“The First Vampire” by hannah.digiart (@HDigiart)
By Mikael, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – As Her Majesty embarks on her journey to the Forbidden City, things have taken a turn for the bizarre and perplexing in Arendelle. Anna’s de facto regent, the aristocratic vampire Viola Mundilfari, is suffering a string of slanderous attacks against her character and position by a mysterious assailant.
“Beast of the night.”
“Repent and just wither away.”
“You should be locked up.”
“You don’t deserve a drop of blood.”
Shortly after Anna departed for the Celestial Empire, Vi began receiving upwards of five pieces of hate mail per day at the prime minister’s office and her own home, with the government suspending Vi’s public appearances to prevent the harasser from getting near her. Some of the letters are incoherent insults, with expletives scrawled in capital letters that we can’t print. Others contain eerie allusions to her complicated past and insulting references to her undead state. Furthermore, posters have been pasted intrusively on the walls of homes and businesses, with an accurately drawn rendition of Lady Mundilfari’s profile and insults like “Fiend” or “Night Creature” scrawled at the top.
Residents and shopkeepers across the kingdom have told reporters that the vicious posters are unwelcome.
“I don’t think any of us are interested in reigniting a feud with the Countess,” Vera told us, owner of Anna’s favourite sweetshop. “Not because we’re scared of her, but because she’s made peace with Anna. That’s good enough for us.”
“Hoo-hoo! Vampire Vi’s an intense one, but she means well!” Oaken shared with our paper. “And if anyone wants to hurt her… hoo. Hoo. Hoo.”
Once a bitter ideological and political rival to Anna in the early days of her reign, Vi is the most trusted figure in Anna’s court second only to Elsa and her family members. By appointing Vi prime minister, Anna united the royal family and the noble Mundilfari clan. But it’s evident that Vi’s complicated past and her current state as a mistress of the undead doesn’t sit well with someone in Arendelle.
Although The Arendelle Guardian is now owned by the Countess, our editorial office enjoys complete independence. As such, we’ve chosen not to highlight the horrible letters she’s received. For now, the prime minister has chosen to keep a low profile, refraining from issuing defiant public statements or leaking a counternarrative to the press, which is traditionally Anna’s style.
She’s still seen hosting the parliament of the Great Assembly in the queen’s place, and she’s done a splendid job of keeping the kingdom running smoothly in Anna’s stead. Still, this troubling development, if left unchecked or unresolved, could throw Vi’s agenda off-track, or even result in some form of personal danger.
For now, the First Vampire is stumped as to which old enemy, if any, has resurfaced to torment her.
UNDEAD MAGGOT. SELFISH TO THE END.
PIECE OF GARBAGE.
YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED IN LONDON. THE EARLIER, THE BETTER.
YOU ONLY SERVE THE QUEEN BECAUSE YOU LOST.
MONSTERS ARE MONSTERS. FULL STOP.
Vi’s crimson eyes blinked as Michael, Arendelle’s trade minister, and Danny the ice princess, gazed at her worriedly. “It’s your turn.” Vi glanced down at the playing cards in her hands, and she pursed her lips disapprovingly.
They were in Anna’s drawing room, where games night was often held. Vi had been entrusted with caring for Danny with the rest of the royal household. The other members of the Mundilfari household, Commander Hilde and Tess Gaunt, were now dropping by the palace more often. Alan had gone down to make some hot chocolate and write a quick letter to Elsa, who was in China with Anna. Gale was busier than ever these days.
“I’m sorry, little one. Something’s been on my mind for much of the day,” said Vi, turning over the slurs and insults written on the notes of paper she’d found in her mailbox. She uncrossed her slender legs and rose. She retrieved her high heels from the side of the couch and slipped them back on, putting her hand of cards down on the coffee table. “I’m going to go to the library for a short while.”
Danny put a finger to her chin. “At this time of night?” She shrugged and looked at Michael. “Can we continue playing, Granduncle?”
The trade minister nodded. “Of course, as long as you’re in bed by nine.” He smiled up at Vi. “You’re actually a very gentle and protective woman when your walls are lowered, Vi. Thank you for giving Danny your time. You, Hilde, and Tess evidently enjoy being with our snow princess.”
