Loyalty and Betrayal
A single heartbeat.
How did this happen?
Another slow beat with a low breathe
Will my family be waiting for me?
James! Is James alright?
A low exhale
Did I fail?
These where the thoughts that drifted though Lieutenant Erik Slovaks mind as he lay dying on the ground somewhere between conscience thought and his mind drifting.
Eric thought. How did you not notice a hidden enemy? Why did I never bother to look for love? My fist command and I end up stabbed in the back.
He forced his eyes open groggily for a second at the blade sticking out of his chest. Why does that look so familiar? He heard voices but was unable to make out who they belonged to or what they said. And what was that sound… hoof beats? Good reinforcements have arrived to take Snider into custody. It felt like he had stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. I thought death would be different, not trapped in my body.
He mentally shook his head even if he couldn't physically do so. Steady yourself, no time to feel sorry for yourself, you're not dead. Details! Get details in case you can stay alive long enough to relay them. He forced himself to focus even though the pain and listen.
"Excellent work Captain, shall we get on with it?"
"Didn't go exactly to plan, he was never supposed to be down here."
"There was always a risk of collateral damage you knew that. Besides you told me he was too loyal and stubborn to involve."
"Yes but I didn't want him to end up like…like this."
"Look if it makes you feel any better we will just spread the word that he attempted to stop the rebel forces but was outnumbered and died a hero."
Erik thought. Wait I can't be hearing this right. It sounds like James… talking as though he is involved. I must be delirious.
Sudden agonizing pain wrenched though his body even though he was unable to cry out or move as the spear was pulled back though him.
James pulled the spear from his friend's body and wiped it clean of his blood. "At least he didn't know it was me." He frowned as he looked down at him.
"Having second thoughts James? We all knew we would have to get our hands dirty." Count Snider said eyeing him as two more men joined them and they got ready to launch their boat out to the ship.
"No, I'm ready to go through with this. Now that the army is out here and mopping things up we should be free to take out the Royal Family."
Erik suddenly felt a hot burning in his heart and couldn't help but groan softly, even though he wanted to scream.
Count Snider started and stared at him. "Is he really still alive? I thought you were good with that thing."
"I am." James protested. "I went straight for his heart. Should have killed him instantly. No pain."
Snider sneered and pushed Erik onto his back with his foot causing him to groan in pain again his heart searing in his chest. He forced his eyes open and stared up at Snider and James.
No! James! You couldn't have betrayed me, or Arendelle. Erik thought.
"You're right he is a stubborn one." Snider knelt down an examined the wound. "But it sure looks like you got his heart." He slapped Erik in the face gently a few times. "How the hell are you still alive?" He stood. "Hmmm I can't decide if we should put him out of his misery or let him bleed out so his last moment so he can reflect on the foolishness of his blind loyalty to the king."
"Let me just end it for him quickly. He deserves that."
"Going soft on me James? He who just stabbed the man who is like his little brother in the back? Very well but first I get to tell him how his little victory in battle today was actually a crushing defeat." He knelt down again and sneered at Erik. "You see it was planned to be defeated today. The army was lead out here away from the King and his family. At the castle we have men in place. Your friend James will sneak more of us inside pretending to have news from the battle then we will execute the King and Queen. But not before we drag Princess Elsa, Arendelle's mysterious freak, our from behind her door and in front of the entire counsel and kill her in front of them along with her brat sister Anna. The whole thing will be staged to make it look like the guards who are still loyal to the king were actually in league with the rebels. But don't worry I will be there to save the day and to take the place as leader of Arendelle. Any council members still loyal to the king would be sure to keep their mouths shut after they see us execute the princesses in front of their parents. It will be a reminder of what can happen to them." He smiled evilly down at Erik. "You know your friend convinced me that once the new order was established you would be loyal to me not having known what was going on. Given your record of service and family history you would have been given great command in the new order."
Snider frowned. "But no. You had to try to save the kingdom all by yourself. Couldn't stay out of it and now look where it has you. Dying on the ground knowing you have failed miserably."
He frowned some more. "Seriously, how are you still alive?"
He stood and rubbed his chin and held up is hand as James positioned himself to strike the killing blow. "One minute James, I recall reading about something like this before but it's a legend. It has been reported before though on rare occasions."
