The great hall was alit with laughter and joyous cheers as the whole village was celebrating Valhallarama's return! The meat that Hiccup and Astrid had hunted was used to feed the happy vikings along with the mugs of mead and lagers that were being passed around! Food may have been in short supply, but not short enough not to have a little party for her safe return to Berk. Peoples were laughing, joking and giving Stoick their well wishes in the return of his wife. And to Hiccup as well!
The whole party, Hiccup was glued to his mother, a huge grin on his face at all times. Stoick couldn't remember the last time Hiccup had such a big smile on his face! And he could say the same about himself. It was so good to have such a happy moment in these times of strife and war.
Finally, Valhallarama was able to tell people of her story, sitting down as a few Vikings men came back with the crates she had on her ship.
Valhallarama has always been known to be the kind of woman that would gladly go off on some new adventure. Just like Hiccup, she loved reading about different places and peoples, learning about customs and traditions, while still keeping her ways close to her heart. But with the war going on, she could never leave her son and husband and all of her Berk allies to fend for themselves against the dragons. So she restrained herself from sailing off. However, when the opportunity presented itself, she took her love of traveling and her desire to stop the dragons together to help her people.
5 years ago, just two years before Hiccup's great battle with the Red Death, Valhallarama had taken a ship and set out shout in hopes of reaching the Meathead islands. According to her story, she was nearly there when she was caught in a terrible storm that thrashed and damaged her ship. She had washed up on the shores of a strange land where the native nursed her wounds. Unfortunately, she was so far south, and without the aid of a ship, she was unable to make her way back home. She had to travel north through the different lands, fight strange creatures and meet and barter with new people until she had just enough supplies to make her way back home.
Through her journeys, she had collected a good amount of knowledge from the places she had visited. Things like maps, traditions, different mythologies and of course, Hiccup's favorite part, food recipes.
"....and the Natives call this a "Pomegranate". It's a fruit that you eat...it's REAL juicy and it's supposed to be good for your health!" Giving the strange red fruit to Hiccup, she pulled out map from her crate of foreign goods, unrolling it on the table.
"After that, I they gave me a boat and I sailed toward the Northeast until I found my way to the edge of a vast expanse of land. I found a village there and that when I found out I was in a place named the "Alliance Empire"..." This earned some interesting looks from the Vikings as well as Hiccup who was sitting next to her.
"The Alliance Empire? I've read about them in a book. Is it true they have hug cities all over their country?" He asked as Valhalla smiled and nodded. "HUGE cities! 4 times the size of our island! But I learned real quick that some of them don't take too kindly to us Norsemen. They think we're too "brutish and stupid"...hahahahahah! But, I have to admit, they did have some good books there...and great food! After making me way through their land, I finally found some of our kin there! Vikings of the south islands, they said! They gave me a boat, and helped me remake my sail and I was on my way home!"
She gulped down some of her mead as the Vikings had more questions for her. Like what other places she visited, weather they had dragons there or not, or if there were more lands beyond that. As much as she wanted to relax, the wanted to know more and more. Thankfully, Stoick came to her rescue. "Alright, alright everyone, that's enough! I'm sure once my wife has had her fill of meat and drink she'll be happy to tell you more stories!"
Hiccup smiled, looking around the room. Two-thirds of their Vikings were in the room, celebrating Valahallarama's return. The rest of the Vikings, along with the dragons, were outside on patrol, less they come under attack again. On a normal night, Hiccup would be right out there on patrol around the Island until the moon was at it's highest in the sky. Being the chiefs son, the next one to take over for his dad, Hiccup made an effort to keep this island safe. An effort that greatly impressed his father, making him swell with pride by how seriously Hiccup would take his new responsibilities.
