Frozen is owned by the Walt Disney Corporation, and not me. This is a not-for profit effort on my part to get those amazingly annoying and wonderful songs out of my head. Maybe now, I can finally Let It Go.
WARNING: The following is not intended for the target audience of the original work. This work contains adult themes, and is meant for an older audience. If you are offended by mild language, violence, religion, and mild sexuality, this story is not for you.
Molten: A story of Arendelle
Prologue: Hans' Homecoming
The ship glided into the harbor as the summer sun circled overhead, and though Hans face was placid and calm as he stood at the ships prow, his stomach was a ball of ice. How apropos.
"Well, we'll see how your brothers deal with you now, shan't we?" the sailor guarding him taunted. The man was Arellian, and a nuisance.
Hans didn't grace the man with an answer, and the fool prattled on, obviously not needing one. "Perhaps they'll stand ye before the mast like a common seaman. A taste o the lash would do ye good, after what ye did to the poor princess. And humiliatin' the queen? That won't stand lad."
No, Hans agreed privately. It wouldn't. Though not for the reasons the sailor likely supposed.
No one was waiting for them at the docks; Hans' transport was likely the first to reach the Southern Isles since the end of Elsa's little snow party. He was marched to the gates of the castle, a coat draped over his arms to hide the manacles that the captain insisted upon. Of course, that didn't mean no one noticed.
"Little brother! Back so soon? And with an Arellian honor guard I see. Tell me, are you king there yet, or are the nuptials yet impending?" a mocking voice demanded as Hans was escorted through the market.
The procession stopped, and the captain glanced around, locating the source of the voice. Hans didn't even need to look.
"Adrian. Still fat and slovenly, or have your habits improved?" Hans asked casually, keeping his eyes focused on the middle distance.
A heavy arm rested on Hans' shoulders, and his youngest elder brothers warm, rancid breath hissed into Hans' ear. "Good natured as always. My, my, my," Prince Adiran, 12th in line to the Throne of Winds murmured as his hands felt under the coat. "Manacled? This is interesting. How did you manage that? Get caught sleeping with the wrong woman? Perhaps a certain reclusive princess with fiery hair?"
If only he had gone that route. It would have been the best, in the long run. Play the long game. Bide his time. It was so obvious in hindsight. An act of true love. Not one perpetrated upon the afflicted, but one given by the afflicted. A true loves kiss? His father had raised him better than to think such idle tokens would be real. A life for a life; now that had power.
"No, actually. I hardly have the reputation of Gudbrand and Gudmund now do I? Something a tad more Machiavellian and less primal."
"Hmph." The breath withdrew, and Adrian stepped in front of Hans, licking away icing of some sort from his fingers and wiping a fresh stain onto his already beleaguered jacket. "Still, Aleksander and father deal harshly with failure. A shame it was you really, you being gone won't help anyone."
"This man is a criminal, monsieur," the captain interrupted. "He has perpetrated crimes most heinous against the Kingdom of Arendelle."
Adrian immediately backhanded the captain, knocking him to the ground. The 12th prince was a huge man, and though it was mostly fat, he had more than enough muscle on his bulk. "He is a prince. Undo those manacles this instant. Judgment shall be rendered by my father the king, or our brother the Sword Prince. Not by you, not by a foreign power."
The captain slowly stood, rubbing his jaw with murder in his eyes. The sailors shifted, hands tightening on swords, crossbows and trenchers.
Adrian grinned, spreading his arms wide. "Oh please, by any means, cause an international incident. Then I might get some real action."
The captain paused and looked around. There were guards in the uniform of the Southern Isles making their way forward with purposeful strides, naked blades and crossbows in hand at the sight of a threat to their princes.
"Very well, I apologize. Innocent until proven guilty, after all. I will surrender this man to your authority and accompany you to the castle with the proclamation by Queen Elsa and Princess Anna concerning his guilt."
Adrien grinned. Hans sighed. Wonderful. He was going to get a parade after all.
