Monday, November 25, 2013

Labyrinth of Shard and Shadows Part II

Alright, this is part two of my three part chronicle. If you want to know what happened before and what the stakes are, please read part one. As for this next part, I think some explanation needs to be given for those of you who have not read the web novel that the Skrill known as Skari comes from. Skari and Skari's family are responsible for the death of Toothless's parents. There has been years and years of blood-fueds between Skrills and Night Furies, and Skari plotted for years on how to kill Toothless. Toothless and Toothless's parents are also guilty for the death of both Skari's parents as well, so both the Night Fury and the Skrill have taken bitter losses at each other's hands. Loki, earlier in the story, organized a way for Skari to find Toothless, and while Skari was trying to delete Hiccup, Toothless and Link defeated him, but Hiccup showed the Skrill mercy. Upon receiving such unexpected kindness, Skari actually sacrificed himself to save Hiccup. Skari was deleted, but after Link discovered a way to break deletion and free Hiccup, Hiccup decided to free Skari as well as thanks and as a way to give the Skrill a second chance. That is why Skari is with them at the moment. He and Toothless are still very on edge around one another, and that will play into the plot. Hope you enjoy it. Part three is even longer and is one of the most bizarre plots that I have created, but at the same time it is really quite fun.

p.s. And Skari calls Toothless Dagr which was Toothless's old name, and Toothless does not like it. Ugh. This all makes sense if you have read Inhonoredglory and Toothlesslove's web novel!

Dimension Splash Chronicles
Event: The Labyrinth of Shard and Shadows Part 2
Pov: Hiccup, Link, Toothless, Skari
Time: Year 10.11 of Hiccup and Link’s existence in the game

     Toothless let out a choked, shocked, and utterly horrified wail. One second Hiccup and Link had been standing in front of him, and the next there was this sucking, breaking sensation, and now neither of them were anywhere to be seen. Toothless leapt to where Hiccup was last standing and began frantically sniffing the ground. His mind was darting back and forth between horrible possibilities, and the fact that he himself could be in dire peril seemed now of little consequence. Hiccup was gone. 

     This was the first time since Hiccup had been saved from deletion that he and Toothless had been separated. The dragon had promised himself that Hiccup would never again go where he could not follow, and as he sniffed along the ground he suddenly realized where Hiccup had gone. The trail was clear, and it led straight into the shadows. Toothless looked up and let out a deep, guttural hiss and felt sure that the shadow hissed back in return. Toothless’s face contorted into confused, angry folds. He paced from one foot to the other, the ground cold and aggravatingly smooth beneath his clacking claws. He eyed the wall of shadows angrily, and he wanted so badly to rush into them after Hiccup, but he had a horrible, sick feeling that if he did he would die. Toothless stood breathing hard, and just as he was about to make up his mind, a growling snarl burned into his ears from behind. Skari was equally confused, but he looking at the separation in a very different light.

     “They left us! They’ve abandoned us here to die!” Skari hissed, and his body buzzed with electricity.

     “No. No, I’m going to find him. He wouldn’t.” Toothless looked away from Skari and back into the dark.

     “Are you an idiot? I thought you were smart, Dagr, but apparently you’ve lost your edge from all these years of hand feeding. If you go into that fog, you have no idea what it will do to you. When that elf-like boy touched it, it tore his hand apart. We are going to die here, and the humans don’t care!” Skari was shrieking madly. Both he and Toothless suddenly felt horribly trapped and claustrophobic. The walls seemed to shrink around them, and they stepped closer together until they bumped sides. Both snarled at the other for making physical contact. Then Skari let out another frightened hiss, “Look at the floor, Dagr, look at what Hiccup has given us in return.” Toothless looked down, and both he and Skari were casting multiple shadows, not just two-- three, four, five. The Shadows kept appearing, growing longer and darker.

     “Next time I’ll think twice about trusting humans, they’re nothing more than food.” Skari hissed in bitter resent.

