Postcard from Anna: From Harbour to Heartland

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Anna

Hello, Arendelle! From far away, across the waves, on the mountainous slopes of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong!

Sinclair Manor, the mansion belonging to my fellow Exalted member Peony Sinclair, suffered an intense and unexpected battle with Harrison’s hired assassins and warriors. No thanks to the British colonial administration, which we suspect has been paid off by Harrison to look the other way! I’ll be having a word with my British counterpart, Vic, when I have the chance back in Europe. Harrison is getting away with murder, and I fear it won’t be just a figure of speech if he gets his way.

I had the most extraordinary day: Lady Kam, comprador of the Princely House and Kristoff’s manager of the ice trade in China, invited me to inspect her clandestine force of… how do I put it? Triads. These well-trained, well-built women and men are members of the Lotus and Crocus, a clandestine underworld group Kam formed for my sake.

For Arendelle’s sake.

Continue reading “Postcard from Anna: From Harbour to Heartland”

Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part Two

Featured image “Emerald Dragon” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Anna

The mansion of Peony Sinclair had been invaded. The chandelier above them shook, and the hall was filled with battle cries.

“It’s the Floodgate triads, I’m sure of it. Harrison’s men,” declared Lady Kam, Kristoff’s comprador and the manager of Bjorgman’s Chinese trade. Everyone had stood up, nervously readying themselves for a violent brawl, but Anna was still glaring at Peony, who’d just dropped a bombshell on them all.

“Lord Yixin is immortal? He isn’t human? I mean, I knew he was uniquely powerful, and sure, there was something disturbing and otherworldly about his appearance. Elsa and I have always known that. But you can’t just pull this revelation on me and then let this go,” cried Anna, putting a hand on Peony’s slender shoulder.

“I’m not letting it go. In case you haven’t noticed, the Floodgate gang has broken into my manor. I don’t have time to explain now. Let’s ensure your safety first, and then I shall reveal all. In fact, it’s still ideal you hear it from my lord’s mouth,” said Peony coolly.

The mansion rang with rapid footsteps as screams of the household servants rang out through the halls and rooms. “They’re attacking my people. Lady Kam, you’ve got to get out of here, and bring the queen and her retinue with you,” demanded Peony.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part Two”

Countess Viola Mundilfari: All About Arendelle’s First Vampire!

“Your Vampiress” by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_mo)

Viola Mundilfari, better known as Countess Vi or simply Vi, is the tritagonist (third main character, after Anna and Elsa) of this fanfiction project’s story. Your friendly editor thought that she deserved her own profile, especially to help any new readers that don’t know who she is! I hope you enjoy this summary of her journey so far as this newspaper’s main OC.

Chief

Meet the Countess

Don’t mind this Draculina’s sharp wit and sharper fangs: she’s someone you want by your side always!

A former antagonist of Queen Anna-turned-ally and anti-heroine, Countess Vi is a charismatic and caring vampire that watches over you by night. Second only to Anna and Elsa as drivers of Arendelle’s destiny, the charming Vi lives in a stately home in Arendelle called the Grand House, serves as Queen Anna’s prime minister, and holds court with her own household: her werewolf general and lifelong protector Commander Hilde, and her English sweetheart Tess Gaunt. Behind her shield of sardonic, dry wit and slight snobbishness and sarcasm, hides a tender heart that desperately wants to do the right thing. Once a human noble, her vampirism is a result of her saving Tess’s life: a defining act that has shaped her immortal existence forever.

Welcome to her first official profile!

Continue reading “Countess Viola Mundilfari: All About Arendelle’s First Vampire!”

Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part One

Featured image “Emerald Dragon” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Anna

Hello everyone, from far away across the oceans! My greetings from the British-ruled port colony of Victoria Town, on the Chinese island of Hong Kong.

I’ve had the craziest meeting with Lady Kam. She left an impression I won’t be in a hurry to forget: she’s a tall, willowy woman, whose jet-black hair is done up in an elegant ponytail. Her rich dark eyes sparkle with a thousand secrets, and her smile is at once warm and enigmatic. And she’s told me things that have shaken my very sense of place in the world. My mind is still processing the outrageous things she’s divulged to me. There was one particular secret, related to the elixir of life, that I’m reeling from.

