The Protectors of Arendelle, Part One

Featured image art by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_Mo)

It was a quiet morning at the Grand House that overlooked the hillside of Arendelle. It was an imperious structure, even though it was a significant downsize from Keep Mund in the Jotunheimen Mountains. “Pass the butter, sweetie?” requested Tess Gaunt, sitting at one side of the six-person, mahogany dining table, where Hilde and Vi joined her for breakfast. Vi sat at the head, and she silently passed the silver butter keeper (all the silverware had been transported from Keep Mundilfari to Arendelle) to Tess. The Englishwoman glanced at Hilde, who ate her usual fare – scrambled eggs, a piece of bread, and some fresh fruit – also in silence.

“Are the eggs okay?” asked Tess gingerly. “Do you need some pepper?”

“Hm.” Hilde’s grunt was warm and not curt, but her gold eyes couldn’t mask the fact that she was thinking about something, engrossed in her own thoughts.

Continue reading “The Protectors of Arendelle, Part One”

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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The Meeting of the Mischievous

Featured image art “Queen of the realm” by hannah.digiart (@HDigiart)

By Skyink

The river waters, roaring, roaring east, wash away the legends bygone.
Success and defeat, and right and wrong, become empty at the turn of a head.
The green mountains still are, under so many crimson evening suns.

The white-haired angler and woodcutter are used to watching the autumn moon and spring wind.
On an isle in the river, they meet happily, over a pot of cloudy alcohol.
So many things past and present, enter the flow of mirthful conversation.*

There comes a hooded one, a rod within his hand,

Under the chariot sun, upon a reeded bank,

Whereby a river runs, east through a foreign land.

There sits upon a rock, waving a tattered fan,

Hair frazzled and frame gaunt, wearing a broken hat,

Chirping a cheery song, an old dishevelled man.

The old one hears the foot, the old one sees the hood.

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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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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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A QUEEN REBORN: Anna resumes leadership of Arendelle

By Draco, Royal Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian

Wasting no time upon her return to Arendelle, Anna has quickly resumed executive power over the kingdom, with her regent Viola Mundilfari returning to her usual post of prime minister while the queen moves to deal with a series of foreign policy challenges.

Anna held court for the first time in months in her throne room yesterday, sitting back on the austere and tall wooden chair that has remained the seat of Arendelle’s queens and kings since the days when Arendelle was but a small hamlet struggling to keep its people warm in the bitter cold. In quick succession, she laid out a bold agenda that matched her growing global clout:

  1. A robust anti-opium smuggling campaign, aligning her views and Arendellian business with a growing number of European and American missionaries campaigning against the widespread trade of the drug that has devastated lives in China and across the world,
  2. Draft treaties with Chatho, Vesterland, the Southern Isles, and Weselton – all former members of the now-defunct Entente of Small Kingdoms – for the establishment of Arendellian embassies in each respective country,
  3. A new task force focused on the economy and the newest industries to propel Arendelle to greater prosperity and leadership in global trade,
  4. An accelerated integration of Arendelle and Northuldra, making good on her promise early on during her reign to achieve the union of “the two lands as one” as part of her legacy as queen, and finally:
  5. An outreach program focused on culture, politics, and business to yet more lands that are unknown to the average Arendellian citizen, including the reclusive Shogunate of Japan.
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Queen Anna and Tai-pan Harrison, Part Two

“The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

The queen of Arendelle was in the book-lined study of Harrison, a private and literally cigar smoke filled backroom on the second level of the Qilin Cabaret. Outside in the lounge, singing, cheering, and clapping could be heard along with the clinking of wine and whisky glasses. Elsa and the others were waiting for Colisa and Anna, who were still in negotiations with the tai-pan.

“You’re offering access for me to the government of your Union across the Atlantic Ocean in return for the chance to participate in my search for the elixir of life? To partake in the elixir itself, if I find it?” confirmed Anna, crossing her arms as she sat before Harrison’s desk. “How is that different from being a member of the Exalted – which, as long as I’m leader, you’ll never be?”

