Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 5: A Bad Feeling

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httyyd
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Sorry that it has been so long since the last chapter.

 

While I have been writing this chapter and into the next chapter the last two weeks, this month I have been pretty focused on getting a job.  With my student loans coming up real soon, I needed to get a job right away.  Finally found two and I believe I have narrowed it down to which one I will pick.  It will be in marketing and sales.  Not the graphic design position I was looking for, but I was real close this month to trying and just get a job at Walmart or something.  Which also is not in my field.  However, marketning and sales is much closer to my field of Graphic Design.  I simply want a paying job to start earning money to make payments on my loans as well as earn money in general.

 

It will be a Monday to Friday job, but I was able to write while in college, so I fully see myself keeping up with that while having a job.

 

Without further-a-do, here is the next chapter.

 

Hope you enjoy!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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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

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httyyd
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Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

Here is the music mix for the chapter:

FORGOTTEN ODES - Violin Dramatic Strings | Dramatic Violin Epic Music Mix - @Eternal Eclipse

 

The Shattered Axe

 

Chapter 5

A Bad Feeling

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         Annabeth’s instinct made her start to shift her weight to bend down to aid or because of her clinched fist, lash out.  I immediately and as subtly as I can grab her wrist to restrain her from acting on the same urge I am feeling now.

         “Thank you very much,” I tell the chief.  Annabeth turns her head and widens her eyes, not believing the words which came out of my mouth.  “To come out at this time was going well out of your way to present us with this honor.  I gladly receive this prize.  But I must say, to have a dozen armed vikings,” I emphasize for Annabeth.  “this one must be quite valuable to warrant such treatment.”

         Note the heavy amount of my sarcasm.

         The chief informs, “To have a personal bondservant is a great honor.”

         Annabeth fold her arms, “I’m sure.”

         “Usually only the wealthiest of families have bondservants, so to not only have a citizen receive one, but a honorary citizen at that is the highest honor we could give to the winner of the first annual Dragon Race of the Iron Conclave.  A woman like your stature, being the heir to the Berserker throne, must relish in the symbols and trophies to show off your level of status.”

         I could tell Annabeth is boiling over inside with what she is witnessing, so I hurry things along, “I don’t want to keep you all here any more than you need to.  You have a long trip ahead of you.  Do you have the kyes to the chains?”

         “Already wanting to put it to work.  I like you,” he slaps my shoulder.

         Wanting to say this out loud, I say in my thoughts, “I don’t like you.”

         The chief hands me the keys and turns to leave.  Only upon returning to his Mudraker does he bid Annabeth and me a goodnight.

         The moment they all were out of ear short, Annabeth whirls around to me, demanding, “Why did you just stand there and play along?!”

         “Because there were twelve vikings armed with spears surrounding us.  Neither of us had anything to defend ourselves with, not even our Hidden Blades.  For the safety of you three and the girl, I could not risk an action against the chief and his vikings, because I get the notion Chief Gladstone was trying to bait me into something.”

         Annabeth had not noticed, but the girl had quietly moved to crawl away and escape.  Although, upon hearing a specific word, she stopped and slightly looked back.

         “Wait,” a gentle, yet stuttering voice spoke up.  “You said ‘girl.’”

         Annabeth and I take a few steps to her and I bend down.  Initially she merely looks down and away from us.  When I offer my hand, however, she stares at it as if a simple kind gesture is completely foreign to her.

         “That is because you are a person, you are a viking who must be treated with respect.  You are not a thing,” Annabeth assures.  “We are here to help.”

         The girl slowly reaches out yet is not trembling when I grab her hand.  Upon helping her up, I use the key the chief gave e to unlock the sockets.

         The key does not work.

         “Figures,” I sigh, frustrated.  Even the ankles do not respond to the key.  “If not for the fact these are the oldest pair of sockets I have ever seen, or the key just is not the right key, the locking mechanism may be too brittle or rusted shut once the lock reengaged after they clamped them on.  Are you able to walk, even with them on?”

         “Yes.  Where are we going?” the hesitation in her voices returns.

         I point to the Stables and tell her I will try to find some things to get the sockets off her.  She looks surprised that this would be the first thing I would want her to do.  I walk between the girl and Annabeth to be there for Annabeth or her in case either loses their balance.  We took it slow, as there is not much room for the girl to walk with the length of chain.  Upon entering the Stable, I lead the girl to the Forge on the left, in the workshop.

