Book 7 - The Crimson Storm - Chapter 35: Only the Beginning - With Epilogue

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httyyd
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Here is the end of Book 7.  Crazy to think about it that it has gone by this fast.  Granted, my last book went to 50 chapters and this is only 35.  So, it will undoubtedly go faster.  But still.

 

I hope you all have enjoyed the ride and tell me what you think!

 

The next books will wait a little bit before starting it, though I cannot wait to start it because I have been thinking about it for over a year.  Trying not to overlook Book 7 was difficult a first, but once I got in the thick of things with this book, it got better to focus on this book as I went along.  I took the opportunity to set several things up for the next book in this book.

 

But while you wait for the next book, I do have a short story planned to bridge some of the gap between Book 7 and 8.  Remember, Book 8 will take place at the same time as Httyd 2, so there will be a time gap between Book 7 and 8.  The short story will take care of the first bit of the time gap.

 

If you have any unanswered plot points of this book, feel free to ask them.  Are there any suggestions for a type of story in the future (Who done it, missing persons' case, find clues 1-5 to solve, stolen goods mystery, etc.), character suggestions, additions to current characters, anything you would like to explore.

 

I have plans to go watch Httyd 3 when it comes out next Friday, so based on that movie and what transpires, I will definitely be looking into doing something for that movie.  But, with that being said, I have already decided that since what Book 8 will be like apart from Httyd 2, I thought it would be cool to have the book that corresponds to Httyd 3 take place at the same time with Jarl and the crew helping Hiccup and the gang.  Whatever the story of Httyd 3 is, I thought it would be awesome to try an expand it to include Jarl and the crew to make an even bigger story than the movie shows and to make a big mystery for Jarl and the crew to solve.

 

But without further delay, I hope you all enjoy the ending of Book 7 - The Crimson Storm!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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The Wedding

New - Part 4

 

Book 8 Coming Soon!!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

The Crimson Storm

 

Chapter 35

Only the Beginning

 

         Einar and I come up to each other, I say, "On guard?"

         I raise my sword up, he was not going to, but he was a bit surprised that I did say that.  My friends that came with me made a circle around us to make sure Einar did not escape; I had no intention to.

         Einar crosses forward from right to left, I dodge left while deflecting his sword to my right.  Immediately, he comes with a backhanded swing, I duck down, then try to sweep his legs.  He rolls backwards.

         We size each other up again, but while we wait, I speak to him, "Oh, I didn't answer your one question before about our plan coming here.  Our plan was actually to get captured."

         Einar looks at me like I am a troll, I continue, "Yes, as much as would probably go against all reason, we really did plan on being captured.  Since you were expecting us anyway, we tried to use it to our advantage.  Now, we also planned on trying to do this without being captured.  But by bringing all of us, we thought maybe we could inconvenience you by having so many people with us.  Then when everything was going according to plan that we were going to be captured, doubt started creeping in if this was the right choice or not.  And everything went cah put and you nearly won."

         Now I go on the offensive and lunge forward, he blocks it as I did, but I continue my momentum going forward by swinging my left leg at him, kicking him in the side, and pushing him stumbling back again.  Einar was not expecting that.

         Intentionally letting my guard down by laying my sword over my left shoulder, I ask Einar, "There is still one thing I do not get.  What was you end game with the Gale Force dragon?"

         Einar corrects, "Gale Heart."

         "Whatever," I contend.

         "The Gale Heart," he emphasizes.  "Was thought to be the King of Dragons, hence why Johann was in on the plan.  Johann had come to me several years ago, when I first came to this archipelago, about a prophecy.  Little did he know that is exactly why I came to this place.  He told me of his quest to find the King of Dragons.  Knowing the vikings that I know, I knew that even if this prophecy had a shred of truth, it could still be of benefit to me.  If not, then I was just going to sell it off to someone else.”

         Einar steps closer, so I then reach out my sword in front of me to prepare for any attack; Einar adds, “There are still parts to the prophecy that you don’t even know because you would have to be one of us to know what it is like to be a warrior and build a legacy only to have it ripped away from you and your children and then be cast out.”

         I interject, “That was a long sentence.”

         “You think your friends Garth and Lilah are the good guys?  How long has Garth been your so-called friend yet has been misleading you about his backstory?  And Lilah.  Putting her interests first before what would be the proper time to come stop my plans.  Though, had either of you waited even one more day, my plans would have been complete.  So, it would be I that would have wished Lilah to have stayed away,” Einar finishes.  “But of all the questionable decision making, why call me out for a duel like this?”

