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