AN: Hey everyone, I'm back with more. This time we watch as both Hiccup and Elsa meet for the first time and we see how not everyone is happy with the idea of peace. We also see that with the wedding looming in the very near future, the new couple takes this time to reflect and get some much needed perspective. However, where do you go when you're facing an impossible situation, even if it may not be as terrible as you once thought. Perhaps those that know you best can help shine some light on the subject.
Thoughts and Flashbacks will be done in italics and will be clearly identified. Also of note, the dragon species mentioned in this chapter are all from the Dreamworks Dragons: Race to the Edge series. An finally…this chapter has been brought to you by the letter 'R' which stands for 'Rigmarole'. I heard it used recently in a series and shamelessly loved how unnecessarily complex it was. Naturally, I had to find a way to use it this chapter. So, with that said, lets head on to the story…
(Updated 8/29) So, I was looking back over my earlier chapters and realized that these were so much shorter then my normal standard. Not to mention, I thought these early ones could use a little freshening up. So, I went back and combined chapters two and three together into this one.
Disclaimer: I don't own HTTYD or Frozen
Definitely Not what I was Expecting
Yup, it's defiantly official, I hate sunsets. Hiccup fumed internally as he ran a frustrated hand through his wild hair, though his thoughts lacked any real strength or venom, his eyes clenched shut in bitter frustration and his mouth set in a thin line as the aforementioned sunset brilliantly reflected off the water.
While his logical side knew that he was being ridiculous, not to mention a bit petty by directing his scorn at an inanimate length of time, Hiccup really couldn't find it in himself to care at the moment. Nothing good had ever happened to Hiccup during a sunset, a pattern that the sun almost seemed determined to keep true even now. Sunrise was synonymous with rebirth and the start of a new day, not to mention early morning flights on Toothless' back, where the possibilities were infinite and the start of a new adventure could be lurking around every corner.
On the other hand sunsets, while undoubtedly pretty as well as romanticized in poems and other literature, merely signaled the end of a day along with, quite often, missed opportunities and had only ever taken from Hiccup. First it had taken his his leg and his youthful innocence along with it, then it had taken his first love, and now his home along with his very future were being added to the list of things lost to the setting of the sun. So, though he knew it was irrational and a bit stupid, Hiccup truly found that he despised sunsets.
However, with a resigned sigh, Hiccup allowed his face to relax and the tenseness in his shoulders to loosen as he let the back of his head lightly thump against the trunk of the tree he was resting under, before forcing himself to rise. Resolutely ignoring the rapidly approaching Imperium Battleship, Hiccup decided to spend the last ten minutes of his freedom to unwind with some simple sword play. Gripping inferno lightly, but firmly in his left hand, Hiccup extended the blade and bent down towards the sole control on the right side of his prosthetic leg, switching it from walking to combat mode.
Like the other modifications Hiccup had made over the years, this mode was made with a specific function in mind. It used a thicker Gronckle iron rod and added a wider base, better designed for gripping, giving him better short rage stability and maneuverability, while a specially designed system of springs and balljoints allowed for better rotation and a wider range of movement whenever he pivoted. Testing his footing for a moment, Hiccup took a deep cleansing breath before dropping into a battle stance he learnt from sparing with Camicazi and some of the other Bog-Burglars. Like a well practiced dance, the movements came naturally to him, his body flowing through the motions fluidly, which allowed his mind time to wander unabated.
In another lifetime, this trip would've been a dream come true for Hiccup, as the kingdom of Corona was simply beautiful, with a rich exotic culture and a fascinating history. Like Berk, the city itself was a large island, though it was just off the mainland, with a large ornate stone bridge connecting the two. There were a few minor similarities between his home and here, but at the same time it was so completely different that it left Hiccup's head practically spinning with possibilities and an almost palpable need to explore every square inch.
From his current spot at the edge of the forest near the waterfront Hiccup could nearly take in the full view of the shining city before him and everything was just so new and exciting. The houses and other buildings around him seemed so different, with the architectural lines being rounder and slightly softer compared to the sharper lines of Berk, while even the spread of the forest behind him felt different to the forests back on Berk. Of course, best of all were the dragons, a couple of which Hiccup had only read about and had never actually seen in person until now.
However, even the people seemed to fascinate and delight him, especially the oddball royal couple Hiccup had met when they had first arrived two days ago. While the man could come off a little cocky, Hiccup had thoroughly enjoyed swapping stories with the princess' husband, Eugene Fitzherbert. At the same time, Princess Rapunzel herself had been an almost literal ball of sunshine, with an enthusiastic curiosity and hunger for discovery that Hiccup knew was mirrored in his own eyes as they had conversed.
Their dragons had also been just as colorful and just as unexpected, with Eugene having a green and blue Typhoomerang and Rapunzel having somehow bonded with a docile golden Death Song of all dragons. Hiccup was dying to hear the story behind that one, but given the dragons nature as a siren he was fairly certain it had at least something to do with the princess' amazing singing, some of the best Hiccup had ever heard in fact. Yes, Hiccup would be absolutely ecstatic about this whole trip, if it wasn't for the actual reason he was here.
With that thought in mind, Hiccup let inferno disengage and returned it to its clip on his left leg, just before turning once more towards the docking Battleship with a deep sigh. He knew he couldn't deny it any longer, and truthfully it wouldn't do anyone any good for him to continue being so obstinate. The best course of action would be to just submit to the arrangement, hammer out the details of what would be expected and required of him, and to make peace with his soon to be wife as quickly as possible.
"No sense in making this harder than it needs to be after all," Hiccup muttered in resignation as he called for Toothless, who came bounding through the trees almost instantly with his tongue hanging from his open maw in excitement, knowing they needed to return to the castle grounds now if he was going to have time to bathe and change before the royal party from Arendelle finally arrived for the big meeting at the castle. "All right bud, time to get back to the sacrificial alter. Maybe if we're lucky, the King and Queen of Arendelle will take one look at me and tell my dad that they'll agree to the peace as long as he keeps the crazy talking fishbone of a viking away from their daughter."
Toothless barked crossly in irritation, indicating his displeasure at his rider for how negatively Hiccup was talking about himself. Hiccup could only smile as he switched his prosthetic to riding mode and snapped it into place as he mounted Toothless' saddle, thankful to have at least one person in his corner…even if said person was actually a dragon. As they flew silently back towards the castle, Hiccup snuck one final look at the docked battleship, and proceeded to gape in awe at the scene before him.
He couldn't see her clearly from the height Toothless' was flying at, but on the water near the bow of the ship was a woman standing on a large sheet of ice and in front of her, just barely breaking the surface of the water, was a dragon Hiccup had only ever briefly encountered twice in his life. Both times had been less than ideal circumstances and hadn't offered much in the way of an opportunity for his curiosity to be sated properly, but neither had they dampened his desire to learn about this elusive deep water dragon.
The princess has an albino Submaripper?! How is that even…and with such a rare scale pigmentation, it's just…wow! Hiccup mussed internally as Toothless rapidly ascended into the sky before beginning a steep dive towards the castle grounds, causing Hiccup to smirk at how much of a showoff his dragon was, the wind already beginning to scream around them in a way only a Night Fury could achieve. Huh…this might be a little interesting after all.
