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Rated: ASR · Letter/Memo · Fanfiction · #2274451
Thoughts and story fragments about Alvin and Stoick
Alvin is eleven when he comes to Berk. His previous tribe did not have chastenings, and he has escaped the humiliation that brings you to understand you are a small part of the tribe and must know obedience. It is a harsh lesson, but also a rite of passage. It is the event the shapes you into a reliable and trustworthy member of the tribe, and keeps your pride in check.

Alvin lacks this visceral understanding of his place in the tribe. Over time, he takes his relationship with Stoick for granted. He doesn’t realize he must take orders from Stoick.

During the battle with Oswald the Antagonistic, twelve-year-old Valka comes near the battlefield to help with the wounded. Stoick, nineteen, commands Alvin, age eighteen, to take her to safety. Alvin, a full-blooded warrior, resents being sent from battle to look after a little girl. He removes her from the battlefield, but thrusts her at fourteen year old Phlegma instead of getting her to the place of safety. Alvin thinks he hears something in the forest. Thinking it’s an ambush, and wanting to demonstrate his skill to Stoick, he leads a small group to investigate without permission from Stoick, who is leading this battle. The warriors following Alvin believe they are acting on Stoick’s commands. Finding people in a group, he leads an attack without investigating. Two of Oswald’s men have captured a group of Hooligans heading for the safe place. One enemy is captured, one dies of his wounds, but Hooligans are also hurt. One woman loses her baby, another loses function in his left hand, and the heir to Clan Jorgenson dies protecting the others. The other Hooligans survive, but Alvin’s actions have repercussions—Alvin is despised, and his clan pressured to cast him out. Stoick’s leadership is questioned, because the tribe believes Stoick gave him orders to act. Conflicted, Stoick tells any who ask directly Alvin acted without permission, but does not make a it widely known himself.

Stoick calls Alvin to see him at Haddock House. In the presence of Halvar, Gobber, and Spitelout, Stoick delivers a tongue lashing, excoriating Alvin for renegade behavior and telling him he’s facing solemn charges. Alvin, guilty but defensive, counters with his capture and killing of Oswald’s men. Halvar gives Alvin an exile of one year. Alvin, infuriated, blames Stoick, and brings up Stoick’s past wrongs against him. Stoick, who now knows he loves Valka, loses his temper and calls Alvin a renegade member of the tribe. Further words are exchanged. Alvin is cast out of clan Larssen and blames Stoick. He departs Berk, wanting to believe himself wronged, but knowing it is justified.

Halvar and Gobber counsel Stoick, reminding him that whether Alvin is his friend or not, he is a danger and detriment to the Hooligan tribe on Berk. Halvar’s decision may return to bite Stoick. Stoick knows, but hates Alvin for his actions, especially the risk to Valka. The friendship between Alvin and Stoick suffers enormous damage. Gobber acts as a sounding board for Stoick.

Stoick feels guilty, though only part of the blame is his. He failed to clearly state Alvin must deliver her to the safe place, not simply safety. He did not instruct Alvin to return immediately. He doubts his leadership and believes the relationship with clan Jorgenson cannot be repaired in his generation. Still, he wants Valka, and sets out to repair the damage, though he cannot undo the deeds. Spitelout watches Stoick ripping himself apart, and speaks privately to the Jorgenson clanhead, detailing the events of Oswald’s Battle. The clanhead speaks with Halvar, who affirms Spitelout’s account. Several months later, Stoick sees a thaw in the relationship between the Haddocks and Jorgensons. This is the first instance of Spitelout fighting for his brother. Spitelout unintentionally takes the place Halvar wanted Flint to have—that of a strong and worthy support for Stoick, and someone to fight beside him. Gobber has filled this spot for years, but Halvar sees his wish for Stoick come true twice, with Gobber and Spitelout.

Stoick, upon Valka’s birthday, learns clan Jorgenson will allow him to pick a bride from their clan if he so desires, a route Stoick feared was closed to him. He can now offer for Valka. Their betrothal further strengthens the bond between clans. Upon his ascension to Chief, the Jorgenson clanhead grants Stoick a boon, to be used at need. Astonished, Stoick receives the boon with humility, preserving it for the moment he has no other aid.

Alvin does not know every location in Berk. His belief he did not have to learn the entire island—Something Stoick and Spitelout were made to do—hampers his plans against Stoick and Berk. That’s why he has to rely on Mildew for information about the caves and other details about Berk.

Alvin is on Berk because his parents are divorced. He thinks he has to be the man of the family, but does not understand what manhood is about. It’s part of the reason he is so arrogant and prideful.

