Chapter 10: Surprises
I woke up with a headache that was painful beyond belief. I looked around to see I was in one of the alleyways of Arendelle. At first I was confused, then it all came back to me in a huge flood. We had been attacked by the Duke of Weselton and his men. They kidnapped Anna and when I tried to fight back they knocked me out.
I got up still a little dizzy from the headache. I looked up at the sky and saw it was dark grey, at this time of year that could only be a sign of a blizzard. I walked out of the alleyway to see the people gathering in the town square. Curious I went to see what everything was about, my blood ran cold when I saw Prince Hans on the stand.
"People of Arendelle," he said in that snake of a voice, "I am here to inform you that Arendelle is under new management. Arendelle is now under my control." There were mutterings in the crowd, "And with the help of my good friend, the Duke of Weselton." The short skinny Duke walked into view, "We're going to be setting some new rules for this kingdom-"
"And why would we listen to you?" a citizen called out interrupting him.
Hans narrowed his eyes, "Because… it for your own good," he laughed a little a smiled, "Or should I say, for the royal's own good." Hans snapped his fingers and two guards came onto the stand and I was horrified. They had Anna and Elsa and the later of the two didn't look that great. No she looked horrible.
Her dress was ripped in some parts and her hair was out of its braid, strands of hair fell around her face. Her eyes were bloodshot and her cheeks were tearstained. Her hands were cuffed with strange metal binds that completely covered her hands so she couldn't use her powers. She looked up at the ground with sad broken eyes. I had to look away because I couldn't stand seeing her like that.
"Every time I hear or see some form of resistance from any of you, not only will you be punished for treason. Your Queen will receive a far worse punishment, but don't worry I will keep her alive… for now." Hans looked around the crowd, "Now go back to your business there's nothing more to see here." the crowd dispersed rather quickly. I took one last look at my family before running off. I had to get to the stables.
I burst through the door and ran to the stall where I put Sven, good he was still there, "Sven things are bad, real bad." Sven looked at me in confusion.
"What? What is it?" I said for Sven.
"Hans and the Duke of Weasel Town captured Anna and Elsa and are now running Arendelle." Sven grunted in surprise, "So we need to go, now!"
"What?" Sven 'said', "You're abandoning them?"
"No, of course not. Just c'mon." I lead Sven outside I got onto his back, "Okay Sven, get me to Zander's fortress as fast as you can." Now seeing what I was getting at he took off down the familiar path.
Fire was everywhere and I was the source, "More ferocity!" an inferno erupted from my hand, "You're not trying to warm up your enemies!" I added another hand, "Come on, put some effort into it! Now let me see you roar!" I reared my head back before roaring with an arsenal of flames forcing their way out of my throat. The fire ended and I was breathing heavily. "Very good, you remind me of myself at a younger age."
I wiped my forehead with the back of my hand, "You have anything I can drink."
"Not unless you can drink molten magma." He said with some humor in his voice. He laughed at his own joke and I gave a slight chuckle, "You'll do me proud son, don't worry."
I looked at Xant, "What exactly do I have to live up to?"
Xant chuckled, "In my time there was no one brave enough, or crazy enough to take me on. I was the Smaug of the South." The name sounded familiar to me, but I assumed that he was pretty famous. "I would go around proving my power and ferocity. I'm willing that to this day the Southern Isles tell their kids stories about me to scare them into behaving." I chuckled, "Laugh all you want, but I was the essence of fire, I was Chaos, I was Destruction, I… was… Death!" he declared proudly raising his fists into the air.
"So what happened?" I asked, letting the old fossil praise himself.
He shrugged, "I got bored, so I went north. I heard rumors of a great wealth in the Kingdom of Arendelle." Now this caught my attention, and he laughed, "The capital city of Arendelle wasn't always on the fjord you know. You know those ruins you see the sun set behind?" I nodded, "That was once Castle Elaina, the grand palace, and the pride of joy, of Arendelle's royalty. At least it was until I came along. I burnt the place to the ground to find their vast wealth, and find it I did. When it got over how and valuable the entire thing was I grabbed the treasure, every coin, gem and any valuable item I could find. I put it all in this volcano creating the home I would stay in for centuries. I went back to my previous home collecting all my previous raids and putting all of my loot here to add to the already vast hoard I had already collected, but now that I had collected from everywhere, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what to do next."
