Women of Might and Magic: The Secret Pact

Featured image “All we survey,” by PURY (@puryartist)

BREAKING: Arendelle and Russia square up for final confrontation

By Jorgensen, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE – With the defeat of Nykras by a combined force of Northuldra and Arendellians, including the former queen-turned-Snow Queen Elsa, the final battle between Anna and Katina approaches. This confrontation will decide whether Arendelle and the rest of Scandinavia becomes a province of Russia, greatly strengthening Russia’s claim to the whole of Europe, or if Arendelle, a much smaller power, repulses Russia a second time, heralding an era of decline for the Romanov empire.

Nykras was Russia’s second Grand Duke. He overlaid his nether world onto Northuldra, inflicting heavy losses on the tribespeople. He also sealed away the three spirits of Bruni, Gale, and the Earth Giants, before nearly succeeding in traversing the Dark Sea to Ahtohallan. Honeymaren, Amira, Elsa, and the Nokk were eventually able to slay Nykras. But Elsa and Yelena were severely injured, and Arendelle is on high alert with its former queen convalescing with her successor by her bedside.

Foiled from establishing a base in Northuldra for any future land army, Katina’s position looks increasingly tenuous. Nevertheless, she plans to unleash her final and most powerful Grand Duke, the Romanovs’ guardian angel Sora, against Arendelle. Ottoman leader Tileke’s reinforcements have bought Arendelle precious time, but Elsa’s weakened condition could not have come at a worse juncture.

Continue reading “Women of Might and Magic: The Secret Pact”

Preparation: The War Through an Arendellian’s Eyes

By Alan Nadeau III

The Russo-Arendellian War has left a mark on Arendellians from all walks of life. For those in Anna’s inner circle, the impact has been felt especially hard. The burden of the kingdom’s leadership is to shoulder the losses and casualties inflicted by a foreign power. Alan Nadeau III, one of Anna’s most trusted knights and a member of her chivalric order of the Wheat Stalk, has found himself at the heart of Anna’s battles with Russia’s Grand Dukes. As he reflects on his moments of glory as well as shocking defeat, he ponders on how far Arendelle has come, and how much danger lies ahead.

*

I was back home in Arendelle, following my joining Honeymaren and Amira in battle against Nykras. I’d suffered a couple of minor injuries but nothing severe, although my sword had shattered yet again, dealing a blow to my pride as well. But I had bigger concerns.

I’d gone downstairs to the drawing room see Queen Anna, Michael, and the others. Recently, the love of my life, Queen Emerita and Fifth Spirit Elsa, had headed up to the Dark Sea’s shores to stop the Grand Duke’s advance to Ahtohallan. I’d been worried sick and in an earlier phase of my battle alongside Maren, I remembered seeing that damn lich send three of the other four spirits into what he called a “nether realm.” It was like something out of some fantastic storybook, and it angered me to no end. Why are such beings of power so often horrible, awful individuals? I wanted to give chase, to fight him, but Maren and Amira talked me out of it. Good thing they did. I needed to get back to the homeland and prepare for Sora and Katina’s arrival. Everyone would be needed.

Continue reading “Preparation: The War Through an Arendellian’s Eyes”

Anna’s Column: How can I stay the same monarch?

“Snowstorm,” by PURY (@puryartist)

EXCLUSIVE: Elsa hovers between life and death as Katina declares final stage of her invasion

By Evangeline, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian

After a fortnight’s worth of careful logistical arrangements, the nearly broken body of the Snow Queen, Arendelle’s former monarch, was delivered grimly to the palace and instantly attended to by Anna and her friends. Elsa nearly fell in battle against the undead lich Nykras, who was dispatched in an ingenious maneuver by the Fifth Spirit.

The Battle of Northuldra has concluded with a major victory for Northuldra’s people and the elemental guardians. It’s come at a high price, however: a badly wounded Yelena is being attended to by Ryder and Amira, while a grief-stricken Honeymaren has had to personally accompany Elsa to receive treatment alongside Commander Hilde, who’s still recovering from her battle with Yaraslaf. While Elsa is projected to recover more quickly than Hilde, she won’t be in full strength for the final battle, which will be led by the Romanovs’ guardian angel Sora.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: How can I stay the same monarch?”

