The months leading up the Elsa's coronation where becoming busier by the day. Now that she was up to meeting the council on occasion they kept wanting her attention. She did her best to accommodate them without being overwhelmed but still kept her meeting in person to a minimum. There was also the matter of the guest list. Elsa did most of that on her own writing invitations to friendly kingdoms. She left most of the ball planning to the castle staff. She had never been to one anyways so she wouldn't know where to begin. Unfortunately all the preparation cut into the times she would work with Erik on controlling her fears.
Erik became busy himself in the preparations. His job was to make sure everything would be secure for the coronation day. This involved going over potential guests to check for threats. Erik and Davis also went throughout the castle as well as the building plans to plan security. The biggest challenge was making it secure as possible without making it look like Arendelle was some oppressive regime. Today they were going through the chapel were the actual coronation would take place.
"I'm thinking crossbows and rifles on the upper level." Erik said pointing to the balcony. "The men can lean them against the railing where they won't be seen but still be able to get to the quickly if needed."
"We should probably restrict access to the upper level to just the guards and the choir." Davis added. "Plenty of room for the guests on the main floor here no reason for anyone else to be up here."
"I agree." Said Erik. The two walked to the platform where the crowning would take place. "O.k. Princess…well at some point during the ceremony, Queen Elsa will be standing there. The Bishop will be there." He kept pointing to spots. "Princess Anna to her right. I'll be to her left. Where will you be stationed?"
"Down there by that doorway with a squad of men." Davis said pointing. "Any idea how long the Queens speech will be?"
"Not sure yet but it's probably going to be short."
Davis nodded. He knew nothing of Elsa's condition of course. He never considered it his problem and never asked about why she hid away. Today though a question was eating him. "Can I ask you something Captain?"
"Of course Colonel."
"How is Princess Elsa handling all this? I just met her for the first time a few weeks ago. But from what I can tell she is not used to all this exposure."
Erik thought for a moment then said. "I believe she will be ok. Like you said this is all new to her but she is adjusting. Just don't expect anything to elaborate from her."
Elsa sat in her study going over reply's she had received confirming who was attending her coronation. She sat back and rubbed her temples and sighed. Being Queen required more paperwork then she expected. Still it was the easiest part for her. She was used to being in solitude reading books and studying. As she went over the guest list though, she was dreading have to meet all these people all in person. From what she could tell many kingdoms were sending their younger single nobles. She stood and looked out the window. She had been able to put of suitors the last three years using claims of preparing to take her parents throne. The day of her coronation would be another matter though with all of them in a room and she was no longer hidden behind locked gates. At least it would only be one day. She could politely deflect all suitors with the excuse of having to meet everyone. After that the gates would be closed again and she could come up with more excuses. She figured eventually they would tire of journeying for a lost cause.
Concerning her more was all the public exposure she would get. The coronation itself would be difficult standing in front of all the dignitaries. Then came the ball. She had already decided to tell all those who offered that she did not dance. Still, so many people in a social setting. She planned to just spend a small amount of time with each person. Long enough to be polite but not so long as to carry on and lengthy conversations. What she hadn't figured out is how to handle appearing before the people. She didn't want to appear as uncaring. Truth was she cared about her people very much. There were just so many of them. It seemed overwhelming.
There was a knock on the door and she turned. "Come in."
Gerda entered. "Your majesty your dress is ready for you to try."
"Very well." Elsa followed to the room where the dress was being done. She put it on and stepped out from behind the curtain. "How does it look?"
"Oh your highness you look absolutely beautiful!" Gerda exclaimed. "Here we need a man's opinion though." She opened the door. "Captain come in here please."
Erik stepped in the room. "What can I do for you?"
"Tell me does Princess Elsa look ready to attract a swarm of princes at her ball?"
Erik looked at Elsa and felt slightly uncomfortable. "Your highness you look very nice, very regal."
"Thank you." Elsa said but thought. Would it kill him to say I look pretty?
Gerda put her hands on her hips. "Nice? Regal? Captain have you never learned to complement a lady? Come now I'll go find a man with a heart!" Gerda hurried Erik out the door. When it closed she looked at him. "Would it really kill you to tell her she looks beautiful?"
"Well technically no. But she could have me killed for saying it if she wanted."
"Princess Elsa would do no such thing and you know it! Honestly you have been in here four years and you're still as formal and stuffy as the day you started."
"It's my job."
"Well it would probably be more helpful if the Princess had a guard who could smile a little more often. I swear when this whole coronation business is over I'm going to suggest the queen orders you to go on a date. Four years in this castle and you basically ignore all the servant girls."