"So you went into hibernation?" I said and Xant nodded.
"Exactly, I knew there was no way someone would steal my loot. So the only thing I could deal was to seal myself away, at least until it was time." I gave him a confused look, "I told you, I needed someone to continue my legacy, someone to continue my influence in Arendelle."
"Continue your influence?" I thought for a minute, "You mean fear and destruction?" I said in a jesting manner, he laughed.
"Not far off the bat, actually I mean someone to keep the balance." I raised an eyebrow, "You don't know much history do you?" I shook my head, "Arendelle was once a savage kingdom, ruled by conquerors and warmongers. Do you know how I learned about the vast wealth of Arendelle?" I shrugged, "I was summoned by the Princess of Arendelle, a kind-hearted girl by the name of Elsa." My head perked up, "Yes, the current Queen of Arendelle's namesake. I've been asleep, but I've still kept watch over Arendelle. Anyway where was I?"
"Princess Elsa I summoned you." I reminded.
"Right, anyway she showed a great amount of bravery, so I thought she was worth listening to, but I still had be doubts. So I told her to prove herself worthy of my presence, and she showed a dazzling display of ice magic." I smiled seeing why Elsa got her name, "Seeing the magic she held deep inside of her I listened to her. She told me about her home and the nature of her father's ways. I ignored her that it wasn't worth it and told her to leave. She did, but came back the next day with a medium sized strongbox, she emptied the contents to reveal treasure inside. She spun tales on how it was a drop in the ocean compared to the vast wealth Arendelle hoarded. So we made a deal, I destroyed everything her father believed in and let her take over the kingdom so she could rule it the right way. And that I watch over Arendelle to make sure it never became that again, and in return. I got all of Arendelle's treasure with no resistance."
"So your job was just to make sure Arendelle didn't once again become controlled by selfish conquerors and other related monarchs?" I asked. Xant nodded.
"Yes, I almost came out of hiding when I felt a great darkness come over Arendelle almost six moons ago," that must've been the Great Thaw, or when Hans showed his true colors. Xant straightened up, "Do you hear that?" I listened intently and I could hear faint sound of hoof beats, "A horse," he sniffed the air and I did too, "But it doesn't smell like horse. It smells like…"
"Reindeer," I said, but the only reindeer within several miles of here was… oh great they're coming back.
"C'mon buddy faster," I urged Sven as we came out of the forest with Zander's fortress coming into view. Sven ran across the plain even faster than when he was running through the snow and wind a few months ago.
When we got to the bridge Sven came to a stop I all but jumped off and ran across the bridge and slammed my fist of the door, "Zander! It's me Kristoff, open up!" the door went through the same process as before and opened. I ran inside and to the stairs on the other side. I ran up the stairs at a very fast pace on the next floor I almost ran into Zander.
"Kristoff, what are you doing here I told you to leave me alone." Zander said sounding seriously annoyed, that was going to change once I told him the news.
"I know, I belong in Arendelle, but right now Arendelle needs you." I said.
Zander waved a dismissive hand, "I'm sure Arendelle will be fine without her blacksmith." I grabbed the front of his vest and shook him hoping that would put some sense into him.
"Zander Hans is back, he captured Elsa and Anna and he's taken over Arendelle." Zander's eyes widened and he got out of my grasp.
"What?" he said.
"And not just that," I said, "Hans is breaking Elsa, Hans just showed her to the people and she looked closed to hopeless, and if their methods aren't enough I think they'll start to hurt Anna-"
"Don't even mention that." Zander said, "With the condition she's in… we can't allow that to happen." His orange eyes stared into mine, "What is he doing to Elsa?"
I shrugged, "I don't know, but if it's what I think it is…"
Zander turned around and walked toward the staircase, "Get ready I'll be right out."
"Zander wait," he stopped, but didn't turn around, "What is Anna's condition?"
"Kristoff if you knew it would make the situation far more serious." When I didn't answer Zander sighed, "Kristoff you dense, funky-looking donkey," he turned around, "Anna… is pregnant." He turned around and ran up the stairs leaving me shocked.
"Xant!" I yelled as I ran into the room on the top floor where I found him waiting, "Arendelle in trouble, the darkness that ruled Arendelle before is coming back, and his desire to keep it that way has gotten stronger." Xant walked over to me, "He's captured the royal family, you need to come back to set the balance."
