Queen Anna and Tai-pan Harrison, Part One

“Swinging Sisters” by Arute (@ast05water)

“Tiffany Hunsecker” by Arute (@ast05water)

“Mr. Harrison will see you now.”

Radiant and beautiful in her Chinese dress, Anna reluctantly released Kristoff, who she’d been swaying leisurely with to the sound of romantic piano and lilting drums. She looked at Tiffany Hunsecker, Harrison’s second-in-command, with a defiant grimace. “So, does he expect the negotiations to go his way again?”

“Of course he does, as I’m sure you expect them to go yours,” said Tiffany smoothly. “Nothing personal. May the best dealer win.” She gave a small smile. “Who shall it be – the queen of Arendelle, onetime small Nordic kingdom to rising world power? Or will it be my employer, greatest tai-pan in the Chinese seas?”

“My point is simple. Harrison has you, Tiffany,” she said, staring down the secretary to the opium dealer. “I get to bring Elsa with me going in.”

“Out of the question,” denied Tiffany. “She’s the Fifth Spirit. Harrison isn’t stupid enough to be in the same room as her should negotiations with you collapse.”

“Why, you – ” snarled Alan, rising from his seat in the Arendellian group’s booth, but Elsa put a hand on his arm, and he reluctantly relented.

“Then at least let Anna bring in someone else. Maybe Alan, or Kristoff,” said Elsa.

“Yeah. I get to bring someone in the Exalted with me. It’s only fair,” contested Anna.

Continue reading “Queen Anna and Tai-pan Harrison, Part One”

The Fall of the Mundilfari Household

Featured image art “Team Mundilfari” by Arute (@ast05water)

“Hyah!”

Trade minister Michael urged the horse pulling his wagon on, with Danny sitting beside him. They rushed to the dark forest beyond Arendelle, where three women were standing off in the middle of the night. Danny, the ice princess adopted by the royal family, looked up at the elder man nervously. “I’m scared. Mummy and Auntie Anna aren’t here. What are we going to do?”

Michael could only bite his lip, acknowledging Danny’s concern. “I’ll do what I can to assist the Countess and Hilde. But without Elsa and Anna, we can only mobilize so quickly when Selene has sprung such a sudden trap for Vi and Hilde.”

At least Mattias was probably being alerted to the disturbance as he spoke, he thought to himself. The wagon was approaching the woodlands, and he pushed further in, following the voices of Hilde and Selene. The sight that awaited him in a clearing, surrounded by tall trees, stunned him.

“Vi!” he cried, his horrified eyes falling on six sheets of holy light that had trapped the vampiress from multiple directions, stabbing into her abdomen. He looked at Selene, and then at Hilde, putting the pieces together. Selene’s arm was raised, and in her hand was an amulet from the arsenal of Kveldulf weapons: armaments from the post-Viking Age era that were shrouded in mystery, and known only for their incredible power in destroying unholy creatures.

Continue reading “The Fall of the Mundilfari Household”

The Qilin Cabaret: Party the Night Away!

Featured image art “Swinging Sisters” by Arute (@ast05water)

“What should I do?” said Anna, throwing Tiffany Hunsecker’s invitation onto the coffee table. Kristoff, Elsa, Colisa, Peony, and Alan looked down at it, their expressions grim. They were in a palatial, terraced accommodation used by Peony Sinclair to host British diplomats to China. They’d had several days to digest everything that had gone down in the Forbidden City, during their long-awaited meeting with Yixin. Not only was Anna being tempted with power beyond imagination, it also had the potential to transform Arendelle forever and redefine her reign and legacy.

Yet the risks and pitfalls were enormous. As if that weren’t enough to mull over, Anna had received a letter shortly after speaking with Yixin. It was an invitation, in which Tiffany asserted that Harrison had, in light of Anna’s ascension to the Exalted’s leadership and her weathering everything he’d thrown at her, forced himself to acknowledge her as an equal.

Yet it wasn’t in the queen of Arendelle’s capacity or her business to completely destroy Harrison. She couldn’t. His assets were transnational and he could sail anywhere, be it Boston, London, or Hong Kong. His opium firm could incorporate anywhere in the world. He could sever ties to his triad associates long before Anna could produce any evidence to anyone that cared. Arendelle’s jurisdiction was much more limited than his business’s mobility.

Continue reading “The Qilin Cabaret: Party the Night Away!”

Salute, Sergeant Severin! Arendelle’s Best Intelligence Officer

There’s a graveyard tucked away in the mountains further to Arendelle’s eastern settlements, beyond the Great Assembly parliament building and the Grand House of Viola Mundilfari, Arendelle’s dark protector and its regent. It’s a private cemetery reserved for the most honoured Arendellians: war heroes that gave their lives in service of the kingdom. In an otherwise egalitarian kingdom, to be interred here is almost like a mark of immortality, bestowed by the royal family and blessed by the Arendellian Church. There are fewer than several dozen gravestones here, for Arendelle has been at peace for so much of its history that among the very few times it has gone to war, an even smaller circle of heroes earned the right to be buried here.

“Thanks for opening up the place for me, Your Grace. I won’t be long.”

“Not at all, Your Majesty. Take as long as you need. You do the kingdom’s fallen heroes honour by coming here.”

Shortly after the Russo-Arendellian War, long before Anna and her fellow Exalted began their trip to China, the queen visited the grave of Sergeant Severin. She paid her respects to the bishop, who was the only person who carried the keys to the cemetery gate, and stood before a small tombstone that read simply:

Severin. Much more than just a sergeant. 1786 – 1844.

