Romanov Ascendant, Part One

It was a beautiful morning. The Russian Empire’s leader was back.

The servants were fussing about today in Alexander Palace, the main residence of Russia’s most powerful woman. Olga and Alina, two of Katina Romanov’s maids, were in the immense bedchamber of the Russian princess, hastily folding Katina’s freshly-pressed military uniform, coat, and trousers. The wardrobes, bed, and vanity table were all dusty; the room hadn’t seen its master for many months. And now, she was back, and taking a nice long soak in the lavish tub inside her en suite bathroom.

“How could Her Highness have spent so long in the wilderness? I’m surprised her countenance hasn’t changed into a deathly pall. That’s what Siberia would do to her lovely skin,” muttered Alina, drawing back the high curtains of the window by Katina’s bedside.

“It’s not just Siberia… I hear Her Highness has gone everywhere. Villages, hamlets, rural settlements all east of Moscow, and south of Saint Petersburg… she’s even visited the auls, fortified towns of the Caucasus peoples we watch over, the kishlaks of the Turks, and the Cossack stanitsas,” said Olga. “It’s like her priorities completely changed upon returning to Arendelle.”

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Gold and Ballads: Arendelle Attracts Cultural Capital with Actual Capital

By Bori, Senior Reporter

Arendelle’s expanding global footprint, along with its increased contact with countries and cultures across continents, has given it unprecedented access to some serious cultural talents. From art and music to theatre and the printed press, Arendelle is emerging as a plausible alternative, if still inferior relative to, Paris, Amsterdam, and London as a European cultural center.

Critics and writers in the clubs of England, the tea houses of Constantinople, and the saloons of the western United States are all talking about visiting (and resident) talents eager to have a showing in Arendelle, for they will be performing for a most extraordinary royal pair who surpass even Britain’s Victoria in queenly charisma: Anna and Elsa.

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The Protectors of Arendelle, Part Two

Featured image art “Anna and Yixin” by Arute (@ast05water)

“The plan is as such,” said Vi, gliding restlessly in her living room while the seated Amira and Tileke stared into the crackling fireplace. “I was there when Anna announced it. Europe remains her domain of focus. Peony’s is Inner Asia, where all manner of dark forces and ancient powers lurk, and I’ll be there with her. Queen Colisa will manage South America, while Kristoff will lead Honeymaren and Tileke to the great continent of Africa and the lands of Arabia.”

“Sounds simple enough, but the logistics are actually quite difficult; and once we depart, we’ll be gone for a long time,” warned Hilde, who had come from the dining room into the lounge, with Michael and Alan flanking her. “My Countess, I’m going for a morning stroll around Arendelle, and then I’m going to train. May I be excused?”

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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.

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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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ANNA’S DECREE – Searching for the Elixir

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

The inner court had been assembled.

The beautiful Countess Vi, no longer regent but now having returned to her usual post of prime minister, stood alongside Commander Hilde on one side of the queen’s hall, at the right hand of the throne. Seated on it was Anna, who surveyed, with modest solemnity as well as a winning smile, the assembled women and men on her left side, who were facing Vi and Hilde: Elsa, Kristoff, Mattias, and Honeymaren.

“I’ve briefed trade minister Michael and Sir Alan about my next move, and now we’re ready,” declared the queen. “In liaison with Peony Sinclair and Queen Colisa of Chatho, the other members of my new Exalted organization, I wish to launch my search for the fragments of the elixir of life.”

The inner court exchanged nervous and terse glances with each other. The air was electric. At last, it had begun, and no less at a make-or-break time of diplomacy with Japan.

Anna was making good on her promise to Lord Yixin for being catapulted to international prominence.

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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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Anna Regnant: The Queen of Arendelle’s Unrelenting Political Rise

Featured image “Commander” by PURY (@puryartist)

By Ymir, World Affairs Editor

“How does she do it?” This is the unuttered question on the lips of heads of state, diplomats, and journalists across Europe as Arendelle becomes the new place of pilgrimage for great and small powers alike.

Even during Elsa’s reign, no one could have predicted the meteoric rise to global prominence the small Nordic kingdom would enjoy.

While Anna’s predecessor managed significant relationships with mighty realms like the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty, it’s Anna who has radically transformed Arendelle’s relationship with almost every great power – and set an example for middle and even smaller states to emulate.

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Japano-Arendellian Relations: A New Era

Featured image art “Heir to the Fujiwara” by Arute (@ast05water)

Arendelle Castle throne room

Anna had never sat in such an uncomfortable position in her life. Knees pressing the ground, she felt like she was basically kneeling, but with her hands rigidly on her lap, staring across to the young woman from across the seas, who was very delicately and elegantly serving the queen of Arendelle her very first green tea.

“This is called seiza, Lady Fujiwara?” asked Anna. She let out a nervous laugh. “Can’t we just… you know, sit on chairs? I’ve got a few right over there.”

Takako smiled, her deep purple irises glimmering. “This is a traditional tea ceremony that I wish to present to Your Majesty as a small gift. A glimpse of our honour and our values, and the greatness of the Shogunate.”

She finished pouring the tea in the cup she’d given Anna as a gift: an exquisite, perfectly hewn stone cup on a tray of bamboo. “Please. Enjoy.”

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Press Release: Welcoming the Shogun’s emissary to Arendelle

Featured image art “Heir to the Fujiwara” by Arute (@ast05water)

Palace

PRESS EMBARGO TO BE LIFTED AT 08:00, MONDAY

OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN

Her Majesty Queen Anna extends a warm welcome to the official representative of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Fujiwara Takako.

Queen Anna recognizes the exceptional personage of Lady Fujiwara, who represents not only the bakufu, the seat of government of the shogun, but centuries of prestige and responsibility as the unmarried woman of the Fujiwara household. While the Fujiwara clan no longer holds sway over the Japanese government as it did in ancient times due to the elevation of the shogun as the executive arm of the emperor, the weight of the Fujiwara clan remains lofty and revered. As a leader that seeks friendship and is absent of hostility, Queen Anna affirms that she holds Lady Fujiwara’s heritage with the same esteem as that of her beloved Japanese people.

Lady Fujiwara will be the beneficiary of Her Majesty’s hospitality for as long as the bakufu requires. She is expected to stay in Arendelle for the next few weeks, before taking the arduous journey back to her homeland.

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