Xant shook his head, "No," I opened my mouth to protest, he raised a hand, "It's you that has to go, I need to know if you're worthy of continuing my legacy, plus it would be far too easy for me. This will be the ultimate test, plus you have more reason to be there than I do." I nodded hoping I wasn't blushing.
"Ashara," I called out holding out an arm, the fire bird landed on my arm, "I need you to fly ahead to Arendelle and scout it out; I'm going back."
I was waiting outside the fortress still trying to get over the surprise of what Zander just told me, "I can't believe I didn't know about this." I reprimanded myself, "Wait, how did Zander know about it before me?"
"Kristoff!" I looked up and saw Zander on a balcony at the top of the fortress, "I'll meet you at the edge of Arendelle." Okay, but isn't he going to come down? My question was answered when he jumped off the balcony- wait jumped of the balcony? Is he nuts!
He fell about ten yards before he suddenly shot forward like a crossbow bolt, his flames propelling him forward like a human firework, "Okay that's cheating, I can't fly." I said as I climbed onto Sven back. Sven let out a series of grunts that could've been laughter, "Oh shut up."
Sven got us to Arendelle almost as fast as he got me to Zander's fortress, but it was still dark when we got there. We found Zander waiting for us on a hill looking over Arendelle. The storm clouds had gotten much worse, it was beginning the snow, and a wind was starting to pick up.
I walked up to Zander, he was staring intently at the castle, his orange eyes glowing like embers. Occasionally his gaze would shift, his ears would twitch, and he would sniff the air. "Zander what are you doing?" I asked, Zander shook his head as if coming out of a trance.
"Observing, listening, and smelling. I'm scouting Arendelle through Ashara's eyes." He explained, "Ithilagar is waiting for us at my forge, and he has someone that he says can help us."
"So," I started, "How are we getting in?"
Sneaking into Arendelle was easy, getting past Weselton's guards was a little more difficult. With it being dark I had to put out my cape of flames to avoid attention. The blessing enhanced my eyesight so I could see better in the dark, but I was still relying on my sensory power of emotion and heat signals to find out where people were. It took a lot of caution, but we got to my forge. We opened the door to find a surprising sight. Ithilagar was talking to Captain.
"What is he doing here?" I asked keeping my voice down.
"Trust me," Captain said standing up using a crutch to give himself more support, "I'm here to help. I've been working on the inside finding out I could about where they're keeping the royals."
He seemed serious, "Can you get us inside the castle?" he nodded, "How?"
"There's an evacuation tunnel on the southern side of the castle, it's the same tunnel Hans and his men used to get into the castle in the first place." I raised an eyebrow, "It's the royal's first way of escape if the castle was attacked, my father told me about it when he was Guard Captain."
I stared Captain in the eyes, reading his emotions as I spoke, "You're positive we can get into the castle with no catches, traps, and/or guards?"
He nodded, "Yes," he was nervous, but he had reason to be with me around.
"Very well," I said, "Lead the way Captain."
So this is what it was like to rule, it was glorious. No brothers to compete for the throne, no annoying royalty to stand in my way, and no eternal winter to take care of. I walked down the halls of the dungeon until I came to a door guarded by two of Weselton's men. When I got near they stepped aside and I unlocked the door and walked in where I saw Elsa sleeping of the ground. She looked horrible, like she was having a nightmare… it was a beautiful sight.
"Wake up!" I called out and she was awake in seconds breathing heavily, "Hello Elsa, I'm sure you have several questions as to how I got here." Elsa didn't say anything, but her eyes showed fear, "Several months ago I was in the brig of that French governor's ship on my way to the Southern Isles when the ship was attacked." I began, "It was the Duke of Weselton, he rescued me and brought me back home where I told my family on how Arendelle and its royalty were nothing but unfit rulers that shut their gates so they could prepare for war." Elsa looked like she wanted to say something, but she didn't, "I gave them an idea for me to return with an attack force to see if I could bring some sense into the royal family and try to make peace with them, but if that didn't work. The combined armies of the Southern Isles and the Kingdom of Weselton will advance on Arendelle and take it by force."
"No," Elsa said, I smirked.