The walk to the castle was short, though by the end of it Adrian was red in the face and slightly winded. Hans took only a small ounce of comfort from that. His slovenly sibling was more dangerous when irritated by exercise.
As luck would have it, Sword Prince Aleksander and King Aleksander I were holding joint court of judgment that morning. None of Hans' other brothers were present, thank God, but now he had to act, and quickly. His father was ruthless when it came to failure, but rewarded quick thinking and decisive action. That was the one hope Hans had clung to during his voyage: perhaps he could still spin this his way.
Upon seeing his youngest son led in by two groups of armed men headed by the puffing Adrian and grim faced captain, King Aleksander held up his hand to silence the petitioners.
"What is this?" the King demanded, standing with his scepter held across his chest. That meant he was reserving judgment, for now.
"Your majesty," the captain murmured, kneeling.
Hans did the same, but half a second before protocol dictated he should, he rose and began to speak. "Father, I bring grave tidings from the mainland: sorcery, witchcraft and treachery. The isolation of the heir of Arendelle for so many years had grimmer ramifications that even our worst fears."
"What? Outrageous!" The captain protested. "The only treachery was yours, traitor! You tried to murder-"
"Silence!" roared Sword Prince Aleksander, now standing beside the king with the Sword of the Winds pointing at the captain. "You will speak only when the king or I command. My brother is a prince of the realm. We shall hear his tale first."
For that, Hans was grateful. Aleksander had always been magnanimous towards Hans. He could afford too: Hans would gain little to no benefit from Aleksander's removal and Aleksander had recognized early on that Hans was one of his more competent brothers. Someone so far down the line of succession would make a handy ally for the first in line to the throne, and the one with the biggest target on his back.
The king was silent, allowing the Sword Prince to speak for him, and Hans continued, "When I arrived in Arendelle I immediately began to gather information as my lord father had commanded; why had the heirs sequestered themselves? As many of us know, this began long before King Agdar and Queen Idun were lost at sea. The castle was locked up, and no one saw either princess Elsa or Anna except at functions which absolutely demanded their presence, and after the King and Queen died, no one saw either of them for three years."
Schooling his face into an expression of sorrow and fear, Hans took a deep breath. "Your majesty, I can safely say why the heirs were hidden: they are both accursed."
That brought murmurs and cries of protest from the sailors; at least until they noticed that the Isle guards were pointing swords at their guts. Then they quieted down quickly.
"Explain," demanded the king, his face growing grim. He well remembered the Coronan incident a few years ago, and the rumors of another accursed princess who had eventually married a commoner. Another thing King Aleksander found distasteful.
"Queen Elsa has powers of ice. For three days, she trapped her entire kingdom in a sorcerous winter, until through fear she forced the entire population to accept her rule of witchcraft. Her sister is vile and cunning, knowing full well of the terrible power her sister wields. She has no powers of her own, but borrows that of her sister. She used those to shatter my sword, turning it so cold that the steel itself shattered and broke when I tried to strike her sister down and end the winter and free the people of Arendelle."
"Lies! Those are all lies!" The captain bellowed, pressing against the flat of the sword blocking his way forward. "The queen did not intend the winter, it was you who lied to us and made us fear her! Her sister told us the truth and freed us with the power of love!"
There was silence for a moment, save for the captain's heavy breathing. All eyes were on him. Hans allowed himself a small smirk. He had won already.
A low laugh began to echo through the chamber, and then a deep belly laugh erupted from both the king and the Sword Prince. The captain looked on agape, puzzled as to the reaction.
"Love?" the king wheezed. "The power of love? What idiocy! Love is only useful when tempered by fear and respect. I have heard tell from my admirals of strange storms and unseasonal icy waters around Arendelle: this explains it. I had though perhaps the princesses were just ugly, but accursed makes more sense. Tell me, my son, how strong are her powers?"
Hans thought fast. He could use this. He could still come out on top here. "No stronger than those of Inigo Cortez, my lord."