Disliked these political meetings, he did, but necessary, they were. Yoda glanced around the senate-adjacent conference room wearily. Across the table, a young Hapan princess bickered with a Sullustan senator, the delegate from Bothawui interjecting from time to time. On his side of the table, the Queen of Arrendale was deep in conversation with the Senator from Kashyyyk. The meeting had dragged on for hours, and everyone was distracted while the committee chair stepped out to take a call.
The diminutive Jedi Master heard a faint giggle behind him, and turned in his hoverchair. In the corner, two young human females were playing with a Wookie youngling. One of the girls, with pale hair and bright eyes, was forming a snowball between her hands to add to the snow-being the children were building. Indoors. In summer. He closed his eyes, feeling the life-forces around him, the presence of his recently-knighted Padawan at his side, but...yes. The girl was using the force to pluck moisture from the air and slow the movement of the water molecules, all to build a snowman. Not the most interesting use of the Force he’d ever seen, but definitely one of the most frivolous and incredibly difficult to do untrained. Most Padawans could boil water for their tea or cool a drink, but that took knowledge of the Force and years of teaching them that ‘size matters not’. Intrigued, he directed his hoverchair closer to the children.
“Give it a nose, Elsa!” The younger girl whispered. “And ears!”
“Big ones!” The boy gestured with furry hands. “Like that loud Senator!”
The child squinted in concentration and shaped the figure into a decent approximation of a Sullustan, to the delight of the others.
Yoda raised his hands to applaud, drawing the attention of the children. “Talented, you are.”
Elsa spun to face him, dipping into a neat curtsy. “Thank you, Master Jedi, but it’s just a magic trick. I can do things with snow, and ice, you see?” She formed an ice crystal, beautifully fractaled, between her hands and passed it to him. “Not really useful, but it’s a lot of fun!”
“Hmmm.” He nodded, returning the crystal to Elsa, who made it vanish. “Try, may I? Use the Force, I will.”
The children nodded gleefully. Yoda closed his eyes and found the molecules of water in the air. Fortunately, Coruscant was humid in the summertime, or this would be a lot harder. Gathering them together, he slowed their movement and slowly, slowly built a snowman, his own height...but in the form of an Ewok.
The younglings laughed in delight, and the Queen of Arrendale approached. “Sorry, are my children bothering you, Master Yoda?”
He felt a faint presence from her, as well, nothing strong enough to get her picked up on Search but enough to have good instincts. “Not at all, your majesty. Delightful, they are. Talented, your daughter is.”
The Queen nodded, face falling. Glancing over to confirm that the children were distracted once again, she continued. “Well, yes, but sometimes it gets out of hand. I’ve never seen anything like it, and she can’t always stop, you know? We didn’t know if her ice tricks were the Force or something else, but we’ve an appointment at the Temple tomorrow to check. Can you help her?”
Yoda nodded. “The Force, it is. Seen one so strong, I have not, in many years. Teach her, we can, if you wish.” He looked back towards the children. A null, the sister was not, but like her mother’s, the connection to the Force was too weak to ever result in more than minor empathy or faint precognition, talents shared by millions of beings who didn’t use the Force at all. More complications, they needed not.
“Thank you. I don’t know how it will work out, as she’s first in line for the crown, but even if she never becomes a Knight we want her to have the choice.”
“Wise, you are. Resuming, the meeting is, so discuss this later, we shall.”
After that, things fell into place easily. Elsa loved the one Jedi she’d met, and thought learning more tricks would be fun, and going to school with younglings from around the galaxy would be fun, and of course she’d write letters, Anna. Initiate Elsa Arren progressed well in her classes, though she always defaulted to using the Force through ice, if there weren’t specific directions. She wrote letters to her sister and missed her fiercely, but tried not to mention too much about her training - Mum warned against causing hard feelings. Eventually, it seemed that Anna remembered that she was at the Temple, but had forgotten about the snowmen altogether. And maybe that was for the best.
She was chosen as a Padawan the same week that her dearest friend, Qui-Gon Jinn, was apprenticed to Master Dooku. Her Master was a negotiator, which meant they saw a lot of combat, and was also totally paranoid about The Dark Side. Like, he thought everything could lead to the Dark Side, from writing to Anna (attachment, Elsa, it’s against the Code) to exciting colors in robes to using frost in combat, in play, altogether. Anything that was unconventional was a potential way to let in the Dark Side, so he taught her to stick to the Code, follow the Council, stick to Tradition.
