The Flaming Tsar & the Magicborn

Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, are forced to deal with not only ruling Russia, but the hordes of vampires and werewolves running rampant causing nothing but trouble! Can the last czar of Russia get the supernatural monsters in line and/or ally with them, or is history going to repeat itself?

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5. A Very Important Birthday

At 10:00 A.M., the Romanov family learned about the birth of the Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna. At the same time, it was the birthday of Imperial Princess Hadassah Rachel Shoshana Trichenberg. The birthday celebrations would be held at court in the coming days.

"I'm surprised it has been a year since our father died," George said to Nicholas as he was finishing his letter regarding the birth of Olga and Hadassah's first birthday.

"At least we had that year," said Nicholas, "but this is my time now."

"You've been the czar for an entire year," said Michael. "We should mark that occasion with a party."

"I'd love to, but with the new baby and little Hadassah, I would be pushing it," said Nicholas. "Besides, I am not sure if the people would consent to a memorial to a czar that no one liked, even if it was our father."

"And I'm sure he'd like watching Hadassah grow up quickly," said George. "Or if he knew about Hadassah, he'd use her to force Leo to return to the palace. So maybe we should have a private ceremony at the church."

As the men were talking, Leo walked into the room; he was accompanied by his son Milorad Mekonnen Trichenberg. Leo said, "I hear you boys are talking about your father. Were you planning something for him?"

"Well, I admit that had he lived long enough to learn about Hadassah, he'd probably use her and her mother to force you to return here," said Nicholas.

"And if he did, I would not appreciate that," said Leo. "I would have killed him and then used Nicholas to control the Romanovs. I'm sure the people would appreciate that."

He gestured for Milorad to come, saying, "My oldest son, Milorad. His mother was from Ethiopia, yet he was born in Rome, Italy."

Nicholas frowned as he stared at Milorad; he had seen the younger man several times during his grandfather's reign as czar, but never got to know him, as his mother Saba Adinew kept him and his younger sister Evgenia away from the imperial court.

Milorad said, "Why did you bring me here? I don't know them."

"Because Nicholas here has decided to keep your littlest sister away from us, which isn't right," said Leo. "Someone needs to remind him that Hadassah belongs to me and not him. Speaking of which, where is she?"

At once, the baby in question ran into the room wearing her nightgown and yelling, "No dresses! I wear pants!" Nicholas frowned at her state of undress and said, "But you must wear a dress, little one. Your father is here and I know he's not happy to see you undressed."

"And you should know that I can handle my own child, Nicholas," Leo snapped at him. To Hadassah, he said, "Little one, you must get dressed. Guests will come and they want to meet you."

"I say no dresses!" Hadassah yelled. "I wear pants!"

"She's definitely a Trichenberg," George snorted.

"You Trichenbergs don't do anything halfway," said Michael.

"We don't," said Leo as he picked up his daughter. "We live our lives outside the lines. Now, I must get my daughter ready and you boys should give Milorad a tour of the palace. My other children are making their way here, and I want them to meet Hadassah. It's her birthday, and I want her to know her siblings."

"Speaking of that, I wonder if we should ask Vavara to bring Sabrina and Leonard here as well," said Nicholas.

"Should we?" said Leo. "It wouldn't be a good idea to take them away from Nichollo and Rachel, not when they're Rachel's grandchildren."

"When last I checked, Rachel Smirnov had issues that affected her mental health," said Marie as she came into the room. "And considering that her daughter is dead and the man who caused her death might never be punished for his crimes against that poor woman, I don't think Sabrina and Leonard are safe living with their grandparents."

"Indeed," said Leo. "If there's anyone I know who can take care of those poor children, it's Vavara."

"And what makes you so sure that she's able to handle the job?" said Nicholas.

"She's married to Vladimir Smirnov, and Vladimir is Nichollo's younger son," said Leo. "I know that she'll want to get those kids away from their father, especially after we tell her who Hadassah's mother is."

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Marie cried out.

"It is," said Leo. "After all, we must address the silly rumors about who Hadassah's parents are and at the same time, expose Sergei Smirnov for who and what he truly is. Right now, I have to get Hadassah ready for the Royal banquet and you must prepare to announce the birth of your daughter. With any luck, the Snoweagles and the seven wolf packs will be attending and we'll use this as an opportunity to put an end to their schemes. They thought they could get away with terrorizing Russia, but now that I'm here for good, Aramaeus Zempanga and Hans Fruar will have to think twice before messing with my daughter or the rest of my family."

With that, Leo took Hadassah and they left the room.

"Well, that was interesting," said George. "He may not be a true political leader per se, but he's still so wise."

