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The Epic Saga of Natalia Lazarov

by KingJohn23 1 review

The Russian Revolution of 1917 (and beyond) seen through the eyes of Natalia Lazarov, the Tsar's personal chef.

Category: Historical - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure - Published: 2005-08-28 - Updated: 2005-08-28 - 4277 words

The Epic Saga of Natalia Lazarov

Prologue- 1956: St. Barnabas Hospital: New York, New York

"Would you both please sit down?" asked Dr. William Matthews, gesturing at two chairs as he spoke.

Dr. Matthews was chief physician at New York City's most prestigious hospital and what he had to say was not pleasant news. "Give it to us straight, doc" said Megan McDonald, one of the two visitors, as she and her husband, Tom, both sat down in plush, comfy seats.

Dr. Matthews took off his horn-rimmed glasses and rubbed his forehead. "Mrs. McDonald, to be perfectly frank, your mother is dying" he said without a trace of emotion. Megan started to cry, weeping loudly and unable to ask the next question.

Tom did this for her. "How much time does she have left?" he asked, trying to keep his composure.

It was easy for Dr. Matthews to answer this question. He had done it so many times in his 24 years of residency. "Even with the drugs, I doubt she'll last the night," he stated solemnly. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald both started sobbing in unison.

The thin, frail body of Natalia Lazarov was kept alive by machines. Except for the brain and heart, her organs were all shut down. In the final night of her long life, her dying body was comforted by the morphine but her mind was haunted by scary images of a time dead and gone. She saw it all, the murders of her friends, the evil of Rasputin and Lenin. The images felt very real and were getting more real by the second. She could now see her beloved Ivan. He was getting closer, closer, closer...

January 26, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Winter Palace

"It's time to wake up, darling," Ivan said to her.

She sat up and yawned. "What time is it?" she asked her husband of 29 years.

"It's 5:30, you overslept," he answered back.

With a smile on her face, she got out of bed and looked longingly at him.

Ivan and Natalia Lazarov had been together for 32 years, 29 of them in marriage. They had started courting each other at 14 and were married at 17. Both loved each other with all their hearts and were very close.

A tall man wearing a blue uniform and a ruby and diamond encrusted crown entered the room, interrupting the tender moment .

Ivan and Natalia both bowed and said "Good morning, your Majesty."

The Tsar flashed his million rubbles smile and said, "Arise." Suddenly, his smile vanished and he snapped, "Report, Ivan."

Ivan slipped on his reading glasses and pulled a hand written note from his pocket and began reading. "The Germans have taken Kiev and are inching closer to Moscow" he said. The Tsar dropped his head in extreme anxiety. "Also," Ivan continued "The riots in Odessa and Minsk are getting worse with violent attacks on police and government buildings. Other small riots are flaring up in the rest of the country."

The Tsar didn't answer. Natalia quietly left the room to begin cooking breakfast.

With the stillness the room seemed even more impressive. The bedroom was almost as luxurious as the Tsar and Tsarina's bedroom. Ivan, as Chairman of the Tsar's secret police, the Stravi, and Natalia, as the Tsar's personal chef, were blessed with wealth that few in the world besides Kings and J.P. Morgan could afford.

The quilt on the bed had gold woven into it. The redwood dresser, imported from the darkest regions of Siberia, radiated with beauty. The rug on the tiled floor was Persian circa 14th century. The bathroom even had running water. This decor was not unusual in the least, for all the Tsar's friends had riches such as these.

Ivan finally broke the dreadful silence. "Kerensky is gaining support among the nobles and rumors are circulating that he's going to introduce a constitutional resolution."

The Tsar's head shot up. "He wouldn't dare."

"I'm afraid the rumors are probably true," Ivan said despondently. "Dissolving the Duma is the only way out," he offered. "This nonsense has to stop."

Before Tsar Nicholas could response a cold, chilling voice, spoke up.

"I disagree, your majesty."

Ivan turned to the source of the interruption and was surprised to see the mad monk, Rasputin, standing just inside his bedroom door.

"Dissolving the Duma is the last thing you want to do, my Lord. Prime Minister Kerensky is all talk. Responding to his outrageous assertion will only give him more power."

"Sire, don't listen to this satanic little vermin", Ivan said angrily. "Kerensky and the rest of them are growing powerful. We have to act quickly and eliminate them, before it's too late."

The Tsar looked undecided.

