In the weeks that followed the death of the King and Queen chaos erupted throughout the kingdom. Elsa was not yet of age to take the throne so a Prime Minister needed to be appointed. Even though she wouldn't be taking the throne for nearly three more years it was expected that she would attend the meeting and provide her input. However she decline to attend any of the meetings drawing the ire of some of the council members. In the end the council decided that Lord Byron would become the Prime Minister until Elsa ascended to the throne.
Elsa was the other issue the council was discussing. To them she was a serious concern. They were not in a panic yet because there was time before she ascended. However because she was a mystery to them they were all concerned about the future queen. They could not get Elsa to talk to them herself so they brought in several of the staff who might have contact with them. Including her personal guard.
Erik walked into the council chambers the morning of his inquiry in full dress uniform. He stood before them examining the faces in the room. He recognized the majority of them. There were only a few of them he could say he actually knew though. Very few bothered to talk to a guard. From what he could tell most of the room was concerned or curious. He guessed he couldn't blame them. From the outside looking in a transition of leadership involving such an unknown Princess was legitimate cause to be concerned. He could also tell there were a few that would be openly hostile.
When the talking around the room stopped and all eyes were focused on him he said. "Captain Erik Slovak reporting as ordered."
"Thank you for coming captain." The council speaker lord Hyrop said. He was an elderly man with wisps of white hair and a neatly kept white beard. He had been on the council longer then Erik had been alive. Rumor was he was the original selection for prime minister but refused. He was one of the few council members he had spoken too on occasion. He was known as kind but also extremely practical. Erik knew he wouldn't try to nail him to the wall, but he wouldn't go easy on him either. He was fair, but he wanted the truth. Despite his age the man still appeared to be strong and commanded a presence.
"We will be simple Captain. We want you to tell us about Princess Elsa." Hyrop said.
"Can you be more specific my lord?" Erik asked respectfully
"Give us details about her! Specific details!" An angry and exasperated councilmen shouted from off to the side.
Erik turned to the councilman. "Well she is a woman of average height, bright blonde hair and blue…"
"You think this is a joke!?" The councilman stood and yelled. "You dare insult me with such sarcasm!"
"No sarcasm intended my lord, you asked for specific details so I started with the basics."
From around the room a few members snickered even Hyrop was trying to suppress a smile. He help up his hand to restore order. "What we mean Captain is to tell us about her. Her personality, how she thinks, why she stays locked away, is she prepared for what is to come."
"Understood my lord. However, I cannot disclose certain details I have sworn some things under blood."
The angry councilman stood again. "This is no time for some misplaced sense of honor! The future of the kingdom is at stake!"
Erik bit his tongue tempted to either rush up and punch the man or challenge him to a duel to see where his honor stood. Hyrop spoke up and spared him saying something he might regret. "Captain Slovak is a soldier of Arendelle. One of her sons and heroes. To ask him to betray a blood oath is asking him to omit treason." He turned back to Erik. "Captain if you could tell what you can about Princess Elsa. Whatever you think is relevant without betraying your oath."
"Yes my lord." He thought for a minute and said. "Many times I have brought Princess Elsa reading and study material. In her solitude she studies to be Queen. She is very intelligent and quiet well learned. She is very diligent in her studies for future responsibilities."
From around the room the other members voiced questions.
"Why does she stay shut away?"
"I cannot answer that."
"Will she take the throne?"
"I cannot speak to that."
"How prepared is she?"
"She studies hard. I believe she will continue to do so."
"Why has no one seen her since the memorial at all?"
"Her parents…The King and Queens death hit her hard. Give her time."
After answering, or mostly not answering a myriad of questions Hyrop finally called the meeting to order again. "Captain I have one more question for you. In your opinion. Will Princess Elsa be ready to take the throne when the time comes?"
Erik looked the council dead on and said. "I believe with all my being that Princess Elsa will be prepared to take the throne. She is more than capable from what I have seen."
"Thank you Captain. Adjourned for now." The council exited the chambers but Hyrop motioned Erik over. "I understand you needed to give the best report possible for the council. However, do you really believe the princess will be ready?"
"My lord, I believe she will be. It will take time and you will have to give her space but she will be ready."
"Very well. Thank you Captain."
