Ilyas Yesenberlin

THE NOMADS

THE ILYAS YESENBERLIN FOUNDATION Almaty, 199

ББК 84 Каз7 — 44 Е 82 Есенберлин И! Е " Кочевники: Роман-трилогия.—Алматы: Фонд им. И. Есенберлина, 1999.—466 с. ISBN 99#$%&1%"' %"
Е '(&""$&"&1)&* &&+&$,)99 ISBN 99#$%&1%"' %" © Оформление «Фонд им. И. Есенберлина», 1999. ББК 'Каз( ) ''

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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TO «THE NOMADS» READERS
Dear friends, you are about to read the English language edition of the historical trilogy «The Nomads» written by Ilyas Esenberlin, a famous Kazakh writer $eo$le The "ast territory in the 'entral (sia, located between the two great $owers ) *ussia and 'hina, has for centuries been the arena of $olitical and military collisions The #te$$e still remembers the innumerous ca"alries of It still the great con%uerors ) (le+ander ,akedonskyi, -engiz Khan, Timur !ou are going to disco"er a whole new world of life on the #te$$e, which is tragic, but uni%ue& the world and the grand history of the Kazakh

kee$s the memory of the great e+$lorers who disco"ered our country for Euro$e ) ,arco .olo and .aolo 'ar$ini, the /lemish di$lomat and monk *ubruk, the -erman scientist .allas and many others fatherland ,y country is the of the contem$orary Kazakh $eo$le forbears) the 0unnes, the

ancient Turkis, the Ky$chaks, the 1sunis, our freedom)lo"ing ancestors who defended their land from numerous ensla"ers and created the uni%ue culture The book of Ilyas Esenberlin, a thoughtful writer freely tra"eling through centuries, will introduce you to that world I ho$e you will a$$reciate the I would sincerely work at its true "alue, the work of high emotional incandescence combining historical method, ele"ated $oetics and lo"e for $eo$le for inde$endence come true like you to imbue with the s$irit of my ancestors, their o$timism and stri"e Today the centuries)old dream of the Kazakh $eo$le has Kazakhstan is an inde$endent state where behests of the

forefathers are honored and remembered In conclusion I would like to thank «E++on», an (merican oil com$any, that made it $ossible to $ublish this remarkable book

.resident of *e$ublic of Kazakhstan

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Nursultan Nazarbae"

BOO- ONE

THE .HARMED S/ORD

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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0ART ONE .1a2ter 1

Is not death the most reliable wea on in !o"r hands# $as it not !o"r %orebearer &en'hi( )han who "nsheathed it to *an+"ish the world# ,his time-tested a'e-old wea on is be+"eathed to !o".nd it!#.. $ho o% the &en'hi(ides e*er let it steal into !o"r heart# .nd i% !o" had mer/! on them the /ommon %ol0 o% the ste e wo"ld t"rn their ba/0s on !o" disdain%"ll!. ,he! onl! li*e to die %or !o".b"l0hair was l!in' on a lar'e leo ard-s0in his elbow restin' on the «snarlin'» head o% the beast. 1e t"rned to the other side and was l"n'ed in tho"'ht a'ain... ,r"e... 2eath is rimaril! a wea on. ,he 'reat an/estor 0new better than to "se it 3"st %or %"n. It was onl! with the hel o% death that he 0e t " iron dis/i line in his host. In%ormation on that /an be %o"nd not onl! in le'ends b"t in the boo0s o% %orei'ners too. 4ne o% them, a 5"mian 67!(antian8, on/e aid a *isit to the head+"arters o% &en'hi( )han himsel% and re/orded e*er!thin' on the %amo"s dis/i linar! !asa. 9ater the :ersians translated it into their ton'"e. It read: «$ho has the insolen/e to /all himsel% )han witho"t bein' ele/ted b! a s e/ial 0"r"ltai shall be senten/ed to death. 2eath shall also be the lot o% those who will be %o"nd o"t as deliberate swindlers, who will be thri/e ban0r" t in trade, who will hel o"t a risoner a'ainst the will o% the one who im risoned him, who will not 'i*e awa! a r"nawa! sla*e to his master, who will *ol"ntaril! lea*e the ost 'i*en to him, who will be %o"nd o"t as a traitor, thie%e, "r3"rer or one ha*in' no res e/t %or the seniors... 2eath... death... death-.. .b"l0hair; li s mo*ed. <*er!thin' that he e*er read he learned b! heart. «.s /on/erns the =on'ol host. >ollowin' the hi'hest de/ree o% &en'hi( )han ten warriors shall be s"bordinate to one /har'e-hand, onbas!, and ten onbas!s to one lie"tenant, that is a (h"nbas!. 4ne m!nbas! is s" erior to ten (h"nbasies, and at the head o% ten m!nbasies is one temni0. .ll the troo s are to be /ommanded b! two or three no!ons. .ll o% them shall be s"bordinate to a /ommander-in-/hie%...» ,his 0ind o% troo %ormation was not a//idental. ,hat wa! it was easier to 0ee the eo le in %ear sin/e the! were bo"nd b! m"t"al res onsibilit! and the onl! wa! o"t %or them wo"ld be death.» «1owe*er when the troo s are %i'htin' and o"t o% ten eo le one or two, or three, or more are desertin', then all o% them are "t to death, and i% all ten are r"nnin' awa! and the remainin' one h"ndred 0ee on %i'htin', then all are "t to death and, in short, i% the! are not retreatin' to'ether, all the desertin' ones are "t to death. In the same wa! i% one or two, or more enter boldl! into battle and the other ten are not %ollowin' them, then the %ormer are "t to death too, and i% o"t o% the abo*e ten one or more are ta0en risoner and the other /omrades-in-arms do not set them %ree then the! too are "t to death...»

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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4"r %orebears ha*e le%t blood-stained tra/es on the earth and we are destined to %ollow tra/0 witho"t t"rnin' o%% the road, whi/h means we m"st not ha*e it! on an!one, be it %riend or %oe. 2id the &en'hi(ides e*er it! an!one to a/hie*e their 'oal# &en'hi( )han had %o"r sons: ?"t/hi, ?a'atai, @'hedei and ,"leh. .lread! d"rin' his li%etime he di*ided amon' them the /on+"ered lands and ea/h one 'o*erned his "l"s. ,he <m ire;s /entral art, that is =on'olia and Aorthern Bhina, belon'ed to the &reat &en'hi( )han. @'hedei;s "l"s s read towards s"nset, in/l"din' the lands north and west o% the .ltai =o"ntains the /enter o% the "l"s bein' the Bh"'"/ha0a area. ,he third art was the "l"s o% ?a'atai whi/h in/l"ded the eastern areas o% Bentral .sia as %ar as the .m"-2ar!a. ,he "l"s; /enter was the /it! o% .lmal!0. Iran, Ira+ and ,rans/a"/asia were art o% the "l"s o% ,"leh and his son )h"la'" with the /enter in ,ebri(. ,he last %i%th art o% the em ire was in ossession o% the eldest son ?"t/hi and /onstit"ted an "l"s whi/h in/l"ded all the lands «where the hoo*es o% the =on'ol horses /o"ld rea/h», %rom the )i /ha0 ste e and as %ar as the 2an"be *alle!. @ntil the death o% ?"t/hi the "l"s; /enter was the area ad3oinin' the @l!ta" =o"ntain and later the /it! o% Carai in the 9ower Dedil, or Eol'a. 1owe*er a%ter the death o% &en'hi( )han a war bro0e o"t amon' his sons %or the 'reat throne in )ara-)or"m. ,hen the entire ste e t"rned into a /emeter!. ,he interne/ine war /ontin"ed d"rin' the li%etime o% his ne hews and 'rand-ne hews witho"t a min"te;s res ite. ,he o%%s rin' o% ?"t/hi and ,"leh were in o osition to those o% @'hedei and ?a'atai. @'hedei as/ended the throne in )ara-)or"m and a%ter his death his son &"!"0 be/ame the &reat )han. 1e was s"//eeded b! )han ="n0eh, one o% ,"leh;s sons. $hen he was bein' ele/ted the &reat )han the sons o% @'hedei and ?a'atai did not /ome to ta0e art in the 'reat 0"r"ltai sin/e the! were o% the same breed with ="n0eh and 0new what was to be eF e/ted %rom him. It was onl! one !ear later that the most /red"lo"s ones /ame to /on'rat"late him. ,he! were wel/omed with the 'reatest o% honors and all o% them were sla"'htered within one da!... .b"l0hair;s mind was roamin' the /ent"ries and he /o"ld not %ind i% onl! one eFam le o% the %a/t when /red"lit! or ind"l'en/e e*er hel ed one to sta! ali*e or /r"sh the enem!... ?"t/hi;s s"n 7at" 1 and ,"leh;s sons 1"bilai and 1"la'" %o"'ht to'ether a'ainst the sons o% @'hedei and ?a'atai. Co what did the %riendshi between the des/endants o% 1"bilai and 1"la'" end " as# In the same "nendin' sla"'hter, enmit! and wars. It is im ossible to boil two shee ;s heads in one and the same ot. .nd who e*er saw two wol*es that wo"ld not be at one another;s throat be/a"se o% a lamb# .nd here the whole world has be/ome li0e that lamb. Cho"ld one blame his an/estors %or their blood-thirstiness# ,he &hen'i(ides disli0ed ea/h other and when in 1246 &"!"0 was ele/ted the &reat )han the ste e a'ain be'an to smell o% 'reat blood. .t the same time, 7at!, s" orted b! the mi'ht o% the &olden 1orde, did not show m"/h obedien/e to the &reat )han whi/h /o"ld onl! res"lt in a war. &"!"0 and 7at! were sni%%in' aro"nd one another li0e two %ier/e wol*es. 4n the third !ear o% his r"le &"!"0 )han /ame down %rom the ,arba'atai =o"ntains on to the s"b3"'ated )a(a0h ste e and mo*ed his h"'e host towards the west. ,he &olden 1orde;s troo s mo*ed to meet him. 7at! said he wanted to %ind o"t what the sit"ation was li0e in his ossessions in Car!-.r0a. ,he two 0hans resembled two enra'ed b"lls awin' the earth. .nd li0e b"lls ea/h one was waitin' %or the other one to t"rn awa! its horns... 7"t the! were not destined to 'ra le with one another. $ith bated breath in eF e/tation o% an o"t/ome, the rest o% the &en'hi(ides 3"st 'as ed. $hile on the wa! &"!"0 )han too0 s"ddenl! ill and died... .b"l0hair;s li s /"r*ed sardoni/all! as he re/alled that. It was too o%ten that &en'hi(ides died %rom s"/h a disease a%ter that and alwa!s at the most /r"/ial moment. Ao, ne*er did the des/endants o% &en'hi( )han sto at an! 0ind o% m"rder. .nd he was not 'oin' to be/ome an eF/e tion either.
! a t u " #han !aty. $in%e the e&ents in the trilo'y %o&er (ore than a )i&e*hundred*year +eriod in history with di))erent nations takin' +art in it, the na(es o) the histori%al )i'ures and so(e 'eo'ra+hi%al na(es will be s+elled di))erently. ,For instan%e, -starkhan " later -strakhan, et%....
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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7"t still times ha*e /han'ed. Aow it is not so eas! to ma0e " one;s mind and 0ill e*en not so noble a man. Co he, the le'itimate &en'hi(ide .b"l0hair, has to thin0 thri/e be%ore 0illin' someone. 1is head a/hes be/a"se o% these tho"'hts. =a!be that is be/a"se o% his old a'e and ea/h de/isi*e ste ta0es a lot o% thin0in' thin's o*er and ma0es him sta! " ni'ht a%ter ni'ht# 4r ma!be he is not as bold as he "sed to be#.. ,he leo ard-s0in seemed to .b"l0hair to be as hard as a holed ba' and he t"rned o*er to the other side... 7at! himsel% li*ed onl! ei'ht !ears a%ter the death o% &"!"0 )han. .nd the *er! neFt da! a blood! %i'ht started between the &en'hi(ides. .t the behest o% &en'hi( )han the throne o% a %ather was to be o//" ied b! his eldest son. 7at! had %o"r sons and the r"le o% the &olden 1orde went o*er to one o% them, Carta0. .ltho"'h that same Carta0 ado ted the reli'ion o% the 'iao"rs, the &en'hi(ides were not as de*o"t as to atta/h to it so 'reat an im ortan/e. 2es ite his !o"n' !ears he ro*ed to be a bra*e and ener'eti/ militar! leader. 7esides he was atroni(ed b! the &reat )han ="n0eh himsel%. 1owe*er, the third son o% ?"t/hi, )han 7er0eh, was not 'oin' to let Carta0 ha*e the throne o% the &olden 1orde... It was then that the mira/le whi/h on/e had hel ed o"t 7at! o//"rred %or the se/ond time. In %a/t )han 7er0eh ado ted Islam %rom the hands o% the /ali h himsel% re/ei*in' %rom him as a 'i%t the )oran and 1is Ca/red 1i'hness;s attire. ,he moment Carta0 le%t %or )ara-)or"m to 'et the hi'hest ermit %or the throne )han 7er0eh %asted and onl! said ra!ers, and that %or whole two da!s. 1e ra!ed %or Carta0 not to 'et to )ara-)or"m. &od heard his ra!ers and 'ot the "n%aith%"l Carta0 o"t o% )han 7er0eh;s wa!. ,he r"mo"r was &od had "nished him with a stoma/h disease... Co 7er0eh be/ame )han... Come time had assed and a'ain the &olden 1orde;s throne ret"rned to 7at!;s des/endants. 4ne o% them, 0ind-hearted and eas!-'oin' ?anibe0, was stabbed b! his own son 7erdibe0. .nd to se/"re a /lo"dless %"t"re 7erdibe0 also m"rdered all his older and !o"n'er brothers who /o"ld /laim the throne. 1owe*er, that did not re*ent the determined )han 7erdibe0 %rom es/a in' his lot. 9ess than two !ears later he himsel% was 0illed b! his embittered 0ins%ol0. It was then that the %ollowin' sa!in' was born: «1ere the nar-/amel;s ne/0 was /ho ed, and here )han 7erdibe0 %o"nd his death.» @ on 7erdibe0;s death the 7at! d!nast! abandoned the throne o% the &olden 1orde %or 'ood. 1owe*er, there were so man! des/endants o% ?"t/hi le%t- >ort! sons and se*enteen da"'hters he had, and the! be'ot n"mberless 'enerations- $as there e*er an! ea/e between them# .%ter all, )han .b"l0hair was one o% them-... ,r"e, in 1G42 the &olden 1orde;s )han @(be0 died who had b"ilt " in the Brimea a mos+"e and a madrasah whereas the territor! o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 be'an to be /alled a%ter his name the @(be0 or the 7l"e 1orde. In 1428 .b"l0hair, o% the Cheibani bran/h, that o% the %i%th son o% ?"t/hi, be/ame the )han o% the eastern art o% the 2esht-and)i /ha0 ste e. .nd ea/h da! he tho"'ht o% his &en'hi(ide relati*es who, as tho"'h %rom amb"sh, were loo0in' in the dire/tion o% the %ormer throne o% the &olden 1orde. ,wo leo ards, ?anibe0 and )erei, who as/ended %rom the sto/0 o% ,o0ai-,emir, the thirteenth son o% ?"t/hi, were /onsidered to be the most dan'ero"s ones. .s earl! as the %i%th 'eneration that 0in 'a*e )han @r"s, who bran/hed o"t %rom the &olden 1orde and %ormed the )a(a0h $hite 1orde ma0in' C!'na0 his /a ital /it!. )han @r"s meas"red swords with 9ame ,im"r himsel%. Co, his o%%s rin' were reall! serio"s ad*ersaries. .t se*enteen .b"l0hair was li%ted " on a white %elt mat to be ro/laimed )han. ,he bird o% ha iness des/ended on his head and a white /amel was sa/ri%i/ed on that o//asion. 7"t, the hi'her one /limbs the ste s o% 'lor!, the more enemies one has. .ll aro"nd there are those thirstin' 'reedil! %or his throne. Ao-one did he %ear more than he did ?an!be0 and )erei. <a/h one o% them had /o"ra'eo"s and ower-'reed! sons who, li0e wol%-/"bs, bared their teeth in his dire/tion. .nd it loo0ed li0e the most dan'ero"s o% them were the son o% ?an!be0, )as!m, and )erei;s son 7"r"nd"0. $hat 0ind o% mira/les was one s" osed to wor0 to 'et rid i% onl! o% these, neFt o% 0in#
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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)han .b"l0hair had to wei'h e*er!thin' thoro"'hl! be%ore he /o"ld start a/tin'. ,he )i /ha0s were the %oothold o% the 7l"e 1orde and the ri'ht hand o% .b"l0hair while ?an!be0 and )erei were s" orted b! the ste e tribe o% .r'!ns. .nd the latter were hand in 'lo*e with the /lans )onrad, Aaiman, )erei, @a0 and ,ara0t!. 4ne /o"ld not b"t ta0e heed o% s"/h ower... .nd there was still a dee er /ra/0 whi/h had started in the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e man! /ent"ries a'o when the old ,"r0i/ tribes li*in' on both sides o% the midstream ?ei0h"n 1 and Cei0h"nе be'an to mer'e with the lo/al nomadi/ :ersian tribes and later with the settled o "lation o% Co'diana. .t the same time the other tribes that were roamin' abo"t north o% Cei0h"n as %ar as Hhai0 and Dedil 2 had 'rad"all! 0e t awa! %rom them. ,o'ether with related tribes whi/h li*ed in Cemire/h!e 6,he 9and o% Ce*en 5i*ers8 %rom time immemorial the! had made a "nion and /alled themsel*es )a(a0hs... .nd now )han .b"l0hair had his head+"arters in the )a(a0h ste e b"t atta/hed his main attention to =a*eranna0hr G and 1orsan that were de endent on him. >rom there he too0 wi*es %or himsel% and /o"nsellors and ado ted their /"stoms and rit"als. 1e in/reased the d"ties le*ied %rom the s"b3"'ated nomadi/ tribes and s ent all the mone! to 0ee " a h"'e arm! and restore r"ined towns on the same land. 1e s ent still lon'er s ells o% time in /ities and the nati*e )i /ha0 nomads were 'rowin' still more dis/ontent. ,he! were /ontem t"o"s o% the settled wa! o% li*in' re%errin' to lead their a'e-old %ree li%e in the ste e. <*en those %ollowin' his tra/0 into the /ities had to 'i*e " their /"stoms, traditions and mores and be/ome a 0ind o% a enda'e in the lon'-ad3"sted e/onom! o% =a*erannahr. 1owe*er, .b"l0hair wo"ld not /o"nt with the sit"ation. ,he im ram, or the lowl! mob, were to show "n+"estionin' obedien/e to the )han;s will, e*en i% he /ommanded them to 'o to /ertain death. C"/h was the «Cha0er o% the @ni*erse;s» behest to his des/endants and this was the wa! the &en'hi(edes alwa!s tho"'ht. ,he dis/ontent that was brewin' in the ste e was *iewed b! .b"l0hair as ?an!be0;s intri'"es. 1e re%erred to thin0 that it wo"ld sto b! itsel% " on the tro"blesome s"ltan;s death. ,here%ore it was not the mob .b"l0hair was re%le/tin' on b"t on those who lead it, and abo*e all he was thin0in' o% the inn"merable s"ltans altho"'h the mob was no less in%l"en/ed b! noble bat!rs 6warriors8, s"/h as )a ta'ai, 7oribai, )arahod3a and others. <*er! ste e /lan had them and their names had be/ome a war-/r!. It was thro"'h them that the mob was to be '"ided sin/e a /rowd witho"t a leader /o"ld s"ddenl! be/ome a %earsome %or/e and swee awa! le'itimate 'o*ernment li0e a ra'in' ri*er in %lood-time. 1owe*er, the %"rther on the more di%%i/"lt it was to /ome to an a'reement with the wil%"l s"ltans o% the ste e, and es e/iall! with the bat!rs who had no ro ert! and wo"ld not s"bmit to an! a"thorities. Co, in order to s"bd"e the re/al/intrant )han .b"l0hair had to a/t. ,his is wh! he t"rned to his an/estors %or ad*i/e. 1e re/alled &en'hi( )han;s eFhortation to his sons. $hen &en'hi( )han di*ided the world amon' them into %o"r "l"ses his sons wanted to hear %rom him a ie/e o% 'ood ad*i/e on how to best 'o*ern eo le. ,he eldest son ?"t/hi was the %irst to t"rn to him: — :ra! tell me, o :ossessor o% &reat &lor! and Bon+"eror o% the @ni*erse, what 0ind o% h"man is a tr"e 0han s" osed to be# — Cho"ld a 0han wish to lease eo le he m"st be wise, and sho"ld he wish eo le to lease him he m"st be stron'- - said &en'hi( )han. ,he se/ond son ?a'atai as0ed his %ather: — $hat is one to do to be res e/ted b! eo le# — 2o not lose !o"r throne- — re lied &en'hi( )han. ,hen the third son @'hedei as0ed his %ather: — $hat is a 0han to do not to lose his throne# — Ae*er let those wiser than !o" /ome near !o"r throne- — said &en'hi( )han said.
1eikhun and $eikhun2 " 3he -(u 4arya and $yr 4arya ,-rabi%.. 5haik and Yedil " 3he 6rals and the 7i&er 8ol'a ,#haz... 3 9a&erannakhr " 3he territory between the -(u 4arya and the $yr 4arya.
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.nd then &en'hi( )han;s %o"rth son ,"leh as0ed his %ather: — $hat is a 0han to sa/ri%i/e %or the sa0e o% his 'lor!# — 1is son- — said &en'hi( )han. . arentl! the sons remembered their %ather;s ad*i/e and went thro"'h li%e relati*el! ha il!. $as it not another roo% that he too m"st listen to them# >rom the *er! start o% his r"le .b"l0hair s"rro"nded himsel% not onl! with the Cheibanids b"t also with other des/endants o% ?"t/hi. ,he o%%s rin' o% the rest o% the &en'hi(ides %o"nd a la/e at his head+"arters too. 7"t not one o% them was wiser than the )han. In an! /ase that was .b"l0hair;s o inion sin/e all o% them bowed low to him and %ell silent the moment he started to s ea0. 7"t then one da! C"ltan ?an!be0 t"rned " amon'st them. 1e and his relati*e )erei intended to se arate %rom the 7l"e 1orde the lar'est ste e art o% its territor! and 'o*ern it inde endentl!. Ao matter what the! said .b"l0hair re%erred their intentions to their /ra*in' %or ower sin/e he himsel% 0new the ma'netism o% ower better than an!bod! else... Ao, he /o"ld not allow them to do that sin/e 2esht-and )i /ha0 was the basis o% e*er!thin'. .nd a art %rom that the state is b"ilt li0e a !ramid. I% !o" too0 one stone o"t o% it the rest wo"ld t"mble down. .nd the other wa! aro"nd, one had to thin0 o% the %"rther eF ansion o% the )hanate sin/e it had also been be+"eathead b! the an/estors. 1ind"stan, =on'olistan, Iran and Ira+ — that was where the %or/es that had been a//"m"lated in the ste e had to be dire/ted to. .nd whoe*er was in the wa! he m"st be wi ed o"t-.. In the same wa! as /ons"m tion eats awa! the /hest o% a si/0 man thro"'ho"t man! /ent"ries the &en'hi(ides; l"st %or /on+"ests ate awa! their so"ls. It swa!ed o*er them, dire/ted all their deeds and intentions and in%l"en/ed their de/isions in settlin' their %amil! roblems. In%e/ted b! that most dread%"l and ineForable disease, eo le be/ome "nable to see the world in its tr"e li'ht. ,he! 'row blind and onl! belie*e in their 'reat redestination. It seems to them that the! r"le histor!. .t the same time the! are ran0-and-%ile and, as a r"le, most ordinar! eo le. 9imitless ower r"ins their mind, re*ents them %rom assessin' the sit"ation sobermindedl! and 'ettin' the han' o% de*elo ments. ,hen it is easiest to %"l%ill the re/e t not to ha*e wise ersons aro"nd. Co one %ine da! onl! '"ilded sh"/0s remain o% all that and a %athomless ab!ss o ens wide "nder the %eet o% an entire nation... .nd it is the eo le 'o*erned b! s"/h a r"ler who a! dearl! %or this. .nd indeed, what is a h"man li%e to a 0han when in %ront there is loomin' the s e/tre o% ower o*er the "ni*erse# It seems to him that eo le onl! li*e to %"l%ill that whi/h he %oreordains to them. <*en the wisest r"lers /o"ld not hel 'i*in' in to the blindin' 'litter o% ower. Cooner or later the! were tra ed b! it. .s %or )han .b"l0hair he %ell *i/tim to this de/e ti*e ill"sion a lon' time a'o. 1e did not realise that neither ?an!be0 nor )erei were to be «blamed» %or it b"t the ro%o"nd latent mo*ement that was eF andin' in the ste e notwithstandin' whate*er r"lers. ,he interests o% those who be'an leadin' a settled li%e and mer'ed with the lo/als and those remainin' to li*e in the ste e, bred /attle %ollowin' the eFam le o% their %athers and en3o!ed relati*e %reedom %ar %rom the 0han;s head+"arters were 'rad"all! artin'. C"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei had more in /ommon with the ste e %ol0 and /o"ld head this nat"rall! determined mo*ement %or their se aration %rom the 7l"e 1orde and the %o"ndation o% an inde endent ste e state... )han .b"l0hair and the tro"blesome s"ltans had lon' been h"ntin' %or one another. 7are%a/ed m"rder was the least re%erred in settlin' their m"t"al a//o"nts. ,he &en'hi(eds were "sed to 0illin' their ri*als lea*in' no witnesses to their /rimes. 9i0e a %"ll-'rown wol% and %ier/e wol%-ho"nds did the! /ir/le aro"nd one another waitin' %or the moment when the time was ri'ht to atta/0 and sin0 their teeth in the enem!;s throat rollin' abo"t in a deadl! %i'ht. &ai%-?amal, .b"l0hair;s se*enteen-!ear-old da"'hter b! his =an'!t wi%e, 'ot to 0now rather earl! in li%e what the 3o!s o% lo*e are abo"t. >rom time to time s"/h thin's ha ened in the )han;s %amil! and there was nothin' s e/ial abo"t it b"t %or her %allin' %or the !o"n' and stron' C"ltan ?an!be0. .s was the /"stom d"rin' one o% her *isits
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she sent an eF erien/ed woman to see him. ,he bea"t! in*ited him to s end to'ether the time remainin' till her weddin', whi/h was to ta0e la/e soon. C"ltan ?an!be0 hated )han .b"l0hair as m"/h as the latter did ?an!be0. 7ein' not *er! %ond o% the 0han;s da"'hter and ha*in' other sweeties at the 0han;s head+"arters alwa!s read! to lease him. ?an!be0 /o"ld not b"t "se the ha ! /han/e to s ite his enem!. «I% I /annot 'et at the old b"ll;s hide I /an at least 0ill the hei%er-» — the !o"n' s"ltan de/ided and a//e ted her o%%er. 1owe*er it so ha ened that ?an!be0 himsel% was ensnared. 1e /o"ld not %or'et the assionate lo*e-ma0in' o% the !o"n' bea"t! and %inall! de/ided to marr! her. 1e in*ited his se/ond /o"sin )erei, another enem! o% the 0han, to be his mat/hma0er. In s"/h /ases the &en'hi(ides "sed to ma0e %riends *er! willin'l!. ,heir /lose blood ties stren'thened their osition in the ste e. <*en old enemies re/on/iled marr!in' their da"'hters o%% to those %rom ri*al /lans. 7"t this time nothin' /ame o% it. )han .b"l0hair had alread! realised that this 0ind o% weddin' wo"ld onl! worsen the sit"ation. ,he enmit! was too %ar 'one and there was onl! one wa! o"t... ,he 0han did not den! his da"'hter;s hand to C"ltan ?an!be0 o"tri'ht b"t, as it ha ens, 'a*e him an e+"i*o/al answer. «$e will settle the matter in a"t"mn, when the a"ls are ba/0 in their winter residen/es,» — said he to )erei. ,o whi/h the enra'ed )erei bl"rted o"t ri'ht then and there that his da"'hter was not as inno/ent as her %ather was in/lined to thin0 and the! wo"ld best h"rr! with the weddin'. .b"l0hair 3"st 'rinned b"t %elt as i% ti'ers were tearin' his heart a art. Aonetheless he retended not to ha*e noti/ed )erei;s r"de words and +"ietl! re eated his answer. .%ter C"ltan )erei;s de art"re .b"l0hair sent %or his %amed han'man )"r!bai. . morbid, 'a"nt, /ada*ero"s-loo0in' man was standin' silentl! be%ore the 0han in eF e/tation o% orders. — 2o !o" remember what 0ind o% death awaits the &en'hi(ides when &od is willin'# — as0ed the 0han. — I remember all 0inds o% death- — )"r!bai said so%tl!. — =! dear da"'hter &ai%-?amal has been si/0 o*er the last %ew da!s... ,he han'man nodded silentl!. ,hree da!s later the eo le at the 0han;s head+"arters learned that &ai%-?amal had been %o"nd in the ste e with an arrow sti/0in' o"t o% her /hest. <*er!one 0new who had done that and shoo0 their heads in wonderment. Aot one dared so m"/h as o en his mo"th b"t still the r"mo"r o% the m"rder was s readin' %rom a"l to a"l... &ai%-?amal was b"ried with 'reat hono"rs as was be/omin' so noble a erson. ,he %"neral re ast lasted a whole wee0. .nd then the 0han sent %or )"r!bai a'ain.— 2o !o" 0now that C"ltan ?an!be0 has arri*ed in order to ta0e art in the %"neral re ast on a//o"nt o% o"r most belo*ed da"'hter;s death# — as0ed the 0han. — Des, I do. — ,omorrow we are 'oin' h"ntin' with him. 7"t it seems to me that the 'lorio"s s"ltan;s health also lea*es m"/h to be desired. I am a%raid somethin' mi'ht ha en to him... — .n!thin' mi'ht ha en,— re lied )"r!bai. — 7"t remember, the s"ltan is not a 'irl. 1e /an " root a tree with one hand, so !o";d better ha*e reliable men with !o"... ,he 0han;s order %ri'htened )"r!bai. .b"l0hair /o"ld later ha*e his han'man m"rdered as an "ndesirable witness. C"/h /ases had been alread! 0nown as re'ards the 0han;s ser*ants. — .ll the s"ltans 0now what it means when I 'o h"ntin' with m! 0han,- the han'man said.— =! Co*erei'n, wo"ldn;t it be better i% m! !o"n' brother Car!bai went h"ntin' this time# 1is hand is %irm and his heart has h"n'ered %or somethin' worth! o% a real man... .b"l0hair /o"ld not hel la"'hin' at the rimiti*e and mer/iless trea/her! o% his sla*e;s words. ,r!in' to sa*e his ne/0 he was read! to endan'er his own brother li0e a tr"e &en'hi(ide. — 9et it be as !o" sa!- — .b"l0hair said.— 7"t ma0e s"re e*er!thin' is all ri'ht and tal0 to !o"r brother !o"rsel%...
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— Ctran'e as it ma! seem ?an!be0 alone had no idea o% the 'en"ine /a"se o% the death o% &ai%-?amal. Do"n' and ineF erien/ed he /o"ld not ima'ine that she was 0illed on her %ather;s order, the more so that d"rin' his sta! at the 0han;s head+"arters .b"l0hair attended to all his needs and this time showed him s e/ial si'ns o% attention. 1e wo"ld not listen to )erei;s warnin's... — It was onl! the 0han;s s"dden in*itation to 3oin his h"nt whi/h aro"sed the !o"n' s"ltan;s s"s i/ions. ,he a"t"mn /old had not set in !et, a time when it is es e/iall! leasant to 'o h"ntin', besides ?an!be0, too, had heard some hearsa!. 1e was wonderin' wh! the 0han did not want to r"sh the sear/h %or the m"rderers o% his da"'hter. — .t the last moment C"ltan ?an!be0 %o"nd o"t abo"t somethin' else. ,here was an a'e-old tradition b! whi/h be%ore h"ntin' a 0han sent s e/ial messen'ers to to all the s"ltans and their retin"e in*itin' them to ta0e art in the /hase. ,his time the in*itation was sent onl! to ?an!be0 and )erei. Ao-one else %rom amon' the ste e s"ltans too0 art in the h"nt, instead onl! those who were de*oted to )han .b"l0hair bod! and so"l and li*ed /onstantl! at his head+"arters were in*ited. — >rom time ast ro!al h"nts in the ste e were arran'ed as ma3or %easts. 2"rin' those %esti*als be0s and s"ltans /o"ld show o%% their ri/hes in a 'rand wa!, boast o% their ma'ni%i/ent steeds, their re/io"s harness and wea ons. .t the same time the h"nt was meant to be a 0ind o% militar! arade where ea/h one showed his /o"ra'e, 'allantr!, reso"r/e%"lness and mar0smanshi . I"ite a %ew bra''arts were 0nown to ta0e lea*e o% their senses o"t o% %ear when all o% a s"dden a deadl! s/ared hare 3"m ed o"t ri'ht %rom "nder their %eet. ,he more so when one heard the 'rowlin' o% a ti'er or a %ier/e lea ard. Come ran awa! in terror, dro in' their arms and sometimes e*en %amed mar0smen who at a /ontest /o"ld shoot down %rom a tree bran/h a "rse st"%%ed with mone! at a distan/e o% one h"ndred ste s, were not able to hit a h"'e beast three ste s awa! %rom them. — 7esides, d"rin' the h"nt the /o"ra'e o% !o"n' warriors who a eared amon'st the 'rown men %or the %irst time was tested and /on%irmed. Indeed, when there is no war 'oin' where is one s" osed to show his worth# ,he one who wo"ld not %alter seein' a h"'e boar with atro/io"s hal%-metre teeth r"nnin' ri'ht into him and send his three-ed'ed arrow three %in'ers dee into its %orehead wo"ld do the same to an iron/lad %oe in the battle %ield. It was not %or nothin' that in the ste e h"ntin' was /alled the %air o% /o"ra'e. @ltimatel!, a%ter ta0in' /o"nsel with )erei, C"ltan ?an!be0 de/ided to a//e t the in*itation o% the 0han, /onsiderin' the %a/t that there was no a arent reason %or de/linin' it. «$hat is to be, will be,» tho"'ht he. «It is not %or nothin' that the! sa! one /annot hide awa! %rom death e*en in a 'old /o%%er. $hile i% !o" are destined to sta! ali*e not one o% the tho"sand arrows aimed at !o" will hit !o"-». «Des, we m"st 3oin the h"nt and retend we s"s e/t nothin',— a'reed )erei.— 7"t we will ha*e to ta0e alon' the most reliable warriors who will sti/0 /lose to "s all the time. I% we don;t 'o now that wol% .b"l0hair will realise that we 0now what he is " to and will s"rel! %ind a wa! o"t to 'et rid o% "s. .%ter all the! sa! the one who 'ot "ndressed will s"rel! 3"m into the water...» ?an!be0 re ared %or h"ntin' *er! thoro"'hl!. 9i0e all ste e eo le he li0ed best the li'ht-%ooted ar'ama0-horses and h"ntin' birds. 4ne o% the most %amo"s 0"shbe'i, the trainers o% h"ntin' ea'les and haw0s in all the ste e o% 2esht-)i /ha0, was a !o"n' s"ltan. .lon'side his white !"rta there were small bla/0 tents and in ea/h one o% them there li*ed a domesti/ated haw0, ea'le, hen-harrier or 0estrel. 5eal h"ntin' birds /annot be 0e t in the same room... In s ite o% tradition, the s"ltan was /hasin' birds o% re! not with the hel o% %led'elin's b"t with stron' %"ll-%led'ed %i'hters. .ltho"'h it was %ar more di%%i/"lt to tame s"/h birds it was immensel! more "se%"l. .n ea'le that was 'rown %ree is stron'er and more r"thless that the one %ed b! hand. Co, C"ltan ?an!be0 did not tr"st an!bod! to raise his ea'les. Aormall! the birds wo"ld not 'i*e in to trainin' b"t he wo"ld st"bbornl! and atientl! 0ee on re eatin' e*er!thin' %rom s/rat/h. ,he! wo"ld "t on a leather hood, toma'", on the head o% a
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ro"d bird and settle it on a swin' %or it to 'et a//"stomed to ridin' on horseba/0. ,hen the! wo"ld 'rad"all! %eed it ri'ht o%% one;s hand with meat drained o% blood in water. 1"n'er made the ea'le s"bmit and 'rad"all! it 'ot "sed to ta0in' meat onl! %rom the hands o% its master. ,oma'" or no toma'", it re/o'nised the master %rom a%ar. It was onl! m"/h later that the! too0 the /loth o%% the ea'les; head and the master be'an %eedin' it on red meat. Ceein' the meat the ea'le s/reamed with im atien/e b"t it onl! too0 it %rom its master;s hand. .%ter that a ra/e in the ste e be'an. ?an!be0 let the ea'le %ree and soon /alled it ba/0 ea/h time 'i*in' %ood to it. ,hat wa! he wo"ld "ltimatel! tame it ma0in' it a h"ntin' bird. Ao matter how lon' !o" mi'ht tame an ea'le still when it sees a %lamin'-red %oF it %alls on it li0e a ro/0 sin0in' its /laws into its *i/tim and %lies " into the s0!. ,hat *er! moment it hears its master;s /all, %lies towards him and 'ets a do"ble or tri le reward. 1a*in' re'istered it in its memor! it /an;t b"t wait %or another h"nt. ?an!be0 had se*eral s"/h haw0s. 2"rin' the s"mmer the! had a 'ood rest and were ea'er %or h"ntin'. >or his h"nt the s"ltan too0 his %amed haw0 Combola0 that had been 'lori%ied in the son's o% his son'sters. .nd beneath his h"ntin' 'own ?an!be0 was wearin' a thin iron-/hained armo"r, shar -ed'ed sword and newl!-%eathered arrows... .n orderl! team o% b"'lers /ame o"t on a hill and the ste e reso"nded with their brass /alls s"mmonin' the h"nters. C"ltans, be0s and emirs de/orated with %eathers and shinin' with ri/h armo"rs be'an /omin' to'ether %rom all sides. C"ddenl! /lo"ds o% d"st swirled on the road %rom the 0han;s head+"arters. . lar'e 'ro" o% horsemen ra/ed towards the hill and in %ront o% them the 0han himsel% was ridin' an eFtraordinaril! bea"ti%"l ba! steed with a white s ot on its %orehead and its mane and tail tied in 0nots. ,he a//om an!in' riders; horses had their manes and tails tied " . ,he s irited beasts were bitin' their steel bits ran/in' with im atien/e. ,he whole retin"e were /lad in li'ht h"ntin' armo"r their heads /rowned with %inel! atterned shinin' sil*er helmets. Immediatel! a%ter the 0han and his retin"e there were %ollowin' his '"ardsmen, all o% them his most %aith%"l warriors and bod!-'"ards, or n"0ers... ,here were three or %o"r women in this brilliant /rowd. 4ne o% them who was dressed better than the rest and sittin' astride a 'olden '"lsar!-a0halte0in horse whose name 4rte0, meanin' «,he 2an/in' IbeF», was 0nown all o*er the ste e was attra/tin' the attention o% e*er!one. 1er bea"t! had a blindin' e%%e/t on all men aro"nd and ea/h one wanted to meet her e!e. Che was the %o"rth wi%e o% .b"l0hair and the da"'hter o% the 'reat s/holar @l"'be0, 'randson o% ,im"r. ,he! /alled her 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im and said there was no woman on earth as bea"ti%"l as she. 1er /lothes, her saddle, bridle, s "rs and shabra/0 were de/orated with wro"'ht 'old. ,he /ontrar! wind was swa!in' the l"me on her ointed /a lined with otter, the eF ensi*e ne/0la/e was 'litterin' in the s"n shinin' with all the /olo"rs o% the rainbow b"t es e/iall! bea"ti%"l was her white /lean-%eat"red %a/e with %ine ar/hed e!ebrows and a bla/0 /as/ade o% n"mberless braids... $hen the 0han and his ma3esti/ retin"e a roa/hed the hill another 'ro" o% horsemen /ame in si'ht 'allo in' towards them %rom the o en ste e. In %ront o% them C"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei were ridin' dar0-'re! ar'ama0s with a haw0 on the sho"lder o% ea/h one. ?an!be0 and )erei were wearin' li'ht h"ntin' /a%tans trimmed with sable, )a(a0h /a s on their heads. .mon' those %ollowin' them there were women too. Hha0han, ?an!be0;s se/ond wi%e and the mother o% !o"n' C"ltan )as!m, was the most bea"ti%"l o% them. 7ein' the da"'hter o% a warrior %rom the nomadi/ )erei /lan she loo0ed re'al astride a mil0!-white mo"nt ni/0-named )ihi0a!a0 whi/h means «2eer;s 9e's». @nli0e those o% the bea"ti%"l 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im her saddle, shabra/0 and the rest o% the harness were onl! adorned with /hased sil*er whi/h es e/iall! s"ited her ste e bea"t! and h!si+"e. 7esides there was somethin' else whi/h made the bea"ti%"l Hha0an so di%%erent %rom the wi%e o% .b"l0hair. 1er ri'ht hand was 'ri in' %irml! a thin ointed s ear. 1er rowd and slender %i'"re o% a horsewoman breathed /o"ra'e. ,he eo le millin'
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aro"nd 'reeted her with an enth"siasti/ " roar. .b"l0hair himsel% /o"ld not hel ta0in' a loo0 at her and her bea"t! asto"nded him. «,hat;s alri'ht, i% &od is willin' tomorrow she will be mine-» the 0han tho"'ht to himsel% and "t s "rs to his horse. It was not the %irst time that he saw her and had lon' de/ided she was worth! o% his !"rta... 1owe*er C"ltan ?an!be0 was on the alert and wat/hed the 0han /losel!. 1e had noti/ed the /han'in' eF ressions on .b"l0hair;s %a/e and was now /ertain that the 0han was " to somethin' e*il. ?an!be0 'lan/ed o*er the bri'ht-/olored /rowd %"rti*el! tr!in' to determine the one who was to 0ill him. C"ddenl! he s otted three horsemen whose /lothes were not as ri/h as those o% the rest. ,he! sta!ed awa! %rom the /rowd and the s"ltan sensed the stare o% the one a little ahead o% the other two. «,hese /ommoners ha*e ne*er be%ore ta0en art in the 0han;s /hases,» — he tho"'ht. — 7esides the! /an hardl! be %rom the 0han;s retin"e. Co it is them that I ha*e to beware o%-...» ,o'ether with the h"'e /ara*an loaded with /ar et-ba's %illed with /o"miss 6%ermented mare;s mil08 and other *i/t"als the 0han and his in/reased retin"e set o"t northward, to the @l!ta" 1ills. Cta!in' the ni'ht on the wa!, the! set " li'ht /am tents b! the hills, at the %oot o% .r'!nat!, one o% the most bea"ti%"l la/es o% the &olden Car!-.r0a. 4n/e those lands were the nid"s o% the )a(a0h;s old /"lt"re. 4ne /an still see there the r"ins o% old ala/es with ie/es o% bro0en 'la(ed /erami/s l!in' all aro"nd. ,his is 3"st what the %amo"s an/ient e os tells abo"t:
,o "s !o" are the most treas"red le'a/!. 4"r 'reat 'rand%ather .r'!n %easted his e!es on !o"r bea"t!. Do"r emerald meadows threaded with sil*er! streams 1a*e been admired o*er the /ent"ries b! the .r'!ns, 4 .r'!nat! =o"ntain-

