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.

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Michael’s Musings: A Day Out with the Queen

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle (@of_michel)

If there’s one thing to say about my niece, Queen Anna, you know that she is a real firecracker full of energy and positivity! Only our friend Tileke’s energy seems close to “out-Anna-ing” Anna! I watched as those two fireballs shopped in the square. It made me tired just watching them! But even the brightest firecracker can burn out. I got concerned about Anna one evening when I had Kristoff over for dinner at the famous Lonely Reindeer restaurant. As we talked over important business, the subject of Anna came up.

“You need to see this, Uncle.” Kristoff said as he handed me Queen Anna’s schedule. Kristoff looked positively nervous as I read the sheet with horror. Kristoff said that as of this moment, well after ten in the evening, she was still holed up in her study. “Yeah,” he said, shrugging his shoulders as I shook my head in incredulity. As the queen’s fiancé, he would have been the first to admonish Anna for such a ridiculous timetable, but here it is before you.

*~ WEDNESDAY, FOURTEENTH OF APRIL, 1844 ~*

5:30am – 6:30am: Get up; morning routine

7:00am: Breakfast with Kristoff; daily papers

7:30am – 9:00am: Talk to Honeymaren about latest developments in Northuldra

10:00am – 12:00pm: Policy discussion with Vi and Elsa

12:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch with Mattias; visit military garrison

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Dockside visit, ribbon-cutting for several new shops

3:30pm – 5:00pm: Break and afternoon tea with Elsa at home

5:00pm – 6:00pm: Kingdom Hall opera and social with Vi and Luna

6:15 – 8:30: Dinner at Arendelle Castle with inner court

9:00pm – 10:30pm: Games night with Olaf and Sven

10:00pm – 11:00pm: Bedtime for Kristoff, bring him hot chocolate

11:30pm – 12:00am: Supper and inner court discussion with Elsa

12:30am – 2:30am: Work alone in study

3:00am – 4:00am: Early morning bath and get ready for bed

4:30am: Bedtime

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Arendelle and the Qing: Threads of Agnarr and Iduna’s Past

Featured image art by chō/chou (@smolmushroomm)

1838. One year before the deaths of King Agnarr and Queen Iduna

It was the first time the royal couple had ever sailed to the East, to see the ruler that had assisted Arendelle’s rise to first-class prosperity and wealth. Already, the early modern world was becoming more interconnected. The crown prince of the Qing had sensed Arendelle’s special destiny while Elsa was still growing inside the belly of the queen, Iduna. The night Elsa was born, Yixin, who puppeteered the Chinese emperor, declared that Arendelle was to be China’s “Most Favoured Nation.”

With that title came four generous trading privileges that allowed Arendelle’s traders to trade freely with the Great Qing, no questions asked. Arendelle got a better deal than the Dutch, the Portuguese, or the Russians could ever dream of. Elsa and Anna’s early years saw their home’s greatest economic expansion since 1731, the year the Arendellian East India Company first travelled to Canton to buy silk and porcelain.

It had taken Agnarr and Iduna several months of travel aboard their ship, first reaching round the North Sea and past the English Channel, then around Western Europe and along the coast of the great African continent, before swinging back up and weaving through the subtropical archipelagos and making for Canton in Southern China. They finally reached the port, whereupon they disembarked and were received by the hoppo, a stout, well-fed mandarin who prepared them for the trip inland, towards the Forbidden City in Peking.

When they arrived at the emperor’s residence, which was larger than the entire kingdom of Arendelle, they were received by the Celestial Empire’s elite imperial guard: the bannermen, who carried lances with the flag of the imperial dragon, muskets, and longbows and quivers bristling with arrows.

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The Arendelle Assignment: Elsa and Anna’s Legacy

Featured image from https://i.redd.it/lulxpidgb8b51.jpg

1836

“How dare that foreign girl run around the Forbidden City like she owns the place!”

“She shouldn’t even be allowed to look upon the prince regent’s face. Yet she sees him almost every month!”

“Does she have some kind of black spell over him? Do they have bewitching magic in England?”

From the consorts and concubines to the eunuchs and princes, murmurs swirled in the imperial clan about the young Englishwoman with a Chinese name. From a wide-eyed five-year-old to a beautiful young lady, over the years Peony Sinclair had grown into a diplomat equally comfortable in the court of the Qing and among the governments of Europe.

