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Rated: 13+ · Draft · Fanfiction · #2194124
Hope and Heir edit two in short story format
§ § §

The sky was painted in crimson and gold. It was past time to eat, but Hiccup

wasn’t hungry. He lay on his stomach, angry and humiliated. His bottom was

still sore from a spanking much worse than he’d ever felt before, and Hiccup

thought it was redder the the sky outside. He was mad at himself, and couldn’t

understand how he’d been so stupid. His dad warned him away from the taller

trees, but that bird’s nest tempted him, and he disobeyed. He had to climb up

there to see what was inside. His dad, Stoick the Vast, chief of their tribe, had

rescued his son, brought him home in the middle of the day, and spanked him.

Hiccup knew it was risky. The others his age weren’t allowed to climb up

either, and he was small, the size of a four-year-old. On the ground, he was

always behind, too short, too thin, too slow. People forgot he was there. When

the adults did notice him, they talked to him like he was little. Hiccup wasn’t

little; he was six! When he was in the sky, everyone else looked tiny, and

Hiccup was the big one. Being high in a tree thrilled him, made him feel daring,

like a real Viking on an adventure. He could be away from people he didn’t like.

Snotlout wouldn’t climb this high, or Kneebend, or the twins. He was sick of

being stuck on the ground where he was safe. He never expected to slip, or to

fall that far. He almost lost hold of the branch before his dad grabbed him.

Hiccup’s feet touched the dirt, and a look at his father told him the ground

wasn’t a safe place for him anymore. The village watched as their Chief, Stoick

the Vast, placed a massive hand behind Hiccup’s back and propelled him home.

His cousin Snotlout leered at him, and he heard people mutter, saying “foolish

child” and “didn’t listen” and “disobedient.”

Hiccup’s father was huge, taller than everybody in the tribe, and wider than

most. His dad joked that he was two Hiccups tall and four Hiccups wide.

Looking at his dad’s hair and beard was like seeing flames, while Hiccup’s red

hair was mixed with brown. Their sizes meant they looked funny together, and

people smiled at the sight. Hiccup never cared that he didn’t look like his father.

His dad made him happy and kept him safe, and he could never love anyone

more; it had always been that way, until today.

For the first time he remembered, Stoick was angry with him. Hiccup had

been in trouble before; his dad’s disappointment in him would show on his face

whenever his son messed up. Now, Stoick’s face was red; he paced the floor

before turning to Hiccup, scowling. He didn’t ask Hiccup why he did it, but spoke

in a thundering voice. Hiccup winced, remembering.

I expect you to obey me all the time, Hiccup, not run off to do what you want.”

I told you those trees were forbidden, but you still climbed one, then tried to get into another.”

You could have died out there today.”

Then the final, devastating statement.

Climbing up there was reckless, and I am more than disappointed.”

Hiccup almost cried then, hearing his dad say those words. The last thing

Stoick told him when he did something wrong was, “I know you can do better

than this, and, Hiccup, I know you will.” His father never missed saying those

words, and living up to them made Hiccup try harder. When Stoick didn’t say

them, Hiccup wondered if that meant his dad didn’t believe the words anymore.

Hiccup flushed with shame. His dad was right. Nothing he did today was

good or smart or helpful. Everyone knew what happened. The tribe always

talked about people; now, every day he’d hear about it, or see people watch

him. They’d mutter and point. Other kids would harass him. Because his father

was Chief, someone would ask if Stoick could do a good job, because Hiccup

disobeyed. To see his father tonight was too hard. Hiding in his room was better.

The sky was at full dark; Hiccup should be asleep, but his thoughts chased

round in his head. Hiccup’s father loved him, but how long might it take for him

to forgive Hiccup? Hiccup used to be able to look at his dad after a spanking

and have it all behind them; this time, Hiccup ran straight to his room. Guilt felt

like a rock in his chest. Even worse, he shamed his father, the Chief.

Hiccup didn’t have a mother anymore—she died when he was

small—, but he knew Stoick fit into his heart and he fit into Stoick’s.