So she stopped. It was hard, using more conventional means to do the same work in the Force, but she learned it and grew stronger. Their missions grew more difficult, and she grew more isolated, even from her fellow Padawan learners. She found out about her parents via the Holonet. Instead of allowing her to mourn, her Master brought her to a meeting in the Senate district, with Senator Palpatine of Naboo. She was admittedly distracted during the meeting, staring out the window and only perking up when she heard her master, her paranoid master, accusing the Senator of being a Sith. How ridiculous!
She laughed, and Palpatine did too. Then his chuckle turned dark, and he smiled. “And what do you plan to do about it, Master? I can take you and the child without any trouble, and there’s no record of this meeting ever occurring. You have no recourse, Master Jedi, and for all your wariness of the Dark Side you have no concept of its power.”
Elsa backed away from them as her Master lit his lightsaber, not even noticing the floor frosting beneath her boots. Her master charged at the Sith, who met him with a burst of Force lightning. Feeling his death in the Force as Palpatine looked smugly down at his body, Elsa ran out the doors and off the balcony, landing on the balcony across the way and just kept running to the next building, and the next, until she was on rooftops connected by icy staircases and balconies. She sprinted higher, and higher, and higher, augmenting her speed with the Force until she was on the tallest building around, above the city, above the clouds.
Stopping to rest, she raised her hands and raised up a castle of ice around herself. Glancing down at the plainest of robes only reminded Elsa of her Master. Shutting her eyes and clenching her fists, she transformed the rough fibers and simple robes into a gown, redistributing dyes and changing the weave.
Then her distraction was over, and the tears started falling. It was just too much, too much for one day, and after years of repressing her emotions and avoiding her talent, she didn’t really know how to stop.
ELSA!!! Her sister’s voice rang in her head.
Anna? She replied tentatively
Over a rush of images and emotions- panicsnowCoruscantfrozenoverCOLD AnnadancingwithPalpatineAnnakissingPalpatinebeinginloveissoFUNbutit’sCOLD - she got one clear thought. HELP!!!
That Sith was manipulating her sister! Endangering her! Elsa ran out to the balcony, waved a hand to clear the clouds below her, so that she could see the Senate building. What she saw...the city was covered in snow, and the area was growing. Another flick of her fingers made a twisting, icy slide that connected rooftop to rooftop and reached to the palace. As she slid, the ice covered more and more of the city, impeding traffic and drawing the attention of the Jedi, but she didn’t even notice. She just saw her sister getting pushed off the landing platform, and let her grief consume her. She was so consumed by her grief and fear and anger to realize she was freezing the entire planet, acre by acre. She slid gracefully onto the landing platform and sent an icy blast at Palpatine.
Darth Sidious smirked and advanced towards the young queen. While manipulating her had been a pleasant diversion, she would be so much more use to him dead, now that he’d figured out the connection between Sifo-Dias’ powerful young padawan and the newly crowned queen of Arrendale. Honestly, the abbreviated name of the planet you could rule was not a subtle pseudonym. And the padawan...so much grief, frustration, hints of stifled anger, and he could sense that the girl was only using a fraction of her power. Her midiclorian count must be astronomical, but more than that...to have that kind of power and to never use it meant that her control was better than any he’d seen before. If he could get her to turn, she would wreak havoc upon the galaxy unlike any since the Wars. There were some Sith toxins lost to the ages that would’ve made his job easier, but the death of her parents and master, all within a week, had pushed young Padawan Arren close enough to the tipping point that the loss of a sister could do the trick.
A politically important Jedi wreaking destruction on Coruscant, where cameras abounded and escape was nearly impossible? It suited his needs perfectly.
Smug in plans coming to fruition, Sidious swept over to Anna.
“Senator Of-The-Southern-Isles! How wonderful to see you again.”
“It’s Senator Palpatine, really, the Southern Isles of Naboo are just my home region. But you, love, can call me Hans.” He smiled charmingly at her. He hadn’t even needed to use Force persuasion on the chit! She was just so gullible...well, once they’d ditched that pilot of hers. “Tell me, what do you think of this unseasonally cold weather?”