Vi shot an indignant look at Michael. “Vampires and werewolves don’t do kids!” she exclaimed, but then shot Michael a broad smile. An indirect admission that he was right, one could say. She closed the door behind her, leaving Danny and Michael to continue their game, and walked down the corridor to the library. She passed by several mahogany shelves of books that towered over her, and in turn, the ceiling yawned over the entire room, lending majesty and awe to the royal collection. At the centre of the library was a square open space with several sofas and tables with chairs for comfortable reading and working. At one of the tables was a young woman, back hunched, as she pored over several volumes of hardcover tomes.
Vi neared her, heels pressing silently on the carpeted floor. “It’s nearly nine. Shouldn’t the library be closed?”
“I could say the same to you,” came the young woman’s very light but steady and calm voice. That voice quickly grew high-pitched when its owner lifted the burning candle in front of Vi’s fanged face. “Oh! Prime minister! I’m so, so sorry. I didn’t know you’d be here!” She gestured at the table beside her. “Please, join me.”
Vi peered at the face across from her. Large spectacles, a soft, young countenance of rich black hair and bright green, feline eyes… She was certainly beautiful, but had a certain, no-nonsense aura reminiscent of a late servant of Queen Anna…
“You’re Selene Severin, aren’t you?” confirmed Vi. She sat down beside Selene, studying her. “I never spoke much to Sergeant Severin, but he was Anna’s trusted espionage officer. When the war with Russia began, he fought alongside Commander Hilde at the Battle of Arenfjord, against the werebear Yaraslaf.” Her blood-red irises shimmered with regret. “I’m sorry that your uncle fell in battle. My Hilde almost died, too. They fought together without regret. The queen herself wept by the side of his coffin at his funeral. She honoured and loved him.”
“I’m surprised you made the connection so quickly. I’ve been working as the royal librarian since my uncle’s death,” replied Selene, nodding. “I’m just grateful that he asked Her Majesty to keep my identity secret until his death, lest any enemies of Arendelle use me to compromise his sensitive role in gathering intelligence. But unlike him, I’m not a military person. I’m rather bookish and love losing myself in books of history, magic, and fiction.” She smiled at Vi. “Thank you for caring about my uncle and I, Your Excellency.”
“Just ‘Vi’ or ‘Viola’ will do. No one uses my official prime ministerial title. I don’t even go by ‘countess’ among my friends. So don’t feel obliged.”
Selene nodded. “Then, may I ask, as Anna’s librarian – what are you doing here so late, Viola?”
Vi bit her lip. “Someone’s been trying to intimidate me. Sending me insults in the mail, or plastering unflattering posters all over Arendelle. I’d like to read up on the history of our kingdom and the generations that have come and gone here. My family had plenty of enemies throughout the centuries, and perhaps an old foe of the Mundilfaris has emerged. Maybe they’re trying to draw me out.”
“Ah, yes,” said Selene in concern, adjusting her glasses. Her pale face glowed amidst the darkness, illuminated by the single candle. “I’ve read about it in the papers. Are you doing okay? It sounds so horrible.”
“Thank you, Selene. While I don’t let these idiotic attacks affect my work, it’s getting tiring. I’m weary of being reminded all the time of my past and my regrets.” The First Vampire stared at the candle and the books on the table, avoiding Selene’s gaze. “I’ll live with my vampirism for as long as humankind exists. I’ll never be free of the demon that rules over my bloodline. And now this.” She sighed. “I don’t tell Anna and the others much, but there’s no one who regrets my past more than, well, me. Someone seems intent on haunting me about all the things I did. Can’t one seek redemption in peace?”
Her haunting eyes narrowed. “Whoever’s coming for me, I’ll have to face them head-on. I might not be proud of what I’ve done, but I’m not going to run away from anyone that bears a grudge against me, either.”
“That’s really brave and generous of you,” said Selene admiringly. “As the librarian, maybe I can help you with finding the culprit. You should enlist your friends, too.”
“Yes,” said Vi thoughtfully. “Perhaps Hilde can help me sniff out whoever’s so obsessed with me.”
Selene smiled, closing her book and rising. “I’m not a vampire, so I think I’ll call it a night,” she said good-naturedly. “But rest assured, I shall be working hard to assist you come tomorrow.”
Vi also rose and took Selene’s hand. “Thanks for your help. It’s an honour to have the support of Sergeant Severin’s niece.”
Selene smiled. “I can’t wait to help you and Queen Anna, Countess.”
TWO LEADERS. TWO GOALS. ONE HEART.
ANNA BUILDS THE FUTURE, WHILE VI MUST HEAL THE PAST.