Chapter 24. Second reign of Altynbek (1230-1236 AD)
When a message came about the attack on the State by the Tatars in the service of the Juchi’s son, Khan Batu, and joyful Djurgi ordered me to lead a 10-thousand army to capture the Kazan, I fell in deep despair. We set out in the winter, with 2 thousand horsemen and 8 thousand infantry, one-armed worse than the other. On the way another 10 thousand Kan’s and Kisan’s horsemen joined us, deciding to reave in the province of my son. By the vilest Kan-Mardanian road we almost reached the balik Lachyk-Uba when one deserter came from it. He, as I learned later, was intentionally sent by Khisam. From him, we learned that Altynbek with the Baytübaes and Bashkorts first stopped, and then destroyed 25 thousands of the Batu’s Tatars and Kypchaks.
The balik, near which broke the battle, began to be called “Bugulma”, in memory of the heroism of the bakhadirs. The Khan barely escaped, with a wound in his waist. Only Mergen was with him, for the Great Khan Ugyatay did not give him Subyatay. It was rumoured that he send the pitiful in the military craft Batu against the State because he wanted to finish the eradication of the Juchi clan, dangerous to the Menkhol’s throne, with the swords of the Bulgars. The kusyrbays returned to the Bulyar carrying spears with few heads of enemies impaled on them. The deserter also said that the Kan with all his victorious army comes from the Deber to the Djun-Kala, towards us.
Ar-Aslap, the grandson of Urman, immediately suggested to turn from the dangerous road and to plunder the Burtas, hated by both Kisanians and Kanians, promising an easy victory. My boyars supported him, and I, sending to Djurgi the news about the revolt of the army, went to the Burtas. When I came to the balik Saran, located on the border of the Mishar and Mardan, it surrendered to me without resistance, and I declared that I shall stay here waiting for the answer to my report from Djurgi. But only 1500 of my Djunian infantrymen remained with me, and all the others went to the Burtas, for they knew that nobody з in the State would help Ablas-Khin. And how great was my amazement when I, during an inspection of the vicinities, met Badri.
It turned out that Altynbek, right after routing Batu, send his army on him, and he barely leapt out from the city before the arrival of Gazan and Boyan. Quickly concluding that a bad fortune awaits my army, and that Djurgi would not forgive it to me, I decided to flee. And there was only one direction to run to, to the Menkhol. Ordering my 300 djuras to either come back or to join Badri, I went to the Sarychin with Emir. Here Ablas-Khin, loved by l the ocal residents, has remained, and I, with a hundred of his fearless djuras, went to the East.
The destiny of my soldiery, as I learned later, was more than sad. In the city it found the Arbugains of Boyan, but with a criminal light-mindedness nevertheless decided to besiege the Burtas. Meanwhile Gazan, cruising around in search of Badri, learned about the arrival of the Uruses, and attacked their camp straight off in the broad daylight. Seeing the Kan’s banners in the rear of the enemy, Arbugains rode from the city with a terrible growl, and also jumped on the frightened enemies. There was a terrible battle, for the kusyrbays and Arbugains, impregnable for the majority of the Uruses and intoxicated by the recent victory, fought with a double might, not taking any captives.
This time the Kisanian and Kanian cavalry could not flee because of the deep snow and, stick in them during a panic flight, was shot by the kusyrbays nd Mardanians overtaken with a hunting rage. Nothing can be said about the Balynian infantry, it quickly paved the road for the Bulgarian cavalry. Boyan later told to me that were killed 15 Kisanian and Kanian Beks and maybe 2 thousand boyars, not counting the others. From all my army were left alive about two hundred men with Ar-Aslap, and the remaining in the Saran Balynss were captured by Khisam. The Kisan and Kan were left without cavalry, the best part of their army.
It was not any better for Batu than for Ar-Aslap, and he thought of a suicide, expected with pleasure in the headquarter of the Great Khan . When I arrived to his encampment and declared who I am, he did not believe it, put me in a separate yurt, and summoned the old Mergen… At last came Mergen and confirmed my identity. Batu went crazy with joy and ordered to release my djuras, who were tortured in the attempt to catch me on a lie. Some djuras died of these intolerable tortures. Batu, trying to gain my pardon, offered me money for it, but I replied: “Money would not replace the djuras”. Then Batu asked: “What do you want from me?” I said: “Are you the ruler of all Tatars?” The Khan became dazed and, looking around, said: “No, I am only the viceroy of the Great Khan Ugyatay in the Kypchak”. To it, I replied: “Then I shall answer your question to Ugyatay”. We went together to the Great Khan, who already knew about me and about my answers to Batu.
