Michael’s Musings: Happenings Behind the Scenes

Featured image art “Family man” by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle

Since the meeting with Countess Viola in the Grand House of the Family Mundilfari, we’ve been very busy with preparations for our friends. Several are to embark on the search that Yixin has set for our Queen Anna, the Emerald Dragon of the New Exalted. Strategies, logistics, plus the normal day-to-day: it gets hectic.

I have added some folks to my own staff to make sure this goes off as smoothly as possible. 

Not only have I enlisted Selene Severin’s keen assistance in research and her flock of “ravens,” but I also have brought on board a young man named Gunnar Weighorst has come from Sweden to Arendelle with know-how in trade and business. He’s become very valuable in my Ministry staff, especially with the new trade pacts that Queen Anna has been wanting to establish with Great Britain, Peru, and Russia.

Gunnar and Selene have figured the ins and outs with Peru and Britain. Queen Anna and Queen Victoria have been friends for a while now, so that agreement may be easy. Peru is a bit harder, since they have their own economic troubles since the end of their war for independence from Spain. I have some hope for this to go through as we received some Peruvian Arabica coffee beans as gifts from Presidente Ramón Castilla y Marquesado’s trade cabinet. I must say, these beans make some of the best coffee I have ever had.

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The Power Behind the Players

Featured image art by Inkwhite (@Inkwhite_Mo)

BREAKING: ANNA PRESSES POLITICAL ADVANTAGE BY SIGNING THREE TREATIES

In yet another signal to the world’s major powers of her growing clout, Queen Anna of Arendelle has announced that she will sign a flurry of trade treaties and alliances with Great Britain, the new country of Peru, and, surprisingly, with the Russian Empire.

In a press release jointly published by the Office of the Prime Minister, Countess Vi, and the palace, which is still headed by Anna, the government was at pains to stress that the process was still ongoing, and there were conflicting perspectives and interests to be hammered out in negotiations by Arendellian diplomats and their foreign counterparts. Nevertheless, the fact that Anna has gotten the ears of the world’s largest naval power, a newly independent state in the heart of the New World, and a former adversary (whose leader was at Arendelle’s throat just less than two years ago), attests to Anna’s growing ability to lead not just from the front, but behind the scenes with competent and loyal deputies, pulling strings and asserting a presence that gets things done for her kingdom.

The result is a network of friendships, some mature, others budding, that bode well for the future of Arendellian influence throughout the world.

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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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