Romanov Ascendant, Part Two

The princess of Russia, Katina Romanov, was decked in her black military uniform, her favourite, as she sat down at her long breakfast table in her favourite dining room, one of many, in the Alexander Palace. Before her were several slices of toast, and a stainless silver cup of caviar. Though she had been defeated by Arendelle, she still held absolute power in Russia, and even if she no longer cared about the performative pomp of being the empire’s de facto ruler, it did feel nice to have some luxury grub once more.

It had been a grueling year in the Russian countryside and wilderness, eking out an existence in the midst of rebuilding her shattered heart and pride. In self-imposed penance, she found the strength to let go of her anger and self-hate, and even came to terms with her respect for Anna, the only sovereign to have ever bested her. And now, she had the chance to build bridges she once thought burned by her callousness.

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Michael’s Musings: Rumors, gossip and other lies…

“Found family” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle

Life here in Arendelle is never perfect. However, it’s been great with the reigns of both queens Elsa and Anna. It goes without saying about how far we’ve come in this saga. The love we have for each other, the support of the folk in both lands of Arendelle and Northuldra, especially for the struggles the two young women have gone through since the hard, lonely years of their childhood.

They’ve made a ton of progress and encountered many milestones as life goes on. Yet the love they have for each other, plus for those who have come along the way – like Kristoff, Olaf, Sven, Sir Alan, a certain Uncle, and more.

Unfortunately, life has those who will never be happy and will always complain and want to sabotage another’s happiness. Gossip and rumors do exactly that.

So it was no surprise, but indeed aggravating, to hear some malcontents in the kingdom saying untruths about my nieces and Kristoff. Too much of this will give places like Our Fair Kingdom a quarantining case of “rumoritis!”

So: let’s clear the air and let some truth shine in, shall we?

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From the Ravens: The Global Situation (Inner Asia, Africa, and South America)

TO: GENERAL DESTIN MATTIAS

RE: The global situation, as concerns Her Majesty and the Exalted

General,

Selene Severin’s agents have spread across the planet and begun gathering important intelligence about the elixir of life. Soon, Her Majesty may approach you to mobilize the Borealis Corps or the larger army to act on the intelligence that the Ravens provide. Perhaps the Exalted themselves will choose to act and come to our regions of interest. We have begun identifying these regions based on meticulous collating of local information, rumours, legends, and accounts. We have tapped into local networks, government figures friendly or allied to Arendelle, and, where appropriate, reached out with attractive rewards for the more mercenary-minded.

In our first report, we will relay to you what we know about Queen Anna’s targets of South America (Queen Colisa’s jurisdiction), Africa (Honeymaren’s assignment), and Inner Asia (Peony’s specialty).

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Michael’s Musings: The First Christmas After Anna and Elsa’s Reunion

Featured image art “Generations” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle

Things are really busy here in Arendelle! Not only is Queen Anna’s plan finally being put into action to find that mysterious “Elixir of Life” for Prince Yixin, it’s also the Christmas season as well! The Yule bell was brought out once more at Castle Arendelle, and rung to bring in the season of good tidings to all! Everyone, including Elsa, the Fifth Spirit of Northuldra and Ahtohallan, along with Kristoff, Sven and Olaf, Princess Danny, Countess Viola, Hilde, and Tess, along with Selene and General Mattias, came out for the celebration as Queen Anna and Snow Queen Elsa pealed the Yule bell for all to hear.

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Editorial: Arendelle must strike an elegant balance amidst the Shogunate’s tension

By The Arendelle Guardian Editorial Board

As Arendelle’s prestige rises, so do its risks. Among them is the danger of accidentally entering into a conflict in which Arendelle has no stake. There are fewer disasters more catastrophic for a queen, than to find herself mired in a dispute that drains her attention, the kingdom’s resources, and the treasury’s coffers with little reward.

Anna began her reign with a strongly anti-colonial bent, with an instinctive sympathy for the oppressed people of the world. This was informed by her relationship to Northuldra, and her long-term objective of eventually unifying the northern region with Arendelle proper. It was easy to signal one’s anti-imperial philosophy when Arendelle was just one small kingdom among many, despite its already burgeoning geopolitical importance.

As readers of this newspaper know, things are quite different now.

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Michael’s Musings: Information on Japan and the Fujiwara Clan

FROM: Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle and loving Uncle to you and your sister, Queen Emerita Elsa, the Fifth Spirit and Snow Queen
TO: Her Majesty and beloved niece Anna
SUBJECT: Brief historical background of Japan and the Fujiwara

On the heels of General Mattias’s cautionary note to you, I did some research for a brief history on Japan and most notably, the Fujiwara Clan.

