Romanov Ascendant, Part Two

The princess of Russia, Katina Romanov, was decked in her black military uniform, her favourite, as she sat down at her long breakfast table in her favourite dining room, one of many, in the Alexander Palace. Before her were several slices of toast, and a stainless silver cup of caviar. Though she had been defeated by Arendelle, she still held absolute power in Russia, and even if she no longer cared about the performative pomp of being the empire’s de facto ruler, it did feel nice to have some luxury grub once more.

It had been a grueling year in the Russian countryside and wilderness, eking out an existence in the midst of rebuilding her shattered heart and pride. In self-imposed penance, she found the strength to let go of her anger and self-hate, and even came to terms with her respect for Anna, the only sovereign to have ever bested her. And now, she had the chance to build bridges she once thought burned by her callousness.

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Romanov Ascendant, Part One

It was a beautiful morning. The Russian Empire’s leader was back.

The servants were fussing about today in Alexander Palace, the main residence of Russia’s most powerful woman. Olga and Alina, two of Katina Romanov’s maids, were in the immense bedchamber of the Russian princess, hastily folding Katina’s freshly-pressed military uniform, coat, and trousers. The wardrobes, bed, and vanity table were all dusty; the room hadn’t seen its master for many months. And now, she was back, and taking a nice long soak in the lavish tub inside her en suite bathroom.

“How could Her Highness have spent so long in the wilderness? I’m surprised her countenance hasn’t changed into a deathly pall. That’s what Siberia would do to her lovely skin,” muttered Alina, drawing back the high curtains of the window by Katina’s bedside.

“It’s not just Siberia… I hear Her Highness has gone everywhere. Villages, hamlets, rural settlements all east of Moscow, and south of Saint Petersburg… she’s even visited the auls, fortified towns of the Caucasus peoples we watch over, the kishlaks of the Turks, and the Cossack stanitsas,” said Olga. “It’s like her priorities completely changed upon returning to Arendelle.”

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The Protectors of Arendelle, Part Two

Featured image art “Anna and Yixin” by Arute (@ast05water)

“The plan is as such,” said Vi, gliding restlessly in her living room while the seated Amira and Tileke stared into the crackling fireplace. “I was there when Anna announced it. Europe remains her domain of focus. Peony’s is Inner Asia, where all manner of dark forces and ancient powers lurk, and I’ll be there with her. Queen Colisa will manage South America, while Kristoff will lead Honeymaren and Tileke to the great continent of Africa and the lands of Arabia.”

“Sounds simple enough, but the logistics are actually quite difficult; and once we depart, we’ll be gone for a long time,” warned Hilde, who had come from the dining room into the lounge, with Michael and Alan flanking her. “My Countess, I’m going for a morning stroll around Arendelle, and then I’m going to train. May I be excused?”

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MILITARY FILES: Selene Severin, the Wolf Hunter

It was well into the early hours of the morning when Mattias, who slept in a set of comfortable pajamas, was awoken by one of his officers.

“General! General!” came the urgent voice, along with the speaker’s hurried knocking on his door. Mattias crawled out of his simple bed and opened the door, rubbing his eyes and revealing a much younger man in a dark green Arendellian military uniform. “Sergeant Chips, sir. Intelligence. Queen Anna’s Ravens.”

“Yeah, I know who you are. No problem. What’s going on?” asked Mattias sleepily. “Is everything alright?”

“Um, no, sir. I wouldn’t disturb your rest if I didn’t have urgent files to give you.” Chips grimaced, handing him several sheets of paper. “The regent, Countess Vi, and her lieutenant, Commander Hilde, are engaging the enemy in the forest just beyond our kingdom. Their lives are in peril. Trade minister Michael and Danny are headed there right now, to try and resolve the situation.”

Mattias’ warm brown eyes widened and his whole body tensed. “What? Vi and Hilde are in danger? If they’re harmed while Queen Anna’s away…” He blinked. “No. No, that’s not going to happen. Brief me on the situation, Chips. Who’s this enemy? we’ve been at peace since the armistice with Russia.”

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Arendelle celebrates Anna’s Birthday as Summer Solstice arrives

Featured image art “Swingin’ Sisters” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Gudrun, Home Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE: With Anna absent from Arendelle, the kingdom hosted a muted celebration for the queen’s birthday this year, with General Mattias holding a party in the square by the docks with well-stocked food and drink and entertainment for gathered families. The party was informal and akin to a gathering for friends rather than any formal anniversary for Anna, with the bishop of the Arendellian Church dropping by to make a quick speech blessing Anna’s overseas journey before joining in the festivities himself.

Anna is currently deep in the heartland of the Celestial Empire, having made a brief pit stop in the British colony port of Hong Kong before pushing further inland. Her destination: the Forbidden City itself, the great palace complex overseen by successive emperors of the Qing Dynasty. She’s accompanied by some of the most trusted members of her inner court: Elsa, her sister and the former queen, her fiancé Kristoff, tai-pan of Bjorgman, and Colisa, the queen of Chatho.  

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Greetings from Zapolyarny: Katina Romanov Re-Emerges!

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

FROM: HH Katina Romanov, princess of Russia

TO: HE Michael, trade minister of Arendelle, and HM Queen Anna

Dear Michael and family,

Thank you for your letter. I read it over several times, and it still lies open on my desk. It was very kind of you to think of me even after the conflict between our countries concluded. In truth, I often think of you and your queen, and the kindness you all showed me even after my disgrace. I’ve come to accept my role in that whole fiasco, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I must live with my mortal error of banishing Sora, my companion and protector. The one who never gave up on me.

