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Prophecy

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Rain pelted the windows and furiously drained in the cast iron gutters. Leaves blew in all directions and pelted the sides of the castle, slapping the building and creating a sensation of drowning. Elsa stared out of the window at the storm, and worried over its ominous meaning as the hours passed, refusing to let up. She glanced up at the swaying branches of a nearby tree, imagining that she could hear the creaking of its bark as they wavered back and forth.

The Queen of Arendelle glanced at the dying flames in her fireplace, and quickly moved to throw more pieces of wood on the burning embers. She returned to her desk, making the decision to try to continue work, but as she raised her pen a flare of lightening flashed in the room, and the subsequent thunder had her moving to her window again.

Elsa smiled to herself and counted off the seconds. “One…two…three…four… five…”

The doors to her study suddenly crashed open and an out-of-breath Anna pressed herself against one of them, her eyes wide. “Did you hear that? Yikes.”

Elsa turned from the window and smiled warmly at her sister. “Five.”

Anna made the pretense of straightening out her skirt. “That long? Remind me to run next time.”

The Queen held out her hand and Anna took it. “Still afraid of storms, Anna.”

The princess huffed. “Me? Not really, I just came to make sure you were okay?”

“I see.” Elsa turned to the window again. “This is the first major storm of the season. I can’t believe how violent it is.”

Anna glanced at her sister before her attention was taken by the swirling storm outside. “Yes, and on the full moon, too.”

The Queen was taken aback. “Are you sure?”

“Why, yes.”

A large branch was bent back at a particularly large gust of wind and it snapped like a twig. Both the Queen and the Princess watched as the branch fell on a marble statue in the garden below, sending it crashing to the grass. It splintered into many pieces.

Queen Elsa’s mouth dropped slightly as another flash of lightening lit up room. She pulled Anna a little closer to herself, and let out a shaky breath. “My, my. We are in for a jarring night, aren’t we?”

Anna turned towards her sister. “What is it? You’ve never been afraid of the rain before?”

Elsa continued to stare at the storm outside and after a few moments felt a stirring within herself. As if something inside her suddenly clicked into place, and the feeling left her a little confused. She met Anna’s frank stare. “Oh, I’m not afraid, Anna. But it almost feels like before. You know, before everything in Arendelle returned to normal—when I caused that horrible winter.”

“You don’t think you caused this storm, do you, Elsa?”

“That I caused this weather? No, no. That’s not what I meant. But I feel like I’m one with the storm. Like I know it’s intent—what it portends for us all—a foreshadowing, so to speak.” Elsa seemed to struggle somewhat, and a shadow passed over her pale features. But the moment ended as soon as it began, and the shadow lifted. She took a deep breath and shook her head, chuckling. “Listen to me, will you? I sound like my old nanny.”

Anna’s smile was tentative, and then she saw how Elsa chuckled while shaking her head. The lighter mood was infectious, and soon she was grinning as well. “Haha! It was a valiant effort, Elsa, but it didn’t work. I’m not scared.”

The Queen laughed. “I would certainly hope so, Anna. I wasn’t trying to frighten you.” She led her sister over to the large fireplace and sat her down on one of the over-stuffed chairs, much like a parent does with a young child. “There. Comfy?”

Anna adored the attention, craved for it. Although things were still far from complete normalcy, Elsa was doing a lot better since the snow incident, and devoted much of her time to making sure that her sister knew that she was loved—a far cry from her icy past—and the princess let her dote.

She looked up as Elsa brought over a blanket and wrapped it about her shoulders. “Thank you, Elsa.”

The Queen smiled and then returned to her desk. “I can’t believe how much paperwork there is—running a Kingdom. Although I’m glad father prepared me for it.”

Anna lounged lazily in the chair. “How did he do that?” She was curious as Elsa rarely talked about their parents.

“My tutors saw that I read law books and kept up on all the royal decrees. It was quite a chore, believe me.”

“Oh, I do. Funny, I didn’t have many tutors, only a few; and they never made me read books I didn’t want to.”
“You weren’t raised to be a Queen.” As soon as the words left her mouth she regretted them. “I’m sorry, but that didn’t come out as I planned.”

Anna merely nodded. “Oh, I already know that. Just as I’m sure you didn’t learn the violin or harpsichord—or learn how to ride a horse.”

Elsa offered her sister a lopsided grin. “Touché, princess. Legal journals were my friends growing up—even after, well, you know.”

Anna looked over to where her sister sat at the large desk that had once belonged to their father. She looked small in the high-back chair, pen in hand, and wearing a noticeable frown. “You work too hard.”

The Queen leaned over to a small table near the desk and uncorked a small decanter. “Brandy, Anna?”

The princess shook her head. “Not before dinner, Elsa.”

“This was father’s favourite.”

Anna turned her head and studied her sister. “How do you know?”

“There were quite a few times when he would come to my rooms to check on my lessons smelling just like this.” Elsa downed the libation in one swift move. “It makes me mellow and whets my appetite.”

Anna snorted. “I bet it does. How much longer until supper?”

Elsa scribbled in a ledger as she poured another portion of the brandy. “It ought to be ready within the half-hour.”

The light in the room began to dim as night approached. So Elsa stood and lit all the candles in the room. They cast an eerie light about them and their luminosity begged at Elsa. She returned to her desk and tried to discern what was happening with her and around her. It almost felt like an old memory—one deep down inside that required a thorough dusting and cleansing. What can’t I remember? What is it about this storm, on this day, at this time?

Anna watched Elsa out of the corner of her eye and noted how she sat back in the chair while still remaining somewhat rigid in her movements. The princess threw off the blanket and walked over to her sister’s desk, sitting down in one of the two chairs in front of it. She watched Elsa work for a few minutes before speaking. “You’re like him, you know.”

“Like who?” Elsa didn’t raise her head and continued to write.

“Father.”

The Queen’s pen stopped in mid-motion, and she let out a small sigh. “It is still difficult for me to talk about them.” She eyed her sister for a few moments and realized that Anna meant no harm by the observation. Anna was just being… Anna.  “How am I like him?”

“You brood, just like him. Sometimes it takes a lot just to make you smile. Oh, I don’t know, Elsa. But you remind me of him. More so with each passing day.”
Elsa smiled and laid her pen on the table. “I miss them so much.”

“Me, too.”

At that moment they both heard the sound of a bell being wrung in the hallway; Anna’s stomach growled at the sound. Elsa laughed and stood, offering her arm to her younger sister.

“Shall we to dinner, princess?”

Anna snorted again before giggling. “Let’s go, I’m starving.”

As they walked out of the room Elsa peered over her shoulder at the storm again. There was just something about it that disturbed her, and a queer sense of foreboding stole over her heart.


 The castle dining hall was huge and ominous and was only now illuminated by the roar of two fireplaces and the strategic placement of ornate candelabras on the rather large rectangular table in the center of the room. Liveried footmen stood about the room, ever ready to assist the Queen and the Princess should they require attention.

Elsa sat with her back against her chair, her plate of dinner had yet to be touched, and watched with amusement as her baby sister piled forkful after forkful into her mouth. “You really should slow down, you know. No one is going to steal your meal from you.”

The princess huffed, then replied, “Watch it, sister. I have a mind to—” Her words were cut of short by a rather loud peel of thunder, one so close that is rattled the windows. “Oh, my, could this storm get any worse?”

“Perhaps it will,” Elsa deadpanned. She picked at her food, and finally forked a small portion into her mouth. “Too much lemon, I think.”

“What?”

“The cod—the chefs made the sauce too lemony.”

A bright flash of lightning halted Anna’s reply, and she dropped her fork onto her plate. “It’s right over us—“

The windows shook again and Elsa knew by instinct that the worst of the storm had yet to come, but she kept that observation to herself. She tilted her head. “Why isn’t Kristoff joining us for dinner? He isn’t out in this weather, is he?”

“Well, I think he’s in the stables. I asked him to come to dinner and he, once again, refused—politely, of course. I just think he doesn’t feel comfortable indoors.”

The Queen pondered that for a moment. “He told you he doesn’t?”

“Well, not in so many words. You know him, always skirting around the truth, unable to speak his mind these days.”

Elsa regarded her younger sibling as a low hanging branch began to lightly tap upon the window. “Do you think he’s trying to tell you something, and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings about it?”

Anna nodded. “Do you think he’s losing interest in me?”

“No, he loves you, Anna. But I don’t think he’s comfortable with a domestic life. He still sleeps in the stables, doesn’t he?”

Anna sat back in her chair. “That one night in my bed was disastrous.” Her eyes widened at the deep blush on her sister’s face. “No, not like that. I swear, Elsa, that brain of your likes to think dirty thoughts.”

“No, I don’t,” Elsa squeaked. She began to eat in earnest, ignoring the peels of laughter pouring forth from her sister. After awhile she looked up to see Anna grinning at her. “What, now?”

“You’re adorable, do you know that?”

Elsa blushed again and put down her fork. “I got the brains, remember? You, my dear sister, inherited our mother’s good looks.”

The princess felt the compliment keenly, and reached over the expanse between them to grasp Elsa’s hand. “Oh, Elsa, don’t ever belittle yourself like that again. You are beautiful.”

Before the Queen could reply another loud clap of thunder roared through the dining hall, rattling hard, and the branch that was slapping the window hit hard enough to crack it. Elsa grabbed Anna’s hand harder, fear stealing its way deep into her bones.

The footmen exchanged glances before one of them approached the Queen and bowed. “May I be of help, Your Majesty?”

The Queen looked up and disengaged her hand from Anna’s. “This is going to sound crazy, but someone needs to go outside and close the storm shutters.” Elsa silently cursed herself for not thinking about it earlier, before the storm blustered to its current intensity.

The footman wavered slightly. “To whom shall I deliver this message, my Lady?”

“To Master Kai, of course. Tell him to assemble a crew of five, no more. I don’t want to impose upon too many to brave this terrible weather.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty.”

Elsa stood and moved to the window, watching as tufts of leaves were littered about by the harsh winds and pelting rain. The truth of the matter was that she did not want to send anyone out in the hostile storm, but prudence called for such an action. Just as she was about to say something to Anna that inner feeling crept up again; the one that told her that she should be remembering something. But for the life of her nothing came to the forefront of her mind. Nothing coalesced into certitude, as she needed it to, and a deep frustration percolated upwards, souring her thoughts.

Her appetite gone, Elsa turned back towards her sister. “I’ll be in my room if you need me, Anna.”

“Wait, what? Elsa you don’t have to go—“

But the Queen was gone, already out of the dining hall, on her way to her room.


 Despite what Anna believed, Kristoff wasn’t in the stables as she thought he would be, but was sitting with a few other men in the large kitchen of the castle. He was huddled around the fire with a tankard of beer and plate of food on his lap.

An under butler, Anders, picked up a plate of food and sat next to the mountain man. “You are Kristoff, are you not?”

Kristoff turned his head as he downed a large portion of the beer. “Yeah, should I know you?”

Anders frowned. “No, but its nice to finally meet you. I hear the princess talking about you all the time.”

The mountain man eyed the butler. Anna talked about him? He wondered how and why Anna would find herself mentioning him to other people, let alone the staff members. He considered his life private, especially where it concerned his relationship—or lack thereof—with the princess.

It was true that their romance was waning. Not because they were not attracted to each other. They were, but he just wasn’t, and never would be, part of the gentry into which the Princess was raised. They both knew it. She had invited him to sleep with her in the finest of silks, and he ended up with a blanket on floor, so unused was he to a bed, and if the truth be told, he preferred the barn to a bedroom. He was a man very much a part of the land in which he lived, and he liked his calloused hands, because they reminded him of the hard work he loved to do.

Kristoff was about to say something to Anders when Kai entered the kitchens through the service door, four rugged looking men followed him. He immediately went to the mountain man. “Kristoff, I was told you were here. Can I impose upon you to help us with an immediate need?”

Kristoff took a large bite of food before setting his plate aside. “Impose away, Master Kai.”


 Anna silently walked to the conservatoire by herself, a bit restless, but determined not to bother Elsa if she did not want to be disturbed. It did appear from their parting words that the Queen was bothered by something that she did not want to talk about. The more Anna thought about it, the sadder she became.

It was the first time since the Great Thaw that the Queen retreated into herself, without being willing at least to talk somewhat about what was bothering her. The princess stopped at the door to the portrait room, tempted to fall back into her old habit of conversing with the artwork inside. It helped her to sort out in her own mind what verities needed to be known, what actions to take, and how to react properly to her world.

Anna paused and smiled to herself, realizing , and not for the first time, that she was more than capable of sorting out her own problems; had been doing it for years. She bypassed the portrait room and walked the few yards to the music room, where her violin and harpsichord were waiting.

The room had already been prepared for her arrival and Anna thought that Elsa might have mentioned something to a passing servant as she made her way over to room. A fire was already lit in the giant fireplace and sheet music was already set up on her harpsichord. Anna went over to examine it and saw it was the Bach that she so loved. You did this, didn’t you, Elsa. If not the Queen then certainly Gerda. They were the only two who knew of her obsession with the Bach.

Anna reached out and glided her hand over the fine instrument, imported from France for her twelfth birthday. She sat down on the bench and gently ran her fingers over the keys, remembering them, and the beautiful music they helped her to produce. She looked at the sheet music and ignored the first movement, wanting to concentrate on the second, an Adagio e piano sempre, and positioned her hands over the right keys to order to begin.

The solo helped her to relax, although she had to admit that she missed her younger days when she would play with the children of Arendelle’s nobility. Elsa was noticeably absent from these performances and Anna realized she must have least heard the music from her isolated bedroom. She wondered if Elsa longed to come to her sessions and watch her play, and now that she was thinking about it, the Queen still had yet to observe her.

Anna stopped and rested her hands on her lap, wishing that her big sister was with her now. What did Elsa do at times like this, to drive away the melancholy? Anna stood and preceded to make her way to the kitchen in the hopes of finding some freshly made chocolate cake.


 Elsa looked out of her window as the storm seemed to intensify. It was dark, but she thought she could hear tree branches thrashing about. After another giant gust of wind she definitely heard the sound of marble crashing to the ground again. She backed away from the fury outside until the back of her knees hit her bed, and she sat back with a small thud. The flickering candlelight, which usually helped to bring her comfort, now caused an immense amount of anxiety, and she whimpered.

Even the roaring fire in her fireplace failed to soothe her tattered nerves. What am I missing? There is something very wrong here…

The Queen didn’t know if it was something she had forgotten or if there was something that she had to know. There was just something about this night and the storm outside that was so wrong. She even wondered if the word “wrong” was fitting the situation. It wasn’t that there was something wrong, but that there was something about to happen.

Elsa drew in a sharp breath and clutched at the cloak around her shoulders. The certainty she felt with that new knowledge frightened her to the core, and she had to struggle against the desire to scream as a particularly large branch crashed through her bedroom window and landed on her vanity, breaking several bottles of perfumes. At that precise moment her clock struck midnight and she jumped up from her bed.

But as she turned to the door an excruciating pain hit her suddenly, forcing her onto her knees. It was everywhere, all over her body—in her hands and feet—even her head. It was a throbbing, unbearable pain, and Elsa felt like she was being consumed by fire. She clutched at her cloak and tore it off, as it weight only added to the agony.

Elsa fell to her hands as the pain seemed to concentrate on her upper back and the top of her head. She blindly tore at dress; it burned where it touched her skin, and she writhed as spasms wracked her entire body.

The Queen fell to the floor and grabbed at her head. Perhaps it was because of the throbbing torture, but she could have sworn that she felt two pointy protrusions on her head that were not there before. But as soon as the thought entered her mind she felt a pulling at her back that was so painful that she blacked out temporarily.


 The fire in Queen Elsa’s fireplace had dwindled to mere coals, and the candles had burned down considerably. Her room was quiet except for the rain that continued to whip against her window.

Something moved on the floor, tilting its head to one side and letting out a small moan. It once had clothes on, but those lay in tatters on the floor, ripped to shreds. It rolled onto its stomach. Wings that had been trapped underneath it now fluttered slightly and stretched out, expanding outward and wrapping the creature beneath them in darkness.

It lifted its head and looked up, sniffing at the air, a low growl emanating from its parched throat. When it tried to stand it faltered slightly, being unused to the weight of the new wings on its back, but after a few tries it finally made it to its feet. The creature stretched its wings and let out another growl. It turned around slowly until a full-length mirror near the doorway to the walk-in closet captured its attention. It approached it slowly, peering uneasily at its own image.

Somewhere in that dark creature a human being still stirred, even if only for the tiniest of moments, and that part of the creature that was still Elsa gazed into the mirror, horrified at what she saw.

Her body was morphed into something that was wicked. Two horns now protruded from the top of her head and twisted into themselves in a mockery of goat horns.

Scraps of clothing still clung to her body, held up by threads, but they didn’t hide what her skin had become. It was still pale but now had scales on it in some places—down her arms, and from her thighs down her legs to what was once her feet. Elsa gasped, horrified, pain-ridden and spread her dark wings until they stretched as far as they could go. It flapped the wings experimentally, the momentum of the move almost lifting her into the air. The last shreds of clothing fell and the creature’s eyes went wide at the new appendage between her legs; thick and long. Elsa gaged at the sight, spewing spit and thick phlegm all over the mirror. She lifted her head and let out a grief-stricken roar, unable to form words.

It was Elsa and it was not, and whatever she had become was now deeply attracted to the pounding storm outside. It sniffed again but this time at the broken window and the rain. Whatever was left of Elsa whimpered when it reached out through the broken glass to capture the water in its palm. It brought the hand to its mouth and lapped at the water like an animal.


 It seemed as if the entire castle heard that roar, and some guards quickly attached their bayonets to their rifles, and ran in the direction of that terrible sound.

Anna was almost to her room when a horrible scream emanated from the Queen’s bedroom. “Elsa!” She ran to the door and flung it open, only to catch sight of something standing at the Queen’s window. It turned its head for a moment before crashing through the broken window into the stormy night.

Anna screamed at the sight. The creature almost looked human; in fact, if she didn’t know any better… Anna looked about the room in shock and was just about to leave when four guards burst into the room. Anna screamed again until she saw that they were men.

“My Princess, where is the Queen?” A guard gently took hold of the Princess by her shoulders and turned her around to face him. “Princess Anna?”

Anna looked to the broken window and swallowed hard. “I don’t know…” She batted the man’s hands off her. “Search the entire castle now and find Queen Elsa. Come on, guys, now!”

As the guards ran from the room Anna whirled again to the open window. “Oh, Elsa…”

Chapter Text

Kristoff struggled to stay on the ladder as the wind swirled around him, threatening to send him plummeting to the ground below.  The heavy rain had stopped.  But the sprinkles that were being flung around by gusts of wind stung at his cheeks. He grabbed at ladder with left hand and closed the hinges to the shutter with his right.

 

A gust shifted direction and the mountain man’s body was sent reeling away from the ladder.  But his grip was tight and he hung on.  “Have we done all of them?”

 

The wind continued to swirl and scream.

 

Barthold, the stable master, called out from below, attempting to be heard.  “Kristoff, what… we can’t hear you!”  But his voice was carried away into the storm.

 

Kristoff cupped a hand around his mouth and tried to call again.  “What!  What did you say?”  The stinging rain intensified and he doubted he could stay on the ladder for much longer.

 

Another man came running up to the small group of men.  Crispin, a rather burly under butler, grabbed him by his raincoat before he toppled over. “What is it?”

 

The smaller man, Didrik, trembled in the cold.  “We’ve got to go!  A tree branch crashed into the Queen’s bedroom!”

 

“Kristoff!”  Crispin called over his shoulder.  “Kristoff, come down!”

 

Despite the blaring wind the mountain man clearly heard the last word and scrambled down the ladder as fast as he could without tripping.  When he reached the bottom he and the other men hoisted the large ladder between them and took off running towards the western side of the castle.

 

*****

 

Anna could not stop moving, and was furiously pacing back and forth in her bedroom, wondering at just what exactly had gone on earlier.  That thing that was in her sister’s bedroom—and Elsa missing—had her on edge, and she just couldn’t relax.  Good, God, what was that creature?

 

The princess stopped her pacing at a knock on her door.  She jumped at first, and then took in a deep breath.  “Yes, who is it?”

 

Gerda, Head of the Household, poked her head into the bedroom before fully coming into the room. “Hello, princess Anna.  I hope I’m not disturbing you.”

 

Anna collapsed onto her bed, sitting down rather roughly.  “No, no.  What news of my sister?”

 

“That’s just it, my Lady, the guards haven’t found her as of yet.”  The older woman tried to keep her voice soothing.

 

A few tears fell down the princess’s cheeks.  “They haven’t found her!  Then they aren’t looking hard enough!  I want every guard and soldier that is in Arendelle right now looking for the Qu—for Elsa!”

 

Gerda frowned. “Everyone is out looking for Her Majesty, Princess Anna.  I’m sure they will find her soon.”

 

Anna stood and turned away from Gerda, moving to stare out her window.  The rain was heavy yet scattered, and the winds were still blowing about furiously.  That creature…  She wondered silently to herself if her eyes were playing tricks on her. Because whatever she had stumbled across in the Queen’s room bore a striking resemblance to Elsa.  Anna shivered at that thought.  But hadn’t Elsa been on edge the entire day, and evening? Anna wasn’t exactly sure if Elsa’s strange behavior that night had anything to do with her disappearance. But the more she thought about it the more sense it made.  And what of her strange comments concerning the storm?  Was that part of it, as well—and then that strange creature showed up in Elsa’s room, escaping before she could get an undeniable look at it. 

 

The princess pondered all these things in the hope of coming to a conclusion of some sort.  But the truth eluded her, carried away in much the same way as dandelions are blown away by the wind.

 

The Head of the Household cleared her throat and waited for the Princess to say something to break the awkward silence.

 

Finally Anna turned around, her legs were a bit shaky.  “Do you think so?”

 

“Yes, Princess Anna,” Gerda replied.  She took a tentative step towards the young woman.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”

 

Anna shook her head. “No—wait.  Can you stay with me for a while?  I really don’t feel like being alone right now.”

 

“Yes, my Lady, I can stay as long as you need me.”

 

*****

 

It was cold, cold was all around it.  It shivered uncontrollably as the winds whipped up around it, strong enough to flap its wings.  It looked all around, searching for something, anything to take away its pain and chill. For it was in tremendous pain to be so alone and so cold in a vastness of wherever it was.  It could not recognize or name the things that were within its view, only that they were wet whenever it accidently touched them. 

 

Wet and cold—that’s all it knew about the world around it.

 

Things slapped against its skin as it moved one leg before the other—feeling with its hands as it preceded one step at a time towards…towards… It lifted its head and sniffed at the air, discerning a multitude of things in that one breath.  There was food to be found in this place.  It could smell and hear the small living creatures that scuttled away as it came too close to them.  They ran away and it knew frustration for the first time. 

 

The human inside struggled to rise to the surface, but was forced down by the creature within—that part of it that was now animal was dominant.  It growled low in its throat again and felt that pulsing need to feed. But there was not only hunger, but also a need to shelter and feel warmth.

 

Instinct took over and it headed in the direction of the nearest warmth, which was not too far from where it was.  Feet scraped against the hard earth as it maneuvered around large stones and growing outcroppings of brush.  Its toe hit a particularly hard and cold stone and it raised its head and howled in agony.  Its head dropped and it whimpered at the pain.  It dropped to the ground and lifted the toe to its mouth and began to lick the injured appendage. 

 

When it was satisfied that the pain was gone it moved towards the warmth once again.  The rocks got larger and more difficult to move around but when it rounded a corner of thick trees the source of the warmth became apparent.  The human sighed as the beast looked on in confusion at the hot springs, not knowing what to do.

 

Elsa struggled to the surface and forced her legs forward until she fell into the hot water.

 

The creature howled with delight as the feeling of cold was replaced by the feeling of warmth and it hissed out its pleasure.  It used its wings to splash the hot water onto its face and cackled with delight, and at that moment its need for warmth was satisfied.  But it was still hungry and it knew it—but not as a human would know things—through cognition, but by sense, and instinct.  There were few little creatures about, but they were staying far away from it.  A low growl escaped its lips and it moved about on the rocky underwater surface. 

 

At that moment its keen eyes caught sight of something not too far from it.  A small animal lounged near the hot spring’s edge and was cleaning its fur, oblivious to the threat.  The creature flattened its wings and glided over the surface of the water, very careful not to make a sound as it approached its prey.  But just as it was about to snatch it the small animal scurried away.

 

Elsa growled in frustration at the loss of her meal and pounded her fists on the rocky earth. She opened her eyes and saw that she had bloodied her hands in her vexation.  Sniffing at the blood re-awoke her hunger, and the strange thing that was poking out between her legs twitched in response.  Elsa lowered her hand tentatively and touched the protrusion.  It twitched again as she ran her hand over its growing length. The creature growled as the human, struggling to maintain control, could only watch in fascination. 

 

Just as the creature before had learned of frustration for the first time Elsa now knew of the urge to rut.  A new hunger rose up in the creature and slammed down the human as far as she could go. Elsa was gone again, replaced by an animal that was both hungry for food and overwhelmed with the need to mate. It scrambled out of the water and shook the water off of its skin.  Growling, the creature flapped its dark wings and drove itself into the woods.

 

*****

 

King Edvardt got up out of bed, careful to not disturb his wife, and put on his robe, tying it around his waist as he exited the royal bedchamber.  Numerous candles throughout the hallway illuminated his way as he strode towards the eastern wing of his castle, where his children were lodged. The old man paused after a few moments to nurse his aching knees, which seemed to be getting worse the older he became. As he passed various guards in the passageways they saluted him, but he ignored them, intent as he was on his destination.

 

The king reached the eastern wing after about ten minutes and stopped momentarily confused as to which door to knock on.  But the confusion passed as quickly as it came and walked to the end of the hall and didn’t bother to knock.  The door creaked loudly as he burst into the room and strode quickly to the oversized bed.

 

Edvardt’s eyes narrowed. “Get up, now.”

 

The prince didn’t move at first, and only snored louder as he rolled over onto his back.

 

The king leaned over the bed slightly and violently shook the prince’s shoulder.  “I said get up—now, before I really lose my temper!”

 

The younger man slowly opened his eyes and turned his head to openly glare at his father.  “It’s the middle of the night.  What do you want now?”

 

But the king had already turned around and was walking out of the room.  “Meet me in my study in five minutes, and don’t be late.”

 

Ten minutes later the prince opened the door to his father’s study and found the older man sitting at his desk seemingly lost in a letter he was reading.  “I’m here now, your Majesty, was is it?  Don’t dally, old man, spill it out.”

 

The King took off his spectacles and then turned around to warm his hands at the fireplace.  “Quit being pathetic, Hans, you’re lucky not to be in the prison.  Shut up and sit down.”

 

Hans, angry, closed his mouth and for a moment stared at his father, a man that he once idolized, and only now had contempt for.  Without speaking, he sat down and faced the old king.

 

Edvardt picked up the letter he was reading and slipped it over to his youngest.  “Read this—it’s from Weselton.”

 

Hans snatched up the letter. “What does that old man want?”

 

“He’s dying.”

 

Hans looked up from the letter and his eyes narrowed.  “I see.” He poured over the letter and his face never once betrayed what emotions he was feeling.  “Very interesting, indeed.  So the old man is finally telling you the truth.  Do you believe him?”

 

The king smirked at Hans’ question. “Of course I do.  It seems that our once fair cousin is genuinely asking for our help.  What sort of assistance should we grant him, boy?”

 

Hans bristled at the description.  “Why ask me? You don’t care what I think and do, never have.  Perhaps I should fetch Fingaard for you?”

 

“None of my other sons can help me with this, only you, I’m afraid.”

 

“Why only me?”

 

The king brought a fist down on the table.  “Because you were there—you saw everything, and you know their weaknesses!  Our cousin is dying and I intend to agree to his final plans.”

 

Hans recoiled slightly, and a small amount of self-doubt stole over him.  “But I’m not a military officer.”

 

“You’ve never backed down from a challenge in your life.  If you don’t want to then go ahead, go and get Fingaard right now and I’ll task him.”

 

The last thing Hans wanted to do was give any of his older brothers a chance to shine above him. “When do we sail?”

 

Edvardt sat back in his chair and nodded approvingly.  “You’ve got four to six months to prepare an army and a navy—I want Arendelle brought to its knees.”

Hans could not stop the evil grin that graced his features.  “Oh, it will be.  There is nothing that would give me more pleasure.”

 

*****

 

Anna jumped at the sound of the male voices and sat up.  She looked over to one of her armchairs to find Gerda sitting in it, apparently asleep. Anna swung her legs over the side of the bed and realized she must have dosed off for a bit.  After rubbing at her eyes she left her room and followed the voices, and found herself in her sister’s room where three men were boarding up the broken window.  They were soaking wet.

 

Kristoff had lifted up the broken branch and was about to take it away when he saw Anna.  He put down the branch and approached her. “Hey, Anna.”

 

Anna noticed his wet clothes.  “Have you been out in this rain?”

 

“The Queen did need volunteers, remember?”

 

“I didn’t think you would be one of them.”

 

The mountain man started to run his calloused hand over her cheek, but then stopped himself, feeling a bit uncomfortable with the others present.  “Is it true, that the Queen is missing?”

 

“Yes, I’m afraid it’s true.” Anna realized there would be no lying to this man, and with all of Arendelle’s guards and soldiers looking for her, it would be pointless anyway.

 

“What can I do to help?”

 

Anna leaned against his thick frame.  “I don’t know, Kristoff.  But if you—“ She was cut off by the entrance of an officer.

 

“Princess Anna!”

 

“Yes, what is it?”

 

The officer bowed.  “One of the canine patrols has apparently picked up…well…”

 

Anna pushed off Kristoff and stood before the officer.  “Yes, come on and tell me.”

 

“May I speak to you privately, Princess?”

 

Anna glanced at Kristoff before exiting Elsa’s bedroom to the hallway.  Once there she took the man by his arm and led him further away.  “No one can here us now.  Do you have news of my sister, the Queen?”

 

“I think so, Princess Anna, but its very confusing.”

 

The princess tapped her foot in annoyance.  “Just—tell me.”

 

“Well, we had the dogs sniff at some of the Queen’s dresses to get her scent and then sent them out. Mind you, we used our most reliable canines, the ones that can find things in inclement weather—and they led us to…well, a slaughter.”

 

Anna blanched.  “Elsa is dead?”

 

“No, my Lady, they led us to an animal—a small dear, I think—that had been completely torn apart. At first we thought that perhaps the dogs followed the wrong trail.  But when they were given a dress to smell again they led us to a small, run down cottage just outside of the city proper where we found the bodies of what appears to be a transient couple.  They were eviscerated, just like the animal.”

 

Anna didn’t know how long she stood there, stunned.  She cleared her throat before speaking.  “Did you—find any trace of the Queen?”

 

The officer shook his head. “The dogs went completely crazy—her scent must have been all over the place, Princess Anna.”

 

“What of now? Anything else?”

 

“Only that the dogs eventually led us back into the city.  Apart from that, there is still no trace of the Queen.”

 

“What do you think killed the animal and those people?”  There was a nagging at the back of Anna’s mind.  Something was telling her to tread lightly in this matter and not to give too much away.

 

“We don’t know, Princess. Perhaps a huge wolf?  I pray that whatever it was spared the Queen.”

 

Anna turned away from the man for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts.  It didn’t make any sense at first.  Were the dogs that reliable?  Perhaps they were following the wrong scent all along.  After a few awkward moments she turned towards the worried face of the man in front of her.  “How many men saw… saw the carnage?”

 

“At least twelve, Your Highness.”

 

“Good.  Will you see that they are sworn to secrecy?  I don’t want any rumors floating around about murderous wolves.  The last thing we want is for the people to panic.” 

 

“Yes, Your Highness. If I may be of service please don’t hesitate to ask for me.”

 

Anna tilted her head. “I don’t believe I got your name?”

 

The man bowed and reached for her hand to kiss it.  “Gunnar, Princess Anna—Captain Gunnar.”

 

“Very well, Captain, you may return to your duties.”

 

When he was gone Anna noticed that Kristoff was peering at her from Elsa’s door.  He didn’t look happy.  The princess sighed out of frustration.  The last thing she needed right now was a jealous Kristoff.  She slowly walked towards him as he stepped out into the hall.

 

“What was that all about?”

 

Anna brushed some hair behind her ear.  “I don’t feel like talking right now, Kristoff.  I’m going to my room—and no, please don’t follow me.”

 

*****

 

When she reached her room she was thankful that Gerda was gone.  She made a mental note to talk to her sometime soon, after she got a little rest. It was important that the castle staff did not in any way gossip or spread rumors about what happened to the Queen.

 

Anna sat at her vanity and looked at herself in the mirror.  What happened to the Queen?  It was a strange sentiment in that she didn’t even know about what exactly happened to her sister.  That creature…was it Elsa?  Could her sister have somehow transformed into that hideous monster and was now prowling the countryside looking for victims?  The more she thought about it the more absurd it sounded, even to her addled mind.

 

But Elsa was clearly worried about something.  No, not just merely worried.

 

Anna repeated those phrases over and over again in her mind to try to work them out.  She was sure about it; just as sure as she was that that creature was somehow connected to her sister.  But, it was preposterous, wasn’t it?  Anna was sure in her knowledge.  But she was also pragmatic.  She was keenly aware to keep that information locked within herself for the time being. It would do no good to lay her suspicions on people who were just getting used to the idea of an absolute ruler with ice powers.  They would run her and Elsa—if and when they found her—straight out of the Kingdom and never let them return.

 

Anna groaned and cradled her head in her hands, a bone weariness stealing over her and making her wish for sleep.  But even now it would be useless to try, her nerves were still a bit wracked, and she wanted to be awake the moment they did find Elsa.  Perhaps she should have let Kristoff accompany her to her room.  At least, he would have listened to her ramblings.

 

Maybe, if I just let my head rest for a moment I will be okay.

 

Anna curled her arms onto her vanity and rested her head on top of them.  She was asleep within seconds.

 

*****

 

It has feasted, and now it sat unmolested in the driest warmth it had ever known.  It was content for the first time in its existence.  Not only was it warm but it was bright as a light from somewhere beyond illuminated the surroundings.  Light and warm enveloped it in such a profound way that it buried itself amongst the dry hay and closed its weary eyes—falling into a much needed sleep.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The previous night’s storm was long over, and the first rays of the sun slowly broke over the eastern mountain, bathing Arendelle in the first light of a new day.  Merchants opened their doors and there was a bustling of activity at the docks.  Merchant ships, which had to moor off port during the night, now made their way to the docks.  Arendelle was waking up to a new day.  If the people were surprised to find more than a few guards and soldiers wandering about the city at such an early hour they kept to themselves.

 

People welcomed the light, but to the thing that was sleeping in the hayloft of Arendelle’s stables, the day meant a painful transformation.

 

It bolted upright as soon as the songbirds welcomed the day with their melodious music, clutching at its head, and growling uncontrollably as the pain became too much.  It grabbed at the horns on top of its head, only to have them splinter as soon as it touched them.  Wracked with spasms, it soon felt onto its back and the force of the impact shattered its new wings.  But before it could howl out in surprise the pain became too much and it blacked out.  The human within its clutches whimpered in relief.

 

*****

 

A company of soldiers gathered in front of the Royal stables and waited for an officer to arrive, as they were weary of the night’s unfruitful search.  The groomsmen nodded as they walked past the soldiers, entering into the stables to prepare the horses for their day’s activities.  The stable master, Barthold, met them near the entrance.

 

Barthold, holding a mare by its reins, steadied the horse before speaking.  “We have an—unusual assignment this morning before we begin preparing the horses.  We have been asked by the Captain of the Guard to inspect the stalls for any signs of an intruder.  The guards were here last night and didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.  So, this is just a precaution.”

 

A young woman, Aaliyah, stepped forward and frowned.  “What do they expect us to find?”

 

“Hopefully nothing.” Barthold squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, not intending to speak his immediate thought.  He recovered quickly and added,  “Like I said, this is just a formality.  Go, now—there are enough of us that this should take only a few minutes.”

 

As the stable staff left to do their assignment Gunnar, a Captain of the Royal Guard, entered the stables and looked around.  No one was in sight so we walked to a small wood-burning stove in the corner to warm his hands.  There was a huge pot of what appeared to be coffee on top of the stove.

 

Gunnar was about to pour himself a cup when he heard the scream.  He dropped the pot and ran in the direction of the noise.  He passed at least twenty stalls when he stopped in his tracks at the end of the passageway.  Several grooms had reached the site just as he did and they all looked to a wooden staircase that led up to the second floor hayloft. 

 

A young man was now calmly walking down the stairs and he approached the Captain, a stunned look on his face.  When he noticed the other groomsmen he spoke softly.  “I need to tell you something, but not in front of these guys.”

 

The Captain led the young man down the passageway.  He wore an impatient look.  “What is it?”

 

The young man shuffled on his feet.  “There is a naked woman sleeping up there.”  He pointed up the stairs.  “She looks like the—“

 

Gunnar covered the man’s mouth before he could say anything more.  He leaned down to whisper in his ear.  “Don’t say it.  Go outside and ask for Lieutenant Ingarth, tell him to meet me at the foot of that stairway.  Go, now!”

 

*****

 

“Princess Anna.”

 

The young woman batted at the hand that was gently shaking her shoulder.  “Mmmm…go away…”

 

The shaking was more insistent.  “Princess Anna, you need to wake up now.”

 

Anna opened her eyes and looked around.  She was lying on her bed, fully clothed, and frowned for a moment, before comprehension hit her and she sat up rather abruptly.  “What is it, Gerda?  Have they found Elsa?”

 

Gerda offered the woman a thin smile.  “They…they think so.  You need to come with me right away.”

 

Anna didn’t hesitate to scramble out of her bed.  But she paused at her mirror to look over her image.  “I look terrible—where are we going?”

 

The older woman paused at the Princess’s door.  “To the Royal stables, my Lady.”

 

Anna groaned as she tried to straighten out her skirt.  She gave up and then huffed as she followed Gerda.  “What did they find?”

 

Gerda looked over her shoulder at the question.  “You mean, ‘whom,’ don’t you, Princess?”

“Oh—of course.  They found Elsa, right?”

 

“As I said, Your Highness, they only indicated that they thinkit is Her Majesty.”

 

Anna followed the older woman down the long hallway towards the spiral staircase.  “Gerda, do you know what time it is?”

 

“It is still quite early, Princess Anna.  But I’m sorry I don’t know the exact time.”

 

Anna was silent for the moments it took them to reach the front gates of the castle.  It appeared that there was much activity going around—guards and soldiers were scattered about the courtyard, crouching over makeshift fires that had been set up to relieve the cold. 

 

Once outside Anna was greet by the immense chill and regretted not bringing a coat with her. A nearby coachman noticed her look of discomfort and immediately took off his coat and offered it to her.  The Princess gladly to it and smiled at the man. “Thank you so much.”

 

“No need to thank me, Your Highness, it is my duty to serve.”  He bowed with a flourish as Anna stepped into the carriage he was standing next to.

 

The coach ride to the Royal Stables only took a few long minutes and Anna counted every second that went by, her nerves were raw and frazzled.  When at last the carriage pulled up to the stables Anna didn’t wait for Gerda to get out first.  She hopped out and didn’t wait for a footman to guide her path and almost tripped on her way into the building.  Captain Gunnar and another man she didn’t know met her at the door.

 

“Captain Gunnar!”

 

The Captain caught her as she attempted to fly past him.  “Whoa, Princess!”

 

Anna tripped into his arms. “Let me go, now, Captain I have to get to—“

 

The Captain dragged Anna towards the wood burning stove and whispered into her ear.  “My Princess, we don’t know if it is the Queen up there. We need to verify this.”

 

Anna stopped struggling and looked into the man’s eyes.  His concern was plain and evident.  She let out a ragged breath as Gerda finally entered into the stables.  She turned towards the other woman.  “Gerda, come here, please.

The older woman approached cautiously.  “Yes, Your Highness?”

 

Gunnar briefly squeezed the princess’s shoulder before turning towards the older woman.  He bent down to speak softly, so that others would not hear.  “Madame, Gerda, we need to impose upon you the utmost in secrecy, do you agree?” Before she could answer he rose and indicated for Anna and Gerda to follow him.

 

They moved amongst down the passageway, past the horse stalls, and Anna found herself relaxing a bit. Being around the large animals was soothing her nerves, as she was very comfortable around them.  She was Arendelle’s finest horse rider, far outshining the other noblewomen of her peerage.

 

When they reached the end of the passageway and the wooden stairs Captain Gunnar stopped and dismissed the guards and groomsmen who were watching the area.  The Captain turned to Gerda again.  “Madame, we need for you to go into the hayloft and let us know if that is, indeed, the Queen that is up there.”

 

The old woman turned to the Princess and Anna smiled and nodded.  As Gerda climbed the stairs Anna turned towards the Captain.  “Thank you for your discretion, Captain, I greatly appreciate it.”

 

The man blushed slightly. “You’re welcome, Princess Anna.”

 

They looked to each other for the briefest of moments, and a small connection was formed between them. 

 

Anna was about to say something when Gerda came down the stairs.  She immediately went to the Princess.  “Princess Anna, your sister—um, the Queen—is up in that loft.”

 

Ana breathed out a sigh of relief, and had to lean on the Captain lest she should fall to the ground. But she realized almost immediately what she had done and looked up in embarrassment.  “Forgive me, Captain, I’m so sorry.”

 

“Gunnar.”

 

Anna straightened up. “Excuse me?”

 

“I am just Gunnar, Your Highness—at your service.”  He smiled before nodding towards the stairs.  “I’ll make sure that no one sees the Queen.” 

 

*****

 

Anna climbed the stairs to the hayloft and was thankful that she had the coat on, as the air up in the rafters was freezing.  She looked around for a moment, her eyes adjusting to the dimmed light.  The upstairs hayloft looked like it must have been an office of some kind years ago but was now used for storing extra hay. Hay was strewn everywhere amongst the remains of what was once a desk.  Anna maneuvered around those pieces and stopped suddenly. 

 

Elsa lay a few feet from her, huddled under a rather large portion of hay.  She was naked.  Anna sank to her knees to examine her sister for any injuries.  There didn’t appear to be any.  She began to slowly remove the hay from her sister’s body and then noticed that there was what appeared at first to be ash in the hay around the Queen’s head and her upper back.  Anna dismissed this immediately, as it didn’t seem to be important, and after enough hay was removed, saw that Elsa was sleeping soundly, as she could hear a slight snore. 

 

Anna sighed again in relief and gently turned her sister over so that she sleeping on her back. She was about to wake her when her eyes moved downwards and she saw…

 

The princess staggered backwards and covered her mouth with her hand, stifling a scream.  She looked again, making sure that what she was seeing was real.  It was, and Anna’s eyes moved over Elsa’s body, looking for any other—abnormalities. Except for deep scratches on her arms Elsa’s body was unblemished.

 

Anna sat back on her heels. “Oh, my.”  All of her doubts vanished in that one moment, and she knew that the creature she had seen in Elsa’s room that night was now splayed before her.  Elsa and the creature were one.  She removed the coat she was wearing and gingerly placed it on her sister’s sleeping form.  “Elsa… time to wake up.”

 

The blonde remained asleep, and turned over on her side again as her snore got louder.  Anna was undeterred.  She shook her sister’ shoulder.  “Elsa—pssst—time for…”

 

Elsa sat up abruptly, her eyes wide and looking fearful.  But before she had a chance to say anything, or get to know her bearings, Anna had her in a warm hug, the tears flowing freely.

 

“Oh, my, Elsa—I’m so glad you are safe!”

 

The Queen wrapped an arm around her sister’s waist and blinked for several moments, looking like she was in a stupor.  After awhile she turned her head and looked around.  When she spoke, her voice was rough.  “Anna, please don’t cry.  Come on now, you’re okay.”

 

“I’m okay?  You’ve been through—“ Anna didn’t get to finish her thought as Elsa’s eyes appeared to be glazed over. 

 

“Anna?”

 

“Yes.”

 

The blonde rubbed her eyes. “Why are we in the stables?”

Anna took Elsa’s hand and held it between her own.  “You don’t remember?”

 

Elsa looked confused again. “No, I don’t think so.  What is going on?”

 

“You were sleep walking.” The princess tried to sound convincing.

 

The blonde looked abashed. “What?  Anna, I’ve never walked in my sleep in my life.  How can…” She stopped at the look in her sister’s eyes. Anna was looking down at her waist. “Anna, what is it?”  That was when she noticed an uncomfortable sensation between her legs.  She looked down and gasped when she saw the bulge, not entirely hidden by the coat Anna had thrown on her.

 

“What in God’s name—” Elsalooked at herself in horror and then her eyes flew to Anna’s.  “What is happening, Anna?  You’re not telling me something!”  She grabbed her sister’s arms, holding on a little too tightly.

 

Anna winced at the pain, but she knew she had to stop her sister’s tirade before it escalated. “Please keep your voice down, please, Elsa.  I don’t know what happened to you, Elsa.  That is what I’ve been trying to think about all night.”

 

Elsa started to hyperventilate, as her sister’s words were failing to soothe.  “What do mean by ‘all night?’”  Tears started to flow.  “What is going on, Anna?”

 

Anna let out a shaky breath and then related everything she knew to Elsa.  She told her about the heavy storm and how it seemed to bother Elsa quite a bit.  When she told Elsa about the creature in the Queen’s bedchamber Elsa’s eyes widened even some more, and after she related the story that Captain Gunnar had told her Elsa seemed to sway, as if she was about to faint.  When Anna was done with her story Elsa turned white. 

 

The blonde turned her head suddenly, and vomited all over the hay.  Anna supported her sister by the waist as her body was wracked with violent spasms.  After a long while Elsa finally calmed enough to glance over her shoulder at her sister. “How can you look at me?”

 

Anna blinked.  “You’re my sister, Elsa.  I love you.”

 

Elsa used the coat to cover herself.  “But look at me; I’m the monster I always thought I was.”

 

Anna blinked back her hot tears.  “You’ll never be a monster to me, Elsa.  No matter what happens to you or why.  Are you listening to me?”

 

But Elsa wasn’t listening. She grabbed at the coat and scooted towards the wall, whimpering and trying to cover as much of her body as she could.  But a certain part of her body demanded attention and Elsa blushed in shame some more, feeling a deep humiliation.  She glanced over to the pained look on Anna’s face and new tears formed in her eyes. “Go away.”

 

Anna sniffed and wiped at her own tears.  “I can’t do that—I’m taking you home, Elsa.”

 

The blonde’s eyes went wide again.  “What?”

 

“I said that I’m taking you back to the castle, Elsa.  We’ll figure this out together, alright?”

 

“What is there to figure out?”  The Queen spat out.  “I’m a mon—“ Her head snapped back at the force of the slap, and she glared at her sister.  “How dare you…”

 

“I dare because I love you and am not giving up on you!  Do you get it now, or do I have to hit you again?”  Anna was resolute, and she wiped furiously at her tears.

 

Defeated, Elsa could only nod in compliance as Anna moved closer to her.  “What are you doing?”

 

“We need to hide you in that coat and get you back to the castle, Elsa.  Now before we attract too much attention.”

 

Elsa wanted to protest, but the look in the princess’s eyes told her it would not be a good idea. She nodded.  “Alright.  Turn around please.”

 

“What?”

 

“Anna, please?”  She wanted to add that she didn’t want to be seen by anybody in this condition, and most especially by Anna, but she kept that to herself. 

 

“Okay, Elsa.”  Anna got up and turned around.  She could here Elsa behind her put the coat on.  “All finished?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Anna turned back to her sister and then reached for the lapels on the coat.  She turned them up and then tucked Elsa’s hair into the coat, effectively hiding her appearance.  “Are you ready?”

 

Elsa merely nodded and followed Anna as she made her way to the wooden stairs.  Her whole body ached with its previous night’s exertions, but the pain on top of her head and between her shoulders bothered her the most. She reached up to the top of her head and felt around her scalp and felt what appeared to be two wounds that were partially healed.  Monster…  Elsa shivered despite herself, trying to understand Anna’s explanations about last night.  A part of her didn’t want to believe because she had few memories of the previous night. But the more rational part of her, the one that felt the healed wounds on the top of her head—well, that person did believe.  That person didn’t have a choice but to believe.

 

Once down the stairs Elsa noticed a young officer waiting for them close to the nearest horse stall. As she approached the horse in the stall began to whinny and shift on its hooves, as if sensing danger.

 

The Captain bowed as Anna and the Queen walked past him.  “Princess Anna, if I—“

 

Anna waved him away. “Not now, Gunnar.”

 

As they walked down the passageway the horses began to neigh rather loudly at them as they passed. Anna glanced over her shoulder at her sister, but Elsa didn’t seem to be phased at all by the skittish beasts. She was walking as if in a daze. Despite the frightened horses the Queen and Princess made it to the outside carriage without incident.  Even the guards and soldiers that were outside ignored them as they approached the carriage.  Elsa was thankful for the anonymity, and the ride to the Castle was thankfully short.

 

*****

 

Anna escorted her Queen to her rooms on the second floor of the Castle and made sure that the servants stayed away.  She even checked Elsa’s room before they entered it, scooting out the lone servant who was stoking the fire.

 

Elsa breathed a sigh of relief once inside her room and collapsed on her overstuffed chair near the fireplace.  After a few awkward moments she turned her head towards Anna, who was still standing near the door.  “Thank you.”

 

Anna tentatively moved closer.  “No need to thank me, Elsa.  I want to help you figure this out.”

 

The blonde sniffed at herself and then crinkled her nose.  “I need a bath.”  When tried to get out of the chair her body protested.  “I can’t seem to move—my body is so sore.”

 

“Then let me help you.”

 

“No!”  Elsa snapped.  After a moment she held up her hand.  “I’m sorry, Anna.”

 

“Don’t be.  You’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t you?”

 

“That’s one way of putting it.”  A mirthless chuckled escaped her lips.  She turned to her sister, who had walked up to her chair.  “I need some hot water.”

 

Servants brought up buckets of hot water to the Queen’s bathroom and then bowed upon leaving. Anna tested the water with her hand just as Elsa was stepping into the bathroom. 

 

“Its too hot, Elsa.”

 

“It is?  They know I don’t like my baths particularly hot.”

 

“Why not use your powers to cool it down?”

 

Elsa lifted her left hand—and then nothing happened.  She frowned and lifted her right, and still nothing happened.  She went white and her eyes widened.  “Anna!  My powers—“

 

Anna, who had been kneeling next to the tub, rose quickly and went to Elsa.  “What, that’s impossible—try again.”

 

Elsa flicked her hand again at the bathtub, and still nothing.  Her mouth agape, the blonde looked at her hands and shivered.  “Oh, my God, Anna.  This is all too real.  A part of me didn’t want to believe any of this—that all of it was some sort of bad dream. But, gods, Anna—I’ve lost my powers!”

 

“Hold on, Elsa, let’s not jump to conclusions here.”  She attempted to touch her older sister but Elsa stepped back.

 

“Oh, Anna, something foul has entered Arendelle and now its in me.”

 

Anna blinked. “Foul?  How could you know such a thing?”

 

“First you tell me such a fantastic story that I barely believe it, and—my body.”  She indicated her crotch.  “And now my powers—I don’t know how else to interpret these things.”

 

Anna swallowed hard. “I refuse to believe that you are cursed, Elsa.  What cruel god would do such a thing?”

 

Elsa glanced at Anna before she hobbled around her towards her bathtub.  “Can you help me with this coat, Anna.”

 

When the princess lifted the coat from Elsa’s shoulders she saw the scars near her shoulders, but did not know what they were.  “Can you feel something on your back, Elsa?”

 

“Yes, I hurt around my shoulders, towards the middle of my back.”

 

“I can see the scars—they must be from the… well, from the…”

Elsa turned her head towards her sister.  “From what?”

 

Anna tossed the coat to the side.  “I thought I saw small wings on that cre—on you—before you crashed through the window.”

 

“Wings, good gods… help me, Anna, please.”  Elsa lowered her head and covered her eyes as the tears started to fall.

 

Anna wrapped her arms around Elsa’s waist and helped into the sunken bathtub.  The blonde splashed into the water and let her head fall back onto the rim.  “A cruel god, indeed.”

 

Anna sighed and sank to the edge of the tub, she reached down and took Elsa’s hand, and this time, the blonde didn’t pull back.  “I’ve been far too unfair with you in the past, Elsa, but that stops now.”

 

Elsa found a wash cloth and nonchalantly covered up her new flesh.  “How have you been prejudicial, Anna?”

 

Anna noticed the move but chose not to comment on it.  “I’ve always looked to you to be the strong one.  Actually, I counted on it way too many times when I could have been resilient or decisive.  But, let me be the strong one now, Elsa.  Please let me help you with this.  I’m sure we can figure this out.”

 

Elsa smiled, in spite of herself.  “Let you take care of me?”

 

“Oh, yes!”  For the first time since the previous night, Anna felt hopeful.  She squeezed Elsa’s hand tighter.  “Will you?”

 

“Of course I’ll let you help me.  I can’t imagine I can do this on my own.”  The blonde grabbed another wash cloth and poured soap onto it.  “Will you wash my back, Anna?” 

 

“Of course, Elsa. Here gimme…” She took the cloth and lightly ran it over Elsa’s back.  “Does it hurt?”

 

Elsa sat up and closed her eyes.  “My whole body hurts.”  Elsa stifled a groan as Anna’s hands worked wonders on her aching back.  But after a few minutes she felt a stirring below her waist, and to her horror, her body came alive at the touch.  “Anna, please stop.”

 

Anna dipped the cloth into the water to clean it.  “I hurt you, didn’t I?”

 

“No!”  Elsa scooted away from Anna and slid along the tub to the other side.  Something deep inside her awoke for only a fleeting moment, and a low growl escaped her throat.  But just as quickly as it came it passed over her, leaving her shaking with shame—and desire. “Anna, maybe you should go.”

 

“No, Elsa.  Tell me, what is happening to you?”

 

Elsa squeezed her eyes shut. “My body—it’s reacting to your touch.”

 

“Oh, how is it—oh!” Anna blushed a deep red.  Even though Elsa had her back to her,  she knew her predicament.   She flushed in embarrassment, and her heart broke for her sister.  “I ought to not touch you right now, I think.”

 

“That would be helpful!” Elsa squeaked.  “I’ll finish washing myself.  Can you wait for me in my room, Anna?  Perhaps have some tea brought up?”

 

“Sure, Elsa, take your time.”  Anna strolled out of the bathroom, deep in thought.  In hindsight, Elsa was right to question the storm; it brought something vile to Arendelle, to Elsa.  It had changed her, both physically and otherwise, and they needed to find a cure, fast. 

 

Anna found a servant in the hallway and ordered tea and whiskey to be brought to the Queen’s chambers and then seated herself next to the fireplace.  It was going to be a long and arduous day.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Elsa exited her bathroom and towel dried her hair.  “Anna, could you please pour a cup of tea?”  She moved to her walk-in closet then stopped abruptly.  “Anna?” 

 

Anna was slumped in the chair by the fireplace, snoring loudly, her hand clutching a cup of tea that was still steaming.

 

The blonde watched her sister for a moment, a warm smile on her face.  “Oh, Anna… you’re too good to me.”  Discarding her robe, she put on a simple button down shirt and loose fitting trousers, her clothes for when she did her gardening. 

 

Elsa noticed that the servants had also brought breakfast and had set it on a small table near Anna’s chair.  She grabbed another chair and dragged it over towards the table and her stomach growled when she saw her favourite morning dishes.  Her eyebrows rose slightly at the bottle of whiskey but she didn’t hesitate to add some to the tea that she poured.

 

The Queen reached over and gently took the cup of tea from her sister’s hand and placed it on the table. “Anna?”

 

The redhead mumbled something in her sleep and turned her body slightly, but continued to snore.

 

Elsa sat and watched her sister sleep, realizing that the previous night must have been hell for her to go through.  Guilt started bubble to the surface—monster—but Elsa held it in check, not wanting to make matters worse by berating herself.  Anna was right, what happened to her wasn’t her fault. 

 

“Anna…” Elsa reached over and gently shook Anna’s shoulder.  “Come on, sleepyhead, breakfast is ready.”

 

Anna opened her eyes and yawned before sitting up.  “Oh, Elsa, I’m sorry for falling asleep.”

 

“Don’t be.  Last night must have been rough on you.”  The blonde helped herself to the salmon and spinach omelet and piled her plate high with food.

 

Anna rubbed at her eyes and yawned again.  “You must be really hungry.”

 

“Unusually so, I think,” Elsa replied.  She scooted closer to the small table and then added fruit and nuts to her plate.

 

Anna picked up her plate of food and placed it on her lap as she poured herself more tea.  “Did you take some whiskey?”

 

“Yes, I thought it would be good for my nerves.”  Elsa devoured the omelet like a ravenous animal.

“Whoa, slow down, Elsa. You’re going to give yourself a stomach ache.”

 

“I don’t think my body could hurt any worse than it already does.”  She reached up and lightly touched the top of head where the horns had been. “Especially here.”

 

“May I take a look?” Anna put her food down and then stood to examine her sister’s head.  She felt around and then parted her hair and saw too small bumps.  “Yes, I can see something here—two bumps are red and swollen.”

 

Elsa closed her eyes at the gentle ministrations, and then suddenly remembered that Anna should not be touching her.  “Anna, remember our agreement?”

 

The princess removed her hands.  “Sorry, I just wanted to see, that’s all.”

 

“I know.”  Elsa resumed her meal.

 

Anna sat back down and regarded her sister.  “Elsa, did our parents talk to you at length about your powers?”

 

“How do you mean?”

 

“Well, I was wondering if they told you how you got them.”  Anna picked her plate of food and started eating.

 

Elsa thought about it for a few moments.  “Father told me that I was born with them.  I guess that means I had them when I was a baby, but he never told me how I received them—I don’t think he knew.”

 

“What about mother?”

 

Elsa put her plate down and poured more whiskey into her tea.  She took a long drink of it.  “Mother didn’t like to talk about them.”

 

Anna offered her cup to Elsa and the Queen poured whiskey into it.  “Why do you think she didn’t?”

 

“For some reason it made her very uncomfortable.”  Elsa put her cup down.  “I don’t think she liked the idea of me having them.”

 

“What about Father?” Anna asked while putting jam on a croissant.

 

“He was mostly concerned with me not wanting to show my feelings.  He always thought that my feelings controlled my powers.  Hence, the gloves.”  Elsa frowned.  “Conceal, don’t feel.  Don’t let it show.”

 

“That’s what he always told you, wasn’t it?”

Elsa put down her plate of food.  “Yes—and I grew to hate it.”  She poured more tea.  “So when do you want to start?”

 

“Start what?”

 

“You know—figuring out my predicament.” 

 

Anna smiled.  “We’re doing it right now.  This is the first step, Elsa.  We need to know exactly what mother and father knew about this—because I think it is all connected in some way.  I want to know what they knew, when they knew it, even what they suspected. You were saying that father spent a lot of time showing you how to conceal the powers… why?”

 

Here it is, Elsa thought.  Here is the thing that I have yet to tell her about my powers.  Why I concealed them from her for all those years.  Elsa put down her cup and turned to face her sister.  “Anna, there is something that I need to tell you.”

 

Anna’s eyes widened for a brief moment.  “Why do I have the feeling that I’m not going to like this.”

 

“I’m not going to tell you anything bad, Anna.  But I haven’t told you the real reason why my powers were hidden from you for all those years.”

 

Anna nodded.  “I just figured that you would tell me when… well, the time was right.”

 

The blonde sat up. “It is now.  With everything that has happened—I can’t abide to have any secrets anymore.”  Elsa took in a deep breath.  “Anna, when we were little children you knew I had powers.  We played with them all the time.”

 

“But, Elsa, that’s impossible because—“

 

“No, please, Anna, listen to me.  This is going to be a long story, and I need for you to hear the entire story without interrupting, okay?”  Elsa began the long tale of their childhood, and of building snowmen.  She told Anna everything about that one early morning when everything changed for both of them—for good or for ill, and the princess listened in rapt attention as Elsa told the story.  When Elsa was done she sat back in her chair, exhausted.

 

Anna remained silent for quite a long time, absorbing the truth.  After awhile she looked up into Elsa’s eyes as a vague sense of understanding stole over her.  “I can’t believe you’ve carried this burden for so long, Elsa—and to never tell me!” The princess cringed, as her voice carried more aggravation than she intended.  “Gees, Elsa, father and Pabbie did all of that just to protect me?”

 

“Yes, Anna.  I will admit that sometimes it was hard not to resent you.  But then I would remember it wasn’t your fault.”  Elsa got up and stoked the fire.  “I would watch you from my window as you played outside, or I would sneak at peek at you while you were in the portrait room, talking to the artwork.” She poured herself another cup of tea and whiskey.  “I envied your life.”

 

The princess remained still as Elsa spoke, but her heart hardened a little at the memory of her parents. “How could they have been so mean towards you.”

 

“It wasn’t meanness, Anna, but a sense of familial self-preservation.  It was all they could think of doing to make sure both of us remained alive.”

 

“But to shut you away when I had all the freedom I could ever want.”  Anna shuddered and wrapped her arms around her knees.  “I’m so sorry.”

 

Elsa returned to her chair. “Don’t be.  The past is in the past, Anna.”

 

The princess nodded. “And now the powers are gone.”

 

The Queen sighed. “Yes.”

 

Anna sat up.  “Maybe not gone, but changed somehow.”

 

“I’m not following you, Anna.”

 

The redhead stood and began to pace.  “The storm, the storm—what was it about that storm?  Perhaps we a looking at this all wrong.  Are we assuming that the weather took away your powers?”

 

Elsa shrugged her shoulders. “I… I don’t know.  But I felt something when it passed over us—a strange sense of foreboding.  I felt something in the storm itself.  It was beckoning to me,  Anna, making me feel—scared.”

 

“Do you have any memories after that?”  Anna sat back down and faced her sister.

 

Elsa paused and thought about it, searching her mind for anything useful.  “The clock struck midnight when the heaviest part of the squall passed over Arendelle.  After that, nothing—not until you woke me up in the stables.”

 

“Is there anything significant about this date?”

 

Elsa shrugged in embarrassment.  “I’ve been so busy that I don’t even know what date it is.”

 

“October 12th.”

 

Elsa paused, and then her eyes widened.  “It is?” Something nagged at the back of mind causing her to feel an immediate unease. She shook her head a little to clear it, and then suddenly remembered.  “Fimbulwinter.”

 

“What?”

 

“Didn’t mother or father ever tell you tale of Fimbulwinter on the autumnal equinox?”  Elsa looked expectantly at her sister.

 

Anna shook her head.  “No, they never did.  Is it a Faerie Tale?”

 

Elsa looked incredulous.  “No, it is from Norse Mythology.  Fimbulwinter—Fimbulvetr in the old tongue—tells of the harsh winter that will precede the end of the world.  Fimbulwinter is three successive winters where snow comes in from all directions, without any intervening summer.  There will be war and rumors of wars to come.  Blood ties will wither away and kin will lie with kin; brothers will kill brothers without remorse.”

 

Anna was still for many moments, and stared at her sister wide-eyed.  “Today is the autumnal equinox?”

 

Elsa nodded. “I believe it is.”

 

The princess continued to stare at her sister until the silence became awkward.  “Are you kidding me?  The end of the world?”  Anna laughed.  “Oh, Elsa, you had me going there for awhile, but…”  Her laughed stopped at the serious look in Elsa’s eyes.  “No, you can’t possibly think that an old wives tale is talking about you and the end of the world.”

 

Elsa stood and began to pace.  “I don’t know what to think, Anna.  You wanted me to make a connection about this day and I did.  What more do you want from me?”

 

“I want you to make some sense and not talk gobbledygook.”

 

“You know me, Anna.  I’m the most rational person that you know.  Don’t you think I know how crazy all this sounds?  But it seems to all fit together.”

 

Anna indicated herself.  “This is me you are talking to, Elsa.  I’m the most impulsive and irrational person that youknow—and I have a problem with your reasoning.”

 

Elsa stopped her pacing and turned to her sister.  “My powers are gone.  Well, maybe not gone but changed to something else.  What if they—our parents—were trying to prepare me for something, but were cut short by their untimely deaths?  What if I’m some sort of catalyst for war, Anna?”

 

“It’s a story, Elsa.”

 

“These stories are part of us for a reason, don’t you think?  They last for centuries, passed on from one generation to the next.  For what purpose?”

 

Anna felt a coldness steal over her heart at Elsa’s words.  “I don’t know the purpose.  Perhaps to teach us something?”

 

Elsa began to pull at her hair, as the pain in her head worsened.  “Or to warn us!”

 

“This is crazy, Elsa.”  Anna couldn’t believe the direction their conversation was taking.  “I can’t believe that you are seriously believing all this.”

 

But Elsa wasn’t paying any attention to her. “The end of all things…”

 

At that moment there was a knock at Elsa’s door.  The blonde sat down abruptly, clutching at her head.  “Will you get it, Anna?  I’m not feeling well.”

 

Anna moved to the door and opened it.  “Yes, oh, hi Gerda.”

 

The older woman blushed a little.  “Pardon the intrusion, Your Highness, but I have two messages for you.”

 

“For me?”

 

“Yes, madam. First, the Ice Master Kristoff wants to know when he can see you and Captain Gunnar of the Royal Guard wishes to convey his concern and hopes that you are doing well.”

 

“You may tell both of them that I’m doing fine and will contact them as soon as I can.”

 

“Very well, good day, Your Highness.”

 

Anna closed the door.  “Hey, Elsa, I’ve got to…”  She stopped speaking as she walked over to where Elsa was slumping in her chair, apparently asleep.  She looked at her for a few moments before retrieving a blanket to drape over her.  “You sleep well, Elsa.  I’ll be back later.”

 

*****

 

Anna ignored the messages from Kristoff and Gunnar at the moment and made her way to the castle Library on the first floor, near Elsa’s meeting hall.  The massive two story room was lined with mahogany  book shelves, and filled with thousands of books, tomes, and maps that didn’t appear to be in any order.  There were scattered tables about the room and those were piled high with various books, untouched for many years.

 

Anna looked around her and sighed.  How was she supposed to find anything in this mess?  She realized that this giant room had not been used since their parents died and was in dire need of some attention. 

 

As she was about to leave a middle-aged woman entered and looked at her quizzically.  “May I help you with something, Princess Anna?”

 

“Yes—and you are?” Anna smiled and extended her hand.

 

The servant awkwardly shook the princess’s hand.  “Miss Beatrice, Your Royal Highness.  I am the current Librarian—so to speak.”

 

“Oh?  What do you mean?”

 

“Well, I was trained to be a royal tutor.  But after Henric left I was put in charge of maintaining this library.  As you can see, I’m not very good at it.”  Beatrice blushed then looked to her feet.

 

Anna’s smile widened. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’m not very bookish myself.  But I was hoping you could lead me in the right direction.”

 

Beatrice looked up. “What is Her Highness looking for?”

 

Anna looked about the room. “I was wondering if we had any books on folklore and mythology.”

 

Beatrice indicated the other side of the room, near the fireplace.  “Over here, Your Highness.”  She strolled to the shelves and swept her hand over them.  “Henric told me that your mother had these volumes placed here for easy access.”

 

The redhead looked surprised.  “My mother did?  Did Henric tell you why?”

 

“Apparently her former Majesty had quite the interest in subjects like mythology, astrology, and the interpretation of signs and wonders.”

 

“Beatrice, do you know if Henric still lives in Arendelle?  I would very much like to talk with him.”

 

“I’m afraid that Master Henric died a few years ago, Your Highness.”  Beatrice paused in her thinking, looking somewhat troubled.

 

“What is it, Beatrice?”

 

“Well, I seem to remember Henric mentioning something about a box of letters.”

 

Anna stepped towards the older woman.  “What kind of letters?”

“A series of letters and journals that your mother kept.  After your parents died, Your Highness, Master Henric was tasked with discharging a lot of the personal papers of the King and Queen.”

 

Anna looked horrified. “Were those records destroyed?”

 

“No, Your Highness. But I am at a loss as to where Henric filed those archives.  But I am sure they are somewhere in this—room.”

 

Anna’s eyes raked over the massive library, again noticing its complete disarray.  “Beatrice, I’m going to give you a new assignment.  I want you to find those records—and as soon as you can, okay?”

 

“Yes, Your Highness. May I start after lunch?”

 

Anna waved her hand. “Of course.  Be sure to find me as soon as you have any news, okay?

 

“Very well, Your Highness.”

 

When the servant was gone Anna moved to the shelf of mythology books and was a bit overwhelmed by the number and titles, not knowing exactly what she was looking for.  She passed over the tomes about Greco-Roman myth and focused on the other works.  After a few minutes she found an old leather bound volume entitled, Codex Regius

 

Anna stopped and blinked several times.  There was something very familiar about the title that had her feeling a little uncomfortable.  Where have I heard of that before?  She reached into the shelf to retrieve the book, it started to crumble so she eased it out of the shelf very carefully.

 

She took it to a nearby table and set it down gingerly.  After opening it to the first page she saw handwritten notes all over it, written in a familiar style.  Anna sat back as she recognized her mother’s handwriting; there was no mistaking the elegant scrawl.  As Anna read she realized that her mother wasn’t so much taking notes on what she read in the tome but was leaving instructions of some kind.  She’s not writing this for herself, but, to Elsa, maybe?

 

Anna realized then she may have not really known her parents at all, because there was obviously much that they had kept hidden from her. 

 

*****

 

Kristoff waited patiently in the castle kitchen around lunch time, waiting for Anna to appear, as she usually did.  But as the time passed and she didn’t appear he lost hope of seeing her that day and left for the city, where he intended to drown his sorrows in many pints of ale.  But Anna did enter the kitchens, only a few minutes after he left, and sat down at a table near a small fireplace. 

 

She watched the cooks for a few minutes as they prepared the midday meal and thought about the events of the last two days.  It was almost too much to think about, and truth be told, she wished none of it happened at all.  It wasn’t fair.  She had just gotten her sister back less than a year ago, and now there was something threatening to take her away again.  A lone tear slowly fell and reached up to harshly wipe it away.

 

“Princess Anna?”

 

The redhead turned to the servant’s entrance to find Captain Gunnar there.  “Oh, hi.”

 

The man’s smile faltered at her crestfallen look.  He walked over to her table.  “May I sit down, Princess?”

 

Anna sat up and clasped her hands in front of her.  “Of course, Captain.”

 

“Gunnar,” the man prompted. When Anna shyly smiled at him he pressed forward.  “Princess, there are still three companies of soldiers patrolling the city, and, well, the citizenry are beginning ask why they are there.  I was hoping you could order them back to their barracks.”

 

“I completely forgot about them, I’m so sorry!  Yes, see to right away, Gunnar.  I surely don’t want the people speculating and worrying over nothing.”

 

The Captain eyed Anna. “Forgive my boldness, Your Highness, but is it truly nothing?”  He lowered his voice.  “What about those killings?”

 

“Have rumors started already?”  Anna’s eyes widened. “What have you heard?”

 

“So far nothing, as we’ve been able to quell the incident and swear to secrecy those that did witness the crime.”

 

Anna sat back at the Captain’s words.  It was a crime, and her sister was the one who committed it.  “Thank you, Gunnar.  If you don’t mind, could you see to the soldiers now, and have the guard report back to the castle?”

 

“Your bidding, my Lady.” The Captain rose an bowed with a flourish before leaving.

 

When the Captain was gone one of the junior cooks approached the princess. 

 

“Forgive me for intruding, Your Highness, but would you be interested in lunch right now?”

 

Anna felt her stomach growl. “Sure, what is it?”

 

“A lamb and cabbage stew, Your Highness.”

 

“Sounds great.  Will you send two large bowls to the Queen’s room, plus some bread and tea.”

 

The young man bowed. “Very well, my Lady.”

 

*****

 

Anna returned to her sister’s rooms with the Codex Regius, carefully wrapped up in a cloth.  She put the book down on the table next to the fireplace and noticed that Elsa was not in the chair she left her in.  She went into the bedroom itself and found the Queen sleeping in her bed. Anna slowly approached her and noticed that Elsa was mumbling in her sleep, apparently having a vivid dream. 

 

The princess carefully sat down on the edge of the bed and gently shook Elsa’s shoulder.  “Come on, Elsa, time to wake up.”

 

The Queen swatted the hand away and moaned in pain.  “No… no…”

 

“Elsa, please, wake up.” Anna’s brow furrowed in worry.

 

With a yelp the Queen abruptly sat up yet her eyes remained unfocused.  She grabbed at Anna and held onto her fiercely.  “I…I had a nightmare.”

 

Anna rested her head on Elsa’s shoulder, holding her protectively.  “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

 

Elsa shuddered and squeezed her eyes shut.  “It was horrible, Anna.  I dreamt that I was some sort of enormous, insidious monster—terrorizing Arendelle and slaughtering my own people.”

 

The redhead gently rubbed her sister’s back.  “It was nothing more than a dream, Elsa.  You see, you are awake now—and look at you.  You’re not a gigantic monster, you are you.”

 

Elsa held on tighter, relishing her sister’s comforting words.  They flitted within her, and helped to dispel the darkness that was threatening to engulf her.  “I’m not a monster.”

 

“No, you are not.  So please stop thinking about it.”

 

Elsa pulled Anna closer. “Thank you, Anna.”

 

Anna smiled into Elsa’s shoulder.  “You know that we’re not supposed to be touching each other.”

 

“I know.”  The blonde looked up into her sister’s eyes, and sighed. “I really appreciate you, Anna. I—“ She was cut off by a knocking at the door. 

 

Anna withdrew from Elsa’s embrace.  “I’ll get it. I arranged to have our lunch in your suite again.  I hope you don’t mind.”

 

“I don’t mind at all.” Elsa’s eyes lingered on Anna for a moment before turning away to get dressed.  She didn’t tell Anna about her entire dream, and left out the first part of the nightmare… Blood ties will wither away and kin will lie with kin…

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Anna finished her bowl of stew and placed it back on the table.  After that, she very carefully unwrapped the Codex Regiusand turned it to the first page to find more of her mother’s handwritten notes.  She turned the book towards Elsa.  “Do you recognize the script, Elsa?”

 

The Queen munched on a chunk of cheese.  “That’s mother’s handwriting.”  She gently edged the book closer by dragging it by the cloth.  “Oh, my, I recognize this book, indeed.  I remember sitting on her lap while we both read it.  This is how I learned Latin.  But I don’t remember her leaving notes in it.”

 

Anna thought about it for a few moments.  “Maybe she wrote those after you two read it together.  They seem to be directed towards you.”

 

“Let me see.”  Elsa glanced over the first sentence.  “’For my Chosen One.’  That’s how she addressed this book, did you see this, Anna?”

 

“Yes I did.”  Anna sat back and folded her hands in her lap.

 

Elsa noticed this gesture. “What?”

 

“I’m just having a really hard time with this, Elsa.  It’s all so crazy—no, I don’t think mother was crazy, but, gods, I just don’t know anymore.”

 

“Anna, you’re not making any sense.”

 

The princess’s eyes widened. “I’m not making sense?  Forgive me for being a skeptic.”

 

Elsa continued to turn the pages until she reached a familiar poem.  “Here it is, Anna, the Vafþrúðnismál.In this poem Odin questions the jötunn,Vafþrúðnir, about Fimbulwinter, and asks him what needs to take place in order to forestall it.  He also inquires as to who will survive it.”

 

“What is a jötunn?”

 

“What?  Oh, it’s a forest spirit.”  Elsa didn’t look up from the book, and continued to read.

 

Anna closed her eyes for a moment, absorbing all that Elsa was telling her.  “Elsa?”

 

“Yes…”

 

“Could these—forest spirits—be the trolls?”

 

The blonde looked up and stared at Anna, her jaw slack.  “Why didn’t I think of that?  I mean, after all these years, I never made that connection.”  She got up and moved to stand in front of the fireplace, placing her hand on the mantle.  “Could it really be possible?  If it is, then why haven’t they talked to me about Fimbulwinter and the prophecy?  Why have they left me in the dark all these years?”

 

Anna got up and stood by Elsa.  “Why don’t you tell me about the survivors?”

 

Elsa took in a ragged breath.  “Well, the myth speaks of Líf and Lífþrasir.  Líf is an Old Norse feminine name meaning, well, ‘life’ or ‘the life of the body’. Lífprasir is the masculine for ‘lif’s lover’ or ‘the lover of life.’  I’m surprised that I still remember all this, Anna.”

 

“So, does that mean people will survive this ‘end of the world’?  Then the whole world doesn’t come to an end?”

 

“No, that’s not what it means at all.  Líf and Lífprasir survive in a hidden forest during the Fimbulwinter—the Hoddmímis holt—and emerge unscathed to re-populate the land.”

 

Anna sighed.  “I’m confused.  So, its not really the end of all things?”

 

“But, Anna, you are missing the entire point of this conversation.  What does all of this have to do with me?  That’s the question I need the answer to.  Because I have a nagging feeling that I won’t be in that forest, and neither will you.” Elsa ran her hand over her head, and winced.  “Those bumps still really hurt, a lot.”

 

“Here, let me see.” Anna took hold of Elsa’s head and gently parted her hair where the bumps were.  The wounds seemed to be healing but now two small bony protrusions appeared at the center of each wound.  Anna ran her fingers over them, and then released her sister’s head.  “Oh, Elsa.”

 

Elsa’s head snapped up. “What?”

 

“I think its time to see the royal physician.”

 

The blonde grabbed her sister’s arms.  “No, no. That is unacceptable.  I thought we were going to figure this out on our own.” She dragged her sister over to the small table.  “We have the book.  All we have to do is find the answer.” 

 

Anna sighed, raking her hand through her hair.  “Elsa, I need to see your back.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I have a suspicion.”

 

The blonde stared at her sister for a few moments, and a small amount of fear crept up into her bones. “Alright.”  Her eyes never left Anna as she unbuttoned her blouse.  It fell to the floor by her feet.  “What are you looking for?”

 

“I don’t know, yet.  Please turn around.”

 

Elsa did and Anna’s hand went to her mouth at what she saw.  Two small vertical slits appeared between the Queens’ shoulder blades. Anna ran her finger over one slit and was able to separate the skin.  She looked inside and saw a dark leather-like ‘skin’ between the folds. Anna swallowed hard and resisted the sudden urge to vomit. 

 

“Can you feel this?” Anna tugged at the dark skin.

 

“Yikes!”  Elsa abruptly whirled around.  “What did you do?  That really hurts.”  Her tirade stopped at the look on Anna’s face.  “Tell me.”

 

Anna went white, and could not find the words to express what she was currently feeling.  She was horrified and more than just a little sick to her stomach.  But before she could say anything she turned away from Elsa to collect her thoughts. One thought entered her mind—wings—and it forced her to stop being in denial. Something was horribly wrong with Elsa, ever since the previous night, and she needed to recognize it wholeheartedly so as to be a help to her, and not a hindrance.  Elsa needed her now, more than ever, and she vowed to herself not to doubt her sister ever again.

 

Anna turned back and gathered Elsa into her arms.  “I’m here for you, Elsa.  I believe you, and I’m sorry for doubting you in your time of need.”

 

Elsa closed her eyes, feeling her sister’s resolve in that one embrace.  “Thank you, Anna.”  She tightened her hold, bringing their bodies flush together.

 

Anna let out a deep breath and relaxed, feeling better.  “I think we need to do away with that rule.”

 

“What rule?”

 

“You know, our agreement not to touch.”  The redhead turned her head and breathed in the unique aroma that was Elsa.  “I need this from you.”

 

Elsa opened her eyes at the feeling of Anna’s breath on her neck.  Something inside her snapped to attention at the intimate contact, and a low growl sprung from deep within her throat.  She loosened her hold on Anna before it could fully rise to the surface. “Anna, please…”

 

The princess did notice the change, and stepped away from her sister.  “You see, nothing to be afraid of.”

 

Elsa grabbed her shirt and put it back on, and then she sat down abruptly.  She tried to hide her current state by bringing the book into her lap.  “So, Anna, tell me what you found on my back.”

 

But Anna had seen the bulge at her sister’s crotch, and decided to ignore it just like Elsa was. She sat back in her own chair. “There are two open wounds on your back, Elsa, and there is something between the skin.”

 

Elsa’s complexion went even whiter.  “What does it look like?”

 

“Well, it looks and feels like leather.”  Anna was quite familiar with leather, as she was used to the saddle.

 

“My, God, Anna. Really?”

 

“Elsa, if you don’t want to see your physician right now we should at least consult the trolls, and find out what they know.”

 

“It does seem like the next logical step, doesn’t it?”

 

“Yes, and I think we should go now.”  Anna tried to appear authoritative.  “Please?”

 

“Will we get back before tonight?”  Elsa looked expectantly at Anna.

 

“I don’t know, why?”

 

“Look at what happened to me last night, Anna, and what I became.  How will you survive if something like that were to happen again?”

 

Anna swallowed hard. “I never thought of that—wait, what? But last night was the full moon, wasn’t it?  And that violent storm happened.”  She went over to one of Elsa’s windows and opened the drape.  “Look—a clear sky, with only a few white clouds.  I think we need to take the chance, don’t you?”

 

“I suppose.  Anna, I’m frightened.”  Elsa put the book on the table and stood up, facing away from her sister.  She desperately didn’t want her fear to take over, because if it did she would be plagued with inaction.  “What am I to do?”

 

Anna calmly walked over to her sister, but didn’t touch her.  “Then let me go alone.”

 

Elsa whirled around, her face contorted with fright.  “What? What am I to do when you are gone?”

 

Anna sighed and brought her hands to her face.  “We’re in a predicament, Elsa.  Either let me go alone or come with me!  Whatever we will face—we’ll face it together.  But if you’re coming with me, you can’t go dressed like that.  You’ll need to change your clothes.”

 

Elsa looked down at her simple shirt and trousers.  “What’s wrong with the way I look?”

 

“You’re a Queen—okay, never mind.  But you do need a pair of boots and an overcoat.”

 

“How will we get past the Royal Guard?”

 

“Leave that to me.” Anna paused at the Queen’s door. “Just give me a half hour, will you? I need to talk with someone first.”

 

*****

 

Anna had to cajole her way out of the castle without a royal guard, and walked the streets of Arendelle unmolested.  The townspeople were used to her presence, as she visited often either alone or with Kristoff.  She turned a corner and saw her destination, a tavern that a certain mountain man frequented often.

 

Kristoff downed his ale and then pointed to his stein.  “Another one, please.”

 

The barkeep shook his head. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough, friend?”

 

The blonde man wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  “Not really.”

 

“I would say you’re done for the day.”

 

Kristoff turned at the familiar voice, his mind was a little fuzzy.  “Well, if it isn’t Her Highness.  What brings you to town, Anna?  Care to knock back a few with an old friend?”

 

His icy stare unsettled her. “I didn’t come here to fight with you. Can we talk, please?”

 

Kristoff grabbed his stein and motioned for Anna to follow him to a secluded corner, by the fireplace. He sat down with a thud and took a large swallow.  “What is it, Anna?  Do you need another window to fix?”

 

Anna reached over the table to take his hand but blonde man wrapped his hands around his ale.  “I’m sorry I missed you at lunch.”

 

“I waited for you, but you didn’t come, again.  Look, I realize being a princess means you have a lot of duties.  But—I want to spend more time with you, too.”

 

“Will you tell me what’s really bothering you, Kristoff?”

 

Kristoff sank in his chair, and any and all spitefulness drained from his features.  “I don’t belong here, Anna.  We both know that I don’t.”

 

Anna felt her heart sink. “What do you mean?  I thought you liked being here with me.”

 

The mountain man smiled somewhat.  “I do like it.  But, sometimes I feel useless, Anna.  I have no purpose here, I don’t fit in at parties—I feel…”

 

The redhead grabbed Kristoff’s hand in hers, and held it dearly.  “What are you trying to tell me?”

 

“I need to go, find something that I’m good at.  I need to work, Anna.  I need to feel like I’m worth something, and I’m not finding it here in Arendelle.”

 

The princess wiped at a few tears.  “So, you’ve made up your mind, then?  Is there anything I can do to help you stay here.”

 

The mountain man reached over the table and wiped away Anna’s tears.  “I am sure, Anna.  I’m going to stick around until the week is over, and then ole Sven and I are hitting the road.  Winter is around the corner, and the ice harvesters will need some help.”

 

“It that really what you want to do, return to that back-breaking work.”

 

“Hey, it’s an honest living, isn’t it?  But, who knows?  I hear there are a lot of opportunities in the Americas.”

 

Anna stared at the mountain man, wishing that she could confide in him all the problems of the last two days, but she couldn’t.  Perhaps if he did know he would agree to stay and be there for her.  She wondered if she had somehow manipulated him into staying all these months.  He was right, he didn’t fit in with courtly life, and she had chosen to blindly ignore that fact.  There would be nothing she could say to change his mind and she knew it.

 

There were so many things that she wanted to say, but Elsa was waiting.  So she said the only thing she could.  “I love you, Kristoff.”

 

“I know, feisty pants, and I love you.  I hope you know this isn’t good-bye—more like, I’ll see you around sometime.”

 

*****

 

Anna merely put the officer’s overcoat on Elsa and placed a hat on her head.  No one paid any attention to them as they rode their horses outside the city, heading southward, towards the land of the trolls. The forests were thinner and weather was more temperate in this part of Arendelle.  Some say the trolls dwelt in the area because of the hot springs throughout the zone.  But it was more because of the solitude, as forest creatures usually sidestepped this part of Arendelle’s greater forests.

 

They rode in silence for quite some time, and Elsa wondered what was keeping her usually chatty sister so quiet.

 

Anna and Elsa rode on at an easy pace, content to enjoy the sun and each other’s company.  Elsa had long since given up the officer’s overcoat to Anna, who was not as acclimated to the cooler weather as she was.  After awhile, Elsa shifted in her saddle, trying to get comfortable. 

 

The Queen spurred her horse to trot alongside her sister.  “How are you doing, Anna?”

 

The redhead saw the look on her sister’s face.  “I’m probably doing better than you.  What’s wrong?”

 

Elsa blushed a deep red. “I can’t seem to… find a comfortable position on this saddle.”

 

“I did put your saddle on that horse, didn’t I?”

 

“Yes, you did.”  The Queen shifted again, and her expression changed.  “But, well, how to put this delicately…”

 

Now, it was Anna’s turn to blush.  “Oh—oh, I’m sorry, Elsa.”  She spared a quick glance before turning away.  “Does it hurt?”

 

“Anna!”  Elsa closed her mouth and did not dare say more, lest she be the brunt of many future jokes from her younger sister.  She was not hurting, but having the opposite problem. The constant friction on her new flesh was disconcerting, and driving her to distraction.  “How do men do this,” she mumbled.

 

“What was that?”  Anna turned to look at Elsa.

 

“Nothing.”

 

Anna stopped her horse and looked at the eastern horizon, beyond the tall horse chestnut and beech trees. Her horse sniffed at the air and became agitated.

 

Elsa picked up on this immediately and reined her horse to a stop.  “What is it, Anna?”

 

The princess frowned and continued to stare at the eastern sky.  “I don’t know, but I feel something—just over the horizon, over there.” She steadied her mare by giving it a gentle tug.

 

The blonde lifted her head and rose on her stirrups.  “I don’t see anything.”

 

Anna petted her horse’s neck.  “I didn’t say I saw anything.  It was just a feeling, I’m sorry.”

 

“Why are being sorry for following your instincts, Anna.  I am counting on you and your intuitions to help me get through this.”

 

The princess turned to her sister.  “I know you are.  But we need to avoid the east if at all possible.”

 

“The trolls ought to be at their autumn dwellings, don’t you think?”  Elsa’s horse started to whinny, very loudly, so Anna reached into her bag and gave it a small sugary treat.  When the horse settled they headed back along their southern route.

 

After about an hour they began to see the evidence of hot springs, as the vegetation changed, and the foliage appeared to be greener and thicker.  Their open path gave way to rocky fields, and the horses slowed down to maneuver through the new terrain.  The tall beech trees were gone, and the horse chestnuts were now scattered and few.

 

Elsa finally stopped her horse at the first noticeable hot springs and turned towards her sister. “Do you feel like taking a rest? I would love to get off this saddle.”

 

Anna turned her horse and looked at their surroundings.  “It seems safe enough.  Sure.” She dismounted and tied the horse to a branch on a nearby chestnut.  When she turned she noticed that Elsa had yet to get down.  “Is something wrong?”

 

Elsa turned her head towards the east.  “I’m feeling it, as well—a queer sense of—urgency.”  She turned her body and faced her sister.  “Perhaps we should press onward?”

 

“That’s fine by me. You were the one who said you needed a break.”

 

The blonde fiddled with her reins.  “I really do. Okay, coming down.”  The moment her booted foot hit the ground there was a loud clap of thunder from the eastern sky.  Her horse rose on its hind legs and neighed in fright, and then took off. 

 

Elsa was driven back when the horse reared up, and she landed flat on her back.  She winced in pain and then groaned.  Anna rushed to her side in an instant.  “Elsa!  Are you alright?”

 

The Queen opened one eye. “Please tell me that your horse didn’t bolt.”

 

Anna looked confused. “Why would it?”

 

Elsa sat up and looked at her sister quizzically.  “Well, don’t you think the thunder was particularly loud?”

 

Anna sat back on her heels and tilted her head.  “Elsa, what are talking about?  I didn’t hear anything.”

 

“What?”  Elsa winced again as she tried to stand, and ended up on her rear again.  “Why do you think my horse took off?”

 

“I saw you trip on your own stirrup.  You then screamed and fell flat on your back.  I think you frightened the animal.”  Anna stood and offered her hand to Elsa.  “Come on.”

 

But Elsa didn’t move. She continued to stare at Anna as if she was crazy.  “Anna, I did hear something and it sounded very much like thunder—in the east.”

 

Anna nodded.  “I believe you.”  She tucked some loose hair behind her ear and decided to redirect Elsa’s attention.  “I brought a snack if you’re interested.  No, don’t try to get up.  Let me bring it to you.”  Anna returned with her large saddlebag and pulled out a picnic blanket, which she spread out before Elsa.  She then placed some cheese, bread, and pastries on it.

 

Elsa scooted on the blanket and tore off a rather large piece of bread and folded it over a chunk of cheese.  “When did you have time to do this?”

 

“You know me and food—hardly one without the other.”  Anna sat next to Elsa and pulled out a bottle from the bag.  “Want some?”

 

“What is it?” Elsa leered at the bottle.

 

Anna laughed at the look in her sister’s eyes.  “No, its not liquor.  I swear, Elsa, you and your spirits are too much.  Its just spring water.”

 

The blonde grabbed the bottle and drank a few mouthfuls.  “Thank you, Anna.”

 

They ate in companionable silence for a few minutes, saying nothing, each lost in her own thoughts. Finally, Elsa had enough, and wiped her hands clean.  “Excuse me for a moment while I—take care of business.”  She got up and disappeared behind a huge boulder.

 

Anna continued to munch on an apple, and threw away the core once she was finished.  She waited patiently for a few minutes for her sister to return, but Elsa didn’t come back.  The redhead picked at nonexistent threads on her skirt and finally looked up. “Elsa?”

 

There was only silence.

 

The princess got up and slowly approached the boulder.  Her senses came alive as she felt a prickle of fear rise up from her stomach.  “Come on, this isn’t funny.  Elsa?”  She took a few more steps around the boulder and then saw the blonde about twenty feet from her, leaning against a nearby tree.  Elsa had one hand on the tree and was staring at her crotch.

 

Anna blushed and turned away, she walked a few feet but then stopped, her curiosity piqued.  When she turned around she saw that Elsa was using her other hand to slowly stroke herself.  The redhead scooted further behind the boulder, and peered out from behind it.  Her eyes widened and she took in a deep breath.  What am I doing…? 

 

Anna reddened again and this time hurriedly went back to the blanket.  She picked up the bottle and then took a large drink, wishing that it were wine instead of water. Anna, Anna…this is your sister!  What were you thinking?  Anna buried her face in her hands and squeezed her eyes shut.  What if she noticed?  No, Elsa was too busy to notice me gawking at her. 

 

Confused, Anna got up and started to put away their brief picnic.  After a few minutes she heard a rustling behind her and saw that Elsa was coming around the boulder, looking very much relaxed and relieved.  The princess turned away from her sister and loaded the blanket into the saddlebag.

 

Elsa picked up on her sister’s nervousness.  “Are you okay, Anna?”

 

Anna continued to buckle the straps of the bag.  “I have to learn to adjust, that’s all.”

 

Elsa gently took hold of Anna’s arm and turned the younger woman to face her.  “What’s wrong, Anna?  You know you can tell me anything and I won’t judge.”

 

“When you didn’t come back right away I went looking for you.”  Anna looked up into Elsa’s eyes.  “I’m sorry.”

 

The Queen withdrew her arm. “I see.”  She backed up a step at Anna’s expression.  “I needed to—relieve the pressure, Anna.  I’m the one who ought to be sorry, not you.”

 

“Well, are you?”  The question came out a little too harshly.

 

Elsa didn’t answer right away.  Hurt, she stepped away from Anna and turned from her.  “Yes, I am.”

 

Anna cringed on the inside. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt Elsa, especially in her time of need.  “Look, I have to get used to the idea that your body is changing.  You can’t help it, I know.  It makes me feel so helpless that I can’t do anything for you.”

 

“You do help, Anna. You are here with me now, are you not? I don’t think I could get through this if it wasn’t for your help and support.”  She breached the gap between them and folded her arms around her younger sister.  “I love you—you mixed up, crazy girl.”

 

Anna leaned her head on Elsa’s shoulder.  “We need to go, before it starts getting dark.”

 

The Queen looked around her. “It looks like I’m walking.”

 

“Nonsense, you can ride with me.”

 

Elsa was dubious. “How can we both fit on that animal?”

 

Anna batted away a fly. “Look at you; you’re as thin as a rail. Believe me, we both can fit on the saddle.”  She mounted her mare and offered her hand to Elsa.  “Come on, Elsa.”

 

The blonde put her foot in the stirrup and grabbed Anna’s hand; and then hoisted herself behind Anna. She was surprised to discover more than enough room for both of them.

 

*****

 

Pabbie watched the east and noted the distant wail, the same loathsome sound that the Queen of Arendelle had heard.  He turned his head, and saw that his fellow trolls were still curled up, resembling rocks. They didn’t hear it…  He wasn’t shocked by this knowledge, but made resolute in his pledge to the late king and queen of Arendelle.  Signs and wonders…  He scratched his head  and lowered his eyes; and thought about Agdar and Idun, wondering for the umpteenth time if either one had properly prepared Elsa for the upcoming trials.  There was still so much that he didn’t know; being so abruptly cut off from the royal family.  As time went by the old oaths were forgotten, magic was done away with, and the spirits of the trees and springs fell silent.  It was the way of things; change.  Diplomacy replaced feudal loyalties, science trumped the reading of the stars, and people grew restless as new technologies shrunk the world into a microcosm of itself.

 

He looked to the east again and shuddered, the weight of many worlds falling onto his less than sturdy shoulders.  But there was one thing that he was certain of.

 

The Queen of Arendelle was on the move, searching for answers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Elsa circled her arms around Anna’s waist and held on tightly.  The ground was now scattered about with heavier rocks, and their horse slowed down to maneuver about them.  When the horse reared up a little Elsa closed her eyes and whimpered, such was her fear.  In fact, the farther into the land of the trolls they progressed the higher the Queen’s anxiety became.  To the point of her believing that she was going to fall off their mount at any moment.

 

Finally, Anna had enough. “What is wrong with you, Elsa? Settle down back there, will you?”

 

“I can’t.”  Her eyes darted about.

 

“Well, if you squeeze any tighter I won’t be able to breathe.”  Anna turned her body to face her sister.  “It’s alright, Elsa.  We’re close to the troll’s home—probably less than fifteen minutes away.”

 

Elsa held on tighter as the pain on top of her head became unbearable.  She leaned her head on Anna’s shoulder and groaned in her discomfiture.  “I’m sorry, but the pain is more than I can take.”

 

“Do you want us to stop and take a rest?”

 

“Please, can we?”

 

Anna looked for an appropriate place to stop and saw an outcropping about twenty yards ahead that was surrounded by three large boulders.  A large horse chestnut grew beside the boulders, creating a shaded place to stop. As Anna steered the horse closer she felt a shift on her back.

 

“Elsa?”  The Queen’s arms loosened around her waist.  She was just about to panic when she heard a soft snore behind her.  Elsa had fallen asleep.  Anna grabbed ahold of the blonde’s arms to keep her from falling.  “Its okay, only a few more feet—and, there.  Wake up sleepy head.”

 

Elsa groaned, and then yawned while she lifted her head.  “But I don’t want to be awake, Anna.  I don’t feel the pain when I sleep.”

 

Anna quickly dismounted and held Elsa by her waist as the Queen came down from the horse.  The blonde was exhausted, and there were the beginnings of dark circles under her eyes.  Alarmed, Anna wrapped her arm around her sister’s waist and led her over to the shaded area under the ledge.  She placed the blonde against the tree and then retrieved the saddlebag and blanket. After she placed the blanket on the ground she guided Elsa over to the blanket and sat her down.  The blonde slumped down until she was on her back; she was asleep within seconds.  Anna removed her coat and placed it over her sister’s prone form.

 

Anna sat next to Elsa and used the time to examine the top of Elsa’s head, where the wounds were. She gently parted her hair and saw that the bony protuberances appeared to be bigger than they were in the morning, and the wounds themselves were bleeding slightly. 

 

Anna took in a deep breath and closed her eyes, her heart breaking immediately.  “Oh, Elsa, what are we going to do?”  She laid Elsa’s head in her lap and softly stroked her platinum blonde hair, thankful that she was asleep.  Anna had to remind herself that her sister was only 22 years old, and was much too young to be going through her current trials, and by default, so was she.  The redhead scooted back until her back rested against the chestnut and she closed her eyes.

 

*****

 

Anna’s eyes snapped open and for a brief moment she did not know where she was.  But she felt a weight on her lap and looked to down to find her sister’s head on her lap, just where she left it.  The Queen was still sleeping.  Sometime during her nap she had curled up into a fetal position and appeared to be… sucking her thumb.

 

The princess couldn’t help it, she laughed, hard.  “You are too adorable, Elsa.  I am never going to let you forget this.”  She nudged the Queen’s shoulder and Elsa whimpered.  But it was enough so that said thumb popped out of the blonde’s mouth.

 

Elsa stirred and opened her eyes.  “Oh, I needed this rest, thanks, Anna.”

 

“You were sucking your thumb, just like a baby.” 

 

The blonde slowly sat up. “What on earth are you talking about? I don’t suck my thumb, Anna—that would be undignified.”

 

“Oh, yes, you do—and if you think I’m going to let you forget it you are sorely mistaken.”

 

“I’m sore, alright.” Elsa ran her hands through her hair and felt the hard protrusions.  “They are bigger, aren’t they?”

 

Anna’s smile faded. “Yes.  I inspected your head earlier and saw them.”

 

Elsa looked up into Anna’s eyes and took her hand.  “What happens if the trolls can’t heal me?”

 

“I’m not even entertaining such a thought, Elsa.  They have magical powers, and you did tell me Pabbie cured me when I was little.”

