I could not stop wondering how this game works, how many pieces it has, how it is supposed to be played and if it is related to chess in any way.
So without further ado, a very long post about all its appearances and possible pieces.
Viggo uses it as a metaphor (despite him disliking metaphors) for his battle with Hiccup. Its first appearance was during Viggo’s introduction, in which he held a dramatic little speech about how he came to love the game.
He shows us the first piece, the Viking chief which he speaks of as “honorable” although he could have also been talking about the player being honorable in his or her strategy. I’ll just call the piece the Viking chief, as honorable is not used as an important part of the piece’s portrayal.
Next we get a close up of the board, left we see a dragon, in the middle stands the Viking chief and just behind it lies a longship. On the right there is a figure facing the camera, holding a sword in his hands, I’ll call it the swordsman for now. The figure seen from the back looks like he is holding a shield in his hand. And lastly Viggo holds a spare miniature mace.
In the next episode Viggo leaves Hiccup a maces and talons board with three pieces. Hiccup pointed at the left one and said it was supposed to represent him, the Viking chief. On the right stood the chief of the Marauders, the leading piece of the other party. The two chiefs start sound like the black and white kings on a chess board. Both pieces carry the same title, namely the title of chief, and are clearly of opposing teams.
In the middle stands the impostor, or the traitor as Hiccup calls it. Viggo later confirms that the piece is named the impostor, but also goes by the name of the traitor, possibly because of its role in the game. Hiccup stated that the traitor always dies in the end, which bears some resemblance to the role of the spy in Stratego. (The spy can take out the highest ranking piece of Stratego if he attacks first, but dies by the hand of any other piece). It also suggests that the traitor is a much anticipated piece. Players use it a lot and as a result it dies so often it ends up dead during most of the played games. Both the impostor and the spy die most of the time, but are still pretty important pieces to a player.
Fishlegs comments that “the game was designed to test the abilities and decision making expertise of future chiefs in the heat of battle”, telling us that it is a game stimulating a war where the player is the leader of their force, not unlike popular real-life games such as chess and Risk.
By now we can also identify the figure from Viggo’s board that was seen from the back. It is probably the chief of the Marauders. Both pieces carry a shield in their left hands and both have a helmet with a shorter horn on one side. The impostor (as seen on the right below) also carries a shield, but lacks the belt that both figures on the left have. Its shield appears to be more ornate amd the sides of its mouth point downwards. Another difference is the sword in the right hand of the impostor. The chief of the Marauders does not hold anything in his hand.
The impostor is also spoken of as singular. It’s other known name and role as the traitor could very well mean that there is only one of these in the game, flip-flopping from the Vikings’ side to the Marauders’ and back.
Next we get a scene where Viggo and Dagur play the game using real life people as pieces. They speak of “my longship” and “your kingship”, implying that both players own one of each of these ships. Any of these four could be the ship seen on Viggo’s board, but my money is on the longship. I would expect something a little more impressive from a piece called the kingship.
There are also eight hunters, addressed with possessives as well, making the total sixteen, just like pawns in a chess game. The word “hunters” used to address their pieces could both be the official name of the figures, or the name given to them because they are played by dragon hunters.
At the end of their game one of Viggo’shunters/pawns holds a mace to Dagur’s Viking king’s head. This mace could very well be the miniature mace he used to knock over a figure during his introduction, making that mace one of multiple. If there was only one mace in the game, it would have been THE mace to Dagur’s Viking king ’s head.
Dagur has the figure of the Viking king, which I believe is the same as the Viking chief. Taking out Dagur’s viking king made Viggo the winner, in resemblance of taking out the king on a chess board. As seen on the board Viggo left Hiccup, the Marauder chief and the Viking chief are the leaders of their respective parties and probably the most important pieces as well. Having another king on each side would not make a lot of sense, so I’m just going to assume the Marauder king/Marauder chief and the Viking king/Viking chief are the same piece.
It is also worth noting that if Dagur plays the Viking chief, Viggo is the Marauder chief, just like he was on the board he left Hiccup. Apparently Viggo prefers playing the Marauders’ side. Maybe because it gives some sort of advantage in the way the player playing the white chess pieces starts the game? Or maybe he identifies with the Marauders more, seeing as the said himself playing the “honorable Viking chief” was what got him to lose from his grandfather.
The last we see of the game in season 2 is Hiccup holding the viking chief.
now we know that the game is well known because every member of the
gang seems to remember this game. Hiccup feels the need to point out which
figure is which and what their roles are, so the gang’s knowledge of it
might be a bit shady. This does not seem illogical, after all not
everyone can recite the rules of a real-life strategy game at the drop of a hat.
Only those who play it often (in this case Hiccup) may.
It has the following pieces: The viking chief, the Marauder chief, one or more impostors, two kingships, two longships, eight viking pawns, and eight marauder pawns. Figures not identified yet area swordsman and a dragon, both of which could belong to any of the two parties.
All those pieces can never fit on the board together without making it impossible to move them. Every time we see a Maces and talons board there are only a few pieces on the board itself. Either they have been removed, or as Dagur said “have been taken out” or they are yet to be added as the game progresses. A third option would be that a player is able to trade pieces on the board for pieces not used at that moment in the way a pawn can become a rook or queen. I’d personally prefer the second theory, making the board pieces similar to the troops used in Risk that a player can add at the start of each turn.
