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A New Catherine

Sarah Tintagyl

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Princess Cecilia of House Yuan-Hapsburg did not speak Russian. She had never traveled to Russia while regarding the people as exotic, though low of them because of the Marscurian addition. Thus, when she heard the news of her betrothal to the Russian Tsar she stormed into Shizi's throne room, weeping hot tears.


"You can't make me do this!" she snarled at him, holding the tickets for her train ride to St. Petersburg. "You can't make me marry against my will, brother!"


"You could be suffering a much worse fate for what you caused the Empire, sister," Shizi said. He leaned back on his throne, stroking the stubble on his chin. "And you will like Mikhail, he is a great man, knowledgeable, even if a little soft-spoken. For a woman who loves her peace and quiet, Russia seems like a dream world."


"You just want me out of court!"


"No, dear sister, I want you away from court where you can serve the Empire in a meaningful way. The strengthening of our relations with Russia is service. I expect only positive reports from our ambassador in Russia."


"But, brother I will-"


"Go, you will go, and serve the Empire," he smirked. "This will be a good experience for you Cecilia, a first hand experience of how to treat other cultures instead of simply reading about them in books."


Cecilia could do nothing, her luggage was packed and the next day a train bellowed black smoke as she watched the rolling steppe turn to crystal snow. She had entered the land of the Tsars.

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