 

“But what is happening to me seems to be more than just a magical spell.  We are involved in some sort of ancient prophecy—and are playing a part in an unfolding drama.”

 

“Are you saying that you don’t think we have a choice but to go along with it?  I don’t believe in that kind of thinking.  I believe we create our own fortunes, and that they can change.”

 

Elsa smiled, and lowered her head.  “You don’t believe in Fate?”

 

“Not anymore.”

 

“Did you once?”

 

“I did, when I thought I was to marry a prince and live happily ever after.  But look at what happened with Hans, that cowardly good-for-nothing fu—“

 

Elsa placed her a finger on Anna’s lips.  “Please, no negativity.  I don’t think I can take it right now.”  She sighed heavily, still a little groggy from her sleep.  “I need for you to promise me something, Anna?”

 

“Anything.  Whatever you want and need I will do it.”  Anna squeezed Elsa’s hand a little tighter.

 

“If the trolls can’t help me, and if my body doesn’t stop changing, I don’t think I’ll be able to rule Arendelle for much longer.”

 

Anna’s eyes went wide. “What?”

 

Elsa indicated her body. “Look at me, Anna.  I’m turning into—a freak.  Soon my hair won’t be able to hide whatever these things are.  And I can feel those things on back, and then let’s not mention…” She grasped her crotch. “…this!”

 

The princess tore her hand away and stood up.  “I can’t—I don’t want to talk about this now!”

 

The blonde stood as well and forced her sister to face her.  “We have to, Anna!  I don’t want to abdicate the throne, it’s not in me to give up and quit.  But I also don’t think my subjects will want an aberration ruling them, do you?  Look how long it took them to accept my powers; and what is happening to me now is…is…” Elsa let go of her sister’s arms. “You’ll have to take over, Anna. I can see no other way around this.”

 

A few tears slipped from the princess’s eyes.  “I wasn’t raised to be a Queen, Elsa.”

 

“I can teach you everything that I know.  You won’t be without any help.  Perhaps I should move to the North Mountain and stay there.”

 

“What?  No, you can stay at the castle in Arendelle.  There is no way I’m going to let you go up there alone!”  Anna was adamant. 

 

“Don’t you see?  Anna, you have to listen to me now, while I still have the ability to think and reason.  Arendelle will need a strong leader, someone who loves it just as much as I do, and that person is you.  I certainly don’t want to leave it in the hands of one our petty nobles.  They’ll war with each other until a victor is claimed—they’ll spoil the land and themselves in the process, and crush the people.  I don’t trust any of them.”  Elsa breathed in deeply.  “Do you think I want to return to the North Mountain?  There is nothing up there but ice and isolation.  But at least I wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone—hurt you.”

 

Anna was devastated. “You wouldn’t hurt me, Elsa.”

 

“I wouldn’t on purpose,” Elsa stated.  She sat back down, weary and drained. 

 

At that moment the wind picked up, blowing and swirling around them.  Anna looked up at the sky and saw the beginnings of storm clouds on the eastern horizon.  “Oh, no.”

 

*****

 

The Grand Pabbie paced back and forth on the threshold of his Kingdom and waited for the search parties to return.  He had sent out all of his people to search for the Queen, and so far none of them returned with her.  He was worried.  The signs were clear and unmistakable and he silently cursed himself for not perceiving them earlier.  But the stars were veiled, refusing to give up their secrets, and he could no longer read the messages hidden in the runes.  Time was slowly but inadvertently catching up to him, and for the first time he felt old. 

 

His arm joints ached and his fire crystals were dim.  His eyes were once burning embers of wisdom and knowledge.  But that fire had burned out long ago, and what was left, was only a shadow of his former self.  But the appointed time would come whether he was ready for it or not. 

 

He stopped pacing and looked to the east; roiling black clouds were on the horizon, and it was time to prepare for the arrival of the Queen.

 

*****

 

Elsa slumped on the saddle of the mare, holding on as best she could as Anna walked ahead of the animal, holding its reins.  The wind screamed in the east, and the animal became more skittish as the minutes flew by. But Anna was able to keep it from bolting by feeding it one sugary treat after another.  They rounded a rather large boulder and caught sight of Pabbie on the border of the Valley of the Living Rock.

 

Excited, Anna waved at him. “Grand Pabbie, over here!”

 

The shaman turned towards the voice, and breathed a sigh of relief.  He lifted his hand and clenched his fist, indicating for trolls to assist the Queen.  Several trolls came forward, some took the reins from Anna and led Elsa away to a safe place.  The others led the princess over the Grand Pabbie.

 

Anna tiredly walked to the older troll and bent down on her knee.  “Its good to see you again, Grand Pabbie.”

 

“Please, Princess Anna, I am just Pabbie.”  He looked over her shoulder to the east. “Will you come with me please.”

 

The shaman led Anna deeper into the forest that stood in the center of the Valley. The horse chestnuts and beech were scattered about the outside ring of the old wood, but at its center lie the oldest coniferous forest in the Kingdom of Arendelle. There was a proliferation of hot springs scattered all around the perimeter of the forest, and hot steam coated the trees and dripped down like rain.  The conifers rose high in the sky, and lanterns swung easily between them. 

 

Anna looked up at the growing dark sky and shivered.  “Where is Elsa?”

 

“I am taking you to her now. It will night soon and of what we must speak may not be uttered in darkness.”  Pabbie passed between two boulders and followed a path through the trees that eventually led, after several long minutes, to an opening to a rather large cave.  He stopped at its entrance and pointed inward.  “The Queen rests in that dwelling, and so must you Princess. Until tomorrow.”  The troll didn’t wait for a response and immediately left to follow the path deeper into the forest.

 

Anna stood there for a few moments, startled by the sudden departure of the shaman.  “Well…” 

 

She entered into the cave and noticed that the rocky tunnel sloped downward at a small angle and then opened up to a rather large dwelling space, about two stories high.  Anna looked around but couldn’t find the source of light, as it appeared that the rocky walls were themselves glowing. There was a rather large bed that was built between four stalagmites and Elsa was laying on it.  Other than the bed, the cave was devoid of furniture that a human could be comfortable on.

 

Anna rushed over to the bed to check on Elsa.  She moved to the blonde’s feet to take off her boots.  After she removed the right boot she was caught off guard by the coloring of her sister’s foot.  She wasn’t sure if it was caused by the strange lightening in the cave or if she was really seeing a bluish tint to Elsa’s foot.  At a closer examination she noticed that the skin on the foot seemed to be thicker, with a scaly appearance to it.  She quickly removed the other boot and saw the same thing on the left foot.

 

Anna threw the boots to the side of the bed and took hold of Elsa’s hands.  They looked normal to her, but instead of breathing a sigh of relief, she inhaled sharply and looked at her sister’s feet again, her suspicion confirmed; Elsa’s feet were changing color.  She sat back on the bed and fresh tears ran down her cheeks.

 

“Please don’t cry.”

 

The princess looked up and saw that her sister was awake and watching her.  “I can’t help it.”

 

Elsa sat up and looked at her feet.  She dispassionately passed her hands over them, feeling the thickness of the skin and the scale-like appearance.  After sighing she looked to Anna, who was still crying.  “Will you listen to me now, snowflake?”

 

Anna threw her arms around Elsa’s neck and cried even harder.  Elsa had not called her ‘snowflake’ in years, not since they were young children.  “Oh, yes, Elsa.”

 

The blonde wrapped her arms around her sister’s waist and pulled her closer.  “I will abdicate quietly and you will be queen, Anna.”

 

The princess’s body wracked with sobs.  “No, no…”

 

“It is the way of things, is it not, dear sister?”  Elsa pulled Anna onto her lap.  “One sovereign replacing the other in a dire time of need.  I’m sure the nobles will be glad to be rid of me.”

 

Anna’s hands fisted and she rested them on Elsa’s shoulders.  “I can’t…I don’t want to do it.”

 

Elsa slowly began to rock back and forth, and gently wiped away Anna’s tears.  “I know you don’t want to.  But I will be there, remember?  I’ll lead you through all the steps.  You won’t be alone, Anna.”

 

Anna’s body reacted, imperceptibly, to the motion under her and she squeezed her eyes shut.  Elsa was barely moving, but it was enough to stir something in Anna that she never felt before—something that was raw and unyielding—and it forced her mouth open with a loud gasp. 

 

The pant seemed to break the spell between them, and Anna slipped off of Elsa’s lap with the tiniest of whimpers.  “I can’t, Elsa, I’m sorry.”

 

Elsa lowered her eyes and covered up her lap.  She wasn’t sure at that moment what Anna was saying ‘no’ to.  “You must be Queen if I can’t be.”  Elsa slid over to the side of the bed and picked up her boots.  “No more dresses for me.”

 

Anna looked at her over her shoulder.  “Why not?”

 

“Imagine what my feet will look like in heels.  I don’t want anyone seeing the changes, Anna.  Only you.”

 

Anna turned around and faced her sister.  Could she really do what Elsa was asking of her?  Only this morning she wanted to vomit at the look of the ‘wings’ coming out of Elsa’s back.  Would she be able to tolerate the dreadful transformation her sister was going through? Another terrible thought occurred to her—would Elsa also lose her mind?  Would this bodily transformation do something to the inner person that was Elsa, to the sister she loved more than life itself?  Being a Queen seemed like a simple thing compared to what she would have endure if Elsa slowly withered away.

 

“I’m hungry.”

 

Anna’s turmoil was interrupted by Elsa’s simple declaration.  She smiled despite herself.  “I don’t have anything to eat.  I didn’t bring the saddle bag with me.”

 

Elsa finished putting on her boots.  “Let’s look about, shall we, and see what we can find.”  She didn’t have to go far, as there was a basket at the cave’s entrance. Elsa picked it up and brought back over to the bed.  “Someone is taking care of us, I think.”

 

Anna opened the basket and found food in it.  “I didn’t think the trolls ate any of this.”  She pulled out a sausage, bread, cheese, and various fruits from the basket. “Look at this, Elsa.”

 

“I see.  Do we have a knife to cut that sausage?”

 

Anna found one, and plates. After cutting off a large slice of meat she gave it to Elsa.

 

The blonde piled her plate high with food and began to eat like she hadn’t had a decent meal in days. “I’ve never had much of an appetite, but I feel ravenous.”

 

Anna looked up and wondered if this was part of the change that her sister was going through. “Don’t worry, Elsa, I’m always hungry.”

 

“I know.  I remember mother having to bribe me to eat my supper.”

 

The princess stuffed a hunk of cheese into her mouth.  “She did?”

 

“Almost every night. I think that’s how I became addicted to chocolate.”  Elsa smiled as she ate, almost as if she didn’t have a care in the world. 

 

It made Anna a little nervous, wondering if Elsa was already losing her senses.  “Are you okay, Elsa?”

 

The Queen put her plate on her lap.  “Considering everything I seem to be in fine spirits tonight.”

 

“Why?”  It was a simple question, but carried more meaning behind it.

 

“Because we are safe here in this cave, under the protection of a shaman.  I have a feeling we won’t have too many more nights like this, Anna, and I really want to enjoy it.  Is there anything to drink in the basket?”

 

Anna dug through the bottom of the basket and produced a small jug.  But it contained only water.  “Just water, I’m afraid.”

 

“Well, that’s too bad. I’d have rather enjoyed a good cup of ale.”

 

“But you don’t like beer, Elsa.”  Anna snickered at the pout on her sister’s face.

 

“I know.  But I’m really in the mood to experience as many things as I can, Anna, before—I can’t.”  Elsa grimaced and clutched at her head.  “I’m in pain again.”

 

“Perhaps its time to sleep. I’ve noticed it helps to get you through the pain.”

 

Elsa looked up.  “Do you mind if I sleep?”  She put down her plate and took off her boots before crawling under the covers.  “Just give me a few minutes.” 

 

Anna sighed and watched Elsa as she snored.  “Good night, Elsa.”

 

*****

 

Anna opened her eyes and blinked, and the reality of where she was broke over her.  She felt a pressure on her back and realized that Elsa was holding onto her from behind, her arm wrapped around her waist.  The blonde’s shallow breathing was ghosting over the back of her neck.  At that moment Anna felt completely loved, and it was a bittersweet feeling.  After a short while, she felt Elsa shift behind her, her hip aligning with her own, and then her sister whimpered softly.

 

Elsa’s need was obvious, yet Anna was dumbfounded on how to help her.  A part of her bewilderment was due to her own inexperience in such things. Kristoff had been too much of a gentleman to even broach the subject, and she never asked him to.  His kisses were hesitant, tremulous, and more often than not left her bereft, and wanting.  The other part of her, long dormant for want of companionship, basked in certain curiosity, and wanted to ask Elsa what she needed, and that frightened her.  There was something about her that was different, and it had nothing to do with her physical transformation.  Anna fought with own ignorance on how to describe it. The only thing that her mind could think of was how the men at court delighted in when she changed her perfumes. It never failed to arouse their—curiosity, or their ambitions toward her.  Yes, it was as if her sister had changed her ‘perfume’ somehow, and whatever it was that was wafting from her… it was… it was…

 

Intoxicating.

 

Anna’s head was swimming with the implications of her new knowledge.  But she didn’t get the chance to think more about it as Elsa stirred behind her, rousing from her sleep.

 

The Queen opened her eyes and rolled over onto her back.  She turned her head and saw Anna beside her.  “Is it a good morning?”

 

“I don’t know, yet,” Anna breathed, trying to keep her keep her rapid heartbeat under control.

 

“What do mean by that?”

 

Anna turned over and was about to say something but then she stopped.  There were tiny spots of blood on top of Elsa’s hair.  She sat up and pulled Elsa with her.  “Let me look at your head, okay?”

 

Elsa nodded and lowered her head.  “What is it?”

 

Anna looked at the clearly visible horns and let out a ragged breath.  “They’re longer, Elsa.  About an inch long now.”

 

“Will my hair cover them?”

 

“For now, but, I don’t know about tomorrow.”  Anna pulled Elsa’s head to her and kissed her on the forehead.  “Will you let me see your back?”

 

Elsa turned away from the princess and lifted the shirt over her head, not bothering to unbutton it. Anna kept her eyes closed for a moment, to prepare herself for what she might see.  The slits on the Queen’s back were at least five inches long now, and the dark leathery skin that was protruding from them stuck out about two inches.  Anna touched one of the ‘wings’ and it flapped.

 

Anna jerked her hand away. “Did you do that?”

 

Elsa lowered her head and sat quiet for a moment.  “Yes, I did. Your fingers were—ticklish.”

“Can you keep them inside your body?  Do they have to come out?”

 

Elsa focused her attention on her back, and on her new wings.  She consciously thought about the wings, and wanted them to retract, but they stayed outside of her body.  “No, I can make them move, but I can’t put them away.”

 

“Queen Elsa!”

 

Both Anna and Elsa started at the intrusion, and Elsa hastily put her shirt back on.  But before either one of them could say anything Bulda came into view, hopping into the cave with a goofy grin on her face. But when she saw Elsa she stopped, mouth open slightly, and tilted her head.  “Dark magic.”

 

Anna and Elsa looked at each other before Elsa stood.  “Hello, Bulda.  Its nice to see you again.”

 

Whatever fog Bulda had been in dissipated, and she warmly embraced the Queen.  “Queen Elsa!”  The troll wrapped her stubby arms around Elsa’s legs.  “My father wonders when he can see you.”

 

Anna spoke up.  “Now would be a good time.”

 

*****

 

Bulda led the Queen and princess out of the cave and into the deeper forest of the Valley.  They followed a rocky path towards its center and the farther they walked the denser the wood, until the branches obscured the light from the sun, and the morning was turned night as if my magic.

 

After awhile Anna took Elsa’s hand.  “Do you mind, Elsa?”

 

Elsa offered her sister a reassuring smile.  “I don’t mind at all.  Be brave, my little snowflake.”

 

Anna blushed and walked at her sister’s side.  “You haven’t called me that in years.”

 

“There are many things that I plan on rectifying.”

 

The narrow and dense path finally opened up to a rather large circular clearing in the exact center of the forest.  All the trolls were gathered there now, sitting in semi-circular rows around the dell. The Grand Pabbie stood at the center, on a flat spherical stone that was polished a bright white, and in the center of the polished stone stood a massive tree, reaching up beyond all the others.  He motioned for the Queen to come over to him the moment he saw her.  Anna let go of Elsa’s hand and nudged her forward.

 

“Queen Elsa of Arendelle.” The old troll took Elsa’s hand in his and closed his eyes.  “Welcome to Yggdrasil—the center of the world.  Midgard is yours, but Asgard is home to the gods, and you may not dwell there.  Here you will find Dagr and Nótt existing in harmony, one with the other, and no opposition between them.”

 

Elsa stood, mouth agape, and absorbed Pabbie’s words.  “I understand.”

 

“If you mock me Ratatoskr will nip at your heels.”

 

The blonde stood tall. “I will not mock you, Grand Pabbie. Veðrfölnir will see that I do not go back on my word.”

 

Pabbie visibly relaxed, and opened up his arms to the Queen. Elsa allowed the shaman to embrace her. “Greetings, adopted daughter.”

 

Elsa stood back.  “We seem to be at an appointed hour, Pabbie. May I call my sister to my side?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Elsa turned around and held out her hand to Anna who immediately came to her.  Elsa smiled reassuringly at Anna and the princess squeezed her hand. 

 

Pabbie let go of Elsa’s hand and began a slow walk around the massive center tree.  Anna and Elsa followed him.  “The universe is in constant kinesis—observe the three great roots of this tree—Sól, Máni, and Jörð—live in harmony, one to the other, always in motion.”  The troll stopped and turned to those trolls gathered.  “Have I spoken a lie?”

 

A series of calls and yells could be heard coming from the trolls, agreeing with each other that no lies were spoken.  The vehemence in their voices startled Anna, and she held onto Elsa’s hand a little tighter.

 

Pabbie held up his hands and his fire crystals glowed a bright yellow.  “We have entered into a new dimension where the meetings of the worlds are inevitable.  We find ourselves at the end and at the beginning simultaneously.”  He turned and looked pointedly at the Queen.  “You, Queen Elsa, are at the meeting point of what is and what is to be.”

 

Anna let go of Elsa’s hand and took a step closer to the old troll.  “What does that mean?”

 

Pabbie pointed to Elsa. “The Queen is the axis mundi, and the nine worlds spiral into her.”

 

Anna frowned.  “I think we need for you to be a little less cryptic.”

 

Elsa’s eyes went wide at her sister’s forwardness, and she shook her head.  “No, Anna.  Just listen, okay?”

Pabbie eyed Anna for a moment before he turned back to the Queen.  “If I may ask, Queen Elsa.  Do you exhibit the changes?”

 

Elsa lowered her head. “Do you mean these?”  She parted her hair for the old troll to see.

 

The Grand Pabbie sighed. “I see.  I hoped that you would be spared these alterations.”

 

“Wait, what?  You knew this was going to happen to me?”  Elsa couldn’t keep the anger from her voice. She reached back and grabbed Anna’s hand.

 

“I am sorry for all that your parents didn’t teach you.  They were tasked with preparing you for the day of Fimbulvetr.”

 

Elsa was livid.  “They told me about it every year on the solstice.  But beyond that, nothing!”

 

“Your mother was taught to read the signs and to interpret them for you.”

 

“She was?” Elsa looked to Anna then back to Pabbie. “Why didn’t she tell me?”

 

“There was a stubbornness in her heart.”  Pabbie looked sad, as if he was reliving a memory.

 

“No, there wasn’t!”  Angry, Anna pointed her finger at the old troll.  “She was decent and kind!”

 

“I never said she was otherwise.”  Pabbie looked to Elsa. “I feel as if I have let you down,  Queen Elsa.   When you parents died, I should have taken it upon myself to prepare you for the trials to come.”  The old troll slumped, his shoulders sagging.  “Even now there is war on the horizon.”

 

Elsa looked surprised.  “Impossible. Arendelle is at peace.”

 

“It is not of Arendelle of which I speak.”  Pabbie’s face hardened.  “You have enemies, Queen Elsa.  Even now there are plans against you.  Old enemies are now friends, and they draw their armies together to strike as one.”

 

Elsa was shocked.  Arendelle had diplomats in all the surrounding Kingdoms, and none of them ever complained of unrest.  “Will Arendelle fall?”

 

“That depends.”

 

The blonde’s hands drew into fists.  “On what?”

 

“Acceptance.”

 

Elsa could feel the horns growing on her head.  She reached up and felt them as they grew to the top of her hairline.  In pain, she reached for Anna.  “Anna, I need some help.”

 

Anna grabbed Elsa by the waist and prevented her from falling.  She turned angry eyes on the shaman.  “Look at what’s happening to her!  Can’t you see that she is in pain?  Why don’t you do anything for her?”

 

The Grand Pabbie reached over to Elsa and put his hand on her head.  His fire crystals glowed stronger and the energy flowed from his crystals to Elsa’s head.

 

Elsa groaned as her head was enfolded in a soft luminescence.  The energy swirled around her head until it was engulfed completely.  Anna watched as Elsa recovered from her fainting spell.  The Queen sighed and shook her head slightly, her plait loosened and her hair fell over her shoulders.  After a short while, she straightened with Anna’s help. 

 

The Queen looked over to Pabbie, who was leaning heavily on his walking stick. “Are you alright, Grand Pabbie?”

 

A few trolls wandered over to the shaman and were helping him to stand.  Pabbie looked up and his eyes locked with the Queen’s. “Do you accept, Elsa?”

 

Elsa gave Anna a reassuring nod.  “What is it that you need me to assent to?”

 

“The dragon.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Pabbie nearly collapsed from exhaustion, and allowed his fellow trolls to guide him into a nearby cave, similar to the one that Elsa and Anna had used.  He sat in a wide overstuffed chair and the Queen and Princess pulled up chairs to sit by him.

 

The old shaman sat very still for a long while, and only spoke when Anna began to fidget.  “We need to speak of Jörmungandr, Queen Elsa.”

 

Elsa sat back in her chair and crossed her legs.  “I am more interested in speaking of Arendelle, and of this war you say is coming.”

 

“War is inevitable, as Fimbulvetr is inevitable.  Destiny cannot be broken, nor can men meddle in the affairs of the gods.”

 

“But what of Arendelle,” Elsa insisted.

 

“Arendelle finds its enemies conspiring against it, they fulfill the ancient prophecy, yet they remain in ignorance and darkness because they fail to understand the ageless prognostications.”  Pabbie sighed heavily.  “They will fight under a banner of their own delusions. “

 

“There is something I don’t understand,” Anna spoke out.  “I thought there has to be three years of eternal winter.”

 

Elsa turned to Anna and gently took her hand.  “Did we not spend 3 years completely apart, after our parents died?  It was like an eternal winter for me—my powers out of control, being without you.  The Fimbulvetr exists within me, doesn’t it, Grand Pabbie?”

 

“It subsists within you and in the world, as you can now see.”

 

Elsa glanced at her sister, her feelings raw.  “Don’t you see, Anna?  The three years of horrible winters was mine alone to bear, which I did.”  The Queen looked down, not wanting to relive those memories.  “Yes.”

 

Anna nodded, although she remained slightly doubtful.  “I understand, Elsa.”

 

The Queen sat back in her chair.  “I do not worry over myself, but for those that are under my protection—my Kingdom.”

 

Anna squinted at Elsa, incredulous.  “Well I’m anxious over you.”  She looked over at Pabbie.  “What can you do to help her?”

 

Pabbie frowned.  “Your sister lies at the center of what is to come, Princess Anna.  I can not change this.”

 

Elsa reached over and grasped her sister’s hand.  “Please, Anna.”

 

Anna wrenched her hand free and stood up.  “No, I refuse to believe this!  You have to do something to help her.  Look at what’s happening to her body.  Are you saying you can’t cure her?”

 

Pabbie looked confused for a moment.  “You wish me to interfere with Jörmungandr and the Fimbulvetr? This I cannot do—I must not do, if destiny is to be fulfilled.”

 

The princess began to pace.  “I don’t care about destiny, or prophecies, or any of that!  My sister is—“

 

The blonde stood and wrapped Anna in her arms.  “Please, Anna.  Will you do a favor for me?”

 

Anna blinked back some tears.  “Anything, Elsa.”

 

“Stop your arguing, it is not helping me.  Okay?”

 

Anna squeezed her eyes shut and blew out a ragged breath.  “Okay.”

 

The Queen guided her sister to her seat.  “Please sit down, Anna.”  Elsa returned to her own chair.  “Tell me of Jörmungandr.”

 

Pabbie blinked.  “Midgard is not completely abandoned or left unaided in the days of Fimbulvetr.  There is the prophecy of Jörmungandr, the serpent, who will stand in the midst of war and the nine worlds to bring about harmony with the jötnar.  Only when there is concord between Jörmungandr and jötnar may the Fimbulvetr pass by the world, and cleanse it.”

 

If Elsa was shocked or surprised by Pabbie’s words she didn’t show it.  She merely nodded, and then asked, “What is jötnar?”

 

“The inhabitants of one of the nine worlds.  They are mysterious and secretive, yet they hide in the midst of Midgard, for all to see. I can tell you that if you do not deny Jörmungandr the jötnar will come to the aid of Arendelle at its time of need.  This is what I discern from the prophecies.”

 

Elsa sat back in her chair and pondered everything that the Grand Pabbie revealed. After a short while she looked up. “Am I the Jörmungandr?”

 

“Only if you accept destiny.”

 

Elsa stood again.  “I need a moment. Please excuse me.”  With that she left the cave and went outside to the forest.  It somehow looked different from when they first entered it; looking more enchanted, as if otherworldly creatures really inhabited it. She wandered about the trees in thought. Was it really as outlandish as it sounded, or as Anna made it out to be?  She was born with powers, after all, and nobody seemed to question that once it was no longer a secret.  The castle staff didn’t even bat an eye, nor did the people when they saw how benevolent a ruler she was.  Was it possible that there were magical creatures about, and that the world was subject to them and the ancient stories? 

 

If the people accepted her ice powers could they not accept other magical things? Elsa snorted, and stopped moving. Magic.  It was scary what she didn’t know of the things that were not of this world, that were not of Arendelle and its people.  Had she really lived in ignorance all these years? And if so, at what price?

 

The Queen looked up from her wanderings and saw she was at the Yggdrasil—the center tree at the heart of the forest.  She looked up into its high branches and thought she saw… There was something amongst the higher branches of the great white tree, and it was looking at her, she was sure of it.  Then it moved, and skipped downward, from one branch to another, its eyes never leaving her as it moved. 

 

Elsa realized that she wasn’t afraid of the creature as it slithered down towards her. It stopped when it was about twenty yards from her, and poked its head out from the branches and eyed her warily. Elsa had seen lizards in the Arendelle zoo, but this was something beyond that, because there was certain intelligence in its eyes.  She felt as if the creature was scrutinizing her, as if it were taking her measure. 

 

As soon as she locked gazes with the creature all doubts and uncertainties faltered within her.  Here was something that was not part of the world she grew up in, but something that lived here, in this magical forest, and was so obviously alive.

 

Time seemed to stop.  But, then again, the passage of time had no meaning here.

 

Just as Elsa was about to turn around and leave the wyrm spoke.  “Greetings, Queen Elsa of Arendelle.  I am Níðhöggr of the Yggdrasil.”

 

Elsa wasn’t surprised that the beast could speak, and she could feel the creature’s menace.  “What do you want from me?”

 

“Surely kin will recognize kin?”  The dragon rolled onto its back and appeared to smirk. 

 

“What am I to you?” Elsa couldn’t be sure, but she felt a loathsome humor roll off the beast.

 

“Brother, sister—what does it matter?”

 

Elsa eyed the creature speculatively.  “So, you believe we are related in some way?  How can we be when I am a human and you are…?”

 

“Me?  Oh, do not concern yourself over what we are—only be happy in that we finally meet.  That is the most important thing, Queen Elsa.”

“Oh, so this is an auspicious occasion?”  Elsa was not about to trust what the creature said to her.  Her inner voice was practically screaming at her at this point, and she listened.

 

The dragon was not put off. “Do I detect a hint of sarcasm, Queen Elsa?  This won’t do at all.”  It’s voice deepened.  “I am here to enlighten you.”

 

“Tell me, then, friend. What is the next move?”

 

“Oh, no, Queen Elsa. We are not at odds at all.  But I really must insist, in the name of hospitality, that we should dispense with all this flummery and nonsense.”  There was a cold fire burning in its eyes.  “Shall we have a proper greeting, as friends?”

 

Elsa noticed the look in its eyes, and stood firm.  “If you are expecting me to fear you then you are mistaken.”

 

Níðhöggr cackled. “Fear?  Why ought you to fear me, Queen Elsa?  I only wish is to welcome you.  Just beg me to come down from Yggdrasil so that we may be friends.”

 

Elsa was wary, and knew not to do as the creature insisted.  “I’m afraid I won’t do that.  It doesn’t seem to be prudent.”  She felt a familiar tingling in her hands.

 

The wyrm paused, its face momentarily hardened.  “What of hospitality?  Surely we can at least embrace?”

 

The blonde shook her head. “No.”  The prickling in her hands becoming almost painful.

 

The wyrm contorted, and its face became human-like.  “Do not mock me, Jörmungandr!  I would tear at your face if only you would let me!”

 

Elsa felt something stir within her, a feeling of complete familiarity, and then certitude.  “You know that I’ll never consent to you coming off Yggdrasil.  You bring pestilence and havoc. You would pollute the world with your chaos should I let you down. Yes, did you think that I didn’t know you, Níðhöggr—or that you’d trick me into a friendly greeting so that you could escape?  I do know you, wyrm, and brother.  I have seen you in my dreams.”  Elsa lifted her hands and a blast of ethereal ice flew to surround the base of the giant white tree.  It floated there, and moved into an orbit, surrounding the tree.  “Go back and hide in the three roots.”

 

The creature hissed and then disappeared back into the branches, and there was a mighty rumble at the base of Yggdrasil as Níðhöggr passed into the foundation of the world, never to be seen again.

 

Elsa took a step back and looked at her hands, and marveled at the return of her powers.

 

Back in the cave, Pabbie’s eyes went wide at the tremor and he looked pointedly at Anna.  “She has accepted.”  He collapsed on the ground.

 

*****

 

The Duke of Weselton cried out from his bed as the earth shook, and screamed for his nurses to come to his assistance.  But they were terrified by the earthquake, and hid under a table as the portraits fell from the walls and shattered on the carpeted floors.  Weselton shot up into a sitting position, his eyes fixed on something that only he could see, and before he could utter another word, he fell back down to his bed and died. 

 

*****

 

Prince Hans of the Southern Isles sat with his generals in the great meeting hall of the castle, strategizing over the upcoming war with Arendelle when the floor began to shake.

 

“It’s an earthquake!” General Hilfred shouted.

 

“No one move!”  Hans rested his hands on the table, and smiled serenely. 

 

Hilfred panicked.  “We need to get outside!”

 

After a few moments the walls stopped shaking and the floor stopped moving.  Hans looked up at the ceiling before speaking.  “That was an auspicious happening, don’t you think, General?”

 

The man looked at his Commander as if he was crazy.  “We could have been killed!”

 

Hans merely shook his head. “I don’t believe in coincidences, do you?  Here we are planning out our war against our enemy and the earth shakes?  It is a sign from God that we are the righteous ones, and that our war is just!  Does anyone disagree with me?”  When no one answered the prince pressed forward.  “Alright, then.  Now, let us continue…”

 

*****

 

Arendelle absorbed the earthquake as it did all others, and its citizens braced for more. But the earth shook only once.

 

*****

 

Anna rushed to Pabbie and knelt down next to the old troll.  “Grand Pabbie!”  She held his face and frantically looked about the cave. “Help!  Will someone please help us?”

 

Several trolls entered the cave and went over to their fallen shaman.  They picked him up and carried him away just as Elsa was returning to the cave.  She stared at the old troll then she went over to her sister.

 

“Anna, what happened to Pabbie?”

 

Anna was visibly shaking.  “He… he crumpled after—what was that, anyway?”

 

Elsa wrapped an arm around Anna’s waist and looked to the entrance of the cave. “Something foul tempted me while I was out thinking, and… well, I took care of it.”  Elsa looked at Anna and wondered how much she could tell her. “Do you trust me, Anna?”

 

“Yes, absolutely.”

 

“Do you? I need for you to let go of all doubt, and if nothing else, believe in me and in what I must do to ensure that you and Arendelle remain safe.”

 

Anna frowned. “You make it sound like a bad thing.”

 

“No, not bad. But I fear you may not like some of the decisions I will make.”  Elsa wrapped her sister in a tight embrace.

 

Anna rested her head on Elsa’s shoulder.  “Well, what kind of decisions?”

 

“Let us not worry over such things right now.”  Elsa turned her head and buried her nose in Anna’s hair.  It felt good to hold her, perhaps a little too good.

 

Anna didn’t appear to notice Elsa’s slight discomfort.  “I hope Pabbie will be alright.  Elsa, how much longer do we have to stay here?  I want to go home.”

 

The blonde smiled and tugged at her sister.  “Come on, let’s go outside; I want to show you something.”  Elsa led Anna outside the cave but then stopped abruptly.  “Where did the trolls disappear to?”

 

Anna looked about the woods.  “How could they be gone so quickly?”

 

“Never mind, let’s go.”  The Queen led Anna back through the forest and took her to the Yggdrasil.  When they were at its base Anna stared wide-eyed at the large white tree and the ice slowly circling around it.

 

“You did this, didn’t you, Elsa.  Your powers are back.”

 

“They never really went away; were only subdued for a time being until I was reconciled to the world.”  Elsa looked up, and noticed the sun’s position in the sky. It had not changed since their arrival in the Valley.

 

Anna glanced at her sister.  “You sound like Pabbie.”  She shyly took her sister’s hand.  “Tell me what’s going on up here.”  She pointed to Elsa’s head.

 

“Besides my new horns?  I think I need to be Jörmungandr.”

 

Anna sighed, and remembered Elsa’s plea to trust her.  “You are going to have to give me some time to accept it—with everything that’s going on.”

 

Elsa leaned forward, until their foreheads were touching.  “Don’t feel that you are alone in this, there are a few things that do trouble me.”  She put her hands on Anna’s hips.  “I don’t want to hurt you, Anna.  I need reassurances from these—trolls, that I don’t become a complete monster.  I need to know that I will retain my humanity.” There was certainly morethat troubled her about the Fimbulvetr itself, and specificparts of the prophecy. But she kept those to herself at the moment.

 

Anna felt a few tears again.  “I refuse to believe you will be a monster, Elsa.”

 

“I have no desire to be one, either.”  Elsa took a step back, and decided to lighten the mood.  “I don’t know about you but I could sure use some time in one of these hot springs.”

 

“There was one near the entrance to the cave we slept in.”  Anna looked about her at the forest.  “But I don’t know how to get back there.”

 

Elsa looked ahead, as if she was seeing it in her mind’s eye.  “I know.  Follow me.”

 

*****

 

Pabbie opened his eyes to see his daughter, Bulda standing before him, along with his apprentice, Hølje.  They were in the great clearing at the Valley of the Living Rock.  Pabbie rose and noticed that the other trolls had already withdrew into themselves. 

 

The old troll sighed. “Hølje, tell me what you have learned?”

 

The younger troll’s fire crystals glowed a very faint yellow.  “It is Weselton and the Westegaard’s.  They draw up plans against Arendelle—and they call upon the ancient feudal loyalties to draw other Kingdoms into the great battle to come.”

 

Pabbie looked troubled. “Whom else do they call upon?”

 

“They have sent emissaries to Arendelle’s chief ally—Corona.”

 

“How can they?”  Bulda cried.  “Corona against Arendelle—kin against kin.”

 

Hølje looked to the east. “See—even the elements themselves take sides.  The winds and the great storms have fallen under the influence of the enemies of Arendelle.”

 

*****

 

Elsa followed her instinct and led them back through the forest to the cave they spent the night in. It didn’t surprise her to find their mare at the cave’s entrance, or the provisions provided for them for the journey back to Arendelle.  What did surprise her was that her own horse was there, as well, and it appeared to be unharmed and well cared for.  The Queen wondered again about the true nature of the trolls whose land they were in, and of what magic they possessed.  She watched as Anna calmly walked over to the beasts and rummaged in the saddlebag, looking for the sugary treats.

 

The blonde blinked, and noted again, that the hour had not changed.  She felt a little panicky, even though they were safe in the Valley.  “Anna, ought we to head back to Arendelle?”

 

The princess looked up from where she was giving her horse a treat.  “You think so?”

 

“How can we be gone for so long without anyone noticing?” Elsa stood at the entrance to the cave.

 

Anna noticed her sister’s uneasiness.  “I thought you said we are safe here.  Don’t you think Arendelle is, as well?”

 

Elsa blew out a ragged breath.  “I’m sorry, Anna.  Well, you see, the sun hasn’t moved since we arrived at this Valley—my senses are just a bit overwhelmed.”  She slumped against the rock wall.  “I’m not feeling…”

 

Anna was at her side in an instant.  “Come on inside, only a few steps and we’ll be in there.”  After she took hold of Elsa she led her inside the cave.

 

The cave had not been disturbed since their earlier time in it, and Anna led Elsa over to the large bed and helped her to sit down.  When she was certain that her sister wouldn’t fall over she went to fetch some water. When she returned Elsa had removed her shirt and was trying to scratch at her back. 

 

“What is it?”  Anna placed the jug of water next to the bed and kneeled next to her sister.

 

“My back is hurting; it feels as if my skin is ripping apart.”

 

Anna stood quickly and turned Elsa so she could see her back.  The slits were longer, and the leathery skin that protruded from them extended about six inches from her back.  Anna examined the wings and for the first time saw the outline of bone in them. She turned back to face her sister. “Can you move them?”

 

“That’s the problem, Anna. It hurts.”

 

“Maybe if you tried to stretch them.  You know, ease the stiffness a little.”

 

Elsa concentrated on her back and the wings began to stretch apart until there was a definite pop. The Queen started at the sensation and her eyes widened.  “What happened?”

 

“They came out a little more, and there’s a little blood on them.”  Anna still had to fight against the urge to vomit at the sight, as it sickened her a bit.  “Come on to the hot spring, Elsa, we need to clean your back.”

 

The Queen bent down and removed her boots; she felt a minute amount of blood trickle down her back. She looked up and saw the look in Anna’s eyes.  “This disgusts you, doesn’t it?”

 

The princess glanced at her sister; her emotions conflicted.  The physical changes in Elsa bothered her, she knew as much.  But there was something else about Elsa—it wafted from her in waves—a musky scent of some sort, which had her captured.  “I don’t know how you want me to answer that, Elsa.  But blood does make me queasy, yes.”  She took Elsa’s hand.  “Come.”

 

Anna led them to the nearest hot springs, about forty feet from the cave’s entrance, which was partially hidden by tall foliage.  She helped Elsa to the edge of the water and turned around as Elsa removed her pants. When her sister was in the water, Anna hesitated for a moment, feeling a bit self-conscious. 

 

Elsa groaned as she slid into the hot steaming water.  She moved until she found a sturdy, flat stone to sit on and then dunked her head. When she surfaced with a splash Anna was still not in the hot spring with her, but was sitting on the water’s edge. “Is something wrong, Anna?”

 

Anna hesitated for a moment, and tried to sort through the conflicting emotions within.  The princess squirmed a little, and was experiencing an unfamiliar feeling.  “Would you believe me if I said I was feeling shy?”

 

Elsa snorted, and offered her sister a crooked smile.  “No, I would not.  Now come on in, it will be good for you.”

 

“Turn around, please.”

 

Elsa complied.  From behind her she could hear the rustle of clothing being discarded, and a certain inner part of her perked up at the sound. She slowly turned her head slightly and caught a glimpse of freckled skin.  The impact on her psyche was immediate and lasting, and she turned away from an unsuspecting Anna and closed her eyes.  There was something inside of her—primal and in need—and it was growing, slowly but surely.  How long would it be until she was completely shattered by this hungry beast?  Elsa didn’t know, but she had to protect Anna from it.  The beast growled and fought to surface completely to claim its prize.  But Elsa fought it down, and it cowered, but not before leaving a physical evidence of its presence. 

 

As Anna dipped into the hot springs Elsa slid farther away from her, in the pretense of dunking her head again.  But Anna did see, and she closed her eyes and wrestled against her body’s visceral reaction to the hardened flesh. 

 

Elsa and Anna locked gazes; this fight was going to be tougher than they originally thought.

 

Chapter Text

Elsa and Anna guided their steads through the rocky terrain on the outskirts of the Valley of the Living Rock.  The further away from the troll’s territory they moved, the worse Elsa began to feel. It wasn’t long before she was slumped in the saddle again, cradling her aching head.  Anna maneuvered her horse towards Elsa’s and took hold of the reins, leading them towards a shaded grove of horse chestnuts, where the ground had more grass and was less rocky.  She found a well-shaded tree and stopped the horses.  After she tied the animals to the tree she spread the blanket out and then helped Elsa from her horse and guided her under to the coverlet.

 

Elsa fell to her knees and then bent over, clutching her head.  She moved her hands over the horns before collapsing on her side.  “Anna, I’m not well.”

 

Anna brought over the saddlebag and moved to sit next to her sister.  “It’s the horns, this time, isn’t it?”

 

The Queen closed her eyes. “Yes.  Maybe I ought to have stayed with the trolls.”

 

Anna reached over and brushed a few errant locks off of her sister’s forehead.  “What, and drive them just as crazy as you do me?”

 

Elsa eyed Anna, and then chuckled slightly.  “Am I that bad?”

 

“Insufferably so, I’m afraid.”

 

The Queen rolled onto her back.  “I don’t suppose we have any food, do we?”  Her stomach growled rather loudly.

 

Anna opened the saddlebag and peered inside.  “Hmm, let’s see.”  She reached into the bag and pulled out bread, cheese, dried fruit, and what appeared to be aged salami.  “All the comforts of home.” 

 

Elsa sat up slowly.  “Remind me once we get back to the castle to send a note of thanks to the trolls for their hospitality.”  She grabbed the sausage and tore it in half.  “Just the kind I like, imagine that.”  After taking a large bite of the meat she grabbed a large chunk of cheese and wrapped it in bread.  “Anna, what are you going to eat?”

 

Anna grabbed the rest of the salami.  “We are sharing, remember?”

 

“I’m so hungry I think I could eat all of this.”  The Queen looked at Anna imploringly.  “Pretty please, snowflake?”

 

The princess squinted her eyes.  “What was I saying about you being insufferable?”  She looked at the sausage in her hand and then tossed it to her sister. “Here, I guess I’m really not that hungry.”

Elsa reached down and pulled all the food to her.  But after a quick reconsideration, she pushed the dried fruit towards Anna.  “Here, you have to keep up your strength.”

 

“Oh, really?  Geez, thanks, Elsa—what would I do without you to look after me?”

 

The Queen stopped just as she was about to bite down on some cheese.  “I don’t know, Anna.  Maybe you’d be a skinny little runt.”   Elsa smiled, then, her look mischievous.  “No, wait! I misspoke.  Anna, you already area runt!”

 

Anna flexed her fingers. “I know someone who wants to be tickled.”

 

Elsa put down her bread and cheese.  “You wouldn’t dare manhandle your Queen.”

 

But Anna had already pounced, and tackled Elsa to the ground.  They rolled around like children, each squealing as the other tried to tickle.  But Elsa used her newfound strength to her advantage, and managed to pin Anna under her as she tickled her mercilessly.

 

Anna screeched and bucked her hips in a vain attempt to push Elsa off of her.  It didn’t work, and it only made the Queen’s efforts more ardent. They wrestled like this for a few minutes until their breathing hitched, and their writhing became something else. Elsa adjusted her position and aligned her hips over Anna’s, and before she could register what was happening, she ground her hips down, and thrust hard against her. 

 

At first Anna’s eyes widened in shock.  But as Elsa’s hardened flesh rubbed against her center, she threw her head back, and screamed in pleasure.  Anna was responding to the contact, and clawed at Elsa’s back in her heated desire. As Elsa used her knees to spread Anna’s legs farther apart, the princess reached between their bodies to unclasp Elsa’s pants.

 

Elsa gasped as Anna’s hands brushed over her erection, and the action snapped her back to reality. She lifted off of her sister and scrambled away from her.  “Oh, my god, Anna.  I’m so sorry.  Please forgive me—I’m sorry, I’m sorry...”

 

Anna squeezed her eyes shut as Elsa’s pleas slammed into her like ice-cold water.  She managed to get her breathing under control and then rolled onto her side away from Elsa.  A part of her wanted to lash out at Elsa, and blame her completely.  But she knew that would not be fair.  Elsa may have initiated the thrusting, but she was the one who responded lustfully to it.  “No, Elsa,  I’m sorry, too.”

 

The Queen scooted away from Anna and leaned against the tree.  She hastily re-buttoned her trousers as the apologies rolled off her tongue.  “Sorry…oh, Anna…I’m…mortified…oh, god…”

 

The princess sat up, and scowled at her sister.  “Stop it, Elsa.”  She sniffed as a tear rolled down her cheek.  “This thing that is happening to you…is…there must a way to control it.”

 

Elsa buried her face in her hands, her remorse evident.  “I don’t know what to do, Anna.  My control over my own body is slipping away from me.”  For the first time since her troubles started, she was awash in self-doubt. “What am I going to do, Anna? Please help me.”

 

Anna furiously wiped away her tears, then straightened out her skirt.  She felt just as useless as Elsa did at the moment.  “I don’t know, Elsa.”  Anna looked up to where Elsa was cowering against the tree.  “What do you need?”

 

The Queen blushed, and fought against making a terse response.  The last thing she wanted to do was add insult to injury.  “I only know I don’t want to hurt you; and I keep saying that I won’t.  But…my body…needs.”

 

Anna swallowed back more tears, and she took in a sizeable breath before speaking.  “When we get back to Arendelle I’ll think of something, I promise.  Now, go on, Elsa and finish your meal.  I’ll—be right back.”  The princess hastily scrambled to her feet and walked away.

 

Elsa lifted her head and watched as Anna walked away from her.  Then she squeezed her eyes shut and broke down, releasing all of her pent up emotions and negativity.  She cried like she never had before; her wails drifting beyond the forest to the land beyond.

 

Anna felt the impact of those wails as she walked away and her first instinct was to run back, but she resisted, as she needed a moment alone.  She pressed forward on shaky legs and eventually stopped by a small stream, and all but collapsed on a large rock next to the water.  Anna dipped her hand in the stream and then splashed the water on her face. 

 

It was time to accept a stark reality.

 

Elsa was changing into some sort of beast as described in the prophecies, and that creature was definitely male.  Anna groaned and cradled her head in her hands; she didn’t want to even think about this, let alone acknowledge it.  But the fact of the matter was incontrovertible, no question about it, and it was something she needed to accept.  If she was to be a help to Elsa then there was nothing that could remain hidden or kept secret.  Everything needed to be brought into the light, so to speak, or else what kind of help could she hope to be.  Anna looked up and into her reflection in the stream.  You’ve been a coward, Anna.

 

The princess stood up and squared her shoulders, and then made her way back to the tree that Elsa was still slumped against.  Her crying had stopped, but when she looked up to see Anna approaching she turned away from her.  Anna knew she had to be certain and resolute.

 

“Elsa, we need to talk.”

 

The Queen didn’t turn around, her face turned away.  “I’m sorry but I don’t—“

 

“Elsa, you have a penis.”

 

The Queen’s head snapped up, and she stared at her sister, horrified.  “I… I already know this!”

 

Anna’s tone softened. “I know you do, and up until a few minutes ago I was living in denial of it—I didn’t want to accept it because, well, it made me uncomfortable.”  When Elsa tried to hide her face she calmly went up to her and knelt down.  “Stop trying to hide, Elsa.  I needed to accept this new—aspect about you, and I want you to know now that I’m trying.”

 

Elsa looked up again. “What does this mean?”

 

“No more secrets, Elsa. No more half-truths. They only get in the way, don’t you think?”  Anna saw her sister’s almost imperceptible nod.  “Please face me, Elsa.”

 

The Queen was hesitant as her feelings were still rather raw, but she did as Anna requested. “What do we do now?”

 

Anna smiled.  “What you do now is finish eating while I think about ways to help you.”

 

“Are you not hungry, as well?”

 

Anna sat down next to Elsa and picked up the dried cranberries.  “Not for any of this; I’ll eat when we get back to Arendelle.”  She munched on a fistful of berries.  “Do you have anything you want to say?”

 

Elsa sat, facing her sister. “About?”

 

“Now’s not the time to be coy, Elsa.  Tell me exactly what’s on your mind.”

 

“Okay.”  Elsa cleared her throat, a small blush creeping up her features.  “Having this—phallus—is very embarrassing for me, almost shameful. I feel things that I’ve never felt before.  Things like lust and desire, it…it…”  Her voice trailed off as her face turned a bright red.

 

“Talk to me, Elsa.”

 

“…and I…okay, I can say this…I’ve wanted you.”  Elsa blew out a ragged breath, and it felt like a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders.  “I’m sorry for being so blunt, Anna.  But I couldn’t hold it inside any longer, it’s been killing me to desire you.”

 

Anna knew how much it was costing Elsa to be so brutally honest, and she appreciated her rectitude. Now it was her turn.  “I’ve wanted you, too.  I don’t know what it is.  But I find you very desirable.”  She brushed loose hair behind her ear.  “I feel as if you need to forgive me.”

 

“Only if you forgive me.” Elsa scooted closer to Anna and wrapped her arms around her shoulders.  She sighed heavily.  “Anna?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I need to go into the forest for a few minutes, but I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  Elsa started to rise but a firm hand held her in place. 

 

Anna swallowed the lump in her throat.  “What do you need, Elsa?”

 

The Queen blushed, and remembered total honesty.  “I’m frustrated right now and need to go—relieve the pressure.”  She locked gazes with Anna again, and felt the heat pool in her stomach.

 

Anna could feel it, as well. The musky scent pouring off of Elsa was palatable, and she felt her cheeks burn.  “Okay.  I’ll be right here when you come back.”  She watched as Elsa walked away, her emotions torn, atavistic, and almost too much to bear. 

 

*****

 

The ride back to Arendelle was uneventful except for the position of the sun in the sky.  It appeared to move rather quickly towards dusk, and this alarmed the Queen, as they were no longer under the protection of the Valley of the Living Rock, and she feared turning into the creature. Anna tried to give her reassurances, but she too was feeling a bit of anxiety as the night approached.  Elsa donned the officer’s coat and hat again as the horses drew near to the Royal Stables.

 

Anna and Elsa passed into the stables and quickly dismounted, and were greeted by the Stable Master, Barthold.  The man nodded to Elsa, believing she was a soldier protecting the princess, and then bowed to Anna.  “Greetings, Your Highness.  I trust your afternoon ride was relaxing.”

 

Elsa and Anna exchanged a quick glance, and then Anna spoke.  “Afternoon?  How long was I gone, Barthold?”

 

Barthold scratched at his beard.  “Well, dusk is upon us… I would say perhaps four hours, Princess.”

 

Anna was shocked, but she refused to let it show.  “Very well, will you see to the care of our horses?”

 

“Absolutely, Your Highness. I have sent for your carriage; it should be here shortly.”

Anna briefly touched the man’s shoulder.  “Thank you, Barthold.”  She and Elsa went outside to wait for the carriage.

 

“Princess Anna?”

 

Anna turned at the sound of the familiar voice.  “Captain Gunnar?”

 

The Captain strolled up to the Princess.  “Is there anything I can help you with, my Princess?”  He took her hand and kissed it.

 

Something deep down inside of Elsa hissed at that moment, and a low, almost indiscernible growl escaped her lips.  But she caught herself before anything transpired, and took a step back.

 

Anna, not seeing the change in Elsa, smiled at the Captain.  “No, I can’t think of anything at the moment.  I’m just waiting for my carriage to take me back to the castle.”

 

“Perhaps you would deign to allow your servant conduct you back to the Castle?”  Gunnar turned and finally noticed the small officer standing in back of Anna.  “Oh, forgive me, Your Highness, I didn’t see your escort.”

 

Anna, in an attempt to draw attention away from Elsa, took Gunnar’s hand and held it between her own. She stepped up closer to him. “Yes, as you can see I am otherwise occupied—but, perhaps, tomorrow?  Would you care to have lunch with me, Gunnar?”

 

Gunnar brightened. “It would be my honor, Your Highness.” He bent and touched his forehead to her hand.  “Until then, my Lady.”  Just as he was bowing again the carriage arrived.

 

When a footman opened the door to the carriage, Elsa, feeling jealous, brushed past Anna and entered first.  This startled the young footman almost to the point of saying something but he held his tongue.  The princess, for her part, pretended not to notice the slight and sat on the opposite side of carriage, away from Elsa.

 

As soon as they were underway, Anna sat back in the cushions and sighed.  “Elsa, you were drawing attention to yourself.”

 

The Queen didn’t look up from her seat and stared at her hands.  “I don’t care, Anna.  I don’t like the way that man looks at you.”  She took off her helmet and gingerly touched her growing horns. “What about Kristoff?”

 

“Didn’t I tell you? He’s leaving at the end of the week—going off to find himself, or something like that.  He was never really happy here, but I was hoping I would be reason enough for him to stay.”

 

Elsa looked up.  “Do you love him?”

 

“Yes, I do, but not enough to beg him to remain here with me.  He has a good heart, and I’m a fool, I think.  We were like star-crossed lovers in the beginning—always together, pretending we liked the same things.  But then he started declining my invitations to the castle, even my harpsichord recitals, and I knew something was bothering him.  We never talked about it, though, and then one day, I stopped inviting him.”  Anna looked out the carriage window.  “It doesn’t mean that I stopped loving him.”

 

“What about Captain Gunnar?”

 

Anna tilted her head. “How do you know he’s a Captain?”

 

Elsa indicated her own coat. “The uniform, Anna.”

 

The princess could hear the tightness in her sister’s voice.  “He’s a nice guy, and he’s very loyal, I can tell.”

 

Elsa looked away, and decided to veer the conversation.  “We have a lot to talk about once we reach the safety of the castle.”  She paused, then quirked an eyebrow.  “Anna, how much time do you think passed when we were in the Valley?”

 

“I don’t know exactly. But it felt like we were gone for at least two days.”

 

Elsa nodded.  “I feel the same way, but the stable master said we were gone for only a couple of hours.”  She frowned.  “I don’t know why, but it feels like this is important somehow.”

 

“You were saying we have a lot to do.  What’s the first thing wehave to do?”

 

“Well, the first thing Ihave to do is inquire of our Ambassadors in the surrounding Kingdoms.  Find out who’s strengthening their armies, or who is sending out delegations, and to whom and why.”  Elsa groaned and fell back onto the cushions.  “But first, I’ve got to get rid of this headache.”

 

“To the Royal Physician, then?”  Anna asked.

 

Elsa reached up and gingerly touched her horns.  “Unfortunately, yes.  Don’t worry, I’ll figure out a way to hide these.”

 

The carriage reached the Castle without incident, and Anna and Elsa went to their separate rooms. 

 

*****

 

Jonvar, the westernmost of the Southern Isles, was the home to a rather large battlement and training camp. The country’s elite forces trained on this island, and it navy used its many ports to host mock naval battles. But it had been years since the Westegaard’s had called upon the troops here to train for any real conflict, and because of this, its commanders grew complacent.   

 

Prince Ingleif stood at the bow of his family’s flagship as it docked at Port Edvardt, and his patience grew thin at the sluggish way his seamen were moving about on the dock below. “I’ll tan your hides for this,” he scowled.

 

“What was that?” Fingaard strolled up to his brother and looked down at the port.  “Something not to your liking?”

 

Ingleif glared at the older man.  “Father’s whole plan is absurd and reckless.  Look at these—seaman.  Do they look like they are ready for war?  They’re fat and useless.”

 

“Well, that’s the whole point of us being here, isn’t it?  They’ll shape up.”  Fingaard fiddled with the sword at his side.  “I’m not worried other them, but Hans.”

 

Ingleif put his hands on the railing.  “Talk about useless.”

 

Fingaard nodded. “Perhaps we can use this opportunity to our advantage?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Look, father thinks that Hans is more than capable of handling this conflict.  I don’t know about you, but I think otherwise. Suppose Hans should—err, in a most despicable way.”

 

“You want to see him fail.” Ingleif turned around and eyed his older brother.  “I’m listening.”

 

“Of course I want to see the little bastard fail.  I should have been the one sent to woo Arendelle, not that little pipsqueak.  He came back in chains and made all of us look ridiculous… and I am not a man made to look ridiculous!”  Fingaard forced himself to calm, then he straightened out his uniform.  “We go along with his plan and act like everything is perfect, and at the last minute, crush him.”

 

“How do we do this? He has the elite guard with him now, we’d never get close enough to kill him.”

 

“Who said anything about killing him?”  Fingaard reached into his pocket and pulled out his pipe.  “There are worse things than death.  Trust me.”

 

“What about Princess Anna of Arendelle?”  Ingleif frowned at the annoying smoke, and waved it away.

 

“I hear she is rather fetching, what about her?”

 

“I think she has a part to play in all of this, and we could use her to our advantage.”

 

Fingaard scratched at one his sideburns.  “I’m not seeing it.”

 

Ingleif wasn’t deterred. “Do you trust me?”

 

“I don’t trust anyone, brother.”  Fingaard blew smoke in his younger man’s face.

 

“I know exactly what to do.”

 

*****

 

Anna quietly knocked on Elsa’s door at dinnertime and waited for her sister’s usual reply, but this time, it didn’t come.  She waited a few moments, then knocked again.  “Elsa?”  She turned the handle and found it unlocked.

 

The princess opened the door and saw that Elsa was not in her parlor, even though there was a lit fire in her fireplace, and several candles were already burning, even though it was not quite dark.  Anna moved through the parlor to Elsa’s bedroom and saw that the Queen’s drapes were drawn, and her room was shadowy.  But there was a light coming from her walk-in closet. 

 

Anna swallowed hard. “Elsa?”

 

The Queen walked out of her closet and smiled at her sister.  “What do you think?”

 

Anna gaped.  “You look—different.”

 

“Well, that was my plan.” Elsa walked over to her curtains and opened them, letting light into her room.  She was wearing a military uniform that was tailored to fit her small frame, complete with black boots and a sword at her side.  “I couldn’t very well wear these boots with a dress so I had my seamstress tailor father’s old uniform for me.  How do I look?” 

 

“Almost handsome.” Anna felt her palms sweat, despite her best efforts to remain neutral. 

 

Elsa looked at herself in her mirror.  “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, Anna.”

 

Anna frowned.  “What kind of thinking?”

 

“Tomorrow I’m calling our troops to a series of training exercises.  I don’t want to be caught off guard when the time comes.”

 

Anna nodded. “Okay.  Anything else?”

 

Elsa turned around to face her sister.  “Shall we go and have dinner?”

 

Anna had a bad feeling at that moment.  “No, tell me what you are planning.”

 

The Queen walked over to her sister.  “You promised to trust me, snowflake.”  She reached up and caressed Anna’s cheek.  “Someone has to go and talk to these jötnar, and that person is me.”

 

The princess stood, incredulous.  “What?”

 

Elsa placed her hands on Anna’s arms.  “Pabbie said these beings will help Arendelle during the war to come if I accepted the prophecy.  Well, I accepted, didn’t I?  I want to hold them to their word.”

 

Anna stood firm. “Okay, so when do we leave?”

 

“Anna, someone has to look after Arendelle while I’m gone, make sure the war exercises continue, see to the day to day running of the Kingdom.”  Elsa gathered Anna into her arms.  “You must be the one to do it.”

 

“But I don’t know anything about war, or trade agreements, or anything of the sort!”

 

“Anna—“

 

“No, you promised to help me!”  Anna broke away from Elsa’s embrace and turned away from her.  “How can you help me if you’re gone!”

 

Elsa stiffened.  “I have to go, Anna.  Arendelle is counting on me and I can’t let it down.  Our people will suffer if no one comes to our aid.”

 

“But why does it have to be you?”

 

“Who else would you have me send?  No one but us knows what’s going to happen in the future, and we surely can’t tell anyone else,”  Elsa implored. 

 

Anna wiped away a few tears. “I can’t lose you, Elsa, it would kill me.”

 

“Why do you think something bad is going to happen?”  Elsa moved around Anna so she could see her face.

 

The princess couldn’t make eye contact with her sister.  “Can you at least wait a few days before you go, so we can at least do all we can doto help Arendelle?”

 

Elsa stood back. “Okay, Anna.  That seems fair enough.  I’ll leave at the end of the week when Kristoff does.  Perhaps I can persuade him to accompany me to the Valley of the Living Rock?  I’m sure he would love to see the trolls before he goes.”  Elsa looked at the setting sun through her windows.  “Come on, Anna, let us to dinner.  I need to eat before its dark.”

 

Anna took Elsa’s hand. “Do you really expect something to happen tonight?”

 

Elsa linked Anna’s arm in her own and led them through her parlor door.  “I really don’t know, Anna.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Elsa sat, naked, on a chair facing the fireplace and waited for the beast.  Dinner was long over, and she had said her goodbyes to an unwilling Anna a few hours ago.  She took the book that was in her lap and scanned a few pages, but was unable to concentrate because of her anticipation.  The book was tossed to a nearby table and the Queen sighed deeply, her frustration growing.  After standing up Elsa moved to one of her windows and looked out onto the night. There were a few scattered clouds about, and the moon was shining between them, but there was no evidence of any type of storm.  Elsa sighed again and moved back to the overstuffed chair and sat back down.  Her intuition was telling her she wouldn’t transform tonight, mostly because there was no full moon, and the absence of turbulent activity in the atmosphere. 

 

She sat up in her chair, and concentrated on the wings on her back.  They flapped; she could feel her muscles pulling and contracting to make them move.  She concentrated enough to make them flap so hard that they slapped at her back, stinging her pale skin.  Amazing…  After flopping back onto her chair she waited some more.

 

Elsa remained another hour or so.  She was just about to get up when there was a knock on her door.

 

Elsa frowned.  She had given explicit instructions to the staff that she was not to be disturbed.  “Who is it?”

 

There was a moment’s hesitation.  “It’s Anna.”

 

The Queen shut her eyes and then ran her hand over her cheek.  “Come in, Anna.”  Then she remembered she had locked the door.  “Just a minute.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Elsa unlocked the door and was reaching for her housecoat when Anna burst into the room.  She brushed past Elsa, apparently not seeing her, and moved to the windows to shut the curtains.  “Thank goodness I was waiting outside, otherwise—“

 

The Queen locked her door. “Wait, what?  You were waiting outside my door all this time?”

 

Anna turned to face her sister.  “Yeah—oh, umm, Elsa…”

 

But Elsa had turned her back and walking back to her chair by the fireplace.  “What is it, Anna?”

 

Anna rolled her eyes. “Aren’t you missing something—like clothes?”

 

“Oh, sorry.”  Elsa put on her housecoat and then sat back down. “Better?”

The princess paused. Elsa was never so blasé about nakedness before.  Maybe the magic that was causing her to transform was affecting her in other ways, as well.  “I’m glad that nothing happened tonight.”

 

“The night is far from over,” Elsa declared, then regretted her terse words.  “Sorry.”

 

Anna didn’t appear to notice, and moved a chair over next to Elsa’s.  “I had a chance to do a lot of thinking while I was waiting outside your door.”

 

Elsa turned her head towards Anna.  “Why were you outside my door?  What if something went terribly wrong, and I hurt you?”

 

“I had a feeling nothing bad was going to happen, Elsa.  Besides, you would never hurt me.”

 

Elsa merely nodded, feeling exhausted.  “I have been given a reprieve, it seems.  Which means we have some time to prepare for the next time it happens.”

 

“What do you want to do?”

 

“I can have my ice castle readied for me to move into.”  Elsa stared into the fireplace.

 

Anna frowned.  “You know I don’t want you up there all alone.”

 

“I think it ought to be a consideration, though, Anna.  Let us call it a contingency plan, okay?”  The Queen took her sister’s hand.  “Tell me what kind of things were you thinking about?”

 

Anna blushed somewhat. “I was thinking of ways to help with… well, how to put…”

 

Elsa scrutinized her sister’s face, and then smiled.  “Remember, Anna, complete honesty.”

 

“Okay.”  Anna momentarily closed her eyes before speaking. “Elsa, do you need the services of a prostitute?”

 

“What?”  Elsa’s eyes went wide and she gasped loudly.  “What makes you think I need a prostitute?”  Elsa noticed the strange expression on her sister’s face.  “Oh… oh, I see.  Well—good gods, Anna, really?”

 

Anna turned her chair so that she was facing Elsa.  “Don’t make me remind you of what happened earlier?”

 

Elsa stared at Anna and for a brief moment seriously considered the idea.  It would surely take care of her physical needs, but the logistics of it, how in the world would they ever manage something of that magnitude?  Crestfallen, Elsa groaned and sat back in her chair.  “I appreciate the offer, Anna.  But I don’t think I could… well, what I’m trying to say is…  it would never work.  I’m the Queen, everybody in Arendelle knows what I look like, and what about this?”  She looked down at her crotch and then blushed at the thought.  “A prostitute… really.”

 

Anna blushed, as well. “It was just a thought.”

 

“I appreciate your looking out for me, I really do, Anna,” Elsa chuckled.  “What else were you thinking about?”

 

“Well, I think you’re right about having a plan for the next transformation, but I was thinking in terms of something else.”  Anna sat back and looked everywhere but at Elsa.  “Would you like some tea, Elsa?”

 

The Queen perked up. “With whiskey.”  She sat up and looked pointedly at Anna.  “What is it you were thinking?”

 

“What if we had a room in the castle—altered, for the next time.”

 

Elsa was intrigued, and her wings started to flutter.  “Modified? How?”

 

“We have this huge attic in the North Wing that is practically empty.  We could have it reinforced with iron bars for the next time. I would lock you in there before the next full moon.  I’m sure that the royal architects could design something useful.”

 

“Never mind them, I could design it.”  Elsa grabbed Anna’s hands.  “This is a wonderful idea, Anna, thank you so much!”  She drew the princess to her and wrapped her in a huge hug.  “I never thought I would get a chance to use my royal training, but this is perfect for me.”  Without thinking, she pulled Anna into her lap.

 

Anna was surprised, but not shocked, and she had to admit to herself the feeling of her thighs over Elsa’s legs was… not unpleasant.  She moved her hands to Elsa’s back, and immediately felt her wings quiver.  Her eyes widened.  “Are you doing that?”

 

“No.” Elsa swallowed the sudden lump in her throat.  “They do that when I’m excited.” 

 

Anna nodded, her lips parted slightly.  “So, you like my idea?”

 

“Yes.”  Elsa’s voice was rough, and had an edge to it.  She locked gazes with Anna and then moved her hands to Anna’s rear, adjusting her position.

 

The princess closed her eyes, and her hands fisted on Elsa’s shoulders.  “You make this so difficult, Elsa.  Please stop.”  Her head lolled to the side as a wave of intense pleasure rolled down her spine to settle in her lower abdomen.  She stared down at Elsa with half-lidded eyes.  “We have to stop.”

 

Elsa had one hand on Anna’s hip and the other was painfully gripping the chair’s armrest.  Her hips jerked when Anna moved on her lap, and she whimpered low in her throat.  “Must we?” Her mind was in a daze of delirious pleasure, and her erection demanded attention.  She moved her hands to Anna’s skirt and attempted to hike it up.

 

This action broke the spell Anna was under, and she grabbed Elsa’s hands.  “Please, Elsa.  Stop.”

 

Elsa released the princess’s skirt and she moved her hands to the chair’s armrests.  After a few long moments her eyes cleared and her breathing was under control.  “You undo me, Anna.  You want complete honesty.  A prostitute would never do it for me, never—but you, my body craves your touch, can’t live without it.  I fall apart when not in your presence, and I lust after you alone.”  She closed her eyes.  “Does this make me evil?  Does this make me a monster?”

 

Anna shook her head, partly to answer Elsa and partly to clear it of the libidinous fog she was under. “Then I’m a monster, as well.” She leaned her forehead on Elsa’s. “I don’t know why this is happening, but it won’t change that way I feel about you, Elsa—as my sister and best friend. I love you.  But I just can’t love you, if you know what I mean.”

 

Elsa nodded and closed her eyes.  “Okay, Anna, I understand.”  She was miserable.

 

Anna smiled down at her sister, sympathizing with her, and feeling her frustration and pain.  “Let me go fetch that tea, okay?”

 

Elsa withdrew her hands. “Thank you, snowflake.”  She tried not to groan when Anna slipped off her lap. “Hurry back.”  When Anna was gone Elsa slipped into her bathroom.

 

*****

 

The ninth Duke of Weselton sat in his father’s study, indulging in cognac and smoking a pipe.  He stared into the fireplace, his cold blue eyes hardening, and his mood souring as the hours passed.  He looked at a letter in his hand, from his father, outlining a very intricate financial plan to ruin certain heads of state in the neighboring Kingdoms.  He had read the letter three times, and even after that he could not figure out father’s reasoning.  Why did he want to ruin Arendelle?  It was true they were not the best of allies, but the fact remained they had a treaty…

 

Magnus started at a rather loud knock at the door.  “I said I was not to be disturbed!”

 

A page hesitantly opened the door and a young woman entered, she was immaculately dressed, her auburn hair done up in a tight bun, with the same striking blue eyes as her brother. “What on earth are you doing up here all alone, at this ungodly hour?”

 

Magnus forced a thin smile. “Aida, dear, don’t be a prig.”  He downed his digestif and poured another. “Why don’t you go and pester mother to increase your allowance.  That’s why you here, isn’t it?  You never cared for the old bastard even when he was alive.”

 

“Don’t you talk ill of the dead,” Aida scowled.  “You’re drunk, aren’t you?”

 

“Damn right I am.” Magnus stood, and easily towered over his smaller sibling.  He ran his hand through his black hair.  “You’ll be happy to know that soon we’ll be a lot richer, all thanks to father and his brilliant accountants.  Here, read this.”

 

Aida grabbed the parchment, her brow furrowing.  “What is this?”

 

“Father’s ultimate revenge against Arendelle.”

 

The Countess scanned the document, and then frowned.  “This will bankrupt Arendelle?”

 

Magnus snatched the document from his sister.  “War or this, I haven’t decided which.”

 

Aida moved to the fire to warm her hands.  “I thought we were going to war, isn’t that what father wanted?”  She sat down in a chair close to her brother’s and patted his chair.  “Come and sit, Magnus.”

 

The Duke’s wobbly legs almost gave out as he sat.  “What do you want?”

 

The Countess smiled and patted down her billowing skirt.  She watched her brother for a few moments before speaking and secretly wondered if he was just as pliable as their late father.  The old man had been easy to manipulate—a compliment here, and certain fawning there.  In other words, he proved to be easily controlled.  “Now, I believe father entered into a contract with the Westegaard’s, did he not?”

 

Magnus blinked several times, trying to concentrate through his inebriation.  “What of it?”

 

“Well, look at it this way. What renown is there in simply manipulating their financial markets?  What kind of lesson can they learn by that, and, we are not even sure this plan will work.  Isn’t war a much more honorable endeavor?”

 

Magnus frowned. “People lose their lives in war, sister. This plan will see that only Arendelle suffers, and not Weselton.  You would so easily give up innocent lives, and for what?  What’s going on in that pretty little head of yours?”  Magnus lit his pipe again.

 

Revenge.  Aida merely smiled.  “You would do what, bankrupt their banks?  Father wanted to impoverish Arendelle’s people and humiliate its Queen. You are a coward if you think otherwise.”

 

“Coward?”  Magnus threw his pipe down on a table.  “I’ll show you cowardice…”  The duke went to his study’s door and slammed it open. “Guards!”

 

Two guards came running to the door, musket’s ready.  The taller of them spoke first.  “Your Grace, are you injured?”

 

Magnus glowered.  “No, obviously not.  I want you to send word to General Voljor, I want to see him now. Wake him up if you have to.”  When the guards were gone Magnus slumped against the doorframe and glared at his sister.  “Are you happy now?”

 

“I’ll be happy to see you at the head of Weselton’s army.”

 

“Go to Hell.”

 

*****

 

“How are the plans coming along, Elsa?”  Anna practically skipped into her sister’s study, and knocked over a few books in the process.  She looked apologetically at her older sister.  “Sorry.”

 

Elsa motioned for Anna to come closer to her desk.  “We, this is what I’ve designed so far.  Here, take a look.”  She scooted over so Anna could see her schematics. 

 

Anna peered over Elsa’s shoulder and saw a perfect representation of the attic, except her drawings showed long iron bars bolted from the ceiling to floor in a cross-lattice pattern.  Smaller iron bars would be latched to the crisscross pattern at the windows to prevent escape.  Anna was impressed.  “This design only took you two days?”

 

“More or less,”  Elsa said, feeling accomplished in her work. She sat back in her chair and rolled her head from side to side.  “I feel a little sore from sitting her so long.”  She glanced up conspiratorially at her sister.  “Do you feel a walk, perhaps, or a dip

in the hot baths?”

 

“How about a walk to the western lighthouse?”  Anna offered. “I could use a little exercise.”

“You don’t want to relax in the baths?”  Elsa was surprised by Anna’s lack of enthusiasm.

 

Anna gracefully slid into the chair next to Elsa’s desk.  “Do you really think we should be naked in the same bath?”

 

Elsa looked disconsolate. “No, now that you’re saying it, I guess not.”

 

Anna reached over and took Elsa’s hand.  “Don’t be so disappointed, Elsa.  It is nothing against you.  I’m just not feeling in the mood for water right now.  Please trust me.”

 

“Alright, let me get my boots on.”  Elsa reached under her desk and took hold of her boots.  She scooted her chair back to make it easier to put the footwear on.

 

Anna took the opportunity to observe her sister and her mannerisms.  There was just something about her that was so graceful, no matter what she did, even sliding on boots that were too big for her small feet.  Feet… Anna glanced at Elsa’s foot before she put in the boot.  The coloring was the same; the same bluish color she had seen in the cave, but the scales seemed more pronounced, and completely hid her smaller toes.

 

The princess reached over to touch the foot.  “Do these hurt?”  She ran her hand over the scales and found them to be soft and warm.

 

Elsa didn’t answer for a few moments, as she was savoring the sweet contact.  “No, I really can’t ‘feel’ them, per se.  But this foot looks different than my other one.  There are more scales, and the bluish color is spread over more of my lower leg.”  She reached down and covered Anna’s hand with her own.  “That feels good.”

 

Anna took Elsa’s foot and laid it on her lap, and then she began to massage it.  “How can you walk with your feet like this?”

 

The Queen stared, mesmerized by Anna’s actions.  “Umm, like I said, they may look different but so far my ability to walk hasn’t been impeded.”

 

The princess moved her fingers in a circular motion, and pressed harder.  “Try to relax, Elsa.”

 

The Queen nodded, but the sensation of Anna’s soft fingers on her skin was almost too much to bear. “Anna, I think you need to stop,” she whimpered.

 

Anna looked up immediately and saw the distressed look on Elsa’s face.  “I’m sorry, Elsa, I was only trying to help.”  She lowered her foot to the floor.  “Do you still feel like going for a walk?”

 

Elsa sat up and finished putting her remaining boot on.  “Yes, going outside might be good for me.”

 

They exited Elsa’s chambers and walked to the grand spiral staircase, it led them to the third floor of the castle.  There was an exit on this floor that led outside to the ramparts that circled the castle perimeter.  Various guards patrolled up in the bulwarks, and they saluted the Queen and Princess as they passed them.  When they passed through the last guard tower Anna discreetly took Elsa’s hand in her own.

 

The sun was high in the sky and the sea breeze felt good as they emerged into the sun. 

 

Elsa turned up her face into the warm rays.  “This was a good idea, Anna.”  She inhaled deeply and let out a deep breath.  “Thank you.”

 

They walked along the cobble stone ramp and enjoyed each other’s company.  Elsa lifted her hand and an ice seagull materialized and flew about Anna’s head.  The princess laughed and tried to catch the creature, but Elsa was faster, and continued to keep her creation out of Anna’s grasp until the sun melted it away.  When it was gone Anna turned back to her sister and took her hand again.

 

“I’m glad you are in a lighter mood today, Elsa.”

 

“Me, too.”

 

After about a hundred yards they reached the bottom to the tall stone lighthouse.  Elsa opened the large wooden door and led the way up the stone steps to the top.  She and Anna emerged to gaze upon the sun as it began to fall low on the western horizon. There was another lighthouse tower on the southern side of the bay, and two tall ships were passing through the towers, bringing goods to Arendelle.

 

Anna leaned on the railing and looked out to the peaceful land and sea.  “It seems so difficult to believe that this Fimbulvetr is upon us, when it’s such a beautiful day.”  She sighed. “Thinking about it makes me so sad.”

 

Elsa stood behind the princess.  “Then let us not think about it for now and enjoy what days are left to us.”  Elsa moved closer to Anna.  “We didn’t come out here to brood, did we?”

 

Anna looked over her shoulder.  “No, we didn’t.”  She rested her elbows on the railing.  “Are you afraid at all, Elsa?”

 

The Queen frowned slightly. “I would be a fool not to be.” She looked down to the water below. “A part of me is, I guess—not knowing what the details look like, even though I have a vague sense of what is going to happen.”  A seagull flew past them, shrieking as it went by. 

Anna jumped at the sound, and her bottom made contact with Elsa’s hips.  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to—“

 

But Elsa reacted to the contact as if struck, she lurched backwards and hit her new wings on the side of the lighthouse.  The pain forced her body forwards and she landed on Anna’s back.  The two fell onto the stone walkway.  The Queen managed to turn her body at the last second so that she absorbed the impact of the fall, and not Anna.  But her wings hit the stone with a crunch, and she screamed in pain. 

 

The wail was loud enough to be heard by a few soldiers patrolling the rampart, and Anna heard them running up the stone steps to the top of the lighthouse.

 

Anna scrambled off of Elsa and the Queen rolled onto her stomach, groaning.  “Don’t let me come up, Anna…please….”

 

The princess crawled to the door that led into the lighthouse and saw two guards near the top. “No, wait!”

 

The men halted and one of them stepped forward.  “We heard a scream, Your Highness, is everything alright?”

 

“Yes, we are fine. I…saw a spider, dreadful creatures—and you know how deathly afraid of them I am!”

 

The guards looked to each other then smiled.  The tallest one decided to speak.  “Do you want me to come up and kill it?”

 

“No, no, that won’t be necessary.  The Queen has—taken care of it.”  Anna dismissed the two men and then went back to check on Elsa.

 

Elsa was still on her stomach, and was panting.  “I think something broke.”

 

Anna gasped.  “Take off your shirt, let me see.”

 

The Queen grimaced and moved to sitting position.  After a few unsuccessful tries she managed to remove her shirt and turn for Anna.  The princess noticed that the leathery wings were becoming a darker color than the tan brown they once were.  She examined them, running her fingers over them until she felt a place where the bone appeared to be separated. 

 

When she touched the spot Elsa flinched and hissed, and then moved away from her.  “What is it, Anna?

 

“The thin bone that runs along the top of this wing snapped when you fell on it—it’s broken, Elsa.

 

The Queen hissed again when she tried to turn around and face her sister.  “My god, what am I supposed to do?  I can’t go to my physician, can I?”  Elsa tried to move the wing but recoiled in pain after trying.

 

“Oh, Elsa.”  Anna tried to embrace her sister but Elsa pushed her away.  The rejection surprised her.  “What?”

 

“This is all your fault, Anna!  If you didn’t move that butt of yours against me I would not have fallen.”  Elsa turned away from her sister, incensed and aggravated.

 

“What?  My fault?  Oh, Elsa you are going to drive me crazy, do you know that?  I’m not the one with sex incessantly on my mind.”

 

Elsa was startled into silence and just stared at Anna for a few extremely long moments.  “Excuse me, Anna, I have to go.”  She tried to pull the shirt back on, but it got stuck on the broken wing, and she cried out again.

 

Anna moved so that she was facing her sister.  “What, Elsa? What did I do?”  When she moved to help the Queen with the shirt Elsa let her.

 

After about a minute, Elsa finally looked up.  “Do you really think that’s all this is about?”  She waved her hand to indicate herself.  “Sexual gratification?  That I would suffer all that I am, and will do, for… for…” Her voice trailed off, and she looked at Anna despondently before getting up and leaving the lighthouse.

 

*****

 

Anna looked for Elsa at dinnertime but the Queen did not show up in the dining hall so Anna ate alone. After dinner she ventured to Elsa’s study and her bedroom but her sister was not in either location.  Anna walked dejectedly, after knocking on her sister’s door for at least a half hour, through the darkened hallway and made her way to her own bedroom.  She locked the door after entering and noticed that someone had made a fire in her fireplace, and had lit all of her candles.  That’s when she noticed Elsa sitting at her vanity, staring at herself in the mirror.

 

But her smile faltered when she saw the look of abject misery on Elsa’s face.  “I’m sorry, Elsa.”

 

The Queen continued to stare at her reflection.  “I know you are.”  She turned around to face her sister.  “I’m sorry, too.”  The Queen stood and went over to the fireplace to warm her hands.  “But you need to fully understand what is happening, Anna.  I’m going through this—transformation—not for myself, and not just for you, but also for the continuation of the world.  So that everything we know doesn’t fade away into nothing.  This Fimbulvetr to come scares me beyond measure, and if I could complete my destiny in some other way I gladly would.  But I was born to do this, just as assuredly as I was born with my powers. It all makes sense to me now.  Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

 

Anna stood motionless, rooted to the spot, and the tears fell freely.  “Oh, god, I amso sorry—for being a single-minded, silly fool.”

 

Elsa opened up her arms. “Come here you silly fool.”

 

Anna ran to Elsa’s arms, and let her sister enfold her into her warm embrace, and her tears didn’t stop as she peppered Elsa’s face with consoling kisses.  One of those kisses landed on the Queen’s lips and lingered. Anna closed her eyes.

 

Elsa stopped breathing when Anna’s lips found hers, and she used all of her willpower not to groan at the contact.  Anna’s lips were warm and soft, and pressed ever so delicately against her own, sending sweet shivers down her spine, warming her more than the fire ever could.  They stayed that way for an eternity, each enjoying the feel of the other’s lips. Elsa’s arms found their way around Anna’s waist, and she slowly started backing her up towards the bed.  That’s when Anna finally let it go, and tugged at Elsa’s shirt until it was free of her pants.  When she felt the back of her knees hit the bed she fell without hesitation, and she clung onto Elsa so that she would fall with her.

 

Breasts fell against breasts, and thighs intertwined.  Elsa marveled at Anna’s soft curves and Anna stroked at Elsa, loving the feel of her hardened flesh.

 

Elsa finally did moan, and she gasped when Anna tugged at her pants.  Elsa frantically lifted on her hands, giving Anna the space she needed to undo the clasp; and when it was unhooked she desperately tried to pull them off while as the same time hike up Anna’s skirt.

 

Both were startled by the sudden knock on Anna’s door.

Chapter Text

Elsa scrambled off of Anna so quick that she nearly knocked younger woman off the bed.  They looked at each other when a second knocked sounded. 

 

Elsa quickly buttoned up her pants as she hopped off the bed.  “Anna, I’ll be in your bathroom.”

 

The princess waved Elsa away as she stood up and straightened out her skirt.  She then looked at herself in her mirror before calmly walking to her door.  “Who is it?”

 

“It is Kai, Your Highness.”

 

Smiling, Anna opened her door.  “Good evening, Kai.  Can I help you with something?”

 

The Master of the Castle cleared his throat.  “We were wondering if you knew the whereabouts of Her Majesty, Princess? There is a courier at the outer gates who demands to speak to Queen Elsa.  He says it’s urgent.”

 

Anna hesitated for a moment, and wondered if Elsa was listening from the bathroom.  “I… I mean I haven’t—“

 

“Kai, did the courier give his name?”  Elsa walked out of the bathroom, her clothing perfect, and her demeanor the same.

 

“No, Your Majesty, but he is quite insistent.” 

 

“Very well, have him escorted to my private conference chamber near the Throne Room.  I’ll be there shortly.  Oh, Kai?”

 

Yes, Madame?”  The older man straightened out his lapels. 

 

“Make sure there is plenty of brandy available.”  Elsa smiled as Kai bowed and exited the room.  After the portly man left she turned to Anna.  “I think I know who it is.  Anna?”

 

The princess had turned from Elsa, and was staring at her bed.  “You go on and see who it is… I’ll be fine.”  She walked to her bed and sat down.

 

Elsa, worried, rushed to the princess and knelt before her.  “What?  I’ll be back as soon as I can, I promise.”

 

“No, Elsa, you need to take of business, I know this.”  Anna reached forward and brushed Elsa’s hair behind her ear.  “Elsa, we almost got caught.”

 

The Queen cringed. “No, we didn’t, not really.  The door was locked, wasn’t it?”

 

Anna frowned.  “But what if it wasn’t?  What if it was one of my Ladies in Waiting?  They hardly ever knock and just barge right on in.”  There was a certain grim determination in her voice. “Maybe what we were doing…”

 

Elsa held up her hands. “Anna, please, can this wait? I’ve got to go.  But I promise you I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  She planted a quick kiss on Anna’s lips and was gone.

 

*****

 

Elsa stopped by her chambers on the way to her conference room to pick up her officer’s coat and then went immediately to the first floor of her castle.  When she arrived at her consultation room two guards were having an animated conversation with a man who was sitting on the Queen’s chair.  She smiled at the sight; and when her guards saw her they stopped talking and saluted.

 

The man, brandy in hand, burped rather loudly, and then sheepishly looked at the Queen while rising from her chair.  “Sorry, Your Worship.”

 

“Guards, you may leave us.” Elsa rolled her eyes when they were gone.  “I’m not the bishop, so let’s have no more of that nonsense.”  She walked over to the taller man and briefly hugged him.  “What do I call you tonight, my friend? Zander? Or Valgard?  Or have you chosen another name?”

 

“Zander will do just fine, my Queen.”

 

Elsa sat at her chair and poured herself some brandy.  “So, I take it you received my letter.”

 

Zander nodded and sat to Elsa’s right.  “Yes, and I came here with all haste, Your Majesty.”

 

“What have you discovered so far?”

 

Zander put a satchel on long conference table and pulled out a few documents.  “I don’t suppose the ambassador to Weselton has told you the news? The old duke is dead, and that imbecile Magnus has taken over the duchy.”

 

The Queen sat back, and sipped her brandy.  “Magnus is hardly a fool.  I met him, not quite three months ago, at a state dinner.”

 

“He’s no fool, my Queen, but he lacks his father’s—grace, so to speak.  He’ll go after Arendelle, I’m certain of it.  He’s already got Wolfgang in his pocket—taken care of his gambling debts, among other things.”  He gave the documents to Elsa.

 

“So our ambassador to Weselton will betray us.”  Elsa pondered this information.  “Already has, I see.”  So, the chess pieces fall into place.  “What do you suggest we do with him?”

 

“Keep him in Weselton. See how far he’s willing to go without drawing attention to himself publically.”  Zander sat back in his chair.  “My guess is he will send you letters saying everything is fine and not to worry, and while he’s placating you Weselton prepares for war.  I would start training the troops as soon as you can.”

 

The Queen nodded. “Already done, they begin exercises tomorrow.  What else do you have for me?”

 

“Weselton and the Southern Isles have suddenly become the best of friends.”

 

“Have they now?”  Elsa examined the documents before her.  “And I suppose this is the proof?”

 

Zander nodded and downed his entire glass of brandy.  “Courtesy of the Westegaard’s themselves.  This is their copy of their latest treaty with Weselton.  They promise to match Weselton’s forces man for man. In other words, both of them are preparing for war against Arendelle.”

 

Elsa leaned back in her chair, and blew out a deep breath.  “I suspected Weselton, but the Southern Isles, as well?  This is—a lot to digest at once.”

 

“If I may indulge upon your palate once again.  These fools actually sent a delegation to Corona, of all places!”

 

“Oh, how did Corona respond?”

 

The bearded man frowned somewhat.  “The only thing I know is the delegation is still there, so they haven’t been kicked out, and that’s not a good sign.”

 

“Or Corona is keeping them there for a good reason, to find out as much as they can and then report to us.” Elsa reasoned.

 

“That’s entirely possible, my Queen.  My suggestion would be to not contact Corona right now; doing so might tip off Weselton that we know they are there.  Let me go back to the Southern Isles and do some more—fishing.”

 

The Queen placed her glass on the table.  “How do you know all this, Zander?”

 

Zander merely smiled. “You forget, I have no scruples, and bed whomever I want—or bribe them.”

 

Elsa blushed slightly, and then reached over to lightly grasp the man’s hand.  “Your service to Arendelle is invaluable, my friend.” 

 

Zander sighed, and blinked. “I have been, and always will be, your servant.”

 

Neither one noticed that Anna was watching them, discreetly hidden in the shadows of the doorway.

 

*****

 

Elsa remained in her private conference room long after Zander had retired for the evening, having graciously accepted the Queen’s offer of a room for the night.  She sat at the large fireplace and contemplated all that she knew.  It seemed like the Fimbulvetr was proceeding exactly like the old troll predicted, and great war was upon her.   She figured that Weselton and the Westegaards would need time to prepare for such an undertaking, and she would use this valuable time to do exactly the same. But one of the things that troubled her was Zander’s advice not to contact Corona.  If there ever was a time when she needed them it was now.  Would they come to Arendelle’s aid, when the appointed time was at hand?

 

For the first time since talking with Pabbie, Elsa understood exactly what the future held for her.  The pawns fill their muskets; the knights sharpen their blades…

 

The Queen groaned, and the weight of the world pressed upon her shoulders at that moment.  She was Arendelle’s chief general at a time of war, but if she was supposed to be Jörmungandr, how was she going to lead her army?  Elsa cursed herself for her idleness.  It’s been a year since that eternal winter, and I do not know my generals and admirals…

 

…Anna…  She looked up then and felt an overwhelming need feel the comfort of her sister’s arms around her.

 

*****

 

Elsa knocked on Anna’s door and expected the princes to answer immediately.  But it didn’t happen so she knocked again, and still, nothing. Frowning, Elsa tried the knob and found the door to be unlocked, so she quietly went in, and the first thing she noticed was the empty room.  The candles had been blown out and the only light came from the dying embers in the fireplace.  Disappointed, Elsa left the room and slowly walked the long hall to her own chambers.

 

The Queen sighed and entered into her outer parlor and threw the officer’s coat on a nearby chair. But before she could do anything else she heard a noise in her bedroom.  Elsa froze and listened carefully; she heard the faint sound of her bed creaking so she peered inside. 

 

“Anna?”

 

“Lock the door.”

 

Elsa did as Anna instructed, and leaned against the door once it was secure.  “I thought we’d be in your room.”

 

Anna sat up in the bed and the blankets fell down to her waist; she was naked.  “I saw you and Zander in your private room.”

 

Elsa’s eyes widened. “What?”

 

“Why did you touch him?” Anna couldn’t keep the jealousy out of her voice, or the contempt.

 

The Queen was flabbergasted. “Anna, what is it do think you saw?”

 

The princess lowered her head, squeezing her eyes shut.  “Answer my question, Elsa.” 

 

The Queen quietly walked over to her bed.  “Anna, for one thing, I trust that man with my life, he is Arendelle’s best infiltrator—and secondly, I would appreciate it if you didn’t speak to me in that kind of voice.”

 

Anna was silent for so long Elsa thought she was choosing to ignore her.  “If that’s how you feel, then fine, I’m leaving!”  But she made no move to get up.

 

Elsa stared at her, a small smile on her face, then she sat down on the bed next to Anna.  “There is no need to be jealous of that man.”  She reached over and gently caressed the princess’s cheek.  “No need.” Her lips parted slightly, and her eyes dropped to Anna’s breasts. 

 

But Anna was still aggravated, and her eyes showed it.  “Will you hold me, Elsa?”

 

“Hold you?”  Elsa fought with herself, and for the moment, quelled her desire.  She reached down and removed her boots before scooting back onto her bed.  “Come here, snowflake.”  She enfolded the younger woman in her arms, and let out a giant sigh when Anna’s breathing deepened, and the princess fell asleep.

 

*****

 

Elsa awoke before dawn, as was her usual habit, and noticed she was on her back, under the covers, and Anna’s naked body was draped over her own.  She also observed her own body’s reaction to the princess’s current state of undress.  Elsa groaned low in her throat, and tried to move away from Anna.  But Anna whined and adjusted her leg so it fell between her own. 

The Queen threw an arm over her eyes and silently cursed whatever gods were laughing at her at the moment.  After carefully turning her body over on her side, she was just about to turn Anna away from her when the princess’s eyes snapped open.

 

They stared at one another until Elsa could not endure it for one more second, and her longing at its peak.  She pushed Anna on her back and crawled on top of her, not caring that the princess could easily feel her arousal.

 

Anna closed her eyes, and wrapped her arms around the Queen’s back.  Her breath quickened when she felt Elsa’s hands all over her, caressing and teasing.  “Clothes… too many clothes…”

 

Elsa lifted her head. “Help me.”  She lifted and started to unbutton her shirt, but was impaired by her desire, so she pulled the shirt over her head, and growled when it roughly ran over her broken wing.

 

Anna’s squirmed as Elsa blindly fell onto her again.  “Slow…please…”  Her hand fisted and fell to the bed, and she squeezed her eyes shut as Elsa whimpered into her ear, her movements erratic, and her inexperience evident.  “Elsa… please listen…”

 

Elsa panted and stopped moving.  “Am I… are you hurt?”

 

Anna opened her eyes and forced Elsa to look at her.  “I’m not hurt…look at me…I’m not going anywhere… please slow down.”

 

The Queen slowed, and her hands gently ran over Anna’s arms, softly caressing them.  “Better?”

 

Anna breathed in deeply. “I’m… I’ve never…”

 

Elsa’s breath hitched. “Me, either.”  She nuzzled Anna’s neck, and mildly planted kisses all along her jaw as her hands soothed over her skin.  Elsa lifted herself and moved to Anna’s breasts.  Her lips ghosted over the princess’s left breast, and her tongue lightly licked the exposed areola, causing the flesh beneath her to harden.

 

“Elsa…” Anna moaned. She spread her legs farther apart as the Queen continued to nip at her breasts.  “Yes…”

 

Elsa growled, and the beast, aroused beyond measure, hungered to come to the surface and take over. But she was able, once more, to tether the creature, and her hands grasped at Anna’s hips.  “I need…” 

 

“Yes…”

 

The Queen reached between their bodies, her pleasure at its height, and unclasped her pants.  She felt Anna tense beneath her so she slowed again, lifting on her elbows.  “Anna… I’m going to remove my pants now.  Is this okay with you?”

 

The princess clutched at the sheets beneath her.  “Yes… oh, gods…”

 

Elsa slowly got up, her eyes never leaving Anna’s, and sat back on the bed.  With a reassuring smile she removed her last bit of clothing. Without breaking eye contact, she crawled between Anna’s legs and lowered her body until their breasts touched. 

 

Anna gasped.  “Elsa… I’m scared…”

 

Elsa raised her hands and traced Anna’s face with the tips of her fingers.  “Shh… relax, snowflake, please…”  She moved her hips to align them with Anna’s.  “Spread…yes…like that…” 

 

Anna spread her legs wider, and squeezed her eyes shut.  She felt Elsa at her entrance and gasped again, her body jerking upwards.  “…oh, god…”

 

Elsa used Anna’s momentum to slip inside just a little, and it was enough to make her groan. Fine tendrils of pleasure coursed through her body and pooled in her lower abdomen.   She buried her face in the crook of Anna’s neck just as the princess wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her down. 

 

Anna sobbed, and then gritted her teeth.  “Elsa.”

 

Elsa thrust her hips just once, and found she could only go in so far, and realized she hit a—barrier, it was warm and wet, and she pumped a little harder, but still could not penetrate. 

 

Anna gasped and clawed at Elsa’s back.  “Oh, my god, Elsa…it hurts.”

 

Elsa stopped moving, letting Anna get used to her.  “Anna, god, please relax…just for me…please.”  She thrust again, and was inside a little more.  “That’s it, Anna…I’m going to push—“ Grasping the sheet below her, she shoved as hard as she could, and immediately felt something pop.

 

Anna screamed, her legs reflexively clasped Elsa’s hips in a vice-like grip.  “Please, Elsa…the pain is too much.”

 

Elsa stopped moving again, and gently kissed along Anna’s jawline.  “I’m sorry…I’m sorry.”  But her hardened flesh began to throb with the effort of holding back.  “Please, Anna, please…”

 

Anna took in several deep breaths in an effort to relax, and she released Elsa’s hips.  “Just, be gentle, please.”

“Anna, oh, Anna…” Elsa pushed in and then withdrew, only to repeat again and again.

 

Anna reached up, her fingers sliding through Elsa’s platinum locks, and cradled her head.  “Gods…I need….move…”  She wrapped her legs around Elsa’s hips and held on tightly.

 

The Queen did, just a little, pulling out only inches, then reburying her flesh inside.  Their hips came together, again and again, the delicious friction enveloping both within an incredible warmth.  After many moments of this sweet torture,  Elsa needed something more, yet she could not articulate it.  Both were novices in art of love, as their desperate fumbling illustrated. 

 

After many long minutes of grasping and grunting, Elsa felt a pull in her stomach, a tightening of the muscles below her waist, and she shivered.  The tightness increased and she pumped faster, causing Anna moan loudly into her ear.  “Anna… something’s happening…”

 

Anna gasped, and panted as Elsa thrust faster.  “…what?...oh, god, Elsa…”

 

Anna!”  Elsa shook and cried out, consumed in her release, and pumped out her essence into the princess below her.

 

Anna’s eyes widened at the sensation of being filled, and she let go, falling into a blissful state of satiation and sensual gratification. They panted together as Elsa’s thrusts slowly decreased, until she stopped altogether.  The Queen rested her head just below Anna’s chin, her breathing ragged, and on the verge of tears.

 

Anna sensed this, and wrapped her arms securely around Elsa.  “Go on… cry if you need to.”

 

Elsa squeezed her eyes shut and thrust one last time, her seed filling Anna completely.  She timidly tried to get up, but Anna held her firm against her. Then her tears flowed freely, and she didn’t stop for a long while.

 

*****

 

Deep in the Valley of the Living Rock, Grand Pabbie’s eyes snapped open, as if just waking from a dream, and he knew.  His apprentice looked to him, puzzled by old troll’s sudden alertness, but Pabbie waved him away, as some things needed to remain hidden.

 

*****

 

After awhile, Elsa lifted her head and gazed down at Anna, who had her eyes closed.  “Look at me, snowflake.” 

 

Anna opened her eyes and sighed deeply.  “Hi.”

 

“Hi.”  Elsa blushed a deep red.  “I’m sorry.  I wasn’t expecting that to happen.”

 

Anna gently caressed the Queen’s cheeks.  “What?”

 

“I’ve made a mess, I think.” Elsa rolled onto her back, but her wing still stung, so she rolled to her side.

 

Anna turned her body so she was facing Elsa.  But as she gazed upon her a sudden shyness crept over her, and she blushed.  “I don’t know what to say.”

 

Elsa took hold of her hand. She kissed Anna’s fingers, one by one, and smiled when Anna closed her eyes.  “Do you want to sleep some more?”

