COLD WINDS swept around her, the unyielding fog giving nothing but vague grey and blue. Her dry lips quivered and her eyes fluttered opened, rime screeching under her fingernails as she sat up. A loud ringing in her ears gave way to screams and wails muffling with the sounds of steel clanging against each other.
Her platinum blonde hair shifted gently as she turned, a sense of deep worry and confusion enveloping her. Her sister lay unconscious across from her, strawberry blonde hair obscuring her face and soaking in crimson. Blood pooled around her, streaking up to her fingers.
"A… Anna?" She inched toward her sister, pain radiating in her right shoulder as she sobered slowly.
A figure parted the mist behind her, its colossal form towering over as it approached. It swung a large sword down at her, its sheer girth emanating a muffled sound as it moved.
THE MORNING light met her face, welcoming her to the new yet worrisome day. Three months had passed since the appearance of the flying knight called Tony Stark and his presence brought more confusion in the kingdom. He explained how the times changed, how the worlds had merged and all of it troubled her.
What did it mean? Who caused it? What was she to do? Elsa's heart was deeply troubled and confused. Nothing made sense to her and as Queen of Arendelle; it seemed to rest all on her shoulders. With the Order of the Nine Stars having deserted the kingdom during the same time, fear had bored its way into her mind.
Neither she nor Queen Rapunzel or Duke Eugene had heard from Lord Erhard and the Order and it was unsettling. She feared for her sister and herself, wondering how the kingdoms that lost their monarchs were fairing out. Despite her remorse for their loss, Rapunzel urged her not to attend the burials of the fallen royals for their safety as they would surely be blamed for their deaths.
As she gripped her arm worriedly, another feeling swelled within her, one which met her rarely. Ruling the entire kingdom had had its ups and downs, but she always felt strong no matter what came her way. Now that her first year as Queen was nearing its end and her sister was betrothed, she felt lonely.
She sighed as a familiar pattering of feet met her ears, her eyes turning to the man who approached her. The light reflected against his curly blonde hair, blue eyes glinting brightly and a smile stretching his beard that was warm and inviting. His muscular build lay hidden beneath a white three-quarter, twin-tailed blazer that covered a black shirt and trousers which wrapped around leather shoes.
"Sir Balder." A small smile curved her lips. "What is it?"
"You worry me, my Queen." He walked up to her. "Ever since the flying knight arrived; you've spent many a morning at that window. Does it trouble you that much?"
"What am I supposed to do?" She turned back to the window. "First dragons, then demons and giants, my sister controls fire and now time is on its head. Are we supposed to turn our clocks back? Forward? Inside out?"
"Doubt references would make a good jest." He smiled, a chuckle emanating from him as he clasped his hands on the windowsill.
She glanced at him, stifling a wider smile at his company. His advice was always welcome when she was confused or troubled, but even he had no idea what should be done, if they could do anything at all about the situation. She sighed, a source of relief coming to mind as her smile widened.
"At least our food problems are solved, Rapunzel's really nice." She turned to the palace grounds.
"Yes, her kindness is most appreciated." He nodded. "I would like to ask, if I'm not intruding, what your relation is with her."
"She's my cousin."
"Good thing Anna did not know or someone else would have ruled Arendelle in your stead." He huffed slightly. "She really detested being queen."
"She knew. I guess she was just so overwhelmed that it slipped her mind." She shrugged. "it's not for everyone after all."
She turned to her left, the town's square peaking past the palace walls. She sighed slightly, her eyes welling up with worry as she gazed onward. Another point of concern coursed through her, lips twitching slightly with uncertainty.
"How long should we lie to them? We could tell them something, right?" She turned to him.
"And what do we tell them? We do not fully understand what has happened to the world nor can we prove it ourselves. We only believed the flying knight because he arrived when the sun rose immediately after setting." He raised his brow.
