Featured image art by PURY (puryartist)
By Sir Alan
After Queen Anna’s encounter with Sora, the last of the three Grand Dukes affiliated with Katina Romanov and Russia, much was wondered about among those closest to the queen.
From what Her Majesty described, Sora is a beautiful “fallen angel” who told the Queen that she doesn’t want to attack Arendelle, but will if ordered to. In addition, Sora tried to persuade Anna towards reopen peace talks with Katina, due to the sheer force of power to come, from both Katina and her compatriot Grand Dukes. Anna refused. Granted, she was very much in shock due to what Sora did, flying high with Anna in her arms and then going to the North Mountain. While it was understandable that Anna refused to allow Arendelle to be a pawn in Katina’s plans, Sora seemed to imply that Arendelle and its allies would be crushed if a war were to begin.
Regardless, with this knowledge, Alan mulled it over. He thought a little bit about meeting Sora himself. He wanted to see what she was all about. As the week went on, this was on Alan’s mind as he was out in the woods, training his swordplay rigorously. After he had to bear witness to his last blade shattering thanks to one of the other Grand Dukes while he was with Elsa and Anna, among others, in Russia, Alan went to Hilde to see to getting a new sword made, one that was much stronger than the one he had previous. It would take time but Hilde would have it done for him. For now though, he borrowed a sword from the armory, and took it with him as he got to work on his fighting skills yet again.
He’d held his own against Yaraslaf alongside Elsa and Michael the trade minister, but still, the werebear, beast that he is, didn’t go down. They were only able to slow him down to get out of there. But this outcome was also very concerning, not just for what happened to Maren and Amira, as they were severely injured. Even with the Fifth Spirit’s help, Yaraslaf could only be slowed, and with that being the case, what about Nykras or Sora? There was only one Elsa and three Grand Dukes, not to mention the rumored army that Nykras will have with him. In Alan’s mind, the last thing he wanted was for Elsa to over-work herself. He shuddered to think what could happen to her if she did. This was why he continued to train, relentlessly at that. His work ethic was something he had perfected over time.
While in the woods, he didn’t realize that Sora had never left Arendelle completely. She’d quietly arrived, standing beside a tree some feet behind Alan, as he was in a clearing swinging his sword with fervor. He stopped to wipe his brow and catch his breath, and that was when she spoke. “You have a good swing, young man,” Sora said.
Alan freaked. “Holy ***!” he exclaimed, falling to one knee and having to really catch his breath. “You scared the hell out of me,” he added. Once he caught his breath, he turned his head. That’s when his gaze fell upon Sora.
“My apologies, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Sora said, her voice soft but firm. “I’m sure you know who I am.”
“Yeah, Anna told me about you, about her encounter with you,” Alan said. He stood up and holstered his sword. “I’m Alan, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Grand Duke of Russia.”
Sora nodded. “Seems to me that you’ve wanted to see me since my first visit,” she said. Alan was surprised that she knew, but he said nothing. Sora then asked him, “Why is that?”
He cleared his throat before answering, “Because I wanted to see you for myself, and not just because of what happened between you and Anna.” Sora tilted her head a little bit, as if she was confused. Alan continued by saying, “You seem to be against waging a war with us and Arendelle’s allies. You don’t want Russia to attack Arendelle, but you’ll do it if Katina commands you to.”
Sora nodded. “Yes, I would hate to have to attack this beautiful kingdom, and the innocent lives of the people that live in it,” she said. “But if I’m commanded to do it, I will.”
“You don’t have to, you know. You can defy Katina’s orders if you wanted to, you’re far stronger than she is and could probably wipe out at least half of Russia itself if you wanted to,” Alan pointed out. “If you’re against fighting a war, then don’t.”
Sora let out a soft chuckle, her gaze falling upon Alan. “It’s not that simple, young man,” she said. “As I told Anna, I made my decision a long, long time ago. To protect and serve the royals of Russia, whomever may lead. I am loyal to them, I always have been. That being said, yes, I don’t agree with everything they do. I certainly don’t agree with what Katina wants to do.”
“Then don’t fight! Don’t let Katina tell you what to do!” Alan blurted out.
Sora shook her head. “Again, its not that simple. I cannot go against her.”
“What do you mean you can’t go against her?” Alan said, a sense of anger in his voice. “Excuse my language, but for ****’s sake, you’re a Grand Duke! A fallen angel no less, if I remember what Anna said correctly.” Sora gave a subtle nod before Alan added, “You have a choice, you don’t have to let Katina tell you what to do. If you don’t want to attack, then don’t.” He let out a huff, then turned around and pulled his sword out once more, preparing to shift into stance.
Sora looked at Alan, her eyes glimmering. She understood his frustration, his anger. She calmly replied, “You seem extremely invested in the matters of the queen and Arendelle’s relationship with Russia. You work tirelessly out here in these woods, nearly every day.” Sora chuckled. “You even fought Katina’s fellow Exalted member, Will Harrison, correct?”
