Letters to the Editor

Okay, what the f*** is the Mundilfaris’ problem? These guys are absolute jerks, Runeard loyalists to boot. They are stuck believing in an old regime, wake the **** up. Runeard is gone, Anna is the Queen, those old ideologies do not work anymore! And furthermore, the disrespect and toxicity coming from these idiots is immense! They want to destroy Northuldra, drive them out of their home. I hope the Mundilfaris ****ing realize pretty quickly that the spirits would destroy them if they messed with the forest. Also, Northuldra and Arendelle will forever be linked, you can’t break that bond, just like how you can’t break the bond between Elsa and Anna.

Which brings up another point, how dare the Mundilfaris disrespect the sisters!! Seriously, these idiots have called the sisters, and I quote, “Northuldran blood-caskets”, on multiple occasions. They once told King Agnarr to divorce Queen Iduna right in front of the sisters when they were younger. Are you ****ing ***ing me? You don’t ****ing do that!! My word, I mean, come on!

Seriously, the fact that the Snow Herald is still even alive and what not is ridiculous with what the Mundilfaris have done, and you wanna know something? I bet they have something to do with the recent short-selling of Bjorgman House bonds. These ***holes want to sabotage Arendelle itself and reestablish an old regime that does not ****ing work at all. Not in this day and age. So, with all that in mind, the Mundulfari can **** off. They are traitors, deviants, and an absolute disgrace to the sisters and the kingdom. – Sir Alan, member of the Order of the Wheat Stalk

Madam, I met the patriarch of the Mundilfari clan many years ago, at the evening ball of Queen Emerita Elsa’s coronation. I also wish to echo Sir Alan’s suspicion that the Mundilfaris might be at least one of the parties behind the run on Bjorgman House stock. Even their stockbrokers and servants acknowledge their… deep-rooted animus against anything to do with our royal family. I suggest that the government summon their patriarch to help investigate this corporate assault on the Princely House. – Gregory, vice-president of the Bank of Arendelle

Elsa and Anna are the lights of Arendelle. But as the old sages have always said, the darkness will always try to reach out and extinguish the light, especially when it shines stronger than ever. Beware the enemy within. Beware the standard-bearers of the Old Ways. – Yelena of Northuldra, tribal chieftain

Three Fiefs in a Kingdom: A Guide to Arendelle’s Newspaper Empires

As you might have heard from the local gossip, there was a bit of a verbal confrontation at the Nokk Club. The kingdom’s only private ladies’ and gentlemen’s haunt, the Club isn’t a place for the stuffy jarldom or even the royal family. This is where Arendelle’s ascendant captains of industry, managerial and professional classes, and politicians and journalists congregate.

It was our usual inter-outlet meeting, where we debate and negotiate how we’ll frame the news and stake out our territory. My fellow press barons and I got a bit more heated than usual about Queen Anna, probably due to her recent political accomplishments. It climaxed with the owner of the Snow Herald throwing a bottle of fine aged wine against the wall, screaming an obscenity against Her Majesty. Meanwhile, the proprietor of the Fjord Times threatened to sic thugs on me to rough me up a bit. I guess I also floated the idea of sending reporters to rummage through her garbage. Not exactly our most noble moment of journalism.

You might be surprised at how high the stakes are in our small kingdom. In this editorial, I want to come clean and tell you all about Arendelle’s newspapers, from our constituents and readership to our power base and beliefs.

Continue reading “Three Fiefs in a Kingdom: A Guide to Arendelle’s Newspaper Empires”

The Fall of a Jarl

I hadn’t been inside Arendelle Chapel since Anna’s coronation, and Elsa’s before that. I made my way to the empty pews, passing under the yawning wooden beams that had seen generations of the royal family crowned all the way back to that mistiest of eras, the Viking Age. My finger lightly trailed along the seats’ frames, my bloodstone signet ring gleaming in the afternoon light.

Sitting by the front pew was a hefty, suited gentleman with a generous red beard. He looked straight ahead, avoiding my gaze.

“Interesting choice of a private rendezvous, Jarl Volker,” I said, sitting down in the row behind him. My voice was a murmur, but I didn’t hide the sneer in it. “You could have just asked me to get the Nokk Club’s doorman to let you in.”

“And humiliate myself further, you power-hungry woman?” scoffed Volker. “No thanks.”

I laughed. “When men call me power-hungry, I know I’ve won because they’d never use that as an insult against each other. So, you resigned from your seat in House of Jarls this morning?”

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From the Editor’s Desk: Watch These Women

As I share this editorial with you, I’m sure that you know we are on the verge of the grand state ball thrown by Her Majesty in honour of Queen Victoria, who at this very moment is being shown around the kingdom and will later travel to the North Mountain with Anna.