Lastly we know it is played by strategists to test their intelligence.
So far so good, now it gets confusing~>
The game makes its reappearance in the season finale as Hiccup meets Viggo and hands him a piece that is most likely the impostor. the confusing part is that he was seen holding the Viking chief back in season 2.
We also get a view of the board, with the longship from Viggo’s board back in Maces and talons Part 1, the dragon and the figure that looks like the Marauder chief, but with a sword. I’ll call it a pawn. (My explanation will follow later, keep reading).
We get two more shots of the board, both from roughly the same angle. They show the longship on the left, the swordsman in the back, two impostors in the middle, the dragon and on the far right the Marauder chief.
I don’t know if this was a mistake, intentional or just Hiccup messing with Viggo by returning him another piece. Viggo does not comment on this, rendering the last theory unlikely, unless he chose to keep quiet to frustrate Hiccup.
Next we see Ruff, Tuff and Fishlegs playing the game. On the screencap above stand the Viking chief and the swordsman and on the screencap below Fishlegs looks at the dragon, a longship and the impostor.
On Tuffnut’s side we have a pawn, the Viking chief (so far the Viking chief is the only figure with bent horns) and the swordsman. The Viking chief and the swordsman are likely to be the same as the ones two screencaps up. Not much new information is given.
On the contrary, the game’s last appearance is VERY interesting. Fishlegs and Snotlout play against Heather and Astrid and their game is in full progress when the camera hovers over the board.
There are two ships on the board and two beside it: the longships and the kingships. It looks like the animators used the same model, so we can’t tell the difference between the two kind of ships, but I am sure the characters can.
The two pictures above show that there are multiple pieces of the figure with the sword in one hand and a shield in the other, pretty much confirming that these are the pawns.
Below I have marked every piece I could identify. Circled in green are the four ships, two kingships and two longships. There are eight pawns in red, one impostor in blue and three dragons in orange. Unidentified are three objects in the top left corner.
All figures marked with orange have a tail and wings, making the total of dragons three while the Marauder chief and the Viking chief are nowhere to be seen.
There are three pieces left unidentified. On the side lies a figure without bent horns, with a belt and without a sword in his right hand. If I have to guess I’d say it is the swordsman. The swordsman has so far only been seen once per game and was not on the board itself. The little piece on the right looks like a spare mace to me.
In the middle lies something I cannot identify AT ALL, but given that it was hinted at that there were multiple maces in the game, I’d pin this object as a second mace.
Except for two little errors, I’d say maces and talons is a very detailed and logical game with many elements from real life war-simulator board games.
The first error is that Hiccup gives Viggo a second impostor in Defenders of the wing Part 1, despite holding a Viking chief at the end of Maces and talons Part 2. For the conclusion, let’s assume this was a mistake and Hiccup actually handed Viggo the viking chief. This would turn the impostor into an unique piece, matching Heather and Fishlegs’ game where I marked only one figure in blue.
The second error are the three dragons on Heather and Fishlegs’ board and the lack of the two opposing chiefs. My guess is that there is only one dragon and that two of these dragons were supposed to be the chiefs instead. This is a guess, as the dragon has so far only been seen once per board. It has never been addressed, nor hinted at, so anything about it would remain a mere shot in the dark.
With those errors fixed… Let’s move on to the real conclusion
The game features two parties at war with each other, the Marauders and the vikings. The parties are led by their chiefs, and taking out the opposing chief will win you the game, like the king on a chess board. Each party consists of a longship, a kingship, a mace and eight pawns. Furthermore the game houses one dragon and one swordsman, both without known designated roles, and one impostor who does not belong to either side an usually pays for this with its life.
Furthermore, the Viking chief holds two axes while the Marauder chief holds up his hand without holding something in it. A spare piece of the game is the Marauders’ mace, which I think could fit into the empty hand of the Marauder chief. If the Marauder chief wins, the player can take out the mace and knock the Viking chief over in a chessmate kind of style.
Not all pieces are on the board at the same time, usually only a few are seen on the battlefield, tying into the strategy-part of the game. Picking the right pieces to play with at the right time could be a huge intelligence test for the player, reminiscent of how a player picks a card to play during various card games.
There seem to be rules on how the pieces are supposed to move across the board as well, yet I do know them, nor could I figure them out.
All in all Maces and talons seems inspired by turn-based strategy games like Risk and Stratego to some degree, while keeping Chess as its main influence.
So what do you guys think? Feel free to add your theories! ^^
To close out the month I decided to make a post documenting the lore surrounding the dragons in this series, going book by book. I will be cataloguing both the biology of the dragons as well as how they fit into the cultures of humans.
Note: I am treating every illustration in these books as canonically accurate to the dragons they represent. This will be used to add to the information found within the text.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS
Dragons seem to be classified in two different ways. There are True Dragons, which are accepted as dragons by everyone, and there are Lesser Dragonkind, creatures either related to dragons or which resemble them enough to make one think of a dragon.
Dragons seem to be reptilian creatures in appearance, possessing scales. How exactly they are classified isn’t stated.
At least three species of True Dragons are capable of having runt individuals, that is, individuals who mature partially to adulthood, gaining adult characteristics such as their crest or ruff but remaining small in size. Whether this applies to all species of True Dragons and Lesser Dragonkind is unknown.
