By Gottfried, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
After her first birthday as queen on 21 June, things were supposed to go smoothly for Her Majesty. She’d just appointed the kingdom’s very first prime minister, an influential aristocrat in her own right: Countess Viola. In doing so, she’d evaded a confrontation with the Great Qing Empire and her most powerful ally, the prince regent Yixin. And despite gathering storm clouds in the form of much larger states that hunger for proxy control over our kingdom (thanks to our strategic position in Northern Europe), Anna had wracked up significant victories and is even looking to reconcile with the Southern Isles. Observers of Arendellian politics agree that she’s our boldest monarch in a long time.
The Great Assembly had rallied behind her. Things were looking up.
Then came the Autumn Cloud incident.
The first day after the sabotage and sinking of her flagship, which will cost thousands of Arendellian kroner to replace, Anna found herself on the receiving end of a tough interrogation from the House of Ministers. Questions like:
“Why did eyewitnesses say that the culprit was dressed in what looked suspiciously like tribal Northuldra garb?”
“Does Yelena even have her people under control?”
“Do the Northuldra even want reunification as much as you do, Your Majesty?”
“Two lands united by love? Isn’t that a bit naive?”
And perhaps, most damning of all:
“How can the House of Ministers and House of Jarls pass the Northuldra-Arendelle re-integration bill in this atmosphere of fear and mutual suspicion?”
Despite being defended vigorously by her trade minister, and getting a guarantee from Countess Viola that Maren wasn’t connected to the arsonist, it didn’t stop parliament from interrogating the queen about how relations with Yelena might decline.
Many in Anna’s friendship circle insist that the Northuldra aren’t to blame for this disaster, although everyone privately admits that the longer it takes to arrest the culprit, the more attacks there might be, with faith in Anna’s political vision further undermined in the public eye.
The government risks being held hostage to this shadow. Ministers and other public figures worry for their physical safety. Plans for economic integration with Northuldra could be ruined. Arendelle doesn’t face a foreign threat – yet – but a single lone warrior has cast a pall of fear over the entire Arendellian establishment.
Thank the spirits that Anna managed to bring the Countess on her side! Had she not, Viola could have mobilized enough public support in such an explosive atmosphere to march on Northuldra. However, the government and the press barons of all Big Three papers have concluded that Queen Anna’s old rival isn’t responsible – for one stark reason.
We can now confirm, in dramatic breaking news, that the prime minister has received a death threat in the form of a letter. As expected, it’s anonymous and unsigned, but we have permission from the palace to quote it in full:
“You call me the Grey Ghost? How fitting, as your past is coming back to haunt you. It’s stained with demonic hatred for my spirits and my people. Your ancestors burned at the stake women of the forest, who spoke to the wind and water. Now it’s your turn for your head, among many, to be spiked on the end of my spear.”
Her Majesty has mobilized the Order of the Wheat Stalk, her elite royal guards, to provide the prime minister with round-the-clock protection. Even Hilde Von Altheim, the Countess’s fearsome commander, has committed to work with General Mattias to ensure Viola’s safety.
From what we understand, Her Majesty might even ask the Countess to consider laying low in another country, no doubt in one of her many stately homes across Europe. From a palace leak, we understand Viola’s first choice to be London.
It’s been a rocky start for the prime minister. It’s only been a couple of weeks since Her Majesty’s birthday, and the Crown’s servants are already being terrorised by this shadowy enemy. Anna’s reign is turning into a wagon wreck. It will take all her strength, savvy, and luck to turn this dire situation around.