James look confused "My lord?"
A look of realization came upon Snider. "Ah yes I remember it is called Warriors Heart. It is said that when a warrior with it is slain his heart continues beating either to try to heal or at least until his duty is complete. It’s thought to be just a legend. Maybe not just a legend though it looks like. Given his stubborn loyalty to the crown and his family history I can understand why this particular fellow may have it. That gives me an idea." He knelt down next to Erik again. "Alright listen up if what I think is true you have a second chance here, you have two options. You can try to stop us. But in your weakened state you would never survive an engagement at the castle. Besides even if you did succeed your heart would give out making death your reward. Your second option is to lay here and recover and if you survive pledge your loyalty to me in the new order. Do that and you will become my tool alongside James in turning Arendelle into a mighty empire. The surrounding nations will fear the very mention of your name. Think about it, it's not a difficult choice."
Snider stood up as he, James and the two other men got into the boat. As they headed out Erik heard one of them say. "We will have to sail into a cove until the fleet stops searching for us then we can proceed to Arendelle. Victory will be ours in a matter of days."
Erik's mind was swirling but he was coherent now. Was it even possible what Snider said? Well he was still breathing even though all common sense said he should have stopped doing that a while ago. It took a while but he got feeling back in his arms and legs and he used his sword to push himself up to his feet. If he heard them correctly he could get a jump start on them getting back to the castle. He noticed his horse was still there and he climbed on and lay down again him. He briefly thought about going back up to the army encampment to get a cavalry detachment. But it was a long climb back up and the Army had moved further on and he had little doubt there would be a rebel or two watching the trail back up. No he had to get there now. He kicked his horse as he lay against it and they began the trek back toward Arendelle.
The trip was long and he was unable to go quickly but he found his strength slowly recovering. He managed to reload his pistol as he rode and planned out the best course of action. The two main obstacles, besides arriving alive of course, would be to determine which guards were loyal to the king. Once he did that there would be the task of convincing them what he told them was true. If he could do that then the guards could secure the family and eliminate the threat.
Now he thought about how he could have missed something was wrong with James. Was there something he could have done? Something he should have seen? What on earth would have convinced his best friend and mentor to betray everything he stood for? He hoped against hope he would be in time to intercept James and ask why.
Two days later the ship carrying the conspirators docked at the port of Arendelle and they disembarked.
"Alright." Said Snider. "Give me two hours to have my contacts get me in the castle and then proceed with your mission.
"Yes my lord." James responded. James stayed hidden and took his horse and walked to the edge of the forest bordering the city. There he waited till the time was right making sure his uniform and saddle were dirty to sell the part. When the time came he jumped on his horse and burst from the trees though the streets riding hard for the palace drawing the attention of all around him wondering why this soldier was running from the front. James rode up to the castle gates and called in a near panic. "I have news we need to assemble the council."
Col. Davis the Captain of the Kings guard ran out to meet him. "Capt. Meclemore are we about to be attacked?"
"No sir but other things are in play I need to inform the council."
"Understood let him pass!"
James ran into the castle as servants fetched the King and Queen and they made their way to the council chambers. After some time had passed the council assembled and James proceeded.
"My King, Lady, and lords. The situation is far worse than we realized at first the enemy has allies we did not know about."
"Who?" The King asked in shock.
Just then the two small side doors to the council chamber burst open and Snider and several armed men walked into the room. "Why him your majesty, and these fine gentlemen with me here."
"Guards!" the King yelled
"Oh they will not respond." Snider replied with an evil smile. I have made sure only those loyal to me are outside this room. Your guards cannot hear you."
"What is the meaning of this traitor?" The King roared.
"Ah straight to the insults I see. No chit chat? Very well straight to business. You two!" He pointed to two of his thugs. "Bring Princess Elsa to the council chambers."
"NO!" Both the King and Queen shouted together in panic.
Snider whirled around on them. "You think you have a choice in this matter? I think its time we all saw this mysterious princess. I prefer the guards to bring her down unharmed but you never know, accidents can happen." He smirked to his two men and they nodded with a smile understanding as they headed to retrieve Princess Elsa.
Snider rubbed his chin. "Hmmm what else what else? Oh yes you two." He pointed to two more of his thugs. "Be so kind as to fetch Princess Anna for me?"
