By Peterson, International Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian
CHATHO – A beachhead established by Skau-Krogh’s private navy was destroyed on the shores of Chatho several days ago.
In a shock blow to the increasingly belligerent company’s image of ascendance and military might, its corporate pirates were routed, with remnants of the invasion taken prisoner. Reports say that Queen Colisa’s shock troops, the Ten Tigresses, ambushed the privateers as they attacked Chatho territory in the early morning. Trouncing their defences, the Ten Tigresses then sunk the flotilla by the coastline, crushing the remaining resistance of the invaders and confiscating large supplies of gunpowder, rifles, and other weapons.
Queen Anna has expressed her congratulations to Chatho, telling the press: “It’s fortuitous that Her Majesty the Queen of Chatho is visiting us in Arendelle, at the same time His Grace the Duke of Weselton is staying with us awhile. The latter was beaten, but the former won an astounding victory. Skau-Krogh should think carefully before escalating with violent means, for this kingdom’s Crown won’t hesitate to defend its allies against anyone threatening them, even if they’re from within Arendelle. And Arendelle has more allies than Skau-Krogh thinks.
I make this stand only because Mr. Harrison has destabilized the region without support from his country’s government, I bet. I ask that he withdraw his support of Skau-Krogh immediately, so that Mr. Lars Krogh is forced to fight Bjorgman fairly for the accolade of Arendelle’s Princely House. Until then, I consider Harrison my true enemy and will go above and beyond to neutralize Skau-Krogh, his useful tool.”
The oak-hard, ruddy, and powerfully-built Lars Krogh flung down the newspaper on his oak desk, neck purple and face flushed in rage. The managing director of Skau-Krogh’s heart pounded in hatred and rage, but also fear. “We were supposed to force our will on each one of Anna’s allies before public opinion turned against us. But now there are multiple nations rallying around Arendelle, and Anna is definitely passing intelligence to them about my movements,” he roared. “If I can’t make Kristoff and then Anna bend the knee, there’s no way Harrison can get his coveted trade privileges with my help!”
“You were supposed to break them, old man,” sniffed Tiffany Hunsecker, Harrison’s assistant. She made herself at home in Lars’ office, one long, shapely leg draped over the other as she quietly sipped at a cup of tea, its Ceylon leaves some of Skau-Krogh’s finest. In Lars’ quarters were a polished teak desk and ships’ lanterns, a barometer in gimbals affixed to the wall, and oil paintings all around. She twirled her toes, allowing one of her loose shoes to drop loudly onto the wooden floor. “Mr. Harrison lent you five state-of-the-art ships – more than enough to scare any small kingdom. And now, one of them’s been sunk, her crew destroyed by Chatho.” She peered at Lars, her blue eyes glinting tauntingly. “I’m unimpressed, Norseman. Either you’re limper than I’d initially assumed, or this Anna is stronger than you gave her credit for. She’s come to her squeeze Kristoff’s rescue – and I’d say that being able to marshal the resources of her own and others’ states to help a private company is pretty solid.”
“One of these days I’m going to take Bjorgman down. Damn Kristoff, that reindeer ****er!” bellowed Lars, staring out at the quiet docks of Arendelle. He was too angry to notice the beauty of the ships peacefully rocking on shimmering waters, the blushing empyrean peeking over Arenfjord.
Yes, damn Kristoff and his miserable luck! Damn his fairytale story, his magical journey from orphaned commoner to wealthy man sandwiched between the kingdom’s two adored royals! Four years ago, Kristoff was small fry, a sullen and taciturn lone wolf whose smell was enough to put a curious lady off. And just last year the Queen of Arendelle let him slip his engagement ring on her finger? “He doesn’t deserve to lead the Princely House!”
“Not only is Bjorgman still the Princely House – you don’t have the style or the background to be leader of the Princely House, even if in future Skau-Korgh earns that title,” said Tiffany, sniffing.
“What did you say?” snarled Lars. “You watch your tongue. Skau-Krogh has been around far longer than Bjorgman. My grandfather was an acclaimed trader, as was his father and grandfather.”
“Yet Kristoff is effectively a member of your country’s monarchy,” said the young American woman, rising from her chair. “If you can’t direct your operations effectively, even with Will’s considerable resources, he’ll take control directly. You don’t want that, do you?”
“I won’t let him, you stupid girl. This is my company, my rules. I can hire and fire anyone I want. I’m Skau-Krogh’s goddamned supreme leader. And Harrison entered into a relationship with me because we want to expand with a new registered company in Northern Europe.”
“Don’t forget that your present expansion is thanks to Will’s largesse. Without his war chest, you’d still be scrabbling with Kristoff for an extra ship or begging your banks for a new loan, and without Mr. Harrison’s military might, you wouldn’t even have privateers to suffer a defeat with.” Tiffany drew herself up, tittering smugly. “Don’t get cocky, Lars. Your deal with Harrison still stands, but he’s watching you a bit more closely than before. Face down Anna and Colisa. Hold back the other small kingdoms and do some real damage to Bjorgman and this kingdom’s economy. Then – and only then – will Mr. Harrison move in for the kill with Anna. And then the China trade will belong solely to my boss.”
She turned around to leave, adjusting her mink coat. “Who knows? Perhaps he’ll be willing to cut you a slice of the bonanza to come. For now, though, make sure your branch on Hong Kong Island and your other new establishments in Constantinople and Delhi can actually bring in the revenue to smash Kristoff’s own investments.”
Tiffany closed the door behind her, smiling as she ignored Lars’ renewed profanities and the smashing of his whiskey decanter.