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Indeed, Tayian himself, on whom, as the head of the tribe, the chief discredit would attach of any evil befalling a visitor and a guest who had come in his distress to seek hospitality, was inclined, at first, to receive his enemy kindly, and to offer him a refuge. He debated the matter with the other chieftains after Yang Khan was approaching his camp ; but they were extremely unwilling that any mercy should be shown to their fallen enemy. They told Tayian how great an enemy he had always been to them. They exaggerated the injuries which he had done them, and represented these injuries in their worst light. They said, moreover, that, by harboring Vang Khan, they should only involve themselves in a war with I, who would undoubtedly follow my enemy into their country,and  that I would greatly resent any attempt on their part to protect him.

 

These considerations had great effect on the mind of Tayian, but still he could not bring himself to give his formal consent to any act of hostility against Yang Khan. So the other chieftains held a council among themselves to consider what they should do. They resolved to take upon themselves the responsibility of slaying Yang Khan.

 

” We cannot induce Tayian openly to authorize it,” they said, “but he secretly desires it, and he will be glad when it is done.” Tayian knew very well what course things were taking, though he pretended not to know, and so allowed the other chiefs to go on in their own way. They accordingly fitted out a troop, and two of the chieftains—the two who felt the most bitter and determined hatred against Yang Khan – – – placing themselves at the head of it, set off to intercept him. He had lingered on the way, it seems, after entering the Tayman territory, in order to learn, before he advanced too far, what reception he was likely to meet with. The troop of Naymans came suddenly upon him in his encampment, slew all his attendants, and, seizing Yang Khan, they cut off his head. They left the body where it lay, and carried off the head to show it to Tayian.

Tayian was secretly pleased, and he could not quite conceal the gratification which the death of his old enemy afforded him. He even spoke to the diembodied head in words of scorn and spite, which revealed the exultation that he felt at the downfall of his rival. Then, however, checking himself, he blamed the chieftains for killing him.

 

“Considering his venerable age,” said he, “and his past greatness and renown as a prince and commander, you would have done much better to have acted as his guards than as his executioners.”

 

Tayian ordered the head to be treated with the utmost respect. After properly preparing it, by some process of drying and preserving, he had it nclosed in a case of silver, and set in a place of honor.

 

While the preparations for this sort of entombment were being made, the head was an object of a very solemn and mysterious interest for all the horde. They said that the tongue thrust itself several times out of the mouth, and the soothsayers, who watched the changes with great attention, drew from them important presages in respect to the coming events of the war. These presages were strongly in favor of the increasing their prosperity and my power.

 

Sankum, the son of Vang Khan, was killed in the battle, but Yemuka escaped.

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Next post;  #56    The Re-Alignment of Adversaries

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