Alan turned his head slightly.
“Yes,” said Sora, nodding. “I understand your frustration, Alan, you don’t want a war just as much as me.”
Alan turned around, holding his sword at his side. “Do you though? Do you really understand where I am coming from here, where Anna is coming from? Arendelle is not to be messed with, Arendelle is not meant to be a pawn in Katina’s plans. I don’t want a war between Arendelle and Russia, no one here does. But such a war means even more because the only person around here that is strong enough to take on any one of you Grand Dukes, that being Elsa, is the love of my life. Yes, she’s the Fifth Spirit, but there’s only one, one, of her. And there are three of you. Not to mention Katina and Russia’s armies. From what I remember, one of the other Dukes has an army of his own that’ll be coming. I may look tough, I may work my ass off out here, but on the inside, I am scared, not just for Arendelle and our allies, for Queen Anna and everyone else, but for Elsa especially. She can only do so much. Her powers can only go so far. The last thing I need is for her to overexert herself so much that something happens to her.”
Almost to his own surprise, tears began to fall from his face, his eyes prickling with pain. “I can’t lose her, I just can’t. She means too much to me. I won’t allow it.”
He wiped his face, and stood tall once more. “That’s why I’m out here, every day, improving myself. I may not be as powerful as Elsa, but I want to be able to hold my own against anything that comes our way.” Alan said. “For everything this kingdom and its people have done for me, for everything that Elsa and Anna have done for me, I must do all I can for them.”
Sora nodded at him. “That’s very admirable of you, I’m impressed,” she admitted.
Alan nodded back. “That being said, this isn’t a war I’d want to see. I know Anna was defiant towards you, not wanting to compromise, but, I think it was more so because she had never seen someone like you, nor was she expecting you to come. Anna won’t let Arendelle become a part of Russia’s plans. Never.”
“You’re correct,” Sora said. “I think Anna wasn’t in the right mind-state with my arrival, not to mention my taking flight with her to the North Mountain. That I think scared her, quite frankly; she wasn’t expecting it. Personally, I hope she reconsiders. As much as I know she doesn’t want to do it, it would be a small price to pay to avoid a war. And it would be the last thing I’d want to do, to attack this place.”
“I agree, but you’d be hard pressed to get Anna to talk to Katina again,” Alan said. “Personally, I think you need to get Katina to compromise if you want Anna to do the same.”
“You understand that compromise would be to make Katina not attack Arendelle, to not send the other Dukes and myself, right?” Sora said.
“I know,” Alan said confidently. “But I have a feeling that you can talk her out of it. Katina may consider it an act of defiance if you do it, but I consider it as an act of judgement. You said it yourself, you don’t want to attack Arendelle. Here’s your chance to back that up.”
Sora looked impressed. Alan was speaking to a Grand Duke, a fallen angel. She could burn him alive or take him far into the sky where he couldn’t breathe. Yet here he was, speaking as if she were just another person. “You’re wise beyond your years, young man,” Sora said. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try my best.”
“That’s all I could ask for,” Alan admitted with a smile. “I’m sure we’ll hear one way or the other what happens. If it works out, that would be huge. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll see.”
“Indeed.” Sora turned around. “I’ve loitered around Scandinavia long enough. It was good meeting you,” she said. “I won’t forget a mortal like you. Goodbye for now, Alan.” Her celestial wings unfurled and she exploded into the sky, a mighty boom shaking the forest canopy and the ground.
Alan smiled, then took his sword and got to work once more.
Later that evening, after joining the gang for dinner at Arendelle Castle, Alan asked Anna if he could talk to her privately. She obliged, and when they were alone, Alan told her of his meeting, how Sora reacted to him, and how they talked in general. When he told her about his “challenge,”, Anna was shocked.
“You… you what?” Anna said in surprise.
Alan nodded, smiling. “Yes, I asked Sora to talk Katina out of a war. It’s going to be a challenge, knowing Katina, but Sora is her senior. I feel confident that we can avoid this war if Sora can prevent Katina from starting it.”
Anna had to comprehend everything Alan said, but when she did, she smiled, and hugged Alan tightly. He hugged her back. “Thank you Alan.” Anna whispered. “I knew I could count on you, even when I didn’t ask anything of you and I hadn’t thought of such a simple but fantastic idea.”
Alan just smiled. “Anything for the kingdom that took me in when I had nothing. This is my adopted home. I will always fight for it. I’ll always fight for you and Elsa, you gave me a home when I had none. It’s the least I could do.” Anna looked into Alan’s eyes and nodded. “Now, let’s get back to dinner with the others, shall we?” Alan said, smiling. “I’m sure they’d love to know what happened.”