Yay! Questions! First, how do the paladins adjust to piloting given their new limb configurations? (Holes in seat for tails, I can't remember if foot pedals are a thing or not etc). Also since Lance breathes through the gills on his ribs I'm assuming he has to wear specialised clothing to keep them clear, does he get upset about having to ditch his jacket? (Being a memento of earth and all) On a similar note do any of the paladins have major sensory issues to overcome? (You mentioned Keith- (1)
(2) (and his hearing but the mer people made me think of tropical fish so does Lance have problems with the cold? Does Pidge have to worry about overheating? DOES HUNK GET A HORSE BLANKET/COAT?!?) Do any of the paladins have particular worries/fears about returning to earth since their transformations? (I can sort of imagine Shiro being afraid of any of them being taken away for ‘study’ given his history with the Galra and his last run-in with the Garrison)? - EvoAu Anon
Thank you for the asks~!! <3<3
I SHALL GO IN ORDER!
1: Lance has his seat removed in Blue’s cockpit because his hover bracelets keep him floating so he doesn’t really need to “sit” until he takes them off (he has a REALLY good sense of his surroundings now and can operate blue upside-down if necessary. Keith has to have a hole cut in for his tail and Hunk also has his seat removed.
The cockpit is small so he typically stands, but he’s sturdy enough that he has to be hit HARD and TOSSED IN CIRCLES before he’ll lose his balance.
2: Lance’s shirt was specially made by the combined efforts of Coran, Hunk and Pidge. Without it, Lance would suffocate unless submerged in water (though he can breathe both salt and fresh water). Lotor found this out the hard way:
Lance does NOT have to get rid of his clothes actually, so long as the clothes are loose enough that they do not constrict his middle, he can breathe fine, because Pidge made it really so it’s good.
3: Ah sensory issues….. Shiro was completely out of commission for a while when he started to change because he can hear people’s thoughts, so for a while he was COMPLETELY out of commission.
Keith’s eyes do not see in the same spectrum entirely so reds are extremely nice to look at because he can see 3 additional reds so of the paladins, he had the MOST sensory overload techically as his sight, hearing and smell all advanced beyond what they were as a human. Lance’s sense of smell is heightened a little but it;s not significant enough to cause him trouble and he thought it more fun than overwhelming. Lance’s vision is much more dull on the colour hue when he is outside of the water.
Pidge’s core temperatures are constantly monitored by her cells (and self diagnostics) so she will not overheat, however if she were to come across a computer that is extremely advanced (more than the castle ship) and tries to connect with it, there is a significant amount of feedback that CAN cause her to loop and sort of short circuit. So she will literally just STOP and sort of fall over if that happens until her systems perform an emergency reboot.
Hunk is unfortunately very nervous or at the very least, anxious. He sleeps in a mass of pillows and blankets because he needs the comfort or he feels antsy, which is why he has to run every morning. Centaurians are skittish and startle easily (Lance and Pidge take up the opportunity to scare him by making loud noises by him at times). I think it would be SUPER CUTE if he had a horse blanket… I think he would be flattered when he goes to the Centaurian planet (Allura knows where it is) and all the Stallions and Mares think he;s just so attractive and sweet and give him all kinds of fancy garb (they have a lot of draping clothes and wear a lot of tail accessories).
4: Last but not least….. yes. Shiro does NOT want them to go back to Earth any time soon; he is very protective and afraid for his teammates. He knows what would happen if they all went back like this- they would be experimented on for sure and as someone who HAD been experimented on, he CANNOT let that happen to the others. No one should have to go through that.
Lance is devastated when he realizes this, and it takes him a while to figure it out because he’s generally been having SO much fun. But when he does realize that he can’t go back to earth he shuts himself up in his room for a week and Shiro has to go and comfort him.
A/N; Short chapter, but next one will have some more reveal!
It is said that some people have old souls, reborn every couple centuries to find their loved ones again and continue on their never ending journey. But what happens to these intersecting lives when one is immortal and the other is ripped from them?
