Her name is not Anastasia. She remembers her real name, and often writes it down in the angular script of her native language. Anavasavsta. The British have a hard time with the pronunciation of it, often shortened it to “Anya”, or just called her “Princess”. The Deep Martian tongue sounds Slavic to an English ear, and so when they decided to give her an Earth name, they chose one that sounded close to her real one – or it sounded close to them at least.
She doesn’t look like one of them. Martian skin is red, and hers is especially dark – a blood red shade they find shocking. She has the small rows of horns on her forehead – the largest only as long as the smallest finger joint – just above her eyes. Her eyes are wide and dark, in the bright light of Earth they contract and look slitted to humans. Some of them call her a devil when they think she can’t hear them, but she has very good ears. She is tall for a human woman, though she is short for a Martian. On Mars she would have grown taller, on Earth she has grown up beneath the heavy hand of gravity.
The humans say her black hair is pretty, but they all look at her strangely, even the ones who are accustomed to her. She is different from them in so many small ways, and she notices them as much as they do. She has lived on Earth since she was nine years old, and she has become used to their pale skins and squat features, their white-rimmed eyes and flat teeth. Yet they cannot forget she was born on another world, and they never let her forget it.
Now she is going home. To the dim red world she remembers almost like a dream. She knows she will be stronger there, that the heavy gravity of Earth has made her muscles and bones dense and powerful compared to other Martians. The thin air will be hard to adjust to, as she has become inured to the thick atmosphere of Earth. She is in company with a regiment of soldiers, and they want her to take back the throne that was stolen from her mother and her family. She doesn’t know if she wants a throne, she isn’t sure if she wants revenge, or freedom, or neither. She is nineteen years old – very young still for a Martian – and she does not know if she can be a queen.
Come and see my campaign, help me tell Anastasia's stoy.