Erik burst from the forest riding at full speed for the castle just 30 minutes after James began his ride. He took a different road though and ignored the cries of the people asking of the battle. He was running on almost pure adrenaline it seemed as his heart burned in his chest. His blue grey uniform was covered with blood and the evidence of his near fatal wound clearly shown. He reached the gates and yelled for assistance.
Once more Col. Davis ran out. "Lt. … Slovak I believe? Capt. Meclemore just came though not anhour ago has the situation changed?"
"Yes direly." Erik grimaced as he dismounted clutching his chest.
"You're wounded! Let me get you a medic."
"No time! Now please listen I'm not sure how much time I have. The Royal family is in grave danger. Lt. Meclemore entered the castle under false pretenses. There are a group of rebels inside planning on killing the family!"
"Now Lieutenant that just seems a little far-fetched."
"Colonel look at me I am severely wounded I have no reason to make the journey to lie to you."
"I still need some more evidence before I send you in!"
"I overheard them saying they had control of the guards outside the council chamber. Send one of your men in to see if anything looks suspicious."
"I'll go sir!" A young private volunteered.
"If what he says is true it will be dangerous they may kill you on sight."
"I…I understand sir. But if what he says is true we need to know now."
"Alright" Davis said. "Here is what you're going to do." Just go in casual and ask whoever is in command if they need relief. Normally someone will say so to take a break for diplomat duty. Also see if you see anyone unfamiliar let us know. If they hold you up and you can't get away discharge your pistol, we will hear it.
The young private walked inside the castle causally looking around. He noticed two men he had never seen before walking up the stairs. As he approached the council chambers he heard shouting but was stopped by a Sergeant.
"Hold it right there private."
He stopped dead in his tracks
"What are you doing in here?"
"Col. Davis sent me for relief"
"We're all good here private you can go back out."
"Understood." But he still looked at the council chamber doors.
"Something the matter private?"
The young man thought quickly on his feet. "Sir, if I may are council meetings always like this?"
The Sergeant chuckled. "That's politics for you, when its quiet is when you worry."
"Oh, I still have a lot to learn I guess. Thank you Sir!" He turned and walked out the door. He made his way calmly out to eh the guards at the gate and when out of view he said. "Its trouble. They didn't want me there. There was angry shouting from the chambers, and even though I'm pretty new that was a lot of new faces."
"Alright." Col Davis said. "Here is what we are going to do."
Elsa was sitting alone in her room calmly reading a book. She knew the council was meeting but this time it wasn't about her it was about the battle. It should have maybe concerned her but according to her father it was well in hand.
Suddenly there was a knock on her door.
She shook her head. Probably Anna wanting to talk. She hoped she would just go away and let her be she didn't need her sister upsetting her by feeling guilty right now.
There was another knock this time followed by a male voice. "Princess Elsa?"
That was unusual. The only people who usually knocked on her door were Mamma, or Papa, or Anna. She also knew the voice didn't belong to Kai. She kept quiet hoping they would think she was asleep.
The knock came again. "Your Highness?"
She stood and answered softly seeming to have no choice. "Yes, who is it?"
"Castle guard Milady. We have instructions to escort you to the council chambers."
What! No! She couldn't have heard that right. There is no way her Father would ask her to go there. Especially not now. She began to breathe heavy as panic rose in her chest. Frost starting to form in the room. "W...W…Who is requesting me?"
"Your Father. Highness."
Elsa was filled with pure dread. Why? Had he given into pressure from the council? She couldn't go. She just couldn't!
"Give me a minute please!" She tried to sound as calm as possible. However icicles where starting to form in her room and it began to snow harder. They were going to find out! Soon word would spread to all of Arendelle about her terrible secret. She tried to control her breathing as she leaned against her dresser and looked in the mirror. Her bright blue terrified eyes stared back icy tears forming in them.
"I can't!" she blurted out loud her voice terrified.
"I'm sorry Highness but the council insists."
From outside the door she managed to her the two men talking.
"This is taking too long."
"Patience it's a delicate situation we can wait a bit longer."
Elsa closed her eyes and worked on calming down. Ok, ok she probably just had to make a very quick appearance just control it for a few minutes. From outside she heard. "There a window open somewhere? It's getting kind of cold."
