A bone-chilling breeze swept across the sleepy morning landscape of the forest as a mysterious figure glided over the trees. Jack dragged his staff along the the skyline behind him, creating a beautiful blanket of patterened frost across every surface that could house it. It was early November, the time Jack had officially instated as the beginning of winter, a smile spreading across his face as he spread his magic through the land. His first stop was the lively village of Corona, which thrived in the summertime months but enjoyed the winter nostalgia just the same. As a gentle snowfall fell across the village, Jack couldn't help but stop to pay his respects to the mosaic in the village square-- the generous king and queen of the kingdom with their long-lost daughter in their arms. Frozen fog left Jack's lips as he heaved a sigh for the missing princess.
"If only there was something I could do...", he murmured to himself, continuing with his work. A pang of pain hit his heart every time he laid eyes on that same mosaic each and every winter. It couldn't have been easy for the kindly royals, losing a child so instantly like that. The princess had only been a month old at the time of her disappearance. Just as the winter spirit pondered upon this, though, he came across a mysterious clearing he had never before noticed. Gliding down to the snowy ground, he circled the fresh meadow until he spied a strange curtain of leaves, the mask of a cave. Curious, the boy sneaked through to find an even greater clearing, lush with foliage and occupied with the gentle murmur of a grand waterfall. And in the center of it all stood a lonely, somber tower.
Jack cocked his head at the sight of the building, the steep point of it's roof scraping the hazy sky. Inching his way towards it, he suddenly heard a most beautiful sound wafting down from inside the fixture. The wind rustled the leaves as Jack floated up to the great window entrance of the tower, crouching on the threshold and silently creaking it's doors open to find the inside to be like that of a quaint cottage. A flash of unexplained familiarity struck the boy as he peered further inside. Waltzing from an archway beneath a set of spiraling steps came a young girl of about seven, stumbling to carry a steaming pie in her small hands, followed by a sinister woman draped in dark blue. The young girl's jade eyes lit up as she glanced at the window, seeing the gentle snowfall outside and, setting her food on the kitchen table, ran to lean out the window in admiration, her golden hair trailing behind her.
The woman, who could only be assumed as the young girl's mother, despite there being absolutely no resemblance between the two, gave a disapproving glare at the young girl as she followed her and closed the window, knocking the invisible teen off the threshold and into the open air. "Come, my flower. The chill of the outside world is no place for a delicate child like yourself", the woman's demeaning voice rang from inside. Jack grimaced at the woman's words and floated towards a narrow stained glass window nearby to peek through.
The outside world is no place for a delicate child like yourself? She looks perfectly healthy to me! Jack thought to himself, eyeing the strict woman as she watched her daughter eat. A sense of serious deja vu encumbered Jack as he watched the young girl, her face bright as the blueberries inside the pie stained her lips purple. Then it finally clicked.
With a gasp, Jack pushed himself away from the tower, losing his concentration and plumetting onto the hard ground. The big green eyes, the silky blonde hair, the innocent smile. She is the lost princess!
Pacing the winter terrain, Jack attempted to control himself, running a hand through his hair and breathing deep. "I found her. I can't believe I found her! This is huge!", he muttered to himself. He had to tell someone. It was his duty. He had found something precious that had been stolen. He was determined to get it back to where it belonged. It hadn't been the first time. And it wouldn't be the last. With great enthusiasm, Jack jolted from his place and darted off towards the kingdom, beaming with excitement at his discovery. But then came reality.
Stopping in his tracks, a frown painted his face. "But...how can I tell everyone I found the kingdom's lost princess...if nobody can ever see me?". Defeated, Jack floated down to perch himself on a tree branch, staring up at the sky for answers. "Why? Why would you do this to me? How can you put me in such a situation but hold me back like this? It isn't fair!". Jack sighed. He knew no matter how much he cursed and complained, the moon would never listen. Either way, Jack had made it his duty then and there to return the lost princess to her home. One way or another, he had to.
The cheery laughter of children painted the sky with joy as the young princess and the infant viking ran rampant through the meadow campsite. The gentle breeze whipped the flaps of the burlap tents, the adults seated at a great picnic table as their hearty laughter mingled with the giggles of their offspring. Toppling over one another, the young Scottish princess genuinely smiled at her viking friend.
"Hiccup! Maybe we'll see a will o' the wisp! Mummy says they lead you to your fate!", Merida gasped as she hopped from her spot and ran towards the woods, motioning the young boy to follow.
"I-I don't think we should go in there, Mera. Dad says there's dragons in the woods. I don't think I'm strong enough t-to fight a dragon", Hiccup stammered, hesitantly following his friend. Merida turned and rolled her eyes at the tot.
"Don't be such a baby, Hiccup! If you're afraid of a wee dragon, then away you go back to your mummy, you scunner!", Merida complained, turning to toddle off without him. Hiccup sighed.
"Wait! I'll go with you, I guess. But if we get killed--!", he started before the redhead interrupted him with a great gasp.
"I saw one! I saw a wisp!". And with that, the little princess grabbed the young viking's hand and ran with him deeper into the woods, smiling at her discovery, and followed the light of great blue wisp. Despite Merida's enthusiasm, though, the wee Hiccup was still not convinced. As the two ran, Merida suddenly stopped as a trail of azure lights appeared, illuminating a path deeper into the trampled part of the forest. "Isn't that the grandest ferlie you ever did see? Come along, Hiccup! Let's follow it!"
Collapsed upon the ground, Hiccup quickly resigned from the princess's plans. "How about let's not and say we did?". Again, Merida rolled her eyes, twirling to face the little viking, her fiery curls whipping at her face.
"Hoots mon! You're a bletherin' skite, Hiccup! Come on!", she moaned but stopped as soon as her crystal eyes noticed Hiccup staring at her in terror. Or, not exactly her but behind her. Slowly turning in her place, Merida slowly came to face to face with two large, angry green eyes. Frozen in fear, Hiccup snatched the princess by the wrist and sprinted as fast his short legs would take him until they reached the clearing, the joyous calm doing little to settle their nerves. The elegant Queen Elinor was the first to question the couple's exasperated faces, but before she could speak, there in at the outskirts of the forest stood a great, fierce dragon.
With wide eyes, King Fergus ran forward and scooped up the toddlers, the viking clans darting forward to slay the scaly beast. "Take the lambs far from here, love!", the king commanded his wife as he helped her load Merida and Hiccup onto Queen Elinor's steadfast mare. Elinor nodded, fright feeding her hazel eyes, as she hopped onto her horse's back and rode deeper into the forest, cradling the toddlers in her arms. Elinor darted onward until the sharp clashing of swords and the battle cries of men were drowned out by the pounding of steady hooves, Hiccup peering over the queen's shoulder to spy the last sight he'd ever see of his dear mother until the great branches of the trees blocked her from view...