,hese arts did not abo"nd in mirror-li0e la0es and dee ri*ers to water tho"sandhead horse-herds in, there%ore d"rin' warm seasons %ew eo le li*ed here. =ost im ortantl!, this territor! belon'ed to C"ltan ?an!be0;s 0in sin/e olden times b"t be/ame deserted a%ter his %ather 7ara0 mo*ed %rom here to 0han;s head+"arters at 4rda-7a(ar. 7"t then this land was inhabited b! all 0ind o% 'ame. It teemed with deer, sai'as, bent-horned wild rams, b"stards and wild 'eese. >or three whole da!s the %amed h"nters 0illed them in an! ossible wa! beatin' the dr"ms to s/are o%% artrid'es and bla/0-'ro"se and immediatel! settin' their %al/ons %l!in' in "rs"it. ,he! re*elled in /"ttin' the /a"'ht birds; throats boastin' o% their eF loits to one another. ,he! /hased wild rams and deer shootin' arrows ri'ht %rom the saddle. In the mean time the three lain-loo0in' men headed b! the brother o% the 0han;s han'man Car!bai h"nted se aratel! and were ne*er able to hit the tar'et. Aot on/e did C"ltan ?an!be0 remain alone and the! had no o ort"nit! to assa"lt him. .nd the! realised *er! well what wo"ld await them in /ase the! missed their /han/e... >inall!, when the 0han anno"n/ed that the neFt da! e*er!one wo"ld 'o ba/0 to head+"arters l"/0 /ame their wa! at last. Barried awa! b! /hasin' a %leet-%ooted sai'a C"ltan ?an!be0 'allo ed %ar awa! into the thi/0et. 1is %aith%"l horsemen %ollowed s"it b"t their horses had 'rown tired d"rin' the re*io"s three da!s o% h"ntin' and the! /o"ld not mat/h the %amo"s ar'ama0 o% the s"ltan. 5idin' thro"'h a 'ro*e the s"ltan s"ddenl! saw not %ar %rom him )han .b"l0hair himsel% with a %ew o% his %aith%"l hen/hmen while %rom aside there were alread! /omin' " the *er! three whom he had noti/ed earlier. ,he 0han had onl! 3"st /han'ed his tired horse and Car!bai;s horse was in eF/ellent /ondition be/a"se Car!bai had not ta0en art in the re*io"s /hase. 1e and ?an!be0 set o"t in "rs"it o% the sai'a and now the s"ltan /o"ld not shir0 the /hase in order not to show himsel% a /oward in the %a/e o% the enem!. Chortl! onl! three men were 'allo in' ahead o% the others — C"ltan ?an!be0, )han .b"l0hair and the han'man;s brother Car!bai. ,he rest %ell so %ar behind that e*en their *oi/es were not heard. .%ter awhile the! at last ran down the eFha"sted sai'a. Ctill eF/ited b! the /hase %or a moment ?an!be0 %or'ot abo"t the dan'er that was
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han'in' o*er him, 3"m ed down %rom his horse, threw awa! his bl"d'eon and too0 o"t a 0ni%e to /"t the sai'a. It was onl! then that he noti/ed Car!bai %lo"rishin' his bl"d'eon at him. — 2on;t to"/h it, this is m! sai'a- — Car!bai sho"ted s ite%"ll!. — ,he s"ltan 3"m ed and "lled the man down %rom his saddle. 7oth to led down into the thi/0 'rass b"t the s"ltan mana'ed to 'et his hea*! o onent "nder. ,he han'man was starin' ri'ht at his %a/e his e!es b"rnin' with hatred. C"ddenl! there %li/0ered a ra! o% ho e in them. — 1it him- 1it him o*er the head- — he sho"ted to some-one. $itho"t loosenin' his 'ri on Car!bai the s"ltan 'lan/ed aside and saw )han .b"l0hair towerin' abo*e him... .b"l0hair /o"ld ne*er eF lain to himsel% what re*ented him smashin' ?an!be0;s head. >or a s lit se/ond his hand sto ed in mid-air and then eo le emer'ed %rom the b"shes and it was alread! late to do somethin'. ,he %irst to /ome to the s/ene o% a/tion was )erei. It was onl! then that ?an!be0 let 'o o% Car!bai. — ,his time I %or'i*e !o" be/a"se !o" are not the main /"l rit here- - said he thro"'h /len/hed teeth and 'a*e .b"l0hair a loo0 whi/h /hilled his heart. =eanwhile the sai'a was still ali*e. ?an!be0 'lan/ed at it and wa*ed his hand. — Cin/e I %or'a*e the one who attem ted to ta0e m! li%e wh! not %or'i*e the inno/ent beast- — said he to )erei, %astened his bl"d'eon to his belt and mo"nted his horse. ,he! 'allo ed o%% to 3oin their men and )han .b"l0hair %ollowed them silentl! with his e!es... Car!bai was alread! " and abo"t to mo"nt his horse. ,he 0han loo0ed awa!. — $h! did !o" not hit him %rom behind, m! so*erei'n# — the han'man;s brother whis ered to the )han;s ba/0.— I% he had %allen I wo"ld ha*e strai'htwa! bro0en his 3"'"lar *ertebra. ,his is what alwa!s ha ens when one %alls %rom his horse, so nobod! wo"ld ha*e %o"nd o"t the tr"th... Ao sooner did he sa! that than the man;s head rolled o%% his sho"lders. $ith a %eelin' o% dis'"st .b"l0hair wi ed his blade on the hem o% Car!bai;s /oat and 'a*e an order to so"nd the assembl!. ?an!be0 and )erei, who were the %irst to arri*e, saw a /"to%% head l!in' in the 'rass its e!es b"l'in' with terror. — ,his is what awaits all those attem tin' to ta0e the li%e o% m! lo!al s"l-tans, — said )han .b"l0hair. 1owe*er, ?an!be0 and )erei hardl! belie*ed in the sin/erit! o% the 0han;s words. 7oth s"ltans silentl! a//om anied )han .b"l0hair as %ar as head+"arters and shortl! le%t %or their /am s. <*er sin/e then the 0han lost his ea/e o% mind /om letel! and da! a%ter da! la! idl! on the leo ard s0in thin0in' o% the sit"ation he wo"nd " in. ,here was no wa! ba/0 and the bitter %eelin' that he had not %inished o%% ?an!be0 was eatin' his heart. 1e /o"ld not eF e/t that s"/h a /han/e wo"ld resent itsel% in the near %"t"re... — .t the a'e o% siFteen I stabbed the son o% Dedi'eh himsel%, the hard-headed )a(!-7i!, with m! own hands,— .b"l0hair re/alled /"r*in' his li s with ride. - .t se*enteen I had m! %amo"s d"el with )han Hh"made0, the r"ler o% the 2esht-and)i /ha0 ste e. 1e lo*ed me as his own son brin'in' me " sin/e !o"n'hood li0e a %ather. 2id m! hand sha0e when I sla"'htered him a%ter 0no/0in' him down %rom his horse# .nd he himsel% too0 his death li'ht-heartedl! bein' aware that s"/h was the law o% li%e and that I wo"ld dis ose o% m! enemies in the same wa!. 1e 'a*e his throne into tr"stworth! hands. .nd now these hands /o"ld not sla! the most hate%"l %oe ?an!be0— ,hose r"lin' eo le and ta0in' on res onsibilit! to &od %or them ha*e to ha*e the heart o% a lion. $h! then did it t"rn o"t so wea0 now# ?"st one blow on the head o% the hate%"l s"ltan and there wo"ld be no roblems. ,he m"rdered sla*e was ri'ht. Aoone wo"ld dare eF ress whate*er do"bts as to ?an!be0;s %allin' %rom his horse d"rin' a h"nt. :eo le wo"ld ha*e 0nown then that i% ?an!be0 /o"ld %all, an!one /o"ld /r"mble down in the same wa!. >ear is the most reliable lo/0 %or those eF/essi*el! tal0ati*e-.. — 5"mo"r has it m! an/estor &en'hi( )han "sed to sa! the %ollowin' to his lo!al s"b3e/ts: i% !o" raised !o"r hand at !o"r %oe !o" m"st hit to 0ill him %or there is no man more dan'ero"s than the one !o" did not 0ill. $hereas to %or'i*e !o"r enem! is the
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same as a /rime %or whi/h !o" will ha*e to a! all !o"r li%e. ,he enem! will thin0 o% !o"r 'enerosit! as o% !o"r wea0ness and will redo"ble his e%%orts a'ainst !o"-.. II ?"/hi was born b! 7orteh->"d(hin %rom the 0in o% )on"rat and himsel% was married to )on"rat women. 1is se/ond wi%e @0i0hat"n 'i*e birth to 7at!. ?"/hi %irml! belie*ed in ste e wisdom whi/h sa!s: «=a! the arms %all o%% o% him who does not /are abo"t his relati*es.» ,he )a(a0h tribes be/ame his s" ort in his %"rther oli/! and as a r"le his retin"e /onsisted o% )a(a0h s"ltans and 'reat warriors. <*en in the son's and le'ends o% a eo le whose tales alwa!s em hasised the /r"elt! and trea/hero"sness o% the &en'hi(ides, ?"/hi was told abo"t in a di%%erent *ein. In them he is stern b"t 3"st and alwa!s read! to listen to 'ood ad*i/e. <s e/iall! im ortant is the %a/t that he ne*er let himsel% be /arried awa! b! an'er whi/h %or the son o% &en'hi( )han was +"ite an "n"s"al *irt"e. ?"st the %a/t that he ne*er wished to %"ll! eFterminate the )a(a0h tribes made them thin0 o% him as o% their rote/tor and 'ood relati*e. ,he! still remembered eFam les o% a di%%erent sort. It is not %or nothin' that the a'e-old e i/ «.0sa0 )"lan — ?"/hi )han» has been reser*ed and is still s"n' in the ste e. Aat"rall!, with the assin' o% /ent"ries e*il deeds be/ome erased %rom eo le;s memor! b"t then a'ain this is not the /ase with the horrible ima'e o% &en'hi( )han the! still s/are /hilderen with in the ste e... ,he =on'ol /on+"erors who in*aded the )a(a0h;s lands were not n"mero"s. ,o one h"ndred nati*e inhabitants o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e there was onl! one =on'ol horseman. Co the! +"i/0l! dissol*ed amon' the )a(a0hs li0e a in/h o% salt does in a ri*er. 9ess than a /ent"r! later the =on'ol s"ltans were alread! not di%%erent %rom the )a(a0hs. ,he onl! di%%eren/e between them was their stat"s, «t!"reh», whi/h 'a*e them the ri'ht to the title o% 0han and s"ltan. <*er! )a(a0h 0in and tribe had them whi/h was the /a"se o% their /onstant and se*ere stri%e %or ower and in%l"en/e. ,he &olden 1orde;s %irst 0han, 7at!, li*ed in the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e almost all his li%e. 1is most lo*ed wi%e Hh"ld!( was %rom the )i /ha0 0in too. 7esides his sons; names, Carta0, ,"0"0han, .!"0han and @la0/hi, so"nded li0e those o% the residents o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. ,he )a(a0h tribes roamed within the area o% the /hie% ro"te to the &reat )han;s head+"arters and, s"%%ered /onsiderable losses %rom the nomads, the =on'ols had %or some time to /o"nt with them. >or oliti/al reasons the &olden 1orde;s 0hans married )a(a0h women. ,he marria'e o% a =an'!t warrior to a &en'hi(ide woman res"lted in the birth o% the well-0nown Ao'ai, ni/0-named «inal», that is hal%-bred. 1e was not /onsidered to be a &en'hi(ide 6maternal blood bein' o% no im ortan/e with the =on'ols8, was not entitled to the 0han,s throne b"t nonetheless distated his will to the &olden 1orde,s 0hans %or %ort! !ears. @ on 7at!;s death Ao'ai /ontin"ed /ommandin' the &olden 1orde;s troo s art%"ll! sele/tin' and brin'in' the &olden 1orde;s 0hans to the throne. It was onl! when the %i%th son o% ="n0eh ,o0hta'"l be/ame 0han that Ao'ai;s ower /ame to an end. ,a0in' ad*anta'e o% the /ontin"o"s interne/ine stri%e between the /lans in the 2esht-and)i /ha0 ste e, the inhabitants o% whi/h had s" orted Ao'ai, !o"n' )han ,o0hta'"l ro"ted his host and the a'ed militar! leader %led to the 7ash0ir /o"ntr! with se*enteen lo!al warriors. 7e/a"se o% dis/ord in the &olden 1orde Ao'ai;s des/endants to'ether with /losel! related /lans had to lea*e %or the eastern arts o% the )a(an )hanate. ,his land whi/h had on/e belon'ed to the Eol'a 7"l'ars was re eatedl! de*astated b! 7at! and his s"//essors. >inall! the )i /ha0s /ame there with a bi' host and %o"nded a new 0hanate. ,he )i /ha0s were %ollowed b! Ao'ailins who s o0e a related diale/t and had similar /"stoms and there%ore were easil! mer'in' with the lo/al o "lation. 1owe*er, " on settlin' down at )a(an the! were /ontin"all! attem tin' to dist"rb the ea/e in their erstwhile domains. ,he! 0e t sendin' o"t their men to )a(a0h /lans remindin' them o% their blood ties and o%%erin' to se arate themsel*es %rom .b"l0hair.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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It ended " in some 'reat warriors assemblin' horsemen to dri*e awa! the 0han;s horses. .%ter one o% s"/h raids the enra'ed .b"l0hair sent o"t a thirt!-tho"sand-stron' "niti*e troo headed b! the 'reat warrior )ara-)i /ha0 )olband! who ro"ted the a"ls o% the /"l rits and those o% their nei'hbo"rs in order to brea0 them o% s"/h a/tions. ,he emer'en/e o% )obland! alone instilled terror in the hearts o% eo le. 1e was a man o% an "nheard-o% hei'ht, with an enormo"s head and sled'e-hammer-li0e hands. ,he n"mero"s son's went that his bones were lar'er than those o% a /amel and his %in'ers harder than those o% a wild ram;s horns. )obland!;s an/estors li*ed in the area o% the 5i*er ,"r'ai and he himsel% had been born at the /on%l"en/e o% the ri*ers .r!s and 7adam, at the %oot o% the )aras an =o"ntain. )obland!-7at!r /ame ba/0 soon a%ter s/atterin' the ashes o% Ao'ailins; a"ls to the winds. 1e dro*e awa! all their /attle and at the same time too0 awa! man! bea"ti%"l 'irls and women. .nd he met no resistan/e on a//o"nt o% the s"ddenness and darin'ness o% his raid. >or whole three da!s the! %easted at 0han;s head+"arters on the o//asion o% their *i/tor! as tho"'h the terrible warrior had /a t"red the /it! o% Istanb"l at least. C"/h was the /"stom at the ste e. ,owards the end o% the %east .b"l0hair as0ed abo"t those who had es e/iall! distin'"ished themsel*es in that raid in order to share %airl! the boot!, and abo*e all the women. )obland!-7at!r be'an en"meratin' the warriors and horsemen who had es e/iall! distin'"ished themsel*es in the raid when all o% a s"dden he %ell silent. 1e %ranti/all! twisted his lon' bla/0 m"sta/h wi/h rea/hed as %ar as his ears. 1is e!es as lar'e as the alms o% his hands and /o*ered in red *eins were %iFed on the 0han: — I o%%er all warriors their %"ll share,— said )obland!.— .nd I am do"bl! /ontent with the !o"n' and bra*e warrior Ca!an. 1e has been at the head o% a h"ndred men and is worth! o% a reward. 1owe*er, I re+"est his death, m! most honorable )han-.. <*er!one %ro(e. Ca!an;s "n/le on his maternal side was the %amed .0(hol-7i!. ,his son'ster and smooth-tal0er and the son o% )otan Hhira" was a man o% 'reat hei'ht and enormo"s stren'th. 1e was entitled to sittin' neFt to the 0han and the e!es o% e*er!one were %iFed on him. $hen he heard the words o% )obland!-7at!r he 'rew ale b"t retained his /om os"re. — >or what# — as0ed .0(hol-7i! si(in' " )obland!-7at!r with a /ool stare. — >or *iolatin' the law o% the 'reat &en'hi( )han. 1e had an ar'"ment with the 'lorio"s )ara-7at!r o*er a (hesrei0a 1.... &en'hi( )han;s des/endants /losel! %ollowed the instr"/tions o% his !asas. .nd in them a death senten/e was en*isioned %or those 'ettin' into an ar'"ment o*er s oils o% war. It was one o% the 'ra*est /rimes and nothin' /o"ld sa*e the !o"n' warrior. — 1ow /an !o" ro*e it# — as0ed .0(hol-7i! with the same san'-%roid.— 2id )ara7at!r tell !o" that or ma!be somebod! else saw them +"arrellin'# — .s a matter o% %a/t )obland!-7at!r was not resent d"rin' the ar'"ment. 4ne o% the 0han;s asso/iates told him abo"t it b"t still the warrior was too willin' to belie*e this lie. ,o tell the tr"th in s"/h /ases e*en the worthiest re%erred to stand b! the interests o% their 0in... — )ara-7at!r %ell b! Ca!an;s sword d"rin' that ti%%. 7esides warrior Ca!an 0illed the one who saw the brawl-.. — =a!be Ca!an himsel% will /on%ess to his '"ilt# — .0(hol-7i! said tho"'ht%"ll!. — ,o admit one;s '"ilt in e*er!bod!;s resen/e, one has to be a tr"e warrior- — )obland!7at!r said with a stern loo0. — =! worth! warrior, do !o" mean to sa! the 'ood ne hew o% the .r'!ns Ca!an has t"rned into a wea0 woman# — 4nl! a woman /an 0i/0 " a row on a//o"nt o% some worthless /a ti*e— ,he two warriors stared at one another read! to o"n/e at the o onent and start rollin' abo"t in a deadl! %i'ht. 1owe*er both o% them had the sel%- restraint o% tr"e warriors and /o"ld obser*e the ro rieties in the resen/e o% the 0han himsel%. ,he! %ell silent loo0in' at .b"l0hair their heads sli'htl! in/lined.
5hesreika... " a %a+ti&e 'irl.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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)han .b"l0hair realised *er! well what 0ind o% %eelin's moti*ated )obland!-7at!r;s beha*io"r. $hen a man is 0een on deni'ratin' another one all means are 'ood eno"'h. .n'er and the thirst %or re*en'e will rom t him to do thin's whi/h will ne*er enter his mind at a di%%erent time. In this sit"ation it does not matter at all whether the !o"n' warrior is '"ilt! or not... ,he 0han 'a*e his /o"n/il a sear/hin' loo0 and si'hed. Its ma0e-" is not what it "sed to be on/e. =an! !ears a'o when the! li%ted him o*er the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e on a white %elt mat he was s"rro"nded b! absol"tel! di%%erent eo le. .t the *er! la/e where hono"rable .r'!n bi!s are sittin' now there on/e sat noble Aaiman men. .nd on his le%t, where )i /ha0 nobles are sittin' warriors %rom the @!s"n tribe "sed to sit. In those "n%or'ettable da!s he was !o"n' and hot-headed and ne*er /ast /a"tio"s 'lan/es aro"nd whi/h is the /ase now. Do"th resembles %lood-time and is not willin' to /o"nt with whate*er ri*er-ban0s. ,wo !ears a%ter his as/endin' the 0han;s throne he met with another as irant, =a0hm"d-1o3a, on the stee ban0 o% the ri*er ,obol. $hen the two armies met the ste e shoo0 with th"nder and he /"t o%% the enem!;s head with his own hand. 1e too0 as a wi%e the st"nnin'l! bea"ti%"l .'ana0-7i0eh, the wi%e o% =a0hm"d-1o3a. 1e wo"ld not 'i*e in that %o"rteenth moon 1 to whome*er o% his s"ltans and noble warriors. 1er e!es were li0e a %athomless la0e on a +"iet windless da! and her bea"ti%"l %a/e was whiter than snow... 1e was not destined to en3o! her hot lo*ema0in'. It alwa!s seemed to him that a /old sna0e was l!in' in her bed read! to bite him at an! moment. <*identl! d"e to the %a/t that besides her h"sband he ordered her to stab her three-!ear old son. .nd what was he s" osed to do# 4therwise a le'itimate as irant wo"ld ha*e been 'rowin' read! to ta0e re*en'e. Indeed, the 0han;s throne is somethin' whi/h /an lead astra! e*en one;s own son. Co how /o"ld he tr"st a stran'er# It wo"ld ha*e been the same as holdin' a shar blade neFt to !o"r throat %or the rest o% !o"r li%e. Co the bea"ti%"l .'ana0-7i0eh died witho"t e*er showin' him her %a*o"r. 9ater he learned that her death was /a"sed b! a s e/ial 0ind o% ste e herb. Che had 0e t on drin0in' the herb;s eFtra/t in order not to /on/ei*e a /hild b! him. 2id he e*er so m"/h as s are his enemies- 1e /a t"red )hore(m, Camar0and, 7"0hara, C!'na0 and do(ens o% other towns and in ea/h one o% them he shed ri*ers o% h"man blood. 4ne b! one he had to r"in man! de%iant )a(a0h 0ins. <*en his m"/h lo*ed ste e be/ame sat"rated with blood where his arm! on/e was. .nd now he has to be on the alert loo0in' /onstantl! aro"nd in %ear. 1is ri'ht hand in the arm! is the one whom the! res e/t%"ll! /all .0(hol7i!. .nd behind him is all the ower o% the n"mero"s and war-li0e .r'!ns. ,he le%t hand o% the 0han is )obland!-7at!r who is s" orted b! as n"mero"s and a"da/io"s )i /ha0s. I% he "nishes b! death the worthless horseman Ca!an the )i /ha0s will be o*er3o!ed b"t the .r'!ns will %eel mortall! o%%ended. Co to whi/h o% them m"st he 'i*e re%eren/e# .nd what i% he %or'a*e Ca!an# $o"ld not the! thin0 o% it as o% his wea0ness# .b"l0hair;s entire horde is waitin' %or the 0han;s word. ?an!be0 and )erei too are waitin' and will be'in to a/t de endin' on how this sensiti*e sit"ation is settled... >or the "m teenth time does .b"l0hair wi es sweat o%% his brow be/a"se these re%le/tions ma0e him %eel reall! hot. .s %or his 'reat an/estor he ne*er "sed to sweat in s"/h /ases. 1e "sed to send to death tho"sands o% eo le b! sli'htl! 0nittin' his e!ebrows and then not thin0in' o% them at all. 1a*e times /han'ed so m"/h that e*en the li%e o% an indi*id"al erson is now o% some *al"e# $ith the assin' o% /ent"ries it be/omes more and more di%%i/"lt to 'o*ern eo le. $hat will all this end " with#.. .s lon' as the shadow o% &en'his )han ho*ered o*er his sons and 'randsons the! /o"ld still %eel that ower was reall! in their hands. ,a0e ="n0eh %or one. 1e did not s are both his /lose and distant relati*es %or sel%-assertion. 1e alwa!s 0e t silent and
-%%ordin' to the lunar %alendar )ull (oon sets in on the )ourteenth day o) a (onth.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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/ondemned to death those in dis%a*o"r merel! with the eF ression o% his e!es. 1e did not e*en ha*e to 'i*e orders to do that... .b"l0hair remembered some instr"/ti*e stor! o% the interment o% )han ="n0eh... @nli0e that o% other eo les the %"nereal /"stom o% the =on'ols has two s e/ial %eat"res. .//ordin' to the %irst one, to'ether with the master his most %a*orite and de*oted sla*e is interred in a dee b"rial *a"lt. ,he latter is la/ed "nder the bod! o% his master and b"ried ali*e. 1al% a da! later he is disentombed. ,he! let him /ome to his senses, %eed him some and then b"r! him a'ain. ,he! do it three times and i% the sla*e /an still breathe it means that he indeed is /losest to the de/eased one. ,hen the! 'rant him %reedom %rom sla*er! and 'i*e him whate*er he mi'ht as0 %or sin/e the =on'ols dee l! belie*e that he is destined to inherit all the sins o% his master. .s %or the master he, /leared o% all res onsibilit! %or his ast e*il deeds, lea*es %or the nether world... ,hen the master;s bod! is b"ried %or 'ood to'ether with a /a"ldron st"%%ed with meat, a bi' it/her %"ll o% mil0 and a 'reat n"mber o% 'old and sil*er ornaments. ,he nobler and ri/her the man was the 'reater amo"nt o% 3eweller! is b"ried with him. $hen he be'ins to /ome ali*e in the nether world the e*il s rits that were awaitin' him will be distra/ted b! the 'litter o% the re/io"s thin's and will not harm his bod! nor his so"l... ,he other s e/ial %eat"re o% the =on'ols; %"nereal rit"al is that no-one is to 0now i% onl! *a'"el! where a noble man;s 'ra*e is. Immediatel! a%ter the %"neral all the witnesses o% the b"rial are 0illed and then horse-herds are dri*en a/ross the ste e to tram le down all e*iden/e o% the obse+"ies. It is done not so m"/h as to rote/t the 'ra*e %rom robbers and thie*es b"t mainl! %rom hostile relati*es. ,hose who did not dare ta0e *en'ean/e d"rin' the dead one;s li%etime /an do it a%ter his death. C"/h /ases were 0nown not onl! as re'ards the =on'ols. Aot on/e the s"//eedin' r"lers dese/rated the 'ra*es o% their rede/essors ta0in' o"t the bodies o% the dead %rom their tombs and settin' them a%ire. ,he =on'ols dreaded this 0ind o% blas hem! more than an!thin' else in the world... Co when )han ="n0eh died in 12J9, b! order o% his brothers .r!0-7"'i, )h"bilai and )h"la'" ten tho"sand eo le who had ta0en art in the %"neral were 0illed disre'ardin' their blood and merits. ,oo man! wished to ta0e *en'ean/e on the de/eased one to let i% onl! one o% those 0nowin' the b"rial la/e sta! ali*e. 7esides the =on'ols belie*ed that the 'reater the amo"nt o% *i/tims d"rin' the b"rial the more deli'hted the b"ried one is, whi/h was es e/iall! tr"e in the /ase o% s"/h a worth! man as the 'reat )han ="n0eh. ,he %"neral rit"al ro*ed to be e*en on a 'rander s/ale than that o% &en'hi( )han himsel%. .nd that on a//o"nt o% the %a/t that b! sla"'hterin' ten tho"sand eo le the &en'hi(ides intended to %ri'hten to death not onl! their %ellow-/o"ntr!men b"t entire h"man0ind. ,he! wanted to show the world it was entirel! in their ower to sto all li%e on earth... .nd now the most distin'"ished des/endant o% these 'reat r"lers is sha0in' li0e a wret/hed s arrow %earin' to ta0e the worthless li%e o% one sin'le man-.. .b"l0hair s at in anno!an/e. 1as his 'eneration reall! be/ome so ett! and small-minded# Indeed, not onl! the whole world b"t e*en the trash! s"ltans o% the s"b3"'ated ste e ma0e the le'itimate 0han /o"nt with them and thr"st their will on him.b"l0hair loo0ed "nwittin'l! at @r"s-)han;s 'reat-'randsons and %elt si/0. ,he handsome bla/0-m"sta/hioed ?an!be0 and the sto/0! ro/0-li0e )erei were sittin' motionlessl! in %ront o% their .r'!ns. ,here %a/es resembled /old, well-shar ened da''ers... Des, these two are %ar more dan'ero"s than all the rest ta0en to'ether. ,he! will ne*er %or'i*e him his /on+"erin' their an/estors; nest C!'na0, the /a ital o% the entire $hite 1orde. ,he! 'rew es e/iall! embittered when he too0 to wi%e the 'reat-'rand da"'hter o% 9ame ,im"r, the da"'hter o% the s/holar @l"'be0. In their e!es it was the betra!al o% the ste e. I% the o ort"nit! arose, the! wo"ld ha*e immediatel! lea*e his head+"arters and be/ome inde endent 0hans. ,he! 0e t dreamin' o% s"/h a /han/e and to them the worst enemies are the settled 7"0hara and Camar0and be0s-..
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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1owe*er he will ne*er let them ha*e their intentions /ome tr"e. ,he! will ha*e no s" ort other than that %rom their 0ins%ol0. ,he silent ste e eo le will not s" ort them sin/e the 0han;s ower is still too stron' %or them to de%! it. Co the! ha*e to sit still at the 0han;s head+"arters and loo0 hel lessl! in his dire/tion-.. 7"t how is one s" osed to lease the %a/eless ste e masses# $hat side do the! side with now, the .r'!ns or the )i /ha0s# 1ow man! times does he ha*e to "t two and two to'ether# ,he %or/es, the a"thorit! o% the 0hans, the limitless di%%eren/es. I% !o" so m"/h as don;t /o"nt with .0(hol-7i!; words the .r'!ns, the Aaimans and the )onrads will stand " a'ainst !o" all to'ether with all their bran/hes. ,his is what ?an!be0 and )erei are loo0in' %orward to. ,he! ha*e lon' won the %a*o"r o% these 0ins and are 0nown as rote/tors o% their interests. ?"st one little mista0e and the! will ta0e to the ste e h"ndreds o% a"ls li0e herdsmen do /ows estered b! /ad%lies, will head n"mero"s 0ins, and who 0nows what the rest will do "nder the /ir/"mstan/es... 1owe*er how /an one den! the re+"est o% a )i /ha0 warrior, the more so that he re%ers to the "nbrea0able law o% the an/estors# ,he )i /ha0s are the ones who are the s" ort o% the 0hanate and man! o% those in the ste e ha*e to /o"nt with their bl"d'eons. .t an! moment these bl"d'eons /an be raised o*er the heads o% ?an!be0 and )erei. 4ne will 3"st ha*e to ma0e "se o% an a ro riate moment... Des, the /ase o% Ao'ai is another instr"/ti*e eFam le %or )han .b"l0hair. $hen the militar! leader o% the ste e eo le ta0es too m"/h ower, the 0han be/omes easil! a la!thin' in his hands. C"/h eo le are as dan'ero"s as %ire. ,his is wh! .b"l0hair m"st beware o% his own .r'!n s"ltans on the one hand and the )i /ha0s on the other. ,o whom% them sho"ld he o%%er his s" ort to# 4% /o"rse he /o"ld 'o on ro%itin' %rom their di%%eren/es, b"t then it /o"ld not last lon' eno"'h. ,he dis/ord is too %ar 'one alread!... 1owe*er, there is nothin' else le%t to do. It is well 0nown that there is no roblem as di%%i/"lt as settlin' the )a(a0hs; interne/ine stri%e. 7"t wh! settle them# 4n the /ontrar!, the! will ha*e to be stren'thened. ,his is the onl! sal*ation and wa! o"t o% the /"rrent sit"ation. It wo"ld be best meetin' the de*elo ments hal% wa! and not waitin' till the! ta0e !o" b! s"r rise. Is it not d"e to this 0ind o% oli/! that the &en'hi(ides still retain their enormo"s ower and in%l"en/e in the ste e# $hat wo"ld ha en i% one %ine da! a man t"rned " who wo"ld mana'e to "nite the se arate )a(a0h 0ins and lead them to the same 'oal# $hat /o"ld stand in the wa! o% their sword then# 7"t this sword is a two-ed'ed wea on and one m"st be *er! /are%"l not to h"rt onesel% with it. 4ne had better let it lie idle %or the time bein'. Co )han .b"l0hair will 0ee on settin' the ste e 0ins and tribes a'ainst one another and will do that with 'reat dili'en/e and /"nnin'. 1e has eno"'h eF erien/e %or that, besides the %ire has been bla(in' %or +"ite a time now. 1e onl! has to throw more dr! wood on the %ire to 0ee it 'oin'. .lto'ether di%%erent tho"'hts were ra/in' thro"'h the mind o% C"ltan ?an!be0 who had lon' dreamed o% se aratin' the nomadi/ tribes o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e %rom .b"l0hair;s 1orde. 1e %"ll! realised the tra'i/ sit"ation )han .b"l0hair had %o"nd himsel% in. «1is 1orde has lost its erstwhile 'reatness...» tho"'ht he.— In the so"thwest )horasan is 'ainin' stren'th a'ain with the eo le o% =a*eranna0hr o%%erin' e*er stron'er resistan/e to his raids and the ,im"rides, so %ar se/retl! b"t with 'rowin' insisten/e, /omin' o"t with their own /laims... In the north-west the sit"ation is no better. ,he tro"blesome Ao'ai 1orde too 0ee s on disso/iatin' %rom him. ,he mi'ht o% the )a(an and Brimean )hanates is 'rowin' and the! ha*e been hatin' .b"l0hair %rom olden times. =ore and more o%ten do the .star0hanide s"ltans loo0 their wa!... .nd what is 'oin' on in the 1orde itsel%# ,he eFtremel! hi'h taFes and *ario"s d"ties aro"se 'rowin' dissatis%a/tion amon'st the ran0-and-%ile nomads. In the ste e ea/h and s"ndr! is re ared to se arate %rom .b"l0hair;s 1orde. Aow is the ri'ht time to let this ri e sit"ation %ire at the desired tar'et.» ?an!be0 was a wise oliti/ian and realised *er! well that when the wish o% the im ram, or the mob, /oin/ides with that o% its ambitio"s leader the latter;s lans /ome
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tr"e more easil!. 4*er the ast months ?an!be0 had been seein' the i/t"re he saw onl! re/entl!. 1e was /omin' ba/0 a%ter a h"nt. C"ddenl! he heard a woman wee in' whi/h reminded him o% the howlin' o% a wo"nded she-wol%. ?an!be0 'allo ed o%% with his horsemen and %o"nd himsel% on a hillo/0. In %ront o% him he saw an a"l s readin' in the *alle! below. ,here was no war 'oin' b"t still it seemed the %oe had 3"st been there. ,he !"rtas; %rames were bro0en and here and there one /o"ld see the abandoned /hattels o% the nomads. ,hose still ali*e were standin' near the 0illed and wo"nded. 4ne /o"ld hear the /r!in' and lamentin' o% those aro"nd. $hen ?an!be0 /ame 'allo in' to them a 're!-bearded stoo in' old man /ame to meet him. — $hat;s ha ened, old man# — the s"ltan as0ed %or'ettin' to sa! hello to him. — $hen will all this sto #- — the old man said sternl! loo0in' strai'ht in the e!e o% the s"ltan.— $e ha*e 3"st /ome here %rom the Dedil. ,he Ao'ai bi!s, the .star0han s"ltans and the ,artar and 7ash0ir alamans were botherin' "s no end. ,hat we /o"ld "nderstand. .nd now these wol*es o% .b"l0hair... $e did not want to 'i*e o"r horsemen to him and /o"ld not a! o"r "nbearable taFes in time. ,his is wh! the 0han sent his lash0ars here. ,he! ha*e r"ined o"r a"l. ,he! rob and 0ill "s as tho"'h the! were stran'ers. :lease sa*e "s, son o% 7ara0-)han... — 1ow /an I sa*e !o"# — $e need to ha*e o"r own 0hanate- — the old man said %irml!.— $h!e*er sho"ld we, the nomads, ha*e these d"ties and taFes# .ll this is ne/essar! to s" ort the 1orde o% .b"l0hair. Ban;t !o" see the wa! the! treat "s#... — Des, this was the wa! the! beha*ed e*er!where, both on the Bhinese and the ?"n'ar borders. ,he eo le had alread! realised the ne/essit! o% /reatin' its own )a(a0h 0hanate. ,he a le had alread! be'"n ri enin' and C"ltan ?an!be0 was re ared to a/t. .s an old )a(a0h sa!in' 'oes: «:"ll down an old !"rta to ere/t a new one instead». .b"l0hair needed an inter-/lan stri%e in order to restrain the wil%"l nomadi/ tribes in his 1orde sin/e he %ollowed the «di*ide and r"le» rin/i le. 4n the other hand, ?an!be0 needed the same stri%e in order to destro! .b"l0hair;s 1orde. ,he door /rea0ed in the +"iet o% the ni'ht and a handsome se*en-!ear-old bo! /ame into the 0han;s !"rta. It was .b"l0hair;s 'randson and the son o% Chah-7"da0h who had died a %ew months a'o. 1ead hi'h and ro"d he wal0ed strai'ht to the throne. 1e did not e*en loo0 at the n"mero"s /o"rtiers, be0s, s"ltans and emirs all /lad in 'arments embroidered with 'old. 1a*in' a roa/hed the 0han he b"ried his /lose/ro ed head to ed b! a «'ood-l"/0 t"%t» in his la . — .s it t"rns o"t ,arlan0o0 is not a *er! obedient horse,— he said ob*io"sl! ro"d with his words.— It 0e t tr!in' to sha0e me o%% its ba/0 b"t nothin' /ame o% it. It;ll ta0e me 3"st a little more time to brea0 the beast in... — .lri'ht, m! dear bo!, we are b"s! dis/"ssin' im ortant matters, so !o";d better r"n alon' and la! some- — .b"l0hair stro0ed his 'randson;s head.— $hen !o" are a 'rown man !o" !o"rsel% will ha*e to b"rn in this in%ernal %ire. Aow 'o and en3o! !o"rsel% while !o" /an a%%ord it— $hat 0ind o% in%ernal %ire are !o" tal0in' abo"t, 'randdad# — the bo! loo0ed aro"nd in bewilderment.— $hen I 'row " and be/ome 0han I will ha*e them b"ild a aradise on earth— ,he 0han smiled 'ood-nat"redl! and then %rowned noti/in' the wa! )erei;s se*enteen-!ear-old s"n 7"r"nd"0 was loo0in' at his 'randson. ,here was so m"/h /old hatred in 7"r"nd"0;s e!es that one /o"ld %eel his blood /"rdle in his *eins. ,he reason %or it was the %a/t that a%ter the 0han;s se/ond son Chah-1aidar this little ="hammedCheibani who had 3"st said the sill! words abo"t a aradise on earth mi'ht be/ome the onl! heir-a arent to the throne. ,here was no do"bt that " on .b"l0hair;s death Chah-1aidar and ="hammed-Cheibani wo"ld be/ome the main tar'ets %or the arrows o% the 0han;s enemies... — 4n an im "lse the 0han embra/ed his dearl! lo*ed 'randson with assionate a%%e/tion as tho"'h rote/tin' him %rom hostile e!es. Bo"ld these wol%-s0ins reall! raise
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their hands at the inno/ent /hild# 2id he brea0 down someone;s shanra0 1 or sto " someone;s %l"e with a t"nl"0 2 that the! hate him so# 7"t then .b"l0hair in*ol"ntaril! remembered what he himsel% had done on/e to the little son o% =a0hs"d-1o3a. ,he bo! was onl! three then and /o"ld do no harm to the ower%"l and able-bodied )han .b"l0hair... 4nl! one o% those sittin' there had '"essed wh! all o% a s"dden the 0han be'an h"''in' his little 'randson with s"/h ardo"r. It was the )han;s bitter enem! ?an!be0. «Do"r a rehensions are well-'ro"nded, 0han,» he tho"'ht. «.%ter all this /hild is !o"r last heir and a%ter his death !o"r 0in will sto eFistin'. 1e will be li0e the last t"%t o% meadow-sweet thrown on the d!in' %ire o% !o"r hearth... $ell, %or a se*en-!ear 0id he is bri'ht eno"'h and romises to be/ome a tr"e 0han. 1owe*er e*er!bod!;s %ate is in the hands o% &od while we are mere eFe/"tors o% 1is will...» 2es ite his inborn intelli'en/e and shrewdness C"ltan ?an!be0 /o"ld not 0now that it was d"e to this bo! that the %lame wo"ld 'o on b"rnin' in the atrimonial hearth o% .b"l0hair. — Aow 'o, m! dear bo!- — .b"l0hair re eated a%%e/tionatel!.— ,he tet/h! ,arlan0o0 ran awa! %rom !o", !o" sa!# Co what# 2on;t !o" ha*e man! %ine horses in !o"r herds# :i/0 whi/he*er /at/hes !o"r e!e... .b"l0hair had alread! made " his mind. ,he de/ision /ame nat"rall! to him. $hate*er the /ir/"mstan/es now was no time %or an o en inter-/lan stri%e. . oor ea/e is better than a 'ood +"arrel. 1owe*er, sho"ld this ha en the 0han had better /ome o"t onl! as a 'o-between. 9et the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s themsel*es senten/e one another to death. 1e will ta0e " on himsel% the art o% an eFe/"tioner. ,he more heads he will /"t o%% with them held res onsible %or all that the better-.. — Is it not that sin/e the time o% the 'reat =ai0hi-7e! o% the @!s"n 0in the eo le has been entitled to de/idin' on the li%e and death o% %ree-born warriors# — he as0ed 'i*in' his /o"n/il a stern loo0.— <*en &en'hi( )han did not *iolate this tradition. Co how /an I, his de/endant, in%rin'e on this sa/red ri'ht o% m! eo le# 9et the noblest and most worth! o% the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s 'ather to'ether and ass their senten/e on warrior Ca!an. Do"r de/ision will be !o"r order %or me<*er!one nodded in a'reement sin/e the will o% a 0han is law.. — =a! it be as !o" sa!, Do"r &ra/e. $e will assemble one more time. >or three whole da!s the bi!s and elders o% the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s debated that iss"e. ,he smooth tal0ers o% both arties ma0e well-reasoned and *er! elo+"ent s ee/hes in the manner o% the best sa'es and ro hets o% the ste e b"t there was no "nanimit! between them. .nd then, as was to be eF e/ted, the! be'an showin' shar 0ni*es to ea/h other, at %irst /o*ertl! and then +"ite o enl!. ,he! were onl! restrained b! the %a/t that both /am s; %or/es at the 0han;s head+"arters were abo"t the same in n"mber and the elders did not ad*ise them to start an o en %i'ht. It all ended in their de/idin' to t"rn to the 0han a'ain. ,he %ormer did not inter%ere in an!thin' and loo0ed withdrawn and absol"tel! "ninterested in the o"t/ome o% the whole matter. ,he 0han;s /o"n/il assembled a'ain. ,here seemed to be no wa! o"t. .ll reali(ed *er! well that on/e two wol%-ho"nds started a %i'ht the master had to /ast a s ear at one o% them to settle the «ar'"ment». 4therwise he mi'ht lose both o% them. 7"t who o% the %i'htin' two wo"ld be hit b! the s ear thrown at random# 2"rin' s"/h a s/"%%le one /o"ld hit the wron' one... .b"l0hair;s /ool stare was %iFed on somethin' in the distan/e. Aow it was absol"tel! im ossible %or him to /ast this s ear at the )i /ha0s. ,he so*erei'n 0han had to ass his senten/e on /ommon )a(a0h Ca!an. 7"t was it not a low-born o% the 7arlas bran/h o% the ste e /lan o% =an'!ts, the %amed ,im"r, who had re/entl! t"rned nearl! the whole world inside o"t# ,he name alone made .b"l0hair; %lesh /ree ... Bontradi/tions were tearin' a art the &olden 1orde. ,he 0hans themsel*es were "nderminin' its ower and in 1G8K 2imitr! o% the 2on t"rned the it/h the! had d"''ed o"t into a !awnin' /hasm. 7"t the &olden 1orde had not !et %allen into it and
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$hanrak " the base o) a yurta<s %u+ola. 3unluk " a +ie%e o) )elt (at )or shuttin' u+ a yurta<s )lue.
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/ontin"ed atta/0in' its nei'hbo"rs. ,im"r the 9ame "ttered a %"neral ra!er o*er the 'ra*e o% the &olden 1orde... It was ,im"r who s" orted the 0in o% ?a'atais a'ainst the rest o% the &en'hi(ides, the des/endants o% ?"t/hi. In 1G92 he r"ined the base o% the &olden 1orde and in 1G9J ,im"r;s hordes ad*an/ed on it, now %rom the Ba"/as"s, and entered Cerai, a %ab"lo"s /a ital %o"nded b! )han 7at! in the lower rea/hes o% the Dedil. )han ,o0htam!sh ran %or his dear li%e and th"s ended the ower o% the &olden 1orde... ,im"r o% 7arlas eFtra/tion had %o"nd some /ertain 0e! to histor!. :erha s it was d"e to his belon'in' in the bra*e ste e eo le that he 0new how to 'o*ern them. $ell, the im ram, the ste e mob, had alwa!s been an eni'ma %or the ste e r"lers@ on /"rbin' it li0e the! do a wild horse the Iron 9ame 'allo ed o%% towards 'lor! and man! lands were s"b3"'ated b! him. ,h"s it was now not the li%e o% one man .b"l0hair had to de/ide " on. ,he roblem he was %a/in' was %ar more im ortant. .b"l0hair wo"ld ha*e to win the heart o% this mob and then, who 0nows, he mi'ht be the one destined to tra*el the 'lorio"s ro"te o% ,im"r a'ain... ,he 0han;s oli/! resembles a %i/0le s rin'time wind and its /o"rse de ends on /on/rete /ir/"mstan/es. C"ddenl! .b"l0hair;s e!es lit " warml!. «$hat i% I settle this roblem in a sim le h"man wa!#» — tho"'ht he. «,he /ommoners mi'ht tr"l! li0e it. ,o all intents and "r oses an! r"ler wishes to win their tr"st. .%ter all the %ate o% the 0hanate de ends on them...» >or thirt! !ears )han .b"l0hair r"led this h"'e land and it was onl! now that this sim le tr"th entered his mind. >irst o% all he de/ided to +"estion the /riminal himsel% and %orm his own o inion on the /"l rit;s /rime. 1e made a lan'"id 'est"re dismissin' his /o"n/il... .b"l0hair i/0ed " a little sil*er bell and shoo0 it li'htl!. ,he bell "ttered a so%t t"ne%"l so"nd and an old s/rawn! and ale-%a/ed man immediatel! a eared be%ore .b"l0hair. It was the 0han;s /on%idant 4s an-1o3a. 1e silentl! laid his hands on his /hest and in/lined his head re*erentl! in eF e/tation o% orders. — 1a*e them brin' the /on*i/t to me— $hi/h /on*i/t, m! Co*erei'n# ,here was a "((led eF ression in 4s an-1o3a;s e!es... «Indeed, whi/h o% them#» .b"l0hair tho"'ht meanl!. I"ite a %ew had been 3ailed in (indans o*er the ast thirt! !ears. 1e had alread! %or'otten man! and did not e*en 0now whether i% onl! some o% them were ali*e in their "nder'ro"nd d"n'eons %or it is better to be dead than ali*e in the 'ra*e. .nd a (indan is nothin' b"t a /old and wet 'ra*e, let alone the hea*! r"st! /hains on /on*i/ts; arms and aro"nd their ne/0s. $ell, so %ar he still remembers the name o% the warrior in +"estion. ,he! /all him Ca!an and %or him the most treas"red thin' in the world is his li%e and %reedom. .s %or the 0han, to him this li%e is as worthless as that o% the mos+"ito sin'in' b! his ear. Ca!an... $here did he hear this sonoro"s name %or the last time#.. Des, that;s how it reall! was. It was 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who mentioned it to him. Che as0ed the 0han to ma0e the !o"n' horseman an al0hal!0, that is the t"tor and eFe/"tor o% his se/ond son C"!"n/hi0. $h! did she im lore him so (ealo"sl!#.. 1e did not %"l%il her re+"est then sa!in' that as lon' as he li*ed there was no need botherin' abo"t whate*er eFe/"tors %or his sons. 7"t wh! was he not willin' to meet the woman;s re+"est then# $as it be/a"se o% the 'ossi he heard in his ala/e# 7"t then there was nothin' "n"s"al abo"t it. )han;s ala/es were alwa!s %"ll o% 'ossi . Ctill, altho"'h he was absol"tel! s"re o% his belo*ed wi%e;s /r!stal-/lear "rit! the 'ossi le%t a /ertain mar0 in his so"l. $hat 0ind o% man is this Ca!an# 4n/e, d"rin' one o% his /am ai'ns he /a"'ht a 'lim se o% the man, %rom a%ar, besides the warrior;s iron helmet re*ented the 0han seein' his %a/e /learl!. .%ter that %irst /ase his wi%e ne*er bothered him with this re+"est and he %or'ot abo"t that man. Ce*en !ears had assed sin/e that time... .b"l0hair t"rned his head to one o% his men. — 9et them brin' here the horseman who /a"sed the ar'"ment between the .r'!ns and the )i /ha0s- — he ordered, %or some reason not rono"n/in' the name o% warrior Ca!an.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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— .!, =! )han$as it be/a"se o% his old a'e that he 0e t brin'in' to mind the e*ents o% the ast# Aow too, while the! were dra''in' o"t %rom the it/h and ta0in' to him this horseman with an im ressi*e name, all his brilliant !et "neas! li%e was /omin' ali*e in his memor!... «,he ,hrone o% Ca!in», «,he ,hrone o% ?"t/hi», «,he ,hrone o% 7at!» — s"/h were the names b! whi/h the throne he /ame to at the a'e o% se*enteen had been 0nown. ,hen 0han;s head+"arters was sit"ated b! the mo"th o% the 5i*er Irt!sh in the /it! o% Bhin'a-,"ra-,!"men, where one;s s it /on'eals be%ore it hits the 'ro"nd. >rom there he be'an his *i/torio"s /am ai'ns /on+"erin' the se arate )a(a0h 0hanates one b! one. 1e s"b3"'ated the whole area o% the Ish!m and the ban0s o% the ,obol and A"ra ri*ers. Aobod! /o"ld sto him and he went as %ar as the mo"ntain @l!ta" the to o% whi/h was on/e 'ra/ed b! the banner o% ?"t/hi... 9ater he made his head+"arters in the /it! o% 4rda-7a(ar whi/h was the assembl! oint o% 7at!;s arm! be%ore his mar/h to the west. ,he entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e s"bmitted to him and his domain was o*erloo0in' the %o"r /ardinal oints: be!ond the Irt!sh in the east, be!ond the Desil in the north, be!ond the Hhai0 and the Dedil in the west and be!ond the C!r-2ar!a in the so"th. ,he ri/hest o% all was =e(hd"re/h!e, or =a*erranna0hr. ,im"r;s des/endants /o"ld not de*ide between themsel*es their 'rand%ather;s inheritan/e and he de/ided to hel them settle that di%%i/"lt roblem. ,oo *ast was the territor! the Iron 9ame /r"shed down on/e. ,he 0han too0 awa! %rom them C!'na0, C"(a0, .r0"0, .00"r'an and other /ities thereb! /onsiderabl! lessenin' the b"rden o% their roblems. ,his was how Bentral .sia t"rned o"t to be di*ided amon' the des/endants o% ?"t/hiide Cheibani and ,im"r. In an! /ase he himsel% 'ot not the worst art o% it... Co what else was he to do in the time le%t him b! his %ate#.. =o'olistan-.. It ta0es whole siF da!s to /ross this land o% lent! %rom north to so"th and %rom east to west. >rom the ?"n'ars in the east to ,ash0ent and ,"r0estan in the west, %rom the bl"e 7al0hash Cea in the north to the 'reen *ale!s o% )ash'aria in the so"th... )ash'aria, Cemire/h!e, the %ab"lo"s ,"r%an — are there ri/her lands- ,he! are 'o*erned b! 0hans %rom the 0in o% ?a'atai and most o% their s"b3e/ts are )a(a0hs. 1e m"st not %or'et that %or the .r'!n bi!s and s"ltans at his head+"arters, in arti/"lar %or ?an!be0 and )erei, =o'olistan means a se/"re rear and s" ort. I% @r"s0han;s des/endants ?an!be0 and )erei de/ided on %o"ndin' an inde endent )a(a0h 0hanate and lea*in' his /am the! wo"ld do"btless /ome to =o'olistan. $hat wo"ld the! do when =o'olistan be/ame a art o% his 'reat ower# Des, it wo"ld be a 'ood and stron' m"((le %or those 0een on disso/iatin' themsel*es %rom himAearl! ina"dibl! did the intri/atel! /ar*ed door /rea0 and in /ame the ale-loo0in' 4s an-1o3a a//om anied b! two hen/hmen with drawn swords who were brin'in' in the arrested warrior. — Do"r /ommand is %"l%illed, Do"r &ra/e.b"l0hair was still loo0in' somewhere into the distan/e. 1e t"rned his head slowl! and s"ddenl! went ale as tho"'h he were a dead man... 7e%ore him was standin' a man who was the s ittin' ima'e o% his son C"!"n/hi0. ,he same thi/0 e!ebrows, the a/+"iline nose, the almond-sha ed e!es. .nd the nat"ral %eline mo*ements o% a leo ard. ,he onl! di%%eren/e was that his son C"!"n/hi0 had no mo"sta/he !et. 4therwise the! wo"ld loo0 li0e two brothers. Co this was wh! his bea"ti%"l wi%e 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im was so insistent as0in' him to ma0e this rob"st lad the altal!0 o% his little C"!"n/hi0-.. 1e %elt wild ra'e s"r'in' inside. .ll his s"s i/ions immediatel! awo0e and t"rned into /on%iden/e. 4nl! a blind one wo"ld not "nderstand what it meant. ,his warrior m"st die immediatel!. ,oda!Aow- 5i'ht on the s ot in %ront o% him-.. .s i% o% its own %ree will .b"l0hair;s hand rea/hed %or the handle o% his lon' )horasan da''er %astened onto his belt. ,he deadl! blade /ame o"t o% its sheath e%%ortlessl! and smoothl!.

