Greetings from Zapolyarny: Katina Romanov Re-Emerges!

Featured image art “Supreme commander” by PURY (“puryartist)

FROM: HH Katina Romanov, princess of Russia

TO: HE Michael, trade minister of Arendelle, and HM Queen Anna

Dear Michael and family,

Thank you for your letter. I read it over several times, and it still lies open on my desk. It was very kind of you to think of me even after the conflict between our countries concluded. In truth, I often think of you and your queen, and the kindness you all showed me even after my disgrace. I’ve come to accept my role in that whole fiasco, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I must live with my mortal error of banishing Sora, my companion and protector. The one who never gave up on me.

I’m not used to writing letters that discuss intimate matters. I envy you, Anna, and the rest of your beautiful circle. It must be so nice to never have to have one’s guard up among those you love. I had that with Sora, although it was always me that pushed her away. And then I betrayed her.

My defeat at Anna and Elsa’s hands was well-deserved. Just as I know that Anna has tried to swallow her lingering anger against me for my mass invasion of her home, I’ve tried to accept my defeat with a humbled heart.

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COSMIC WAR: The Truth Behind Elsa and Anna’s Journey!

More than 1 million years ago, when the earliest human beings had just begun to walk upright and spread across the already ancient Earth, forces far beyond mortal minds were already tussling over the mammalian race’s destiny.

Deep in the mountains of what is today Hebei Province, China, a slightly hunched Homo Erectus man shuffled into his cave, striking a flint and lighting a torch. He moved the torch over the wall of his little shelter and dwelling. He grinned toothily, proudly looking at the rock carvings he’d made of the animals he’d seen on his hunting and foraging ventures.

There was a great war among the stars. One fought by celestial bodies over the terrestrial baby that was Planet Earth.

Humanity had grown. Evolved. Matured. True, their technology was millennia behind those that watched over their primitive species from the shadows. From where human beings had not yet gathered the courage nor the knowledge to venture. But in time, they would become this planet’s masters, and eventually, leaders among their own kind.

But who deserved a seat among the immortals? Who was worthy enough to escape the fate of all mortal creatures? Or were they all unworthy?

The secret history of the elixir of life would shape thousands of years of human history, culminating in the appearance of Elsa and Anna in the world.

The homo erectus man slowly got up and walked out onto his cave ledge, staring up at the glowing full Moon that bathed its luminescence all over him. He wondered what was happening up there, on the surface of that benevolent celestial body.

Then his reflective moment passed, and he shrugged, shuffling back into the safety of his cave.

This is the story of the war between Chang’e and her son, Yixin. This is the story of how it all began.

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GANG WAR: The Lotus and Crocus versus the Floodgate!

Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)

It was time to evacuate.

The queen of Arendelle’s strategy was simple: she, Elsa, and the other Exalted members needed to get out of Hong Kong as quickly as possible. The British island colony was commonly used as the first port of call by foreign visitors into the Celestial Empire, but the group’s sense of urgency was even higher than before, now that everyone knew that Harrison had them in his crosshairs. The drug lord and tai-pan wanted to stop Anna from reaching the Forbidden City at all costs. Anna had expelled Harrison from membership of the Exalted after ascending to its leadership, and Harrison would be damned if he let his Arendellian enemy humiliate him further by becoming the Exalted’s number one.

It was midnight, when the city was theoretically asleep and done with business. But Hong Kong is never done with business. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Colisa, and Kristoff were standing on the esplanade by Victoria Harbour, where there were docked several ships. There was a boat waiting for the group, which would take them to Pride of Elsa, which was anchored a short distance away in the deep waters of the colony. Lady Kam had disappeared to “make preparations” – it was an enigmatic statement that even her boss, Kristoff, couldn’t understand. After spending a single night in the ransacked and ruined Sinclair Mansion, Peony had warned them that they needed to board Pride of Elsa and get to the Chinese mainland as soon as they could. Another assault by the Floodgate triads wasn’t only inevitable, but imminent.

Continue reading “GANG WAR: The Lotus and Crocus versus the Floodgate!”

Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part Two

Featured image “Emerald Dragon” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Anna

The mansion of Peony Sinclair had been invaded. The chandelier above them shook, and the hall was filled with battle cries.

“It’s the Floodgate triads, I’m sure of it. Harrison’s men,” declared Lady Kam, Kristoff’s comprador and the manager of Bjorgman’s Chinese trade. Everyone had stood up, nervously readying themselves for a violent brawl, but Anna was still glaring at Peony, who’d just dropped a bombshell on them all.

“Lord Yixin is immortal? He isn’t human? I mean, I knew he was uniquely powerful, and sure, there was something disturbing and otherworldly about his appearance. Elsa and I have always known that. But you can’t just pull this revelation on me and then let this go,” cried Anna, putting a hand on Peony’s slender shoulder.

“I’m not letting it go. In case you haven’t noticed, the Floodgate gang has broken into my manor. I don’t have time to explain now. Let’s ensure your safety first, and then I shall reveal all. In fact, it’s still ideal you hear it from my lord’s mouth,” said Peony coolly.

The mansion rang with rapid footsteps as screams of the household servants rang out through the halls and rooms. “They’re attacking my people. Lady Kam, you’ve got to get out of here, and bring the queen and her retinue with you,” demanded Peony.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part Two”

Elegy for Immortality: An Exile’s Last Will

Featured image art by hannah.digiart (@HDigiart)

Greetings, unfamiliar reader.

If you’ve discovered this final testament of mine, I’ve passed from this world of futility and frustration. I sensed my end coming quite some time ago, and have just finished penning this as a sort of bittersweet witness… perhaps, a kind of revenge.

Please, if your eyes fall upon this testament, don’t look away.

I’ve spent my life waging wars across Europe for a dream… a mirage. For although that immortal bastard invited me to join that most august circle – the Exalted – he discarded me like a piece of refuse once it became clear that his other hangers-on, in particular those Romanovs, were better placed than me to hunt down a mysterious substance called the elixir of life.

You read right. The elixir of life. You might call it ambrosia. Others, the Holy Grail or the cosmic milk of immortality.

Whatever you name it, it exists. I swear upon my honour and my career as Europe’s greatest conqueror. I was so close.

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Allies of Arendelle: KAM CHIK-LOEI, Comprador of Bjorgman

Featured image “Weaver” by Arute (@ast05water)

You’ve met Will Harrison and Tiffany Hunsecker, Anna’s foes in Asia. Now get to know four of Anna’s closest foreign allies. They come from far away, separated from Arendelle by land and sea. Yet they’re as close to Anna and Elsa as you are, and help protect Arendelle’s international interests. “Allies of Arendelle” features four OCs that assist Anna with her goals in our Emerald Dragon arc: Kam Chik-loei, Tileke, Fujiwara Takako, and Luna de Borbón.

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Kam Chik-loei (金織女)

With a nod of her head, Arendelle prospers. With a snap of her fingers, economies flourish. Making people wealthy is the power of Kam Chik-loei, the richest person in the British-ruled port of Hong Kong. Lady Kam serves as the comprador of the Princely House, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman. She’s also the secret leader of the Crocus and Lotus, the Arendelle-allied but illegal triad society that’s locked in ongoing turf warfare with Harrison’s criminal allies, the Floodgate gang.

To call her Kristoff’s second-in-command is almost too simple. True, she’s a member of Bjorgman’s executive committee, and she sits on Kristoff’s board. But she’s so much more. She’s the procurement officer. The personnel recruiter. The guarantor. The underwriter. The chief interpreter. This isn’t even where her power is. Her authority comes from being the conduit through which all of Bjorgman’s money passes. There’s no transaction that she doesn’t oversee, no income or expenditure she doesn’t supervise. Depending on her snap judgement, a simple “Okay lah” or “No lah” can mean months of revenue or crippling financial losses. She’s the master of the Chinese world of trade, in which her boss would be lost without her.

