Featured image art “Ashflakes,” by Alanna (@alhuart)
By HM Queen Anna
I’m sure you’ve read the news in Arendelle’s papers and gazettes by now. The Romanov family, Russia’s supreme and unquestioned rulers, has set its sights on us. Steered by their princess and Exalted member, Katina, the tsar, Nicholas I, and his government have declared war on Arendelle.
This is actually the second conflict between Arendelle and Russia, the first one having been between Elsa and the same tsar. Back then, Nicholas I was malevolent but outsmarted by my sister and Queen Colisa. Katina’s very different to her father.
Katina means to remove me from the throne and install someone – a governor – who will supervise a future Arendellian monarch more agreeable to her geopolitical ambitions. Should I fail, Scandinavia risks becoming a satrapy or province of Russia, which will provide Katina with the land, resources, and routes needed to launch an even greater bid for domination of the European continent.
Imperial Russia already holds great sway over Eurasia. We can’t let them overrun us and sweep into Western Europe, although I’m greatly disappointed by the neutral stances of Britain, France, and Prussia. They fear the Grand Dukes and their vast power. I understand that, but if Arendelle falls, the rest of Europe will. This is a terrible burden for the kingdom and I to bear!
As queen, it’s my duty to be honest with you, and to protect you with my life. As I pen this column, I’ve coordinated with the Duke of Weselton and Prince Hans for their ships to meet the Baltic Fleet, which has just set off from the ports of Saint Petersburg. They’re led by the great werebear and admiral, Grand Duke Yaraslaf. I had a taste of his might during our visit to Saint Petersburg some months ago. Now, we meet once more on the formal battlefield.
Standing against the Russian juggernaut is the Entente of Small Kingdoms – my allies who I trust and value – including Hans and the Duke, and especially in this troubling time. Our plan is to hit Yaraslaf’s fleet with repeatedly with a nimbler, smaller fleet of allied ships before my main navy and Queen Colisa’s Ten Tigresses engage them head-on. Wearing down the Baltic Fleet as they draw closer to Arendelle will – I hope – buy us time to prepare evacuations of civilians where necessary. While I urge everyone to carry on with life as usual, my engineers have prepared shelters and tunnels in the mountains from Yaraslaf’s onslaught. I’ve also asked Marshmallow and the snowgies to be ready to care for my people sheltering in Elsa’s old ice castle, which is an excellent fortress and keep. It’ll be one of several strategic locations from which I’ll launch my counterattacks on the Grand Dukes.
For now, Katina is keeping her other two generals, Sora and Nykras, on the sidelines. She has bigger plans for them as she sends wave after wave against us. We must focus on Yaraslaf, who’s already an extremely grave threat to our kingdom’s survival. Fortunately, the Ottoman Empire, which bears a grudge against the tsar’s family, is leaning toward our side in this conflict, and I’m waiting for them to confirm if the sultan will send us a military advisor, Tileke, to help us.
Somehow, I can’t help feeling that Yixin and the rest of the Exalted are watching Katina and me and Elsa with great interest, eager to see how this conflict unfolds.
I’ll be depending on General Mattias and Commander Hilde to lead our ships against Yaraslaf. May the spirits preserve and guide us in this great war.