A cold wind had begun to blow across the island of Berk, bringing with it the promise of winter. The inhabitants of the island, however, were not concerned with the nearing cold season as they sat in their seats cheering on the dragons racing through the course below them. And there, sitting on his throne, was Chief Stoick the Vast. He watched the dragons expectantly, noticing at once that two were missing. Rolling his eyes, he smiled as Astrid and her dragon, Stormfly, soared overhead.
"That's my future daughter-in-law!"
Now, where Hiccup was, no one could easily say. Stoick's eldest child, however, could be seen from her perch on Berk's highest peak. This was Aska, Hiccup's older sister and the rider of Oakheart the Bronze Wing. Her long brown hair and blazing green eyes were an exact replica of her brother's, though her skin was a touch darker due to many hours in the sun patrolling the boarders. She listened to the race below her, yet she never took her eyes away from the horizon. After all, danger could arrive at any time and in any form. She had to be ready to defend her people. With her life, if she must.
She turned in surprise to see a familiar blacksmith slowly making his way towards her on the back of his dragon.
"Gobber," she sighed with a smile, "you should be watching the races."
"And you should be in them," the blonde viking chuckled as his steed gave a sigh before collapsing on the landing pad, "your father was looking for you."
Aska avoided his gaze as she sighed, "Dad and I...need some distance."
"Uh oh," Gobber frowned, "what happened?"
"He...wants to make Hiccup the next chief. Not me."
"Ouch," the blacksmith flinched, "have you spoken to him about it?"
"You know dad. It always turns into a one-sided conversation. He kept going on about how the people look to Hiccup now, since he tamed the dragons."
"Well he's not wrong."
"Dad trained me for years because he kept telling me I would become a great chief," she frowned, sitting down beside Oakheart, "now he wants Hiccup to take the job. What was all that training for then? Who am I supposed to be if not the Chief? What...am I supposed to do with my life now that I'm just Hiccup's sister."
"Don't tell me you're jealous of Hiccup."
"No, of course not," she said quickly, "I love my brother. I just feel so...empty now. Like I have no more purpose here."
Unsure of how to answer, Gobber sat down beside her and proceeded to watch the water with her.
"You know," he ventured cautiously, "I could always use a new apprentice. If you're willing to learn."
Aska gave him a small smile, "I'm a warrior. I wouldn't do well cooped up in a forge. Thanks Gobber."
"No harm in trying," he chuckled, leaning back into his dragon, "try talking to Stoick again. That's all I can say."
"Aska," the pair glanced up to see Astrid flying towards them, "have you seen Hiccup?"
"He's probably off exploring again," she said, pulling herself to her feet, "we'd better go find him before my dad sends out another search party."
Oakheart purred as his rider climbed into the saddle. Taking to the air, the girls turned their dragons towards a small group of islands far in the distance. Aska couldn't help but smile as the wind tore at her hair and stung her eyes. It was a good sting, a good cold, that she wouldn't trade for any other feeling in the world.
"Maybe we should split up," Astrid's voice cut into her thoughts, "we can cover more ground that way."
Giving a nod, Aska and Oakheart broke away and turned to the south. A thick fog had begun to settle in, causing the Bronze Wing to give a concerned growl.
"It's all right, love," Aska smiled, leaning forward to lay along the dragon's neck, "I'm right here."
The male purred once again, happy to feel the warmth of his rider so close. When Hiccup began pairing people with their dragons, Aska had trouble bonding with any of them. Either the dragon was too large or too wild for her. After many days of trying, she was ready to give up on becoming a dragon rider. On one of her patrols, however, she spotted a flock of Bronze Wings. Two males had begun to battle for the position of alpha, Oakheart challenging the elder dragon. While he had youth, the elder had experience and easily defeated the young dragon. Wounding his leg, the flock left him to exile. Unwilling to see such a magnificent creature left to die, Aska tried to heal him. It was difficult at first; Oakheart snarled and snapped at her whenever she ventured near. She finally earned his trust with the help of Hiccup and Toothless. She stayed with him for days, tending to his leg and feeding him the fish she had caught. When he was strong enough to walk and run, Aska got him fitted for a saddle.