"Oh come on Gerda. You know you're my number one girl." Erik broke into a grin
"Oh you!" Gerda slapped him on the arm but blushed. "Seriously though when this whole coronation business is over you really should get to know some of these servant girls."
"It would just be a distraction from my duties."
"There is that old stuffy attitude again. Princess Elsa would have no issue with you having a personal life. Other guards manage and do their duties well. You can too!"
With that they went down their separate corridors. Erik shook his head. He knew Gerda meant well but no girl deserved a cold hearted guy like him. From what he could tell he was to be one of those guys who is destined to be alone. His main love being his duty.
The morning of the coronation dawned bright and clear. Erik was up before the sun getting prepared for the day. He put on his normal uniform. He would change into the dress one later. He met Davis and they walked through the castle and grounds making their final checks. Around the castle many staff were up early starting last minute preparations for the big day. It took a couple hours to complete the walkthrough. After it was done Erik went on knocked on Elsa's door. She had asked him to make sure she was up early. He knocked and said. "Excuse me Princess. It's time to wake up."
She responded quickly. "Thank you Captain." From the sound of her voice it sounded like she had been up already. He couldn't blame her. Today was going to be one of the biggest days of her life.
Elsa had indeed been up for a while. It had been a day she had been preparing for but still had been dreading for three years. She had barley slept dreaming about every possible disaster it seemed. She still felt rather awake though. She looked in her mirror and practiced the mask of a face she needed to wear throughout the day. All she had to do was conceal and don't feel for today. Just control all feeling for a few hours. She had too.
Erik walked away from Elsa's room. He would be by her side for most of the day but for now he had to make sure everything was in order. As he walked by Princess Anna's room a small smile crossed her face. He knew she was dead asleep in her room. He had always been tempted to knock on her door loud and bark. "On your feet!" like he would to his men. On the other hand he wanted to keep his job. He proceeded to the main guard house were most of the guards were assembled and proceeded to give them final instructions. After the meeting he went back to his room and changed into his dress uniform. He looked in his mirror making sure he looked sharp. He put his pistol in his holster and his sword on his belt. He looked again. Something was missing. Ah yes he needed more. He exited the room and proceeded to the armory.
When he got there he grabbed two more pistols that he would hide on his person. Then he proceeded to put a knife in each boot. He was placing one up his sleeve when Davis walked in. "I'm not sure that blade is quite the summer style."
Eric grinned. "You sure? I thought it accents my eyes nicely."
Davis shook his head. "Planning on something going wrong?"
"You know me always the eternal pessimist." He placed another knife up his other sleeve. "One can never be too prepared."
As the sun got higher ships sailed into the Arendelle port their guests disembarking and headed for the castle anxiously awaiting the opening of the gates. The dignitaries greeted each other and talked about what the opening of the gates could mean.
Among them was Prince Joseph Alexander of Belcomp. He stood fairly tall with blonde hair and dark eyes. His blue on white garb accenting his well-built frame. He was the youngest of three brothers. His family had sent him as their representative to Elsa's coronation mainly because he was their only single child. His parents understood he wanted to marry for love but figured the more events they sent him to the better chance of him finding it.
He couldn't really see it happening here in Arendelle though. Everyone knew the queen to be was reclusive, and Princess Anna had just turned 18. He walked through the city admiring it. He had to admit Arendelle was a nice place. He was curious about Elsa though. Why was she locked away for so long? He was doubting this was to be the girl for him. He had heard his men on the ship making guesses about her. Their leading theory was she was horribly ugly. He didn't know if this was the case or not. Although he had a few suspicions. In any case he figured he would represent his kingdom well, congratulate the new queen, and return home with the news about Arendelle that everyone was so curious about. If this was the place he was to find love though he bet it would be with a visiting princess or duchess. The sisters of Arendelle were highly unlikely to attract his attention.
An hour later Prince Hans of the Southern Isles departed his ship on horseback. He had come to Arendelle with the main purpose of wooing either the queen or princess. He figured since they had been shut way for so long either they would be extremely closed off or desperate for love. He figured with two sisters one should probably looking for romance. He was confident in his ability to be charming. He had several plans in place. He would just have to meet the sisters to determine which one would be the best course of action. He stopped to look over Arendelle. Soon this would be his kingdom. He was sure of it.
Erik had finished with all postings and headed back to Elsa's room. When he walked in the castle it was hard not to notice Anna who was nearly bouncing off the walls. She clearly couldn't wait for the gates to open. He felt sorry for the guards assigned to her today. He made his way through all the bustle of the staff getting final preparations done. The gates would be opening within the hour he guessed. He reached Elsa's door and stood outside it waiting for her.
