CHAPTER 2: DESTINIES CHILD

ST. PETERSBURG: MAY 29, 1905

Nicholas slammed the report down on table.  "This is an outrage!"  He shouted.  "Russia, defeated by… the Japanese?!"  He slammed his other fist down, making objects on the table jump.  "I can't believe it, I won't believe it!"  He roared. 

"The Pacific Fleet of seven Battleships, seven cruisers, twenty destroyers, and thirty-five gunboats, all destroyed."

"And what about our grand fleet, of 52 war ships that left St. Petersburg?"  Nicholas growled.

"Only 3 made it to Vladivostok, sire."

"How many men were killed?"

"A total of 4830 sire, that includes both officers and men, and 10 000 have been wounded or captured."

"Both our fleets destroyed, our army surrendered!  This is intolerable!"

"Both Vic-Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, and Nebogatov are returning to St. Petersburg as we speak.  They will stand before a military tribunal for their crimes."

"Might I recommend the death penalty for Nebogatov, for surrendering the fleet, sire?"  An advisor said, "After all, we still are at war with Japan, we have not signed any agreement yet!"

"We'll discus that option when he returns," Nicholas muttered, "But I think the death penalty is just a bit too harsh for the moment."  He sighed and sagged back into his chair, "The first defeat in Russian history since the Crimean War, and it had to be during my reign!"

Nicholas was interrupted by a knock at the door.  "Sire?"  A female voice questioned.

"Yes?" he demanded, "What is it?"

A palace maid entered the room, her head hanging a little.  She was hesitant to speak, but finally she said, "Its Alexi, sire."

Nicholas's jaw dropped.  "Bozhemoi!" he gasped, scrambling to get to his feet.  He turned back to his advisors one last time; "This meeting is post-powned until further notice!"  They all nodded, and gathered up their things.

Nicholas ran throughout the palace halls, rushing up stairs, past his grand bedroom, towards the bedroom of his son.  He threw open the doors, and rushed in.  His wife cradled his infant son in her arms, crying.  Blood trickled from Alexander's nose, splashing in tiny droplets on the bedroom floor.

Nicholas shrieked in horror.

"Sire?"  Nicholas turned to face the white bearded man standing near the door.  "May I have a word with you?  In private?"

"Yes," Nicholas, said, and the doctor lead him outside the room, into the hallway.  Once outside, the doctor sighed heavily, and said, "There's a problem, with your son, sire."

"What's the problem?"  Nicholas demanded.  "Why was he bleeding like that?  Is he dead?!"  Nicholas was getting scared.

"No, no!"  The doctor said hastily, "You son is very much alive."

"Then what's wrong then?"

"Your son… has Hemophilia."  The doctor finally said.

"What dose that mean?"  Nicholas cried.

"It means that your son is in danger of bleeding to death," the doctor said, "A fall, or even a blow to any part of his body, could cause massive internal bleeding."

Nicholas froze.  He couldn't move.  He couldn't speak. 

"Is… he going to die?"  Nicholas asked in a weak voice.

"Not if we don't do something soon."  The Doctor said.  "I know of a medical facility in Italy that would be able to help, with…"

"NO!"  Nicholas shouted.  "No, the world can't know, the Russian people can't know, that their future king is sick."

"Sire, with all due respect, to call your son's condition, 'sick' is a gross understatement!  Without the proper medical treatment, he will most surly die!"

"The Russian people mustn't know, doctor," Nicholas said, "You just name what you need, and I'll get it for you, no matter what it is, doctor's, equipment, you name it, you'll get it, just keep this to people you can trust to keep their mouths shut!"

"…"  The doctor narrowed his eyes.

"Please, doctor!"  Nicholas pleaded with him.

"Fine," the doctor said, "I shall have a list of who and what I need for you by tomorrow morning,"  Nicholas smiled.

"You'll get it, doctor," he said, "That I promise!"  The doctor just nodded, and went back inside and gathered up his things.  He left the palace in a temper.