 

Anna snuggled next to her, and rested her forehead on Elsa’s shoulder.  “Yes…”

 

They fell into peaceful slumber, not having a care in the world, at that one perfect moment.  But perfection doesn’t last forever.

 

*****

 

Elsa confidently strode into the dining hall at her usual time and sat down.  A page immediately stepped forward to place the morning’s correspondence next to the Queen’s plate.  As Elsa was scanning her letters, General Urban entered and sat down at his usual place.

 

“Good morning, Your Majesty.”  Urban was young for a general, and had long black hair that he kept tied back in a ponytail.  But his gray eyes had a wisdom in them that spoke of one years older. 

 

Elsa glanced up. “Good morning, General.”  She put down the letters and rang a small bell. She glanced at the young man.  “Do you mind if I call you by your given name, General?”

 

“No, I do not mind at all, Your Majesty.”

 

Servants immediately came into the room bringing in the morning meal.  Several hot and cold dishes were placed on the table, including scrambled eggs, sausages, fruits, breads, and an assortment of cheeses. 

 

Elsa usually ate sparingly, but her appetite this morning was voracious.  She piled her plate high with food.  “Tell me, Urban, how are the plans for the troop exercises?”

 

“The actual plans, Your Majesty, are easy.  But I’m a little unsure as to why we are doing these maneuvers.”  Urban poured himself some coffee. 

 

Elsa realized she needed to confide the truth to this man.  “I have reason to believe Weselton is preparing for war.”  She saw the look of disbelief on the man’s face.  “I’m sorry I’m just telling you this now.  But I have credible proof from one our spies in the region.”

 

Urban put down his cup, his face ashen.  “Are you sure, Your Majesty?”

 

Elsa nodded and put down her fork.  “Very sure, Urban.”

 

“Then these aren’t simple exercises, I need to call out our marines and the Navy.”  Urban stood.  “If you will excuse me, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa put up her hand. “It can wait for a few minutes longer. Please relax and have some breakfast.”

 

Just as General Urban was sitting down Zander wandered into the room and plopped down on a chair opposite the Queen.  “Good morning, everyone.”

 

The Queen looked at him disapprovingly.  “Is that how one addresses the Queen, Mr. Zander?”

 

The lout sat up, and nodded his head apologetically.  “Excuse me for my rudeness—good morning, Your Majesty.” 

 

The doors to the dining hall swung open again and Anna entered, very cheerful and looking well rested. “Hello, everyone!”

 

For a brief moment, Elsa’s eyes widened, but she recovered quickly.  “Good morning, Princess Anna.”

 

Anna sat opposite General Urban and smiled at the man.  “Have we met before?”  She began to serve herself breakfast. 

 

The general cleared his throat.  “No, I believe we have yet to be formally introduced, Your Highness.”  Urban stood and grasped Anna’s hand, and kissed it. “I pleasure to meet you.”

 

Anna blushed.  “The pleasure is all mine.”  She found herself staring into the General’s gray eyes. “Umm…shall we dine?”

 

Elsa found herself staring at the two, and her jealousy flared to the surface for a second before she clamped it back down.  But Zander noticed her strange behavior, and filed the information away for a later time and place.

 

*****

 

Elsa stood at the entrance to the north attic with the Royal Architect, Steingard, and showed the man her designs.  Steingard looked from the plans to the actual space of the attic and scratched at his beard. He handed the schematics back to the Queen and then took out his pipe.

 

“Well, Your Majesty, this is an impressive design, I will admit.”  The man was a perfectionist, and admired that in other people.  He lit his pipe.  “You actually want to reinforce the walls like this?”

 

Elsa rolled up her plans. “Yes, after that last major storm I fear this is the weakest part of the castle.  I want to make sure it doesn’t buckle in the future.”

 

Steingard nodded. “Okay, I see your point, Your Majesty. First thing is to have the foundry start smelting the needed iron, then we can begin. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of months.”

 

“I see.”  Elsa handed the documents to the architect.  “I was hoping this project could be finished by month’s end.”

 

Steingard puffed out his smoke away from the Queen.  “Depends on the foundry, Your Majesty.  You know how uncooperative the Guilds can be.”

 

Elsa wasn’t deterred.  “See that it happens, Steingard. I have the upmost confidence in you.”

 

The man bowed.  “Your Majesty.”

 

*****

 

“Anna…oh, Anna…Anna!”  Elsa hid her face in the princess’s neck and thrust one last time, burying herself deeper into her. 

 

Anna, back against the wall, hands clutching around Elsa’s shoulders, moaned and let her head loll to the side.  “Elsa, my god…you are insatiable.”

 

Elsa pressed Anna harder against the wall.  Panting, she turned her head and gently kissed Anna on the cheek.  Her arms were under Anna’s knees, holding her still. “You are so beautiful, Anna…my…my…” She shuddered again.

 

They stayed that way for several minutes, locked in passion’s embrace.

 

The princess finally opened her eyes.  “Where did that come from, Elsa?”

 

“I’m going to…miss you when I’m gone.”  She grunted and let Anna lower her legs to the floor.  She took a small step back and helped to straighten the princess’s skirt. 

 

Anna reached down and pulled up Elsa’s trousers.  Her lips ghosted over Elsa’s as she clasped them for her.  “Tell me again why I can’t come with you.”

 

Elsa rested her forehead on Anna’s, and tucked in her shirt.  “You know why, Anna.  I go to confront the jötunn, and secure their alliance with Jörmungandr.”

 

Anna buttoned up her blouse. “When do you leave?”

 

“Anna, we leave tomorrow.”

 

The princess could not help but to be jealous.  “Kristoff is going?”

 

The Queen sighed. “We’ve been through this numerous times, Anna.  Yes, Kristoff wants to see the trolls one last time before he sails to America.” She put on her officer’s coat.  “I will admit, I think I’m going to miss that mountain man.”

 

Anna’s mind was whirling. “Me, too…and I haven’t really said a proper good-bye to him.”

 

Elsa missed the hidden meaning in Anna’s words, and simply caressed her cheek.  “Why don’t you try to find him.”  She turned to her desk and sat down.  “He’s been good to you, remember.”

 

Anna did remember, and she hoped that Elsa would some day forgive her.

 

Chapter Text

“I’m sorry, Kristoff.”

 

The mountain man sighed, and tossed more seeds into the stall where Sven was stabled.  “This guy has been with me forever; I’ll miss him.”

 

Anna tucked her hair behind her ear.  “Are you sure you have to go?”

 

Kristoff walked over to a small wood burning stove and poured a cup of coffee.  “I don’t haveto leave, Anna, I want to.  There is nothing for me here in Arendelle—not even you, and I’m not sure how that happened.”

 

Anna felt her heart break. “No one’s fault really.  We just grew apart, as I see it.”

 

“But, Anna, that’s not how I see it.  I still love you, and really want to be with you.  But, you’re distant—you’ve pushed me away.  Why?”  Kristoff sipped his coffee.

 

“I didn’t push, Kristoff. Is that what it felt like?  I wasn’t driving you away; that’s not it at all. It started with my recitals, remember—you stopped coming to them. ”

 

Kristoff put down his cup and grabbed his bag of carrots.  “I don’t remember it that way.”  He took a few carrots out of the bag and threw them into Sven’s stall, and then he munched on his own.  “Look, Anna. I really don’t want to fight with you my last night here.”

 

The princess stepped closer. “Neither do I.”  She closed the distance until she was up against his chest. “I am sorry for the way things ended between us, Kristoff.  You truly are a wonderful man.”

 

Kristoff nodded.  “You really think so?”  He tentatively reached out and cupped her cheek.

 

Anna closed her eyes. “Yeah, I do.”

 

But Kristoff hesitated, even though he knew what Anna was offering.  As much as he wanted this moment, he knew Anna enough to know she would regret it come morning.  He merely reached out and kissed her on the forehead.

 

At first confused, Anna opened her eyes and saw the look in his, and she threw her arms around his neck, and held him closely as she cried.  Kristoff hugged her in return, and they shared a tender embrace.  After awhile Anna stepped back and wiped at her tear with the back of her sleeve. 

 

The mountain man smiled. “I’ve never known you to have a handkerchief when you need one.”  He reached into his pocket and took his out, and then he dried her eyes.  “Are you hungry, Anna?”

 

“You do know me, don’t you?”

 

“Want to come with me to town and get some dinner?”  He threw his remaining carrot to Sven.

 

Anna thought about it, and remembered the carriage was waiting for her outside the Royal Stables. Also, she wasn’t sure if Elsa was expecting her at dinner.  But it was Kristoff’s last night in Arendelle, and she wanted to be with him, at least for a little while.  So she went outside and sent the carriage away.

 

****

 

King Edvardt retreated to his private parlor after the family dinner and poured himself a rather large portion of brandy.  The cordial felt good as it slid down his throat; t loosened his aching limbs and soothed his troubled mind.  For the first time since his meeting with Hans a week prior the old man was having doubts about Weselton’s plan, and now the man was dead—leaving his alcoholic son as duke.  Edvardt sat in his chair and rolled his glass between his palms, re-thinking his entire plan. There was a knock at his door.

 

“Come.”

 

Prince Ingleif entered and immediately went to the brandy.  “You wanted to see me, father?”

 

Edvardt didn’t look up, and cursed Ingleif’s weakness.  “You’re a drunk, just like cousin Magnus.”

 

Ingleif stood at his father’s side, and his hand tightened around the glass.  “I’m nothing like Magnus—the spoiled brat.”

 

“The brat is now Duke, did you know this?  No, I don’t suppose you do.”  The old man downed his drink.  “How could you, with all that time at Hereford House.  Pour me another.”

 

Ingleif dutifully took his father’s glass and filled it to the brim with brandy.  “What is it?  Are you having me followed now?”

 

Edvardt snorted.  “As if I’d be stupid not to.  You’re weak, and you whore around like some vassal’s son.” The old man stood.  “You are the son of a King!  Start acting like one.”

 

The younger man slammed his glass down on a table.  “And how do I not?  You have a mistress, don’t you?”

 

“Hereford House is nothing but a glorified brothel!  None of your brothers would be caught dead in a place like that—not even Hans!”

 

Ingleif bristled at the mention of his brother’s name.  “No, I don’t suppose Hans would be with a woman now, would he?”  The slap wasn’t painful, but it hit Ingleif where it would hurt him the most, his ego.  He reached up to touch his cheek.  “Don’t you ever touch me again.” He spun on his heal and stormed out of the parlor, almost running into Hans on the way out.

 

“Whoa!  Hey, Ingleif what is the mat—“

 

“Leave him alone, boy.” Edvardt drank some of his brandy. “He’s a bit testy tonight.”

 

Hans smiled at his father and poured himself some cognac.  “Our fair cousin is now Duke.  Will he keep to his father’s promises?”

 

Edvardt warmed up at his youngest.  “You’re going to make this family so proud, Hans, do you know that?”

 

“Trust me, father, its my only ambition.”  Hans sat down before the fireplace.  “Fingaard writes that the training on Jonvar is going well; I sail there tomorrow to see for myself.”

 

“Good.  I like a leader with a ‘hands on’ approach to war.” Edvardt stared at his youngest. “You’re not like Ingleif, are you? You don’t whore around with the ladies, do you?”

 

Hans smirked, and let out an amused breath.  “No, I’m not like Ingleif, father.  There are more important things for me to do these days, are there not?”

 

The old king smiled in satisfaction.  “Good.”

 

*****

 

Elsa slowly walked with Kai towards her dining hall.  “I trust that Zander left for the Southern Isles?”

 

Kai nodded.  “He left shortly after dawn yesterday, and left this note for you.”  He handed a small envelope to the Queen.  “He took Lieutenant Ingarth with him.”

 

Elsa stopped. “Really?  But he always works alone.”  She continued to walk.  “What of General Urban?”

 

Kai handed another note to the Queen.  “He is with Her Majesty’s troops in the Vale of Sverk.  His report indicates that the exercises are progressing slowly.”

“That’s not good news. Why slowly?”

 

Master Kai shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t know why, Your Majesty.  Perhaps his letter to you indicates why?”

 

Elsa looked at the note in her hand.  “Of course. How many of us for dinner tonight? Tell me who so I won’t be surprised when I get there.”

 

“I’m afraid just you tonight, Madame.”

 

Elsa stopped at the door to the dining hall, hand on the handle.  “What?  Where is Princess Anna?”

 

“She is still in the city, You Majesty.  I don’t think she plans on coming home tonight.”

 

Elsa gripped the handle tighter and a small dusting of frost fell through her fingers.  “What makes you think so, Kai?”

 

Kai blinked at the coldness in the Queen’s voice.  “She sent the carriage back to the castle, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa stared at the Master sternly.  “See that I’m not disturbed, Master Kai—at dinner, nor afterwards.”  She pulled at the handle roughly and entered her dining hall.

 

*****

 

The Queen stared into the fireplace, book on her lap, and a digestif in hand, but could not concentrate on either.  She was wide-awake and frustrated at not being able to sleep, and tomorrow was an important day; she was journeying to the Valley of the Living Rock and seeking counsel with the jötunn.  Elsa put down her glass and looked at her book, and then realized she was reading the same page for the past hour.  Frustrated, she threw the book on the table and downed her entire glass of brandy. But this failed to soothe her, and she got up and began to pace around her parlor, the frost following her as she went.  She finally looked up and noticed that everything in the room had a fine layer of hoarfrost over it.  Elsa impatiently waved her hand and the rime disappeared.  But it was enough to completely chill the room, so she put more logs on the fire.

 

It was almost eleven o’clock when she finally heard the sound of someone wandering down the hallway outside her door.  She poked her head out and saw that it was Anna, and she appeared to be…

 

“Anna?”

 

The princess stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide, and looking guilty for the most part. “Elsa?”

They stared at one another for the longest time, until Elsa finally emerged from her room.  “Have you been drinking?”

 

Anna wavered slightly, and looked down at her shoes.  “Yup—just a little.”

 

“Alone?”  She hated how her voice sounded at that moment.

 

“Since when?”  Anna looked around her, then laughed.  “Of course I’m not alone, silly, you’re here.” She staggered to the wall and leaned against it.  “Why is the room spinning?”

 

Elsa grabbed Anna’s hand and helped her to walk into her parlor.  “Come on, Anna.  Let’s get you into bed.”

 

The princess giggled. “Nah, I just got out of bed. Don’t want to.”

 

Elsa stopped and dropped Anna’s hand as if it was a hot coal.  She slowly turned around, her eyes steely cold.  “What did you just say?”

 

“Aw, Elsa, don’t be like this.”  The princess tried to hug her sister but Elsa shoved her away.  “What wrong?”

 

“You… you slept with Kristoff?”  Even Elsa couldn’t believe the words as they left her mouth.

 

“Sleep?”  Anna appeared to grapple at the concept. “Yeah, sleep—I’m so tired.”

 

At that moment Elsa shattered, and her heart lay bare, her soul in pieces.  Oh, Anna…  But she clamped the knowledge deep inside, determined not to fall apart at the seams.  “What have you done…?”

 

But the princess had fallen into one of the chairs at the fireplace, and was already asleep.

 

*****

 

Elsa awoke at dawn and immediately knew that her sister was lying next to her.  She had crawled into the bed sometime after the fire died down, seeking Elsa’s warmth.  Elsa closed her eyes and willed herself not to cry.  She would not do it, not now, not ever again.  After rolling over and sitting up she turned to look down at Anna’s peaceful face and she was tempted to caress her cheek.  But the memory of last night’s conversation hit her, and she hardened her heart, if only for now.  Elsa got out of bed to begin preparations for her departure. 

 

There was a discreet knock on her door.  She quietly made her way to her parlor.  “Yes?”

“It is Gerda, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa opened the door and smiled.  “Good morning, Gerda.  I trust that everything is ready?”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty. The carriage awaits to take you to the stables immediately.”

 

The Queen glanced over her shoulder.  “Gerda, the princess is sleeping in my bed  She—had a rough night, and will need to taken care of when she awakes.”

 

Gerda looked surprised. “Is the princess well, Your Majesty?”

 

“Yes, but she favored too much drink last night, and I don’t suppose she’ll wake up in the best of moods.” Elsa put on her riding gloves. She was about to leave, and then paused at her door.  “If she’s upset over anything tell her—tell her not to worry, that everything will be alright.”

 

“As you wish, Your Majesty.”

 

*****

 

The carriage arrived at the Royal Stables just as the sun peeked over the eastern hills.  The morning was cold, and frost covered the ground. Elsa stepped down from the carriage and immediately went into the stables, ignoring footmen and guards. She found Kristoff already waiting for her.  But he didn’t look like his normal self.  He looked tired and his normally bright eyes were bloodshot.  There were a few guards in the foyer, and she ordered them out.

 

Elsa glared at Kristoff. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

 

The mountain man removed his hat.  “I’m so sorry for feeling sick this morning, but…”

 

“Anna came home drunk! After spending the night with you!”

 

Kristoff’s eyes widened. “I’m so sorry, Your Majesty, but we—I mean, Anna…well, we went to the bar to have a farewell drink…and one thing led to another…”

 

“What?  Is that all you’ve got to say for yourself?  What were you thinking, Kristoff?”

 

Kristoff backed up a step. “We really just wanted to celebrate my leaving, and not be glum about it.”

 

Elsa was furious, and took a step closer to the mountain man.  “So you decided to bed her?!”

 

Kristoff was aghast. “What?  No, no, no!  All she did was sleep in my bed for a while!  We didn’t have…have…”  He dropped to one knee.  “We didn’t have carnal relations, Your Majesty, I swear it!”

 

Elsa blinked, and her fury abated somewhat.  “What? But she said…”

 

“She said we had sex?” The mountain man was nearly hysterical.

 

Elsa shook her head. “Ah, no, she was rather drunk.”  She thought about the conversation, and realized Anna never actually mentioned sex.  Elsa closed her eyes.

 

“I swear by my honor.”

 

All enmity drained from Elsa, and she cringed.  “So, you and Anna?”

 

“All we did was drink too much, Your Majesty, I swear it.”  Kristoff calmed, noticing that the Queen seemed to be doing the same.

 

The Queen turned away from Kristoff and squeezed her eyes shut in shame for having believed that Anna would…  Elsa groaned and mentally slapped herself for such thoughts.  When she turned back to the mountain man, her look was apologetic. “I’m so sorry for jumping to conclusions, Kristoff.  Come on, please get up.”

 

But Kristoff was still a little wary.  “Are you sure, Your Majesty?”

 

“Yes, please, come now.”

 

“I would never lie to you, Your Majesty.”  The mountain man stood and dusted off his trousers, and then appeared to come to an unwanted decision.  “I wanted to, but she was drunk, and we both said things we didn’t really mean.”

 

Elsa turned cold again. “What kind of things?”

 

“I told her I wasn’t in love with her,”  Kristoff stated, his heart on his sleeve.  “But I think I broke her heart when I said it, Your Majesty.”

 

“You did?”  Elsa stared at the ground, her heart broken for the second time.

 

“I think so, Your Majesty, because she started crying after I said it.”  Kristoff continued to clutch at his hat.  “I hope she can forgive me.”

 

Elsa looked up.  “You know the Princess, Kristoff, she has a way of recovering from heartache rather quickly.”  She tilted her head slightly.  “What kind of things did Anna say?”

 

Kristoff cleared his throat. “I…umm…don’t know if I should repeat the things that came out of her mouth, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa’s eyes went wide with the implication.  “Oh, I see.” She decided to leave the matter alone for now, and confront Anna when see returned in a few days.  “Are you ready, Kristoff?”

 

“Just let me say good-bye to Sven, Your Majesty.”

 

*****

 

Anna rolled over onto side, caught somewhere between the awake and sleeping worlds, and groaned rather loudly.  The effect of doing so pushed her more into the waking world and her eyes fluttered. The first thing she was aware of was the feeling of extreme nauseousness and a blinding headache.  She carefully rolled onto her back and tried to remember anything about the previous night that would cause this.  She drifted in-between sleep and wakefulness, her mind flitting from one scenario to another, and she settled on the image of her sister leaning over her, sweating and grunting.  Her eyes snapped open.

 

“Good afternoon, Your Highness.”

 

“Gerda?”  Anna tried to speak but her mouth felt like cotton. “What time is it?”

 

The Head of the Household looked over to Elsa’s clock.  “About two in the afternoon, Your Highness.”  She rose from her seat at the foot of the bed.  “I’ve taken the liberty of brewing some tea that should help with your headache and upset stomach.”  She brought a tray over to one of the Queen’s side tables and poured a generous portion. “Would you fancy some sugar in your tea, Madam?”

 

Anna turned her head and inhaled the soothing aroma of the tea.  “How…how did you know I’d be sick?”

 

“Her Majesty told me, this morning, Your Highness.”

 

“Elsa did?  But how…”  Anna closed her eyes again and tried to think of what exactly happened the previous night.  She remembered leaving the Queen to go into the village to look for Kristoff, to say good-bye to him.  But what happened next…?

They decided to go and have a drink… just one drink?  Anna slowly sat up, her bleary eyes blinking and tearing up.  She glanced at Gerda.  “Gerda, do you what happened last night?”

 

Gerda offered the Princess a comforting smile.  “All I know is that Her Majesty instructed me to look after you, Your Highness—and that you had a few too many.”

 

Anna clutched at her aching head and brought the steaming cup to her lips, and downed most of the tea in one long slurp.  Afterwards, she slumped back on the bed and burped rather loudly.  “Excuse me.”

 

Gerda sat on the end of the bed and regarded the younger woman.  “My, my…I remember when you were a wee one, Princess.  Do you remember when I would bounce you on my knee?  You would giggle oh so sweetly.”

 

Anna lifted her head and opened one eye.  “I swear if you bounce me now I’ll vomit all over you.”

 

Gerda chuckled.  “Does Her Highness require some food?”

 

The princess rolled on her side again and groaned.  “No…oh, god… please don’t bring food to me now, unless you want to torture me.”

 

The Head of the House smiled and stood up.  “Is there anything else I can do for you, Princess?”

 

“No, thank you, Gerda. Leave the tea, though.”

 

Gerda refilled the Princess’s cup before taking her leave.  After she was gone Anna sat up again and sipped the tea, and tried to remember everything that happened the previous night.

 

Bits and pieces started to come back to her after a few moments and she remembered making many toasts to celebrate Kristoff’s voyage to the Americas, and then… something about… kissing, or more than just kissing?  Anna fully opened her eyes, her pain momentarily forgotten.  Did she kiss Kristoff in her drunken state?  She seemed to remember wanting to kiss him and then… Anna blushed at the clear memory of planting one sloppy kiss on Kristoff’s lips, and then wanting to take it further, but the mountain man refused. Then her mind became fuzzy again and she couldn’t remember what happened next, only that she was wandering the halls of the castle…

 

Wait, what…?  Anna jerked and almost dropped her cup.  It landed on the table with a slosh and she ran her hand over her face at the memory of bumping into Elsa and telling her she was drunk.  She couldn’t be absolutely sure, but somehow she had conveyed to her sister her inebriated state of mind, she was sure of it.  Oh, no… Elsa knew she had been out drinking…and… and…hadn’t she told Elsa she was in Kristoff’s bed?  Anna cringed and inhaled rather deeply, and then fell back onto the bed again… and then became aware she wasn’t in her bed, but in Elsa’s. She opened her eyes and felt her heart sink.  Yes, she was sure that she somehow told Elsa she had been in Kristoff’s bed.  Did Elsa think Kristoff and I…?

 

Anna felt ashamed, and knew then she had wanted Kristoff when she was drunk, but he had been the one to stop anything from happening between them; and she was also sure that Elsa probably thought that they did.  She buried her face in her hands and cried.  Not only for herself, but also for selfishly using the mountain man, and the reasons why.

 

*****

 

Kristoff opened his eyes to a gray and misty morning.  He got up and looked out of the cave they were sleeping in and saw the dull, stilted morning, wondering why there was a feeling of expectation in the air.  Their horses were still tied near the cave’s entrance but appeared to be a bit skittish.  The mountain man looked over his shoulder to the sleeping Queen and wondered how she knew this cave existed, as he didn’t think she had ever ventured to this land as an adult.  Kristoff went over to his horse and pulled off one of his saddlebags and sat down next to the entrance.  He pulled out bread and cheese and began to eat.

 

Elsa turned over onto her side and slowly opened her eyes, adjusting herself into a more comfortable position.  It wasn’t easy on the cold ground however, and she pulled her blanket up closer to her body.  Kristoff was at the cave’s entrance, and was eating and looking around.  She lifted her head.  “Good morning, Kristoff.”

 

“Good morning, Your Majesty,”  Kristoff returned.  “Forgive me for not getting up.”

 

“That’s alright.” Elsa yawned and sat up, and then felt the call of nature.  She slipped on her boots and wrapped the blanket around herself and stepped out to the cave’s entrance.  She paused at the look in the sky.  “The morning seems muted, almost unwanted, and leery.”

 

Kristoff stopped eating and looked up at the Queen, a queer feeling stealing over him.  “That sounds way too gloomy, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa looked down at the man. “Sorry, perhaps I should keep my observations to myself?  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

 

Kristoff took a large bite of cheese and watched Elsa as she rounded a large boulder.  He wondered, and not for the first time, if the Queen was sick and seeking out the trolls to cure her of her ailment; because she had talked the same silliness yesterday as she just did now.  Didn’t Anna ramble on about something similar while they were getting drunk?  She had talked about the end of the world and fulfilling some sort of strange prophecy; and now the Queen seemed to be talking in riddles, using similar language.

 

He looked up and saw Elsa returning and decided to ask her about it.  “May I ask you a question, Your Majesty?”

 

Elsa dropped her blanket and retrieved her own saddlebag.  “Is something bothering you, Kristoff?”

 

“I guess—I’m being a little curious.”  He rummaged through his bag and produced a dried salami.  “Well, when Anna was drunk…”  He saw the Queen stiffen momentarily.  “…she talked about some really strange stuff.”

 

Elsa produced some dried lingonberries from her bag and began munching on them.  “What kind of stuff?”

 

“It was dismal, just like you did a few minutes ago.  About the end of the world and prophecies—something about dark magic.”

 

The Queen sighed, but decided not to open up to the inquisitive man.  “I’m sure she was just drunk and rambling on about nothing.”

 

“That’s the thing, Your Majesty, it gave me a strange feeling when she did.”

 

“You were drunk, as well, Kristoff.”

 

The mountain man regarded the Queen for a few moments and wondered if he was just being inane in his thoughts.  “You’re right, Your Majesty.  What could I be thinking, right?”

 

Elsa put down her bag an cringed somewhat.  She hadn’t meant to demean the sensitive man.  “I’m sorry, Kristoff.  I didn’t mean to debase you in any way.”  She thought about it some more, and then made a decision.  “Kristoff, may I entrust you with an important matter?”

 

“Aside from my bad behavior yesterday I think I’m trustworthy, Your Majesty.  Just ask ole Sven.”

 

The Queen then proceeded to tell Kristoff all about the Fimbulvetr and Jörmungandr and of the true nature of the Trolls who raised him.  But she was certain to leave some specific portions of the prophecy secret, the ones concerning her and Anna.

 

After their talk Elsa and Kristoff packed up their scattered camp and headed with all haste towards the Valley of the Living Rock, both eager to engage the trolls.

Chapter Text

The forest gave way to the horse chestnuts and beech trees the further into the troll’s territory they wandered.  The well-worn paths disappeared once again to be replaced by a rockier terrain and the appearance of the hot springs.  Elsa felt more comfortable as the time passed, and the closer she came to Yggdrasil, but her thoughts kept straying back to Arendelle, and to Anna.  It wasn’t long before the sun seemed to stop its movement in the sky, and time halted altogether.  The sky took on a golden color, interspersed with its usual blue, and the air itself hung heavily about them.  Not only were the horses edgy, but so was Kristoff, as a new understanding of the land sank deeper into his conscious.  He looked about at every noise, startling himself and his horse.

 

The Queen turned her horse closer to Kristoff’s.  “Relax, I guarantee nothing bad is going to happen to you.”  She spurred her horse to a trot.  “Follow me, Kristoff.”

 

It was mid-afternoon when the Queen of Arendelle arrived at the Valley of the Living Rock.  Elsa led them past the clearing and into the deeper forest where the golden rays of sun fell between the thick branches of the tall conifers.  After a half an hour of weaving in between the tall, thick trees Elsa finally saw their destination: Yggdrasil, and the trolls were gathered about it. 

 

Elsa halted about fifty yards from the giant white tree and dismounted.  “We walk the rest of the way.”

 

Kristoff looked about him. “I’ve never been this deep into the forest.  It’s a little—spooky.  Like the dark magic Anna was talking about.”

 

The Queen briefly touched his arm.  “There’s nothing to be afraid of, Kristoff, please believe me.”

 

The mountain man smiled weakly.  “Okay, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa turned to go, then paused.  “Kristoff, I think you can dispense with the honorific.  You can call me ‘Elsa’.”  She smiled at the man before leading them towards whatever destiny had in store for them.

 

As they got closer to Yggdrasil Elsa removed her officer’s coat and threw it on the ground; her wings began to flutter in anticipation underneath her shirt.  Kristoff saw this and his eyes went wide.  Even though Elsa had told him all about her physical transformations he still had harbored some doubts.  No more.  Here was the clear evidence that the Queen had been truthful about everything.  He drew in a sharp breath and wondered at the things Anna had said while drunk.  Was all of it true?

 

Elsa stopped on the periphery of the small clearing around the giant white tree and nodded to Pabbie who was standing at its base.  The remainder of the trolls were scattered about on the massive spherical stone that surrounded Yggdrasil, and appeared to be in a trance.  “Jörmungandr has returned.”

The old troll nodded once, and his apprentice, Hølje, stepped up to Elsa.  “What is your intent, Jörmungandr?  Have you come to challenge the future?”

 

Elsa shook her head. “No, I have accepted my destiny and my place in the world.  I seek knowledge, and understanding.  I seek counsel with the jötunn, and to beseech upon their mercy.”

 

Hølje glanced back at Pabbie, and they exchanged a meaningful glance.  The shaman turned around and touched the Yggdrasil.  “The knowledge of which you seek—from the jötnar of old—life and death, good and evil, sublime and ridiculous.  You will find upon the branches of Yggdrasil.”  He turned around and faced Elsa.  “Frey, the son of Njörð, had seated himself on Hliðskjálf, and looked out across all the worlds.  He sought to subdue jötunn to his will, and failed. Is this what you seek, Jörmungandr?”

 

Elsa blinked and took a step back.  “No, there is no guile in me.  Come and place your hand upon my heart and know the truth.”

 

Pabbie walked up to Elsa, but kept his hands to himself, respecting her royal stature. “To do so would be an act of insolence, Queen Elsa.”  The old troll smiled and indicated for Elsa to follow him as he ambled around Yggdrasil. “Just as from Niflheim there arose coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginnungagap was as mild as a windless sky. And when the rime and the blowing of the warmth met so that it thawed and dripped, there was a quickeningfrom these flowing drops due to the power of the source of the heat, and it became the form of a human.”  Grand Pabbie stopped and looked pointed at Elsa. “Does this speak a truth to you, Jörmungandr?” 

 

Elsa pondered the words, but their meaning eluded her.  “I am afraid I don’t understand.”

 

Pabbie stopped when the trolls that were standing around on the giant spherical rock began to chant, albeit almost silently.  “If you seek understanding with the jötnar you must understand the prophecies, Queen Elsa.  Everything now is depending on your power to perceive, and your actions upon your discernment.”

 

The Queen stopped walking and thought over the old trolls words.  Quickening—what on earth did the prophecy mean by this?  She knew the word meant something like ‘hastening’ or ‘moving along’ but what did… “Wait, you said to the effect that when this quickening happened a man appeared?”

 

“No, not a man, Queen Elsa.”

 

“A human, then?  When the cold rime was swept by blowing warmth? These two elemental forces created—life?”

 

“Again, Queen Elsa, what does this knowledge speak to you?”

 

Elsa looked back to Kristoff but he merely shrugged his shoulders, a strange and distant look on his face.  The Queen rubbed at her temples in an effort to ward off an impending headache, and her horns started to hurt.  “Are you asking me to give my own meaning to the words?”

 

Grand Pabbie stopped at the base of the giant tree and touched it again.  “How can the jötnar help you if you do not understand?”

 

“I’m trying.”  Elsa watched the swaying branches on the white tree, and thought she saw an enormous hawk staring down at her from high above. There was a shift in the branches, and she realized the hawk was sitting on the head—between the eyes—of a much larger eagle.  They were testing her, and she knew it.

 

Pabbie followed Elsa’s line of sight.  “Veðrfölnir awaits, are you ready to ascend to the truth, Queen Elsa?”

 

Elsa blew out a frustrated breath.  “What does the creation of life have to do with me?“

 

Pabbie just stared at her, his face inscrutable. “Creation and procreation.”

 

“Okay, what does procreation have to—“  She stopped mid-sentence, her heart racing at the implication.  Pabbie knew.  Kin will lie with kinprocreation…oh, my god…  Her head swam and she felt her legs starting to give out on her, so she sank to the ground on her knees, and then sat back on her heels.

 

The shaman turned back to face Elsa, his expression grim.  “With understanding comes awareness, and with awareness comes an almost unbearable sorrow.”

 

Kristoff went to the Queen’s side and knelt next to her.  “What is he talking about, Elsa?”  When the Elsa didn’t answer he turned his head to Pabbie.  “Grandfather, what did you mean?”

 

Elsa put her arm on Kristoff’s.  “Kristoff, please don’t worry about this.  This is something that I alone must bear.”

 

The mountain man smiled down at her.  “Will you be alright?”

 

“Of course—I think.” Elsa reached up and kissed Kristoff on the cheek.  “Will you help me up?”  Elsa stood on shaky legs and walked up to Pabbie.  “Am I ready to face the jötnar?”

 

“You are ready.” Pabbie hobbled over to Kristoff, a heavy weight on his shoulders.  “Walk with me.”  Kristoff glanced over his shoulder at the Queen as he walked away with his grandfather and gave her a reassuring smile.

 

Elsa noticed that the other trolls had turned in on themselves and now bore a striking resemblance to rocks.  She blinked and glanced around her; there was absolute silence in the forest.  Even Yggdrasil’s swaying branches failed to make a sound.  After taking a deep breath she knew what she had to do.

 

*****

 

The Queen unbuttoned her shirt and let it fall to the ground.  Then she stooped and removed her boots, flexing her toes when done.  Her wings began to flutter again in anticipation as she stepped to the base of the tree and hauled herself up to the lowest branch.  Yggdrasil reacted to Elsa’s touch and a low moan started in its three roots and vibrated up the trunk.  She stood on the branch and waited, but nothing happened.  It was then that she realized she needed to climb higher into the tree to discover its secrets.  Once again, she climbed, and this time scaled up the trunk to about twenty feet and felt the rumbling from the foundation of the world.  Elsa clung to a certain branch when she felt a familiar pulling at her back; her wings were growing out again, and she could feel the sting of blood dripping down her back as they forced themselves further out of her body. She grunted into the pain and released a shuddering breath.  After awhile the pain subsided, and she was able to proceed up the tree.

 

Elsa flapped her wings robustly for the first time, and they helped her to ascend higher into Yggdrasil. At this point the humming from the tree grew louder and the branches became shrouded in a thin mist.  As she stepped up to a particularly large branch the eagle poked its massive head from a copse of leaves.  The hawk between its eyes squawked rather loudly and Elsa would have fallen if her wings hadn’t helped to steady her.  She held on tightly to the branches and glared at Veðrfölnir and the eagle.

 

The hawk glared back at the Queen.  “Seeker of knowledge.  You ascend Yggdrasil as ignorant as a newborn babe.”

 

Elsa bristled.  “I may be many things, Veðrfölnir, but ignorant is not one of them.  Do you not recognize the great Jörmungandr?”   She stood firm and didn’t back down.

 

The eagle remained silent, but the hawk was agitated at the news.  “Great Jörmungandr, how may I truly know it is really you?”

 

Elsa smirked.  “Send Ratatoskr the squirrel to the foundation and the three roots, and inquire of the wyrm Níðhöggr as to the truth.  I imprisoned him there.”

 

The hawk bellowed and Ratatoskr climbed up the tree, and then eyed Elsa warily for a moment, then it cried out.  “Oh, Jörmungandr, why do you return to punish your lowly servants?”

 

Veðrfölnir cackled and flapped his wings.  “Ratatoskr, you know—this creature?”

 

But the messenger wasn’t listening, and slowly backed away from Elsa in supplication.  After it was gone she turned her attention back to the hawk. “Let me pass, now!”

 

The hawk bowed its head. “Forgive me, Jörmungandr.  My eyes are now open.” 

 

A low growl emanated from the eagle and it bowed its head before disappearing behind the leaves. Elsa’s wings fluttered in satisfaction and she grasped at the branches above her.  After about twenty minutes of climbing she came to another enormous branch and easily lifted herself on it.  The humming in Yggdrasil increased, and the mist that was surrounding the tree began to swirl as if in a breeze; and then, out of nowhere, dísir appeared, formed out of the mist itself and they began to swirl around the Queen. 

 

One of them stopped in front of Elsa and regarded her.  The dís looked at her strangely, as if taking her measure.  “Fate.”

 

Elsa waited, her wings fluttering madly behind her.  “Yes?”

 

“That which has come to pass and that which is in the process of happening are one and the same. Two worlds that come together to form one cohesiveness—unitary and inseparable.  What do you seek, o mighty Jörmungandr—how may Fate serve you?”

 

Elsa cleared her throat. “I seek counsel with the jötnar. I want to secure their promise, through a treaty, to come to Arendelle’s aid in the war to come.”

 

The ghost laughed. “And how do you propose to engage jötunn with a treaty?  Treaties are for men and their evil purposes.  Their oaths mean nothing to us!”

 

Elsa struggled to stay calm, and clung to the branches.  “Then what must I do as Jörmungandr to gain favor with them?”

 

“You wish to know the wisdom of the nine worlds, o great wyrm, and once possessed of such knowledge, what would you do with it?”

 

“I want Arendelle safe!” Elsa couldn’t keep the fury out of her voice.

 

“Arendelle?  Is this your only consideration?”

 

Elsa swallowed, and the truth that Pabbie was trying to convey to her, came crashing down upon her. “No.  I must keep Anna safe, if what I think to be true, is indeed.”  She looked down and couldn’t see the base of the tree.  “You are Fate, aren’t you?  Is it true, is Anna—oh, god, I can’t even say it.” Elsa cursed her weakness at that moment, and a single tear fell down her cheek; and as much as she tried she couldn’t hold back her tears any longer, and broke down completely.  “Anna is pregnant, with my child, isn’t she?  You must help me protect her!”  She clung to the trunk of the tree and let her tears fall freely, and her tears fell onto the trunk itself and were absorbed by Yggdrasil.  Those tears held everything that Elsa was—her hopes and dreams and her dismal failures; her loftiest thoughts to her baser emotions.  All that was Elsa fell onto the great tree.

 

Yggdrasil fell silent; it’s humming stopped completely; and the deep rumble at the foundation of the world quieted.  All the dísir stopped their swirling and coalesced into one being and the creature that came forth was human like in its appearance.  It regarded Elsa as she cried and reached out to capture one tear on its finger.  It brought the tear up to its mouth and dropped it on its tongue.  “It appears that the jötnar have heard your pleas, Jörmungandr, and have agreed to help you, in any way they can.”

 

“What of Anna and Arendelle?”  Elsa stopped crying, but was still feeling vulnerable. 

 

“You are one with Arendelle and you must keep it safe.”

 

The Queen wiped at her tears with the back of her hand, her heart conflicted over what she had learned on this day.  She stepped away from the trunk and sat down on the large branch.  Her emotions were still raw, and she wished she was back in Arendelle, and in the safety of Anna’s arms.  Elsa let out a deep cleansing breath, and shook her head slightly, to clear away all negativity. 

 

She looked up and the creature was still before her, smiling in a knowing way.  “What happens now?”

 

“Now, you go to sleep.”

 

*****

 

Elsa awoke at the base of the great white tree, and lifted her head.  But she was uncomfortable on her back, as her wings were larger, and so she shifted onto her side.  After a moment she decided to experiment with her wings, and used their momentum to propel herself off of the stone and onto her feet.  She picked up her discarded shirt and put it on, but couldn’t quite button it up so she let it hang freely.  After putting on her boots she looked around and noticed that the trolls were gone so she used her new instincts to guide her back to the cave that she and Anna had used when they were in the Valley.  After about a half an hour she was at the cave, and so were Kristoff, Pabbie, and the rest of the trolls.

 

Pabbie stepped forward, but the shaman didn’t look well, and clung to his apprentice.  “What of the future, Jörmungandr?”

 

Elsa released another cleansing breath.  “The jötnar have agreed to help me.”

 

Pabbie released a great sigh.  “Then my task is completed.”  He dropped his walking stick on the ground.  “I have returned Jörmungandr to the world and have seen to its future, and my time is now over.”

 

Kristoff turned to his grandfather.  “Hey, wait a minute.  What are you saying?”

 

Bulda, alarmed, also came over and grasped her father’s hand.  “Father?”

 

Pabbie gently pulled his hand away and touched his daughter’s cheek.  “It is the way of things, my daughter, one leaves and…”  He looked up at Elsa.  “…one is soon to come.”  And with those parting words, the old troll fell onto the ground, and died.

 

The mountain man fell onto his knees and clutched Pabbie to him.  “No, no, no!  Pabbie!” He lifted his head and a great wail rolled to the heavens.  The trolls wept, all except Hølje, the old troll’s apprentice.  He placed his hand on Pabbie’s forehead and then placed his other one on Kristoff’s.  The mountain man gasped, and fell back onto his rear, still cradling his grandfather in his arms.

 

*****

 

Elsa changed into one of Kristoff’s larger shirts and sighed.  She walked outside the cave to find the blonde man sitting on a large boulder outside the cave, and smoking a pipe.  She regarded him sorrowfully.  “I didn’t know you smoked, Kristoff.”

 

“Only when I need to think.” Kristoff deadpanned.  He remained on the rock and didn’t turn around.

 

The Queen walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.  “I’m so sorry for your loss, Kristoff.”  She sat down next to him.

 

“He showed me his memories.” 

 

“What?”

 

“Pabbie’s memories, Your Majesty.  Hølje showed me everything about the Fimbulwinter and my family’s role in it.” He looked at the pipe in his hands. “Why didn’t he tell me about it sooner. I could have—helped him in some way.”

 

Elsa looked at the blonde man.  “Maybe Pabbie didn’t want to burden you unnecessarily, Kristoff.”

 

The mountain man grunted. “That’s the story of my life, Your Majesty.  No one wants to burden poor, dumb Kristoff.”

 

Elsa cringed.  “No, no.  You are hardly a stupid man, Kristoff.  Please don’t think of yourself like that.”

 

The blonde man wiped at a few tears.  “Well, I’ve come to a decision, Elsa.  I can’t leave my family now.  My mom is so hurt, and vulnerable—I just can’t do it. I’m staying here and helping them anyway I can.”

 

Elsa nodded.  “Are you sure?”

 

Kristoff glanced at the Queen.  “I’ve never been so sure in my life.  Not even with Anna.  I’m going to learn everything they know about this Fimbulwinter and help them when the war comes.”

 

The Queen sighed, and then rested her head on the mountain man’s shoulder.  “You are a good man, Kristoff.  You know, you and the trolls are welcome to come to Arendelle at any time.”

 

Kristoff rested his cheek on Elsa’s head, but then lifted quickly when he felt a horn.  “Thank you for the invitation.  But I’ve got to go back to the white tree and learn everything there is to know.  I know Hølje is going to be the next shaman—but Pabbie was more than just a shaman, he was a leader.  My people need a leader, Your Majesty, and I’m going to be the one to do it.”

 

“Whatever Arendelle can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to ask.”  Elsa lifted her head and smiled at the blonde man.  “I suppose you’ll want to have Sven back.”

 

“Absolutely.  What’s a leader without a right-hand man.”  He grinned as Elsa swatted his arm. 

 

*****

 

Elsa left the Valley of the Living Rock and promised to return if needed.  Despite leaving Kristoff in a good mood, she found herself slowly receding into a contemplative state the farther away from the Valley she rode.  So by the time she left the safety of the magical land her mood darkened, and a weight settled onto her shoulders.  There was still something she needed to deal with when she returned home; and that was Anna. How am I going to get through to her…?

 

The Queen had no idea how she was going to approach her sister.  It was bad enough that Anna had gotten drunk with the blonde man, but did she really want to sleep with him, or was it simply because she wasdrunk?  Elsa stopped her horse at a small stream to let it drink, and she got down to relieve herself.

 

She looked at her reflection in the water and wondered why her parents had been so remiss in this most important part of her life.  Why had they gone to their graves without a least giving her some sort of preparation for the times ahead.  Had her mother really been that scared of the responsibility?  Elsa realized she was very tired and she took her horses reins and walked along the familiar path that she knew would take her back to Arendelle.

 

Elsa had never believed in Fate before this last week, and, like Anna, had always thought her actions themselves set the course of her life.  But now, with Fimbulvetr and the war to come, and her role as Jörmungandr—it was all almost too much to think on at that moment.  So she removed it from her mind and settled onto her peaceful surroundings.  But after awhile she felt a prickling at the back of her neck, and her wings started to flutter slightly.  She stopped walking and erased all thoughts, except for that crawling feeling up her spine.  I am being watched…

 

The Queen let go of the horse’s reins and took off her riding gloves, placing them on the saddle. Then she let go of all reason and let the instinct of the dragon take over.  She discarded the officer’s coat and began to unbutton her shirt.  It too was set on the saddle and she let her wings unfold to their longest length.  She concentrated on the wings and felt a tearing at her skin again, and more of the wing popped out of her back, until they spanned a length of almost six feet.  She rolled her head and let the beast take over, moaning as her mind receded and the animal took over. 

 

The creature turned abruptly and was face to face with a Norn, so far removed from Yggdrasil that a creature of its kind had ever been.  The Norn hissed, and circled around Elsa, but she matched the creature move for move, and when the Norn lunged at her she was easily able to evade it.  Elsa blast ice from her left hand and this surprised the Norn more than anything.  The blast hit it on its left shoulder and it wailed in pain.  Elsa flapped her wings and lifted off the ground as the Norn set about another attack and she eluded it once again. 

 

The Norn scowled.  “Do you think you are so clever Jörmungandr that you can elude destiny?”

 

“Dying at your hands is hardly my destiny.”  She flipped over and landed on her feet in back of the Norn, and blasted it for a second time with her freezing ice.  The creature glowered again at her before it fled back in the direction of the Valley, back to Yggdrasil.

 

Elsa growled deep in her throat, and blinked her eyes several times in an effort to calm down and come back to herself.  It worked, and in a few minutes was breathing out a ragged breath.  She felt blood at the slits in her back and cringed when she put her shirt back on, and tried to smooth out her ruffled plait.  After looking around she spotted her horse about fifty yards away and slowly started walking back to it.

 

*****

 

Anna sat in the Conservatory and tried to concentrate on her music, but her mind refused to focus on the notes before her, and she rested her hands on her knees.  Elsa was due back on this day, and she had no idea how to express to her the sorrow she felt on the inside.  Anna knew that she had messed up badly, and desperately wanted to do something to make it right again.  You complete and utter fool, messing with Kristoff that way when you knew you didn’t really want him…

 

Anna got up and moved to sit by the fireplace, where a warm fire burned.  She reached over to a decanter of brandy and was about to pour some into a glass when there was a knock on the door.

 

The princess looked up. “Come in.”

 

Gerda poked her head into the room.  “Your Highness, I thought you’d like to know that the Queen has returned.  But she has requested a few hours—“  The Head of the Household didn’t get a chance to finish her sentence, as the princess flew by her.

 

Anna didn’t even bother to knock, and rushed into Elsa’s parlor and looked around frantically, but Elsa wasn’t in her parlor so she went into the Queen’s bedroom and Elsa wasn’t in her bedroom.  She heard a splashing sound in the bathroom and slowly went to the door and poked her head in.

 

Elsa was in her tub, sitting crosswise, her head down.  “Don’t you ever knock?”  She didn’t look up, and splashed hot water on her face.

 

Anna noticed the dried blood on the Queen’s back.  “Are you hurt?”

 

Elsa finally looked up. “Come here.”  She handed a soapy wet cloth to Anna.  “Can you clean my back…please?”

 

The princess fell to her knees and took the cloth and then gently rubbed it over the Queen’s back. She reached over and grabbed the closest wing and spread it out, then she ran the cloth over the wing to clean it. “Elsa, were you in a fight?”

 

The Queen closed her eyes. “How can you tell?”

 

“Your wings are filthy, and this one has a slight tear in it.  Can’t you feel that?”

 

Elsa exhaled loudly. “Now that you mention it.”  Anna’s hands were smooth on her back and wings, and her touch was gentle.  Elsa’s body, despite its utter state of exhaustion, responded.  She grit her teeth and then her hand lashed out and grabbed Anna’s.  She used the momentum to spin around and face her sister.  Their eyes locked and a fire erupted between them.

 

Elsa staggered out of the tub and pinned Anna to her bathroom wall.  All of her hurt, frustration, and lust burst from her at that moment, and used her superior strength to part Anna’s legs.

 

Anna gasped, her body a pent up coil of need.  “Oh, gods…please…”  She needed forgiveness from Elsa, but she also needed this—this purely wanton gift that only Elsa could give her.  Her core burned , and the heat spread out like fine tendrils of the purest pleasure. All thought was obliterated as she helped Elsa to hike up her skirt.  There would be time, much latter, for soft-spoken words and gentle caresses, but not now.  She gasped again when Elsa plunged deep inside her; and she threw her head back and grunted as Elsa’s thrusts slammed her against the wall again and again. Yes, healing was for another place and time… or perhaps this was part of that process, she couldn’t be sure, not with Elsa rutting into her like she was. 

 

Anna drifted in and out of awareness for the longest  time, and marveled at Elsa’s stamina.  After an eternity of exquisite pleasure the muscles in her lower abdomen clenched, and her inner walls constricted around Elsa’s heated flesh.  She had brought herself to orgasm a number of times, but none of them were like this—this visceral sensation of a thousand exploding stars.  Her pleasure rippled out in waves, and caught her in its incendiary grip.  She barely registered Elsa’s own cries, or the hot flow of her seed as it filled her up completely.  Their eyes met again, and instead of the pain that both expected, there was only their mingled breaths of satiation. 

 

Elsa closed her eyes and rested her head on Anna’s shoulder.  It felt good to be home.

Chapter Text

Anna rolled onto her side, and drifted somewhere between the waking world and sleep.  After awhile she yawned and tentatively opened her eyes and found herself face to face with Elsa, who was still asleep.  She blinked several times then yawned again, ascending quickly to an awakened state.   Her body felt incredibly good, and with a blush, she realized the reason why.  Elsa had been—so ardent in her desire that even now, her body still tingled.  Anna inhaled slowly the sweet scent that was Elsa and then sighed in contentment.

 

“You’re staring.”

 

Anna blushed again. “I can’t help it, Elsa.  You are so…so…”

 

Elsa silenced her with a gently placed finger on her lips.  “You don’t have to say anything.”  She opened her eyes, and smiled sweetly.

 

“Okay.”  Anna snuggled into the blankets.  “I didn’t sleep well when you were gone.”

 

Elsa gently rolled on top of Anna, careful not to startle her.  “Well, I think we’ve found a cure for your insomnia.”  She bent down and brushed her lips against Anna’s, eliciting a quiet moan from the princess below her.  Their lips barely ghosted, but it was enough to stir both of them.

 

“Anna…” Elsa slowly rolled her hips, then lifted slightly on her knees, and spread Anna’s legs apart. She bent her head towards Anna’s breast and slowly circled her nipple with the tip of her tongue.

 

They writhed together like this for the longest time, hands all over the other, gently tugging and squeezing.

 

Anna squirmed under Elsa’s gentle ministrations and arched her back.  She ran her hands down Elsa’s back and up again, careful not to ruffle her sensitive wings.  Her left hand fisted the sheet below her, and she ran her other through Elsa’s blonde locks. “Yes…just like that…”

 

Elsa switched to the other breast, her hands roaming unhurriedly all over the princess below her. “I’ll be gentle…” She entered slowly, Anna’s wetness coating her and making it as painless as possible.  But instead of erratically thrusting, as she did earlier, she merely tensed her buttock muscles, which eased her into Anna thoroughly yet gradually.

 

Anna sighed and her head lolled to the side.  “Oh, that feels so good.”  She spread her legs wider and bent her knees.  “Elsa…”

 

Elsa adjusted her position, and their breasts touched.  With infinite tenderness she rocked her pelvis against Anna’s, and she laid her head on her shoulder.  “Anna…” Her panting was barely audible, and she brought her hand up to cup Anna’s cheek. “I love—this.“

 

Anna was completely undone by the sweet torture, and soon felt the small tremors in her lower abdomen. Her whole body was awash in the satisfying pleasure, and she soon sucked in a deep breath as the force of her orgasm rippled through her, and then spread out like a fine filigree of electricity, moving up her spine and spreading out onto her quaking limbs.

 

Elsa continued her slow thrusting, her own body begging for its own sweet release.  Both hands migrated to Anna’s soft face and she lifted her head to stare down into her inviting eyes.  “Anna—“ She was trembling, holding back tears, her body undulating with need.

 

Anna grabbed her head and whispered hotly in her ear.  “Let it go.”

 

Elsa did.

 

*****

 

Elsa emerged from her closet fully dressed and was putting on her uniform jacket.  She frowned somewhat when she noticed that Anna was still in her bed.  “Are you not going to get up?”

 

Ann stretched and pulled the duvet closer to her.  “I’m not sure that I can.  My toes are still tingling.”

 

Elsa blushed, and lowered her head.  “Really?”

 

Anna closed her eyes and sighed.  “Oh, yes.” She opened her eyes and glanced at the clock.  “We missed lunch, Elsa.  I’m surprised no one came to remind you.”

 

Elsa sat down on the bed and nodded.  “That is odd. I usually can’t get the staff to leave me alone.”  She began to fidget.  “You don’t suppose anyone… came to the door, do you?  Let me check.”  She hurriedly walked out of the bedroom, and then came back immediately.  “Anna, my parlor door was unlocked.”

 

Anna’s eyes widened. “I don’t remember locking it after I barged right it.”

 

“Anna, you must be more careful, okay?  We can’t afford to make any mistakes, not with what the future holds.”  Elsa sat back down on the bed and took her sister’s hand.  “There is just too much at stake.”

 

“I understand, and I’m sorry.  I won’t make that mistake again.”

 

“Good, thank you.” Elsa paused, as if thinking on something difficult.  “Perhaps its time to change our strategy, Anna, and confide in someone as too what is to come.”

 

Anna blinked.  “You mean tell someone else about the Fimbulvetr and the prophecies?”

 

“Not one person, but a few key people in the Kingdom who have influence on the others.”  Elsa scooted on the bed and leaned against her headboard.  “Master Kai is one who needs to know.  As Master of the Castle he has authority over its entire staff, even the guards and soldiers who protect it.”

 

“Yeah, that makes sense. What about Gerda?  She has a lot of influence as Head of the Household.”

 

Elsa shook her head. “I’m not sure about Gerda, as Kai is her direct supervisor, and he will know.”  Elsa pursed her lips.  “Let me think about Gerda, okay?  General Urban needs to know—he’s a levelheaded man, and I think I can trust him to do the right thing when the time comes—and Zander knows a little part of the truth. It may be useful to tell him everything.”

 

“Why?”  Anna cringed, feeling a bit of jealousy. 

 

Elsa sighed.  “Again, Anna, please don’t be jealous of Zander. He’s not only loyal to me but to you and the Kingdom, as well.”

 

“Is there anyone else we should tell?”

 

Elsa thought it over. “Am I missing anybody?  Kai and General Urban seem like the best choices for now.”  She looked up to the clock.  “The general staff meeting starts soon.”

 

Anna yawned.  “Have fun.”

 

The Queen smiled at Anna as she sat up.  “I’ve got to go, Anna.”  As she swung her legs over the side of the bed a thought occurred to her.  “Anna, come with me.”

 

Anna rolled onto her side. “Why would I want to go to a staff meeting?”

 

Elsa turned to face her. “Because you’ll have to be Queen one of these days, and you need to learn these simple duties.”

 

The princess sat up immediately, reality settling on her uncomfortably.  “Okay, I’m sorry.  Can we find something to eat afterwards?”

 

Elsa chuckled.  “I was thinking we could stroll on into town, find a nice restaurant or ale house?”

 

Anna clapped her hands in excitement.  “I’d love to!”

 

*****

 

“I’m sure we’ll be just fine, Captain.”  Elsa started walking from the courtyard to the outer gates.

 

But Captain Gunnar wasn’t convinced, and trotted up to the Queen.  “A thousand pardons, Your Majesty, but I can’t let you and Princess Anna just wander into town by yourselves.  I must insist upon going with you.”

 

Elsa stopped walking and turned to face the guard.  “Okay, but I insist that you and your men stay behind a few yards—give us some room. We are not prisoners, you know.”

 

“Of course, Your Majesty. Guards!”  The Captain whistled and about a half dozen castle guards scurried up to him.  “Follow us—at a respectable distance, of course.”

 

Elsa turned to go, Anna at her side.  They exited the gates and slowly walked down the eastern bridge towards Arendelle village. After awhile Elsa turned her head and saw that the Captain was about ten yards behind them, and the rest of the guards were about ten yards behind the captain.

 

Anna saw the indignant look on Elsa’s face.  “What is it, Elsa?”

 

“As if I can’t protect you by myself.”  The Queen adjusted the sword at her side.  “Have they forgotten I have ice powers?”

 

Anna lowered her head and chuckled.  “Well, I think it has to do with a certain Captain liking me.”

 

Elsa huffed.  “Are you talking about Captain Gunnar?”  She glanced behind her again but didn’t stop walking.

 

“Stop looking, Elsa.” Anna linked her arm with Elsa’s. “Please don’t embarrass me.”

 

The blonde briefly glanced at their interlocked arms.  “It is he, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes, it is.  It is flattering, I will admit.”

 

Elsa grinned.  “Yes, I do admit so myself.”  She looked away and smiled to herself at some hidden memory.

 

“Oh, care to share?” Anna drawled.

 

Anna’s mischievous question wasn’t lost on Elsa.  “Nope, I do not.”

 

The sun shone down from a cloudless sky, and a gentle breeze blew in from the bay, making their late afternoon walk a pleasurable experience.  Several citizens nodded to them as they walked past, or bowed.  Both gestures were acceptable to the Queen of Arendelle.  Soon they were past the bridge making their way through the marketplace, with its myriad stalls.  Elsa stopped at a flower vendor to admire the wild bluebells, and Anna used this opportunity to pause at the candy vendor, to sample the day’s chocolate.

 

*****

 

“How is your Kjøttkaker, Anna?”  Elsa sat back in her seat and folded her napkin.

 

They were seated in a quaint café in the eastern part of the village where most of Arendelle’s restaurants were located.  The walls were paneled with dark wood and a large stone hearth provided most of the interior lighting.  Anna and Elsa were seated next to the fire, and Elsa had ordered the guards to wait for them outside, as she didn’t want them around during her meal. There were only a few other patrons in the small café.

 

Anna put down her fork and smacked her lips.  “It’s perfect.”  She spread lingonberry sauce on her potatoes.  “But those pork chops of yours look delicious, too.”

 

“It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a good plate of Svinekoteletter.”  Elsa picked up her cup of ale and drank. “This was a good idea, wasn’t it?”

 

“Of course, I’m glad I thought of it.”  She ducked the napkin Elsa tossed her way.

 

Elsa sighed, as there were a few things on her mind, things that she had yet to tell Anna, and she was a little afraid to bring them up.  “Anna?”

 

The princess continued to eat without looking up.  “Yes?”

 

“Are you a little curious to know what happened while I was in the Valley of the Living Rock?”

 

Anna looked up and a small smile graced her features.  “I am interested, but you’ve been keeping me a little distracted.”

 

Elsa’s hand jerked a bit, spilling her meat and fried onions.  “Oh, well…ahem, aside from that.  There are a few things you need to know, Anna.”

 

Anna could feel her heart sink a little.  “What is it?”

 

“Grand Pabbie died while we were in the Valley.”

 

The princess’s eyes widened, and her fork dropped.  “Oh, no…my goodness…” Her voice trailed off and she shook her head.  “No, it can’t be.”

 

Elsa put down her own fork. “I’m sorry, Anna, I should have told you this sooner.”

 

“I’m just glad you did.” The princess tilted her head.  “Does this mean the war has started?”

 

“No, it hasn’t.”  Elsa thought about it for a few moments.  “Actually, that’s a very good question.  Maybe… I don’t know.” 

 

Anna lowered her head. “Oh, gods…I bet Kristoff was devastated.”

 

“Anna, Kristoff isn’t going to America.  He decided to stay in the Valley after Pabbie’s death—to help the trolls.”

 

“He must be very upset.”

 

“We all were, Anna.” Elsa looked long and hard at the redhead; looking for any sign of Pabbie’s revelation.  “Do you feel well?  I mean, if you were feeling—sick, you would tell me, right?”

 

Anna blinked.  “Well, yes.  But you always seem to know if I’m ill so I don’t worry too much about it.” She looked at Elsa closely.  “What does my health have to do with Pabbie’s death?”

 

“Nothing, really.” Elsa was at a loss on how to tell Anna the most important news of perhaps her lifetime.  Could the old troll have been wrong?  Was Anna really pregnant?  Elsa’s head swam with all the implications, and then it hit her suddenly, with the force of a thousand cannons; she was going to be…to be… She suddenly felt as if she’d been punched in the stomach, so great was the impact on her psyche.

 

Anna noticed Elsa’s sudden and drastic mood change and quickly reached over the table to grab her hand.  “My god, Elsa, you look like you just saw a ghost!  What is it?”

 

Elsa tried to speak, but her throat was constricted.  All she could do at that moment was stare at Anna.  Anna is going to have my child—my child…  The blonde’s eyes widened, and she was hit then with a sudden need to… laugh.  She tried to stifled a giggle but couldn’t. She put her hand on her mouth to hide her delight but she couldn’t.  Another giggle arose, unbidden, and for a brief second, she looked horrified. 

 

Then Elsa burst out in the loudest laughter Anna ever heard from her.  It surprised her so much that that all she could do was gawk, and wonder if her sister had finally lost her mind.  But then the giggles hit her, and she joined in Elsa’s revelry.  The other patrons in the café regarded them for few moments, thought nothing was wrong, and then went back to eating their meals.

 

After awhile Elsa finally calmed enough to wipe at the few tears streaking down her cheeks.  She breathed in deeply and then released a cleansing sigh.  “Oh, Anna, I haven’t laughed like that—ever.”

 

Anna quieted, as well. “Will you tell me what that was all about?”

 

Elsa regarded the princess and smiled, feeling a profound sense of happiness at the moment. Nothing else mattered at this exact second but the undeniable reality that in nine months… Nine months, a time of war… But then she sobered and realized at that time Arendelle might still be at war, with Anna right in the middle of the conflict—a pregnant Anna, giving birth while Arendelle burned.  Her fleeting moment of happiness was over.  “I—promise I will.  I just can’t, not right now.”

 

Anna seemed to accept Elsa’s answer because she picked up her fork and started eating again.  Elsa, on the other hand, had lost her appetite but continued eating anyway, as to not draw suspicion on herself.

 

*****

 

Fingaard and Hans rode their mounts into the battlefields of Jonvar an observed their forces during their practices.  They finally stopped at the large tent in the center of the practice field and dismounted. Fingaard led Hans into the tent and took him immediately to a large wooden table that had a map on top of it; it was a map of Arendelle and its surrounding fjords. 

 

Hans took off his riding gloves and poured himself some brandy.  He brought his drink over to the map table.  “Thanks for the tour, Fin.  I will admit—I’m impressed with the progress the troops are making.  Perhaps we’ll be able to take Arendelle sooner than expected.”

 

“That depends, brother.”

 

Hans bristled slightly, he never liked the way Fingaard said ‘brother’; the way it slipped off his tongue like a slander.  “Depends on what?”

 

“Cousin Magnus, of course, and the Weselton forces.”

 

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about Magnus, my man at court we’ll see to the training of their troops.

 

Fingaard laughed. “Your man at court?  What on earth are talking about, Hans?”

 

“General Voljor of Weselton, my dear Finny, is in my pocket, so to speak—he’s being blackmailed.”

 

For a brief moment there was a look of self-doubt on Fingaard’s face.  But he covered it quickly.  “How… did you manage that?”

 

Hans eyed his brother warily.  “Never mind how I managed it.  Your only concern is to help me win—and I’m serious when I say ‘me.’  First we decimate Arendelle, with Weselton’s help, of course, and then at the last moment, we turn on our fair cousin and kill him, as well.  It’s a perfect plan, trust me.”  Hans drank his brandy and watched Fingaard over the rim of his glass.  “What’s the matter?”

 

“I… I would be wary of such a plan myself.  How can you be sure about General Voljor?”

 

“I have my ways; I’m not as inept as you seem to think I am—brother.”  Hans finished his brandy and put the glass on the map.  “Oh, and one more thing.  I had to have poor Ingleif arrested, the stupid fool.”

 

Fingaard merely nodded, and then poured his own glass of liquor.  “On what charges?”

 

“It appears the old fool was drunk and then began to brag about how he was planning to thwart my war against Arendelle.  I hope it was only the drink talking, and not him.  I’d hate to add treason to the list of charges against him, as well as public drunkenness.”  Hans smiled at his oldest brother, and then picked up his glass and handed it to him. “Another one, please.”

 

Fingaard turned to pour Hans another drink, his face stony.  He wondered if he had grossly misjudged his younger brother’s abilities and intentions.

 

*****

 

Countess Aida looked over the railing to her private tall ship and tried to hold in her latest meal. She was seasick, and hating travelling by ship.  But at this time it was the fastest way to travel to Arendelle and she was determined to get to the small country as soon as she could.  She had important information for its Queen, and she hoped to make there quickly.  Truth be told, she wanted to see Elsa again, to make sure the new Queen was doing well. 

 

Aida chuckled to herself at that last thought.  She wasn’t so much as worried over the monarchy as she was with Elsa personally, and—this supposed important trip was just an excuse to see her again.  The Countess clutched at her stomach and groaned. Lunched seemed determined to be her undoing, and she thought glad to be rid of it as she leaned over the railing and heaved. 

 

A seaman trotted over to her.  “Are you alright, Lady Aida?”

 

The Countess waved him away and groaned.

 

But the sailor wasn’t looking at her anymore and was staring over the railing towards the back of the ship. His eyes widened and he indicated for the Countess to look as well.  There was another tall ship, fully rigged, at their stern, and following at a great distance. 

 

*****

 

Elsa and Steingard stood in the center of the north attic and watched as the workmen fitted the first of the irons bars to the windows.  The Queen held her schematic and the architect smoked his pipe and gave out orders.  Elsa looked about the large room with worried fascination.  It was wonderful seeing her design being put into use, but the workers appeared to be working too slow, and days were passing until the next full moon.

 

The Queen unrolled her plans and spread it on a nearby table.  She looked from the worker’s progress to what she had written on the diagrams.  “They’re going too slow, Master Steingard.  I have an exact timeframe written here and they’re not following it.”

 

The architect cleared his throat.  “If I may, your Majesty, but I adjusted it to better suit your needs.”

 

The blonde frowned. “But I told you, Steingard, that I need this finished by the end of the month…or sooner.”

 

Steingard looked down at the plans again and shook his head, and then he gestured for the Queen to follow him to one of the walls.  He banged on the stone wall with a hammer, nothing happened.  “These outer walls are not a problem, Your Majesty, they will hold in the next great storm.  But, come and take a look at this.”  He walked over to a wall that had a window in it. 

 

He banged with his hammer again, and this time was able to dislodge a chunk of rock.  It fell to the floor.  “Its these window bearing walls that I’m concerned with.  They are not as sturdy for some reason.  So I’m having the workers toil on these walls first, along with the windows themselves.”

 

Elsa sighed, greatly relieved.  “I see, so it would have wasted time to work on those walls when these need it first?”

 

“Absolutely, Your Majesty.”

 

“Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Master Steingard, I greatly appreciate it.”  Elsa rolled up the designs and tucked them under her arm. “I have to go but I’ll check on the progress in about a week.”

 

*****

 

The Queen arrived at her chambers late into the night, having had to attend to various meetings with her advisors and dukes.  After those meetings there was a large pile of correspondence on her desk that needed her immediate attention, including the progress reports from General Urban. Not only was the progress in the attic going slow, so was the positioning of Arendelle’s army for its training exercises—and this was not the news she was expecting.  She had expected the General to have worked out the kinks to his strategy by now.

 

Elsa locked the door to her parlor and leaned heavily against it, exhausted beyond measure.  She unhooked her belt with the sword attached and tossed it on a nearby chair before making her way to her liquor cabinet.  Elsa poured herself some brandy and then went to sit at her fireplace. She settled into her favorite over stuffed chair and briefly closed her eyes, willing her overtired muscles to relax.

 

She thought she heard the patter of feet on her carpet, and then two warm hands were in her hair, massaging her scalp.  Elsa groaned. “Anna…”

 

“Shh…keep your eyes closed.”

 

Elsa complied, and groaned again when a naked body fell into her lap.  She reached out but her hands were slapped away.

 

“Don’t touch.”

 

Two hands attached to her wrists and guided her hands to the armrests of her chair.  Elsa squirmed a bit, and her body responded to the naked form in her lap.  “Anna… please, let me touch you.”

 

The hands came back and guided the Queen’s hands to two firm breasts.  Elsa gasped, and she began to squeeze the breasts under her hands and pinch the nipples.  She squirmed again, and tried to position her hardened flesh to find relief.  Then the naked body scooted back on her legs and hands were at the clasps to her pants, fumbling with the fasteners. 

 

“Elsa…I can’t loosen…they’re stuck.”

 

The blonde’s eyes snapped open and she moved her hands to the clasps and tried to release them, but they were, indeed, stuck.  “Anna, get up for a second, alright?”

 

Anna got up and waited, but the blonde was still having problems.  “Elsa, stand up.”

The Queen stood and tried again, and this time she was able to release the hooks.  As soon as she did this Anna pushed her back on her chair and straddled her lap.

 

Anna reached between their bodies and grasped Elsa’s flesh, which caused the blonde’s body to jerk forward, almost spilling the princess onto the floor.  Elsa grunted as Anna guided her flesh to her heated center, and then she groaned when Anna adjusted her hips, allowing for Elsa to push right in.

 

The princess closed her eyes and mewled from the back of her throat.  When she started to move she felt Elsa’s hands at her hips, stopping her. Her eyes snapped open immediately and she looked down.  Elsa had a strange expression on her face.  “What…what is it?”

 

“Anna, please, I can’t do this right now.  There is something on my mind.”

 

“But, I’m ready… and so are you.”

 

Elsa groaned again, still deep within Anna, her body telling her to go on, but her mind troubled. “Please… stop.”

 

Anna stopped all movement, and slowly got off of Elsa’s lap.  “I’m so sorry, Elsa.”

 

“No, its all my fault, Anna. Its just… there is something I need to tell you.  I should have told you sooner than this.”  Elsa stood up and refastened her pants and then turned away from Anna’s nakedness. 

 

Anna seemed to recognize Elsa’s distress because she retrieved the Queen’s housecoat and put it on. “My god, Elsa, what has you so grieved?”

 

The blonde turned around. “Anna, you… you are with child.” She looked up to see Anna staring at her, a bemused look on her face.

 

“What?  Please, don’t joke about something like that.”

 

Elsa stood firm and resolute.  “I’m not joking, Anna, please believe that I would never hurt you in that way.  Pabbie revealed this to me, before he died.”

 

They just stared at each other for the longest time, neither one of them speaking, or moving; and Elsa didn’t expect the slap to be so hard that it stung her cheek, but it did. When Anna slammed her door open she didn’t try to stop her from leaving, but fell back into her chair.

 

“What have I done?”

Chapter Text

The next five days went by in a blur for the Queen, as she was kept busy with the preparations for the training of her army, and the day-to-day business of running a Kingdom. She didn’t see her sister at all in those days and her heart remained grieved for the loss.  But what Elsa didn’t know, was that Anna was miserable without her, as well.  The princess was experiencing her own sorrow, but for entirely different reasons—reasons that she chose to remain in her heart, as she did not speak to anyone, not even servants, at that time.  She would show up in the kitchens for meals, and then retreat back into her thoughts and bedroom after she was finished.  Elsa glimpsed her once during this time, when Anna wasn’t aware she was being watched, and did not try to engage her.

 

Elsa sat in her study working on the plans for the latest round of training drills for her army when there was a knock at her door.  She looked up in expectation.  “Come in.”

 

Master Kai came into the study wheeling a cart in front of him.  It had a tray with a pot of coffee on it and some pastries.  He stopped at Elsa’s desk, then turned back to shut the door. “You requested to see me, Your Majesty?”

 

The Queen poured herself a cup then placed a few pastries on plate.  She sat back down.  “Yes, I did, Master Kai.”  After taking a sip of the hot drink she indicated for Kai to sit down.  “First of all, how are you, Kai?”

 

Kai poured himself a cup then sat opposite the Queen at her desk.  “Fit as ever, Your Majesty.”  He took a long sip of coffee.  “But as you can see, I favor the pastries a bit too much.”

 

Elsa chuckled.  “You look fine to me, Master Kai.”  Her smile faltered.  “Have you seen the Princess?”

 

“I’ve seen her about the castle, Your Majesty.  But I haven’t talked to her.”

 

Elsa nodded; Kai was being tactful, as always.  “Well, Kai, I’m glad to have this time with you, as there is something on my mind.”

 

Kai took another long drink and eyed the Queen.  She was looking a bit stressed, ill at ease.  “How may I ease Her Majesty’s mind?”

 

The Queen put down her cup and sighed, not saying anything for a few seconds.  Then she looked pointedly at the older man.  “I am going to confide in you, Kai, news that may be hard to take at first.  But once my tale ends the truth of it will be plain to see.”

 

The Master put down his own cup, seeing the dead seriousness in his Queen.  “Yes, Your Majesty?”

 

Elsa sat back in her chair and folded her hands in front of her.  “Do you believe in the old tales, Kai?”

 

There was a knock at her door. 

 

Elsa stood.  “Excuse me a moment, Master Kai.”  She went to the door and opened it.  “Yes?”

 

A guard stood at door, and then began to fidget.  “Forgive the intrusion, Your Majesty.  But I was sent to inform you that a tall ship bearing the flags and standards of Weselton is heading towards Arendelle harbor.”

 

The Queen’s eyes went wide. “There is?  When will it get here?”

 

“I wasn’t given that information, Your Majesty, I’m sorry.”

 

“Well, send someone here who knows what he’s talking about, will you?”  Elsa snapped before closing the door.

 

Kai smiled knowingly at his Queen when she sat back down.  “You were a bit hard on that boy, don’t you think?”

 

Elsa looked up and smirked at the man; he was perhaps the only person in the Kingdom that Elsa let talk to her in such a manner.  “Was I?”

 

Kai nodded.  “Pay it no mind, Your Majesty.  There is something bothering you, isn’t there?”

 

The Queen stood and began to pace in front of the fireplace.  “There is, indeed, Master Kai.  There is, indeed.”

 

*****

 

Anna slowly walked around Elsa’s bedroom, taking note of everything there was to see.  The Queen’s bathroom was meticulously neat in appearance, so much unlike her own, which had towels thrown everywhere, clothes on the floor, and makeup left open on the counters.  But the blonde’s bathroom—towels neatly folded, bottles lined up on the shelves where they belonged—was spartan in appearance, nothing out of place.  Her walk-in closet was the same.  Her dresses were hung neatly by function first and then by color.  Ball gowns in one corner and everyday wear in another; and then there were her new clothes hung in the very front of the closet—her father’s old uniforms that she had tailored for herself.  Each uniform had a matching pair of boots next to it.  Anna walked out of the closet and into the bedroom. The bed was made—probably by Elsa herself and not the maids—and everything was in its place.  She noticed Elsa’s diary on top of her bureau, and was tempted to look inside it, but her sense of propriety was greater.

Anna was looking for answers, something to illuminate the truth for her.  But so far all she learned was that her sister was obsessive over simplicity and elegance.  But it was something more than just neatness; there was order in this living space—an order that spoke of the way Elsa’s mind worked, which was so unlike her own. Anna went into the parlor and was struck even more by Elsa’s mindset.  Even the books on her bookshelves were categorized by subject; there was a precision to everything that was Elsa; and in that precision there was also openness.  Elsa’s personality was all over her chambers with nothing kept secret or hidden away.

 

Anna closed her eyes and groaned out her frustration at herself.  You have been acting like an insolent child.  She felt this keenly at the moment and knew in her heart that Elsa was attempting to reach out to her with honesty, and at the heart of that verity was love. Everything the Queen did since that stormy night not too long ago was done with love, there was no guile or subterfuge in her.  That was not who she was.  To put it simply, Elsa really loved her.  And how do repay that love, you idiot, but with a slap to the face.  Anna sank into Elsa’s favorite chair by the fireplace and cried.

 

*****

 

Elsa buttoned up her shirt and then turned around to face the astonished man.  “As you can see, Kai, I told you the complete truth.”

 

The Master sat, dumbfounded, and then swallowed hard.  “I think I need a drink.” 

 

Elsa reached over and poured whiskey into the man’s coffee.  “I always find that whiskey does the trick when I need to relax.”

 

Kat downed the beverage in one swallow then handed the cup back to the Queen for more.  “No coffee this time.”

 

The Queen filled the man’s cup then added the liquor to her own coffee.  “I don’t suppose you have any questions?”  Elsa drank half of her cup.

 

“Actually, I have about a million questions, but where to begin?”  Kai put down his cup.  “What do you need for me to do, Elsa?”

 

Elsa smiled weakly. “I need for you to stand ready, Kai, and prepare the castle for an invasion, if one comes.  General Urban is running drills with our troops, but he thinks it’s a training exercise.  I’m expecting him at the castle tomorrow and I will tell him exactly what I told you, nothing barred.  I can only hope he will have the same understanding as you, Kai.”

 

“You don’t think it will come to an invasion, do you, my Queen?”

 

“I hope not, Kai.  But that depends on how well General Urban can prepare our soldiers.”

 

“Are you going to show him your wings, Your Majesty?” Kai asked.

 

Elsa sat back and chuckled. “That depends on him, I suppose—if he believes me or not.  He may just think that I’ve lost my mind.”

 

“It crossed my mind, Your Majesty.”  Kai smiled at the Queen, and they both had a good laugh.  “Is there anything else that I may do for you, my Queen?”

 

“Stay on guard, Kai, and keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.  There is just no knowing exactly how the war is going to start, only that it will.”

 

“Very well, Your Majesty. If there is nothing else.”

 

Elsa returned to her seat, once she escorted Master Kai out of her Study, and poured herself another cup of coffee with whiskey.  She drank leisurely and was very pleased with how well her conversation with Kai went. She knew he believed her, and only showed him her wings as a last confirmation; the man was no fool, not like… Elsa frowned and put down her cup …not like Anna.  Elsa’s good mood faltered at the thoughts of her sister, and she blinked back tears, willing herself not to break down.  There was simply too much to do.

 

*****

 

Elsa slowed down as she passed by Anna’s room and tried to listen for any sign of her presence.  But she didn’t hear anything so she continued to her own chambers, intent on a change of clothes before the evening meal, as she was certain to be hosting a few nobles for the evening.  Elsa paused at one of the windows in the hall, and noticed that the wind had picked up since the afternoon, and she wondered if a storm was blowing in.

 

The Queen opened her door and reflexively locked it behind her.

 

“May I speak with you?”

 

The blonde jumped, and hit the back of her head on the door.  “Oww…”

 

Anna started for her but stopped when Elsa held up her hand.

 

Elsa leaned against the door and rubbed her head.  “Anna… what are you doing here?”

 

If Anna was expecting a friendlier greeting she was disappointed.  “Please, Elsa, I don’t want to fight with you.  I was hoping we could have a polite conversation.”

“That’s all I ever offered you, Anna.  But you choose to reward my civility with derision.”  Elsa felt defeated, and continued to lean heavily against the door. “I don’t have the energy anymore.”

 

“For me?”

 

“In a sense,” Elsa stated matter-of-factly.  “I don’t have the wherewithal to go through any more drama with you, Anna.  It takes too much energy out of me; and I need all my energy focused on the war ahead.  Do you understand?”

 

“Perhaps I could help you?”

 

“But Anna—you slapped me, when I was vulnerable!  How do you expect me to react to that?”  Elsa could feel the tears again.

 

“You have no idea how upset I am over that.  I know what I did, and I am so, so sorry for it.”  Anna took a tentative step forward, but Elsa recoiled slightly.

 

“You have said ‘I’m sorry’ before!  Only to come back to me with a another slap to the face, so to speak.”

 

“What can I say then? These are the only words I know!”

 

Elsa groaned and closed her eyes.  “Look, Anna, I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders, I really do, and I don’t need any more difficulties!”

 

“Is this all that I am, a problem to you?”  She tried again to take another step forward.

 

“Please don’t come any closer, Anna.”  Elsa stopped leaning against the door and stood up.  “Now, if you please, I must change for mydinner guests.”

 

“Don’t you mean ourdinner guests?”  Anna was devastated by the slight.

 

Elsa started for her bedroom.  “Please, Anna, don’t make this any more difficult than it already is.”  She made it to her closet, and was startled that Anna had followed her.

 

“Please don’t shut me out, Elsa, it hurts too much,” Anna pleaded, a desperation flowing over her like none other.

 

Elsa took off her jacket and hung it up, and didn’t turn to face her sister.  “What do you think the past five days has been like for me?” She knew if she looked over her shoulder at Anna she would be lost.

 

“Do you want me to go?” Anna’s voice was tiny, pathetic.

 

It was too much for Elsa; she turned around.  “Of course I really don’t want you to go!”  She grabbed Anna and shoved her against the closet wall.  “But I don’t know what else to do right now, Anna, other than to shut you out and take care of business.”  Her expression softened when Anna began to cry.  “I really wish that you could be a help to me now, and be present for me, just as I have been here for you.”

 

“I want to help you, Elsa!” Anna sobbed.  “I know how idiotic I have been acting—and selfish!  I’ve thought only of myself and not you.  But I’m determined to change this, Elsa, I truly am.  I mean, my god, I don’t know how to go on without you.”  She broke down completely.

 

Elsa tentatively reached out, and touched Anna’s cheek.  “Please don’t cry like that.  My heart can’t take it.”  She reached out with her other hand and gently brought Anna over to her, and cradled her in her arms.  “Come on, snowflake, everything will be alright, I promise.”

 

But Anna only cried harder, such was her grief and sorrow.  “Elsa, I’m sorry, oh so sorry…”

 

“I know.”  Elsa leaned her forehead against Anna’s, and finally allowed her tears to fall.  “I need reassurances from you, Anna—I need to know that I have a partner in all this mess, that you will be here to support me in the things I must do.”

 

Anna lifted her head and nodded.  “I promise to do all that and more.”  She reached into Elsa’s pocket and retrieved a handkerchief.  “Please don’t abandon me now, I need you, more than ever…”

 

Elsa raised her hands and gently took Anna’s face in her hands.  “Anna, we are going to be parents,” she whispered.

 

Anna nodded, and briefly touched her belly, as if in confirmation.  “And it scares me, Elsa.  I’m so sorry if my fear hurts you.”

 

Elsa nodded.  “I’m afraid, too.  Your fear doesn’t hurt me—only your irrationality.”

 

“I have been an idiot, haven’t I?”

 

“You have been many things, Anna, and yes, an idiot is one of them.  But can we move on, now?  I have no more desire to go over your many faults.”

 

Anna cleared her throat and finished wiping away her tears.  “Certainly.”

 

Elsa started to unbutton her shirt.  “I… um… want to change before dinner.”

 

“Do you mind if I come with you… I mean, to dinner.”

 

The Queen was a little taken aback in her vulnerability, and nodded.  “Only if you want to, Anna.  I don’t want you coming to dinner just for me.”

 

Anna stood back and thought about it, did she really think she could handle guests tonight, and make small talk when all she wanted to do fall into Elsa’s arm?  “Maybe I ought not to go, then.  I don’t think I’d be very good company.”

 

Elsa smiled and stroked Anna’s cheek.  “You see how easy that was—making a good decision?”

 

“Something I promise to do more often, I swear it.”  Anna turned to go.  “Will I see you later?”

 

Elsa paused, did she really want to spend time with Anna after her guests, or did she want to go directly to bed, and hopefully get a good night’s sleep?  “I think I’d prefer to sleep right away after dinner, Anna, if you don’t mind.”

 

Anna tried to hide her disappointment, but failed.  “If you need me, I’ll be in my room.”

 

“Okay.  Good night, Anna.”

 

*****

 

Elsa awoke, as per her usual habit, just as the sun peaked over the eastern mountains, almost at dawn. The first thing she noticed was that Anna had entered into her bed sometime during the night and was sleeping soundly, her arm wrapped over her waist.  Elsa closed her eyes, savoring the contact, and was secretly glad for the intrusion, even though she would have to talk to Anna about privacy at breakfast.  Elsa turned Anna over on her side and cuddled behind her, wrapping her arm around her waist. I do love you, snowflake… 

 

Elsa could feel tears prick at her eyes, and scooted closer to Anna.  Do you really love me, too?  A part of her wanted to believe it, without question.  But her hurt over the last couple of days caused her to harbor a small amount to doubt. Elsa turned over onto her back and rubbed her eyes, feeling torn, and she certainly didn’t want to be.  Anna was pregnant, and she needed to do anything and everything to make sure she remained safe, even from herself, if need be. She realized she was going to be Jörmungandr, but she had no inkling of what that looked like.  Would she resemble herself as she was now, or was she going to go through even more physical changes, perhaps to the point where she didn’t look like herself anymore?  Would she lose who she was to be this avenging angel?  Would her people support their defender, or would they try to crush—a monster.

 

Anna could feel Elsa’s anguish, and turned around in her arms.  “What is it, Elsa?  Oh, I’m sorry—I’ll go if you don’t want me here.”

 

“No!  Don’t leave…”  Elsa turned Anna back around, and wrapped her arms around the younger woman. “I’m scared, Anna.  I’m afraid of losing myself to this creature I must become. I don’t know how to do it alone…”

 

“You won’t be alone, Elsa. I am here.”

 

Elsa couldn’t fault Anna for not really understanding her dilemma.  She had no frame of reference to go by, no one did, truth be told.  The only person that could possibly have really understood was dead—and Elsa was angry with him for exiting this world in favor of another.  “Anna, please, don’t go, I need you.”

 

Anna tried to turn around again but Elsa’s strong arms stopped her.  “What…is wrong…?”

 

Elsa pressed her lips to Anna’s neck and inhaled deeply the perfect scent that was Anna.  It was calming for her soul, a balm, and it almost hurt to hold her as she was, so deep was her feeling for the younger woman.  “I love you more than ever.”

 

Anna’s breath hitched, and she reached back to touch Elsa’s cheek.  “You do?”

 

“Yes…”  Elsa ran her lips to Anna’s ear, and she tentatively touched it with the tip of her tongue.  She whimpered as her body responded to the contact.  “I need you, Anna… please?”

 

Anna closed her eyes, and clutched at Elsa’s arms around her.  “Like…this?”

 

“Yes, please?”  Elsa was completely undone by her lust for Anna, and this was another thing that worried her.  But at moments like this it was so easy to ignore her trepidations, and give herself over to desire.  She hiked up Anna’s nightdress while quietly panting in her ear.  “Oh, god…”

 

Anna didn’t know what to do with her hands, so she grabbed the blankets and held on tightly as Elsa easily entered her from behind.  She grunted as Elsa moved in and out of her.

 

Elsa wanted more, something more, and she pushed Anna onto her stomach.  “Ah…yes…”  She crawled onto Anna’s back and thrust into her again.  After a short while her hunger grew, and she grabbed onto Anna’s hips and pulled her up until she was resting on her hands and knees.  “Good god…”  Elsa’s head fell onto Anna’s back and she squeezed her eyes shut.

 

The princess gasped and grunted, startled by the amount of pleasure this new position afforded her, and clutched at the blankets below.  “Elsa…”

 

At that moment there was no past or future, no tenderness or anger, only the present moment of lust and carnal desire.  It was a moment that they both fell into without remorse or regret, because they needed it. 

 

*****

 

Elsa looked up at the ceiling, absentmindedly running her hand over Anna’s back, who was pressed into her side.  “Anna, what are you feeling?”

 

The princess sighed, “I’m feeling very sore.”

 

The blonde cleared her throat and blushed.  “No, not about that.  I mean—well, how do you feel towards me?”

 

Anna lifted head to look Elsa in the eyes.  “I love you, Elsa.  What kind of question is that?”

 

“We have a—decision to make, and I’m loath to do it on my own.”  She turned her head and looked up again.  “Someone needs to know you are pregnant, someone that we both trust with our lives.”

 

Anna blew out a ragged breath  “Oh, god, Elsa—I mean, what do we tell?”

 

Elsa turned on her side to face her sister.  “What would you like to say?  How are we going to explain your pregnancy?”

 

Anna’s eyes went wide. “Do we have to say anything about—the father?”

 

It was a strange thing to hear, Elsa admitted, but there was also a certain feeling of…  “People will talk, Anna.  I’m worried about your ability to take criticism because of your condition.”

 

“My condition?  Well, when you put it that way it doesn’t sound so good.  We can tell people it’s none of their business, that’s what.”  Anna worried for a moment.  “I mean,  do you feel the same way?”

 

Elsa offered her sister a weak smile.  “Yes, I do. If you are sure you can handle the gossip that will arise, then I will support you on this.”  She leaned forward and placed a sweet kiss on Anna’s lips. “Anna, I told Master Kai about the Fimbulvetr.”

 

“All of it?”

 

“I did not tell him about this; I didn’t want to do it without your knowledge beforehand.”  Elsa reached up and caressed Anna’s cheek.  “I was thinking we could confide in him and Gerda. We would tell them that you are pregnant, but offer no other explanations, and secure their loyalty to you and the baby.  Youwill need their help when the war starts.”

 

“Don’t you mean, wewill need their help?”

 

“Anna, I don’t know if I’ll be in Arendelle when this war begins.  I might be Jörmungandr when it starts, and I’ll be fighting with our soldiers—at least, this is what I think will happen.  The problem is that I don’t really know, only Pabbie knew, and he took this knowledge to his grave.”

 

“Oh my, Elsa, really?” Anna frowned and clutched Elsa’s hands in hers.  “What can we do?”

 

“I don’t know if wecan do anything, Anna.  I must somehow figure out what he knew, though I doubt Hølje will be much help.  I don’t have a lot of confidence in him.  I’m hoping Kristoff might learn something useful as he explores Yggdrasil and the myths.”

 

“Kristoff is at the great white tree?”

 

“Yes, and I hope to hear from him soon.”  Elsa noticed the strange look on Anna’s face.  “Anna, what is it?”

 

“Elsa, do you think we can confide in Kristoff?”

 

The blonde shook her head. “Do you really think that’s s good idea, Anna?”  Elsa then realized that Anna may not know about the mountain man’s feelings.  “He’s in love with you.”

 

“But, he told me he wasn’t…“ Anna’s voice trailed off.

 

Elsa placed a finger on Anna’s lips.  “Please, Anna, the man confided in me about—everything.”

 

Anna looked away.  “I guess I’ve always known.  But I haven’t always wanted to believe it.”  She turned back to Elsa.  “But I’m more worried about what you just said about the Fimbulvetr, and fighting in the war.   Are you certain about the fighting part?”

 

“That’s the question, Anna, that I want the answer to as much as you do.”  The blonde brought her hands up to cup Anna’s face.  “I am worried that I won’t be able to protect you; I worry about exactly when this war will start—I need to know these things so I can plan accordingly.  There are too many variables for me to try to wrap my mind around.”  She placed a gentle kiss on Anna’s lips.  “This is why I was so upset with you, Anna—when you, acted irrationally.  You struck me with more than just your hand.”

Anna sighed, mortified once again at her behavior.  “Elsa, please forgive my—I don’t even know what to call it—stupidity, childishness. Do you forgive me?”

 

Elsa kissed Anna again. “I must be the biggest fool because I do.”  Elsa snuggled into her bedding and wrapped her arms around Anna.  “I’m a fool—a fool in love, I think.”

 

Anna opened her eyes and saw Elsa’s pained expression, and felt her words very keenly.  They were, in a sense, startling to hear, and she realized that Elsa may not have fully understood what she just said.  But Anna understood, with a seriousness she never fathomed before, because life had never in the past been this staid or friable.

Chapter Text

Elsa stood in the north attic and looked about at the nearly completed renovations.  The large room was a bit imposing with the huge iron bars bolted into the walls, and she wondered if they would indeed hold a dragon. Only the north wall itself was incomplete, and a few ironworkers were now busy laboring at it.  Elsa turned around and noticed Master Steingard standing at the door.  She waved him over to her.

 

“Good afternoon, Master Steingard.”  Elsa smiled at her favourite architect, and grasped his hand.  “I want to thank you for the promptness with which you attended to this project.”

 

The older man blushed a little.  “No need to thank me, Your Majesty.  It was my pleasure to work on one of Her Majesty’s designs.”

 

“It will work, won’t it? I mean, the storms ought not to be a bother.”

 

Steingard nodded. “They should be no trouble at all. Would you like me to have the furniture brought back up, Your Majesty?”

 

“No, I think we’ll keep it in the cellars for now.  But thank you anyway, Master Steingard.”

 

“I was thinking, Your Majesty, if you would like to participate in future design projects?”

 

“Really?  You would like me to help you?”  Elsa was excited by the proposition.

 

“Not as help, Your Majesty, but as in lead architect.  This design is really perfect, and I’m very impressed with your abilities.  Was it the late king who influenced your love of architecture?”

 

“Yes, it was one of the things I did to help me relax.”  Elsa smiled at the memories.  “Yes, I’d like to.  It would surely be better than all those meetings I attend to.”

 

Steingard bowed.  “If you will excuse me, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa looked up as the man walked away and noticed Anna standing in the door.  She smiled and walked over to her.  “Come in, I want to show you the progress we’ve made.”  She took Anna’s hand but the princess didn’t budge. “What is it?”

 

The princess had a strange look on her face.  She squeezed Elsa’s hand and looked at her shyly.  “I…um…can you come with me?”

 

Elsa nodded and followed Anna out of the room.  She led them down to another part of the attic, to a section that once housed servant’s quarters, and opened a door to a darkened room.  Once they were inside she pounced on Elsa and crashed their lips together.  Elsa groaned into the kiss and wrapped her arms around Anna’s waist.

 

The Queen broke from the kiss and cleared her throat.  “Whoa, Anna, slow down…”

 

Anna used the opportunity to nibble at Elsa’s neck.  “I missed you this morning.  Where did you go?”

 

“We have a surprise visitor from Weselton.”  The Queen grabbed her sister and turned them towards a wall.  “Magnus’s sister has decided to call upon us.”

 

Anna nodded, although she was hardly paying attention.  “Uh huh… Elsa, my skirt.”

 

“Oh, yes, of course.” Elsa grabbed at Anna’s skirt and began to hike it up.  “Ah, do you want to know why she’s here?”

 

The princess nodded again and gasped.  “Yeah, sure.”

 

The Queen pressed up against Anna and reached between them to unclasp her trousers.  They fell to her knees.  Her hands shook as she lifted Anna up to straddle her waist and she groaned when Anna wrapped her legs around her.  “Well, she… she… oh, god, Anna…” 

 

Anna desperately clutched at Elsa’s back, her breath ragged, and her lust at its peak.  “Please…”  She gasped as Elsa entered her and she squeezed her legs, her heels digging into the Queen’s backside.  Anna bucked against the Queen so vigorously that Elsa staggered back from the wall and almost fell, but she used her improved strength to keep them tightly bound together.

 

Elsa supported them by placing one hand on the wall, and the other around Anna’s waist as they undulated together; their bodies writhed as one, and moans and gasps were the only language spoken. 

 

*****

 

Anna opened her watering eyes, feeling well sated,  and shyly looked down on Elsa, who had an arm flung over her eyes, and was panting. Her heart melted at the sight, and she wiped at her eyes.  “Please look at me.”

 

Elsa let her arm fall to the floor, and looked at Anna through half-lidded eyes.  “How long?”

 

Anna quivered, her body still on edge, and her feelings soaring.  “All morning, Elsa.  You’ve been—on my mind.”

 

The Queen shuddered, her flesh still deep in the princess straddling her lap.  “I certainly hope the construction workers didn’t hear.”

 

Anna bit her lip and drew in a deep breath.  “I don’t care.   I love what we do together, Elsa.  You make me feel so damn good.”

 

“I do?”  Elsa shook her head, and willed herself to calm.  “I love it, too.”  She could still feel a warming tingling in her spine and limbs. “Anna…”

 

Anna gasped; Elsa was squirming underneath her, and her flesh was hardening again.  “Oh, good gracious… more, Elsa?”  Her breath hitched, and she rocked her hips back and forth.  When Elsa attempted to turn them over she stopped her.  “No—like this.  Let me work you for a change.”

 

Elsa could only nod, incoherent in her pleasure.

 

*****

 

The Countess paced nervously back and forth in the guest chambers of Arendelle castle, a valet and Lady in Waiting right beside her.  She thought it a bit rude of the Queen to keep her waiting, as she conveyed to her Lady in Waiting again and again.  Finally, in the late afternoon, there was a knock on her door.  The valet opened the door to the Queen and Princess of Arendelle.

 

The Lady in Waiting and the Valet both bowed; and at first, the Countess openly smiled at the Queen, and then she gave her a questioning look at the uniform.  “Preparing for war, Queen Elsa?”

 

Elsa offered the Countess a terse smile.  “I might ask the same of you, Countess Aida, as we both know Weselton finds itself doing the same.”

 

“You don’t really think I’m part of Magnus’ schemes, do you, Elsa?”

 

The Queen bristled slightly at the use of her given name, especially in front of servants. “Aida—what are you doing here?”

 

Anna was surprised at Elsa’s familiarity, and she looked at the Countess with open hostility.  The Countess noticed this and purposely avoided addressing her.

 

Aida closed the distance between herself and Elsa and held open her arms.  “I come as a friend, Elsa.” 

 

Elsa accepted the embrace, but Aida held on a little too long for propriety’s sake.  “Countess Aida, welcome to Arendelle.”  She disengaged herself from the other woman’s arms, and was a little taken aback by the other’s boldness.  “We have other duties to attend to before dinner, but I trust you’ll be in attendance?”

“Of course, Elsa.”

 

“Countess?”  Elsa looked expectantly at the other woman, and cleared her throat when she took her time responding.  “Do you not see Princess Anna?  I expect you to show deference to her as per her station.”

 

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Aida curtsied to the princess. “Your Highness.”

 

Anna nodded back. “Countess.”

 

Elsa extended her arm. “Princess?”

 

Anna took Elsa’s arm and looked pointedly at the Countess.  “Until later, Countess.”

 

*****

 

As soon as they were out in hallway Anna fumed.  “What was that all about, Elsa?”

