So here’s another little snippet of writing, a little scene for the How To Train Your Dragon universe. It’s got my original character Bryn (previously seen in this piece) and now she and Snotlout are a couple.
Quick setup — the group had been doing some exploring and ran into some bad guys (dragon hunters, Berserkers, take your pick). There was a bit of a battle, and our little band of dragon riders have landed to regroup and rest. A bit of a scolding took place as Hiccup criticized Snotlout’s behavior, and this is where we begin.
Snotlout stormed away from the fire, heading toward the woods nearby. Bryn hurried after him, with Hookfang close behind.
“Hey,” she called, closing the gap between her and Snotlout. “Hey! Where are you going?”
“To find more firewood,” he snapped, not turning. “Is that all right with you?”
Bryn picked up the pace and stopped in front of him, blocking his path.
“What’s the matter? What’s got you in a snit?”
“Oh I don’t know,” he snapped. “Maybe I’m just hungry. Maybe I’m just cold. Maybe I’m just a little ticked off that my girlfriend didn’t stand behind me and tell Hiccup that he was out of line! Maybe that’s it!” He glared at her, hands on his hips.
“Are you serious?” she said, crossing her arms. “I agreed with Hiccup because you WERE being reckless! You could have gotten someone killed, including yourself!”
“I had everything under control,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “You’re overreacting.”
“What about that guy coming up on the right, did you have him under control?” she asked, eyebrow raised. “You never saw him coming. If I hadn’t warned you about him, he would have knocked us out of the sky. All because you were too busy acting like the big, bad viking.”
“That’s not acting babe,” he said, puffing out his chest. “And besides, I would have handled him.”
“You are so infuriating,” she said, massaging the bridge of her nose with a thumb and forefinger. “You really don’t see how close you were, WE were, to disaster.”
“Babe, I had it covered,” he said, and Hookfang shared his opinion by clamping Snotlout in his mouth.
“Hookfang disagrees,” Bryn said, turning toward the woods.
The Monstrous Nightmare gave Snotlout a shake, bringing an annoyed growl from the viking in his mouth.
“Spit him out, big guy,” Bryn said as she stopped at the treeline, arms crossed. “You don’t know where he’s been.”
Hookfang promptly obeyed, and Snotlout landed in a crumpled heap on the ground. The dragon snorted angrily at him before joining Bryn near the trees.
“Stupid dragon,” Snotlout grumbled as he untangled himself. “I can’t believe you’re taking her side. Whatever happened to loyalty?!”
“You stay here and pout about how mistreated you are,” Bryn said, annoyed. “Hookfang and I will get the firewood.”
Without giving him a chance to respond, the two turned and disappeared into the dark forest.
“Stay here and pout,” Snotlout muttered to himself as he walked back toward the fire. “I’m not pouting. I just think it wouldn’t be too much to ask to have my girlfriend take my side for a change.”
He grabbed his hammer and headed toward a large mound of rocks to work off some steam.
“Stand behind him? I’ll stand behind him,” Bryn muttered as she and Hookfang walked deeper into the trees. “I’ll take that hammer and beat some sense into that thick head of his. I’d be happy to stand behind him then!”
Hookfang grunted behind her, and she turned.
“I know, right? He is so pig-headed! Ugh!”
She took a deep breath, held it, then let it out in a controlled exhale. Snotlout always could push her buttons, and that hadn’t changed since they became a couple. They just seemed to find new things to argue about.
A sudden shuffling in the undergrowth nearby snapped Bryn from her thoughts. She looked around, scanning for any sign of movement.
“Snotlout, if that’s you, I don’t really want to talk right now,” she called, eyes narrowed as she peered into the darkness. The light was fading fast and the shadows this deep in the trees stretched long and merged together. She saw movement everywhere, and nowhere.
Behind her, Hookfang began to growl deep in his throat. She turned and found him snarling, his lips pulled away from his many long, sharp teeth.
“Okay,” she said quietly as she continued to scan the area around them. “I’m going to guess that’s probably not Snotlout.”
The rustling grew louder, and seemed to emanate from positions all around them. Hookfang continued to growl, and took a protective position near Bryn. They moved in a circle, watching the trees for signs of whatever created the sound.
Just as suddenly as the sound began, it stopped. The forest was still, and the sudden quiet seemed worse than the unknown rustling.
“C’mon big guy,” Bryn said quietly, patting Hookfang under the chin. She scanned the area around them, every hair on her neck prickled. Something wasn’t right, but the danger seemed to seep from everywhere around them. “Let’s get back to camp.”
