and quiver and swiftly stormed her way out of the Grand Hall.

She did hear her Dad and Mum call out to her, with a crash soon following, no doubt the work of her younger siblings before they left, but she continued on to her room. She slammed the door shut, placing her weapon against her nightstand and threw herself on her bed. Her anger just kept rising the more she thought about it.

Marriage? She's only 16! And she actually already knows the first born sons of the other clans, but their friendship was never brought up with their parents due to not wanting them to get any ideas. They were just friends!

(A/N: Yeah, I'm kinda changing it up a bit. This way the clans sons have even more of a reason to stand by her when she believes it's time to break traditions and in later chapters with the Riders.)

Her anger receded somewhat when an idea popped into her head: she could leave with Hiccup.

She quickly got off her bed and grabbed a large enough satchel and began to pack; extra clothes, a couple of the books she actually likes, her arrow repair tools, a couple daggers, and extra arrows. She quickly hid her bag under her bed and grabbed a sword and started to swing at her bed post. She knew her Mum would come and talk to her, so she had to at least make it look like she was at this for a while. And true enough, Elinor came into her room. Merida protested as if to try and change her mind but her Mum just began to tell the story about the Four Prince's.

Believe it or not, the young princess believed the story was real. She and Hiccup had found old castle ruins of the Old Kingdom during one of their outings but they had to leave early due to Mor'Du attacking them, luckily they got away on Toothless. Hiccup theorized that they had just found Mor'Du's den.

Legends were lessons, they rang with truth.

As Elinor continued, she did have her daughter's attention for a few moments but didn't notice the curly haired princess's interest was eventually lost.

So what her Mum believes is that if you go against tradition and make your own path, it will lead to chaos and ruin? Well, that's just a bad way of looking at things. And she was calling her vain to a point where she compared her to the eldest Prince in the story? Now that's just wrong.

"I would advise you to make your peace with this," Elinor advised as she made her way to the door. "The clans are coming to present their suitors."

"It's not fair!" Merida retorted.

"Oh, Merida! It's marriage, it's not the end of the world." With that, Merida was once again alone.

Now that she was alone, Merida got out some paper and wrote a letter to her parents and a special one to her younger sister. But as she thought about it, the more she seemed reluctant. This was her family and her home. She sighed as she hid the letters under her pillow and got ready for bed but put her boots back on and waited for everyone to go to bed before sneaking out once again with her satchel in hand.


Hiccup hadn't changed too much during the time he's been in Scotland. His auburn hair had grown down to the nape of his neck so he had to put it into a small ponytail and he only gained a couple centimeters in height, but from that he looked the same, he even got a part time job at the Smithy with Merida's help. He was doing a bit of maintenance on Toothless' saddle, adding a few things to help with his flying, in his makeshift home, which was settled not far from the stone circle.

"Alright, that should do it." He said as he stepped back to check his work. "Not too bad, if I say so myself."

Sharpshot, the green and brown Terrible Terror, sat upon his shoulders giving the teen a happy purr as said teen scratched his chin.

Over the months, Hiccup had given names to each of the Arena dragons. He couldn't help but compare them to the others his age as he named them though. The Monstrous Nightmare was named Hookfang, who was like Hiccups proud and arrogant cousin, Snotlout.

He did wonder how Astrid and the Nadder were doing and how much they bonded . He sent letters to her every now and again but he didn't want to make it a routine in fear that someone will figure out what they've been doing too soon. But he quickly pushed those thoughts aside.

The Hideous Zippleback was named Barf for the gas head and Belch for the spark head who butted heads as many times as the Thorston Twins did, Tuffnut and Ruffnut.

The Gronkle was named Meatlug who kinda reminded Hiccup of his childhood friend, Fishlegs.

Toothless lifted his head as he looked out into the forest, letting out a soft but happy croon.

"What's up bud?" He asked as he glanced over in the direction his friend was looking. Sure enough he couldn't mistake his Scottish friends' mass of curls. As she approached though, he noticed something was wrong, if the packed satchel was any indication.

"Mer? I honestly wasn't expecting you tonight. Did something happen?"

"My Mum's going tae marry me off!" She exclaimed with a huff.

"Marry you off?" He repeated only to help himself process what she said.

"Yes! But, I…" she trailed off, looking to the side. This is a side she could freely be with Hiccup, he understood her so well he could easily read her like a book, so what's the point of hiding it? The unsure and vulnerable side of her that she didn't even show to her family.

Hiccup noticed the uncertainty in her tone so he guided her to sit down with him on the bench and allowed her to explain what had happened. By the end of it, he had a pretty good idea why she came out to see him at this time.

"You have an idea of what you want to do but are unsure of how to go about it?" He merely gained a small nod from her which was all he needed. He knew full well that this was inevitable, and while he had his reservations about it before, this newest revelation sealed it. "Well, let's see if we can add a little of my Dramatic Flair to your plan." He said with a hint of sarcasm, earning a small giggle from the curly haired princess, which made him feel better. He didn't like it when Merida was like that, unsure and upset.

They went over Merida's plan a few times just in case while adding a few corrections here and there. Merida left her satchel with Hiccup when the moon was nearly at its zenith before she made her way back to the castle. Tomorrow will definitely be interesting.


When Merida returned to her room, she froze when she saw her sister on her bed, looking at her curiously.

"Why were ya out?" She asked with a slight head tilt, her bouncy curly hair following her movement.