Lord Marshal Hardnut Thorston begins tutoring Stoick in advanced fighting skills. Stoick learns a new footwork drill and tells Alvin about it. Upon Alvin’s request, Stoick teaches him the pattern. Alvin is careless with it, stating he has it down. Stoick repeatedly goes over it, and Alvin refuses to change what he’s doing, claiminghe is* it correctly. It’s part of Alvin’s attitude, that he doesn’t have to exert himself if he doesn’t want to. Stoick becomes frustrated and brings it up to Gobber. The Lord Marshal hears of it, and watches Stoick demonstrate the drill, followed immediately by Alvin. He states Alvin is doing it wrong, and needs t9 practice basic skills before he can move forward to more complicated ones. Alvin is offended by the remarks—he considers himself Stoick’s equal, and possibly his better—and does not like being told he can’t do what Stoick can.

At Stoick’s next training session, the Lord Marshal tells him not to share any of his training with Alvin, because Berk needs well-trained fighters and Alvin is sloppy. Hardnu5 refuses to let Alvin mess up another skill. Stoick agrees.

Alvin becomes angry and resentful at Stoick when Stoick ceases to teach him any more. He cannot oppose the Lord Marshal, but takes his anger out on Stoick, repeatedly saying Stoick us n9 friend. He tries to force Stoick to break his word and calls him a coward for saying no. Stoick soends less time with Alvin and more with Afi Hofferson, who understands duty and expectation and honor as Alvin does not.

Alvin has clung to Stoick, and dislikes Stoick having other friends. He begins insisting Stoick spar with him, so he can defeat him, if not learn the skills. Alvin doesn’t have the proper frame of mind to be a fighter. Stoick is guided by Hardnut to not engage. Finally, he gets fed up enough to fight Alvin. Stoick publicly mops the floor with him. This leads to Stoick’s temporary loss of status and banishment from Berk. For Forty days, Stoick lives in the forest.



Before the events of Oswald the Antagonistic on Berk, Alvin acts entitled. He considers himself a warrior and pursues no career, assuring Stoick that is enough. Lord Marshal Hardnut Thorston has not added him to the ranks of the guard. Alvin has not asked for further training in fighting arts. His knowledge of tactics is limited, and he lacks comprehension of strategy. His ego has been fed by being a friend to Stoick. He believes himself Stoick's equal, and laboring at a job demeaning. Alvin argues with Stoick, trying to draw Chief Halvar the Unflinching’s son from legitimate work. “Ye don't need to fuss with all that rubbish.” “People haveta look out for themselves, Stoick.” “Surely it can wait fer another time.”

Stoick can't abandon his work. He's trying to find other crops that will grow in Berk’s soil. He's trying to find different construction techniques to preserve buildings. He's designing underground storage for root vegetables and dried foods. When Stoick needs help, Alvin gets in his way. When Stoick asks him for help, he generally refuses. Alvin doesn't want to help dig a trial root cellar.

Alvin acts as if he is above the tribe, above Stoick. He participates in the life of the tribe sometimes. Dragon fighting or strength competitions he enjoys. In bad weather, he escorts people home. He is good at hunting and tracking, though careless. He sacrifices little. His reasons are excuses that serve him alone. Stoick misses meals to make up for Alvin’s “I’m a growing lad and I needs my food.” Alvin could do with a little less feeding.

Stoick is frustrated, but Alvin is his friend and does fight. He supports Stoick much of the time, and their history colors Stoick’s perception of Alvin. Stoick did Alvin a grievious wrong, and never received a pardon for it, just an “Alright, enough.” But Alvin is not committed to Berk, and Stoick can not persuade him to act as tribe. Alvin enjoys refusing Stoick. It is a power play. Alvin does it to get Stoick back for the old wrong.

Story fragment: Alvin

Father had held the three of them—Stoick, Flint, and Spitelout—back from leaving to speak with his sons. They sat at the table while Ragna cleared dishes and put away provisions, and Father cleared his throat.

“Boys, I’ve news to tell ye, so give me yer ears.”

Stoick focused his attention; he was better at this than his brothers, but Flint was nine and more, and Spite six and more. Stoick, at just turned twelve, was the oldest son and the example. As Heir to Halvar the Unflinching and a future Chief, more was expected from him.

“A new family has arrived on Berk, and there is a son, eleven years of age, who could use someone to help him settle in. His da’s dead and there’s no other boys in his family, so ye are to make sure he isna lonely by offering a good welcome and someone to be with. I know ye three can do this for the lad, and I’m certain his Ma will be grateful. Do ye understand?”

He was met with a chorus of “ayes,” Stoick’s the loudest. Father smiled at the three of them.

“Ye are good lads and for a certainty I can rely on my sons to assist him. The new youngster is kin to the Larssen’s. His name is Alvin.”

§ § §


Stoick went first, and alone, to meet Alvin. The Larssens lived in the western village, halfway up the tallest hill. Stoick planned his approach carefully; Alvin was new to the island, and did not know who anyone was yet. If Stoick was lucky, he might be able to keep Alvin from learning who he was right away. Alvin did not know about his duty to assist everyone, to behave in public, and to work harder than the others his age, because his father was the Chief. Stoick was accustomed to this life and understood his duty, and often enjoyed the work. Still, there were times he wanted to be a boy only, not a Chief in the making.