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Ceein' the eF ression on the 0han;s %a/e Ca!an be/ame immediatel! aware o% what awaited him. 1is e!es were %iFed on .b"l0hair;s hand whi/h was "nsheathin' the da''er. ,he !o"n' warrior bit his li loo0in' strai'ht into the 0han;s e!es. .b"l0hair was also starin' at him with a 'l"m loo0. 1e re/alled an an/ient law. «Do" ha*e the ri'ht to /"t o%% a /on*i/t;s head b"t %irst !o" m"st listen to what his ton'"e has to sa!-» ,his was what the an/estors said and who else is one s" osed to ta0e wisdom %rom b"t them# — 2o !o" a/0nowled'e the /har'es bro"'ht a'ainst !o"# — )han .b"l0hair did not re/o'nise his own *oi/e. It so"nded wea0 and trem"lo"s and he /o"ld hardl! s+"ee(e the words o"t o% his throat. .t the same time the warrior 0e t silent as tho"'h the 0han was addressin' somebod! else. .nd a'ain the 0han %lew into a ra'e. — C ea0 " , man—Aow the 0han was bellowin' and his e!es 'rew red with blood. ,he warrior in/lined his head a little. — Ao- I ma! be '"ilt! o% somethin' b"t not o% what )obland!-7at!r 0ee s tal0in' abo"t. I remember the re/e ts %or the warriors and ha*e ne*er /ommitted an!thin' li0e that... Ca!an was s ea0in' so%tl! b"t with di'nit!. 1is *oi/e made .b"l0hair re'ain his sel%-/ontrol. «I ma! be '"ilt! o% somethin'...» $ell, .b"l0hair /o"ld well "nderstand the *enomo"s meanin' o% his words. 1is di'nit! o% a man was in3"red. .nd i% he ordered the ton'"e o% this sa"s! %ellow seared with a hot iron, the ro'"e /o"ld tell +"ite a lot... — 2o !o" thin0 )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r /o"ld stain himsel% with a lie# ,he warrior loo0ed ri'ht into his e!es a'ain. — Do", =! )han, m"st 0now better wh! )obland!-7at!r does it... «$hat is that s" osed to mean#..» — .b"l0hair stared hard at the tied-" warrior. 9oo0s li0e this one is not a sim leton. 1e 0nows well wh! the enemies ha*e slandered him and not somebod! else. .nd it is onl! nat"ral that the whole ste e is in the 0now that there is a warrior at the 0han;s head+"arters who bears 'reater h!si/al resemblan/e to .b"l0hair;s son than the 0han himsel% does. «.nd how do !o" li0e that %oF )obland!-7at!r- 1e 0nows how m! relationshi with the .r'!n s"ltans ha*e worsened and %oists this warrior on me li0e one "ts a slowmat/h to dr! wood read! to /at/h %ire. It is not a//idental that the .r'!ns stood " "nanimo"sl! %or this %ine %ellow. .nd the sm"' smiles o% ?an!be0 and )erei-.. Ao, ra'e is a bad ad*iser, it is li0e a t"rb"lent ri*er washin' down e*er!thin' in its wa!. ,he 'reater its ra'e the slower its r"n a%ter that. . rash de/ision, besides in a state o% ra'e is a so*erei'n;s worst enem!.» .b"l0hair slowl! remo*ed his hand %rom the da''er. — $hat tribe and 0in do !o" /ome %rom# — =an'!t, o% the 7arlas 0in. .nd a'ain did the 0han %iF his e!es on the %a/e o% the !o"n' warrior. 1is e!es lit " with some se/ret %ire the meanin' o% whi/h onl! the 0han himsel% 0new... .%ter all, this /annot be eF/l"ded either. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im on/e told him that the little C"!"n/hi0 resembled her relati*es on the maternal side. ,he! are all =an'!ts. .nd "s"all! the warriors o% the 7arlas 0in ha*e thi/0 b"sh! e!ebrows. Is this warrior to blame %or his e!ebrows bein' eFa/tl! li0e those o% his son# 2oesn;t he, )han .b"l0hair, resemble the settled @(be0s, his mother;s relati*es# $h! did he not /he/0 o"t the tr"th%"lness o% the 'ossi when he %irst heard o% it# $hat was it his wise old *i(ier Car!'! -Chiman o% the =an'!t 0in told him then# «,he s o"se o% Co*erei'n )han .b"l0hair who is li0e a sea o% 3o! and the s"n o% *irt"e, is hersel% the 'randda"'hter o% the 'reat and "n%or'ettable ,im"r and also the da"'hter o% the s/holar @l"'be0, and there%ore she is be!ond s"s i/ion-» ,hen the old man a"sed and added +"ietl!: «,his is what both sides need to 0now. <s e/iall! now when it is absol"tel! ne/essar! that !o"r son Chah-1aidar, m! )han, /ome to the throne at Camar0and...» $hat "se will it be i% he lets them s read this 'ossi a'ain# 1as his relationshi with the des/endants o% 9ame ,im"r im ro*ed sin/e then# .nd what will the! sa! in
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the ste e i% he orders the eFe/"tion o% this warrior# ,he! will /ertainl! sa! that be/a"se o% his s"s i/ions on a//o"nt o% his wi%e he 0illed an inno/ent man. ,he mob ne*er %or'i*es this. :eo le;s 5"mo"r is worse than soot. <*en i% the! are not bold eno"'h to tell the tr"th to his %a/e the! will still thin0 so. Con's will be s"n' abo"t it b! e*er! bon%ire. ,he! will de%ame and ma0e a la"'hin' sto/0 o% him %or all time. Ban a 0han let his s"b3e/ts ridi/"le him#7"t how /an he %or'i*e this warrior, the more so that )obland!-7at!r eF e/ts satis%a/tion# 1e /annot a%%ord to sa! nothin' as tho"'h he did not "nderstand an!thin'. In that /ase he will loo0 a dolt in the e!es o% his eo le. .nd whi/h is e*en worse, the! will /onsider him a /oward who lets an! low-born stable-man snea0 into his /on3"'al bed-.. Des, this warrior shall die- 7"t it will ha en in s"/h a wa! that nobod! will s"s e/t the 0han and his hono"r will be sa*ed. 7esides the! will %ear him more. 9et them tal0 abo"t it in e*er! ho"se. ,hen their wis ers will be absol"tel! di%%erent, timid, %ear%"l, witho"t a tra/e o% a sneer. C"/h whis ers will ne*er do an! harm to the r"ler-.. $h! did this sim le de/ision not o//"r to him earlier# .%ter all it was not on/e that he resorted to this "se%"l means. )han .b"l0hair;s %a/e bri'htened *isibl! and he loo0ed at the warrior with aternal a%%e/tion. — .ll ri'ht, we;ll seal his %ate a%ter the %"neral re ast in hono"r o% C"ltan Chah7"da0h,— .b"l0hair said.— $h! /lo"d these da!s o% mo"rnin' with another woe# ,a0e him awa!. $e;ll see what we /an do abo"t him-.. $itho"t sa!in' a word the warrior t"rned to the door and the 0han;s '"ards too0 him o"t. 7"t be%ore the! le%t the 0han said lo"dl! and distin/tl!: — =a0e s"re nothin' ha ens to him. 4therwise it will /ost !o" !o"r heads-.. — Des, =! Co*erei'n- — said the 0han;s retainer. ,he %"neral re ast on his %irst-born Chah-7"da0h was to be held three da!s later. .//ordin' to ste e /"stom %"neral re asts had nothin' in /ommon with obse+"ies. ,he! were /ond"/ted b! the so-/alled bi' toi, or assembl!, at whi/h the de/eased one was tho"'ht to be resent. .t the same time no 'rie*in' was allowed. Instead the! had 'ames on horseba/0 and horse-ra/es and held wrestlin' and sin'in' /ontests. ,his time all the %amo"s ersons were in*ited a'ain. ,he tal0s were %o/"sed on the /omin' /ontest o% narrator-son'sters: the )i /ha0 )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" with the .r'!n im ro*iser )otan-Hh!ra", the %ather o% .0(hol-7i! himsel%. )a('"tan-Hh!ra";s ton'"e was made o% %lamin' red /ali/o and his teeth were shar er than a sword, whereas a//ordin' to the )a(a0hs he himsel% was less than a roo0 in si(e. )otan-Hh!ra" was o*er ninet! b"t his *oi/e was as sonoro"s as %i%t! !ears a'o. ,he 'reat h"ndred-!earold sa'e and soothsa!er .san-)ai'! whose %ame has remained in a'es was to 3"d'e the /ontest. 1e was the siFth 'eneration des/endant o% the 'reat law-'i*er =ai0hi-7i! himsel% and the! hono"red him as a saint alread! d"rin' his li%etime... :onderin' on the %orth/omin' %"neral re ast .b"l0hair a'ain sent %or 4s an-1o3a, 'a*e him a %ew im ortant instr"/tions and it was onl! towards the end o% the /on%eren/e that he said as tho"'h in assin': — .s %or this warrior, we will de/ide on him the da! a%ter the %"neral re ast, "nless... 4s an-1o3a tensed " . 1e 0new *er! well what the 0han;s tone meant. — @nless this warrior 0ills himsel% with his own hands. It o%ten ha ens that /"l rits ta0e their own li%e %or %ear o% the on/omin' trial. 1e is a ro"d-loo0in' %ellow and will hardl! wish to be/ome dis'ra/ed in "bli/... 4s an-1o3a;s li s mo*ed barel! *isibl!: — Des, this ma! well ha en, =! )han... III .//ordin' to /"stom %"neral re asts had to be held in the *ast eF anses o% the ste e where the so"l o% the de/eased one wo"ld be /heer%"l and ea/e%"l. 7esides the /omin' 'ames on horseba/0 and horse-ra/es re+"ired m"/h s a/e. ,his is wh!
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)han .b"l0hair de/ided to in*ite his '"ests to the shore o% 9a0e .00ol, west o% the @l!ta" =o"ntains. .ll the be0s and s"ltans o% the 'reat 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e and the settled =a*eranna0hr were to ta0e art in the %"neral re ast. .s %ar as the hori(on does the 'rass ro/0 'entl! in the emerald-sil*er! wa*es o% the ste e, the s"r%a/e o% its s i/! breathin' sea rea/hin' as hi'h as a horseman;s breast. 4nl! in the distan/e one /an see the 're!ish bl"e o"tlines o% the @l!ta" and )i/hita" =o"ntains where the remains o% the %amed Dedi'he-7at!r and )han ,o0htam!sh re ose. Aow and then there %lare " %lamin'-red /l"sters o% ste e strawberries and stone berries with ne/0la/es o% ri e bla/0 /"rrants hidin' in the lea*es. ,he s"ns/or/hed h"'e eonies, tr"m et- it/hers, bl"ebells, water-lilies, roses and t"li s o% *ario"s tints and /olo"rs intoFi/ate one with their stron' aroma. .nd in the *er! middle o% this inimitable bo"ndless /ar et 9a0e .00ol stands still li0e a mo"lded sil*er bowl... ,here is not one li*in' so"l aro"nd the la0e and to all sides o% it, 3"st wild beasts s/o"rin' abo"t and birds o% assa'e wa! " in the s0!. 2a! and ni'ht the 3o!%"l anFio"s *oi/es o% all 0inds o% 'ame are heard while in the *er! middle o% the ma'i/ mirror-li0e s"r%a/e o% the la0e there 'lides a a/0 o% swans with their little %led'elin's and %rom time to time the deli/ate %l"te-li0e so"nd o% their /alls rin's o"t in the air... . bl"e hill looms %ar o%% in the west and at the *er! to o% it an idol-sha ed tombstone stands motionlessl!. ,his idol, or obatas, resembles a bi(arre h"man-loo0in' /reat"re with droo in' mo"sta/he and a /" in its ri'ht hand. In the ste e the! ha*e been drin0in' 0o"miss %rom s"/h /" s %rom time immemorial... 2i%%erent stories are told abo"t these idols. 4ne o% them sa!s that the )i /ha0s on/e had a /"stom a//ordin' to whi/h on the se*enth and %ortieth da! a%ter the death o% a worth! man a d"mm! was made %rom wood whi/h was *er! m"/h li0e the de/eased one. ,hen the! /lothed it in the dead one;s most %a*o"rite %esti*e /lothes and la/ed it amon'st the %eastin'. ,he )i /ha0s 0new that the h"man so"l is immortal and is alwa!s near the /lose relati*es o% the late. It wo"ld /ertainl! be leased to 0now that the li*in' had not %or'otten abo"t it. Cettlin' in the ima'e o% the late the so"l %easts with the '"ests and the relati*es m"st a! all the last res e/ts to it. ,he! hand it a /" %illed with 0o"miss and set be%ore it *ario"s *iands. 2e endin' on the late;s a'e and osition sa/ri%i/es were made, %rom one to three heads o% di%%erent /attle a ie/e, nine times in all, whi/h amo"nted to twent!-se*en head o% shee and horses. In memor! o% the %"neral and the rit"al re ast obatases and balbals were /ar*ed o% stone and ere/ted. ,he idol, or obatas, /" in hand, was meant to be the late himsel% and the idols o% a lesser si(e, or balbals, whi/h s"rro"nded the obatas were s" osed to be his /lose relati*es and asso/iates... 4ne mornin', as i% b! ma'i/, three h"ndred bi' snow-white !"rtas 'rew " on the la0e;s northern shore. <a/h one had twel*e win's and inside e*er!thin' was read! %or re/ei*in' '"ests: %elt mats /o*ered with sil0 /ar ets, lent! o% so%t eider-down /"shions and sil0 +"ilts iled " alon' the walls. ,he da! be%ore nine bi' /ara*ans loaded with di%%erent ro*isions arri*ed here %rom Camar0and and 7"0hara. .nd on the most bea"ti%"l western shore, at the %oot o% the hill to ed b! the an/ient idols the 1orde was stationed, with the 0han;s head+"arters and a 'reat deal o% di%%erent-si(ed white !"rtas seemin' to bathe in the bl"e water. >arther to the so"th stood the !"rtas o% the 0han;s *i(iers and the &en'hi(ide s"ltans. .mon' them es e/iall! /ons i/"o"s was the h"'e !"rta o% ?an!be0 and )erei, as bi' as the 0han;s one. It was /rowned b! a white banner with a white horse-tail at its to . .ll alon' the eastern shore there was stret/hin' a /hain o% bla/0 !"rtas intended %or n"mero"s /oo0s and ser*ants who were s e/iall! bro"'ht here %rom =a*eranna0hr and also %or h"ntin' birds. 7ehind them there were twent! rows o% stron' ti'ht-stret/hed lassos twined %rom horse-hair to whi/h /olts were tethered. ,hree tho"sand mil0 mares were dri*en here %or all the '"ests to ha*e eno"'h 0o"miss. $hole herds o% well-%ed shin! horses and o*erl! %attened shee were sla"'htered e*er! da!. ,he %eastin' was 'oin' on %or a whole wee0 now. 4n the *er! %irst da! three h"ndred /hoi/e /har'ers started their ra/e, or bai'a, %rom 9a0e Choind!-)ol sit"ated at
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the remotest s "r o% the .r'!nat! =o"ntain. >irst ri(e went to the %amo"s ra/er ,arlan0o0 o% )han .b"l0hair its rider bein' the 0han;s se*en-!ear-old 'randson ="hammed-Cheibani. ,he mo*ed 0han romised to arran'e %or a s e/ial toi to /elebrate the im ortant e*ent. .%ter that a wrestlin' /om etition be'an at whi/h )ara(han-7at!r with arms thi/0er than an old /amel;s le's beat all the %amed al*answrestlers. .s was the /"stom he was 'i*en nine resents three times the main resent bein' a lon'-le''ed red .rabian /amel %rom head to tail /o*ered in an eF ensi*e )horasan /ar et. 1owe*er, at the e+"estrian /om etitions no-one was able to "ll down the )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r. >or some time, e+"al to the eriod between two mil0in's o% a mare, the %amo"s .r'!n militar! leader .0(hol-7i! was o%%erin' resistan/e to him. 7"t in the end his horse /o"ld not stand )obland!-7at!r;s onsla"'ht, settled on its 0nees and the re%erees re/orded a de%eat. 7esides the horse-ra/es the! had /amel;s ra/es, women;s wrestlin' and bo!s; /om etitions and it was onl! a%ter these e*ents that the most eF/itin' and 'rand moment /ame — a /om etition o% a0!ns, or narrator-son'sters. It was %ra"'ht with man! erils %or the ower%"l and the stron', sin/e %rom olden times in the ste e a0!ns were allowed to ridi/"le the wea0nesses and *i/es o% all eo le witho"t ta0in' into a//o"nt their 'enealo'! and ri/hes, and tr"e a0!ns en3o!ed their ri'ht in %"ll meas"re. ,his time the /om etition romised to be es e/iall! oi'nant be/a"se .san-)ai'! was to 3"d'e it. ,he h"ndred-!ear old .san-)ai'! had 3"st arri*ed a%ter his 3o"rne! to the shores o% the 7l"e Cea, or 7al0hash, as the )a(a0hs had lon' been /allin' it. 1e +"i/0l! 'ot down %rom his %leet-%ooted and smooth-haired %emale /amel and wal0ed ri'ht into the 0han;s !"rta. — ,ell "s, .san-.ta, is it ossible to station o"r 1orde on the shore o% the 7l"e Cea# — as0ed .b"l0hair a%ter the the ne/essar! 'reetin's.— ,his is what we are now onderin' on... ,he old man 'a*e an immediate answer, besides in his well-0nown habit"al manner. — $ho wo"ld dare stand in the wa! o% the wise 0han i% instead o% ri/h ast"res he wo"ld re%er some barren saline land# .s %or me I /an sin' !o" a son' abo"t the shores o% the 7l"e Cea:
4nl! a /amel will be able to /ross this desert In /ase the eF/res/en/es on its 0nees are %o"r %in'ers thi/0. .nd the land !o" are as0in' abo"t is onl! 'ood >or an old barren man to li*e o"t his da!s-

