Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)
Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is the final part of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.
Make sure to follow each member’s story:
Overture: Your Burden
Part I: The Gold Reindeer
Part II: The Ruby Tiger
Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix
Part IV: The Emerald Dragon
Boost to Tourism in Arendelle as FJORDSPRING FESTIVAL enchants residents and visitors alike
By Greta, Travel Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
Spring is here, and this year’s seasonal festival coincides with Arendelle’s formal armistice with the Russian Empire. The kingdom has managed to recover quickly from Katina Romanov’s onslaught, although a national day of mourning was held for the soldiers lost to the conflict a few days before the Fjordspring Festival.
Despite the heavy responsibilities on Anna’s shoulders, Her Majesty has pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone can move on to happier things and take their minds off the fear and anxiety that has choked the kingdom since January.
This year’s Fjordspring Festival, traditionally held to welcome the melting of snow and the Arendellian ideals of hope and renewal, is expected to be especially among the tourist and expat population, which has boomed since Anna went further than any of her predecessors to expand global trade. The kingdom is abuzz with delicious food, lively events and games, and guided excursions as we showcase all our finest scenic areas, businesses, and much more.
The expanded village square, rebuilt since the cataclysmic brawl between Elsa and Sora, was abuzz with activities from morning till night. The Arendelle Philharmonic, which was formed by Queen Anna and Countess Vi to strengthen Arendellian culture, performed a grand opening for the Fjordspring Festival, along with a new star opera singer.
The soprano, a beautiful brown-haired, tan young woman, was very clearly a foreigner and an apparent new resident in the kingdom (when citizens tried to get her autograph, she couldn’t speak in our language). Little is known about Miss Luna de Borbón (and there have been no mentions of her in the newspapers or public statements by the queen). But some of the more knowledgeable and well-read citizens have noted to our correspondents that “Borbón” is the Spanish rendition of “Bourbon” – the surname of the Spanish royal house.
What a member of Spanish royalty is doing in our fair Arendelle, let alone rumoured to be singing for Queen Anna personally in private performances at Kingdom Hall, is a tantalizing mystery. Subscribe to our newspaper for the latest royal, celebrity, and influencer gossip and scoops.
Anna had spoken to as many advisors and aides within her inner circle as she could. From Kristoff to Honeymaren, she trusted all of them with her own life. But even with the bonds she’d built with friends, former enemies, and everyone in between… there was still one person who remained her north star. Her guiding constellation. The woman who she’d done all this for; who’d given her not only a purpose in life but also helped her see that she was her own person. A queen who deserved a kingdom of her own.
She opened Elsa’s bedroom, which the Snow Queen used when she was having sleepovers at Arendelle Castle when not at Northuldra. Elsa was there, having risen from the bed and waited for her.
“Elsa.” Anna’s voice broke. “Oh, Elsa.”
“I had a feeling you’d save me for last, Your Majesty,” said Elsa quietly, smiling and opening her arms wide as Anna rushed into her embrace.
“Oh, baby. Sweet baby,” whispered Elsa, kissing Anna repeatedly on the forehead. “You’re so brave. So good and true.”
Anna looked up at her. “I’ve spent months putting together my plans. Now, I seek your blessing to launch them into motion. My Exalted has been assembled, its members Kristoff, Colisa, Peony, and myself. It’s time for us to go to Peking and I want you to come with us. Let’s see Lord Yixin together. Please don’t say that I’m deluded about the elixir of life, or that I shouldn’t be doing Yixin’s bidding, or that the Exalted can only mean trouble. Even if it’s true.”
Elsa blinked. “No. I wasn’t going to say that. In fact, I think you’re doing fantastic.”
Anna looked genuinely surprised. “Really? I thought you’d be against me going on a pursuit of some mystical thing that could easily fall into the wrong hands. Or…”
She pressed her forefingers together, backing away from Elsa. “Or tempt even someone like me.”
“There’s certainly a risk involved with what you wish to do. But I know what it’s like to risk everything. Indeed, you’ve often tried to stop me from potentially hurting myself. You’re looking at the girl who was irresistibly lured into Ahtohallan and was overcome by its abyss of memories. And she died.” Elsa smiled wistfully. “Before her brilliant and beautiful sister rescued her.”
Anna nodded, looking away.
“Anna. We all turn into children when we’re faced by things beyond our philosophies and comprehension. Ahtohallan. The elixir of life. Of course you’re risking your very soul when you’re running after these forces.” Elsa was grave in both her comportment and words. “Let’s think of it this way – you’ve set out on this great odyssey because you think Lord Yixin will be best positioned to fulfil your wish that Arendelle and I never suffer what Russia did to us. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” confirmed Anna.
“Then surely you need protection. Or, to play the game a bit better, the Exalted needs protection. I can fulfil that role.” Elsa’s eyes shone with iridescent light. “And when you finally discover the elixir of life… well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“You sound almost glib,” whined Anna, shooting a pretend-angry look at Elsa. “Are you taking this seriously?”
“I couldn’t be more serious,” protested Elsa, “this involves my little sister, after all. She’s expanding our kingdom’s horizons and influence, dealing with the supernatural on a daily basis, and travelling almost every few months! You do more in one week than our forebears did in a year.” Elsa took Anna’s hands. “I watch you all the time, and even when I’m in Northuldra I have you in my heart. I know you. I trust what you believe you need to do. Please trust yourself. Otherwise, what’s the point of even accepting Lord Yixin’s offer to lead the Exalted? Didn’t you say it yourself? This secret society is better off in your hands, reformed, rather than keeping members like Harrison and Katina?”
Elsa gazed into Anna’s eyes. “Wasn’t this the whole point of becoming the Emerald Dragon?”
Anna looked away, as if overwhelmed by Elsa’s love and beauty. “But… what about Vi’s dream?”
“Yes, Vi did share that with the inner court.”
Anna shuddered. “Aren’t you afraid that I could turn into a tyrant? That I’d crown myself empress and usher in an age of empire when we promised to never let that happen? That Vi would lead a rebellion against me, and I’d destroy her along with all our friendly nations?” she cried. “Even Colisa?”
Elsa pulled Anna into another tight hug. “All that is predicated on my death.”
“Yes,” whispered Anna, her voice hot and intense, “I lose it, simply put. And Arendelle becomes a dystopia. A nightmare-scape.” Her hands gripped Elsa’s clothes tightly, so tight that her nails dug lightly into Elsa’s skin. Elsa didn’t resist, tenderly taking in Anna’s fiery feelings. “I can’t imagine life without you. Even after you’ve given me new and independent purpose as queen of Arendelle.”
“Then don’t,” said Elsa, once again surprising Anna. The Diarchy, the sister-queens stared at each other. Elsa’s eyes shimmered. “I accept my place in your heart and your plans, Anna. If you’re going to Peking to begin your search for the elixir of life, then I want to be there with you. For you. Protecting you.”
She cupped Anna’s face in her hands. “When we were children, you followed me everywhere. Now, you lead, and I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.”
JOURNALS OF THE EXALTED IS COMPLETE!
THE EMERALD DRAGON’S JOURNEY WON’T END WITH JUST PEKING…
IT’S ONLY BEGUN.