"Stones and parched earth -- they call it the Tartar Steppe."
"stay up there for years and years, in this room, in this solitary bed."
"Watch out...you will let them convince you, you'll end up by staying here too."
Drogo refuses to accept this, believing himself to be "an outsider, an uncontaminated spectator," who will be leaving them forever in just "four months' time." However, at the end of the four-month period, he's decided to stay, having become used to things and having
"within him dull sluggishness born of habit, military vanity, love for the accustomed walls which were his home."
"truly worthy of him, so that he could say: Now it is over and I have done what I could."
"Everything goes by -- men, the seasons, the clouds, and there is no use clinging to the stones, no use fighting it out on some rock in midstream; the tired fingers open, the arms fall back inertly and you are still dragged into the river, the river which seems to flow so slowly yet never stops"
as his years of expectations fade away into years of emptiness, and as his life becomes no more than an existence as barren as the Tartar Steppe. And it just might be, according to Buzzati, that Drogo may have been deluding himself all along; he may just be "an ordinary mortal for whom only a mediocre fate is reserved."