When the earth trembled and the sound of explosions awakened Arendelle, King Baldur summoned his dark knights to send them to battle. He couldn't fully believe they had dared launch an attack in the city, but after having captured the spies that had been working in the palace to trade information with the rebels, he had no doubt it wasn't only the Fractals who were behind this uprising.
But who was behind it?
None of his prisoners had revealed word about whom they were working for. It was always the same names he kept hearing: Josephine, Alphonse, and the Ginger siblings — one of which had been captured. But the King knew these names already; the very heads of the movement, but he was sure there was someone else and he would find out. But even when he summoned Raz to rip their hearts out, the answer was only "the Mistress of the Haze."
The people in these small groups of infiltrated spies didn't know Elsa. The heads had only told them the 'cloaked lady' who haunted the streets of Arendelle was their ally, and she would see that a brighter sun shone upon the cursed lands of Arendelle again.
As for the gypsies, they had always carried with them small bottles crafted by the Dark One, containing a memory potion to erase their knowledge of Elsa and their reason for spying, in case they were captured, so Baldur had only hit dead end after dead end in his search for answers.
But there was an answer, one he couldn't get his head around completely.
No… She was captured thirty years ago; it couldn't be her. Why wait until now? Someone else has to be behind this.
He was on the verge of madness with the lack of logic, and wanted to be face to face with the woman who dared mock him with her frequent appearances in Arendelle.
"A ghost," witnesses had told him when the séance of this cloaked lady began occurring.
"An upset spirit of the sea," an old lady who worked in a humble inn by the shore had said.
She had seen Elsa walk over frozen water and then disappear in a white sparkling fog. It had happened before dawn; Elsa had been remembering the route she used to escape from her own royal guards, thirty years ago, freezing the sea momentarily as she lived the scene again inside her head.
"A fairy! My godmother! And she's most beautiful," a fisherman's child answered with innocent excitement to the King when he asked them.
They had been fishing when a sudden storm hit Arendelle. They were in open sea and couldn't row fast enough to make it to shore in time before the wrath of weather hit them, but something, or someone, rescued father and son from a fatal fate.
It occurred just a few nights prior to the rebellion.
The sea was agitated and the wind blew mercilessly, rain began pouring, and their little boat began filling with water, as violent waves crashed against it.
That night, Elsa had seen Anna in her mirror, while in her camping site, and saw when her sister was having an argument with Baldur – Aurelius – about how he had become such a cruel man with no feelings, but she couldn't really confront him with the truth, for he would realize she had found where he hid his book of black magic.
They were fighting over their son because Anna wanted to see Anthony once more, as she hadn't been allowed to leave Arendelle again after his wedding, and Princess Aminah had just given birth to their fourth child, and Anna hadn't even met their firstborn. She didn't want to die without having met her grandchildren.
"You just want to leave and never come back," Baldur had told her. "I won't have that."
"But why?! Why do you hold me prisoner? You don't need me here! Just let me be with my family before I die," Anna cried out.
Anthony had begged his mother in letters to come to Agrabah with him. He couldn't bear the idea of losing his mother without being able to say good-bye, or see her a last time.
Anna had been sick in the last year, weakening as depression made her lose any desire to go on living. She only barley touched her food anymore, and spent all her time inside her bedchambers with no desire to go outside to even let the sunrays touch her.
"Go back to your bedchambers, Anna. I'm tired of listening to the same whining every time you get your moon," Baldur dismissed her. But Anna was desperate; she dropped on her knees and tugged on his robe to plead.
"Please. I'm begging you. Let me spend my last years with my son and grandchildren."
"Don't do that. You know I hate drama, it's ridiculous." The King pulled his robe abruptly and moved away, causing Anna to fall to the floor and hit her face.
Upon seeing that image, Elsa couldn't contain her anger and the pain for her sister, provoking the sudden storm that hit Arendelle. She disappeared from the camp and went to the sea, looked at her kingdom from there, and stopped for a moment to think if she should just unleash her wrath to destroy everything and take her sister away with her. But as she began walking to the water, she noticed the little boat in the distance that was getting demolished with the force of the waves.
"Calm down, Elsa. The last thing you want is to cause more collateral damage," she said to herself.
But it was easier said than done, as the storm didn't want to cede. She had to build a path of ice to move faster in direction of the helpless fisherman and his son, and made water gush upwards into the air with the boat and the little family inside it, guiding it with her magic to glide in a path of ice until it hit shore.
"Look, Papa!" The boy yelled with excitement when he saw Elsa appear in a poof of white sparkly magic. She had been wearing her pale blue dress and the boy assumed the only thing that could explain this miraculous rescue. "An angel!"
"What?" Elsa was taken by surprise.