Oakheart was weary at first, sniffing it for many minutes before letting her strap it on him. He didn't like how it felt, nor did he appreciate Aska climbing onto his back. She was patient with him, however, starting out with a short walk around the island just to get him used to the feeling of carrying her around everywhere. When she felt he was ready, the pair took flight. Now, Hiccup had taken his sister for flights with Toothless before, but it didn't feel anything like this. Her dragon was a good two sizes bigger than the Night Fury, his large wings helping them gain massive amounts of speed.
The pair flew everywhere together, their bond becoming stronger with each passing day.
"Oakheart," his rider's cry caused the dragon to pull to a stop and hover in mid-air, "look!"
Following her gaze, the dragon gave a chitter of fear. The trees were covered with teal colored ice, the ends coming to jagged spikes.
"What happened here," Aska asked, "come on, boy!"
Oakheart began flying forward once more, his eyes alert for any signs of danger. As they banked around another mountain of ice, a small object caught his attention. It was a ship, half encased in the strange ice. Aska saw it as well, urging her dragon forward cautiously. As they neared the ship, she noticed it was outfitted with odd looking contraptions. They appeared to be large crossbows with some sort of netting loaded into them.
"I don't like this," she said, "come on, Oakheart, let get out of here."
As the pair turned to leave, a lasso appeared as if from nowhere and wrapped itself around her dragon's hind leg. Oakheart hissed in surprise, turning to snarl as the deck of the boat suddenly teemed with men. More lassos soared into the air, wrapping themselves around his remaining legs and tail. Giving a mighty war cry, Aska pulled her sword from its sheath in the saddle and leaped off her dragon's back. Landing on the deck she swiped at the ropes, cutting them easily.
"Fly Oakheart," she cried out, turning to parry a swing from an ax, "find Hiccup!"
After a moment's hesitation, the Bronze Wing obeyed. Aska continued to fend off the men as they continued to rush her. She began to smirk. She may not be Berk's best dragon rider but she was certainly its best fighter.
She froze as a voice shouted over the noise, causing all the men to stop and turn towards the speaker. The newcomer approaching her was a young man her age with black hair pulled into a ponytail and soft brown eyes. His chin was covered in tattoos, and he carried himself with an arrogant sense of pride.
"I am Eret," he said with a bow, "son of Eret."
Smirking, Aska pointed her blade in his direction, "And I am the girl that doesn't care."
"Were you just riding a Bronze Wing?"
"Were you just trying to catch him?"
Eret smirked as he took a step closer to the shorter girl. Without a moment's hesitation, she raised her blade so as to rub it against his neck. He paused, his smile not leaving his face.
"Careful," he chuckled, guiding the blade away from his neck, "don't want to scar up that pretty face of yours."
"Look who's talking," she chuckled, giving him a wink as she flicked the blade back in his direction, "in case you haven't noticed, the pointy end is at your throat."
All around her, Eret's crew gave small chuckles. The trapper himself smirked as he once again tried to move away from the blade.
"Why don't we all put down our weapons," he said softly, "and talk this over?"
"My sword is staying right where it is."
"I mean you no harm."
"Eh, it's a comfort thing."
The men chuckled again, this time lowering their weapons. Aska gazed around before slowly allowing her blade to fall.
"See," Eret smiled, "everyone is calm. This is good. Now," he made a small bow, "may I ask your name?"
Chuckling, Aska bowed back, "I am Aska, daughter of Stoick the Vast, Chief of Berk."
"Aska," Eret repeated, enjoying the way it rolled off his tongue, "daughter of a Chief, you say. Tell me, do all your people ride dragons?"
Instantly, her blade was up again, "Why do you want to know?"
