So this is part 1 of my drabble for day three of AU week. Hopefully I will have the rest of it done by the end of the month, its getting a little longer than I initially intended :P
Once upon a time, there lived two kingdoms separated by a feud that spanned generations. One was filled with ordinary people not much unlike you or I, ruled by a ruthless and greedy king. The other, the Enchanted Wood, was populated by creatures that differed greatly from their human neighbors, for they possessed something that all beings covet above all else… magic.
All these creatures, which the humans referred to as fae, lived in harmony with one another and they needed neither king or queen to govern them. Deep within the Enchanted Wood, in a beautiful palace made of ice, lived one such fae. At first glance you might mistake her for a human girl but she possessed a magic that rivaled even the most powerful of beings, she was able to command ice and snow, and her name was Elsa.
Despite still being young, only about 12 years of age, Elsa was well known and respected by all who lived in the Wood. She spent her days visiting the other fae and when prompted, building magnificent sculptures of ice, freezing the small ponds that dotted the Wood to skate on, and creating small flurries so that the fae might play in her snow.
Although the magic Elsa commanded could often be thought of as dangerous and unpredictable it also had a great capacity to heal. Elsa could often be found soothing injuries with her cool touch and sealing wounds with ice so as to stave off any corruption that might invade it. And it was during one such instance that Elsa was approached by one of the tree spirits and told that a trespasser had wandered into the Wood. A human boy.
When Elsa first laid eyes on Hans Westerguard she was unsure of what to make of him, for she had never seen a human before. The other fae had warned Elsa that humans were cruel and untrustworthy, but this one didn't seem dangerous. He was tall and lanky, with hair the colour of rust and his voice still cracked with youth. The boy looked to be not much older than Elsa and was dressed like nobility, though he claimed he was no one important. Hans piqued her curiosity with his charming smile and kind words. He told her that he meant no harm, only that he had wanted to see if the stories were true and admitted that one of his brothers had goaded him into stepping across the border.
Elsa had taken it upon herself to escort him out of the Wood and warned him that it would be unwise to return. He simply smiled and asked if she would still be around if he decided to take the risk. Before Elsa could respond he bowed before her and walked back to his horse that he had tethered nearby, waving as he rode back to the human kingdom. Elsa secretly hoped he would come back.
Over the years the two became the best of friends. Laughing together as the other fae danced around their heads tickling their ears and tugging their hair, walking side by side along the pool of jewels, and playing with Elsa's magic.
Hans loved to watch Elsa as she worked her ice into intricate designs and help those who needed it. The way his eyes lit up with wonder when she used her magic to relieve the pain of a injury he had earned from 'wrestling with one of his brothers' filled Elsa with joy. They spoke of many things; she told him of her life in the Enchanted Wood and how she had lost her parents in a terrible storm that had lasted all day and night. He in return, revealed himself as the thirteenth son of the human king and confessed that he secretly longed to rule. They loved each other as brother and sister… but their friendship was not meant to last.
Eventually Hans' ambition and lust for power drove him away from the Wood and from Elsa. His eldest brother, and heir to the throne, had died suddenly of causes unknown, and although traditionally the throne would pass down to the next born, the king hesitated to name his second born as the new heir. He had not given any thought to groom his other sons as rulers and so found none of them worthy of the responsibility. As such, the king had yet to chose a successor. Which was why Hans now spent his days at his father's side, trying to prove himself as capable leader.
Back in the Enchanted Wood Elsa matured into a beautiful young woman and as she grew, so did her power. Her cleverness and strength helped her to rise quickly through the ranks among the fae and eventually she was named the Protector of the Wood.
The human king eventually grew tired of the peace, tense though it was, between the two rival kingdoms and was consumed with jealousy at the treasures that were fabled to reside in the Enchanted Wood. He called forth his army and commanded that they follow him in his attack on the fae so that they may take those riches for themselves. And so the king, with his vast army and eleven of his sons, each vying to prove their worth, rode to the Wood. Hans, with all his cunning refused to ride alongside his brothers so that he may care for his father's kingdom while the king was away.
It was at the edges of the Wood that Elsa stood to meet them.
One man would tell you that a woman clapped in armor made of ice with eyes that glowed pure white stood upon a hill and froze men where they stood. Another would claim that her eyes did no such thing but instead she had ridden a mount made of ice and with a sword made of the same substance slayed 500 men with one sweep of her arm. Some would spin tales of a being that wasn't a woman at all, but a demon who had attempted to seduce the king with her beauty, only to transform into a hideous creature with horns and claws when he refused her. Each solider had a different take on the battle between human and fae but the truth was much simpler, though no less fantastical.
