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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9. The Cries That Pierce in the Night

Nicholas knew it would be a bad day when a servant woke him with the words, "Your presence has been requested."

He got out of bed and went to his office, where several men and women were waiting. Yet, he did not see Leo or Sir David standing among them, which was certainly odd. "What is going on?" he said. "And why do I not see Leo or his father among you?"

"I suppose you haven't heard," said Lord Stanimir Serebryakov.

"Heard what?" said Nicholas.

"Sir David tells us that his granddaughter Vavara Smirnov had delivered a daughter this morning," said Lord Stanimir. "Her name is Talia."

"That poor child," said Lady Klara Yozhikova. "She's barely a few hours old and already she is the heir to the Smirnov fortune. Such a sad thing her father's family was slain by those werewolves before they had a chance to meet her."

"Such a shame," said Lady Emiley Ivansova.

"What are you talking about?" Nicholas snapped as he glared at the lords and ladies. "You have exactly five seconds to explain to me what's going on or else..."

Just then, Count Simon walked into the room with tears in his eyes. Everyone turned to stare at him. He said, "Begging your mercies, Your Grace, but I haven't stopped crying since I found out that over 100 of my descendants were massacred last night. And your Magorious Hoffelbax was behind it, no doubt."

"He most certainly was," said Lord Yusuf Glovsky.

"And that monster had the nerve to plant a wolf cub in the belly of Lady Serafima Turgeevna," said Lady Klara. "I'm sure old George Shapiro and his daughter Slavena would have wept to hear of that poor girl's fate."

"I wouldn't know, seeing as that poor girl is hiding at Shapiro Manor with only her aunt and sister helping her," said Maria as she brought in food and drinks. "The rest of the family is attempting to cover it up by claiming that she's got a touch of the fever, which I don't doubt given her mother's poor health, but they're not fooling anyone. Serra is pregnant, for better or worse, and we can only hope that she doesn't suffer the same fate her mother suffered when Raina was born."

"I would hope so," said Nicholas as he recalled Lady Slavena Shapiro. She had been an invalid for many years, even during her marriage to Leo Trichenberg. The marriage was seen as a very bad move, as Leo already had three bastard daughters. Milorad was born in the same year as Lara and Serafima. Nicholas had played with the children as he had played with Emaria, Radmila, and Vavara.

Yet when he witnessed the death of Slavena in 1883 (18 months after Raina was born), Nicholas knew that that had been when the fallout between his father and Leo had truly begun.

Nicholas said, "I will visit Vladimir this afternoon; he will obviously be angry and bitter over the news of his father's death and will want to exact his vengeance upon Magorious. I highly doubt he will want to talk about his new baby." Simon nodded in agreement. "And I will launch a full-scale investigation into how and why the massacre happened, even if we already know the answers to the questions the people will ask regarding the deaths of the Smirnovs." To several guards standing at the door, he said, "I need to send a small team to Clovervale Manor to see if there are any survivors of the massacre, which I highly doubt."

With that, Nicholas called the meeting to an end and went to his wife's sitting room. Alexandra had previously announced that their second child would be born the next year, and Nicholas felt nervous, knowing that Olga was his firstborn daughter and he wouldn't dare set her aside for a son. Plus, Alexandra had arranged for a visit with her grandmother, Queen Victoria, which would happen in a few days.

Nicholas found his wife resting on the couch as Hadassah played with Olga. For the first time in his life (and not the last), Nicholas was glad that Hadassah was Leo's daughter and not Sergei's. The tiny girl had wormed her way into the Romanov family, just as her father and grandfather had done. Nicholas knew there was no way he would hand her over to Magorious, even if he was her great-grandfather. The werewolf and his allies had cast a long shadow over his family and he was sure that they would go after Olga as well.

"Nicholas, what are you thinking about?" Alexandra's voice cut into his thoughts. He sighed, saying, "I've been thinking about Vladimir Smirnov. He must be mourning his father's death as well as the deaths of his brothers and cousins. I'm sure he would recall the death of my grandfather and tell me that had he still lived, he would have been pleased to learn about the massacre of the family that hated him."

