Faster and faster she commanded her steed, galloping along the path of the valley. The fair elf maiden desperate for as much speed as her horse could muster, time far beyond being just the essence. The trees and shrubs whip by, all blurred together and insignificant at the moment for the rider. She had but one thought: get Frodo to father. The hobbit in front of her grumbles a painful moan, his head as limp as a wet straw doll. Just a bit farther, hang in there little one.
Along this path of being a little bit farther is a woman walking alone, gazing at the scenery with a combination of confusion and awe. How did I go from steep mountains and coniferous forests to this…valley with luscious foliage? Indeed she had been for a walk to think to herself, and definitely noticed the dramatic change in environment, but curiosity fueled her to continue forward, the question of whether she could return buried within the back of her mind. As she turns another bend, a gasp escapes from her lips. Before her is a magnificent city of beautiful architecture that she has never seen. Brilliantly white buildings reflecting the golden sunlight, trees sprouting seemingly wherever they could, and cascading waterfalls which add a sense of serenity to it all. The woman could have stared for hours, were it not for the thundering of hooves rapidly approaching.
As she rounded the last corner before the straightaway, she nearly yelps in surprise to find a woman smack dab in the middle of the path. With her horse going much to fast to stop or change direction, she shuts her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. When nothing happens, she snaps them open to find her motion unhindered. She quickly glances back to see the woman, who was wearing a stunning beautiful blue dress that shimmered like…ice? Had managed to get to the side of the path before a collision could happen. The elf only barely manages to catch a glimpse of pale blonde hair before looking ahead to resume her course. But now, another thought lingers in her head: Was that Lady…Galadriel?
The woman, having whirled away just in the knick of time to avoid certain pain, was lost in thoughts of her own, even having also only managed a mere glimpse. From what she could see, her mind whirled at the beauty of the rider, to her pointed ears, and the apparent child who looked like he was on death's door. She shook her head, figuring that the best place option to all her questions was this beautiful city before her.
Lord Elrond is leaning over Frodo, inspecting for any minute dark spots that may still linger in Frodo. Satisfied that his work is complete, he gives a sigh of relief and makes his way to inform Arwen that the hobbit is safe and needs rest. To his surprise, one of his lieutenants approached him first, apparently with urgent intent.
"My lord, we have another visitor."
"Another? We already have received one unexpected guest, and now there's a second?"
"Yes my lord." He glances around to ensure that they have privacy, "And if I may, she appears to be of the lost variety."
Elrond muses over this information. It was startlingly enough that the ring bearer had to arrive early with a grievous injury, but a wanderer stumbling upon Rivendell? "The ring bearer and a lost one arriving on the same day…destiny is a tricky one indeed." He nods towards his lieutenant, who gives a small bow before heading off.
As Elrond arrives at the entrance, he pauses to look over this new guest, and is slightly taken aback. When he was informed of a lost visitor, he did not expect royalty. Every aspect of her appearance radiated that of a princess, No, Elrond thought, this was a Queen. He could list every aspect that made him decide this, or just observing the tiara on her head. Although the staring at everything around her was…not that queenly of a behavior. There is one thing though that sticks out and gives him an irregular thought, Her hair could give Lady Galadriel's a run for her money…wait what? Clearing his head such a foreign idea, and reaction, he approaches this woman dressed in blue, "Welcome, my lady, to Rivendell. I am Lord Elrond. What brings you to our humble lands?"
Snapping her head forward, she composes herself into a posture that only a Queen of Gondor could match, as Elrond certainly remembered, "I am Queen Elsa of Arendelle, and I am curious as to how our Kingdom has never encountered yours despite the short distance over the mountains." She points back towards the direction she had traveled, somewhere between south and southwest of Rivendell.
