The princess of Russia, Katina Romanov, was decked in her black military uniform, her favourite, as she sat down at her long breakfast table in her favourite dining room, one of many, in the Alexander Palace. Before her were several slices of toast, and a stainless silver cup of caviar. Though she had been defeated by Arendelle, she still held absolute power in Russia, and even if she no longer cared about the performative pomp of being the empire’s de facto ruler, it did feel nice to have some luxury grub once more.
It had been a grueling year in the Russian countryside and wilderness, eking out an existence in the midst of rebuilding her shattered heart and pride. In self-imposed penance, she found the strength to let go of her anger and self-hate, and even came to terms with her respect for Anna, the only sovereign to have ever bested her. And now, she had the chance to build bridges she once thought burned by her callousness.
She opened the letter her maids had kept for her, lifting the seal of Anna’s royal crest. Her fingers slid into the envelope and retrieved a small piece of paper, on which Anna’s once-messy-turned-decent handwriting was scrawled:
Long time no see. I hope my reaching out doesn’t cause any awkward feelings between us – after all, the last time we parted, we were both party to an armistice, and while I don’t apologize for defending my kingdom and my sister’s legacy, I truly empathized with your losses. I don’t know if you can forgive me for the pain that you might associate with our war, but I believe that you’re sincere about leading Russia, and that you want the best for the Russian people. Our love for our citizens is surely something we both share.
I don’t believe in debts or favours, but if I could make a request of you, I would ask that you consider lending your help – and in doing so, earn back Arendelle’s trust… my trust. It’ll be our chance to work together, and this time, for a common cause. You aren’t in the Exalted anymore, but that’s a blessing in disguise.
Because despite my leadership of the Exalted, I plan to walk my own path. And I need your help and Viola’s to put me in a position where I can exercise my own free will, and Arendelle’s sovereignty, even in the face of Lord Yixin’s might.
You probably know that Lord Yixin had his own goals all along, shaping not just the Exalted but entire nations to position me to hunt the elixir of life. But he does this out of his rivalry with his mother, the moon goddess. It’s a conflict that has been happening since time immemorial. He’s demanded that I take a side, and for now, as the Emerald Dragon, I’ll do as he and I have agreed.
However, I believe that the Moonborn, and indeed, Chang’e herself, might have a different tale to tell. I don’t know if Yixin is necessarily my enemy or oppressor. But I intend to be ready to make my own choice, especially if the Moonborn or Chang’e reveal themselves.
Can you help me? Can we meet?
Katina pursed her lips. “As bold and independent as ever, queen of Arendelle. It’s probably why you’re so hard to dislike. It’s rather annoying, actually. But this sounds interesting. I’ll bite.”
She snapped her fingers, and a captain of the guard walked in, bowing and saluting her. “Your Highness?”
“Arrange a meeting on neutral ground. Perhaps our old rivals, the Ottomans, would be willing to host us,” ordered Katina, rubbing her chin. “After all, Tileke is Anna’s ally, and perhaps it’s time to find out for myself how much progress they’ve made with finding the elixir of life.” Her eyes glimmered.
“Where I failed, perhaps she can succeed, and more. Oh, and one more thing.”
“Yes, Your Highness?” asked the captain of the guard.
“We lost much in the Russo-Arendellian War, but I haven’t been idle,” said Katina. “If we’re going to take on the Moonborn, then Anna’s little friendship circle won’t be enough, even with Elsa and her creatures of the night like Hilde and Viola.” She pursed her lips.
“Summon my new Grand Dukes. They are to join with Anna’s allies and generals immediately – and in the utmost secrecy.”
KATINA ACTS! NEXT MOVE: QUEEN ANNA’S!