ECLIPSE Chapter Sixteen

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LissaFish
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017

 

 

 

Eclipse

 

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

 

By Lissafish

 

 

LissaFish's picture
LissaFish
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 02/12/2017
Chapter Sixteen

Moonlight glistened on the cold wet rock in our cave. Toothless and Stormfly slept peacefully beside Hiccup and I.

Suddenly, Hiccup disappeared.

I sat up. “What in the world?”

Next to me was an epitaph and inscribed on it were these words:

 

               “A smallish but bravish Chief lies here”

 

“Alright who did this?” I scowled. “Ruff? Tuff? I know it was you!”

The twins snored, one on each side of Barf and Belch.

The moonlight dimmed and darkness weaved around me in strands like snakes.

 “It’s no use my dear, your poor husband is dead. My special tea has seen to that.” The silhouette of a small man stood at the mouth of the cave.

“No,” I growled. “You’re wrong.”

“He’s gone, Astrid.”

Rage boiled in my heart as I stood. “Alvin!”

“So glad to see your memory is better than that of a goldfish’s.”

“Are you responsible for all this?”

“Guilty as charged.”

“Then how about a little swift justice? Stormfly,” I seethed, “End him.”

My dragon continued to sleep, as if nothing in the world was amiss.

“Stormfly!” I shouted.

Not a single Viking or dragon stirred. Not even Toothless.

Alvin laughed. “They can’t hear you.”

Either the cave was growing or I was shrinking because it felt like I was standing alone, and everyone else was miles away. I looked back at Alvin.

He had without moving come closer, but instead of being human he looked like a shadow. The moon stood at his side like some wicked henchman.

“Who are you? Why do you want to hurt Hiccup?”

He laughed again. “Who’s to say? Certainly not you. You didn’t pay enough attention when you had the chance. Toothless tried to tell you but you didn’t listen. Now your husband has paid the price, and you can watch,” he said, “As I take everything else you hold dear. I think I’ll start with that Nadder.”

I pulled out my axe. “Over my dead body.”

An ugly grin spread across his darkened face.

With a shriek his shadow split in half, dissipating as the albino nightfury burst through with claws and fang-

 

I sat up, gasping for breath.

Moonlight glistened against the wet rocks in the cave.

Ugh. Creepy and weird nightmare.

Sneaking over I found Hiccup sleeping soundly. It was good to see him get some real rest, he’d been so sick from the poison. Toothless’ green eyes reflected in the moonlight as he watched me, and Stormfly stretched and rolled over on her back, legs in the air like a dead chicken.

 

Alvin.

As I sat trying to get my heartrate down I started to simmer. That little weasel. What was his plan? Why had he done this? Hmph didn’t matter. The minute I set foot in Berk would be the minute he breathed his last breath, and that’s all I cared about.

Somewhere in the distance a dragon gave a shrill whistle. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

It was an echo-location whistle.

Stormfly turned upright and bruxed nervously.

A nightfury was here.

I hoped against hope that it was Ebony, and glanced around to see if someone else was awake.

Where was Snotlout?

Although I looked I couldn’t see him anywhere. Footprints tracked out of the cave.

Mutton head! He just had to wander off didn’t he.

I took my axe and followed, ordering Stormfly to stay. No point in putting her in danger too.

 

I thought it would be easy to find Snotlout. WRONG. The Jorgenson was either the stealthiest Viking in the world or I was just rusty on my tracking skills without my Nadder. I was betting on the latter.

A breeze picked up, rustling leaves and making twigs to snap.

Have you ever had the feeling someone is watching you? Or something? I remember once when I was very small I was helping my mom with the laundry. We had hung the clothes out on a line and she asked me to bring them in. Our hut was closest to the forest where wolves and other creatures were known to prowl and as I put the laundry in the basket I felt eyes on me.

Well I was having that same feeling again big time. Every other footstep I made seemed to echo and I couldn’t decide if it was the wind or some unwanted guest lurking in the shadows.

To my surprise Snotlout’s tracks led me right to the edge of a clearing where we had stood only two days ago, just beyond the Deathsongs’ den.

Through the dark I could see him crouched behind a boulder.

“Snotlout!” I hissed, coming up behind him. “What are you doing out here?”

He jumped at the sound of my voice. With on hand he pulled me down to join him and the other he put over my mouth, shushing me.

I thought better of punching him in the face. But I won’t lie I was tempted.