"Or he would want you to share in the joy of his daughter's birth," said Alexandra. "The cruelty of death can be silenced with the cries of a newborn baby, especially if the baby can erase some of the hatred felt towards the Smirnov family by the people."

Nicholas nodded as he noted Count Simon walking into the room. The old man had overheard them, as he said, "There was nothing you could have done to stop the massacre from happening; not if you wanted to have your family being wiped out as well."

"You're telling us that Magorious wanted to get rid of my family?" said Nicholas.

"Well, your father, grandfather, and several of your uncles, including the uncle who married your wife's sister," said Count Simon. "Magorious and Hans already succeeded in killing your grandfather and they plotted to kill your father when Leo took his children and left St. Petersburg. Only they attacked him too late and he died when you became an adult. Had they gotten rid of Alexander when you were 17 years old, they would have controlled the country for a year until you turned 18."

"I see," said Nicholas. "Will you be coming with me to see the new baby?"

"I should," said Simon. "It'll be good to see that some members of the Smirnov family are still living. The younger members of the family are still alive and they will succeed where the older children have failed and were killed. Most of them are either married or engaged, and some of them have children. There are only 200 descendants of the Smirnov family still alive, and they are not remotely interested in their family's well-being. You can see why most of them have left the manor and started building their own lives. Yet their older siblings refused to marry or have children, which was why they all died. Sergei and two of his cousins have produced a set of bastard daughters, and those daughters cannot carry on the Smirnov family name or pass their mother's family names onto the next generation. We should count this as a twisted blessing in disguise; Magorious Hoffelbax and Hans Fruar have done the Jewish people a great service, even if we don't agree with most of their methods."

"Indeed it's a blessing in disguise, even if the people won't see it that way," said Alexandra. "Yet, there are more living Smirnovs than we think." Yet, neither Nicholas or Count Simon knew that she was right.

In a corner of the palace, Shiloh and his siblings Daniel, Melissa, and Solomon pulled out their instruments and began to play while his older brother Matthew sang:

"Now the lights have gone down in the city and the world is going to bed, the birds have stopped their singing, and I know that I am homeward bound.

"I'm going home to a place where the streets are paved with gold, where the buildings are made of alabaster and the sun shines all the time.

"I'm going home to a world where no one gets old and no one gets sick and no one will ever die..."

 

 

As Lord Ruslan Kapustin walked through town of Siminezen (which was at least three hours from St. Petersburg) he chanced to hear a strange song pouring from the nearby tavern:

"And who are you, the proud man said, that I should bow to you?

You drown in blood yet I drip in gold, and that is all I know.

You've tried to bring me to my knees with the lies that you tell.

And I am strong, yes I am strong, just as strong as you.

And thus he spoke, oh yes he spoke, the proud lord of Clovervale

But now the wolves howl over his halls, with no one left to hear.

And thus he spoke, oh yes he spoke, the proud lord of Clovervale

But now the wolves howl over his halls, with no one left to hear."

Lord Ruslan gasped in horror, knowing that the Jewish men were singing a song about the massacre at Clovervale Manor. He knew he had to act quickly or else another family would face the sane fate the Smirnov family faced. Despite his 70 years, he rushed to his home in Yurianna Castle, where his two remaining unmarried sons Michael and Felix were waiting for him in his office.

Felix said to him, "I take it you've heard about what happened to Nichollo Smirnov and most of his family?"

"I have," said Ruslan, "and the fact that some of our people have suffered persecution from him while the czar sat there and did nothing is an insult to the Jewish people. If that Magorious Hoffelbax thinks he can attack our people and escape repercussion, he better reconsider immediately."

Yet Michael had a clearer head than his father and brother, for he said, "Have you forgotten when Nichollo insulted our mother because she was a bastard? She prayed that a curse would fall upon him and he and his children would die. And here we are, with a dead family and a powerful wolf clan nipping at the heels of the Jewish community. The Russians have been subdued into submission and the czar is weakened. He cannot do anything to challenge Magorious Hoffelbax, not as long as he has Magorious' baby granddaughter in his custody as his ward."

