Elsa couldn’t remember the last time she had left Arendelle. This beautiful fjord that she called her kingdom was the only place she had ever known, and today was the first time she would venture past her courtyard and onto a ship set for the Southern Isles. Their King, King Albert had recently passed away, and it was custom for all neighbouring kingdoms to attend the coronation of the next ruler. King Albert had been a very close friend of her father’s, and Elsa remembered faintly his glowing red beard and laugh that could shake the room. He had ruled a lot like her own father, whom she inherited Arendelle from just a few short months ago. Now it was time for the eldest of the Southern Isle princes to take his father’s place. Prince Klaus was next in line for the throne; he was much older than she, already married and with several children. Elsa thought it was almost a little sad that his life was finally beginning after such a long time.
The Queen snapped out of her train of thought and set her quill into its golden inkwell, she turned to face the large window of her study that overlooked the port. Several men were hauling crates and valises aboard the large vessel. Her ship was leaving soon, and Elsa could feel her pace quicken at the fear of leaving her home for the first time, especially on a ship. Her parents, King Agnarr and Queen Iduna had perished a few years before in a storm while at sea, and ever since then Elsa had not even stepped foot on a ship, and neither had her sister Anna.
Anna had wished more than anything to leave Arendelle alongside her sister. The bright and bubbly sister was a cheerful day to the queen’s winter’s night and wanted to leave Arendelle even more than Elsa.
There was a short rap at the door, “Come in,” she ordered. Elsa’s voice was deeper, a hint of authority under every note.
Anna pushed the solid oak door open and smiled sheepishly at her sister, “Hi… Elsa.” Her cheeks were flushed, Elsa figured she must’ve run across the castle to her study. “Whew,” she beamed her toothy smile as she caught her breath, “So, when does your ship leave again?”.
Elsa shook her head with a breathy laugh, “It leaves in a few hours Anna, you know that.” Her arms crossed as she stepped towards her sister.
“Exactly! Only a few more hours left to convince you why I would be a great companion on your trip to Prince Klaus’ coronation! Just think of it: you, me, the open sea air to a beautiful sunny get away! Think of the princes! Think of the food…” her voice grew quiet, “the chocolate.” Anna’s voice raised to its normal volume, “c’mon Elsa, you know this would be the trip of a lifetime together!”
“Princes? I thought you were fond of that ice harvester from the marketplace.” Elsa raised an eyebrow at her sister.
Anna prepared to argue her sister’s comment but stopped herself short at the thought of the broad man at the market whose eyes were warmer than any sunny day.
He was the first person she met in Arendelle after the gates were opened. The blinding sun made the colours of the court and market even brighter. Smells of baked goods and flowers filled Anna’s nose as she ran through the courtyard and down the main street of the market. She had never left the castle walls and today, on the morning of her sister’s coronation, it was officially the best day ever. Anna stopped by a bakery stand to shove a chocolate croissant in her mouth while trying to not get any crumbs on her silk and velvet gown. A maypole that was erected for the occasion caught Anna’s eye and she ran towards it. She grabbed a string and twirled with a few older children before she continued on her excursion through the kingdom. While running through the square Anna turned her head to watch some children playing hopscotch and ran straight into the shoulder of a large animal. Anna yelped and fell flat on her rear, thankful for the endless amounts of petticoats cushioning her fall.
She looked up at the large animal which she then realized was a reindeer, “Hey!”
A boy ran around from the other side of the reindeer and reached out his hand, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t even see you before we crossed, are you alright?”
Anna hesitated before reaching for the surprisingly large hand, which in return pulled her upright with little effort. She smoothed her skirts and fixed a pin in the hair that her lady in waiting had spent nearly an hour perfecting from the rat’s nest it was that morning. “I’m sure you are sorry, I mean, I’m sorry too, I was watching the children playing hopscotch. My sister and I played it when we were little, and it’s been so long and then I ran into this big gu – hi,” she scratched under the chin of the large reindeer which then nuzzled into her shoulder. “I think I have some of your fur in my mouth, plaftgh” Anna pinched a couple reindeer hairs out of her mouth.
