Modern How to train your dragon
The legend said that once there was a friendship formed between a dragon and a teenage human boy. Who they were, and when they lived, that remained a mystery, and most people stopped believing in them over the ages.
Still, in Berk, a village that was situated on an island, separated from other cities, the legends continued to be told; If not by parents or grandparents, by teachers. Still, the amount of people that stopped believing in dragons grew every day, until now in modern society, where one might tell the tale as a bedtime story.
However, in Berk public school, the children were still educated in local history, which often brought up the dragon-topic. The teacher for that class was Gobber, a bold, medium-sized, quite fat man with an enormous chin and a blonde mustache that was too long to be taken seriously. He also had an attitude, and always wanted to be right in everything.
Gobber believed in dragons with his life; once when he was young, he was attacked by an unknown creature in the forest, which took away his right hand and left foot. Since then, he got obsessed with the beasts, insisting that what he saw – or thought he saw – was true.
The class that was currently in Gobbers lesson counted only six members; Snotlout, Ruffnut and Tuffnut, Fishlegs, Astrid and Hiccup. Almost all of them had a nickname that was used more than their real name. The twins got their nickname for their first word ever spoken; Rough (Ruth) and Tough (Terrence). And they were both also kind of nuts. Then there was Snotlout (Simon), who used to have a problem with his nose which made him sneeze very loud all the time. Fishlegs (Jasper) accidentally tripped over a fish and broke both of his legs when he was only six years old. Then there was Hiccup, who was born as Harold. He deserved his nickname for being the hiccup of the whole village. Every time he stepped outside, disaster fell. Even though he meant no harm, things always ended up for the worse. To keep it short: everything that could turn out bad with him, would turn out bad. But even he himself got used to call himself Hiccup that he sometimes forgot to look up when someone asked for Harold.
That left Astrid, the only person in the class who was called by her real name. She was a slim, tall blond girl, and ignorant of the big crush Hiccup had on her. She was a little bit taller than Hiccup, but he hardly noticed since the only time they really stood next to each other, was during an assignment for Gobber. They had a little conversation which lasted two minutes, and was concluded with a formal e-mail written by Astrid, which he had read a little too late. After that the only contact they had was an accidental eye-meeting once in a while.
Gobber was once more telling about the Vikings of the past in his usual Scottish accent. His hands were making big gestures, and his eyes seemed to get bigger by the minute. Talking about over-excited…
‘… for the writer of all these documents, that HHH the Third we keep on finding, was not an extra-large boy with beefy arms with extra guts and glory on the side, not at all!’ He gave a big wave. ‘He was actually more like a talking fishbone, like our good friend Hiccup here!’
All the students turned to Hiccup. Ruff and Tuff accidentally bumped their head against each other and started a little fight. Snotlout started to smirk.
‘Thanks,’ Hiccup said, while shaking his head. ‘Thanks for summing that up…’ He forced his eyes back to the ground, and everybody went back to (kind of) paying attention. Actually, Fishlegs next to Hiccup was playing a game on his console. His gigantic hands seemed too large for the little device. His blond hair was hiding his eyes, so it could seem like he was paying attention.
Astrid took notes as usual. Snotlout, an annoying bully with a toad-like face and fattish brown hair, was throwing papers at Hiccups face. Ruff and Tuff were probably falling asleep, which wasn’t new.
Right after the bell rang, Hiccup packed his bag. Even though he was the first ready, he was the last to exit the room since Snotlout pushed him aside quite hard. Hiccup felt a pain in his chest when Astrid just passed by without checking if he was alright.
When Hiccup went down the hall, he saw a few of the new posters of their school-mascot. They called themselves Vikings, and had a black dragon to cheer them on. Of course they didn’t have a lot of competition here, since the only way to get to Berk was by boat. Two weeks a year the kids who participated in the schools sport-team would take the boat to the main land, where they would try and win whatever game they were playing. Since Hiccup wasn’t a very athletic guy, he didn’t even know what his school did each year.
When he got outside, he wasn’t surprised to see the school bus riding away without him. And if he did get in the bus, Snotlout always teased him, causing everybody inside – even the rider – to laugh. Though, it was a half an hour walk to get home, and Hiccup didn’t feel like sitting there alone. His father Stoick – a large muscular man with a big reddish-brown beard who was also the chief of Berk – wouldn’t be home for another three hours, and to spend those moments trying to understand his mothers’ cooking tips seemed like a nightmare. That was why Hiccup grabbed his bag, and marched into the forest. The sky was grey but still dry, so Hiccup had no problem sitting on the ground and opening a few more dragon books he borrowed from Gobber.
