Author Topic: The Time of Contrast (a story)  (Read 2107 times)

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The Time of Contrast (a story)
« on: August 02, 2007, 03:55:42 PM »
Hi all

I like to think of myself as a writer, and so was testing writing a first person narrative, and for some reason found myself writing from the first person as if I were Maria. It's quite strange really, as I have tried to make this as true to the reality as possible whilst giving Maria a voice and appreciating how her view would of course differ to that of history.

I've tried to get the nicknames right, but I may of used some not actually used by the IF - sorry!

This is having to be divided due to word limit, I'll post more tomorrow.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading this and let me know what you think!



I find it deeply ironic that I, Maria Nicholaivena, Grand Duchess of all Russia who was christened accompanied by a trailing procession endowed with glorious pomp and ceremony made her last journey by means of a rickety old pony trap.

I and Natysa adjusted better to our reduction in circumstance. We got on well with the common people you see, I would speak to anyone, the gangling awkwardly dressed soldiers with their rifles positioned lopsided in their arms, the suspicion ridden peasant women as they held their squalling infants tightly – the façade mattered little to me, I recognized all as being human, all with some degree of goodness and warmth within them. It is a nice way by which to lead life, to set out with caring and warm perceptions of man – it makes it easier to understand and to accept why good people can do bad things.

It was distressing when I learned just how ugly humanity has the potential to be, there were days when I’d doubt my optimistic appraisal of humanity, consider if some people hold no true capacity for love or compassion.

There are to be some things that I simply must explain. As I have mentioned, I am Grand Duchess Maria Nicolaivena, third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, Absolute Autocrat of all the Russias, and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Papa and Mama to us girls and Baby (my brother Alexei's pet name, though how he despised it towards the end! He was of course much too old for such childishness at thirteen!)

We lived a charmed life – it was almost as if we were in a fairy tale world consisting of gorgeous turreted palaces, adoring subjects and rolling stretches of land as our own to do with as we pleased. We had many homes, although I liked Livadia best, it was besides the sea and wandering tentatively into the waves was a pleasure so much greater than any afforded by our wonderful, elaborate toys. We were normal children in many ways, took pleasure in simple things – what made us different is that we had choice.  We had China dolls dressed in the latest Paris fashions with entire trousseaus, we had clockwork bears that lumbered across the nursery’s floor and we boasted beautiful clothes – dresses adorned with vibrantly colored ribbons in delicate white lace.

Essentially, we had too much.

There was a war; it broke out when I had just turned fifteen. It was a horrific, destructive demonstration of carnage and human brutality where Natysa and I could do nothing but smile and comfort the wounded and scarred in our little hospital; we were too young to train as Nurses like Olishka and Tanushka.
I loved our hospital. It was an escape from the palace walls, which I can only describe as restrictive, despite their noble beauty. I and Natysa got bored dreadfully easily, and Natysa was such a terror with it! Some of the tricks and jibes she made were simply wicked – but vastly amusing alongside their crudity. Her jokes were quelled at the hospital, or at least nearly, for she found the sight of dying men in agonizing pain and knowing we could do nothing just as upsetting as I did – her humor resurfaced only in lighter moods.

For example, once she and a solider were playing a game of chess to while away some time and he claimed victory with a final move; she feigned outrage and stomped around the ward - creating a great, melodramatic hullabaloo that resulted in an irrepressible clamor of laughter.

But things got worse as the war dragged and festered on. People began saying bad things about Mama and Papa. They spoke awful, horrendous things about mama – terrible wicked lies. We never knew for certain what they said about her, for no one was ever going to tell us. They slandered Father Gregory, our Holy Man who helped poor little Alexei so much during the worst days of his illness, worst of all. We heard the whispers and grew aware of the guarded looks shot in our direction by gossiping servants; we didn't need to know the words to comprehend the meaning.

Things grew worse in the city. There was a terrible, bitter cold, all of us children apart from me were sick with Measles and Mama came to rely on me, for it was a time of such terrible distress – she was unable to bear the unrelenting pressure by herself and so I ensured I was there to help her.


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Re: The Time of Contrast (a story)
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2007, 05:26:19 PM »
This story is truly a delight to read ;D. And no worries, the nickanames are quite correct! ;) I anticpate the continuation of this.