Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 17: Back on Track

3 replies [Last post]
httyyd's picture
httyyd
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013

What I had written for this chapter, I find out that I wrote some before I thought this chapter started.  So, you guys get a bit more in this chapter than I remembered.  But that is what I get for being so inconsistent in my posts.  I have worked on a pretty good schedule for each week and have done pretty well in keeping to it, one thing I wanted to change for the new year:  Have a plan for the week.  Do my best to adhere to it.  But to get "Back on Track" (reference intended but not when I originally thought of the title for just Jarl and the crew, it also applies to me.), I had written a little over 1500 words in addition to what I just finished up for this chapter.

 

All that being said, I want to get back to a weekly schedule of doing chapters, at the very least every other week.  It is a goal and I will do my best to get back to the schedule I once had.

 

You are like, "Enough words, let's read the good stuff!"

 

Hope you enjoy the chapter!

__________________

Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

Member/Group Leader of S.O.D.A.H.T

 

Click SoD Hack Watch or SoDAHT to report a hacking:

Also use this form to help better keep track of the hackers:  (click here for form)

 

Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

httyyd's picture
httyyd
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Here is the music mix for

Here is the music mix for this chapter:

2 Hours of Epic Inspirational Music: QUEST - GRV MegaMix

 

The Shattered Axe

 

Chapter 17

Back on Track

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         Being speechless is putting it mildly.

         I just stare trying to find the words.

         Easing off and letting her go, Astrid replies, “Believe me, I’m just as shocked to see you, as you are me.”  Astrid stood up stretching, for which I apologize for smacking the chair over her.  She downplays, “It’s fine.”

         When a loud, but distant explosion is heard, I remember Griselda.

         Before I could start to round the desk, Astrid calls out, “She’s not there.  When I tripped over that bookcase, Griselda was already gone through a crack in the floor.”

         Upon checking the escape route, this crack in the floor led to the deck below.  She is nowhere to be found.  I run to the entrance of the quarters to see if I can spot her anywhere on the ships or on the island.  With a five-minute head start, who knows where she is.

         I then ask, “What are you doing here?”

         Astrid answers, “Hiccup got a tip from Throst from some dealings with some pirates that a big auction was going down.  At first, Throst didn’t think much of it until one of the pirates dropped ‘Khaos’ and ‘Warlord’ in a conversation.  Somehow, he knew we are looking for this group of vikings, though he specifically asked for you, but you had already left.  Hiccup thought he could help you out since you have been waiting for a big auction after some of the clues you had uncovered.  Also, because you and him had not been on the best of terms, he thought he could knock two birds out with one stone.  Find Khaos and save a bunch of dragons.”

         I take a frustrated deep breath, “Yeah, well, now by Hiccup coming here he has disrupted the plan and prevented either of us by capturing Griselda.  If Hiccup really wanted to help, he would start coordinating and communicating with my crew.”

         Astrid steps over, sticking up for Hiccup, “Hey, we didn’t know you were here.  From our standpoint you were off with Stormheart somewhere and we were the only ones who could respond to see if we could capture Griselda, something we have all been working towards for months.”

         “My frustration is with Hiccup, not you, but you are right,” I apologize for my words to Astrid.  Although, I am still mad at Hiccup. “When push comes to shove, we will and have worked together, our crews.  It just seems like things are working against us, causing division wherever we go.”

         “From what I have gathered what Khaos wants to do, so far, they are succeeding in causing division,” Astrid wisely adds.

         Changing subjects, “My crew doesn’t know The Dragon Riders are here, so we need to go tell them.”

         “Speaking of which,” Astrid points out the entrance is only a few feet away from the surface of the water.  “We should get out of here.”

         I had not noticed, but the angle of the ship is starting to tip up as the ship sinks.

         Astrid covers up her hair and face again before we go.  On our way out, I tell Astrid why my crew is here.  After we jump and pull ourselves up to the observation deck above the commander’s quarters, we look around to get our bearings.

         Thought it is night, one might think it is day.  Dragons are firing at all the factions’ ships and some of the ships are still battling the Shellfire.  All of this creates pops of light in various colors around the island making the atmosphere on the island like daylight.

         We see some ships already fleeing, some are getting ready to, and others are staying to fight.  But the ship we are on has a one-way ticket to the bottom and I do not want to swim to shore in these freezing cold waters.

         There is a ship to our left, so I aim my reloaded grappling hook to the side of the ships railing.  Detaching the line from my gauntlet, I anchor the line by placing a hook on this end to wrap around the railing on our ship.  We take turns and shimmy across the fifteen-foot gap.  I let Astrid go first.  The line is thin and difficult to hold on to, but between our gloves and locking our feet around the line, it is easy enough to make our way over.  Because of it being Gronckle Iron chain, it is strong to hold one of us.  Potentially, it could hold us both, but again, I do not want to go swimming.

         When Astrid got on the ship first, she reaches out her hand when I got close to help me the rest of the way.  The other ship we were on is sinking rapidly and the line had already moved to a sharp angle.  To not jerk the railing, I take the hook off the line, but also so I can keep the hook.

         The crew on this ship is too focused on laying down fire on the Shellfire to worry about Astrid and me, wearing disguises helps our cover.  Astrid and I scamper through the ship briefly to see if we can find Griselda anywhere.  We pick up some arrows to act like we are going to supply the archers.  Once no one could see us, we proceeded to sabotage supplies as we went.

