Message From The Author 6: It's been a while.
Well then, this chapter will focus on Ivan's story telling of his past to Louise & Derflinger. Of course, since the history of Russia is so long, I'm not going to include all of it in one story. That's just ridiculous. I just chose certain parts of Russian history that I believe stick out the most.
In fact his story will be divided into two parts. (Starting with the Mongol invasion/Teutonic Knights.)
Oh and by the way you may notice this when reading the story between breaks:
. . . .
(Four dots means that the story of Ivan's is paused for a bit by Louise & Derflinger, since people who hear stories tend to make the teller pause and explain. You'll see once you start this chapter.)
Warning: Some historical inaccuracy. (Because Hetalia itself is inaccurate), you see, I'm trying to tell this from a personified nation's point of view, who happens to be an anime character which was created by a Japanese man, it is not to be taken seriously. But, I will try to the best of my ability to not mess up Russian history in this, I don't want to butcher it up, that would be insulting.
Majority of the topics chosen to be said in the story will spoken of briefly, I won't go into total detail.
History is to be respected, no matter what country, in my opinion.
So hope you enjoy.
Chapter 6: A Nation's Tale Part I
Long ago, there was a young, young boy with light blond hair and purple eyes that lived in an eastern Slavic state. His clothing were in rags but he was given a scarf by someone he considered to be an older sister.
He and sisters called themselves, Kievan Rus. But let us call the little boy, Rus for now, da?
Kievan Rus was a pretty big state, perhaps too big for the little boy to handle.
It lasted for a pretty long time, until it crumbled.
Rivalries over the throne of Kievan Rus, loss of its major trading partner Constantinople of an Empire called by Byzantine, invasions by the groups such as Teutonic Knights, Mongols, and a series of religious wars called the Crusades were causing it to fall in an accelerated pace.
This worried the young Rus. He tried to run away from any who tried to harm him and once he would, these words would always be heard:
"Come back here boy!"
Another young boy chased him, with white hair and red eyes, an albino with armor and a black cross placed on the front of his chest.
His name of Gilbert, otherwise known as Prussia.
Rus ran as fast as he could, his footprints printed on the snow with each step. He yelled: "Leave me alone! You guys always bully me!"
"Never!" the other boy shouted. "Mathias of Denmark, Berwald of Sweden, back me up!"
Two older men dressed in armor came from behind the boy to capture the other running child, not to mention an army of men from behind.
"Ah! No!" the running boy cried. "Please just stop! Why can't we be friends?"
"Not until you be part of us!" yelled the albino. "Taste my holy blade - AH!"
He stopped as he noticed they were on ice, and ice cracked causing the army to fall into the lake.
Rus, who was away from the ice smiled in delight. "Hahaha! You fools! You must be idiots to run through thin ice to come and attack me! You Teutonic Knights are too carefree! You should think about the given conditions before picking a fight."
Gilbert arose from the water "Cough! Who cares! Augh! Get back here!"
The other boy laughed again and ran off, glad that they failed to catch him.
I just do not understand why we can't be just friends, he thought. All Rus wanted was friends and it seemed that no one wanted to be a companion, but rather a master to the boy.
. . .
Then one day, little Rus was skipping around a forest with a hamster he found and was few miles away from a city.
It was cold out, snow piled the ground. With each breath he took he could actually see it. He held the hamster close to his face. "We're going to be great friends, don't you think? Mister Hamster?"
The hamster how ever squirmed in his hands and scratched his face. "Ow!" the boy shouted and the hamster ran off.
The boy sighed. "Why?"
Rattling was heard.
"Hmm?" Rus looked around, he saw nothing at first until he saw an army of men dressed up in heavy coats that were fastened at the waist by leather belts. From the belts held either or a sword or dagger, lamellar armor wore over the coats. Their helmets were cone shaped and seemed to be composed of iron. All rode by horseback.
One of the men was on front leading the rest, he stopped the men as he saw the young boy in front.
"Move boy," he sternly said.
