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Rated: 13+ · Draft · Fanfiction · #2268387
Coalie experiences his first dragon raid on Berk
Conrad woke to the sounds of a horn and men shouting. Someone was shaking his shoulder, and he heard, “We need to get to the smithy—the dragons are here.” The man forced a pair of shoes into his hands. “Dinna waste time, Coalie!”

Dragons? Coalie? In a rush, he recalled abandoning Conrad in favor of Coalie and learning about Berk’s three hundred year dragon war. He threw on his shoes and found his way to the forge. Kelp was setting bolas and maces on the hatch beside the warhammers. “Bring axes and swords. We'll use them and sharpen them to be used again.” The smith addressed him, still in motion. “Tonight’s a bad one. Hand out weapons and grab any that return. Find the least damaged ones, and fix them to go back out. Favor blades over blunt weapons. In a choice between sharpening and mending, sharpen. Keep moving and watch for fires. Go!”

Coalie did as ordered, thrusting swords and axes forward, then dragging a barrel of spears within Kelp’s reach. “Bring shields.” Coalie thrust the shields at Kelp two at a time, and saw him line them along the walls before the smithy went insane.

People rushed the hatch, dumping damaged weapons and grabbing new ones. Coalie sharpened blades, replaced spear heads, and manned the hatch alongside Kelp. A dragon, all wings and no legs, sliced the roof off of a large building before setting it alight. A woman shouted “Skrill! Take cover!” The hair stood up on the back of Coalie’s neck, and another dragon blasted the ground with lightning bolts, striking three men. Kelp began cursing.

“Any more shields? Crossbows? Whatever we have, bring it.” Coalie snatched from the newly mended pile and thrust them forward. “Sharpen blades until they’re usable and hand them over. We’re not letting the monsters win.”

Coalie dug in, running the grindstone over bent swords as people thronged the hatch. He willed himself to ignore the burning homes and bleating sheep, the swarming beasts above them, the man with a long spike stuck in his shoulder. His world shrank to the four walls around him, then to the path between the hatch and whetstone, the repeated trips from one to the other as constant as a waterwheel.

He was honing an axe blade when the blacksmith spoke. “It’s over, lad. You can stop.” At Coalie’s lack of response, Kelp said, “Lift your head and look around. “ Coalie obeyed; it was false dawn, and people were calling to one another. His patchy Norse caught words for wood and food and homes—Berk’s rebuilding had begun. “Go on, step back from the grindstone.”

Kelp turned him until Coalie’s back was to the hatch. “Take a slow breath.” Coalie inhaled and the reek of burnt bodies made his gorge rise. He bolted for the exit, but wound up spewing his guts over a heap of coal. He tottered, then fell to his knees as another wave of nausea struck, disgorging what remained in his stomach. After that it was bile and tears and Kelp’s palm against his forehead, the only connection to the smithy around him.

The heaving stopped, and Kelp said, “Close your eyes. Breathe with yer mouth, short breaths only.” Coalie concentrated on inhaling and exhaling. It blocked all other thoughts, a blessing, and he thanked good St. Andrew for Berk’s blacksmith.

Kelp left, returning with a mug. “Wash out your mouth and spit it to the floor. Dinna trouble yourself over the mess, the smithy’s seen worse.” Coalie looked down and saw the sick on his apron and his knees in the puddle.

Never had he felt so small.

Coalie took the mug and rinsed, spitting out the water until the foul flavor was nearly gone. He’d need to find the next trade ship leaving and negotiate with a different captain, but he’d shamed himself on this island. At eighteen years of age, Coalie thought he was a man, but a man who couldn’t look at battle and blood was a mewling babe. Berk had bairns enough without him.

“Now, young man,” Kelp began, “you need to see to yourself. The missus left bread and you’ll eat it. Then back to the hut to wash and change clothes and put something more in your stomach. I’ll want you back, the workload’s going to be massive. Unless,” Kelp said, eying Coalie, “you need more sleep.”

The exhaustion, born of hard labor and stress, struck him. Closing his eyes and escaping from the aftermath of Berk’s war sounded glorious. Coalie could have pleasant dreams or no dreams at all.

He might have nightmares, too.

Through the rush of the smithy, Coalie had fallen into a rhythm of labor, and every weapon he fixed Kelp reached for instantly. The smith told him what he wanted, and trusted Coalie to do it. They’d worked as if Berk had been Coalie’s home from the first, and he’d learned under Kelp. The blacksmith might be easy to work under, nothing more. Still, Coalie had been included as if he was native to the island. We need to get to the smithy. We're not letting the monsters win. Coalie shook his head.