Lucy blinked, trying to clear her mind. It was obvious she had spent too long on the train and had gone stir crazy. Who knew a week and a half of constant travel could be enough to break a mind.
“C’mon Luce! I haven’t see Jally since he was a colt!”
“And I have never ridden a horse!” Lucy defended. She eyed the large stallion warily, hair and mane black as the night sky above them.
“You broke his great great great whatever grandma,” Natsu explained, happily petting the side of Jally’s neck.
“Well Sun Star was kind and gentle and not three feet my superior.” She sniffed. Really, as though Natsu would compare her mare to his beast. Lucy cocked her head when she noticed Natsu’s stare, a wistful joy shining in his emerald gaze. “Natsu?” Lucy questioned, stepping towards him and placing one hand on his chest. Lucy blinked when Natsu took her hand, lifting it to his mouth where he ran his lips over the backs of her fingers.
“Knew you’d remember her.” he said, voice low with emotion. Lucy took in a sharp intake of breath, becoming aware of the importance of her memory.
“I have ridden a horse,” she mumbled, head spinning at the onslaught of memories she was able to pull from.
“Bunch’a ‘em.” Natsu whispered back. Lucy squealed loudly when she was suddenly lifted, deposited on the horse and covering blanket as if she were a child by Natsu’s strong arms. “Now we gotta go! I can’t wait to show you the castle again, Luce.” Natsu said easily, deftly lifting himself onto the horse in front of Lucy, his hands fisted in the horse’s mane.
“Natsu!” Lucy hissed, struggling to lift her leg and dress to put it in it’s proper place beside her other one. “I can not ride like this! It’s, it’s improper!” She face felt as vibrant as his hair, and her eyes grew large as she saw an excuse to not be caught in such a compromising manner. “My luggage! We cannot just leave it here.”
Lucy all but pouted at Natsu’s bawdy laugh, his hand resting comfortingly on her knee. One of her spread knees. Shame crept along her spine at the lewd position, to be a lady and have your legs spread this wide… “Don’t worry Luce, it’ll be taken care of. And stop fidgeting, you’re freaking out Jally.”
Pairing: Yongguk x OC Genre: Fantasy, with Angst and Smut to come Summary: After a vampire attack leaves you almost dead, you are rescued by a group of werelions, powers long thought to be extinct. Upon discovering the same power flows in your blood, you join their fight against encroaching vampires and another, very human monster, to save the kingdom. Previous parts:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7, 8 , 9 (M), 10
your mastering of shifting and subsequent additional training with
Daehyun and Himchan, you forget all about returning to the village.
Three more months pass, marked by three more visits from werebears.
Each time, you scurry to hide the instant you hear or smell their
approach and mask your scent with the horse blanket and Youngjae’s
herb mixture. Every visit brings a different man, though each has the
same look of trained composure and meets the same cool reception from
after the third bear, Minhyuk, rides out, and after it becomes too
hot to work in the sun, you all walk back to the keep.
then that you finally ask, “Why can we not trust the bears? If the
king subjected them to the same brutalities as you and the wolves,
should they not hate him as much?”
scoffs. Dust covers his hair and clothes from helping you practice
incapacitating foes as a lion. “They are directly under his thumb.
They stay in safe in the palace as his bodyguards while we risk our
hides. He bought their loyalty a long time ago with soft living.
Anything we say or do will be whispered in his ear the same day.”
don’t care what they say. Yifan would never have been caught unless
they told the king.” Youngjae tosses a dagger into one of the
unused shed’s door with a grim expression. “They betrayed us.”
king can use their families against them more effectively,” Himchan
points out, though it looks like speaking on their behalf pains him
greatly. “We cannot say we would not do the same if our places were
almost wish a vampire would finish him for us,” Junhong mutters.
“Then we could just take care of them without sneaking around and
rule the kingdom ourselves. Yongguk would make a much better king.”