"I don't know, I just …" She sighed, clasping her eyes shut in aggravation. "Don't like lying to them, you know? They're gonna hate us even more if we keep them in the dark like this."
"At this point, there's very little you could do to ease their concerns. Whether they hate you or not, the fact remains that you are Queen. Only you can rule and they will understand soon enough." He smiled again and it faltered. "I hope."
"Gonna have to cross our fingers on that one." She smiled at him.
"Indeed, my Queen."
Her eyes met with his, the azure blue stabbing into hers of the icy sea, cherry pink glimmering lightly in her cheeks. She looked away from him, her eyes fluttering slightly and latching onto the palace grounds. He smiled at her, looking at the town past the walls as he leaned on the windowsill.
A GIGGLE tugged at her lips, her face bright pink in excitement with eyes fixed before her. A maroon wedding dress hung on a mannequin, the beautiful embroidery making her giddy. It was mere weeks before the ceremony and that was all that filled her mind.
Kristoff sat behind her, his hands placed on a large king sized bed with thick burgundy sheets. A smile adorned him, his wife-to-be occupying his attention as she revelled at her wedding dress. Her beauty mesmerised him, her happiness being the foremost in his mind as she eyed the gown with glee.
"Anna, I know you're excited, but can't you give yourself a break or something? You've been staring at that dress for a while now."
"I can't help it, Kristoff; we're finally getting married!" A high-pitched giggle escaped her as she bit her lip.
"Yeah, but just calm down." He chuckled.
"Which room do you want in castle?" She turned to him, a wide grin stretching her face.
"Don't I already live here?" He raised his brow.
"Or maybe we should get a house in the kingdom." She turned back to the dress.
"Maybe; haven't looked for one though." He shrugged, his lack of money dawning on him and lowering his voice by an octave.
"Ooh, ooh." She walked up to him quickly, sitting beside him and squeezing his hands like a child. "We can finally have kids."
"For someone who wants so many kids, do you know how they're made?" He turned to her.
A raging pink glimmered through her cheeks, eyes lowered in timidity as she let go of his hand. He lowered his gaze, a sly smile stretching his face as she sifted through her thoughts. She pressed her lips together, a giggle tugging at them as she tried to distract her hyperactive mind.
"I was younger then!" Her hands clasped her reddened face, her head shaking in embarrassment as her voice became higher.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I can't do it! I'm turning it down!" She turned away from him.
"Turn down for what?" He raised his brow.
"That song won't help anything!" Her voice muffled against her hands.
"What song?" He furrowed his brow, confusion in his expression.
"I've changed my mind, I can't do this anymore." A giggle emanated from her, betraying her words.
"You're the one who said you wanted twelve kids." He tugged at her shoulder, turning her to him.
"Actually, it was twenty, but who's counting?" She laughed uneasily then her eyes dilated, the realization hitting her and causing her to quickly cover her face. "I don't wanna do it!"
He sighed, a smile warming his face as he set his eyes on her. She exhaled as well, turning to him as a refreshing calm washed over. Her turquoise blue orbs locked with his of the sandy beach, a firm hand squeezing hers gently.
"Look, Anna, as weird as marriage may be, we'll get through it together." His voice came softly. "There's nothing to worry about."
"You sure?" She furrowed her brow slightly.
"I'm here, aren't I?"
A smile adorned her face, eyes locking with his as he beamed. She placed a light kiss on his lips and rose to her feet, walking up to the mannequin. He lowered his head, a frown stiffening as he thought about his ice business.
"OH MY God, it's all over your face!" Olaf's voice vibrated in excitement.
"No, it's not." Elsa's chin lowered, her eyes latching to her right.
Olaf giggled, his glee causing Elsa's face to redden as she cast her gaze on a tree. She had left the palace grounds, her mind fuzzed as it sought to ponder the thoughts that ran through it only for her to come across him. The two sat on a bench, the sunny skies and lush flora providing clarity of mind whenever the Queen needed to introspect or simply spend time completely alone.
