Bjorgman, Arendelle’s finest firm, challenges Russia’s Stroganov business dynasty

ARENDELLE; MOSCOW – From investing heavily in Arendelle’s allies to growing the political influence of its executives in foreign lands, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman is playing a frontline role in Anna’s showdown with Katina Romanov.

With his supercargoes furiously criss-crossing the seas in state-of-the-art clippers, the royal consort and boss of the Princely House is determined to turn up the heat on tsarist business interests with his own services and products. Bjorgman is nicknamed the Princely House for its prominence in the business community, and as a nod to Kristoff’s fairytale romance with Anna.

Kristoff has come far since the orphan first began sledding and cutting ice on the outskirts of Arendelle. His Princely House has a plan: to pile pressure on Russia’s exporters, manufacturers, and financiers. In order to hobble Katina’s war effort, a massive endeavour that has demanded immense domestic expenditure, Bjorgman is snapping at the heels of Russia’s oldest and most prestigious business dynasty, the Stroganovs.

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FIRE AND ICE: Russia issues ultimatum to Arendelle’s allies

MOSCOW; SAINT PETERSBURG – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia has issued a public statement to the Entente of Small Kingdoms, warning that the armies of the three Grand Dukes will ignore attempts by Arendelle’s allies to stymie any Russian advance into Northern Europe.

The tsar’s government is arguing that the annexation of Scandinavia is a last resort after decades of failed Russian appeasement and continued incursions by states like France and Sweden. The ministry’s statement is being taken by diplomatic missions around the world to be prelude to a formal declaration of war. Tensions are understandably high, as a Russo-Arendellian confrontation could alter the balance of power across the Eurasian supercontinent.

“Our policy also applies to even the Ottoman and Austrian Empires, which despite their outward neutrality, seek to hinder Russia’s steps to protect itself against the predations of Western Europe,” said Katina Romanov, princess of Russia. Arendelle has accused her of being the mastermind behind the tsar’s aggressive foreign policy. “Never again will another Frenchman like Napoleon – or Prussian, or Briton, or Austrian – ravage our land or our people again. Russia demands two things: fear and respect. Fear of Russian vengeance should her sovereignty be violated, and respect for her stature and dignity as a great continental, global power.”

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Anna, to Hans: The Southern Isles’ Membership of my Alliance

Dear Hans,

My apologies for the delay in writing back to you. I read with interest your proposition several months ago, but emotionally, I needed time to process what was at stake here and give you a proper response. I’m happy that the Isles are almost finished rebuilding from the devastation of Commander Hilde’s illegal attack on your state. That had been ordered by Countess Vi in revenge against you, without my knowledge or consent. I wish it never happened, and I’m still sorry about it. Honestly, that disaster drew the attention of the Chinese emperor, forcing me into a diplomatic spot that I survived only by outmanoeuvring the Countess.

I’ll cut to the chase. The Southern Isles has a potential place in my Entente of Small Kingdoms, alongside Vesterland, Chatho, and Weselton. You’ve only just gotten back on your feet. You don’t want Russia’s Grand Dukes moving against you without a network of friendly nations, which we can provide. I’m not exactly known for my affection for the Duke of Weselton, but he’s a reliable contributor to our alliance and has even made several bold moves against our adversaries. So in principle, our alliance is an open door.

Ha. Do you remember that song we sang together all those years ago? I sure had egg on my face afterwards.

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WORLD NEWS: Arendelle reaches out to the Ottomans and Austrians as tensions with Russia grow

By Gudrun, European Bureau Chief for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE; VIENNA; ISTANBUL – Caliphs and chancellors might soon be squaring off with Russia’s tsar if Queen Anna has her way, and Arendelle successfully courts Austria and the Ottomans.

Last week, representatives of Kristoff’s trading company arrived in the Austrian and Ottoman Empires within days of each other. Their objective is to negotiate a series of deals that will attract reciprocal trade benefits for Arendelle from both nations. Kristoff hopes to leverage Austrian and Turkish support against Russia’s encroachments into Central and Northern Europe.

In a coordinated and carefully timed move, Bjorgman executives met with Chancellor Klemens von Metternich of Austria and Tileke, leader of the fearsome Mansure Army of the Ottoman sultan. The Arendellian delegation to Austria is led by Bjorgman director Johann Folkestad, while the trade mission to the Ottomans is led by fellow director Linbar Salberg.

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Grand Duke Sora

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

Arendelle. 1843

“I haven’t seen her around here before.”

“She’s so beautiful!”

“I mean, I see more and more people moving into the kingdom every year, but I can’t help feeling that she’s special…”

Anna was on her morning stroll, among comfortably lined homes and shops beyond the plaza, when she overheard Vera, her favourite chocolatier, gossiping with patrons about some new arrival. Curiosity piqued, she peeked past the wooden door to the Berg Sweetshop, which was open to let the pleasant light and fresh air in to the charming candy shop. “How are you all, ladies?” greeted Anna cheerfully.

“Hello, Your Majesty!” replied the middle-aged women happily.

“I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: when I’m out and about, I’m not ‘Your Majesty,’ just Anna!” said the younger queen kindly. “And that is one of many things that will never change.”

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“I’m here, what do you need?” Kristoff and Anna strike back at Harrison

By Rita, The Arendelle Guardian’s Economics Editor

ARENDELLE; RIO DE JANEIRO – Kristoff’s company Bjorgman (nicknamed the Princely House) has made its move against the merchant prince Will Harrison, entering into a series of bruising tussles for industry dominance across the globe. From soap and tobacco in Rio De Janeiro to wool and cotton on the Indian subcontinent, Kristoff has drawn first blood by throwing a wrench into the China trader’s plans for expansion in the British colony of Hong Kong.