You speak of treason,” Jongup jests, drawing a light chuckle among
it may be, but you must agree with Junhong. Many of your
conversations with Yongguk come around to his dearest wish in life:
to improve the lives of anyone and everyone within his vicinity. He
was studying to be a lawyer to defend the common people before he was
summoned by the king, he had told you. Passion saturates his voice
when he speaks of different plans and laws he would implement if only
he had the power. If Yongguk was king, you have no doubt the kingdom
would only benefit.
of Yongguk,” Youngjae says, turning to you as he recovers his
dagger, “did you ever ask him about going back to your village?”
The stones were far larger than what Bree had expected. Tall, intimidating. She hadn’t thought about what would happen once they arrived at the stones. Her brain had skipped the process of questioning how they would travel or what it would be like.
Mama had only told them she touched the center stone, and woke up in a different century.
But what if it didn’t work? What if they came all this way, only to find out their mother was delusional and their fa… and Frank was a gullible asshole?
Alex walked up beside Bree, taking in the surrounding stones. “Wow. I understand now why there’s legends about this place. It’s eerie, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it really is.”
It was a dark, cloudy day. The chill in the air along with the slight breeze only added to the tension that was rising up inside Bree. She was sure Alex could feel it as well. He had crossed his arms and was standing unusually tall for being the more timid of the two. It looked like Bree would have to take the lead on this, before they changed their minds.
“Well, I guess there’s no point in just standing around. You ready to do this?”
“Not really. But I’m not turning back now without trying. Here’s your bag.” Alex handed Bree’s satchel over to her, securing it over her shoulders.
“We’ll have to touch it at the same time. Just to be on the safe side.”
“Okay. You remember when we’re going back to, right?”
“1766,” Bree stated.
“Good. He should be in Edinburgh. We’ll need to find two horses. It’ll take us a day or two to ride to Edinburgh; four or five if we have to walk. You have everything we need?”
“I think so. I’ve got the map, money for the horses. The food and blankets are in your bag.”
“You think we’ll blend in enough with these clothes?” Alex inquired, looking down at his outfit.
The woman at the costume store had dressed them in what she described as “the most accurate styles for the 18th Century”. Alex was in a white shirt, a dark brown vest with matching breeches and a navy blue jacket. Bree, who objected entirely throughout getting dressed, had on a white shift and stays, with a dark green bodice and petticoat.
“We better or I’m coming back through the stones and giving that old lady a good ass kicking.”
When growing up, the pair had always been very close, although their personalities differed greatly. Bree was outgoing - strong minded, and happy to let you know she was. Alex was more reserved, happy to just go with the flow. He prefered to avoid confrontation at all costs.
“Well, come on Alex. Let’s get this show on the road.” Bree reached down and grabbed her brother’s hand. Walking closer to the center stone, the twins felt the winds begin to pick up.
“Holy shit. Do you hear that?” Bree turned her head, listening to whatever Alex had picked up on. That’s when she heard it. I high pitched whistling noise, like a train off in the distance.
“If this isn’t paranormal, mystical shit, I don’t know what is,” Bree mumbled, trying to cover her fear in nonchalance.
With each step they took toward the stone, the winds picked up and the louder the whistling became. Once within arms reach, they stopped and looked at each other, still holding hands. Bree wasn’t sure if she was holding his hand to steady him, or to steady herself.
“On the count of three?” Alex asked, sounding stronger than Bree had thought he would.
“On the count of three,” she confirmed.
Alex started, “One.”
“Two.” Reaching out with their inactive hands, the tips of their fingers nearing the stone.
“Three!” the twins shouted, holding back their fears and reservations, and lunging to the stone.
tea time for @silvereyesandboloties. prompt: winter romance
“have you ever been up north?”
“are you really asking me that?”
erwin chuckles and shakes his head. “i suppose that was an ignorant question. i should have phrased it as ‘would you like to travel north?’”
“why the fuck would i want to do that?”
erwin shifts in his chair to face levi. “as you know, each district has its own variety of culture–the underground was no exception. utopia has an interesting festival during the winter solstice that i have only attended once many years ago. our next expedition is not until the spring…”
“you’re really going to take a break?”
“if you will go with me, i certainly will.”
