Featured image art “Snowstorm” by PURY (@puryart)
VICTORY as Queen Anna stakes vampire traitor Countess Vi through her heart
By Mikael, Defence Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
The desperate rebellion against Anna led by Countess Vi, Anna’s former prime minister, is about to be crushed by Her Majesty. As this article is going to press, the newly conquered states of the Southern Isles, Chatho, Weselton, and Vesterland will be recognizing Anna as the new and first Empress of Arendelle.
Loyal citizens of Arendelle, rejoice! Our beautiful motherland is now the Empire of Arendelle!
Since the death of Elsa, Anna was tragically broken and, as if a fire was lit within her, gloriously rallied and wiped out all her enemies. Seeing herself as a failure, she rapidly reorganized our kingdom into an engine of “total war,” and began a campaign of relentless expansion. Now Arendelle is several times its original size, having swallowed all her former allies, and with a navy that has blown apart the Prussian and Austrian fleets in Europe. Anna is even poised to wrench colonies in Asia and the Americas from their original masters of the British and French.
Yet in the midst of all this glory, the Countess claimed that Anna had lost her way and instigated a rebellion. Treason! It’s obvious that she simply wanted to seize the new Arendellian Empire for herself. After more than two years of fierce civil war, Her Majesty has crushed Vi’s forces and is now poised to seize Mundilfari Keep itself!
The sister-queens are dead. All hail the Last Sister!
Long live Empress Anna!
The sky was red with flame and blood.
Anna’s troops had flooded the courtyard of Mundilfari Keep. Her general had almost broken through the main gate of Countess Vi’s home.
The government and the Crown’s soldiers had been outfitted with silver bullets and anti-monster weaponry. Their cannons had pulverized the castle’s ramparts and forced Anna’s former prime minister into hiding within the Keep.
The rebellion against Anna and the Arendellian Empire was about to die an ignominious death.
Fitting, for a traitor that tried to stop Anna from pursuing the elixir of life.
Arms crossed, Anna was standing among her troops when the cannon blasted through the humongous door to the castle. A great cheer rose up. “How could you betray me like this, Vi?” she whispered to herself. “Especially after I lost Elsa.”
She clenched her jaw. “No matter. I have nothing left anyway. And your uprising against me after I conquered Weselton, the Southern Isles, Chatho, and Vesterland left me no choice.”
Beside her, General Mattias made a sweeping gesture with his arm. “Kill every single person inside,” he snarled. “Whoever brings Anna Commander Hilde or Countess Vi’s head will be promoted twofold!”
A great roar rippled through the army, and the government troops rushed inside, quickly seizing the key chokepoints of the vast castle. Some of the surviving rebel troops and servants that followed the Countess were within and mounted a desperate last stand, but were quickly shot or cut down by Mattias’ troops.
“Lobby – clear.”
“The dining room is secure.”
“The main stairwells from the dining room – clear.”
“Fan out and seize all the corridors.”
“There’re hundreds of rooms here. Search every one – we don’t know what surprises the Countess might be hiding. Kill all her remaining servants.”
There were no nasty traps or ambushes. Anna and her bodyguards made directly for the Mundilfari ancestral hall, striding through several long corridors and going up and down several flights of twisting stone steps, until they stood before a pile of Arendellian corpses. Anna’s eyes fell on the bloody body of Vi’s last remaining ally, Hilde Von Altheim. Her face was mangled, half-wolf, half-human. As if she’d died in the middle of metamorphosis. She’d turned into her werewolf form some time ago and had slaughtered entire regiments of Anna’s troops. Still, the queen’s overwhelming firepower was enough to overcome Hilde with a hail of silver bullets, and the warrior’s body was riddled with them as it lay among the soldiers she’d killed.
“We had a good friendship, Hilde,” muttered Anna to herself.
The queen nodded at her men, and they treaded around the mountain of carcasses and pressed their backs to the door. “Three – two – one.” They slammed against the door, and to their surprise, the door wasn’t barricaded. They stumbled as it swung wide open, and Anna strode in, her eyes falling on the waiting Countess sitting on her, throne, the throne that the Mundilfari clan heads that had sat on for the past few centuries. Anna’s soldiers pointed their rifles at the vampire, but Anna raised her hand. “Leave us,” she snapped, and her surprised men uncertainly withdrew, closing the doors behind her.
“Remember your old sleepovers over here? Times have changed quite a bit,” said Vi from her throne, her voice steady and red eyes shimmering. Her slender legs were crossed, and one of her heels was tapping on the floor. “I suppose Hilde’s dead.”
“She has. And when I slay you, I promise to bury you with her.” Anna pursed her lips. “Your allies fought well during the uprising, but they’ve fallen all around you. It’s just you left, sweetie.” She began to convulse with simultaneous rage and grief.