         I answer, “You’ll see here in a minute.”

         Now putting my plan into action, I go on the offensive.  As any good swordsman would do, as much as Einar may not have been expecting me to go on the attack, he was ready for it.  My tendency is to play defensive, see the opponent’s pattern, then attack accordingly in counter to their attacks.  But I have something specific in mind.

         In a flurry of swings, back and forth, I aim to get Einar unbalanced.  But he blocks, deflects, or parries everything single attack that I make.  Taking my cue, he then counters my lunge forward by slapping it aside with his sword and lunging at me.  Taking a dodging step backwards, I see that he reaches out twice in consecutive fashion, swinging from left bottom to upper right and then from right middle to straight across.  The middle attack, I step right and the last attack, I somersault roll away back up to my feet.

         Einar keeps the pressure on by forcing me to continue going backwards, closer to the edge of the opening; my friends are right there, but I tell them to step back as to not get touched by the slicing swords.

         Swipe right across, slice upper right to down left, lunge forward, step back… This is the pattern that I am seeing now.  I throw in some counters and parries every once in a while, to keep him honest.

         Looking down to the right side behind me, I see that we are getting close to the border of the opening.  Choosing to stand my ground, I make my move.

         I wait for Einar to lunge forward.  When he does, I anticipate the move and lean to the left.  My anticipation without contact with a parry or anything, throws Einar off a little by having him take a couple extra steps forward.  Right as he does that, I take the butt end of my sword and through a left cross to Einar’s face, he staggers back a bit.  With him dazed, I continue my left to right motion by throwing a reverse kick with my right foot to his head, and then finish it off with a bull rush.  Einar is taken by surprise, and I body slam him to the floor.  In the process, he loses his sword as we both crashes down.  Now completely dazed, I take advantage.  Throwing a few left and right crosses to his face, I stop.  My mind wants me to continue, but I know that both my hearts want me to stop, so I do.

         Standing up, I grab Einar by the scruff of his shirt to make him kneel in front of me.  Looking out over all the crowd, except for my friends and family, I see that they all expect something next to happen.  I take out my sword, but I do something else with it… I toss it to the side, near Annabeth.

         Calling out, I show, “Out of all the things I could have done to this viking, I challenge you to see the difference.  Someone who gave two people zero chances to come back alive and someone who should have gone a lot further than I did, but would rather stop a fight short from winning than stoop lower than the level of that which I despise.  Einar is no leader of you.  You can decide for yourself who you want to lead, how to do so, and give people a chance when no one says that they should be given one.  Einar is in this for himself.  I wanted to make an example of him.  We are not your enemy here, nor is the Izarians.  Now, I still do not know the full story, but I challenge you this, ‘When was the last time you questioned what you were following?  Who here has questioned Einar?’  I hear that some of you don’t even know why you are fighting the Izarians.  How do you know if you are on the good side?’”

         Murmurs of opinions are made and to me it sounds like I started to make my point clear.

         I continue, “Like I said before, trust is a tricky subject-.”

         I was going to continue, but I see Lilah and Adonis flying over head with a figure behind her.  The figure behind her is one Throst Thorkinson!

         Landing, Lilah then nudges the boy forward and speaks, “Tell them what you told me.”

         Throst reluctantly said, “Einar is not who he says he is, or at least what all you think that he is.  He has used our tribe to get at the Gale Heart dragon.  Our tribe has always had this prophecy, but Jarl is right, Einar has not been truthful with us.  There something he intentionally left out: Yes, the prophecy was for the return of a dragon, a Titan Wing dragon, but it was not the Gale Force.  If you pay attention to how it reads, it is in past tense.  Meaning, the Titan dragon would already be a Titan Wing, not that it would transform here.  The Grapple Grounder is already a Titan and came here.  After all, this is the home of the Grapple Grounder and I am sure Jarl’s three friends came from here too.”

         A bit surprised at this revelation about Aqua Blue and the other two, I shift my focus back on Einar.  Einar’s look has changed to a look of guilt and wanting revenge on me spoiling his plans.

         “You’re finished Einar,” I tell him.  “You’re through.”

         Einar chuckles, “Not by a long shot.”

         Einar then jumps up and tackles me to the ground.  My friends come to my aid and try to restrain him, but to no avail.  Einar makes quick work of my friends, tossing them back away.  My father and mother come in as well.  Einar dodges or blocks every single attack that either of them could dish out.  It is like Einar is a totally different viking now, as if he has been holding back all this time.