Nobody was better than his dad, and he loved Hiccup so much. His dad was a

hero, big and tough, but he always held Hiccup in his arm and talked to him. He

sat Hiccup in his lap when he was afraid, and told him stories to make him feel

better. Even when he should be asleep, his father might take him outside and

tell him about the stars and show him the pictures they made. When Hiccup

misbehaved or got in trouble, Stoick looked sad, like his son let him down. Now

Stoick was furious with him and worse, he was...more than disappointed.

Hiccup had wrecked something between them and didn’t know how to fix it.

Hiccup waited for the knock. Tonight, Gobber would come over. Hiccup

always raced to the door when Gobber was outside. He was missing an arm

and a leg, and his body looked like two crates stacked on one another, but

it was part of what made him Gobber. He was Gobber’s “wee laddie,” and the

only person who could say he was small without hurting Hiccup’s feelings. He

smelled like his job at the forge: coal dust and hot metal and sweat. Gobber was

his hero. Hiccup couldn’t look at him tonight but he’d wait for Gobber, and listen.

Gobber was Stoick’s best friend, and had been since they were his age.

They played together, grew up together, and fought beside each other. Gobber

was the only person able to mention his mom to Stoick without upsetting him.

His dad wasn’t a big talker, but he’d talk to Gobber. On tough days, Gobber

would visit his dad and listen to him, and try to help Stoick. Sometimes, his dad

needed to talk to somebody, and Gobber was his somebody.

He heard voices coming from downstairs and snuck to his bedroom door,

opening it a crack. They were discussing him. Hiccup often heard them talk like

this; he’d listened in for years, learning a lot they never realized, including a

word Gobber thumped him for using. Tonight, he needed to listen and hear them

talk. If he listened hard, Hiccup might find a way to fix what he broke.

Gobber spoke first. “So, Stoick, about Hiccup...”

“What about him, Gobber?” Stoick sounded tired.

“Well, he climbed up that tree, didn’t he?”

“I know that Gobber. All of Berk knows that. I imagine the sheep know

that by now. Can you get to a point?”

“What are you thinking, Stoick?” The fire hissed and spat. Hiccup opened the

door wider and risked peeking out. The fire burned; Hiccup watched the flames

dance, then heard Gobber speak. “I know you have something to say, Stoick.

I’m one of a damn few people who know you’re more than a chief, and the only

one you can tell things to without causing problems.” Gobber sounded


“I couldn’t believe the boy would behave so, so...foolishly.”

“Stoick, you know he went above foolishness today. The lad didn’t make a

mistake. There’s no way he could have climbed that tree starting from the

ground. He needed to boost himself higher to reach those branches. He climbed

the Abramsson’s roof first, then grabbed the nearest branch.” Gobber’s voice

sounded serious and a little rough. “He planned it out, Stoick. Hiccup meant to

do that.”

Hiccup cringed. He never told his father how he got that high. Every other

time, Stoick required Hiccup to tell him everything, and Hiccup was relieved his

dad forgot this time. He didn’t expect Gobber to remind him. Lying to Stoick

provided a penalty, and telling the truth today would bring a penalty, too. He

anticipated standing before his father, too scared to speak, and making

everything so much worse. Please, no, please don’t call me down, Hiccup

pleaded silently. Please, Odin, please.

“I know that, Gobber. Do you think I’ve not figured it out? The boy’s strength

is in his mind, not his size; he thought himself into that disaster. The tree he got

to wasn’t even the one he wanted; he was trying for the one beside it when he

slipped.” Stoick paused, then added, “Because there was a hawk’s nest there.”

“Hawks, Stoick? Hiccup’s lucky you rescued him when you did; those birds

would have taken chunks out of him before he fell...” Gobber’s voice trailed off.

His father finished the thought. “And landed on the rocks below.”

All Hiccup heard was the crackling of the fire. His father turned to face his

friend, the flames illuminating his face. His dad shook; Gobber stood frozen, and

Hiccup felt like something would shatter if he moved. They were frightened

together, frightened about him. Gobber and his dad believed Hiccup could have

died. Hiccup couldn’t imagine it. He’d always be there with his dad and Gobber.

