Featured art by Athena (@myrthena) for The Arendelle Guardian
By HM Queen Anna
It’s a weird feeling. Vi and I are exchanging letters and I’m looking forward to visiting her again. Yet she is my sworn enemy, the woman whose open objective is the destruction of the Five Spirits, including Elsa, and the transformation of Arendelle into an empire, an imperium. For a noblewoman who has puppets and proxies everywhere, she’s actually too honest and open about her desires.
I should hate her. But after many nights of discussion with Elsa and Maren, I’ve finally come to realize that she and I are similar in many ways: deeply unhappy childhoods (hers was unquestionably more heartbreaking and dangerous than mine), sharp wits, and fierce convictions. We both possess iron wills. It’s our hearts that are more complex with many shades, and that’s why we’re drawn to each other.
So here we are, Vampire Vi. In a headlong collision, despite how you claim to want me, and how we click despite our vastly different political objectives.
After I got back from Keep Mundilfari, I knew that the Countess would begin striking at me. She appointed a new editor at the Snow Herald, and competition between that paper and this one, The Arendelle Guardian, grew intense. She also tried to regain control of the Great Assembly through her supportive ministers in our parliament. There wasn’t any point sugarcoating it: she was used to the government, even the monarchy, working for her. But I haven’t stood for it since the day Elsa passed the Crown to me, even if I didn’t know it was her family behind the scenes.
When I got wind of Vi’s plans to push forward an alternative bill to my Northuldra-Arendelle integration plan, I knew she wanted my government to put troops on the ground in Northuldra. Of course, she would have needed even more ministers and jarls on her side, and somehow convinced me as well, but a bill that gathered more attention and votes than mine would have swayed many ministers.
I needed to move against her lobbying quickly. Kristoff helped by appealing to the Chamber of Commerce. Many ministers receive support and patronage from our main trade lobby, and the Chamber leaned in, persuading undecided officials to vote my way. There’s a significant minority of members of the House of Ministers and House of Jarls that support Viola’s imperialism, many of them from Grandfather’s days. But they’re still a minority, and the Chamber of Commerce’s intervention convinced enough ministers to tip the vote in my balance.
I need to swiftly consolidate goodwill among the jarls and ministers – namely, make the case against Viola’s idea of an Arendellian empire. If we go down the route of imperium, we’ll be just like the countries I’ve criticized. We aren’t France, or Spain, or Britain. I will never, ever let Arendelle be a colonial power. This is my promise to Northuldra, to Elsa and Maren.
And we don’t need to be.
See, I haven’t been inactive since Vi’s challenge. I learned from Mattias that Vi was a master practitioner of Ulv – the Wolf style of Arendellian fencing – and so I’ve been training hard as well, sometimes for hours on end. I only hope that when Vi and I do face off, I’ll be strong enough to hold my own – and to show her with my own hands that Elsa deserves her respect… and that Vi deserves my love.
Vi’s Snow Herald newspaper has ramped up positive coverage of empires around the world, arguing that empire is the only way to prevent being gobbled up by larger nations. Well, now that my grand alliance is falling into place, I’ve asked my diplomats to maintain close communications with Princess Margaret of Corona, whose crown princess, Raps, signed a mutual friendship treaty with me just last month. It’s the first step to a much more intimate bilateral alliance, which will also involve military operations. I don’t know much about this Margaret (or Margie, as Raps calls her), but Cassandra, Corona’s Captain of the Guard, seems to trust this royal quite solidly. So I know that Margie will be a crucial friend in building a strong coalition of small nations. We don’t need to prey on others to keep our sovereignty and independence.
I expect other friends and partners like Prince Siegfried, Uncle Mike, and Sir Alan, who have grown close to my inner court, to be involved with showing our people and the world that Vi’s ideology needn’t be the only way. I’m not trying to push my own political convictions on other countries. It’s idealistic to believe in a world free from predatory power. But as long as I’m queen, Arendelle will walk its own path.
I know Viola is furious with me. She will strike again, and I strangely look forward to our next confrontation. We both bear the burdens of our forebears’ legacies, and our families are actually intimately entwined. Somehow, I feel that her life and mine are connected at a level deeper than simply politics or even war.
Maybe it’s those sinister, beautiful red eyes. She said she’d turn me, and that was how I came up with her vampire nickname. Am I going crazy?