Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
CHAPTER TWENTY NINE
THE HRAES’-ROMAN TREATY OF 945
Queen Silkisif traveled with Prince Hraerik to the quays of Gardariki and his war fleet was waiting there. She whispered, “Stay safe, my prince. Come back to me.”
“I want to stay here,” he replied. “I want to stay inside you. I never want to leave.” They kissed on the quay for the longest time and then he left.
His war fleet had all the brand new ships, the fifteen dromons that he and Ivar had built to attack Theophanes’ fire breathing dromons and another fifteen that had been built since. They had two hundred Roman bireme dromons that had been copied or captured, five hundred thirty-six oared dragonships, six hundred thirty-oared longships, a hundred of the Caliph’s war dhows from their Caspian Sea fleet and another hundred dhows from Gujarat. They were supported by hundreds of cargo knars and all ships carried four oared to twelve oared boats on their decks or on lines. All ships were equipped with catapults of one type or another and all the new ships had the new gravity trebuchets that had been used to such great effect against the Roman fleet of Theophanes. And the new dromons all had the new speed increasing rams and the anti-Greek fire gear.
Prince Hraerik met the war fleet of Kiev on the sea in front of the Greek city of Cherson and Princess Helga had outdone herself. That fleet was twice the size of the Tmutorokan war fleet. As the two fleets closed in from the east and west, the legate of Cherson sent his best dromon, the fastest new model of the Roman fleet, out from their safe harbour towards Constantinople with the message that the Rhos were attacking them with an innumerable fleet that covered the sea. The Prince chased after it with two of their new dromons and soon caught up with it and escorted it, a ship on each side, for a bit before breaking off and returning to their own fleet. The two fleets joined up and sailed away from Cherson. Hraerik put it in the words of his son, Ivar, when he told his captains, ‘he knew too many merchants in Cherson to sack their city.’
But the Kievan war fleet had been even larger when it left Kiev. The Kievan legion of cataphracts disembarked from their ships at the first Dnieper Rapid and joined the horde of Yavdi-Erdem Pecheneg warriors and, as they progressed south, they were joined by the other hordes of Pechenegs and, once the fleet was through the rapids, they all rode south across the Scythian plain towards Constantinople. The Bulgarian king sent word to the Roman Emperor that the Hraes’ were on their way with hordes of Pecheneg warriors as their allies.
When Emperor Romanos Lekapenos heard of the vast forces approaching Constantinople, he sent envoys to Constanza with gold and gifts for the Hraes’ and Pechenegs riding against him. The Pechenegs accepted the gifts and rode off to attack Bulgaria instead. The Hraes’ legion of cataphracts decided to occupy Constanza until they heard from Prince Hraerik on the Roman offer. And the people of Constanza let them into the city because the Prince had just conquered their city by siege a few months earlier and they were in no condition to weather another one. But Prince Hraerik was attacking Constantinople by sea and the Hraes’ did not stop until they reached the harbour of the Golden Horn.
Half the Roman navy was in the harbour, protected by the great chain across it and the rest of the navy was still in the Levant. The Romans offered the Prince the same tribute that was paid to Prince Helgi in their treaty of 907, which was 960,000 marks of silver, plus an additional tribute to be determined. Prince Hraerik accepted the million marks of silver, but insisted that the added tribute consist of the dismissals of General John Kourkouas for his illegal incursions against the Hraes’ in Armenia, Domestic Theophanes for his inhumane Greek fire attack upon the Hraes’ Christians in 941 and the Emperor Romanos Lekapenos himself for ordering the crucifixions of the captured Hraes’ Christians, which was against all existing Byzantine laws. Both General Kourkouas and Domestic Theophanes were in Constantinople, having been recalled to the capital to face disciplinary action for their transgressions and failures and it was agreed that they would both be sentenced to life in monasteries as monks in repentance for their crimes against humanity and fellow Christians, but the emperor had imperial exemption from criminal charges in the execution of his duties as emperor.
Prince Hraerik sent a Roman legal embassy inside the walls of Constantinople to argue his case and they stated that, since there were five emperors ruling Constantinople instead of the usual one, only the elder Romanos was protected by exemption, since he was the principal emperor, and, since it was his three sons, Christopher, Stephen and Constantine, who had also ordered the executions, they should be punished instead. It appeared that Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos was the only emperor who had protested against the executions, so he, alone, held no liability for the inhumane treatment of the Hraes’ Christians. While the deliberations were going on, the Hraes’ forces ravaged the estates surrounding the city walls. The Viking warriors that had brought their ships from the west had to be kept occupied. As the attacks went on, the legal proceedings took on a new urgency. A week later, the sons of Romanos Lekapenos rebelled and announced that their father, the principal emperor, would be joining his general and domestic in a life sentence at the Island of the Princes monastery just outside of Constantinople.
