Stoick’s devastation after the loss of Valka
|Stoick never talked of Valka after her death. He cut short people’s remarks, glared at those who questioned him about her, and glared when hearing whispers and gossip. When Ambi Larssen publicly insisted Stoick speak of her, the massive man lifted him bodily off the floor and hurled him to the ground. Two cracked ribs later, Ambi knew the subject was closed. Their chief heard no word about his beautiful, strong-willed Valka. Only by keeping her to himself, away from the questions and comments, could he appear strong to the people he led.
What Stoick wanted was to collapse in anguish, to weep until exhausted, to be held and comforted by the one person who could carry him through anything—Valka. The only one not afraid to laugh at him, the woman who saw the tenderness he tried to hide, the woman who helped, protected, and managed Stoick, while he did the same for all of Berk. The relentlessly boar-headed Viking lass he chose before the gods to marry him. Now she was gone and Stoick was devastated.
It was his failure to protect Valka that caused her death. Stoick pledged to keep her from all harm, yet when she was carrying the first baby, the child was stillborn and Valka almost died giving birth. What good was he then, unable to protect the wife he devoted himself to, or prevent her pain when the longed for child was delivered dead.
Then came Hiccup. Born early and born small, Valka doubted his survival. She’d seen the stillbirth as her fault, and it destroyed a piece of her. Stoick refused to see her heart break again. With every resource available to him, Stoick protected the wee scrap of child, the living proof of their love and her ability. That helpless babe, like his parents, had a will of iron and the day the healer declared him fit to survive, Stoick discovered Valka smiling with joy and relief. The pain in her eyes vanished as she held tiny Hiccup. Stoick thanked the gods for healing Valka and preserving their son, while he vowed to protect them both now, for eternity.
Now Valka was dead, Hiccup motherless, and Stoick alone. His fault, his failure in not being there, not paying heed, not destroying the vile beast who stole Stoick’s greatest joy and treasure from him. Remembering it all, the chief of Berk, the man who stood taller than any, the mighty Stoick the Vast, held his head in both hands and shook in the grief and pain he could no longer contain.