Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. These lines come immediately after last week’s, from the opening of the second chapter of my alternative history WIP, And Aleksey Lived, depicting the morning after that never happened in real life. Thirteen-year-old Aleksey is very surprised to wake up to find friendly new guards in the house and his parents gone, and particularly confused at how he’s being addressed as “Your Majesty.”
Alekséy rubbed the sleep from his eyes, careful not to pull on his delicate skin too much. “What are you talking about? Last night I had a horrible nightmare we were taken into the cellar and shot, but White soldiers burst in after my parents had been murdered. Can I see my parents now so I’ll know they’re safe?”
The soldier shook his head and crossed himself. “I’m truly sorry, Your Majesty, but that nightmare was real. Your parents are in the other world now. We were just too late to save them.”
Maybe it was a little cruel of me to change the opening of this story, during the near-complete redo, so that the rescuers were just too late to save the Tsar and Tsaritsa. They were all rescued in the original, unfinished version of this book. But I just realized it would cause more harm than good for the Imperial children, given how cloistered and co-dependent they were, and how the Grand Duchesses in particular were extremely socially and emotionally stunted. This cloistered, co-dependent existence was a big reason why they weren’t married at normal ages for royal women in their era. Many people have speculated Alix would’ve been an over-involved, domineering mother-in-law.
I also felt it would be best for Aleksey’s emotional and psychological independence to be left an orphan and thus be forced away from his parents’ constant overprotectiveness and babying. It helps to make him a healthy, normal adult, able to make his own decisions and break with draconian Imperial traditions, and also makes sure his future bride doesn’t have to compete with her mother-in-law to be the first woman in his heart.