Stoick prayed for success.

He heard several dull thumps and followed the sound. Stoick inhaled thick dust that clogged his throat and set him on a sneezing fit that lasted a full minute. He swallowed his spit to ease his throat; that amount of dust meant someone was cleaning, and he resumed his search for the source of the noises.

He found Threadhair Larssen beating a bear fur with vigor and speaking with another woman and a girl almost old enough to marry. She finished her chatting and acknowledged him.

“Hullo, young fella. What brings you here—a message from yer father?”

“No, Mrs. Larssen. My father said there was a boy named Alvin I could meet, and he was kin to you. Do you know where he is? I want to welcome him.” Yakdung. He had forgotten to greet Threadhair and introduce himself to the others, and he had never said please. Spitelout had better manners.

“That’s my son.” The other woman spoke up. “What’s your name, youngster?”

“Stoick Halvarsson Haddock, missus.” As an afterthought, he added, “I’m twelve.”

“Alvin’s eleven.”

“My father told me that.”

“I’ll call him, youngster. I expect ye not to bother him; if ye seek him out, ye treat him well. I don’t know ye yet, Stoick-who-is-twelve, and he’s not to be teased or tricked because he’s new here.”

“I understand. I will behave myself and be kind, truly.”

“Call him, sister.” Threadhair had been watching the exchange with amusement. “Stoick’s a decent lad and your Alvin is safe with him. Besides, his da knows everything, and Stoick doesn’t want to disappoint him. Halvar doesn’t abide mistreatment of anyone by Stoick or any of his children.”

Stoick nodded urgently. Alvin’s mother allowed him a smile. “Son. Son. Alvin! I need ye outside.” Getting no response, she sent the girl inside to drag him out.

A stocky, dark-haired boy emerged. He was several inches shorter than Stoick, with ruddy cheeks and an oversized nose. He was not happy to be called, and could not hide it as well as he needed; coping with parents required practice and skill.

Stoick could help him with that.

“This here is Stoick and he wants to meet ye.” He guessed Alvin’s mother approved of him. Alvin was less certain of someone his mother approved of, and eyed Stoick, dubious.

“Hello.”

“Hello, Alvin. Welcome to Berk.”

“Thanks.”

“Do ye want to see something of the village?” Stoick asked, immediately wondering why he said “ye.” It wasn’t—Say was not, Stoick, it is proper—was not like him to be so informal after years of Mama’s teaching. “We have the plaza , where all the shops and tradesmen are, and my house is close by. If you have permission,” he added, mindful of Alvin’s mother.

Threadhair interceded. “It’s not far, and the plaza is a popular place. Alvin will find it soon anyway. I say let them go.”

“I’ll let ye go, Alvin. Don’t be too long. We still have unpacking to do.” Alvin nodded, resigned to doing what his ma wanted. Stoick was fine with that; he would make this something Alvin wanted, too.

Stoick wanted to drag him off by the hand, but thanked the two women and walked away, chatting about ordinary things until they were out of sight. Stoick grabbed Alvin’s sleeve and told him, Come this way. It’s quicker.”

He dragged Alvin into the thicket, leading him into the undergrowth and past the strangely hardy Berk Oak trees.

“Is there any path in here?” Alvin asked, as he pushed through after Stoick.

“Nay. Everyone uses the paths; coming this way keeps us from seeing any adults. I’m busy helping you know where everything is, so now you know about this place.” Stoick gestured at the patch of forest, grinned, and Alvin gave a small smile back.

“Aye, you are. My mam will be pleased I’m learning my way around.”

“Good. This is the Plaza. We are behind Iverson’s bakery. He doesn’t chase me off and his berry tarts are tremendous. Want one?”

Stoick didn’t wait for an answer, but told him, “Around this corner,” and strode forward. Alvin followed, and was met with the smell of honey bread and sharp spice. Stoick loved the bakery and Alvin would, too. He liked the shortcut Stoick showed him, so he would like all of Stoick’s favorite things.

Stoick checked to see if Alvin was following, and saw his new friend standing in the doorway, reluctant to enter.

“The baker doesn’t know me.”

“Nay, but he knows who I am, and I know you. Once I introduce ye, he will learn you and you’ll learn him.” All Stoick had to do was introduce Alvin by name and say he was new to Berk. It was logical, and Stoick’s father had ordered it, so he was doing what Papa wanted to do anyway.

Part of Stoick recognized his proper language was disappearing, but he couldn’t help it. Father had become Papa, Stoick said “nay,” and he’d even used a contraction. Alvin did that to him, and he was enjoying it. Years of “I did not and would not have done that” vanished, and Stoick’s quick descent into common terms was surprisingly natural. Papa would understand. Maybe ‘twould keep Alvin ignorant longer is he spoke in such a way that an Heir wouldna use.

