Frozen 2: Ice Cold Vendetta
Frozen 2: Ice Cold Vendetta
By Budgie Bigelow
Olaf walked through the halls of Castle Arendelle long after everyone had gone to sleep. He felt it was unnecessary to sleep during such a beautiful night. Since Olaf was a living snowman created by the magic of Queen Elsa, he did not have any need for sleep anyway. He looked out the window into the cool autumn night, and wished the others were awake to see how beautiful the stars looked in the sky.
“I cannot wait until morning,” Olaf said to the deserted hallway. “The warm morning sun will warm my chilly bones… If only I had any bones!” He chuckled to himself. He stayed cool thanks to the small cloud that gave him a flurry of snow that magically kept him alive even during the long, hot weather that fell upon Arendelle following what the people had dubbed the Frozen Summer.
Something made Olaf stop in his tracks. He felt warmth deep inside him, spreading throughout. He knew what it was to feel warm, and it was dangerous for a short, deformed man made of nothing but snow, some coal, sticks, and a bulbous carrot nose. He turned around to see someone standing in the hallway, facing him.
“You?!” Olaf asked, scared. “Why is it you?”
Olaf never got an answer to his question. He just stood stupidly, watching the figure down the hall as he melted into a dark puddle on the navy blue carpet.
Kristoff awoke from a deep sleep. He could not remember the last time he slept so well. He turned in the big castle bed to see the reason why he slept like the dead. Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, slept beside him. Her naked body was covered in a thin layer of frost like the bark of a tree when winter is near. He reached out, touching the cold back of his Queen and relishing the feel of the cold spreading from his fingers and into his arm. He left two long lines in the frost that covered her back.
He had not meant for the tryst to happen, but he was caught off guard the night before. He was walking through the castle looking for Anna, but he was told she was attending to some princess duty or another. It had been like that since the day he professed his love for her after the Frozen Summer, and she had her sister make him the Official Ice Master for all of Arendelle. Little did he know, this position had very little responsibility other than waiting around the castle for Anna to be with him.
Being with Anna was fun at first. He did believe he loved her for most of the time they were together. They would spent late mornings, together in her lush bedroom, and they would spend hours by the shores of the fjord, watching the clouds float by. Sooner rather than later, Kristoff discovered that Anna was exactly what he thought the first time they had met: a silly little girl.
Kristoff longed to be back among the ice and cold of the mountains and forests. He had a brand new sled, but he had only taken it over the mountains once. Upon his return, Anna seemed so distraught by his absence that she cried in his arms for nearly two days.
It appeared that being with a princess meant that your life would be squandered away being wasted by annoying little whims.
The Kingdom expected them to marry. Kristoff knew this, but he could not stomach the thought of it. They should have been married before he bedded her, but it was a little too late to worry about that now. Instead of proposing their marriage, Kristoff fantasized about starting his life on his own once more, his only companion his reindeer, Sven. He was actually grateful that Anna wasn’t around when he ran into Elsa the night before.
“Oh,” Elsa said, turning when Kristoff left the castle, entering the large courtyard in the back of Castle Arendelle. “You startled me.”
Elsa was building massive ice sculptures with her bare hands and ice powers. There were large angels and majestic horses all over the place. With a wave of her hand, the sculptures faded and evaporated into the sky.
“You did not have to do that,” Kristoff said. “They were beautiful.”
Elsa smiled. “I always loved the way you look at my ice,” she said. “I do not think anyone appreciates it like you do, Kristoff.” She waved her hand once more, creating a life-size angel in front of her. “I must do this every now and then to keep the ice from building up inside me. It is akin to one running up rocky hills to keep his legs limber and strong.”
Kristoff walked to the angel and touched its cold face with his hand. “I do not even have the words for beauty such as this,” he said, turning towards Elsa. “Does making the ice mean you have to tap into your fear and insecurities?”
“I am feared by my people,” Elsa said, approaching Kristoff. The moonlight shone off her pale hair. “Do not try to deny it to make me feel better. They accepted me after everything that had happened during the Frozen Summer, but I can still hear the whispers. They respect my rule out of fear, but Arendelle will never truly feel free with me as its Queen.”
“They have nothing to fear,” Kristoff said.
“Truly nothing?” Elsa asked. She raised her hand once more, and the ice angel twisted, turning into a demon with large claws and spikes down its back. “I can give this horrid creature life as I have before. Why would the people of Arendelle not fear a person who could do this?”
“Your love,” Kristoff said, approaching Elsa. “I saw what your love for your sister can do. It melted the ice that encased the entire fjord.”
Elsa put her hand down, and the ice-demon melted and evaporated into the night. “Anna does not seem to be here tonight,” she said. “Why do you stay about the castle? Why not spend a night in the forest?”
“I cannot wander too far,” Kristoff said. “The Princess of Arendelle may have need for me.”
“I can tell that you do not wish to be here,” Elsa said. “Not all alone anyway.” She walked up to Kristoff and put her hand on his cheek. It was cold and Kristoff enjoyed the feel of it. He had never felt anything so wonderful in his life.
“I will not shiver at your touch,” Kristoff said. “I was born among the ice, and I will die among it.”
“And between your birth and death?” Elsa asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I will make love among the ice,” Kristoff said, taking Elsa in his arms and kissing her fiercely. He thought she’d resist him, but she did not. She moved her body against his, kissing him as fiercely as he had her. The two were in her bed chamber only minutes later, continuing what they had started in the courtyard.
Kristoff tried to unzip Elsa’s light blue gown, but she backed up smiling. “It is only frost,” she said, moving her hands in a downward motion. Her dress evaporated as her ice sculptures had. Kristoff observed her naked body in the low light if Elsa’s bed chamber for only a moment before they were locked together once more.
Elsa reached down as Kristoff’s pants fell, lightly touching his hardening manhood. He shivered as she urged a little coldness from her fingertips. “I knew I could get you to shiver,” Elsa said, pushing Kristoff onto her bed and climbing on top of him.
The two made love in a slow yet steady rhythm for the better part of an hour. Kristoff noticed how Elsa’s body grew warmer as they did their act with only the moonlight coming through the large windows to illuminate them. The climaxed together and collapsed into each others’ arms when the act was complete, their lips meeting once more. For the first time since he could remember, Kristoff felt as if here on the mountains once again.
Now it was morning, and Elsa stirred at Kristoff’s touch on her back. She turned to look at him. He thought she was just as beautiful as when he took her the night before. “This was a mistake,” she said. “We cannot let Anna know.”
“I had not planned this,” Kristoff said. “None of this was expected.”
“No,” Elsa agreed. “I longed for a man who would love my ice and not fear my power, but I never expected to find that in my sister’s lover.”
Kristoff wanted to say more, but there was a loud bang on the door. Elsa covered herself in a light blue robe of frost while Kristoff hastily put on his pants and shirt. “Enter!” Elsa summoned once they were dressed. Her councilman, Kai, entered. He looked shocked at what he saw, but he composed himself nevertheless. Kristoff wished that Elsa gave him a moment to hide.
“You need to come with me at once, my Queen,” Kai said. “Kristoff as well.”
“What is the matter?” Kristoff asked.
“It is better if you saw,” Kai said. “Please come with me.”
Elsa stopped when she saw where Kai was leading her. The darkness on the carpet told her the water had hours to be soaked up. The carrot, sticks, and coal in the middle of the dark puddle told her they had come across what had once been Olaf, the magical snowman she had brought to life herself.
“Olaf,” Kristoff said softly, backing up. Elsa wondered if he feared stepping in the puddle and hurting the gentle snowman further, but she knew the truth. Olaf was dead.
“Poor Olaf,” Elsa said, aware that frost was beginning to form on the walls around her. She did not care. Let the others see that she was upset about this.
“Can you fix him?” Kristoff asked. “Can you turn the water back into snow?”
Elsa lifted her hand. She knew she’d be able to reconstruct Olaf’s body easily enough, but she was still unsure how she was able to give life to her creations. The water on the floor solidified, swirled, and turned into snow. The ice crystals then reformed in the shape of Olaf’s oblong body. Al of his various pieces fell into place as well.
“Olaf!” Kristoff shouted, kneeling by his friend. “What happened?”
Olaf did not speak. He just stared at something that was not there.”
“Olaf?” Kristoff asked. “Say something, buddy.”
The silence was heavy in the room.
“What is wrong with him?” Kristoff asked, turning to Elsa. “Why can he not speak?”
Elsa waved her hand once more, turning the unmoving form of Olaf into nothing. “I am the master of ice and snow,” she said. “But I cannot control death. His soul is lost to us.” She ran off, wanting to be alone.
She maybe had a minute to get her emotions under control when she was confronted with another problem. A hand maiden nervously approached her and handed her a roll of parchment. “This was found nailed to the front gate,” the girl said. “I was instructed to give it to you.”
“Thank you,” Elsa said, taking the parchment. She opened it and read what was written, her eyes growing wide. It seemed like a melted snowman was the very least of her worries.
“Elsa,” Kristoff said, resting his hand on her shoulder. “You tried. Nobody thinks…”
“Anna’s gone,” Elsa said, tears streaming from her eyes. The air around her grew frigid, but she did not care. She knew Kristoff would not flee from the cold.
“What?” Kristoff asked. “Where did she go?”
Elsa held the letter and read once more, this time aloud. “We have taken the Princess, Anna,” she read, her voice wavering. “Queen Elsa is to come if you ever hope to see her again. If you do not arrive in two days’ time, we will cut her open and bleed her dry. Once she is dead, we will focus on killing every man, woman, and child in Arendelle.”
“Who took her?” Kristoff asked, his blood fueled by his rage.
“It is not signed,” Elsa said. “But there are coordinates printed along the bottom.”
“Coordinates?” Kristoff asked. “To what?”
“To whatever trap those who took my sister have set for me,” Elsa said. She could feel the ice inside her, aching to be released. All she had to do was let her emotions go, and Arendelle would once again be covered in a thick blanket of ice and snow. She decided to focus on keeping her power balanced, saving the worst of it for those who took her sister from her.
“What do we do now?” Kristoff asked. Elsa was snapped out of her icy fantasies by his voice. She could feel the coldness in her begin to wane as she watched the breath leave his lips in a fine, gray cloud.
“Do you still love my sister?” Elsa asked.
“Yes,” Kristoff answered after a brief hesitation. Elsa wondered if he had meant to think about it for a split second to spare her feelings or to assess his own. “You know that I do.”
“I know,” Elsa said. “I need to be sure that your resolve is set. I know what I must do, and I have to ask that you do exactly what I say.”
“I will,” Kristoff said.
“That is good,” Elsa said, walking down that hall towards her council room. It felt like a lifetime had passed since she was that scared woman, moments out of girlhood, hiding in the mountains from what she can do with the tiniest of efforts. She had become the Queen Arendelle needed, even if it meant she would be feared by her own people for the entirety of her life.
Kristoff ran to catch up. “Where are…”
“Find Kai,” Elsa interrupted. “Bring him into my council room. He knows the maps and charts better than any man in the castle. Do not breath a single word about Anna or the letter.”