"Just went down to the kitchen for a late snack," Merida lied as she moved to her closet and opened it, checking to see if she had forgotten anything to put in her satchel.

"So ye went down to the kitchen… and left through there to get to the forest," Halleigh said with a straight face.

Merida paused and slowly turned to face her sister, silently asking how she knew.

"The boys and I overheard everything," the younger sister answered before her face churned with worry and her tone became meek. "... Ah was worried about you."

Merida's face softened as she went and sat next to her sister, moving the almost identical girl to her lap. "No need tae worry about me," Merida assured as Halleigh hugged her older sister tightly. "This Spitfire can handle anything thrown at her."

Halleigh nodded as Merida readjusted herself so they could lay down on her bed, getting comfortable and eventually falling asleep.


The next morning was… hectic, to say the least. Elinor began getting her ready in the early morning starting with Merida's slips for her dress then tightening the corset around her bodice. Time seemed to slow for Merida as every restricting move her mother performed and every strand of hair she so roughly brushed, had been magnified. But once it was over… she still felt like she was suffocating.

"You look absolutely beautiful," Elinor gracefully cooed.

"I… I can't breathe!" Merida struggled as she also tried to move her stiff arms but groaned at the restrictive movement's and her stubborn mother.

"Oh shush." Elinor chastised. "Now give us a twirl."

Merida humoured her mother and did a restricted spin. "I can't move! It's too tight!" Before facing her mother once again. She wondered if her mother even had this fitted for her.

"It's perfect!" Gaining only a sigh from her daughter as Elinor continued to admire her daughter but lingered on her frustrated and upset expression. "Merida…"

Merida looked to see a slight gleam of understanding in her mother's eyes and couldn't help but hope. "Mum?"

"Just…" Elinor trailed off, unsure whether she should say something now but she instead straightened herself and pushed her other thoughts aside. "Remember to smile." She turned and left the fiery princess to herself.

"You weren't even going tae try, huh?" Merida muttered hotly before she tried to at least stretch her dress a bit. But she only managed to do basic movement which frustrated her even more. "Was this fitted for me two years ago?!" She had a small growth spurt a year ago and that was the last time she remembered the maids fitting her for new clothes. It was only her casual dresses she wore and hasn't worn any formal dresses since she was a kid.

It was the only explanation she came up with before she left her room and was escorted by her former caretaker, Maudie, to the Great Hall.

As everyone got into their places, some still frantically getting to them, Merida tried sitting on her throne but her mother pushed her down onto it then signaled for her to sit up straight. Frustrated, Merida took hold and brought out a short lock of her hair but her mother pushed it back beneath the wimple as she went to sit down on her own throne. But Merida simply brought the lock back out, a still present resentment toward the whole idea of this arranged marriage.

She couldn't keep the look of frustration and boredom off her face after that, but once she saw her "pen pals", she had to hide a smile. It was actually Lewis who started sending letters with Colin and Oliver later joining in, telling each other about their lives and a few secrets.

They each had younger siblings that could drive them crazy, having too high of expectations from their parents, and they have admitted that they have their eyes on someone of interest. Their falcons were trained to only give the letters to the first borns, so they went to their rooms' windows to drop off the letters.

Lord Macintosh went first, introducing his son Lewis. Though Merida simply hid her eyes under her wimple. She knew that Lewis was just as confident as her when it came to their skill, but he had a hard time proving that to his father.

Lord MacGuffin went next, padding a story for his son, Colin. Merida did peek out from her wimple and sent a small smile toward the timid gentle giant of a boy which he returned subtlety. She felt a bit closer to Colin than the other two, maybe it was because of his shy disposition that balanced her own bold attitude? Maybe.

When Lord Dingwall was introducing his son, Merida subtly nudged her Father, who was believing that the hulking guard was the son, as he glanced to his daughter, she shook her head negatively and pointed to the thin legs that stood behind the brute, just in time for Lord Dingwall to bring his son out from behind the guard revealing Oliver. Merida secretly lifted a couple fingers in a small wave which Oliver returned with a small smile. She and Oliver definitely shared a common fondness for carving and daydreaming, though Oliver may be better at the latter.

Merida was barely able to contain her laughter as she saw her friends either accidentally hitting each other or avoiding the others opposing Clansmen attacks when an all out brawl started. Even her younger siblings had snuck their way into the fight.

But she was surprised when her mother was able to glide right through the rambunctious Highlanders, all of them bowing out of her way, as she made her way toward the Lord's and her Father who had joined in the fight. She hid a smile as she saw them getting dragged back to the front by the ear by the smaller form that was her Mum.

"Sorry, me queen. I feel terrible. My humblest apologies," Lord Macintosh tried apologizing.

"Sorry," Lord Dingwall joined.

"No disrespect," Lord MacGuffin finished.

"Sorry, love. I… I didn't…" Fergus tried to explain as he rubbed his ear but the Queen simply looked away from him in silence. "Yes, dear." Getting the message, his head sagged a bit in resignation as he went to take his seat on his throne once again.

"Now then, where were we? Ah, yes. In accordance with our laws, by the rights of our heritage, only the first born of each of the great leaders may be presented as champion," Elinor addressed the crowd.

"First born?" Merida murmured to herself, lifting her head a bit from where it rested on her hand, toward her Mum. She briefly locked eyes with her friends before a wide smile pulled on her lips.