“a little bit of paperwork.”
they stare at each other, and there are some gazes that even the commander cannot yield to. “no paperwork.”
levi fingers the edge of his cravat, his face softened a little like butter over his victory. “when do we leave?”
“you think i would give you time to change your mind?”
levi sighs and shakes his head, irritated that erwin is right, as he tends to be. the bastard knows him far too well. he shifts his crossed leg down onto the floor and stands. “i’ll ready my things.”
x OC Genre: Fantasy,
with Angst and Smut to come Summary: After
a vampire attack leaves you almost dead, you are rescued by a group
of werelions, powers long thought to be extinct. Upon discovering the
same magic flows in your blood, you join their fight against
encroaching vampires and another, very human monster, to save the
kingdom. Previous parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6, 7, 8 , 9 (M), 10
only wait one day to start training on your own. Determined to
rebuild your strength through exercise, you decide to start with
exploring your new home.
takes ages to sneak from your bed and past the sleeping men. They lie
sprawled and tangled on the mattresses that are pushed together on
the floor. With your eyes on their chests, you use the wall as
support. No doubt worn out from another night of hunting, they barely
retrieve your quarterstaff from the fireside. Its tap echoes in the
hall as you make your way outside. Mid-day light reveals most of the
buildings to be sunken and decrepit with age and neglect. Only a few
gleam with the healthy new wood of repairs. With one hand on the wall
and the other on your staff, you begin your circle.
you’re definitely more steady on your feet, your body still demands
stops. The pauses to catch your breath allows you more time to
examine the small garden and kitchen you discover. When you reach the
other side of the guardhouse, a chorus of curious whinnies beckon.
and hay and sweet grain permeate the air of the building. Seven
large, gleaming raven heads stick out of stalls when you step further
into the stable. The nearest horse, neck and chest
thick with muscle, throws its head and paws its door. It pins back
its ears in warning.
gorgeous babies.” Clucking your tongue, you hold out your palm.
“Ah, look at that physique. You must be a stallion. I’m sorry if
you didn’t like me calling you ‘baby.’ You’re a splendid, strong
beauty, aren’t you?”
stallion’s ears slowly prick forward at your continuous low voiced,
lilting praise. He allows you closer to lay a hand on his broad neck.
With a snort, he stretches forward and starts nosing your clothes.
laugh and pat his nose in apology for not bringing the treats he
seeks. Having won over the head stallion, your reception from the
other horses and lone gelding is more welcoming. He butts your
shoulder again when you return to his stall after greeting all of
are a big baby.” You chuckle, stroking his head and kissing it.
“What a bluffer. All nose and no hoof.”
as gentle as they come for a stallion, but he knows how to be a
warhorse when needed.”
Two Native American (Tewa) men; one, Pedro Cajete,
sits on a horse with a blanket, saddle, and bridle, Santa Clara Pueblo,
New Mexico. Mr. Cajete wears a hat, shirt, pants, and gloves. The other
man is wrapped in a striped blanket and stands by a wood door. - Poley - 1910
In the early medieval period of Russia’s history, there was a small dominion known as ‘Kievan Rus’. This realm was inhabited by Norsemen, Finns, Balts and especially Slavs. The greatly feared and loved princess Saint Olga had a son named Sviatoslav who was mentored by a famed Varangian warlord named Sveneld.
“When Prince Sviatoslav had grown up and matured, he began to collect a numerous and valiant army. Moving light as a leopard, making many wars, he did not take wagons on his travels, nor kettles, neither did he have his meat boiled. But he would cut off a strip of horseflesh, game or beef, roast it on the coals and eat. There was no tent for him, but he spread out a horse-blanket under him, and set his saddle under his head; and all his druzhina did likewise. He sent messengers to the other lands announcing his intentions to attack them.” – Rusian Primary Chronicle.
^ The Kievan Rus under Prince Sviatoslav’s reign (red), sphere of influence in 972 (orange).
