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Hello! If you are here I presume it is because you have read or are reading my How to Train Your Dragon fanfiction Nightfall on fanfiction.net or Archive of Our Own.

If not, and you have stumbled across this journal by chance, and would like to read some How to Train Your Dragon fanfiction, here is the summary and two hyperlinks to the same story.

Canon-divergent: 20 years after Chief Stoick’s wife and son were lost in a dragon raid, the Vikings of Berk shoot down a Night Fury…and its rider, a feral youth who believes he is a dragon.

On Archive of Our Own: archiveofourown.org/works/1912…
On Fanfiction.net: www.fanfiction.net/s/10509381/…


Here is where you can find Nightfall-related media, namely the soundtrack, a fanart directory, and random trivia! I have posted this on deviantART for two main reasons: one, deviantART does not eat hyperlinks like some sites I could mention, and two, I can update it without having to reupload entire chapters.

Soundtrack

This is the order I like them in, and the order I listen to them in while I'm writing, but it's not the order they were suggested in. If I have moved your song of choice away from where you believe it belongs, I don't mind what order you put them in. All links are to YouTube and I have tried to connect you to videos with the lyrics included, in case you are like me and absolutely have to know the lyrics to any song you listen to.

1. Chapter One: Theme for 'Nightfall': "Skyfall" - Adele

2. Chapter Two: Castaways: "Long, Long Way from Home" - Foreigner

3. Chapter Four: Hiccup and Toothless: "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - The Hollies

4. Chapter Five: Hiccup and Astrid: "Myth" - Beach House

5. Chapter Seven: How To Train Your Dragon Boy: "Forbidden Friendship" - John Powell

6. Chapter Eight: Something Wrong Here: "The Battle of Endor, Part One" - John Williams

7. Chapter Nine: Valka: "Memories" - Within Temptation

8. Chapter Nine: Valka's Sons: "You'll Be in My Heart" - Phil Collins

9. Chapter Ten: Stoick Grieves: "End of All Hope" - Nightwish

10. Chapter Eleven: Flight in the Storm: "SkyWorld" - Two Steps from Hell

11. Chapter Eleven: Nightmare Summons: "Enter Sandman" - Metallica

12. Chapter Twelve: Astrid in Battle: "Vox Populi" - Thirty Seconds to Mars

13. Chapter Thirteen: This is Who We Are: "I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme)" - John Rzeznik

14. Chapter Thirteen: Leaving Tonight: "Bernini's Angels" - Kerry Muzzey

15. Chapter Fourteen: Up to the Dragons' Den: "Heart of Courage" - Two Steps from Hell

16. Chapter Fifteen: Death of Dragons: "I See Fire" - Ed Sheeran (Peter Hollen's cover version is also excellent)

17. Chapter Fifteen: Escape from the Lair: "Juggernaut" - Two Steps from Hell

18. Chapter Sixteen: The Edge of a Knife: "Run Boy Run" - Woodkid

19. Chapter Seventeen: To the Sanctuary: "Reignite" - Malukah

20. Chapter Seventeen: Coming Home: "After the Storm" - Mumford and Sons

21. Chapter Seventeen: One of the Flock/The Storytellers: "Qui de nous deux" - M/Mathieu Chedid

22. Chapter Seventeen: We Have to Go Back: "Bones" - MsMr

23. Chapter Seventeen: The Trap Breakers: "Dreams" - Van Halen

24. Chapter Seventeen: Against a Monster: "Hearts on Fire" - John Cafferty

25. Chapter Eighteen: Use What We Have: "Land of Confusion" - Genesis

26. Chapter Nineteen: Crusade: "Ride of the Valkyries" - Richard Wagner

27. Chapter Nineteen: Battle in the Volcano: "Through the Fire and Flames" - Dragonforce

28. Chapter Twenty: The Raid Goes Wrong: "We Want Glory Freedom" - Instrumental Core

29. Chapter Twenty: End of the War: "This is War" - Thirty Seconds to Mars

30. Chapter Twenty: Stoick and Cloudjumper: "Things We Lost in the Fire" - Bastille

31. Chapter Twenty: Dragonheart: "Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)" - King Kobra

32. Chapter Twenty: Victory: "Wanderlust" - Nightwish

33. Chapter Twenty-One: The Compromise: "Two Worlds" - Phil Collins

34. Chapter Twenty-One: Fly With Us: "Electric Daisy Violin" - Lindsey Stirling