All True Dragons breathe something in addition to their breath.
Wings are not like those of a bat; judging by the cover art and what it said inside the text, dragon wings have fingers positioned on the wing bone.
True Dragon bones decay after decay rapidly.
Dragon bones seem hollow and oddly light.
Originally thought to be insects
According to illustration, they posses six legs
Multiple species and colors
Spit out sparks, hence the name
Can be preserved in vinegar
Fall to ash when they die, unless preserved
Brown in color, crimson eyes
Prefers female prey
Akhian Desert Drake
Gold in color
Muddy green in color
Extraordinary Breath: Noxious Fumes
Grey in color; albinos do exist
Extraordinary Breath: Ice Crystals
Does not become male or female until maturity, Runt is a neuter
Carry their dead to a cave; Dragon’s Graveyard
Sulfuric Acid can preserve the bones
Wing is full of holes covered by scales; holes open on the upstroke and the scales close them on the down stroke (found in other species as well)
Measurements: Roughly 5m in length
Worshiped Dragon-headed Gods
Firestone was important, found in many of their temples
Zhagrit Mat: Draconean King who was transformed into a dragon monster according to legend.
Preserved dragon bone could be used to build
Balaur is the Vystrani word for dragon.
Locals see dragons as pest; eat livestock
Dragons can be kept in Menageries
A Natural History of Dragons by Sir Richard Edgeworth is an important texts
THE TROPIC OF SERPENTS
The method for preserving dragon bone works on Savannah Snakes, but needs to be modified slightly.
Preserved dragon bones can be used to create a sturdy and light glider.
Dragon flesh is foul, including the flesh of the Swamp Wyrm.
Four wings, two legs
Feathered, almost birdlike
Eats insects and eggs
Wings capable of flight
A ruff or fan behind the skull
Bones frangible post-mortem
Cannot fly, only short gliding actions
Juvenile Form: Fangfish
Queens live in the lake, males live in the swamp
Queens are much larger, at least ten meters in length
Egg conditions determine which are male and which are female
Lay many small eggs, about ten centimeters in diameter
Hunt by lunging out of the water, using their wings to help them glide up to their prey
Also hunt like crocodiles
Hunt by waiting under their prey until their noxious breath causes them to fall from the tree
Like other dragons, their flesh is foul.
Green in color in the wet season, dun in the dry
Wings are translucent ans shine gold in the sun
Long narrow wings, can’t fly yet can glide
Hunt by running after their prey, leaping up and gliding over the heard, then using their diving momentum to pull prey from the herd
Females are solitary, males form small groups
Deep chest, narrow waist; built for running
Extraordinary Breath: Corrosive Mist
Measurements: Heaviest weighed 98 kg
Savannah Snakes in a different habitat
Slight ruins are found above the lake that holds the queen dragons.
Ruins hold a stone with writing on it.
Moulish worship dragons
Believe that the slaying of a dragon is why humans die, killing dragons is forbidden
The Pure (those who have never killed) tend to the Swamp-wyrm eggs, distributing them, creating queens, and shepherding males to the queens
Legambwa means dragon in Moulish
Legambwa bomu is a ritual dragon costume controlled by the children, destroys the camp when there is unrest
THE VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK
Dragon flesh is foul, including those of Sea Serpents.
Draconic lungs are more akin to avian lungs than mammalian lungs.
Draconic taxonomy is brought into question, given how the Six Characteristics may be less of a hard rule and ore a spectrum of traits, with some being absent or more important than others.
is the name given to the Yelang. Ti
describe wingless, flightless dragons while Tien
describe winged, flighted dragons.
Most are not winged, and most are water loving.
Most that are named are not described, so I will be guessing as to which are which.
Firestone is petrified dragon egg.
Dragon bones can be used to make caeligers.
Blue-grey in color, with purple markings according to the cover.
Have front fins only, no hind fins or wings.
Are believed to migrate, though the details of these migratory paths are unknown.
Range from the tropics to the far north, with younger serpents being found in the tropics and older serpents being found up north.
Northern Serpents are larger than Tropical Serpents.
Mid Latitudes have Serpents all year round.
Tropical Serpents have tendrils above their eyes and on their snout, Northern Serpents lack these features.
Tropical Serpents can suck in vast amounts of water and then expel it, while Northern Serpents do not, instead constricting their prey.
Does not count as an
Difference is behavioral. Sucking in cold water would be detrimental to Northern Serpents.
Texts suggest the Northern Serpents are over fifteen meters in length, able to raise up fifteen meters out of the water. The cover suggests that they are longer than thirty meters.
Hunt sharks and other large prey, though they will eat meat of any size.
Have foul flesh, like land dragons.
Posses four fangs.
Females have an ovipositor.
Posses ctenoid scales, with some features of placoid scales.
Northern Serpents have thicker scales than Tropical Serpents.
Due to age
While traveling Isabella comes up with the hypothesis that Northern and Tropical Sea Serpents are two species diverging from a common ancestor. This hypothesis is proven false.
Eggs are laid in the water, half buried by sand. They are gelatinous to the touch, and translucent.
Live in the mountains of eastern Bulskevo and into Saiure.
Wings and only two legs.
Lack an extraordinary breath, but are venomous.