"You know it's not funny, right?" Her brows stitched, feigned anger betraying her as embarrassment seeped in her expression.
"Then why are you blushing?" A chuckle emanated from him.
"Leave me alone, Olaf." She turned away from him, groaning in a futile attempt to make him stop.
"I knew it; you've finally fallen in love with chocolate!"
She shifted to him, her brows stitching in confusion at what he had uttered. His innocent laugh drew a smirk from her, sweeping it under the rug of blank expression; she lowered her gaze on him. She folded her arms, trying to keep a straight face.
"Yeah, sure, I'm in love with chocolate." She stifled a laugh.
"So, when'd you two meet?" Olaf lay down on his nonexistent stomach, balancing his head in cupped hands.
"In the castle." She played along, the look on her face masking her growing impatience.
"Mmmm-hmm, go on." He nodded attentively.
"It was … sunny." She gestured at the sky, her brain linking the balloons in her mind. "… probably a Tuesday." She chuckled, her eyes latching onto nothing, "He was tall …"
"Chocolate can be tall?" He raised his brow.
"Uh." Her eyes dilated, the fact dawning on her that she was thinking about something else. "Leave me alone, Olaf!"
She huffed and turned away from him, his laugh bringing a frown to her reddening face. The clanking of hooves met their ears, drawing their attention as they rose to their feet. Chattering came from the town square, peaking their interest as a commotion started.
"What's going on?" Her brow rose as the sound continued. "C'mon, Olaf."
The two left the park, making their way to the town square in a street paved with yellow bricks. A line of carriages made its way through, black horses pulling matching ones in the front row. They seeped into a crowd of people that lined the path, their attention taken by the oncoming entourage.
"The Order …" She furrowed her brow.
"Who're they?" He looked up at her.
She turned to him, the look in his eyes making her remember that he was a new manifestation of the snowman. The Olaf she knew since she was a child had been destroyed by Anna months ago. It was only till now that she realized that this was a different being altogether.
What did it mean? If she spawned him, could she not create him with the exact same memories? Why did the Olaf standing before her have no recollection of the Order? Was he a copy of him somehow? Simply like the snowgies; a soulless clone? Her mind fought those questions, but they crept back in. He had to have been special; at least she tried to convince herself of it.
She turned back to the carriages approaching them, ignoring his question. If this Olaf had no memory of them, it was a good thing. She did not want him to have to worry about them especially that they were not the only ones arriving this time around.
She snuck into an alley as the parade approached, the shade providing a good hiding spot. A golden carriage eased into her peripheral, her eyes turning as she set them on Rapunzel who sat within it.
Her eyes welled with worry, her lips pressed as her face exuded unease. Her husband's expression was no different, his arm leaning against a widow frame as he lowered his gaze to his lap. They looked like they were being dragged to prison, a fate Elsa would prefer in comparison to what she feared Erhard had in store for her.
His eyes that dwelled in deep darkness spotted her as she flew toward the palace, the trail of snow impeding her attempt to be stealthy. He set his sight onward, a stony expression washing over as he nudged his horse to walk faster. His soldiers followed him, quickening the pace of the carriages.
Feeling her vehicle shudder, she knew Erhard had spotted Elsa. Rapunzel lowered her head, hands clasping her knees as fear enveloped her. A gentle hand covered hers, Eugene's eyes meeting hers, giving reassurance that things would get better. She smiled at him, her eyes brimming in with a contrary emotion.
HER CHAIR felt cold, an odd sense giving that she had control over it; a power that was half the reason this meeting was taking place. Anna sat at her side, her eyes darting around as fear welled within her. Despite it being her sister's first time attending an assembly of the Table of Eight, Elsa felt equal unease.
Glares bored through the sisters, the cold eyes of the princes and princesses shooting daggers their way. Erhard sat at the end of the large oak table, his hands laid on the armrests and his eyes hidden behind the dark shadow of his thick cloak. Unlike his previous visit, he kept his hood on during the entire meeting, the decision making him look more intimidating.
