Bishop Solberg wiped sweat from his brow as he climbed the Royal chapel steps. It was hard to believe he had feared freezing to death mere days ago. Inside the chapel he was half way up the aisle before he noticed the lone figure seated near the front row.
She startled, looking up at him. "Oh, Bishop, I'm sorry. I didn't think anyone was here."
He shifted his leather, letter pouch under one arm. "No, I'm sorry I wasn't here when you arrived. I had some things to attend to at the town chapel."
Elsa moved to stand. "I'll leave you to your work."
"Your Majesty," He stepped to her. "You are my work. Is there something I can help you with?"
She eased back into the pew. Her hands twitching in her lap. With a deep breath she raised her eyes to him. "Bishop, do…do you think I'm a monster?"
Laughter bubbled up in him, but faded at sight of the deep pain in her eyes. "No, Your Majesty. I do not think you are a monster." He paused to study her for a moment. "Do you think you are a monster?"
She looked to the folded hands resting in her lap. "Sometimes. I froze the kingdom for three days."
"Then you thawed it. Besides, it's not as though you did it on purpose."
She scoffed. "I didn't strike my sister on purpose either, but I did it. Twice." A haunted look passed through her eyes. "I killed her." Slender arms wrapped around her as her head bowed.
He sat on the pew beside her, leaning forward to catch her gaze. "Your sister is very much alive. I just saw her in the square playing with the children."
A small smile graced Elsa's lips. "I know she is alive, but that doesn't change the fact I killed her." She raised her hands to stare at them. "Are these powers a gift or a curse?"
"You have asked me that question before, and honestly, I wasn't sure how to answer. After the last few days I think I finally know." He held her gaze. "I think, they are what you choose to make them. Yes, you hurt your sister and yes, you froze the land. But your sister is alive, and happier than I have seen her in years. Your people are safe. When you removed the ice and snow, everything returned to normal. Better than normal, the farmers are predicting one of their best crops ever. There is talk of having you freeze everything again next year."
Elsa choked on a laugh. "That's not happening." She sobered, staring at her hands. "I created life."
"Women have been creating life since the dawn of time, Your Majesty. Eve started it all with the birth of Cain and Abel."
She shifted on the bench, her gaze dropping. "Forgive me, Bishop. But I find no comfort in a tale that ends with the eldest child killing the youngest."
With a little shake of his head, he bit back a chuckle. "My apologies, Your Majesty." He studied her for a moment. "When your parents first came to me about your powers, I must admit I was…apprehensive. There was nothing in seminary school that could have prepared me for this." He offered her a gentle smile. "A child born with such power was a thing of legend. Often something to be feared. But I have never feared you, Your Majesty. You have never given me reason to worry. In all the years we've known each other you have never spoken an ill word or given me a cross look. Well, except for your coronation." His lips twitched up at the tease.
Blush tainted her cheeks as she looked away. "I was a bit irritated with you over the gloves."
"Yes, I noticed. But traditions must be honored."
Elsa grinned. "I understand."
"You should also understand the people know and accept your powers. Perhaps, it is time you did the same. You are in a unique position. Not only are you the Queen, but you have the power to protect your people as no ruler before you. I believe your people sleep sounder at night knowing you are guarding them." He took her hands, ignoring her flinch at the contact. "You wield unimaginable power. Were you anyone else I would be concerned. But I have known you since the day of your birth. I've watched you grow from a beautiful child to a strong young woman. Aside from your sister, I know of no one in the land with a kinder heart. You possess a love that is rare, especially in one bearing the Crown and such power. Were anyone else to wield this power I would fear it." He pulled her hands closer, causing her to look at him. "But, in you, it is a gift. A gift to you and your people. You are a good person, Elsa, and a worthy queen. I know it, your sister knows it, and your people know it. The only one with any doubts, My Queen, is you."
He gave her hands a gentle squeeze.
She bit back tears, ducking her head to hide a nervous chuckle. "Thank you, Bishop."
"I am here to help, Your Majesty."
She squeezed his hands. "You have." Releasing his hands, she drew a deep breath and stood. He rose with her. "I should be going. Anna, will worry if she can't find me."
He stepped out of her way. "Of course."
She reached the doors and paused. "Bishop Solberg?"
"Yes, Your Majesty?"
"Thank you, for your help over the years. It has been greatly appreciated."
"You are welcome, Queen Elsa."
She nodded and left.
He went to the door and stood watching as she crossed the courtyard.
As she reached the portico steps Anna ran up and hugged her. She wrapped her arms around the younger woman, holding her close.
They parted and there was a brief exchange, he could not hear. The Queen smiled as she brushed a strand of hair behind her sister's ear, cupping a freckled cheek. She said something that caused the Princess to duck her head and giggle. Elsa laughed, as she slipped an arm around her sister's shoulders. Without hesitation Anna's arm wrapped around Elsa's waist. She leaned into the older girl as they made their way into the castle.
A smile played over his lips. "Definitely a gift."