7e%ore ta0in' " the d"ties o% the re%eree o% so im ortant a /om etition the son'ster t"rned to the 0han sa!in': — <*er sin/e the time o% !o"r an/estor =ai0hi-7i!;s r"le it has alwa!s ha ened that %irst ri(e ine*itabl! went to the one who wo"ld 'lori%! the 1orde best. $ell, I ha*e t"rned one h"ndred and intend to brea0 the habits o% o"r an/estors. .s a matter o% %a/t a man o% m! a'e is s" osed to ha*e 3oined them alread!. ,h"s m! ri'ht is indis "table and I will onl! a'ree to 3"d'e the /om etition on the %ollowin' terms... — <*en the 0han /o"ld not den! somethin' to the man who was hono"red b! the whole ste e. — =a! !o"r wish /ome tr"e, .san-.ta- — said .b"l0hair. — .nd then .san-)ai'! s"bmitted his terms. >irst ri(e was to be awarded to him who wo"ld be the most tr"th%"l in his son's and wo"ld be able to 'lori%! in %"ll meas"re the *alian/e and a"da/it!, the wisdom and 'enerosit!, the 3o!s and sorrows o% his 0in. Ce/ond ri(e wo"ld 'o to the a0!n who wo"ld be tr"th%"l with re'ard to the r"lin' 0han and the s"ltans sho"lderin' the b"rden o% ower o*er eo le. .nd third ri(e wo"ld be won b! the one who wo"ld be able to %oresee the %"t"re o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 land... 1owe*er, the essential no*elt! abo"t it was the di*idin' o% the /om etin' a0!ns into airs. I% one wo"ld sin' the 'allant deeds and %eats o% arms o% his tribe or 0in the
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other one wo"ld ha*e to tell o% the shadow! as e/ts o% those deeds re'ardin' other tribes and 0ins. ,he same terms a lied to those /om etin' %or se/ond and third ri(es. ,he statements o% one (h!ra"-son'ster were to be dis ro*ed b! the other one and he who wo"ld win the a//laim o% most listeners wo"ld 'et an award... Bom ared with the other ste e 0ins the )i /ha0s seemed to ha*e s"%%ered most %rom the in*asion o% the =on'ols and still more %rom the "nendin' stri%e %or ower in the &olden 1orde. >inall! the on/e "nited tribe disinte'rated. :art o% it tra*elled west o% the lower Dedil and the rest retreated to the east. . 'reat wee in' was heard in the ste e d"rin' the artin' and )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" be/ame %amo"s amon' eo le %or the son' he san' sittin' on his bea"ti%"l horse abo"t the )i /ha0s; artin' with the Dedil:
7! three bea"ti%"l ri*ers resemblin' :re/io"s women;s endants ,here on/e towered a ma3esti/ ala/e. 7! these ri*ers a s/ra''! and shabb! little /amel $as 'rowin' to be/ome a stron' and mi'ht! atan. .nd i% a !o"n' ewe was lost in the ri*erside meadows . tho"sand-head heard was %o"nd there the %ollowin' !ear.

,he son'ster was now to sin' the raise o% the mi'ht and ri/hes o% the )i /ha0 0in. 1is o onent was the *enerable old )otan-Hh!ra" o% the .r'!ns whi/h %a/t lent the /om etition s e/ial im ortan/e. )otan-H!ra" /ame %rom an old /lan o% son'sters and ro hets. .lread! his %ather C! ar!-Hh!ra" 'rie*ed o*er the lot o% his eo le who was s"%%erin' %rom "nheard-o% disasters:
1ow /an a sna0e li*e $itho"t arms and le's, 1ow /an a wild horse li*e $itho"t a tail and a mane#

$hile ea/h o% them wanted to show in a more %a*orable li'ht his own 0in the wise .san-)ai'! was a head taller than those distin'"ished son'sters. >athomless and sad were his son's and li0e a dee ri*er ta0in' in n"mberless streams the! absorвed the ho es and as irations o% all the )a(a0h 0ins and tribes. ,ho"sands o% eo le were seated aro"nd the 0han;s 1orde. ,hose /loser sat on /ar ets and embroidered %elt mats, those %arther on lain %elt /loths and those %arthest settled ri'ht on the /ool 'reen 'rass. ,he old .san-)ai'! too0 a lon' heart%elt loo0 at the a"dien/e, loo0ed o*er his dear ste e as %ar as the hori(on and started sin'in':
,r"e ri/hes and 3ewels .re 0e t on the bottom o% the dee est seas. ,r"e 'enerosit! and wisdom .re 0e t dee down in one;s so"l... ,he earls wat/hed o*er b! the sea .re /ast ashore b! h"rri/anes. $isdom is laid bare in 'rie%, $hen the heart is o*erb"rdened with wo"nds...