Elsa was in her coronation dress pacing her room trying to calm down. This was it. The moments she was dreading. She took a deep breath and opened her door. She saw Erik waiting for her and motioned for him to follow as she went into another room overlooking the courtyard. "Wait here please." He waited by the door as she went inside. She looked out the window at all the people waiting to come in. They could come in the castle but she couldn't let them into her. She needed to remain stoic. One wrong move and everything would be ruined. She turned and looked at the picture of her father standing there. She wondered what he would think of her on this day. She looked at the table and picked up a candlestick and orb on the table to practice holding the scepter and ceremonial incense orb. When she picked them up with her bare hands though they started to freeze immediately. She immediately put them down and put her gloves on and sighed in relief. At least these would help some. She put her regal face on and walked out the door Erik following after her. She opened the doors to the main hall and announced. "Tell the guards to open up the gates!"
When the gates opened Anna burst out of them among the people flooding though. Elsa returned to the room she had come from and watched them enter. She cautiously stepped out on the balcony to watch. Erik stood behind her. "Your Majesty are you alright?"
She sighed. "Does it show?"
"Only slightly" He smiled a little. "Don't worry it's probably just me that notices."
She walked back in hugging herself looking more and more worried.
"It's alright princess." Erik reassured. "It's just for today. I will be by your side the entire time. You know I won't let anything happen to you."
Elsa tried to smile. He knew he meant it but in truth she doubted he could contain her power if something went seriously wrong.
"Come your Majesty let's get you to the chapel."
Erik peeked through the door into the chapel out and the crowd. Everything looked good so far. All the guards were in position and the guests were slowly filing in. He closed the door and turned to the queen to be.
Elsa stood there her long train behind her. For the life of him he couldn't see what the purpose of such a garment was. He then looked at her face and saw the worry creeping into it. He walked over to her. "Don't worry you'll be fine. Just treat it as your addressing your council."
She tried to smile but she just couldn't.
Within minutes it came time for her to walk to the platform. Elsa and Erik stood by the side door waiting for the right moment. "Ready Princess Elsa."
"Yes I think so."
Erik smiled a little.
Elsa looked curiously at him. "What is it?"
"Nothing. Just it's the last time I'll address you as princess."
With this Elsa actually gave a hint of a smile.
The sound of the trumpeters sounded. That was their cue. Erik looked at her. "It's alright you got this. You will do just fine."
Erik went out first and Elsa followed behind He stood at attention off to the side as she took her place at the platform. The bishop said a few words then Elsa knelt down and the crown was placed on her. She then rose and went to pick up the scepter and orb. As she reached for them the bishop softly cleared his throat. "Your majesty. The gloves."
Erik managed to keep his composure but jumped on the inside. The gloves! This was something they were not prepared for. His mind raced as he tried to think of something. He tried to give her a reassuring look but she wasn't looking at him.
When the bishop mentioned the gloves Elsa panicked on the inside. She still could barely touch anything wither bare hands without freezing it. She tried to calm herself as she slowly took the gloves off and picked up the scepter and orb.
Erik's heart leapt in his throat as she took off her gloves and grabbed the items. He watched carefully as she turned around. He kept his eye on her hands when he saw something that made his heart pound even more. Ice! He watched as it slowly crept from her hand up the scepter. He glanced at her face and saw her expression become slowly terrified. He readied himself. He may have to grab her and call a fake emergency then deal with the fall out later.
Elsa stood there growing more and more afraid unable to stop the ice from creeping up the scepter as she held it. When it seemed like the Bishop was nearly done she hurriedly put the items back on the pillow and put her gloves back on.
When she put her gloves back on Erik slowly let the breath he had been holding out though his nose. She had done it. He joined in with everyone else in saying. "Hail Queen Elsa of Arendelle!"
Prince Alexander sat just in front of the middle of the chapel. From his vantage point he could see that neither sister was ugly like his men had guessed. He was looking forward to meeting this mysterious queen at the ball. He couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something about her he could sense even from this distance.
Prince Hans watched the ceremony with great interest. From what he could tell Elsa was not well equipped to deal with these setting. It looked like a look of fear on her face. In order to get to her it would take a lot of work. Princess Anna on the other hand who he had literally ran into in the city giggled and waved to him from the platform. Getting her would be almost to easy. He figured he could woo her in no time. She seemed desperate for company. Then at some point in the future arrange to have Elsa taken care of. Given her terrified expression on the platform he might be doing her a favor and be doing Arendelle a huge favor.