35. Chapter Twenty-One: Freedom of the Skies: "Where No One Goes" - John Powell & Jonsi

Thank you to Pyrophoricity, Malik the Night Angel, Fireball the golden Night Fury, SkySorrow, Adm. J. Kirk McGill, Queen Jellybean, Storylover Vodhr- Dux Ducis, and my brother for recommending songs to me! I can always add more to this list if you tell me about a song and where it could go - and if I agree with it.

Fanart:

1. "
Dragon Boy" by SlateDragon at slatedragon.deviantart.com/art…

2. Feral child by Tithenannisss at boobchicken.tumblr.com/post/91…

3. Astrid covered in Terrible Terrors by drive-by anon at i.imgur.com/Q3pf1sL.png

4. Clever paws/human hands by Shrinking Riot/IOU_Superglue at turbulentwavesofasians.tumblr.…

5. "Nightfall" by Rchavakiah/australet789 at australet789.deviantart.com/ar…

6. "Before the Nightfall" by VixenSkywalker at vixenskywalker.deviantart.com/…

7. "Nightfall" by bedupolker at bedupolker.deviantart.com/art/…

I've never had fanart for any of my stories before! I was so excited that I had to run and text my best friend about it. Thank you all very much indeed! This section will soon include cosplay, as I have been working on a functional real-world replica of Hiccup's dragon-scale and leather 'skins'.

Things I Know About Nightfall that You Possibly Don't (but that Do Contain Spoilers):

1. Nightfall had two working titles for a couple of hours, "The Island Book" and "How to Train Your Dragon Boy", both obviously based on the main influences. Mercifully, I changed the title after a quick trawl through my screensaver file, where an image called "At Nightfall" caught my attention. I didn't even look at it too closely once I had registered the word, but now that I have looked at it again and tracked it down, it turns out that the original artist had just called it "Nightfall".

2. In my imagination the voice of the Bewilderbeast is played by the incomparable Sir Patrick Stewart. Because who's your voice of command?

3. In chapter 10, the twins 'sneak' around the village in a very conspicuous way. There was no possible way I could incorporate the infamous "Mission: Impossible" theme music, but that is what you should be hearing as they 'sneak'. As that's an inside joke, it didn't make it into the soundtrack.

4. The lead trapper in Valka's flashback chapter is indeed Eret-father-of-Eret.

5. The emphasis on the nest of the Red Death/Queen as an active volcano was inspired by one of my favorite quotes of all time: "She, they, all his allies were wiped out when the volcano exploded. The rebels won. It's a story with a clear moral: don't be such a psycho." ~ "Or if you are, then don't build your palace on an active volcano." ...It's from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor novel Father Time, and a fantastic moral, too.

6. Everyone's favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe trickster-villain managed to sneak into the edges of the story several time under the excuse of legitimately being a Norse god, despite my repeated threats to sic the Avengers - or possibly the scary fangirls - on him if he didn't go play with someone else who has time for his games.

7. Hiccup's war paint in chapters 17, 19, and 20, at least when applied to him, is blatantly stolen from San's in Princess Mononoke/Mononoke-hime.

8. While I'm admitting to cribbed ideas, dragons bringing Valka a beehive - with bees still in it! - was inspired by a similar scene in C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew.

9. In case you were imagining soft white sand and palm trees, the shoreline/beach that Hiccup and Toothless camp out on closely resembles the shoreline of Newfoundland. Here are many pictures of that area that are not mine and were taken by someone whose blog I randomly found on the Internet.

10. Gobber's accent - at least the way I write it - does not actually belong to him. I'm a lifelong Star Trek fan. I'm writing Scotty, who Trek authors have been figuring out how to write for decades now.

11. The blue glass Astrid brings for Hiccup to play with in chapter seven is probably a larger version of my blue-crystal necklace that I've been wearing for years.

