Chapter III – Wilderness
The festivities ran rampant for a week, with little guidance except to keep wine flowing, plates full, and spirits high. It was fast. Once the courtyard overflowed with song and celebration, the crowd poured into the streets and hillsides. The people hung green and purple banners from windows and played music from the rooftops. As the sun fell, the cheers rose. The starlight was their salvation from the past.
The City Guard did their best. They kept the law but not the peace. Each night, it became harder to end the celebration, and the festivities stretched closer to dawn. They had a heavy presence in the courtyard. Standing guard, tall and poised with longswords and crossbows, the cheers and songs and debauchery became monotonous – a backdrop to their task, insignificant to their focus. Six stood in front of the Castle doors, the veil dividing the party and the panic.
The interior was a nightmare. The Queen spent the week running between meetings and gatherings with the nation's top advisors. They scoured over military reports regarding the rebellion in Balestrand, calculating moves to show strength and mercy to the usurpers. The Princess refused to leave her sister's side, providing help when she could, both mental and physical, and supported her through the night. She brought information to the Queen and pushed it away when she found her sister in tears. It was a long week.
Elsa awoke as the town slept. The orange sky invaded her white room. She lifted her head. She was at the desk, arms crossed over the pile of papers on the pale wood. She stood up. There was a pile of blankets on the couch. Anna was snug underneath. A hand hung limp off the couch, her freckles buried into a pillow. Elsa smiled at her sister, changed clothes in the closet, and pulled the hair out of her face. She went back to her desk and shoved all the papers into a pile. She took them in her hands and left the room.
Kai caught her in the hall.
"Good morning, Your Majesty." Elsa cuffed her mouth and yawned. "What time is it?"
"Half past five, Ma'am."
Three hours. It was more than last night.
"Thanks. Anna is still asleep in my room. Make sure the servants don't wake her."
"As you wish, Your Majesty. Did she stay up with you again?"
"Yes. I told her to go to bed, but she is stubborn."
"She's just trying to help. Doing a good job of it, if you ask me."
"I know. It's sweet."
Kai opened the door to the Queen's study and followed her in. Elsa put the pile of papers on the wooden desk. In the center of the room, two purple chairs sat around a wooden coffee table, low to the ground, polished and glossy, and adorned with golden rosemaling. Elsa and Kai took their seats. A servant entered bearing a pitcher and two porcelain cups. She poured coffee for Elsa and Kai. They both drank. Elsa took a sip. She never liked hot beverages, but she needed the energy.
"We received another report an hour ago. I have bad news…"
Elsa took another drink. The heat bit her tongue.
"There was a raid on the military outpost during the night. General Alvarsson was killed in the fighting."
"The rebels got to him before the troops were alarmed.
Elsa looked at the black liquid in her cup. Around the rim, in minuscule shards, ice was forming. It clung to the edges and sunk into the contents. She placed the cup on the table and pulled her hands away.
"Your Majesty? Do we need to-"
"No," Elsa held her hands to her chest. "I'm okay."
"Well, there is some good news. The raid was a desperate move. The troops rallied behind General Alvarsson's son. He was able to push the rebel forces back, and General Hermansen's men flanked them in the forest. The rebels surrendered. The fighting is over."
Elsa sat back in her chair. She closed her eyes and all worries of the past week were gone. She was staring at the ceiling, smile on her face, and a chuckle escaped her mouth.
"Kai, that's… amazing!"
"Indeed it is, Your Majesty." He smiled. "It's a good thing we sent General Hermansen when we did. A few more days, and he may not have made it in time…"
"Kai," Elsa smiled, "Thank you. I wouldn't have made it through this without you."
"Simply doing my job, Your Majesty. It was your judgment that helped us resolve the conflict."
"And it was my powers that led to this conflict."
"Your Majesty, don't be so hard on yourself." Kai leaned forward. He sat his cup on the table. "I believe in you, Anna believes in you, and your city believes in you. The rest of the nation will soon follow."
"They will." Kai stood up and straightened his bowtie. "Of course, there is still much to be done, but right now, I think we deserve a little break. I believe the cooks have prepared breakfast downstairs, and it would be nice to eat in peace without poring over papers and missives. Shall we?"
"That would be nice."
Elsa stood and followed Kai out of the room.
Elsa returned to her room at midday. For the first time since the beginning of the crisis, it was still. Her sister was still strewn across the couch, mouth open, eyes closed, hands flailing off the couch, blanket twisted and on the floor. Elsa rubbed her sister's shoulder.
