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A Russian Revolution Story

Discussion in 'Creativity Surge' started by Erebus, May 28, 2006.

  1. Erebus Gems: 16/31
    Latest gem: Shandon

    Oct 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Hey, haven't posted here in a while, so I thought I might comeback with a story. Enjoy. Oh, and sorry if it's a bit dense, I tried to write it in a more romantic style (Dickens, Dostoevsky and such).

    About seven o’clock on a late February morning during the thaw, the train from Moscow was nearing Petrograd at full speed. It was so wet and foggy that the night still hung to the air pressing against the windows, and it was difficult to distinguish anything on either side of the tracks. Among the passengers some had business to attend to in Petrograd, but most were ordinary people with no other business than to accompany those with business. Everyone was tired, everyone’s eye’s hung heavy from a sleepless night, everyone was chilled to the bone, everyone glowed a sickly yellow under the fog and lights.

    In the main car, adorned glittering fineries, sat two men. Both fashionably dressed, both unremarkable in appearance, both wishing to finally strike a conversation with one another. One of the men was short, about sixty, with white, curly hair and small grey eyes. He had a broad nose that seemed to stick out of his plump face, hanging just above his drooping lip. The man seemed soft, everything about him seemed soft, from his drooping eyes to his hands which wrung each other out of anxiousness. He was dressed rather warmly in a thick black coat draped over his round body, while his partner was graced with the chill of the Russian night under the protection of a thin red jacket. The jacket was one that was often used during the cooler seasons abroad, as in France, or perhaps England. But, while it was satisfactory in England, it turned out not quite appropriate on the ride from Moscow to Petrograd. The owner of the jacket was in the middle of his life, forty, maybe fifty in years, with dense dark hair, high hollow cheeks, and a full dark beard. The man was tall and thin, seeming at odds with his attire, fleshing out what he, or nature, disregarded. What was most shocking of the man was his paleness, while he still could see many years ahead of he looked exhausted, probably caused by the cold, the situation of the past, the situation of the present, or perhaps, all three mixed together in such a volatile way that it could not only wash over him, but his friends, his family, and all the responsibilities of his position.

    Finally the shorter one of the two spoke. Or rather, the eerie silence between the two men had finally gotten to him after staring at the man seated in front of him partly from having nothing else to do. At last-with all the sincerity he can muster when so accustomed to the pleasure at the misfortunes of others-asked


    And he tightened his coat to his shoulders.

    “Quite,” replied his partner readily, “and to think, this is a thaw. I hope we are nearing the Petrograd. I’m not used to it.”

    “No? I’d expect you would, as how your father liked to bring you along on his many hunting trips.”

    “No, my father thought me too weak to hunt,” the man’s voice hardened “so I was often left at the estate while he was hunting.”

    They fell into conversation. The readiness for the owner of the red jacket to answer the questions of his partner was remarkable, betraying no suspicion at the pointlessness of some of the questions presented to him. And soon the conversation turned to their return to Petrograd. The tall man made it known that for some time, his son, Alexie had been stricken with a case of measles, and that he, the man, travels to Petrograd to return to his son. The white-haired man nodded several times as he listened, and finally asking

    “Do you plan to deal with the city?” leaning into his partner. The tall one answered.

    “No, the city can wait, it is time for me to fulfill my duties as a father and care for Lyoshka.”

    “You must do your duties as ordained by the Lord,” said the white-haired man bowing his head.

    “Quite so!” interrupted another fashionably dressed individual entering the car, the typical sort of royal functionary dressed much like the white-haired man adorned in a fine sheepskin coat, which lay over military medals that came with his position and name. He was about forty, massively built with a flat nose and low forehead, his hair was quite fair, and it clung to his scalp quite messily. Unlike his fellow palace functionary, he seemed hardened. Perhaps the man had seen war, or as close as one of his position could get to war; but more than likely, he it was perfected through years of political clawing and biting to attain the good graces of his superiors. “Quite so, sir. You must do your duties as ordained by the Lord. You must go to Petrograd and quiet the masses.”

    “The people are easy to quiet,” said the man with the red jacket in a low and appeasing voice. “They do not need much, just give them what they think is a voice and let they shall be appeased for a while. I can comfortably make a stop at Tsarskoe Selo and then grant the people what they want.”

    “Do you really think it would work?” demanded the white-haired one.

    “Of course, I have already placated the people twice before. As you remember, it was not eleven years ago that I was able to stop them, and I can very well do it again,” the tall man sighed and sagged slightly in his seat. “My dynasty is beset at all sides, if only Grigori was still here.”

    “If Icha was still alive, we would be dead long ago. He was nothing but a serpent. It is because of him are the majesty’s divine right over his lands stripped, because of him was the integrity of the dynasty weakened, because of him was Russia torn away from God, because of him are we merely paper tigers.” The flat-nosed minister spat in contempt.