 

The Queen patted the hand that was on her arm.  “That was the Countess Weselton being her normal manipulative self.  We formally met at Arendelle’s first Ball, about a year ago.  At the time I found her to be a bit of a flirt, but not just with me.”

 

“I don’t recall meeting her then.”

 

Elsa glanced at Anna. “That’s because you were kind of—busy with Kristoff, Anna.  You two hardly took your eyes off each other.”

 

The princess cleared her throat.  “Now that you remind me, yes, I seem to remember.”  She noticed that Elsa was leading them to another door on the guest level of the castle.  “Where are we going?”

 

Elsa opened the door and stepped aside so Anna could enter first.  Then, once she was inside, she froze the handle shut.  It was a bedroom.

 

Anna glanced at the bed and looked at Elsa.  “I take it you don’t have any meetings this late afternoon?”

 

Elsa froze the door handle again.  “Actually, I’m so busy I don’t have time for anything else.”  She removed her officer’s coat and threw it on a chair.

 

Anna smirked and then fanned herself.  “It seems like I, too, have a full schedule.”  She unhooked her skirt and let it puddle around her feet, and then she stepped out of her shoes.

 

The Queen finished unbuttoning her shirt and, it, too, went onto the chair.  “Yes, I’m sure you do.  My God, Anna, all you ever do is work.”

 

The princess helped Elsa out of her boots, and then she unclasped her trousers.  “You know what they say, my Queen, that a Princess’s work is never done?”

 

Elsa guided Anna over to the bed and helped her to lie down.  “We work entirely too hard, I think.”

 

Anna thought about it, and then gasped as Elsa lowered onto her and entered her quickly.  She wrapped an arm around Elsa’s shoulders.  “You work too hard…oh, god, you’re so hard…”

 

*****

 

“How could you let it happen?”  Magnus picked up his glass and threw it against the wall.  “When did she leave?”

 

The Ninth Duke of Weselton was sitting with his advisors in the realms’ Council Chambers.  He was sitting with his generals and admirals, planning the war against Arendelle, and at the moment was livid.  He rose and turned around to stare into the fireplace.

 

General Voljor cleared his throat, and spoke up.  “No one was told not to let the Countess take out her personal vessel, my Liege.”

 

“And just where do you think she’s heading, General?”  Magnus slammed his hand against the hearth.  “She’s going to Arendelle!”

 

Admiral Stinus stood, and went over to the Duke.  “Perhaps you should sit back down, my Liege,” he whispered.

 

Magnus whirled on the man, his breath clearly spoke of alcohol.  “I’ll sit if I want to!”  He glanced at his other advisors, and their pensive looks, and then acquiesced. “Alright.”  The Duke sat back down.  “Stinus, get me another drink.”

 

Another admiral spoke. “We did, indeed, decide to follow the Countess’ ship, and you are correct, my Lord, her course suggests passage to Arendelle.”

 

Magnus took the drink Stinus gave him and set it down.  “I want someone to sail immediately and bring her back, I don’t care if you have to sail with our Flagship or the whole goddamn fleet, I want her back now!”

 

Stinus sat back down, his look surprised.  “Suppose she requests asylum in Arendelle?”

 

The Duke glared at his underling, and seethed.  “She wouldn’t dare… who’s going to fulfill His Lord’s wishes?”

His generals and admirals looked at each other.  Finally, it was Stinus who spoke up.  “I will go, immediately, my Lord.”  He stood and bowed.  As he reached the conference room doors he turned around.  “I would like to take a contingent of  elite Guards with me, if my Lord doesn’t mind?”

 

“I don’t mind at all.” Magnus downed his drink.  “I don’t care about the others.  Dispose of them as you wish, but I want my sister back here alive.  Is that understood?”

 

“Perfectly, my Liege.”

 

*****

 

Roman opened the doors to the Throne Room and peered inside.  He noticed Hans and their father at the opposite end of the room, talking quietly amongst themselves. 

 

“I hope I’m not disturbing anyone.”

 

King Edvardt looked up and then beamed.  “Roman! Come here, my wayward son!”

 

Hans frowned as the twelfth oldest son and father embraced.  He looked at the documents in his hands before choosing to speak. “Where have you been?”

 

Roman’s smile faltered. “What is this, the Inquisition? For your information, brother, I’ve been busy in France, doing a little bit of business, haven’t I, father?”

 

Edvardt moved to sit on his Throne and motioned for Roman to sit next to him, on the Queens’ Throne. “Come here and tell me all about it?” Hans stiffened at the move, but wasn’t surprised by his father’s special affection for him.  He was the only son so far as to grace his parents with grandsons. All his other brothers who had children had been favored with girls.

 

Roman took the seat and motioned for a nearby page.  “Fetch me an aperitif, will you?”

 

The page nodded and left the Throne Room.  Roman turned to his father.  “You will be happy to know that I’ve brought back certainties from the Dauphin, himself. If we do find ourselves at a disadvantage in our war against Arendelle the Dauphin will send his personal forces to assist us.”

 

The King blew out a startled breath.  “Well done Roman, well done.  How did you manage such a feat?”

 

Roman accepted the glass the page offered him.  “Thank you. You know me well enough that I’ll never reveal my methods.”

 

Hans stepped forward. “I’m in charge of this war, and I would love to know your methods.”

 

Roman looked at his brother. “Later, brother, later.  Shall we not celebrate my good news?”

 

Edvardt reached over and clapped him on the back.  “Indeed.”

 

Hans continued to eye Roman, and he tilted his head somewhat.  Something just wasn’t right.  “You’ll be interested to know that Ingleif has been arrested.”

 

For the briefest moment, a flare of doubt flashed over Roman’s face, but it was gone quickly. “What has that bore done now?  Did he burp in your face, Hans?  Or did he knock up one of his whores?”

 

Hans was furious. “You indignant—“

 

Edvardt threw up his hand. “That’s enough, Hans!  Roman has done right by me, and tonight we celebrate.”

 

Hans continued to eye Roman warily, his intuition telling him that something just wasn’t right…

 

*****

 

Elsa sat at her desk in her private Study and went through her correspondence.  She was looking for some news from Zander, but there were no letters from him, nor from Lieutenant Ingarth, who Zander had chosen to take with him to the Southern Isles.  Elsa sat back and balanced a cup of tea in her hand.  It wasn’t like Zander to take this long to communicate with her, and she wondered if the man had been captured.  She had a lot of faith in the man, but he was only human, and was trotting a dangerous road.  After sighing, she picked up an expense report from her ambassador in Weselton and began to read it; a knock on her door aggravated her.

 

“Come in.”

 

A page opened the door slightly and peered inside.  “Your Majesty, the Countess of Weselton wishes to see you.”

 

Elsa blew out a frustrated breath.  “Not now, please tell her—“

 

The Countess flew past the page and curtsied to the Queen with an exaggerated flourish.  “Come now, Elsa, we must have a talk before dinner.”

 

The Queen set down her cup and waved away the page.  “Countess—Aida—I would appreciate it if you treated me with the respect I’m due.  You will address me as Queen Elsa or Your Majesty.”

 

Aida sauntered over to the desk and sat down on it.  “Really, Queen Elsa, after all we shared together?”

 

“I seem to recall you kissing me, as well as other members of my court.”  Elsa reached out to the small table next to her desk and retrieved her bottle of whiskey.  She poured a generous portion into her tea.  “Will you please get off my desk.”  Elsa could smell the Countess’ perfume, and it unsettled her.

 

The Countess could feel the Queen’s eyes on her.  “Come now, Queen Elsa—“

 

Both were startled by the open door; Princess Anna stood on the threshold.  “Elsa, I was…”  She stopped talking as she noticed the Countess on Elsa’s desk.  Her eyes went wide and an intense flare of jealousy hit her.

 

Elsa froze as the Countess slowly removed herself from her desk.  She smiled at Anna as she walked past her.  “Until later,  Your Majesty. Princess.”

 

Anna quietly shut the door and took in a deep breath.  “That woman can’t stay here, Elsa.”

 

Elsa was ridged, seething in anger, and something else.  “I think you’re right, Anna.  I shall have her removed from the castle immediately.  She can lodge in the city for all I care.”

 

Anna walked over to Elsa, and the Queen tried to hide herself, but Anna saw.  “What—oh, god, Elsa, no…”

 

Elsa looked up, her eyes full of sorrow.  “I’m sorry, Anna, I didn’t think this would happen.”

 

Anna’s jealousy withered away at the look in her sister’s eyes, and she knew that Elsa wasn’t guilty of anything intentional.  Anna took the place that the Countess had vacated.  “Do not grieve yourself so.”  Her heart melted at the unshed tears in Elsa’s eyes.  “Oh, please, Elsa, there is no reason to cry.  You haven’t done anything wrong.”  She pulled the Queen closer to her and Elsa wrapped her arms around her waist and buried her face in her chest.

 

The touch was comforting, not arousing, and Elsa could feel herself calm down.  “Thank you, Anna.”

 

The princess smiled and leaned down to place a gentle kiss on Elsa’s head.  She reached up and touched one of the horns.  “Have they stopped growing?”

“I don’t know.  Have they?”

 

“Well, your hair still covers them, so I don’t think they’ve grown since our return from the Valley of the Living Rock.”

 

Elsa looked up.  “What could that mean?”

 

“I don’t know.  But it must be a good sign, don’t you think?”

 

The Queen scooted herself back and then pulled Anna down for a proper kiss.  Their lips touched, and Elsa tentatively reached out with her tongue, begging for entrance.  She felt Anna’s nodding, and she smiled into the kiss as their tongues danced.  When they broke apart there was joy in their eyes.

 

Elsa offered Anna her sweetest smile.  “I love you, snowflake.”

 

Anna reached out and cupped Elsa’s cheeks.  “You know I love you, don’t you, Elsa?”

 

The Queen nodded.  “I know.”  Elsa got up and smoothed down her trousers.  “I believe we won’t be attending tonight’s formal dinner.  What do you say to eating in the kitchen and then having an early night to ourselves?”

 

“What of the Countess, won’t she come looking for you?”

 

“If I know her then the last place she would look for me would be where the servants gather.  She is a snob.”

 

“But won’t General Urban be there, don’t you need to talk to him?”  Anna tried to be the voice of reason.

 

Elsa frowned.  “I actually do.  Hmmm… what do I do?”

 

“How long will General Urban be in Arendelle?”

 

“He’s scheduled to leave tomorrow morning.  Why?” Elsa took a long sip of her tea.

 

“Perhaps you could have an early morning breakfast meeting with him.  Would that work out?”

 

Elsa downed her entire cup of tea and then stood.  “A brilliant idea, Anna.”  She gathered the younger woman into her arms.  “What would I do without you?”

 

Anna leaned into the embrace.  “I feel the same way.  What would I do without me, either.”  She giggled when Elsa slapped her rear.

 

*****

Elsa awoke alone for the first time in a long while and immediately missed her sister’s comforting presence.  She sighed and turned over onto her side, unwilling to get out of bed on such a chilly morning.  A quick glance outside her window confirmed that it was going to be a stormy day, perhaps cold enough to snow or a least sleet.  Elsa realized she was exhausted from her previous days activities, especially her run in with the Countess.  After sighing again, her eyes closed, perhaps a few more minutes and then she would get up.

 

A few hours later she woke up.  She immediately knew that one of the servants had been in her room as there were fresh towels at the foot of her bed.  Elsa glanced at her clock and then shot up in bed.  Oh, no…my meeting with Urban…  After dressing quickly in a simple pair of trousers and button down shirt she opened her parlor door and almost ran into Master Kai, who had just raised his hand to knock on the door.

 

“Master Kai, if you’ll excuse me I have to—“

 

Kai nodded.  “Attend to General Urban?  I’m sorry to be the bringer of bad news, Your Majesty, but the gentleman had to leave to attend to the troop exercises.  He expressed his regrets on not being able to wait any longer.”

 

“Damn—I really needed to speak to him.”  Elsa turned away from Kai and waved him away, going over to her liquor cabinet.  She poured herself a shot of whiskey and downed it in one gulp.  After a few minutes there was a knock on her door.

 

“Come!”

 

Anna tentatively peeked her head inside.  “Here you are… how did your meeting with General go?”

 

“It didn’t.”  Elsa poured another shot and downed it. “Anna, I overslept and missed the meeting.”  She started to pour another but then changed her mind.  “Where were you this morning?”

 

The rain started falling.

 

“I didn’t disturb you this morning because I knew you had that meeting.  I didn’t want to be a distraction.”

 

Elsa paused, as she didn’t want to take her anger out on Anna.  “I’m sorry for sounding so gruff.”  She started to pour another shot when Anna came over to her and put her hands over the bottle. 

 

“Don’t you think it’s a bit early for this?”

 

The Queen let out a frustrated breath and put the bottle back.  “I’m sorry,  I’m just very disappointed in myself right now.  I woke up on time for my meeting but I was so tired that I thought I might take a few minutes longer, and then…now look at the time.”  She slammed the bottle back into the cabinet.

 

Anna stepped back a bit. “Perhaps I’ll see you later.”

 

Elsa looked up and then grabbed Anna and hugged her tightly.  She rested her cheek on her head.  “No, I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”  She inhaled Anna’s sweetness and a goofy grin graced her features. “Would you like to go with me to the kitchens and scrounge up some breakfast?”

 

Anna beamed.  “Or, I could make you something to eat?”

 

“Let me get my boots on.”

 

They made their way down the great spiral staircase to the first floor of Arendelle castle, and walked towards the kitchens.

 

“So, how did the Countess take to being kicked out of the castle?”

 

Elsa grinned.  “Let’s just say she didn’t like it very much. I’m relieved she’s gone, to be honest.”

 

Anna briefly glanced at blonde.  “Do you like her, Elsa?”

 

Elsa slowed her pace and looked down at the younger woman.  “She—flattered me at the Ball, and I will admit I liked it.  But then she tried to seduce my entire court and my moment of weakness was over.”

 

Anna didn’t appear to be convinced.  “But what about last night?”

 

The Queen stopped and looked around them at the servants going to and fro.  “Come with me.”  She led Anna to an antechamber just off the main hallway—a small room that served as a waiting room for guests—and made sure no one was looking as she pulled Anna inside.  She locked the door.  “Anna, I don’t want the Countess.”

 

The princess breathed in deeply and leaned against a nearby couch.  “I’m sorry, Elsa, but you were clearly aroused, weren’t you?”

 

“Would you believe me if I said that it was only a physical reaction to her incredible perfume?”

 

“Elsa, please, I’m no ingénue.  I saw the look in your eyes.”

 

Elsa walked over to Anna. “Anna, I’m sorry.  I don’t know what else to say.  Yes, my body responded to her perfume—to her nearness to me. But I don’t really want her, only you.” 

 

“Oh, I’m being a silly fool again, aren’t I?”

 

The blonde smiled. “Perhaps a bit.”

 

They both heard an outlying thunder and were startled into reality.  Anna quickly glanced at Elsa.  “A storm—how close are we to the full moon?”

 

Elsa wrapped her arms around Anna.  “Less than a week, I believe.” 

 

They just stood there, arms wrapped around the other, and listened to a few claps of thunder off in the distance.  Anna could feel a small amount of fear in Elsa, and she hugged her tighter.  Their eyes met, and a lifetime’s worth of love passed between them, as the future seemed uncertain and cloudy.  Elsa reeled with the incoming storm, and could feel her connectedness to it.  It seeped into her bones, until she let out a small whimper.

 

Anna hugged her even closer. “What can I do?  Please, Elsa, tell me.  What can I do to help?”

 

The blonde closed her eyes and let herself be comforted.  “You—being here, like this.  It is more than I could wish for.”  Elsa ran her hands slowly over Anna’s back, drinking in the bitter sweetness of her touch.

 

Anna did the same for Elsa, and soothed down her twitching wings with the gentlest of touches.  She let out a cleansing breath and turned her head so that her lips brushed over Elsa’s neck. 

 

Elsa closed her eyes and lowered her hands to Anna’s bottom, and then quite suddenly, picked her up. Anna instinctively wrapped her legs around Elsa’s waist, and whimpered.  But Elsa didn’t make a move to do anything else, and held onto Anna tightly.  But Anna moved, and began to rub herself against Elsa, who was still just standing still, her knees slightly bent. 

 

The Queen’s breath hitched in her throat.  “Anna, this is arousing.  This is only for you, please remember,” she whispered.  She held on tighter and slowly walked around the couch to the other side, and lowered them both until Anna was on her back.  She reached for Anna’s hand and guided it to her trousers’ clasp.  “Do you feel what you do to me?”

 

Anna was practically panting as her hand fell on swollen flesh.  She undid the clasp, and pulled.  “I need you inside me, now.”

 

Elsa whimpered, and pulled up Anna’s skirts, but then she hesitated.  “Anna…”

 

“Oh, please, Elsa now.”

 

The blonde pushed in and mewled at Anna’s slick warmth.  “This is only for you, Anna…ah…”  She withdrew and then thrust easily back in.  “No else will have me.”  Another thrust.  “Ever.”

 

Outside the storm picked up and the winds began to swirl around the castle.  The workmen in the north attic picked up their pace, suddenly feeling the need to finish their project as soon as they could.

 

*****

 

Kristoff looked up from Yggdrasil just Hølje came into view.  The shaman looked worried and this alarmed the blonde man.  “What’s wrong?”

 

The young troll pointed to the east.  “The storms are brewing again in the east and a mighty wind pounds down on the small kingdom of Arendelle.”

 

“But—the full moon hasn’t risen.”

 

“It will in one day.” Hølje shook his head dolefully. “I am a novice, Kristoff, I hardly know what to do in this matter!”  He kicked at a stone and it hit the great white tree. 

 

Yggdrasil hummed, and Ratatoskr  meandered down its branches.  “What message, o infantile one?”

 

Kristoff shook his head. “None for now, emissary. We—touched Yggdrasil by mistake”

 

The great insulting messenger squirrel hissed, and its ears flattened.  “Do not waste my time!”  It was gone as quickly as it came.

 

“Don’t do that again, Hølje! I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out, and the last thing we need to make enemies here!”

 

The younger troll recoiled slightly, but understood Kristoff’s concerns.  “I understand, it won’t happen again.”

 

Kristoff looked to the east, and his heart faltered a bit.  “Is…is Anna safe?”

 

“She has Jörmungandr and we have Yggdrasil.  Everything is unfolding as it should.”

 

“Then why am I feeling a sense of dread?  Is Anna in danger?”

 

Hølje hesitated, but spoke the truth.  “She has the dragon, Kristoff.”

 

Kristoff went white with fear.  “Anna…”

 

*****

 

The Countess closed the window to the carriage to keep out the rain, and seethed in anger at Queen Elsa for shutting her out of the castle.  She had spent the last two days in the drafty Weselton embassy and was eager to be away from it.  So she instructed her driver to take her to the castle, as she was determined to find Elsa and demand answers from her.  The wind and rain pelted her carriage and threatened to topple it over, yet the Countess was relentless.

 

*****

 

Anna and Elsa walked up the remaining stairs to the north attic, each lost in her own thoughts at the coming midnight.  They stopped at the door and Elsa opened it, she stepped inside and look about at the iron bars on the walls and windows.  She shuddered and quickly grabbed at Anna’s hand.  “I’m frightened, Anna.”

 

The princess held on tightly.  “So am I.”

 

Their eyes locked, and Elsa pulled Anna to her in a final hug.  “If I don’t make it through this night I want you to know I don’t regret anything that has happened between us.  I love you, Anna, and our unborn child.  Please tell our child how much I did love—“

 

Anna burst into tears. “Now stop that!  Why are you talking like I’ll never see you again?”

 

Elsa felt her own tears flow.  “Because I don’t know.  My god, Anna, look at what happened the last time this happened.”  She tried to disengage her arms from Anna but the Princess held on. “Please, Anna, you have to go now.”

 

But the princess was in near panic.  “I can’t just leave you, Elsa!”

 

“You have to let me go. Please, Anna.”

 

Anna finally dropped her arms as a loud crash of thunder peeled across the horizon, and the rain and winds pelted at the castle.  The light of the day was gone, and the only light outside came from the occasional flashes of lightening.

 

Anna reached up and grabbed Elsa’s head and brought her lips down onto her own.  They kissed passionately until a flash of lightening shone through the windows. 

 

Elsa broke from the kiss first.  “Good bye, Anna.  Wait for the clock to strike midnight, and then…”  Her voice trailed off.

 

“I love you, Elsa.” Anna turned to go with a great reluctance, but did it anyway.  She looked at the door before opening it and stepping outside to the stairway.  After locking the door she put one foot in front of other in a vain attempt to stop her aching heart, but it was to no avail. She turned abruptly, thinking to rush back to Elsa, but then realized it would probably anger her if she did. Anna turned back to the stairs walked down to the first floor of the castle.

 

*****

 

Elsa stripped herself of her clothes and carefully folded them before placing them on the floor beside her.  She stretched her wings out to their full length and breathed in deeply, in an attempt to clear her mind of everything useless to her at this point.  She looked down on her feet and realized the scales were more pronounced than they were in the morning, and that the top of her head hurt, where her horns were.  She reached up and when she drew her hand back there was blood on it.  Instead of sickening her, the presence of blood had the opposite effect, it made her growl deep in her throat.  She licked her hand clean of the blood as another flash of lightening flickered through the window.  The subsequent peel of thunder caused her wings to flutter and a strange sensation to course up her spine.  

 

Elsa stood up; it was almost time.

 

*****

 

Anna sat with Master Kai in the large parlor on the first floor of the castle and had to fight with an uneasy feeling.  There was something… not right.  There was something that she saw that didn’t make any sense to her, but she couldn’t quite place it.

 

Kai looked at the princess expectantly.  “Are you alright, Your Highness?”  He looked at the clock and it indicated they still had ten minutes to wait.  “I know this must be difficult.”

 

The winds whipped up outside and the rains came in sheets, hitting at the castle from all directions. The worst of the storm was coming, and was practically upon them as the lightening and thunder was relentless. 

 

Anna put down her glass of sherry and stared into the fireplace.  “This may sound strange, Kai, but I have this nagging feeling.”

 

“About the Queen’s transformation?  We know she’s securely locked in the attic and I doubt she’ll be able to escape those irons bars.”

 

“I know, Kai, I locked the door myself.”  Anna was about to say something else but her sense of foreboding wouldn’t go away.  I locked the door, and made sure it was secure…  “Yes, I locked the door…”  The door

 

They were interrupted by the slamming open of the parlor door, and the Countess Weselton stormed into the room.  “I’ve been looking all over this castle for the Queen, where is she?”

 

Anna jumped to her feet. “What are you doing here?”  The door…

 

“You are not welcome in this castle.”  Kai also rose to his feet.  “I must insist that you leave right away, Madame.”

 

The door…

 

“In this god forsaken storm? I’m not going anywhere.”

 

The…door…!  Anna whirled to Kai.  “Oh, my God, Kai… the door to that attic room didn’t have any iron bars on it!”

 

The clock struck twelve; and a blood-curling scream could be heard from the far reaches of the castle.

 

The Countess turned to Anna and Kai.  “What on earth was that?  What are you two hiding?”  She started for the door and Kai tried to stop her.  “Let me go now!”

 

“No, wait!”  Anna cried as the Countess stormed out of the parlor.  She and Kai followed her into the foyer of the castle.

 

And then it came, bounding down the great spiral staircase like an animal finally loosed from its fetters. It was larger than any of them expected, at least ten feet tall with a tremendous wingspan.  It glared at them and then the Countess screamed.  I snarled and charged the Countess, picking her up and throwing her onto the nearest wall.  She hit it with a noticeable thwack, and then slid down to the floor.  It howled and then crashed into the foyer’s double doors and fled out into the night.

 

Anna sank to her knees and wailed out of fear and anger while Kai went over to the Countess to check on her.

 

When he looked up his face was white.  “She’s dead.”

Chapter Text

Anna’s body undulated with every thrust from her sister above, her back sliding against the satin sheets, and her breathing ragged.  Her arms were around Elsa’s shoulders and her legs encircled her hips. After many minutes of the exquisite sensations she opened her eyes.  “You are… unrelenting tonight.”

 

Elsa could only nod and grunt and she continued to bury herself in the princess below her, her hips surging into Anna again and again.  “I need you—and this.”  She was rock hard.

 

Anna whimpered, her weeping center sore from Elsa’s relentless rutting; it was maddening—and she was practically incoherent in her lustful response.  “Give me more.”

 

The blonde’s hands fisted in the sheets, and she wanted to be deeper, buried completely in her lover. “How…?” 

 

*****

 

Anna screamed again and a half dozen or so castle guards came running into the foyer.  They stopped immediately and stared at the shattered doors.  Gunnar understood, having remembered from a month ago a similar situation.  He ran over to Anna while some of the others went over to Kai and the Countess.

 

Kai looked up, quickly covering up his near panic.  “The storm blew the doors in!”

 

Gunnar stopped at the princess and looked over to the splintered doors.  “My goodness, Your Highness, are you alright?”

 

The rain blew in from the broken doorway—leaves and small branches littered the foyer, and the remnants of scattered hail.

 

Gunnar looked about and quickly assessed the situation.  “Guards!” Two guards came running up to him. “See to the repair of the doors, now!” They hurried away and he briefly smiled at Anna before moving to Kai and the other guards.  “What happened to her?”

 

Kai stood up.  “The Countess was standing at the door when they broke open.  The force of the wind sent her flying at the wall here.”

 

The Captain nodded. “You saw this?”

 

“So did I.”  Anna stood up and wiped at her eyes.  She briefly glanced at the broken body of the Countess and her soul shattered at the sight.  Oh, Elsa…  “Master Kai and I were escorting the Countess to her carriage when the accident happened.”

 

Everyone turned his or her head when a servant came running from the great spiral staircase.  Her eyes had a wild look about them.  “Did you see it?  Someone tell me—“  She looked at the broken door and screamed.

 

Kai went immediately to the young woman to quiet her down.  “Now, it’s alright, young lady.  The storm has us all a little spooked.”

 

“The storm?”  The maid looked like she was going to pass out because of her fright.  “What was that thing in the hallway?”

 

Captain Gunnar went back to Anna but turned his head toward the maid.  “What thing…what are talking about?”

 

The young woman started shaking.  “There was a bright flash of lightening… and then I saw it, at the top of the spiral staircase before…”

 

Anna was shaking, too, but she needed to stop the young maid from saying anything more.  “Please, we are all frightened here.  But we don’t need your wild imagination making us even more so!”

 

“But, Your Highness—“

 

Gunnar took a step towards the maid.  “You heard Princess Anna, did you not, young lady?”

 

Kai and Anna locked gazes for a moment, and then the older man turned back to the maid.  “Come with me to the kitchens.  Let us get some tea, shall we?”  He put his hand on her elbow and guided down the hall. 

 

A guard came from the spiral staircase with the Royal Physician in tow, they stopped at the body of the Countess.  The physician examined the body.

 

Captain Gunnar looked on Anna, his concern evident.  He took her arm and guided her away from the chaos, towards the large parlor adjacent to the foyer.  When they were inside he quickly stoked the dying fire.  He then guided Anna towards it and helped her to sit down.

 

Anna buried her face in her hands and sobbed.  The Captain felt his heart wrench at the sight, and he sat down next to her on the divan.  He took her hands in his.

 

“Is there anything I can do for you, Princess Anna?”

 

The princess leaned towards the man and allowed herself to be held as she cried out her anguish and frustration.  But the reality of Elsa outside alone in the blinding storm came crashing down on her, and she cried even more.  After many long moments she calmed enough to sit up.  The Captain offered her a handkerchief and she gladly took it, smiling at him as she did so. 

 

“Thank you, Gunnar.” Anna glanced at the young Captain, wondering if she ought to take him into her confidence.  A part of her thought it was a good idea, but another immediately squashed the notion, knowing what Elsa’s reaction would be. “Gunnar, if you will excuse me, but I need to see Master Kai.”

 

“Why not let me fetch him for you, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna put a hand on the Captain’s arm.  “Would you?”

 

The Captain stood and bowed, and then quickly departed.  Once he was outside the parlor he looked over accident sight again and frowned. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t quite place it so he left to retrieve Master Kai.

 

Anna got up and went over to the liquor cabinet and poured herself a small glass of sherry and drank it in one swallow.  Elsa, oh, my poor Elsa…  She poured another and went back to the divan, more tears flowing.

 

*****

 

Elsa ran her hands under Anna’s pelvis and lifted her hips off of the bed, burying herself deeper into Anna.  With a great push of her hips she was inside fully, unable to penetrate any farther. She growled low in her throat and for a moment stopped all movement, her mind and body awash in pure pleasure and need.

 

Anna practically screamed out at the sensation of being completely filled, and she inadvertently clawed at Elsa’s back, scratching her wings.  “Oh, Elsa… so hard for me, only for me…”

 

The blonde gasped and began a slow thrust of her hips.  “Yes…” She could feel hot sweat pour down her back and onto the sheets, along with Anna’s arousal.

 

The bed creaked rhythmically, its headboard slapping against the wall.  They panted as one, clutched at each other as one, and made love like there was no tomorrow.

 

*****

 

Captain Gunnar opened the parlor door for Master Kai and they both walked in to find Anna still wiping at her tears.  Kai put down the tray of he was carrying and the Captain sat by the princess again.

 

Kai sat on a chair near the divan and poured himself a cup of tea.  “Would you like one, Princess Anna?”

 

“Yes, with whiskey, please.” Anna turned her body towards the Captain and took his hand.  “I need your complete trust, Gunnar, in what I’m about to say.  Do I have it?”

 

Kai tried to get Anna’s attention by waving his hand, but it didn’t work. 

 

The Captain nodded. “You have my word, Princess.”

 

“I need for you to do something for me, right away.”  Anna saw Kai’s frantic effort to get her attention and she gave him a pointed look before turning back to the Captain.  “I can’t have anyone in my household going on about monsters or things hidden in the shadows. I need for you to remove that maid from the castle immediately.”

 

Gunnar frowned.  “But she was only afraid, Princess Anna…”

 

Anna squeezed Gunnar’s hand and smiled.  “But servants like her start rumors… and the next thing one realizes is the whole castle is abuzz with rumors of fiends and creepy things prowling about.  We can’t have it, do you understand?”

 

Gunnar nodded again, understanding Anna’s dilemma.  “What would you like me to do?”

 

“Have a guard escort her to one of the inns in the village for now.  There’s no traveling any further than that tonight with this storm. But in the morning have her sent back to her family—with a generous stipend, of course.  Can you do this for me now, Gunnar?  You can come back here when you are finished.”

 

The Captain’s eyes lit up at the prospect of returning to the Princess.  “As you wish, Princess.”  He got up immediately to do Anna’s bidding. 

 

When he was gone Kai handed Anna her cup of hot tea and whiskey.  “That was a smart decision, Your Highness.  I’m ashamed not to have thought it myself.”

 

“I find myself in the most tenuous of circumstances, Kai.  Elsa is out there—alone, and probably scared.”  She took a large sip of her tea.  “We have to somehow find her before she attacks anyone else.”

 

The Master of the Castle downed his entire cup.  “How are we going to do something like that, Princess Anna?  She could be anywhere by now.”

 

“But I know Elsa, Kai. She has predictable patterns, don’t you think?  I mean, she has a schedule for everything.”  Anna thought about all the times that they made love… well, maybe not everything…  “What I’m trying to say is, in this circumstance I think she will try to go to, or return to, something that is familiar.”

 

“By familiar are you referring to a place of some kind?”  Kai poured himself another cup of tea.

 

“Yes, I think she’ll instinctively go to a place where she feels comfortable and safe.”  Anna got up and stood closer to the fire, feeling a bit chilled.

 

“Would she return to the castle, then?”

 

Anna turned towards Kai. “No, I don’t think it would be here. There are too many strangers and guards here for her liking.”  Anna picked up her cup and drank.  “Someplace… of her own making?  My god, Kai, do you think she’d head towards her Ice Palace in the North Mountain?”

 

Kai put down his cup, his eyes wide.  “That makes perfect sense, Princess Anna.  She knows no one else is allowed to go up there.”

 

“And she made it, by her own hands, with the ice powers.”  Anna sat back down and regarded the storm outside.  “But how do we get there with the weather like this?  I really wish Kristoff was here, he knows how to get there.”

 

“Princess Anna, there is a procedure for getting up to the North Mountain.  Queen Elsa drew up the plans for it shortly after her return, after the Great Thaw.”

 

“Why don’t I know of this?” Anna frowned, wondering at what else she didn’t know.

 

I don’t know, Your Highness. But there is a trained unit of soldiers who know how to get there.  They can be called upon at any time to fulfill their duty.”  The older man looked outside the window at the storm. “But we must wait until tomorrow, hopefully the rains will be over by then.”

 

“This waiting is going to kill me; we have to do something tonight!”

 

“What can we do in this storm, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna wrung her hands. “I don’t know, Kai, I don’t know.”

 

*****

 

Elsa bound them together, wrapping her arms around Anna, and slowed down her thrusts, prolonging their pleasure.  “Feel me in you, Anna,” she grunted.

 

Anna could feel her lower abdomen tighten, and a certain tingling sensation rolled outward from the base of her spine.  “Don’t slow, please, Elsa…I’m so close…”

 

The blonde turned her head so that she was panting in Anna’s ear.  “So close…so close…”  She changed her rhythm, and her thrusts shallower, but in quicker succession.

 

The princess threw her head back onto the bed and her hands fisted in the sheets below her. “Elsa…”  The humming increased around her, and she focused on the white-hot sensation of Elsa filling her, until the stars burst around her eyes, and she screamed out her release, wet hot tears rolling down her cheeks as her body floated around a coil of the purest pleasure.

 

Elsa whimpered and turned Anna’s head so that their lips met in a heated kiss, and continued her thrusting. “Oh, Anna…oh, god…”  She could feel Anna’s contractions around her, as her sister’s body milked out her orgasm for the longest moments. 

 

Anna barely hung onto her sanity as her body ached for more, and she needn’t have worried if Elsa was going to deliver, because the blonde was still pushing in and pulling out of her, at an unyielding pace.  Anna’s toes curled as the pulling at her groin increased, and her lips quivered in anticipation.

 

The blonde felt the change in Anna again, and once more, adjusted herself in order to bring her sister the most pleasure.  She wrapped her arms around Anna, molding their breasts together, and smashed her hips against the princess again and again.

 

*****

 

It staggered out in the coldness and the wetness, feeling lost and forlorn, and needing to feed because there was a great emptiness within its stomach.  The rain had mercilessly taken away it’s will to fight, and it knew, somewhere in the back of its damaged consciousness that it had already taken a life.  Some—thing screamed at it, and it did the only thing it knew how to do, fight back. It had raged against the screams and silenced them.

 

It fled over the great long bridge and found refuge in the lower hills, under an outcropping, and nursed its talons.  It was hurt after slamming against the door, and its body ached.  After flapping its massive wings it sniffed at the air, taking in the aromas of its surroundings, and honed in on food.  The small creatures were everywhere, seemingly oblivious to the thing among them.  For at this point it was neither human or dragon, but a gross and hideous amalgam of both, slithering in the woods, and on the hunt.  Food.  It needed food for strength, and it needed strength for killing the things that got in its way—just as the screaming thing had done to it before it took its life.

 

The part of it that was still Elsa cowered under the outcropping, and leaked water out of its eyes as a strange feeling stole over it.  A feeling that a beast could not fathom, but that a human could; regret. Yes, it—at least a part of it—regretted killing the screaming thing, but the strange feeling was quickly discarded as a low growl emanated from its throat and it lifted its head and roared into the night, its wings beating wildly in time with the roar.  A blast of putrid ice shot out of its mouth as it screamed, and its body was thrown backwards against the hard rock under the outcropping at the force of the ice blast.

 

It stopped screaming, its eyes wide, and its nostrils flaring.  It opened its mouth again but this time there wasn’t  any ice, and it knew frustration again.  Snapping its mouth shut, it looked wildly about for the small creatures that were so easy to eat, and quickly snatched up something warm and delectable looking.  When it was done it ventured out into the coldness and wetness again, only this time its instinct drove it onwards towards—home.  It turned its head towards the north and sniffed at the air. Home.  Safety.  Aloneness. No screaming things to annoy it. It lifted to its full height and gave its wings a mighty flap, and for the first time, it flew.  It was untethered to the world and free, and wished for the simplicity of home.  But its flight didn’t last long, as it still lacked a tail, a rudder, so to speak.

 

*****

 

Anna cried out again as her whole body shuddered in its second release, one hand grabbing the sheet below her, and the other fisting on Elsa’s back.  “Elsa… Elsa… what are you doing to me…”

 

The blonde buried herself deep in Anna and whimpered in agony, her whole body on edge, and desperate for her own climax.  “Anna… please…”  She pulled out slightly.  “I need to… ah, help me…please…” 

 

“Don’t stop… don’t stop.” Anna closed her eyes, feeling an overwhelming love for the woman on top of her.

 

Elsa started again, the slow deep thrusts that she loved to give and that Anna loved to take. “Please…”

 

Anna squeezed her eyes shut, and drove all rational thought from her, letting herself feel the moment for the perfection that it was.  “Yes, Elsa…feel it…feel yourself take me…”

 

Elsa groaned, her hips pounding into Anna, her flesh hard and wanting.  “Yes…I…I’m inside you, Anna…”

 

“Yes, feel it…feel yourself inside me…filling me…”

 

“Yes…”  Elsa allowed herself a moment of self-indulgence, and plunged deeper.  “I’m…close, Anna…”  She wrapped her arms even tighter around the princess, and filled her again and again.

 

Anna’s eyes opened as the muscles in her stomach clenched, and she felt herself falling over the edge again, only this time her release hit her unhurriedly, and her head rolled to the side.  “Elsa…oh, Elsa…let it go, for me.”

 

Elsa, incoherent at feeling Anna’s walls clench around her again, exploded into the princess below, her seed pumping out in waves.  She threw her head back and cried out her release, filling Anna over and over again. After a long while, her thrusts lessened, but they didn’t stop for some time, long after her orgasm was over.  Finally, Elsa was able to look down, and she captured Anna’s eyes with her own.  “I…I…am hardly ever at a loss for words…”

 

Anna’s grip on Elsa lessened, and she lowered her legs to the bed.  Elsa tried to get up, but Anna stopped her.  “No, stay with me.  I want you inside, I never want you to leave.”

 

The blonde lifted shaky hands to Anna’s cheeks, and softly caressed her.  “I don’t know if that would be wise.” 

 

Anna drew in a deep breath, and clung onto Elsa.  “You feel so good inside me.  Oh, god, I never thought I would say that—to anyone.  Look at what you’ve done to me, Elsa, made me a lustful creature.”

 

Elsa shuddered, her spine still tingling.  “Yes, I know what you mean.”  She continued to caress Anna delicately.  “I love this, I love being with you,” she whispered.  Elsa trembled again at her own words, feeling an incredible love for Anna. She lowered her head to Anna’s shoulder and let out her own deep breath.  “Do you want to sleep?” 

 

Elsa started to pull out, but again Anna stopped her.  “No, please don’t leave.  I—just need you, Elsa.  I need you badly.”

 

“I’m not going anywhere, snowflake.”  Elsa could feel herself drifting into Morpheus’ realm, but then awoke suddenly when she felt Anna start to cry.  She lifted her head.  “What is it?”

 

“Oh, yes, you are, Elsa.” She furiously wiped at her own tears. “In a couple hours you’re going into the north attic—and I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again.”

 

“Of course you’ll see me again, snowflake, I’ll be trapped in that attic for the night and we’ll see each other when the morning comes—just like last time.”

 

Anna calmed somewhat. “Are you sure?”

 

“I am so determined to come back to you, Anna.  Nothing else matters to me, and I doubt if there ever will.  When this war is over my life is dedicated to you, and our child.”

Anna slowly wrapped her arms around Elsa’s neck, her trepidation withering.  “I really do love you, Elsa.  I want you to know this in your heart as you walk into that room.  I love you, and I always will.”

 

Elsa lowered her head, and captured Anna’s lips in a gentle kiss.  Her tongue begged for entrance into Anna’s mouth, and the princess easily granted it.  They kissed slowly, and unhurriedly, for many long moments, each lost in the other. 

 

It was Elsa who finally broke from the kiss.  She smiled down at Anna.  “Do you still want me inside?” she whispered.

 

Anna squirmed a little. “Why do you ask?”  But she soon knew the answer, as Elsa began to harden again. She closed her eyes in pleasure and then reached up to whisper in Elsa’s ear.  The blonde’s eyes widened and she slowly pulled out of the princess and lifted off her.  Anna smiled reassuringly at Elsa, and the blonde turned the princess over onto her stomach.

 

*****

 

 

Anna sat with Kai in the downstairs parlor for a few more hours in an attempt to quell her fears, but she was too nervous to sit for very long, and left shortly after Captain Gunnar returned to report of his success.  She ventured out into the foyer and at first watched the workmen as they tried to repair the main doors to the castle.  But she soon grew weary of it and returned to the part of the castle that only she and Elsa had access to, along with some servants, the floor that had their bedrooms.  Anna quietly opened Elsa’s bedroom door and walked right in. 

 

It was just as they left it, much earlier in the night.  She walked into the bedroom and soon realized that the room still smelled like sex, and they had not made the bed after their arduous love making session.  How is Elsa going to explain this to the maids, or her Ladies in Waiting? Anna watched the bed as if it could somehow provide the answers she was looking for, but it was not to be.  She could see the imprints of their limbs on the sheets, and she groaned somewhat at the memory of their passion.  It was—just as everything was—all so new to her, and she wondered if perhaps she was losing her mind with the implication of it all. 

 

She caught her eye in Elsa’s mirror and looked at her reflection, turning sideways to examine her own body for any signs of her pregnancy.  Her hand slid down her belly, and she thought she felt a slight distention, but could not be sure, not in the frame of mind she was in right now.  Pregnant…Anna blushed and tucked some hair behind her ear.  Good god…what would people think?  Did she care? Anna stared at her reflection, and soon realized she didn’t care what they thought.  The only person whose opinion she really cared about was lost somewhere outside, out in the storm, and probably frightened at being so alone. Anna collapsed on Elsa’s bed and drew her arms around herself, suddenly feeling so alone, just like that creature outside.

*****

 

Captain Gunnar looked about the foyer at the wreckage brought about by the storm.  He had asked the workman to give him some time alone at the site, so that he might gather some information from it.  After looking about at the leaves and small branches that littered the floor he moved to the actual broken doors, which already been taken down by the work crew and were lying just inside the foyer.  He bent down to examine the door and frowned somewhat. It was easy to tell which part of the broken doors that were exposed to the outside, as they were worn differently than the half that was on the inside.  He ran his hand down the outside portion of the door and noticed the way the wood was bent.  It appeared to be bent outwards. 

 

After examining the first door he moved to the second one and found the conditions to be exactly the same.  The wood looked like it was bent outwards, as if something on the inside of the castle had burst through the doors.  Gunnar sighed and stood up, and then moved to the doorframe and examined it.  He found evidence of wood breaking outwards, and not inwards like the Princess and Master Kai had stated.

 

Gunnar stepped back inside and looked at the spiral staircase, thinking over what the Princess had had him do to the maid.  His frowned deepened and he understood immediately that he had been lied to, and was determined to find out why.

Chapter Text

It skimmed the trees, occasionally falling, reveling in its new ability to fly.  After darting in between a copse of trees it landed on the wet ground and shook out its wings.  The heavier rains had stopped in this part of Arendelle and now only a stinging mist remained, but the winds remained constant, and blew about the land like screaming harpies.  It walked on unsteady legs, its senses forcing it northward.  A particularly harsh gust of wind lifted it off its feet and sent it crashing into a nearby horse chestnut.  It screamed at the impact, and fractured two ribs.  That part of the creature that was still Elsa howled in pain, and it fell onto the ground, arms carefully wrapped around itself. She knew what happened, and cursed her inability to control the creature any more than she could.

 

Elsa struggled to rise to the surface—she clawed her way through the creature’s baser instincts, through layers of pure natural drives—and tried to reason with her reptilian mind.  For the brief moment it worked, and she stood up, knowing where she was.  But it was a monumental task to try to tame the beast, and her steps faltered as she pushed forward towards her Ice Palace.  If only she could keep her mind together for a few more minutes, then she might be able to reason with—it.

But it was strong, and it resisted her will rather fervently.  Elsa’s mind tried to think of a way to keep her in control—and she cradled her fractured ribs.  Pain… that was it.  Pain seemed to weaken the creature a little.  She stamped on her own foot, and the creature grimaced in pain.  Elsa walked a few more steps as herself, the creature momentarily cowering at the physical pain; and Elsa could breathe a small sigh of relief, even though she too was in pain, her mind was able to process it, in contrast to the creature, who couldn’t.  She hobbled along as the wind battered her, and she moved around a large boulder and then saw her Ice Palace in the distance, and focused her mind solely on it.  The creature growled low in its throat, wary of the unfamiliar thing up ahead, but Elsa pressed onward.  She hit herself in her cracked ribs as a reminder, and the creature slithered away in pain.

 

*****

 

“Do you trust me, Anna?”  Elsa asked, her body shaking with need.

 

Anna looked over her shoulder and smiled reassuringly at her older sister.  “Yes, love, I do.  I would have not asked otherwise.”

 

The blonde ran her hand along the princess’s back and then over her backside, her touch meant to soothe as well as arouse.

 

Anna writhed under the touch, and then lifted her hips off the bed.  “Please, Elsa, I need you.”

 

Elsa groaned at the offering, and stroked herself before positioning her hips right over Anna’s ass. She gently spread Anna’s legs apart and then lowered her hips, easily sliding into her sister’s warmth.  “Oh, yes…”  The pleasure was maddening, and she lowered onto Anna’s back. 

*****

 

Anna sat in front of Elsa’s fireplace and rubbed her belly absentmindedly, and occasionally looked out the window, noticing the storm’s subsidence.  The worst part of it seemed to be over, but it was getting noticeably colder, as the remaining raindrops were turning into hailstones.  Anna got up and looked out of the window at the storm clouds as they rolled by.

 

“Are you going to try to get any sleep tonight, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna shook her head. “No, Master Kai, how can I sleep when Elsa is lost somewhere out there.”  She wiped at a single tear.  “…and it’s getting colder, look.”

 

Kai moved over to stand by the Princess.  “Yes, there might be a permafrost in the morning.”  He went over to the fireplace and added more wood.  “I would feel much better if you’d at least nap, Princess Anna. Would you care for more tea?”

 

Anna turned towards the fireplace.  “Yes, that would be wonderful, Kai.”  When the clock struck three a.m. she jumped a little, as it startled her.  “You know, I am a bit hungry.  What would you suggest?”

 

“Would you like some eggs with potatoes, princess?”

 

Anna’s stomach decided to growl at that moment.  “That sounds wonderful, Kai.  May I also have some toast with jam?”  She went over to Elsa’s overstuffed chair and sat back down.

 

“Very well, Your Highness. I’ll inform the kitchen right away.” The older man bowed before leaving.

 

Anna cuddled into Elsa’s favourite chair, and inhaled the sweet scent that was her sister.  She closed her eyes, willing herself to stay strong, and not to cry.

 

*****

 

Anna’s grabbed onto the sheets below her, and hung on as her body was jerked forward by Elsa’s thrusts. “This is so wonderful; the feel of you on me like this.”

 

Elsa grunted and gently grasped Anna’s hands with her own.  “Hold onto me.” 

 

Their fingers intertwined, and Elsa set a comfortable rhythm, her hips slapping against Anna’s ass with each thrust.  Anna turned her head and eyed Elsa.  Her sister had her eyes closed, and had put her full weight on top of her. 

 

The princess trembled and grit her teeth.  “Deeper, Elsa…”

 

“I’m trying, please believe me.”  Elsa thrust faster, but she could only penetrate so far in their current position. “Anna, give me that pillow.”

 

Anna reached in front of her and threw the pillow at Elsa, who stopped thrusting.  “No…!  Please don’t stop.”

 

Elsa put both hands on either side of Anna’s hips and lifted; she put the pillow below the princess’s pelvis and lowered her down on it, so that her hips were elevated.  She entered her at this new angle and gasped out at the pleasure.  “Good god…do you feel that, Anna?”

 

Anna could only nod, and grasped at the sheets again, every nerve in her body fully alive, and throbbing. “Yes… oh, yes… Elsa…”

 

Elsa lifted on her hands, and pumped into Anna mercilessly, drawing out strangled groans from the young woman below.  “Anna…?”

 

Anna’s body was on fire, her senses on overload from Elsa’s thighs slapping against her own. “Ungh…what…?”

 

Panting, Elsa slowed her thrusting almost to a stop.  “I want to touch you.”  She shivered, her body falling on Anna’s.

 

“How…?  God, Elsa—you are already touching me most intimately.”

 

“I want to touch you—with my hand, Anna…please…”

 

Anna understood.  She gently took Elsa’s hand and guided underneath her hips to the center of her pleasure.  Elsa groaned as her fingers came into contact with Anna’s folds; and Anna grasped Elsa’s index finger and placed it where it would give the most pleasure.  They both gasped at the contact, and Elsa began to buck her hips again.

 

*****

 

Anna awoke to the sound of Elsa’s door opening and she sat up.  “Who is it?”

 

“It’s  just me, Princess Anna.”

 

The princess turned around in the chair and saw that it was Master Kai with a kitchen servant who was pushing a small cart.  The servant pushed the cart over to where Anna was sitting and then bowed before leaving. Kai took the other chair that was facing the fireplace.

 

“I took the liberty of having pastries sent as well, Princess.”  Kai picked up a cinnamon roll and ate it.  “I hope you don’t mind.”

Anna grabbed a pastry as well.  “I don’t mind at all.”  Anna took a plate and served herself some scrambled eggs and fried potatoes.  “I’d really love some lingonberry jam, do we have any?”

 

“Already on the cart, Your Highness.”  Kai got up and tossed more wood onto the fire.  “I ran into Captain Gunnar in the kitchens.  He wants to talk to you.”

 

Anna spread the jam onto a piece of toast.  “Do you know what he wants?”

 

“Directly? No, but I have my suspicions.”  Kai piled a plate high with food.  “I think he suspects we lied to him.”

 

Anna’s eyes went wide. “How do you know?”

 

“The way he looked at me. I don’t know—it made me feel really uncomfortable.”

 

Anna put down her plate and poured herself some tea.  “What are we going to do, Kai?  Have him re-assigned somewhere else?”

 

“That’s actually not a bad idea.”  Kai continued to eat.

 

Anna nodded and sat back in the chair, her eyes drooping.  “I am so tired, Kai.”

 

“Perhaps you ought to get some sleep before morning, Princess, the troop sets off for the North Mountain as soon as dawn arrives.” 

 

Anna grabbed her plate again and began to eat.  “What are we going to do about tomorrow, Kai.  I mean, what explanation are we giving for going to Elsa’s Ice Palace?” She poured some lingonberry jam on her potatoes.  “We very well can’t say we’re looking for Elsa.”

 

“We can say that we are partaking in a training exercise developed by the Queen?  To see who can reach the North Mountain first, the Queen or us?”  Kai offered.

 

Anna shook her head. “I like that idea; it makes sense, especially since the army is doing training exercises.”  Anna poured herself some tea.

 

“Would you like whiskey with your tea, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna eyed the whiskey bottle.  “No, it made my stomach a bit upset yesterday, I think.  Just milk and sugar for me.”  Even though her eyes were drooping, she continued to eat until her plate was empty.  “Hmmm… that was good.  Thanks for suggesting it, Kai.”

 

“We’ll need all the strength we can muster for tomorrow.”  Kai put down his cup of tea and poured whiskey into it.  “How do we account for that smashed door in the north attic, Princess Anna?  And for all that awful screaming?”

 

Anna sighed, a pensive look on her face.  “I don’t know, Kai.  We still have a dead Countess to explain, especially if Captain Gunnar figured out the truth.”

 

“A madman hiding in the Castle, perhaps?”

 

“But that would make the guards look really incompetent, wouldn’t it, Kai.  They all were selected as the best of the best.  I just don’t see that explanation fitting with our current circumstance.”  Anna sipped some tea.  “There must be something that we are missing here; something that will tie everything together nice and neatly.”

 

Kai shook his head. “If there is, then I pray it will come to us before the morn.” 

 

Anna put down her plate and leaned back into the comfy chair.  “I’ll just catch a little sleep, Kai.  Please wake me when its time to go.”

 

*****

 

“I’m close…oh, god, Elsa…Please…”  Anna’s body jerked forwards with the power of Elsa’s thrusts into her.   She pressed her body down on Elsa’s fingers, which were still at her center.

 

Elsa panted with every plunge of her hips on Anna’s ass, the action driving her mad with desire.  Her rutting against Anna was unremitting, as if her whole world centered on Anna and their shared passion.  She felt as well as heard her sister’s body shifting under her, on the brink of her release.  The princess stopped moving for a brief moment, at her peak, then she undulated and cried out, holding her other hand over her mouth in an attempt to remain quiet.

 

Anna turned and looked over her shoulder.  “Please, Elsa… don’t stop, don’t…”

 

Elsa squeezed her eyes shut, her release upon her like the rushing of water from a broken dam.  She pounded into her sister a few more times, whimpering, until her thrusting lessened, and then stopped.  “Anna… Anna… good for me.  You are so good to me, I swear.”  She bent her head towards Anna’s, and they shared a tender kiss.

 

Anna opened her eyes, her body still tingling, reveling in the sensation of being filled.  “I never knew pleasure could feel this good.”

 

Elsa nodded. “Actually, I never knew anythingcould be this good.”  Her body shuddered with the remnants of her release, and she thrust into Anna a few more times, her seed releasing again and again. 

 

“That’s it, Elsa, fill me with your love.”  Anna grabbed both of Elsa’s hands and held them under her head, kissing her knuckles. “So good.  Oh, so good.”

 

Elsa dropped her head between Anna’s shoulder blades.  She glanced up at the clock with tear-filled eyes.  “It’s almost time for me to go.” Her voice sounded strangled, and choked.

 

“No… please, no.” Anna laid her cheek on Elsa’s hands. “I don’t want you to go.”

 

Elsa wiped at her tears. “My heart is rent in two, Anna. How can I so easily leave you and our child to fulfill my destiny?  Believe me when I say this is the hardest thing for me to do.  But I have to go, Anna.  I could not live with the consequences should I abandon my vocation.”

 

Anna turned around, causing Elsa to withdraw.    “Please, hold me.”

 

Elsa opened her arms and Anna fell into them with ease.  “Please promise me one thing, Anna.”

 

“Anything.”

 

“If the transformation goes awry, and if I should fall and breathe no more.  Please go on and take—“

 

Anna wrenched free of Elsa’s embrace.  “No!  I can’t even think about you dying, let alone talk about it!”

 

Elsa lifted her body to sit up next to her sister.  “We must agree—to an understanding, Anna.  I do not wish to die, nor do I think it will come to that.  But we must be prepared for all things.”

 

Anna sat, and did not look up to Elsa for the longest time.  But she finally nodded her assent.  “What do you need me to do, Elsa?”

 

“Be the strong Queen that I know you can be.  If I am gone then lead Arendelle to victory in our war against our enemies.  I have faith in you.”

 

Anna immediately understood the huge burden on Elsa’s shoulders, she pulled her into a fierce hug. “I will try, but I’m not as strong as you are, I know it.”  She laid back down on the bed and brought Elsa with her.  “I won’t disappoint you, I promise.”

 

Elsa nodded, and kissed Anna with a desperate passion.  Her hands roamed as she spread Anna’s legs apart, and moved between them.  “Please…”

 

Anna sighed deeply, and then whispered,  “You know I love it when you are inside me.”

 

Elsa positioned her hips and entered Anna smoothly.  But she stilled as Anna gasped.  “Anna, are you okay?”

 

“I am more than alright. It just surprises me how good you make me feel.”  Anna wrapped her arms around Elsa’s waist and pulled her down on top of her.  “Come here, Elsa.”

 

Elsa rested her head on Anna’s shoulder, and thrust just once, so that she was in deep.  “I…love…everything about you, this…”  She ran her hands under Anna’s shoulders and began to thrust in earnest.

 

*****

 

Everything hurt, from her aching feet to her cracked ribs.  The pain almost broke her, but she used it to ground her to reality, and to keep the beast at bay.  She stood at the entrance to the castle and momentarily lapsed into the beast, and clawed at the door, but it wouldn’t open.  It growled in frustration and flapped its dark wings, and lifted off its feet only to kick at the door with its heels.  Elsa struggled, and fought back against herself, and collided with the door. The pain drove back the creature again, and it slithered away, licking its wounds.  Elsa emerged, in pain, and slightly broken.  She used her—hand, claw—and pushed the door open.  Her scaly feet prevented her from slipping on the icy floor as she hobbled into the foyer.

 

Elsa whimpered and moved to the staircase; she collapsed onto the first few steps and the creature howled in frustration.  It fought for control and it slowly gained the upper hand as Elsa was weakened by her pain.  It rested its head on one of the stairs, and wept bitter tears.

 

*****

 

“Princess Anna?”

 

Sometime during the late night, Anna moved from the overstuffed chair to the couch in Elsa’s parlor.  She stirred as a hand gently shook her shoulder.  “Hmmm… go away.”

 

Gerda smiled down at the young woman.  “I can’t do that, Your Highness.  I was told to come and wake you by Master Kai.”

 

Anna opened her eyes and groaned.  “What time is it?”

 

“It’s five o’clock, Princess.”  Gerda straightened.  “I’ve taken the liberty and drawn a nice hot bath for you.”

Anna sat up and rubbed her eyes.  She had gotten only about three to four hours sleep, and was extremely tired.  “Thank you, Gerda.”

 

Gerda walked with Anna into the Princess’s own room.  “I have also selected some appropriate attire for a journey to the North Mountain.”

 

Anna was a bit taken aback. “Master Kai told you about our expedition?  What did he say about it?”

 

“Only that you were going to accompany the elite guard on their training exercise.  Oh, and you are scheduled to see Master Steingard for a brief breakfast meeting in one hour.”

 

Anna pretended to already know about the meeting.  “Very good, Gerda.  And what did Master Kai say about the Queen?”

 

Gerda helped Anna out of her clothing.  “She already left for her Ice Palace.  I think it was awfully foolish of her to go by herself, if you ask me.”

 

Anna nodded and stepped into the bath.  “Well, you know my sister.”  She wiggled her fingers for emphasis.  “The ice powers.”

 

Gerda picked up the discarded clothes on the floor and put them in the hamper.  “Powers or not, she ought not to be alone.”

 

“Are the repairs to the Castle doors complete?”

 

“Yes, Your Highness, they are… and everything has been cleaned up.  I hope it is to Your Highness’ liking.  If you will excuse me, Princess.”

 

“Of course, Gerda.”

 

*****

 

They basked in the afterglow of their pleasure; bodies sated, at least for the time being, and souls joined as one, mingling in their essences.  Elsa opened her eyes first and gazed down on her sister.  “Anna?”

 

Anna was still breathing heavily, and reached up to run her hands through her sister’s platinum tresses, undoing her plait.  “So good…”

 

Elsa lowered her head for a sweet kiss.  Their lips met tentatively, ghosting over the others, each knowing that the time to part was at hand.  Elsa closed her eyes briefly and groaned in frustration, her flesh still deep in the young woman below her, and still hard with need.  “Let me go,” she whispered.  She wasn’t sure if she was talking to Anna, or her own body, as she tried to quell her desire.

 

Anna lowered her legs to the sheets, and finally opened her eyes.  “Okay.”  But Elsa still didn’t move.  “Elsa?”

 

“Yes?”  The blonde’s tears dripped onto Anna’s neck.  “I… I love you, Anna… And I’m so sorry to leave you.” She lifted on her elbows, her loose blonde hair falling onto Anna’s breasts.  “Please, help me to get up, I can’t do it on my own.”

 

Anna rolled them over, so that she could easily sit up.  “There, Elsa, is this better?”

 

The blonde nodded, her lips parted slightly.  “Thank you.” 

 

But neither one of them moved beyond this changing of positions, their eyes locked—something fiery, raw, and primal exchanging in their heated stare.  Anna’s eyes widened as Elsa stiffened within her, and she whimpered as a flare of the most elemental passion ignited.

 

Elsa sat up and buried her face in Anna’s neck.  “We don’t… time for this,” she mumbled, while caressing Anna’s bottom.  “Wrap you legs around me.”  She turned them over so that Anna was on her back.  “Anna… please… one more time.”

 

Anna grabbed Elsa’s head and smashed their lips together in a bruising kiss.  Their tongues clashed, warring for dominance—and when Elsa pounded her hips into her she cried out at the suddenness of the sensation.  She grabbed at the sheets, inhaled sharply, and raised her hips at every thrust.  “Good god, Elsa… you are… ah…”

 

But Elsa was caught, once again, in passion’s grip, and couldn’t control her libidinous urges. “Anna… oh, Anna…”  Her thrusting erratic, and her breathing labored.  She tried to hold back, as Anna wasn’t ready, but her desire was too much, and she reached her peak, crying out as she filled Anna again and again with her seed.  “I’m sorry… I’m sorry...”

 

Anna settled into the bed below her.  “Don’t ever apologize for this, Elsa.  You make me feel so good all the time, even now.”  She sighed deeply and let the feeling of Elsa deeply inside her fill her with pleasure; her limbs tingled and a hazy warmth rose from their twined bodies. Looking deeply in Elsa’s eyes, Anna reached between their bodies, her hand finding her own folds.  “Watch me as I pleasure myself.”

 

Elsa stared, enraptured, as Anna squirmed beneath her in an ever-growing urgency, her hand brushing over Elsa’s embedded flesh as she pleasured herself.  It was intoxicating, and she whimpered with Anna’s every stroke. After awhile, Elsa felt Anna’s slick walls constrict around her, and her breathing erratic. 

 

Anna’s eyes squeezed shut as she hit her peak, and she tumbled into a vast sea of sensations. An incredible warmth crawled up her spine and spread outwards on her quaking limbs.  Elsa rode out Anna’s orgasm with her, and her hips involuntarily thrust forward with each spasm.

 

After a long moment they stared into each other’s eyes, wrapped in a cocoon of love, and sated desire. 

 

Elsa blinked, and slowly pulled out.  “Incredible.” She sat up and brought Anna with her. “Everything about you—what we do—is so wonderful, Anna.  I can’t find the words…”

 

Anna  gently took Elsa’s head and brought their lips together. “You have an eloquence, Elsa, I’ll never have… of course, you have the words.”  She hugged Elsa.

 

Elsa laid her head on Anna’s shoulder and glanced at the clock.  “It’s time, Anna.”

 

Anna closed her eyes.  “I know.”

 

*****

 

Anna dressed in the traveling clothes that Gerda selected for her and made her way to the castle dining room.  A page opened the door for her and, once inside, she found that Master Steingard was already there.  The man stood and made the necessary bow.

 

“Excuse me, Princess, but I was told to expect the Queen for this breakfast meeting.”

 

“Her Majesty is out with the troop exercises.”  Anna sat down in the seat normally taken by her sister, a page unfolded her napkin for her. “Who told you it would be the Queen?”

 

“Oh, I don’t know, Your Highness, probably Master Kai.”  When he sat down the servers brought in the morning meal.

 

Anna smiled when a server poured orange juice for her.  “Well there was a small change of plan when Her Majesty decided to participate in the training.”  The servants removed the lids from the trays and she began to serve herself from a selection of cold meats, breads, cheeses, various pastries, and fruits.  “I trust this is not a problem with you?”

 

“Absolutely not, Your Highness.”  Steingard served himself a descent sized breakfast.

 

Anna wondered where Kai was, as he was supposed to join them.  “Did Master Kai tell you about the unfortunate incident?”

 

“Yes, he did.  I am so sorry about the Countess, Your Highness.”

 

“Well, I wasn’t referring to the Countess but to the accident in the north attic.”

 

Master Steingard put down his fork.  “No, he didn’t say anything about an accident.”

 

Anna hated to lie, and she wondered if she could do so effectively.  “A guard was accidently locked in the attic overnight and panicked during the storm.  He basically burst open the door to get out.”

 

Steingard paused. “I’m not surprised, Your Highness.” He ate some cold meat and cheese. “That door was pretty flimsy.”

 

Anna at first was surprised, but she quickly hid her reaction.  “It was?  I didn’t know that.”

 

“Well, Your Highness, since the door isn’t located on an outer wall we decided not to reinforce it.” He poured himself a cup of tea.

 

Anna had to control her anger.  Elsa was out alone because of this man’s hubris.  “Oh, I see.  So you can see to the clean up and fixing right away?”

 

“This morning, Your Highness?”

 

Anna pushed her plate away and stood up.  “Yes, Master Steingard, this morning.  Good day.” She realized if she stayed longer with the man she would have ended up yelling at him.

 

*****

 

The carriage pulled up to the Royal Stables and a footman immediately went and opened up the door. Anna stepped out looked around for Master Kai, but he was not here, either.  The troop of soldiers was present, twenty of them, and they were already ready on their horses.  Two soldiers were seated on a wagon at the end of the line of soldiers; it was loaded with the necessary supplies needed

 

A soldier came over to Anna with a horse and handed her the reins.  Anna mounted her horse and looked around again, but Kai was still nowhere to be seen.  She turned towards the officer who had brought her horse.  “Excuse me, what is your name?”

 

“Captain Reiner, Your Highness.”

 

“Captain Reiner, have you seen Master Kai?”

 

“I had him arrested.”

 

Both Reiner and Anna turned towards Captain Gunnar, who was just walking up to them from the Royal Stables.

 

Anna had to use all of her inner strength to prevent herself from reacting too badly.  “Why did you have Master Kai arrested?”

 

“One cannot lie in an official investigation, Your Highness.  His account of the Countess’s death is extremely suspicious.”

 

Anna blanched, the Captain was basically calling her a liar, as well.  “But he’s needed on this expedition.”  She didn’t like the way the Captain was looking at her.

 

“I’m afraid he won’t be able to attend, Your Highness.  Would my presence substitute for his?”  The Captain looked over at the soldiers present, who nodded their agreement.

 

Anna watched the Captain carefully, and realized she would have to be very careful around this man.

Chapter Text

Captain Reiner raised his arm and the company of soldiers stopped at the staircase that led up to the Ice Palace.  Anna pressed forward on her horse, tired and soar from the four hour long trek to get there, and brought her horse next to Reiner’s.  She looked back to Captain Gunnar, who was riding in the back of the troop, before speaking.

 

“Captain Reiner, I must take you into my confidence.”

 

The Captain nodded before gently spurring his horse in line with Anna’s.  “Yes, Your Highness?”

 

Anna dismounted and motioned for the Captain to do the same.  Together they walked to the foot of the staircase.  “Captain, I do not trust Captain Gunnar.  Now, before you say anything please keep in mind that he personally had Master Kai arrested for no good reason.”

 

Reiner glanced back at Gunnar, who just seemed to notice that Anna was not in her horse.  “Are you telling me he had the castle keeper arrested without the Queen’s permission?”

 

“That is exactly what I’m saying, Captain.”  Anna noticed that Gunnar had steered his horse in her direction.

 

“What would you like me to do with him, Your Highness?”

 

“For now, keep him from following me into the ice palace.”  Anna strode over to her horse and retrieved a large bag from it. “We’ll discuss further action once I’m back.”  She proceeded to walk up the stairs and turned her head slightly when she heard quarreling behind her. 

 

Reiner was subduing Gunnar, and preventing him from following Anna.

 


 

 

One of the first things Anna noticed at the top of the staircase was what looked to be blood, frozen on the door in the form of a handprint.  She set all of her reticence aside and hurriedly opened the door and stood aghast, as Elsa was laid out naked on the ice floor, her body looking bruised.  Stifling the urge to scream, she rushed to her sister’s side. 

 

“Elsa…good, God…please don’t be dead!”  Anna’s eyes raked over her sister’s naked form.  “Please.”

 

Elsa was lying on her right side, amidst a collection of bloody bones.  There was an extremely large bruise on her left side, at her rib cage, plus numerous cuts and scratches all along her body and wings. Her mouth was seeping blood.  But it was clear that she wasn’t dead, as she appeared to be moaning in a fevered sleep.

 

Anna tentatively reached out and placed her hand on one of Elsa’s.  “Can you hear me, Elsa?”

 

An ice-cold had grasped hers and Elsa’s eyes flew open.  She bolted upright to a sitting position, then turned her body and vomited on the ice. A hand reflexively reached up to cradle her cracked ribs, and she was shaking in pain.  She moved to her hands and knees and her body heaved again, relieving itself of everything vile.  Anna was at her side, supporting her body as she continued to heave, and finally the spasms stopped.

 

Anna gently laid Elsa on her right side again and wiped her mouth clean of the vomit and blood.  Even though Elsa’s eyes were open, her gaze was fixed, and she didn’t appear to be cognizant.  Anna opened the large bag she brought with her and pulled out Elsa’s clothes, and then she grabbed the flask of water and tried to pour a little bit into Elsa’s mouth. 

 

The blonde lifted her head and roared, her voice barely recognizable, and swatted away the flask. She was on Anna in an instant, sniffing at her body as if she was still part creature.  Anna tried to push Elsa off but the blonde had a tremendous strength that she was no match for.  “Elsa, please listen to me.  It’s Anna—your sister.” 

 

Elsa blinked, but then continued to sniff at the young woman below her.  She growled, and then became impatient with the cloth separating her from the female in her grasp.  Her hands tore at Anna’s clothes, but she was still off kilter, and Anna was able to slip from beneath her to roll away.

 

Anna stood up and backed away.  “You have to listen to me, Elsa!  This is not you!  Please come back to me…”

 

Elsa used the power of her wings to easily glide to her feet.  She stretched out her wings a full seven feet and lifted her head to roar into the daylight.

 

Anna looked down and cringed; Elsa was obviously ready to mate.  “Oh, no…”

 

The creature that was Elsa took a step forward, but then quickly cringed at the pain in her ribs; and for a brief moment it was Elsa who was staring back at Anna, a confused look on her face.  But with the next step the creature was back, advancing on Anna with its intention made perfectly clear.  But then it did something extraordinary.

 

Anna watched as Elsa lifted her left hand and struck her own side, where she was bruised.  She fell to her knees, her breath knocked out of her by the impact of sensitive skin on cold ice.  Elsa’s eyes cleared again as the pain became almost unbearable, and she held out her hand to Anna, who quickly rushed to take it.  This time the human contact grounded Elsa to the present, and the creature slithered away back to the recesses from which it came. 

 

The blonde sank to the floor.  “Anna…?”

 

Anna cried out, and cradled Elsa in her arms.  “Yes, Elsa? You’re back…oh thank goodness…” Her tears fell on her sister’s face, and Elsa raised a shaky hand to wipe them away.

 

The blonde blinked several times.  “Aw… snowflake, please don’t cry.”  She was shaking, her body at its limit.  “Cold… I’m oh so cold.”

 

After laying Elsa gently on her back, Anna retrieved the clothes she brought and then began to dress Elsa, starting with her pants.  After struggling with them for several minutes she managed to get them on Elsa, and clasped them even though Elsa still had a partial erection.   But this simple action took a tremendous toll on Elsa, and she nearly blacked out with the effort to remain herself.  After the pants were one, Anna helped her sister to sit up, and with the blonde’s help, managed to get her shirt on her as well.

 

Anna sat back on her heels, completely exhausted.  “How are you feeling?”

 

Elsa struggled to keep her wings flattened, and she had to lean on Anna to prevent from toppling over. “Like a herd of reindeer has trampled me.”

 

Anna flitted with the idea for just a second, and wondered if they really had.  “You look terrible, Elsa.”

 

The blonde glanced at her sister.  “I feel terrible, Anna.”  She settled into Anna’s embrace, and looked around.  “We’re in my Ice Palace?”

 

Anna caressed Elsa’s cheek. “Yes, I kind of figured you would end up here.”

 

Elsa licked her dry lips. “How… how did you know?”

 

“I know you, Elsa.” Anna leaned down and placed a kiss on the blonde’s forehead.  “I am so happy to see you alive.”

 

Elsa closed her eyes and moaned in pain.  “Can we go home now?”

 

“Do you think we need to go Valley of the Living Rock?”  Anna looked to the bag she brought.  “How are we going to get you outside?”

 

“Whoa, Anna.  First things first, can you help me to stand?”

 

Anna took hold of Elsa’s right arm and slowly Elsa made it to her feet.  But then Anna’s eyes went wide and she stood back, staring at Elsa unbelievably.  “Oh, my… Elsa, you… you…”

 

“What?”  Elsa looked down at herself, trying to see what had startled Anna so much.  But nothing stood out to her.  She looked down to Anna and then realized… “Anna, have you shrunk a bit?”

 

Anna shook her head, and then stepped up to the blonde.  “Elsa, you have grown.”  She reached up to touch the top of Elsa’s head, and realized that her sister was more than half a head taller than she was before.  “This is incredible.” 

 

Elsa swallowed the lump in her throat.  “How are we going to explain this?”

 

“Elsa, I think we need to go to the Valley, Elsa.  The magic there is—real.”

 

Elsa nodded, and then she turned and hobbled over to the bag that Anna brought.  “Is there any food in this thing?”

 

Anna looked over to the pile of bloody bones on the ice and then had to resist the urge to vomit. “Are you sure you’re hungry?”

 

Elsa turned to where Anna’s eyes had wandered and her heart sank.  “What in the world…” She turned back to Anna and sank down to the ice floor. “I see what you mean.”

 

Anna was at her side and dropped down to sit next to her.  “I’m sorry, Elsa.”

 

“What has happened, Anna?”

 

Anna was torn, not sure what to reveal with Elsa in such a vulnerable position.  “We can always talk later if you’re not feeling up to it.”

 

Elsa glanced at Anna before dropping her gaze to the floor.  “There is something you’re not telling me.”

 

“I’m not sure if now is right time to tell you, Elsa.  We need to get out of here first.”

 

“What does it matter where we are?”

 

Flustered, Anna spoke a little too harshly.  “Because I want us both to be completely safe, Elsa!”

 

Elsa wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand.  “Alright. Do you think we ought to go to the Valley of the Living Rock?”

 

“I think it’s the best decision for now.  But there is something that needs your immediate attention, Elsa.”

 

Elsa’s eyes narrowed. “What is it?”

 

“Captain Gunnar had Master Kai arrested.”

 

“What, on whose authority? Certainly not mine!”

 

Anna cowered at the look in Elsa’s eyes.  “It’s something he did on his own, I just found out this morning.”

 

“Anna, you are the Princess of Arendelle, with an authority almost equal to my own.  How did you let this happen?”

 

“We can talk about how it happened later, which I will gladly explain.  But he’s outside right now and Captain Reiner has him subdued.”

 

Elsa gritted her teeth and stood her tallest.  Then she straightened out her clothes.  “Did you bring my officer’s coat?”

 

Anna reached into the bag and then handed to coat to Elsa.  “Yes, I did.”

 

“Follow me.”

 


 

 

Elsa opened the doors to her ice palace and looked out at the soldiers gathered at the bottom of the staircase below.  They immediately stood at attention when they saw her; so did Captains Reiner and Gunnar. The latter took a step back at seeing Elsa, as if he wasn’t expecting her to be there.

 

Anna stood at Elsa’s side, and occasionally glanced at her sister, to get non-verbal clues as how to act in this situation, which the Queen gladly gave.

 

The Queen walked down the stairs and glared at the Captains.  “Captain Gunnar!”

 

Gunnar stepped forward, and swallowed most audibly.  “At your service, Queen Elsa.”

 

Elsa reached the bottom stair and stopped, giving herself a noticeable height difference with the Captain. “You overreached your authority, Captain, in arresting Master Kai.”

 

“But, Your Majesty—“

 

“Do not question my authority, Captain!  Or do you fancy a demotion for your insolence?”  The effort to stay upright was excruciating for Elsa, and she could feel the sweat pour down her back and irritate her wings.  “You are to report back to Arendelle immediately and release Master Kai from prison.  If you refuse to do your Sovereign’s bidding you will regret it.  Are we clear, Captain Gunnar?”

 

Gunnar’s face went red, from embarrassment and anger, but he held it in check.  “Yes, we are, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa realized she wasn’t through with this man, but there were more important things to done right now, and she trusted Captain Reiner to do her will.  “Captain Reiner, you and your soldiers go with the Captain to make sure my will is done.”

 

Reiner smirked slightly. “Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

At this point Anna stepped forward.  “We will require the use of the wagon, so leave it with us.”

 

Elsa motioned for Captain Reiner to step forward, and then she stepped off the stairs.  When the man was close she lowered her voice.  “When Maser Kai is released have him enact General Order number five.  Can you remember that, Captain?”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty—general order five.”

 

“Good.  Now go and escort that miscreant back to Arendelle, Captain—and if he causes trouble have Master Kai arrest him.”

 

Captain Reiner saluted then walked away to do his Sovereign’s will.

 


 

 

Anna walked down the staircase and stood by Elsa.  “I don’t trust Gunnar, Elsa.”

 

Elsa didn’t speak for a long time, and then finally turned to her sister.  “What does he know that I don’t?”

 

“Please, Elsa, we can talk about—“

 

The Queen watched as the soldiers finally disappeared from view, and then bent over in pain.  She hobbled away from Anna towards the carriage. “Why can’t you answer a simple question, Anna?”

 

Anna’s eyes widened. “I promise to tell you everything, Elsa, once we are in the Valley.”

 

The blonde leaned against the wagon and let out a ragged breath.  “I’m counting on you to do so, Anna—please don’t disappoint me.  Now, come here.”

 

Anna timidly moved to Elsa’s side.  “Yes, Elsa?”

 

Elsa leaned on Anna. “Please help me into the wagon, Anna.”

 


 

 

Anna, reins in hand, sat in the front of the wagon and guided the horses through the grove of trees on the way to the Valley of the Living Rock.  She carefully followed Elsa’s directions as the Queen seemed to know by instinct which paths to take to get there.  What Elsa didn’t tell Anna was that she was feeling a pull—a certain tugging—from Yggdrasil itself, and was following it as they went.  The closer to the Valley they drew, the stronger the pull was on Elsa, and so was the calling of the dragon.  She could feel it deep within her, struggling to break to free, and she had to use all of her reserves not to succumb to it.

 

The dragon was beckoning to her, and so were its desires.  Elsa looked up from where she was sitting in the back of the wagon and watched Anna, her hunger growing.  She squeezed her eyes shut, in the hopes of  quelling her instincts, but it was in vain.

 

Anna jumped slightly when she felt Elsa embrace her from behind, and rest her head on her shoulder. “Are you okay, Elsa?”

 

The blonde whimpered, but tried to cover it up with a cough.  “Yes, ahem…I’ll be alright.”

 

Anna felt Elsa squirm behind her, and soon felt the reason why.  “Elsa…”  Anna responded immediately to Elsa’s heated body; her own desires strong—the calling of Fimbulvetr clear.

 

The blonde groaned in Anna’s ear.  “I… can’t believe this, Anna.  But, I need you.”

 

Anna maneuvered the wagon over to a nearby copse of trees, partially hiding it, and then turned in Elsa’s arms. Their lips met in a heated kiss, and Elsa wrapped her arms around Anna’s waist.  But she drew her in too quickly, and her cracked ribs protested, causing her to abruptly release the princess.  Anna fell to her butt on the wagon seat.

 

Elsa was horrified. “I’m sorry, so sorry.”  She tried to bend down, but ended up clutching her side and falling to her knees.  Alarmed, Anna got down from the bench and then spread out several blankets on the floor of the wagon.  Then she helped Elsa to lie down on them.

 

“Maybe you need to get some rest, Elsa.”  Anna folded up another blanket and made a pillow for her sister.  “Here, rest you head on this.”

 

The Queen rolled onto her side, her eyes drooping, and pain overriding pleasure.  “Maybe some more rest, yes.”  She was asleep within minutes, and her dreams were filled with an image of a giant white tree, with a dragon in its branches.

 

As Yggdrasil tugged at Elsa’s inner self, so did Elsa’s psyche heave at Anna’s—such was the way of the dragon.

 


 

 

Anna awoke just as the sun was sinking below the western mountains, and noticed that Elsa was sleeping behind her, arm wrapped around her waist.  Anna sighed, and snuggled back into Elsa’s warm embrace.  She wasn’t afraid of the coming night, as they were so close to the Valley, and its magical properties.  Elsa stirred behind her and mumbled something in her sleep, and pressed her hips into Anna’s bottom.  Anna’s breath caught, as the blonde began to move, pressing herself into Anna.

 

Elsa’s eyes slowly opened, and the first thing see became aware of was the warm body of her sister in her arms, and her growing arousal.  “Anna?”

 

“Hmm, yes?”

 

“Where are we?”  Elsa felt her wings flutter a bit, and her flesh began to lengthen, so she reached between their bodies in an attempt to coax herself to stop.

 

Anna reached behind her and stopped Elsa’s hand, her own needs surfacing.  “No, I need this, Elsa.  How can I ever deny you when you make me feel so good—and right now I just want to feel good.”  She managed to wiggle out of her jacket without getting up and Elsa tossed it aside.

 

Elsa blinked a few times, and she unclasped her pants without saying a word.  After gently pushing Anna onto her back she carefully crawled between her legs and slowly pushed up her skirt to her waist.  She whispered,   “Anna, I thought I’d never see you again…ugh…” 

 

Anna’s back arched, and she inhaled sharply at the penetration, but Elsa didn’t move at first. “What is it?”

 

Their voices didn’t rise above a whisper. Every word—sound—like a softly spoken prayer.

 

“Our unions—what they mean to me—it’s almost too much to bear.”  Elsa pressed in as far as she could go, and then tensed her buttock muscles in the slowest rhythm possible, causing Anna to tingle all over.  “You are everything to me, Anna.”

 

“Oh, yes… oh, Elsa…” Anna wrapped herself around her sister and held on tightly, enjoying the slow and easy pace.  “You are so wonderful.”

 

Elsa buried her face in Anna’s neck, and gently ran her hands along her arms with the barest of touches.  She moaned, thrusting her hips very slowly before winding her arms under Anna’s shoulders. “I…love being in you like this…ah…ugh…”

 

Anna’s thighs squeezed Elsa’s hips and she groaned, feeling overwhelmed by the sweet pleasure. “That’s it, just like that…yes…”

 

Their lovemaking was unhurried, bodies and souls joined—tethered as one, soft touches—nimble fingers seeming to know just where to caress, and how.

 

“Anna…” The tempo of Elsa’s thrusts increased, and she clutched at the blankets to anchor herself to the moment.

 

Anna whimpered in her need, feeling her heart reach out to her older sister, and her body’s excitement heightened.  She began to buck her hips in time with Elsa’s thrusts into her, and it wasn’t long before she felt that familiar tugging at her center, her inner walls contracting around the hardened flesh.  “Elsa…”  The waves of her pleasure crested, and she spilled over the precipice of desire, gripping tightly onto Elsa as she rode out her release.

 

The Queen continued to thrust, and she raised on her elbows as she felt Anna’s orgasm wash over her. Her stomach muscles clenched tight, and her length hardened even more, which caused her to writhe uncontrollably—and she pounded into her sister below as her body coiled in anticipation.  When Anna reached under her trousers and grabbed her bottom she exploded, and a million tiny stars flooded her vision and twinkled out as she pumped her seed again and again. 

 

They panted together as the aftershocks of release gripped them both—bodies tingling, hearts soaring to that place that existed only for them.

 


 

 

Anna sighed in utter contentment and pulled at Elsa’s shirt, attempting to take it off her, but Elsa took hold of her hands and stopped her.  Anna looked at her quizzically.  “You don’t want to be naked?”

 

“Not right now—I’m enjoying this too much.”

 

Anna’s smile slowly grew. “Yes, you do, don’t you?  You love it when we make love with some of your clothes still on.  Why?”

 

Elsa blushed and buried her face in the crook of Anna’s neck.  “I don’t know,” she mumbled. 

 

Anna chuckled.  “I guess we all have our secret desires, don’t we?” 

 

Elsa turned her head and kissed Anna’s neck, just under her earlobe, and the princess shivered.  “We all do.”   Her flesh hardened again, and Anna squealed in delight.

 


 

 

The trolls were scattered about the base of Yggdrasil, on the flat circular stone, cocooned in their “rock” states of being.  Kristoff walked among them, an ancient scroll in his hand, and wearing an even older waistcoat of chainmail over his battle shirt.  Gone were his provincial iceman clothes, as he now outfitted himself accordingly as a knight ready for battle.  The shaman, Hølje, helped him in reading and interpreting the ancient writing, and he now perused the scroll while keeping watch over his kinsmen.

 

Kristoff looked up as Hølje approached him.  “I thought you were meditating, Master Hølje.”

 

The young shaman wore a pained expression.  “I thought you’d like to know that Jörmungandr approaches Yggdrasil, seeking answers, once again.”

 

“A dragon is coming?” Kristoff threw down the scroll and reached for the sword at his side, but Hølje held up his hand to stop his action.

 

“Remember, Kristoff, that Queen Elsa is Jörmungandr.”

 

Kristoff looked embarrassed for a quick moment.  “I’m sorry—I forgot.  The Queen is coming?  Is she bringing Anna with her?”

 

Hølje saw the hopeful look on Kristoff’s face and realized that the former iceman still had yet to understand the prophecies.  “Yes, Kristoff, the princess is with the Queen.”

 

“How far away are they, do you know?”

 

The sun never set in the usual way in the Valley, and time was relative.  “They will arrive with the coming morning, as time goes outside of Yggdrasil.”

 

Kristoff picked up the scroll he dropped.  “I wish I knew if she was alright.”  He straightened out the chainmail.  “Do you know, Hølje?”

 

The young shaman’s eyes locked with Kristoff’s, and he kept his knowledge to himself.  “I don’t know.”

 

Kristoff watched Sven graze in the distance, his eyes looking beyond Yggdrasil, in a vain attempt to understand everything going around him.  “Oh, Anna, what are you doing?”

 


 

 

The morning was just set to break over the mountains when Elsa awoke to an unfamiliar sound.  She immediately rose and clasped her trousers and then saw Anna leaning over the wagon’s side, apparently vomiting. 

 

Elsa immediately went over to Anna’s side.  “Anna, you’re sick.”  She reached behind her for a cloth and gave it to her sister.

 

Anna’s face was white. When she was done she sat back on her heels.  “Can I have some water?”

 

“I should have left you with Captain Reiner; you could be in your warm bed in the castle.”

 

The princess drank from the flask Elsa handed her.  “I’m not sick, Elsa, I’m pregnant.”

 

Elsa’s cheeks flushed, and she had to stop herself from grinning like a fool.  “Are you sure you’re not sick?”

 

“I read about this, Elsa, after you told me—and I asked the royal physician.”

 

“My physician knows you’re with child?”  Elsa was startled.

 

“No, Elsa.”  Anna sat back in the wagon.  “When I was dating Kristoff—when I thought I was going to marry him—I asked him about what having a baby would be like.”

 

“Oh.”  Elsa scooted back into the wagon.  “I guess I never realized that you were once that seriously involved with him.”

 

“Stop brooding.”  Anna drank more water, then wiped her mouth with the cloth.

 

Elsa opened one the baskets and found some food.  “I’m not brooding.”  She glanced back at Anna.  “I assume you’re not hungry?”

 

“I’m actually quite famished.  What have you found?”  Anna looked down, and her eyes went wide in utter surprise.

 

“What?”  Elsa followed Anna’s line of sight and looked down to the blanket that her head was resting on; and she saw her horns lying on it. “What on earth…”  She reached up and touched the top of her head, to where the horns once were, and found a small amount of blood.  Her eyes locked with Anna’s—both were startled and a little frightened by the incident.

 

Anna, her mouth hanging open a little, spoke first.  “What does this mean, Elsa?”

 

But the Queen didn’t answer, as her mind was pondering over her situation very carefully.  A particular thought occurred to her so she quickly unbuttoned her shirt and took it off.  She tried to flex her wings but couldn’t  “Anna, pull on one of my wings.”

 

“But I don’t want to hurt—“

 

“Do it!”  Elsa breathed in deeply to calm herself. “Please, Anna, do it for me.”

 

Anna took hold of Elsa’s wing and tugged on it; it didn’t budge.  “Elsa, nothing is happening…”

 

“Harder.”  Elsa braced herself.

 

Anna yanked on the wing again, and it popped out of Elsa’s back with a squish; the remaining slit immediately began to bleed. 

 

Elsa fell onto her stomach and clutched at the blankets.  “The other one—now!”

 

Anna grabbed at the remaining wing and it popped out just like the first one.  She brought a cloth over to Elsa’s back and dabbed at the bleeding slits.  “Oh, god, Elsa—what is the meaning of all of this?”

 

Elsa panted from the pain, and glanced back at Anna.  “Get me to Yggdrasil,  Anna, please… I need to be in the Valley.”

 

Anna swallowed her own discomfort, and immediately went sit on the bench.  She gently roused the horses into moving.  They, too, were drawn to the Valley of the Living Rock, and needed no further coaxing to move in the right direction.

 

Elsa closed her eyes, and groaned when the wagon began to move.  One thought percolated into her consciousness.  The time of your infancy is over…

Chapter Text

“An ash I know there stands,

Yggdrasil is its name,

a tall tree, showered

with shining loam.

From there come the dews

that drop in the valleys.

It stands forever green over

Urðr's well.”

 

The great white tree at the center of the world hummed in anticipation, for Midgard’s great serpent, Jörmungandr, was near.  Yggdrasil shook imperceptibly, and the insulting messenger squirrel, Ratatoskr, ran from its branches to its three roots, delivering messages to and fro, in an attempt to appease the many creatures excited by the arrival of the wyrm.

 

The stag, Dáinn, who was sleeping at Yggdrasil’s base, awoke and summoned it’s kin with a great roaring howl.  Dvalinn leapt from the surrounding forest, and greeted his kin by shaking his antlers. “What news, o hart?  Why doth Yggdrasil shake in anticipation?”

 

Dáinn reared up on his hind legs, hooves clawing at the air.  “Jörmungandr returns—has passed through the cleansing fire, and still lives.”

 

The great red deer bit at Yggdrasil’s lower branches.  “We must inform the shaman at once.  Ratatoskr!”

 

The insulting squirrel appeared from the three roots and glared at the stags.  “I owe you nothing, Dvalinn, not even one message!”

 

“Not even for Jörmungandr’s return?  What will the great serpent do upon hearing the news of your refusal?”

 

Ratatoskr relented, and hissed at the stags.  “I will not risk the wrath of Midgard’s great wyrm.  But heed my words; this is the last time I will deliver for you, unworthy hart.”

 

“Call Duneyrr, and Duraþrór!” Dáinn shouted at Dvalinn.  “Announce the good news all along the three roots—to the Æsir, the frost jötnar, and among the Niflheim—to the ends of the world.  To all the realms and the creatures therein!”

 


 

 

The wagon plodded along the hidden paths through the Valley of the Living Rock, guided by Elsa’s unwavering sense of direction.  At the moment Midgard’s great serpent was sprawled along the floor of the wagon, feeling completely spent and exhausted from her exertions.  Anna sat at the bench and held the horse’s reins, occasionally glancing back at Elsa, who was shivering slightly, even though the weather in the Valley was rather pleasant, unlike the cold in Arendelle.

 

Elsa groaned rather loudly when one of the wagon’s wheels hit a small bump, and Anna turned sharply towards her.  “Elsa, are you still in pain?”

 

“A little bit, Anna.”  Elsa attempted to sit up but her sister was at her side in an instant, and stopped her.  She looked at her quizzically.  “Yes?”

 

“You need to stop moving and get more rest, Elsa.  We aren’t even in the deep forest, yet.”  Anna reached over Elsa and grabbed another blanket and put it over her prone form.  “You’ve lost blood, Elsa, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing.”

 

Elsa rolled onto her back and then winced at the discomfort, so she moved back onto her side.  “It’s my back that hurts, Anna.  You know, where the wings were.”

 

“That is where you lost a lot of blood.  It’s a strange thing, don’t you think—your wings and horns coming off just like that.”

 

Elsa glanced at her sister.  “Well, when you put it that way, yes it is.  But I have this feeling that they will be coming back.”  Elsa pulled the blanket up to her chin.  “I’m still hungry, Anna—and I’m not comfortable.” She sat up and leaned against the side of the wagon.  “Can we eat something, please?”

 

“You don’t need my permission, Elsa.”  Anna lifted the lid off a basket and looked inside.  “Let’s see what we have here.”

 

Elsa wrapped the blanket around herself and watched as Anna pulled food out of the basket and delicately placed it before her.  “It looks like soldier’s rations.”

 

Anna looked up and smiled.  “Some of it is.  But I had the cooks make some delicacies just for us.”  She placed a large piece of chocolate cake in front of Elsa.  “This is just for you.”

 

Elsa’s eyes widened.  “Really?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Elsa took the fork Anna gave her and picked up the plate. “What are you going to eat?”

 

“Never mind me.  I want you to have all your strength—I have a feeling you are going to need it.”

 

Elsa was about to respond when her body stiffened. Yggdrasil was pulling at her subconscious, and she felt its magic percolate to her deepest recesses.  It wasn’t only Yggdrasil, but the tug of the dragon, Jörmungandr. Her head wounds began to itch, and the healing slits on her back began to twitch.  She tossed the fork aside and put down the cake.  “It’s calling to me, Anna.”

 

“What is?”  Anna ate a handful of dried cranberries.

 

“Everything that is part of my destiny—being Jörmungandr, and the calling of the white tree.”  Elsa rubbed the top of her head.  “My kin are waiting for me; I can feel their anticipation.”

 

Anna just sat where she was, dumbfounded on what to do or what to say, until the silence became uncomfortable.  “I am lost on how to help you with this burden, Elsa.”

 

“Don’t be,” Elsa said.  “This is for me alone to bear, and I don’t want you worrying; it might affect the baby.”

 

Anna absentmindedly rubbed at her protruding stomach, and frowned. “I don’t want my baby born in wartime.”

 

Elsa looked up and pinned Anna with a sharp look.  “I will do everything in my power to make sure you and the baby are safe, Anna.  This is the one promise I know I can make.”  She saw how Anna shrank back a bit and her features softened.  “I’m sorry for being so abrupt, Anna.  Come here.”

 

Anna put down her plate of food and moved over to the blonde. “I know you didn’t mean to be so harsh. I think you’re more worried than I am.” She closed the distance between them and allowed Elsa to hold her.  After a few minutes, she sighed deeply and let her body relax.  “Thank you.”

 

Elsa smiled down at Anna.  “For what?”

 

“For loving me as I know you do—and for taking care of me, too.”

 

“I’m afraid I’ve been woefully inadequate in those regards.” Elsa held onto Anna tighter, and pulled the younger woman into a fierce hug.

 

Anna turned her head.  “How so?”

 

“Just look at the position you and I are in.  Having to come here to the Valley again, seeking answers, instead of taking care of business back in Arendelle.”

 

Anna stiffened in Elsa’s arms, and wrestled with the knowledge of the dead Countess, realizing that Elsa needed to know now.  “Elsa, about Arendelle…”

 

Elsa could feel Anna’s anxiety.  “What’s wrong, Anna?”

 

Anna disengaged herself from Elsa’s embrace and sat up, turning around so that she faced her.  “I need to tell you something, Elsa.  I should have told you this back at your ice palace, but I was afraid, and didn’t know how to.”

 

A warning flashed in the back to Elsa’s mind, and she sat up. “What has happened?”

 

“Elsa, the Countess is dead.”

 

Whatever Elsa was preparing for, it certainly wasn’t this. The news struck her like a subtle blow. “Aida is dead?  How?”

 

Anna was taken aback by the blonde’s obvious distress.  “It was an accident, Elsa.  It certainly wasn’t anyone’s fault.”

 

Elsa’s heart sank as she realized Anna’s vagueness.  “An accident?  What aren’t you telling me, Anna?”

 

The princess lowered her head and didn’t answer right away. But her inner voice was screaming at her to tell the truth.  “The attic room didn’t hold you, Elsa.  Remember, we found you in your Ice Palace.”

 

“I figured out that much, Anna.”  Elsa’s eyes widened and her hand reflexively went to her mouth; her shoulders slumped.  “Oh, my god, I killed her, didn’t I?”

 

“You didn’t mean to do it, Elsa!”

 

The Queen scrambled to her feet, but then her knees gave out and she fell to the blankets.  “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier, Anna?  Oh, my god… you let me…we made love, Anna!  And you let this news remain unspoken?  How could you?”  Elsa was beside herself in grief and self-recrimination. She shakily got to her feet and attempted to leave the wagon.

 

Anna grabbed hold of the blonde’s arm.  “Elsa, please wait…”

 

Elsa jerked away from Anna’s hold.  “I don’t want you near me right now!”

 

“I’m not letting you go anywhere, Elsa!  Look, I’m sorry for not telling you right away.  I didn’t know how to do it, and we were still in the presence of the soldiers!”  Anna took a step toward Elsa but the Queen backed away.  “You were weak and vulnerable…”

 

…And I’m not now?”  Elsa sighed heavily, and leaned against the side of the wagon.  After a long while she was finally able to look up. “I need a little time to myself. Take the wagon to Yggdrasil; the horses know the way.”  She scooted to the back of the wagon to gather a few provisions, then left without saying another word.

 


 

 

Elsa slung the pack over her shoulder and walked along the ancient path, her senses knowing the way to the giant white tree.  She had forgotten to put on her boots, but the hard scales on the bottom of her feet made it possible for her to walk without too much discomfort—at least, physically.  Her heart was another matter as she was feeling a tremendous amount of heartache at the moment.  Part of her misery was her self-mortification at the Countess’s death, and that she caused it, although she had yet to find out how—and she was still quite angry with her sister for keeping the news from her. 

 

She plodded along, her head drooping.

 

The attic room didn’t hold you, Elsa. She groaned at the memory of Anna’s words; and this was her fault, as well.  She had designed the fortifications for keeping the north attic secure, and her plans had failed somehow.  Where did I go wrong?  I made sure everything was in place, and inspected the progress myself, along with Master Steingard.  Her design left nothing to chance, so its failure caused a deep fissure within, and her soul was, once again, rent in two.  You lashed out at Anna again, knowing how dependent she is being pregnant—and with your child! 

 

Elsa remembered her own words and promises to keep Anna safe and protected, and she was hardly living up to her own declarations at this point.  So, she was a failure at this, as well.  She had failed to keep Anna safe, and in doing so, had caused the death of another.

 

She stopped and reached into the pack to retrieve a flask of water and drank its entire contents.  Elsa put away the flask and noticed that the sounds of the wild had ceased. The song of birds was gone, and the cricket could no longer be heard.  Elsa looked all around her surroundings; the only sound was the slight rustling of the wind through leaves and branches.  Her mouth opened slightly as she reached out with her dragon senses to grasp at what was affecting the land.

 

Jörmungandr…Jörmungandr…Jörmungandr…               

 

“Yes?”  Elsa whispered, and then her eyes snapped open.  There, in the distance, was an enormous stag, standing in the middle of the ancient path, and watching her.  She stood tall and had the sudden wish to have her wings back, to give herself presence.  Her eyes locked with the stag’s, and she felt, as well as heard, it call to her.

 

“You dally when war is at hand, Jörmungandr!”