As the kingdom of Corona shone beautifully in the fading light of the day, Elsa's impending future seemed to loom over her even more heavily. Though Elsa had been to the kingdom a number of times in the past to visit her distant cousin, and thus knew a lot about the foreign power, it had done nothing to dampen her self conditioned drive to always be in control in any given situation. So, when combined with the nervous habit of using knowledge to mask her fear of unknown variables, this meant Elsa had spent nearly the last month studying the history of Corona.
Thus, Elsa now found herself trying to unsuccessfully calm her nerves by mentally going over the many facts she had read about the kingdom's history. However, nothing seemed to be working, as though the few new tidbits she had learned from her own most recent visit to the kingdom for the wedding of the crown princess and her husband were interesting, they did nothing seemed to quell the churning in her stomach. Now, while outwardly Elsa may have looked as calm and collected as ever, on the inside she was a ball of nerves as scenario after horrible scenario of the upcoming meeting with her betrothed played out before her mind's eye, logic having long since abandoned her.
Anna and Breen could easily tell how much this was effecting Elsa, the latter crooning in anguish for her rider. Captain Mattias too shared those same sentiments of anguish for the young woman that was a daughter to him in all but blood. He long to speak up against this course of action, but Captain Mattias remained silent out of respect for the young princess' bravery and sacrifice, despite how much he wished she didn't have to suffer for their sakes.
Even the King and Queen, though having agreed to the arrangement out of both a sense of duty and necessity, as parents were still racked with worry for their eldest child's wellbeing. They all wished things could be different, but their duty was to their people first and foremost and they all knew that this was for the sake of peace. Still, even though she knew that there was nothing she could do to free Elsa from her fate, Anna decided to at least free Elsa from her self inflicted mental anguish, by means of a well timed soothing distraction of sorts.
"You know," a smirking Anna whispered to her big sister in a conspiratorial manner, breaking Elsa out of her thoughts and causing her to nearly jump out of her skin, as well as accidentally freeze the port side railing she had been gripping tightly as she stared up at the castle of Corona. "Since we're still waiting for the all clear to disembark, I bet Marshmallow could use some attention. Even if it wasn't completely by herself, she did still help out a lot by pulling us along to get us here faster."
Elsa quickly unfroze the railing as she contemplated Anna's words and the obvious intent behind them if the cute, slightly pouty, tone Anna had taken at the end was any indication. From anyone else, Elsa would've dismissed the suggestion outright given the circumstances and the level of decorum she knew she should be maintaining during this momentous occasion. However, Elsa knew that it was Anna's way of trying to help her and she also knew it would probably be the last time the two sisters would be able engage in fun minor breeches of etiquette for a long time to come.
Besides which, Elsa had always felt especially connected with the dragons, their beauty and power calling to her on an instinctual level, making them often able to soothe her inner turmoil when nothing else could. So, despite knowing that the proper course of action was to wait patiently for Captain Mattias' men to finish the disembarking procedures before leaving the vessel, Elsa nerves and heart were telling her that a distraction was just what she needed.
"I suppose you have a point," Elsa returned, her face a mask of regal elegance, but her eyes shining in mischievousness, as well as gratitude, as she skillfully played off her actions as simply her acknowledging her duties as a royal. "Everyone is entitled to receiving gratitude for the efforts they give towards a successful voyage, even a dragon. And I would be remiss in my duties as a princess if I did not show my appreciation to all involved."
Anna was positively beaming at her success as she tried and failed to hold in her giggles as Elsa made her way towards the bow of the ship and, with only a quick glance around to see if anyone besides Anna was watching, slipped off the starboard side. A quick flick of her wrist and Elsa was gliding down a glistening ice ramp before coming to a gentle stop on a large ice platform floating on the waters's surface. With a lightness in her stride that had been missing until now, Elsa approached the edge of her platform and, lifting her dress up just slightly, stamped down on the ice so as to send a small blast of cold into the surrounding water. Almost instantly, the large chain harness on the front of the ship went slake and a large white, scaled head emerged from the water, so as to be eye level with the princess.
As a deep sea Tidal Class dragon, Submarippers were by definition enormous in stature compared to most dragons, measuring only slightly smaller than the Battleship itself was in width and height, though nowhere near as long. Elsa was very easily dwarfed by the behemoth before her, but already she felt infinitely more at ease, already feeling the same care and concern that she had felt just that morning from Breen. Marshmallow, an early wedding gift from her parents along with the Battleship that they had sailed in on, was fiercely loyal and protective of Elsa.
So, even without knowing the cause of Elsa's pains, Marshmallow was determined to be there for her human. Without a moments hesitation, Elsa closed her eyes and reached out her hand, feeling the familiar smooth scales on her fingertips, her heart rate and her breathing quickly growing more even as the tenseness left her shoulders. Marshmallow for her part, always eager for affection, closed her eyes and let out a deep growling hum of approval that Elsa felt the vibrations of in her arm.
"Looks like you were right once again Anna," Elsa muttered softly to herself with a small smile, letting the concerns of the day fade away for a moment. "You aways seem to know when I'm bottling something up. I really needed this distraction."
Suddenly, Elsa's moment and the quiet of the evening were shattered by a sound that could only be described as the air around them being ripped in two. Elsa nearly stumbled backwards in shock recognizing that sound immediately, her eyes already desperately scanning the sky for the source. Vaguely, Elsa was aware of the shouts of concern from the ships crew, as well as the protective growl of Marshmallow as she tried to assess any threats to her human, but Elsa's mind was already running a mile a minute as she caught a glimpse of Breen gazing towards the castle. Breen was basically the last of her kind, and the thought that there could be others, was almost more than Elsa dared hoped.
There! Elsa mentally cried as she followed her dragons line of sight and finally spotted the source of the sound, its distinctive black silhouette a glaring contrast to the bright red sky, as it rapidly descended thru the air towards the castle near the islands peak.
Though the color was different from Breen's, there was no mistaking the dragon as anything but a Fury, a Night Fury if Elsa had to wager a guess. However, as the dragon performed a mid air twist, Elsa skilled eye realized that the dragon wasn't alone up there. The distinctive bulge on its back indicated the Night Fury had a rider, but it was the artificial tail fin that was the most telling.
Though it was too far away to make out the symbol, the distinctive color of the tail fin, combined with the knowledge that there had been no sightings of a Night Fury in or near Corona before now, told the princess that this dragon had come with the party members of the Confederacy. So, combined with its rarity and what she knew it symbolize to the Viking tribes, Elsa knew in that instance that this Night Fury could only belong to her betrothed, guardian of the Dragon Eye, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III.
This, or course, changed everything for Elsa as her vision once again fell on Breen. The Light Fury was perched on the bow of the ship, eyes gazing off in the direction the noise had disappeared and the muscles in her back taut, indicating a desire to take flight. In the end Breen's loyalty to Elsa won out and with a groan she visibly shook herself, as if to bodily rid herself of her instincts of species preservation.