         As I look for tools or materials to use, I introduce, “My name is Jarl Everson and this is my wife, Annabeth.  These are our dragons.  My dragon is Fredrick.  He’s the Thunderdrum.  Annabeth has a thing for multiple dragons.  Anora the Razorwhip, Star Scream the Stormcutter, Sirena the Deathsong, and she does have a Skrill, named Ultra Violet, but a friend of ours tend to her.”  Seeing the cat immediately jump up, I introduce them, “That’s Pearls, our cat.  She thinks she runs everything.  We also have Titan who is a Forest Cat.  He roams the island but comes back to be fed.  Also, we have a trained wolf, named Rogue.  Between the two, they keep the wild boar population under control.”

         As I continue my search for materials, Annabeth tries to make conversation, “May I ask your name?”

         A couple of moments go by before the girl replies, “Rebecca.”

         “That’s a pretty name,” Annabeth admires.

         Annabeth looks as if she wants to ask something further but does not.  I wonder if she wants to ask about Rebecca’s family.  But because of her being by herself and in her current situation, that might be the last thing Rebecca wants to talk about.  After trying a few different skeleton keys and them still not working, I have to try my makeshift solution.

         “Alright,” I bring over a flask of Nightmare Gel, a flint, a skeleton key, and a bucket of water.  “Hold your wrists over the table.  This is Monstrous Nightmare Gel.  I will drop some inside the locking mechanism and ignite it with the flint to soften the tumblers if it doesn’t just destroy the rust and the lock.  If it gets too hot, put your hands in the bucket.  Iron needs a ton of heat for it to even get warm so you should be fine.  The tiny pieces inside the lock may get hot quicker, so if you feel a sharp, pricking pain, it is probably the pieces breaking off.  Once the mechanism is warm, the key should be able to move them a lot easier.”

         Taking the flask, I pour a good-sized drip inside the keyhole, then spark the gel.  The sudden crack of sound and flame made us all jump even if we were braced for it.  I asked if it is getting too warm, she said she is fine.  A few moments later, I try the skeleton key.  This time it works!  Repeating the process for the other three, it continues to work.  Though to get the gel inside the ankle keyholes, I have Rebecca sit down on the floor so I can do the process on the ankle sockets.

         After all the sockets are off, I help her back up as she continues to rub her wrists.

         Annabeth asks, “Do you need any food?”

         Rebecca shakes her head.  All in all, she is very quiet yet does not come across as being shy.

         Before I could do anything else, I yawned, “Speaking of which, we should probably go back to sleep.”

         Rebecca started acting as if she would stay out in the stables and sleep.  My wife instantly steps in, takes her by the hand, and starts talking to her about not doing any of the sort she was thinking.

         As the two go on ahead of me, I chuckle, “The wife is becoming the mother.”

         Several interesting observations were made during the half hour, including the unwelcomed announcement.  They come to mind, but I let them sit for now.

         Annabeth instantly brings Rebecca to the guest room.  As Annabeth gives the tour of the room, I anticipate an Annabeth request.  I run upstairs and go to our closet.  Searching for and finding, I pick up a set of old Annabeth clothes she used to wear.  When I return to the room just in time to hear Annabeth talking about getting Rebecca a new set of clothes.

         After thanking me for getting them, Annabeth takes them and tries to hand them to Rebecca.  Stunned, will be putting Rebecca’s expression mildly.  Instead, Annabeth sets the clothes on the foot of the bed.

         “If you need anything else, let us know,” Annabeth concludes.  “We will be upstairs.”

         Pausing for a moment, we both wonder if Rebecca will say, “Thank you,” or not.  But I think Annabeth and I realize at the same time…

         Rebecca may have never received a kind gesture like Annabeth’s to even know what to say, let alone know what to say after expecting us two to be like Gladstone and his men.  The striking contrast has got to be a shock to her and would not know how to react.

         We bid Rebecca a goodnight.  I take Annabeth’s right arm to walk her back upstairs.  I yawn again as we lay down in bed, this time facing each other.  This usually means, she wants to talk.

         “Jarl.  What are we going to do?”

