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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The Battle of Arendelle, Finale

Featured image art “Elsa and Sora” by Arute (@ast05water)

Warning: Graphic depictions

Clad in an intimidating, all-black military uniform that accentuated her figure, Katina Romanov, princess of Russia, stepped onto Arendellian soil, from the lowered plank of Reaver, the royal Russian flagship. Her heeled boots clacked across the burning wood of Arendelle’s docks as she made her way to the ruined plaza. All around her, Arendellian landmarks were burning. Even the castle in the distance was heavily damaged.

The sky was burning red, having overcome the residual blue hues of Elsa’s magic.

Katina grinned. “Just like Purgatory,” she whispered, flicking her pink and brown, braided ponytail.

She’d waited so many years for this, ever since her father had been humiliated by Elsa and Colisa. Years of planning and gathering the Grand Dukes. More years of amassing her forces and preparing her strategy. Arendelle had fought well, and Russia had suffered immense losses as well. But now she stood on the cusp of victory, finally able to complete her promise of making Russia overlord of all Eurasia – including Europe.

And it was so worth it.

Continue reading “The Battle of Arendelle, Finale”

The Battle of Arendelle, Part One

Featured image “Snow Queen and Guardian Angel” by Arute (@ast05water)

Tell me, child, have you heard of how Huang Gai of Wu endured a heavy beating by Zhou Yu, also of Wu, to fool the Wei warlord Cao Cao into thinking that they despised each other? Once Cao Cao had recruited Huang Gai, Huang Gai and Zhou Yu sabotaged him.

“In the art of war, if one is willing to suffer pain and another is willing to inflict it, such mutual connivance can fool even the most powerful of leaders.” – Yixin, to Anna

*

It was a crisp and fresh spring morning as Anna, Elsa, Tileke, Alan, and Michael awaited the final invasion force of the Russians, which consisted of a single, gentle individual. Gulls squawked above the harbour, waves lapping gently at the wood.

Soon after Sora had crushed Elsa and forced Anna to surrender, Katina herself would arrive on her flagship, all set to place her Russian governor or puppet-ruler before the throne of Arendelle. To bring the kingdom to heel, to rule it from behind the scenes, dictating how Anna would shape domestic and foreign policy… all on behalf of the Romanovs.

Once Arendelle was subjugated, the entire Scandinavian peninsula would serve as the Russian launching pad into Western Europe. At last, all Eurasia would be united under the banner of Katina, avenging centuries of repeated incursions and sackings of Russia at the hands of European powers.

That plan, of course, was one that Anna planned to foil. She stood in the evacuated village square of her small kingdom, flanked by Elsa and Tileke. “This will be simple,” she said quietly. “Russia no longer has a feasible invasion force thanks to the destruction of their Baltic Fleet and Grand Duke Nykras’ death. But their guardian angel, Sora, could overwhelm entire armies.” Her aqua eyes shone. The memory of recent events was roiling inside her.

Continue reading “The Battle of Arendelle, Part One”

Private memo: Anna’s seat among the Exalted

“Ashflakes,” by Alanna (@alhuart)

Members of Anna’s inner court:

At the request of the queen, please keep secret the information herein. If you have any objections, please understand that my task is simply to communicate Her Majesty’s wishes.

Since last week, Anna has taken on an additional role and duty which requires your immediate attention. She’s assumed membership among the Exalted, a private society of the most powerful leaders in several nations and empires, from the United States to the Great Qing Empire. Indeed, you know one of these members to be Katina herself, our aggressor in this ongoing and destructive war with Russia. In an attempt to oust Katina from her membership, Anna has negotiated with the Exalted’s leader, Yixin, an arrangement where she will lead the Exalted itself, ensuring Katina’s defeat and ouster. In return, however, we must prepare for a much more intimate presence of the Exalted in our castle halls, with Anna preparing to mobilize the Exalted for whatever mysterious purposes Yixin has.

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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.

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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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Preparation: The War Through an Arendellian’s Eyes

By Alan Nadeau III

The Russo-Arendellian War has left a mark on Arendellians from all walks of life. For those in Anna’s inner circle, the impact has been felt especially hard. The burden of the kingdom’s leadership is to shoulder the losses and casualties inflicted by a foreign power. Alan Nadeau III, one of Anna’s most trusted knights and a member of her chivalric order of the Wheat Stalk, has found himself at the heart of Anna’s battles with Russia’s Grand Dukes. As he reflects on his moments of glory as well as shocking defeat, he ponders on how far Arendelle has come, and how much danger lies ahead.

*

I was back home in Arendelle, following my joining Honeymaren and Amira in battle against Nykras. I’d suffered a couple of minor injuries but nothing severe, although my sword had shattered yet again, dealing a blow to my pride as well. But I had bigger concerns.

I’d gone downstairs to the drawing room see Queen Anna, Michael, and the others. Recently, the love of my life, Queen Emerita and Fifth Spirit Elsa, had headed up to the Dark Sea’s shores to stop the Grand Duke’s advance to Ahtohallan. I’d been worried sick and in an earlier phase of my battle alongside Maren, I remembered seeing that damn lich send three of the other four spirits into what he called a “nether realm.” It was like something out of some fantastic storybook, and it angered me to no end. Why are such beings of power so often horrible, awful individuals? I wanted to give chase, to fight him, but Maren and Amira talked me out of it. Good thing they did. I needed to get back to the homeland and prepare for Sora and Katina’s arrival. Everyone would be needed.

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Anna’s Column: How can I stay the same monarch?

“Snowstorm,” by PURY (@puryartist)

EXCLUSIVE: Elsa hovers between life and death as Katina declares final stage of her invasion

By Evangeline, Senior Staff Writer for The Arendelle Guardian

After a fortnight’s worth of careful logistical arrangements, the nearly broken body of the Snow Queen, Arendelle’s former monarch, was delivered grimly to the palace and instantly attended to by Anna and her friends. Elsa nearly fell in battle against the undead lich Nykras, who was dispatched in an ingenious maneuver by the Fifth Spirit.

The Battle of Northuldra has concluded with a major victory for Northuldra’s people and the elemental guardians. It’s come at a high price, however: a badly wounded Yelena is being attended to by Ryder and Amira, while a grief-stricken Honeymaren has had to personally accompany Elsa to receive treatment alongside Commander Hilde, who’s still recovering from her battle with Yaraslaf. While Elsa is projected to recover more quickly than Hilde, she won’t be in full strength for the final battle, which will be led by the Romanovs’ guardian angel Sora.

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The Battle of Northuldra, Part Three

Featured image “Second Death,” by PURY (@puryartist)

Warning: Violent depictions

Above the wet and rough sands of the Northuldra coast, an eerie portal shrieked open. Two black hands with long, misshapen fingers seized the edges of the portal and pulled their owner from the void. Nykras’ wispy long hair trailed behind his mummified face, and his billowing cape followed his armoured form. His armoured boots stepped onto the beach that Elsa’s bare feet once treaded. Those feet had courageously sprinted and swum across the Dark Sea’s treacherous waters toward her destiny.

Across the stormy waves was Ahtohallan. Source of the five spirits’ power.

Thisss isss my dessstiny too,” whispered Nykras to himself, “to encounter Ahtohallan myssself, and ssseize it for not jussst the eternal sssecurity of the Russian Empire… but for myssself too.”

It was true. To be imbibed with the source of Northuldra’s spirits would elevate the already formidable lich to unimaginably fiendish power. It would guarantee the subjugation of Northuldra and an effortless conquest of Arendelle proper, the seat of power for Elsa’s successor, Anna.

Continue reading “The Battle of Northuldra, Part Three”