Elsa felt her heart go out to her companion, but she also felt a bit of excitement building up within her at the sudden prospects before her, already knowing what she had to do. If her betrothed's dragon was in fact a male then the whole arrangement would be worth it in Elsa's mind, regardless of her own fate. It was almost ironic that the one that might actually find love here was her dragon, but Elsa felt no bitterness or resentment of that fact.
A Night Fury huh? Elsa mussed internally with a small smirk, a new sense of purpose filling her very being. This might be a little interesting after all.
Toothless couldn't help but groan in frustration as he stared up at the castle that Hiccup had snuck back into once they landed about fifteen minutes ago. Humans definitely had their good points and they seemed to be pretty intelligent as well, Toothless' human especially so, but they had this habit of overly complicating things and could be very hurtful to each other at times. Toothless, as a Night Fury, was very intelligent himself and, though he didn't understand every concept the humans spoke about, he understood enough of the situation to know that his rider was not being treated fairly.
Whatever this 'marriage' thing the humans kept speaking of was, it must be truly awful if Hiccup's expressions were any indication…or maybe it was because they were forcing him to do it, even though he didn't want to. Toothless could remember many arguments between Hiccup and his father that seemed to indicate that it was as common an occurrence for young human adolescents as it was for young dragon adolescents. Honestly, this kind of power struggle was a natural part of growing up and usually ended with the young dragon leaving their nest to start their own.
However, Toothless also was smart enough to know that what his rider was experiencing was a bit different. Toothless really wished he could help Hiccup get away from it all, but humans were more delicate than dragons and they didn't do as well when they were away from their nests without a mate to help them. So unfortunately, until Toothless could find his human a worthy mate that would understand and appreciate him the way he himself did, they had nowhere to go.
Knowing the humans would be busy for a while, Toothless decided to find himself a nice spot to rest until his rider inevitably escaped and came to find him for a much needed flight break. Wandering over to a spot the princess of the castle had shown Toothless and Hiccup just last evening, Toothless was about to climb the tree for a quick power nap, when a number of new scents caught his attention. A group of humans were approaching from the castle courtyard and, though they smelled different to how humans usually did to Toothless, it was the pair in the middle of the group that really caught his attention.
Though Toothless couldn't see them over the garden's wall, the smell of both the human female and the dragon female seemed to intermingle as much as his own scent did with Hiccup. On top of that, the human female smelled just as powerful as Hiccup did, indicating to Toothless that she had the same gift his rider did, but it was the dragon female whose scent called to him most of all.
The smell was similar, yet different to the one Toothless remembered of his own mother as a hatchling, and the 'emotions', as the humans seemed to call them, called forth by this smell brought forth a deep rooted instinct that he could keenly feel, but had no real experience with. Toothless had found a female Fury for the first time in his life and, while he was a bit confused on how to handle it, it left him feeling overjoyed. Suddenly, amidst the elation, Toothless had something of an epiphany and all of a sudden he knew; these females were exactly what he and Hiccup had been waiting for, what they needed. A pair this perfect was almost too good to be true.
His nap long forgotten, Toothless turned to the castle again and gave a loud happy screech, followed by a gummy 'smile' as Hiccup had called it before. Toothless couldn't wait to see his rider's reaction to these potential mates, especially with all the hardships Hiccup had endured over the years. Without a doubt, Toothless knew that Hiccup would scarcely be able to contain his happiness when he found out about this turn of events. It was bound to get his mind off that 'marriage' thing.
Rapunzel found herself sighing for what was probably the twentieth time in the last ten minutes. As the pair had made their way to drop off Breen at the secondary garden near the Imperium wing of the castle, Rapunzel had made every effort to engage Elsa in conversation about her betrothed and had been ignored or met with short clipped responses at every turn. Honestly, Rapunzel dearly loved both Elsa and Anna, and thought of the pair as her sisters, rather than as the distant cousins that they actually were, but despite this she had always found Elsa to be something of an enigma, a fact that seemed to hold true even now.
Rapunzel had been half expecting Elsa to be either a nervous wreck or a ball of fury as they made their way to the throne room where Rapunzel's parents, along with Elsa's own parents and High Jarl Stoick, would be waiting for them with Elsa's betrothed, but Elsa's face was all business. It was the look she would get when Elsa was in royal mode and knew she would be dealing with backstabbing politicians, as if she was preparing to enter into a war of words and hidden agendas. Rapunzel knew that Elsa's upcoming marriage was arranged for the sake of peace rather than love, unlike her own marriage to Eugene, but Rapunzel's inner romantic was still hopeful that, given the right circumstances, Hiccup and Elsa might eventually grow to love one another. To that end, Rapunzel wanted to share a few of the tidbits she had learned about Elsa's betrothed during his time at the castle.
"Hiccup isn't honestly anything like I was expecting," Rapunzel continued cheerfully, despite her previous failed attempts, hoping to somehow break through Elsa's intense focus even though she doubted if Elsa was even listening at all, given her silence. "He doesn't look much like the typical viking, though he does have a certain free-spirited intellectual kind of charm to him. He appears to be very intelligent and his dry wit is actually kind of cute, though I may be a little biased given Eugene's sense of humor is similar, if a bit less sarcastic. Strangely though, the sarcasm actually works for him and he somehow does it without coming off as hurtful, which I personally think is because he's a born leader. I can't really explain it, but he just has this charismatic aura to him you know, not to mention he's super creative. I mean you should see some of the stuff he's invented. He showed me his sword inferno, it was so amazing, and the artificial tail fin he built for his Night Fury Toothless was just…"
At the words Night Fury, Elsa, whom up until that point hadn't been listening to a word that Rapunzel had said, finally reacted. Stopping mid stride a few paces from the door to the throne room, Elsa whirled on Rapunzel, her bright blue eyes shining with purpose and a cautious excitement.
"Did you just say something about a Night Fury?" Elsa asked quickly, but in a softer tone, not wanting to accidentally alert her family to her arrival before she got answers. "So is it actually his? And do you know if it's a male? Does it…"
Unfortunately, all further questions and possible answers were cut off as a castle servant called out for the crown princess.
"My lady, I am so glad I caught you before you rejoined the meeting with the King and Queen. I apologize to both your royal highnesses for the interruption, but the head chef sent me to confirm a few details of tonights menu for both sets of royal guests and their dragons. We wish to ensure no mistakes that would reflect poorly on our royal families reputation, especially during this momentous occasion."
"It's okay Fredrick, and I've told you before you don't have to be so formal when it's just me," Rapunzel replied with a slight chuckle as Fredrick seemed to gasp in horrified indignation at the mere notion that he should speak to his royals with anything other then the utmost respect at all times. "I'm sorry Elsa, just give me a moment to sort this out and I'll be right back."
As her previous burst of adrenaline left her system, Elsa could only nod politely in acceptance as Rapunzel followed Fredrick to a small food cart he had left further down the hall in his rush to catch up with the princesses. As eager as she was to learn the answers to her questions about the Night Fury, Elsa was also thankful for the small reprieve the delay gave her. Despite her new sense of purpose, Elsa could still feel the anxiety starting to creep up on her again, knowing as she did that her fate rested on the other side of the throne room doors.