The two surveyed the area one last time before turning to head back toward the safety and light of the campfire. Hookfang turned first and took a single step when something wrapped around Bryn’s ankle. She uttered a surprised grunt, then cried out when it yanked her to the ground and began dragging her away.
The dragon roared in anger and hurried after the downed brunette.
Snotlout stopped his impromptu demolition of the rock mound when he heard his dragon cry out. He looked toward the forest, his anger gone.
“Was that Hookfang?” Hiccup asked from his position near the campfire, looking toward the dark trees.
“Yeah, it was,” Snotlout said as he started walking toward the sound. “Something’s wrong.” Then he started running, with the other teens close behind.
Bryn twisted her body, reaching for anything to try and stop her unwanted journey as the unknown force dragged her through the underbrush. Weeds ripped through her hands, and small saplings slapped her face. Finally she latched onto an exposed root, bringing herself to a sudden, jarring stop.
Hookfang closed the distance fast, growling and roaring in anger. The tight confines of the forest slowed the large dragon’s progress, but he moved surprisingly quickly for his size. The Nightmare twisted and snaked his way around trees, his eyes never leaving the downed girl.
The pressure on Bryn’s trapped ankle increased as the unseen force doubled its efforts to pull her free. She curled her arm around the root, solidifying her hold.
“It’s got my foot!” she yelled as the Monstrous Nightmare caught up and stopped in front of her. He grunted in understanding and moved to her feet. With a mighty roar, Hookfang unleashed a controlled blast of liquid fire into the underbrush behind her.
Something in the distance screeched in pain, and the pressure on Bryn’s ankle disappeared. She pulled herself up only long enough for Hookfang to grab the back of her shirt with his teeth and run back toward the camp.
“Bryn!” Snotlout shouted as he and the others came from the other direction. “What’s going on?”
Before she could answer, the Nightmare carrying her suddenly uttered a pained grunt in his throat as a long, whip-like tendril came out of the darkness and cracked him in the face. Hookfang staggered, barely keeping his grip on Bryn. When another tendril appeared and whipped him in the neck, he cried out, dropping the girl in his mouth.
Bryn hit the ground and rolled. As she tried to right herself and stand, three tendrils appeared, and wrapped around her waist, right arm, and legs. They yanked her down, just as Tuffnut lunged forward and grabbed her left hand. Undeterred, the tendrils dragged both teens through the forest.
“What are those things?” Astrid asked, swiping her ax at two coming toward her. Light flashed as Hiccup drew his fire sword.
“I don’t know,” he said, swinging at his incoming attackers. “They look a little like vines.”
“Who cares!” Snotlout yelled, hammering three to his right. “We’re losing them!” He slammed two more approaching ‘vines’ before jumping onto Hookfang. “C’mon, we gotta catch up!”
Hookfang swung around and ran after the captured teens, moving quickly before the deepening dark swallowed them from view.
“Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow . . .”
As they were dragged across the forest floor, Tuffnut received a slap from every sapling, tall weed, and low hanging branch along the way. Despite his sore face, he held fast to Bryn’s wrist with both hands.
“Can you grab anything to stop us?” Bryn yelled as weeds whipped across her face. “Or at least to slow us down a little?”
“Why would I, ow, want to, ow, slow down?” he asked. “This is, ow, awesome!”
“Maybe because we’re being dragged toward something, and these types of situations usually involve large teeth and going through a digestive tract!”
“And that’s bad, right?” he said, and his head rocked back when a larger sapling smacked him.
“All right, all right,” he snapped, and released her wrist with one hand. He reached out and latched onto a tree trunk, pulling them to a sudden stop. “OOF!”
“Hold tight,” she said, breathing hard. The living vines were wrapped tightly around her, making it difficult to catch her breath. “It’s going to yank hard in a few seconds.”
Tuffnut scrambled into a sitting position and wrapped his arms and legs around the tree trunk. The tree was small enough that he could reach around and grab her wrist with both hands again, just as the vines gave a massive jerk backwards. Tuffnut held tight to her wrist, and yanked back against the vines.
Bryn grunted as the tug of war put painful pressure on her free arm’s shoulder. Tuffnut’s grip on her wrist was also painful, as he had her in a deathgrip. But all in all, she figured a little friction burn was better than being some unknown creature’s snack.
“It’s too strong,” Tuffnut grunted, pulling her back again. “I can’t hold you!”
“Hang on!” Snotlout shouted as he jumped off Hookfang and ran to the two teens. He grabbed Bryn around the waist and tugged against the vines. “I gotcha, babe!”