Feathers are green in color, and it has a horned head.
At least five meters in length.
Sun themselves at midday.
Males have a patch of red feathers beneath their throat.
Bones do not decay
A similar sort of dragon to the Quetzalcoatl, possibly a close relative.
Heads resemble those of Dajin/Yelang dragons, hence the name.
Considered a delicacy
Shell is two meters or more in length
Come ashore to lay eggs
Bones don’t decay
Lêng Ma; Dragon Horse
Hung; Two Headed
It has a head-like club at the end of its tail
Pa Siah; Elephant Hunters
“Mountain Demon Dragons”
Grey to black in color, with stripes
Live in mountain rivers
Hornless, unusual for Dajin dragons.
Have the tendrils typical of their kind, as well as a fring beneath their jaws
Mate for life
Size of small cats.
Gregarious, with a flight containing a dozen or more members.
Feed on geckos, rats, insects, and birds.
Only predator is the eagle, which will only attack a Fire Lizard that it raiding a nest.
Range from yellow to red.
Breathe sparks of lightning, and can be seen flying and breathing sparks when volcanoes erupt.
Studies suggest that this is not a dragon at all, nor is it related to them. Rather, it is just a large lizard.
About three meters in length.
Posses either a venomous or infectious bite.
Males are implied to be less than four meters in length
Transplanting eggs to the rivers rather than the swamps result in fewer hatching than normal, many runts, and the ones which grow fully to be large, serpentine, and possessing fine scales.
Become mature in a few years.
Bê Lêng; Winged
Note: This dragon is not described at all, rather a name is given. However, in the real world the Yinglong is a winged dragon, so I can make a guess that this is a reference to that dragon. After all, Tien
Lêng is a reference to Tianlong, and
Ma is a reference to Longma, and so on. However, Yinlong itself is a genus of primitive ceratopsians, so it’s possible the Yin
Their language was a Syllabary
May have two hundred forty-one characters
Carved charms are found at their sites
Has many pyramid ruins from the ancient civilization.
Structures found here could suggest that they tamed dragons.
May have been the center of their civilization, with much to be found there.
Numerous sunken ruins
hold egg chambers where the Draconeans hatched dragon eggs of an unknown species.
The stone above the Queen Dragon Lake is bilingual, having Draconean on one half and Ngaru, a known language, on the other. Essentially, it is a Draconean Rosetta Stone.
The fangs of a sea serpent are valued for carving.
The Yelangese have some success in breeding dragons in captivity.
The Yelangese have began hunting dragons for their bones.
The Puian of the Broken Sea have a concept called Ke’anaka’i. A Third Gender, these individuals exist outside of the Man/Woman binary. It is believed they are Dragon Spirited, with their spirit coming from the island of Rahuahane.
Naka’i or Nataki means anything from Sea Serpents to Lizards.
Keongans will ride Sea Serpents by grabbing their tendrils.
Some people keep Drakeflies in cages, like one would do with an exotic bird.
IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES
Dragons rarely breed in captivity, with success mostly belonging to the smaller sorts.
A fossil claw, 30 centimeters around the curve from base to tip, would be the largest dragon claw discovered, if it belongs to a dragon.
Dragon eggs are sensitive to handling.
Note: I am unsure if Honeyseekers count as Dragonkin. They seem to fulfill the required Characteristics, but the book never specifies. I have placed them here under the assumption their their spit foes not count as a true Breath.
Males incubate the eggs, displaying for the female until he is satisfied with the amount of eggs he has acquired. If eggs are removed from the nest, a pair can be encouraged to bred indefinitely.
Can eat insects when necessary, but their primary food is eucalyptus nectar.
Have bristled tongues for collecting nectar.
At most are fourteen centimeters in length.
Spit noxious saliva, with the toxins being derived from their diet.
Make their nests from saliva and leaves.
Females are a dull green; males are black and yellow, with blue crests.
If Honey Seeker eggs incubate in a nest of Tamarisk leaves instead of eucalyptus leaves, they will spit salty saliva instead of an irritating saliva.
When incubated at high temperatures, a female Honey Seeker which was bright orange hatched.
Akhian Desert Drake
Organ which generates their Breath can be cauterized, thus rendering them unable to breathe fire.
Cannot breathe fire until they are mature.
Mate once a year, near the end of the wet season, producing around ten eggs.
Take five years to reach sexual maturity, though don’t usually start breeding until they are seven.
Mishandled eggs can result in hatchlings whose bones are dense and heavy.
If a Desert Drake survives its first three years of life it can live to be forty.
Possess large ruffs.
Females are larger than males.
Have a unique way of hunting. They will kill a prey item then leave it as bait for scavengers. When scavengers come they kill these, eating the original bait and the new carcasses.
A heavily gorged Drake can go a week without food, though it also cannot fly, and must return to its lair to rest and digest its meal.
Females don’t lair within ten kilometers of males.
During the mating season a female will climb to a peak and breathe fire into the air just before dawn. This act attracts the males to her location. She will then attack whichever males she is not interested in with her fire, until only a few remain. At this point, the female will begin her mating flight.
Smaller males can win a mating flight if they strike quickly, otherwise the flight becomes one of endurance.
Males will attack and injure one another during the flight.
When a male overtakes a female he will often mount her. The female must then glide with him on her back as they mate.
