deepest levels of the spirit. There were footsoldiers wielding curved Ottoman swords with
jeweled hilts that caught the low sun. Flowing robes and shining armour; rag-tag bits and
pieces of khaki and tattered flak-jackets, half-naked warriors with matted hair and
warpaint. A horseman wearing a suit of chain-mail shone godlike in the low sun.
Everywhere there were weapons: silver-inlaid jezails that coughed black-powder smoke,
old Lee-Enfield three-oh-threes, AK-47s, scimitars, stone clubs, spears bound about with
tufted fur, turbans, bronze helmets, braided locks of hair, wild eyes and pounding feet.
And in the halo of the morning sunlight I could almost hear a hymn: this was more
ancient than love, more trenchant than sex. There was a lascivious delight, almost
palpable, in the air. A lust for decreation and decay, all counterpointed by the clattering
rattle of automatic rifle fire and the thump of exploding grenades."