"And thus, compete for the hand of the princess of DunBroch. To win the fair maiden, they must prove their worth by feats of strength or arms in the games," she continued, completely unaware of Merida's growing smile. "It is customary for the challenge be determined by the princess herself."

Merida restrained herself just enough to not give away her elation at her new revelation. She stood up from her throne and glides forward. While she may not have enjoyed them, her lessons were ingrained into her. She glanced over to her Mum then to the gathered Clans. "I choose archery," she said gracefully.

"Let the games begin!" Elinor declared with the Clans cheering in response.


Everyone gathered in an open field surrounded by trees. Tents and stands were put up, food, trinkets and toys, even weapons were set out, though there were more food stands than the others. From tossing cabers to (), dancing and music playing, it was there.

Guards and servants set up the challenges targets, one for each Son.

"It's time!" Fergus announced, Elinor's arms around his own.

"Archers, to your marks!" Elinor called out, with Fergus joining.

"Aye! Archers, to… yer marks!"

"And may the lucky arrow find its target!" The Queen continued, earning boisterous cheers.

Each of the sons approached with their bows ready and quivers full of arrows but allowed the MacGuffin boy to go first.

As a nervous Colin got his bow ready, pulling the bowstring back and released. But his arrow only landed in the outermost ring, causing him softly groan at his terrible aim.

"He'd be better at tossing cabers," Merida noted. It was one of Colin's strengths after all, but her Dad took it another way.

"Or holding up bridges!" Fergus laughed while Merida covered her small smirk with her hand, though the King's laughing only caused Elinor to scoff at him but was honestly surprised that Merida didn't contribute.

After Lewis flips his hair to the girls in the crowd, earning him girlish cheers from them, he pulls the bowstring back then released. But to his disappointment he just missed the center of the target.

"No! Aaahh!" Lewis all but yelled at his result.

"At least you hit the target!" Lord Macintosh called to him, with a duel meaning, as his son starts throwing a tantrum.

"Oh, that's attractive," Merida grimaced. Lewis had mentioned his temper but she had never seen it first hand.

In his anger, Lewis threw his bow toward the gathered Highlanders, and someone in the crowd caught it. "I got it!"

"Good arm," Merida commented, knowing that archery was only a hobby to Lewis.

"And such lovely flowing locks," Fergus joked, thinking that's what Merida was doing.

"Fergus," Elinor scolded.

"What?"

Finally it was Oliver's turn to try but if he knew the fiery princess as well as he did through the letters and her reaction, then he knew he wouldn't stand a chance anyway. He struggled to keep the arrow straight, much to Fergus' annoyance, Lord Dingwall's embarrassment, and the other Lord's amusement. But the King reached his limit with his patience and was startled at Fergus' outburst.

"Oi! Get on with it!" Fergus all but commands.

Ironically, the shout only caused him to release his arrow and hit the dead center of his target, earning cheers at his success.

"Well done! Well done!" Lord Dingwall cheers before turning his back to the two other Lords and then bends lifting his kilt up at Lord Macintosh and MacGuffin. "Feast yer eyes!"

The two Lord's quickly covered their eyes and turned away, praying to the gods that they could cleanse their brains of what they just saw.

Shock was still written on the King's face as he finally found his voice again. "Well, that's just grand now, isn't it?" He turned to his wife. "Guess who's coming to dinner?"

"Fergus!" Elinor once again chastised.

"By the way, hope you don't mind being called Lady Ding…" Fergus continued as he turned to face his daughter but instead saw one of his hounds in her seat instead. The murmurs of the crowd caused the rulers to glance back to the field to see a cloaked individual staking a flag with the DunBroch family crest into the grass.

They walked forward then swiftly removed the hood that hid them, revealing the rebellious princess, Merida. Her hair free of the wimple and circlet that hung beneath her hair, back straightened, with her shoulders set. "Ah am Merida, first born descendant of Clan DunBroch." She spoke clearly and firmly to the gathered crowd. "And Ah'll be shooting for my own hand!"

Her bold statement caused murmurs and gasps to start from the crowd, even the Lord's and her Parents were surprised.

"Whae are you doing…" was all Elinor could say in her shock. Merida had been fairly complacent up until now so she thought that maybe Merida had finally seen it her way… but no. All of it was an act.

From the shadows of the woods, Hiccup and his dragons continued to watch as Merida's plan continued. "A bit of a change of plans, but hey, improvisation is my forte," he joked. Originally, Merida was going to either sneak away when everyone was distracted or he would create a distraction that would allow her to get away, but this change will definitely leave everyone either scratching their heads or will leave them thinking… Possibly both.

Merida struggled to pull the bowstring back but the restrictive dress prevented her from doing so. "This dress!" She growled before tensing her muscles and flexed down then back, causing the dress to tear at the seams allowing her to continue with her plan. She notched an arrow and aimed at Colin's target then releasing before notching another arrow and moving onto Lewis's target then once again releasing. Her mother was advancing toward her, trying to stay calm but she was still clearly aggravated by her actions, trying to stop her from shooting her final arrow and to stop the so called madness.

"Merida! Don't you dare release that arrow! I FORBID IT!"