Elsa had refused to leave her room since her parent's death. She barley ate or slept either. She knew whenever she closed her eyes the nightmares would be even worse than before. Her room was constantly in a flurry as the sadness would not stop. After the memorial was over Anna had knocked on the door begging her to open. Elsa had wanted nothing more than to open the door so she and her sister could be together. It was too dangerous though. She couldn't control herself in her agony. She knew that touching her sister could freeze her once again and she couldn't deal with the pain. Erik had been checking in on her too. She wouldn't see him either for fear of freezing him as well. She spent her time alone thinking about her parents. Anna had said though the door that people were asking where she had been. It was all becoming too much. Her parents were gone and everyone was looking to her to be the next leader of Arendelle. She couldn't do it. She couldn't risk destroying her parent's kingdom with powers she couldn't control.
One night she simply thought it would be easier to just end it. Yes, just take herself out of the picture and she wouldn't have to deal with this anymore and everyone would be safe from her. However as she thought that suddenly all she could think about was Anna. It would destroy her sister if she was just gone like that. She couldn't do that to her. She sat back against the door holding herself wondering what she could do amidst all the trouble as she closed her eyes and fell into an uneasy sleep.
Erik knew what he had promised to the council about Elsa. He believed she could do it but wondered if she would. He knew she had been hit hard. He was willing to be there for her and help her though it but ultimately it was up to her to get back up. Unfortunately she was no ordinary girl dealing with no ordinary circumstances. Besides being the future Queen of a nation she also had powers that had her afraid of herself. He wondered how she could pull off being queen with her unwillingness to come in contact with people. That would only go over for so long. He was sure that if something wasn't figured out before her coronation he would be defending her against more assassination attempts then any ruler in history.
While he was lost in his thoughts another guard approached him. "Captain, Prime Minister Byron requires your presence."
Erik followed wondering what on earth the minister wanted with him. He was lead to a room and found himself surprised to be alone with the minister.
"Minister Byron. You requested me?"
The Minister turned and looked him over as if sizing him up. "Ah yes my good captain. You put on quite a show in the chambers the other day. The problem is I didn't exactly but it."
"My lord?" Erik asked looking somewhat confused.
"I understand your loyalty to the Princess. In fact I commend you for it. However, the future of Arendelle rests on her now so more information is required. I need you to tell me more."
"I'm afraid I can't my lord."
Byron looked exasperated. "Very well. As Prime Minister. Caretaker to the throne of Arendelle. I hereby order you to tell me everything you know of the Princess Elsa."
Erik stood at attention. "With respect my lord I cannot."
Byron glared. "You dare refuse an order from your minister?"
"No minister. I simply cannot betray the oath I gave to the royal family."
Byron looked him over and stepped closer. "For such insubordination I can have you released from your station, stripped of rank, and thrown in the dungeons!"
Erik stood his ground. "Forgive me minister but you cannot."
"As the Princess Elsa's personal guard only two people can dismiss me. Princess Elsa or death himself."
For a minute Byron considered having Erik arrested. But instead he thought about the problems having a hero of Arendelle locked up would cause on top of everything else. "They told me you were too stubborn." He sighed. "You're willing to risk the future of Arendelle on this?"
"My lord I do not believe we are risking anything. I stand by what I said before. Princess Elsa is capable of being the Queen of the nation. Also I might add that we have nearly three years until her ascension panicking about it will only make matters worse."
Byron glared. "Very well. You may go. But rest assured this matter is not concluded." He turned and walked away. He never noticed Erik had his hand on his sword.
Elsa tossed and turned in her sleep haunted by the nightmares. Unfortunately for her they were only becoming worse. Erik was standing outside the door and could hear her whimpers. Tonight though she only seemed to be getting louder. Around her room the ice and snow was forming. Adding to it tonight though, was bolts of magic randomly shooting from her hands. Erik had never interfered before. He knew the nightmares were probably terrible but they couldn't actually hurt her. Tonight was about to become another matter. Erik heard a few sounds he never heard before coming from the room. When he heard glass shatter he quickly entered the room with his pistol drawn. Amid the ice and snow he scanned the room looking for the intruder he was sure had broken into the room. He saw Elsa laying on her bed but could see no one else. Then Elsa sent out several bolts of ice magic one of them headed straight for him. He managed to duck and roll just in time. He got back onto one knee weapon still drawn still looking for a target. He then saw the source of the broken glass. In her sleep Elsa had hit a mirror with a bolt and shattered it. Erik un-cocked the pistol and holstered it. She was still sending bolts out at random as he crawled across the floor towards her bed.