‘Dragon classification,’ Hiccup read again. He knew this book was written before the so called peace had begun, so he wasn’t surprised to see the kill on sight-phrase that kept returning. Strike class, fear class, mystery class… Hiccup had read it all before, but he hoped every time again he would find out something he hadn’t seen before. As was expected, the dragon he wanted to know everything about wasn’t described in the book; The Night Fury. Size unknown, speed unknown, the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself. Hiccup only knew he shouldn’t come close to this dragon if he would ever find one.
How he wished he could.
Hiccup put the book aside to grab another one, but then he accidentally ripped out a page. It was his luck that it was only a blank one, but still his heart was beating in a tempo that was too fast to be considered healthy.
Hiccup had completely forgotten about the paper, until it started to rain. He grabbed all the books back into his bag, and only then he noticed something; the paper wasn’t blank. The drops that had fell on it, made a small written map visible.
‘Two papers glued on each other?’ Hiccup asked himself when he took it. It was indeed what he thought. Keeping it wet helped to pull the papers apart, and then he saw a map indeed.
‘To my heir I give the map to all my noted documents on dragons,’ Hiccup read. He frowned, looked around to see if they weren’t pulling a prank on him, and then read it again. It probably was from that HHH the Third, whoever that was. The man was so sure of it that his heir would find it. Well too bad for him this clumsy fourteen year old found it instead.
It didn’t take long for Hiccup to be convinced. He started to follow every direction, almost tripped over a few branches because he wasn’t looking where he went, but eventually arrived at his destination.
It was the cove where Hiccup used to play hide and seek with Fishlegs and Cam when he was little. Yes, before Fishlegs turned al nerd and stuff he was actually Hiccups best friend. Cam was a girl of the same age as them, but not from the island. Her mother was the mayor of Bogburglar, another village not far from this island. Cam’s name was officially Camillla, but everybody liked to call her Camicazi, since she dared to do almost everything.
Why would the map lead him here? Hiccup climbed down, fell in the end on his back of course, but was then with two feet safely on the earth. He hurt his back because of the books, but it was bearable.
After one more look on the map, Hiccup walked behind a pile of rocks, and found a cave he remembered very well. His father always said it was built by their ancestors. It also helped him to keep dry when it rained again, just like now. Hiccup found his shelter, and removed the bag to rug his back. He grunted painfully, biting his lower lip.
Then he sat down next to a pile of rocks that were carefully put in a circle. Camicazi often tried to throw them in the pond, but Hiccup kept on reminding her that it had to mean something special. Luckily Fishlegs always supported him.
Now he looked at the stones again. There were seven of them. Six in variants of grey colors, but the biggest one was pitch black. He always thought that was odd, but never questioned it.
On the paper, right on the place where the cave was, he saw a drawing that looked like a circle made of seven dots. He didn’t need any help to figure out he was sitting right next to it.
It must be underground, Hiccup thought. He used his fingers to get through the earth, and started to dig a hole.
He was probably filthy of the mud in the end, but he finally got what he was looking for; a box. Hiccup had to put his weight into it to get it out, and fell on his butt when it got loose.
When he opened the box, the first thing he hoped was to find some things about the Night Fury. The chest wasn’t locked, which was good. Hiccup saw a letter on top of almost ten books, but put it aside to read it afterwards. First he needed to find some Night Fury’s.
The first five books were more like journals. Some additional drawings were made to characterize some people probably described. Hiccup knew what he was going to read before going to sleep. Then there was a guide to deadly dragons; those who were not trainable Hiccup guessed. This one was written in two more books. That left three.
The next book had names, which made no sense at all. Toothless? Stormfly? Maybe this one was a joke.
The last two books were indeed more detailed dragon books. The same classes were used as in the other book, only this time it wasn’t instructed to kill them, but how to train them. Hiccup recognized the Gronckle, the Zippleback, Boneknapper… The very last chapter of the last book had ten pages on Night Fury’s. But Hiccup didn’t look at the words. He looked at the drawing instead.
Never was it even possible to have seen a more beautiful creature in this world. The Night Fury was raven black, had enormous big eyes, and wings that looked like that of a bat. The teeth were small but obviously sharp.
Hiccup saw that the raining was stopping. If he wanted to go home dry, he had to pack things up immediately, before another cloud would come. He pushed the books in his bag, barely succeeded at closing it, and then he noticed the letter he had forgotten in the chest. Something told him he had to read it right now, so he took the sheet.