I'm doing this for my people and for Breen, Elsa mentally reminded herself as she took a deep calming breath. Still, I don't know how I'm going to manage spending the rest of my life with some massive barbaric brute.
Suddenly, Elsa heard a small faint clacking noise from behind her, like the sound of metal lightly tapping against the stone floor. Turning to the source of the sound, Elsa was surprised to see that the noise was actually coming from a young man that appeared to be making his way quickly, but relatively quietly down the hall towards her from the direction of the Confederacy's wing of the castle. The young man had a nice athletic build and was dressed in a high classed green long sleeved silk tunic with a silver trim around the hems and a neat pair of black pants. In addition, the young man wore a light gray fur lined cape, slightly draped over his broad shoulders like a cloak, that went down to mid thigh and connected in the front by a simple chain with a silver pendant with a red stylized Night Fury symbol on it.
His brown hair was wild and wind swept, with a few small braids towards the bottom, and it looked a bit shiny, indicating it was probably still wet. The noise itself was coming from his left prosthetic leg, which was actually the most complex prosthetic Elsa had ever seen in her life, but the thing that really captured her attention were his eyes. They were a deep rich green, like the forest, that matched his tunic perfectly, but they held an intensity that spoke of a cunning intellect and keen observational skills. Elsa was vaguely aware that she was staring more than was proper, but for some reason that was beyond her at the moment, Elsa couldn't help but wonder just who was this young man.
Well, despite his manner of dress he's certainly no viking, but perhaps he's the castle servant assigned to attend to the Confederacy party members during their stay, Elsa pondered internally, a small genuine smile beginning to take shape as she instinctively dropped a small curtsy to the admittedly handsome young man, completely forgetting herself and her station as a princess for a moment. He's probably dressed like that to make them feel more at ease here. I do hope they aren't giving him too hard of a time, he seems…different somehow.
As he neared the throne room, Hiccup finally took notice of the young woman stationed near the doorway, giving him a small curtsy, and it left him in a state of awe. For a brief moment Hiccup was absolutely speechless, followed quickly by a small pang of guilt. Though he knew he had no real reason to feel like that, Hiccup felt like he was betraying her memory, knowing that he had only felt this awed by a vision of beauty once before, a long time ago.
Mentally shaking it off, Hiccup came back to the present, but found his attention once again captured by the unknown woman before him. Her silky platinum blonde hair was done in a French braid and the light from the many lanterns beautifully reflected off the ice crystals lining her floor lengthen blue dress. The young woman's translucent cape adding an almost ethereal glow that made the visible skin of her shoulders and neck seem to glow as well. Her soft round face was like a work of art with perfect proportions and those beautiful clear blue eyes were just taunting him with their mysteries, promising to drown him in their depths if he wasn't careful. She was like an angel in human skin and Hiccup had to almost bodily tear his eyes away from her, lest he come off as improper.
She's must be one of Rapunzel's handmaidens, Hiccup reasoned out mentally, as the initial shock wore off and he regained control of his head. She's probably waiting here for her mistress to finish with the big meeting, the same one that of course I'm late to. Ugh…I can't imagine the kind of impression I'm leaving right now, and that's without me behaving like I'm enamored with her when my betrothed is literally on the other side of this door. I need to just fix this and apologize, who knows how long she's been waiting for this meeting to end and here I am making it all the more awkward for her by acting like some kind of creep.
As Hiccup opened his mouth to speak, the doors to the throne room between the two were opened as Queen Iduna's voice was heard saying, "…Well, there's certainly no need for that Jarl Stoick. I'll just go check on my daughter and princess Rapunzel, and on the way I'll find a servant to check on your son as well. I'm sure the two are just nervous about meeting each other for the first time and are making their way here even as we speak."
As the Queen turned around and was about to fully step out into the hall, she finally noticed both her daughter and the young man standing right by the doors.
"Mother, I apologize for-" Elsa began immediately, only to be interrupted.
"W-wait, mother?" Hiccup called out in surprise, the pieces falling into place. "But that means that your…"
"Hiccup," Stoick's voiced boomed from inside the hall as both himself and King Agnarr approached the doorway. "So, my son finally decides to grace us with his presence, and just where did you run off to this time young man!"
"S-son?!" Elsa nearly cried in surprise, before her voice grew softer. "High Jarl Stoick's son? But…"
"I apologize to all present for the delay," Rapunzel cut in suddenly with both power and grace, channeling every ounce of training she had received as a princess and future Queen, ending the moment before rising tensions could lead to an argument. "We all met up on the way here, but there was a slight question about tonights meal, and I was merely getting both Hiccup and Elsa's opinion on the matter to pass along to a servant before we joined the meeting. However, now that all parties are present, perhaps we should rejoin their majesties in the throne room so we may commence with deciding the arrangements for the upcoming marriage."
Rapunzel's parents were practically beaming at their daughter in pride as she led the party inside, and even Stoick, Agnarr, and Iduna looked impressed with the young woman' tact and ability in controlling the situation. Elsa and Hiccup, however, were lost in their own little world as they followed their parent's into the room, both thinking the exact same thing as they snuck a quick glance at each other.
My betrothed is nothing like what I was expecting.
The inky black of the night sky had been overcast for the past few hours, but finally the light twinkling of the stars cut through the night as the luminescence of the moon enveloped the slumbering kingdom of Corona. With the exception of the occasional patrol or late night drinker, the entire city lay quiet and undisturbed, and even the castle now lay dark and silent. After a long taxing meeting, both sides had adjourned for the night, along with their royal hosts, for some much needed sleep. However, not all could find rest despite the fatigue they were feeling.
So much for being tired, Elsa thought to herself distractedly as she gazed at the beautiful moonlight shining down on the castle courtyard from her seat on her bed, hand mechanically running the brush through her still slightly damp hair.
With her future still so uncertain and her betrothed unlike anything she had been expecting, Elsa had found her mind too jumbled with numerous emotions to even attempt sleep right away. Instead the young princess had opted to check on Breen and then settle into a nice hot bath. The long soak had definitely helped ease the strain in Elsa's muscles, but had done next to nothing for the many thoughts running through her head. Though it was nearing three in the morning, sleep continued to elude the young princess and so there Elsa sat in the soft glow of a single candle, wearing a modest purple nightgown and brushing her hair with slow methodical strokes, as her mind drifted to the events of the evening.
For most of the six hour meeting between her parents and Stoick, Elsa had been extremely bored, but she had striven to be attentive. Privately, Elsa had felt all the back and forth over the details of a political marriage was not only unnecessary, but a bit redundant. There would be no one in attendance that thought the wedding was truly for the sake of love, so why bother to go through all the rigmarole of a perfect wedding when the only necessary aspect of it would be the actual marriage itself. Still, with her perfect mask in place, Elsa had been the definition of the calm and composed…Hiccup, not so much.
