Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)
By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle
My last article covered my first visit to Northuldra. It was a pleasant visit as I not only met Lady Maren and met the Northuldrans’ leader, Yelena, I also got to meet my Snow Queen niece, Elsa, as she is doing wonderfully now living amongst the Northuldrans and closer to Ahtohallan. A great dinner of freshly caught salmon, cooked over an open fire, along with some time with Elsa, under the starry Northuldran skies with tea, conversation and quietly looking at the stars and listening to the enchanted forest at night – it was a wonderful time!
For the most part.
Elsa, Yelena, Honeymaren and myself had just concluded talks that morning over the routes and agreements so that Northuldra could receive and ship out cargo to their destinations. Maren and Elsa asked the earth giants to realign the road leading from Arendelle to allow freight wagons to pass through and into Northuldra.
After the meeting, Elsa looked troubled and asked me, “You’re not leaving right away?”
I looked and noticed her look and said, “No. Why? Something wrong?”
Elsa said, “Uncle, I’ve noticed and I sense that something is troubling you. You and Anna were always encouraging me to open up and not keep my feelings and troubles in. So I learned to see that in both of you as well.”
I looked down and realized, she was right. Anna and I helped her, so it was only right for Elsa to return the favor. “Elsa, I came to Northuldra not only to see you again and meet the Northuldrans. I came here also for closure on a memory from the past that has haunted me to this very day. I need to go to where your Mother’s and Father’s ship is.”
Elsa looked surprised and then concerned. “Why, Uncle?”
“Elsa, when you and Anna were separated after you accidentally froze Anna, Your father and I got into a very heated argument over your and Anna’s separation. Understand, we both loved you very much. It just broke my heart and I found it unbearable to see two sisters who are so inseparable, so much like the bestest of friends, go through this hell of a separation.”
Elsa said, “I had locked myself away because of my fear of hurting Anna. I didn’t know then how much I was truly hurting her until after her death and return.”
I replied, “I know. Your father ordered the castle locked down and your separation. One night you were scared, afraid and crying, I was sitting you both for Mama and Papa. They were afraid to hold you then, I wasn’t. I picked you up, despite all of your cries to stay away, and held you and comforted you until you stopped. And I let Anna come in with us. Your Mama understood, but your Papa got angry. Words were exchanged. He called the guards, and I… hit him. Knocked him down… and I stormed out. Out of the castle, out of Arendelle.”
Elsa was shocked beyond belief. Michael continued.
“I got my funds together and went to England then to the United States and worked there. I wrote letters to both of you, but I received no answer. I missed you and Anna very badly, wondering every day, how you two were doing. I missed my friends, Agnarr and Iduna as well. They were very good people, especially Iduna. Now knowing that she was from Northuldra, and seeing the Northuldrans here, I now understand why she was so special.”
“Then one day, I picked up a newspaper and read a headline that completely devastated me. ‘King and Queen of Arendelle missing. Feared dead.’ It talked about the cruise on the ship they were on. I cried the bitterest tears I had ever cried in my life. I prayed to God that I needed to be home in Arendelle. Unfortunately, I had business interests that would not let me leave as soon as I needed to. It took two years to work back to England. Then finally, I was able to sail from there back to Arendelle. I had just arrived some time before your coronation day.”
“I remember,” Said the Snow Queen. “You were at the coronation and we reunited before when Anna told me you were here. I was so cold with everyone. Yet you got me to talk a little. You gave me the biggest, warmest hug when we came off of the boat on the fjord after I undid the storm I made. I even remember the kind look in your eyes when you said ‘Welcome home, my little Snow Queen. Welcome home.’ It felt so good! Just like when Anna came back and I hugged her just as much!”
Michael and Elsa held each others’ hands. “I know,” said the elder man. “I have carried this for so long that when you and Anna told me of what you both did up here, I knew it needed to be done. So, please, Elsa. My dearest niece, please show me their ship.” I knew it wouldn’t be easy for Elsa to do this, given how she took it very hard last time she and Anna were there.
Elsa looked at me and said, “I will.” She asked Gale the wind spirit, who led her and Anna to the wreck before, to lead us back.
It didn’t take us long to get to where the remains of King Agnarr’s and Queen Iduna’s ship had come to rest. I could tell that Elsa was not comfortable with this, yet she knew how much this meant to me. We entered the ship and Elsa got the map and the note Iduna wrote. “Your Mom had very nice handwriting. I can see where you got it from!” I said.
Elsa chucked and smiled a bit. It relieved some of the tension. “This is where she charted the voyage to Ahtohallan. We knew from this that the trip ‘south’ was a ruse. They were going to Ahtohallan for me,” Elsa said.
“And Anna,” I said.
Elsa replied, “Yes.” With that, Elsa, with her powers and the memory of the water there in the wreckage, remade the ice sculpture of Iduna’s and Agnarr’s last moments.
