Greetings from Zapolyarny: Katina Romanov Re-Emerges!

Featured image art “Supreme commander” by PURY (“puryartist)

FROM: HH Katina Romanov, princess of Russia

TO: HE Michael, trade minister of Arendelle, and HM Queen Anna

Dear Michael and family,

Thank you for your letter. I read it over several times, and it still lies open on my desk. It was very kind of you to think of me even after the conflict between our countries concluded. In truth, I often think of you and your queen, and the kindness you all showed me even after my disgrace. I’ve come to accept my role in that whole fiasco, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I must live with my mortal error of banishing Sora, my companion and protector. The one who never gave up on me.

I’m not used to writing letters that discuss intimate matters. I envy you, Anna, and the rest of your beautiful circle. It must be so nice to never have to have one’s guard up among those you love. I had that with Sora, although it was always me that pushed her away. And then I betrayed her.

My defeat at Anna and Elsa’s hands was well-deserved. Just as I know that Anna has tried to swallow her lingering anger against me for my mass invasion of her home, I’ve tried to accept my defeat with a humbled heart.

Continue reading “Greetings from Zapolyarny: Katina Romanov Re-Emerges!”

The Battle of Northuldra, Part Three

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.

Continue reading “The Battle of Northuldra, Part Three”

The Battle of Northuldra, Part Two

Featured image “Second Death” by PURY (@puryartist)

Warning: Violent depictions

“Nykras,” by PURY (@puryartist)

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.

Continue reading “The Battle of Northuldra, Part Two”

The Battle of Northuldra, Part One

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.

Continue reading “The Battle of Northuldra, Part One”

Northuldra Braces for Invasion by Russia’s Grand Duke Nykras

By Gudrun, Conservation Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE; NORTHULDRA – The Russian Empire has been cut off from invading Arendelle by sea with the sinking of the Baltic Fleet. However, Anna has little time to prepare as Katina Romanov prepares the next stage of her assault. This month, it’s an invasion by land – a direct strike on the ancient forest of Northuldra. If successful, it will open a southern route to Arendelle that Anna can’t stop with her current forces.

The general leading this second phase is Grand Duke Nykras, who has taken over the invasion after fellow Grand Duke Yaraslaf’s death at Elsa’s hands. Nykras is an ancient being called a lich, a living corpse held together by black magic. The Arendellian High Command has credible reports from the Northuldra warrior Amira (who nearly faced down Nykras in a showdown on the Russo-Arendellian border) that he can open portals from his netherworld home at will. Honeymaren and Yelena suspect that he plans to overlay his dimension of undead warriors and corrupting magic directly into the forest, bypassing any need for Russian transportation.

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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.

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BREAKING: Russia Declares War on Arendelle

“Ashflakes,” by Alanna (@alhuart)

ARENDELLE; MOSCOW – The tsar of Imperial Russia, Nicholas I, has formally declared war on the Kingdom of Arendelle, marking a grim and uncertain new period of hostilities in Northern Europe.

It’s the beginning of a dark New Year in Arendelle as the kingdom’s unsettled citizenry share fears about the future in homes, bars, or in the village plaza. Futures of Arendellian products, in particular ice, timber, and fisheries, plunged on the Amsterdam stock market. Arendelle’s military, led by General Mattias, has begun movements in and around the Arendelle region, positioning troops at key strategic locations and deploying new weapons of war that Anna reluctantly commissioned.

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Operation Fire Strike: Northuldra Prepares Defences Against Russia

By Gottfried, Defence Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

NORTHULDRA; ARENDELLE – With Imperial Russia expected to declare war on Arendelle anytime in the New Year (which will mark the formal start of hostilities between the two countries), Honeymaren and Yelena have been hard at work mobilizing the forest to be ready for the fight of its life.

At stake is the very balance of the natural world itself, mediated as it is by the four spirits of the Nokk, Bruni, Gale, and the Earth Giants. While these great and ancient mythic beings have no interest in political squabbles – even those of Arendelle’s – they have already reached an understanding with Elsa. They will happily defend the forest’s ecosystem and tribal residents from the impending attack of Grand Duke Nykras, an ancient lich, whose undead legions threaten to corrode and corrupt the entire land.

Anna has stressed to her tacticians that should Katina Romanov seize Northuldra, her southward route to Arendelle would be open, leaving the kingdom vulnerable to a pincer attack from the northern land route and the westward naval bombardment by Grand Duke Yaraslaf’s Baltic Fleet. There is too much at stake – the tribespeople’s lives, the way to Arendelle, and the very balance of the natural world – to allow Northuldra to fall into Nykras’ clawed hands.

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FIRE AND ICE: Russia issues ultimatum to Arendelle’s allies

MOSCOW; SAINT PETERSBURG – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia has issued a public statement to the Entente of Small Kingdoms, warning that the armies of the three Grand Dukes will ignore attempts by Arendelle’s allies to stymie any Russian advance into Northern Europe.

The tsar’s government is arguing that the annexation of Scandinavia is a last resort after decades of failed Russian appeasement and continued incursions by states like France and Sweden. The ministry’s statement is being taken by diplomatic missions around the world to be prelude to a formal declaration of war. Tensions are understandably high, as a Russo-Arendellian confrontation could alter the balance of power across the Eurasian supercontinent.

“Our policy also applies to even the Ottoman and Austrian Empires, which despite their outward neutrality, seek to hinder Russia’s steps to protect itself against the predations of Western Europe,” said Katina Romanov, princess of Russia. Arendelle has accused her of being the mastermind behind the tsar’s aggressive foreign policy. “Never again will another Frenchman like Napoleon – or Prussian, or Briton, or Austrian – ravage our land or our people again. Russia demands two things: fear and respect. Fear of Russian vengeance should her sovereignty be violated, and respect for her stature and dignity as a great continental, global power.”

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Honeymaren and Amira make full recovery; requested by Anna to defend Northuldra

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

By Camilla, Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

The injured Honeymaren and her Northuldra compatriot, Amira, have made a full recovery at their hillside cottage. Palace sources have also confirmed that they will lead Northuldra’s main defence against a future attack by Nykras, Grand Duke of Russia.

The good news was first circulated in a press statement from the palace, with Queen Anna expressing her delight and relief. Anna and Elsa had both been visiting Maren and Amira regularly since the latter’s convalescence began. The sister-queens often headed into town to buy groceries for the two women (royal consort Kristoff was often seen running up the hill with several baskets’ worth of food and drink), or keeping them updated on political matters.

Continue reading “Honeymaren and Amira make full recovery; requested by Anna to defend Northuldra”