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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Arctic Roots - 10. New Russia

“Last day of driving before we can take a break for a day or two, Cub,” Axel said after they checked out of their hotel in Whitehorse and got back on the road.

“Good,” Adam replied, “The truck is comfortable and all, but I could use a little more time out of this seat. What’s in Dawson City, that’s so important we need to stop and see for a couple days?”

“Dawson City is part of my old stomping grounds, Cub,” Axel replied. “You could say that some of the best and some of the worst days of my life happened in that little boomtown in the Yukon.”

“Is that where you went after you left your Papa?” Adam asked.

“No, the Yukon didn’t happen for another hundred years or so,” Axel said. “First, I traveled to meet my fellow Russian countrymen in their settlements here in the land they were calling The New World…”


Alexei walked into the village of Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island. While not unusual for various Russian traders to come and go from the settlement, it was out of the ordinary for one to arrive via land rather than by ship.

Alexei explained this away that he had come across the sea from Russia on an earlier fur trading expedition, and had spent some time with the Natives, learning their language and the secrets of this new land. He was granted an audience with Grigory Shelikhov, the fur trader who had founded the settlement, and offered his services as a local fur-trapping guide and native interpreter.

Alexei’s reputation grew over the years, and he became the most sought-after field guide in the Alaskan territory. The trappers trusted Alexei to guide them safely on excursions into the uncharted mainland, and to use his knowledge of the Native populations to smooth over any conflicts without resorting to bloodshed.

With Alexei’s werebear skills and senses, he was able to lead hunting parties to their quarry with ease, and he soon found himself living a comfortable and moderately wealthy life once again.

After several years, Shelikhov and his wife wished to retire and return to Russia, so Alexei was appointed interim Governor until a permanent replacement could be found and sent from Russia to the Three Saints Bay colony. Alexei governed fairly but yearned to spend more time in the field, feeling that he did not have the proper temperament for politics, and after four years, Aleksandr Baranov finally arrived to replace him and manage Russia’s affairs in the New World.

Baranov was ambitious and put Alexei to work establishing new forts and trading posts up and down the coastline. By 1799 Aleksandr Baranov with Alexei at his side had founded the Russian-American Company to form a monopoly on the fur trade. While Alexei focused on building up the expanded settlements, Aleksandr, at the urging of his young wife, directed much of his attention on the "Russification" of the native population, erasing their cultural heritage and replacing it with his own, and then utilizing the converts as cheap labor for their expanding empire.

Aleksandr believed that the future of the Russian-American Company’s expansion lay to the south, and encouraged Alexei to establish new trading posts farther down the Pacific coast. After Alexei had overseen the purchase of a large tract of land on a swampy peninsula from the native Tlingit people, and completed construction of the first two log buildings, Alexsandr determined that this would be the new hub of trade in the New World, and declared the settlement there, “New Russia”.

Alexei went about the work of transferring the business headquarters from the Three Saints Bay settlement to the new location in New Russia, as Aleksandr continued his work of attempting to gentrify the native Tlingit peoples.

It was during one of Aleksandr’s missionary excursions that Alexei had his fateful encounter with Aleksandr’s wife, Ulyana.

Alexei had been overseeing the construction of Aleksandr and Ulyana’s home in New Russia, a large structure that was to be used has both their personal dwelling as well as the business offices for the Russian-American Company. This structure was to be the cornerstone of the new settlement, which in time was intended to become the capital of the New World.

Alexei was inspecting the newly completed suite of rooms on the second floor of the structure when the sounds of men’s voices and the hammering of construction elsewhere in the building suddenly ceased. Before he had a chance to investigate, the door to the suite was opened, and Ulyana herself entered the room.

“Good day, mistress,” Alexei said formally, bowing to his employer’s wife. “Have you come to inspect the progress on your new home?”

“In a way,” she replied. “I’ve sent the other workers away for the rest of the afternoon.”

“Why would you do that?” Alexei asked crossly, “I have a schedule to keep, and I need them working!”

“Alexei, how long have you been working for my husband now?” Ulyana asked.

“It has been six years, mistress,” Alexei replied.

“In that time, I have been watching you closely, Alexei,” she said, walking close to stand in front of him. “I know that you are not like the other men here.”

“In what way?” Alexei asked, trying to hide his nerves. He was certain that he had kept his bear well hidden from the humans and had never shifted in the presence of anyone, so it could not be possible that she had discovered his werebear nature.

“You are so big, and muscular, yet quiet and sensitive at the same time,” she replied. “In all my days I have never seen a man built as strongly as you. Tell me, Alexei, are you big like this all over?”

With that question, Ulyana grabbed Alexei by the crotch and felt his package, squeezing his thick manhood through his trousers made of soft tanned caribou skins.

“Mistress!” Alexei exclaimed, “Please do not do this! I owe my allegiance to your husband and our Company!”