Kristoff ran in the opposite direction without another word. Elsa entered her council chamber and looked out the window into the shimmering blue water of the fjord below. If she could not keep her anger under control, it would soon be solid ice once again.
“I shall get you back, Anna,” Elsa said. “And I will kill the ones who took you.”
Anna awoke in near darkness. She was lying on a disheveled bed of blankets and straw. It was a long way from her castle and the huge bed in her lush bed chamber. She wished Kristoff was lying next to her, even in the heap of filth, but she was alone. She stood up, noticing she was in a cell of thick, metal bars and three stone walls. She rubbed her shoulders and arms in a vain attempt to warm herself. There was a small open window opposite the iron bars, and she looked outside to see if she could determine where she was being held.
The ocean stretched out as far as she could see. Her cell was on the edge of a rocky cliff. Even if she was able to squeeze herself through the window, the fall onto the steep, rocky slope would kill her, shredding her skin from her bones as she plummeted. She wondered who would take her from her bed in the night and bring her to such a place, and she got her answer before the thought left her head.
“I see you are finally awake,” a very familiar voice said. “Would you like some breakfast, princess?”
“Hans,” Anna sneered. “Why am I here?”
“That is no way to speak to your former fiancé,” Hans replied. “All of your questions will be answered shortly.”
“I want them answered now!” Anna yelled. “I thought you would be in a dungeon for your crimes against Arendelle!”
Hans laughed. “You are such a silly girl,” he said. “Do you really believe that my own father, the King of the Southern Isles, would put his youngest son into a dungeon? I was free from that cell as soon as the boat dropped me off to my home. My father was actually quite insulted that his son would face such an atrocity.”
“You were insulted?” Anna said, grasping the bars of her cell. “You tricked me into falling in love with you! You tried to kill me! You tried to kill my sister! You tried to take the throne of my country for yourself! Which part insulted you, Hans?”
“Such passion,” Hans said. “Do not make me regret missing our wedding night and your deflowering. I can always have the cell opened and show you how it would have happened, my sweet Anna.”
“Open the cell,” Anna said, backing up a step. “See if you can show me anything before I rip the nose off your smug face.”
“Now now, children,” another voice said. Someone else had come into the dungeon from the hallway that Anna could not see from her cell. “Do not make me separate you two.” The man walked out from the shadows, and Anna could see him clearly. He was taller than Hans and more muscular. He had a large brown mustache and a fierce beard that was only starting to turn gray like the hair on his head. Anna could see the resemblance to Hans and knew who this man was.
“I am sorry, father,” Hans said, bowing.
“Were you not supposed to bring our guest her breakfast?” Hans’ King father asked. “I see you with no tray for Princess Anna.”
“I will get it right away,” Hans said, bowing again and running off.
The King dragged a stool over to Anna’s cell and sat down, facing her. “I apologize for the abruptness of your abduction, Anna,” he said. “I am King Herold of the Southern Isles.”
“Why am I here?” Anna asked.
“You are here to pay a debt, my dear,” Herold said. “My youngest son seemed to go off on a foolish endeavor. It should have been my oldest son to attend your sister’s coronation, but Hans begged and pleaded for it to be him instead. We gave in, allowing him to represent our country. I am embarrassed for what he tried to do while in your country, I truly am, but your sister had him sent back to me, humiliated and beaten. I will not let this stand.”
“I am well aware of exactly what Hans did,” Herold said. He did not yell, but Anna was taken aback by his abruptness. “Your country was closed off to us for years following your parents death, and we hoped things would change once your sister was crowned Queen when she came of age. We were sorely disappointed with the turn of events that transpired during the Frozen Summer of Arendelle. It seems that Queen Elsa had already tapped into her latent powers and was making a mess of things. Hans nearly succeeded in becoming the hero that Arendelle needed, but he failed your people.”
“The hero Arendelle needed?” Anna asked. “You said you knew what he did. To me! He tried to marry me just to kill my sister and crown himself King. Is this what they think is heroic in the Southern Isles?”
King Herold laughed. “I can see why Hans liked you,” he said. “I may open that cell and enter myself. The women of the Southern Isles lack the fire that you have inside you. It has been too long since I have bedded a woman who was passionate about anything.
“You want to know what makes my son a hero? He went to Arendelle with a plan. I admit it was poorly conceived, but he performed his ruse admirably. If he was successful, he would have gained the throne without any bloodshed. Aside from the evil Queen.”
“My sister is not evil,” Anna sneered.
“That is not how she is viewed,” King Herold said. “She nearly destroyed her her lands and killed the people who inhabit it. Those who have fled Arendelle in fear of her have told me much.”
“Nobody has fled in fear,” Anna said.
“Must you despute everything I say?” King Herold asked. “The only reason your kingdom has not been attacked is out of fear for your sister. Fear is a double-edged sword, princess. There is much the others do not know of Elsa’s powers. If they knew what I knew, they would know they have nothing to fear if they were to pledge alliance to me as their King.”
“What are you talking about?” Anna asked.
“You shall find out soon, Princess,” King Herold replied. Hans returned with a tray of bread, poached eggs, and water for Anna. “Elsa will likely arrive tomorrow morning. I do not believe her to be as daft as my son has made her out to be, and she will know it is a trap. I just have to make sure there are no more obstacles to deal with.”
“Obstacles?” Anna asked.
“That half-wit snowman nearly caught us,” Hans said with a smirk. “We had to make sure he did not go running off to Elsa and alert her to our presence earlier than we intended.”
“Olaf,” Anna said, her hand going to her mouth. “You killed him! Monsters!”
“No,” Hans said, smiling. “You killed him, monster.”
“Can you find Anna?” Kristoff asked, watching Kai and Elsa pour over the map. He felt out of place in Elsa’s council room with her advisor. He did not know much of maps either. All he knew about tracking was in his mind.
“It is simple enough,” Kai said. “The only problem is that those coordinates point us to the middle of the ocean southwest of here.”
“How soon can a ship get me there?” Elsa asked.
“By sunrise tomorrow at the earliest,” Kai said. “But there is nothing there, my Queen.”
“I am going regardless,” Elsa said. “Have a ship readied immediately.”
“Yes, my Queen,” Kai said, bowing. He gave Kristoff an odd look as left the room. Perhaps he was still unhappy about finding him sharing Elsa’s bed instead of Anna’s.
“I will pack light,” Kristoff said. “I will meet you by the docks shortly.”
“You are not coming with me,” Elsa said. “I need you to stay here.”
“I cannot leave Anna,” Kristoff said. “I cannot live with myself if I stay behind and allow her to die at the hands of her captors.”
“You have saved her once before,” Elsa said. “The whole of Arendelle owes you a debt, Kristoff, but I must ask that you make another sacrifice. The people of this land revere you as a hero for your actions during the Frozen Summer. I need you to rule in my stead.” Elsa began walking towards her chamber.
“Rule?!” Kristoff exclaimed, chasing after Elsa. “I do not know the first thing about ruling!”
“Kai knows,” Elsa said. “Keep him close by. It is hopefully nothing, but I cannot leave these borders undefended if this unknown enemy attacks regardless of my appearance.”
“So you still believe this to be a trap to lure you away?” Kristoff asked.
“No ships can attack our shores as long as I can freeze the waters of the fjord,” Elsa said. “Once I am removed, we are vulnerable to attack. Arendelle has been a peaceful realm, but I fear the time for war is finally upon us.”
“What am I to do?” Kristoff asked. “I am no knight.”
“Lead our people,” Anna said, grasping Kristoff’s shoulders. She kissed him like it would be the last time she would have the chance. “There is greatness inside you.”
Kristoff watched from the dock as Elsa’s ship departed the shores of Arendelle. His reindeer, Sven, nudged him under his armpit, urging his arm to go around him. Sven grunted understandingly.
“I do not know what I’m going to do, Sven,” Kristoff said. “I promised myself to Anna and bedded her sister. I was named temporary ruler of a Kingdom. Arenedelle’s people are fragile, its shores are vulnerable, and I am no leader.”
“Our Queen has faith in you,” Kai said, apparently overhearing Kristoff’s one-sided conversation with Sven. “Is that worth nothing to you?”
“I did not ask for advice,” Kristoff said. “Besides, I was talking to Sven.”
“I am disgusted with what you have done to Anna,” Kai said. “But I have observed her and Elsa since they were children. I would have made the same decision myself.”
Kristoff controlled the urge to punch Kai in the face. He was not even sure where the rage came from. He decided the only one he should be mad at was himself. “I still love Anna,” Kristoff admitted. “But I love her like a little sister. I should never had bedded either of them.”
“There is good in you despite this flaw, Kristoff,” Kai said. “If Elsa’s fears come to light, you must know what our knights and ships are capable of doing.”
“What do you think about Anna’s capture and the demand to deal with Elsa in person?” Kristoff asked. “Do you think this is a ruse to lure Elsa away?”
“Does my opinion matter?” Kai asked.
“Elsa trusts you,” Kristoff said. “So I will trust you too.”
“I am unsure,” Kai said. “We still do not know who took Anna or to what end. I do believe, however, that it is best to prepare for the worst whilst praying for the best.”
“I hope the gods hear your prayers,” Kristoff said. “But we should be prepared. Tell me everything you know about our defenses.”
“Yes, sir,” Kai said. “Join me in Elsa’s council room. “There is much to speak about, and we may not have much time.”
Kai had Sir Walter, leader of Arendelle’s knights, join them as well. Sir Walter was a little long in the tooth for a drawn out battle (by his own admission), but he was a brilliant strategist nonetheless. He stood over the map, fiddling with his long, gray mustache (which matched his neatly combed hair) as the three went over the plans for Arendelle’s defense.
“Our knights shall be ready at a moment’s notice,” Sir Walter said. “Our trebuchets and crossbows are being put into place as we speak.”
Kristoff observed the map. “How many of these large crossbows do we have?” he asked.
“Sixteen,” Sir Walter replied. “And eight trebuchets.”
“Can the crossbows be placed here; on the flat mountain behind the castle?” Kristoff asked, pointing a finger at the map.
“They can,” Sir Walter replied. “They would be able to fire into the fjord from back there as well, but they are usually placed farther away to ward off any enemy ships.”
“But what if the enemy comes with more ships than we can scare off with the crossbows?” Kristoff asked. “I think we would be better off making our stand closer to our hold.”
“Is that wise?” Sir Walter asked. “How do you know your enemy will come with such a force?”
Kai cleared his throat and Kristoff and Sir Walter turned to see what he wished to add. “There is only one enemy that is able to kidnap our princess and boast such a threat in such a short amount of time. It also happens to be an enemy with a large armada of ships.” Kai pointed at the map, and Kristoff looked towards the land to where he was pointing.
“The Southern Isles,” Kristoff said. “Hans.”