Anna and Tileke: Arendelle strengthens defences with Ottomans as war up north rages

Featured image “She was a punk,” by PURY (@puryartist)

Anna stood alongside General Mattias as the Ottoman warship, a European-style brigade clipper with sail masts decked in red and white, the national colours of the Sublime State, anchored in the harbour. The hull of Flagship Crescent towered over the queen and the general as businessmen, journalists, and several veterans stood behind them. Just a few moments ago, the Arendellian ships, Pride of Elsa and Nobility, had fired off nineteen rounds of cannonballs short of reaching Crescent, a salutation that indicated a new chapter of military cooperation between the Kingdom of Arendelle and the Ottoman Empire. Anna felt a surge of anticipation as she waited for Tileke to disembark. Gulls squawked over the gathered assembly’s heads, the morning sea breeze cool and comfortable.

“So this is it,” murmured Anna to Mattias. “After losing so many lives to Yaraslaf while defending the fjord, we finally have reinforcements.”

“Tikeke’s position is that her Mansure troops are here to defend Arendelle, in case Northuldra falls,” pointed out Mattias. “Honeymaren and Amira’s tribespeople are fighting for the forest’s life alongside the spirits. If they’re beaten, there’s no stopping Nykras, or Sora, from making a final push against us here.”

“We have Elsa for that eventuality,” said Anna sourly, “as she likes to remind me.” She bit her lip, mindful that Elsa had left Arendelle for Northuldra, much to her displeasure.

Continue reading “Anna and Tileke: Arendelle strengthens defences with Ottomans as war up north rages”

Arendelle celebrates as Ottoman forces OBLITERATE Russia’s military reserves

By Erik, European Bureau Chief for The Arendelle Guardian

Arendelle’s beleaguered queen is in good spirits after the reserve forces of Katina Romanov were ambushed and annihilated by the Ottomans’ modernized Mansure Army near the Black Sea. Over several thousand well-trained Russian soldiers (almost equal to the numbers deployed at the Battle of Arenfjord) were killed or captured over just several days. The elite force was led by Ottoman serasker (military commander) Tileke, a strategic prodigy who’s rumoured to be a ferocious warrior as well.

Russia has condemned the attack as a violation of the rules of war, since Husrev Pasha, Lord High Vizier, had not yet declared war on Katina before sending Tileke on her offensive. Russia maintains that its war against Arendelle is a legitimate one, having declared hostilities before making incursions on Arendellian soil.

Despite few major powers voicing public condemnations of Russia’s actions, the Romanovs’ outcry will find little sympathy: the bad blood between the Russians and the Ottomans was so intense that war was probably inevitable at some point.

Continue reading “Arendelle celebrates as Ottoman forces OBLITERATE Russia’s military reserves”

Anna’s Column: Being wracked with guilt is an awful thing

Featured image “Team Mundilfari,” by Arute (@ast05water)

The Battle of Arenfjord is over, but I’ve felt sick to my stomach for days on end. I’d known of Commander Hilde’s critical condition ever since the werewolf warrior was brought back to Arendelle Castle on a stretcher, her body nearly cleaved in half by Yaraslaf’s polearm. She didn’t even have time to be undressed and bathed; she needed the wounds tended to and for the bleeding to stop. The Grand Duke is dead and gone, beaten by Elsa at the last minute, and we can turn our attentions to Northuldra’s defence now. But I’ve felt… paralyzed.

Usually, I’d be the first to visit the wounded and infirm to provide comfort and encouragement, but with Hilde, I’ve been finding it strangely difficult. Maybe it’s because Hilde was under my direct command. Perhaps it was because I know how important she is to Vi, and that the Countess has stayed with her for nearly every waking hour.

Why haven’t I dropped by her room yet? Maybe because this is my first war. This is the first war fought under my stewardship of the kingdom. Any loss, even potential loss, is debilitating and heartbreaking to me. Get better soon, Hilde, and teach me to be as amazing a pugilist as you again. I’ll even go easy on you.

Ha. In my dreams.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: Being wracked with guilt is an awful thing”

BREAKING: Anna’s Alliance in Tatters as Vesterland SURRENDERS to the Russian Empire

Featured image “Katina, Sora, and Nykras,” by PURY (@puryartist)

By Mikail, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

MOSCOW; VESTERLAND – In a fresh blow to Anna’s struggle against Russia, Vesterland has surrendered to the Russian Empire after a surprise blockade of the kingdom’s main trade routes by imperial tsarist forces.

