Featured image art by @alhuart
By Trade Minister Michael
As you may have read in recent editions of our fine newspaper, The Arendelle Guardian, Queen Anna recently had to sign the Treaty of Weselton. This document established an uneasy peace between Anna and Will Harrison, a rich member of the First Family of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the cabal of the Exalted. The deal guaranteed the lives of the captive Duke of Weselton and Princess/Ambassador Mari of Vesterland. In return, Anna had to relinquish two of the four special trade conditions from the Most Favored Nation Trade gift given by Prince Regent Yixin to Anna’s and Snow Queen Elsa’s parents, King Agnarr and Queen Iduna, and the Kingdom of Arendelle on Elsa’s birth date.
The cold-blooded hostage-taking by Mr. Harrison (along with the defeat of the Duke and our forces in trying to remove Harrison’s troops from the shores of Weselton) had put their lives in danger. This rocked our beloved Queen (my beloved niece) to her core. Not just the pact from Yixin, but the lives of two people were on the line. Mari was a friend, and despite the bad blood we’ve had with the Duke, his country is part of Anna’s Entente of Smaller Kingdoms, and a life is very precious indeed.
This was the darkest time Anna’s ever experienced since the cave in Northuldra when she feared that her sister Elsa was dead (fortunately, Elsa survived her near-death and is still with us, praise God!). I’d like to share a bit of the conversation that I had with Queen Anna and Snow Queen Elsa (with their permission) about this heartbreaking time.
Whenever Queen Anna is sad or heartbroken, I knock on the door of whichever room she’s in to the tune of, “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” It lifts Anna’s spirits, as you’ll see here.
I knocked on the drawing room door, rapping to the melody of her childhood song. “It’s me,” I said.
Anna answered, “Come in, Uncle. I know it’s you when you knock like that. It’s still my favourite song, and brings me strength.”
“I do it because I love you, Anna,” I said. “And I’m concerned about you. I know you’re feeling badly about what just happened with Vesterland and our friends captured by Harrison. Need a friend and Uncle to talk to?”
Anna answered sadly: “That would be nice, trade minister… my uncle. Hee hee. Oh, look. I can still laugh and smile, even when Mari and the Duke’s lives are in peril. I’ve been thinking about them all night and day.”
Even though we laughed a little at that, I could tell she was still aching. I sat down beside my niece Anna on her left and tenderly put my arm around her shoulders.
“When Elsa had times like this and you weren’t there, I’d surrogate in your place, and me and Elsa talked about it,” I said.
Anna replied, “I remember those days well, when I was down and I didn’t want to bother Elsa, we’d talk.”
“I remember,” I said. “How can I help you?”
Anna told me, “I’m holding on and I’m trying to be strong. But I don’t know what I’ll be seeing when I watch Harrison walk through that door and sign this horrible treaty. Maybe just red. I’ve spent several sleepless nights over this.” Anna looked sadly at me. “I must approach Peony and Yixin. We’re still Most Favoured Nation. We’re still a free port, with or without those privileges. I’ll show the world that we can rally and come back. But now I realize I was too proud, too desperate to prove to Elsa and others that I could do it myself. I’ve realized that I can’t pretend to be able to fight someone like Harrison alone.”
Softly, I replied, “I know you’re angry with what Harrison and Lars doing what they did. Seeing red right now is not the answer. We need to keep cool for now.”
Just then, Elsa arrived at the castle and was standing in the doorway to the drawing room with little Princess Danny, my great-niece, hand-in-hand. We embraced each other as I said, “Thank you for coming, Elsa, my beloved niece. It does my heart good to see you all here, especially now.” Danny then went to Anna, who gave Danny a cuddle as well. Olaf met Danny there and they hugged and went elsewhere to play while we talked to Anna.
Elsa replied, “I’m so glad to be back, Uncle! Even though I come by often, it seems like an eternity since last time. It must feel even longer for Anna.”
Elsa sat on Anna’s right, tenderly holding her as Anna turned to Elsa and said, “Oh Elsa, I feel like I want to throw up. I’ve failed you. I’m such a failure. I feel like I’m not worthy of being your successor.” Anna started to weep. Elsa then took her fingers to wipe Anna’s tears, asking: “I heard what you were saying to Uncle. Remember the memory I had shown you of Mother and Father before they left for Ahtohallan?”
“Remember how Mother said how much love you had? That they were confident in you with me? Well, I’m very confident in you being Queen. You really don’t have to prove anything to me. I love you Anna, and I know the capable hands I’ve left Arendelle in,” Elsa said.
