Baraat and Gansukh
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Heng had been relocated, to the place reserved for the women, deep in the heart of the Mongol encampment that had become the riverside of Volgograd. The men who had escorted them had not touched them or spared them a glance. They had moved their belongings into tents, singling Heng and the other expectant mothers away from the group to lead them into the guarded tent at the very center. There was laughter inside and endless chattering. Heng couldn’t help but feel as if she was being herded into a pen.

The interior of the tent was filled with women from the length and breadth of the Mongolian Empire: there were Pakistani women, with skin the color of freshly-ground coffee. Vietnamese girls with small figures and harsh faces. Burmese women with full lips and almond-shaped eyes. Here and there, an Indian woman, the Bindi on their foreheads a certain brown-red that Heng had seen coagulating on surgical slabs all too often. Cream-skinned Uzbekistani girls with elegant hands. Thai girls, with crooked smiles and piercing gazes. They were all expecting like her, each of them bearing in her the child of an officer. How many of them would bear the successor to a tumen-lord or an aspiring myangan-lord? How many of them would raise their children on the road and watch them grow into the kind of person their fathers had been? How many of them Heng thought had done so willingly? And she counted among them the women, looking for perhaps a hint of fear in their eyes, a revulsion to each other’s touch. But for all her effort, she could not find a single one among them who seemed any less numbed to the horrors that had been their lives.

Heng had perhaps thought herself alone in her predicament. She had perhaps considered herself to be the greatest woman martyr in the apocalypse, alone in her burden of carrying the child of the man who had swept her life out from under her. And yet here, she was but just another one of them: a trophy, a prize won in battle. And then it slowly dawned on her, her mother’s wisdom: just grin and bear it, she had said and the pieces fell into place, revealing an all-too-familiar whole. The expressions on those women’s faces were her own, their expressions those of subdued rage and quiet, seething hatred. And suddenly, a weight was lifted from Heng’s chest, realizing that she was not alone in this, that her suffering (while without reason) was not something she would have to bear alone.

Placing her few belongings by a bed beside a Pakistani girl, she turned to her and said:

“I am Heng, I was from Jinquan.”

“I am Saba, I was from Gujrat. Are you having a little officer or a burden in the 8th?”

“I hope it’s not an officer.” Heng smiled. “I couldn’t stand the thought of him being on the road.”

“I’m going to make this one a katoey. I’ve given half an arbat’s worth already to the Khan” a Thai girl said from a bed opposite of Heng’s. “I couldn’t stand having another one playing soldier when I’m trying to sleep.”

“And what will you do, Daree, when your man sees you dressing up the little soldier in girl’s clothes? He’s going to cut off your tits, you silly cow!” an Indian girl shouted from the other end of the tent and the women burst out laughing.

“Then I’ll ask the Khan to make them into a cock. Then I will make myself myangan-lord and fuck him every night. Let see how he likes it then, when I come in drunk and drag him out of the covers by the ankles!” Daree said, an uproar of laughter rising from the girls.

“Think he’ll let you do it?” Saba asked.

“Let me do it? I bet you he’s gonna beg me to do it when I’m done with him!”

“Better make sure you teach him well and have your son take notes. Who knows, maybe if he’s good enough, he’s going to overthrow Tuzniq!” said the Indian girl (whose name was Nirmayi).

“No, I’ll make my katoey bite a cock before he’d suck it. I will raise me a ladyboy, but I won’t have her shut her mouth for no-one. Not even the Khan’s own cock!”

“What if it’s a girl?” Heng asked and there was silence in the tent, all of a sudden. 

“If it’s a girl” Saba said “I’ll smother her in her sleep.”

*** 

Of course he had said yes. Yes to becoming a myangan-lord. Yes to spearheading the campaign in Europe. Yes to wetting his blade in the blood of his enemies, to sacking cities, to riding his mount with two thousand men at his back. He dreamed of that moment, when he would be covered from head to toe with his own fetishes and spoils of war: the severed fingers of dead commanders, teeth wrenched from warlords, braided at the fringes of his hair, his fingers adorned with stolen rings. He imagined himself a true warrior-king, battle tested and scarred, bearing the badge of his office with pride. His children would have iron running in their veins and they would ride to battle with him, by his side.

