A/N: Welcome to the final installment of Heart of a Berserker! The plot here is almost entirely my own. I did extrapolate from what little we know of the connection between Stormheart and the Luminous Krayfin and certain aspects of the Hidden World. The only content left from the actual game includes the three events, and I may include some of those quests. Enjoy the ride!
"I can't stand the distance
I can't dream alone
I can't wait to see you
Yes, I'm on my way home
I'm on my way
Oh, I hear the wind call your name
The sound that leads me home again
It sparks up the fire
A flame that still burns
Oh, it's to you I will always return"
- "I Will Always Return" by Bryan Adams
Everyone cheered as Hiccup and Astrid kissed for the first time as husband and wife. After years of obviously being in love, the two finally held a union ceremony on the island Berk designated for such occasions. Everyone came out to support them. Stormheart even allowed Harald to attend on her behalf.
It was a beautiful day at the end of the first half of the summer. The past few months had been relatively peaceful. Stormheart had backed off for now, and Grimmel was nowhere to be seen. For once, we enjoyed a time of interrupted peace.
Harald and I were able to meet at either New Berk or the School with no suspicions raised on his end. He and Elska had grown close, and they worked really well together. I loved seeing him learn what it was like to be a dragon rider. Now, if only he would share with me what his life was like...
Food, music, and dancing followed the ceremony. Harald seemed a bit out of place among the cheerful Vikings, so I grabbed his hand and started dancing with him. "What did you think?" I asked.
"It was very lovely," Harald replied. "Perhaps marriage will help Astrid ease up a bit."
I laughed. "If by that you mean she'll hate you less, that will only happen when you actually make an effort to get her to like you."
Harald smirked. "But teasing her is much more fun."
I rolled my eyes. "Of course." We took a break from dancing, and my eyes wandered to Hiccup and Astrid. They looked so happy...
"I'm sorry," Harald said suddenly, causing my to look at him in surprise. He had followed my gaze, and now he looked at me with sad eyes. "I'm sorry I can't give you this. If you want to be married-"
"Harald..." I flung my arms around his neck. "I would rather be with you unmarried than married to someone else. I told you before, didn't I? Marriage only means something if it's with the person I love."
Harald smiled at me. "Ah, the truth game. Remember the question I would not answer?"
I had to think back. Had it already been a year? "I wanted to know your greatest desire." My eyes widened in realization. "Wait-"
Harald grinned. "It's you. It's always been you." He wrapped his arms around me, and I rested my head on his chest. "If you want to marry, I will find a way to make it happen. I promise."
I pulled back and smiled at him. "I love you."
Harald brought his hand to my cheek. "I love you too." He kissed me, sending electricity through me body. I could never get tired of this feeling.
A scream made us abruptly break apart. I whirled on my feet, gasping when I saw armed men advancing on the party. Many of them wore red bandannas and sported the same symbol as-
"They're after me!" Cason cried. He ran to me and hid behind me.
"Maybe if we give you to them, they'll leave us alone," Harald said in annoyance.
I shot him a look. "Help me protect him."
Harald sighed. "If I must." He withdrew his sword and took on a fighting stance.
"Riders, too your dragons!" Hiccup called over the noise.
I did not want to leave Cason, so I let out my Skrill call. Bolt bounded over to us, growling. "We've got to help protect him," I said, nodding at the teenager.
Bolt's eyes seemed to glint in understanding. He shot lightning bolts at any pirate that got close to us while Harald and I fought back those that managed to slip by. I noticed Hiccup and Toothless leading the charge, followed by the Light Fury and Astrid with Stormfly.
Eventually, we beat back the pirates to the edge of the island. Their leader sounded the retreat, and they fled to their ships. Cason let out a sigh of relief and flopped on the ground. Harald and I followed the pirates to the edge. I knew we were thinking the same thing. Their captain and their main ship were nowhere in sight. What was their objective here?