For me it seems so long ago Vikings and dragons were fighting. I was only fourteen years old at that moment, barely a Viking myself. In the end I succeeded to end the war, and started the friendship between men and dragons. But now I am an old man, and most of the dragons have disappeared from Berk or anywhere near. My dragon managed to lead me to a last remaining Night Fury-egg on this island, right before he died. I know now my time has come too. To you, my heir, I have left the egg. This egg can hibernate for over a thousand years, and will only start hatching when put in boiling water. Be aware, though, that if the dragon accepts you, it will be a friendship for life.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
Hiccup could not believe anything in this letter. First, that HHH the third’s actual name was Hiccup? Was that his real name? And what was that about an egg? Hiccup didn’t see anything looking like that in the chest.
He accidentally dropped his hand on the black stone, and felt for the first time how warm it actually was.
And that was how he found the egg.
With the black egg in his hands, and a terrible weight on his back, Hiccup walked out of the woods. Now he was back at the entrance of his school, and he still had half an hour of walking ahead of him. A loud sigh left his mouth, as he started to head home. The ground was wet, and Hiccups shoes were covered with mud almost immediately. His hair now hung in front of his eyes. He was chilled to the bone, but would only stop when he got to his house.
Fortunately, his father’s car pulled over when Hiccup was walking next to the road. He saw the window going down, which revealed his father’s face.
‘Son, what are you doing out here?’ he asked. Hiccups parents avoided the whole Hiccup/Harold thing, and just called him son or boy. It never bothered Hiccup.
‘I missed the bus,’ Hiccup said. Stoick only shook his head.
‘The bus was two hours ago, how is it that you are still here? Did you hurt your foot again?’ That last question had been asked so many times, that it wasn’t even surprising anymore.
‘No, dad. It’s when I see the forest; I just need to…’ Hiccup thought about how to explain this ‘…get in there, you know. It’s who I am dad.’ Stoick opened the passengers door, and Hiccup took place next to his father.
‘Uh, son, you are many things, but a careful hiker is not one of them. Just make sure you don’t break your foot again…’
Then he started the car, and they rode off. The trip home only had questions as “how was school?” or “Did Gobber teach anything special?”. Hiccup only shrugged, answered yes or no when the time was right, and then came the question why he was carrying a stone.
‘It’s for my rock-collection, dad!’ Hiccup quickly said. He only hoped Stoick didn’t know anything about his hobbies.
It took Stoick exactly ten seconds to figure out something wasn’t quite right in his explanation.
‘I thought you stopped collecting rocks when you became twelve?’ Of course, Hiccup forgot that he often took rocks home, to let them linger in his room for about a week, and then be thrown out by his mother when she cleaned his room.
‘Oh, no! I just… wasn’t very pleased with the rocks I found lately…’ was his best excuse. Then the car stopped, and he jumped out of it.
‘Don’t forget your homework, son!’ Stoick could shout out before Hiccup disappeared in the hallway. He almost ran into his mother, who was carrying a sack of potatoes.
‘No running in the house!’ she ordered him, and Hiccup had to slow down. Was he going to do it? Was he going to put the egg in boiling water?
Of course he was.
Hiccup speed walked to the kitchen, and started the boiler. Then he went to the living room, finding his grandfather there watching TV. He was glad the old man wasn’t asleep. The man’s name was Wrinkley, and Hiccup had no idea how old he was; only that he was quite fit for his age.
‘Grandpa!’ Hiccup shouted. The old man looked up, and smiled when he saw his grandson.
‘Ah Harold, good you’re here. I’m bored to death!’ he said. The man stood up, and patted Hiccup on his head.
‘Grandpa, I’m going to do something big! And I need your help with it!’ Hiccup almost whispered, since he heard his mother entering the kitchen. Old Wrinkley nodded, and pointed at the egg.
‘What’s this?’ he asked. Hiccup held the black thing up in the light.
‘It’s a dragon-egg. A Night Fury-egg, to be precise!’
Wrinkley frowned, and then nodded. ‘I’ll take your stuff up to your room, you just grab everything you need,’ he said, taking Hiccups bag and the egg. Then he disappeared to the stairs, and Hiccup walked to the kitchen to take a cauldron. He poured the boiling water in it, without his mother even noticing. It was almost as if Hiccup was never there.
Carrying the cauldron upstairs was hard, and Hiccup accidentally burned his fingers twice. When he got to his room, he saw that Wrinkley had already cleared his desk, so Hiccup dropped his cargo on it. Then he took a few steps back to look if nothing valuable was too close.
‘Here, I found the guidelines, can you read it?’ Wrinkley asked, as he handed Hiccup the dragon-book, already at the last ten pages. Hiccup’s eyes narrowed a little bit, as he had to adjust to the rune-writing again.