“Exactly my point,” Kai said. “I begged and pleaded for Queen Elsa to send Hans to the guillotine for his crimes against Arendelle, but she showed him mercy, sending him back to his home with his tail between his legs instead. It seems that Queen Elsa’s mercy is being answered with war by Hans’ family.”
There was a silence in the room, and Kristoff went back to the map. It did not matter who the enemy was. They were still going to have to defend their Kingdom. “How do we have such a large defense?” he asked. “I may have been raised in the mountains, but I had always been told that Arendelle was peaceful and neutral.”
“This is true,” Kai answered. “It was Elsa’s great grandfather who opened our ports and waterways as a trading route for other countries. The money that this decision brought in save our people from starvation and poverty, but it also opened us up to conflict.”
“How so?” Kristoff asked.
“Arendelle is to remain neutral to other countries’ wars,” Kai continued. “But there is the possibility of another country taking Arendelle. Whoever holds Arendelle wins the war. That was the thinking, anyway.”
“Arendelle would be the perfect port to set up bases for your seaward troops and armadas,” Sir Walter added. “Once the wars ended, the soldiers would withdraw, leaving our people with rubble and despair. This is the reason why our defenses were quietly fortified. We will remain neutral in the warring of others, but we will fight anyone who attempts to take our ports.”
Kristoff nodded. It made sense to him why such measures were taken, but something still did not make sense. “You seem to have been ready for this particular battle,” he said. “Did you have any foresight into this?”
“I did not,” Sir Walter replied. “Queen Elsa had us ready our defenses as soon as she thawed our land after the Frozen Summer.”
“That is a bit odd,” Kristoff said.
“Our Queen does not lack foresight,” Kai said, stepping up to the table with the map upon it. “She knew what happened at her hand could draw enemies.”
Kristoff nodded. He had a lot to think about for someone that was raised in the mountains by trolls and cut ice as a trade. “What about this beach here?” he asked, noticing a piece of land that looked virtually undefended.
“That is nothing,” Sir Walter replied. “Enemy ships cannot dock there, and it is far away from the castle. Minimal defense is needed.”
“I wonder,” Kristoff said, thinking. Something then dawned on him. “Kai, I want you wake all of the lumberjacks and woodworkers. Might as well get all the farmers as well. Anyone who can lift and carry. Have their wives and children brought into the castle walls and make sure they are looked after.”
“To what end?” Kai asked confused.
“I want the lumberjacks to cut down as many strong limbs as possible in the forest behind this beach,” Kristoff said. “But not in the first line of trees. Have them go a few hundred yards into the forest before they start cutting. I want the woodworkers to carve them into points, and I want them carried to the beach. Have them bring as much rope as possible.”
“But this beach,” Sir Walter said stammering. “There is a very small chance it will be attacked. Should we really be focusing our efforts on fortifying it?”
“Yes,” Kristoff said. “You said before that we may not be able to hold off as many ships as the Southern Isles may be sending here, but we can use our trebuchets and crossbows to lure them to this beach, where they will be forced to attack. How many archers do we have?”
“We have many,” Sir Walter said.
“Good,” Kristoff replied. “I want platforms erected in the first two rows of trees behind this beach. Have them camouflaged with the bark and leaves of the trees the lumberjacks will be pruning.”
Sir Walter smiled. “Are you sure you are not a strategist yourself?” he asked.
“No,” Kristoff answered. “I am Arendelle’s official Ice Master.”
Anna awoke in the midst of night. She felt it futile to keep refusing the food her kidnapper provided for her, so she ate the food Hans brought her greedily. She decided not to wait for her sister. She would escape on her own and meet the ship that would surely come from Arendelle on the shores of the mountain island.
The guard that King Herold posted outside of her cell was sleeping deeply. His snores filled the hallway. She was amazed she was able to sleep through them as long, but she was able to find peaceful sleep next to Kristoff as he snored the night away as well.
The bars of the cell were too close together for her to squeeze between, but the window behind her was just big enough for her to get through. She looked out as she did the first time she awoke in this cell, looking down upon the jagged wall and the rocks below. She supposed she could find footholds as she descended, but she would have to be extra careful. One slip and she would tint the sea-foam red.
“Come on, Anna,” she said, trying to muster the same courage she used when she attempted to bring her sister back from her self-made ice castle atop the mountain. “You can do this.”
The guard snorted loudly, breaking Anna’s daze, and she decided that it was time. She climbed the wall of her cell and began squeezing through the hole to the outside. She though she would not be able to get her hips through the small opening, but she was able to pull herself through.
The side of the rock fortress was as treacherous as it appeared through the cell’s singular window. She sidled along the rock wall, keeping her balance as she did so. The wind picked up and a light drizzle started coming from the sky, making the rocks slicker than they already were. She nearly slipped and fell, but got her footing. She saw an outcropping of rocks she could use to start easing her way downwards.
She found footholds easily enough as she worked her way down towards the unforgiving crashing of the waves. She still did not know how she was going to get around to the beach or how to find where Elsa’s ship would dock (if Elsa took King Herold’s bait), but it was better than waiting in the small cell, squatting over a bucket while the guard watched.
She slipped and screamed. She thought she would fall to her death, but she was able to grab ahold of a small branch three feet below her that was jutting from the rock wall. She hung with no footholds or anything to grab and hoist herself back up.
A rope appeared to her left and she looked up to see Hans’ face looking down from the same level her cell was on. “Grab ahold!” he called down to her.
“No!” Anna shouted back. She looked around her for something else to use to keep herself from falling. If she could not find anything, she would stay on the limb until she eventually fell to her death.
“What choice do you have?” Hans called down. The rain began pelting harder and the wind picked up. It wouldn’t be long now until her fingers slipped from the limb and she would fall to a painful death among the sharp rocks.
“I refuse to be your prisoner!” Anna shouted, wishing she sounded more sure of herself. Death rather than imprisonment sounded noble in her head, but she did not know if she would be able to stop her arm from reaching out and taking the rope that Hans was dangling.
“There is no honor or nobility in a foolish death!” Hans yelled as Anna felt her grip on the limb grow looser. “Grab the rope and I will pull you up.”
“You only need me alive to get my sister!” Anna yelled.
“Grab the rope and I will pull you up!” Hans repeated. “I do not have all night for you to stay on the side of an unclimbable wall and act like a fool.”
Anna weighed her choices once more, but her grip on the branch gave way after a strong gust of wind, and she found her self clutching the rope with all her might before she could even make the decision on whether she would rather be imprisoned or dead. It seemed that she was not yet ready to die.
Once she was pulled back into the dungeon by Hans and the guard, her hands were tied and she was moved to a cell in the middle of the room that had four metal cage walls. She was once again graced with the presence of King Herold.
“I thought a princess would have liked a window in which to see the stars,” King Herold said. “Instead, I get word that you climbed out. It is lucky that you did not plummet to your death.”
“Lucky for who?” Anna asked, shivering. She was soaked from the rain that still pelted the side of the rocky fortress, and there was no fire in the dank dungeon to warm her body.
“I do not wish to kill you,” King Herold said. “I need you alive for so many reasons.”
“What reason do you have other than luring my sister to this island mountain?” Anna asked.
“Get some rest, little girl,” King Herold said. “You shall need it. Once your sister is with us, all will be revealed.”
“Will you at least give me a blanket?” Anna asked.
King Herold smiled. It chilled Anna worse than her rain-drenched clothing. “See if you can warm yourself,” he said. “If you cannot, you can always move into my warm bed.”
Elsa watched as the island that was not on any of her maps showed on the horizon. There was a small black mountain with a square fortress near the bottom. A wooden deck that came out of the front for mooring small ships away from the jagged rocks that surrounded the island. The dock led straight towards the main entrance of the fortress. The whole scene looked ominous in the rainy night.
The captain of the ship named Angel’s Kiss was called Nicolaus, and he was worried about his Queen’s wellbeing. “I do not feel that it is a good idea to anchor so far away from the shore of this island,” he said. “Are you sure you do not wish for us to dock and wait for sunrise?”
“I cannot lose your ship,” Elsa said. “It is clear that I am walking into a trap, and I only wish to put myself in danger. You and your crew will be safer if you stay away while I attempt to unravel whatever plot my enemy has in store for me. Drop anchor behind those rocks to the south. Wait for my signal in the sky before you come to the island. Do not come before you see my signal. If I am not back by the second sunrise, make haste back to Arendelle and tell my advisors that I have been killed. They will know what to do.”
“So be it,” Nicolaus said, taking a good look at the island. Nicolaus must have finally felt Elsa’s idea for her to go to the island alone to be a good one, because he no longer argued. It was either that, or the sight of the black island and its fortress was one that frightened the brave and normally boisterous captain.
Elsa stepped onto the sea, turning it to ice with every step she took towards the island. The waves brushed the sides if her ice-bridge, but it held as she made her way onto the sandy and desolate shore of the dreary mountain island. She paused only to look around, taking in her surroundings. Whoever had lured her to this place had picked a dreadful enough of a location to lay a trap.
The urge to sneak in and take her sister in secret came on strong, but Elsa had every internet to confront her sister’s kidnapper and find out why they took her and make them pay for their crime against her family. She saw a large iron and wood door on the front of the fortress, and she walked towards it, uncaring who saw her approaching.
“I am Queen Elsa of Arendelle,” she said, approaching two men who were dressed in black and gray, guarding the door. “Show me to whomever took my sister.”
“Queen Elsa!” a voice boomed as the large door opened. “I was not expecting you so soon.”
“King Herold,” Elsa said, recognizing the man coming through the door from description only. “I should have guessed that it was you who kidnapped my sister. If you wished to speak with me, you could have requested an audience.”
“Is this not more fun?” King Herold asked. “Come in, my dear. There is much to show you.”
“Unless what you have to show me is you freeing my sister, I am not interested,” Elsa said.
King Herold laughed. “I think you would want to see what I have to show,” he said. “Do you remember my son, Hans?” King Herold slapped a nervous looking Hans on the back, urging him forward to greet Elsa. “Of course you do.”
“How can I forget?” Elsa asked the sour-faced Prince. “Did you enjoy your trip back to the Southern Isles after we last met?”
“Do not mock my son,” King Herold said, growing serious. “He may be a naïve idiot, but you may just live to regret the humiliation he suffered by your hand.”
Elsa said nothing in return. By rights, Hans should have been executed for what he had done, prince or no, and his father should have been grateful for nothing more than a trip home in the brig of a ship. King Herold should have been grateful that his son returned at all.
“Allow me to show you around,” King Herold said, once again showing hospitality.
“How did you come to find such a place?” Elsa asked, following King Herold as he walked down a hallway of shiny, black stone. “It is on no map in my castle’s possession.”
“Nor ours,” King Herold said. “Pirates claimed this island some time ago, not knowing what was hidden within its abandoned mines. It took us quite some time to get them all out and claim this small island for our own, but it turned out to be necessary when you came into your powers.
“My people searched all over for the ones carrying the bloodline that house your abilities, but my father concluded that it must have died out, giving up the pursuit. Little did he know that the Kings of Arendelle had hidden it in their own royal blood.”
