You open the front door to the Bannered Mare, the feel the chill of the cold night air begin to melt off your face as a wave of heat from the fire pit greets you with its warm embrace. It’s taken you days to travel from Solitude to Whiterun, and you can’t wait to lay down your heavy pack full of treasures, and enjoy a hot meal and some good Nordic mead while listening to the songs and tales of adventure that will surely be told tonight.
After paying for your room, having a quick wash at the wash basin, and changing out of your armor into some more comfortable clothes, you join the merry circle around the campfire, and one of the bar attendants calls out that they’ll be over to take your order in just a minute. You find yourself sitting next to an Argonian merchant and a Nord warrior, who are busy discussing the latest dragon sightings in the area, and how they are confident that the legendary Dovahkiin - whoever they are - will surely appear to do battle with them should one attack tonight.
You smiling knowingly, but decide against chiming into their conversation.
Instead, you turn your attention to the bard across the way, who is singing songs about the great warriors of old, and the triumphs and tragedies that befell them. As you place your order for a hearty beef stew and some Honningbrew Mead, you can’t help but wonder if any songs may be sung about you one day, and all of the adventures you’ve encountered in this harsh yet beautiful land of Skyrim. You entertain the thought a little bit longer as you take a sip of mead, briefly wondering whether such songs would end in victory or tragedy…
But you shake yourself out of such thoughts. No need to spoil the mood with such serious thoughts tonight.
Instead, you focus on finishing your hot meal, and taking in the atmosphere of a hall full of cheerful voices and merry music, grateful for such a change after the lonely nights of camping out on lonely, snowy hilltops, with only your horse for company. While you do admit that there’s nothing quite like falling asleep under a starlit sky, with the northern lights streaming overhead, there’s also something very comforting about being in a bustling mead hall such as this on a cold winter’s night.
Eventually, a mysterious stranger takes a seat next to you and strikes up a conversation, inquiring about the adventures you’ve had thus far. You have the sneaking suspicion that this conversation will somehow end up in another adventure of its own, but so long as you haven’t taken any arrows to the knee, you won’t turn down the possibility of another one.
He couldn’t help himself. He’d been testing Alec. 17,000 was everyone. All of them. Any relationship, by any measure.
If a vampire had asked him for a number, he would have given them a ball park of 10,000. Vampires were visceral and had a… fluid thing. To a vampire, a number was about sex. A seelie or a werewolf would have been asking about connection. People that, for a century, or a decade or an afternoon, had overwhelmed him, linked themselves with his mind or his spirit in some way. Maybe 8,000.
There is a parable about a sparrow flying through a mead hall during a storm, written back when they still had mead halls, and way before they had window screens. The sparrow flies through one window, and quickly back out the window on the other side. For a moment, he is warm, and safe, and there is light. But the storm rages on outside, and he slips out of it, and then back in, with a nearly meaningless moment of safety and warmth in between.
That’s what love, real love, is when you’re immortal and alive. A moment of light in an unknown eternity. What number would Magnus have given if a warlock had asked him?
I've seen a few of these floating around, but one from you of an AU where Steve goes to Asgard and Loki has been a prisoner there since the end of Thor?
He was lost.
Steve had just needed to get away from the noise and chaos of the mead hall for a little while. It was fun, sure, and Thor and his friends were good company, but after several hours of singing and drinking and fighting and shouting and more singing and drinking, he was getting worn out. Not wanting to drag down the high spirits with his flagging energy, or embarrass Thor in any way, he excused himself to take a walk.
But he’d had more Asgardian mead than he thought, or maybe it was just stronger than the earth stuff, because he found himself struggling to remember his way back to the guest wing where Thor had deposited him and Romanoff as Midgard’s visiting warrior-dignitaries. He took a wrong turn, and suddenly, the palace that had been a simple, easily-navigable structure by the light of day transformed into a dimly lit labyrinth.
Which was how Steve came to be near hopelessly lost at night, alone, in the royal palace of an alien world, praying silently that he didn’t accidentally start an interplanetary incident by peeking through the wrong door.
