Once Captain Eric finished getting the ship underway, Elsa spoke to him. “Can you find a room for Kai here?”
“I think we have quarters we can assign to him.” He called upon a seaman.
“Once you feel up to it, you can come get some food,” Elsa said to Kai. “For now, get settled into your room.”
The seaman led Kai below. Elsa stayed on deck, watching Cliffdale recede behind them. After the ship had cleared the harbor, she and the Captain went below to the ship’s mess for some lunch.
“I saw the weather change. Did you use your Power?” Eric asked, after sitting at the table.
“Yes, but you most likely noticed it did not effect the curse.”
“A shame. Still, I’m glad we are under way. This area, these waters, just feel wrong. What of the boy?”
“Kai? He appears quite strongly affected. I’ll see if I can get him cured.” Suddenly, she felt the ship lurch, shuddering to starboard.
“If you will excuse me,” said Captain Eric, as he rose and hurried on deck. Elsa quickly followed him.
The first officer stood at the wheel. “Captain, the ship is not responding to the helm. I’ve sent two men to the tiller room to handle it directly, but there’s some kind of problem there.”
Elsa moved aside as the captain returned below deck, then followed. He led the way aft. As they approached the tiller room, Elsa could hear what sounded like a fight. On entering the room she saw Eric, two seamen, and Kai.
“Get back!” Kia yelled. He had gotten a knife from somewhere and swung the weapon about wildly. The two seamen were trying to deal with him, one trying to take his knife away, and the other trying to get by him to the tiller, which was hard over, banging against its stops.
“Kai, what are you doing?” asked Elsa.
Kai saw Elsa and stopped, lowering the knife. “I did it for you, Snow Queen. This ship is a rotting hulk. It deserves to crash.”
Elsa stepped forward. “Give me the knife.” Kai dropped his head, lowered his eyes and handed her the weapon. The two seamen ran to the tiller. They brought the heavy lever to center. “We have control,” one called to the bridge.
“Half rudder port,” came the call from above. The seamen swung the tiller to the right side of the room.
The Captain picked up a line from the deck. “It’s been cut.”
“What’s that do?” asked Elsa.
“It’s the line that runs from the ship’s wheel to the tiller. It allows us to guide the ship from the bridge. This boy must have cut it.”
“It’s just a smelly old rope.” Kai said, as he continued to look at his feet.
“Your Majesty, you need to control this child. Sabotage such as this puts us all at risk.”
“I’ll talk to him,” she said, handing the knife to Eric.
Elsa took Kai into her room and sat him on the bed, while she took the room’s only chair. “Kai, I want you to promise me you will not try and hurt the ship, or anything else.”
“Why not? This ship is ugly.”
“No, it’s not. It’s a fine ship, and it’s my ship. I want to keep it. Besides, we need it to get home.”
Kai gazed at Elsa, looking through her, seeing nothing.
“Now, will you promise me you will be good?” Elsa asked.
Kai gave a halfhearted nod.
“Thank you. Now let’s see about getting you some food.”
Later that night, Elsa awoke to the sound of the ship’s bell. She heard men running about shouting. Fearing the worst, she arose and climbed to the deck. The smell of smoke greeted her when she arrived. Apparently, there had been a fire. Although she could not see any flames, she could see that most of the ship’s sails had been damaged. In an all too familiar scene, two seamen were restraining Kai.
Exasperated, Elsa walked to him. “Kai, why? What did you do now?”
“I threw at lantern at the sails so they would all burn. With them destroyed, the ship will drift into the rocks. You can save us and we can watch everyone else die as the ship sinks. Then we can be together, forever.”
“Kai! You promised me you would behave.”
“I know what you meant. Nothing good can come from this horrid ship. It needs to be destroyed. I know you can see that.”
“Your Majesty, this has gone far enough,” said Captain Eric. “I must place Kai in the brig for the remainder of the voyage.”
“You cannot lock a child up in the brig!” Elsa protested.
