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NO QUICK END TO THE WAR: FRUSTRATION FOR THE REBELS, AND ANARCHY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, SEPTEMBER Ė NOVEMBER 828

By September, Pareon was becoming desperate to reach Cennatlantis and overthrow Brindor, whose troops were inflicting more and more hardship on those parts of the Federation which they still occupied. In the areas where his forces had been forced to retreat by Pareonís, for example in the west, between the rivers Bore and Rollepp, they had deliberately devastated the countryside and property of the inhabitants, supposedly to impede the onward progress of the rebels. They were also all too ready to take revenge on those who they suspected or knew supported Pareon, or appeared lukewarm towards Brindor himself. They routinely maltreated or executed any important supporters of Pareon, who were unfortunate enough to be captured, and dragged away into more central areas many Helvrans or Kelts as they moved into or away from those regions. Everywhere that the war passed through produced anarchy, spurred on by Brindorís army, and also set up by the populace itself, which, in the prevailing moral degradation of the period, turned to robbery, riots and murder amongst its own members.

Pareon planned now to try to shorten the war by striking directly at Brindorís centre of power, Cennnatlantis, by attacking the city from NE Helvrieh, across the Gonril. He aimed to send one prong directly at Cennatlantis, while one flanking force moved via Giezat to hold the Cresslepp against Brindorís forces to the south in Helvrieh, and south-east in Meistayieh; another force would cross the Cresslepp above its confluence with the Gonril, and descend on to the rear of the enemy forces defending Helvris behind the lower Cresslepp. He had built up a force of tanks to spearhead the attack. (It should be noted that Brindor had kept control of most tanks in the central areas of the Empire Ė deliberately, as he had never trusted the Frontier Armies to have them. But he, like Pareon, did not know how to use them to best advantage, and when they were used, they were distributed in small groups across wide fronts, merely supporting the infantry. Tanks were, in any case, were still rather small and under-armed in this period, and were fairly ineffective).

The Battle of the River Gonril, in early September, began successfully for Pareon, as Helvris was soon surrounded, and its defenders forced to retreat eastwards. Fortunately for the city, there was not enough time for the vicious defenders to cause much damage to Helvris before they retired, although a few Helvran monuments and buildings were damaged or destroyed. To the north, Pareonís forces crossed the Gonril, but could make little further progress from their bridgehead. Brindor, recognising the danger, quickly rushed a reserve force from Chalcrieh to defend Cennatlantis. However, pressure on Thildo at Vulcanipand was hereby relieved: the enemy armies turned back westwards to protect the borders of Meistayieh, and Thildoís armies pursued them. Rebel forces were able to take over the whole of Meistayieh, and force Brindorís forces, here in the south, back to the Cresslepp south of Cennatlantis. A subsidiary attack by Pareonís army in the west, seized the Lillerunix by moving from the Meilox mountains in north Helvrieh.

Pareon maintained his pressure on the enemy in October. Temporarily shelving the operation on the Gonril, he attacked across the Rollepp, into the Gaffeal, and threatened Brindorís armies defending the Decanda Runix. This led to the Government forces retiring generally back into north Atlantidieh, still, however, maintaining a thin but continuous front many miles. For November, Pareon planned to renew his attack on Cennatlantis, by attacking across the Gonril through Failrunn, NW of Cennatlantis in November. However, his preparations were seriously disrupted, when Brindor organised a strong counter-attack against the northern flank of the rebel bridgehead over the Gonril by attacking across the river from the north and north-west. In the Battle of Anapend, Government forces attacked from Failblo and further north, and succeeded in gaining some ground, including the town of Anapend, but the mountainous terrain made further advance eastwards impossible. Brindor continued to prepare a knockout blow directly against Cennatlantis, meanwhile carrying out further small operations around the periphery of Brindorís controlled area, which remained stubbornly unwilling to collapse. In the east, rebel armies attacked further into Gestchalcrieh and reached the Thyggis, but could not storm the Crolden Hills. In the far west, Pareonís forces tried to storm The Government forces defending Atlantis, but as Pareon was determined not to cause more damage to the city than was absolutely necessary, the attack lacked force and failed with heavy casualties. An attempt to negotiate the surrender of the defenders was brusquely rejected by the Government side, which deliberately shot the rebel negotiator in full view of both armies.