Merida had already notched one last arrow, her eyes focused on her final target, inhaling a deep breath, her own heartbeat thumping in her ears, then slowly exhaled. Time seemed to slow as she released the bowstring, the power behind it causing the arrow to bend slightly but straightened as it shot forth to it's designated target. Merida's arrow pierced Oliver's arrow, dead center, slicing it in half like a hot knife through butter, until it hit the back post of the target. All her arrows have hit the dead center of each target.

Before her Mum could drag her off, Merida sprinted a good distance between them before speaking again.

"If Ah'm not able to choose mah own Fate, then whae kind of life is thae?" Merida stated clearly for all those who were present, before turning back to her mother and glancing between her and her father. "It is better tae die on yer feet than tae live on yer knees."

Before any of them could react, the curly haired princess placed her bow around her, then cupped her hands together around her mouth and let out what sounded like a roar of a beast, shocking everyone.

"Alright gang, that's the signal," Hiccup quietly said. "Let's go!"

But it shell shocked them even more so when it received a similar roar in response.

Suddenly a black blur shot out of the treeline with other colorful streaks following behind, straight toward Merida. None of them could react fast enough as the princess was lifted off her feet and into the air. Though unseen to the spectators, Hiccup had laid low and helped Merida adjust herself in the saddle as they got high enough in the air.

"MERIDA!"

"Whae is that?!"

"DRAGONS!"

Some of the guards began to shoot arrows which they all dodged easily, only for a familiar voice to stop them.

"Hold yer fire! It has my daughter!"

Merida recognized her Dad's voice and spared a glance back to see her parents along with her younger siblings with the Lord's and their sons staring in shock at them. She didn't know why, but her eyes lingered on Colin a bit longer before she looked away and tightened her arms around her best friend. "Let's go," she muttered.

Hiccup nodded and began to guide Toothless away only for his scaly friend to swerve stiffly as he dodged another volley of arrows. One unfortunately embedding itself in Hiccup's side. He let out a pained gasp as they immediately flew away.

"Hiccup!" She looked down to see the arrow sticking in his side and was about to pull it out but Hiccup stopped her.

"Don't! We need to get away first," he stressed. He let out a shaky breath and inhaled again. "If it's taken out now it'll bleed out. We'll stop at the first island we see."

Merida gave a hesitant nod as she glanced back to the arrow. There wasn't too much blood but it was stuck deep and if it stayed in his side too long it could get infected. She just hoped they could find an island soon.


They flew well into the night and over the dark ocean water, the air became more crisp causing Merida to tuck her arms into Hiccups fur vest, knowing he didn't mind, though Sharpshot helped by curling up around her shoulders as well.

As the morning light came, the wind seemed to pick up. Continuing their flight, Hiccup kept going despite the pain the arrow was causing as well as the lightheaded feeling he was beginning to experience. Flying well into the day and into the afternoon, they finally stopped at an island.

Merida was able to change into some better and comfortable clothes before heading into the village to get the needed medical supplies, she even heard some rumors that they may need to be careful of, something about Dragon Trappers and Hunters. She quickly made her way back to her friends and treated Hiccups injury, silently thanking the gods that one of her lessons involved medical training.

They took a short nap to regain their strength before taking off once again. They flew for a couple more exhausting days before they got back to semi familiar waters. But as they set back out on their fourth day on the run, flying well into the afternoon, the gods had something… special, planned.


The clouds were turning a pale yellow and pink, indicating that dusk was approaching. Merida couldn't help but look out at their surroundings in awe once again, it was like something out of a dream or painting. She glanced back to her friend, seeing that he was still in pain but kept focused on flying. Until something strange happened.

Hiccup spotted something rising from the clouds before he looked on in shock to see it was a person. Clad in brown leather armor with a helmet that seemed to imitate a dragon, having arm guards that had old claws and spikes on them with matching leg guards, also holding a shield and donning a cape, completing the look with blue, red, and yellow war paint on the helmet, armor, and shield.

They didn't say anything, just staring at each other before the person lightly swung the staff they held, causing them to sink below the clouds once more. Hiccup had put Toothless into a stop as they hovered in the air with the others following suit.

"Okay," he hesitantly said as he placed a calming hand on Toothless' head and the other on Merida's hand. "No sudden moves."

Merida only managed a small nod and squeeze of her hand signaling she understood. Seconds later a large reddish dragon with crown like horns burst through the clouds, dispersing them and unveiling all four of its wings. They looked upon each other for a few moments before both Hiccup and Merida were ripped from Toothless by a couple of other dragons.

"TOOTHLESS!" Hiccup exclaimed as he watched his friend fall into the icy ocean. Despite the yanking causing his wounds to get irritated, he could care less.

Panicking, he looked around him to see Merida in the claws of another dragon next to him.

The arena dragons were alarmed but were herded to follow a separate flock of dragons that the mysterious rider no doubt led. He looked back to the stranger and called out. "Hey! You left my dragon back there! He can't fly on his own, he'll drown!"

The stranger either ignored him or didn't hear him as the flock of dragons continued on until coming upon what could be described as a large glacier fortress. The dragons dropped the two rebels onto the stone ground inside a cavern as they quickly got back up, only to stop as they realized they were surrounded by dragons. Hiccup felt Merida behind him, already knowing how she was feeling.

"Okay Mer, ready for your first lesson in Dragon Training?" He said quietly with a small hint of sarcasm.

"Do ya need tae ask?" She retorted, her hands itching for her bow or sword but knew it would make things worse.

"First, make yourself vulnerable. No weapons," he instructed as he gently tossed his own seax away with Merida following suit with her bow, quiver, and dagger. "Next, ease their worries."