Hiccup tried to picture his huge, brave father all alone and shaking all the time,

while Gobber stopped joking and his smile got small. Whatever Hiccup broke

today with his dad was little compared to what they’d felt if he died.

Gobber drew breath, and his voice broke the heavy gloom. “So, what did you

do, Stoick? I know Hiccup must’ve got a walloping for this, at least.” Gobber

knew—his dad always told him—but Hiccup’s spanking was too

fresh for him to like hearing this, and his face reddened. “You know you have to

tell me. I’m not leaving until you do,” Gobber told him. “Keeping this stuff inside

eats you up. What happened?”

“What happened, Gobber?” Hiccup’s dad was angry. “I marched him home,

asked no questions, stood over him, and told him everything he’d done wrong. I

didn’t sit down with him or let him speak. To answer your other question, I did

not wallop the boy, Gobber.”

Hiccup’s jaw dropped. He was spanked harder than ever today, and Stoick

was the one who did it. Any child on Berk would have been, and the Chief’s son

was no exception. Hiccup endured spankings; they weren’t pleasant, but a part

of life when you got in trouble. His dad, the Chief, denied it happened. The tribe

trusted Stoick, and Stoick never lied.

“Ah,” Gobber said, sympathetic.” I thought that might be part of the problem.

Today was the day, then. You gave Hiccup his first spanking.”

His first? No, he’d had others. This one was horrible, though.

“Yes, I did, and I hated it.” Hiccup heard unhappiness in his dad’s voice. “He

doesn’t know there’s a difference between a walloping and a spanking, and

today he felt the difference on his body. I didn’t hurt his pride this time, Gobber, I

hurt him. I struck him longer and harder than he’d ever felt, knowing how painful

it is. There was no other way, but I can’t feel good about it.”

Oh, thought Hiccup. They’re not the same thing. That’s why it was worse.

“Aye, it’s not a happy moment for either of you. You knew this was coming,

and put it off as long as you could, Stoick, but the lad earned the punishment.

He’s sore and guilty and embarrassed, but he’s alive. If the pain keeps him that

way, I don’t see a problem.” Gobber added reflectively, “I remember my first. I

was five and my da decided it was time. Hurts like Hel, that first one.” Gobber

looked at Stoick, and asked, “How old were you?”

“I was four. Father had high expectations for the Hope and Heir to Berk. I knew

that, but it was hard to take.” Stoick exhaled. “He ran straight to his room. Today

wore him out. He’ll be asleep now, and ought to feel better in the morning. I did

what I could, but there’s no going back; now all his spankings will feel like that.”

“So that’s why you didn’t ask him to tell you all that happened.”

“Oh, Gobber. He’s a terrible liar. Even if I didn’t know what happened, I’d

know he was lying. Telling the truth would be just as bad. I’d have to worsen the

punishment for him either way. This one time, I’ll spare him, let him think I was

too angry to remember.” Stoick poked at the fire. “But not again. He must learn

to listen and obey, before he kills himself. If I have to make him miserable to

keep him safe, I will. Hiccup’s the best part of my life and the brightest thing on

this island, and I refuse to lose him, Gobber.”

Hiccup closed the door and returned to his bed. He heard so much and

needed to think about it. His father and Gobber were afraid because of what

he’d done, though he only got scrapes. Hiccup couldn’t imagine more pain than

he already undergone, but his father had gone easy on him. He had been

spanked, but got away with not explaining. His dad was the Chief, and the Chief

always had to be fair. But for Hiccup, he would pretend not to know, and be

unfair. Hiccup had to pretend he didn’t hear the truth, and know he wasn’t really

punished yet. Hiccup curled up beneath the fur, exhausted, and closed his eyes.

He’d talk to his father in the morning, and figure it out. Not tonight: his brain was

too full, and it needed sleep too.

§ § §

Stoick woke in the morning to find Hiccup already downstairs. He walked into

the great room, where his son stood at the table, waiting for him. Hiccup, he

noticed, had combed his hair, washed his face, and put on a newer tunic. He

turned to Stoick and said, “Good morning, dad.”