"Unlike that uncle of his," said Nicholas, "Leo knows exactly when to let nature take its course. Right now, we're about to end the rumors about Hadassah's family and give the Smirnov family a chance to mourn their daughter's death in peace. I know Sir Nichollo and Lady Rachel are feeling bitter since Jessica died and her death is affecting her older children. That's why we're taking them away from their father and handing them into the care of Vladimir and Vavara Smirnov."

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Nicky?" Michael cried out. "This isn't a newborn baby we're dealing with, but a two-year-old and a four-year-old who know who their parents are. You're actually going to take them away from the only family they know, just as you took Hadassah from her own father?"

"But I didn't take her away from Leo, not when I didn't know that Leo was her father in the first place," said Nicholas. "Besides, Hadassah belongs with her family, whether we like it or not."

"Just as I belong with my family?" Alexander said as he came into the room. "What's this about? What's going on here?"

"Your parents are dead, and no one in the Kroger or Smirnov family wanted to take you in, so our father decided to adopt you," said George.

"Indeed," said Alexander, as if he didn't hear George. "And why would Magrious Hoffelbax and Aramaeus Zempanga want me to be the czar when I don't know how to rule a country?"

"Becaue they and the other wolf leaders are selfish and greedy and they will do anything to control and terrorise Russia," said Marie. "And your father was wrong to support those wicked men. Nicholas is the czar, and he's doing a better job at ruling Russia than they ever will. Remember who you are and where you come from, Alexander, for they won't hesitate to remind you."

"The servants always remind me that I'm a bastard," said Alexander angrily. "They say that I have no right to exist, let alone live with the imperial family."

"Let them talk," said Nicholas as he faced Alexander. "They're simply repeating the lies they've overheard from the courtiers. Of course, your grandfather would gladly find and destroy the people responsible for the servants' lies."

"Remember that you belong to us, not to Luke and Kayla Smirnov," said Marie sternly. "They may have brought you into this world, but that doesn't make them your parents."

Alexander was unconvinced. "What about Leo and Hadassah? He's her father, isn't he?"

"He is, and he'll never fail to remind us about that whenever he comes here," said Nicholas. "But Hadassah was brought to me and not to Leo when she was born, which means I have an obligation to take care of her, whether he likes it or not. Plus, Leo and I are plotting to remove two small children from their grandparents and giving them to their older cousin, who married Leo's third daughter Vavara."

"Let us hope this plot succeeds without a hitch," said George. "I hate to see Rachel Bierstahl Shalit's face when she finds out that we're taking away her only remaining grandchildren and giving them to Vladimir and Vavara. She doesn't like her stepchildren and she neglects the children she gave to Nichollo, so I know why she would favor the children she had during her marriage to Mikael Shalit."

"Indeed," said Marie. "And if that's true, then Rachel loves Andrei, Matthias, Pieter, Lazarus, and Jessica more than she can tolerate Nikita, Joseph, Vladimir, and Reuben Smirnov. She hated Sergei and tried to keep her only daughter away from him, but Nichollo decided that Jessica was better off married to his only begotten nephew than to Yeshua Ulrich."

"And had Nichollo listened to Rachel instead of doing his own thing, Jessica would have lived longer," said George. "But let's let bygones be bygones and prepare for Hadassah's birthday party. The Smirnov family is coming to the banquet, as it were, and we need to double the guard surrounding Hadassah. She's still a baby, and I'm sure someone will want to harm her for causing Jessica's death."

"And that's the last thing we need," said Nicholas. "Hadassah is Leo's daughter and a ward of the imperial throne, and if anyone wants to get to her, they'll have to go through me first."

"Or better yet, Leo is a fearsome man who will happily kill anyone who dares to get too close to any of his children," said George. "They'll know who he is by the end of the night."

"I hope so," said Marie, but she wondered if it was a good idea to have the Smirnov family and Leo Trichenberg in the same room; push would come to shove. It was only a matter of time before it happened...

 

 

"I don't think this is a good idea," Radmila said to Emaria as they stood by the door to the ballroom. Many guests were there, all of them wanting to see Hadassah and to learn about the czar's new baby. "I know someone in that room is itching for a fight."

"I've noticed," said Emaria. "Lady Samoria is flirting with Lord Miroslav, which I think is stupid. Plus, there's the matter of the Pennington family and their beef with Jaromir Englegardt."

"Jaromir is just a boy," said Radmila.

"And they knew better than to ask the Czar to legitimize his birth," said Emaria. "Were they trying to steal the fortune from Galahad Pennington? The man is married and he has a son, so he should be next in line, not the boy."