It was his %amo"s /ontem lation-son' on the lot o% his homeland whi/h has been reser*ed in the noble memor! o% the eo le %or a'es. @ on sin'in' it as an introd"/tion to the /om etition .san-)ai'! wi ed his weathered s"n- and a'e-tanned brow with a hand0er/hie% and t"rned to the a0!ns. Cilen/e %ell on the ste e, onl! a lar0 was heard hi'h in the s0!. .san-)ai'! nodded his head. — Ctart sin'in', 'lorio"s )a('"tan-Hh!ra".nd the small a0!n be'an to sin' abo"t the %ree )i /ha0s... .%ter /rossin' the Dedil in the tenth /ent"r! the )i /ha0s en/o"ntered the :e/hene's, the distant an/estors o% the )ara-)al a0s and the related ,"r0i. ,he! were r"thlessl! ressin' their wea0ened
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/o"sins ad*an/in' as %ar as the lower 2on and the 2nie er. ,here 5"ssian /ities stood " in their wa! and an "ninterr" ted war o% man! !ears be'an with s"dden raids, re/on/iliations, allian/es and new raids. 2"e to to"'hness, end"ran/e and their eF/ellent horsemanshi s0ills a/+"ired %rom earl! /hildhood and also d"e to their nat"ral mobilit! o% nomads the )i /ha0s, des ite their relati*el! small n"mber were a serio"s threat to %rontier %ortresses and at times e*en to )ie*. )a('"tan-Hh!ra" re/alled the old son's abo"t these raids and "nited them into one martial e i/ on times ast... .n! )i /ha0 bo! learned to sit on horseba/0 holdin' %as onto its mane e*en be%ore he be'an to wal0. .nd when his le's 'ot a//"stomed to bra/e the horse;s %lan0s b! themsel*es his hands were %ree to draw the bow or throw the lasso at an!thin' t"rnin' " in his wa!. 5i'ht %rom the saddle, witho"t ta0in' aim /o"ld he hit a barel! *isible bird %l!in' hi'h in the s0! and /at/h a r"nnin' deer with his lasso at a distan/e o% one h"ndred a/es within one moment... 1e hardl! 'rew " when the /"r*ed sword o% his 'randdad was handed to him. Aow he was a warrior. 1is e!esi'ht was a shar as that o% a ste e ea'le so he /o"ld see a re! %rom %ar awa! in the %ield and smell dan'er %or miles aro"nd. Eer! %ew /o"ld snea0 " im er/e tibl! to a )i /ha0 /am . ,he militar! strate'! and ta/ti/s o% the )i /ha0s went down in anti+"it!. 9i0e a %ormidable /a*alr! a*alan/he did the! /har'e the enem! showerin' it with arrows. I% the o onent stood their onset the! immediatel! t"rned ba/0 their well-trained horses and disa eared in the ha(e o% the ste e. Cometimes, en/o"ra'ed b! s"//ess the enemies r"shed in their "rs"it. .nd then, all o% a s"dden /lo"ds o% arrows /ame down on them %rom all the s"rro"ndin' '"llies and ra*ines. ,he ret"rnin' horsemen /om leted the ro"t and nothin' was more %earsome %or the r"nnin' enem! than the %amo"s )i /ha0 aldas an-sabres o% bl"e damas0 steel... ,he )i /ha0s had another tri/0 " their slee*e. $hen the main %or/es lined " o osite one another the )i /ha0s %ormed their %amo"s ste e «wed'e». Ce*eral lines o% the )i /ha0s; host ta ered o%% ma0in' a s earhead. ,he oint o% the s earhead was made " o% the stron'est and most eF erien/ed warriors while between the %iles h"'e ste e wa'ons whi/h /o"ld sto the onsla"'ht o% the /o"nteratta/0in' enem! were ositioned side b! side. 7ehind these lines the reser*es were hidin' read! at an! moment to dash o"t and o"n/e on the enem!... ,he )i /ha0s were e*en more reso"r/e%"l in de%en/e. $hen the enem! o"tn"mbered them the! %ormed with the same wa'ons se*eral lines o% /ir/"lar de%en/e lea*in' narrow /"r*ed assa'es %or their own /o"nteratta/0. $hen the %irst line o% the atta/0ers was bro0en " /rashin' into the wa'ons and e*er!thin' 'ot miFed in the ens"in' mess there 3"m ed o"t warriors armed with shar nar0es0en-broadswords, whi/h were /alled so be/a"se with them one /o"ld /"t o%% the head o% a h"'e /amel with one stro0e. ,he o*erwhelmed %oe retreated hastil! %rom s"/h a stron'hold and the /a*alr! went ba/0 into the assa'es whith the s e/iall! trained mo"nts sli in' %rom behind the wa'ons li0e i0es do o"t o% the r"sh in a *ir'in ste e la0e. 7etween the wa'ons the! %elt as %ree as tho"'h the! were in the broad ste e whereas the enem!;s horses bro0e their le's and /rashed down to'ether with their riders. ,owards the end o% the battle the )i /ha0s %inished the remainin' o onents with lon' arrows ti ed with hea*! heads whi/h ran thro"'h the armo"red bod! o% the enem! and easil! "lled down an! rider. .mon' other thin's o% 'reat im ortan/e was the la/e /hosen %or de%en/e. I% %or some reason the )i /ha0 militar! leaders %o"nd it not 'ood eno"'h, then, %ollowin' a short si'nal, well-trained horsemen %astened the wa'ons; sha%ts onto thir stirr" s and within a moment the whole «%ort» mo*ed to a more s"itable hill. It was done d"rin' a l"ll or in the twili'ht, so while the enem! soldiers were still r"bbin' their e!es, e*er!thin' was re ared %or the meetin'. It sho"ld be noted that as a r"le eF erien/ed o onents 0nowin' the wa!s o% the )i /ha0s, did not attem t to brea0 thro"'h s"/h mobile %orts. Ceein' the /ir/"lar lines
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o% wa'ons /o*ered in oF- and /amel hides the! wo"ld retreat "ntil a more a ro riate moment /ame... =a0in' "se o% their mobilit! and relati*e in*"lnerabilit! the )i /ha0s made !earl! raids on their nei'hbo"rs and %irst o% all on 5"ssia. ,he interne/ine wars wa'ed b! the n"mero"s 5"ssian rin/es a'ainst one another hel ed the )i /ha0s in their raids. 4n the other hand there was no less dis"nit! and enmit! in the ste e whi/h hel ed the 5"ssian rin/es ma0e s"//ess%"l raids on the )i /ha0s. $hen the 5"ssian rin/es "nited their %or/es the! deli*ered the ste e tribes *er! dama'in' blows whi/h was the /ase d"rin' the r"le o% Eladimir =onoma0h who r"thlessl! dis osed o% the )i /ha0 0hans tres assin' the established borders. .%ter =onoma0h;s death the "nendin' war between the eternal nomads and 5"ssians bro0e o"t with e*en 'reater *iolen/e. Coon a%terwards the ste e th"ndered "nder the hoo*es o% sha''! =on'ol horses and the eF-enemies stood to'ether in their wa!... In his time the one-h"ndred-!ear-old .san-)ai'! saw a 'reat deal o% bloodshed. 1e new abo"t the bold raids o% the )i /ha0s not less than did the miniat"re, roo0-si(ed son'ster )a(t"'an-Dh!ra" who was now sin'in' o% them %id'etin' on a horse-hide. 1is heart was a/hin' be/a"se it was not what his homeland needed... .nd what will the other sin'er, )otan-Dh!ra", /ome " with a'ainst this "nbridled s ontaneo"s %or/e# $ill he be able to %ind a wea0 s ot in the a'e-old res e/t %or *alo"r and /o"ra'e whi/h ha*e alwa!s been hi'hl! esteemed in the ste e# $ill the eo le "nderstand his reasons in this a//"rsed time o% tro"ble when all are 'oin' /ra(! with bloodshed and "ninterr" ted stri%e, their wisdom slee in' in their so"ls and 'i*in' wa! to wild assions# Des, )a(t"'an-Dh!ra" 'lori%ied bloodshed and militar! raids seein' in them the meanin' o% li%e. ,ossin' " o*er his head his old inewood domra he san' /allin' in his stron' bea"ti%"l *oi/e %or new battles, %or wars %or the sa0e o% wars. In his *iew a man /o"ld assert himsel% onl! as a warrior. 1e seemed to be ra/in' alon' astride a horse in battle e/tas!, 3"m in', lea in', s innin' li0e a to and a'ain /omin' ba/0 to the initial osition. «,hose were lions de%!in' death itsel%... ,hose were eo le not 0nowin' the meanin' o% mer/!... $hat other eo le /an eF/el the ro"d )i /ha0s# $here else on earth /an !o" %ind s"/h bra*e warriors#-» 9istenin' to the son'ster, the eo le sittin' aro"nd seemed to be dan/in' with him. It loo0ed li0e the! were all set to start wieldin' their swords ri'ht and le%t r"thlessl! /r"shin' their nei'hbo"rs. Ceein' it the %ormidable warrior )obland!-7at!r was on the se*enth hea*en with "nrestrained 3o!, his nostrils %larin' e*er! time )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" /alled %or war. ,he other )i /ha0 warriors loo0ed abo"t with ro"d /ondes/enden/e. ,he! all h"mmed a ro*in'l! when the sin'er %inished the introd"/tor! art. .san-)ai'! t"rned to the other son'ster. — Aow is !o"r t"rn, )otan-Hh!ra". .wa0enin' %rom his tho"'hts the old man tossed " his head li0e a /har'er hearin' a battle /all. .nd immediatel! a sad heart-rendin' t"ne ran' o"t %rom "nder his %in'ers to"/hin' the dombra;s lain horse-hair strin's. ,he melod! was lo%t! and solemn and %"ll o% /om assion %or eo le. .san-)ai'! /o"ld not hel noddin' his head as i% /on%irmin' his eF e/tations. In the mean time the wise old )otan-Hh!ra" started sin'in' in a so%t and tri%le h"s0! *oi/e the eo le last heard a lon' time a'o. ,he *oi/e was not what it "sed to be, b"t the words were the same. «5aids ha*e nothin' to do with h"man ha iness, - he san'. - .nd no hero is he who will brin' %rom a raid more s oils and women. Comewhere there are mothers /r!in' o*er their /hildren and there will /ome a time when a warrior ret"rns %rom a raid to %ind his home in r"ins and his mother /r!in' in 'rie%... Des, a tr"e hero is he who is read! to de%end his home and dear ones at the /ost o% his li%e-» 1earin' this the %a/es o% the )i /ha0 warriors who had 3"st ret"rned %rom another raid 'rew immediatel! 'loom!. ,heir 'lor! %aded be%ore the *er! e!es o% the listeners. )otan-Hh!ra" %o"nd the most *"lnerable s ot in their deeds. $hate*er wron' the! had done )han .b"l0hair the re*en'e on their %ellow-/o"ntr!men who had 'one to stran'e
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lands was too horrible. Aow the! saw the !o"n' Ca!an;s o%%en/e, that is his sti/0in' " %or a woman-/a ti*e, in an alto'ether di%%erent li'ht... )otan-Hh!ra" went on sin'in' re/o'nisin' the bra*er! o% the )i /ha0s who not on/e de%eated the enem! whi/h /onsiderabl! o"tn"mbered them. 1owe*er an!thin' /an ha en d"rin' a war. ,here were times when the! too %led "rs"ed b! a stron'er enem!. — $here#.. $hen#- — /ried o"t the ro"sed )i /ha0 warriors and )obland!-7at!r 0nitted his e!ebrows mena/in'l!. — )otan-Hh!ra" raised his hand in a /almin' 'est"re and started sin'in', %irst o% the )i /ha0s; 'reat *i/tor! o*er the 5"ssian rin/es d"rin' the r"le o% I(!asla*, the son o% Darosla* the $ise. 4nl! re/entl! had the +"arrel between the sons o% Darosla* and the :olots0 :rin/e Esesla* +"ietened down. Ao sooner had Darosla*;s sons in/ar/erated Esesla* and his /hildren in a d"n'eon than a h"'e arm! o% )i /ha0s set o"t %or 5"s. 4n the 5i*er .lma )i /ha0 /ommander Cher"0han had ro"ted the 5"ssian arm!. ,he eo le had risen in rebellion, %reed Esesla* and sa*ed )ie* %rom an "ltimate de%eat... 1owe*er, ten !ears later, when the )i /ha0s in*aded 5"s a'ain the sit"ation t"rned o"t to be di%%erent. . twent!-tho"sand-stron' /a*alr! laid sie'e to Bherni'o* with onl! a three-tho"sand stron' 5"ssian armed %or/e /omin' o"t a'ainst it. Ctill, on the 5i*er Cin!a*a the )i /ha0s %led "nable to withstand the onset o% the 5"ssian warriors. ,he! %ell thro"'h the i/e to'ether with their horses, %ro(e to death on the wa! ba/0 home and man! /o"ld not ma0e it to their nati*e land. ,his de%eat remained in the )i /ha0s; memor! in the %orm o% a wail-son'. <*er! eo le ha*e s"/h son's and the! m"st be s"n' o%ten. 2oes not the de%eat o% the 5"ssians on the .lma ro*e that a dis"nited /o"ntr! is wea0 and its eo le miserable# .t the same time the *i/tor! o% the 5"ssians on the Cin!a*a testi%ies to the %a/t that howe*er bra*e the enem!, those de%endin' their homeland are bra*er b! %ar. ,he )i /ha0 warriors sat in tho"'ht%"l silen/e, whereas the .r'!ns be'an raisin' their son'ster to the s0ies: «,hat;s it- ,hat is o"r 'reat )otan-Hh!ra"- $ho else /an be wiser than him#» ,he ro"d and hot-hearted )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" /o"ld not re/on/ile himsel% with it. 1e loo0ed li0e a s irited steed whi/h was s"ddenl! str"/0 with a s/o"r'e and was b"rstin' to 'o into a/tion. 1e tossed his domra " in the air a'ain and a'ain war-li0e, %ier! t"nes %lew a/ross the ste e. — It is 'ood that !o" ha*e reminded "s o% Cher"0han, m! old tea/her and %riend— he eF/laimed.— 1is enemies /alled him Cher"0han the &iant and he is worth! o% a son'-.. — ,he small son'ster started sin'in' %or all he was worth o% the n"mero"s *i/tories o% Cher"0han. ,hen he en"merated the names o% man! o% the other 0hans who be/ame %amo"s d"e to their raids on 5"ssian rin/i alities, the Eol'a 7"l'ars and 7!(anti"m. .'ain the listeners be'an h"mmin' with ?an!be0 alone %allin' to thin0in': «$hat i% we sto ed +"arrellin' and made an allian/e with those in%idels# $hat a 'reat )a(a0h state we /o"ld /reate then- ,here wo"ld be no need %or "s to %ear the Ao'ai 1orde, the same as the .star0han and )a(an )hanates...» In the mean time )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" sho"ted: — $ho /an be so insolent as to dare a//"se them o% /owardi/e when e*en the enemies do /redit to their *alo"r in their son's#- — and he loo0ed o*er the listeners 0ee in' his in%lamed e!es on )otan-Hh!ra" a little lon'er than on the others. — Aow !o" s ea0, m! )otan-Hh!ra"- — .san-)ai'! said and a'ain all %ell silent. — ,r"e, the! sin' o% them in %orei'n lands b"t those son's are %"ll o% sorrow- — said the old sin'er.— ,hose were bra*e eo le b"t the! all died %ar %rom their homeland. $as there too little s a/e in the ste e %or them# ,he th"rst %or ri/hes dro*e them and what /an be worse than an insatiable bell!- <as! s oils de'rade e*en the worthiest men. ,he! ind"l'e in idleness and all manner o% *i/e. In time o% trial the! r"sh abo"t li0e alarmed rams not 0nowin' where to r"n... Co let;s not sin' the raise o% those who were bra*e in raids- — the old man;s *oi/e s"ddenl! 'rew %irm and one /o"ld hear some !o"n' intonations in it. 9et "s 'lori%! tr"e
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manhood and *alo"r whi/h mani%est themsel*es when eo le de%end their nati*e land$ere there %ew eFam les o% it with the )i /ha0s# ,he! 0e t silent a'ain. )obland!-7at!r was loo0in' aro"nd ner*o"sl! "llin' on his mo"sta/he. <a/h new reminder that tr"e *alo"r was not a matter o% raids destro!ed the im ression o% his re/ent %eats. $orst o% all was the %a/t that his latest raid was made a'ainst his %ellow/o"ntr!men. =eanwhile the old .san-)ai'! seemed to be in no h"rr! as i% 'i*in' the eo le time to thin0 o*er what )otan-Hh!ra" had said. Indeed, the raids were %irst o% all a'ainst the )a(a0h tribes themsel*es. Aot one !ear assed witho"t the ste e tribes dri*in' awa! one another;s horses and /attle. $hat "nit! /o"ld there be with the /losest nei'hbo"rs atta/0in' ea/h other at ni'ht%all# Ao one /o"ld slee ea/e%"ll! in the ste e with )han .b"l0hair en/o"ra'in' it sin/e that wa! it was easier %or him to /o e with the rebellio"s s"ltans... .t last .san-)ai'! bro0e the silen/e. 1e stro0ed his lon' white beard "nh"rriedl!, s/rewed " his old !et shar -si'hted e!es and addressed )otan-Hh!ra": — Aow, hi'hl! esteemed (h!ra", tell "s abo"t !o"r an/estors and their 'lorio"s deeds so that we /an %ind o"t who the winner is... — )otan-Hh!ra" too0 a si o% stron' 0o"miss, set the ainted wooden /" ba/0 in la/e and a'ain too0 his 0ob!(. 7ea"ti%"l, "re, heart-soothin' so"nds %lowed o*er the ste e. It seemed the ste e itsel% was s ea0in' with all its 'rasses, la0es and streams and s"ddenl! the eo le %elt as tho"'h a so%t ea/e%"l bree(e was stro0in' their %l"shed %a/es. ,he! seemed to be relie*ed o% some "nbearable b"rden wei'hin' down their hearts and %elt the 3o! o% li*in' /omin' ba/0 to them... $hen the old sin'er started sin'in' all o% a s"dden e*er!one realised that his *oi/e was not /ra/0ed b"t %"ll o% wise restraint. :erha s it was d"e to the wholesome e%%e/t o% the 0o"miss or ma!be be/a"se the sin'er was not willin' to o%%end an!bod! b"t the %a/t was e*er!one li0ed his *oi/e now, both the .r'!ns and the )i /ha0s. — ,he .r'!ns, the same as the )i /ha0s, ha*e a lon' histor!. It is not their martial s0ills that I wish to sin' o% now b"t their "n+"en/hable th"rst %or "nit! and a li%e o% ea/e with all )a(a0hs. $hat /o"ld be o% 'reater im ortan/e %or "s now# $ho /o"ld o ose this nat"ral wish# Co I /all on e*er!bod!: let "s sto sheddin' the blood o% o"r brothers and ma! o"r wi*es and /hildren slee ea/e%"ll! witho"t %earin' ni'ht l"nderin's o% whi/h some now thin0 as o% heroi/ deeds worth! o% a real man. .nd remember that a dis"nited eo le has ne*er li*ed in ha iness. $oe will await "s all i% we do not realise o"r de lorable state in time-.. ,he old sin'er;s *oi/e %lew " to its hi'hest it/h and /o"ld be heard all o*er the ste e. ,he eo le sat motionless and it seemed to them the old )otan-Hh!ra" saw thro"'h the a'es to /ome. C"ddenl! his *oi/e 'rew /alm and +"iet a'ain. — >rom olden times the .r'!ns ha*e had the re "tation o% bein' wise and reasonable eo le. 1oldin' in res e/t the %i'htin' s irit the! ha*e also hono"red the lo%t! h"man mind. ,he! ha*e been the '"ardians o% o"r a'e-old m"si/, son's and 'ood /"stoms. In o"r !"rtas one /an %ind old boo0s dealin' with the histor! o% o"r entire eo le. Is it not o% "tmost im ortan/e %or a eo le whi/h is 'oin' to "nite itsel% into one inte'ral whole#4 .san-)ai'!- Do" are a re resentati*e o% the oldest o% o"r tribes. )indl! tell "s i% I am ri'ht 'lori%!in' m! 0in %or these *er! +"alities and not %or o"r m"t"al raids. $hat does o"r eo le need most now# ,he old man slowl! "t his hand on the still +"i*erin' strin's o% his old 0ob!(. ,he eo le sat in tho"'ht%"l silen/e. C"ddenl! the! heard a !o"n' eF/ited *oi/e. — =a! !o" li*e a tho"sand !ears, o"r dear (h!ra"-.. It is ossible %or one man to i/0 o en a /ra/0 in a weir. .n a'e-old %orest /an be set a%ire e*en b! a wea0 /hild. .nd how man! eo le will it ta0e to ret"rn a ri*er to its mo"th or "t o"t a %ire-.. ,he same is with "s. 4ne "nwise ste wo"ld be eno"'h to brea0 the ea/e between the tribes... Do" are ri'ht and we .r'!ns will do as !o" sa!, o"r ro heti/ son'ster-..
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,here was so m"/h assion and 'ood h"man %aith in this *oi/e that the eo le %or'a*e the s ea0er e*en his eFtremel! !o"n' a'e. It was )as!m, the son o% C"ltan ?an!be0, and the words he said e*en be%ore the elders started s ea0in' remained in the memor! o% the ste e tribes %or e*er. Ctill this hoo0-nosed !o"th with a dar0s0inned %a/e and almond-sha ed e!es was not /on%"sed at all seein' tho"sands o% e!es starin' at him. 4nl! the assionate li'ht in the bla/0 " ils o% his e!es and the twit/hin' %ine nostrils betra!ed his inner state. =ost o% the eo le a ro*ed o% his bold s ee/h rono"n/ed in the resen/e o% the 0han himsel%. ,he! li0ed the %a/t that, notwithstandin' his !o"n' a'e, the !o"th loo0ed " on li%e as a mat"re man. ,here were some who disa ro*ed his words, !et no-one dared to /"t him short be/a"se he was a ,!"reh-&en'hi(ide... )han .b"l0hair %iFed his e!es on him. «Co this is the 0ind o% man !o" are, son o% C"ltan ?an!be0- — he tho"'ht.— 9oo0s li0e !o" will 'o e*en %arther in !o"r as irations than !o"r %ather did. 4% /o"rse i% the other s"ltans allow !o" to...» ,his tho"'ht made )han .b"l0hair smile in his heart altho"'h his %a/e remained "n ert"rbed. .ll ower now belon'ed to .san-)ai'!. ,he son'ster held " his head. — :eo le ha*e alwa!s lon'ed %or ea/e,— he said so%tl! b"t e*er!one heard him. — Do" ha*e s"n' o% this 'reat as iration o% !o"r eo le and %irst ri(e is !o"rs b! ri'ht-.. . s"bd"ed h"m o% a ro*al rolled %rom the 0han;s /ar et and o"t to the ste e, and the %arther it /arried the stron'er it e/hoed. — Do"r art is 'reat, )a(t"'an-Hh!ra"- — said the 're!-bearded elder t"rnin' to the small son'ster with his whole bod!.— Do" were ri'ht to 'lori%! the manhood and *alian/e o% the warriors o% !o"r 0in and !o"r son's were li0e the tro"bled waters o% the ?ei0h"n. Do" ha*e ro*en !o"rsel% tr"l! "ns"r assed in !o"r art, b"t then !o" ha*e made one mista0e. . son'ster, the same as a warrior, m"st 0now %irml! on behal% o% what one er%orms a %eat o% *alo"r. 7ra*er! and a"da/it! as s"/h mean nothin' and there are /ases when the! ser*e an "n3"st /a"se. ,he )i /ha0s ha*e shown so man! remar0able eFam les o% sel%-sa/ri%i/e %or the sa0e o% their homeland b"t %or some reason !o" dwelled onl! on how the! made raids on their nei'hbo"rs. .re we destined to sin' this wol% son' %or e*er# ,oda! o"r ste e needs ea/e and +"iet. 4nl! this wa! we /an 'row in n"mber, be/ome stron' and re "lse o"r enemies who loo0 on e*er!thin' as on a beaten tra/0. 4nl! %or the sa0e o% "nit! and the de%en/e o% the land o% o"r %athers m"st we "nsheathe o"r swords. .nd then let the best sin'ers 'lori%! the worth!-.. I belie*e in !o", m! )a(t"'an-Hh!ra"- It seems to me !o" ha*e not !et shown "s e*en the least bit o% !o"r 'reat s0ills. $h! not hear son's abo"t other le'endar! battles %or o"r nati*e land and then award se/ond ri(e#.. Aothin' in the ste e was *al"ed more than these awards and the .r'!ns were eF"ltin'. .s a matter o% %a/t all were satis%ied with the *erdi/t o% the wise .san-)ai'!. <*en )a(t"'an-Hh!ra", a tr"e son'ster and a noble man, too0 no o%%en/e sin/e the %amed )otan-Hh!ra" was older and more eF erien/ed than he. 4nl! )obland!-7at!r 0e t on twirlin' his lon' mo"sta/he. 1is enmit! with .0(hol-7i! had /ome to a head and 'rantin' the .r'!n sin'er %irst ri(e seemed to him 3"st another "nderhand lottin' o% the enem!. .san-)ai'!, who was holdin' %ast the reins o% the /om etition, made an in*itin' 'est"re to )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" and handed him the dombra himsel%. — Aow !o", (h!ra"-.. )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" did not ma0e them wait lon'. 1e immediatel! started sin'in' the ne/essar! introd"/tion. 7"t sin/e he wished to sin' o% times lon' ast and it /on/erned &en'hi( )han;s in*asion o% the ste e he t"rned to the 0han at %irst. — ,his son' is not m! in*ention, &reat )han, b"t a tr"th%"l histori/al narration. <*er!thin' in it is as it was in realit!. Cho"ld !o" not li0e somethin' /on/ernin' !o"r an/estors I tr"st !o";ll %or'i*e me that-.. «$hen one has ower one /an do witho"t wisdom.» ,his sa!in' be/ame 0nown in the ste e m"/h later whereas in those times, a%ter ma0in' an art%"l eF/"se, one /o"ld
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s ea0 %reel! o% how it was in real li%e. It was onl! later that *ario"s "nishments were in*ented %or those re/allin' the histori/al e*ents whi/h, %or this or that reason, the r"lers did not wish to remember. C"/h "nwise r"lers tho"'ht that i% the real histori/al e*ents were rewritten or s" ressed e*er!thin' wo"ld be alri'ht. 1owe*er, sooner or later histor! itsel% r"thlessl! "nished them %or their arbitrariness... In those times e*en the 0han himsel% had to /o"nt with the %ree-thin0in' ste e eo le be/a"se he needed the s" ort o% the s"ltans. .nd there was an "nwritten law sa!in': «Do" /an /"t o%% a man;s head b"t !o" /annot /"t o%% his ton'"e.» Co, altho"'h )han .b"l0hair had a %eelin' that he wo"ld hardl! li0e )a(t"'anHh!ra";s son' he did not show it in whate*er wa! and wa*ed his hand in a 'ra/io"s 'est"re. — $ith "s a oet is %reer than a bird-.. .%ter these words the small son'ster started sin'in' in an alto'ether di%%erent manner. 9i0e a well-trained ambler did he be'in his ra/e thro"'h a'es and e*ents 'rad"all! 'atherin' s eed. ,here, on the remote ban0s o% the 4r0hon and the )er"len, the tra'ed! started whi/h was destined to s read all o*er the world. It was still e/hoin' in the nati*e ste e and eo le 0e t rememberin' ea/h e*ent... ,em"/hin, the %ore%ather o% )han .b"l0hair, ro/laimed himsel% &en'hi( )han and he had alread! /on+"ered the )a(a0h 0ins o% )erei, .lsh!n and Aaiman. ,he =on'ols /o*ered the nei'hbo"rin' small tribes and nationalities li0e a boilin' la*a-%low. .ll that whi/h was not meltin' in that ot into an inte'ral whole t"rned into smo0e and ashes. ,he )ir'hi(, the 7"r!ats and the 4irots had shared the lot o% the )a(a0hs. ,he best iron ore was eFtra/ted then in the " er rea/hes o% the Celen'a and the Denisei. &en'hi( )han armed the /a ti*e eo les with swords made o% this iron and sent them to all arts o% the world to /on+"er new lands. In the /ase o% the least disobedien/e the eo les were destro!ed and eo le were in/lined to thin0 there was some inherent sense in all that. 2eath is alwa!s sa/red. Co &en'hi( )han was tho"'ht to be the Con o% the 1ea*ens. ,he ,"n'"s realm Ci-Ci was destro!ed b! &en'hi( )han. 1e shed a sea o% blood there !et it was those *er! Ci-Ci horsemen who were the best and most de*oted horsemen in his host. ,he same ha ened to the ,a-,a tribes and the )a(a0hs tra*ellin' alon' with the =on'ols. $hen, " on /on+"erin' Bhina within three !ears, &en'hi( )han mo*ed his "nited one-tribe arm! towards the west, his )a(a0h warriors /"t down r"thlessl! their brotherl! 0ins whi/h stood in the wa! o% the =on'ols. ,he «Cha0er o% the @ni*erse» t"rned o"t to be the tr"e hand o% &od. ,he disso/iated ste e /o"ld not o ose this %or/e and the 'reat )hore(m was on the *er'e o% disinte'ration. 4ne b! one @r'en/h, Camar0and, 7"0hara and =er* were %allin' lea*in' bla/0 ashes where li%e was on/e thri*in'... ,he horsemen o% ?"t/hi 0e t ad*an/in' onto the )a(a0h ste e. .%ter /rossin' the Irt!sh, Ish!m, ,obol and A"r" ri*ers the! hoisted the banner o% their "l"s in the *er! /entre o% it, at the to o% the @l!ta" =o"ntain. .ll those tr!in' to o%%er resisten/e were destro!ed. ,hose s"r*i*in' be/ame the warriors o% ?"t/hi and soon there a eared ,!"reh-&en'hi(ides in e*er! )a(a0h tribe... 1owe*er, it was onl! a hal% o% the "ni*erse. .%ter s0irtin' the Bas ian Cea a m"ltitho"sand-stron' arm! headed b! the 'reat warriors ?ebeh and C"b"dai entered the territor! o% the Ba"/as"s. .nd e*er! time the =on'ols trea/hero"sl! bro0e their oaths sin/e there was nothin' sa/red to them eF/e t death. ,he were %ra"d"lentl! 0illin' thirt! tho"sand &eor'ian warriors a da!. Ba t"rin' the en*o!s o% Chir*an Chah, "nder the threat o% death the! made them show the wa! to /ir/"m*ent 2erbent. .nd when the .lans "nited their %or/es with the )i /ha0s to re "lse the =on'ols and the latter saw there was no wa! %or them to de%eat the "nited arm! the! sent their s/o"ts to the )i /ha0s. «$e are !o"r blood brothers and the .lans are stran'ers-» — said the! and the )i /ha0s belie*ed them. ,he whole bra*e .lan tro" was destro!ed be/a"se their allies le%t them... ,he )i /ha0s aid dearl! %or their '"llibilit!. $hen the! disbanded their host the =on'ols s"ddenl! t"rned to the )i /ha0 ste e and stormed thro"'h it in a ro"nd-" . ,he s"r*i*in' )i /ha0s %led to the 5"ssian lands and the Brimea and it was onl! there
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that the! be'an re/onsiderin' their habit"al wa!s. $hen death itsel% ad*an/es on one, blood means nothin'. ,he .lans and the 5"ssian a eared to be more /lose to them in s irit in s ite o% the )i /ha0s ha*in' %o"'ht a'ainst them %or abo"t one h"ndred and %i%t! !ears. 4nl! re/entl! did )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" sin' o% their raids on the 5"ssian lands and now he seemed to be 'i*in' a meanin' to his son's... )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" be'an to sin' o% the 'lorio"s warrior 7oshman and his e!es radiated lo%t! ride... «.ll those not /"t down b! the /"r*ed sabres worshi ed %ate-» — a :ersian historian wrote o% the times o% the =on'ol in*asion. .ll b"t the warrior 7oshman. 1e /alled on those es/a in' the 'ri s o% death to 3oin him and started a war with "ne+"al %or/es. ,he dis"nited )i /ha0 horsemen were 3oinin' him b! whole h"ndreds with 7ash0irs, .lans and 7"l'ars %ollowin' their eFam le. 1e wel/omed all o% them and be%ore lon' eo le be'an tal0in' o% his deta/hment all o*er the Dedil territor!. 2a! and ni'ht 7at!;s tro" s /hased him all o*er the ste e b"t he es/a ed their tra s. ,he rebels %o"nd re%"'e in the thi/0 r"sh o% the Eol'a ban0s and %rom there atta/0ed indi*id"al =on'ol deta/hments ro"tin' them one b! one. >inall!, one o% 7at!;s /ommanders, the %"t"re 0han o% the &olden 1orde ="n0eh, %itted o"t two h"ndred boats, manned ea/h o% them with a h"ndred warriors, and /ombed the ri*erside r"sh. Ao sooner did the! start their sailin' than the men o% the warrior 7oshman assa"lted the tail-end o% the /ara*an and sla"'htered a 'reat deal o% =on'ols. 4nl! a%ter the warrior 7oshman was amb"shed on one o% the isles the! mana'ed to o*er ower him. 7esides, the =on'ols too0 ad*anta'e o% a s"dden storm whi/h laid bare the ri*er bottom on the a roa/hes to the isle. 7at!;s men /"t the wo"nded 7oshman in two. 1owe*er, other warriors were alread! risin' in arms. ,he names o% 7a!an and Hh!0" who headed the str"''le o% the other )i /ha0s %or inde enden/e and a'ainst =on'ol o ression ha*e remained in son's... Come dis+"ietin' tho"'ht 0e t on ha"ntin' )a('"tan-Hh!ra". 1e started a son' on the terrors o% the =on'ol a''ression the tales o% whi/h were assed on %rom 0in to 0in. :eo le were s0inned ali*e and /hildren thrown into %ires. In those times the! had not !et tho"'ht " the word %or s"/h atro/io"s deeds and the small )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" %ell silent "nable to 'i*e a name to it... 1e to"/hed the strin's a'ain and loo0ed aro"nd hesitantl!... Des, the =on'ol 0hans did it %or the noble "r ose o% /on+"erin' the world. 7! wh! did the! want to /on+"er the world#.. .nd what /ame o% it in the end# 2id not the "ni*ersal em ire disinte'rate into a tho"sand ie/es the da! a%ter &en'hi( )han;s death# Ban the 'reat /on+"eror be ha ! with his des/endants sla"'hterin' one another with 3"st a %ew o% them remainin' ali*e#.. )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" ne*er %inished his son'. 1is mo"th o en, he was loo0in' at )han .b"l0hair with an air o% "tter /on%"sion. .nd the eo le aro"nd were loo0in' at him. .san-)ai'! alone was starin' %ar into the ste e sha0in' his head tho"'ht%"ll!... >rom the *er! be'innin' o% the son'ster;s histori/al narration )han .b"l0hair sat motionless li0e a stone idol. 4nl! his o"twardl! im assi*e dar0-s0inned %a/e loo0ed a tri%le drawn and in/hed whi/h was noti/ed onl! b! those who 0new him well eno"'h. 1owe*er, there were %ew o% them in his retin"e be/a"se as re'ards the sele/tion o% retainers he %ollowed the well-0nown re/e t o% &en'hi( )han. C"ddenl! )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" saw the eF ression in the 0han;s e!es. .b"l0hair raised his hand im erio"sl!. ,hose aro"nd who had been en/o"ra'in' the sin'er with their /heer%"l LBome on- 1ot it " -M /"t themsel*es short immediatel! and +"ietened down li0e %ire does when it /lashes with water. ,he sin'er himsel% loo0ed o*erwhelmed as i% he was hit o*er the head with a hea*! sti/0. — It is time we said o"r ra!er...— .b"l0hair said so%tl!.— 9ater we will hear the rest o% this merr! stor!-teller;s %ables.ltho"'h the 0han was /onsidered to be a tr"e =oslem !et no-one had e*er 0nown him as bein' eF/essi*el! io"s. C"ddenl! he +"i/0l! rose to his %eet with all the rest %ollowin' s"it.
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Ceein' the embarrasment, )a ta'ai-7at!r +"ietl! bro0e awa! %rom the /rowd, wal0ed " to his bi' white !"rta and s o0e in a s"bd"ed *oi/e with a tall red-haired horseman standin' '"ard at the entran/e. 1ead /rowned with a mala0hai and bod! dressed in warrior;s /lothes his hand was 'ri in' a hea*! battle s ear. — 1as he not /ome !et# - )a ta'ai-7at!r as0ed abo"t someone. — Ao, he hasn;t... ,he main warrior o% the Aaimans %elt worried. 1e strolled noiselessl! abo"t the !"rta and loo0ed o"tside. — I %ear somethin' mi'ht ha*e ha ened to him on his wa! here... In m! o inion he is d"e and o*erd"e— :erha s I;d better 'o and %ind o"t abo"t it# — said the '"ardsman. — &o-.. )a ta'ai-7at!r had nothin' to worr! abo"t. 1e was a tr"e warrior, b"ilt o% /amel;s bones, as the! "sed to sa! in the ste e. 7esides, as the! said in the ste e, s"/h eo le 0now no %ear and /at/h a /obra with na0ed hands. 1is /lothes were +"ite 'ood, b"t, %ran0l! s ea0in', that %amo"s warrior was what the! /all a a" er. )a ta'ai-7at!r s" orted with his boot! and ba' %i%teen nomad tents o% his oor 0ins%ol0-asso/iates. 2"rin' the "n%re+"ent ea/e%"l !ears he ast"red the /attle o% his ri/her relati*es as a lain herdsman. ,wo !ears ba/0, settin' o"t h"ntin' wild rams in the @l!ta" =o"ntains he 'ot into a stron' storm and had to s end three da!s in the /am o% the herdsmen who ast"red the mares o% )han .b"l0hair. ,here he met the %amed h"nter 4ra0 o% the )erei 0in. ,hat 4ra0 was 0nown thro"'ho"t the ste e as a /onnoisse"r o% horses and s0ill%"l wol%-h"nter who bro"'ht the beasts to ba! till the! were absol"tel! eFha"sted. 7o"nd b! the same %ate the two indi'ent warriors made %riends and swore the oath o% %aith%"lness to ea/h other. 4nl! three da!s a'o was 4ra0 s" osed to /ome here. 1e wanted his stallion .0ba0ai, or «$hite-9e''ed», to ta0e art in the /omin' horse-ra/e and win a ri(e. It was )a ta'ai-7at!r who rom ted him the idea. $hen he saw 4ra0 r"nnin' down a wol% in the wide %ield he said: — $h! don;t !o" tr! !o"r l"/0 in the /omin' /om etition# I% I 0now i% onl! a bit abo"t horses !o"r .0ba0ai is no worse than the steeds o% the 0han himsel%4ra0 a'reed altho"'h he didn;t so"nd *er! /on%ident. — .ll ri'ht, I will /ome, b"t I;m a%raid lest somebod! sho"ld la! some dirt! tri/0 on me... )a ta'ai-7at!r did not a! attention to his %riend;s mis'i*in's then b"t now that 4ra0 was late %or some "n0nown reason, the warrior s"ddenl! re/alled his words. . remonition o% disaster wei'hed down on his mind. «$h! was he tellin' o% some eo le who mi'ht la! dirt! tri/0s on him#» — )a tai-7at!r tho"'ht to himsel%. 1a"nted b! dist"rbin' tho"'hts he de/ided to send one o% his men to 4ra0 who was ast"rin' horse-herds not %ar awa! %rom the la/e. ,here was another one who was loo0in' %orward to the arri*al o% the herder. Che too 0new that 4ra0 was 'oin' to ha*e his remar0able steed /om ete in the horse-ra/e. It was .00o(!, the da"'hter-in-law o% )han .b"l0hair himsel% and widow o% C"ltan Chah-7"da0h %or whom the! were ha*in' the %"nereal re ast. 2ressed in bla/0, she was sittin' on a hillo/0 starin' anFio"sl! into the ste e %rom where the warrior 4ra0 was s" osed to be /omin'... ,here was nothin' sin%"l between them, nothin' whi/h /o"ld aro"se all 0ind o% 'ossi amon' eo le. <*er!thin' was as it o%ten is in the ste e. ,he! 0new ea/h other %rom /hildhood b"t ne*er tho"'ht o% lo*e between them. ,hen, all o% a s"dden, .00o(! had %o"nd hersel% at the %oot o% the 0han;s throne and 4ra0 /alml! a//e ted it as a %a/t. 1e had ne*er tho"'ht it /o"ld ha*e t"rned o"t di%%erentl!. ,hen .00o(!;s hi'h s o"se Chah-7"da0h died and when se*eral da!s earlier she /ame to i/0 %or the %"nereal re ast a steed %rom the 0han;s herds she met there with the warrior 4ra0. .nd 4ra0 told her sim l!, as had alwa!s been the wa! in the ste e, o% his wishin' to ta0e
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her to wi%e. In s ite o% his o*ert! he /ame %rom a 'ood and worth! 0in and had a ri'ht to it... — I do not want to be sin%"l be%ore &od and s ot m! hono"r be%ore the eo le,—she said.— .%ter the %"nereal re ast %or m! h"sband is o*er I will as0 %or his arents; ermission to let me li*e with !o". I% the! a'ree we will bind o"r li*es b! law... — $hat i% the! don;t# — the warrior 4ra0 as0ed worriedl!.— .%ter all )han .b"l0hair is the master o% one hal% o% the world, and altho"'h I am a %ree warrior I am still his sla*e. $ill he a'ree to let !o" marr! a /ommon warrior who is not at all ri/h in the bar'ain# — $h!e*er sho"ld he re%"se !o"# — .00o(! said 0nittin' her %ine ar/hed e!ebrows. — I% he does... $ell, in an! /ase I will be/ome en'a'ed to !o". Ao-one /an be born twi/e. I swear that I will marr! onl! !o", m! warrior-.. — Co 'reat was 4ra0-7at!r;s 3o! that it seemed e*er! m"s/le o% his ower%"l bod! bro0e into a son'. 1e %elt as tho"'h he were a li'ht-win'ed bird soarin' " into the bl"eness o% the s0!. — I am read! to 'rant !o" e*er! min"te o% m! li%e, m! .00o(!- — he said in a so%t *oi/e.— .nd I will attend the %"nereal re ast %or !o"r late h"sband so that the eo le wo"ld not sa! I am not willin' to hono"r his memor!. 7esides I;ll tr! m! l"/0 in the horse-ra/e on m! n"rselin' .0ba0ai-.. — .nd now 4ra0-7at!r did not /ome %or the %"neral re ast whi/h meant that somethin' bad had ha ened to him %or there were %ew who /o"ld sto the stron' warrior on his wa!. ,his was wh! the lonel! .00o(! le%t the /om etition and was standin' on to o% the hillo/0 starin' hard into the distan/e. Aobod! aid the least attention to it thin0in' that she was !earnin' %or her late h"sband... )han .b"l0hair sto ed the errati/ son'ster not be/a"se he had "nwittin'l! eF osed the e*il nat"re o% the &en'hi(ides; deeds. ,he n"mero"s des/endants o% the Cha0er o% the @ni*erse had lon' %or'otten their nati*e =on'ol land. )han .b"l0hair was +"ite a wise man and immediatel! sensed the 'eneral mood that had been s0il%"ll! /reated b! the old .san-)ai'! and )otan-Hh!ra" and was now eF ressed b! the )i /ha0 sin'er )a(t"'an-Hh!ra". In his oli/! the 0han relied mostl! on the )i /ha0s and now, all o% a s"dden, one o% them also /alled %or "ni%i/ation, and not %or new /on+"ests "nder the ower%"l hand o% )han .b"l0hair b"t %or the de%en/e o% their homeland. ./t"all! it was the onl! wa! %or the )a(a0hs to win inde enden/e whi/h was "na//e table %or )han .b"l0hair... Des, the! ha*e alread! be'an establishin' /loser relationshi s. .t the same time not onl! the ?"/hiides are la!in' this 'ame. It is a arent that ?an!be0 and )erei ha*e %o"nd a /ommon lan'"a'e with the ?a'atai r"lers o% =o'olistan whi/h means their rear will alwa!s be se/"red. It is not a//idental that more and more a"ls ha*e le%t %or =o'olistan to li*e /loser to their /o"sins. ,his is wh! the e!es o% ?an!be0 and )erei radiate s"/h a tri"m hant 3o!... It was onl! at this moment, a%ter the /om etition between the two son'sters, an .r'!n and a )i /ha0, that 0han .b"l0hair saw the 'a in' %athomless ab!ss be%ore him and realised that ro/rastination meant death. <a/h da! o% li%e 'ranted b! the enem! is brin'in' the 0han himsel% to erdition. Des, the! are alread! here and ha*e alread! ta0en " with all his enemies, both se/ret and ob*io"s ones. 1e 0nows well all o% them and tolerates them onl! be/a"se a stron' r"ler /annot a%%ord li*in' witho"t enemies. ,heir resen/e onl! em hasises his mi'ht and /ontem t %or them. 1owe*er, when the! sti/0 to'ether and besides L/lin'M to their nei'hbo"rs he m"st a/t determinedl! and r"thlessl!,here the! are, 0ee in' /lose to one another, these ste e warriors %rom di%%erent tribes. &reat is their n"mber and the! loo0 as tho"'h the! were made o% 'ranite. It is not a//idental that C"ltan ?an!be0 loo0s their wa! %rom time to time... 1e m"st %orestall them1is '"ards standin' on both sides o% him )han .b"l0hair was abo"t to 'o to the !"rta o% his %o"rth wi%e 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im when the old .san-)ai'! addressed him. Ctill sittin' on the /"shion o% hono"r the /hie% 3"d'e o% the /om etition loo0ed the 0han;s wa! and said:
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. 'oose, the darlin' o% the la0es, $ill not a re/iate the /harm o% the desert, $hereas a bastard li*in' at one with wilderness $ill die o% "nbearable a'on! In the la0eside /o"ntr!-..