"Mmmm, morning Elsa…" Anna shifted in her dreariness and reentered her slumber. Her breathing slowed and her mind wandered. Elsa sat down and shook her shoulder.
"Come on, Anna" she laughed, "It's past noon. You need to get up."
"Wait…what? How long have you been up?"
"Since about five o'clock."
Anna pulled herself out of the bundle of blankets. She sat on the couch next to her sister.
"Elsa, you should've woken me up. I told you I would stay awake with you, and I don't want you to face this alone because I'm always-"
"Anna, the rebellion is over."
Anna looked back at Elsa. A smile curled out of her lips, and the laughter followed. She darted into her sister's arms and held her tight.
"Elsa, that's wonderful news!" She broke the embrace, "I knew you could do it."
"I probably would have gone insane without your company. I suppose we'll be facing many more crises like this."
"We'll be fine, I'm sure of it. And we can worry about that later. Right now, you need rest."
"Do I look that bad?"
"Yes… I mean, you don't look bad, you look great! Uh… you just look tired. You have these bags under your eyes and your hair is a mess and you can barely keep your eyes open…"
"I think I will take a short nap." Elsa giggled and stood up. She put the crown on her desk and untied her bun. Her hair fell. "By the way, Kristoff was looking for you earlier. Apparently the Guard wouldn't let him into the castle."
"Ugh… I told them to give him unrestricted access."
"I'll speak with them." Elsa fell on her bed. Her hands rubbed her eyes, and she sank into the mattress. "You ought to go find Kristoff. I bet he's worried about you."
"I'll do that." Anna got up and walked to the door. "Hey Elsa."
"You know you'll never have to face anything alone…"
"I know. Thank you, Anna."
Anna pushed open the door and stepped out.
"Tell Kai not to disturb me for an hour."
Anna smiled and left the room.
The last day of the festival was exuberant. Citizens woke from slumber, stepped into the sun, and met the smiles of friends in the street. The musicians took their fiddles, drums, and brass instruments into the streets, and formed makeshift ensembles to blast their tune across the streets. Drinks started to flow, food started to disappear, and the people started to shake off the haziness of the night.
By noon, the party had consumed the hills of Arendelle. With all external pressure removed from the castle, the staff was able to bring out twice as much food than had previously hit the streets. The people were lost in the euphoria and wished for nothing less than for the day to never end, the songs to never stop, and the glory of Arendelle to never fade.
The Princess left the castle in the evening. The city greeted her with praise, courage, and welcome. She kept to her routine - nudging between the crowd, shaking protruding hands, dodging dancing couples, greeting confident supporters, and leaving the revelry behind. The outskirts of town were liberating. Without the crowded streets, that is where freedom called.
She found Kristoff sitting under a tree with Sven. He pulled a carrot from his bag, and the reindeer's teeth snatched it from his hands. The reindeer's mandibles ripped at the orange vegetable, and his nose searched Kristoff's bag.
"Sorry buddy, that's all I've got."
Kristoff's eyes shot to the approaching girl. He jumped up and brought her into his arms.
"Anna, it's so good to see you. I was worried things weren't going well in the castle."
"The rebellion is over! Elsa handled her first crisis well. Her first real crisis… I mean."
"I'm sure you helped a lot."
"No, it was mostly Elsa. I just kept her calm and stuff."
"Is she handling it well?"
"Yeah she's fine." Anna held up a woven basket and rolled blanket. "I uh, brought this since we talked about having a picnic the other day. Anyways, I was wondering if we could have it now. You know… just you and me."
"I think that would be nice. Sven will be okay in that patch of grass." He turned, "Won't you Sven?"
The reindeer lifted his head, shook it, and plumped it back on the ground and closed his eyes.
The two followed the winding cobblestone streets to the edge of town. It rose with the mountain, and soon the pair was looking down on the jubilee in the city. The buildings and civility were gone, replaced by rolling hills, fragrant wildflowers, and stubborn stones. The wind carried the faintest sound of the fires and merriment in the city, yet the sound faded to the waves and the wind and the birds.
The city walls flowed with the countryside, bending with the terrain. It rose above the city and the trees, tan bricks rising from the dirt. Its towers, the vengeful guardians that separated the wilderness and culture, rose from the ground, separated the sections of the wall and longed to join the mountains in the clouds.