“Hey, Sven c’mon! You don’t need to slobber all over the girl,” The boy pulled the reins back on his reindeer, he was laughing.
Anna had not gotten a good look at the owner of Sven just yet; she was too entranced with the creature that was nearly double her size. “Sven? Is that your name? I’ve never seen a reindeer before, do they come to the village a lot?” she turned to the boy awaiting his answer and a small gasp entered her lungs.
This was not a boy at all, but a very large man, almost as tall as the reindeer with dirty blond hair and eyes the colour of warm milk chocolate. His nose was large, and his lips seemed as if they would be ones that are always carved into a smile. He was dressed in labourer clothes, which Anna concluded definitely meant he was not someone visiting for the coronation. His leather and cotton garments were worn, she could make out new repairs and patches on top of old ones – crudely done, and most likely by him.
“Yes, this is Sven, and reindeer are usually used around here to carry cargo. Sleds with goods for the market and for transportation.” The smile he shot at her froze her heart in place, “I on the other hand, am Kristoff. I harvest ice.” Kristoff nodded in direction to the sled that was fastened to Sven, it was empty.
Anna looked over at the puddle pooled in the centre of the bed, “Ooh, bad day?” she bit her lip and looked at him with a worried expression.
Kristoff and Sven locked eyes and Kristoff started to laugh, his furry companion chortling alongside him, “Um, no…” he tried to find her name and drew a blank, “you. The opposite really, it’s summer! Everyone wants to keep cool without travelling into the mountains, that’s where we come in,” Sven nodded in agreement.
“But with that… who are you?” he raised an eyebrow at her and looked her up and down. Her emerald gown was much to formal to be someone casually strolling a marketplace, perhaps she was here for the coronation. He wondered if she would be here long, the idea of seeing her again made his heart skip a beat. Kristoff might not be one who is surrounded in beauty on a daily basis, but he knew when someone was extraordinarily beautiful like this girl.
“Oh! Right, um, I’m Anna.” She held her hands behind her back and tried to distract herself with a cart of flowers that was passing by.
Kristoff stood between her and the flowers, quickly plucking a daisy from the cart and offering it to her. She was at least a foot shorter than him, and so he had to angle his head down quite sharply just to look into her eyes. “Just Anna? Anna of what?”
Her eyes widened in surprise of gesture; she had never received anything from a man before. She pinched the stem of the daisy and took it from him. “Thank you,” Anna said softly, then remembered what this gift was a distracting her from. Anna of what? What a demanding thing to ask. Why is he being so nosy? “Well… what about you? Kristoff of what?” Anna countered him.
“Kristoff Bjorgman of Arendelle,” he crossed his arms. This girl was annoying, but she was cute to him. Her eyes were blue like the thickest glacier ice, and hair as red as the fires that could melt them.
“Hmm. I’m Anna, also of Arendelle.”
He circled around her, looking at her dress that was embellished in embroidery and jewels. The sun bounced off of her glimmering gown in every direction, “You must be a pretty important Anna of Arendelle to have such a nice dress, is it for the coronation?” he leaned down towards her, his face inches from hers. Kristoff took the daisy that was in her hands and tucked it behind her ear.
“Yes. I- I mean yes, it’s for the coronation, but I don’t think I’m that importa–” Anna was cut off by her name being called out. Kristoff snapped his face away from hers to see a short man in a perfectly tailored suit running up to them. The man stopped a couple paces behind Anna.
“Princess Anna, you must retu–” the butler began
“Wait, what? Princess?” Kristoff’s cut the butler off. Sven caught on and tried to drop his front legs to bow, which was impossible to do with the sled’s tack still attached to him.
“Yes,” the butler said curtly and turned to the princess, “Princess Anna, your sister’s coronation will begin soon, you are needed at the palace,” he urged.
Anna turned to Kristoff, her face blushing, “I guess that’s my cue, I hope to see you again. Bring some ice to the castle for us? M-My sister and I that is… not that you couldn’t have any, I mean you harvest it!” Her voice quickened as she spoke, anxiety over taking her.