         It is fist to fist, but Einar takes out a small dagger from his sleeve and swipes out to make room.  Father and mother desperately jump back out of the way as to not get cut.  Annabeth starts to come at Einar, but he swipes out.  As Annabeth started to come, I sprint towards Einar.  Annabeth distracts him enough for me to tackle Einar.  Einar and I roll side over side before coming to rest with Einar over me and both of us very close to the edge of the opening.  Einar is trying to force his dagger down on me while I hold him back with all my might.

         Einar comments, “Are you ever going to give up?”

         Just then an explosion happens above; everyone’s attention is diverted for a moment, yet that is all Einar needs.

         “You know,” I reply.  “I was going to say the same to you.”

         I retract my hidden blade from my right bracer.

He releases some of his pressure on me for a split second as he spots the blade.

He smiles and says, “Thank you.”

If that did not surprise me, what he did next did.

         He lets go of his dagger, taking back his arms and… And falls down on my blade which pierces his left side.

         Stunned by Einar’s actions, I freeze, lying still.

         “A war is beginning.  This battle is done,” Einar whispers in my ear, “But a storm is still coming.”

         He then intentionally rolls over me just as my father comes over to try and grab him.  Einar falls over the edge of the opening!

         A few more explosions happen as I stand up.

         I try to say but I can only mouth the words, “What just happened?”

         Abruptly, I am pushed to the side.

         Annabeth states, “That’s twice now.”

         “What?” I ask.

         “Snap out of it, Jarl,” Annabeth points to where I had been standing.

         The place is now covered with acid… Changewing acid to be exact!

         Looking up, I see Koll’s Changewing screaming at us, then firing another round of shots.  My friends, family, and I retreat in the opposite direction of the opening to find some cover, but Throst runs into the line of fire.  The Changewing continues to fire down, but I understand now.  He is suppressing us while Throst can try to escape.  Throst jumps into the opening and the Changewing dives after him.  The rest of us rush to the edge only to look down and see completely nothing.

         The Changewing did what a Changewing does… Vanishes.

         Not only that, but I cannot even see Einar.  I whistle for Fredrick to come over.  Mounting him, I dive down into the chamber and fly down.  I make it all the way down to the bottom and no sight of either Einar or Throst and the Changewing.  But what I do see at the recently hardened lava core, Einar’s dagger.

         “He definitely fell, but did he impact the bottom?  Did someone rescue him?  Did Throst have enough time to get Einar?  Is Einar alive?  Did he fake his own death?”

         My thoughts start racing as it sinks in, I was played.

         I fly Fredrick back to the top to hear my father saying, “…long gone by now.  Which direction do we take first?  Would we be correct or going the exact opposite way?  Throst could have gone in any number of directions.  And with the Changewing’s abilities, both would be completely impossible to track.”

         A moment of silence came before Annabeth presented a question to me, “It looked as if he said something to you before going over the side.”

         “He did,” I answer.  “‘A storm is still coming.’”

         Lilah insists, “But that’s impossible.  We foiled Einar’s plans here and stopped the prophecy from coming true.”

         I submit to the group, “Was there ever a prophecy to begin with?  Was this all just a ruse to get us to sell out from a wild goose chase when Einar had something else in mind?  He did say there were many parts to the prophecy that we did not know about.  If there is any shred of truth in that, then I have the very distinct feeling that this isn’t the last we have seen of Einar Verodfellar.”

         Lilah contends, “But how?  You stabbed him before he fell over to his doom.”

         I shake my head, “I didn’t stab him,” I retract my hidden blade and take it out.

         I look at it.  Though Einar fell on me, Einar is the first viking I have ever stabbed.  My emotions wanted me to go further, but that is not who I am.  I will do my absolute best never to stoop so low as to have to take a life.  But with what has happened over the last day and night, I beginning to wonder if this will get tested again.  If so, to what degree and will I be able to prove that my spirit will never die?

         Shaking off the feeling for later, I lean down and wipe the blood off of the blade on the ground, “He intentionally fell on my blade and no body is at the bottom, only Einar’s dagger.  He definitely fell over, but without a body and only cut -though fairly deep- it was at his side and will no doubt recover, it is only fair to assume that Einar escaped, probably on the back of Koll’s dragon.”

         Just then the rest of my friends come down, who were up above the islands.

         Dawn, in a fit of frustration, “I saw the Changewing come out.  But he flew directly at me.  As Fawn took over to get out of the charging Changewing, I look back behind and see nothing.  I can’t believe Throst got away.”