In her dream Elsa had lost complete control and was staring at the bodies of her entire family. She screamed into the howling storm she had created the cold lifeless eyes of her Mother, Father, and Sister staring back. From out of the storm she heard a distant voice barley discernable. "Elsa."
"Stay away!" She screamed back not wanting to harm anyone else.
"Please stay back!"
She started shaking. It felt like an invisible force had grabbed her and was shaking her on the spot.
"STAY BACK!" she screamed and shot a blast of magic.
And woke just as she shot real magic straight into her guards face.
Erik fell back as the magic struck him. Elsa screamed as he hit the floor and rushed to him. "No, no, please no." she pleaded as she knelt besides him.
Fortunately for Erik he had managed to get his arm in front of his face to keep the magic from nailing his head. The blast had knocked him off balance though and he hit his head on the floor. The blow caused him to black out for a moment. He woke back up to Elsa kneeling besides him and a cold freezing sensation and intense pain shooting up his arm. He looked up at Elsa. "Are you alright?" He asked her.
"Am I alright?" She asked shocked. "What about you? I thought I killed you!"
"Not even close princess." He forced a smile though the pain.
"But…oh my! Your arm!" She looked at his arm that was iced over. She began to shake and cry repeating over and over. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
"Princess I'm fine I swear." He said partially telling the truth because his arm was killing him. "It's ok it was just an accident." He put his hand on her shoulder reassuringly.
"NO!" she jerked away. "I don't want to hurt you!" She pulled her knees to her chest and curled up her head down.
He frowned as he looked at her. "Princess its ok, look at me." She continued to cry not looking up. "Princess look up." He said gently. She still did not. He added a hint of sternness into his voice yet still keeping it gentle. "Princess Elsa I need you to look at me."
She finally looked up the frozen tears on her cheeks. "Princess in all seriousness I have been shot, slashed, and had a spear thrust though my heart. Do you really think some freezing is going to harm me?"
"No buts." He kept his voice clam and gentle but put enough of an edge in it that she had an idea of the urgency of his words. "As your personal guard I have sworn to protect you. I will not stand by and watch you destroy yourself."
She sniffled a little. He continued. "Princess you know I would protect you from anything right?"
She nodded. "I also want you to know I won't let you lose control and harm anyone else."
"Because I'm going to teach you how to control your fears."
She looked at him not completely believing it. "You will?"
"Yes. Now it won't be easy. And it will probably take time, a lot of it. And I'm a military man so I may be a little harsher than you're used to. However if you let me I promise I will have you ready for your coronation. Are you willing?"
She considered it for a bit then nodded.
"Good." Erik said. "We have less than two and a half years till your coronation. We have a lot of ground to cover we should probably start tomorrow. Don't worry we will start slow."
Elsa said gently. "Ok."
Erik softened up. "Now Princess You better get back to sleep. Just remember I am right outside the door. Nothing will hurt you. You cannot harm anyone. Rest well your highness."
He gave her a small smile as he left and shut the door. Then he quickly hurried and grabbed a lantern. He knew that if he hadn't blocked her magic blast she could have very well killed him. He wasn't about to tell her that though she was extremely fragile right now. However, he had to help get her under control otherwise the powers she possessed would cause real damage. He held the flame up to his arm unfreezing it. He wasn't exactly sure yet on how he was going to fulfill the promise he just made. He knew all about the "conceal don't fell" mantra her parents had taught her. While he thought it was a bad idea he was pretty sure tearing everything she had done her whole life down in a day would be a bad idea. It would be a slow process. But at least he had all night to think about how to start. It was going to be a long road but he had made a promise and he wasn't about to let her down.
The next morning Erik knocked on her door. "Princess Elsa are you ready to begin?"
There was a pause and she answered nervously. "Yes come in."
He entered and saw she was dressed and ready. She looked at him and asked. "So how do you want to begin?"
Erik gave her a smile. "I was thinking about that. You know eventually you will have to meet with your council as well as foreign officials?"
Elsa put her head down but nodded. She didn't like the idea but realistically it couldn't be avoided forever.
