By Ulfhild, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – Vesterland’s princess and ambassador-at-large, Mari, has declared her willingness to join Arendelle’s Entente of Small Kingdoms.
Through our newsroom’s well-placed and senior sources, we can report that Mari came across Queen Anna’s public appeal in the pages of our paper. In response, the princess requested that The Arendelle Guardian print this quote: “I see you, Anna. I celebrated your coronation. And how could I ever forget you?”
Empowered by her father to make top-level decisions for Vesterland’s foreign policy, Princess Mari has indicated that she’d like to join Anna’s alliance. She’s also proposed a bilateral trade pact between her kingdom and Arendelle. “Your public appeal, as well as the heartfelt open letters from your friends, touched and galvanized me,” she said in a statement to our paper.
Rumours abound that a mysterious visitor ultimately helped to sway Mari’s decision. This visitor, a beautiful lady in equestrian gear, arrived in Vesterland in the early hours of the morning. The princess had apparently been expecting her, and they engaged in conversation at the harbour. Eyewitnesses say that Mari proceeded to host this enigmatic woman at her palace. Mari was overheard expressing fears about Vesterland’s limited resources and small size and the risk of punishment by Harrison. The cryptic reply from the Englishwoman was that Vesterland “wouldn’t be abandoned as long as Mari didn’t abandon Anna.”
Within a couple of hours of the young lady departing, Vesterland had made the announcement to the press. Mari declined to comment on the specific nature of her conversation with the visitor. However, she hinted that this guest knew far more than even Vesterland diplomats about the broader situation behind Bjorgman House and Skau-Krogh’s competition.
Mari told Vesterland’s newspapers and gazettes: “We deplore all forms of imperialism, including economic imperialism. We protest any attempts, whether hidden or open, to interfere in the sovereignty of Arendelle. I don’t know if Vesterland will be useful to Her Majesty, but whatever we can give, we’ll give.”
Mari indicated that she’d be willing to join defence exercises with the Arendellian military, noting that an economic downturn and poor harvests in the past few years have made it difficult for Vesterland to commit to a line of credit for Bjorgman, like Chatho has done with its national bank. “Our primary interest isn’t necessarily in taking sides in a corporate war or to see who can be crowned Arendelle’s Princely House,” she conceded. “Nevertheless, like Chatho, Vesterland would be more than happy to draft a plan for new markets and lowered tariffs between our country and Arendelle, to attract new people, trade, and investment.”
In response, Anna’s government issued a press release thanking Mari. It also clarified that the Entente of Small Kingdoms places no financial demands on any signatory. “This isn’t an alliance only for Arendelle’s benefit,” noted the palace. “Queen Anna wants her allies to never hesitate to summon her help and assistance.”
In Arendelle, Mari is famous for having joined then-Princess Anna in taking up a series of menial jobs, including baking, before busting a smuggling ring led by a criminal ice harvester (whose name was also Lars; unrelated to Lars Krogh of Skau-Krogh). She then hosted Anna and Elsa in Vesterland, where they met her father the king. The king had been embroiled in a territorial dispute with Queen Emerita Elsa and was deeply suspicious of the Diarchy. Having lost his wife, Mari’s mother, he was overprotective of Mari, leading him to stifle her growth and self-discovery in the name of sheltering her.
Elsa and Anna eventually convinced the king that Mari should be given a chance at being a diplomat for her country. Reconciled with her father, Mari presently serves as ambassador-at-large. In this capacity, the princess isn’t assigned to any particular country but can deal with any state as she sees fit. She currently oversees a team of plenipotentiaries, some of whom are posted at the kingdoms of Zaria, Vakretta, and Chatho. Anna has also extended an invitation to Mari to visit Arendelle, noting in her closing statement:
“Arendelle isn’t just your ally, Mari. It’s your second home. In times of crisis, there are opportunities. In Kristoff’s conflict with Skau-Krogh, in my tussle with Mr. Harrison, I’ve never had more friends rally around me. And now I have you. Don’t delay and come see me. It’s time to come home.”