By Gottfried, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – The queen has publicly condemned the powerful Will Harrison, outing him as a member of a secretive cabal of influential rulers called the Exalted. Anna issued a defiant response to what her government sees as Harrison’s attempt to hold the Arendellian economy hostage.
Rather than speaking to the Great Assembly or from her throne room, the queen made her thoughts known to the public in the plaza, accompanied by a talkative Olaf. Typical of Anna’s egalitarian and common style, she arrived in the square with no escort except for Olaf and asked the people present to lend her their ears. Yours truly was sent to the plaza directly from our newsroom by Chief, and journalists from the Snow Herald and Fjord Times barely arrived in time as well.
I can report that it was one of the most fiery speeches that Her Majesty has made in a long time. In a deliberate inversion of her love for her sister, the elder stateswoman and Queen Emerita Elsa, Anna challenged Mr. Harrison: “show yourself,” accusing him of manipulating the rivalry between Skau-Krogh and Bjorgman House to subject Arendelle to “economic imperialism.”
The speech comes in the wake of Skau-Krogh’s attack on Weselton, which has driven its duke to seek temporary shelter in Arendelle. Anna has welcomed him to stay in Arendelle Castle for a few weeks, noting that Weselton is a signatory to the Entente of Small Kingdoms and an ally.
“Just because you’re not colonizing territory or annexing land doesn’t mean you’re not planning to dominate or possess us. So what’s economic imperialism, Mr. Harrison?” she said.
“Destabilizing our bond markets and risking investor stability by inflaming Kristoff and Lars’ enmity, that’s economic imperialism. Using your private army and navy to intimidate my allies from helping me, that’s economic imperialism. Trying to replace Bjorgman with Skau-Krogh as the Princely House, that’s definitely economic imperialism. To say nothing about your ultimate goal: to have a newly ascendant Skau-Krogh, and Arendelle itself, be your trade puppets!”
Anna warned Harrison that she knew he was leveraging her relationship with her fiance, Kristoff, who is also the managing director of Bjorgman. “It’s true that I shouldn’t favour one company over another,” she said in her blistering speech, captivating gathering onlookers and bystanders in the plaza. “But this isn’t a fair fight. Skau-Krogh is challenging Bjorgman thanks to oodles of financing from you. I’d never tell Kristoff what to do with his business, but given how supportive he is of me, are you so sure I won’t nationalize Bjorgman and throw the Crown’s coffers behind it?”
Her Majesty went one step further, exposing Harrison’s endgame: “But that’s what you want, isn’t it? Wrecking Bjorgman’s finances is your way of getting to me. You wish to disgrace me in your leader Lord Yixin’s eyes – to show him that I’m the same desperate monarch that disobeyed his order to destroy Countess Vi, and that I can’t stand up to true world powers like yours.”
As the crowd gasped in horror at the full magnitude of the Exalted’s involvement in our small kingdom, the queen then used her oratory and charisma to rally everyone. “But Mr. Harrison, don’t be so sure I’m helpless in the face of big boys like you. You might be an Exalted member, but I know the others, too. That’s all I’ll say. And you can hurt my allies, but you underrate the strength of countries like Chatho, Vesterland, and so many more. They will resist you. Just like I’ll resist you to protect the prosperity of my citizens and the sovereignty and integrity of my kingdom! Arendelle will never, ever be a pawn for the whims of an Exalted member!” she cried, fists clenched.
The speech ended with minutes’ worth of clapping and whopping for Her Majesty and Olaf, who both joined the crowd for cake and lemonade.
In the meantime, however, the queen has set the political world alight (as she often does) with her new revelations about the Exalted. Arendelle’s political and commercial establishment is feverish with speculation about what their members want with the kingdom, as more and more countries look to Arendelle as being at the crossroads of something truly epic.