     Toothless lost his nerve. He had tried to ignore the hatred poring out of Skari’s jaws, but now the Skrill had gone to far. “Enough! I will not hear you speak of Hiccup like that. You, you are the traitor, and I am sick of the sight of you! If we have to die here, then I want to see you die first, Skari!” Toothless roared the insult with terrifying ferocity, and Skari leapt back from him as the Night Fury swung his claw viciously in his direction. 

     “You still believe in him? Very well, after I rip your throat out, Dagr, I’ll be sure to find him and let him know!” Skari roared, and the two dragons slammed into each other. Biting, clawing, shrieking, their smooth scaly bodies tangled into a hideous knot. Toothless’s mind went numb every couple of moments as Skari jolted huge amounts of electricity into the Night Fury’s chest, but Toothless would not be subdued. He bit hard into Skari’s throat as the Skrill attempted and failed to put one of his sword-like claws into Toothless’s chest. The Night Fury tasted the awful, pungent taste of dragon blood, but it was the blood of his oldest, most hated foe, and as horrible as he knew it was, his senses buzzed with a terrible, bestial excitement. All those years of hiding from Skari, all the pain he had suffered, all the terror he had caused Hiccup, and Toothless was going to end it today. Skari was gurgling, choking, hissing, but he could not lash his head free. He let out another electric pulse, but even that would not make Toothless’s vice-like grip release. Skari, desperately allowed his back to bend backwards, he spread his feet solidly apart, and then with his all his trembling strength he kicked off the ground and rolled both himself and Toothless over. Toothless’s grip released, and Skari whipped himself clear of his terrible foe. Skari’s whole body burnt with brilliant, blue, electrical rage, and he sent a blast of lighting strait into Toothless’s face. The Night Fury screamed and stumbled, and Skari felt what he too had wanted to feel for so long, that terrible glee of revenge. He charged himself again, but Toothless got back on his feet. The Night Fury’s muscles were going into spasms, and the cold electric breath of Skari had left him feeling much weaker. Toothless prepared to reengage, to slam into Skari and bite and tear until one of them had ripped the life from the other, but suddenly his mind snapped back into focus. The hot, welling anger washed out of him in a single moment as he saw what he and Skari were standing in. Skari and Toothless had tumbled right into the wall of shadows, and yet neither of them had been harmed.

     “Skari, stop!” Toothless howled.

     “You will not receive mercy from me.” Skari continued to charge his body.

     “No, look around you!” 

     “No, you are going to die. And this is perfect because after you die, the Gemnodes will find you, and they’ll torture you forever. My parents deserve revenge. Nothing could make me spare you now, Dagr.” 

     “I spared you. Hiccup and I spared you! Does that mean nothing? You tried to kill us both, and yet we spared you! We can get back to Hiccup, trust me, he did not leave us to die.” Toothless stepped back slightly, fear fingering its way into his chest. He needed to get back to Hiccup, and if Skari killed him here, everything would be lost.

     Skari cocked his head, looked at Toothless’s pleading expression. He still felt hot, angry, but he had his own set of ethics, and even by his own code killing Toothless after he had been spared so kindly in that fateful battle over Mount Doom clashed against his heart like an icy wave. He relaxed slightly, shook his head in annoyance, and then looked around and realized what Toothless had seen. They were both standing in the shadows, and yet, as far as they could tell, they were completely unharmed.