         Clasping my hands around hers, I answer, “Find out if Rebecca has a family.  If I understand Chief Gladstone correctly, there are more like Rebecca.  For her to create the chaos Gladstone describes yet my crew and I never saw any such remains of said chaos, it could have been inside the mines.  That was one place we did not go into the heart of, only saw the mine entrances, or were only allowed to see the entrances.  Still, we would have heard or saw it happen while we were there.  So, I am guessing it was before vikings started arriving for the race activities.  Furthermore, if it is such a high honor to receive a bondservant from their mines, any direct action to break them free could endanger others in the mines, or find the Berserkers in a position of poking their nose into something which does not concern them…  Or so other chiefs have told me.”

         “Because they need people to work their mines, the people will at least be sustained, given basic needs.  As much as I want to go in and rescue all of them, I don’t want to get the Berserkers in trouble, let alone there still might be more that Gladstone is hiding.”

         Annabeth interrupts, “Jarl, you are a great viking to want to go in and help anyone in need.  Don’t ever discount that.”

         “I know,” I sigh.  “But after making Dagur’s job as chief more difficult in recent months, I am trying to think things through more than going in ‘dragons blazing.’  When we launch a rescue, we need to be absolutely sure what we are getting into.  Be sure where everyone is at to make sure we get them all.  If Rebecca is any indication of what they can hide for several days from a thousand vikings coming to watch a Dragon Race, then there has to be more he isn’t telling us.  Because if this is how they treat their people when they step out of line, the Iron Conclave’s leadership needs to be given an example and a message of what is right and wrong.  If more tribes knew about this, the Iron Conclave would not be able to get any trade deals with anybody.  Not even the likes of Stormheart would want to trade with the Iron Conclave.  I have a plan in mind of what to do.  It starts with Dagur and his trip in the morning.”

         I yawn again, so Annabeth leans forward to kiss me, “I know you will make the right choice.”  We then close our eyes to fall asleep.  “Because if you make the wrong choice, I’ll a-door you to the point you’ll never hear the end of it.”

         Opening my eyes, I see two innocent eyes closed but the woman with the biggest grin on her face.”

         “Goodnight you…  You…,” I try to think of a comeback, but my best is.  “Loveable, wonderful, crazy, Berserker viking, you.”

         And with that, I fall asleep.

 

         What I get rewarded with the rest of the night was a dream of being attacked by bombarding doors.  I try to find the source only for it to be Annabeth in our house. – In other words, do not wake me up in the middle of the night.  Might as well give me chili and beans for a midnight snack.

 

         The next day I got up before breakfast to go into the village to stop by Dagur and Heather’s house.  Upon bringing them up to date on what happened, Dagur approved my change in plan.

         Hyrith, Hattori, Explod, Aiyana, Fira, and Meen will accompany Dagur and his company to the Iron Conclave.  All of them will gather intel and scout the island for signs of the miners.  If the “bondservants,” as Chief Glastone calls them, are being mistreated, overworked, or abused, the crew I sent with Dagur will assist in rescuing these vikings.

         However, Dagur reminds there are still tribes who deal in servitude, both voluntary and involuntary.  It is their way of life to do either.  We have discovered and visited islands who do one or the other.  All have some varying degrees of treatment towards the vikings in servitude.  All of the islands, we have tried to reason against servitude in how they view it and treat it.  But all have declined our way of thinking and our notion to stop.  Even the servants want to stay under a master, most notably because it is their way of life.  That is how they have always done it.  The island and the people are successful.

         I came close within the last month in trying to make an island do differently.  I led a preemptive rescue force to an island.  But when we got there, the servants did not want to be rescued.  They even endangered themselves to ensure my crew’s tracks were not seen to hide our presence from being there.  The evidence was circumstantial.  A “he said, they said” thing.  Both sides knew what had happened, but neither side wanted to admit to anything.  The island wanted to pin it on me, but Dagur would not let them, even if I did try to do it.  Nothing was followed through.  Needless to say, I nearly launched a political war had I followed through.  Dagur has been working tirelessly to show tribes and island that the Berserkers do things differently now.  They do not force others to bend the knee.  I thought I had seen Dagur mad before.  I was wrong.

         After what felt like a Berserker preparing to take my head off, he calmed down.  What helped was Heather holding him back.  Not because she wanted to stop him, but because she wanted my head, first.  Annabeth then stepped in to remind everyone we are a family, and we want what is best for us and for everyone else.  We can still help other people, so long as we do it the right way.  Because if we do not, the material gain is fleeting.  The lasting impact of our example will make all the difference between putting the next stone on to finish the building, or tearing down everything built so far.

