Gobber wants Hiccup to become a good smith. So does a certain stranger. WIP
|The man was well built with hair the color of flame, they said. His skin, too dark to belong to a Northman, was covered in burn scars, and he wore little under his apron. He came as a stranger, only passing through, and he always, always went to the smithy.
Gobber worked with iron since his sixth year, and it heightened his awareness. Iron was a weapon against the Fae, dragurs, even trolls, and a good blacksmith had a sense for the otherworldly. The man before him was more than he appeared, and he needed to prove his suspicions.
“Hiccup.” The lad poked his head out from behind the oven. “I’m sending you to Gothi’s for more burn ointment. While you’re there, ask her if her staff needs attention. Make sure to drink, and no running. It’s hot outside, and I’ll not have you collapsing.”
“I will. I mean, I won’t. Okay, yes Gobber.” Hiccup was out the door in an instant.
Gobber faced the stranger. “I know you’ve a smithy of your own. Come in and have a drink—it’s not often I can speak with someone who knows the craft.” He poured mead for the stranger and gulped a mugful of water, before taking mead for himself.
“Thank you. I like the setup of your forge, though I see more weapons in this one.” Gobber’s guest sipped the mead. “How many prosthetics do you possess?”
“Nine so far. I’m thinking of making a rasp next, once I get the chance. So, what brings you to Berk?”
“I’m a traveler passing through. A friend told me about your Archipelago, and I decided to see for myself.”
“Did you sail here alone, or with company?”
“I arrived with a trade ship. I work for my keep, and the ship drops me anywhere I desire.”
“Well, Berk hasna seen a trade ship in three days. If someone were able to travel through volcanoes, he’d not need a ship. You smell like molten rock. Welcome to my forge, Master Hephaestus.”
Hephaestus’ eyes twinkled. “It’s been centuries since anyone got my name right, Gobber Borkeson. The last man to spot something off was an Alban named Fergus.”
“Fergus MacKenzie was my great grandda, and he said your name was Heff. I traveled as far as Miklagard, and heard of the blacksmith’s god. You tried fooling the wrong man.”
The god laughed, slapping his knees. “You’ve bound me in my own shackles. Well done, Gobber, very well done.”
“Ah, you’d have succeeded anywhere else.” Gobber blocked the hatch. “Berk’s a fair distance from Athens. What stirred you to come here? I doubt you’re dropping in on Thor.”
“No, I’ve come about Hiccup. Your gods have given the boy a destiny. He’s received one of the most potent blessings available—a Mark of Favor—and abandoned him. Your priestess cannot divine who gave the Mark or what it means for his life.” Hephaestus gave him a long stare. “Hiccup is an anomaly on Berk, and a risk for everyone on this island.”
“Now wait jest a minute. The lad’s no danger to anyone, and I won’t stand for anyone saying so. You’ll never meet someone gentler than Hiccup, or better hearted one. He works himself to blisters to please, and a brighter child I’ve never met.” Gobber took a swig of his mead. “He’s one of the boons this tribe has, he and his father.”
“He and Stoick nearly fell to their deaths because Hiccup climbed the wrong tree. How well would Berk have survived without either of them?”