Heng would be there too, this he knew. His Ogtbish consort by his side, fearing and respecting him. Perhaps she would even love him, in time. He would take her across the world, make men bow to her and have servants attend to her every need, so she could only have eyes for him. She would be radiant, as he had seen her in his vision but he would wash away the indignation with her eyes with temperance and gifts. The gift of children first, of land and loot later. And then perhaps, when the Khan would be gone and Tuzniq would enforce his utopian vision to the world, she would be Khatun and named Mongol for her services to the Horde. He would not take a harem; of this he was sure. She would be his woman forever and they would trek every road, climb every mountain and burn every city until the world was Ikh Mongol Uls, the Great Mongol Nation united in heart and mind, bound together by terror and fire, themselves quenched with bloodshed.

But until then, he would have to wait: wait until Russia had been in the Khan’s grasp, wait until the forces regrouped. Wait for the old men in their overcoats and the Khan in his tent to plan and plot and then finally vote. He would wait for Tuzniq to turn the Khan around and make the Young Wolf leader of a myangan. But he could not count on the boy to remover Gansukh Kiryat and he knew he could not bring any evidence to bear, especially after their clash had killed three zuun-lords and Nergui, the unwitting instrument of Gansukh. Baraat was a guilty of Nergui’s death as much as Gansukh was, this much he knew. He had lied to the man as well. He wondered what the myangan-lord had offered him. Perhaps as much as Baraat had, only he had the power to deliver it, when Baraat had little more than promises. But now, he had the promise of the Khan’s own successor to count on. And he would have to force the boy to act on it. 

It happened that same night, during the festival of the taking of Volgograd, under the great white arcs of light shed by the spotlights, the sound drowned out by the blaring of the speakers, transmitting the voice of the Khan across the mass of the gathered men, bounding through the atmosphere, rebounding across deteriorating satellites and broadcast to the world. Baraat had whetted the blade until the edge was as sharp as it could be, glistening silver. He had made sure he was drunk enough for this; not to muster the courage to do what he had to, but to quell his hate, to avoid doing something rash that would put him in the spotlight. Gansukh had taken off his protective padding, thinking perhaps himself safe, leaving only his flack jacket on. It would protect him from any sharpened point, but Baraat knew that the proper slash from a blade at the exposed neck, or at the inside of his thighs could have the same effect. He’d then choke the life out of Gansukh, until he was quiet and still. And then…

…then he would be myangan-lord.

Baraat had barely noticed Heng’s absence, as he returned to Gansukh’s RV among the tumen-lords. He spent his time whetting his blade, pacing around the vehicle, breathing in deeply, trying to still his beating heart. Gansukh did not return; he stayed among the myangan-lords, who moved from tent to tent, briefed by the tumen-lords on the particulars of the Russian campaign. Baraat imagined them poring over the maps, drawing battle-lines across the country, breaking the landmass into easily-manageable portions that they could take over at their leisure. It would be of the outmost importance for the Horde to take over Russia (or at the very least control its major cities) before winter. If the winter in Caucasus had been a threat, then the Russian winter was Armageddon on ice in comparison. Baraat had heard stories from the elders, some of whom spoke of the armies decimated by the Russian winter, leaving behind only half-mad dregs that crawled back to the enemy lines to beg for a bullet to the head rather than facing another day in that white, howling madness.

The thought of Gansukh alone in the Russian winter, frozen in place by a gust of December wind made him smile; it lasted only for a second. He knew he did not have the patience for it, both for the subtlety required as well as for enduring the suffering of his enemy. He slashed at the air with his saber and grinned as he heard the whistling of the air around it. It was almost perfect. If his strike was true, it would kill Gansukh outright. Baraat imagined the edge biting into his collarbone, digging into the muscle and then  twisted his wrist, thinking of the red and white mess that parted and stirred. Retracting his blade from the imaginary wound, it came out bloodied in his mind, but was clean with a flick of his wrist. The made-up Gansukh died a choking, undignified death and Baraat brought his sabre down in a wide, sweeping arc, the myangan-lord’s head falling into the Volga with a splash.

This would be a good kill, Baraat knew. Clean and quick. Gulping down half his canteen of liquid courage, Baraat sheathed his saber and waited.

