Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)
Arendelle’s been a regular hive of political action since we’ve returned from Saint Petersburg. It was getting somewhat hectic getting back into the routines with preps for Katina’s sabre rattling. So in a moment’s break from the business of government and seeing a picture done by the Royal Painter Arute (which this newspaper’s readers can enjoy), I reminisced about a very special visitor to Arendelle and Northuldra.
This special young lady is a friend to the Diarchy and is a dear friend to our friends in the Kingdom of Corona: King Frederick, Queen Arianna and their daughter and her hubby, Princess Rapunzel “Raps” and Prince Regent Eugene Fitzherbert. The former, irreplaceable Lady-in-Waiting to Raps, Cassandra.
Cassandra was at one time, a snarky, sullen Lady-in-Waiting to Rapunzel, mostly because she was unhappy with the position. She trained and was born to fight as a warrior, which in some circles, was unpopular and looked down upon.
Oh yeah, the only time Cass and Eugene saw eye to eye, was like this:
It’s been a while since we had seen our friends from Corona. The last time for me was as Trade Minister when I visited their royals, after they’d rebuilt from their conflict with an evil power. Raps and Cass stopped that. More on this later. Suffice to say that this was right after Queen Anna was crowned, Elsa began living in Northuldra, and Countess Viola ascended to her family’s leadership.
One day we received a Gale-mail message from Elsa, saying that a stranger come into the Enchanted Forest in Northuldra. Elsa mentioned that upon seeing who it was, it was indeed Cassandra!
The note said that it was Cassandra, but she was different. She was no longer snarky but more positive, a much happier lady than she was last time the sisters saw her.
As a matter of fact, Elsa and Cass talked about what transformed them into the more positive, happier women they are now, and Elsa updated Cass on her now being the Snow Queen, or Fifth Spirit (yes, Maren lost it a bit seeing Cass, she’ll be okay). The note said that Cass was coming to Arendelle and visit Queen Anna as well, and that Elsa would be there for the weekend as usual.
Reading this, Queen Anna made arrangements for a dinner and time over coffee, tea and light desserts to catch up with Cassandra. Meantime, Cass stayed overnight in Northuldra and got to meet Maren, Ryder, Yelena and the spirits. Bruni, Nokk, Gale and the Earth Giants were very cordial. In the note, Elsa said that Cassandra said how “Bruni reminded her of a cuddly but brave Chameleon, Rapunzel’s Pascal.” I could just see Bruni cuddling in Cass’s hands… !
Cassandra arrived the next day in Arendelle. Queen Anna was so excited to see her after so long! Cass and Anna hugged! It was the first time that Cass gave warm hugs to Anna (and Elsa, I was later informed!) So the catch-up started in earnest! Queen Anna had a ton of questions! Yet they agreed to talk that night over dinner and in the living room.
I remember when Queen Anna walked up to my office and said, “Uncle Mike, guess who’s here?”
I said, “Cassandra’s here?” And in walked this young lady with a smile on her face! This definitely was not the Cassandra of Corona I remembered! I said: “Is this the same Cassandra I remember from our last visit to Corona?”
Cass answered with her right brow lowered somewhat, still with her wry smile, “Yep, Uncle Michael, but a lot happier!” We hugged each other like two long-lost friends.
“I couldn’t believe what Elsa’s note said. Seeing you now, makes my ole’ heart flutter in joy for you!” I said. “So, what have you been up to?” I then asked.
“Oh, just traveling the world, rousting rowdies, meeting other princesses like Merida in Scotland. That was a blast! We matched in the bow yet I did better in my graceful walk! She still can’t get it!” We laughed. “Yep, she’s a fighter, through and through like her dad Angus!”
My niece Queen Anna said: “I have a small dinner for this evening to welcome Cass. Would you like to stay here in Castle Arendelle for the night?” Cass accepted. It was a evening to look forward to.
