“This isn’t going to be easy, is it?” grumbled Hiccup. The two had returned to find Elinor trying to calm the clans down while the triplets were awake and distracting Toothless with a game and fish.
“You have to remember, we are Scots, we are different from Vikings. Family is important to us.”
“It’s important to us Vikings as well. What we need is a way to incorporate each other into our families. Dragons were supposed to be that link, but I guess it’s not enough.”
“Hmm . . . maybe a link in our history?”
“But I don’t know what would work.”
“Stay out of sight, I’ll talk to them for a bit. Maybe they’ll say something that will help.”
Hiccup nodded, “Alright, we’ll try it.” Merida moved out into the midst of the chaos while Hiccup only moved close enough to hear, staying well out of sight. Everyone seemed to quiet down when Merida made her way to where her parents sat. The questions came once she turned around to face the clans.
“Where’s the Viking, Merida?”
“Is he going to attack us now with his new form?”
“Will that dragon attack us if it thinks we turned his master into a bear?”
“I had Hiccup hide until you calmed down enough for him to talk to you, civilly. He and his dragon will not harm us unless provoked, so, to prevent unnecessary bloodshed, why don’t you let him speak?”
“We’ve had enough talk, we want some action!”
“We know that he said he’ll start a dragon school and he wants to bring his friends here to teach us. We might be able to trust Hiccup, but what about the rest of Berk? They’re all Vikings! Who’s to say that one of them won’t attack us?” Hiccup couldn’t stand it, he had to speak, he had to make at least them understand.
“Because I am the chief of Berk! A chief protects his own. By becoming my allies, you become a part of that, meaning you will have my protection just like I will look to you for aid when Berk is in need.” They moved aside to let his furry body saunter to where Merida stood. He turned to stand beside her. He glanced at the clans, sadness creasing his brow. “What will it take for you to see, for you to understand that I am speaking the truth? Have we not agreed on the dragon school? How can I get that started if you will not trust the people I need to leave here to instruct you?”
“Hiccup, you will need to return to Berk to gather the dragons to bring here, right?”
“Uh, yes.” He glanced at Merida, they were going to need to tell them about the witch’s message.
“Why don’t we let a few Scots go with you so they can experience the culture of Berk firsthand and get a better understanding of how you work with the dragons. Not to mention we can’t let you go to Berk alone like this.”
“Um, Mom? There’s another reason why we can’t let him go to Berk alone like this.” Elinor glanced at Merida and then at Hiccup, a bit of worry creeping into her features.
“Why is that?” Merida quickly explained why, telling them everything they had learned while at the witch’s cottage. There were gasps and murmurs of surprise when she was finished. “Oh my, my lords we most certainly have to help him now. This is a problem we have dealt with before, Hiccup’s people will need our help all the more since they have never dealt with this. Will we rob a people of their chief when they have done nothing but extend a hand of friendship? This is a chance for us, they are willing to share with us their information about dragons, and now we have information that they need to save their chief. It’s not much, but it’s something to start off with, something that should give them a good idea of what our hearts are made of. So, can we have a few volunteers to send with him home?”
“I volunteer! And I should go since I was there for the witch’s message.” Elinor looked like she about to veto it, but then slowly nodded her head.
“Very well, Merida, we have one volunteer! Will anyone else volunteer?”
“Us!” shouted three voices as they bounded into the room, followed by Toothless. Hiccup gulped, he hadn’t been sure about how Toothless would react to Hiccup’s new form, but it wouldn’t be long before he found out as the dragon homed in on his location.
“I don’t know . . .”
“But Mom, we don’t get to do anything!”
“We already know how to work with dragons!”
“We can help keep Toothless company!” At that moment, Toothless found Hiccup.