"I call this meeting to order." His voice spread throughout the room, its heaviness feeling unearthly.
Everything about him felt different, his thick voice seeming lighter in comparison to the heavier one he had upon their first meeting. Its reverberation sent shivers up Anna and Elsa's spines, Rapunzel visibly shifting in earshot. Shrugging off the reactions of the people in the room, he sat back.
"It weighs on me heavily that we assemble the Table thrice within such a short period of time, but such are the times for a great travesty befell us. Three months ago, six members of the Table were burned to death in the night, here in Arendelle, barely a month after the princess of this kingdom gained the unnatural ability to control fire. We swallowed our pride and lowered our guard in order to let Queen Elsa, a woman who can control ice, sit with us and now we have suffered the consequences." His head shifted to Elsa, his indistinguishable gaze making her jerk back slightly. "Rise, Queen Elsa."
Dryness occupied her throat, her eyes trailing around as the cold glares of the others at the table faltered into looks of unease. She rose up, clasping tightly against the armrests of her chair to mask the tremulous fear coursing through them. She stood up, swallowing hard as she struggled to compose herself.
"The last time we met, I gave you a preposition; surrender the throne to the Nine Stars and we will let you leave alive with your men, refuse, and the Nine Stars will be forced to hunt you down as traitors." Murmuring spread upon Erhard's revelation, the members of the Table shifting in anger.
"You would let them get away after killing my mother?" A princess growled.
"We can't prove they did it." Princess Cinderella turned to her.
"Shut up, whore!" The princess rose from her seat, eyes glaring with hatred.
"You dirty little –,"
"A mistake I clearly made …" Erhard's voice came, the murmuring ceasing swiftly. "And will not do so again. The Table is dishevelled, for these princes and princesses are merely children who cannot fully understand the complexities of ruling a kingdom," uneasy shifting swept the room, "nevertheless, we shall decide on the fate of Arendelle. Before we decide your fate here and now before gods and men, what can you say to lessen the punishment that is coming to you?"
Elsa exhaled, her fists clenching as she raked her mind for ideas. She turned to Anna, her body moving uneasily in her seat, anxiety showing on her face. It dawned upon her, the realization that she had prepared for this occasion washing over.
"Anna is innocent." A calm expression adorned her, eyes fixed on Erhard.
"What?" A princess squeaked.
The monarchs grumbled, murmuring spreading as a loud argument slowly ensued. Erhard shook his head, seeing the princes and princesses' parents in them, their unruliness clearly having been inherited. He sighed, a feeling of nostalgia welling in him as his heart grew heavy.
"She was bewitched. Three months ago, she attacked me before the Nine Stars left the kingdom and this." She fished out a vial of blue liquid from her bodice, holding it out for all to see."Was discovered in her drink from the night before the monarchs were burned." She trailed her eyes around and continued, "Silver Leaf, it's a concoction that opens someone up to hypnotic suggestion. That should clear everything, shouldn't it?" She smirked and lowered her arm. "You were present when she went berserk and I have eyewitnesses to prove that she was under a spell."
"Yes, I was present, but we cannot be certain whether she was bewitched. She may be a witch herself. I have seen their eyes turn white when they perform magic before." Erhard sat back.
"I'm not a witch!" Rage exuded in Anna's expression.
"Yeah." Rapunzel rose to her feet then quickly sat down; pressing her hands against her lap nervously. "Forgive me, Lord Erhard."
"…" Elsa's eyes widened, her brows stitching in disbelief. "You –," She sighed. "If she was a witch, why would she attack me? She's my sister."
"Blood relations do not inhibit evil actions such as those. Even if she was indeed bewitched, do you have proof as to who did it?" Erhard leaned forward. "Do you know who was responsible?"