“What are you talking about?” Elsa said, trying to decide if what King Herold was saying was lunacy or not. “What was hidden in this place, and what does it have to do with my bloodline?”
“Arendelle is mine by rights,” Herold said, ignoring Elsa’s request for him to elaborate his last statement. “Do you know how many fled your land after you froze it? Hundreds of them left, and the bulk of them followed their hero, my youngest son, Hans.”
“Hans is no hero,” Elsa said, looking into the face of Hans instead of The King’s. “Hans attempted to take my throne by molesting my sister and murdering me, with or without brandishing me a monster. My people know the tale of what he did.”
“I am sure they do,” King Herold said. “But that is not how it was remembered. When your people came to me, and they did, they spun a tale of a madwoman killing their families and destroying their homes with blizzards and ice storms during what they came to call the Frozen Summer. Hans was the one who stood up to the evil Ice Queen, attempting to slay her and end what would have been an eternal winter.” The King stopped in a room with a large circular table. He sat on the end opposite of where Elsa now stood. He stared at her with daggers in his eyes. “I also asked you not to mock my son again.”
“How is all that you are saying fit together?” Elsa asked. “What does any of this have to do with Anna?”
“Princess Anna is the key to all of this,” Herold said. “I discovered that to be true on the night we took her from your castle. Would you like to see her? I can make everything clear if she were with us.”
“I would like very much to see my sister,” Elsa said.
“Then take a seat and have a goblet of the Southern Isles’ finest wine,” King Herold said. “I will have her here shortly.”
“I came for her per your request,” Elsa said, sitting. “I hope your quarrel with my people can now be put to rest.”
“Elsa,” King Herold said, smiling widely. “My armada has already been dispatched. They set a course for Arendelle the moment you left.”
Kristoff sat crossed-legged across the small fire from Grand Pabbie, ruler of the rock trolls. Grand Pabbie took Kristoff in when his daughter found him wandering around just outside their camp with his reindeer, Sven, when they were both very young. Kristoff told the trolls the story of how he lost his mother to the Red-Cough when he was only a baby and his father when he fell into the river as he was pulling ice from it. Some of the men still tell the tale of how he banged his fists on the ice from underneath it, desperately begging for someone to cut him out before he drowned. Grand Pabbie took great pity upon Kristoff, allowing him to come and go as he pleased in their community. It was something no human had been able to do before him, and no other would likely be allowed to do in the future.
Grand Pabbie had the gray skin of his people, but wore a green cape of moss and yellow crystals around his neck (signifying that he was chosen to rule over the race of gentle and magical creatures). Kristoff showed up just that morning on the back of Sven, looking for advice from Grand Pabbie. The trolls stopped their normal singing and jumping around when they saw the serious look on his face.
“There is much you worry about,” Grand Pabbie said. “Which do you want to talk about first?”
“I do not know where I should even begin,” Kristoff said, rubbing the back of his neck. He turned to watch Sven jump around with some of the troll children. He wished he could be as worry free as the reindeer, but that time seemed to be over as soon as he agreed to help Anna find her sister all those months ago during the Frozen Summer of Arendelle.
“Start from the beginning and see where you end up,” Grand Pabbie said, smiling warmly.
Kristoff sighed. “I guess it began when I turned my back on the woman I promised was my true love and bedded her sister,” he said. “Since then, everything seemed to go wrong. Anna was taken in the night, Olaf was killed, Elsa left Arendelle to find Anna and Olaf’s killer, and I was left in charge of fighting off an armada that might be heading to our shores at any moment.”
“That is a lot to digest,” Grand Pabbie said, stroking the whiskers on his chin. “But you are where you are supposed to be.”
“Is that all?” Kristoff said. “I am where I need to be? There is nothing but trouble around me! How is this where I need to be?”
“There is greatness in you, Kristoff,” Grand Pabbie said. “I sensed it in you when you brought to me as a child, and I sense it in you now. It is why you came across the princess when she was in distress, why you played your part in ending the Frozen Summer, and it is why you find yourself in the position that you are now in. You have a destiny about you. I have always known it.
“I have advised many Kings in my long life. I advised the last King on his daughter’s powers, and I advised his father before that on hiding that power within his family’s line. I advised that King’s father when he wanted to open his country’s ports for trade, and I advised that same king to fortify his armies to fight off the threats that would arise as a result of his decision.
“It is upon you now, Kristoff, to take the cause of these three Kings and a Queen, and save this land from the threat that is now poised to destroy it. Make no mistake about what is on the horizon for Arendelle; its enemy is coming. I have seen so in the flames of my dreams.”
Kristoff thought about Grand Pabbie’s words and weighed them heavily. He opened his mouth to ask one more question, but the horns of Arendelle were being blown. Sven heard the noise and rushed to Kristoff.
“The time of your destiny is nearly upon you,” Grand Pabbie said, smiling. “Go meet it on the field of battle. The People of Arendelle need you.”
Kristoff nodded once, still not knowing what to say, and rode off on the back of Sven towards Castle Arendelle. He was there when the horns blew for the fourth time, and he had already seen why. The armada of ships flying the flag of the Southern Isles were making their way into the fjord and towards Arendelle.
“Where have you been?” Kai asked as Krsitoff dismounted Sven. The crowds in front of the caste were getting restless.
“Have you addressed them?” Kristoff asked.
“We were waiting for you to come back from the mountains,” Kai replied.
Kristoff frowned. He was about to ask Kai if he waited out of spite, but he held his tongue. Kai had been an asset to him thus far, and he did not want to turn Kai against him when he still needed his aid.
The horns blared again, and everyone began to turn and panic. “Tell them to stop with the horns,” Kristoff said. “Anyone can see that the ships are coming. Anyone who does not yet know is living in the back of a cave.”
Kai nodded once, but he did not move to give the order. Kristoff ignored him once more and climbed atop the small wooden stage that was erected for him to address the people of Arendelle. “Please!” Kristoff said, raising his hands. “There is no need for panic.”
“Where’s Queen Elsa?!” an old lady shouted.
“Why has she abandoned us?!” another added.
“Queen Elsa has not abandoned us!” Kristoff shouted. “She had to leave for a short time! She did not know the Southern Isles would attack!”
“Queen Elsa would have turned the fjord to ice and had a storm blow their ships into the sky!” A tall and burly man shouted.
The roar of the small crowd was intimidating. They feared their Queen’s power, but they had unwittingly grown dependent on it. Kristoff now saw the wisdom in why she fortified the armies and left when war was rumored. The people of Arendelle needed to know that they could defend themselves if she were away or killed. It was akin to a mother bird throwing its chick from the nest to show it how to fly on its own. He was both angered and awed by his Queen’s decision.
“Listen, people of Arendelle,” Kristoff shouted, surprised by the authority his own voice. “It is true that Queen Elsa is not with us, but that does that mean that we cannot defend our land! Those who can stand and fight our enemy will join the knights. Those who cannot can join the women and children in the walls of Arendelle castle, where they will be kept safe.
“I will not allow our enemies to take our land and set fire to our homes! Today, we will defend Arendelle, and we will win. Let the dogs of the Southern Isles know that we shall not cower in fear of their ships. Let them know that we will fight for our homes, and we will do so by our own strength!”
There was a roar as the crowd began separating. The farmers, smiths, and even the cobblers all joined Kristoff at the stage to help defend their home. The women and children watched as they were ushered towards the castle to join the families of those who had already been drafted to help with Kristoff’s preparations.
“It was a fine speech,” Kai said, as Kristoff stepped off the stage. “It was a short speech, but it was a good one.”
“Thanks,” Kristoff said. He climbed atop Sven, ready to lead all who wished to fight to where they would be armored, armed, and given posts.
“What do we do now?” Kai asked.
“Our plan has not changed,” Kristoff said. “We sink as many as those bastards as we can. The rest we force to the beach. Knights will be stationed at the castle to pick off any who try to get within its gates.”
“Will we win this day?” Kai asked nervously.
“We will,” Kristoff said. “Because Queen Elsa has faith in us to do so.”
Anna’s cell door was opened, and two of the black and gray clad guards stood with Hans outside of it. The guards came and shackled her wrists once more, despite her struggles against them. “We will remove them shortly,” Hans said. “We do not want you climbing out of any more windows.”
“Lick dung!” Anna spat.
“That is no way to talk to a prince,” Hans said, smiling. “You should watch that pretty mouth of yours. You would not want us to bruise your pretty face before you see your sister.”
“Elsa?” Anna said, calming down. “She came for me?”
“Of course she came for you,” Hans said. “Would she leave her poor, defenseless sister in the hands of the enemy?”
“I am not defenseless,” Anna said through gritted teeth.
“You have no idea,” Hans said. He turned towards the guard holding Anna’s left arm in a black-gloved hand. “Bring her to my father.”
The guard did as he was told and followed Hans to a dimly lit room lit with three torches along the rounded walls. The rest of this stronghold seemed to be as depressing as the dungeon in which she was kept. Her sadness lessened as she saw her sister sitting across the table from King Herold. “Elsa!” she said, trying to free herself from the guards grip.
“Anna!” Elsa replied, getting up from her chair. “Let her go, Herold. There is no need for the guards and shackles.”
“Do not be so certain of that fact,” King Herold said. “We had to move her to a cell with no windows because this one cannot stay in one place.”
Elsa smiled at this. “I am not surprised,” she said. “Let her go, and she will remain calm as long as she is by my side.”
The guard looked to King Herold, who nodded once. The guard undid the shackles and Anna ran to Elsa, hugging her. Hans took the seat next to his father, looking nervous now that the sisters were reunited.
“Are you alright?” Elsa asked.
“I’m fine,” Anna said, not letting go of the hug. “Can we get out of here now?”
“You cannot,” King Herold answered. Hans shifted in his seat. “We still have business to discuss.”
“We do,” Elsa replied, sitting down once more.
“There is nothing to discuss!” Anna said, throwing her arms up. “They kidnapped me in the night! They took me to this island and put me in the dungeon! Because of Hans…”
A guard in full, black armor placed a round stone on the table. It was black and shiny like the walls of the dungeon and shaped like an egg. Anna stopped arguing with her sister to look at it. There was something odd about it. She squinted at the stone, thinking there was a small glimmer of orange in the center. Something seemed oddly familiar about that glimmer.
“This is why you are both here,” King Herold said through folded fingers. He now wore gauntlets made of black metal and the same shiny stone. Anna wondered if he needed this in order to hold the strange stone. His gaze never left it. “The pirates that took this island did not delve too deep into the caverns and mines. If they had, they would already have these precious stones. Although, they would have no idea what they are used for.”
“And I suppose that you do know,” Elsa said, also looking into the stone.
“It took many months to decipher the scrolls we found in this place,” King Herold continued. “These stones were mined for the purpose of harvesting the power that lays dormant in your blood. Well, the power that usually lays dormant.” Herold gave Elsa a sideward glance after his last statement.