They say that the fight lasted no more than an hour, but in reality it took only half that time for the men to realize their mistake. For what they had seen as a defenseless woman was instead a furious winter storm made flesh. With a wave of her hand Elsa woke the sky, blinding her enemy with snow and drowning out their leader's commands with a fierce wind. With a word, massive golems of ice and snow rose from the earth to drive back anyone foolish enough to rush their mistress, their defining roars echoing for miles and caused even the bravest of men to turn and flee in terror.
The king rode back to his castle gravely injured after being thrown from his horse, and though he lay dying he saw his loss not as a failure but as an opportunity.
"The first of my sons to kill that winter bitch and avenge me will be named king upon my death!"
Hans fled the castle at first light, desperate to get to Elsa before his brothers did.
When Elsa first discovered Hans yelling her name at the edge of the Wood she regarded him with bitterness and mistrust. But when he delivered his warning of those who sought to do her harm and they began to talk, Elsa felt the years spent apart melt away. They spoke until the sun had long since slipped below the horizon, drinking the wine Hans had brought from his father's cellar, and laughing like they were children again.
The next morning when Elsa awoke she knew only pain. It felt as though her hands had been clasped in gloves of iron, but when she held them up to the light she found no metal, no gloves, nothing at all. The fairy stared in horror at the bloody stumps that sprouted from her wrists bound tightly with old rags. How? And then she caught sight of the vial lying in the now frost-covered grass next to Hans' wine skin. The air was sucked from her lungs and her mouth worked to produce the sounds she desperately wanted to expel, while sharp spines of ice rose up from the ground to surround her. When Elsa found her voice again the girl's screams tore through the Wood like a knife through flesh, so that all those who resided in the Enchanted Wood knew her anguish. The fae had never known cold such as what they felt that day.
The next few days found the winter fairy still unmoved from the clearing in which Hans had left her, curled on her side and empty of tears. The other fae left her alone, for they all knew there was nothing they could do or say that would ease Elsa's suffering, though they mourned the loss with her. On the fifth day, Elsa rose from her fog of grief and returned to her ice palace where she locked herself away from the world, unable to stomach the sympathetic looks and hushed whispers.
Elsa's first attempts at magic after the incident were sloppy and excruciating. Even the simplest casting left her gasping and covered in sweat. However, the pain did not stop Elsa from working constantly to regain control, her anger and hatred drove her.
In a month's time Elsa had once again regained full reign over her magic, but it no longer carried the graceful and fluid quality it once had, instead it was hard and severe, much like its wielder. For when the woman finally emerged from her self-inflicted isolation she was no longer the Elsa that everyone had grown to love, Hans' betrayal had changed her. Her cerulean eyes were devoid of light and all the fae could sense the darkness that now tainted Elsa's heart like a sickness, and they feared that it would one day consume her. However, the biggest difference was not her cool demeanor or the fact that Elsa now seemed hell bent on having her clothing cover every inch of exposed skin; instead it was her hands… and not the lack of them, but rather their reappearance. Where flesh and bone once grew was now solid ice that connected to Elsa's wrists before continuing partway up her forearms so that at first glance it simply looked as though the fairy was wearing a set of lovely ice-blue gloves.
Determined to uncover the true reason Hans had done such an unforgivable act to a person he once called 'sister' Elsa created her first servant, Beskytter.
The snow leopard prowled behind her mistress on silent paws, waiting patiently for Elsa's command as they walked to the edges of the Wood. Born only a few hours ago the sentient creature was fashioned entirely out of ice so detailed that if you were to stroke the big cat she would not feel smooth like glass, for she possessed a thick coat made of fine ice crystals that looked and felt like real fur. Currently, she had only two thoughts; protect, obey.
When Elsa sent her servant to the castle she didn't know what she had been expecting, but it certainly wasn't the news Beskytter delivered to her the next day.
Elsa started in surprise when the low, velvety voice suddenly filled her head, but smiled when she saw the snow leopard walking through the trees towards her. Elsa nodded in greeting as cold dread settled in her belly and caused her phantom fingers to itch.
I watched the human stone-den as you commanded. I listened to many human talks and heard one tell his companion about a celebration called 'coronation'. They said a princehans was going to be changing into a king… mistress?
Elsa had gone completely still as the snow cat's words sunk in and dark clouds formed overhead, blanketing the Wood in shadow.
Elsa looked down at her hands as they balled into tight fists. "He did this to me so that he could be king?"