Females lay their eggs in shallow bowls of sand, returning regularly to rebury them.
Clutches can have six eggs.
Eggs have hard shells, and the inner membrane provides extra nutrients.
Young Desert Drakes are social, nesting together at night.
Desert Drakes, at least the juveniles, will hum or sing to each other.
The Temple of Silence is found in The Labyrinth of Drakes.
The Labyrinth of Drakes hold many ruins, including The Watchers of Time. These are five sitting gods, which are positioned outside of a temple. The temple was hidden for thousands of years, and when rediscovered it showed signs of conflict, with the bodies of men being found within. A nest chamber is also found within, containing the footprints of long dead hatchlings.
The stone containing the Draconean Text becomes known as the Cataract Stone.
Jinn are believed to be spirits born from the smokeless fire of Desert Drakes.
Most conflicts between humans and Drakes occur with juveniles.
WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS
Developmental Lability has replaced the Six Characteristics as the main way to classify dragons.
This refers to how the incubation conditions can drastically affect what hatches from the egg.
That being said, the term True Dragon is still used to describe members with the Six Characteristics.
Dragon Bones rarely break.
There seems to be some commonality in Draconic Behavior, which allows Draconeans to tame and domesticate their wild kin.
Cope with the cold by shedding their wing membrane in the spring before regrowing it.
Are pests, often raiding stores and diving at yaks.
The cause of this behavior of yak diving comes from the Draconeans, who domesticated the Mews to herd their own yaks.
Have no Breath, and therefore are not True Dragons.
Are named for their call, which sounds like a cat.
Based off the cover of the book, the
has a very complex life cycle. The juveniles begin life with six legs,
and they lack the horns and tendrils of the adults. As they grow, their
second set of forelimbs start to develop into wings, and they grow the
horns and tendrils of the adults.
They are large enough to carry a man.
The Draconeans are able to train
to perform a sort of complex dance.
Are a relatively tame variety of dragons.
The species originated from dragon eggs incubating in human blood. However, once the species began they were able to interbreed to perpetuate it.
Two meters tall.
Females are more common than males, with there being three to five times as many females as males.
Can shut off the blood flow to their wings. This is an adaptation to their cold climates, where reducing the blood flow to their wings would be beneficial.
As a result, wing spreading is used as a dominance display.
Are omnivorous, which is also most likely an adaptation to their environment.
Firestone is the petrified remains of Draconean Eggs. The potion used to petrify them was lost to history. Whether or not this process would work on other species is unspecified.
Hibernate during the winter.
Are capable of gliding, but not full flight.
The Draconean creation myth tells of four sisters. When they bathed, the waters from their mouths became the first brother, the water from their backs became dragons, and the water from their fronts became humans.
Modern Draconeans believe that Ancient Draconeans ruled over humans because they believe humans came from them.
Ancient Draconeans seemed to be aware of their species Blood origin.
Modern Draconeans live in sister groups, made up of two to five sisters, though three to four is most common.
In order to keep their herd tended to during the winter, one sister group is placed in charge of tending to the village. These groups do not keep watch back to back years.
Draconeans live in sister groups, usually made up of three to five females.
Since females are common and males are rare, the sexes have different jobs.
Females do most of the work, including tending to the herds, farming, and acting as guards and patrols.
Males serve as the religious leaders and artists, as well as raising and teaching the young.
Every female in a sister group is viewed as the mother of their child group.
The Draconeans see the number four as a lucky number.
The Draconean language can be learned and spoken by humans.
Their religion is focused heavily on the sky, and the deceased are left out for carrion birds to pick at and carry away.
“Anevrai” is used to refer to the Ancient Draconeans.
A single sister group, along with a male rule each village. The Draconeans as a whole are ruled by an Elder Group.
Yelang see dragons as a good omen, with folklore saying that the first Emperor was crowned by dragons in human forms.
Many human legends suggest that the Draconeans were cruel tyrants.
FROM THE EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE FALCHESTER WEEKLY REVIEW
While species of dragons with feathers exist, there are no known species with both feathers and scales. Since the Drakefly was depicted with feet similar to those of birds, we can presume that the scutes of birds do not count as scales.
Since the Cockatrice is actually a taxidermy Wyvern, we can infer that the Wyvern is a biped, and that it has at least three fingers. The first two fingers do not support the wing membrane.
Wyverns can be taxidermied, suggesting their skeletons do not decay after death. However, as this story takes place after the secret to preserving dragon bone has gotten out, their skeletons still may decay.
Here’s my truce gift for this year! (take two via tablet since the cell phone ate the formatting 0_0)
@astrophantompines asked for Vlad angst or H/C. I tried to get a little bit of both in there? Much thanks to @cordria for beta reading and helping me out with the ending! I hope you enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
* * * * * * *
Maddie was dead.
It was a brilliantly clear, bright winter’s evening. A thick coating of snow covered the ground, glittering in the cool blue light of a waxing moon; bare black tree branches created a delicate network of shadows across the ground that slipped by field by field.
All of this natural beauty was wasted on Vlad Masters, whose barely-contained fury turned his eyes–and therefore the landscape–red. Maddie was dead, victim of a petty cruelty. She was dead, and that was the end of it.
He carried a bulging sack slung over one shoulder, and the odd angles of metal that ground into his shoulder blades only served to fuel his wrath. He’d gotten his vengeance, but it did little to soften the acid eating into his heart.