Sviatoslav dressed and styled himself differently than previous rulers; “he shaved his head completely, except for a lock of hair that hung down on one side, as a mark of his nobility of his ancestry” and “on one ear was fastened a gold earring, adorned with two pearls with a red gemstone between them”. Similar hairstyles were sported by the Turkish Bulgarians, Magyars and Khazars. Unlike those before him, he acted out a form of chivalry in which he would send envoys before him warning of his intentions (“I march on you”) so they could meet in open battle rather than resorting to ambushes and guerrilla warfare. Also, he took on a military approach similar to that of the steppe nomads; using silent, rapid and deep infiltration of enemy territories.
^ Osprey – ‘Men-at-Arms’ series, issue. 333 – Armies of Medieval Russia 750-1250 by David Nicole and Angus McBride (Illustrator). B1: Sviatoslav of Kiev, 971 AD.
DOWNFALL OF THE GRAND KHAZAR KHAGANATE
The Khazars (Jewish Turks) and the Byzantines had a relatively positive relationship for most of their history but all this changed under the Byzantine king, Romanos I Lekapenos (920–944 CE), who was persecuting Jews. In response to this Joseph, khagan of the Khazars (Jewish Turks), began “doing away with many Christians” (Schechter Letter). Romanos I Lekapenos is believed to have incited the Rus into warring with the Khazars; the Rus already held an uneasy relationship with the Khazars since they held sway over the Volga River with its rich access to the Caspian Sea and the treasures of the Muslim world while some speculate that the Rus were tributaries of the Khazar Khaganate at this time.
In the past (944 CE) the Khazars had proven how deceitful they could be when they granted the Rus safe passage through their land in exchange for half of the spoils but decided to instead attack and rob the Rus force as it was returning from their successful raid of the Caspian Sea regions. Close ties with the Byzantine Empire is often seen as a strong excuse behind the Rus war against the Khazars as the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas (963–969 CE) convinced Sviatoslav into assisting him in a war against Bulgaria years later.
^ Sviatoslav’s Council of War by Boris Chorikov.
Despite this entire backdrop, one thing that is believed by scholars is that the expansions made by Sviatoslav against the Khazar Khaganate and the Empire of Bulgaria were attempts to rid the Kievan realm of the limitations and handicaps imposed onto them by these two nations. If they could conquer or subdue the Khazars to their east and south then they would attain safe access and control of the trade routes to the Black Sea and the rich Byzantine Empire as well as Caspian Sea and the prosperous Muslim world.
By defeating the Bulgarian Empire, the Kievan realm would be in close proximity to the Byzantines and access to the Danube River. The Danube River the second longest river in Europe which happens to cut through the greater part of Europe in a horizontal fashion – attaining this would allow them to trade with other great empires that were previously out of reach.
“At this barrage (Rus. Aeifor, Slav. Neasit) all put into land, prow foremost, and those who are deputed to keep watch for the Pechenegs”
“It is at this point (a pass called Ford Vrar), therefore, that the Pechenegs come down and attack the [Rus].”
“–until they are passed the river Salinas, the Pechenegs keep pace with them. And if it happens that the sea casts a monoxyla on shore, they all put to land in order to present a united opposition to the Pechenegs.” – Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus explaining the voyage taken by the Rus from Kiev to Constantinople.
^ Khazaria during the reign of Joseph, c. 950 CE.
With his eye set eastward, Sviatoslav focused mostly on martial affairs, he began by expanding eastward into the regions around the Volga river. Sviatoslav persuaded the Eastern Slavic tribes allied to the Khazars to aid him instead, and armed himself with Pecheneg (Turkish) and Oghuz (Turkish) mercenary cavalrymen. Twenty-one year old Sviatoslav subjugated the Viatichi (Slavs), the Volga Bulgars (Turkish) and the Burtas (Finno-Ugric).
Sviatoslav then made war against the Khazar Khaganate (Jewish Turks), and several Eastern Slavs; ravaging the fortress of Sarkel, he devastated the Khazars in an open battle before sacking and ravaging their capital of Atil (or Itil) and their coastal port city by the Caspian Sea known as Samander; on his march back he subjugated the Ossetians (descendants of the Sarmatian Alans).