But just as things were getting interesting, we were attacked by a group of terrifying fighters and assassins! Kam said that they’re from the Floodgate triads, who are employed by none other than – you guessed it – Will Harrison. I should’ve seen that scumbag coming, but what unnerved me even more was that just as Elsa moved to protect us all, Lady Kam struck back and subdued our intruders with her own group of hidden bodyguards! They were triads too, but part of the “Lotus and Crocus” – a triad group founded to protect Elsa and me! To protect Arendelle!

I’m still stunned that there are underworld, technically illegal societies that fight for our distant kingdom. What other secrets is Lady Kam hiding?

Want to know more about what I’m up to on the other side of the world? Just read on…

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: My Meeting with the Lotus and Crocus, Part One”

Arendelle and the Fragrant Harbour

“Weaver” by Arute (@ast05water)

Gentle waves licked at the hull of Pride of Elsa as it slowly docked in Victoria Harbour, named after Anna’s fellow sovereign. A wooden plank descended upon a quiet wharf, with very few people around except for a neatly dressed Chinese fellow who stood beside Pride of Elsa, waiting to receive the new arrivals from Arendelle.

This colonial entrepot had been conceded by the Daoguang Emperor to Britain the year Anna was crowned queen. Unlike Portugal or Arendelle, to whom the Chinese emperor had granted generous trading rights, the Qing had hastily thrown Hong Kong Island at Britain, as part of a deal to get the persistent barbarians off their backs for trying to ban opium. Despite its barrenness, the British also wanted the island as a safe harbour at which to do business and dock ships. Curiously, Yixin had done nothing to help his own hapless ruler navigate the complexities of international diplomacy. But then again, back when Yixin controlled the Exalted, Harrison – a China trader and prominent opium dealer – was one of the core members.

Anna strongly suspected that the Celestial Empire’s day-to-day concerns and problems no longer concerned Yixin – if they ever did. And she knew why. The Exalted had always been a means for him to amass the wealth and resources necessary for his true goal.

He was no typical Qing prince regent. There was something unsettling about him. Something about the night. About the supernatural.

“He’s looking for the elixir of life,” she murmured to herself, “and I’m here to help him. To swear fealty to him.”

Continue reading “Arendelle and the Fragrant Harbour”

Cheers and tears as Queen Anna sets sail for China

Featured image “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Fitch, Politics Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

There was a palpable mix of pride and anxiety as Arendellian citizens gathered at the docks to send off their queen, who finished packing last night and is now aboard her flagship, Pride of Elsa. In her most recent column in the Sunday edition of The Arendelle Guardian, Anna reassured the kingdom that her upcoming voyage was a trip of goodwill among Arendelle’s allies in Asia: in particular, the Great Qing Empire (known to most as the Celestial Empire), the British port colony of Hong Kong, and the Shogunate of Japan.

The queen leads an entourage of friendly heads of state and senior figures connected to the royal household: Elsa the Snow Queen, Kristoff, her husband-to-be and managing director of Bjorgman, Queen Colisa of Chatho, and the mysterious English-born diplomat working for the Chinese imperial household, Peony Sinclair. Anna has left the running of day-to-day affairs in the hands of her prime minister, Vi, while other major matters are tended to by people she trusts, like Michael and Alan or Mattias.

Rumour is rife among the press that Anna has private objectives that she’s declined to disclose to the public. The Arendellian military, led by General Mattias, has gone out of its way to call this trip “of utmost importance of national security,” using this as a pretext to avoid questions about why so much of the outing will be focused on Peking, the capital city of the Celestial Empire.

Continue reading “Cheers and tears as Queen Anna sets sail for China”

Journals of the Exalted IV: The Emerald Dragon

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is the final part of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon

*

Boost to Tourism in Arendelle as FJORDSPRING FESTIVAL enchants residents and visitors alike

By Greta, Travel Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

Spring is here, and this year’s seasonal festival coincides with Arendelle’s formal armistice with the Russian Empire. The kingdom has managed to recover quickly from Katina Romanov’s onslaught, although a national day of mourning was held for the soldiers lost to the conflict a few days before the Fjordspring Festival.