He’d started going down, any time he hit a staircase, hoping he’d eventually end up on the ground level and the palace entry. There were guards there, and one of them would be able to give him directions, he reasoned. Only, he’d gone downward quite a bit now, the air growing cool and dry, no longer scented by the heady flowers that wafted their aroma in from the palace gardens. The corridors were narrow here, and he got the distinct, foreboding sense that he was someplace he shouldn’t be. At one point he doubled back up the spiral stair he’d come down, only to find two bifurcating hallways where he could have sworn there had only been one when he’d come out of it. He took a wild guess at which one had been his original route, only to find the corridor darker and narrower than he remembered. He was on the verge of doubling back again when it opened into a vestibule – a round, stone chamber lit by torches, but otherwise empty. There were no doors, and no windows. And for the life of him, Steve couldn’t figure out what in the hell this room was even for. Were Asgardians just so bored with immortality and overwhelmed with resources that they built rooms with no purpose, just because they could?
Head aching from the mead, and frustrated with his predicament, Steve leaned against the wall with a groan. He let his skull thud pack against the stonework–
–And froze when he heard a click, the stone behind him moving back.
Damnit, was his first thought. I broke a royal palace. No one would notice one stone in one room that didn’t have any purpose, he reasoned frantically, moving away from the wall and looking at the stone that had receded into some kind of depression. It wasn’t cracked though – maybe he could wiggle it back into place?
Steve reached out and touched it, then yelped as the stone lit up, glowing a brilliant green, then a bright gold under his fingers. He drew back, but there was a rumble of stone on stone, gravelly and low, as a whole segment of the wall drew back.
Every bit of common sense was screaming at Steve to turn back, leave it alone, and go find Thor. This wasn’t his world. Wasn’t his business.
But, as Bucky often bemoaned, Steve Rogers had very little common sense.
Pulling one of the torches down from the sconce that held it, Steve made his way into the exposed, narrow corridor, facing the draft of cold air that flowed through it. The stone floor angled downward under his feet, and the hair on the back of his neck prickled. There wasn’t any dust, but he didn’t know if that meant this corridor was often-used and cleaned, or if it had just been sealed too well for too long for any dust to get in.
Mind reeling at all the possibilities, he nearly stumbled when the corridor turned sharply and opened out into a large room.
With another room inside it.
No, not a room. A cell, Steve thought, thinking of the glass cages at SHIELD and the observation rooms that abutted them. Only there was no glass he could see – just a shimmering gold barrier made of energy – or magic.
He stepped closer, curiosity overriding his caution, and felt his breath catch when something – someone – inside the cell moved. A figure on – a cot? A bed? – rolled over, then frowned.
“Is it mealtime already?” a voice murmured, low and flat.
Steve stepped closer still, looking the man over. He was young-looking, though on Asgard that meant little. If he were human, Steve would peg him at about his own physical age. He was pale – from lack of sun, being locked up down here? – and had black hair down back his jaw. He looked puzzled at first at Steve’s appearance, but his puzzlement quickly turned to alarm.
“Who are you?” he demanded, the imperiousness of his voice at odds with the cowed way he scrambled back on the bed until his back was against the wall. “Who sent you?”
“I– no one,” Steve answered, startled. “I– my name is Steve. I got lost.” His frown deepened. “Who are you?”
The man blinked a few times, then laughed. Steve’s shoulders tensed – it wasn’t the kind of laugh that spoke of a well-balanced mind. “I’m no one,” he answered, not looking Steve in the eye. “No one at all.”
“And what are you doing here, No One?” Steve asked carefully. Was this a prisoner? Why wasn’t he with the others in the dungeon that had been part of the tour Thor had offered before?
The man fell silent, staring at a point past Steve, face going slack. “I too, am lost. Have lost.” He chuckled again, going limp against the wall like a puppet with its strings cut:
You know what I want to see more of? Images of our gods in the modern age. They’re not just our ancestors’ gods, they’re ours too.