***

Gansukh Kiryat wished he could be anywhere else but where he was now. The Khan’s gaze had swept across the room for the first time, as the screen showed the magnified display of the Russian map, the areas broken down into territories, each marked with the corresponding numbers of each myangan that was responsible for its sacking. The 35th myangan,  his own, was among the twenty chosen to lead the campaign against Moscow. Forty thousand men, just to take one city. If it hadn’t been the Khan suggesting that, Gansukh would have laughed out loud at this. Russia was bigger than China and China had taken the strength of the entire Horde at the time (about half the manpower it now possessed) just to take over and maintain control over the vast expanse and keep its people in check and its factories working. It had taken them nearly six years, before they had turned China into a truly subjugated province of the Empire but now the Khan wanted Russia to be conquered before winter, so the Horde could immediately move in to join the forces already heading for the Middle East and Europe.

Gansukh felt some small relief in the fact that he was not alone in this. The tumen-lords seemed just as uneasy. But even these men, the sworn brothers of the Khan, his oldest and most trusted advisors, daren’t voice their concern at this. They simply kept their mouths shut and nodded at the appropriate times, occasionally making some small remark that in no way contradicted the Khan’s will.

“Envoys have been sent to make contact with Moscow and the other major cities of Russia that remain. The message has been the same that Subutai, the general of my honored ancestor Temujin, sent to the Czar of Russia: ‘Surrender your lands, your holdings, your wealth and we swear on the sacred Tngri and on our fallen comrades that you will be spared the slaughter’” the Batu-Khan said. “The message also contained a frequency that would allow for the leaders of those cities to contact us, to inform us that they agree to our demands. Luhansk and Voronezy have wisely agreed to those demands, which is why only a small force will be sent there, half a myangan’s worth, to ensure that the peace is maintained and that the Russians will not attempt to trick us. Moscow, Kiev and Tolyati have denied us our right. In fact, Tolyati sent us back the head of our messenger, delivered to his escorts by hand. For this, we must burn Tolyati to the ground and erase it from our maps. Two myangans’ worth of men will be sent there to ensure that this is so.

“St. Petersburg has been verified to be silent and in fact abandoned, with very few groups of survivors scattered across the ruins. A mayngan’s worth of men will be sent there, along with the 8th myangan, to create a base of operations to allow us easier access into the northern countries, at least what remains of them. But Moscow is our key target” The Khan said, his finger tapping on the screen, zooming in on the city. Our envoys have not returned from that place and we have received no response. It is therefore, the city where we must focus the brunt of our efforts to ensure that we take it and maintain our hold over it. We will sack what Hitler and Napoleon themselves failed to conquer, what Subutai and his contemporaries failed to maintain hold over. It is there where we will wait out the winter, before we move into Europe.”

The Khan paused for a second, his eyes scanning the faces of his officers. He held his gaze on Gansukh, who did his best to meet the Khan’s stare. If perhaps Gansukh had been a braver man, he would have told the Khan: this is madness! You want us to trek across Russia and send forty thousand men to take a single city just because some bastard who’s been dead since forever burned it once? You think this will be all it takes to take over Russia? That if we maybe find a madman who thinks he’s a Czar and have him kiss your ass that that will be all there is to it? You are sacrificing a years’ worth of mobility and you withdraw forces from all over the Empire just for this? Have you lost your damn mind?

And then the Khan would have said: Your points are all perfectly valid. I shall miss your intellect after I have drowned you in the Volga with my bare hands and then fed you to the dogs, Gansukh Kiryat and that would have been the end of that.

Gansukh turned his gaze away from the Khan, just as he turned to another man who was also fidgeting and chanced a glance at the boy: Tuzniq, wasn’t that his name? barely fourteen summers old and already a successor to the Khan. With hands that had never held a sword, with a face fit for a grease-monkey and he was to be the one to take over the Empire. Not one of the tumen-lords, not a fierce warrior, but a child. If he had not been so terrified for his life, perhaps Gansukh would have questioned the reasoning behind the Khan’s actions. But then again, this was not his place. His place was to lead his men and to hope that Moscow would not be the kind of nightmare that Saryozek had turned out to be. That perhaps the Khan had another facet of his plan already developed in that ant-farm of a brain of his. That perhaps, any moment now, the Khan would turn to his mean and offer them a miracle solution, some other approach to this that would reveal the hidden benefits of this mad scheme and would allay his fears.

Instead, the Khan said:

“You are dismissed. You may join the festivities.”

And that was all.

