Gerda and the Snow Queen

Johanna

The people of Arendelle have a saying: "True love will thaw the frozen heart."

It is supposed to be a cheerful platitude, one that gives comfort to the weary and hope to the unsophisticated masses. Oh, yes, true love. Doesn't it sound so pretty?

The people recite this clever truism to themselves as they go about their day, as they sweep the snow from their front steps, as they chop their firewood, as they blow out the lone candle on their bedside table and fall asleep with nothing but a tangle of blankets to protect them from the encroaching darkness. All of them know the saying, and yet no one thinks to ask the obvious question.

Maybe the heart is better off frozen.

A crash sounds from somewhere below me, the sound of ice shattering into fragments.

"Kai," I shout. "Idiot boy, come here at once!"

Kai appears from behind a wall of iridescent ice. He stares up at me with wide, empty eyes. He doesn't speak. He rarely does, unless I order him to.

"What were you doing back there?"

"Lighting the fire."

"Did you break anything?"

"I knocked over a plate, but I swept it up."

The incompetence I put up with. "Did you actually light the fire?"

"Yes."

I sweep past him without investigating. Kai is usually trustworthy, and I have every reason to believe he has done as he was told. Besides, I hate being in the same room as fire. I only light it for guests.

There is a pounding at the door. It causes the ice crystals to reverberate in the main hall, and high above me the frozen chandelier begins to sing. I take a moment to enjoy it, the song of the ice echoing through me. I reach a hand to the sky. We are connected, the ice and I. I can feel it weaving between my fingertips, resonating to my core. I squeeze my hand into a fist, crushing the invisible vibrations, and the ice stops singing. I smile. There is something satisfying about killing the song. About how quiet the room suddenly goes.

Kai is still standing there. Silent as the ice crystals.

"The goblin emissaries are here," I say. "Go set the table. Try not to drop anything this time."
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