"The Stravi can make this all go away," Ivan said gently "We could take Kerensky out within a matter of hours."

Rasputin scoffed. "Mr. Lazarov is mistaken. I have consulted the oracle and he has foretold that doom will result from any further blood shed. I have also received a vision advising that you go to the front lines to rally your troops," he continued. "If the people see their commander and chief in a more visible role the riots will be extinguished."

Tsar Nicholas nodded. "Okay, I'll leave at noon"

Ivan reared back as if slapped. "But Sire..."

The Tsar cut him off in mid sentence. "You have been a good friend for many years, but Rasputin can see the future and sees doom if I stay in St. Petersburg or eliminate Kerensky. I have put Alexis in his hands and he saved him, I will put the future of my Kingdom in his hands as well."

Ivan knew the story of the Tsar's son, Alexis. Alexis was born with the bleeders' disease, Hemophilia, which caused him to bleed profusely anytime he got a small bump or cut. His parents were so worried they called a mystic out of the mountains to cure him.

Rasputin had delivered, but at a terrible price. The miracle of curing Alexis was done with power, which Ivan, Natalia, and many of the Royal Family's friends and associates believed came straight from Satan himself. Because of Rasputin's deed, he now had prominent influence with the Romanovs. This was especially true with the Tsarina, Alexandria.

The Tsar spoke in a tired voice, "I'll see you both when I get back." With a military trot, The Tsar left the room.

Rasputin followed him out, his eyes as black as coal. He seemed to levitate two inches off the ground, but Ivan chalked this off to delusion on his part.

Ivan knew something had to be done to prevent revolution. Rasputin must be taken out of the equation before it's too late, he decided.

January 26, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub, two blocks from the Winter Palace

Background: The Great Bear Pub, a popular drinking establishment in the not too distant past, was now the center of revolutionary activity in St. Petersburg. Men from all walks of life and political ideologies gathered here to plan, connive, and dream.

Two of the more popular groups were the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks.

While both followed communism, there were some fundamental differences. The Mensheviks wanted a gradual switch from capitalism to communism and believed that a revolution should be carried out by the masses. The Bolsheviks believed in an immediate transition from capitalism to communism and thought a revolution could best be accomplished by a small group of revolutionaries.

Despite these differences, both were against The Great War.

The Great War had been a continuous drain on the Russian economy since July of 1914 when Austria-Hungry sparked the conflict by invading Serbia. Russia came to the aide of Serbia, as did France and Great Britain, making up the core of the Allies. Germany, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire came to the aide of Austria- Hungry, making up the Central Powers.

Since then, Russia had used its entire manufacturing center to help out the war effort. As the public starved, the government produced more guns. As unemployment skyrocketed, the government committed more troops to the conflict. The problems worsened as time went by.

By early 1917, the people were angry and wanted the war to end. They wanted bread and a warm place to sleep at night. Above all, they wanted a voice in government.


Two men sat around a small table and contemplated their options.

They had just received a telegram from their source in the Duma that said Kerensky was planning on introducing a constitutional resolution February 3rd. If their source was reliable (and he usually was), the Tsar was about to be kicked from power.

This meant that all their planning of the last three years would be wasted. Everything they had done would be for nothing.

They were still contemplating their options three hours later as the pub grandfather clock chimed midnight.

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

A loud knocking at his front door broke Rasputin's trance. Instantly, his eyes flew open, angry that an interloper had broken his solitude.

As he went to answer the door, thoughts of murder and fury fluttered into his mind. How dare anyone interrupt him!

He threw open the door and stared out at the four people who had dared to break his trance. "What is it?" he barked.

"Good Morning, Rasputin" said one of his visitors, a short, staunch man with thin, graying hair.

Rasputin knew him as Sergey Normanov, the deputy director of Stravi.

"May we come in?" Normanov asked courteously. "It's quite chilly out here."

"What do you want?" Rasputin asked suspiciously.

One of the other visitors, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovitch Romanov, the Tsar's cousin, spoke up. "We need to speak with you. We are worried that Alexis' Hemophilia has returned. He is deathly ill and once again needs your power."

Rasputin nodded. "By all means, come in. The boy is my top priority."

Grand Duke Dmitri, Normanov, and the other two visitors entered the bungalow and were instantaneously bowled over by the decor, or lack thereof.

The bungalow was almost completely without furnishing, a stark contrast to the luxurious Winter Palace. A straw mat and a Bible appeared to be the only contents.