“Most of our sails are useless. We can repair some and replace others with spares. Even so, we will be a day late getting to port. With luck, the damage to the rigging is not too great or we might not make it at all. I cannot allow him to endanger my ship, my crew, or you, any longer.”
“Very well. You will lock him in my room. Move everything out except the beds, and lock the door.”
“You want to have him stay in your room? Where will you stay?”
A puzzled expression crossed Elsa’s face. “In my room.”
“You want me to lock you up? Keep the Queen of Arendelle as a prisoner on my ship along with this child?”
“Yes. Those are my orders.”
The Snowburst took two extra days to reach port. At one point, the crew had to anchor the ship in a cove to make repairs. Elsa stayed in her room with Kai the entire time. She saw that he was calmer in her presence, although she found his reasons terrifying. Was she really filled with the darkness and evil he saw in her? Several times she noticed frost crawling up the walls and had to calm herself, filling her mind with thoughts of home, and her love for Anna, to control her Power.
Using the Power, as always, helped her maintain control. To keep Kai occupied, she made toys for him out of ice. Kai preferred puzzles, blocks of ice he could put together to make various shapes or spell out words. She did what she could to comfort him, hugging him, and stroking his hair.
On the morning of the fourth day, she felt the ship come to dock.
A seaman knocked on her door. “Your Majesty? You can disembark whenever you wish. The captain has called the Royal Guard.” He unlocked the door.
Elsa and Kai left the room and went on deck. As she walked to the gangplank, Elsa noticed several sailors sitting on supply crates, their faces showing looks of . . . exhaustion? It must have been difficult sailing the ship home with all the damage, she thought.
On the dock, she saw Anna accompanying the three Royal Guardsmen. Anna appeared quite concerned. As soon as Elsa stepped onto the dock, her sister ran forward and gave her a hug.
“Elsa, you’re late, I was so worried. I kept thinking of mother and father. And the ship, it looks like you had a fire. What happened?” Anna asked.
Elsa passed on the events of the last few days. “And now we need to see if we can cure Kai,” she finished.
“It’s easy to guess why you brought him here.”
“Yes, we need to visit the trolls.”
Elsa had seen the trolls only once, when she was eight years old. She had accidently injured Anna with her Power, and their parents took them both to see Pabby, the elder troll, to ask him to cure Anna. Pabby had done so, and also recommended removing the younger sister’s memory of the injury, and of Elsa’s Power. Anna had seen them again, after Elsa had injured her the second time, a couple of months ago, the day after her coronation. Anna remembered the way to their home in the Valley of the Living Rocks.
“How’s the kingdom doing? Did you have any problems while I was gone?” Elsa asked.
“Not really. Some of the guests took their time leaving. They were still here when you left, asking questions about you. Despite our efforts, they continue to worry about what you could do with your Power.”
Elsa paused to think. “We will have to keep working on that. Plan some diplomatic missions. But, not now. We have other problems, and soon it will be winter. We cannot go visiting everyone until spring.”
“Also, Johan needs to see you about something. He wouldn’t tell me what it was about. He said he has a message for the Queen only.”
Elsa looked concerned. “I’ll talk to him when we get back. And I’ll have a little discussion with him about protocol. When I leave you in charge, I expect you to be treated as I would be.”
When they reached the castle, Elsa called for their horses. She had Kai ride with her, and they set off, Anna leading the way. After a relatively short trip, a couple hours into the mountains, they entered a lush valley.
The valley contained a few steam vents and hot springs. Lush vegetation grew in the warmth. Moss and ferns abounded on all sides. Anna guided them to a small glade containing several round rocks. They dismounted from their horses, Kai clinging to Elsa’s side.
“Pabbie? Are you here?” Anna called, looking about. The rocks began to tremble, then rolled toward them. As they came closer, each unrolled, and became a troll. The color and texture of granite, they ranged in size from several inches tall to a couple of feet, each almost as wide as tall. Their clothing appeared to be made of little more than plants and moss. Their hair had a strong resemblance to grass. Each wore a necklace of glowing stones. Their features were smooth and rounded, pleasing to the eye.
“Anna! Welcome back!” exclaimed a female troll. “How are you and Kristoff doing? Married yet?”