12. Hiccup's 'colors' are real existing varieties of iron ochre, which comes in red, purple, brown, and yellow; many European cave paintings are primarily iron ochre. His source of black is simply charcoal; of white, chalk.

13. Throwing the twins in the well is borrowed from Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series; plant mage Rosethorn is always threatening to hang her student Briar (and later his student Evvy) in the well if he doesn't behave, although I don't believe she ever actually gets to.

14. I slipped R.A. Heinlein's truism "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" (often rendered TANSTAAFL) into Chapter Ten.

15. The st-t-t-t-t-t sound that Hiccup uses in both Stoick's name and Astrid's is pronounced much like the distinctive sound of a rattlesnake's rattle.

16. Initially I wasn't going to write the dragon-battle between Hiccup's flock led by the Bewilderbeast vs. the Red Death/Queen - they were going to turn up on Berk in the middle of a raid and surprise everyone, including the reader, with the news - but I had so much fun writing the first confrontation between her and Hiccup and Toothless that I was confident I could come back and do it again. Also, that would have let a bunch of people down. So I'm glad I changed my mind.

17. One of my favorite scenes of the story - that Toothless knows Hiccup was born human, that he has always known, and that he doesn't care - I swear Astrid thought of first. I wrote down the thought she was having that Toothless must know, and only a few paragraphs later went back and reread that and went "oh, oh, oh, I have to do something with that..."

And:

Thanks, Raberba girl.

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:icondarktail123:
darktail123 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014
I also just finished Nightfall -- and it is in fact the first HTTYD Fanfic I've ever read, and I think it has ruined any other fic for me. I immediately began looking through other fics, trying to find one that sounded like it would be both interesting, and even half as well written; I couldn't find a single one where I wasn't immediately turned off by Hiccup being so different from your world.

The sad part of Fanfics is that they are not an "Official" Universe with massive exposure to the outside world--so unless something magical happens (if you're into the fandom, then think of the Fall Out Equestria universe as the only example I can think of where a Fanfic universe became so big and popular that you could always find fresh perspectives and outlooks on it), no one else is going to write about those characters or that world in a similar way.

So I mean this in the best possible way when I say that your story being finished has left me semi-depressed. It was a world I became involved in so much that I miss being able to go back to it and find something new--as I did with each successive chapter. I don't have a bad life, and I'm not actually depressed in real life, but I crave the opportunity to visit your world for a while, rather than be stuck in this one where it's a small variation of the same thing day after day. In essence, it takes me waay back to my Jr. Highschool days when I *was* close to depression, and desperately wanted to escape into some fantastical world I was reading where I could be different. Except you're not an escape for a depressed teen going through hormones--your story was an escape from a pretty good adult life, which is much more impressive.

All that being said, I loved the world building you did to add to the already established universe; I loved the character interaction because based only on what I know from the movies (having not read the books) it seems so completely believable for the characters. Uh St-t-t-t-TT is a great part of every chapter she's in. And most importantly--I never got tired of the incredibly unique and creative perspective you gave us of Hiccup and Toothless interacting with their world.

In all honesty, I want more--I may be happy with the ending, but the story just isn't *enough* for me, and I again mean that in the best possible way. You say you're considering one-shots--and I will be happy to receive those, but I would LOVE slightly longer stories involving adventures earlier in the life of Tt-(click)-th-puh-ss, and also later on with their interactions with other vikings and new dragons.

At this point I'm both babbling and losing my train of thought, assuming it ever existed, so I'll end with this. If you aren't proud of your writing, you really should be. It's great (for whatever that useless descriptor means), it's alive, and it's both entertaining and sensible. And I created this account ages ago, and another one before that, but have never commented on a work before--I am now. Please keep up your great work.
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:iconle-letha:
le-letha Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
darktail123, hello and thank you! I feel very honored by your comments, and I have in fact been reading and rereading them and doing my very best to purr. I'm having to do a lot of pretending, but I'm purring in spirit, and that will have to do. If I had three wishes I would grant humans the ability to purr, because it would greatly improve the species. "Nightfall" is my baby and the creative piece I'm most proud of - so far, I hope - and hearing that someone enjoyed reading it means more than I can say. I too know the infinite relief of escaping from real life into the life-preserver of fiction: that was my junior high and high school experience too. Never without a book or three, and much happier reading than paying attention to other student-type people. I am touched beyond words that "Nightfall" could do that for you!

