Elsa stood out on the deck, glancing around the large cave in which her fleet was hidden. They were so very close to the Southern Isles now, but it was too bright to dare attacking them today - they needed to wait until a dark, foggy night sky emerged, so that they could sneak closer to the kingdom without being detected.
As it was, they were about an hour's journey away, so Elsa knew that she had to keep a close eye on the sky for any sign of change. She scanned the horizon constantly, looking out for the stars, waiting for them to wake up and come out to play.
The moment it began going dark, which would be early considering that it was winter now, she would have to set out, so that her fleet could get close to the Southern Isles without being spotted straight away, but still be able to see through the bleakness. Elsa hoped that if they arrived when it was very nearly pitch-black, then her modifications to the fleet would fool the Southern Isles into a false sense of security, but now she was holding out very little hope for that plan.
It had not occurred to her before, but now, after spending the whole morning thinking about the chances of success, trying to distract her mind from thinking of Odd, she realised that there was a slim chance of the plan working properly. On the journey to the Southern Isles, though she'd seen a few ships going away from the kingdom, she hadn't seen any returning; if none had returned at this point, a whole fleet coming back was sure to be met with scepticism.
As she sat at the ships's stern, looking out over the large expanse of glittering ocean, she sighed, and her mind trailed to thinking of her husband, something she'd been trying not to do. Odd had been in such a bad condition earlier that morning, and though she had complete faith in the doctor, who had, the day before, finally succeeded in pulling the young man Elsa had saved out of his coma, she couldn't help but worry. He was battered and bruised from his attempt at escape, and it looked like there were multiple, older wounds from whatever horrific things he'd been through.
Elsa shivered at the thought of Odd's last few months - though there was no signs of a physical beating, it was obvious that he had been through absolute hell. He had tight rope burns around his wrists, and according to the doctor, his arms were very close to being dislocated, clearly causing him great pain. He was incredibly skinny and his breathing was slow and ragged.
What did they do to you?
Elsa buried her head in her hands, shaking it slowly and sighing, before sitting straighter and pushing her hair back from her face. She looked out at the sky again, watched as the sun slowly began to set, and she sighed; she was eager to get to the Southern isles so that she could find little Mia, bring her home - oh, the look on Anna's face would be worth gold when she saw her daughter, no doubt - but Elsa was so very nervous about it, too.
Never before had she gone to battle with another great power, and the thought was absolutely terrifying. Then, she thought, there was Odd - he couldn't come off the ship in his state, for not only was he unconscious, his battered body needed rest.
And then there was Mia. Elsa wanted to save her so very much, but she feared knowing the truth. Feared knowing what had been done to her, feared the knowledge which could cause everyone great pain. She was only a small child - though she definitely had her mother's spirit, Elsa was worried that even that would not be enough to keep her alive through much pain, unsure as to the extent of pain the girl had been exposed to.
She frowned, and hit her head in frustration, trying to clear her mind of the horrifying thoughts, attempting to distract herself with her own pain, rather than thinking about Mia's or Odd's.
Her head shot up as she heard the door to her cabin creak open, and she spun around, hopping off the side of the ship to see the doctor standing in the doorway, frowning at her.
"You know, your Majesty," He said, "You should be more careful, especially in your condition. It's bad enough coming to battle with us - the least you could do, and forgive me for saying so, would be to take care of yourself in the meantime. Meaning, don't sit on the edge of the ship - I don't know if your baby would survive another dip in the cold sea, even if you may yourself."
Elsa sighed, hanging her head. "Sorry, Doctor." She said, and she felt like a small child for a moment, being scolded for misbehaving. It was ironic that most people of her status would have been the one doing the admonishing, but Elsa was not like other Monarchs, was a lot more empathetic than most, and prided herself on it, too. As a child, she had always wished, had always held out hope, that someone would come along one day, rescue her from the prison of her room, offer the one thing that no one, at the time, seemed to be able to give her.
They could give her diamonds, and other precious gifts. They could lend her their wisdom, teaching her about all the different constellations in the great night sky, and other pointless, yet fascinating, things. They could give her a false sense of hope, could numb her pain with promises of a brighter future, where she could control her powers, where no one would know her secret.
But what was it all for? There was always something missing.
Letting her mind fall back into reality, she blinked a few times to clear her head, before looking over the doctor's shoulder lucidly. She did not particularly want to ask how Odd was faring, scared he'd be unwell, instead settling for simply prompting an answer from the medic.
