Seeing Tsars

This was posted by “The Unloved” on alt.callahans. He says it is based on an old Feghoot he remembers (based on a character created by Reginal Bretenor). In addition, it exists as the interlude between Chapter 2 and 3 to Paul de Anguera’s “A Tall Ship Tale” posted at Paul’s web site. Paul attributes the story to Paul Christopher Riler (who probably posted to alt.callahans under the Unloved nome de plume).

It is a well known fact that many of the Russian Tsars were heavily into mysticism. For example, Peter the Great was a devotee of Astrology. Indeed, he was utterly convinced that the motions of the planet Mars would reveal the fate of the Russian Empire, as the Russians are such a warlike people. He even had a special observitory built, just so he could chart the motions of Mars personally.

It came to pass one evening that Peter the Great went to his observatory, and saw something that made his blood run cold. Rather, it was what he didn’t see: MARS HAD VANISHED FROM THE SKIES! He flew into a blind panic, convinced that this was a sign of the imminent destruction of the Russian Empire. He began to make plans to flee from Moscow, in an attempt to save himself from the oncoming doom. His chief advisors attempted to dissuade him from this action, but he was adamant. “Unless one of you can reasonably explain the disappearance of Mars,” he said, “I will not stay.”

At first, none of the advisors knew what to say, and Peter began to make final preparations to flee the country. Suddenly, the Head of the Secret Police burst into the room. “My Lord! I have the answer! My spies have told me that a mystical sect, known only as ‘The Brotherhood’, have used some strange magic to move the planet Mars. They knew that you would take this as a sign of the Empire’s end, and plan on seizing control the moment you leave.”

Peter was not convinced at first. “What proof do you have of The Brotherhood’s plot?”

The Head of the Secret Police smiled. “Many years ago, The Brotherhood printed a book, describing their plan in detail, in an attempt to gain more followers to assist them. I brought a copy with me.” And with these words he gave Tsar Peter the book, on the front of which was boldly emblazond:


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