Hiccup, looked outside of the window. It was visibly cloudy, and looked like a storm was probably going to hit tomorrow. On a night like this, Hiccup would've been patrolling the waters, to make sure the Outcast wouldn't get a drop on them. But tonight was different. This was his mother's homecoming party and he wanted to be here with her! He had missed her so much and couldn't begin to explain how elated he was to see her alive before his very eyes. Back when he was "Hiccup the Useless", he could always come to her when eyes of ridicule and disappointment bore through him. She was always there to make him feel better.
The great doors to the hall opened and in walked Astrid, her axe by her side. Her night shift with Stormfly had just ended, allowing her to trade places with another shield maiden. She had heeded Hiccup's warning about his mother, seeing as she was still jumpy and wary around the dragons. So instead, her Nadder had gotten a head start on her sleep in the Dragon Stables. Scanning the crowd, her eyes focused on Hiccup's red head passing through the droves of burly men.
Grabbing two Lagers, she walked up to Hiccup, a happy smile on her face. "Here you go, Hiccup!" She said, seeing that he had no drink like the others. Hiccup naturally wasn't one to drink alcohol very often (despite his father's constant encouragement at being old enough to do so), he decided that today would be an exception for his mother's party.
"Thank you, milady!" Making a short toast with her, bumping the cups together, Hiccup took a swig of the lager as Astrid put her arm around his waist, Hiccup putting his free arm around hers. When he put his mug down, he saw his mother had walked up to them with a smile. "Oh Astrid, look how tall and pretty you've gotten!"
"Heheh, thank you, Valhallarama! I'm glad to see you're in one piece...and alive! I don't think I've ever seen Hiccup smile so much! Not since our first real date, that is..."
Hiccup nearly choked on his lager as Valhalla and Astrid started laughing. Valhalla had already heard from Stoick about Hiccup and Astrid relationship. She felt a great joy in her heart that her son was growing into such a fine Viking, already finding himself a girlfriend and all. "Heheheh, so I've seen! Oh...to think I've been gone for so long. Already got a lady on your arm! Pretty soon you'll be all grown up, chief of the village with a little viking young of your own!"
Astrid put her hand over her mouth, trying not to laugh, even though a blush had grown across her cheeks. And Hiccup was no different. His whole face had lit up redder than a Nightmare's fire. "Mom, uh, d-don't you think it's a little EARLY to be thinking about stuff like that?!"
Stoick walked up, putting his arm on Valhallarama's shoulders as he watched Hiccup's face flush and go red at the same time. "Oh nonsense! I was only a year older than you when your father asked me to marry and have children with him!"
"Hahahahah! Aint that the truth! We didn't waste any time getting hitched and having as many children as we could--!"
"AH!! Okay!! I...think heard enough! Thank you for giving me that disturbing image in my head!" Hiccup rubbed his head as Valhalla went off with Stoick for more drinks, laughing at their sons distress.
Off on the other side of the hall, Hiccup's other friends were busy enjoying some of the foreign food that Valhallarama had brought. At the start of the party, she had made a few sample dishes for them to try out and they wasted no time, diving in "mouth first".
Snotlout was busy devouring a "Meat Pie", as she called it, and couldn't get enough of the stuff. The twins were fighting over who would get to drink the last bottle of Red Wine, and Fishlegs was busy wolfing down a huge slab of "Glazed Ham".
"Oh, man! This is GOOD!" Snotlout took another big fork full of Meat Pie into his mouth.
"Hey, hands of my bottle! I called that one! Besides your girl, you can't hold liquid like guys! You need a break!"
"How about I break it over your big HEAD then?!" Tuffnut and Ruffnut yelled in their usual bickering.
"Mmm! Yum! I bet Meatlug would LOVE this!" Fishlegs said.
"Hey guys!" Getting their attention, Snotlout scooted over, making room for Hiccup and Astrid to sit down. "Hey Hiccup! Mmm! You gotta try this stuff!" Fishleg's said with a mouth full of meat. "Yeah...she got anymore of this wine stuff--? Hey, hands off!" Ruffnut, getting distracted, reach over to give her brother a good punch for trying to take the wind bottle from in front of her.