The child then came running to her side and embraced the middle of her body, making her heart feel warm, and the storm subside.
"I knew we weren't all alone! Did Mama send you from heaven?" The boy looked up at her with big brown eyes, full of hope. "Where are your wings?" He walked around her and touched her cape curiously. "Or are you a fairy?"
"I'm your fairy godmother," responded Elsa. "But when I turn to human size, my wings disappear," she explained to him.
It was a lie but it was innocent, because she couldn't reveal the truth of her origin, and it was something that made the child very happy to hear, that they had someone in the world that looked after them. Hope was something that had to be protected.
Before leaving, Elsa gave the boy something that was very meaningful to her; a small reindeer made out of wood. "Please take good care of Sven. He's a very special friend," she said before disappearing in a cloud of sparkly magic that smelled like fresh snow.
"A fairy godmother…" the King mumbled. "And she had ice magic, you say?" Baldur asked as he stroked his grey-streaked beard and looked closely at the small boy, making the child feel frightened and hide behind his father's leg.
"Yes, my King. She was a beautiful maiden, maybe in her middle twenties, with silver blonde hair, and eyes of the bluest sky." The father interjected nervously, keeping his gaze on the floor so he wouldn't disrespect the King.
"I see… That will be enough. Leave." Baldur released them.
It could only be Elsa, but he wouldn't be completely sure until he faced her.
After sending his dark knights to cease the rebels by the wall, Lord Aurelius took some extra measurements; he ordered his personal guard to bring Anna to his presence, and then took her with him to the Burning Tower.
"What's happening, what are you doing?" Anna questioned as he brought her along.
"We will wait together for an unwelcomed visitor."
Anna struggled but she wasn't strong enough to break free, and when she recognized the place to where they were headed, she felt her heart race inside her in fear. "No!" She screamed and hit him, remembering how Hans had used her as a puppet against her sister, but all this did was infuriate Aurelius.
"In all our time together, I have never laid a hand on you. Don't make it change tonight, you stupid girl."
"You've done worse! You've tortured me with the love I once had for… for you, and with the love I have for my son! What ever did I do to you?" Anna cried from impotency as she looked with rage into his eyes.
"Move," was all Aurelius answered and Anna walked in defeat before him to enter the forbidden tower.
In the battlefield, beasts fought against men, and blood painted the stone floors of Arendelle as war moved to inside the city, filling the streets with screams of pain and the image of horror that the monsters created.
A three-headed hound devoured a dark night, while a small dragon made a dozen soldiers turn into charcoal with the fire coming from its mouth without mercy. At the same time, a huge bat-like creature would come flying from the sky and pick up two men at a time, to later let them drop from a height and have them crash against the surface to break their bones.
It was horrific but necessary, as there were more dark knights than creatures of the shadows to fight this war in Arendelle.
"Find Anna," Elsa asked to the mirror. She focused her magic and, a moment later, the image showed them the Burning Tower in the reflection, but it didn't show them what lay inside. The chamber must have been protected by some spell.
"It's a trap," Regina said to her.
"I know," Elsa responded. She dissolved the mirror and looked at Regina. "I'll take it from here. It's too dangerous," she told her.
Regina looked at Elsa, took a deep breath, and just nodded. Arguing with her will take you nowhere, she thought.
"Thank you," Elsa pressed her lips on Regina's and disappeared a moment later.
"What should I do with you?" Regina looked around her and stared at the half-frozen archers on the surveillance tower, who returned a frightened stare. "I have an idea…" She smirked maliciously.
She ripped out one of the archers' heart and asked him about the forbidden tower, but all he answered was what Elsa had already told her; it was unknown.
Regina put back his heart and decided to explore the palace on her own.
She knew Elsa wouldn't allow her to come with her, so she pretended she would be staying in a safe spot. Well, slightly evil Queens lie, and she wouldn't stand with her arms crossed while Elsa walked right into a trap. She was inexperienced in war and Regina could tell this King Baldur was a real threat, unlike other opponents she had defeated in the past.
Regina didn't know the layout of the castle so she would transport carefully to different rooms and corridors only after checking if it was a safe landing. Some soldiers appeared from time to time to charge at her upon noticing her presence, but she just had to flick her wrist to make them… faint, as Elsa didn't want to take more lives than those that were inevitable in the field. Like it or not, these were Elsa's subjects, and the Ice Queen wanted to protect them – even from herself in this war.
Elsa transported to the entrance to the tower and cautiously scanned the room after seeing the door swing open to allow her passage.
No lock, no spell, nothing; this was an invitation to hell.
"Anna?" Elsa's voice echoed in the tubular building as she slowly stepped inside.
Elsa! Anna would have shouted if she could, but if she did, she would reveal her secret — that she remembered everything — so she remained quiet.