     “I don’t understand...” Skari hummed. “Why aren’t we being torn apart?” Toothless had a guess. Now that things had calmed down he could feel a warm, powerful washing sensation deep within his chest. It was Power Gems. One of Toothless’s own abilities granted by those gems must have been protecting him. What was protecting Skari, Toothless did not know, but the Night Fury guessed now that his black scales that had cost him so much to enhance were somehow immune to the attack of these shadows. In his world, he would have been stripped to the bone, but in this world, in the world where the Gemnodes made the rules, the very power of the Gemnodes themselves was keeping Toothless safe. His black scales protected him from all dark attacks, and that meant he could run through these shadows unharmed, or so he thought. A quick, excruciating blast of pain struck Toothless in the eyes. It was as if dozens of needles were stabbing into them at once. He yelped and clamped them shut as firmly as he could. Of course... his eyes didn’t have scales protecting them. Toothless gurgled out his explanation to Skari, “The Power Gems have made my scales immune... I think. How you are still alive, I do not know, but we must follow Hiccup. He truly does care Skari, you have to believe that.” 

     Skari felt again that strange, alien sensation drip into his heart. He didn’t know why, but he loved the boy, and he regretted what he had said about him earlier. Not that he was going to apologize to Toothless, but he would seek Hiccup out again. He relaxed fully, and allowed his body to discharge. He regretted it immediately. Horrible, ripping, shredding sounds buzzed trough the air, and Skari let out a shriek of pain. Instinctively his whole body electrocuted again, and the shadows stopped their assault. They had eaten into the wounds Toothless had left on his neck, but thankfully the rest of him was unharmed. He growled, “I think I know what keeps them off of me... This is going to be hard, Dagr. If we want to save your boy, we need to move fast. I have to keep myself charged, and that burns me up, consumes all the food I’ve eaten, and I’ll die if I do it for too long. Let’s get moving.”

     Toothless activated one of his air gems so that he would not need to breath through his nose. Doing that still stung, and he worried about what the shadows would do if the got into his lungs. He clicked his ears around making a slight warble. Never was he more thankful for his ability to echolocate than now. He kept his eyes shut tightly, hummed a signal to Skari, and the two of them dashed as fast as they could into the darkness.


     “No. No! You can’t leave him! You have to let me go back to him!” Hiccup had jumped to his feet and was desperately trying to push his way past Link. The Hylian was trying his best to calm Hiccup down, but it wasn’t working. Hiccup was trying to dodge around him, trying to push through or past him, hopelessly wanting to get back to Toothless.

     “Hiccup, you’ll die if you go back.” Link pushed Hiccup back again, this time with a bit more force.

     “You left Toothless to die, and you left him with Skari! Of all the dragons to leave alone, Link, they’ll kill each other! Toothless will die, and the Gemnodes will take him away from me!” Hiccup shoved into Link, ducking under his arm and getting around behind him. 

     Link grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back to the floor. Hiccup was an emotional mess, and Link needed to get a handle on the situation. He pointed the Master Sword down at Hiccups chest and spoke slowly. “Hiccup, listen, you are not thinking clearly. Toothless may very well die now that we’ve left him behind, but that is a possibility. If you step into those shadows, you will die, and that is a certainty. Don’t kill yourself in the vain hope that you can help that dragon.”

     “I know what deletion is like, and I won’t let it happen to Toothless, not to him!” Hiccup slapped Link’s sword sideways and jumped to his feet again. “I’m going back for him, I’ll find a way.” 

     Link grabbed Hiccup’s shoulders and looked him in the eyes. Link’s frustration was only heightened to see how suicidally determined those green eyes looked as they bored into him. “Hiccup, Hiccup think! Toothless may not die, but you will! Toothless will find you, he always, always does. Let him find a way. Don’t kill yourself, or do you want him to find out that he was too late? Toothless will be alright, that dragon carries fifty two Power Gems and is absolutely determined to never, ever lose you again. He cheated death for you, and he’ll do it again. Please, trust me, and trust Toothless.”

     Hiccup’s shoulders drooped in Link’s hands. “--but,...” He sighed. “Alright.” Link let go and turned to continue heading down the black corridor. Hiccup followed behind him, but deep in his heart he was pleading, and his heart moaned within his chest. Please, please bud. Don’t die, Toothless, please don’t die. I can’t lose you... I’ve lost you too many times before. I can’t live without you.

