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Like the harsh wind from the north, we flew
over the steppes, my comrades and I, long ago.
I was only eighteen, but my will made the others
bow down. Our small horses could run all day
as we fought and hunted

with bow and arrow. We raided the nomad camps,
grabbed their swords, axes, goat milk and meat
from the yurts. We raped the women and girls,
and made the men watch before killing them.
We wanted to celebrate

with a good feast, so we roasted the best of their sheep,
and later we chose the horses we liked. I wasted
no arrows; if one of my men fell, too injured to ride,
I left him behind. During a raid, a bearded old man
rushed from the crowd

and thrust a sword into my chest. I dropped
to the ground with my eyes open wide,
surprised that I could die, and remembering how,
as we rode to attack, I stood on my galloping horse
and loosed all my arrows.