"James!" Elsa screamed, making me way across the ocean as fast as her ice allowed.
She finally got to where James landed. He was eagle spread in a pile of snow on his back. His bruises and injuries had returned with a vengeance, all the damage reappearing on his exposed skin. His face regained the bruises and his legs resumed their odd, sick angles.
Elsa fell to her knees next to him. She cradled his head in her lap, gently shaking his shoulders to try to wake him up. "Come on, James. Wake up, wake up!"
Elsa remained there, by James, trying to wake him up for a long time, getting no results. She could feel his heart beat faintly, but other than that there was no indication that he was still alive. She had been there for a few minutes when she felt a presence behind her, she ignored it for another few moments, until she couldn't take it anymore.
She whipped around, ready to freeze a soldier solid, but froze in shock when she saw who it was. Lognath stood behind her, he was hunched over, as if in pain, his armor had all been removed, revealing black robes. His nose was swollen and crooked with a trickle of blood coming out of one nostril. His black hair was both messy and seemingly wet. He held both hands up as if in surrender.
"Please, don't freeze me." Lognath asked, quietly. "It's over, I'm done."
"You're done? Just like that?" Elsa asked incredulously. "After all that you've done, you're just going to stop?"
"Yes." Lognath said. "He saved me when he didn't have to, regardless of what I've done. I'm not going to try anything, I'm not that evil."
"Then prove it," Elsa cried, tears now streaming down her cheeks after still not getting any response from James. "Help him."
Lognath came a bit closer, being careful not to get too close to Elsa, and leaned over James, looking over his injuries. Then he shook his head solemnly. "The damage is too severe, I can't do anything to help."
"You did this to him!" Elsa screamed, now furious at Lognath. "You did this, now you say you can't fix him!?"
"Yes." He said, remorse showing up in his voice. "I can't fix him. But I know someone who can."
"Who?" Elsa demanded.
"I can take him to our healer," he explained. "I've seen worse damage be healed, as good as new."
"You're going to take him away? How do I know I can trust you?"
"Well it's either you trust me and I take him to a healer," Lognath reasoned. "Or you don't, I leave, and he stays like this."
Elsa considered this, trying to decide if she should trust him. She did want him James to stay like this, not only was he non-responsive, but she knew he was in pain, he just had too many bruises and injuries not to be. But on the other hand, she didn't know if Lognath could be trusted, and she didn't want to let him out of her sight again, the results of her doing that was laying in her lap. But James did save him, and it sounded like he was sincere; he sounded like a man who lost his purpose.
After a long moment passed, Elsa turned to Lognath, who had been standing in silence, with teary eyes. "Are you sure this healer can help him?"
"He's better than anyone here." Lognath said. "If he can be fixed, the healer can fix him."
Elsa nodded, wiping her eyes and nose. Lognath knelt down next to James, and placed a hand on his shoulder. A moment later, both James and Lognath turned into black smoke and shot straight up into the sky. And so she was alone, the soldiers opting to stay on the ship behind her.
Elsa took a moment to compose herself. She wiped her tears away, and regulated her breathing. She straightened her newly wild hair and armor. Then she stood up and walked back to the ship, being careful to maintain a controlled pace.
Once at the ship, she and the soldiers started their trek back to Arendelle. None of them had realized just how far they had travelled during the fight. None of them were in a hurry to return home, fearing bad news of death and destruction, so they took their time. Once back to their ships, they let the remaining sailors know that the fight was over, and that they could traverse the ice and take their expected loot. And instead of sailing back into port, Elsa created a path out of ice over the fjord to the land, evaporating it once they were all back on solid ground. Once on land the group went separate ways, each going to find out if their families had made it or not.
Elsa headed straight back to the castle, where she knew Anna would return eventually. She walked through the empty courtyard, the concrete scuffed by all the people who had been passing through before the attack. She paused when she found Olaf, passed out and lying in the middle of the entryway. As she watched him, black smoke came out of the lump of snow they called a head and disappeared.
Elsa wandered through the abandoned halls of the castle. It almost felt like the days before the Great Thaw, when Elsa would only come out of her room when she was sure that she would encounter no one. Everyone was out in the city, finding or mourning for their families, and Elsa didn't blame them. She would probably give all of the servants the next day or even the next week off.
Elsa stopped in front of the doors to the library, closed heavy wooden doors with intricate carvings of books on the front. She stood looking staring at the doors, not sure if she would enter, the amount memories of tame nights with everyone gathered around a fire, James included, might be too much for her at the moment.
She was so preoccupied with trying to avoid facing the fact the James might be gone forever, that she failed to notice that Olaf had come up to her until he started pulling on a flap of her chainmail that hung over her thighs. She looked down at Olaf, who had a sad look on his face.
"I'm sorry Elsa, I don't know why I did those things." He apologized.
Elsa tried to be mad at him, but Olaf really didn't know what he was doing. She had made him, she knew he wouldn't do what he did out of his own will. She gave him a small smile. "It's okay, Olaf. I forgive you."
"Will you tell me a story?" Olaf asked, his old happy self beginning to show up. He had always loved when someone told him a story.
"Sure Olaf." She said. She finally opened up the doors, letting them both in. She morphed her clothes back into an ice dress, albeit a loser form, she needed the comfort.
Elsa sat down on one of the cushy couches as Olaf grabbed a book from the shelf. Olaf hopped up the couch and crawled into Elsa's lap like a child. Elsa spent the next few hours reading the story to Olaf. Unfortunately, she couldn't put much emotion into the story, she felt too numb.
When she finished, Olaf hopped off her lap, thanked her and went skipping out of the library, his former jovial self fully returned. She took a moment to slowly put the book back on the shelf, where it belonged.
