Elsa was awoken the next day by a loud banging on the door. She picked herself off the floor and slowly shuffled over to her door. She caught a glance of herself in a reflection on a sheet of ice that she had made while she was asleep. Her hair was a mess, platinum blonde strands of hair sticking out at every angle. Her eyes were red and puffy. And the make-up she had on, which was minimal, was smeared and ran down her face tracing the path of the tears that had fallen earlier. She had never looked this bad in her life, a few days before she would've been horrified at just the idea of herself looking this bad, but she didn't care. She couldn't find a reason to fix herself up, so she didn't.
She opened the door, sniffling and rubbing at her eyes. With the door opened, it revealed Gerda, Elsa's faithful and kindly old servant. She didn't look nearly as bad as Elsa, but she still looked devastated.
"Your Highness, Julius requests that you show in the throne room. And that you should look decent. I'm sorry, Queen Elsa." She said softly, her voice wavering slightly.
"It's alright, Gerda. It's not your fault." Elsa replied, turning to face the sheet of ice with her reflection.
She took a second to smooth down her hair, neatly retying her braid. She then took a tissue that Gerda offered her and wiped off her grimy face. Then she used her powers to smooth out her dress, turning the comfortable version of her ice dress into a look alike of her coronation dress.
"Alright, Gerda." She said finally, turning back to the kindly old woman. "Lead the way."
The faithful servant bowed and led the captive queen through her own castle to the throne room. As soon as she left her room, the guards stationed outside her room followed her, keeping close and with their weapons at the ready.
In the throne room, she was presented a sight that made her stomach churn. Julius sat on her throne, lazily sitting sideways with his legs over one of the arms disrespectfully. He was surrounded by guards all with crossbows and swords at the ready. In front of the throne was a long white table with tons of papers spread across the surface.
"Ah, Elsa, glad you could join us." Julius said with dark glee. "This here is all the paperwork that needs to be readied for the wedding. I expect you to do it all exactly to my specifications."
Julius waved his hand and one of the guards stepped towards her. He forced a small booklet of paper into her hands, then resumed his position at the feet of his ruler. Elsa opened and skimmed through it, every detail seemed to be designed to either spite her or promote Julius.
Elsa looked up at her captor. "You can't be serious. You can't expect me to do all this just for you."
"I can expect it of you, and I do expect it." He said, standing up. "I have to attend to the invitations and my crowning ceremony, so I'll leave you with some of these guards so that you will stay on track."
With that he swept past her and out of the room. A few guards followed him, but most of them stayed in the room, carefully watching Elsa.
"Your Majesty, if you wish I could stay and help you with this." Gerda offered.
"Thank you Gerda." Elsa said. "I really appreciate it."
The two women got to work on the wedding. The further they went, the more they realized just how horrible it was going to be for Elsa. But they stuck to Julius' requirements, knowing if they didn't that there would most likely be horrible consequences for Anna and Kristoff.
The wedding would be held in the church, the same one that she was crowned in. The decorations wouldn't be of Arendelle, they would show Julius' family crest; the golden crown. All the officials were ones that Julius had predetermined, and wouldn't oppose him. He had picked out a very revealing dress for Elsa, one that both women were disgusted with, but ordered anyways. There would be a guard along the wall at five foot intervals. And no one in Arendelle was allowed to be near the church, only Julius' supporter or people he had in his pocket.
But the worst part was the timing of the wedding. Anna and Kristoff's wedding, which would be a drastically underplayed one where no one was invited and could barely considered legitimate, was to go before Elsa's. There would be a twenty minute reception, and then Julius' grand one would take place. With Elsa's immediately after, Anna's would be almost completely overlooked. It seemed like Julius had planned to make Anna's the worst it could be, scale wise. And then immediately after Elsa and he were married, he would be crowned King, not king consort, right then and there, giving no time for intervention.
But Elsa went ahead with it. She knew if she didn't Anna wouldn't even get a wedding, because both her and Kristoff would be dead. She looked and searched as hard as she could for a way to thwart him, but nothing came up. There was no way for her to get away with it without everyone being killed.