"Come on," Harald said. He took my hand and led me back to Cason. "Alright, fess up. What was that?"
Cason appeared confused as he stood up. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't try that with me. You told them about the wedding. How else could they have known where to find us?"
Cason glared at him. "Maybe you told them. You're the pirate. And their captain is-"
Harald grabbed his arm tightly, earning a yelp from the boy. "-someone who would not hesitate to torture or kill me. Do no think I would ever have anything to do with him."
I disliked his threatening tone, but I understood the reason for it. "Cason, you need to back off," I said as I gently rubbed Harald's arm to soothe him.
Cason's eyes widened. "Me? But-"
"Please?" I said more firmly.
Cason frowned. "Fine. I'm sorry."
Harald let go of him and turned away. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it. He responded by gripping my hand tightly.
"Cason, do you have any idea what prompted the attack?" Hiccup asked, approaching with Astrid.
"They want to capture me!" Cason insisted.
"That's one possibility," Harald said. "Assuming you're not the one who planned the attack."
"And why would I do that?"
"Because you're a spy."
"I am not a spy!"
"Can we not do this right now?" I said to Harald. "Maybe you have an idea about what they were thinking?"
Harald relaxed slightly as he went into thinking mode. "They were too chaotic to be looking for a particular person. In fact, chaos seemed to be their goal. I would say it was a warning."
"A warning about what?" Astrid said.
"A warning to give me back?" Cason suggested.
"Everything is not about you," Harald said.
"You're one to talk," Astrid said, causing me to laugh.
Harald rolled his eyes. "We can stand here all day speculating, but I am going to confront their captain and find out."
"Alright, then I'm going with you," I said.
Harald let go of my hand and took a step back. "No, you're not. This is pirate business. Let me deal with it."
"They attacked my union ceremony," Hiccup said. "That makes it Berk's business as well."
"And how exactly do you plan on finding their ship alone?" I said. "You came over here with me on Bolt, and you are not riding my dragon alone."
"If you think it's too dangerous, Toothless and I will go with you."
Harald looked from Hiccup to Astrid to me and back to Hiccup. "No, Brennda and I will take care of this. I wouldn't want to take you away your lovely wife. And that's not the reason I didn't want her to go..." He said the last part so quietly that I may have been the only one who heard.
Astrid rolled her eyes. "Thanks."
"Meet us back at New Berk," Hiccup said. "I want to know what happens."
Harald nodded. "We'll be back soon." He followed me to Bolt and climbed on behind me.
I flew the Skrill high above the clouds so we would not be seen. Occasionally we dipped down to make sure we were on course. We followed the smaller boats to a large, imposing ship. I shivered at the sight of the weapons and pirates on board.
"Let's get this over with as quickly as we can," Harald whispered in my ear. "Just follow my lead."
"Alright," I whispered back. I did worry for his safety. Did these pirates still want to kill him? At least Bolt was with us for protection. Once we were in sight, the pirates started attacking with the ship's weapons. Classic. Bolt dodged the strikes and moved in closer. "Stop! We wish to speak to the captain!"
"Why should we let you?" a pirate sneered. "You're no pirate." Bolt landed before them, and they aimed their weapons.
"But I am," Harald said as he dismounted. I climbed off Bolt and stood beside him. The pirates murmured to each other. I wondered if the recognized him.
"And who might you be?" a second pirate said, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Harald. Harald Forkbeard."
Silence permeated the ship. Then I heard the sound of heavy footsteps. A tall, imposing man pushed past the pirates and stopped in front of us. He was dressed in red and wore a silver chain around his neck. He had tied his brown hair back in a messy bun. He bore as little resemblance to Harald as Stoick did to Hiccup... except for his eyes. His cold, emerald eyes were the same as his son's. I wondered if they were capable of showing just as much emotion.
"You," the captain said in deep, low voice. "You have a lot of nerve showing up here, boy." His eyes flickered to me, and his expression lightened slightly. "My apologies, lass. Captain Randel at your service."