Stoick observed his boy. He wasn’t sure what he expected from Hiccup in

the aftermath of yesterday, but it wasn’t this. Well, he’d wait for now and see

what happened. “Good morning, Hiccup. Did you sleep well?”

“Yeah, I did. How about you?”

“Not bad, son.” The turmoil from the day before kept him awake for a time,

but he wouldn’t mention that. “You’re up early today.”

“If I came downstairs early, I could be ready when you woke up. You usually

get me out of bed, and I wanted things to be different today. For you, dad.” He

wore a shy smile. “There’s bread and milk and other things on the table. To


Stoick saw the provisions waiting for him, and spotted a plate and mug at his

place. A clean mug, not one from last night’s visit with Gobber. Those were on

the shelf; his son had washed them. Hiccup waited, expectant, as his father

took it in.

Stoick gave his boy a warm smile. “This is good work, Hiccup. Thank you.”

Looking at the youngster, Stoick said, “Come sit by me, son. We can enjoy this

together.” Hiccup moved a chair close to Stoick and settled himself on the edge.

They ate, punctuating the stillness with passing plates and pouring milk. Stoick

wasn’t one to talk much, and Hiccup was surprisingly quiet today. His boy wore

an uncertain expression, different from the helpful lad of ten minutes ago, and

Stoick held his peace until Hiccup spoke.


“Yes, Hiccup?” Stoick would let the boy be in charge of this conversation. It

was his idea, and the care he’d put into this talk deserved courtesy.

“I have a question. Well, maybe not a question. But...” Hiccup trailed off.

“Tell me what it is, Hiccup, even if you’re not sure what to call it.” Hiccup

stared at Stoick’s beard, not his face. His son didn’t want to look him in the

eyes, in case something went wrong.

“Well, yesterday. It’s about yesterday.” Hiccup hesitated, struggling to find

words. “Yesterday was confusing. A lot happened, and I’m not sure what to do.”

He lifted his head, a plea in his eyes.

“What was confusing, son?” Stoick saw Hiccup seize the question, grateful to

have somewhere to begin.

“Lots of things. Not everything; I know it was wrong to get in that tree, and I

know you had to punish me. That makes sense. But other things were different,

and I didn’t know what would happen. I feel better if I know what’s going to

happen.” He peered at Stoick, searching for a reaction. Stoick tossed his son

another question.

“Were you afraid?”

His son looked down. “Yes, Dad, I was afraid, really afraid.”

“Were you scared of me, Hiccup? Tell the truth.” Stoick leaned forward and

watched his son drop his eyes.

“You were mad, and you’re scary looking when you’re mad. But I wasn’t too

frightened of you, Dad.”

Stoick took note of the lie, and wondered if Hiccup wanted him to feel better.

Telling your father he’s terrifying—even when it’s true—would

have made Stoick lie, too.

Hiccup tried again. “You always have things you do when I get in trouble,

and you didn’t do any of them. It scared me.” He studied Stoick, then asked, “Do

you know what I mean?”

“I think so, son.” Stoick hadn’t realized how all those changes would affect

the boy. There was no slow walk home, no waiting until nighttime for his

spanking, and no questions to answer or explanations to offer. Hiccup hadn’t sat

down with Stoick, but stood there while his father scowled down at him. Too

many differences made the day hard to process. “It’s better for you when things

stay the same, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, Dad, it’s a lot better. Yesterday...” Hiccup glanced at Stoick, then

looked away. “I hated yesterday. Nothing went right. I was stupid and I got

scared, and you had to come get me. I wanted to go back and not climb that

tree, but I couldn’t. And...it’s not over yet.” His voice became tiny. “I want it to be


Stoick hunted for another question. Hiccup was agonized, and needed

something to hold on to. In a gentle voice, Stoick asked, “What would make it be

over, Hiccup?”

“I—I need to do my part to make it over. It won’t be done without my

part.” Hiccup had raised his head and looked Stoick steadily in the eye. “I must

do this. It’s what’s fair, and just, and right. The Chief must always do what’s fair

and just and right.”

