Editorial: Arendelle must strike an elegant balance amidst the Shogunate’s tension

By The Arendelle Guardian Editorial Board

As Arendelle’s prestige rises, so do its risks. Among them is the danger of accidentally entering into a conflict in which Arendelle has no stake. There are fewer disasters more catastrophic for a queen, than to find herself mired in a dispute that drains her attention, the kingdom’s resources, and the treasury’s coffers with little reward.

Anna began her reign with a strongly anti-colonial bent, with an instinctive sympathy for the oppressed people of the world. This was informed by her relationship to Northuldra, and her long-term objective of eventually unifying the northern region with Arendelle proper. It was easy to signal one’s anti-imperial philosophy when Arendelle was just one small kingdom among many, despite its already burgeoning geopolitical importance.

As readers of this newspaper know, things are quite different now.

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Michael’s Musings: Information on Japan and the Fujiwara Clan

FROM: Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle and loving Uncle to you and your sister, Queen Emerita Elsa, the Fifth Spirit and Snow Queen
TO: Her Majesty and beloved niece Anna
SUBJECT: Brief historical background of Japan and the Fujiwara

On the heels of General Mattias’s cautionary note to you, I did some research for a brief history on Japan and most notably, the Fujiwara Clan.

First, I want to be on record in thanking our newest friend, Selene Severin. Her assistance in gathering the information on file in our library or through the Ravens and others in her network on the ground near or in this mysterious country, has proven invaluable for this report.

Japan has been in existence for tens of thousands of years. “Japan” come from the two Chinese words “Jee-Pan” which means “Land Of The Rising Sun,” since it is a series of volcanic islands that lie east of mainland China.

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ANNA’S DECREE – Searching for the Elixir

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

The inner court had been assembled.

The beautiful Countess Vi, no longer regent but now having returned to her usual post of prime minister, stood alongside Commander Hilde on one side of the queen’s hall, at the right hand of the throne. Seated on it was Anna, who surveyed, with modest solemnity as well as a winning smile, the assembled women and men on her left side, who were facing Vi and Hilde: Elsa, Kristoff, Mattias, and Honeymaren.

“I’ve briefed trade minister Michael and Sir Alan about my next move, and now we’re ready,” declared the queen. “In liaison with Peony Sinclair and Queen Colisa of Chatho, the other members of my new Exalted organization, I wish to launch my search for the fragments of the elixir of life.”

The inner court exchanged nervous and terse glances with each other. The air was electric. At last, it had begun, and no less at a make-or-break time of diplomacy with Japan.

Anna was making good on her promise to Lord Yixin for being catapulted to international prominence.

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CONFIDENTIAL: Murmurs among the Masters of the Sword

FROM: General Destin Mattias

TO: HM Queen Anna

RE: WATCH OUT.

Hi Anna,

You might raise your eyebrow at the tone of my memo, but you need to be careful around Lady Fujiwara. More accurately, you must keep an eye on her circle of retainers.

Lady Fujiwara is everything that she presents herself to be. Our spies, the Ravens, have compiled a detailed dossier on her and the background of the Fujiwara clan. It all checks out. I’m glad to see that you, Elsa, and the rest of the inner court get on well with her. However, have you sensed the tension between her and the samurai around her?

I don’t know about you or Elsa, but she has little patience for them, and they even less for her.

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POLITICS: Arrival of Japanese Emissary in Arendelle Turns Heads

Featured image art “Lady of Fujiwara” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Fenris, Home Editor of The Arendelle Guardian

After a maritime misunderstanding nearly caused a naval skirmish with the Arendellian navy, new arrivals from the distant islands of Japan have settled in Arendelle Castle and are currently being received by the queen.

The three ships docked in our kingdom’s harbour hail from the reclusive government of the Shogunate, which, according to an Arendellian scholar of cultures and customs in the Far East, is nominally subordinate to the imperial household. However, in Japan, the emperor is a figurehead with no executive authority, unlike in Arendelle where Anna is vested with both symbolic and executive power. In Japan, it’s the shogun, or military dictator and army commander, who calls the shots on the emperor’s behalf.

The palace released a statement to all Arendellian newspapers this morning. It read: “Due to the sensitive nature of this meeting with the queen, Her Majesty’s government cannot reveal the purpose of the Japanese delegation’s visit to our fair northern land. However, we can disclose that Anna’s guest is a high-ranking member of the Fujiwara clan, which is by far the most illustrious family name in all Japan.”

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For Her Majesty’s Government: Clarifying Yesterday’s Misunderstanding at Arendellian Customs

Featured image art “Home” by Arute (@ast05water)

Hail to the Monarch of Arendelle, Her Exalted Majesty Anna of the Summer Harvest.

