Thursday, March 30, 2006


Characters of the Court



Tsar Nicholas II -- Emperor of All Russia. His country is entering its third winter of war and the mounting number of causalities is appalling -- 6 million men wounded or dead. Over a year ago, he personally took command of the army in an effort to slow the bloodletting. This did not have any effect; just more dead line the bottom of the trenches. The huge human cost of the war has made his subjects’- lose faith in him and his regime. No longer do they ask if there is going to be a revolution. They just ask themselves when. Age 48.

Empress Alexandra -- Tsarina of All Russia. She has ruled beside her husband for over twenty years now. Most recently, Nicholas has allowed her to handle the day-to-day operations of his government. With the tsar’s attention completely focused on the war, Alexandra feels the need for change. Leaning heavily on the advice of her spiritual counselor Father Rasputin, Alexandra rearranges the tsar’s ministers more to her liking. Once a beautiful German princess, Alexandra now resembles a bitterly broken woman struggling to maintain her husband’s authority. Age 44.

Tsarevich Alexei -- the long awaited heir to the throne. Sadly, the child suffers from hemophilia -- a rare blood disease known as the ‘royal disease’ since it is so prevalent in Europe’s Ruling Houses. During one outbreak, he appeared near death until Rasputin performed a miracle, in the eyes of his mother, Empress Alexandra. From that day on, every time the young tsarevich grows ill, the Siberian healer is beckoned to the palace to restore her child to health. Age 12.

Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich -- Sandro, Nicholas’s cousin. He is adventurous to a fault. Previously an Admiral in His Majesty’s Navy, but now his heart belongs to the Imperial Air Force and his beloved flying machines. Married to Nicholas’ younger sister Xenia. Loves to tell stories’ especially ones he features prominently in. Age 50.

Grand Duke Nikolai Mikailovich -- Uncle Bimbo, older brother to Sandro. Well-known military historian, celebrated author and scholar. Current President of the Imperial Historical Society and the Russian Geographic Society. Prankster and gambler. Never married. Dislikes the current direction of the war. Age 57.

Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich -- Nicholas’ uncle, General of the Cavalry of the Russian Army. His first wife was a Greek princess by the name of Alexandra. She was the love of his life. Alexandra died delivering their second child, Dmitri, in 1889. He never recovered from her loss and allowed his extended family to raise his own children as he escaped everything that reminded him of his old life. Age 56.

Grand Duke Dmitri Pavelovich -- the Tsar’s favorite nephew. An Olympian athlete and model soldier. Currently an officer in His Majesty’s Horse Guards, the imperial forces elite. Rumored to be the man Their Majesties wish their eldest daughter Olga to marry. Friend and confidant to Prince Felix. Age 25.

Grand Duke Vladimir Vladimirovich, --the Tsar’s ambitious cousin nicknamed Vlad. His father Vladimir was the younger brother of Tsar Alexander III, a man many thought in 1894 as a much better choice of tsar in contrast to Alexander’s untried son. Nonetheless Alexander chose his own son Nicholas to secede him, which was his right to do; however, since that day Vladimir has had his eyes fixed squarely on Nicholas’ imperfections. Age 41. Fictional character. Based on Vladimir’s first heir who died in childhood.

Grand Duke Andrew Vladimirovich, --General in His Majesty’s Army. Current task is inspecting the worthiness of His Majesty’s troops. He does not like what he sees and feels the war has no direction. Loves Mathilda-Marie Kchessinska (prima ballerina) and always has, though, knows her heart belongs to the emperor. No matter; twelve years ago the two had a child together, ‘Vova.’ Andrew wonders what hope there is for Russia. Age 37.

Prince Sergei Platonovich Konstantin, --wounded war hero recovering in St. Petersburg. Officer in Her Majesty’s Cavalier Guards. Holder of the St. George Cross -Russia’s highest military honor. Member of the Russian aristocracy’s elite. His great grandfather was Tsar Alexander the first -- the emperor who defeated Napoleon. His father General Platon Konstantin is a living war hero. His exploits in Manchuria are known throughout all Russia. Sergei feels everyone knows and loves his father but him, a fact he has learned to hate. Age 23. Fictional character.

