By Alan Nadeau III
The Russo-Arendellian War has left a mark on Arendellians from all walks of life. For those in Anna’s inner circle, the impact has been felt especially hard. The burden of the kingdom’s leadership is to shoulder the losses and casualties inflicted by a foreign power. Alan Nadeau III, one of Anna’s most trusted knights and a member of her chivalric order of the Wheat Stalk, has found himself at the heart of Anna’s battles with Russia’s Grand Dukes. As he reflects on his moments of glory as well as shocking defeat, he ponders on how far Arendelle has come, and how much danger lies ahead.
I was back home in Arendelle, following my joining Honeymaren and Amira in battle against Nykras. I’d suffered a couple of minor injuries but nothing severe, although my sword had shattered yet again, dealing a blow to my pride as well. But I had bigger concerns.
I’d gone downstairs to the drawing room see Queen Anna, Michael, and the others. Recently, the love of my life, Queen Emerita and Fifth Spirit Elsa, had headed up to the Dark Sea’s shores to stop the Grand Duke’s advance to Ahtohallan. I’d been worried sick and in an earlier phase of my battle alongside Maren, I remembered seeing that damn lich send three of the other four spirits into what he called a “nether realm.” It was like something out of some fantastic storybook, and it angered me to no end. Why are such beings of power so often horrible, awful individuals? I wanted to give chase, to fight him, but Maren and Amira talked me out of it. Good thing they did. I needed to get back to the homeland and prepare for Sora and Katina’s arrival. Everyone would be needed.
I ended up running into Michael in the hallway on my way to see Anna. He looked distraught, so I asked him, “Hey, everything alright?”
Michael looked at me with tears in his eyes. “Elsa’s been injured,” he replied. This sent shivers down my spine.
“How bad?” I asked him in dread.
“She passed out after defeating Nykras, and he had stabbed Elsa in her midsection, multiple times.”
Hearing these words felt like my heart was getting ripped out of my chest. I swore profusely for a moment or so, pounding on the wall nearest to me, as tears streamed down my cheeks. This was the last thing any of us wanted, Anna especially. She didn’t want Elsa to fight this war to begin with, but we knew there’d be no choice. If she didn’t, we’d still be fighting Yaraslaf while Nykras made his move. She defeated the lich but at the cost of getting injured, and putting herself out of commission for the time being. Once I got myself together, I went in to see Anna. The adopted princess Danny was with her, which was good to see.
“I heard about Elsa,” I said.
Anna nodded, and replied, “I’m shattered. This can’t be happening, not to my Elsa, not her!”
I nodded solemnly, and said, “Believe me, I hate it too. It was inevitable that she’d get involved in the fight and I had a bad feeling that she’d get hurt at some point. But not like this.”
I went over to Danny and gave her a hug, picking her up. I could feel her shaking in my arms, and I did my best to console her. “I… I’m scared,” she said. “I don’t want to lose mummy.”
I nodded and replied, “Believe me Danny, none of us want to lose her. Hopefully she recovers as soon as possible.”
Later that day, I was walking around the castle, with thoughts swirling in my mind. Elsa and her reported injuries, obviously, but also what was soon to come. With Nykras now gone, that left Sora and Katina. And it wouldn’t be long before they’d come to Arendelle. “This is the worst case scenario,” I said aloud to myself. “They’re gonna hear about this and Katina will want to come to Arendelle as soon as goddamn possible. If there was a time for Sora to tell that berk Katina to piss off, its now.”
Unaware that someone would be listening, someone heard me and glided up to me from behind. “You actually think she would?” came a voice. Sure enough, it was Viola Mundilfari, our former nemesis-turned-ally-turned-literal-vampire.
“Well, hi there, Vi. Wasn’t expecting you to be around,” I said. “How is Hilde doing?”
Viola smiled, showing her fangs, and approached me. “She’s getting better. It will take a lot of time, but she’ll get there,” Viola replied. “I did hear about Elsa, and, though I may not have felt this way once before, now, I really hope that she recovers.”
This was true, since there was a time when Viola had wanted Elsa gone, along with the spirits.
I just nodded. “I really hope that Sora chooses not to fight. She hasn’t wanted to since the beginning, yet Katina doesn’t give a damn jot.”
Viola shrugged. “True, but Sora may have no choice. Katina is determined to take control of our kingdom, no matter what it takes. She’s determined but desperate, and that will be her downfall.”
“It definitely will be,” I replied, nodding.
Viola looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “I meant that literally, not just her downfall in this war, but regarding the Exalted too. I think Yixin’s plan is to offer Anna a place in the Exalted to replace Katina if she fails. And looking at what’s happened now, Anna may have to strongly consider it. I know she won’t want to, but Arendelle against Russia is like that old story of David versus Goliath, but so much bigger thanks to the Grand Dukes’ influence.”
I couldn’t argue with that. Viola was right. “We’ll just have to see what happens,” I said. “I don’t think Anna will want to do it, but that’s just me. Either way, I’m just waiting for Katina’s arrival. I want her head on a goddamn pike for all of this.”
Viola nodded in agreement, smiling slyly. “Believe me, I want nothing more to see her suffer. I’d love to sink my teeth into her neck, make her scream as I suck the life out of her.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at Viola’s remarks. “Oh, how I’d pay to see that,” I said.
“I’m sure you would,” Viola replied, putting her hand on my shoulder and giving a squeeze. “Take care, knightly one.”
“Thanks, mummy bloodsucker.”
Vi pursed her lips. “Perhaps your tongue’s grown even sharper than mine these days!”
While the rest of the castle was asleep that night, I was wide awake, borrowing a sword to train since mine had been snapped in half by Nykras. I needed to work on myself, harder than ever. I wasn’t just training with the sword but with obstacle setups. Good enough that I had them both in the woods and in the castle, because I needed the self-improvement. Badly. I held my own against Nykras but I could always improve, both with the sword and in my mental strength, as well as agility. And I was relentless in this training, but not all that quiet. I heard someone coming downstairs. Sure enough, it was Queen Anna.
“Alan?” she said, which caught my attention. “What are you doing up?”
I turned to face her, wiping my brow of sweat. “Training,” I replied, catching my breath. “More than ever before. I want Katina’s head on a pike and I’m going to make it happen. I’m doing this for all of you, especially for Elsa.” I had a fire lit in my soul from hearing of the Fifth Spirit’s injuries.
Anna nodded in understanding, but looked at me, concerned. “How are you feeling?” she asked, referring to my thigh that Nykras had cut.
“Just fine,” I replied. There was a bit of pain but nothing major. “Trust me Anna, I got this,” I said. “I hope that Sora will not fight but I still need to be ready. The moment Katina steps on Arendelle soil, she’s going down.”
Anna just nodded, and said a quiet, “Try to get some sleep,” before heading back up. I knew how she felt: absolutely horrible. This whole war had cost so many lives and now Elsa was hurt. I was just determined to end it all by putting a sword in Katina’s neck or heart.
As I continued to swing my sword and work my might, training relentlessly for that incoming arrival, I harkened back to a ballad I once heard, and it felt fitting for the current situation. It’d be hours before I’d go off to bed, but the next day would involve more training. The war is not over.
Skillet’s “Feel Invincible”