“Harvesting my power?” Elsa asked, looking at her palms. “So this would sap the ice from me?”
“Imbibing the stone with your very life force,” King Herold finished. “The stone will hold the power inside for a short time, allowing whomever holds it to use that power. I have every intention on weaponizing that power. Nobody will stand in my way as I take over the world.”
“You want to use my ice powers to take over the world?” Elsa asked.
“Not your ice powers,” Herold said. Her turned to Anna. “I want her fire powers.”
“I have no powers,” Anna said.
“You are not listening,” King Herold said. “Your powers are inside of you. We tested you at your castle. Using the stone, Hans and my knights melted that insufferable snowman using your hand and the stone as you slept after we poisoned you, proving that your sister’s powers are no match for yours.”
“Why even bring me here if you only needed Anna?” Elsa asked. Anna turned suddenly towards her sister. “Only to remove me from Arendelle so you can attack it with your armada?!”
“You still do not understand,” King Herold said. “We cannot defeat you in the open when you can summon storms, but we are at an advantage as long as we are in this place!” He grabbed Anna suddenly and forced her hands to the stone on the table. There was a great heat coming from the rock as yellow-orange light flowed down her arms and into the stone. King Herold pushed her into the arms of the guards as he grabbed the stone with his armored hands.
Elsa lashed out immediately, throwing spears of ice towards King Herold, but he produced enough fire from the stone to destroy them before they could skewer him. “You see!” Herold boomed. “You cannot defeat me, even with this small amount of your sister’s power!” He began moving his hands, creating a whirlwind of flame and heat around the table, burning up anything that was made of wood or cloth.
“Elsa!” Anna shouted. She tried to fight against the guards that were dragging her away, but she was too weak from whatever King Herold had done to her with the stone. She watched as her sister tried to create a great shield of ice, and continued to watch as it was melted as quickly as it was erected. Herold pulled a dagger from his belt, and flames burned around it. She closed her eyes as he approached Elsa, who was between King Herold and the black walls of his keep.
Anna opened her eyes when the shouting started. She saw one of the guards that flanked King Herold with an arrow in his shoulder. There was a hooded man fighting off the others, clad in a brown, ragged coat and pants. He swing a thin sword swiftly, cutting the guards where their armor was weak near their elbows and necks. He pulled Elsa towards the doorway, pushing her out. He turned to go back for Anna, but a wall of flame separated him from her.
“Get her back in the dungeon!” Herold shouted.
She tried to see through the flame as she was dragged back, away from her sister and her savior.
Kristoff stood atop a cliff with Sven and watched as the armada from the Southern Isles came towards Arendelle. He no longer needed the spyglass to see the ships. Soon, the battle for Arendelle would be upon them. Kristoff’s plan was three-fold, and Kai and Walter both agreed (with little argument from either) that it was the best course of action if they wished for their kingdom to be saved.
The knights manning the trebuchets and the giant crossbows awaited the order from their generals to open fire upon the ships. Kristoff had them hold until their target was close, and he made sure they were watching him for the first order to open fire from the trebuchets. He did not want to waste their ammunition in an attempt to scare off the armada; a task that he was sure would prove fruitless.
The ships made their way within range of the trebuchets, and Kristoff raised his sword and swung it down in a swift motion. The first wave of pitch (made of stone and carved branches) was flung towards the ships. The water splashed and foamed around the ships as the first shots missed their marks. Kristoff cursed as the ships grew closer, but he knew that they would make better targets now. He signaled for the second wave to be loaded (he had the farmers and smiths loading the trebuchets so he could put the knights where he needed them most), and they lit the pitch on fire with lantern oil for the second wave of attack.
The second attack was more successful. The flaming pitch found their marks in three of the ships, splintering the wood and setting them aflame. Kristoff watch as dozens of men jumped from the ships into the waters of the fjord, likely to drown before they would swim to land. The great mast of one of the ships cracked as it burned, falling into the ship next to it.
Kristoff ordered the trebuchets to be reloaded once again. They had only taken down three of the ships so far, and he had not even taken the time to count how many were coming through. It appeared as if the other ships in the armada were ignoring those who were damaged and sailing right past them.
More flaming pitch was fired on the ships as they made their way towards Castle Arendelle. They were now firing at will (per his orders), and he was no longer needed to stay and swing his sword. He jumped on the back of Sven and rode off towards the castle, where the second part of his plan would go into effect.
The armada from the Southern Isles lost two more ships as boulders and pitch were thrown at them. The sky filled with smoke and the sea filled with wreckage and bodies as Arendelle did not relent on the attack. Their orders were simple: fire upon the ships until all ammunition was spent, and they had a lot of ammunition to spend.
Once the ships got too close to the castle, they would be unable to use the trebuchets on them, but Kristoff took that into consideration when he set up his plan. He arrived in front of the gated castle and jumped off of Sven’s back. He met with one of his captains, awaiting for the ships to test his meddle.
“The crossbows are ready,” the captain said. “They await your order.”
“That is good,” Kristoff said, pulling his sword from its scabbard. Once his order was given, it would be relayed via the horns to the giant crossbow operators. They would not do as much damage as the trebuchets, but they would hopefully keep most of the ground troops from Castle Arendelle and those who were held within its walls.
Kristoff raised his sword once more, and the captains readied themselves to give the orders. The knights manning the giant crossbows were assisted by Arendelle’s lumberjacks to help load the large logs that were carved into gigantic, flying spears. He had them positioned behind the castle and upwards to hit any target that tried to dock in the ports around the village that surrounded Caste Arendelle and its strongholds.
The trebuchets were making quick work of the ships that lagged behind, but quite a few still made it through, and they were attempting to dock on the shores just outside of the village as Kristoff and Kai believed they would. He slashed his sword downward, and the sounds of the horns filled the air. Four great spears of wood flew over the castle and its village, crashing into the ships and the water.
The effect was immediate. One ship was hit with two of the great spears, and it toppled onto its side. Another spear splashed into the water of the fjord, and the last spear found its mark near the bottom of another ship. The ship changed course as the lumberjacks reloaded the giant crossbows, heading towards the beach.
Kristoff smiled as another ship turned to avoid the crossbows as they fired another four spears into the charging ships and followed the one in the lead straight towards the beach where he had set up the bulk of his ground forces.
“I am needed on the beach it seems,” Kristoff told the captain. “I expect any that dock here to be dealt with.”
“Aye,” the captain agreed. “None will live to storm Castle Arendelle while I draw breath, sir.”
Kristoff nodded once and jumped back onto Sven. “To the beach!” he exclaimed as Sven ran off in the same direction as the remainder of the Southern Isles Armada.
Elsa was rushed into a small cave that was hastily hidden by a small wooden door that looked like it used to be part of a ship or raft. Her savior looked outside a small crack for a few moments before coming inside the cave and setting his bow and quiver against the rock wall. He sighed as he sat down. He still wore his brown hood and cloth over his face like a bandit.
“You should have saved my sister instead,” Elsa said. “She is the one King Herold wants for her perverse plans, not me.”
“I could only get you out,” the man said in an oddly familiar voice. “If I could have gotten you both, I would have. Trust me, Elsa. After all of this waiting, I was still only a moment too late.”
“Who are you?” Elsa asked, cautiously approaching the hooded man. “Reveal yourself.”
The man reached up and took off his hood and cloth mask. Elsa recognized the face instantly (even under the thick beard), but she could not believe she was seeing it. She stood in disbelief looking into the face of her father, Agdar, King of Arendelle.
“Father,” Elsa said, stepping back in disbelief. “How? You died on the sea.”
“That was not the reaction I was hoping for,” Agdar said. Elsa looked at his face with his bright eyes and reddish-brown beard for a moment longer before jumping into his arms and hugging him tightly.
“Please tell me this is no trick,” Elsa said, tears spilling from her face. “Tell me you and mother survived the storm that capsized your ship.”
Agdar pulled back and held Elsa at arms’ length. “I wish I could tell you all of that,” he said. “Only I survived. Your mother drowned in the sea.”
Elsa looked away. She had mourned her mother, but her father’s sudden appearance had given her a false glimmer of hope that her mother may still be alive as well. “How is it that you are still alive?” she asked. “Does it have anything to do with King Herold and his twisted plot?”
“Yes and no,” Agdar said. “I will tell you the tale if you would hear it. We must wait for King Herold to make the next move if we are to save Anna in any case.”
“I would very much like to know,” Elsa said, weighing her father’s choice to leave her sister and wait for King Herold to move next. She sat against the wall across from her father and watched him, waiting for his story to begin.
“I left you when you needed me,” Agdar began. “I still regret that. I regret not telling you the truth earlier, but your mother made me swear that I would not tell you until you were old enough to understand. I regretted those decisions even more when I heard what had happened once you were crowned Queen, but I digress. I do not even know where to start.”
“I want to know everything,” Elsa said. “King Herold said something about the power being hidden in our bloodline. What does he mean?”
“That is probably a good place to begin,” Agdar said. “My father was King when your mother was chosen as the one to become my wife. Most royal marriages are arranged as a favor to other Kingdoms, but my grandfather had claimed Arendelle a peaceful and neutral land when he opened the ports, so no such favors would be accepted. Instead, my father chose my wife based purely on what was in her blood. I still remember the day he brought her to me when I was fourteen years old and she was thirteen. They had cleaned her up, but she still carried herself like a peasant. It took many years for her to walk with grace and poise, but I fell in love with that peasant girl the moment I saw her.
“The power King Herold seeks is one that was nearly lost as the ones who held such power, power like yours, died out. Most of them chose not to have children so the power would die with them, and others were killed as madmen tried to extract it. Your mother came with her dying father to Arendelle to seek sanctuary from those who would use her latent power for evil. We were told that she was the last of that line.
“You see, Elsa, in most cases, the elemental power within you would remain inside. Your ice power is one of the extremely rare cases of that power’s manifestation. We now know that Anna’s power lays in fire, but it would not have come to the surface if it were not for the stones of this place. Nobody knows how this island was formed or where its stones are from, but they seem to be able to tap and harness these powers, even if they seem to be nonexistent.”
“So that is why mother was chosen as your wife?” Elsa asked, confused. “In order to keep that power hidden within Arendelle’s royal blood?”
“That is not why at all,” Agdar said. “My father wished for the power to manifest, so that Arendelle would have a protector against its enemies. Since the day his father opened the ports and claimed neutrality, Arendelle became a target for any Kingdom that wishes to war with another. If they needed our waterways or lands…”
“Then they would take it,” Elsa finished. “Kai is a firm believer of this as well. He taught me this fact over and over after you and mother left us.”
Adgar looked down. Elsa almost told him to stop before he told this piece of his tale, but she could not force herself to do it. He looked into Elsa’s face with the look of pain in his eyes. He took a deep breath and began the tale of how he lost his Queen.
Adgar stood next to his Queen, Idun, as they watched Arendelle shrink into the distance. He was nervous about leaving Elsa behind, but she had gotten very good at controlling her powers. Perhaps Elsa would reconnect with Anna while they were away. They longed for the trip as well. They had been stuck in the castle since the day the trolls had cured Anna’s mind from the ice put in there by her older sister. The wedding in the Kingdom of Corona seemed to lift both of their spirits.