The gatekeeper saw them approach. He stepped from his position in front of the iron gates. He saluted the Princess. Anna nodded and thanked him for his duty, and the guard raised the gates. The couple walked under the walls and into the world.
It was dusk. Gone were the narrow alleys of brick and mortar, replaced by lush greens and browns with rays of sunset striking the woods and burnishing the ground. The green blades of grass illuminated with a golden tip.
The pines whispered in the wind, the birds sung with the sunlight, and the warm ocean air cut through the trees. A dirt path, filled with footprints and pebbles and memories, lead into the wilderness. Shades of blue and yellow and red danced above the green with the wind, and the flowers enjoyed their newfound life that came with the end of winter.
Anna stood outside the gates, gazing in every direction, taking in the symphony of colors and wonderment beckoning from every direction. The delicate charm of the pines and mountains outshone everything except the Princess's smile.
"This is… incredible. I've never actually been out here during the summer. Well, I have, but not like this."
"Yeah, I've always loved being out here."
"I can see why. It's beautiful!" She took Kristoff's hand, "C'mon, let's go down to the fjord. We should be able to have a good view of the castle as the sun goes down."
The two veered from the path and followed the downhill slope and the crashing waves to the sea. The walls disappeared in the woodlands, leaving them alone in the underbrush. They walked slow as the sun fell. Anna took in the vibrant senses of their journey.
The pair reached the shore of the fjord. They followed the waters until they had an aesthetic view of the castle. The sun still hung above the mountains to the east, and below it, the castle above the waters and in front of the town. The colors of Arendelle fused together in the distance, all lost beneath the yellow glow that swept across the town, but the castle's blue ice resonated in the sunlight, accenting the city's ethereal feature.
Anna sat the woven basket on the rocks and laid out the blanket. Anna opened the basket.
"So, let me guess. You brought…"
The sandwiches rested on bits of homemade ice. She pulled them out of the basket, revealing an astonishing display of all the meats, cheeses, breads, and vegetables Arendelle had to offer.
"Woah. How many layers is that?"
"Uhh, five. I think." Anna examined the sandwich. "Yep. Five."
"How do you plan to fit that in your mouth?"
"Umm…" Anna scrunched her face and the sandwich. The layers compressed and Anna was able to hold it in her hands. She opened her mouth and implanted it into the bread. She chewed, cheeks puffed, eyes closed, victorious smile. "Like that!"
The two began eating on the shores of the water, enjoying the peace away from the celebration, the quiet of the gentle waves, then the harmony of each other's voice.
"So I guess you've spent most of your life like this?"
"It's peaceful, but lonely…"
"It was nice. I had Grand Pabbie and Sven. I always had friends."
Anna took more bites from her sandwich. "That must have been nice. I sorta just… walked around the castle. The servants were nice to me, but few wanted to be my friend."
"What exactly happened with… your sister?"
Anna put the sandwich down and retold the tale Elsa had revealed to her two weeks ago after the Great Freeze – how fear enshrouded the family and lead to thirteen years of solitude and heartbreak. Anna's voiced trembled when she recounted her parent's death, but she found her stability in the comfort of the ending.
"…Of course, it wasn't all bad. I met you, and Elsa and I have never been closer," Anna smiled. It was over. She picked up her sandwich and went back to devouring it. Nothing had happened, she still had the same smile on her face.
Kristoff sat in amazement. She was an optimist, killing the solemn thoughts before they entered her mind, choosing to focus on the delight eternal winter brought. All people stand on Earth, yet only a few gaze at the starlight.
"Anna, I'm glad I met you."
Anna's eyes widened. Her hands brought the sandwich to the ground and her cheeks matched the vibrant sunset.
"Aww, thank you Kristoff. I'm glad I met you as well! I guess this is the beginning of… who knows how long together."
"You never know. Life is full of surprises… but yeah, I hope it is."
There, Anna was at peace. She sat underneath the majesty of the mountains, above the serenity of the water. A sandwich was in her hand, a lover by her side, and her best friend rested in the castle.
"I like this life."
"Yeah. It is a good way to live."
"I hope it never changes…"
"Are you ready?"