‘Step one: put the egg in water,’ he read out loud. Wrinkley nodded, and gently dropped the egg in the cauldron.
‘Step two: wait ten minutes,’ Hiccup then read. ‘Step three: feed him, show him/her you are trustable, and feed him a fish. If he/she wants to share it, he/she trusts you.’
Hiccup dropped the book, since there were no more steps. There were nine minutes remaining, but it seemed like an hour. Wrinkley grabbed the book again, and tried to translate what was written. It had been ages for him, but the alphabet was still in his knowledge.
Three more minutes had passed, and Hiccup took a seat next to the cauldron. He wanted to be the first human the dragon would ever see. Two more minutes passed.
Hiccup felt guilty that he didn’t tell anything to Fishlegs about his plans. Normally they did everything together, but when they turned thirteen, Hiccups clumsiness doubled, and Fishlegs seemed only interested in his console-games. During lunch they still sat at the same table, but the only thing they talked about was which level Fishlegs was at the moment.
The last minute had begun. Hiccups clothes were still wet. Wrinkley seemed to have succeeded in translating the last paragraph.
‘Eh, Harold,’ he said. But Hiccup didn’t listen. He saw movement in the egg. A little crack appeared. Was it going to be a female or a male? What color would it have? And his eyes? How big would they be?
‘Harold?’ the man tried again. Now Hiccup had stood up, and he was watching over the edge of the cauldron. He never had been so excited in his life!
‘Harold!’ Wrinkley then shouted. Hiccup turned his head to him. Only ten more seconds to go.
‘What?’ he asked. Wrinkley held the book up.
‘The egg is going to explode,’ he said in panic. Hiccups eyes became big, and he turned his head. It was too late to move it.
He heard it happen, and jumped under his bed. Wrinkley on the other hand left the room, with the door still open. There were no flames, but the boiling water was now splashing in the air, destined to fall everywhere in the room. Hiccup was glad his computer was safely under his bed.
When all was over, Hiccup crawled out of under his bed. A little ball was sitting on his sheets. It was black. Hiccups mouth fell open.
His room was disastrous. How was he going to explain this to his parents?
A little yawn came from the little Night Fury, and it stretched his limbs, then to watch Hiccup with his gigantic eyes.
‘Well hello there,’ Hiccup whispered to the dragon. It turned his head a little bit, and his ears went up in the air. It took a few steps forward, and then sat down in front of Hiccup. That moment Wrinkley entered the room again, holding a fish in his hand.
‘I got you meal,’ he said, while handing it over. The dragon’s eyes followed everything without blinking. Then he licked his mouth.
‘This fish is too big for him!’ Hiccup said. But then, the dragon grabbed the fish out of his fingers, and swallowed it whole. The two people in the room couldn’t move anymore. This tiny creature had just eaten a whole thing.
But then, the dragon made some strange sounds, as if it needed to throw up. He held his head down, and eventually dropped a little piece into Hiccups hand. Then it sat down again, heavily breathing, waiting for Hiccup to act.
‘What does it want?’ Hiccup asked. Wrinkley grabbed the book from the ground, and started reading out loud.
‘Step three says that he would share if he likes you,’ the man said. Hiccup watched the piece of fish, and felt disgust coming up. He never liked fish.
‘I think you need to eat it,’ came after that. Hiccup grunted, dropped his hands for a while, and then took the flesh between his fingers.
‘You owe me big time, dragon!’ Hiccup said, before dropping it into his mouth. Without chewing he swallowed it whole, and felt as if he had to throw up.
Now the dragon was smiling, and that was when Hiccup saw that it had no teeth. He was so amused by the sight that it didn’t come up to him that baby dragons probably only had gums.
‘I’ll call you Toothless, I think,’ Hiccup said, while picking the dragon up. Toothless crawled on Hiccups shoulder, and formed another little ball. This was way too awesome to be true; he had his very own dragon, a Night Fury to make it even better. The other villagers wouldn’t believe it, even when they saw him.
‘You’d better keep him hidden for a while. The people here are not ready for them,’ Wrinkley said, as if he knew exactly what Hiccup was thinking. Of course he was right.
Hiccup and Wrinkley were busy for almost three hours to dry Hiccups stuff. Toothless was just sleeping on his pillow, lightly snoring. The hairdryer had never been on so long, and after a while Hiccups mother entered the room.
‘What are you two doing here?’ she asked. Hiccup shrugged, and Wrinkley smiled.
‘Just a little accident,’ he said, while pointing at a glass Hiccup forgot to bring down last night. His mother stared at them for a while, but then shrugged and closed the door behind her. She didn’t even notice Toothless lying on the pillow.