Elsa willed every fiber of her being into as much calm as she could muster. She took a deep breath wiped the frost from her face and opened the door and stepped out.
"Ah princess there you are." A taller heavy set man said.
"Yes sorry about the delay, can we…can we hurry this up I am not feeling well." She closed her door quickly before they could see the winder landscape inside.
"Of course princess." The guard gave a smarmy smile as they walked her down the hall.
Elsa felt uneasy about this, and it wasn't just meting the council she didn't recognize these two guards. Granted she didn't see many of the guards and she made sure they never saw her. She thought they might show some reaction to seeing her but something was…off.
Her fears grew far, far worse when the first gunshot sounded from within the castle.
Col. Davis handed out weapons from the guard houses to his men. "These are the best rifles we have. Very accurate. Everyone make sure you have a pistol as well preferably two. Have a hand weapon as well." He turned to the Sergeant who had volunteered for the entry mission. "You understand what you're to do?"
"Yes sir! I run in yelling about a rebel attack. The guards loyal to us will respond to the gates while the rebels will know it's a ruse an attack us."
Davis nodded his head knowing the Sergeant had volunteered for a probable suicide mission. "Alright once our men are clear of the firing line blunderbusses fire the first volley to clear the area. Then everyone to the King no matter what is in your way."
"Understood." The guards al answered at once.
Davis grabbed Erik who was holding his chest. "You sure you don't wanna hang back? You have done enough."
"Thank you Colonel but I need to see this though. I can't explain now but I'm dead already. I rather die in the line of duty then sitting back and waiting."
Davis nodded his head as they formed up. "Ok Sergeant Kegan go!"
Kegan sprinted for the entry hollered at the top of his lungs. "Rebels are attacking the castle! To your posts!"
Many of the guards inside turned and made for the gates but the rebels raised their weapons to fire on them. Kegan drew his pistol and fired killing a rebel before several rebels fired on him the volley killing him. The loyal guards took a second to figure out what was happening when Col. Davis assault force burst in the door yelling "To the King!" The men with blunderbusses opened fire their volley of shot tearing into the rebels. The guards charged to the chambers unable to stop to take cover they took heavy fire crossing the floor. Many fell before they reached the door. The guards that joined them threw themselves against the rebels guarding the door heavy hand to hand fighting broke out. Erik, Davis and several men burst into the council chambers seeing a man with a sword raised to the king. Davis raised his rifle and fired taking the man down and the rest of the men opened fire of rebels in the room.
"Secure the King and Queen!" Davis ordered as they guards took down the remaining rebels and covered the King and Queen. As they did Count Snider escaped through a side door along with James.
Erik took cover in a door way firing on the rebels who were trying to get back inside. The exchange of fire inside the hallway was fierce but the guards outnumbered the rebels and the tide was turning. Suddenly Erik heard Davis yell. "He's going for the princesses!" Erik looked at the staircase and saw James rush up the stairs. The others were pinned down covering the King and Queen. Erik ran across to the stairs and perused after James.
Elsa jumped at the sound of the shots. So did the guards. They both looked at each other concerned. "Don't worry princess we will protect you." One reassured. They both drew their swords and kept moving forward.
Towards the sound of the fighting! Elsa thought, the panic becoming too much. She didn't leave her room much but she was pretty sure they should be leading her away to safety.
Her fears got even worse when one of the guards turned to the other and said. "We should just do it now."
"Your right better safe than sorry."
Elsa turned and ran the temperature dropping in the room as both guards swung their swords missing her. She sprinted down the hall now regretting not leaving her room much because the castle was not as familiar as it should be to her. She turned a corner moving fast enough to keep ice from forming in the dropping temperatures around her. She turned down another corridor and saw…Anna! Anna was looking worried but was being escorted by two suspicious looking guards. All three stopped when they saw Elsa.
Anna's face lit up when she saw her sister. "Elsa!"
Elsa didn't know what to do. One of the guards broke away from Anna and approached her the other pulling his sword while looking at Anna.
Elsa could only think of one thing. "ANNA RUN!" she screamed.