“You want me to ask the questions, don’t you?” Stoick was torn. Hiccup

would answer him honestly, and he would have to discipline him again, probably

with another spanking. He saved Hiccup from that already; now the son was

quoting the father to ask for his punishment. There existed only one right

response. The Chief knew there was no way out of this. But, he realized, there

might be a better way through.

“Yes, Dad, I want you to ask the questions.”

§ § §

Stoick lifted Hiccup, setting him on the floor. They stood facing one another,

and Stoick drew up to his full height before addressing his son.

“Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the third, of the Haddock line of chieftains, son of

Stoick the Vast, Chief of Berk, Hope and Heir to the Hairy Hooligan tribe, you

stand accused before your Chief.”

Hiccup's eyes widened; he stared at Stoick, shocked. Stoick looked at

Hiccup grimly and the boy saw no sign of his father. He stood before the highest

authority on Berk and the opening statement revealed there was no going back.

Hiccup would undergo the Chief’s Trial.

The Chief’s Trial was a legitimate but little-used method of justice on Berk.

Over 200 years ago, the tribe provided this privilege to the Haddock chief, and

the line of chieftains had used it since then. Chief’s Trial bypassed the ruling

council, allowing the chief alone to dispense justice. Any misuse by the

chief, and the tribe would eliminate it. It was reserved for particularly thorny

problems, unusual situations, and times when standard methods would not

work. The tribe might go for years without needing one.

It provided justice. The process was harsh, because nothing could be held

back, and truthfulness was mandated. Swearing to the truth for Chief’s Trial

carried an extra measure of weight, and few wanted to be scrutinized that

thoroughly. But the chief measured the testimony objectively and pronounced a

judgment that was fitting. Hiccup had studied Chief’s Trial and now would

experience it.

“As Chief, it is my sworn duty to do what is fair and just and right. I dispense

justice within this tribe. In the case of the Heir to Berk, I alone decide the

consequences. You must accept them without question or complaint. Do you

understand, Hiccup Haddock?”

“I understand the terms laid down by the Chief, and shall abide by them,”

Hiccup answered formally. He had watched others stand before Stoick, and

from his studies recalled the responses.

Stoick thanked the gods for Hiccup’s vocabulary and ability to observe.

Hiccup had seen council meetings and common judgments. He knew more

words than many in the tribe. Without that background, this would have been

impossible. The format was fixed; it could not be reduced, watered down, or

rewritten. Stoick continued in the same vein. “You are accused of deliberately

disobeying a direct order given by your Chief, and in so doing, risking your life.

You have, as Heir to the Chief, threatened the line of succession in Berk with

reckless behavior damaging to your tribe. Do you, as Hope and Heir to this

tribe, swear to truthfully and completely answer all questions put before you?”

Hiccup’s back straightened. “I so swear,” he whispered.

“I ask you why, on this past Woden’s day, you chose to disobey the

command to avoid climbing trees forbidden to you.” Stoick set his features in a

stern expression, and waited for a reply.

“I saw a bird’s nest in a tree forbidden to me, and I wanted to look inside.”

Hiccup swallowed, adding, “I wished to see if the nest held eggs or baby birds.”

“Is that the entire answer, Hiccup Haddock, or is your answer incomplete?”

Hiccup hung his head. “My answer is incomplete, Chief.”

“Lift your head. You are on trial and you must face me at all times. I permit

nothing else.” Stoick caught his eyes and held them. Stoick saw Hiccup’s

reluctance, but he acknowledged the command and faced Stoick.

“Why did you choose to disobey, Heir to Berk? Complete your answer.”

“I wanted to be high up, above the ground. I wanted to be brave, to be a

hero, to explore.” He hesitated. “I don’t like the ground; I wanted to be in the air.

I want to fly, but I can’t. I can climb, so I climbed that tree.”

Revealing that desire cost him, and Stoick saw him fight the urge to lower his

eyes. This was harder than the boy expected, and he wrestled within himself,

trying for calm. “Is your answer complete, Hiccup Haddock, or incomplete?”

