Chapter 1 - Whiteout
It's crazy how fast your entire life can flash before your eyes. Years of pain become intense moments, each darting throughout your mind like a slow-working poison. Amidst it all, you can't help but ask yourself, "Was it worth it?....What did I contribute?...Am I a hero....or just another power-hungry fool trying to make his way in the world?"
"I would never shut you out..."
"You can't marry a man you've just met."
"You can if it's true love!"
"Never shut you out..."
"I leave Prince Hans in charge."
"Queen Elsa! Don't be the monster they fear you are!"
"You have to tell them to let me go!"
"I will do what I can."
"Never, shut you out..."
"If anything happens to the princess, you're all Arendelle has left!"
"I would never shut you out."
"Hans! You've got to kiss me! Now!"
"Oh Anna, if only there was someone out there who loved you."
"I would never shut you out.......never, shut you out."
"As heir, Elsa was preferable of course...But no one was getting anywhere with her."
"All that's left is to kill Elsa...and bring back summer."
"You'll never get away with this."
"Oh, I already have."
I closed the door and swiftly locked it. Princess Anna could be heard weakly jingling the knob. I peered over my shoulder, beginning to smile as her pleas succumbed to silence. If I was going to seize the throne, I'd need to have the backing of the other delegates. I flashed a look of worry and stumbled into the castle foyer.
"Prince Hans!", gasped the Spaniard.
I sighed, "Princess Anna is...dead."
The men tensed up at my words. "What happened to her?", asked the Duke of Weselton.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. "She was killed by Queen Elsa.", I said. "At least we got to say our marriage vows...before she died in my arms."
The duke sneered, "There can be no doubt now, Queen Elsa is a monster and we are all in grave danger."
"Prince Hans.", began the Spaniard. "Arendelle looks to you."
I took a deep breath. "With a heavy heart, I charge Queen Elsa of Arendelle with treason and sentence her to death."
News of Anna's death sent the staff into a flurry of hysteria. Many were too shocked to move while other cursed fate's cruel hand. With the queen being such a recluse, all the servants had grown increasingly close to Anna. I looked across the castle balcony, observing the horrendous blizzard outside. The entire kingdom of Arendelle had been frozen over by Queen Elsa's magic, and was getting colder by the minute.
As bold as I appeared, I was indeed terrified. What if killing the queen did not bring back summer, but instead intensified the winter? I thought back to the stories mother had read to me as a child. One in particular was that of the Starshade, a witch who was believed to descend from the night sky and curse mortals. In the story, the Starshade cursed a royal family by plaguing them where it would do the most damage. She inflicted the queen with an illness that confined her to a bed and drained the life out of her. Determined to save her, the king and his sons hunted down the witch. While the boys distracted her with their minor attacks, the king was able to sneak around and slay her. Killing the source of a curse was indeed the only way to stop it. The moment the Starshade perished, the queen was healed. In fact, she was twice as healthy as she ever was before. And they all lived happily ev-
"Prince Hans!", hollered a royal guard. I shook off my wandering thoughts to see a line of men standing at attention.
"We all know what we have to do. Only say the word." I nodded, permitting them to go through with Elsa's execution.
We made our way to the queen's isolated cell, only to find the door completely frozen over. The men heaved with all of their might as the very foundation began to shake. I grasped my sword, ready to strike swiftly the moment the door opened. With a final shove, the guards broke through to a supernatural sight. The entire cell wall was obliterated, and the blizzard outside had only intensified. I glared into the flurries when my step made something crackle. Elsa's shackles were shattered at my feet. The sight enraged me beyond comprehension. No matter how hard I tried, I could never contain anything....or anyone. Well, I was tired of being a failure, and would stop at nothing until I became a hero of Arendelle. I put on my heavy coat, hiding my sword underneath and proceeding to trek across the frozen fjord.
Each step made my heart sink with fears of going under the ice. Fractals of ice battered across my face as I pressed on. "Elsa couldn't have gone far.", I kept whispering to myself. "You can still stop this."
Every moment after seemed to last a lifetime. My body was beginning to numb from blizzard when I noticed a figure darting across the fjord. My brows furrowed upon seeing the ice dress blowing in the wind. "Queen Elsa!", I called. "You can't run from this!"
She paused as I slowly approached her. She motioned for me to keep my distance, and said, "Just take care of my sister."
If I wanted to slay this shade, I'd have to distract her. Just like in the story. "Your sister? She returned from the mountain, weak and cold. She said that you froze her heart. I tried to save her but it was too late." Elsa's eyes widened as she began to hyperventilate. "Her skin was ice, her hair turned white." I leaned in, "Your sister is DEAD! Because of you."
"No.", muttered the queen. "No....no....no!", she fell to her knees and began to whimper. Like her own foundation, the snowstorm halted and broke apart. I watched her crying before me, her pale back rapidly moving up and down with each sob. I then reached under my coat and grasped my sword. It was now or never. I had come too far to be denied the victory. I drew my blade and crept closer to Elsa. I proceeded to raise the sword over my head, as thoughts of victory consumed me.
With one mighty swing, I brought my blade down towards the queen. It was about to strike her when Princess Anna ran in and screamed, "Noooo!"