This guy is a nutcase, thought the third and fourth men, two Stravi operatives.

"Please sit down", Rasputin said, gesturing at the dirt floor as he spoke.

"That's okay, we'd rather stand" Normanov pronounced, the other three nodding in agreement.

"Before we elaborate on Alexis' condition" Normanov continued, "How about some breakfast? Natalia Lazarov whipped up some of her famous pancakes."

Rasputin nodded. "Healing is a strenuous activity. It's best to do it on a full stomach."

Normanov rolled his eyes in disgust. Who does this faker think he is?

As soon as Dmitri handed over the pancakes, Rasputin hurriedly began to shovel them into his mouth.

A smile crossed Normanov's face. This was easier than he ever imagined.

The pancakes Rasputin was consuming were laced with enough poison to kill an elephant. This slob was about to meet his maker, Normanov thought happily.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub

The two revolutionaries had finally constructed a plan.

Both lit a cigarette and went over it in their heads.

The Tsar was at this very moment traveling by train towards the front lines. If they could capture him, the outcome of the Duma meeting would be insignificant. They could take over before Kerensky played his constitution card.

They both worked out the details and waited for the sun to come up.

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

Something was wrong.

Rasputin had consumed twelve pancakes full of deadly poison and acted like nothing was out of the ordinary.

As Rasputin swallowed the last pancake, one of the Stravi operatives discreetly pulled out his revolver. If the poison wouldn't do they trick, lead certainly would.

Normanov spoke up, motioning for the operative to put away his side arm for the time being.

"How do you feel, Rasputin?" he asked innocently.

"Never felt better," Rasputin said with a smile. "Now, about Alexis..."

He never finished the sentence.

January 27, 1917- 75 miles from St. Petersburg, Russia: The Tsar's train

"Your highness, I have some bad news," an aide proclaimed as he walked through the junction separating the Tsar's sleeper car from the dining car.

Tsar Nicholas was sitting up in bed, too worried to fall asleep. He hadn't had a good nights sleep in weeks. "Yes?" he asked, too worn out to feel concerned.

"Radio reports indicate the next town we are to pass through is controlled by the Bolsheviks," replied the aide. "The tracks are blocked by a group of revolutionaries, armed to the teeth with machine guns."

The Tsar stared ahead, not fully digesting the news. "Wha?" he asked, his voice cracking.

"I've alerted the Stravi and they're ready to fight to the death," the aide continued, as if the Tsar hadn't spoken. "It's doubtful we can fight them off, sire. We are outnumbered and out gunned."

"Send a report to Ivan Lazarov at the Winter Palace informing him of the situation. Then contact whoever is in charge of the next town," Tsar Nicholas commanded halfheartedly. "We need to open negotiations."

The aide nodded and left the room, shaking his head. The Tsar had lost his will to fight.

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

The other Stravi operative whipped out his sidearm and fired at Rasputin, aiming for his heart.

The bullet hit its intended target with a loud bang, cutting Rasputin off in mid-sentence and sending him to the dirt floor, where he lay still.

Normanov gave a sigh of relief, but his sense of accomplishment was short lived.

Rasputin leapt to his feet, his eyes red with fury.

"Shoot him again," Normanov yelled, his face set in a look of utter terror.

Both Stravi operatives aimed their revolvers at Rasputin and fired, their bullets once again finding their marks.

But Rasputin seemed unfazed. He let out a roar and leapt at Dmitri, closing his hairy palms around the Grand Duke's neck.

"Why won't you die?" Normanov shouted hysterically.

The two Stravi operatives leapt to the defense of Dmitri, emptying their weapons into Rasputin's chest, but to no avail.

The wounds only seemed to infuriate him more.

Normanov stared dumbfounded as the life drained from Dmitri, too stunned to react.

As last he spoke. "God help us, for this is certainly evil in human flesh."

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: The Winter Palace

van tried to process the news he had just received.

The train carrying the Tsar had just pulled into a station controlled by Bolshevik insurgents, who were surrounding the train and demanding that the Tsar surrender himself.

The Stravi were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, but were being restrained by their ruler, who was intent on reaching some kind of deal with the revolutionaries.

And to top it all off, a mob numbering 7,000 had just formed outside the Great Bear Pub, demanding that Russia withdraw from the Great War.

"What else could possibly go wrong?" The Stravi chairman wondered aloud.