“Nay. We have much to do.”

Kelp wetted a rag and handed it to Coalie, who wiped his face and hands. “You did well, better than I expected. No Hooligan could avoid puking, and we live with the dragon raids; you learned about them yesterday.” He handed Coalie a chunk of day-old bread. “Take pride in that.”


§ § §


Conrad woke to the sounds of a horn and men shouting. Someone was shaking his shoulder, and he heard, “We need to get to the smithy—the dragons are here.” The man grabbed him by the arm. “Dinna waste time, Coalie!”

Dragons? Coalie? In a rush, he recalled abandoning Conrad in favor of Coalie and learning about Berk’s three hundred year dragon war. He threw on his shoes and found his way to the forge. Kelp was setting bolas and maces on the hatch beside the warhammers. “Bring axes and swords. We'll use them and sharpen them to be used again.” The smith addressed him, still in motion. “Tonight’s a bad one. Hand out weapons and grab any that return. Find the least damaged ones, and fix them to go back out. Favor blades over blunt weapons. In a choice between sharpening and mending, sharpen. Keep moving and watch for fires. Go!”

Coalie did as ordered, thrusting swords and axes forward, then dragging a barrel of spears within Kelp’s reach. “Bring the shields.” Coalie thrust the shields at Kelp two at a time, and saw him line them along the walls before the smithy went insane.

People rushed the hatch, dumping damaged weapons and grabbing new ones. Coalie sharpened blades, replaced spear heads, and manned the hatch alongside Kelp. A dragon, all wings and no legs, sliced the roof off of a large building before setting it alight. A woman shouted “Skrill! Take cover!” The hair stood up on the back of Coalie’s neck, and another dragon blasted the ground with lightning bolts, striking three men. Kelp began cursing.

“Any more shields? Crossbows? Whatever we have, we need now.” Coalie snatched from the newly mended pile and thrust them forward. “Sharpen blades until they’re usable and hand them over. We’re not letting the monsters win.”

Coalie dug in, running the grindstone over bent swords as people thronged the hatch. He willed himself to ignore the burning homes and bleating sheep, the swarming beasts above them, the man with a long spike stuck in his shoulder. His world shrank to the four walls around him, then to the path between the hatch and whetstone, the repeated trips from one to the other as constant as a waterwheel.

He was honing an axe blade when he heard Kelp’s voice. “It’s over, lad.
“Coalie. It’s over. Put down the axe and step back from the whetstone, lad.” Kelp turned him until Coalie’s back was to the hatch. “Take a slow breath.” Coalie inhaled and the reek of burnt bodies made his gorge rise. He bolted for the exit, but wound up spewing his guts over a heap of coal. He tottered, then fell to his knees as another wave of nausea struck, disgorging what remained in his stomach. After that it was bile and tears and Kelp’s palm against his forehead, the only connection to the smithy around him.

The heaving stopped, and Kelp said, “Close your eyes. Breathe with yer mouth, short breaths only.” Coalie did as instructed; having to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling soothed him, and he thanked good St. Andrew for Berk’s blacksmith.

Kelp left, returning with a mug. “Wash out your mouth and spit it to the floor. Dinna trouble yourself over the mess, the smithy’s seen worse.” Coalie looked down and saw the sick on his apron and his knees in the puddle.

Never had he felt so small.

Coalie took the mug and rinsed, spitting out the sour water until the foul flavor was nearly gone. He’d need to find the next trade ship leaving and negotiate with a different captain, but a man who couldn’t look at battle and blood was no man at all. Berk had bairns enough without him.

“Now, young man,” Kelp began, “you need to tend to yourself. The missus left bread and you’ll eat it. Then back to the hut to wash and change clothes and put something more in your stomach. I’ll want you back, the workload’s going to be massive. Unless,” Kelp said, eying Coalie, “you need more sleep.”

The exhaustion, born of hard labor and stress, struck him. Closing his eyes and escaping from the aftermath of Berk’s war sounded glorious. Coalie could have pleasant dreams or no dreams at all.

He might have nightmares, too.

Through the rush of the smithy, Coalie had fallen into a rhythm of labor, and every weapon he fixed Kelp reached for instantly. The smith told him what he wanted, and trusted Coalie to do it. They’d worked as if Berk had been Coalie’s home from the first, and he’d learned under Kelp. The blacksmith might be easy to work under, nothing more. Still, Coalie had been included as if he belonged. We need to get to the smithy. We're not letting the monsters win. Coalie shook his head.

“Nay. We have much to do.”