“Thanks sweetie,” Tuffnut said, changing position to grab Bryn’s legs. He pulled, and between the two of them, they moved Bryn a few feet back.
“When this is done remind me to punch you in the head,” Snotlout growled.
“Okay,” Tuffnut grunted, straining against the pull of the tendrils.
Hookfang moved behind the teens and spat fireballs into the underbrush to encourage the vines to release. Instead, they twisted and jerked to avoid the molten fire, causing Tuffnut and Snotlout to lose their grip on Bryn. As they scrambled for new handholds, digging their heels into the dirt for purchase, half a dozen new vines appeared. They slapped the dragon out of the way and curled around all three teens.
“Uh oh,” Snotlout muttered, the vines tightening around his legs and Tuffnut’s waist. The three teens were yanked away as their friends appeared on the scene.
“Don’t lose them, bud!” Hiccup yelled to Toothless, who gave a short roar and hurried after the captured trio.
Astrid, Ruffnut, and Fishlegs followed their leader closely on their dragons as Hookfang righted himself and caught up. They followed Toothless’ roars as the Night Fury followed the other teens.
After a moment of frantic zig-zagging through the forest, the group came upon a large clearing.
“Holy Thor,” Hiccup whispered when they emerged from the trees and saw the source of the trouble.
In the middle of the clearing was a gigantic Snaptrapper. Its long, vine-like tendrils dangled the captured teens over the dragon’s four heads, and the heads occasionally snapped at each other over the prizes above them.
Amazingly, Snotlout and Bryn were still arguing.
“You know,” he said, looking between the dragon head below him and his girlfriend to the left. “None of this would have happened if you hadn’t stormed off into the woods like that!”
“Are you kidding??” she responded, flipping her hair out of her face. She was dangling upside down, and punched the head below her on the snout. “YOU were heading into the woods, by yourself, first! This thing would have snagged YOU and no one would have known about it!”
“I could have handled it!” he shouted back as he was flipped upside down. “Figures that YOU would be the one who got caught!”
“Guys?” Hiccup called as they circled the dragon. The Snaptrapper lashed out with its unoccupied tendrils, and nearly grabbed him and Toothless as they neared. “Guys!”
“You are so unbelievably stubborn!” Bryn yelled, issuing another, stronger punch to the head below her. “You could have handled THIS on your own??”
“I could have!” he shouted back as his helmet tumbled to the ground below. “You don’t know!”
“GUYS!” Hiccup yelled, drawing their attention. “Can you argue about this later??”
“If there is a later,” Tuffnut said as he was lowered toward an awaiting head. Its massive mouth opened, revealing the double-hinged lower jaw. “That’s not looking too likely right now!”
A sudden plasma blast rocked the hungry head backwards, and the tendril holding Tuffnut loosened. He slipped, falling toward the now very angry and roaring head below him. Toothless zipped through the jumble of heads and tendrils, snatching him out of the air and depositing him safely onto Belch’s saddle.
“One down, two to go,” Hiccup said as he directed Toothless back around. “C’mon bud, let’s go!”
The assault on one of the Snaptrapper’s heads sent the creature into an angry fit. It roared in pain and anger, whipping its many heads and tendrils around wildly in an attempt to deflect its attackers and enjoy its meal.
“I think we made it mad!” Astrid said as she ducked two tendrils.
“Fishlegs, any advice?” Hiccup called as Toothless circled again.
“It’s a lot like a Zippleback, just with more heads!” the large teen called as he and Meatlug stayed safely by the treeline. The Gronckle wasn’t as fast as his friends’ dragons, and this was the safest place to make sure they didn’t end up on the menu.
“The heads sometimes fight for food! Maybe you can use that against it?”
“Great,” Bryn muttered, just as the tendrils holding Snotlout loosened.
The viking dropped straight down, into a waiting open mouth of the Snaptrapper. He fell directly into the creature’s gaping maw, and the tri-hinged mouth slammed shut around him.
“Oh no,” Astrid muttered, and she and Hiccup exchanged a worried look.
“NO! SNOTLOUT!!” Bryn screamed, and the fed head turned to her. It seemed to grin, just as the head below her opened wide for its impending meal.
“Ruff! Tuff!” Hiccup called, “I want you to . . . to . . .”
His order and thought trailed off as the head Snotlout had fallen into suddenly jerked. The dragon’s other heads looked at head number one, momentarily stunned.
Silence loomed in the field as everyone, human, and dragon, watched the jerky, convulsive movements of head number one. The head continued to jerk back and forth sometimes colliding with one of its other heads nearby, causing a cry of shock and annoyance from the struck head.