She turned around and jumped in fright; before her, sitting on the couch Elsa had sat just moments before, was Ishnaugh, but in a surprising outfit. Instead of blinding golden armor, he sat wearing a bright yellow shirt, plain brown pants, and comfortable looking black shoes. His golden hair was slicked back, and his burning golden eyes had turned into a tame yet light amber color. He look overwhelmingly...normal. Which was a shock to Elsa, who had seen him in a fight.
Ishnaugh acknowledged Elsa's surprised expression with a half smile. "Kind of disorienting, isn't it? To see me in mortal clothes."
Elsa, being trained in politics almost since birth, quickly reverted her expression to one of royal stoicism. "I'll admit, I wasn't expecting it."
"Well, we are just people. Very powerful people, I'll admit, but people none the less." Ishnaugh said. "But that's not what I'm here to talk about. The battle went extraordinarily well, minimal casualties, and we managed to push the attackers out without having to destroy any buildings."
"That's very good." Elsa said. She wasn't quite sure what to say, she was standing before the Primordial of War, who could probably squash with a spare thought, and he was just having a casual sounding conversation. "Is there anything else I should know?"
"Yes actually," Ishnaugh said. "Your sister and her consort will be returning shortly, she was injured slightly in her shoulder, but a doctor patched her up, she'll make a full recovery with, unfortunately, no scarring."
"Wait, Anna was hur-" Elsa began, but was cut off as Ishnaugh continued to talk over her.
"So I hear James had to be taken to a healer for his injuries. And a little bird told me that the injuries were caused by normal humans." He said casually, but with an underlying hint of accusation and anger. "I just feel like you should know, according to the revised treaty between Primordials and humans, Primordials are non-violent to humans, but if provoked we are allowed to use deadly force to protect ourselves or our interests."
"Why are you telling me this?" Elsa asked, nervous that Ishnaugh was threatening her.
"Just a warning, I'd watch out. From what I heard of James, he's pretty smart, and he's been hurt badly. I'd stay away from whoever did that to him."
"Thanks for the information then."
"No problem, I saw the aftermath of your sea battle, and I deem you worthy of calling on me for assistance. Feel free to call on me when you are in need of a true warrior." And with that, he disappeared in a flash of golden light.
Just as the light faded, the doors to the library burst open and Anna and Kristoff spilled in. One of Anna's shoulders was wrapped tight with clean bandages and her arm was in a sling. She had changed from her flame armor to a simple red dress. Kristoff had taken off his armor and returned to his fur clothes, his blonde hair was still messed up though and he had a few minor scrapes on his face. But other than that, the couple was happy and healthy, wide smiles on their faces.
"Elsa!" Anna yelled, and sprinted across the room to embrace her sister in a gentle hug, careful not to press her injured shoulder. Then she looked around the room, confusion showing on her face. "Hey, where's James? I thought he'd be with you."
The tears finally fell from her eyes, she didn't even know they were there. Elsa simply collapsed into her sister's unhurt arm, weeping, the image of an unresponsive and broken James lying in her lap burned into her memory. Kristoff and Anna surrounded Elsa, getting down to her level on the floor and enveloping her in hugs and consolations.
The touching scene was ruined by sarcastic sounding clapping. They all snapped their heads up towards the sound. There, standing in the doorway was Julius surrounded by at least fifty warriors in armor with a crown insignia in the breast plate.
"What a touching scene. It's a shame I don't really care. As a matter of fact I'm glad that stupid Primordial is gone." He said.
Elsa, her vision turning red with rage, immediately shot up and started throwing everything she had at Julius. All the blasts were stopped short, a heated stone glowing in one of his hands. Then Anna stood up, preparing to throw everything she had at him. She was stopped as the warriors all aimed crossbows at the group.
"As much as I'd like to see your new powers in action, I'd rather not be emulated today." He said. "So, I think we've been putting this off for too long now, so here's what we're going to do.
"First, all of you are going to be escorted to your rooms, there you'll stay for the next week. After that, we'll have our two glorious weddings, and I'll be named King of Arendelle. And you'll be watched over constantly, to prevent you from trying anything that'll you'll regret. And I expect all of you to be compliant, or else we might just have one wedding. Either way, I'll be named King."
"You're a sick, horrible, disgusting, egocentric, condescending human being, and if I ever had the chance, I'd defenestrate you out of the tallest tower in the world!" Anna shouted at him.
Julius looked at her with spiteful surprise on his face. "Wow, Princess Anna, I never expected you to have a vocabulary much further than a naive level. Oh well, guards!"
Half of the guards moved in, forcing the group apart and literally dragging them all to their rooms. Julius walked with the group that was painfully dragging Elsa.
"By the way, Elsa. In case you get the idea that you or one of your friends can just kill me and be done with it, I've instructed my guards to kill both your sister and her simpleton fiancé if I don't check in with them at least five times a day. So I suggest you be very compliant, and make sure this wedding goes off without a hitch, because your sister's life is literally hanging in the balance."
Julius gave a nod to the guards, and they roughly threw Elsa onto the floor of her room. Then they slammed to door shut behind her. She could hear locks being placed on the door. And she knew there would be guards posted around her room, and probably all around the castle, effectively crushing any hope Elsa had for being rescued.
With all of her options gone, Elsa had to face the fact that she was going to be force to marry that monster. After everything he had done to her, to James, to Anna, she would still have to marry him. So she lay there, not even caring to move to her bed, and wept by herself, alone and depressed in her room once again. She wept for long after she ran out of tears, and she sadly lulled herself to sleep with her sorrow. She had lost.