IVAR the BONELESS was PRINCE IVAR (Igor) of KIEV and his son
SVEIN ‘the OLD’ IVARSON was PRINCE SVEINALD (Sviatoslav) of KIEV
I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 6, ‘THE ARMY OF THE IMPALERS’ (Circa 965 AD) of “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson” Book to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Heading of that name.
Battle of the Torches by Theodor Aman
Book 4, Chapter 6, THE ARMY OF THE IMPALERS (Circa 965 AD):
Finished at last! Finished at last! Gawd Almighty, finished at last! What? There’s more? Anyway, Chapter Six introduces the Army of the Impalers and their Ghost Regiment, a unit that can see in the dark, so don’t fall asleep reading this one or you might wind up on the wrong end of a stake!
Prince Svein is paid 15,000 Roman pounds of gold by the Rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire to attack Wallachia and kill Count Vladimir and his Army of the Impalers for what he had done to an Orthodox Christian mission in their capital of Ramnic. Svein is also allowed to forward his claim as the next legitimate Emperor of Rome, being the step-son of the deceased Emperor Constantine, the eldest of his surviving sons. As the schism between Latin and Orthodox Christians widens, it becomes hard to fathom who the Romans want to win this war, Svein or Vlad. If they both kill each other in battle, the Romans would say it was gold well spent. Strategy is further complicated when Svein’s prescient grandfather, Prince Hraerik, tells him that he cannot kill Vladimir because he is the great great great grandfather of Count Vlad Dracul of Wallachia who, in the future, stops the Ottoman invasion of Europe.
Prince Svein takes his three new legions up the Danube and then up its tributary, the Olt River, into the heart of darkest Wallachia. Svein immediately loses a whole cohort of troops when they are impaled at night by the Ghost Regiment of the Army of the Impalers, who, it is claimed, can see in the dark. Further on up the Olt, Svein learns that the famous number of the Christian’s Devil is actually the salute of the Impalers, the famous 666, as he watches their impalement process from a safe distance through an early optical scope of the alchemists’ guild. The Wallachian Army of the Impalers is impaling their own volunteers as a horrific warning to the Hraes’ of what lies ahead for them upriver.
While Prince Svein lays siege to the city of Dragonesti, the Ghost Regiment executes a night assault on the Hraes’ siege works but, while trebuchets burn, Prince Svein sets a trap for the night stalkers and traps them between two regiments of his own. A struggle erupts in the pitch black darkness as the two Hraes’ regiments carry torches and it becomes evident that the Wallachians don’t need them. But the superior numbers of the Hraes’ prevail and the Ghost Regiment is quickly reduced to the Ghost Cohort in what becomes known as the ‘Battle of the Torches’. The Romans attached to the Hraes’ army were impressed with Svein’s fluid battle skills, but the prince attributed the success to pure luck. They then claimed, ‘he had made his own luck’.
Prince Hraerik has a dream while sleeping with his wives in Tmutorokan about the deadly tactics the Army of the Impalers will be using and he realizes that, if he doesn’t help his grandson, Prince Svein will die so, he tells Empress Helga and Queen Silkisif that he is going to Wallachia to help Helga’s son. While the royal ladies are speculating on how many additional legions Hraerik will be taking west, he gathers up ten thousand rams and ten thousand cattle and loads only these aboard his ships and heads across the Black Sea for the Danube estuary.
Book Four, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson,” demonstrates how Prince Svein ‘the Old’ (Slavic: Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’) of Kiev later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark. But before being forced out of Russia, he sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia against the Army of the Impalers and their 666 salute. The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack them seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself. He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and set out to destroy them.