Anna rolled her eyes at her. “No, and please, let’s not start that again. We have a problem. I really need to see Pabbie.”
One of the larger rocks rolled to them, and became an elder looking troll. “Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, welcome. I hope you are well,” he said, bowing. Speaking to Elsa, he asked, “How are you living with your abilities?”
“We’re doing well, Pabbie. I’m in control of my Power for the most part. I’m still learning about it,” replied Elsa.
“As you will for the remainder of your life. What brings you to me?”
“I have just returned from Cliffdale. King Ragnar asked me to visit there to help remove a curse that has befallen his village.”
“I know of the trouble at Cliffdale. There is something very bad happening there.” Pabbie lowered his head and shook it slowly.
“Yes. It felt as if the spirit of the people there had become frozen. I tried using my Power to help them, to thaw their spirit, and failed. Whatever’s affecting the village, it’s not something I can resolve. The effect is worst in this child. I am hoping you can help him.”
Pabbie walked to Kai, who quickly ducked behind Elsa, hiding. “It’s alright. He won’t hurt you,” Elsa said in a reassuring voice.
Kai edged out from behind Elsa. Pabbie placed a hand near his head. Soft light flowed between his hand and Kai. Then, as if stung, Pabbie pulled back.
“What have you brought into our valley?” he said angrily. “He is not welcome here.”
“He’s a sick child! He needs help,” exclaimed Elsa.
“He is not so much sick, as poisoned. Poisoned by a darkness and evil I have never seen.”
“Can you not help him? Remove the poison?” asked Anna.
“No. He is beyond my ability to cure. The nature of his affliction, it is new to me.”
“Surely there must be something. I cannot leave him this way. And Cliffdale, it’s dying.” said Elsa.
Pabbie lowered his head and thought for a moment. “There is one possibility, someone who may know what to do. A woman who lives to the east, named, Finnoa.”
“She can help Kai? I can take him to her immediately.”
“No, she cannot help directly as she has no such power. Knowledge is her possession. She will know what to do.”
Elsa looked at Pabbie, then Kai, seeing how nervous they both appeared, then looked to Anna. “Get the details, find out where we can find Finnoa,” she requested.
Elsa led Kai away, more to ease the trolls than anything. Anna continued her conversation with Pabbie for a few more minutes.
“Are we going back to my home now?” Kai asked.
“Is that what you want?” asked Elsa.
“Yes. I still need to burn it to the ground. You saw it. It’s a horrible, ugly place. It needs to be destroyed.”
“No, we will not go back quite yet. I’ll show you my castle first. Would you like to see it?”
“I saw it. It’s almost as bad as Cliffdale. But if you live there you already know that. Will you use your power to destroy it?”
“No! It’s lovely, and it’s my home!”
Kai fell silent, regarding Elsa with cold, dead eyes before looking away.
“Alright,” said Anna having returned from her conversation. “Pabbie told me how to find this Finnoa. The trip there and back will take about a week. We need to go through the mountains, all the way onto the eastern plains.”
Elsa could see that Anna looked disappointed. “Is something wrong?”
“I asked Pabbie about my memories. You know, the one’s he took away after the accident when we were kids. He said he couldn’t restore them. They’re not simply repressed, they’re gone, forever.”
“I’m sorry. Father thought it was for the best.” Elsa gave Anna a hug. “At least you know what happened.”
“I know what you remember, what you’ve told me. I wanted my own memories. Part of me is gone, and I will never get it back,” Anna said regretfully.
They mounted their horses and began the ride home under the noontime sun.
“Do you think you can handle this trip without me?” Elsa asked. “I need to stay here with Kai. He acts somewhat calmer around me, and I don’t want to leave him for a week.”
Jokingly, Anna said, “You could toss him into the dungeon.”
“I cannot imprison a child in the Royal dungeon!”
“Wait, are you saying we actually have a Royal dungeon?” Anna eyes glazed over, an odd smile crossing her face.
“Prince Hans had me chained up there once, remember?”
