1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 10

1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 10

Chapter 3: On the road

Goritsky Monastery

July 1636

Sofia Gorchakovna got off the steamboat and looked around. Sister Sofia, that is, she thought. And she was in the company of Sister Elena, Dimitry Cherakasky’s widow. Elena was dealing not just with the prospect of being forced to take holy orders, but also the death of her husband.

They were escorted by a small contingent of oprichniki under the command of a seventeen-year-old lieutenant, Vasilii Golitsyn. The boy had been polite enough. Sofia looked at the stiff little snot with the wisps of beard and the silver dog head collar tab and said, “Remember. Tell your grandfather I said he is being foolish.”

The boy didn’t sigh, not quite. Instead, he waved Elena and Sofia to the carriage that would take them to the monastery. Convent, as the westerners would call it. Goritsky Monastery was halfway to Archangelsk from Moscow as the crow or dirigible flew, and considerably more than halfway as the steam boat floated. It was in the hinterlands and a good place to put inconvenient upper-class women of all sorts.

Sofia looked over at Elena. The woman had been taken from her home the day after her husband’s death, shipped to the dacha where Sofia had been picked up, then shipped by steamboat downriver to the Volga and then upriver to the monastery. Over a thousand miles and twelve days. The shock had worn off and all that was left was the fury. Fury at Dimitry for getting his fool self killed, fury at Sheremetev for killing him, fury at Mikhail Romanov for not staying in the hunting lodge, fury at just about everyone.

Vasilii Golitsyn had caught the brunt of that fury. There had been times that Sofia suspected that he was going to react with violence, but he hadn’t.

Now Elena sniffed at him as she climbed into the carriage. It wasn’t a long ride. They could see the walls of the monastery from the docks. Sofia wondered as she climbed into the carriage, What is going to happen to me now?

She looked at the monastery and next to it saw a wooden framework she recognized. It was a radio tower. Sofia remembered the chain of radio stations that stretched up to the Swedish territory in the Baltic had a link here. It was also a link in the chain of radio stations that went to the port of Archangelsk.

***

Several hours later, Sofia was seated in a private room. This was a prison in all but name, but it was a prison for the daughters of great houses, not for peasants. And there was always the possibility that the political winds would change and this year’s prisoner would be next year’s boss, so you didn’t want them pissed at you.

Sofia and Elena had been treated with respect. And gotten the latest news. Czar Mikhail was in Ufa and had sent a message to the king of Sweden. They got that from the radio station in Swedish territory.  Aside from that, the news was still very confused. Sofia decided that the rest could wait. She was tired.

Ufa

July 1636

The steamboats arrived late. Aside from a very small amount of gear on the Czarina Evdokia, Czar Mikhail’s party had been having to work with whatever the locals had on hand. Five years after Bernie had brought plans for the Fresno scraper to Russia, they hadn’t reached Ufa. There were no roads in Ufa. There were trails, gaps between buildings And aside from Filip Pavlovich Tupikov, Bernie, and a couple of others who had arrived by way of airship, there was no one who knew how to make a scraper or even how to use one. Worse, Ufa had proven to have even less privacy than the dirigible. People had seen the Czarina Evdokia in the sky and headed for Ufa to see what was going on. Hunters and trappers, farmers and delegations, crowded every building in the town. And Bernie and Natasha were just too busy to go riding off in the country. Not that Natasha’s guards would allow her to go off alone, even if there was time. She might get et by a bar or somthin’, Bernie told Filip. And then had to explain the reference.

“What took so long?” Bernie asked with frustration in his voice.

“We had a breakdown. And besides, with your damn dodge we were overloaded,” complained Maxim Andreevich. “It overstressed the engine.”

“Oh, bull crap. Even I know more about steam than that. What broke?” For the next few minutes, as the two steamboats were tied up and the unloading began, Bernie and Maxim Andreevich argued companionably about steam engines and torque versus horsepower. Filip Pavlovich came down from the Ufa kremlin and started asking about equipment and personnel.

“General Tim insisted that he and the troops could march,” Maxim Andreevich explained. “The techies at Bor had to have their hydrogen generators and their –” He stopped and waved his hands. “They wanted to bring the frigging curtains on their windows.”

Bernie wasn’t as upset by that as the steamship captain. They need that gear.

***

Olga reached the docks in time to hear Bernie and Filip talking with this new man and tried to understand what she was seeing. There were bales and boxes, and iron and steel parts, copper tubes and even glass. It was a fortune in goods that simply could not be had here. Stanislav Ivanovich, her husband, was drinking less. He was still drinking, but it was more beer and less vodka, at least. And now there were all these new people with all this equipment and she didn’t know where she was going to put them or all these things.

She looked over what was coming off the boats, and she started to notice something. She walked over to where the three men were still talking. “Did you bring anything useful?”

The three men looked at her.

“What do you mean?”

“Axes, saws, hammers, hand drills, looms, spindles, needles, pins? Platters, cups? Food?”

She got blank looks. “Crazy people,” she shouted. Then she turned and stalked away. She had to find Anya, someone with some sense.