Some of the rumours against Peony were malicious; others were genuinely concerned about her safety. Court politics in China was complex and fatal. There were midnight conspiracies and backstabbing between scholar-officials, eunuchs, the harem, and the military. To courtly rivals, it was bad enough that Peony had her own room in the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the quarters of the imperial family. When she was just five, Yixin hired Genoese designers to renovate her small room into a European-style bedchamber to make her feel more at home. For her bedside, he imported an Italian clock that the late Qianlong Emperor loved. This was unprecedented, beyond any court member’s wildest fantasies.

The jealousy aimed at Peony, a no-name, bastard foreigner who wasn’t even of royal blood in her home country, was intense and unreal.

But this place was her home. She knew nowhere else.

Continue reading “The Arendelle Assignment: Elsa and Anna’s Legacy”

Michael’s Musings: A Special Thought

As I was writing a quick note to my Snow Queen niece, Elsa, the memory of what happened after Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, Sven, and Elsa came back from Northuldra and Ahtohallan popped into my mind. It was the first time I laid my eyes on Elsa up close after her amazing transformation during their trip to find the truth about why the spirits had caused the chaos in Arendelle, as well as the source and reason for Elsa’s powers. 

After Elsa and the Nokk stopped the flood wave caused by Anna and the Earth Spirit’s destruction of King Runeard’s dam in Northuldra, we all had cheered Elsa and her new friend. Once they left, we all returned to our homes, while Kai, Gerda, Olina, and the guards and staff returned to Arendelle Castle. As I mentioned before, Elsa came with them. So here’s what I truly remember.

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Letting It Go

Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle

My last article covered my first visit to Northuldra. It was a pleasant visit as I not only met Lady Maren and met the Northuldrans’ leader, Yelena, I also got to meet my Snow Queen niece, Elsa, as she is doing wonderfully now living amongst the Northuldrans and closer to Ahtohallan. A great dinner of freshly caught salmon, cooked over an open fire, along with some time with Elsa, under the starry Northuldran skies with tea, conversation and quietly looking at the stars and listening to the enchanted forest at night – it was a wonderful time!

For the most part. 

Elsa, Yelena, Honeymaren and myself had just concluded talks that morning over the routes and agreements so that Northuldra could receive and ship out cargo to their destinations. Maren and Elsa asked the earth giants to realign the road leading from Arendelle to allow freight wagons to pass through and into Northuldra. 

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The Authorised Royal Biography: A Traumatic Childhood

Conceal it, don’t feel it. Don’t let it show. For the rest of her childhood, those were the only words Elsa knew. On the night of the accident, Elsa and her parents learned that her powers were directly tied to her emotions. Agnarr was certain that if Elsa could learn to master her emotions she could master her powers. There is a logic behind this line of thinking, yet magic and emotion are never bound to logic. Agnarr suggested gloves to dampen Elsa’s powers. They helped Elsa early on and they became a source of comfort and security for her. Elsa rarely saw anyone besides her parents or her infrequent tutors. She was practically a ghost to everyone, including Anna. Despite her best efforts, Elsa never felt comfortable with herself or her powers.

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Letters to the Editor

Okay, what the f*** is the Mundilfaris’ problem? These guys are absolute jerks, Runeard loyalists to boot. They are stuck believing in an old regime, wake the **** up. Runeard is gone, Anna is the Queen, those old ideologies do not work anymore! And furthermore, the disrespect and toxicity coming from these idiots is immense! They want to destroy Northuldra, drive them out of their home. I hope the Mundilfaris ****ing realize pretty quickly that the spirits would destroy them if they messed with the forest. Also, Northuldra and Arendelle will forever be linked, you can’t break that bond, just like how you can’t break the bond between Elsa and Anna.

Which brings up another point, how dare the Mundilfaris disrespect the sisters!! Seriously, these idiots have called the sisters, and I quote, “Northuldran blood-caskets”, on multiple occasions. They once told King Agnarr to divorce Queen Iduna right in front of the sisters when they were younger. Are you ****ing ***ing me? You don’t ****ing do that!! My word, I mean, come on!

