Elsa woke up in a jail cell. For a second she didn't understand where she was, then she remembered what had happened the previous day. She had lost her power over Arendelle, thrown in jail, and confronted with a marriage to one of the worst person she'd ever known. She sighed gently, carefully pushing off of James, who was still asleep.
Before the shipwreck James had been physically very attractive to Elsa. His perfect skin and gently tussled hair, his charmingly mischievous smile and mesmerizing green eyes. She still liked him a lot, but when she looked at him in the cell it made her stomach curdle. It wasn't his fault, it was Julius' fault, and Elsa was going to make him pay for what he did.
His once perfect pale skin was marred with bruises and cuts and scrapes. What little skin wasn't bruised or bashed was an agitated red color that looked raw and sensitive. His left eye was blackened, the skin around it a deep dark purple. And his right eye wasn't much better, the white around his eye had turned a crimson red. His nose looked broken in two or three places. When he talked he didn't seem to use his jaw as much, like it had been badly bruised or at worst broken. And his lips were swollen, and cut in multiple places. His soft white hair had been torn at, leaving some spots shorter than others and all of it messed up worse than usual. But what was the absolute worst was the damage to his body; his chest seemed deformed from broken ribs, and she knew that his legs were broken and refused to look at them.
But he was still him. The first thing he thought about was getting her to safety. And he was trying to be strong and fight through the pain to make her more comfortable. She sat looking at his face in the dim light of the cell, observing the odd shadows created by the bruises passing along his face. And that's when she realized it. She finally understood what Anna felt when she looked at Kristoff. Elsa finally came to the revelation that she loved him. The Snow Queen had fallen in love with the Primordial. It didn't seem to matter much to her that she hadn't known him for too long, or that they only recently started courting. She just knew that if she was able to spend the rest of her life with him, she would be happy, no matter what the circumstances.
James gently stirred, half muttering and half whimpering in his sleep, a stray strand of bleach white hair fell into his face. She slowly reached over and brushed it aside, stroking his cheek in the progress, even without a majority of his magic she still felt the rush of heat from contact with him. James' eye slowly fluttered open, or mostly fluttered open, the blood red part of his eyes contrasting and drawing attention to the deep green parts.
His eyes combed over the room and settled on Elsa, he gave a small, sad smile which she returned. "Good morning, snowflake."
"You're still using 'snowflake'?" Elsa asked, a smile rising to her lips at the nickname he gave her.
"Yup," he responded teasingly, "and I will until the day you stop being beautiful."
Elsa giggled softly. "Such a flatterer aren't you?"
"Well, does it work?"
"Yes." Elsa responded, leaning in, "for you, it works very well." She came close and pressed her lips against his, savoring the sensation of his lips, regardless of the damage to them.
Their kiss was interrupted by a loud banging on their cell door. They broke apart as shadow men made their way inside. She couldn't tell for sure, their faces being made of shadows, but she could've sworn they were smiling cruelly.
They suddenly rushed the couple, knocking Elsa to the side and holding her to the floor as they lifted James up by the arms and dragged him out, soon followed by a pair dragging Elsa. Once in the hallway, she saw that other shadow men had grabbed Anna and Kristoff and were dragging them all out of the dungeon. But her mind was preoccupied with the muffled screams of James as his legs were dragged on the floor beneath him.
The shadow men carried the group through the castle towards the gates and the main city square, when Olaf joined up with them. "Oh hi guys!"
"Olaf, what are you doing here?" Anna asked incredulously.
"I'm being helpful!" the snowman exclaimed, continuing to walk alongside the nightmares dragging them.
"How are you being helpful?" Elsa asked, more strained and angry than she should've been, but James still hadn't stopped screaming with his lips shut.
"Oh, that's an easy one!" Olaf said, jumping in the air a little bit. "I'm helping Lognath! He said he wanted my help, so I'm helping!"
"Olaf, Lognath is the bad-guy," Kristoff said. The shadows growled at him for that, but otherwise didn't react much.
"He said that you would say that, because everyone says that." He replied. He turned and started skipping off down a hallway away from the group but called, "Don't worry, he said he won't hurt you Elsa, you're 'too valuable'."
