Only my memoirs hint at the true insanity ...

      (From the lost memoirs of Catherine the Great in her youth)

   Niccolo and I argued last evening while I attempted to relax at Big Sur and watch the Golden Hind sailing south. I love Mother Yarrow Maria, and her presence is a reassuring one, though annoying at times. She can keep no secrets, because Niccolo will not have it. I reminded him that I died after confronting Da Vinci, and in effect, he had been the one who condemned me to that fate. My youthful and naive self was killed by ErĂ©ndira, sent by Da Vinci, and all because of Niccolo. She and I might still have failed to kill the pompous God One on Mars, but at least those monsters ErĂ©ndira and Mandukhai would not have been present. And as I consider it further, 'God One' is an appropriate term for the likes of Da Vinci, for like an Old Testament Jehovah he brings wrath and manipulates whole nations, laying waste without conscience. Most strange though, this time travel business, especially when one considers the way in which the altered past can suddenly inflict guilt and other terrible memories never before possessed.
    I know that as Czarina I will raise a feudal Russia from the muck of ages, and do many good things to alleviate the people's suffering. This future I see for myself, but at what cost? Who can possibly understand what I must endure? I read about myself in books, in libraries and other places in future years, though only my memoirs hint at the true insanity of life with Peter. Though I find it still unbelievable, I am now one of the four most powerful beings on this obscure planet at the rim of a petty galaxy, and yet I must endure an infantile hell created by a moronic fool. Only my escapes in time at the request of Saravastra and Niccolo provide any relief, and the adventures I experience, however fruitless or meaningful, are well received by me. Anything is good substitute, even Virgin Mary torture when compared to the maddening presence of "the whelp" as so many call him.

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