Michael’s Musings: Queen Anna’s birthday celebration – and a surprise guest…

Featured image art by Arute (@ast05water)

By Michael, trade minister of Arendelle

You may have read in The Arendelle Guardian, my fellow subscribers and readers, all about the celebration of our Queen Anna’s birthday on the 21st of June.

It was a roaring good time and I want to thank all of us who came together and made it the success it was! Sir Alan, Countess Vi, Commander Hilde, Gertrude, Hilde, Tess, Gerda, and myself all pitched in to make this celebration unforgettable! Even Queen Emerita Elsa, my Snow Queen niece, with the help of my Snow Princess great-niece Danny, made a couple of beautiful ice and permafrost sculptures to add a bit of frozen beauty to that lovely, sunny day. 

No RSVP’S, no “By invitation only,” we wanted this open so everyone could wish our humble, kind, positive, energetic Queen a special “Happy Birthday!” She wields immense power, yet is very approachable and kind to all.

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Journals of the Exalted II: The Ruby Tiger

Featured image art “The New Exalted” by Arute (@ast05water)

Welcome to Journals of the Exalted! This is Part II of a four-part series exploring each member of Anna’s new Exalted. Now that she’s accepted leadership of this secret society, she’ll also be responsible for putting it together… before Lord Yixin tasks her with his ultimate objective.

Make sure to follow each member’s story:

Overture: Your Burden

Part I: The Gold Reindeer

Part II: The Ruby Tiger

Part III: The Sapphire Phoenix

Part IV: The Emerald Dragon


BREAKING: “It’s like my heart, twisted into a knot, has been freed”: Anna Overjoyed as Colisa of Chatho Arrives in Arendelle

By Brunhilde, Politics Editor for The Arendelle Guardian

In a remarkable turn of events, Ottoman general Tileke has succeeded in her rescue expedition, having retrieved Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and the Duke of Weselton from shipwrecks off the coasts of the Batavian Republic and Germany. She was also able to rescue Queen Colisa of Chatho, Anna’s primary international ally.

Our queen Anna, upon hearing of the news, was said by courtiers to have burst into tears of joy and emotion. It wasn’t lost on her high command that she instantly gave orders for Tileke to have Colisa come to Arendelle first. As of now, neither Anna nor General Mattias have disclosed their plans concerning Colisa with the press.

The three sovereigns, along with Mari of Vesterland, are members of Anna’s Entente of Small Kingdoms, an alliance that Anna formed in order to collectively resist the pressure of larger kingdoms, empires, and colonial powers. However, the alliance proved unable to mount an effective military resistance against the Russian invasion of Arendelle, with the fleets of Chatho, the Southern Isles, and Weselton obliterated and Vesterland neutralized. With Arendelle now in a position of newfound power and influence after standing alone against Katina Romanov, it’s uncertain what Anna will choose to do with the Entente.

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Palace Statement: Anna’s Response to British Neutrality in the Face of Tsarist Aggression

Featured image art by PURY (@puryartist)

Signed and sealed by the queen on 7 December, 1843.

Submitted by the palace to the Great Assembly of the House of Ministers and House of Jarls on 7 December, 1843.

Released to the press on 8 December, 1843.

I read with dismay the decision of Lord Palmerston, British foreign secretary, to refrain from a public condemnation of Russian aggression against Arendelle and our allies, collectively known as the Entente of Small Kingdoms. This one stings personally. I remember how, in the early months of my reign, he and I negotiated a mutually beneficial deal that curbed the power of the East India Company – something that both Kristoff’s Princely House and the British parliament had wanted. Why have our overtures been rebuffed this time?

Our diplomats enjoy a good relationship with Britain’s, and behind the scenes there’s plenty of communication and agreement on the direction of Europe’s balance of power. However, I want to note my disappointment at the British Empire’s refusal to throw its support behind the Entente, something that the Duke of Weselton and Mari of Vesterland had been agitating for some time.

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Anna’s Column: Realign, Restructure, Recover!

