Everything was going’s Elsa’s way. A pretty young girl with an excellent lineage, she was one of the most naturally gifted students under the White Witches’ tutelage. Legend foretold that every hundred years, the great witch Baga Yaga would return to Elsa’s icy home of Irrisen to select a successor to lead the White Witches and thus the North. As her talent blossomed, Elsa was seen as a prime candidate for this role. She was watched very carefully.
Around her 16th birthday, things began to turn. Elsa knew enough to expect changes in herself, both outside and within, but she seemed slow to age compared to the rest of the girls in her coven. However, when changes finally came, they were far from what she imagined. Her ears began to strangely lengthen. She grew several feet but barely put on a pound and her features became sharp and hardened. Beautiful, yet not quite human.
Before long, Elsa was placed on a leave of absence from her apprenticeship at her mother’s request. The talented child went from mastering her hexes to wiling away the hours locked in her bedroom. Elsa was told she was ill and needed rest, but she had never felt more alive. Her magic pulsed under her skin. Through the icy windowpanes, Irrisen’s snow bent beneath her will. Yet day after day, she remained under lock and key, a constant stream of her mother’s excuses and elaborate tales flowing under her bedroom door for those who came to ask about her.
After what felt like years, her imprisonment came to an abrupt end. Her door crashed to the floor and two armored men pulled her past her wailing mother to a tall Winter Witch, a mix of contempt and satisfaction smeared across the woman’s pale face.
Time went from a crawl to a sprint. Accusations against her mother of infidelity and mixing Baba Yaga’s sacred blood with Elven outsiders led to interrogations, trials and torture. Her father was exiled, her mother burned at the stake. Each day was more brutal than the last. However, within a month, the new captivity ended with as much finality as the old. Elsa’s farewell gifts were a dull sheathed dagger, a rucksack with a weeks’ worth of rations and a command to never set foot in Irrisen again or meet the same fate as her mother. The gates slammed shut behind her, resilient to her screams and cries.