Gundahar gladly meets with the Sclavenes, though they are received somewhat frostily. Gundahar says that he has heard much of the brutal Slavs, and their treachery, from all in the east. Roman and Hun alike fear you, Sclavene, he declares. "I cannot think why Constantius would seek to make an ally of such a despicable people... But, you did win. I can sympathise with that. It is not easy to leave your home, and it is even harder to find a new one. We live similar lives, even if we belong to very different tribes. If you join our - er, little scheme, then I will be more than happy to fight with you. Let us hope your spears are as sharp as your cunning."
Gundahar sends a servant to go and fetch the Roman delegation, hoping that they may speak to the Slavs. It is at this point that the absence of Jovinus becomes abundantly clear. The Burgundians are in negotiations with the Consul Constantius, it seems, and Jovinus has been tucked away for the time being, as his fate is decided.
Gundahar laughs and says he doesn't care for the north, he has been promised the south. He adds that Constantius is a generous man, and that if Ivaylo fancies being sandwiched between pagan Franks and roaming Britons, which are little better, then Constantius may grant him his wish. As for the gold, there are plenty in the soft cities of Italia. Gundahar then recounts a few second or third-hand accounts from Foederati that have visited Ravenna, Rome or Milan. He speaks of complicated automata, time-keeping devices both mechanical and water-powered, the fine reeking regalia of the emperors, that he says are coloured by the blood of magical fish, found only in sacred pools found in a cave under a sacred tree. It is abundantly apparent that these stories are largely fantastic, based on inflated half-truths, but it is difficult not to let a king ramble, and so the Sclavenes must suffer through.
"Soon, friend, I shall ride south. There, a river of wine waits, running clean into the sea. There, I shall make my home. There at Arles I will make my court, and you may come visit, as may your king. A friend of Constantius is a friend of mine," he finishes.
Post by Svetovida Sviatislav on Jun 17, 2016 11:19:27 GMT
"Rome sounds like a city build by the strong and inherited by the weak. Why settle for the lands in the North of Italy? What is it that Constantius is keeping from you? Why not bypass these Romans? Their Empire is crumbling and their people are diseased and weak. Now is the time to remove them once and for all. Imagine what bounties of gold and soft, milky fleshed women await in the rest of their Empire?"
Queen Svetovida Sviatislav, ruler of the Tysoti, Harbinger of Novus Populus Sclavenus.
"The young warriors go to fight with Constantius... Old men like me... We... we must look to the future. When you get to a certain age, you start to value rich soil more than gold, and the pleasures of owning a vineyard appeal more than the most depraved pleasures of the most nubile girls. My gold I take with me to the afterlife, where it does good only to me - my lands, I may pass on to my sons, and thence to their sons after them. From the soil of the Rhone valley, a thousand Burgundian maids shall bloom, and a thousand warriors will find homes to return to. In truth I care little for the wars of Rome, save for the gain and glory they can give my people, but I am about to receive more than I could ever hope for through fighting, and all without shedding a single drop of blood. The young men will undoubtedly savour the opportunity to seize more in Italy, but it will be far easier if they do not have to carry their entire possessions on tired old nags, and of course, it is far easier to leave behind a tired old nag to feed the chooks!" Gundahar laughs, and looks to his unamused Queen. "And in truth, good Slav, from humble beginnings anything may spring. Giving me the Rhone valley is no guarantee that, when the Romans aren't looking, I won't seize more. I tell you that the second the Roman gaze slips, I plan to march straight to the sea, and secure a Mediterranean port for my people. All this I plan before even getting a single unciae of land!"