Following her gaze, the doctor sighed, and looked at Elsa slowly.
"He's in a very poor condition, he's still very weak from his ordeal. I've tried to get some food into him, but it's not easy, and that is only making things worse. His body needs energy to recover, but he just hasn't got that energy, really."
He looked out to the horizon before continuing, watching as the sun bumbled slowly away, sneakily hiding under the horizon line.
"He's woken a few times, briefly, and I won't lie - he has been asking for you, but he'd be out of it once again within the minute. He hasn't woken for about two hours, now, though, so I expect he may be a little stronger - only a little, mind you - the next time he awakes."
Elsa smiled, feeling relieved, and she nodded her thanks to the doctor, not wanting to know if he'd found any more injuries with Odd, for that would only make her worry even more. For now, knowing that he was alive, and waking up, even if for a feeble amount of time, was enough.
Completely ignoring the doctor's protests, she walked over to the edge of the ship, sat on the side and watched the sun setting once again.
Mia paused outside of the Queen's personal room, looking nervous, before knocking so softly, it would have been hard for one to hear if they sat right next to the door.
Still, it opened almost right away, to see the Queen standing there, looking panicked and flustered.
"Come, Mia, come!" She whispered, beckoning for the child to come inside. Slowly, Mia followed, feeling more and more intrigued, and slightly scared too.
What was going on?
Odd groaned as he sat up slowly, feeling his head spin. His body ached all over, and his shoulder was throbbing, but there was so much pain, he almost felt numb.
Behind his closed eyes, he could detect a bright, warm glow, and slowly he raised his eyelids, so that he could see the blinding light from the fire. He blinked a few times, and his vision swam, and he had to fall back on his shoulders to stop himself from simply rolling off the bed from dizziness.
A soft crooning sound reached his ears, and as he lay down, he could feel a cloth being dabbed across his forehead, something which gave him heavenly relief. The touch was softer than the doctors, and mixed with a slightly cold touch which Odd recognised straight away.
"Elsa..?" He croaked out, and his voice was rough and scratchy in his throat. He could barely recognise himself.
Turning his head to look at her, his face broke out into a grin when he saw her there, sat by his side patiently, with a bowl of some sort of healing solution in her lap.
"Hey, there," She said, grinning, her heart overflowing with relief that he was awake. "Had a nice sleep?"
Odd groaned as a wave of dizziness overcame him, and Elsa rubbed some more solution on his forehead, making him sigh in relief. "Hardly," He croaked out, "I feel like I've been thrown down the side of a mountain or something."
Elsa smiled softly. "I can imagine," She said, gently, and she leaned down to softly kiss his cheek, and she felt her heart beginning to beat faster, nervously. "You gave us a right scare when we found you."
Odd frowned slightly. "Us?" He said, not quite understanding, "You mean you and the crew?"
Elsa paused, and she removed her hand from Odd's as she felt it begin to shake from her nerves.
"Yes," She said, slowly, "Me, the crew, and..."
Odd felt his eyes grow heavy again, and his hearing was muffled.
"And the baby."
His eyes slowly slid shut, but there was no denying what he'd heard. And when he slipped out of consciousness once again, his body was much, much more alive, much stronger, than it had been before.
"Mia!" The Queen whispered urgently, "You must get out of here! Run away! Just go! Something terrible's coming, a battle no doubt, and you are not safe here!"
She glanced around, terrified, as she heard footsteps in the hallway. Mia whimpered in fear, and the Queen took her little hands in her own, squeezing them reassuringly.
"You'll be okay, but you must get out of here. Come with me."
Quickly, she got up from her chair, and pulled Mia across to the other end of the room, to the largest glass window. Pushing it open, she ushered the child to sit on the ledge, and whispered in her ear, quickly, "Be brave, Princess." She softly kissed her head, finishing with, "Trust your heart, and you'll be okay."
Then, without warning, she pushed the child out of the window, and closed it, leaving Mia clinging to the roof, absolutely petrified, frozen in fear.
Trust your heart, and you'll be okay.
Mia wasn't quite sure what the Queen had meant, but she knew she couldn't hold on any longer.
And she trusted the motherly woman. She wouldn't hurt her, would she?
Slowly, the child let her fingers slip, and she squeezed her eyes shut as she fell.
Landing with a thud in a pile of hay, Mia heard a scream coming from the room where she'd been not moments before, and her heart thudded in her chest. Not pausing for a minute, she scrambled out of the hay, and stood for a moment, trying to figure out where she was.
And she ran.