Elsa nearly jumped at the soft giggle that broke through the silence, before her face flushed a lovely shade of red as she belatedly realized that the giggle was her own. Quickly, Elsa composed herself, as she resumed brushing her hair, but the small smile refused to leave her face as Elsa recalled Hiccup's 'contributions' throughout the day, though she frowned slightly in confusion as she recalled her mother's departing words to her.
As bored as he was with all the insignificant details, Hiccup, understanding that they were a necessary evil, tried his best to calmly and quietly listen from his place across from Elsa. Glancing over at his betrothed Hiccup could tell that, though she hid it better than him, Elsa too felt the whole back and forth was more than a little redundant. However, whereas Elsa strove to mask and absorb it all, Hiccup's first instinct was to meet it head on and cut through it like a blade. So, after nearly three hours of back and forth, and with the food having long since been finished, Hiccup found his patience being pushed passed it limits as Stoick and Agnarr argued over which side should handle the lantern fixtures, neither side wanting the other party to gain the upper hand.
"Yeah, one of us should defiantly be in charge of the lights," Hiccup sarcastically snipped suddenly, no longer able to hold it in. "It's not like there's a kingdom nearby that's expressly known for the beauty of their lantern festivals."
The room went absolutely silent as Agnarr and Iduna didn't know what to make of Hiccup's sarcasm. Stoick's resigned sigh seemed to indicate that this was a very common occurrence with Hiccup. However, before a shouting match could be started, Elsa spoke up in a calm, contemplative manner.
"Actually, I believe Prince Hiccup raises a valid point. The Kingdom of Corona has graciously opened it's gates to host us all for this momentous moment of peace. It would be inconsiderate and quite possibly disrespectful of us to not have their culture represented and honored properly during the wedding celebration."
Once again, all parties had been quite stunned by the sudden shift in the conversation, but as the King and Queen of Corona spoke up to offer their support of the idea, the discussion was soon continuing to flow smoothly. With the attention no longer on the pair, Hiccup glanced once again at Elsa. Their gazes locked as a moment of understanding passed between them, a slight smile appearing on both of their faces. The moment ended quickly, but not before a certain princess had caught the two. As Rapunzel continued to discreetly watch the pair, she knew that this was only the beginning.
As the meeting continued over the next three hours, Rapunzel was proven correct as a bit of a pattern soon became apparent. Though often sarcastic, Hiccup's words would cut through all the pomp and ceremony their parents were displaying, and focused on possible solutions. Time and again, Elsa found herself agreeing with Hiccup's sentiments, if not always his words and opinions, and, much to her own surprise, would skillfully direct the conversation using Hiccup's words. Without either realizing it Hiccup and Elsa had quickly developed a sort of bantering shorthand that they used to their advantage quite effectively.
Though Elsa and Hiccup were oblivious to this sudden synergy between them, their parents had quickly picked up on the sudden change…or at least Queen Iduna had. Stoick and Agnarr were unsure what to make of their children's interactions, but for the first time since the marriage arrangement had been introduced, Iduna felt a weight begin to lift off her shoulders.
Queen Iduna knew that Hiccup and Elsa still had many more hurdles ahead of them, but as she discreetly studied the apparent spark between the pair, Iduna felt a cautiously optimistic hope begin to swell within her chest. If she were to be honest, Iduna found the young man's directness to be absolutely refreshing and, while the queen in her wanted to scold him for his lack of proper etiquette, the mother in her wanted to see if he would be able to break through the walls that Elsa had built around her heart due to her fear of letting people see the real her.
Finally, with the hour growing late, the meeting was called to a close. As everyone began bidding each other goodnight, Queen Iduna took a moment to carefully absorb the evening and the implications of it. It was still much too early to tell for certain of course, but Iduna didn't see too much harm in playing devil's advocate in her daughter love life, just a little.
"I must say my dear," Iduna spoke softly just as Elsa said goodnight and was about to enter her room for the evening, the door half open before her. "It was truly impressive what you and Prince Hiccup were able to accomplish together in there. You both worked together so fluidly that it was almost like watching a beautifully choreographed dance. It was quite awe inspiring actually…and so I can't help but wonder."
The last part was spoken softly, but Elsa picked up on it and asked in confusion, "You can't help but wonder what mother?"
"Hm?" Iduna responded distractedly to her daughter, before waving Elsa off with a knowing smile. "Oh, it's nothing dear, just a mother's ramblings. You'll understand someday when you have children of your own, but a mother just tends to have a sense for these things."
What exactly did mother mean? Elsa pondered to herself as she placed the brush on the vanity and shook out her hair, running her fingers delicately through the blonde locks, carefully checking for any remaining tangles.
Rising to her feet, Elsa approached the window to stare out into the night sky more fully. At this point during the previous night Elsa had been wracked with anxiety over her upcoming wedding, but now, though there still was a measure of anxiety, Elsa couldn't help but feel a little hopeful. While Elsa's situation was still less than ideal, she knew it could've been a lot worse. It appeared that Hiccup and her were at least on the same page concerning their want of a peaceful marriage and, though Elsa had yet to talk to Hiccup on the subject, there was still the situation between their dragons and the possibility of saving the Fury species.
All in all, if I have to be stuck with a viking, at least Hiccup seems to have a few redeemable qualities. Elsa begrudgingly admitted to herself, though not without a small blush of embarrassment at her earlier lack of decorum when they had first met in the hallway. Not to mention, at least he's…relatively handsome.
Willing her flushed face to cool down, Elsa found her attention suddenly pulled to the rooms single large bed by a loud snore. With a fond smile, Elsa felt a bit lighter as she took in the sprawled form of Anna laying face down near the foot of the bed, her hair wild and a small line of drool wetting the sheets. In contrast, Rapunzel was perfectly still and silent, with her short brown hair still perfectly flowing even in sleep as she lay on her back near the headboard, her head pointing towards the foot of the bed as her feet rested on the headboard itself.
The nostalgic scene reminded Elsa of simpler times as children, when Anna, and during political visits Rapunzel, would end up sneaking into her room and staying up most the night, before they all passed out on Elsa's bed. Back when the duties of a princess and the problems of the Imperium seemed as far away as the rest of the world. Before fear caused Elsa to build walls around her heart and pushed her to sacrifice happiness for the sake of control. Truthfully, those were some of Elsa's fondest memories and she suspected that Anna and Rapunzel were aware of this. It seemed likely, given that the pair had gone out of their way, despite how tired they obviously were, to talk with Elsa before bed and help her come to terms with her own thoughts and emotions so Elsa wouldn't have to do it alone.
After having grabbed a change of clothes from her room, a confused Elsa had proceeded to make her way to the private bathhouse in the Imperium wing of the castle, hopping a long hot soak would help her clear her jumbled head. However, as Elsa had returned to her room, her long hair wrapped in a towel, the uncertainties of the day still plagued her. So much so, that Elsa didn't notice the two princesses sitting on her bed until a concerned Anna asked a question reminiscent of the sisters youth, just as Elsa sat at her vanity.
"Hey Elsa, do you want to build a snowman?"
