Continuing Tales

For the First Time in Never

A Frozen Story
by JE Glass

Part 4 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Revel rubbed his temples for the third time in an attempt to massage away the headache that had been plaguing him since awakening that morning. It had started out as nothing more than a mild ache behind his eyes but had very quickly escalated into a pounding throb that only worsened when he was in any sort of bright light or when he stared at the mounds of papers scattering his desk like tree dandruff.

Is there any end to paperwork, or is this just a glimpse of what I should expect to find in hell?

Indeed, Revel had acquired quite a bit of work over the past few days. Recruiting season was already upon the kingdom, and the Captain had received at least sixty petitions to join the royal guard. Most of the candidates would be weeded out during drill week, the week of pure hellish torture all would-be recruits must participate in before the true training began, but that still meant sitting down with each individual candidate and gleaning what information he could from them about family history, illnesses, and any past crimes on the ledger in the House of Justice. And all of that required paperwork, and all of it was on top of patrol notices, citations and warrants that needed signing, dock receipts, and a hundred other things waiting within the stacks of crisp manila papers.

Groaning inwardly, Ravel attempted to pick up a stack of citations, mostly minor infractions with the more severe resting on the top, knocked another pile onto the floor with his elbow, and in an attempt to keep those precious papers from rolling away, dropped the citation stack. For a half a heartbeat he just stared at the scattering papers in numb disbelief. Today just wasn't going to be his day, he could already tell. The bad luck that had plagued him last night during his walk with the queen seemed to have followed him into the next day, and he knew all he could do was let it works its course. Too frustrated to do much else, Revel put his head down on his desk and closed his eyes. Relief washed over him as the muscles behind his eyes relaxed, relinquishing their stranglehold on his eyeballs and giving him just a few moments reprieve from the pain. He was just about to drift into a state of semi-consciousness when there came a knock at the door, three sharp, loud raps that sent him sitting bolt upright out of instinct and caused a lance of pain to explode behind his eyes.

"Damnit," Revel cursed, pushing his chocolate locks away from his forehead. No, this just wasn't going to be his day.

"Sebastian, I swear to God," he growled as he rose and crossed the small windowless chamber that was his office and pulled the door open with a yank, "if you ask if I've gotten your warrant signed one more damn—"

"Good afternoon, Captain," Elsa said with an arched eyebrow, hands folded neatly in front of her.

Revel felt the color drain from his face and automatically snapped into a sharp salute, back cracking painfully with the sudden jerky movement.


"Have I come at a bad time?"

"No, Majesty, and forgive me for my coarse language. Had I know it was you—"

"Unless you've developed the ability to see through solid wood doors, an apology is not needed."

"Thank you, Majesty." Revel didn't relax any, but he did drop out of his salute and stepped aside so that the young queen could enter. Elsa did just that, taking in the small office with a glance. It was a simple room with hardly any decoration save for a few medals on plaques and a pair of crossed swords mounted above a modest fireplace. The Captain's desk was a chaotic mess of disheveled papers, some set into stacks while others sat loosely with its neighbors. The floor around the squat maple desk was dotted with discarded papers that fluttered and curled as the Captain closed the door behind them.

"Are you sure this isn't a bad time?" Elsa asked motioning at the disarray of paperwork. Revel blushed but didn't attempt to clean up his quarters, instead offering the queen a seat which she refused with a slight wave of the hand.

"If you don't mind, I'd prefer to remain standing. You, however, may sit."

Revel obeyed wordlessly, sinking back down into his most uncomfortable, unpadded wooden chair and folding his hands before him. "May I ask what brings you down to my office, Majesty? Is there a problem that needs taking care of?"

Elsa regarded the dark-haired man for a few moments, choosing her next few words carefully. "I wouldn't necessarily call it a problem, though that depends entirely on who you speak to."

Revel gave the queen a quizzical look. "I'm not sure I follow, Majesty."

"Then I will speak plainly. My sister will no longer be participating in her nightly sessions with you."

