Trade and Finance: Kristoff joins Skau-Krogh as executive director; takes over subsidiary All Arendelle Tea

By Mikael, Business Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE: The queen’s fiancé and trusted commercial ally, Kristoff, is poised to save rival company Skau-Krogh from looming bankruptcy. In return, Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman (nicknamed the Princely House, a sarcastic reference to his commoner origins and engagement to Anna) will take over All Arendelle Tea, Skau-Krogh’s subsidiary, with Kristoff enjoying a considerable ten per cent stake in his old rival.

The agreement is humiliating but necessary for Skau-Krogh’s tai-pan, Lars Krogh, who had made his firm the willing pawn of the American merchant prince Will Harrison in a corporate war with Bjorgman across multiple industries. From silks and tea to ice and real estate, Skau-Krogh had tried to drive Bjorgman out of business with Harrison’s superior finances. It also obtained a private fleet, courtesy of Harrison, attacking Anna’s allies of Weselton and Chatho. Bjorgman had struggled to keep up with Skau-Krogh, but a twist of fate involving Harrison’s capture of Mari, the princess of Vesterland, and the Duke of Weselton, allowed Harrison to wrench his coveted prize of two lucrative trading privileges in the China trade from our queen. With the Treaty of Weselton granting him these terms, Harrison released Mari and the Duke and ceased to be Skau-Krogh’s backer, leaving Lars deeply in debt with assets he couldn’t pay off, from empty warehouses and docks to uncultivated tea plantations.

Kristoff’s new role as a political influencer on top of his role as top dog of Bjorgman heralds a new plank of Anna’s new strategy, which aims to make Arendelle’s trading houses a key ally in her foreign policy. While detractors in the business paper of the Fjord Times and the Arendellian Commerce Chamber are wary about any return to state-sponsored mercantilism, the shocking ease with which the powerful Harrison manipulated a domestic trade war for his personal gain has united the kingdom’s parliament behind Anna’s new approach.

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SHOW YOURSELF: Queen Anna condemns Skau-Krogh, accuses Harrison of economic imperialism against Arendelle

By Gottfried, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE – The queen has publicly condemned the powerful Will Harrison, outing him as a member of a secretive cabal of influential rulers called the Exalted. Anna issued a defiant response to what her government sees as Harrison’s attempt to hold the Arendellian economy hostage.

Rather than speaking to the Great Assembly or from her throne room, the queen made her thoughts known to the public in the plaza, accompanied by a talkative Olaf. Typical of Anna’s egalitarian and common style, she arrived in the square with no escort except for Olaf and asked the people present to lend her their ears. Yours truly was sent to the plaza directly from our newsroom by Chief, and journalists from the Snow Herald and Fjord Times barely arrived in time as well.

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Gunboat Diplomacy: Skau-Krogh Attacks Weselton

The shores of the Duchy of Weselton were always covered in a thick fog, especially in the early hours of the morning. Usually the watchguard patrolling the fortifications of the coast would wait for the first rays of dawn’s light to penetrate the mist, before greeting the beautiful rising sun with a breakfast of bread, fruit, and tea atop their forts.

There wasn’t much to do here. Every ship that passed through this coastal border was either a trade delegation, civilian tourist ship, or diplomatic vessel. Day after day, the soldiers’ rifles would be idly lined up against the walls of the forts as they patrolled away the mornings and afternoons. When evening came, they’d return to their barracks to dine heartily, play cards, and even go for a dip in the waters. The seaside wasn’t a bad posting for a soldier with little appetite for real battle.

That would change today.

It wasn’t even six o’clock. There were disturbed, panicked mutters and arguments between the troops on the highest points of the Weselton defences as the mists began to part, sliced aside by the smooth hulls of powerful, stately war clippers. The coastal guard shot several warning fires into the sky.

“Stop and prepare to be boarded for inspection!” he barked, but the ships ignored him. “Oi! OI!”

The troops, sensing something was wrong, joined in the shouting, and a flag of final warning – red – was raised. But the ships continued sailing towards them.

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Peony Sinclair’s Global Chessboard

The Kingdom of Chatho

The English clipper glided into the dockyards of Chatho’s capital, quietly anchoring next to the flagship of its monarch, Colisa. The queen, decked in her royal robes and golden hat, was about to step onto the plank of her ship when someone else stepped off the plank of the English arrival. The newcomer was impeccably elegant, in a form-hugging, British equestrian outfit: a smart, dark blue riding jacket, pristine white shirt with frilled collar, tight pants, and riding boots. Her blonde locks were cut to her shoulders, and her blue eyes were sharp and confident. She looked like she’d just stepped out of one of the British peerage’s riding clubs.

Colisa felt a surge of nervousness. She raised her hands and bowed at the waist. “Miss Peony Sinclair, emissary of Lord Yixin. For you to grace me with your presence must mean His Imperial Highness has eyes on me. I hope he’s satisfied with the tribute that I’ve sent him each year?”

“Forget the tribute. Our emperor’s demand for shiny gifts is just to massage his insufferable ego. Our prince regent, who really runs the show in China, couldn’t care less about that.” The Englishwoman took Colisa’s hands. “What’s it going to take for you to see me as a friend, instead of some terrifying visitation?” she joked, as they gazed at each other. “Am I that ugly? You were always admired around the world for your beauty, Your Majesty. Count me as one of your adorers.”

“You’re gorgeous, Miss Sinclair – incomparably so,” said Colisa apologetically, “and forgive me for behaving so uptight. But most monarchs and statesmen know that wherever you go, Lord Yixin’s pleasure – or wrath – follows. The timing of your arrival must mean that he knows of my joining Anna’s alliance. In fact, I’m sure you’re here because you knew I was sailing for Arendelle today.”

“Guilty as charged. I have eyes everywhere.” Peony looked at Colisa’s ship. “I won’t keep you long. Is there somewhere quiet we can talk?”

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The Grand House of Mundilfari, Part One

Art by P A O L O V E N T U R I

Since the rough start to Countess Vi’s prime ministership, there had been barely a chance for the kingdom to breathe. Despite the shadow of Amira’s threat to carry out further attacks in Arendelle, the governing, business, and media classes had more or less rallied around the queen, placing their trust in Honeymaren to deal with Amira now that they had identified the source of her grudge. Everyone knew that Arendelle faced many challenges, but after Anna’s call-to-arms was published in her column, a consensus formed that the queen was on the right track and deserved support.

It was about time for another event to be added to Arendelle’s already bustling social calendar. The dark countess was hosting her own bash at her recently purchased home. She had been voted by journalists, nobility, and ministers as “Most Stylish Hostess” in The Arendelle Guardian’s political magazine, Power Play.

Continue reading “The Grand House of Mundilfari, Part One”