Monday, June 15, 2015

Celebration of Light

Well, here is my next Chronicle. I hope you will all enjoy it. If you plan to read it, do know that you NEED to read the one I posted before it before you read this one. Anyway, this one is a lot less intense than most of them, and it was pretty fun (though difficult) to write. I do hope you will enjoy it if you get to read it. Apologies for any grammar/spelling errors I make! I have only checked over this one a couple of times. The Chronicle is about thirteen pages if placed in a document form. So, click the read more to see the continuation of Hiccup and Toothless's struggled against the Gemnodes.

Dimension Splash Chronicles
Event: Celebration of Light
Pov: Hiccup, Link, and Toothless
Time: Year 10.65 of Hiccup and Link’s existence in the game

     Many things happened very, very quickly after the escaping armies ran through the rift in the world of the Gemnodes. Hundreds and hundreds of people, elves, dragons, and many other races found themselves tumbling onto a large grassy cliff outside of Berk. The first thing that became obvious was that their inventories were literally exploding. The world of the Gemnodes allowed for the shrinking of supplies for the sake of easy transport, but the physics of Hiccup’s world were incredibly different. Clone troopers jumped in surprise as their supply belts exploded into a flurry of weapons, ammunition, and rations. This happened with elves, benders, matoran, and American soldiers all at once, so the grassy plain was soon covered in a massive jumble of supplies from every different kind of civilization imaginable. The Pokemon trainers were probably in for the biggest shock, for every one of their pokeballs exploded and the brightly colored creatures came rocketing out. 

     Some characters had a less pleasant arrival. The dragons and Vikings of Hiccup’s world all began to age in order to catch up with their time stream. The process was extremely painful, but in a few short moments many of them were picking themselves up off the ground, their bodies now five years older. 

     All eyes turned to the rift. Hiccup and Toothless had not come through, and though many of them had been distracted, Luigi was spreading the news of Tabuu’s treachery. Many characters were debating whether or not to risk going back to help, and if Stoick and Astrid had not been incapacitated by their aging process they certainly would have. However, before anyone made the charge, Hiccup and Toothless came rocketing out. Hiccup was breathing hard, but his face was beaming. He had the utmost confidence that Link would make it back, and the crowds of people watching had burst into thunderous applause. It had been so long since Hiccup dared to hope he could oppose the Gemnodes, and finally he and his friends had seen a victory. 

     Within moments Link stepped through the rift, carrying the curled body of Midna. She had returned to her normal color, but she appeared to be unconscious. Link was winded from his battle and sprint, and he stooped slightly and laid Midna down, looking her over. Before he could do anything more, a bright green blur rocketed out of nowhere and tacked him directly in the face, knocking him flat onto his back. The Terrible Terror was latched onto him with a vice-like grip of spastic energy. It’s bright yellow eyes were bulging with excitement as it chirped and cackled uncontrollably. Link laughed and grabbed hold of the back of his little dragon’s neck, pulling him loose. He set the terrible Terror on his arm, but the dragon scurried up it and all around Link’s body, diving awkwardly into his clothes and making Link struggle to get him out. Finally he caught him, and the little green creature settled down enough to stay still. Link smiled broadly, stroking the Terror’s head. “It is great to see you too.”

     Some surprises were less pleasant than exploding inventories and loose Pokemon. There was a sudden uproar from the Asgardian army, and as Link looked in the direction of the cacophony of shouts, Thor came tugging someone very roughly behind him. It was Loki, and the god of mischief was looking extremely unhappy. Thor turned him to face Link. “It seems my brother came in disguised as the chief of my guards. I do not know how he escaped his cell, but he cannot be trusted.” Loki glanced down at Midna’s form, and then looked up at Link and asked, “Well, don’t I deserve a chance to stand against the Gemnodes?” 

     “Perhaps, but you don’t deserve our trust, and you won’t receive it.” Link was completely cold in his statement, not even a hint of anger in his voice. “We’ll put him in custody, Thor, until we sort everything out.”

     “I agree, that seems best.” Thor stated. Loki rolled his eyes and sighed audibly as Thor tugged him along and away from Link. Loki’s magic clearly did not work in this world, for his holographic appearance had vanished leaving him face to face with his very angry older brother. 