The Captain felt his world tilt dangerously to one side and had to plant his hands on the desk to keep from toppling out of his chair. It felt as if the air had been sucked out of the chamber. The queen knew. He didn't know how she'd found out, he and Anna had been careful not to draw attention to themselves, but she knew. Suddenly the room was a bit too bright despite there only being a low burning oil lamp hanging beside his desk. Squeezing his eyes shut, Revel attempted to push his now screaming headache aside and focus on the here and now. What he said next could very easily determine where and how his career ended. He couldn't even fathom what the queen would do or had done to her sister now that she knew.

To hell with my career, protect the Princess, he thought as his mind finally clicked into gear.

"Majesty please, it was my idea. I approached Princess Anna about the sparring lessons. She had offhandedly mentioned while watching a training session that she wanted to learn a few techniques, and I offered to teach her. She refused at first but I persisted. Please, Majesty, if you have to be angry with someone be angry with me."

Elsa narrowed her eyes at the Captain, unsure of what he thought he was doing. She'd not expected this type of reaction from him. Admission yes, perhaps a little guilt at being caught, but he was acting as if confessing to a major crime. And to make matters worse, placing the blame entirely on himself was akin to committing suicide. She didn't know whether to be impressed or irritated.

"Captain," Elsa asked in a frigid tone, cerulean-blue eyes hard as compact ice, "do you understand that lying to your queen, or any member of the royal family, is a crime punishable by death?"

Revel didn't bat an eyelash, didn't even flinch. "Yes, Majesty."

"Are you willing to gamble your life on a lie?"

"Everything was my idea, Majesty. Do with me what you will, but please do not be angry with Princess Anna." Revel stood slowly, his body numb from the neck down. This was it. This was the culmination of his career right here. To serve faithfully for years only to throw himself onto the executioners block in order to keep the princess from harm. But was that what he was really doing? Was this just some antiquated form of nobility coming out in him, the urge to protect what he saw as the helpless maiden? The idea very nearly made him laugh. Anna was anything but helpless, three years of near constant nightly sparring tempering an already tough young woman into a force to be reckoned with. And hadn't the queen and her sister reconciled their past differences a long time ago? Surely this small secret wouldn't be enough to drive them apart again…could it? The thought made Revel nauseated. If he were solely responsible for the re-division of the royal family he didn't know if he could honestly live another day.

Elsa watched the Captain closely, studying every flicker of emotion that flashed across his face. It surprised her Revel was so willing to, both figuratively and literally, throw himself on the sword. It was an old noble quality, one she wasn't sure all the guards under her command possessed, but was it nobility or just another form of self-harm? The question straddled such a vast grey area Elsa didn't know if she wanted to delve into it. Instead she took a breath to clear her head.

"I know you're lying, Captain," the queen said in a quiet voice. "And I know why you're doing it. You think that by taking the blame you're somehow protecting my sister, but, I have to wonder, what you're trying to protect her from. Do you think I would do something to harm Anna?"

"Never, Majesty!"

"Then you're lying in order to partake in some form of punishment? If you are dissatisfied with your current rank there are better ways to step down than this."

"No, I'm just—"

"Doing your duty," Elsa finished his sentence with a sigh and decided that it would be best to sit. Revel immediately sank into his own chair, his striking green eyes as wide as dinner plates. A faint smile began to curl at the corner of the queen's lips. "Captain, it is both comforting and unnerving to know that you would be so willing to protect my sister, to protect any of my family in such a way. I don't know whether or not to call it chivalry or insanity, but I believe there is a measure of both in each. Still, I did not come down here today to dole out any punishment or berate you for keeping secrets from me. If we are being honest, I've known about your sessions with my sister for a year now."


"It was during the night the second assassin tried to take my life. Anna fought him off until I awoke. It was Kristoff who informed me that my sister had been taking lessons from you for two years. I'll admit I was extremely angry with the both of you. To keep secrets from the queen is a treasonous offence, and if anyone had found out, or if Anna had been seriously wounded during a session, it would have been your blood they would have cried for. You put yourself at great risk by teaching my sister how to fight, but I must thank you for it. Because of your teachings, Anna saved my life that night, and, in turn, you saved hers."

