Indeed, he was utterly convinced that the motions of the planet Mars would reveal the fate of the Russian Empire, as the Russians are such a warlike people. He even had a special observatory built, just so he could chart the motions of Mars personally.
So one evening Peter the Great went to his observatory, and saw something that made his blood run cold. It wasn’t so much what he saw but rather, it was what he didn’t see: MARS HAD VANISHED FROM THE SKIES!
He flew into a blind panic, convinced that this was a sign of the imminent destruction of the Russian Empire. He began to make plans to flee from Moscow, in an attempt to save himself from the oncoming doom.
His chief advisors attempted to dissuade him from this action, but he was adamant. “Unless one of you can reasonably explain the disappearance of Mars,” he said, “I will not stay.”
At first, none of the advisors knew what to say, and Peter began to make final preparations to flee the country.
Suddenly, the Head of the Secret Police burst into the room. “Your Emperorship! I have the answer! My spies have told me that a mystical sect, known only as ‘The Brotherhood’, have used some strange magic to move the planet Mars. They knew that you would take this as a sign of the Empire’s end, and plan on seizing control the moment you leave.”
Peter was not convinced at first. “What proof do you have of The Brotherhood’s plot?”
The Head of the Secret Police smiled. “Many years ago, The Brotherhood printed a book, describing their plan in detail, in an attempt to gain more followers to assist them. I brought a copy with me.” And with these words he gave Tsar Peter the book, on the front of which was boldly emblazoned:
“The Brothers Carry Mars Off”