“He was the only general besides General Sun Wu,” Hraerik admitted to Captain Biorn, “that I would not want to go up against.” General Wu bowed in deference.
“He’s that good?” Biorn asked.
“The Lekapenos family has been cranking out famous generals for generations. And John won’t be the last of them. Even Prince Ivar gave him grudging respect. Their line of generals has always commanded the best legions, the most renowned regiments and even our own Varangian Guard here in Constantinople. They’ll never forgive us for this.”
“We’d better keep an eye out for them,” Biorn warned.
“I have a man in Constantinople that does just that for me. He watches the families, the Lekapenos, the Phocases, the Skylitzes…”
The next day the Romans had a new Trade Agreement drawn up and nailed on a white shield to the main gate in the harbour. This time it was Hraerik who was rowed out to get it and this time it was on a dragonship that had been portaged around the horn and slid into the water from the land locked end of the harbour. A dozen other dragonships slid into the water and waited as the Prince was rowed to the main gate and pulled the contract off the shield. While he was so occupied, his sailors put a table and chair and sunshade on the dock there. Hraerik sat down and began going through the document. It was written on four folios, two copies of each in both Latin and Greek and was set up so one could select the language of preference, so Hraerik chose the Latin and began marking in changes on the vellum in ink with a pen he had with him. Soon the huge gate opened and a lawyer came out and asked Hraerik in Greek what he was marking on the document. “I’m making a few changes in Latin,” Hraerik responded in Greek.
“Can I help you with them?” the lawyer asked.
“Do you speak Latin?” Hraerik asked him in Latin, and got a blank stare. “Do you speak Latin?” Hraerik asked him again, but in Greek.
“Very few people speak Latin,” the lawyer answered in Greek.
“Could you send one of them out?” Hraerik said. “If I’m being helped with a Latin document, I want to be helped by someone that at least speaks the language,” and he resumed marking up the document in Latin. The lawyer went back inside the gate and came out a while later with a judge.
“You wished to speak with someone in Latin?” the judge asked in Latin.
“Yes,” Hraerik replied in Latin. “I’ve marked in a few changes to both copies of the Latin agreement and I’ve initialized them. And I’ve signed the bottom of both across from where the emperors have signed. If I leave them with you, can you have the emperors initial the changes as well? Just nail my copy back on the gate when it’s ready.”
“Where did you learn to speak Latin?” the judge asked Hraerik in Latin.
“I was personally taught Latin by your Emperor Theophilos while I was being entertained in Constantinople for a few months,” Hraerik answered.
The judge took the documents and walked back to the gate with the lawyer. “He said he was taught Latin personally by Emperor Theophilos,” the judge told the lawyer in Greek.
“But Emperor Theophilos reigned a century ago!” the lawyer protested.
“Most curious,” the judge said absentmindedly in Latin.
Hraerik’s sailors packed off the table and chairs and folded up the wood and cloth sunshade and they all jumped down onto the dragonship’s deck and rowed away to the far end of the harbour. Hraerik rode off in one of Ivar’s many carriages while his sailors hauled the ships back out of the water and portaged them back to the Bosporus.
The next day, Hraerik, using his optical scope, spotted a copy of the agreement nailed to the white shield on the harbour gate. The Hraes’ duplicated their effort of the previous day to retrieve it, then they sailed to Constanza to pick up their legion there. While in Constanza, Prince Hraerik learned that Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos had the sons of former Emperor Romanos arrested for treason and imprisoned with their father on the Island of Princes. The Hraes’ war fleet then split off to Kiev and Tmutorokan to prepare for the new trading season, which would include Constantinople for the first time in several years.
Back in Tmutorokan, Queen Silkisif was reading from the book. “Number one: When, holding the man’s lingam with his hand, and placing it between his lips, the eunuch moves it about his mouth and this is called the ‘nominal congress’.” Silkisif bowed down and placed her lips around the tip of Hraerik’s penis and stroked the crown with her lips and tickled the tip with her tongue. She then stopped, looked at the book and said, “I just don’t understand why you can’t translate lingam as cock, ‘while holding the man’s cock in his hand’ sounds better than lingam.”
“Please continue,” Hraerik ordered.
“Number two: When, covering the end of the lingam ‘or cock’ with his fingers collected together like the bud of a plant or flower, the eunuch presses the sides of it with his lips, using his teeth also, it is called ‘biting the sides’.” Silkisif bowed then looked up at Hraerik and added, “I’ll try not to hurt you,” and she bowed back down and took the tip of his penis in her fingertips and began kissing the sides of his penis with her lips, from tip to base, all the way around, and then she began to gently bite and nibble on the sides. She stopped again and said, “I would like to stop now.”