"I'm sure she would have fought the assassin off regardless of my tutelage," Revel said in numb disbelief. So apparently he wasn't going to die, not yet at least.

"Doubtful. Anna may be more rough-and-tumble than most princesses, but pitted against a professional assassin, I'm certain she and I would have lost our lives that night."

"You pay me too great an honor, Majesty."

"I give respect where respect is due, Captain." Elsa said with a nod. "Now, back to the matter at hand. The reason why my sister can no longer continue her lessons with you is because she is with child."

If it were possible, Revel's eyes grew wider and some color seemed to return to his cheeks. "This is wonderful news, Majesty!"

"Indeed, it is. I suspect Anna will come to tell you herself, but I wanted to make it clear that her lessons are to stop. I will not have my sister's child put in jeopardy. Is that clear, sir?"

"Yes, Majesty. I can honestly say that, had the princess come and told me first, I would have suspended her lessons until after the child was born."

"You are a professional man, Captain," Elsa said as she stood from her chair and straightened her dress. "I have no doubt you would have done what was best for my sister. I just wanted to make things clear. I know how persuasive Anna can be when she wants something."

Revel nodded and stood, opening the door for the queen and feeling like at any moment he could take off from the ground and fly. The weight of dread he'd felt only minutes ago had dissolved into nothingness, leaving him in a practically giddy mood. The queen was just passing over the threshold when she stopped and turned to him, so close he could see the light dusting of freckles over the bridge of her nose.

"Captain, the way we left things last night…it was wrong of me to have gotten angry with you."

"I very nearly accused you for committing heresy, Majesty. Had you not gotten angry I would have been worried."

"Regardless, I would like to speak with you privately this evening. There have been things on my mind recently…things that I believe you may be able to help me with."

Revel smiled, feeling warmth spread across his chest. So they were still friends, or at least close acquaintances. He would never assume he and the queen could ever pass beyond a professional relationship.

"Of course, Majesty," Revel said making sure to keep his voice low. "Our same spot then, say around midnight?"

"I'll be waiting," Elsa nodded and swept away, the scent of morning frost and mountain air trailing in her wake.

Elsa leaned against the southern parapet watching the small waves lap against the stony shore thirty feet down. It was a cloudy night, the cold stars swallowed up as storm clouds rolled in off the sea, a promise of rain hanging thick in the air. She'd gotten there a full hour before the Captain, compiling her thoughts as best she could. So much had happened in one day. Anna had come home only to discover she was pregnant and a message from the troll kingdom had arrived when Olaf had ridden back into town on Sven (the two had been spending quite a bit of time together over the two weeks Kristoff had been gone), detailing that Grand Pabbie wanted the two newlyweds to partake in a traditional troll wedding to solidify their marriage in the eyes of the clan. It would take a week for the ceremony to be complete, and though Elsa was loath to let Anna venture into the mountains now that she was with child, her sister had insisted they go, arguing that the trolls were just as much family as she was.

"Plus, we won't be leaving for a few days. Pabbie said he wanted to wait until the next lunar eclipse, which according to him is four days from now. Apparently it's powerful good luck getting married under a lunar eclipse."

"Powerful good luck," Kristoff confirmed with a solemn nod.

So, Elsa had reluctantly consented to let her sister go, but declined the offer to accompany them. There was just too much to do in Arendelle at the moment she couldn't pull herself away. Especially after receiving news about the trouble brewing in the neighboring kingdom of Evendelle. Apparently a powerful duke, angry with the rise in taxes on the wealthy, had rallied supporters and built himself a small army and marched on Evendelle, very nearly killing the king but succeeding in killing his wife and unborn child in their flight from the castle. The warband had been hunted down and executed for high treason, but the news had shocked Elsa in a way she hadn't been prepared for. All she could think about was, what if that had been my sister killed in the attack while I lived? That was why she needed to speak to the Captain tonight despite their prickly separation the previous evening.

