Arendelle’s Delegation in Saint Petersburg for Talks with Russia, Part Two

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

Read Part One here!

It was the dead of night and eerily quiet. Northuldra’s champions were on the hunt.

Founded in the early 1600s by the greatest Romanov tsar, Peter the Great, the port of Kronstadt was a centre of commerce that grew in strategic importance as the maritime defence outpost of the imperial capital. The main base of Russia’s Baltic Fleet was located in Kronstadt, guarding the approaches to Saint Petersburg. Maren and Amira stood in stunned silence as they stared up at the incomplete skeletons of warships among the huge dockyard. The two Northuldra women, who’d never been outside of Arendelle or Northuldra, were gobsmacked by the sheer vastness of the military base.

As the two Northuldra dashed from warehouse to warehouse, unpicking doors and peering inside, Maren and Amira found more evidence of Russia’s military buildup. Their acutely sensitive eyes saw everything with little issue, and they didn’t need torches or light. There were rifles, pistols, and bayonets stored on rows of shelves in one warehouse, hundreds of officers’ uniforms in another, and an entire factory reserved for mortars, howitzers, railway guns, and other armaments and artillery. Amira couldn’t hide her surprise at witnessing so many modern weapons of war as Maren looked on grimly.

She took Amira’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “Quite the sight for us unwelcome tourists, isn’t it? Now do you believe me about the danger that Northuldra faces?”

Continue reading “Arendelle’s Delegation in Saint Petersburg for Talks with Russia, Part Two”

Arendelle’s Delegation in Saint Petersburg for Talks with Russia, Part One

Featured image art by PURY (@puryart)

By Lukas, Defence Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE; SAINT PETERSBURG – The queen and her diplomatic corps set off for Russia in the early morning from the docks aboard Anna’s personal flagship, Pride of Elsa. Leading the corps are Anna, Elsa, and Honeymaren, the new Home Minister of the kingdom. Also accompanying the delegation are Trade Minister Michael and Sir Alan of the Order of the Wheat Stalk. The delegation is also represented by two of the major members of Anna’s Entente of Small Kingdoms: Mari of Vesterland and Colisa of Chatho.

The delegation will spend a night at the summer residence of Alexander Palace, one of the many opulent dwellings of the Romanov family. Elsa and Anna are expected to meet her sworn adversary, Katina Romanov, and discuss matters of peace and war involving Imperial Russia.

The possibility – indeed, the outright likelihood – of Russian invasion weighs heavily on the Arendellian delegation, with Anna having asked Elsa to lead the team for her connection to the Romanov imperial family. “I hope my presence can serve as a guarantor of continuity between my reign and Anna’s, to show Katina that Arendelle takes the past as seriously as the present and future,” the Snow Queen told our newspaper. “We believe in peace, even if Katina does not.”

Continue reading “Arendelle’s Delegation in Saint Petersburg for Talks with Russia, Part One”

EXCLUSIVE: The Romanov Shadow Falls Over Arendelle

Amira’s fortnight-long incarceration didn’t particularly strain her endurance and tolerance of isolation. In her training sessions she’d meditate in caves and behind waterfalls for entire days, and she had spent the last couple of years largely alone, away from Yelena and the rest of the tribe. Still, it felt good to be released from her chains, to be able to stretch her legs properly as she followed Honeymaren from Arendelle Castle’s dungeon. She rubbed her wrists, shooting sideways glances at the new Home Minister’s Arendellian attire. “I’d say something about your fashion sense, but since I’m your guest and still-prisoner, I’ll bite my tongue,” she said. Of all the Northuldra, she respected Maren the most.

“It’s just to fit in,” replied Maren. “I promise you, Amira – I’ve been fighting for Northuldra’s interests here. There are better ways to get what we want for our land and tribe than fighting Arendellians.”

“You want political solutions,” said Amira, as they arrived at the tall door of the dining room. “I hope they’re going to be more than Anna doing symbolic gestures. I guess her appointment of you wasn’t a bad start.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Anna promotes Honeymaren to Home Minister, seeks to bridge differences with Amira

Featured image art by Alanna (@alhuart)

By Goethe, Home Affairs Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE; NORTHULDRA – In an extraordinary move, Queen Anna has elevated Honeymaren to Home Minister, the first Arendellian ministerial post held by a Northuldra. “If Arendelle is to re-integrate with Northuldra, then its people must have a real say in Arendelle’s political and civic life. We’re one people,” declared Anna in a press statement.

The monarch cited Maren’s arrest of the Northuldra huntress Amira and her help with keeping Arendelle safe for her promotion. She told the Big Three papers that as Home Minister, Maren will exercise greater responsibility over Arendelle’s domestic security and immigration. “Maren’s diplomatic role as Head Liaison of Northuldra-Arendelle Relations is outdated,” she said. “In fact, there will come a day when Northuldra and Arendelle are one sovereign state and a Northuldra embassy is no longer needed.”

When asked for comment, Lady Maren simply said: “I believe in Anna and what she wants for Northuldra and Arendelle. I don’t know if I deserve this huge honour, but I definitely plan not to disappoint her.”

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Spirit Showdown: Maren and Amira’s Destinies

Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)

Since coming to the throne, Anna had expanded the kingdom’s espionage service into a professional, well-resourced network that stretched across Europe. Years ago, Elsa had identified information as the lynchpin of Arendellian leverage over larger countries with bigger militaries. Named the “Ravens” after Odin’s two mythic, all-seeing birds, the agents had finally tracked the trails that Amira, the Northuldra hunter and saboteur, used to go back and forth between Arendelle and Northuldra. Amira was meticulous in her methods, covering every journey she made out of the forest with great care. But the Ravens now had mapped out her movements, and Anna had given Maren approval to launch an expedition into the heart of Amira’s home.

