O, ye of little faith. Have you lost the fire that still burns brightly in the breast of our queen? Has it weakened into a flickering weakling that needs fuel to shine and roar once again?
Yes, the Crocus Reforms of Anna are a dramatic new direction for the kingdom and our military. Yes, our allies grow wary and the list of Anna’s enemies has grown in recent times. But the queen is simply reacting to what she saw as an intolerable affront: a new enemy that has revealed itself and dealt an unacceptable and devastating blow to one of her closest allies, the vampiress and noblewoman Viola Mundilfari.
Sometimes we understand our foes better than our friends, and in the case of a former enemy-turned-ally like Lady Vi, we can only surmise that Anna cared so intensely about her because they were once such mighty rivals, and the queen strove to understand her better than almost anyone else, except perhaps Uncle Mike, Alan, and Elsa herself.
Now, Vi lies in the emergency ward of Arendelle Castle, and the unthinkable has happened: Anna has had to summon the help of dark necromancers and vampiric acolytes, anathema to any society and country of the light and of Christianity, to save the First Vampire who was tortured by this new enemy, a Moonborn by the name of Magnificent Maximillian. A real piece of work, but there’s no denying his power: he was able to crush Lady Vi, and even survive the combined assault of Sir Alan and Commander Hilde. One shudders to imagine the other Moonborn that will surely reveal themselves to Anna as she gets closer to her goal, and Arendelle grows stronger.
Let me tell you of a little incident that illustrates the power of us common citizens to support the queen, but also hold her to her own words and commitments. I am about to reveal to you, as one of this kingdom’s most senior journalists, an industry secret: every year, the most influential members of the press in Arendelle hold what we call the Roundtable: a private discussion that we style intentionally after the court of Camelot in Britain’s Arthurian stories (we confess to enjoying English literature). In this meeting, we gather to discuss:
One, how to steer public opinion;
Two, how to influence the royal family and the queen herself, and:
Three, matters that affect the future of Arendelle and Northern Europe.
There, in the name of public service, I’ve just blown the lid off of my most important annual appointment. Go wild with your conspiracy theories. But hear me out first.
See, whether our papers or magazines lean toward the queen, favor industry, or advocate reform, we all see ourselves as almost like a shadow court alongside Anna’s own royal court: we’re neither noble nor kingly, of course, but just like the knights of old, we elite journalists seek to serve the queen while giving her advice and influencing her decisions positively – the latter sometimes entailing criticism.
We believe that we can do both in good faith, and sincerely.
This year’s Roundtable was held just last week, with yours truly in attendance, representing the paper you trust most: The Arendelle Guardian. Also there was Mortimer Skinner, editor-owner of The Fjord Times, my biggest rival paper. We were joined by Freja, a veteran columnist for Aurora Weekly, a journal read by political insiders, high society, and influential figures; and lastly, Anders, the senior financial reporter of Port Magazine, the business publication that holds court with all our largest companies and most successful businesspeople (even trade minister Michael and Mund-Bjorgman).
You can only imagine how difficult it was for us to come to agreement about how to respond to Anna’s shocking and bombastic announcement. It was a rainy night, with Arenfjord’s usually tranquil waters choppier than usual. Everyone was indoors. I was in the room of the Nokk Club, where the Roundtable had passed by Michael and Selene Severin enjoying their weekly gin and tonic in one booth, and Sir Alan sharing a hearty dinner of steak and potatoes with members of his Borealis Corps. When the four of us sat down at our own booth, we exploded into a heated argument about how we would report on Anna’s newfound muscular policies. A new ironclad warship, Surtur, as her new flagship? Even the name, taken after the mythical fire giant that will consume the world in flames at Ragnarok, is incendiary, pun intended. The army and navy to be expanded so drastically?
Skinner, a pot-bellied gremlin of a man and self-styled English expat in Arendelle, grew up in the slums and workhouses of Manchester. Having taken over an Arendellian paper for his own political power, he crowed – in between wolfing down a large chicken sandwich – that the queen should militarize Arendelle into a power that can threaten Britain itself. “I’d love to see the day when the Royal Navy of my home country stares down the barrels of Surtur,” he barked, chomping loudly and obnoxiously at his food. “That’ll teach the damn English and their cursed kin for treating me like a dog from birth.”
