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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2272978-Death-of-an-Ordinary-Man-chapter-one
Rated: ASR · Draft · Fanfiction · #2272978
Hiccup, age sixteen, has to offer a eulogy. 5/14/22 Most recent draft
Author’s Note:The rights to How to Train Your Dragon remain with Cressida Cowell and Dreamworks. Only the plot and original characters are mine.

I’m sorry, but it’s true.

§ § §




Toothless was curled up beside Hiccup’s chair, stuffed with fish and snoring. The fireplace warmed the lantern lit room, and Hiccup watched his father tie off the last braid in his beard. Stoick’s beard, like the rest of him, was massive, and Hiccup hoped one day to have a beard of his own. Or, at least peach fuzz.

Stoick’s ankle length cape hung on the wall beside Hiccup’s vest. The smell of damp fur was familiar, and Hiccup had trouble imagining washday without it. It was a lull in the week, a day to scrub laundry and Vikings alike.

“Son.”

Hiccup sat up, paying deliberate attention to his father.

“I spoke with Gothi. One of the elders of the tribe is dying. She’s done all she can, but he’ll be gone in a few days.”

“Who was—who is he?”

“His name is Stilton Jorgenson.”

“Sorry, Dad, I don’t remember him.”

“He was one of your grandfather’s friends. Stilton kept to himself. He was a fisherman by trade, who looked after his family and minded his own business. He was an ordinary man, but a good one.”

Hiccup’s presence at Stilton’s funeral was a given. It was part of his duties as the heir to Berk, and training for the day he would perform the rites.

“I visited him this afternoon, and he had a final request. At his funeral, he wants you to speak for him.”

“Wait, what? No, no, I can’t do that.” Hiccup giving a eulogy? It was lunacy. His dad couldn’t have agreed to put Hiccup in charge. “You turned him down?”

“I agreed. Stilton Jorgenson is a member of this tribe, and his last wish is definite. He told me,” Stoick took a swallow of his mead, “he didn’t want Halvar Haddock’s whippersnapper to give his testimony, when he had you to offer it.”

“Whippersnapper?” Stoick the Vast was seven feet tall, and the ground trembled where he walked. Attaching whippersnapper to him was impossible, at least in Hiccup’s mind.

“He remembers me as a child. Yes, I’m the Chief, but he wants you, Hiccup.”

“Dad, I’m not ready for this. I’m only sixteen, and no good at speaking in front of people. I’ll screw up, and I don’t want to ruin Stilton’s funeral.”

“I will walk you through the steps. This funeral will be small and I don’t expect you to partake in any other duties. Stilton said he wished he could stay to hear your story about him, but he had somewhere else to be.” A smile flitted across Stoick’s face. “He trusts you to do a good job. It’s an honor, Hiccup, that he asked for you.”

That was the crux of it. A dying man’s final wish of his Chief took precedence over Hiccup’s doubt.

Stilton Jorgenson asked for Hiccup, the least impressive Viking on Berk, to speak for him. His dad was right, this was a signal honor, and Hiccup couldn’t, no, wouldn’t do a bad job. Hiccup had his failings—boy, did he ever—but giving up wasn’t one of them.

Hiccup would stand before his tribe and Odin and fulfill this sacred charge. Hiccup’s send off would be worthy of the man who trusted him.

Hiccup met his father’s eyes. “Where do I begin?”


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