The guards pushed the door open and the city caught a glimpse of the interior for the first time in a week. Stars danced in the night sky. The castle was bright. The Queen stepped out, met by a horde of smiling faces, clapping hands, shouts of praise. Her supporters. Arendelle. They had gathered for the final event of the celebration – a reminder of the Queen's glory, control, and grace. If only the rest of the nation could witness the event…
The Queen walked down the steps, slow and stable strut, powerful and hospitable pose. She held her chin high and carried a smile on her face. She took her position between the two fountains guarding the castle.
The crowd cheered as she raised her hands, shooting snowflakes which each. Ice formed in the sky, dancing around the courtyard and decorating the celebration. It was easy, and with each display of control, the crowd fell deeper into the illusion. They only saw the façade, not the inside of the Queen or the castle, not the panic of recent events. Elsa wanted it to stay that way.
In her final act, she formed an enormous snowflake over the courtyard, reminiscent of the one formed during the Great Thaw. She pulled her hands apart, and the snowflake disintegrated into a flurry of white. The summer snow glided into the courtyard.
Elsa stood, hands folded. Children laughed, parents hugged. The nation was happy. The smile on her face was no longer feigned – all hint of fear was gone. Kai stumbled down the steps and met her.
"It's a beautiful sight, isn't it?"
"Indeed it is, Your Majesty." He removed his hat. "I am afraid the situation has changed. We need to talk inside."
Elsa took one last look at the courtyard – at the passing merriment and joy that had engulfed the nation. The bliss would never last. Time marched forward, counting the days until the dreamers were gone, until it forced Arendelle to rejoin the darkness of the world. It was Elsa's duty, granted by fate, to guide her nation through the darkened world, and she would sacrifice her own comfort to do so.
She turned and Kai followed her up the stairs and into the castle.
Anna and Kristoff were in the streets when the festival reached its apex. There was a flash from the lighthouse, and a green light screeched through the air. It tore across the night sky until it reached the starlight. The explosion sent a thundering blast down the streets and millions of green flashes into the night sky. More rockets joined the fray, launched above the sea, with comet trails following it into a blast of color in the night sky. The black air filled with life.
The town watched the fireworks display with drinks in hand and amusement in their hearts. They gasped and cheered as each dash of color joined the night air, and for once, the town extended its reach to the sky. Arendelle danced among the starlight.
The pair watched the array of color, holding each other close in their secluded corner of the street. Here, in the height of Arendelle's glory, no eyes found their way to the Ice Harvester and the Princess. While the town looked up, the two found themselves staring into each other's eyes, pulling closer to each other's heart, until their lips met and the world faded away.
The pair pushed their way through the flowing mobs, connected only by their hands. They reached the bridge and walked to the castle together.
"Come on! Faster, Kristoff!" Anna laughed, pulling Kristoff into the courtyard, "I want to show you everything before the staff starts cleaning!"
The courtyard was still a mess. Gentle snow formed in the air and fell upon the crowd. The guard stood watch, only breaking their resolve to let Anna and Kristoff into the castle. They ran up the steps and into the Entrance Hall.
"Woah." Kristoff glanced at the regal walls, the passing servants, and the extravagant decoration.
"Yeah! There's a lot more, and I want to show you it all. I'll uh, make sure the staff treats you well while you're here because… I mean if we're…"
"Come on! I've never shown the castle to others before."
The staff was still working outside. It was quiet. Moonlight illuminated the corridors, joined by flurries of red and green as more fireworks ignited the night sky. The stone walls muffled the roar of the rockets and cry of the crowds.
Anna took Kristoff to the Great Hall.
"Elsa and I used to play here when we were kids. Sometimes, when I couldn't sleep, I would wake her up and we would come down here and pretend we were sledding or building a snowman or something."
A large candelabrum hung from the towering ceiling and its light resonated off the hardwood floors. The hum of a steady breeze graced the windows, ruffled the violet curtains, and brought life to the pattern of greens and purples. Gold accents outlined the palette and solidified the simple extravagance of the room. It was the same room from Anna's memories. It never changed.
Arendelle's throne watched the room. It was nestled in the back of the hall against scarlet carpet on the wall. The throne was not extravagant, but authentic – carved out of the finest wood of Arendelle's forests. Its etched Nordic symbols told of an Epic predating the kingdom with roots in the long generations of rulers of the North.
Anna couldn't resist.
"What do you think?" Anna positioned herself atop the throne, straight back, tall head, hands on her lap. "Queen Anna of Arendelle!"
"Hmmm…Where's your crown?" Kristoff folded his arms.
"Oh I just left it in my room. You know, I don't need it because I'm the Queen."