Rus looked at the man with such curiosity as a normal child would. The man's face was pretty stern, with a black mustache and long beard implanted on it. "What?"
"W-why? Who are you people? What are you doing in my land?"
The man laughed very hard at Rus' statement.
"Your land? Why this land will be ours!" The army of men cheered in response. The man leaned down to Rus' level. "Move, child. We are going to take this land."
Little Rus was shocked by the response. "No! I won't allow it! This is my home! Who do you think you are to invade the Kievan Rus! Who are you?"
The man laughed again. "You are so silly child. Now. . .MOVE!" He threw the boy, and Rus fell onto the snow, his head buried. The army of men laughed.
"If you want my name, it is Genghis Khan, boy! Now!" The man hopped back into his horse. "Let us go and take all this land!" The army cheered in delighted and jolted themselves into the forest.
Little Rus pulled his head out of the snow. "Oh no! My home! My sisters!"
Rus chased the army. "NO! PLEASE DON'T! STOP!"
But no matter how much he pleaded and chased them he could not stop the invasion.
He later found out that they were the Mongols. His lands were devastated by their invasions, cities annihilated or taken into slavery. Kievan Rus broke up, and little Rus was separated from his sisters.
The age of the Tatar Yoke began.
A horrible time for the young boy.
The boy was brutally beaten and mistreated by the Mongols. His people suffered under their rule.
He hated them. The Mongols, stealing the wealth of his land, the killing of men and boys, the kidnapping and raping of their young wives and girls. It was awful.
Rus wanted to do something but could not sadly, for he was weak. He could not bear to see his people fall to despair.
He ran off into the forest one day to get away from the brutality. Little Rus was in despair himself. He slumped himself near a tree, he looked up into the sky covered with a blanket of clouds. Frozen water fell to the ground. He started to sob, only that the tears quickly became ice. "Why? Why is this happening?" he croaked. "When will this torment end?"
"Because you are a fool."
"Huh? Whose there?" The boy looked around.
He looked up. A spirit who was dressed in black, wore a black helmet, and a face of an old person with a gray mustache glared at the child.
The child flinched. "Ah!"
"Hello. . ."
Little Rus shivered. "Who. . .are you?"
The spirit did not respond and that disappointed the boy.
"Did I say something wrong?" he inquired.
"I'm quite curious as why you are wandering around young man, when you should help your people escape the rule of the Tatars."
The boy's eyes widened. He quivered. "I'm not. . .strong enough."
"Then become strong."
Rus protested. "It's not possible! The tatars are horrible people! They've. . .done so many b-bad things!" He clutched his scarf in fear. "I. . .I can't do a thing!" He sobbed, the tears streamed from his eyes.
The spirit snapped. "Do not cry! That is not an appropriate thing to do!"
Rus continued to cry, and the spirit grew even more angrier, he wanted to slap the boy, but decided to pet his head instead to calm him down, rather than to throw his anger.
By the spirit's touch, the boy calmed down. His tears grew dry and he hiccuped.
"Listen, you mustn't cry, you must find ways to become a strong nation," said the spirit sternly. "You want to become a strong nation, right?"
Rus stopped his sniffles and nodded at the spirit.
"Then do so."
"But. . .how?" the boy questioned.
The spirit glared at the young nation. "I could help you, but you would have to pay a price."
Rus flinched. "A price?"
"That is right. Submit to me. To the cold. Your lands, they will be mine. Every year you must do so, and all your enemies will die by the harsh winters. Any who try to invade you. You will be saved."
The nation eyes widened. "R-really?"
The spirit nodded.
The boy smirked in delight. "I take it!"
"You seem to have made up your mind, rather quickly," The spirit knelt down to the boy's level. "Are you sure? You have to give yourself to me, the land, and once you do, you can never change back. Also, I will not be kind to you, the winter can be just as harsh on you as your enemies."
Regardless of his land being brutally attacked by the cold, if it is to save his people, then he shall. Rus nodded. "As long as you help me keep the enemies away then I accept! I wish to defend my home away from any invaders! I will become a strong nation!"