It was the sin'er;s wisel! eF ressed dis/ontent with the 0han;s disre'ard %or the eo le;s %a*o"rite /om etition. )han .b"l0hair was /om elled to lin'er on, b"t sin/e the ro heti/ son'ster did not address him dire/tl, he did not 'i*e a dire/t answer and 3"st too0 a /on/erned loo0 at the s"n. — $e ha*e all been lon'in' %or a 'ood stor! abo"t o"r %orebearers, m! Co*erei'n, — .san-)ai'! said seein' that the 0han was not 'oin' to s ea0.— Aowada!s we 'ather to'ether %or s"/h /om etitions onl! rarel!. I% toda!;s noon ra!er is ne/essar! %or !o" ermit "s to sta! and en3o! this lo%t! art... )han .b"l0hair %elt at a loss. 4n the one hand he had to h"rr! be/a"se &rand Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a with whom he /ons"lted on all matters o% im ortan/e was waitin' in his wi%e;s !"rta. 4n the other hand, this white-bearded elder was held in s"/h esteem in the ste e that the least disres e/t %or him /o"ld end " in bi' tro"ble %or an! r"ler. It was this sin'er who had had the better o% the &olden 1orde;s /r"ellest 0han, 7erdibe0, with one stro he:
I re/o'nised !o" b! !o"r %ormidable brow, 7erdibe0-)han-.. $hither are !o" bo"nd with !o"r /ara*an# .re !o" 'oin' to it/h !o"r !"rtas on the Dedil# Do" swim in eo le;s tears, Det !o" will not a*oid !o"r %ate... ,here is no s"/h land $hi/h /o"ld 'i*e re%"'e to the m"rderer o% his own %ather-

)han .b"l0hair stood silent be%ore the elder not 0nowin' what to do. .san-)ai'! dete/ted somethin' omino"s in the e!es o% .b"l0hair. C"ddenl! the son'ster raised himsel% a little %rom his /"shion and %iFed his e!es on the 0han;s %a/e. >or the %irst time in his li%e .b"l0hair /o"ld not hel loo0in' awa!. .ll those aro"nd %ro(e in silen/e. — Co this is wh! !o" sto ed the son'ster...— the shrewd .san-)ai'! said.— Do" intended to sa! blood! ra!ers, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. .ll o% a s"dden, an a*alan/he o% wrath%"l words iss"ed %orth %rom the mo"th o% .san-)ai'! as i% the son'ster was no lon'er able to sto the %lood o% water stormin' thro"'h a /ra/0 in the dam. 1e threw in the /on/eited 0han;s %a/e all that had been stored in the so"ls o% eo le d"rin' all these ast !ears.
<*en the 0han who has reno"n/ed 3"sti/e $ill not be hono"red b! a 'ra*e=! ribs are read! to /ome a art .nd m! death is near... :ra!, "t down m! an'"ish, 0han, .nd do not r"sh to absol*e !o"r sinsDo" are 'oin' to do the 'reatest sin o% all: ,o set !o"r own home a%ire-.. Do" want to /"t in two .n inte'ral li*in' %oet"s. $oe and loneliness awaits him $ho no lon'er belie*es his %riends... Do";*e %or'otten !o"r nati*e ste e .nd the heart o% the old son'ster is a/hin'... Co don;t brin' tro"ble and %ratri/ide ,o a "nited %amil!-.. Broo0ed wa!s, m! )han, 9ead one to 'loom and dar0ness...
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4n !o" alone does it de end now $hether a bri'ht dawn or a bla/0 storm is in store