Anna may have not always had the greatest situational awareness but the look on her sisters face and the way she screamed told her she needed to do what she said. She turned an sprinted away from the men. Turning her back not seeing her sister accidently sending an icy wind knocking both would-be killers off their feet.
Anna ran as fast as her legs could go. Luckily unlike Elsa she was all over this castle and knew almost every secret passageway. She ducked into the first one she found and hid. She had always dreamed of adventure but not like this. This was a horror story she just wanted her family to all be together. Safe. She closed her eyes as she tried to drown out the gunshots and screams around her.
The two man flew backwards their swords landing with a clang and their bodies with a thud. The both looked stunned. What was that?
"She's a bloody witch!" they both stood and grabbed their swords. "We need to kill her now."
Elsa ran for her life cursing herself for lacking a grasp on the castle layout. She turned a corner and found a dead end. She had no choice but to try to hide. She ducked behind a suit of armor decorations as the men came around the corner. They were moving slowly searching for her.
"Come out little witch. We will make it quick."
Elsa tried to control it but frost was forming and the temperature was dropping. They turned and looked down the corridor. "There she is!"
She gritted her teeth and went to pull her gloves off having to choice but to try to defend herself.
"Stand to gentlemen!"
Both men whirled around but the sound of two shots filled the hallway dropping both of them.
Erik stood there both his pistols smoking. "Princess!" He called out looking for either of them. "I'm here to help!"
Elsa stayed hiding not sure what to think but slowly stood. After all this man just shot the men trying to kill her. She walked into the main hallway just as James entered the hallway.
Both Erik and James saw a pretty young woman with platinum blonde hair and bright blue eyes at the same time. It could only be one person. They exclaimed in a minor shock "Princess Elsa!"
Erik pointed both pistols at James. "It's over James put your spear down and surrender. You're not harming the Princess."
"Come on Erik! You think I didn't hear you fire both of those?"
"True." He put the pistols away and drew his sword. "You're still not harming her."
"I ran you though two days ago. How you're still alive much less standing is beyond me. But we both know you won't have the endurance to survive a duel."
"Only one way to find out." Erik said drawing a second smaller sword in his other hand.
"Alright if that's how you want it. Don't say I didn't give you a chance."
Both men stared at each other then rushed each other their weapons sending sparks as they fought fiercely. Elsa watched amazed at how fast they were. Both swinging their weapons with lightning quick precision. What she couldn't understand is how they seemed to know each other but were now engaged in mortal combat. She suddenly screamed as James managed to push Erik aside and get near her he reached for her grabbing her hand but she yanked away and to her horror her glove came off. Erik swung both his swords down on James as he raised his spears to block the two pushing against each other.
Elsa couldn't help it the power came out of her and started freezing both their weapons and the hall around them. Both men actually paused and stared at what was happening then looked at each as if they were friends again experiencing something new.
"Did you see that?"
"That's not possible!"
James shook his head then managed to push Erik back whose strength was failing. "You see why they hid her away? She's a witch! A Freak! She needs to be destroyed." He raised his spear to strike.
"No!" Erik threw himself in the way striking the spear with his sword but the blade slicing into his side. The two continued to fight each other wildly but Erik's strength was failing he felt his heart bleeding slowly. James struck him in the face with the handle of his spear knocking him to the ground.
James turned his attention back to Elsa who was on the ground her face in her hands as he raised his spear to strike.
Erik saw James raise his spear and reacted quickly grabbing James leg and pulling him down his spear narrowly missing Elsa. Erik then grabbed the shorter blade and thrust it directly into James. James coughed and choked blood coming from his mouth. A tear ran from Erik's eye. "I'm sorry my friend, but you betrayed Arendelle and me. I'll try to remember you as you were." He looked up at Elsa who was still hiding her head in her hands. "Don't look your highness." He said and took his sword thrust it into his heart. James let out single gulp and lay still.
Erik sat up wanting nothing more than to sit and grieve but he had to get the Princess to safety. "Your Highness." He gently grabbed her bare hand to help her up but his hand began to freeze on contact. Elsa pulled her hand back and put her glove back on. "Come on Princess Elsa I need to get you to safety."
Elsa nodded and stood. She looked at him. "You're not afraid of me?"
They turned to head down the hall, Erik wondering if he could make it his legs becoming week.
"No Princess, you're not the one trying to kill me. Besides it doesn't look like you mean any harm.”