    The tall man seemed bewildered after the attack, weakly he, he answered

    “No, no, he has done so much for my family, before meeting Grigori the tsarina cried everynight of how Lyoshka ‘made Jesus sad.’ He has helped my family.” The flat-nosed man sighed, taking a seat beside the white-haired minister, who was now too frightened to speak, or perhaps, merely an interested spectator watching the contest. His gaze shifted quickly between the two, catching any shifting nuances in both their moods.

    “Rasputin had made tsar’s ministers into marionettes, marionettes whose threads have been taken firmly in hand by Rasputin and the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna-the evil genius of Russia and the tsarina-who has remained a German on the Russian throne and alien to the country and its people,” responded the flat-nosed minister, watching the his liege.

    “Georgi, my friend. I have exiled my cousin, Dmitri, to the Persian front, and placed the Yusupovs under house arrest for their involvement in Grigori’s death. I have heard of your involvement in the dinner as well; do not presume that you are safe.”

    The minister named Georgi paled, the blood rushing from his face and replaced with a slow creeping fear at being discovered, and by the Mad Monks own patron.

    “The people will wait, for I truly control what happens in my country. I have toppled every attempt for the people to take my birthright away. I shall not be the one who ends the Romanovs.”

    The white-haired minister, finally dispelling whatever spell he was under that lead him to hold his tongue finally said “Ah, your majesty,” soft, at first, to gauge the mood of the tsar. Finding that the tsar was in a better mood, or rather just too tired to be angry anymore, the white-haired minister continued, “Surely your majesty must realize the position we are in, riots have broken out across Petrograd. The people are starving; food has not reached the cities for weeks, workers are striking, and violence has been erupting in the cities.”

    The tsar looked up at the white-haired minister and gave a weak smile, a quick twist of the lips that flashed on and off his face. Nodding slowly, he pushed his thin body up on the seat and straightened himself. After a few quick moments, he replied

    “My dear Pyotr, before we left Moscow I sent orders to the Western Front to send a regiment of soldiers to Petrograd to quell the uprisings and prepare it for my arrival.” He smiled again this time a longer and larger smile for his foresight for calling the military to put down the riots, and soon he will arrive at his estates in Pushkin to attend to his son.

    The two ministers looked at each other, both visibly nervous, and both quivering to say something, but afraid to upset the tsar. The tall man in the red jacket, who sat across them, saw this. His thick eyebrows furrowed in confusion and concern. Finally, breaking the quick silence, he leaned in and asked

    “What is wrong?”

    The one name Pyotr tightened his shoulders drawing them up to his neck, as if to make himself smaller, or fend off an attack from a wild beast. The tsar continued looking at them, ignoring the cold and focused on the two ministers. He asked again

    “What is wrong?” The ministers shifted nervously.

    “The soldiers, they, they seemed to have joined the protests,” Georgi stammered out.

    The tsar deflated in a second the ruler who seemed confident that he made the right choice collapsed in an instant. For that instant it seemed as if the tsar was defeated. Breathing in deeply, he looked up at the two ministers, huddled together and quivering with fright, then to the gilded surroundings all around.


    There was no answer.

    “How?” the tsar shouted.

    “The political reformists, the liberals have started to coordinate their activities, they started attacking the credibility of your supporters, especially the political parties,” replied Pyotr, “they played off the hunger of the masses, saying no food has been reaching the city for a week while you languish in Moscow hosting opulent feasts and parties. Finally they attacked our involvement in the Great War, your losses as a commander, and the conscriptions. Your majesty, industry has halted in Petrograd. Business belongs to the socialists now.”

    The tsar swore quietly under his breath, and in that instant, he seemed to grow paler the blood draining quickly from his face, and in that second, the tsar of Russia seemed little more than a frail old man. The clothes that once seemed to make him look bigger collapsed in on itself. He sighed muttering quietly to himself

    “I let them go to far, when I pushed Stolypin out, I could have stopped the radicals then and there. I was too merciful with them, they tried to end my dynasty with their damned manifesto, and I tried to exert moral influence on them when all they knew was blood, I should have ended the oppositions then and there.” The tsar stared blankly at the empty table before him muttering those words.

    “Sir, we are approaching the station, we need to get you to safety.” Suggested Georgi, peering out the window watching the station appear from the distance with the morning sun. The tsar shook his head as if he were shaking images from his memory.

    “What of my wife and children?” He asked meekly, looking up at his ministers. The train grinded to a halt. Silence. The ministers looked at each other. And Georgi finally responded.

    “We can go to Tsarskoe Selo and meet your family, and then we can try and seek asylum outside of Russia.” The tsar shook his head and chuckled.

    “I travel with a son with measles, and I must travel through enemy territory, I doubt we will get far, even if we survive the Germans.”

    “That’s right, and I don’t think any of you are in a position to leave right now,” a third voice rang out. All three men turned towards the entrance to the car. There stood a young army officer, with a thick black beard, and a long nose sticking up above the beard. He was flanked by several soldiers, all of them bearing their issued weapons. “Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov, you and your ministers are arrested in the name of the people of Russia.’
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