"Lieutenant Darbet Kazakh reporting as ordered, colonel," said the young officer
"At ease, lieutenant," Bura Karakoram said, returning him the Mongolian salute, "What do you think of the games?"
"Quite good this year, ma'am," he said.
Kazakh looked like he was still bottle feeding, but the colonel knew better. He had more battle experience than she had. Ulan-Ude, Lake Baikal, Irkutsk, Angarsk. He'd been at almost every major battle so far on the Russo-Mongolian Front. Kazakh had a young face, covered with the stubble of an inexperienced shaver, thick, coarse, and dark hair, and a large nose. But his eyes were like windows into a history of great bloodshed, great victory, and great maturity.
He was a fine soldier, short, strong, and built like a brick wall. He was brutish but handsome. The luster of his gilded armor was beginning to dull with age and abuse. But the most important reason he was a fine soldier was that he had survived so long.
The colonel was different from Kazakh in many ways. She was reminiscent of a hawk, a great, majestic bird of prey. She was tall, agile, and very intelligent. Her hair was fine and short, not long but flowing. She had a thinker's face, marked by lines of deep concentration. She was not spectacularly beautiful, but was appealing in her own way. Bura Karakoram had an officer's mind. She had been made to command troops and strategize.
"Lieutenant, I'm worried that our security may be lax, even nonexistent. Everyone wants to be at the games. Who would want guard duty? Only a jackass," Karakoram said.
"Actually, we found some jackasses and put helmets on them. They're standing sentry out front. With their tails clipped they're actually quite fierce looking."
"Kazakh," she warned.
"I apologize," he said, bowing.
"Find the men and women who've been here the longest. Tell them to take sentry. I want the guard doubled. I want to know if there's going to be an attack."
"Yes, ma'am," he said, saluting, "But if I may say so I doubt very much there will be an attack."
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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