Merida felt something brush against her hand, it felt like grass, but she grabbed it anyway and held it in front of her, with Hiccup already doing the same. The dragons that approached them smelled the grass in bliss, falling into a daze but more dragons came up from beside them. Hiccup got in front of Merida with his hand out in a placating gesture calming the dragon slightly before he snuck his other hand beneath it's chin and scratched the sweet spot, putting the dragon to sleep.

Unknown to them, the mysterious figure was watching them in interest, observing how they dealt with their dragons. Getting the two rebels attention with a swing of their staff, a dragon entered where they came in, placing a familiar black dragon next to them.

"Toothless!" The two teens were beyond relieved to see their dragon friend was unharmed, wet but unharmed. The Night Fury nudged the two of them as if to ask if they were alright. "We're fine bud, we're fine."

The stranger began to cautiously approach them causing Toothless to curl protectively around his two friends with Hiccup and Merida getting slightly uncomfortable with how the stranger moved.

"Who-who are you?" Hiccup asked, trying to get sort of semblance as to what on Midgard was going on. The person slowly continued to stare at them. "Can you even understand me?" The stranger stood up a bit in front of the two nervous rebels, their staff firmly in their hand. "Do you even know what I'm saying?"

The stranger swung their staff once again, letting out a vibrating clattering causing the dragons to light up the cavern with a low-flame light from their maws and the figure began crawling in a feral-like manner toward them. Toothless growled but with a simple hand gesture from the mysterious rider, he was put into a daze and onto his side, his tongue lolling from his mouth. Hiccup had an arm in front Merida fully knowing she could handle herself but it was a reflex and it prevented her from making things worse, as the stranger got closer to him.

"Uh, umm…" At this point, the person was extremely close in his personal space, he wasn't sure how to react. But as their hand hovered over the small scar between the corner of his lip and chin, they gasped. They crouched back away from him as if in shock before they finally spoke.

"Hiccup?" They sounded feminine which was proven right when their helmet was taken off. The woman had pale skin, auburn hair put into three separate braids, and blue eyes, that strangely reflected his own. "Can it be? After all these years…"

Hiccup looked at her confused, giving Merida an unsure glance before looking back to the woman. "Should-should I know you?"

The woman's eyes saddened as she glanced away, "No, you were only a babe…" then looked back to him. "But a mother never forgets."

Just that phrase alone sent Hiccup into shock. He felt as if he couldn't breathe and gasped before the woman, his mother, held out her hand in a calming gesture.

"Shh," she eased before motioning for them to follow. "Come."

As she left, Merida nudged Hiccup in the direction the woman left, getting Hiccup to snap out of his shock and chase after his supposed mother. "Wait!" He called out as they made their way through the cavernous maze of ice and stone. "You're my mother?! Do you realize how crazy that sounds?" He struggled up against a column as Toothless helped him up, giving Merida a boost as well before following after them. The woman continued on, urging them to follow. "They said you died! That you were taken by-" he cut himself off as he entered a large cavern filled with dragons of all different types, sizes, and colors.

All of them flying freely and happily. The best way to describe it was that it was a Sanctuary, with basalt stone ledges and platforms with ice forming what would be a dome, rich foliage growing on the ground and up the walls, and despite being in the North and all the ice in the area, it was quite warm.

Merida looked around in awe as she entered with Toothless behind her.

"Dragons…" he murmured, too in shock to say anything more. He walked forward taking all that he saw in, passing baby dragons playing, adolescents rough housing while the elders watched over them, he was startled as a dragon shot up over them.

He heard Toothless grumble next to him as he looked up, he followed his dragons gaze to see his Mom hanging with her dragon from the ceiling.

"This is where you've been for 16 years?" She nodded nervously with an anxious smile.

"You've been rescuing them." Gaining another nervous nod from her. "Unbelievable…"

"You're not upset?" She questioned, anxious about his answer.

"What? No- I, I don't know," he stuttered. "It's a bit much to get my head around to be frank. It's not everyday you find out your mom is a crazy, feral, vigilante, dragon lady," he said sarcastically.

Merida just watched from the sidelines, not wanting to disturb them. Hiccup had told her about how he believed his Mom had died when he was a baby, so she didn't want to interrupt. She was relieved to see the Arena dragons soon join them.

Though some of the other dragons came up to her and Toothless, curious about them.

"Well, at least I'm not boring," she chuckled nervously as she used her bullhook staff to climb down with her dragons help then sliding off her dragons wing to the ground landing in a crouch. "Right?"

A blue Thunderclaw came up and nudged the younger rider as he began to pet him. "No, I suppose there is that one… specific, thing." He muttered.

"Do ya like it?" She asked, hope in her eyes but her posture was still nervous.

"I- I don't have the words," he fumbled as he looked around, still in awe.

One of the dragons sniffing Toothless, a Snifflehunch, bumped up against Toothless, raising his hindquarters in the air before the black dragon told him to back off, dispersing any of the other curious dragons. The interaction caused the dragon allies to laugh.

"They aren't too different from the animals Ah've seen in thae regard," Merida snorted as a Terrible Terror crawled onto her shoulder.

"Very true," the woman agreed before glancing over to the rebel princess. "And are you a friend of my son?"

