"Late Night Storytime" is an Extended Universe oneshot series written on August 28, 2016.
Full Text Edit
Part 1 Edit
(Takes place a few weeks after Kari’s fourth birthday)
Little Kari stared out the window of the Felman home. The sun had set a few hours ago, but that didn’t stop the youngest daughter of Chief Grey from watching the clear sky. The cold winds blew gently around the village brushing up some of the freshly fallen snow on the ground. Normally, little Kari wanted to go play in it along with her oldest brother and older sister, but…neither of them wanted to play tonight. All they wanted to do was wait for their mother, Chief Grey to return home.
Grey received a message from King Haddock this morning that there was a meeting with other Chiefs in the Wilderwest to discuss some evidence regarding High Central’s return to power. She quickly kissed her husband, Brandt and their three children goodbye as she left the house with Shadow while asking Brandt to tell Greg that he was in charge for the day. Then she and her loyal Night Fury flew off. The day came and went, and Sven, Dagny, and Kari’s mother still had yet to return home from her meeting.
Kari sighed for what seemed like the millionth time as she tried to fight off the urge to sleep. “Daddy, where’s Mommy?” she asked again.
“Yeah, she’s been gone forever!” Sven added from where he sat at the table with Dagny.
Brandt smiled at his oldest son and youngest daughter trying his best to hide his own worry. His wife had been gone for quite a while today. True, some portions of the day were taken up by traveling to and from King Haddock’s palace, but that still did not stop Brandt from worrying about the woman he loved more than life itself. Then again…he did remember that the Chief and the King loved to have their traditional sparring matches after meetings or whenever Grey or the entire Felman family visited. He wouldn’t be surprised if that was the reason Grey wasn’t home yet, but of course, their three children were still too young to understand that. “Aw, baby girl,” Brandt said coming up to her from behind giving her a kiss on the top of her head, “she’ll be home before you know it. Mommy just has to talk to Uncle King Haddock about something very important.”
“Like what, Daddy?” Dagny asked genuinely curious about the meetings between her mother the Chief and the King.
"Well, lots of things,” Brandt said trying to think of a way to explain this to a five-year-old. “Uhh…like…uhh…how to solve certain problems in King Haddock’s kingdom.”
"Ohh,” all three children said in unison.
"Still, I want my Mommy,” Kari said protruding her bottom lip in a pout.
Brandt felt his heart melt as his daughter looked up at him with those big hazel eyes of hers and knelt down to her level on the chair that was helping her to look out the window. “I know, sweetie,” he said. He finally had an idea. “Tell you what…why don’t we go upstairs and wait for Mommy there? This way as soon as she gets home she can tell you a story.”
"YAY!” all three children shouted in unison.
Suddenly, Kari heard something in the sky outside. She looked out the window and squinted up at the night sky. Thankfully, the light of the mood allowed her to recognize the flapping wings of a certain Night Fury. It didn’t take long for Kari to figure out who it was. “MOMMY!” Kari shouted. “Daddy, Mommy’s home!” She jumped off the chair and ran for the front door. “MOMMY!”
"MOMMY!” Sven and Dagny shouted in unison as they made a break for it right behind their youngest sister.
"Kids, wait!” Brandt shouted as he grabbed their winter parkas before chasing them outside. “You need your coats!”
However, it was too late. The Chief’s kids ran out the front door just in time to see their mother dismount Shadow, her loyal Night Fury.
"MOMMY! MOMMY!” all three children shouted in unison causing the Chief herself to turn around in time to see them running toward her with huge smiles on their faces with her husband not too far behind.
Grey laughed as she got down on her knees and gathered Sven, Dagny, and Kari into one big group hug. “Hello, my little darlings!” she said before giving them each a kiss on the forehead.
"We missed you, Mommy,” Dagny said hugging her mother tightly.
"Aw, and I missed you too, Dags,” Grey replied hugging all three of them in response. “So, tell me, were my sweet little darlings good for Daddy today?”
"Uh-huh!” Sven said nodding enthusiastically.
"Hmm,” Grey said playfully raising an eyebrow as she turned to her husband, “can Daddy vouch for you?”
"Yes, he can. They were very good today,” Brandt said chuckling as he walked up to his wife and children wrapping his arms around them. “Welcome home, my love.” He then placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
"EWWWW!” all three children shouted as they covered their eyes jumping down from their mother’s arms and running over to Shadow, who crooned happily watching her rider’s hatchlings run to her for protection.
"Shadow, protect us from the ewness!!” Sven shouted playfully.
Both Grey and Brandt laughed hysterically as they broke the kiss and turned to their children.
"If you want Shadow to protect you from the ewness,” Brandt said wrapping an arm around his wife, “then I guess you don’t want a bedtime story from Mommy.”
