Featured image art “Family man” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle
Since the meeting with Countess Viola in the Grand House of the Family Mundilfari, we’ve been very busy with preparations for our friends. Several are to embark on the search that Yixin has set for our Queen Anna, the Emerald Dragon of the New Exalted. Strategies, logistics, plus the normal day-to-day: it gets hectic.
I have added some folks to my own staff to make sure this goes off as smoothly as possible.
Not only have I enlisted Selene Severin’s keen assistance in research and her flock of “ravens,” but I also have brought on board a young man named Gunnar Weighorst has come from Sweden to Arendelle with know-how in trade and business. He’s become very valuable in my Ministry staff, especially with the new trade pacts that Queen Anna has been wanting to establish with Great Britain, Peru, and Russia.
Gunnar and Selene have figured the ins and outs with Peru and Britain. Queen Anna and Queen Victoria have been friends for a while now, so that agreement may be easy. Peru is a bit harder, since they have their own economic troubles since the end of their war for independence from Spain. I have some hope for this to go through as we received some Peruvian Arabica coffee beans as gifts from Presidente Ramón Castilla y Marquesado’s trade cabinet. I must say, these beans make some of the best coffee I have ever had.
Tsar Nicholas I sent a new envoy from Russia to reestablish trade and foreign relations with Arendelle after the war. Baron Paul Ludwig von Krüdener (his Russian name is Pavel Alexeevich Kridener), who served as Russian Ambassador to the United States until 1838, came to Arendelle to meet with me and our diplomatic ministry to renegotiate our countries’ relationship.
We exchanged greetings as we met in my office in the Great Assembly, then moved to my office study in Castle Arendelle. We dined with my nieces (Elsa was home for the weekend), so he had the pleasure of meeting and talking with them. After a very cordial (and delicious) dinner we retired to the balustrade to enjoy the evening and discuss the agreement at hand over drinks and dessert. He had some brought some pipe tobacco from Russia to sample. I thanked him and we sampled some of the aromatic and tasty blend. Baron Krüdener then asked me; “Master Michael, I understood that you were in America for a time, yes?”
I was somewhat surprised at his question. I answered him, “Yes indeed.”
“What did you do while in America?” he asked, in a thick Russian accent.
“Well, I worked odd jobs, then was hired onto the then fledgling Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. I was an agent at the station in Ellicott’s Mills on the mainline when it reached Harper’s Ferry, Virginia,” I said.
The Baron had one of his servants bring in a flat package the size of a portrait. The Baron noted: “Princess Katina told me about you from her conversations with you and Queen Anna. I have a small gift for you and a story about it.”
“Thank you,” I said. I unwrapped it and it was a sketch of something I haven’t seen since my railroad days.
The Baron continued, “Your railroad’s President, Philip E. Thomas, whom many call the Father of American Railroads, had a brother named Evan Thomas, Jr. He designed this sailing-rail car, or a ‘sail-in-a-basket’ rail car. They called it ‘The Meteor’ or ‘The Aeolis.’ I was invited by Mr. Thomas to ride this sailing-car and to even work the sails myself!”
“Wow, I believe I had seen it when I was in Baltimore. It was something to see!” I exclaimed to His Grace.
“It was an enjoyable ride as I mastered the sail,” the Baron explained. “They told me that head winds were very bad to fatal. Mr. Thomas was afraid to trust a strong side-wind lest the vehicle might be upset; but if a good northwester was blowing, they would set it up by the farthest bank of the Mt. Clare shop, where she would ride and return with flying colors! The Thomas brothers then made and gave me a model of it to give to His Majesty the Tsar.”
I said to the Baron, “That is incredible. I think they still have the original. They did offer some of us employees a ride when the weather was right and it was a blast! I don’t know if they still bring it out to run.” Thank you so very much for this gift, Baron. I really appreciate this.”
“You’re quite welcome, Trade Minister,” said the Baron graciously.
Queen Anna was passing by as I called her to join us: “Look at this that the Baron gave me!” Anna called Elsa and Kristoff over to see the sketching of the Aeolis. A collective “Wow” came from the trio.
“We Russians find it hard to trust outsiders since we’ve been a continual target to imperialists wanting to rob us. With the two wars we’ve had, I hope that this would be a token of good will to you and with Arendelle and her Queens,” the Baron said.
“I can assure you that what we negotiated will be successful. Your gift is very muchly appreciated. This brings back a lot of memories when I worked for them,” I assured the Baron.
“Have you heard how the railroad is doing?” the Baron asked.
“Very well,” I answered. “They’ve gotten closer to their target of the Ohio River on Virginia’s Northern Panhandle region. They’ve gotten as far as a small city in Maryland. I believe was called ‘Cumberland’.”
The Baron added that when Princess Katina was little, she saw the model of the Aeolis and was mesmerized!
Well, I’ve got to meet with A&N and Bjorgman at the harbour docks. We’ve got to keep our freight and trade moving and our friends well equipped to find that elixir of life!