"I dunno. You might be a fake."
"A fake?" Anna gasped, "How dare you question my authority."
"You don't even have a staff, or servants or-"
"Guards! Off with his head!"
The quick shuffle of boots roared from a nearby hallway and burst into the room. Their swords were drawn.
"Princess Anna! What's the matter?"
"Oh no no no," Anna jumped off the throne and threw her arms up between the guards and Kristoff, "That's not what I meant. I mean I did but I didn't. Don't hurt him, h-he's done nothing wrong."
"M'lady, this is not a joking matter."
"You're right," Anna played with her hands, "which is why we're going to go. This way Kristoff." Anna grabbed Kristoff by the shirt, pushed him to the next hallway, and left the guards standing alone in the Great Hall.
Anna and Kristoff broke out in laughter.
"Somehow, I get the feeling they're used to your antics."
"Yep. Thirteen years in here can get pretty boring…"
The Portrait Room was dark. Timeless masterpieces filled the wall. They were bright pictures, displaying scenes of company and glee, crafted by the Renaissance artists. No one visited the pictures except caretakers clearing the dust, foreign dignitaries looking to be impressed, and the Princess in the long hours of the night.
"You know, I've never really seen art before…"
"What do you think?"
"It's nice. It looks very expensive."
"It sounds stupid but I, uh, used to talk to these paintings when I was younger," Anna ran her hand through her hair.
"This castle must have been lonely."
The caretakers kept the ballroom lit during the night. The interior could be seen through the tall windows and boasted the extravagance of the ancient Kingdom. It had rested since the night of the coronation. Anna wished for its light to return soon.
They visited the gardens. The area was lush with greenery and flowers and filled with the squeals of little goslings and birds. The decadent organizations and patterns of flowers conveyed the chaotic beauty of nature.
"Elsa and I used to come here and play in the snow all day before… she shut me out. Mama and Papa would sometimes watch from the windows. They wouldn't speak. They just knew that we were happy, and they were happy, and we were going to have a good life together."
Anna's expression broke as the words fell.
"Come on, let's see the rest of the castle."
She showed him the rest of the castle. They ran across the courtyard to visit the Chapel, stoic and magical with its wooden archways and legacy adorned with the crowning place of old rulers.
They ran back to the castle, and Anna took Kristoff to the clock tower, the lighthouse, the balconies, the Council Chamber, ran past her room and Elsa's, and showed him where you could get the best view of the harbor, and his favorite part, the stables.
"So… what do you think?"
"Oh, you'll get used to it soon. I mean, eventually. You don't live here so…" she bit her lip, "Well, I used to get lost when I was a kid, but I spend a lot of time here so I know it quite well."
"Yeah, I can imagine so."
Surrounded by the portraits of old kings, the soft carpet, the exquisite symmetrical designs, and tall ceilings, Kristoff found himself in the wilderness. The dignified paintings and porcelain were foreign to him, but the Old Nordic style was not, and he could find a mixture of the lifestyles to be with Anna. He had already given Anna up once - he wasn't going to let her slip between his fingertips because of petty discontent. With time, he could grow fond of the castle. She was more than worth it.
Anna walked him back to the Great Hall. They held hands.
"I forgot to get climbing supplies for tomorrow and carrots for Sven. I need some rope and a new icepick."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I can get them for you in the morning."
"Nah, don't worry about it."
"No no, it's fine. I want to get out of the castle more. I'll meet you at the marketplace with them."
"Okay. I'll have to get to work since the festival is over."
"Yeah, and I'll have to go back to… being here." She brought the smile back, "Goodnight, Kristoff."
"Goodnight Anna. I had a good time with you today."
They hugged, and Kristoff left Anna alone in the Great Hall.
After two wrong turns, he had made through the convoluted corridors and was about to reach the courtyard.
He turned. The Queen was strutting towards him, hair down, dress shining in the candlelight.
"Your Majesty," he knelt.
"I told you that you don't have to do that."
He stood, "I'm sorry it's just…"
"Don't worry. Given everything you've done for Anna, I consider you a friend."
"Which is exactly why we need to talk. Follow me."
The Queen left Kristoff in the Entrance Hall. He chased her up the stairs, trying to remember his location from the brisk tour Anna had given him. The Queen led him into her study.
"Please take a seat."
Kristoff sat at the coffee table.
"Have some tea."