         Lilah adds with an equal amount of frustration, “This was all a well-timed plan.  Throst got me to believe he was telling the truth when I went out searching for him.  He was the only player in this whole thing that was unaccounted for.  He also knew all the right things to say to make me think that he wanted to double cross Einar, when in fact he was going to double cross me.”

         I chuckle, “Looks like he learned something from Koll.”

         Taking a look at Einar’s dagger, I notice a symbol on the hilt of the sword.  It strikes me as something I have seen before.  An so, I play a hunch.

         “Lilah?” I ask.

         “Yes,” she responds.

         “Does this look familiar?” I question her as I give her Einar’s dagger.

         Taking a moment, the expression on her face turns pale, even in this darkness, “That’s… That’s my clan’s seal.  No one would have a dagger like this except…”

         Lilah pauses, I encourage, “Go on.”

         Now with a tone of worry and confusion, she answers, “The only ones that would have a dagger like this would be a high-ranking officer in our Sentinel protectors.  These daggers were more for ceremonies, yet they still could be used as a weapon.  The only way Einar could have gotten one of these daggers is if he had gone into our headquarters, into our sanctuary, and stolen it himself… Unless…”

         Lilah hesitates after saying that, I echo, “Unless what?”

         “Unless it was given to him,” Lilah states.

         Garth asks, “How?  The only way someone else could be given such a prized possession of a Sentinel is if a Sentinel gave it to them.  These daggers are locked away in a place only a Sentinel would know to look.  How in the world could Einar…”  Lilah trails off with the realization of how.

         I finish for her, “Vixxen gave it to him.”  Everyone looked up attentively but none were surprised.  “You’ve said yourself Lilah, she was once a Sentinel herself.  Vixxen herself has said this and I believe that part of her backstory has some level of truth to it.  I almost feel as if Einar went through all of this just to show how far Einar is willing to go to get what he wanted.  Einar wanted to show all of us what we are up against and to say that there is more to this than any of us know.  But also to inform us that there is a lot more to do and we are only getting started.”

         “Regardless of how this came about,” Annabeth’s chimes in… With a wannabe Jarl like voice.  “Whatever Einar got in the end, it was not a nearly invincible Titan Wing Gale Heart dragon.  We just were not meant to defeat him today, or tonight rather… This morning.  I would say, ‘Tomorrow is a new day,’ but it is technically tomorrow from what we thought before.”

         I roll my eyes and throw up my arms.

         While walking back to our dragons, we are approached by a few individuals, some of whom are wearing masks.

         One of them says, “I feel like a fool for believing in Einar’s lies.  He sold me on the power he said he could provide, but even he was never one of us.  He came in from the outside after we had already set sail to this island in search of the prophecy.  Then come to find out that Einar already knows about the prophecy and an extensive history of where we come from.  Einar must have seen an opportunity with the Masked Vikings to take advantage of them, and that he did.”

         Another man adds, “He must have swayed a few others because while the rest of us were watching the scene below, the other slipped away to set off the explosions as a diversion for Einar’s escape.  We did not see that until it was too late.”

         The first viking concludes, “We were able to capture a few of them as they too tried to escape, but the rest seemed to vanish off the face of the earth.”  He pauses, “But you, Jarl, definitely showed me, all of us something that we had totally forgotten about.  Our people had already been reeling about losing our home in the matter in which we did.  Yet know, I feel even that was a disguise as to what truly went down.  After living in cooperation with the Izarians for many generations, an unprovoked attack came.  After sparing the majority of our people, we were sent into exile in exchange for our homeland.  You have definitely shown that Einar is not to be trusted, and I am beginning to question, as you said, that what happened to our home had Einar’s hands in it somehow.  He always knew so much about our people that we never had a reason to question his authority.  He filled everyone’s head with reasons to hate the Izarians and take revenge on them for what they did.  Einar has a way with words to let us hear everything we wanted to hear.  This made us want to fight back.  Then when you and your friends started ‘butting in’, Einar said needed to get rid of you.  We tried, several times, but you kept going.  The longer things went, there were some of us starting to wonder about our tactics, but none dared to challenge Einar.  Until now, thanks to you.”

         This came across very genuine and let them say their peace.  Lilah then came in and discussed ways to help them get back their home, which included the Masked Vikings being recruited to Lilah’s ranks in the war against the Dragon Hunters.  She said she could get some of her contacts to help with what exactly the Masked Vikings could help with in Lilah’s efforts against Einar Verodfellar.