"Aye, Ah'm Merida," she said with a smile. "Ah met yer son 6 months ago," she glanced over to the younger rider then back to the woman. "He's become my best friend."

The woman smiled in kind. "I'm Valka."

She then turned to Toothless, glancing to Hiccup then back. "C-can I?" Gaining a shrug from the young boy. She placed her staff down and held out her hand, allowing the dragon to sniff her. "Oh he's beautiful," she gently stroked the top of Toothless' head gaining a happy rumble from him as he nudged closer to her. "Incredible," she chuckled as Toothless rubbed against her as he circled around her and laid down causing her to chuckle. "He may very well be an endangered species," she scratched the happy dragon before noticing the small fins on his jawline. "And look! He's your age!"

"Wow," Hiccup was in awe of his mom, watching them interact. It took him awhile to gain Toothless' trust but the fearsome offspring of Lightning and Death itself seemed to be clay in her hands.

"No wonder you get along so well," she chuckled as she imitated the black dragon before noticing how his teeth retracted. "Retractable teeth! Oh, how did you manage…?"

Merida caught this and was curious as well. Hiccup never told her how he met Toothless, as she continued to scratch the red Terror in her arms.

Hiccup turned his eyes downward ashamed. "Found him in the woods… he was shot down, and… wounded."

Valka's face churned with emotion, a mixed expression of subtle anger, sadness, and sympathy as she stood up and walked over to some of dragons that had gathered. "This Snafflefang lost his leg to one of Drago Bludvists iron traps," she went on as she comforted each one as she explained each incident. "This Raincutter had her wing sliced by razor-netting," she continued as she gently lifted the injured wing with her staff, she placed it down and slowly raised her hand to another dragon. "And this poor Hobblegrunt was blinded by a tree snare and then left to die, alone and scared."

Hiccup could only nod, knowing what was coming. "And what of this?" She asked as she gestured to Toothless' left prosthetic tailfin. "Did Drago and his trappers do this as well?"

"Oh, heh heh yeah," he laughed nervously, his arms loosely swinging at his sides. "Crazy thing, is that… I'm, the one who… shot him down." Toothless looked to his rider sensing his discomfort as he leaned over to get pet by his rider letting out a croon of comfort. Valka looked on, confused but could see the strong bond between them. "But we saved each other, huh bud? They wouldn't know what to do if they saw you, huh?" Toothless grumbled happily as he moved his head beneath his riders legs so Hiccup was now on his neck with said rider scratching him.

"What did yer father think of yer Night Fury friend?" Valka asked as she began to pet Toothless as well.

Hiccup sighed and glanced down. "He… I didn't want to put him at risk." He murmured honestly, referring to both his father and Toothless.

Valka noticed her son's distress and could only imagine what happened. "Believe me, I tried as well. Some people aren't capable of changing. And some of us," she glanced over to Cloudjumper who let out a roar and flew off around the cavern, then to her son. "Are just born different."

"What happened?" Hiccup asked.

Valka knew what he was referring to and began her tale, no, memory that has haunted her for so long.


16 years ago...

Dragons flew across the dark ashy sky, breathing fire, and carrying away their catches.

"Berk was a land of kill or be killed, but I believed peace was possible."

A Viking raised his weapon ready to finish off the downed dragon but Valka quickly caught his raised arm, preventing him from killing the dragon.

"Stop! You'll only make it worse!" She begged.

The dragon took advantage of the opening and took off. Leaving the viking to glare at Valka for interfering before going off elsewhere.

"It was a very unpopular opinion."

As the Viking Warrior rushes off, Valka hears a clatter and whirls around to see a large Dragon clawing its way through the roof of a house. Her house.

"Hiccup!"

The dragon enters the house through the hole in the roof, sniffing out a baby's cradle in the corner. Valka rushes in, panicked.

"During the raid, a dragon broke into our house, finding you in the cradle."

Valka draws a sword quickly, nearly rushing up to the dragon, only to find it huddled protectively over the cradle as baby Hiccup innocently plays with one of its talons.

"I rushed to protect you, but what I saw... was proof of everything I believed."

Valka's careful approach causes a floorboard to squeak. Hearing the disturbance, the dragon whips around to face her, accidentally scratching Hiccup's chin causing him to cry. Their eyes meet. Valka slowly lowers her sword, transfixed. The dragon's eyes dilate in a curious manner.

"This wasn't a vicious beast, but an intelligent, gentle creature, whose soul reflected my own."

Suddenly, Stoick's axe lands between them, barely missing the dragon and embedding itself into the pillar.

"Valka, run!" Stoick shouted.

Alarmed, the dragon whirls around at Stoick and fires blasts at the Chief causing him to dive out of the way as the fire splatters against the wall, burning a hole in the wood and setting the room ablaze. The dragon moves toward Stoick, but Valka quickly grabbed hold of the wing.

"Don't!" Valka shouted.

This caused the dragon to turn to face her again, locking eyes, agitated.

"Hold on!" Stoick replied

Stoick dashes through the fire toward Hiccup and pulls him out of the cradle, he then pulls his axe from the pillar...

"No! Stoick!"

...but in a quick whoosh of smoke and embers, the dragon and Valka are gone.

"VALKA!"

"Stoick!" came a distant shout.

Stoick and baby Hiccup both watch helplessly as the dragon spirits Valka away into the smoky night sky.

"Valka..."


"You and your father nearly died that night, all because I couldn't kill a dragon." She finished looking back at Hiccup.