"What a terrible wedding." Gerda said, frustrated that the closest thing she had to a daughter was being forced through this hardship.
"I'm not really one to trash talk weddings-" a voice came from up on the throne. Both Elsa and Gerda snapped their eyes up to the throne, to find Marhsual sitting properly on it. "But I must agree, that is one horrible double wedding."
"Oh my god, Marshaul!" Elsa cried, hope blooming in her heart.
The guards who had been watching Elsa all turned and fired their crossbows at Marshual. But she casually waved a hand and all the bolts stopped in mid air and morphed into doves that flew away. Then she snapped her fingers and the guards froze in place, a slight aura of pink and purple glowing around them.
"What are you doing here?" Elsa asked. "Are you here to stop this?"
"Oh, I am so sorry Elsa." She apologized, sincerity apparent in her voice and sorrowful expression. "I'm the Primordial of Marriage, by my nature I can't just stop a wedding, no matter how much I want to, it's contradictory to my nature."
"Oh," Elsa said, looking down, despair once again crashing over her like a wave.
"Is there nothing you can do?" Gerda asked, not wanting to see Elsa in such pain.
"No. But I have some advice." She responded, Elsa's head snapping up again, searching for any glimpse of a hope. "Things have been put into motion that no mortal can stop. Go through with the wedding. I promise you on my power, it will turn out better than you think."
"What?!" Elsa screamed as her hope was ripped away from her once again. "You come here just to tell me to go through with the worst day of my life?! Why even come? I'm being forced to do it anyways!"
"I'm sorry Elsa, if I told you people would notice something and ruin the plan. You must understand that you don't stand alone." She tried to reason with Elsa.
"Your husband gave me his boon, I can call on his help. What if I just call him down here and get him to kill Julius?" Elsa yelled, anger raging inside her.
"Well, nothing would happen."
"Nothing would happen?!" Elsa screamed, outraged.
"Yes, nothing." Marshual explained. "He's already helping you, you just don't know how."
"Ugh! You Primordials are useless. If you won't stop this wedding then you need to leave."
"I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, I just thought you might like some company and reassurance." Marshaul turned her face away and started disappearing in a cloud of roses. Before she was completely gone she managed to say, "He misses you by the way." Then she was totally gone. Luckily she left because Elsa was about to tell her where she could shove her reassurances.
The guards unfroze, looking around confused, having missed the entire conversation between the Queen and the Primordial. They reassumed position, seeing no threats and that they still had a job to do.
Elsa returned to the work given to her, still fuming, but trying to calm down. Gerda tried to stay out of Elsa's way, knowing Elsa's had a long fuse, but a raging temper. It took hours, but eventually they got all of the arrangements done, everything checked and rechecked, all up to Julius' standards. They didn't get much time to rest. Minutes after they finished with that work, the doors flew open and Julius came striding in.
"Ah, are you two finished?" he asked, full of pompous self confidence.
"Yes," Elsa grumbled. "all of it's done."
"Huh," he said, surprised they managed to get through all of that work. "Well, that was faster than I expected. No matter, now both of you go down to the royal seamstress to get your dress ready."
They weren't happy about it but they went none the less. The royal seamstress had her own personal space in the servants quarters. The room was pushed towards the back, a small crowded room where she both made clothes for the royal family and ran a small business out of.
The room was cramped with racks of different rolls of fabric, ranging from plain wool to the finest silks and satins. One wall was dedicated to store window mannequins showing off different dresses and suits. In the center of the room was a small raised wooden pedestal where the person getting clothes was supposed to stand to get measured. The back wall had a long table that stretched from one end of the room to the other. It was covered with half finished armors and bandages, she had been a major supplier for the previous battle, as well as lengths of fabric and needles and a loom.
The royal seamstress was a small, plump, old woman who had been making clothes for the family since Elsa's father was still a young prince. She had short grey hair, and spindly fingers that nimbly danced over fabrics like a musician with an instrument. She had tired brown eyes and a warm, understanding smile. She had always been kind to Elsa, even though she created the gloves that had held her back for so long.
"Hello, Delores." Elsa greeted, with as much enthusiasm as she could muster.
