When Count Valdai died, he left his only daughter, Rosalind, in the care of his friend Olga, Duke of Tula. When Rosalind had grown from a beautiful child to a more beautiful young woman, she left the Duke's great estate on the Russian steppes and went with him to Moscow, where on account of her beauty and wealth, she attracted a great deal of attention from the young noblemen of the Court of Peter the Great. Most prominent among these was the young Count, Conrad Damonoff, for whom Rosalind cared not at all. Her affections were entirely centered on another man, Ruric Nevel, "The Gunmaker of Moscow." Duke Olga's debts were numerous and pressing. Of all possible ways of getting the money to meet them, one seemed to him particularly obvious and practical. He was the nearest relative of the rich young Count Damonoff. If Damonoff were only out of the way, Olga would be rich. So Olga decided that Damonoff must die, Olga knew that Ruric Nevel was the finest swordsman in Russia. By his ...
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