When the ceremony ended Elsa exited the room from the same door she entered followed by her guard. When the door closed she let out a huge sigh of relief.
Erik bowed to her. "Congratulations my Queen."
She gave her slight smile to him. "Thank you Captain. However I insist you treat me just like before nothing needs to change just because my title has."
"As you wish." He continued. "You did great out there by the way."
"I almost lost control." She put her head down.
"My Queen it was an unexpected development. You did well for showing the control you did."
She looked like she didn't really believe him.
"Would you like to take a moment to recover before we join the ball?"
"Yes please." She sat and closed her eyes rubbing her temples as she got ready for the next stage of the day.
The ball was already underway when Elsa made her way to the adjoining room. When they arrived Kai greeted her. "Your majesty." He bowed. "Are you ready?" Elsa nodded.
Kai went and announced the Queen to the applause of the audience as she walked out in front with Erik following close by. When she reached her spot Kai announced Princess Anna who came stumbling in from the other side of the room. Erik had to keep himself from shaking his head and Elsa had to keep herself from giggling.
Erik turned his attention back to the room scanning it. Everything seemed to be in order. Then something else got his attention. He heard Elsa, wait, laughing? He had never really heard her laugh before. He turned his attention back towards her and saw the two sisters both smiling and talking and laughing. Just like two normal sister would do. His attention was distracted once again though as Kai came up with the Duke of Wesselton. Or as Kai had let slip weaseltown. It had been a running joke in the castle for years because of Wesselton's tendency to be shady in their dealings. As expected he offered Elsa a dance. As expected she politely refused saying she doesn't dance. Then unexpectedly he offered Anna as a replacement. O.k. this was a side of her he had never seen before. Apparently there was some mischief hidden under all that. Maybe tonight would be about more than survival.
Elsa had to admit she was actually enjoying herself a little. She was having a good time with her sister and was having some fun. She expected it to be far more stressful but so far everything was going so well. Even the dignitaries were easier to deal with then she thought. They were all polite and friendly so far. She could tell several of the young men were disappointed she didn't dance. Although even if she could she was sure there was no way she could accept all the offers. She wished it could be like this more often. It was so nice to be out here with her sister ad enjoying the sights and sounds. But she knew it couldn't the more she was exposed like this the more likely she would be found out. Suddenly Kai approached her with another guest. "Queen Elsa may I present Prince Alexander of Belcomp?"
Alexander was stunned. Standing before his had to be the most beautiful women he had ever seen. Her bright blue eyes seemed to penetrate right into his soul. He was too busy admiring her he almost forgot to bow. "Your Majesty! He exclaimed. "It's an honor to meet you." He saw she gave a little smile that made his stomach swoop.
"Thank you Prince Alexander. Welcome to Arendelle."
"This is quite a lovely kingdom you have here. And its Queen looks just as lovely this evening." He smiled his dark brown eyes warm. At this Elsa actually blushed a little. He was definitely the most charming individual she had met.
"Why thank you Prince Alexander. An Arendelle truly appreciates Belcomp's continued friendship."
"I hope this marks the start of an even greater friendship Queen Elsa. Between our two nations. And hopefully us as well." Alexander managed to recover on time. He normally didn't struggle with words but this young woman had him spell bound.
"I hope so as well Prince Alexander." Elsa said politely giving him another small smile and made him melt. "If you will excuse me I need to greet others. Perhaps we can talk later."
"I look forward to it." He bowed reluctant to walk away from her as he admired her.
Erik stood watching Elsa and anyone who got near her. He stood close enough that he could respond to anything but just far enough away that it wouldn't be considered intrusive. Everything was going way better than he expected. From what he could see Elsa was actually enjoying herself. Maybe this was just what she needed a nice evening out in a friendly setting with her sister nearby.
Speaking of Anna where was she anyways? He glanced around the room and saw her dragging a young prince. He believed it was Prince Hans of the Southern Isles if he remembered correctly, though the crowd toward Elsa. Uh oh. He thought. What's she gone and done now? He took another step closer to Elsa. Anna started introducing Hans to Elsa. O.k. it was probably just a little crush no big deal. Then he heard them both say together. "We would like your blessing on our marriage."
Oh you have got to be kidding me! Erik thought when they said it. Then Anna and Elsa began to argue about the situation. This is bad. Erik thought. Then Elsa turned to him.
"The party is over. Close the gates."