Elsa jumped in surprise as she turned towards her sister and distant cousin, but that quickly faded as Elsa, and even Rapunzel, could only gape in confusion at the younger princess. Until suddenly, they both burst out laughing at the absurdity and randomness of Anna's question, which belatedly both realized had most likely been the exact point of it. Suddenly, with the ice broken, the three princesses started conversing like they were children again. The room became like a protective bubble, their own little world separated from a harsh reality.
Elsa appreciated the small reprieve, but not even twenty minute later the late hour was slowly claiming both Anna and Rapunzel, despite their best efforts. Just before it seemed like sleep would fully claim the pair, Rapunzel spoke up with a stifled yawn, causing Elsa to pause in her attempts to brush her hair.
"So what did I tell you. Looks like Hiccup wasn't so bad after all huh?"
"Oh yeah, that reminds me, I wanted to know if he was cute or not?" Anna asked with a yawn of her own, as she laid down on her stomach, eyes already beginning to close. "You guys disappeared so quickly for the meeting that I never got a chance to see him. I would've joined you guys later…but it seemed boring and I really didn't want too. Besides, I wanted to show Kristoff the plaza during sunset, since it's his first time here. Then we went for a stroll along the water, it was really romantic."
Elsa could feel herself flushing at her sisters question and she was grateful for the late hour as it didn't seem like either Anna or Rapunzel were in a state of mind to notice anything. With great effort Elsa willed her voice to remain steady as she responded, "I suppose he might be considered cute to some women. He's…adequate I guess, for a viking."
"Adequate," Rapunzel muttered with a chuckle, slowing drifting off to sleep as she made one final comment. "Sounds like it's finally happened Anna. Someone's finally caught Elsa's eye."
"Uh-huh," Anna returned as she soon followed Rapunzel into the land of dreams after she shared her own final thought. "Elsa saying he's adequate is like her admitting she thinks he's dreamy. Maybe he'll visit you in your dreams tonight Elsa…hhhhhmmmmm…dreamy dream Hiccup…haha…srnaxxxhhhhh."
Elsa felt like her face was threatening to burst into flames at what Anna and Rapunzel had just insinuated. Still, while she wouldn't say it out loud, she could admit that her fellow princesses weren't completely wrong.
Thinking back to all the mixed emotions, Elsa couldn't say for sure where she stood on the whole marriage arrangement and, even with all this new information, she honestly wasn't even sure what the best case scenario was anymore. However, it didn't really matter because, while Elsa didn't think that everything would just spontaneously work out like a fairytale, she could recognize that her future wasn't going to be as bleak as she once expected. In fact, Elsa found herself thinking that, just maybe, there could still be some adventures coming her way.
Hiccup does appear to keep people on their toes, Elsa mussed with a smirk as her mind finally began to settle.
Elsa's reverie was broken by the sound of wings lightly flapping in the air. Looking back out at the courtyard, Elsa watched as Hiccup and his dragon hovered near the far wall of the courtyard that blocked the primary garden from view. Suddenly, both dragon and rider looked in Elsa's direction, as they paused in their dissent. Though neither Hiccup nor Elsa could see the others eye, they both somehow could tell that they had locked gazes again. Almost as one, the two gave a simple nod goodnight as Hiccup and Toothless finally descended out of Elsa's sight.
Once more, Elsa felt as if Hiccup and her had reached an understanding, but she had little idea as to what they had reached an understanding of. Still, it left her feeling content for the moment and allowed Elsa to finally crawl into bed in-between Anna and Rapunzel. Elsa could feel her eyes growing heavy as sleep finally started to claim her. Like every other night for the past month, Elsa's dreams were once again filled with vikings, but for the first time her rest was completely peaceful, her smile not leaving her face all night long.
"Out for a littl' moonlit flight, eh lad?" A thickly accented voice called out into the still of the night as Toothless touched down in the garden.
As he dismounted Toothless, hand automatically moving to switch his prosthetic to walking mode, Hiccup gave out a weary sigh, but he couldn't stop the small smile that stretched across his face for a brief moment as he gave his dragon a quick scratch under the chin.
"Hey Gobber," Hiccup returned in a deadpan tone as he turned towards the large one armed viking, hoping he'd be able to avoid the upcoming conversation if he was quick enough. "Yeah, you know me. Meetings and politics aren't really my thing. Just wanted to breath in the night air and give Toothless a chance to stretch his wings before bed. Speaking of which, the sun will be up in a few hours, so I think I'll turn in now as well."
Quickly seizing his chance, Hiccup made his way towards the castle doors. As Hiccup crossed the threshold and turned towards his room, he breathed a sigh of relief, before internally groaning at the hand he felt suddenly appear on his shoulder.
He's a big guy with a peg leg and a hook for a hand that swings a huge hammer for a living, Hiccup mussed to himself in wonder as he turned to face Gobber more fully, knowing there was no escaping. How can he move that fast without making a lot of noise?
"A'right lad, out wit' it," Gobber spoke in a firm voice, his face completely blank, giving away nothing of what he was thinking as he gestured vaguely at Hiccup. "Ye've been avoidin' this talk the whole trip. Ye need to stop all…this."
"Wha…you just gestured to all of me," Hiccup replied incredulously, hopping that his snark would succeed in distracting Gobber from his objective. He knew exactly what it was Gobber meant, but Hiccup wanted to avoid it for as long as possible. His head was all but ready to explode with all the conflicting thoughts and emotions and the last thing Hiccup wanted right now, was to talk about it. What Hiccup wanted was time alone to process the information overload he was dealing with.
"Exactly, stop bein' all of you," Gobber replied in turn, not having any of it, his voice as deadpan as Hiccup's had been. "Lad, fo' as long as I've known ye, ye've always tried to handle ev'rything ye'rself. Well g'ess what, I'm havin' none o' it. So, out wit' it a'ready!"
"I-I don't know w-what you're…" Hiccup stuttered out in one last weak attempt to avoid the topic, though already he could feel his resolve crumbling and the floodgates ready to unleash all the pent up emotions Hiccup had been trying to hold back.
"Lad," Gobber simply stated in a surprisingly soft voice and just like that the dam finally burst.
"I know Gobber," Hiccup muttered with a deep sigh, the swirling thoughts and emotions in his head starting to pour out of the young man as his anger quickly began to rise. "I honestly don't know what to feel right now. I mean, I only just started to finally move on and get my life back together after that happened…and then my father announces all this! He didn't even ask my opinion on the whole thing. So, without even telling me anything, I'm just supposed be all 'okay dad' and pack up my whole life, leave behind the only home I've ever known, and marry a woman I've never even met before. Its like I'm invisible or a spare yak that he just decided to trade off to some foreign power, and that's nothing compared to the speech he gave me when I finally got a chance to talk to him. "
"My father was all like, 'Son'," Hiccup continued, his voice changing to do a mocking imitation of Stoick. "'You're all grown up and I am proud of the man you've finally become. Thinking back to all those years of the worst viking Berk had ever seen…Odin it was rough…I almost gave up on you, but thankfully that's all behind us now. I'm glad you've had a few adventures; I know how you felt about that Hofferson girl and more recently Bertha's girl, but the time for childish things are over Hiccup. Its time to look to the future and it will be your job to protect the people now. A chief, a leader, protects his own Hiccup. This peace will be the salvation of our people and you will have the honor of playing the vital role in making it a success. You will marry the eldest daughter of the King of the High Imperium and through this marriage, that while symbolize the very peace we're seeking, the future will be a brighter place for all. So, remember son, when you walk among the men of the Imperium, you carry all of us. That means you walk like us, you talk like us, you think like us. No more of your crazy stunts; they need to know that we're just as good as they are.'"
