– Paul FitzSimons

At thirteen minutes to one, the same time of day as the tsaritsa’s finest and most brutal accomplishment, 131 people in London died.

She didn’t want it, it certainly wasn’t her idea but, when the time had come to act, she had accepted the slaughter’s cruel inevitability. She believed in rukopashnyy, the justice that that brings. But, with his stupid entourage, that fucking personal army, he made it impossible. 

It was 7 years almost to the day since her quest began. Since that plane came down in Irkutsk, when another 131 people died, when Kaya died – krasivaya devochka Kaya – and everything changed. The resulting war had meant hundreds more deaths, perhaps thousands. A war that, today at 12.47 in a sterile docklands warehouse, had ended.

As she stood on that river bank looking across at the south-west city, her tsarstvo, it meant nothing to her now. She thought about those lives, those 129 men and the sins they’d committed. And the one man who had caused it all. And she felt nothing.

No, she did feel something. If at no other time, she should be honest with herself today. She owed herself that.

She felt content. Happy. Ecstatic.

As the blood ran over her shoulder and down her arm, the hand dropped away from her neck and the blade’s handle. The light-headedness, the nausea, the weakness enveloped her and she found she could no longer see the river. Or the city. Or anything.

She blinked. And again. But they were gone.

Fucking ecstatic. Kontsa. Kontsa Voyny.

The tsarista’s knees crumpled and she let them. Within seconds of the attack, the massacre only she could authorise, she dropped on to the grass.

And the 131st person to die in London that day closed her eyes.