Queen Anna, for all that she’d only been coronated last week, before rushing to Coruscant for Presentation to the Senate, was really not as naive as the Nubian senator seemed to think she was. Sure, she’d initially been flustered by the attractive young man, and she’d “ditched” her bodyguard, but that was only because she’d looked Palpatine up on the Datanet in the loo and found out that A)he was only elected a year ago and B)his background check was squeaky clean, which lead her to dig some more because no one in the entire galaxy has a record that clean. And she discovered that C) while his records seem official, there is no mention of him before he announced his candidacy, after the extremely suspicious death of his predecessor. He ran unopposed because several prominent politicians suddenly came down with non-fatal but tedious diseases around the time of the election, and there were no records of Hans Palpatine Of The Southern Isles before then. No small-town newspapers, no schooling records, no savers card at the bodega (and she’d been to Naboo- everyone in the Capital shopped at that bodega). Not so much as a library chit.
Really, you’d think he assumed that she’d been thrown on the throne unexpectedly at nineteen with no training whatsoever. As if! Ever since Elsa joined the Jedi, her parents shifted their training focus to Anna. History of the planet, the sector, the Republic. Mathematics. Physical training - mostly running and strength exercises, although she sometimes practiced archery with the equally-young Queen of Naboo, who had seriously wild red hair when her handmaidens weren’t watching.
Diplomacy. Court manners. Fashion. Self defence, and “aggressive negotiations”. Torture resistance, how to escape from kidnappers, a year with the Palace Intelligence Agency learning disguises and weapons and how to discern lies and half-truths. The first aid, piloting, the main industries of the planet. She knew minute details about everything from cobblery to Winter Recreational Sports to agriculture, and she once won the town strong-being contest, 8-12s division. And Palpatine thought she’d be fooled by a sweet smile and finishing her sentences?
Ha. Ha. No.
Her bodyguard wasn’t waiting back at the ship like “Hans” thought; he was tailing them with surveillance equipment while she tried to get some kind of useful info, or a confession, out of Palpatine. Confession of what, she didn’t know. She just knew he was shifty.
But he didn’t suspect her!
So she slapped a self-deprecating grin on her face and said, “Oh, I don’t know, I think it’s kind of neat! I don’t really understand science so maybe stuff like this just happens on Coruscant?” He chuckled, and she continued. “Do you wanna build a snowman?”
He gave her the most revolting look. “Do I…? What? No. No, Anna, I don’t want to build a snowman with you, or dance with you, or backpack on Endor’s moon with you, because I don’t even like you!” He walked closer, forcing her to back up near the edge of the landing platform. “I was just distracting you, you inane twit, until everyone was positioned perfectly for me to murder you, and for your sister to see, out here, past the cameras and all those aides and secretaries and bodyguards. You see, you weren’t even the goal here. You’re just a pawn, for me to manipulate your sister over to the Dark Side.”
“Of the FORCE.”
“No, of Market district OF COURSE I MEAN THE FORCE YOU BRAINLESS GIRL.” He took a deep breath, and grabbed her arms, pushing her towards the ledge. “And the timing is perfect, I mean, she’s coming in five, four, three, two…” He pushed her off the ledge and she screamed.
It was a pretty scary drop-off, after all.
However, Palpatine was a pretty inexperienced and incompetent villain, who gave her warning, and forgot that it was only a hundred-foot drop to the next landing platform, not miles down into the city. Her cloak made a decent parachute, and she landed in at least twenty feet of fluffy white snow. So, uncomfortable, slightly bruised, wet, and messed up hair, but not dead.
And thus, Queen Anna blew her bangs out of her face, sludged out of the snowdrift, fixed her cloak, and raced up the stairs to where Palpatine was still cackling like the villain in a bad holofilm.
Fueled by grief and anger, Elsa sent icy shards towards Sidious, one after another. “You killed my master and you killed my sister you bastard!” She shouted as the storm clouds accelerated around them, wind howling across the platforms. He glanced away from her, and she took the opportunity to blast him as strongly as she could. Then, with a casual wave of his hand, Sidious pulled Anna from the doorway - Anna’s alive? - and threw her in front of himself as a shield before dashing for the door.
Unable to pull back her icy blast, Elsa screamed-
and Anna fell-
and Sidious ran-
and Elsa’s vision went white as she twisted, blindly throwing ice at the fleeing Sith before collapsing in front of her sister.
Anna’s face was frozen in shock and she was turned into a, a statue.
“No, no, no, no, no!” She cried, rocking at the feet of her sister, mumbling incoherently but crying out in the Force. Stricken by grief, she saw her sister’s life flash before her eyes, every happy memory of growing up together, very dumb joke and early morning prank and homesick letter composed in her Initiate’s quarters.
She’d already lost so much, she couldn’t lose Anna too, so she just rocked back and forth and wept.