None of the men dared voice their concerns, as they stepped out of the Khan’s tent and made their way across Lennin Square. They made no eye contact with one another, or turn to their tumen-lords to seek some small word of advice, a small bit of comfort. Instead, they went out into the streets of Volgograd, to drink and try their best to be merry, for tomorrow they might die. Wrapped up in his thoughts, Gansukh made his way down Academichkaya, towards the river. So wrapped up was the myangan-lord in his thoughts, that the blaring of the Khan’s voice through the speakers had become little more than senseless noise in his ears. So engrossed was he in his fears, that when he reached the outskirts of the Volga and looked down into the frothing waters, he could not make out the footsteps of Baraat Buriyat, who sneaked up on him , drawing his saber from its sheath in one motion.

By the time Gansukh kiryat had realized something was off, he was looking down at the curved tip of Baraat’s sword, sticking out of his shoulder. 

***

“Today, the Mongols begin the conquest or Russia. Today, we stand at the forefront of absolute domination!” the Batu-Khan exclaimed triumphantly from the speakers, his voice shaking the pillars of heaven.

Baraat had missed. He had had the perfect opportunity to end this in one blow, to drive the saber through Gansukh’s heart all the way to the hilt, to twist it in for good measure and then kick him into the Volga and he had just lost it. He blamed his shaking hands, his blurred vision, the fog in his brain. He blamed the vodka and the noise and the glaring of the spotlights in the distance , that made him miss the myangan-lord’s heart but a dozen centimeters and instead run through his shoulder blades. Baraat tried to twist the blade, to make the wound wider by ripping apart skin and muscle, perhaps letting the shock and the bleeding finish the job for him.

But the sword had jammed against the bone and wouldn’t turn, no matter how hard he twisted. His palms, slippery with sweat, lost their grip on the saber just as Ganuskh turned, roaring with rage, the wound on his shoulder staining his jacket a curious shade of brown.

“Rrraaagh!” The myangan-lord roared, as he turned to Braat and struck him with the back of his palm, getting him square in the jaw. Baraat felt the world around him recede to a uniform blackness for a moment, before he was slammed back to reality the second Gansukh’s hands wrapped around his throat and squeezed.

“On this day, we stand at the threshold of realizing the vision that was denied of the Great Temujin himself! Tonight, the Mongols will overshadow the feats of Hitler, the conquests of Napoleon. Tonight will be the night when our Empire steps out of the recesses of history and into the blinding presence of today!” the Batu-Khan spoke and a hundred thousand Mongols beat the hoods of their mounts in unison.

Baraat felt Gansukh’s thumbs as they pinched his windpipe shut. Panicking, as the world blossomed into blue-white lotus flowers, he struck at the hands that held him with his fists, tried to pry the fingers from his neck feebly, flailing madly. He fell to his knees, his nails digging into Gansukh’s wrists, drawing blood, his sole point of focus Gansukh’s eyes that radiated pure, unbridled haters, his lips drawn back revealing a snarling mouth, all teeth and foaming spittle. Focusing on them, Baraat pulled his hand back and crashed his fist against them, feeling the familiar sensation of teeth buckling under his knuckles. Gansukh broke the grip for an instant, just enough for Baraat to kick the myangan-lord square in the chest.

Baraat crawled back a ways, patting himself down, looking for anything that he could use as a weapon. Checking his combat-kinfe’s empty sheath, he remembered how he had left it back in the RV, dropped as he was heaving out his guts. Checking for his gun, he remembered how he’d left it behind, for fear of being noticed or heard. Judging by the cacophony that was drowning out even his own thoughts, Baraat realized that this had been a grave miscalculation.

“Tonight, we are no longer the Mongols! From tomorrow onward, we are no longer merely the Horde, an object of fear, a tale to scare uppity warlords into submission, a rumor carried along through HAM radios and random satellite transmissions!”

Gansukh produced a gun from the folds of his overcoat and shot at Baraat, the bullet grazing his ear, taking a part of his lobe with it. The terror and shock overcame Baraat, churning inside him and turning into pure rage, that made him roll down on the ground, just as the myangan-lord shot again and again at him, each shot missing by a fraction of a centimeter. Reaching him, Baraat grabbed at the myangan-lord’s wrist and twisted it, struggling to wrest the gun from his hands, the tip of his own saber grazing his shoulder, ripping through the jacket and into the flesh, drawing blood. Baraat screamed and struck at Gansukh’s ruined face again and again, his fist crashing into his eye, but the myangan-lord was drunk on andrenaline, near-impervious to pain. Gansukh brought his forehead down on Baraat’s nose, cracking it in one blow. The young wolf grasped at it, releasing his hold on Gansukh’s wrist for only one moment, long enough for Gansukh to strike him with his pistol, knocking three teeth loose in a single blow.