She heard the heavy wood door close quietly and turned to see Revel walking toward her. He wore a burgundy oil cloak to protect against the oncoming rain, but had changed out of his guard's uniform into something more casually comfortable. Under the cloak she could see he sported a dark brown or black vest overtop a green undershirt. His trousers were his customary black along with his boots which looked to have been shined recently. In his hand he carried an oil lantern already lit with a small orange flame dancing behind the glass cover.

"Good evening, Captain," Elsa said acknowledging him with a nod. Revel ducked into a slight bow, as was usual for him, returning upright with a broad smile on his face. He quickly took his place beside her, lantern set atop the wall.

"Same to you, Majesty. It looks as if we might be in for some rocky weather this evening."

"It does seem that way, doesn't it?" Elsa replied, eyes closed as she listened to the song of the wind echo through the mountains on either side of the fjord. The Captain joined her in their usual silent appraisal of the fjord and connecting sea, just enjoying the sound of nature's voice swirling around them. He knew the queen would speak when ready.

"There's been trouble in Evendelle recently," Elsa said after a long stretch of silence. She knew she was giving confidential information to someone of lower rank, someone she didn't know if she could fully trust, but she had to get her thoughts out before they ate her from the inside out.

"I've heard rumors from friends within the city," Revel said quietly. "Horrible rumors. The queen and her unborn child are dead and the king is inconsolable."

"The rumors are true. Queen Lastasha was killed when the duke's army stormed the castle. King Estevan defeated the warband, and those who were left after the cowards scattered were hunted down and executed, the duke included."

"I grieve for Estevan's loss. I met Queen Lastasha when I was very young, and she was a wonderfully kind woman. Heaven has gained one more good heart, it seems."

Elsa glanced at Revel out of the corner of her eye. How he had met a queen was beyond her, but he seemed genuinely saddened by the news of her death so she left her questions unsaid.

"Which is why I asked you here tonight," the young queen said, moving away from the railing. That was Revel's sign she wanted to walk along the perimeter wall, and he wordlessly followed his queen into the darkness.

"This news has really troubled you hasn't it?"

"More than you can possibly understand," Elsa whispered, wrapping her long arms around her stomach. "I constantly fear for the safety of my family, Revel. It's a gnawing fear that won't go away no matter how many times I tell myself they're protected by my powers, by my army, by my guards, by you. I realized after last year's assassination attempt that all of us are vulnerable to outside attacks. The man who stabbed me in the crowd didn't look like the stereotypical storybook villain we are taught to look out for as children. He was average in every way, able to blend in with his surroundings like a chameleon."

Out of the corner of his eye, Revel caught Elsa's right thumb trace a horizontal line on her purple bodice a few inches under her left breast and instinctively knew she was reliving the pain of her scar. It was a nervous tick he'd spotted during their nightly walks. Whenever conversation of past events, the assassination attempt, or her family's safety came about the queen's right thumb would trace the four inch scar like someone rubbing a worry stone. Tonight was no different save for the fact that she looked like a caged animal desperate to find a way out of a trap. Revel stepped closer to Elsa and felt the cold a moment later. It wasn't as bitter as it had been the night before, but he could feel the arctic breeze swirling around her like wind in a bottle.

"I understand your fear, Majesty."

"You of all people should," Elsa said choosing a place to stop walking and leaning against the wall again. It was far enough away from the perimeter and tower doors she knew their conversation would not be overheard.

"I know I can't put your fears to rest with just words, but please know that I'll do everything in my power to protect you and your family. I swore it upon my entrance into the royal guards, and I swear it to you now."

"I know you will, Revel," Elsa nodded, turning and gifting him with a rare smile that made her cerulean blue eyes dance. The Captain felt a warm burst of light in his chest like a brushfire igniting and couldn't help but smile back. But the queen's smile was gone a heartbeat later, replaced with an expression akin to concentrated determination. "Which is why I asked you here tonight. I have a…request to ask of you."

"Anything, Majesty," Revel said leaning against the wall with his hip and crossing his arms across his chest.

"I want you to teach me like you've taught Anna."

The Captain blinked in utter surprise, his words momentarily escaping him as his mouth fell open in shock. That hadn't been anywhere near what he'd been expecting to hear.