He began whistling the knot-tying song, one of the lesson-tunes of Berk, and waited for Mr. Iverson. Startling butchers, bakers, and smiths could lead to injury, and Stoick didna...didn’t...did not want to be responsible for the damage. Alvin had come inside, as he ought to, and Stoick marched up to the counter, ready to greet whoever arrived.

Mr. Iverson walked out of the back room, dusting floor from his hands, before striding to Stoick and clapping them under his nose. Stoick sneezed, surprising a laugh from Alvin, and the baker shook his finger at Stoick.

“Still whistling for my attention, Stoick? I think you do it only to make me hasten out so you can hoodwink another pastry from me.” There was no sting to the baker’s words, and Stoick explained once again about not wanting to startle him. If the whistling did persuade him to hurry, it was a side benefit.

“Who’s that with you? I don’t recognize his face, but I suspect you know his name.”

“Aye. This is Alvin and he’s new to Berk. He’s eleven. Papa thought ‘twas a good thing to show him around. Alvin, this is Mr. Iverson.”

The baker lifted an eyebrow at Stoick’s words, but greeted Alvin warmly and asked where he lived before Berk, a question Stoick should have asked before dragging him away. He didn’t ask Alvin why he moved to Berk, or how many sisters and brothers he had, or even his last name. She needed to ask Alvin about himself soon: being rude to anyone was impermissible.

“What brings you here, Stoick– berry tarts?”

“Aye, Alvin’s never had one and they are so good.” Stoick had not begged for a long time, but for Alvin, he would.

“Did you ask Alvin if he wanted one? He might like something else. We’ve honey cakes and holder bread, and I might have a sliver of almond cake for Berk’s newest youngster. “

Alvin‘s eyes lit up at the mention of the last item. “The almond cake, please. It smells good and I dinna get it often. “

“It’s a good thing I have some — you look hungry, and I can fill a good sized hole with the cake.” He looked to Stoick. “I am guessing you have no coin to pay with, so come by Thursday afternoon and after I will see if I have anything for Ragna.”

“Thanks, Mr. Iverson.” Stoick remembered his manners. “Do you want to leave, Alvin, or stay a while? Ye choose it.“

“Outside. I want to see more of Berk. Please. “

“You don’t need a please with me. I said I’d show ye around Berk, and ‘twould be wrong to go back on it. I won’t do wrong by ye, Alvin. “

Alvin gave Stoick a look, the same one Flint wore before he got into huge trouble. He said, “You follow me then, and I’ll choose where we go. “

“No. I mean I’m supposed to show you around. You dinna know where anything is here. Let me show you around. Please, Alvin. “

“No. I’ve been taken down paths and through trees and into a bakery. I didna know where we were going. Now I get to take ye places and ye won’t find out where until we stop. Fair? “

“Fair.” Stoick surrendered. He did drag Alvin around and saw the justice of it. Alvin didn’t know where things were, and Stoick could still explain the places on Berk when they got there.

Alvin grabbed his tunic and pulled. “This way.” They crossed over to the other side and Alvin headed for the smithy, where Stoick could introduce him to Gobber and his da. He would have done that anyway.

Stomach stumbled; Alvin had stopped abruptly and Stoick, like a ninny, kept walking. Alvin made sure Stoick was still there, gave an evil smirk and turned right, rushing off to somewhere else. He was fast. Stoick’s legs were longer, but he had to hurry to keep up with the smaller boy.

“Where are we going?” Alvin had a goal in mind, and Stoick wanted to know what it was — Alvin wasn’t supposed to know where anything was, and Stoick was baffled.

“Keep going. You’ll get answers when we get there.” Alvin crossed over to the other side of the plaza, two buildings down from the bakery and ducked into an alleyway, then into the thicket again. Stoick didna dare stop— he liked this tunic and didna want Alvin Alvin to put a rent in it. Alvin hauled Stoick everywhere: through close set trees, and over large puddles, then circled around the shops in the plaza and skipped — skipped! — through the open places where people kept carts, buckets, storage crates, and the like.

“Alvin, Alvin, we have to stop. I knocked something over and I have to collect it. Please, Alvin. “

“Nope. You still have to keep up. “

Stoick did stop, and Alvin got yanked backwards by the abruptness.

“Please, Alvin. Whoever it belongs to is going to get upset if I don’t put it back, and then I’ll get in trouble. “

“Who would know? “

“Everyone. We walked all over the plaza and people saw us. We have maybe ten minutes before someone comes looking for me, wanting to know why I did not clean up the spill. I will follow you after, anywhere, but if I don’t pick it up and make things tidy… “

“STOICK HADDOCK!“ He cringed, and Alvin’s grip slackened in surprise. “...someone comes looking for me. I’ll be back. “

“Where were you, child? “Marta Ingerman had lungs of iron and was louder than a thunderdrum when she was angry. He planted himself in front of her and immediately apologized. “I am sorry, Mrs. Ingerman, for not picking it up right away and I am sorry I made you wait for me.” Stoick endured fifteen minutes of Mrs. Ingerman’s tongue while he double checked the condition of the spices in the crate.

