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.

Continue reading “At World’s End in the Purple City, Part Two”

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.

Continue reading “The Arendelle Guardian special feature: Howl of the Wolf!”

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.

Continue reading “Arendelle politics: Commander Hilde designates Vi’s harasser as THREAT to national security”

Cosmic War II: The Celestial Court

Featured image art “Chang’e and Yixin” by Arute (@ast05water)

By SkyInk

‘The moon is that which lacks. It becomes full and wanes. It is the great Yin.’

Extracts for ‘moon’ from the Shiming (c. 200 CE) and Shuowen Jiezi (100-121 CE)

There was a war among the stars. A great conflict over the destiny of humanity and its worthiness to partake of the elixir of life. A goddess, full of regret, decided to hide it so that humankind would never be tempted by the irresistible allure of tyranny eternal. But her son believed that a select few – those that he chose, of course – would be worthy. And so there was war, and the son was cast down from the starships. Humanity wouldn’t know of the aftermath, but all would, in time, be revealed to Anna and Elsa, the Arendellian heirs to this starward odyssey…

*

It had not been two days since had she blasted her son to Earth when a delegate from the Celestial Court arrived.

“Keeper of the Moon Palace, Chang’e,

Receive this edict:

The Divine Superior is heartened to learn that thou art well, but is disappointed that thou hast not disciplined thy son well enough. The Divine Superior remindeth thee that thy outer defences are protected by a Heavenly Corps seconded to thy Lunar Guard. The expenses for their upkeep in the face of this calamitous rebellion by thine unfilial son shall be deducted from thy monthly stipend. The Divine Superior commandeth thee to speedily arrest thy son and present him before the Heavenly Court for trial.

Thusly proclaimed.”

“The unworthy official humbly receives the edict.” Eyes glittering, Chang’e takes the engraved tablet from the Jade Emperor’s messenger. She knows she will have to make a visit to plead before him, in light of what she has just done.

Continue reading “Cosmic War II: The Celestial Court”

Michael’s Musings: A Special Letter to a Special Friend

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle (@of_michel)

There’s been a lot happening with Queen Anna, who is currently in China with Snow Queen Elsa, Kristoff, and Queen Colisa of Chatho. They comprise the Exalted now, and they’re with one of the original members of this group, Peony Sinclair, to visit her commander, the Qing prince regent Yixin. Meanwhile, in Arendelle we have a stalker plaguing prime minister and First Vampire Viola Mundilfari, a case which myself and now Commander Hilde Von Altheim are working on together. Then, of course, there’s always the normal business of running Arendelle’s government.

As my friend Vi went to the drawing room, I went back to my study and office to review what myself and Vi had brainstormed on. As I reclined back on my desk chair, my eye caught sight of an object on my desk that made me stop and reflect a bit. It was a feather and not just any feather. It was one that belonged to Grand Duke Sora, the guardian angel of the royal family of Russia, the Romanovs. She was quite literally an angel, and this feather came from her wing.

She was such a gentle, loving soul, yet she could fire up like the sun and fight like all hellfire. I miss her a lot. I also miss Princess Katina Romanov. You say to me, “But how could you miss that angry warmonger?”

Continue reading “Michael’s Musings: A Special Letter to a Special Friend”

To Ensnare a Mundilfari: Arendelle’s Old Families

Featured image art by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_mo)

It was a quiet evening in Arendelle Castle, which now doubled as a temporary home for the kingdom’s most prominent countess and her retainers. In olden times it would have been crushing, humiliating, for Vi to be driven from her own residence of the Grand House on the foothills of Arendelle, and to seek shelter with the currently absent queen. But for the First Vampire, it was perhaps better this way: she cared a lot less about appearances now, and she was more interested in protecting those close to her, Tess and Hilde. There was nothing wrong with crashing at Anna’s, anyway: Her Majesty had made Vi, already the prime minister, effectively regent while Anna was in China.

So Vi, her werewolf guardian and general Hilde, and her human attendant Tess slowly got used to life in Arendelle Castle, with Vi even moving some of her Mundilfari paraphernalia into the home of the royal family – something that would have been quite unthinkable during Agnarr’s or Elsa’s reigns. The Mundilfaris, influential as they were over Arendellian affairs, were feared, and their dark association with black magic and the demon Mephistopheles forever tainted their name despite their standing among the Scandinavian nobility.

Continue reading “To Ensnare a Mundilfari: Arendelle’s Old Families”

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.

Continue reading “COSMIC WAR: The Truth Behind Elsa and Anna’s Journey!”

Michael’s Musings Special: Open Letter To A Certain Stalker…

Featured image art “Your countess” by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_mo)

By Michael (@of_michel)

After reading my good friend Sir Alan’s article to this mysterious stalker of our prime minister, First Vampire (and close, personal friend) Viola Mundilfari, it’s time I added my 2 schillings worth on this sore subject.

To the cowardly stalker of Viola Mundilfari:

“Trade minister” by PURY (@puryartist)

You probably know who I am from my position in in Queen Anna’s Government and my articles in this fine newspaper, nevertheless, I’ll introduce myself.

I’m Michael, Arendelle’s trade minister, uncle to Queen Anna and Snow Queen Elsa, and a fellow minister and personal friend of PM Viola Mundilfari.

For a couple of weeks or so, Viola, myself, her friends and family, have had to put up with your posters and hand bills, slandering and badmouthing Viola. Of course, Princess Danny ripped them down and then made a nice fire to roast marshmallows and stargaze under the night sky with Vi, Danny and myself. You were just like an empty can, rattling and making a lot of noise and no more.

Then, you stepped over the line, my fiend. You invaded the home of Viola, Hilde Von Altheim, and Tess. Painting slurs on the gates of the Grand House and tossing rotten fruit on her doorstep. You went a bridge too far, and now we’re all looking for you. Payback is hell.

I don’t know what is driving at you to do this. Maybe it’s for past sins of the Mundilfari clan. Or what she had to do in London. Whatever it was or why, you just stepped into a deep hole of reindeer shiatsu with us. Alan posted his thoughts, here are mine.

Continue reading “Michael’s Musings Special: Open Letter To A Certain Stalker…”

Postcard from Anna: From Harbour to Heartland

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

By Anna

Hello, Arendelle! From far away, across the waves, on the mountainous slopes of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong!

Sinclair Manor, the mansion belonging to my fellow Exalted member Peony Sinclair, suffered an intense and unexpected battle with Harrison’s hired assassins and warriors. No thanks to the British colonial administration, which we suspect has been paid off by Harrison to look the other way! I’ll be having a word with my British counterpart, Vic, when I have the chance back in Europe. Harrison is getting away with murder, and I fear it won’t be just a figure of speech if he gets his way.

I had the most extraordinary day: Lady Kam, comprador of the Princely House and Kristoff’s manager of the ice trade in China, invited me to inspect her clandestine force of… how do I put it? Triads. These well-trained, well-built women and men are members of the Lotus and Crocus, a clandestine underworld group Kam formed for my sake.

For Arendelle’s sake.

Continue reading “Postcard from Anna: From Harbour to Heartland”

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.

Continue reading “Elegy for Immortality: An Exile’s Last Will”