         Our search results in nothing relating to the Warlord, however, by the looks of this ship, Griselda’s ships are stocked with enough weapons to supply a raid.  Also, more crates of vials from Stormheart.  Whether Griselda she planned to raid this auction after it got started or not, we may never know.  But she is stopped for now anyway.

         There are ships escaping, as we glance out the back of the ship before heading to the front to get access to the island.  Griselda is most likely on one of those ships.  Without dragons or a ship of our own, it would be impossible to follow.

         Astrid and I are about to split up, but out of the corner of my eye, I see a glimpse of something through the light of dragon fire.

         As I stare, Astrid asks, “What is it?  We need to keep moving unless you want to get blown away by this battle.  We’ve got more important things to be doing.”

         What I am looking at suddenly disappears into the dark of night but through the flashes of light I still see multiple shadows in the air.

         A cold shiver rushes over me like I did swim in the water.

         “Run,” I start taking a few steps.  “Changewings to the west, a full squadron.  We need to get out of here!”

         Knowing each crew is split up, I must get their attention that will be heard through the commotion of battle.  I whip out a viking horn from my belt and blow the sounding alarm that every Berkian knows to find the call and rally together.  While we hardly use horns like this anymore because of our dragon calls, I need to be heard and relay the importance of getting out of here.  When a Berkian hears this alarm, they know what needs to be done, no reason needed.

         These horns are use in dire situations…  And this is one right here.

         Why?

         Because I only know of one person who would use a Changewing to attack a gathering like this, only one brazing enough to attack for seemingly no reason.

         As I quickly view our surroundings, I see the few heads pop up and look this way.  I take out my dagger and point to where The Fifth Fleet ships are.  Sheathing the dagger, I start sprinting to the ships.  Everyone else does the same.

         I said before, this island is small, but it feels like a never-ending gap to make up to get to the ships.

         Finally nearing the ships, I can hear the distinct firing blast of Changewings laying down fire on the other side.

         “We’re not going to make it,” I say.

         Twenty yards to go, my gut tells me to duck.  In doing so and somersaulting forward, a cloaked Changewing flies over head.  Now looking back for a moment, I see the island is getting third partied by these Changewings.  They do not seem interested in the dragons.  In fact, these Changewing riders are letting the dragons fly away.

         They want the vikings here, including us.

         Returning to my sprint, we are now ten yards from the ships, but then I hear a whistling noise fly through the air, over my head and land in front of Astrid.  Everyone else is coming from a different direction, so this is a targeted throw.  With my knowledge of who this might be, I aim my grappling hook for the ship and pull myself forward to jump and tackle Astrid away from the object.

         “What the-?” Astrid starts to say.

         “Shield your eyes!”

         We both shield each other, close our eyes, and look down.

         Through the shadow of my eyes, a bright light explodes around us.  From the explosion, my ears start to ring, and a wave of sand particles pelts us.

         Though dazed, I help Astrid stand up.  Looking back again, another Changewing is barreling down on us, so I shove Astrid towards the ships.  Another object is thrown at where Astrid was, but I step in front, attempting to catch it.  But as I suspected, the object breaks on impact with me, expelling and cloud of green gas that nearly instantly paralyzes me.

         Knowing I am about to pass out, all I can do is look up.  My eyes are quickly starting to close, but I fight to stay awake.

         In doing so, the rider of the Changewing jumps down and walks over to me.

         “Good to see you again, Jarl.  Tell Annabeth I said hello.”

         That last thing I see before passing out is this viking.

         It is Skygge!

 

         “I think he is waking up,” a female voice says.  “Jarl?  Jarl.”

         As I open my eyes, I see a ceiling of wood above me.  Blinking, a few times, my crew is standing next to me.  I smile and yawn, but then the memory of what happened rushes back to mind.  Because of my surroundings, I put together I am on a ship.  Between the wood and the feeling of a rocking motion plus not being in chains or something, I am on a friendly ship.  From a corner of the small room, I see Hiccup and The Dragon Riders, but Astrid is near my side.

         There is a wall to my left, my cot is in a corner, opposite of Hiccup.  The room is about ten feet across and twenty feet long.  With supplies in this room from various things, I am taking this is an extra room apart from the already used barracks for all the crew of this ship.  I am in the guest room, essentially.

         Astrid asks me, “Are you alright?”

         “Yeah.  I’m good.  Have a headache though, but that is what happens when you breathe in Skygge’s gas.”

         Surprised, Aiyana echoes, “Skygge?”

         “That guy who stood over me was Skygge.  He said to tell Annabeth, ‘Hello.’”

         The expressions from everyone tells me they saw someone different.

         “It might be the headache talking,” Astrid corrects.  “That was not Skygge.  Besides Skygge being missing in action, you may have through your own power of suggestion pictured Skygge when it was someone else.  We all have discussed what we all saw, but I was the closest to you.  After you protected me and shoved me out of the way, I was hardly dazed when the viking got off the Changewing, walking towards you.  So, I was able to recover quicker than he would have thought.  I tackled the guy and struggled with him.  When I had chased him off, I instantly ran to you, picked you up, and brought you back to The Fifth Fleet ship we were about to get on.”

         A slight pause of silence occurs.

         Hiccup speaks up, “What Astrid won’t mention is that this individual took out a knife and was going to stab you.  She did eventually chase them off, but not before being stabbed herself in the struggle.”