Despite the heavy responsibilities on Anna’s shoulders, Her Majesty has pulled out all the stops to ensure that everyone can move on to happier things and take their minds off the fear and anxiety that has choked the kingdom since January.

This year’s Fjordspring Festival, traditionally held to welcome the melting of snow and the Arendellian ideals of hope and renewal, is expected to be especially among the tourist and expat population, which has boomed since Anna went further than any of her predecessors to expand global trade. The kingdom is abuzz with delicious food, lively events and games, and guided excursions as we showcase all our finest scenic areas, businesses, and much more.

Continue reading “Journals of the Exalted IV: The Emerald Dragon”

Journals of the Exalted III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is Part III of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon

*

The queen of Arendelle stood before the window in her study, surveying in silence the glistening waters of the fjord beyond her castle. It was the Fjordspring Festival, and the distant yells of delighted children could be heard all the way across the bridge to the village square. She was glad that the kingdom was enjoying this traditional festival celebrating the return of spring. It helped to get everyone’s minds off the horrid last few months since January, when Arendelle’s fate hung in the balance and Anna’s defenders desperately fought back against the Russian invasion.

Elsa was among those defenders, and she’d very nearly died. That was what set Anna on her new course of action, her new Grand Strategy of ensuring Arendelle would never be in a position to be attacked again.

Kristoff and Colisa had agreed to join the Exalted in the name of helping Anna, and this was the first time not just one, but two Arendellians comprised the four-member secret society. Even Chatho, Arendelle’s closest ally, had representation through its queen Colisa. Yet there was one member whom she couldn’t touch; the one member who was technically Anna’s senior. The one that Anna would need to watch carefully and bide her time with. She was meeting her today.

I hate myself for thinking like this, she chastised herself silently. Since when did I get so… calculating?

Continue reading “Journals of the Exalted III: The Sapphire Phoenix”

Journals of the Exalted II: The Ruby Tiger

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is Part II of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon

*

BREAKING: “It’s like my heart, twisted into a knot, has been freed”: Anna Overjoyed as Colisa of Chatho Arrives in Arendelle

By Brunhilde, Politics Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

In a remarkable turn of events, Ottoman general Tileke has succeeded in her rescue expedition, having retrieved Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and the Duke of Weselton from shipwrecks off the coasts of the Batavian Republic and Germany. She was also able to rescue Queen Colisa of Chatho, Anna’s primary international ally.

Our queen Anna, upon hearing of the news, was said by courtiers to have burst into tears of joy and emotion. It wasn’t lost on her high command that she instantly gave orders for Tileke to have Colisa come to Arendelle first. As of now, neither Anna nor General Mattias have disclosed their plans concerning Colisa with the press.

The three sovereigns, along with Mari of Vesterland, are members of Anna’s Entente of Small Kingdoms, an alliance that Anna formed in order to collectively resist the pressure of larger kingdoms, empires, and colonial powers. However, the alliance proved unable to mount an effective military resistance against the Russian invasion of Arendelle, with the fleets of Chatho, the Southern Isles, and Weselton obliterated and Vesterland neutralized. With Arendelle now in a position of newfound power and influence after standing alone against Katina Romanov, it’s uncertain what Anna will choose to do with the Entente.

Continue reading “Journals of the Exalted II: The Ruby Tiger”

Journals of the Exalted I: The Gold Reindeer

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is Part I of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon

*

It was midnight, but Anna’s private time in the drawing room was just beginning. There were maps, secret messages from her overseas agents, and other secret documents scattered about on her coffee table. There was a full moon out tonight. A single burning candle allowed her to read, with the rest of the room unlit. She was sitting on the couch with her arms over the sofa’s headrest, her legs spread apart boyishly now that no one was looking.

Well, not exactly everyone.

“Hey, prime minister,” said Anna softly, not turning around as two, glowing orbs of undead red burned into the darkness of the room. Those mesmeric, demonic eyes. “Thanks for coming. I needed your advice.”

Continue reading “Journals of the Exalted I: The Gold Reindeer”