"Don't worry, I won't give the command for the armies to come, you've been a good girl, but there's only one thing I need to seal the deal." Elsa put her head down, and I put a hand under her chin and raised her head up, "I need an heir, and I would prefer that he had powers like yours." Elsa's eyes widened. I snapped my fingers and the guards came into the cell, "Bring her to the Ballroom, but keep her hands clamped, and make sure Princess Anna is there too." If I'm going to do this I want there to be an audience, "I want to make sure that our little Ice Queen puts up no resistance."
Captain was leading us through the tunnel, so far Captain had proved to be somewhat reliable. When the tunnel came to an end we were in the Castle Kitchen, "Come this way," Captain urged. He ran into the next room, the Banquet Hall. Kristoff and I followed Captain until he stopped in the middle of the room, he turned around to meet our questioning gazes, "I'm sorry guys, it was nothing personal." What is he-?
My thoughts were cut off by several of Weselton's men leaping from the shadows with crossbows pointed at us ready to fire. A short man with a mustache, who I assumed was the Duke of Weselton, walked out, "That's them Duke, I told you someone would come try and free the royals."
"Yes, good work Captain." Weselton said, "Your services are very valuable to our cause."
Everything fell into place, the willingness to help us, knowledge about the tunnel, the lack of guards, "You," I growled.
"Yes," the Duke said, "It was our good friend Captain who let us into this castle, we've been in contact for a while plotting the perfect time to break into this castle, seize them."
Guards advanced forward and gipped Kristoff's and my arms, "So you're the Duke of Weasel Town." I said.
The Duke's ears turned red, "Weselton, it Weselton." I smirked.
"I'm sorry could you stand up, I can't hear from down there. Oh whoops. I didn't realize you already were." I swear steam was coming out of his ears.
"Lock this hothead in the dungeon and be sure to chain him up!" the guards dragged me away. Ithilagar jumped at them and tried to free me, "Lock that mutt up too." The guards grabbed Ithilagar, and as the guards pulled me away, I winked at Kristoff.
I looked at Elsa, she was chained to the floor so there was no way of escape from this. I looked over at Anna who was chained to the wall and a gag around her mouth. She was going to watch this entire thing, I returned my attention to the Ice Queen. She looked up at me, "Please," she pleaded in a small voice, "Don't do this." I only smirked and ribbed off what was left of her dress.
I was in a cell with chains on my wrists with the Duke, Captain, and several guards in front of me, Ithilagar was lying next to me, "So," the Duke said, "Why are you here?"
I looked up, "I'm here to free the royal family," the Duke laughed, normally the mocking gesture would up spiked my rage, but the blessing was helping me out a big deal.
"I'm afraid you're too late Mr…"
"Zander Smith," I said.
"Yes, you're a little too late. Prince Hans is right now issuing one of the final stages of his plan." Before I could ask him an intense feeling of Pain, sadness and hopelessness shot through my body. It was coming from Elsa, "You see, for Hans to truly become a ruler, he needs an heir." My blood was boiling, "And imagine the possibilities of that heir having a power like Elsa's." I gripped the chains and tried to pull on them, "So now you can see what happens now." My pulse was beginning to go up, "I think Hans chose the perfect person, don't you think so Captain?"
Captain was clearly enjoying this as much as the Duke was, "Yes, Prince Hans said that as a reward for my services that when he was done with Elsa, I could have her." That was the snapping point, Elsa is not a trophy or some animal they can torture for their own personal gain.
My blood went magma hot and the chain glowed red as I yanked them out of the wall. I stood up and looked, well more like glared, at Weselton clearly seeing my reflection in his glasses. My eyes were glowing, but they were different. They no longer looked human, they were Xant's eyes, magma orange and with reptilian slits for pupils. my mouth was stuck in a snarl and my teeth looked pointed.
"No one," I said my voice sounding demonic, a fire grew in my hand and the same sword I used to destroy the ice monster a few days ago formed in my hand. Everyone in the room was looking nervous, "Treats Elsa, or any member of the royal family. Like some… object that they own."
The Duke pointed a finger at me, "Kill him, do it, do it now!" three guards charged forward. Letting the sword swing itself I attacked the guards.
(A.N. Younger audiences way want to skip this next part it gets a little graphic)
The first one shot a crossbow bolt at me. I simply pointed at it and the tip glowed red and I reversed the direction of the bolt and sent it toward the person who shot it. The bolt went right through the armor and into his chest, most likely going into his heart.