At the risk of sounding arrogant, "Nightfall" is not like most HTTYD fanfics, which I must say run heavily to romance. I don't find that as interesting as exploring could-have-beens and getting into worldbuilding, character psychology, animal behavior, and language and communication issues, which is part of why "Nightfall" is the way it is. ...There are also a lot of Incompetent Teenage Fanwriters in the fandom, which is not necessarily a criticism: I was an Incompetent Teenage Fanwriter for a while, but I'm happy to say I grew out of the first two. Fortunately the HTTYD movie universe is so well put together and solid, not to mention fun to explore, that we have a good chance of attracting some great stories.

The books, now that you mention them, are so completely different that for most of the first book I was convinced this was an elaborate prank, because there was no way that the diamond-flawless movie I had just seen - and re-seen, and re-re-seen, and forced everyone I could get my hands on to see - could have come out of this book. Some of the names are the same, and there are dragons, but that's about it. Read tolerantly. The books did not influence "Nightfall" except that I dubbed the way the dragons talk 'dragonish' or sometimes 'dragon-speak' and told anyone who asked that Cressida Cowell already had dibs on 'Dragonese'. But that 'language' is nothing like the dragonish of "Nightfall".

In passing, before I stop and actually talk about "Nightfall", I am not familiar with the Fall Out Equestria universe, but I have a lot of respect for the MLP fandom in part because they defy logic so outrageously. All the math says the MLP fandom should not work. That was another case where I was *convinced* the fandom consisted entirely of guys who were out to troll the Internet by insisting that this cutesy girly show with magic ponies was the "Best Thing Ever, Dude...Seriously..." But no. I have been forced to admit that it is not. Although that would have been mildly hilarious. "Nightfall" is exponentially more popular than anything else I've ever written, but it's not quite that viral. If you know any other HTTYD fans who might be open to reading fanfic, though, please pass the word along!

I am pleased that "Nightfall" seems capable of standing up as a credible alternative to the movie, and that it's been able to convince readers that this would be what would change and would then happen if I just moved one baby. ...All right, technically I moved baby Toothless, too, but we know so little about what happened to him before the events of the first movie that that barely counts. Writing that dragonish feral-child perspective, figuring out how he might think and what he might be capable of inventing and developing on his own, balancing what I know about real-life cases against the variable that feral-dragon-Hiccup wasn't neglected but was raised with love and goodwill and as much intellectual stimulation as his adoptive family was capable of - it was all TONS of fun and I'm looking forward to doing it again. As a life-long sci-fi fan across many formats, inventing a believable 'alien', which feral-dragon-boy Hiccup very much is, is the gold star and the brass ring all together.

A lot of things just fell together on their own - if you look at the publication date range for "Nightfall", I think it's about 40 days. I could not stop writing and the fact that I passed the summer class I was in at the same time is entirely due to the fact that the major grade was a group project and my group was very tolerant of my "Can't program! Gotta write! ...if you guys do it I'll bring snacks and do the presentation!" attitude. Somewhere in I think chapter seventeen Toothless conceives of a physical cramp as "a coal in the wing that *burns* until it can be stretched away". "Nightfall" was a coal in the *mind*, and did I ever burn.

Astrid - I love that you mention her specifically - is surprisingly fun to write. There's a lot going on in her head, and I discovered that we have a lot more in common than I thought. Her character development over the course of the plot came straight from her, I just wrote it down.

My fall semester is almost over, and my master's degree program with it (!) so I hope to write at least one of the oneshots I have in mind very soon. I really can't promise how long they'll be, but there really is a lot to explore in growing-up-in-the-nest flashbacks and the inevitable culture clash of 'what happens next'. If a story grows and flourishes on its own I'll let it run. And I've never been able to write SHORT short stories; my oneshots run to seven or eight thousand words and upwards.