***

Anya was in the tax warehouse, going over the records. On Czarina Evdokia’s instructions — and against her better judgment — Olga had explained her methods of recording the furs and their quality to Anya and Anya had been translating the records into writing for the last several days.

“They didn’t bring anything useful.”

“What? Who?” Then Olga saw realization on Anya’s face. “You mean on the steamboats?”

Olga nodded.

“It’s all useful, but you may have a point about immediate utility. What do you need?”

“Everything. Axes, ham . . .”

Anya held up her hands. “Wait a minute.” She turned to the table she had been working at, and gathered up a notebook, a pen, and a bottle of ink. “Come sit down and we will make a list.”

Before Olga had gotten more than started Anya was asking, “Why do you need that? What’s this for?” and Olga found herself explaining, “We’re going to need food and housing for all these new people.”

For the rest of the day Olga and Anya talked.

***

“We’re going to have to send the riverboats after supplies,” Anya told Princess Natasha and Czarina Evdokia.

“Is that safe?” asked the czarina.

“I don’t know, but it’s necessary. I have been worrying about it since I started on the books here and talking with Olga clarified things for me. There’s not enough reserve, not nearly enough for the sort of influx of people we are expecting, much less hoping for. If we don’t get more food and basic equipment, we are going to freeze to death this winter . . . if we don’t starve first.

“And we especially don’t have enough to rebuild Ufa as a modern city, the way the czar and Bernie want to.”

 

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19 Responses to 1637 The Volga Rules – Snippet 10

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    “Goritsky Monastery”

    To namedrop this monastery and not to mention Ksenia Godunova or Mariya Nagaya…

    “Sofia Gorchakovna got off the steamboat and looked around. Sister Sofia, that is, she thought. And she was in the company of Sister Elena, Dimitry Cherakasky’s widow”

    No, no, no. If they had already taken the monastic wows, they’d have different names by now – not their “worldly” ones. If they are not yet nuns, then they are not “sisters” then and still have their names. Simple as that.

    “Goritsky Monastery was halfway to Archangelsk from Moscow as the crow or dirigible flew”

    And not so far from the fairly big city of Novgorod. The point is?..

    “He was still drinking, but it was more beer and less vodka, at least.”

    It is 1600 and “vodka” does not exist – first time the word is mentioned is in 1684. OTOH, the “beer” back then had enough kick in it so you could get drunk on it pretty quickly.

    ““Axes, saws, hammers, hand drills, looms, spindles, needles, pins? Platters, cups? Food?”

    She got blank looks. “Crazy people,” she shouted. ”

    And that was an understatement. No, really – what were they thinking? Why no one thought over the logistics problem?

    • A Russian Jew says:

      It is 1600 and “vodka” does not exist
      Distilled alcohol had been prepared in Russia since early 16th century. They called it “grain wine”. And Olga’s husband would’ve been switching to mead, not beer from it, if he wanted to wean himself from alcoholism.
      what were they thinking? Why no one thought over the logistics problem?
      That is an understatement. 1636 Ufa is a frontier town, surrounded by recently conquered Muslim nomads (IOTL Bashkirs were considered “conquered tribes”, not “subjects” till Napoleonic times). Ufa doesn’t have population base for raising a Russian army, building an industry etc. You want to give modern guns to Bashkirs and ask the to fight on your side? Very bad idea, unless you’re aching to see a resurrected Golden Horde.

  2. Daryl Saal says:

    The first documented production of vodka in Russia was at the end of the 9th century, but the first known distillery at, Khylnovsk, was about two hundred years later as reported in the Vyatka Chronicle of 1174. Poland lays claim to having distilled vodka even earlier in the 8th century, but as this was a distillation of wine it might be more appropriate to consider it a crude brandy. The first identifiable Polish vodkas appeared in the 11th century when they were called ‘gorzalka’, originally used as medicines.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “The first documented production of vodka in Russia was at the end of the 9th century, but the first known distillery at, Khylnovsk, was about two hundred years later as reported in the Vyatka Chronicle of 1174”

      Are you quoting the first ever thing that you found in the net – Difford’s Guide for discerning drinkers? That’s not a historic source. The entire article has no links to prove its claims. Surely – you can do that instead!

      – Can you name that document where it’s been mentioned that “vodka production in Russia began at the end of the 9th century”? I’d really appreciate that.

      – There is NO town of “Khylnovks”. It does not exist and did not exist. All of the assorted articles mention it and the fact that it was “500 miles to the east of Moscow”. There is also no such thing as “Vyatka Chronicles”.

      If we were talking about something else, THIS sort of disinformation would be justly renounced as “fake”. The fact that so many people for so many years just repeated that without bother to check, trusting blindly, tells more about the people. You were owned.

      What truly amazes me is that you tried to pass all of this for a “fact”, so sure of yourself, not doubting for a second. Makes one wonder – what else in your life do you treat the same way and simply accept for a “fact”, without even trying to check is its true?

