By Seeker, Royal Biographer
The walk to the Northuldra encampment was quiet but calm. They were a nomadic people whose knowledge of the forest ran deep in their blood and bones. There wasn’t a single patch of the forest that they didn’t know and love intimately, living in perfect balance and reciprocity with the land. When they arrived at the village, the Northuldra had lit a large fire in the center of an open patch of grass, where tents for individual families had been pitched. As night fell, Anna and Elsa could see for themselves how welcoming and relaxed the Northuldra were, despite having been isolated from the outside world for decades. Song, dance, and warm conversation surrounded the royal sisters, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven. Elsa looked around at all the men and women that had been trapped in the forest for years and could feel the hope they had in her. She promised herself that she would free them from this curse, no matter what.
She began stroking the head of a baby reindeer when the young woman named Honeymaren walked up and sat next to her. They began talking amiably, and there was a notably degree of chemistry between the two young women – one, a questing queen, the other, a hardy tribeswoman.
“I wanna show you something. May I?” Honeymaren asked softly, as she gestured toward Iduna’s scarf. Elsa nodded and watched as Honeymaren lifted one of the corners of the scarf to reveal a pattern. “You know, air, fire, water, and earth,” Honeymaren said.
“Yes,” acknowledged Elsa, who nodded.
“But look,” Honeymaren pointed to the center of the pattern. “There’s a fifth spirit, said to be a bridge between us and the magic of nature.”
Elsa’s eyes widened with awe and curiosity. “A fifth spirit?”
“Some say they heard it call out the day the forest fell,” Honeymaren declared.
“My father heard it,” Elsa said, as she recalled her father’s bedtime stories. “Do you think that’s who’s calling me?”
Honeymaren smiled at her. “Maybe. Alas, only Ahtohallan knows.”
Elsa smiled and thought back to her mother’s favorite lullaby. “Dive down deep into her sound,” she began to sing, and was quickly joined by Honeymaren, and their voices came together in a melodious harmony:
“But not too far, or you’ll be drowned.”
“Why do lullabies always have to have some terrible warning in them?” Honeymaren asked with a grin, as they finished and looked at each other in satisfaction. Despite having just met, she already liked Elsa, and Elsa seemed to enjoy spending time with her among all the other Northuldra she could have socialized with.
Elsa chuckled, “I wonder that all the time.” She was about to say more when the ground shook beneath them and a loud thud could be heard in the distance.
“Earth giants,” Honeymaren said anxiously.
“What are they doing down here?” Yelena whispered with fear in her eyes.
The villagers quickly extinguished the fires and found places to hide. Elsa quickly hid behind a tree and saw Anna do the same behind a rock. Elsa dared to take a peek into the sky and gasped. She saw what looked like a walking mountain stomp past the village like a child walking past an anthill. Elsa barely hid herself again when the giant looked in her direction. After a few moments, the giant continued on his way.
Elsa walked past the tree with eager determination when Anna pulled her to the ground. “Please tell me you were not about to follow them,” Anna said exasperatedly.
Elsa looked back up at the giants and grinned. “What if I can settle them like I did the wind and fire?” she wondered.
“Or what if they can crush you before you even get the chance?” Anna said with concern. Elsa looked back at Anna. “Remember, the goal is to find the voice, find the truth, and get us home.” Elsa nodded as Olaf dashed up to them.
“Hey, guys. That was close,” Olaf said, out of breath.
“I know,” Elsa said as she let the fire spirit jump into her hands. “The giants sensed me. They may come back here. I don’t want to put anyone at risk again.” Elsa looked into Anna’s eyes. “And you’re right, Anna. We’ve got to find the voice. We’re going now.”