“If you’ve mixed them together, I will make sure you are under my eye for weeks. I special ordered those and had to wait for the traders to arrive with them. There’s three weddings coming up, and they are needed for the feasts.“Stoick held back a shudder. Mrs. Ingerman would have him slaving in her kitchen a long time if anything was slightly damaged.

“No bottles are cracked or broken Mrs. Ingerman, and none of the bags are torn. “

“Are you certain of that? Check again.” Stoick complied, examining the containers a third time, while the woman who ran the Mead hall kitchen berated him. She finally accepted all was in proper order, and left him with a resounding “Your father will hear of this, Stoick Haddock!”

“I know. I am sorry, Mrs. Ingerman.” She gave him a final glare, huffed, and strode away, clutching the crate under one arm. Stomach examined everything that was stored in the open space, hoping to fend off another accident. He righted a few buckets and confirmed all else was secure, before returning to Alvin. Before he could tell Alvin to lead on, the other boy cut him off.

“You weren’t fooling when you said it means trouble. Does that happen a lot? “

“If I don’t clean up the mess in time, yes. “

“Why?” Alvin’s bewilderment showed in his crinkled nose, but Stoick still did not reveal who he was. He circled around the truth.

“I am twelve. People here have known me all my life and expect better of me than to leave a mess I caused for someone else to clean up. I knew not to do that when I was four. “ He walked up to Alvin and said, “You’ll get a better grip on me if you grab a sleeve. “

“I dinna understand.“ Alvin looked at Stoick’s proffered arm before pushing it back. “I will not drag ye anymore. Let’s find a spot to stop; I need to pick a leaf out of my cake so that I can eat it.” He glanced around, then asked Stoick, “Where’s a good place? “

Stoick pointed to a lesser used building with decent shade and little foot traffic. Alvin picked up out of the leaf and took a bite of his now-squished cake. “Ye’re right – the baker makes tasty things. Do ya go there much? “

“Sometimes. Ragna sends me for bread and such, and sometimes I go by myself. Mr. Iverson doesna chase me away and Lars sometimes has a joke to tell.”

“Who is Lars? “

“Mr. Iverson’s nephew. He’s the apprentice. “

“Then who is Ragna? “

“Ragnar’s my mam. Not my mama, but Papa’s wife. Mama died when I was eight. I called her Ragna, mostly. “

“Oh. So who’s in your family? Is it a big clan or a smaller one? “

“We are a small clan. Papa and Ragna, my sister Brennan, two brothers and me. My little brother is not a Haddock but a Jorgensen. Have you any brothers and sisters? “

Alvin rolled his eyes. “One big sister, age fifteeen. She was the one standing with Ma and Aunt Thready. She’s learning harder things in her women’s studies and sold on herself about it, too. “

“Aye. My sister Brenna is fourteen and so much better than her brothers.” Stoick stood rigid and stared down his nose at Alvin. “I have no time for your foolishness. I am deep in the mysteries of women’s work, and you cannot understand the importance of such. No boy can.” He pitched his voice to approximate Brenna’s alto – his voice had not broken yet – and Alvin choked on his cake in laughter.

“You’ve met my sister. I canna believe it. That’s Arnlaug to the bone.”

“Nay, that’s Brenna. She’s gone all snooty on us this last year, and I’m beginning to hope she marries soon, so her mother-in-law can show her she’s not so special.”

Alvin finished the cake, licking his fingers to catch each crumb. He would go back to the baker and learn there were no giveaways. Mr. Iversen expected coin and if you were without, you worked off the debt. Thorsday he owed an afternoon of work and would get a loaf of bread for a good effort. An hour’s work paid for the cake, but an afternoon of labor meant he’d be the one providing bread for his house.

“Where are you from, Alvin? “

“Meathead Isle.” It was a glib answer, and Stoick doubted it was true. He’d met every boy near his age on Meathead, and Alvin was never in the group. Stoick might ask him, but get questioned in return. No ordinary boy would be acquainted with so many people not from his home island. He chose his words with care.

“If ye think ye can keep secrets or tell lies, I will tell you, dinna even try. People find out and then you look bad. The chief will know if ‘tis a lie and it is always better to tell truth here on Berk. If Meathead is where your family is from, you have no problem. “

“What makes you think I’m a liar? “He looked offended, but cast his eyes down after the question.

“Meatheads dinna speak as you do. I’ve been to Meathead and I could ask you who the Chief is is and what the Mead hall looks like there, but I think you canna tell me. “

Alvin didn’t answer, and Stoick let it drop, saying, “My house is over there. We can get a drink there, if ye want, to wash down the cake. “

“Aye.” Alvin looked at the shops and asked, “Are ye done here?”