Continue reading “Salute, Sergeant Severin! Arendelle’s Best Intelligence Officer”

A NIECE’S REVENGE: Even the Wolf Can’t Escape the Shadows

They met in the woodlands just beyond the kingdom. It was secluded enough for a private meeting between four of the most ancient aristocratic families in Arendelle.

Mundilfari.

Von Altheim.

Hellström.

Vinter.

“Do I really need to be out here for this?” asked Countess Vi, Anna’s regent. Hilde Von Altheim stood beside her, the commander’s yellow eyes latching on to the two middle-aged men across from them. “It’s the middle of the night; the kingdom’s asleep, and I want to be hanging around playing charades with the little one, Danny.”

Her slender arms were crossed skeptically as her vampiric, immortal eyes lingered on a nervous-looking Gerald Vinter and his Hellström counterpart, Lord Neumann. “Do I need to make my judgements of these fellows personally, Hilde?”

“Ha! I actually agree with you,” snapped Neumann, shivering as he adjusted his cashmere wool coat, on which was emblazoned the coat-of-arms of the Hellström: a stylized blaze of fire over a shield, flanked by a bear and a crane. “We stayed quiet like good little boys while you were wreaking havoc and tussling with Her Majesty last year, and we kept our heads down when you and Hilde ascended into Anna’s inner court! And you suspect us of being the culprits who have been harassing and haranguing you, Countess Vi?”

Continue reading “A NIECE’S REVENGE: Even the Wolf Can’t Escape the Shadows”

Arendelle’s Old Nobles: Hellström and Vinter

Featured image art “Commander” by feeplings (@feeplings)

Commander Hilde was a bit surprised that today’s appointment wasn’t at the Nokk Club.

She opened the door to the Lonely Reindeer tavern, her enhanced senses immersed in the pungent, jovial smells of roast chicken, frothy, refreshing beer, and more. It was a packed day for the tavern. Her wolfish eyes quickly identified the nondescript man sitting at one of the corner tables, where the barmaid often forgot to check up on. She strode over, silently noting his very bland, vanilla appearance: a traditional Arendellian three-piece suit, conventional and unextraordinary. Yet it was perhaps this rather orthodox look that lent him a sense of timelessness and understated elegance. He had a goatee, and his blue eyes darted at Hilde nervously as she sat down.

“Anonymous letters have a way of being thrown out of the prime minister’s mailbox and burned,” said Hilde, crossing her arms, “especially since they’ve lately been disgusting insults and slanders from our despised harasser.”

“Well, I’m glad you didn’t dispose of mine,” said the man, adjusting his high collar nervously. He beckoned over the barmaid, calling for a pint of beer. They sat in silence as she stared at the nobleman, waiting for him to speak – and finally, after an awkward pause, he did.

“I mean no harm – in fact, I’m here to try to calm the flames somewhat.”

Continue reading “Arendelle’s Old Nobles: Hellström and Vinter”

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!”

Happy Birthday, Queen Anna!

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

A special Musing for a special niece and some fatherly thoughts

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle (@of_michel)

Summer Solstice in Arendelle means that it’s Queen Anna’s Birthday! Unfortunately, this year, Queen Anna, her sister and my niece, Snow Queen Elsa and Kristoff Bjorgman, are away in China on important business, namely to see prince regent Yixin and confirm the Exalted’s new members.

What a year it’s been with Anna as queen. From the lowest low of losing “Most Favoured Nation Status” to that lowdown skunk Will Harrison*, to winning the war with Russia**… and now, a new Exalted with Queen Colisa, Kristoff, and Peony Sinclair. 

Not too bad if I say so myself for my royal niece.

It’s also a time that in America, where I used to do business, that they celebrate the fathers of the family. On this day, Elsa and Anna go quietly to the shipwreck site in Northuldra to remember their parents, Queen Iduna and King Agnarr, in private. As they couldn’t do so this year, I went in their place to honour both their parents, as I was a close friend to them before their deaths. Honeymaren, Ryder, Yelena, and the other four nature spirits accompanied me as we laid the flowers and bowed our heads in loving remembrance. There are places in Arendelle that pay tribute Agnarr and Iduna for the public. This one is where the sisters can privately honour their parents.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Queen Anna!”

Arendelle celebrates Anna’s Birthday as Summer Solstice arrives

Featured image art “Swingin’ Sisters” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Gudrun, Home Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE: With Anna absent from Arendelle, the kingdom hosted a muted celebration for the queen’s birthday this year, with General Mattias holding a party in the square by the docks with well-stocked food and drink and entertainment for gathered families. The party was informal and akin to a gathering for friends rather than any formal anniversary for Anna, with the bishop of the Arendellian Church dropping by to make a quick speech blessing Anna’s overseas journey before joining in the festivities himself.

Anna is currently deep in the heartland of the Celestial Empire, having made a brief pit stop in the British colony port of Hong Kong before pushing further inland. Her destination: the Forbidden City itself, the great palace complex overseen by successive emperors of the Qing Dynasty. She’s accompanied by some of the most trusted members of her inner court: Elsa, her sister and the former queen, her fiancé Kristoff, tai-pan of Bjorgman, and Colisa, the queen of Chatho.  

Continue reading “Arendelle celebrates Anna’s Birthday as Summer Solstice arrives”