"After that he just turns away and continues giving orders to the men that would be sailing from Berk after us," Hiccup cried out in his own voice after his little monologue, his emotions becoming more pronounced and his gestures becoming more frenzied by the moment. "I mean that's it?! He makes a decision as the chief, gives me absolutely no notice about it whatsoever, and then doesn't even have the decency to be my father for two-seconds. No, 'sorry it has to be this way son'? No, 'I understand that it's a bit unfair son'? No, 'I know it's a lot to take in, but how are you feeling son'? Nothing!"
"Hiccup…Son," Gobber called out softly, a large hand coming to rest suddenly on Hiccup's shoulders once again, the term of endearment stopping the lads rant instantly. Seeing the need in the eyes of the young man he had basically raised since birth, Gobber let out a weary sigh as he searched for the right words before continuing. "I know life's no' always been fair to ye lad an' I know that for a time I was no' either. Ye've always been differ'nt an' I've learn'd that that is no' a bad thing. I know it dose no' mean much, bu' I'm so proud of ye me boy. Ye've handled it better than I ev'r could. I've watched ye grow, from a wee lad to the strong young man ye ar' today an' I've no doubt ye will change the world. Just r'member lad, r'gardless o' whose blood flows thru ye'r veins, ye'll always be me son…an' I love ye lad."
It wasn't the first time Gobber had called Hiccup son. In private, the two had often used the terms 'dad' and 'son', even during less serious moments. However, this was something special and Hiccup had no words as he hugged Gobber with all the strength he could muster. He would always love his father, but in his heart Hiccup knew that his dad was the large one-armed viking man that had always been there for him. They've had arguments and Gobber wasn't always the easiest to deal with, not to mention he could be quite blunt and harsh, but he was the only one to take the time to even try to understand Hiccup, the one to raise him. Hiccup could think of no greater father.
With a chocked sob disguised as a cough, Gobber pulled back, discreetly trying to wipe his eye as he hobbled back a few steps to look at the taller young man before him. Hiccup for his part felt lighter and content, with a smile to match. Though nothing had really changed, things felt…brighter, and it felt like nothing could bring Hiccup down.
"Now than lad, tell ol' Gobber 'bout this princess o' yer's," Gobber remarked with a knowing smirk and a not so gentle elbow to Hiccup's side once he'd gotten himself under control. "From what I saw 'n the hallway a'fore the meetin', it does no' look like ye've much to complain 'bout. That be the third blonde valkyrie I've seen ye drool ov'r lad, so ye clearly 'ave a type."
"Gobber, I have no idea what you're talking about," Hiccup quickly denied, though the un-viking like blush on his face told a different story. "Ok, so maybe she's a bit different from what I was expecting. We seemed to work together during the meeting pretty well, but do you really think I'd fall for her that easily, just because she's different and beaut-, er pretty?"
Gobber's boisterous laughter echoed around the hall as the pair made their way to their rooms. Despite himself, Hiccup found himself laughing as well, even as Gobber continued his lighthearted teasing. Truthfully, Hiccup found himself cautiously optimistic about what the future would bring. The fact was that Elsa was far different from everything that Hiccup had been picturing. She seemed level headed and actually quite bright, if a little standoffish, but Hiccup could see glimpses of…something just under her cold mask. It was something Hiccup had seen out in the hallway, before reality caught up with the pair. Elsa was a mystery to Hiccup, a bit of a puzzle, and oh did Hiccup love a mysterious puzzles. Add in the Submaripper Hiccup had seen earlier, along with who knew what else, and this whole arrangement wasn't looking as bleak as it once did.
Hiccup wasn't sure what the future would bring, but he wouldn't let it get to him anymore. Hiccup had his 'dad', his dragon, and a new adventure that was about to begin. Come what may, Hiccup would rise to the challenge and at least the company would be…nice, all things considered. While he wouldn't admit it out loud, Hiccup knew for certain that when it came to Elsa, the word beautiful didn't even begin to cover it.
Toothless found himself restless, pacing back and forth along the wall looming before him. He longed to go over to next garden where her smell was originating from, but without his rider Toothless had no way over, though he had made a few failed attempts to scale the tree to reach the top. Truthfully, Toothless knew that the solution was simple; all he had to do was call for his rider and Hiccup would get him over there in an instant. However, Toothless felt torn because, while on the one claw he wanted to go meet his potential mate right now, on the other one Toothless knew that things had been hard on his rider and Hiccup desperately needed his rest.
The deciding factor though, was that Toothless knew very little about human mating rituals and he didn't want to risk his rider's chance with Hiccup's own potential mate. Toothless knew that the only reason Hiccup hadn't brought him over to the other garden was because Hiccup was unaware of the Light Fury's presence, but Toothless was afraid if he pushed Hiccup to go now, that he could unknowingly interfere with or offend Hiccup's potential mate. Not to mention if Toothless upset the Light Fury's rider, then the Light Fury might not be as receptive to him either. Toothless definitely found it to be a problem as he let out a small blast of hot air, the dragon equivalent of a weary sigh. With no other option except to wait, Toothless made his way back to his tree to rest when suddenly he smelt her.
Quickly, Toothless whipped back around and something inside his chest clenched as he saw her, mesmerized by the sight. Breen was perched gracefully on the very top of the wall, her blue eyes reflecting the moonlight as she peered down at Toothless in curiosity, her white scales shining brightly against the night sky. Toothless found his eyes tracking Breen's every movement, captivated by the beauty before him. With his memories of his own mother rather hazy, Toothless was amazed at the differences in the female before him. Unlike other dragons, where sometimes the only distinct difference between male and female were in coloration and smell, Toothess found that the female before him was actually slightly smaller in stature, with a softer, more rounded face and slimmer body structure similar to most human females he had encountered.
Vaguely, like a little voice inside his head, Toothless felt the need to do…something, but was unsure of what exactly. His instincts were telling him to call to her, swap scents, and then…Toothless got the vague feeling that there was some type of dance or ritual that he was supposed to go through with her to see if she would accept him as her mate, but if there was, it was one of the many things his parents had been unable to show him before his home had been destroyed all those years ago.
Shaking off the dark memories, Toothless decided to just wing it for now and let out a curious bark, hoping to make at least some progress. Breen crooned in response and Toothless began to smell her scent more strongly, indicating she was introducing herself to him, much like humans exchanging names, to which he released his own scent. Suddenly, Toothless picked up on another scent intermingled with Breen's, one he recognized as Breen's human rider. Breen found the same smell intermingled with Toothless' scent and found her attention drawn to the castle, where she could smell Toothless' rider. Surrounding Hiccup's scent were other scents that Breen didn't recognize, but vaguely reminded her of a wicked human male that had killed the rest of her family a long time ago.