Suddenly, fingers appeared between the creature’s jaws, and curled around the upper lip. With a grunt, Snotlout pushed open the mouth, one foot planted on each half of the split bottom jaw.
“Wow,” Tuffnut said in the stunned silence. “That’s . . . surprisingly impressive.”
Snotlout grunted with exertion as he held the jaw open, and looked over at his girlfriend. She was staring at him, eyes wide.
“See babe?” he said with a grunt. “Told you I could handle it.”
The corner of her mouth pulled up into a crooked smile. “You are unbelievable.”
“Don’t you forget it, babe,” he smirked, offering her a quick wink. Then he placed a finger and thumb in his mouth, issuing a loud, shrill whistle. “Hey ugly!” he called to the head below his girlfriend. “This guy doesn’t seem to be able to handle all this manliness. You wanna give it a try?” He sweetened the invitation by shifting his hips and wiggling his butt at the shocked, gaping head.
Enraged, the head forgot about Bryn and lunged for the viking in its neighbor’s mouth. Snotlout swung his weight, spinning the head he was inside so that the bottom jaw faced the oncoming attack. The attacking head clamped down on its sibling’s jaw, causing head number one to cry out in pain.
When the first head cried out, Snotlout dropped from the mouth and grabbed the creature’s long neck to stop his fall. As the heads above him roared and fought, he clamored across the dragon’s body to reach the base of the tendril holding Bryn in place. Without pause, he bit the vine hard, and the tight coils around his girlfriend loosened.
Soon all four heads were bickering and snapping at each other, too busy fighting to notice the loss of their last potential meal. Hiccup snagged Bryn before she could fall as Snotlout made his way down the Snaptrapper’s body. He jumped to the ground, collected his lost helmet, and climbed onto Hookfang’s saddle as the teens took to the sky to find somewhere safer to camp.
“That was a Titan-wing!” Fishlegs cried as the teens settled into their typical flying formation. “Did you see how huge it was??”
“I didn’t think Snaptrappers had those vine things,” Astrid said, flying near Hiccup. “The other ones we’ve seen don’t.”
“Maybe it’s something they grow as they mature,” Hiccup said. “Maybe they get too big to move well for food, so they grow those things to bring food to them.”
“Yeah, yeah, all very interesting,” Snotlout called as he flew below Toothless. “I’m sure you’ll be just ready to burst when you update the Book of Dragons. Don’t forget who did all the work to get away from it! Now get your butt down here, Bryn!”
Hiccup sighed and turned to look at the girl behind him on Toothless’ back. When the Night Fury saved Bryn, he had simply flipped her onto his back in their escape. “Your call. You don’t have to.”
She rolled her eyes. “Sometimes arguing with him is just easier than ignoring him,” she said with a sigh. Hiccup nodded.
“Oh, I know that feeling.”
“Thanks for the save, Toothless,” she said, patting the Night Fury on the side. Toothless purred in response and flew lower to close the distance between them and Hookfang.
“Hey where’s my thanks!?” Snotlout scowled from below. “I’m the one who got it to let you go!”
Bryn sighed and rolled her eyes again as she swung a leg over and slid off of Toothless. Hookfang moved beneath her quickly, allowing her to land safely on his back.
“Boy oh boy,” Snotlout grumbled as Bryn maneuvered through Hookfang’s back spines to reach the saddle. “Talk about ungrateful.”
“Will you shove a sock in it?” she snapped, giving him a quick smack in the back of the head. “Man alive, you are such a baby sometimes.”
Bryn climbed over the saddle’s seat back and slid behind her now pouting boyfriend. He said nothing, but inched forward to allow her to sit properly. She didn’t have to see his face to know his jaw was jutted forward, eyebrows drawn into the oh-so-familiar Jorgenson scowl. The Snotlout Pout. It was so exaggerated it almost made her laugh.
“You’ll thank Toothless but not me, I see how it is,” he grumbled under his breath. “How nice.”
Without a word, Bryn yanked off Snotlout’s helmet, plunged her fingers into his hair, and turned his head to the side. Then she planted a firm kiss on his surprised mouth. A moment later she pulled back, plunked his helmet back on his head and offered him a small smile.
“I couldn’t exactly do that with Toothless,” she said, wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her chin on his shoulder. “You were amazing down there.”
“I was, wasn’t I?” he replied, puffing his chest out. “And you thought I couldn’t handle myself.”
“I’m never going to hear the end if this, am I?”
Bryn uttered an exasperated “ugh!” as the group flew through the night, following the full moon toward their next adventure.
I took a few liberties with the Snaptrapper, but hey, it worked for the story.
Thanks for reading!