"I…um…Majesty I'm not sure I…what?"

"I didn't think I stuttered," Elsa frowned.

"You didn't, it's just…Majesty, is that wise? I mean, the princess is one thing, but you… and with your powers—"

"My powers scare you," Elsa said with such stoic rigidity it was difficult to see that she'd begun retreating into herself, hands curled into fists at her sides. In the darkness, the Captain could see the faint glow of her arctic magic peeking through the cracks between her fingers.

Damn my inability to speak to women! Revel raged watching the queen take a reflexive step away from him.

"Majesty, that's not at all what I mean," Revel said taking a step towards her, determined not to let her sink any further into the depths of her mind. "Your powers are as much a part of you as a sword is a part of a fencer. I don't fear your powers; I have a healthy respect for them. But what I meant to say was, you are the queen. It was easy, well not entirely easy, but regardless, it was easier for Princess Anna and me to spar in secret because she's a princess. The security around her isn't near what it is around you. Also, I can't see your court or cabinet being all too pleased to hear their queen has taken up ground grappling with the guard captain."

Elsa's head whipped around, and the Captain felt himself shrink under her sudden intense stare. "I couldn't give a damn what they think. Not a damn! Their concern isn't for my family, but mine is. I'm the eldest, I'm queen. It's my responsibility to protect them," Elsa bit out, planting her hands on the perimeter wall, nails scraping the stone. For just the briefest of moments she let her fear take control and, before she could stop it, a sheet of ice overtook the railing three feet in either direction.

Revel jumped at the sudden cold snaking up his pants leg and spreading across the bottom half of his vest like creeping vines. He'd never seen Elsa's ice magic close up and could understand why people feared it. Aside from it being shockingly cold, the way the ice shifted and moved made it seem like it had a mind of its own. Gently he brushed the ice crystals from his clothes, fascinated by the pattern they made on warm fabric, but looked up in surprise when the queen gave a startled gasp. She'd jumped away from the wall as well, a look of utter terror on her face, glowing hands clamped together and pressed firmly against her chest.

"I'm sorry, oh God, I'm so sorry…" she began backing away, all royal demeanor gone. Now she looked like a scared twenty-five-year-old woman looking for an escape. Elsa knew this was a direct result of the stress she'd been under since that morning. Over the years she'd learned how to deal with the rigors of ruling and, with Anna's help, learned how to not bottle her emotions. But things had moved so fast today she'd forgotten to take the necessary steps to ensure she wasn't back building power.

Get it under control, Elsa thought clenching her jaw so tightly her back teeth ached, forcing her magic back under her reins. Control it, don't let it control you. Control it. Control it!

"Majesty," Revel said very softly. When she didn't respond he took a cautious step forward, hands out to show he wasn't going to hurt her. "Queen Elsa, calm down. I'm all right. It just startled me that's all. I've never see your magic up close before."

Elsa stopped and planted her feet, determined to regain control. Eyes scrunched tightly closed, she battled with the swirling tempest quickly rising in her. A bloom of warmth suddenly overtook her body beginning at her shoulders and spreading down across her chest, allowing her just enough of a respite from the clawing cold she was able to wrestle her magic back into place. After a few silent moments and some heavy breathing, the fear squirming inside finally quieted and the queen could think clearly for the first time since dropping Anna off at the medical wing that morning. It felt good to breathe, to shake off her cloying stress sitting on her chest like a stone. Opening her eyes, she saw that Revel was standing closer than he had been before the panic set in, and he was without his oil cloak. It was then she realized why she'd felt so warm.

"You looked cold," Revel offered by way of explanation when Elsa touched the slick fabric of his cloak.

"Thank you," she said in a small voice, feeling warmth pool in her cheeks. Clearing her throat in order to cover for her embarrassment she said, "Are you sure you're all right? None of the ice touched you?"

"No, it just spread over my vest." Looking down, Revel saw the ghost image of the ice etched into the soft leather like a shadow. When he touched it the fabric felt cold. "Truly, your magic is a strange and wonderful thing. I've never seen the like."