The nerve.  The Czar of Russia, more concerned about his public image than his own son?!  This was his one and ONLY son whose life was on the line, and he wanted to play show off?!  If this job didn't pay so well as it did, he'd have quite, and moved elsewhere by now.  It was just so…

He staggered, clutching his head.  He felt dizzy, nauseous, as the world around him started to spin.  He dropped his medical bag, and grabbed hold of a nearby streetlight, trying to keep himself on two legs.

Then, the feeling was gone.  He breathed deeply a few times, and pulled out a handkerchief, and mopped his brow.  He looked around slowly.  A few people were giving him strange looks, but nothing serious.  Looking around once more, he bent down, and picked up his medical bag, and hurried off. 

From across the street, the bearded man in the dark brown trench coat watched the doctor quickly speed away.  He wasn't concerned about the doctor's public performance, but rather, what was on the doctor's mind.

Hemophilia?!

The already dark features on his face turned deadly.  He'd been waiting in this backwater country for more than a decade for some royal brat to show up, and the kid has Hemophilia!?! 

He spun around, and stormed off in a temper.  Most Hemophiliacs died not long after birth, and if they were lucky, they sometimes made it to 16.  If he was supposed to find this child, what the hell was he going to do with him?  Help him enjoy the last moments of his miserable spoilt life!?!

He had left the comforts of Transylvania for a Hemophiliac!?!  What the hell kind of destiny was that!?!  He growled loudly as he tried to calm himself.  He would just have to wait and see what would happen.  He wasn't going to let a decade of patients go to waist.

As he walked past a tree, a bird started chirping a pleasant tune.

"Lookit, mamma," a small child said, pulling on his mother's arm as they walked past the tree, "Pretty birdie singing!"

The man snarled, and looked directly at the bird, narrowing his eyes, and he concentrated.  The bird stopped chirping, and suddenly began to squawking madly, jumping up and down, flapping it's wings with the speed of a humming bird.

Then, it's head exploded in a shower of red, leaving its body to plummet to the ground.  Yuri grinned, as he walked off, to the sounds of a crying child.

ST. PETERSBURG: 1907

"He's here, your majesty," the guard said.  Nicholas nodded, as he placed his pen down, and stood up.

"Let's go," he said, and he followed the guard outside his room.  The guard led him down to the main entrance hall of the palace.  Waiting for him, was his wife, two members of his secret police, and a man with one long beard and a thick mustache.

Nicholas narrowed his eyes at this man.  He wore the black gown of an Orthodox Monk, and his hair was neatly combed.  He carried no bible; in fact, he carried nothing, save the clothes on his back.  But it was his eyes that drew Nicholas's attention.  Dark blue eyes that seemed to look right pace you, and deep into your soul.

He shivered.

"Is this him?"  Nicholas asked.  The monk stepped forward, and bowed slightly.

"Your majesty," he said, "Allow me to introduce myself."  He rose.  "I am Father Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin."  He held out his hand.

"Yes, well… he's right up here."  Nicholas muttered, ignoring the offer for a handshake.  Rasputin lowered his hand, and followed, flanked by the secret police.  They lead him down corridors, painted with splendor, and showing the glory of the Romanov density.

Finally, Nicholas turned into a room, mark with double doors, and Rasputin followed.  Inside, lay a young boy, not even ten years old.  He lay on his bed, breathing heavily, and looking up at the ceiling, as if he couldn't see at all.

"Alexi?"  Nicholas whispered.  The boy did not even flinch.  "It's me, your papa!"  Still no response.  "There is someone here to see you, Alexi, and very special guest."    A hand laid upon the Czar's shoulder. 

"I think I'll be able to handle this now, Sire," Rasputin said.  Nicholas nodded, as he stood up, and walked over to his wife, who hugged him closely.

"Please," The Czarina wept, "Father, you're our last hope."  Rasputin nodded to her.

"I shall do my best, your majesty," he replied, and turned back to the boy.  He laid his right hand on the boy's head, and closed his eyes, as he concentrated.   Then, slowly, his hand moved down the boy's body, across his chest, down his sheets, as if following his leg.