Little strings of lights winked up at him from a few far-flung farmhouses. They cast soft haloes of red, green and gold onto the snow, all so discordantly festive. Maddie was dead. Just in time for Christmas.
what do you think the gangs status is? money wise as well as future jobs?
I am like 99.99% sure @kingofthewilderwest already did an amazing post about it, i don’t know where, but i have a gut feeling i’m definitely just repeating everything he already posted about
without being told exactly what they do/what theyre parents do (if theyre even alive, just give me a short introducing the families dreamworks) i’ll have to base it off clothing
Hiccup is obviously has the funds. not only is he the chiefs son/future chief, it’s pretty obvious he’s got money by his clothing. the dude has the money to literally make an outfit just for flying, while the other teens opt for flying in what seems to be their everyday clothes. hiccup definitely wouldn’t go around in his flight suite everyday (maybe he does, idk) but i’d think stoick would try to give him “fashion” advice. “dress like a chief instead of wearing skin tight leather” is exactly what a father wants to say to his son haha. he probably has a wardrobe.
but even looking at the first movie, you can tell he’s good. compared to the other teens, hiccups clothes show considerably less wear and tear (this could be from him being sheltered) but he does work in the forge. gobber, who is covered in soot with his clothes ripping doesn’t compare to hiccups very clean furs and shirt. they wash their clothes, but you can’t wash everything out, also their washing would be in no way compared to ours, so he most likely has multiples or he has the money to replace torn/worn clothing
astrid’s outfit is really going on. that’s such a vibrant color and the amount of fur and details, she’s definitely got some money. now, compared to the first movie, her clothes look cleaner, brighter, so dating the chief’s son could have its perks. but then again, astrids outfit in the first movie seems to be a rattier version of this. its dirtier (she’s also dirtier) but that’s a lot from training, which isn’t something that hiccup does until the movie. it still sets her aside from the other members of the gang. i would say her family is a high ranking, family of warriors, i’m not exactly sure what their trade would be, but i’m sure they play an important role in society. astrid’s future “job” is going to be chieftain with hiccup. obvi hiccup is the originally “titled one” but you can’t leave astrid out, because she is usually his rock in all of the tough situations he’s in. she will be working with him, not for him. ya! relationship goals
Snotlout httyd2 outfit is probably my favorite. Snotlout is known to be from a high ranking family, Spitelout is stoicks second hand man (many third, he’s prob behind gobber in some ways) but snotlouts outfit not only shows off his bawdy nature, but he’s definitely gotta have money for that extravagant outfit. he literally has a bear on him. idk if he bought it, or if he hunted it himself, but he’s got it going on
compared to the first movie, snotlouts outfit takes one of the biggest leaps out of the whole gang. in the first movie, he’s got the torn, dirty, brawling outfit that seems to be the norm with the boys (with the exception of fishlegs) i think one of the changes is he grew up. as someone who has a younger brother, boys don’t give a crap if theyre muddy or torn up, or poured ketchup down their front. but once they get older, god forbid you touch their sneakers. lmao they also start dressing better to try and impress girls (a comment from a guy friend) which seems right up snotlouts alley. it also seems he might be trying to use the “peacock method” of dating, aka you wear something ridiculous in hopes of someone to talk to you about it. but honestly i think it’s just pure snotlout essence coming out of him. as for future role, i feel he will take on his fathers job and the dynamic of stoick and spitelout will be replicated with their sons, and gobber will probably tear up a little bit, because it’s just like his old friends are back together again.
Ruffnut and Tuffnut
the twins outfits change almost the least? with the exception of some addons? this could be said about fishlegs as well. from their clothing, torn, tattered, it seems they are on the lower side of status. even as they aged, it seems they still have torn up clothes. but they are the twins, they could be much worse off, and i have a feeling some of the clothing they have may not have come to them through honest means. rummaging through old clothes from other families, taking what they can and repurposing it. i can definitely see tuff and ruff are the ones that made the most out of their outfits aside from hiccup who personally created his flight suite. you can see the stiches on tuffs pants, the torn up pieces of clothe, the splotchy ness of the clothing, perhaps they dyed their clothing?
i headcanon the twins parents as travelers/merchants, and thats part of the reason why they behave the way they do cause their parents aren’t around to be like “ya you shouldnt set meade hall on fire” obvious there’s stoick, but he’s got his own little mischevious son to deal with. as for tuff and ruff, i could see them branching out and sorta being jacks of all trades/no one really knows where their money comes from. but i can see tuff (based off rtte, which i don’t really see as canon) becoming a chicken keeper. he’d be one of the vendors at the market place (if berk has one) and yelling at people cause “YOU CAN’T JUST PICK ANY OLD EGG, THEY SPEAK TO YOU” and ruff i can totally going under gothi’s wing? make her own mark, also she’s good at healing tuff cause gods know what that boy gets himself into
i also really like fishlegs’s outfit. fishlegs has a very different outfit from the rest of the boys. the others have the tunic, belt, vest thing going on in the first movie. i’m not exactly sure the reasoning of the muumuu other than it is a fashion statement. but compared to the solid one he has in the first movie, his second one is stitched together. i can definitely see fishlegs’s clothes being homemade, given his outfit. mrs. ingerman stitching together more fur because “why do boys grow so tall?! ugh” and he helps out and starts putting together his own outfit by himself aka the bright orange, jagged stitches you can see on his muumuu (is it a muumuu? or is it a shirt? he has a really long torso so it could just be a shirt??) the way his arm things (idk what theyre called) seemed to literally be lashed to his arms, and his furs seem to be dirty and patchy, it seems he is also on the lower side of the status, it’s possible he made his entire outfit, whether he bought the furs or caught the furs.
