WeWriWa— “An embarrassment to the throne”

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. This snippet comes right after last week’s, as an arranged meeting with the two oldest Grand Duchesses and potential princely suitors threatens to be derailed by a nearby footman.

Grand Duke Mikhail, the Regent, has said he won’t pursue a policy of insisting only on equal-ranking marriages for the Imperial Family, and the footman makes a dig hinting at Mikhail’s own morganatic marriage. When Mikhail tries to rebuke this footman and remind him of his place, things get even worse.

***

“You’re an embarrassment to the throne,” the servant muttered, a little louder this time. “If only that damned German woman hadn’t failed four times in a row, we wouldn’t be suffering under you as a Regent indefinitely now.  I’m hoping and praying that boy reaches majority, immediately marries, and produces an heir on the first try.  It’s no secret he’s never been well, even if his illnesses have been fewer and further between as he’s gotten older.  At least he doesn’t look like those pathetic invalids in other kingdoms, so we can perhaps count on another five or ten years.”

The princes stood immobilized, not sure whether to say anything, excuse themselves, or continue to stand there trying their best to pretend not to have heard anything.  This certainly wasn’t what they’d even remotely expected when they’d gotten such a generous invitation.

“I’m terribly sorry about this,” Mikhaíl said.

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Mikhail, the youngest son of Aleksandr III, was very easy-going, laid-back, and friendly, but now that he’s compelled into the role of Regent, he’s really stepped up his assertiveness and firmness. That strong hand is about to come to this uppity servant.

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10 comments on “WeWriWa— “An embarrassment to the throne”

  1. Awkward situation. I feel bad for the visiting princes. I think Mikhail’s about to come down hard on the footman. Good 8. Nice job of writing the atmosphere!

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  2. Well, don’t be shy Mr. Footman. Tell us what you really think! I have a feeling someone’s about to deliver a smackdown. 🙂

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  3. caitlinstern says:

    Whoa! Is that guy fired? He ought to be fired!

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  4. Sarah W says:

    I believe that servant needs to learn that “easy-going” doesn’t mean weak or stupid. Or forgiving.

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  5. Jenna Jaxon says:

    I wonder if he’s a spy sent to foment unrest about the Regent. if not, then he’s incredibly stupid. Bet he regrets those words in about 2 seconds! Engaging snippet.

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  6. How embarrassing for everyone. No one likes that kind of drama. This is a very intriguing snippet.

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  7. Much as I love this alternate history, I’m having a hard time imagining a mere footman saying all these things to nobility, even under the conditions prevailing at the time. I’d need a reason for his lack of fear in expressing these opinions. Is he a revolutionary? About to produce a bomb? 100 years old? Did Mikhail run such a lax household that the servants do this kind of thing often? I have to say I can’t wait for Mikhail’s response! So you’ve certainly got my attention LOL.

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  8. I think I’m going to start saying that to people now, only I’ll substitute “throne” for whatever. Get my order wrong? “You’re an embarrassment to McDonald’s!” 😀

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  9. I bet the wrath will be really bad.

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  10. Alexis Duran says:

    Sounds like the footman has death wish, or really hates his job. I’ll be interested to hear Mikhail’s reaction.

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