A Queen Comes Back Stronger and Wiser

Peony Sinclair’s equestrian outfit boasted of her lifelong love of racing and her directorship of the British-owned Turf Club on the island colony of Hong Kong. Having crossed the courtyard under the midnight clouds, she glided into Anna’s palace wordlessly, the Arendellian guards knowing better than to stop the English-born agent of the Qing Empire’s prince regent. They kept their halberds at their flanks and saluted deferentially.

Tonight, titans hovered over the stricken, helpless body politic of Arendelle, fighting over the spoils of a gamble that Anna had lost badly. Only the intervention of Peony could help the queen of Arendelle salvage a deal that didn’t completely favour Peony’s fellow Exalted, Will Harrison. They’d been in urgent negotiations over what terms might be acceptable to both parties, with input from Lord Palmerston, the foreign secretary of Britain, and Daniel Webster, America’s secretary of state.

Knee-high boots clacking on the palace teak floor, Peony made her way to the drawing room. It had a crackling fireplace, a piano, and a comfortable couch on which a napping Anna was being held in Elsa’s arms as Colisa and Kristoff stood beside the sofa, talking quietly. Michael, Alan, and Nahir were also there, looking at the tall bookcases and flipping through books to pass the time as they waited for Peony. The Snow Queen was stroking her little sister’s red hair when she saw the Exalted member, and she whispered for Anna to wake up. The latter moaned softly, rubbing her eyes and beaming up at Elsa, before she looked around at everyone to orient herself. She remembered why she was here, and her softly smiling face turned sad and tense.

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Anna’s Column: Empire Isn’t The Only Way

Featured art by Athena (@myrthena) for The Arendelle Guardian

By HM Queen Anna

It’s a weird feeling. Vi and I are exchanging letters and I’m looking forward to visiting her again. Yet she is my sworn enemy, the woman whose open objective is the destruction of the Five Spirits, including Elsa, and the transformation of Arendelle into an empire, an imperium. For a noblewoman who has puppets and proxies everywhere, she’s actually too honest and open about her desires.

I should hate her. But after many nights of discussion with Elsa and Maren, I’ve finally come to realize that she and I are similar in many ways: deeply unhappy childhoods (hers was unquestionably more heartbreaking and dangerous than mine), sharp wits, and fierce convictions. We both possess iron wills. It’s our hearts that are more complex with many shades, and that’s why we’re drawn to each other.

So here we are, Vampire Vi. In a headlong collision, despite how you claim to want me, and how we click despite our vastly different political objectives.

After I got back from Keep Mundilfari, I knew that the Countess would begin striking at me. She appointed a new editor at the Snow Herald, and competition between that paper and this one, The Arendelle Guardian, grew intense. She also tried to regain control of the Great Assembly through her supportive ministers in our parliament. There wasn’t any point sugarcoating it: she was used to the government, even the monarchy, working for her. But I haven’t stood for it since the day Elsa passed the Crown to me, even if I didn’t know it was her family behind the scenes.

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The Fall of a Jarl

I hadn’t been inside Arendelle Chapel since Anna’s coronation, and Elsa’s before that. I made my way to the empty pews, passing under the yawning wooden beams that had seen generations of the royal family crowned all the way back to that mistiest of eras, the Viking Age. My finger lightly trailed along the seats’ frames, my bloodstone signet ring gleaming in the afternoon light.

Sitting by the front pew was a hefty, suited gentleman with a generous red beard. He looked straight ahead, avoiding my gaze.

“Interesting choice of a private rendezvous, Jarl Volker,” I said, sitting down in the row behind him. My voice was a murmur, but I didn’t hide the sneer in it. “You could have just asked me to get the Nokk Club’s doorman to let you in.”

“And humiliate myself further, you power-hungry woman?” scoffed Volker. “No thanks.”

I laughed. “When men call me power-hungry, I know I’ve won because they’d never use that as an insult against each other. So, you resigned from your seat in House of Jarls this morning?”

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Elsa’s Guest Column: What I Miss About Arendelle

By Elsa

The Snow Queen’s column is published whenever she visits The AG’s newsroom. This piece was published in yesterday’s morning edition of the paper. 

“Do I really like living in the wild?”

“Can I get used to being outdoors all the time?

“Doesn’t it get boring, hanging around with animals and spirits?”

These are just some of the well-meaning, good-hearted questions I get when I visit Arendelle on the weekends. Anna says that many Arendellians miss me, and that is very kind of them if they do. If being the monarch of our kingdom was my true place in this world, I would have gladly stayed and taken on all its pressures. It wasn’t simply because I couldn’t take it. Plenty of sovereigns and leaders face backbreaking burdens. That wouldn’t be a sufficient reason to abdicate and pass on the throne to Anna.

Rather, the throne quite literally was not for me. My place as Snow Queen was elsewhere, up north with the tribes of Yelena, and with Bruni and Gale and the others.

So, to be as honest to the readers of this newspaper as possible: there isn’t much I miss about being ruler of Arendelle. What I do miss are certain… sights. Sounds. Smells.

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Stop the Slander Against Elsa!

By Alan (@Arenalan)

Alan Nadeau III is one of Arendelle’s citizens, a member of the Order of the Wheat Stalk, and a staunch supporter of Elsa and Anna and others involved with Arendelle, including aligned kingdoms. This is his opinion on the slander being directed towards Elsa and Northuldra’s influence on Anna and Arendelle.

“For too long my sister has borne the brunt of criticism for my frequent presence in Arendelle. It would seem to me that since my transformation, I’ve been looked at with slightly more suspicious eyes in some quarters of government and the press – in particular, those who long for a return of our grandfather’s era, when Northuldra wasn’t so… close to home.” – Queen Elsa, in “Elsa’s Guest Column: Northuldra Joins the Family of Nations”

This is a quote from the Snow Queen, the Fifth Spirit herself, from the opening paragraph of her recent column in The Arendelle Guardian.

“I think the owner and the reporters of this newspaper have grown so hyper-partisan, so fanatical in their devotion to the queen, that they’ve done a lot of damage to the credibility of the kingdom’s Great Assembly. Not everyone has to agree with Her Majesty, and it’s certainly not in The Arendelle Guardian’s business to manipulate the public in her favour. I think your team is doing journalism a disservice.” – Georg, retired

This quote comes from someone via another newspaper, rivals to The Arendelle Guardian. What do these have in common? They both address the same thing: slander. Specifically, the slander being thrown at Elsa and Anna. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; the slander is unnecessary. Quite frankly, it’s a travesty to see people so adamant about this, that people within Anna’s own Assembly want Elsa and Northuldra to not be involved with Arendelle by any means.

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