Elsa noticed the blood covering the front of Erik’s uniform as they slowly walked. “You’re hurt!” She exclaimed.
“I’ll be fine. Right now we need to worry about you.” His own body was starting to betray him though as he stumbled slightly and used the wall to support himself.
Elsa looked at him concerned. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“I’ll manage your highness.” Erik managed a weak smile.
“So you’re not startled by what you saw me do?” Elsa asked carefully.
“I'll admit it was a big surprise. Don't worry though your secrets safe with me. And if it makes you feel better I found out two days ago I'm not exactly normal either."
Elsa's eyes grew wide "What do you mean?"
"It will take too much time to explain now." He looked around the hall as they made their way slowly. Then he gave her a little smile. "Tell you what you get through this alive and I'll tell you the story of the human skewer." If I'm around to tell it. He thought.
Elsa wrinkled her nose as the description but then said. "Ok"
She then asked. "Who are you anyway?"
"Lt. Erik Slovak of his Majesties Royal Marine Brigade, 3rd Regiment, 1st Battalion, Commander of B Company at your service Milady." He answered formally trying to keep her attention from what she had just witnessed.
"Oh nice to meet you." she said politely.
"Pleasure is all mine Princess."
She then glanced at James body before turning away quickly. "That man. You two spoke like you knew each other."
Erik's face turned serious. "Yeah we were friends… that will be part of the story. Which is the fastest way to the garrison? That will be the safest spot probably.”
“Well I have never been there but I think it’s this way. We should be there shortly.”
"Not so fast!"
He looked up to see Count Snider standing there with two men with crossbows. "Hand over the Princess."
"Not even when hell freezes over." Erik said suddenly realizing that was a poor choice of words but Elsa was too frightened to notice.
"Very well then." Snider pulled a pistol and cocked it.
Erik looked around and grabbed the one thing that might save them. A shield on the wall. He held it up at the last second and grimaced as Snider fired. A loud clang rang out as the shield dented severely and cracked but held.
"You are becoming a thorn in my side!" Snider yelled. He turned to his two men. "Kill the princess."
Both men moved to flank Erik. His pistols weren't loaded. And he couldn't stop arrows from two directions. He turned to Elsa. "Princess I need you to run, NOW!"
Elsa turned and ran as Erik rushed the two men before they could get too far apart. They both turned their attention to him and fired their crossbows. He managed to deflect one but the other struck him in the right side of his torso. His momentum carried him forward thrusting his blade into one of the men. He fell to the ground ready to fight Snider and his other man when shots rang out. Snider fell in front of him his eyes wide a hole in the back of his head. Up the stairs came Davis and some of his men.
"Secure the Princess!" he yelled as the men fanned out. Then he noticed Erik laying on the floor trying to lean against the wall.
"Princess Elsa is down the hall there he pointed. We need to find Princess Anna."
"We already got her." Davis assured. "We need to get you to the doc."
Erik felt his strength failing as blood began to flow from his wounds including the massive spear wound he received two days ago. It looked like the legend of the Warriors heart was true. His mission was now complete and his heart was giving up. "Don't bother sir. I'm already gone."
"Don't give me that soldier." He motioned several guards to pick him up and they started carrying him downstairs.
Erik groaned as his vision blurred. His heart must have repaired some on the journey back otherwise he was sure he would be dead in seconds. But it wasn't enough. Every breath was getting more difficult. He was growing cold. He could feel the blood drain from him. The guards laid him on a table.
"Doc! Doc! Get over here this man is severely wounded!" Davis yelled.
The royal physician went over to Erik and examined him while looking into the gaping chest wound. "I'm sorry there is nothing I can do. His heart has been opened. It can't be fixed." He hung his head. "The best you can do is make him comfortable." The doctor suddenly stood straight. "Your Majesty!"
The King walked over to where Erik lay. "How is he?"
"I'm afraid his heart is pierced. It cannot be repaired. He will probably leave us within the hour."
The king nodded grimly then looked at Erik. "Lt. Erik Slovak you have served Arendelle and your King with honor, courage, and distinction. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty. You have exposed a plot to overthrow the King and rescued me and my family while sacrificing yourself. There is no way we can repay what you have done. I hereby promote you to the rank of Captain and name you a true Son and Hero of Arendelle."