My eyes were tight as I stared right back at him. "Brennda," I said curtly.
"Brennda. A lovely name." Randel glanced at Bolt. "You must be one of Berk's dragon riders. I apologize for interrupting your chief's wedding. It was nothing personal; I simply needed to relay a message to my son."
I stared at him. He was Harald's father alright. Somehow, I didn't think I snarky comment would go over too well with him though. I looked to Harald to see what he wanted to do.
"If you wanted me, why involve them at all?" Harald said, fixing a steel gaze on Randel.
"I know we had misunderstandings in the past, and I did not feel safe approaching your home directly," Randel said. "I heard you were sent as a representative to the wedding, so I made my move there. There was no harm done. You're not actually friends with them, are you?"
Harald did not respond. His fists were clenched, and his whole body was tense. I wanted to move closer to him to comfort him, but I understood the risks. Instead, I latched onto something Randel said. "Wait, you're not after Cason?"
Randel appeared puzzled. "Cason? No, I have better things to do than worry about traitors... present or past." His cold expression returned as he looked at Harald. "I'm after something else. Something you have."
"I'm afraid I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about," Harald said.
Randel's eyes tightened. "The map. I know you have my map."
Harald looked at him with a perfectly controlled expression. "You mean my map."
Glaring at him, Randel grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to his face. "Where is it?!"
Harald did not even flinch. "I do not know. You had it last."
"I tracked it all the way to the archipelago. You must have it!"
"Even if I did, I would not give it to you."
Randel clasped his free hand around the side of Harald's neck. Harald made no move to stop him, and it was all I could do to prevent myself from going to his aid. If either of us attacked the captain, we would have the whole crew against us. Bolt, however, had no such reservation. He let out a low, threatening growl.
Randel glared first at Bolt and then at me. "Keep your beast under control! I will not be threatened on my ship."
I held back an angry retort. "Get away from Harald." I spoke calmly yet firmly.
Randel appeared surprised at the demand, and his grip loosened slightly. "Excuse me?"
"Bolt will always defend those he cares about. As will I."
"Him?" Randel said incredulously. "You care about him?" His hands moved to Harald's shoulders and dug in. "He's-"
"-an incredible Viking it is my privilege to know. If you can't see that by now, it's your loss." I placed my hand on Bolt's back to calm him. "Please let go of him. He's important to me."
Randel gave me a long stare, and at first I thought he would refuse. Then his eyes flickered to the necklace I wore - the one Harald had given me - and something changed in them. He let go of Harald and took a step back. "The map."
Harald came to my side and took my hand in his. I smiled when he entwined our fingers. "You do not have the ability to form the alliances necessary to activate the map," he said.
Randel eyed us curiously. "But it seems you do."
"I am not helping you. I do not have that authority."
"Ah, of course not. Hiding behind your captain, are you? Very well. I will have to pay her a visit personally. Tell her to expect me." Randel turned away and waved us off.
I did not like the sound of that at all. When nothing more was side, Harald and I climbed onto Bolt. Thankfully, no one attempted to interfere in our departure.
We flew silently to New Berk. When we landed, we were surrounded by a group that included Hiccup, Astrid, Heather, Viggo, and Cason. "How did it go?" Hiccup asked.
"Did Randel demand to get me back?" Cason said, his eyes wide in fear.
"He doesn't care about you," Harald snapped. "Or me, for that matter. He only cares about this." He reached into his bag and pulled out a spherical object.
"The map!" Heather said.
"He is after the treasure," Hiccup said grimly.
"Does he know you have it?" Viggo asked.
"He think I have it, but I did not admit it," Harald said. "He wants to speak to Stormheart to 'negotiate.'"
"I'm sure that will go well," Astrid said, crossing her arms.