Erik noticed her reaction. "Don't worry." He told her reassuringly. "We are going to start small. Baby steps."
Elsa looked up curious. "How are we going to start?"
"Quite simply just pretend I am one of your council member's. I'll ask questions and you respond."
"O.k. but how will that help? I know it's you not a stranger."
"That parts a little more difficult. As you can imagine they are not going to ask easy questions. But it should help you prepare for them hearing them from a familiar face first."
She nodded nervously.
"Alright let's begin." He crossed his arms and looked at her. "Princess Elsa can you tell me why you have been hiding the last ten years?"
Elsa opened her mouth but balked. She tried to find something to say but just put her head down.
"We need to work on a cover story. You will have to convince them."
Elsa nodded and swallowed.
"Hey it's ok." Erik reassured her. "It's day one. This is just practice."
Elsa nodded and composed herself. "Ok let's try again."
"Alright. Princess Elsa. Can you explain where you have been for the last ten years?"
The training went on a few times a week. It was a slow process. Both of them learning. However Erik had noticed that since they started she hadn't had a massive incident like the night she nearly killed him. She still had nightmares of course and she was still grieving over the loss of her parents but progress was being made. Even if it was small and slow.
Elsa wasn't the only one that suffered from nightmares. On this particular night her personal guard was once again on the last battlefield he fought on. Reliving a moment that would haunt him the rest of his life. There was another side to the warrior's heart. A much darker side that no one knew about. At some times in combat pure instinct could take over and he was suddenly focused on one thing. The kill. As Erik replayed the incident in his dream it was like he was watching it though his own eyes and from an outside observer. At times his actions would speed up and slow down. During the entire dream it was almost like he was preforming the actions and explaining them at the same time. Almost like he was instructing recruits in the art of death.
He broke away from his men to inspect a small grove of trees he suspected rebels were hiding in. He came across a small scout force. When the first rebel moved to engage him he aimed his pistol. "I fire my pistol into the head of the attacking rebel. The bullet enters the front of his skull. He is dead before he hits the ground"
He turns toward his next target who comes at him with a sword. "I block this man's first strike with ease. He swings wildly at me again which I easily block. It is obvious he has almost no training. With my counter swing I push his blade to the side and thrust my blade into his stomach. I give the blade a twist to maximize the damage and pull the blade out. My face is the last thing he will see." Another rebel comes at him swinging his blade wildly. "This rebel swings and missed me overcompensating and losing his balance opening himself for a critical blow. I take full advantage and slash him open disemboweling him where he stands. It will not kill him instantly but he will wish it had."
He turns and sees another rebel his eyes full of fear as he holds a spear shaking. "This boy has obviously never seen combat before. He can't be more then 18. But that doesn't matter he is the enemy. I bring my sword down on the spear as he holds it to block. This is only meant to distract him. I plant a kick on his knee and he drops his guard in pain. I then use my elbow to break his nose. As he stumbles backwards I end his pain my driving my sword directly into his heart."
"Another rebel attacks me. This one is more experienced. Our blades clang together as he tries to rally the other men to his aid. I manage to slash him across the chest then whirl around and slash across his throat. I quickly grab a fallen musket and fire into one of the rebels the bullet striking him in the chest. Unable to retrieve my sword I pull a knife from my boot. The attacker is inexperienced and I am able to dodge easily as I stab him in the chest. I push him away with my other arm then thrust the knife into his neck. I manage to grab his partners arm to deflect his motion away from me my blade severing his brachial artery. He will bleed out in a matter of minutes. I turn to the last rebel. He has thrown down his weapon and is pleading to surrender. He says he is just a farm boy and bought into the talk. He begs for me to spare him. But he is a traitor to Arendelle and must pay the price. I look at him and thrust my sword into his heart his eyes asking why as he dies. I pull my blade out and look around the blood stained ground. Whatever possesses me starts o leave as I realize the horror of what I have done…"
Erik woke with a start. He ran to the sink and clutched the sides breathing heavy as he looked in the mirror. He had relieved battles in his mind before but this was different. This was something that would overtake him causing him to lose control and just kill. He never harmed a friend but the few times it happened it caused him to act without mercy or remorse. Even in combat there where lines that one shouldn't cross. He walked over to the window looking out into the darkness trying to regain control of his breathing. It was a side of him he was hoping no one would ever see.