"STORY!” Sven, Dagny, and Kari shouted in unison before they bolted into the house leaving Brandt and Grey outside with Shadow.
"Okay, looks like I’m telling them a story tonight,” Grey said chuckling.
Brandt laughed. “Hey, come on, they missed you today,” he said as he led his wife inside their home with her Night Fury in tow. “So, how’s Haddock and the family?”
Part 2 Edit
“They’re all doing very well,” Grey said as they walked in. “Haddock and Mera both said to say hello to you and the kids.”
“We should have an outing or something next time,” Brandt said as he helped his wife to remove her large fur cape and shawl.
“That’s a good idea,” she said happily. “I’ll bring it up with him the next time. I’m sure they would love to see the kids.”
“MOMMY!” Kari shouted from upstairs. “We’re ready for the story!”
“Okay, I’ll be right up, sweetie!” Grey replied. She then turned to her Night Fury. “Shadow, would you go up and make sure they’re all in bed? Brandt and I will be right up.”
Shadow crooned in agreement and walked up the stairs to the kids’ room leaving Grey and Brandt alone in the kitchen. Brandt looked at his wife curiously as the Night Fury left them alone in the kitchen.
“Everything okay?” he asked once he and his wife were alone.
“Yeah, everything’s fine,” Grey answered as she wrapped her arms around Brandt hugging. “I just missed you today. That’s all.”
The man chuckled and kissed his wife on the lips. “I missed you too,” he said.
“And…the topic of the meeting…kind of got to me,” Grey said breaking eye contact with Brandt.
Brandt did remember that Grey left this morning in a hurry once she received the message from the King of the Wilderwest. Obviously, it was something she didn’t want to discuss in front of their young children, so he didn’t feel the need to pressure her into telling him why she needed to leave immediately. “Yeah, you did leave in a hurry,” he said. “Can I ask what it was about?”
Grey sighed. “Well, Haddock told me that…there were rumors and possible evidence that High Central was returning to power,” she finally said hoping that the kids wouldn’t hear.
“High Central?” Brandt asked. Grey mentioned them before. “The government guys who created the Grounded Dungeon?”
“Yeah…” Grey said looking at the floor and pulling away from her husband. “One of the chiefs on the mainland heard it being discussed amongst his villagers and warned Haddock, and that was when he summoned me.”
“Well, alright then, well, that’s good that you guys got the message, right?”
“Yes, yes, it is, but…whoever it was that confronted them during the days of the Rebellion,” she herself actually realized that they never found out who that person was, “they only put in a dent to hinder them, which proves that it’s going to take a lot to defeat them again. And…I hate to think what they could do in the meantime…to all the halfbreeds. All I could think about was Warren, Lila, Jari, Kettil, Tree, Liam, Kendra, Clover, and–”
“Hey, come on,” Brandt said pulling his wife toward him and hugging her, “you said so yourself. It’s all rumors so far, and if it is true, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they don’t get their slimy hands on those half-breeds.”
Grey couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks, hon,” she said before kissing him on the lips.
“Anytime,” he replied. “Now, I believe that you promised our children a story tonight before bed.”
Grey chuckled as they moved to walk up the stairs. “I suppose I have,” she said.
As the Chief and her husband walked up the stairs to the room all three of their children shared, Shadow was just putting blanket over Sven as his sisters watched from their beds.
“Yay, Mommy’s here!!” Kari gleefully shouted jumping up and down on the bed.
“Yes, yes, I’m here,” Grey said as she gently sat her youngest daughter down on the bed and pulled the covers back over her. “Now, what story would you three like to hear?”
“OOH! OOH! I want to hear the one where you sang to Uncle King Haddock!” Sven said as he sat up. “Kari hasn’t heard that one yet!”
“Yeah, me too, Mommy!” Dagny said with the same amount of excitement as her brother.
“Kari?” Brandt asked the little girl sitting next to his wife on her bed.
“I want to hear it! I want to hear it!” Kari shouted.
Grey couldn’t help but laugh at how excited their children were. “Alright then,” she said. “Is everybody ready to listen?”
All three children nodded as Brandt sat down in the rocking chair next to Sven and as Shadow walked over to Kari’s bed and settled down next to her rider on the floor.
“Okay, then, once upon a time, in the Wilderwest region, there was a HUGE dungeon known as…the Grounded Dungeon,” she began. “Now this dungeon was guarded by the evil…Warden, a demon from the North, and the Warden was very mean to all the prisoners in this dungeon. Soon, the prisoners grew very angry at how the Warden was treating them so horribly. So, your uncle King Haddock finally stood up and led the prisoners in a massive rebellion against the Warden. Now, after the rebellion began, the rebels and their King moved to an ice fortress the Alpha dragon made for them. The Warden managed to escape, and while the rebellion was out searching for her, the King and his rebels would soon realize…that there was danger inside the rebel camp too…”
Part 3 Edit
“Why’s that, Mommy?” Kari asked looking up at her mother.
