“How does she do it?” This is the unuttered question on the lips of heads of state, diplomats, and journalists across Europe as Arendelle becomes the new place of pilgrimage for great and small powers alike.
Even during Elsa’s reign, no one could have predicted the meteoric rise to global prominence the small Nordic kingdom would enjoy.
While Anna’s predecessor managed significant relationships with mighty realms like the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty, it’s Anna who has radically transformed Arendelle’s relationship with almost every great power – and set an example for middle and even smaller states to emulate.
Featured image art “Redemptive chat” by Arute (@ast05water)
By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle
After seeing how Hilde and Selene were doing during our dinner for Queen Anna and our returning travelers, I got to thinking about what our little castle has become to some very special folks.
I said to my niece, the Queen; “You know, Anna, this castle is not just our home, it feels like a safe haven for some once-hurting souls like Vi, Hilde, Tess, Danny, and now Selene. Just add some love and make them feel like family. Like they belong here as one of us.”
“I feel like our whole kingdom is like a found family, and I love it,” Anna replied.
“Oh yes! It shows when you’re amogst the people of Arendelle. The best little kingdom in the world!” I answered.
Anna then said: “I like to think that everyone would like to have us as their family! Teehee.”
“We’d fill up those little houses pretty fast with our crew!” I agreed, laughing generously.
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:
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,
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,
A new task force focused on the economy and the newest industries to propel Arendelle to greater prosperity and leadership in global trade,
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:
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.
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.
The walk to the Northuldra encampment was quiet but calm. They were a nomadic people whose knowledge of the forest ran deep in their blood and bones. There wasn’t a single patch of the forest that they didn’t know and love intimately, living in perfect balance and reciprocity with the land. When they arrived at the village, the Northuldra had lit a large fire in the center of an open patch of grass, where tents for individual families had been pitched. As night fell, Anna and Elsa could see for themselves how welcoming and relaxed the Northuldra were, despite having been isolated from the outside world for decades. Song, dance, and warm conversation surrounded the royal sisters, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven. Elsa looked around at all the men and women that had been trapped in the forest for years and could feel the hope they had in her. She promised herself that she would free them from this curse, no matter what.
She began stroking the head of a baby reindeer when the young woman named Honeymaren walked up and sat next to her. They began talking amiably, and there was a notably degree of chemistry between the two young women – one, a questing queen, the other, a hardy tribeswoman.
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.
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.
Featured image “Second Death,” by PURY (@puryartist)
Warning: Violent depictions
Above the wet and rough sands of the Northuldra coast, an eerie portal shrieked open. Two black hands with long, misshapen fingers seized the edges of the portal and pulled their owner from the void. Nykras’ wispy long hair trailed behind his mummified face, and his billowing cape followed his armoured form. His armoured boots stepped onto the beach that Elsa’s bare feet once treaded. Those feet had courageously sprinted and swum across the Dark Sea’s treacherous waters toward her destiny.
Across the stormy waves was Ahtohallan. Source of the five spirits’ power.
“Thisss isss my dessstiny too,” whispered Nykras to himself, “to encounter Ahtohallan myssself, and ssseize it for not jussst the eternal sssecurity of the Russian Empire… but for myssself too.”
It was true. To be imbibed with the source of Northuldra’s spirits would elevate the already formidable lich to unimaginably fiendish power. It would guarantee the subjugation of Northuldra and an effortless conquest of Arendelle proper, the seat of power for Elsa’s successor, Anna.
Featured image “Second Death” by PURY (@puryartist)
Warning: Violent depictions
You know who I am.
Grand Duke of Russia. Leader of this expedition into Northuldra. Faithful servant of Katina Romanov.
My name is Nykras.
Tell me, friend of Arendelle. Have you ever been stabbed from all directions by enemy blades, just as you watch your village burn before your your very eyes? To see women and children dragged away, their screams of terror and despair ringing in your ears even as you know you’re losing too much blood and haven’t a hope of catching up with the marauders that have so indiscriminately butchered and humiliated your people?
You haven’t? Then how could you possibly understand me?
How could Arendelle possibly understand the struggles we Grand Dukes went through in the name of defending our Slavic homelands?
Haven’t you heard of the age of the Mongol-Tartar Yoke? We sent terrified hostages and obeisant princes to a Khan we never saw. We paid taxes and tribute to fatten imperial coffers in a faraway land we never visited. When we overthrew the Golden Horde – when I wreaked my revenge by personally leading my undead armies against the last Khan – we resolved to be an even mightier Eurasian power.
Featured image “Second Death,” by PURY (@puryartist)
Warning: Violent depictions
Late afternoon. Northuldra
Honeymaren was back in her more mobile Northuldra attire, crouched on a large tree branch as she scanned the foliage-covered forest floor.
“Clear,” she whispered, and a rustle of floating red and brown leaves blew gently around her, before rushing to another tree some distance away. Gale had taken her words and was blowing them towards the huntress Amira, who had also climbed a separate tree. She was covered in camouflage and had war paint on her face.
“It’s clear here, too. I guess we have no choice but to wait for the portal from Nykras to open,” said Amira, her voice betraying frustration as Gale blew away, taking her words back to Maren.
“Right. The moment there’s movement, we raise our voices and shout the battle cry,” replied Maren.
Northuldra’s elemental and human residents were cooperating to defend their shared home from its greatest threat yet.