     Hiccup landed next to his brother. The two didn’t look at one another for a long time; their gazes were fixed on the crowds of people meandering around, finding lost objects, talking with each other, or just staring around in wonder. Hiccup breathed in slowly. This was more than he could have hoped for. He had so many people he owed this to, but one came to mind before all others. If it had not been for Takanuva, the mission would have failed, and these armies would have been facing the agony of deletion. Hiccup looked to Link, his voice filled with a clear, determined tone of respect. “Takanuva sacrificed himself for us. He distracted the Gemnodes to save us all. This could not have happened without him. It is him these people should be cheering for.”

     Link put his hand on Hiccup’s shoulder, the news of Takanuva’s valor filling the hylian with a deep sense of respect. “They will. We won’t let them forget.” Toothless hummed happily as the two boys turned again to watch the crowds. Then the Night Fury’s head darted down towards Midna. The imp had stirred in the thick, mossy grass that Link had placed her in. She seemed weak, but she was regaining consciousness. Toothless yapped at Hiccup and drew his attention to this, and Hiccup quickly got off of his saddle and kneeled beside Midna. Her eye opened slowly, and she winced. “Get me out of the light.” She hissed pleadingly. Hiccup called Toothless over, and the dragon shaded her with his wing. She was mumbling something, almost sobbing. “Lost…lost it. Why….lost. Lost…” 

      Link turned and noted that the rift was still burning and open. This was probably something to be concerned about, considered anyone from the Gemnode’s world could come through it. “Do you have any idea how to shut it?” 

     Hiccup turned and looked. “No. They have always seemed kinda random.” Hiccup frowned slightly. Then, something very dark and small came shooting out of the rift. It landed and stuck into the ground about fifteen feet from where Hiccup and Link were standing. Hiccup stood up straight from his kneeling position and walked towards it, leaving Toothless to shade Midna. When Hiccup reached the object, he was amazed to see it was a piece of the Fused Shadow. Why on earth would that come through the rift? Hiccup stooped and looked it over, but he didn’t want to touch it. He’d been in the Gemnodes’ world long enough to know what kinds of objects were safe to handle and what kinds should be avoided at all costs. Even in Hiccup’s world, the carvings on the Fused Shadow gave Hiccup and eerie feeling of a wicked power dwelling within. A faint humming sound caught Hiccup’s attention, and he looked up to see that the rift was closing. He smiled slightly, but the day held one more massive surprise for the young Viking. A huge shape burst from the rift, knocking Hiccup back in shock. The form spread long wings and pulled itself up before colliding with the ground and let out a loud, long roar. Hiccup regained his composure and identified the beast that had just broken into his world. It was the dragon Smaug, and Hiccup shook his head slightly. He and the wyrm were actually on fairly good terms, but Smaug was a conceited, sardonic, and greedy beast who would probably cause more harm than most if left unattended. The huge dragon circled over the armies before landing on a nearby crag.

     Smaug, Loki, and Mewtwo had all apparently learned of the escape plan and followed Hiccup’s allies. Of all of them, Hiccup felt, as Link had stated, that only Loki really needed to be kept in custody. Trying to do that to Smaug would be disastrous, and Mewtwo was not much of a threat with the limited amount of psychic energy at his disposal in the physics of Hiccup’s universe. In fact, the legendary Pokemon looked very flustered at his current situation. He could no longer levitate, so he walked around awkwardly. Worst for him was the fact that he could no longer communicate through telepathy, leaving him utterly mute. This caused the psychic being to look even more cross than usual. 

     Hiccup told Toothless and Link to to come over to him, and they brought Midna. Upon seeing the Fused Shadow shard, she grabbed at it desperately and held it close to her body. She was very visibly relieved as she continuously whispered “Thank the Sols.” beneath her breath. After a moment she looked up at Hiccup. “Good plan. Now, can somebody take me somewhere that is properly dark. The light of your world stings me.” 

     “I’ll get her.” Link stepped forward and picked her up. She hissed as the light touched her skin.

