This is a revenge story of passion. A story that spreads fear while inspiring resolve. A story of massacre after massacre that ends up in the perpetrator being venerated as a saint. She met Constantine (the seventh?); probably because she had earned the respect. The ruling never met with leaders of small states, that disgust was for those in the ranks. That was just an example of the immense influence she had; Olga of Kiev.
The famous story starts with the death of her husband, Igor of Kiev; ruler of the Kievan Rus. He had gone to the Drevlians to talk about their tributes to his ruling zone. They responded by tying him to two trees that were stretched out towards each other and letting them go; killing him. He left behind a son, Svyatoslav, who was three at the time. Olga preferred being regent of Kiev until such a time the son was old enough to take power.
The Drevlians then sent twenty of their state’s best men to convince Olga to let their prince (prince Mal) to marry Olga. They thought this would unite the states. Rationally; Olga responded by burying then alive. Then she wrote back a letter to price Mal saying that she had accepted his proposal on condition that he sends his best and brightest over to accompany her on her journey back.
Mal did just as required; sending the best men who governed the land, generals, strategists and anyone of great importance. She immediately welcomed them in to her personal bathhouse so that they would freshen up after the long trip. After the last one was in; she locked the door from the outside and set it on fire.
Now that the best and ruling were out her way, she planned on destroying the remaining Drevlians. She invited the Drevlian army and leadership to a huge funeral feast where she would mourn over her husband’s grave; the one they had killed. The invite was honored and the feast was well underway when her plan got underway. She got the Drevlian army drunk enough that they could barely defend themselves and killed all in attendance. It was estimated that she killed five thousand soldiers; give or take a few hundred.
She immediately placed the Drevlian capital under siege. However, being the nice person she was; offered a clemency agreement where three birds from each of the Drevlian home roof-tops would be surrendered to her. This was honored without question. Furthermore; they were defenseless.
The birds were handed over to her soldiers who had instructions to tie pieces smoldering clothes and sulfur to the birds feet. The birds were then simultaneously released at sunset all flying to their nests thus setting the entire Drevlian settlement on fire. It was impossible to fight the fire as it all started everywhere at once.
The Drevlians decided to make a run for it but Olga was there to capture them. She transformed most of them into slaves, captured the city’s elders and left the rest to be paying tribute to her. That’s how she obliterated her husband’s murderers. She later converted to Christianity and was the first ruler of Rus to convert to Christianity. She would then go on to make efforts of spreading it to her people. Making her a saint.
Lesson; don’t mess with a couple that’s truly in love.