“Alvin, I’m showing you around. If you do not like the plaza, tell me and we can do something else. We are to tell me if you didn’t like something. All right? “

“Alright then. I want a drink. “

“Come on.” Stoick had an inspiration. “You lead. Go left and walk until you find the birch trees together.” Alvin followed directions and Stoick fed him new instructions. It was a good compromise and still it allowed himself a bit of satisfaction. He wasna a braggart, but he would tell his father about this. Alvin reach the bottom of Haddock hill and Stoick pointed upward.

“My house is up there. “

Alvin’s jaw dropped. “‘Tis a big home ye have. How many live there? Ye must have a huge family to need all that space. “

“There are six people – Papa, Ragna, and we four. “ Stoick had forgotten about his house. It was impressive, and not like an ordinary house. “‘Tis the only house my clan possesses. Papa is tall and thick besides, and the extra space is a boon, he says.“ They had reached the top. “Come inside. “

Once in the door, Stoick rushed to close the shutters that covered the glass windowpane. He wanted Alvin to know him before he found out Stoick was the Heir. ‘Twas bad enough some days to be the Chief’s son without the ridiculous title — Hope and Heir to the Hairy Hooligan tribe— and today had been fun. He was ordinary, and neither Threadhair nor Mr. Iverson gave him away. He didna have to be the example, or set the standard, or serve his people. He got to say rude things about Brenna, and not always watch over his little brothers. Alvin‘s ignorance wouldna last, but today he’d used improper language and not being told to speak properly.

‘Twas Valhalla, this day.

He learned Alvin to the eating area with a rag and sometimes left a picture of ice water. Still exported it and brought down to mugs. He poured a generous amount for Alvin another mug for himself. They lifted their drinks in sync and Alvin drink deeply, easing the dryness in his throat.Stoic want to just stay there; Alvin didn’t need to see the show we are parts of his house

“What does your papa do for work?” Alvin’s curiosity was unwelcome. Stoick shouldna have mentioned Papa so much – now he had to come up with an honest answer.

“My papa does not do only one thing. He works where he’s needed and helps keep work moving forward.” Phew. Not one lie was in the answer he provided. “He is only one person who helps with the work. Many on Berk learn bits of a trade to assist others when called upon. “

“Have you learned bits of a trade? “ Alvin’s confusion was evident and Stoick knew his old island did not do as Berk did.

“Aye. Working in the forge, I learn to polish and sharpen weapons and make nails and suchlike. The carpenters taught me how to put things together with pegs and find the best trees for building homes. I learned to hammer, saw, and use the planer. “

“This island has a lot of apprentices. “

“‘Tis not an apprenticeship. If we have to do a lot of rebuilding, our blacksmith needs extra nails and the carpenters need help with wood. If there’s a summer ailment or a pox, the healers need help with mixing medicines and bringing them to people. You learn to or three useful things in the trade and stop. We help one another. “

Alvin creased his brow. “Ye mean Berk has no apprentices. “

“Berk has full apprentices, but more people who aren’t. We learn things that help others, and when someone needs help, they can ask and people will answer if they can. Ye will probably learn something, too. “

Story fragment: Alvin


Mr. Iversen lifted an eyebrow at the use of informal speech, but greeted Alvin warmly and asked where he lived before Berk, a question Stoick should have asked before dragging him away. He didn’t ask Alvin why he moved to Berk, or how many sisters and brothers he had, or even his last name. She needed to ask Alvin about himself soon: being rude to anyone was impermissible.

“What brings you here, Stoick– berry tarts?”

“Aye, Alvin’s never had one and they are so good.” Stoick had not begged for a long time, but for Alvin, he would.

“Did you ask Alvin if he wanted one? He might like something else. We’ve honey cakes and crisp bread, and I might have a sliver of almond cake for Berk’s newest youngster. “

Alvin‘s eyes lit up at the mention of the last item. “The almond cake, please. It smells good and I dinna get it often. “

“It’s a good thing I have some — you look hungry, and I can fill a good sized hole with the cake.” He looked to Stoick. “I am guessing you have no coin to pay with, so come by Thursday afternoon and after I will see if I have anything for Ragna.”

“Thanks, Mr. Iverson.” Stoick remembered his manners. “Do you want to leave, Alvin, or stay a while? Ye choose it.“

“Outside. I want to see more of Berk. Please. “

“You don’t need a please with me. I said I’d show ye around Berk, and ‘twould be wrong to go back on it. I won’t do wrong by ye, Alvin. “

Alvin gave Stoick a look, the same one Flint wore before he got into huge trouble. He said, “You follow me then, and I’ll choose where we go. “

“No. I mean I’m supposed to show you around. You don’t know where anything is here. Let me show me around. Please, Alvin. “

“No. I’ve been taken down paths and through trees and into a bakery. I didna know where we were going. Now I get to take ye places and ye won’t find out where until we stop. Fair? “

“Fair.” Stoick surrendered. He did drag Alvin around and saw the justice of it. Alvin didn’t know where things were, and Stoick could still explain the places on Berk when they got there.