Baraat spat teeth and blood at Gansukh’s face, just as the myangan-lord fell on top of him, the tip of Baraat’s saber stopping just above his eye. Baraat screamed just as Gansukh roared, pushing desperately against the myangan-lord’s body, the tip inching closer to his eye.

“When dawn breaks, we shall be Ikh Mongol Uls, the Great Mongol Nation and soon, all shall be as we are! One nation, one language, one heart, held together with steel and blood!” the Khan roared, just as Baraat grasped Gansukh’s pistol, wresting it free from his hands. The myangan-lord didn not seem to notice, pushing himself down to pierce Baraat’s eye, oblivious to the barrel that was pressed against his side, struggling even as Baraat pulled the trigger again and again, the sound of the gun’s discharge thundering in his eras, drowning out even the collective roar of the Horde, the blood spraying him, the exit wounds on Gansukh’s body spewing gunpowder-black smoke into the cold night air. He pulled the trigger until the magazine was well and spent, until his entire world was a series of click-click-clicks in quick succession.

Gansukh pushed once against Baraat’s hand, leaning his entire weight down on him, backed by the very last pounce of strength in his body. Baraat screamed as he turned his head, bracing for the jab of twenty centimeters of steel into his skull. Two seconds later, the pounding fo his heart and the burning sensation at the back of his head assured him that he was alive and that the saber had only grazed him. Gansukh was dead weight, pinning him down, all life fled. It took Baraat a good two minutes of spewing the contents of his stomach on the pavement before he mustered the strength to drag Gansukh’s lifeless body to the edge of the street, dislodge the saber from his body and then kick him into the Volga.

Gansukh sank into the frothing waters the very next instant. There was a hint of overcooked pork and burning plastic in the noxious fumes that faded away into the overpowering stench, but clung to Baraat’s skin until his dying day.

***

Heng had slept fitfully by Shaba’s side. It hadn’t been the noise outside that had kept her up. Five years’ worth of being a field medic for the Horde had taught her to sleep even through the constant pleading and the screams of the dying. It was the tiny little sound of the beating of her baby’s heart just beside her own, the uncertainty of her sex as she floated in that cloud of uncertainty in those long, harrowing months before birth. It had been Daree’s words that had shaken her to her core:

If it is a girl, I will smother her when she sleeps.

She was tracing her belly with the tips of her fingers, seeking perhaps to feel the child’s foot as it printed itself against her belly, seeking to divine its sex, to know whether he would be a boy, doomed to serve and die on the road, to beat his fist against the hood of his car and live and die his life either embedded in a car seat of wading through the mounds of the dead that would make and break him. Or if she were to be a girl, to suffer in the hands of men like the one her son would have been, to be grasped by her hair, thrown on the ground, beaten and abused and bred until she was little more than a barren gray ghost with no voice of her own.

But what if there was another way? Heng pondered, her brain restoring itself back to full function at the thought. What if…

“Shaba? Are you awake?” Heng whispered just above the hubbub outside.

“I am now.” she groaned.

“What happens if…” Heng struggled to find the right words “…if your husband dies?”

“My husband did die. The man who put this baby in my belly made him kneel and put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger before he could even beg.”

“I meant…the Mongol. The officer who did this. What happens if he dies?”

“Then you become someone else’s problem. You are usually handed over to his successor, like Nirmayi. She’s gone through three myangan-lords, her.” Shaba said with a grin “They say she’s got a stinger in her cunt, like a wasp does.”

“Yes, but what happens if no other man will take you? If you won’t have a man?”

Shaba turned and looked at Heng, puzzled “You mean if you are barren? I guess they move you to the harems, then. Give you a nice, cozy bunk in the RV where they keep the cowards. But that’s not an option for you now, is it?”

“What if you want to be a warrior?”

“Then you are an Ogtbish that thinks too much of herself. They don’t take too kindly to those.”

“Has anyone ever tried it?”

“No, because none of us has been suicidal yet.”

“What about the Mongols’ wives? The one in the 8th, or the Ogtbish in the 33rd myangan?”

“The Mongols teach their women to drive the mounts and to shoot their rifles but they would rather die before they rode with them into battle and the 33rd, they’re traitors, all of them. They gave up their countries and their people to the Mongols, why would you throw your lot with them?”