The bottom of Elsa's stomach dropped out. That's how Lognath did it, how he knew to give the shadow men to Julius for their "date", and how he knew that they would be attacking the ship with children; James had told Olaf. It also could explain how James was found in the first place, Olaf and Lognath must have put together an ambush, and with Elsa and the group away from Arendelle, they could do whatever they needed.
They were finally dragged out into the main square of Arendelle. A large crowd had amassed around the stage that had been put up, and they were dropped right in the middle of the stage. Darkness coalesced next to James into the shape of a man. Then the darkness solidified into Lognath, and gave Elsa the first good look she had of him.
He had shoulder length greasy jet-black hair. His eyes were probably brown, but were so dark that they looked black, as if the pupil had taken over the iris. His skin was pale like Elsa's or James' but instead of simply being pale, his skin just looked unhealthy; like he hadn't seen the light of the sun in years. He was very tall, as in almost a foot taller than James, which is freaking impressive. His face was sharp and harsh looking, like a hawk. His teeth were stark white, and were shown in his cruel smile. He wore a black shirt, black pants, and a long dark brown overcoat.
He turned to the crowd and said, "People of Arendelle, behold the faux Primordial James! He is the one who has brought all this recent suffering to you, and he will be held accountable for it!"
The crowd looked like it wanted to argue with Lognath, but a battalion of Imperial troops came around the corner and started to surround the crowd, hands on their weapons. But one old woman slowly made her way to the front of the crowd and calmly looked into Lognath's eyes. And she said, "You lie, dark one. He is the one who fights for us, he is our hero."
Lognath narrowed his eyes at the woman, and straightened up so he was looking down his nose at her. "And we will see just how much you're hero will fight for you once he's dead."
Lognath turned to James, a pitch black scabbard and sword appearing on his waist in a puff of dark smoke. He drew it, lifting his hand, forcing James into a kneeling position even with his broken legs with his hands forced behind his back by cuffs of darkness. Lognath drew and lifted a black sword, "Goodbye, hero."
His sword swept down towards James' exposed neck, Elsa and Anna screamed along with many other people in the crowd. A second before the sword made contact, a flash of blinding light burst forth from the center of the crowd. The light broke the darkness around James letting him drop back down, it also destroyed the shadow men, and made Lognath recoil is surprise and sudden fear.
When the light dimmed down, a space had parted in the crowd revealing a single person standing there. The man was dressed in simple, pure white robes. He wasn't very tall, about average sized for men in Arendelle, nowhere near either James or Lognath. He had golden hair, fair white skin, and light brown eyes. He was leaning on a long wooden staff, about as tall as he was, and he had an aura of white light around him. He was giving Lognath a hard, angry stare.
"You cheated Lognath." The man said as Lognath came back and scowled at the man. "You brought mortals into this affair and have caused long-term damage to the candidate."
"I did not force anyone to do anything." Lognath snapped. "He made his own decision to help her."
"But the method in which you did it was unfair. You covered all the bases without him even knowing them." The man calmly said, with an undertone of menace. "If he didn't he would've failed, and if he did he would die."
"Who are you?" Someone from the crowd shouted out.
The man looked around for the person, when he couldn't find him he turned back and looked at James, who was trying to prop himself up on his elbows. "I am Sol, Primordial of Light. I am the opposite to Lognath."
"Why are you here?" James asked.
"I am here to even the playing field. Since Lognath has cause long-term damage, I can provide short-term healing." Sol said with a gentle smile. Then he turned to Lognath. "As for you, leave this place. Prepare yourself, the final confrontation is near."
Lognath looked like he was going to refuse or say something back at him, but Sol lifted and pointed his staff at Lognath. There was a flash of white light and Lognath was blown backwards off the stage. Before he hit the ground, Lognath morphed into a cloud of black smoke and shot up into the sky, flying out of the fjord and out over the ocean.
The crowd erupted into cheers as Sol calmly walked up and onto the stage. He knelt down next to James as Anna and Kristoff embraced each other and Elsa ran over to James. Sol pulled a necklace from one of his sleeves. The amulet was on a modest silver chain, and it was a single blue gem set in a silver slab.
"Put this on," Sol said to James, "it will temporarily heal you. Be warned, it will not fix any damage, only allow you to function until you can get real help from Primordials."