Yelena and Elsa had already been notified by Anna’s letters via Gale. This was no ordinary operation. It was to stop further attacks by Amira, preferably through persuasion, and if that worked, to show her that Arendelle was serious about rectifying past deceit. Never again would Arendelle’s civil service or educational establishment support anything that came close to Runeard’s Northuldra Children Protection Act.

The hard truth was this: Arendelle could not suffer a secessionist at the heart of Anna’s dream – the true union of Northuldra and Arendelle, the re-integration of the two realms as a single political state. Amira needed to be stopped, one way or another.

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Honeymaren assembles Northuldra task force as Anna FIRES university vice-chancellor

Story art by Arute (@ast05water)

By Helga, Home Affairs Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE – Her Majesty has ordered the resignation of the University of Arendelle’s vice-chancellor, Stein, with immediate effect. Her dramatic move came on the heels of a meeting between Stein and Anna in the queen’s study, in which he showed her a death threat sent to him by Amira. But the written death threat contained an accusation from the Northuldra hunter-saboteur that Stein had sent private thugs to Northuldra to “deal with her.”

The note further said: “These Arendellian goons for hire now lie defeated in the Northuldra snow, their corpses forgotten and their families surely broken. It’s all thanks to your hatred of my existence, the fact that I remind you of what could have been: a generation of brainwashed Northuldra children taught to hate themselves and serve Arendelle.”

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Exorcism: Ghost of the Past

When was the last time Queen Anna summoned Arendelle’s top educators to her office?

Stein – the portly, successful minister of education (currently in crutches thanks to Amira’s ambush and dropping him two storeys last fortnight) – stood outside the door with Flora, the vice-chancellor of the University of Arendelle, beside him. Solveig, the headmistress of Arendelle Girls School, trailed behind them, looking nervous. Stein’s fleshy hand rose to the door handle, but he was interrupted by Anna’s voice.

“Come in,” she boomed from within, sounding unusually ill-tempered.

The queen’s office was reasonably spacious but not large, like her throne room. She sat behind a window that provided light when the sun was shining. On her long, rectangular mahogany desk were melted candlesticks in holders, piles of documents, letters, and contracts, and stacked, thickly-bound books. In front of Anna’s workspace were two well-used old leather chairs for guests to spend long hours chatting with her into the morning’s early hours. Usually her conversation partners were her inner court, Elsa and Maren, and now Vi. There were excellent oils and bookshelves lining the walls and the room was filled with the pleasant smell of polished leather and perfumed flowers – graceful yet worldly, perfect for Anna’s style, which was distinct from Elsa’s. Her high-backed chair, old oak and carved, with red plush fitted seat and back looked dignified, confident, and reliable. Just like the young woman who owned it, thought Stein.

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Editorial: The Scandal of the Northuldra Children Protection Act

By The Arendelle Guardian’s editorial board

The entire kingdom owes its gratitude to Honeymaren and many others after the other night’s assault on Arendelle Castle by the Grey Ghost, Amira the hunter. The fact that no one was severely hurt (or worse) is encouragement enough for the government to look further ahead, to not just stop Amira but also investigate her motivations.

After Amira retreated from the palace, the queen and Maren set about engaging with the clue left behind by the hunter. When interrogated, the hunter alluded to the Northuldra Children Protection Act, which even Anna was caught off-guard by. No one present was aware of this initiative, which Amira accuses King Runeard of starting. Despite it never having been sent to the parliament during Runeard’s reign, the initiative apparently gained currency among influential circles in Arendelle.

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Sleepover Skirmish, Part Two

In the dead of night, with the grandfather clock striking twelve, the queen, the prime minister, and senior officials locked themselves in Arendelle Castle, waiting with bated breath to be saved from the shadowy hunter ruthlessly stalking them on the rooftop of the palace.

Arendelle Castle was inspired by the Stave Churches that were built during the Christianization of Scandinavia. It had a visually striking series of roofs, each one offset and becoming smaller as the palace reached toward the sky, with each roof having a majestic spire at its centre. Amira had already run the full length of the castle’s walled enclosure, her fur-enclosed feet pattering silently and smoothly on the wall’s roof. Using a long rope with a strong grappling hook, she’d gracefully swung around the watchtower that connected the east wall to its rear, where she’d be able to leap onto the roofs of the palace’s eastern wing. Anna and Viola had already retreated from the courtyard, and Maren had asked Alan to seal off the ground floor of the palace so that Amira couldn’t escape by the main entrance.

No ground floor? No problem, for a huntress like her.

Continue reading “Sleepover Skirmish, Part Two”

Sleepover Skirmish, Part One

Nighttime was a bit scarier these days.

Evenings in Arendelle were usually very pleasant, but tensions had been high in recent weeks. Although the Grey Ghost, as Countess Vi and trade minister Michael called her, never showed up during the bustling daytime, by eventide far fewer people, especially public figures, stayed out on the streets or at the plaza. Some of Kingdom Hall’s evening concerts and ballets had been cancelled. And there were far fewer parties – no one wanted to end up a victim of the huntress from Northuldra.

Arendelle had been a peaceful kingdom for centuries. Even when there were armed conflicts, they always occurred beyond the borders, and the government only ever needed a small deterrence army and navy. As trade with other nations grew, the navy had expanded to protect traders and cargo, but that was all there was to it for a long time. It was therefore a surreal sight for many citizens to see Anna’s Order of the Wheat Stalk, her personal order of chivalric knights and elite royal guards, walking Honeymaren and Countess Viola around in public places.

Continue reading “Sleepover Skirmish, Part One”