“Of course, your highness,” Kristoff tried to say but it was drowned out by Anna’s ramblings.
“I’m sure you have loads of ice, do you live in an igloo? Now that would be a sight to see!” she stopped. “I’m sorry, I’m awkward. It’s my first time out of the castle like… ever. And you’re gorgeous so obviously I’m going to embarrass myself…” Anna continued while Kristoff just pondered at her. This girl, a princess, just called him gorgeous. He had never even noticed a girl take a second glance at him before, nevertheless the princess. Kristoff watched her with a smile, enjoying every moment of this chance encounter.
“Princess Anna!” shouted a booming voice. The citizens filling the square all turned to the small man who shouted and collectively followed his gaze to the shimmering princess and scruffy ice harvester.
The swarm of eyes suddenly on the pair caused them to both flush red. Kristoff rustled a hand through his hair.
“You better get going,” He smiled and tucked his arm in to bow before her.
She sighed and gave a rushed curtsy to him, “I still want that ice, Kristoff Bjorgman of Arendelle. I expect it at the castle gates the morning after tomorrow!” she tried to sound as royal as possible, but her giggle still escaped with her words. “Goodbye!” her gown swirled as she turned away and scurried to the butler who was sure to give her a lecture on the walk back to the castle. Kristoff tried to absorb the encounter he just had with the princess of Arendelle. He saw as she ran back towards the gates everyone bowing to her, and how stupid he felt to have not known that was the princess. And she talked to him. She even called him gorgeous. Kristoff felt his cheeks get hot and wished he was back up in the mountains so he could shove his face into the snow to cool them down. He clicked his tongue and tugged the reins, instructing Sven forward, if he was to bring ice to the castle in a couple days’ time he would need to get to work.
Anna shook her head from her daydream and furrowed her eyebrows at her sister, “Fine. I wouldn’t be going for the princes, they’re probably too old anyways.” She huffed.
“The youngest is older than I” Elsa pointed out.
“Exactly! They’re much too old for me, it wouldn’t be the princes that I was there for, but Elsa!” she shot herself to Elsa’s side and grabbed her gloved hands, “The desserts! The sun! it’s already autumn here, and I miss the summer heat, I crave it!” her lips formed a pout as she looked up at her elder sister with wide eyes.
Elsa sighed and looked at her sister in disbelief, she was still so naïve, “You wouldn’t have time to pack if you came with me,”
“I thought you would say that, and in that’s why,” Anna ran back to the door and pushed it wide open, a small pile of chests and suitcases were in the doorway, “I’m already packed! See? And you thought I wouldn’t be ready for any argument.” She smirked at her sister and leaned against the doorframe, “Should I call some guards to carry this out to the ship or do you want me to haul it down myself with these big muscles?” Anna flexed her bicep a bit, laughing.
The Queen did not want to discourage her sister from coming on the trip, but she needed someone to stay in Arendelle should anything happen to the kingdom or her trip hit any sort of bump. Elsa looked down and stepped towards her sister and held her sister’s hands in hers. The cool leather of her ice blue gloves enveloped Anna’s pale freckled hands,
“Please Anna, you know the reason as to why I need it to be only me. I need you to take care of Arendelle.” Her hands dropped a couple of degrees in temperature, but Elsa willed away any thoughts of stress the best she could.
Anna smiled softly at her sister, “I know Elsa, Arendelle comes first right? And don’t worry, everything will be just as you left it!” Her animated voice was paired with actions, and while talking with her hands she nearly knocks a vase off of an end table by the entrance of the room.
“Are you sure about that?” the older sister teased and glanced from the corner of her eye out the window, “And speaking of not being interested in princes, is that Mister Bjorgman with the ice delivery I see?”
“Where?!” Anna bolted to the window; her nose pressed up against the glass. Kristoff had just arrived to the docks, a sled full of ice. He heard a sharp rapping of glass and looked up to see Princess Anna waving excitedly at him, her nose pushed up like a pig in the glass. He chuckled at the sight of this odd princess, waved, and continued towards the castle where he would be dropping off his ice delivery near the kitchens.
