Summary: Karin, a lone wanderer, had always lived a life of never growing attached to anyone. But after hearing the Queen of Arendelle shares similar abilities, she sets out to find her. Though at first driven by curiosity, Karin finds reasons to stay in Arendelle as she grows enamored by the queen.
Pairing(s): Elsa/OC (femslash), some Anna/Kristoff.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with Disney. The italicized words separated from the main story are from the song All I Need by Lydia.
Author's Note: I've had this idea ever since I began to read Frozen fanfiction and seen the popularity of Elsa being with an original character. This is my interpretation of that. For the sake of the timeline in this story, the events of Frozen occurred in the beginning of June. Also, I suggest listening to the song All I Need by Lydia to help fit the mood of the story, as I did gain inspiration from it. Anyways, enjoy.
All I see (scares me)
No one waits...
The news traveled fast in Faredon, as it did in just about every other neighboring kingdom. Almost as soon as Prince John and his soldiers arrived home, stories of the Queen of Arendelle's powers spread like a wildfire throughout every town and village. Almost every citizen, ranging from the lords to the peasants, the young to the old, heard the tale of the Eternal Winter at least half a dozen times, for surely it sounded like a fable came to life. It sent ripples of admiration, fear, or both through anyone who heard it.
As for Karin, she knew and felt nothing.
Decked in men's dark clothing, her face almost hidden by a scarf aside from a slight part for her eyes, Karin arrived in a pub located in a small village, just as the sun began to set. The room was filled with about five or so men, most spaced out from each other and as quiet as the forest. It was the first human contact she's had in a while, and her jaw tightened. At least there were only a few. Hesitating and only staring ahead, she walked across the room and sat in a chair at the bar. Karin set her satchel on the floor, feeling the weight of the bag filled with all her belongings lift off of her. With that, so did the worry. She could relax, even if for a brief moment.
Taking her mittens off, the woman cracked her fingers, and she then rolled her neck around in a full circle. Karin suppressed a groan of relief. She had traveled for several hours in order to reach the edge of this kingdom before the brewing storm above would thrash about. And though fatigued, did not regret her decision. A little more traveling time than usual and a tired body were the prices she'd rather pay than walking in the snow at night. Getting lost wasn't exactly a part of her schedule.
Almost immediately the bartender moved towards her. "What can I get you?" he asked.
Karin reached into her pocket, feeling around for the last bit of money she had left. She pulled some coins out, saying in a muffled voice, "The cheapest thing you have."
The bartender nodded. She eyed him warily as he filled a glass with alcohol. After he set it down in front of her, she set the money on the table. Then, parting the scarf slightly to reveal her lips, Karin swigged down a mouthful. The bitter, stale drink's taste subsided as she breathed in the pub's musky but warm air. Leftover snow that still clung to her clothing began to slowly melt into dew.
She heard the door open behind her, which brought in a new wave of cold air, but the woman made no move to turn around. Her mind was more focused on watching the small bubbles in her ale pop and allowing her muscles loosen. Only when the two incomers' voices carried into the room did they catch her attention.
"…Apparently she was so powerful that she created a beast as big as the heavens out of nothing but snow!"
After lifting it for another sip, the glass barely touching her lips, Karin set her drink back down—a bit too harshly. The bartender sent her a glare, and she muttered absentmindedly, "Sorry." Her mind was far too fuzzy to register the clink, and she ignored the pub's owner as one thought crossed her mind: a beast of snow? She turned her heard towards the two as they sat a few meters away from her, but then quickly glanced down at her drink. Staring would only bring attention, though that didn't keep her from an occasional glance or two.
"No wonder why King Hensworth and his son are so keen on uniting our kingdom with Arendelle. A queen who can set forth a blizzard at the flick of her wrist would be a valuable asset."
Upon hearing the second man's reply, Karin's heart pounded hardly in her chest. Excitement coursed through her body, and she fought back a smile from forming: there was someone out there like her? As her heart raced faster than ever, another part of her body began to change; her hands grew warmer and warmer with a hot intensity, and she grimaced. Despite wanting to continue listening to them, she had to get out of there. Now.
Twisting her body around, she yanked her gloves and bag. As she tried to lift and straddle the bag around her shoulders, she heeded no attention to where she walked—Karin rushed straight into a man's body. Although the clothing made her appear larger than she was, he still towered over her by a foot and weighed twice as much.
"Hey!" he snapped. "Watch where you're going!"