         Astrid downplays, mentioning, “That is not something you tell someone who was knocked out while it happened.”       While Astrid began to speak, I then questioned, “Are you okay?”  She answered, “I’m fine, I am more worried about you.”

         I sit up to look at her, putting my feet on the floor, “Astrid.  What you all are saying is…  Astrid saved my life.  Thank you.”

         She takes a breath and reveals a slight smile before answering, “You’re welcome.  But you’re not going to like who did it…”

         A wave of anger and frustration takes over Astrid as she reveals who, “Throst Thorkinson.  He will fear the day when we meet again!”

         “It may not have been Throst,” I state.  “Though, maybe that is me wanting it not to be Throst, however, by your eyewitness accounts that it was not Skygge, it could have been someone who looked like Throst.  Astrid, how good of a look did you get of him?”

         She sighs, “I did only see him from the eyes up, for he put up his mask when he heard me coming.  He has blonde hair, couldn’t tell the color of his eyes, yet how could it be anyone else but Throst.  He is the one who tipped us off to come here.”

         “Part of me thinking that it isn’t Throst, is motive.  Skygge sure has one, but that was the power of my own suggestion, as you said.  Throst may not like me, and I don’t like him, but he would not stoop so low as to try and kill me.  Maybe you were affected by the gas, just not to the extreme I was of being knocked out by it.  Skygge’s gas made Annabeth think I was Skygge, so, by the power of your own memory of Throst tipping you off, you thought you saw Throst but in reality, it may have been someone else.  For there is one more that would have motive and try to pin it on someone else.  They look just like Throst, though Throst tried to look like them once.”

         Meen solves my riddle, “Harald Forkbeard.  For what he failed to do when he captured you and Annabeth all those years back.  And at every turn between The Dragon Riders and our Crew, Harald Forkbeard has motive to kill you.  Who knows, maybe he was hired by someone else other than Stormheart.  She will stay out of people’s way as long as they stay out of her way.  Why would she ask us to come help her only to try and kill Jarl?  That wouldn’t make much sense.  Here’s hoping it was Harald that way that guy can finally be put away.”

         I winch at trying to stand up, Astrid makes me stay on the cot, “You still need to rest.  That gas can really do a number on a viking.  When that attack happened on Berk, several Berkians could not stand on their feet for several hours afterward.  Speaking of which, do you suppose that this was a Khaos bomb?”

         Hiccup informs, “Several of those bombs were thrown on The Fifth Fleet ships, so we could scrounge up some fragments of it to see if it is the same one as on Berk.  Why don’t you all go look around and see what you can find, maybe someone else spotted something about that Changewing Squadron.”  Astrid tried to leave, but Hiccup prevented that, “Except for you.  You need to rest too.  You don’t need to go bending down to look for fragments.  But you can go watch over and see the other fish brains don’t get into trouble.”

         “Fine,” Astrid folds her arms.

         “Let’s go guys,” Snotlout tries to act like the leader.

         Aiyana glares at him, “Who made you in charge?”

         “Hiccup was obviously going to put me in charge of the search party.  Clearly, he is taking notice of my skills to lead a team.  Before Hiccup kicks the bucket, I will take over for him.”

         “I’m standing right here,” Hiccup declares.  “A good leader is humble, not pushy.”

         Snotlout started to open his mouth but then just said under his breath, “Shut up, Hiccup.”

         “I will say,” I add.  “A leader is pushy when the door doesn’t say pull.”

         Now, Hiccup says under his breath, “Shut up, Jarl.”

         With everyone knowing that I am alright, they go on their way.  I have a feeling Hiccup wants to talk to me, alone.  The expressions on my crew as well as Astrid and Fishlegs tell a similar story.  They know what Hiccup wants to say.  I also have some words to tell Hiccup.

         When everyone had left, Hiccup came over and sat on my left side, “I know what you are going to say, so just go ahead and say it.”

         I know what he thought I was going to say, and I thought I wanted to say it too, but actually, “I won’t continue this animosity between us.”

         It looks like Hiccup was prepared to say something in reply but stopped short when he heard my words.

         I continue, “We can say a lot to each other right now, but I won’t add to the division events to this point is causing.  If we stay divided, we’ll never figure this mystery out.  This mystery aside, what these moments could mean for our future.”

         Hiccup takes a deep sigh and chuckles, “You sir know how to make a moment better.  When I saw you guys were here and knowing where Astrid was and where I knew you would be, I knew we interfered with the other.  Thus, we prevented the goal of the other when all we are trying to do is help each other.  This division…  It has become real very quick.  What am I saying?  You’ve been in a war, you should know about the dangers of this world.”

         “You would think, but I was naïve then,” I counter.  “I understand now what I put my crew through, but I was too focused on solving the mystery, it nearly cost me my entire family and crew.  Oh, and you don’t think you’ve been in one either?  You’ve been in two.  Hiccup Haddock the III took down the Red Death on the very dragon generations of Berkians had dreamed of taking down.  You trained and rode that dragon.  And what did you do for an encore?  Take down each threat to the sanctity of the bong between dragon and viking.  For the nightcap, you take on Drago’s Dragon Army by uniting all dragons against him.  Don’t sell yourself short, Hiccup.  You’ve seen your own volcanos burst time and time again only to survive them and press on.”

