DISCLAIMER: Frozen and all related characters are the property of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. The Snow Queen and all related characters are the property of All-Union Animated Cartoon Film Studios and Universal Pictures. Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen. No copyright infringement is intended. This work of fiction is for entertainment purposes only and no money has changed hands. The story and all original characters are the sole property of the author and may not be used or archived without permission. Lyrics from "Let it Go" written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.


LAST SNOW QUEEN STANDING

by Darrin A. Colbourne


"We are on the cusp of greatness!"

The horde of men on horseback arrayed before him cheered as Rothgar the Vulgarian, leader of the Mercenary Huns of the Eastern Plains, made this stirring announcement. They knew that just behind their leader lay a narrow, snow-covered pass, and they knew that pass was the last obstacle between them and their objective.

Rothgar confirmed this by using his sword to point to the pass and bellowing, "We will now march up this path, and when we reach the top the jeweled kingdom of Arendelle will lay before us, rich and fat and ready for plunder!"

Again his men cheered, and as they cheered the Duke of Weselton smiled with wicked glee. It was he, after all, who'd spent half his personal fortune to hire and equip this mercenary clan to raid Arendelle, and now, on his own horse next to Rothgar, he was going to see his plan for revenge come to bloody fruition. He would stand aside and observe as the barbarians ravaged Arendelle, raping and pillaging at will, until the will of its people – especially its queen and princess – was broken, forcing them to beg for help from their closest neighbors. Weselton would help…but only after the signing of an ironclad trade agreement that couldn't be broken arbitrarily by the queen.

Rothgar was still boasting. "Arendelle's subjects think these mountains protect them from invasion from the North, but we will show them their error! We will trample their lands, raze their homes, claim their riches for ourselves and…eh? What's that shadow?"

The answer came in the form of his men's screams as a ton of soft-packed snow fell out of the sky at once and buried them. They'd be able to dig themselves out, but not until the panic of the moment subsided.

Rothgar was incredulous. "What in blazes just happened?" He turned to ask the Duke more directly and found the man staring up at the pass in sheer terror.

"IT'S QUEEN ELSA!" The Duke screamed.

"The queen…?" Rothgar turned to look up to the top of the pass. It had been clear before. Now, three mounted figures were there. Two were slim women on regal horses. The third was a bulky man riding…a reindeer? Rothgar was trying to digest that image as he said, "Well, what's the queen got to do with…?"

"SHE'S THE SNOW QUEEN!" The Duke said, fully panicked. "SHE BURIED YOUR WHOLE ARMY WITH A GESTURE!"

Rothgar blanched as things became clear, and in a rage he turned to glare at the Duke. "YOU MEAN HER MAGIC POWERS ARE REAL?"

The vitriol brought the Duke back to his senses, and he chuckled nervously as he said, "Oh…did I forget to mention that part?"

Both men turned back up to the pass and saw one of the women pointing at the snow before them, so they turned to look. As Rothgar's men worked to free themselves, an invisible hand wrote three words in the snow:

YOU WERE SAYING?

Rothgar gasped, then tried not to have an accident in his codpiece as he stuttered, "D'eh…hmmm…yes…I was saying…you're on your own, Weaseltown!" With that he spurred his horse and rode at breakneck speed back down the mountain.

"That's Wessel-tooonnnnn!" The Duke yelled as he spurred his own horse and followed suit, then Rothgar's men followed as they each freed themselves from the snowfall.

At the top of the mountain pass, Princess Anna giggled as she watched the retreat. "Look at them go," she said. "The Duke even runs away like 'an agile peacock'."

Queen Elsa of Arendelle smiled, but she reflected on the situation more seriously. "Still, Weselton and his mercenaries got much too close for me to feel comfortable. It looks like we can't rely on these mountains to protect us from overland invasion anymore."

"Are you sure?" Kristoff said. "They didn't actually get over the mountain…"

"No, but they were prepared to," Elsa sighed, "and it only takes one person with imagination and resources to show how vulnerable you are. We're just going to have to start sending armed patrols up to watch the passes from above. Let's go."

The three of them turned and rode back down the mountain, with Elsa between Anna and Kristoff. After they'd gone a few steps Anna leaned over to Elsa and said, "Sooo…do you want to build a snowman?"

Elsa smirked. "You always want to build a snowman."

"Well, yeah, because you always make such great ones! You just wave your hands and they dance around and talk and they're just like people…only, y'know, snow people!"

"I suppose so…" Elsa said, thinking. She'd created Olaf on a whim, and didn't even know he'd come to life until he showed up with Anna and Kristoff at the ice palace that night. Since then she'd kept Olaf alive and created several more and all with very little effort. She contemplated that for a moment before continuing. "…but I already made Olaf a wife and children!"

"But he doesn't have any neighbors! Or a postman! Or a milkman!"

"So, you don't just want a snowman," Kristoff said, "you want a snow village."

Anna grinned. "That would be awesome! We could make it a county and make Olaf the Count! We'll call it the County of Snowy Corners! Wouldn't that be great, Elsa?" No response. "Elsa?"

It was then that they both realized Elsa had fallen back. They turned and saw her looking down at the snow by her horse's hooves. She was staring at it with serious intensity. To Kristoff it almost looked like she was angry at it. After a long moment of staring, she waved her hand over it and created a snowy dust devil, then watched the snow until it fell back to ground.

Kristoff finally felt brave enough to speak. "Your Majesty, are you all right?"

Elsa turned abruptly to look at him, and the look on her own face had changed from angry to confused, then to embarrassed when she looked at Anna. "I'm fine," she said finally. She even managed to smile. "Really." She started riding again. When she was back between them, she said to Anna, "Come on. Let's go make your snow village."

"Yay!" Anna said, then she and Elsa talked about what the people of Snowy Corners should be like.

Kristoff remained silent. He couldn't get the image of Elsa staring so intently out of his head. She looked like she was staring down an enemy.

TBC...