"You're too kind," Elsa managed with a small half-smile. She'd been complimented about her magic before, certainly for her sculptural abilities, but somehow Revel's compliment seemed more genuine than most.

"So, about your proposal," the Captain said picking his lantern up and coming to stand next to the queen. Elsa flinched away, but he kept his body loose to show he felt no fear towards her for what she'd done.

"I'm beginning to think it was a mistake to even ask."

"A pity, because my evenings have just opened up for the foreseeable next nine months, and I'd hate to have to waste that precious time doing paperwork."

"You mean actually doing your job," Elsa quipped with a lopsided smile, feeling more and more comfortable the farther they walked back towards the perimeter doors.

"You wound me, Majesty!" Revel said clutching at his heart dramatically.

"I only speak about what I know, and I know you hate doing paperwork as much as I do."

A fat raindrop decided at that moment to plunge from the sky and land squarely atop Elsa's head. Startled, she looked up and was rewarded with another fat drop, this one very nearly hitting her in the eye.

"I think that storm you were talking about is about to—"

The heavens opened with a sudden vengeance and dumped torrents of cold water onto the kingdom and the two figures standing atop the southern perimeter wall. Elsa laughed and pulled up the hood of Revel's cloak before any more water could soak her head. The Captain shrugged out of his leather vest and attempted to use it as a makeshift hood, but it was poor protection against the driving rain.

"Oh God, that's cold!" Revel shouted over the roar of the water.

"The cold never bothered me!" Elsa retorted with a wild laugh. She loved being in the middle of storms, cloak or no cloak.

"Well, that's all well and good for you, but normal people still feel it!"

"Apologies," Elsa said and lifted a portion of cloak enough so that he could duck inside and keep dry. He only hesitated for a second until the queen shot him an incredulous look. "Really, Captain? I may be the Snow Queen, but I'm not going to freeze you if you stand too close."

Deciding he'd better not test his already deplorable luck, Revel stepped next to Elsa and took his corner of the cloak in hand. This close and he could feel her body heat which surprisingly seemed about average give or take a few degrees. She shifted closer and linked arms with him, a giddy smile spreading across her face.

"If we're going to make it in before you freeze, I suggest we make a run for the door!"

"After you!"

The two took off at a dead run, cloak flapping and snapping behind them like a dark flag. Puddles of water exploded underfoot as they ran, and before long both were laughing like children as the torrent increased in severity. Finally the perimeter door loomed in front of them and they crashed through, all soggy giggles and broad smiles.

"I've not done that in years," Elsa said breathlessly, shaking water from her arms and hands. The cloak wound up providing little protection from the rain with an extra person concealed within, her hair plastered against her scalp, her bodice and skirt a sopping mess, but she hardly cared. Revel seemed to have fared just as well, his undershirt stuck to his chiseled chest like an extra skin, and his breeches thoroughly soaked.

"I do it about once a month in the rainy season, but this was by far the most entertaining rainy sprint I've partaken in."

Elsa shrugged out of the cloak and handed it back to the Captain, but he shook his head. "Might as well leave it on the hook to dry. If Kai or Gerda sees water droplets all over their clean floors..."

"Good plan," Elsa said and hung the soaking piece of fabric next to the antechamber lantern. For a few moments the queen and the Captain stood watching each other, both unwilling to move and risk breaking the light atmosphere. Finally Elsa cleared her throat and opened the second door.

"Good night, Captain."

"Good night, Majesty. I will see you tomorrow night, though perhaps an earlier time would be best? I prefer to teach in secret around ten in the evening, exactly one hour after lights out in the barracks."

"Then I will see you at ten sharp, Captain," Elsa said, moving out of the room. Before she disappeared around the corner she shot him a smile over her shoulder and nodded. "Ten sharp."

"Oh, and wear sensible clothes," Revel said a little louder than he'd planned and flushed. Elsa only nodded and continued walking, leaving the Captain to drip dry in the antechamber, goofy smile pulling at the corners of his lips.

For the First Time in Never

A Frozen Story
by JE Glass

Part 4 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>