He motioned to the other guards to do as she commanded and followed her. She was holding herself as she walked away. He knew that look and it was never a good thing. Just when he thought things couldn't get any worse Anna grabbed her accidently yanking a glove off. It was worse.
"Elsa please I can't live like this anymore!"
Elsa turned and looked at her sister. "Then leave." She said painfully. Laving Anna to stand there looking shocked.
Anna wasn't done yet though and her commotion was drawing the attention of everyone in the room. This was getting out of hand fast.
"Enough Anna." Elsa said as he walked to the door reaching for the handle.
"No! Why do you shut me out? Why do you shut the world out? What are you so afraid of?"
"I said enough!" Elsa turned making a motion with her hand. Her bare hand.
Her power lashed out striking the ground around her. Erik jumped back to avoid the razor icicles that sprang from the ground. The whole room gasped.
Erik cursed. The worst had happened. He looked at Elsa. She was the most terrified he had ever seen her. The horror on her face realizing what she had just done. She turned and ran.
Elsa stared at what she had just done momentarily unable to believe it. She had just revealed herself to the entire room. Their looks of horror gazing at her. She did the only thing she could think of. Run.
She took off from the ball room and headed outside. Unfortunately she ran right into the courtyard where her citizens were waiting for her. They all applauded when they saw her but she ran out among them wanting to get away. She was terrified and had lost control. She saw a woman approach her holding a baby. "Your Majesty, are you alright?" She stepped back not wanting to harm the baby. As she did she ran into the fountain and used her hands to catch herself. Instantly the fountain began to freeze and the water shooting into the air turned into a terrifying ice sculpture. The people's expression turned from one of awe into one of fear.
From behind her she heard the voice of the Duke of Wesselton. "There she is! Stop her!"
Erik, Anna, and Hans had appeared too. "Please just stay back!" Elsa pleaded. As she did though more power shot from her hand at the stairs were they stood. Elsa turned and ran again. She had to get away from here.
Erik took his sword out and cut into the icicles blocking his path as he went after Elsa. He had to get to her as fast as possible. Right behind him was the Duke and his men along with Anna, Hans and Prince Alexander. He ran out into the courtyard. "Your majesty!" he called. As he ran towards her she sent out another bolt and he had to dive out of the way of this one as it struck the stairs knocking over the duke and his men. Unfortunately for Alexander he was last out and ran onto the ice and slide crashing into the wall injuring his ankle.
As Erik got back to his feet he saw Elsa running for the narrows of the fjord. He chased after her but she ignored his calls. He could hear Anna and Hans behind him. He watched her step onto the fjord and it froze under her feet as she turned and ran, ice forming as she stepped. Erik ran after he but when he stepped onto the ice the part he stepped was to thin and his foot went straight though into the cold water. He watched as Elsa ran up the far bank and then looked down and watched in horror as ice began to form further out and grow thicker. He had to get free. Now. He quickly pulled two pistols out and fired them point blank into the ice right around his leg. The force of the bullets and the discharge breaking and weakening it enough for him to pull out as the hole froze back over. He stood to his feet as the entire fjord froze over. With it the temperature dropping rapidly and snow starting to fall. He had apparently extremely underestimated how powerful she really was.
Erik sprinted back to the guard house. If he was going after Elsa he needed some things. From what he could tell the cold didn't bother her. He, on the other hand, would need some warmer clothes. He grabbed a cloak and then got a horse. As he mounted Prince Alexander limped up. "Captain let me come with you!"
Erik looked down at the man. "Sorry you're hurt. I gotta be fast." With that he kicked the horse and took off across the frozen fjord in the direction Elsa ran. He had to retrieve her. He had failed her. Not just failed. Failed spectacularly. He had promised everything would be ok but instead the worst had happened. He would be damned if he let anything else happen to her.
Alexander watched helplessly. He cursed his foot as he hobbled back to the castle. He knew he had to help the queen. There was no doubt in his mind she hadn't caused this intentionally. It had to have been a mistake. He got back to the courtyard just as Anna placed Prince Hands in charge and took off on her own after Elsa. He limped over to Hans. "So now what do we do?"
Elsa had ran for as long as she could. When she couldn't run anymore she just kept walking. Her desire to be away from anyone she could hurt sent her in the direction of the mountains. She was unaware of the storm she was causing lost in her own thoughts and fears. A single moment was all it took for everything to come out. She couldn't blame Anna. It was her fault for losing control. She just needed to be away from everyone. She headed for the north mountain. No one would come up there. As she walked along the snow covered ground she hugged herself. She was now truly alone. It was best this way though. She couldn't hurt anyone up here. This was where she was meant to stay.