"Stormheart knows I have the map, but she won't betray me." He stared at the object in his hand, his eyes hard. "Randel cannot obtain this map. It would be dangerous for all us." He turned to me and held out the map. "He clearly does not know the location of New Berk. Take it. Protect it with you life."
My hand closed around the map. "You can count on me."
"That's an awful lot of pressure," Astrid said. "Isn't this your responsibility?"
Harald smiled at me. "I will protect her life with mine."
Heather grinned and nudged Astrid with her elbow. "You have to admit, that's adorable."
Astrid did not respond.
"What do we do about Randel?" Hiccup said.
"Let me take care of it," said Harald. "I'll work with Stormheart to come up with a solution."
Astrid's eyebrows rose. "And we're just supposed to trust you?"
Harald looked at her pointedly. "No, don't. Send extra patrols and keep an eye out for him. But don't engage him if you can help it. He will not hesitate to strike without mercy."
"It's nothing we haven't handled before," said Hiccup, "but thank you. Let us know how the meeting turns out."
Harald nodded. "Of course. And I'm sorry he ruined your wedding. He has no appreciation for such things."
Hiccup smiled and grabbed Astrid's hand. "He didn't ruin anything."
Astrid tugged his hand. "And it's not over yet."
Harald turned away with a faint smile on his face. It looked like he was going to leave, so I pulled him aside. "Can we talk in private?" I said.
Harald smiled at me. "Of course, love. Lead the way."
I brought him to my house so there would be no interruptions. As soon as I closed the door, he pushed me up against the wall and kissed me. Surprised but delighted, I kissed him back. My hands found his hair, and I gently tugged. I loved this feeling and never wanted it to end.
Harald kissed along my jawline, moving towards my neck. "You are amazing," he whispered between kisses. "It my my honor to know you. Thank you..." He pulled back and gazed at me with gratitude, but I also saw pain in his eyes.
I understood the words he could not say. I knew how difficult it must have been to face his father after so long. I was glad I was there with him. I pulled him into an embrace and soothingly rubbed his back. We held each other for a long time, taking comfort in the other.
Eventually, I knew we needed to talk about it. I reluctantly pulled back so I could look at him. "Harald, the last time you saw your father-"
"-he tried to kill me, yes," Harald said, his face hardening slightly.
"I'm sorry. He's too cruel." And it Harald seemed to still not know how to deal with him. I hated seeing him like that and wished there was something I could do to fix everything.
"That was actually one of the better conversations we've had." Harald brushed the hair back from my face. "Perhaps it was because you were there."
I smiled despite myself. Then I remembered the way Randel looked at me after I defended his son. I reached up and touched the necklace around my neck. "Harald, where did your mother get this?"
Harald glanced at the necklace. "I do not know. She never told me. When she gave it to me, she said I should give it to the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with."
My eyes widened in shock, and my heart rate increased. "But that was right after you betrayed us... when you left me."
Harald smiled sadly. "That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Just because I couldn't see a future for us doesn't mean I didn't desire one. Even then, I knew I would never love anyone the way I love you."
My heart warmed at his sincere words. I moved my arms around his neck and brought his forehead to mine. "You are quite the romantic."
"I only speak the truth." Harald lightly kissed my lips. Then he gazed at me as if I were the most precious thing he had ever seen. "And the truth has never felt so good."
I kissed him again, and I felt his warmth spread throughout my body. I felt him smile through the kiss. He broke away and nuzzled his face into my neck. I smiled as I stroked his hair. "I do worry about you, though. What if your father comes after you?"
"I worry he will go after you." Harald kissed my shoulder, and then he brought his face to mine and kissed my lips. "We will just have to protect each other."
I grinned, thrilled at his words. "Precisely." I pulled him closer to me and rested my head on his chest.
Not too long ago, he would have used this as an excuse to keep us apart. Now he realized we were stronger together. It did not matter how many obstacles lay before us. As long as we had each other, we could overcome anything.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed that! You should have a general idea of what's to come. ;)