“How dare you try to stop me from touching the secret of eternal life… when you yourself are immortal.”
“Not by choice, damn it. Look what our journey has done to you, Anna,” said Vi sadly. “Your obsession with perpetual life got Elsa killed by Lord Yixin’s enemies. We were no match for them, and Elsa still saved you at the cost of her life.
“You set out to keep Arendelle safe, but instead you made us all terrified enforcers of your cause. Elsa wouldn’t want this. If Elsa were here with us, I know she’d be horrified. She’d want to stop you with her own hands.”
“You don’t know my sister like I do.” Anna began walking slowly towards the seated Vi, who looked utterly calm. “I thought that after Elsa’s death, you’d be my last refuge. The one who’d never leave me. But instead you committed treason.”
Vi’s face was sombre. “This is exactly what you brought Kristoff and Colisa into the Exalted for. To be your guides. To help you stay you. But after we failed Elsa, neither your husband nor your wise senior could stop you from becoming that which you swore not to be: an imperial autocrat. And where are they now? Rotting in your prison. Thrown in there by your own hand.” Vi shook her head. “You’re not the woman that defeated me and made me see the light. I had to raise a rebellion against you, if only to shake you out of your demented dreams.”
“Kristoff never understood me,” cried Anna, “and neither did Colisa. And you, Vi! Why did you betray me? I ask that question every night, before I cry myself to sleep.”
She strode up the stone steps to Vi’s throne, grabbing her shoulder. Vi didn’t resist at all, allowing Anna to manhandle her. She’d been Anna’s prime minister for so many years, but Elsa’s loss had broken them. Vi’s rebellion and the two women’s civil war had exhausted them both. And now, she’d lost Hilde. Vi was tired, so very tired. “Last chance. Surrender and come back to me,” demanded Anna, “or I end your futile insurrection and destroy you.”
Vi’s crimson eyes shone as she gazed at Anna lovingly. “I’m sorry, Anna. Thank you for everything.”
Anna stared at Vi wildly, then kissed the vampire roughly on the lips, pressing on and into her mouth again and again as Vi jerked and bucked helplessly against Anna’s grip. The latter released her angry hand around Vi’s waist and revealed a sharp stake made of blessed wood from her free hand.
“Goodbye, First Vampire,” declared Anna, the light in her eyes all gone.
“For Elsa’s sake, I beg you to stop,” whispered Vi, lips dripping with Anna’s spittle as the dark monarch shook her head. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too. But neither of us could save Elsa. And now, no one can save you.”
“Pleaaase!” screamed Vi tearfully, feeling a sharp pain at Anna’s stake plunging into her heart.
“Pleaaase!” screamed a sweaty and breathless Vi, shooting up from her bed in the Grand House in Arendelle, clutching her bosom. She looked wildly around her. It was cool and dry spring evening. She glanced at the grandfather clock in her bedroom. It was three in the morning.
Sleeping beside her in her nightclothes, the Englishwoman Tess stirred. “Nngg… babe.”
Vi stared at Tess to her left, and then to Hilde, who was snoring loudly with her legs splayed open. She wore nothing but her lingerie. Her blonde hair, usually kept so neat in her unique hairstyle, was messy and tangled. The most pleasant rush of relief washed over her.
“Safe and sound,” she murmured. “Safe from the Anna that haunts the darkest recesses of my mind. The person that Anna could become if the worst happens.”
I had a dream of a world in which Anna had failed to protect her sister again while she was pursuing Lord Yixin’s great prize, she thought to herself.
A feeling. A nagging, awful fear. That Anna can’t take much more.
This nightmarish future was just a dream, I know… but could it come true if something happened to Elsa again? If Anna truly lost her for good? And what about the elixir of life’s role in this?
“No. It was nothing. Get back to sleep.” The troubled Vi forced a smile.
“Are you sure?” asked Tess sleepily. “You can share anything with Hilde or me.” She gazed dreamily up at the vampire who’d taken her in and brought her to Arendelle. “I’m not sure you actually know how much we love you.”
“I do, and more,” replied Vi, trying to put on her usual front of sarcasm. But her voice was still shaky. She gently nudged Tess aside, who yawned and rolled over to the centre of their great bed, snuggling with the snoring Hilde instead. Noticing her bare body and underwear, Vi took a silken bathrobe from her wardrobe and walked barefoot out onto her balcony of the Grand House, still troubled by the nightmare she’d had.
You changed my life, Anna. You made me love and trust again. I’ve made so many new friends who I love and care for, thanks to you. You’ve been my world since you made me your prime minister.
And you’re my queen. You’re everyone’s queen.
She clenched her jaw as she stared at the full moon, shining above the quiet and peaceful kingdom of Arendelle.
We must protect Anna – and therefore Elsa – at all costs.