The year of our Lord 1066, the realm of Pskov is ruled by Lord Duke Domazhir of Pskov.
His new wife was a young noblewoman, a distant relative, Lady Sviatoslava, who also served as his eyes and ears in the court. By February, she was pregnant.
This small and impoverished duchy was a backwater in the most backward part of Christendom. There was little to commend it and in January 1067, an alliance was concluded with the Duke of Ryazan, another backward duchy, distinguished solely by its slightly larger size. All of the lands of Rus were dominated by the Rurikovich family. Outside the duchy, all was peace, save a war between Pskov’s new ally and the southern pagans that Domazhir declined to participate in. Inside the court of the young duke however, there was ample intrigue.
The duchy was ruled by Domazhir, whose word was law within his personal realm. However he ruled through his minister’s; a council of nobles each of whom was responsible for certain government functions. In addition to his wife, who was the chief spymistress of the realm, there was a Chancellor, who minded the relations of his Lord Duke with other realms. There was a Steward, who managed the finances of the realm, and a Chaplain who served as personal spiritual advisor to his lord Duke as well as superintending the spiritual life of the realm. Each of these was appointed by his lord Duke and served at his pleasure. Each of them competed for his favor and for status within the realm.
Chancellor – Miloslav of Pskov – At the age of 40, he was already an old man, but in fine health. His religious , chastity and training made him a better candidate for bishop than for the chancellorship. He enjoyed debating theology with the chaplain, but his ingrained skepticism made it so that he could never be considered a serious candidate for the priesthood. Nevertheless, he was loyal and had a sharp political mind.
Chaplain – Sviatopolk of Pskov – He was almost as old as the chancellor and Sir. Sviatopolk was as impious as he was zealous. His devotion to the cause of religion and his sharp theological mind masked his lustful character. It was said that he joined the church to rid of his lust only to find that it more greatly inflamed.
Steward- Valentina of Pskov – Lady Valentina had never married. Most men found her only marginally attractive, but were off put by her brilliant mind which was far superior to the best in the realm. She was a better theologian than the Chaplain and was chaste besides.
Spy Mistress – Her Lady the Duke Consort Sviatoslava was by no means the most attractive woman in the court. But she had been available and young and willing to marry. What she lacked in feminine charms she made up for in intrigue. She was an able diplomat and fertile besides. Although his lord Duke Domazhir had no great passion for her, their marriage was one of mutual respect and admiration. It was perhaps, the best that could be hoped for in those days.