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Vasilijs background, how he would tell it to the princess at least. I will expand on it as we go
"Now, my dear little one, don't you be afraid" the old man in strange clothing smiled to the young princes. He was indeed a peculiar sight. A high black fur hat with a red top that hangs down to his shoulders, and he is clad in a wide and well used red and gold embroided padded jacket with fur lining that the locals calls a tegilyai which smells heavily of sulphur, charcoal and metal. In his wide sash hangs two pistols and a shashka is placed on his left side with it's handle, and thus it's edge pointing backwards, not forwards, as for a sable. On his back, however hangs a sable, and on his right side an ornamented straight dagger.
He takes of his fur hat, revealing that his long white moustache is complimented with an equally long single lock of hair on the top of his head
"My princess, I have the honor to be one of those to escort you. My name is Vasilij, son of Dmitrij, but most call me grandpa Vasia or grandpa Gorelij." he squats down before her chair and the menacing figure of a fierce raider turns into a kind grandfather:
"I understand... It's hard to go from your home to a foreign country to marry a stranger, and the situation is making it even worse, but don't worry, as we say: he who is destined be hanged will not drown. And I will look after you, if you want. I have been around for long, and all has been well with me. Me and the tzar go back a long time" he smiles as he starts telling:
"When the tzars father, Vasilij died, I was one of the gunners that protected the castle when the bojars wanted to imprison him. Now, he was all to young to remember me from that time, but I attended his coronation some ten years later and when we won his first war, I was given command in his newly created gunners..." he sighs
"Not to say that tzar Ivan is easy to deal with, far from it. He suspected me for treason, and me and some of the gunners had to escape to the south, where we gathered a band of men that was wanted by the crown. We offered protection to the southern villages from bandits and raiders, and they fed and clothed us for that. I even married, but she was taken by the sickness only three years later. And then there was a new war. We joined in as the attackers came to the area we already protected, and the tzar gave us his royal pardon. Even offered us places in his bodyguard, but that's not for me. Still, I was made a noble and the tzar thus has the right to command me out on missions.
Believe me, my dear, to escort you will be by far the most enjoyable. So don't be afraid....
Reaction on the summoning
Going to the kings residence, which was more a monastery than a palace, was never pleasant since the tzars mother was killed there and Vasilij was one of the guards that had to protect the young princeling, but he still had to go.
The tzar summoned him, and it was his duty to obey.
Now, the tzar knew that Vasilij always spoke his mind, and the tzar did tolerate it more from the commoners than from those he saw could be conspiring, but being made noble by the tzar meant that he would all to easily be cast together with all the others the tzar distrusted, so walking up the stairs to the audience hall felt like going up the stairs to the gallows, especially having been sent there once by the tzar already.
As he enters, he bows a deep bow, his right hand touching the ground:
"Father of us all*, tzar Ivan, I have arrived by your command. What is your bidding?"
* - Father of us all is my translation of "batiushka tzar' " which was the peasant way of referencing to the tzar, giving him and additional, patriarchal honorific