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This Bowl of Stars

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(well I know I don't know you and you're probably not what you seem)

 

Anna dreamt there was a beast, a wolf or something like it, prowling, snarling. It circled her, round and round, but she was safe as long as she didn’t move. At first it was hard but the longer she lay still, the easier it got, until she was fast asleep.

 

She woke the next morning to the sound of the door opening. The storm still raged outside, and she ducked her head back under the blankets against the rush of cold air.

“I’m sorry,” Kristoff said, “I didn’t think you would still be sleeping.” He hesitated just inside the door.

“It’s alright,” she replied, “I was just about to get up,” even though that wasn’t true. It was his house, she couldn’t stop him coming in. She had no idea what time it was but the sun seemed to be up so she probably should be awake, though for what she wasn't sure.

 

Kristoff nodded and went over to the woodstove, carefully keeping his back to her as she pulled herself out of the bed and straightened the covers. “Do you think the storm will be over soon?” she said, to fill the silence.

“It’s starting to calm down a little,” he said. “Hopefully it will end today and we can be on our way tomorrow. Did you sleep okay?”

“Yes, thank you.”

He nodded and apparently conversation time was over.

 


 

 

The storm finally passed in the afternoon. After they had lunch Anna noticed the light from the window was lighter; then a little while later it was just normal snow falling, then that too finished. Now the light from outside was so bright it hurt her eyes, gleaming off the white snow that covered everything.

 

No sooner had it finished than Kristoff jumped up and went outside to dig a new path to the stable. Anna pulled on her boots and cloak to join him - to at least get some fresh air - but before she could reach the door Kristoff was opening it again.

 

“Anna? I think this is for you.”

As he held the door open, a bird flew in - one of Elsa’s little ice birds, a message strapped to its leg. Anna put out her hand and it landed neatly on her finger. Kristoff watched her, his head tilted slightly to one side, as the bird let her remove the scrap of paper and unfold it.

 

Anna the other sled returned pls let me know immed. you are safe Elsa

 

“It's from my sister,” she said. “I'll send something back. Where's my writing desk?”

He shrugged. “In the stable with the other boxes, I guess. Just a moment.”

 

He was still looking strangely at the bird, and Anna put it quickly in the cage with the others. When he returned with her writing desk she thanked him, and opened it on the table to write a reply.

 

Am v safe with KB shall we return to Arendelle Anna

 

Tying it onto the bird proved tricky, and after a few minutes it got fed up with her and twittered a bit, then took the message in its beak. It hopped over to the door and stood there waiting to be let out.

 

Kristoff opened the door and it flew away. He shut it again and then turned to Anna.

“They're magic, aren't they.”

Anna fussed with her desk. “They're just birds.”

“Normal birds can't find people, and they don't wait for a door to be opened. And they need to be fed. You don't even have any food for them. They don't have any water, even.”

She opened her mouth and shut it again.

 

“It's okay, I won't tell anyone. Do you have an enchanter at the palace?”

“You believe in magic?”

“No. I just know it exists.”

“How?”

“Who made the birds?”

“I can't tell you that.”

He shrugged.

 

There was a tap at the door. They looked at each other, then Kristoff opened it cautiously. The bird was back.

“That's impressive,” he said. “Why didn't you just have them fly you over the mountain?”

 

No if cannot reach Blackstad stay where you are DO NOT return to Arendelle

 

By the time Anna had read that much, there was another tap, another bird.

 

Repeat DO NOT RETURN if you are safe there then stay will send when is safe E

 

“She says I mustn’t go back,” Anna said. “It’s not safe.”

“And yet she stays,” Kristoff replied.

“That’s different. She’s the queen, if she leaves she’s abandoning her country. And it was me they threatened, anyway.”

Anna read the last note again. If you are safe there then stay. Stay where, here? For how long?

“It’s too late to go anywhere today,” Kristoff said. “We’ll try for Blackstad in the morning. Either they’ll be waiting for you or there’ll be somewhere you can stay until they come back.”