By Lady Maren, Head Liaison of Northuldra-Arendelle Relations
Like Anna, I’ve been stunned by the power wielded by those that seek to manipulate her throne. A while ago I fought Countess Viola on board Muspelheim (I look forward to our rematch one day, by the way). It’s no surprise why this newspaper and even a commercial rival, The Fjord Times, have gone after Viola for pretty much running a “shadow state,” complete with a private army, loyal to her aristocratic family and its cause rather than that of the monarchy and the state. Are we in still in feudal times?
I suppose that’s the royal conundrum Anna inherited from her predecessors: so long has Clan Mundilfari puppeteered Arendellian politics and life, Anna has had to work doubly hard to uproot this centuries-old influence. Yet moving behind the scenes, lobbying, negotiating, and power-broking – these activities, I’ve learned quickly, aren’t always bad things. In fact, they might sometimes be the only way things can get done around here. I like to think of myself as a straightforward and frank person, but given the situation in my homeland of Northuldra, we’ll need to do lots of negotiating.
Consider the bill of re-integration or unification that Anna and I introduced in the Great Assembly some time ago, of which all its nine points are being scrutinized and debated meticulously by parliament’s ministers and jarls. While Yelena and I support it (I co-wrote the document with Anna), there are members within our tribes – some of them well-respected and have sent their kids to Arendellian schools and academies of learning – who aren’t so enthusiastic.
The reasons are complex: some don’t feel that Northuldra is being given enough autonomy, while others question the basis of cooperating with Arendelle in the first place. Other newly read Northuldrans, inspired by the revolutions across the oceans and nearer to home, in France, have altogether new and exciting, but volatile, political ideas.
All these questions of sovereignty, independence, and political transition have occupied me for many months now, ever since I started working in Arendelle with Anna. As it happens, I’ll be having a meeting with an Anglo-Persian investor over dinner. His name is Nahir al-Adil. According to Anna, he’s more well-versed in negotiation, persuasion, and power-broking than many of our most seasoned diplomats and businessmen. I glimpsed him many nights ago, at the state ball for Queen Victoria in the palace – he was part of the British delegation. At the time I’d started helping Anna with Northuldra affairs, and I noticed that Master Nahir was discussing ideas about investing in ethical markets with her. I didn’t talk to him much that evening, but knew that not only was he well-versed in British public life, but also a traveller of the globe, frequently returning to his home region of Persia.
I can’t help thinking that he’s extremely well-informed about the dynamics of power between the imperial powers that Anna is so wary of, and those regions that have had to adjust or submit to outside interference or settlement.
Although he seems somewhat distant and reserved, I would like to take him to Northuldra, to see for himself our way of life, and the rapid adaptations we’ve made to daunting new political realities. Chief of them all is the question of being true partners with Arendelle, and the terms on which we’re trying to do this through our re-integration bill. I wonder if he has any advice after having seen so much of the world.
Even though it’s been a wild ride with Anna so far, I’ve only travelled as far as to here, in Arendelle, outside of Northuldra. I’ve still got so much to see and learn.
Northuldra’s future isn’t just relevant to Arendelle. Viola is proving that entire countries and empires can be drawn into this political maelstrom. Nahir’s economic and political might well help Anna tip the balance in our favour.