“You did well with the raid, better than I expected. No Hooligan could do better, and we know about the dragons. You learned about them yesterday.” He handed Coalie a chunk of day-old bread. “Take pride in that.”



§ § §




Conrad woke to the sounds of a horn and men shouting. Someone was shaking his shoulder, and he heard, “We need to get to the smithy—the dragons are here.” The man grabbed him by the arm. “Dinna waste time, Coalie!”

Dragons? Coalie? In a rush, he recalled abandoning Conrad in favor of Coalie and learning about Berk’s three hundred year dragon war. He threw on his shoes and found his way to the forge. Kelp was setting bolas and maces on the hatch beside the warhammers. “Bring axes and swords. We'll use them and sharpen them to be used again.” The smith addressed him, still in motion. “Tonight’s a bad one. Hand out weapons and grab any that return. Find the least damaged ones, and fix them to go back out. Favor blades over blunt weapons. In a choice between sharpening and mending, sharpen. Keep moving and watch for fires. Go!”

Coalie did as ordered, thrusting swords and axes forward, then dragging a barrel of spears within Kelp’s reach. “Bring the shields.” Coalie thrust the shields at Kelp two at a time, and saw him line them along the walls before the smithy went insane.

People rushed the hatch, dumping damaged weapons and grabbing new ones. Coalie sharpened blades, replaced spear heads, and manned the hatch alongside Kelp. A dragon, all wings and no legs, sliced the roof off of a large building before setting it alight. A woman shouted “Skrill! Take cover!” The hair stood up on the back of Coalie’s neck, and another dragon blasted the ground with lightning bolts, striking three men. Kelp began cursing.

“Any more shields? Crossbows? Whatever we have, we need now.” Coalie snatched from the newly mended pile and thrust them forward. “Sharpen blades until they’re usable and hand them over. We’re not letting the monsters win.”

Coalie dug in, running the grindstone over bent swords as people thronged the hatch. He willed himself to ignore the burning homes and bleating sheep, the swarming beasts above them, the man with a long spike stuck in his shoulder. His world shrank to the four walls around him, then to the path between the hatch and whetstone, the repeated trips from one to the other as constant as a waterwheel.

He was honing an axe blade when he heard Kelp’s voice. “It’s over, lad.
“Coalie. It’s over. Put down the axe and step back from the whetstone, lad.” Kelp turned him until Coalie’s back was to the hatch. “Take a slow breath.” Coalie inhaled and the reek of burnt bodies made his gorge rise. He bolted for the exit, but wound up spewing his guts over a heap of coal. He tottered, then fell to his knees as another wave of nausea struck, disgorging what remained in his stomach. After that it was bile and tears and Kelp’s palm against his forehead, the only connection to the smithy around him.

The heaving stopped, and Kelp said, “Close your eyes. Breathe with yer mouth, short breaths only.” Coalie did as instructed; having to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling soothed him, and he thanked good St. Andrew for Berk’s blacksmith.

Kelp left, returning with a mug. “Wash out your mouth and spit it to the floor. Dinna trouble yourself over the mess, the smithy’s seen worse.” Coalie looked down and saw the sick on his apron and his knees in the puddle.

Never had he felt so small.

Coalie took the mug and rinsed, spitting out the sour water until the foul flavor was nearly gone. He’d need to find the next trade ship leaving and negotiate with a different captain, but a man who couldn’t look at battle and blood was no man at all. Berk had bairns enough without him.

“Now, young man,” Kelp began, “you need to tend to yourself. The missus left bread and you’ll eat it. Then back to the hut to wash and change clothes and put something more in your stomach. I’ll want you back, the workload’s going to be massive. Unless,” Kelp said, eying Coalie, “you need more sleep.”

The exhaustion, born of hard labor and stress, struck him. Closing his eyes and escaping from the aftermath of Berk’s war sounded glorious. Coalie could have pleasant dreams or no dreams at all.

He might have nightmares, too.

Through the rush of the smithy, Coalie had fallen into a rhythm of labor, and every weapon he fixed Kelp reached for instantly. The smith told him what he wanted, and trusted Coalie to do it. They’d worked as if Berk had been Coalie’s home from the first, and he’d learned under Kelp. The blacksmith might be easy to work under, nothing more. Still, Coalie had been included as if he belonged. We need to get to the smithy. We're not letting the monsters win. Coalie shook his head.

“Nay. We have much to do.”

“You did well with the raid, better than I expected. No Hooligan could do better, and we know about the dragons. You learned about them yesterday.” He handed Coalie a chunk of day-old bread. “Take pride in that.”



§ § §




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