He smirked sinisterly. "Mind telling me your name, spirit?"
The spirit smirked. "Glad you accepted then. My name is. . .Winter. I control the season of Winter. Anything I touch will be ice, frozen, cold. . ."
"I can see that," Rus stated. "Well my name is. . .um well my home is gone, but call me Rus for now."
Winter nodded. "Well I must go now, I need to do my work of bringing the cold, starting next year, winter will be colder than ever since you now agreed so, enjoy your last year before you give in to the cold."
Rus' lip quivered. "You're leaving?"
"That's right. We'll meet again next year. Until then, try to become strong . . .ah! That is right, I know a place were you can go to become strong. He also maybe able to help you."
"You do? Tell me, please! Winter!"
. . .
According to Winter, a new power was rising, despite the Tatar Yoke/Golden Horde empire still in power.
The Grand Duchy of Moscow, he called it. The central capital was the great city of Moscow. It was gaining power, and was expanding. This powerful principality may perhaps have a chance to rid of the rule of the Tatars & Mongols and free Rus. Well, that is what Winter told the boy.
As a result, Rus decided to go to the place and take a look. He entered a palace or otherwise known as the Kremlin, and from there Rus met up with the ruler.
The Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan III.
"My, my what do we have here?" said the ruler as he saw Rus wandering around the Kremlin of Moscow.
Little Rus flinched, as he realized he was caught.
"Come here, boy," said the ruler.
Rus silently approached him. "Are you. . .Ivan the third?"
"Yes, I am."
"Um, nice to-to meet -y-y-you. I am Rus. . ." Rus stammered in front of his presence.
Ivan chuckled. "Rus you say?"
"I am this land."
"What! This land?"
"The spirit of it."
Ivan looked at Rus, quite dumbfounded. "Um, since when do landmasses have personifications?"
"Every piece of land does."
"Well, alright, I really don't know what to say. But what brings you to my home? Where are your parents, boy?"
"I have none. I am a personification of the land you stand on. I came here because I heard from someone about how strong this principality is becoming, and you may be able to overthrow the Tatars. Will you do so? The people are suffering."
Ivan raised a brow. "You are quite strange, boy."
"I am honestly the spirit of this land you grace upon!" Rus exclaimed. "Please believe me! You see I wish to become stronger and help my people who grace my land and I was recommended to come to this place! As a ruler you seem to be the only person to turn on! Please, your majesty, make Rus strong!"
Ivan scratched his head. "Um. . ."
"I'll do anything for you!"
"Huh. Well," Ivan placed his hand under his beard. "Okay, if you are truly the personification of this land then I suppose I could do it. I do plan to take over more land anyway and overthrow those Tatars. This land I step on is not enough, Muscovy needs more. In fact all the land out east and west of Muscovy belongs to us! But you must fight for me and help gain the land. Is that a deal. . .Rus?"
"Yes, of course!" Rus nodded in approval. "Your Majesty, I shall not fail you!"
And so began the conquest of more land for the Duchy.
Ivan III was a very brilliant man. A genius with politics and military strategy. He took a lot of lands such as the republic of Novgorod, he made Rus bigger and stronger. He tripled the lands of his Duchy state, due to series of wars.
Which eventually gave Rus the power to finally overthrow the Tatars.
The Tatar Yoke came to an end after the great ruler did not pay the Khan, ruling the Golden Horde, Ahmed Khan. Yet Khan wanted Ivan to state that his duchy needed the Horde. Ivan refused, and was eager for independence.
Furious, Khan launched a military attack on Moscow.
Fortunately, the result was positive and clear. They won, he lost.
Rus was free.
. . .
"Gatherer of Russian lands, Ivan the great, ruler of all Rus!" cheered the crowd of people from outside the Kremlin. His majesty looked outside his window, with little Rus near his side.
"My boy," he stated. "You have grown quite a bit."
