Evil Overlord Claims He Just Celebrating Time-Honoured Tradition of Doing Horrible, Evil Shit
“The Dark Army hath a storied hist’ry of blatant land grabs”
After a brash invasion of the Plains of Ærloft by the Dark Army, its commander hath claimed that he was merely celebrating the Forces of Evil’s time-honoured tradition of doing horrible, evil things, like blatantly grabbing land whenever and wherever possible.
“The Dark Army hath a long and storied tradition of flagrantly seizing territory from our neighbours and leaving a trail of carnage in our wake,” spake Dark Lord Dörgu Bøgerleshk. “I mean, there’s all that territory there. What kind of Evil Overlord would I be if I just let it go unseized?”
Experts doth agree that blatant land grabs and unnecessary wanton destruction are an ancient and revered tradition, not just of the Dark Army, but of armies in general.
“If not War, whatfore are we to do in lieu of invading our neighbours? Seek peaceful diplomatic accords? Learn from our past mistakes and work to find mutually beneficial solutions to our problyms?” spake Murk Commander Ílltvar Ökhtar. “Ho ha! I, for one, shan’t be caught dead learning from past mistakes.”
Military leaders have oft discussed alternatives to War, such as not going to War and just letting people go about their lives without trying to kill or conquer them. But most doth agree that there would be no fun in that, and anywise, ‘tis not a goode way to get one’s name into the hist’ry bookes.
“Imagine all these peasants walking around going about their business, and not conquering them?” spake the Dark Lord. “No thank ye. That’s not a Realm of Shadow I want to live in.”
Addendum: Birch Bark Letters
Kievan Rus’ was a major state (or state-like entity) in medieval eastern Europe that existed from the 9th to 13th centuries. Kiev (the modern capital of Ukraine) and Novgorod (modern day Veliky Novgorod in northwestern Russia) were two of its major cities and served as its capital at different times.
After Kieven Rus’ dissolved, part of its former territory was succeeded by the Novgorod Republic. Novgorod went on to become a major state in its own right, until it was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Muscovy (Moscow) in the late 15th century. The Novgorod Republic was notable for being a trading partner of the Hanseatic League and for having a quasi-democratic government that was advanced for its time, or at least was better than what a lot of other governments were doing.
In Novgorod’s day, birch bark strips were commonly used as a medium for writing letters. Thousands of inscriptions on birch bark have been discovered in and around Novgorod since the 1950s. Their contents range from business matters, to love letters, to legal documents, and more, in a variety of different languages.
Below are translations of a few of them, from Medievalists.net:
From Boris to Nastas’ja: As soon as this letter arrives, send me a man on a stallion, because I have a lot of work here. And send a shirt; I forgot a shirt.
From Ilijca to Il’ja: Sujga is overwriting the marks on the oaks and has taken out the honey from the hives, saying “I am taking away the oaks on my own mark.” He is cutting away the cut-mark, saying “It is my oak. Your former beekeeper has fallen into robbery.” And now come here yourself; confirm your ownership of the bee-yard.
Request from Semen to the priest Ivan: May you check up on my goods so that moths will not ruin them; I request to you, my lord, in regard of my trunk. And I have sent the key with Stepan. And the mark on the trunk is an ermine.
Greetings from Radko to his father: I have sent the goods to Smolensk. But they have murdered Putlia, and they want me and Vjaceska instead of Foma, saying “Pay four hundred grivnas or call Foma here, otherwise we will put you in jail.” And greetings from Vjaceska to Lazor. I have sent the packhorse, and I myself am ready.
Greeting from Smen to his daughter-in-law: In case you have not celebrated the commemoration meal: you had malt. The rye malt is in the cellar. You take a handful, and as much flour as you need, and you bake it in the proper measure. And the meat is in the pantry. And concerning the rouble that is due to Ignat, you give it.
A letter to Zirocko and from Tesko to Vdovin: Sat to Sil’ce: “Why are you damaging other people’s pigs? Nozdr’ka has made this known. And you have disgraced the entire Ljudjin End. There has been a letter from the other side of the river. It was about horses, that you have done the same with them.”
Greetings from Panfil to Mark and to the priest: Buy some lamp oil and send it over here.
Greetings from Grior’ja to Jermola and Ozekj: I have sent to you six barrels of wine, filled to a finger’s length from the top. And you check it carefully, and sell them like those others, under the same conditions. And if you have sold them, send back the proceeds. And don’t give my servants the money; send it along with the debt.
Marija’s will: In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hereby I, God’s servant Marija, leaving this world, write my testament at the end of my life. I bequeath my inheritance to my Maksim, because I am childless. Let him remember me by it.
Also this, from a 1993 article in the Tampa Bay Times:
From a rejected female lover: “I have sent to you three times … What is the evil you hold against me, that you have never visited me this week? … Is it that I hurt you by sending to you, and you, as I see, do not like it? If you liked it, you would have broken free from (people's) eyes, and come.”
And from Jos Schaeken at the Leiden Medievalist Blog:
[From] Luka and from Ivan to Snovid. We are both fine. We’ve already sold (everything). We didn’t buy (any) Greek merchandise. Try to get a little overseas merchandise.
From Miluša to Marena. Big Braid, may she (or: let her) marry Snovid.
Marenka, let the vagina drink and the clitoris.
Thus spoke Miluša: Give yesterday’s 2 grivnas.
And last but not least, a letter from starving peasants to their lord, telling him they’ve run out of seed and have nothing to eat: We are ruined now, lord.
In Soviet Gulags of the 20th century, prisoners often didn’t have access to paper. They instead carved letters onto birch bark.
A 2014 New York Times article about birch bark letters: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/world/europe/where-mud-is-archaeological-gold-russian-history-grew-on-trees.html
Other Novgorod birch bark documents on Wikipedia: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Novgorod_birch_bark_documents