"And I thought Hadassah Trichenberg was Leopold Turgenev's bastard daughter," said Felix.

"She is," said Ruslan, "but her mother, Jessica, was Magorious' granddaughter. I believe that's why he attacked and ultimately destroyed the Smirnov family; his granddaughter's death and his great-granddaughter being taken from her father and being raised by the czar and his wife was the reason he did what he did to the Smirnov family. He's the most powerful member of the seven wolf packs, and he doesn't like to be challenged. To mess with his human family is to challenge him."

He sighed and ran a hand through his graying brown hair, continuing, "With most of the nobility destroyed and the czar's uncles being weakened by the attacks, I say now's our chance to strike. We must find a way to get a grip on Russia's deteriorating situation before it gets out of hand. We can't afford to lose our czar."

Michael and Felix nodded, knowing that they would soon find themselves getting involved with not only the royal family, but the Trichenbergs and the wolf packs and the Snoweagles would want to deal with them. They were a lower noble class family, and they stood to gain a lot if the higher noble class was wiped fom existence. They couldn't afford to mess anything up.

 

 

"Well, I wish I could accept your condolences regarding my father's death, but that would mean excusing Jessica's death, which was the reason why he died in the first place," said Vladimir as he recieved the royal family in his parlor. "Vavara believed that Hadassah's birth was a sign that the Smirnov family would face the wrath of God for causing so much hurt to the Russian people while building up their own wealth. I'm sure my father wanted to get a slice of the Trichenberg family fortune as soon as he learned that the church wanted to legitimize Vavara's birth. That's why he forced me to marry her instead of me marrying Rifka Cherowitz."

"Indeed," said Simon as he cradled the tiny baby in his arms. Even though the older man still wept for his grandson, his great-great-granddaughter Talia Vladeevna Smirnova was quickly healing his broken heart. Hadassah was in the room with her siblings talking to Vavara, as was Leo and Sir David. "But I have a question that needs to be answered: was Magorious wrong to attack your cousins and Nichollo right to mock him? I should know the answer to that question, as my son Luke dared to offend his wife's family and that of Lady Kayla Kroger Maslak by stealing her from her children several weeks after her poor unlucky husband was weeks in his grave."

"I remember when that happened," said Nicholas. "Leo fumed about that for several months, as he believed that Kayla was an innocent woman lured from her children by your son. This was the second reason why my father had his infamous falling out with Leo; he wanted the bastard son born to Luke and Kayla to succeed him as czar instead of his firstborn and righful heir."

"And it was shameful of Alexander to do that, especially since the Trichenberg bastards and their mothers worked hard to groom you to take over Russia when your father died," said Vladimir as he took back his daughter and handed her to Nicholas. "In fact, you owe it to the Kroger, Reimar, Isaacson, Mekonnen, and Lukin families for helpjng you get to where you are now, and they are not the richest or the most powerful families."

"They may not be powerful per se, but I can elevate them to noble status," said Nicholas. "With so many noble families being wiped out, many more families will rise up and take their place. It's imperative that my families get the top spot before someone else does."

"And they will, even if many people object," said Simon. "Yet, we will remind them of where they were when Alexander was dealing with vampires and werewolves who wanted an innocent bastard boy to take over Russia instead of his true heir. I'm sure most of them supported the Czar's decision without any argument."

"Shame on them," Leo said as he came into the room. "Some of them should have known better especially after watching Alexander's father be blown up for failing to deal with his country's problems."

"I've heard the story of how Alexander died and I cursed his followers as useless pigs," said Alexandra. "The things that man has done certainly affects Nicholas and how he goes about things."

"I remember how he tried to control my family," said Leo, "but let's leave that story in the past where it belongs. We have been given a new hope, and we shouldn't waste our time focusing on what our fathers and grandfathers did, not when hope is in front of us. But we will deal with Magorious Hoffelbax and Hans Fruar in due time. Right now, I have a granddaughter to deal with and you must prepare a statement for the people. If all goes well, we can restore Russia to what it should be."

