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original critiques > Natalya (sonya)| crown under fire

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Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments I would rate this PG-13 for suggestive elements and language.

message 2: by Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (last edited Jun 13, 2016 02:20PM) (new)

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments Characters:
VLADIMIR V, the emperor, about 45
NATALYA FYODOROVNA, his mother, the Dowager Empress about 60
GRAND PRINCESS KIRA VLADIMIROVNA, his daughter. Empress Maria, Kira and Aleksey’s mother, died while giving birth to her, so she is considered bad luck. 16 - ISFJ
EMPRESS ALEXANDRINE , Princess of Khristonia, second wife of Vladimir, about 30, very reclusive, ISFP
COUNTESS ELIZAVETA ROSTOVA , court clairvoyant, 20 - INTJ
PRINCE ANDREY BELIKOV, associate minister of the interior. (Looks like Blake DeLong) Andrey is often late, thus the phrase “Andrey isn’t here”, about 30
GRAND PRINCE PETR KIRILLOVICH, chief of all minister, emperor’s brother, 45

PIERRE HAMILTON, Columbian ambassador born of undesirable circumstances, and often called, especially by Laurens, “Bastard son of a whore” about 30
THEOPHILUS LAURENS, his attache, 23
IGNATIUS MULLIGAN, his other attaché, 24


As I need help fleshing out the characters, there will be questions about the characters for the reader in bold at the bottom of each chapter

message 3: by Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (last edited Jun 13, 2016 02:19PM) (new)

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments It has been about twenty years since the Rasiyan Empire has fought a civil war. They are a land in a world not dissimilar from ours, save the strange plants that grow out of occasional mountain cracks. A commodity of similar rarity to these unusual plants are unusual people, to whom masks and fates are not uncertain. However, Rasiya is like any hereditary monarchy: duplicity lies on every side, rebellion and injustice are common, and there is always the need for there to be several heirs at once.

Thus, the crown prince must be married. Foreign royals are the most common brides, but if the circumstance does not allow such a marriage, he may be allowed to marry a commoner, as an “alliance with the people.” The results of such a marriage are questionable and the risks are high, but there must be a continuing family line. Such a marriage involves bringing twenty-one candidates to the palace from which to select one bride for the crown prince. It is quite economically taxing to provide things for the girls, but anything must be done for the sake of maintaining the dynasty.

message 4: by Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (last edited Jun 13, 2016 02:26PM) (new)

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments *One*
      “I highly suggest we open the windows, your majesty,” declared Countess Elizaveta Rostova as the thick perfumed air built up in the meeting room of the palace. With its seaside location, Nikolaevgrad, the capital of the Rasiyan empire had been blessed with moderate temperatures, but the humidity and discomfort of wearing a tight corset, not to mention the cologne worn by each of the court ministers, made the room unbearable.

      “I would agree to that statement,” said the Empress Dowager, the emperor’s aging mother and, Elizaveta noted, the only other woman in the room. Her rare clairvoyant powers - the ability to see people’s futures, the fates of their loved ones, and to a lesser extent, what they hid behind masks - had taken her places farther than she could have imagined. Ever since a specialist from the far-off kingdom of Anglia had declared her powers to be genuine, Elizaveta had been forced to stick close to the court and keep the imperial family in touch with their futures.

     That day, her sixteenth birthday, had been but three days before her official presentation at the Imperial court. Some days, she wondered if her life could’ve been so much different had the Anglian man, the one other person of her kind, been caught in one of the frequent winter storms and not arrived in time.
Nevertheless, her attentions were required elsewhere.

     “I would agree as well, mother,” The emperor replied. He gestured to a servant. “Please open the windows.”