Our correspondent in Vesterland can reveal that Princess Mari is being held under house arrest in her own palace, with her father King Jonas forced to appoint a “liaison resident” approved by Katina Romanov. As a token of good faith for Russia, Vesterland must further suspend its supply routes of raw material to Arendelle, its main contribution to Anna’s war effort.

Most worrying to Anna’s commanders will be the fact that the “blockade” was accomplished, without a battle, by a single head sent by Katina: Grand Duke Sora.

Continue reading “BREAKING: Anna’s Alliance in Tatters as Vesterland SURRENDERS to the Russian Empire”

Arendelle DEFEATS Russia at Arenfjord; Expels Russian Prisoners

Featured image “War map,” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Mikael, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE – After a grueling and bloody battle that lasted for an entire day, the Arendellian army repelled an attempt by Russia’s Baltic Fleet to seize an island off the fjord of Arendelle (nicknamed Sudden Death).

Should the Russians have seized Sudden Death, Arendelle’s harbour would have been in the direct sights of the Russian navy’s cannons. At great cost, the Arendellians’ strategy of keeping the Russians off the islet worked, with Muspelheim, Countess Vi’s iron-clad warship, striking the Baltic Fleet in a pincer attack that ended with the destruction of Poseidon and the sinking of Charybdis and Scylla. Of the thousands of Imperial Russian troops that stormed the island, only about two hundred survived and have been taken prisoner by General Mattias. Anna has promised to display clemency, and will settle for expelling them from Arendelle. The Russians also lost their admiral, Grand Duke Yaraslaf, who was one of the most terrifying figures of the invasion force.

However, there is little mood in Arendelle to celebrate.

Continue reading “Arendelle DEFEATS Russia at Arenfjord; Expels Russian Prisoners”

The Battle of Arenfjord, Part Three

Warning: Violent depictions

Featured image “Baltic Brawl,” by Arute (@ast05water)

The cries and screams in the distance had quietened down slightly, with cannonfire between Muspelheim and the Baltic Fleet still shaking the palace. But it was the late afternoon, and Anna knew that both the Russian and Arendellian troops were surely exhausted. She crossed her arms as she stared out the window, to her study, biting her lip as the afternoon sun bathed her in red light.

Elsa was on her mind, and sure enough, Elsa walked into her study. “The door was open. I wanted to talk to you,” came the Snow Queen’s gentle voice.

Anna didn’t look back. Elsa glided across the study and moved closer to Anna, who avoided her gaze. “It’s time.” The queen of Arendelle remained silent, but her predecessor pressed on. “Now it’s time for you to send me out there.”

Continue reading “The Battle of Arenfjord, Part Three”

The Battle of Arenfjord, Part Two

Warning: Violent depictions

Featured image “Baltic Brawl,” by Arute (@ast05water)

The sun had risen magnificently over the fjord, the rays of light touching and warming the wharf. But even though she was standing by the docks on her usual morning walk, Anna wasn’t mindful of the beauty today. For in the distance she could hear the booming rumble of cannons, the cries of Russian and Arendellian soldiers, and somewhere in that tumultuous struggle for Sudden Death, the island across from Arenfjord, Mattias was there with Hilde, holding off Yaraslaf. Elsa was keeping Danny company, while Sven and Olaf were accompanying the citizens evacuating to Keep Mundilfari. Uncle Michael and Alan were acting custodians of the palace while Anna focused on the war. That left only…

“Hey.” Anna turned her head at Kristoff’s voice. “Thought you’d be here.” The tai-pan of the Princely House was in his beige casual ensemble, and his brown eyes were kind as he observed the exhausted face of his queen and future wife. “Babe, you need rest. More than any of us,” he urged. “Mattias and Hilde have got this down. You can get some shut-eye for a few hours, at least.”

“Maybe you’re right. I’m glad you’re here, sweetie. I need a mountain man to lean on.” Anna took Kristoff’s oaken arm and rested her head against him. She breathed in his protective, masculine scent – fresh pinecones, mint, and the slight odor of reindeer fur.

“I want everyone in the kingdom to feel as safe with me as I do with you,” she whispered.

Continue reading “The Battle of Arenfjord, Part Two”