Seriously, the fact that the Snow Herald is still even alive and what not is ridiculous with what the Mundilfaris have done, and you wanna know something? I bet they have something to do with the recent short-selling of Bjorgman House bonds. These ***holes want to sabotage Arendelle itself and reestablish an old regime that does not ****ing work at all. Not in this day and age. So, with all that in mind, the Mundulfari can **** off. They are traitors, deviants, and an absolute disgrace to the sisters and the kingdom. – Sir Alan, member of the Order of the Wheat Stalk

Madam, I met the patriarch of the Mundilfari clan many years ago, at the evening ball of Queen Emerita Elsa’s coronation. I also wish to echo Sir Alan’s suspicion that the Mundilfaris might be at least one of the parties behind the run on Bjorgman House stock. Even their stockbrokers and servants acknowledge their… deep-rooted animus against anything to do with our royal family. I suggest that the government summon their patriarch to help investigate this corporate assault on the Princely House. – Gregory, vice-president of the Bank of Arendelle

Elsa and Anna are the lights of Arendelle. But as the old sages have always said, the darkness will always try to reach out and extinguish the light, especially when it shines stronger than ever. Beware the enemy within. Beware the standard-bearers of the Old Ways. – Yelena of Northuldra, tribal chieftain

The Authorised Royal Biography: Mystic Beginnings

Little was known among neighbours about the mysterious traveller called Seeker, who had some time ago purchased a pleasant house on the hillside some distance from the port of Arendelle. One can’t blame them for erupting into excited gossip when a messenger from the palace knocked on his door, announcing his induction into Queen Anna’s Order of the Wheat Stalk – the highest honour given to a citizen of Arendelle and Anna’s personal chivalric order.

When pressed by the curious neighbours for an explanation, the messenger said that Seeker had landed a position of great trust, even vulnerability, from the perspective of the monarchy: to write an authorised biography about Anna’s sister and regal predecessor, Elsa. 

“The truth is the truth. Our parents violated Anna’s and my dignity. Sooner or later, we’ll have to face that alongside our very real longing for the same people. Yet there is great power in forgiveness, and I believe that if Anna and I can truly let go and forgive everything that happened, we’ll truly have conquered the palace’s darkness.” – Elsa

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North Wind Haunting

The Arendelle Guardian offices. Near the docksides and Plaza

“It’s around here somewhere,” I growled.

I was on my knees, rummaging through slightly mouldy boxes of old files. Some of them contained past editions of my newspaper and Sunday magazine. Others had snippets of interviews, information and communication from my sources, and documents from the paper’s early days. That was shortly after I’d sailed into Arendelle for the first time twenty years ago, using all my savings to buy the top floor of this warehouse, transforming it into a respectable headquarters for my reporters and editors.

Then I remembered. It was probably in the safe.

I stood up and scrambled over upturned boxes and file binders to the hanging painting on my wall, beside my bookshelves and to the side of my windows overlooking Arendelle’s harbour. The painting was of the Northuldran steppe, drawn by Elsa and given to me after she discovered her true self as the Fifth Spirit. Her already considerable painting talent had improved even further. I grabbed the edges of the painting and lifted it, carefully placing it on the floor. Affixed inside the wall was a shelf with a miniature wooden door on hinges. I reached into my coat pocket and inserted a rusty key into the lock, twisting and opening it. The compartment housed a nondescript iron safe within, of spartan design and many years old.

I took a deep breath, staring at the repository that concealed everything from my past, like certificates for secret holdings, several passports, and legal documents from other kingdoms. I had chosen to leave behind many of these reminders of my old life when I became a citizen here. In any case, the safe had much more sensitive items, of which knowledge about could shake the very foundations of Arendelle: genealogies from the Viking Age, documentation of secret relationships and bastard children of Arendelle’s nobility, and even a “kill list” of the royal family’s most hated adversaries, compiled by Runeard and Agnarr themselves.

If information is power, then I had managed to make The Arendelle Guardian a formidable power broker in this kingdom over twenty-something years.

There was one particular piece of paper I was looking for. I had one more key, which was for the safe. I inserted it into the keyhole and turned –

“Chief, Her Majesty’s here,” came my copy boy’s voice.

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