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

Dmitri's lifeless body fell to the floor, his neck snapped in two by the inexhaustible strength of Rasputin.

Rasputin turned around, blood gushing from the 12 bullet wounds crisscrossing his torso.

An inhuman laugh escaped his throat and he jumped on the Stravi operative nearest him, causing both men to fall to the floor.

The agent let out a sudden scream of terror before he too lost his life to the vice-like grip of Rasputin.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Duma

Background: The Duma, or Russian Parliament, had been created in 1905 following the Tsar's October Manifesto.

The Manifesto gave Russian citizens freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association, but was time after time violated by the Tsar, still intent on being an Autocrat.

The Duma had a very limited role until 1916 when the people began looking to it to solve their problems.

Alexander Kerensky, a distant relative of Tsar Nicholas, was appointed Prime Minister in 1911 after the assassination of Petr Stolypin. Kerensky was picked for the position because of family roots, but soon broke with the Romanovs by calling for reforms.


Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky checked his pocket watch and was stunned to discover that it was 8 in the morning.

He and four aids had been working since 6 the previous night writing a first draft of the constitution.

The constitution was a scam to make Kerensky popular with the masses. The people needed to believe that he was their friend and the Tsar was their enemy. Eventually, Kerensky would call for the Tsar to abdicate and would step in to fill the void.

The people would be willing to give him emergency powers until things calmed down. Of course, once things did calm down Kerensky wouldn't give up control.

At 2 in the morning, he was just finishing the first article when a telegram came in informing him of the situation between the Tsar's train and the Bolshevik revolutionaries.

The assistant Prime Minister, Yuri Yargavich, was immediately dispatched to the Great Bear Pub to work out a compromise with the Bolshevik leader and public spokesmen, Vladimir Lenin.

Tsar Nicholas was a critical part of his plan and couldn't be harmed. For now, Kerensky needed him until he had drummed up enough support to take over himself.

Kerensky gave a small smile as he finished the draft. The constitution was done, ready to be presented February 3rd at the next Duma meeting.

January 27, 1917- 75 miles from St. Petersburg, Russia: The Tsar's train

The Tsar and his staff sat tight as Yargavich and Lenin determined their fate.

They felt so helpless. Whatever the outcome, The Tsar's supremacy was over with. He had lost all authority.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub

Within minutes of the Tsar's capture, Lenin had begun to retool his scheme.

Originally, he planned to use the Tsar as a hostage until he amassed a force sufficient enough to take over, but that idea was scrapped due to lack of manpower.

Lenin was becoming more influential with each passing day, but hadn't yet reached the point where he felt confident enough to start an uprising.


As Yargavich entered the pub, Lenin was bowled over by his appearance.

Yargavich was easily the fattest man he had ever seen. His width was almost longer than his height. His bald head glistened in the midday sun and his clothes looked like they cost more than an average peasant made in a month.

Lenin gave a barely perceivable shake of his head. This man could well afford to give a portion of his food and income to the poor. But he didn't.

Capitalists are all the same, Lenin thought in disgust.

Yargavich walked over and offered a fat, greasy hand, an entourage of three aids and two bodyguards accompanying him.

Lenin forced a smile on his face and returned the handshake, offering Yargavich a chair.

Yargavich spoke first. "Let's put all the pleasantries aside and get down to business. You have something I want, and I'm sure I have something you want. Now, what will it take to reach a compromise?" he asked pompously.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: Outside of The Great Bear Pub

The protesters were remaining peaceful, but no one could be certain how long that would last.

The police stood on the sidelines, unsure what to do. The Tsar was in no position to give orders and Kerensky couldn't be reached.

The police officers were taught not to make decisions on their own and were hesitant to do anything without a superior present.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Winter Palace: The Stables

Ivan hurriedly saddled up his favorite mount, impatient to get to the meeting at the Great Bear Pub.

He was angry that no one had thought to invite him to the conference. The future of Imperial Russia was on the line and no one had the courtesy to include a representative of the Monarchy.

He mounted the horse and rode off, cursing under his breath.

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

Rasputin released the Stravi operative's severed neck and got up, licking his lips in anticipation of his next kill.

He took a step towards Normanov, but was driven back by a head bunt from the other Stravi operative.

The sound of Rasputin's ribs shattering was quite audible, but once again the mad monk seemed unconcerned.

