By Elsa, Queen Emerita of Arendelle
I rushed over to Arendelle on the Water Spirit the moment I heard that Anna was back from Keep Mundilfari.
Anna’s first move was to chair a meeting of the inner court in her study. Maren and I saw for ourselves how Anna looked: deep in thought, brow furrowed, her expression a mixture of fear, resolve, and anger. My heart was heavy as I listened to Anna feverishly recall her first meeting with Countess Viola. This heiress was as nightmarish as we had all imagined, endlessly confident, and remorselessly fixated on destroying Northuldra and taking the Five Elements’ power for herself.
She no doubt is obsessed with turning Anna to her dark cause and following through on her family’s ancient pact with their gods to destroy the Fifth Spirit – me. She’s a uniquely personal adversary to us, and perhaps she doesn’t even see herself as Anna’s enemy: Anna herself said that Viola told her that she loved her, and could be an invaluable servant if given the chance.
It still feels surreal to know that Anna not only had dinner with this psychopathic noblewoman, but stayed in one of her castle’s rooms for two nights. There is a sense of foreboding among Anna’s supporters. It’s not just Maren and I – Kristoff, Mattias, and many others feel that the shadow of a vast power is about to fall over our kingdom. It was like when I first heeded the call to Ahtohallan, and the spirits made their curse known to us.
I’ve deliberated with Anna about Lady Viola’s imminent assault on the monarchy, which will be relentless. As I see it, the political attacks will come from three directions. The first is the press, specifically Viola’s Snow Herald newspaper, which I heard has seen an injection of new funds from the Mundilfari estate and the crowning of a new editor by the name of Brunhild. I’m sure that through their editorials, columns, and commentary, they’ll try to persuade the government and the public to adopt the Mundilfaris’ militaristic stance against Northuldra, and even invade other countries like Corona and Zaria. Brunhild will surely push other positions that Viola likes: a national draft for children, a retrenchment of the aristocracy’s privileges, and other ideas that Anna and I feel are regressive and cruel.
The second is in the Great Assembly itself, our parliament, where the vanguard of pro-Runeard ministers and jarls have been licking their wounds and keeping their heads down since a series of victories by Anna. Until now Anna and Maren, as I predicted, have been able to rally most politicians to their flagship proposal, the Northuldra-Arendelle reunification bill that will define Anna’s reign. Historians will judge the success or failure of Anna’s on this policy before all others. I anticipate that now that Viola has revealed herself to Anna, this faction will regain momentum and try to sabotage Anna’s bill while pushing several new bills (no doubt approved by Viola herself) that steer Arendelle in a far more militaristic direction, or at the very least, divide our parliament.
The third will no doubt be a much more organized attack on the business interests that support Anna. So far, the short-selling of the Princely House’s bonds hasn’t worked. Kristoff is proving himself an adept defender of his company. However, simply dumping money into a buying frenzy for Bjorgman stocks isn’t much of a strategy itself. It’s obvious that it was Viola’s predecessor, her late grandfather Lord Mayer, who was behind this crude bullying tactic. Kristoff and other merchants that support the Crown must expect much more once Viola gets personally involved.
It’s clear that by staking her honour on preserving the Old Ways of our kingdom, Viola has made her conflict with Anna a referendum on the kind of country Arendellians want their home to be. I don’t need to remind readers of the challenges our small nation faces as we navigate turbulent international waters, face off against countries and empires far larger than ours, and come to terms with new technology like photography, railroads, and steam that will revolutionize our society and the world. The future is both exciting and frightening, and I believe it’s Anna, not Viola, who has the right approach for our people.
This newspaper in which I’m writing my column, The Arendelle Guardian, has informed the Crown’s political vision since my reign. As queen, Anna believes in a generous, happy, and kind society, dynamic and adaptable, and courageous enough to accept Arendelle’s unique relationship with Northuldra.
All Arendellians must ask themselves: what does Arendelle mean to them? What kind of kingdom should it be? Should it be like Anna’s ideal? Or should it become a war machine, where there are only wealthy aristocrats feeding off impoverished citizens, who in turn feed off fear, hunger, and ignorance?
Do we want an Arendelle that is re-integrated peacefully with Northuldra, or an Arendelle that will bear history’s condemnation for wiping out the last refuge of the spirits, my home?
I appeal to all: choose Anna’s vision. Lend her your strength.
She needs all of your strength, in this war for the kingdom’s soul.