      • Daryl Saal says:

        Are you this obnoxious in real life, in person? I did actually quote the first thing I came across, so correct, but there are plenty more similar sources. As usual you are wrong, and rudely so.
        For the umpteenth time on numerous publications, these are books written as entertainment, and to boot are in an alternative universe, so why keep trying to lord it over everyone else on minor points? Are you that insecure?

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “I did actually quote the first thing I came across, so correct, but there are plenty more similar sources”

          Copy+paste of the same untrue (read: fake) information on other sites =/= “sources”. Just because the same lie is repeated elsewhere does not make it true.

          Try again.

          “As usual you are wrong, and rudely so”

          Where am I wrong? If you claim that this information you assumed to be true, I’ve already posted what you can do prove that.

          “For the umpteenth time on numerous publications, these are books written as entertainment, and to boot are in an alternative universe”

          Does this “alternative universe” have different laws of physics and logic?

          “Are you that insecure?”

          Good question – wrong target. Why the people here, who suddenly have their bubble burst resort to angry denial? Are *they* that insecure?

          • Daryl Saal says:

            Probably too late a post to be noticed but to explain somewhat. I can only speak directly for myself, but quite a few people used to gather here to share thoughts about these fictional worlds. Quite intelligent and well read people, but they have moved on to other blogs since the conversation here has degenerated into an undergrad historian nitpicking contest. Alternative universes may well have different physics and logic, but this one doesn’t, however it doesn’t have to follow OTL history slavishly.
            As to being insecure, I’m a retired person with many successes to my life, so it isn’t insecurity but annoyance about your immature attacks on others. Having keyboard anonymity shouldn’t embolden rudeness.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “I can only speak directly for myself, but quite a few people used to gather here to share thoughts about these fictional worlds.”

              Are you accusing *me* of “exiling” these fine intelligent people? Maybe you are saying, that I, somehow, bar them from speaking their mind? If not, then there must be any other reasons as to why they are posting no longer.

              “Alternative universes may well have different physics and logic, but this one doesn’t, however it doesn’t have to follow OTL history slavishly.”

              It shouldn’t, but it must explain the cause and effect process which leads to the new, alternative past/present.

              • Daryl says:

                No one exiled anyone, but people come to sites like this for a sneak peek at what is coming up, and to enjoy a friendly chat about it. As you and a couple of others have highjacked it to display your supposed learned historical knowledge, this is no longer such a location, and people have moved. The authors by the don’t have to comply with “must explain” as this is their universe.
                Mild suggestion, don’t go on David Drake or John Ringo’s sites unless you want much more robust discussion than I have provided.

  3. donny says:

    In what appears to be the coming civil war between the Czar and uptimers and Shermetev and cronies, the Czar is in what appears to be a lost position, without supply, armaments, communications, except for the airships. About the only thing which could save him is a widespread peasant revolt, on the order of Pugachev’s, which is quite possible if the Czar abolished serfdom. While the Swedes are too far away to provide any direct help to Czar, they could certainly smuggle arms to the serfs.

  4. Randomiser says:

    From where do you think? Who has sufficient surplus arms production to supply a meaningful Rus serf force, given that the Swedes and USE are still (I think) fighting the PLC, and the Austrians and Bohemians have the Ottomans to contend with?

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      Logistics. It’s all about logistics. Having stuff is half the solution – how do you plan to get it? Again – take a look at the map (17th c.). Find Ufa. Ask yourself – how could it be possible to ship lots and lots of supplies there from, well, somewhere further west?

      It also occurred to me that Sheremetev might not even need to fight a proper war – he could just run a blockade and containment first, and then move in for the mop up.

  5. Bret Hooper says:

    I hope that Gorg and Paula will respond to all of Lyttenburgh’s claims.

    I have noted some that I can be sure are ill-founded, so Lytt is not right on all counts, but I doubt that (s)he is wrong on all counts. Lytt apparently knows far more than I do about Europe during the thirty-years war, but I have the feeling that (s)he fails to take full account of the possible effects of the arrival of Grantville in 1631, which makes this an alternate history.

    • Daryl Saal says:

      On a number of books based on a number of various places and times this particular person comes in to pontificate and put people down. Often wrong but so certain that they are right.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Often wrong but so certain that they are right.”

        Please – go and try to prove me wrong and the authors right.

        • Daryl Saal says:

          No point trying to prove anything to a closed mind, but consider this. This universe is the authors’ not yours, and if they say the sky is green then it is. They are not bound to follow whatever your particular text book says is the previous history of any of the fictional scenes they write in their alternative universe.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “This universe is the authors’ not yours, and if they say the sky is green then it is.”

            Sure, of course! When they say that the sky is green, which would mean a tremendous amount of other changes as well also signifying that the laws of physics may work differently here. Until then – the sky is blue and the laws work as intended.

            • Daryl says:

              You continue to miss the point. By all means respectfully point out what you consider to be plot problems to the authors, but try to respect that this is their patch, not yours and they are in charge of it.

    • A Russian Jew says:

      Lytt is very abrasive, but he’s right at least 85 times out of 100

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