I am the beginning.
As I look around me, at the countless, faceless masses of dirtiness, I make my vow. These helpless prisoners, my father’s death, this wooden collar around my neck -- they only increase my determination. This is not for me. One day, I will rule the world.
My vision is slowly crystallizing. I look down upon thousands of my men, hundreds of them on horses, all of them lined up in an orderly fashion, and I remember the years of turmoil after my escape from the dank dungeon of my enemies. These skilled horsemen and fierce warriors once directed their efforts vainly against one another. I have given them a new dream to strive for. I opened their eyes. Petty tribal disputes are meaningless. There is an entire world out there, ripe for the picking.
And thus began my reign as the “Universal Emperor.”
They fall left and right. No one has the strength, the determination, the sheer force of will that I do, and they crumble. My military machine conquered the nations surrounding ours, the neighboring nations, and we continued westward. Each nation, like its weak neighbor, fell to my mighty sword. They remained under my rule as I pushed further west. I know that I am what the world needs now.
There is no secret to my success. I ruled my army as I did the nations I conquered: through terror. I trust no one, and will make an example of my highest ranking general, should I feel that he is no longer completely loyal to me. If the people of any city are too rebellious, I will not hesitate in razing its buildings, men, women, and children all together. For those who wander into the devastated cities I’ve left in my wake, they will find the heads and bodies of my enemies left on the end of spears, high in the air for the birds to eat slowly.
I command fear in my enemies and demand respect from my subjects. They, both my enemies and my subjects, need little more to make their hearts race than to simply hear the whisper of the name given to me by an assembly of Mongol chieftains at the beginning of my reign:
I am the end.
For thirty years, I have led my armies into battle, never losing. I created an empire that is larger, more powerful than any in history. No other will be created that can compare to mine. I remained ruthless. I remained merciless. However, I could not remain immortal.
I lay here, knowing that the Khan name that began with me would be strong enough to expand my empire even more. I lay here, also knowing that none of my heirs will be as strong as I, that they may be able to ride the wave of my power but will not last on their own. I lay here, fighting what is perhaps to be my only losing battle since my early years in prison wearing rags. I lay here, fighting the only driving fate of mankind. As the memory of my power and supremacy fades, so will my empire.
Yes, I am the beginning. But alas, I am also the end.