     “We had better start leading these people to Berk. We’ve got a lot of preparations that will need making.” Hiccup said, mounting Toothless. Hiccup flew over the armies, and they followed the form of the Night Fury towards the village of Berk. Toothless was looking around for someone very keenly, and when he spotted her, he gargled happily up at Hiccup and dove down toward her. Astrid saw him coming, and she grabbed onto his arm as he swooped by. With the help of Hiccup’s outstretched hand, Astrid made it into the saddle behind Hiccup. She looked different than she had the last time Hiccup had seen her due to the aging, and her clothes were not quite the right size any longer, but to Hiccup she appeared to be at the height of her beauty. He smiled back at her, unable to really believe that she was safe and that she was with him for the first time in ages. She smiled broadly back, and she leaned forward and kissed him gently on the cheek. “Thank you for bringing us home, Hiccup.”


     The armies began to settle into separate camps over the next few days. Each group was well prepared. They had brought all the supplies that they would have needed for a war, and that was more than enough to build camp grounds with. The Vikings and dragons of Berk returned to their village for the first time in years. Berk was not the colorful, thriving village it had been when they left. Buildings were in ruins, Herkja soldiers were helping Link keep the peace, and not a single dragon stall could be found. However, it was still their village, still the village they had all grown up in, and they knew they could make it their home again. After all, Berk had never been the sort of place where buildings lasted long. 

     The Vikings of Berk who had never been taken by the Gemnodes were leaving their houses, their mouths dropped open in wonder. A tall figure they had all deemed to be dead or a deserter was walking in their midst. Stoick the Vast strode forward towards the stairs of the Great Hall. When he reached the top of the stairs, he turned and faced his people. A small, elderly man hobbled up beside him. Mulch’s blind eyes were full of tears as he gripped Stoick’s outstretched hand. Then after a moment of silence, Mulch released Stoick’s hand, turned and faced the vikings of Berk, and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Our chief has come home!” Few and far between were the Vikings who still held any doubts about Hiccup or Stoick’s motives, and the entire village, along with all the Vikings who had been saved from the world of the Gemnodes burst into cheers. Hiccup smiled to see his father back in his proper place, and Link was punching into the air in excitement. 

     Stoick smiled and extended his hand towards the crowd. “I am back, and I cannot say how happy I am to be here. All these years, all these years I hardly dared to believe that my return could have been possible. But, thanks to the courage of my sons, yes, I have two of them now! Thanks to them, we have come home. It has cost many great men many great sacrifices to bring us here today. Those sacrifices should not be forgotten. In three days time we shall celebrate those who gave their all to see us safely to our homes, and I want this village to be ready. So whose with me? Let’s rebuild our home!” Stoick cast his arms up in the air with his final shout, and the crowds again cheered. Soon the entire village would be bustling about. There was much work to be done, but the spirit of hope had finally entered Berk, and that made all the difference.

     Hiccup walked up to his father. “Nice speech.”

     Stoick turned, “Thank you, son.”

     “Is this celebration in memory of Takanuva?”

     “It is indeed.”

     “Thank you. I just, I don’t want his sacrifice to be forgotten. So few people know what he did… I’m just glad you’ve given us a way to tell them.”

     “Great men deserve great honor, Hiccup.” Stoick looked him in the eye.

     Hiccup nodded and smiled slightly. He had wanted to ask his father to do something very much like this, but Stoick had been with Takanuva, and he knew what the Toa had sacrificed. 


      The three days of preparation passed in the blink of an eye. Berk was looking much more like it had before the Gemnodes had arrived. All of Hiccup’s allies had been invited, and all had promised to contribute to the celebration. Thor, for one, was quite ready for some “revels”. Some characters had almost vanished since their initial arrival. Midna had requested to be placed in the basement of the Haddock House, and not a word had been heard from her since. When Link opened the door at one point in order to check on her, she had shoved herself into a corner and told him to leave immediately. For whatever reason, the imp seemed to desire solitude, and she was given it. Smaug had thankfully decided not to stay around the village. He had flown into the inner islands of the archipelago. The only escapee who would certainly not be attending the Celebration of Light was Loki. Thor had locked him securely in the dungeon of Berk. 