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Cheers and tears as Queen Anna sets sail for China

Featured image “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Fitch, Politics Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

There was a palpable mix of pride and anxiety as Arendellian citizens gathered at the docks to send off their queen, who finished packing last night and is now aboard her flagship, Pride of Elsa. In her most recent column in the Sunday edition of The Arendelle Guardian, Anna reassured the kingdom that her upcoming voyage was a trip of goodwill among Arendelle’s allies in Asia: in particular, the Great Qing Empire (known to most as the Celestial Empire), the British port colony of Hong Kong, and the Shogunate of Japan.

The queen leads an entourage of friendly heads of state and senior figures connected to the royal household: Elsa the Snow Queen, Kristoff, her husband-to-be and managing director of Bjorgman, Queen Colisa of Chatho, and the mysterious English-born diplomat working for the Chinese imperial household, Peony Sinclair. Anna has left the running of day-to-day affairs in the hands of her prime minister, Vi, while other major matters are tended to by people she trusts, like Michael and Alan or Mattias.

Rumour is rife among the press that Anna has private objectives that she’s declined to disclose to the public. The Arendellian military, led by General Mattias, has gone out of its way to call this trip “of utmost importance of national security,” using this as a pretext to avoid questions about why so much of the outing will be focused on Peking, the capital city of the Celestial Empire.

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ARSON ON ARENDELLIAN PROPERTY: Kristoff’s ice branch in Hong Kong destroyed by fire

By Gudrun, World Affairs Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

HONG KONG; ARENDELLE – In a mysterious disaster for Kristoff’s ice subsidiary, Bjorgman’s Asian branch in the colonial port of Hong Kong was burned to the ground in the middle of the night several days ago. The suspects remain unknown and at large.

The British authorities, with local Chinese community leaders, have decried foul play, but no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility.

The Celestial Empire is one of the largest markets for Kristoff’s business, where quality ice is popular among wealthy Chinese and non-Chinese merchants and British governing officials. Ice is also in demand by hospitals and other strongholds of science and medicine. So important is ice to the Hong Kong elite that the colonial authorities founded Ice House Street, a one-way street for companies in the ice trade to set up shop, including Kristoff’s.

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Emerald Dragon: Old Foes, New Clash

“Narco lords” by Arute (@ast05water)

Anna rarely has any true enemies. Will Harrison is one of them. He’s been plaguing Anna ever since our queen discovered the existence of the Exalted, of which he was once a member. He was her first truly international enemy, and the only one that managed to best and humiliate her, dealing severe economic harm to Arendelle.

When she ascended to the Exalted’s leadership not too long ago, Anna managed to return the favour by expelling him from the secret society. But since then, he’s grown wealthier and more powerful. And he’s on the hunt.

Now, as Anna rises in stature and authority among the world powers, he would love nothing more than to drag Anna down and reduce Arendelle to his private fiefdom.

Will Harrison and his equally ruthless secretary, Tiffany Hunsecker, are back. And they plan to make Anna’s life hell.

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Powderkeg Peking! The Floodgate opens

To: Mr. Will Harrison

From: HM Queen Anna of Arendelle

Re: You’re out of the Exalted

Dear Will Harrison,

I’d be lying if I wasn’t somewhat happy to write you this letter. But can you blame me? You were one of my earliest political adversaries, and the first to take pleasure from my suffering and humiliation.

I see you’ve made big fat profits from the trading concessions that were rightfully Arendelle’s, gifted to us by the emperor of China. Ever since you wrenched them from me by holding my friends Mari and the Duke hostage, you’ve expanded your fleet of nineteen clippers into a pretty much a private navy.

No one matches you in the volume of opium you ship into the Celestial Empire, and there’s nowhere in southern China that your narcotics don’t touch. You deal in addiction, death, and despair, yet you call yourself a lover of freedom and liberty. Well, I have faith

But I’ve grown in power too. My small kingdom defeated the Romanov empire. The great powers in Western Europe aren’t so leery at our small country. And now it’s my turn to give you an ultimatum.

Continue reading “Powderkeg Peking! The Floodgate opens”