Ugyatay was riding a horse when he met us at his headquarters. Batu hastened to dismount and approached the Great Khan , like a guilty juvenile. The Great Khan sharply said something to him, and Batu fell flat to the legs of his horse. I dismounted too and bowed to greet him … The Great Khan , finishing his short reception of Batu, made me a sign, and I rode after him. We rode up to a beautiful gazebo on a picturesque hill and entered it, and the djuras of the Great Khan stopped in a ring around the hill at a respectful distance from us.
With us was only a translator who knew the Kypchak and Khorasan languages, but it turned that Ugyatay spoke Kashanian not too bad, and frequently we did away without the intermediary. The Great Khan expressed to me his admiration for my answer to the Batu’s offer to take money for the lost djuras. ”You are a great Kan if you said so!”, noticed Ugyatay. “If not for you, I would immediately finish with Batu for the destruction of our 15 thousand soldiers!”
-” I am only an Emir”, I answered, recognizing in front of whom I am sitting. “And I should say that the praise from the lips of the actually Great Khan becomes even greater”.
-”Do you want to sit on the throne of your father?”, asked Ugyatay, who liked again my answer and finally became favourable to me.
-”Yes, but only when you would desire to conclude an alliance with me”, I answered.
I did not lie. In the Djun-Kala I had a dream as if I alone remained on the ashes of a ruined city, and, waking up, I understood that the Creator himself directed me to rescue my country from a destructive collision with the Menkhol. During my trip, seeing the might of the Tatars, I fortified even more in this decision.
-”Whence comes your clan?” asked Ugyatay.
-”From the Kans of the Hons”, I answered.
-”My clan also goes from the Kans of the Hons”, noted the Great Khan . “Therefore it would be unfair if you suffer any indignity in our Kaganate”. His eyes began to shine, he was becoming more and more inspired. At last, he rose and said: “Henceforth you will be an ally of the Menhol. I recognize you as the Emir of Bulgar and, besides, as the common ambassador of our states in the West”.
By this, the Great Khan equaled me with the other Chingizids, for the ambassador of the Menhol sovereign is higher than the Khans and is not subject to them. I was the only thing non-Chingizid who received the title of the ambassador and thus was accepted in the Menkholian ruling house. To tell the truth, I met a friendly reception only from Mankay and Subyatay, the others did not hide their anger with me, or recognized me only out of fear of the Great Khan.
And he, as I was told, reminded Chingiz very much, especially in the inspired moments, when he had made the most successful decisions… But such conditions were not burdensome to me, for it reminded me my usual position in the State… I was pleased with the decision of Ugyatay not because it was advantageous personally for me, but because it protected the State from the senseless destruction in the collision with the Tatars.
Arriving at the headquarters of Mergen, who started to shake on seeing me as in frnt of the Great Khan, I immediately dispatched letters to all destinations of the State. My uncle Ishtyak, after some hesitation, recognized me as the Emir of the State, and I moved over to him from the Kyzyl Yar to the Ufa. Khisam and Yaldau also recognized me and promised to not help Altynbek. The Kan sent to me his daughter, Altynchac, who in reply to my question about the reason of it, derisively declared: “My father said, that you are a woman, for you betrayed the State, and consequently charged me with the assignment to pass over to you his decree to pronounce you a renegade”. Ishtyak grinned, but I restrained myself and said: “Tell your father that only those provinces which subordinate to me, recognized by the Tatars, will be saved. The others will suffer the invasions of the Tatars, and there is not anything more I can do to help them”…
Djelaletdin remained alone with his son and Bachman and could do nothing, for Gazan refused to fight with his kins…
To prevent devastation of the populous areas, I ordered Tatars to prepare for a campaign on the Bulyar through the Bashkort. Ülay, the ambassador of the “Baba” (catholic Pope? – Translator’s Note), the Supreme Head of the Frangistan Christians arrived to me before the attack. It turned out that one of the firmans of Belebey reached the Avaria, thanks to a Sadumian merchant Kender, and the Modjarian papazes (clergy? – Translator’s Note), under an order of the “Baba”, after a raid of Subyatay, went at once to the State for confirmation of the rumours about the Christianity of the Tatars. Badri helped them to reach from the Saklanian mountains to the Bandja, which reconciled with him per the demand of the Suvar Yorty.
