General Jebe took his tumen further west as he headed north. He revisited the towns that they had sieged the previous campaign. Naturally, they did not resist the army and considered themselves part of the Mongol Empire.
General Subutai led his tumen north along the shores of the Capian. The Messenger, still a young man, accompanied all of the diplomatic missions. Thus, when an envoy met with Atabeg Uzbeg to assure their safe passage, The Messenger accompanied them. Governor Uzbeg assured the group that his country's allegiance would be forever with the Mongols.
This group's route took them to the Caucus mountains. They followed the mountains and occasionally explored passes through the mountains. Also, there was a great river along the mountains; thus, they followed the river which provided them with water.
At first, when The Messenger and an envoy would enter a town, they were greeted kindly. The territories obeyed the agreement that Atabeg Uzbeg had made. However, the tumen eventually exited the realm of Atabeg, and negotiations had to begin in earnest.
In one town, a group of citizens attacked the envoy. However, they were not armed with much in the way of weaponry. They had mostly rough hewn branches to be used as clubs. The Messenger ordered the other guards to stay with the envoy and protect them. Alone, he met the mob.
The townspeople were poorly trained in the use of weapons. Further, they did not coordinate their attacks. The Messenger's first move was to draw the mob out. Thus, he dismounted, challenged them, and then ran. The citizens ignored the rest of the envoy and pursued him.
There was a large rock near the outskirts of the city. He led them to there, and then turned. Several impaled themselves upon his outstretched pike. With his back to the rock, he methodically began killing the mob. When a majority laid in a pile in front of him, others began running away. He took care of these with his bow. He piled all the bodies in front of the rock, and rejoined the envoy.
This town offered no further resistance to the Mongols. However, it was clear that they could not be trusted. Thus, every able-bodied man was conscripted into the Mongol army. Some of their women and children were taken along. The old and enfeebled were left behind.
It was clear that they had entered the Kingdom of Lasha Giorgi or George IV of Georgia. Most cities they would encounter on this particular journey would likely be resistant to the Mongol forces.
In fact, some of the towns resisted in this regard and met the same fate. Others welcomed the Mongols, and were mostly spared. However, they met more and more resistance as they approached Tbilisi, which was heavily fortified. Further, King George had begun preparing for the eventual arrival of the Mongols. Hence, they had a large contingent of their army.
General Jebe's tumen had been exploring Armenia, and the two groups met in Georgia. Thus, the full contingent of the Mongols would meet King George's army.
With their conscripted footsoldiers in front, and the mounted Mongols in the rear, the two groups met in the battle of Khunan on the Kotman River . Just as in the great hunts, the mounted Mongols attempted to work their way around the standing army and not let anything escape.
The Messenger, while still very young, took control of a group of conscripted soldiers. He also recruited a small group of Mongols to join with him. They pressed hard. In intense fighting, and multiple arrow forays, they pressed the Georgian lines hard. They pushed within sight of the King's contingent.
The Mongols launched a massive arrow assault upon the royal guards, and the lines broke. The Georgian army engaged in full retreat to Tbilisi. The Mongols pursued and killed many of the soldiers.
For weeks, they followed the retreating army which would occasionally regroup and fight. In this way, the 2 tumens and some of their own recruits killed tens of thousands of Georgian soldiers.
Because the Mongols were on a reconnaissance mission, when the reached Tbilisi, they stopped. They had learned that King George IV was critically injured in their main battle. Thus, the kingdom would likely fall into disarray. They could easily conquer it upon their return.
In other interrogations, they heard of the fertile lands beyond Tbilisi. However, they could not conquer it all with their current forces. With a full contingent, they could explore these lands later. Perhaps they would even conquer the entirety of the Caucus mountains. For now, they would have to determine a path through the mountains to the north side of the Caspian Sea.
The entire Mongol contingent headed south and returned to Tabriz and obtained more supplies. They also hired some guides to get them through the Caucuses. Once again they headed north.
They crossed the territory of Uzbeg Atabeg without incident. Outside of that realm, they approached the town of Meraga. Quickly, the two generals assembled an envoy to negotiate with the town. The Messenger was given the honor of leading this envoy. While he was still quite young, he had earned the honor.
Upon entering the city, the envoy was attacked by 100 citizens. The Messenger sent the other emissaries back to the generals with town's response. They were not going to allow the Mongols to pass peacefully.
The remaining envoy left The Messenger and returned to generals Jebe and Subutai. Upon hearing word, the Mongols mounted and rushed to the town ready for battle. They planned on avenging the death of the great messenger.
However, when they entered the town, all they found were several piles of dead bodies. They searched in vain to find The Messenger. He was not in any of the piles of corpses. After carefully searching the town, they made their way toward the far end of the city. The piles of corpses became less frequent. When the Mongol army reached the far end of the city, they found The Messenger sitting on a large stone with the towns leaders kneeling at his feet.
He had successfully negotiated a peace with the town, and the Mongols could peacefully continue northward. The story of the one Mongol who entered a street where there were 100 individuals and proceeded to kill them all without any resistance was told throughout the region. No longer would the Mongol generals send an envoy not led by The Messenger.Posted by deg at May 25, 2008 9:38 PM