The dormant air of Senate Square reminded Prince Sergei of the war, right before battle when both sides ponder the civility of impending death. On one end of the square, Peter the Great sat aboard his rearing steed and Sergei couldn’t shake a feeling that the Czar looked down on their mission across the limits of time. Though Peter worked endlessly to pull Russia into the ranks of the European countries, he never questioned his right to rule without a constitution, let alone a national assembly; the Decemberists demanded both tonight. Sergei watched as Kakhovsky slinked around the few assembled officers like a tiger stalking his prey, the man seemed unhinged, more like a liability than an asset. The letter to his wife would have arrived by now, Sergei thought, and he debated if he should return home, forget this madness, and cup his arms around the swell of his unborn child.

The sound of galloping hooves announced Count Miloradovich’s approach and the officers opened their rings allowing the Count to enter. “It’s too late for protest,” Count Miloradovich proclaimed, “Constantine abdicated the throne!” The memory of Kakhovsky’s pacing caused Sergei to turn and see the pistol raised towards Miloradovich. “No,” shouted Sergei but the deed transpired, and the Count slumped over his horse, which cantered away.  No longer could Sergei pretend that this night would wane without bloodshed, he moved to depart, his courage failing him.

Unfortunately, the Czar’s loyal troops marched into the square, which now felt less like a collection of liberated scholars, and more like filthy animals trapped in a cage. “My children,” started Nicholas opening his arms like a loving father pleading with teenaged rebels to use reason. “Do not allow him to trick you,” someone yelled into the night, “chant for Constantine!” Shouts of Constantine erupted causing General Toll to turn to Nicholas and demand, “Sire, sweep the square with gunfire or abdicate.” Nicholas nodded, and the guns exploded into the night. Horrified Sergei fled, desperately trying to reach his family home and escape the chaos he helped to begin.    

Please see I. Midnight Declaration for sources used!

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