Toothless suddenly noticed Breen tensing up and called out to her in concern, hoping she'd come down. However, the only response Breen gave was a snort and a half-lidded gaze of suspicion in Toothless' direction. Breen was concerned that Toothless' rider and the men with him might be connected to that wicked hunter, but Breen trusted her rider and so she would just have to keep and eye on Toothless and his rider for Elsa's sake. Toothless gave a gummy 'smile' hoping it would work to convince Breen, but Breen merely started to hover over the wall and suddenly, with a small plasma blast, turned invisible as she flew back the way she had come, determined to take up a silent vigil over her rider.
Toothless screeched softly in both distress and surprise, though more so the latter since he could still smell Breen's scent coming strongly from the next garden. For the first time ever, Toothless felt a spike of both anger and regret over his life, at everything he had missed out on learning from his family. He didn't know his species could even do that form of camouflage, not to mention Toothless was still at a loss over what the mating ritual even was for wooing Breen. Toothless was simply confused and drained at this point, but with a sharp huff a metaphorical fire lite in his eyes; Toothless was not about to give up just yet…not by a long shot.
The rolling forests of Corona stretched for miles, with the hills rising and falling like the waves of the sea. Many found joy in exploring the different hills, seeing the beauty of nature. In the pitch black of the night, however, very little dared tread, as that was when the deadliest of beasts roamed the land.
"It's about time you arrived my friend," a dark hulking figure spoke in a deep raspy voice with a slight chuckle as he smirked wickedly, his scarred face never turning away from the direction of the kingdom of Corona where you could just make out the waterline of the island in the distance. "I was beginning to think you weren't coming."
"Apologies," came the eloquent, yet stiff reply, the crisp straight back young man showing he was not intimidated in the slightest. "I just received late word from one of my men that they have discovered one of the items we need. That still leaves a few missing though, most of which is on your end I believe."
The larger figure merely chuckled once again in response to the obvious slight, but took no offense. Truthfully, the ambitious young man actually reminded him a lot of himself when he was younger, and he knew that the need to bluster was merely the lads way of proving himself an equal in their endeavor.
"Patience is a virtue, my boy." The larger figure returned off handedly, knowing how much it would ruffle the young man feathers. "All the pieces will soon be in play, the flames of war will be reignited, and only then will a new era be possible. Remember, the current regimes and their ideals must be seen as weak and unfit if we are to gain the people's trust and support."
"Yes," the young man supplied with a dark chuckle of his own. "You want people to unite; give them something to rally against."
"Fear," the larger man spoke softly with a nod, his left arm hanging dead at his side as he turned towards the younger man. "Fear will keep them in line. Fear will control them. So let us give them something to really fear."
Nothing more was said, and the forest was silent once more as the creatures of the night sheltered in place, none dared to move for fear of being found. After all, as everyone knows, the deadliest beasts of all walk on two legs.
AN: So, a lot happened in this chapter. We got another look at Hiccup and Elsa's worries, but it looks like things might not be a bleak as the pair first thought. Also, was it just me or did those two have a moment there? That's not to say that things will start going smoothly for the pair. Attraction is easy, love is hard. Both are starting to accept that this arrangement might work out, but that's a far cry from accepting the possibility of love. Still, baby steps.
Also this chapter we got to see another Disney Princess. Rapunzel was actually just supposed to be a minor reference originally, but I think I can do better than that for her and so I decided to expand her role in this chapter. Of course she also be making an appearance or two during the wedding and who knows, might have to bring her back in later on, though I don't have many plans to at this point.
Then we got a glimpse of things from Toothless' perspective followed later be his first interactions with Breen. On a side note, in case I didn't make it obvious enough, the wicked male human hunter that killed both Toothless' and Breen's family is Grimmel the Grisly from the third movie, and he will be making an appearance here later on. The reason that Breen reacted to the smell of Hiccup and the other vikings that way is because Grimmel is from one of the islands that makes up the Confederacy and their scents, while different from Grimmel's, have a slight sulfur tinge to them because of being around flame dragons and remind Breen of him. Toothless has lived among these smells all of his life, so they don't dredge up any memories for him.
So overall this chapter focused more on Elsa than Hiccup, but to me Hiccup has always been a bit more of a man of action since his words are usually jumbled or sarcastic. Of course, I had to throw in some Gobber interaction. I've seen many writers show Hiccup having a much more father and son relationship with Gobber, and to me that just makes perfect sense. I tried to find a more middle ground for the problems between Sotick and Hiccup and I fully intend to have them reconcile their differences, but Stoick will have to earn it better than he did in the movie, I can tell you that much. Gobber, on the other hand, has basically raised the boy and, despite how he comes across at times, in my eyes he loves Hiccup like a son and will always be Hiccup's true father.
And finally we also got our first look at the main villains for the story. Though they weren't named, I'm fairly certain it's obvious who the pair was, and if not they're listed in the characters for the story. We won't see them again for a bit, but trust me, they will be back in greater force.
Next chapter we'll be seeing the the events leading up to the big event we've all been looking forward too, the wedding itself. However, before that Hiccup and Elsa will be getting some honest unbiased opinions from some outside sources that have no stake in either side of the wedding…or at least that they don't realize have a stake in either side of the wedding.
Now, to answer some reviews:
To Cloud4012 and Guest reviewer from 6/12: Thank you for your kind words.
To Guest reviewer Mark Andrew: Thanks and I hoped this chapter lived up to what you were expecting. I actually adjusted it a bit after your review to give Rapunzel a bit more screen time, both now and in the next chapter or two, while opening the possibility of her reappearing later on. I already have a few ideas on how to make it work. Hope you enjoy what's to come.
To Lovepeaceandwar: I'm glad that you're enjoying things so far. I don't want to give too much away right now, but I can say that Astrid is in fact alive and will appear in the story later on. As for the specifics of what happened and how it'll effect Hiccup and Elsa's relationship, you'll just have to wait and see; Sorry no spoilers.
Also, I might not have made it clear, but the 'conceal, don't feel' mantra is actually concerning her emotions and how her power responds to her emotions. Basically, in this AU, even at the age of 3, Elsa had as much raw power as full grown men and she's only grown more powerful with age. Most people, even those that mean well, have a tendency to fear what they can't understand or control, and Elsa has grown up surrounded by that fear. So she feels separate from everyone else, like a monster or a danger, but also that no one can understand her since she's put on a pedestal and seen as in a different league from everyone else, an outcast of a different sort. She has control of her power, but she bottles up a lot of it to try to keep people from fearing her, as well as from her own fears of what she could do; only problem is that it becomes like a pipe bomb ready to blow when she gets overly emotional, thus the reason she tries to conceal her emotions with a cold mask. You'll actually get to see this play a role in her character development as an individual and in her relationship with Hiccup as the story goes along.
Thank you for reading, and please remember to Fav., Follow, and Review below.