      Vladimir V, emperor of all Rasiya and fifth ruler of the Dashkov dynasty stood about twice the height of a table, small for a man descended from Northern warriors. His hair appeared to have been brown, and perhaps blond in his youth, but as expected, pressures of the job were rapidly turning it grey. His son, the charming Crown Prince Aleksey, sat to his left in an elaborately carved wood chair that matched the table around which they sat, the Dowager Empress being on his right. Elizaveta sat several chairs down from him next to Grand Prince Pyotr Kirillovich, the emperor’s brother.

     The emperor rapped on the table several times, which sent a minor shock among the men and woman nearest him. Their reactions surprised her, considering that the emperor’s late father would’ve been much more angry.

     He rapped on the table again, much harder, and the emperor’s advisors finally looked up from their various conversations.

      “Aleksey Vladimirovich Dashkov,” he said at last. “The war is close to an end and to say the least, some provinces have been displeased with the results. Your grandmother and I have now come to the conclusion that it would be best for us to begin searching for your future bride.”

      The Dowager continued. “Your father and I have also begun to realize it nearly impossible to find a bride from among the royal courts at the end of a war who is not your first cousin and therefore ineligible. Due to this, your father proposes an alternate technique by which your late honored grandfather found myself-”

      “Must we do this now?” the Crown Prince demanded. “Not to mention that bringing twenty-one girls to the palace the way your grandfather did is a terrible economic and security risk. Even a smaller number could be a huge financial burden.

     “I may only live a few more years, only the Lord knows,” the emperor sighed, “And even if I do not part from this realm in the near future, it is best for you to be prepared and for the factions which once backed Louis of Hessenfeld to realize that we Dashkovs capable of producing another heir. And if we only brought fifteen girls from around the empire as potential candidates for marriage-”

     “But what does my marrying a nonroyal girl do for us politically?”

     “If an alliance with a foreign country can be secured by marrying a foreign royal, then an alliance with the people could be similarly ensured by marrying one of our own,” The Dowager explained. “It also gives them a chance to bring up their concerns. Even if you can’t find a wife, bring a group of girls from different walks of life and different parts of the empire can make you a better man.”

      Elizaveta turned to the dowager. “May I have permission to stand, your majesty?”

The dowager nodded. “Feel free to do so.”

      “The issue is,” Elizaveta said, “that your majesties have not discussed the security risk of bringing in even fifteen girls to the palace.”

      “I believe their majesties assume you able to take responsibility for the security risk,” said Prince Andrey Belikov, associate minister of the Interior.

      Elizaveta shook her head. “Visions are not predictable. I cannot see everything.”

     “This man doesn’t speak for me,” said the emperor. “And he forgets that we must screen all the eligible girls through the local governments before they can be considered to be candidates.”

Prince Aleksey stood up. “I would agree, but there are some things in this process we cannot be sure of.”

     “But there is no better way to do this at the present,” the Dowager answered. “Whether you find fifteen girls brought to the palace or through courtship with a foreign royal who may or may not be your cousin, the process of finding a bride will take some time and we cannot delay this much longer.” She raised her voice to the entire assembly. “We must begin the preparations!”
Having seated himself during the Dowager’s speech, the emperor stood up again.

     “Prince Andrey Belikov.” he gestured to the associate Interior minister. “I put you in charge of this. Send out notices across the empire and find the fifteen most eligible girls. The process shall begin as soon as all the girls are selected.” He turned to the crown prince. “I wish you luck and happiness.”

      Elizaveta and the crown prince left the room together.

     “I feel uneasy about this,” she said. “I don’t know why.”

What do you see in Elizaveta, Aleksey, and the Dowager after this chapter?

Jasmine | ModernScrolls (modernscrolls) Elizaveta
From what I've read from this passage, I haven't gotten too clear of an idea on Elizaveta's character yet. She seems cautious and quiet, and perhaps a little unsure of herself (in regards to her visions). However she seems to be firm and hold strong in believing her feelings. She appears to be a knowledgeable character.