“Today not a trace remains of Bulghar (Volga), nor of Burtas, nor of Khazar because the Rusians destroyed them all, took from them all their lands and made them their own. Those who survived fled to neighboring cities in order to remain close to their homes in the hope that they would make peace with the Russians and submit to them.” – Ibn Hawqal, Muslim geographer in the 970’s.
In one fell swoop Sviatoslav had taken down the greatest threat in their immediate area and with the Khazars weakened the Rus gained control over the Volga River and access into the Caspian Sea. Rus trade strengthened as we see an influx of silver coins (famed Baghdad silver) from the Islamic world which they attained in exchange of furs, wax and, most importantly, slaves of Slavic descent. Slavic slaves or Saqaliba, in the Muslim world served as bodyguards, mercenaries, artisans, craftsmen, servants, concubines and eunuchs. Sviatoslav also moved against peoples of the northern Caucasus region, therefore also attaining the trade route that led over the Caucasus Mountains. The realms immediately south of the Caucasus mountains exported textiles, jewelry, armors, leathers, furs, wool, cotton, horses, cattle, honey, wine, raisins, spices, salt, timber, grain and silk.
^ Osprey – ‘Elite’ series, issue 30 – Attila and the Nomad Hordes by David Nicolle and Angus McBride (Illustrator). H2: Khazar cavalryman, 9th-10th centuries – “Full mail hauberks of a type that would become common in 12th century Europe were used by Khazars as well as Byzantines and western Muslim troops. Here a heavily armoured cavalryman also has a helmet forged from a single piece of iron with a mail coif or more probably aventail plus splinted arm and leg defenses similar to those found in early medieval Scandinavia. Only his slightly curved sabre puts him in a Turkish steppe tradition.”
RUS INVASION OF THE FIRST BULGARIAN EMPIRE
Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas (963–969 CE) was in conflict with the First Bulgarian Empire but he, like many of the Byzantine Emperors before him, had most of his forces in the Middle East. Emperor Nikephoros II was able to do little more than march his forces northward toward Bulgaria where he took many strongholds along the way. Emperor Nikephoros II’s last gambit was to send a messenger named Kalokyras (Chief Magistrate of Cherson in Crimea) to offer to pay Sviatoslav 1,500 lbs. of gold to in exchange for his help against the Bulgarians.
^ Territory of the First Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century CE.
Kalokyras assisted him by leading a large army of Greek auxiliaries while Sviatoslav assembled a massive one accompanied by Turkish steppe nomads (Khazars and Pechenegs). Sviatolsav departed towards the northern territories of Bulgaria where they, upon coming ashore, were met by a Bulgarian force. The Rus raised their swords and shields before launching a raucous and fierce charge towards and cutting through the outnumbered (Battle of Silistra, spring 968 CE) and then took their fortress. Eighty fortresses fell to Sviatoslav, as did the cities of Dobrudja, the capital city of Preslav (modern Veliki “Great” Preslav) and the great trade city of Pereiaslaviets (Little Preslav) which controlled the Danube delta. While occupying Bulgaria, the Pecheneg (Turkish) nomads decided to attack the Rus at their rear, as they did so they also laid siege to the Rus capital of Kiev.
^ Osprey - ‘Men-at-Arms’ series, issue 491 - Armies of the Volga Bulgars and Khanate of Kazan 9th-16th Centuries by Viacheslav Shpakovsky & David Nicolle, Illustrated by Gerry and Sam Embleton. Plate A: Bulgars & Subjects, 9th–10th centuries.
“The Bulgars, the Magyars and the Rus were frightened of them (Pechenegs): ‘So long as the emperor of the Romans is at peace with the Pechenegs, neither Rus nor Turks can come upon the Roman dominion by force of arms, nor can they exact from the Romans large and inflated sums in money and goods as the price for peace, for they fear the strength of this nation (Pechenegs) which the emperor can turn against them while they are leagued in friendship with the emperor and won over by him through letters and gifts, can easily come upon the country both the Rusians and the Turks, and enslave their women and children and ravage their country.” – De Administrando Imperio (“On the Administration of the Empire”) by Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus c.950.
