"GO! Your majesty!" yelled Agent Morozova, "They are coming!"
Tsar Nikolas Romonov hurried inside the radio broadcast facility. His forces had fought hard to ensure the trip would be safe for him, but now their enemies would be realizing what they planned. He only hoped Olga and her men could hold them off a little longer and buy him the time he needed.
He burst through the double doors, a guard on either side of him, and he began to job down the hallway. The facility was not well lit, only a handful of electric lights still worked, casting light through the hallway. A few soldiers had begun barricading the windows and setting up firing positions. Behind him the doors were shut and locked, and they began to drag over debris to try and block it further.
It was an empty gesture. Tsar Nikolas still appreciated it. He knew these men were staring death in the face. They would give their lives for the broadcast he was about to give.
As he made his way down the hallway, he could feel the weight of the horrific journey that had brought him here. His glorious Rusviet forces led by a traitor. Revolutionaries hunting for him. A shadow organization orchestrating it all.
Everything they had worked for was about to be undone. All because of these men. All because of Olga Morozova. All because of his words. He only hoped he could choose the right ones.
He approached a large, round room in the center of the building. A chair was overturned in it. Broadcasting equipment littered the tables and floor of the room. Cables and wire seemed to drape from the ceiling and into the very floor.
He tried to ignore the splotch of blood on the floor. Lucky for him a soldier had been kind enough to remove the body of its owner before he arrived.
"Quickly, your Highness," said one of the guards, "Get inside and lock the doors. We will keep watch out here. Nobody will get passed us!"
"Thank you," said Nikolas, stepping inside the room and placing the revolver he held into his large peasant's pockets.
The Tsar looked at his two guards. They looked like warriors. Stern men. He nodded at them both.
"You are very brave," he said.
An explosion from not far off. Orders and commands were yelled. The two guards looked nervously up to the ceiling.
"We must hurry," said Nikoli.
He stepped back, and closed the two metal doors. With ease, he flipped over a circular lock, locking them into place. The guards nodded their agreement, and turned their backs on the room, readying their automatic shotguns for any who might approach.
The Tsar turned to the radio equipment. It had been many years since he played around with such technology as a teenager. The new technology enthralled him, and he and his servants would work on the radios into the night.
This equipment, however, looked far more new than the simple tuning knob and microphone he remembered. With ease he found a headset the operator had been using with a microphone. He was disappointed to see the cord had been cut somehow. Perhaps sabotage? A quick look around found another microphone, a metallic one on a desk stand. It was bulky and metal.
Nikolas' fingers ran over the controls. He dialed in the multiple broadcasters to several popular frequencies. He turned up the volume of his mic and increased the range of the broadcast. He flipped on more equipment, turning dials and fidgeting with switches.
A loud clanking rang out in the room. The glass windows all around the Tsar suddenly had bars fall from above. The door behind him clanged, and bars were lowered from the ceiling. Nikolas turned, quickly, looking at the doorway. He was locked in, and long metal clamps had appeared from the walls and locked over the door.
The soldiers were looking around, uneasy. One tried the door, knocking for the Tsar to open it.
Nikolas felt the very floor he stood on begin to shake and wobble. It felt as though a great piece of machinery had hummed to life beneath him. He looked up at the guards and rushed to the door.
His fingers could not fit through the bars to unlock the door, and he could not move the metal at all.
"Unlock the door, your Highness," said one of the soldiers, "Something is wrong!"
"I cannot!" answered Nikolas, "Something is happening!"
"We'll get you out, sir. Stand back!" shouted a soldier.
He began hitting the glass of the door with his shotgun butt, but the glass only splintered and cracked with each blow. He hit it again and again, until his features were obscured by cracks and shattered glass, but the glass did not break away. The other soldier started at the other door with his own rifle, and he could not break through either.
"It's reinforced!" shouted a guard, "Get back, your highness!"
The floor shook again, and this time the entire room felt like it was lowered. Tsar Nikolas hurried back away from the door.
"Hurry!" he shouted, "The room! It is falling!"
There was a small pause, before two shotgun blasts filled the room. The glass did not break away. The soldiers cursed.
"HELP!" shouted one of the soldiers, "THE TSAR!"
The room lowered again, and this time it began to sink. The sound of a great crane in use filled the room. The windows and doorway appeared to be raised into the ceiling, but Nikolas knew the entire room appeared to be on some sort of platform. He looked around, noticing all the radio equipment and desks were lowering too, and it was indeed the room lowering.
Soon the yelling soldiers disappeared above him, and Nikolas was left alone as the room descended further. Nikolas wiped away the sweat from his brow.
He was so foolish. How could he have allowed himself to be separated? He reached into his pocket and pulled out the revolver. He checked his bullet count, he had four shots left.
Cocking back the hammer, he made his way over to one of the desks, and kneeled behind the flimsy wooden chair next to it. He hoped he would have even a moment's advantage to get the drop on any attackers. Any fighting chance he could have.