I want to see Freyr blessing migrant farmer laborers. I want to see Freyja watching over sex workers. I want to see Odin camped out under an overpass, swapping stories. I want Tyr marching with protesters and Thor fighting tyrants. I want Frigga as a high powered lady executive or attorney, Eir as a nurse in an overcrowded and underfunded inner city hospital
Our gods our more than gleaming steel and mead halls. Humanity has grown and changed, and of course the gods have come along with us!
Grog “How many times have my men, sworn to stay after dark And stem that horror with a sweep of their swords. And then, in the morning, this mead-hall glittering With new light would be drenched with blood, the benches Stained red, the floors, all wet from that fiend’s Savage assault-and my soldiers would be fewer Still death taking more and more.” -Beowulf
Vax “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” -Wild Geese, Mary Oliver
“They say you are made of clouds, they say you are made of feathers, they say you are everywhere or nowhere—we know you are both.” -If This is Your Final Destination, Nick Flynn
Keyleth “the last tribute of a daughter, I thought of something I remembered I heard once, that the body is, or is said to be, almost all water and as I turned southward, that ours is a city of it, one in which every single day the elements begin a journey towards each other that will never, given our weather, fail—” -And Soul, Eavan Boland
Pike “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!“ -The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus
Scanlan “Wild Nights – Wild Nights! Were I with thee Wild Nights should be Our luxury!
Futile – the winds – To a heart in port – Done with the compass – Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden – Ah, the sea! Might I moor – Tonight – In thee!” -Wild Nights (249), Emily Dickinson
Vex “No, no, not that,—it’s bad to think of war, When thoughts you’ve gagged all day come back to scare you; And it’s been proved that soldiers don’t go mad Unless they lose control of ugly thoughts That drive them out to jabber among the trees.” -Repression of War Experience, Siegfried Sassoon
“My petty greed has often been met by petty donors Twice or so I was saved by the God on my shelf After safe escape I gave a smirk.” -My Petty Greed, Choudhuri Sukumar
“Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air… Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark or even eagle flew –” -High Flight, John Magee
Percy “No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; Am an attendant lord, one that will do To swell a progress, start a scene or two, Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, Deferential, glad to be of use, Politic, cautious, and meticulous; Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— Almost, at times, the Fool.” -The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S Eliot
Trinket “[Animals] do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.” -Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
Vox Machina “The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes Till beauty shines in all that we can see. War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise, And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.
Horror of wounds and anger at the foe, And loss of things desired; all these must pass. We are the happy legion, for we know Time’s but a golden wind that shakes the grass.
There was an hour when we were loth to part From life we longed to share no less than others. Now, having claimed this heritage of heart, What need we more, my comrades and my brothers?” -Absolution, Siegfried Sassoon
BONUS - A FEW CR SHIPS
Vaxleth “i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)” -[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in], E.E. Cummings
Perc’ahlia “She took my head between her fingers, squeezing till the birds began to stir. And then from out my eyes and ears a flock came forth — I couldn’t think or hear or breathe or see within that feather-world so silently I thanked her.” -After the Disaster, Abigail Deutsch
“My darling turns to poetry at night. What began as flirtation, an aside Between abstract expression and first light
Now finds form as a silent, startled flight Of commas on her face — a breath, a word … My darling turns to poetry at night.” -Darling Turns to Poetry at Night, Anthony Lawrence
Vaxilmore “Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.” -Seperation, M.S. Merwin
Pikelan “I have to tell you, there are times when the sun strikes me like a gong, and I remember everything, even your ears.” -I Have To Tell You, Dorothea Grossman
A/N: Well you see, the thing is, I wanted to write a little thing for Dragon!Hanzo because @luvleekaotix-imagines made a thing and I was inspired to make one too? But I got a little carried away and I tried to keep it serious but it hopefully isn’t too dull. Cursed Dragon!Hanzo is really interesting.
And I imagined him as a large dragon, or at least an intimidating one, but I didn’t go into detail on his design because I wanted you all to imagine what you think he’d look like as a full dragon!
Because it got so insanely long (not the longest I’ve written, but certainly longer than what I was initially planning, I put it under a readmore. Thank you!