"By a long shot." Ivan smiled. "I also would like to thank you, for helping me. You have been very useful Rus, and I am glad you represent this magnificent land."
Rus blushed quite a bit. "No, thank you, your majesty. You made me strong! I'm so happy! I am finally free! Please, do not thank me! I am not worthy of such kindness."
Winter was right, this place was the right place to go to in order to become strong enough and rid of the Tatars, Rus was glad he made this decision.
"That's alright boy," Ivan said. "Now as a new nation, you must be stronger than ever, you shall continue to live on and grow. It does not end here, Rus. You must continue to become a great nation."
"Really? There's more?"
"Yes, it does not end here. But I am afraid I may not live long to see what will happen to this great nation in the future."
"No! Ivan, please do not say such thing!"
Ivan chuckled. "My boy, it's true. I'm getting old, I may not be around to see what the future will bring, but you will," he patted Rus' head. "You will continue to live on, Rus."
And then one day. . . Ivan III died.
"I will never forget Ivan the great," Rus said one rainy morning while walking in the streets of Moscow. "Never."
He noticed an old woman selling flowers. He ran to see the many different sizes and colors of the flowers he saw. The old woman noticed the curious boy.
"Why may I help you dear?"
The boy pointed at a yellow flower.
"Oh! You want this sunflower?" The woman took the flower and gave it to the boy.
Rus awed at the magnificent plant. Its petals bright yellow. He nodded.
"Why keep it, for free." The woman smiled.
"Really? Thank you!" The boy's faced lightened up with gratitude.
"You're welcome, why, what is your name boy?"
Startled by the question, Rus couldn't really say straight out say that he's the personification of this land, otherwise people might find him to be crazy.
Fortunately, he finally had a human name he can call himself as.
In honor of The Great.
"My name. . ." he announced proudly. ". . .is Ivan. Ivan Braginski."
. . . .
"So, that's where your name comes from," Louise said after Ivan finished his sentence.
Ivan nodded. "Yup."
Louise's face turned solemn. "You named yourself after Ivan The Great, the ruler, the freedom fighter for your country, yet he died and before you. . .were also thrown by that guy Genghis whatever when you were young and. . ."
"Hey, at least he was able to do what he wanted to and make me stronger," Ivan consulted. "I look up to him a lot. He was a hero. The founder of modern Russia. He did not receive the name "The Great" for no reason."
"I see but what about Bragin -"
"Oh whatever! Please continue!" Derflinger interjected. "Tell us more, now!"
"Right! Please do!" Louise agreed. "Tell us."
Ivan laughed softly. "Okay, okay."
. . . .
Despite being the first modern Czar of the country, it wasn't until the grandson of Ivan III was the first to be crowned Czar of all of the nation.
And boy, was he a brute, heh.
He was called Ivan IV or otherwise known as 'The terrible.' He was a very cruel person, yet very smart and did create the first printing place of Moscow. But he killed many people, he even killed his own son.
He was pretty much mentally disabled.
However, centralizing the state, expanding borders of the country is what he also did, great accomplishments. He crowned himself, "Czar of all Russia." Thus from that day forth, the boy's name Rus became Russia.
He did not mind the name change though, he liked it, despite that he feared 'the terrible'. But learning from Ivan IV's actions, little Russia found it outstanding how Ivan IV was able to control a nation despite being such a brute.
So powerful, sinister, it made little Russia wonder if he can follow those examples placed by Ivan The Terrible.
Maybe if he was feared, then maybe he can be stronger and expand the nation. That was his thinking process.
And then Ivan IV died while playing chess, so much more could be told about him, yet that would take forever, hahaha.
Eventually, there was a time of trouble for Russia, with a lot of different rulers from different family names.
Until the House of Romanov came in and. . .well, they were the second last house to rule Russia, until the end of the Czarist rule.
One ruler, that Russia or by his human name, Ivan found to place giant impact on the great nation was Peter The Great. He modernized the country. He even built this magnificent city called St Petersburg, he called it "window of the west." It is so cultural and nice, makes you want go there, da?
