By Elsa, Queen Emerita of Arendelle
It’s been over a week since Anna effectively shut herself in her study during most of the day, receiving not even Kristoff and Maren until dinnertime. Last weekend, I decided that I’d pay her a visit myself. What had gotten her so upset?
To my relief, Anna wasn’t gorging on chocolate cake and ice cream, like she’d sometimes do in the past when she was sulking. True, she needed her own space for a while, but when I saw her, she’d been hunched over her desk, poring over maritime maps, books, and newspaper reports. It wasn’t a very healthy situation – I could tell she’d barely moved from her desk for hours on end, every single day.
It didn’t take long to coax from her what had transpired: that she had gone to Keep Mundilfari, seat of the noblewoman that wants to kill me, for a sleepover. Anna had hoped that they’d take the first steps towards a truce, or perhaps even negotiations for a lasting peace. Instead, in a moment of quiet intimacy and rapport, Viola chose the worst possible time to notify Anna that she’d intended to ramp up her political war on the monarchy. It was all in the name of some ancient vow that was tied to that family’s supposed destiny to destroy me and Northuldra.
I pointed out to our queen that betting on a cozy sleepover (no matter how special) to end with a peace settlement wasn’t exactly the most dependable and likely scenario. There is no doubt that there is a strange kind of chemistry between my beloved little sister and the Countess, whose ties to Northuldra (and therefore to me) are still rather mysterious. So, I suggested to Anna two courses of action. Both are dependent on the kingdom’s intelligence apparatus, in particular the Ravens, agents of our kingdom’s small but well-trained spy network.
The first is to find out what is behind Viola’s intentions to attack Northuldra. Anna and Viola seem to get on great personally, but there’s something holding Viola back from being fully vulnerable, from surrendering, if you will, to Anna. If Anna couldn’t get the full story from the Countess, then we have to obtain it ourselves. Secondly, Anna needs to move quickly to identify this new threat that Viola has warned her about: a new commander is about to take up the fight against her. From what she tells me, this new threat comes in the form of a general who is apparently arriving from overseas in a few weeks. I’m glad Anna made a head start by studying all her maps and poring over the port schedules for the docks, but we can do more. Anna should mobilize her Ravens and ask General Mattias to help her identify this individual. That we are even doing this, rather than simply charging Viola of treason, speaks of the Countess’s extensive political power and entrenched influence.
If I have one regret from my reign, it’s not identifying this dark heart within our own kingdom. It had remained hidden for so long until it felt the need to reveal itself to the first queen that truly challenged it: when Anna destroyed Grandfather’s legacy.
I’m a bit perplexed at Viola’s contradictory actions: if this figure is her lieutenant, why can’t she simply call him or her off? She’s either going through an inner struggle that is tearing her up inside, or she’s playing a truly cynical game, jerking Anna around emotionally even as she continues her shadow war against her own queen! For her sake, Viola better be feeling that inner struggle. Anna is convinced that she is: fine. I’m not so sure myself, but I have faith that Anna knows her better.
An English poet once wrote the famous lines in a poem, “All is fair in love and war.” This political struggle between my sister and the Countess might have far-reaching ramifications, but it’s also intensely personal. I know that Anna and “Vampire Vi” are fighting a war over me, my very person, and I also know that it involves the conflicted feelings and genuine liking and affection those two have for each other. This is a messy situation, and it deserves bold, decisive action that I know Anna is capable of. She won the Battle of the Fjord. I know that she can win many more battles until Viola is ready to be honest with us, and hopefully relinquish her goals of conquering Northuldra and destroying me.
Honestly, I’m not feeling too worried about myself, despite the threat that the Countess poses. I’m more worried about how Anna can pull through and emerge safe and triumphant from this.
We won’t hide from Viola’s twisted obsession. If love has become a war, then let us fight.