"Indeed," said Vavara as she approached her sisters. "I'm sure you've heard the story about how Nikodim stole the innocence of Larissa Vanzina? I know, as I was there when that boy was born. Larissa's family did not want the boy, so I practically raised him myself."

"And now he's been legitimized," said Emaria, "which makes me angry. A bastard is a bastard, no matter who their parents were."

"And yet, I've heard that the church wants to destroy Lara, Serafima, Vasili, and Raina because they're a disgrace and an abomination on the house of Trichenberg," said Megan as she approached the younger women. "As if I'm going to let that happen on my watch."

"Then what do you plan to do about that?" said Radmila. "The church is a very powerful force, and no one can challenge them and live."

"One man can't challenge authority alone, but many men can," said Megan. "Yet if one person stands up to injustice, then many people will stand up to injustice. And when the many challenge the few, everyone wins."

She glanced around the room, glaring at the many nobles gathering around the czar and her lover. Leo held baby Hadassah in his arms, reluctant to let her go. Several people spoke to Nicholas, but most of them hung back, afraid to approach him.

As they should be, Megan thought to herself. Nicholas is not his father, nor is he his grandfather. He's a different breed of leader, one I helped shape from the moment he was born. He will have to be smarter than those sycophants if he wants to succeed.

At present, Milorad and Evgenia noticed the women and approached them, with Evgenia saying, "The czar requests your presence."

"If the czar wishes to speak to me, he can come find me," Megan snapped as she glared at the younger girl. "He is at my beck and call; I am not at his. He will be wise and remember who helped pushed his claim to the Russian throne over the bastard Alexander."

"Which is why he wishes to speak to you," said Milorad. "There's a conspiracy to place Hadassah on the throne as Nicholas's heir."

"Is that so?" said Megan as she pushed the children aside. "We'll see about that!"

As Megan stormed away towards the czar, Evgenia said to the others, "Have you heard the church wants to legitimize our births and put my brother as our father's heir?"

"As if Milorad isn't already our father's heir," said Radmila. "He came before Vasili, which makes him the oldest son. No decree from the church can remove the taint of bastardry from a man, not even if it was sanctioned by the czar himself. This may be a new era, but the old ways must remain in place."

Emaria was about to respond when the group turned around and saw a commotion taking place. Apparently, Nichollo and Rachel Smirnov had found out that the czar was taking their older grandchildren Sabrina and Leonard away from them and giving them to Vavara to raise. Plus, Sergei Smirnov had made his way to the party with his new wife, Amalia.

"This could be interesting," Evgenia said as they watched Leo handing Hadassah to her nurse and confronting the Smirnov family.

"I've noticed," said Milorad as he saw his mother Saba glaring at Leo and Megan with disapproval. "I'm just waiting for the shoe to drop."

The group watched as Leo said, "So you thought you could use my youngest daughter to control the czar? Let me tell you something: that's not going to happen. Hadassah is my daughter, not your pawn, and you will do wise to remember that."

"How can you accuse us of using her to get to the czar?" Sergei snapped as his wife glared at Megan. "Plus, you took Jessica away from me, or have you forgot?"

"You murdered my only daughter!" Rachel snarled as she broke from her husband's grasp and wrapped her hands around Sergei's neck, choking him. "You stole her from Yeshua, you beat her, and then you killed her! You would dare call yourself worthy of being my son-in-law after you threw away your own children and replaced my daughter with another woman?"

"Well," Sergei began, but Rachel yelled, "It doesn't matter what you think! If you hadn't beaten Jessica and went out with that other woman behind her back, she wouldn't have had that despicable bastard!"

"Now I'm afraid I'll have to stop you right there," Megan snapped as she glared at the other woman. "You say you loved your daughter, but I'm wondering how much of that is true. Jessica made a decision to be with my Leo, but we both know who forced her to make that decision."

She glared at Sergei, saying, "You are nothing more than a worm crawling upon the unhappy earth. Now, I've spoken to your Jessica, and she tells me that you made her life a living nightmare, from you beating her senselessly to neglecting her children, and even dating that woman standing next to you. It's no wonder why she went for Leo as she did. But we both know you forced her to go down that path that took her to her grave and left a small child to grow up without her mother."

As the group continued arguing, Milorad said, "Somehow, I'm beginning to wonder if this is right."

"What do you speak of, my son?" Saba said to him.

"Was it right for Sergei and Rachel to come here when both of them are unworthy of being in Hadassah's presence?" said Evgenia.

"That I don't know," said Saba. "But all I know is that nothing good will come from them trying to get to know Hadassah. She's nothing like her grandmother and Sergei is not her father, thank God. She must stay away from them if she wants to live."