But I do have more "Nightfall" stories to tell, and I look forward to doing so. I have gotten to write to so many fantastic people because of this story - you included! Thank you again, ad infinitum.

Le'letha
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:icondarktail123:
darktail123 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
I just wanted to add, you seem like a very happy person--because even through text, it is positively infectious. I've been smiling like an idiot almost since the first line of your response--definitely purring. Combined with your author profile on FFnet, I would be dragging you to hang out at the comic shop or watch Star Trek (The Next Generation is my favorite Trek series) whenever we had free time if it didn't sound like we were on opposite ends of the US--since I've only recently finished growing my winter coat up here in The Last Frontier, it sounds like you're in the Lone Star State.

Thank you, again, for sharing your writing with us. And congratulations on your Master's degree; I'm approaching the end of my own Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and at this point I couldn't even dream of going to school for a couple more years to get my Master's--that's some amazing dedication. Stay safe, warm, and happy down there.

-James
Reply
:iconle-letha:
le-letha Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I get passionate (a.k.a. obessive) about things, and then I'm very happy to be talking or thinking about them. Put me in a situation I'm not as interested in - drag me shoe shopping, force me to sit through a movie I don't like, subject me to crowds - and you'd see a whole different side to me...for exactly as long as it took me to vanish discreetly doing my best ears-back-unhappy-cat slinking away impression.

You are correct: greetings from this sunny madhouse called Texas! Wow, we really are some distance away, and I think that's a shame too. I would love to hang out in nerdy place and bookstores and watch Star Trek with you. We'd have lots to talk about! I never get tired of Next Gen, but right now I'm in the middle of re-watching "Voyager", which holds a special place in my heart despite its admitted flaws. We've all got our lumps. 

Grad school is a lot of work, but I figured it would be easier to go straight from one program into another and not lose those schoolwork skills and habits rather than trying to find something to do with a psychology degree that basically qualified me to go back to school anyway. So far all I've really done with all that child psych knowledge is write "Nightfall"! Even though my current degree (library/information science) has very little to do with my undergraduate one, I'm glad I went for it.

You stay warm too! I can't imagine...I'm fine with the hundred-plus degree summers down here, but I wouldn't last five minutes in an Alaska winter. Good luck with your classes!

Le'letha
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:iconcrhisahoa:
CrhisaHoa Featured By Owner Edited Oct 19, 2014
I just finished Nightfall - one of the best HTTYD fics I've had the utmost pleasure to read! Actually, probably THE best! I simply loved everything about it, the realism and the dragon-speak and the contrast of sharp intelligence and sheer ferality of Hiccup and Toothless was completely, utterly captivating. That you unflinchingly displayed an impossibly deep, loving relationship with so much physical affection and interaction without a hint of sexuality - you have my greatest appreciation and most avid applause, because not only is that rarity to find in fanfiction let alone published fiction, but I think it can be incredibly difficult to convey such a strong non-romantic relationship like Tt-(click)-th-puh-ss on the level that you did. And the wildness of them - it was masterfully done, a perfect mix of intelligence and sapience and logic inextricably entangled and entwined with the mind and heart and temperament of not just feral creatures, but born and raised predators through-and-through. The way they view and process the world and happenings around them is so very different, so very alien yet at the same time so eerily logical, so incredibly relatable, it's easy to see how and why they think and react the way they do, and I was able to empathize and sympathize with them even when I knew very well what they were missing BECAUSE of their radically different perspective.
... I don't suppose you had/have access to any reference material for any of it (or all of the above) that you'd be willing to share? *Gives Tt-th-ss-hatchling eyes pleading you pleading yes happy yes curious hopeful love love love*

... Ok, gushing concluded.