By HM Queen Anna

I want to start this column by thanking my beloved Elsa for her tireless encouragement. She’s supported me in public through her column in this paper, and in private during my most vulnerable and fragile moments. I want to thank my inner court, my government, and all my friends. I want to thank my allies for sticking with my alliance, despite my recent humiliation at Harrison’s hands. I want to thank the Duke and Mari for being so kind to extend their apologies, which I don’t accept, because there’s nothing – zero, nada, zilch – to say sorry for. If you were ever captured again by Harrison, I’d gladly give up the rest of my trade rights with the Celestial Empire to save you.

I want to thank Peony Sinclair for easing the terms of the Treaty of Weselton with Harrison. I know I have a complicated relationship with the Exalted, and I know you were trying to protect me. And most of all, dear citizen, I want to thank you for your faith in me. I promise to do my very best as your most prominent public servant.

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Anna’s Column: My Crisis and Despair

By HM Queen Anna

I’m stunned. My hands are trembling, my palms are cold yet clammy.

Things were going so well – Chatho, thanks to Colisa’s foresight and military strength, remains untouchable by Skau-Krogh. Kristoff had even been buying up Skau-Krogh’s bonds despite their price, raising Skau-Krogh’s value even as Lars was trying to dump Bjorgman stock at a discount. It sounds counterintuitive, but Kristoff’s financiers are gradually persuading Skau-Krogh’s investors that he’d be a better boss for Skau-Krogh than Lars. There’s even talk of a merger in the air, depending on which trading house bests the other.

I was so sure that after Colisa’s defeat of Skau-Krogh’s privateers, it wouldn’t be amiss to let the Duke of Weselton set off for his duchy. Skau-Krogh’s privateers had occupied his land, but we’d devised a two-pronged assault in tandem with Mari of Vesterland’s troops. I’d boosted his forces with one of Mattias’ own contingents, whose troops had received brief training by Commander Hilde. The Duke and Mari’s commanders had wanted to move quickly, and I agreed to the gamble.

And now… oh, dear citizen, you’ve probably read the morning news already.

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Gunboat Diplomacy: Skau-Krogh Attacks Weselton

The shores of the Duchy of Weselton were always covered in a thick fog, especially in the early hours of the morning. Usually the watchguard patrolling the fortifications of the coast would wait for the first rays of dawn’s light to penetrate the mist, before greeting the beautiful rising sun with a breakfast of bread, fruit, and tea atop their forts.

There wasn’t much to do here. Every ship that passed through this coastal border was either a trade delegation, civilian tourist ship, or diplomatic vessel. Day after day, the soldiers’ rifles would be idly lined up against the walls of the forts as they patrolled away the mornings and afternoons. When evening came, they’d return to their barracks to dine heartily, play cards, and even go for a dip in the waters. The seaside wasn’t a bad posting for a soldier with little appetite for real battle.

That would change today.

It wasn’t even six o’clock. There were disturbed, panicked mutters and arguments between the troops on the highest points of the Weselton defences as the mists began to part, sliced aside by the smooth hulls of powerful, stately war clippers. The coastal guard shot several warning fires into the sky.

“Stop and prepare to be boarded for inspection!” he barked, but the ships ignored him. “Oi! OI!”

The troops, sensing something was wrong, joined in the shouting, and a flag of final warning – red – was raised. But the ships continued sailing towards them.

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Anna and Mattias: War Games by Firelight

Arendelle Castle

Anna sat in her lime green nightdress by the Great Hall’s fireplace, where she ate dinner with Kristoff and would often frequent for a late night supper alone. It was becoming more and more a habit, thanks to long hours working and staying awake well past midnight, before the crack of dawn forced her up to attend to national affairs once more. It was a far cry from when Elsa would drag her out of bed.

Tonight wasn’t much better as she sat by the warm fireplace, her hands around a wooden mug of black tea. She didn’t turn around as she heard boots nearing her. She heard her general’s deep, reproachful voice.

“You went ahead with writing that column and asking Chief to publish it. You included the leaks about the Countess’s troop mobilization against Northuldra, everything. Now everyone knows about our shadow war with Viola, against my expressed wishes.”

She hung her head. “Can you at least sit with me before you chew me out?”

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