         Hiccup leans forward, putting his elbows on his knees, leaning his chin against his clasped hands, “That’s just it.  For all the work you and I have done over the years, we’ve just made room for even more dangerous people to take their place.  In our pursuit of peace, we have brought more terror to the world.”

         There came silence after that statement.  Hiccup’s point is valid, and I am not sure how to respond to it.

         Take someone who has had nagging allergies for years.  They finally have enough of it and start researching a way to end the cycle.  They find medicines and herbs to create a healthy lifestyle for them.  But once they peel back the top layer of what has been ailing them for so long, they find deeper rooted problems that had been masked.  They have always been there, but they could not feel their pain because the allergies were always thought to be the only problem.  Not until they had gotten their allergies under control did, they feel the pain for the first time.

         Hiccup’s point about The Dragon Riders and my crew cleaning up the archipelago of all the foes we have faced.  But now that we have peeled back the top layer have what has been going on for so long, the deeper pains of the Warlords, Khaos, Stormheart, and Pheonix have risen to the top.  Had we simply stayed on Berk, how would things be different?

         I know Hiccup has gone through that scenario many times and have come up with the same ending of having to face Traitor Johann and The Dragon Hunters.

         Finally finding some words, I ask, “Would you have stood idly by while you watched nearly your entire tribe take Toothless to go find the Dragon Nest?”

         “No, I would never,” he instantly answers.  “My family means everything to me.”

         “And because of your family, you trained lightning and death itself.  You could have killed the Night Fury.  But you didn’t.  You had a choice, so does everyone else in this world,” I counter.  “But in protecting your family, you have had to stand in the way of evil in this world.  Had you stood idly by on that cliff watching the entire Berkian Fleet sail off into the horizon, not protecting your family, would there have been a much different outcome?”

         Hiccup then remarks in a tone of spite, “By trying to protect my family, my family was taken from me.”

         “But had the roles been reversed, would you have made the same choice to protect your father?  Then your father would be here thinking the very thing about the choice you would have made for him.  Everyone has a choice.  What would Stoick say to you now?”

         “Well,” Hiccup stands up.  “He would probably pace some, being frustrated with me.  He would probably say, ‘Hiccup, snap out of it.  This isn’t…”  Hiccup paused before finishing the thought.  “‘This isn’t what I gave my life for.  You are the strongest of us all.  You brought both dragons and vikings together.  You created an opportunity for a world of peace.  It is up to you to help others open their eyes, like you did mine.’  But what happens when they won’t open their eyes?”

         I stand up and walk to Hiccup, “Then you make the choice to protect your own, just like Stoick did.”

         Hiccup takes a deep breath, “Like I said, you know how to make a moment better.  Don’t you just wish you could take your entire clan and all your dragons and just put them in a place where no one can find, and no one can harm them?”

         Before I could reply, Hiccup goes on in an excited voice, “My dad used to tell me of a place where all dragons came from, where no viking had ever seen.  A place beyond the sunset, the home of all dragons.”

         I answer, “The Hidden World.”

         “If I could only take every viking who was willing and every dragon with me, I could make a home for us all where no one could find.  We would all be safe so that no viking or dragon would be caught in the crossfire.”

         “Do you know where the legendary place is?”

         “Between lands I have explored and the ones I have yet to discover, I’m sure I will one day find it.  Maybe you and I could team up and solve this mystery.”

         Before I could say anything in return, a thunder of footsteps come barreling to us.

         It is everyone returning from their search.

         I quip, “That didn’t take long.”

         Astrid responds first, “Well, it doesn’t when someone stops and asks if someone else has already found one.”

         “I was about to find one,” Snotlout protests.  “I told you guys one hit me in the face but didn’t go off.  In the chaos, I didn’t see where it landed.  Since it did not go off, it must have been a dud.”

         “It takes a dud to know a dud.”

         “Ah-,” Snotlout begins but then says.  “Shut up, Astrid.”

         “Alright, alright, alright,” I cannot help but smile.  “What did you find?”

         “A fully assembled Khaos Bomb that has not exploded!” Astrid hands it to me.

         Taking it into my hands, I fully explain what this bomb does, “What this gas can do is bad enough, but the flash of light could potentially do just as much harm to us as Skygge’s booby trap did to Ali.  It may not be the same, but somehow the gas has the same effect as Skygge’s did.”

         Aiyana suggests, “With the formula of Severin Ottoson being sought after as well as Stormheart’s Grimora formula, people are trying to replicate these for some reason.  With the players involved in this mystery, their reason cannot be good.”

         Hiccup takes over, “This bomb could help us understand the attack on Berk that agent girl of Khaos did to escape.  If you don’t mind, Jarl, I would like to study it.”

         “You took the thought right out of my mind, for I was going to ask you if you could take a look at this to one, see how this thing works, but two, if this gas truly is Skygge’s or something different.”

         With that found, the rest of us took leave of The Fifth Fleet to go back to our respective homes.  Sure, it is nearly morning, but we all got a little bit of rest right after our escape.  I probably got the best quality, that being sleep.  Plus, we all wanted to return home before someone sent riders after us.

         We inform Marth of our plans, and she tells Kam to go release my crew’s dragons.  The Dragon Riders’ dragons simply stayed on the deck of the ships since they were able to actively lay down covering fire for The Fleet and the dragons.