"Yeah, it seems to run in the family," he piped up.

"It broke my heart to stay away, but I believed you'd be safer if I did."

Hiccup considered this, then raised his eyes to hers, seeing the sting of remorse. "How did you survive?"

"Ole Cloudjumper never meant to harm me," she explained as they walked toward the ledge with Merida, Toothless and Cloudjumper following. "He must've thought I belonged here, in the home of the great Bewilderbeast. The Alpha species, just one of the very few that still exist."

As they got to the ledge, they saw a gigantic white dragon, the fins along its body and tail indicated it was a Tidal class, two large tusks on either side of it's jaw, and spines on its head acting as a sort of crown.

"Every nest has its Queen but this is the King of all dragons."

They made their way down a pathway to the lower region of the cavern as she gestured to the walls. "With his icy breath, this graceful giant created this nest. A safe Haven for all dragons. We all live under his care and command."

They passed by some hatchlings who swarmed Toothless, wanting to play, only to get told off by Cloudjumper.

"All but the babies, of course," she added as she smiled at their antics. "Who, listen to no one." Letting out a laugh as the babies went to fly and scamper around the White King, only leaving when he blew at them gently to get them away as he lifted himself out of the water.

Valka bowed with the nearby dragons soon following, even Toothless and the Arena Dragons bowed in respect. Only Hiccup and Merida stood, gazing upon the giant before them, his blue-green eyes staring back. "I've lived among them for 16 years, Hiccup. Learning their ways and discovering their secrets."

The White King, not bothered by their disrespect but endeared by their awe, gently blew some of his breath onto the two young riders, leaving their hair covered with snow and frost causing Valka to let out a chuckle. "He likes ya."

"Wow," Hiccup breathed out as he and Merida shook the frost free from their hair.

"Are you two hungry?" Valka asked with a smile.

"Uh, yeah, I could go for some food," he replied. He looked over to his friend with a questioning glance. "Mer?"

"Sure, we haven't eaten since earlier this afternoon," she replied with a smile.

"Good," Valka said with a hint of mischief in her smile. "It's feeding time."


Once they had made it to the open sea when Merida heard something and glanced behind her to see a large flock of dragons from the Sanctuary following them. "Uh Hic?"

Hiccup glanced behind him to see the dragons as well before he looked ahead at his mom. "Hey, I-I thought we were going to eat."

"Oh we are," Valka replied with a smile as Cloudjumper came to a hovering stop. She held an open hand out, signaling them to stop then glanced down into the ocean causing Hiccup, Merida and Toothless look down as well. A large school of fish were swimming closer to the surface with the White King below them and a pod of other Tidal class dragons rounding up the school. Just as the gentle giant breached the surface, he let out a burst causing the fish to shoot up into the air like a geyser. The newcomers had a look of surprise and shock on their faces causing Valka to laugh heartily, as the fish rained down around them. Toothless began to wiggle in excitement before glancing up to his rider as if asking permission which Hiccup obliged. He shot down catching as many fish he could in his mouth with Hiccup and Merida holding on tightly.

After eating, Valka showed them to a cliffside that had a strong updraft where the dragons began to hover. Merida took a chance and stood up, with practiced balance she walked across the different wings of the dragons with Valka following suit, walking across each wing and using her staff to hang from dragon before landing on Toothless' wing. Valka ruffled Hiccup's hair as she passed over him before sliding off one of Toothless' outstretched wings and back onto an awaiting Cloudjumper. Merida made it back to Hiccup and they flew away from the flock of dragons.

"Ah, when I'm up here I don't even feel the cold I just feel…"

"Free," the two rebels completed. Looking over to her in complete understanding.

"This is what it is to be a dragon," she breathed out, her arms out wide embracing the wind.

The dragon's all returned to the Sanctuary and the Riders flew to a snow-covered peak nearby. Hiccup began telling his mom what he had been up to back on Berk and had experienced on his travels with Merida telling her what they did back in her Homeland. While Valka was hesitant when she found out Merida was a Highlander, but she trusted Hiccups judgement as he reassured her that Merida was like them, misunderstood. They all laughed as Toothless began to draw in the snow with an icicle only for it to get stuck on his tongue.

Valka walked closer to Hiccup and hesitantly brought her hand up to his face to which he gladly leaned into. "All this time you took after me," she said happily before her face and tone grew somber. "And where was I?" She looked back to her son, her eyes hopeful. "I'm so sorry Hiccup, can we start over? Will ya give me another chance?" She asked before moving over to Toothless. "I can teach you all that I've learned these past 16 years, like…" she trailed off as she massaged an area near Toothless' crown in a circular motion causing the spines lining his back to split into a V form. "Now you can make some daring turns."

Toothless shook himself looking as if he just got a much needed chiropractor job done as he bounded over to his friends.

"Wow," Hiccup looked him over, curious. "Did you know about this?" Toothless merely clapped his new spines together, his tongue hanging out of his mouth, obviously not knowing about it. Merida started to scratch the happy dragon before he went bounding across the snow toward Cloudjumper as Hiccup looked back to his mom.

"Every dragon has its secrets," she said with a smile. "And I'll show them all to you. We'll unlock every mystery, we'll find every last species together." She continued with a smile as they watched Toothless burrow in the snow, popping up by Cloudjumper, jumping up and leaving some snow on the elder dragon's crown who just dumped it back onto him, causing them to laugh. Merida walked over to them with a smile and Valka placed her other hand on the young girls shoulder. "We'll do it together, as our own tribe. This gift we share, it bonds us. We'll change the world for all dragons! We'll make it a better, safer place!"

