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The Death Of Yemuka


Adventures Of Prince Kushluk





1203-1208

Kushluk's escape.--Tukta Bey.--Kashin.--Temujin pursues Tukta Bey
and Kushluk.--Retreat to Boyrak's country.----The various
tribes submit.--Fall and destruction of Kashin.--Proclamation.--Temujin
returns to Karakorom.--Boyrak's precautions.--Great battle.--Boyrak is
taken and slain.--Flight of Kushluk and Tukta Bey.--Ardish.--River
Irtish.--Tukta Bey's adherents.--Genghis Khan pursues them in
winter.--Difficulties of the country.--Death of Tukta Bey.--Kushluk
escapes again.--Turkestan.--He is received by Gurkhan.--Presentation
of the shongar.--Urus Inal.


Prince Kushluk, as the reader will perhaps recollect, was the son of
Tayian, the khan of the Naymans, who organized the grand league of
khans against Temujin at the instigation of Yemuka, as related in a
preceding chapter. He was the young prince who was opposed to Jughi,
the son of Temujin, in the great final battle. The reader will
recollect that in that battle Tayian himself was slain, as was also
Yemuka, but the young prince succeeded in making his escape.

He was accompanied in his flight by a certain general or chieftain
named Tukta Bey. This Tukta Bey was the khan of a powerful tribe. The
name of the town or village which he considered his capital was
Kashin. It was situated toward the southwest, not far from the borders
of China. Tukta Bey, taking Kushluk with him, retreated to this place,
and there began to make preparations to collect a new army to act
against Temujin. I say Temujin, for these circumstances took place
immediately after the battle, and before Temujin had received his new
title of Genghis Khan.

Temujin, having learned that Tukta Bey and the young prince had gone
to Kashin, determined at once to follow them there. As soon as Tukta
Bey heard that he was coming, he began to strengthen the
fortifications of his town and to increase the garrison. He also laid
in supplies of food and military stores of all kinds. While he was
making these preparations, he received the news that Temujin was
advancing into his country at the head of an immense force. The force
was so large that he was convinced that his town could not long stand
out against it. He was greatly perplexed to know what to do.

Now it happened that there was a brother of Tayian Khan's, named
Boyrak, the chief of a powerful horde that occupied a district of
country not very far distant from Tukta Bey's dominions. Tukta Bey
thought that this Boyrak would be easily induced to aid him in the
war, as it was a war waged against the mortal enemy of his brother. He
determined to leave his capital to be defended by the garrison which
he had placed in it, and to proceed himself to Boyrak's country to
obtain re-enforcements. He first sent off the Prince Kushluk, so that
he might be as soon as possible in a place of safety. Then, after
completing the necessary arrangements and dispositions for the defense
of his town, in case it should be attacked during his absence, he took
his oldest son, for whose safety he was also greatly concerned, and
set out at the head of a small troop of horsemen to go to Boyrak.

Accordingly, when Temujin, at the head of his forces, arrived at the
town of Kashin, he found that the fugitives whom he was pursuing were
no longer there. However, he determined to take the town. He
accordingly at once invested it, and commenced the siege. The garrison
made a very determined resistance. But the forces under Temujin's
command were too strong for them. The town was soon taken. Temujin
ordered his soldiers to slay without mercy all who were found in arms
against him within the walls, and the walls themselves, and all the
other defenses of the place, he caused to be leveled with the ground.

He then issued his proclamation, offering peace and pardon to all the
rest of the tribe on condition that they would take the oath of
allegiance to him. This they readily agreed to do. There were a great
many subordinate khans, both of this tribe and of some others that
were near, who thus yielded to Temujin, and promised to obey him.

All this took place, as has already been said, immediately after the
great battle with Tayian, and before Temujin had been enthroned as
emperor, or had received his new title of Genghis Khan. Indeed,
Temujin, while making this expedition to Kashin in pursuit of Kushluk
and Tukta Bey, had been somewhat uneasy at the loss of time which the
campaign occasioned him, as he was anxious to go as soon as possible
to Karakorom, in order to take the necessary measures there for
arranging and consolidating his government. He accordingly now
determined not to pursue the fugitives any farther, but to proceed at
once to Karakorom, and postpone all farther operations against Kushluk
and Tukta until the next season. So he went to Karakorom, and there,
during the course of the winter, formed the constitution of his new
empire, and made arrangements for convening a grand assembly of the
khans the next spring, as related in the last chapter.

In the mean time, Tukta Bey and the Prince Kushluk were very kindly
received by Boyrak, Tayian's brother. For a time they all had reason
to expect that Temujin, after having taken and destroyed Kashin, would
continue his pursuit of the prince, and Boyrak began accordingly to
make preparations for defense. But when, at length, they learned that
Temujin had given up the pursuit, and had returned to Karakorom, their
apprehensions were, for the moment, relieved. They were, however, well
aware that the danger was only postponed; and Boyrak, being determined
to defend the cause of his nephew, and to avenge, if possible, his
brother's death, occupied himself diligently with increasing his army,
strengthening his fortifications, and providing himself with all
possible means of defense against the attack which he expected would
be made upon him in the coming season.

