These are the things that we know:
On December 30th 1916, Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin was murdered by a group of nobles led by Felix Yusupov, husband of the Tsar’s niece. His body was found a few days later in the Neva River. He’d been shot in the head at close range, according to autopsy reports.
In the wee hours of the morning on July 17th 1918, in the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia, ex-Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, ex-Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children were roused from sleep and escorted by guards out of the home, across a courtyard, and into a basement. Nicholas carried his ailing son, Alexei, in his arms. In the basement, Bolsheviks read Nicholas his death sentence, and then murdered the entire family.
In 1924, after the death of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin became the leader of the Communist Party, and the Soviet Union.
June 22 1941, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, invading the Soviet Union. The Red Army was able to hold Moscow, and the operation failed.
July 1942, the Nazis bombed the Soviet steppe city of Stalingrad, kicking off one of the longest, bloodiest battles in human history: The Battle of Stalingrad.
These are the things that we know.
We also know that amid the bloody chaos of war, individual stories of bravery, and sacrifice, and great loss are often buried amidst the stacks and stacks of battle statistics. Sometimes, in the dry recitation of wins and losses, we forget that men and women lived these wars. They fought and bled and scrapped and killed to stay alive. They saw things. Terrible things. Some more terrible than others.
This is a war story. Like all war stories, it is a story about men…and monsters.
Sometimes, the monsters come down on the side of the angels.
Tread carefully, dear reader.
White Wolf releases two weeks from today!