“Oh, that place. I never thought of that room as being a dungeon.”
Right after Elsa had lost the fight at her ice palace, she had been returned to Arendelle, unconscious, and placed in chains. She escaped when her fear became so great, the cold so intense, that her shackles shattered, along with her cell walls. The shackles used on her were odd, consisting of metal mittens completely enclosing her hands. They were designed to suppress her Power. She wondered how her captors made them so quickly. Afterwards, she found they had been made years earlier under orders from her father. He must have had worried that, one day, his talented daughter would completely lose control, and prepared for the worst.
“Maybe we should just drop this entire thing and take him home”, muttered Anna.
“What?” Exclaimed Elsa. “Anna, that’s not like you!”
Anna looked up to Elsa in surprise, then confusion. “Wait, what? What came over me? Suddenly, everything felt hopeless.”
“You were seeing things as they really are”, said Kai.
The two sisters looked at Kai, then at each other. Elsa moved close to Anna and talked in low tones. “Maybe whatever is effecting him is getting to you.”
“You mean is spreads? From Kai? What about you?” Anna whispered.
“I think so. Different people react differently. I saw that in Cliffdale, and, I think, on the ship. Some seamen looked tired, but maybe it was this curse. You must be especially sensitive. I think I must be more resistant.”
“What do we do?”
“I cannot take him to the castle, or anywhere in the village. I have the responsibility to protect my subjects.”
“Where else is there?” asked Anna.
Elsa looked skyward for a few moments, lost in thought. “The new ice palace. I can modify it by walling off the great hall. Maybe I can get Olaf to keep him company. It’s close enough to Arendelle, I can visit Kai every day.”
The day had turned cloudy as they approached the ice palace. Elsa made a snowball, which she lofted upward, creating an explosion of white flakes overhead. “I hope that works. I’m trying to summon Marshmallow. I want him to stand guard.”
“Why not use the Royal Guard?” asked Anna.
“I’ll post them too. Right now I need a guard, and Marshmallow may be closer.”
The hill on which the ice palace had been built had acquired the name Overlook. When they reached the top of the road they saw Marshmallow had already arrived. Twenty-five feet tall, his body consisted mostly of snow, with ice covering various areas like armor. His snowy hands supported icy claws. Anna examined the snow monster, remembering his cold grip and his total lack of a sense of humor when she threw a snowball at him. Now, she saw something odd.
“Elsa? Look at his head.”
“So that’s where it went. Alright, hand it over,” commanded Elsa.
“Do I have to? It’s pretty,” Marshmallow said in a deep gravely voice, then reached to the top of his head and removed a small golden object. He handed the golden tiara-style crown to Elsa, one done in a more modern style than the crown she currently wore. The gold crown was the one she had worn at her coronation, and later threw away right after building her first ice palace. Days later, she had sent some men to search for the crown. After they had returned empty handed, she looked through her mother’s old jewelry collection for a replacement.
Elsa led the way, climbing the entry stairs and walking into the palace. There she raised several walls of ice, blocking the entrances to the rear rooms and the grand stairway. Kai watched with an empty expression, arms wrapped about him against the cold.
“Can Kai really stay here?” asked Anna. “It’s freezing.”
“I’ve been thinking,” Elsa answered. “I believe I can protect him. I’m going to try it. Kai, come here.”
Kai obeyed, and Elsa stooped and kissed him once on the cheek, then once on the forehead. Kai dropped his arms, as though he could no longer feel the chill air.
“That should numb him to the cold, and numb his memory of home. It will ease his stay.” Elsa said, with some apprehension.
“How did you . . . how do you know that will work? And is safe?”
“I trusted the Power. I visualized what I wanted, and released it. Anna, I’m not sure what I did is safe.”
“Maybe you should kiss him a third time, numb his anger at everything.”
“When the Power flowed into him, I could feel what happened. What I did is similar to what I accidently did to you, the two times I stuck you with my Power. When I kissed him, I felt the Power flow to his head, his heart, and freeze something there. If I try to do any more, I could well kill him. Anna, this is serious. I have numbed Kai’s memories of his friends and family, and his home. And now I’m going to lock him in a prison of ice. I can only hope I did not take away his memories permanently, like Pabbie did to you.”
