Featured image “War map,” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Mikael, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – After a grueling and bloody battle that lasted for an entire day, the Arendellian army repelled an attempt by Russia’s Baltic Fleet to seize an island off the fjord of Arendelle (nicknamed Sudden Death).
Should the Russians have seized Sudden Death, Arendelle’s harbour would have been in the direct sights of the Russian navy’s cannons. At great cost, the Arendellians’ strategy of keeping the Russians off the islet worked, with Muspelheim, Countess Vi’s iron-clad warship, striking the Baltic Fleet in a pincer attack that ended with the destruction of Poseidon and the sinking of Charybdis and Scylla. Of the thousands of Imperial Russian troops that stormed the island, only about two hundred survived and have been taken prisoner by General Mattias. Anna has promised to display clemency, and will settle for expelling them from Arendelle. The Russians also lost their admiral, Grand Duke Yaraslaf, who was one of the most terrifying figures of the invasion force.
However, there is little mood in Arendelle to celebrate.
The casualties on Anna’s side have been severe, with hundreds of Arendellian troops dead and the entire Mundilfari Court Guard destroyed. Months of military reforms, spearheaded and supported by Anna and Vi, have gone down the drain, with little left of a standing army to protect the kingdom. Sergeant Severin, a veteran officer that frequently briefed the queen and Mattias on crucial intelligence, was slain by Yaraslaf. And after a fierce battle with Yaraslaf herself, Commander Hilde was critically injured by the Grand Duke and remains in intensive care in Arendelle Castle.
Fortunately for our kingdom, Anna’s navy (consisting of Muspelheim, Anna’s flagship Pride of Elsa, and Mattias’ ship Nobility) was undamaged, allowing Arendelle to project considerable defensive naval power. It’s highly unlikely that Katina Romanov, princess of Russia, will be able to rebuild the Baltic Fleet and mount a new attack by sea. The outflanking of Yaraslaf’s navy has been seen as a major humiliation of Russia, and world powers are now observing with interest the possibility that Arendelle’s resistance might be more successful than previously assumed. Calculations for the post-war settlement might need to be revised.
However, things are still uncertain, with many diplomats seeing Russia’s setback as less serious than Arendelle’s dire situation. Anna is still bracing for two more offensive waves from the remaining Grand Dukes, Nykras and Sora. Furthermore, Yaraslaf was defeated by Elsa’s last-minute intervention after he had been weakened by Mattias and Hilde. This narrow victory doesn’t bode well for Arendelle, given that Yaraslaf was rumoured to be the most junior and weakest of the Grand Dukes.
“I told my sister without any ambiguity that I would gladly fight for her, to protect our shared responsibility as the Diarchy of Arendelle,” the Snow Queen told The Arendelle Guardian several days later. “I only wish Anna would deploy me less reservedly.”
This is perhaps the single major issue on which the sister-queens disagree, with Anna confiding to the rest of the inner court that she doesn’t like how Elsa is trying, in Anna’s words, “to get me to ‘use’ her like she’s some weapon of mine. Champion, protector, guardian… whichever way I slice it, the fact remains that I don’t wish to send her out like a trump card.”
This strongly worded quote was passed on to us by an anonymous source from within the inner court (although its small size leads us to speculate with some accuracy as to who it is). The source confided to our reporters that Anna’s passionate, overriding concern for Elsa’s wellbeing is becoming a significant emotional issue once more. Stemming from years of trauma, lingering loss, and the fear of a repeat of said loss, the queen’s reluctance is not helped by the fact that the Grand Dukes’ power and Katina’s political influence are unlike any adversary she has encountered before, barring Harrison, Katina’s fellow member of the Exalted.
As if in response to Anna’s concern, Elsa has promised to give a public response in this newspaper – it’s uncertain whether it’ll be through an interview or her usual column.
With Ottoman help on the way, Arendelle can breathe a sigh of relief for now, although the coming battle for Northuldra will decide whether Nykras’ hordes of undead legions overwhelm the forest tribe and the elemental spirits – thus opening a southern land invasion route to Arendelle.