Elrond gave her a curious look, as while she confirmed her royal status, his mind was furiously attempting to discern on where this 'Arendelle' is and why she assumed that it was simply over the mountains, as their were no large kingdoms, or any kingdom at all, within a two days ride in that direction. Further confounding this paradoxical statement, to him at least, is that despite knowing near all the names of past and present kingdoms of Middle Earth and even some from the lands across the Eastern Sea, he had never heard of Arendelle. Had it been anyone but her, he would have doubted that person on the spot, but she held herself too well, and her tone of voice not only spoke of her upbringing, but also of her sincerity. Elrond had a difficult situation on his hand.
"Queen Elsa, I'm afraid I have never heard of this land you call Arendelle. I mean no insult when I ask, but perhaps you are more lost than you assume?"
Elsa's composed face hardly wavers at this statement, but Elrond does notice her lips pursing ever so slightly, "No insult taken, considering I am unfamiliar with this area, but I doubt I could truly get as lost as you suggest a mere ten miles after the North Mountain."
Bingo, and now Elrond's eyes widen in shock, only slightly, but still picked up by Elsa. 'The North Mountain', he had heard it spoken only in legends, a mythical peak capable of magical abilities little understood. If this woman had been there last before arriving, she was a long way from home. Oh dear.
"Your majesty, if I may, would you come with me? I have some rather…startling information about you current situation."
Elsa gives him a confused look, but nonetheless approaches him. Leading her through the ageless halls, he elaborates on the legends of The North Mountain, which range from healing properties; where all souls are directed to the afterlife; and even the point of which all land originates. He also explained a bit of the history of Middle Earth and how it pertains to the mountain. As they are nearing Frodo, it is the last point that strikes a chord in Elsa, just as Elrond had guessed.
"There is one last legend of The North Mountain, and I believe it is the one that applies. Some say that it can also serve as a path between worlds. So when you noticed the change in the scenery, was when you crossed from Arendelle into Middle Earth."
This is not the nerve that was struck, that belongs to the follow up statement, considering Elsa's lack of any discernable reaction to the revelation.
"However, there is a condition for crossing, intentionally or no: the crosser must be an individual bearing considerable magical power and capabilities."
Having that fact she has powers deduced in such a manner significantly shocks Elsa, including her eyes widening to their full extent and her mouth dropping slightly. Fear and confusion coursing through her mind like a raging storm she thought she had long abandoned. Slightly distancing herself from Elrond, she's about to avert her gaze elsewhere when she notices the warm smile on his face.
"If you are worrying about being judged for your powers, do not be afraid. Magic is, while not common in Middle Earth, expected and little are surprised by it. I myself possess certain magical abilities."
Elsa steels her poise, but leaves a small smile on her face, attempting to replicate Elrond's warmth. Her response, while mostly out of curiosity, still has parts of her training of concealment of information, "If what you say is true, Lord Elrond, then may I please have a demonstration? If I were to possess such magic, I am not a person to readily expose myself."
Elrond's smile falters, if only slightly, partly out of concern at her apparent apprehension towards revealing herself. He could sense great power from her, but also great trepidation. Which was slightly confusing to Elrond, as most people of Middle Earth were accepting of magic and quite a few embraced it. To find an individual that appeared to view her abilities with such reservation was rather startling.
"I don't know what methods you have seen to demonstrate magic, but mine are more…subtle. What I can show you is the results." He leads her into Frodo's room, where the hobbit is resting almost peaceful, but occasionally shows signs of discomfort are expressed. He brings her to the side of the bed, and points toward Frodo's shoulder would made by the morgul blade, "The wound of his shoulder was caused by one of the most vile weapons, a morgul blade. It does not kill its victim, instead morphing them into an unholy form that cannot be seen by mortal eyes and forcing them to be forever enslaved to the master and maker of the blade. My magic and healing capabilities were able to save him, but the residue of that foul weapon still lingers, harmlessly. Interesting thing though, is that any magic user would be able to also detect that evil. So if you still are incredulous of me, touch it and find out."
Elsa eyes Elrond warily, due to how ridiculous his explanation sounded to her and that she was expected to touch a freshly healing wound. However, her curiosity would not be abated, and so, with a sigh, she reaches forward and lays her finger gently on the distorted flesh.