$hat was the 0han s" osed to do-.. $o"ld he be able to bill the /ra/0 in the dam he himsel% had /reated, with an all-/r"shin' wild wa*e o% histor! brea0in' thro"'h it and read! to shatter the dam to smithereens-#.. ,he onl! thin' to do was ma0e s"re he was not washed awa! with the *er! %irst wa*e. It was absol"tel! ne/essar! to immediatel! 'et on to the ban0 o"t o% the terrible roarin' stream. 1ow was he to answer the words the elder had said ri'ht in his %a/e, the words eF ressin' the se/ret tho"'hts o% all these eo le that had %illed the entire s a/e between the 0han;s hill and the hori(on and were now waitin' %or what he had to sa!#.. Ao sooner did the 0han ha*e time to thin0 o% somethin' than he heard someone;s eF/ited *oi/e: — $ho is that#.. =a! o"r 1orde es/a e tro"ble-.. — In those terrible times o% endless intestine wars and im et"o"s raids e*en the 0hans /o"ld not %eel sa%e %rom the s"dden a''ression o% their enemies. Eer! o%ten, ma0in' "se o% the absen/e o% the r"ler and his tro" s some bothersome nei'hbo"rs or e*en lar'e bands o% robbers raided the abandoned head+"arters o% the 1orde and looted e*er!thin' the! /o"ld ta0e awa! with them. ,his was wh! e*er!one %iFed his dist"rbed e!es to where the sho"tin' horsemen was ointin' o"t. . 'allo in' rider showed " in the distan/e with a /han'e horse ra/in' alon' at his side. ,he bl"ish-'reen ste e had immediatel! a/+"ired an alarmin' loo0. ,he rider 'allo ed " to the 0han himsel%, 3"m ed o%% his horse, ran " to .b"l0hair and s rawled at his %eet %a/e down to the 'ro"nd. 4nl! then did he hold " his head and started tal0in' eF/itedl!: — =! Co*erei'n )han, here is m! ton'"e, /"t it o%%- 1ere is m! head, sli/e it o%% m! sho"lders-.. It is I who is to blame %or %ailin' to ta0e ro er /are o% the risoner. ,he warrior Ca!an who was 0e t "nder arrest has %led to'ether with two '"ards... — It was that *er! 4sman-1o3a whom the da! be%ore the 0han had ordered to 0ee a wat/h%"l e!e on the /on*i/t da! and ni'ht. —>inall! )han .b"l0hair mana'ed to /ho0e down the l"m in his throat. — $ho were his '"ards# — .r'!n horsemen, m! Co*erei'n )han)obland!-7at!r 3er0ed his sho"lders an'ril!. &ri in' the handle o% his da''er he /ast a morose 'lan/e at .0(hol-7i!. ,he warrior seemed "n ert"rbed and did not e*en loo0 at his enem!. 1e onl! ad3"sted the /"r*ed sabre %astened onto his belt. )han .b"l0hair was loo0in' at them. .san-)ai'! shi%ted his e!es %rom )obland!7at!r;s da''er to the sabre o% .0(hol-7i!. .ll those aro"nd were starin' at them... .t that *er! moment, as i% the wise .san-)ai'!;s terrible ro he/! was /omin' tr"e, a th"nder /rashed o"t o*er the ste e and it seemed the earth itsel% had bro0en in two. ,he /lear bl"eness o% the s0! be'an to be +"i/0l! o*er/ast with dar0 /lowds. >ier! arrows were bla(in' in them "ninterr" tedl! and the 'rass was bendin' down as i% be''in' the s0! %or mer/!. )han .b"l0hair /ast a worried 'lan/e in the dire/tion o% the re/i ito"sl! a roa/hin' storm and silentl! wal0ed down to the !"rta o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. 1is retin"e %ollowed s"it. 1e did not e*en loo0 at the remainin' .san-)ai'! and the other son'sters who were standin' with bare heads awaitin' the storm. — ,oda!;s %east was a %east o% 'rie%...— said .san-)ai'!.— =a! all this be /rowned with a %ort"nate o"t/ome,he eo le raised their hands towards the s0!. I3 4n the so"thern slo e o% the @l!ta" =o"ntain, in the *er! heart o% the 2esht-and)i /ha0 ste e there stret/hed o"t the town o% 4rda-7a(ar, the head+"arters o% )han .b"l0hair. 7"t %or the not *er! hi'h mo"ntains @l!ta" and )i/hita", a bo"ndless ste e
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s read o"t to the so"th, to the north, to the west and to the east where onl! wild rams and deer li*ed. In the so"th the nearest town was ,"r0estan, or Dass!, the an/ient name 'i*en to it b! the inhabitants o% the ste e, and in the north ,"men 6,!"men8 /alled ,ara %rom olden times. It too0 one not less than ten da!s and ni'hts to 'et to the nearest o% them on horseba/0... 4rda-7a(ar had on/e been a oint o% de%en/e %or the n"mero"s %or/es o% 7at! be%ore he started o"t %or 5"s. ?"st li0e ants did the ,"mens /rawl there %rom all arts o% the ste e and then streamed to where the blood-red s"n set. .ll aro"nd there stret/hed o"t the 'reen ste e with l"sh meadow 'rasses whi/h /o"ld %eed h"ndreds o% tho"sands o% horses at the same time. <*en now amidst this ste e aradise one /an see towerin' hills beneath whi/h the «7at! =o"nd» is... ,he town was /alled 4rda-7a(ar %or the onl! reason that 0han;s head+"arters had on/e been there. 4rda-7a(ar had no streets and s+"ares most tr"e towns had, besides it /o"ld not boast man! b"ildin's. Inasm"/h as )han .b"l0hair 'o*erned mostl! nomadi/ and semi-nomadi/ tribes he /o"ld not ma0e " his mind to lea*e the ste e %ore*er and mo*e to some o% the an/ient /ities o% =a*eranna0hr. ,he 0han;s horde was made " o% %i*e lar'e a"ls and b! a'e-old tradition s ent all s"mmer tra*ellin' in the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e ret"rnin' to 4rda-7a(ar onl! towards a"t"mn. In the s"mmer it tra*elled as %ar as the Hhem and @il ri*ers in the west and the ,obol, Ishim and A"ra in the east. Aot on/e did )han .b"l0hair it/h white !"rtas on the sand! ban0s o% the 5i*er Cei0h"n and the %ollowin' s"mmer the! alread! saw them b! the 7l"e, or 7al0hash Cea. ,he de art"re o% the 0han;s a"ls did not de end on the weather alone as was the /ase with ordinar! nomads. <a/h s rin' the 0han;s /o"n/il held a /on%eren/e de/idin' on where and when the resen/e o% the 0han and his host wo"ld be es e/iall! ne/essar! in the /omin' s"mmer. In one la/e it was ne/essar! to be/ome the %ather-in-law o% some in%l"ential s"ltan;s da"'hter or son in order to se/"re his s" ort, while in another the 0han;s !"rtas were set " in the /losest roFimit! to the 0in whi/h eF/ited his bi''est a rehensions. 4ne %ine ni'ht all the a"ls o% that 0in wo"ld be destro!ed «down to the last hoo*es» as the! sa! in the ste e. ,h"s the 0han;s wa!s were ins/r"table and onl! the most tr"sted ones were in the 0now... <*identl! this was the reason wh! 4rda-7a(ar ne*er be/ame a bi' /it! li0e Camar0and, 7"0hara or &erat. In all, it had abo"t two h"ndred stone and adobe ho"ses, let alone the n"mberless !"rtas and tents whi/h wo"ld s rin' " and disa ear o*erni'ht. In the /entre there were se*eral relati*el! small ala/es b"ilt b! the best ar/hite/ts o% the 4rient %rom the %amo"s time-resistant red bri/0s and the most bea"ti%"ll o% them all was a white stone mos+"e /rowned with a 'olden /res/ent whi/h /o"ld be /om ared in bea"t! with the best mos+"es o% Istanb"l and 7a'hdad. It di%%ered %rom the %amo"s mos+"e ere/ted b! ,im"r the 9ame in ,"r0estan o*er the se "l/hre o% Chei0 1o3a-.hmed-Dasa*i with its %inel! /ar*ed la/! atterns re%le/tin' the a'e-old ste e embroider!. ,here were no s"/h atterns e*en in the mos+"e ere/ted b! @(be0-)han in the Brimea, not %ar %rom ,heodosia. Det no-one 0new the name o% the 'reat %ol0 /ra%tsman who had eFe/"ted that stone mira/le... 7"t in all li0elihood the real reason behind 4rda-7a(ar;s not 'rowin' to be/ome a bi' /it! was )han .b"l0hair;s "nwillin'ness to trans%er his /a ital to one o% the /on+"ered /ities, %ollowin' the eFam le o% his *i/torio"s %orbears. Co %ar he /o"ld not brin' himsel% to do that %or %ear o% lea*in' the ste e witho"t a wat/h%"l e!e. 7esides, he se/retl! ho ed that the stri%e and o osition in the ste e wo"ld 'rad"all! s"bside, the m"tino"s s"ltans s" ressed, and he wo"ld /ede his ower o*er the )a(a0hs to one o% his 'rown sons and himsel% wo"ld mo*e to 4trar or C!'hna0 to li*e o"t his da!s there. ,hen the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e wo"ld be/ome a reliable s" ort %or his h"'e em ire ro*idin' %or bra*e and de*oted warriors... .%ter the s"dden storm was o*er, an "n"s"al dri((lin' rain was o"rin' a whole wee0. Aot waitin' %or the /om letion o% the %"neral re ast %or his son, )han .b"l0hair ret"rned to 4rda-7a(ar. ,he distin'"ished )i /ha0s and .r'!ns, as well as the &en'hi(ide-s"ltans %rom other )a(a0h 0ins and tribes %ollowed him to li*e /loser to the /a ital.
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2ee in sombre tho"'hts did )han .b"l0hair arri*e at head+"arters with li'htnin' %lashin' in his e!es. 1e 'rew e*en dar0er when he %o"nd o"t abo"t the details o% the warrior Ca!an;s %li'ht. .ll the retainers 0new somethin' terrible was brewin'. =an! wo"ld ha*e been s"r rised to 0now that it was not the es/a e o% the warrior Ca!an whi/h /a"sed the 0han;s an'er... >or the inhabitants o% the ste e there was nothin' more im ortant than horsera/es and /om etitions. Cometimes all the ste e oliti/s i*oted " on them and the sli'htest de*iation %rom the r"les had a dee meanin'. .%terwards the! wo"ld dis/"ss some interestin' details o% a ast ra/e %or man! !ears r"nnin' and ma0e ro'noses %or the %"t"re. Aow a well-tho"'ht-o"t *ent"re was abo"t to %all to the 'ro"nd be/a"se o% some ra'am"%%in li*in' on raisin' horse-tendin' and h"ntin' li0e a h"n'r! wol%. .t the *er! be'innin' o% re arations %or the %"neral re ast there was r"mo"r that the warrior 4ra0, who 'ra(ed .b"l0hair;s herds, was 'oin' to ha*e his ra/er .0ba0ai in/l"ded in the 0han;s horse-ra/e. 4nl! the noble and the ri/h were allowed to ta0e art in the horse-ra/es and 'ames o% the 0han;s /o"rt whereas in this /ase it had to do with a low-born and the mere sla*e o% the 0han. ,he nobles o% the entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e had /ome to ta0e art in the %"neral re ast %or the 0han;s son. 1ow /o"ld some worthless 4ra0 dare b"tt in here with his onl! horse- ,he worst thin' o% all was that the! had s" lied the 0han with detailed in%ormation on the horse ni/0-named .0ba0ai. .//ordin' to it that same .0ba0ai was %aster than the wind and none o% the 0han;s thoro"'hbred r"nners had a /han/e to beat it... .ll the ste e wo"ld be la"'hin' at )han .b"l0hair i% 4ra0 won the ra/e on $hite9e''ed. ,he mob wo"ld be re3o!/in' de%amin' the in%l"en/e o% the 0han;s ower. ,o them it wo"ld mean a real *i/tor!-.. ,he most im ortant %a/t was that )han .b"l0hair was well aware o% the stron' oints o% the horse ni/0-named .0ba0ai. ,he 0han had what the! /all a «horse memor!» and /o"ld not %or'et what had ha ened two !ears a'o. 4n/e, while trainin' his %a*o"rite stallion ,arlan0o0, )han .b"l0hair set o"t to ins e/t his herds. ,here all were tr!in' to /at/h a wild /olt 4ra0 horse-herd. ,he! had been /hasin' it alread! %or whole three da!s and all %or nothin'. 4n the s "r o% the moment the 0han dashed o"t a%ter the "nr"l! beast on his ,arlan0o0 b"t a%ter awhile t"rned his ra/er o*er to the best horseman. ,he 0han;s horseman too0 a s e/ial lasso intended %or /at/hin' wild horses and r"shed towards the white-le''ed /olt whi/h was now 'ra(in' ea/e%"ll! aside %rom the herds. .las-.. ,he moment the /olt heard the /latterin' hoo*es o% ,arlan0o0 it ri/0ed its ears and *anished into the bl"e ha(e o% the ste e. ,he 0han;s s e/iall! trained sinew! ra/er was tearin' alon' a%ter the /olt li0e the wind and .0ba0ai, eFha"sted b! the "ninterr" ted three-da! /hase, was lea*in' ,arlan0o0 behind easil! and %reel!. ,hat da! with 'reat di%%i/"lt! the! %inall! mana'ed to lasso the /olt... .0ba0ai m"st ha*e been se*en at the time. It is the a'e when a horse has 'rown a %"ll tail and mane and is hardiest and swi%test. ,hen 4ra0-7at!r was standin' modestl! aside and now he was /hallen'in' the 0han himsel%-.. ,here was another and more asto"ndin' ie/e o% news: the )han .b"l0hair;s %aith%"l men had bro0en the so*erei'n o% hal% o% the world. 4ra0-7at!r, a man who did not e*en ha*e a white !"rta worth! o% a tr"e warrior, had be/ome intimate with the 0han;s da"'hter-in-law, the bea"ti%"l widow .00o(!, and was 'oin' to bind himsel% in marria'e with her ri'ht a%ter the %"nereal re ast. .00o(! herse% had alread! 'i*en her /onsent to this "nheard-o% ro osal-.. 4n the e*e o% the %east )han .b"l0hair sent %or his lo!al *e(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a. 7! ni'ht%all se*en men wra ed " in dar0 robes had alread! been loomin' on the road in eF e/tation o% 4ra0-7at!r... ,hat same ni'ht the! too0 4ra0 "naware. 1e did not e*en ha*e time to s/ream when the! %ell on him, 'a''ed him and bo"nd him hand and %oot. .0ba0ai was standin' nearb! tied to a e'. ,he 0han;s ser*ants %astened the hel less warrior to
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.0ba0ai;s tail and started stri0in' the horse with a whi . ,he oor /reat"re be'an to /latter a /ra(ed tattoo with his hoo*es in a %"tile attem t to brea0 loose. ,he %ollowin' mornin' the! re orted to )han .b"l0hair that 4ra0 had 3oined the ma3orit!... «7oastin' is the so"r/e o% all !o"r tro"bles, st" id warrior,— the 0han tho"'ht learnin' the news o% 4ra0;s death.— ,he da"'hter-in-law o% a 0han /annot be the wi%e o% a low-down /ommoner-» 7"t r"mo"r s reads %ar and wide with li'htnin' s eed whi/h is es e/iall! tr"e in the ste e. Immediatel! a%ter her ret"rn %rom the %"neral re ast .00o(! %o"nd o"t what had ha ened to 4ra0-7at!r. In s ite o% the %"rio"s %lame ra'in' in her breast she retended not to 0now an!thin' abo"t this terrible deed. Det, the a'onisin' an'"ish was s+"ee(in' her heart with s"/h a 'ri that she /o"ld hardl! breathe. .%raid lest she sho"ld do another %ine tri/0 the 0han sent his man to see her and tell her the %ollowin': — ,he .lmi'ht! and I are 'rate%"l to her %or the end"ran/e with whi/h she awaited the end o% mo"rnin' not dis'ra/in' in the least the memor! o% o"r dear son. Che is still !o"n' and we do not want her to remain sin'le %or the rest o% her li%e. ,here%ore let her 'et married. 7! law the 3"nior brother is the s"//essor o% the senior one. .ltho"'h o"r most lo*ed son Chah-7"da0h assed awa! remat"rel! we, raised be .llah, ha*e another ten sons and ea/h o% them /an satis%! a woman;s %eelin's. I 'i*e her the ri'ht o% /hoi/e to de/ide whose*er home she will enter... — Eer! well, I will thin0 it o*er and a%ter three da!s will 'i*e an answer to m! so*erei'n m!sel%. — ,hree da!s later .b"l0hair s"mmoned the distin'"ished /o"rtiers, bi!s and warriors. $ith them aro"nd he himsel% addressed .00o(! with the same +"estion. — 4"r dear and hi'hl! esteemed da"'hter-in-law. Do" m"st ha*e made some de/ision alread!. Aow do tell "s what it is so that we /o"ld start re arin' %or merr! /elebrations— .ll ten sons were standin' neFt to .b"l0hair %iFin' their e!es on the bea"ti%"l widow and waitin' im atientl! %or her answer. ,heir e!es shined in'ratiatin'l! as i% 'reased with oil. Che loo0ed their wa! with an indi%%erent air and 'a*e a li'ht smile: — .ll ten o% !o"r sons and m! brothers are li0e damas0 swords, m! Co*erei'n )han. <a/h one is as 'ood as the other and it is im ossible %or me to /hoose between them. ,his is wh!, m! )han, I ha*e a little re+"est to ma0e !o"... — C ea0- — /onsented the s"r rised 0han. — I will... 7"t a//ordin' to /"stom !o" m"st romise that !o" will %"l%ill m! re+"est,he 0han a"sed. ,here reall! was s"/h a /"stom in the ste e. — I belie*e o"r da"'hter-in-law will ne*er as0 %or somethin' whi/h /o"ld s ot the noble banner o% the Cheibanide 0in... I 'i*e !o" m! word that I will %"l%ill !o"r re+"est "nless it is "nnat"ral— Ao, it will not blemish whose*er hono"r. 4n the /ontrar!, it will %"rther 'lori%! the 0han;s 0in... — $ell, let;s hear !o" then...— ,he 0han 'a*e a si'h o% relie%.— C ea0I wo"ld li0e to swear on the )oran- — eF/laimed .00o(! and swi%tl! too0 o"t %rom her bosom a small bla/0-bo"nd boo0.— 1ere is m! )oran, m! >ather )han. 1oldin' this boo0 o% &od o*er m! head I swear to !o" and to e*er!one here to remain a widow %or 'ood,he 0han 3er0ed " his head an'ril! and .00o(! %ell to her 0nees. — I besee/h !o", m! >ather )han, not to ma0e me brea0 m! led'e so that !o" wo"ld not brin' " on !o"rsel% m! maledi/tion-.. — )han .b"l0hair realised immediatel! that she 0new the se/ret o% warrior 4ra0;s death. @tterl! enra'ed, he was abo"t to 'o ba/0 on his his romise and ersonall! /hoose a h"sband %or her o"t o% his ten sons. 1e was es e/iall! anno!ed with the %a/t that .00o(! had re%erred all o% them to some miserable horse-herd. 1owe*er, his re/0less de/ision wo"ld brin' dishono"r on the 0han;s ho"se. Co he had to ta0e a 'ri on himsel%. — I will %"l%ill !o"r re+"est, da"'hter-in-law-..
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— 1e said that witho"t holdin' " his head and e*er!one realised what it /ost him to sa! that. — .00o(! 3"m ed " to her %eet her e!es s ar0lin'. $hen she was 'i*in' her oath she did not 0now that 4ra0-7at!r was still ali*e-.. ,he oor warrior was sa*ed b! a mira/le. .0ba0ai was tearin' alon' the ni'ht ste e in 'reat terror, %eelin' some monstro"s /reat"re holdin' on to its tail. ,he warrior;s head, ba/0 and sho"lders were 0no/0in' a'ainst the 'ro"nd his death seemin' to be ine*itable... C"ddenl!, witho"t slowin' down its a/e .0ba0ai dashed into a la0e. ,he warrior;s dra''in' bod! /a"'ht on a sna' and the horse 'ot st"/0 in the oo(e "nable to 'et o"t o% it. ,he neFt mornin' the herds who had /ome to the la0e to water their horses %o"nd the hal% dead warrior and dra''ed him o"t onto the shore. 1is %a/e was terribl! dis%i'"red, one o% his e!es had /ome o"t and he himsel% was hardl! breathin'. 5ealisin' who had ordered to do this terrible thin' the %ellowherdsmen se/retl! too0 their /omrade to one o% the n"mero"s /a*es in the @l!ta" =a"ntains where he 'ot well and re'ained his stren'th... 4nl! %i*e !ears later did )han .b"l0hair learn o% 4ra0;s es/a in' death. . /ertain one-e!ed dare-de*il headed b! the 'ro" o% )a(a0h ra'am"%%ins who atta/0ed onl! the 0han;s /ara*ans and too0 awa! onl! the 0han;s horses and dro*es o% ri/h s/o"ndrels who had /r"ell! o%%ended the oor. ,he 0han;s ser*ants dreaded the raids o% the dashin' warrior and be%ore lon' .b"l0hair learned his name... 1owe*er, in those da!s the 0han did not s"s e/t that 4ra0-7at!r was ali*e and there%ore had re/on/iled himsel% to his da"'hter-in-law;s oath. 1e wo"ld not /han'e his ten 'rown sons b! his %irst three wi*es and a /on/"bine-wi%e %or his %a*o"rite little C"!"n/hi0 born b! 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im, the da"'hter o% @l"'be0. .nd all his lo*e %or his late %irst-born Chah-7"da0h the 0han 'a*e to the two 'randsons his most lo*ed son le%t him a%ter his death. ,he destin! and ri*ate li*es o% the other sons were o% little im ortan/e to )han .b"l0hair. .s %or his an'er at .00o(!, he abated it artl! be/a"se o% his lo*e %or the 'randsons, es e/iall! %or the older one, ="0hammed-Cheibani. 1e /o"ld alread! sense in the bo! a %"t"re &en'hi(ide r"ler. ,he 'rand%ather was *er! leased to 0now that his 'randson 0new no mer/! both %or his ser*ants and those his a'e. <*en a sna0e lo*es its !o"n' and wishes them well, so it was not worthwile h"rtin' the 0ids be/a"se o% a %it o% short-li*ed an'er. .b"l0hair ondered o*er the %"t"re still more and more o%ten. <a/h time he mentall! wei'hed the merits and %laws o% his li0el! heirs. ,he! are to be/ome the s" ort o% the 'reat 1orde /reated b! him and ha*e to ossess all the ne/essar! *irt"es o% a r"ler. C"!"n/hi0 seems to ha*e the ma0in's o% a tr"e so*erei'n. 1e inherited them %rom his 'reat-'rand%ather on the maternal side, the terrible ,im"r. .s %or )han .b"l0hair, the des/endant o% &en'hi( )han himsel%, he 'a*e his 'randson the other hal% o% the latter;s /hara/ter. 1is other 'randson ="0hammed-Cheibani, too, has the least in/lination to listen to what his heart sa!s. $ith ea/h assin' da! li%e /orroborates the /orre/tness o% )han .b"l0hair;s se/ret /hoi/e. Indeed, onl! %athers and 'rand%athers /an best see their sons; and 'randsons; stron' and wea0 oints and re/o'nise in them *eritable lions and leo ards-.. 1owe*er, it is not !et time %or them to be on the throne. 7! law a%ter Chah-7"da0h the %ather;s throne is to be s"//eded b! his neFt son Chah-1aidar. 7"t will the sons /o"nt with the will o% their %ather# $ill he ha*e to sober their heads himsel%# ?"d'in' %rom the /old and hate%"l wa! the son o% C"ltan )erei 7"r"nd"0 loo0ed at the little ="hammed-Cheibani it was /lear what the latter wo"ld ha*e to 'o thro"'h on his wa! to the throne. «$ill ="0hammed-Cheibani be stron' eno"'h to end"re all that# — the 0han tho"'ht.— 1is blood is too hot and it ma! do harm to him...» 7e%ore /allin' its !o"n' %or their %irst %li'ht an old ea'le m"st see to it that no dan'er awaits them o"tside their nati*e nest. I% there are sna0es aro"nd, the mother-ea'le will ne*er let them o"t till the sna0es are 0illed. ,he same is tr"e with the r"lers. 1e /o"ld hardl! %or'et the omino"s s ar0les in the e!es o% sto/0! 7"r"nd"0. ,here it was, the oisono"s ro'en! o% @r"s )han whi/h had to be " rooted be%ore his
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nestlin's %lew o"t into the bi' wide world- I% the 0han did not want his 'randson /r"shed at the %irst %la o% his win's he m"st 0ill not onl! )han )erei b"t his dastardl! s awn too-.. <*en more dan'ers awaited his C"!"n/hi0. ,he enemies wo"ld threaten his %a*o"rite son %rom all sides and his own brothers wo"ld 'i*e him no +"arter-.. )han .b"l0hair 3"m ed to his %eet and started wal0in' abo"t the so%t r"'. C""denl! he remembered a'ain the %a/e o% the r"nawa! warrior Ca!an. Aow, whene*er he re/alled his son he /o"ld not hel brin'in' to mind that damned %a/e. . %it o% 3ealo"s! %or his belo*ed wi%e 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im destorted the )han;s %eat"res. Ao-one /o"ld see him, !et he "lled himsel% to'ether. 1is %a/e 'rew as im assi*e and /alm as "s"al... ,here was another /on/ern whi/h 0e t on eatin' .b"l0hair;s heart. ,he !ear be%ore last he had bro"'ht %rom his raid on the Bas ian /oastal ste e three ba! %i*e-!earolds o% the ,"r0menian breed whi/h ama(ed one with their bea"t! and b"ild. :eo le "sed to sa! abo"t s"/h stron' and sinew! horses that the! /o"ld sli thro"'h a 'old en'a'ement rin'. $hen the! di*ided the boot! he 'enero"sl! resented all three horses to his belo*ed wi%e 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. «$hen we set o"t %or another la/e !o" will ride them to'ether with !o"r two sons as be%its the 'reat-'randda"'hter o% the "n%or'ettable ,im"r-» — he told her. In s ite o% his on/e /a t"rin' ,im"r;s /a ital /it!, %i'htin' a'ainst his des/endants and /om ellin' his 'randda"'hter to marr! him )han .b"l0hair hono"red the memor! o% the 'reat r"ler who had instilled %ear in all .sia. ,he 0han married 5abia-C"ltan7e'im artl! o"t o% res e/t %or the ,im"r blood, altho"'h man! o% his asso/iates and all his wi*es were a'ainst that... ,he horses were now nine !ears old and the 0han was 'oin' to in/l"de them in the /om etitions. ,he da! be%ore the %"nereal re ast he told 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im: — $ill !o" brin' !o"r three ba! horses to the /om etitions, m! lad!# I wo"ld li0e them to ra/e to'ether with ,arlan0o0... ,he 0han;s %o"rth wi%e was alread! thirt! b"t loo0ed sweet se*enteen. Che 'lan/ed at the 0han %rom "nder her thi/0 e!e-lashes the wa! onl! she /o"ld do and answered: — Do" m"stn;t do that, m! dear )han. ,hese horses are so 'ood that there;s no do"bt the! will win %irst ri(e. $o"ldn; it be %"nn! i% that reall! ha ened. ,hen the eo le wo"ld lose all interest in the ra/e... 7esides, it is im ossible to in/l"de them in the /om etitions now. 4ne o% the three has in3"red its le' and was eFamined !esterda! b! bone-setter )ab!lbai. ,he other two will not be able to r"n either sin/e the! are "sed to be to'ether li0e swans... — $ell, there;s nothin' to be done abo"t it- — the 0han /on/eded. ,hat same ni'ht the !o"n' warrior Ca!an and two .r'!ns who were meant to '"ard him es/a ed on these horses and 'allo ed o%% in the dire/tion o% Ca'n!0. .s "s"al the o onents be'an to s read r"mo"r in the ste e: «$hat a l"/0! de*il warrior Ca!an is-.. Aot onl! did he en3o! the %a*o"rs o% the !o"n' wi%e o% the 0han b"t has stolen .b"l0hair;s three best ra/ers... 1e is smart eno"'h to ha*e dishono"red o"r 0han so-» 4% /o"rse the r"mo"r was s read in whis ers. 7"t, as the! sa!, &od hears the so%test whis er and what &od 0nows 1e will tell the eo le. Aat"rall! the hearsa! rea/hed the 0han;s ears soon eno"'h. 7esides, .b"l0hair himsel% had alread! s"s e/ted somethin'... $hen the 0han re/alled that he /len/hed his %ists in an im otent ra'e and was read! to tram le "nder%oot the whole world. 1owe*er, he too0 a 'ri on himsel% and set down the bell he was abo"t to /all %or the eFe/"tioner with. Ee(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a told him that the 0han;s bone-setter )ab!lbai had not eFamined his ba! horses the da! be%ore. ,o all a earan/es 5abia-C"tan-7e'im had been l!in' to him %or some reason. .nd the reason was ob*io"s eno"'h %or the whole world eF/e t her h"sband. ,he interestin' %a/t was that at %irst the bone-setter /on%irmed the wi%e;s words and onl! his a renti/es maintained that )ab"lbai had been awa! at the time. .%ter that he admitted e*er!thin' himsel%. It loo0ed li0e the 0han;s wi%e had bribed him or romised to 'i*e him 'enero"s resents. It did not o//"r to the 0han that his %aith%"l *e(ier /o"ld
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ha*e distorted e*er!thin' or that the bone-setter;s st"dents /o"ld ha*e slandered )ob!lbai %or their own bene%it... In an! /ase all that was b"rnin' the 0han;s heart as i% with hot iron. Aow he did not ha*e the least do"bt that his wi%e had been "n%aith%"l to him. 4"t o% lo*e %or the handsome Ca!an-7at!r she had sto ed at nothin'. Che had bribed the '"ards, ro*ided her lo*er with the 0han;s best horses, and been tellin' her h"sband all sorts o% lies. .nd !et the 0han wo"ld ha*e %or'i*en her her betra!al li0e he had be%ore b"t %or some /ir/"mstan/e whi/h be'an to be/ome /lear d"rin' the in*esti'ation o% Ca!an7at!r;s %li'ht. .//ordin' to 7a0ht!-1o3a it was 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who insisted that two .r'!n horsemen '"ard Ca!an-7at!r whi/h meant she had alread! mana'ed to somehow /ons ire with the rebellio"s .r'!n s"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei-.. $ell, when e*er!thin' is "ltimatel! ro*en his hand will be %irm. 1is re*en'e will be arran'ed in s"/h a wa! that all ,im"rides will end " dis'ra/ed %or 'ood. <*en tho"'h the! are the des/endants o% the Iron 9ame, he, a &en'hi(ide, will show them whose hono"r is dearer-.. $hat more dis'ra/e%"l %or a wi%e than hobnobbin' with the sworn enemies o% her h"sband-.. C"/h an a//"sation will be 'ood eno"'h to "t to death one;s dearl! lo*ed woman, %or this 0ind o% wi*es are sti'mati(ed in all le'ends. 1e will ha*e to thin0 o% an eFe/"tion no-one has e*er in*ented be%ore. 9et the stor! o% a 0han;s re*en'e remain in a'es to /ome. ,hen the! will %or'et all other de'radin' r"mo"rs abo"t him whi/h are now bein' s read all o*er the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e... )han .b"l0hair wal0ed abo"t the /ar et loo0in' dar0er than a dar0 /lo"d and thin0in' o% an eFe/"tion %or his bea"ti%"l wi%e. ,he most /"rio"s thin' was that his most worth! 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who was rather the da"'hter o% her 'reat s/holarl! %ather @l"'be0 than the 'randda"'hter o% r"thless ,im"r, e*en in her mind had ne*er done what her so*erei'n s o"se s"s e/ted her o%... ,r"e, she as0ed the 0han to romote !o"n' warrior Ca!an to altal!0 the same as hel ed him to ma0e a %li'ht. 7"t then in all that she was moti*ated b! alto'ether di%%erent reasons. It was di%%i/"lt %or *e(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a or enra'ed )han .b"l0hair to "nderstand her moti*es. .s %or the 0han, howe*er lon' he was tr!in' to thin0 " an eFe/"tion %or his "n%aith%"l wi%e he /o"ld /ome " with nothin' more brilliant than de/a itatin' her. ,o him the s e/ial leas"re abo"t the de/a itation was that it wo"ld be eFe/"ted in a//ordan/e with the law established b! her own 'reat-'rand%ather ,im"r. . ro!al re*en'e indeed- .b"l0hair e*en let himsel% smile thin0in' o% it... 4% all the laws established b! /on+"erors on )a(a0h land the most horrible and /r"el, eF/e tin' the ones assed b! &en'hi( )han, was «,he Bode o% 9aws on Briminals» /reated b! ,im"r. .nd amon' the Bode;s /la"ses es e/iall! se*ere was the one entitled «4n :"nishments %or Bhildren Bommittin' Brimes .'ainst ,heir =others and =others Bommittin' Brimes .'ainst ,heir Bhildren». Bhildren themsel*es were to /hoose the 0ind o% eFe/"tion %or their mothers. $hat more re%ined in /r"elt! than that# C"/h a "nishement loo0ed e*en more monstro"s i% a mother was absol"tel! inno/ent and "nished onl! be/a"se o% eo le;s meanness and "nderhand intri'"es. «I% m! C"!"n/hi0 be/omes /on*in/ed in his mother;s '"ilt he will immediatel! senten/e her to death- - re%le/ted .b"l0hair. - Co ma! he be the %irst to throw a stone at her... 5i'ht, ma! the an/ient "nishment be%all the wanton wi%e-.. 9et them stone her. 1e himsel% will /ast stones at his wi%e to'ether with his son. ,he mob too will be leased to 0now that the 0han a lies the sa/red a'e-old "nishment to his own wi%e-.. It will be a /ondi'n re*en'e- .ll the ,im"rides will be %ore*er dis'ra/ed %or brin'in' " s"/h an "nworth! da"'hter. 7"t then m! C"!"n/hi0 is also a ,im"ride- Ao matter. <*en i% the thin's the! sa! abo"t 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im are tr"e and there is not a sin'le dro o% m! blood in m! son it all is o% little im ortan/e. $hat is reall! im ortant is that he will no lon'er be in%l"en/ed b! his mother;s dishono"red relati*es and he will r"le the &olden 1orde as m! son. In /ase &od is willin'-..»
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Ao, there /an be no do"bt as to C"!"n/hi0 bein' his own son. .%ter all he 0nows it better than all the bi' mo"ths ta0en to'ether. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im will die not be/a"se o% her bein' "n%aith%"l to her h"sband as a woman. Che wo"ld li*e ha il! i% she were not lost in admiration %or the .r'!n s"ltans. . wi%e m"st be a art o% her h"sband in his hatred %or the enemies. Co, in order to 0ee Cheibani;s o%%s rin' on the throne o% )han @(be0 he has to be mer/iless. ,he! sa! one sa/ri%i/es his ears to se/"re his head-.. «.nd what i% m! son C"!"n/hi0 does not wish to rono"n/e death senten/e on his own mother#.. $ell, I ha*e one more son, )"sh0in/hi0... Des, she will meet death senten/ed to it b! her most lo*ed son C"!"n/hi0. I, too, lo*e m! %irst-born more than I do the other sons. ,his wa! it will be harder on her and more leasant %or me. 7esides, C"!"n/hi0 will ha*e more in%l"en/e when he as/ends the throne. 1e m"st be ers"aded to 'i*e senten/e on his mother at all /osts. ,he blood o% &en'hi( )han and 9ame ,im"r %lows in his *eins, so he m"st not 0now the meanin' o% mer/! e*en in his !o"n' a'e. ,his is the wisdom o% r"lin' wea0 eo le-.. . sil*er bell tin0led and in /ame the 'reat Ee(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a. 1e made a low bow and said that the one blamed %or warrior Ca!an;s %li'ht, 4s an-1o3a, was in 3ail waitin' %or the 0han;s de/ision... .b"l0hair silentl! in*ited the *e(ier to a la/e neFt to himsel% and 7a0ht!-1o3a;s e!es %lashed %ire. ,his was what alwa!s ha ened when the 0han made an im ortant de/ision. In/linin' his head to the *e(ier;s ear .b"l0hair whis ered a %ew words. ,o an onloo0er it mi'ht seem as i% two ro'"es were lottin' 3"st another robber!. 7"t then the 0han m"st ha*e had his own reasons to tal0 in this manner e*en in his ala/e. C"ddenl! *e(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a 'rew allid. 1e did not ma0e o"t e*er!thin' the 0ahn had told him, b"t he was a real *e(ier and '"essed at the rest readin' .b"l0hair;s li s and his 'litterin' e!es. — <!... e!, m! Co*erei'n )han- — he whis ered in answer.— <*er!thin' will be done as !o" /ommand... >or a %leetin' moment the *e(ier saw the blood-stained %a/e o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im bein' stoned b! the enra'ed mob, and her bea"ti%"l motionless bod!. 1is heart missed a beat in 3o!o"s anti/i ation. 9i0e all insi'ni%i/ant eo le 7a0ht!-1o3a 0eenl! hated e*er!thin' o"t o% the ordinar!, arti/"larl! bea"t!. 7esides, that 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im had tried to tal0 the 0han o"t o% a ointin' 7a0ht!-1o3a the main *e(ier. «9et;s see what !o" will %eel li0e now, m! bea"t!-.. 5est ass"red, I;ll do m! best %or !o" to be d!in' lon' eno"'h. Do" will drin0 the whole /" o% s"%%erin', down to the *er! bottom, m! dear, and it will be onl! then that !o" will %ind !o"r death and eternal dis'ra/e-..» — 1ow am I to /on*in/e m! son in his mother;s sin# — )han .b"l0hair as0ed barel! a"dibl!.— 4nl! a%ter he is %inall! /on*in/ed we will ha*e him bro"'ht to the eo le— Do"r wish is most im erati*e %or me, m! Co*erei'n )han- — 7a0ht!-1o3a bowed as low as the /ar et. I will do e*er!thin' ossible and e*en im ossible to do this. 7"t !o" ha*e not !et told me... — $hat ha*e I not told !o"# ,he 0han /ast a s"s i/io"s loo0 at his *e(ier. 7a0ht!-1o3a 3er0ed his head and a'ain in/lined it to the 0han;s ear: — $hat shall we do with .0(hol-7i!#.. .%ter all he is also '"ilt! o% his warrior;s %li'ht. .nd not onl! he. .ll the .r'!n s"ltans are to blame %or it this or that wa!... Des, this 7a0ht!-1o3a was a 'ood ser*ant and /o"ld %"ll! read the mind o% his master. >or a time the thirst %or re*en'e %or his belo*ed wi%e o"sted all other roblems %rom the 0han;s head and he 'a*e his ad*iser a "((led loo0. C"ddenl! a terrible s"s i/ion /rossed his mind. )han .b"l0hair listened attenti*el! to what the /le*er *i(ier was tellin' him while in his so"l there had alread! /oiled a dan'ero"s sna0e read! to atta/0 at an! moment... .t the same time 7a0ht!-1o3a also sensed he had made some mista0e. :erha s he sho"ldn;t ha*e mentioned o enl! the name o% his enem! .0(hol-7i!. 9i0e 5abia-C"ltan7e'im he tried to tal0 the 0han o"t o% a ointin' .0(hol-7i! a *i(ier. ,he 0han /o"ld
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"t two and two to'ether and ri/0 " his ears whereas now 7a0ht!-1o3a es e/iall! needed to ha*e .b"l0hair;s %"ll /on%iden/e... )han .b"l0hair reall! be/ame alerted. «=a!be I was wron' to ha*e entr"sted this sweet-*oi/ed ser*ant the %ate o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im# — tho"'ht he.— 1e hates her and .0(hol-7i! and ma! 'o too %ar. .t the same time in settlin' s"/h an im ortant matter one has to a/t /ool! and sober-mindedl!...» ,he /oiled s rin'! sna0e in the 0han;s /hest remained "neF anded, and not be/a"se his %aith%"l *i(ier had 'i*en awa! too m"/h. 1e seemed to be o*erl! de*oted and eF/essi*e (eal alwa!s aro"sed the 0han;s s"s i/ions. Aow this sna0e wo"ld be /onstantl! remindin' him abo"t itsel% "ntil one da! it wonedstine *i(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a. ,hen the +"estion o% his '"ilt wo"ld be "nim ortant. C"/h was the lot o% this 0ind o% eo le... «Indeed, what is to be done abo"t .0(hol-7i!,» — re%le/ted the 0han.— ,here is no do"bt abo"t his hel in' that warrior to es/a e. 7esides o*er the ast months he had be/ome /lose to m! %o"rth wi%e and I 0now what he is " to. 2a! and ni'ht the! wea*e a /obweb aro"nd me. Come 0now wh! the others do it o"t o% st" idit! or meanness whi/h is /hara/teristi/ o% h"mans. In an! /ase all o% them are '"ilt! and it is time he tore a art the /obweb;s threads while it is not too late,his is the sol"tion o% .0(hol-7i!;s %ate- 7! doin' awa! with him this or that wa! he will "ll o"t the teeth o% all the .r'!n s"ltans. .nd later it will be m"/h easier %or him to 'et at their hides-» >or a %leetin' moment he a'ain seemed to see sto/0! 7"r"nd"0;s s ite%"l e!es %iFed on his 'randson... «$e, the s"ltans and 0hans o% the 0in o% ?"t/hi, resemble one another in e*er!thin', li0e the n"/0lebones /hildren la! with. 2id I m!sel% it! an!one o% the ?"t/hiides on the wa! to the white %elt-mat o% the 0hans# Come da! 7"r"nd"0 will do the same. 1e is s" orted b! the .r'!ns I am 'oin' to behead... ,he " rooted 'rass will ne*er be/ome 'reen a'ain. In this matter one /annot do awa! with stems alone. I% one starts rootin' o"t somethin' one m"st see the whole thin' thro"'h. I% !o" do not wish to see !o"r 1orde;s disinte'ration and the a earan/e on its r"ins o% a new $hite 1orde !o" will ha*e to be mer/iless. 4n/e .0(hol-7i! is read! to %"l%ill the orders o% ?an!be0 and )erei he m"st die- 4n/e a woman is too bene*olent to the .r'!n s"ltans she too m"st die- .nd i% I s"s e/t !o", m! *i(ier, o% somethin', !o" are %ort"nate eno"'h not to be s"s e/ted o% !o"r se/ret s!m ath! %or the .r'!n /ons irators. Co %ar !o" are m! wat/hdo' %or h"ntin' them. $e;ll see abo"t !o"r trea/hero"s deeds later-.. It was onl! at the last moment that the ima'e o% a man treadin' on the tail-end o% a slee in' sna0e %lashed thro"'h the 0han;s mind. In this /ase the sna0e immediatel! awa0ens and its bite is %atal sin/e d"rin' the slee the deadl! re tile has alread! a//"m"lated a lot o% oison. $ho 0nows how m"/h oison has been a//"m"lated in this .l(hol-7i! and whether he will let o"t all o% it sin0in' his teeth in some *"lnerable la/e... <*er!thin' m"st be done "nh"rriedl!, ste b! ste ... — >irst do e*er!thin' ne/essar! as /on/erns the woman- — he said /oldl!.— .s %or .0(hol-7i!, we;ll dis ose o% him later on. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. 1e retreated, mo*in' ba/0ward and bendin' down more than "s"al. )han .b"l0hair wat/hed him 'o with a ensi*e loo0. ,his time too the eF ress ser*ilit! o% the *i(ier alerted the 0han. .b"l0hair saw 7a0ht!-1o3a a ear in the doorwa! a'ain. — =! Co*erei'n )han, the 'reat )ara0i /ha0 warrior )obland!-7at!r wishes to see !o"- 1e wishes to bow to !o"... — .ll ri'ht. 9et him in— .b"l0hair wai*ed his hand abo"t his %a/e as i% /hasin' awa! im ort"nate tho"'hts whi/h were /ree in' " %rom all sides and atta/0in' him li0e do's do a wa!%arer who er/han/e %o"nd himsel% in an a"l in the dead o% ni'ht. Ao sooner did he /hase awa! some o% them than another, still more *i/io"s a/0 o"n/ed on him... — Aow, in la/e o% the roblems with the .r'!n s"ltans and his "n%aith%"l wi%e the "n/alled-%or tho"'hts o% the 5"ler o% Camar0and, C"ltan .bd"said and his distant relati*e, /ame to his head. .bd"said owes him e*er!thin'. Ctill, the other da!, witho"t
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e*en as0in' %or ad*i/e, he set o"t a'ain, now %or 1orasan, =a(anderan and other areas o% Iran, to /om letel! /on+"er them. I% his /am ai'n ends " s"//ess%"ll! he will be/ome stron'er and tr! to /"t the lasso )han .b"l0hair holds his ne/0 in. Ao, he /annot admit it. C"ltan .bd"said r"shed de*elo ments himsel%. .b"l0hair will ha*e to inter*ene in order to 'i*e Camar0and o*er to some o% ,im"r;s o%%s rin'. ,hat wa! it will be sa%er. .s %or the head o% C"ltan .bd"said, it has alread! ri ened %or the aFe... .b"l0hair swit/hed his tho"'hts o*er to =o'olistan. Its r"ler Isa 7"'a0han will not be o*er3o!ed to hear o% the "nishment awaitin' the .r'!n s"ltans and .0(hol-7i!. 1e has lon' been at one with ?an!be0 and )erei. 1e does need a 'ood sti/0 to ed with a stron' loo to brin' this =o'olistan r"ler to his ro er la/e in the stable... Cooner or later .b"l0hair will ine*itabl! /lash with him. :erha s it is alread! time to start a /am ai'n a'ainst .bd"said# =o'olistan is a /o"ntr! o% mo"ntains and snow. $ill he end"re the hardshi s#.. ,he %amed der*ish-healer .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*ani whose %orbears had been ta0en %rom the Ba"/as"s as sla*es b! 9ame ,im"r and ado ted Islam, eFamined him 3"st the da! be%ore. «4 &reat )han, salt is settlin' in !o"r bones, — said he.— Do";d better tra*el less and sit more in the hot s rin's o% =a*erranna0hr.» Ban he ne'le/t his health# 1is heirs are not !et eF erien/ed eno"'h.7sides, when !o" die !o"r 'ra*e will be onl! three ste s in len'th. Cho"ld he 0ee worr!in' d"rin' his li%etime, wa'e wars, b"ild a state and senten/e eo le to death# 1e remembered one o% &en'hi( )han;s arables. «,he Cha0er o% the @ni*erse» had alread! been o*er %ort! and b! the time he had be'"n to 3"sti%! his %amo"s ni/0name. 4n/e, d"rin' a h"nt !o"n' warrior C"b"dai-7ahat"r 'a*e a s/ream and ointed o"t to the %oot o% a hi'h ro/0. — 9oo0, m! Co*erei'n )han— . m"rm"rin' stream was %lowin' %rom "nder the ro/0 and a herd o% deer were drin0in' water %rom it. ,he wind was blowin' %rom their dire/tion and the beasts did not noti/e eo le ridin' " /lose to them. C"b"dai-7ahat"r swi%tl! li%ted his bow and too0 aim at the leader, b"t &en'hi( )han raised his hand with an im erio"s 'est"re %or'i*in' the !o"n' warrior to shoot. .s it t"rned o"t at that *er! moment the 0han saw somethin' whi/h was no less ama(in'. 1e e*en drew a little %orward to see better what was 'oin' on in %ront o% him. ,hen his retin"e also s otted a h"'e m"lti/olo"red %i*e-sa'ene boa whi/h was snea0in' " to the deer %rom the o osite side. ,he im atient C"b"dai-7ahat"r swi%tl! too0 aim at the ser ent b"t the 0han a'ain drew aside his bow. Censin' dan'er the deer be/ame a'itated and r"shed o%% in di%%erent dire/tions. 7"t it was alread! too late. ,he boa;s h"'e bod! "n/oiled li0e a h"rled s rin', %lashed in the air and the little town 'a*e a lainti*e shrie0 and thrashed abo"t in the deadl! 'ri o% the sna0e. It had not time to s/ream a'ain. Its bones sna ed and the %awn;s whole bod! t"rned into a sa/0%"l o% warm meat. In the mean time the boa stret/hed o"t %"ll len'th, o ened its terrible 3aws and re ared to ha*e brea0%ast. C"b"dai-7ahat"r drew the bow %or the third time, b"t &en'hi(-)han a'ain %o*bid him to shoot. ,he moment the boa to"/hed the head o% the deer a lar'e shadow /o*ered it. .ll o% a s"dden a mo"ntain ea'le dro ed on the sna0e li0e a stone. It was the %i'ht o% 'iants sin/e the ea'le was as bi' as the boa. In the tan'le o% the two redators one /o"ld hardl! tell the ea'le %rom the boa. It was a ro!al battle indeed: the 0in' o% sna0es was %i'htin' the 0in' o% the s0ies. ,he! were stran'lin' and tearin' ea/h other with ie/es o% their %lesh %l!in' ri'ht and le%t. ,he ea'le seemed to sin0 its shar talons so dee in the sna0e;s bod! that, stron' as the latter was, it /o"ld not do an!thin' abo"t it. $hen at last the boa stret/hed o"t its bod! in mortal a'on! the eo le saw the ea'le sin0in' its talons in the sna0es;s ne/0 and s ine brea0in' it in two. In a/t"al %a/t the ea'le was onl! %i'htin' the twistin' art o% the boa;s tail. ,he bird tore a art the sna0e;s bod! with its shar lon' talons and h"n'ril! started de*o"rin' the blood! meat. @ on ha*in' its %ill the ea'le snat/hed the %awn, s read its mi'ht! win's, soared " with a *i/torio"s s/ream and /arried its re! o%% to where its
