A tale of Two Winters
"More water, more water!" Edger cried as he cradled their baby jack. "he's burning up!"
His wife Gertrude rushed what water wasn't frozen in a pot to her husband who quickly plunged the rag into it and placed it on their toddlers head.
Gertrude gripped her swollen belly getting her balance after rushing over. Edger looked helplessly from his twin children, to his pregnant wife.
"Darling!" he cried.
"I'm fine dear...I'm fine.." Gertrude said regaining her balance.
Their little baby Jack coughed, squirmed then calmed again. "Thank goodness..." he breathed out.
"Is he breathing better...?" his wife asked.
Edger walked Jack across the wooden floor of their cabin to the crib he had carved himself.
"He's smiling..." he said breathing a sigh of relief.
"Did we wake Elsa?" Gertrude asked.
Edger peeped into the crib to see their twin daughter yawning to herself, with a discontented sleeping face.
"No...she's just dreaming." he said as he placed Jack back in the crib with her.
She immediately reached for her brother and hugged him in her sleep.
A tear came to their mothers eye. "I don't think I can do this..."
Edger put a hand on her back, "...I know dear. But we barely have enough to take care of the two of them as it is. When Our third comes along..."
"I know..." Gertrude said shaking her head. "I know."
"He's changing..." he sighed. "No..." his wife said. "Maybe it's just a normal fever..."
"It's JUST like Elsa's darling..." Edger insisted. "It's happening, just like the trolls said. Being born under the light of the Mages Moon would protect you, but also change them. Winter would have its day, and its night."
"Our children were saved, just for us to lose again?" Gertrude said shaking her head.
"With the King she'll want for nothing Gertrude..." he protested.
"Except her real parents, her siblings..." his wife sighed as she sat next to their crib.
"The Queen and King have a little daughter, a princess, they said they wanted a sister for her to play with." Edger said for his sake as much as hers.
"And will they understand her gift...? When the villagers saw Elsa's hair and eyes...what she could do they thought she was witch, that I was witch. For goodness sake its why we had to move out of the Kingdom Edg-!"
Edger put his hands on her shoulders, "Darling, Darling! Shhh, please...the King knows everything, and he doesn't care, he says their palace is big and vast enough for her to play and live with their daughter without anyone seeing her. This gores my heart too, but it's for the best. We'll have Jack and Jessica to think of now..."
"His hair hasn't changed..." Gertrude said after a pause, changing the subject. "I still think it's just a fever."
Edger realized it was pointless to try to get his wife to look him in the eye, so looked again at their twin children.
"I would do it again." he said, "If I had to do it again, I would still have put you under that moon light if it meant having you all, even if it was for only this long."
She finally looked up at him.
"And they had a right to life too..." he went on, "Even if it isn't ours..."
Gertrude put a hand to her face not holding back the tears anymore.
Suddenly the heard the sound of bells outside, and the scrapping of a Sleigh on the ground.
Gertrude's head jolted up "No! Not Already?!" The look on her husbands face was just as paniced as hers.
"It can't be morning..." he looked towards the window and saw that while there were no sunbeams protruding from the cracks in the shutters. The sky was no longer black, but deep purple and blue.
*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK* thumped the door, and the light of a lantern shown between the cracks in the wood outside.
For a while the couple just held each other, almost praying that they would give up and go home.
"They aren't opening up your highness..." came a gruff voice from outside. "Open up in the name of-"
Suddenly another voice, strong but kind interrupted it.
"No! No, do you realize how hard this is, give them a while."
"Of course your majesty." the gruff voice said apologetically.
"Are you sure they'll still do it?" came a female voice from outside.
Gertrude and Edger looked at each other, then down at their babies.
Outside the door, the reindeer drawing the royal sleigh stomped at the ground making the bells on their reigns tinkle.
The King and Queen hugged their furs around themselves as they stood outside the small peasant cabin.
The air was so varst they could see their own breath.
"Dear, we can't just give them the gold, we should arrange for them to to have a new home as well, no one should liv-"
Suddenly the cabin door opened slowly, and the guardsman Randolph raised his lantern to see better.
Edger and Gertrude came slowly into the light, cradling their darling Elsa in their arms.
The King and Queen stepped quickly over to them, "Is she well?" the King asked.
"Yes." Edger said, keeping his arm around his wife.
"Thank you both, so much for this..." the Queen said. The Peasant couple noticed the queen was carrying her own little bundle, wrapped in royal violet and blue.
She smiled from the bundle to the couple, "I thought you should meet her sister..."
She unwrapped the top of the violet and blue cloth and revealed the small face of a red headed baby girl.
The two parents couldn't help but be taken by her face,
"Her name is Anna..." the Queen said. "I thought it would help to see for yourself..." she said.
Edger and his wife brought their own baby, Elsa closer so that the two were side by side.
Anna yawned slightly and turned over in her mothers arms, Elsa just slept contently. Gertrude took away her own swaddling cloth from Elsa's head to reveal her shock of white hair.
They both looked up at the Queen and King for their reaction, and the only look on their faces were smiles.
"She's beautiful..." the King said.
"We'll take good care of her..." the Queen promised.
"And her gift..." Gertrude asked.
"Whatever it takes." the King assured her seriously. "No one will be able to hurt her."
Suddenly a small snow flake fell on Elsa's head, it didn't dissolve, just sat their like a little star reflecting the light on her forehead.
With what seemed like a eternity but felt like it had happened to soon afterward, Gertrude handed over their Darling Snow Angel to the King who took her in his arms gently.
More snow had begun to fall around them, and the Queen bundled up their Anna warmly again in her arms again.
Randolph went back to the sleigh and produced a chest which he put on their rickety porch step, making the floorboards underneath it buckle.
"Please..." the King said, "Let us know if you require anything else."
Edger and Gertrude just looked down at Elsa and stroked her white hair, ushering up smiles.
"Just remember Elsa, we'll always love you. You'll always be our little princess too..."
Gertrude cried into her husbands shoulder, suddenly they heard a babies cry from inside their cottage.
"It's Jack..." Edger said, looking torn between their farewell to their daughter, and their now woken child.
"My lord, we should go, the snow has already begun to fall, we don't want it to get much colder before the pass fills..." Randolph said.
Edger nudged his wife to follow him inside as he blinked away some tears, entering the house to tend to Jack.
Gertrude hugged her shawl tighter around herself, forcing herself to follow her husband, but not looking away from Elsa as she did.
In kind the King also put his free arm around this Queen to turn her towards the sleigh, while holding little Elsa with the other.
Above them the moon peered from behind the clouds, shining a light on the sleigh as it made off across the snow.