     The night before the big day had finally come, and all the people of Berk were returning to their homes or camps. Hiccup and Link climbed the wooden stairs of the Haddock house and sat on their beds. The Terrible Terror climbed out from under Link’s blankets and began to frisk around the room. Link took off his gear and placed it on the floor beside his bed, and Hiccup began the long process of removing his new armor. The leather made it lightweight and versatile, but there sure were a lot of straps that needed to be undone. He glanced over to Link and asked, “Would you open the skylight?” Link nodded and flipped the latch. Within moments Toothless stuck his head through the opening and clambered into the room. This served to excite the Terror even more, and before long the tiny green dragon had bitten Toothless sharply on the tail. Instantly the Terror realized that this wasn’t the best of plans, for Toothless whipped around and snapped at him with a gummy bite. The tiny green dragon barely avoided getting chomped, and he made a loud, swaggering noise as he darted away. Toothless began to pursue him, and before long the dragons had knocked both boys down as well as most of the furniture in the room. Hiccup and Link ignored the playful battle almost completely, both going about their normal ritual of preparing for sleep, but eventually Hiccup finished removing his armor and decided to take a side. He made a grab for the Terrible Terror and caught him by the tail as he zoomed by. The dragon squawked in protest, and the noise made Link take interest. “Hey, why’d you grab him? That’s hardly fair.” 

     “He started it.” Hiccup said smiling at his brother as he tried to get a better hold on the squirming Terror. 

     “But he’s a little guy!” Link got to his feet. He could see Toothless was closing in. Apparently the Night Fury wanted to finish his own fight. 

      The Terror bit Hiccup on the hand and snickered. “Ow!” Hiccup got a better grip. “That doesn’t give him diplomatic immunity.” 

     Toothless suddenly jumped at Hiccup. The boy hadn’t been expecting this, but Link had. The hylian intervened and leapt onto Toothless from the side, diverting his open mouthed tackle. Toothless whined in annoyance, and Link laughed at him. Then, with a loud grunt, Toothless turned quickly, completely capsizing Hiccup’s bed, and tried to slap Link with his tail. “Woah!” Link ducked, and Toothless knocked Hiccup to the floor. The Night Fury looked guilty, but then that shifted to agitation. Unfortunately, the blow had caused Hiccup to loosen his grip on Link’s squirming Terrible Terror, who now bit Hiccup on his forearm. Hiccup yelped, and the Terror shot out of his arms. He buzzed around the the room twice, cackling cheers to Link. Link was now dodging a constant assault of Toothless’s tail, and as Toothless kept getting closer and closer to landing a hit, his gummy smile continued to widen across his face. Finally, he hit Link across the chest, but the boy gripped around his tail hard and held on. With that the Terrible Terror shot down and tried to grab at Toothless’s face, but the Night Fury was too quick. He snagged the Terror out of the air and held him triumphantly in his gummy mouth. The Terrible Terror was chattering angrily in protest as Toothless enjoyed his comeuppance. However, now the Night Fury was trying to dislodge Link from his tail, and he was dragging the boy all around the room. Soon the entire house was filled with the sounds of crashing furniture, and the loud squawks on the furious Terrible Terror. Hiccup was trying to remedy the situation by talking to Link and Toothless, but Toothless ignored him, and Link tripped him, probably on purpose, as Toothless continued to swing him around the room.

      “That’s ENOUGH!” A voice boomed from downstairs. Both boys and dragons froze. Stoick had listened to the whole kerfuffle for the last five minutes, and he had finally gotten fed up. As quickly as the wrestling had begun, it ended. The Terror shot beneath the one bed that was still upright in the room, leaving a stream of Toothless’s spit on the floor behind him. Hiccup and Link both got up, and Toothless looked around and cooed apologetically. 

     “It’s fine Toothless.” Hiccup said, and the dragon, now tuckered out, laid himself down on the stone slab on the opposite side of the room. Link definitely looked the most banged-up, but he helped Hiccup return all the furniture to its normal orientation and then sat in the bed with a sigh, laughing. It had been a long time since they had all bunked together, and he had forgotten how quickly the dragons used to get into antics. The Terror made a cackling sound of annoyance from beneath Links bed, and Hiccup could hear Toothless’s laugh reverberating in the black dragon’s throat. 