“And I know that you have taken no other women in the six years that I have been watching you Alexei,” she said. “Aleksandr pays me little attention anymore. I require a strong man to satisfy my needs, and I have decided that you will be my new lover. It is no use resisting. Either you do as I say, or I shall tell my husband that you forced yourself upon me. I assure you, attending to my needs will be much more pleasurable for you than the punishment you would receive for raping the Master’s wife.”

“Mistress, you don’t understand…” Alexei tried to explain, but she was upon him, ripping his shirt open and pulling at the buckle of his trousers.

“I understand perfectly well that you have the big cock that I’ve been needing for the past many months! Give it to me now or I shall scream.”

“Mistress!” Alexei yelled, pulling away from her grasp. “If I had any interest in women at all, I’m sure that I would find your offer too good to refuse. However, I do not lay with women. I never have and I never will. I only fuck men. It is the way that I was made.”

“Whatever perversions you engage in is your own business, Alexei,” Ulyana replied. “I could care less how many men or women you’ve fucked in your life. I’m giving you a choice right now. Either you learn to enjoy fucking me, or you can hang from the end of a rope.”

“I’ll take my chances with the rope,” Alexei replied firmly, taking the woman by the arm and leading her from the room. “You can make any claims you wish; you have no proof.”

“The word of the Master’s wife is proof enough,” she said spitefully after Alexei had thrown her out of her own future home. “Are you going to tell Aleksandr of your unnatural desire for men as your defense? Either way, you will hang.”

“So be it,” Alexei said. “But at least I will not have to suffer the indignity of soiling my body within your foul cunt!”

With that final statement, Alexei slammed the door of the new building in her face and leaned against it, breathing heavily and nervously, trying to decide what his next steps should be to extricate himself from this unexpected mess.

When he had gathered his wits again and opened the door, Ulyana was no longer there. He quickly went to his own small cabin and gathered the things that he would need for a fur-trapping trip. He knocked on the door of the men’s barracks and asked for five volunteers to go with him south for an unplanned trapping expedition. He explained that he needed a break from the pressures of the settlement construction, and that a hunting trip would be a fine diversion.

Five men eagerly volunteered, as they knew Alexei’s reputation as a fur trapper, and any time that they could spend with the almost legendary man would be worthwhile.

They outfitted a small ship and the six men quickly embarked on a voyage down the coast to the trading post at New Archangel.

One of the men who volunteered for the trip, Viktor, was the closest thing Alexei had to a best friend in this land, and as they sailed south, Alexei told him the story of Ulyana demanding sex from him or else accusing him of raping her.

“That’s absurd,” Viktor replied after he’d heard Alexei’s tale, “Everyone knows that you prefer the company of men!”

“Wait, everyone knows that?” Alexei replied in shock.

“Sure,” Viktor said, “It doesn’t take a genius to notice that you ignore the few women around here completely while you have a keen eye for a well-developed man.”

“If everyone knows this, why have there been no accusations or trials?” Alexei asked.

“Because we know you. You are a good and brave man, and many of us owe you our very lives. As far as I can tell, you haven’t attempted to rape any of us, so if you’re able to keep that giant bushwhacker of yours buttoned up inside your trousers, then who are we to say that your desires are wrong?”

Alexei and his crew of volunteers laid low for five days, hunting sea-otter furs in the area around New Archangel until another ship appeared on the horizon and pulled into their small port. It was Aleksandr Baranov himself, with a contingent of ten men, come to confront Alexei about his wife’s claims.

Aleksandr’s men quickly apprehended Alexei and his volunteers, bringing them before a tribunal.

As Aleksandr viewed the man before him, he read the signed statement of his wife, detailing the atrocities that Alexei had supposedly inflicted upon her during the episode of rape within the newly constructed building.

After reading the statement, Aleksandr spoke to Alexei directly.

“What I don’t understand,” Aleksandr said, “Is that I have always assumed that you prefer the company of men! I have never seen you give a woman as much as a sideways glance in all the years that I’ve known you, and now I’m expected to believe that you were so overcome with lust for my wife that you raped her?”

“Well, you are correct, sir,” Alexei replied, “I do prefer to lay with men, and I have never touched a woman in my life. I don’t understand how everyone seems to have figured out my secret except for Ulyana, and why they’ve all chosen to remain silent about it until now.”

“Ulyana is pretty, but she isn’t the sharpest sword in the armory, if you get my meaning,” Aleksandr said. “As for your personal tastes, I have always felt that was a matter between you and God and whomever you chose to lay with. It was none of my business, and it was not right that Ulyana put you in the position that you had to address it publicly. Therefore, none of that is going on the official record…

Officially, is your statement that you deny all charges brought against you by Ulyana?”