Dear reader, If you’re in Arendelle at the moment, I’d encourage you to stop by the docksides. Royal consort Kristoff is steering an impressive fête showcasing the best of Arendellian produce like salmon and herbs, as well as our country’s burgeoning heavy industry, like tracks and steel for our railroads. Victoria’s aides have tactfully chosen to showcase less of the East India Company’s wares, and more from purveyors of Anna’s favourite things: chocolate, candy, and other delectable delights sourced across the British Isles and across their vast empire.

I’m sure Anna is biting her tongue at times, given her anti-colonial instincts, but for now, Arendelle’s rise on to the world stage is being facilitated nicely by Victoria. I was one of the first to teach Anna that the road to power is a negotiated one, full of compromises and second choices. Continue reading “From the Editor’s Desk: Watch These Women”

Letters to the Editor: On the Anti-Northuldran Bill

To the Chief, Queen Anna and her sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, and the citizens of Arendelle:

From reading this morning’s edition of The Arendelle Guardian, I am pleased to hear that Her Majesty Queen Anna is garnering support amongst the Ministers in Parliament to have this embarrassment of a bill – “anti-Northuldran influence” legislation – killed off and put where it deserves and needs to be, taken out with the night’s garbage (or strike a match to it!).

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North Wind Haunting

The Arendelle Guardian offices. Near the docksides and Plaza

“It’s around here somewhere,” I growled.

I was on my knees, rummaging through slightly mouldy boxes of old files. Some of them contained past editions of my newspaper and Sunday magazine. Others had snippets of interviews, information and communication from my sources, and documents from the paper’s early days. That was shortly after I’d sailed into Arendelle for the first time twenty years ago, using all my savings to buy the top floor of this warehouse, transforming it into a respectable headquarters for my reporters and editors.

Then I remembered. It was probably in the safe.

I stood up and scrambled over upturned boxes and file binders to the hanging painting on my wall, beside my bookshelves and to the side of my windows overlooking Arendelle’s harbour. The painting was of the Northuldran steppe, drawn by Elsa and given to me after she discovered her true self as the Fifth Spirit. Her already considerable painting talent had improved even further. I grabbed the edges of the painting and lifted it, carefully placing it on the floor. Affixed inside the wall was a shelf with a miniature wooden door on hinges. I reached into my coat pocket and inserted a rusty key into the lock, twisting and opening it. The compartment housed a nondescript iron safe within, of spartan design and many years old.

I took a deep breath, staring at the repository that concealed everything from my past, like certificates for secret holdings, several passports, and legal documents from other kingdoms. I had chosen to leave behind many of these reminders of my old life when I became a citizen here. In any case, the safe had much more sensitive items, of which knowledge about could shake the very foundations of Arendelle: genealogies from the Viking Age, documentation of secret relationships and bastard children of Arendelle’s nobility, and even a “kill list” of the royal family’s most hated adversaries, compiled by Runeard and Agnarr themselves.

If information is power, then I had managed to make The Arendelle Guardian a formidable power broker in this kingdom over twenty-something years.

There was one particular piece of paper I was looking for. I had one more key, which was for the safe. I inserted it into the keyhole and turned –

“Chief, Her Majesty’s here,” came my copy boy’s voice.

Continue reading “North Wind Haunting”

Queen Anna, Shaper of History

It was raining lightly.

I didn’t bother with an umbrella. I hurried towards Arendelle Castle’s courtyard. Shrouded in darkness, with only the lamps to provide light, the guards saw me and quickly stood aside. I rushed into the plaza and headed straight for the main door, where an attendant awaited. I allowed him to take my damp coat, thanking him quickly. I strode to the dining room, my high-heeled boots tapping lightly through the carpeted corridors of the palace. I walked into the high-ceilinged room, where Her Majesty and Kristoff were standing by the fireplace silently. Kristoff’s arm was around Anna’s, and when I stepped forward, he looked at me and moved back, releasing his wife.

“Evening, Your Majesty. How are you, Kristoff?” I said grimly, unconsciously running a hand through my damp hair. I shared a brief nod with the royal consort. Kristoff and I both had an interest in watching over Anna, and he was a partial stockholder of The Arendelle Guardian.

Still in her pink nightgown, her red hair draping down her shoulders, Anna slowly turned to me, her eyes tired. “You’re not usually late, chief,” she said, addressing me by the joke title given to me by my junior journalists. She didn’t wait for my reply before turning back to watch the crackling fire and burning wood.