         Once everyone took a deep breath, Dagur came over and put his hand on my shoulder, “A couple of years ago, I would have done exactly what you tried to do.  The lesson of learning how far to go and when to pull back is a lesson you will continue to learn from.  As Annabeth has reminded me, much like she did our father, there is another way to do things.”

         I was so caught up with what I thought was right or wrong, I failed to listen to what I, myself preach:  There is a right and a wrong way to do the same thing.  Always strive to do the right thing even if you have to go out of your way to do it.

         Showing someone the willingness to go out of our way to do something the right way, can leave a bigger impact of the viking than to do what seemingly the world does.  Out for itself, with no care for anyone else.  Doing something the proper way now will lead to more opportunities later down the road to help them be better themselves.

         Patience, something one should never stop learning to be better at.

         Had I gone through the proper channels, a near conflict would have been avoided and I would not have put Dagur in a difficult situation.  Even though I put someone else before myself -the servants- I failed to think of what my own family would have to go through.  Not to mention, had I asked the servants what they wanted to do, all of this could have been avoided.  I put them into a position to choose something they never wanted.

         My actions did bring about change to that island and others who heard.  News travels faster than a Speed Stinger sometimes.  Reform was brought to how servants are treated and now -for a couple of islands- rewarding good work.  Through the island’s connection with us, we introduced multiple islands’ leaderships to each other and showed common interests.  A coalition between these islands was formed to maintain proper working conditions for servants and to hold the leadership accountable.

         When all was said and done, I was ashamed of taking matters into my own hands.  Had I simply asked if they wanted to be rescued, I would have had my answer.  I have for years said that a viking’s life is their own and I cannot force them to change.  They have to change.  I did it with Thorgunna Vixxen.  I was patient and stubborn to continue trying to show her another way.  I made the mistake this time of being impatient with wanting the result now, instead of taking the time to plant the seeds as I did with Vixxen.  If it worked for her, it could work for others.  But then, it is still their choice.  God gives the growth.  Yet, if the viking does not choose to use this growth, they will never change.  Skygge’s choice to commit to his same old way was a shock to me.  I thought as though I had failed.  But, yet again, listening to my own advice, I need to be reminded it was not my fault.  Skygge made his choice.  I need to make mine to be committed to The Truth and Right.

 

         Nearly home, I stop and say out loud, “When I lecture to myself about what I should have done, I need to listen.  Because I have done right before and relied on the truth, I need to encourage myself I can continue do it.  One mistake does not need to prevent me from thinking I can never get better.  I must use a mistake as a learning opportunity to better myself so that when I teach others, the proof is in my actions.  Being able to stand for The Truth and Right in this world can give you so much confidence to the point, it is intimidating to the wrong in this world.”

 

         Looking to my right, I see a sheep just on the other side of a pen.

         He looks at me.

         I look at him.

 

         I ask the sheep, “Standing on The Rock, do I look intimidating?”

         “Baaaah,” he answers…  Then runs away.

 

         “You’d think the animals on Berserker Island would be used to the people talking to themselves,” I think.  “Then again, it is easy to tell the difference between a Berserker and a Berkian.  Berkians don’t talk to themselves out loud.  We just mumble.  Especially if we know the other is right.  Isn’t that right?” Upon asking myself, I answer myself.  “Yeah.  Now you are a Berserker too for having a conversation with yourself.”  I retort, “Oh, I’ve always done that.  Maybe it was destiny for me to marry a Berserker and live among them.”

 

         After returning home and having breakfast, Annabeth and I invite Rebecca to join our plans for the day.  Thought surprised we are still asking her when she thinks we are supposed to tell her something, she willingly joins.

         We let the other dragons out to roam while saddling Fredrick and Star Scream.  Annabeth did ask if Rebecca would like to fly Sirena, but Rebecca had never flown a dragon on her own, so she asked if she could ride double with Annabeth.  Gladly accepting, Annabeth showed her how to saddle a Stormcutter.