     The two boys walked slowly down the endless black path. The orbs continue to light right in front of them and fading right behind them. The stillness was extremely uncomfortable, and both Hiccup and Link constantly looked behind their backs. A feeling like spiders legs tickled up their necks. Link didn’t like that at all. He’d faced undead monsters, he killed thousands of nightmares, and even after all that he still suddenly felt afraid. Something was following them, watching them. Hiccup and Link both felt that they could hear something walking in the darkness, but as soon as they stopped to listen, the footsteps would stop, and as soon as Hiccup and Link began to walk, the footsteps would start again. Maybe they were just an echo, but the echo was doing a very good job at unnerving Link. Finally he could not take it anymore. He whirled around and shouted into the dark, “Show yourself!” He sliced his sword through the air with a flourish, and the brightness of the Master Sword gave Link a feeling of power and hope. He was the greatest swordsman in this dimension, so anything that wanted to stalk him in the dark would be wise to watch its step.

     Link’s challenge was met by a scraping, metallic noise. Something dark moved in the blackness, and lurched towards the light. Hiccup suddenly shouted, “Uh, there’s one on the other side too!” Link and Hiccup got back to back, and Hiccup drew Endeavor and clicked sparks along the hilt until the short sword burst into orange flames. The two approaching figures walked forward slowly, their feet clanking with horrible, hollow sounds. Then they stepped into the light, and the flames of Hiccup’s sword made glints of orange light dance off of their entire bodies. They were black suits of armor, and in their hands they held huge, dark blades. They pulled the swords up and grasped them with two hands. The motion was slow, almost choppy, but it was clear that these people meant to engage in combat, and Link turned his head back to Hiccup and whispered, “Just stand back and watch, I’ll tackle this, and there’s no point in you getting yourself hurt.” Hiccup nodded, and then dropped to the floor.  Link leapt forward and slashed the Master Sword at one of the black knights, and the sound of metal striking metal echoed through the tunnel. Then the knight behind Link stumbled up to him, sword held over his head, but as he prepared to bring it down, Link reached his left hand behind his back, gripped a long ebony black hilt, and drew the Blessed Blade. Both knights stepped back in what seemed like shock. That sword was a relic of incredible power, and getting it out of Ike’s hands had proven to be quite a challenge for Link. With the Master Sword in one hand and the Blessed Blade in another, Link whirled around slicing both swords into the knight behind him. The Blessed Blade sheered straight through his opponents sword leaving nothing to stand in the way of the Master Sword. The blade cut into the shining black armor with a beautiful, triumphant, musical note, and the whole front breastplate of his opponent fell clattering on the ground. But as his enemy’s chest was exposed, Link and Hiccup both looked on in shock. There was a clear sifting sound as Link looked into the suit of armor and saw nothing but a ribcage. The sifting sound was coming from inside the suit, and to his horror Link saw long, reaching shadows stretching out towards him. He jumped back and collided with the other set of armor, accidentally elbowing it in the helmet. The visor fell from the knight’s face, revealing nothing but a human skull and the horrible sifting sound. The swarms of shadows had stripped these bodies clean and used their armor as transport, and now they had transported themselves right onto Link and Hiccup.

     Link stepped away, but it was already too late. Both sets of armor collapsed into crumpled heaps of metal and bone, and shadows swarmed in all directions. Hiccup and Link stood perfectly still, but the shadows latched onto them, and they stood trembling as the their bodies cast multiple shadows onto the dark floor. “Well... so much for not dying.” said Hiccup. “I assume you used up your time stop completely?” 
     Link nodded. He was hoping for a decent sword fight, but instead he had fallen right into a trap and doomed both himself and Hiccup. The worst thing was the swarm could attack at any moment, and there was nothing either of them could do but wait for the pain. They didn’t have to wait long... The Vashta Nerada were starving.