From there Seid Gali, who was crisscrossing the country with the purpose to achieve the unity of the State, took them to the Bulyar. Altynbek did not want to let Ülay pass to me, but, thanks to Fatima, he managed to reach Ufa. I spoke with Ülay in Almanian and in the language of my mother, Baygulian Seber, and he understood me not too badly, for he was a Modjar. And I told him that the Tatars would subordinate everything located between the State and the border of the Almania, and that it has been already decided.
And I promised him, as an ambassador, that if the Frangs would not counteract this, the Tatars would not cross the border of the Almania. And I had the seal of the Great Khan, and I sent with Ülay a letter to the Bek of the Avaria with an appeal to peacefully submit to the Menkhol. And As-Azim also talked with Ülay and called on him to help me, as to the Emir kind to the Christians… And Ishtyak was so excited by the story of Ülay about the life of the Modjars, that he began to think of settling there after the capture of the hostile Rus…
At last, losing his patience, Ugyatay decided to subordinate the Bulyar to me by force. When I saw that 80 thousand Tatars and 170 thousand Kypchaks, Türkmen and Kashans raced to Chishma, I began to cry, for I knew how this invasion would end. In fact Guük, the son of the kind Ugyatay, crisply told me that he will fight in accordance with the Tatar laws, that is to turn the resisting cities into nothing. After the fortnight fights the Tatars out of three directions could make the way only in one, the central, having lost 15 thousand fighters.
Everybody was fiercely fighting them, down to the subashes, and I only could achieve non-involvement of the Bashkortian Bulgars in it. The Sarmanians fell all to one defending the Tabyl-Katau, to where they left with my arrival in the Ufa. Mankay, impressed with their bravery, ordered to burn their corps, which was considered the highest military honor. Gazan, using steadfastness of the Baradj fortress in the lower reaches of the Chishma, retreated to the Djuketau and stopped there, waiting for his hour.
After our breakthrough, the ak-chirmyshes abandoned eight bulwarks and retreated to the Bulyar, so that Subyatai could at last pass from this side also. The capital, in which gathered not less than 200 thousand people, 25 thousand of which were armed, was surrounded. The Tatars besieged it for 45 days. When fell the Hinuba, Gazan broke through the ring of the Mergen’s Oimeks and struck on the rears of the Guük, Baydar and Ordu. They were thoroughly crushed, and the positioned nearby Batu retreated in horror from the city.
The Emir Bachman, who was the sardar of the besieged, took advantage of it. Together with Altynchach and 15 thousand fighters he broke through the formed opening and left to the Bandja, to Boyan. Here they did not get along, and Boyan left to the Burtas. Badri, expelled from the Sarychin by Buchek, the brother of Mankay, occupied the Razi-Suba…
Subyatai could barely restore the order and beat off from Gazan. The heavily wounded sardar retreated to the Djuketau, but, seeing the full exhaustion of the kursybai, retreated to the Kashan and died there. Mergen, thus inspired, raced in the suburb of the Tukhcha and hacked to death many merchants there. It infuriated everybody, and the Khans ordered Batu to chop the Tarkhan into pieces.
Batu has done it with extreme reluctance, for he valued the personally to him loyal Mergen. After that, the Tatars began to stuff with dirt and tree logs the moats and walls of the Men Bulyar. The inhabitants tried to obstruct it, firing at the enemy from sheredjirs and with iron arrows, but when these means were exhausted, the Tatars made a few ramps to the walls. And I rode to the city and tried to persuade the inhabitants to surrender, but was wounded by an arrow in the shoulder and taken to a yurt.
The besieged fought to the last, but under the pressure of the storming Tatars, ignited the Men Bulyar and retreated to the Echke-kalga. During the repositioning Gali grandson was lost, and Sauliya fell behind, trying to find him. The grandson was found alive, but the unfortunate woman who brought him up as a son was killed by the Tatar rock…
Echke-Kalga withstood for five more days. It was taken by the younger son of Chingiz the ambitiousKulkhan. But when he carelessly leapt forward near the “Baradj” mosque, Minnebay Yamat, the son of Karabash, shot him from the Suleiman minaret and killed on the spot. Fatima threw herself down from the same minaret with her son Altynchach and crushed to death together with him.