For several months Elsa and Erik had practiced overcoming her fears. It wasn't the easiest road. There were times when he had underestimated her emotions and pushed too hard. There was a period when he upset her so bad she refused to speak to him for two weeks.
Overall though it had gone better than she ever expected. She would actually smile occasionally. She still had to wear her gloves and was still susceptible when she was upset but he managed to show her how to hide emotion. Something he had learned well as a soldier. He reminded her to repress her emotions but to simply put them aside when needed.
One afternoon when they met Erik told her. "I think you're ready to move on."
She looked at him. "What do you mean?"
"I think you're ready to meet real people."
Elsa swallowed hard. She knew this is what they were working for and she would eventually have to do it. It's just now it seemed so real. "Are you sure?" She said quietly.
"Yes. Trust me I have no intention of placing you in danger. I have an idea."
"We start slow. You meet with a single council member, just for a few minutes. Don't worry I'll be there the whole time."
Elsa nodded reluctantly.
"I'll pick someone easy to start with. Don't worry you can do this."
Elsa just nodded wishing she shared his confidence.
The next week Erik approached lord Hyrop. "My lord. Your presence is requested in the study. I am to escort you."
Hyrop looked curiously but followed. "Who am I meeting Captain?"
"I am not to tell you. You will find out when you arrive my lord."
Hyrop frowned then grumbled. "Probably the minister trying to be cryptic and mysterious again."
Erik opened the door to the study and escorted him inside. "Please wait here my lord." Then walked out the other side of the study. A minute later he opened the opposite door and said. "Announcing Princess Elsa of Arendelle."
Elsa walked into the room her head held high her hair in her usual braid. Hyrop's mouth fell open and his eyes grew wide. "Princess Elsa! Oh I haven't seen you since you were a little girl! Oh my, what a beautiful young woman you have turned into!"
Elsa actually blushed a little. "It's good to see you again lord Hyrop."
He bowed "I am so sorry about your parents the King and Queen."
"Thank you Hyrop I know they held you in the highest regard."
He moved to take Elsa's gloved hand. As he did Erik took a small step forward and Elsa pulled her hand back. "I'm sorry lord Hyrop. I…I don't really like to be touched."
"Oh forgive me!"
"It's quite alright."
"Tell me, tell me. What did you wish to see me about?"
"Well I understand the council has had concerns about me. I wish to alleviate their fears though meeting like these."
"Of course! What a wonderful Idea. I'm sure once they get a look at you they will come around. Come let us start the discussions!"
The talk was short but Hyrop left satisfied. When he left Erik walked over to Elsa who let out a sigh of relief. "See that wasn't so bad."
She looked at him. "Well I survived it at least."
"Well that's why are starting with the more friendly faces so you can get used to it. Don't worry it will be a few days till the next one."
Elsa sighed again. "Your highness are you alright?" Erik asked.
"I guess it's just so strange to me. I'm so used to solitude. I feel so unqualified for this."
"Well for what it's worth I'm proud of you your highness."
Elsa said nothing but smiled some. But it was the biggest smile he had ever seen from her.
For the next few weeks Elsa continued meeting council members one on one. Inside the castle they were slowly coming around to her.
Outside the castle there were problems.
Some of Arendelle's citizens were concerned with the princess they had never seen due to become queen. Most of it was just talk. But there was always those few troublemakers.
One day of the spies from the city reported to Erik and Davis. "Sirs, I have infiltrated a group of citizens who are planning on assassinating the queen!"
Erik looked at him. "How much of a threat do they pose?"
"Very high sir. They have plans in place to sneak into the castle. They are smarter than your average group of thugs."
Davis spoke up. "Can you lead us to them? With a sudden raid we should be able to arrest them."
"One minute please Colonel." Erik spoke up. "If we launch a raid it will be hard to keep quiet its best not to disturb the princess with this news."
Davis thought about this. "Do we have another option?"
The spy spoke up. "They have mentioned they are looking for more men."
"That should work." Said Erik. "You can introduce me as someone who can be of service?"
"Whoa wait a minute." Davis said. "If something goes wrong I don't want to tell the princess her guard was killed on some covert assignment. Besides won't you be recognized? Being a hero of Arendelle and all."