Then, with one single swift motion, he pulled back the sheets.

"How dare…!"  Nicholas started to say, only to be silenced by his wife.  Alexi's leg was

"Alexi?"  Rasputin asked to the boy.  "Can you here me?"  His head turned slightly, but no words came out.  "My name is Grigory!  I am a Father of the Church, I am here to help you."

Alexi gave a small moan.  Rasputin patted his hand.

"Alexi?"  Nicholas called out.  Rasputin just held up his hand.

"The boy will be fine, your majesty," he replied, "He will be fine."  His hands traveled down to Alexi's leg, where the blood was swelling.  He clamped his hands on the boy's leg.  Alexi gave a small moan, and moved slightly.

"What are you doing!?!"  Nicholas insisted, and had his wife not held his arm strongly, he would have ripped Rasputin from the bedside.

"The work of God," Rasputin muttered, as he closed his eyes, and taking a deep breath, began to concentrate.  His grip tightened on the boy's leg, and his hands were starting to tremble.  Alexi's moans were getting louder, then, suddenly, his eyes flew open, and he cried out in fear.

"ALEXI!?!"  Both the Czar, and Czarina cried out.  Rasputin gasped loudly, as if he'd been holding his breath, and released his grip on Alexi's leg.  He stood up, and opened his eyes.  Alexi was gasping for breath to, as he slowly turned his head.

"Mamma?  Papa?"  He moaned weakly.

"Alexi?"  Nicholas gasped.  His wife burst into tears.  Nicholas slowly approached the bedside.  "My son, are you all right?"  Alexi raised his hand, and Nicholas grasped it in his.

"I feel… hungry, Papa," Alexi moaned.  Nicholas could not contain himself any longer.  He burst into tears, before his son, before his wife, before the members of his secret police, advisors, and this stranger, he wept openly with joy.

With tears blurring his vision, he turned to face Rasputin.  "Thank you, Father," he sobbed, "Thank you."  Then, the Czarina was at the bedside, holding her sons hand, along with her husband.  In the background, the palace advisors, and staff could only watch with amazement.

3 DAYS LATER…

"Chaaaaarge!"  Alexi shouted, as he galloped down the hallway, with his wooden horse, holding a wooden cavalry sword, still in his pajamas. 

"Whoa!"  Nicholas said with a half chuckle, as his son raced past, just as he was about to enter the hallway with an advisor.

"Good morning, Papa!"  Alexi shouted out, as he waved the sword at his farther.

"Good morning, my son!"  He called out, as the young prince disappeared around a corner.  He chuckled one last time, then continued walking, the advisor, just behind him, still looking back down the hall.

"It's incredible, sire," the man said, stilling looking back down the hallway, "in just only 24 hours, that man has managed to do what it's taken the best medical science just over a month!"  He turned back to the Czar.  "It's not only unbelievable, it's impossible!"

"Nothing is impossible, if you have faith in God, Igor," Nicholas said with a smile, "That man is a God send, no doubt about it!"

"You believe that man is a miracle worker of God?"  Igor said, shocked, "Your majesty, with all due respect, you hardly even know that man!  He's from the backwoods of Siberia!  Heaven only knows what kind of diseases that man would probably be carrying!"

"The doctor's already checked him out when he first arrived," Nicholas said, "He was clean."

"I do not trust that man, sire!"  Igor said, leaning more closely, "I do not like the way he looks, and those eyes…!"  He trailed of, and shivered.  "I just don't like him, sire!" 

"What do you recommend?"  Nicholas asked.

"That he be watched, sire," Igor said, "Put some members of the police force to watch him, note his moves, see what he dose, and if possible, find out what he wants!"

Nicholas thought for a moment.  "Fine," he said, "Put some one on him right away."

Igor smiled.  "I will, sire," he replied, "In fact, I have the perfect man for the job."