“H-hey buddy.” Toothless glanced at him in surprise, then sniffed him. It sounded like Hiccup, it smelled like Hiccup, it just didn’t look like him. Toothless was thoroughly confused. “Yeah buddy, it’s me. I don’t like this look either, but these guys are going to help me get back to my old self, OK?” He tried to pet Toothless, but the dragon quickly backed up, those claws weren’t exactly inviting. But when Hiccup made no other moves besides his face looking sadder, Toothless moved closer and touched his nose to the paw. Hiccup slowly petted him, not wanting to hurt him with his claws. Toothless looked into Hiccup’s eyes. “Hey buddy,” Hiccup whispered. “Sorry, buddy, I can’t ride you home, someone else is going to have to do it, but we’ll stay close, alright?” Toothless merely nuzzled him.
“So, are my children the only ones unafraid of accompanying these two home?” The clans glanced at each other nervously, apparently they were. Elinor sighed, “Very well. Hiccup, if you don’t mind, could you stay another day just so we can prepare for their departure? It will also give time for anyone to change their minds.”
“Yeah, sure, just one more day.”
“Good, it’s been a long day, and night, I suggest we all go to sleep, we’ll have another long day tomorrow.” Everyone grumbled in agreement and shuffled off to bed. Hiccup found himself on the floor again, with Toothless draping his wing over him.
Everyone slept in until noon, but once they were up, activities resumed and the planning for the departure was tackled with enthusiasm. Hiccup could do nothing but sit back and watch the proceedings and give information as to what would be needed. By night, everything was set, even people’s minds, apparently. Merida and her brothers had spent time with Hiccup and Toothless, mainly learning on how to control the contraption to keep Toothless in the air, though Merida did try shooting her bow a few times. The four clan leaders also spent a lot of time with Hiccup and Toothless, more on coming to an agreement on a pact than learning about dragons, though that was touched upon when Toothless wasn’t busy playing around with his new friends. As they continued to talk, Hiccup began to hope that the pact wasn’t far from actually happening. He certainly knew the DunBrochs were on board with everything, he just had to nudge the other three clans into agreeing as well, his chances of succeeding increasing with every minute. That night, he seemed to sleep better than he had in weeks, some of the worry disappearing from his eyes. When morning came, the clans seemed ready to make a pact.
“See, Hiccup? You did it! ‘Be yourself and make the pact!’ You’re halfway there!” exclaimed Merida when the chiefs finished their meeting.
Hiccup grinned, “I know! I guess the selfless act will just have to come on our journey. I might become a human before we get to Berk!”
Merida chuckled, “It’s quite possible. We’d better get going so it can happen!”
“Right!” The two of them joined the the rest of the going-away party. As the group situated themselves, the triplets on Hiccup and Merida on Toothless, there were well-wishes and final instructions being uttered into the air, Elinor and Fergus going last.
“You stay together, and keep each other safe,” said Elinor as she hugged Merida.
“We will, Mom.”
“You boys behave for Merida and Hiccup, or your mother and I won’t let you go anywhere for the next few years, understand?”
“Yes dad,” sighed the triplets before being engulfed in a bear hug by their father. Fergus took a few steps back and was soon joined by Elinor, the two waving as the group took off on their northern journey.
That evening, a guard came panting into the throne room, a look of surprise written on his face.
“My lord, my lady, th-the ambassador!” Fergus and Elinor looked up sharply as the clans turned around, murmuring in surprise.
“What ambassador? Were we expecting another one, Elinor?”
Elinor shook her head, “No, just the one.”
“Well show him in anyway, maybe we can speak to him on behalf of Hiccup as well.”
Elinor smiled, “A good idea, my dear.” The guard bowed and stepped out for a bit before returning with a brown-haired young man, apparently the same age as Hiccup.
“My lords, my lady, may I present to you King Taran of Prydain!” The clans gasped as Taran bowed.
“I assume you received my letter?”
“That a brown-haired ambassador who is the chief of his land would be arriving in two weeks?”
“Oh no, I didn’t write chief, I wrote king. I thought you had received it, I had sent a bard with it.”
“I knew it! That Viking couldn’t be trusted!” Elinor and Fergus glanced at each other, now what were they going to do?