And once again, the voices of Agnarr and Iduna rang out their last words;
Iduna: Ahtohallan has to be the source of her magic.
Agnarr: We keep going… for Elsa.
Iduna: The waves are too high!
My knees shook, then buckled. Then I was flat on the floor, sobbing and weeping. The guilt and sorrow from all of those years carrying the burden of this incident that splintered a loving relationship with two wonderful people and their daughters had overwhelmed me with a deep sorrow that needed to finally come out. I cried the bitterest tears that day.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Elsa. I’m so sorry, Agnarr. I’m so, so sorry Iduna!” I cried aloud. I was so overcome, I lost track of time and it felt like forever to get enough composure to feel that coolness and softness from Elsa’s hands as she put her arms around to comfort me. Elsa knelt down and softly whispered, “Uncle, I love you and I forgive you.” Her voice came across so sweet and tender, you’d think it was the Lord Himself speaking.
I got up to my knees and looked at Elsa. We said nothing, but embraced each other in the warmest hug ever. It seemed like we hugged forever, Yet it meant so much to me. Elsa then said, “I know of all the things that were inside of me when I went into Ahtohallan. I had to forgive not only Mother and Father, I had to forgive Grandfather Runeard as well, to appreciate the happiness and joy I have now.”
“And so did I, Uncle Mike,” said a voice from behind. I looked behind me and there was Queen Anna, to my surprise! I was speechless. Anna explained: “Kristoff and me came up for the weekend to get away from things. Gale gave me a note from Elsa to let me know where you both are and to come.”
I turned and looked at Elsa and said, “Thank you, Elsa. And thank you, Anna, for coming.” As I turned back to Anna again, the Queen said, “Elsa’s note told me about what happened between you and Father and how much and how deeply it hurt. I could be mad at you, but I can’t. Not with all we have been through together. I forgave Mama, Papa, and Grandpa, so I forgive and love you, Uncle.” Anna said as she embraced me in a warm hug too.
Elsa said “Uncle, I have something to show you.”
She waved her hands, and the magic made the water show a scene. The same scene Anna saw when they came back from Northuldra with King Agnarr and Queen Iduna talking about Anna. But this time, it was after that, where Agnarr was picking up a paper from his desk. It was the order banishing me from Arendelle, yet it was never signed nor sealed. Iduna said, “After all this time, you’re still considering banishing Michael from Arendelle?”
Agnarr said, “No, I won’t. I read his last letter saying how much he missed us and was sorry about what he did. The girls loved him, we loved him. It was so long ago. When we come back from our voyage and talk to the girls, we’ll mail him and tell him all is forgiven, and he is welcome to come back home.” Agnarr and Iduna then turned and put the order into the fireplace and they both watched it burn.
Tears ran down my face and I hugged both Elsa and Anna. “Thank you both, so much.”
“You once told me,” Elsa said, “when I was taking too much of the blame for things and apologizing all the time about letting things go. Maybe it’s time to let this go too?”
I remembered that and said, “Yes. It’s time I took my own lesson to heart.”
We both looked at the sculpture while Elsa, myself and Anna embraced each other and I said to it, “Agnarr, Iduna. I thank you so much for forgiving me of that terrible wrong I did so long ago. I am so very sorry. I forgive you both as well. You raised two beautiful, smart, wonderful girls who are now two beautiful, wonderful and smart Queens in their own right. I miss you both very much. I’m now back to stay. I love you and I love these two young ladies very, very much, and I’ll help them, if and when they need it. I now leave this heavy burden here, never to pick it up ever again. The past is in the past, never to be brought up again.” I bowed my head, “Almighty God. I leave this burden here in your hands. Forgive me of my anger, and help all three of us here to show more of your love to each other and all the world around us. Amen.”
That evening at the Northuldran settlement, after another delicious dinner, we sat around the fire and discussed the day’s events at the remains of the ship with Yelena, Maren and her brother, Ryder. Mugs of that delicious tea were passed around. Then someone suggested, “How about a toast to remember this day? I said “Okay, but I’d like the first toast with just myself and my nieces.” Everyone agreed.
So, Elsa, Anna and myself raised our mugs as I started to speak.
“To Agnarr and Iduna. My best friends and family. You were taken from this earth too soon. Yet you left us the two greatest blessings that both of our lands, and myself, are thankful for. Your two wonderful daughters, Elsa and Anna. You loved them deeply, as do we. We drink to your memory, and thank you.” We clinked our mugs together and drank. “Still some really good tea.” I said.
Turning to the others, I said: “That was then, this is now. To love, to friendship, to great friends, and to family.” We clinked mugs, we drank, and we loved.
The love Anna and Elsa have for each other is not only special, it always has room for more folks. Even a middle-aged, pudgy, blonde-gray haired codger like yours truly.
Forgiveness is a big part of love.
A big thank you goes to Arute (@ast05water) for these wonderful images. Arute, you rock!