Sunrise came too soon for everyone as Hiccup began to lose his ability to speak bit by bit. Once the sun had fully risen in the morning sky, Hiccup could only grumble and growl like a bear, but thankfully he was still Hiccup. Merida was cautious though, explaining to him first and later everyone else, that the bear traits would start showing up pretty soon. But Hiccup managed to get through the day by concentrating on getting the Scots their own dragons. The triplets each got a changewing and a terrible terror, but Merida had none at all by the end of the day. Hiccup would have liked to have worked more on getting Merida a dragon, but everyone’s thoughts turned to changing him back into a human as he now had one day left.
“What would be a good selfless act for him to do?”
“Hasn’t he already been selfless?”
“Maybe the witch had something specific in mind.”
“That, or someone does a selfless act for him.” This and other such conversations echoed throughout Berk, each person trying to come up with a selfless act for Hiccup to do, or for someone to do for him. In the midst of it all, Hiccup was trying to keep from panicking, he was having short lapses during which he acted like a bear. To make matters worse, seven unknown Viking ships were sailing into their port, their leader sending a message asking to speak with Hiccup.
“Oh no, what should we tell them? Hiccup can’t be seen like this!” whimpered Fishlegs.
“Maybe we should tell them that he’s sick and can’t be seen for a few days,” muttered Astrid. She might not have liked what was going on with Hiccup, but he was still her friend.
“There’s an idea, so when he changes into a bear we can say he died and that I’m in charge.”
“What? It could happen!”
Valka sighed, “Snotlout is right, we haven’t been able to change him back into a human, this might be the best route for now. What do you think Hiccup?” The bear nodded sadly, Snotlout was right, if he didn’t change back into a human by sunrise, he would be gone to them forever.
“What if we have the leader meet with Snotlout and Valka for now? Hiccup can watch from the sidelines and can help determine what’s to be done. We’ll still say that he’s sick, of course,” suggested Merida. Hiccup glanced at her, a bearish grin growing on his face, he liked that idea.
Valka noticed her son’s face, “I think we shall do that then. Send a message to the boats, tell them that Hiccup is sick and unable to see anyone at the moment, but I, his mother, will see the leader in his place. Snotlout and Astrid may join me. Merida, if the leader does come, could you stay with Hiccup and help him with whatever he may need?” Everyone glanced at each other, they knew what she actually meant, but was being nice and not mentioning it.
“Thank you, let’s get this done with.” The message was sent and the preparations were underway in case the leader agreed to meet with Valka instead. It wasn’t long before the reply came, in the person of the leader himself. Valka, Snotlout, and Astrid met him in the main hall, Merida and Hiccup hidden behind a tapestry. Hiccup gave a low growl, he knew who that was.
“Dagur!” exclaimed Snotlout and Astrid.
Dagur laughed his crazy laugh, “I see you remember me. So sorry to hear that your great chief isn’t feeling well. I would have waited until he felt better, but I just couldn’t wait to meet his mother. A pleasure, Lady Valka, to think you’ve been alive all this time and you are reunited with your family just in time for you to lose your husband, and Hiccup his father.”
“Dagur! Be respectful to the memory of Stoick!” growled Astrid.
“Oh I am, don’t worry, he was a great man, I admired him greatly. And his son, until I found out I was lied to about the dragons on Berk. But that was years ago. I have come today with a deal for Hiccup, it shouldn’t be too hard for someone who’s sick to make this choice. As you may have noticed, I have seven ships waiting outside of Berk, filled with armed men.”
“What? You’re going to attack Berk? Why you . . .”
“Oh no, I won’t attack Berk, as long as your chief promises to give me all of the dragons, especially the Night Fury.” Valka rose from her seat and stepped towards Dagur, a stern look on her face.
“What would you do with the dragons?”
“Train and ride them, of course.”
“But why our dragons? Could you not have rescued other dragons to train?”
Dagur’s face twisted before returning to his calm mask, “What other dragons are there? Your son has the only male Night Fury.”
“Only male . . .? You have a female?”