“Incomplete, Chief Stoick. My answer is incomplete. I-I have more to say.”

Hiccup took a breath, then another. “I wanted excitement. I also,” he murmured,

“wanted to get away from my cousin, Snotlout Jorgensen.” He stared over

Stoick’s shoulder, unhappy to admit he would hide from Stoick’s kinfolk and

unwilling to face his father about it.

“Face me, Heir to Berk, and do not look away again. That is required of you,

and you must obey.”

“Yes, Chief Stoick. I shall face you and not look away. You are my Chief, and

I answer to your command.”

Oh, he knew that response, too. Pledging obedience to Chief Stoick was a

serious answer. The gravity of his actions was sinking in, and the trial was

wearing on him. Chief’s Trial provided no relief, except for the chance to

moisten your throat or gather your thoughts. Stoick chose this for Hiccup, aware

he’d bear the unwelcome strain of examination. Stoick could not fail his

son—the boy needed to atone and there was no higher authority than

the Chief. This trial must be fair. His pride in Hiccup’s conduct couldn’t stop him,

and neither could the boy’s anguish.

“I ask again, Hiccup Haddock, is your answer complete?”

“My answer is now complete, Chief Stoick.”

“Give the account of your deeds during the events of this last Woden’s day.

Be thorough, and leave nothing out.” This was the part his son hated most.

Today the relentless retelling of even the smallest action would burden him.

Hiccup spoke steadily as he responded.

“On this past Woden’s day, I was near a stand of tall trees. I looked at them,

and saw a bird’s nest. I thought about how to get to it. The nest was high and

the branches were out of my reach.” Hiccup was providing every scrap of

information in his account. He was trying for detachment, but Stoick knew that

wouldn’t last, even if Hiccup didn’t. “I saw the roof of the Abramsson’s house

was near to one of the trees. I checked for watchers and saw no one. I

overturned a bucket, stood on top, and climbed to a barrel. From the barrel I

grabbed a shutter, and from the shutter I climbed to the roof of the house.” He

stopped for air; Hiccup never offered this much detail before, and struggled to

compose himself.

“I stood on the roof’s edge. I then leaped to the tree and caught the nearest

branch. The branch was two inches thick.” Hiccup’s face wore an expression of

comprehension; it was dawning on him just how thoroughly he imperiled

himself. “I moved toward the trunk of the tree, and pulled myself up on the

branch. I climbed until I drew close to the next tree. I was high up, and the

branches were thinner.” A pause, and another breath. “The next tree held the

bird’s nest. I leaned toward it, and my left foot slipped. I fell to—to a

lower branch, but it was weak and did not hold me. I slid down, then grabbed

another branch with my right arm and held on. I held onto a knothole with my

other hand. I yelled for help. I was stuck with no—no way to get down.”

He drew four deep breaths.” People gathered below. Someone brought my

father, and he carried me down the rest of the way.”

Stoick was shaken by the terse, detailed account and he knew, just for a

moment, that fear flashed in his eyes. Hiccup’s face registered the glimpse of

terror before Stoick regained an impassive look on his features. Hiccup now

realized how much jeopardy he’d been in. It wasn’t just the branch that broke;

every branch in that tree and the next was dangerous. He could have fallen at

any time, and wouldn’t survive a fall from that high up.

Stoick stared at his son and Hiccup looked him in the eyes. He stood erect,

his hands by his sides, and focused on the Chief. Stoick allowed this to sink in

for ten long seconds, then continued his role.

“Is this account complete, or does it remain incomplete, Hiccup Haddock?”

“This is a complete account of my actions this past Woden’s day. I did climb

trees forbidden to me, disobeying a direct order given by my chief. I foolishly

risked my life...” He stopped, unable to continue.

“You stopped at ‘foolishly risked my life.’ Continue from there, Heir to Berk.”