         Speaking of which, by pure observation, they have dragons that were liberated from the auction housed in all five ships.  Not all the dragons could fit, so The Fifth Fleet and the Shellfire covered the dragons escape as best they could without falling to the Changewing barrage.  As bad as that encounter was, I guess no one pursued any escaping ships.  So, the Changewing Squadron was a good distraction for The Fifth Fleet, The Dragon Riders, and my crew to escape.

         Furthermore, speaking of escape, Theodor is missing.  In all the chaos – There is that word again – the damage done to The Fifth Fleet unfortunately happened around the cell Theodor was staying.  He fled without a trace.  I wonder if the Changewing Squadron knew who he was and was sent to set him free, but who could have known he would be on a Fifth Fleet ship?  My lean is towards pure coincidence that the attack gave Theodor the opportunity to flee.  While this left Marth in a flustered mood, the only silver lining I could find is now Valkarik will stay part of my crew and will not have to join The Fifth Fleet.  Then again, I still need to talk to Valkarik about what Marth said.

         The last two days plus the trip back to Berserker Island felt like a few months had gone by.  I wonder how long it will take me to write all these events down.  A lot has happened in a very short period of time.  I told the crew that while Hiccup works on the bomb, we should all take a day to regroup.  We all keep running into more questions without any answers.  Besides taking the day to rest, it would give me an opportunity to review what we know so far to decide what choice to make next.

         Back on Berserker Island and after putting Fredrick in the stables, I enter my house only to find Annabeth asleep on the couch.

         I smile, “She must have been staying up for me this entire time.”

         Gently, I call out her name to wake her.  The reason I do not go over to her, is because she no doubt has a weapon hidden so that if anyone tries to attack her, she is prepared.  For most vikings, that would be an extreme way to sleep, but this is no ordinary island.  No matter how secure Berserker Island might be now, Annabeth still thinks about that night Skygge threatened her.  She is a strong woman, yet we all get frightened of things that we never want to go through again.  That is why I do not leave her alone.  Cazi is passed out on the other couch.  There are our dragons as well as Smoky and Pearls, not to mention Titan and Rogue.  Annabeth has a wide range of protectors, a fact I forget sometimes.

         Annabeth stirs and as she stretches, she declares, “Jarl!”

         She tries to jump up, but as she does, she becomes unbalanced.  Annabeth would have used the small table in front of the couch, but I rushed to steady her.

         “Jarl, you’re back!” she continues to declare and hugs me.  “And everything else including your front is back!”

         “Ah, you anticipate my pun, good girl,” I say as she pulled back to look at me.

         I lift her chin, lean in, and kiss her, doing so for a few moments longer than she thought I would.

         The sound of a yawn is heard in the direction of Cazi, “What a disgusting sight to wake up to.”

         Annabeth puts her hands on her hips, Cazi corrects, “The kiss is wonderful, I am speaking of the pun.  So simple, yet so annoying.”

         Annabeth rolls her eyes.

         I say, “It has been too long since I have seen you and Cazi.”

         Annabeth laughs, “It has only been two days.”

         “Those two days felt like two months.”

         “You’ve got to tell me all that happened,” Annabeth excitedly exclaims but then sees the state of my clothes.  The Fifth Fleet let us keep the armor disguises, so the clothes I have on are tattered and scuffed up.  “Wait, wait, what’s with this?  Your clothes.  Why…  What are you wearing?”  Annabeth then grabs my chin.  “Your face, the scratches.  Huh, bruises!  Jarl Everson, you tell me right now what went down.  What are you doing getting into a fight without me?”

         I chuckle, “Alright, alright, calm down.  I’ll answer your questions.”

         I also wonder how she was able to think of all those questions from my looks when I did not believe it showed that much.  What am I saying?  She is a woman.  Besides my clothes being weathered, nothing to me would have indicated I was in a fight.  The worn clothes could have just been for the disguise.

         Regardless, she spotted the minute signs so, I start with the fight with Astrid first in the recounting of events the past two days, and then work my way backwards to fill in the context before getting to the chaos that ensued.

         The whole explanation of the adventure up north took nearly an hour.  Some discussion on certain parts made the account take longer.  Annabeth interjected a few times, but for the most part remained silent, especially when I spoke of the Changewing attack, Skygge’s gas, and Harald attempting to take my life.  Annabeth was reserved, which I thought she would react like Astrid.  Granted, Annabeth has been practicing hard not to let negatives emotions get the better of her because of the twins she is carrying, however, the anger burning in her eyes is very real.

         Cazi, on the other hand, is animated for her, “Just let me at Harald.  I knew he was always scum of the earth.”

         “Well,” I quip.  “There is a line forming behind Astrid and Annabeth.”

         I know Annabeth wants to say something similar to Cazi, but I can see her measuring her breathing.

         So, she changes the subject, “What is our next move?”

         “I want to find out if Khaos is planning anything big, because I feel they are a threat to the archipelago.  Also, how much are they related to the Masked Vikings and if that is something we can exploit.  But I feel like I am missing the point of finding Samantha and who actually murdered Gladstone.  We are nowhere close to finding either of these.”

         Annabeth declares, “Then it is settled.  We go to the Iron Conclave tomorrow and look up Gladstone’s history and what he was working on.”

         I repeat with a question, “We?  What do you mean, ‘We’?”

         “I am coming with you,” Annabeth states.  “Besides, the Berserkers already had business with them tomorrow, and so Dagur was taking me with him, Heather, and Cazi.”

         “You mean you asked if you could go with them.”

         Annabeth winks, “Isn’t that what I just said?”

