By Maren, Head Liaison of Northuldra-Arendelle Relations
Maren is Anna’s right hand and top diplomat. Her articles are published in The AG’s evening editions.
When I first met Elsa, I sensed something special about the way she clung to her mother’s shawl. After I spoke to her about the Fifth Spirit, I thought that her journey was going to lead her to a being that might be able to lift the curse of the enchanted mist. Little did I know that it was a team effort by her and her sister – for Anna to destroy Runeard’s dam and for Elsa to save Arendelle – and that the Fifth Spirit was none other than her.
With their life-or-death gamble, the mist was lifted from Northuldra and for the first time in our lives, Ryder and I could see the clear blue sky. It was probably the most incredible day of my life.
I’m blessed by the spirits for having been able to become friends with Elsa and Anna, but I’d be lying if I ever expected this new life in Arendelle. I’ve completed my extended stay in Anna’s castle, in a bedroom with more space than I know what to do with, and now I’ve moved into a loft above our tribe’s newly completed embassy. Now I’ve got this exciting but daunting position as a mediator between our two realms. I can barely remember the formal title that Anna’s ministers have given me. Do they need to be so long and convoluted? It’s been hectic, I have to admit. Not only was the move to Arendelle much more stressful than I thought, but I’m still learning new customs and habits, including clothing and food, and even learning to conduct myself among Arendellians. But Anna’s been there to guide me through it all, and it’s thanks to her that I’ve been able to concentrate on my new job.
It came as a complete surprise that night. It’s been a few months, but I remember welcoming Anna and the Arendellian delegation to our camp, and leading her to Elsa. My radiant Elsa was off in a glade, gazing up at the night sky. The moment she saw Anna, she rushed to the queen and enfolded her in her tender arms.
I withdrew quickly so they could catch up in private. I hung out with Ryder while waiting for them to get back from their walk. It got later and later – well after midnight, with clouds enveloping the moon. Everyone else had retreated inside their tents, and Ryder was snoring away inside his. I was starting to get just a bit worried when Elsa and Anna returned to camp, their faces excited but also nervous.
“There you are,” I called, my hands over the fire. “Come on, sit down and get warm. What were you guys talking about for so long?”
Anna didn’t even bother to join Elsa, as the Snow Queen sat down on the log beside me. I blinked up at Anna innocently before she took a deep breath, and blurted out a series of words I only just managed to make out. “Would you like to come to Arendelle to work with me?”
For a few seconds, I was sure that she’d mistaken me for someone else. I looked around, and then at Elsa. To my shock, she was looking right at me too, her face serious. “I suggested it, after much thought. I hope you don’t mind, Maren.”
I scratched my head, adjusting my fur cap. “I don’t get it. I’m good at fishing, herding my reindeer, and fighting with a long stick. I don’t see how I’m of any use to you in Arendelle, Anna.”
Anna sat down on the log opposite Elsa and I. “It’s time that I told you about Elsa’s and my long-term plan for our realms. We believe that neither can survive without the other, and no matter how long it takes, Northuldra and Arendelle must become a single entity, integrated into each other’s political, economic, and social fabric. The union our parents shared and the friendship between us today have convinced Elsa and I that integration is inevitable. But it can’t be led solely by Arendelle. If anything, I need a Northuldran to spearhead this great project, as my equal. I need someone who I trust completely.”
Anna’s aqua eyes shone. “Since Elsa trusts you with her life, I trust you with my kingdom. If I can work with anyone to realize my sister’s and my dream, it’s you, Maren.”
I had retreated to a quiet clearing in the forest, having asked Anna for some space to think it over. I was still mulling over my options when Elsa joined me, her celestial eyes uncertain. “Maren, are you mad at me? For recommending your name before I could tell you?” she asked, reaching out with a hesitant hand. I took it and squeezed her palm to reassure her that I wasn’t feeling angry, just uncertain.
“All my life I’ve dreamed of going beyond these forests, to see the world,” I murmured, staring at Elsa. “But now that Anna’s offering me a job in her government, all of a sudden reindeer herding sounds a lot less boring and more… me. I mean… part of me wonders why I don’t turn down Anna, and just visit Arendelle with you. Like any tourist.” I gazed at her fondly. “I’d like to visit Arendelle with you, by the way. Just saying.”
Elsa drew nearer. “It’s more than just a change in location. Anna and I want you to be part of our vision for Arendelle and Northuldra. The three of us, transforming our societies into one where spirits and humans live like next-door neighbours.”
I reached out and pulled Elsa close. “And you’ll never hear me refuse you,” I murmured in her ear, suddenly feeling emotional, “but I just don’t know where to start. And I could sure use your advice. I told you that you belong here. And now the one you love most is asking me to go away with her.”
“You have to head south with Anna. She’ll help you with everything.” Elsa’s hands clasped my back wistfully. “It wasn’t exactly easy for me to raise your name, Maren. I wouldn’t have done so unless I believed in my heart of hearts that the person Anna needed was you. I’ve been so happy here with you but now, it’s as if you’ve traded places with me in Arendelle castle.”
Her voice shook slightly. “When you and Anna are working together and growing closer – I know Anna has that magnetic pull on people – I hope you’ll think of me.”
I held Elsa for a long time, my face buried in her moonlike tresses. “I guess I’ll go. For both you and Anna. But whatever she wants me to do, I will come and visit you. A heck of a lot.”
And that’s how I’ve ended up by Anna’s side, sharing meals with her, playing charades with her and Kristoff and Olaf (has she told you that I’m better than Elsa?), and getting to know Her Majesty better.
Anna is, along with Elsa, the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. Her fortitude, charisma, and yes, cunning need to be witnessed to be believed. She’s the perfect political mentor for me if I’m to do my job right.
More importantly, I guess, I’ve been joining in her meetings with ministers and ambassadors. I’ve met more people from different places in a couple of weeks than I’ve ever done in my entire life. Things look set to intensify with this state encounter between Anna and the queen of this country called “Britain.”
I have so much to learn. But with Elsa’s blessing and Anna’s presence, I think I can be the bridge they want me to be. I’m here for a better tomorrow in Arendelle and Northuldra alike, and I hope I have your support in this long-term effort.
Signing off, a loyal servant of Northuldra and Arendelle,