James took it and put it around his neck. Instantly, his chest resumed its natural position, all the cuts and bruises on his body faded out of existence, and he adjusted his legs with effortless ease. He slowly stood up, taking a second to bring it in, then turned to Sol.
"Thank you, Sol." James said, you could hear the sincerity in his voice. "How can I repay you?"
Sol simply smiled and patted James' shoulder. "Just defeat Lognath, pass your trials. That will be enough. But until you do, I cannot interfere anymore. And a word of advice, Lognath has a contingence plan, a massive land and sea invasion by a joint Southern Isles and Weselton force."
"What?!" Anna exclaimed. "We could barely fend off either of them!"
"Well," Sol said, eyeing James. "I guess maybe you should get War involved." Sol turned and vanished in a gentle pulse of white light.
James turned back to Elsa and embraced her in a tight hug that lasted longer than was strictly appropriate, but Elsa didn't care. He pulled back and looked her in the eye. "I know what we need to do."
"You have a plan?" She asked.
James nodded. "We get war on our side, we need to free Ishnaugh."
Elsa and Anna gave traded looks with each other, remembering their conversation with Marshual. Elsa looked back to James, "Okay, where is the staff."
James blushed and looked away, "Well, uhm, you see I thought that Lognath was using it to track us, so I kind of threw it off the cliff before we attacked the Weaseltown Crown Ship."
"Are you kidding! That's a multiple day journey!" Kristoff exclaimed.
"I am not kidding." James said seriously. "But I can get it back, without having to use magic as a pain killer, I have enough to quickly travel there and back."
"You can't leave, what if Lognath comes back." Anna said.
James thought about that for a second, narrowing his eyes in thought. He nodded like he had made up his mind. "You're right, I can't leave now, there's too much to be done. There aren't enough guards to defend Arendelle, we'll need to get the people involved."
Before Elsa could tell James that the last time they were attacked the people had refused to fight, James had turned around and walked to the edge of the stage to address the crowd. "People of Arendelle," he called. "Close by there are two large armies that seek to destroy your way of life. They wish to rule over you with fear and punishment. And we cannot stop them alone. The true queen, Elsa, calls for your help. I call for your help. Today's not the day to allow the enemies to walk over you, or even fight for your ruler. Today is the day you fight for your home, to fight for your family, to fight for your life as you know it. So I ask you, fair people of Arendelle, will you let these outsiders trample you, or will you stand up and fight?"
To be honest, Elsa was surprised, she didn't think James had skill at public speaking. But that thought was crushed as every single person in the crowd erupted into a whole hearted shout of fevered defiance. Not a single person stayed silent, they all shouted, pledging themselves to the defense of Arendelle. James gave a small nod, then turned to Elsa with a smug smirk.
"May I continue?" he asked sarcastically.
"Be my guest." She replied, still a little shocked at the response he had received.
James turned back to the crowd, directing people to necessary tasks. "Blacksmiths and forge masters fire up your forges and start pumping out as many weapons and armors as you can, you can figure out who does what yourselves. Anybody willing and able to fight, start finding sets of armor and weapons and report to the castle. Guards, help where you can, guard captains report to the castle courtyard and start training the people to fight, whatever you think they'll need. Ship owners, gather your crews and blockade the fjord entrance and weaponize, you can keep whatever loot you manage to take from Weselton or Southern Isles ships. Alchemists and engineers, start mixing and designing, set up chemical and physical traps and defenses and present a list of what you've made to the guard captains. Everyone else, start helping wherever you can; gather resources, set up defenses, anything you think will help. Now everyone get moving!" He turned towards Anna and said, "Anna, come with me, we've got some learning to do."
Immediately, the crowd broke apart, the people rushing to commence the tasks that James gave them. Elsa stared amazed at James as they walked towards a courtyard in the back of the castle, he had always been intelligent, but she had never thought he'd be able to mobilize an entire town in under ten minutes. He noticed her staring, "What? Is there something on my face?"
"No its just...you keep surprising me in unexpected ways." She said. He smiled and took her hands, pulling her closer.
"And is that a bad thing?" He asked with a small smile.
"From you? Not at all." She said, matching his smile, before standing on her toes and giving him a short, yet emotional, kiss.
He smiled, pulled her close and put an arm around her, looking out over the bustling crowd with intelligent eyes. "This time it'll be different. This time, neither of them is ever going to mess with us again."