“Snowstorm,” by PURY (@puryartist)
EXCLUSIVE: Elsa hovers between life and death as Katina declares final stage of her invasion
By Evangeline, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian
After a fortnight’s worth of careful logistical arrangements, the nearly broken body of the Snow Queen, Arendelle’s former monarch, was delivered grimly to the palace and instantly attended to by Anna and her friends. Elsa nearly fell in battle against the undead lich Nykras, who was dispatched in an ingenious maneuver by the Fifth Spirit.
The Battle of Northuldra has concluded with a major victory for Northuldra’s people and the elemental guardians. It’s come at a high price, however: a badly wounded Yelena is being attended to by Ryder and Amira, while a grief-stricken Honeymaren has had to personally accompany Elsa to receive treatment alongside Commander Hilde, who’s still recovering from her battle with Yaraslaf. While Elsa is projected to recover more quickly than Hilde, she won’t be in full strength for the final battle, which will be led by the Romanovs’ guardian angel Sora.
In an eerie and worrying echo of what happened after Queen Iduna and King Agnarr’s deaths, Anna has disappeared behind the castle gates. This time, her confinement is self-imposed as she keeps vigil over Elsa’s bedridden form each night. She has reduced her press conferences to once a week from previously daily appearances. Even Countess Vi has had to chair the parliament of the Great Assembly, when it’s usually the queen who oversees proceedings.
A confidential source disclosed that Anna’s behaviour has changed in recent days. Members of her inner circle have overheard frantic scribbles of her quill and the shuffling of paper behind her study door, well after three in the early morning. Such is the pace of her work that she’s apparently hired a penman to dictate to, and people passing by her room have heard Her Majesty muttering the words, “Exalted,” “Russia,” “Katina,” and “Peony and Yixin.”
Meanwhile, in Moscow, Katina has issued a public statement, directly aimed at Anna while also intending to quell domestic concern over the cost of the war. “We have sacrificed much in our goal to take Scandinavia, but Arendelle is exhausted and the time is now. I’ll personally sail to Arendelle after sending Sora to defeat Anna’s defenders.”
From these fighting words, it seems that Katina isn’t put off by two lost theatres of war, perhaps betting it all on her most powerful Grand Duke. A confrontation between the Russian princess and the Arendellian sovereign seems all but imminent.
Anna’s Column: How can I stay the same monarch?
I know I’ve written less for this paper since the war started, and I don’t think you blame me. What you can blame me for – because I certainly do – is the losses our side has wracked up, with every death a tragedy for a broken household, every injury a lifelong, traumatizing burden. Chatho, Weselton, and the Southern Isles, with all their leaders missing. The humiliation of Vesterland. The destruction of our own army and Hilde’s horrific wounds. The Northuldra, and the fact that we almost lost the nature spirits!
As I watch over Elsa slowly recovering in one of the guest rooms, I realize just how tired, unsmiling, and mirthless I’ve become. Yet I’m feeling more clear-eyed than I’ve ever been since Russia declared war on me. Peony said that she and Yixin could guide Arendelle into becoming a world power. If Peony’s to be believed, she’s been monitoring our sorry situation all this time.
Well, what better entry for Arendelle on to the world stage than to inflict a decisive defeat on a true world power like Russia?
I’m holding Elsa’s hand now, and as I do so, I think of Katina. And I imagine how fantastic – how glorious and sweet – it will feel once I topple her from her perch, her mighty empire humbled by our small kingdom.
But for that to happen, I’ve realized that I must accept that Arendelle must become a world power – as Lord Yixin wanted.
I’ve resisted for a long time, because I’ll never let Arendelle be an imperial or colonial power. But if he can help make Arendelle a global force, on my terms… I still don’t know what he wants with me, but I feel him watching Elsa and me constantly. It’s either going to be either Katina or me.
And for Elsa’s sake, it’s definitely going to be me.
Slowly but surely, something is changing in me, and I feel both scared and exhilarated by it. I fear that the monarchy’s burdens are turning me into someone Elsa didn’t expect.
I can’t say at this point whether I’m pleased with that or not. All I know is that I’ve come so far now, and we’re so close to defeating Katina. I must see this through and discover what lies beyond our war with Russia.
I’m still preoccupied with what it means to carry on Elsa’s legacy, and what it means to hold Arendelle’s standard in her name. What I’m absolutely certain of is: I need more power.