Featured image art “Swingin’ Sisters” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Gudrun, Home Editor for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE: With Anna absent from Arendelle, the kingdom hosted a muted celebration for the queen’s birthday this year, with General Mattias holding a party in the square by the docks with well-stocked food and drink and entertainment for gathered families. The party was informal and akin to a gathering for friends rather than any formal anniversary for Anna, with the bishop of the Arendellian Church dropping by to make a quick speech blessing Anna’s overseas journey before joining in the festivities himself.
Anna is currently deep in the heartland of the Celestial Empire, having made a brief pit stop in the British colony port of Hong Kong before pushing further inland. Her destination: the Forbidden City itself, the great palace complex overseen by successive emperors of the Qing Dynasty. She’s accompanied by some of the most trusted members of her inner court: Elsa, her sister and the former queen, her fiancé Kristoff, tai-pan of Bjorgman, and Colisa, the queen of Chatho.
Sir Alan, another close friend to the queen, was previously in Arendelle, before setting off to join with Anna’s retinue in southern China. Finally, Anna has with her Peony Sinclair, an English-born lady of impeccable manners and formidable diplomatic and martial prowess. Little is known about her to the public or the press.
Since the early 17th Century, Arendelle has enjoyed a strong trading relationship to the Celestial Empire, largely thanks to the royal family’s longtime bond with a single member of the Manchu imperial family who has mysteriously not seemed to age or be replaced over the generations: Aisin Gioro Yixin, the prince regent of the dynasty. Elsa maintained a deferential stance toward Yixin during her reign, while Anna has occasionally clashed with Yixin on matters of Arendellian foreign policy while maintaining her respect for the prince regent.
With Lord Yixin having at last invited Anna to Peking, the Chinese capital, Anna’s international position has never been stronger. Her rise has been steady, if sometimes hindered by major setbacks – her deft management of Arendelle’s difficult position among the large European sea empires was one of her great accomplishments. Earlier in the year, Arendelle faced an existential threat from Katina Romanov’s Russian invasion, but under Anna’s leadership, Arendelle survived and has emerged even stronger in the aftermath of the Russo-Arendellian War. Anna’s authority is now broadly recognized and respected, from Tokugawa Japan to the Spanish Americas.
But with great power comes great risk, and the merrymaking, fruit punch, and games with candy and balloons that were enjoyed by Arendellians in place of their absent leader masks a deep worry for Anna’s wellbeing and the nature of her visit to Yixin’s court. Her true objective remains a mystery, a secret tightly kept by General Mattias and Anna’s allies, like Countess Vi and Hilde Von Altheim. The queen, usually so open and honest with reporters, has remained unusually tight-lipped about her intentions beyond simple remarks of gestures of goodwill towards her friends in Asia. We can only make informed guesses, but given today’s happy occasion, further analysis of Anna’s China trip will be for another edition.
We at this humble newspaper of The Arendelle Guardian wish Her Majesty a most delightful birthday, she being the reason for our paper’s existence. The newsroom began as any other, setting out to report on the affairs of Arendelle with fairness and flair. But the unjust loss of Agnarr and Iduna, coupled with the shaky start to Elsa’s reign years ago, prompted our editor to make the paper an engine of support for our embattled royal sisters. Now, things are very different, even from when Elsa abdicated and Anna was crowned queen. Anna was still inexperienced and faced many trials, most of them domestic and within her own government. Currently, the younger of the Diarchy works from a position of strength, respected and feared as the queen that led her small kingdom to best a mighty world power. She has diplomatic contacts around the world, powerful allies who enjoy their own fiefdoms, and has been unusually assertive – perhaps even aggressive – in robustly pursuing Arendelle’s interests since her victory over Russia and Elsa’s near-death experience during the war.
There’s a general sense of change in the air, and even among our informed journalists are uncertain as to whether this sense of change will be for the better or worse. Only one thing is definite: Anna’s reign has been a joy to cover simply because so much is happening.
Long live Her Majesty the Queen of Arendelle!