At World’s End in the Purple City, Part One

Featured image art “Cosmic destiny” by Arute (@ast05water)

Anna’s Column: We’re in China!

By Anna

Hello, Arendelle! How are y’all? I miss the kingdom terribly. I miss you awfully. I got news of the scaled-down celebrations on my birthday, which was only a week ago. I wish I could be with you, but take heart – my journey is approaching its end. Soon, I’ll be back with you. And I have some explaining to do when I’m back. For now, I can only apologize to you for keeping the true objective of my journey to the Celestial Empire a secret.

Just a little while longer.

Before our troupe left the British colony port of Hong Kong, I was told by Lady Kam that the Forbidden City is also called the zijincheng, which means “purple city” – the “purple” being a reference to the North Star, around which all other stars revolve. It’s the political centre of the entire Celestial Empire, and no foreign leader has ever stepped within its grand walls – until my parents, Iduna and Agnarr. They knew Yixin not just as a ruler, but as an associate. They passed on their relationship with him to Elsa and me, and although my sister and I have handled Yixin in our own ways, we’ve always honoured his presence.

Now my reign and fate as queen is intertwined with his plans as the former leader of the Exalted – a position that he chose me for. He’s promised me a glimpse of something truly mythic – a philosopher’s stone that’s captivated leaders throughout world history. But I know he’s got his own secrets, his own agenda. I just need to find out why he’s so hell-bent on locating this legendary elixir of life.

And most importantly, even if I lead the Exalted now, has our true goal all along been to locate and secure this elixir? All of the world’s resources at our disposal, and we use it all for this?

If I can protect Elsa forever, and shield Arendelle from the ravages of war eternally… no wonder why it’s so coveted.

I’m just putting the finishing touches to my column, and Gale will hopefully whisk it all the way over to Arendelle from here inside my inn room. We make for the Meridian Gate – the entrance to the Forbidden City – tomorrow.

I’m putting on a brave face, but I can’t help shaking in nervous excitement. Wish me luck.


Continue reading “At World’s End in the Purple City, Part One”

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”

Elsa’s Column: Revenge Served Cold

By Elsa, Queen Emerita of Arendelle

I have two memories of the Exalted, this secret society of the world’s most influential rulers. The first was during Christmas in 1840, while I was queen. His Imperial Highness of the Celestial Empire enjoys receiving letters from the monarchs of Arendelle. That year’s Winter Solstice, he asked me to write him a letter without my Chinese translator, so that he could teach himself Arendellian. Instead, I wrote him a letter all in Chinese characters. He couldn’t stop showing my writing off to his imperial harem (much to his concubines’ annoyance and my embarrassment). It’s a story our diplomats fondly recall from time to time.

The second memory is exactly one year later, after my allied armada of Vakretta, Zaria, and Chatho had repulsed the Russian fleet in the North Sea. I met the tsar in Saint Petersburg for negotiations, and he was rotten, ill-tempered, and bitter about everything the entire time. Despite being the aggressor that tried to divide and rule us smaller kingdoms, the tsar acted as if I had wronged him. I’ll never forget the lady by his side, several years younger than me, who glared at me with pure hatred for daring to resist her father.

Princess Katina Romanov.

Continue reading “Elsa’s Column: Revenge Served Cold”

A Queen’s Choice, Anna’s Love

Featured banner art by Athena (@myrthena)

Warning: Mild swearing and graphic descriptions

Arendelle Castle was heavy with dread and tension as the Countess’s ebony, heeled boots clacked down its hallways.

Two generations had passed since the last Mundilfari family head paid the royal home a personal visit. The most recent visitor was the late Lord Mayer Mundilfari, Viola’s grandfather. He had arrogantly swaggered into the palace and effectively intimidated the royal couple, demanding that Agnarr divorce Iduna. Although Agnarr never heeded Mayer, the fact that the latter could get away with such a humiliating insult, with all its racist undertones, was testament to Clan Mundilfari’s chokehold over Arendellian affairs.

It was the witching hour, and history was repeating itself. Tonight, the granddaughter of Mayer met Agnarr’s daughter on the royals’ home turf.

She knocked on the grand and elegant door of the drawing room, and an attendant bowed and opened it. Sitting on a wooden chair with a tall back, in front of the warm fireplace and before a long table with a plate of cookies, a teapot, and two elegant teacups, was Anna in her more tomboyish getup, complete with patterned blazer and sash.

Continue reading “A Queen’s Choice, Anna’s Love”

Anna’s Column: Vampire Vi must not send Hilde against China

By HM Queen Anna

By now, some of you, valued readers of my royal column, know about a fellow called Yixin. He’s a Chinese prince regent, a member of the Qing imperial house ruling his country in his emperor’s stead. He’s a man of immense influence, commanding a continental, multi-ethnic empire and lording over a population of millions. Luckily, he’s also what we’d call a “Nordophile,” someone who enjoys Arendellian culture, literature, and society. He’s been a good friend to Elsa and me, and a key enabler of the Arendellian presence – a non-colonial one, I stress – in Asia.

As you can tell, I take good care of my ever-expanding diplomatic ties. Sino-Arendellian relations are no exception.

Last year, in the year 1842 of our Lord, Britain’s fleet beat the Chinese navy in a war over opium. Disclaimer, dear citizens: we will never, ever deal in narcotics. I love Vic, but my foreign policy will always be distinct from Lord Palmerston’s. The Qing’s defeat was how Britain obtained the island of Hong Kong as a trading port. It’s why Kristoff has a branch there for Bjorgman House’s ice products to export into China.

Continue reading “Anna’s Column: Vampire Vi must not send Hilde against China”