“Will it take an act of true love to remove the ice? Like it did for me?”
“I hope not. I think my Power can remove it, when the time comes.”
Anna looked around the ice palace’s great hall. “Surely we can do something more to help. This may be a better place to stay than a dungeon, but still . . . ”
“I’m hoping . . . ah, here he comes.”
Olaf walked to the sisters. “Hi Elsa, hi Anna!” He raised one twig arm to his face and loudly whispered, “Marshmallow is at the entrance. Be careful.”
“I know. I asked him to guard Kai. Don’t worry, I’ll tell him to not bother you.”
“Oh, all right. And this is Kai? Hi, I’m Olaf.” He extended a twig hand to Kai, who stared back.
“Why is there a little dirt man here?” he asked, looking at Elsa.
“Kai, I would like you to meet Olaf. He’s here to be your friend. He’s my friend too, so please be nice to him.”
Kai looked at Olaf, then turned and slowly walked away. Olaf watched him, concern showing on his normally cheerful face. Elsa took the chance to make some oddly shaped blocks of ice.
“Olaf, Kai likes playing with puzzles. These are puzzle blocks. He is going through a difficult time. Do you think you can stay here with him and help him through it?”
“Sure, I’ll do whatever I can.” Olaf turned and tottered after Kai.
Elsa and Anna walked outside, back into the darkening afternoon. The clouds had lowered and thickened. Elsa turned, and with a wave of her hand, closed the great doors. “I think maybe one guard is not enough.” Another gesture created a cloud of snow. From within, a second snow monster formed.
Marshmallow looked at the newcomer, then waved. “Marshmallow,” he said.
“Snowflake,” responded the second one.
“I need you to guard Kai. Keep him safe. I’ll visit him from time to time and I’ll send servants here with food for him. And don’t bother Olaf.” The two snow monsters nodded, and positioned themselves on either side of the entrance.
“I wonder where these names come from,” commented Anna.
Elsa looked at her, cocked an eyebrow, frowned, and shrugged her shoulders.
They rode in silence on their way back to the castle. Anna could see how upset her sister had become by what she had done. On reaching home, Elsa stalked to her throne and sat, brooding.
“Anna, what have I done? What am I? A monster that locks away a child in a prison of ice?” She stood and began pacing. The room grew colder. Ice and frost splashed outward from where her feet struck the floor.
“Elsa, it’s not like you have much choice. He’s sick. Magically sick.”
“Oh, Anna, does that make it right?” Some servants became nervous as they saw frost creeping up the walls.
“Perhaps I am a monster. I’ve always been a monster.” She paced back and forth, her gestures showing her frustration.
“Maybe you want to do something about all that?” Anna pointed about the room, showing Elsa the gathering ice. Elsa stopped, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then, with a wave of her hands, dispelled the frost. Opening her eyes, she gave Anna a haunted look. Although she appeared calmer, her eyes showed pain and anguish.
Anna put her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “You’re no monster. We’ll do everything we can to cure Kai, to save Cliffdale. You know that.”
“You’re right,” she replied with a sigh and a slight smile. “You better get ready for your trip. I have to . . . ” She looked at her hands, then turned, and walked out of throne room.
Over the months since she had accepted her Power, Elsa had learned ways to stay in control. Her loss of control in the throne room left her feeling embarrassed and upset with herself. At least she knew what to do next. As she walked along the causeway connecting the castle to Arendelle, she remembered the interview with Captain Lars, which helped clarify the situation.
He had come to Elsa several weeks after her coronation, to interview for the position of Captain of the Royal Guard. Clean-shaven, except for a small mustache, he had looked every inch a military man, right down to his close-cropped brown hair.
“Your Majesty, if you hire me, my duties will include protecting you and your kingdom, and to insure that you can protect yourself,” he said, holding her gaze with his brown-green eyes.
“You doubt my Power?” she asked, displaying some snow above an open palm.