Dinner was excellent. Northuldra Salmon, chicken marsala, veggies, baked red potatoes, salad – it was fantastic. Queen Anna, Kristoff, Elsa, Maren and myself really enjoyed our mealtime with Cass. Then we all retired to the living room for tea, coffee, and light desserts.Cass then regaled all of us on how she had changed.
“I was always angry and jealous of Raps. Mother Gothel was my real mom, yet she never loved me. She was insanely jealous of Rapunzel, wanting to kidnap her since her Mother was cured of her illness during her pregnancy with Raps. They used the magic Sundrop to cure Arianna. Yet Gothel was using it to constantly to stay young. The Captain of the Guard raided the house where we lived with his men. Gothel escaped, but Captain adopted me and loved me as his own daughter.”
Cass continued, “When Raps came home, her hair grew back and she was so panicked! We couldn’t cut it or anything! It was funny but serious. She was afraid her dad Frederick would find out! It turned out for the best. We had some adventures, but not like when we found the moonstone to stop the black rocks from destroying Corona.”
Queen Anna asked, “What happened then?”
Cass answered, “We went to a place called ‘The House of Yesterday’s Tomorrow.’ It tried to trap Rapunzel since she had the Sundrop’s power, but we escaped. Yet I got trapped behind a door that led to an enchanted chamber with a little girl, whom I found out later was an evil wizard named Zhan Tiri. Zhan Tiri used my anger and jealousy of Raps to steal the Moonstone, a powerful stone that was the polar opposite of the Sundrop. I thought I was in total control of this power when I stole it and fought Raps and her friends, when in fact, I found out Zhan Tiri played me for a fool, using me and my deep anger against my mother and Raps to seize both stones to destroy Corona and wreak vengeance on the world.”
“I know what it’s like to wield power like that.” Elsa said. “What happened that made you realize this?”
Cass answered: “There was a mirror I found that was Gothel’s, with a piece missing. That piece showed me getting a music box from Mother and her saying that she loved me. It made me even more angry at Raps. After Zhan Tiri took the Moonstone and the Sundrop, Zhan Tiri threw me out of the window of a tower of black rock I’d made. I then found the missing shard of the mirror and the truth. I realized I was used and lied to by Zhan. After Zhan left, Raps and I talked. Even through all of that, the love she had for me and how she and everyone else (including Eugene!) didn’t give up on me made me realize who was a real friend and family.
“We’ve got someone here who’s like that too!” Kristoff said, looking at his fiancée, Anna! Anna grinned and blushed.
“Raps and I defeated Zhan Tiri, together,” Cass continued, “but life had momentarily left me. Rapunzel used the combined Sundrop and Moonstone to get me back, then left them both to leave the world forever. Raps and Eugene hugged in the aftermath of all that. I saw them and couldn’t bring myself to join them, but Eugene put his hand out. I took it and he pulled me in to join the hug. That was a wonderful surprise! I felt loved and forgiven.”
“You’ve been blessed like Anna and Elsa have been. Real friends and family who never gave up on you. And like Kristoff said, we’ve got someone here, just like Rapunzel, who is so full of love and positivity, she never gives up on anyone, even a sister!” I said. That made both Anna and Elsa blush!
Cassandra then talked about her adventures she’s had since leaving Corona to find her way in the world. Rousting robbers, helping the hurting and helpless, a true paladin. I made it a point that we should visit Corona one day and see Raps and Eugene. We talked, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company until bedtime.
Cassandra stayed another day to tour Arendelle with the sisters. While they went on a ladies’ day out, I wrote a letter to Rapunzel and Eugene:
Dear Princess Rapunzel and Prince Regent Eugene,
Guess who’s here in Arendelle? Cass is visiting and I am so proud of her since she’s found you all as a true family and friend. Queen Anna may regale you more with our visit. I can tell you it’s been our pleasure to have her visit. She even said that she and Eugene warmed up a bit with each other! That’s a surprise!
I hope you both are doing well and that we can get time to come and visit Corona, or the other way round.
Affectionately and always watching over the two of you,Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle