In this world, there is loyalty and then there is ride-or-die, got-your-back, never-gonna-give-you-up, never-gonna-let-you-down loyalty.
Your Harry + Hermiones, your Frodo + Sams, your Barack + Joes, your Kylie + Kendalls.
Your Olga of Kiev + Igor I of Kiev.
Let me explain.
Olga was born around 900 AD and was mostly known as the wife of Igor, the Prince of the Kievans, a tribe that controlled most of Rus. Rus is (you may have guessed) what we today call Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Igor was such a good tribal leader that the Kievans began to expand their territory, at the expense of their neighboring tribes. Another tribe, the Derevlians, were particularly over the Kievans – they pledged their fealty to a local warlord rather than Igor.
When Igor showed up to demand their loyalty (and their coinage) in 945, the Drevlians had had enough. They kidnapped him and publicly murdered him.
As far as the Derevlians could tell, this immediately solved a couple of problems. Igor was eliminated. Their greatest invading threat was no longer. And Olga, Igor’s widow, was going to have to marry their prince and give them the Kievan territory since she was just a lil LADY.
But Olga was not going to just marry the guy who had her husband killed. When they sent a military squad to pick her up, she had them buried alive.
I usually just ghost the guy, but I like your style, Olga.
But then, Olga sent a message to the Derevlian prince saying she had thought it over, and she would accept his offer to marry him and hand over the keys to her kingdom– as long as he sent his chieftans to escort her back. When the chieftans arrived, she invited them to wash up in her bathhouse.
Then, she locked the door and burned the bathhouse to the ground.
I usually just block his number, but I’m digging the flourishes, Olga.
Olga wasn’t done, though. She told the prince she’d come on down and marry him, if he agreed to host a funeral for her husband when she got there. Despite the fact that neither of his Olga-getting missions had returned with an Olga, the prince agreed.
When the Drevlians got drunk at the funeral, Olga’s soldiers stabbed them all to death and, according to the Primary Chronicle, a translated history of this era, she “went about herself egging on her retinue to the massacre of the Derevlians.”
I usually just stop going to the coffee shop where we met, but that’s another way to handle things, Olga.
When the Derevlians asked Olga to stop the massacre, she agreed quite easily. All she asked was that each of the major houses give her a few pigeons and sparrows as a tribute. Easy-peasy.
Except she had her soldiers attach a piece of sulfur wrapped in cloth to the feet of the pigeons and sparrows. At night, the birds flew back to their nests in the Derevlians homes, which promptly caught on fire and burned to the ground.
When the residents fled their burning homes, Olga’s soldiers massacred them all.
I usually just avoid eye contact when we end up at the same bar, but everyone has their own methods of coping, Olga.
After defeating the Derevlians, Olga ruled the vast Kiev territory on behalf of her son until he was of age. She made peace treaties with leaders from across the region and eventually converted to Christianity.
Which is how Olga of Kiev, mass murderer, revenge-monger, and savage cabbage beyond all comparison, became a saint in the Catholic Church – and to scorned women everywhere.