Alvin grabbed his tunic and pulled. “This way.” They crossed over to the other side and Alvin headed for the smithy, where Stoick could introduce him to Gobber and his da. He would have done that anyway.

Stomach stumbled; Alvin had stopped abruptly and Stoick, like a ninny, kept walking. Alvin made sure Stoick was still there, gave an evil smirk and turned right, rushing off to somewhere else. He was fast. Stoick’s legs were longer, but he had to hurry to keep up with the smaller boy.

“Where are we going?” Alvin had a goal in mind, and Stoick wanted to know what it was — Alvin wasn’t supposed to know where anything was, and Stoick was baffled.

“Keep going. You’ll get answers when we get there.” Alvin crossed over to the other side of the plaza, two buildings down from the bakery and ducked into an alleyway, then into the thicket again. Stoick didna dare stop— he liked this tunic and didna want Alvin Alvin to put a rent in it. Alvin hauled Stoick everywhere: through close set trees, and over large puddles, then circled around the shops in the plaza and skipped — skipped! — through the open places where people kept carts, buckets, storage crates, and the like.

“Alvin, Alvin, we have to stop. I knocked something over and I have to collect it. Please, Alvin. “

“Nope. You still have to keep up. “

Stoick did stop, and Alvin got yanked backwards by the abruptness.

“Please, Alvin. Whoever it belongs to is going to get upset if I don’t put it back, and then I’ll get in trouble. “

“Who would know? “

“Everyone. We walked all over the plaza and people saw us. We have maybe ten minutes before someone comes looking for me, wanting to know why I did not clean up the spill. I will follow you after, anywhere, but if I don’t pick it up and make things tidy… “

“STOICK HADDOCK!“ He cringed, and Alvin’s grip slackened in surprise. “...someone comes looking for me. I’ll be back. “

“Where were you, child? “ Marta Ingerman had lungs of iron and was louder than a thunderdrum when she was angry. He planted himself in front of her and immediately apologized. “I am sorry, Mrs. Ingerman, for not picking it up right away and I am sorry I made you wait for me.” Stoick endured fifteen minutes of Mrs. Ingerman’s tongue while he double checked the condition of the spices in the crate.

“If you’ve mixed them together, I will make sure you are under my eye for weeks. I special ordered those and had to wait for the traders to arrive with them. There’s three weddings coming up, and they are needed for the feasts.“Stoick held back a shudder. Mrs. Ingerman would have him slaving in her kitchen a long time if anything was slightly damaged.

“No bottles are cracked or broken Mrs. Ingerman, and none of the sacks are torn. “

“Are you certain of that? Check again.” Stoick complied, examining the containers a third time, while the woman who ran the Mead hall kitchen berated him. She finally accepted all was in proper order, and left him with a resounding “Your father will hear of this, Stoick Haddock!”

“I know. I am sorry, Mrs. Ingerman.” She gave him a final glare, huffed, and strode away, clutching the crate under one arm. Stomach examined everything that was stored in the open space, hoping to fend off another accident. He righted a few buckets and confirmed all else was secure, before returning to Alvin. Before he could tell Alvin to lead on, the other boy cut him off.

“You weren’t fooling when you said it means trouble. Does that happen a lot? “

“If I don’t clean up the mess in time, yes. “

“Why?” Alvin’s bewilderment showed in his crinkled nose, but Stoick still did not reveal who he was. He circled around the truth.

“I am twelve. People here have known me all my life and expect better of me than to leave a mess I caused for someone else to clean up. I knew not to do that when I was four. “ He walked up to Alvin and said, “You’ll get a better grip on me if you grab a sleeve. “

“I dinna understand.“ Alvin looked at Stoick’s proffered arm before pushing it back. “I will not drag ye anymore. Let’s find a spot to stop; I need to pick a leaf out of my cake so that I can eat it.” He glanced around, then asked Stoick, “Where’s a good place? “

Stoick pointed to a lesser used building with decent shade and little foot traffic. Alvin picked up out of the leaf and took a bite of his now-squished cake. “Ye’re right – the baker makes tasty things. Do ya go there much? “

“Sometimes. Ragna sends me for bread and such, and sometimes I go by myself. Mr. Iverson doesna chase me away and Scratch sometimes has a joke to tell.”

“Who is Scratch? “

“Mr. Iverson’s nephew. He’s the apprentice. “

“Then who is Ragna? “

“Ragna’s my mam. Not my mama, but Papa’s wife. Mama died when I was eight. I called her Ragna, mostly. “

“Oh. So who’s in your family? Is it a big clan or a smaller one? “

“We are a small clan. Papa and Ragna, my sister Brenna, two brothers and me. My little brother is not a Haddock but a Jorgensen. Have you any brothers and sisters? “

“One big sister, age fifteeen. She was the one standing with Ma and Aunt Thready. She’s learning harder things in her women’s studies and sold on herself about it, too. “

“Aye. My sister Brenna is fourteen and so much better than her brothers.” Stoick stood rigid and stared down his nose at Alvin. “I have no time for your foolishness. I am deep in the mysteries of women’s work, and you cannot understand the importance of such. No boy can.” He pitched his voice to approximate Brenna’s alto – his voice had not broken yet – and Alvin choked on his cake in laughter.