Boyrak's expectations of an attack were fully realized. Temujin, after
having settled the affairs of his government, and having now become
Genghis Khan, took the first opportunity in the following season to
fit out an expedition against Tukta Bey and Boyrak. He marched into
Boyrak's dominions at the head of a strong force. Boyrak came forth to
meet him. A great battle was fought. Boyrak was entirely defeated.
When he found that the battle was lost he attempted to fly. He was,
however, pursued and taken, and was then brought back to the camp of
Genghis Khan, where he was put to death. The conqueror undoubtedly
justified this act of cruelty toward his helpless prisoner on the plea
that, like Yemuka, he was not an open and honorable foe, but a rebel
and traitor, and, consequently, that the act of putting him to death
was the execution of a criminal, and not the murder of a prisoner.

But, although Boyrak himself was thus taken and slain, Kushluk and
Tukta Bey succeeded in making their escape. They fled to the northward
and westward, scarcely knowing, it would seem, where they were to go.
They at last found a place of refuge on the banks of the River Irtish.
This river rises not far from the centre of the Asiatic continent, and
flows northward into the Northern Ocean. The country through which it
flows lay to the northwestward of Genghis Khan's dominions, and beyond
the confines of it. Through this country Prince Kushluk and Tukta Bey
wandered on, accompanied by the small troop of followers that still
adhered to them, until they reached a certain fortress called Ardish,
where they determined to make a stand.

They were among friends here, for Ardish, it seems, was on the
confines of territory that belonged to Tukta Bey. The people of the
neighborhood immediately flocked to Tukta's standard, and thus the
fugitive khan soon found himself at the head of a considerable force.
This force was farther increased by the coming in of broken bands that
had made their escape from the battle at which Boyrak had been slain
at the same time with Tukta Bey, but had become separated from him in
their flight.

It would seem that, at first, Genghis Khan did not know what was
become of the fugitives. At any rate, it was not until the next year
that he attempted to pursue them. Then, hearing where they were and
what they were doing, he prepared an expedition to penetrate into the
country of the Irtish and attack them. It was in the dead of winter
when he arrived in the country. He had hurried on at that season of
the year in order to prevent Tukta Bey from having time to finish his
fortifications. Tukta Bey and those who were with him were amazed when
they heard that their enemy was coming at that season of the year. The
defenses which they were preparing for their fortress were not fully
completed, but they were at once convinced that they could not hold
their ground against the body of troops that Genghis Khan was bringing
against them in the open field, and so they all took shelter in and
near the fortress, and awaited their enemy there.

The winters in that latitude are very cold, and the country through
which Genghis Khan had to march was full of difficulty. The branches
of the river which he had to cross were obstructed with ice, and the
roads were in many places rendered almost impassable by snow. The
emperor did not even know the way to the fortress where Tukta Bey and
his followers were concealed, and it would have been almost impossible
for him to find it had it not been for certain tribes, through whose
territories he passed on the way, who furnished him with guides. These
tribes, perceiving how overwhelming was the force which Genghis Khan
commanded, knew that it would be useless for them to resist him. So
they yielded submission to him at once, and detached parties of
horsemen to go with him down the river to show him the way.

Under the conduct of these guides Genghis Khan passed on. In due time
he arrived at the fortress of Ardish, and immediately forced Tukta Bey
and his allies to come to an engagement. Tukta's army was very soon
defeated and put to flight. Tukta himself, and many other khans and
chieftains who had joined him, were killed; but the Prince Kushluk was
once more fortunate enough to make his escape.

He fled with a small troop of followers, all mounted on fleet horses,
and after various wanderings, in the course of which he and they who
were with him endured a great deal of privation and suffering, the
unhappy fugitive at last reached the dominions of a powerful prince
named Gurkhan, who reigned over a country which is situated in the
western part of Asia, toward the Caspian Sea, and is named Turkestan.
This is the country from which the people called the Turks, who
afterward spread themselves so widely over the western part of Asia
and the eastern part of Europe, originally sprung.

Gurkhan received Kushluk and his party in a very friendly manner, and
Genghis Khan did not follow them. Whether he thought that the distance
was too great, or that the power of Gurkhan was too formidable to make
it prudent for him to advance into his dominions without a stronger
force, does not appear. At any rate, for the time being he gave up the
pursuit, and after fully securing the fruits of the victory which he
had gained at Ardish, and receiving the submission of all the tribes
and khans that inhabited that region of country, he set out on his
return home.

It is related that one of the khans who gave in his submission to
Genghis Khan at this time made him a present of a certain bird called
a shongar, according to a custom often observed among the people of
that region. The shongar was a very large and fierce bird of prey,
which, however, could be trained like the falcons which were so much
prized in the Middle Ages by the princes and nobles of Europe. It
seems it was customary for an inferior khan to present one of these
birds to his superior on great occasions, as an emblem and token of
his submission to his superior's authority. The bird in such a case
was very richly decorated with gold and precious stones, so that the
present was sometimes of a very costly and magnificent character.

Genghis Khan received such a present as this from a chieftain named
Urus Inal, who was among those that yielded to his sway in the country
of the Irtish, after the battle at which Tukta Bey was defeated and
killed. The bird was presented to Genghis Khan by Urus with great
ceremony, as an act of submission and homage.

What, in the end, was the fate of Prince Kushluk, will appear in the
next chapter.





Next: Idikut

Previous: Dominions Of Genghis Khan



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