Featured image art “Redemptive chat” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle
After seeing how Hilde and Selene were doing during our dinner for Queen Anna and our returning travelers, I got to thinking about what our little castle has become to some very special folks.
I said to my niece, the Queen; “You know, Anna, this castle is not just our home, it feels like a safe haven for some once-hurting souls like Vi, Hilde, Tess, Danny, and now Selene. Just add some love and make them feel like family. Like they belong here as one of us.”
“I feel like our whole kingdom is like a found family, and I love it,” Anna replied.
“Oh yes! It shows when you’re amogst the people of Arendelle. The best little kingdom in the world!” I answered.
Anna then said: “I like to think that everyone would like to have us as their family! Teehee.”
“We’d fill up those little houses pretty fast with our crew!” I agreed, laughing generously.
Queen Anna, my niece, is spot on right. Arendelle and even Northuldra is like a family. We bore witness to when Elsa’s powers started to manifest when she ran away, and then was confronted by Anna’s selflessness. We saw the heartbreak of Anna frozen to death, only for her to return to the living and her sister. We all rallied around both sisters. Not an utterance of “monster” was ever again hurled at Elsa. Even though Elsa is now the Fifth Spirit of Ahtohallan and living in the Enchanted Forest of Northuldra, this sweet, gentle and loving young lady is still one of us.
Countess Viola Mundilfari. The last scion of the Mundilfari clan that challenged Anna, bringing the once notorious Hilde Von Altheim, commander and werewolf, back to Arendelle. They both found out about that same love and understanding when Vi, to save her own life and that of Tess Gaunt, made a deal with Mephistopheles and Hell itself that turned her into a vampiress. I was first at the docks to welcome her home.
Countess, Prime Minister, First Vampire of Arendelle, regent and my best friend, we all stood around and behind her, and loved and supported her. She and Princess Danny, the Time Spirit and Snow Princess, became better friends as well. Danny came from an abusive situation with her birth family in Mireini to become Elsa’s adopted daughter. Arendelle again, received another exceptional and loving member of the family.
Which brings me to Selene Severin, niece of the late Sergeant Severin, who gave the last full measure of his own life in the defence of Arendelle against Grand Duke Yaraslaf. The sergeant lost his life in combat. He, with Hilde and General Mattias, fought together until Mattias dealt Yaraslaf the final blow. Hilde was grievously wounded, yet survived her wounds from that fight. Even as her werewolf self, it took all three of them to finish off Yaraslaf.
Full of grief, sorrow and bitterness, Selene mistakenly thought Hilde shirked out on the sarge, which led Selene on a dark path of ill-advised vengeance.
It didn’t take fighting or violence to stop this senseless vendetta. No, just a very important document that she didn’t take time to read while plotting this revenge. As she read it, she began to understand her uncle’s wishes and the love he had for Selene. It stopped her revenge in its tracks. Selene, under house arrest at the castle, got together with Commander Hilde, and talked about the sergeant. Love, healing, and even a friendship looks to blossom now between them.
It was a pleasant surprise one day as I was in my office in the castle. I was working on the trade side of Queen Anna’s five-point plan for Arendelle and Northuldra and the New Exalted going forward. I was ready to take a break out on the balustrade with iced tea and pipe when a gentle knock came through my door. “Come on in,” I said. As the door slowly opened, I looked up to see that it was Selene. I smiled and said, “Selene. This is a pleasant surprise!”
Selene was still a bit shy and mousey as she said, “Hello… Master Michael.”
“Please, come in.” I opened the door wider. “How may I help you?” Selene came in and sat in the chair on my left side as I sat down behind my desk.
“I wanted to thank you for the kind words you gave to Queen Anna and apologize for my remarks calling you an old man.”
“You’re most welcome and don’t worry about that. I’ve been called worse!” I said with a chuckle. Selene smiled and chuckled a bit until she turned her head down and away. I came from around and sat in the empty chair in front of my desk and asked her, “You have something else on your mind that’s bothering you? You can tell me. I’m here to help, too.”
Selene took a moment, breathing deeply, and said, “I’m really sorry that I did what I did to you all. I never thought through what I really had to lose if my plan went through without your intervention. The only thing I was thinking that I had lost all when my Uncle was killed, and was convinced Hilde could have saved him but didn’t. I was so furious at her. Hilde explained to me that Yaraslaf nearly ended her life as well. How could I have let this be my only thought? I now feel ashamed of myself.”