      The boys settled down, blew out the light, and before long the room as filled with the nasal snore of the Terrible Terror and the soft rumble of Toothless’s breathing. The roof creaked and shifted, and there were several thumping sounds. Skari was on top of the house. Hiccup laughed quietly to himself and whispered, “At least he wasn’t in on it.”

     Link turned, “Yeah, he and Toothless would have been trying to kill one another by the end.”

     There was silence for a long while. Then Link spoke again. “Do you think we can do it?”

     Hiccup knew exactly what Link was talking about, and he was surprised by Link’s uncertainty. “Uh… I don’t know. To be honest, I’m surprised we made it this far. Why ask now?”

     “Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating victory, but it will be victory at a cost. We didn’t save everybody, and one of us certainly died to save the rest.” Link sighed. “I just don’t like this feeling… this powerlessness to keep people safe.”

     “All we can do is try…”

     “I just… you can’t leave me again.” Hiccup could see Link’s eyes dimly in the cracks of moonlight coming in from the opened skylight, and they felt like blue steel cutting through the room and piercing right into Hiccup. “I want to keep you safe, and I want to fight the Purpose. Takanuva died to save you, but I worry that before the end you’ll make his decision.” Link paused. “You already died once… you’ve already paid the price, so I don’t want you to ever be the one who has to make that sacrifice again.” There was a long, uncomfortable pause. “I don’t want you to be a martyr.”

     “Link…” Hiccup breathed out quietly. “I’m not trying to be. I just want to do what I can to make things right… But if it comes between me and others dying, perhaps it would be better to die for the sake of what is right than to live and let others suffer.”



     “No. That is not a decision I am willing to let you make. You have too many people who care about you. I watched, Hiccup. I watched what your death did to the world, and you can’t allow it to happen again. Let me die, let Skari die, let Toothless die, but we are not going to let you face the Gemnodes again.”

     Hiccup was quiet. He did not really know how to process what Link was saying. Should he feel guilty for taking the risks he had taken? Then, Link spoke again. “You were not wrong to oppose the Purpose, but I want you to know something. I want you to know that you have suffered enough, and I don’t ever want to be left behind again. I’m coming with you from here on out. I care too much about you to see you die like Takanuva did.”

     “Alright…” Hiccup breathed. “But—”

     “No, no but’s. I know you want to keep the rest of us safe. I’ve watched you. You’ve tried to protect me after you saw me beaten, you kept Astrid in the Haven of Light, and I heard what you allowed to happen to Dagur when he had hunted Toothless. The Gemnodes will use us against you, Hiccup, so you need to let us protect you. Not the other way around. If you are going to die in this fight, then we are going to die fighting beside you… The way you could hurt us most is by dying for us.”

     Hiccup sighed, he did not know whether to feel guilty, thankful, supported, or hurt. He just felt raw, like he could not process the events. His emotions clawed at his chest, and his churning mind struggled to decide what was truly best. He could at least give Link something. “Alright.” He breathed. “I will never ask you to stay behind again, and I promise I will try and keep myself safe…” Hiccup forced a smile and a change of voice. “I mean, it’s not like I want to die.” Hiccup’s snark helped disperse the tension of the room. And before long Link was fast asleep. But Hiccup laid awake. He turned his head looking at Link’s profile in the dark, then turned his face the other way to see the sleeping, ink-black form of Toothless. Throughout the night, Link’s words cut into Hiccup’s mind. The way you could hurt us most is by dying for us.


      The Celebration of Light was nothing short of spectacular. Never before and never again would the tiny village of Berk see such a diverse crowd. Though many of the characters attending worried for friends and allies who had failed to escape the Gemnodes’ world, at least for this night they were able to celebrate their own freedom, and what a glorious thing that was.

     The festival was filled with food and song and light and laughter. Hiccup walked through the crowd, a small smile painted across his lips. The interactions of the party were nothing that the Berkians could have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies. Who would have ever guessed that Thor would be standing in the Mead hall, a tankard in his hand and Gobber at his side? Together the two of them regaled Vikings, elves, and clone troopers with stories of heroism… though at times Hiccup did have to wonder whether or not the facts were being ever so slightly stretched. 