         It looked like some of the Masked Vikings wanted to say something to me, but are too ashamed to face me.

         Instead, I walk up behind him at tap the main viking who spoke before, on the back.  Turning around he is amazed to see me.  What I do next completely stuns everyone around we did not want to talk to me.

         I hold out my hand.

         The guy hesitates for a moment, before slowly reaching for my hand, and giving it a firm handshake.

         No words are spoken, but none are needed.  The rest of the people of these islands, begin to clean up and repair what can be and salvage what has been destroyed.

         Lilah had been talking with the one viking, but stopped short to turn back around talk to, “Aiyana?”

         Aiyana steps forward and Lilah wonders, “How would you like to work for me?  I could use a viking with your skill set.”

         As if this is the first time someone has ever helped Aiyana, she is left speechless.  Kaimana then nudges Aiyana in the back towards Lilah.  We all laugh.

         I comment, “Someone wants you to say yes.”

         “But,” Aiyana stutters.  “After all I did, you are still willing to let me help you?”

         “Skipping the parts where you did try to capture us and ended up doing so and also shot me in the back with an arrow,” I chuckle but say very seriously.  “Everyone deserves a second chance.  You have been in the position for many years that all you could think about was saving your dragon.  You may have gone to lengths and pushed yourself to do things that you normally wouldn’t do.  But when it really mattered, you helped defeat the Gale Heart dragon and stood with my friends against Einar.  I still don’t know what I would have done if I were in your situation, but showed your true colors once you knew your dragons was safe.  Being free of a burden like that let your light shine through as you then trusted your dragon to be the one that could stop the Gale Heart.  You go from having to worry about Kaimana being in a dangerous situation to trusting her and letting her go into a dangerous situation.  The seed has been planted to build the trust.  Now, what are you going to do with tending to it?”

         Aiyana smiles, and thanks me.

         “No problem,” I return, even Annabeth nods in approval.

         Lilah stays behind to help sort a few things out with the vikings, Aiyana goes with her.  A few of my friends stay behind to help with debris clean up.  Everyone insisted that Annabeth and I have done enough and we should get to go home first.  After trying to contest such a demand because we wanted to help, we were nearly shoved back onto our dragons and dragged away; even our dragons wanted to stay.

         We do mount our dragons to fly home.

         Even though this has been the hardest fight I have fought yet, I feel like this is just getting started.  If there is to be a war, this felt is merely the warm-up.  If so, I wonder if I should take Garth up on his request for our help in his fight because if this is the best we can do, how much help would we be?  Also, it seems as though Einar thinks that the Izarians have done something wrong.  Is it bad to entertain the thought of Garth and Lilah did do something wrong?

         As much as I know Garth and Lilah and consider them both my friend, I never knew where Garth had come from.  He never lied about his past, he just never talked about it.  I thought maybe something bad had happened to his family, but Garth never treated it like he had actually lost his family.  Garth seemed a bit regretful of what happened.  On the other hand, maybe he was regretful for all these years for not telling me in the first place.  Had I been in his position, would I really want to recruit someone that had no battle experience but some bouts with some Outcasts and Berserkers?  What place is there for mystery solver in a war?  Maybe that is the point.  These last two mysteries seem very connected to each other, especially with the players involved.  There is something here that neither side is seeing, neither side is understanding, and neither side wants to see.  An outside view is needed, but what will it cost me to solve that mystery?  My friends never signed up to be a part of a war, but if I do not help, then innocent vikings may be hurt by me not doing anything.  I know what I need to do, but at the same time, I do not know what I need to do.  What I do know is I need to think about this some more to set my priorities in order.

         While looking at Annabeth flying in front of me, I have other ideas.

 

Epilogue

 

         Over the next few hours it takes to get back to Mystery, I see the darkness in the sky turn lighter.

         My family, and Cazi are the few to make the trip back.  The rest stayed behind.

         Once we got back to the island, I flew up to Annabeth and said, waving, “Come on.”

         Annabeth follows me to the eastern part of the island.  I find part of the beach, towards the middle of the island, and land there.  Annabeth follows suit.

         Leading her to a rather large rock close to the shoreline, I sit down and invite Annabeth to do so.  I sit down first and let Annabeth lean up against my right side.  I use the rock as a back rest.  Taking my right arm, I reach around her waist as leans her head on my shoulder, she has her left arm around my waist.  Tilting my head, I lean on Annabeth’s head.  We stare off into the horizon.