"Good morning, Elsa deary." She greeted, shuffling over to Elsa, holding a sheet of paper and frowning at it. "Are you sure this is dress you're going to wear for the wedding? It's awfully...risqué."
"That's the dress I'm being forced to wear." Elsa grumbled. "So no, I don't want to wear it. But it's the one I'm going to."
"Such a shame, you're such a nice woman." Delores, lamented. "Let's get this started then."
Elsa stepped up on to the platform. Delores took a tape measure and started sizing her, Elsa having created most of her outfits she hadn't been able to adjust her measurements. Delores was both skillful in getting exact measurements of Elsa, but she was careful not to intrude on her private space.
After twenty minutes or so, Delores finished her measurements and allowed Elsa to step down from the platform. Then, not wanting to see Julius again, Elsa stayed with Delores the remainder of the day, watching her put the horrid dress together.
Five hours later, the dress was finished. It was mostly a short skirt that barely reached mid thigh. A thin layer of cloth leading up to a low cut breast cover. And the back was wide open, leading almost from the top of the dress to right about her waist. The dress was obviously meant for the enjoyment of sick men.
"At least you'll look attractive." Delores tried to comfort.
"I'll look like a slut." Elsa said bluntly, taking the dress. "But thanks for trying."
"I'm so sorry, Elsa. I wish I could help you." Delores apologized.
"It's okay, there's nothing you can do."
And with her business with the seamstress finished, Elsa made her way back to her room. She threw the disgusting dress across the room in anger. She was still fuming from Marshual's visit. Not only that, but the Primordial had stirred up her feelings of loss with James.
Elsa plopped down on her bed, sorting through her emotions. Gerda calmly walked over to the dress, picked it up, smoothed it out, and hanged it up in the back of Elsa's closet. Then she sat down next to Elsa, patting her shoulder.
"I don't know what to do, Gerda." Elsa said, slightly muffled by the blankets.
"I don't either Elsa." Gerda said, knowing Elsa was too smart to comfort with meaningless promises of happy endings. "But I know you need to stay strong, not just for you or Anna, but for the whole kingdom."
"You're right. Thanks Gerda."
"No problem. I'll always be there for you, always have."
Gerda then left to finish the duties she had put off the help Elsa. Elsa was left alone in her room, only her thoughts to accompany her. For a while she ran through her memories, finding comfort only in the recent ones. She was so preoccupied with them she didn't notice the apparition sitting in a spare chair watching her until it spoke.
"Surprise!" it said.
Elsa was so shocked she fell off the bed with a yelp. Thankfully the guards didn't come in. Elsa peeked above her bed, to see the apparition still sitting there. And she recognized it. In the chair across the room from her sat a see through, gaseous version of James. He looked much better, his legs back to the right position, and the bruises across his body fading. The only difference was his hair, instead of being the typical bleach white, it had turned into a chocolate brown. But he gave her the same warm smile he always did.
"James?" Elsa said tentatively, not believing what she saw before her. "Is that really you?"
"Hey, snowflake." He replied warmly "It's really me... sort of. I'm kind of making a... long distance call if you will."
"Are you okay? Where are you?" She demanded.
"I'm not really sure where I am, but I know I'm mostly healed. But I can't stay long, I'm running out of time. I just came to say, stay strong, I'm coming, don't do anything crazy."
"What do you mean something crazy?" Elsa asked.
"I mean, don't try to fix this by yourself. Marshual told me what you threatened to do."
"She said it was pointless, nothing would happen."
"Haha, well maybe she was exaggerating. Ishnaugh is a little trigger happy, especially since he's going through his 'post-battle jitters'. Trust me Elsa, what seems like a long time ago I made you a promise I would make sure this ended well. And I'm not going to let you down, not now, not ever." He said sincerely, firstly with humor then with serious determination.
"Alright James." Elsa submitted. "I trust you."
"Thanks, Elsa. I have to go now, the crystal I'm using to contact you is overheating. But don't worry, I won't be long now."
"Wait, you're leaving?!"
"I'm sorry. I wish I could stay. I love you." And with that, the image of James faded out, leaving her alone once again.