I’m not used to writing letters that discuss intimate matters. I envy you, Anna, and the rest of your beautiful circle. It must be so nice to never have to have one’s guard up among those you love. I had that with Sora, although it was always me that pushed her away. And then I betrayed her.

My defeat at Anna and Elsa’s hands was well-deserved. Just as I know that Anna has tried to swallow her lingering anger against me for my mass invasion of her home, I’ve tried to accept my defeat with a humbled heart.

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Arendelle politics: Commander Hilde designates Vi’s harasser as THREAT to national security

By Gudrun, Home Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

Hilde Von Altheim, the right hand woman of Countess Vi and a sub-commander in the Arendellian army (second only to General Mattias), has issued a public challenge in our paper to Vi’s harasser. Indicating confidence in the culprit’s identity, Hilde has also used her authority to declare the harasser a threat to Arendellian security – making it much easier for her to deploy more severe means to hunt down this person/s, including with army help.

Hilde is the scion of the Von Altheim clan, a Germano-Nordic noble family that’s as ancient as the Mundilfari clan. The two families’ political fortunes have been inseparable since the early centuries of the Holy Roman Empire, and each scion of the Von Altheims has served as the protector closest to the head of the Mundilfaris.

For the past few months, the First Vampire and prime minister has been subjected to an increasing vitriolic campaign of public humiliation and character slander. Despite suffering vandalism against her Grand House on the foothills of Arendelle, which has forced Vi to relocate to Arendelle Castle, she’s maintained a remarkably restrained silence on the series of hate mail she’s received and slanderous pamphlets circulating around. She’s stated that she no longer wishes to solve her problems with violence, attempting to ask herself what her queen, Anna, would do instead. “I am, after all, Anna’s regent until she returns from China,” she said.

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Michael’s Musings: A Special Letter to a Special Friend

By Michael, Trade Minister of Arendelle (@of_michel)

There’s been a lot happening with Queen Anna, who is currently in China with Snow Queen Elsa, Kristoff, and Queen Colisa of Chatho. They comprise the Exalted now, and they’re with one of the original members of this group, Peony Sinclair, to visit her commander, the Qing prince regent Yixin. Meanwhile, in Arendelle we have a stalker plaguing prime minister and First Vampire Viola Mundilfari, a case which myself and now Commander Hilde Von Altheim are working on together. Then, of course, there’s always the normal business of running Arendelle’s government.

As my friend Vi went to the drawing room, I went back to my study and office to review what myself and Vi had brainstormed on. As I reclined back on my desk chair, my eye caught sight of an object on my desk that made me stop and reflect a bit. It was a feather and not just any feather. It was one that belonged to Grand Duke Sora, the guardian angel of the royal family of Russia, the Romanovs. She was quite literally an angel, and this feather came from her wing.

She was such a gentle, loving soul, yet she could fire up like the sun and fight like all hellfire. I miss her a lot. I also miss Princess Katina Romanov. You say to me, “But how could you miss that angry warmonger?”

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Michael’s Musings: We’ve lost a special friend

Featured art “Comfort,” by Arute(@ast05water)

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle

“Katina,” by PURY (@puryartist)

During the Russo-Arendellian war, my column went on a short hiatus. I was helping Queen Anna oversee the affairs of the Royal Household while the conflict raged on. We lost some good friends such as Sergeant Severin, while those like Commander Hilde Von Altheim took a massive hit while fighting Grand Duke Yaraslaf the werebear. Yaraslaf and Nykras have been defeated and the Russian forces defeated. The war is won. However, it is tempered in deep sorrow.

I was hoping to restart my column with a happier story. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

We lost a very dear, loving, and tenderhearted ally in Sora, who was a fallen angel and the guardian of Katina Romanov. Katina is the princess of Russia and the sovereign leader that launched this whole invasion. My own heart is still aching over the loss of this fiery and valiant, yet gentle and loving soul. She departed this world tragically. She was working to try and make Princess Katina see the error of her ways and forget this useless war. It was a plan that Sora and Elsa had planned early on. Instead of spearheading an all-out assault on the kingdom, Sora faked the fight we witnessed, and Elsa threw it to make it look like Sora won. Katina’s rage was so much at a fever pitch with Sora, she proclaimed:

I release you from the service of the Romanov family!”

That’s when, literally, all Hell broke loose and claimed Sora.

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VICTORY proclaimed as Arendelle signs armistice with Russia

By Mikael, Senior Reporter for The Arendelle Guardian

ARENDELLE; SAINT PETERSBURG – Against the odds, the Kingdom of Arendelle has outlasted a months-long Russian onslaught, with General Mattias signing an armistice with Russian leader Princess Katina in the heavily damaged Arendelle Castle.

The armistice states that Russia will promise to never wage a war of aggression against Arendelle again, while Arendelle will return Katina to Saint Petersburg and receive millions of Arendellian kroner worth in an indemnity.

The war cost over a thousand Arendellian lives and even more on the side of the Russians. Several senior ranking officers of the Arendellian army and navy were killed, and the Russian Empire lost all three of its Grand Dukes: Yaraslaf, Nykras, and Sora. Yet the Arendellian victory left Anna standing as the first monarch in the kingdom’s history to have outboxed a continental empire like Russia. Countries like Great Britain, France, and many more had bet on Russia swallowing Arendelle early on in the war, but were proven wrong. Diplomats across Europe are now nervously wondering whether a newly empowered Anna will behave in a hostile way towards said countries.

Just for having outlasted the Russian invasion, Her Majesty has earned a position of power unmatched by those of her predecessors – her own grandfather and father King Runeard and King Agnarr included. From now on, Arendelle won’t be treated as a small power, or even as a middle power – but as a kingdom consulted by the world’s great powers.

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