         While they work, I receive a few glances from Annabeth as I saddle Fredrick.  Her subtly smile on her expressions tell me she knows why I suggested Annabeth fly Star Scream.  He is a bigger dragon and more acutely aware of the littlest threats or dangers around him.  It must come with being a Stormcutter, for Cloudjumper is the same way.  He has a wider neck base for a saddle, so Annabeth has to worry less about balancing herself on the neck of a Razorwhip.  The wider the dragon’s neck, the more you feel like the dragon will stay under you as you ride.  Those with slender necks, you either have to lock your feet together to stay on -like the Twins do when riding Barf and Belch- or have a saddle like Heather’s for a Razorwhip.  Still, you feel like you have to balance your weight as you fly.  Balance is Annabeth’s issues, whether she wants to fully admit it or not.

         Because of this, Annabeth is grateful for a larger dragon to hold on to, but I know her.  She wants to just be a viking without any restrictions, subtle or not.  Also, Star Scream is her first dragon and the most protective of her.  Anora is protective, do not get me wrong, but Anora has already been through four Thunderwhips and has at this point taken what Annabeth is going though for granted a little bit.  Anora may not see a threat right away, but she will defend Annabeth at all costs.  Star Scream on the other hand, will anticipate threats quite well.

         The larger Annabeth got, the more it was fun to watch Star Scream sniff Annabeth’s belly.  At first, he was worried, but then became intrigued.  He figured it out, though may think Annabeth is having dragons like Anora.  He is going to be surprised.  His constant acute awareness for little things the rest of us might overlook make him invaluable to keep Annabeth out of trouble…  I mean, out of danger.

         Am I paranoid?

         No.

         Worried Annabeth will have them at any moment?

         Yes.

         Having Twins has skewed just looking at Annabeth and forecasting when she is due.  Our target is ten months, so we still have a couple months to go from when we first found out.

         I say I am ready to respond to Annabeth saying, “The time has come,” but Annabeth merely glares at me every time retorting, “Eh…  You’re not ready.”

 

         Our plans for the day are to travel to Berk to meet with Hiccup and the Dragon Riders to plot our next move against the Dragon Trappers, while using the intel we have confirmed so far with the Iron Conclave.  But also, to visit my parents and see how my family is doing.

         We had told Valkarik, Ali, and Michia about this before, so they will be joining us, though meeting us there.  Cazi is already on Berk visiting her family as well as trying to punch Snotlout.

         The trip there is uneventful.  Rebecca is quiet yet does not seem to be uneasy about flying on a dragon.  Maybe it is just me and what I am thinking about her, but she seems like she has been on a dragon before.  The way she keeps her balance on the neck of a dragon is not what a first-time rider would do.  Then again, some first-time riders can pick it up off that bat for someone else is flying the dragon.

         Arriving on Berk, my family is not in their house.  Hopping on Fredrick to get a dragon’s eye view, I see my family near Gobber’s Forge; Hiccup and the Dragon Riders are also there along with Cazi and Gobber.  Flying over there, we dismount and exchange the typical greetings I would to my family.

         Upon introduction of Rebecca and the reason behind her wearing Annabeth’s old clothes, my mother had the same reaction Annabeth did last night.  My mom instantly took her by the hand and told her she will get her a new set of clothes just the way Rebecca would like.  Since my mother is the Head Seamstress of Berk, she had her market cart full of material about twenty yards away.  The two of them initially went over there, but I am sure my mom will take Rebecca to her main market store to get the full set.

         “Who’s your friend?” asks Snotlout, eyeing Rebecca as she is talking with my mother at the other end of the market.

         “I doubt you will like her,” I put my hand on his shoulder.  “You don’t even know what she has done in her life.”

         “Does it matter?”

         “How about we try allegedly burning down half an island?” I exaggerate.

         Everyone perks up at the sound of that, though Snotlout becomes frightened, questioning his selection.  To them, I clarify what I mean by telling them about the “honor” he gave me.  I had only told them how Annabeth and I met Rebecca, not why.  While in front of Rebecca, I did not want to embarrass her anymore than she might have about me talking about her backstory.

         Astrid, the first to speak up afterwards, pounded her fist into her hand, “I cannot believe vikings like that are still living.”

         I comment, agreeing, “Me neither.  I want to go there right now and rescue them.”  Hiccup looked at me, so I told him what I am doing about it.