         “Uh-huh,” rolling my eyes, I agree to the trip.  “I guess since the hierarchy of the Berserker throne is going, I might as well tag along and keep Cazi company.”

         Annabeth proceeds to jab me in the side.

         Cazi chuckles and adds, “Without staying near, you Annabeth, he has no shot at the throne.  He needs you.”

         Annabeth gasps, putting her hands on her hips though smiling, “Cazi!”

         I grin, “It’s nice to know you have my back, Annabeth.”

         But after looking at Annabeth, I know what she is going to say.

         As Annabeth starts, I say it with her, “I was going to say that.”  Then I tack on, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We all gettin’ in the good zingers.”

         On that note, Cazi bid us goodnight and then left to go back to her house to sleep.  Even though it is only a couple of hours until sunrise, but at this rate I have lost track of time.  She also mentioned that the trip to the Conclave will be in the afternoon.  Dagur has a meeting with the Berserkian High Council on the final preparations for the meeting with the Conclave’s leaders.  This is perfect as it will allow me to get some natural sleep, not forced through being unconscious.

         After Annabeth and I see our friend out, Annabeth’s mood changes as she lingers when locking the door behind us.  She still has a hold of the bolt.

         She tilts her head towards me, calling out in a slow, soft yet worried voice, “Jarl?  Is Skygge still alive?  Are they sure it wasn’t Skygge?  Why would he specifically mention me?”

         Immediately, I take Annabeth in my arms, hugging her to comfort her.  She lays her head on my shoulder.  I lay my head on hers.  Annabeth is not trembling, but I can feel the tension from her spoken fear.

         I pause a moment more before answering, “I don’t believe so.  Even though the gas had all the elements of the same things which he used against you and then Ali, I am starting to wonder if Skygge got the idea for the gas from someone else.  Skygge might have replicated the bomb from what Khaos has already created.  The bombs that Khaos have they look expertly crafted.  The trap Skygge had set for me but what Ali got, was crudely made.  The gas bombs he used, we never found one remotely in the same shape from Rebecca’s attack on Berk, let alone one intact like the Khaos bomb from the auction.  It would definitely fit Skygge’s profile of taking someone else’s creation and making it his own, just with less skill.  He may have been around other people who had skills he could learn from, he just doesn’t strike me as the guy who would study and practice.  Nothing in his backstory would allude to him being an expert craftsman or skilled forger.  On the other hand, he is the guy who would learn anything to get what he desires and have no one or nothing stand in his way.”

         “You talk of him as if he was still living.”

         I sigh, “You know this as much as I do: We never found a body.  Furthermore, there would have been signs of blood either on the rocks nearby or in the water if he hit either.  We found none.  It would be the Skygge thing to do to escape on a Changewing without a trace.”

         “Could that squadron of Changewings be from Skygge since they attacked all factions at the auction?”

         “Maybe.  But with Astrid’s eye to eye account of fighting the figure, they were either Harald or Throst.  She did not get the brunt of the gas like I did, so she is less likely to have hallucinated like I did, thinking Skygge was there.”

         “It doesn’t take much.  Remember how I mistook you for Skygge and stabbed you?  I saw you face to face and still thought you were Skygge.  Astrid could have wanted to see Throst since she doesn’t really trust him either because of the tip off.  Therefore, making the figure be Skygge yet she saw Throst.  At the suggestion of Harald, Astrid doubted her own eyewitness testimony.”

         “All that could be true.  However, the figure could be someone else entirely and we all hallucinated.”

         Annabeth lifts her head back to look at me, “This is all getting so complex and…  And dangerous.”  She takes her hands and holds my head.  “I don’t know what I would do in this world without you.”

         I agree, “Neither would I without you.”

         “You know what I think?”

         “What?”

         Annabeth cracks a smile, “Your breath stinks.”

         “And my positivity continues to spread.  The seeds of puns are growing into stalks of positive thinking.”

         “I think that gas went to your head, since when did you become philosophical?”

         She tries to pull away but did not expect me to hold on, gently pulling her back to me.  I give her a small kiss before laying my forehead against hers.

         We both close our eyes, I pray, “Give me the strength to protect our family.”

         Annabeth adds, “Give us the courage to act on Your strength to do the right thing when it is needed.”

         I finish, “In Jesus name, amen.”

         We decide to go get some rest, though neither of us go to sleep right away with our minds thinking about the lurking threats.

         About the time someone thinks they are not going to get much sleep, they end up falling asleep.  That is what happened with Annabeth and me.

 

         By the time I wake up, Annabeth is already up.  Going downstairs to the kitchen, I greet Annabeth with a kiss.

         “Good morning.”

         Annabeth counters, “Good afternoon.”

         “Oh, how long before we leave?”

         “About an hour.  I knew you’d sleep in, so I made a late breakfast, lunch.”

         The course I see might be the greatest thing to have for breakfast.  Awesome yak steaks along side boar bacon.  Also, she made salad, corn, and had washed some grapes.  Yak milk to drink and bread made yesterday to round out the meal.

         Remember, Annabeth is in the mood to cook at this stage in her pregnancy.

         I ask her, “What is your craving for today?”

         Annabeth without hesitation, “Action.  Mystery.  Intrigue.  And being with you.  Where you go, the other three soon follow.”

         “Thank you, I guess?  Glad you still think of me.”