"HE DID THIS TO ME SO THAT HE COULD BE KING!" Elsa's fury erupted from her body and into her magic as a massive column of ice and snow churned around her and leaped up to meet the sky. The vortex rose so high and woke such a clap of thunder that it made the earth tremble. It was sure to have been heard and seen even by those in the human kingdom. Perhaps even a newly crowned king looking out his window and feeling a sharp thrill of fear at the sight.
From that moment on Elsa had only one goal in life… revenge. And in order to properly exact such a thing one must find out what it is exactly that your enemy holds most dear. Hans held no such love for anything; not for Elsa, not for the new wife he had been given, and certainly not for his kingdom. The only thing that evil man loved was himself… so Elsa waited, and nine months later she was rewarded for her patience.
The news of princess Anna's birth spread quickly throughout the kingdom, and it's people rejoiced. When it came time for the christening all manner of folk were invited to join in the grand celebration, even three fae who sought to foster peace between the two kingdoms, were permitted to bring gifts for the child. It was during the presentation of these gifts that Elsa made her appearance.
The cold came first, heralding her arrival like the calm before the storm. The people would look around in confusion as a bitter wind flooded the ballroom grabbing at hair and clothing and taking the candlelight with it. The king would shiver on his throne, and it would have nothing to do with the chill that caused clouds of vapor to appear each time he exhaled. And everyone would look up in alarm as frost spread quickly across the glass of each window, further darkening the room.
The crowd parted neatly as the fairy walked smoothly toward the dais, her footsteps echoing through the room, and Beskytter dutifully at her side. Elsa ignored the hushed whispers, and the gasps of fear at the sight of the snow cat, for she had eyes only for the king. Elsa could see the glimmer of fear that clouded the green of his eyes and she reveled in it. When she reached the bottom of the steps that lead to throne she stopped, and smiled.
"Well, well. What a glittering assemblage King Hans," Elsa said sweetly. "Royalty, nobility, the gentry, and it seems you have even invited some of the… lesser fae." The three tiny fairies had now flown in front of the little monster's cradle as if to shield it from Elsa. "I must admit, I really felt quiet distressed at not having received an invitation."
"You're not welcome here," came Hans' calm reply, but Elsa heard the tremor in his voice and it only served make her smile widen.
"Oh dear," Elsa said feigning distress. "What an awkward situation."
"A-are you n-not offended?" The queen asked timidly, eyeing Beskytter.
"Of course not, my dear. And to show I bear no ill will, I too have brought a gift for the princess." Elsa turned towards the cradle and when she looked down at the squirming pink thing with its mop of red hair and a small dusting of freckles, she had to fight the urge to freeze the thing right there and be done with it. But Elsa had bigger plans.
"Elsa!" The king had risen from his seat, calm façade broken, causing Beskytter to step in front of her creator and release a low growl of warning. Hans ignored the cat. "Don't do this."
The winter fae simply held a frozen finger to her lips and shushed him.
"Stay away from the princess!" shouted one of the pixies buzzing around the cradle. "Elsa, please this isn't you, don't let-" Elsa flicked the air as though she were ridding herself of a bothersome insect and the three fairies were thrown across the room and sealed in a hollow bench, effectively silencing their objections.
As she turned back around Elsa waved a hand lazily above the child who watched her with curious sky-blue eyes and waved her pudgy little arms in the air when a flurry of snowflakes danced around her head.
"Listen well, all of you." Elsa's voice had taken on a strange, other-worldly quality that raised hairs and made skin prickle. "The princess will grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who meet her, but…" The wind had picked up again, however this time the vortex seemed to concentrate mostly on Elsa as snow and ice swirled around her. "A sliver of ice now rests deep within the princess' heart, and there it will remain. When the sun sets on her 18th birthday she will touch her reflection in a looking glass and to solid ice will she freeze, forever!"
When Hans got on his knees and begged her not to continue Elsa had to physically stop herself from crowing in triumph. Now he finally knew what it felt like to be completely powerless as someone took something precious from you.
"Alright," Elsa purred. "The curse can be broken, but only by… an act of true love," Elsa's grin had turned almost feral. "This curse will last until the end of time, no power on earth can change it. For only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart."
Elsa's laughter echoed through castle long after she'd left.
I am actually pretty happy with how this turned out. I know canon Elsa is not this vindictive, but after Hans' betrayal she becomes more like concept!Elsa or at least the Elsa was saw during her fight with the Weselton men, so hopefully she doesn't seem too OOC. However, maybe a certain someone can help Elsa get back to the snow queen we all know and love ;) Anyways I hope you liked it, please review!