"Tha…Thank you your majesty."
"Col. Davis. Doctor will you give us a moment?"
"Yes Majesty!" Davis and his men all snapped to attention and saluted Erik. "It was an honor to serve." Then handed him Erik's sword.
Erik clutched it tight in its sheath. He managed to bring his arm up into a weak salute. "Likewise Colonel."
As Davis and his men left them alone the King asked. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"My..My men. T..tt..ttell them it w..was an honor to s..s..serve. And my com p p pany that I am p..p..proud of them." He managed to sputter out.
"I will tell them personally." reassured the King.
"A..a..and my Aunt and Unn..Uncle they are not well." Erik gasped out.
"The will be taken care of I promise." Said the King.
Erik couldn't answer. He was too weak to speak anymore. So this was it he thought. It had been a short life but He managed to stop a civil war, expose a plot against the throne, and save the royal family. Heck, he even got to see Arendelle's biggest mystery in Princess Elsa. Not a bad life. It would end soon but he felt he had accomplished enough to be satisfied. Its not like he didn't expect to die like this someday. Maybe faster on some foreign battlefield. But death always seemed to be a constant companion that had finally called on him. He lay eyes closed reviewing his life while his thoughts where still coherent when suddenly he heard a familiar voice.
Elsa had ran like Erik had told her. But she had still seen the arrow strike him and when he fell. She prayed he didn't just die for her. Even though it may have been his duty it's not something she wanted from anyone. She just wanted everyone to be safe from her. She ran to the only place she could think of. Her room. As she got to it she flung the door open just as she saw guards approaching from the other end of the hall. She sighed in mild relief. Some of them she recognized.
"Princess Elsa are you alright?" They ran to her.
"Yes! I…I need to be alone now." she said as the closed the door to her room. The guards didn't argue but stood guard outside the door. Inside she fought back tears at what she just endured. How could this happen inside her home? She couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible. She shook as she thought about the men who had seen her powers. None had survived. Except for one. She shuddered again. Erik had promised not to tell anyone but who knew if he might tell all his fellow soldiers around the campfire one night. If he was still alive that is.
She looked in the mirror and composed herself. No she wasn't going to ignore it. He had been the first to see her and not be terrified, in fact he did everything to keep her safe. She had to find out if he was ok and if he was to thank him for what he did. If she didn't it would be like insulting him for his sacrifice.
She reached for the door handle but then pulled back. She took a deep breather and slowly opened the door. The guards outside stood at attention. "Princess Elsa!"
"Yes, can you tell me please about the lieutenant who found me?"
"I'm afraid he was gravely wounded Princess. He was taken to the infirmary."
"Oh." Her heart sank, but she took another deep breath. "Take me to him please."
"Your highness are you sure you want to go down there its rather…messy."
"Yes please escort me there."
"As you wish."
The two guards escorted her down to the infirmary. Fortunately for her both had been in the castle long enough to know she preferred seclusion so they managed to keep her away from others. They escorted her to the room where she saw her Father standing besides Erik's bed.
"Thank you." She said to the guards. "Please wait out here for me."
She walked into the room. "Papa?"
"Elsa darling you shouldn't be here!" The king turned around.
"I needed to… I need to thank him."
"Are you sure that's wise?"
"Yes" she waked over to Erik and took his hand in her gloved hand.
Eric heard the princess and felt her gloved hand take his. She squeezed it gently and said. "Thank you."
He managed to reply. "J..just doing my duty h..highness."
She turned to her father. "What's wrong with him?"
"It's his heart it's been pierced." The king answered grimly. "The doctor can't stop it from bleeding out."
"Oh." Said Elsa taking her hand away softly wishing there was something she could do for him since he did so much for her. Then she looked at her hand and got an idea. She took a deep breath and took her glove off.
"Elsa what are you doing?!" the King asked startled.
"Maybe I can save him!" she took her bare hand and placed it on his heart focusing on sending a tiny blast into him.
The world was fading away to nothing for Erik and he could no longer hear the King or Princess. When suddenly he felt a small hand upon his wound and started to shake as it felt like ice was shot into his heart. The cold spread though him racing though his body
Then all became icy silence.