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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."

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 76, Part 17

Emperor Bleda Khan looked down at the preliminary reports. They were not good. Things had been growing more and more difficult as slowly Mexico, Canada, Spain, and Washington fell. The Africans were still embroiled in their own fight, and could not get troops or supplies to their allies even if they had any to spare.

He now looked down at the report in his hand. The Eastern Bloc had been taken. Igoumensita had been forced into a humiliating surrender. It looked as though The Last War was coming to a close.

He stood up. He slowly rounded his desk and walked up to the great picture window in his office. Throwing open the curtains he looked out and saw Mongolia. The people looked tired. Tired of war.

The civilians were still carrying on decent, regular lives, right in the midst of battle. Mongolian and Allied troops were clashing here, in the middle of Ulan Bator. They were paratroopers and spies already planted here. Here an old Mongolian woman dashed across the street for some milk, there a young man ran through the shrapnel back to his home. They were used to it indeed - five years of it - but they were tired of it.

"The world's a stage," he said to himself, quoting some English author whose name escaped him, "And it looks as though it's final curtain."

He slowly, methodically walked back to his desk.

"All I wanted," he said, "Was to make Mongolia great again, as it once was. To take this world which is our birthright. I tried. I forged an empire out of nothing but raw mud! Now it is crumbling back into dust.

"The end of this war will determine the fate of the world. It looks as though the world's fate is already determined. I've lost. I tried my hardest and I lost. It is the Mongolian people that I love. Look at how they still fight on, against dauntless odds, a whole world against them. It is not because they like war, nor because their government or their superiors order them to fight. It is merely because they are Mongolian. I am proud to be a member of this divine race. I can not allow us to be destroyed, though. A true leader must know when he is beaten, and when to surrender, lest he drag his people into oblivion. I am beaten."

Bleda Khan lay his head down on his desk and wept. It took him several hours before he could compose himself enough to order the surrender.

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