“Right, so we’re going to threaten Europe’s most powerful navy and risk the wrath of a military and diplomatic superpower because this slob has a chip on his shoulder from when he was treated like a b****. Waaaah,” retorted Anders, taunting a fuming Skinner with a baby’s voice and mock-wiping his eyes. “I’m Mortimer, I’m not even a native Arendellian, and I’ll crash our economy and ruin investor faith in the kingdom with a siren song for the queen to stare down f***ing Britain, the empire that covers land across multiple continents.”
“We get your point, Anders,” I said, nodding. “Skinner likes to beat the drum for war, and to be honest, the queen is looking in the direction of a stronger kingdom. Given what she wants to accomplish, it’s not an idea to be dismissed outright.”
Anders slammed a hand on the table. “Arendelle punches above its weight because of its thriving economy and outsized prosperity. Because investors can’t get enough of our small realm. Idiots like Skinner, and I daresay certain armymen of the royal palace, don’t get this.”
“What do you think, Freja?” I asked, turning to the golden-haired beauty sandwiched between Anders and Skinner. “You’re the noblewoman of an old Arendellian clan and wife of a minister. You’ve got the most exclusive book of tea time companions. Consuls and ministers alike beg you to interview them. And thanks to your connections, you’ve sailed to many countries to write for Aurora Weekly, and travelled even more widely than the queen herself.”
“I know you and The Arendelle Guardian, your paper, have got the domestic reactions covered,” said Freja, her dainty hand lifting up her glass of Bordeaux. “Anders will speak for the economic interests of the kingdom, from the big boys like shipping and banks to the many more small trades that sustain us: our shops, restaurants, ice harvesters, and so many more. Skinner will support the military side of things. And I…” She sniffed.
“Well, there are plenty of foreigners whose opinion I could seek out. Surely they would have some kind of impact on the thoughts of Her Majesty. For example, Fujiwara Takako-san, supposedly the shogun’s emissary, though it’s clear she isn’t telling us the full story. Or what about the young and fiery Ottoman general who’s helped to reform her empire’s army and given it new life? Tileke, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” confirmed Skinner.
“Well, then I shall arrogate to myself the voice of our allies, those that want to see us succeed but have their own interests to mind,” declared Freja, putting a hand on her chest. She smiled at us all. “We all seek readers and we compete fiercely for attention and prestige. But unlike natural resources and money, people’s hunger for information and their desire to be guided toward an opinion, are limitless.”
She fluttered her eyelashes at us. “Let’s provide that guidance, together.”
I nodded, raising a glass. “Despite our clashing editorial lines, it is precisely this mix of ideas that will be an excellent pot of journalism for our queen to be better informed. May she succeed thanks to us.”
Skinner clapped his hands gleefully. “After all… we’re all Arendellians.”
I clinked my glass with Skinner’s mug of ale, Anders’ cup of tea, and Freja’s glass of red wine.
See, we journalists aren’t perfect. It’s natural to trust the ones you like, and distrust those who don’t share your opinion about Her Majesty. I get that.
But we are all loyal to the queen, and at this year’s Roundtable, we all renewed our vow to further her ends, even if there were parts of her agenda that troubled us in different ways. For now, she needs our support.
I hope you’ll trust this paper with how we assist the queen, and continue honouring us with your subscription.
Your friendly editor of The Arendelle Guardian,
One thought on “From the Editor’s Desk: Be as firm as the queen when she threw herself in front of Elsa!”
You know I will, chief. I do also get to read the other papers to stay informed on the goings-on of our little place called Arendelle. I am a believer in the Freedom of the Press. When responsible, it is the watchdog that alerts the citizen of evil and corruption in government and/or society.
Not all Christians eschewed Anna’s decision for Vi. Those magic dudes are the doctors Vi needs now along with my prayers.
I wondered what all the ruckus was in that fourth booth was! I was about to light up when Morty went off!
Skinner, next time you shoot your mouth off about taking Surtur to war with Britain, the first shot from it will be the cannon I stuff your sorry pot-bellied carcass into!