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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ARSON ON ARENDELLIAN PROPERTY: Kristoff’s ice branch in Hong Kong destroyed by fire

By Gudrun, World Affairs Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

HONG KONG; ARENDELLE – In a mysterious disaster for Kristoff’s ice subsidiary, Bjorgman’s Asian branch in the colonial port of Hong Kong was burned to the ground in the middle of the night several days ago. The suspects remain unknown and at large.

The British authorities, with local Chinese community leaders, have decried foul play, but no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility.

The Celestial Empire is one of the largest markets for Kristoff’s business, where quality ice is popular among wealthy Chinese and non-Chinese merchants and British governing officials. Ice is also in demand by hospitals and other strongholds of science and medicine. So important is ice to the Hong Kong elite that the colonial authorities founded Ice House Street, a one-way street for companies in the ice trade to set up shop, including Kristoff’s.

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Queen Anna’s Birthday Message

By HM Queen Anna

To all of Arendelle: thank you so much for your many birthday wishes, which have filled the palace’s letterbox to the brim of bursting!

Thank you for sending so many kind letters about me to the Big Three newspapers, especially this one. In my column for today, 21 June, the Chief has let me just kick back today and bludge – uh, I mean, write some personal reflections about my reign so far.

I’ve been your servant-for-all for just over six months now, and they have marked the most eventful, exciting, and nerve-wracking months of my life. Governance is no joke, and I’ve been tested like never before. Let’s revisit a bit of what’s happened so far, shall we?

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Chapter Three: A Pact with the Devil

Featured banner art by Angie @ Naruto Fanzine (@AngieLaurasArt)

Part of the Arendelle: Occult spinoff series

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To Her Majesty Queen Anna of Arendelle,

We have watched with horror as your own subject, Countess Viola Mundilfari, amassed her own private army and directed her general, Commander Hilde, to raze the Southern Isles in apparent revenge for a clandestine circle of aristocrats that were trying to seize the Arendellian Crown. The seizure of your throne would have resulted in a well-connected power base for these nobles, who would then have surely turned rogue against the very monarchs they owed loyalty to.

Among this self-proclaimed Conclave was Prince Hans, whom you and Viola are most well-acquainted with. While he deserves all your contempt, Hilde Von Altheim’s razing of his country has sent ripples of fear through countries that once would have looked to Arendelle as a friend or ally. This is surely detrimental to your stated goal of building a grand alliance and resisting predations by imperial powers.

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Northuldra Nights with Maren: Nahir al-Adil – From Persia to Northuldra

By Lady Maren, Head Liaison of Northuldra-Arendelle Relations

Like Anna, I’ve been stunned by the power wielded by those that seek to manipulate her throne. A while ago I fought Countess Viola on board Muspelheim (I look forward to our rematch one day, by the way). It’s no surprise why this newspaper and even a commercial rival, The Fjord Times, have gone after Viola for pretty much running a “shadow state,” complete with a private army, loyal to her aristocratic family and its cause rather than that of the monarchy and the state. Are we in still in feudal times?

I suppose that’s the royal conundrum Anna inherited from her predecessors: so long has Clan Mundilfari puppeteered Arendellian politics and life, Anna has had to work doubly hard to uproot this centuries-old influence. Yet moving behind the scenes, lobbying, negotiating, and power-broking – these activities, I’ve learned quickly, aren’t always bad things. In fact, they might sometimes be the only way things can get done around here. I like to think of myself as a straightforward and frank person, but given the situation in my homeland of Northuldra, we’ll need to do lots of negotiating.

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Fjord Times Exclusive: Interview with a British Delegate in Arendelle

It’s a wonderful morning, but I can’t enjoy it. After months of covering international stocks, I’m on my first real interview. 

The Persian is tall, impeccably dressed and with brilliant olive skin. I find him overseeing the bustling docks like a man planning on buying it all. His face lights up, though his handshake is measured. I squeeze his hand. The flesh is like stone. 

He immediately gets to talking. He’s magnetic, making his business theories sound as sacred as creeds. The accent is Queen’s English, but he clearly and accurately pronounces foreign words as most Englishmen cannot.

My purpose here seems simple – to whittle away some of the mysterious visitor’s mystery.

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Elsa’s Guest Column: Pax Arendellia

By Elsa

The Snow Queen’s column in today’s morning edition is about Anna’s recent state ball for Queen Victoria in the castle’s Great Hall. Elsa’s op-eds are published whenever she visits The AG’s newsroom.

Quite a night, wouldn’t you say?

It certainly brought back memories for me. Especially memories of coronation night, the first ball I held in my name. I still remember how the new role of queen was slowly crushing me inside, especially when the memories of Mother and Father’s deaths were so fresh.

