Featured image “Your Countess” by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_mo)
VANDALS! Prime Minister’s Grand House EVACUATED
By Gudrun, Home Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
In an escalation of petty crimes against the prime minister and countess of Arendelle, Viola Mundilfari’s Grand House, a stately Nordic manor on the foothills of the kingdom, was vandalized, its small front gate painted with the words “NIGHT CREATURE,” “FAILURE,” “DEMON’S SLAVE” and other insults and slurs too horrible to record here. There was also rotten fruit found by the porch of the townhouse and sliding down the main door. Someone must have thrown them, but apparently didn’t wake the Mundilfari household.
A sentry now stands guard at the Grand House, while the inhabitants – Vi, Hilde, and Tess – have moved into the more secure Arendelle Castle to continue steering the kingdom’s affairs undisturbed.
“Anna’s entrusted me with governance until her return, and she will come back soon,” she told her own reporters at this newspaper. “I won’t be intimidated by some petty idiot that desires a challenge with me – show yourself, knave, for these silly attempts at intimidation insult my power as the First Vampire.”
The first attacks against Vi came in the form of insulting letters (which she still receives) and posters denouncing her plastered across village shops and businesses. Those posters were removed by Princess Danny and trade minister Michael. While the posters have disappeared, the attacks have grown more intense and personal, now striking at the heart of her home.
“I downsized from Keep Mundilfari when I moved into the Grand House – let’s keep it real,” sniffed the Countess to reporters, “and I hope my stalker reads these next words, because they’re for you, my little ‘admirer’ – you can burn down my Grand House and I still wouldn’t have a clue as to what you want. But now that I’m in Arendelle Castle, the time might come when you threaten others, including those in Anna’s court. If that happens, there’ll be no audience with me, or even the chance for me to set whatever you think I’ve done wrong right. Because I’ll have torn your throat out.”
“Did I go too far with my threat?” wondered the Countess, as she stared down at the newspaper’s front spread on the dining table in the Great Hall of the palace. She, General Mattias, and Commander Hilde had been discussing the day’s events over dinner, and beside the newspaper were half-empty cups, used cutlery, and cleared dishes. Tonight’s specialty – roast chicken and fresh potatoes and peas, though for Vi it was Tess’s blood as usual. There was a warm and pleasant hearth near the dining table, illuminating the room along with the chandelier above and nearby candles. “I was meaning to sound threatening, true, but I don’t wish to descend to the level of my stalker.”
“You didn’t go far enough, my Lady,” cried Hilde, who stood beside her, fists clenched so hard that her knuckles were white. “I could have stayed in the Great House and torn the interloper in two!”
“Hilde!” cried Mattias. “We don’t do blood vendettas in the kingdom, no matter how angry we are at whoever’s committed a crime!”
“And the Grand House is just a place of sojourn for me while I serve my queen as prime minister,” said Vi coolly. “It’s much more important that Team Mundilfari sticks together.” The First Vampire gazed at her werewolf protector. “The Grand House is worthless compared to you and Tess staying with me. And for now, it’s here, in Arendelle Castle where the enemy can’t access us.”
Hilde shook her head angrily. “I can’t stand by and watch you flee your tormentor! We must deploy the resources of the army – ”
“No,” said Vi, raising a hand. “You’ll do no such thing. Mattias would need to agree, for one,” she said, looking at Anna’s top general, who was standing beside her. With the Russo-Arendellian War over, Hilde and Mattias were no longer co-commanders of the Arendellian army. Hilde had stepped down from her public role, returning to her original calling of serving as Vi’s paramilitary commander (Anna had long ago agreed to overlook certain arrangements within the Mundilfari household). The rebuilding of Vi’s Mundilfari Court Guard, a fearsome fighting force of knights that fought alongside Mattias’ men in the war with Russia, was Hilde’s top priority. No longer, now that Vi’s very honour seemed to be repeatedly trampled on by this stalker.
“I agree that we don’t need to deploy the army yet, prime minister,” said Mattias, “but Commander Hilde actually has a point. We don’t even know the identity and motive of your stalker. Perhaps it’s legitimate to use the arm of the state to ask around.”
“No,” said Vi, her calm and steady voice surprising even Mattias and Hilde. “As long as Hilde and Tess are safe in this castle and you, Mattias, will have Anna’s family protected by the royal guards, that’s all I care about.”
“But… your house!” cried Mattias, feeling quite sorry for the vampire. “I mean, of course we’ll keep Tess and the others like Michael, Alan, and Danny safe, but I’m just… a bit surprised that you’re…”
He paused. “Letting it go so easily, I guess? You used to quite enjoy wreaking vengeance against those that wronged you.”
Hilde also looked scandalized. “What do you hope to achieve by letting these indignities continue, my Lady?”
Vi licked the front of her teeth. “Don’t worry, Hilde. I’m not a masochist. What I do think is that someone from my past is trying to get to me. And this is a chance for me to further understand the damage me and my family have inflicted on many of Arendelle’s other clans. Some were highborn. Others were simple farmers and sailors.” She pursed her lips, putting two hands on the table as she leaned over, staring at the broadsheet while Hilde and Mattias gazed at her. “When I joined Anna, part of it had been to save my own political skin. But over time, Anna was… extraordinary. Such was her heart… that she made me feel safe enough to try to correct my mistakes, to not be afraid to admit that I was wrong. To see my errors and act in defiance of them – that’s true glory. That’s what brought Tess to me, and me to my present vampirism.” She smiled toothily at Hilde. “Please allow me this. I want to meet this person on their terms. Find out why they despise me.”
Hilde bowed her head, clenching shut her eyes. “I just… I can’t bear to see you under attack like this, my Lady.”
Mattias politely looked away as Vi put a gentle finger on the blonde warrior’s chin. She gazed up at Hilde affectionately, smiling in appreciation. “Your despair is unbecoming, wolf-girl. You’re much better when you’re calm and collected. Usually when you’re wiping out my enemies. But not this time. For now, I ask you to be patient. I’ll enlist the help of Selene, the niece of Sergeant Severin and archivist of this castle’s library. I must do some research into Mundilfari history. That’ll be the first step to finding some possible answers about old vendettas or ancient grudges.”
She glided past Hilde. “Remember – don’t act… yet. Not without more information that I can uncover.” She smiled to herself, speaking to Mattias without turning around. “I’ll leave you and Hilde together for the moment – the night’s still early and dinner’s not quite over yet. You two must feel like comrades-in-arms since the Battle of Arenfjord.”
“Where are you going, Countess?” called Mattias. The fireplace beside the long dining table continued to crackle.
Vi pursed her lips, crimson eyes alight. “To do some homework.”
HOW CAN SELENE SEVERIN HELP VI AND HER FRIENDS?
THE MYSTERY DEEPENS…