“Foolishly risked my life, endangering myself and acting recklessly more than

one time to pursue a selfish goal. I threatened the line of succession on Berk,

and gave no thought to the good of my tribe.” Hiccup drew strength from the

formal language, Stoick saw. The words provided a small comfort, as if they

separated the reality of Hiccup’s actions from the actual trial. “I am guilty on all

charges leveled. I, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, of the Haddock line

of chieftains, son of Stoick the Vast, Chief of Berk, the Hope and Heir to the

Hairy Hooligan tribe, do swear to this testimony.”

“I accept your testimony, Hiccup Haddock, and shall render judgment based

upon it. Do you have anything to add to this account?” This question was part

of the trial for admitted guilt, and Hiccup was permitted a personal statement.

“I want to say I’m...” He halted, then continued, “I want to say I regret my

actions. I regret shaming my Chief and ignoring my responsibility to the tribe. I

feel remorse over my actions this past Woden’s day. I regret blackening the

Haddock name. I...am sorry.”

“Is your statement complete, Hiccup Haddock, or is it incomplete?”

“My statement is complete, Chief Stoick.” Hiccup remained still, resisting

tears. Recounting his actions had brought him the needed catharsis. Hiccup

would be judged and his sentence delivered. Stoick sought the right judgment.

His son and Heir would require a full chastising, equal to the actions committed.

The severity must be weighted to punish the boy without damaging him.

“Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, Hope and Heir to the Hairy Hooligan

tribe, your statement reveals repeated and deliberate disobedience. You have

been insubordinate to your Chief and besmirched your family name. The Heir is

held to a high standard, and you failed to meet that standard last Woden’s day.”

“Be aware that the tribe will watch you more closely now. You chose

disobedience to me, your Chief.” Now Hiccup needs to know his duty, as Stoick

had at the same age. “The people expect better from their Heir and will

scrutinize your words and actions thoroughly. You will receive more criticism.

They may forgive, but they never forget. This is true of all tribal heirs, and not a

part of this judgment.”

“No single act of discipline can fulfill this judgment. Your punishment will

come in multiple parts. As the Hope and Heir of Berk, you are required to give a

full account of your actions to the ruling council. You must face them at all times,

speaking clearly, and recount every detail. Any further explanation they ask for

must be provided. They deserve to know all that happened, because you are

Heir to the tribe. Their trust must be earned, and that is your responsibility.”

Hiccup nodded, accepting the sentence.

“Tomorrow you will meet with them. They will hear you speak privately. The

meeting will be closed to outsiders, and the questions confined to your actions.

No member of the council will mention what was discussed during the meeting.

Be aware that the tribe does not need to know your account, and any council

member who reveals that information behaves wrongly.” Stoick hoped Hiccup

understood the subtext of his remarks. The members of the council were not

above discipline for their own behavior. Acknowledging their own failings was

also justice. “You are not permitted to speak of any personal or restricted

information. No events or conversations in this matter between you, your Chief,

or in the council meeting may be relayed to any member of this tribe. These

matters are kept private, and any questions presented to you shall remain


“You shall not climb. No tree, bucket, barrel, shutter, rock, or other scalable

thing will be allowed to you. This will continue for six weeks.” He’d have to

remember to stay on the ground all the time. Hiccup knew this was just, and he

had earned this punishment. Stoick, unrelenting, said, “You may climb steps

one at a time. You may sit on steps. Any chair or stool with a seat lower than

your waist is permitted. Outside of any changes made by your Chief, at all other

times, you must sit on the ground or floor or stand. After ten days, you may

climb on a chair to eat during mealtimes. At the end of three weeks, I will review

your behavior and decide whether you may sit at other times.” Yes, his son

knew this was going to be horrible. He could sit on the hated ground if he

needed relief from standing. Again, Hiccup nodded.

“Any task within your ability may be asked of you from the citizens of Berk. If

expected to climb, you must explain your prohibition and ask for a different task.

If there is no different chore to complete, you are required to return and help

that person another time. Remembering to return and ask is your responsibility,

and you will carry it out. This shall last four weeks.” The brief look of

unhappiness on his face stirred sympathy in Stoick. His boy would have little

free time, but he’d sleep well at night.