Harrison grunted. “The difference is yours to decide, queen. I don’t need necessarily to be in an executive position. What I can provide is ships, resources, finances… all that stuff you’ll inevitably find yourself hankering for as your operations go global. I’m offering you my… conditional allegiance. And a… negotiated duopoly over various industries in the China trade. Between my own company and that of your beloved Kristoff’s Bjorgman. Together, we’ll hoard all profits to ourselves and watch our rivals sink into the depths of the China sea.”

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At World’s End in the Purple City, Part Two

Featured image art “Cosmic destiny” by Arute (@ast05water)

“You should probably sit down,” said Peony calmly, as Anna visibly swayed in shock. Yixin didn’t budge, staring thinly at the lavish gardens outside his lavish window. Elsa also looked stupefied, as did all the guests in the Qianlong Gardens. Peony handed Anna a soft handkerchief, and the queen of Arendelle gratefully took it, wiping her sweating brow.

At long last, Yixin had told them the whole truth and nothing but the truth. All this time, Anna and her friends had simply known him as a powerful figure in the Qing court, the power behind the emperor’s throne. Of course, he had a second identity as the leader of the Exalted, but even Anna hadn’t suspected there was so much more behind the organization. How he was a Moonborn: a unique class of beings born from an outer space goddess, Chang’e. How Chang’e had made the Earth’s Moon her domain. How at the dawn of humankind, she’d given her former husband, the mortal Hou Yi, a taste of eternal life through her holy elixir: the legendary ambrosia sought after by all that sought immortality.

And how Hou Yi had become civilization’s first tyrant, drunk on power and his newfound immortality, his cruelty forcing Chang’e to wage a cataclysmic war against him until Hou Yi was destroyed.

It wasn’t their familial drama that Yixin chafed at. What he couldn’t accept was Chang’e’s decision after Hou Yi’s defeat – that humanity wasn’t ready for the elixir of life and that it needed to be hidden from mortals forever.

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The Arendelle Guardian special feature: Howl of the Wolf!

Featured image art “Dark Champion” by feeplings (@feeplings)

By Mikael, Defence Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian

Countess Vi, the temporary regent entrusted by Anna with governing Arendelle until the queen’s return from the Middle Kingdom, is under attack. But her right hand woman, Commander Hilde, is having none of it.

Now that Hilde has issued an open letter to the most probable suspects vexing Vi’s daily life, the ancient Hellström clan and equally old Vinter family, our newspaper’s editor has decided to extend our support to Hilde and celebrate her character. While Hilde was reluctant to participate in an interview with this reporter, I can assure you that I managed to get something out of her, appealing not so subtly to her fear of disappointing the Countess, who after all, is our paper’s owner.

THE COMMANDER RETURNS! – If there’s such a thing as a perfect warrior, a specimen of physical and martial superiority, it’s Hilde Von Altheim, Countess Vi’s most trusted guardian. Fulfilling multiple roles as the only bodyguard the prime minister will ever need, as well as the feared leader of Vi’s Court Guard, Hilde is the epitome of a good soldier: ever watchful and vigilant, unblinking in the face of grave danger, and more than willing to give her life for her Mundilfari lady.

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Arendelle politics: Commander Hilde designates Vi’s harasser as THREAT to national security

By Gudrun, Home Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

Hilde Von Altheim, the right hand woman of Countess Vi and a sub-commander in the Arendellian army (second only to General Mattias), has issued a public challenge in our paper to Vi’s harasser. Indicating confidence in the culprit’s identity, Hilde has also used her authority to declare the harasser a threat to Arendellian security – making it much easier for her to deploy more severe means to hunt down this person/s, including with army help.

Hilde is the scion of the Von Altheim clan, a Germano-Nordic noble family that’s as ancient as the Mundilfari clan. The two families’ political fortunes have been inseparable since the early centuries of the Holy Roman Empire, and each scion of the Von Altheims has served as the protector closest to the head of the Mundilfaris.

For the past few months, the First Vampire and prime minister has been subjected to an increasing vitriolic campaign of public humiliation and character slander. Despite suffering vandalism against her Grand House on the foothills of Arendelle, which has forced Vi to relocate to Arendelle Castle, she’s maintained a remarkably restrained silence on the series of hate mail she’s received and slanderous pamphlets circulating around. She’s stated that she no longer wishes to solve her problems with violence, attempting to ask herself what her queen, Anna, would do instead. “I am, after all, Anna’s regent until she returns from China,” she said.

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