“You must be certain this is what you wish to do Anastasia, once we do this there is no going back!” His voice softened, “I only want what’s best for you.” His voice, so much like his fathers’, made my eyes sting and took me back in time. Back to the time when I lived in the mesmerizing world of Tzars and Empresses, of grand palaces and elegant parties. It was a beautiful, enchanting time, that was gone much too soon.
Laughter infused the air amid the brilliant lights and alluring melody drifting from the orchestra. “Come Mashka, dance with me, dance with me!” My sister Maria turned and smiled at me. “My lady, would you honor me this dance?” she said with a smirk, bowing and extending her hand. A giggle escaped my lips as I curtsied and accepted, and grew as she spun us around. We continued around the ballroom with much enthusiasm, gaily prancing round and round to the orchestras’ serenade. “Now now, what have we here? It seems my little kotyata are up past their bedtimes, no?” We froze at the deep timbre of my father’s voice. Slowly turning, we sheepishly grinned at him. Through his stern glare, we could see the sparkle of his eyes and the subtle tilt of his lips he was struggling to suppress. “No, no, no, this simply won’t do. What would your mother say if she saw you, hmm? No, we must quickly hide ourselves in the crowd. Hurry, let us dance to remain unseen,” He said with a wink. He dragged us to the center of the ballroom: shrieking with laughter we whirled, the bright lights fading into a memory.
“N-n-no...,” I responded, entirely unconvincing. “You’ll be fine. It’s time you take back your birthright. Bring justice to your family. I’ll be right here alongside you, I swear it.” Gleb said encouragingly. “No matt...
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... sisters all gasped, and started crying. I was stunned. I was completely, utterly speechless. It was through a daze that I heard Papa shouting, begging to take him, just spare his family,” tears stung the back of my eyes, the lump in my throat making it difficult to continue.
The crowd before me disappeared as I hurtled back in time, reliving that painful night. Ignoring him, Sverdlov had ordered that we line up along the back wall against the plastered wood. At this point we were all crying, and did so in resignation. Two of the guards refused to shoot my sisters, mother, and I; they were discharged. Their replacements had no such reservations. My sisters and Alexei were wailing. After what seemed an eternity, Sverdlov gave the command to fire. I closed my eyes, braced for the pain. The sound was deafening. I felt a great jolt, but no pain as I staggered backward.