Snotlout moving next to his cousin to get away from the Twin's fighting, ate more of his meat pie. "Mmm! Who knew you could eat dessert for dinner! Aunt Valhalla knows her way around food!"
Hiccup smiled and laughed at his friends before he got their attention. "Hahah, that's actually what I came over here to talk to you guys about. Since my mom's been away for so long, she doesn't know that dragons are friendly and...she's made it pretty clear she doesn't like them.."
"Even Toothless?" Fishlegs asked. But Hiccup shook his head, scratching his neck a bit. "Well, I introduced them today but I still don't think she's all that convinced..." Hiccup remembered earlier how Spitlelout, Snotlout's father, had come to visit with his Terrible Terror riding on his back as usual. At the moment they passed Valhalla, too distracted with a conversation with other Berk women, the little Terror decided he wanted to meet this new person. Unfortunately for the little guy, Valhalla didn't appreciate having a Terrible Terror jump on her back so suddenly. If it weren't for Hiccup stepping in, the poor thing would've been skewered by her spear.
"That's why tomorrow I invited my mom to our dragon training classes tomorrow so I need everything to be in top shape in tomorrows classes. Snotlout you got tomorrows basics down. Tuff and Ruff you got all the training tips you need? And Fishlegs...watch where you step please..."
"Yeah...sorry about that...." Hiccup had to mention that because last time they had classes, Fishlegs had accidentally stepped on a Nightmare's tail...and he hadn't appreciated that one bit. The end result was Fishleg's walking home without eyebrows..
Astrid looked back at the room, Hiccup's parents both smiling brightly and surrounded by all their friends and Viking allies. Turning back, Astrid smiled at Hiccup. "Don't worry...everything will go great tomorrow..."
The young viking took another swig of his lager before looking outside, seeing his Dragon once again watching him from a window. Hiccup didn't have to worry about Toothless being too lonely out there. The night color dragon was quite popular with some of the younger children of the island. They would always stop Hiccup and ask him questions about the Night Fury, or ask to pet him. Some even found it find to feed Toothless.
As usually, a group of kids where giving all of their attention to the Night Fury who had his head stuck through the window. They were giving him scratches, playing with his ears and feeding him the fish they had snuck away from the Hall Cook. Hiccup didn't know how or what Toothless was doing to these people, but every time he would see Toothless walking around on his own, he always had some form of food item in his mouth. Whatever it was about the Night Fury that people were reacting to, they always felt compelled to feed him.
Toothless groaned in pleasure, arching his back as one of the children vigorously scratched that spot behind his ear while another feed him some steamed fish. He looked up and saw Hiccup looking at him, his ears perking up, and started crooning and barking for Hiccup to come over to him. Toothless didn't like not being in the same room as Hiccup during the night time. With all these attacks going on, he didn't want his human too far away that he couldn't protect him at any given notice. Having his head through the window helped calm his worries some but now he was getting a little antsy.
Smiling, Hiccup finished off the last of his lager, before getting up to let the other talk amongst themselves. "I'll be back in a bit, guys..."
The children dispersed as Hiccup made his way over to the window. "Hey bud. You know, you're gonna get fat you keep eating all those treats..." Stroking Toothless' head, the Night Fury just gave Hiccup a gentle nuzzle to his cheek, glad the boy was close to him now. Of course, he gave Hiccup a nice big blast of bad breath for that little comment, but he was happy none-the-less.
From across the room, Valhallarama watched as he son got close to the once feared dragon, stroking him as if he were just a common dog. It was unnerving seeing her son near a beast that could easily kill with just a snap of his jaws. But the black beast seemed to care for her son. More doubt crept into her mind. She was just as opened minded as her son, but being raised the same way as Stoick, it was hard for her to just...let go of all of her beliefs, just like that. She herself had killed her fair share of dragons, as was the norm back in the days of her youth. But seeing her son talk and stroke that dragon, and the dragon being just as gentle...maybe she should give these devils a chance like her son and husband wanted...