“When asked about any restriction, you will explain it is part of your

discipline. When anyone brings up your wrongdoing or your punishment, you

shall accept it without complaint or excuse or escape. Even younger children

may remark and remind you. This lasts for three weeks.” Ouch. Stoick knew this

would hurt, and was tempted to take it back. But no, he couldn’t falter, though

that last bit was a mistake. “The Heir must show humility to his tribe, so they

know he will accept a judgment against himself. One day, Hiccup Haddock, you

will have to provide justice. To be right and just and fair, you must receive it first,

even when it seems unfair. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Chief Stoick. I understand.”

Stoick acknowledged his response with a nod, and continued. “You risked

falling from the roof. That’s one infraction. You risked falling from a tree. That’s a

second infraction. You risked falling when you attempted to grab hold of a

nearby tree. That is your third infraction. For each infraction, you shall receive a

spanking, spanning three consecutive nights. It will be painful, but you shall

bear it until three nights are over. “Stoick never would beat a child, and had no

love for the strap, but this was necessary. Hiccup needed this to remember how

close he came to dying. Without the spanking, it wouldn’t be over for his

son.“Your father will administer these spankings in your home, with no one

present. Your first will happen tonight. Each one will erase an infraction and put

it behind you. I, Stoick the Vast, Chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe, do order this

judgment upon Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, Heir to Berk. This trial is


Stoick studied his son. The trial was over, and his sentence had been

rendered. Hiccup bowed his head, no longer required to look at his Chief,

submitting to the decision. He had stood before the highest authority on Berk

and answered every question. Stoick judged on the basis of the facts presented

to him. Hiccup stood trial by the Chief of Berk, not questioning from his father.

He would not doubt the verdict’s validity, but surrender to his chastisement with

what dignity he possessed. Today he accepted the mantle of Hope and Heir to

Berk. The sweetest part of his childhood was over.

§ § §

Hiccup felt the big man sit beside him. He remained in place, unwilling to move.

He asked for justice. Justice was delivered. The Chief had judged the Heir. The

trial had ended, and Hiccup wasn’t sure who he was; he wanted to be himself

again. The man sitting at the table might not be his father. Right now, he wanted

his dad back. He would not ask, but he needed his father, and wished he was


A large, calloused hand took his, and Hiccup lifted his head, hoping the Chief

was gone. The face gently smiling at Hiccup was his father’s. He smiled back,

relieved. Things were better now that he’d answered the questions. Not

finished, but better. Hiccup didn’t have to wait for his dad to ask them, and he

didn’t have to dread answering them. Things were almost done.

His dad spoke. “Hiccup.”

“Yes, Dad?”

A large hand rested on his shoulder. “We can put it behind us now.

Yesterday’s over. It’s today now.” His father brushed a hand through his hair and

spoke again.

“Today, you stay inside all day by yourself. Beginning now, you are restricted

from climbing. Tonight is your first spanking, and tomorrow after the council

meeting, the rest of your public punishment begins. The tribe will know they can

call on you to work.” His dad pulled Hiccup close and patted his knee.

“Come sit in my lap, Hiccup.”

“I am not permitted to climb to a seat...” Hiccup began. His father interrupted


“The judgment states that the Chief may make changes. The Chief will allow

this change.” His dad smiled and Hiccup knew nothing was broken now; the

terrible trial repaired the damage Hiccup caused. “Also,” his dad said, “Your

father would enjoy having you sit up here.”

Hiccup clambered up, spotting the crinkle in his dad’s eyes. There was no

holding it in. He grinned at his father and said, “At least while I can.”

Stoick burst out laughing, and said, “Boy, you have...” he looked at Hiccup,


“A lot of cheek, Dad?”

His father laughed so hard he cried. Wiping away tears, Stoick gasped, “Oh,

son, more than you can imagine.” Then his dad tickled Hiccup; Hiccup squirmed

wildly, and began giggling.

The last bit of hurt hiding in Hiccup dissolved. He did his part and it was

complete. He felt light and free, like he could fly, more than he’d ever imagined

up in the tallest trees. A large arm embraced him. Hiccup sat in his father’s lap

again, and it was all worth it.

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