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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Michael’s Musings: A personal letter to the Romanovs’ guardian

From: Michael, trade minister of the Kingdom of Arendelle and managing director of A&N Freightlines

To: Alexander Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

To my angelic friend in the name of our Lord:

First, allow me to go out on a limb and ask that you keep this letter secret from your mistress, Katina Romanov. Burn it with your celestial fire, while you burn the words themselves in your mind. Katina might punish you and make things worse for both our families.

I was thinking about our conversation when we watched the sun set on the fjord, here in Arendelle. You talked about your loyalty to the tsars and the Romanovs of Russia. From our conversation, I can tell that your loyalty to them is unquestionable. Please allow me this observation.

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Anna’s Destiny, Katina’s Tragedy

Featured image art by chō/chou (@smolmushroomm)

Some years ago. Saint Petersburg, Russia

“Sora! Sora!”

A little girl of five in a frilly dress and elaborately done hair ran to her elegantly garbed guardian angel in the vast hallway of the Alexander Palace. She was waving a book about excitedly. Sora smiled at the approaching heir to the tsar’s throne. “It’ll be your birthday tomorrow. What are you still doing running around the palace?” she asked the princess.

“Looking for you. Can I please, pretty please, borrow another feather from you?”

“To stick in your scrapbook, Katina? Of course,” said Sora, beaming as she unfurled a divine wing behind her and plucked a radiant feather from it. “Your mother and father are so pleased, as am I, that you’re already learning to journal. I want to encourage you every step of the way.”

Katina giggled gratefully as Sora put the feather in her chubby hand, and she kissed its soft barbs. “Oh, my princess. You honour me,” said Sora.

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Tense meeting between Anna and Hans as new allies explore options against Russia

Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)

ARENDELLE; SOUTHERN ISLES – The leader of the new signatory to the Entente of Small Kingdoms, Prince Hans of the Southern Isles, arrived in Arendelle for tense talks with the queen this morning.

There’s no secret that for several years, well after Elsa’s coronation, Hans was persona non grata in Arendelle. He was seen by the public, the press, and his own family back home as having deceived both royal sisters during their most vulnerable and fragile period, and nearly destroyed them and orchestrated a coup. But with Hans serving his time in the Southern Isles’ dungeons, and Arendelle’s funding of the dominion’s reconstruction after Commander Hilde’s vicious plundering earlier this year, Anna and Hans have agreed to put aside past hostility to survive the imminent onslaught of a truly global power: Imperial Russia.

It’s largely agreed between the new allies that Arendelle, as Katina Romanov’s primary target, will take the military might of Katina’s war machine head-on, while the members of the Entente split into two groups to stymie Russia’s offensive. Chatho and Vesterland will strike at Russia from the south, and the Southern Isles and Weselton from the north. More updates to come in our newspaper.

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Anna’s Column: We Move Forward Together

By HM Queen Anna

Thanks to everyone’s help, Arendelle has never been in a stronger position, geopolitically and economically. But that means the stakes are higher than ever. Given the volatile global environment, our kingdom needs to take stock of the fronts requiring our attention. It’s part and parcel of the joy and burden of being your queen, your First Servant.

Without further ado:

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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.

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To My Imperial Mentor, from a Devoted Student

Your Imperial Highness, Prince Regent Yixin:

Good health to you, and thank you so much for your long and nuanced letter from a couple of months ago. You must have written it fairly quickly after I appointed Countess Vi my prime minister.

Your rebuke was restrained, but I felt your irritation. I could almost close my eyes and see your hand trembling in patrician fury while writing the words. I’ve earned not just your ire, but also the anger of the rulers and power-brokers in your circle. It’s the first time I’ve openly disobeyed a request from you, after all.

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Diarchy, Schmiarchy: Anna and Elsa are nothing to us

Your Imperial Highness Yixin, Prince Regent of the Great Qing Empire,

I trust you’re in good health! In the past year I haven’t had the chance to sail to Canton, to visit the American factory there. Our tai-pans are very busy at this time of year, with many merchants moving to the ports that your emperor has opened. But I trust that global events, which we’ve always steered with confidence, will bring us back together soon enough.

I hope you visit Berkeley Plantation one day and let me host your stay in our beautiful Virginia. As heir to one of her First Families, what I say pretty much goes. You haven’t had apple pie before, have you?

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