Featured image art “Redemptive chat” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle
After seeing how Hilde and Selene were doing during our dinner for Queen Anna and our returning travelers, I got to thinking about what our little castle has become to some very special folks.
I said to my niece, the Queen; “You know, Anna, this castle is not just our home, it feels like a safe haven for some once-hurting souls like Vi, Hilde, Tess, Danny, and now Selene. Just add some love and make them feel like family. Like they belong here as one of us.”
“I feel like our whole kingdom is like a found family, and I love it,” Anna replied.
“Oh yes! It shows when you’re amogst the people of Arendelle. The best little kingdom in the world!” I answered.
Anna then said: “I like to think that everyone would like to have us as their family! Teehee.”
“We’d fill up those little houses pretty fast with our crew!” I agreed, laughing generously.
This saying was so true when our travellers came back from Arendelle.
Queen Anna, Snow Queen Elsa, Kristoff, Sir Alan, Queen Colisa of Chatho, and Peony Sinclair returned safe and sound from the Celestial Empire of China, where they met with not only the mysterious Lord Aisin Gioro Yixin, but also with Lady Kam Chik-leoi, the very beautiful and intelligent comprador of the Princely House, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman.
She’s also the head of the Crocus and Lotus, the Arendelle-allied but illegal triad society (according to the British overlords in Hong Kong) that’s locked in ongoing turf warfare with Harrison’s criminal allies, the Floodgate gang.
When the Floodgate thugs attacked our party, Kam’s triad fighters were Johnny-on-the-spot to defend our friends from Wily Will Harrison’s hit squad.
But I digress. It’s time to greet our weary travelers!
Thursday morning came early as the call from the fjord guard posts reported Anna’s ship, Pride Of Elsa, approaching the harbor docks. I had gotten up and dressed to meet our returning royals. Our First Vampire and regent Vi, who’d been injured in the fight with Selene Severin, was doing better, but still needed more rest from her wounds. Princess Danny did a fine job of using her ice powers to help close up Vi’s wounds. She needed blood, so Tess Gaunt and myself donated some. Hilde and Tess stayed with Vi until she got more of her strength back.
Deep in the forest overlooking Arendelle, a werewolf lunged at a quiet librarian who was in possession of an ancient set of weapons.
“Just as the Mundilfaris were among the founding families of Arendelle, and like how the Von Altheims trace their ancestry to the Germanic tribes that brought about the fall of Rome…”
Selene Severin was utterly calm as a raging, howling Hilde sprinted at her, her growing trunks of arms outstretched. Her newly formed sword, a coalesced, combustible medley of energy that lit up the night forest and metal, crackled in her hand. “… I had to turn to an ancient heritage to be ready to counter your power, Hilde.”
Hilde smashed into Selene, hurling her into a tree and causing it to topple, felling several other neighbouring trees as Hilde pounced on the royal librarian. “How – dare – you!” roared Hilde through sharp teeth and her elongating mouth. Her voice was guttural. “You betrayed the royal house’s trust! You deceived my Lady! And now you hold her hostage?”
It was well into the early hours of the morning when Mattias, who slept in a set of comfortable pajamas, was awoken by one of his officers.
“General! General!” came the urgent voice, along with the speaker’s hurried knocking on his door. Mattias crawled out of his simple bed and opened the door, rubbing his eyes and revealing a much younger man in a dark green Arendellian military uniform. “Sergeant Chips, sir. Intelligence. Queen Anna’s Ravens.”
“Yeah, I know who you are. No problem. What’s going on?” asked Mattias sleepily. “Is everything alright?”
“Um, no, sir. I wouldn’t disturb your rest if I didn’t have urgent files to give you.” Chips grimaced, handing him several sheets of paper. “The regent, Countess Vi, and her lieutenant, Commander Hilde, are engaging the enemy in the forest just beyond our kingdom. Their lives are in peril. Trade minister Michael and Danny are headed there right now, to try and resolve the situation.”
Mattias’ warm brown eyes widened and his whole body tensed. “What? Vi and Hilde are in danger? If they’re harmed while Queen Anna’s away…” He blinked. “No. No, that’s not going to happen. Brief me on the situation, Chips. Who’s this enemy? we’ve been at peace since the armistice with Russia.”
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.
“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?”
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.”
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.
By Gudrun, Home Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
Hilde Von Altheim, the right hand woman of Countess Vi and a sub-commander in the Arendellian army (second only to General Mattias), has issued a public challenge in our paper to Vi’s harasser. Indicating confidence in the culprit’s identity, Hilde has also used her authority to declare the harasser a threat to Arendellian security – making it much easier for her to deploy more severe means to hunt down this person/s, including with army help.
Hilde is the scion of the Von Altheim clan, a Germano-Nordic noble family that’s as ancient as the Mundilfari clan. The two families’ political fortunes have been inseparable since the early centuries of the Holy Roman Empire, and each scion of the Von Altheims has served as the protector closest to the head of the Mundilfaris.
For the past few months, the First Vampire and prime minister has been subjected to an increasing vitriolic campaign of public humiliation and character slander. Despite suffering vandalism against her Grand House on the foothills of Arendelle, which has forced Vi to relocate to Arendelle Castle, she’s maintained a remarkably restrained silence on the series of hate mail she’s received and slanderous pamphlets circulating around. She’s stated that she no longer wishes to solve her problems with violence, attempting to ask herself what her queen, Anna, would do instead. “I am, after all, Anna’s regent until she returns from China,” she said.
By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle (@of_michel)
There’s been a lot happening with Queen Anna, who is currently in China with Snow Queen Elsa, Kristoff, and Queen Colisa of Chatho. They comprise the Exalted now, and they’re with one of the original members of this group, Peony Sinclair, to visit her commander, the Qing prince regent Yixin. Meanwhile, in Arendelle we have a stalker plaguing prime minister and First Vampire Viola Mundilfari, a case which myself and now Commander Hilde Von Altheim are working on together. Then, of course, there’s always the normal business of running Arendelle’s government.
As my friend Vi went to the drawing room, I went back to my study and office to review what myself and Vi had brainstormed on. As I reclined back on my desk chair, my eye caught sight of an object on my desk that made me stop and reflect a bit. It was a feather and not just any feather. It was one that belonged to Grand Duke Sora, the guardian angel of the royal family of Russia, the Romanovs. She was quite literally an angel, and this feather came from her wing.
She was such a gentle, loving soul, yet she could fire up like the sun and fight like all hellfire. I miss her a lot. I also miss Princess Katina Romanov. You say to me, “But how could you miss that angry warmonger?”
It was a quiet evening in Arendelle Castle, which now doubled as a temporary home for the kingdom’s most prominent countess and her retainers. In olden times it would have been crushing, humiliating, for Vi to be driven from her own residence of the Grand House on the foothills of Arendelle, and to seek shelter with the currently absent queen. But for the First Vampire, it was perhaps better this way: she cared a lot less about appearances now, and she was more interested in protecting those close to her, Tess and Hilde. There was nothing wrong with crashing at Anna’s, anyway: Her Majesty had made Vi, already the prime minister, effectively regent while Anna was in China.
So Vi, her werewolf guardian and general Hilde, and her human attendant Tess slowly got used to life in Arendelle Castle, with Vi even moving some of her Mundilfari paraphernalia into the home of the royal family – something that would have been quite unthinkable during Agnarr’s or Elsa’s reigns. The Mundilfaris, influential as they were over Arendellian affairs, were feared, and their dark association with black magic and the demon Mephistopheles forever tainted their name despite their standing among the Scandinavian nobility.