      It seemed as though there was something here for everyone. Dozens of cultures, no, dozens of dimensions were displaying themselves. Hiccup walked past the dancing benders, their perfect movement and grace mesmerizing the onlooking crowds. With such masterful control of their own bodies, it seemed unsurprising that they could also control the elements. The matoran performed unusual chants, their brightly colored robotic bodies glistening in the firelight. With their large, carved masks, their performance had the powerful feeling of a land and a people who lived as one. 

     Food and drink were extraordinary. Hiccup, never one to have a large appetite, only took a handful of what had been prepared, but the hordes of people around him filled plate after plate with exotic delicacies. Stitch and the Terrible Terror were being absolute nightmares as they intentionally snatched the food from absent-minded guests. There was brilliant fruit from Mata-Nui, elvish breads and greens from mirk-wood, and even though they were only the supplies for battle, the Asgardian meats were richer than anything Berk had ever seen. Skari and his hoards had brought in vast quantities of fish, and Hiccup caught a glimpse of Toothless happily burying his head in a crate full of cod. Hiccup laughed and shook his head as Toothless looked back at him with his mouth much too full. The dragon tried to smile, but his cheeks couldn’t stretch any further.

     When everyone had eaten their fill, games of all sorts began. Link was constantly surrounded by a group of admiring swordsmen, and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, many of them challenged him to a match. Plans had been made for this, and a huge circle of chairs formed a makeshift arena. Only wooden, training swords were allowed, but other than that, anything was fair game. Stoick bellowed out over the crowd, letting them know that the tournament was starting, and two by two duelers would enter into the ring. This greatly excited the Vikings of Berk who had always loved a good competition, especially if it was rough and mostly without rules. 

     Link started out incredibly well. Tahu was his first opponent, and though the Toa’s robotic body made him incredibly strong, Link disarmed him after only forty seconds of combat. Link’s face broke into a smile as the Viking around him cheered and Tahu took a respectful bow. Snotlout had the courage to go next, and he looked Link right in the face and let out his best war-cry. Link side stepped him, tripped him, and the crowd burst into applause and laughter. A young man with dark hair and a red cap stepped into the ring next. It was Ash, one of the most formidable Pokemon trainers. He picked up the wooden sword from the floor and then looked at Link. “Mind if I try?”

     “Not at all.” Link said, loosening his shoulders and preparing his footing.

     Ash rushed at Link, but with one swipe Link had knocked him to the floor. The crowd began to cheer, but then everyone stopped to hear what the fallen trainer had to say. “You know… this is why I never fight alone. Go, Greninja!” 

     A dark shape erupted from the crowd, shouting strange, intense, croaking noise. The frog Pokemon brandished its sword back handed, and its low stance allowed it to easily duck Link’s initial, slash. The Pokemon swept Link off of his feet with a powerful kick and then leapt into the air with its blade poised to come straight down into Link’s chest. Link never lost his cool. The young Hylian rolled to the side, dodging the blade, and then grabbed Greninja’s scarf-like tongue, used the appendage to pull himself to his feet, and disarmed the stunned Pokemon. The crowd just could not get enough of this. 

    Some of the guests who were less interested in physical competition pulled up chairs around a short wooden table in the corner of the room. Gandalf reached into his satchel and pulled out a leather scroll, a cloth bag, and his long pipe. The roll was a portable chess board, and the bag contained a full set of roughly carved, wooden chessmen. The President of America was the first to play the wizard, and Gandalf smoked calmly as he and his challenged carefully calculated their every move. 

     Eventually the sword contest became so interesting that even the more regal swordsmen showed their skills. Elrond came within a hair of striking Link across the neck with his incredibly precise strokes, but with his precision he lacked the brutality necessary to win in a match without rules. Soon Link had kicked him back, and with five strong strokes he disarmed the Elf-lord. Elrond’s brow furrowed, and then he breathed out heavily and smiled. “You certainly live up to the legends.”

     Stitch had a go, but the berserk style he used lacked focus, and Link quickly adapted and used it against him. Even Jedi master Mace Windu could not defeat the Hylian, though their fight lasted far longer than most, and the Jedi was handicapped by the fact that this dimension severely hindering his use of the Force. 

