River of Light by Bill West

Morning sunlight reveals tents clustered like mushrooms on the plain. Northwards, at the crest of a rocky slope, a young horseman waits, tiny and insignificant beneath the vastness of sky.

Temujin stares, his strong hands braced against his saddle, his body arched like a bow. He sees again the stockade where he was bound and beaten beside the yurt of his enemy. Bitter memories revisited in dreams; the sneering Tartar warrior, cold spittle on his face and the voice of his tormentor, "I poisoned the father, and now I shall whip his whelp."

A dog howls at dust devils.

Temujin raises his arm. There is a noise like thunder. The ground shakes and dust swirls about his rearing horse. Temujin declaims:

"The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters."

A river of horsemen sweeps across the steppe, and breaks upon the Tartar village. At their head, Temujin, Spirit of Light, Genghis Kahn draws his bow.


2009 - West

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