Everyone nodded in agreement, not knowing that Magorious was in the background, waiting to attack.

Speaking of which...

Magorious and the other wolves were meeting in the now destroyed Clovervale Manor. It had been over 24 hours since the Smirnov family was killed or taken prisoner. The youngest members of the Smirnov family were being watched over by a werewolf guard.

"I can't say I agreed to this, but I agree that the Smirnov family should be punished for everything they did to your family," said Hans. "They have no excuse for what they had done to your granddaughter and that man should have been executed years ago instead of being allowed to exist. And that Rachel should have been sent to a mental hospital a long time ago."

"Such a travesty we have to endure because of such ornery humans," said Fernalin. "If we ruled the world, we wouldn't tolerate stuff like that."

"We wouldn't," said Lioston, "but these humans seem to think they own everything. We were here before the humans came, and we will continue to be here long after they all die. And unless something big happens, we should be able to complete our takeover without any problems."

"Not unless the czar grows a backbone and starts acting like his great-grandfather, who he was named after," said Aramaeus Zempanga as he entered the room with his guards. Everyone stared at him as he continued, "You should remember how he was; he didn't stand for any of our nonsense."

"Now that was a man who truly ruled Russia, not his weakling son and certainly not his cruel grandson," said Hans. "It was too bad he didn't live long enough to stop David Trichenberg from firebombing half the United States and beating the other half into submission."

"But to be honest, that country needed it," said Caeryn. "Even though our American brothers and sisters had killed and eaten the hearts of many slaves living on the plantations, the country itself failed when they insisted on dehumanizing an entire race of people for no reason."

"And it was a bad idea for them to do that," said Hans. "But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Anyway, we need to deal with the children Mags captured and why the girl insists on defending her parents when they did so many cruel things to other people without provocation. She must also answer for defending her cousin, even after he murdered her older sister."

"She's a fool," said Magorious. "Yet she is young, so her foolishness can be forgiven. But there will be no forgiveness for Nichollo and Rachel Smirnov or any other Smirnov who still draws breath."

"You mean to destroy them all as well?" Evangeline yelled "Haven't you had enough of killing?"

"We can't get rid of every person that offends us; we'd wipe out the entire human race if we do that," said Salide Hodasasoh as he walked into the room. "Even though you may not agree with me, we must allow Vladimir and Reubem Smirnov to remain on earth and reproduce. Mayhaps their children and grandchildren can correct the mistakes their cousins and grandparents made."

"And why you hare?" Aramaeus snapped as he saw the newcomer. "Haven't you caused enough trouble for the unhappy world? I mean, the Estilvans are still after you for that job in Victoria Falls, where you caused a terrible plague thst killed 90% of the adults in the British colony and left their children as orphans."

"Hey, I can't let the British take over every country they see," said Salide, "not when the Africans and Indians needlessly suffer because they do not buy into the British culture and their way of life. I say let the children learn to accept others people's culture in addition to their own." He glared at Magorious, saying, "And what do you intend to do with Lady Anastasia Smirnov and her brothers?"

"They will remain with my clan; I'm only sparing them because they are innocent and have done nothing wrong," said Magorious. "But the girl is mine; she shall gain no husband. Her brothers, however, will marry into the wolf families."

"Indeed," said Aramaeus. "I can think of nothing less fitting for the youngest Smirnovs. They are innocent, save for being born to the wrong people."

At this, a werewolf came to the room, saying, "The imperial guards are coming to investigate this place, so we have only three hours to vacate."

"Noted," said Hans. To the wolves, he said, "We must remove all traces of our presence from this place before the guards get here. We'll meet again at another time."

"Very well," said Magorious. "I must admit that I do look forward to when Nicholas confronts me regarding the massacre of the Smirnov family. He will be angry with me concerning the fate of the Smirnov girl, being that he has my great-granddaughter and he's the father of a daughter, but I will laugh in his face and call him foolish for defending a daughter of the family that murdered my granddaughter. But no matter; he will eventually accept my decision regarding the Smirnov family."

"That he will," said Hans as the angry face of Jacqueline Josephine Smirnov came into view.

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