Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This scene picks up right where we left off, as morganatic princess Arkadiya Gagarina has finally been prevailed upon to dine with Aleksey and his guests instead of going right back to her hotel. Her left-handedness doesn’t go unnoticed, and she explains that’s her natural inclination, not the result of an injury like her limp. She’s a little worried she might have offended His Majesty, given the societal attitudes towards left-handedness.
This has been slightly tweaked to fit into 10 lines.
With his mother and sisters during the Great War, demonstrating compassion for those who suffer, in one of their hospitals
“That’s certainly unusual, but I’m not offended, since my sister Maríya and my cousin Tíkhon paint and sketch with their left hands, and so did my Dyadya Mísha. God makes everyone a little differently, even if we can’t always understand the reasons why. It’s not always easy being different, but it helps to build compassion for others who are different or mistreated. ‘To have compassion for those who suffer is a human quality which everyone should possess, especially those who have required comfort themselves in the past and have managed to find it in others,’ as Giovanni Boccaccio says in the opening of The Decameron.”
“You’re very literate and well-educated. I’m so proud we have such a national asset on the throne.”
During dinner, Arkadiya mostly listened to Dr. Freud, the Emperor, and the four government leaders discussing both national politics and international events. She also took great interest in Dr. Freud’s reports on the paranoid, delusional Dzhugashvili, whom she was very, very thankful was still in prison. Perhaps even more excitingly, the servants took equal part in the conversation, instead of merely standing about serving people or fading into the woodwork. Tsar Alekséy II was the people’s emperor of everyone’s dreams, like night and day compared to his father and grandfather.
Dzhugashvili, for those who don’t know, is Stalin, who’s been judged far too dangerous and unstable to be let out of jail and rehabilitated like Zinovyev, Kamenev, and several other reformed Bolsheviks. Instead of handing him the death penalty Grand Duke Mikhail wanted, Aleksey wanted to try to cure his mind (from the safety of prison). Carl Jung is also counseling him, though he’s not at this dinner.