Just as the first guard fell the second guard came to me swinging a sword hoping to remove my head from my shoulders. I raised my own sword and the two blades connected with a flurry of embers. The blades were locked for a little bit, but he was backing his blade with two hands while I was using one. Heating the blade my blade melted through his and in the blink of an eye the guard's arm fell away from his body and landed on the floor. I stabbed the sword into the center of his chest and immediately flames started to come out of the wound. The flames covered his body and he was reduced to ash.
I turned to the last guard, who was stupid enough to try and brawl me. He threw a fist, and I easily caught his wrist, he threw the other one and I caught that one just as easily, but I hand to make my sword disappear. I heated up my hands and burned his wrists. He grunted in pain, "Your hands are occupied, you're out of options. How are you going to beat me?"
I smirked and made a rumbling noise in my throat and I opened my mouth my opponents face illuminated by what I was building in the back of my throat, "What the-" he was cut off by the roar and flames that erupted by my throat and engulfing his face and upper chest. I let go of him, screaming in pain his hands went to his face as he fell to the ground.
I looked back at the others, "Who's next?" they all fled out the door, I reached out a hand and the molten metal formed into a metal robe and it snaked forward very quickly and wrapped around someone's neck; Captain's neck to be exact, "How about you?" I pulled him back in the room and lifted the rope into the air.
"Z-z-zander… please." Captain choked out while trying to get the rope off his neck. I willed the other end to go up to the ceiling and welded the end to it. then I left him to hand his feet two feet off the ground. I walked out of the cell the sound of Captain struggling behind me as I walked down the dungeon hallways, following the trail of cowardice the Duke left everywhere he stepped.
(A.N. End of somewhat graphic scene)
It was done. I stepped away from Elsa, I had done it… she was broken. Her screams ended a little bit ago but I could tell she was still in pain. I heard Anna's muffled cries, if the gag was gone I'm sure she would be cursing me to the depths.
After i had redressed myself, I was pondering what to do about Anna when the Duke came bursting through the door with some of his men, "Fortify the door, barricade it, do something! We can't let that monster get to us!" the men that came with him started to make sure the door was locked and started to pile everything they could against the door.
"What is going on here?!" I demanded rather than asked.
The Duke looked close to hysterical, "We captured a boy who was trying to break in. We tried to lock him up, but he busted himself out, he's not human, he's a demon."
I raised an eyebrow, "What did he do?"
"Fire, he willed fire like Elsa wills ice. He killed my best men in a manner of seconds." A large echoing thud came from the other side of the door, "Oh no, he's here. We're all dead men." The door started to glow red and began to melt, someone was pushing through the melting stone. It was a man around my age, and judging by the fire that covered his arms and he's demonic orange eyes, this was Zander. There was a black and red wolf at his side, at it didn't look any happier, "Where is Weselton and Hans?" He said in a rumbling voice.
"Zander?" I heard Elsa say behind me in a weak voice. Zander looked and Elsa, and then he saw me. He growled and flames around his feet began to grow. Weselton's men began to flee, as did Duke, but Zander shot a small amount of flame at him that injured his leg and he fell to the ground. Crying in pain Duke cried for help, but he received none.
Zander roared and started coming after me, choosing the wise decision I ran to the nearest window. I turned around, "You know what this means Elsa, I'll give you nine months, and then I'll return with what I promised." Zander sent a large fireball toward me and I jumped through the window and toward the fjord below just as the wall behind my exploded as the fire ball made contact.
I felt the fire in my blood fade away and I was sure that my eyes returned to normal. Immediately I turned around and ran back to Elsa. Anna was next to her putting he cloak around her since Elsa's dress was ribbed up next to her. I kneeled down next to her and put a hand on her shoulder, she was shivering. She looked up and I stared into her blue eyes, tears came to her eyes, "Zander… I-" Her voice was starting to break so I pulled her close and wrapped my arms around her, she broke down and started crying into my chest and shoulder. I shroked her hair whispering words of encouragement into her ear. "Don't leave, please."
"Never," I said, I looked up at her, my eyes asking the dreaded question on what Hans did to her. Anna nodded tears running down her cheeks and I hugged Elsa tighter, "I promise you Elsa. No one will harm you as long as I'm around." Elsa continued to cry until her breathing became steady and soft, she fell asleep. Ithilagar walked up to me.