Sviatoslav rushed back to Kiev and defeated the Pechenegs besieging Kiev, forcing them back to the steppes. Within Kiev was Sviatoslav’s mother, Olga, elderly by now and on her deathbed; Sviatoslav stayed beside her until her death.
“It is not my pleasure to be in Kiev, but I will live in Pereiaslavets on the Danube. That shall be the center of my land; for there are all good things flow: from the Greeks gold, precious cloths, wines, and fruits of many kinds; silver and horses from the Czechs (Western Slavs) and Hungarians; from the Rus furs, wax, honey and slaves.” – Russian Primary Chronicle.
In his absence the Bulgarian city of Pereiaslaviets rebelled against him, the above quote was said by Sviatoslav before leaving. Sviatoslav returned to Bulgaria and retook the city, moving the capital from Kiev to Pereiaslaviets. Like the Vikings and other migrating ‘barbarians’ that came before them, the Rus brought women along with them, signifying there interest was not solely raiding and warfare but also colonization and settling.
To quell ideas of rebellion in Bulgaria Sviatoslav sent them a message by having about twenty thousand Bulgarian captives impaled in the city of Philippopolis and he allowed Boris II of Bulgaria to remain in Prislav as a puppet king. The Rus revitalized trade along the Danube River as there was an evident economic trade boom at this time. The Byzantines only wished for the Rus to weaken Bulgaria but had instead replaced one neighboring threat with another. They had invited a wolf to their doorstep as Rus had neared Constantinople. As the Rus moved ever closer, the Byzantines attempted to sway them into peace.
“As for Sviatoslav, the leader of the Rus army, he (Byzantine Emperor Tzimskes) decided to negotiate with him; and he sent ambassadors to tell him that he should take the pay promised by the Emperor Nikephoros for attacking the Mysians (Bulgaria), and should return to his town territory and the Cimmerian Bosporos (the Strait of Krech)” – Leo the Deacon.
Sviatoslav doubled down as he demanded to not only receive the promised payment, but also added that in return for the captured cities and persons that they had to pay a greater amount and “if the Romans were not willing to pay, then they should quickly withdraw from Europe, which did not belong to them, and move to Asia.” The Romans responded with threats so Sviatoslav retorted:
“I see no urgent need for the emperor of the Romans to come to us. Therefore let him not tire himself out by coming to this land; for we will soon pitch our tents before the gates of Constantinople, will surround this (city) with a mighty palisade, and will meet him bravely when he sallies forth, if he should dare to undertake such a struggle. We will teach him with very deeds that we are not mere laborers who live by the work of our hands, but bloodthirsty warriors who fight out foes with weapons, although the emperor believes in ignorance that Rus soldiers are like pampered women, and tried to frighten us with these threats, as if we were suckling infants to be frightened by hobgoblins.”
^ Svyatoslav’s Warriors sacrificing prisoners to the Pagan gods during the Siege of Dorostolon by Henryk Siemiradzki.
The Byzantine Emperor fortified his defenses and gathered his men, one gambit held by the Byzantines were the heavily armored cavalry units known as cataphracts referred to by him as “immortals”. With the well trained Byzantine force a swift advance was lead against the city of Preslav while a fleet of Greek dromone warships armed with Greek Fire blocked any chance of a Rus naval retreat via the Danube River which led to the Black Sea. The Byzantines besieged the Rus held city of Dorostolon; holding out, the inhabitants began starving, losing morale, deserting and were suffering from casualties sustained from indecisive skirmishes outside the city walls. Sviatoslav wished to have one last battle in which “they would either win, having fought well and triumphed over the enemy, or lose, having preferred a noble and happy death to a life of shame and disgrace”.
“– Romans fell on them again, the [Rus] were put to flight and ingloriously sought refuge in the city. Many of them fell that day, trodden underfoot by others in the narrow defile and slain by the Romans when they were trapped there. Sviatoslav himself would have been taken too, if night had not fallen and delivered him. When those who escaped danger were within the defense-work, they raised a mighty lamentation over the death of Ikmor. When the Romans were robbing the corpses of the barbarians of their spoils, they found women lying among the fallen, equipped like men; women who had fought against the Romans together with the men.” – A synopsis of Byzantine History, 811-1057 by John Skylitzes (Byzantine historian).