First, I want to be on record in thanking our newest friend, Selene Severin. Her assistance in gathering the information on file in our library or through the Ravens and others in her network on the ground near or in this mysterious country, has proven invaluable for this report.

Japan has been in existence for tens of thousands of years. “Japan” come from the two Chinese words “Jee-Pan” which means “Land Of The Rising Sun,” since it is a series of volcanic islands that lie east of mainland China.

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CONFIDENTIAL: Murmurs among the Masters of the Sword

FROM: General Destin Mattias

TO: HM Queen Anna

RE: WATCH OUT.

Hi Anna,

You might raise your eyebrow at the tone of my memo, but you need to be careful around Lady Fujiwara. More accurately, you must keep an eye on her circle of retainers.

Lady Fujiwara is everything that she presents herself to be. Our spies, the Ravens, have compiled a detailed dossier on her and the background of the Fujiwara clan. It all checks out. I’m glad to see that you, Elsa, and the rest of the inner court get on well with her. However, have you sensed the tension between her and the samurai around her?

I don’t know about you or Elsa, but she has little patience for them, and they even less for her.

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Michael’s Musings: Selene’s Visit

Featured image art “Redemptive chat” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle

After seeing how Hilde and Selene were doing during our dinner for Queen Anna and our returning travelers, I got to thinking about what our little castle has become to some very special folks.

I said to my niece, the Queen; “You know, Anna, this castle is not just our home, it feels like a safe haven for some once-hurting souls like Vi, Hilde, Tess, Danny, and now Selene. Just add some love and make them feel like family. Like they belong here as one of us.”

“I feel like our whole kingdom is like a found family, and I love it,” Anna replied.

“Oh yes! It shows when you’re amogst the people of Arendelle. The best little kingdom in the world!” I answered.

Anna then said: “I like to think that everyone would like to have us as their family! Teehee.”

“We’d fill up those little houses pretty fast with our crew!” I agreed, laughing generously.

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For Her Majesty’s Government: Clarifying Yesterday’s Misunderstanding at Arendellian Customs

Featured image art “Home” by Arute (@ast05water)

Hail to the Monarch of Arendelle, Her Exalted Majesty Anna of the Summer Harvest.

On behalf of the Most Excellent and Gracious Fujiwara Takako of the Fujiwara House, Ancient and Noble Complementary Family to the Imperial Yamato Clan, Divine Descendants of Amaterasu, I bid you greetings. I’m Shishizaru Takeuchi, captain of Lady Fujiwara’s flagship, Thundercloud. We come from the Shogunate far across the seas.

We arrived in Arendelle from Japan, as our emissaries mutually agreed, on schedule and await your reception. However, to our great embarrassment and chagrin, the morning has not proceeded as planned.

I’m certain that your palace has received word of the misunderstanding at the docks earlier this morning. Allow me to explain, lest there be any unnecessary or unfounded enmity or suspicion between your throne and the glorious Shogunate.

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Michael’s Musings: Homecoming

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle

“Boss lady” by Arute (@ast05water)

“The best part of any trip is the trip home.”

This saying was so true when our travellers came back from Arendelle.

Queen Anna, Snow Queen Elsa, Kristoff, Sir Alan, Queen Colisa of Chatho, and Peony Sinclair returned safe and sound from the Celestial Empire of China, where they met with not only the mysterious Lord Aisin Gioro Yixin, but also with Lady Kam Chik-leoi, the very beautiful and intelligent comprador of the Princely House, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman.

She’s also the head of the Crocus and Lotus, the Arendelle-allied but illegal triad society (according to the British overlords in Hong Kong) that’s locked in ongoing turf warfare with Harrison’s criminal allies, the Floodgate gang.

When the Floodgate thugs attacked our party, Kam’s triad fighters were Johnny-on-the-spot to defend our friends from Wily Will Harrison’s hit squad.

But I digress. It’s time to greet our weary travelers!

Thursday morning came early as the call from the fjord guard posts reported Anna’s ship, Pride Of Elsa, approaching the harbor docks. I had gotten up and dressed to meet our returning royals. Our First Vampire and regent Vi, who’d been injured in the fight with Selene Severin, was doing better, but still needed more rest from her wounds. Princess Danny did a fine job of using her ice powers to help close up Vi’s wounds. She needed blood, so Tess Gaunt and myself donated some. Hilde and Tess stayed with Vi until she got more of her strength back.

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