 

Elsa blinked, an irrational anger overwhelming her.  “I’m not loitering, I’m on my way to Ygg—“ Her words were cut off by the sudden appearance of the animal right in front of her.

 

“You abandon your mate in her time of need!” Dáinn reared up clacked his hooves together.

 

A dusting of frost escaped Elsa’s hands. “What?  No, I…I…” She backed up when the creature’s massive head came down level with her own.

 

“I am Dáinn, o mighty Jörmungandr—a humble servant who does not wish to incur your wrath.”

 

“Uh huh.” Elsa wasn’t convinced that this creature meant her no harm.  “Then why the accusations?”

 

“It is my duty—and the duty of my kin—to see that the prophecies are fulfilled.  Did you not think your actions would be scrutinized, or watched?”

 

Elsa blanched, hoping that not all of what she did was observed.  “How can you see the things that I do?”

 

“How can Yggdrasil exist on this world and yet reach into many, Jörmungandr?  Your question is meaningless to us.”

 

Elsa blinked, and then stepped up closer to the stag.  “Is Anna alright?”

 

“She falters on the boundary of the deeper forest, afraid to enter without you—afraid of Yggdrasil and her own misgivings.”

 

“Misgivings?”  Elsa’s eyes went wide.  “Can you take me to her, please?”

 

The stag bent down so that Elsa could get on its back, then he bounded towards the deep forest that enshrouded Yggdrasil.

 


 

 

Anna stopped the wagon at a noticeable boundary in the forest; where the horse chestnuts and beech trees gave way to the impossibly tall and dense conifers.  The horses were skittish, as well, and swayed slightly as they stood at the threshold. Anna sat back on the bench and absentmindedly rubbed at her swollen belly.  Even though she was a novice at being pregnant, a certain inner voice was telling her that her belly ought not to be protruding as much as it was considering everything.  She wished Elsa was with her, and her mind toyed with all sorts of unpleasant thoughts, all threatening to cause her worry.

 

It felt like hours since she last saw her sister, and even though she new she was quite safe in the Valley, her fears threatened to undo her. It was far too quiet, as if there was a lingering in the air that was stifling all sound.  Even the swaying of the trees was somehow muted, and the bubbling springs gurgled without resonance.  She was on the verge of panic when she saw something in the distance, galloping toward her at an alarming rate of speed.  She turned her body towards the vision, something inside of her telling her that there was no danger on the horizon.

 

Anna stood up and watched as an enormous deer bounded towards her, and on its back was…

 

“Elsa?”  Anna winced as a sharp pain stabbed at her belly, and she fell to her knees beside the bench.

 

Elsa saw this in the distance and pressed the stag to go faster. They were at the scene within minutes, and Elsa jumped off the animal’s back and ran towards the wagon. “Anna!”  She knelt by Anna’s side and threw an arm around her.

 

The princess looked up.  “Elsa, I’m in pain.”

 

The blonde wheeled towards the stag.  “Find the shaman, now, Dáinn!”

 

As the animal took off towards the center of the forest Elsa helped Anna into the back of the wagon and laid her down on the soft blankets. “I’m so sorry, Anna, I should never have left you as I did.  My own foolishness is without measure.”  She pulled a blanket up and around her sister.  “What can I do?”

 

Anna visibly relaxed, even though she was still in pain. “I’m sorry, too, Elsa.  I should have told you about the Countess sooner.”

 

Elsa smoothed down Anna’s bangs.  “Shh… none of that right now, Anna.  What is happening to you, do you know?”

 

“Look at my stomach, Elsa.  Should it be so swollen like this?  I’ve never had a baby before, but this doesn’t look normal.”

 

Elsa sat back on her heels.  “I don’t know, either, Anna.”  She cursed Pabbie, again, for leaving too soon, before he could give answers. 

 

Anna was just about to say something when they both heard a noise outside the wagon.  Elsa got up to investigate.  There were now four giant stags outside, along with the shaman, Hølje.  The blonde climbed over the bench to help the young troll inside the wagon.  She was about to follow him inside when he lifted up is hand in a signal to stop.

 

“Let me see to the Princess, Queen Elsa.  I will be out shortly.”

 

Elsa sat on the bench and shifted nervously under the watchful gaze of the huge deer.  She silently wondered if they could read her thoughts, and she got the distinct impression that they were just as curious about her as she was about them. Finally, the one known as Dáinn took a few tentative steps towards her, and lowered his head so that he could converse with her privately.

 

“The weight of the world is not easy to bear.”

 

Elsa looked into his deep russet stare.  “I don’t know about the world, Dáinn, but Princess Anna…” Her voice trailed off as the other stags now moved forward to be near to her.

 

Duraþrór lowered is head, his antlers touching the wooden bench. “Jörmungandr, how may we be of assistance?  We all have taken vows to protect the one that is bound to you.  This we will do to the forfeiture of our own existence.”

 

The other stags nodded in agreement and Duneyrr, along with Dvalinn, moved so that they were standing in at the back of wagon, to keep watch.

 

Silence descended as the stags took their positions at the four corners of the wagon.  After a short while Hølje emerged from the inside and sat down next to Elsa on the bench.

 

The shaman sighed and cleared his throat.  “There is no need to grieve your heart, Jörmungandr, the young woman will be fine.”

 

Elsa turned around to face the troll.  “But what of her pain—and her belly is too swollen for it to be normal.”

 

“Her pain was caused by the immediacy of her pregnancy.  You are in the Valley of the Living Rock, enshrouded in magic and wonders.  The enchantment that permeates this land has caused the princess’s pregnancy to—accelerate.”

 

Elsa stared at the shaman, her mouth hanging open slightly. “What exactly does that mean for her?”

 

“If the princess so choses to stay at Yggdrasil, she will give birth to her child in less than a fortnight.”

 

Elsa’s eyes widened.  “A fortnight—my god.  What if she decides to leave?”

 

“Then her pregnancy proceeds normally, and she will give birth in about six months.”

 

The blonde blew out a ragged breath, completely stunned by this revelation.  “Let me be alone with her, so that we may talk about this.”

 

The young shaman climbed down from the wagon and moved to stand with Dáinn.  “Remember, Jörmungandr, the decision must be hers.  Even you many not interfere in this matter.”

 

Elsa barely acknowledged Hølje’s words as she went inside the wagon.  She found Anna sitting up on the pile of blankets, waiting for her.  The blonde sat next to Anna and took her hands into her own.  “Did Hølje tell you?”

 

Anna looked up into Elsa’s eyes.  “Yes, he did, Elsa—and I’m scared.  I don’t know what to do; I’m so overwhelmed by it all.  A part of me thinks that having the baby sooner rather than later is the best decision.  What I mean is—I would be safe here in the Valley.  But then I think about the problems that would arise if we returned to Arendelle with a baby.  What do we say, and do?  What if the people rise up against you?”

 

Elsa nodded.  “This is not an easy decision.  Anna, I cannot stay that long here at Yggdrasil.  I must return to Arendelle as soon as I find my own answers.  There is the problem with Captain Gunnar that needs my immediate attention.  The Council of the Nobility needs to be made aware of the changes happening to me because of the Prophecies—not to mention the upcoming war.  After we inquire of Yggdrasil I return to Arendelle.”

 

After a few long moments Anna finally nodded.  “If I decide to stay in the Valley I will give birth without your presence?”  There was a certain look of defeat in her eyes.

 

Elsa saw that look and cringed on the inside, though her look remained neutral.  “I am so sorry to be the harbinger of ill news—once again.”  She dropped Anna’s hands and turned away from her.  “I’m such a worthless…”  The slap on her shoulder startled her, and when she turned back, she faced an angry Anna.

 

“Stop it, Elsa.  I’m so weary of you belittling yourself at every moment.  I think you are doing the best you can with everything that is going on.” Anna settled back onto the blankets. “I don’t think I’d have the courage or fortitude to do it.”

 

“But, Anna…”

 

Anna lifted her finger and pointed at her sister.  “No, stop it now.  I will not stand for it one minute longer.”

 

Elsa marveled at Anna’s faith in her.  “I love you, snowflake.”

 

Anna smiled at that admission, knowing how keenly true it was. “I know, Elsa.”

 

The Queen turned back to face Anna and scooted closer to her. She leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.  “If there is one thing that I do want—it is for us to face all these challenges together.” She offered the younger woman a lop-sided grin.  “Sorry, but Hølje says I can’t influence your decisions.”

 

“I think its entirely too late for that, don’t you think?”

 

Elsa ran her hand over Anna’s swollen belly.  “Yes, it is.”  She reached down and slowly pushed up Anna’s blouse, so that her stomach was revealed.  With an infinite tenderness she peppered gentle kisses all along the exposed flesh, her lips meant to mollify, and not inflame. 

 

But Anna squirmed under Elsa’s touch, and soon grabbed at Elsa’s head and brought it up, so that their gazes locked.  “Elsa…”

 

The blonde swallowed hard, but had the sense to control herself. “Anna, the shaman is outside, and so are—“

 

“Send them away.”

 

It wasn’t a query, but neither was it a strict command, and Elsa responded to it immediately.  “Alright.” She crawled to the wagon entrance and peered outside.  “Master Hølje?”  The shaman was nowhere to be seen, and the stags had moved away from the wagon, to give Elsa and Anna some privacy.  She swallowed again and crawled over to Anna, her breathing slightly labored.  “He’s not…”

 

“Come here.”

 

Elsa’s eyes went wide at the look on Anna’s face, so full of lust and want for her.  The blood coursing through her body inflamed, and her senses heightened. Like always, it amazed, and brought on a fierce sense of possessiveness.  Her flesh began to harden at the sight, and she closed the distance between them, grabbing blindly at the clasp to her pants.  She slid along Anna’s body and pushed her roughly on her back.  “You want me.”

 

Anna groaned as their lips collided, and Elsa’s hands roamed all over her still clothed body.  She would have Elsa again, and that was just fine with her, as she began to believe in the equitableness of their relationship; and soon Elsa was inside her, filling her and stretching her and loving her with everything that she was. 

 

Their lovemaking was rough and gentle, sublime and incredible, all encompassing, and yet, restricted within a few precious moments; and when both reached fulfillment, they lay together, arms entangled, panting, and well satiated. 

 

Anna lowered her legs from around Elsa’s hips, her eyes closed, and spine still tingling.  “Oh, my, Elsa…”

 

Elsa attempted to withdraw, but Anna held her in place.  “I don’t want to hurt you, Anna, or the baby.”

 

“But you feel so good inside of me, you always do.”  Anna shivered again as a satisfying warmth settled into her limbs.  “I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of this.”

 

Elsa groaned when her flesh refused to soften, and she bore down on the princess below her.  “Oh, Anna…”

 

Anna responded by spreading her legs farther apart, welcoming Elsa’s rough thrusting.

 


 

 

Yggdrasil’s humming intensified, its smaller branches thrashing about as Jörmungandr coupled within its influence; and the many creatures that lived on the heavenly tree grew agitated and darted about nervously, not quite knowing why the mighty tree was swaying with great concentration. 

 

Kristoff, who had constructed a small dwelling, with the help of the trolls, next to the mighty white tree, emerged from it and gaped at the sight.  He noticed Hølje off in the distance, riding of the back of one of stags, on his way towards him and waited.  Once the troll was near the mountain man called out to him.  “Master Hølje, there is something wrong with Yggdrasil!”

 

Dvalinn bent on his forelimbs so that the shaman could ease off him.  “The great white tree is merely acknowledging…”

 

“…the nearness of Jörmungandr, Kristoff.”  The shaman fixed the stag with a pointed glance, indicating for him to stop talking.

 

Kristoff nodded, even though he got the impression that Hølje was holding back something.  “Is Anna with her?”

 

“The princess travels with Queen Elsa, yes, Kristoff.”

 

The mountain man smiled to himself before looking off towards the horizon.  “It will be so nice to see her again.”

 

Hølje looked away and frowned.  As much as he loved and admired Pabbie, he could not fathom the old troll’s reasons for departing this world when he did.  He needed his guidance, as he could not figure out how to prepare Kristoff for Anna’s arrival, and her pregnancy.  He was about to say something when Dvalinn reared up and clicked his hooves together.

 

“Jörmungandr!”

 

It was not difficult to see the wagon in the distance, approaching the central tree at a leisurely pace.  The remaining trolls emerged from the recesses of the dark forest, and arranged themselves on the flat circular stone around the base of Yggdrasil.  They began an almost inaudible chant that surprised and confused Kristoff, as he never mastered the troll’s secret language.

 

“What are they saying, Hølje?”

 

The shaman hesitated, as he knew the meaning behind the words, and he cringed on the inside.  “They are reciting an ancient rite of passage, as when a young one reaches maturity.”  Hølje glanced at Kristoff, hoping that these words were enough to appease the soon-to-be warrior.  They weren’t.

 

Kristoff looked at the young shaman, expectantly.  “I don’t understand, Master Hølje.”  He glanced up again at the approaching wagon, and fiddled with the sword at his side.  “There is a lot I don’t understand.”

 

“When Queen Elsa and Princess Anna arrive your questions will be answered.”

 

Kristoff spared the troll a brief glimpse before fixing his gaze on the wagon again.

 


 

 

Anna held the reins tighter as the horses began to fidget the closer they came to Yggdrasil.  She turned her head briefly and noticed that Elsa was still sprawled on the blankets on the wagon floor; she hadn’t moved since their earlier lovemaking.  “Elsa!”

 

The blonde raised her head slightly, and finally reached down to clasp her pants.  “Yeah?”

 

Anna frowned.  “Why are you still lying down?  We’re almost there, so get up!”

 

Elsa was shaking slightly, as the cry of the dragon was unrelenting.  “The call of Jörmungandr is pressing down upon me, Anna.  I don’t think that I can hold onto myself too much longer.”  She rose up on her knees and felt a great aching pain from the healing slits on her back, where her wings once were; and the pain radiated from there to hit all areas of her body.  “Anna…please…”

 

The princess whirled around and saw the great distress her sister was in.  She dropped the reins and climbed into the back of the wagon.  “What is happening to you, Elsa?  We are close to Yggdrasil—shouldn’t you be feeling better?”

 

Elsa leaned into Anna.  “Please hold me.”

 

Anna wrapped her arms around Elsa without hesitation, and it seemed to make her feel a bit better.  “There, you see…”

 

But Elsa’s head rolled toward the top of the wagon and a great roar emanated from her throat.  When Anna tried to hold her tighter Elsa wrenched herself free from the embrace and tried to back away from her—her rational mind and the instincts of the dragon at war with each other.

 

Anna saw the very visible changes happening to the blonde and had to hold back a looming sense of fear.  A part of her knew that Elsa would never hurt her, but the dragon was unpredictable, and had committed murder.  Anna scooted away from the predatory look in the blonde’s eyes as she ripped the shirt off of her.

 

Elsa momentarily fell to her hands and knees, and her body contorted.  “No…no!!!” She tore off the remnants of her shirt and cried out as the slits opened on her back and new wings began to appear; and they grew at a much-accelerated rate, emerging from her body inches at a time. Anna looked on in horror as the black things, covered in blood and mucus, spread out beyond Elsa’s back to reach the sides of the cloth covering of the wagon.  But instead of stopping at that point, they stretched even farther, ripping the covering as they grew.  Elsa’s body writhed on the floor of the wagon, her wings stretching even more and tearing at the wagon.

 

Anna screamed and the horses reared up in fright, and then they took off at a tremendous rate of speed.  She clutched at the bench, holding on desperately, not wanting to die.

 

Elsa stopped her writhing and looked up slowly, a peculiar look on her face—almost too passive for the predicament they were in. “Stop.”  Her voice was unusually deep and rough, and held an authority that could not be questioned or denied.

 

The horses slowly stopped their escape, and after a short while stopped altogether, although they still whinnied at the dragon’s command. Anna continued to hold onto the bench tightly, even though the wagon was stopped, and stared at her sister, as if she was looking at a stranger.

 

Elsa retracted her wings so that she could stand, and when she did there was a fire in her eyes, a look so deep and penetrating that Anna had to look away.  “Anna.”

 

The princess pressed herself closer to the bench and looked out. Kristoff was running in their direction. She turned her head and hesitantly looked at…Jörmungandr?  “Yes?”

 

Elsa looked at her quizzically, almost as if she was looking at for the first time.  “There is no reason to fear me.”  Her voice was still deep and penetrative, with a seductive lure laced within it.

 

But Anna couldn’t relax.  “Whom am I speaking to?”

 

“I am Jörmungandr—and yet I am still Elsa, snowflake.”

 

Anna’s head whirled around sharply at the use of her nickname, and the tears fell.  “Is that really you, Elsa?”

 

“I am—more than just Elsa, Anna.”  She stood to her full height and reached up to touch the growing horns on her head.  Small rivulets of blood rolled down her neck as they grew beyond her hair.

 

Anna stared in amazement, and the fear that was in her heart abated somewhat.  “I know you won’t hurt me?” 

 

Elsa’s—Jörmungandr’s—eyes widened.  “You carry my child, Anna.  How could I ever bring you harm?”

 

Anna’s tears fell freely now, and she rushed into the dragon’s arms.  “I…I don’t know what to call you…”

 

“For you I am always Elsa, snowflake.”  Jörmungandr stiffened, and low growl deep in its throat. “Someone approaches.”

 

“Anna!” 

 

Anna whirled around just as Kristoff jumped up to the wagon’s bench.  “Kristoff, wait!”

 

The dragon extended its wings as far as they could go while still in the wagon, and held onto its mate with a fierce protectiveness.  “Tell the man to go away.”

 

“Please let me go—so that I can talk to him.  Is that okay, Elsa?”

 

The dragon relented, albeit reluctantly, and let Anna go with a growl.  She turned towards the wagon’s entrance and stopped the mountain man from entering. “Kristoff, please, can you give us some time?”

 

“These horses could have killed you, Anna, and you expect me to believe you are alright!”  Kristoff tried to push past Anna, but a dark shadow at her back stopped him quickly. “What in the world…”

 

Jörmungandr roared and tore at the wagon’s cloth covering. It  easily ripped the areas that its wings had tore and burst from the seams. It extended its new wings as far as they would go and hovered about ten feet off of the ground.  Anna cried out and Kristoff drew his sword, although he hardly knew what to do with it, as the creature that floated in front him resembled Elsa, the Queen.  Anna scrambled outside the wagon and pushed the mountain man’s sword down and away from the dragon.

 

“Stop it, Kristoff, or else you’ll die!”

 

The man looked at…Elsa, and her flapping wings behind her, and marveled at the sight.  He knew about the dragon, from his research with Hølje, and knew that the Queen was destined to fulfill this prophecy.  But seeing it firsthand—nothing in his studies prepared him for this.  It was the Queen yet it was not.  It was naked from the waist up, and the figure looked female, but there was a noticeable bulge in her pants that confused him.

 

Kristoff backed off and whirled towards Anna, and then he seemed to notice her for the first time and saw her stomach, which was distended  as if she was with child.  “Anna, what is going on here?  Are you…pregnant?”

 

“Kristoff, please listen to me…”  Anna took a step towards the blonde man.

 

Jörmungandr fumed, and flapped its wings even harder, sending it in Anna’s direction.

“Anna!”

Elsa stopped just a few feet away from Anna and slowly descended until she was on her feet.  She openly glared at the blonde man, and a part of her wanted to do him harm.  But she fought with Jörmungandr to maintain some semblance of herself, and momentarily held the upper hand. “Kristoff?”

 

But the moment was over quickly, and the dragon surfaced.

 

The blonde man looked warily at the Queen.  “You’re still Queen Elsa, right?”

 

Jörmungandr stared at Kristoff as if he was an insignificant insect.  “I am—and so much more.”   Its expression softened when it gazed at Anna.  “Anna…”

 

Kristoff watched as the Queen stepped up behind the smaller woman and wrapped a protective arm around her waist.  But the gesture failed to soothe him.  In fact, it caused him to feel very uncomfortable. 

 

Anna noticed the strained expression on Kristoff’s face, and her heart went out immediately to him, as she realized that Elsa had been right: Kristoff was still in love with her.  But she understood that at this moment there could be no secrets between them. “You asked me if I’m pregnant?”

 

“Yes, I did.”

 

“Yes, Kristoff, I am.”

 

His expression changed from one of bewilderment to sorrow very quickly.  “I don’t understand, Anna—I mean, how?”  He threw his sword down on the ground.  “Were you with someone when you were with me?”

 

Anna felt Elsa growl behind her and she stiffened.  “Can we please talk about it later, Kristoff.  We really need to get to Yggdrasil, right away.”

 

The mountain man looked between Anna and Elsa and knew there was a lot more that wasn’t being said, but acquiesced anyway.  “Alright.”

 

Again, Elsa fought with Jörmungandr for control, and struggled to rise to the surface.  “Anna…please, help me.”  She staggered backwards, and would have fallen if Kristoff had not moved over to help her stand up.  “Thank you, Kristoff.  Now…” She closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again some of the fire was gone, but not all of it.  After she retracted her wings, she turned to her sister.  “Anna, come with me.”

 

Anna followed Elsa as she walked toward the great white tree, and wasn’t surprised when the four stags suddenly appeared to guide them, even though Yggdrasil was within their sight.  Elsa wanted answers, and she was determined this time to get them, no matter the cost.

Chapter Text

As Elsa approached Yggdrasil the tree hummed even louder, so loud that Ratatoskr ran down from its heavenly branches and was about to scream at the intruder, and then recognized Elsa. The insulting squirrel squirmed under her curious stare, and finally stopped moving when she looked away.

 

Elsa closed her eyes and stretched out her new wings as far as she could, and they spread out beyond her body by several feet, much longer and thicker than her previous ones. “Yggdrasil...” She reached out and touched the massive white tree, and a low rumble spread out from the three roots, causing a minor quake.

 

The four stags shook where they stood, their eyes wide and mouths hanging open.  When Elsa placed her other hand on the tree they broke from their trance and moved to stand next to her, placing their antlers on the tree itself, absorbing its magic.

 

Anna looked on in amazement as the stags began to grow until they nearly doubled their size.  “Elsa, did you do that?”

 

Jörmungandr did not acknowledge the question right away, and continued to commune with Yggdrasil. A soft light emanated from the tree and trailed up the tips of Elsa’s fingers, imbuing her body in an amber luminescence.  After a short while, she finally lowered her arms and turned around to face the princess.  There was a peculiar otherworldliness about her.  “Yes, Anna, along with the white tree.  This is the way of things, as you can see.”

 

The princess shrank back a bit when the stags moved away from Yggdrasil to stand next to her, but then remembered that these animals were to be her protectors.  She looked expectantly at her sister and noticed that she was, again, made taller.  “Elsa, you’ve grown again.”

 

Jörmungandr nodded, and walked over to the princess.  She was now a full head taller than Anna.  “Does this frighten or confuse you?  Again, there is no need for you to be afraid, Anna.”

 

Anna shook her head. “I suppose I ought to be, but I trust you.”

 

Elsa smiled at that, and for a moment, it was only her that looked down at the princess.  “Thank you, snowflake.”  She reached out and placed a hand on Anna’s stomach, and the serpent arose again.  “My child…”

 

“What?”  Kristoff, who had been standing at a distance along with Hølje, attempted to walk closer to Anna.  But his progress was halted by a pointed look from Dáinn.  “Anna, what is going on here?”

 

“Enough!”  Jörmungandr growled, and would have pounced on the mountain man, had Anna not stopped her.  The wyrm continued to glare at Kristoff, and its wings fluttered and stretched.

 

They were at a momentary standoff, but Elsa struggled past the dragon and looked down on the mountain man with compassion.  “Kristoff, I do not expect you to fully comprehend the prophecies at this point; or to understand how Anna could be expecting my child, as it complicated. But I am asking you to trust me, please, and know the things that have been done were never meant to hurt you, ever. There is a lot that has happened, and to explain it all would take more time than I have to give at the moment. All I can do right now is assure you that you will know the truth to all things, I promise.”

 

The mountain man struggled to comprehend, and fought a losing battle with himself.  “You ask for a lot, Queen Elsa,” he blurted after awhile.

 

Anna could not bring herself to look at him, and continued to stare at Elsa, who offered her a comforting look. 

 

Hølje finally stepped over to Kristoff and gently nudged him into moving along.  “Come with me, Kristoff.  There will other moments to talk with Princess Anna and Queen Elsa, but right now they need time at Yggdrasil.”

 

“Alright, Master Hølje.” Kristoff looked imploringly at Anna for a few moments, but she did not return his glances.  He turned abruptly and walked away, not knowing where to go.

 

The shaman looked pointedly at Elsa.  “Do not disappoint me—or him.”

 

Anna stepped forward when the dragon growled.  “Please look after him, Hølje.”

 

The young troll nodded. “We all will.”  He raised his head and a peculiar sound came out of his mouth, almost like a dirge.  The other trolls who were scattered about the great white tree came out of their trance-like chanting, and followed him as he led Kristoff away from the center of the Valley, the young man stunned and grieving.

 

Elsa and Jörmungandr settled into a comfortable truce, melding and blending until there were no seems left un-mended, and both their essences were made whole.  She watched Kristoff and the trolls leave, then leaned heavily on Yggdrasil, careful not to ruffle the new wings.  “That was exhausting, yet exhilarating.” 

 

Anna rubbed her stomach, and then walked over to the slumping creature.  “Are you okay, Jörmung—“

 

Without looking up, the creature reached out and took Anna’s hand.  “Please, Anna,  I am just Elsa for you.”

 

Anna nodded. “Alright, Elsa.”

 

Elsa sniffed at the air and shook her head.  “I am in need of a cleansing.”

 

“You mean a bath?” Anna looked about Yggdrasil for a hot spring, but couldn’t spot any.

 

Dáinn lifted his massive head to the west.  “Follow me.”

 

The four stags led the way away from the white tree towards the west, where the conifers were less dense and the land sloped downwards at an easy angle.  After about twenty minutes they reached a rocky outcropping, and just beneath the overhang lie hot springs. 

 

Duneyrr lowered his head to Anna.  “Will this do…”  He squinted at the princess.  “I am not sure how to address the mate of Jörmungandr.”

 

Anna sighed, and ran a hand through her hair.  “I am just ‘Anna.’”

 

“I will retrieve your wagon, Anna.”  Dvalinn turned abruptly and leapt towards the center of the forest.  After only about twenty yards he stopped and called after the other stags.  “Brothers!”

 

The remaining stags bowed towards Elsa before running off to follow the other red deer.  When they were gone, Elsa wearily removed her pants and fell into the babbling springs to clean herself off.  She hissed when her new wings hit the water, and then recoiled. 

 

Anna removed her boots and sat on the edge of the spring, dangling her feet into the hot water. She watched, fascinated, as Elsa slowly and carefully dipped each wing into the water.  The dried blood and grime immediately came off.  “Does it hurt, Elsa?”

 

“Yes, they are sensitive.” Elsa dunked her head into the water to clear off her new horns, her hands making quick work of the task.  She quivered slightly when she surfaced, and then eyed her sister.  “Please come in.”

 

Anna saw the look in Elsa’s eyes, and understood her quiet desperation.  After quickly undressing she lowered into the hot water, and groaned at the sensation.  “Oh, yes…”

 

Elsa submerged completely for a few seconds, working out the kinks to her tired and overstressed muscles. She tentatively opened her eyes while immersed, and was shocked that she could see perfectly, and that it didn’t hurt. But after only a few moments two hands ran under her armpits and lifted her upper torso out of the water. 

 

“Elsa, what on earth were you doing?”

 

Elsa stared into Anna’s concerned eyes.  “I was fine, Anna.”  She ran her arms around the younger woman’s waist, pulling into a fierce hug.  “Your concern for me warms my heart.”

 

Anna rested her head on Elsa’s shoulder.  “How can I not worry, you are going through so much that it hurts my heart.”

 

The Queen nodded, allowing some of the dragon its strong sense of possessiveness.  “Mine.”

 

The princess understood clearly the meaning behind that simple word, and felt it keenly in her soul, as well.  “Yes.” 

 

Elsa’s heightened senses felt as well as heard the stags approaching in the distance, along with the wagon and horses.  “They are returning.”  Her deep voice resonated around them, causing a stillness in their surroundings.

 

Anna opened her eyes when the forest quieted.  “It feels as if the forest is holding its breath.”

 

“The forest does not tremble when Jörmungandr is near, it falls into quiet reflection.”  Elsa winced when she reached up to touch her new horns.  When she looked at her hand there was fresh blood on her fingers.  Her brows furrowed, and her arms tightened around the princess. A low growl emanated from deep in her throat.

 

Anna quickly lifted her head.  “What is wrong?’

 

“The blood—it stirs something deep inside me.  It touches the place that is ready for war—that aches for the rewards of a good battle.  Please don’t misunderstand, Anna.  The part of me that is just Elsa is terrified of what is to come, but the dragon is so eager… so full of the lust for combat.”  The creature’s eyes changed again as the dragon melded, once again, with Elsa.

 

The princess saw Elsa’s eyes change and immediately felt a brief flare of fear.  “Elsa?”

 

“I am here, snowflake. Do you not trust me when I tell you that you mustn’t fear me?”

 

“I do trust you... Elsa. But sometimes I’m just a fool, and I’m sorry for that.”  Anna got off of Elsa’s lap and scooted back into the hot spring.  She dunked her head for a moment, and when she resurfaced, she felt much better.  “Are you ready to get out?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Anna watched as Elsa slowly exited the pool of water.  Her physique was different, her muscles more prominent, and she looked like she was not only taller, but stronger.  She swallowed as her body reacted to the vision before her, and she had to turn away from the alluring sight.

 

Elsa, whose back was turned, suddenly stood straighter.  The Queen’s head turned almost imperceptibly at Anna’s reaction, her senses easily registering the princess’s clear arousal.  She turned around, her eyes aflame.  “You want me.”  She looked down at her hardening flesh, and her hands fisted.

 

Anna looked at Elsa’s reaction to her, and she swallowed hard.  But a part of her was a little afraid, as she had never been with Elsa when the dragon was actively a part of her.  “I’m scared, Elsa.”

 

The dragon’s eyes narrowed in confusion.  “I will not force myself on you, snowflake.”

 

Anna slowly climbed out of the hot spring and took Elsa’s strong hands in her own.  “I know, Elsa.”  She offered her sister a small smile.  “You look so good to me right now.”

 

The sound of hooves approaching broke them out of the spell they were under.  Elsa gathered Anna into her arms and turned her around to hide her nakedness.  Then she reached down and pulled her pants up, but they didn’t hide her arousal, so she kept her back to the advancing stag.  “Duraþrór!” 

 

Duraþrór was, perhaps, the most timid of the four guardians, and he bowed uncertainly towards the pair. “We have brought the horses and wagon, Jörmungandr.  Do you require any further assistance?”

 

Elsa kept her back to the stag.  “No, you and your brothers may leave us.”  Both could hear the horses whinny as the stags galloped away.  When they were gone she quite suddenly picked Anna up and walked towards the wagon.

 


 

 

Prince Hans sat confidently on his warhorse, calmly inspecting his soldiers as they fixed bayonets to their muskets.  He lifted his sword into the air and they readied themselves for a charge into the targets about twenty yards ahead.  When he dropped his sword the soldiers gave out a raucous yell and ran forward.  At first they dropped to their knees and fired their muskets, and when each rifle had been drained, they rose up and charged towards the targets themselves, hacking away at them with their bayonets.

 

Fingaard, who was on his own horse beside his brother, nodded his approval.  “I’m very impressed, Hans.  The training has been going well.”

 

Hans sheathed his sword. “Have a little more faith in me, brother?”

 

“It wasn’t so much that I had little faith in you; it was father’s grandiose plans that troubled me.”

 

Hans turned his head and regarded his oldest brother.  “How so?”

 

“I thought they were too ambitious, and in some ways, I still do.  The old dotard is too beholden to the wishes of Weselton, wants to appear just as capable as them even though we are a small kingdom.”  Fingaard turned his horse so he was facing his younger brother. “Hans, there is something you need to know.”

 

“Is it about Ingleif and his grudge against me?”  Hans took a flask out of his jacket pocket and downed a large swallow.  “I know all about it, brother.  He finally—saw the error of his ways and confessed everything. I wasn’t at all surprised, though. He is as weak as I’m hoping Arendelle will be.”

 

Fingaard was silent for many moments, pondering Hans’ words.  “How did he see the error of his ways?”

 

“Let us just say I doubt he will be fathering any more children.”

 

“Hans…”

 

The younger Westegaard shook his head.  “I don’t want to hear it, Fingaard.  He’s lucky to be alive, and was especially lucky I was in a good mood the day he confessed.  I know he tried to enlist you in his scheme against me.”

 

Fingaard stiffened. “What are you going to do about it?”

 

“If you mean am I going to have you arrested the answer is no.  You are far too valuable to me alive and well—you know, unharmed.”  Hans replaced the flask in his jacket.  “But I would suggest you stop scheming against me, Fin, as I plan—“

 

Hans didn’t get a chance to his sentence, as a royal guard approached them on a fast horse.  “Prince Hans!”

 

Hans, clearly aggravated, turned his horse around to face the messenger.  “Who are you?  What do you want?”

 

“I bring a message from General Hilfred.”  The messenger steered his horse to fall in line with Hans’ and handed him an envelope. 

 

Hans took the parchment and waved the royal guard away.  He furrowed his brow as he read the message.  “Well, well… I should have known.”

 

Fingaard fidgeted in his saddle.  “What is it?”

 

“Remind me to commend the General when we return to the city.  His usual sweep of the city has uncovered a spy from Arendelle.  Hmmm, what to do—what to do?”

 

“What will you do?”

 

“I wonder if he has children…”

 


 

 

The Ninth Duke of Weselton strode down the main castle hallway towards the giant mahogany doors that led outside.  Two guards stood ready and the entrance, and opened the doors just as the duke reached the threshold.  Just outside the massive castle doors the Weselton cavalry, two hundred men with their horses, waited to receive the duke’s command.  At their helm was a young, brash Lieutenant named Aleksander, who was as ambitious as he was talented.

 

The Lieutenant saw the duke and spurred his horse so that it reared up on its hind legs for a moment before he steered it in the duke’s direction.  “Your bidding, my Liege.”

 

Magnus eyed his Lieutenant suspiciously, easily recognizing the power-hungry look in the young man’s eyes. “Tell me, Aleksander, what would you do to please your Sovereign?”

 

“I would undertake any task that my Lord would wish me to do, always.”  He captured the duke’s stare, and didn’t relent in any way.

 

The duke nodded, and then took a moment to light his pipe.  He stepped forward slightly in the pretense of examining his cavalry.  “Good.  There is a small hamlet on the northwest border of Weselton—mostly farmers, you know the type—who appear to have sympathies towards Arendelle, and have refused to send their young men to join my army.  How would you deal with such people?”

 

“Whatever you command, my Liege.”

 

Magnus glanced over his shoulder and eyed General Voljor, who nodded imperceptibly.  He walked over to his Lieutenant and took the reins of his horse.  “Not good enough, boy.  You see, such people are a bane to this noble duchy, and I would rather see them perish than continue to tarnish my stern reputation.”

 

Aleksander faltered for only a moment, and then unsheathed his sword and presented it to his Lord. “I would burn the village, my Lord. That would send a clear message to Arendelle that their sympathizers are not welcome in Weselton, or any of its environs.”

 

Magnus handed the sword back to Aleksander.  “See to it, Lieutenant.  But I would like you to send an even clearermessage.”  There was coldness in his eyes that forced the young Lieutenant to look away. “The town leaders are the real culprits, don’t you think?  Send their heads to the court in Arendelle—I’m sure Queen Elsa would love to receive a present from me.”  He turned around and started to walk away with General Voljor when he heard the thunderous sound of many hooves galloping away.

 

Voljor smirked.  “That went better than I expected.”

 

The duke continued to puff on his pipe.  “What were you expecting, my good man.  He is the perfect pawn for this game.”

 

“Is that what we are doing, my Liege?  Playing a game with Arendelle?”

 

“No, not Arendelle, General—the Southern Isles.  When they hear of our feat they will want to best us in any way they can.  We’ll keep them so distracted with Arendelle that they will fail to see our plans against them.”

 

“A dangerous game then, Magnus.”

 

“When the pawns distract the knights the King will be deceived.  We will prevail, I know it.”

 

General Voljor kept his tongue, and did not acknowledge his Sovereign’s analogy, but kept in mind that the Queen was the most powerful of the chess pieces. 

 


 

 

Elsa ascended slowly into the waking realm, and first noticed that the sun was sinking below the tree line, indicating that it must be late into the afternoon.  She turned her head slowly and felt a weight on her left side.  Anna was wrapped around her body and was quietly snoring.  Her stomach growled, and she realized she was hungry.  “Anna?”

 

The princess mumbled something in her sleep and turned her body away from Elsa’s; her snoring grew louder as she rolled onto her back.  Elsa watched her for a few moments before sitting up and stretching her arms and wings.

 

Elsa noticed that her pants were bunched up around her ankles, so she pulled them up and clasped them before crawling over to one of the food baskets.  She opened the lid and found the piece of cake that she had discarded earlier and picked it up.  Her eyes drifted over to Anna again as she began to ravenously devourer the dessert. “Anna?”

 

“Fetch my slippers, will ya…”  Anna rolled onto her side and opened her bleary eyes; but she was still partially asleep.

 

“Were not at the castle, Anna.”  Elsa finished the cake and turned towards the basket again, this time retrieving some dried sausage, cheese, and bread.  “Anna, time to wake up.”

 

Anna groaned before yawning. “I’m up.”  But her eyes closed again, and blew out a rather loud snore.

 

Elsa put down her food and crawled over to her sister, placing her lips over the young woman’s. “Come on, Anna…”

 

Anna’s eyes flew open at the kiss, and she startled Elsa by sitting up abruptly.  “Elsa?”

 

Elsa scooted away and returned to her meal.  “How are you feeling?”

 

Anna regarded her own nakedness, and felt her satisfaction keenly.  She shyly turned away from the blonde to gather her clothes.  “You were amazing, as usual.”

 

“I was.”  Jörmungandr growled, satisfied that it could please its mate.  But Elsa quietly scolded the beast, and it settled down quickly.  “Come and eat something, snowflake.  The sun is sinking and Yggdrasil awaits.”

 

“I almost forgot why we are here.”  Anna finished buttoning her blouse, and moved over to the food basket where she grabbed the nearest pastry and finished it off in three bites.  She licked her fingers clean.  “I guess I’m hungry.”

 

Elsa chuckled.  “It would seem so.”  She turned to the basket for something to drink but found only water. “No brandy?”

 

“I’m sorry, I don’t remember telling the kitchen staff to pack any.”  Anna took another pastry out of the basket.

 

The blonde nodded and reached up to undo her plait.  When her hair spilled over her shoulders she shook her head to loosen it further.  “I think I rather like my hair down and free. What do you think, Anna?”

 

Anna smiled at the sight, already believing that Elsa looked very beautiful, no matter what she did. “You already know that you are beautiful, don’t you, Elsa?”

 

The blonde tilted her head to the side, contemplating the notion.  “No, I have not always seen myself that way.  I always thought myself a monster, for many years.”  She put down her food.  “I’m a monster now, aren’t I, snowflake?”

 

“No.”  Anna’s tone was empathic, and certain.  “You could never be a monster.  No matter what decisions you decide to make.”

 

“But, Anna, I destined to be Jörmungandr, a dragon…!”

 

“But, not for evil, Elsa!” Anna implored.  “You are fated to do good, to stop a war, and free Arendelle and your people.”  She put down her own meal and grasped Elsa’s hands. “You and I are going to have a child, is this evil?”

 

Elsa hesitated for a moment, and realized that the beast within was filled with uncertainty.  This surprised her, as she thought Jörmungandr was resolute in all things, and was morally unambiguous.  When she looked up there was fear in her eyes, and hesitation. “I don’t know, Anna.  We—the dragon and I—are afraid.”

 

Anna gathered her sister into her arms.  “Feel me, Elsa, let me be your beacon of righteousness.”  She grasped Elsa’s hand and placed it on her swollen stomach. “Let our child be your shining light—we are your greater good.”

 

The blonde nodded, and closed her eyes.  “You think me eloquent?  You far surpass me today, Anna.”  Her arms wound around the princess’s waist, and she looked up to the darkening afternoon sky.  “Hurry and eat, Anna, we are running out of time.”

 


 

 

Elsa and Anna stood at the base of Yggdrasil and marveled at how the great white was glowing with a faint luminosity.   The humming coming from its eternal branches like an otherworldly chant; it called at the dragon, and Jörmungandr responded by gently touching it.  The ground shook indiscernibly, reaching down into the three roots to the nether springs, and the creatures therein. 

 

Elsa stepped back from the tree, and called out, “Fimbulvetr!”

 

The chanting raised one octave, and the ground shook some more.  A branch lowered to the ground, beckoning Jörmungandr to climb.

 

The blonde turned towards Anna, and took her hand.  “I have to go, snowflake.  I don’t know when I will be back.”

 

“What?  What do you mean by that?”

Elsa brought Anna’s hand to her mouth and kissed her knuckles.  “I do not know how long I must remain at Yggdrasil, or how far up I must go to find my answers.  Perhaps you ought to go back to the wagon and take it to find Kristoff.”

 

“Take me with you!”

 

The blonde’s eyes went wide. “Anna, you could fall off and get injured, or killed.  I cannot risk that.”

 

Anna started to panic. “So could you, Elsa!”

 

Elsa stiffened, and Jörmungandr growled a bit.  “I am a dragon, I could never fall off Yggdrasil as it is part of me.” 

 

Anna relented.  “Okay, but I’m not going anywhere.  So don’t tell me to go!”

 

Yggdrasil’s lower branches shook somewhat, and Ratatoskr appeared from the three roots. “Jörmungandr hesitates on the threshold of knowledge.”  The creature thrust his head out towards Elsa.  “Perhaps you’re not the great wyrm we all thought you were.”

 

Jörmungandr whirled suddenly and leapt to the nearest branch, closing in on the messenger squirrel. “Oh, I am more than just Jörmungandr. Come a little closer, and I’ll explain it to you.”

 

But Ratatoskr fled up the trunk of the great tree, laughing as it went.

 

Elsa shook her head, and looked down on Anna.  “I’m sorry, snowflake.  I’ll return, I promise.”

 


 

 

Elsa scaled Yggdrasil for a long while, listening to the receding laughter of Ratatoskr, using the sound as a means knowing which branches to cling to.  The humming from the tree itself seemed to lessen the farther up she went, until it stopped altogether.  When she reached a particularly large and flat branch, she stopped to rest, panting from her exertions.  She leaned against the trunk and looked around her, at the swaying smaller branches and the mists surrounding them.  There was a rustling in the thick leaves to her right, and she turned towards the sound.

 

A creature emerged from the mist, winding and twisting around the large branch, and looked at her with a strange expression on its face.  “They call me Ófnir—you may call me Ófnir, strange creature.”

 

Elsa swallowed hard, as a brief flare of irrational fear enveloped her.  “You may call me Jörmungandr, Ófnir.”

“You don’t look like the Midgard wyrm.”  The creature sniffed at her, and its serpent eyes went wide.  “But—you smell like him!”   It cowered on the branch, twisting its body around in fear. “Please do not harm me, o great wyrm. I did not mean to insult you, please…”

 

Elsa raised her hand in the hopes of calming the beast.  “I mean you no harm, Ófnir.  Perhaps you can help me.”

 

The creature stopped its erratic winding and twisting.  “Me? Help you?  Yes…oh great Jörmungandr, how may I help you?”

 

“I have some questions I need answers to.”

 

The creature stared at Elsa, dumbfounded.  “But I have no answers!  Only the horses may answer and judge—the horses of the Æsir!”  Ófnir squirmed, and slowly backed away from Elsa.  “Only the horses…”  With a scream, it was gone.

 

Elsa blinked, her body tense, and blew out a ragged breath.  “Good gracious…”  She leaned heavily against the trunk, and wished she had brought some water with her, as her thirst was great.  She pondered the creature’s words, and wondered where she might find these “horses” that Ófnir mentioned. 

 

Elsa looked down and couldn’t see the base of Yggdrasil, as the mists swirled around the branches. After a short while she stood and grasped the nearest upper branch, and hauled herself up further.  The tree was now completely quiet, not even the branches that were being buffeted by the wind made a sound.  It was a little unsettling, but the blonde persisted in her climb, hoping to find something, anything to ease her mind.  There were just too many uncertainties.

 

As she climbed her mind wandered in all different directions, and she wished to be home in Arendelle, with Anna at her side, and all this unpleasantness behind them.  In fact, the more she thought, the more desolate her heart seemed, and she wished that all of her involvement in the Fimbulvetr were over.  Elsa stopped climbing and leaned heavily against the trunk of Yggdrasil, her mind overwhelmed and her soul hurting. 

 

There was a small rustling beside her, and something peeked out from a tight bundling of branches. Elsa turned her head and eyed the beast as its head fully emerged into the dimming light.  “What do we have here?”

 

The blonde sighed, too exhausted to move.  “Jörmungandr.”

 

Sváfnir cackled a bit, and then its tone softened.  “You are so tired, aren’t you, great wyrm?”

 

Elsa let out a ragged breath.  “More than you could ever realize…”  She turned towards the creature.  “You are…?”

 

Sváfnir offered the blonde a compassionate smile.  “Perhaps I can offer you something you need?”

 

Elsa eyed the creature warily, and her reptilian mind sounded off an alarm.  “First, tell me who you are?”

 

“If you must know, my name is Sváfnir.  But that is unimportant, is it not?  I can offer you rest, Jörmungandr, and make all your troubles go away.”

 

Elsa hesitated, but the dragon refused to let her consider the proposition, as it knew not to trust this creature.  “No, thank you, Sváfnir, I am—“

 

She did not get a chance to finish her sentence as Ratatoskr, the insulting squirrel, scampered up the trunk of the white tree, and hissed violently at the creature. “Go away, sly one!  I will not let you deceive Midgard’s great wyrm.  Sleep, you say?  You don’t offer sleep, but death!”

 

Jörmungandr growled, and would have pounced on the creature had not Ratatoskr moved between them. “Do not give in to death, Jörmungandr. The One Who Puts to Sleep must be avoided, and remain untouched.  Go on, now… go back to the hidden world!”

 

Sváfnir hissed at Elsa and the insulting squirrel, and crawled back the way it came, growling and heckling as it sank to the three roots.

 

Elsa relaxed, but continued to growl deep in her throat.  “Thank you, Ratatoskr.  I am in your debt.”  She turned towards the messenger, but it was gone.

 

The climb up Yggdrasil continued for Elsa, and was made terribly slow by the swirling of the mist in and around the branches.  She could hear creatures scurrying about her in all directions, but they remained hidden from her sight.  After a long while she began to give up hope of finding the answers she was looking for. But she decided she would not give in to pessimism, and stopped at a branch to rest.  Elsa closed her eyes for just a moment.

 

“Queen Elsa?”

 

The mists parted, and a spectral aberration floated towards her.  Elsa sat up and peered intently at the ghost-like creature.  The figure swirled and flipped over on itself until it finally coalesced into a recognizable form.  Elsa took in a sharp breath.  “Pabbie?”

 

The old shaman nodded, and finally settled onto the branch that Elsa was sitting on.  “Your heart speaks to me, Queen Elsa.  I can feel your anguish and uncertainty.”

 

But Elsa was also angry. “Why did you leave, Pabbie?  There was no one else to explain the Fimbulvetr to me, or help me make sense of it all!”  The tears flowed unbidden.  “You put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.”  She slumped against the tree trunk.  “And my body is changing; I’m slowly turning into a dragon!  Anna needsmeto take care of her, not a monster.”

 

“You are not—and never were—a monster, Elsa.”

 

“Oh?” The blonde wiped at her nose with the back of her hand.  “Look at me. The horns—these wings.”  She flapped her wings and lifted slightly off the branch.

 

“You accepted the responsibility of becoming Jörmungandr for the sake of saving Anna and Arendelle. Do you wish to have not made that decision?”  Pabbie settled onto the branch, even though he still seemed like a spirit.

 

“But I feel like I’m losing myself, Pabbie.  I mean, how will the dragon really help Arendelle?  Its instincts frighten me, as I don’t seem to be able to fully control it. And it hungers after Anna so much, to the point that I don’t know if it’s me that she wants or this thing I have become.”  Elsa wanted to vomit, but held it in check.  “I know what the Fimbulvetr predicts, what it says will happen. That’s why I’m so confused, Pabbie—am I doing things I really want to do, or am I just doing them because it has been prophesized?  This troubles my heart so much.”

 

The old troll nodded, and looked deeply into Elsa’s eyes.  “How long have you been feeling this way, my dear?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Of course you do. You speak of concepts that has been troubling people since time’s beginning.”

 

Elsa was doubtful, as her heart was in turmoil.  “What is that?”

 

Pabbie smiled. “Freedom of the will, for one thing. You are troubled that your actions are not of your own making, that it is destiny that rules the events of today. But you have always had a choice, Elsa.”

 

“What of Anna, or the rest of the people and kingdoms that are involved?  Are they just pawns to fate?”

 

“Search your heart, Queen Elsa.  Does it not guide you to the truth in all things?”  Pabbie’s image began to fade in and out.

 

“I will admit to you that I haven’t paid too much attention to it in the past.”

 

“So, you are led by reason and logic?  What does reason tell you regarding Weselton and the Southern Isles?”

 

“That they are in league against Arendelle.  The old Duke held a particularly heavy grudge against me because I broke off trade with them. Also, Weselton has convinced the Southern Isles to follow them in their war against us.  I can prove these things to be true because of empiricism, not feelings.”

 

“Can pragmatism lead you into the Duke’s heart, to really know what his motivations really are? Not everyone is driven by reason, Queen Elsa.  To know his heart could be a great advantage to you.”

 

Elsa looked up into the old troll’s fading eyes.  “My heart tells me that Anna truly loves me.  Beyond that, it does not guide me.  At least, I don’t think it does.”

 

Pabbie nodded.  “Then, perhaps, you need to consider changing the way you approach life, Queen Elsa.  If your heart is certain concerning Princess Anna, then it may be worth letting it guide you towards your future, and the events that are to come.”

 

The blonde’s wings fluttered a bit, her nerves on edge.  “Trust my heart, you say?  It flies in the face of logic, but I suppose I can give it a try.”

 

“I do believe you have made the logical decision.”

 

Elsa laughed bitterly at that last comment.  “I guess we shall see.”

 

“Urðarbrunnr is one of threewells existing beneath three roots of Yggdrasil that reach into three distant, different lands; the other two wells being Hvergelmir, located beneath a root in Niflheim, and Mímisbrunnr, located beneath a root near the home of the frost jötnar.  You must decide which well you need to visit, because only one will impart the wisdom you are looking for.”

 

“Wait… what? How am I to know which root to follow?”

 

Pabbie chuckled.  “Which path will you take, Queen Elsa?  The path of reason, or that of intuition, only you can decide.  Now, I believe it is time for you to wake up.”

 

Elsa blinked. “Hold on… you mean I’m asleep?”

 

Pabbie leaned in closer to her, his eyes a fiery red.  “Wake up!”

 

Elsa’s eyes snapped open instantly, and she realized she had fallen asleep when she stopped to rest, and that her encounter with Pabbie happened in a dream.  Elsa looked around her and realized there was no sign of the old troll.  The only things around her were the tree branches and the swirling mists.  She could still hear the sound of scurrying beasts, but still could not see them.  Her eyes darted to and fro, looking for any sign—anything—to help point the way.

 

Elsa ran her hand over her face and looked down, realizing it was time to descend below Yggdrasil, and seek out the three roots.

 


 

 

The blonde used the power of her new wings to almost float down the giant white tree, and landed on the lowest branch in less time than it took to ascend it.  When she was just about to jump to the ground the insulting messenger squirrel appeared from the three roots to taunt her.

 

“Choices, choices, o great wyrm!  You must make the right one, or perish trying.”

 

“What?  Pabbie said nothing of death!”

 

“Why would you speak of the fallen one; he is dead, and has moved on to another plane of existence.” Ratatoskr sneered, and tried to nip at Elsa’s heels.

 

Elsa blinked.  “But I saw him in my dream.  He came to me…”  She kicked at the squirrel and sent him falling to the ground below.

 

Ratatoskr fell to the foot of Yggdrasil, and landed on the great circular, flat stone that surrounded its base.  He panicked, and whirled about, not knowing what to do.  “I have never left Yggdrasil!  What have you done?”

 

The Queen leapt from the branch and flew to the ground.  She landed just a few feet from the creature.  “Welcome to my world, Ratatoskr!  I rule this realm, and I command you to never treat me appallingly ever again, nor any of my kin!”

 

Anna, who was resting in the shack that Kristoff had built, heard the commotion outside.  She quickly put on her boots and ran to see what was going on.  “Elsa… is that you?”

 

The insulting squirrel whirled toward the sound of Anna’s voice, and hissed at her.  When it crouched down and prepared to attack her, she screamed.  Elsa was on the animal in an instant, and tackled the creature.  “Swear fealty to me!”

 

The messenger squirrel stopped all movement, and then relented.  “You have my allegiance, o great Jörmungandr…”

 

Elsa flapped her wings and set down on her feet.  She picked up Ratatoskr and hurled him at the great white tree.  The messenger squirrel landed with a thud, and then turned to sneer at Elsa.  But it hesitated for a moment, and thought better of that decision, before taking off into the upper branches of Yggdrasil.

 

Anna ran into Elsa’s arms and buried her head under her chin.  “I thought that thing was going to kill me,” she mumbled.

 

Elsa closed her eyes. “You know that is something I would never let happen.”  She held on tightly as Anna began to cry.  “Hey, snowflake… everything is alright.”

 

But Anna continued to cry, and wrapped her arms around Elsa’s neck.  The blonde tilted the princess’s head up and peppered sweet kisses all along her cheeks in an attempt to soothe her, and it appeared to work, until Anna turned her head forward, and their lips met.  Elsa’s eyes snapped open, and her hands fell to Anna’s bottom.  As she thrust her tongue into the younger woman’s mouth she walked them until Anna’s back was against Yggdrasil. 

 

The princess’s head lolled to the side and her breath hitched, her body now on fire.  “Please…”

 

Elsa growled, and the beast rose along with her, until there was no division between them.  Her flesh hardened immediately, hips thrusting forward of their own accord.  She reached between their bodies and unclasped her pants, and continued to moan into Anna’s mouth as she began to lift up her skirt; her hands shook with lust and anticipation, and she slipped into Anna’s slick warmth with a grunt. Her thrusts caused Anna’s body to slide up the trunk of the tree.

 

Yggdrasil’s constant hum intensified, its lower boughs shaking, and the creatures therein scurrying away from Jörmungandr and its mate.  The joining was felt all along the great white tree, even to the three roots hidden beneath the sacred stone at Yggdrasil’s base.  The four stags that were Anna protectors, who were waiting at the wagon, reared up and roared towards the setting sun before calming down enough to race off towards the deep forest, summoning their kin.

 

Anna could feel the tree shaking at her back, and begrudgingly opened her eyes.  “Elsa… ah, please…”  She clutched at the blonde’s head until their eyes met.  “The tree—oh gods…”

 

Elsa whimpered, and continued to pump her hips into the princess’s.  Her hands snaked around Anna’s bottom, and she pushed her harder against the tree.  “What—“ She was cut off by a loud rumble from Yggdrasil, and the ground began to shake. 

 

But instead of deterring her efforts, the reaction of Yggdrasil intensified her arousal, stiffened her beyond reason; and Anna could feel it, as well—that unbelievable sensation of lust as it slammed down into her with a force of a thousand colliding suns.  Her groans increased as Elsa’s thrusts caused her back to slide up and down the trunk of Yggdrasil, inches at a time. The blonde was relentless in her rutting, but Anna wouldn’t have it any other way, as she, too, was caught up in the ferocity of the moment.  She could feel Elsa’s hot breath in her ear, as she panted and grunted.

 

Elsa lifted her head, and captured Anna in a libidinous stare, her legs straining with the effort to keep them both from falling..  “Oh… Anna, please…” 

 

Anna lifted her hand and grabbed at one of Elsa’s horns; she pulled sharply at it, and the blonde hissed. “Oh, so good…”

 

Elsa didn’t respond verbally, as she was quite beyond words, such was the extent of her lust and passion; but her thrusting deepened, and a booming growl emanated from deep within her as Jörmungandr set a maddening pace.

 

Their bodies moved as one, each undulating precisely to give the other the sweetest pleasure; and great white tree hummed louder as their coupling was felt in and all around it. When Elsa squeezed her eyes shut Anna yanked on her horn again, not to injure, but to conjure her baser emotions, and to quicken her even more.  A primal growl was torn from Elsa’s throat as she reached the zenith of her pleasure, her seed mixing with Anna’s essence to anoint Yggdrasil, and to bind them forever. Fimbulvetr.  

 


 

 

Anna’s spasms subsided, her body wilting from the power of her release.  Her arms fell from Elsa’s shoulders and hung limply at her sides. She felt Elsa’s arms tightening around her.  “Oh, Elsa… how can you hold onto me like this?  You must be as spent as I am.”

 

The blonde closed her eyes briefly, a sudden surge of power coursing through her veins, causing her body to tense, her muscles to tighten.  She thrust her hips a few more times, and then buried herself deeply into Anna.  “I’m more than Elsa, snowflake—and I love you too much to leave you.”  She, once again, held onto the underside of Anna’s legs at the knees, keeping the princess from lowering her legs to the ground.  “Anna… my Anna… you’re too good to me.”

 

Anna shivered, “Am I, now? Elsa?”

 

Elsa released a ragged breath.  “Hmmm?”

 

“Please, I need to lower my legs.”

 

The blonde nodded, then slowly lowered Anna so that her feet touched at the base of Yggdrasil, yet she did not withdraw right away, and sank further to her back, bringing Anna with her. Elsa blinked several times, trying to regain her senses.  “You were amazing,  Anna.”

 

“Me?  I think I ought to be thanking you.  I mean, you did all the work.”  Anna chuckled, and continued to straddle Elsa’s hips.  “But if you really want to thank me, then I guess that’s alright.” She thrust her hips forward just a little, well aware of how the blonde was still buried deep within, and knew how the action would affect Elsa.

 

Elsa threw her head back, a strangled cry torn from her throat.  “Now, that’s hardly fair, princess.”  She lifted on her elbows and smiled at her sister.  “But I like it.”

 

“You are such a slave to your passions, Elsa.  I’m never going to let you forget it.”  But Anna’s smile faded slowly as a new notion occurred to her.  “What are we doing, Elsa?”

 

The blonde sat up immediately.  “What are you talking about?”

 

“Well, I just had a strange thought.  Please don’t take this wrong, because if this is true I’m just as guilty as you—“

 

An irrational flare of fear stole over Elsa.  “Anna, what are you trying to say?”

 

Anna lifted herself off of Elsa’s lap, and then helped her to raise her pants and clasp them.  But she hesitated after that, an strange expression on her face.  “I don’t normally have insights, do I, Elsa?”

 

“Please don’t degrade yourself like that, Anna.”  Elsa now stood and brought her sister up with her.  She helped her to straighten out her clothing.  “You are just as capable as I am.”

 

“Oh, please, Elsa, we both know I wasn’t raised to be a Queen like you.”

 

“Maybe not, but please tell me what’s on your mind.”

 

“I don’t know, I just suddenly got a bad feeling—about things.”

 

“About things?”  Elsa’s heart sank.  “Are you talking about us?”

 

Anna realized that the conversation was spiraling downwards.  “Well, not precisely.  Like I said, it was just a notion, nothing more than that.”

 

The Queen stared at the princess, her heart already telling her that Anna was having regrets.  “Do you wish that nothing happened between us?” She gently ran her hand over her sister’s swollen belly for emphasis.

 

Anna looked down on that hand, not quite believing what Elsa was suggesting.  Her eyes locked with Elsa’s, and she tried to convey exactly what she felt.  “I’m happy to be pregnant, I thought you knew that.”  She grabbed her sister by the shoulders.  “I’m not eloquent, like you.  But what I want to say is I’m a little worried that we are being distracted from our duties—or more like, you are.”

 

Elsa thought about Anna’s words, and then finally nodded.  “Are you concerned that I’m not paying enough attention to the war to come?”

 

“Yeah, that’s it, I guess.”

 

“I see.”  Elsa took hold of Anna’s hands.  It was not hard to see the younger woman’s blush, so Elsa reasoned her concerns must have involved matters most intimate.  She chucked a bit, then smiled.  “Are you worried I’m being distracted too much by sex?”

 

“Well, I guess you don’t need me to figure these things out; I knew you’d get it!”

 

The blonde wrapped her arms around Anna’s waist and held her close.  “Don’t worry, snowflake.  I think I’ve got a good handle on how to handle the war.  In fact, while I was up in Yggdrasil, Pabbie came to me in a dream and tasked me to travel beneath Yggdrasil to its three roots.  There is a well down there that will grant me wisdom. All I have to do is find it.”

 

“How long will you be gone?” Anna instinctively held onto Elsa tightly.  “I’m all alone here.”

 

“What about Dáinn and the rest of the stags, aren’t they your protectors?”

 

“Yes, they are.”  Anna rested her head under Elsa’s chin.  “But they aren’t you.”

 

“I know I must be trying your patience, Anna.  But I’m asking you to please wait a little bit longer.  When I get back, we return to Arendelle, I promise.”  Elsa lowered her head and kissed the younger woman, trying to convey all her love and devotion into that one small gesture. But her attention was distracted by the sudden appearance of the stags.  She lowered her arms from around Anna as Dvalinn, ever eager to please, brazenly trotted up to the princess and nudged at her belly with his nose.

 

“The little one is restless.”  The stag looked up and quickly bowed to Jörmungandr.  “There is no need to fret about the present, great wyrm.  We will see to your mate as you traverse Yggdrasil and its many worlds.”

 

“Right now I’m only interested in one world.  Perhaps you can help me discern exactly where I need to go?”

 

Dáinn stared intently at Elsa, his deer eyes betraying a stark intensity.  “You have been visited by the old shaman, have you not?”

 

Elsa stared back, and begrudgingly nodded out of respect.  “Yes, what of it?”

 

“He revealed to you the secret realm below the three roots.  Three different lands there are, each containing a well.  But which one to chose—this your dilemma, Jörmungandr.”

Elsa nodded again, and finally found her voice.  “I seem to have—a certain intuition that I lacked before; and it is telling me that I must seek out the frost jötnar.”

 

Duneyrr calmly walked up to Yggdrasil and sniffed at the great tree, intending to gnaw at its lower branches, but his keen nose picked up on something else.  Elsa saw where his nose was and she blushed a deep red.  The stag’s head snapped up abruptly, and it whirled towards Elsa, pinning her with a strange look.

 

Dáinn ignored his kin, and continued to address Elsa alone.  “And where will you find them?”

 

“I think I must travel to Mímisbrunnr, and seek out the jötunn, Vafþrúðnir.”  Elsa glanced at Duneyrr before walking over to Yggdrasil. “Please see to Anna’s comfort while I’m gone.” 

 

Dáinn shook his antlers. “Keep your caution steady, Jörmungandr, for the jötnar are elemental beings—the first of the many races—and may try to trick you.”

 

“I will.” The blonde turned to face Anna.  “Please let your protectors comfort you while I’m away, and know I will return to you as soon as I can.”

 

Anna briefly looked to Dáinn, and he bowed to her.  “I will, but—“  She didn’t get a chance to complete her sentence, because when she turned again to face her sister, Elsa was already gone.

Chapter Text

The three roots that lie under Yggdrasil were massive, their girth appearing to stretch on infinitely as they traversed the nether regions.  They twisted and turned and extended to the far reaches of the world, each destined to stop at only one realm, each at an eternal spring.  Elsa stood at their intersection, and pondered the dilemma before her; which root would lead her to Mímisbrunnr, to wisdom and truth, and which paths would be folly.  As she stood there thinking she was startled by the thunderous sound of footsteps approaching her, and they were not the footfalls of a mortal being. 

 

Acting on instinct, Elsa turned to the sound and stretched out her wings as far as they could go, and then waited. 

 

Óðinn passed from Yggdrasil and ventured down to its three roots, fully intent this time to finding what he was looking for, the truest of wisdom.  But as he passed the threshold to the netherworld he stopped abruptly, completely surprised to see the smaller creature before him.  It was familiar, but only to a certain extent, and at the present time it appeared to be taking on a defensive stance. 

 

The god tilted his head slightly and regarded the creature. “I am sure you have a name, and a reason to be here?”

 

Elsa felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.  “I do, to both of your queries.  I seek Mímisbrunnr, and the wisdom therein.  You may call me—Elsa.”

 

“Then you seek the land of Jötunheimr as I do.”  Óðinn stepped closer to Elsa and walked around her, carefully noting her appearance.  “You are a creature from Midgard, are you not?  Yet, I have never seen one with wings and horns as you have.”

 

Elsa, despite her current height, had to crane her neck to see into Óðinn’s face.  “I am destined to become Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent, and to wreck havoc on those who would wish to destroy my Kingdom.”

 

Óðinn’s eyes widened, and he ran his hand over his beard. “So you are Jörmungandr—the Miðgarðsormr.  I have heard of your coming.”  He leaned down so he could be face to face with Elsa.  “But you must beware, great serpent.  Do not trust Thor, he is your mortal enemy.”

 

“Thank you for your concern… I’m sorry, but I don’t know who you are.”  Elsa squirmed a little under at the god’s close scrutiny.

 

“You do not know who I am?  Why, I am Óðinn, Allfather of the gods, and ruler of Ásgarðr.”

 

“The king of Ásgarðr?”  Elsa took a step back.  Of all the events that had happened to her over the past few months, this one was the most surprising: coming face to face with a being who claimed to be a god. She could accept the existence of magic, as her ice powers evidenced, even the existence of beings that were not human or earthly animals, as the trolls evidenced.  But this—this was something completely new and unexpected, and it completely unsettled her to the core.  It wasn’t as if she had not grown up with the images of an afterlife all around her; the image of Arendelle’s cathedral came to mind, and its depictions of an entirely different cosmology.  The truth of the matter was she had never been much of a believer in such things. But now… “So, you are bound towards Jötunheimr?  Perhaps I could come with you?”

 

Óðinn put his hands on his hips and laughed heartily.  “You wish to accompany me?”  He regarded the small human.  “It is amazing, I think.  Then you must tell me all about yourself—Elsa.  How are you to be the Midgard serpent, and what of this Kingdom that you speak of?”  He turned and began to walk away.  “Yes, I know of all the worlds and all their kingdoms…”

 

Elsa flapped her wings and did her best to keep up with the god’s long strides. 

 


 

 

Berith paced back and forth in her extravagantly ornate bedroom, running a comb through her long auburn hair, and tried not to worry.  But it was a luxury denied her, and she stopped to look at herself in her mirror. She turned to the side and noted her distended belly and remembered what her physicians had told her about worrying; it was dangerous for the baby.  Her bedroom door opened quietly.

 

Magnus walked slowly to his wife’s fireplace and placed his drink on the mantle.  He lowered his shaking hands towards the dying fire in a vain attempt to bring warmth to his heart and body.  “There is still no word from Stinus, and I’m beginning to have dangerous thoughts.”

 

The Duchess moved to her vanity and put her comb down.  “My doctors tell me it is unhealthy to worry, Magnus—it could harm the baby.  Perhaps it is no good for us, as well.”

 

The dark-haired man sighed heavily and put his hand on the mantle.  He glanced at his wife before turning again to the fire.  “I’m sure of it.”

 

Berith regarded her husband with great concern.  Magnus was a complex man, prone to fits of sometimes-terrible cruelty towards his subordinates, while at the same time doting over her and the family.  Sometimes she felt as if she knew him better than he knew himself.  “Magnus, about the war with Arendelle…”

 

The Duke shook his head. “I’m really not in a mood to talk about it, wife.”  In his mind he could see buildings burning; Arendelle’s castle bombarded with cannon fire. He shook imperceptibly, his mouth dry and his soul bereft.  “I’m tired, oh so tired.”  The ghost of his father haunted him, with his terrible ambition and sense of retributive justice.

 

Berith tilted her head, and watch her husband closely.  Magnus was never a cheerful person, not even when he was younger, and brooded constantly, much like father did.  But as of late his moods were most foul, and she blamed the Southern Isles.  “Perhaps we both could use a few days rest, away from everything.”

 

Magnus didn’t say anything for a long time, but finally he released a harsh breath.  “That’s impossible, Berith, my schedule is long and the days are short.”

 

“I worry over you.”

 

“I know you do.” Magnus bent to put more wood on the dying fire.  “You ought not to let the cold creep in; it could make you sick.”  He wiped at his hands.  “General Voljor is going to betray me.”

 

The comment was so innocuous, so matter-of-fact, that Berith thought he was kidding.  “Surely you jest.”

 

“I hate to have to execute such a capable officer.”  There it was, the coldness that would occasionally creep into the Duke’s voice that was so reminiscent of his father.

 

“Then don’t.”  Berith felt a small kick in her stomach, but chose not to tell Magnus.

 

“He leaves me no choice in the matter, Berith.  But, we’ve known each other since we were both children…”

 

The Duchess was privy to the Duke’s many moods, but she had never seen him despairing and it was quite unsettling.  “Come here, my husband.”

 

Magnus ran his hands through his dark, long hair and then walked over to his wife.  He looked at her belly and a small smile graced his features.  “How is my son?”

 

“We don’t know if it’s a boy, Magnus.”

 

“But I know, don’t I?” The Duke deadpanned.  His smile faltered, and he had to turn away.  “Aida is a pompous jester, and she thinks she can make a fool of me, as well.”  It wasn’t hard to notice the coldness in his voice again.

 

“Then that is her misfortune.”  Berith sighed, and began to rub her belly.  “Why is it so difficult for this family to be happy?”  It was their constant argument, and it usually involved either his bad behavior or the Countess’.

 

“I am my father’s son, in every way, Berith.”  Magnus walked back to the fireplace and grabbed his drink off the mantle.  He downed it and then wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve.  When he turned back towards his wife his features had hardened, again.  “I have many meetings today concerning my war against Arendelle, so I will not join you for dinner.  Good day, Madam.”

 

When her door shut with a bang Berith turned towards her mirror again, noting her now solemn features. Not only was Aida a fool, so was Magnus. He was competing with a dead man over power and its struggle, and she began to have doubts he would prevail. 

 


 

 

“Good god, woman, stop moving!”  Hans grabbed at the woman below him, pinning her arms to the bed as he continued to lunge deeply into her.  The bed creaked rhythmically, and his grunts could be heard in the hallway beyond.

 

The courtesan winced; this prince was just as inept as Ingleif at love play.  But she endured it for the sake of her position at court. “Please, don’t stop…”

 

Hans ignored her, intent only on his own pleasure, and not caring at all for the woman.  He didn’t stop, and the sweat ran off his forehead and back.  He reached up to wipe at his face; and when he did the woman below him tried to reach up and touch him.  He ferociously batted her hand away and sneered.  “Don’t touch me, woman!”

 

The mistress shrank back and tried to turn her head away from him.

 

“Look at me!”  His pounding continued, at a fierce pace.

 

The woman turned her head back to the prince, and tried to coax him into finding his release.  She moved in time with his thrusting, her hips rising up to meet his.

 

Hans’ head rolled back, and with a final push, grunted out his release, pumping into the courtesan again and again.  He collapsed on top of her, and closed his eyes.  An image came to him, unbidden, but clear.  In his mind’s eye teal eyes looked up at him, and a certain, familiar smile caught his attention.  His eyes snapped open and he gasped.

 

The woman below him winced again.  “Are you alright?”

 

Hans rolled off her immediately and sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed.  He cradled his head in his hands.  “Get out.”

 

The courtesan knew it was time to leave.  She got up without saying anything and quickly gathered her clothes; the door closed quietly behind her.

 

Hans glanced at the door before turning his attention towards the liquor cabinet.  He poured himself a generous glass of sherry and sat back down on the bed, bewildered at his own thoughts.  He closed his eyes again and his imagination conjured up another image—a freckled face, long red plaits, and that smile…

 

“What did you do to her?”

 

Hans looked up abruptly and whirled towards the door.  “What are you doing here, Roman?”

 

Roman closed the door and tossed a dressing gown at his brother.  “That prostitute, she ran down the hall like a banshee.  So, I’ll ask again, what did you do to her?”

 

Hans looked at the empty glass in his hand and walked over to the liquor cabinet again.  This time he poured brandy.  “You can stop with the inane questions.  I’m in no mood for them.” 

 

Roman looked carefully at his younger brother, trying to determine his current state of mind. “Are you alright?”

 

Hans put on his pants, and then sat on the bed to pull up his boots.  “I wish people would stop asking me that!”

 

Roman frowned, and then poured himself some brandy.  “Fingaard informs me that you captured a spy from Arendelle?”

 

“Yes, what of it?” 

 

“Well, I was hoping I could accompany you to his interrogation.”

 

Hans started to button up his jacket.  “You want to be there?  I don’t plan on sitting down to tea with this man, Roman.  You know what happens to infiltrators in this country.”

 

“Yes, I do know.  That is precisely why I want to be there, to make sure he pays for his insolence.”

 

Hans clasped his sword to his side, then eyed at his reflection in a mirror.  “I must say I’m a bit surprised, Roman.  You’ve never taken an interest in torture before.”  He grabbed a comb and ran it through his hair, making sure his appearance was just right.  “After all these years, why now?”

 

Roman faltered for a moment. “I don’t want you to get all the glory, alright?”

 

Hans got the feeling again—the one that told him things were not as they seemed, and that Roman was hiding something from him.  “Okay, you can come.  But if you interfere on the prisoner’s behalf, I’ll have you arrested for treason.” 

 

Roman merely smiled, and nodded before he finished his brandy in one swallow.

 

When his older brother was gone, Hans let out an uncertain, ragged breath.  He looked at his reflection again, and, for the first time in weeks, felt the weight of responsibility heavily.  But the feeling lasted for only a few moments, and then dissipated like smoke in the wind.

 


 

 

Elsa and Óðinn spoke of many things as they walked down the long winding root, and passed many creatures as they did.  Some of them bowed out of respect, some completely ignored them, and others still sneered and cajoled—as did the wyrm Níðhöggr, who had stopped gnawing at the root over Niflheim in order to follow the pair.

 

Níðhöggr ran past Elsa and Óðinn and stopped about twenty feet in front of them.  The creature whirled around and hissed.  “Why do you follow this one, Allfather of the gods?  When it will only bring ruin for us all!”

 

Óðinn stopped, and frowned at the dragon.  “How dare you assume that I don’t know all things.”

 

Níðhöggr growled, and looked pointedly at Elsa.  “You are the catalyst for doom, Jörmungandr!  You bring Ragnarök wherever you go, and it is the end of us all!  You may fool Allfather and the rest of his kind, but you will never deceive me.  Away with you!”  It advanced towards the Queen.

 

Elsa immediately lifted her arms, and an icy blast came forth from her hands and sent the dragon flying backwards.  It landed on its back and screamed again, growling obscenities and curses.  But before she could say anything the wyrm flew past them and returned to Niflheim. 

 

After the dragon was gone Elsa noticed Óðinn staring at her, a strange expression on his face.  “I’m sorry about that… but I don’t know what Ragnarök is?”

 

“Don’t you?  I seek the wisdom of Mïmir for precisely this; I travel down to Mímisbrunnr on behalf of my people, for they are afraid of the Ragnarök—it is the end of all things as we know them. 

“Brothers will fight and kill each other,

sisters' children

will defile kinship.

It is harsh in the world,

whoredom rife

—an axe age, a sword age

—shields are riven—

a wind age, a wolf age—

before the world goes headlong.

No man will have

mercy on another.”

 

Elsa swallowed and looked up into the god’s face.  “This is also the Fimbulvetr, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes, it is, great Jörmungandr.”  Óðinn hesitated, an incredulous look on his face. “There is something I do not understand, and it brings great sorrow to my heart to have to ask you this?”

 

“Yes, what is it?”

 

“Why did you accept the responsibilities of being the great serpent of middle-earth?  Surely, you know of your ultimate destiny, Elsa.” 

 

Elsa frowned.  “My—shaman died before he could explain the fullness of the prophecies to me.  I always assumed I was to become Jörmungandr to save Arendelle and my people in our war with Weselton and the Southern Isles.”

 

“It is so much more than that.  It is the great war of all things—Ragnarøkkr, or the twilight of the gods, Elsa.  Not only will the armies of men fight in this, but the gods themselves.  The war will cross over into many worlds, and to the realms therein.  There are many destinies to be fulfilled, and yours is to die.”

 

Elsa went cold, and a frost came forth from her hands to coat her scaled feet.  Her heart clenched, and her soul cried out. “What?” 

 

“We cannot halt the events that are to come, and can only prepare for them—our destinies are immutable, certain.  This is why I am astonished by your decision to take up the mantle of the Midgard serpent, as I thought you were preparing for your certain death.”

 

The blonde dropped to her knees, her spirit broken.  “I—did not know this.”  Her hands fisted and great sparks of ice flew in all directions, hitting everything in sight, including the god.  “Oh, curse you, Pabbie!  Why didn’t you tell me this, why keep such a wretched secret from me! Ahh…!!!”  She raised her head and roared unto the heavens, the beast within writhing ferociously and then bursting forth to scream out of rage and frustration. 

 

The roar caused the earth to rumble and Yggdrasil shook, its branches and leaves quaking, and it’s humming to rise to an unbearable level.

 

Óðinn stood by quietly as Elsa sobbed, his heart mourning for the fragile human before him.  “The sons of Mím are at play—curse you,” he whispered.

 

After a long while Elsa finally calmed enough to look up at Óðinn; she wiped at her eyes before standing.  “Are you certain about all this, that my destiny is sealed and cannot be altered?” 

 

“Elsa, I am certain.  Do not think that it brings me joy to speak of these things, for my own sorrows are to come, as well.”

 

“Just tell me one thing, then.  Tell me who is it, who tries to kill me.  I want to know so that I may kill him first.”

 

“This is why I wish to take counsel with Mímir and to drink from the Mímisbrunnr, to know for certain what is the truth, and how to wisely follow my own path.”

 

“Answer my question, Óðinn!”

 

“Who are you, Jörmungandr, to question a god, or fate?”

 

Jörmungandr stood to full height.  “Because I reject the notion.  How can I leave Anna when… when…”

 

Óðinn tilted his sizeable head.  “Who is Anna, and what is her part in this?”

 

“She is both my sister and my mate—and she is pregnant, with my child.”

 

If the god was shocked and surprised he didn’t show it.  But he lowered his head in thought, and finally looked up with a hopeful look on his face.  “Líf and Lífþrasir…”  He took hold of Elsa’s hand, and began to walk towards Mímisbrunnr.  “Perhaps there is hope after all, Jörmungandr.”

 

But Elsa wouldn’t have it, she dug her heels into the ground and didn’t budge.  “Wait, please.  What is this Líf that you speak of?”

 

Óðinn let go of her hand, impatient to be going.  “I cannot answer what I do not know.  But the prophecy of Fimbulvetr speaks of survivors, two of them—who will go on to replenish the land once the Ragnarøkkr reaches fruition.  Come, we must consult with Mímir, and know the truth to all things.”

 

Elsa relented, and once again, followed the god down Yggdrasil’s root.  But her heart was still broken and in turmoil, for she did not know how she was going to tell Anna about the Ragnarök, and Jörmungandr’s end.

 


 

 

Master Kai stood at Arendelle’s docks and looked through his scope at the approaching ship.  Its flags indicated that it was from the Duchy of Weselton, and something else, it was obviously the flagship of the realm, as its standards indicated.  The master lowered his scope and glanced at Crispin, the Chief Admiral of Arendelle.  “What do you think, Admiral?”

 

Admiral Crispin straightened out his uniform jacket, and wiped perspiration off of his brow.  “I have absolutely no idea what they are doing here.  Unless, of course, they come to negotiate a peace treaty.”

 

Kai remained silent, he knew exactly why the ship from Weselton was approaching; they were looking for Countess Aida, and she was dead. He silently cursed Gunnar for keeping him in prison for as long as he did.  If he had been released sooner he would have seen to the removal of the Countess’ personal ship, which was still docked in the harbor; and now the people who were approaching on the flagship could see it clearly.

 

At that moment Captain Steiner strode up to the pair and looked out on the ship.  “Master Kai, I have come from the Council proceedings and they want answers.”

 

Crispin snorted.  “We don’t know any more now than we did an hour ago!  Go and tell the nobles that the Flagship from Weselton approaches, and have them send out a delegation and a contingent of Royal Guards.”

 

Steiner nodded.  “Would not soldiers from the army send a clearer message?”

 

Master Kai shook his head.  “No, sending the army to greet them sends the wrong message; it could be interpreted as a hostile act, and that’s the last thing we need right now.”

 

The Admiral looked pointedly at Steiner.  “With all haste, Captain!”

 

Kai looked out to the harbor again and wished that Queen Elsa and Princess Anna were in Arendelle.  They would know how to greet the incoming ship.  He finally turned towards Admiral Crispin.  “There is something you need to know, Admiral.”

 


 

 

Before long Elsa and Óðinn found themselves on the bank of Mímisbrunnr in the land of Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds.  The land looked rather parched and arid, and there was a mountain range beyond towards the north that was completely covered in snow, and yet lava flowed  from one of the peaks on the snowy range and ran slightly southeast towards a deep dell.

 

“You are in the land of the frost jötnar, Elsa of Arendelle.” Óðinn’s voice was solemn, as if he had no desire to be in this place, notwithstanding his haste to get there.

 

Elsa looked up towards the opposite bank of Mímisbrunnr and saw a giant approaching the spring; he was huge, at least two and a half times bigger than Óðinn, and he carried the Gjallarhorn in one of his hands.  The giant bent towards the wellspring and dipped the horn in it until it was filled to the brim.  When he was finished drinking he seemed to notice her and Óðinn for the first time. 

 

The giant ignored Elsa for the time being, and glared harshly at Óðinn.  “What would you ask of me, Óðinn—oh, great Allfather of the gods?  Would you tempt me with pledges and oaths?  Both of which we know you cannot fulfill!”  He placed the horn on the ground and ran his hand over the surface of Mímisbrunnr.  “You heart is troubled, is it not?  You desire wisdom because the Ragnarök is at hand, and the Fimbulvetr is nigh.”

 

Elsa moved closer to the bank in order to get a better look at the giant, and almost stepped into the well. 

 

Mímir noticed this and sprang to his feet.  “Get away from the spring, foolish human!”

 

Elsa spread her wings far apart.  “I am Jörmungandr!”

 

The giant’s eyes went wide, and a tremendous gasp escaped his lips.  “Óðinn, what folly is this?  You bring the Midgard serpent into Jötunheimr?  Is not your son, Thor, destined to slay this beast?”

 

Elsa was shocked that Óðinn failed to mention this to her, but she refused to show it.  She confronted the giant instead.  “Yes, I am Jörmungandr, but this does not mean that we are enemies, or that there is enmity between us.  I have come along with Óðinn to seek wisdom and guidance.  For I am deeply invested in the Fimbulvetr that is upon us, and my mate and my people are looking to me for leadership.  I do not wish to disappoint them.”

 

Mímir hesitated in his judgment, and eyed Elsa.  “You wish to drink from Mímisbrunnr?”

 

Óðinn panicked.  “No, I claim first right to drink from this sacred spring!”

 

Elsa whirled towards the god.  “What are you doing?”

 

“I am claiming my right as Allfather of the gods, lowly serpent!”

 

“Enough!” Mímir shot Óðinn a pointed look.  “Can you not feel Garm at the Gates, Allfather—his fetters loose and his killing jaws ready to strike?”

 

Óðinn backed down, the reference chilling him to the bone. “I would give anything for just one chance to drink from this spring.”

 

“Anything, Allfather?” 

 

Now it was Elsa’s turn to be surprised, her intuition telling her that Mímir was going to demand a terrible price.  She scooted closer to the god.  “Can I talk with you, alone?”

 

But Óðinn’s eyes remained on the rippling water of the spring before him, unable to tear his gaze away from it.  “What do you need to tell me, Elsa?”

 

Elsa finally took hold of the god’s hand and forced his body to turn around and face her.  “Please, don’t pay his price.  It doesn’t bode well for us, I can feel it.”

 

But Óðinn remained undeterred.  “What are you talking about, Jörmungandr?  I have not come this far only to be turned away.”  He turned away from Elsa, and cleared his throat.  “I will do anything—pay any price, Mímir—to drink from Mímisbrunnr.”

 

The giant bent down and filled Gjallarhorn with water, and slowly walked the bank of Mímisbrunnr until he was upon Óðinn.  He smiled down at Allfather.  “First, the price.”

 

“What would you have me do?”

 

“A simple act, really.  All I want is your eye.  Take it out and cast it into Mímisbrunnr.”

 

Elsa was horrified, and wondered if the giant would demand the same from her.  “No, Óðinn, don’t do it…”

 

But Elsa’s entreaty was too late, and the god reached up and plucked his right eye out of its socket; a river of blood followed, and Óðinn bent over at the excruciating pain that followed.  He blindly threw the eye at the spring, and it sank with a noticeable plop.  As the eye sank he grabbed at the horn and drank its entirety in one huge swallow. But the water of knowledge and wisdom hit him like a terrible blow, and he sank to his knees from the weight of it—his body now infused with wisdom so terrible in its beauty that he gasped for breath.

 

Elsa wanted to shrink back and run to the root for safety, but she managed to hold her fear in check as Óðinn’s body heaved before her. After a short time, she looked up into the giant’s face.  “A terrible dies Iovis, indeed.  Why did you demand his eye?”

 

Mímir shrugged.  “Why do all creatures do the things they do, Jörmungandr?  For power—it is the basest of all motivations.” He walked over to Óðinn and ran his hand over his body, not quite touching him at first.  Then he grabbed the god’s hand and pulled him to his feet. “This is not a time for sleep, Allfather.”

 

Elsa carefully scrutinized the god, and noticed that his body appeared to be shimmering slightly, as if he was shrouded in a gentle glow.  She waited for Óðinn to say something, but he remained silent as he looked at her. “Why isn’t he talking?  Hey… wait!”

 

But Óðinn was already walking away from her, back towards the root, and back to the Æsir.

 

Elsa watched him go, and a strange feeling stole over her heart—a melancholy of some sort.  “Goodbye, my friend.”  She turned angry eyes onto the giant again.  “So, what price do I have to pay for wisdom?”

 

“What do you have that I could possibly want, Jörmungandr?” The giant smiled, but there was no mirth behind it.  “You spoke of a mate…”

 

“No!” Elsa reared to her highest, and spread her wings far apart. “You leave her out of this, or I will freeze your spring!”

 

Mímir tilted his head and laughed, a deep rumbling sound that spread out to the land beyond.  “Look at the little one!  What power do you have over the elements?”

 

“Do not test me, you’ll be extremely disappointed.”  Elsa lifted her hand and shot out long shards of ice.  They collided with the rocks at Mímir’s feet and splintered into many pieces. 

 

The giant’s smile vanished, and he now regarded Elsa warily. “How did you do that?”

 

“We all have out secrets, Mímir.  Shall the spring be next?”  Elsa lifted her hand again and pointed at Mímisbrunnr.

 

“No, please, Jörmungandr.”

 

Elsa was satisfied that she had the giant’s complete attention. “I will ask you again.  What price do I have to pay to drink from this well?”

 

Mímir sighed and slowly walked over to where Elsa was standing. He regarded her intently.  “Your horns—I want your horns.”  He looked up and made a pretense of examining the great root.  “We all have our reasons for wanting the things we want.  Óðinn’s eye will pass on to me some of his godly power, and I will have a strength that the other jötnar lack.”  He bent down on one knee to be close to Elsa.  “Your horns will serve me the same purpose, Jörmungandr.”  He picked up Gjallarhorn and dipped it into Mímisbrunnr.  “Your knowledge awaits, great wyrm.”

 

Elsa looked at the horn and the water therein, and realized that this was her moment of truth.  From the very beginning of her ordeal she had wanted nothing more than complete understanding of what was happening to her, and why, and drinking from this horn could provide everything that she wanted.  The knowledge to protect Anna and Arendelle, and an understanding of what motivated her enemies; why did they do the things they did?  Everything from her parents failure to prepare her for the Fimbulvetr to Pabbie’s reasons for dying when he did all lay within the horn that Mímir was presenting to her; and the most important thing, the possible secret knowledge to conquer everything that could possibly stand in her way, for all time. 

 

For a moment, Elsa wondered if such knowledge could help her to live forever.  She reached out to grab the Gjallarhorn, but the giant pulled it away.

 

“Your horns, Jörmungandr.”

 

Elsa reached up and grabbed at her horns and tugged at them with all of her strength.  She twisted her head as she did this, her face contorting with pain as they began to loosen.  With a final tug they popped off of her head, and blood began to roll down her face and neck. Elsa shrieked and fell to her knees, as the pain was too much; she dropped the horns and they fell to the ground. Whimpering, she crawled over to Mímisbrunnr and dunked her whole head into the water before the giant could react.

 

“What are you doing, no….!”  Mímir shrieked, for never in his long years had a creature been so imbued with wisdom as Elsa was now.  He dropped the Gjallarhorn and ran off into the hills, screaming as he did so.

 

Elsa emerged from the spring, her eyes and mouth full of water, all she had to do was drink it.  She wiped the water from her eyes and spit out the water onto the ground; after standing up she undid her plait and shook her head to clear it.  The bleeding was over, and the lesions were completely healed. 

 

In the great end of her sojourn down to the nether world she had rejected the very thing she was after—complete and total wisdom and understanding—in favor of something else.  Elsa looked at her bloody horns on the ground and hit them with an ice blast, shattering them forever; making them unusable to anything or anyone.  The truth of the matter she was glad to be rid of them.  If, indeed, she were going to be Jörmungandr, it would be on her own terms.

 

Elsa let out a ragged breath and looked at the great root ahead of her.  The truth was she had no desire to be all knowing, to be a god; such pressure would have surely killed her, and she had a kingdom to run—and if things went her way was soon to be a parent.  Anna, and there was Anna to return to, to fight for, and to love. 

 

Elsa made her way up Yggdrasil’s root, towards her destiny.

Chapter Text

Just as Elsa was screaming because of her impending death, and as Yggdrasil was humming at an unbearable level, Anna awoke in the small dwelling that Kristoff built next to the giant white tree. She stretched and yawned, and wondered why the tree at the center of the world was in distress. At that moment Dáinn poked his huge head inside the doorway.

The stag blinked, his deer eyes deep and russet. "We have brought the wagon to Yggdrasil, mate of Jörmungandr, so that you may eat and retain your strength."

"You may call me Anna, Dáinn." The princess swung her legs over the side of the makeshift bed and stretched again, her back aligning as she did so. She smiled at the stag. "Do you know why Yggdrasil is in distress?"

Dáinn hesitated, his intuition telling him the reason why, yet at the same time, not wanting to believe it. "Jörmungandr learns the truth, Anna." He withdrew his head and turned towards the giant white tree, taking note that the whining sound was now diminishing.

Anna emerged from the shack and smoothed out her clothing. Her eyes wandered to Yggdrasil and she yawned again. "How long has Elsa been gone?"

"Time in the Valley moves about as it wishes, Anna. I do not know how to answer your query." Dáinn shook his massive neck and hooved at the ground; he was impatient for something to happen.

Anna could feel his nervous energy. "What is it, Dáinn?"

Dáinn stole a glance at the forest beyond. "We are not used to such docility, Anna, and yearn for battle."

"So, you think it will still come to that—war, I mean." Anna walked over to the wagon and hoisted herself up into the back, looking for food.

The stag followed Anna to the wagon. "War is always on the horizon, but it has never touched us so close to home before. But do not worry over such things, as my brothers and I have sworn oaths to protect you." He turned away from the wagon and lifted his massive head to the sky, bellowing as loudly as he could.

His kin bounded from the forest beyond and ran over to him as fast as they could. Duraþrór, the fastest, arrived first and reared up on his hind legs, shaking his antlers at Yggdrasil.

"Has Jörmungandr returned?" The stag whirled around, looking wildly to and fro.

Anna poked her head outside. "No, my sister has not returned, yet."

Dvalinn and Duneyrr exchanged a meaningful glance, which did not go unnoticed by Dáinn. He approached the other stags. "What is it, brothers? What has vexed you so?"

Duneyrr lowered is head in submission. "The forest beyond is full of rumor and suspicion, brother. It seems as if the trolls have vanished." He turned his head towards Anna. "Your friend is missing, as well, Anna. We have sent word throughout the forest and beyond, to all the plains and dells therein to be on watch."

Anna dropped the apple she was holding, her expression worried. "Kristoff... oh, no… how can the trolls be missing, we saw them walk away not too—do you know, Dáinn, how long ago that was?" She sat on the wagon's bench.

"As I have said, Anna, time in the Valley of the Living Rock is fickle, it ebbs and flows as it wills."

Duraþrór trotted over to the wagon and picked up Anna's apple with his teeth and tossed it back to her. He lowered his gigantic head to that he was eye level with her, his deer eyes dark and full of concern. "Please do not worry yourself, Princess Anna. It can not be good for the baby." He offered her his nose and she scratched it.

Anna smiled at her protector, and as she was scratching his nose her eyes fell upon her own belly, and how much more distended it was. Her breath caught in her throat, and she gasped. "Oh, my…"

Duraþrór watched Anna keenly, and then sniffed at her belly. "The baby is growing."

This caught the attention of the rest of Anna's protectors. They walked to the wagon and stared at her stomach, as well, each fascinated by Jörmungandr's offspring.


Elsa fell to her knees as she dropped from Yggdrasil, and she grimaced at the pain. When she looked up she saw all the stags surrounding Anna at the wagon and was immediately concerned. Wincing, she managed to get up and hobble over to it and stood between Duneyrr and Dáinn. "What is everyone looking at?"

Anna waved her away. "They are just curious about the baby, Els—Elsa!"

The stags acknowledged Jörmungandr by rearing up on their hind legs, each roaring to the sky above; and the sounds reached to the far corners of the Valley. Yggdrasil shook, and the creatures therein scurried about, some descending to the three roots, while others ascended to the highest branches and to the perching hawk above.

Anna stood, and tried to get off the wagon, and Elsa went over to her and helped her to the ground. The stags removed themselves from the scene, and trotted over to the other side of Yggdrasil. Elsa waited for the deer to be gone before taking Anna into her arms and holding her tightly.

Anna rested her head below Elsa's chin and sighed. "I'm so glad you're back, Elsa."

"I'm happy about it, as well." The blonde shifted somewhat to accommodate Anna's swollen belly. "The baby has grown since I last saw you."

"I suppose so." Anna raised her head and looked Elsa in the eyes. "Did you find what you were looking for?"

Did she find it? It was an innocent question in itself, but carried so much more meaning. Literally speaking, she did not come back with the exact knowledge she had set out to find. But she came away with so much more, a certitude that she had lacked before the journey, and an understanding of herself that was much more realistic than before. Óðinn had sought the ultimate in knowledge and wisdom, and had paid a terrible price for getting what he wished for. She was unwilling to even know what the ultimate price would be, for it was surely not the loss of her horns.

Elsa looked down on Anna, a small smile on her face. "Let's just say I came away with something unexpected."

Anna raised her eyebrows. "Yes, and that's a good thing?"

"The best of things." Elsa bent her head slowly and captured Anna's lips in a sweet kiss, expressing all of her love and devotion. Her hands ran over Anna's belly, gently giving soft caresses and reassuring pats. "I'm really tired, Anna. I feel as if I've been walking for days on end."

"Well, all I know is you've been gone for quite some time." Anna released Elsa from her embrace and then took her hands. "Elsa, we have a small problem. Kristoff and the trolls are missing."

"Missing? How do you know?"

"Duneyrr announced it just before you returned. At least, there is a rumor in the forest they are missing. I really don't know for sure." The princess stepped back from Elsa and crinkled her nose. "Elsa, you are filthy."

Elsa started walking towards the wagon. "I need to eat something before I can think of anything else." When she attempted to use her wings to help her ascent into the wagon she was stopped by a sharp pain. Her body contorted and she landed on her knees.

"Elsa!" Anna was at her side in an instant, and so were the stags.

The blonde tried to manipulate her left wing but it wouldn't cooperate with her. When she attempted to stretch both to their fullest width it only stretched about half way, and the tip was bent inwards. "Anna, please look at my left wing."

The princess moved to Elsa's back and examined both, running her hands over the warm leathery surface. "You have a large reddish streak in the left wing, Elsa, and it feels warmer than the other one." When she touched the reddish blotch the blonde winced, and her hands fisted. "What happened to this one?"

"I don't know; I have no memory of injuring it while at Mímisbrunnr."

Dáinn slowly approached Anna and looked over her shoulder at Elsa's left wing, and then sniffed at it. "I smell sickness, Jörmungandr." He took a moment to closely examine Elsa. "What happened to your horns?"

Anna gasped, just noticing that they were missing. "Yes… where are they?"

Elsa turned her head and eyed Dáinn. "I left them at Mímisbrunnr."

Dvalinn now came over to them and sniffed at Elsa's head. "Were you tricked into leaving them behind, great wyrm?"

Elsa stared, and then thought about the circumstance of their removal, and her encounter with Mímir, and remembered Óðinn's sacrifice. She noticed the stags were uneasy, and shifted on their hooves. "I… I don't think I was tricked, but I did leave their remnants at Mímisbrunnr."

Anna noticed the tension, and she turned to Dáinn. "Tell me, is there something wrong?"

"It may be nothing." The stag's eyes were still fixed on Elsa, and she squirmed a little under such close scrutiny.

Elsa finally stood again. "Anna, will you help me into the wagon… Dáinn, please take us back to the hot spring that is near Yggdrasil."

They settled into the back of the wagon as the stags guided the horses towards the hot springs. When Elsa was sure that they were not being watched she removed her dirty clothing and tossed it aside.

Anna rummaged through the remaining basket of food. "There isn't much left, but it ought to be enough for our return to Arendelle." She took out the last pieces of dried sausage and gave them to Elsa.

The blonde gladly accepted the food, and ate it much too fast. "Anna, you need to eat."

The princess grabbed some bread and cheese and showed them to her sister. "See, I am eating, so don't worry. The baby and I are fine, Elsa."

Elsa sat back, careful not to put too much pressure on her left wing. "You wouldn't believe the things I've seen, Anna." She easily caught the apple that the princess tossed her way. "I wasn't alone on my trip down Yggdrasil's root."

"Dáinn mentioned earlier that you learned the truth. What did he mean, what truth?"

The blonde hesitated, and looked deep into her sister's eyes, trying to gauge her possible reaction. "Perhaps it is not the best time to talk about it. I would rather wait until our return to Arendelle."

"Then why mention it in the first place?" Anna returned to looking inside the basket.

"You are right. I misspoke, and I'm sorry." Elsa watched as Anna rummaged through the carrier, and grieved in her heart over her possible fate, and knew she had to take action to make sure it didn't happen.


The dungeon below the barracks at Jonvar was an old medieval structure, and had not been updated or cared for in years, considering it was hardly ever used; it was dank and reeked of old blood, urine and spoiled food. Mice scatted along the filthy stone floors, each vying for the tiny scraps of food its only prisoner threw their way.