In the end the Rus and Sviatoslav were corned and pressured into ending this conflict with a truce. Sviatoslav’s terms was for the Byzantines to grant them with provisions, the Rus would keep their spoils of war and for the Byzantines to allow them safe passage back home (safe from the Pecheneg threat). In exchange the Rus would become allies, commence trade relations with one another and agree to surrender the eastern Crimea (peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea) and Bulgaria.
^ Svyatoslav Meeting with Emperor John i Tzmiskes by Klavdy Lebedev.
After peace had been agreed upon, the two great rulers met and this is where we received some of the physical descriptions of Sviatoslav which previously mentioned. Sviatoslav spoke of how he wished for a safe return home free from threat of attacks from the Pechenegs (Turkish steppe nomads). Since the war didn’t end with the complete destruction of Rus forces and as they kept the spoils of war, Sviatoslav would once again be able to war against the Byzantines if he so wished. The Byzantine emperor was rumored to have secretly asked the Pechenegs to destroy the returning Rus army and rob them of their spoils of war; others claim the Bulgarians were the ones who conspired with the Pechenegs.
While attempting to sail up the Dnieper River rapids he and his men were intercepted by the Pechenegs twice, the second time Sviatoslav was killed and his skull was turned into a gold-plated drinking cup. Sveneld, the famed Caspian raider, survived the skirmish and was able to relate the news back to Kiev, with this Kievan Rus had lost the Crimea, the Danube River trade route and the Bulgarian lands they had conquered.
With this grave disaster Kievan Rus had lost the Crimea, the Danube River trade route and the Bulgarian lands they had just recently conquered. Sviatoslav’s grand realm of Kievan Rus would now be held by his three sons who would fight for sole rule, a conflict which would mark the beginning of an era plagued by civil wars, wars of succession and familicide. These troubles sent Kievan Rus into a down spiral as it fractured and gave birth to numerous principalities, most of which were rivalrous. Despite these misfortunes the Rusians reached their peak under leaders like Vladimir the Great (who unified the Rus and made Greek Orthodox Christianity their official religion) and Yaroslav the Wise (while Europe was in the dark age, he made Kievan Rus a beacon of knowledge, literacy, trade and faith).
KIEVAN RUS: PART 1 – NORTHERN ENIGMA OF THE MIDDLE AGES: In this post I will be covering the early portion of the medieval realm known as Kievan Rus (pronounced ‘Roos’); a multiethnic and cultural realm incorporating the Norse, Slavs, Turks, Balts and Finno-Ugrians. A realm centered around the many rivers that were riddled throughout its domains and led them to the riches of the Byzantine Empire, Silverland (Islamic Middle East) and the Baltic Sea. The culture, battle tactics and armaments of the ancient Slavs are addressed as well as the Druzhina (personal bodyguards and standing army). Also mentioned are some of the conflicts the Rus had with one another, the Greeks (Byzantine Empire), Bulgarians and Turkish steppe nomads.
KIEVAN RUS: PART 2 – DYING LIGHT IN A DARK AGE: In this post I will cover some of the civil wars, wars of succession and familicides that plagued Kievan Rus; their peak under leaders like Vladimir the Great (who unified the Rus and made Orthodox Christianity their official religion) and Yaroslav the Wise (while Europe was in a dark age, he made Kievan Rus a beacon of knowledge, literacy, trade and faith); Kievan Rus’ shattering into various feuding states, their clash against the Mongols and their rarely spoken of religion. The Chernye Klobuki (Turkish mercenaries) and the Varangian Guard (Norse, Slavic, Germanic, etc.) are also noted; the latter were warriors employed by the Byzantine Empire to act as the Emperor’s trusted personal guard and on occasion they acted as pirate hunters, policemen, jailers, prison guards, torturers and interrogators.