“You are worried,” Idun said. “As am I.”
“We spoke of this,” Adgar said. “Elsa and Anna will be fine.”
“Do you think it is time to tell Elsa the truth?” Idun asked. “Does she have enough control over her powers to know where they come from and why she has them?”
“I will leave that to you,” Adgar said, smiling. “I have done all that I can, helping her contain them. It is best for her to learn of her bloodline from the parent that possesses it.”
Idun sighed. “You are right, Adgar,” she said. “You have been so patient and kind about all of this. When your father chose me to be your wife, I had no idea that my child would be the one who would manifest the powers. I always hoped I would never see it happen.”
“Me too,” Adgar said. “My father wanted a protector for Arendelle, but I always hoped it would not come to be.”
“I need to lie down for a bit,” Idun said. “Traveling by sea seems to upset my head. Would you care to lie with me, my King?”
“I would, my Queen,” Adgar replied. He followed Idun to the cabin where they rested from their sea-sickness.
The trip to Corona would have taken three days by boat if the storm passed them on the second day. By the time the ship’s navigator spotted it coming towards them it was too late. Winds whipped at the side of the ship, tearing the wood from the hull. Rain lashed down from the sky, stinging the ship-hands that tried to keep control over the choppy waters. Finally, a huge fork of lighting struck the mast, splitting it in two. The weight of the mast falling over the port side of the boat capsized it, spilling everything and everyone overboard.
Adgar found himself above water after thinking he would drown. He swam as quickly as he could and was able to grab ahold of a barrel that was floating. He screamed for Idun, but he got no answer in reply. He kicked about the floating wreckage and bodies, and he finally found her, floating face up among the debris of the ship.
“Idun,” Adgar said, looking into the still face of his wife. “Oh no. My Queen.” The winds picked up again, blowing Adgar away from his beloved. He tried to kick against the waves, but it was no use. He watched her body finally sink into the ocean as the sharks came to feast as he bobbed and floated, gripping the barrel.
Adgar wished he had drowned as well, but the thoughts of his two daughters kept his grip firm. He would have lost the grip at some point and died along with everyone else on the ship had he not washed up on the small island.
Adgar climbed onto the cold shores of the small, sandy island. He collapsed on the beach, and looked up into the sunny sky. The storm had passed, and he let the morning sun warm his body. He had no idea how long he slept, but when he awoke he realized that there was nothing around him.
There was no telling how much time passed from the time Adgar got on the island and when the traders found him, waving his arms like a madman as they passed. He tried to count the days by piling pebbles, but a heavy rain had washed them away. He would get high fevers that lasted days as his body got used to eating and drinking whatever he could find on the island, and he thought on multiple occasion that these the illness would kill him. He merely slept for what could have been weeks. He did not even know how he lived through the sicknesses and desperation.
He did not reveal his identity to the traders out of fear of being held for ransom to his Kingdom. He told them he was on a ship that had capsized in a storm, and the captain was kind enough to drop him at their next destination: The Southern Isles.
The Southern Isles was an ally, and he expected to reveal himself there and request a ship to take him back to Arendelle, but he learned there that this was no longer the case. He heard rumors that the King’s youngest son had been insulted by the Queen of Arendelle after he tried to save their Kingdom from the fury of her ice during what they were calling the Frozen Summer of Arendelle, and the King was plotting some sort of elaborate revenge. Rumors of war with Arendelle and its demon-Queen ran rampart in every tavern, and it did not take much sneaking about the castle to learn that these rumors were true.
Adgar disguised himself as one of King Herold’s guards and learned of the island they found years ago when they took it from the pirates. He read the scrolls that King Henry left haphazardly in his study and made sure that he was dispatched as a guard to this island to stop whatever plot King Herold had for his daughters and for his kingdom.
It took months, but Adgar was on the island when Anna was taken and thrown in a cell. He went to her in the midst of the night to free her, but he caught her as she was squeezing out of her window. He alert the guards to get a rope and reel her in, but Prince Hans showed up and took over. Adgar had to bide his time, but he did not have to wait long. When Elsa arrived, he knew he would have the opportunity to find out what Herold’s true intentions were and to rescue both of his daughters.
“Only it did not work out how I planned it,” Adgar finished. Elsa watched patiently as he finished his tale. He skipped a lot of detail she would have liked to hear, but time was not on their side. “Herold still has Anna and his ships are already attacking in Arendelle. I should have sent word to you right away that I was a live and that this was coming. I was a fool have erred so grievously.”
“You and I both had a grand plan in mind it seemed,” Elsa said. “I could have searched for Anna in silence, but I showed myself as soon as I arrived. I wanted to find out what Herold was up to and send a message of my own.”
“What message would that be?” Adgar asked.
“You shall learn in time,” Elsa said with a half-smile. “But time grows short. We should get Anna out before King Herold taps all of her life-force.”
“What do you intend to do?” Adgar asked.
“I intend to do what I should have done to begin with,” Elsa said. “I am rescuing Anna and burying this island and everyone under a mile of ice.”
“That is a good plan,” Adgar said, rising from the ground and picking up his bow and quiver. “Can I lend a hand?
“You can,” Elsa said smiling.
Together, Elsa and Adgar left the small cave and began walking back towards the mountain stronghold of King Herold. Two guards turned when they heard the footsteps, but one was met with an arrow in his neck and the other an arrow of ice in the chest. They did not even have the time to raise any kind of alarm.
Getting back inside the stronghold was easy enough. Adgar used his bow to kill from afar while Elsa took the closer targets with her own arrows of ice, fired from her fingertips. Elsa fired the ice arrows (inspired from her father’s skill with his bow) into any guard they came across. They nearly made it to the heard of the stronghold when a guard that Elsa had not seen began furiously ringing a brass bell that hung from the wall.
The ringing of the bell stopped with Adgar’s last arrow in the guard’s temple. He threw his bow and empty quiver down and took his long and thin sword from the scabbard on his hip. Elsa grasped at the air and an ice sword of her own occupied her hand with a glow of blue.
“Have you had training in the use of the sword?” Adgar asked.
“I watched some of the others train their hands during fencing,” Elsa said. “I should be able to handle myself.”
Adgar smiled. “You have so much of your mother in you,” he said. A new wave of guards came down the black rock halls, and Adgar and Elsa began slashing wildly. Each cut that Elsa made froze as she swung the ice sword as Adgar’s foes bled freely.
“We are not going to get to Anna easily,” Elsa said, her ice sword breaking as a guard died pierced by it. She used her power to regrow the broken end. A new rush of guards entered the hallway, coming at them with their swords drawn.
“We need to be quicker here,” Adgar said. “Think you can handled it?”
Elsa smiled. The ice sword became a glowing blue orb between her two hands. She pushed her palms out, and a hundred spikes flew from between them, shredding the guards and killing them. “Was that quick enough, father?” Elsa asked.
Adgar led them over the corpses and towards a long staircase. They stopped when they saw Hans hold Anna at the top with a dagger held to her throat. “Not another step!” Hans shouted.
“Anna!” Adgar said, gritting his teeth.
“Father?!” Anna said, shocked. “You are alive?!”
“Quiet!” Hans shouted.
“You shall not kill her,” Elsa said. “You need her alive!”
“I do,” King Herold said, walking from behind his son, crossbow in hand. “But I do not need you all.” He fired a bolt from his crossbow. Elsa readied her hands to produce an ice-shield, but the bolt found its mark in the chest of her father.
“No!” Anna shouted, as Hans started dragging her backwards into the dungeon once more. Else could hear Herold scolding him for using her as a hostage, but she was not listening. She knelt next to her father.
“Elsa,” Adgar said, weakly. “Listen to me. Get your sister and get out of this place. Our foolish plans do not matter. Only your lives.”
“Our plans do matter,” Elsa said as tears spilled freely down her cheeks, falling onto her fathers chest. “Arendelle matters.”
“Arendelle,” Adgar said, smiling. “I did wish to see her one last time. At least I got to see you and Anna, though.”
“Arendelle shall not fall to King Herold or any man that walks this Earth,” Elsa said. “I swear this by the blood of my father and mother.”
Adgar closed his eyes. “You made a fine Queen, Elsa.” Adgar’s chest rose and fell one more time before coming to a rest. Elsa buried her head in his chest for a moment, mourning her father. She stood up with her resolve set as the tears froze upon her face; she would not leave this forsaken island without spilling the Southern Isle’s royal blood.
Kristoff rode Sven to the front line of the soldiers and knights that awaited the ships impromptu landing on the beach east of Arendelle castle and its villages. He met Sir Walter, who was awaiting his arrival.
“I see your plan has worked thus far,” Sir Walter said. “It is a shame I did not have a good view. How many boats were crushed by the trebuchets?”
“Not enough,” Kristoff said. “By my count, we should have at least three of the Southern Isles’ ships docking here.”
“Three is a good number,” Sir Walter said. “Let them try to take my life and Kingdom, and I will drag them to the darkest pit of Hell with me.”
“Indeed,” Kristoff said, braver words failing him. The first of the three ships Kristoff was counting on slammed into the beach with the second right behind it. A third ship that had lost its mast came in a few hundred feet behind, being rowed to shore by dozens of long oars protruding form either side. Smoke billowed from the deck of the third ship.
The soldiers from the Southern Isles climbed down ropes and ladders to the shore and began drawing swords and shields. “We await your order, Kristoff,” Sir Walter said.
“Hold the ropes,” Kristoff said. Sir Walter lifted two fingers in the air, and the soldiers on the front line all grasped ropes in the ground that went off in front of them, buried in sand and leaves. When they seemed to decide they had enough men from the boats, the Southern Isles soldiers began to form their own line, quickly marching towards the Arendelle soldiers they saw standing only a few hundred feet away. Their rage about the trebuchet attack took over, and they began to charge.
“Hold,” Kristoff said, waiting for the right moment. If they pulled too early, the trap would have been for naught. Kristoff watched the soldiers pick up speed as they finally drew close enough. “PULL!”
The ropes were pulled by the Arendelle soldiers, and the wooden spikes came from the ground, pointed upwards towards the stomachs and chests of the charging soldiers. They did not have enough time to stop, and many had impaled themselves as they tried to do so. Some of the soldiers tried to hack and chop the wooden spikes with their swords, but they were trampled by the soldiers behind them and found themselves pushed into the spikes as well.
“It seems as though they need stronger armor in the Southern Isles,” Sir Walter said, laughing.
“We still have more to fight,” Kristoff replied. The spikes worked well against the first (and some of the second) line of attack, but more soldiers were storming the beach towards the Arendelle soldiers. They stepped over the bodies of their fallen brothers and pushed passed the spikes. Sir Walter raised his sword and swung it down.
