Featured image art “The Inner Court” by PURY (@puryartist)
By Gudrun, Home Affairs Editor for The Arendelle Guardian
The queen of Arendelle’s flagship, Pride of Elsa, docked at the kingdom’s harbour in the early hours of Thursday morning after a long trip from East Asia to Northern Europe. She was received with little fanfare by General Mattias, before making a bombshell announcement to the three major papers of Arendelle: that our own queen is the leader of a secret society of world rulers, having inherited the privilege from a shadowy ruler of China.
Our newsroom now has confirmation that Queen Anna’s long voyage to the Celestial Empire was to consolidate her new position and ensure that her leadership of this mysterious organization, known only to the public as “the Exalted,” is unquestioned by any potential challengers.
“I’m sorry that the royal court has kept this from you, who I don’t see as subjects at all, but as fellow citizens,” said Anna in her newest column for this paper, which she hasn’t updated in months.
“But in due time, I’ll reveal everything to you because you deserve the truth. You need the truth so that you, the people of Arendelle, can be my guiding light and hold me to account should I stray from the righteous path. I’ve taken control of the Exalted because I feel I can make this once-shadowy cabal a force for good and improving the world. But should I risk succumbing to dark temptations of power, I want the whole kingdom to remind me what I risk losing. That’s why I’m bringing my once-secretive organization into the light.”
Anna has not only divulged this news of immense importance to the press, but also has released the names of the other Exalted members: much to our surprise, Arendellians make up two of the four members, with Kristoff, Anna’s beloved and tai-pan of Bjorgman, being the second member. The third member is Colisa, monarch of Chatho and a childhood friend of the Arendellian royals, with the fourth being the shadowy figure of Peony Sinclair, rumoured to be an Englishwoman with deep connections to the Chinese imperial court.
“The Exalted will function as the most recent and effective expression of all working together as one,” declared Anna. “I still believe that the Entente of Small Kingdoms, an alliance I founded, went some way to accomplishing that vision. However, even this five-nation alliance proved ineffective against the superpower that was Katina’s Russia.”
The Exalted, Anna assures, is different – especially her configuration of this ancient group. “Katina herself was once a member. Its reach and hold over resources boggles the mind. World powers were once the only nations whose leaders were eligible for membership. That rule is out under my tenure, but it’s an indication of the heights from which the Exalted cast its eyes.”
Anna has promised to reveal more to a ravenous press and curious public about the Exalted’s facets and goals. But in the meantime, she has sailed home just in time to wrap up an internal crisis in the government: Selene Severin, the royal librarian, had been behind a campaign to take revenge against Commander Hilde Von Altheim for the death of Sergeant Severin, a hero in the Russo-Arendellian War. The conspiracy culminated in a battle in the woods beyond Arendelle, but eventually Selene was talked out of her revenge by Michael and Hilde. While Selene’s penance isn’t certain, Anna might have something to say about making use of her considerable intelligence gathering abilities, as well as her mastery of the fabled Kveldulf arsenal.
Whether it’s taking over governance from Countess Vi, who acted as her regent while she was away, or consolidating the Exalted’s power, things look to be livelier than ever in Arendelle as Anna makes her triumphant return, sitting upon two thrones: one rooted in local heritage, the other apparently stretching across the entire planet.