“You’ve met my sister. I canna believe it. That’s Arnslaug to the bone.”

“Nay, that’s Brenna. She’s gone all snooty on us this last year, and I’m beginning to hope she marries soon, so her mother-in-law can show her she’s not so special.”

Alvin finished the cake, licking his fingers to catch each crumb. He would go back to the baker and learn there were no giveaways. Mr. Iversen expected coin and if you were without, you worked off the debt. Thorsday he owed an afternoon of work and would get a loaf of bread for a good effort. An hour’s work paid for the cake, but an afternoon of labor meant he’d be the one providing bread for his house.

“Where are you from, Alvin? “

“Meathead Isle.” It was a glib answer, and Stoick doubted it was true. He’d met every boy near his age on Meathead, and Alvin was never in the group. Stoick might ask him, but get questioned in return. No ordinary boy would be acquainted with so many people not from his home island. He chose his words with care.

“If ye think ye can keep secrets or tell lies, I will tell you, dinna even try. People find out and then you look bad. The chief will know if ‘tis a lie and it is always better to tell truth here on Berk. If Meathead is where your family is from, you have no problem. “

“What makes you think I’m a liar? “He looked offended, but cast his eyes down after the question.

“Meatheads dinna speak as you do. I’ve been to Meathead and I could ask you who the Chief is is and what the Mead hall looks like there, but I think you canna tell me. “

Alvin didn’t answer, and Stoick let it drop, saying, “My house is over there. We can get a drink there, if ye want, to wash down the cake. “

“Aye.” Alvin looked at the shops and asked, “Are ye done here?”

“Alvin, I’m showing you around. If you do not like the plaza, tell me and we can do something else. We are to tell me if you didn’t like something. All right? “

“Alright then. I want a drink. “

“Come on.” Stoick had an inspiration. “You lead. Go left and walk until you find the birch trees together.” Alvin followed directions and Stoick fed him new instructions. It was a good compromise and still it allowed himself a bit of satisfaction. He wasna a braggart, but he would tell his father about this. Alvin reach the bottom of Haddock hill and Stoick pointed upward.

“My house is up there. “

Alvin’s jaw dropped. “‘Tis a big home ye have. How many live there? Ye must have a huge family to need all that space. “

“There are six people – Papa, Ragna, and we four. “ Stoick had forgotten about his house. It was impressive, and not like an ordinary house. “‘Tis the only house my clan possesses. Papa is tall and thick besides, and the extra space is a boon, he says.“ They had reached the top. “Come inside. “

Once in the door, Stoick rushed to close the shutters that covered the glass windowpane. He wanted Alvin to know him before he found out Stoick was the Heir. ‘Twas bad enough some days to be the Chief’s son without the ridiculous title — Hope and Heir to the Hairy Hooligan tribe— and today had been fun. He was ordinary, and neither Threadhair nor Mr. Iverson gave him away. He didna have to be the example, or set the standard, or serve his people. He got to say rude things about Brenna, and not always watch over his little brothers. Alvin‘s ignorance wouldna last, but today he’d used improper language and not being told to speak properly.

‘Twas Valhalla, this day.

He led Alvin to the eating area with a rag and sometimes left a picture of ice water. Still exported it and brought down to mugs. He poured a generous amount for Alvin another mug for himself. They lifted their drinks in sync and Alvin drink deeply, easing the dryness in his throat.Stoic want to just stay there; Alvin didn’t need to see the show we are parts of his house

“What does your papa do for work?” Alvin’s curiosity was unwelcome. Stoick shouldna have mentioned Papa so much – now he had to come up with an honest answer.

“My papa does not do only one thing. He works where he’s needed and helps keep work moving forward.” Phew. Not one lie was in the answer he provided. “He is only one person who helps with the work. Many on Berk learn bits of a trade to assist others when called upon. “

“Have you learned bits of a trade? “ Alvin’s confusion was evident and Stoick knew his old island did not do as Berk did.

“Aye. Working in the forge, I learn to polish and sharpen weapons and make nails and suchlike. The carpenters taught me how to put things together with pegs and find the best trees for building homes. I learned to hammer, saw, and use the planer. “

“This island has a lot of apprentices. “

“‘Tis not an apprenticeship. If we have to do a lot of rebuilding, our blacksmith needs extra nails and the carpenters need help with wood. If there’s a summer ailment or a pox, the healers need help with mixing medicines and bringing them to people. You learn to or three useful things in the trade and stop. We help one another. “

Alvin creased his brow. “Ye mean Berk has no apprentices. “

“Berk has full apprentices, but more people who aren’t. We learn things that help others, and when someone needs help, they can ask and people will answer if they can. Ye will probably learn something, too. “

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