Arrows rained from the trees behind and around Arendelle’s soldiers. The archers had camouflaged themselves so that their targets would not be able to get their shields up. Again, Kristoff’s plan had worked. The archers fired a second round of arrows as the soldiers tried to figure out which direction the attack was coming from.
The Southern Isles soldiers suffered the loss of most of their men between the spikes and arrows, but they still trudged on. “DRAW YOU SWORDS!” Sir Walter shouted once Kristoff gave him a nod (and drawing his own). The sound of Arendelle’s steel filled the air as soldier clashed against solider in the bright afternoon sun.
Kristoff was not trained in the ways of the sword, but he slashed wildly, putting his natural strength behind each blow. He kicked out with his large foot, pushing an armored soldier into two more behind him. He turned, cutting the throat of another. The ground quickly became soaked in the blood of the Southern Isles.
More arrows rained from the hidden archers in the trees, showering the soldiers still running up the beach towards the fight. The third ship had finally haphazardly docked, and any man aboard fought their way off as it burned. They had archers on this ship, and they fired arrows wildly into the trees, hoping to hit the hidden archers of Arendelle.
There was a scream behind Kristoff as an archer fell from the branches of the tree where he hit and plummeted to the hard ground below him. A soldier to his left became skewered by an enemy’s sword. Kristoff avenged him by putting his own through the breastplate of his killer, but he fell awkwardly to the side, breaking Kristoff’s sword as he fell.
“Kristoff!” came a shout from a dozen feet away. Kristoff looked in time to see Sir Walter tossing him one of his fallen foe’s swords. Kristoff caught it by the hilt, and began his slashing once again. His muscles burned with fury of adrenaline as he cut down foe after foe, thinking of Elsa and Arendelle as he did so.
The last of the Southern Isles troops stopped on the beach, apprehensive about fighting such a fierce group of soldiers in such small numbers. They had lost too many to the trebuchets to mount a winning attack. Kristoff had no intention on filling Arendelle’s dungeons.
“FOR ARENDELLE!” Kristoff shouted, raising his sword. “FOR QUEEN ELSA!”
The soldiers shouted and charged the last of the Southern Isles soldiers, killing every last one of them on the sandy beach. The sands were red. Kristoff saw that Sir Walter stood by his side, smiling. “You did not do too badly, Ice Master,” he said. Kristoff was about to respond and thank him for the sword when there was a loud bang from the fjord.
One of the towers of Arendelle castle had been reduced to rubble. A ship was unharmed by the trebuchets and the giant crossbows, save for a log protruding from its deck. One last ship pulled in behind it, completely safe from the trebuchets and giant crossbows.
“Have you planned for this? Sir Walter asked. “The giant crossbows must have spent their supply of logs by now.”
“There are knights guarding the castle,” Kristoff said as another cannon blast tore into Castle Arendelle Village. “But the soldiers are not leaving the ships.”
“They know they cannot win Arendelle on this day,” Sir Walter said. “They plan on razing it instead. The castle is strong, but it will not hold up to cannon fire for long.”
“Kai should have dispatched our fleet,” Kristoff said. He looked into the distance and saw Arendelle’s ships making their way towards Castle Arendelle. “We need to get to the village. They are going to need as many men we can get there.”
“Then let us make haste,” Sir Walter said.
Elsa ran up the stairs towards the dungeon where King Herold and Hans were holding her sister captive. Her hands glowed blue as the fury inside fueled her ice. Any man stupid enough to stand in her way was bound to become skewered with as many ice spikes that she could summon. She went through the door and into the cage-walled dungeon, finding King Herold in some kind of black and metal armor with Hans standing a few feet behind him. She was flanked with a guard on each side of her. King Herold’s right arm was pressing Anna to the table in front of him and his left was hovering above her back. A small amount of yellow-orange energy was flowing from Anna and into the gauntlet of Herold’s armor.
“I designed this armor myself,” Herold said, looking at Elsa. “It is made from the metal and stones from this island. Lower your hands or I’ll sap every bit of her life energy.”
Elsa did as she was told. “Let her go,” Elsa said. “Leave this fight between you and me.”
“We are past that point,” King Herold said. “Maybe I will consider letting her go if you tell her what you were doing the night we took her from your castle. Better yet, tell her what her beloved was doing. What is his name? Kristoff?”
Anna looked towards Elsa from the table, confusion swimming in her eyes. “What is he talking about?” she asked.
“Let her go!” Elsa pleaded.
Herold’s gauntlet edged closer to Anna and the stream of energy grew. “Tell her,” he said, smiling. Anna convulsed as her life-force was taken. A large, round stone on the back of Herold’s armor began to glow brightly with the same color energy.
“The night you were taken,” Elsa began, looking away from the face of her sister. “Kristoff was in my bed chamber.”
Anna’s eyes grew wide despite her pain. “What?” she asked. “What was he doing there?”
“What do you think you naïve brat?” Hans asked.
“I told her,” Elsa said. “Now let her go!”
“Fine,” King Herold said. He pressed the gauntlet to Anna’s back, siphoning more of her power. She screamed as the power that was latent inside her body flowed into Herold’s armor. He tossed her behind her as he began his attack on Elsa.
Elsa fired spears of ice towards King Herold, anticipating his attack, but it was too late. Herold raised his left hand, sending fire, almost in liquid form, melting the spears and turning them to steam. Elsa dodged the fire as it hit the wall behind her, sending the guards running about. She fired needles of ice from her fingertips towards Herold, but he blasted another bolt of liquid-fire towards her. It nearly got her, but she was able to get out of the way. She put an ice-shield in front of her, but it quickly melted.
“Having trouble?” King Herold asked. The liquid-flames were now all about the dungeon, making it as hot as a volcano. Sweat poured down Herold’s face as well as Hans and the guards. The only one that seemed not to be effected as Anna, who lay unconscious behind Herold. “Is it a bit too hot in here for you, my Queen?”
Elsa tried to get some kind of ice-made weapon in her hand, but only steam emerged before dying out completely. She fell to her knees, realizing the heat in the dungeon was too much for her to bear. The two guards were by her side again, placing their swords by her chest.
“Any last words?” King Herold asked.
“You shall not win,” Elsa said, sneering.
“How is that?” King Herold asked, scoffing with a quick laugh. “You have no leverage to make me stop my guards from killing you, and there is no moisture in the air for you to turn into a weapon.”
“You shall find that I have more leverage than you think,” Elsa said, raising an eyebrow. The yellow-orange rock that was powering King Herold’s armor fell to the ground behind him. He turned slightly to see Hans standing there with a bar of metal, backing away.
“You?” King Herold said, his voice heavy with shock.
“You gave me all the moisture I need as well,” Elsa said. She moved her hands quickly to the sides of the guards that were holding the swords to her chest. Red-tinged ice spikes exploded from their chests and stomachs, piercing King Herold’s body. He fell backwards onto the ground with a loud clang as the withered bodies of the guards fell to Elsa’s sides. The flames around the dungeon began to die out.
King Herold breathed shallowly as Elsa approached, his body riddled in spikes. Hans watched from a few steps back. “Hans,” he breathed. “My son. Why?”
“That is simple,” Hans said. “I wish to be King.”
“There is much you do not know,” Elsa said. “I visited your son while he was still being held in my own dungeon. My advisor told me to execute him per Arendelle law, but I had a better idea. Arendelle needs to know that it could stand on its own if I were ever killed or removed, and it was a lesson I preferred for them to learn quickly. I only needed an enemy, and Hans was able to provide one.”
“You sent us to war with your own Kingdom?!” King Herold exclaimed before wincing in pain.
“I did,” Elsa replied. “It was not an easy decision, but Arendelle’s future depended on it.”
“And you, my son?” King Herold asked, turning towards Hans. “You betrayed me for this madwoman?!”
“I made a deal with your son, King Herold,” Elsa said, answering for Hans. “In exchange for talking his foolhardy father into luring me away and attempting to sack my Kingdom, I would give him your throne above all of his brothers. He was more than happy to agree to this deal of mine rather than the beheading he faced. The only thing neither of us knew about was this island and its secrets.”
“You betrayed me?” King Herold asked Hans. “For a crown?”
“Indeed,” Hans said, standing to Elsa’s side. “There are little options for me if I would be a King, father. Elsa will threaten to turn the Southern Isles to a block of ice if I am not named King over my pompous brothers.”
“There is only one more loose end,” Elsa said. She brought her hand upward from her side, and spikes of ice rose from the floor, impaling Hans throughout his body. He was rocked backwards, becoming pinned against a stone wall. He spewed blood from his mouth as he attempted to ask why Elsa had done it.
“I cannot have a traitorous weasel sitting on a King’s throne,” Elsa said. “Especially one who knows as much as you do, Prince Hans. It would only be a matter of time before you betrayed me as well.”
Hans’ eyes grew wide before his head drooped. He eyes stared towards the ground, but they saw no more.
“Arendelle will fall,” King Herold said, fury raging in his dying eyes. “They cannot stand up to my armada.”
“Arendelle is strong,” Elsa said. She grasped the air, and a broadsword of ice formed in her hand. “Arendelle will realize its full strength as the blood of your soldiers stains its ground.”
“I have twelve more sons,” King Herold breathed. “They shall avenge me.”
“Is that so?” Elsa asked. “Then I shall have twelve more corpses lying my my feet.” With a swift motion, Elsa removed King Herold’s head from his shoulders.
Kristoff made his way towards the ports just out side of Castle Arendelle Village atop Sven. Sir Walter raced beside him on his horse. There was another loud bang as the ship from the Southern Isles fired once more towards the homes and shoppes by the port, sending wreckage down towards the knights and soldiers waiting for the ships to dock.
Arendelle’s own fleet was released by Kai too late to stop the onslaught of the cannons from happening, but Kristoff hoped that it would be within firing range soon enough to keep them from destroying the entire village and castle. He had kept Arendelle’s small fleet of ships away to spare it any accidental destruction from the trebuchets and giant crossbows, and he now saw the error of this decision. Arendelle’s ships were mostly built for pleasure cruises or shipping goods. They had very few naval vessels.
The first of the two ships dropped its anchor near the ports, and soldiers started hoisting planks and putting them down on the docks. The archers on the roofs of Arendelle village thad had not been destroyed fired arrows into the soldiers climbing down the planks, but they were not very successful. They were highly visible, and large, wooden shields were soon laden with arrows.
“I see why you opted do to this from the trees,” Sir Walter said, drawing his sword. The soldiers that fought with them at the beach were behind them, moving quickly as a large group behind their captains. “Do you think we can win this battle?”
“We have to try,” Kristoff said, stopping Sven and dismounting. He withdrew his own sword and ran towards the port.
The knights who were on site were already hard at work slashing at the soldiers coming down from the planks, and archers from the ships were firing arrows down upon them. They could only move a few men side to side coming off the ships, and the Arendelle knights worked hard trying to get them into the water with so few. Kristoff arrived just in time to see the wood from the ship splinter and fly into pieces as the Arendelle fleet finally began firing with their cannon.