While Elrond may have been merely surprised at finding a lost wanderer on his doorstep, what happened next caused him to become truly shocked.
Frodo was currently experiencing a concoction of strange sensations. Generally, he found himself in warm bliss and feathery lightness, but there would be times this was tempered with hot flashes of sharp pain and heavy feelings of dread. He drifted between these two states, seemingly endlessly and simultaneously as though nothing was actually happening, for an undetermined amount of time. Then something changed, a force he could never imagine in his current condition: cold. A rush of pure coldness flowed through him as though it came from the highest mountain itself. It washed away any semblance of comfortable warmness and painful heat. Soon, all he could feel was the sensation of cold. And it. Was. Refreshing. He had never felt anything that had ever refreshed him as thoroughly and with such satisfaction as he was experiencing now. Not even jumping into the river during The Shire's hottest day on record. And it is this rush of amazing refreshment that wakes him with a giant gasp.
"HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Frodo's upper torso shoots straight up as he gasps for air. Elsa and Elrond both step back, equally shocked, but for different reasons. Elsa because, well, she didn't expect this child, who had a suspiciously looking adult face, practically leaping at her touch. Elrond because Frodo should not be capable of waking up for at least a few more days. However, his shock quickly turns to a smile, as it confirms that Elsa is indeed an individual capable of great magic. Although despite the evidence gasping for air in front of him, he surmised that is was unlikely she possessed healing abilities. If anything, he would guess it was due to her magic, that of a different world, interacting, somehow, with the dark magic in Frodo.
As the two of them stare at Frodo catching his breath, a figured approached behind them, and suddenly Elsa became enveloped with the feeling of sunny friendliness.
"Master Elrond, your healing abilities are better than ever it seems." They turn to find that a tall man who appeared to be created out of grey, with a grey hat, beard, and robes, smiling at them. Elsa thought to herself that this might possibly be the kindest man she's ever seen.
"Gandalf, I was expecting you to arrive with dear Frodo here, yet he shows up with a morgul wound and you pop in unannounced."
"Ah, yes, unfortunately my travel was…delayed. I will speak of it later. How are you Frodo?"
Frodo is looking between the two in utter confusion, having failed to notice Elsa to his left. Granted, she had backed away quietly in reaction to his sudden movement. Eventually, his eyes do wander far enough to catch her in the corner, and, in pure bewilderment, "What is going on?"
The three exchange glances, each unsure of the exact details of the situation. Gandalf merely curious as to who Elsa is; Elrond perplexed at Frodo's sudden recovery; and Elsa wondering whether this is all an act to expose her. The one aspect countering that thought is she did indeed, only briefly, feel remnants of something dark in…Frodo, as he seems to be called. Elrond steps forward to speak,
"That depends Frodo, what do you remember?"
Frodo, still gawking at his surroundings, is finally able to regulate his breathing. Staring at his lap, his silent wanes for a few moments before looking Elrond in the eyes, "I remember desperately putting out a campfire, shrieks that shake my very bones, my friends circling around me, and a sharp pain." He reaches up to touch his wound, but doesn't even flinch upon contact, just an abstract stare of wonder in his eyes, "I know not how long I lingered in that darkness and pain, but then I found myself in…clouds, you could say. Flitting between comfort and more pain." He's rubbing his closed wound, which is now significantly more healed than before, "But then, there was a rush of…cold. Pure, cold." Elsa's eyes widen, wondering how a simple touch could transfer her powers. Gandalf and Elrond notice this, but Frodo doesn't, seemingly staring into nothing as he recounts his memories, "But it was the most refreshing feeling in all my life. As though I was jumping into a perfectly cool river on the hottest of days. You could say it was bliss."
Elsa's eyes still retain their heightened expression, but now at the thought her powers felt good. She was accustomed to the marvel they drew during her displays, but for an individual to have been touched by her magic itself and turn out for the better? An entirely foreign concept, even by her standards.
