Featured image art by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_Mo)
BREAKING: ANNA PRESSES POLITICAL ADVANTAGE BY SIGNING THREE TREATIES
In yet another signal to the world’s major powers of her growing clout, Queen Anna of Arendelle has announced that she will sign a flurry of trade treaties and alliances with Great Britain, the new country of Peru, and, surprisingly, with the Russian Empire.
In a press release jointly published by the Office of the Prime Minister, Countess Vi, and the palace, which is still headed by Anna, the government was at pains to stress that the process was still ongoing, and there were conflicting perspectives and interests to be hammered out in negotiations by Arendellian diplomats and their foreign counterparts. Nevertheless, the fact that Anna has gotten the ears of the world’s largest naval power, a newly independent state in the heart of the New World, and a former adversary (whose leader was at Arendelle’s throat just less than two years ago), attests to Anna’s growing ability to lead not just from the front, but behind the scenes with competent and loyal deputies, pulling strings and asserting a presence that gets things done for her kingdom.
The result is a network of friendships, some mature, others budding, that bode well for the future of Arendellian influence throughout the world.
“Our Viking ancestors roved the North Sea and sailed to faraway places,” wrote Anna, “and in maintaining our ties to the oceans, we wish to build a grand and mutually beneficial alliance with the British. My dear friend, Queen Victoria, is a great sovereign and has led her country to unmatched prosperity and influence. While Britain is Britain, and Arendelle is Arendelle, friends always find a way to coexist in the same world together, even if they walk different paths. But for the closest of friends, our paths might overlap.”
Anna’s proposed entente with Ramón Castilla y Marquesado, the president of Peru and commander of the war for his country’s independence, gives her a potential foothold in the resource-rich New World, where the influence of the Spanish Empire has long been on the wane. What is even more surprising is her reaching out to Katina Romanov, who while was willing to sign an armistice ending the Russo-Arendellian War, might not be so willing to ink a document of friendship with an old enemy – especially one that’s beaten her family twice.
“I don’t think Katina will think of us that way,” said Anna to journalists, during a session with reporters outside the palace. “What her dad did, the war he waged with Elsa, and lost, was his war. And Katina’s own war will be hers to resolve in the years to come, something that I can’t help or apologize for. Is that an impediment to us working together? I don’t think so, and I think she’s strong enough to not let her defeat and darker moments define her, either.”
“Are you sure?” said Vi in surprise, a slender hand on her chin as she stared out at the harbour of Arendelle, her free hand on her hip. It was a warm and sunny day, the sun basking on the First Vampire’s deathly pale skin harmlessly. “You want me to speak to Katina, with Tileke our neutral mediator?”
Anna stood behind her old political rival, seagulls squawking about above the two women. The harbourside was quiet today, with many of Kristoff’s ships having set off to showcase their ice wares to countries around the globe. There were also lucrative property lots to be auctioned off by Bjorgman’s real estate dealers, as well as land that the company wanted to acquire. Money and silver were flowing healthily through Bjorgman’s coffers, and therefore through the kingdom’s treasury. “I’m not sure if Katina will take a liking to me.”
“You represent Arendelle. In a way, you are the Crown. My immortal shadow. You’ll be here long after I’m gone, and it’ll be up to you and Elsa to steward this land. I’m a temporary caretaker. I want Northuldra united with us, and our kingdom safe for our people well into the coming decades, when the world changes before our very eyes.”
“Speak not another word about our future, at least, not that way,” demanded Vi, her red eyes shining. “You’re my queen to the very end.”
Anna looked up at the sky, breathing in the fresh air. “Elsa and I trust you with this kingdom’s safety. That means something, it’s got to. It’s something I’ve only ever been able to say to Mattias, to Kristoff, and to Uncle Mike and Sir Alan. So it’s only natural that as I send my friends all around the world for the elixir, you also have a hand in shaping the global order to come.”
“Look at you,” sniffed Vi, as the sound of familiar footsteps could be heard tapping on the dock. It was Hilde, her ropy, lean body wrapped in a military commander’s jacket, her face flushed and body sweating from her jog (she’d run across the snowy lands to Elsa’s old castle and back. It was all in a day’s workout). She saluted Anna and Vi. “When you first assumed the throne, you were a political greenhorn. Now you speak like you manage the world’s future.”
The Countess’s smirk broadened. “As you should. Any Arendellian would be proud of you, girl. As I am.”
Hilde nodded as Anna bowed her head. “Thank you. But I myself am being used by forces that I’d rather not be manipulated by for the rest of my life. For now, I must walk that balance of making Arendelle strong and robust, able to take on the task Yixin has set me, while also laying the groundwork for the day I must make a choice.”
“I’m assuming you mean a choice similar to the one I made when Peony tried to get me to join the Exalted,” said Vi.
Anna rarely had sarcasm or bitterness in her voice, but this time, her laugh was cynical. “Oh, I’m in much deeper doo-doo than you ever were. Not only have I accepted his summons, but I’m the very leader of the group you rejected. This isn’t the right time to disentangle myself from him. I must bide my time until we encounter the Moonborn. Until we see Chang’e for ourselves and decide what we want for Arendelle.”
She folded her arms and nodded at Vi. “Do this for me, Prime Minister. Tileke has already set off to Constantinople to make preparations. I expect Katina to give me an answer soon, as per my letter’s invitation to meet on neutral territory. Will you and Hilde be my voice?”
Vi and Hilde looked at each other, the lifelong friends smiling as they turned back to their queen.
“You really are something, Queen Anna,” conceded Hilde, her wolfish eyes glinting.
“We’ll go to the old city. For you,” said Vi. “When do you want us on a ship?”