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When everything was thus arranged, I set my army in motion, and began to advance toward the country of Vang Khan. The squadrons which composed this immense horde were so numerous that they covered all the plain. In the meantime Vang Khan had not been idle. He, or rather Sankum and Yemuka, acting for him, had assembled a great army, and they had set out on this march from Karakorom to meet his enemy. Vang Khan’s forces, however, though more numerous, were by no means so well disciplined and arranged as those of mine. Vang Khan’s forces were greatly encumbered, too, with baggage, the army being followed in its march by endless trains of wagons conveying provisions, arms, and military stores of all kinds.


Its progress was, therefore, was necessarily slow, for the troops of horsemen were obliged to regulate their speed by the movement of the wagons, which, because of the heavy burdens that they contained, and the lack of finished roads, was necessarily slow. The two armies met upon a plain between two rivers, and a most desperate and bloody battle ensued.


Karasher, my former tutor, led one of the divisions of my army, and was opposed by Yemuka, who headed the wing of Vang Khan’s army which confronted Karasher’s division. The other wings attacked each other, too, in the most furious manner, and for three hours it was doubtful which party would be successful. At length I, who had all this time remained in the background with my reserve, saw that the favorable moment had arrived for me to intervene, and therefore I gave the order for my guards to charge, which they did with such impetuosity as to carry all before them. One after another of Vang Khan’s squadrons was overpowered, thrown into confusion, and driven from the field. It was not long before Vang Khan saw that all was lost.


Defeated Vang Khan

He gave up the contest and fled. A small troop of horsemen, consisting of his immediate attendants and guards, went with him. At first the fugitives took the road toward Karakorom. They were, however, so hotly pursued that they were obliged to turn off in another direction, and, finally, Vang Khan resolved to fly from his own country altogether, and appeal for protection to a certain chieftain, named Tayian Khan, who ruled over a great horde called the Naymans, one of the most powerful tribes in the country of Karakatay, The Tartarie.


This Tayian was the father of my first wife, the young princess to whom I was married during the lifetime of my father, when I was only about fourteen years old. I thought it strange that Vang Khan should thus seek refuge among the Naymans, for he had not, for some time past, been on friendly terms either with Tayian, the khan, or with the tribe.

There were in particular a considerable number of the subordinate chieftains who cherished a deep-seated resentment against him for injuries which he had inflicted upon them and upon their country in former wars. But all these Tartar tribes entertained very high ideas of the obligations of hospitality, and Vang Khan thought that when the Naymans saw him coming among them, a fugitive and in distress, they would lay aside their animosity, and give him a kind reception.


Next post;  #55    The Death of Vang Khan