Master Yoda watched from the doorway, where a similarly statuesque Senator Palpatine was stuck, halfway out the door. e looked to the two girls as Anna started thawing, skirt still shedding ice as she bent to embrace her sister tearfully, and the Force flowed out from the pair like a geyser. Excellent control, Padawan Arren had, to keep this kind of power under wraps for so long.
“Padawan.” He said cautiously, to draw her attention. “Thaw the Sith, you must. Face trial, he will.”
The young women stood as one, brushing off tears in unison before straightening their skirts and walking arm-in-arm to him, leaning heavily on each other. “I- I can’t, Master. I h-haven’t been practicing, and I don’t know how.” Elsa stared at the tiles of the landing platform, avoiding his gaze.
He leaned on his walking stick. “Practiced not, you say? Yet freeze half the planet, you have!”
She shook her head, still staring at the ground. “My- my master forbade it, Master Yoda, and so I haven’t got any control. All this was just- instinct. I wasn’t trying to, it just happened. I acted out of fear, and anger, and grief, and I so sorry.” Starting up again, her tears were, but getting to the root of the problem, they were.
He gently tapped her chin with his gimmer stick. “With the dark, you froze it all, but with the light, you thawed your sister. Confronted by darkness, by your worst fears, you have been, but overcome it, you did. Of the light, your heart is, young Padawan. Correct this, you can.
She nodded shakily. “I’ll try, Master Yoda.”
“No!” He exclaimed. “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
She smiled. “Stars, but I’ve missed hearing that.” She reached out a hand to thaw Palpatine, only for Anna to stop her.
“Uh, anyone forgetting that this is a dangerous prisoner that we should probably control before he escapes to murder more innocents?”
Yoda help up a set of heavy-duty force-suppressant cuffs on the end of one gnarled finger. “Listen to your sister, you should.”
Securing the prisoner as she thawed him (collar, leg shackles, linked mitts), Elsa turned Palpatine over to the security forces, where Windu and Mundi waited attentively. Once the sopping wet Sith was someone else’s problem, Elsa turned her attention to the Coruscant cityscape, strolling over to the edge of the platform. “That is rather bad, isn’t it?” She sighed, and flung out her arms, a thawing wave flowing outwards. Ice melted and ran down the skyscrapers as clouds cleared and the wind stilled.
Anna lost her royal composure enough to cheer and applaud, and after a minute Yoda himself joined in. Finishing with a beautiful crystalline structure in the sky, Elsa turned back to the ancient Jedi master.
“Now do something with you, I must.” He said.
“Will I have to leave the order? I mean, I acted out of anger, and I froze half the planet, and - “
“But fixed it out of love, you did. And stronger you’ll be from this brush with the dark, yes?” Seeing the girl nod, he continued. “Incomplete, your training is. My Padawan, you should be, hmmm?” Wait, the press releases and paperwork and prisoner transfers and council politics could. A paradigm shift over the return of the Sith, the Council would have, but another day. Half-trained by a thick-headed, stubborn, narrow-minded master who’d guided her against her talents and blinded by grief, Elsa of Arrendale still managed to stop a Sith without killing anyone. Claiming her first, he was!
“Oh, yes, Master, I’d be honored!”
“Then wait until tomorrow, everything else can. Go, we will, and find your Master. Deserves to rest in peace, he does.” He turned to the young Queen. “Your Majesty, busy, I think you must be. Ask, I still must, for you to stay with your sister, until the end of your visit, hmmm? Do you both good, it will.”
And with that, Yoda escorted the bright young beings, bright in mind as well as in the Force, back to his hovercraft, the setting sun glistening on the rooftops behind them.
The following ten-day was a whirlwind for Elsa. Anna, Tahl, and Qui-Gon helped her pack up her room and pick a few mementos from her master’s quarters to bring with her to Yoda’s smaller, cozier quarters. Tahl saved her the pain of going through her master’s desk and research logs, tackling the mountain with a librarian’s eye and handing her a data stick two days later, sending the hard copies down to Archives. Then it was catching up with Elsa, meditating with Qui-Gon, and learning the responsibilities of a Council Padawan (Paperwork. So much paperwork). After lighting the funeral pyre, her friends took her out to get thoroughly drunk while their Masters turned a collective blind eye.
Then, she was hugging Anna goodbye on a landing platform and promising to write.
“You’d better visit next time you’re in the Chommel sector, sis.”
“Yes, your majesty.” Elsa grins. “May the force be with you, shrimp.”