i can see fishlegs’s family being relatively propserous but something happens after the second movie, and suddenly they have to be more frugal. personal headcanon is they’re “builders”. he loves ships, also a name like “fishlegs” promotes a very ocean vibe haha. i can see him coming from a family of ship builders possibly, very organized, very logical, their profession takes skill. but also home builders! homes on berk also look like viking long ships. where they would face hardship, is literally the dragons becoming “good”. suddenly houses don’t need to be rebuilt every raid, suddenly the need for boats drops incredibly because now dragons! which are faster, and prob less expensive other than feeding, but it seems the dragons can do that all on their own. the ingermans are very happy but frugal with their spending. i can see fishlegs going into the trade, he’s got the strength to do the job of building, and the will/smarts to maybe improve housing on berk. he’d part time as one of hiccup’s right hand man and as the local historian.
Snotlout did not notice right away, but in a second instance he looked down and realised that he was making his way to The Edge on his own.
‘What?!’ he yelled. ‘Hookfang, why didn’t you warn me! Are we on the wrong coarse?’ he moaned, wheeling his dragon around in a circle, who seemed none too happy with this development. ‘Don’t you give me that attitude mister, if we’re lost, we only have provisions for one day!’ Hookfang looked up at him worriedly. ‘We were only supposed to go the The Edge and you were still tired from all that racing, Hookie. Didn’t want to push you too hard.’
His dragon gave an appreciative growl, and Snotlout looked around him to make sure he was really alone; wouldn’t do to have any of the others hear him say stuff like this.
But there really was no one, and Snotlout DID know a few things - differently from what Beauty Princess Berk Hiccup thought. Snotlout could sail loops around his cousin, and that meant he had an excellent sense of orientation. He was sure that he had been going the right way, so grumbling all the while, he pointed Hookfang back to Berk and urged his dragon to press forward.
Before too long, he spotted Fishlegs below a cloud-bank. Normally he’d pass the slower human (and dragon) with a whoop, but this time he wanted some words. There was s’plainin’ to be given for leaving the SnotMan behind!
‘Hey Jellylegs!’ he yelled out, making sure to punch Fishlegs in the arm as he passed. Unfortunately, he was not pleased to notice that Fishlegs barely moved.
‘Ow! Snotlout, what the heck!’
‘You can’t “what the heck” me! I “what the heck” you! What do you mean by leaving me behind!’
‘No I didn’t!’ Fishlegs yelled back, urging Meatlug on. ‘I noticed the twins were missing, and I told you to turn back, and you told me, and I quote, “shut up fishface, The Snotman never turns back!” and flew on!’ Fishlegs shrugged at him. ‘So in the end, you left yourself behind.’
‘Shut up, Fishface,’ Snotlout growled. ‘Where are you going now anyway?’
‘Uh, back to Berk? I have the suspicion that the twins may have turned back to torment Hiccup or Astrid.’
‘Oh really,’ Snotlout replied, stroking his chin. ‘Well, so long, slow pokes!’
‘Hey! Snotlout!’ Fishlegs called after him, but Snotlout only urged Hookfang on harder. If he got to Berk quickly enough, and he saved Astrid from the twins, she would definitely kiss him; obviously, there had to be a reason why she would kiss his spindly cousin. She was just generous and kissed him as a thank you! Obviously.
Once he reached Berk, right away he made his way to Astrid’s hall, and perching was right on time to see the twins fly off. He settled Hookfang on the roof, and then wobbled over to her the eaves of her window, descending carefully (not fearfully!) to her window sill.
Astrid was lying in bed, curled up in her covers and occasionally coughing. Snotlout made sure he struck a pose against the light coming in from the window first, flexing an arm before going ‘hey’ at her.
She started, turning around to look at him with a squint.
‘Fuck, Snotlout, what the heck are you doing here!’ she said, and her voice croaked badly, breaking half-way through.
‘Wow babe, you really want to do something for that voice, you know. You sound a like a gonkle on nip.’
She frowned at him, then rose off the bed. He opened his arms to receive her hug, but she grabbed his shirt.
‘You will leave this room, right now, before my boyfriend comes back in and gets the wrong idea.’ Astrid snarled. It was not pleasant when Astrid Hofferson growled at you, but especially when she growled at close range while her voice sounded like a dragon. And then -
‘Boyfriend? Babe, I’m totally your boyfriend, so I don’t see any-’
She promptly pushed him out the window the moment the door opened behind her. Hookfang looked down at him from the roof where he landed in a pile of dirty hay. ‘You’re back!’ he heard enthusiastically from the open window, before the shutters were snapped tight with a bang.
‘Hookfang,’ he snarled through his teeth as the dragon’s head came into view again, clearly amused. Another head popped into his vision, blonde and frowny.
‘What are you doing on my property?’ she said. Ah, Astrid’s mother.