BITTER TRIUMPH: THE DEFEAT OF BRINDOR, DECEMBER 828 Ė JANUARY 829

Although by November it seemed impossible for Pareon to force the defeat of Government forces, however much he ardently desired to do so, in fact Brindorís regime was on the verge of collapsing like a pack of cards. The first sign of this came in mid-December, when, after another tentative attack on the Crolden Hills, the defenders suddenly surrendered, as soon after, did all the Government troops still led by the Governor of Gestchalcrieh. Soon after, the front across Atlantidieh also began to dissolve after some pressure from the rebels north of Tilrase. Pareon now set up a joint attack aimed at Cennatlantis, from the north-west from the Tilrase-Yalgor area, and from the south-west, his earlier disrupted attack towards Failrunn and Rundes. Now Government forces throughout Atlantidieh began throwing away their weapons, running away or surrendering. Brindorís most loyal troops were ordered to shoot all those who did not defend their positions to the death, but this only made yet more troops surrender to the enemy, who had already announced an amnesty for all ordinary fighting-men. Others took up arms against Brindor's ultra-loyalists, and added to the anarchy of the times. At the end of December, the navy at Cressix Mandengix went over to the rebels, and at the beginning of January, 829, nearly all the troops defending the Cresslepp south of Cennatlantis surrendered. They were in any case virtually surrounded, as Pareonís attack towards Rundes had taken Failrunn and surrounded Cennatlantis west of the river Dodolla. Brindor had moved himself and his last-ditch defenders, now no more than about 18000 men to Rundes. Pareonís forces were approaching him there from the south, as well as from the west of Atlantidieh, while other rebel forces were slowly making their way westwards through the anarchy and occasional resistance in Chalcrieh. On January 28th Ė 29th occurred the final Battle of Rundes: after a strong resistance, Government forces, completely outnumbered, collapsed. Brindor himself was wounded, and tried to flee. He was captured, recognised, and beaten to death there and then by Pareonís soldiers. There was little more resistance in the western provinces after this, apart from Atlantis and Cennatlantis. The latter in fact fell to rebel troops, led by Thildo, with little more ado, but many Government forces remained at large in Chalcrieh, whither some of Brindorís lieutenants had fled. The rebel armies from the east had found it difficult to advance westwards, and did not try very hard; it was some time before Pareonís armies from the west could restore complete order in the east.

By the time of the battle of Rundes, Atlantis city, had still not surrendered, and defenders were still launching attacks on the besiegers. The commander of these forces decided to storm the city, without seeking Pareonís permission, and he began this on January 30th, while Pareon was still dealing with the aftermath of the fighting at Rundes. Bitter fighting ensued, which resulted in considerable destruction to the city. 6000 of the 8000 defenders were killed, and over 7000 of the attackers killed or wounded. Of the 2000 defenders who survived, 1000 were executed or drowned at sea, and only 1000 wounded and badly beaten men were kept as prisoners. Pareon was furious when he learned of this carnage, and court-martialled his commander.

So at long last the barbarous reign of the Tyrants was over, and Pareon Gestil was the effective ruler of what remained of the once-proud Atlantean Empire. It would now be seen how successful he would be in leading Atlantis back to its former self. This would involve reconstituting the morale and self-esteem of its inhabitants, at least as much as reproducing its earlier political glory.

THE CIVIL WAR BETWEEN BRINDOR AND THE REBELS LED BY PAREON 3: SEPTEMBER 828 - JANUARY 829

To read about the first part of the Fifth Empire of Atlantis, click on Fifth Empire till 865- (1) 829 - 831

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