“That is correct, sir,” Alexei replied. “I vehemently deny ever laying a hand on her and deny the accusation of rape.”

“Then it is my official verdict to declare the accused, Alexei, not guilty,” Aleksandr said. “Let the record show that he is cleared of all charges. Now, if you are finished with your hunting trip, shall we go back home to New Russia?”

They set sail back to their new home, but even before reaching it, they saw the column of smoke on the horizon. When they reached the port of New Russia, they were greeted with nothing but piles of smoldering ashes. A single survivor was left to tell the story that the Tlingit natives had finally had enough of the Russian intrusion into their land and the attempts to subvert their society and culture. They had attacked the settlement and burned it to the ground. There were no other survivors. Aleksandr and Alexei had no other choice but to sail back to the settlement in Three Saints Bay and attempt to recover their losses.

The next fifty years were a quagmire of hostilities between the Russian settlements and the Tlingit. After a fierce battle in retribution for the destruction of New Russia, the Russian-American Company moved their base of operations to the once small trading post of New Archangel. The arrival of the British Hudson Bay Company heralded competition for the furs, and that competition drove the sea-otters to near extinction.

Aleksandr had gown old, and Alexei was forced to fade away, lest the secret of his eternal youth be discovered. He found work once again as a field guide, first for the British, and then eventually to the Americans, who by the mid-1800s were beginning to move to the farthest reaches of the continent that they sought to conquer. Alexei learned English, and continued to work as an interpreter between the explorers and hunters who hired him as a guide and the dwindling populations of native people.

In 1867 Alexei received the news that Russia had given up on Alaska and had sold it all to the United States. Russian citizens were beginning to depart, and a deadline was set in 1870 whereby all Russians who had not left Alaska would become citizens of the United States.

Alexei thought carefully during this time. He could travel back to New Archangel, now a bustling port town renamed Sitka, and join the evacuees being sent by boat back to the Motherland, or he could remain in the New World. He thought of his family and Igor and the people he once knew in Russia, and he understood that they were all long gone. The only person who had any semblance of permanence in his life was his Old Man. He could not bear to go back to see the Old Man again yet, but he felt that their paths were destined to cross once again. He chose to stay. And so at the age of two hundred and fifty-five years old, and having lived in North America for most of his life, Alexei Ankudinov became a citizen of the United States of America.

As more and more Americans moved into the new Alaskan Territory in search of land and wealth, it stuck Alexei how different they were than the Russian people that he had known and lived with his whole life. American frontiersmen were loud, and rowdy. When they moved into a new area and created a settlement, some of first structures that were built were saloons and brothels.

Alexei continued his work as a field guide to this new breed of human, and he was still sought after due to his reputation as a skilled hunter and expert in the terrain of Alaska from extreme north to the southernmost islands. But, to the Americans, he was stiff and rigid, lacking in fun and personality. Nightly contests were conducted in the saloons of the frontier towns challenging anyone to try to make the seven-foot wall of Russian muscle crack a smile. Many tried, and Alexei happily took their money, finding their attempts at humor to be crude and in poor taste.

After nearly thirty years living among the Americans, as Alexei was considering moving on again before his never-changing appearance became an issue, the news of the century broke. Gold had been discovered on August 16, 1896, just over the border in the newly independent nation of Canada along the Klondike River. Alexei immediately left his life as a field guide to hunters and explorers behind and joined the Gold Rush, headed East to the Yukon Territory and Dawson City.


“And now, Cub,” Axel said pointing to a sign on the side of the road, “Welcome to Dawson City, Yukon.”

They rolled through town, Adam admiring the old-timey architecture.

“These buildings look old, Papa,” he said. “Is it just the way you remember it?”

“No,” Axel replied. “It’s all different now. It’s bigger and more developed than it was back then. These are all newer structures that were made to look old. None of these buildings are the same as they were in 1899 when I left… Except for that one!”

Axel made a hard right turn and drove a short distance down the street before coming to a stop in front of a large old building painted bright pink. The sign on the façade read “Westminster Hotel, Est. 1898”.

“Of all the places to have survived the years, it had to be this one,” Axel mumbled out loud.

“Good memories of this place, or bad, Papa?” Adam asked.

Both, Cub,” Axel replied, and looked up at the pink structure with an expression of pain and sorrow. “Samuel, I’ve finally come home.”

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Ah, what a life.  Some was harsh and demanding but to have been able to see the years roll by and stay young and strong would have been remarkable.  That was often how it was in the old west and the frontiers back then; as long as you did not try to force yourself on anyone, most truly did not care who you took as a lover.

Well, this is the first time we have heard the name Samuel; a long dead lover perhaps?  Can't wait for Axel to continue his story.

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Alex prefers the frontier and wilderness to city life.  His jobs are fitting to his life.  Now to find out who Samuel is and what he meant to Alex.  

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