Featured image art “Supreme commander” by PURY (“puryartist)
FROM: HH Katina Romanov, princess of Russia
TO: HE Michael, trade minister of Arendelle, and HM Queen Anna
Dear Michael and family,
Thank you for your letter. I read it over several times, and it still lies open on my desk. It was very kind of you to think of me even after the conflict between our countries concluded. In truth, I often think of you and your queen, and the kindness you all showed me even after my disgrace. I’ve come to accept my role in that whole fiasco, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I must live with my mortal error of banishing Sora, my companion and protector. The one who never gave up on me.
I’m not used to writing letters that discuss intimate matters. I envy you, Anna, and the rest of your beautiful circle. It must be so nice to never have to have one’s guard up among those you love. I had that with Sora, although it was always me that pushed her away. And then I betrayed her.
My defeat at Anna and Elsa’s hands was well-deserved. Just as I know that Anna has tried to swallow her lingering anger against me for my mass invasion of her home, I’ve tried to accept my defeat with a humbled heart.
The banishment of my guardian angel to hell won’t be without consequences for me. Even if I’d lost the war to Anna, as long as Sora was with me, it wouldn’t have been the end for me. To have Sora’s support meant that our Romanov dynasty has remained unchallenged as Russia’s supreme monarchy for hundreds of years. No one came close. Without my guardian angel by my side, Russia is no longer invincible and my family may not survive its future tribulations. Or it might. Who knows?
You or even Anna might wonder where this borderline blitheness is coming from. I assure you that I’m not feeling careless or capricious. In fact, I see much clearer than I ever did while planning my invasion of Arendelle. While I’ve not lost my resolve to protect my country, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and reflection about who I am and what I’m doing… and what I’m doing it for.
I still fight for Russia’s interests, make no mistake. But I’ll be much more thoughtful – and grateful to Anna – in how I go about it.
See, I’ve been travelling alone across my vast country, meeting people anonymously and talking to them about their own hopes and troubles. I’ve run into farmers, tradesmen, and others my palace staff would keep at a distance from my royal persona. I’ve been about many towns and villages outside of my comfortable palaces in Saint Petersburg, disguising myself and keeping my bodyguards to a minimum. I’ve even offered myself as a worker at several monasteries along my route, helping to clean the cloisters or assist the monks with their daily cooking. We have many Christian Orthodox sanctuaries. I’ve been keeping a diary of the hermitages I stay overnight at – the abbots have kindly hosted me – and I’m stunned by how beautiful so many of them are, even the remote and run-down ones.
No one recognizes me, and I love it. It’s been almost like a pilgrimage. It’s tough and extremely cold during the winters, but I’m a proud Romanov. This is my beloved empire, and I belong to its soil.
When you receive this I’ll be back in Saint Petersburg, but I’m keeping myself secluded in a private wing of the Alexander Palace. I’m still gathering my thoughts and preparing for my next move. Perhaps it’ll be to help Anna in her search for the elixir of life. Don’t forget, I was once an Exalted member too. I bear no resentment to Anna for effectively removing me. She treated me as any victor against an aggressor would – with firm proportionality. In fact, she freed me – freed me from Lord Yixin’s retribution.
Why is Anna like this, so kind and thoughtful that she even watches out for her enemies’ wellbeing? It’s enough to make my heart ache.
So, long story short, dear Michael, I shan’t be visiting Arendelle just yet – that place is the source of so many conflicting emotions. When I set foot on the dockside I’ll surely feel overwhelming gratitude to you and Anna for helping me see the light. But I’ll also be reminded, everywhere I look, of my greatest mistake and the final moments of Sora by my side. I still have nightmares about how I treated her, and I can’t turn the clock back.
I still have plenty of resources and men to help Anna. Russia has many nobles, princes, and royals offering their services to me. Perhaps one day I’ll assemble a new corps of Grand Dukes, a kinder corps. But don’t blame Yaraslaf, or Nykras, let alone Sora, for my mistakes. They all simply served at my pleasure, and it’s incumbent on me to be a better leader for Mother Russia.
Rest assured, I shall be watching Arendelle’s affairs very closely, and keeping a fond eye on Anna and all of you.
And when I’m ready, I’ll be back.