     The chess games continued to attract attention. Hiccup strolled away from the sword duels when the fight with Windu started, and Gandalf welcomed him to sit down and play a match. Frodo took a seat beside the wizard. Gandalf puffed slowly as the game progressed, and Hiccup tried very hard to put up a good match. Gobber had been his teacher, and he wasn’t bad at this game of wits. But, with one shockingly strategic movement of a bishop, Hiccup found himself in checkmate. Gandalf chuckled and told him that it had been a good game, and Frodo told Hiccup not to feel bad about his defeat. So far Gandalf had won seven games in a row, even a game against Tony Stark. Just as Hiccup stood up to leave, he saw a figure approaching the table. Mewtwo moved the chair Hiccup had been sitting in somewhat awkwardly out of the way, and then stood calmly facing Gandalf. Hiccup raised his brows and walked slowly away. He certainly hadn’t expected Mewtwo to join the celebration. 

     Things back in the arena were getting rowdier by the minute. Thor had stepped into the ring, picking up a sword and tossing it up into the air before catching it deftly in his right hand. “Though, I do prefer a hammer.” The crowd nearly burst with excitement as the mountain of a man shot into Link with blow after blow. Thor was not quite as precise as Windu or Elrond had been, but he made up for it with his strength and his experience. After all, he was hundreds of years old. Link started off by being very defensive, warding off the blows with strength and accuracy. However, soon Thor started showing vulnerabilities, and Link exploited them. Link knocked Thor’s blade sharply to the left, and then performed a powerful spin attack which sent Thor’s sword flying from his hand. Link smiled, assuming he had won, but Thor came at him with a bellow. Shocked, Link made a sloppy swipe, and Thor ducked the blow and tackled Link. He lifted the boy over his head, and then tossed him to the other side of the ring. The crowd of Vikings was cheering madly, but Stoick wasn’t happy. “C’mon, Link, you’ve got this!” Thor stretched his hand towards his sword, and then realized with annoyance that he wasn’t summoning Mjolnir. He picked up his weapon, rushed at Link, but Link rolled over and put the point of his sword right into Thor’s chest. Thor paused, laughed, and then dropped his weapon. “You win.” Link got up, breathing very hard. “Thanks.”

     The chess game between Gandalf and Mewtwo had taken far longer than all the others. The Pokemon was a truly brilliant player, but worse than that was the way he physically played. The Pokemon would move his piece, fold his arms, and then close his eyes. He would stay that way until he heard the click of Gandalf’s turn, and then do the exact same thing again. Gandalf looked at him in frustration, sure he was doing this just to be annoying. Frodo watched the game in fascination, for he’d never seen anyone challenge the wizard. As the game progressed, Mewtwo played exactly as he had the whole time, but Gandalf began to puff his pipe more and more vigorously. Before long the entire table was covered by a haze of tobacco smoke, but after forty minutes, Gandalf placed his piece, click, Mewtow opened his eyes, placed his piece, clack. The wizard looked up angrily from beneath his bushy brows as he heard a reverberating chuckle come from deep within Mewtwo’s chest. Checkmate. Gandalf slumped back in his chair, wiping the sweat from his forehead. After a moment of staring at the board, he finally spoke. “Well, good game. You’re much better than anyone else I’ve played.” The Pokemon open his eyes and nodded slightly before walking away. “Confound it.” said Gandalf. Frodo made himself scarce. 

     The sword matches were now over, and Link had won absolutely every one of them. The runners up had included Kopaka, Meta Knight, Thor, Mace Windu, and even Stoick. Link had managed to pressured Hiccup into a friendly match, and that had gone far better than Hiccup had expected. In truth, Link had gone easy on him. When the final fight ended, the town hall grew a little quieter as people broke off to converse with each other. 

      Stoick looked down at Hiccup, and the boy nodded slightly. Stoick then turned to the crowds and yelled out, “Can I please get everyone’s attention!” The room fell silent.