As I put a gentle hand on Anna’s shoulder, I said to her, “I understand to, pumpkin. You really don’t need to prove anything to Elsa, Colisa, or me or anyone. You don’t have to show us, we know it because we love you. You showed yourself what you’re capable of. I love you and so does Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Viola, everyone. Even Viola sent a message saying how you outplayed her twice. She knows you can do this and you don’t have to prove a thing. Do you remember what you told me when I felt what you feel now, when I felt like a failure?”
Anna looked up with still more tears and asked: “What was that?”
Elsa replied, “You told me to not blame myself for things I couldn’t control and to let myself fail, and to treat it like a bad day, and wake up fresh for a brand new one.”
I added, “Yes. Allow yourself to fail and forgive yourself. Don’t dwell on it. Learn from it and move on. I know this one’s gonna hurt for a while. You’re strong, Anna, and you’ll be wiser and stronger from this.”
“We learn more from our setbacks than even our most triumphant victories,” Elsa said. “It will remain with you for some time, Anna. But with our help, you can move forward despite everything. I have complete faith in you. And we’ll be right there with you.”
“We’ll all be here for you, Anna, my niece and Queen,” I added.
I then said, “To take on the Exalted, especially Harrison and Tiffany, takes a united effort. You like the salty air and seeing the ships in the Fjord. Have you ever noticed the ropes used to moor and anchor this ships or raise and lower the sails?”
“I do, Uncle.”
“Those ropes have more than just one strand. They are made stronger by wrapping two or three or more strands and even bigger strands. The Entente are those extra strands in the rope of Arendelle and you.”
Anna started to feel a bit more confident as she replied, “My hope keeps me going, Uncle. I’m so glad you reminded me of the ropes that are stronger together. I’ve realised that my Entente of Small Kingdoms needs more strength to resist someone as powerful as Harrison. Trust me, Uncle. I will fight back. Somehow.”
“Fight back?” I said excitedly. “That’s my feisty pants niece talkin, now!” We all laughed!
Anna then said kindly, “I’d like to be with Elsa for while, if you don’t mind, Uncle.”
I answered: “Not a bit! I knew you need some quality ‘sister time,’ I’ve got my work and some covering for Viola since she’s in London. I love you two!”
Then Elsa said to me, “Thank you so much for helping Anna. Together, we’ll comfort her and give her as much advice as we can. We must make sure she doesn’t feel abandoned even as Arendelle faces much larger powers.”
And I said graciously to my Snow-Niece, “You’re welcome, and yes, indeed. I’m in full agreement.”
An hour or so later, Elsa came to my office to chat. I said, “Hey Elsa, how’s Anna doing?”
“Still a bit sad, but fine.” Elsa said. “My heart aches for Anna, just like yours. While I had beaten back the tsar’s navy during my time and dealt with Yixin, monarch-to-regent, I’d never experienced the dilemma that our Anna is facing now. So I can only give her advice that assists her clarity and focuses her mind on the path ahead. Sovereigns face these questions all the time. I’m just a bit wistful that our Anna has had to grow up so quickly.”
“Well,” I said, “again, not your fault. Things like Will Harrison and Viola Mundilfari, Yixin, Peony, and more… they pop up and she’s had to deal with them as they come. Anna’s done very good, especially with Vi and Hilde. I’ve even become friends with Vi. You had to deal with Nicholas I when you just started out. The job of ruling monarch is never easy. It takes a lot of responsibility and you grow up fast.”
“Anna’s world is opening up so quickly. Harrison is only the beginning. Our strong and sweet Anna must be ready for future struggles of similar scale and stakes.” Elsa said in agreement.
“‘That which doesn’t kill you, only serves to make you stronger.’ Right, Elsa?” I said, winking.
“I absolutely agree,” replied Elsa.
We walked back to the drawing room. Anna was still on the couch.
“Feeling any better, Anna?” I asked.
“I’m feeling a bit better, Uncle,” said Anna. “Everyone was so quick to comfort and encourage me. For the sake of the kingdom, I won’t falter for long.” I was glad to hear it. We all hugged Anna together.
Family. Good friends. When I told Chief, our newspaper’s editor, what happened, Chief was ecstatic about how me and Elsa had helped Anna in her time of need. I said that it was a very special moment to remember, because that’s what family is for. We share the heartaches, heartbreaks, tears, as well as the victories and happiness.
One last thing: before I left, Elsa said something that stuck with me: ““Through thick and thin. That’s why we’re family. Despite the heart-wrenching and infuriating situation that our queen, our baby Anna was in, she represented the kingdom’s interests with fortitude and dignity. It was only natural that Uncle and me were there to help her be strong in the face of Harrison’s unwelcome arrival.”
Well put, Elsa, well put.
Your Trade Minister,