Our joint drills of the kingdom’s standing army and Hilde’s troops goes as well as one can expect. Hilde Von Altheim is a subject of both fear and fascination among our troops. She’s still Countess Vi’s fearsome champion, even though you and Vi have set aside your differences. Hilde’s reputation is still one of a formidable field marshal. Not to mention whispers about… well, you and Elsa would know better than anyone. Is it true that she can turn into a terrifying beast that even Elsa found a challenge? A werewolf of ancient yore?
I won’t pretend that Hilde and I don’t clash on strategy, tactics, and even the ethics of war. But since you’re forming a diplomatic corps to talk to Princess Katina of Russia, we did discuss an idea that you might like to consider.
Honeymaren worked with my wilds troops to apprehend Amira, the Northuldra hunter who nearly brought our kingdom to a standstill. We’ve locked her up in a dungeon cell below Arendelle Castle, but I’m sure you and Maren don’t want to see her languish in there too long. Retributive punishment can only teach the most basic of lessons – “don’t threaten the kingdom or the physical safety of its citizens.”
But that’s pretty much it.
Apart from that, from the Northuldra Children Protection Act to your granddad’s dam, you’ve made it clear that Arendelle has an obligation to restore Northuldra’s trust in us. I’ve grown more sympathetic to your viewpoint, despite my doubts. I fought the Northuldra alongside your grandpa, and I was protecting my king. Yelena and I didn’t exactly start off on the right foot. But your conviction when you asked us to draw the Earth Spirit to the dam was… inspiring, like a lightning bolt to the conscience.
Let me tell you Hilde’s and my idea. Since the diplomatic corps seems increasingly likely to go to Saint Petersburg for talks with Katina’s emissaries, we reckon that Amira could go with them – covertly – on a mission to find out exactly what the Russian princess is planning.
Neither Hilde nor I trust Amira completely, and I’m sure you want to be cautious too. While I’m not convinced Katina will try anything outrageous against your entourage, the Commander and I are convinced that she’s moving resources, buying munitions, mobilizing banks, and training armies larger than even her father’s. Our Ravens have been gathering a lot of disturbing intelligence: transactions, generals’ letters, intercepted communications – it would be enough to expose anyone.
But we need someone on the ground.
Amira’s skillset is unique and, honestly, pretty incredible. She could best easily any Arendellian soldier. I even think that Amira would have much to teach our regiments, apart from the inconvenience of her being an enemy of the state. But if she agreed to provide a service in the name of your government and our people’s safety – just one mission – her help could more than make up for the damage she’s done.
If she can help sniff out what Katina’s really planning, and provide our Ravens with invaluable intelligence, you and Maren would have the perfect reason to commute her imprisonment or show her leniency. You could offer her an early release or at least move her somewhere more comfortable. Maybe reduce her sentence to something like house arrest in one of those comfy cottages on the kingdom’s hillside. Take your time with showing her how you’re changing Arendelle.
And, when she starts seeing Arendelle as less of an enemy and more as a friend that needs to change, perhaps she’ll be willing to cooperate with us more often. Maybe Honeymaren could even help her integrate with a job at the Northuldra embassy. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but this could be the chance you’ve been waiting for.
Have a think about it, Anna.
Destin and Hilde