     “Thank you. I am glad everyone could come, and I must say it has done me good to be here tonight. Who would have thought we could be celebrating a victory rather than mourning a defeat? Who would have dreamed that we could be dueling for sport and not for slaughter? I am honored to have you here, all of you. Many of you are heroes, great men, and it is an honor as chief to welcome you to Berk. We have become allies, no, we have become friends and even family since the Gemnodes stole us from our worlds, and if it were not for extraordinary heroism, our escape could never have happened. We would be trapped without hope… We would have been doomed to a life of constant death.” The room was incredibly still. “Our victory came at a great price to many, my sons included, but none more than the Hero of Light. We have gathered tonight not just to celebrate, we’ve come to remember. Takanuva gave his life for us.” The many Bionicles gathered in the hall felt grief stricken their hearts. None of them knew of Takanuva’s actions. Tahu and Kopoka both dropped their heads in deep grief, and Gali’s eyes filled with hot tears. Stoick continued, “Without him… without his courage… not one of us would be here tonight. Not one of us would have the sweet taste of victory in our hearts, but more than that, not one of us could truly claim to have hope. Here is to Takanuva, and here is to the dawn of hope he has brought into this blackest night!” 

      The hall cheered, and the Matoran and Toa were the most passionate of all. Their greatest hero had fallen for them, and their souls burned with passion, grief, and pride. Hiccup could not bring himself to cry out, but he looked around him, his eyes blurring with tears as he watched the response of the crowd. Beneath his breath his whispered, “Thank you… thank you for everything.”

     The party continued on late into the night, but after Stoick’s speech Hiccup did not wish to be amongst the bustle any longer. He stepped out into the cold, moonlit air. His shadow stretched across the blue ground like a long black cape. He glanced behind his shoulder to see Skari perched high above the doors of the hall. The dragon hated social gatherings. Hiccup walked until he reached a cliff facing out over the sea. The breeze blew quietly around him, and he sat down and looked over the vast expanse of the ocean. So much had been accomplished… yet there was so much left to be done. 

     Soft footsteps came up behind Hiccup. Toothless had walked up to him, and with the dragon came Astrid. She looked calmly at Hiccup and smiled. “Thinking?” She asked quietly.

     “Yeah.” Hiccup breathed.

     “You’ve seemed better.” Astrid sat down beside Hiccup. 

     “I think I’ve been better. At least for the most part. I am happy we’ve saved so many.” Hiccup paused. He looked over at Astrid. See was beautiful out in the crisp starlight, her blue eyes looking with deep care into his. 



     “I want to keep you safe.” Hiccup said with great firmness.

     “Well, I want to keep you safe, too.” Astrid said. Her tone was not as firm as Hiccup’s.

     “I just don’t know…” Hiccup paused for a long time. The words were pained when he finally said them. “I knew when I decided to go against the Gemnodes that I could get hurt… maybe that I’d get killed. But… I never wanted to hurt anyone else. I never wanted to see you hurt.” Hiccup looked over at Toothless who had politely sat a small distance away. “I never wanted to see him hurt.”

     “Hiccup.” Astrid’s voice was now firm. “What you’ve done is amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of you. Yes, we are all in danger now, but you’ve given us the courage and the means to finally do what is right. Yes, we might get hurt, yes we might get killed, but we can do it knowing that we’ve done the right thing. Hiccup, we can fight and die with honor now, and that is a great gift.” Hiccup looked away, still worried. “And,” Astrid continued, “I think you should take this victory as a sign of hope. I don’t know how, but I think we can win this. I think you will find away.” Hiccup looked back at her. “After all, you were the one who was able to bring peace to our own world. You were the boy who befriended a Night Fury. Together you two beat the Red Death, and now you’ve united people from countless worlds. Hiccup, I love you for what you have done for us, and I believe that you can and will bring us through this. And you won’t have to do it alone. You are a hero,” Astrid smiled, “but you certainly don’t have to be the only one.”

     Hiccup looked long and hard at Astrid, a lump forming in his throat. He didn’t have the words to reply to her kindness and praise. Her confidence was jarring, but in a good way. Finally Hiccup nodded. He locked eyes with her and gently touched her hand. “Thank you.”

     Suddenly Toothless yelped. He was on his feet now, every muscle tense and on edge. Hiccup stood up to see what had started the dragon. Toothless’s eyes were slits, his ears pulled straight back. Down in the middle of the town square of Berk, a blinding light was seeping through a crack in space. A rift was opening, a rift that the Gemnodes had torn in the fragile fabric of reality.

     The time for celebration was over.

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