"It is technically my responsibility since it's a threat on her life. Besides I can go in disguise."
Davis wanted to argue since he was the superior officer. But when it came to Elsa's safety Erik had command of the situation. "Very well but you had better come back alive. You're not exactly replaceable."
"Don't worry. But have a squad of men on standby out of sight just in case." He looked at the other two. "Alright let's leave in an hour."
An hour later Erik was riding though into Arendelle in the dark with Davis and the spy. Erik was wearing a hooded cloak and wearing an eye patch. Davis was wearing regular clothes to not draw attention. The guards they chose to come with followed on separate streets all in plain clothes. A few blocks from the place Erik was to meet the men Davis stopped him. "Anyway I can talk you out of this?"
"Nope. It's my responsibility I don't want anyone else risking themselves. Besides its best we keep this quiet as possible."
Davis nodded as Erik and the spy named Harris rode on. When they got to the small building on the outskirts of the city Harris knocked on the door. After a moment a gruff looking man with stubble on his face and broad shoulders opened the door. "Franklin!" He addressed Harris who was using a false name with the group. "Who's this?" He pointed to Erik.
"Allow me to introduce Mr. Garza. He will be a huge part in our success." Harris said
"Oh?" Said the man looking over Erik. "And how will he be so useful?"
Erik answered. "Because I am a former castle guard."
At the mention of this the man and his to companions both reached for weapons.
"Wait I said former!" Erik said.
"Just hear him out!" said Harris
"Alright start talking."
"Well when the King and Queen died I made the mistake of questioning the readiness of a princess who is shut in her room."
"Haven't we all!" one of the other men laughed.
"Unfortunately for me apparently I am not allowed to question the princess despite my four years of service there and never seeing her even once. They dismissed me outright. If they think they can hide things away and get rid of those who question they got another thing coming!" Erik said trying to sound angry.
"So how do you know we can trust you?" the leader growled.
"Well what's your plan? I can show you how I can be of help."
"If we tell you we cannot allow you to leave. You betray us you will die slowly and painfully."
Cut with the melodrama. Erik thought. "I understand. Show me what you got.
The man raised an eyebrow then pulled out a map of the castle and showed them their plan. Erik filled in saying he knew a guard who could get them in. Then told them were Princess Elsa's room is, a false location of course.
"Alright." The leader said. "If what you say is true this will have a much better chance of success. What do you know about her personal guard? How much of a problem will he pose?"
"Oh you don't have to worry about him with this plan." Erik smiled slightly carefully putting his hand on a hidden blade.
"Why not?" The man asked curiously.
Erik pulled his cloak off and took off the eye patch. "Because he's right here."
From outside the house there was heard a small scream that was quickly cut off. The window suddenly had blood spatter across it. A minute later Erik and Harris stepped out. Davis and his men rode up. "Any survivors?"
Erik answered. "No sir. I think it's better if the local authorities believe this was a criminal meeting gone wrong."
Davis nodded. "Agreed. Good work Captain." He looked in the room, damn cold blooded, he thought. "It's probably best no one else knows what happened here."
In the months that followed Elsa continued to meet with her advisors in a one on one basis. Eventually she would meet two or three of them at a time. She could manage the meetings although there was still difficulty in them. She still did not see anyone socially. Not even Anna. Business was one thing but trying to be open in a non-formal setting was still too much. Still progress was being made.
Now it was time for a big test. She knew that at her coronation she would be in front of a large crowd of people for the majority of a day. It was time to give that a try. Six months before her coronation she met with the assembled council.
Erik walked in the room first. "Announcing Princess Elsa of Arendelle!" Upon his announcement the council all stood and Elsa entered the chamber in her usual regal manner. She give Erik a quick glance and he offered a small nod noticeably to only her. She walked to the podium and looked at the council.
"Thank you gentlemen please be seated." She waited till they sat
"Thank you for coming. Let's begin with the coronation details."
With that she started discussions about the arrangements being made. She found that if she just focused on the details of the meeting and treated the members as if they were just part of a process it was easy to conceal. They were no longer worries or concerns. They were just there. She knew there was much more difficulties lying ahead. The coronation still scared her but planning it was going well. She hoping in six months she could just see it as another duty to get though. As long as everything went as planned she would be fine.