Lieutenant Ingarth sat in one of its larger cells, his only blanket wrapped tightly around him, and waited. His guards had informed him earlier that two of the Southern Isles princes were on their way to the island to interrogate him, and he had better cooperate with them.

Ingarth threw his remaining scrap of bread at the small animals and watched as they fought each other for the prize. His attention was drawn away by footsteps coming down the stairs. A man appeared at his cell door, the one who had arrested him in the city, when he was with the prostitute.

The bearded man regarded him for a long while before finally speaking. "You must be someone important in Arendelle."

Ingarth raised his brow. "You never did introduce yourself properly."

"Hilfred—General Hilfred. A pleasure to meet you."

"Likewise. How do you know I'm from Arendelle?" Ingarth got to his feet and dusted off his pants.

"I'm afraid your accent betrayed you. You should have hid it better, my good man." Hilfred pulled a flask out of his uniform pocket and held it up. "Drink?"

Ingarth reached through the bars and took the flask. His eyes closed as the strong liquor poured down his sore throat. "Thank you, General."

Hilfred returned the flask to his pocket. "Look, you have no reason to trust me, and I would not be surprised if you didn't. But, please don't lie to Prince Hans, he'll see right through it, and he'll make you wish you were dead. His cruel streak is the worst I've seen."

Ingarth felt a cold chill crawl up his spine. "Why are you telling me this?"

Hilfred sighed. "Because you seem to be a decent man, and I will not have your death on my conscience."

Ingarth turned away, and watched as the mice ate up his food. "I'm not a spy, Hilfred. I have nothing to offer Prince Hans—or the other one."

"Prince Roman."

Ingarth turned cold, and slowly turned back around. "What did you say?"

"Those princes ought to be here in a few hours, so, please consider what I said. Good day to you, sir." General Hilfred turned on his heel and walked away.

The Lieutenant blew out a ragged breath, all hope for getting out of this interrogation alive vanished. He leaned against a wall and closed his eyes, silently praying for a reprieve to whatever god would listen.


Elsa groaned as she lowered her sore body into the hot spring, and immediately dunked her head into the hot water. She resurfaced seconds later, shaking her head, wringing out the excess liquid. "Come in, Anna."

Anna brought at blanket over to the side of the hot spring and arranged it, and then she sat on the blanket and dunked her feet into the hot water, lowering until her back was on the soft material. "Elsa, do you think Kristoff and the trolls are really missing?"

"I don't know." Elsa wiped the perspiration off her face. "It would surely complicate matters if they were."

Anna turned her head and eyed her sister. "How so?"

"There is still a lot I can learn from Hølje, if he is still willing to help me." Elsa splashed water onto her face, and scrubbed the dirt off of her body. "The heat is helping my wing to feel better."

"I'm glad." Anna shifted on the blanket, trying to get comfortable, but could still feel small rocks and pebbles under her. "I would love to sleep in my own bed tonight."

Elsa regarded the princess for a few moments, taking note of her swollen stomach, and wondered how they were going to explain her pregnancy. "That does sound wonderful, doesn't it?"

"Can we do it? Make it back to Arendelle before nightfall?"

"I suppose we could arrive at any time we wanted." The blonde got up and carefully maneuvered out of the spring, careful not to jar her infected wing. After drying, she climbed into the wagon and rummaged through the boxes, looking for clean clothing.

Anna heard a rustling of leaves and twigs, and sat up, but there was nothing to be seen. "Elsa?" She looked all around and then finally stood up. The strange rustling of leaves continued, and the twigs just started to form a pattern when Elsa came out of the wagon.

"Did you call me, Anna?"

The winds stopped, and the twigs fell back to the ground.

Anna, wide-eyed, turned towards the blonde. "Can we go now?" She looked down at her bare feet and rolled up the blanket, not stopping to put on her shoes. After throwing the blanket at Elsa she quickly crawled up into the wagon, frightened and on edge. Elsa sat on the front bench, and after taking the reins, pointed the horses in the right direction. When they passed Yggdrasil the harts took up positions at the wagon's four corners, and dutifully followed along.


Lieutenant Aleksander sat on his warhorse on the outskirts of Eidanger, the small farming community whose sympathies allied with Arendelle, and looked through his spyglass at the nearest farm. Its men were in the fields, reaping the latest harvest while young boys worked at their sides, planting more seeds as each plant was pulled out of the ground. He looked intently at the bucolic scene, almost regretting his duty, but not quite.

Aleksander turned his head as one of his junior officers, torch in hand, steered his horse next to his. "Yes, what is it?"

The young Corporal fidgeted in his saddle. "Are you sure about this, Lieutenant? I mean, they're just farmers…"

Aleksander continued to look through his spyglass. "What is your name, young man?"

"Corporal Einar, sir."

"Do you believe in our cause, Corporal?"

"Yes, sir, I do. But these people are no threat to Weselton."

"Have you ever held a spyglass, Einar?" The Lieutenant handed the instrument to the young corporal. "Here take a look—I'll take your torch." He regarded the corporal carefully, noting his young age. "How old are you—Einar?"

"Eighteen." After taking the spyglass, Einar held it up to his eye. "What am I supposed to be looking at, sir?"

"Well, certainly not this." Aleksander lifted his single-shot pistol, pointed it at Einar's head, and fired.

Einar's horse reared up slightly at the gunfire, and the Corporal's body fell to the damp grass below.

Aleksander spurred his horse to turn around and face his cavalry. "I would certainly not begrudge any man who would wish to turn around now and head back to the Duke and his castle. But as for me, I do my Lord's bidding!"

He waited for any indication of desertion, but there was none, and his soldiers remained resolute. He tossed the torch to one of the other young men and looked down to where his spyglass had landed on the grass. "Oh, damn." He dismounted and retrieved the instrument, wiping off the blood on his uniform coat.

There was a small commotion at the nearby farm, as its inhabitants had heard the shot.

After remounting his horse, Aleksander noticed the scene and swore to himself again. He unsheathed his sword and raised it to the sky. "Ready!"

His horsemen held their torches aloft, and steadied themselves in their saddles.

"Charge!" He dropped his arm and pointed his sword at the farm beyond.

The cavalry did not disappoint him.


The sun was still high in the sky when the wagon passed the border of the Valley of the Living Rock, the winding path became more prominent, and the temperature changed drastically. The cold air was not unexpected, but the slight snow flurries were. If the stags were bothered by the cold they did not show it, but held fast to their positions, their eyes wandering to and fro, looking out for danger. They appeared to be a little skittish, as if sensing something out of the normal, but not quite placing it.

Elsa noticed their behavior, and turned her head to look at Anna. "Are you alright, Anna? Because—" She did not get a chance to complete her sentence, as Dvalinn suddenly reared up and screamed.

The hart turned around wildly, not able to get his bearings for a brief time, and continued to thrash about uncontrollably. The other stags, though, just looked at him curiously, and didn't appear to be bothered by his comportment.

Elsa, was, however, and jumped down from the wagon in an effort to calm the beast. She slowly approached the stag, and spoke soothing words as she did so. It appeared to work, and by the time she reached the animal, he had calmed enough for her to touch him reassuringly. "Are you feeling better, Dvalinn?"

The other harts moved closer to the pair, and Dvalinn looked into each of their eyes, communicating to them his unspoken thoughts. Dáinn shook his massive head in response, and turned to Elsa. "Something terrible has happened."

Elsa recoiled slightly, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. "What has?"

"War…" Duraþrór choked out the words, and lowered to his haunches.

The Queen turned inward, searching within herself for the answer, and trusting her dragon senses. What she had not realized yet, was that even though she had not actually consumed the water of Mímisbrunnr, she had let it flow over her, thus unknowingly imbuing herself with greater insight. In her mind's eye she could see crops and houses burning, people screaming as they ran, only to be either shot or chopped down by the sword.

Dáinn could perceive exactly what Elsa could, and he lowered his head in sorrow. "This is but a taste of what is to come."

Anna now slowly descended from the wagon, and looked upon the scene in utter confusion. She instinctively clutched at her swollen belly, and cautiously walked over to her sister. "Elsa?"

But Elsa was not responsive, and continued to stare into the horizon because of what she experienced. When Anna put her hand on her arm she jerked it away with a sudden ferocity. "Don't touch me!"

Anna whirled towards Dáinn. "Tell me what's going on, Dáinn, right now!"

The stag approached the princess and lowered his head to hers. "The first casualty of war, Princess Anna, and Jörmungandr is grieved beyond measure."

The princess felt her heart clench, and she turned again to her sister, but Elsa had walked off a few yards, and was standing by herself, her normally straight shoulders were sagged, and her wings drooping. "A casualty of war? Is someone dead? Will someone tell me what has happened?"

Elsa finally turned around, and locked gazes with Anna. "I will not speak of such things with you, Anna. There are some things that are mine alone to bear. But I have been idle for far too long, and that stops today. Get in the wagon, Anna, it is time to move along." She turned to Dáinn. "You appear to be the de facto leader of your brethren, Dáinn, is this true?"

"You are wise, Jörmungandr."

"I'm assuming you can make your way to Arendelle without any problems?"

The stag shook his antlers. "Yes, I can."

"Good, then I want you to go there immediately and ask for Master Kai. When you find him tell him all about Eidanger and have him summon General Urban to the city at once; I'll need to meet with them right away—and Admiral Crispin needs to be there, as well. In fact, all of Arendelle's nobles should be informed so have Kai send out letters to them at once."

Anna paused at the wagon entrance. "Are you sure Kai will believe him, Elsa?"

Dáinn's eyes widened. "Yes, Jörmungandr, why will he want to believe me?"

"Tell him I said, 'general order number five.' He'll know then that these orders are from me. Oh, and another thing, I want Arendelle's Royal Guard to be put on maximum alert; can you remember all of this, Dáinn?"

"Of course, I can." The hart reared up on his hind legs and called out to the sky, and with a tremendous burst of speed, he was gone.

Elsa looked at the other stags and frowned. "Well, what are you waiting for? Go with him!"

They were gone in the time that it took Elsa to blink. She let out a huge breath and wanted to collapse where she stood but thought better of it, for Anna's sake. "I'm sorry if I offended you, Anna."

Anna poked her head out of the wagon's entrance. "Why would I be affronted?"

Elsa blushed a little. "Because I was being abrupt, and commanding towards you."

The princess merely smiled. "That's okay, Elsa. I realize that sometimes you just need to be, for propriety's sake."

Elsa walked to the wagon and climbed aboard; she picked up the reins and directed the horses to move along the path. When she was sure they were heading in the right direction she secured the ropes to the bench and climbed in back. "Thank you for being patient with me, Anna."

Anna tried to get comfortable, but couldn't quite do it. "Can you find some more blankets, Elsa?"

The blonde crawled to the back of wagon and began opening boxes. "I found two more." She folded the blankets and moved to Anna, and then placed them behind her back. "Is that better?"

Anna snuggled down and smiled. "Yes, it is, thank you."

Elsa crawled between Anna's legs and settled down between them. She lay her head beside Anna's belly and then began to gently caress it. "How is the baby?"

"Fine, Elsa. I, on the other hand, am a little worse for wear—I look pregnant now. How am I going to walk Arendelle looking like this?"

"With your head held high as always?"

"You think this is funny, don't you?"

Elsa blew out a breath. "In all honesty, Anna, I know we are going to face difficulties. But I will be there right along with you when you do walk in the city, and I will support you and defend you to my last breath. I am the Queen, Anna, no one is going to look down on you when you are with me."

Anna sighed deeply. "Thank you for being so reassuring, Elsa, I really appreciate it."

Elsa continued to rub Anna's belly, the action soothing her as well as Anna.

The princess could feel Elsa's breathing change, as it was now deeper, accompanied with a small snore. She lowered Elsa to the blankets and then tucked two more under her chin. "Sleep, Elsa, you need it."

Anna sat on the bench and picked up the reins, deciding not to worry about anything at the moment, and to allow Elsa to rest. She was sure life was about to get more complicated.


 

Chapter Text

As soon as they passed the border to the Valley, the winds picked up, blustering all about, blowing leaves and twigs all around the wagon as the horses plodded along the path to Arendelle. The dense conifers were gone and replaced by the beech and horse chestnuts, and scattered bushes hugged the grassy border of the path. Anna pulled her blanket tighter around her, but it wasn't enough to keep out the cold, and she began to worry about the baby. She stopped the horses under a large beech tree and tied the reins to the bench, and then she went inside.

Elsa was still asleep, so Anna crawled under the blankets with her and tried to get comfortable. But the howling winds unsettled her, and her instincts told her they needed to get back to Arendelle as soon as possible. Elsa mumbled something in her sleep, and rolled over onto her side, wrapping an arm around Anna, and then snored softly in her ear. The princess stared at the torn remnants of the wagon cover, and realized this situation was unacceptable; they needed to start moving in order to avoid the worst of the weather.

Anna gently shook Elsa's shoulder. "Elsa… its time to wake up."

But the blonde only snored louder, and she draped a leg over Anna's thighs, trapping the princess beneath her.

"Please, Elsa, we really need to get back to Arendelle." Anna closed her eyes and sighed; the blonde was warm, and her presence very comforting. "Elsa…"

Elsa squirmed a little, and then mumbled. "Hmmm… what?"

"I need for you to wake up, Elsa. A storm is coming."

Elsa opened her bleary eyes, feeling as if she could sleep for a week. "Anna, I'm so worn out and tired." She stretched and rolled away from Anna, and then slowly sat up. "Why are we not in Arendelle?"

"The horses keep slowing down. I think the impending storm is frightening them."

Elsa turned her body slightly to the right, and when she did her left wing brushed against one of the boxes; she winced. "Can you please look at my wing again, Anna?"

The princess crawled over to Elsa's back and gently grasped her wing; it was quite warm to the touch. "Does it still hurt?"

"Yes."

Anna stretched out the leathery appendage and looked closely at it. "I can see the infection Dáinn mentioned, there is a large reddish area, and its oozing brownish blood—its no wonder you are so tired and sluggish."

Elsa lowered onto the blankets and rolled onto her side. "Do you really need me to help with the horses?"

"I'm afraid so, they aren't following my lead." Anna wiped her hands on a cloth, and then regarded her sister for a moment, noting her wan expression. "Well, let me see what I can do first. If I need your help, I'll come and wake you up."

Elsa merely nodded and closed her eyes, asleep within moments.


The morning was unusually cold, and the citizens of Arendelle wrapped themselves in heavy coats or blankets as they made their way around the town. Fires were lit in heavy metal cans and were spread out along the marketplace and merchants huddled over them, hoping to warm their hands until the next shopper came. Horses pulled wagons about, the aroma of coffee and freshly baked pastries emanated from several storefronts, plus the bustle of bodies everywhere were more than enough to entice the senses.

Master Kai walked out his favorite pastry shop, coffee in hand, and made his way onto the main dock at Arendelle harbor, and received the few nobles who had gathered to greet the flagship from Weselton. He sipped his coffee while looking at the ship. "Why do think they're just sitting there?"

Admiral Crispin looked through his spyglass, observing the activity on board the ship. "It seems they're content to just watch us for now. They are watching the countess' ship very closely, looking for any sign of activity." He lowered his scope. "Ought we to send a small ship out to them, and demand they leave our harbor?"

Harold Halfdansson, Arendelle's most powerful chieftain and duke, walked over to the admiral and patted his shoulder. "We don't want to provoke them unnecessarily."

"Unnecessarily?" Crispin scratched his rather large mustache. "They have been sitting out there since yesterday, partially blocking the harbor entrance for larger ships."

Hålogaland, a younger earl with striking green eyes, moved over to Master Kai. "A good lob of cannon fire ought to get a reaction from them."

Kai and Crispin shared a meaningful glance, each knowing the reason why the ship from Weselton was in their harbor. Kai turned towards the young earl. "I don't think the Queen would approve of that tactic, my Lord."

"Well, she isn't here, is she? By the way, where is our illustrious monarch?"

"Please don't talk to me like—"

Kai didn't get a chance to complete his sentence, as a few royal guards came running towards him. They didn't stop until they were practically on top of him. One of the older guards drew in a deep breath and attempted to speak.

"You're never going to believe this, Master Kai…"

Kai tried to hide his impatience. "Well, what is it, young man?"

"There are four giant deer at the city border, Master Kai, and they're screaming your name!"

Kai's eyes went wide, and he almost dropped his coffee. It was one thing to be accepting of the Queen's magic, and to be aware of the existence of the trolls, but something like this was completely new to him, and he momentarily felt a little fear and uncertainty. But then it occurred to him that perhaps the Queen had sent these creatures to him. "Have them escorted to me at once. Now, please."

Winded, the guard groaned before he saluted. "As you wish, Master Kai." He took off running towards the western border of the city.

Harold Halfdansson stared at Kai, wondering how the Master of the Castle could not be nonplussed about the prospect of talking deer; and it was not just that. The presence of the flagship from Weselton bothered him—his intuition telling him something wasn't right. "How can you be so nonchalant?"

Kai continued to sip his coffee. "About what?"

"The flagship from Weselton, for one thing." Harold blinked in surprise. "What aren't you telling us, and why isn't the Countess Weselton here with us to greet this ship?"

"Master Kai!" Admiral Crispin continued to look through his spyglass. "They are lowering a small boat into the water. Two—no, three—sailors in the boat, and an officer."

All the men now turned towards the tall ship, each squinting to get a better look.

"Let's see." The admiral continued. "They're not heading towards us, but—they are preceding in the direction of the Countess' ship." He lowered his scope and turned towards Kai. "We can capture them once they board it."

Harold Halfdansson adjusted the sword at his side. "Give me the chance to do it." His gray eyes were hard, and he rather enjoyed the prospect of a confrontation.

Kai shook his head. "Again, I don't think the Queen would approve of such a blatant hostile act."

"You still haven't answered my question, Master Kai," Hålogaland interjected. "Where is the Queen?"

Exasperated, Admiral Crispin eyed the young earl. "You are out of line, my Lord!"

Kai was just about to speak when he was interrupted by the thunderous sound of hooves heading towards them, from the far side of the docks. When he had imagined giant deer he had not had these creatures in mind. They were gigantic, as far as animals were concerned, and easily as tall as any giraffe could be.

As the stags approached, Harold drew his sword. "What devilry is this?"

Kai held up his hand in protest. "No, your Grace. Please, let us find out if they are sent from the Queen."

All four stags stopped ten yards from the men and eyed them warily, and for many moments there was nothing but silence as the animals sniffed at the men before them.

Finally, Dáinn stepped forward and lowered his head. He noticed Harold Halfdansson's sword, and a low growl erupted from deep in his throat. "Put your weapon away." He hoofed at the wooden boards of the pier.

Kai slowly walked toward the animal, his hands before him, indicating no weapon. "My name is Master Kai, and we…" He indicated himself and the other men. "…mean you no harm."

Dáinn shook his antlers "You are the one that Jörmungandr told me to find. I bring news and orders from the great serpent."

"Great serpent? It doesn't sound like the Queen sent these beasts." Hålogaland stepped towards the Chieftain, and kept his hand on the hilt of his sword.

Dáinn raised his head towards the sky and roared, a loud terrible sound that startled everyone within the city. "Queen Elsa is Jörmungandr! How dare you question her, or any of her envoys!" He whirled towards Kai. "General order number five!"

All the men stood and gaped at the giant stag, all but Kai, who understood immediately. "What has happened… I'm sorry, but what do we call you?"

"I am Dáinn—and these are my brothers, Dvalinn, Duneyrr, and Duraþrór. We have come on the Queen's behalf, and to deliver urgent news." The stag proceeded to convey all that the Queen had told him, every single item, and the necessity of the message was understood by all, even by the Chieftain and Earl. He ended by saying, "This is the message from Elsa of Arendelle."

Kai had to take a step back when the stag was finished, as all the news was almost too much to bear. "So, it has begun. First of all, gentlemen, are we in agreement as to what 'general order five' is?"

Harold sheathed his sword. "Yes, we are. It states that in the Queen's absence you are to become Regent of Arendelle until Her Majesty's return, among other things."

The Earl held up his hands, his confusion evident. "Wait. This can only be enacted in a time of war. What war?"

"You don't really think General Urban is involved in just training exercises, do you?" Harold looked pointedly at Kai. "Am I right, Master Kai?"

Kai wasn't sure how much he should reveal to those assembled. "I would normally defer to the Queen to answer such questions. But on the other hand, the Queen does want certain preparations finished before she returns. We have a few sources that have revealed the ruinous plans of Weselton and the Southern Isles. They plan for war against us."

Hålogaland gasped. "Why am I just finding out about this now? This is outrageous, Master Kai." He took a wary step closer to the Master of the Castle. "Are all the nobility left as ignorant as I am about this?"

Kai hesitated in answering, wondering himself at the Queen's motives for keeping the war secret from Arendelle and its nobility. He had never questioned her purposes before, but it had been three days since Captain Gunnar had released him from prison, and she had yet to return. "I cannot say what I don't know, my Lord. Are you not the Secretary of the Queen's Privy Council?"

"Yes, what of it?"

"Then you have a job to do, my Lord. The letters need to be written and messengered out immediately, as per the Queen's instructions." Kai held the Earl's stare.

Hålogaland stared at Kai for a few moments, a bit uncertain about everything. Finally, the young Earl relented. "Of course, I will see to it immediately."

Kai waited. When it was apparent that the Earl wasn't going to move he gestured towards the castle. "Well?"

Harold turned towards Kai once the Earl was gone. "You handled that pretty smoothly, Master Kai. One would think you really had ambitions towards the Throne, if you know what I mean."

"I most certainly know what you mean, Your Grace, and for once you are truly wrong. I do my Queen's bidding for her pleasure, not my own. Harold Halfdansson?The Chieftain blinked, and then he appeared to inspect his sword. "Yes?"

"I believe you have a job to do, as well. Will you recall General Urban back to Arendelle?"

"And how do you propose I do that? I'm not a messenger, nor am I an errand boy for anyone, not even you!"

Dáinn and his brothers slowly approached Harold Halfdansson, their heads lowered, antlers pointed at him. Kai immediately stood between them and the nobleman, and raised his hands in a gesture of placation. The stags stopped moving, but continued to stare with open hostility at the Chieftain, who backed away from them so suddenly that he almost tripped off the dock and into the water.

Harold glanced over his shoulder before turning back to Kai, his expression unreadable. "What do you need me to do?"

"Personally see that the General comes back to the city at once. I don't care what you do or how you do it. Good day, Your Grace." Kai moved away from Harold and went back over to stand next to Admiral Crispin, who was trying not to smirk. Together, they turned their attention back to observing the flagship from Weselton.

The Chieftain walked away without saying a word, and gave the stags a wide berth as he walked around them. Dvalinn tried to nip at his heals, but a pointed look from Dáinn stopped him.


Admiral Stinus' arm dropped to his side in astonishment at the appearance of the giant stags, and his spyglass fell out of his hand and landed hard on the wooden deck, breaking the lenses. "Oh, my god…" His eyes widened even more when it seemed as if the animals were talking to the men on the docks.

Several sailors turned from their duties to curiously stare at the admiral, and wonder what was going on. Gardbrand, a Captain of the Elite Guard who had accompanied Stinus on this voyage, calmly walked up to the distressed man.

Gardbrand looked over at the docks and saw the enormous animals. "My god, indeed. What are those things?"

Stinus looked down at his broken scope. "They appear to be deer, but I've never seen red deer as big as these creatures. Also…" His voice trailed off, as he didn't want to seem to be crazy.

The Captain glanced sharply at the Admiral. "What are you hiding?"

"I'm not, per se, hiding anything. But for a moment those animals appeared to be—to be talking to those men on the dock."

Gardbrand now fully turned to face the Admiral. "What? You can't possibly believe that, let alone say it."

Stinus didn't look at the Captain, but continued to stare at the dock. "Haven't you heard the whispers regarding Arendelle and its Queen? That there is magic here, and the Queen wields it?"

"A man of my position, listening to old tales and superstitions? I have neither the time nor the patience for such nonsense. I know what Magnus says his father told him, but I care little for such things." Gardbrand walked over to where one of small boats was being prepared. "I plan on boarding the Countess' vessel—care to come with me?"

Admiral Stinus shook his head and went back to looking at the docks. "My duty is to this ship. Go on without me… and please report back immediately what you find."

"Someone needs to make contact with those representatives on the docks."

Aggravated, the Admiral turned back to Captain Gardbrand. "As soon as you come back, we will both go." That answer seemed to satisfy the Captain, as he nodded and turned back to preparing the small boat.


Anna sighed in relief when the wagon passed the western border to Arendelle proper, and they were within the city limits. A cobblestone road replaced the dirt path, and a guard post was about two hundred yards in front of her, and beyond that the first houses. After veering the horses off the path she guided them under a very large tree to rest. She slumped on the bench and rubbed her eyes, to rid them of dust, and for the first time, felt her weariness keenly. She heard Elsa stir behind her, and suddenly two arms wrapped themselves around her waist and pulled her down so that she was on her knees, bent over the bench.

Elsa's hot breath delicately caressed Anna's ear. "Anna…" She pressed her body flush against the young woman, her arousal clear.

Anna felt Elsa's thighs pressed against her own. "Please Elsa, someone could see…" A gasp was torn from her throat as her skirt was hiked up beyond her waist. "…us."

Elsa grabbed at Anna's hip, and worked at unclasping her pants, but her hands were shaking, making it an impossible task. The dragon growled in frustration as Elsa tried to focus on her sister's words. "Anna, please, I need—this."

Anna reached behind and grabbed the hand that was on her hip, making a necessary contact with the dragon. "Please listen to me, Elsa. There is a guard post ahead, and I'm sure we've been spotted. We don't have time for this, I'm sorry."

Elsa felt the warm contact of Anna's hand in her own; and it grounded her to the present and enabled her to really hear the princess' words. After a moment she scooted back and broke contact with Anna's body. "I'm sorry… I'm sorry."

Anna turned around and saw the evidence of Elsa's aroused state; she felt her desperation. "Why—I mean, why now?"

"I… the call of the dragon… oh, Anna, I'm frightened by its intensity." Elsa shrank back and covered herself, her cheeks flushing a deep red.

"It must be strong to frighten you so much." Stirred by compassion, Anna moved closer. "What can I do?" she whispered. She blushed at the hunger in Elsa's eyes, but didn't turn her gaze away.

"No…" Elsa looked up, a deep fire in her eyes. "I'm afraid I'll hurt you."

Anna sat back on her heels and regarded the blonde, who was in such obvious distress. There was no way they were going into the city with Elsa in such a state. She looked over her shoulder and noticed that there was no movement in the guard shack beyond. Turning back around she took Elsa's hands in her own. "Come, Elsa, will you let me help you?"

Elsa grabbed Anna's shoulders without hesitation and spun her around, bending her over the bench again and pulling up her skirt. Her hands shook again as she pressed her hips up against the princess, and she succeeded this time in unhooking her pants. She grabbed Anna's hips and pushed deeply inside of her, causing both of them to gasp and groan. Elsa fell over Anna's back, her nipples touching warm skin.

Anna's knuckles turned white as she grabbed at the bench, and her breath quickened in anticipation. But the blonde stilled her body. "Oh, god, Elsa—please move." The flesh inside her was so hard that it brought tears to her eyes.

Elsa lifted slightly, her hands moving to Anna's shoulders, and slapped her hips against Anna's, filling her thoroughly and completely. Her vision left her, and was replaced by a plethora of sparking stars every time their hips met. The serpent growled, head thrashing about at such an erotic coupling. The wagon shook with the power of her thrusts.

Anna felt like her body wanted to explode, and she whimpered when Elsa's hands left her shoulders and grabbed again at her hips. "Elsa… oh, Elsa… I'm—" All coherent thought left her with the power of her release, her entire body jerking forward until her legs gave out.

Elsa caught her before she could collapse, and continued to pound into her. "Anna… Anna… my mate…"

Anna felt her whole body tingle and then go limp with the power of her release, and she looked over her shoulder at Elsa, and marveled at her stamina. After awhile she tore her eyes from her sister when her body began to tighten again around the hard flesh inside her. Panting, she lifted her head to gaze outside the wagon and her eyes fell upon movement at the guard post. "Elsa, please stop, the guards…"

Elsa looked up, her eyes glazed over with lust, and growled at the possible intrusion. Her pace quickened, and she stiffened beyond credence, to the point of agony. "A n n a…"

For the first time in their lovemaking Anna felt the presence of the dragon. It was a primal and unyielding manifestation, one that ought to have frightened her. But instead of fear Anna was overcome with the rawest desire she had ever felt, and it sent her over the edge again unexpectedly, her body convulsing, writhing with pleasure.

When Anna tightened around her again Elsa lost control. Her body seized, one spasm after another, her seed releasing into Anna again and again until she collapsed, utterly spent.

Anna opened her eyes when Elsa stopped thrusting and saw two horses approaching in the distance. Her hands clutched at the bench and she groaned in frustration. "Please, Elsa, they're coming."

Elsa lifted her head at the remark, and released her own ragged breath. "But—I'm not ready."

"Jörmungandr!"

The blonde's eyes snapped open and she immediately withdrew, but her eyes raked over the naked form below her. "Anna—your skirt."

The princess got up and fixed her clothes, her hands a little unsteady. When she was done she turned around and saw that Elsa was far from being appeased. She reached down and pulled up Elsa's pants, her hands shaking as she worked at the buttons. "Elsa, listen to me. You need to come back to yourself—now!"

But the dragon was still in control, and it, at first, backed away from Anna with a growl. Elsa struggled with Jörmungandr, and after a long moment of staring into Anna's eyes, was finally able to bring herself together. "I'm here, Anna."

Anna glanced over her shoulder again and saw that the horses and their riders were closer. "Soldiers are coming, Elsa." She began removing lids from boxes. "Is there a shirt in here somewhere?"

Elsa stopped Anna's frantic search. "Hold on, please. I can fold my wings and wrap a blanket around me, Anna." She smiled.

Anna relaxed a bit. "I suppose that will do for now."

The Queen took Anna's hand and guided her outside the wagon. Both sat on the bench and waited for the soldiers to arrive, and after a few minutes, they did. Elsa stood up when the soldiers were close enough to recognize her. They immediately saluted and one of them guided his horse over to the wagon.

"Good afternoon, my Queen, I am Corporal Fanuel . We were not made aware that her Majesty was out for a ride. May we escort you back to Arendelle Castle?"

Elsa processed what the soldier's words indicated. Apparently, not all of the guards or soldiers were made aware that she and Anna were away from the castle, or that anything was out of the ordinary. She was puzzled by this, as she thought Master Kai would have added extra security around Arendelle as per her instructions. She casually sat back down and smiled at the man. "Of course, Corporal. We are a bit anxious to get back as soon as we can."

"Then let us lead the way." Fanuel took off his helm and bowed at the waist. "Your Majesty." He spurred his horse around and joined the other soldier who was already a good few yards down the cobblestone road.

Anna took the reins and guided her horses about twenty yards behind the others. When they were moving along she turned her head to watch Elsa, who was wrapped securely in a blanket and was pensively silent. "Are you alright, Elsa?"

The Queen had her head down, as her wing was still bothering her. "I'm fine, Anna—it's the wing, again."

Anna nodded, then chuckled a bit. "It didn't seem to bother you ten minutes ago."

"Can we not discuss that with those soldiers so near?" Elsa coughed, then reached around to pull Anna closer to her. As they began to pass the first houses and shops she glanced at Anna, a small amount of fear welling up from deep within. "I—I'm a bit afraid, Anna."

"Of what?" Anna turned in her seat to watch Elsa. "Are you afraid of Jörmungandr?"

"No, not of the serpent—but what the beast will do now that he's so very much a part of me." Elsa sat up, her neck craning as if to see something. "There is trouble at the heart of the city, at the docks. Anna, please, can the horses go faster?"

"Are you sure?" When Elsa squeezed her hand Anna manipulated the reins to cause the horses to gallop at a medium clip. They quickly passed their escorts, who reined their own horses in order to follow the wagon. "Is there danger ahead, Elsa?"

The Queen glanced at her sister, knowing the meaning behind the simple question. Anna was concerned about putting the baby at risk. "No, nothing of that sort, Anna. I would never put you or the baby in a perilous circumstance. But there is a possible diplomatic situation that needs my immediate attention." She turned around and went back inside the wagon, looking for suitable clothing.


Dáinn and the other stags stood next to Master Kai as he watched the men from Weselton board the Countess' ship. After a while his head snapped up, and he sniffed at the air. "Jörmungandr!"

The other creatures had the same reaction, and they writhed about in anticipation. Kai and the Admiral whirled around at the same time to gape at the deer, each wondering what was wrong, and if they were in danger.

"What is it, Dáinn?" Kai took a wary step back and eyed Crispin as he did so, getting the Admiral's attention. But before he could say anything there were a few screams from just beyond the docks, as a few citizens had to hurry away from a fast approaching wagon.

The stags seemed to jump in anticipation of its arrival, and this startled the people who had gathered around them in curiosity. Dvalinn reared up and barked out a greeting as the wagon slowed and stopped just thirty yards from them. There were two riders on horses behind the wagon, and they were surprised by the sudden stop; the horses stopped abruptly just behind the coach, one horse close enough to the side of the dock, sending the soldier flying into the chilly sea water.

Elsa emerged from the wagon, dressed in gray pants and black boots, and with an oversized officer's coat on. She saw the soldier flail about in the water, and she jumped down immediately to give orders to the other soldier and surrounding citizenry to help the man out of the water. After she was sure the soldier was okay she turned around and walked over to the excited stags.

Anna dropped the reins when she was satisfied that her own horses were calm, and called over to the Master of the Castle. "Master Kai!"

Kai, who had been helping the almost drowned soldier, stopped what he was doing and trotted over to the wagon, along with Admiral Crispin. "Yes, Princess Anna? How may I be of service to you?"

The princess smiled down on the man. "Will you please help me down, Kai?"

"Of course, Your Highness." Kai took hold of the princess' hands and guided her off the wagon. He was about to say something when he glanced down and noticed her swollen belly; his eyes widened and he could not hide his look of surprise. He heard a low growl behind him and turned around to find the Queen very close and the four stags at her heels.

Elsa shot Kai a warning glance. "Not a word, Kai."

Dáinn poked his head over Elsa's shoulder and glared at the man, his eyes challenging defiance. Kai closed his mouth and nodded at the blonde while Admiral Crispin slowly backed away from the large animals. The four stags immediately surrounded Anna, their eyes darting to and fro, on the lookout for trouble.

Elsa's expression softened, and she looked down at her feet for a moment before catching Kai's attention. "Please, Master Kai… I apologize for sounding so gruff. But before you say anything, yes, Anna is pregnant—and that's all you need to know about for now, we will discuss it later. For now…" She glanced over at the newest tall ship in the harbor. "…is that the Flagship from Weselton?"

Kai nodded. "Yes, it is, Your Majesty. They've been here since the early morning two days hence."

"Hand me your spyglass." Elsa took the instrument from Kai and looked out to the enemy vessel in her harbor. "What are they doing here? Have they come on an errand of peace?"

Admiral Crispin stepped up to his Queen. "We don't know anything for sure, Your Majesty. They have yet to send out any envoys." He pointedly glanced at Kai. "And we haven't, either."

Elsa turned her head towards the two men in astonishment. "What? Why have we not contacted the commander of that ship? Admiral?"

Crispin reddened, his face twitching. "I… I don't know, Your Majesty."

The Queen glanced at her sister before turning towards the Master of the Castle. "Master Kai?"

Kai lowered his voice. "Your Majesty, we have not known what to do." He nodded towards the red deer. "They only arrived a few hours ago. Up until then, I've been at a loss as to how to take care of the kingdom."

Elsa stared at Kai for many long awkward moments. "When did Captain Gunnar release you from prison?" she whispered.

"Three days ago, Your Majesty." The man whispered back.

Stunned, Elsa turned away from Kai, careful to keep a neutral expression on her face. She blew out a long breath and brought the spyglass up to her eye again in the pretense of watching the ship. "Master Kai?"

Master Kai stood straight up. "Yes, Your Majesty?"

"Have the nobles been summoned as per my instructions?"

"Lord Hålogaland is taking care of it as we speak."

Elsa nodded and lowered the scope. "And General Urban?"

"Harold Halfdansson is personally seeing to it." Kai dusted invisible lint off his jacket.

A half smile formed on Elsa's face. "How did you get His Grace to agree to do it?"

Kai visibly relaxed. "I believe it was "general order five" that convinced him."

Elsa noticed that a good number of Arendelle's citizens were gathering at the docks, curious as to what was going on, and a little curious to see their Queen, and that there were few guards to keep them back. She nodded at Kai before moving over to Anna, who was looking a bit self-conscious. "What is it, Anna?"

Anna indicated the growing crowd. "All these people, Elsa—I'm beginning to feel uncomfortable out here."

"Okay, snowflake." Elsa briefly grasped her sister's shoulder. "Admiral Crispin?"

"Your Majesty." Crispin took the spyglass that Elsa handed to him.

"Have a field tent erected right here and set up a watch. I want that ship watched day and night—and the Countess' vessel, as well, and notify me when and if they make a move towards the docks. Can you do this right away?"

The Admiral nodded vigorously. Of course, my Queen. How many guards would you like posted here?"

"As many as can be, Admiral—and have fires lit, its cold out here." Elsa noticed that her presence was attracting more royal guards, and they were busying themselves by keeping the townspeople away from her. To her chagrin, she noticed Captain Gunnar leading a few of the guards in her direction so she stepped in front of Anna, to keep him from seeing her.

The Captain's eyes wandered to the stags for a moment, and he watched them curiously before turning his attention to the Queen. "May I be of service to you, Your Majesty?"

Elsa gestured towards the growing throng. "Yes, you can disperse the crowd, Captain Gunnar, and clear a path towards the Castle."

"Is that all, Your Majesty? Perhaps, I can escort you back to the Castle?" Gunnar idly played with the sword at his side.

"Captain!"

Both Elsa and Gunnar turned towards the sound of the deep voice of Lieutenant Lindar, a tall blonde man, and twin brother of Ingarth, who was being held prisoner at Jonvar. He approached the Queen and bowed, then turned his attention on Captain Gunnar. "I believe Her Majesty has given you a direct order, Captain. See to it."

Gunnar hesitated for only a moment, then he bowed towards the Queen before leaving.

"Thank you, Lieutenant." Elsa looked over and watched as Gunnar glanced back at her before attending to his duty. "That man does not hold my confidence."

Lindar followed his Queen's glance. "I can demote him, if that would please Your Majesty?"

"No, but perhaps you can keep an eye on him for me. He has taken an interest in the Princess, and she does not return his attention."

Lindar nodded, and then smiled. "I see. I will adjust his assignments to keep him away from the Castle." He nodded towards Elsa. "My Queen." He was just about to walk away when his expression changed to one of worry. "May I ask a question, Your Majesty?"

Elsa nodded. "Of course, Lieutenant."

"I don't mean to bother—and I'm sure Your Majesty already knows this. But I was wondering if you knew that my brother, Lieutenant Ingarth, is missing. His wife is very worried." Lindar turned away from Elsa. "We all are."

Elsa processed the information in only a few moments, quickly thinking about her spy Zander and his decision to take Ingarth with him to the Southern Isles. But something inside was telling her not to divulge this information to Lindar, as it was still a mystery to her. "I did not know this, Lieutenant." She shook her head. "Thank you for telling me."

Lindar watched as the guards slowly dispersed the crowd of people. "Thank you for listening, Your Majesty. Until later." He nodded again before taking his leave.

Elsa watched as the tall man walked away from her, his shoulders slumped. Anna noticed the peculiar look on her sister's face, and a tiny flare of jealousy took hold of her. "What was that all about?"

Elsa tore her eyes away from the Lieutenant, and strolled over to her sister, her expression neutral. "Nothing, Anna." She turned her attention towards Dáinn. "What will you do while Anna is secure within the Castle?"

The stag shifted on his hooves, a bit agitated. "We will patrol the city boundaries, and keep a constant watch. Jörmungandr?"

"Yes?" Elsa adjusted her coat, as her wing was beginning to bother her again.

"Keep your guards away from us, as we will not allow them to interfere with our duty."

The blonde abruptly looked up at the animal. "What does that mean?"

Dáinn lowered his antlers towards Anna. "Princess Anna and her unborn baby are our charge, and we will kill anything or anyone who keeps us from her." He gently touched Anna's belly with his nose.

Anna glanced at Elsa before lifting her hand to scratch at one of Dáinn's ears. The other stags nodded at the gesture, and stood closer to the princess.

Elsa blinked, then nodded. "I see." She tried to adjust her wing to make it more comfortable, but couldn't. "Are you ready to go back to the Castle, Anna?"

"Sure." Anna turned to go, but then stopped. "Are we going to walk, or take the wagon?"

"Well, that depends on you. Remember that I will proudly stay at your side if you choose to walk."

Anna ran her hand through her hair. "Can we take the wagon?"


Elsa watched the sunset from the warmth of her personal study. The heat from her fireplace seeped into her weary bones, and helped to relax her just as much as the brandy did. After sighing, she settled back onto her favorite chair and watched the flames flicker, her eyes slowly closing. Her eyes immediately snapped open at the quiet knock on her door, and she wished to send away the intruder at once. "Come in."

"Am I bothering you?"

Elsa turned her head at the small voice, and noticed her sister standing timidly at the door. "No, not at all, snowflake. Come and sit by me." When Anna didn't move she slowly stood up. "What is it, what is wrong?"

"I don't want to be a nuisance, Elsa."

"What?" The blonde was confused. "Have I done something to make you feel this way?"

"Well, no." Anna wrung her hands. "Oh, I'm just being silly again, I think." She took a tentative step towards the large chair Elsa was standing in front of. "You didn't come down to dinner—and I thought to myself, 'you've done it now, Anna' and that you were mad at me—were you, I mean, are you?"

Elsa stood silent for a long moment, her jaw slack, as she realized her sister was right—Anna was being silly, again. "Anna?"

"Yes?"

"You are being silly—come here."

Anna flew into Elsa's arms. "Where were you at dinner time?"

Elsa rested her chin on Anna's head. "I'm really not in the mood to answer unwanted questions."

Anna sighed. "What questions?"

"I'm taller. Someone sooner or later is going to notice and I'm not sure if I am willing to answer those questions right now." Elsa closed her eyes and ran her hands over Anna's back. "I'm not sure if I can hide these wings too much longer—or even if I want to."

Anna snuggled closer into Elsa's arms, pressing her body fully into the blonde's.

Elsa's hand drifted over Anna's protruding stomach. "Did anyone say anything to you about this?"

"Who would dare? Not after that lecture you made earlier to the whole staff, threatening death should anyone look in my direction."

"Well, I didn't actually threaten death, if you remember correctly." Elsa chuckled, her hands wandering from Anna's stomach to her back. She sighed and pulled the princess closer to her, melding their bodies together. Her left hand drew lazy circles on Anna's back until it drifted to her bottom, and a slight whimper was torn from her throat. "Anna…"

Anna closed her eyes, her body slowly igniting at the insistent caresses. She lifted her hands and undid Elsa's plait, causing her hair to cascade over her shoulders. "I like it when you hair is wild, like this."

"You do?" Elsa's voice cracked, her hands moving to the ties of Anna's dress, and slowly undoing them.

Anna sensuously grabbed at Elsa's hips, then she turned in her arms so that she was facing away from her. "If I remember correctly—you like it like this."

Elsa's lips found the back of Anna's ear. "Anna…"

And then Anna felt it, the evidence that her simple seduction was working. She chuckled low in her throat, her hips grinding back onto Elsa's hard flesh. "Oh, yes…"

Elsa growled, then turned around and walked them until Anna was bending over one of her couches, their bodies firmly attached. Her hands shook with need, to the point where she couldn't work at the ties to Anna's dress, and her own flesh was pressing painfully against her pants. "I—I can't…"

"Inside…now…my Queen." Anna rubbed herself on Elsa's still clothed form, teasing her mercilessly, and aching for a deeper contact and penetration.

The Queen was finally able to undo three buttons, her breath coming out in short pants, her mind lost in a primal frenzy as she pushed Anna's dress up and entered her fully.


The embers burned low in the fireplace, their orange glow casting the room in an ethereal light. Elsa sighed and begrudging got up from their makeshift bed on floor and added more wood onto the dying flames; the night was cold, even for her. The candles in the room had long since burned themselves out. Elsa turned and regarded her sister for a few moments, then grabbed another blanket from the couch and draped it over her. Anna was sleeping soundly, her expression serene. The blonde sighed, realizing that sleep was going to elude her this particular evening, even though her body was exhausted and well spent.

Elsa stood and stretched her wings until they could go no further, then she stretched her back, feeling her joints pop back into place as she did so. It felt so good to be out of her confining clothes, and she felt a small amount a freedom in her naked state. She glanced at Anna's peaceful face again and then sat back down next to the growing flames, trying to warm away her growing melancholy. She needed to be strong, not only for Anna, but for her whole Kingdom, as well. War was at hand, its first skirmish already happened with Arendelle sympathizers slaughtered. There was a certain part of her that took personal responsibility for that—in other words, she ought to have acted sooner, at least sent a centuria of soldiers there to guard the simple farm workers.

Elsa jumped at the small knock on her parlor door. After wrapping herself in a blanket she cautiously walked to the door; she did not open it. "Yes, who is it?"

"It is Master Kai, my Queen."

"What is it, Kai?" The blonde wondered what could have stirred the Master of the Castle into coming to talk to her at such a late hour. "Can it wait until tomorrow?"

"I'm afraid not, Elsa. A package arrived for you about an hour ago, and—well, you need to see this."

A warning flashed in the back of Elsa's mind, and a chill was sent up her spine. "Give me ten minutes. I'll meet you downstairs."


"Who sent this?" Elsa looked on, horrified, her stomach rolling, nauseated.

A royal guard put the lid back on the box and then turned away. He stepped back a few yards and turned around and fell to his knees, vomiting all over himself.

The rain clouds overhead built up and rolled all around Arendelle, releasing the first real snowflakes of the season. They flitted down slowly, and soon fell upon the cobblestone entrance to the castle where Elsa stood along with Kai and several of the Royal Guard. The carriage that brought the box stood about twenty yards away, its driver currently standing prisoner between two guards.

The soft flakes fell onto the wooden box that the driver delivered, soon to become red as they soaked through with blood.

Elsa looked up to stare at the carriage driver, her eyes hard. "What does he have to say about this?"

Kai stepped up to his Queen's side. "He claims to know nothing—was paid a small fortune to deliver this to you personally. I'm inclined to believe him."

"Have him arrested anyway." Elsa turned away from the bloody box and its hideous contents, her concern immediately turning to Anna. "Have these—heads—buried outside the city border. But do it in a respectful way, as to honor those fallen." She closed her eyes briefly in an attempt to drive away the sight. "Bother me no more tonight, Kai. I'm tired."

The Queen knew some of those who had been killed, and she was sure that the Ninth Duke of Weselton was the one who had them decapitated and had their heads sent to her as a warning. Elsa, in a flare of anger, turned around abruptly and raised her hand; shards of ice flew from it to smash into the side of carriage, sending it careening and breaking it in half. "Guards!"

Two Royal Guards immediately opened the doors to the Castle and Elsa marched inside. She stopped in her downstairs office and poured herself a generous portion of brandy. The libation burned as it seeped down her throat, and she welcomed the sensation. Weselton had sent her a message—clear and unambiguous. She sat down at the desk and took up her writing paper and pen, planning an appropriate response.

At that moment Queen Elsa of Arendelle officially declared war on the Duchy of Weselton and the Kingdom of the Southern Isles.

Chapter Text

“Why are you making him wait?”

 

It was cold, and the sun had just broken over the horizon.

 

Hans sat down at the dining table in his personal naval vessel, and looked over an expense report, written for the acquisition of new rifles.  “Because the longer he waits, the more eager he will be to tell us the truth.”

 

Roman took the chair opposite his brother and poured himself a cup of coffee.  “But we’ve been here two whole days, don’t you think that is long enough?”

 

Hans put down the document and looked closely at his older sibling.  The man was visibly sweating, and obviously very upset at the whole business. “Look, you practically begged me to bring you along and now you’re acting like you don’t want to be here.  Either way, it doesn’t matter to me which you choose. But if you don’t want to help me then just go, and leave me alone.”

 

“Of course I want to help you.”

 

“Really, now?”  Hans looked over to his sheathed sword, which was lying on the table.  “Are you ready to cut his fingers off one by one?  Or, if that doesn’t work, you could always lower his pants and—“

 

“Hans!”  Roman jerked away from the table, and stood abruptly. The very thought of doing such things to an innocent man, and he knew he was guiltless, was reprehensible to him. He turned around, facing a porthole, and looked beyond the docks to stare at the troops as they trained in the distance.  “Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it.”

 

Hans sat back in his wooden chair and looked closely at his brother.  “I still feel that you are not fully appreciating what I’m trying to do?”

 

“I sincerely hope you are not referring to how you tortured your own brother!”

 

The Prince lowered his head, his mouth working into a small smile.  “For years the Southern Isles has remained an insignificant kingdom, mostly due to incompetence, I think.”  He reached over and ran his hand slowly over his sword.  “Now I have a chance to rectify that situation, and to raise our stature.  All of Europe will take notice.”

 

“Of what?  That we bullied into submission a weaker, peaceful kingdom such as Arendelle?”  Roman sat back in his chair, trying not to look as defeated as he felt.  “Is this what you want our legacy to be?”

 

Hans blinked, a bit taken aback, and really contemplated Roman’s question.  “My personal motivations are secondary to what is best for the Southern Isles.”  His eyes wandered to the decanter of cognac on the desk.  “I’m doing this for you, too, Roman.  Don’t you want your sons to be truly proud to be a Westegaard?”

There it was.  Roman knew then that there would be no dissuading Hans from his perceived purpose.  “Of course I want my sons to take pride in themselves.  But not at this price.  Please, Hans, put away this madness.”

 

Hans continued to stare at Roman, a small voice in the back of his mind telling him there was just something not right about him.  “I’m glad I can count on you.”  He turned back to the document and poured his own coffee.  “How is poor Ingleif, by the way?”

 

Roman poured some cognac into his coffee.  “How would I know.”

 

“You did visit him before we sailed, didn’t you?”

 

“What did you expect me to do? He’s my—our brother, and I won’t abandon him, no matter what he did.”

 

Hans turned around in his chair to face a small wood burning stove, and warmed his hands.  Roman’s fraternal concern annoyed him, especially since none of it was directed at him.  “His misguided zeal against me could have altered the outcome of the upcoming war.” 

 

“Speaking of the war… why are our troops still training?  Fingaard tells me that everything is proceeding ahead of schedule, so why not get on with the thing.”

 

Hans sighed deeply in an attempt to ward off his own uncertainty.  The truth was that the Southern Isles was prepared, he was sure of it. The only obstacle at this point was Weselton, and their apparent silence as of late.  He was counting on General Voljor’s complicity, and wondered why he had not heard from him.  “Fingaard says many things, Roman, not all of them are true.”

 

Roman stared a Hans, his eyes betraying nothing.  “Did you know my wife is pregnant again?”  His words stung, just as he hoped they would.

 

“No, I didn’t.”  Touché, brother. Hans wondered how Roman was able to figure out this one weakness—what he considered to be his only flaw.  It didn’t matter, though.  Victory in this war would be his, and his alone.  Arendelle and Weselton be damned.  “Are you sure you want to stay?”

 

“You couldn’t drag me away in chains.”

 

Hans thought about it then, and how satisfying it would be to do exactly that.  “Leave me now.”  When Roman was gone he slumped in his chair and closed his eyes for a brief moment, wishing at that moment for the war to be already over.

 


 

 

Elsa wrote the official declaration of war in less than an hour, and had it sent out by messenger to the respective kingdoms, bypassing the advise of her Privy Council, and the nobles in general.  She thought about the ramifications of her actions all night, staying in her parlor by the fire, unable because of her emotions to join Anna in bed.  The brandy felt good as it rolled down her throat, coating her insides, warming her, as the fire couldn’t.  The gentle knock on her door at dawn startled her somewhat.

 

Elsa stirred in her chair, and put her empty glass on a side table.  “Come in.”

 

A page opened the door and Master Kai pushed a small cart into the room, it was laden with food and a pot of hot tea.  Kai excused the page and then lifted the cover off of one of the dishes.  “I know you didn’t have dinner, Your Highness, so I took the liberty of having a hot breakfast made for you.”

 

Elsa looked at the plate of scrambled eggs and potatoes and her stomach growled.  “Thank you very much, Kai.  Come and have a cup of hot tea with me.  There are a few things you need to know—is there bacon?”

 

The Master of the Castle removed the cover off of another plate; this one was piled high with sausage, bacon, and ham.  He portioned out a generous helping onto the Queen’s plate and then covered her lap with a napkin before handing her the plate. 

 

“There is also toast with jam, and a large assortment of other pastries, my Queen.”

 

Elsa nodded as she ate rather ravenously, suddenly realizing how hungry she really was.   “Thank you, Kai.”

 

Kai poured two cups of hot tea and set down one on the table next to the Queen.  He cradled his own on his lap as he sat down on the chair next to Elsa’s, patiently waiting for his Queen to begin the conversation.

 

Elsa put down her plate when it was half empty and drank a large swallow of tea.  She glanced at Kai before picking up her plate again.  “I can assume that whatever I tell you will be handled with the greatest discretion, will it not, Master Kai?”

 

Kai sat up and nodded. “Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

The Queen noted the man’s stiff posture and his formal tone.  “Kai, please, may we speak as friends?”

 

The older man turned his head and openly looked at his Queen.  “I have always wanted to be thought of as your friend—Elsa.”

 

“I’m glad, because I have felt the same.”  Elsa put down her plate and turned to face Kai.  “Ever since the death of my parents I have felt a special bond with you.”

 

“And I with you, my Queen.”

 

“Kai, does it vex you terribly to know that Princess Anna is pregnant?”

 

Kai sat back in the chair, careful to keep his expression neutral.  “I suppose it does surprise me, but I do not harbor any ill feelings towards her.  The princess’ business is her own.  But…”

 

Elsa felt the dragon stir slightly.  “But what?”

 

“I am disappointed in Master Kristoff, as I thought he had better sense than that.”  Kai reached over to pour some brandy into his tea.

 

The Queen was at first irked, but then she realized that Kai was only making what he believed to be the logical connections.  She had to hide a small smile, and made the decision to confide completely in the man. “Kristoff isn’t involved, Kai.  Do you remember our prior conversation about the Fimbulvetr and the other prophecies—about Ragnarök, and my involvement in them?”

 

“Of course, Elsa.  But… Ragnarök?  I think I remember most of what we talked about—especially your part in the prophecies.”  Kai sat back again, thinking.  He knew Elsa was to be Jörmungandr, but beyond that, he wasn’t making any connections.

 

Elsa started to blush, but she tried not to.  “Do you remember the part about Líf and Lífprasir?”

 

“After you explained everything to me I took the opportunity to read about it for myself.”  Kai looked at Elsa, a dawning realization slamming him hard.  “Is Anna pregnant because of the predictions and events in the Vafþrúðnismál?”

 

Elsa wondered then why she had not done the same thing.  “Well, both yes and no.  I can’t expect you to fully understand everything that is happening, because I still don’t.”

 

“So are you saying the Princess is bound by the prophecies, as well, my Queen?”

 

Elsa lowered her head for a moment, fighting the urge to just scream it out and be done with it.  “Yes, in a way.”  She wondered just how much of that simple statement was actually true.  Was Anna’s pregnancy part of the Fimbulvetr, or was it simply a product of the dragon’s overwhelming urge to procreate.  Or maybe it was none of that, and was her own selfish urges finally brought to the surface?  “But you must know that Anna is pregnant because of me, and no one else.  She is carrying my child, as fate and circumstance may have it.”

 

Kai reached over and poured himself a glass of brandy alone, absorbing the Queen’s declaration.  He drank the glass in one swallow before turning his attention back to Elsa.  “I don’t know what to say, except—well, I believe you are telling me the truth.”  He lowered his eyes, unable to meet Elsa’s frank stare.  “I’m somewhat at a loss for words.”

 

“I can imagine.”  Elsa poured brandy into her cup of tea.  She knew the feeling completely, as she had experienced the same thing when first learning about the prophecies and her involvement in them. 

 

Kai looked up just as the Queen was putting down her cup, and noticed her wan expression.  He put his cup down and sighed.  “How may I help you, Elsa?”

 

Elsa let out a deep, cleansing breath.  It felt good to have a confidant, and not to have to shoulder this burden completely alone.  “Please keep this to yourself—not about the pregnancy, but about my involvement in it. I’m sure Gerda and a few other staff already know she is pregnant, even though no word of it is official.  I will not stand by and allow my sister’s reputation to be tarnished.”

 

“You cannot control what people think, Elsa.  Not even as Queen.”

 

Elsa sat back in her own chair and picked up her plate again.  “I know that, Kai.  But I can make it a crime to openly talk about it, and I have a mind to do so.”

 

“What will you do?”  Kai picked up an apple and began to munch on it.

 

“First of all, as Master of the Castle there is something else you need to know.  I’ve officially declared war on Weselton and the Southern Isles—I sent out the declarations earlier this morning.  Which means there are a few things you need to do immediately.  All the delegates in Weselton’s embassy need to be ushered out of Arendelle as soon as possible, see that this is the first thing you do. They will have to be escorted to Weselton’s border, to insure their safety.  Have Captain Gunnar assigned to this task.”  Elsa finished her meal, and then put her plate back on the cart. “After this, have a decree drawn up concerning Princess Anna—we are officially in a state of war and I will not tolerate any sort of idle gossip concerning her, especially now.”

 

Kai stood.  “Is there anything else, my Queen?”

 

Elsa looked over to her clock; it was only just after six in the morning. “I need to get a few hours sleep before I do anything else.  Please have Gerda see that I’m not disturbed until noon.”  She stood up and walked Kai to her door.  “Oh, and one more thing.  Inform Admiral Crispin that I will meet him at the docks after lunch.” 

 

“Of course, Your Majesty.  Would you like me to assign a patrol to you and the Princess?”

 

Elsa held up her fingers and wiggled them for emphasis.  “I don’t need one—my ice magic.  But have one assigned to Anna, for when she visits the city. See you later, Kai.”

 

The Master of the Castle bowed before leaving.

 


 

 

Elsa opened her bedroom door and quietly entered, as to not disturb her sleeping sister.  She removed her officer’s coat then stretched out her wings, but the left one was still hurting somewhat, and it wouldn’t unfold to its length. After trying again she felt a noticeable pop, and her eyes widened at the sensation, because then the appendage hung loosely at her back. “Anna!”

 

Anna sat up abruptly and rubbed her eyes, completely startled.  “What?”

 

Elsa moved quickly to her. “What is happening with my wing?”

 

The princess blinked several times in an effort to fully wake up.  After a few moments she ran her hand over Elsa’s left wing.  “It’s very hot again, like it still has an infection. Why is it hanging like that?” Anna lifted the leathery wing just slightly, but it was enough to jar it completely off of Elsa.  She shrieked and dropped the appendage on the floor.

 

Elsa felt the blood pouring out of the new wound, and she fell to her knees.  “It came off?  Did you pull it off, Anna?  What did you do?”

 

“It fell off in my hand!” Anna ran to the bathroom and grabbed a few towels.  When she was back she placed them over the open slit, soaking up the blood.  “I didn’t do it on purpose, it was an accident!”

 

Elsa felt the slit close, and she turned her head towards the princess.  “What about the other one?  It doesn’t feel hot like that one did.”

 

“You want me to touch it?”

 

“Yes, snowflake.  Now, please.”

 

Anna tentatively reached out and touched the other wing.  Elsa was right, it wasn’t hot at all, nor did it appear to be loose.  She lowered her hand.  “Can you stand up?”

 

Elsa tried to stand, but was immediately made wobbly because of the now uneven weight at her back.  “I can’t walk like this, Anna!  What am I supposed to do?”  She felt the keen presence of the dragon, as it stirred in its annoyance.

 

The princess took a step back.  “I don’t know… do you want me to tug on it?”

 

“Can you try?”

 

Anna reached over and grasped the wing with both hands, then she yanked on it with all of her strength, but nothing happened.  Elsa was caught off guard by the pain, and she raised her head and the dragon roared its frustration.  Surprisingly, there was an immediate response just outside her window, in the first floor gardens outside.  Elsa gestured to the window and Anna let go of her wing to go see what had happened.

 

The princess opened the window and saw the stag, Duneyrr in the garden below.  “What are you doing here?”

 

The animal shook his antlers.  “Am I not your protector, Princess Anna?”  When Anna nodded Duneyrr stepped closer to the window.  “I heard Jörmungandr scream—what has happened?”

 

Anna heard Elsa groan behind her.  “Her infected wing fell off, and now she can’t stand up.”

 

Duneyrr knew it wasn’t an infection that caused her wing to dislodge.  The Queen was mutating again as the dragon, and was drawing closer to her final form.  “Can the great wyrm come to the window?”

 

Elsa dragged her body over to Anna.  “Help me stand, snowflake.”  She groaned again when Anna’s arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her into a standing position.  “What now?”

 

Duneyrr moved over so that he could maneuver his head towards the open window.  “Turn around, Jörmungandr.”

 

Elsa now faced away from the window, and she yelped when she felt the stag’s warm tongue on her new wound. The creature licked the slit for a few moments, then moved his head so that his tongue licked the other wing where it was attached to the Queen’s back. 

 

Anna looked on in wonder. “What is he doing?”

 

Elsa felt the change in the other wing immediately, as it now felt heavier, like it was just hanging on. She grabbed Anna’s hand.  “Tug on it now, Anna—please.”

 

When Duneyrr moved away Anna pulled at the wing again, and this time it came off cleanly; the slit closing immediately, without blood.

 

The force of the pull sent Elsa sprawling forward to land on her hands and knees.  With a loud groan she rolled onto her side, her eyes wide in astonishment. 

 

Anna gasped and dropped the wing as if it was on fire.  “What…” She whirled toward the open window. “Duneyrr, what did you do?”  But the animal was gone, nowhere to be seen. As she turned back toward Elsa she noticed that both the wings were starting to glow.  “What on earth…”

 

Elsa started to crawl away from the wings.  “Snowflake, get away from them!”

 

Anna and Elsa were just able to get to the other side of the bedroom when the light coming off the wings became unbearable to watch.  They shielded their eyes as the appendages flashed, and then with a crackle they disappeared.  Anna’s legs gave out and she landed on the bed, her mouth hanging open, and in a daze.

 

Elsa stood up and went over to the spot on the rug where her wings once were.  There was no trace of them, not even a little bit of ash remained. It was as if they never were.  The blonde turned back to the princess. “Anna?”

 

“What just happened, Elsa?”

 

Elsa flexed her back muscles.  “I don’t know, but—I feel less hampered.”  She closed her eyes and let out a deep moan, feeling the dragon’s power more clearly than before, but none of its burden.  “Oh, I don’t have to hide in those heavy coats anymore.” 

But then suddenly her eyes snapped open and she turned back towards Anna, who was coming out of her stupor. “But, without the wings, how am I going to convince my Council that Ragnarök is near, and that I’m part of it?”

 

“I don’t know.”  Anna stood up and walked over to Elsa, all the while rubbing at her swollen belly.  “Does this have anything to do with how you lost your horns?”  She took hold of Elsa’s hand and placed it on her stomach.  “Maybe you are done with being Jörmungandr, and can just be Elsa now.”

 

The blonde took a step back and locked gazes with Anna. There was a part of her that was very thankful the dragon was part of her, as she felt it could only help her in the war to come.  She was growing accustomed to the strength it afforded her, and, to a certain extent, her newfound virility. “I need to check, you know, to see—if…”  She blushed a deep red then peered inside her pants. “I don’t think I’m done with the dragon, yet, Anna.”

 

Anna blushed, as well, realizing what loosing the dragon would mean.  “I didn’t think so, Elsa.”  She took Elsa’s hand again and led her to the bed.  “I thought I heard you talking with someone earlier.”

 

Elsa sobered, and sat next to her sister on the bed.  “I sent the declarations, Anna.  Arendelle is now officially at war with Weselton and the Southern Isles.”

 

“I’m not surprised.” Anna rested her head on Elsa’s shoulder. “I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.”

 

“Yes.”  The Queen sighed, her eyes drooping as she did so. “There is so much to be done. But, I need to rest, Anna, and get a few hours sleep.”  She glanced at her sister.  “Are you up for the day?”

 

Anna yawned.  “I had planned to sleep some more.”

 

“Then come.”  Elsa leaned down and removed her boots, then she scooted back onto her bed and lifted up the blankets, silently beckoning for Anna to join her, which she did.  For the first time in almost three months, she was able to comfortably settle on her back without any discomfort; perhaps it was a good sign.

 


 

 

“This is outrageous!” Harold Halfdansson sat at the large ornate rectangular table in the Queen’s Privy chamber and looked again at the copy of the Declaration, his eyes not quite believing what he was reading. But there could be no denying it, the Queen declared war without consulting him or the rest of the Privy Council.

 

The large mahogany paneled room on the first floor of the castle was adjacent to the castle’s copious dining room and was just as ornately decorated, with enormous candelabras placed on the rectangular table, and a smaller sitting area next to its rather large fireplace.  Portraits of the prior rulers of Arendelle graced the paneled walls, and at the wall opposite the fireplace a rather large, framed map of Arendelle and the surrounding kingdoms had been hung, and was used by both the Queen and her nobles in planning strategy. 

 

At the moment, Harold was sitting in the room with the young Earl Malkolm, who was a General in Her Majesty’s army.  Unbeknownst to Harold, Malkolm was a lanky ambitious killer, or so he wished to be, and was his de factoprotégé. 

 

Earl Malkolm took a large swallow from his tankard of ale.  “Calm down, Your Grace.  You already guessed correctly about this situation.”  His bright blue eyes were cold and hard.

 

“I beg your pardon, my Lord. The Queen cannot declare war without the vote of the Privy Council!”

 

Malkolm rose from his chair and walked over to the large, framed map on the wall.  His eyes coolly raked over the image before him, eying the territories of Weselton and the Southern Isles with a cold detachment. “I’m not so much worried over Weselton, it’s the Southern Isles’ navy that presents the real problem.”

 

Harold eyed the younger man. “Are you not at all concerned over that the Queen did this on her own, without us?”

 

“She is our monarch, after all, Your Grace.  I am confident she knows what she is doing.”

 

“Are you, now?” Harold stood as well, and was just about to speak further when the double doors to the room opened wide and the Earl, Hålogaland entered with a flourish, a young page at his heels.

 

Hålogaland stopped abruptly at the liquor cabinet next to the fireplace and poured himself some cognac. “I take it you gentlemen have heard the news?”

 

Earl Malkolm eyed his contemporary with a certain disdain.  It was his habit to look down upon the other nobles, as he felt they were of an inferior stock.  “Of course we are aware, my Lord.”

 

Harold Halfdansson ignored the man, and addressed Hålogaland alone.  “Were all the necessary letters sent out to the other nobles?”

 

“Completed.”  Hålogaland sipped at his cognac.  “I expect it ought to take a few days to receive responses back, if that is what you are worried about.”

 

Malkolm openly sneered. “A few days?  For all we know Weselton and the Southern Isles could already be on the move!  Do any of you know if we’ve sent out spies, or scouting parties of any kind?” 

 

“Watch your tongue, young man!”  All the men turned towards the door to find Master Kai standing there, carrying a certain air of authority.  Kai’s frown turned into a smile immediately after he cleared his throat.  “I have come to inquire if my Lords wish to have the midday meal brought to the Queen’s Privy chamber?”

 

The Chieftain hesitated for a few moments before finally speaking.  “That would be fine, Master Kai.  Have lunch brought to us as soon as it’s available.” 

 

Kai looked at each man in turn.  “Alright, then.  My Lords, your Grace.”  He nodded before turning around and leaving, a satisfied smile on his face.

 

Earl Malkolm’s eyes hardened even more.  “That man seems to think he outranks us.”

 

Hålogaland shook his head. “He does, my Lord, in a sense.  He is the master and mayor of Arendelle, is he not?”

 

Malkolm continued to stare at the spot where Kai had stood,  his thoughts souring even more.

 


 

 

Anna slowly opened her eyes to a room that was dimly lit.  She sat up immediately, thinking that they had slept through the entire day and it was now twilight.  Just as she was about to shake Elsa’s shoulder she noticed that the curtains had been drawn, and that is was still daylight.  Someone, most likely Gerda, had entered the room and closed the drapes while they slept. After sighing, Anna plopped back down onto the comfortable mattress and turned her head towards her sister, who was still sleeping, rather soundly.  She reached over and gently stroked Elsa’s cheek, feeling an overwhelming sense of love towards her.

 

The Queen stirred slightly, slowly batting away the offending hand.  “Go away.”

 

Anna chuckled. “Sorry, but its time to get up, Elsa.” She reached under the blankets to tickle her, but when her hand rested on the Queen’s taut stomach, she stopped all movement.

 

Elsa’s eyes snapped open immediately, and she quickly placed her hand over Anna’s.  “What are you doing?” she whispered.

 

“I… I was just going to tickle you, I promise.”  Anna felt Elsa’s stomach muscles flex ever so slightly.  With Elsa’s hand still on hers, she slowly began to caress her stomach, her hand slowly descending as she did so.

 

Elsa’s breath caught, and she looked up into Anna’s eyes, a helpless look gracing her features.  “You’ve never—touched me before, Anna.”  She settled back onto her mattress and closed her eyes.

 

Anna’s hand stopped just short, and she swallowed hard.  “Are you sure?”

 

Elsa’s hands grasped the sheets beneath her.  “Yes…”

 

A knock at the door startled them both, and Anna whirled around, clutching the blankets around her. 

 

Elsa growled, and sat up on her elbows.  “Yes, who is it?”

 

“It’s Gerda, my Queen.” The Head of Household’s voice seemed a little strained.

 

Elsa picked up on this, and swung her legs over the side of the bed.  “Is there something wrong, Gerda?”

 

There was a momentary pause. “No, nothing of importance, Your Majesty.  Lunch is in fifteen minutes, okay?”

 

Elsa frowned somewhat. “Okay, thank you, Gerda.  You may go.”  She couldn’t help feeling that Gerda wasn’t being honest with her, and she wanted to know why.  “Anna, what—“ Her voice cut off abruptly when Anna pressed herself into her back, and an arm slowly wound around her waist.  Anna tentatively brushed her fingers over Elsa’s warm flesh, and it stiffened at the soft touch.  “We… don’t have time…”

 

Anna’s hot breath ghosted over Elsa’s neck.  “You can’t leave me aroused and do nothing about it…” She whispered.  The next thing she knew she was on her back, and she groaned, spreading her legs apart.

 

Elsa slipped inside easily, and then she stopped moving.  “Anna?”

 

Anna, eyes closed, pulled at the Queen’s hips, forcing a deeper penetration.  But when Elsa didn’t move she opened her eyes.  “What… oh, god, Elsa, please move…”

 

“Anna…” Elsa lowered completely onto Anna, breasts touching, bodies fitting together perfectly.  The strain of not thrusting was becoming too much, but she needed to find her voice.  “…do you ever wonder…?”

 

Anna panted slightly. “Wonder what?”

 

“…I wonder… ah, unh… what women do to make love?” 

 

Anna stopped moving her hips, and stared intently into Elsa’s eyes.  “I… I don’t… know what women can do.”  A small smile touched her lips.  “Except what you did before, with your fingers.”

 

Elsa began to thrust her hips very slowly, as her erection was beginning to hurt.  “I wonder, Anna.”  She lowered her head onto Anna’s shoulder.  “Good god, you feel so good around me, Anna.” 

 

The Queen’s grunts filled Anna’s ear, causing her to grab at Elsa’s bottom.  “Deeper…”

 

Elsa felt the pull of the dragon, how it crept easily not only into her bones but her mind, as well. There was nothing human or sane about Jörmungandr, and its appetites to feed and mate demanded to be recognized, and satisfied.  She was slowly slipping away, her body moving out of instinct rather than desire or love. Her normally gentle touch was replaced by an overtly firm grip, as the beast forcefully held Anna to the bed. Jörmungandr growled deep in its throat, startling the woman below.

 

Anna looked up into the shadowy reptilian eyes, and tried to find the essence of Elsa in those dark orbs. Instead of giving in to fright, Anna raised her hands and gently cupped Elsa’s face.  Elsa fiercely shook her head, but Anna held on, never breaking eye contact.  “You can’t make me fear you, Jörmungandr.  Because you and Elsa are one, and she would never hurt me.”  Her breath hitched as she was abruptly turned onto her stomach and Elsa’s flesh roughly entered her from behind.

 

The dragon’s excitement grew as Elsa’s hips slammed furiously in the woman below, the low growl replaced by an animalistic grunting that was loud enough to be heard outside the room.  But Elsa fought through the libidinous haze, just as the dragon was drunk with pleasure, and focused her eyes on Anna’s wobbling belly, and remembered the baby. Her hips slowed, and she gently rolled Anna onto her side.  After a short while, she stopped moving altogether, the quaking lust tempered by parental concern.  “Anna…?”

 

The princess laboring breath calmed a bit, and she closed her eyes in relief.  “My god, Elsa… I’ve never felt you so unhinged.”  Her hand went to her stomach as her whole body shuddered.

 

Hot tears flowed down Elsa’s cheeks.  “I’m sorry—oh, god, Anna, I’m so sorry.”  She tried to withdraw, but a warm hand on her hip halted her movement. 

 

Anna turned her head to the side and reached behind to pull Elsa’s head to hers, and tenderly kissed her cheek.  “Please don’t berate yourself so,” she whispered.  “You did nothing wrong—all you did was startle me, I’m not hurt Elsa, and neither is the baby.”

 

Elsa rested her head on Anna’s shoulder.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes, I wouldn’t lie to you, Elsa.” 

 

“I know.”  Elsa grimaced slightly, as it was becoming a strain to hold back.  “I need, Anna, please…”

 

Anna smiled to herself as Elsa began to slowly move inside her.  “Elsa?”

 

“Yes?” 

 

“Don’t stop.”

 


 

 

The Ninth Duke of Weselton looked up from the ledger he was writing in and scowled at the intrusion. “Come in.”

 

The door to the duke’s private study slowly opened, revealing a royal messenger from the Southern Isles and two of his own guard.  One of the guards nodded to the messenger and he stepped forward warily.

 

“I bring an urgent message from His Highness, Prince Hans of the Southern Isles.”

 

Magnus waited.  They young man bringing the letter was obviously nervous, and he wished to have a little fun with him.  But the presence of his wife sitting at the hearth and knitting stopped his acid reply.  “Oh, and how fairs our dear cousin?”

 

The courier bowed awkwardly before replying.  “His Highness is well and wishes to express his utmost love and admiration for your Grace. To this message thus I have been charged—greetings and felicitations; high regard, fair health, and esteem to your Grace.”

 

Magnus briefly glanced at Berith, and then offered the courier his most insincere smile.  “Do you know what is in that letter, dear boy?”

 

The young man shook his head.  “No, I do not, Your Grace.  Please accept my apology.”

 

The Duke raised his hand in apparent placation.  “No apologies are needed, young man.  But I would wager you that is a most hastily written letter—one that almost demands that we rise against Arendelle at once.”

 

Berith looked up from her sewing, noticing the chill in her husband’s voice—the one that most others failed to notice.  She cleared her throat in an attempt to get Magnus’ attention.

 

Magnus didn’t need to look at his wife to understand the meaning behind her small gesture.  But he stood and quietly walked over to where she sat. “As you can see, my wife is concerned over my well being.”  He looked down at his wife’s swollen belly, and his demeanor softened.  “How is my child?”

 

“Sleeping, I think.” Berith smiled, and then went back to her knitting.

 

The Duke briefly touched his wife’s cheek, and then turned to the befuddled messenger.  “Hand me the note.”

 

The courier took a few tentative steps forward and handed the letter over.  “Your Grace.”

 

Magnus took the letter and tossed it on his desk, and then he walked over to his liquor cabinet and poured himself a drink before sitting back down.  He pulled his ledger towards him and began to scribble into in again, taking careful note of the uneasiness in the room.  After a short while he looked up.  “Is there anything else?”

 

The young courier shifted on his feet.  “No… no, Your Grace.  I would like to take my leave, if you don’t mind.”

 

“I don’t mind at all. You may send our warmest greetings to our dear cousin, and tell him that patience is a virtue.  We will move on Arendelle in one month, and not a minute sooner.  I expect his fleet to rendezvous with ours at precisely that date and at this hour.  Do you understand?”

 

The courier nodded and silently left the room, the royal guards in tow.  Magnus continued to stare at the spot where the young man stood, and ran his hand through his dark black hair.

 

“Are we really ready, Magnus?”

 

The Duke jumped slightly, as if torn from a reverie, and glanced at Berith.  “For war?  Of course we are, I just didn’t want Prince Hans to know that now—you know, leave them guessing as to our exact circumstance.”

 

Berith lowered her knitting onto the table before her, and slowly got to her feet.  Magnus practically jumped up to stand at his wife’s side, supporting her, and gently rubbing her back. 

 

Berith looked up at him gratefully.  “You really do care about me, don’t you?”

 

Magnus frowned.  “Of course I do, and our child, as well.”

 

The Duchess wound her arm around her husband’s waist and waddled out of the room.  “I’m glad.  Because I think you’re going to see him real soon.”

 


 

 

Elsa finished her lunch and neatly folded her napkin into its original shape before pushing herself away from the table.  Just as she was about to get up one of the junior chefs called out to her from the kitchen door.  “Will you stay for dessert, Your Majesty?”

 

Anna forked her last bit of potato into her mouth and smiled in ecstasy.  She made sure to swallow all her food before speaking.  “Come on, Elsa.  Please stay for dessert; I’m sure its some sort of chocolate.”

 

Elsa cleared her throat, and put on her officer’s jacket.  “I’m sure it is, but I must go and have counsel with a few of my nobles, Anna.”  As she turned to go she could not help notice the look in Anna’s eyes.  “On second thought, please come with me, Princess.”

 

Anna took note of the formality in the Queen’s tone, and thought that it would be better to agree to go. “As you wish, my Queen.”

 

Elsa extended her arm and Anna took it.  As they left the dining room she bent down to whisper in Anna’s ear.  “Here is your first lesson in diplomacy, Anna.”

 

“What do I need to do?” Anna looked up into Elsa’s eyes.

 

Elsa smiled as they strolled down the busy hallway. The servants and guards nodded as they passed them. “For now, don’t say anything, just watch.”

 

Anna frowned.  “But you know me, Elsa.  My mouth tends to speak at times when it shouldn’t.”

 

The Queen coughed into her hand.  “Well, we’ll just have to keep that mouth of yours busy, now.  Won’t we?”  Elsa suddenly stopped, realizing what she said, and blushed a deep red.  She cleared her throat.  “That didn’t come out right, did it?”

“It doesn’t matter, Elsa. I promise I won’t disappoint you.”

 

“You haven’t, yet. But be cautious with Harold Halfdansson, Anna, and don’t let him or his words get to you.”

 

“Who is—this guy?”

 

At that moment Elsa realized just how much their upbringing had been different.  “He’s Arendelle’s most powerful noble, Anna.  But don’t worry, I’ll try to deflect his attention elsewhere, and away from you.”

 

“I can take care of myself, Elsa.”

 

They resumed their stroll towards the Privy Chamber in silence, each young woman lost in her own thoughts.  As they approached the double doors Elsa gently squeezed Anna’s hand.  “Are you ready?”

 

“Lead the way, Elsa.”

 

Elsa winked at Anna before grabbing onto the handles of the doors. 

 


 

 

If they had been more aware of their surroundings, they would have seen the curious stares of Captain Gunnar, who, while clutching his new orders in one hand, was on his way out of the castle.  He stopped and took notice of Anna’s extended belly, and his eyes went wide while coming to the obvious conclusion. 

 

Gunnar looked at his new orders for a few moments before carefully folding the paper and putting it into his jacket pocket.  After looking around he turned around abruptly and went in search of a nice place to hide.

Chapter Text

Elsa grabbed the handles and pulled open the double doors with a flourish.  She didn’t wait for the proper invitation to be made, as per her Council’s custom, and confidently strode into the room, nodding at each noble in turn as she made her way to her end of the large rectangular table, Anna at her side.  After making eye contact with the Princess, she indicated for her to take a seat to her left.  When she sat down, her nobles did the same.

 

Both Harold Halfdansson and Hålogaland looked down, and couldn’t meet the Queen’s steady gaze.  Even Master Kai, who was standing near the fireplace, was silent.  But Earl Malkolm was different, and nodded with approval at Her Majesty’s choice of clothes, believing she was preparing herself for war. He could barely conceal his obvious attraction, which Elsa picked up on immediately.  She met his frank stare with one of her own, appreciating his obvious dedication and vigor. 

 

Elsa cleared her throat.  “Your Grace, my Lords, and gentlemen.  Arendelle is a prosperous Kingdom, known throughout Europe for its fairness at trade, the loyalty of its citizenry, and the esteem of its nobles.”  She briefly glanced at Anna, who was looking quizzically at Earl Malkolm.  “Master Kai, some brandy, please.”  Her attention was drawn back to the young Earl.  “But there are those who look upon us with envious and spiteful eyes, and would wish to see our fair kingdom fall into ruin.  This I cannot abide.”  The glass that Kai handed to her felt cold, and she downed half of its contents in one swallow.  “Reliable spies have revealed to us the wretched plans of Weselton and the Southern Isles, and I cannot—and will not—allow Arendelle to succumb to them. Gentlemen, I have declared war against our enemies, as you probably already know.”

 

Harald Halfdansson nodded.  “Your Majesty, I can appreciate the precarious position you found yourself in, but the Privy Council should have had a say in that declaration!”

 

Elsa frowned.  “To what inevitable end, Your Grace?  We would still find ourselves in the exact same position.”

 

Hålogaland, who was sitting next to the Chieftain, placed a hand on his arm.  “Please, Harald, this is no time to debate the Queen’s actions.  What has been done is done, and now we have to act.”

 

“I object.”  Halfdansson stood, and then placed his hands on the table.  “This is a delicate matter, and we ought to at least known Your Majesty’s mind before the decision was made.”

 

Elsa thought about that for a moment, and then realized that the Chieftain was right.  The nobles ought to have at least known about the threat, and her thoughts and intentions towards it.  “My apologies, Harald Halfdansson, you—all of you—had a right to know about my decision, as per our Kingdom’s decrees.  But there are a few of you present at this meeting, and many more will be arriving in Arendelle in the next few days; and now that you know I will be expecting you to help me relay the news to those who are coming.  Your Grace, my Lords?”

 

The nobles looked at each other while Kai walked back over to the fireplace.  It was clear what a good strategist Elsa was, and was going to be in days ahead.  She easily avoided an argument with them that could have split the kingdom, and now she was counting on them to convince the other nobles.

 

Earl Malkolm turned in his seat towards the Queen. “You have our complete dedication and fealty, Your Majesty.”  The man’s eyes were intense, easily conveying his allure, and held the Queen’s stare.

 

Anna frowned, feeling the obvious pull between the two. She cleared her throat as a feeling of helplessness stole over her.  Elsa’s attention was drawn away at that sound, and she glanced at the pained look on Anna’s face, realizing the reason behind it. 

 

Elsa turned backed to her nobles and stood up.  “Will you gentlemen please accompany Princess Anna and I to the docks, there is a flagship from Weselton that requires our attention.”  She looked down at the Princess, silently reassuring her, and extending her arm. “Princess.”

 

Anna got up and took that arm, her posture somewhat stiff and formal.  “My Queen.”

 

Elsa noticed, but at the time could not do anything about it. Kai opened the double doors and stepped aside so Elsa and Anna could exit first, followed by nobles.  As he closed the doors behind him, and observed the busy castle staff at work, he thought he caught a glimpse someone who looked exactly like Captain Gunnar.  As he turned to look more closely the man was nowhere to be seen, and he quickly dismissed what he thought he saw.  He knew of Elsa’s suspicions, and came to the conclusion that the Captain was far away from the castle.

 


 

 

Ingarth trembled somewhat from the cold, even though the small wood-burning stove opposite his cell was lit, and the fire inside burned brightly.  He knew right away this was not a good sign, as it had not been lit before, and deduced that someone important was coming to see him.  Could it be the prince Hans that the guards were constantly talking about? The bread in his hands was stale, and he broke it apart and tossed a few of the pieces to the rats that gathered everyday in one corner of his small compartment.  As he was eating the rest he heard footsteps coming down the stairs and quickly swallowed the hard chunks. 

 

It was strange; there was only the sound of one person coming down the stairs, and not the usual sound of more than one pair of footfalls. Reacting on instinct, he stood abruptly and grasped the prison bars, even though his body was aching from lack of movement.  “Who… who is it?”

 

The figure rounded the corner and his eyes widened in utter surprise.  “What… how did you get in here, Zander?”

Roman approached the prisoner’s cell, is face unreadable. “You cannot call me that name, Ingarth.” There was a certain detachment in his tone, and Ingarth noticed.

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“I cannot help you, Ingarth.  In this matter you are completely alone, do you understand me?”

 

Ingarth stepped back from the bars, suddenly feeling as if something was terribly wrong, other than him being a prisoner.  He looked deeply into the other man’s eyes.  “You didn’t sneak into this place, did you, Zander?”

 

“I told you not to call me that!”  Roman grabbed the bars.  “This is a matter of life and death, don’t you understand—and I’m not talking about your life, but mine!”  He turned away and stared into the fire.  “There is still much I can do for Arendelle, but I can’t let you jeopardize my position.” He grimaced somewhat, and then faced Ingarth again.  “I have a secret, Ingarth.  Come a little closer so that I may whisper it.”

 

Ingarth hesitantly stepped forward.  “Look, there is no reason to be so cryptic, just tell what—“ But he didn’t get the chance to complete his thought, and looked down in surprise for a second at the knife imbedded into his chest.  He collapsed where he stood.

 

Roman looked on in horror at what he did, and almost backed into the hot stove before he caught himself.  Ingarth writhed for a few moments, blood gurgling out of his mouth, and then stopped moving altogether.  He reached into his jacket pocket, hand shaking, and took out his flask, downing the entire contents in only a moment.  For a few seconds panic threatened to overwhelm him, and he had an overwhelming urge to flee.  But what good would that do, except to bring too much attention to him.

 

Roman thought about the situation, and then did the only thing he could think of.  “Guards! Guards!”  His scream echoed up the stairs quickly.

 

Two guards came rushing down the stairs almost immediately, and halted in front of him.

 

The prince mustered as much anger as he could, and pointed at the dead man.  “The prisoner committed suicide!  How did he get that knife?”

 

One of the guards blanched, his eyes full of fright. “He’s dead?”  He whirled around and looked into the cell.  “Oh, no…”

 

“Oh, no?  Is that all you have to say?  How did this lowlife get the goddamn knife?”  Roman was in near hysterics, and shrank back when the other guard practically ran him down when he fled back up the stairs.  “What is going on here?  Why did he flee?”

 

“That was Baard, Your Highness.  He brought breakfast to the prisoner, and was the last one to see him!”

“Then he is the one who brought him the knife.  Go quickly… go after him!”  When the guard was gone Roman blew out a deep breath, and then shuddered a bit.  Hans would be here soon, and he needed to collect himself so as to appear convincing. He proceeded up the stairs on wobbly legs, wanting nothing more than to escape into anonymity. 

 


 

 

In a far, secluded corner of the Valley of the Living Rock, the trolls assembled themselves in circle around Kristoff and the shaman, Hølje, preparing to return to Yggdrasil for the last time.  This was the time of new beginnings, as the upcoming fulfillment of the Prophecies was at hand.  It was time to exit this place—but not to disappear all together—and to take their rightful place in one of the nine worlds.  They understood keenly the necessity of change, it was the way of things, and this world was on the cusp of becoming something more than it was now. Their part in the unfolding drama was clear, and bittersweet, for many of them had formed an attachment to this world, and grieved to have to leave it.  The way of things…

 

Kristoff looked on as the trolls stripped themselves of all their worldly possessions, including their clothes.  A small tear rolled down his cheek.  “Are you sure, Master Hølje?”

 

Hølje grasped his shaman’s staff harder, feeling pangs of regret, and loss.  “There are many things I will miss, and you are one of them, young man.”  He handed the staff to Kristoff and shed his own clothes. “Yes, I am sure.”  When the mountain man sighed heavily he looked up at him.  “Don’t fall into despair, Kristoff—she will need your strength above all else in the days ahead.”

 

Kristoff adjusted the helm on his head, and then checked the sword at his side.  “Even above Elsa’s?”

 

“Jörmungandr must arise, while the Queen must fade. Escort us back to Yggdrasil, Kristoff, and I will tell you everything you need to know.”

 

The mountain man patted Sven before taking his reins. He smiled at his trusted companion.  “Don’t fail me now, buddy.  You know where to go.”

 


 

 

Elsa was pleased to see the soldier’s tent at Arendelle’s nearest dock, set up just as she instructed, with many soldiers and well as guards around it.  She disengaged her arm from Anna’s and strode confidently past it to where Admiral Crispin was standing, looking out onto the flagship in the harbor.  “What are they doing?”

 

Anna was just about to step up to Elsa’s side, but was cut off by Earl Malkolm, who didn’t appear to notice her.  She looked to her sister expectantly, but Elsa’s attention was elsewhere.

 

Admiral Crispin handed his spyglass to the Queen.  “The scouting party has returned to the flagship. They appeared to have some sort of disagreement after that, but it was hard to tell with them being so far away.”

 

Elsa peered into the scope.  “The situation has changed, Admiral.  I declared war on Weselton and the Southern Isles—forgive me for not telling you sooner—and that ship and its crew are now our prisoners.”  She lowered the instrument, and after handing it back to the Admiral, she lifted both arms and sent an icy blast towards the ship, freezing the water around it, effectively keeping it in place. “Confiscate that ship.”

 

Harald Halfdansson stepped up quickly to the Queen. “Let me go with them, Your Majesty, it would bring me such joy to be part of this.”

 

Elsa pondered for a moment, then saw no reason to deny the Duke his glory.  “Of course you may go.  In fact, why not lead them yourself, if this may please Your Grace?”

 

“Nothing would give me more pleasure, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa glanced at the Admiral.  “Sound the alarm, Crispin.”  Inside, she felt the dragon open sleepy eyes.

 

The man lifted the whistle that was hanging around his neck and blew hard into it.  The shriek was heard even at the far docks.  All the nearby guards and soldiers dropped what they were doing and ran up to the Queen and her assembled party.  When the Admiral nodded to the Queen she took a small step forward and cleared her throat.  “Gentlemen of Arendelle, we are officially at war those on board that ship!  To your stations, immediately!”

 

Elsa beamed with pride at the way her soldiers and guards went about their duty.  Each had been prepared, as part of their military training, for such an occurrence, and knew exactly what to do, and where to go.  She looked to her left, expecting to see Anna at her side, but the princess wasn’t there.  Frowning, she turned and walked in the direction of the tent, having an inner feeling on where the princess was.  After walking a few steps she noticed that Earl Malkolm was following, so she halted. “Don’t you have a duty to perform, my Lord?”

 

“I was hoping to assist Your Majesty in her own preparations.” There was a certain fire in the young Earl’s eyes, and Elsa found herself inextricably drawn to it, and to him. Jörmungandr began to stir, roused from his sleep…

 

“Elsa!”

 

When Elsa turned to Anna there was fire in her eyes, as well. But it was different, and she wished to have no part of it.  “Princess, please.  I have much to do and have no time to attend to your needs.”  Her speech halted immediately, as if just realizing whom she was talking to.  “Anna…”

 

But Anna was already walking away, down the docks, and towards the town—and as if sensing Anna’s distress Duneyrr and Dáinn appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and followed close at her heels, creating some distance between the princess and her guard escorts. 

 

Elsa briefly closed her eyes in frustration, and then turned back to the young Earl.  “If you will excuse me, Earl Malkolm, I have personal business to attend to, please see to your duty and we will meet later.  Good day, my Lord.” 

 

As she walked away from Malkolm the activity around the docks increased as people went about and prepared Arendelle’s navy for battle. Some Storekeepers closed their shops right way, putting signs out that said ‘closed until further notice,’ other shops were inundated with soldiers as they bought personal supplies, and still others were filled with regular citizens, concerned over the activity around them.  Her pace slowed as the throng of people around her increased, and she lost track of Anna.  If it weren’t for the giant size of the stags she would have lost her altogether.  The stags walked another block and then turned left, her heads moving back and forth, eyeing the crowd with suspicion; and then they stopped at a particular shop.  It took Elsa a few minutes to reach it.

 


 

 

 

Dáinn lowered his head and sniffed at the air. “Jörmungandr…” But instead of offering the Queen a friendly greeting, he lowered his antlers to her and growled.

 

The smile left Elsa’s face, and she stopped a few feet from the giant red deer.  “What is it, Dáinn?”

 

Duneyrr ignored the Queen and continued to scan his surroundings for any sign of danger.

 

“Have you not seen the princess, Jörmungandr?  Anna is in distress because of you!”  Dáinn hissed, and then took a purposeful step towards Elsa.  “She carries your offspring…”

 

Jörmungandr was now fully awake, and Elsa closed the distance to stand face to face with the stag.  “You dare challenge me, Hart of the Yggdrasil!  I can freeze you where you stand, and break you like a twig!”  There was fervor in her voice that caused the scales on her feet and legs to burn.  Her dragon voice boomed over the street, and several citizens scattered away.

 

“Elsa!”

 

Elsa whirled towards the sound, ready to strike.  But it was Anna who was standing in the doorway to the shop, and she was shaking slightly.  Elsa slammed the dragon into submission, and Jörmungandr slithered away for the present.  She blinked several times, and really saw Anna.  “Snowflake?”

 

Dáinn backed away, growling and swaying to and fro, his ears flattened.  He was ready for the dragon’s attack, and so was Duneyrr, who had pointed his own antlers at the Queen.

 

Elsa ignored them as she approached Anna, a contrite expression on her face.  “Anna?”

 

Anna turned away from Elsa, her hand still on the doorframe of the shop.  “What do you want, Elsa?”

 

The Queen noticed the curious stares of those inside the shop, so she gently tried to lure Anna away.  “Please, Snowflake, let’s talk somewhere else, alright?”  She whispered.

 

Even though Anna was angry she knew not to tarnish the Queen’s image with the populace.  “Okay, Elsa.”

 

Elsa sighed, grateful for her sister’s wisdom. “Come.”  She extended her arm, but Anna was looking at something else.  So she turned her head to see what had captured her attention.  That was when she noticed Anna was staring at the building that was opposite the corner store they were standing at; it was Weselton’s Embassy.  “What is it, Anna?”

 

Before Anna could speak, the commotion of a centuria of soldiers could be heard, approaching the building from the end of their block, they were heavily equipped, and ten wagons followed.  The princess looked curiously at her sister for a moment, the reality of the war slamming into her hard.  “It’s all really true, isn’t it, Elsa?  I mean, it didn’t seem this real when we were with your nobles this afternoon.”

 

“Yes, it’s real, Anna.”  Elsa extended her arm again and this time Anna took it.  She led them away from the Embassy towards the middle of the town.  After awhile she briefly glanced at her sister.  “I’m sorry, Anna.”

 

“Oh, I know you are… but, you ought not to use that tone of voice when you talk to me in front of your subjects, Elsa.  It’s demeaning.”

 

Elsa nodded, and then frowned.  “I understand.”  She lowered her head in shame.

 

Anna rolled her eyes, and then chuckled softly.  “That’s a good Queen—humble and contrite.”

 

“Anna!”  Elsa’s contrition didn’t last long, and she playfully slapped Anna’s bottom.

 

Anna stopped moving, her eyes wide, and then she chuckled again.  “Oh, I can’t believe you did that in public.”  She caught Elsa’s gaze, her eyes widening even more at the look on her face.  “How would you like to buy some chocolate for me?”

Elsa checked her pockets.  “I don’t have any money with me, Anna.”

 

Anna took Elsa’s hand, and after a few minutes of walking north towards the center of the town, suddenly turned to the left, taking them down a narrow, secluded alleyway.  “I know of the perfect pastry shop, Elsa.  They have the best chocolate in all of Arendelle.”

 

The alley was dark, but not dirty, as there wasn’t any trash stored at the back of the shops they passed.  Then, suddenly, they came across an unexpected sight.  Attached to the back of one of the shops they passed was a small ornate wall fountain, and surrounding the fountain was a small planter with flowers growing abundantly.  Elsa stopped abruptly to gaze at the sight and wondered why such a display would be located in the alley, and not the front of the shop.

 

“Isn’t it beautiful, Elsa?”

 

Elsa smiled.  “Yes, it is, Snowflake.”  She wrapped her arm around Anna’s waist and pulled her close.  “Why do you think this is here, and not in the front?”

 

“Maybe it is just for us to enjoy.”  Anna snuggled even closer to Elsa, pulling their bodies tightly together.

 

The soft rays of the sun flitted down through tree leaves into the small alleyway, and caused the water in the fountain to shimmer, and the flowers to give off a subtle glow.  It was enchanting, in every way possible—and for a few precious moments the war was forgotten as the trickle of water was the only sound heard.

 

Elsa didn’t hesitate, but pulled Anna into a sweet kiss while she undid the buttons to her jacket.  When she had the buttons undone Anna pushed the jacket off her shoulders and it fell to the cobblestone ground.  Elsa broke the kiss and looked down to her jacket on the ground, feeling helpless in her want. This was not the lust of Jörmungandr—this was a bittersweet passion, one that caused her to want to please, and not take.  She lowered onto her jacket into a sitting position and took Anna’s hand in hers, gently pulling her until she straddled her lap.  Elsa lightly cupped Anna’s cheeks with the tips of her fingers, letting their current warmth seep into Anna’s skin.

 

Anna blinked at the sensation.  “You feel so warm, Elsa.  How are you doing this?”

 

Elsa merely smiled and then lowered her hands and slowly pulled up Anna’s skirt, her eyes never leaving those of the princess.  Her movements were deliberately slow, measured to show Anna her love, and not her lust.  “I love you, Anna.”

 

The princess sighed deeply, her own hands slowly moving over Elsa’s pants.  Her breath hitched when she lightly thrust her hips forward, her movement stopped by Elsa’s straining flesh.  Her fingers leisurely undid the buttons to Elsa’s trousers, one by one, excruciatingly deliberate.

 

Elsa’s mouth opened when Anna released her flesh, her lips quivered, and she gradually lifted up Anna’s hips and lowered her she was filled completely.

 

To Anna, the rough feel of Elsa’s woolen pants on her bare skin was intoxicating, and she lifted up once, and then slid back down.

 

Elsa moaned and wrapped her arms around Anna’s waist, she had never been more aroused in her life.  But this moment was not about her, only Anna.  So she lifted Anna again, and let her fall back down, unbearably slow and easy, and a small gasp was torn from her throat.

 

Anna moved again, reproducing Elsa’s exact actions, until Elsa’s hard length filled her again.  Then she began to rock back and forth agonizingly slow, so as to pleasure Elsa, as well. 

 

Their pace was maddening, not in its ferocity, but in its tenderness, and both were suddenly aware that they were truly making love, and not just rutting to appease their lust.

 

“Touch me.”