         After eating, we get dressed to meet any action coming our way.  We now have matching gold Valkyrie helmets, though mine is aged with battle damage and hers is bright and shiny.  She had commissioned Gobber to make her one to match mine; he finished it yesterday.  Making sure she as ample protection brings a different perspective to what she wants to wear for armor.

         Speaking of which, we wear our respective light armor, essentially our older outfits but not all the pieces.  For example, we are not wearing our shoulder armor, and Annabeth obviously has to dress around the twins too.  We have our gauntlets and our utility belts.  In addition, we have odds and ends in our saddlebags to round out our gear.  Probably overkill for our trip, but the last few days have reminded all of us that you prepare for the unexpected, so you are not caught off guard.

         For dragons, Annabeth rides Star Scream, again so she can have the larger dragon to support her.  I choose to ride Anora, giving Fredrick a break.  Though I did not ride him during the fight at the auction, my Thunderdrum did participate in it from the direction of Hiccup once he figured out my crew was there.  Also, tack on the flight out to Stormheart and then from The Fifth Fleet back to Berserker Island.  Not a lot of hard riding overall, but he deserves a rest.  Besides, Anora needs to stay in race form and exercise during the week to maintain her stamina.

         That is another thing, with all the events of the last few days going on with the mystery, maybe I should back out of the championship to devote all my time to the mystery.

         Once Cazi, Heather, and Dagur met us at the High Stables which overlook all of Berserker Island, we left for the Iron Conclave.

         As we fly, we discuss a whole bunch of randomness.  From the weather to Dagur’s hatred for Berserker politics even if he is the leader of the nation to names for the twins Annabeth is carrying.

         Just average ordinary topics.

         Both Cazi and Heather made me back up and talk more about names for the twins.  Although, it was mainly them telling me what their names should be.

         Some people still do not think Annabeth is having twins.  All the signs point to it.

         Naming the twins is going to be a chore, though seriously speaking I like Coral for a girl’s name.  Annabeth wants to go through my family’s history to name them in honor of what my family has meant to her.

         I then breech the subject of a boys name, “How about Brock?  Lee for a middle name?”

         There came silence as people thought about the name.

         Annabeth is appalled as she scolds me, “Don’t you dare call our child that!  Broccoli!”  She wags her finger at me.  “How long have you been waiting to harvest that pun?  I love your puns, don’t get me wrong, but I know they will not appreciate their name being a pun.  They’d never hear the end of it.”

         “I thought you said we will raise our kids up as cultured vikings?”

         “Yes, but not scarred from birth.  They may stage a coup just to disown you as their father.”

         From there, the group zeroed in on the purpose for the trip.  The trip took the better part of the afternoon, especially stopping for an early supper.  Other than that, we did not do much.  Since it will be at a later time of day, we will stay the night and leave in the morning.  However, the length of our stay really depends on Annabeth or Dagur.  Does Annabeth want to go home sooner or is Dagur just done with politics for the week and wants to go home too?

         As we land at their Meeting Hall, we tie our reins to the new dragon posts to the right of the building, for those who are going to be in the Hall for a short duration.

         Once inside, Dagur and Heather go their way to the left to enter the chamber where island business takes place.  Dagur could do it on his own, but Heather is there to make sure Dagur does not do Dagur things.  We have irritable Dagur right now, so politics is a perfect place for him to be right now.  That is why Heather is with him.

         My crew hangs a right and walks over the far wall where Chief Gladstone would have worked from the rooms.  We reach a pathway with the door ajar.  I push on it to proceed through only to find someone from the inside opens and walks into me.  The box they were carrying drops to the floor, spilling the content on the floor:  Books and papers.

         A girl’s voice apologizes, “Oh, I am so sorry.  Please forgive me-.”  She interrupts herself as she lifts her head.  “Wait.  I’ve-.”

         I nod my head, recognizing her, “Yeah, I believe we know each other.”

         “Who wouldn’t know you,” the girl says as she picks up the box.  “Your move in the race to beat Jason is still the talk of the island.  I wish I was on your team, instead of his.  Why are you guys here?  We don’t have a race here for a while and practice on the track is over because of the waning sunlight.”

         This girl has brown hair, but had it been blonde…  She would look exactly like Rebecca!

         “Before we get to why my crew and I are here, may ask a random question?”

         She shrugs, “Sure.”

         “Do you have a sister?”

         A wave of sadness pours over her face, “I do, but I have been trying to find her for a long time.”

         Not the answer I was expecting, but I follow up, “Is your sister’s name Rebecca?”

         From sadness to excitement in the blink of an eye, “Yes.  How did you know that?”

         Annabeth answers, “We’ve met your sister and been with her.”

         The girl quickly questions, “Is she alright?  Is she doing fine?  Where is she?  I need to find her!”

         Cazi crosses her arms, “We have seen her, but she left.  You won’t like what you hear if we tell you what she has been up to.”

         “I know, but that is why I am trying to find her.  I need to stop her before she gets anymore mixed up with these Khaos Vikings.”

         Annabeth, Cazi, and I are very surprised to hear she knows of Khaos let alone knows what Rebecca did.

         The girl sees our shock, so she states, “Maybe I should start at the beginning.  My name is Dotta, but everyone calls me Dot.”

