He slammed and banged his tools around, pounding the hot metal and along with it his frustration.
“Yo cuz.” Snotlout walked in the forge, leaning against the doorway, standing back out-of-the-way.
“Yo cuz!” Snotlout yelled, trying to get Hiccup’s attention. His cousin kept banging away.
“He been like that since he came in.” Gobber passed Snotlout, toting a bundle of wood in his arms.
“What crawled up his butt and died?”
“Don’ know.” Gobber shrugged, throwing the wood down on a pile in the corner.
“Huh.” Snotlout shrugged, jumping up onto one of the tables to sit.
“Valka told me that I needed to remarry.” Hiccup’s voice cut through the silence, hard and cold. His hammer rested on the cooling metal.
“Aye, well she may be right Hiccup.” Gobber was the first out of his shock.
“Are you nuts?” Snotlout shouted in Gobber’s face, beating Hiccup to it. “Betray Astrid like that! He’d never do that! And for what? An heir! He’s got Cazi, she’ll become the greatest leader this tribe has ever seen!” Gobber stared at Snotlout in shock.
Hiccup had abandoned his forge to watch in amazement, not expecting that defense from his cousin of all people. That was until he stuck his hand in the burning coals.
Gobber rushed over, going into mentor mode. “Here! Put it in the cold water!” He hooked Hiccup’s arm rushing him over to the bucket of cold water sitting out-of-the-way and shoving Hiccup’s injured hand in there.
He hissed as soon as the damaged flesh touched the surface, then sighed in relief when the pain became more bearable.
“Stay lik’ that for a while. Need to let it soak.” Gobber shook his head, going back to work.
“Yer mom’s got a point though boy, it would do ye good to find another. If for no other reason then to give yer daughter a mother.”
“She’s got us. He doesn’t need to find anyone else.” Snotlout interjected to Gobber’s lecture.
“And ye think it’s a good thing to have a little girl grow up around a bunch a men?”
“Why not?” Hiccup demanded. “Because we can’t provide for her and teach her what she needs to know?”
“Now, that’s no’ what I’m sayin’ son, I’m just sayin’ what about when she gets older and starts havin’ female worries, huh?”
“I have two sisters and a mother.” Hiccup reminded Gobber.
“Yeah, and I have a wife, and there’s always Ruffnut.” At those words the three fell silent, looking at each other.
Simultaneously, they said, “No.” With utter disdain and disgust.
“That’d be a disaster.” Gobber shrugged.
“Who knows what she’d tell Cazi.” Hiccup rolled his eyes.
“I don’t even want to know what she thinks about female stuff.” Snotlout shuddered.
“Hiccup!” Tuffnut ran into the forge, arms out, scroll in hand. Ruffnut was only a few steps behind him.
“What the hell?” Snotlout was knocked backwards off the table when Ruffnut shoved past him, jumping on her brother’s back, reaching for the scroll.
“Give it to me, damn you!” She growled, pulling on his hair.
“Never!” He grabbed her pigtail and started trying to pull her off his back.
“Hey!” The twins simultaneously hollered when Hiccup snatched the scroll right out of Tuffnut’s hands and out of Ruffnut’s reach.
“Be quite, ya knuckleheads.” Gobber growled, hobbling over on his peg leg. “What’s it say lad?” Gobber peered over Hiccup’s shoulder, trying to peek at the still closed scroll.
“Let’s find out.” Hiccup unrolled the scroll and began reading, Gobber reading over his shoulder.
“Shit.” Hiccup breathed.
“Dear Odin.” Gobber fell backwards, the color draining from his face.
“What?” Snotlout brushed the dirt off his rump.
“What is it?” Ruffnut cackled as she slammed her brother into the ground.
“Yea, whaf if is?” Tuffnut mumbled through a mouth stuffed full of dirt.
“It’s the Berserkers.” Hiccup looked up, directly at his cousin.
“They’re declaring war.”
End of Part 1