O, ye of little faith. Have you lost the fire that still burns brightly in the breast of our queen? Has it weakened into a flickering weakling that needs fuel to shine and roar once again?
Yes, the Crocus Reforms of Anna are a dramatic new direction for the kingdom and our military. Yes, our allies grow wary and the list of Anna’s enemies has grown in recent times. But the queen is simply reacting to what she saw as an intolerable affront: a new enemy that has revealed itself and dealt an unacceptable and devastating blow to one of her closest allies, the vampiress and noblewoman Viola Mundilfari.
Sometimes we understand our foes better than our friends, and in the case of a former enemy-turned-ally like Lady Vi, we can only surmise that Anna cared so intensely about her because they were once such mighty rivals, and the queen strove to understand her better than almost anyone else, except perhaps Uncle Mike, Alan, and Elsa herself.
It was a quiet morning at the Grand House that overlooked the hillside of Arendelle. It was an imperious structure, even though it was a significant downsize from Keep Mund in the Jotunheimen Mountains. “Pass the butter, sweetie?” requested Tess Gaunt, sitting at one side of the six-person, mahogany dining table, where Hilde and Vi joined her for breakfast. Vi sat at the head, and she silently passed the silver butter keeper (all the silverware had been transported from Keep Mundilfari to Arendelle) to Tess. The Englishwoman glanced at Hilde, who ate her usual fare – scrambled eggs, a piece of bread, and some fresh fruit – also in silence.
“Are the eggs okay?” asked Tess gingerly. “Do you need some pepper?”
“Hm.” Hilde’s grunt was warm and not curt, but her gold eyes couldn’t mask the fact that she was thinking about something, engrossed in her own thoughts.
By Erik, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – The queen celebrated her reign’s first anniversary among subjects and friends, marking a milestone of one year since her accession to the throne. Anna first hosted a public brunch party at the town plaza, where she shared cake and candy with families and children. At midday, she attended a cannon salute fired from her flagship, Pride of Elsa, by the dockside with her military leaders, General Mattias and Commander Hilde. She concluded her anniversary with a quiet evening and supper with Elsa and Kristoff in Arendelle Castle.
“I neither desired the throne nor thirsted for some fancy crown of my own. But if Elsa felt me worthy to be queen, then I’d embrace that calling as tightly as I do her person in my arms,” she told reporters, when asked for reflections or comments about this very special day. “Her blessing was all the coronation I needed.”
1841. Before Anna became queen, and before Vi became Mundilfari clan head
Viola Mundilfari hated visiting the Celestial Empire, and not because it was so far away. Oh, it wasn’t because China was necessarily an unpleasant place to go sightseeing. The Qing heartland was vast and ancient, thousands of times larger than Arendelle, and blessed with five millennia of civilization and dynastic splendor.
But she hated setting foot in the Forbidden City, and she sure hated being called to the Summer Palace – the regal, jaw-droppingly majestic headquarters of Yixin. It was all because Yixin had summoned her here for the most unpleasant of reasons.
She stood before the Summer Palace’s throne hall, a uniformed Commander Hilde standing quietly at attention beside her. Vi’s face was curled into a contemptuous grimace as she felt her host’s serpentine eyes run over her with matching disdain.
Vi was looking at a distant gold-wreathed figure, which rose from its chair and stood aloofly. He was at least twelve feet away and held an open red fan covering part of his face.
“Why am I even here, Manchu overlord?” called out the Mundilfari noble to the distant throne, smirking darkly. “I gave your retainer a clear answer a few weeks ago, but you don’t seem to want to accept it.”
“Step closer,” echoed the hiss of the Qing prince regent, the leader of the shadowy Exalted cabal of global rulers.
By Mikael, Political Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian
ARENDELLE – The Great Assembly, Arendelle’s parliament, is located at the foothills of the kingdom, in a square that can be reached via footpaths from the ministers’ quarters and several avenues of stately homes and holiday cottages. Composed of the House of Ministers and the House of Jarls, the Great Assembly was the site of combative and fractious arguments today as members of both the lower and upper houses traded increasingly angry exchanges about Her Majesty’s proposed military reforms.
The monarchy is pushing for:
An increase of manpower in the standing army to 1,000 trained fulltime soldiers (a significant increase for a small kingdom),
The incorporation of Commander Hilde Von Altheim’s elite “death squad” into the Arendellian army, and:
Recommissioning the Mundilfari ironclad warship Muspelheim, which Countess Vi once used to attack Arenfjord, and expand the navy’s budget to purchase a new fleet of ships on par with Pride of Elsa.
Warmest greetings to Your Imperial Majesty, the Daoguang Emperor!
I, Queen Anna, extend to the Great Qing Empire’s people the sincerest greetings and best wishes of the people of the Kingdom of Arendelle.
Since the reign of my predecessor and sister, Queen Emerita Elsa, Sino-Arendellian relations have flourished in a spirit of mutual respect and deepening understanding. Mutual trade is growing. Arendelle maintains neutrality in any conflict that the Great Qing is involved in. Much of this progress has been thanks to our family’s friendship with Your Imperial Majesty’s grandson and right hand, Prince Regent Yixin. He’s a master statesman and understands the position of Arendelle in Europe and in the world. He has been a reliable ally as we face the challenges of modernity together.
By Emmanuel, Conservation Correspondent for The AG
The queen’s newly established Northuldra Trust aims to oversee conservation of the forest as its tribes begin working in partnership with Arendelle’s political and economic system. Sources close to Honeymaren, Anna’s Head Liaison of Northuldra-Arendelle Relations, have confided to me that she and Her Majesty have tipped Ryder to lead the Trust, with positions on its executive board soon to be opened to stakeholder votes.
The Trust is understood to be the queen’s attempt to bridge what the monarchy sees as a “gap of understanding” between the government’s plans for Arendelle’s re-integration with Northuldra, as outlined in Anna’s ambitious, reign-defining bill, and the public’s knowledge of the stakes involved.
It’s been over a week since Anna effectively shut herself in her study during most of the day, receiving not even Kristoff and Maren until dinnertime. Last weekend, I decided that I’d pay her a visit myself. What had gotten her so upset?
To my relief, Anna wasn’t gorging on chocolate cake and ice cream, like she’d sometimes do in the past when she was sulking. True, she needed her own space for a while, but when I saw her, she’d been hunched over her desk, poring over maritime maps, books, and newspaper reports. It wasn’t a very healthy situation – I could tell she’d barely moved from her desk for hours on end, every single day.
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.
Can you imagine my surprise upon receiving Anna’s letter from Gale about my most recent “elevation?” I told Anna that it was fine, that I didn’t need to be Queen Emerita, that it was enough that the various factions in the Great Assembly didn’t mind me visiting and advising her every weekend. In fact, no monarch in Arendellian history has ever been bestowed such a title; Anna just made it up (as she is prone to do so)!
But you know her. When she believes in doing something, not even the spirits can stop her. She saw a need for me to be recognised as a retired monarch and accorded honorary privileges that I don’t even know if I’ll ever need.
My ears were as red as an apple’s when reporters told me what Anna had shared with the press. Her being my star pupil? That she reflected my beauty, talent, or whatever she was gushing about me?