The room lowered a little farther before an opening revealed itself. Where the doors would be was just a large opening into another room. Soon the room came to a stop, and Tsar Nikolas was left scanning the space he now found himself in.
Beyond the circular floor was some sort of bunker room. The walls were of concrete, and showed stains and cracks in some places. A worktable was not far away, strewn with cloth and tools. On a far wall, a few rusty lockers lined up. A single oil lamp burned on the table, contrasting the artificial light from the electric bulbs above Nikolas.
The room appeared empty. Nikolas was expecting guards or soldiers, but he was met with nothing. In the far corner, Nikolas could see a doorway, where some light from another source poured in from.
Nikolas rose from his makeshift hiding place and slowly braved steps into the new room. He could hear faint voices from the doorway, and he trained his revolver towards it.
a noise brought him to a spot on the wall in front of him. A metal contraption blinked at him. It ruffled its metallic feathers, making them scrape against each other.
Nikolas lowered his revolver. It was some sort of clockwork owl. A novelty, popular throughout the Rusviet Tsardom as a toy or a status symbol. It looked as if it was watching him, but Nikolas knew it was just programming. Wires and Gears whirring to simulate interest in a subject as they came into view.
Nikolas returned his attention to the door, but he was perplexed. There were no footsteps coming towards him. No shouts or orders. He could just barely make out the sounds of battle from above happening outside the facility, but it was muffled and sounded very distant.
The battle! If this was not a trap, than it was a blessing in disguise. He looked back towards the radio equipment. It looked as if it was still functional. Even if men were coming for him, they would still fail if he could get enough of his message broadcasted out.
He turned to step back towards the radio.
"Drop the gun, Nikolas," came a hateful, raspy voice behind him.
Nikolas started and turned back to the room. From the shadows next to the lockers, a figure stepped forward. He wore black, long robes, and he had a long dark beard that was beginning to grow out of place. His dark black hair was already a mess and in need of grooming. However it was his hateful, piercing eyes staring at Nikolas above the barrel of a revolver that caught the Tsar's attention.
Nikolas sighed. He found himself feeling many conflicting feelings. He was angry at this traitor standing before him. He was heartbroken at one of his closest confidants. He was terrified at this assassin who had gotten the drop on him, but he was also cold and calm at the realization it was all true and he would have to kill Grigori Rasputin.
"Why?" he asked.
Grigori paused. He looked as if he was going to explain why Nikolas should drop his gun, but his mind worked through it, spanning the Tsar's face for the true question.
"Your time is up," said Grigori, "The time is right. The winds blow my way. The people are willing to believe anything and do what they see is right."
"Is this right?" said Nikolas, "People starving throughout my lands? Citizens fearing the Tsar's soldiers as they would Saxony's? Abuse and corporal punishment for those who do not submit?"
"Means to an end."
"The end of Rusviet?"
"The end of the Tsardom," said Grigori, "The culmination of a decade of planning. Hundreds of agents working together. Years of tactics and rumors fertilizing the revolutionary soil. Countless rubles filling pockets. And a spark or two to get the ball rolling."
"You fool," said Nikolas, "You believed the lies. You are just a pawn. The revolution is not real. It's Fenris!"
Grigori began to chuckle under his breath, "Of course it was Fenris."
"They are just using you," said Nikolas, "Like they were using me. Now I have seen. Now I know. Grigori, old friend, together we can stop this. Together we can stop Fenris. We can give the people what they need and stop this revolution."
"You are foolish," said Grigori, "So hopeful, like a child. Nikolas, drop your weapon, now."
"Are you not hearing me? Fenris-"
"I know all about Fenris, you idiot," spat Grigori, taking calculated steps forward, "I orchestrated everything. Do you think those... monkeys would have thought this up? Fenris was meeting in back rooms before me. Secret meetings in ruins in the woods. Now they sit in the halls of kings and chiefs! Because of me, they orchestrate wars, they make entire industries rise and fall, entire cities overpopulated or laid barren by their whims. I. Am. Fenris."
"This whole time," murmured Nikolas, in shock, "I brought you into my court. I brought you into my home. My family-"
"Your family? Your precious little family?" said Grigori, "You never spared them the time of day. The mighty Tsar. Ruler of thousands. Oh, knowledgeable one. You didn't even see what was happening below your very eyes."
"You," Nikolas' knuckles tightened around the revolver, "You keep their names out of your filthy mouth."
"Why?" said Grigori, "Because you can feel it is true? When you are gone, I will be all they will have left. With the Tsarina by my side, we can finally reveal that your children are actually-"
"You don't... know, do you?"
Grigori paused. His eyes studied Nikolas'.
Nikolas felt his eyes burn with a searing heat. The memory of his family welled up inside of him.
"You... monster," said Nikolas, "Your precious revolutionaries. Your brilliant plan. Do you know what they did to them?"
Grigori's facade broke for only a second. His jaw slackened, and his eyes widened.