“I’m sure he’ll need help with lifting all that ice, maybe your huge muscles would be of use to him,” Elsa nudged Anna’s forearm with her elbow and giggled.
“I suppose you’re right!” Anna raced for the door before turning back to her sister, “I’ll see you soon?”
“Of course, the trip shouldn’t be too long, I don’t expect to be staying in the Southern Isles for any longer than I need to.”
“Good,” she nodded. “Well, goodbye Elsa,” Anna smiled sadly at her sister, hesitating to leave the room.
“Goodbye Anna,” Elsa turned from her sister and started to stack some papers and letters that were astray on her desk. She was suddenly wrapped in the arms of her sister who was hugging her from behind. Before Elsa could answer Anna had pulled back and beamed up at her sister, tears filling her eyes.
“Alright, I’m okay. You can go now, I just needed that.”
A breathy laugh came from Elsa, “Come here,” she pulled her sister in for a proper hug, “I know this is difficult, I know. But one of us leaving had to come someday. Even though we were separated from walls we were never separated by distance, and that’s scary. But it won’t be too bad. You have Kai and Kristoff and Sven, and the other staff in the castle. They’re our family too. And I’ll have Gerda, so there will be a little bit of our family with me, so I’m not completely alone.” Elsa smiled at her sister and wiped a tear from her cheek.
“You’re right Elsa, we’re not alone, we’ve got people.” Anna sniffled, wiping her nose on the back of her sleeve.
Despite the broken relationship between the two sisters, one thing that had never ceased was the love for one another. They might not be as close now to know each other’s favourite book, or food (although for Anna it had always been sweets), their hearts were always bonded by an unbreakable tether that pulled one to the other. Ever since their parents passed, both had lost the people they were closest with, the people who knew their deepest secrets. And even with this unbreakable sisterly bond, the two had yet to share that tie with each other.
“Exactly.” Elsa reassured her sister.
“Exactly,” Anna repeated, “Okay, okay now we’re good. I’m done. I need to go help with that ice! Bye Elsa!” she raced out the door.
“Bye Anna,” Elsa said.
Before she could even finish her sentence, Anna had circled back into the doorway, “So you said that I have people here, and you’re taking people there, but are you bringing anyone back?” Anna interrogated.
“Bringing anyone back? Well, um yes, our ship’s crew and staff,” Elsa looked at her sister with confusion.
“No, I mean anyone… extra.” Anna leaned into her sister with a smug look on her face.
Blush rushed into Elsa’s cheeks, she hadn’t even thought of the option of it, “I highly doubt it.”
The young queen had never been formally courted, she had never spoken to a man who wasn’t part of her staff, and the idea had never come to her mind that people, including her sister would figure that since she was of age she would be searching for a husband to help rule.
Anna mused, “Y’know, I’ve heard about those Southern Isles boys, they’re said to be quite handsome,”
“And where on earth did you hear that?” Elsa scoffed at her sister, rolling her eyes.
“On earth!” Anna stammered, “One of my ladies in waiting grew up there, her mother helped the queen. She said the princes are very handsome, and there’s so many! Thirteen! You have your work cut out for you. I’m so glad I don’t have to go,” she snickered.
Elsa huffed in frustration at her sister’s teasing, “Even so, I’m not going to be the one seeking that out while representing Arendelle. Now go help that poor ice harvester, away with you,” She shooed Anna out the door.
Anna’s steps quieted as she walked away before Elsa could hear them thundering back before her face poked back in the doorway, “I love you.”
The young queen erupted in laughter at her sister. Had she been so goofy all these years? She thought. “I love you too Anna.”
“Good,” Anna nodded, and her head disappeared. Elsa calmed her laughing and finally returned to her desk. She began stacking papers and separating them by documents needing to be brought to the Southern Isles and those that could stay home.
“Thirteen princes,” Elsa pondered under her breath, “I wonder what they’re like. I know that the people wish to see me take a king, and… I just can’t do that. But still, perhaps I can create strong ties with some of them, for Arendelle of course.”