The ship rocked, knocking three of the five planks into the water. The armored soldiers fell into the cold fjord, where they sank like stones under the weight of their armor. There were two more blasts as Arendelle’s cannons fired on both ships, splintering wood and sending more soldiers to the depths of the cold water.
The knights took care of those that were able to climb ashore or onto the ports, spilling blood or simply pushing them back into the water. The entirety of the ordeal ended with both ships burning as the archers unleashed arrows tipped with oil soaked rags. Smoke filled the air in front of Arendelle village of those left on the ships stripped their armor off and dove into the sea, swimming for the shore in hopes of life in a dungeon over death in the water.
“We did not need to come with such haste after all,” Sir Walter said, sheathing his sword once more. “What shall we do with those who come ashore.”
“Execute them,” Kristoff said. “I am not interested in taking hostages. We let someone from the Southern Isles live once before, and I will not let Arendelle make that mistake again.”
“So be it,” Sir Walter said. “I will give the order. The archers can use the swimmers for target practice I suppose.”
Kristoff made no reply to Sir Walter’s joke. He looked onto the ships as they burned and the soldiers of the Southern Isles ended their lives swimming for sanctuary. He thought of the time before battles and the princess and the Queen. Before he mistook a combination of lust and a brotherly duty to protect a young girl for love and the woman that showed him otherwise. He thought of the time before the Frozen Summer, and longed for the quiet of the life that was now long dead to him.
Then he thought of Elsa, his Queen. She was the only thing that made him feel like he was back in the cold wilderness of the mountains was being with her.
He put his head down and closed his eyes, wondering if she would hear his thoughts if he tried hard enough. He felt a swelling in he heart and pride in his bones when he thought of how she had put her faith in him and her people, and how they succeeded where she knew without doubt that they would. Finally, he wondered how she was faring across the sea and if he would see her again to speak about all that had happened since the one night they spent together as one. That single, wonderful night.
“Come back to me, my Queen,” Kristoff said, looking up and turning his gaze west. “Come home.”
“Wake up,” Elsa said, clutching Anna on the floor of the dungeon. “It is time to leave this place.”
“Elsa?” Anna asked, groggily. “Do you want to build a snowman?”
“You need to get up,” Elsa said.
Anna finally opened her eyes and looked around. She saw Hans and King Herold both lying on the ground. “What happened?” she asked.
“It is over,” Elsa replied. “We can finally go home.”
“Go home?” Anna asked, getting to her feet with Elsa’s assistance. “To Arenedelle.”
“Yes,” Elsa said, smiling. “I have no faith in King Herold’s claim that his armada has decimated it.”
“But Kristoff,” Anna said. Elsa looked away. Tears formed in her eyes. She did not mean to hurt her sister, but she could not help herself when Kristoff approached her.
“I am sorry for what has happened,” Elsa said. “If you can never forgive me…”
“We can talk about it later,” Anna said. “It will be a long trip home.”
Elsa nodded. “Come on,” she said, not looking at her sister out of fear of seeing the disappointment in her eyes. “Follow me. I will show you the way out.” She thought Anna was staying behind when she did not hear any footsteps, but they followed after a moment. Elsa slowed her pace to let her sister catch up as she made her way down the staircase towards the same door she used with her father.
Elsa turned and noticed that Anna had stopped to kneel by the body of their father. She approached her younger sister and stood over her as she observed his still face. “He was alive this whole time,” Anna said. “I only got to see him for a moment before he was taken from us again. Did he tell you all that had happened?”
“He did,” Elsa replied. “I will tell you all on the ship.”
Anna nodded. She touched the cheek of her father once. “Goodbye, father,” she said. She rose once again and followed Elsa outside into the rain.
The dock in front of the small mountain fortress was slick and wet. Elsa walked to the end with Anna behind her. She raised her hand into the air and fired a blast of blue into the sky. It exploded like an icy firework above their heads. “Our ship is not far away,” she said. “We will be on our way home soon. All I have left is to put this island under a block of ice.”
“No,” Anna said. “Ice melts. Our secret is out there now. If anyone ever finds this place again, then we are in danger. Our family would be in danger. Our children and their children and so on. Let me destroy it.” Anna put her hands forward, and Elsa saw why she paused before following her from the dungeon. She had taken the gauntlets from King Herold’s armor.
“Anna,” Elsa said, looking form the gauntlets to her sister’s face. “No.”
“What happened here cannot be repeated,” Anna said. “King Herold found this place and figured out its intentions. We cannot allow that to happen again.” She put both gauntlets on her hands and turned towards the black fortress and mountain.
“Those will sap your life force,” Elsa said. “It could kill you. Herold already sapped a great amount of your power already.”
Anna turned her palms towards the fortress. The stones in each one glowed yellow-orange.
“Anna!” Elsa shouted. “Let it go! Please do not…”
“Take care of Kristoff,” Anna said. She used the power deep inside her to lash out with liquid fire towards the stronghold. It was in flames instantly. She used more of whatever was left inside her to set the small mountain and mine behind it on fire too. The sands on the beach turned to glass as the entire thing turned into a glowing ball of flame.
Elsa took a step back from her sister, not knowing if she could handle the heat her sister was now giving off. She wondered if she intended to burn them both after what Elsa had taken from her. With one final blast from the gauntlets, Anna blew the whole island to dust, leaving only the rocks and the smoldering dock where they now stood. The shockwave of the blast sent Anna sailing into the sea behind her.
“ANNA!” Elsa shouted, watching her sister become swallowed by the waves. She jumped in after her without any thought and started swimming downwards. She saw her sister descend to the sandy bottom of the sea, weighed down by the gauntlets. She attempted to make some kind of raft out of ice to bring them both back to the surface, but the water had grown too hot thanks to Anna’s powers still flowing through her hands.
Elsa finally got down to the bottom with her sister and pulled her right wrist until her hand was free of the heavy gauntlet. She did the same to the one on the left and pulled her sister towards her, holding her tightly to her with her left arm as she used her right one along with her feet to pull them both to the surface. She thought she would be out of air before she broke the surface, but she finally took a great mouthful of air.
Elsa pulled Anna’s head from the water and slapped her in the face lightly as she treaded water, carrying them both. Anna remained still. Elsa put her palm to the surface of the water and was relieved to see that her ice powers were working again, forming a round, white platform of ice for them. She laid Anna down on it and started pounding on her chest with a clenched fist.
A spray of water came from Anna’s mouth after a dozen or so poundings. She coughed and then turned over, spewing more seawater from her lungs. Elsa collapsed atop her small iceberg, relieved. Angel’s Kiss was there a moment later, and a rope ladder was thrown down. Anna was unconscious, so Elsa signaled for the ship-hand to send someone down to help Anna aboard. She turned to watch the smoke rise from where the island once sat as she waited. When the smoke cleared, there was nothing left but a little rock and a few pieces of smoldering wood that was once the dock.
“All went well I take it?” Captain Nicolaus asked as he gave Elsa a hand aboard his ship.
“Not at all,” Elsa replied, watching two men carry her still unconscious sister off to rest. “But it is done.”
“I am sorry, my Queen,” Nicolaus said. “Shall I set a course for Arendelle then?”
“Do it,” Elsa said. “Set the course for home.”
Anna looked out of the window of her room towards the castle village and the fjord behind it. That was all she had done since the day she escaped from the black mountain fortress with Elsa. Elsa, Kristoff, and the castle hands visited many times and tried talking to her, but she just stared, always wanting to face the window. Elsa wondered if too much of her life-force was taken from her, if she spent too much time under the water, or if the shock of coming back to a Kingdom where your sister is Queen and could steal your true love had put her in this state.
“I never wanted this for you,” Elsa said, kneeling on the floor next to her sister’s chair. “I will make it up to you every day of your life if you just turn and say something to me. Anything.”
Elsa wept into her arms as she had done every day since their ordeal. Kai has said the feeling of guilt would pass, but Elsa hoped it never would. She needed the reminder of what needed to be sacrificed in order for Arendelle to thrive and prosper.
“I have to leave you now, Anna,” Elsa said sadly. “But I shall return. I will not give up on you.”
Elsa left her sister’s room, and a castle hand entered with a bowl of broth and a spoon. Anna took broth and water, but that was all. She refused to chew any solid food. Elsa walked down the hall and tried her hardest in vain to push the sadness from her heart. Today was supposed to be a joyous occasion for her Kingdom, and she needed to be happy for her people.
Kristoff turned as Elsa entered the veranda with him. He looked uncomfortable in the outfit that she had picked out for him, but she thought he looked very handsome in it. Kristoff gave Elsa a smile as he turned to look at the people below, gathering in the castle courtyard.
“They have you to thank for their lives,” Elsa said.
“They have themselves to thank,” Kristoff said.
“There is no need for modesty when it is just me you speak to,” Elsa said, putting her head on Kristoff’s shoulder. “Arendelle stood up to their foes without the help of their great Ice Queen, and you led them to their victory. They will tell stories for generations of the great Kristoff, riding into glorious battle atop his noble reindeer. I hear that the people wish to erect a statue of it on by the beach where you fought with the soldiers and knights so bravely.”
“A statue,” mused Kristoff. “Sven will never let me hear the end of it.” He laughed, looking back down at the preparations being made below.
“You know that I love you,” Elsa said.
“And I you,” Kristoff replied. “But will there ever be a point in our lives where the guilt will not gnaw at me. I know I was not fated to be with Anna, but I cannot help this feeling. If only she would speak to either of us. If only she could tell me off for what I did to her.”
“Our guilt will fade,” Elsa said, reassuring herself as well as Kristoff. “To deny your heart would be worse. Besides, my sister’s last words to me were to take care of you. You deserve this honor.”
Kristoff looked down again. Some of the buildings in the village and one of the castle towers were still being rebuilt, but this was his home. Elsa knew he was a man of the mountains, but he had come to love every inch of this Kingdom as she had. There was nobody more suited to become King of Arendelle and her husband.
“Arendelle needs a King,” Elsa said, reading Kristoff. “I was supposed to have one chosen by the time I was crowned Queen, but due to the circumstances I was allowed to put it off. After what has happened, the people are demanding I marry, and they are demanding you be crowned by my side.”
“You promise that I will make a good King?” Kristoff asked, turning towards Elsa.
“I promise,” Elsa said, smiling. “If you let me make all of the decisions.”
“Then you have a deal, my Queen” Kristoff said. He took Elsa in his arms and kissed her. Elsa’s guilt seemed to melt away. Nothing seemed wrong at that moment.
The churches and halls were filled with people as they held a memorial and vigil for those lost during the battle. Once the memorial was over, Kristoff wedded Elsa, and he took his valiant oath as King of Arendelle, promising to uphold its laws and protect its people to his dying day. He and Elsa stepped off towards the water, releasing a lotus flower into the water as the crowds cheered and hailed the King and Queen of Arendelle.
The only person in Arendelle who was silent was Princess Anna as she sat in her chair looking out of her window towards the fjord. A tear rolled down her cheek as she put her head down, closed her eyes, and slept.