 

Elsa wasn’t sure she heard the words, but at this point, lost in a haze of love, she obeyed without thinking.  Her fingers found the source of Anna’s pleasure, and she moved within and without, her own flesh hardening even more as she caressed the warm and sticky nub.

 

Anna covered her mouth with her own hand as stars exploded behind her eyelids, and her release washed over her in waves, her hips undulating. When she finally found the strength to open her eyes she saw that Elsa was staring at her, a small smile of satisfaction on her face.  “But you didn’t…”

 

“I know, but you did.  This was about you, Snowflake, and not me.”  She shifted a little, her body shuddering, begging her to start moving again. But she only tightened her hold around Anna’s waist, and buried her face in Anna’s bosom.

 

Anna moved her head so that her lips were at Elsa’s ear. “But you are still so hard.”  She whispered.

 

Elsa whimpered at that remark, her body straining in its need.

 

Anna continued to caress Elsa’s ear with her lips.  “Let me help you.”  Her voice was barely audible.  “I want you to really feel yourself in my body—feel me.”

 

Elsa whimpered again, tears flowing from the effort of holding back.  “I do feel it, Anna.  Oh, god…”

 

Anna barely moved her hips, her lips teasing.  “You are my lover, my sweet sister.  You do me so good—filling me with your love and desire. Do you feel how wet you make me?”

 

Elsa could feel it, it dripped down her flesh and fell onto her pants—and then she felt it, a pulling of the muscles in her groin. “I’m… so close…”  She lifted Anna again, and this time, slammed her down hard on her swollen flesh, her body heaved at that moment, and her seed burst forth like an exploding dam.  She collapsed onto her back, and brought Anna with her.  “Did I… please you?”

 

“You sly devil, you know you did.”  Anna fell onto Elsa’s body, completely spent and sated. 

 

The cobblestones pressed into her back, making Elsa uncomfortable, but she was loath to have Anna move, as she enjoyed her warmth. Just as she was about to say something a loud boom rattled the alleyway.  Her instinct was to push Anna away, so she tempered her response, and tried not to sound worried.  “Anna, can you get up, please.”

 

“Yes, of course.”  Anna immediately rose and then began to straighten out her clothes.

 

Elsa was up in an instant and quickly buttoned her pants. “That sound came from the docks.” The unmistakable sound of hooves captured her attention as Dáinn and Duneyrr came running down the alleyway. She waved them over to her.  “I’ve got to go back to the waterfront.  Please see to Anna’s safety and comfort.”  With those words she was gone, sprinting like an experienced runner down the cobblestone path. 

 


 

 

The docks were in a frenzy when Elsa returned to them, as it appeared that the flagship from Weselton fired it’s cannon.  At least, that is what the Queen thought by the time she reached Admiral Crispin, who had just exited from the tent.  Kai, Hålogaland, Malkolm, and a man that Elsa didn’t automatically recognize followed him.

 

Elsa calmly strode up to the Admiral.  “What has happened?”  She turned her attention to the harbor where one of her tall ships was on a course to the vessel from Weselton.  “Give me your scope.”  As she looked through the spyglass a chill ran up her spine, as there was menace in the air, it was palatable, and it excited her.  She could clearly see which cannon had been fired, as it was still smoking. “Where did that ball land?”

 

“There was no cannonball.”  The voice was gruff, with a slight accent.

 

Elsa turned her head and really looked at the man, and then realized it was Lord Elisar, an older Earl from the northern part of her Kingdom, someone who had personally known her father.  “How do you know, my Lord?”

 

“It was a warning.  If they really meant to shell us we would be dead.”  Lord Elisar grinned at Elsa.  “How are you, my Queen, it’s been awhile.”

 

“Yes, my Lord, a very long time.”  Elsa smiled back at the man.  “I am… doing well, at the moment.”

 

Admiral Crispin nodded as Elsa handed him his scope.  “I think they know we’re after them, Your Majesty.”

 

“It would appear so—the ice will hold, trust me. Is that Harald Halfdansson on my ship?”

 

“You did give him permission to lead the arrests, Your Majesty.”  Earl Malkolm walked up to Elsa and stood close to her, their arms almost touching.

 

“Yes, I did.”  Elsa ran her hand through her hair, loose strands slipping through her fingers as she tried to calm the dragon within.  Her eyes wandered over to the water, and she felt a deep urge to plunge right into it.  The feeling was strong, but she was able to resist it as she wondered where it came from. Jörmungandr.  There could be no denying it, the dragon wanted to be in the water, was craving for it. Suddenly, she realized all those around her were staring her, so she coughed into her hand.  “Pardon me, gentlemen, but I was thinking.”

 

Earl Malkolm placed his hand on the Queen’s shoulder. “Are you sure you are okay, Your Majesty?”

 

The Queen felt the dragon keenly at that moment, and how it wanted to rip out the throat of the young, brash Earl.  Jörmungandr could sense the Earl’s interior menace, and looked upon the man as competition. Instead of lashing out, she merely turned her head towards him.  “Please, my Lord, do not touch me unless you’ve been invited to do so.”

 

Malkolm withdrew immediately, and took a small step backwards. “Forgive my boldness, Your Majesty—I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”  The earl was visibly dejected, as he thought he had a connection with Elsa.

 

Elsa knew there was attraction between them, for whatever reasons, and she also knew not to pay it any heed, as there were—other considerations, namely, Anna.  She cringed on the inside, silently berating herself for even acknowledging another’s appeal.  There was another moment of awkward silence as she pondered her feelings.  But the moment didn’t last long as there was a sudden commotion out in the bay.

 

Everyone turned to see that Arendelle’s tall ship had been fired upon, and this time the flagship from Weselton had used cannonball. There was a noticeable small fire towards the transom stern of the ship, and its panicked crew busied themselves throwing buckets of seawater at it.

 

Angered, Elsa threw up her hands and blasted the cannons of the Weselton ship with the coldest of ice, effectively making them useless.  “Damn it!” She whirled towards the Admiral, who was standing stunned, like the rest of the nobles around her.  “Send another ship out, I want that vessel taken, immediately!”

 

Crispin snapped out of his stupor.  “Right away, Your Majesty!”  He trotted to the other side of the pier they were standing at and quickly gave out orders to his Commanders. 

 

“Your Majesty!”

 

Elsa quickly turned to see that Earl Hålogaland was pointing towards their damaged ship.  “Yes, what is it?”

 

“Their signalman is sending a message to us!”  He grabbed a spyglass from a nearby sailor and looked out onto the harbor.  “Let’s see… flags on the halyard… they have casualties, Your Majesty—two dead.”

 

The Queen stood straight and regal.  “Then I want the Captain of that ship arrested for war crimes. See to it, Hålogaland!”

 

“But, Your Majesty…”

 

Elsa could feel Jörmungandr stirring, and threatening to take over.  So she turned away from the scene and began to walk away, her legs moving too slowly. After turning abruptly back to her nobles she barked out more orders.   “Am I surrounded by complete incompetence?  Don’t just stand there; you all know what to do, so go about your business!  Master Kai?”

 

Kai hurriedly trotted up to his Queen.  “Yes, Your Majesty?”

 

The Queen lowered her voice, so that only Kai could hear her.  “I can’t stay here any longer because of Jörmungandr, do you understand?”

 

Kai nodded.  “Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

“Please see that these men follow their orders, even the nobles. Hålogaland needs to go out with the ship and send the rest back to the castle; I’ll attend to them later.  I… I’ve got to go…” Elsa quickly turned away from Master Kai and briskly walked towards the town, in search of Anna.  As she was walking she realized two things. First, she almost became the dragon in front of people who did know her, and, secondly, she almost transformedinto the dragon in daylight, without the benefit of a full moon!  The realization frightened her to the core, as she had some inkling as to what Jörmungandr was going to be.  She stopped at the first shops near the harbor and tried to think of where Anna could have gone.  Then she remembered the stags; they would be hard to miss, so she relaxed somewhat and strolled down the streets of Arendelle.  But the dragon demanded to be recognized.

 


 

 

Anna sat in a nearby café, the one that Elsa had taken her to weeks ago for dinner, and quietly sipped hot tea.  There was a tray of assorted pastries before her, and she was in the middle of choosing which ones to munch on when Dáinn poked his head inside the door.

 

“Jörmungandr is near, Princess Anna.”

 

Anna didn’t bother to look up, and selected a particularly large piece of chocolate cake.  “Just send her in, okay?”

 

“Anna!” 

 

The voice was commanding, and rough, and she recognized it at once.  “Elsa…?”

 

The Queen stood in the doorway, framed in an unearthly sunlight, her entire being radiating a clear authority, a perfect blend of Elsa and the dragon.  “Come!”

 

Anna hesitated, she knew that look, and what it meant. But this time, she wasn’t going to have it.  “No, Elsa, I don’t think so.”

 

Elsa blinked, and gripped the doorframe even harder. “Anna… I need…”

 

The owner of the café came out of the kitchen and took one look at the Queen before turning back around and disappearing.

 

Anna glanced at the owner before turning back to Elsa. “No, Elsa, I’m not in the mood. Why don’t you come in and sit by me…oh!” Her eyes widened and she immediately clutched at her belly.

 

Elsa was at her side in an instant.  “What… what is it?”

 

Anna looked into Elsa’s eyes.  “They baby—moved.  Give me your hand.”

 

The Queen placed her flat palm on Anna’s extended stomach, and waited.  It only took a few moments for the baby to kick again, and she felt it.  “Oh, my… Anna?”

 

Anna placed her hand over Elsa’s.  “This is…”

 

“…amazing.”  Elsa finished.  She looked up and captured Anna’s gaze with her own, and that look conveyed everything that she felt.  Tears welled up in her eyes, but she did not want to cry in public. To her surprise, Jörmungandr was pleased as well, and she felt him settle back down into a docile state. 

 

“Elsa, we did this—you gave me the life inside me.  I… I don’t know what to say.”  Anna wound her fingers with Elsa’s.

 

Elsa blushed a deep red, and was loath to tell Anna that baby was by pure accident.  She blinked back her tears and wondered if that was really true, considering everything she knew about the Prophecies—about Fimbulvetr—and this was her inner dilemma and turmoil.  Were any of the events of the last three months of her own making?  Or were they all just puppets to fate, and to the whimsies of the gods?

 

Anna saw the turmoil in Elsa’s eyes, and her heart lurched. “You are troubled, aren’t you?” She lowered her eyes.  “Is it the baby?  Are you having second thoughts about being a parent?”

 

The Queen briefly looked about the café, confirming their aloneness.  “Please don’t fret yourself, so, Anna.  I’m thrilled to be a parent—but scared beyond belief at the same time. But this is a burden I do not wish to trouble you with.”  She sat back in a chair opposite Anna, and looked at the tray of pastries. “So, did you decide what dessert you want?”

 

Anna quickly snatched her preferred choice.  “The chocolate cake is mine, my Queen.”

 

Elsa held up her hands and laughed, and it felt good in that she hadn’t really laughed in a long time.  “I think I’ll just have this raspberry tart.” 

 

They ate in companionable silence, each lost in her own thoughts.  But the Queen was still a little troubled, and thought a visit to the Bishop of Arendelle was in order.

 


 

 

Elsa entered the quiet cathedral and then paused in the narthex, the aroma of candle wax and incense filling her senses.  It was obvious the old German Romanesque building was in need of some cleaning, and she wondered why it was in such disrepair.  But it was also true she had not been in the building since her coronation, and she felt a little guilty about neglecting this part of her rule as Queen. 

 

The stone floor in the narthex gave way to a carpeted nave, and she strode forward a little cautiously, much like she did when she was a child, confused in her beliefs.  There was a sound in the transept to her left, so she went in that direction, only to find Bishop Johannes on his knees, doing his best to clean up some spilled candle wax. 

 

The Queen frowned at the sight, wondering why such a man would be doing such menial tasks.  She cleared her throat.  “Your Grace?”

 

Johannes looked up, and groaned as he rose from his knees.  “Forgive me, Your Majesty.”  He looked down at his disheveled and dirty clothes.  “I did not know you were coming.”

 

Elsa nodded.  “I did not know, either, Your Grace.  This meeting is completely spontaneous.  May I ask you why you are busy cleaning up candle wax?”

 

Johannes looked down for a moment, then gestured for the Queen to follow him.  “We seem to have lost our clean up crew to Her Majesty’s army.”  He led Elsa through the ambulatory to a staircase that led downwards to a small stone room. It was sparsely furnished, with a small fireplace on the opposite wall.  “Forgive me my untidiness, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa looked about the room and noticed that all the walls were fit with bookcases, and were overloaded with books and all sorts of tomes, must like the library in the castle.  When the bishop sat at his small desk, she took the seat opposite him. This was her first time in his office.

 

As per royal custom, Bishop Johannes waited for the Queen to say something first.  But when it became apparent she was not going to do so, he spoke up.  “I have not seen you within these walls in well over a year, Your Majesty.”

 

The Queen nodded, and then crossed her legs.  “My time does not seem to be my own, Your Grace. But that is hardly an excuse to ignore my royal duties.”

 

“May I offer you some tea, Your Majesty?  I do have some other libations that may better suit the moment.”

 

“What are those?”

 

The Bishop opened his desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.  “I keep this—for moments such as this.”  He poured two small glasses and pushed one over his desk towards the Queen.

 

Elsa took the drink and sipped.  “Thank you, Your Grace.”

 

When Elsa closed up again Johannes sat back in his seat and looked at her closely.  “I remember the night you were born, Your Majesty.  You gave your mother quite the scare, did I ever tell you that?  Most babies scream to the high heavens at first. But you were different.”  He took a large swallow of his drink.  “You didn’t make a sound, and your hands…” His voice trailed off for a moment, remembering the night clearly.  “They glowed, Elsa.”

 

The Queen looked up sharply at the use of her given name, but then her features softened at the look in the man’s eyes.  “They did?”

 

Johannes put his drink down.  “My point is, Your Majesty, is that I knew from the very beginning of your life just how special you are, and I made it my business to make sure your parents never forgot it—but then the accident happened, and I somehow lost track of your life, and for that I am sorry.”  He leaned his arms on his desk.  “How may I help you, Elsa?”

 

Elsa sat as still as possible, and willed away the tears that were threatening to break.  “I don’t know where to begin…”

 

“Perhaps it would help to start at the beginning.” Johannes poured more whiskey into their glasses.  “Would it help to know that I will not criticize you, no matter what you may reveal?”

 

Elsa let out a ragged breath.  “But I’ve done some questionable things—some things that I don’t know how to interpret with all that I know—and I…”  She stood up abruptly and walked over to the nearest bookshelf.  “But I will not allow myself to be judged, Your Grace—nor will I allow judgment upon Princess Anna!”  Her hands balled into fists, and she whirled around to face the Bishop.  “All of it—the war, the dragon’s victims, Anna’s pregnancy—all of the prophecies…”  It was like a dam bursting, and Elsa did start at the beginning, and began to reveal everything.

 

Bishop Johannes sat back in his chair, realizing it was probably going to be a long afternoon.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The winds picked up, blowing leaves and twigs everywhere, as the storm that had been threatening for the last few days finally brought forth an extremely cold rain.  Sleet mixed in with heavy raindrops swirled about the city, and Arendelle itself bore the brunt of the ominous storm.  The outdoor market was closed, along with several storefronts, and the only activity at the docks was the patrol of the Queen’s soldiers. The usual busy activity in the castle, however, increased as more nobles arrived for the Queen’s war preparations, and the Privy Council chamber was occupied to capacity.   The entirety of the guest rooms in the castle were claimed, so some of Her Majesty’s subjects had to settle for accommodations in the city itself.

 


 

 

Elsa sighed in contentment, the warmth of the fire heating her back, cocooning her in a haze of tranquility.  Her bedmate rolled onto her side, facing away from her, and scooted back so that their bodies were flush against each other.  She closed her eyes.  “Anna?”

 

Anna yawned, and absentmindedly rubbed her swollen belly.  “Yeah?”

 

Elsa paused for a few seconds, a bit unwilling and loath to break the serene moment, so she tried a diversion.  “How are you feeling?”

 

The princess opened her eyes and blinked.  “I feel bloated, and I’ve got a huge craving for sausages.  But other than that, I feel fine.”

 

Elsa wrapped a protective arm around Anna’s waist, and cradled her stomach.  “How is the baby?”

 

“Fine.”  Anna took Elsa’s hand in her own.  “You’re stalling, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes, I am.”  Elsa gently turned Anna onto her back, and reached up to caress her cheek.  “The business of the realm is calling, and I have to go.”

 

Anna stretched and yawned again.  “Will you fetch some food for me before you do?”

 

“But, Anna, the castle is well staffed.  Any of the servants can retrieve a meal, if you so desire one.”

 

The princess winked. “But they aren’t you, are they?”

 

Elsa sat up in her bed and crossed her legs.  “What does that mean?”

 

Anna playfully reached over and pinched the Queen’s derriere.  “Well, I believe a certain someone owes me a tremendous favor, don’t you think?”

 

Elsa smirked.  “Oh, and why would a certain someone be so indebted?”

 

Anna flattened her palm and began to rub the spot where she pinched.  “A certain someone was being far too flirtatious yesterday with a strapping young Earl and—“

 

Elsa leaned forward, her face a mere inches from the princess’.  “You don’t have to do this, Anna,” she whispered.  “I’ll do anything you ask of me.”

 

Anna pulled Elsa down on top of her and then sensuously moved her body, touching her older sibling in all the right places.  “Really?”

 

But Elsa only chuckled. “Not this time, Princess.”  She was able to wiggle away from Anna’s embrace even though a part of her didn’t want to.  “I think you ought to join me again, and learn the ways of governance.”

 

“You mean the ways of boredom, don’t you?”  Anna turned onto her side as Elsa hopped off the bed and moved to a nearby chair.  “I don’t want any of your nobles to look down on me.”

 

Elsa pulled up her pants. “Why would they?”

 

Anna indicated her belly. “This is why.”

 

Elsa fastened her belt and then sat down to put her boots on.  “I’ve made it a crime to gossip about you, Anna.  Every noble in this castle knows this by now.”  She stood up and grabbed her shirt.

 

Anna sat up, and then swung her legs over the side of the bed.  “I know that.  But someone is going to slip up, I know it.”  She frowned.  “You know how badly I felt yesterday.”

 

Elsa straightened out her officer’s jacket.  “I’m sorry about that, Anna.  Please believe me.”  She sighed before turning to her bureau, unwilling to let Anna see her pain.

 

But the princess did see it, and padded over to where the Queen was standing.  “Stop berating yourself, Elsa.”  She wound her arms around Elsa’s waist from behind.  “That’s my job.”

 

Elsa chuckled again. “Are you hungry, Anna?  Let’s see what the cooks have prepared for lunch.” 

 

Anna rested her head on the Queen’s shoulder.  “I am hungry. Hmmm—what to do, what to do…”

 

The blonde was about to respond when she felt Anna’s hand wandering down her stomach.  She quickly snatched it away.  “Oh, no, please.  I don’t think I can right now.”  As soon as the words left her mouth she cringed, as she felt as well as heard Anna’s laughter.  “What?”

 

“Oh, Elsa—I think I’ll keep you.  Yes, you definitely are a keeper.”

 

“I’m glad I can keep you amused.”

 

Anna smiled, and hugged her sister even tighter.  “You do so much more than that, Elsa.”

 

Elsa sighed deeply, willing away any and all negativity.  She turned in Anna’s embrace and returned the affectionate hug, then ran her fingertips slowly over Anna’s naked back, eliciting a shiver from the younger woman.  “I love how responsive you are to my touch.”

 

“I thought you didn’t have time for this.” 

 

Elsa reached down and wrapped her arm under the princess’ knees, easily lifting her.  “Well, as Queen of Arendelle I am able to alter my schedule should the need arise.”

 

Anna smirked and tossed her head back.  “Well, has the need risen?”

 

“Believe me, it is rising as we speak.”  Elsa easily put Anna back on the bed, then removed her officer’s jacket and tossed it back on the chair.  She crawled up Anna’s body, hands making quick work of unbuttoning her pants, and exposing her desire.

 

“Keep your clothes on.”

 

Elsa shoved her pants down to her thighs, her body already on fire, and grabbed Anna, lifting her to her hands and knees.

 

Anna gasped when Elsa entered her completely, and groaned when she began to move.  A thought trickled into her mind at that precise moment, a realization that she would never share with Elsa.  It was she—Anna—who wielded the real power in their relationship.

 


 

 

Both the Queen and the Princess entered the Royal Dining Room and took their appointed seats, Elsa at the head of the table, and Anna at her right.  Elsa looked around and was pleasantly surprised to see General Urban seated at his usual spot.

 

Elsa picked up her napkin and placed it on her lap.  “Welcome back to the Castle, General—although I do wish it was under different circumstances.”

 

Urban took a large sip of his tea.  “So, it is official, then, Your Majesty?”

 

The Queen nodded and two servants approached to give her and Anna their meals.  “Yes, I’m afraid so, General.  I trust the Army has been well prepared?”

 

Urban was about to speak when the doors to dining room opened and Harald Halfdansson and Earl Elisar entered with a flourish, the Chieftain limping somewhat.

 

Elsa looked at him and frowned.  “Did you not see my royal physician, Your Grace?”

Halfdansson winced as he sat down.  “Yes, I did, Your Majesty.  He assures me I ought to be just fine in a few weeks.”

 

The Queen nodded, genuinely concerned for the Chieftain.  “That cannon fire could have killed you, Harald.” 

 

The Duke looked up when the Queen addressed him by name, having not been the recipient of such graciousness from her before.  “Ah… thank you, Your Majesty.  But, you will find the House of Halfdansson a sturdy stock.”

 

Elsa smiled at that, and chuckled.  “I’m just glad that you are.  Were you able to gather any information from the commander of the Weselton ship—what was his name—General Stinus?”

 

The Duke snapped his fingers and a servant placed a meal before him.  “I’m afraid my attempts to speak with him have not been successful.  He is currently under house arrest at the Weselton embassy, as per Her Majesty’s orders.”

 

The Queen nodded. “What about the crew, Your Grace?”

 

“Sent to the General Urban’s camp, Your Majesty—under strict guard, of course.”

 

Elsa smiled, very much please at the way her subjects were performing their duties.  “Shall we dine, my Lords, Your Grace?”

 

Anna picked at her food, somewhat ill at ease.  “Excuse me, Your Grace?”

 

Elsa picked up on the tone in Anna’s voice and pointedly looked at her, in the hope of drawing her attention away from the Chieftain, but it didn’t work.

 

Harald Halfdansson turned and smiled at the princess, looking upon her as one might regard a small child.  “Yes, Your Highness?”

 

“I am wondering… why were the crewmembers of that ship sent to our army camp?”

 

“This is just a standard procedure, Your Highness.  No need to worry yourself over matters of state.”

 

Elsa put down her fork. “Yes, Princess Anna.  These matters need not be a concern of yours. But, perhaps we can—“

 

Anna bristled at the way she was being treated, especially by Elsa, who had promised not to treat her with disregard.  So she ignored Elsa for the time being and turned to face the Chieftain.  “But it is such a simple question, Your Grace.”

 

Harald briefly glanced at the Queen, then turned his full attention towards Anna.  “Well, Your Highness, according to the Decrees of the Kingdom, all prisoners of war must be settled within the boundaries of a camp, where they will serve out the remainder of the war as… indentured servants.”

 

Lord Elisar was now openly gazing at the Queen, an amused look on his face, while General Urban seemed oblivious as to what was going on, and continued to eat.

 

Anna sat back in her chair. “Indentured servitude?”

 

“Yes, Anna,” Elsa began. “These laws were written hundreds of years ago, when Arendelle became a united kingdom, under the rule of an absolute monarch.”

 

“But doesn’t that mean they are treated as slaves?”  The princess’ tone was incredulous.  “Elsa, we can’t treat people like this.”

 

Elsa stared hard at her sister, not quite believing what Anna was doing—questioning her rule, as it seemed.   But then she remembered her promise.  “I can assure you, Anna, that those men won’t be treated as slaves.  They will be well cared for, won’t they General Urban?”

 

Urban looked up from his meal.  “Of course, Your Majesty.  We will adhere to the strict reforms of you father, wise man that he was.”

 

The Queen looked down for a brief moment and cursed herself for not immediately knowing what those reforms were.  Luckily, her sister spoke up before she could declare her ignorance.

 

“What reforms, General?” Anna now began to eat again.

 

“Well, Your Highness, your father amended the Decrees to change how prisoners of war are treated—affording them certain rights.  Among those rights are proper shelter and three meals every day.  He was apparently suspicious of the Eighth Duke of Weselton, and had convinced himself the Duke was soon to war with us.”

 

Anna’s eyes widened. “He really thought that—amazing. I mean, his insights were truly amazing. Did you know this, Elsa?”

 

Elsa remained silent for an agonizing moment, completely ignorant as to Urban’s revelations. “Yes, I did, Anna.  So, you see, there is no reason to be so concerned

as you are.”

 

The princess was apparently satisfied, so she nodded.  “Thank you, General.”

 

“My pleasure, Your Highness.”  Urban returned his meal.

 

Lord Elisar knew Elsa too well, and knew she was lying to her sister, although he did not know the reason why.  He carefully studied her as he ate, briefly looking over and noticing her stiff posture and rigid movements as she concentrated on her meal.  After pushing his plate aside, he rose to his feet. “If you will excuse me, Your Majesty, as I have left some unfinished business in the Privy Chamber.  Good day.”

 

Elsa paused, her fork almost in her mouth, and watched as the Earl made eye contact with her before leaving.  She would have immediately disregarded that look if it came from someone else, but this was Lord Elisar, who had once been a good friend to her deceased father. When the door clicked she quickly finished her lunch, then folded her napkin before rising to her feet.  “If you will excuse me.”

 

Everyone else rose to his or her feet when the Queen did, as did Anna.  She was just about to say her own good-byes when Elsa stopped her with a look.  “Please, Princess, I have some private business to attend to.  But I will see you later.  Good day.”

 


 

 

Elsa sighed in contentment, the warmth of the fire heating her back, cocooning her in a haze of tranquility.  Her bedmate rolled onto her side, facing away from her, and scooted back so that their bodies were flush against each other.  She closed her eyes.  “Anna?”

 

Anna yawned, and absentmindedly rubbed her swollen belly.  “Yeah?”

 

Elsa paused for a few seconds, a bit unwilling and loath to break the serene moment, so she tried a diversion.  “How are you feeling?”

 

The princess opened her eyes and blinked.  “I feel bloated, and I’ve got a huge craving for sausages.  But other than that, I feel fine.”

 

Elsa wrapped a protective arm around Anna’s waist, and cradled her stomach. “How is the baby?”

 

“Fine.”  Anna took Elsa’s hand in her own.  “You’re stalling, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes, I am.”  Elsa gently turned Anna onto her back, and reached up to caress her cheek.  “The business of the realm is calling, and I have to go.”

 

Anna stretched and yawned again.  “Will you fetch some food for me before you do?”

 

“But, Anna, the castle is well staffed.  Any of the servants can retrieve a meal, if you so desire one.”

 

The princess winked.  “But they aren’t you, are they?”

 

Elsa sat up in her bed and crossed her legs.  “What does that mean?”

 

Anna playfully reached over and pinched the Queen’s derriere.  “Well, I believe a certain someone owes me a tremendous favor, don’t you think?”

 

Elsa smirked.  “Oh, and why would a certain someone be so indebted?”

 

Anna flattened her palm and began to rub the spot where she pinched. “A certain someone was being far too flirtatious yesterday with a strapping young Earl and—“

 

Elsa leaned forward, her face a mere inches from the princess’.  “You don’t have to do this, Anna,” she whispered. “I’ll do anything you ask of me.”

 

Anna pulled Elsa down on top of her and then sensuously moved her body, touching her older sibling in all the right places.  “Really?”

 

But Elsa only chuckled.  “Not this time, Princess.”  She was able to wiggle away from Anna’s embrace even though a part of her didn’t want to.  “I think you ought to join me again, and learn the ways of governance.”

 

“You mean the ways of boredom, don’t you?”  Anna turned onto her side as Elsa hopped off the bed and moved to a nearby chair.  “I don’t want any of your nobles to look down on me.”

 

Elsa pulled up her pants.  “Why would they?”

 

Anna indicated her belly.  “This is why.”

 

Elsa fastened her belt and then sat down to put her boots on.  “I’ve made it a crime to gossip about you, Anna. Every noble in this castle knows this by now.”  She stood up and grabbed her shirt.

 

Anna sat up, and then swung her legs over the side of the bed.  “I know that.  But someone is going to slip up, I know it.”  She frowned.  “You know how badly I felt yesterday.”

 

Elsa straightened out her officer’s jacket.  “I’m sorry about that, Anna.  Please believe me.”  She sighed before turning to her bureau, unwilling to let Anna see her pain.

 

But the princess did see it, and padded over to where the Queen was standing. “Stop berating yourself, Elsa.” She wound her arms around Elsa’s waist from behind.  “That’s my job.”

 

Elsa chuckled again.  “Are you hungry, Anna?  Let’s see what the cooks have prepared for lunch.”

 

Anna rested her head on the Queen’s shoulder.  “I am hungry.  Hmmm—what to do, what to do…”

 

The blonde was about to respond when she felt Anna’s hand wandering down her stomach.  She quickly snatched it away.  “Oh, no, please.  I don’t think I can right now.”  As soon as the words left her mouth she cringed, as she felt as well as heard Anna’s laughter.  “What?”

 

“Oh, Elsa—I think I’ll keep you.  Yes, you definitely are a keeper.”

 

“I’m glad I can keep you amused.”

 

Anna smiled, and hugged her sister even tighter.  “You do so much more than that, Elsa.”

 

Elsa sighed deeply, willing away any and all apprehension.  She turned in Anna’s embrace and returned the affectionate hug, then ran her fingertips slowly over Anna’s naked back, eliciting a shiver from the younger woman.  “I love how responsive you are to my touch.”

 

“I thought you didn’t have time for this.”

 

Elsa reached down and wrapped her arm under the princess’ knees, easily lifting her.  “Well, as Queen of Arendelle I am able to alter my schedule should the need arise.”

 

Anna smirked and tossed her head back.  “Well, has the need risen?”

 

“Believe me, it is rising as we speak.”  Elsa easily put Anna back on the bed, then removed her officer’s jacket and tossed it back on the chair.  She crawled up Anna’s body, hands making quick work of unbuttoning her pants, and exposing her desire.

 

“Keep your clothes on.”

 

Elsa shoved her pants down to her thighs, her body already on fire, and grabbed Anna, lifting her to her hands and knees.

 

 

 

 


 

 

“We were correct in assuming Weselton would betray us, eventually. It was only a matter of time.”  Elisar ran his gloved hand over the large map in the Privy Chamber, and then turned to face the Queen.  “But the Southern Isles?  Our cousin Edvardt is surely the fool.”

 

Elsa folded her hands in front of her and regarded the older man.  “So this is not something completely unexpected?”

 

Elisar nodded.  “Like I just said, Your Majesty, it was only a matter of time.  Agdar knew this.”

 

The Queen sighed and made her way to the liquor cabinet beside the fireplace. “He never got the chance to discuss the matter with me.”  She poured a glass of whiskey.  “Which begs the question—why you never mentioned it.”  After sitting down next to the fire, she indicated the seat next to her.

 

The Earl poured his own glass before taking the seat next to the Queen. “My Earldom is far to the north, Your Majesty, and I have little time—or care—for matters of state.”

 

“I see.”  Elsa took a long sip of her drink.  “You used to be a stronger man, Elisar.”

 

“I know.”  The Earl squirmed a little, even though the chair was comfortable.  “I miss my friend, Queen Elsa.  Agdar was my best friend, and confidant.”

 

Elsa swallowed back the lump in her throat, and wondered why it never occurred to her that others missed her parents as much as she did.  “I’m sorry, Elisar.”  She wanted to say more, but the words failed to come.

 

Both were distracted by the knock at the door.  Elsa stood and put down her glass.  “Come in.”

 

Master Kai quietly entered the chamber.  “I don’t mean to bother you, Your Majesty.  But I have some pressing news.”

 

Elsa briefly closed her eyes, still feeling a bit at a loss.  “What is it, Kai?”

 

“Captain Gunnar did not report to his post, Your Majesty, and appears to have abandoned his commission.”

 

“How do you know this?”

 

“Lieutenant Lindar, his immediate superior, is in the castle, Your Majesty, and requests to have an arrest warrant drawn up immediately.”

 

The Queen nodded, remembering Gunnar’s keen interest in the princess, and now he was disobeying her direct orders.  Her eyes widened as she realized the implications of his disappearance. “Of course, right away. See that the warrant is released at once.”  She went to the liquor cabinet and poured herself another drink.  “Kai?”

 

Kai went to stand next to the Queen. “Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa glanced at Elisar before lowering her voice.  “This is a delicate matter, Kai—if found, this man, Captain Gunnar, is not to be trusted.  Need I say more, Master Kai?”

 

“Rest assured, Your Majesty, I understand completely.”  Kai bowed before leaving.

 

Lord Elisar looked up when the door closed, his glass still in hand. “What was that about, Elsa?”

 

Elsa noticed the use of her given name, and sighed deeply.  “I’m sorry if I insulted you, my Lord.”

 

“I’m not insulted, just slightly drunk.”  The Lord frowned  “Were you talking about Gunnar Andal with Master Kai?”

 

Elsa blinked.  “Do you know him?”

 

“I know his… family.  Yes, that’s it—his family.  A worthless lot, all of them—they’re wealthy but not of noble blood.  Gunnar is the youngest.”

 

Elsa was hoping for information that could have helped her.  “Are they trustworthy?”

 

Lord Elisar was silent for many moments, the alcohol taking possession of him. “What?”

 

“I asked if they were trustworthy people?”

 

“You can ask him yourself, Your Majesty, he’s in the castle.”

 

A mild frost projected from Elsa’s hands.  “What?”

 

“I saw him going up to the second floor residences, Your Majesty, perhaps—“

 

But Elsa was already out the door, and Jörmungandr sprang to life, and roared in frustration.

 


 

 

Anna heard the roar from her room, and was immediately on her feet, her book cast aside.  “Elsa?” She made for her door, but stopped suddenly when she heard a crash in her closet.  “What…”

 

The door to her closet opened, and Captain Gunnar emerged, a strange look on his face.

 

The princess frowned.  “What are you doing in here?”  There was a certain hard steeliness in her voice.  “How dare you—“

 

“I saw.”

 

Anna’s tirade stopped abruptly, and noticed the look of horrified disgust on the man’s face, and her resolve faltered.  “What… what are you talking about?”

 

“I saw you… and the Queen.  I saw what she was doing to you!”  The Captain pointed to Anna’s belly.  “And you are pregnant by…oh, my god, Princess Anna.” Gunnar took a tentative step closer to the Princess.  “Are you a prisoner here, Princess Anna?  Because I can get you out of here…”

 

The door to Anna’s bedchamber slammed open so hard that the door splintered, and what Elsa had become slithered into the room, growling and spitting. Both Anna and Gunnar looked on in horror as the dragon bounced onto its hind legs and then leaned forward, jaws jutting out in anger.  At that moment the Captain screamed and the dragon opened its mouth and released a putrid sheet of ice.  It slammed into Gunnar and sent him into a nearby wall, killing him instantly.  Anna covered her mouth with her hands, and had to use all her will to prevent herself from screaming as the Captain did, and then she realized she had to think fast.

 

“Go to your room!”

 

The dragon fell to its belly again and then eyed Anna with suspicion, its jaws snapping  as it growled.

 

Anna used her most commanding voice.  “Elsa, I said go to your room!  Now!”

 

The creature quickly slithered away, as if sensing the urgency in Anna’s voice.  After it was gone Anna swiftly went to the shattered remains of her door and looked on as about ten royals guards came rushing in her direction, led by Lieutenant Lindar and Master Kai.  Then she saw a much-welcomed sight; Kristoff was following the royal guards, albeit slower because of the armor he wore.  She rushed into his arms as the tears began to flow.

 

Lieutenant Lindar stopped at the door and looked inside.  He calmly assessed the situation then turned to Anna. “Princess Anna, we heard your scream.”

 

Kai walked past Lindar and entered the room, his eyes roaming about.

 

Anna disengaged from Kristoff’s arms and furiously wiped away her tears. “I came to my room after lunch to get a book and I saw… saw this!”

 

Kristoff wandered over to the doorframe and carefully avoided the shattered wood as he entered the room.  He watched Master Kai, and took note of his expression.  “What is it, Kai?  You look like you just saw a ghost.”  He moved further into the room.  “Why is the carpet all wet, and what is that smell?”

 

Kai remembered what Elsa told him concerning the prophecies, and came to the right conclusions, although he did not share it with Kristoff, so he acted like he knew nothing.  “Why would someone kill Captain Gunnar, and in the Princess’ bedroom?”

 

“Why, indeed.”

 

Both men turned to see Lieutenant Lindar entering.  Kai was hoping he wouldn’t ask too many questions. “Is the Princess okay?”

 

Lindar dusted off his hands.  “She is shaken, so she went to Queen’s chambers to rest.”

 

Kristoff fiddled with the sword at his side.  “Where is the Queen?”  He did not let on he had reliable notion as to whatthe Queen was, thanks to Hølje.

 

Kai’s head snapped up at that, and he scrutinized Kristoff very closely. “I will find her and let her know what happened.  In the meantime, I want this mess cleaned up and the Captain’s body removed.  When the Princess returns to her room there ought to be nothing here to remind her of what happened.  Agreed?”

 

The Lieutenant nodded.  “Of course, Master Kai.  Guards!”

 

As Kai turned to go he noticed the strange look on Kristoff’s face, and wondered if the mountain man knew what was happening.

 


 

 

 Kai quietly knocked on the Queen’s door and waited.  The door opened slowly and Anna gestured for the Master of the Castle to come in.

 

When Kai was in Anna soundlessly shut the door behind him.  “Kai, what is happening out there?”

 

The older man looked over to the fireplace and noticed that something appeared to be sleeping in front of it.  “Is that… is that the Queen—or Jörmungandr?”

 

Anna looked over to the sleeping form.  “It’s Elsa.  She apparently transformed immediately after—what happened.”  She held back her tears.  “What do the others think?”

 

“I left Lieutenant Lindar in charge of the investigation and clean up. Princess, I’ve got to ask you a question.  Does Kristoff know about Elsa’s transformations?”

 

“Kristoff?”  Anna ran her hand through her hair.  “I don’t think so.  I mean, I don’t know if the trolls have revealed anything to him.  Why?”

 

“He was looking at me strangely, as if he was figuring out what was going on.” Kai looked over to the sleeping Queen again.  “What are we to do, Princess?”

 

“What evidence is there in my room, Kai, to speak of the dragon?”

 

“Nothing really, Your Highness—except for the bad smell. Nobody is running through the halls screaming that they just saw a dragon, so I think we’re in the clear for the moment.”

 

Anna nodded.  “That’s good to hear.  I think it best we just go on normally, don’t you think?  If we start to act differently it will just draw attention to ourselves.”

 

“I agree, wholeheartedly.  Now, will you be requiring anything, Your Highness?”

 

“Not right now, Kai.  Tell everyone that I’m resting in the Queen’s chambers and I don’t want to be disturbed, not even by Kristoff—let people know that Elsa is with me, okay?”

 

Kai bowed.  “As you wish, Your Highness.”

 


 

 

Anna locked the door after Master Kai left and quietly tiptoed back to where Elsa was lying in front of the fireplace.  As she approached her she noticed that her sister was whimpering in her sleep, her body covered in a light sheen of sweat.  Anna tentatively reached out to touch Elsa’s shoulder, and yelped when Elsa’s hand shot out and grabbed her by the wrist.

 

Elsa growled deep in her throat, her mind not quite herself, yet, and still part of the dragon.  She easily flipped the princess over and then crouched on top of her, her eyes black and menacing.  But then she stopped moving and bent her head and sniffed at Anna.

 

Anna tried to make eye contact with her sister, in the hopes of making a connection, but Elsa was too busy sniffing her entire body to notice. “Elsa… please… you are in there somewhere, aren’t you?”

 

Elsa continued to sniff at her, growling, but the human was trying to break through.  Guttural noises were torn from her throat as she tried to speak.  “…help…”  She threw her head back, a deep moan escaping her lips, her nostrils flaring.

 

“Oh, no…”  Anna knew that look, even though Elsa was not quite herself, and felt the lust pour off her. “Elsa, stop.”  She grabbed Elsa’s hair and forced her to make eye contact. “I said stop!”

 

The Queen, panting, held Anna’s stare, and then after a very long moment blinked several times.  “…snowflake…?”  She sat back after awhile, and then slowly climbed off of Anna, cradling her head as she did so. “Anna?”

 

Anna sat up and let out a deep breath.  “Is that you, Elsa?”

 

Elsa opened one eye and glanced at the Princess.  “I think so.  My God, Anna, what happened?  Did I faint, is that why we’re in my room?”  She looked down at herself, and gasped at her nakedness, and her obvious arousal.  “What…why am I naked?”

 

Anna reached over to a chair and grabbed a blanket, then tossed it over to Elsa, who quickly wrapped herself in it.  “What do you remember?”

 

Elsa sighed deeply.  “I was in my Privy Chamber, talking with Lord Elisar, and then… nothing.  I can’t remember anything after that.”

 

Anna stood up and then straightened out her clothing.  “Come, Elsa, let’s get you dressed.”

“But you still haven’t told me why I’m naked?” Elsa got up, and winced when she tried to take a step towards her bedroom.  “My body feels sore.”

 

Anna didn’t doubt that, and took her sister’s hand, leading her into her bedroom.  “There is something you need to know.”

Chapter Text

Elsa’s nimble fingers ran over the detailed edges of the riser, appreciating the fine craftsmanship that went into the making of it.  She lifted the weapon, noting the extended length of its limbs and delicate coiling of the recurve.  It was not as heavy as her old bow, and seemed to almost float in her grip.  A soft sigh escaped her lips as she aimed, the arrow relaxing solidly in the rest.  All sound seemed to dissipate the longer she held, the taut string not quite cutting into her soft flesh.  She felt her muscles strain to the point where she could hold it no longer.  The bodkin impacted at the center of the target, again, splitting her previous arrow.

 

The Queen lowered her bow, and smiled in satisfaction.  It felt good to be out of the castle, and practicing at her favourite pastime, archery. The hobby fit her perfectly, sharpening her mind and concentration the way nothing else ever could.  Her newfound strength made it even more enjoyable, and she relished that she could do this alone, without the interference of the royal guard.  She reached up to her head and undid her plait, letting her platinum tresses fall loosely around her shoulders.

 

Elsa walked over to her picnic basket under a nearby tree and retrieved a ham sandwich, along with a pickle, and took them with her as she walked through the woodlands around her private cottage.   The cottage was only few miles from Arendelle’s northern border, and served as a secluded getaway for Arendelle’s royal family for many years.  To called it a cottage was a bit of a misnomer, however, as it better resembled a country estate, complete with grounds and a small stable that housed two horses.

 

After a good hour walk the Queen returned to her place by the beech tree and picked up her bow again, intent on splitting one arrow after another, and getting a thorough workout. She knew she was shirking her responsibilities, and her nobles were at the Castle awaiting for her return—and there was Anna, who was most likely beside herself with worry, and she was certain worry was not a good thing for the baby.  Even after realizing that, she was still not able to bring herself to return to the Castle, and all the work awaiting her there.

 

Jörmungandr’s keen hearing picked up on the sound of footfalls in the distance—one obviously human, and the others, most likely the four stags.  They had not left Anna alone since the Captain’s death.  Frustrated, Elsa threw her bow down and rummaged through the picnic basket, and pulled out a bottle of wine.  She drank an entire glass in just a few swallows, and filled the glass some more.  The bow felt good in her hand again, and the bodkin once more hit its target perfectly.

 

But the closer the footfalls came, the higher her aggravation became, and the next arrow missed the target altogether.  Anna and the deer emerged from the tree line, and only Anna came forward from there.

 

Anna observed the target, and the bow in Elsa’s hand.  “Is it helping?”

 

The Queen closed her eyes, relishing the insistent rays of the sun as they beat down upon her. “Yes, it helps me concentrate.” She leaned her bow against a tree and reached down to grasp her glass, taking a large gulp of the sweet wine. “This helps me, as well.”

 

Anna nodded, then pulled her shawl tighter around her.  It was more than a week since she revealed to Elsa the appearance of the dragon, and the Queen had yet to talk about it, choosing instead to fill her days with activities such as this.  She looked at the picnic basket near the base of the tree and felt her heart sink a bit. Elsa had not invited her to this outing, and she got the impression that she was intruding upon a private moment. “Elsa…”

 

But Elsa had turned away, taking another drink of her wine.  “Anna, please, I don’t want to be bothered.”

 

“Since when am I a bother?” Anna’s heart broke.  “Look at me, please.”

 

“Anna, please.”

 

“Elsa, I carry your child.” Anna wanted, needed to be recognized.

 

Elsa shivered slightly, a noticeable crack in the wall she had surrounded herself with.  “I know.”  Her palms were itching to take up her new bow, break it, and freeze its shattered remains.  “How could I ever forget?”

 

“You won’t look at me, you won’t touch me, you’re treating me like an outsider.”

 

Elsa cringed, and turned her face up to the sky again.  “How can I touch you with these hands, Anna?  Look what they’ve—I’ve—done.”

 

Anna tucked her hair behind her ear.  “I know what your hands are capable of, Elsa.  I love how they tenderly stroke my stomach, to soothe the baby.”  She moved so that she was standing directly behind Elsa. “Your hands bring me the most exquisite pleasure.”

 

“But these hands have also killed.”

 

Anna was prepared for that statement.  “You are not at fault, Elsa—it was the dragon.”

 

Elsa winced, her shame felt keenly within.  “Gunnar didn’t deserve to die, no matter what he saw.  The dragon—he’s tearing me to pieces.”  She lifted her glass again, but after a moment, decided against drinking more.

 

Anna could feel the anguish pouring off of Elsa, it washed over her, leaving her just as bereft.  “I don’t know how to help you, Elsa.”

“Then we are both at a loss.”

 

“But I will not abandon you to your suffering—even if you push me away.  I will bear it with you because I love you.”

 

Elsa sighed deeply, frustrated that fate seemed to be working against her, just when she had made peace with the presence of Jörmungandr; and now she was hurting Anna, something that she vowed never to do again.  “How can you say that?”

 

“I can say it because it’s true.   Good god, Elsa, you are so hard on yourself, and for no good reason!”

 

“But I killed an innocent man, Anna—and this was not the first time.  When I first transformed as Jörmungandr—“

 

“You had no control over what happened to you then, just as now.  We didn’t even know about the prophecies, yet.”

 

The Queen shook her head. “No, I can’t hear this.”

 

“You will hear me, Elsa, because right now you don’t have a choice.”  Anna’s tone softened when Elsa winced.  “We need you—the baby and me.  I can’t do this alone, and to tell you the truth, I don’t want to.  If you feel the need for forgiveness, then the only person who can really give that to you is you.  Can’t you see this, Elsa?”

 

Elsa closed her eyes; Anna’s gentle assault was working, and her heart ached some more.  She turned her head, and gazed upon Anna, her eyes begging and pleading.  “Can you forgive me?”

 

Anna tentatively reached out, and grasped one of Elsa’s hands in her own.  “Of course I do.”  She gently tugged on Elsa’s hand until the Queen turned to face her.  “Please let me in, I can’t bear be alienated from you any longer.”

 

Elsa relinquished her guilt; her self-loathing assuaged by Anna’s love, and held open her arms. Anna flew into her sister’s arms and held on as tightly as she could, vowing to herself to never let Elsa suffer that way ever again.  For the longest time words were unnecessary as they held each other close, both making silent vows to the other.  Hearts were unburdened, and the long process of mending was begun.

 

Anna spoke first.  “I guess you’re stuck with me.”

 

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”  Elsa’s hands wandered all over Anna’s back, absorbing her goodness.  “I’ve missed you.”

 

“Me, too.”

 

Elsa took Anna’s hands into her own.  “How is the baby?”

 

“I think she’s sleeping right now—content that her parents are going to be just fine.”

 

The blonde smiled, and reached up to cup the princess’ cheek.  “You called our baby a ‘she.’  How do you know this?”

 

“Women’s intuition?” Anna smirked, and placed her hand over Elsa’s, her eyes sparkling with mirth.

 

Elsa lost herself in those teal depths, her heart aching again, but this time with a different emotion. “I… love you.”

 

The princess pressed her body fully into the blonde’s, eliciting a soft moan from her.  “I’ve missed your touch—everything, I’ve missed everything.”

 

Elsa’s hands wandered over Anna’s stomach, and drifted downward, her fingers weaving inside the fabric of Anna’s clothes, and teasing her bare skin.  “It must be a hectic mess back at the castle.”

 

“Wouldn’t you rather—talkabout something else?”  Anna wrapped her arms around Elsa’s neck, and drew her in even closer.  “Want to make love?”  The question was no more than a whisper.

 

But Elsa only smiled in return, her hands finding their way to Anna’s face, and caressed her.  “My mind is elsewhere, my sweet princess.  I don’t think it would be very good.”

 

Anna couldn’t help but pout. “Why can’t I be the judge of that?” Her hand trailed down Elsa’s shirt, and lowered further to the buttons of her pants.

 

The smile left the blonde’s face as Anna began to rub her slowly, and her flesh responded immediately. But Elsa quickly placed her hand over the princess’ and halted her movements.  “Please, Anna… I… I can’t.”

 

Anna’s eyes widened, and she looked deeply in the Queen’s eyes, observing her uneasiness.  “What is the matter, Elsa?  Did I do something wrong?”

 

Elsa paused, wondering herself the reasons behind her own reticence.  But the truth of the matter was that her time spent away from everything and everyone had allowed her new perspectives, about everything—including her intimacy with Anna.  Her smile seemed to quell any fears the princess was experiencing, however, so she wrapped her arms around her.  “You have done nothing wrong, Anna—my love.  I’m just in a different mood right now, and I need to address a few issues.”

 

The answer seemed to satisfy Anna, as she shook her head in agreement.  “Okay.”

Elsa blew out a cleansing breath.  “Thank you for understanding, Anna.”  Her hand rested on Anna’s belly, and she couldn’t help but smile.  This was one thing she was sure of, without doubt, this baby was hers—and this surety was scintillating, almost to the point of giddiness. 

 

Anna watched the changing emotions on Elsa’s face and she radiated with pride.  “You like the idea of being a parent, don’t you?”

 

“I always knew that I would have to bear an heir to the Kingdom one day.  But I never imagined this is how it would be.  So, yes, this is very thrilling for me.”

 

Anna lowered her head, her smile never wavering.  “You’re going to be a father, Elsa.”

 

The Queen’s head snapped up at that remark, completely taken aback, and she blushed a deep red. Inside, she felt Jörmungandr stir and flex his muscles, his possessiveness seeping to the surface. “Ah… In a sense I guess that’s true.” The beast growled, and pulled Anna closer.  “Mine.”

 

The princess saw the change in Elsa immediately, and knew from experience that this was the dragon that was speaking.  “Come on, Elsa, let’s clean up and get ready to go back to the city.”  Her eyes locked with Elsa’s as she disengaged from her embrace.   She stepped away from her began to clean up Elsa’s picnic.

 

Elsa blinked several times and came back to herself.  She picked up her bow and quiver and followed Anna into the cottage.

 


 

 

Prince Hans stood at the bow to his personal ship and observed as the seaman on the docks below secured it in port.  It took several men to pull in the hawser as it was extremely heavy, and the procedure was obviously going to take awhile.  The prince turned slightly and watched as Roman casually made conversation with a few deckhands, acting as if there was absolutely nothing wrong or out of the ordinary.  Hans knew better.

 

The death of his prisoner troubled him, as it seemed to happen just before he was scheduled to interrogate the man; and he did not believe for one minute that any of the guards were responsible for knifing the man to death.  They had no motivation for such an act, unless they were hoping for some sort of bribe, or other monetary promise from the man.   The more he thought about it, the less likely that scenario seemed.  The guards had no reason to kill Ingarth.  But if not them, then who?  Who on board this ship had a motivation to kill his prisoner, and why?

 

Hans turned his attention back to the docks and lost himself in thought.  If money wasn’t the reason, then what?  What other reason could there be for killing the spy.  Was he killed because he was an important person back in Arendelle, or was he killed because he knew something?  What did the spy know about the upcoming war with Arendelle that no one else knew?  He reasoned this must be the real reason why the man from Arendelle was dead.  He knew something about the war that was not common knowledge, and rather than let it slip while being interrogated, he was presumptively assassinated because of it.

 

The more Hans thought about it, the more uncomfortable he became.  Everyone in the Southern Isles was aware of the upcoming war, although there were only a few of knew the real reasons behind it.  But those reasons weren’t so secretive that they warranted the death of a spy.  Anyone could inquire as to why the Southern Isles was warring with Arendelle.  All one had to do was to ask, and they would be enlightened.  Even the sailors on his ship were aware of the reasons.  Maybe it wasn’t a question of knowledge.  Perhaps it was a question of whoknew such knowledge.

 

Hans blinked and stood a little taller, his posture stiffening at this new thought.  Was he thinking about this the wrong way? Perhaps he wasn’t looking for something that the spy knew, but whomhe knew?  Hans turned from the bow and slowly walked the deck of his personal ship, silently glancing at the sailors as he passed them.  Someone on board his ship was not who they seemed, and he vowed vehemently to himself to find out whom it was.

 


 

 

“I must say, it is awfully good to see you again, Master Kristoff.”

 

The mountain man finished brushing down Sven and threw the brush into a nearby bucket.  “I didn’t expect to find myself back Arendelle.” He picked up a pitchfork and started shoveling hay into the reindeer’s bin.  “It’s nice to see you, too, Master Kai.”

 

“So, you didn’t fancy going to the Americas?”

 

Kristoff tossed the pitchfork aside and wiped at his brow.  “No, that’s not the reason.”  He stared at Kai for a few moments, trying to assess what the man knew.  “Master Kai, what do you know about… Fimbulvetr?”

 

Kai raised his hands and looked about the entrance to the stables.  “Please, not so loud, okay Kristoff?”  He gestured for the mountain man to follow him.  “Come, let us go for a cup of coffee.”

 

Together, Kai and Kristoff walked out of the Arendelle stables and headed south along the busy streets toward the marketplace district of the city.

 

After awhile, Kristoff finally spoke.  “What do you about Fimbulvetr, Master Kai?”

 

“I know it is one of the ancient prophecies.”  Kai pulled up the lapels of his coat, as the winds started picking up.  He noticed the storm clouds on the horizon and wondered if they ought to be indoors.  “Or do you mean something else?”

 

Kristoff’s intuition was telling him he could be completely honest with the Master of the Castle.  “I have a feeling you already know.”

 

“Yes, I do.  So this is why you returned to Arendelle?  To see that the prophecies are fulfilled?”

 

Kristoff glanced at the smaller man.  “Well, not exactly.  I came back for Anna.”

 

Kai frowned a bit. “What do you mean?”

 

The mountain hesitated for a moment, carefully choosing his words.  “There is a war coming, I know this.  I’m here to make sure Anna is safe from it, in all ways possible.”

 

Kai nodded, there didn’t seem anything out of place in Kristoff’s statement.  “A commendable pursuit indeed, Master Kristoff.  But don’t you think the Queen capable of handling that?”

 

“I’m sure she is.” Kristoff  glanced at Kai again.  “As I said, I’ll make sure of it.”

 

They stopped at Kai’s favourite pastry shop, and the Master of the Castle held open the door so Kristoff could enter before him, thinking nothing of the mountain man’s words, or his true intentions.

 


 

 

Hours later, Elsa quietly entered her suite in the Castle and threw her knapsack on a nearby chair, and then went immediately to her liquor cabinet and poured herself a glass of brandy.  She noticed the embers in her fireplace and went over to it and put more wood inside, stoking it until she had a nice blaze.  After tossing her officer’s jacket aside, she unbuttoned her shirt so that it hung loosely around her shoulders and then plopped herself down on her favourite chair, facing the fireplace. 

 

She had managed to avoid most of her nobles as she made her way to her rooms, and had to forbid the remaining few into following her to the second floor residences.  Only castle staff was allowed to this floor, and she charged two guards into keeping a watch at the bottom of the great spiral staircase just to make sure.  She sighed and closed her eyes.  At some point today her nobles were entitled to her attention, even though she had no wish to do so—and then there was Anna, again.  If there was anyone right now who deserved her kindness it was her sister. She had been gone from her for more than a week, creating a distance between them, ill deserved as it was, that was completely unintentional.  Even though she relished the time spent alone, she had not meant to be gone as long as she was.  This was a time of war, and every precaution had to be taken to prevent harm from coming to Anna, and their unborn baby. 

 

Elsa smiled at that last thought, and deep inside, Jörmungandr smirked in satisfaction.  She cleared her throat and brought the glass to her lips again, taking a deep swallow.  

 

The mild knock on her door startled her, and she jumped slightly.  “Who is it?”

 

“Anna.”

 

Her sister’s timid response wasn’t lost on her, and she closed her eyes once more.  “Come in, Anna.”  She didn’t bother to get up, nor did she make an effort to button up her shirt. Her door opened and closed quietly, and she heard the shuffling of feet coming in her direction.  “Anna, I thought we agreed—“  Her words died in her throat when Anna stood before her, clad only in a skimpy bathrobe.

 

Anna knew what they agreed to, but she wasn’t having any of it right now.  She needed Elsa inside her right now, so much was her want.  She untied the robe and let it fall off of her shoulders.  “I want you, Elsa.  Right now, just like this.  Oh, you can’t leave me for a week and expect me not need you inside my body…”

 

Elsa looked up and squirmed in her chair.  She opened her mouth to say something but her words failed her, and she swallowed several times.  “Ah…”

 

Anna pounced, and was on Elsa’s lap in an instant.  Her modesty was completely thrown to the wayside as she quickly  unclasped Elsa’s trousers, and reached inside.  She needn’t have worried if the blonde was ready or not, because she was.  After licking her lips she lowered herself fully onto Elsa’s lap, and groaned at the penetration.

 

The blonde threw her head back and gasped deeply at the feeling of Anna’s slick warmth, unprepared as she was for this swift seduction.  When Anna began to bounce on her lap all rational thought fled and she growled deep in her throat.  She easily stood up and wrapped Anna’s legs around her waist as she stumbled over to a nearby table.  After lowering the princess onto her back she pulled her hips to the edge of the table and began to thrust deeply inside her, causing the table to creak rhythmically. 

 


 

 

Elsa opened her eyes and let out a deep breath, all her energy drained.  She slowly turned her head and saw that Anna was quietly sleeping beside her.  At some point they found themselves on Elsa’s bed, limbs entangled, and their lust unabated. Lifting her head, she peaked outside her window and noticed that the sun had fallen below the horizon, and it was near twilight.  Groaning, she carefully slid her arm from under Anna’s neck and sat up, swinging her legs over the side of her bed.  But she had no will to get up, and plopped back down, arm thrown over her eyes.

 

“Elsa?”  Anna rolled onto her side and opened her eyes, ready to offer the blonde a sweet smile, but Elsa looked like she was grimacing. “What is it?”

 

The Queen didn’t respond for the longest time, her words failing her as she tried to process what had just happened.  “I’m sorry, Anna, I really don’t mean to appear so glum.” 

       

Anna sat up and truly looked at the Queen, trying to gauge her mood.  She crossed her legs and covered herself with a blanket..  “You look so unhappy.”

 

“I do?”  Elsa leaned on her side, her hand reaching up to caress Anna’s cheek.  “I’m not unhappy, per se, Anna.  I just did not expect this so soon, and was not prepared.”

 

But Anna failed to pick up on the true meaning behind Elsa’s words.  “I was extremely forward, wasn’t I?”

 

“Yes, you were.”  Elsa didn’t mean for the words to come out harshly, but they did.

 

The princess’ feelings were hurt, and she scooted away from her sister.  “I’m sorry, Elsa.”

 

Elsa cursed herself for her insensitivity, realizing Anna was blameless in this.  “Oh, snowflake, please don’t recoil from me, I’m the one who’s being obtuse.”  She groaned while sitting up, her muscles well spent.  “I ought to have talked with you before we parted earlier.”

 

“Talk about what?”

 

“I had a lot of time to think over this past week, and I’ve realized a few things—some of them concerning us.”  Elsa took Anna’s hands in hers.  “I really want us to know each other better, snowflake, and want our relationship to be more than just this.  Please don’t misunderstand what I’m truly saying,  Anna.  I’m not rejecting you, not by any means.  Our intimacies mean the world to me—and I love how we express our passion.  I was wondering, well, you’d have to agree to it. But I was wondering…”

 

Now, Anna was curious. “What were you wondering?”

 

Elsa blushed.  “Well, I was thinking we could, perhaps, go on a real date.”

 

An easy smile slowly appeared on Anna’s face.  “For real?”

 

The blonde coughed into her hand.  “Yes, Anna. I’ve had time to think that perhaps we ought to have a proper courtship to—well, you know, do things in an appropriate order.”  Elsa cringed at sounding so formal.

 

Anna lowered her head and continued to smile, despite herself.  “A real courtship—one with flowers, and presents—you want to court me?”

 

Elsa lifted Anna’s hands and kissed her knuckles, one at a time.  “You mean this much to me, Anna.  You deserve so much more than this, but I don’t know what else to do.”  A lone tear escaped, and she didn’t wipe it away.  “I was thinking that we could begin tonight.  Have dinner in the city, at your favourite restaurant.  After that—“

 

There was a rather loud knocking on her bedroom door, causing both of them to jump.  Elsa quickly stood and put on her housedress, while Anna covered herself with a blanket again.

 

“Yes, who is—“  The door smashed open, and Elsa didn’t see the fist as it slammed into her jaw, sending her sprawling onto her carpeted floor, unconscious. 

 

Kristoff hurried into the room, his eyes quickly taking in everything that he saw, including Anna’s current state of undress, and the smell of sex.  So, everything Hølje told him was true.  Everything.  His jaw tightened, and he had to resist the urge to throttle Elsa where she lay. “Anna, get up, now!”

 

Anna’s eyes were wide, and she almost screamed as she suddenly got to her feet.  “What did you do?”  She tried to get to her sister, but the mountain man stopped her by grabbing her arm.  “Let go of me!”

 

Kristoff managed to reach into his pocket while struggling with the princess, and pulled out a small glass bottle filled with a bluish liquid.  He uncorked it and forced Anna to drink its contents, who tried to spit it out.  Before long, Anna, too, was unconscious.  “This is for the best, Anna, trust me.”

 

After covering Anna with a blanket, he carried her into her bedroom and dressed her as best as he could in her traveling clothes.  Since he was a trusted man, no one in the castle or the stables questioned him when he said he was taking a sleepy princess out for a short ride as soon as she woke up.  All were fooled except for the stags, who after returning from feeding in the forests, flew into a wild frenzy below Anna’s window.  But Kristoff was already a full hour ahead of them.

 

The clouds rolled into Arendelle slowly, bringing with them a bitter storm.

Chapter Text

The Ninth Duke of Weselton walked over the drawbridge out of his castle, passing numerous guards on the curtain walls, and stopped when he reached the barbican.  He smiled to himself and waited patiently for the sound of horse hooves, as he was expecting his cavalry, along with Lieutenant Aleksander, back from the field.  After a short while, Magnus snapped his fingers and two liveried footmen approached him, one caring a pitcher full of ale, and the other a rather large tankard.  The Duke smiled again as he took his stein, and then quickly dismissed the footmen with a pointed look.  His keen hearing picked up on the sound of footfalls behind him, but he didn’t bother to look, as he knew it was General Voljor, along with two guards. 

 

Magnus took a large swallow of his ale, his eyes wandering to the parapets above the walls surrounding the barbican, and noted the careful placement of the archers on the high walkways. He glanced over his shoulder to the gatehouse, just beyond the drawbridge, noting again the strategic areas that were now occupied by more archers. 

 

But General Voljor thought that the Duke’s backwards glance was toward him, and offered his Duke a warm greeting.  “Good morning, My Liege.”

 

“Indeed it is, my good man.”

 

Voljor stepped up to the Duke’s side, and grasped his arm briefly.  “You wanted me to meet you here, My Liege?”

 

Magnus snapped his fingers again, and a page came forward to take the stein from him.  He carefully straightened out his uniform jacket, then adjusted his short fencing cape, bringing the clasp over his breast. “Lieutenant Aleksander brings back the cavalry this morning, General.  I thought it only fitting that you accompany me to welcome him back—you are my top general, are you not?”

 

The General smiled again as he turned away from the Duke, his eyes drawn to the outer drawbridge, and the activity there.  “Yes, I am, My Liege.”

 

The Duke nodded, and then clasped his hands behind his back.  “You can dispense with the honorifics, Voljor, and just call me Magnus.”

 

“May I?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Both men were distracted by the sound of hooves on the grasslands beyond the Castle boundaries, and Magnus purposefully stepped away from Voljor just as the first horses entered from the outer drawbridge, and assembled themselves on the barbican. The horsemen removed their swords from their sides and brandished them with a wild abandon, and eagerly waited for their Lieutenant to enter.  When Aleksander entered into the barbican his men cheered.  The young lieutenant maneuvered his horse over to his Duke and then removed his own sword, lowering the point of it to his heel in a clear sign of submission.

 

Magnus understood the gesture, and nodded his approval immediately.  Following his royal custom, he approached Aleksander and briefly touched the blade with his gloved fingers, signaling for the young man to sheath it. When Aleksander did so, Magnus offered his lieutenant his hand, and the young man gladly shook it.  “I’ve heard all about your exploits, Lieutenant, and wish to offer you my sincere congratulations on a job well done.”

 

Aleksander removed his helm and tossed it to a nearby page, his thick wavy hair falling to his shoulders. “It was my pleasure to do my Lord’s bidding.  I do not seek glory for my own sake, my Lord, but that your renown may be spread throughout the land.”

 

Magnus chuckled, the young man was surely trying to impress him.  “Are you saying that my own reputation is important?”

 

“Of course, my Lord.”

 

“So, are you claiming it is important that my reputation be a good one among my own people?”

 

The young lieutenant smirked.  “Of course, again, my Lord.”

 

The Duke ran his hand through his long black hair.  “And precisely what type of reputation do I have, Lieutenant Aleksander—among my own?”

 

Aleksander looked around him, and noticed the archers on the parapets above.  “Among your own subjects?  You are known as a hard taskmaster, my Lord—unnecessarily cruel and ambitious.  Some call you pitiless, while others claim you are the devil.”

 

General Voljor gasped, incensed by the young man’s words.  “How dare you say such things to your Sovereign!”

 

Magnus smiled again, but there was no mirth behind it.  “And what of conquered people—what do they say about me?”

 

“To them you are vile, repugnant, and evil—a friend to no one—“

 

Voljor stepped forward. “Enough!”

 

Magnus locked eyes with Aleksander.  “Would you say they are correct, my good man?”

 

Aleksander removed his handkerchief from his pant’s pocket and blew his nose rather loudly.  “Oh, yes, my Lord.  Your reputation apparently preceded us wherever we went, and so we were either feared or pitied, depending on what region we were in.”

 

“You cowardly, traitorous—“

 

Magnus put his hand on Voljor’s arm, stopping his tirade, his eyes never leaving the young lieutenant. “Thank you, Aleksander.”  He moved away from his confused general to stand next to Aleksander’s horse.  “Observe, Lieutenant, what I do to real traitors within my realm.  Archers!”

 

Voljor stepped back when he realized the archers were pointing their arrows at him, and not young Aleksander.  Then the realization hit him, just before more than a hundred arrows flew into his body—a singular, paralyzing thought: Magnus knew, all along, about his complicity with the Southern Isles. 

 


 

 

Master Kai was in the vestibule of Arendelle castle, talking with a few nobles, when he heard the shouts. He immediately went to the great gates and, not waiting for pages to assist him, opened the great doors himself and ran into the courtyard.  Several people came running from the outer gates into the courtyard at exactly that moment, their eyes full of fright.  He grabbed a man by the shoulders.  “What?  What has happened?”

 

The frightened man shivered. “Didn’t you see them—those giant red dear?  They ran through the marketplace like wild harpies!  I think they killed someone!”

 

Kai blanched.  “That’s impossible…”

 

“Go see for yourself! Now let me go!”  The man wrenched himself free from Kai’s grip, and backed away from him.

 

Kai ran past him and through the outer gates and paused at the long bridge, trying to get a good view of the marketplace beyond.  He watched as a rider on horseback came barreling down the bridge, so he raised his hands and began to wave, hoping the rider would stop. 

 

The soldier on horseback did, and pulled up right next to the Master of the Castle.  “Master Kai, I bring the most unfortunate of news. Those stags—the princess’ protectors—have killed two of our citizens!”

 

Kai felt sick.  “How did it happen?”

 

“I don’t rightly know why. But they were observed racing from the castle not too long ago, screaming, and they trampled down the marketplace, killing two.”

 

Kai nodded.  “Do you think they meant to kill the merchants?”

 

The winds came roiling from the bay, chilling down everything they touched, including the two men on the long bridge. 

 

The soldier looked up as a few drops of freezing rain fell to the ground.  “That’s the thing, Master Kai, people don’t seem to think they knew what they were doing—they were full of rage and fury.”

 

Kai blinked when a raindrop fell into his eye.  “What in the world—“

 

“Master Kai, I’ve got to go. Excuse me, sir.”  The soldier spurred his horse on and towards the castle.

 

Bewildered, Kai stood where he was for only a few moments.  Then his intuition was telling him he needed to find the Queen, quickly. He turned around abruptly and ran back to the castle, that certain inner voice telling him that something was terribly wrong.  Bypassing the castle security, he huffed up the great spiral staircase to the residences and startled two maids just as they were about to knock on the Queen’s door. 

 

Kai reached the parlor door before the women did, and knocked rather loudly.  He waited, his impatience growing as the seconds passed and still no Queen.  His hand reflexively went to the door handle and found it unlocked, so he entered quickly and looked around, there was nothing out of the ordinary.  When the two maids tried to enter he waved them back and went immediately to the Queen’s bedroom door.  That’s when he saw her, passed out on her bedroom floor, the beginnings of a bruise on her left cheek.  He dropped to his knees and placed his ear on her chest, listening for a heart beat, and audibly sighed when he found one.

 

The Master of the Castle sat back on his heels and cried out for the maids, one of whom came running straightaway.  “My god, woman, what took you so long?  Go and sound the alarm, the Queen has been hurt!”

 

Then, events happened extremely quickly that they were almost a blur.  Palace guards came rushing into Her Majesty’s bedroom and lifted her onto the bed just as the Royal Physician came running into the room. He ordered the guards away as he examined Elsa, but allowed two of his nurses to assist him.  After he finished examining her, he ordered two guards to watch at the Queen’s parlor door.  Then several nobles came to see how the Queen was faring, including Harald Halfdansson and the Earl Malkolm, who appeared to be stunned as he observed the unconscious Queen.

 

Then a thought hit Kai like a blow.  He rushed to the castle guards outside of the Queen’s rooms.  “Has anyone checked Princess Anna’s bedroom?”

 

Two guards looked at each other then scrambled down the hallway.  They knocked furiously on the door, but nothing happened.  That’s when Kai pushed past them and entered the room. It was empty, and Anna was apparently missing.  He turned on the guards then, furious at their incompetence.  “Where is Princess Anna?  Is she missing?  Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”

 

A guard from down the hall came running to them.  “I saw her! She was with that man, Kristoff. He was carrying her—like she was sleeping.”

 

A warning sounded off in the back of Kai’s mind, and he grabbed the guard by the shoulders, shaking him.  “Sleeping! Since when do you allow someone to carry away our princess?  Where did they go?”

 

The young guard froze to the spot.  “But it was Master Kristoff!”

 

Kai slapped the young man. “The Queen is unconscious, and you allowed the princess to be accosted by an ice harvester!”  He replayed his last conversation with the iceman in his mind, and remembered the words: I came back for Anna…  Shuddering, he looked up to see Lieutenant Lindar approaching him from the great spiral staircase.  “Lieutenant!”

 

Lindar held up his hands. “Yes, I already know, Master Kai.” He made his way to the smaller man. “Are the deaths in the marketplace connected to the Queen’s assault in any way?”

 

Kai shook his head. “I don’t know, Lieutenant.”

 

“Lieutenant Lindar!” Harald Halfdansson came out of the Queen’s rooms and waved at the two men to come over.

 

Lindar scowled, he didn’t like the nobleman at all, found him too conceited.  “What is it, Your Grace?”

 

The Chieftain cleared his throat.  “What is your plan?”

 

Kai rolled his eyes while Lindar openly showed his disgust.  “My plan is my own business!  And I can accomplish it more efficiently without your interference.  Guards!”  Two of the nearby guards came over to him.  “Secure this floor, and make sure no one is allowed up here unless it is by the Queen’s order.  Your Grace!” Lindar glared at the noble.

 

Harald was furious. “You’ll regret this, Lieutenant. Believe me!”

 

Kai watched in satisfaction as the castle guards escorted Harald Halfdansson away.  “I’ve always wanted to tell off that bastard…”

 

The Royal Physician came out the Queen’s suite.  “Gentlemen, please come in.  She’s waking up.”

 


 

 

Elsa fought through the fog in her mind to rise to the surface, not quite knowing where she was. Her eyes opened slowly, and she blinked several times.  One of the first things she noticed was an overwhelming pain on the left side of her face, and that she was lying in her own bed.  But she had no idea how she got there.  When she lifted her head slightly she noticed Kai, Lindar, and her Royal Physician standing over her, concerned looks on their faces.  She turned her head to the left and noticed royal guards standing in the doorway.

 

The blonde let out a weak breath and had to fight the urge to vomit.  “What—what’s going on?”  Her hand went tentatively to her face, and she cringed.  “Why does my head hurt?”

 

Her physician leaned over the bed.  “How are you feeling, Your Majesty?”

 

“Stop yelling.”

 

Kai and Lindar exchanged glances; the physician had not yelled.  Kai resisted the urge to take Elsa’s hand.  “Do you remember anything, my Queen?” he whispered.

 

Elsa searched through the fog of her memories, trying to find something to latch onto.  After a few moments, she found what she was looking for, and then closed her eyes.  She and Anna had made love… Anna! Where was Anna?  “Where is my sister?”  A part of her was afraid to know—had they been discovered?

 

Kai glanced at Lindar, not quite knowing how to answer the Queen’s question.  Lindar stepped forward, a small smile on his face. “Perhaps it would be prudent to let Her Majesty rest a bit, yes?”

 

The blonde opened her eyes. “Let me rest?”  So, they had not been found out.  But there was something that was being left unsaid.  “Kai, what is going on?”  She tried to lift her head, but the nausea kept her in her place. “Kai?”

 

Kai groaned inwardly. “This is what we are trying to determine, Your Majesty.”

 

A fine tendril of fear crept up Elsa’s spine at that remark, and the dragon stirred, roused from an unwanted sleep.  “What?”

 

Lindar looked helplessly at the Master of the Castle, not quite up to speaking after that low growl.

 

Kai stepped closer to the bed, and leaned over it, just like the doctor did.  “Several things have happened, Your Majesty, that we are trying to figure out.  The first being that the stags have fled Arendelle, and in their haste to leave have accidently killed two of our citizens.”  He waited for a harsh reaction, but it never came.

 

But the Queen had stopped all movement, and was now lying completely still, her eyes wide open. “And?”

 

“We found Your Majesty passed out on her bedroom floor, apparently injured somehow.”

 

Elsa had no memory of that, and it not only frustrated her, but the dragon, as well.  “Where is my sister?”

 

Kai stood up straight at the coldness in the Queen’s voice, a small amount of fear clenching around his heart.  “That’s the third thing, Your Majesty—we don’t know.”

 

All color drained from Elsa’s face, and she sat up abruptly, her nausea forgotten.  “What? How can Anna be missing?  Did you check her room, the conservatory, the stables?”  Then it occurred to Elsa that Anna would not be out of castle without her, considering her current mood and state of mind.  In fact, Anna would not leave her side, for anything. Her fury increased tenfold. “She is pregnant…!”

 

The dragon came to life, and lifted its head to roar out to the heavens.  The noise was so terrible that a few guards fainted where they stood. Elsa’s body fell to her bed, twisted and contorted, slowly transforming itself.

 

Master Kai scampered away from the bed as fast as he could, grabbing Lindar as he did so.  “Come on, let’s get out of here—now!”

 

Lindar, confused, followed Kai out of the bedroom.  “What—what are we doing, Master Kai?”  The subsequent scream sent chills down his spine, and he looked on in horror as something huge was coiling in the shadows of the Queen’s bedroom  “What the—“  He found himself being dragged by the neck out of the parlor door rather quickly, and turned his head to see Master Kai doing the deed.  The parlor door slammed shut just as another blood-curling scream emanated from Elsa’s bedroom.  “Kai, unhand me!”

 

“Not a chance!  Get moving, all of you, down to the first floor—now!”

 

A loud boom rattled the windows and doors, and the sound was quickly followed by a deafening crash and the sound of glass breaking.  Kai and Lieutenant Lindar hesitated by the stairwell, both curious as to what had just happened.  Both men slowly made their way to Elsa’s door, listening for any sound, but hearing nothing.  Lindar cautiously turned the handle and pushed the door open.  When Kai attempted to step in Lindar put up his hand, and then unsheathed his sword.  He held out his sword in front of him as he warily stepped into the parlor, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. 

 

Lindar gestured for Kai to follow him as he walked to the bedroom door and peered inside.  The entire room was in shambles, as if a big animal had trampled down all the furniture and then escaped through the smashed window.  Kai took his handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his brow while the Lieutenant sheathed his sword.

 

After a long while Lindar turned towards the Master of the Castle.  “I have a feeling you know what is going on, Kai, and I need for you to share it with me now.”

 

Kai sighed, and then realized his hands were still shaking.  “You’re right, there is something you ought—no, need—to know.  It has to do with the old prophecies, Lindar. Ragnarök and Fimbulvetr.”

 

The Lieutenant frowned. “What?  Tell me you’re not talking about the end of the world, Master Kai.”

 

Kai barely understood himself.  “Well, in a sense, I am.  Queen Elsa and Princess Anna are at the center of those ancient tales.”  He glanced at the Lieutenant.  “Do you have the time to hear it?”

 

“I’ll make the time.”

 

Kai started walking towards the great spiral staircase.  “Then follow me to my office, I have some things to tell you.”

 


 

 

It raged through the forests of Arendelle, its fearsome ire only matched by the roiling incoming storm. At first, it circumvented the city boundary, sniffing at the air and foliage, searching for its mate.   But its efforts were in vain because it avoided the obvious scents in and around Arendelle proper.  Jörmungandr paused at a thick copse of trees and settled on its hind legs before completely lowering itself to the ground.  Growling, it licked at the cuts on its front legs, as they had been injured when it crashed through the windows in Elsa’s bedroom. Just as it was about to lay its head down it picked up on a scent, a faint wisp of an odor, of Anna.  But it was enough to spur the beast into taking off towards the border of the Valley of the Living Rock.  Its wings flapped and nostrils flared, and Elsa was completely lost, her only instinct at the moment was revenge.

 


 

 

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?”

 

Kristoff gritted his teeth. “I’m protecting you, what else does it look like?”

 

Anna shook her head, attempting to shake off the stupor she found herself in.  She tried sit up, but couldn’t.  “What was that liquid?  Oh, I’m not feeling so good.”  When she closed her eyes her head began to spin.  “I asked you a question!”

 

“I don’t know what it was. Hølje gave it to me.  I think he figured you wouldn’t be a willing partner.” Kristoff temporarily guided the horses off the path, hoping not to leave tracks.  He glanced back at Sven, who was tied to the back of the uncovered wagon, and pulled his jacket more tightly around him.  “Are you alright?”

 

“Am I alright?  Do you have any idea what you’ve done, Kristoff? Elsa—no, not Elsa—Jörmungandr will come after you!”  Anna managed to sit up, and pulled a blanket around her as the winds started to pick up. She felt a pain in her stomach and frantically looked up at the mountain man.  “How close are we to the Valley of the Living Rock?”

 

“At the border, why?” Kristoff tightened his hold around the reins.

 

“Oh, no… no.”  Anna watched, incredulous, as her stomach distended even more, and knew immediately what was happening.  “My pregnancy…” The closer the wagon came to Yggdrasil, the closer she came to delivering her child.  “You have to take me back, Kristoff, before something bad happens.”

 

Kristoff stopped the horses and whirled around.  “I would say that something bad has already happened!”  He had to fight a sudden sense of nausea.  “You… you, and your sister!  I don’t care what is says in those goddamn prophecies, Anna—and you are pregnant!  How did that happen?” 

 

Anna could see that Kristoff was in near hysterics, and her heart clenched in fear.  “Kristoff, you have to calm down… please…” She winced in pain as her belly extended even more, and the baby grew even bigger.  “You need to help me!”

 

The mountain man closed his mouth, and regarded Anna and her struggles.  “Anna…?”  He secured the reins and turned his body around to face her.  “Look, I’m just doing what Hølje told me to do.”

 

“What did he tell you?”

 

“He explained the prophecies to me—about Ragnarök and Fimbulvetr.”  Kristoff looked away for a moment, then turned back.  “I’ll be completely honest with you, Anna, the thought of you and Elsa together makes me sick!  But if you have no choice in the matter, well, then I guess I can try to understand.”

 

“Wait, what?”  Anna blinked, several times, at Kristoff’s words. “What are you talking about?”

 

Kristoff was just about to answer when a terrible roaring sound could be heard in the distance, accompanied by the thunderous sounds of many hooves.  The mountain man’s eyes widened, and so did Anna’s.  So she was doubly shocked when Kristoff grabbed the reins and called for the horses to start moving again.  After a short while they were moving along fast, and Anna fell backwards into the wagon and clutched at her swollen belly.  The further into the Valley the wagon traveled, the greater the princess’ pain became.

 

“Kristoff! Stop!”  Anna yelled her loudest, but it had no effect on the mountain man. She peered over the back of the wagon and realized they were going much too fast for Sven, as the reindeer was barely keeping up with the horse’s pace.  Angered to her limit, she crawled to the front of wagon and grabbed Kristoff’s jacket.  “I said stop, right now!  You’re going to kill us!”

 

The stags were more than two hundred yards away, but their screams were easily heard.  They frightened Kristoff, and he was loath to stop the wagon, but Anna’s screams scared him even more, so he slowed the wagon down until it came to a complete stop.  Anna collapsed in the wagon’s back and writhed in pain just as Kristoff ran to the back to check on Sven.

 

When Anna screamed again the mountain man jumped into the back of the wagon to check on her. “Anna!  What is it?”

 

“The baby… I think its coming… oh, no…” Anna ripped off her outer skirt, as it was tearing at her waist, and too small.  “Help me, Kristoff.”

 

“Oh, god, what do you want me to do?”

 

“I don’t know, I’ve never had a baby before.”

 

Before they could react or do anything further, the stags surrounded the wagon, and made sure it could go no further by killing the horses.  Duraþrór impaled both animals with his antlers, and growled deeply as he easily tossed them aside.  Dvalinn and Duneyrr advanced on Kristoff while Dáinn turned his attention to Anna. He sniffed at her and his eyes widened.

 

“Princess Anna, you are close to your delivery!”  The stag whirled towards Kristoff and thrust his head at him.  “You brought this about, human!  Death is upon you!”

 

Anna turned onto her side and quickly raised her hand.  “No, stop! He has to help me deliver this baby!”

 

Dvalinn and Duneyrr backed away from the wagon and raised their antlers in frustration; they howled and stomped their hooves on the hard path.

 

Dáinn, however, ignored them and aimed his antlers at the mountain man.  “Are you sure, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna fell to her back again and moaned rather loudly.  “Yes, now back off Dáinn, and let the man get closer.”

 

The stag backed up a few feet, but that was all.  “I’m watching you, human.”

 

Kristoff sighed in relief and knelt beside Anna.  “Thank you.”

 

The princess reached up and slapped him.  “Don’t make me regret it.” 

 

The mountain man grunted then opened up one of the boxes he had brought and began pulling out towels and blankets and tossed them in Anna’s direction.  Next, he pulled over a rather large container of water.  “Anna, what’s happening right now?”

 

“I think they’re called contractions…owww!!!”  Anna reached for and grabbed Kristoff’s hand; she locked eyes with him as the contraction rolled over her.  “It hurts…”

 

“Stay with me, Anna. Come on, look at me.”  The mountain man let go of her hand and lifted her hips so that he could place a rolled up blanket below them, to raise her from the wagon floor.  He then placed some towels next to the blanket.  When he attempted to part Anna’s legs she tried to punch him.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“I may not know much but I’m pretty sure babies come from here!”  Kristoff pointed towards Anna’s crotch and scowled.  When Dáinn growled at him he completely ignored it.  “Come on, Anna, help me out here.”

 

Anna relented, and spread her legs apart, her knees pointed upwards.  “Alright…Ungh…”  The next contraction hit her hard, and she grabbed both of Kristoff’s hands as she rode it out.  “Ahh… oh, god, I can’t do this… where is Elsa?  I need Elsa!”

 

Kristoff sat back on his heels, his emotions warring within him.  He had taken Hølje’s words literally, and acted immediately, and now this. As much as he thought he was doing the right thing when he kidnapped Anna, he now had some doubt.  Perhaps the troll had meant something else when he said Anna needed to be protected at all costs.  Anna had the four stags as her protectors, and she had the Queen, who was apparently destined to be an almighty dragon.  What could he do that a powerful dragon could not? 

The mountain man grabbed a towel and dipped it into the water, then he wiped the perspiration off of Anna’s face.  “I’m sorry, Anna.  I really thought I was doing the right thing in taking you…”

 

Anna was grateful for the cool towel.  “Well, you weren’t!  I’m not ready for the baby to come.”

 

Dáinn lowered his head to the princess.  “Is this true, Princess Anna?”

 

Anna was about to answer when she was hit with another contraction, this one lasting longer than the previous ones.  She grabbed and held one the stag’s antlers, pulling at his head as the wave crested then fell.  She dropped to the wagon floor, completely exhausted.  “I… I’m so tired.”

 

Kristoff pushed up the princess’ skirts and looked between her legs.  “I can see… Anna!  Part of the head is out.  Push!”

 

“I can’t…”  She clutched at the antler and pushed as hard as she could, screaming as she did so. 

 

Dvalinn and Duneyrr remained on high alert, and their attention turned to the west, their keen senses picking up on a new presence far in the distance.

 

Anna screamed again and Kristoff grabbed a large towel in order to catch the baby.  “It’s coming—the head is out, Anna!”

 

Anna grabbed Dáinn’s antlers.  “Help me…”

 

The stag wrenched his head free from the princess’ grasp and pressed his head into her stomach, helping her to push.  It didn’t take long for the soft cries of an infant to fill the air.  Kristoff immediately wrapped the baby in the large towel, not knowing what to do with the cord that was still attached, and placed the bundle on Anna’s stomach.

 

But Dáinn did, and whipped his head around to face an exhausted Anna.  “Please, let me assist you, Princess Anna.”

 

Anna could only nod, not able to find her voice.  The stag nuzzled the blanket open and gently bit on the cord, easily severing it.  He then began to lick the end that was still attached to the crying infant until it was completely sealed.  When he was done Anna pulled her baby into her arms and shed bittersweet tears, for her baby was here, but Elsa wasn’t.

 

Kristoff dipped another towel into the water and wrung it out.  Hen then cleaned the baby’s mouth and head.  “You have a son, Anna.”

 

“What?”  Anna wiped at her tears, and looked down on her child for the first time.  His hair was already about two inches long and a platinum blonde.  She looked into his blue eyes and shed more tears.  “Oh, Elsa, you should be here.”  Her soft tears fell onto her son’s forehead and he blinked.  But then she felt more pain, and knew that her birthing process was far from over. “What… what is happening?”

 

When Kristoff shook his head Dáinn spoke up.  “It is the afterbirth, Princess Anna.  Will you allow me help you deliver it?”  Anna nodded while kissing her son’s head.  The stag used his head to press down again on Anna’s stomach, and after a few minutes of doing this the afterbirth expelled from Anna’s body.

 

The mountain man nearly vomited at the sight of it, so he quickly wrapped it up in a cloth and tossed over the side of the wagon.

 

Duraþrór wailed at that moment and threw his head back in acknowledgement of the birth of Jörmungandr’s offspring.  But Dvalinn and Duneyrr had a different reaction.  They sniffed at the air and then screamed in fright, which caught the attention of all.  Off in the distance something was approaching at an incredibly fast speed.  It was growling and spewing putrid ice the closer it came, its enormous wings helping the beast to practically glide over the rocky terrain. 

 

Jörmungandr had arrived.

Chapter Text

Jörmungandr skidded to a halt about fifty yards from the wagon and reared up on his massive hind legs. Bits of putrid ice spewed from the dragon’s mouth as it wailed; they fell to the ground and sizzled, creating a horrible smell.  It roared so loud that Anna had to cover the baby’s ears, so much was her concern.

 

The beast lowered its body to all four limbs, and slowly slithered to the wagon, as it growled deep in its throat.  The scaly creature’s limbs shone blue, much like Elsa’s legs had, while the rest of it shone various shades of gray; and it was huge, its body as big as an elephant, with an extremely long neck.  The creature’s wingspan was tremendous.

 

Anna held on to her son and scooted as far back in the wagon as she could go, afraid that the monster would try to harm her, and the baby.

 

Kristoff’s eyes widened at the sight of the huge monstrosity, enormous as it was, and he had a hard time believing that a part of this creature was Elsa.  “Oh, my God!”

 

Acting on instinct, the stags moved to the front of the wagon.

 

In the deep recesses of the dragon’s being, Elsa existed, and she was struggling to break through the boundaries of the dragon’s baser instincts.  Jörmungandr stopped about thirty feet from the wagon and shook his massive head, because Elsa’s essence was warring with his own.  He lowered his massive head and groaned deep, and when his head snapped up again his eyes had turned blue. 

 

Elsa flapped her wings, and the force of the wind it created knocked two of stags to the ground, and Kristoff lost his balance and fell from the wagon, landing on his arm and breaking it. He screamed and this drew the dragon’s attention.  Elsa crawled over to where Kristoff landed and roared at him, her anger mixing in with the dragon’s rage. 

 

But at precisely that moment the baby started crying again.  Jörmungandr turned his huge head away from the mountain man and towards Anna and the baby.  Anna saw the change in the dragon’s eye color and knew that Elsa was partly in control, so she remained perfectly still as the massive head sniffed at her and then at the baby. 

 

The dragon’s wings immediately fell to the ground, and a strange sound emanated from its throat, sounding almost like a whimper.  A huge tear rolled down its scaly cheek, and its tongue tentatively reached out to touch the infant.  The baby seemed to look at the huge dragon, and the two locked eyes and held for the longest time.  When Elsa looked away she was angry again, and so was the dragon.  She had been denied the birth of her child, and Anna was thrust into a situation that could have ended tragically for both her and the baby. 

 

Kristoff had crawled under the wagon but the dragon easily dragged him out by his jacket.  This jarring motion snapped his broken arm again and he screamed, his arms flailing about, legs kicking.  He managed to kick the dragon’s nose, and this caused Jörmungandr to lift the mountain man off the ground and hurl him towards a nearby tree, breaking some of his ribs, but keeping him alive.  The dragon whirled towards the man again and advanced towards him. The beast easily lifted Kristoff again and sent him flying once more; the dragon wanted to kill the mountain man, but Elsa was resisting.

 

“Elsa!”

 

Anna’s scream caused Jörmungandr to stop and twirl towards her, his tail accidently swinging into Duraþrór, sending the stag flying into a different tree, and snapping his neck instantaneously.  Dáinn gasped, and ran to his fallen brother, wailing.  Duneyrr and Dvalinn, shocked and horrified, lowered their antlers—which had started to glow—and growled as they prepared to attack the dragon. 

 

Anna saw all these events happen within seconds and cautiously lowered the baby to the blankets before leaping out the wagon and jumping in front of Jörmungandr. “Stop!  All of you, stop what you are doing this instant!”

 

The stag’s antlers stopped glowing and they halted their progression, and the dragon lowered his wings again to the ground, turning away from Kristoff and towards Anna.  Jörmungandr collapsed in front of the princess, his massive eyes glazing over before they closed.  Anna backed away from the creature as it started to putrefy; its skin shriveled up and disappeared altogether.  The princess looked on in horror, and thought that Elsa was dying right before her, until the dragon vanished, and left only an outline of itself on the ground and a terrible smell.  Amongst the fleshy material that was left over was the naked body of Elsa. Anna ran over to her immediately and tried to lift her, but she was weakened from just giving birth, and collapsed right next to her.

 

Anna brushed Elsa’s wet hair from her face.  “Elsa? Elsa can you hear me?”

 

The stags moved over to the fallen body of their brother, and mourned along with Dáinn.

 

The blonde started to stir, and she lifted a slimy hand to wipe off her face.  “Anna…?”

 

Anna grabbed Elsa’s hand. “Oh, thank God you’re alive!”

 

Elsa lifted to her hands and knees, and then proceeded to vomit.  She didn’t notice that Anna had gotten up and walked over to the wagon. The blonde looked up and sat back on her heels just as Anna was coming back, a bundle in her arms.

 

The princess knelt next to Elsa and showed her the infant.  “Look, Elsa, we have a son.”

 

Elsa’s hand went to her mouth as she looked upon her child, and noticed immediately the baby’s wavy blonde hair and striking blue eyes.  She reached out, but then abruptly withdrew her hand.  “I’m filthy, Anna.”

 

“Don’t worry, so am I.”

 

Elsa gently took her baby into her arms, and tears welled up in her eyes.  She tenderly counted fingers and toes and then looked up to Anna and tried to say something, but words failed her.  Her eyes locked with Anna’s, and everything that she wanted to voice was exchanged between them in that look.  After blinking, she looked down again on her son, her heart full of love and pride.  “We…we did this.”

 

Anna chuckled.  “It appears so.”

 

The blonde’s smile faded as she glanced over her shoulder at the grieving stags.  “Anna.”  She smoothly deposited the baby back in Anna’s arms and stood up, disregarding her nakedness.  “Dáinn.”

 

The stags looked up from the fallen body of Duraþrór, their faces etched in sorrow.  Dáinn stood and slowly walked towards the Queen, his ears flattened, and demeanor the same.  “Yes, Queen Elsa?”

 

Elsa walked to the body of the stag and knelt down next to it.  “I’m so sorry, Duraþrór.  I have no words to express my sorrow.”  Her keen hearing picked up on a faint groaning from Kristoff, and her eyes hardened, and so did her heart.  She silently got to her feet and calmly walked over to where the mountain man was lying next to a tree.

 

“Look at me!”

 

Kristoff opened his eyes, his arm and his ribs broken and aching. But he looked at the Queen defiantly, and offered no apologies.  A trickle of blood oozed from mouth as he tried to speak, but couldn’t.

 

“You could have killed Anna, and my son!”  The Queen was furious, and sent spikes of ice over the mountain man’s head.  They imbedded into the tree he was lying under, a few of the shards hitting his face and cutting him.  “What were you thinking?  Answer me!”

 

Kristoff spit out blood. “I was… saving Anna… a war is coming…”

 

But Elsa wasn’t hearing it; so much was her wrath.  Kristoff had done the things she was looking forward to—delivering her own child, being the first to hold her baby—and it infuriated her and the dragon.  She lifted her hands and sent giant shards of ice at the trunk of the tree Kristoff was under, effectively destroying it, and causing it to topple over.  Several large branches fell over the mountain man, causing him to cry out.

 

“That’s enough, Elsa.”

 

Elsa lowered her arms and closed her eyes, feeling her ire extinguished, even if only for the moment.  She coolly eyed the fallen man, her heart closed to him forever.  “Look at what you have done, Kristoff.” She indicated the fallen stag. “One of Anna’s protectors is dead because of your interference!”

 

“…Hølje told me… everything…”

 

“I’m glad he did.” Elsa tried to wipe the dirt and slime off of her hands.  “Now that you are enlightened maybe you can understand this.  You are banished from Arendelle, Kristoff.  I’m sorry it had to come to this, but you really leave me no choice.”  She turned to walk away and nearly stumbled, but caught herself in time.

 

The mountain man turned his head toward the Queen.  “Are you… going leave me to die?”

 

Anna gasped and Elsa quickly turned to look at her.  As much as the dragon wanted to do exactly that she knew Anna would never forgive her if she did.  “Of course not, Kristoff.  Duneyrr?”

 

The stag trotted over to her immediately. “Your bidding, great wyrm?”

 

Elsa lowered her voice so only Duneyrr could hear.  “What can you do for him?”

 

“I can heal his broken bones, but not his broken heart.”

 

“Then fix him and send him on his way—to wherever the trolls are.  Will you do this for me?”

 

“Yes, great wyrm.” The stag turned and eyed the mountain man before making his way over to him.

 

But Kristoff wasn’t done. “I know everything, Queen Elsa! How will you protect Anna when you are Jörmungandr?”  He grunted as Duneyrr’s magic began to work, his breath coming out in short spurts. “Who will hold her?  Who will soothe her during all the fear and uncertainty?”

 

“That’s enough!”  Elsa whirled around to face the mountain man again. But then Óðinn’s words came back to her, about the death of the great Midgard serpent at Thor’s hands during the Ragnarök.  Her heart was pierced with a flare of doubt for a moment.

 

The mountain man saw the brief uncertainty pass over the Queen. “You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  Anna, please listen to me!  I know—“

 

“Silence!”  Elsa sent a blast of thin ice over to Kristoff, effectively knocking him out.

 

“Elsa, stop!”  Anna stared at Elsa in disbelief, not quite believing what she was seeing.  But when the baby started to cry she calmed down and turned her attention to him.

 

The Queen stood, rooted to the spot in fear and desperation, Kristoff’s words ringing in her mind, distressing her beyond measure.  He knew. Somehow Hølje had discerned the truth and imparted it to Kristoff, in order to save Anna, and she had stopped him. Her insecurities slammed into her with the force of a tidal wave, and she had to take several deep cleansing breaths in order to come back to herself.  She was glad that Anna was occupied with the baby and had not seen, but Dáinn was watching her very closely.

 

The stag slowly approached Elsa, his keen intuition telling him several things.  He bent down and whispered, “You haven’t told Anna, have you, Jörmungandr?”

 

Deep inside Elsa, the serpent growled a warning.  “About Thor and the Ragnarök?  No, I haven’t.”

 

Dáinn shook his antlers. “Why not?  She has a right to know about your impending doom.”

 

Elsa lowered her voice. “How do you know?  I haven’t spoken of it to anyone.”

 

“We know of the prophecies, and of your decision to take up the mantle of Jörmungandr. But we thought Anna already knew.”  Dáinn began to stamp his hooves.  “This is surely not a good omen.”

 

“I know… I know I need to tell her.  But now with the baby here—I don’t know how to do it.”

 

“Would it help to have to her remaining protectors with you?”

 

The Queen looked up, her expression dubious.  “I don’t know, Dáinn.”

 

Elsa turned back to Anna and hobbled over to her.  “We need to get back to Arendelle, as fast as we can.  I need for you and the baby to be completely safe.”  She gently took her son into her arms and indicated for Anna to get back into the wagon.  When she was comfortable and secure Elsa handed the baby back to her.