Last night was different.

As I watched Anna greet our many guests, I was so proud of how she was able to make small talk, flatter, fish, and perform all the kinds of social lubrication that a charismatic and networked monarch must do. The Great Hall of the castle was fitted sumptuously in dark green, black, and purple to match the occasion. British and Arendellian flags welcomed our kingdom’s power blocks. There was General Mattias and his military friends, mingling with Kristoff and the executive directors of Bjorgman House. “Chief,” Anna’s and my editor, was speaking quietly to her rival press barons, the owners of the Fjord Times and the Snow Herald. Ministers and jarls from our grandfather’s era (the faction responsible for many of Anna’s headaches) and the Bishop who crowned me queen were huddled in their own corner. Lord Palmerston, Victoria’s foreign secretary, was talking animatedly with the Duke of Weselton, who had grown considerably more mellow toward Anna and me over the years.

And, of course, at the centre of it all: our guest of honour, the resplendently garbed British monarch herself, who Anna and I entertained for much of the night.

All of Arendellian high society was here, princely warlords of their diverse fiefdoms, in all their Viking ambition and greed, to pay homage to my little sister and her “friendly rival,” Queen Victoria.

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From the Editor’s Desk: Watch These Women

As I share this editorial with you, I’m sure that you know we are on the verge of the grand state ball thrown by Her Majesty in honour of Queen Victoria, who at this very moment is being shown around the kingdom and will later travel to the North Mountain with Anna.

Dear reader, If you’re in Arendelle at the moment, I’d encourage you to stop by the docksides. Royal consort Kristoff is steering an impressive fête showcasing the best of Arendellian produce like salmon and herbs, as well as our country’s burgeoning heavy industry, like tracks and steel for our railroads. Victoria’s aides have tactfully chosen to showcase less of the East India Company’s wares, and more from purveyors of Anna’s favourite things: chocolate, candy, and other delectable delights sourced across the British Isles and across their vast empire.

I’m sure Anna is biting her tongue at times, given her anti-colonial instincts, but for now, Arendelle’s rise on to the world stage is being facilitated nicely by Victoria. I was one of the first to teach Anna that the road to power is a negotiated one, full of compromises and second choices. Continue reading “From the Editor’s Desk: Watch These Women”

Queen Anna, Shaper of History

It was raining lightly.

I didn’t bother with an umbrella. I hurried towards Arendelle Castle’s courtyard. Shrouded in darkness, with only the lamps to provide light, the guards saw me and quickly stood aside. I rushed into the plaza and headed straight for the main door, where an attendant awaited. I allowed him to take my damp coat, thanking him quickly. I strode to the dining room, my high-heeled boots tapping lightly through the carpeted corridors of the palace. I walked into the high-ceilinged room, where Her Majesty and Kristoff were standing by the fireplace silently. Kristoff’s arm was around Anna’s, and when I stepped forward, he looked at me and moved back, releasing his wife.

“Evening, Your Majesty. How are you, Kristoff?” I said grimly, unconsciously running a hand through my damp hair. I shared a brief nod with the royal consort. Kristoff and I both had an interest in watching over Anna, and he was a partial stockholder of The Arendelle Guardian.

Still in her pink nightgown, her red hair draping down her shoulders, Anna slowly turned to me, her eyes tired. “You’re not usually late, chief,” she said, addressing me by the joke title given to me by my junior journalists. She didn’t wait for my reply before turning back to watch the crackling fire and burning wood.

“I was dining at the Nokk Club with the editors of the other papers,” I replied, although I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to explain myself. She knew where my regular haunt was. Perhaps it was because the queen seemed unusually exhausted and drained.

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Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the British Foreign Secretary

By HM Queen Anna

Her Majesty’s column is published exclusively by The AG. This piece was reprinted from our last morning edition.  

Well, after many days of Viscount Palmerston long overstaying his welcome at the palace, I’m pleased to tell you that I signed with him a concordat.

There will be no war with the British Empire, and nor will either country be seen to be the loser. I successfully convinced him to make an example of the East India Company for their attack on our Bjorgman House ships – it was quite a gamble! I’m still new to this diplomacy thing, but what I needed to do was convince him that Arendelle and Britain have no reason to go to war, but every reason to punish the EIC.

I was armed with plenty of news reports, many of them supplied by journalists employed at this very paper, of the EIC’s corruption, greed, and venality in the princely states of India – that they were brutalizing the local population, sucking up British government subsidies, and paying little to no taxes to the state coffers. Honestly, I don’t think the British foreign secretary cared a jot about the first matter, but the other two, very much so.

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