"The Duke of Weasel Town is still here." he whispered to me, I turned around and saw the old man trying to crawl away.
I looked over at Anna, "Take Elsa to her room, I'll handle the Duke," Anna nodded and I walked towards the old man.
Zander walked towards the Duke of Weselton. The small German man saw Zander and quickly scooted away, "Please Mr. Smith, don't do anything too hasty. I was against it the entire time. Hans just tortured me to do it."
Zander scoffed and one of his hands lit of on fire illuminating the wall next to them, "You sounded pretty serious about it when you were bragging in my cell."
(The view changes so that you only see the wall and Zander's and the Duke's shadows)
Shadow Zander lifts up a hand, the shadow of Weselton raised a hand as if shielding his eyes, "No Zander please, I didn't mean any of that. I was just playing along." The edge of the shadows got more intensified as the wall became more orange, the Shadow Duke was starting to look desperate, "Zander, please I have a family at home, I'm sure you understand why I need to live."
Shadow Zander seemed to consider it, "I have a family too." The Duke relaxed a little, "You and your men just tried to take them away from me." the orange got more intense.
"No, Zander no. Please we can work this out! No-" the glow was more intense than ever when a fiery blast was heard and the Dukes screams were cut off.
I turned around not wanting to look at what was left of the Duke of Weasel Town. I looked around the room at the flames. Stretching a hand and focusing all the flames were lifted and absorbed into my hand, I walked to a nearby fireplace and put the flame there focusing it so it would be smaller. Then I walked out of the ball room and into the hallway that lead to Elsa's room. I walked inside to find Elsa in her nightgown and soundly sleeping in bed, Anna was next to the bed watching over her, "Go get some sleep, I'll watch over Elsa. Tell Kristoff to get Sven and patrol Arendelle to make sure those guys are gone." Anna nodded and started to leave, "Anna?" I called before she left, "Did they… you know?" I said pointing at her stomach.
She shook her head, "No, they didn't hurt me in anyway." I breathed a sigh of relief, "How did they get into the castle?"
"Captain let them in," I said, "But don't worry, I dealt with the problem."
Anna's expression hardened, "Where is Captain? I'd like to have a word with him."
I shrugged, "I'm sure he could listen to you right now, I left him hanging in the dungeons, no pun intended." Anna gave me a baffled expression. I gave her an innocent smile and she rolled her eye, but I still saw the light smile on her lips as she turned around.
I walked over to the chair by Elsa's bed and sat down there was some hair covering her face so I reached over and gently brushed the hair away. My hand remained on the side of her beautiful face, she looked peaceful, but I knew that there wasn't anything peaceful going on in her mind.
I put two fingers and sent a small pulse of heat through her body, not a hot one, but just something warm and soft. A feeling of comfort, because that was what she needed right now.
I was in my study meditating and watching over Arendelle. The darkness I sensed over it had faded, "Zander… you've done it. Almost as well as I did." Laughing I walked out of my study, but my armor knocked a book of the table. I picked it up, it was my ritual book. It fell to the page about the Fire Drake's Blessing. I looked it over quickly and was about to close is when something caught my eye. I read that part again, and then I read it a second time to make sure I was reading it right. I slammed the book shut, "The blessing shouldn't have worked if these requirements weren't all fulfilled. Unless.." I had to get to Arendelle and quickly, Zander needed to hear this.
The city was quiet, I had been looking for a while and it seemed that Weselton's men were gone. "Okay Sven, maybe we should head back now." Sven looked ready to agree, but one of his ears perked up and he turned toward an alleyway that lead to the docks. "What is it?" I asked him, he grunted. Someone was out there.
I got off of Sven and held my lantern higher, "Who's there?" there wasn't an answer. I walked more into the alleyway where I saw something move. I quicken my pace to find my lantern illuminating two people, a couple actually. They were wearing cloaks so I couldn't see their faces, "Who are you, and what is your business here in Arendelle?"
"Calm down son," the man answered, "We just want to talk to the royal family." I was suspicious, not very specific.
"Why do you want to talk to the royal family? Who are you?" I said becoming more demanding. The couple removed their hoods and I was shocked. I didn't know them, but I did recognize them. I've seen them before. Once from eight years ago from a distance, and other times from paintings on the castle walls. I was looking at the faces of King Agdar and Queen Idun, who were claimed to be dead for three years.