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.
ARENDELLE; BOSTON – In a heavy blow for Queen Anna and her government, Arendelle is poised to sign the Treaty of Weselton, which will cede to Will Harrison of Virginia two of Her Majesty’s four coveted trading freedoms with the Celestial Empire. Our queen will retain the lower taxes for Arendellian banks, and continue to enjoy the privilege of exercising Arendellian law in territory assigned to Arendellians by the Chinese emperor. But the tariff-free imports and expedited customs – critical for volume and speed in importing products – will be transferred to Harrison’s private monopolies.
Reporters say that whether the State of Virginia demands that Mr. Harrison share these privileges with the Virginian government remains an internal American dispute.
Harrison had instigated a corporate war between two Arendellian companies: Kristoff’s Bjorgman and Lars Krogh’s Skau Krogh. Harrison used Skau-Krogh to plunge Arendelle into economic uncertainty, before moving against Anna’s Entente of Small Kingdoms. While he failed to subdue Chatho, Harrison defeated a combined force of Weselton, Vesterland, and Arendellian forces attempting to liberate Weselton of Skau-Krogh’s occupation. With Princess Mari of Vesterland and the Duke captured, Anna took the dramatic step of opening talks with Mr. Harrison to negotiate their release.
Harrison has arrived in Arendelle to sign the treaty. His private clipper, the Enslaver, is to dock in the harbour – beside Anna’s own flagship, Pride of Elsa.
The concession of two trade privileges rather than four is good news for Arendelle, but remains symbolically crushing for Anna as they represent the terms of the Celestial Empire’s gift to Agnarr and Iduna on the night of Elsa’s birth. This marks the lowest point in Anna’s reign since the early days of her conflict with Countess Vi Mundilfari. As the current prime minister, Lady Mundilfari is absent from Arendelle and unable to assist Anna.
It’s unknown what will happen to Skau-Krogh now that Mr. Harrison seems to have wrenched his desired deal from Queen Anna.
By Peterson, International Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian
CHATHO – A beachhead established by Skau-Krogh’s private navy was destroyed on the shores of Chatho several days ago.
In a shock blow to the increasingly belligerent company’s image of ascendance and military might, its corporate pirates were routed, with remnants of the invasion taken prisoner. Reports say that Queen Colisa’s shock troops, the Ten Tigresses, ambushed the privateers as they attacked Chatho territory in the early morning. Trouncing their defences, the Ten Tigresses then sunk the flotilla by the coastline, crushing the remaining resistance of the invaders and confiscating large supplies of gunpowder, rifles, and other weapons.
The Countess’s long eyelashes stirred, and her eyelids fluttered open as she turned from her side onto her back sleepily. She let out a purring groan. Luxuriating in her purple, sensuous silken nightgown, she gazed outside her window atop the Grand House, enjoying the Arendellian sunlight filtering through the glass and bathing her body. She’d been burning the midnight oil last night, so today she’d woken up at 8 o’clock – three hours earlier than her usual rising time, since she needed to prepare documents before the parliament opened. “Take a break tomorrow, Vi,” Anna had told her yesterday. “We’ve been exhausting ourselves recently. Let me chair the House of Ministers tomorrow, and you can buy me dinner on the weekend.”
One of my most important life lessons was at the Kingdom of Vesterland, a prosperous and militaristic realm, when its king challenged me about my purpose in life. At the time, Elsa said that I was our kingdom’s natural ambassador – but in my heart of hearts, the fact that I had no formal duty or job made me question just how useful I was to others. I wanted to spread happiness and peace. I’m not ashamed of retaining that idealism even now, but the king’s disrespect cut me deep.
Deep down, I knew that he wouldn’t be the only one to dismiss me if I wasn’t able to stand on my own two feet. As much as I adore and kind of worship Elsa, I had to be my own woman, not just Elsa’s guardian or Kristoff’s fiancee. That’s why Elsa passing the torch of the monarchy to me was the greatest blessing she’s ever given me.
There’s a joke told among the gentlemen (all of them are men) of the shi da fu, the elite scholar-officials that govern the Qing Empire. I find it very tasteless, but it’ll serve the point I’m trying to make: “Good tea for one’s wife, better tea for one’s mistress, and the best tea for an old friend.”
In the Qing, there’s no one more precious than an “old friend.” That’s what I want to discuss today in my column: to appeal to our allies as an old friend. I don’t make this appeal lightly, but do so in the face of an enemy that threatens to make us helpless hostages to his ultimate goal of controlling Arendelle’s economy and threatening our sovereignty.
All this just to prove a point to my Anna: that she should never defy the Exalted.
Unbeknownst to the queen of Arendelle, one of her most formidable geopolitical adversaries was in Arendelle, in person.
He didn’t let anyone know, of course, and he wouldn’t be around for too long if he could help it. He’d dressed modestly in a bland, grey suit, and gotten off his clipper ship by the time the dawn’s rays had just started to brush the waters. Will Harrison, heir to Virginia’s most powerful (and slaveholding) First Family, was an unremarkable, modestly handsome young man, with blonde hair, striking brown eyes and a friendly smile. He didn’t stop to look around even the Plaza, which wasn’t too far away from the docks. Instead, he made his way several blocks down the harbourside, beyond the office building of The Arendelle Guardian, stopping at a three-storey, stately-looking building.
This was the headquarters of Skau-Krogh, the main rival to Kristoff’s company of Bjorgman House.