He attempted to push his way forward, but in a split moment, his arm brushed against her hand. The man then let out a wolf-like howl as he stumbled away from her, crashing into a table while clutching his arm.
Karin froze with fear. She watched as several other men rushed to the man's aid, and he pulled away from them, spewing out curse after curse. He yanked his coat's sleeve down, revealing a reddened and blistered burn mark.
I'm so sorry! She wanted to yell but couldn't find it in herself. Her nerves reached an even higher stress rate; her hands glowed brighter, and she hid them under her arms. In less than five seconds after tearing herself from the scene, the woman rushed out of the building, feeling the freezing air hit her like a stone wall. Go, go, go! Whipping her head side to side and covering her hands underneath her arms, she quickly ran down a dark, empty alleyway and back into the forest, her breath leaving heavy clouds behind her. When Karin made sure no one followed her, she stropped and dropped everything she carried on the ground, including her satchel.
"Stop, stop, stop…" She pleaded to herself. Unfolding her arms, Karin glanced downwards. Small, bright wire-shaped lines danced above her palms, flickering with a yellow glow while make zapping noises. "Calm down, calm down…" She whispered to herself, closing her eyes. No more, please. Just go away… No more, no more… Controlling her breathing, she cleared her mind of all thoughts. Repeatedly, she curled and uncurled her hands. A few moments later, the sound of the zaps stopped completely. She opened her eyes. The light dimmed down to nothing. Any trace of the magic was gone… for now.
What is wrong with you? You've got to get a handle of yourself! Karin berated internally. You mustn't jump to conclusions and get excited—you almost killed an innocent man! Karin's stomach sank at the thought of taking his life, making her want to vomit. Besides, there's no proof what they're saying is true. They could be intoxicated for all you know.
Realistically, Karin knew neither had a drink, or at least enough to impair their senses to the point of creating tall tales. They arrived at the pub to drink. And there was no way two grown men would say things like that to each other unless… Unless they were, on a level, true. There were always truths in stories, Mother always said. That alone caused more excitement to pulse through her veins—and she shook her head. It couldn't be true, though. None of it. There was no one else in the world cursed as much as she—that no one else could create things out of their bare hands… Where one touch could kill.
No. It simply could not be. She was the only one of her kind and should forget about it. No use in making false hope of another monster in the world.
Karin glanced around her surroundings. Thankfully, against her earlier judgment, there was no storm concocting tonight in these high mountains, but fresh snow did begin to fall at a steady pace. Grabbing her satchel and slipping on her gloves, she trekked through the snow around the village; she wanted to get away from there as fast as possible, convincing her conscience the man would be fine.
Damn not traveling at night—it didn't impair her now anyways.
Like many times before in other kingdoms, Karin settled in Faredon temporarily. She managed to find odd jobs throughout each village she traveled through, ranging from washing windows or stables, shining shoes or boots, and sewing back on a button or two on a coat. She completed each small task with a friendly, grateful smile, collected her small payment like the hundreds of other times as before, and settled in a room an occasional stranger was kind enough to let her use at night. Only one thing ever changed in Karin's routine: thoughts of Arendelle's Queen.
The initial shock wore off eventually, and despite trying very hard to push away anything relating to the queen, Karin succumbed to the never-ending list of questions that formed: was there really another woman who could control an element? If so, was she born with it, too? Did she know if there were more of others like themselves? Was she real? Curiosity ate away at her for weeks, reaching to the point where she felt certain it became an obsession. Karin also surrendered to that urge and asked someone about it.
Karin, mustering enough strength, asked, "Do you know about the Queen of Arendelle's… power? I've heard several people talk about it but don't know much."
"You haven't heard the whole story, dear?" Karin's latest and current host, a peasant woman, asked in return as she returned to the dining room. Harriet's voice was so weary that Karin debated if she should have asked her at all.
"I'm afraid not. Being on the road a lot doesn't allow me to keep up with the news. Would you mind telling me? If you need you rest, though—"
The older dark-haired woman sat back down at the table. "Nonsense, of course I have time, dear. It's only fair to the one who just told my children stories of her adventures around the world."
Karin smiled, dipping her exposed head while she said, "Thank you. It wasn't a problem."