“Your Power is not in question. Yet despite your Power, two men armed with nothing more than crossbows defeated you, and almost killed you. That should never have happened.”
His words came as a surprise. She thought she had done rather well during the battle at her first ice palace. “You think I should have been more violent? Tried harder to kill them all?”
“You abandoned a position of strength and ran in panic. You could have blocked the entranceway to your castle with a wall of ice and avoided fighting altogether. Your Majesty, being a warrior is not about fierceness, or killing. It is about strategy, tactics, skill, practice, and remaining in control, even in adverse conditions”.
Remaining in control even in adverse conditions. Those words struck home. On hearing them she realized he offered what she was looking for.
“You have trained others with magic powers?” She asked.
“No, you will be the first. But I have trained some very talented men. I expect this will not be too different. In any case, this will be a learning experience for the both of us.”
Soon after, she hired him and agreed to start ‘training sessions’ with Lars and his men.
Her first session came only a few days later. In that session, he had shown her nothing more than men practicing archery.
“Notice where everyone else is standing?” he asked.
“They are all behind the archers.”
“Correct. I advise you to do the same when you use your Power, especially any time you feel less than in full control. Make sure no one is standing in front of you.”
The following sessions had become more involved. At least they had given her more opportunities to use her Power, something that had always helped calm her
The clouds became darker as she walked through the village. Then, they started to produce some rain. Unconsciously, she reached for her cloak and folded a layer of cloth over her head. She was about halfway to her destination when she heard her name called.
“Queen Elsa?” she heard from a nearby child. “Would you like to help us make a snowman?”
She stopped and smiled to a small group of children. “I’m don’t have time right now, but, tell you what. I’ll make you some snow.”
Elsa looked about for an open area. Finding one, she walked to it, and looked about. Seeing the children were safely behind her, Elsa extended her right hand and made a white, fluffy pile. “There you go.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” they all said.
Elsa waved goodbye, and proceeded on. Her destination, the practice field, had been set up on the south end of the village, on a narrow strip of land between the ocean and the cliff. Archery targets had been placed at the base of the cliff, which served as a backstop for any errant arrows.
Today, Elsa saw a few men practicing hand-to-hand combat on the field. As she approached, Captain Lars saw her and called for his men to clear the area. They stopped and moved off. As Lars moved to Elsa’s side, he saw the expression on her face and the tense way she walked. He could tell something had upset the Queen
“Maybe just a little target practice,” Elsa said to herself. Such practice was one of Captain Lars’ basic exercises. Elsa reached forward, and, using both hands, formed a bolt of ice in mid-air. She quickly moved her left hand under the bolt, a blue glow of Power supporting the weight. From her right hand, another blue glow shot out, launching the bolt at a target. She missed, badly, to the right. She tried again, missing to the left. A third attempt sent an ice bolt high into the cliff side.
“You’re letting your anger control your Power. Look through the anger and focus on the target.” Lars instructed.
The next bolt actually hit the target, although way off to one side. The next plowed into the ground not halfway there. Frustrated, Elsa extended both arms, and created a gigantic snowy, icy mass on the cliff, directly behind and above the target. An avalanche came crashing down, obliterating the target and covering half the field.
“That works too, if your goal is total destruction.”
Elsa turned to Captain Lars, a stern look on her face. He stood his ground. He knew how to train his men. Without taking her eyes off his, Elsa lifted her right leg and struck the ground with her foot.
A puzzled look crossed Lars’ face. Am I being reprimanded? he wondered.
Elsa reached forward and gave the Captain a small push to his chest. Unprepared for the newly formed ice beneath his feet, he slipped, and fell on his rear.
The next day, Anna found her sister sitting at the table in the conference room off the throne room, reading a letter. “You’re looking fancy today. Is that the replacement for your coronation gown?” Elsa had dressed formally, a deep blue dress over a black, long-sleeved shirt. Both the dress and the purple cape were decorated with flowing rosemaling patterns, the cape being further decorated with Arendelle’s symbol, the Crocus flower. She had put her hair up to support her coronation crown.