“Because I believe that I know a way out of this.”

“What this?” Shaba said, raising her voice “You think this is worse than a life on the road, than to serve the Khan in battle after we’ve raised the little bastards his pigs put into us?”

“It lets us die on our own terms. That’s more than most of the people the Mongols trample over get.”

“They’re going to kill you just for saying that, you stupid cow. They are going to cut off my ears just because you told me.”

“There is a better way to live, Shaba. It’s better for you and it’s better for your child and-”

“This is not my child!” Shaba screamed “It’s a tumor that’s growing in me and it’s going to feed off me when it’s out of my body and it will speak and will walk and kill like a Mongol!” 

Heng looked around as the women stirred. Shaba was almost in tears. “I want to tear it out of me, I want to cut it out, but I can’t…what if it’s a girl?”Shaba managed “What if it is a girl and I can raise her and run away with her and take her back home? I can get away from here, if only I-”

“If only you just grin and bear it.” Heng said and Shaba fell silent. “That’s what my mother did. That’s what Dareem is going to do, that’s what Nirmayi did. And now look at us: we’re brood mares for the Horde, for the Ikh Mongol Uls.” Heng reached out to Shaba, took her hand in hers, squeezed it. “But we’re more than that. We’re their mothers and we’re fighters. We can do this, Shaba; I can do this, I know this.”

“No, you can’t. You’re just going to get us all killed.” Shaba said, slapping Heng’s hand away. And heng knew right then, that she could not move the world, not from here in her bed in a tent full of women too scared to even think straight. She would need something more to do this. She would need steel and courage that would make the lever that would move the world. And of those she had more than enough.

Now all she needed was for the world to turn just into the right place and she could change it. Just one tiny little thing…

***

“What do you mean, he’s dead?” Tuzniq said, as he looked at the blood-spattered, shuddering, madly-grinning Baraat. “You took me away from the Khan’s feast to tell me that-”

“I killed him” Baraat said, his teeth chattering. “I killed Gansukh Kiryat. Now make me myangan-lord.”

“You are insane. You…” Tuzniq struggled to speak, to find the words to address the mad-eyed killer in front of him. “I only said I could make you officer in Kiryat’s stead after we had conquered Moscow! You think I could just change the Khan’s mind in a day? That I can just flip a dial and he’ll name you myangan-lord?”

“No more promises. No more games. I wasn’t going to ride to Moscow at Kiryat’s side and I wasn’t going to wait that long, you knew that.”

“This is not how this works! This is not the way things are done in the Horde!”

“They are now. You will make me myangan-lord, or I will go to the Khan and tell me what you told me. What you really think of his plans and about him? I’m sure he’ll be glad to know that his own successor thinks him a warmongering old fool.”

“You cannot threaten me, you idiot. Not here, not when the Khan is by my side!” Tuzniq snarled “I will have you flayed for this! I will have rats tear through your belly!”

“Plenty of time for me to scream out all I have to say, isn’t it? ‘You promised me a myangan, Tuzniq! I did it for you!’” Baraat mocked screams of anguish, raking his fingers over his chest “You think that will work? It will only take a few seconds. Then I guess the Khan will call off the executioner and they’ll have you strapped right beside me. Think they’ll put us in the coward’s stockade together?”

Tuzniq’s face was red with rage, his eyes tearing up. The boy clenched his teeth, drew a deep breath and said: “I will destroy you for this. When it is all over and we are done, I will crush you. I will tear your woman away from you in the middle of the night and I will kill your children myself, Baraat of the Buriyat.”

“You mean you will try, boy. While you’re sitting on your ass over here, in Volgograd while I win the battles for you. You think you’ll find a single man here who’d raise a hand on me by the time your balls have dropped?” Baraat said, leaning closer to Tuzniq, his face a hair’s breadth from his “You think a single Mongol will acknowledge you, just because you let the Khan fuck you?” Baraat spat blood from the corner of his mouth and said. “Now find the Khan and suck his cock until he’s made me myangan-lord. There’s a good boy.”

Tuzniq only nodded yes, his eyes burning holes in Baraat’s back, as the young wolf staggered back to the RV in Lenin Square. Choking back his rage, he returned to his place beside the Khan. This would take more than just his own word. This would take the vote of thousands, to turn the old man’s mind.

Thankfully, those were handy.

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