What? I mouthed, yanking his hand away.

He pointed around the boulder.

The albino nightfury stood only a hundred meters away.

I recoiled and gripped my axe tightly. Why couldn’t it have been Ebony? I whined inside my brain.

“Look,” Snotlout barely whispered, leaning over the rock.

I shook my head and scowled. He was going to give us away.

He rolled his eyes- then pointed at them and made X’s, and pointed at her.

Curiosity took the reigns and I looked up again.

Her back was turned to us. The ears and nose were hard at work, but fortune was on our side. The wind was blowing our scent away from the dragon and the rustling leaves had disguised my previous footfalls.

She had no idea we were there.

 

We watched. Back arched the dragon gingerly picked her way over to the Deathsong’s den.

Skulking over to the cave, she crouched like a cat and wriggled her tail, then with a pounce blocked the entrance, listening for a reaction.

When none came she didn’t relax. In fact she seemed mad. The dragon growled and searched the foreground. She sniffed the rocky grave of the late owner of this territory, and with a snort, turned and kicked dirt at it.

What was she looking for? Us?

Snotlout clenched teeth as she drew near. I slipped back behind the rock, and saw in his hands a crude bow, made of willow branch and hemp. With it were three arrows.

In his eyes was cold hatred, I could almost see his thoughts. To attack and end it now, for him, for her, or both? Why not? What was stopping him?

The bow slowly lifted.

I stayed his hand.

“Don’t do it, Snotlout,” I whispered.

The Nightfury shot her head up, red eyes wide.

We both held our breath.

She turned to the north. Even I could hear it over the wind, a strange barking sound.

She ran in the direction.

I sighed in relief.

Snotlout balled his fist. “Let go of my arm. I’m following that dragon.”

“Alright,” I did what he asked.

Between you and me, Snotlout and I share… well, anger management issues. And I’ve learned it’s better not to try to reason by force because it only makes our kind just that much more angry.

“I won’t stop you. I can’t. Just don’t do anything stupid.”

He looked down at the flimsy bow. It was really a stupid idea. A dragon can deflect crossbow arrows with the swipe of a wing- how was this little stick supposed to have an effect??

“I will avenge him,” He growled. “If it means a fight to the death, I will avenge Hookfang.”

“Boy, that would make him mad.” I crossed my arms. “Furious, really.”

Snotlout looked at me dumbfounded. “What? Why?”

“Oh I don’t know.” I shrugged. “Maybe because he sacrificed himself to protect you… and instead of being grateful to be alive you want to get yourself killed avenging him… when you could be helping to rescue everyone else and yourself by coming back with me and telling them that a crazed dragon is hunting us down…”

At last Snotlout lowered the bow. “Fine. I won’t go after her. For now. But don’t think this is over.”

“Come on, Snotlout.” I patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

“Rawk?”

Turning, we both had mini-heart attacks. Stormfly stood less than an arm’s length away. She’d been eavesdropping on us the whole time.

 

 

 

When we got back the cave was abuzz, everybody and their dragon was awake.

“…they could have had their eyes sucked out of their sockets and then their brains slurped up afterwards. That would explain such a terrible barking.” Tuff was finishing. He caught sight of us. “Oh no! Their ghosts! Their horrible, eyeless, brainless ghosts have come back to haunt us! What did we ever do to you to deserve this? I mean, well yeah I can understand Snotlout-“

“-Can indeed, my dear bro-“

“But Astrid? We dared not cross you! So why?? WHY??? We plead the fifth.”

“Pipe down!” Fishlegs put a hand over the mouths of both Thorstons. “Do you want to draw attention to us?”

“I can guarantee that you don’t,” I warned in low tones, close enough to glare with my allegedly missing eyes.

“Oh false alarm their still alive.” Ruff grumbled disappointedly.

“There is something clinically wrong with you both.” Heather shot back.

“Are you guys ok?” Hiccup asked, sitting with his hands on his head.

“We’re fine.”

“Where were you? Why did you go? Did you see anything weird out there?” The twins interrogated.

“We were at the Deathsong’s cave. The Albino is here.”

“The Albino?” Hiccup looked up, “Is she following us?”

“Sure is. Guess one dragon’s not enough to appease that appetite.” Snotlout simmered. “She wants the whole buffet.”