Lack Lunason's picture
Lack Lunason
Offline
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 09/24/2017
*Materializes out of a pile of pure anxiety*

 

Yo, my dude!  Thanks for posting another chapter.  I haven't actually read it yet (I still need to finish up Book 9), but it is nice having something to look forward to.  Always great to hop on the Forum and see that you've posted

 

Side note:  I'm gonna reply to your PM before too long.  I got really behind on a ton of stuff over the holidays, and I've been trying to get caught up on everything.  If I'm doing my math right (which, for me, who knows), I have one person I need to send an Email to, and then I can start working on a reply for you.

 

Thanks for your patience, both with me reading your story, and for my messages.  Looking forward to catching up on both.

__________________

 

AFTER ALMOST A YEAR OF PROCRASTINATION, LINKS TO MY THIRD HALLOWEEN STORY ARE NOW UP IN MY SIGNATURE!

 

 

LACK LUNASON

(I figure you've probably already figured that out, but I thought I'd play it safe.)

 

    Hi, I'm Lack Lunason. I'm called that because I lack many things, and I'm a lunatic. I just put son on the end to make it sound more like a viking name. I'm also a Christ follower.

 

      Here are just a few more things about me:

  1. I am a procrastinator.
  2. I'm pretty nice (mostly).
  3. I am most definitely kind (don't listen to those that say otherwise).
  4. Adventurous.
  5. Lazy.
  6. A dreamer.
  7. And I'm slightly crazy.

     I've been around SoD for a long time. I think I was one of the first thousand to leave Berk and sail to the school. I'm happily part of the bold clan known as POTATO BROTHERS. I have over four-thousand trouphies, although, I don't like racing much. On the other hand, I'm a Master Farmer.  (Don't you dare ask me how fishing is going!  We don't speak of that!)

 

      On the ranking on the forum, I've completed/on the following: Jarl, Forager, Wilderness Explore, Viking Warrior, Dragon Trainer, Drott, Dragon Master, Chief, Berk's Power Player, and......

 

SUPREME VIKING CHAMPION

(Respect my Authority!)

[because no one else will]

 

(Sorta) Current Trophy Count:

4725

 

Now onto some random stuff. This part will grow over time.

 

WARNING:  THE REST OF THIS THREAD IS GUARDED BY....

 

BAT-MAN THE VAST (Also known as Bat-Stoick)

(By The Dragoness)

 

Fan-Fiction And Short Stories:

 

Shrieks From The Shadows Series:

 

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5

 

The Terrifier

Chapter 1  Chapter 2  Chapter 3  Chapter 4  Chapter 5

 

What Lurks in Ebony Swamp

Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4   Chapter 5

 

Things I am a Fan of

 

How To Train Your Dragon

 

 

GODZILLA

 

TEETITANS

 

Quotes I love

 

"Once I set the sea alight with a single fiery breath....

Once I was so mighty that I thought my name was death....

Sing out loud until you're eaten, song of melancholy bliss....

For the mighty and the middling all shall come to THIS...."

The Green Death, How To Train Your Dragon: book 1. Cressida Cowell.

 

"WE WILL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES! WE WILL FIGHT THEM IN THE BRACKEN! WE WILL FIGHT THEM IN THOSE BOGGY MARSHY BITS THAT ARE SO DIFFICULT TO WALK THROUGH WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SHOES! WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER!"

Stoick The Vast. How To Train Your Dragon: Book 5. Creessida Cowell.

 

"I sailed so far to be a King, but the time was never right.....

I lost my way on a stormy past, got wrecked in starless night....

But let my heart be wrecked by hurricanes and my ship by stormy weather....

I know I am a Hero...and a Hero is....FOREVER!

In another time, another place, I could have been a King....

But in my castle's ruined towers the lonely seabirds sing.....

I burned up my Tomorrows, I cannot go back ever....

But I am still a Hero....and a Hero is.......FOREVER!

Up with your sword and strike at the gale......

Ride the rough seas for those waves are your home......

Winters may freeze but our hearts do not fail.....

Heroes.......Hearts......FOREVER!

You are never alone if the sea is your friend......

Riding the waves of impossible quests.....

If it doesn't end well, then it isn't the end.....

A Hero.....Fights.....FOREVER!

The hero cares not for a wild winter's storm.....

For it carries him swift on the back of the wave.....

All may be lost and our hearts may be worn.....

BUT A HERO.....FIGHTS.....FOREVER!"

Grimbeard the Ghastly's Last Song. How To Train Your Dragon: Book 11 and 12. Cressida Cowell.

 

      That's about it. I give full credit for...well, everything, to GOD. Have a good day.

 

Bye for now!

 

 

FURTHER CONTENT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Wait, you're still here?

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

You are quite welcome.  Nice to hear from you.  I'm just giving you more binge reading fodder.  :D  The more you delay I feel like Gobber talking to Hiccup, "I thought you'd been carried off."  And then the very Lack thing to say would be, "Wah, who me?  They wouldn't know what to do with all...  This."

 

Sounds good.  Our quarterly pm sessions are going quite well.  ;)

 

No problem.  The patience thing is a two way street, thank you for waiting for me to reply to your pm to get to the point of waiting for you.  *insert Sally and Lightning McQueen quote*  Thank you for waiting for me waiting for you waiting for me, but it isn't like I was waiting-waiting, I was just waiting.

 

And if you thank me for my patience, are you starting a practice?  You taking my... Patients and all.  (Patience = Patients)

 

As a friend of mine, anything you say can and will be used against you in a joke, pun, or movie reference - Of which you got all three in this reply :)