He recovered, sidestepped the agent, and sent him to the floor with an uppercut to his jaw.

Normanov heard the distinct sounds of bone coming apart, and the Stravi operative lay still.

Rasputin pointed his broken hand at Normanov and said in a voice straight out of the deepest pit of Hell, "Your turn, Sergey."

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: Rural Road, 18 miles from the Great Bear Pub

Ivan urged his horse to quicken its pace, impatient to get to the meeting.

The road, really more of a dirt path, led down from the highlands where the Winter Palace was situated to the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. It was the most direct route Ivan could take.

Ivan had a glistening new automobile, but preferred Thunder, his favorite horse, to the often-unreliable roadster.

Ivan had his head bent low to cut down on wind resistance and didn't see the flash of light, or hear the whoosh as a large cannon hidden in the forest let off a volley that landed 10 feet in front of his mount.

Thunder reared up, throwing Ivan from its back.

Ivan hit the ground hard and lost his breath. He tried to roll out from under his prized horse, but wasn't quick enough.

The horse stepped down on his chest, instantly crushing his heart.

He died without ever seeing his murderer.


The trio of assassins rolled the cannon off into a creek and quickly fled the scene.

Their mission had been accomplished and they were ready to collect their fee.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub

"Before we do anything, there's someone I'd like you to meet," Lenin said, motioning behind Yargavich as he spoke.

A tall, lanky man stepped out of the crowd of customers.

"May I introduce the Menshevik leader, Leon Trotsky," Lenin said smugly. "Last night we officially joined our two parties into one. We are now united together for a better Russia."

Yargavich turned around and looked uncertain. "Why are you telling me this?"

"So you can tell Kerensky," Trotsky spoke up. "He should know that his last advantage, the uncooperativeness of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, no longer exists."

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

Normanov took a step back. "What are you?" he asked Rasputin, his voice shaking.

Rasputin grinned, showing off his yellow, decaying teeth. "Some call me Beelzebub, still others prefer the name the tempter, but I'm more commonly known as Satan."

Normanov wet himself, unable to contain his fright. "What are you doing here?" he asked numbly, his mind unable to comprehend the situation.

"I'm fulfilling a promise made between myself and Vladimir Lenin," Satan said heinously. "He pledged me his soul if I would come into this world and sabotage the Monarchy."

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub

Yargavich turned back around, shaken, but still cocky. "You have a lot of nerve," he said to Lenin. "One shake of my hand and my bodyguards will riddle your body with bullets."

"This is our turf, Yargavich," Trotsky informed him, pulling up a chair and joining the two at the table. "This building is filled with our people. One motion from us and our boys will take you out."

Yargavich looked around, as if searching for the hidden guards. "No reason to do that, gentlemen," he said insecurely. "We can all act civilly."

"Good," Lenin nodded in agreement. "Now, here are our terms."

January 27, 1917- Just outside St. Petersburg, Russia: Rasputin's Bungalow

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," Normanov stammered.

"None of them are here to save you now, Sergey." Satan said nastily.

He took a step towards Normanov. "This is a golden opportunity for me. Not only do I get Lenin's soul, but I get the souls of the millions who will die following his rise to power."

"Please, don't hurt me," Normanov said feebly.

Satan put his head back and had a good, hearty laugh, his inhuman voice echoing off the walls. "Caesar's wife gave a better argument when she begged me not to take her husband."

Normanov backed up against the wall, his eyes wide with fear.

Satan walked slowly towards him. "Sergey, it's been a pleasure," he said as he closed the gap and reached for Normanov's neck.

January 27, 1917- St. Petersburg, Russia: The Great Bear Pub

"We'll release Tsar Nicholas if Kerensky lifts the restriction preventing communists from serving in the Duma. We want status as a legitimate political party." Lenin declared, his tone smug.

Yargavich's eye twitched and he turned white as a sheet. "Are you crazy? That's asking too much."

The communists were growing in popularity among the nation's poor and less affluent districts would most certainly elect communist sympathizers if they were allowed on the ballet. This would complicate Kerensky's planned rise to power.

"Take it or leave it," Trotsky said unsympathetically.

"If you'll excuse me, gentlemen" Yargavich said gloomily, "I have to inform the prime minister of this."

He got up from the table and walked back to use the pub phone, his entourage following him.

Lenin put his hands behind his head and smiled. "We've got this in the bag, Leon."

To be Continued...
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