Reign of Winter
Aging monk with a long beard and piercing eyes
Many far-fetched tales and exaggerations surround the man named Grigori Rasputin, also known as the Mad Monk, but the secret history of Rasputin reveals the exaggerated tales to be not only true, but not aggrandized enough. Born in 1869 and raised by a peasant family in Siberia’s frozen wastes, Rasputin’s early life was filled with great tragedy and revelation, though nothing so powerful as the life-altering vision the so-called monk received in his eighteenth year while serving penance at the Verkhoturye Monastery for theft. However, the beautiful woman who appeared before Rasputin was not the Virgin Mary, as he later claimed, but rather his half-sister Elvanna, who hailed from a strange and distant world. Through Elvanna, Rasputin learned of his true heritage as Baba Yaga’s sole surviving son; he grew bitter at the thought of his abandonment, resenting Baba Yaga’s denial of his birthright.
That communion was but the first of hundreds, and it inspired Rasputin’s lifelong pursuit of occult knowledge, as he strove to catch up with his sister, though the lustful tendencies inherited from his mother often stifled these pursuits. He toyed with forbidden secrets while communing with unholy creatures not of Earth, and experimented with an outlawed khlysty sect, a group of flagellants known for their intense orgies of sexual excess.
Perhaps Rasputin’s earliest inroad to securing his later fame and legacy came in Saint Petersburg in 1900. Invited into the home of a Russian military officer to display his mediumistic abilities, Rasputin hosted a seance attended by the young Tsarina Alexandra, wife of the Russian Tsar. Sensing a chance to tie himself to the royal family with blood, Rasputin seduced the tsarina, who succumbed to the allure of the strange young monk’s charisma. The tsarina believed their tryst was nothing more than a lustful vision of imaginative excess, a sensuous temptation born of the darkened seance chamber.
By 1916, Rasputin’s inf luence over the imperial family was such that political rivals attempted to murder him, and by all accounts succeeded. But Rasputin’s stitched soul—his birthright as Baba Yaga’s son—would not let him die so easily. Having been poisoned, shot, beaten, and drowned, he yet lived, and woke in a frozen grave. Rasputin disappeared from view at this point, replacing the body in his grave with a simulacrum created by a miracle. It was this simulacrum that the Bolsheviks exhumed months after his murder to burn in a final funeral pyre, leaving Rasputin’s survival a secret to all save Elvanna, who believed her brother would be the perfect lure to call Baba Yaga into the trap that Elvanna had set for her.