“Yes,” answered Elsa. “You should have seen the expression on the tailor’s face when he presented it to me. I had to promise him that I would not destroy it before I could pry it out of his hands.”
“He must have put quite a bit of work into it.”
Elsa picked up the edge of the cape. “This is a work of art. I can see why he’s so protective.”
“That crown is beautiful too. Too bad you cannot wear it with your other hair style.”
“I have been thinking of having it modified. Having her hair up was always mother’s style, so none of her crowns were ever made for any other style. It was my style too, until that night on the North Mountain. The same tradition was followed for this crown. Maybe it’s time for a change.”
“So, is something special happening today?”
Elsa closed her eyes, and her shoulders dropped a small amount. “The Earl of Westshire has requested an audience.”
“I didn’t know he had retuned. He must have a fast ship.”
“He never left. Apparently, he has been waiting since the Michaelmas ball. His request is what Johan wanted to talk to me about. The Earl did not want to talk to you, or anyone, but me. Most likely because of this.” Elsa created a few snowflakes above her open palm.
“He wants to see the Snow Queen.”
“I wish I had known. If I had, I could have handled this before I left for Cliffdale. He’s appears apprehensive; it took awhile before he was willing to ask to see me. Anna, I think this is the same issue. He’s scared. Of me, and my Power.”
“What are you going to tell him?” asked Anna.
“First, I want to show him I’m not only the Snow Queen. I’m also the Queen of Arendelle. That’s why I dressed this way. I will try to impress upon him that I consider my duties as Queen of Arendelle to be of the highest priority, and I will never abuse my Power, or use it in any way that puts my people at risk.” Elsa spoke as though reciting a memorized speech.
“You can handle it. You may want to avoid mentioning you made another snow monster.”
“You need to be careful too. I had been thinking of sending some Royal Guardsmen with you, but a large group might draw attention to you. Now, I think it’s best if you and Kristoff go alone.”
“Are things really that bad?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. Be safe. Don’t tell anyone who you really are. If they know you are my sister, you could be a target.”
“Alright, I’ll be careful. By the way, what’s that?” Anna had noticed an open trunk, containing an odd leather and metal garment.
Elsa looked at the box with a scowl. “Armor. Captain Lars has been after me to learn to better protect myself. He says I need to learn to wear armor.”
“Why not make armor out of ice?”
“We tried that. He has me going to the training grounds to practice using my Power. The ice tends to shatter, even when I concentrate on it. If I make the ice thick enough to not shatter, it’s too heavy to wear.”
“Training? What sort of training?”
“How to defend myself, and how to stay in control of my Power. His methods are different than father’s. Father tried to get me to control my Power by suppressing both it, and my feelings. Lars accepts my feelings, and is trying to teach me how to stay in control no matter how I’m feeling. He’s always encouraging me to use the Power. He says the more I use it, the better I’ll get.”
Anna sat in a chair beside Elsa. She put her elbow on the table and her head in her hand. “So what’s Lars like?” she asked with a smile.
With a smile on her face, Elsa looked up, her eyes drifting toward the ceiling. “Well, he’s strong, very sure of himself, a natural leader . . .”
“And now he’s giving you presents.”
“What? No! It’s not like that!” she exclaimed. Then Elsa’s expression changed to one of worry. “Is it?”
“You will have to answer that yourself. Don’t fight it, be careful, and be open.”
Elsa thought for a few seconds, and then changed the subject. “How are your preparations going?”
“We’re about done. That’s actually what I came here to tell you. We expect to leave within the hour. Kristoff and Sven are happy. Enough snow fell last night, we can use his sled.”
“I see you have dressed for your trip.”
Anna wore a forest green dress, a brown cloak, and heavy winter boots. Although her clothes looked well made, they were plain, without decoration. “Kristoff recommended I wear simple clothes in natural colors. He says its best to blend in when you’re traveling through the mountains and forest.”
“Sounds like he knows what he is talking about.” Elsa stood and walked to her sister. Anna also stood and the two exchanged a hug. “Be safe. Hurry back.”