But, Ivan thought he went a little to far with the modernization, it even caused himself to push himself to far.
Despite building up the military, navy of the country, expanding it, brought so many cultural and political ideas from the west to Russia, he also tried to change the traditional ways and culture of it and the young Ivan.
And since humans were so stubborn for change, some were not happy about it.
But he did make a great empire thanks to the series of wars he and Ivan fought in.
One of them was 'The Great Northern War.'
Apparently, it was a battle of supremacy between Russia and another power. You see, Ivan was trying to advance himself to become stronger and expand power, thanks to Peter's urges and Ivan The Terrible's rule.
The idea of putting brutality to the test seem to be a terrific way to become strong in Ivan's mind.
But there was one nation that did not allow it.
That Berwald of Sweden, why didn't he want Ivan of Russia to advance?
Despite that, Ivan was willing to become the strongest Eastern European force, and take that title from Berwald. Even if it meant being a little mean.
It was time to put the brutality to the test.
He formed alliances with others such as the nations of Poland-Lithuania, (Feliks & Toris), Denmark-Norway, (Mathias & Lukas) and Saxony.
Battles raged across Northern Europe. Blood, killing, death spread the continent.
The snow was painted red.
. . .
The sound of a plea. It was coming from him. But Ivan didn't listen. He continued to destroy his petty country. Looted churches, plundered roads, burned cities raged across this country. Ivan laughed at the scene. He then looked at the pleading man from a distance, screaming and crying from the destruction.
Ivan's boots swept the snow and he finally approached the nation.
"Ah, Tino of Finland," he said sinisterly. "Why are you crying?"
He did not bother to look at Ivan. It seemed that Ivan feared him.
"Is it because I destroyed this place? It is so much fun, don't you think?"
"Y-you m-m-monster," Tino stammered. "What have you done? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?"
"Because I can. I want to become strong, I want Russia to be a greater empire."
"Th-th-that is no excuse! You selfish pig!" He ran to tackle Ivan, but Ivan kicked him in his belly. The nation fell and Ivan continued to brutally beat Tino.
Until Tino could no longer respond. His blood hit the snow.
Such a bright red color.
Once he did, Ivan snickered. "Hmph."
He disappeared off the burned city, leaving the other nation, beaten. Ivan was glad to see the 'brutal rule' working for him.
. . .
Eventually, the battles came to the end.
It ended with a treaty, Berwald got his 'precious' Tino back, but Ivan gained a lot of territory due to it.
He basically gained majority of the Baltic region of Europe.
The goal was complete.
Russia was the most powerful Eastern European nation. Ivan succeeded his goal.
He was officially a strong country.
Of course, bitter by the loss, Berwald actually did attempts to gain back the land he lost, but it turned out to be a total failure.
"Why boy, you are even bigger than before!" Peter The Great once said to the young nation while having dinner after the end and peace was settled. "Before I took throne, you were quite small, now you get taller each day! My lord!"
"Because you took over so much land, I got pretty big," said the nation.
"Because the Russian Empire is the greatest empire to walk this Earth! It needs to be big, strong, and flamboyant!" The Czar exclaimed. "And you look stunning! With those lovely Western clothes."
"Why, thank you. . .I suppose? But the people seem to not like the idea of western -"
"Bah! What is important is for this nation to modernize! Now come and enjoy this meal Ivan," Peter stated. "With these remarkable utensils the west calls 'spoon' and 'fork!"
Like all rulers, Peter's rule came to the end after his death, but he had no successor. Yet he had so many children and women. His second wife became ruler but her rule did not last long.
. . . .
"Wow," Derflinger stated as Ivan finished his sentence. "I think I'm starting to notice where you got your dark, brutal image you show to us from. Right. . .Louise?"
Louise was silent, her hands trembled the cup, she held in hand.
"H-hey," she said nervously. "That Great N-N-Northern War. . .you didn't kill that guy. . .Tino, right? W-why did you do that?" The pupil in her eyes shrunk.
