Elsa groaned as she groggily opened her eyes. Her vision slowly unclouded to reveal she was in a prison cell. She sat up and noticed a pale white light coming from the cell window. She quickly dashed to see the outside but something pulled her back. She looked down in disbelief at the manacles that covered her hands and chained her to the wall. Who created these? Could her father have? It did not matter now. Elsa gazed upon her kingdom in stunned silence.
“Oh no. What, what have I done?” she whispered.
She turned her head at the sound of the cell door opening. Prince Hans walked inside and placed a lantern down on a cell bed. “Why did you bring me here!” Elsa demanded. “I couldn’t just let them kill you,” Hans confessed as he hugged himself against the bitter cold of the Snow Queen. “But I’m a danger to Arendelle. Get Anna!” Elsa insisted.
“Anna has not returned,” Hans said anxiously. Elsa looked outside the window in terror. Where was her sister? “If you could just stop the winter. Bring back summer, please,” Hans pleaded.
Elsa looked back at Hans with despair in her eyes. “Don’t you see? I can’t!” she said desperately.
Han’s eyes widened with fear. “You have to tell them to let me go!” Elsa begged.
“I will do what I can,” Hans said quietly, as he walked outside the cell.
Terror coursed through Elsa’s body while her mind raced. Where was Anna? Could Arendelle survive her winter? Would they let her go? It became too much and Elsa began to hear the crackle of ice. She looked down in surprise that her ice was covering the manacles.
Hours passed and the storm outside only grew worse. As Elsa’s fear grew so did the ice on her manacles and the walls of her cell. She had to escape before things got worse! She desperately pulled at the chains as the room became colder and colder.
“Hurry up! She’s dangerous!” Crowds of men were trying to break inside her cell. Elsa’s heart stopped. What were they doing? Were her very subjects coming in to kill her as Grand Pabbie had foretold?
“Move quickly!” a guard barked.
“It won’t open! It’s frozen shut,” someone else said.
Elsa felt fear like never before. Ice pulsed throughout the very foundation of the cell. With a last burst of magical power, Elsa destroyed her restraints and broke a hole in the cell wall. She escaped out into the blinding white snow with no idea what to do next. Where could she go? What could she do?
The storm pounded Arendelle with a fury that had never been felt before or since in its history. Elsa realized this is who she was. This is who she would always be. Elsa turned around as gasped at the sight of Hans.
“Elsa! You can’t run from this!” Hans called out to her.
“Just take care of my sister,” Elsa pleaded.
“Your sister?” Hans said in disbelief. “She returned from the mountain weak and cold. She said that you froze her heart.”
“No,” Elsa whispered in disbelief, under her breath. How could this have happened? She tried so hard.
“I tried to save her but it was too late,” Hans continued. “Her skin was ice. Her hair turned white. Your sister is dead. Because of you!”
Elsa’s entire world shattered. Her greatest fear. The very thing she swore since childhood to never let happen. The very thing she had committed her entire existence to not allow. It had happened. Elsa had killed her baby sister. She couldn’t take it and collapsed onto the frozen fjord. The howling winds died in an instant and every snowflake hung suspended in the air. Everything was still, as was Elsa. She could not think, she could not feel, she was not sure she even existed. Elsa was broken, Her senses were cut off from the rest of the world. She was so lost in her despair and grief that she did not hear the sword unsheathe behind her.
She did not hear the sound of running footsteps. And she did not hear her sister’s voice.
The sound of crackling ice and broken steel reverberated over the fjord.
Elsa looked up and gasped. “Anna!” She stood up in front of her sister’s frozen body. “Oh. Anna!” She began cradling her sister’s eternally frozen face. A face full of desperation to protect her big sister. A big sister that was not worth protecting. “No, no! Please no,” Elsa pleaded. She could not take it anymore. She finally opened the door and hugged her sister, sobbing uncontrollably. She finally revealed how much she cared for her sister and how sorry she was that this happened. She stopped shutting her sister out and let her in.
“Anna?” Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven stood by in stunned silence. Looks of despair on their faces. Elsa could do nothing but grieve. Grieve for herself, her parents, her kingdom, and her sister. The person she cherished more than anything, and she had shut her out and now killed her. Elsa’s life was over. Anna was the only thing keeping her going and now that she was gone Elsa had nothing left to lose or strive for. As Elsa continued to cry she failed to notice the warmth beginning to fill Anna’s body or the sound of enchanted ice melting. Elsa felt Anna begin to move and looked up. She could not believe it. “Anna?” Elsa immediately hugged her sister. A joy and relief that could be accurately described rushed through Elsa like a river in early spring.
“Oh Elsa,” Anna said with relief. Elsa pulled back and grabbed her sister’s hands. “You sacrificed yourself for me?” she said in disbelief.
“I love you,” Anna said simply.
Olaf gasped. “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.”
Elsa stopped to consider this. “Love will thaw,” she whispered. It came at her in an instant. How could she have missed it? The solution was right there her entire life, she was just too afraid to see it. It was love. Love for others and love for herself could thaw anything, including her magic. “Love. Of course.”
“Elsa?” Anna said, confused.
“Love!” Elsa proclaimed. She lifted her hands and began melting her winter away. Every single snowflake that had covered Arendelle in the last few days began to fly into the sky. Every spec of white that could be seen for miles slowly began to disappear into the air. The entire populace of the kingdom gazed in awe at how the winter left as quickly as it came. It was a day that would go down in Arendelle’s history.
The day of the Great Thaw.