FROM: General Destin Mattias
TO: HM Queen Anna
RE: WATCH OUT.
You might raise your eyebrow at the tone of my memo, but you need to be careful around Lady Fujiwara. More accurately, you must keep an eye on her circle of retainers.
Lady Fujiwara is everything that she presents herself to be. Our spies, the Ravens, have compiled a detailed dossier on her and the background of the Fujiwara clan. It all checks out. I’m glad to see that you, Elsa, and the rest of the inner court get on well with her. However, have you sensed the tension between her and the samurai around her?
I don’t know about you or Elsa, but she has little patience for them, and they even less for her.
Yes, they offer her decorum and physical protection, but you can do that for someone while having contempt for them. I think that’s the atmosphere I get from watching Takako’s interaction with her bodyguards.
My spies have indicated to me that the samurai that accompanied her on this trip to Arendelle are directly employed by the Shogun. As you know, the Shogunate is a separate entity from the imperial family in Kyoto. Nominally, the Shogun takes his marching orders from the Japanese emperor, to whom House Fujiwara is intimately tied. But all of Japan, as well as we here in Arendelle, know that the Shogun controls the military, and therefore dictates true domestic and international policy.
I sense that there’s a lot that Takako is hinting to us, but can’t come right out and say. There’s an ongoing power struggle between the Shogunate, which maintains a policy of isolation from outside influence and powers, while Takako seems to advocate a more… open attitude. Of course, she’s a proud member of the imperial household: she’s a Fujiwara. But she can sense that the Shogun’s restrictive approach to the outside world will backfire on them, especially with more aggressive moves made by countries with superior navies and littoral resources. We had our hands full dealing with the British back in the early days of your reign – remember the dreaded East India Company? Japan faces a similar crossroads, and I have a feeling that’s why Takako is here in Arendelle, to urgently find allies that can help her nation modernize before more hostile or greedy powers converge on the emperor’s islands.
But not everything seems to be going according to her plans.
She’s facing a hardened, relentless lobby against Japan’s opening from the Shogun’s most influential courtiers and loyal warriors. They’re the very people that she has to place her trust in. I can’t imagine a more difficult environment in which to work and push for bold, daring ideas. This is why the samurai won’t let Takako out of her sight. And in the meantime, she can’t openly declare that there’s a rift between the imperial household and the Shogunate. That would be a loss of face to her, especially in front of you, Anna.
Takako needs a few hours with you, alone, so that she can sign something with you away from the gazes of her men. If she can get it to her emperor, the Shogun will have no excuse to deny an imperial edict, rare though these things are in Japan these days. But for now, the Shogun’s men aren’t giving Takako any room to give the emperor anything that would smack of opening up or bilateral cooperation with Arendelle.
We need a diversion to draw the samurai away from Takako for a while. Only then can Arendelle be of any meaningful assistance to Takako.
Any suggestions for some mischief, Your Majesty?