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Ymir 44: the Viking Rus’
A generation ago the Varangians from the north were invited in to lend stability and the rule of Law. Now the newly crowned King Ragnarr sends his heir to secure Kiev. Newly established, bright and wealthy, Kiev hangs in the balance.
Who will prove victorious? The armies of the new King or the allies of the Crown Prince?
Come to Ymir and help decide who will hold the Keys to Kiev
Dark dust stains the horizon, sunlight is fleeting
Armies tramp and stamp and march to sacred place of meeting
Sword beats in time on shield,
Muscles wish for the time of sword’s wield
Men’s brow furrow in fullness of task forthcoming
A storm is coming.
Draw nigh and draw near do Ragnarr and Christoph
By the hill of winds, there to face off
Each with wrathful army, suspectful
Each with lady, resentful
Of what may come to pass
If cooler heads overcome their
Need for blood to spill and spoil the ground beneath.
Lands have been cleared – no man remains
All lives shall be decided upon these plains
Whether to rise or to fall
From greatest king to those who are small.
Who shall prevail? Who shall cure this ail
Of need for armies clash?
None need act rash,
Counsel Lynette and Adelheit
Though tempers rose even from first light.
The old ways are best, say they
And tournaments can decide the best way.
None knows what shall come.
Iskender bey Al-Istanbuli
In becalmed southlands, Adelhait reads with worry
In the steadfast stronghold of Kiev.
Which Christoph now sits idle with warrior-bands
Steel-banded about their skulls.
Safe now from Khazar travails are the people;
But those people now seek solace
From bored warriors who seek but more war.
Christoph must go north
Christoph must shed blood
Christoph knows nothing but Ragnarr’s jealousy
And steadfast heir turns to hate
And will bring such blood in rivulets run.
The air at Kiev is copper-tasted, with blood un-wasted.
Such is Adelhait’s reading-room.
Adelhait reads Lynette’s soothing word of war-prevention
Nods knowingly in agreement, but still laments
For once war launches, nothing will staunch
Men’s desire to ruin what peace that their blood has previous bought.
Furiously and hurriedly Adelhait sends northern missive
That war-wheels creek northbound and nothing now will survive
Until blood is sated.
Adelhait implores, a war to avoid,
The old ways must be appealed.
Tournament must be held, only a few to decide
The fate of the many, a bloody debacle set aside
In favor of the striving of a few, who hold the fates in their sword-hands.
Only by letting blood be let can the greater war be no more.
Lynette lines her brow with furrowed furor
Winter is hard and furious cold.
Circling Her court, men’s tongues wag and benight
For Ragnarr’s royal plight;
Snow-sounded silences from Kiev
No word from Christoph
Naught but uncertainty
Naught but royal worry
Ragnarr gnashes white-burning teeth
He seeks for clear guides and finding none
He wishes for nothing more but to assuage His royal ire.
Lynette sees blood coming and seeks to stem the tide
Lest good men fall for naught, for no reason but
Idleness of the season.
She casts her judgement for good solution.
She knows that hearts run hot when bored
And She fears for drawn sword.
No weapon has She but Queenly word.
So she shall deploy it with wisdom and
Send discreet word southward
To Adelhait’s ear, to trusted counselors near.
Blood comes, says Lynette, unless we act.
Or else useless battle shall be begat.
None shall gain from it, and foolish men will not be swayed
Unless you and I can weave back that which is frayed
Let us join hands and keep apart the war bands.
-Iskender Bey Al-Istanbuli
Ragnarr, Varangian King sits troubled on throne newly-won.
Ragnarr’s father comes from ice-locked North-lands,
Gave Viking-gold for ruling rights
Over the Rus who bowed heads, pled mercy and showed fealty.
Ragnarr wisely seals and secures his seat;
Sets Christoph as heir, trust shown in his choice,
Sends him with steel-capped soldiers southward
To Kiev, Khazars from the east to stop.
They threaten trade with blood and sword.
Christoph is the bulwark, their tide he shall break.
For gold flows as a river from frightened merchants
Who wish warrior-blessings, swords as shade
From Khazar blades.
Rumor returns to Ragnarr’s reckoning;
Christoph as King! In Kiev is his court!
No man is sure, rumors mongered.
Sooth-sayers do not soothe,
None know the truth.
Ragnarr’s wrought brow, who must choose;
Should Prince be summoned and made to answer?
Thus summoning, what if wailing war flows forth?
Snow waits for none, and spring soon behind.
None but Ragnarr can decide;
Shall his faith wait?
-Iskender bey, al-Istanbuli
Christoph sent as heir to Kiev
Dispatched with trust of kingly-father
To reign and rule, to ring
Steely helms of Khazars into submission,
Thus to forge his name in steel and fire
With blood, sword and thunder;
With princely blood as proof of name
As proof of right
As proof of might
Tide-breaker, bulwark maker.
The Khazars slink back sunken
Retreat to unknown lands,
To die unknown in desert sands.
Proud is Christoph’s brow, fine is his fighting band
In Kiev do they rest and hang swords
Make hearth, make home.
No word from northern father,
No bard bearing congratulations or celebrations,
None to say he had done well.
None to gainsay his direction.
So sits he upon Kievan throne
To reign and rule as his princely blood demands
Only his own wisdom to guide his ruling hands.
Snow now flows, spring soon to come.
A single rider runs south
With ominous word for Christoph, Prince
None shall know what Northern king says
Or what portends from Prince’s ways.
-Iskender bey, al-Istanbuli