As the arguing continued to escalate, Hadassah broke free from her nurse's grip and went to her father. Within a few moments, the chandelier gifted to Peter the Great from King Louis XV of France fell to the ground and shattered into 1,000 pieces.

Immediately, everyone in the room gasped as they looked upon the destroyed chandelier, then at the small child standing in the middle of the piles of broken glass. An unreadable expression was on her face. No one knew what to do or say for a long time; even the czar himself was silent. Hadassah glared at everyone with a look so unreadable, no one could determine if she was angry or upset.

Just then, Lord Nevzorov said, "There's no doubt about it. She's definietly a Trichenberg."

"I should have known," said Lady Ulrich as her husband nodded in agreement. "I mean, what else explains her breaking the chandelier?"

"I remember old Lord Shapiro's grandchildren blowing up tea sets when they grew angry," said Lord Sychkin. "This child is no different from the others."

"What does it matter?" said Lady Shvernik. "She's a Trichenberg, not a royal bastard. Let us put that ridiculous rumor to rest and figure out what to do about those Smirnovs. Nichollo and Rachel have pushed the Jewish community around long enough."

"What about them?" said Leo. "I have already made my judgment regarding them. But my daughter is the main thing here, and now that we've established that I'm her father, there's certain things that come with being a Trichenberg."

"Such as," Lady Fenenko snapped.

"Hadassah isn't like most babies," said Leo as he reached out and picked her up. "She's a spellcaster, and a spellcaster's first birthday is an important one, as they are known to reveal their powers, especially if there's something troubling happening around them. All my children have done it, and I'm sure my grandchildren will continue this tradition. Hadassah will learn your names as well as your wants, desires, and greeds, and she'll use those things to control you. If you're not careful, she might take away everything you love."

To Sergei, he said, "You are the worst sort of man, a man who doesn't care about who he has hurt, just as long as he gets what he wants. May a curse of death fall upon you and your new wife and any children that you have, and know that one day, all your crimes will be redressed."

Sergei turned pale and his wife fainted as Leo continued, "Unfortunately, you will lose your older children to death at an early age, as you rejected and neglected them from the moment they were born. There will be no redemption for you, no matter what you do."

To Rachel, he said, "You have shown nothing but cruelty towards anyone not born to your late husband, and there is no excuse for that. Your younger children and grandchildren will be taken from you and given to another family, and let us hope that they are better off with them than they were with you."

Rachel snapped, "I should have known you'd do something like that, you wicked sorcerer! You stole my daughter from me, created a bastard with her, and now you won't let me even see my little Sophia? You are an evil man indeed."

"And if creating a bastard was the worst of my sins, then your sins has no honor or end," Leo snarled at her. "But let that fade and you shall learn wisdom."

To the guards standing at the door, Nicholas said, "Take Lady Rachel to the white tower. Give her as much food and drink as she wishes, but she isn't to leave the tower until she is questioned. Also, take Sergei and his wife to the prison and lock the door; I plan to question them myself. We'll get to the bottom of this situation eventually."

As they watched the events unfolding, Saba said to Evgenia, "And you now have another sister."

"I can't say I'm surprised," said Evgenia. "After all, we've seen her grow rather quickly."

"And I will not mention how the courtiers questioned the rumors about her being a daughter of one of the grand dukes," said Milorad. "I can't imagine how many people are going to lose their minds once the rumors about Hadassah's family are laid to rest."

"But those rumors will die as no one will be allowed to feed them," said Saba. "Once the rumors about Hadassah die down, we can finally focus on what really needs to be done, such as dealing with those foolish Snoweagles and the foolish wolf packs. I don't know what game they're playing, but we're not going to let them win."

At the same time, Megan said to Emaria, "Well, it took them all long enough to know whose daughter Hadassah is. Such a shame that the Smirnov family had to be ripped apart because of one man's disgusting deeds."

"Well, Sergei should have known that he would be caught and punished for killing Jessica," said Emaria. "He's a shameful man indeed."

"I never did like him," said Vavara. "He's a pig, and that's all he will ever be. A big fat disgusting pig."

"Even a pig has more honor than that horrible man," said Radmila. "But who knows what goes on with those kinds of people? All I know is that nothing good will come from this. Hadassah has exposed the Smirnov family for what they truly are, and there's no way Simon will be able to reason that away. His second son's family is a disgrace to the Jewish community."

"I have nothing but contempt for the family of Gideon Smirnov, especially towards Nichollo and Anthony, but we can deal with that later," said Emaria. "Right now, it's Hadassah we must worry about; her reveal will be no less than shocking, I tell you."

As for the subject of the discussion, after the incident with the chandelier, she was taken away and put to bed, not knowing that the next few months would be very interesting indeed...

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