Chapter 34: The Rise and Fall of Abu-Taq

So the glory of Amman was dampened, for they had suffered defeat to Norvsond and Syrámä was yet to fall. So the Emperor turned his eyes to Abu-Taq, a great general who had earned his reputation in Nÿgamär and who was yet to suffer defeat, and to him was given over the task of the conquest of Syrámä and to him was given a great army of men and orcs and other monstrous creatures who would serve them and they crossed the Syramassa River and came to war for a third time with the people of Syrámä.

Abu-Taq was a great general and his men loved him and though the people of Syrámä stood against him, they were defeated and the settlements were conquered and some were burnt and others settled. The people of Syrámä retreated deep into the interior for safety, but Abu-Taq followed them and crushed them and a last battle saw the fall of Syrámä and the conquest of their nation. So the people were enslaved and their lot was hard for their new masters were wicked and had their revenge upon them and there was great rejoicing in Amman, for their pride was restored.

Yet Abu-Taq was not satisfied and he looked east. And he took his great army and led them into Keralasia and there brought war and bloodshed and the people suffered at his hands, for he was merciless, and they were defeated. And so Abu-Taq marched his men across the great plains of Arrasia and to him fell Hendbæ and Merranin and he marched into Magasoa a great hero, for he was greatly admired there and conquest not needed and his army was swelled with the ranks of the Magasoans and to Amman he brought great glory. Yet also was there concern, for he was now grown mighty powerful indeed and it seemed that the people loved him more than the Emperor, Duam II, who thought that Abu-Taq might look to return to Amman and declare himself as Emperor.

So Abu-Taq continued his war and it seemed that all Arrasia fell before him, with Caramdor, Orith, Rydok and Qamara being crushed by his armies and their people enslaved. And so Amman was now great indeed, for its empire stretched east to west near three thousand miles and it was thought that none now could stand against the might of Abu-Taq and his great army. Yet it was that in Yam did he come against the joint forces of Yam and Urial and though they did not match his own in size, they were brave and fought well and the greatness of Abu-Taq was questioned, for his army was defeated for the first time and he was forced to retreat.

In Orith did Abu-Taq regroup and again came against his foes in Yam and again he was repelled, for his enemy held the high ground and he could not move them and so retreated again and was frustrated. And news of this came to the Emperor and he asked why he was defeated, for the army of Amman was great and this should not be so and Amman were thus humiliated by his failure. And Abu-Taq was enraged and turned his army toward Amman and made great haste to stand before Duam II and have his revenge.

But Duam II was no fool and he goaded Abu-Taq in public and belittled his name and it came to Abu-Taq's ears and he urged his men to great deeds and they redoubled their efforts and marched longer and harder and came through Syrámä and into Amman itself and were exhausted. So it was that Emperor Duam II now showed himself and led his own army to face that of Abu-Taq, for he was seen now as an enemy intent on murder. And though the Emperor's army was but small beside that of Abu-Taq's, they were fresh and spirits with them were good and they were well fed, while their enemy was exhausted and hungry and many were sick from their great journey.

So did the Battle of the Two Armies of Amman take place and Abu-Taq was defeated and captured by the Emperor, who had ensnared him and knew now that none would dare challenge him. And the great army of Abu-Taq was gathered up and many were murdered or enslaved, but many also were given forgiveness and were rejoined with the army of Amman and they returned east, for Yam yet remained unbowed. So it was that Abu-Taq was long held in the dungeons of Duam II and then murdered and his body buried in a grave unknown.

And Emperor Duam II did look to set the seal on his authority and the nations that had been conquered by Abu-Taq were purged and given new leaders, who were loyal to the Emperor, and the old ones murdered and the Emperor was now strong indeed. And in the east did he lead his army against Yam and Urial himself and though it were not easily gained, he was victorious and their nations were conquered and cruelly treated by him and the east was now defeated and he ruled all the nations there.

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