"Anna?" Elsa asked once again.
Suddenly, a big bell fell from the ceiling and captured her inside, but only temporarily, as she used her ice magic to freeze the metal and then made it shatter with a surge of energy that exploded from her body, freeing her from the entrapment.
"You're going to have to try harder. I'm not the same scared girl you met once long ago," Elsa warned him, but she couldn't yet see him, or Anna. And she wasn't even sure if Anna knew the truth, as the visions the Shaman had shown her, only spoke of what happened in Arendelle, not about the breaking curse in Agrabah.
An arrow was shot at her and Elsa barely managed to dodge it, getting a small cut on her left shoulder while moving away before it hit its target: her heart.
"Show yourself, coward!" Elsa yelled furiously and shot her magic as sharp spades made of ice that went flying in every direction, and got encrusted in the walls around her, making some of the eerie red glow in the chamber dim.
As her dozen ice spades hit the glowing boxes that made a second wall in the tower, an equal amount of knights fell suddenly lifeless in the battlefield, but they wouldn't know this, as both Elsa and Regina were dueling their own fights in the castle.
"I can see that. You're a murderer now," Lord Aurelius made his appearance at the top level, where the spiral staircase ended. That was from where the bell had fallen, and Elsa could now see Anna as the King held her firmly before him as a human shield. "Are you such a monster, you would kill the Queen of Arendelle to take the crown?" He asked her shamelessly.
"No!" Elsa closed her hands into tight fists. "How dare you!" Elsa growled, and her eyes locked in the fake King's with more hatred than she'd ever known, and she poofed closer in the stairs to where they stood.
Anna had to pretend she didn't know whom that unwelcomed guest was, and had to fight her strong need to let her sister's name slip out of her lips.
"Stop this!" Anna yelled and struggled in his grasp. "Who is she? Why are you doing this?" The mature woman asked both of them so not to blow her own cover.
"That woman is an impostor that wants to take your crown and make our realm submit to Misthaven. But Arendelle is nobody's subject, and a bitch from the Enchanted Forest is not going to take the throne from me—us," Baldur told her.
"The only impostor here is you! You're nothing but a lying bastard," Elsa was enraged, but she couldn't attack him because he was using her sister as protection, and Elsa was again helpless against a venomous serpent that cared for no one but himself. "Hiding behind an innocent woman… Who's the real monster?"
"As you do behind magic. I have to take my own measurements," he responded non-apologetic. "Speaking of which… Raz, I summon thee," He said as he held the dark book in a hand behind Anna, and both women's eyes opened wide in fear.
Meanwhile, Regina had gotten through the many hallways and passages until she made it to the door that lead inside the ungodly tower, and witnessed when the black smoke and reek of death moved in spiral to form the ancient creature she'd only read of in her sorcery books.
Raz was a creature even Rumplestiltskin was afraid of, and for which he'd searched the lands to find the book and lock away in his secret vault, without success. This reaper could surpass his power and if anyone ordered it to get rid of the Dark One, he very well could carry on with the task. At the expensive cost of the heart of a child made of True Love, and, while true love products were rare to locate, they certainly were easier to find than that cursed tome that forced Raz to obey whoever held the book in his power.
This had been part of the reason Rumplestiltskin had once had an interest in Cinderella's baby, for it was a potential threat to his existence, if the book ever emerged again. But it never did, as Baldur — Lord Aurelius, or whatever his true name had once been, was very selective of his victims, and never exposed his possession of the book. He knew magic always came with a price and he was an astute businessman, what had allowed him to maintain dominion over Raz for many decades, trading bodies with unexpected vessels.
"Raz, I have a present for you. You may have that woman's heart as a treat," Baldur ordered, and the dark creature was pleased with the gift his Master was giving him.
Nothing can be eternal, Regina thought as she looked at the imposing creature hover toward Elsa. None of them had noticed her presence yet.
As Raz got closer, he adopted the face of a woman and Elsa was stunned at the image before her. "Kristal," she whispered, and suddenly the heat of nearby flames and the smell of smoke made her aware of her surrounding, breaking her out of her trance and allowing her to move again.
"Don't even think about it," Regina menaced the fearsome reaper after teleporting to Elsa's side, and watched the monster as it made the fire on his ragged cloak die without effort.
"Regina! You shouldn't be here," Elsa exclaimed.
"Of course I have to. We protect each other, remember? We're stronger together."
The reaper took a particular interest in Regina and hovered towards her instead, changing his face into Cora, her father, and lastly; into Henry, her son.
Regina was shocked for a moment, but it didn't numb her for long, as she had experienced more mental torture in her life than any of this creature's victims together in theirs had.
"Your trickery won't make me lose my ground," she told him and shoot a white beam from her hands, channeling her light magic because fire or dark, would do nothing to a being of this kind.