Harriet smiled, though it turned downwards almost immediately. "Well, my husband is enlisted as a soldier under our king. When he returned home two weeks ago, he told me he attended the Queen of Arendelle's coronation as a guard for the prince. Later that day, the queen created a terrible blizzard that caused summer to vanish in Arendelle and threatened to leave it in an Eternal Winter. He said, 'Queen Elsa of Arendelle could create icicles sharper than any sword and build castles far grander than any in the world. All by her hands.'"
Karin's eyes widened in awe, taking in the woman's words. Elsa. Elsa was the queen's name. Although Karin did not have a deep emotional connection before, having an actual name for this being… Well, it caused her stomach to turn, though not in an entirely unpleasant way.
Harriet continued, "She lifted the curse off the land and returned to her place on the throne, but…" She shook her head, her tone becoming bitter. "I'm not sure if it was wise to leave that sorceress alive. She almost murdered my husband as well as her subjects."
For the first time since the woman offered her a place to stay, Karin's smile faltered. "But surely she meant it as an accident? Someone with that power must… have trouble containing it."
"As a queen, it should be one's duty to remain calm at all times. Whatever reason she held to behave in a crude manner is unacceptable."
Karin merely nodded. Though she did not entirely agree with Harriet, she wasn't going to rush to defend Queen Elsa of Arendelle. She lacked the details to reach to any full conclusion on either side. And she decided she would keep it that way tonight.
"I must get some rest," Karin said. "Thank you for everything."
"It's my pleasure. Are you sure you must leave so early in the morning? You are welcomed to stay for breakfast."
She shook her head. "Oh no, I do not wish to be a burden. Dinner was more than enough!"
"As you wish." Just as Karin stood up, Harriet also added, "Good luck on your journey. I hope you find it in yourself to settle soon and marry a nice young man. A young lady as polite as you deserves to find someone who will treat her like royalty."
Karin half-smiled. "I hope I find someone, too."
Later that night, Karin waited some time after the last candlelight was blown out in Harriet's home. When she thought she would be safe, she sprang into action. The woman reached into her bag and pulled out a folded white parchment paper, its outside smudged with dirt. Unfolding it, Karin rested it on the ground. Then, with a tentative sigh, opened her left palm, allowing the muscles to relax. Like a candle's flame, the lightning in her palm glimmered to life, encasing the shed with a bright light. The woman dimmed the light greatly and turned her hand over to see the map, a canvas of detailed mountains, rivers, forests, settlements, and outlined kingdoms.
She leaned closer for a better look, causing her untied, long dirty-blonde hair to brush against the surface of the map. Then, Karin placed her other hand on the map, marking her current position with a finger. The path she chose to walk along two weeks ago, the night where her power struck the man, had taken her north. Karin moved her finger upwards to rest it on Faredon's main city and trading port—which, incidentally, was at the edge of the land. It would take at least a week to reach it, and from there required a decision on which way to go. She originally wanted to go eastwards, but now…
Sitting up and chewing the inside of her cheek, Karin sat up. As she tried to sort her thoughts, the electricity in her hand swirled. She averted her gaze from the map to watch the magic, manipulating it to take the forms of whatever came to her mind. Karin then controlled a small bolt to circle around her body, making her hair appear to glow. She grinned. These small moments alone without anyone in a range to get hurt were the ones she cherished the most, and that made her wonder: Does Queen Elsa of Arendelle enjoy her magic like this, too?
Arendelle… Karin made the free-flowing bolt disappear and shifted her weight to glance at the map again. Her eyes scanned the paper, paying extra detail to the areas she had yet to travel into. The woman found an assortment of other landmasses off of Faredon's coast, separated by a fjord. Almost directly across was, labeled in dark lettering, Arendelle.
With Arendelle came Queen Elsa.
The feeling from earlier returned, this time stronger. The realization that she was only about a week and a day's travel away from her elated Karin. But doubt also came along, balancing her emotions. There was still no telling in these accounts made by these Faredon's citizens were true to begin with—perhaps someone spread these rumors to strike fear.
Although Karin's heart wanted to believe she and the other woman were alike, her eyes would have to see Elsa of Arendelle's power to satisfy her skepticism. Just one look. Then, back to exploring the rest of the world. Yes. It would only be a slight detour. What harm would it do, considering Arendelle as a place to yet be explored?
With that plan in mind, Karin absorbed her power and carefully folded the map, placing it back in her bag. She slipped her gloves back on and laid next to a wall of the shed Harriet offered her as a sleeping quarter, folding her arms under her head as a pillow. Karin eventually fell asleep, and that night dreamed of sharp icicles and snow castles.