     The attack was excruciating. Link and Hiccup both fell to the ground and shoved themselves up against the wall of the corridor. They were lying in a shadow that should never have existed, and it was eating them both alive. Link gasped, even breathing stung. The Vashta Nerda pored into his lungs, stung his skin, crawled their way under his clothes. Hiccup screamed and covered his face. Blood began to soak through both boys’ clothing. Link rolled around in the dark as his entire body screamed out in pain as billions of little carnivores stripped the flesh from his body. Hiccup screamed again, and then he suddenly realized that this death would seal both their fates. Hiccup writhed as he felt the shadows begin to attack his face.

     Then there was a shrieking, a clattering of claws and a beating of wings. Toothless leapt into the scene, he opened his eyes, and all that was echoing into his mind was the sound of Hiccup wailing and the horrible shredding noise of the Vashta Nerada gnawing into flesh. Toothless slammed into Hiccup, tried to push him out of the shadow, but the swarm followed him. The boy screamed again, and horror crawled into Toothless’s heart. He yelped and shoved Hiccup again.  It wasn’t working, Hiccup was literally being eaten alive in front of Toothless and there was nothing, nothing the Night Fury could do. Toothless roared in frustration and horror as he saw blood trickling down from behind Hiccup’s hands and heard another rasping wail. Then there was an electric buzzing, and the shriek of a Skrill howled into Toothless’s ears, “Move, Dagr!” 

     Toothless whipped around, confused, and Skari sent a brilliant electric blast surging through the tunnel. The blue electricity danced along the floor arching into absolutely everything. Toothless howled in pain and anger, and both Hiccup and Link thrashed around in contorted spasms as the lighting channeled into their already injured forms. Then Skari stopped, and everything was still and silent, all that could be heard was the heavy breathing of the Skrill. Toothless weakly stumbled onto his feet and felt the pungent taste of gasses slipping up into his throat. That was it, Skari had attacked them when they were helpless, and Toothless was furious. Just as he was about to scream into battle, Hiccup and Link both let out sick, shuddering coughs. Toothless whipped his head around and saw Hiccup slowly lifting himself up off the ground and leaning his back against the wall. Toothless suddenly understood what Skari had done, that he had saved them, and that Hiccup was going to be alright. The Night Fury let out an insane, whining yelp and stuffed his head into Hiccup. The boy winced, but his wounds were healing as the Power Gems granted him his life points. He looked up at Toothless and threw his arms around his him. Those tiny, trembling arms wrapped themselves around the Night Fury’s smooth neck, and Toothless gave him a comforting hum. Hiccup was going to be alright, everything was going to be alright. “Thank you bud, thank you.” Hiccup couldn’t believe how happy he was to see his dragon, and all the fears that Sardilic had burned into his heart seemed to fade away now that he had that Toothless in his embrace. 

     Link lifted himself up off the ground, winced, and then stood rather unevenly on his feet. His chest was still burning, but the physics of this dimension were at least allowing his wounds to heal. Hiccup was still lost in Toothless’s comforting hums, but Link walked up slowly to Skari who was looking at Toothless with strange, somber eyes. “Uh, thanks for that.” He said stiffly. Skari gave a nonchalant sort of shrug and continued to eye Hiccup and Toothless.

     Hiccup finally felt good enough to stand, and then he suddenly realized what all had happened. He jumped up, gave Toothless a reassuring pat, and then walked quickly up to Skari and hugged the shocked Skrill on the neck. “Thank you, Skari. Thank you for saving us. You saved us all, and I know you didn’t have to.” Both Toothless and Skari were slightly confused, but Skari felt something warm and happy bubble up in his lungs. It had been ages since he felt this way, felt love and acceptance and gratitude. He hadn’t done it in years, but Skari let out a warm, long hum. Hiccup shook his head thinking how comically alike Skari and Toothless actually could be, and Toothless cocked his head in pleasant, dumbfounded surprise. Skari looked at Hiccup, and then looked at Toothless and hummed softly, “I see now what changed you, Dagr. I see now why you found a love for humans, Toothless.” 

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