“Well, let’s find out,” Grey said to the little girl sitting in her lap. “Now, this happened a little bit after your Aunt Warren, Uncle Greg, Aunt Asha, and I went on the smuggled weapons mission. Aunt Asha and I came back for a brief bit to warn Haddock about the weapons that were missing, so after we left, King Haddock was alone in his tent with his general Jokul Frosti, a trickster with the power of winter on his side.”
“Where was Uncle Stonegit?” Dagny quickly asked as she realized what was about to happen in the story.
“Unfortunately, Stonegit was off somewhere in the camp and was not aware that Haddock was in danger,” Grey replied as she stood up to act out the next part of the story. “So, as soon as Haddock was alone with Frosti, the general asked to speak with him, but the minute Haddock wasn’t looking was when Frosti revealed his true intentions to the King. He crept up behind the King real quietly,” she took long strides pretending to sneak up on someone. “And then…WHOOSH!” She thrusted her arms forward. “He used his powers to create an ice cage trapping King Haddock inside.”
All three of the Chief’s children gasped in fright as their father chuckled to himself watching his wife act out the memories from her days in the rebellion.
“What happened next, Mommy?” Kari asked eagerly.
“After committing such a treacherous act against the leader of the Rebellion, Frosti ran away leaving the King trapped in his icy prison,” Grey replied, “and just as Frosti managed to escape, I forgot all about going back to the smuggled weapons mission and ran into the King’s tent and found Haddock trapped. Then I quickly grabbed my sword,” she pulled her sheathed sword from its harness and held it up before swinging it down a few times and pretending to hit something, “and used it to break the ice.”
“Yay! Mommy saves the King!” Dagny said jumping up and down on the bed.
Grey couldn’t help but laugh as she took her middle daughter into her arms and gently got her settled back into bed as she continued. “I did,” she said, “but I didn’t do it all by myself. When I freed Haddock, another rebel, named Svied, rushed in to help, and she and I saw that he was badly hurt. So, we got him on Shadow and took him to the healers’ hut nearby, but…when we got in there…”
“What happened, Mommy?!” Sven asked excitedly. “Was it the meanie Frosti?”
“No, it was actually much worse,” Grey said turning to her son.
“Was it the mean Warden?” Kari asked snuggling up to her father.
“Nope…there was no one there…at all,” the Chief finally said. “The healer’s hut was completely…empty.”
“Oh no!” Kari exclaimed covering her hands with her mouth. “Where was the healer? How was King Haddock going to get better?”
“Well, sweetie,” Grey said, “that is where your mother comes in. When I saw that there was no healer to help the King, I decided that Svied and I would have to save him ourselves. We couldn’t afford to wait any longer for someone to come, so we quickly got down to business. Svied got every medical book that she could find while I got Haddock settled on the floor, and when we told him that we were going to try to help him, he…” she smiled fondly at the memory of that night trying not to laugh, “wasn’t exactly happy about that.”
“Why not?” Sven asked.
“Yeah, I thought that you and Uncle King Haddock were friends,” Dagny added to her older brother’s question. “Was he afraid that you were going to hurt him too?”
The Chief chuckled. “Well, I wouldn’t say that he was afraid, dear,” she replied. “You see, I didn’t have much experience aside from what Grandma Ingrid has taught me, and you have to understand that Haddock and I weren’t exactly friends yet. We had just met recently at that point and didn’t really know each other too well, and I’m not even sure if he knew Svied too well at the time either.
So, I can’t say I blame him for being a little nervous after it happened. But anyway, it took a little bit of convincing on my part, but he finally trusted us enough to let us help him. Svied and I got down to business, but Haddock was hurt really bad and was in a lot of pain.”
“Like when we scrape our knees?” Kari asked innocently.
“Mmm…something like that, baby girl,” Brandt answered for his wife.
“So, what happened next, Mommy?” Dagny asked, even though she has heard this story enough times to know what was coming next.
“Well…” the Chief began still mentally cringing at the memory after all those years, “I…decided to sing to King Haddock to…help him feel better.”
Brandt couldn’t help but laugh at his wife’s answer but stopped when he saw Grey raise an eyebrow at him as if to say, “Really?”
“What?” he responded innocently shrugging. “This is my favorite part.”
Grey immediately regretted telling her husband this story when they were courting because ever since that day, he always managed to get a good laugh at the fact that she sang to Haddock, especially when they barely knew each other at the time, whenever he got the opportunity. Even Warren, Greg, and Asha still found it funny after all this time.