“Please continue, or I shall have to spank you” Hraerik ordered. Silkisif looked up at him and smiled, then looked over at the book.
“Number three,” she started, “When, being desired to proceed, the eunuch presses the end of the ‘cock’ with his lips closed together, and kisses it as if he were drawing it out, it is called the ‘outside pressing’.” Silkisif took Hraerik’s erect penis up with both hands and began kissing the tip with a sucking motion and she did this for a long time, enjoying the swelling penis as it grew thicker between her fingers. She drew her knees tight together and stuck her bottom out and began rocking and convulsing as she kissed and sucked his tip and then she caught herself and stopped. “I would like to stop now,” she whispered, breathing raggedly.
“Please continue or I’ll have you whipped,” Hraerik ordered.
“Number four,” she said, looking at the book, “When, being asked to go on, she puts the ‘cock’ further into her mouth, and presses it with her lips and then takes it out, it is called the ‘inside pressing’.” She moved her hands down Hraerik’s penis and kissed the tip and began sucking until she had drawn half of it into her mouth. Hraerik convulsed a bit and leaned back on his arms. Silkisif then took it out, but kissed the tip again and sucked it in once more. She tightened up her knees once more and swayed her back and convulsed gently as she rocked back and forth several times, but caught herself once more. She stopped, looked up at Hraerik with her face flushing most sensuously and said, “I would like to…” and she breathed, “I would like to stop now.”
“Continue on,” Hraerik shuddered, “or I’ll have you flailed.”
Silkisif looked at the book. “Number five,” she said, “When, holding the cock in her hand, the princess kisses it as if she were kissing the lower lip, it is called ‘the kissing’.” She grabbed Hraerik’s now throbbing penis in both hands and began kissing it all over and then began kissing the tip and sucking it in and out again. “Oh,” she breathed, “I like this part so much!” and she returned to step number four and sated her lust as she rocked back and forth once more. Then she stopped and whispered, “I would like to stop now,” and she was out of breath.
“Please continue or I shall have us both flailed,” Hraerik stammered. His penis was over-pressured and ready to explode. He had not seen it this large in months.
Silkisif looked over at the book and read, “Number six: When, after kissing it, she then touches it with her tongue everywhere, and passes the tongue over the end of it, and this is called “rubbing.” Silkisif still had Hraerik’s penis in her hands so, she just started licking it with her tongue in long luxurious laps, working her way up the sides to the tip and she licked the tip all around the heart shaped crown and began licking the end, but again she returned to step four and began suckle kissing the end and sucking it into her warm wet mouth and pulling it out again and once more she had her knees drawn up tight and the sway returned to her spine as she began rocking back and forth and a convulsing shudder ran through her body. She felt Hraerik’s tip swell up in her mouth as if to explode and she deftly nipped the side of his penis with her teeth. “Not yet,” she whispered, exhausted. “The best part is coming!” Then she said, “I would like to stop now.”
“Please carry on or I will surely die,” Hraerik pleaded.
Silkisif looked at the book once more. “Number seven: When, in the same way, she puts the half of it, meaning the ‘cock’, into her mouth, and forcibly kisses and sucks it, this is called ‘sucking the mango’.” She asked Hraerik what a mango was, but she grabbed the base of Hraerik’s penis hard, before he could answer, and jammed the rest of it into her mouth and she began sucking on it from the middle to the tip so fast and fiercely that the tip began swelling again and she had to give it another little nip. “I must stop now,” she said.
“Please, please, please, please, please, please, please,” Hraerik cried. “If you stop, I am dead.”
Silkisif read the last step. “Number eight,” she whispered softly. “And lastly, when, with the consent of the man, she puts the whole ‘cock’ into her mouth, and presses it to the very end, as if she were going to swallow it up, it is called ‘swallowing up’.” Silkisif took her hands off Hraerik’s penis and held his scrotum gently in her fingertips and jammed his penis fully into her mouth until the tip hit the back of her throat and she swallowed it down the curve, fighting off her reflex to gag. She regurgitated it and she swallowed it down and sent it back up and swallowed it down until the tip swelled again and exploded in pulsing streams each time she swallowed it down and Hraerik put his hands on her head ever so gently and moaned each time he pulsed his semen into her throat. She could feel his gonads convulsing in his scrotum as they ejected his spawning stream and she swallowed it all. Hraerik collapsed back onto the bed and Silkisif collapsed onto his loins, his penis still in her warm wet mouth. It slowly withdrew from her throat and she caressed it with her tongue and then she sucked it like a thumb.