Can you elaborate on the characterization of the side teens in the film? You said that it was "all in the details" but I'm quite curious to know what you mean.
Pretty much every scene they’re in. HTTYD spared no expense when it came to background details, part of what makes it so rich.
Every teen’s individual reaction to Hiccup messing in that raid - from the Tuffnut’s one-liner, to Ruffnut elbowing her brother for it, to Snotlout’s sarcasm, to Fishleg’s eager smile/nod to his peers jeers
(and Fishlegs giggling along with much of the following needling they deliver Hiccup throughout the movie… but still, seconds later, whispering to Hiccup about stats as if he wasn’t just trying to fit in with his peers moments before)
Snotlout switching from bravado to open panic upon having a gronkle released at him without much training other than instruction… yet still able to hit on Astrid
Astrid shifting her weight from foot to foot, only glancing at Gobber to answer his question, correctly, before training her eyes back on the Gronkle
How each of these kids act in dragon training - Snotlout is nearly as focused and athletic as Astrid, Fishlegs is more about answering questions correctly than focusing on the dragons…
Ruffnut rolling her eyes and grunting as Astrid launches into a self-critique post First Dragon Training Day. Snotlout blocking Hiccup out of the Mead Hall bench, but smiling eagerly at him as if hoping he’ll be challenged, batting his eyes. Fishlegs gibbering on about how much he’s delved into the Dragon Manual and Snotlout, Tuffnut, and Ruffnut all playing on each other’s wit to make fun of him as though those were the three that tended to word-play the most with each other.
Every. Detail. That was me just glancing at the first fifteen minutes or so of the movie, but every detail of these kids painted them so richly that we had hoards of fanfiction and hammered out headcanons based on canonical evidence before the second film was even mentioned, let alone a TV show that hardly payed respect to such riches. That’s how By the Toe came to be. I had all the material already there.
(omg, I can keep going - the fact that Astrid and Tuffnut share “a look” when Fishlegs claims that stupid “hand in the stomach” thing at Gobber’s campfire. How many other looks have they had to share with each other before? How did they know to look at each other, just then?)
There is such a history with these kids already existing before the movie takes place, their mannerisms and priorities and relationships are almost plain as day, and it all comes from the background of the film that’s not even about them. That is what I mean when I say that HTTYD was magical. No detail was spared, I swear.
I was a listener in the woods, I was a gazer at the stars, I was not blind where secrets were concerned, I was silent in the wilderness, I was talkative among many, I was mild in the mead-hall, I was stern in battle, I was gentle towards allies, I was a healer of the sick, I was humble towards the strengthless, I was strong towards the powerful, I was not close-fisted lest I should be burdensome, I was not arrogant though I was wise, I was not given to vain promises though I was strong, I was not rash though I was swift, I did not deride the old though I was young, I was not boastful though I was a good fighter, I would not speak about any one in their absence, I would not reproach, but I would praise, I would not ask, but I would give, For it is though these habits that the young become old and kingly warriors.
- Cormac Mac Cuileannáin, King and Poet of Cashel, AD 836-908, on being asked by his grandson what were his habits when he was young.
Kodlak: “Brothers and Sisters of the Circle, today we welcome a new soul into our mortal hold. This man/woman has endured, has challenged and has showed his/her valor. Who will speak for him/her?” Farkas: “I stand witness for the courage of the soul before us.” Kodlak: “Would you raise your shield in his/her defense?” Farkas: “I would stand at his/her back, that the world might never overtake us.” Kodlak: “And would you raise your sword in his/her honor?” Farkas: “It stands ready to meet the blood of his/her foes.” Kodlak: “And would you raise a mug in his/her name?” Farkas: “I would lead the song in triumph as our mead hall reveled in his/her stories.” Kodlak: “Then this judgment of this Circle is complete. His/her heart beats with fury and courage that have united the Companions since the days of the distance green summers. Let it beat with ours, so the mountains may echo and our enemies may tremble at the call.” Everyone: “It shall be so.”