“And mine!” Sven said after his father. “So, come on, Mommy, tell us more!”
Like father, like son, Grey thought to herself rolling her eyes.
“Anyway, yes, I decided to try singing to distract Haddock from the pain,” Grey replied as she continued with her story. “So, I went ahead and tried it. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Svied to join in.”
“But did it help King Haddock feel better?” Sven asked excitedly.
“Uhh…well…” Grey began thinking back on that very night in the healer’s tent, “let’s just say, my dear children, that…it did distract him, but…not really in the way that I hoped.”
Part 4 Edit
“What do you mean?” Sven asked with intense curiosity.
“Yeah, what do you mean?” Brandt asked. However, unlike their eldest child, Brandt had a smirk on his face. He couldn’t help but love how his wife managed to explain this part whenever recounting the tale of this particular event during her Rebellion days.
“I mean…that apparently, King Haddock doesn’t like singing…or music,” the Chief replied carefully. “How did I know? Well, when I started singing, he demanded that we stop, but we didn’t really listen to him and kept going. So, finally, before I could even finish the song, he screamed at the top of his lungs,” she cleared her throat and shouted at the top of her lungs in a very similar manner to how the King did it all those years ago, “NO MUSIC!!”
All three of the Chief’s children began laughing hysterically at their mother’s impersonation of Haddock’s loud demand for her to stop singing.
“So what did you do, Mommy?” Kari asked as she settled underneath her blanket with her stuffed rabbit in her little arms.
“Well, sweetie,” Grey replied, “when I saw that Haddock didn’t like my singing to him, I had no choice but to stop. You know how sometimes you three do something to bother one another, and when you ask each other to stop, you should stop?”
Kari nodded. There had been plenty of times when Sven would pull her or Dagny’s hair to bother them, and they yelled at him to stop or when she followed her two older siblings or her parents around trying to get their attention for something, and they asked her to stop and wait.
“It was kind of like that,” Grey explained to her four-year-old daughter. “Uncle King Haddock didn’t like it, and asked me to stop, so I decided to stop so that it wouldn’t bother him anymore.”
“Oh,” the youngest of the Felman children replied smiling as sleep slowly began to take over, “I get it.”
Both Grey and Brandt observed that their children slowly settled into their beds allowing the exhaustion of the day’s events to take over and act as a guide to dreamland.
“What happened after that, Mommy?” Dagny asked before yawning. “Isn’t there more?”
“Only a little bit,” Grey said smiling at her middle daughter as she gently brought the covers over Dagny’s shoulders, “but I’ll finish it now before you go to sleep.” She sat on Dagny’s bed and began to continue the tale, “After Haddock demanded that his future second-in-command stop singing, Svied and I managed to do what we could to heal his wounds, and then other rebels-Hemlock and Stonegit–found us in the tent.
They informed us that…unfortunately, because no one besides us was around to witness what had occurred…Frosti managed to escape the camp. He was gone.”
All three of the Chief’s children gasped in fright.
“But it’s okay,” Grey quickly said holding up her hands to reassure them. “The rebels, myself, included volunteered to keep an eye out for him and to arrest him for his treachery, and then…when Haddock realized that there were some rebels that were still on his side, he looked up at me and thanked me for saving his life and for volunteering.”
“What did you say, Mommy?” Sven said yawning.
“I simply said, ‘you’re welcome,’” Grey replied as she watched her son smile as he slowly closed his eyes letting sleep take over. She looked over at Dagny and Kari only to see that they had begun to fall asleep as well. “And with that, the King realized that while there were some dangers outside and even inside the rebellion, there were still some good people who would do anything to see the rebellion’s cause through. The end.”
She and Brandt took turns kissing their children on the foreheads and making sure they were comfortable in their respective beds.
“Another great telling of the Frosti story,” Brandt said as he watched Grey blow out the candle on the nightstand near Kari’s bed.
“Why, thank you,” Grey replied before turning to her children. “Good night, my little darlings. Sleep tight, Mommy loves you all.”
“Daddy loves you all, too,” Brandt added. “Good night, guys. Don’t let the fireworms bite.”
With that, the Chief and her husband walked down the stairs to their bedroom to settle in for the night.
“Even after knowing that Aidorin still might be in danger of High Central,” she said as she and Brandt got into their bed, “it’s nice to know that I’ll always have you and the kids to come home to.”
Brandt smiled and kissed his beloved wife on the lips. “You always will, Grey,” he said. “Nothing will ever change that. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she replied before giving him one more kiss.
With that, husband and wife both snuggled together after Brandt blew out the candle on their nightstand allowing sleep to overcome them.