As Frodo continues to stare at something beyond Rivendell, Elrond takes the opportunity to get Elsa's attention, "Well Queen Elsa, it would appear your magic has stronger effects than I presumed, if you would please," he gestures to outside the room and nods his head. Elsa glances at Frodo again, still slightly shocked, and even a tiny bit worried, then moves to the hallway.
Elrond follows, and Gandalf the same soon after, but he does pause to speak to Frodo, "I apologize for leaving as soon as I arrive, but I will be back. My curiosity is too great to ignore."
In the halls out of range of Frodo's hearing, the three stop to face each other. Elsa is back to displaying her regal pose, and is attempting not to betray her thoughts on how bizarre that encounter was. Among other things, just what is this Frodo who is no larger than a child yet speaks and sounds as an adult? And who is this Gandalf in which she has found a bright radiance of warmness and familiarity?
"Even though we haven't made proper introductions, it is a pleasure to meet you Queen Elsa." Gandalf bows slightly, out of politeness and to avoid his hat tipping over and hitting the Elsa in the face.
"And I to you, Gandalf." She gives her own little curtsy, the ice shimmering even with that slight movement.
"If I may inquire, what land are you Queen of?"
"The Kingdom of Arendelle. But from what I've been informed by Master Elrond, it is far, far away from here."
"I see." He strokes his beard, studying her under a pleasant gaze, Elsa isn't disturbed the least. Elrond is also smiling at Elsa, as he's confident of the benevolence he feels emanating from her, despite Elsa's somewhat icy demeanor at times.
"So Lady Elsa, after your…encounter with Frodo, what would you say of the presence of magic here?" Elrond, curious as usual, for the last hour anyway, continues to prod at what this mysterious Queen can do. Elsa sighs to her self, still attempting to determine whether that had all been an act, or whether that truly was darkness pervading through the little man, and the magical connection created through mere contact. She also considered the image of Gandalf in front of her, who looked just as she would imagine a wizard would.
After a minute of pondering, with the two men patient for her response, she decides the risk of revealing is good enough for the potential information to be gleamed. Putting on a smile of her own, she looks Elrond straight in the eye, "After careful consideration, yes, magic does seem to have a place here, as for what I can do, well…" Smirking even stronger now, she flicks one of her wrists, and within a few seconds a life-size ice statue of Elrond is standing before them, a stern scowl being a quite prominent feature. While no verbal surprise escapes them, their eyes speak plenty of what they thought. As they ponder the amount of details in the ice statue, Elsa speaks again, "No, we can't have just one sculpture can we? That wouldn't be fair for Gandalf." And with another flick a sculpture of Gandalf has sprouted from the ground, although she couldn't quite capture the warmth of this man before her.
Elrond was already feeling over the statue, his hands tracing every intricate detail, just to confirm his eyes. Gandalf simply looks at his with a cocked head, secretly thinking to himself that no artist in Middle Earth could replicate what was placed in front of him, even if given to the end of time. Meanwhile, Elrond was pondering over what Frodo had said, and he figured power over ice explains the rush of cold. But he still couldn't piece together the reasoning of how this ice equaled early recovery. Another thing to learn of this Queen, along with why such magic has never been seen before in these realms.
Elsa is lingering in her own thoughts too, but not without a gentle, but proud smile on her face. It was her first encounter with individuals who gazed upon her powers and creations with wonder and, as she studied Gandalf, joy? Despite the abstract strangeness of her past couple hours, this is easily the closest she's passed by to normalcy since her 'crossing'.
Gandalf, now with an apparent smile that showed teeth gleaming, turns to Elsa, "Now Queen Elsa, I believe there's more to you than just ice sculptures?"
Her smile growing also, Elsa brings her hands close together, a blue sphere glowing brightly between them, "Indeed Gandalf, I have control over all aspects ice and snow. This has led me to gain the moniker," She brings her focus up to the two men, and with the largest smirk either of them had seen, "The Snow Queen." She throws the ball of energy high into the air, where it explodes into a gentle snowfall.
And for the first time in forever, it snowed in Rivendell.