The new offensive comes as Bjorgman’s stake in Skau-Krogh allows it greater manoeuvrability and reach into markets once untouched by Kristoff, in particular real estate and transport.

Harrison had attempted a hostile takeover of Matheson Properties, one of Hong Kong’s Scots-owned companies. Matheson Properties was one of the largest developers in the new British port, but suffered a run on its bank in Edinburgh by Harrison and was bankrupted.

At the last moment before Harrison stamped his chop on the promissory note confirming his purchase of Matheson, the enraged tai-pan of Matheson, who’d been in contact with Kristoff, declared his company open to bidding.

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EXCLUSIVE: Anna, Colisa, and Mari in new interview on politics, the world, and each other

By Kris Neumann, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian

In this exclusive interview, The Arendelle Guardian spoke to three sovereign leaders: Colisa the queen of Chatho, Princess Mari of Vesterland, and Her Majesty herself. In light of new developments concerning Russo-Arendellian relations and the expansion of Arendellian interests around the world, the Entente of Small Kingdoms is forming a coordinated front to protect each other’s interests. In this interview they gave a comprehensive picture of their alliance’s present situation, plans about their geopolitical strategy, and fond insights about how they see and relate to each other.

The Arendelle Guardian: Thank you, Your Majesties Anna and Colisa and Your Highness Mari, for sitting down with us in our printing press room by Arendelle’s beautiful dockside. Let’s start with the fallout from, if you’ll pardon the word, failure of Anna’s talks with Katina Romanov of Russia. What has been the response from Arendelle’s allies, and are there fears of tsarist aggression or reprisals?

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Anna’s Column: Be Fearless and Ready

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

By HM Queen Anna

I know this is a lot to take in, everyone. As of my penning this column and submitting it to The Arendelle Guardian’s editor, the kingdom is alight with fearful talk. From the local bakery and pub all the way to the government and my inner court, there’s a name whispered with fear and loathing: “Katina Romanov.”

Katina Romanov – princess of the Russian Empire, the true power manipulating her daddy, the tsar, behind the throne. Member of the Exalted. Commander of the Grand Dukes of Russia, three mighty generals that she’s tasked with the full-scale invasion of our kingdom.

As your servant-queen, I’ve sworn an oath to always be truthful and honest to my people. So this is the truth: Russia is mobilizing against us, but we have no way of knowing when. Katina will come to me when she’d ready. Therefore, I appeal to everyone in Arendelle not to fear, and to live life like we always do. However, I accept that these won’t be normal times, and to that end, I’ll be working extremely closely with Elsa, General Mattias, and Commander Hilde to prepare for that fateful day when Russia declares war on Arendelle.

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Destination: Arendelle, Light of the World

1840. Canton, the Celestial Empire. The fate of a small kingdom in Northern Europe will be influenced by titanic forces and personalities astride the globe. But this little kingdom will just as much influence those forces and people…

Peony Sinclair, the English-born ace agent of the Celestial Empire, was eating dinner in the spacious dining room of the British factory in the Canton Settlement. Her table could seat over thirty people and the silver was elegant Georgian. The crystal chandelier hanging above her was decked with gentle candles. There was a comfortable fireplace with a flame that lit the marble walls and floor. The dining room was on the second floor, with a stately balcony facing the Pearl River. Below this floor were several corridors’ worth of offices, warehouses, and storerooms. Above the dining room were the living quarters, partitioned from Peony’s private rooms. Throughout the length of the top floor were courtyards, walks, suites and dormitories.

Whenever she visited, Peony would often first speak to the ten or so European merchants living in the factory, then spend the rest of the day with the several dozen or so Portuguese clerks that lived and worked in the building. They knew much more about the exact numbers of products coming in and out of the factory. Chinese servants were employed to keep the whole show running.

In this neighbourhood, where foreigners were assigned to live by the Qing emperor, factories weren’t production plants, but residences and warehouses that served as bases for the business communities from beyond the Celestial Empire. Britain’s three-story mansion had been built by the East India Company forty years ago. Then, the formidable corporation lost its monopoly over the China trade, partly due to Peony’s lobbying of Britain’s parliament. Four years ago, she’d directed the government to procure it on behalf of a coalition of Scottish China traders.

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EXCLUSIVE: The Romanov Shadow Falls Over Arendelle

Amira’s fortnight-long incarceration didn’t particularly strain her endurance and tolerance of isolation. In her training sessions she’d meditate in caves and behind waterfalls for entire days, and she had spent the last couple of years largely alone, away from Yelena and the rest of the tribe. Still, it felt good to be released from her chains, to be able to stretch her legs properly as she followed Honeymaren from Arendelle Castle’s dungeon. She rubbed her wrists, shooting sideways glances at the new Home Minister’s Arendellian attire. “I’d say something about your fashion sense, but since I’m your guest and still-prisoner, I’ll bite my tongue,” she said. Of all the Northuldra, she respected Maren the most.

“It’s just to fit in,” replied Maren. “I promise you, Amira – I’ve been fighting for Northuldra’s interests here. There are better ways to get what we want for our land and tribe than fighting Arendellians.”

“You want political solutions,” said Amira, as they arrived at the tall door of the dining room. “I hope they’re going to be more than Anna doing symbolic gestures. I guess her appointment of you wasn’t a bad start.”

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