“It’s quite possible, I’m sure your son would want to save the Night Furies from dying out.”
“Bring the female, I want to see her.”
“Oh no, I’m not going to be double-crossed. You bring the dragons to my boats, and then you can see the female Night Fury.”
“Are you treating her well?”
“Of course I am, what kind of a question is that, Astrid?”
“A question to see if you really have changed.” Dagur and Astrid became locked in a staring contest. Snotlout cleared his throat, bringing them back to the issue at hand.
“So, um, why don’t we talk to Hiccup real quick and we’ll get back to you with his answer?”
“Yes, why don’t you go do that?” Hiccup growled, they could have his answer right now. He burst out from behind the tapestry, Merida not far behind in an attempt to stop him. He rushed up towards Dagur, rose to his full height, and roared in his face. Dagur yelped and tried to back up from the raging bear, only to fall flat on his back.
“What’s going on here? Are you training bears now too? And is that a Scot? Is she the bear trainer?” Hiccup glanced back at his mother and nodded.
Valka sighed, “This is no trained bear, this is Hiccup.”
“An interesting illness.”
“A witch turned him into a bear.”
Dagur slowly rose to his feet, “I see, is it permanent? Oh don’t worry about answering that, it doesn’t matter, I can make it permanent by killing you.” Hiccup growled, the two getting so close that their noses almost touched. “So, Hiccup, guess I’ll take that as a no. Meet you on the battleground.” With that, Dagur turned tail and cleared out. Hiccup gave a snort, there was no way he was going to let Dagur have any of the dragons, Toothless especially, even if Dagur did have a female Night Fury.
“Have Gobber prepare the armory and make sure that everyone is armed and ready, we are going to fight to protect our dragons.” The people of Berk quickly made ready for war, but they weren’t completely done when Dagur and his Vikings charged on the village. The triplets, Merida, and the other archers tried to give the rest of the village as much time as they could to get even a bit more of weaponry together, but Dagur was gaining ground fast and it wouldn’t be long before he entered Berk. Hiccup took a group ready to fight and met Dagur at the front, even though his group was outnumbered ten to one. With the help of the archers, they were able to keep Dagur’s army occupied until Gobber finally had everyone armed and primed to fight. The fight went on into the night, neither side giving way even though it did look like Dagur would win in the long run.
“What are we going to do? Dagur has too many men!” Hiccup glanced at Astrid, giving a slight shrug.
“We can’t go on like this all night either.”
“But there’s no way we can spare anyone to let them rest!”
“Dagur will overrun us for sure. We should just give up the dragons so that we can get out of here in one piece.”
“Do you think Dagur will just let us leave peacefully? He’ll either enslave us or kill us, he knows we’ll mount an attack to get our dragons back.”
“I guess there’s no hope then, either we die fighting or we die in chains.”
“Well, it’s a good thing we got here when we did then, eh?”
“Dad!” Merida rushed to her parents, the triplets right behind. The family had a big group hug before Fergus and the other chiefs and a brunette who looked to be the same age as Hiccup approached the war council. “What? Well aren’t we your allies?”
“I don’t think that’s the question Hiccup has on his mind, dear. I think he’s wondering how we got here so fast.” Hiccup nodded slowly, too shocked to utter a sound.
Fergus laughed, “You can thank these doubting minds for that. When we realized that King Taran here was the one who sent us the message announcing his arrival instead of yours, they suggested we leave at once to find out once and for all if you really were being honest.” The chiefs grumbled and muttered amongst themselves before giving something of an apology.
“But I don’t think that now is a good time to be asking that question. The proper question right now is, where do you need help?” They quickly explained their situation to the newcomers, and the Scots hurled themselves giddily into battle. If there was one thing they could agree on, it was how to fight a Viking raid. Even King Taran and his companions entered into the fray, much to the dismay of Dagur’s forces and to the relief of Berk. With the extra forces, victory seemed possible, but they were still struggling, and dawn was fast approaching. The battle stopped abruptly just as the sun peaked over the horizon, Dagur was down and two Night Furies were standing guard over two unconscious bodies.