The monster didn't expect this turn, for he had seen through Regina's eyes that her heart was nearly completely black, and her light magic attack took him by surprise.
Elsa shot her own magic against it as well, making it blend with Regina's in a powerful attack, and Anna used the distraction to bury her pointy heel in Baldur's foot, elbowed him in the stomach to break free, and tried to rip the book away from his hand, but he was much stronger and she couldn't snatch it away.
The King groaned in pain after Anna's sudden attack, but he didn't lose grip on the book, and hit her and made her fall down from the height, until she was free-falling in the air to hit against the floor, but Elsa was more alert now and used her magic to summon abundant soft snow in the bottom, where her sister could land safely without getting too badly hurt.
She immediately transported to her sister's side and made sure she was still breathing.
Without Elsa's magic mixing with Regina's, Raz had no problem reincorporating himself after their attack, grabbed Regina by the neck with his boney hand, and his spare hand moved to touch her stomach.
"What is this spark you hide in here?" The creature spoke, and Regina's eyes reflected the same horror Elsa's had when she looked up to see the monster get hold of her partner.
"NO! Don't touch them!" Elsa shouted from below, and had to leave her sister behind once again. "If you want a heart, mine should do," she told him and opened her arms to show she wouldn't fight anymore. "It's what you want, isn't it, Aurelius?" She turned to look at the impostor king.
"Your friend… She will try to avenge your death, so no. He will take both your hearts," Lord Aurelius said with indifference.
"She's pregnant! How can you be so cruel?!" Elsa cried out. "I promise she won't do such thing and will leave to never come back, if you let her and our child live."
"That's why women don't belong in war," he said with arrogance. "If she wanted to raise that abomination you call your child, she should've stayed home."
"Please… If you have any good left in you, let my child live. I promise I will never come back if you give us a second chance," Regina pleaded. She didn't want to lose Elsa, but neither did she want for her child to die before even being born. "My heart you can take and hold as leverage to make sure. Please… I can't loose my baby."
Regina ripped out her own heart and held it in her hand. Dark as coal, with very thin cracks of red from where a glow scintillated as sign of life.
Baldur had the upper hand again and was considering their proposal. He would get rid of Elsa at last, and with the Evil Queen's heart in his possession, there just wouldn't be anyone brave enough to ever again stand up against him. Regina alone was worth more than his thousand heartless slayers, and this offering was too juicy to let pass.
"Raz…" The vile man called him, and held the book in his hand with an air of superiority.
He really enjoyed having this much power, but it was never enough. There could always be more, and he wanted Regina now. For the first time in decades, he had found a woman he might actually enjoy using in different ways than just a prop to secure power.
"Bring me her heart," he ordered.
Raz took Regina's heart from her hand and went to give it to his master, and Aurelius observed the object from up close. "You're rotten to the core… just like me. Looks like I found my equal. We're a perfect match, my Evil Queen."
Elsa felt acid burn in her stomach at the lewdness with which he was holding, looking, and stroking Regina's darkened heart.
"I swear I will haunt you in your sleep and you will never have a night of peace for as long as you live," the silver blonde said with fury.
"Good thing I'm not afraid of ghosts. And I will make sure each night, I make the queen of your heart cry out my name for you," he sneered at her. "We might even start this night."
"Oh, I have an excellent idea," he said with excitement. He held Regina's heart close to his lips and spoke a command.
"Rip out Elsa's heart and crush it until it's nothing but dust."
"No..." Regina groaned, but she couldn't stop herself from walking in direction of her True Love.
She tried to fight her own body but the control was too powerful, and she was now just a mere distance from her beloved. Tears streamed down her face as she locked eyes in blue with a sorrow so deep, it was hard to believe she didn't have her heart with her, but Elsa welcomed her fate with a smile on her face.
"I'm glad it will be you in the end," Elsa said softly and Regina cried as her hand turned into a claw ready to bury inside her chest.
"I shouldn't have come," Regina told her while still fighting her own body to carry on with the order. "You were right."
"I would be dead already if you hadn't, my love. But at least, like this, I can see you for a last time," Elsa smiled warmly as her own tears fell. "I love you, and I trust our child will see the light of day in Arendelle one day. Our sacrifice won't be in vain."
Elsa threw her body forward and Regina's hand buried inside her chest, and, as they embraced this way, the blonde whispered something into her ear."If you wish upon a star," she told her sweetly, and then Regina noticed she had put the enchanted snowflake necklace around her neck.
"I wish for you to go home."
"Elsa!" Regina yelled as a bright light shone from the pendant and sucked her inside a vortex, until both Regina and the enchanted trinket disappeared from sight, leaving Elsa to face her fate with Raz and Aurelius.