Anna’s Column: My Crisis and Despair

By HM Queen Anna

I’m stunned. My hands are trembling, my palms are cold yet clammy.

Things were going so well – Chatho, thanks to Colisa’s foresight and military strength, remains untouchable by Skau-Krogh. Kristoff had even been buying up Skau-Krogh’s bonds despite their price, raising Skau-Krogh’s value even as Lars was trying to dump Bjorgman stock at a discount. It sounds counterintuitive, but Kristoff’s financiers are gradually persuading Skau-Krogh’s investors that he’d be a better boss for Skau-Krogh than Lars. There’s even talk of a merger in the air, depending on which trading house bests the other.

I was so sure that after Colisa’s defeat of Skau-Krogh’s privateers, it wouldn’t be amiss to let the Duke of Weselton set off for his duchy. Skau-Krogh’s privateers had occupied his land, but we’d devised a two-pronged assault in tandem with Mari of Vesterland’s troops. I’d boosted his forces with one of Mattias’ own contingents, whose troops had received brief training by Commander Hilde. The Duke and Mari’s commanders had wanted to move quickly, and I agreed to the gamble.

And now… oh, dear citizen, you’ve probably read the morning news already.

The Weselton reinforcements, along with Mattias’ men, were beaten, and the Vesterland troops were also dealt a heavy defeat by Skau-Krogh’s privateers. They were apparently led into an ambush that neutralized their pincer attack and scattered them altogether. They’d been supported by new firepower from Mr. Harrison, the Exalted member who’s really behind Skau-Krogh’s militarization. And in the midst of it all, Harrison’s captains seized Mari and the Duke and are holding them hostage.

What have I done?

I struggle to think of a worse possible position I can be in. Weselton remains occupied. Both the Duke and Mari are at Harrison’s and that awful woman Tiffany Hunsecker’s mercy. And now Vesterland risks Harrison’s vengeance. Mari had already taken a risk by helping Weselton. Now her home is in Skau-Krogh’s sights. My Entente of Small Kingdoms is looking weaker by the month – if I don’t act quickly, Harrison might be able to break it up altogether.

I can barely eat as I churn over my options. I feel as terrified and broken as I did when I was in that dank cave where Elsa and Olaf died for just a few hours. When I could only think of what the next right thing to do was.

And now, I’m confronted with that same question. What’s the next right thing to do when you and the people you care about are cornered?

Will Harrison of the Exalted. Story art by Alanna (@alhuart)

I can’t start a full hot war with Harrison; he has a full fleet of ships that would sink even Pride of Elsa. And who knows if his lobbyists can call upon the military might of his home country of America? Would their president come to Arendelle’s aid… or Harrison’s? My diplomats urge me to be cautious about trying to force another country’s hand.

I have to invite Mr. Harrison to parlay with me. I can perhaps demand that Skau-Krogh back off and stop the Arendellian economy from sending everything crashing around Lars and Kristoff. But why would Harrison even consider helping out the Princely House? Unless…

Unless I give him his ultimate prize and bypass Lars altogether. Make Lars irrelevant. But that would mean…

If I surrender to him my trading privileges with the emperor of China, then I know he’ll happily let Mari and the Duke go.

I can’t let him harm either of them, but my demands for Harrison are admittedly huge. I wish for him to: one, abandon Skau-Krogh and let Kristoff beat Lars fair and square; two, vacate his forces from Weselton; three, release Princess Mari and the Duke; and four, promise not to invade Vesterland.

He’s aware he has the leverage – for now. I have nothing he’d want to be persuaded to do all four, and he knows it. He wants only one thing. And if I’m to have a hope of realistically saving Mari and the Duke, I’ll have to give it to him.

The gift bestowed on us on the very eve of Elsa’s birth, which catapulted my father and mother’s reign to dizzying heights of prosperity, strengthening our position in Scandinavia and enriching a hundred years of our kingdom’s trade with the Celestial Empire – gone.

Oh, Elsa. I feel like I want to throw up. I’ve failed you. I’m such a failure. Tears are running down my face as I pen this column.

Oh, spirits, I’m not worthy of the hidden plan that Lord Yixin has for me.

I’m not worthy of Vi’s hope that I’ll save her from Mephistopheles.

Worst of all – I’m not worthy of Elsa’s trust, to be her successor.

How sudden Lady Fortune’s favor can turn to cruelty. I’ve been beaten.