On behalf of the Most Excellent and Gracious Fujiwara Takako of the Fujiwara House, Ancient and Noble Complementary Family to the Imperial Yamato Clan, Divine Descendants of Amaterasu, I bid you greetings. I’m Shishizaru Takeuchi, captain of Lady Fujiwara’s flagship, Thundercloud. We come from the Shogunate far across the seas.

We arrived in Arendelle from Japan, as our emissaries mutually agreed, on schedule and await your reception. However, to our great embarrassment and chagrin, the morning has not proceeded as planned.

I’m certain that your palace has received word of the misunderstanding at the docks earlier this morning. Allow me to explain, lest there be any unnecessary or unfounded enmity or suspicion between your throne and the glorious Shogunate.

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A MONARCH’S DESTINY: Queen rallies support for her grand agenda

Featured image art “The inner court” by PURY (@puryartist)

By Anna

Hi, everyone! Since returning to Arendelle, I’ve had more time to continue my personal column in this newspaper: it’s one of my favourite ways to reach as many people as possible, and I like to think my column will be a fair but heartfelt bellwether for my hopes, difficulties, and worries.

When I became queen, I told the kingdom right after my coronation that I wanted to be a different kind of leader, someone that could offer something different to past monarchs. I think my policies and vision for Arendelle will speak for themselves, long after I’m gone. Even if historians consider my reign to be a mediocre or even a failed one, they won’t be able to say that I didn’t aim high. I’m reaching for the stars, quite literally. Let me explain why.

The Exalted, which I now lead, is an ancient society of world leaders that was formed to find the fragments of a long-lost elixir: whether you call it the Holy Grail, the Philosopher’s Stone, or ambrosia, this is the fabled potion of immortality that humanity once possessed – until a war beyond the heavens, among the celestial bodies far above us, deprived us of that elixir.

That elixir wasn’t for everyone, to tell you the truth: its creator, a goddess who knows the spirits of Northuldra, had intended a select group of leaders, who’d have proven their wisdom and goodness, to lead humanity forever.

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A QUEEN REBORN: Anna resumes leadership of Arendelle

By Draco, Royal Correspondent for The Arendelle Guardian

Wasting no time upon her return to Arendelle, Anna has quickly resumed executive power over the kingdom, with her regent Viola Mundilfari returning to her usual post of prime minister while the queen moves to deal with a series of foreign policy challenges.

Anna held court for the first time in months in her throne room yesterday, sitting back on the austere and tall wooden chair that has remained the seat of Arendelle’s queens and kings since the days when Arendelle was but a small hamlet struggling to keep its people warm in the bitter cold. In quick succession, she laid out a bold agenda that matched her growing global clout:

  1. A robust anti-opium smuggling campaign, aligning her views and Arendellian business with a growing number of European and American missionaries campaigning against the widespread trade of the drug that has devastated lives in China and across the world,
  2. Draft treaties with Chatho, Vesterland, the Southern Isles, and Weselton – all former members of the now-defunct Entente of Small Kingdoms – for the establishment of Arendellian embassies in each respective country,
  3. A new task force focused on the economy and the newest industries to propel Arendelle to greater prosperity and leadership in global trade,
  4. An accelerated integration of Arendelle and Northuldra, making good on her promise early on during her reign to achieve the union of “the two lands as one” as part of her legacy as queen, and finally:
  5. An outreach program focused on culture, politics, and business to yet more lands that are unknown to the average Arendellian citizen, including the reclusive Shogunate of Japan.
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The Shadow of Severin: Hilde, Vi, and Selene

Way past midnight

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?”

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The Fall of the Mundilfari Household

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

“Hyah!”

Trade minister Michael urged the horse pulling his wagon on, with Danny sitting beside him. They rushed to the dark forest beyond Arendelle, where three women were standing off in the middle of the night. Danny, the ice princess adopted by the royal family, looked up at the elder man nervously. “I’m scared. Mummy and Auntie Anna aren’t here. What are we going to do?”

Michael could only bite his lip, acknowledging Danny’s concern. “I’ll do what I can to assist the Countess and Hilde. But without Elsa and Anna, we can only mobilize so quickly when Selene has sprung such a sudden trap for Vi and Hilde.”

At least Mattias was probably being alerted to the disturbance as he spoke, he thought to himself. The wagon was approaching the woodlands, and he pushed further in, following the voices of Hilde and Selene. The sight that awaited him in a clearing, surrounded by tall trees, stunned him.

“Vi!” he cried, his horrified eyes falling on six sheets of holy light that had trapped the vampiress from multiple directions, stabbing into her abdomen. He looked at Selene, and then at Hilde, putting the pieces together. Selene’s arm was raised, and in her hand was an amulet from the arsenal of Kveldulf weapons: armaments from the post-Viking Age era that were shrouded in mystery, and known only for their incredible power in destroying unholy creatures.

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