"Yeah, that sounds amazing!" Hiccup smiled, he honestly couldn't believe this was happening.

"Aye, can't turn that down, right?" Merida happily said. She honestly felt more comfortable with Valka than she did her own mother. Valka understood her, and didn't mind that she was a Highlander.

Valka embraced them both in a hug, Merida returned it in kind while Hiccup held her gingerly before returning the hug fully. Valka welcomed them with open arms. She finally had her son back and while she missed her husband, this was for the best. She also felt that Merida would come to be the daughter she never had.

The sun had just gone down as they returned to the Sanctuary with Valka helping them get settled in, leading them to some empty caves they could use as they pleased.

Hiccup was moving things around when he felt his wound get stretched. He stopped what he was doing and lifted his tunic slightly and lightly pressed his other hand on the wounded area.

"Ah great…" he muttered.

"Son?"

Hiccup jumped slightly, irritating his injury more as he turned to see his Mom in the entryway. She wasn't in her armor anymore but instead wore a yellow long sleeve tunic with leather arm bands around her wrists, a fur around her waist, brown leggings, and brown boots.

She didn't waste time when she noticed the blood on his hand and approached swiftly closer to him, lifting his tunic to see his wound.

"What happened?" She asked worriedly.

"We, uh, got shot at when we were leaving DunBroch," he answered honestly. "Typical Haddock Luck."

Valka took his hand and led him to what looked to be a common area and had him sit down on a wooden stool. The cave had a table and chairs, cabinets, and some furs lining some of the stone and ice benches. Valka brought over a chest and opened it, revealing all sorts of medical supplies. She got to work by unraveling the old bandages, getting a better look at the wound. Seeing it slightly discolored and swelling, she gingerly pressed her forehead against his to check his temperature.

"You feel a bit warm," she said quietly. "How are you feeling?"

"Uh, yeah, warm for one," he began. "Kinda feeling light headed and my side is aching."

Normally, he wouldn't want to worry her but he and Merida had been on the run for awhile and he was too tired to care.

"As I thought," she muttered. "Your wound is infected. You'll need to rest for now, I'll bring you something to drink later." She finished cleaning and re-bandaging the wound, then guided him back to his room to the bed he had set up and tucked him in. Before she left, she heard her son quietly murmur something that warmed her heart.

"I'm glad I found you Mom."

She quietly left, with a smile on her face as she entered the common area. She got together some herbs and placed a kettle over the makeshift fire pit and lit it.

"Somethin' happen?"

Valka turned to see Merida walk in, now wearing just her beige night dress.

"Hiccups wound is infected," she told her as she shifted the herbs. "I cleaned it best I could but I'm making some tea to help ease the pain."

"Ah knew Ah noticed something was off. Guess I didn't clean the wound well enough," Merida muttered before sighing. "He rivals even me when it comes tae stubbornness." She sat down on one of the benches as she talked with Valka. "Though Ah'm not sure where he gets it from."

"Oh? Do you know which side you get it from?"

"Definitely me Mum's side," she replied instantly. "But Dad's side contributed too."

Valka chuckled. "Well then, Hiccup most certainly got his stubbornness from his father."

Merida chuckled as well knowing full well what that was like. She knew her younger brothers may inherit their mothers stubbornness as well as her pride and her sister may be the only sensible one in the family.

She noticed the sad look in Valka's eyes when Hiccup's Dad was brought up so she decided to change the topic.

"Do ya think ya could teach me? How tae be with and ride dragons?" She asked. She always saw the bond that Hiccup and Toothless had, but wasn't able to bond with any of the Arena Dragons and longed for one of her own.

Valka didn't even seem to debate with herself as she smiled at the young Highlander. "Of course, let's just let Hiccup heal first," she replied. "I believe he would want to be present for it."

She later took the tea to Hiccup, helping him sit up to drink it, before leaving a cool cloth on his forehead. She even helped Merida get ready for bed by gently brushing her hair, unlike Elinor who didn't brush it correctly and did it so roughly.

Every once in a while during the night, Valka checked on her son, seeing if the tea and medicine worked and it seemed to be doing its job.

The next day would be interesting.


A/N: I know I'm borrowing A LOT from the movies, I know, very original. But again, the lines and banter are so much better than my own.

So I see reviews on my stories that are hurtful, I try to take in stride but struggle with it. Then there are those kinds of reviews that have barely anything to do with the story. They don't tell me what they think of it, just leave either a rumor or something irrelevant. So far, the reviews for this story are fine, which I'm thankful for them.

And as for Hiccup forgiving his mom so easily is actually accurate to his character. I see people saying that he shouldn't have forgiven her so easily, but here's the thing guys, Hiccup is a forgiving character. We've seen that in RTTE, that he was willing to forgive his enemies, I repeat, his ENEMIES. And while Mildew stayed the same, Savage stayed a criminal, Ryker and Johann getting their comeuppance, and Krogan later slain, Alvin, Dagur, and even Viggo were all redeemed and forgiven. Which is why it works and is why I get so irked when people turn them back to villains in their stories.

Sorry for ranting but it needed to be done.

See you guys in the next chapter, Buh-Bye!