"If they were still alive," said Nikolas, "Do you really think I would be here? Risking my life and their futures? I would be halfway to Saxony by now. Your glorious plan had them gathered outside of-"
The gun went off. Nikolas had the air punched right out of him. His hands went limp and his revolver rattled to the floor. Nikolas grabbed at his stomach as he hunched over.
His stomach was on fire. The immense heat spreading from the gunshot wound was painful. However his hands and feet began to go icy cold. He felt himself gasping for breath. His lungs burned.
He looked up at Grigori. His face had hardened. His eyes glassy. His brow furrowed.
"Fenris... will fall," said Nikolas, "You... have taken... everything from me."
"Not everything," said Grigori, "Not yet. Now I shall take the last two things from you. Your life."
Grigori fired two more shots into the Tsar, who convulsed with the impacts. The Tsar was on the ground in no time. His face was twisted with pain.
"And your nation," said Grigori, "With the fall of the Tsar, so too will the Tsardom fall."
Grigori turned to the radio. His eyes blazed like a fire. He weakly aimed the revolver without looking, unloading all the rounds left into the dying Tsar.
Grigori was staring at the radio. His heart raced. He could feel himself losing control. His emotions were running rampant.
He took a deep breath through his nose. He close his eyes, forcing himself to meditate. The strong stench of blood filled his nose. He heard the fighting getting more intense at the surface.
Grigori opened his eyes, and looked at the radio equipment. It was now time.
He holstered the empty revolver and approached the equipment. His hands glided over the knobs and dials in a practiced manner. He knew exactly which frequencies to broadcast on. He had been waiting for this day.
Finally he was left, waiting. His right hand hovered over the microphone. He pushed down all his emotions. He steadied his breathing and through which, steadied his heart rate.
He gently flipped a master switch, starting the broadcast. Carefully, he pressed down on the trigger of the microphone in front of him.
"My fellow Rusviets, this is Grigori Rasputin speaking. My men and I have worked hard within the government for this day."
Grigori breathed carefully before continuing, "Tsar Nicholas is dead. I executed him moments ago after he fell into our trap."
His mind raced with images of the corpse behind him. The look of anger and fear. His thoughts went to Alexandra.
"Colonel Zubov, leader of the loyalist forces, has agreed to a surrender. I urge all enemies of the revolution to do the same."
His voice got harder. He felt his grip tighten on the microphone. He could still hear the cannon fire above. Shouts and yelling, muffled by meters of concrete and dirt. All of his plans. All of this time. It nearly came to an end. The fool Trotsky. The annoyance of Agent Morozova.
"The time for division is over," said Grigori, his eyes boring a hole of hatred into the wall ahead of him, "Together we will build a new Rusviet. A Rusviet that will take its rightful place in Europa!"
His hand came off the microphone button. He was left standing there. Above him, the muffled rumbles of battle had died down.
Movement behind him announced the arrival of two soldiers. They wore body armor and helmets, and had glowing goggles that Grigori knew helped them see and assess threats through fog, glare, night, and all sorts of visual situations. Only the best for agents of Fenris.
"They appear to be retreating, Rasputin," said one of the agents through a modulated deep voice, "Colonel Zubov has secured his objectives, and his troops have stood down or have been put down."
The other agent spoke up, a woman's voice, "The Tsardom is under Fenris control. Your plans have succeeded."
Grigori nodded. He gently turned off the master switch of the radio. He turned around and approached the lockers against the wall. Opening one, he took out a large sledge hammer, and examined it in his hands. After testing its weight, he returned to the radio equipment.
He stared at the equipment for a moment, before lifting the heavy hammer into the air and bringing it down on the equipment. The first box smashed under the weight of the hammer, and sparks zapped out from it. Dials dropped on other pieces of equipment, and one of the agents behind him gasped.
Grigori lifted the hammer, and struck again. He struck again and again. Each swing smashing boxes, shattering glass and glass tubes. The table buckled under the onslaught. Slowly a guttural roar escaped his throat, and he was left smashing the remains into powder.
When it was done, the equipment in front of him was destroyed.
He turned to the two agents. He slowly tried to control his breathing.
"The Tsardom has fallen," he finally said, only a hint of his outburst in his voice, "Now the Rusviet Union rises. A glorious new day."
Grigori walked past them, leaving the two in shock. He stopped before the door and looked back into the room. The old clockwork owl watched with luminous eyes. The apertures made it appear the owl was staring into Grigori's soul.
Grigori turned to the agents, "Burn it all down. To the ground. The whole facility. And unload your weapons into the body and douse it in kerosine. The Tsar must never rise again."
Grigori gave a quick glance at the owl, "And bring that bird."
The Grigori Rasputan was through the door, and went into the secret tunnels beneath the facility. Behind him, only the faint sound of pistol firing could be heard.
He buried his emotions deep inside. Everything up to now had been easy. Now Fenris controlled an entire nation without question. Now, the hard part had begun.