"Does it. . .scare you?" Ivan said calmly. He then sighed. "You know girl, he did it to become stronger for himself and his country. You understand, da?"
"W-why are you talking in third person? We already know who is the main character of the story."
"For fun, maybe." Ivan smiled. "Girl, I'm going to let you know now, this story is going to get crazier and crazier as we go on. If you want, we can stop. After all I did say once before, my country has a history of bloodshed and hate."
"H-hell no!" Derflinger protested. "Keep going, this keeps on getting better and better!"
"Okay then," Ivan answered firmly. "But we can stop anytime. . .girl."
"Ah don't listen to that girl, I don't know why she looks so horrified all of a sudden, keep going."
. . . .
If one were to ask Ivan if he knew one female ruler that was like Peter The Great, he would say Catherine The Great.
Oh, she was perhaps one of the most longest female rulers to rule Russia.
Ironically, she was not even Russian, but Prussian. It made sense because her husband had a Prussian complex which caused Ivan's people and himself to not like him much.
He died mysteriously. Ivan's guess is probably Catherine killed him, she also continued to modernize the nation. Education, arts, and culture flourished.
It kind of brought Ivan into an optimistic light, he put aside his 'brutal' side for a while.
Although her favor over nobles made things pretty bad. . .for the common man.
Serfdom was still a problem. Peasants weren't happy.
The personified nation did not understand at first, Wouldn't his people be proud of her accomplishments of making Russia greater? Was it the favor over the social classes?
This was a golden age for the empire of the nation! And Ivan helped Catherine do all this.
Not to mention that warm water port, from the Black Sea they were able to take over all of the Southern part, which Ivan always wanted, a warm port for trade.
He liked the warmth.
Those Ottomans were not capable of defeating the great Russia then.
Ivan was becoming more of a dominant power. He was growing stronger. A power to be feared.
Sadik of Turkey was seething.
"I think the people are ungrateful to what you have done for us," Ivan once said to her while waking in Kremlin's garden with her.
"I suppose but they shouldn't. Also it is not just me that I has done things, but you as well, Ivan." She waved herself with her fan.
"No your highness, you are to be respected, I do not understand why the people are so unhappy with you. Well the peasants are. I am very disappointed with them."
And then empress told Ivan words that perhaps he will never forget:
"Happiness and unhappiness are in the heart and spirit of each one of us: if you feel unhappy, then place yourself above that and act so that your happiness does not get to be dependent on anything."
"Your. . .highness," he said.
"It is true, is it not Ivan?" she said. "Smile, and enjoy the weather!"
Eventually, the Golden Age came into the end, and alas, Catherine left the world.
Now, this story will get more brutal.
More Message: Well that's the first part of the story. The second part will arrive at another time.
But let me break down parts of Russian history that were said in Ivan's story so far:
1. Kievan Rus/Teutonic Knight Invasion (Battle of the Ice.)
2. Mongol Conquest/Age of Tatar Yoke/Golden Horde (Ivan also meets General Winter for the first time in this part.)
3. Grand Duchy of Moscow/Ivan The Great (III)/Overthrow of the Mongols/Tatars
4. Beginning of Czarist Russia/Ivan The Terrible (IV)
5. Peter The Great/Great Northern War/Greater Wrath in Finland
6. Catherine The Great (Russo-Turkish Wars in the 18th century briefly mentioned.)
I'll also give you readers a sneak preview: The second part will begin with introduction of the territories Ivan has captured and added to his Russian Empire.
To anyone who feels offended at the way Russian history is portrayed in this or hates my portrayal of it, I'm sorry. But keep in mind, of what I said before:
I'm trying to tell this from a personified nation's point of view, who happens to be an anime character which was created by a Japanese man, it is not to be taken seriously.
Also, historical inaccuracy is present in this. Majority of the topics chosen to be said in the story are spoken of briefly, I won't go into total detail.
Hope to see you in the next chapter.