         “That is a good plan.  As you put it, we can’t always go in ‘dragons blazing,’” Hiccup nods, approvingly.  “Though, you said she allegedly burnt down half an island.  From what I hear of this Chief, she did all those things.”

         Astrid adamant about her position, “It doesn’t give him any right to treat a viking like that, regardless if that is their way of life.”

         “I totally agree,” Hiccup reminds.  “I just think Jarl has a ‘but’ coming.”

         “Indeed,” confirming, I relay my suspicions.  “When it all first happened, I was too shocked to notice much.  But when I got the sockets off of Rebecca’s wrists and ankles…  There were no red marks.”

         Hiccup’s mind now starts to be equally suspicious.

         Snotlout barks, “Why is everyone looking like they understand what Jarl is saying?  I mean, I totally understand what he is saying.  I’m just asking for the Twins sake.”

         “What do you mean?” Tuffnut replies.  “It is quite obvious.”

         Cazi sneaks behind Snotlout and sideswipes his face with a right cross, “Hah.  Finally got you,” she clears her throat, standing over a fallen Snotlout.  “Jarl is saying that if Rebecca was treating poorly and as a result her clothes became tattered and she became dirty.  Shouldn’t by her resisting capture after what she supposedly did to the island leave evidence of said resistance against her captors?”

         Giving it a moment, Snotlout realizes, “Oh…,” though it was more of a half “Oh” with an “Ouch” in there somewhere, “Then that means Rebecca is merely playing a role.”

         “Wow,” Cazi declares as she helps Snotlout up off the ground. “There is something between those two crickets playing in that boar pit of yours.”

         I continue on, “Furthermore, she seemed also surprised we were helping her.  Though she did try to move away as soon as the chief left and we weren’t paying attention, she never put much effort into anything.  It was like she expected Annabeth and me to just be like everyone else at the Iron Conclave.  When we weren’t, she was almost flustered speechless.”

         Valkarik suggests, “It could be so ingrained into that she must obey, or else.  To see you not doing anything of the sort, she maybe just doesn’t know what kindness looks like.”

         “Well, I hope I am wrong about her,” I sigh.  “She seems like a sweet girl, but there is a cloud of questions around her.  Like, if she did cause such chaos on the island, why did she do it?  If she were expecting us to be like Chief Gladstone, what would she had done had we have been?  Or even, why did she not resist being caught after what she did yet none of it happened, what is her purpose for being here?”

         Hiccup states, “With all that said, you do raise good points for concern.  We know nothing about her, so she could be anything.  But you could be reading way too far into this just because you saw something you didn’t like.  All of us would have reacted the same and thought the same thoughts, but they are a different people.  We just can’t go in and take over the island.  We’d be no better than the likes of the Dragon Hunters and Viggo Grimborn.”

         “I think Jarl is absolutely right, and not just because I am standing by my husband,” Annabeth walks over to me.  “Well, now I am standing by him…  I found this belonging to Rebecca.”

         Annabeth reveals a ring with an insignia on it.

         Gobber questions, “What’s with you stealing someone’s stuff?”

         “I didn’t steal,” Annabeth corrects.  “It was lying on the floor while she was out fetching something for me.  I just haven’t had a good chance to ask her about the insignia.  I wanted to talk to you guys first.”

         Ruffnut chuckles, “I never took you for one to snoop around other peoples’ stuff.  That’s something my bro and I are supposed to do.”

         “Well,” Annabeth gives her own chuckle.  “Now, I don’t just let anyone enter my house without me knowing who they are.”

         When she said that, I realized what the insignia was…

         “Defenders of the Wing!” I declared then wanted to make sure Rebecca did not hear me.  Looks like she and my mother moved on.  “This insignia is Defenders of the Wing.  But the boarder and the inside of the insignia is quite different.  Almost didn’t recognize it.”

         Hiccup wonders, “Mala is here on Berk in The Great Hall, looking up something.  Would be the opportunity to ask her about the ring while she is here.”

         Gobber suggests, “What about the obvious?  You are trying to help the lass, maybe ask her about it.  Not a very good way to earn someone’s trust when you are keeping something of theirs from them.”

         “I know,” I answer.  “But I want to know more about her before I scare her off.”

         As I look off in the distance to see her walking with my mother, Rebecca looks back.  Still able to see her eyes, for some reason I get chills from her blank expression.

         Thinking to myself, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”