 

“Elsa, do you think you ought to put some clothes on?”

 

But the Queen didn’t hear, and was approaching the remaining stag.  “Dvalinn, I need to ask you a tremendous favor.”

 

“Anything, Jörmungandr.”

 

“Do you mind pulling the wagon back to Arendelle?  We don’t seem to have any other option at the moment.”

 

“I will.  But I am going to take you to the nearest hot spring first.”

 

Elsa sighed deeply. “Thank you.”

 


 

 

Anna dipped a cloth into the hot spring, thoroughly soaking it, and then proceeded to clean the baby, who had been sleeping and was now awake and crying.  The tiny infant’s arms flailed about as his mother cleaned him, and she cooed at him at every opportunity, smiling at him and just loving him.  “Hello, my sweet boy… how are you?”

 

Elsa looked over from the wagon and smiled at the two.  She was still very much in awe of seeing her baby, and her heart was filled with love and devotion, even though in her heart there was also a fair amount of fear.  But wasn’t there always a certain amount of fear in every new venture, no matter what?  The blonde felt her heart clench a bit at the thought, and knew that from this point onward her son would be at the center of her life. Her eyes wandered to the baby; the infant was so tiny, and seemed rather vulnerable.  But she vowed to protect him, no matter that a war was coming, and she was still not sure how she was going to participate in the upcoming war. After gathering the clothes and towels they would need she walked over to her new family.  My family… She knelt down behind Anna and put her hands on her shoulders, squeezing lightly.

 

Anna turned her head slightly.  “What are you doing hiding back there?”

 

The blonde turned her head and kissed the princess’ cheek.  “I’m not hiding.”

 

“Get in the water, Elsa, you smell.”

 

Elsa kissed her again and then carefully dunked herself in the spring.  The hot water felt good as it touched her skin, and it washed away Jörmungandr’s filth and grime.  She dipped her head in next, hoping to wash away most of her cares and worries, but it only partially worked.  

 

Anna carefully placed the baby on a bed of blankets and then joined Elsa in the water.  She groaned as her sore body hit the water, and she cleaned away the dried blood that was still clinging to her legs.  When she was done she swam over to where Elsa was sitting. “I’m sorry… about everything.”

 

The Queen’s eyes snapped open.  “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

 

“I’m sorry that Kristoff ruined our—special moment.”  Anna settled herself on Elsa’s lap.  “What could he have been thinking?”

 

Elsa placed her hands on Anna’s shoulders.  “I don’t know, snowflake.  Perhaps I ought to hold Hølje accountable for what Kristoff tried to do.  Oh, Anna, I’m beginning to feel terrible about the whole thing, and we still don’t know what’s waiting for us back in Arendelle.” Her head dropped to Anna’s shoulder. “I should have found out what the shaman told Kristoff.”

 

“Would it have made much of a difference?”

 

“In a way, it would have. As much as I am angry with Kristoff at the moment, my true anger ought to be towards Hølje.  He must have manipulated Kristoff into doing what he did. Because I can’t think of any rational explanation for that ice harvester doing what he did.”

 

Anna thought about it for a moment.  “I would surely love to know what Hølje does; maybe it is something that could help us in the end.”

 

“My instincts are telling me to seek him out—but I just don’t have the time right now.  Kai and the nobles must surely be in a panic, and I have so many things to do.”

 

“Please, Elsa, you must be weary; relax, even if only for a few moments.”

 

Elsa could feel her eyelids drooping, but then the baby began to make little noises, so she gently deposited Anna into the water and swam over to where her infant lay.  The baby’s eyes were open; he appeared to be looking around at everything with great interest, and squirmed about on the blanket. Elsa reached the rocky side of the spring and took her baby into her arms; and like before, was completely at a loss for words.  She turned her son over and rested his little head on her shoulder, and then waded back to Anna.  Her tearful eyes locked with the princess’. “I cannot begin to tell you how I feel about this, Anna, its all just so amazing.  I am stunned and humbled by what you have given me—that we created a life, a little baby.”

 

Anna blushed and lowered her head.  It wasn’t like Elsa to be at a loss for words, and now, even in her struggle for them, her eloquence remained.  “I think you’re doing just fine, Elsa.”

 

Elsa gently patted the baby’s back.  “We need to choose a name for him, Anna.”

 

“What would you like to name him?”

 

“Well, I would think it would be a mutual decision.”  Anna carefully placed her feet on the rocky floor of the hot spring and stood up. “What do you think about naming him after father?”

 

The Queen tilted her head and then thought for a moment.  “Agdar?”  She looked down on the younger woman.  “But our father never liked his name, and I don’t want our son to feel the same way.”

 

“Oh, I didn’t know that.” Anna reached up and caressed her son’s cheek.  “Don’t worry, we’ll think of name.  There’s no reason to rush it.”

 

“I agree.”  Elsa made her way over to the side of the spring and placed her baby on the blankets.  “Are you clean, Anna?  I think its time to go, don’t you think?”

 

“I was hoping we could stay for a little while longer, my body is awfully sore, Elsa.”

 

Worried, Elsa reached out and took Anna into her arms.  “Are you in need of my physician, Anna?”

 

“Elsa, I just gave birth—my body is weak from delivering your son.”

 

The blonde smiled. “Fair enough.  Let me make a bed for you in the wagon.”  After she finished cleaning herself, Elsa dried off and then looked about the wagon for extra blankets.  It seemed that Kristoff had prepared for an extended trip, and she found more than enough blankets to make a bed for Anna.  She also found food and drink.

 

Anna took Elsa’s hands and lowered herself onto the makeshift bed, and settled in for a much needed rest.  “Oh, this is comfortable.  Thank you, Elsa.”

 

The Queen had put on trousers and boots, and stood at the back of wagon with the baby in her arms. But the little boy was squirming, however, and tried to suckle at one of her breasts.   Elsa chuckled at that, and then bent down to give the boy to the princess.  “I think he’s hungry, Anna.”

 

When Anna took the infant he immediately turned his little head and sought out her nipple.  “He’s so much like you, Elsa.”

 

The Queen blushed, and had to turn away for a moment so that Anna couldn’t seen her ridiculous grin. “Do you think so?”

 

Anna squirmed a little as the baby sucked vigorously, the sensation strange and yet oh so familiar. “Yeah, I’m sure.” 

 

Elsa reached for a shirt and put it on, and then climbed to the front of the wagon.  “Dvalinn?”  She looked beyond the hot spring to the area where the stags had been feeding amongst the brush, but they were not there.  After a quick glance at Anna and the baby she jumped down from the wagon. “Anna, I’ll be right back.  I promise I won’t let you out of my sight.”

 

Anna didn’t bother to look up.  “Okay, sure.”

 

The Queen looked deep within herself, searching for the instincts of the dragon to locate the whereabouts of the stags.  Her head snapped up immediately and she sniffed at the air, and was impelled to head in an easterly direction.  After a few short minutes she saw the red deer in a clearing not too far away, standing over the fallen Duraþrór.  They lifted their heads to the sky and let out a deafening wail of sorrow, and then lowered their antlers to Duraþrór’s body, touching him.  Ethereal, golden strands of light emanated from their antlers into the fallen stag’s body, causing it to glow.  When they moved away from it the brighter it became, until it finally disappeared altogether.  Elsa felt like she was intruding upon a sacred moment, and turned to walk away. But the remaining stags galloped over to her, coming so close that they almost knocked her over.

 

“Queen Elsa, we have come to a decision.”  Dáinn lowered his head to look at Queen directly.

 

Elsa stepped back a bit, and the dragon growled deeply within, on the defensive.  “Yes?”

 

“We have reaffirmed our vows to Anna, and now we have vowed to stand by your offspring forever, even beyond the great war to come.”  Dáinn looked to his brothers.  “Have we not?”

 

Dvalinn and Duneyrr nodded their massive heads in agreement, and Duneyrr stepped forward.

 

“What is the name of your offspring, Jörmungandr?”

 

Elsa breathed a sigh of relief; she was expecting a rebuke from the creatures.  “We haven’t decided on a name, yet.  But I promise you will be the first to know when we do.”  She looked over her shoulder.  “But, come, we need to get back to Anna.”

 


 

 

 

Prince Hans of the Southern Isles was not a stupid man, even though there were a scattered few of his siblings that had a penchant for underestimating him, including Roman.  But right at this moment he was not feeling particularly bright as he scanned the crew manifest for anything or anyone suspicious—or anything out of the ordinary, for that matter.  He was so bent on his current task that he failed to notice his office door opening then closing, until an under butler was standing at his desk.

 

Aggravated, Hans looked up from his work.  “Yes, what is it?”

 

“Your brothers, Your Highness, wish your presence in His Majesty’s bedroom.”

 

The Prince scribbled some notes on the paper he was reading.  “How is the old man?”

 

“I am told that King Edvardt will not last the night.”

 

Hans felt those words at the core of his being, and dropped his writing instrument.  “What, from indigestion?  Fingaard made no mention of father on his deathbed!  When did this happen?”

 

“I’m afraid I don’t—“

 

But Hans was already on his feet.  “You are dismissed!”  With those words he ran out the room.  As he briskly walked to his father’s bedroom his mind began to wander to all different possible scenarios, mostly having to do with his brothers siding against him and taking over the responsibility of the war.  He fought down an irrational fear that thought produced, trying to maintain an air of optimism, but something was nagging at him.  Something at the deepest part of his being, something that was telling him that this scare was somehow produced, just for him. When he arrived at the King’s bedchamber he didn’t bother to knock, and rushed into the room quickly.

 

Hans was not surprised to find all his brothers in the room, but what he had not expected was a very sick Edvardt, lying on the bed and laboring to breathe.

 

Fingaard looked up from his position at the side of the long bed.  “Thank you for coming, Hans.”

 

“As if I wouldn’t?” Hans stepped up to his oldest brother.  “What happened?  Father was fine six days ago.”

 

Roman, who was sitting on the bed and holding his father’s hand, looked up.  “He took sick while we were at Jonvar, Hans.”

 

Roman’s pointed look disturbed him, but Hans had more immediate questions to ask.  He bent down to look more closely at the King, and noticed his extremely pale skin and sallow expression.  “My God, what happened to him?”

 

“He complained about a stomach ache after dinner five days ago, and retired to his bed early that night. Ever since then he’s been declining, and we can’t figure out why.”

 

Hans nodded at the doctor’s words, and turned back to look at his father before turning his attention to Fingaard.  “How does this change the war?”

 

Roman bristled at the question.  “My God, Hans, show a little respect—“

 

But Hans was insistent. “No, I’ve come too far in my preparations to see them end!”

 

Fingaard slowly raised his hands.  “Nothing changes, Hans.  At least as far as I am concerned—keep up with your schedule, don’t change anything at this point.”

 

Hans was about to respond when the door opened and a royal messenger stepped inside the room. “Excuse me, Your Highnesses, but this message arrived from Weselton—“

Hans stepped forward and snatched the letter from the courier before any of his brothers could react. After dismissing the courier he quickly opened the envelope and read.  It was not good news.  “Our cousin is a lot smarter than I anticipated.”

 

Roman let go of his father’s hand and stood.  “What has Magnus done?”

 

Hans didn’t bother looking at him, but continued to stare at the letter.  “He has executed General Voljor.”  He closed his eyes and resisted the urge to sigh, as he didn’t want to appear weak in front of his siblings.  But this was a blow he wasn’t prepared for.  Voljor had been providing him with critical information on Weselton’s weaknesses.  After folding the letter he placed it back in its envelope.  “No matter, we have all the information we need to set our plans in motion—and, we sail in two weeks anyway.”

 

Johnas, who was perhaps the most timid of the brothers, was also a skeptic.  “I don’t mean to interfere, Hans… but, what was the general providing you?”

 

“Voljor was making sure that Weselton’s weakest officers were placed in key commands for the war’s start, giving us an slight edge against them.  But now that he’s dead I am sure Magnus will carefully look over everything he did, and make all the necessary corrections.  Like I said, it doesn’t matter.  When Arendelle is defeated we will turn our army against Weselton and defeat them.”  Hans patted Johnas’ shoulder.  “Don’t worry, Johnas.”

 

“Maybe he ought to worry.”

 

All eyes turned towards the door the King’s bedchamber.  General Hilfred was standing there, a concerned look on his face.  “I just received news that there was an accident at Jonvar, Prince Hans.  A cannon exploded in one of our tall ships, catching it and an adjacent ship on fire, killing all in the vicinity.  We lost over twenty men, and the pier is damaged.”

 

Hans stared at Hilfred, and carefully measured his response.  “Do we know how it happened?”

 

“There is really only one way it could have happened.  Cannons just don’t explode, Hans, someone has to ignite them.”

 

“Don’t… don’t let it… stop you.”

 

Hans quickly went over to his father’s bed, and bent down to hear him more clearly.  “Father, what did you say?”

 

Edvardt raised a shaky hand and grasped Hans’ lapel, pulling him down.  “I said… don’t delay… the war…” His hand dropped with a thud, and he passed into unconsciousness.

 

Hans straightened abruptly and then looked around at everyone in the room, making sure to make eye contact with all.  “Did you hear our father?  He has told us not to change our plans, and I don’t plan to.  General?”

 

Hilfred stepped forward. “Yes, Your Highness?”

 

“Please send our condolences to the dead men’s families, and then resume your preparations.”  Hans waved the doctor over to the side of the bed. “Let me know if anything changes in his condition, and if he wakens, I want to know about it immediately.”

 

Fingaard blinked, and then cleared his throat.  “Hans, what are you doing?  If anything happens to him I’m sure I’ll—“

 

“Do you think I’ve been idle all this time, Finny?”  Hans went to the door and motioned for the general to stand by him.  “Just what do you think I have been doing?  I have the backing of our navy and army; they look to me for leadership.  I’ve arranged for it to be this way.  If he dies…” Hans pointed to his father.  “…who do you think this country will turn to?  You?”  He smiled at his oldest brother.  “General, set the plan in motion.”

 

“Right away, Your Highness.” Hilfred turned around and left, barking out orders to the guards who were stationed in the hallway.

 

“What have done, Hans?” Roman glanced at the bewildered Fingaard.

 

“What does it look like, Roman?  It’s called a coup, and I’ve been planning it from the beginning.”  Hans stepped out of the bedchamber and closed the door, and then locked it.

 


 

 

Master Kai stepped out of the outer gates and pulled his coat even tighter, as it was an especially chilly night, and the scattered raindrops were freezing.  The long bridge that led into the city was now lined with torches, and there were guards posted every fifty feet, to keep him abreast of anything out of the ordinary.  The man was worried, and it didn’t help that he had to confide in Lindar, because now the lieutenant was wandering the streets of Arendelle, intent on hunting down the stags. 

 

 

Kai turned to walk back into the castle courtyard when he heard a commotion at the other end of the bridge, and then noticed the obvious presence of the giant red deer, as they towered over the guards.  He took off as fast as he could towards them, determined to ward off any attack Lindar could make.  But as he approached them the wagon came into view, with the Queen sitting on its bench, and giving out orders. 

 

 

Several guards and soldiers had surrounded the wagon, and were now intensely listening to what Elsa was saying.  “… and I want no trouble from you or the rest of the guard.  The stags are to be left alone, do you all understand me?”

 

 

Out of breath, Kai stopped just a few yards from the wagon, and noticed Lieutenant Lindar as he nodded in agreement.  “Your Majesty!”

 

 

Elsa whirled around at the sound of Kai’s voice.  “Master Kai.” She glanced back at Anna and the baby before turning around to face the man.  “The stags are going to escort this wagon to the castle doors, and no one is to stop them.  Do you understand me?”

 

 

“Of course, Your Majesty. Guards!” 

 

 

Dvalinn grasped the reins in his mouth again and began to pull again just as Elsa jumped down from the wagon.  She watched as he slowly pulled the wagon down the long bridge, the other two stags following behind.  “Master Kai, send a runner to the castle along with this message.”  After handing the note over she put on the coat she had grabbed from the wagon.

 

 

Kai called over a soldier, and instructed him to do just as the Queen ordered.  “Go, now!”

 

 

Elsa waited for Kai to be finished with the soldier.  “Walk with me.”

 

 

The Master of the Castle fell in line with his sovereign as she casually walked down the bridge. “Your bidding, my Queen.”

 

 

“I need to know what has happened since—the incident.” 

 

 

Kai glanced at the Queen. “Where is princess Anna?”  He tried to keep the worry out his voice, but failed.

 

“She is lying down in the back of the wagon, along with the baby.”  Elsa felt the beginnings of a blush, and groaned.

 

 

“I… but… I didn’t think she was that far along with her pregnancy.”  Kai avoided looking at his Queen.

 

 

“It’s a long story, Kai, and I’ll tell you all about it in the morning.  But right now I need to know about the castle and the nobles, and—was Jörmungandr seen by anyone?”

 

“I’m afraid so, Your Majesty, by Lieutenant Lindar.  He caught a glimpse of the beast just before you broke through your window again.  I had to make a difficult decision then, so I told him about Jörmungandr and the prophecies.”  Kai was expecting the Queen to lash out at him, but she didn’t.

 

 

Elsa solemnly nodded. “Then it is time that the nobles know, as well.  The war is upon us, I can feel it.”  She looked up as the winds blew harshly along the bay, sending freezing raindrops everywhere. Even though it was night, she could see another storm, far out along the sea, and knew that the chilling snow was coming along with it.  “There is so much to do, and I have little time to do it.”

 

 

“What do you need of me, Queen Elsa?”

 

 

“First thing in the morning I need to meet with General Urban and Admiral Crispin, and go over strategy.  We need five companies of soldiers at Arendelle’s borders, as a first defense. Secondly, after lunch I need to meet with all the nobles in the throne room—and I will tell them about Jörmungandr and the Ragnarök.  After that I will need to go to the Weselton Embassy and interrogate Admiral Stinus, and see if I can get him to talk.  He did express his desire to talk to me alone, so let’s see what we can get from him.” Elsa looked around her.  “Where are all the soldiers and guards, Kai?”

 

 

“In for the night, Your Majesty.”

 

“No, that is unacceptable. I want them out now; I want soldiers and guards patrolling the streets twenty-four hours a day.  Make sure that is the first thing you do when we reach the castle.”  The blonde slowed down, and let Kai catch up with her.  “Understand?”

 

 

“Perfectly, Your Majesty.” 

 

 

Elsa continued her musings. “Princess Anna will need to see Gerda in the morning, Kai, so make sure she knows this, before breakfast.”

 

 

Kai nodded.  “Is there anything else, Queen Elsa?”

 

 

Elsa sighed, all her energy drained.  “Yes, do not bother me for the rest of night, Kai, this time between now and the morning is for me.”  As they reached the castle gates she felt her stomach growl.  “But I am hungry, so have a meal brought to my chambers as soon as possible.”

 

“As you wish, Your Majesty.”

 


 

 

Elsa quietly opened the door to her chambers and stepped inside, trying to see if anything was out of the ordinary.  But it was obvious that the parlor room had been cleaned, and someone had lit a fire in the fireplace.  She walked into her bedroom and saw that Anna was in her bed, sleeping, and the baby was in a crib beside the bed, sleeping as well.  Her eyes wandered over to her windows, and she noticed that a rather large section had been boarded up.  The reality of Jörmungandr hit home again, and she reeled from the impact.  After groaning she sat down rather heavily on the bed.

 

“Are you troubled again, Elsa?”

 

The blonde jumped a little. “I thought you were sleeping.”

 

Anna yawned.  “I was, until I heard your footsteps.”

 

Elsa got up and unbuttoned her coat, and then draped it over a chair.  “No, not troubled, snowflake.  I’m just in need of a decent night’s sleep—after I eat, of course.” She sat down in the chair to remove her boots, and, before long, both heard the quiet knocking at her parlor door. As she got up to answer an image of Kristoff flashed into her memory, and she became a little frightened. “Who… who is it?”

 

“Its just me, Your Majesty.”

 

The blonde sighed in relief at Kai’s voice.  “Come in.”

 

Kai opened the door and directed a page to roll the cart near the fireplace.  He then bid the Queen goodnight and just as quietly left. When he was gone Elsa locked the door, taking no chances.

 

Elsa found her favourite breakfast foods on the tray and smiled; Kai knew her all too well.  She sat down in her favourite chair and helped herself to scrambled eggs and potatoes.

 

“Is there enough for two?”

 

The blonde nodded. “More than enough, I think.”  Elsa noticed the extra plate on the cart, and inwardly thanked Kai for his insight.  “Where is the baby?”

 

“He’s sleeping, so I thought—“

 

“Please get him, Anna. I don’t want him to be left alone right now, not while he’s so tiny.”

 

Anna took a moment to really watch Elsa, and noted the anxious expression on her face.  She ambled over to her and knelt down.  “Are you really so worried over him, Elsa?” Reaching up, she cupped Elsa’s face in her palms.  “Okay, I’ll go get him.”

 

Elsa put down her fork and waited, and then blinked when Anna placed the baby in her arms.  Her eyes wandered all over him, taking in every detail, and she counted his toes and fingers again, to which Anna chuckled. Elsa sat back in her chair and cradled her son in her arms.  “Anna…”

 

Anna was standing at the cart, serving herself some food.  “Yes?”

 

Again, Elsa tried to give voice to the emotions roiling within her; she was filled with awe once more at the tiny boy in her arms, and she marveled at just how perfect he was, in many ways.  “I am such a fool, Anna.”

 

The princess sat down in the chair next to Elsa’s and began to eat.  “How so?”

 

“Here I am the mighty Queen of Arendelle, invested with divine power to rule over a successful Kingdom—and yet, when I hold him, I feel helpless and weak in his presence.”  Elsa felt a one tear slowly fall.

 

Anna felt a warm smile coming, and  her heartfelt laughter filled the room.  “Oh, Elsa, you are going to make a wonderful parent.”  She put down her plate and leaned over the Queen’s chair.  “You have no idea what that kind of talk does to me,” she whispered.

 

Elsa blushed and leaned forward for a kiss.  But if Anna was expecting a passionate kiss, she may have been a little disappointed. The blonde gently pressed her lips on the princess’ for only a few seconds, her lips meant to convey her love, and not her lust.  “I can only imagine, Anna.”

 

Anna snickered and sat back down.  “Don’t worry, Elsa, even if I wanted to my body couldn’t, not for awhile, at least.”

 

“I understand, at least, I think I do.”  She lifted the baby and kissed his little forehead.  “I love you.” 

 

They ate in companionable silence for a long while, but soon the baby yawned and began to fidget, and his little cries filled the silent room.  Elsa lifted him and rested his head on her shoulder and began to rub his back, but the crying continued.

 

“Do you think he’s hungry?”

 

Anna finished her eggs and wiped her mouth with a napkin.  “Here, give him to me.” 

 

Elsa knelt by the fireplace and added more wood to the burning embers, as she had a feeling she would be up all night, and needed a warm room in which to think.  There was a lot to do in the morning and she wanted to be completely ready for anything.  She looked over her shoulder at Anna, and how serene she looked, and felt a momentary pang of jealousy.  She wanted nothing more than to spend her days peacefully by Anna’s side, raising their child in a nonbelligerent kingdom, without strife and derision.  

 

The blonde stoked the fire and thought for a few moments.  Perhaps her strategy needed to be altered.  It was entirely possible she was neglecting a certain aspect of the coming war because of her natural skepticism and unbelief—and it still remained, despite her experiences at Yggdrasil.  But this was not the time for reticence, but for action. “Óðinn?”

 

Anna looked up.  “Did you say something, Elsa?”

 

Elsa moved away from the fireplace and went to the liquor cabinet.  “Just thinking aloud, Anna.”  She needed to send someone to Yggdrasil, to find the god, and bring him to Arendelle. 

 

Outside the winds began to pick up, and the snow began to fall, and Elsa knew that this storm was only the beginning of what was to come.

Chapter Text

Elsa dozed in front of her parlor fireplace, drifting in and out of the land of dreams.  But just as she was about to fall into a deeper sleep, she felt as well as heard the baby begin to cry.  She opened her eyes and stood, and then stretched, working out the kinks in her sore muscles.  The candles had not quite burnt out, and there were still hot coals in the fireplace, so she reasoned that not much time had passed since her son’s last feeding. It seem like he needed nourishment about every three hours.

 

“Elsa?”  Anna’s voice was clear, if not a little strained from interrupted sleep.

 

“I’m coming, Anna.” The Queen yawned as she walked into her bedroom just as the princess was bending down into the crib.  “Would you like me to change him, Anna?”

 

Anna picked up the boy and kissed his little cheek.  “Thank you. I’ll be right back.”  She carefully handed the baby over to Elsa and then went into the Queen’s bathroom.

 

The blonde set the boy down on her bed and changed his cloth, carefully tying it in place, and making sure it wasn’t too tight.  “Oh, that’s a good boy…” 

 

But the baby didn’t seem to think so, as he continued to cry.  Elsa gently stroked his soft cheek and tried to make eye contact with him, and when she did, that seemed to soothe him long enough for Anna to come back. When Anna sat down to feed her small son Elsa stoked the fire, and soon had a small blaze going.  As the blonde stood and wiped her hands there was a knocking at her parlor door.

 

Anna looked up and then covered her breast and the baby with a light blanket.  “Who is that at this hour?”

 

“It must be close to dawn.” Elsa looked out her bedroom windows and saw the faint first rays of sunrise amidst the swirling snow.  “It’s most likely Gerda and two of her assistants.” After giving Anna a reassuring glance she left her bedroom.

 

The princess lowered the blanket to smile at her son, and the boy stared back at her, eyes wide. “Hello, my sweet boy.  We need to find a name for you, don’t we?”

 

“How about Leif.”

 

Anna looked up to find Gerda standing in the doorway, smiling broadly.  “Leif, Gerda?”

 

“Its an old family name, Princess, I’m surprised you don’t remember it was your grandfather’s name.” Gerda entered into the room and moved to the chair Anna was sitting in.  She curtsied and motioned for her assistants to stand next to her.

 

Anna looked quizzically at Elsa.  “I’m so shocked I didn’t remember his name.  Did you, Elsa?”

Elsa padded over to the Princess and reached for her free hand, grasping it firmly.  “Yes, I know it was grandfather’s name—our father’s father. Our other grandfather was named Albrecht.”

 

Anna smiled up at her sister.  “So, what do you think?  Prince Leif Albrecht of Arendelle?”

 

“I like it.”  The more Elsa thought about it, the more she liked it. She squeezed Anna’s hand and then addressed Gerda.  “Gerda, I’d like you to acknowledge my son, Prince Leif Albrecht of Arendelle. Should anything happen to Princess Anna and me, he is your sovereign.  Do you understand?”

 

Gerda faltered for only a moment, and then saw the look Elsa was giving her.   There was resoluteness in her eyes, and something else, steely intent. It should have unsettled her to some degree but instead it confirmed her suspicions.  She had entered the Queen’s bedroom a fortnight ago to deliver some laundry and found the Queen and Princess asleep on the bed, with the blankets barely covering their naked bodies; and, she had seen the Queen’s…

 

Anna glanced at Elsa, who was still staring at the Head of the Household.  “Perhaps this is not—“

 

Gerda shook her head. “No, Princess Anna, now is the perfect time.”  She gestured for her two assistants to come forward and join her at the Princess’ side. “You have my fealty, with love, Prince Leif Albrecht, and I vouchsafe these two Ladies in Waiting, my Prince.” 

 

Elsa nodded approvingly at the older woman.  “Thank you, Gerda.  Anna, these Ladies in Waiting are at your disposal; it doesn’t matter what time of day it is or for what reason.  They will sleep next to Leif and care for him when you are indisposed, and they will also see to your every need, as I am devoting all my waking hours to the war, and my time is no longer my own.”

 

The clock struck at six a.m., and Elsa turned to Gerda.  “Please have a bath drawn for me immediately, my day is full and I won’t have time later on.” She let go of Anna’s hand.  “Now if you’ll excuse us for a moment.”

 

The three women curtsied before leaving, and quietly shut the door behind them.

 

“Snowflake, I need for you to really listen to me right now.”  The blonde knelt down next to the chair Anna was sitting in and took her hand again between her own.  “There is a lot of preparation I need to do for the upcoming war, and I will need all my time to complete it.  Anna, I will not be available to you for quite some time, but I am not leaving you alone, as you can see...”

 

Anna frowned, and tried to pull her hand away, but Elsa wouldn’t let her.

 

“No, Anna, I will not let you go, just as I am not abandoning you.  I feel as if I’ve wasted too much time already.  Do you see the snow storm outside?”  Elsa pointed to the windows, and continued when the Princess nodded.  “This is only the beginning—the snow storms will only get worse as each week passes. Ragnarök is upon us, and for this I was born, I know that.  Everything else must be secondary.”

 

Anna gasped, and this time managed to pull her hand free.  “Does that mean Leif and I are secondary, as well?”

 

“I don’t want you to be. May I take him?”  When Anna nodded again Elsa carefully picked up her son and cradled him in her arms.  A few tears slowly rolled down her cheeks.  “My son—Leif.  I love you more than life itself, and I will do anything to protect you and your mother.” She looked down at Anna and knew in her heart that her words meant more than just a pledge.  She would do anything—even die—if it came down to that, to make sure Anna and the baby survived.  “Anna, my heart is conflicted within me, and I don’t know what to do. I am supposed to meet with many people today to finalize war plans, yet, now that I am here with you and Leif I don’t want to go—because I don’t know when I’ll be back to you.”

 

Anna stood, a faint smile on her face, and reached up to cup Elsa’s face.  “You go and do what you have to do, Elsa. –Leif and I will be just fine.”  She lifted on her toes and captured the blonde’s lips in a sweet kiss.  “Do you mind if I move in here to your rooms?”

 

“No, I don’t mind at all. In fact, I was kind of hoping you would. Better for me to keep track of you this way.”  Elsa kissed Leif’s cheek, then handed the boy back to his mother.  “The stags are at my windows, there are soldiers in the castle, and you have me to protect you.”

 

“But the guards didn’t help before.”

 

“I didn’t say guards, Anna, but soldiers.  They have different training than the castle guards, and will not let anyone near you, not even me if you so order it.”

 

Anna placed the boy’s head on her shoulder and began to rub his back, and he burped.  She turned around and placed Leif in his crib. “When will I see you again?”

 

“I don’t know, snowflake.”

 

“But won’t you come back every night to sleep?”  Anna tucked loose strands behind her ear.

 

“Again, Anna, I don’t know. I may be called out to inspect the troops with General Urban, or visit the camps at our borders.  This is what I’ve been trying to tell you,  Anna, I don’t know when I’ll see you again.” There was desperation in Elsa’s voice, and she shuddered somewhat.

 

The princess saw this and wrapped her arms around the blonde.  She nuzzled Elsa’s neck, and whispered, “Do you want to make love?”

 

Elsa fought for and maintained control over her body.  She shook her head.  “As much as that is tempting, we cannot afford for you to get pregnant again.”

 

Anna blushed profusely. “Oh… uhm… I didn’t think about that.” Her hands fell to Elsa’s waist. “Please, come back to me.”

 

“I will, I promise.”

 

Anna let go of the blonde. “Now, to your bath, Your Majesty.”

 


 

 

 

The Queen entered the royal dining chamber just shortly after seven in the morning and found General Urban and Admiral Crispin already waiting for her.  Both were dressed in their formal attire, with swords at their sides, and freshly scrubbed.  She sat down in her usual spot and nodded to the men.  “Urban.  Crispin.”

 

General Urban removed his gloves and placed them besides his plate.  “It’s good to see you again, Your Majesty.  I take it this is not a social occasion?”

 

“Would that life was ever that easy.”  Elsa nodded to the footmen and they stepped forward to serve the meal.  “Did Master Kai tell you about the companies of soldiers I want around Arendelle?”

 

“Yes, my Queen, he woke me much earlier and informed me.  I then dispatched couriers to my camp to make sure the order is carried out. There will be five companies—two hundred, fifty men each—around Arendelle by the day after tomorrow.  But, may I make a suggestion, Your Majesty?”

 

Elsa picked up her fork, even though she was not hungry.  “Yes, what is it?”

 

“Let me assign five more companies, about a half mile further from our border, to act as possible scouts.  This will make me feel much better.”

 

The Queen nodded. “That sounds like a good idea. How will the current storm impede this process?”

 

Urban sipped at his tea. “We have been training for combat in all weather conditions—the only thing that concerns me is that it will take more time for orders to be sent out.  I have no doubt that they will be followed.”

 

Admiral Crispin poured himself a cup of coffee.  “I hope the harbor doesn’t freeze over.”

“How many tall ships do we have in port, Admiral?”  Urban took a bite of warm cheese. 

 

“Right now there are only eight in the harbor; three at port and five docked out in the bay itself.” Crispin sat back in his chair and looked at the Queen.  “We need to recall the rest of our fleet, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa wanted to kick herself for not doing this earlier.  “How long will this operation take?”

 

“It depends on how many ships you dare send out to our other ports.  We lose protection at our waterfront with them gone.”

 

“But our other ports will lose the extra protection if most of our ships are at Arendelle harbor,” Urban interjected.

 

The Queen was tempted to throw down her fork.  “Dammit! How could I have been so careless about this…”

 

Urban and Crispin exchanged glances, each needing to know more information.  Crispin cleared his throat.  “May I ask something of Her Majesty?”

 

“Yes, of course—anything, Admiral.”

 

“We were wondering—the General and I—how does Her Majesty know so much about this war to come?”

 

“Do you doubt me when I say there is?”  Elsa wasn’t entirely surprised by the question.

 

Urban held up his hand. “No, Your Majesty, we do not doubt your word.  We are just naturally in need of assurances, that’s all.”

 

Elsa nodded.  “I understand your need to know.  Well, first of all, one of Arendelle’s top spies—“ She tilted her head and paused for a moment, and then realized the need for complete honesty.  “No, let me start over.  I have been in contact, for about ten months, with a Prince of the Southern Isles.  He was the one who visited Arendelle shortly after the incident with Prince Hans, and brought the official apology from the Westegaards.”

 

Urban nearly dropped his cup of tea.  He knew whom the Queen was speaking about.  “Are you referring to Prince Roman, Your Majesty?  I remember his visit clearly, and his horrible behavior at the reception we threw.”

 

Elsa sat back, her mind wandering back to that night.  “All part of his disguise, Urban.  He wrote to me before the official visit—all in secret, mind you, and expressed his doubts over King Edvardt’s official apology.  In a sense, he is the black sheep of the family, and not Hans.  All he wanted to do was make sure that his family had nothing but good intentions towards Arendelle.  That’s when he discovered his father was in secret negotiations with the Eighth Duke of Weselton—and learned that his cousins wanted the Southern Isles to help them in a confrontation against us.”

 

Crispin got up and went to the liquor cabinet by the fireplace, and brought back a bottle of bourbon to the table.  “Why is Prince Roman risking his life for us?”

 

“That is what I fear, Admiral.  He missed our usual correspondence, and I have not heard from him since he last left for the Southern Isles.  To make matters more complicated, he took Lieutenant Ingarth with him, for what ends I do not know.  For all I know they are both dead.”

 

“But you do not know this for sure, Your Majesty?” Crispin poured the liquor into his coffee.

 

Elsa reached over and took the bottle of bourbon, and poured a little into her tea.  “No, I’m just guessing they are dead.”

 

General Urban pushed his plate of food aside.  “I know Ingarth’s brother, Lindar; he stood as a groomsman at my wedding.” 

 

“Gentlemen, let’s get back to business, alright?”  Elsa downed her tea and put the cup aside.  “Admiral, how many ports are the rest of our fleet at?”

 

“Two others, Your Majesty. Grimstad and Kongsvinger—two small ladested.”

 

Elsa sat up and began to eat in earnest.  “Why are so many ships away from Arendelle’s harbor?”

 

Crispin sighed.  “This is my doing, Your Majesty.  They were assigned these training exercises before I knew about any war.”

 

Elsa nodded. “Okay.  Will it be enough to send out just one ship to each ladested, Admiral?  I think we can spare one ship to each small seaport, don’t you think?”

 

“I will take care of it immediately, Your Majesty.”  Crispin returned to his breakfast, but when Elsa continued to stare at him he looked up. “Yes, Your Majesty?”

 

“After your breakfast, Admiral.  I want this mission fully planned and carried out today.  Keep me informed, will you?”

 

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

Urban settled down to eat, as well.  But before long Elsa turned to him.  “General, I know you have been very busy with the army and its exercises, but I need for you to carry out a small task for me.”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty?”

 

“Is there an officer amongst your ranks that exhibits exceptional leadership skills?”

 

Urban finished his tea, and wiped his mouth with a napkin.  “There are several, I believe, Your Majesty.  Is there a particular trait you are interested in?”

 

Elsa thought about the question.  “Actually, I am looking for an officer who could see to the re-training of the castle guards.  There have been some horrible mishaps as of late, and I want to correct those as soon as possible.”

 

Urban drummed his fingers on the table.  “I think I have the perfect man for you, Your Majesty.  His name is Zacharia, and was just recently promoted to Captain.”

 

“Do you think he’d mind transferring to the Guard?  Some might see this as some sort of demotion.”  Elsa finished her meal and put her plate aside.

 

“Perhaps if the news came directly from you, Your Majesty.  I can schedule some time tomorrow, if you’d like?”

 

Crispin put down his fork. “Lieutenant Lindar is not going to like this.”

 

Elsa turned to her Admiral. “Yes, I can see your point.  A Lieutenant outranks a Captain, does it not?” She reached over the table to grab at a pastry.  “I’ll talk to Lindar myself, ease the transition.”  There was more to be said, but she decided to let it wait for the later meeting with her nobles.  “I want you two gentlemen at my afternoon meeting with my nobles, is that understood?”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty”

 

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa sat back in her chair, cup of tea in hands.  “So, Admiral, see to the commission of our ships immediately.  As I said, I want them to sail straightway to Grimstad and Kongsvinger and bring back our fleet…”  The hot tea felt good as it slipped down her throat.  “…and General, you may increase the companies from five to ten.  I believe we are done here.”  She stood, and Admiral and General stood along with her. “Good day, gentlemen.”

 


 

 

“What is your name?” Anna held Leif to her breast and stroked his long, blonde hair.

 

The first Lady in Waiting looked up from her sewing.  “Me, Your Highness?”

 

Anna smiled at the woman. “Yes, tell me about yourself”

 

“My name is Lady Alfrida, Your Highness.”  The Lady looked a little uncomfortable, and lowered her head.  “There’s really not much to tell.”

 

“Don’t be shy, girl.” The older Lady turned from folding clothes, and smiled at the princess.  “I’m Mirelle, Your Highness.  Please forgive Alfrida, she is new to the castle.”

 

Leif turned his head away from Anna’s nipple and began to fidget, so the princess lifted him to her shoulder to burp him.  “I’m sorry if you are uncomfortable, Alfrida.”

 

“I’m not uncomfortable, Your Highness.  Well, I guess in a way—this is the first time I’ve been away from home.” 

 

“Don’t worry, Alfrida. We’ll take good care of you. Won’t we, Mirelle?”  Anna chuckled when the baby burped rather loudly.

 

“That we will, Your Highness.”  Mirelle glanced at the younger woman, and got a feeling that something was being left unsaid.

 

Anna got up and began to walk Leif around the room, giggling and cooing at the baby every chance she got.

 

When Mirelle went back to her folding the strange feeling remained, and she took the opportunity to sneak glances at the young Lady in Waiting.  Alfrida was looking about the room, almost as if she was taking an inventory of things.  But as soon as the strange feeling came it was quickly forgotten as she went about her work.

 


 

 

The Queen looked at herself in her mirror, and adjusted her uniform jacket to fit more comfortably. She was wearing one of her late father’s old military uniforms, one that she had tailored to fit her more feminine figure.  The dark gray trousers were still a little loose, but a belt easily kept them from falling.  She wore a simple white shirt under her black jacket, which still had her father’s old service medals attached to it, and a sword was attached to another brown belt wrapped around her hips.  She thought she cut a dashing figure, and was eager to show herself to Anna.  But a knock on her parlor door roused her from her musings.

 

“Yes, come in.”

 

Master Kai stood in the doorway to the Queen’s bedroom.  “How was your morning breakfast meeting, Your Majesty?”

 

“It went rather well, Kai.” Elsa tightened the baldric around her shoulder.  “Crispin and Urban are competent officers; I’m lucky to have them.”  She turned to the Master of the Castle.  “How do I look?”

 

“Formidable, my Queen.”

 

Elsa smiled, and then chuckled to herself.  Maybe she ought to attend the afternoon meeting as Jörmungandr.  “Thank you, Kai.”

 

“As per Her Majesty’s request, the Cathedral has been prepared for your visit.”

 

“Very good, Kai.” Elsa turned back to her mirror and re-checked herself again.  If she were successful at the Cathedral, she would attend this afternoon’s meeting with a god at her heels.

 

“There is just one thing, Your Majesty.  Bishop Johannes insists upon being there.”

 

Elsa was displeased with this news.  “But I instructed you I want to be alone for this—summoning.”

 

“He stated that since it’s his cathedral he has a right to be there.”

 

“He said it was his cathedral?  Well, perhaps we ought to divest His Grace from his false beliefs.”  Elsa turned abruptly and went to her windows, which looked down on her personal gardens.  She expected to see Anna in the snow and frowned when she was no where to be found.  “Kai, where is Anna and her Ladies in Waiting—where is my son?”

 

“I saw Her Highness in the old nursery, Your Majesty, so there—“  He didn’t get a chance to finish his statement as Elsa was already out the door.

 

Elsa hurried down the carpeted hall to the other end and quickly opened the door to her old nursery. Anna was in the room, holding Leif, and was looking through a box of old toys.  “Anna!”

 

Anna looked up quickly at the panicked sound in Elsa’s voice.  “What?  What is it, Elsa?”

 

The Queen sighed in relief. “Anna, where are your Ladies in Waiting?”  Her legs were a little wobbly as she made her way over to the princess.  “Here, let me see him.”  When she picked up Leif he appeared to giggle; and she looked at him, wide-eyed.  “Did you hear that, Anna?  I think he likes me.”

 

Anna stood and wiped her dusty hands on her skirt.  “Of course he likes you, Elsa—you are his…”  Her voice trailed off as Alfrida and Mirelle entered the room from the closet, their hands filled with toys.  “We were just looking for toys for Leif, Elsa, there is no need to worry.”

 

“Will you two excuse us for a moment?”  Elsa gave the two Ladies and pointed look and they put down the toys and left rather quickly.

 

Anna shook her head. “There, look what you did.  You scared them, Elsa.”

 

Elsa peppered small kisses on Leif’s cheek, and he giggled again.  “I’m sorry, Anna.  I just—I don’t know, I panicked for a moment when you weren’t in our rooms.”

 

“I’m not going to confide myself just to our rooms, Elsa.  I have a whole castle available to me.  You told me yourself that the stags are outside, aren’t they?”

 

“Well, yes, they are.” Elsa closed the distance between them and bent over to kiss the princess.  “Forgive me?”

 

Anna took Leif back into her arms.  “You are going to be such a spoiled child, I know it.”  She kissed his little cheek as his eyes closed.  “Well, I think a little nap is in order before lunch.  Care to join us, Elsa?”

 

The Queen groaned, temptation surrounding her heart.  “Please, Anna, I can’t.”   It was so enticing to say yes, and stay.  But there was too much to do.  “I’ll try to see you tonight.  Okay?”

 

Anna chuckled.  “Come on, Leif.”

 

Elsa’s heart clenched as she watched them leave, and she almost acquiesced, but duty called. “Kai!”  The Master of the Castle quickly appeared in the doorway.  “Come, the Cathedral awaits.”

 


 

 

Elsa entered the old Romanesque cathedral and stopped in the narthex to gather her thoughts.  She took several deep breaths in order to calm her racing heart, her hands clammy, and her nerves set on edge.   “Hello?”

 

“I think you are attempting folly, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa stepped into the nave and saw the Bishop standing in the ambulatory, vested in his robes as a Bishop, so unlike their meeting a few weeks ago.  He looked regal, and imposing with his Bishop’s staff in hand.  Her eyes fell upon the cross at the top of his crosier, and she knew he was making a statement to her, one without the need for words.

 

“What would you have me do, Your Grace?  Ragnarök is knocking on the door, and I need a little help.”

 

“You presume to call upon pagan gods in this Cathedral, Your Majesty?”

 

Impatient, Elsa looked up to the barrel vaulted ceiling, and tried to find the necessary words.  “I am not attempting to disrespect you in any way, Your Grace, or the god you believe in—“

 

“As our absolute monarch you are required by law to pass on the Realm’s beliefs and practices, just as your father did, and his father before him.”

 

Elsa stepped further into the nave and stopped, and leaned against an ancient column, one that was at least a hundred years old.  Her eyes wandered to the arcade above, and she felt her determination faltering, if only a little.  “Please, Your Grace, I do not wish to argue with you.”

 

“Do you want to be excommunicated, Your Majesty?  You will cease to be our monarch—“

 

“That’s enough!”  The dragon’s voice bellowed throughout the Cathedral, causing the Bishop to step back a bit, and the crosier to fall from his hand.  “Óðinn!  Are you in Asgard by Urd’s well?  Are you dallying when war is at hand…”

 

Johannes picked up his crosier as the dragon’s voice echoed off the ancient walls.  “What is the world—“

 

But Jörmungandr wasn’t finished.  “Are you afraid to crawl up the first root and face me?  Yes, Yggdrasil is too daunting a task for you!  Rise up on the eagle’s wings, Aldaföðr!  Don’t you hear me?”

 

There was a great thundering sound outside the building, and the earth shook as if a giant was smashing his feet into the earth as he walked.  Elsa sprinted outside immediately, and was followed by a very shaken Johannes.

 

Boom.  Boom. Boom. 

 

People panicked in the square outside of the Cathedral, and ran from the dark reverberations, some falling as the ground shook.  And then, from the northeast he came, people fleeing in front of him, some not quite making it, trampled like twigs.  A host of soldiers were at his heels but he did not bother with them, insignificant as they were.

 

Elsa steeled herself for his coming, and stood straight and tall, her back ridged, and her demeanor the same.  Kai and Johannes stood in back of her, and swayed as the ground shook again and again.

And in a flash he was there, and he stood more than twice as tall as Elsa, and was imposing and unfathomable.

 

Elsa waved away the approaching soldiers.  Out of the corner of her eye she saw that the Lords Hålogaland and Malkolm were slowly approaching from the marketplace, a great many castle guards behind them.  She heard gasps all around, even from Bishop Johannes, who had one hand on his mouth as was chanting, oh godover and over.

 

Óðinn stared at Elsa, and for the longest time neither spoke, each taking the measure of the other.

 

“You dare interfere with the Council of the Gods!”  Óðinn’s voice boomed over the square, and people covered their ears because of it.

 

But Elsa wasn’t frightened, at all.  “Thank you for coming.”  Then with a casualness that surprised everyone she walked around the god, examining him.  “I was hoping you would have brought Thor, but never mind.  We have a lot to discuss, and it’s almost lunch time. Follow me.”

 

And to the surprise of all who were watching, Elsa calmly turned around and walked back into the Cathedral. 

 

Óðinn watched Elsa disappear and remained rooted to the spot, until he eyes fell upon the Bishop.  He lumbered over to the holy man and knelt on one knee to examine him, as an adult might a small child.  He looked at the cross atop the man’s staff and tilted his head to the side. Johannes would have fainted if he were a lesser man, but he wasn’t.  Finally, the god stood and wordlessly made his way inside the Cathedral, where Elsa was waiting.

Chapter Text

Once she was inside the cathedral, Elsa tried not to worry, as she had no idea on how to get Óðinn to cooperate with her plans; and it wasn’t as if she was familiar with him, either.  Her rational nature had, over the years, kept her from this building and everything that it symbolized.  The world of the gods—or the supernatural, in general—the spiritual, it was all terra incognita.  Even her experiences with the trolls, and her encounters at Yggdrasil were no help at this moment.  There was a commotion coming from outside, but it would have to wait.  She sighed and turned around to face the cathedral entrance, not at all ready to face whom would come through the door.

 

A mighty wind blew open the doors, and tufts of snow fell on the stone floor of the narthex.  And then, seemingly out of nowhere, he was standing before her.  Gone was his black woolen cloak and shabby clothing, and was now clad as a true king of the gods, along with shining chainmail and a golden spear, Gungnir.  His long beard was braided, and his tunic shone white.  “Geri and Freki are at the gates, Jörmungandr, and Huginn perches atop the highest tower.”

 

Elsa nodded, her pleasant demeanor in stark contrast to the turmoil within. “Keep your wolves out of Arendelle, Óðinn, I should not trust them to roam the city.”

 

A crooked smile appeared on the god’s face.  “As I said, they remain at the gates, and will not enter unless I bid them to. But Muninn will join Huginn, and will keep watch until I am gone.”

 

Elsa briefly closed her eyes, and willed that some part of the dragon’s strength should fall upon her.  “My mate… Anna, has delivered a son.”

 

“Pride washes off you in waves, Jörmungandr.”  The ground shook somewhat as Óðinn lumbered down the nave, his head reaching the arcade above.  He walked to the front of the cathedral and examined its iconography. The images fascinated him, to the point where he almost forgot about the Queen’s entreaty, but not quite.  “I heard your wails, Jörmungandr,”  he bellowed. “And I have come.”

 

“I didn’t expect you to crash into Arendelle as you did, and you trampled down innocent people!”

 

“Tell me, who is a complete innocent when Ragnarök is nigh on the horizon?” Óðinn turned and glared at Elsa. “There is more to the upcoming storm than the tumbling of snow—the countryside will be laid waste as the gods gather to fulfill the ancient oaths!” 

 

Even though Óðinn’s voice reverberated off the walls, Elsa stood firm. “I need assurances from you, Aldaföðr, and I don’t care how I get them!  You must convince Thor to come to Arendelle; explain to him the necessity of it.”

 

“For what purpose?”

 

“He needs to meet Anna and my son, Leif. Maybe if he meets them he can be persuaded against fulfilling some arbitrary destiny!  I have no desire to die, Óðinn, and I’ll do anything to prevent it from happening.”

 

“What must be will be, Queen Elsa.  You cannot change it… The surviving Æsir will meet together at the field of Iðavöllr—many things will be ruminated upon, including you, Jörmungandr.”

 

Elsa cringed, feeling almost as if this death was upon her now.  “I don’t want to be a mere memory, Óðinn.  Are you not listening to me?  I will not be anyone’s pawn—not yours, nor any gods!”

 

But the Allfather was looking beyond her.  “Even now Sigynempties the bucket she is using to collect the dripping venom, and the pain Loki experiences will cause the earth to quake.”

 

“You can stop it…”

 

“Stop the fate of the world?”  Óðinn’s voice softened, and was barely a whisper.  “What would you have me do, wise Queen Elsa, when I will surely perish to bring about the fruition of all that is to come?”

 

“All I ask is that you bring or summon Thor to Arendelle—all I want is the opportunity to change his mind about the Ragnarøkkr.”

 

Óðinn seemed to ponder Elsa’s words for many long moments, his expression slowly changing from one of despair to mild hope.  “Perhaps… may I speak truth to you, Jörmungandr?”

 

Elsa nodded and walked over to where the god stood.  “By all means.”

 

“I, too, have no wish to perish.”  Just saying the words seemed to lighten the god, and lift a terrible burden off of his shoulders.  “But—if I could take this burden and cast it aside…”

 

“Queen Elsa!”

 

Elsa whirled towards the shout, and spotted the Bishop as he came through the door, followed closely by the Lords Hålogaland and Malkolm.  Her aggravation apparent, she hissed,  “My Lords, Your Grace, this is actually not the best time—“ But then she had an idea. “No, wait!”

 

Óðinn frowned down at the small men, his ire rising.  “Mortal men of no significance…”

 

The Queen frantically shook her head.  “No, great Allfather, we can use these men to be our voice amongst the people. The Ragnarök needs to be proclaimed.”  She hurried over to where the Bishop and Lords were gaping at the giant god.  “High Lords of Arendelle, do you acknowledge what you see before you?”

 

Johannes blinked before turning his attention towards Elsa.  “I see with my eyes, but my faith does not want to believe.”

 

Elsa nodded sympathetically.  “I am not going to pressure you into doing something against your beliefs, Your Grace, but we need your help.”  She gestured to Hålogaland and Malkolm, who were still quaking where they stood.  “We need all your help.”

 

Malkolm swallowed nervously, but managed to tear his gaze away from the god to look at his Queen.  “What would you have me do, my Queen?”

 

Elsa could feel his eagerness, and it pleased her. “Hålogaland?”

 

All three men now turned their attention towards the Queen, who had drawn her sword and touched its hilt to her forehead.  “This is the sword Veritatemthat was used to unite all the lands of Arendelle. Swear fealty to it, and me, my Lords.” Elsa was evoking the old oaths, sworn by the ancestors of these men generations ago, and the words seemed to satisfy Óðinn.

 

All the men swore upon the Sword of Truth, although Johannes did so with a bit of reluctance.  Elsa lowered the sword when they were finished and nodded her approval. “Malkolm, Hålogaland, you are no longer mere Lords with petty estates, but are hereby made Princes of Arendelle tasked with a single mission—spread the news of the Ragnarøkkr throughout the land, to all the corners of Arendelle.  Take whatever you need to accomplish this sacred duty, as all the resources of the realm are now within your grasp.  You are to begin this task immediately after this afternoon’s meeting with the Council.”

 

Hålogaland lowered his head before grinning.  “You mean we outrank Harold Halfdansson?”

 

Elsa rolled her eyes.  “Yes, and he will be made aware of it during the meeting.”

 

Johannes cleared his throat, and glanced back to where Óðinn was waiting. “What about me, Your Majesty?”

 

The Queen stepped away from the Princes and motioned for the Bishop to follow. When they were far enough away she spoke, “As I said, I do not wish to force any ideology on you Johannes, but I need for you to remain in the city of Arendelle itself and talk with the people. You have a presence about you that is calming and reassuring, and I’m counting on you to keep the populace from panicking and rioting after the news is spread.”

 

The Bishop nodded at the Queen.  “I appreciate your faith in me, Your Majesty.  It is my duty to please Her Majesty—and I won’t disappoint you, Elsa.”

 

Elsa smiled somewhat at the use of her given name, and grasped the man’s shoulder. “Thank you, Johannes.”  She paused and eyed the man.  “Do you wish to be made a Prince as well?”

 

The Bishop let out a deep cleansing breath.  “I’m afraid not, Your Majesty.  My charge as the spiritual leader of Her Majesty’s subjects is all the title I need or want.”

 

“Very well.”  Elsa turned towards Óðinn.  “If you will excuse me, Allfather, but I have something I need to do before the Council meeting.”  She ignored Malkolm as he tried to engage her before making her way to the Cathedral doors. When she opened them there was a collective gasp from the nervous crowd that was waiting outside.  Several soldiers had gathered at the entrance, but not one of them had had the courage to open the doors.  She made a mental note of that before turning to gesture for the Bishop to follow her outside.  Even now, there was a tremendous amount of work to be done.

 


 

 

Elsa shook her head and quietly shut the door behind her.  There was a small fire in the fireplace, but it didn’t quite take the chill out of her as she leaned heavily against the door.  Leif was sleeping soundly in his crib, and Anna was dosing in a chair right next to it.  Elsa closed her eyes, and willed her heart to stop beating out a wild staccato, but it didn’t work.  She could smell Anna from her position at the door, and soon realized just being in the same room with her heightened her already keen senses.  Her eyes snapped open and she took in a ragged breath when Anna stirred in the chair.

 

Anna opened her eyes and immediately smiled.  She had not been expecting to see Elsa again for a while.  “Elsa, when did you get here—“  Her sentence was cut off by a warm mouth on her own, and Elsa’s tongue demanding entrance; and then the Queen’s hands were everywhere—exploring, touching, and gripping. 

 

Elsa spoke no words, as none were necessary.  Her hand snaked between their bodies and unclasped her trousers, and she pulled out her hard flesh.  She easily picked up Anna with one arm while the other made quick work of pulling up her skirts, and then she guided herself inside.  There was a quiet desperation in her eyes, and Anna could easily see it, and she let Elsa make the first moves.  Anna gasped as Elsa grasped her hips and set a maddening pace. 

 


 

 

Anna shivered with the power of her final release, and her legs quivered as she kept them around Elsa’s waist, her heels locking on her back.  Elsa’s hot breath warmed her neck, and she shivered some more as the tingling sensations reached her toes, causing them to curl.  “Oh, my, Elsa…”

 

Elsa opened her eyes and grunted, thrusting one last time.  “Anna… oh, gods, Anna.”

 

Anna wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.  “What… I mean, I thought you said—ugh.“

 

The blonde lifted on her elbows, and looked down on a very sated Anna.  “I… I just had to see you.”  She shuddered as another wave of her essence filled the princess.  “I’m sorry.”

 

Anna lowered her legs to the bed and wrapped her arms around Elsa’s neck. “What are you sorry for?”  She whispered.  “If I didn’t want to I’d have told you so.”

 

“No, not for this,” Elsa said softly.  “I’m just sorry that so much is happening at once, and that I need for you to be with me when the Council meets.”

 

This last comment seemed to sober Anna.  “You want me with you?  What about Leif?  Isn’t he too young—“

 

Elsa turned her head towards the windows.  “Are you forgetting about the stags, Anna?  They are out there right now, and they will be right outside the Council Chambers when the meeting occurs.”  She lowered her head and began to nibble on the princess’ ear.  “Please, come with me…”

 

“I… can I think about it?”  Anna had her misgivings, and rightly so, considering all the ramifications.

 

Elsa squirmed a bit when her flesh refused to soften.  “What is there to think about?”

 

“What if they reject Leif, and his place as Prince of Arendelle?”

 

Elsa blinked, and it hit her what exactly she had granted to Malkolm and Hålogaland.     “There is nothing I want to keep from you, Anna, and I think it best for you to be there.  In fact, we must get ready now.”

 

Anna smiled at the blonde.  “But… you can’t go anywhere right now.”

 

Elsa continued to caress Anna’s ear with her soft lips.  “Why not?”

 

The princess lifted her hands and grasped Elsa’s head, forcing eye contact. “Because… well, you’re still so hard inside me.”  Anna began to undulate her hips, compelling Elsa to move.  “Here, let me…”

 


 

 

They dressed in silence, each young woman lost in her own thoughts.  Anna constantly glanced at her sleeping boy, not wanting to do anything to disturb his innocent slumber, or to vex his little mind.  And Elsa seemed to be thinking similar thoughts as she buttoned up her pants, and worried over breaking the news to Anna that Hålogaland and Malkolm were now of equal footing as Leif in the hierarchy of the Realm.  She glanced at Anna before adjusting the sword at her side, and then she turned to her mirror to check her appearance.

 

“You look fine, Elsa.”

 

Elsa jumped a little, startled at the misery in Anna’s voice.  She hurried over to her and helped her to straighten out her skirts.  “What is it, Anna?”

 

The princess leaned into the blonde, and rested her head on her shoulder.  “I’m worried.”

 

Elsa wrapped her sister in a warm embrace. “Even with all my assurances?”

 

“Yes, but—“ Anna didn’t get a chance to finish as there was a soft knocking on the bedroom door.

 

Elsa turned her head towards the sound.  “Come.”

 

Master Kai entered, head lowered in respect.  “It is time, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa glanced down at the princess, her lips curving into a reassuring smile. “Trust me, snowflake,” she whispered. When Anna nodded she turned towards the crib and gently picked up Leif, cradling him in a loving embrace.

 

Kai watched the interaction between the Queen and the princess, and how devotedly Elsa picked up the little boy and smiled down at him.  It was precisely at that moment that he truly believed everything Elsa had told him, and all his doubts vanished.  He cleared his throat and tried not to trip as he made his way over to where Elsa was standing.  “Your Majesty?”

 

“Yes?”  The blonde continued to smile at the small boy.

 

“He is your son, isn’t he?”

 

Elsa smiled at Leif before looking up into Kai’s eyes.  “Yes, he is, Master Kai.”  She was challenging him to say something, trying to gauge his reaction.

 

Kai sighed, a half-smile gracing his features.  “Everything you told me is true, Your Majesty, and I now completely believe you.  Although this does mean there are trying times ahead, and some of us may not might not emerge from this unscathed.”  He bowed, and then gestured towards the doors.  “Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa and Anna exchanged glances before Elsa secured Leif in her embrace and walked out of her suite of rooms, followed closely by Kai and then the princess.

 


 

 

Bishop Johannes was waiting for them at the bottom of the great spiral staircase, and remained silent as Elsa stopped before him.  He looked down at the tiny baby in her arms, noticing his features and mannerisms, and how he looked very much like her, and not his mother, the princess.  His eyebrow arched, and he remembered Elsa’s tearful words to him weeks past, when her heart was grieved beyond measure, and she confided the truth to him.  And although he understood the verity of her words, he could scarcely believe them, such were his beliefs, and prejudices. But this was his sovereign before him, the one to whom he had given the crown, and he understood keenly his oaths and loyalties.  “Your Majesty.” 

 

“Your Grace.”  Elsa made it a point to look directly into the cleric’s eyes.  “This is Prince Leif Albrecht of Arendelle, Johannes.  Do you swear fealty to him?”

 

“Fealty with love, Your Majesty, and loyalty without doubt or reservation.” Johannes held out his arms, and the Queen carefully placed the baby into them.

 

When Anna started to say something Elsa quietly placed her hand on her shoulder, without taking her gaze away from her son.  “Shall we to the council, Your Grace?”

 

“Your Majesty.” 

 

Anna paused for only a moment, somewhat unsure as to why Elsa was ignoring her.  But she soon realized that the Queen was merely following royal procedure and custom, something she herself was somewhat ignorant of.  It was true; she and Elsa had been raised completely different. Elsa was cultivated to be a Queen—a monarch, and she was not.  She noticed Kai watching her expectantly, so she lifted her skirts and followed Elsa and the Bishop to the Privy Council Chamber.

 


 

 

If Anna had known beforehand how crowded the Council Chamber was going to be she probably would not have agreed to accompany the Queen to the meeting. Her eyes widened when the guards stepped aside to allow the footmen to open the doors.  It seemed as if most of Arendelle’s nobility were in meeting room, with some having nowhere to sit.  The Privy Council Chamber was not a small room, but now it seemed choked with the smell of cigars and alcohol, as those men assembled waited for the presence of the Queen.  All the conversations in the room immediately halted when Elsa paused at the entrance to make her presence known.  Her eyes scanned the room, making as much eye contact as she could before finally stepping into it.

 

At first, the Queen walked over to the where a few nobles were standing in front of the large map.  She greeted them and asked for them to step over to the other end of the big room, closer to the fireplace.  As they did so, she looked at those seated at the sizeable rectangular table, composing herself for the necessary introduction.

 

Anna watched all this in quiet fascination, and felt somewhat out of place, as if she didn’t belong there.  But Master Kai gently nudged her further into the room, not quite to the Queen’s side, but enough to be noticed by all present.  A few younger nobles openly appraised her, but all she did was roll her eyes.  Her discomfort grew as she glanced at her sister, who had yet to speak.  She also noticed the curious stares at the Bishop, who was still holding their son.

 

Finally, Elsa took a step forward, and adjusted the sword at her side.  She nodded toward the Bishop first.  “Your Grace.”  Then she addressed the room.  “Your Grace, my Lords and Ladies, fair and gentle Knights—greetings and felicitations, good health and prosperity to all present, blessings and good fortune, and—welcome to Arendelle.”  The perfunctory address was over, and now she had names to remember.

 

A younger Earl, Klemmet, stood and reluctantly bowed towards the Queen before clearing his throat.  He had a reputation that preceded him, and even now his annoyance was evident.  “We are always grateful when our Monarch invites us to fair Arendelle…” His smile couldn’t hide the disdain in his voice. “…but we are a little confused as to why.  There must be certain conditions for which a gathering like this is convened.”

 

Harald Halfdansson put his stein on the table.  “Are we not privy to Her Majesty’s mind, my Lord?  If you would visit the city every now and then you would know what business we are called here for.”

 

Klemmet turned towards the older Duke.  “Then I beg your pardon, Your Grace, for my ignorance is shared by more than a few here present.”

 

Malkolm and Hålogaland exchanged glances when a heated murmur arose among those present.

 

Master Kai moved away from Anna and held up his hand. “That is enough, my Lords!  As Mayor of the city of Arendelle I demand civility—by all present.”

 

A certain Knight by the name of Asleik, who had been standing at the far end of the Privy Chamber, now hobbled half way down the room, and then leaned on the table.  “Forgive my awkwardness, Your Majesty, for I am an injured man, and cannot bow to you.”

 

Elsa searched her memory for some sort of recognition, but could not fathom who this man was. 

 

Master Kai saw this and took a few deliberate steps towards the Queen, while gesturing to the crippled Knight.  “Forgive me, Your Majesty , for being so bold.  But this is Knight Asleik from lands in the Southern part of your realm—“

 

Elsa nodded quickly and waved Kai away.  “Of course it is, Master Kai.  You are from the herredskommuneof Farsund, are you not?”

 

“Yes, I am, Your Majesty, and I am here because the local Baron has taken sick, and I am his protégé.”

 

Elsa smiled, and tilted her head somewhat.  “Have we met before?”

 

“At her Majesty’s last spring ball—before the accident that crippled me.”  Asleik sighed deeply.  “You dance divinely, My Queen.”

 

Even though a slight blush graced the blonde’s features, she chose to keep her comments leveled to the task at hand.  “And how fairs the southern lands, dear Knight.”

 

At this Asleik frowned and briefly looked down.  “That’s the news I bring, Your Majesty.  There has been more than the usual unrest amongst the people, even though we prosper financially.”

 

Elsa motioned for a seat to be brought to the Knight.  “Unrest?  Is it serious?”

 

“Some incidents have been more than problematic.  Bands of thugs have been attacking wayfarers on the roads, among other things—and we cannot seem to stop them.”  The man groaned as he sank down into the chair brought to him.

 

Elsa briefly glanced at Anna, who wore a worried expression, then turned her attention back to the Knight.  “What other things, dear Knight?”

 

Asleik shifted uncomfortably, as all eyes turned towards him.  “From small things like drunken brawls to incidents of, well—rape, Your Majesty.  We’re doing all we can to stop these things, but, it’s almost as if something has gotten hold of the people—a bad spirit, if you may.”

 

Ragnarök…  Elsa’s face went white, and she had a sudden urge to sit, as well.  But she knew she had to keep her wits about her, and appear to be strong.  “How long—I mean, when did these problems begin, Asleik.”

 

“About six months ago, Your Majesty.  Please believe me when I tell you Farsund is determined to stop all this nonsense…”

 

Elsa was about to say something when an older Duke, Otleiv from the western lands, stood up, his face ashen.  He sole attention was on Asleik.  “Did you say about six months ago, Knight?”

 

“Yes, Your Grace.”

 

Otleiv picked up his glass of wine and downed it in a few swallows.  “This is unbelievable…”

 

Anna fidgeted where she stood, an odd and foreboding feeling creeping into her bones, and she noticed that the Earl Klemmet, who seemed to be annoyed at the whole proceeding, was now openly eyeing the Bishop and Leif.  And then the feeling intensified, and in her mind’s eye she could see the stags outside, unsettled because of the swirling winds—and something else.  She tried to Elsa’s attention, but the Queen was looking at Duke Otleiv.  “Um, Elsa…?”

 

Otleiv placed his hands on the large table, and leaned over it slightly.  “I’m afraid I bear similar news, Your Majesty, and was loath to come.”  He straightened out and looked directly at Elsa.  “Unruhe…”

 

Elsa blinked. “Excuse me?”

 

“Is that German, Your Grace?”  Anna inched her way closer to Leif and the Bishop.

 

The Duke smiled at the princess, and bowed.  “Yes, it is, Your Highness.  It is a concept, so to speak, meaning restlessness.  And it has surely gripped the hearts of Her Majesty’s subjects, as of late.”

 

Elsa was now weary, as there was still much left unsaid, and now this news snatched at her heart.  It seemed that her citizens started experiencing Ragnarök even before she transformed as Jörmungandr, and the events were extremely close to each other. She was about to speak when an image flashed in her mind, one of a pile of unopened correspondence on her desk. Then it hit her.  “Have you gentlemen tried to contact me concerning this ‘unruhe’?”

 

Several nobles exchanged glances among themselves, and some visibly turned away from the Queen to whisper.  But Elsa would have none of it.  “Excuse me, my Lords!”

 

The whispering stopped, and a woman stood, the Baroness Clarisse of the region of Vestfold in the Northwest.  She was a woman of about thirty, but appeared somewhat older because of an unknown ailment. Her hair was of a similar color to Anna’s, and she had forest green eyes.  Elsa liked her immediately.  “Forgive us, Your Majesty, for our rudeness.”  She paused for a moment, making sure that the rest of her peers followed her example.  “But some of us have attempted to entreat Her Majesty to a more proactive approach to the problems...”

 

Elsa swallowed as the words percolated deep within, and she could barely hear the rest of what the Baroness was saying.  So, some of those unopened letters on her desk were this important—were directly about the Ragnarök, as much as her nobles could understand about what was happening to them.  Her insides heaved, and she felt like she wanted to vomit.  What have you been doing with your time, fool?  Then  she turned suddenly towards Anna, and knew exactly what she had been doing—Leif was the evidence of it… Wait, Elsa, what—?

 

Anna saw the look in Elsa’s eyes before it suddenly disappeared; she recoiled from that intense condemnation, and stopped moving towards her.  “Elsa?”’

 

But Elsa recovered quickly, and all enmity towards Anna vanished as quickly as it came.  Her attention was drawn, once more, to the Baroness, who had apparently stopped talking, and was now seated once more.  “I am grieved beyond measure at the foul deeds happening in my Kingdom.  And I have taken all these things in my heart and have ruminated on how to bring about peace.  But, I’m afraid that peace will come at a terrible price.”

 

All attention in the room suddenly fell upon the Queen, and just at that moment, Leif began to squirm in the Bishop’s arms and soon began to cry. Anna immediately went to the man and retrieved her son, and placed his tiny head on her shoulder in order to soothe him.  But the small boy would not be appeased, and broke out into a full-blown cry.  Elsa immediately went to him and silently asked Anna for permission to take him, which she granted.

 

When Leif was securely in her arms Elsa turned towards the nobles.  “I want Anna protected!  She has delivered her child, and that needs to be acknowledged by all present here!” 

 

The vehemence in the Queen’s voice startled the small crowd, and all present immediately nodded their heads in agreement, even though that most of them did not know that their princess had been pregnant. But Duke Wolmar, an older man from the eastern part of the Kingdom, didn’t nod, and openly scowled at the behaviour of the other nobles.

 

Both Anna and Elsa noticed this, and Elsa purposely stepped forward towards the table he was sitting at.  “Is there something on your mind, Your Grace?  Have we offended you in some manner?”

 

“I don’t see a ring on the Princess’ hand, Your Majesty.”

 

“You will stand when you address me, Your Grace.” Elsa tried to keep her voice even, because she didn’t want to vex her small boy.  “It is no concern to you what Princess Anna does or doesn’t do.”  She lifted Leif and kissed his forehead, and he giggled.  “Attention everyone, this is your sovereign Prince, Leif Albrecht, and you will show him the same type of deference you give to me or the Princess.” 

 

Malkolm and Hålogaland exchanged glances again, and this time Hålogaland stood up just as Duke Wolmar did.  The Duke looked at him and waved for him to sit down.  When Hålogaland merely smiled he became irate.  “Sit down, my Lord, my business is now with the Queen.”

 

Hålogaland shook his head.  “I can’t do that, Your Grace—and you will address me as Your Highness.”

 

There was a collective gasp amongst the nobles, and Elsa briefly closed her eyes in frustration.  Her hold over this gathering was slowly withering away. “Please, Hålogaland, now is not the time—“

 

But the Prince interrupted her by moving around the table.  “I just want to come forward and formally greet my new brother.”

 

Anna’s jaw dropped, and she stamped her foot. “Wait—what?  How is Leif your brother?”  She noticed the pained look on her sister’s face.  “Elsa?”

 

“Excuse me, Your Majesty, but does not the Princess know?”  Hålogaland was surprised that Anna didn’t know about his new role in the Monarchy.

 

“That’s enough!”  All these things pressed down on Elsa at that moment, and she quickly handed Leif back to Anna, and then she returned to her place by the giant wall map. She had her back to her nobles, and when she turned around, there was a clear fire in her eyes, for Jörmungandr had risen, and all could see it.  “No one questions the Queen!” 

 

Her deep reptilian voice reverberated around the room, and for a moment it seemed as if the illumination in the room withered, and a blackness hovered about.  But it was over almost as soon as it had begun, and everyone in the room cowered for a brief time, including Anna.  All eyes fixed on the Queen when the light in the room returned, and there was a palatable fear among those present.  All except for Kai, who had pulled Anna to stand behind him for protection. Hålogaland had staggered backwards and almost fell onto his arse had not another Earl grabbed him.

 

Elsa came back to herself, and she cleared her throat and straightened out her officer’s coat and baldric.  Now was the time.  “As you have just observed, there is more to me than what the eye can see—more than my ice powers.  I am transforming, just as the land is mired in strife, I too, am changing.  It is no coincidence that all of you are experiencing discord in your lands—it was prophesied—long ago, by our own ancestors. They were given a certain ‘sight’ into the way of things that we no longer possess, and they, fortunately, recorded their insights for all future ages to discern…”

 

Anna stepped from behind Kai, and looked upon her sister with sympathy, for she knew the personal cost Elsa was paying for the truth.  “Oh, Elsa…”

 

“We were witnesses today of the Prophecy’s veracity.  Were we not?” Elsa turned to the Bishop, whose face hand turned ashen.

 

“Yes.”  Johannes cleared his throat.  “I know what I saw, and I know that some of you gentlemen saw it, as well.”  He looked expectantly at both Malkolm and Hålogaland, who looked everywhere except at him.  “Come on, Your Highnesses!”

 

“Alright!”  Malkolm shakily got to his feet.  “I saw him, the god Óðinn!  And hundreds of her Majesty’s subjects saw him, too!”  He looked around at his fellow nobles, and saw the incredulous looks some of them were giving him.  “It’s not a rumor, my Lords.”

 

“What on earth, my Lord, are you talking about?”  Duke Otleiv was now on his feet again, and lifted up his hands in a placating gesture.  He had not been at the Marketplace earlier in the day, and was now acting the skeptic.  “You saw a god—and not just any god, but Óðinn?”

 

“Don’t mock me, Your Grace—and I’m not a Lord anymore, so you will address me as Your Highness!”

 

Elsa shook her head, and made her way over to the new Prince. “Calm down, Your Highness.”  She briefly touched his shoulder, smiling reassurances, then she addressed her nobles.  “It is true, my Lords and Ladies.  We witnessed Óðinn in the city and cathedral—many citizens of Arendelle will testify to this event.”

 

Otleiv gasped, his look incredulous, and he looked at the Bishop. “How can you stand such talk, Your Grace?  Are you not offended?”

 

Johannes bristled at the Duke’s tone.  “How dare you speak to me like that, Your Grace—and, for your information, I saw him, as well!  And how dare you question Your Sovereign in this matter!  Her word is final and absolute.”

 

Elsa stared at Otleiv, the fire returning to her eyes, but then she felt a gentle touch on her arm, and new immediately it was Anna. But she also knew Jörmungandr was stirring inside her; itching to be released into the world once again, and she tried to resist his urges.  After a reassuring glance from her sister she turned back to the Duke.  “Do you want to be dismissed from these proceedings, Your Grace?  Because I will gladly do it if you show disrespect to me again—not just to me, but anyone here.  Do you understand me?”

 

Otleiv’s jaw tightened and his fists clenched, and for a brief second he considered not acknowledging her words.  “Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

“Well,  I’m not convinced.”

 

All eyes turned towards the princess, who was standing slightly behind the Queen.  Harald Halfdansson looked at her, a half smile on his face.  “Your Highness, if I may impose upon your sweet nature…”

 

“No, you may not.”  Anna touched Elsa’s arm again.  “Go on, Elsa, tell them about the Fimbulvetr, and the Ragnarök,” she whispered.

 

The Queen growled slightly at the touch, as the serpent was so close to the surface. She took Anna’s arm and guided her to the map wall, and then addressed her nobles again.  “The time of the ancient prophecies is at hand, men and women of Arendelle.  You are experiencing its beginning already, as for what you have revealed to me.  It is the time of Ragnarök—or Ragnarøkkr, in the singular—whoamong you is not already familiar with this Prophecy?  Were we not taught these things when we were younger, in our youth?”

 

Anna briefly glanced at Elsa, knowing that neither one of them had been raised with these prophecies, even though the Trolls had tried to encourage their parents to do exactly that.  “Elsa…?”

 

“Fylliz fiǫrvi feigra manna, rýðr ragna siǫt rauðom dreyra.  Svǫrt verða sólskin of sumor eptir, veðr ǫll válynd Vitoð ér enn, eða hvat?” Asleik cleared his throat, and looked around to see if anyone recognized these words.

 

“Are you quoting, Sir?”  Anna asked.

 

“Yes, I am, Your Highness,” the Knight replied. “’It sates itself on the life-blood of fated men, paints red the powers' homes with crimson gore.  Black become the sun's beams in the summers that follow, weathers all treacherous. Do you still seek to know? And what?’  This is from the Poetic Eddapoem Völuspá.  It speaks of this Ragnarök, Your Majesty.”

 

“This ought not to be a surprise to anyone, this first question from the Edda.  Whoever seeks to know…”  Elsa began.

 

“My God,” Bishop Johannes had to lean against the wall to keep standing.  “Even though I have seen with my own eyes my heart wants to remain in ignorance—to cling to disbelief.  But I can’t…”

 

Elsa looked upon the man with compassion, and she took a tentative step towards him.  “You don’t have to remain at this meeting, Your Grace.  You may return to the cathedral, if you’d like.”

Johannes looked up in relief. “May I, Your Majesty?”

 

“Of course.”  Elsa walked the man to the Chamber doors and led him out. She turned to one of the soldiers who was guarding the doors.  “Will you please escort His Grace back to the Cathedral?”

 

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

 

When Elsa returned to the room she could see that all were weary, including Anna, who was holding a sleeping Leif.  It made it easy for her to make the decision.  “We will take a break now, so you may refresh yourselves, and will return to this meeting after the evening meal.”  She didn’t wait to be acknowledged, and had extended her arm to the princess.  “Your Highness.”

 

Anna didn’t take the offer, but merely deposited Leif in Elsa’s arms.  “I think I little bonding is in order, don’t you think?”

 

Elsa grinned as she looked into Anna’s eyes.  “Come.” She led them out the doors and up the grand spiral staircase.

 


 

 

Duke Periander watched as his peers marshaled themselves out the doors.  But instead of leaving, he sank back in the chair he was sitting in, thinking to himself. 

 

Harald Halfdansson stopped at the Chamber’s doors and looked back at him.  “Are you alright, Your Grace?”

 

Periander took out his pipe and lit it, and then he motioned for Halfdansson to come closer.  “Did you get a good look at that child, my friend?”

 

Harald sat next to the older Duke.  “We have far more important things to worry about, don’t you think?”

 

“He looks suspiciously like our Queen, and not the Princess.”

 

Harald Halfdansson lowered his head, his eyes never leaving the other man.  “What are you implying, Your Grace?”

 

“You don’t know anything about the Ragnarök—or the Fimbulvetr, do you?”

 

“No, not really.  But I’m sure the Queen will tell us al about it after dinner.” Harald got up and went to the liquor cabinet and poured the rest of the brandy into a large glass.  He took it with him as he left the room.

 

Periander sat back again, and the more he thought about it, the darker his thoughts became. 

 


 

 

Elsa gently laid her sleeping son in his crib, and then sat on the bed to remove her boots.  When they were off she lay back on her bed and closed her eyes, thoroughly exhausted by the events of the afternoon meeting. 

 

Anna quietly entered and sat down next to her sister’s prone form.  She began to loosen her plait.  “Are you as tired as I am—“ The words died in her throat when Elsa abruptly sat up and pushed her on her back.

 

The blonde peppered kisses all along Anna’s jaw. “I thought you’d never get here.”

 

Anna tensed, as she was not in the mood for love-play.  “Please, Elsa, I don’t want to.”

 

Elsa stopped, and then she rolled off the younger woman to lie flat on her back again.  “I’m sorry, Anna.  I thought you wanted to.”  She exhaled a long cleansing breath.

 

Anna turned onto her side and watched her older sibling.  “Do you think they will believe you, Elsa?”

 

“The nobles?  I don’t rightly know, Anna.  Some will be like Johannes, and will be reluctant to accept my words.  Others still might take my words as an absolute justification for war against our enemies.”

 

Anna placed a hand on Elsa’s flat stomach. “Elsa, why wasn’t Óðinn in the meeting with us?”

 

Elsa flipped onto her side.  “If I got through to him, then he is off fetching Thor to Arendelle.”

 

Anna’s eyes widened.  “The god Thor—in Arendelle?  Why do we want this to happen?”

 

Elsa sat up, bringing Anna with her.  “There is something important that I need to tell you, Snowflake—about my fate, the fate of Jörmungandr…”

Chapter Text

“Your Highness?”

 

Hans, drink in hand, looked up from his desk, and eyed his older sibling.  “What did I tell you, Johnas, you could call me ‘Hans’.”  His words were slurred slightly by the strong cognac.

 

Johnas sighed and closed the door behind him, and then solemnly took the seat opposite his brother. “Your little ruse notwithstanding, how are you?”

 

Hans lowered his head. “Not good, Johnny.”

 

Johnas allowed a small smile at the use of his old nickname, understanding why Hans used it.  Ever since King Edvardt’s passing his younger brother had been inconsolable, and it was affecting his judgments concerning the preparations for war.  And now, for some inexplicable reason, Hans completely trusted only him with the knowledge of his plans.  “I can take it you’re not in the mood for bad news.”

 

“Father is dead—what could be worse?”

 

Johnas got up and went to the liquor cabinet and poured himself some brandy.  “Well, this is obviously not worse, but the weather still continues to be a problem.  As we still have yet to recall the rest of our fleet from Jonvar.”  He sat down again.  “The people are apparently disgruntled because of the foul weather. Reports are coming in from all the islands—they speak of rising crime and general unrest.”

 

“Rising crime?”  This got Hans’ attention, as he put down his glass and sat up.  “What has been done about it?”

 

“Roman left three days ago, remember?  He’s going to personally attend to the Governors himself and—“

 

Hans shook his head to clear it; he had existed in a semi-state of drunkenness for almost a month, and was still not quite yet himself.  “What about Fingaard, Johnas, did he go with him?”

 

“No, Finny is here. He’s in worse shape than you and hasn’t left the castle.”

 

Hans leaned heavily on the desk.  “The Fleet needs to be here, immediately, don’t you think?”

 

“You’re in no shape to make the journey, Hans—“

 

“I’m still in charge of this campaign!”

 

“Then pull your head out of the cognac bottle!  Or do you want to be like Ingleif—good for nothing and weak.”  Johnas noticed Hans’ skeptical look.  “Oh, so you don’t think anyone shared your opinion about him?  He was willing to sell you out to the highest bidder, Hans… Fingaard, as well.”  He downed his entire drink.  “Are you surprised I’ve taken your side on these matters?”

 

“Maybe just a little.”

 

Johnas stood and made his way over to a table in the middle of the room; it had a very detailed map of Arendelle on it.  “Where are your advisors, brother?  Why aren’t they here with you now?  Yes, recall the fleet, do it now.  Have you heard from cousin Magnus?”

 

Hans ran his hands through his hair; too many questions plagued his mind.  He rubbed at his eyes and tried to think.  There was a nagging voice inside of him demanding to be heard, and he did his best to concentrate, but his mind was still hazy with drink. At last, he looked up into the concerned eyes of his brother.  “Something is not right, Johnas, I know it…”

 

“I just told you about some things not ‘right’.”  Johnas put his glass on the map table.

 

“No, not that…” Roman was at Jonvar…Roman was at Jonvar… “Roman was at Jonvar, when I was there to interrogate the spy from Arendelle…”

 

A loud banging on the office doors interrupted them.  Scowling, Hans got up and flung the door wide open.  “What?”

 

It was General Hilfred, and he wore a pained expression on his face.  “Are you alright, Your Highness?”

 

“Come in.”  Hans returned to his desk.  “What is it, General?”  He noticed the look the General was giving Johnas.  “It’s all right, Hilfred.”

 

“Did you authorize Prince Roman to visit our island governors, Your Highness?”

 

“Yes, what of it?” Hans looked at his empty glass, and his mouth began to water.

 

“Apparently he hasn’t followed your orders, Your Highness.”  Hilfred shifted on his feet.  “His ship is heading in the direction of Arendelle.”

 

Hans sobered immediately, and his hands clenched into fists.  But he had no desire to behave irrationally at the moment, and just sat back in his chair to think.  Roman had asked him to go to Jonvar.  At the time, it seemed like a reasonable request, and could have been interpreted in several ways.  But now, everything fell into place.  All the past conversations, all the questions, everything—he knew there was only one explanation for it—Roman went to Jonvar to silence the spy from Arendelle, no matter what it cost, or what he did.  Hans glanced at Johnas before looking up to his general.  “I want that ship caught, General.  I don’t care what you have to do, or whom you have to enlist to do it.  Is that understood?”

 

“Understood, Your Highness. If I may, Your Highness—he is just as impeded by the bad weather as we are.”

 

Hans nodded.  “I understand.”

 

Johnas frowned, not knowing what was going on.  “What are you doing, Hans?”

 

“It’s not what I have done; its what Roman is trying to do, Johnny.  Roman has betrayed us—perhaps from the beginning.  General?”

 

“Yes, Your Highness.”

 

“Please escort my dear brother out of this room.”

 


 

 

He heard them coming, even in his sleep, the sound of them approaching was unmistakable and ominous.  Kristoff sat up in the makeshift bed, his whole body stiff and sore.  Despite being back at Yggdrasil, and spending all his time in the shack he had built beside it, his body had not yet healed from his encounter with Jörmungandr. In fact, he felt worse as each day passed, as his soul was broken.  As time wore on he wondered more and more if he had heard Hølje correctly.  Did the shaman really tell me to go and get Anna from Arendelle, or did he just tell him to protect her, no matter where?

 

Yggdrasil began to hum outside, so he dressed as quickly as he could and hobbled outside.  Sven was sleeping by the door, and even though the leaves of the great tree began to shake, the animal was contented to sleep. Kristoff looked up to the higher branches of the tree and noticed right away the approach of Ratatoskr, the insulting messenger squirrel.

 

“What news, friend?”

 

Ratatoskr sneered at the mountain man.  “I am no friend of yours, human.  You and your world mean nothing to me—except for, perhaps, the great wyrm.  Where is Jörmungandr, human?”

 

Kristoff felt his heart go cold at the mention of the serpent.  “I don not wish to speak of Jörmungandr.  But tell me, you were up at the higher branches and watching—what is coming?”

 

“The trolls, you idiot, the trolls.”  And then the insulting squirrel was gone, cackling as it made its way up Yggdrasil once more.

 

The blonde man ran his hand through his hair clenched his jaw.  He had no desire to Hølje or the rest of his family ever again; such was the anger inside him.  But if he had to see the shaman he would do on his own terms.  As he hobbled back inside the shack the humming finally woke Sven, who looked up at his master as he passed by.

 

Once inside the shack Kristoff began to put his armor back on, and his muscles protested as he snapped and fastened each piece in place.  When he was finished, he looked down and realized there was still dried blood on some of the pieces, but at the moment, there was nothing he could do about it—and he wanted them to see the condition he was in.  After sheathing his sword he made his way back outside and cajoled Sven to stand and wait with him.

 

They were different, changed somehow by the unfolding prophecies and their upcoming role in them. All humor was gone and replaced by a grim determination, even in the youngest, who was only a few years old. For the changing of days was at hand, and a great and mighty storm of war was on the horizon. 

 

Hølje led the procession as it drew closer to Yggdrasil, and he saw Kristoff right away, standing at the great tree’s base.  When he was upon the threshold he noticed the mountain man’s demeanor.  “Master Kristoff?“

 

“How could you?” Despite the pain he was in, Kristoff marched right up to the shaman and grabbed him by the neck.  “Why did you tell me to kidnap Anna?”  Without realizing it he had pushed Hølje away so violently that the shaman landed on his back.  “That creature tried to kill me!  Why didn’t you warn me?”

 

The shaman didn’t react at first, nor did the rest of the Trolls, who had assumed their usual circle around Yggdrasil’s base and apparently had no interest in Kristoff at the moment.  “I didn’t ask you to kidnap Princess Anna, Master Kristoff—I asked you to go and get her, to protect her.”  And then something happened that made the mountain man take a step back; Hølje floated to his feet.

 

Kristoff blinked, his armored hand shaking as it grabbed the hilt of his sword.  “How did you do that?”

 

“Why must you always question, Kristoff?  Why is it so difficult for you to have faith?  If you had but an once of faith Anna would be here in the Valley right now, enjoying its protection and comfort.”  Hølje looked up into the blonde man’s eyes.  “It is not the fate of Jörmungandr to sit idly while the horizon blackens with rage and ire.  Even right now the great serpent is preparing for war, can smell it in the air, and can feel its prickly tendrils seep into his bones.”

 

The blonde man swallowed hard.  “But if Elsa is going to war—who will be there to protect Anna?”

 

“Who, indeed, Master Kristoff?  Who indeed…”

 

Kristoff cried out in frustration.  “But what can I do?  Elsa—I mean, Jörmungandr tried to kill me once!  I can’t go back to Arendelle, Hølje, the Queen banished me forever.”

 

The Shaman looked over his shoulder and observed the trolls as they began to transform.  He motioned for Kristoff to follow him.  “We are part of the Ragnarök, Kristoff, and it is our destiny—it has been our destiny since time began.”  He stopped at Bulda, or what was once her, and briefly touched her head.  “See our destiny, Kristoff.”

 

Kristoff looked around and for the first time noticed how the trolls were changing.  Not only had they folded in on themselves and resembled rocks, but they were elongating, and stretching upwards.  What was left of their arms shot up towards the lowest branches of Yggdrasil, and clung onto them firmly.  He looked on in wonder and then finally turned his attention back to Hølje.  “What is happening…?”

 

But the shaman was changing, as well, transforming like his kin.

 

“No…”  The blonde man held up his hands.  “No, wait!”  He was thrown onto his back when the ground began to shake, and in his mind he heard the shaman’s voice clearly.  You will know when to return to Arendelle…

 


 

 

“What—what are you telling me, Elsa?”  Anna bolted off the bed and began to pace their bedroom.  “You’re going to die!  Why? You are going to leave Leif and me all alone…”

 

“No!”  Elsa sat up and watched a frantic Anna walk about the room. “This is what I’m saying to you—I’m not going to allow it to happen!”

 

Anna stopped pacing, and whirled towards her sister.  “You just said the Ragnarök predicts that Thor is going to kill you at the last battle, and all of this is destined to happen!”  She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself when Leif began to cry.

 

Elsa hopped off the bed and walked towards the crib but an icy stare from Anna stopped her.

 

Anna went over to the crib and picked up the tiny boy, and brought his small head to her shoulder. “Why has it taken you so long to tell me…?”

 

The Queen turned around and looked out her windows, the snows were swirling outside, and the stags were looking directly at her from the gardens below.  “I tried telling you, numerous times, but other things got in the way.”

 

“You didn’t think it important enough to do it sooner than this?”  Anna clutched Leif to her, and did her best to hold back her tears. “You would break my heart so easily…”

 

Elsa wiped at her own tears. “No, it is not my desire to break your heart, Snowflake.  I have no wish to hurt you.”  She turned back around and looked at the princess.  “I summoned a god, Anna—for you, for us.  I helped to change Óðinn’s perspective concerning the prophecies, Anna.  Not just for me, but for you, and our son.  I want to be here to see him grow up into a fine young man, and I want to do it with you at my side.”

 

Anna swallowed away her sorrow.  “You do?”

 

“Of course, I do, Anna.”

 

The princess kissed Leif’s little head and laid him back down in his crib, and then she beckoned for Elsa to come closer.  “Please, hold me.”

 

Elsa couldn’t deny Anna anything, and she held her tightly in her arms. “Óðinn is bringing Thor to Arendelle right now, Anna, I know it.  I—no, we—will convince him that this is more important that any pre-conceived destiny.” 

 

Anna lifted her head from Elsa’ shoulder. She needed to hear the words.  “That what is more important?  Please, Elsa, I need to hear it from you.”

 

Elsa felt like she wanted to choke on her tears.  But Anna was looking at with such raw emotion… “The words?”  And at this moment there was something in the princess’ eyes she had never seen before.  “Love—love is more important.”

 

“Then say it.”

 

“I…I love you, Snow—Anna.  I love you, Anna.”  The blonde let out a deep cleansing breath, and closed her eyes as Anna peppered kisses all along her neck. 

 

Anna reached around and slapped the blonde’s rear, and then clutched at the fabric of her pants, holding her waist.  “Oh, but I’m still so mad at you…”

 

“You are?”  Elsa reached up to her chest and loosened the baldric; it, along with her scabbard, fell to the floor. 

 

The princess lifted one hand and poked Elsa in the chest.  “From now on if you have something important to tell me you do it right away!  You don’t wait, okay?”

 

The blonde grabbed the finger that was poking her in the chest and held it.  “I won’t keep anything from you, Anna.  I promise.”  She moved forward, just a little, but it was enough to force Anna to take a few backwards steps.  “Do you believe me?”

 

Anna glanced downwards at her hand that was still clutching at Elsa’s pants, and she yanked, causing the Queen to take a few awkward steps forward.  “Of course I believe you.”

 

Elsa used her free hand to work at the clasps of her pants.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Oh, god, Elsa—of course I’m sure.”

 


 

 

This time they had abandoned all their clothes, and afterwards lay about on the top of the bed, completely and totally spent.  Elsa turned her head, her eyes half lidded, and watched as Anna lay on her stomach, her hips moving slightly.  The blonde sat up on her elbows to watch the display more closely.  “Did I not satisfy you, Princess?”

 

Anna opened her eyes and eyed her Queen.  “Yes, you did, my Queen—my body is just reliving the experience.”  She giggled and began to roll her hips in earnest. “What about you?”

 

Elsa couldn’t take any more, and she rolled onto Anna’s back, her body responding immediately.  She roughly spread Anna’s legs apart with her knees, and sank her flesh deep inside.

 

Anna’s hands balled into fists, and her body jerked forwards.  “Good gods, Elsa, where do you get the stamina?”

 

The knock on the bedroom door startled both young women.  Elsa, horrified, lifted on her hands.  “Don’t come in!”  She tried to get her labored breathing under control.  “Who is it?”

 

There was a brief pause, and then a familiar voice.  “Kai, Your Majesty.  It’s time for the evening meal.”  His voice appeared to be strained.

 

Elsa closed her eyes, her body shaking with the strain of holding back.  “Give us a minute, Kai.  We’ll be down shortly.”  Her keen hearing picked up on the sound of retreating footfalls.  “Oh, Anna…ugh…yes…yes…yes…” She punctuated each word with a thrust of her hips until Anna’s body writhed in time with her own.

 


 

 

“Your Majesty!” Master Kai caught up with Elsa just as she arrived at the Dining Hall.  He gently took hold of her arm.  “May I have a word?”

 

Elsa looked down to where Kai was grasping her arm.  “Of course, Master Kai.  My arm, please?”

 

The Master of the Castle indicated for the Queen to follow him to an empty part of the main hallway. Then he looked in both directions to make sure no one could overhear him.  “This is a matter most delicate, Your Majesty.”

 

Elsa frowned.  “What is it, Kai?”

 

“Two servants were heard gossiping about you, Elsa.  They were heard wagering as to whom your secret lover was.”

 

The Queen turned a bright red; such was the extent of her blush.  “What—when did this happen?”

 

“This afternoon, Your Majesty.  Apparently, they were on their way to clean your bedroom when—when they heard you.” Kai lowered his head in embarrassment.

 

Elsa swallowed, and then nodded her head.  “Thank you, Kai.  We—I mean…I will be more discreet.”

 

“You don’t have to pretend with me, my Queen.  I know whom you are with.  But may I impose upon Your Majesty to take your—activities to a more inconspicuous part of the castle?”

 

Elsa couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with the older man.  “Where would you suggest?”

 

It was now Kai’s turn to blush.  “Perhaps the empty rooms near the north attic?”  He cleared his throat when an under butler passed by them.  “Where is Her Highness this evening?”

 

“What?  She’s feeding Leif, and will be here shortly. Kai, what—” Elsa turned her head and noticed Anna heading in her direction, but the baby wasn’t with her.  “Anna! Where is Leif?”

 

“My Ladies in Waiting are—“

 

Anna didn’t get to finish her sentence as Elsa flew by her in an instant, and ended up taking the steps two at a time.  Several warnings sounded in the Queen’s mind, and even from the stairwell she could hear the stags outside, beating their antlers against the castle’s stonewalls. She burst into her bedroom and found the younger Lady in Waiting holding Leif in one arm, and her other was busy throwing the infant’s clothes in a bag.

 

Elsa’s sudden appearance in the room startled her, and she would have dropped the small boy had not the Queen came forward in a flash to snatch him up.  Alfrida screamed and dropped the bag as several soldiers came running behind Elsa, their rifles at the ready.  But one such soldier, younger and brash, stumbled on his own feet and his rifle fired. 

 

Alfrida fell dead at Elsa’s feet just as Anna and Kai came running into the room, and Anna would have screamed as well had not the Master of the Castle hastily put his hand to her mouth, anticipating what the princess would do.  Elsa turned cold, reptilian eyes onto the soldier, and lifted her hand as to blast him into oblivion.

 

Kai’s eyes widened. “No, my Queen!”

 

Anna wrestled from Kai’s embrace and ran to Elsa, shoving her arm down just before she could do the deed. “Elsa, please listen!”

 

The Queen almost jerked herself away from Anna, but at the very last moment remembered her son, and the murderous haze fell from her eyes.  “Anna?”

 

The princess reached up and took the crying baby from Elsa’s arms.  “Yes, I am here, Elsa—and so are Her Majesty’s soldiers.”

 

Elsa turned back to Kai and the soldiers, and her eyes fell onto the one who had fired.  She took two strides forward and grabbed the rifle from his shaking hands.  “What is your name?  Who is your Captain?”

 

When the lad continued to shake and remain silent another soldier stepped forward.  “His name is—“

 

Lieutenant Lindar came rushing into the room, and immediately assessed the situation.  He pointed at the young soldier.  “Get him out of here!”

 

Two other soldiers took the young man by the arms and shoved him out of the room while Lindar fumed where he stood.  “This is all my fault, Your Majesty.  I ought not to have had such an unseasoned soldier assigned to the Castle.”

 

Elsa let out a deep breath and closed her eyes briefly.  When she opened them there was no recrimination present.  “Please, don’t blame yourself, Lindar.  This was all a tragic accident.”  Her attention turned to Kai, who had bent down to make sure the young woman was dead.  “Kai, were you not responsible for assigning this young woman to the princess’ care?”

 

The Master of the Castle stood and straightened out his lapels.  “As Mayor of both the C