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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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.”

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

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”

INVITATION from the Qilin Cabaret to HM Queen Anna and her Exalted

Featured image art “Narco lords” by Arute (@ast05water)

To Her Majesty the Queen of Arendelle,

I’d offer you pleasantries: wishes of good health to you and Elsa, congratulations for seizing control of the Exalted, and even some grudging respect for how ruthlessly you expelled my boss, Mr. Harrison, from the cabal. You’ve got an… unforgiving streak, don’t you? Especially for those that mess with your family. I like that.

You and Mr. Harrison know each other well enough that you’ll see any pleasantries from me to be hollow and meaningless. You despise each other, so I won’t patronize you with insincerity.

I’ll accord you the respect you deserve as my boss’s nemesis and get straight down to business.

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Allies of Arendelle: KAM CHIK-LOEI, Comprador of Bjorgman

Featured image “Weaver” by Arute (@ast05water)

You’ve met Will Harrison and Tiffany Hunsecker, Anna’s foes in Asia. Now get to know four of Anna’s closest foreign allies. They come from far away, separated from Arendelle by land and sea. Yet they’re as close to Anna and Elsa as you are, and help protect Arendelle’s international interests. “Allies of Arendelle” features four OCs that assist Anna with her goals in our Emerald Dragon arc: Kam Chik-loei, Tileke, Fujiwara Takako, and Luna de Borbón.

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Kam Chik-loei (金織女)

With a nod of her head, Arendelle prospers. With a snap of her fingers, economies flourish. Making people wealthy is the power of Kam Chik-loei, the richest person in the British-ruled port of Hong Kong. Lady Kam serves as the comprador of the Princely House, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman. She’s also the secret leader of the Crocus and Lotus, the Arendelle-allied but illegal triad society that’s locked in ongoing turf warfare with Harrison’s criminal allies, the Floodgate gang.

To call her Kristoff’s second-in-command is almost too simple. True, she’s a member of Bjorgman’s executive committee, and she sits on Kristoff’s board. But she’s so much more. She’s the procurement officer. The personnel recruiter. The guarantor. The underwriter. The chief interpreter. This isn’t even where her power is. Her authority comes from being the conduit through which all of Bjorgman’s money passes. There’s no transaction that she doesn’t oversee, no income or expenditure she doesn’t supervise. Depending on her snap judgement, a simple “Okay lah” or “No lah” can mean months of revenue or crippling financial losses. She’s the master of the Chinese world of trade, in which her boss would be lost without her.

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Cheers and tears as Queen Anna sets sail for China

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

By Fitch, Politics Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

There was a palpable mix of pride and anxiety as Arendellian citizens gathered at the docks to send off their queen, who finished packing last night and is now aboard her flagship, Pride of Elsa. In her most recent column in the Sunday edition of The Arendelle Guardian, Anna reassured the kingdom that her upcoming voyage was a trip of goodwill among Arendelle’s allies in Asia: in particular, the Great Qing Empire (known to most as the Celestial Empire), the British port colony of Hong Kong, and the Shogunate of Japan.

The queen leads an entourage of friendly heads of state and senior figures connected to the royal household: Elsa the Snow Queen, Kristoff, her husband-to-be and managing director of Bjorgman, Queen Colisa of Chatho, and the mysterious English-born diplomat working for the Chinese imperial household, Peony Sinclair. Anna has left the running of day-to-day affairs in the hands of her prime minister, Vi, while other major matters are tended to by people she trusts, like Michael and Alan or Mattias.

Rumour is rife among the press that Anna has private objectives that she’s declined to disclose to the public. The Arendellian military, led by General Mattias, has gone out of its way to call this trip “of utmost importance of national security,” using this as a pretext to avoid questions about why so much of the outing will be focused on Peking, the capital city of the Celestial Empire.

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Emerald Dragon: Old Foes, New Clash

“Narco lords” by Arute (@ast05water)

Anna rarely has any true enemies. Will Harrison is one of them. He’s been plaguing Anna ever since our queen discovered the existence of the Exalted, of which he was once a member. He was her first truly international enemy, and the only one that managed to best and humiliate her, dealing severe economic harm to Arendelle.

When she ascended to the Exalted’s leadership not too long ago, Anna managed to return the favour by expelling him from the secret society. But since then, he’s grown wealthier and more powerful. And he’s on the hunt.

Now, as Anna rises in stature and authority among the world powers, he would love nothing more than to drag Anna down and reduce Arendelle to his private fiefdom.

Will Harrison and his equally ruthless secretary, Tiffany Hunsecker, are back. And they plan to make Anna’s life hell.

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Journals of the Exalted IV: The Emerald Dragon

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

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is the final part of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon

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Boost to Tourism in Arendelle as FJORDSPRING FESTIVAL enchants residents and visitors alike

By Greta, Travel Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

Spring is here, and this year’s seasonal festival coincides with Arendelle’s formal armistice with the Russian Empire. The kingdom has managed to recover quickly from Katina Romanov’s onslaught, although a national day of mourning was held for the soldiers lost to the conflict a few days before the Fjordspring Festival.

Despite the heavy responsibilities on Anna’s shoulders, Her Majesty has pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone can move on to happier things and take their minds off the fear and anxiety that has choked the kingdom since January.

This year’s Fjordspring Festival, traditionally held to welcome the melting of snow and the Arendellian ideals of hope and renewal, is expected to be especially among the tourist and expat population, which has boomed since Anna went further than any of her predecessors to expand global trade. The kingdom is abuzz with delicious food, lively events and games, and guided excursions as we showcase all our finest scenic areas, businesses, and much more.

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Michael’s Musings: Dinner with Tileke

Featured image art “At the Nokk Club” by PURY (@puryartist)

By Michael, Trade Minister

Before the hostilities of the Russo-Arendellian War, I had the chance to spend some time with Arendelle’s newest friend and ally, serakser Tileke of the Ottoman Empire. “Serakser” means “commander” – in other words, Tileke was to the Ottomans what General Mattias was to Arendelle.

This energetic fireball leader of the Ottoman forces came to help relieve and bolster the depleted Arendellian military before the final Battle of Arendelle. She presented herself with a swashbuckling flair and energy that is rare and amazing to see. With her invaluable assistance, we were able to stop Princess Katina Romanov from conquering Arendelle (yet at a price, I must say, was so terribly high for both sides, especially Katina.)

I had invited Tileke to dinner with me at the Nokk Club to get to know her better, and also discuss potential business. Her father is the Grand Vizier himself, Husrev Pasha, who’s like our own Prime Minister Countess Viola Mundilfari. Our kingdoms have a very good trade business going and I wanted to explore ways of making them better. Making friends like Tileke go very far in that endeavour… especially on a personal level outside of business where myself, Queen Anna, Snow Queen Elsa, Sir Alan, and the others are concerned.

We arrived at the Club and ordered our drinks before ordering dinner. I had pulled out a cigar to relax with. Tileke glanced at me from the corner of her eye, intrigued. She was curious, hungry to learn about everything that made Arendelle – especially things that looked wild and unusual. “That’s not how we usually inhale back on the Bosphorus,” she said, sitting back casually and rocking on her chair, much to the disapproval of the waiters around her. “What’s that stick?” Tileke asked me.

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