I said to her as I gently placed a hand on her shoulder, “Please, don’t be. We have all made mistakes when our emotions are all churned up, especially after the loss of someone as close as your uncle was to you.”
“He was my light. He was like a father to me after my parents died when I was a child. He was the only family I had left. Now he’s gone. I felt so alone, and that Hilde, the lycanthropic commander, would protect him. I understand now that she was almost killed by Yaraslaf and couldn’t help even herself.”
“No, she couldn’t,” I said. “I went to where she was recovering and visited her myself. She was such a mess. I thought: the Lord would take her any second. I held her hand and prayed for her. Hilde then looked at me and smiled. I knew then that she was going to be alright.”
“Hilde told me that too,” Selene said. “She had so much respect for Uncle. She relied on his service, gathering all the important intel on Katina and Yaraslaf before the battle. She was sad when she learned of his death. Hilde even said that Uncle spoke to her about me often.”
“He did the same with me at times, too,” I said.
“He thought a lot of you. He didn’t want to see you going for fruitless vengeance. He knew that if he did indeed, lose his life, that you would still be in some very good hands.”
“I wish I fully knew that before…”
“I know” I said. I took my hand off of Selene’s shoulder as I explained. “When your life and heart has a lot of empty holes in it from the loss of the people who were very important to you, especially after another tragic loss, the grief, anguish and sorrow can be so unspeakably hard and bad, it can lead you down a very, very dark path and can make you do bad things you may come to regret or can sear one’s conscious to ashes. I know how brilliant you are, yet it can still get the better of you, no matter how smart or strong you feel. That’s why when I found your uncle’s will, I had to come a runnin’ to help Vi and Hilde stop you in time.”
“Princess Danny used her snow powers to give me a vision of what could’ve been if I wasn’t. It wasn’t good. I would have lost so much more,” Selene said.
“Danny’s a good little soul,” I said.
“I still feel badly about it. What can I do?” Selene asked of me.
“A mistake has been made. You make peace, love and forgive yourself and let others love and forgive too. We move on by learning the lessons from our mistakes, and grow wiser. I know how valuable you can be with this search for the elixir coming up. Your taking over of the Ravens and I’ll talk to William Tutore about getting his Assassins to assist you when needed. Your skills with the Kveldulf weapons can still come in handy if the need arises. You, Vi and Hilde can be pretty formidable against any threat,” I said. “Besides, you looked pretty cute and bad-ass in that silver armour!” I joked.
“Awww, Master Michael!” she cried as she blushed a brilliant red.
“The fallen angel Sora looked beautiful in her battle armour too! She was a being of pure heavenly fire, yet it was her kind and gentle character that was ever more beautiful! I still remember when she conquered Vesterland. Mari was so despondent, it was Sora who comforted her at such a bad time. I said I hated conquest, yet I couldn’t have picked a better conqueror than Grand Duke Sora. I asked Sora to give Mari a flight over Vesterland! Mari and Sora had a ball!”
“I saw you when you spoke to her,” Selene said. “Do you miss her?”
“Very much so,” I said. “You just don’t forget someone like that. That’s one of those holes in a heart I talked about. Katina’s got a bigger hole. Yet she’s doing so much good in Russia now. She just sent me some good vodka as a thank you gift! I don’t drink alcohol, but I accepted it in good faith.”
“And that’s another thing,” I added. “Live a good and transparent life. Admit your mistakes if there’s any questions and add that you learned and got over them. That’s the best life you can live. When you’re honest, you’ll find people are more willing to forgive you than you think.”
Just then, Anna, Vi, Hilde and Elsa stopped by. Anna joked, “You two plotting the overthrowing of the kingdom?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Tomorrow, you guys, in the Fjord, sleepin’ with the fishes!”
Elsa held up her hands, snowflakes dancing on them. “No, you’ll be frozen into a block of ice to sleep with the fishes!”
We all laughed together good-heartedly.
“That’s another thing, Selene, about your new family. Don’t take it all seriously when we joke. We love each other a whole lot!” I added.
Selene smiled, laughed and said, “I’ll learn not to… Uncle Michael.”
Warms this old guy’s heart to hear that. Selene’s gonna do just fine.
Trade Minister of Arendelle, “Uncle Mike”