“We don’t know that,” I rolled my eyes and made my way over to Hiccup. “For certain. But she is here… and I’m pretty sure she had something to do with the Deathsong’s demise.”

“Called it!” Tuff dabbed.

“Why?” Heather asked.

“She kicked dirt at his gave.”

“That could have been circumstantial,” Fishlegs suggested. “Dragons kick dirt at stuff for lots of reasons. Marking their territory, digging, burying a favorite bone, showing dislike, disgracing another dragon, insulting or taunting a viking or dragon, beating another dragon in a fight… ”

We stared at him.

“Ok you’re probably right.”

“Are the others with her?”

“No it was just her.”

“The Deathsong’s lair is over a half mile away. Why did you guys just get up and go there in the middle of the night?”

I glanced over at Snotlout. He looked away nervously.

“Snotlout… heard something, and went to check it out. I woke up and followed him.”

“Guys, I hate to be Thor Thundercloud here, but won’t your scent lead her back to us?” Fighlegs gulped, throwing his arms around Meatlug.

“She didn’t catch our scent, something barked and turned her attention away.”

“That is one k.iller Nightfury,” Tuff snorted. “She takes out everything in her way!”

“He’s right,” I admitted. “She is a k.iller nightfury. And all the others follow her lead.”

“Do you think they may not be as hostile as she is?”

“Who knows? Ebony wasn’t so bad.”

“But she was an outcast.”

“I’m just saying my gut feeling is this whole thing is about her. The albino I mean.”

“Why would a Nightfury do something like this, Hiccup?” Heather asked. “She was not attacking us, she was attacking our dragons.”

Hiccup sighed. “I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense.” He stroked Toothless. The silky black dragon purred. “Intelligent, loyal, brave. That’s the Nightfury I know. This albino, we have no history of her, no one has ever claimed to have seen her and I’ve never heard a single story of such a creature. She came out of nowhere.”

“On pale white wings she flies, like a piece of the moon in the black night sky. From whence she came and where she shall go we know not, only that death is in her blood red eyes.” Tuff broke out in poem.

“Hmmm…” A spark of light returned to Hiccups eyes. “I don’t know where she came from, but I know someone who might.”

Fishlegs did his about-to-learn-something-new-about-dragons dance. “You’re mom! If anyone would know she would.”

Hiccup nodded. “We need to go back to Berk. If she’s not following us then this is the direction she’s probably leading the pack... which means they’re headed straight for Berk anyway. If she is following us our best chance will be with the entire village helping us ward them off.”

“Yeah that’s not the only reason you should get back,” Dagur, who had remained silent this whole time spoke. “You’ve got a problem.”

“I know. My head feels like it was stepped on by a Buffalord.”

“Juicy.” Someone inserted that lovely picture.

“I’m talking about Alvin.” The Berserker said in a serious tone.

“What?” Hiccup looked surprised. “What about Alvin?”

“He poisoned you.”

“No, he couldn’t have. We drank that tea together, he couldn’t have known what was in it. It was meant for him and we should warn him as soon as possible.”

“No. It was meant for you. When I was in my- rebellious, stage, I was a bit of a paranoid freak. That’s what happens when you successfully make enemies out of every viking and dragon in the Archipelago. Good times.”

Everyone scowled with arms crossed.

“Heh heh so anyway one day there came a guest to Berserker Island. He called himself Alvin, the poor but honest farmer. Well he was neither poor, honest or a farmer. At his arrival he held a feast of bounty from his ‘farm’ and he invited half the tribe. They ended up all mysteriously passed-out. Turns out the shrimpy dork that reminded me a lot of you Hiccup was a treacherous fellow and none other than chief of the outcasts. He very nearly took Berserker Island, but in my paranoia not only did I have a food sampling bodyguard -Odin rest his soul- but I’d buried warning signals and traps across the shores of the entire island. And unfortunately for Alvin, I had just acquired a skrill. That dragon sent him packing pretty quick, but not without doing extensive damage. We still haven’t rebuilt everything.”

The expression on Hiccup’s face hardened.

“I’m sorry to put this on you brother, right after all that you went through, but Alvin is dangerous and he has plans for Berk.”

With effort, and a little help from Toothless Hiccup stood. “We ride for Berk.” He said, fists clenched. “This minute.”

“What about the albino?” Fishlegs cringed.

“What about her?” Hiccup growled. “Without her pack there’s little she can do against all of us.”

Toothless snarled. He would be ready this time.