THE NEXT NIGHT…

The sound of singing echoed up and down the streets, as Rasputin stumbled back to his apartment.  He climbed up the stairs, and struggled to open the door.  He forced it open, and staggered inside, and flopped down on his bed.

Oi, what a night!

Rasputin sighed, as he raised the wine bottle to his lips.  Empty.  He swore something unpleasant and tossed the empty bottle out the open window. 

The squeaking of the door being slowly closed brought Rasputin back to reality.  "Your getting careless, Grigory," the hollow voice said, "that you didn't even, notice I was following you!"

"I knew you were there," Rasputin grumbled, not bothering to sit up, "I was just ignoring you."

"Oh, were you really?"  The figure was still hidden in the darkness.  "I find that hard to believe, epically since your back into your old habits again."

"What I chose to do with my free time is MY dissensions alone, Heinrich," Rasputin snapped, sitting up, The figure by the door, held up a hand.

"Please, Grigory , I am called Yuri now."

"Yuri?"  Rasputin spat out the word.  "Since when did you become a Russian?  You made your choice years ago, although I am curious as to why you're back in Russia.  I thought you never wanted to see this frozen snowball again?"

"You know why I am here, Grigory," Yuri snapped, "You can feel it too, I know you can."  He started walking forward, into the moonlight shining through the window. 

"Feel what?" Rasptuin chuckled, slapping his backside, "I can't even feel my own ass," he laughed loudly.

"Don't pretend to be stupid, Grigory," Yuri said calmly, "The future has been altered, you can feel the vibrations in the timeline, just like I have."

"What dose that have to do with me?"  Rasputin said, narrowing his eyes.

"You and I, we're special, and only we understand what we're capable of doing."

"I said no, all those years ago, Yuri, or whatever you're calling yourself, and I'll still say no to you now!"

"Then you'll have to go," Yuri said calmly.

"Don't threaten me, Yuri," Rasputin snarled back.  "I have very powerful friends now, and I am on a mission from them.  Do what ever you like, Yuri, but if you interfere with me, or my plans, I must warn you, my friends will take swift action to protect their interests." 

Yuri rubbed his chin.  "Since when did you ever get into the habit of making friends?  Who are they, hmmm, the Czar?"  Rasputin smiled.

"You have no idea, Yuri," he chuckled.

"Or could they be the brotherhood?"  Yuri snapped.  Rasputin gasped.

"How did you…"  Yuri held up a gold medallion, in the center of it, was a pyramid with a scorpions tail on each side.  Rasputins hand went to his own neck, as if to find something that wasn't there.

"You dropped this on your merry way home last night."  Yuri then tossed it over to Rasputin, who caught it.  "I must say, I never really thought the Brotherhood to exist, that it was just a fabrication of some drunk fool, until now!"

"Well, now you do," Rasputin said, putting his medallion around his neck.

"But I am curious, as to what the Brotherhood wants with a Hemophiliac?"

"And do you expect me to just tell you?"

"Well, in a word, yes."

"My reasons, and those of the Brotherhood, are mine and mine alone, Yuri."  He grinned.  "And I know your telepathy won't work on me…"

"Just as yours won't work on me," Yuri replied.

"Well, it appears we have ourselves a Mexican standoff," Rasputin replied, folding his arms.  "You want to know what I'm doing here, and vise versa!"

"My dear, dear Grigory," Yuri muttered, shaking his head, "You haven't changed one bit.  You're still as arrogant as you were last time we met.  That shall be your downfall."

"I'll be as arrogant as I like, Yuri," Rasputin spat out, "And now, we have nothing more to discuses, get out, now!"  Yuri shrugged his shoulders.

"Very well," he turned and opened the door, "Goodbye Grigory.  We'll see each other again, very soon.  History demands it."

"Demand all you like, Yuri," Rasputin said, "Whether you like it or not, History is on my side, and if you interfere, I will bury you!"

Yuri just smiled back.  "My old friend," he replied, as he left, "History is about to change."

COMING SOON…  "CHAPTER 3: AGENDAS"