*WARNING: IMPENDING GEEK-OUT AHEAD*

Also, as an avid world-builder and conlanger myself, I just HAVE to ask - what was your basis for the grammar/vocabulary/sounds/meaning of the dragon-speech? Were there particular reasons for why any one part was THIS way and not THAT way? Because it's ingenious and like nothing I've seen/read before, and actually echoes some linguistic/cultural ideas I've been batting around myself, and I must admit it's started giving me MORE ideas - well, more like rough concepts at the moment - and any nuggets of sourcing material or founding inspiration you'd be willing to offer will result in many purrs and cuddles and croons  and lovelovelove <3

ANYWAY, all the nerdiness aside - I hope I've conveyed how completely and utterly IN LOVE I am with Nightfall and its world and its dragons and especially with Tt-(click)-th-puh-ss (also, YES I've totally been trying to pronounce that, haha), and if you ever have a whim to write more in this most wonderful and beloved 'verse you've created, I shall be first in line to cheer you on =D Wonderful, WONDERFUL story, and thank you SO MUCH for writing it and putting so much thought and time and imagination into it! <333333

[EDIT/P.S.] I absolutely -adored- the twins and their 'role' in the village. Throwing them down the well? Genius. Pure genius.
Reply
:iconle-letha:
le-letha Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
(purring)

First I'd just like to say that I LOVE IT when people write to me in dragonish/dragon-speak, because that means I've done something so right that other people beyond me can use it.

Secondly, thank you so very much! dA defaults to removing messages once a reply is written, but I am going to keep this in my inbox to reread and smile at. I loved writing "Nightfall" and I actually am kicking around ideas and an outline for the first (of hopefully several) oneshot set in the same universe, inspired by something two seperate people mentioned as something they were curious about. I don't know when I'm going to get the chance to write it, as I'm currently engaged in trying to make feral-dragon-boy-Hiccup's dragon 'skins' as a costume of my own and it's going to take a lot of work, but I have several scenes I want to stick in there.

I did try really, really hard to have their relationship be physically touchy, but not sexual. Hiccup and Toothless don't NEED it - they don't see themselves as seperate people. It would add nothing to their relationship. And there are good physio-psychological bases for the idea of a sexually inactive feral twenty-year-old - anorexic preteen girls and some young gymnasts don't start their periods or have them stop because their bodies tally things up and say 'nope, can't afford it', and Hiccup's nutritional intake and general lifestyle are survivable but so out of whack from human-normal that the proper wiring in his brain and body may not be there at all. He certainly can't see Astrid that way, which is one of the many reasons why this story didn't turn into a Tarzan-Jane type romance. Also, that wouldn't have been in character and it wasn't what I was interested in writing. That's out there, but "Nightfall" is not that. And writing the bond between Hiccup and Toothless, Tt-(click)-th-phuh-ss, was a delight and a joy - "a goodness".

If you're trying to pronounce the clicking noise Hiccup uses for some sounds, it's very guttural and far back in the throat, sometimes almost a choking noise. I recommend looking up recordings of the !Kung family of languages - it can be made by a human throat! But any approximation you can do is probably close. The "phuh" noise is almost a huff with the popped "p" at the beginning, if you can combine the two. Babies are little sponges for language and learning and a six-month-old exposed to a new range of sounds would absolutely imitate and adopt them, and sounds that aren't used or that they aren't exposed to do fade away and are lost... I was amazed how much vocabulary it messed up to take away sounds like the g, the v, and the l.

You asked about research and influences...let me see. First: child psychology. Any recent good textbook on that is always a great place to start, because small children do not think like adults and it's good to understand those differences. Child/developmental psych was my undergraduate major, and I only graduated a year and a half ago, so all that was very much in the forefront of my mind as I developed Hiccup's behavior. There are real cases of feral/critically neglected children: the "Genie" case is well-documented and heartbreaking. Look her up, but you're going to want to strangle someone afterwards. There's also an older case - try the keywords "Victor of Avignon" - of a closer-to-this-story wild child, but it's not nearly as well-documented because of its age. There are other real-world cases, but those are the two I know. While Hiccup was in a better situation than Genie because he was loved, never once doubted that he as loved, and he was given as much opportunity as possible in that environment to learn and grow, I got quite a lot of his avoidance behavior from video recordings of her. Also, there is loads of research on apes who have been taught sign language and raised by humans - dragonish reads like transcripts of apes signing, I realized long after I had started writing it. I believe I once read an account of a gorilla female who knew sign and had lived with humans all her life, and when given a stack of pictures of humans and pictures of gorillas, accurately sorted them - but consistently put her own picture in the 'human' pile. Identity is mental.