Elsa bit her lip, anger and frustration rushing in the crimson that coursed through her face. No one had been apprehended for the crime and Balder had his doubts about the use of the concoction. Even if it was used, no one had come in contact with Anna the night before she burned the monarchs, so a hypnotic instruction could not have been given to her.
Elsa glanced at Anna; her sister's body leaning against the chair as unease exuded from her. With an exhale, the Queen lowered her head, defeated as she had nothing else to bring forth that could prove her innocence. The vial nearly cracked in her grip, fear engulfing her as she braced herself.
"It is my duty as Head of the Table to carry out its decisions. I do not make them on my own, but in its current state, that responsibility rests on my shoulders." He rose to his feet. "Queen Elsa and Princess Anna are hereby excommunicated from the Table. All titles, land and property they own shall be in the custody of the Order and they will be cast out into the streets."
"Lord Erhard –," Rapunzel rose to her feet.
"You can't do this!" Anna scowled as she stood up.
"It is a heavy burden, but it is what is needed if peace is to be sustained in the realm. You two clearly cannot be trusted, but we will not sully the integrity of the Table by killing its members. In respect of your parents, King Adgar and Queen Idun, I shall be merciful and allow you to live whatever lives you want to make for yourselves, but you cannot stay here in Arendelle."
With a breath of defeat, Elsa turned to her sister who stepped back with eyes widened in fear. She looked at Erhard, his shrouded face brimming in complete neutrality toward her, despite seeming completely hateful. She sighed glancing around at the faces of the monarchs as they gazed upon her.
ELSA'S HEELS and Anna's shoes clicked as they strode, the sound muffled by the blaring silence that assaulted their ears. The glares were equally as unyielding, some of them filled with confusion and others completely cold and distant as a crowd lined the street. Some people stepped back, giving way for them and increasing their feeling of alienation.
A glimmer of hope brightened the princess's face as a small boy reached toward her, his dirt brown eyes overflowing with excitement upon locking with hers. It quickly slipped away as his mother's hands gripped his shoulders, swallowing him back into the crowd as her gaze dripped with hatred. Jerking back, Anna gulped in surprise, Elsa being unfazed by the swift action yet still gripped with suspense as she wondered what the crowd around them would do.
A gong's reverberant clanging ripped through the silence, its ringer's voice booming as he spoke to the people, telling them of how their monarchs had lost their status. His words clawed underneath the worry that blanketed Elsa's heart, wearing at her as it weighed down. The floodgates broke, tears streaking down her pale skin as whimpers quivered within. With hands gripping her arms, she lowered her head, hiding sadness from the crowd.
Remorse rived her Queenly composure, the troubled mind making an unwanted return. Despite having confidence in her ability to rule, the people, after all this time, still looked at her as a monster. It ate at her, bleeding out more pain as tears streamed down her face.
"Elsa." Anna's hand reached for her sister, eyes welling up in worry.
The silence gave way for chaos as the bloodthirsty people tugged at the sisters. The angry people in the crowd outnumbered the sympathetic as the Queen and princess were pushed around. Sadness contorted Elsa's face, her hands clenched on her shoulders as regret manacled her thoughts as she let the weaker townspeople have their way with her. Confusion clouded Anna's mind, surprise and shock warring to stifle her attempts to flee or defend herself.
Their hands were vicious, like claws, tearing bits off the sisters' clothes, expensive fabric littering the ground they trod on. Screams of anger and ill intent took over as the crowd massed around them. Swift and strong grips came upon Anna and Elsa, swallowing them deeper into the crowd with surprising strength.
A cloth clenched over the Queen's mouth, the pressure exerted on it snuffing out her breath. Her weeping quickly turned as uncontrollable fear gripped her, arms flailing as she fought to break free. Anna's voice muffled as a cloth wrapped around her mouth, her eyes sinking into her head as she lost consciousness. Elsa's hands fell weak, the loud murmuring fading from her ears as darkness filled her view.
She blacked out.