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”

Journals of the Exalted Overture: Your Burden

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

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is the prologue to 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

Continue reading “Journals of the Exalted Overture: Your Burden”

Anna springs into action as Ottoman ally Tileke rescues Queen Colisa of Chatho

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

Dear Anna,

Thank you for taking care of me for all these weeks. By the time you receive this, I’ll be halfway back to Saint Petersburg. My flagship will be in the North Sea, perhaps a short distance from where my Baltic Fleet and your naval coalition first exchanged fire. I burn with shame for having directed the late Yaraslaf against your allies and inflicting so much violence on Queen Colisa, the Duke of Weselton, and even Hans, all of whom you’ve told me plenty about during my time in Arendelle.

The fact that you’ve treated me, your invader, so kindly and compassionately after my own catastrophic mistake, should be a source of eternal shame for me. That’s the one point that you and I will always differ on: that you, in your eternal optimism and kindness, feel that you can forgive me once I’ve made amends for my cruelty. You’re wrong. My debt to you for giving me another chance to lead Russia, the way Sora would have wanted me to, will last long after my death.

I miss her.

Continue reading “Anna springs into action as Ottoman ally Tileke rescues Queen Colisa of Chatho”

The AG’s NEW story arc: Emerald Dragon!

Featured image art “Moon Deity,” by hanna.digiart (@HDigiart)

What if you could protect Elsa and Arendelle forever?”

It’s the 19th Century. The war between Arendelle and Russia has ended. Anna’s leadership enters a new era as her kingdom rises to becoming a global power. In this new ongoing arc, The Arendelle Guardian’s story goes cosmic but also introspective, with Anna encountering her own mortality and what eternal life might mean for her as a queen and as Elsa’s sister.

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Welcome, Emerald Dragon

Featured image art “Emerald dragon,” by Arute (@ast05water)

To: His Imperial Highness Lord Yixin

From: Her Majesty Queen Anna

Your Lordship,

Do you feel that breeze outside your window? My letter has been delivered to you by one of our kingdom’s nature spirits, Gale. She’s done her best to get this to you quickly, just a couple of weeks after Elsa’s battle with Grand Duke Nykras. We in Arendelle are exhausted by this war with Russia, and even with Tileke’s reinforcements, we can’t hang on much longer. I don’t even know if Elsa can last in an all-out battle with Katina’s last Grand Duke, Sora. Elsa’s recovering, but I’ll do everything in my power to ensure she never suffers from an imperialist or colonial power like Katina.

You wanted my big sister to join the Exalted, but you never lashed out at us after she turned you down. You had the chance for another Arendellian, Countess Vi, to sit among you, but that didn’t work out, either. I’ve always been aware of the special attention that you harboured for Arendelle.

Now, I’m here.

Continue reading “Welcome, Emerald Dragon”

Women of Might and Magic: The Secret Pact

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.

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Anna’s Column: Being wracked with guilt is an awful thing

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

The Battle of Arenfjord is over, but I’ve felt sick to my stomach for days on end. I’d known of Commander Hilde’s critical condition ever since the werewolf warrior was brought back to Arendelle Castle on a stretcher, her body nearly cleaved in half by Yaraslaf’s polearm. She didn’t even have time to be undressed and bathed; she needed the wounds tended to and for the bleeding to stop. The Grand Duke is dead and gone, beaten by Elsa at the last minute, and we can turn our attentions to Northuldra’s defence now. But I’ve felt… paralyzed.

Usually, I’d be the first to visit the wounded and infirm to provide comfort and encouragement, but with Hilde, I’ve been finding it strangely difficult. Maybe it’s because Hilde was under my direct command. Perhaps it was because I know how important she is to Vi, and that the Countess has stayed with her for nearly every waking hour.

Why haven’t I dropped by her room yet? Maybe because this is my first war. This is the first war fought under my stewardship of the kingdom. Any loss, even potential loss, is debilitating and heartbreaking to me. Get better soon, Hilde, and teach me to be as amazing a pugilist as you again. I’ll even go easy on you.

Ha. In my dreams.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: Being wracked with guilt is an awful thing”

Anna’s Destiny, Katina’s Tragedy

Featured image art by chō/chou (@smolmushroomm)

Some years ago. Saint Petersburg, Russia

“Sora! Sora!”

A little girl of five in a frilly dress and elaborately done hair ran to her elegantly garbed guardian angel in the vast hallway of the Alexander Palace. She was waving a book about excitedly. Sora smiled at the approaching heir to the tsar’s throne. “It’ll be your birthday tomorrow. What are you still doing running around the palace?” she asked the princess.

“Looking for you. Can I please, pretty please, borrow another feather from you?”

“To stick in your scrapbook, Katina? Of course,” said Sora, beaming as she unfurled a divine wing behind her and plucked a radiant feather from it. “Your mother and father are so pleased, as am I, that you’re already learning to journal. I want to encourage you every step of the way.”

Katina giggled gratefully as Sora put the feather in her chubby hand, and she kissed its soft barbs. “Oh, my princess. You honour me,” said Sora.

Continue reading “Anna’s Destiny, Katina’s Tragedy”

Chapter Four: The Necropolis Railway

Story art by Alanna (@alhuart)

The story so far: With all her political pieces in place to draw out the Eviscerator, Vi moves to confront the Ravager first, preparing to board the Necropolis Rail with Tess Gaunt in tow. She has little idea of the horror, however, that awaits her on this train, which is bound for Brookwood Cemetery, the resting place of many of London’s MPs, captains of industry, and other figures of note.

Will she finally be able to confront the Ravager, one of two criminals she’s determined to find? And will they find any clues to the mysterious figure of Thomas Hunt?

*

It was the dead of night at the Waterloo train terminus. The butt of Vi’s sword stick bashed once, twice, then thrice against the window to one of the carriages, rupturing the glass and sending dangerous shards tinkling all over the train floor. Despite her fragile dark purple dress, she smoothly found a foothold and, in one coordinated move, vaulted and slipped into the carriage without so much as nicking herself from any shattered pieces of glass. Her high heels landed quietly on the creaking floor. She raised her head, looking up at the train’s ornate ceiling. The entire room was suffused in eerie red light. The lacquered walls were festooned with elaborately carved heads depicting Cyclopean, horned, and demonic monstrosities. She wrinkled her nose. How utterly tasteless, typical of cultists trying to impress whatever dark god they’d sold their souls to. She could relate.

She could hear a tooting far up front, and the floor creaked. She swore quietly to herself. The Necropolis Rail was setting off to Brookwood Cemetery, where no doubt more bodies that had been loaded onto the Rail would be somehow acquired by whoever was fusing body parts and reanimating them into horrific monstrosities. Vi, Tess, and their allies in the press and parliament, Skinner and Fullerton, deduced that the Ravager was stealing the corpses of illustrious, recently deceased men and women that could afford to be buried in Brookwood. For their part, the Eviscerator was murdering young women of much less fortunate social standing and economic circumstances in the East End. The four theorized, unpalatable and sinister though it seemed, that it was increasingly likely the reanimated, misshapen lumbering creatures wandering East London were composed of the body parts from both the Ravager’s stolen bodies and the Eviscerator’s victims.

Continue reading “Chapter Four: The Necropolis Railway”