‘I came to see Astrid,’ he replied, standing up and trying to look as tall as possible.
‘Well, she’s busy. Off you go. Shouldn’t you be back at your wee dragon base right now anyway?’ she replied sharply. Snotlout was beginning to feel slightly unwelcome.
‘I couldn’t go without saying goodbye,’ he insisted.
‘I’ll say goodbye for ya. Off you pop.’ This time, she grabbed him by the arm and carted him off to the gate. ‘And get your lizard off my roof. Stormfly doesn’t gladly share space, and I don’t want my shingles all scratched up.’
Hookfang landed beside him when she threw him - practically - out the gate of their hall’s back yard. Astrid’s mother turned around and walked back towards the house.He tried not to feel indignant. And how was this boyfriend anyway?
‘Well Hookie, Astrid’s busy right now, so we’ll come later… I wonder where the twins ran off to.’ Getting onto the monstrous nightmare, he shrugged. ‘Let’s go look for Ruff and Tuff, yeah?’
Hookfang gave him a ‘whatever!’ look and took off. At least they could tell him what was up with Astrid, if they were there before him.
Indeed, Snotlout faces speaks volume when Tuff says he's never getting a girlfriend, but did you notice Ruff's reaction ?... she backs up and refuses to high-five his brother.... that's just huge !
So huge indeed! I love the detail. It highlights some interesting things about Ruffnut’s character.
Typically, Ruffnut loves making jibes. She’ll launch a number of them at her brother and the other youths in their social circle. However, Ruffnut also knows her limits better than Tuffnut. You’ll see her look disapprovingly at her brother sometimes as he gets carried away and says some things that cross the line. Here is one such instant where Ruffnut feels Tuffnut has crossed the line.
It makes sense that Ruffnut would consider this unacceptable to say. Tuffnut’s words are hitting at an insecurity Snotlout has suffered for many years. Anyone can see it… Snotlout desires validation, and tries to seek it out by outrageously flirting with first Astrid, then Heather. Snotlout is someone who does crave a romantic relationship, to the point he will start to imagine romantic connections forming when no such connection exists, or acting in denial despite knowing someone is uninterested in him. Tuffnut’s words are more than a little jab at this point; though Tuffnut probably does not intend to be that mean, these are going to sting with Snotlout.
And the thing is… Ruffnut understands Snotlout’s insecurity perfectly. We see Ruffnut struggle through similar insecurities. In “Edge of Disaster,” we see Ruffnut feeling frustrated because the youths recognize Astrid’s greatness, but fail to see her own talent and genius. There is a little bit of desire to be recognized within her, too. Furthermore, Ruffnut might also desire some sort of romantic relationship given how we see her flirt since her mid-teenaged years. She hits hard on Hiccup in HTTYD when she says she likes crazy. She almost seems to flirt with Heather in “Have Dragons Will Travel.” She gets hit head over heels with Eret when he shows up, and she is very insistent on being recognized by him.
Now we can interpret Ruffnut as someone who does not suffer single blues. Maybe she is someone who is content all the time, and it’s just the case that, when crushes come, they hit hard. She is not very good dealing with her feelings, and thus acts a bit overkill when romantic interests arise. I think that interpretation is totally feasible and aligns very well with her character. Yet if it is the case that Ruffnut feels some need to be in a romantic relationship, as we see her flirt with some people throughout her teenaged years… then Tuffnut taunting Snotlout about never getting a girlfriend is something doubly taboo to Ruffnut. Tuffnut would be taunting Snotlout for an insecurity Ruffnut also feels. She would know exactly how painful it is to worry about never entering a romantic relationship. She would be battling with the same worries, so to hear Tuffnut voice that as a joke… ohhhh yeah, she definitely won’t high-five him for that!
Tuffnut is just meaning to do a little jab, a little give-and-take like the youths commonly do. I headcanon Tuffnut as asexual and aromantic. He’s certainly someone who thinks less about romance and relationships than anyone else, to the point him being in a relationship never crosses his mind. Tuffnut shows “love” to Macey and Chicken… not to people… which means that part of Tuffnut’s mistake here is Tuffnut not understanding how it feels for someone else to suffer single blues. Making a little joke about not being in a relationship is not something Tuffnut understands as being incredibly sensitive. It takes his sister, who understands the emotion far better, to glare at him. By not high-fiving, she gives her brother a clear indication of how uncalled-for a joke like that is.
One little action from Ruffnut… but it says so much.
When Elsa got sick, she refused to believe it. She never got sick, and she was busy, and the lightheadedness and the aching pressure in her sinuses would have to wait. This approach worked well enough until she fainted.
She came to with the vague impression that she was a child again, being carried in her father’s arms—except her father had never had such a distinct, musky odor. He had smelled like ink, like paper and wax and pipe smoke. He had not smelled like masculine sweat and reindeer. Her eyes opened as she snapped into full awareness of her position. She liked her sister's…friend? suitor? whatever-he-was, but she’d only known him for a few months. Not long enough for this, certainly.
“What on earth are you doing? Put me down.”
Kristoff started and nearly obeyed involuntarily. He kept holding her, but he paused, looking around with an uncertain, awkward flush. Anna’s face popped up over his arm.
“He’ll put you down when we get you to your bed. You’re sick.”