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Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) Thawing Maria is the story for which my other story is a prequel to.

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) ONE:
The Snow Queen’s footprints echoed maddeningly throughout the clear halls of ice. Trying to sleep, all Maria Romanova could do was lie awake and play everything back and forth in her head. Regret fills my chest like the waves of the Baltic Sea upon St. Petersburg she felt everything she'd never seen since I turned three. Remembering again the fateful July morning, everything seemed clear as glass.

She saw Anastasia, struggling against the guard’s grip.
Anna, the maid, loyal to death to my family, rising from the ground in a half-baked last move of defiance before the fatal shot hits her.

She could have saved them both, or even everyone, but she feared for her own life only.

Maria moved even further into the library of memory. Not to see the snowball fights she played with her sisters. Not to see her and cousin Louis, who might have married her but to my grandmother, the Dowager Empress. She loved her so much, yet no matter what, Maria wasn’t enough for Grandmother. Anastasia took the role of the Dowager’s favorite.

But what she saw most clearly about Grandmother was the time she sat the five royal children down for a bit of her own life story.

She didn’t see her rags-to-riches poor-little-unimportant-minor-Danish-princess early life.
She didn’t see her dream marriage gone awry with her fiancé’s death.

She saw the stories grandmother heard as a little girl, curled up in a cold bedroom of a palace borrowed from her childless uncle, the king of Denmark, who eventually took in her father as his heir.

he saw the famed storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, sitting by her bed and every other world he spun for the eager young princes and princesses.
The future Queen of England sat at the foot of the bed. The future King of Greece stood by the side of the bed, zoning off.

And the future Tsarina of Russia, Maria’s grandmother sat right at Andersen’s side, smiling, though unaware of her destiny, as he created before their very ears the story of Gerda, the humble little girl who journeys to the far north to save her best friend from the Snow Queen’s icy grip. Maybe she thought she could be that girl, or maybe she wants to hear stories of princesses like her and their Handsome Princes and happy endings.

The happiness hurt Maria. She couldn’t be the future Queen of England. She had no happy ending. No matter what she wanted, there would never be a handsome prince.

Even against the ugly truths, what hurt her most was nothing but the very fairy tale. She didn’t listen when my grandmother spun it, just like she heard it so many years ago. Instead, she felt my impossible dreams of her Russian soldier and twenty children so much more important than a tale that could never be real, even though it was more real than she’d ever imagine.
Maria felt like ignorant little Kai, who walked out into the snow and was taken prisoner. She didn’t heed her grandmother’s warnings and now she lived forever trapped in a palace of ice, dreading the day that this woman she thought nothing but a tale would freeze her very soul. Worse than that, Maria had no friends still alive. No Gerda. Only some camel slowly freezing to death with a bunch of useless magical abilities. He barfed rainbows, for one.

“Hello Maria Nikolaevna,” he sighed for the hundredth time. “I’m a magic camel who will help you. What wouldst thou have?”

“Nothing, Jerry,” Maria sighed, calling the camel by what he claimed was his “Christian name.” That was, if camels had any sense of a higher presence.

Sitting above Jerry lay an entirely different world of her own imagination made of the carvings on the walls Maria created when she first came here. She had a girl on skates, a magnificent gallery of snowflakes and Our Lady of The Snows, her masterpiece. She stood in a niche Maria had painstakingly carved out of her upper wall, holding a tiny swaddled ice baby, bringing back memories of home so lost in the wave of history. She’d wanted to bring back happy memories of obednya in Tsarskoe Selo, the imperial village, but she could only see grief, pain, and maybe just the slightest bit of hope in my sculpture’s icy eyes. The idea of something beyond her world. Somewhere maybe she could escape to.

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