From: Princess Katina Romanov, SAINT PETERSBURG
To: Miss Peony Sinclair, HONG KONG
Re: Stay out of my way!
My dear Peony Sinclair,
Our wise yet fearsome and distant leader, Yixin, is over-indulgent with you. You’re just a little girl desperately seeking his approval and affection. Like a slobbering dog, a whimpering ***** desperate for a treat from her owner. So I’ll overlook your imperious lecturing about my birthright. Actually, while we’re at it, I always hated your uppity pretentious accent, your spoiled (yes, His Imperial Highness spoils you) British public schoolgirl façade. I’ve worked so hard to position my empire to retake Scandinavia, and you’re calling me reckless? I’ve spent every waking hour planning this!
Do you think I dislike Arendelle and its royal family for some random, unreasonable motive? Do you think I despise Elsa and her sister-successor Anna because I’m jealous of their beauty or something? Or I wish my singing voice could match their rubbish songs?
I wish it were that unserious and petty. But my objectives are existential, not that you cared to understand. So you earned my venom.
To me, Arendelle is destiny. It’s the reason why I sit with you at the table of the Exalted, along with Harrison. It’s why I’ve prepared myself meticulously, pulling the strings behind the throne of my father the tsar, to take what rightfully belongs to Russia: the northernmost wintry regions of Eurasia, the Scandinavian region that will ensure Russian security for a century and beyond.
My father didn’t attack Scandinavia during Elsa’s reign over Arendelle for no reason. Russia has always suffered intrusions, from minor raids to all-out invasions, at its borders. Centuries ago, Ivan the Terrible drove out the Golden Horde, those terrifying descendants of the Mongol overlord Batu Khan. The stakes are nothing less than the safeguarding of our people’s dignity and our territorial integrity. Since His Imperial Highness styles you as his emissary, maybe you should reflect a bit on why I see territory as my government’s priority.
In recent decades, the threats to Russia’s sovereignty has come from the west, from the very heart of Western Europe. Peter the Great, my ancestor, could see that we needed a truly awesome military to crush any French, Prussian, or others’ designs against us. And don’t tell me you don’t know about 1812.
Napoleon. His Grande Armée’s all-out war against us. And our country’s biting winter, which humbled that French madman’s claims to the world.
The simple fact is: Russia can’t trust Western Europe to keep the peace and balance of power. One day, there will come an equally rapacious and ambitious madman like Napoleon to attack us. Maybe someone from Austria or Germany, who knows…
For too long, the Scandinavian kingdoms have been useful idiots or unwitting accomplices to the seizure of Russian territory, Arendelle included. Yet you’ve always been more sympathetic to Arendelle’s position, at the expense of Russia’s concerns. Elsa’s buffoonish ape of a grandfather, Runeard, was small fry on the world stage and he knew it. It was easy to humiliate him and remind him of his place on the pecking order. His twit of a son, Agnarr, equally mediocre, impotent, and worthless. No one missed anything when the sea gobbled him up.
Northern Europe is a weak flank that my father had the right idea for: to bring its lands under Russian suzerainty. We’re a multi-ethnic empire that covers more landmass than any other country on the planet. We know a thing or two about balancing our tsardom’s authority with the autonomy of the people we rule over. But then Elsa and her busybody hanger-on, Colisa of Chatho, had to ruin it all. Why the hell are they always hanging out together, anyway? Are they… you know?
Anyway, my father had the right idea. But let’s face it, he’s a bit dumb. I, on the other hand, won’t rely solely on my Baltic Fleet to crush Arendelle and its alliances. Anna’s so-called Entente of Small Kingdoms will have a nasty shock when I open three theatres of war that not even Anna and the Snow Queen can withstand. My three generals, Russia’s Grand Dukes, will lead the invasion of those fronts, each of my champions powerful enough to overwhelm Arendelle’s defenders.
Anna presumes to send Elsa to me, for her team to meet my Grand Dukes. Even if Anna is anything close to the supreme commander that Elsa was, she should know that I’m not my father.
She struggled to even pull off a deal with Harrison! She couldn’t even win a basic gamble with him. She needed to beg you for help! Imagine that – a dog begging another dog!
So back off, Peony, and don’t think your coziness with Lord Yixin scares me. In fact, I’ll prove to your mentor that Russia, as the Third Rome, can steward Northern Eurasia better than Arendelle ever could. Perhaps then he’ll assign me Most Favoured Nation status. What a twist that would be, since Arendelle’s claim to that is weakened thanks to Harrison’s victory over Anna.
I agree with the Virginian on at least this one thing: both he and I never understood what Lord Yixin saw in Arendelle. The world will be better off with that kingdom conquered, partitioned, or reduced to a client state. The Exalted will be better off for it.
If you insist on trying to “guide” Anna through her reign, so be it. I won’t get in your way – but don’t get in mine when I bring the full might of Mother Russia to bear on Elsa, Anna, and their friends.
Princess Katina Romanov