In fiction...there's a novel called "Hellspark" that I have been pushing on people for probably almost ten years now. The author is Janet Kagan, and her ability to build language, customs, and culture I consider to be just about unmatched. While almost all of her characters in "Hellspark" are human, their cultures have developed so differently as to be incredibly alien to one another. (My favorite variation is the woman from a culture where feet are indecent, so she can't get along with the woman who insists on wearing sandals and painting her toenails, and curses by deliberately stomping around and shouting "Feet! Heel. Sole. Toes - with red toenail polish!" If you are frustrated and in public, imitating this rant will get you stared at in a most amusing and frustration-relieving manner. This is a true story.) If you're willing to read "Star Trek", Kagan's novel "Uhura's Song" hides excellent world-building under a horrible cover, title, and summary. Also, realistic alien cat-people. Yessss.... Stephen Baxter's novel "Evolution" includes several pre- or developing-human cultures and forms of communication that resemble "Nightfall"s dragonish, and is just a darn good read. And, of course, there's Jean Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear", and at the very least its sequel "The Valley of Horses", which will absolutely sell you on the idea of a nonverbal language.

By and large I made up the dragonish from scratch and it's largely stream of consciousness with repetition for emphasis and then some scrambling to get rid of as much artificial structure carrying over from my native English as I could. Dragonish is based on empathy and observation. A lot of it is nonverbal - "trust" in dragonish is not a sound, it's a posture, flat on your back with your 'paws' over your head and your chin up, leaving all your soft bits vulnerable, which says 'I trust you not to hurt me even with this very easy target' - and it doesn't add vocabulary easily, because while you can invent a sound or a gesture for something, no one else will know what you mean until you tell or show them, like the children's book "Frindle" in which a couple of kids decide to invent the word "frindle", which just means "pen", and get the word into circulation. "This" is a useful shortcut in dragonish because it's just an indication, with nose or paw or line-of-sight, towards the thing in question. There's a lot of mimicry and modeling, so when Hiccup tries to ask Toothless to bite off his 'human paws', every "bite!" is him snapping his teeth as an example. Toothless himself is a great model - he's not putting together sentences, but he's having thoughts and ideas and emotions, and that's readable. One thing I tried was rewatching the first movie (that's the only one I have on DVD) and narrating his movements as I watched. And then I 'danced' out a lot of the dragonish dialogue, either in my head or in full-scale (meaning I could only write those chapters at home). There's also a lot of cats. I like cats. I don't speak cat the way Hiccup speaks dragon, but I get cats. I fell in love with Toothless the instant he started displaying feline body language: near-or-at-human-intelligence dragon who acts like a cat? Gimme. NOW.

...the twins are just fun to write. This is my description of them from my notes, for your reading pleasure: 'Some characters are not firing on all thrusters; the twins have too many thrusters and they fire ALL THE TIME. They have no brain-to-mouth filter, they live in an extended present where consequences happen to other people, and they're a ready-made positive feedback loop. Their logic does not resemble our Earth logic. They’re instant comedy.' I love 'em.

I'm really happy to talk about "Nightfall" at length, as you can see. I'm a huge sci-fi fan and one of the big goals of good sci-fi is to invent believable nonhuman intelligences. The way you describe your perception of the dragons of "Nightfall" and Hiccup and Toothless in particular makes me purr, because that to me says I've taken a credible shot at that goal. So thank you very, very much.

Le'letha
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JeskaGrace Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014
Just finished reading Nightfall, and it's easier to comment here than there.

Brilliant. I don't often go back to fics if they're incomplete when I first stumble across them, but I just had to read the rest.
I love how you write Toothless and Hiccup (tt-(click)-th-puh-sss, sorry). So often dragons and other not-quite-humans are either indistinguishable from humans, or basically just dogs or cats. But those two are both endlessly different from humans, while still being cunning and intelligent. Well done.
Astrid's efforts to communicate, and seeing that from both sides, was another favourite. It looks like one thing from Hiccup's view, and a completely different from Astrid's, while still being recognisable as the same events.
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le-letha Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem, everyone has their favorite platform.