In that instant, Anna's face began to change. I saw an older redhead with bright green eyes. She too screamed, "Noooo!", but in a far more recognizable voice.
"It can't be...", I thought, delaying my strike. Anna's body froze over as my blade struck the palm of her hand and shattered on impact. The shockwave hurled me to the ground, knocking me out.
I began to stir, my surrounding environment now feeling incredibly....warm. I looked up to see a clear blue sky and the peaks of green mountains. The sounds of a ship rustled beneath me as I came to my senses. Arendelle had been thawed, and summer returned. I stood up against the side of the ship as a sound of boots filled the air. Princess Anna stood before me, completely healed, her hair turned back to normal.
"Anna?", I wondered. "But....she froze your heart?"
She glared at me with piercing blue eyes. "The only frozen heart around here, is yours." The princess then turned, paused and spun around again. Before I could react, she grabbed me by the collar and punched me in the face.
Before I could react, he grabbed me by the collar and punched me in the face. I staggered back, eventually falling over from the impact. I could hear my brothers jeering and laughing around me as I slowly stood up, wiping the blood from my mouth. Leo nudged my oldest brother, "Nice one, Liam. That'll teach him!"
I glared at Liam and his smug grin. His dirty-blonde hair was shortly trimmed and he had a light stubble. While the others saw a regal role model in him, all I could see was sixteen years of prideful hate. Liam chuckled while cracking his knuckles, "What were you thinking, little brother? Did you honestly believe I'd just let you punch me and get away with it?...That's if you can even call that a punch."
The others laughed as I grit my teeth. "Uh-oh, Liam.", mocked Robert, the second oldest. "I think he's gonna cry."
"Shut up!", I snapped.
"No...I think you're right, Robert.", grinned the third oldest, Marcus. He jokingly frowned at me, "Poor little brother. You gonna cry back to Mother again?"
I clenched my fists in pure rage as my lower lip began to tremble. Liam scoffed at this gesture and said, "Does Mother's baby boy need a hug? Hmmm? Hmmm baby boy?"
"I'm not a baby!", I retaliated.
Liam didn't like how I answered him, and it resulted in all of my brothers looking back to him. "You gonna let him talk to you like that?", wondered Marcus.
Liam bit his lip before smiling. His teal blue eyes formed half moons, reacting to whatever sinister thought he had conjured. "Well then, Hans. If you aren't the baby I believe...and know you are, why don't you come and take a swing at me? No cheapshot this time." He stepped up to me and spread both of his arms apart, exposing his chest and face. "Come on, gimme your best hit." I paused with caution, my green eyes darting back and forth from his face to chest. "Hit me, shrimp." I remained idle, causing him to roll his eyes and sulk. "I'll tell you what... I won't hit back. Just punch me once. I won't even fight back!" He looked me right in the eyes while doing a light bow, "On my honor."
As much as I despised him, I felt a sense of honor in Liam's voice. It was this..."sense"...that made me throw a punch. In that instant, Liam dodged my swing with ease and performed a legsweep. I hit the ground hard, only to meet a swift punch to the face.
I hit the floor hard, only to meet a cell door locking in front of me. The Frenchman peered through the bars before consulting an Arendelle servant. "I will return this scoundrel to his country. We will see what his twelve big brothers think of his behavior."
I could hear my brothers laughing as I winced on the ground. "You gave me your word!", I cringed. "You lied!"
Liam turned his back to me, "It's what brothers do." He and the others departed just as I began to sob. My frustration had drastically increased, and couldn't hold back my feelings anymore.
I lay on the castle grounds, crying as Marcus chuckled. "I knew he'd cry! Hah!"
I buried my bloodied face in my hands and continued to cry when I heard a pair of boots approaching me. I looked up to see a man in fine white robes with red highlights. A golden crown shimmered atop his head, entangled in his blonde hair. "Father...", I began.
"Hans. Why are you crying?"
"Liam and the others-"
"WHY are you crying?"
I was baffled. "If you let me explain, I'll tell you. Liam hit me and I-"
"I don't care what Liam or any of your brothers did to you. That does not give you a reason to cry." He knelt down to my eleven-year-old level and stared at me without a single emotion. "A prince of the Southern Isles does not cry. For God's sake, you're a man, Hans. Start acting like one!"
"But Father I-"
"Enough.", he stood up and walked away.
I wanted to cry even harder, but Father's words remained embedded in my mind. "Don't cry....Don't....cry.", I clenched my fists and hyperventilated.
All of my emotions were calmed by a single voice, "Hans?" I gasped, turning to see a woman with wavy red hair and green eyes. "Are you alright, darling?" I turned with a sniffle. Mother placed her hands over her mouth. "Oh my, Hans! What happened to you?"
I covered my face with my arm as she scurried over to me. "Nothing....I..."
"Hans, let me see.", she affirmed, moving my arm and observing my bruises.
"Mother I just....and Liam.....the others all....father...and I-"
"Shhhh.", calmed Mother as she picked me up and held me close. "You don't have to say anything right now. Let's just get you cleaned up, alright?"
I nodded while rubbing my bruised cheek. "Alright."
"That's my boy.", she kissed my cheek and rushed back into the castle.