From what I've read from this passage, I do not know how I feel about Aleksey's character. Upon first impression I immediately thought of him as an arrogant and uninterested young man. My first thought was that he didn't give any care about what was going on - he seemed almost inconvenienced. However, further into the chapter I still have that sort of arrogant feeling about him, but it is evident that he is knowledgeable about what he's talking about. It is clear that he has at least some interest in what is going on.

So far the Dowager seems to give off an air of extreme wisdom. I get the impression that she will play a valuable role in this story due to the wisdom that she has, and the power that she seems to hold.

I hope that this helps!

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments thanks so much!

Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18) (violabelcik) | 42 comments “We have to be almost there,” sighed Katerina Petrychenkova. “It’s been two weeks and I can smell fragrances in the air which seem of a kind one can only find at the palace.”
The carriage driver slowed the horses to a trot along the rocky path towards the lower gates at the Summer Palace. This relieved the horses, who had traveled a great distance from Katerina’s home province to the southwest, where her family owned a decent amount of land. Katerina herself, who preferred the diminutive Katya, had the good fortune of being one of the fifteen girls to compete for the Crown Prince’s hand. She knew only the basics of politics and the motives of its people, having not yet made her first appearance at a ball, but knew herself to be somewhat beautiful, despite her “garishly bright” red hair, a fair enough dancer, skilled in music, and most of all a quick learner, skills that could aid her on the path to the throne. Not only that, her mother was a Larin, from the wealthiest family in all Rasiya. Everyone needed the Larins on their side.

A carriage that had been previously behind them caught up to them as soon as Katya’s driver reached the lower gate. As he handed the gatekeeper their pass, she turned around for a better look at the carriage to her right, a more elegant city carriage pulled by a pair of white mares. There was a large crest on the side, one distinctive and familiar to Katya’s eyes: the unmistakable Galitsky crest.

The Galitskys, like most of the fifteen girls’ families, were an influential clan in the court at Nikolaevgrad. Katya had little knowledge of the court’s great power struggle, but the Galitskys and the Latins had never been on good terms, and even her youngest siblings knew that a Galitsky - or Galitskaya - meant trouble for them.

As the driver of the Galitsky carriage handed the gatekeeper and identical pass to the one Katya’s driver had pulled out, he was likely to be driving Princess Alexandra, the eldest Galitskaya daughter. It eluded Katya how they’d picked her, considering the Golitskys had a less-than-stellar reputation of supporting the current monarchs. Hopefully the prince would have her leave by the first round of elimination - the formal way to narrow down a field of up to 21 girls - if he had any sense.

Due to the small size of the path Aleksandra and Katya were to travel on, accompanied by one of the soldiers at the gate, the carriages were ordered to turn around at the gate and the entering girls would walk the rest of the way to the palace. Behind her and Aleksandra, two girls in peasant dress entered through the gate on mules. One, Katya heard, was Datevig Basamrian, a Hayastani from the empire’s southern territories, and the other Galina Tereshchenko. The embroidery on the latter’s sleeve indicated that she was from the southwestern agricultural regions, somewhere around where Katya lived. She was small with dark hair and eyes, considered in Katya’s area to be quite beautiful, but rode in on a dumpy mule, perhaps the only thing her village could find.

Come to think of it, Katya had seen the girl before.

As she proceeded up the path, Aleksandra joined her. Katya was reluctant to talk to a Galitskaya, but a little small talk couldn’t hurt anyone.

“I bet you she’ll end up as his mistress,” Aleksandra blurted, pointing to Galina but not bothering to introduce herself.

Katya furrowed. “Why?”

“Look, I know you’re innocent country folk and all, but you can’t be ignorant to the fact that… not all an emperor’s children are the empress’s.”

“I know that, but why her?”

“She’s pretty, but marrying her isn’t politically advantageous,” Aleksandra answered. “But if he falls in love with her, that’s what’s going to happen.”

“You might not want to say that when she’s within earshot,” Katerina sighed. “And how do you know the prince well enough to make that judgement?”

What do you see in Katerina and Aleksandra?

What improvements should I make here?

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