“I was dining at the Nokk Club with the editors of the other papers,” I replied, although I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to explain myself. She knew where my regular haunt was. Perhaps it was because the queen seemed unusually exhausted and drained.

Continue reading “Queen Anna, Shaper of History”

Letters to the Editor

Recently, Elsa showed me articles from The Arendelle Guardian’s rivals like the Snow Herald and the Fjord Times, which called Queen Anna “a child of Northuldra” like it was a bad thing, an insult. To me, Anna’s real foes are not external challengers or even aggressive empires, but bigoted attitudes lurking within the corridors of Arendellian power. – Yelena of Northuldra, tribal chieftain

Her Majesty was very brave to resist calls within the Great Assembly to keep Arendelle in relative isolation. There is a certain comfort in remaining distant from the conflicts of much larger powers beyond our borders, but everyone can see the world is becoming more and more interconnected and I don’t see how we can do anything except try to engage it. – Aleksander, schoolteacher

I think the owner and the reporters of this newspaper have grown so hyper-partisan, so fanatical in their devotion to the queen, that they’ve done a lot of damage to the credibility of the kingdom’s Great Assembly. Not everyone has to agree with Her Majesty, and it’s certainly not in The Arendelle Guardian’s business to manipulate the public in her favour. I think your team is doing journalism a disservice. – Georg, retired

I am thrilled that Arendelle Plaza is so alive these days. Products from all over the world are being showcased thanks to the Yokohama delegation, from textiles like cotton and silk to spices and peppers. I love looking at good coffee and tea to buy for my wife. I think the queen should make a bigger deal out of this: didn’t the government try to promote our kingdom’s tourism a while ago? – Ugo, train builder

Two Arms of the Monarch

Featured image art by vektorix, at: https://vektorix.tumblr.com/post/125805713637/

Have you ever visited the docksides of Arendelle, just as the sunset is dipping below the fjord?

I love sitting by one of the benches near the lampposts, by the kingdom’s markets at dusk. If you’ve come before, you’ll know that trading is more or less wrapping up by this time, with shops closing and children walking with their parents. Looking outwards from the pier, you can see the stars and moon emerging even as the fading red-orange sunlight drapes the waters in a warm blanket above the darkening sky. Eventide is the perfect time to come out of the office and take a walk, to reflect on how beautiful it is to be in Arendelle.

There were a few lovey-dovey couples on the benches near me as I admired the calm waters and anchored ships. I savoured the occasional squawks of seagulls, inhaling deep breaths of fresh air. I adjusted my collar, enjoying the warmth of my cashmere coat as the cool wind kissed my face. I was looking forward to an elegant dinner and warm coffee after this meeting.

A tall, burly figure in a hooded cloak moved beside me and sat down in silence.

I shifted, peering at warm but worried brown eyes and a well-kept goatee. I grinned. “Hello, Mattias.”

“There’d be an uproar if anyone knew I was meeting with someone from the press,” growled the commander of Arendelle’s armed forces quietly, his eyes darting about.

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The Fifth Spirit’s Pact

Featured image art by GAEAM, at: https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/79126197

I leaned back on my solid armchair of comfortable leather, elbows on armrests and hands clasped. “You secretly enjoy hanging around here, don’t you? Imagine that – the Snow Queen herself, lurking about our newsroom, peeking over my reporters’ shoulders to see what they’re working on, sneaking a coffee from the pantry… and, occasionally, honouring us with writing an article, should she be in the mood for it.”

The Northuldran spirit and I smiled at each other.

“You have a regular column for Anna. You’ve never asked me to do one for you. Why?” asked Elsa, leaning on the edge of the window. The late morning sun’s rays streamed through, drenching her pale face in light.

“I’m not sure,” I admitted, tilting my head as I gazed into her endlessly deep eyes. “I’ll do anything to get good stories and exclusives. And everyone hangs on to your words. But there’s something almost sacred about asking you to write something for me… to the extent that I don’t want to cheapen you. The best kind of power is the one that’s used least.”

Elsa laughed. “That’s nice of you.”

“Besides, I feel uncomfortable ordering you around, but your writing is of a standard that…”

She grinned as she anticipated my words. “It’s no good, I know. Thank you for humouring me. I was curious why Anna never misses a deadline for her column in your paper even though she’s so busy. I thought I’d give it a try.”

My office was lined with bookshelves, with a large work desk made of oak by the window, a space that Elsa was occupying. There wasn’t room for much else apart from my armchair in front of my table. I was like a guest in my own fief whenever Elsa visited, I thought to myself in amusement. Outside I could hear the mutters and hurried footsteps of my staff, reporters and editors running about and rushing in and out of our dockside building.

Continue reading “The Fifth Spirit’s Pact”