And thank you! I must admit, though, I did base much of their behavior towards Astrid on cats, specifically the feral ones that live around my apartment complex and give me wary looks that seem to mean "I know who you are, and you don't chase me, but...if you take one more step towards me I'm gone." And the fact that they can reason but they don't put sentences together. But I did try to interleave some other behavior patterns in there, and coming up with something intelligent but nonhuman was a lot of fun. I read a lot of sci-fi, and good sci-fi has been trying to come up with believeable alien intelligences for a very long time. (While I also watch a lot of sci-fi, TV and movie sci-fi are a few steps behind in that regard, usually for budget or viewer-attention-span reasons.) I just had a bit of a head start because the movies had done so much of it for me already! And yes, a lot of potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation between human POVs and dragon POVs, which was one of the reasons I liked writing in both perspectives so much. While I was tempted to do the whole story in dragonish for a very brief time - and I think that was probably my cue to pack up and go to bed for the night - I knew it wouldn't work nearly as well that way.

Thanks very much for reading, and for letting me know that you liked it! I have put a lot of work into this story, so that really means a lot to me.

Le'letha
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ShyForever Featured By Owner Edited Aug 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really loved Nightfall, it was awesome.

I have yet to review the last chapter because FF.net is being a dough bag and says I already reviewed it; it just peeves me off. So I'll probably end up reading it with the music and reviewing the last chapter as a guest. ^^; 

Love all the fan-art, I'll probably end up submitting some later but as of now I'm still getting used to my tablet and stuff. So that may take awhile...probably two months, especially because of school coming into my life and me finding a part-time job to support these hospital bills my family has to pay. :| 

I loved the pictures you based Toothless' and Hiccup's camp off of. It's so beautiful and now I can just see them in that area. It's sweet! I wanna go to that location one day. :)

Also, beautiful music! You have no idea how happy I was when I saw 'Nightwish', 'Malukah' and 'Lindsey Stirling'! And not to mention John Powell [it's sad, I heard he's retiring!] and Jonsi.  

They're amazing music artists! I especially love Nightwish; the song piece that I love the most from Nightwish is called 'Taikatalvi' [The Magic of Winter] is amazing and so beautiful. I want to sing it as a lullaby so much, and I'm not that great at singing but I think the song is so calming. It's such a beautiful Finnish song. :heart: 

But, for a total rating of your fanfic I'm giving it a 10.5/10! I loved it so much! I love when people add soundtracks to their fics. (: Nightfall was beautiful! Fantastic job! :clap:     
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le-letha Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very, very much! (bows gratefully) And don't worry about ff-dot-net, they have issues sometimes. Their latest trick is to stop sending me notifications after 9 PM my time, which is very annoying when I'm trying to carry on a conversation with someone.

Almost all the music in this soundtrack is new to me, actually - most of it was recommended to me. I put on a few songs, including the John Powell/Jonsi "Where No One Goes" but all the artists you mentioned are newcomers in my life and awareness. (Is he really retiring? Isn't he going to do the third movie too? How can he abandon us like this!?) Now that I've encountered them, though, I really do like them! Malukah has a gorgeous voice, and that Lindsey Stirling can not only play the violin but dance too...! I'm really pleased with all the free music on YouTube. I haven't heard that particular Nightwish song, but now I want to go look it up.

They are really beautiful landscapes, although probably colder than I'm comfortable with. I'm from that big ol' oven called Texas...anything that requires long sleeves is too cold for me, but I can walk across town in 100-degree F weather on a regular basis! Newfoundland has some very, very pretty shorelines though, that's for sure, and I kept those images around to fight the lazy part of my brain that went "picture postcard!"

Fanart would be simply lovely no matter when you get time to do it. I wish I could draw, I do. One day I hope to have time to learn.

Good luck with the upcoming semester, and with that job! And good for you for going out and getting it.

Le'letha
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