"It's just a question! No need to be testy."
"A dragon trapper questioning a dragon rider about her home," she scoffed, "because that makes sense!"
"I'm just trying to make conversation! What are you doing?"
A sudden flurry of movement caused her to smirk.
Noticing her eyes move, Eret turned in time to see a male Night Fury soar across the sky, a young man who looked sickeningly like his passenger riding upon its back. Beside the Night Fury was a Deadly Nadder and the Bronze Wing he had almost caught. Suddenly, he felt a foot connect with his rear end as Aska ran past him. Shoving his men aside, Eret watched as she leaped off the front of his ship and onto the back of her dragon.
"Good boy, Oakheart," she said, scratching his chin, "I knew you wouldn't let me down."
"Aska," she glanced up to nod at her little brother, "you all right?"
"Yes. Come on. Let's get out of here."
Suddenly, Stormfly gave a cry of fear as one of the ship's nets wrapped itself around her. Astrid screamed as she slipped from the saddle, falling towards the icy waters below. While Hiccup dove after his girlfriend, Aska and Oakheart landed on the deck between the trappers and the downed dragon. Eret held his arms up, causing his men to pause, as Aska slid off her dragon's back.
"You're not taking this dragon anywhere."
"That's where you're wrong, sweetheart."
She froze, "What did you just call me?"
Oakheart gave a garbled purr, causing his rider to turn to him with a glare.
"Yeah yeah, laugh it up lizard-boy."
Toothless landed beside them, Astrid leaping off his back and rushing to her still trapped dragon. Hiccup drew his blade, which instantly caught fire much to the trappers surprise.
"Argh," Eret scowled, "trapping dragons is hard enough work as it is without do-good riders coming along and stealing everything we caught. AND destroying our base!"
Aska and Hiccup shared a confused glance before gazing around at the ice. True, it was mostly trapping destroyed ships, yet they soon recognized pieces of huts and lookout posts within the teal encasement.
"You think we did this," Hiccup asked as Astrid and Stormfly rejoined them, "wait...there are other dragon riders?"
"You're telling me that you didn't sneak into our base last night, steal all of our dragon's, and destroy our home?"
"That's exactly what we're saying hostile-person-whom-we've-never-met."
"Of course, where are my manners," he chuckled, giving another bow, "I am Eret, son of Eret. Finest dragon trapper alive. After all," as he straightened up, he pulled a sword from his back, "it's not just anyone who can capture a Night Fury."
Toothless gave a snarl as Hiccup and Aska stood in front of him, raising their weapons.
"Why do you want our dragons?"
"Drago Bludvist needs them for his dragon army," a crewman explained, "and what Drago wants, he gets. And he doesn't take kindly to excuses."
Eret nodded, giving a shiver as he pulled his fur vest down to reveal an ugly scar in the shape of a house crest which had been burned into his skin, "This is what he gave me the last time I showed up empty-handed."
Aska cringed, unable to tear her gaze from the painful scar. Noticing her unease, Eret quickly covered it back up.
"I won't make that mistake again. Drago Bludvist is not someone you want to screw around with."
"Hiccup," Aska's sudden snap caused him to notice movement around the ship as well as the surrounding ice, "we need to leave."
"Drago is coming for your dragons," Eret said, raising his blade, "and there's nothing you can do about it. Rush 'em men!"
At that moment, nets and lassos flew into the air towards the three mounts. Toothless snarled as he sent one purple blast after another towards their attackers. Stormfly's tail waved to and fro, sending deadly needles shooting through the air. Oakheart scooped Aska up as he took flight, hovering just long enough to shoot neon orange acid at the crew below. The young viking found herself holding her breath as Eret ducked out of the way to avoid being hit by the spitball. Shaking her head, she guided her dragon away breathing a sigh of relief as Toothless and Stormfly soared beside her.
"You can't hold onto your dragons forever," Eret's cry of rage chased after them, "Drago is coming for them!"