In sadness and sick worry,
Anna

5 thoughts on “Anna’s Column: My Crisis and Despair

  1. Anna, let me explain something to you. To this point, you have done a phenomenal job as Queen. You’ve been proving your doubters wrong at every turn. I could list everything you have done thus far, but you already know. Will Harrison has chosen to absolutely force himself upon Arendelle in ways we have never seen before, not even from Weselton themselves way back when. Anna, you CANNOT give up Arendelle’s trade rights. You CANNOT give Harrison what he wants. What you NEED to do is get a hold of Yixin. He NEEDS to intervene and stop Harrison. Doesn’t he realize what Harrison is doing? He’s leaving you no choices, he’s forcing himself via Lars onto Arendelle and our allies, and that is absolutely not right! Come on Yixin, tell Harrison to stop, please! Harrison does not deserve the trade rights! He never will! You can’t let him get away with this, I don’t care that he is an Exalted member, this is beyond anything we have ever dealt with before and if Harrison has his way, Arendelle is utterly and honestly fucked. And I mean that in every sense.

    Anna, you are not a failure, you never have been. You have done everything you possibly could as Queen of Arendelle and I commend you for that. Elsa, Michael, and everyone else would feel the same way and say the same thing. Please, DO NOT GIVE THE TRADE RIGHTS TO HARRISON. He WILL NEVER, EVER, deserve them.

    Yixin, I look to you, you need to step in and stop Harrison if Arendelle has any chance at survival, economically and otherwise. Tell Harrison to release the Duke and Mari. Tell him to get out of Weselton. And tell him that he will never, ever, deserve the trade rights bestowed upon Arendelle at Elsa’s birth.

    Elsa, I await your arrival soon, as do we all. Anna needs you now more than ever. We all do.

    And finally, fuck you Will Harrison. You’re despicable. ”

    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sir Alan. Thanks for reminding me of the good that I’ve done for the kingdom and you all. But now I feel so cornered, with the lives of people I care so much about – yes, even the Duke’s – tradeable only for the magnificent gift that was given to my family on the Winter Solstice all those years ago, on Elsa’s birthday.

      Harrison is right. I love and care too much, and even as I think of revenge, I can’t see myself putting Mari and the Duke second.

      Elsa is on her way, and with her words in my ear I’ll be able to make a choice in good conscience. I’ll write to His Imperial Highness, but I fear he’s watching me fend for myself – to see if I’m worthy of besting another Exalted member. We need the Celestial Empire much more than it needs us. Is our kingdom, and those of our allies, doomed to be pawns and playgrounds to greater powers?

      Love,
      Anna

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It shouldn’t be that way Anna. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Its time we stood up to that fucker in Harrison and showed him we are not such. Greater powers my ass. Also, don’t believe a word Harrison says. He doesn’t know you like we do.

        I may write to Yixin myself as well, and I know Michael has something up his sleeves. We’ll see how long we can hold out.

        Alan

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  2. Anna,
    I agree with what Alan has just written to you. This is so not your fault. You have done so much good for both Arendelle and Northuldra. It sounds like those old feelings of abandonment coming back to you. You are not alone. You have me, Kristoff, Elsa, Alan, Colisa and a whole host of people who support you and all that you’re doing to make Arendelle and Northuldra a great place.

    We’re dealing with a ruthless pair of Exalted rich lowlifes in Harrison and Hunsecker, with Lars Krogh, thier unwitting pawn in this game of human chess. They make Hans and The Duke look like choirboys. Do not give up. Stay strong. I know it looks bad, we will win in the end. Solomon in Proverbs 21:7 says this about people like Will and Tiffany;

    “The violence of the wicked sweeps them away,
    because they refuse to do what is just.”

    Will and Tiffany will reap the reward of what they have sown. It will not be what they expect.

    Stand strong. Don’t give in. We are with you, you are not alone.

    Meantime, I’m going to write an old acquaintance from America…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know what I’d do with you and everyone, Uncle, because at least now I have you to remind me that I’m not alone, and that’s a fact. It’s what gives me a bit of renewed hope, even as my mind races with endless scenarios and calculations about how I could keep the Duke and Mari safe. About how I could outmanoeuvre Harrison, or strike back at him somehow.

      Thank you for your open letter, and I’ll stay strong. And yes, I still don’t like Hans, but Harrison is *really* good competition…

      Love,
      Anna

      Like

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