She took the pitcher off the table and poured him a cup. Kristoff took the cup and held it in front of his face. The steam and fragrance filled the room.
"You know, most Queens wouldn't do that."
"I'm not like most Queens."
She took her seat across from Kristoff. The wind tapped the rooftops. The clock clicked with every move of its hands. Elsa sat, legs crossed, gazing out the window.
"Your Majesty, I can promise you that I will be good to your sister."
"I'm sure you will. Your actions during the Great Freeze more than proved that. That's why I wanted to talk to you." She sat her cup on the table, "I have to leave for a few days. I'm sure Anna told you about the situation in Balestrand."
"She said there was a rebellion, but it was over."
"The fighting is over but the unrest is not. Many of the citizens still fear for the Kingdom. They fear me. I must confront them directly. I will be departing in the morning."
The Ice Harvester stared back at her. "I understand…"
"If I could just show in Balestrand what I showed the people here, that I have control of my powers, maybe they'll be able to trust me, but I doubt it…"
"I'm sure they will."
"I need you to take care of Anna while I'm gone. Spend time with her. She's not going to take it well… especially after recent events."
"Your Majesty, you have my word." He lowered his head, "I hope your travels are safe."
"I knew I could count on you."
The Queen rose. Kristoff followed and she led him to the door.
"And please, call me 'Elsa.'"
"I… thank you, Your- Elsa. Thank you, Elsa."
The soft sunrise met the Queen and Princess as they left the castle. Kai, selected members of the staff, and the security detail followed. The town was calm - sleeping off the past week, dreading the return to the monotony and normalcy of the future.
Merchant vessels, caravels, and warships docked rested at Arendelle's harbor. The servants stored the Queen's luggage on the fastest ship in the fleet, the Frostskader. The Guard took their positions on the ship, and everyone longed to embrace the sea except Elsa.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"I'll be fine Anna. The fighting has stopped and the guard will be protecting. If that fails… I have ice powers, remember?" Elsa smiled.
"Yeah. Can't I just go with you?"
"Anna, I'm not putting you at risk. The kingdom needs you more than me right now-"
"That's not true, Elsa. You're the Queen"
"And you're the reason why they support me. You gave them your confidence. You have to keep that. You and Gerda will be in charge of things while I'm gone."
"Listen, Elsa… I never gave these back to you." Anna pulled a bundle of turquoise fabric out of her bag. The gloves. "You should take these with you."
"Anna, but I thought you-"
"I won't be there, and I suppose a little mental boost wouldn't hurt. I just don't want anything to happen to you." She put the gloves in her sister's hands. "But they're mine once you get back."
"Thank you, Anna. It's probably for the best. I'll wear them as little as possible."
"Ugghh… just be careful." Anna buried her face into Elsa's shoulder. Her arms squeezed the Queen. She held her sister tight, yearning for her to stay a moment longer. Her lips curled, her eyes burned. She fought the fear of losing more family to the sea. The thoughts ravaged her optimism - images of the town draped in black, of the citizens slumping through the foggy streets to see the third stone join the empty graves in the valley, of death. She could not bear it again.
The dread materialized, and the tears fell on Elsa's shoulder.
"I'm sorry Elsa…" Anna pulled away, sniffling. "I… didn't want to make this any harder for you."
Elsa brushed the tears off her sister's quivering face.
"Anna, don't worry. Nothing bad will happen to me. You'll see."
Anna forced a broken smile.
Kai tapped the Queen's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Your Majesty, but we must depart."
Anna lifted her head, "Don't worry about me. I'll… I'll be fine."
"Kristoff and Olaf will be here to keep you company. I'll be back before you know it."
"I promise not to burn down the Kingdom while you're gone."
"Thanks, Anna. I'm going to miss you."
Elsa walked to the boat and up the ramp. Kai followed. The crew pulled the ramp onto the ship.
"Oh, and Anna!"
"Do me a favor and make sure that flower you brought me gets watered."
"Will do. Be safe, Elsa!"
Anna stood at the edge of the pier. The sails fell, the ropes pulled, and the boat was drifting away from the earth as it crawled over the waves. Elsa stood at the stern, hand waving. Anna returned the gesture, and stopped when the sails had disappeared on the horizon. Separated again. Her teeth bit her lip to fight the sorrow. She wiped away the last of the tears and left the pier.
She had work to do. There was a nation who needed her support, and a friend who needed her help.
Rope, icepick, and carrots.