Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)
By HM Queen Anna
I know this is a lot to take in, everyone. As of my penning this column and submitting it to The Arendelle Guardian’s editor, the kingdom is alight with fearful talk. From the local bakery and pub all the way to the government and my inner court, there’s a name whispered with fear and loathing: “Katina Romanov.”
Katina Romanov – princess of the Russian Empire, the true power manipulating her daddy, the tsar, behind the throne. Member of the Exalted. Commander of the Grand Dukes of Russia, three mighty generals that she’s tasked with the full-scale invasion of our kingdom.
As your servant-queen, I’ve sworn an oath to always be truthful and honest to my people. So this is the truth: Russia is mobilizing against us, but we have no way of knowing when. Katina will come to me when she’d ready. Therefore, I appeal to everyone in Arendelle not to fear, and to live life like we always do. However, I accept that these won’t be normal times, and to that end, I’ll be working extremely closely with Elsa, General Mattias, and Commander Hilde to prepare for that fateful day when Russia declares war on Arendelle.
My diplomatic mission to Saint Petersburg was, in a word, a failure. Even though I beat Katina at a game of chess, I wasn’t able to move the needle quite enough in a way that would convince her to relinquish her claim to Scandinavia. We did manage to secure irrefutable evidence that Russia is planning a frightening and massive war against us – from munitions to warships to manpower. Our Home Minister, Maren, and Northuldra huntress Amira conducted the espionage flawlessly, but sadly, Katina figured out our plan and sent Yaraslaf, one of her Grand Dukes, to intercept Maren and Amira. Elsa and our gang barely managed to fight off Yaraslaf and legged it out of Saint Petersburg – but not without Maren and Amira nearly losing their lives.
Maren and Amira were amazing, incredible, and selfless. With her unflinching sacrifices (sacrifices which I never demanded of her), Amira has more than earned a commute of her sentence. She’ll spend one month in a nominal “house arrest” in a comfortable home by the hillside, where she’ll receive the very best of Northuldra healing and Arendellian medicine for her recovery. I’ll ensure that she’s attended to by Kai himself. I’m still stunned at how quickly she was willing to drop her grudge against Arendelle when she realized that both our lands were threatened by Katina. It’s honestly more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m more determined than ever to accelerate integration between Northuldra and Arendelle, making Arendelle’s destiny inseparable from Northuldra’s people!
While the Home Minister and Amira enjoy a well-deserved recuperation, I’m busier than ever. Your servant-queen’s schedule is chock-full of meetings with government ministers and allies, like the Duke of Weselton, Mari, and Colisa. We’re coordinating the defensive strategy of the Entente of Three Kingdoms. There’s every possibility that Russia will strike at Vesterland or Chatho as part of its strategy. Katina has telegraphed, quite intentionally to intimidate me, the Grand Dukes’ assignments: the horrifying ancient lich, Nykras, is apparently to lead his undead armies against Northuldra. I pray that Maren and Amira will be well enough by then to coordinate a defence with Yelena and the tribe, as well as the five spirits of nature. Yaraslaf, the werebear warrior, is hoping to lead the Baltic Fleet to naval dominance in the North Sea, which I’ve assigned Mattias and Hilde to defend. I haven’t met the final and most senior Grand Duke yet – her name’s Sora – but it only makes sense that she’ll be probably attacking Arendelle itself.
Well, Elsa and I will be ready.
Finally, I’ve scheduled a meeting with an Exalted member herself: Peony Sinclair. I’m going to demand that she help Arendelle navigate our coming conflicts. After all, if she’s really here to guide Arendelle into becoming a global power, I’m pretty sure our kingdom can’t realize its potential if, well, it’s reduced to a smouldering crater by Katina’s fleet. I’d like to take my case all the way to Lord Yixin’s Summer Palace – he’s always been distant but benevolent, influencing Elsa’s and my reign from the shadows. But now, I want to understand his logic in allowing Arendelle and Russia to fight it out.
Give me strength, dear readers and beloved fellow citizens of Arendelle. I’ll need it.