Lana Yanovna Rabrenova had had enough.
Her life consisted of dealing with a strict father (Yanolay Timurovich Rabrenov), an insensitive mother (Vladislava Ivanovna Uglitskaya) and two unmarried older sisters (Viktoria (Vika) Yanovna Rabrenova and Veronika (Vera) Yanovna Rabrenova). Yano was a minor Russian noble whose fortune was shrinking, but Slava came from a wealthy middle-class family. The couple and their daughters were about to lose their status when the Dowager Empress Marie came to them. She had an offer that they couldn’t refuse.
The year before, the Imperial couple welcomed the birth of their son, Aleksei Nicholavitch. The boy was cursed with the blood disease hemophilia. The family was worried about the young czarevitch and safety precautions were set up to keep him safe.
That was why the Dowager Empress had approached the Rabrenov family and why Lollys ran away.
“I won’t do it! I won’t!” Lollys snapped in anger after hearing the news that the Dowager Empress had chosen her to bear the czar’s heir. “I won’t bear a child for the czar!”
“But you must, my dear,” said Yano. “You must help your czar.”
“I won’t dishonor my body by giving it to the Czar!” Lollys snapped back. “He might be the ruler of our great country, but he has no right to my body!”
“But you must,” said her mother. “Your sisters cannot do it. Plus, they are unmarried and will remain that way for the rest of their lives. You, on the other hand, are our only hope of our family being able to regain our status.”
Lollys couldn’t believe her ears; her family and the Dowager Empress were forcing her to do something that she refused to do. There is no way that she was going to be a glorified concubine for the czar.
She had to leave.
Within several minutes, she walked away from the crumbling mansion where she was raised and ran down the road. She didn’t know where she was going, but she had to leave immediately. There was no way in all of Russia that she would possibly submit herself to the czar, as great as he was.
Just as she had put several kilometers between her and her family, someone stepped onto her path. He was tall, with golden white hair and sharp green eyes. He was wearing a long black robe with orange embroidery. Lollys knew who he was, for she had overheard stories that her mother shared with her friends about the man who worked for the Czar himself. What she heard were more often than not stories about his sexual exploits and his eight bastard children.
“I know who you are,” she said to the man. “You’re Leo Trichenberg, aren’t you?”
“I am,” said Leo, “and what are you doing out here by yourself on this road, might I ask?”
“I’m running away because the Dowager Empress and my family want me to bear a child for the czar,” said Lollys.
“Oh is that so,” said Leo. “We’ll see about that.”
“What?” said Lollys.
“I can’t believe Marie went behind my back and attempted to hire you to do that,” said Leo. “I warned her against this before. Her son Nicholas is a good and faithful czar who would never think of conceiving a child with another woman.”
“Yet you have eight bastard children,” said Lollys.
“Is that all you know about me?” said Leo.
“Well, everyone in town knows about your children,” says Lollys. “They even know about your youngest daughter who lives with the royal family.”
“Yet they know nothing of my hard work and preventing the Russian Revolution from happening,” said Leo. “But that will change. Now, I must have a word with the Dowager Empress about sneaking behind my back and attempting to do something that she doesn’t have any business doing.”
Lollys frowned, knowing what was going to happen next. Would she end up becoming the mother of Leo Trichenberg’s ninth bastard?
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