Tsar Nicholas II (Russia)

A gilded cipher on a throne of bones. Inherited a Romanov zoo of paranoia and privilege. Brain a Fabergé egg, all empty, jeweled cliches of divine right. Stirred the pot of discontent with a rusty scepter, clueless as a cockroach at a coronation ball.

A Romanov on a rickety throne, ass squeezed by the iron fist of history. Fat stacks of roubles couldn’t buy a lick of sense. The people, a churning stew of discontent – whispers of Marx and Lenin bubbling like borscht on the back burner.

A coiled viper in the belly of the empire, their hunger a rumbling machine gun. Bloody Sunday, a nightmare tableau – workers mowed down like wheat, red snow staining the cobblestones. Nicholas, a puppet waltzing with delusion, oblivious to the tightening noose.

Rasputin, a peasant with the manners of a sewer rat and the eyes of a hypnotized goat, slithered into the palace, a court jester with a hex. The Tsarina, a Teutonic ice maiden with a crown full of vipers, clung to the skirts of delusion.

War, the ultimate aphrodisiac for the mad, bled Russia white. The Great War, a meat grinder set to maximum – millions fed into the maw, spewing out a tide of misery. The people, a pressure cooker on high, ready to explode. Nicholas, a puppet waltzing with the Kaiser to a soundtrack of exploding shells. The Duma, a broken gramophone, its pleas for reform a static hiss against the roar of the coming storm.

The masses, a million-headed hydra, awakened with a roar that shook the winter palace. Nicholas, whimpering like a kicked puppy, fumbled for his crown, a Fabergé egg falling into the gutter. Abdication, a wet cough on the wind. The Romanov circus folded its tent, the last act a slaughter in a basement room, the echoes rattling the bones of a dead empire. From the ashes, a red phoenix, the Soviet behemoth, casting a long, hungry shadow over the world.

Abdication, a wet signature on a flimsy sheet, the Romanov dynasty evaporates like a whiff of cologne. The Red Hammer descends. The Soviet juggernaut, fueled by Lenin’s steely glare, rolls over the ruins of the Tsardom. From the wreckage, a new world, a workers’ paradise, or a dystopian nightmare, depending on your taste for vodka. Either way, the world had been rewired, the dominoes of history toppled by a feckless Tsar with a crown full of holes.

The Romanov dynasty, a flickering candle snuffed out, replaced by the iron grip of the proletariat. From the ashes, a new red beast rises, the Soviet Union, its eyes fixed on a world revolution. Nicholas, a ghost haunting the corridors of the past, a cautionary tale writ large in blood. The world, forever changed, a chessboard tilted by the fall of a Tsar.