January 01, 2022

The Tsarina's Daughter


The Tsarina's Daughter

In the Winter Palace, St. Nicholas Day, 6th December 1741

Ivan is innocent – my little nephew is a baby, and as pure as only a one-year-old can be. But tonight, at my order, the infant Tsar will be guilty as charged.

I fight the urge to pick him up and kiss him; it would only make things worse. Beyond his nursery door, there is a low buzzing sound, like of angry bees ready to swarm the Winter Palace. Soldier’s boots scrape and shuffle. Spurs clink like stubby vodka glasses and bayonets are being fixed to muskets. These are the sounds of things to come. The thought spikes my heart with dread.


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