Chapter 22: Epilogue
“Honey, I’m home!”
The screen door to a modest Cape Cod-style house slammed shut in the warm summer breeze. Anna tossed her car keys in a ceramic bowl on the kitchen table, hung up her nurse’s coat, and put her sunglasses on the bar.
“Olaf! Sven! Kristoff!” she greeted, patting each of the Norwegian Hygen hounds that came running gleefully on the head. “Where’s Mama?”
“In here!” Elsa called from the bedroom, half-dressed as she changed from her workday. Anna hugged her, relishing the feeling of Elsa’s bare skin on her arms. Even after 174 years, it never got old. She never tired of Elsa’s embraces, her quirky smiles, her bouts of awkwardness that became smoother over the decades, but never went away fully.
“How was work?” the elder sister asked, just over 200 years old but not looking a day past 26. She kissed Anna warmly, returning the embrace, before putting a t-shirt on and tying her hair back in a simple ponytail.
Anna opened a blackberry alcoholic seltzer from the kitchen and flopped down on the overstuffed couch in the sitting room. “Not bad. Had the usual rounds with the kids, but everyone’s doing fine. Janie had a close call this morning, but she made it through with a little nudge,” Anna smiled. Being a pediatric nurse suited her, and with her healing powers, she could save those most in need of being saved without raising suspicions. Kids were resilient and could pull off miracles unassisted, so it was perfect for her to silently lend a hand. “What about you?”
“Oh, the usual. Busy now with all the tourists, but it keeps me busy at least!” Elsa smiled. Queen Elsa’s Frozen Delights was Anna’s clever name for the ice cream shop, a local favorite. It was also incredibly profitable since they spent nearly nothing on refrigeration besides early outlays for equipment, in order to maintain appearances. “Pizza and a movie tonight?”
Anna squealed with delight. “Yes! I’ll order. The usual?” she asked, opening the delivery app on her phone. Pizza was one of Anna’s favorite discoveries since moving to America, and in the modern era, the ability to summon a pizza with a small rectangular piece of glass and metal was just as magical as her own powers.
Elsa nodded, pouring herself a glass of pinot grigio, then joined Anna on the couch. She picked up the TV remote, opened the Disney+ app, and started their favorite dinner movie.
The setting sun glinted off her left hand, her wedding band sparkling. So much had changed, she mused, since the event, the battle that had changed their lives permanently and literally forever. Her eyes softened as the memories washed over her, the movie all but forgotten.
Two years after the battle with the Deathlord, Queen Anna had followed their neighbor Norway’s lead in establishing a constitutional monarchy, giving Arendellians the right to govern themselves. Elsa smiled at the thought, Yelana being elected the first Prime Minister of Arendelle. A few years later, the citizens of Arendelle voted to join Norway and take part in the cultural revolution happening there. Arendelle became the principality of Arendal, and Elsa watched with a combination of pride and nostalgia as her sister, the former monarch, dissolved the last of their rule.
The fall of the Southern Isles in the war led to its incorporation into Denmark, while the remains of Weselton was consumed by Westphalia, part of Prussia. After her brief stint as Prime Minister, Yelana led the Northuldra to join with the northern Sami people, bringing their knowledge of the land and spirits to them. Everyone and everything the sisters had known changed over the years, fading away.
They’d stayed in Arendal until it became painfully obvious that neither was aging and after they’d laid Kai and Gerda to rest, the sisters chose to move on. They’d had stone carvers add their names to the memorial stones of their parents on the great grassy hill near the mountains, to close the final chapter on the Arendelle monarchy. History mostly forgot about Arendelle; the only remnant of its legacy was that the sisters had taken their kingdom’s name as their surname, and some fanciful fairy tales told to children about a Snow Queen.
They’d spent a decade in Paris, learning various trades, then London at the turn of the century, never spending more than a decade or two in any one location. After a half-century moving around Europe and Asia, they journeyed with many of their former countrymen to America just after the Great Depression.
It was then that Anna found her calling, taking work in nursing. While she could never make obvious use of her powers of healing, every ward she served in found those who suffered most relieved of their suffering willingly, and many injuries that should have been fatal instead seeing the patients pull through somehow. She’d gained a reputation in many hospitals as a good luck charm, though only she and Elsa knew why.
Elsa was content to study their powers deeply, learning and fine-tuning what each was capable of. With her ability to travel, she spent her days visiting Ahtohallan and the spirits’ power centers around the world, communing and practicing. The spirits had made clear that the world wasn’t ready to deal with people like her and Anna, and to avoid revealing their powers or interfering too obviously in the affairs of mortal men. For the most part, they kept a low profile even during events like the World Wars and afterward, only intervening at the spirits’ request when the balance of nature and humanity was temporarily disrupted.
Her affinity towards the spirits and elements, especially earth, allowed her to finance their lives. Every so often, she’d “discover” an unusually valuable gem while out walking and find a willing buyer to pay handsomely for it. Over the years, a few neighbors questioned what she did for work or why neither of them had married, but Elsa would joke that she was an eccentric heiress from an old European family and that was usually enough to mollify people’s curiosity. Every other decade or so, she’d start a small business and then sell it off after it succeeded, further cementing their financial security.
Most of all, the sisters spent their years learning to love each other deeper than any other. Elsa had secretly worried that Anna would grow tired of her companionship, that they’d drift apart over the years, but the opposite happened. With all they’d been through, they were more inseparable than ever. Those first thirteen years of separation, now a blink of an eye, still defined their relationship nearly two centuries later. She often joked that every time Anna saw her, she raced to hug as though she hadn’t seen Elsa in years, even if Elsa had just stepped out to mow the lawn for a half-hour. Eternity suited them well.
In the greatest irony, for over a century they had to tell others that they really were sisters and not lovers until the legalization of same-sex marriage in the early 21st century. They’d journeyed back to Arendal in 2009 and married on Anna’s birthday, then moved to a suburb of San Francisco, finally able to publicly present as wives instead of sisters. Elsa looked at her left hand again and smiled.
“Isn’t it funny how badly they got Arendelle’s harbor wrong?” Anna giggled through a mouthful of pizza, drawing Elsa’s attention back to the movie.
Elsa rolled her eyes. “You say that every time we watch this,” she smiled, kissing Anna on the cheek, one arm around her sister’s shoulders. “I love you.”
“I love you too, sis.”
I thank you, my friend and dear reader, for enjoying this fiction all the way to the end. We’ve now set the stage for the sisters as an AU, with their powers fully realized, and almost two centuries of adventures and stories to be told.
I’ll be publishing some one-shots in this universe but at a drastically slower pace than Storm of Spirit was published at; it took 34 days to write the entirety of Storm of Spirits, because the story wanted to be told. There are still a ton of loose ends that will be wrapped up along the way, along with a sneak peek into the sisters’ lives over the centuries.
Two one-shots that are completed and will be released about a week apart from each other: - Anna working in a World War 2 hospital, which explains how she continues to empower her abilities - Someone attempting to mug Elsa in Boston’s Combat Zone in the 1970s
Unlike Storm of Spirits, these will be little slices of life, rather than fully plotted, arced stories, for now. I’m of the mind to do some other interesting little themed things too, but I won’t promise you something that doesn’t exist, because no one likes a perpetually unfinished work.
If you’re an author who would like to write in the Storm of Spirits universe, you have my blessing to do so as long as you promise not to veer from the premise (feel free to fork and make your own universe if you want to) and you promise to use a grammar and spelling checker aggressively on your work.
Thank you for reading my work!
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