General Platon Alexandrovich Konstantin, -- Sergei’s father and legendary war hero. His family can trace their proud line back generations. Widowed. Would prefer to be at army headquarters but the tsar selected him personally for his current role as Head of His Majesty’s Secret Police. Close friend to his cousin Grand Duke Alexander. Age 56. Fictional character.


Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, --short, wiry with an overly romantic view of war. Grandson of Queen Victoria of England and cousin to Tsar Nicholas and King George. His armies are currently at war with Great Britain, France, and Russia. German casualties are appalling and match those of Russia. It is difficult to take on the world when you are running out of men. For this reason alone, the war needs to be decided soon. His armies on the western front have been at a stalemate for over a year. His forces are winning in the east, at war with Russia. The Kaiser only cares about the front that counts -- the west. He needs to break the stalemate before the United States is enters into the war. Age 57.

King George V of England, well-groomed beard atop a slim framed body, mirror image to the Tsar. Great son of Queen Victoria of England and cousin to Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas. Enduring his country’s third year of war. The British Expeditionary Force too has suffered appalling loses -- 3 million men wounded or dead, with little gain to justify the growing loss to his people. His monarchy cannot withstand another fruitless year like 1916. That is why he is advising his man in Russia to keep Tsar Nicholas’ interest in winning the war. Age 51.


Senator Vladimir Purishkevich, --religious extremist. He considers Tsar Nicholas as ‘God’s Emissary’ to the Russian Orthodox Church, the same church Rasputin is currently making a mockery of with his crude acts of behavior. Famous for his ‘dark forces’ speech he gave to Parliament in the fall. Age 46.

Alexander Protopopov, --Minister of the Interior. Twisted but opportunistic member of Rasputin’s inner circle. Former Deputy Speaker of the Duma -- Russia’s Imperial Parliament --and shrewd businessman. His peers in the Imperial Senate labeled him a traitor for a recent rendezvous he had with a German agent in Stockholm. Age 50.


Sir George Buchanan --British Envoy to the Russian Court. Stationed in St. Petersburg for six years now, he is an expert in diplomatic relations, though he is growing tired of his current post. He no longer trusts the Russian Court after Lord Kitchener’s ship was sunk in the Baltic Sea. Lord Kitchener was en route to a clandestine meeting with Tsar Nicholas. Only a handful of people knew of this secret mission, including Her Majesty. Sir George holds the German-born empress accountable for Lord Kitchener’s death. His only task now is keeping Nicholas and his 15 million men strong army in the war. At least, until the Americans join the fight. Age 62.


Father Grigory Rasputin -- Siberian priest, yet never ordained. Mystic. Healer. -Liar. Drunkard. Womanizer. Despite this, he is fortunate enough to have the empress’s ear. He was the only one in the eyes of Their Majesties who was able save their son Alexei from what seemed to be a certain death. Since then, the ‘good father’ has been incapable of doing a wrong. Age 47.

Inspector Renko -- General Konstantin’s second in command in Special Branch, the Tsar’s Secret Police. General Konstantin’s right-hand man. Does most of his dirty work. Has known the general’s son Sergei all his life. Sadly, Mikhail, his own son, died last summer in the same battle that wounded Sergei. Age 45. Fictional character.

Mathilda-Marie Kchessinska, --Prima Ballerina Assoluta of His Majesty’s Imperial Ballet. World famous dancer, now entering the twilight of her professional career. Presently Grand Duke Andrew’s mistress. Twelve years ago, Mathilda gave birth to his son, Vova. Never married. Her true love is and always will be Nicholas. They were lovers in their youths. Age 44.

Malachi Jones -- Serge’s close friend and old roommate from his days at Oxford. Captain of their old rugby team- the Warlocks. He was recently temporary assigned to the British Embassy in St. Petersburg for an Allied Conference to be held in January. His job was to help with security. His Father, F.W Jones, is a millionaire industrialist in England. Jones is a product of new money, something he is always reminded of. Age 24. Fictional character.

Prince Felix Yusupov, --sole heir to Russia’s wealthiest family. Young, bright and extremely good-looking. Was considered to be Europe’s most eligible bachelor before his recent marriage to Princess Irina -- Grand Duke Alexander’s eldest daughter. Felix is a complicated man with complicated tastes. And he makes sure that everyone knows it. Age 29.

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