         Getting lost in time, I have hardly any thoughts right now and I am enjoying the moment.

         Eventually, the sun’s first rays poke above where the ocean meets the sky.

         The sun is starting to rise.

         As the sun is nearly half way risen, Annabeth asks me, “What are you thinking?”

         My eyes dart around a bit while I look forward, a few moments later, I respond, “It is like I am watching the sun rise for the first time in my life.”

         Annabeth softly inquires, “How so?”

         I sigh with a feeling of peace, “Every thing I thought I had ever wanted, I finally see what I want in my life as plain as a yak in on a chicken farm.”

         Annabeth chuckles, learns forward to turn and look at me, “What do you see?”

         “You,” I smile.

         Annabeth blushes a little but then retorts, “Do I look like a yak to you?”

         “No,” I laugh, shaking my head.  “I just… I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  What about you?”

         Annabeth answers, “Same here.  I cannot see myself anywhere else but at your side.”

         “That one moment,” I speak gently.  “When… I thought I lost you.  I felt my heart falling away from me.  Without you, Annabeth, I don’t know where I would be?”

         Annabeth grins, “First guess would be asleep somewhere.”

         I shake my head, Annabeth continues, “While I was willing to give up my life for you, when it actually happened, all I could think of was you… And falling.”  I smile.  “But I knew,” she states.  “It could not be the end because I too see the rest of my life with you.”

         “I know we said we would wait,” I sit up.  “But what is there to wait for?”

         Annabeth points out, “The planning part.  No one should go into anything without a plan, we need to be prepared.”

         “I agree,” I say and then decide.  “Snoggletog is only a few months away.  That is also the time when we met for the first time.”

         “Snoggletog it is,” Annabeth agrees.  “I would like to make this as special as you are to me.”

         I take note and add, “This is also monumental.  First marriage between a Berkian and a Berserker.  This could have lasting impact between the two tribes for years to come.”

         Annabeth quips, “No pressure.”

         I also say, “But that is not why I am doing this.  And with the Snoggletog celebration and that in mind, this could be pretty big thing to plan for.  To do it right, we would definitely need the few months to plan for it.  My mom could make your wedding dress to your liking, Hiccup and Astrid would make a good couple to be a groomsman and bridesmaid -not to mention Astrid needling Hiccup about it-, not sure who would walk you down the aisle, oh, and there would be a huge cake, we could fly out on our dragons afterward… Now that I am thinking about it, there is a lot to plan for”

         As the orange glow of the bright sun shine on Annabeth’s face and glisten off her eyes, I look at her, “I love you, Annabeth.  I see myself with no one but you.  I want you and I commit to you.  I promise to be with you,” Now I quip, “Pause for dramatic effect…  Will you marry me?”

         Annabeth chuckles.

 

         She answers me with a kiss.

 

         “Now,” I say trying not to smile.  “Is that a yes?”

         Annabeth slaps me in the back of the head, “Yes, idiot, that is a yes.”

         “Aw,” I grin.  “I thought you were going to kiss me again after saying yes.”

         “You may get an elbow to the side if you keep pressing,” Annabeth contends.

         “Guess I’ll have to settle for holding you close to me,” I said.

         Now with both my arms wrapping around Annabeth.

         As Annabeth resumes her position next to me, she jests, “I am glad I know you for who you are, because if you would have said that to me a few years ago that you would have to ‘settle’ for that you probably I would have elbowed you anyway, or worse.”

         “Yeah,” I state.  “There is a pun here that I could say, but I am having trouble finding the right way to say it.  I am already in a hole and shouldn’t dig it deeper.”

         “That’s good,” Annabeth said.  “Because then we wouldn’t be able to see the sunrise.”

         “Why would it be like that?” I asked.

         “I mean,” Annabeth says.  “I would be done in the hole with you.  Even if it is you digging a hole with your puns… I would at the very least be handing you the shovel.”

         “I would facepalm right now,” I tell her.  “But I have something way more important that I don’t want to let go.”

         She leans her head on my shoulder again, I hold her closer to me, as we sit back and watch the sun rise on a new day.

         Suddenly I am pushed from behind.  Both Annabeth and I are knocked forward.  Whirling around, I see the nose of one Star Scream trying to dig into my pockets with his nose.

         “Told you he would remember that promise,” Annabeth shrugs her shoulders.

         “I did promise him, yes,” I say as I reach into my pocket and take out all of my dragon nip to give to the Titan.

         Then I look at Annabeth.

         “I always keep a promise.”