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!o"n' were waitin' %or it on a ro/0. ,he eo le wat/hed the bird %l!in' awa! into the distan/e. $hen the ea'le was 'one the! be'an eFaminin' the 0illed sna0e. It had to li*e a h"ndred !ears to be/ome so bi'. 4ne o% the warriors as0ed &en'hi( )han: — 4 &reat )han- Bo"ld !o" tell "s wh! at %irst the ea'le started de*o"rin' the tasteless %lesh o% an old sna0e and onl! a%ter that t"rned to that o% the deer whi/h is !o"n'er and tastier# — ,here is nothin' more deli/io"s than the %lesh o% !o"r enem!- — answered &en'hi( )han.— .nd it 'ets e*en tastier when !o" o*er ower the enem! in a mortal battle... ,his was not !et the end o% the arable. =an! !ears later, not lon' be%ore his death &en'hi( )han went h"ntin' a'ain. $hen the! were ridin' ast that same ro/0 C"b"dai7ahat"r, now an a'ed man, a'ain ointed o"t " wards: — 9oo0, &reat Co*erei'n— ,he same barren bla/0 ro/0 towered a'ainst a ba/0'ro"nd o% the s0! and on it, twistin' its whole bod! a three-metre-lon' sna0e was /rawlin' towards the to . It had almost rea/hed the middle o% the ro/0 and the! /o"ld see how m"/h e%%ort it too0 the sna0e to 'et i% onl! an in/h %arther on its wa! to the to . I% it %ell nothin' b"t blood! "l wo"ld be le%t o% it... Ao do"bt it was the bab! o% the *er! boa whi/h had on/e died in the talons o% the ea'le. $hat made it /rawl to the to o% the stee ro/0# ,he eo le too0 a /loser loo0 and s otted an ea'le;s nest at the *er! to o% the ro/0. It was mid-s"mmer and wa! " there, at the di((! hei'ht, the! saw "n%led'ed little ea'lets. Aow and then the! 'a*e anFio"s s/reams as tho"'h sensin' their on/omin' death. ,he eo le realised that the %"ll-'rown boa was " to a*en'in' the ea'le %or the death o% its mother b! 0illin' the ea'lets... Ceein' that C"b"dai-7ahat"r li%ted his bow %or the %o"rth time and %or the %o"rth time &en'hi( )han sto ed him... ,he !o"n' boa 0e t on /rawlin', slowl! and ersistentl!. It had onl! to /rawl another three or %o"r sa'enes to rea/h the nest. ?"st one more e%%ort and it wo"ld drin0 the warm blood o% the ea'lets. It li%ted its head o*er the nest, o ened its 3aws and at that *er! moment heard the swishin' so"nd o% an ea'le;s win's... 1owe*er, the old ea'le;s win's were not as stron' as the! were on/e. ,heir stro0e was not as wide and there was not m"/h stren'th le%t in the ea'le;s talons. >earless b! nat"re, it did not 'i*e " and dashed o"t in an attem t to de%end its nest. &ri in' the !o"n' and stron' boa the ea'le bro0e it loose %rom the ro/0 and the two o% them %ell into the re/i i/e. ,he ea'le tried its best to %l! " with a ro"d tri"m hant s/ream b"t the sna0e mana'ed to 0ill the bird be%ore its own death. ,he irretrie*abl! bro0en win' /o"ld not stand the se/ond %la and the ea'le /rashed down %rom the ro/0. 2"rin' its down%all it was %ast its %eathers and s rin0led the stones with s/arlet blood. It t"rned o*er %or the last time, hit the 'ro"nd and ba! still... ,he eo le rode " to the dead bird in silen/e. .ll were "nder the im ression o% the tra'ed! whi/h had 3"st ha ened be%ore their *er! e!es. &en'hi( )han loo0ed at the ea'le and eF/laimed: — ,his is the s" reme ha iness-.. In the %irst /ase, while !o"n' and stron', it beat the enem! in a mortal /ombat, whereas in its old a'e it died drin0in' %or the last time the blood o% its enem!;s bab! and did not let its o%%s rin' die-.. 7e%ore new little sna0es 'row " to be read! %or re*en'e its ea'lets will be/ome bi' and stron' birds read! to de%end both themsel*es and their !o"n'... .%ter that &en'hi( )han t"rned to his /hildren and /alled on them to be li0e that ea'le in e*er!thin', to 0ill r"thlessl! an!one who mi'ht e*en in in distant %"t"re do harm to the &en'hi(ides and to bid %arewell to this erishable world sin0in' their talons in the enem! and 'i*in' a mena/in' and tri"m hant s/ream. )han .b"l0hair was now standin' loo0in' somewhere thro"'h a narrow window. «&en'hi( )han has le%t man! instr"/ti*e arables and the! all deal with the li%e o% birds and animals,— he tho"'ht.— <*er!thin' re/"rs with eo le and the winner is alwa!s he who %ollows the di/tates o% nat"re. &en'hi( )han s"//eeded in his /on+"ests
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be/a"se in all he did he imitated lions and leo ards. $hen ne/essar! he was li0e a sl! %oF and i% need be had no s/r" les to a/t li0e a h!ena...» ,hen %or some reason )han .b"l0hair remembered the ast /om etitions o% son'sters. ,he h"ndred-!ear-old .san-)ai'!, the old )otan-Hh!ra" and the dimin"ti*e )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" tried to assert somethin' di%%erent. ,here was some obs/"re wisdom in what the! said. .//ordin' to them a h"man bein' m"st beha*e s e/i%i/all!, not the wa! the ea'les or the wol*es do. $h!# Is not the nat"re o% man the same as that o% a wild beast#— ,his was what enra'ed him in the %irst la/e. ,he a//"rsed .r'!n 0now-alls 0ee on stirrin' tro"ble, all those (h!ra"s, m"si/ians, sin'ers and boo0-worms. C"/h indi*id"als ha*e alwa!s o osed the r"lers. It is not a//idental that the! were his 'reat an/estor;s main tar'et in the /a t"red lands. ,hese oisono"s /reat"res m"st be ra(ed o%% the %a/e o% the earth-.. 7"t wh! does the im ram, this %a/eless ste e mob, a//e t their +"estionable wisdom with s"/h a 'reat deli'ht# Ban it be that the! are ri'ht and there is ower in their wisdom# ,he! as ire %or the "ni%i/ation o% the )a(a0h ste e whi/h is %ra"'ht with the s lit o% his 1orde. $ell, let;s see whi/h is stron'er, the wise arables o% &en'hi( )han or the son's o% the ra''ed (h!ra"s-.. 1ow did that )a(t"'an-Hh!ra", who was sin'in' to the t"ne o% the .r'!ns, as0 them then#.. $here are the =on'ols now# $here is the 'reat ower %o"nded b! his an/estor# $ell, he, .b"l0hair, is still ali*e and man! lands are still within his domain.nd this will last %ore*er sin/e onl! those are worth! o% s"//ess who do not 'i*e a /are abo"t /le*er nitwits and are de*oted to the wisdom o% &en'hi( )han... Indeed, is there an! other %or/e eF/e t the %ear o% death whi/h /o"ld "nite eo le# 1e, )han .b"l0hair, who is e*er de*oted to the behests o% his an/estors, will /reate a state that will last a tho"sand !ears.nd man# $hat does he /are abo"t man-.. ,hat same arable 'a*e a hint on who had ta"'ht &en'hi( )han to introd"/e his %amo"s eFe/"tion. ,he! wo"ld t"rn one " side down, ress him a little and his ba/0bone wo"ld sna e*en more easil! than that o% the sna0e that %a"'ht the ea'le... — =" Co*erei'n )han-.. — .b"l0hair started and too0 hold o% the 0ni%e that was han'in' on his belt... — It was )obland!-7at!r. <nterin' the hall and seein' the 0han lost in tho"'ht he did not dare to bother him and was standin' silentl! %or +"ite a time b! the *er! threshold. In s ite o% his de/linin' !ears the warrior was as im atient as a !o"n' man. 7esides, the b"siness whi/h made him to /ome here /o"ld not be dela!ed. Co )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r de/ided to brea0 the silen/e. ,he warrior;s *oi/e seemed to be /omin' %rom a h"'e em t! it/her in the li0es o% whi/h the! stored 'rain in =a*eranna0hr. ,he same 0ind o% so"nd iss"es %rom the in%lated em t! stoma/0 o% a horse or an oF when 0ids stri0e it with a sti/0. .n!wa!, the 0han t"rned awa! %rom the window and 'ri ed his wea on "nwittin'l!. ,he warrior /o"ldn;t hel noti/in' the 'est"re. — 2o not %ear, I am not !o"r enem!, m! )han- — eF/laimed he. «Des.. !es... 1e;s .0(hol-7i!;s enem!,» .b"l0hair tho"'ht. In is heart he bitterl! re'retted 'i*in' awa! his %ear to the s"bordinate warrior. C"/h mista0es are dan'ero"s %or a r"ler. . new wa*e o% eFas eration %looded his heart. «1al% the world is "nder m! %oot and I 0ee on sha0in' li0e a s/ared hare in its hole alwa!s %earin' an!one /omin' into m! ala/e-.. C"/h is the %ate o% the ower%"l-..» — 2id !o" /ome 3"st to a! me a *isit, m! warrior# — the 0han as0ed in his "s"al eF ressionless *oi/e. — Ao, m! Co*erei'n, I /ame on im ortant b"siness... It /on/erns the same a//"rsed .0(hol-7i!.. «Co, this darede*il seems to ha*e '"essed at what has been worr!in' me latel!-..M )han .b"0hair loo0ed in the warrior;s e!es. ,he! were b"rnin' with "n/on/ealed hatred %or his eternal ri*al .0(hol-7i!. $ell, s"/h is li%e. Cer*ants are alwa!s at one another;s throat tr!in' to win the bene*olen/e o% their master. 9et the do's tear ea/h other to ie/es %or the bone he is holdin' in his hands. 9et them 0ee b"ll!in' one
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another and /ho0e on their own blood. ,here is m"/h "se %or his ower %rom that. ,r"e, he 0nows that a eo le will ne*er start a war a'ainst another eo le and a 0in will ne*er %i'ht another 0in i% the! are not itted a'ainst ea/h other. 7"t is it not %or this that 0hans and s"ltans eFist#.. 1e onl! has to be shrewd and 0een-si'hted and not miss o"t on the a ro riate moment... ,here is somethin' abo"t it in one o% &en'hi( )han;s arables. .nd what i% these 0in "nite-# ,hen his 1orde will be in real dan'er. 1e is a%raid to e*en thin0 abo"t it-.. :ro/eedin' %rom these /onsiderations )han .b"l0hair had lon' been o"rin' oil onto the %ire o% /ontention between the two %amed warriors. 7"t so %ar the stri%e between the warriors remained their ersonal matter. ,he .r'!n and )i /ha0 0ins were li*in' in ea/e and a'reement. @sed to the %a/t that this 0ind o% s/ra es ra idl! t"rn into interne/ine stri%es the 0han %elt "n leasantl! s"r rised b! the /"rrent state o% a%%airs. >or a lon' time he /o"ld not do an!thin' abo"t it. 7"t %or horse ra/es and /ontests o% oets d"rin' whi/h sometimes ti%%s %laired " between .r'!ns and )i /ha0s there had not !et been an! serio"s /lashes with bloodshed "ntil now. .nd a'ain the 0han saw the intri'"es o% ?an!be0 and )erei in it. It was them who wished to "nite a'ainst him the )a(a0h 0ins and tribes. 1is hatred had rea/hed its ea0 and no matter what detrimental de*elo ments mi'ht now brea0 o"t in the state or his own %amil! .b"l0hair /o"ld not hel seein' e*er!where the "nderhanded lots o% the m"tino"s s"ltans. 1owe*er, the tr"e /a"se o% the /"rrent ea/e between the 0ins /o"ld not be a//o"nted %or b! the abo*e %a/tors. Battle-breedin' was the onl! means o% s"bsisten/e o% the )a(a0h 0ins, and /onsiderin' the %a/t that their /am s were tho"sands o% 0ilometres a art %rom one another in the bo"ndless ste e the eF/essi*e /entralisation whi/h 0han;s 'o*erment had been tr!in' to e%%e/t into li%e was sim l! irrealisable. 1ere the! /o"ld not do witho"t lo/al sel%-'o*ernement whi/h was in irre/on/ilable /ontradi/tion with the state 0no/0ed to'ether b! the l"/0! )han .b"l0hair %rom the wre/0a'e o% re*io"s similar em ires. .t the same time the )a(a0hs /o"ld not b"t %eel that i% the! wo"ld st"bbornl! 'o on bein' at war with ea/h other the! wo"ld be/ome an eas! re! %or in*aders whi/h had alread! been the /ase d"rin' the time o% &en'hi( )han and ,im"r. ,he ste e /lans and tribes /o"ld not de%end themsel*es on their own %rom the stren'thened tro" s o% their enemies and more and more %re+"entl! t"rned %or brotherl! hel and s" ort to one another. )han .b"l0hair did not ta0e this %a/t into /onsideration "nli0e the shrewdest o% the ste e s"ltans who were well aware o% it. Co %ar it was not !et time to "nite into an inte'ral whole all the )a(a0h 0ins and tribes. 4nl! those whose /am s were sit"ated in /lose roFimit! to ea/h other were ma0in' "nions. In this histori/al 3amble onl! three "nions o% related 0ins, or three (h"(es, were a earin'. In these /onditions es e/iall! im ortant were the ea/e and %riendshi between the most ower%"l 0ins, those o% the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s. In s ite o% the o osition between )obland!-7at!r and .0(hol-7i! the wisest o% the bi!s and 'reat warriors o% both the 0ins did not allow %or an inter-0lan stri%e. .n es e/iall! im ortant ea/e-0ee in' art in it was la!ed b! re/o'nised ro het-son'sters, s"/h as .san-)ai'!, )otan-Hh!ra" and their n"mero"s st"dents and imitators. ,he! en3o!ed the 'reat res e/t o% all 0ins and their son's re%le/ted the entire eo le;s stri*in' %or "ni%i/ation... $hene*er the o ort"nit! arose, .b"l0hair;s lo!al hen/hmen said that it was the re/al/itrant .r'!n s"ltans and their asso/iates who were to blame %or the +"arrel between the two distin'"ished warriors. ,he 0han himsel% wo"ld ta0e an a/ti*e art in %annin' the %lame o% enmit!. ,his time he wo"ldn;t 'i*e " his habit"al wa!s either. — $h! did !o" remind me o% that loose-ton'"ed bi!# — .b"l0hair as0ed sadl! lowerin' his head.— Cometimes he *ili%ies not onl! !o" b"t me too... ,he 0han said that seemin'l! /as"all! b"t )obland!-7at!r immediatel! /len/hed his %ists. $ith all his in%ormation the 0han did not 0now that, a art %rom some ob*io"s reasons, there was another one whi/h made these 'reat warriors im la/able enemies.
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1e alwa!s %anned the %ire onl! %rom one and the same side. 1o in' %or a %a*o"rable o"t/ome the 0han tolerated e*en what his two o onents thr"sted on him %rom time to time. — 4n/e this bastard 3eers at "s he m"st be "nished ro erl!- — )obland!-7at!r th"ndered. — .0(hol-7i! has +"ite a n"mber o% men behind him... 7esides his in%l"en/e on the )a(a0hs is enormo"s. ,here is not one warrior en3o!in' so m"/h res e/t as he does... — $ho res e/ts him eF/e t the .r'!n hal%-wits-# — s/reamed the en%"riated )obland!-7at!r.— .nd !o" let him do whate*er he wants to. Do" ha*e e*en %or'i*en him Ca!an;s es/a e. It was him who arran'ed it. Ao mista0e abo"t it— .nd i% !o" do and ha*e real e*iden/e a'ainst him, wh! not brea0 his ne/0# .b"l0hair li%ted his hands with a smile. — 4"t o% the +"estion... I ha*e alread! told !o", m! warrior, that he has a ower%"l s" ort)obland!-7at!r 'rew red in the %a/e. — $hat do !o" mean a ower%"l s" ort# $hat /an a /rowd o% .r'!n horsemen do with words bein' more im ortant %or them than deeds# ,heir onl! 3o! in li%e is son's and ton'"e-wa''in'. &i*e me !o"r ermission and I and ten o% m! horsemen will destro! the a"l o% this .0(hol-7i! in broad da!li'ht-.. — .nd isn;t .0(hol-7i!;s a"l +"ite /lose to those o% ?an!be0 and )erei# — the 0han as0ed in a b"siness-li0e manner showin' )obland!-7at!r that he was thin0in' o*er the warrior;s s"''estion rather serio"sl!.— ,he s"ltans will not 0ee silent when the! see !o" raidin' the a"l o% .0(hol-7i!... — In that /ase the! too will ha*e a taste o% m! bl"d'eon- — the warrior said in a lo"d *oi/e dismissin' all restraint and wa*in' his %ist threatenin'l! to someone in the distan/e.— 9et them tr! and /ome here-.. 7"t )han .b"l0hair was no lon'er listenin' to him. «Ao, this is not the wa! to a/t,» — he tho"'ht.— «I% toda! !o" let a /ommoner smell a s"ltan;s blood then tomorrow he will want to taste a 0han;s one. 1e m"st not 'o to eFtremes. «Cnow %alls on snow and a 0han ta0es the la/e o% another 0han.» $e are all &en'hi(ides and there is nothin' 'ood in settlin' o"r dis "tes with the hel o% an!one %rom witho"t.» Des, o"r main tas0 is to let one another;s blood and I will dis ose o% the s"ltans m!sel%. 7"t what am I s" osed to answer this %amed warrior# .%ter all he is waitin' and his hea*! bl"d'eon is read! to /r"sh an! head, be it the head o% a noble or a /ommoner... Ao matter what is 'oin' to /ome o% it b"t he m"st be allowed to en3o! himsel%-..» — I thin0 i% .0(hol-7i! is no more, ?an!be0 and )erei will immediatel! 'row /alm... — ,he 0han a/ted as i% he was wi in' non-eFistent sweat o%% his brow.— 2on;t ma0e a mista0e, or else !o";ll wind " in bi' tro"ble... )han .b"l0hair loo0ed "ninterested in what he was dis/"ssin' with )obland!-7at!r as i% the s"b3e/t was absol"tel! %orei'n to him. It seemed he e*en s!m athised with .0(hol-7i! a little and onl! a'reed to ta0e se*ere meas"res be/a"se o% his %riendl! %eelin's %or the )ara0i /ha0 warrior. 7"t )obland!-7at!r wo"ldn;t 0now the %irst thin' abo"t the ro rieties and 0e t ha*in' it his own wa!. — In that /ase I be' !o"r ermission to do awa! onl! with .0(hol-7i!. I;ll 'i*e the bastard what-%or-.. — 1ow /an I 'i*e !o" ermission# — ,he 0han e*en li%ted his hands in ama(ement. — 7esides I am not at all s"re it is ne/essar! to raid a whole a"l with ten horsemen. .s i% a tr"e warrior /o"ld not beat that bi! in a d"el. ,r"e, there are %ew 'ood warriors le%t nowada!s. Do" !o"rsel% hinted on it when !o" were tal0in' abo"t Ca!an;s es/a e... )obland!-7at!r 'a*e the 0han a 'l"m loo0. 1e "lled himsel% to'ether and did not raise his *oi/e an!more. .s was be%ittin' those tal0in' to the 0han the )ara0i /ha0 warrior in/lined his head and as0ed: — $hat i% that bi! re%"ses to %i'ht in a d"el with me, m! Co*erei'n )han# — Des, this is a wei'ht! ar'"ment... .s a matter o% %a/t in the 'ood old times a warrior "sed to wa!la! his enem! on a narrow ath and one o% the two ne*er /ame ba/0 home. 7"t toda! it is im ossible. I m!sel% /on%irmed a /a ital "nishment %or
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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robber! and will ha*e no mer/! %or an!one brea0in' the law. 4% /o"rse, i% I am s"re o% the /"l abilit! o% the warrior who de/ided to stand " %or his hono"r. Aormall! I /onsider s"/h thin's m!sel%... )han .b"l0hair was starin' strai'ht into )obland!-7at!r;s e!es. .t last the warrior 'ras ed the meanin' o% the 0han;s words and his e!es started be/omin' bloodshot. 2ar0 b! nat"re, he 'rew 're! all o*er and lila/-tin'ed *eins stood o"t on his %orehead. «.m I reall! s" osed to 0ill a warrior b! wa!la!in' him in the ste e li0e a robber-# — he tho"'ht indi'nantl!.— Ao, )obland!-7at!r is neither a traitor nor a /oward. 1e /an 0ill or 'et 0illed onl! in an o en /ombat-» ,he 0han "nderstood what had 'otten )obland!-7at!r to the +"i/0. Aot 'i*in' him time to thin0 o"t the sit"ation he intoned im erio"sl!: — .n o en %i'ht will r"in ea/e amon' o"r eo le, there%ore I %orbid it to !o". >or the 0han;s 1orde it is im ortant that all li*e in ea/e and %riendshi . I% !o" wish to ta0e *en'ean/e on !o"r enem! it is !o"r b"siness. 2o not "ll "s into !o"r ersonal a%%airs-.. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. Aow the sim le-minded warrior belie*ed his 0han a'ain. Indeed, what;s so 'ood in .r'!ns and )i /ha0s %i'htin' with ea/h other be/a"se o% the 0han;s +"arrel with .0(hol-7i!# 1e will /ertainl! 0ill that bi! i% e*er he meets him b"t he will do it witho"t witnesses. 1is heart lon's %or *en'ean/e and he /annot b"t 0ill him. ,heirs will be a %air %i'ht as be%its tr"e warriors... — Do"r 3"d'ment is wise, m! )han... Aow e*er!thin' will de end on the stren'th o% the %i'hters; hands and the shar ness o% their do"ble- ointed s ears-.. — .nd &od will hel him who is in the ri'ht- — .b"l0hair added %rom himsel%. ,he warrior made a low bow, t"rned and wal0ed o"t. )han .b"l0hair tho"'ht e*er!thin' o"t in min"test detail. .s soon as r"mo"r was s read abo"t the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i! ?an!be0 and )erei wo"ld strai'htwa! mo"nt their horses and 'allo to head+"arters demandin' a blood! ransom %or the m"rdered one. .t that *er! moment, while the! had not !et time to stir " the n"mero"s .r'!ns and brin' to'ether their %or/es %rom remote /am s he /o"ld a//"se them o% a m"tin!. ,hen the! wo"ld o%%er resisten/e and in the ens"in' s/ra e it wo"ld be eas! to do awa! with both o% them. In the e!es o% the mob all that wo"ld be 3"sti%ied. . 0han too0 /are o% the "nit! o% his eo le and "nished "nmer/i%"ll! those sowin' dis/ord. 7esides, both the s"ltans wo"ld ha*e been dead alread! and there wo"ld be no-one to lead the dissatis%ied... Bomin' to this /on/l"sion )han .b"l0hair immediatel! set to wor0 on brin'in' it into e%%e/t. 7! ni'ht%all he s"mmoned the /hie% warrior o% the 0han;s '"ard, )ara4s an, o% the Aaiman 0in and ordered him to ma0e all the %or/es o% head+"arters read! %or a/tion. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han- — said )ara-4s an ma0in' a low bow. — . %ew min"tes later /o"riers rode ra idl! o%% in di%%erent dire/tions with the 0han;s /ommand %or all the h"ndred-stron' /a*alr! %or/es to /ome to the 0han;s ala/e in the mornin'. 4ne o% the /o"riers made arti/"lar haste. 1e was ta0in' a messa'e /on/ernin' )han .b"l0hair;s "n"s"al instr"/tion addressed to .r'!n s"ltan ?an!be0. Aaimanide )ara-4s an had warned his %riends that the! had to wat/h o"t %or somethin' "neF e/ted and romised to 0ee them in to"/h with the 'oin's-on at the 0han;s head+"arters. ,he alarmed C"ltan ?an!be0 immediatel! noti%ied )erei abo"t e*er!thin' and ordered his horsemen to be on the alert... ?"st two da!s be%ore .0(hol-7i! and two horsemen set o"t %or a %al/on h"nt towards the .irta" =a"ntains. ,he *i/io"s red-e!ed %al/ons and haw0s that had h"n'ered %or %resh blood d"rin' the %"neral re ast made the h"nters ha ! with their ri/h ba'... ,he! were h"ntin' a whole wee0, mo*in' %rom la/e to la/e, their relie% horses loaded with b"n/hes o% %ire-red %oFes and dar0-brown ste e 'oats. ,owards the end o% the wee0 the! had been %o"nd b! a messen'er %rom C"ltan ?an!be0. «,here;s somethin' in/om rehensible 'oin' on at the 0han;s head+"arters,» — he said. — «.0(hol-7i! had better ret"rn ba/0 home not to end " in tro"ble.»
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.0(hol-7i! 0new that C"ltan ?an!be0 wo"ld not bother him %or tri%lin' matters. ,hat same da! he h"rried ba/0 home. .%ter /omin' down %rom the mo"ntains he and both riders rested their horses on the so"thern ban0 o% the ri*er ?an'ab!l where ?"t/hi;s head+"arters had been on/e. .ll was +"iet in the ste e, b"t then, all o% a s"dden )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r showed " wih an es/ort o% ten 3asa0s. >a/e dar0er than a storm-/lo"d he was all wra ed " in /hain armo"r and did not 'et o%% his bea"ti%"l ra/er )o0sanda0. — $hither bo"nd, 'lorio"s )obland!-7at!r# — .0(hol-7i! as0ed him l!in' la/idl! on the 'rass b! the ed'e o% the water. — I% !o" are not a woman 'et " and %i'ht till one o% "s is dead- - th"ndered )obland!-7at!r.— In an! /ase there is onl! death in store %or !o"-.. — Ca!in' that he be'an t"rnin' ro"nd o*er his head a terrible /"d'el the thi/0ened end o% whi/h was %illed with lead. — 4 m! warrior, is it ossible to /hallen'e a man to a d"el in the bare ste e# — .0(hol-7i!;s !o"n' bla/0-m"sta/hed es/ort eF/laimed in wonderment.— ,his /an onl! be done in "bli/-.. — )ee !o"r mo"th sh"t, !o" " , or else !o" will ha*e a taste o% m! /l"b too- — hollered )obland!-7at!r.— &et o"t o% m! wa! and sta! o"t o% it.0(hol-7i! 0new *er! well how 'reat the )ara0i /ha0 warrior;s hatred was %or him and wo"ldn;t e*en sa! an!thin'. «9et;s see what &od has in store %or me-» — he m"ttered and ordered the horseman to brin' his hobbled horse .0(hanbas to him. >or la/0 o% an! other wea on he too0 the lain bir/h-/l"b he "sed when h"ntin' %oFes and wol*es. ,he im atient )obland!-7at!r wo"ldn;t want to wait till .0(hol-7i! was read! and rode his horse towards his o onent... Ao sooner did .0(hol-7i! t"rn ro"nd than the )i /ha0 warrior be'an /rowdin' him with all the mass o% himsel% and his horse. ,r!in' to raise his /l"b .0(hol-7i! str"/0 the armo"red sho"lder o% his o onent. 7"t at that *er! moment the warrior;s ra/er ran into the still r"nnin' " horse o% .0(hol-7i! with all his b"l0! /hest and )obland! bro"'ht his /"d'el down on his enem!; head /o*ered onl! with a li'ht mala0hai. .0(hol-7i!;s s/"ll bro0e into small ie/es and his h"'e bod! /r"mbled down on the sand. $itho"t e*en holdin' ba/0 his horse )obland!-7at!r immediatel! 'allo ed o%% into the ste e his 3asa0s %ollowin' s"it... 2"mb%o"nded b! the blood! in/ident the two horsemen mana'ed to 'ather their wits at last and, li%tin' the headless bod! on to one o% the horses, le%t %or 4rda-7a(ar. 4n the wa! there the! sent a messen'er to .r'!n a"ls to brea0 the dread%"l news. In the mean time )han .b"l0hair was in his ala/e tal0in' to Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a who was ma0in' a detailed re ort on how their "nderta0in' was ro'ressin'... .t %irst C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 wo"ld not belie*e in his mother;s '"ilt. 1e e*en so m"/h as threw himsel% on the *i(ier with a 0ni%e eF/laimin': «1ow dare !o" slander the woman who 'a*e birth to me, !o" man'! do'#-» 7"t when he heard that his %ather .b"l0hair 0new abo"t this stor! he /almed down. «I% !o" dread and don;t dare senten/e her to death as be%its a real man and warrior !o"r %ather will do it in an! /ase-» the *i(ier told him. 7a0ht!-1o3a also told him that he m"st be worth! o% his an/estor &en'hi( )han who had 0nown no mer/! %or his enemies. ,he %eelin' o% mer/! was onl! be/omin' to wea0 women and onl! a /oward /o"ld eF erien/e so base a %eelin'... >inall! C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 a'reed to "bli/l! senten/e his mother to death. 1owe*er the trea/hero"s *i(ier /on/ealed /ertain details %rom the 0han himsel%. 1e tal0ed to the !o"n' s"ltan in a somewhat di%%erent manner, the bo!, "nli0e the rest o% the 0han;s heirs, bein' rather /lose to 7a0ht!-1o3a. :ro%itin' b! C"!"n/hi0;s %riendshi the *i(ier too0 the !o"n' s"ltan to a +"iet little la/e and sat their silentl! %or +"ite a time not darin' to start s ea0in'. Ceein' the state the *i(ier was in C"!"n/hi0 de/ided to /ome to his hel . — C ea0, m! learned 7a0ht!-1o3a,— said he.— Do" seem to be /on/ealin' somethin' interestin' %rom me— I wo"ldn;t den! it- — the *i(ier said ambi'"o"sl!.
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— I% this se/ret is intended onl! %or me m! ears are at !o"r dis osal and the 0e! to m! mo"th is in !o"r o/0et— Des, it is %or !o" alone. ,here is no se/ret more terrible and !o"r entire %"t"re de ends on it... — $ell, s ea0 " - — C"!"n/hi0 eF/laimed im atientl!. — 1e had li*ed in the atmos here o% *ario"s ala/e intri'"es e*er sin/e he remembered himsel% and there%ore was now on the alert. 1is %irst tho"'ht was abo"t himsel%: «.m I reall! in dan'er#» =eanwhile the /le*er *i(ier seemed to read his tho"'hts as i% in an o en boo0. — .n ea'let /omes to this world to be/ome a %"ll-%led'ed ea'le- — he said instr"/ti*el!.— $hen !o"r 'reat %ather )han .b"l0hair t"rned se*enteen he r"led the entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. Do" are onl! %o"r !ears !o"n'er and /annot 'i*e " /ara/olin' on horseba/0 %or whole da!s in a row and ro/0in' on a swin'. . new-born %led'elin' will /ho0e in his nest while an heir who did not /ome to the 0han;s throne in d"e time is destined to eternal s"%%erin'. 2a! and ni'ht he will be ha"nted b! his ha*in' been "nable to timel! ta0e ower in his hands. $hat /an be more terrible than that-#.. $hen the *i(ier mentioned the 0han;s throne C"!"n/hi0;s e!es immediatel! %lashed %ire. 7a0ht!-1o3a 0new *er! well the meanin' o% the ra a/io"s li'ht in the " ils o% the !o"n' s"ltan;s e!es and was intentionall! ro"sin' the !o"th;s an'er. 1e a"sed %or a %ew min"tes as i% /ontem latin' somethin' and /ontin"ed im er/e tibl! wat/hin' his /har'e. .s was to be eF e/ted C"!"n/hi0 was the %irst to brea0 the silen/e. — 1ow /an I dream o% the 0han;s throne when I ha*e the other brothers who /onsider themsel*es to be older and wiser# — eF/laimed he.— .%ter all the! are also o% the same 0han;s blood... 7a0ht!-1o3a nodded im ortantl!. — ,he son o% a /ommoner and the son o% !o"r %ather, not more than that,— he said /ontin"in' the interr" ted /on*ersation.— ,he son o% a 0han is the s"//essor to the throne and /o"ntr!. In all times and with all nations it was di%%i/"lt to /ome to the throne sin/e there is onl! one throne and "s"all! se*eral as irants to it. 4nl! sto"thearted and stron' eo le a/hie*ed the /herished 'oal. .nd there ha*e alwa!s been too man! dead bodies and too m"/h bloodshed on the wa! to it. ,he more blood the stron'er their r"le. — 5i'ht, b"t wh! are we tal0in' abo"t it with o"r rei'nin' arent not e*en ha*in' rea/hed the a'e o% %i%t!# — . 0han is /onsidered to be !o"n' as lon' as his sons /onsider themsel*es to be "nder a'e. .nd i% the! thin0 themsel*es to be /hidren e*en in their old a'e the 0han remains !o"n' till his d!in' da!. ,he moment an heir /laims to be worth! o% the 0han;s ma/e the 0han immediatel! be/omes a de/re it old manC"!"n/hi0;s %a/e 'rew dar0. — Do" mean...— he said. ,he *i(ier 'a*e him an insin"atin' smile. — Do" are too im atient, I ha*e not %inished !et... Ao, I am not at all 'oin' to o ose !o"rsel% to !o"r rei'nin' %ather. $hen it /omes time a !o"n' stallion /hases an old 3ade o"t o% the herd witho"t whate*er ad*i/e. Do" will still ha*e a /han/e to ro*e in what res e/t !o" hold !o"r %ather. 1owe*er it is m! d"t! to warn !o"... 7a0ht!-1o3a bro"'ht his li s /loser to C"!"n/hi0;s ears and be'an tal0in' in a +"iet and ers"asi*e *oi/e: — .s a matter o% %a/t o"r hi'hl! esteemed )han .b"l0hair s"%%ers %rom an in/"rable desease. It is +"ite ossible that one o% these da!s he will %ind himsel% /on%ined to bed. &od 1imsel% ta0es awa! that whi/h 1e 'rants "s, o"r health, and there is no sense in /om lainin'. Aot one mortal /an stand " %or him in the %a/e o% his %ate. In a word, the 'reat 0han onl! loo0s health! whereas his internal or'ans ha*e a tho"sand in3"ries li0e a moth-bitten %elt mat... — 4-o. bo"ndless ama(ement was heard in C"!"n/hi0;s eF/lamation. 1is e!es were li0e ie/es o% red-hot /oal. ,he *i(ier nodded /ontentedl! and went on.
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— =a! o"r dear 0han li*e a tho"sand !ears-.. &od %orbid i% somethin' bad ha ens...— 1e bent his head as tho"'h wei'hed down b! a nearin' mis%ort"ne b"t then 3er0ed it " /heer%"ll!.— $ell, the! sa! e*er! /lo"d has a sil*er linin'. <*en i% o"r 0han is in tro"ble he will lea*e as man! as ten heirs on this earth o% o"rs. 4ne o% them will "ndo"btedl! as/end his %ather;s throne7! that time C"!"n/hi0 had /om letel! %or'otten that his %ather was in eF/ellent health. 1e *iewed himsel% li%ted on a white %elt mat o*er all the eo les inhabitin' the bo"ndless 0hanate ima'inin' himsel% at the head o% the hordes stormin' towns and s"b3"'atin' whole lands. It seemed as i% his heart was read! to 3"m o"t o% his /hest. — .nd whom, o"r dear tea/her, wo"ld !o" li0e to see on the 0han;s throne# —he as0ed breathin' eF/itedl!. ,he *i(ier eF e/ted the +"estion and, li0e a 'ood /hess la!er, made another mental mo*e. 1owe*er, he wo"ld not 'et to the oint strai'ht o%%. — Do" m"st 0now, m! C"ltan, that o"r so*erei'n 0han will ne*er /han'e !o" %or an!one o% the other ten. .nd the 0han;s o inion is m! o inion. Do" are o"r white swan who has 'rown " in a %lo/0 o% bla/0 /rows. .n old ro*erb sa!s that a smart heir;s %irst enem! is his rei'nin' arent. 7"t in this arti/"lar /ase it is not so. It is not !o"r %ather who is !o"r enem! b"t !o"r mother-.. C"!"n/hi0 started with %ri'ht. — It... it;s im ossible... 1is *oi/e was sha0in' and he himsel% loo0ed iti%"l and /on%"sed.— Ao... i% e*er there was a lo*in' mother it is m! mother-.. — >or a man with a 'reat %"t"re there is nothin' more de'radin' than the intr"si*e and senseless lo*e o% a woman, be it his wi%e or mother... Des, 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im lo*es !o" so m"/h that she is in /onstant %ear lest some mis%ort"ne sho"ld be%all !o". Che 0nows what it%alls ma! await a 0han and there%ore she has de/ided to 'i*e the 'olden throne to her other son, )"sh0in/hi0, whom she lo*es %ar less... 7a0ht!-1o3a said that in a +"iet and emotionless tone. C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 loo0ed at him with wide-o en e!es his li s ar/hed with ner*o"s eF/itement. 1e /len/hed his %ists in an'er. — $hat do I need s"/h a lo*e %or i% she doesn;t want me to be on the throne#9oo0s li0e she lied to me sa!in' I wo"ld be/ome 0han. Aow it is /lear to me that in realit! she lo*es )"sh0in/hi0 alone-.. It was the *er! moment the *i(ier was waitin' %or. — >or him who is %irm in his determination to be/ome 0han there are neither relati*es nor %riends. ?"st on the /ontrar!, it is his relati*es and those /lose to him who are his main barrier on the wa! to the throne. 5emember !o"r 'reat *i/torio"s %orbears, m! C"ltan. $as there amon' them i% onl! one tr"e and worth! r"ler who did not stran'le or behead some one o% his 0ins%ol0# ,he «Cha0er o% the @ni*erse» himsel% on/e bro0e the s ine o% his %a*o"rite son ?"t/hi. . tr"e 0han /annot 'i*e himsel% " to it!. ,o r"le eo le one m"st ha*e a r"thless hand and a heart o% stone. .nd !o" /an ro*e !o"rsel% to be worth! o% 'o*ernment onl! on !o"r wa! to the throne. . wea0hearted one will ne*er 'et the ma/e-.. — I will be that wa!- — eF/laimed C"!"n/hi0. — I% !o" mana'e to be that wa! at the start o% !o"r ath both m!sel% and all the rest will %ollow !o"— I will mana'e<*er sin/e that da! C"!"n/hi0 lost all ea/e o% mind. In his little *i/io"s mind he was /ontin"all! /on/ei*in' *ario"s s/hemes and lans on how to 'et his %ather;s throne. 1e /ame to hate his mother and did not belie*e her words. .n! mani%estation o% her %ond %eelin's %or him was inter reted b! the !o"n' s"ltan as a trea/hero"s reten/e and her smilin' at his blood brother )"sh0in/hi0 onl! /on%irmed the *i(ier;s words. In the mean time 7a0ht!-1o3a 0e t on s0il%"ll! and "nnoti/eabl! throwin' br"shwood on the %anned %ire. «9oo0 what sins !o"r mother who has 'r"d'ed her son the 0han;s ma/e is '"ilt! o%...— he wo"ld sa!.— Aow here is another eFam le o% her trea/hero"sness and /"nnin'... Do" are still too nai*e to 0now what e*il tri/0s women
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/an be " to-.. $hile she is at o"r r"lin' 0han;s side !o" /an %or'et abo"t the throne. 9oo0 how /heer%"l )"sh0in/hi0 loo0s 'ambolin' aro"nd her-..» 7a0ht!-1o3a was a *eritable *i(ier and ro*ed ri'ht in his eF e/tations. . she-wol% is her /"bs; mother "ntil the! are 'rown wol*es. ,he moment the! ha*e 'rown hair on the ba/0 o% their ne/0s the mother be/omes 3"st another %emale wol% %or them. .s %or C"!"n/hi0, he /ame %rom the wol%;s ro'en! o% &en'hi( )han. ,he *i(ier told the 0han nothin' abo"t all that. «$hat does it matter in what wa! to tal0 the son into ha*in' his mother eFe/"ted,— tho"'ht he. ,he im ortant thin' is to eFe/"te the will o% the 0han and... m! own will-» .s %or )han .b"l0hair he had no interest %or details. 1e 3"st romised to award the *i(ier with a tho"sand dinars in /ase e*er!thin' was done /leanl! and witho"t whate*er /om li/ations. — <*er!one m"st belie*e it, not onl! m!sel%,— said he.— 9et the world see that we a/t 3"stl! and will not allow an!one to man'le the tr"th, be it e*en o"r belo*ed wi%e. ,he law is %ar more im ortant %or "s than o"r own %eelin's and in/linations-.. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. 7a0ht!-1o3a /" ed his hands and eFtended them modestl! to the 0han.— $hat do !o" want# — the 0han as0ed not "nderstandin' the meanin' o% the *i(ier;s 'est"re. — ,he dinars, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. )han .b"l0hair loo0ed at the obse+"io"sl! bent %i'"re o% the ser*ant and a'ain tho"'ht that his *i(ier 0new too man! thin's whi/h onl! a 0han was s" osed to 0now. ,hen it o//"rred to him that a tho"sand dinars was a %air ri/e %or s"/h a %a*o"r. .%ter all it /on/erned his wi%e, the da"'hter o% the s/holar @l"'be0 and ,im"r;s 'reat'randda"'hter. 7esides, the " brin'in' o% his heir he was in /har'e o%, was also worth! o% an award... — Eer! well, m! *i(ier, !o" will 'et the mone! on the da! o% eFe/"tion7a0ht!-1o3a was abo"t to lea*e the 0han;s remises when he heard some noise. . messen'er /ame r"nnin' in, made a low bow and bro0e the news o% the death o% .0(hol-7i!, the %amed warrior, /ommander and one o% the retainers o% )han .b"l0hair. ,he dead man;s bod! had 3"st been bro"'ht to his a"l and the women were alread! lamentin' o*er him... &ettin' on his ,arlan0o0 )han .b"l0hair set o"t %or the .r'!n a"l o% .0(hol-7i! es/orted b! an es e/iall! stren'thened deta/hment o% bod!'"ards. It was the a'e-old /"stom o% the ste e and the 0han had alwa!s %ollowed it. In s"/h /ases e*en enemies eF ressed their /ondolen/es and )han .b"l0hair was the best %riend and atron o% the 'reat warrior .0(hol-7i!. .%ter assin' the a"ls s"rro"ndin' 4rda-7a(ar the 0han;s deta/hment headed %or the lower )ara0en'ir where the! had alread! set " !"rtas %or the /omin' %"neral. . roa/hin' the ri*er the 0han rei'ned in his horse and /ast a 'lan/e o*er the n"mero"s a"ls on both ban0s o% the )ara0en'ir and aro"nd the ad3a/ent la0es. ,he lon'er he loo0ed the dar0er 'rew his %a/e. 7! ea/h .r'!n, )i /ha0, Aaiman, )onrad, )erei and @a0 a"l he saw saddled battle horses tied to eFtended lassos and bristlin' rows o% lon' and shar )a(a0h s ears. $here has the on/e- ea/e%"l loo0 o% all those !"rtas and wa'ons 'one#.. ,he im ression was as tho"'h the enem! was read! to atta/0 them at an! moment. ,he 0han serio"sl! %elt worried and tho"'ht that he mi'ht ha*e been too hast! in 'i*in' his /onsent to the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i!. ,he sit"ation was %ra"'ht with somethin' "n redi/tableDes, he was "ndo"btedl! wron' thin0in' that the rebellio"s s"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei were so sim le-hearted as to /ome to him em t!-handed to demand a ransom %or .0(hol-7i!;s death "nder the im ression o% their asso/iate;s m"rder. ,he! were re ared %or e*er!thin' and waitin' %or re/0less a/tions on his art. Ao matter what, the! wo"ld /ertainl! demand a!ment %or the m"rder. C"ddenl! he %lew into a non-sensi/al ra'e whi/h had been o%ten the /ase in his !o"th... .lri'ht, let them /ome e*en with hordes o% armed men. 1e will %i'ht and dis/o"ra'e them %rom stirrin' " m"tinies on/e and %or all- <*en now, in time o% ea/e,
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there are not less than twent! tho"sand lo!al horsemen de lo!ed aro"nd 4rda-7a(ar. .nd i% he 'i*es an order there will be ten times more within two wee0s,hen /ommon sense rom ted the 0han that most o% his host, a/t"all! its best art, /onsisted o% those *er! warli0e 0ins whose !"rtas now stood in 'ro" s eFtendin' as %ar as the hori(on. ,he rest o% them were soldiers %rom =a*eranna0hr, @i'"rs, =on'ol new/omers, ?a'atais, )ir'hi(es and )alm!0s. ,r"e, the! will ha*e with them man! )i /ha0s with )obland!-7at!r himsel% at the head, b"t who /an be s"re that at the /r"/ial moment the! will not wish to 3oin their relati*es#.. ,he %or/es are more or less e+"al. ,his is wh! the .r'!n s"ltans ha*e been beha*in' so o"tra'eo"sl! o*er the re/ent months. Co what;s to be done# ="st he /all his tro" s ba/0 %rom =a*eranna0hr or not# ,he! will hardl! ma0e it i% tro"ble be'ins. ,here is no do"bt that ?an!be0 and )erei will "se the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i! %or their own interests. 7"t who warned them abo"t e*er!thin'# ,o ma0e s"/h re arations one has to ha*e eno"'h time. It will ta0e more than one da! to brin' so man! %or/es %rom the ste e. 1e rode on. 7e%ore lon' he /a"'ht si'ht o% !"rtas whi/h had been it/hed s e/iall! %or the %"neral o% the 'reat .r'!n warrior. ,here, on the shore o% the 7la/0 9a0e whi/h was %rin'ed with a dar0 stri o% wilted r"sh, the! were s+"ee(ed li0e a /rowd o% mo"rn%"l relati*es. ,he! were not less than a h"ndred in n"mber and neFt to ea/h !"rta there st"/0 " a s ear with a bla/0 ribbon and the tail o% a bla/0 horse %astened to its to . .t the la/e o% hono"r, amon' white !"rtas, li0e a bla/0 ea'le b"rstin' into a %lo/0 o% white swans there towered a it/h-bla/0 siFteen-win' mo"rnin' !"rta made %rom the hair o% a s e/ial breed o% shee . Its *er! loo0 made one %eel de ressed, let alone a streamin' %earsome bla/0 %la' with a i/t"re o% h"man e!es on it, the s!mbol o% the .r'!n 0in. )han .b"l0hair "nwittin'l! held ba/0 his horse. It seemed the !"rta /alled %or relentless *en'ean/e. 1e /o"ldn;t b"t remember the %"neral o% )han ="n0eh o% whi/h he had tho"'ht onl! re/entl!. Bo"ld it be that the .r'!ns were " to re eatin' the 'or! ast# ,hen who wo"ld be ta0en hosta'e %or the m"rdered one in the %a/e o% the s irits# In that too the 0han saw the "nderhand lottin' o% ?an!be0 and )erei. It loo0ed li0e the! were read! %or an all-o"t battle. $o"ld the! be so arro'ant as not e*en to /o"nt with the %"neral#.. .b"l0hair tho"'ht what he wo"ld do in their la/e and his hand rea/hed %or the sword. 7"t he drew it ba/0 +"i/0l! retendin' to ad3"st his belt... Aobod! noti/ed his in*ol"ntar! mo*ement. ,he eo le were starin' at the bla/0 !"rta and did not e*en loo0 his wa!. 1ow was he s" osed to beha*e "nder the /ir/"mstan/es, he wondered... Ao sooner did he answer the +"estion than a s"dden s/ream made him 'i*e a start. 1e saw an a*alan/he o% riders 'allo in' towards the a"l wee in' and wailin' in s" erh"man 'rie%. — 4h o"r dearest- $oe is "s— 4"r de%ender... 4"r dear %a-a-a-ther— It was an an/ient )a(a0h tradition to b"rst into an a"l in mo"rnin' 'allo in' at %"ll s eed lamentin' and moanin' «4 o"r dearest-». ,he &en'hi(ides ne*er %ollowed it and 0e t s"/h thin's in /ontem t. ,he )a(a0hs, who had a//"stomed their s"b3"'ators to s ea0in' their ton'"e and ma0in' their n"mero"s rit"als within +"ite a short time, so %ar re%erred to loo0 thro"'h their %in'ers at the &en'hi(ide C"ltans; not ta0in' art in %"nerals a//ordin' to the a'e-old rit"al o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. In their t"rn the latter tho"'ht it to be im ro er %or a 0han or a s"ltan to bar'e into a s"b3"'ated a"l eF/laimin' «4h !o", o"r dearest-». ,his time somethin' o"t o% the ordinar! ha ened... )han .b"l0hair hardl! had time to ro erl! see the a roa/hin' a*alan/he when a 'ro" o% his mo"nted '"ards dashed o"t %rom behind the es/ortin' retin"e. Cho"tin' lo"dl! the! 3oined the s/reamin' and lamentin' riders 'allo in' to the a"l. 1is deta/hment was thinnin' o"t be%ore his *er! e!es. C"ddenl! he %elt that his ,arlan0o0 did not obe! the reins. ,he horse started with a ower%"l 3er0 and /arried the
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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embarrassed .b"l0hair o%% to the sho"tin' /rowd. .n all sides o% him the eo le were sobbin', wee in' and s/reamin'. — 4 o"r dearest-.. )ee in' on s/reamin' the! were a roa/hin' their tar'et while the hel less 0han nearl! %ell o%% his horse and had to sto a h"ndred a/es %rom the bla/0 !"rta. It was onl! then that his bod!'"ards /a"'ht " with him. ,he! hel ed him down and then too0 awa! and tethered ,arlan0o0... .b"l0hair %elt "tterl! sho/0ed at the in/ident. «I% a s lit /o"ld o//"r e*en amon' han'ers-on in m! retin"e what will ha en when we %ind o"rsel*es in more serio"s tro"ble# — he tho"'ht.— I m"st be on the alert all the time, li0e the strin' o% a bow-» .b"l0hair o ened the /ar*ed atterned door o% the bla/0 !"rta. 1e was wearin' a li'ht )horasan /hain mail with a /loa0 embroidered in 'old on to o% it, his head 'ra/ed with a /rown o% wro"'ht 'old with the ima'e o% a wild ram;s horns. ,he 0han loo0ed hard into the semi-dar0ness o% the !"rta and saw that there were %ew eo le inside. «I need man! bod!'"ards with me here,» — he tho"'ht s ottin' s"ltans ?anibe0 and )erei sittin' at the la/e o% hono"r... ,he .r'!n s"ltans were /lad in bla/0 l"sh /a%tans with /ollars o% bla/0 otter and be'irded with 'olden belts. .lon'side them abo"t twel*e )a(a0h bi!s, 'reat warriors and (h!ra"-son'sters were sittin'. ,he late one re osed at one side o% the !"rta. .t the head o% the bed was his %ather )otan-Hh!ra" who had wasted awa! in one da! and loo0ed more dead than ali*e. 1is son;s death had mowed him down li0e 'rass. 1e was sin'in' somethin' ineF ressibl! sad l"/0in' the strin's o% his 0ob!(, his barel! a"dible *oi/e so"ndin' li0e that o% a *er! old man. It seemed that e*er!thin' aro"nd him had died and there was onl! one old son'ster ali*e in the deserted world... Ceein' the enterin' 0han ?an!be0 and )erei mo*ed "nh"rriedl! aside 'i*in' him room to sit. Aot one o% those sittin' so m"/h as 'reeted him. )otan-Hh!ra" 0e t on sin'in'. >rom the ad3oinin' !"rtas the heart-rendin' wee in' o% women was heard. ,a0in' a seat the 0han loo0ed aro"nd. <*er!thin' was bla/0 inside the !"rta. 1e saw 'arlands o% bla/0 mo"rnin' %rin'e wo*en %rom /amel;s han'in' down %rom the its bi' to . <*en the air in the !"rta seemed to be bla/0 and one /o"ld not b"t %eel a /hill enetratin' thro"'h his /lothes and s readin' all o*er his ba/0... .b"l0hair /o"ld not ma0e " his mind and loo0 at the de/eased and it seemed to him all those resent had noti/ed it. It too0 him an enormo"s e%%ort to %inall! "ll himsel% to'ether and t"rn his %a/e to .0(hol-7i!. 1e 'a*e a start. 4n a snow-white %elt mat de/orated with an an/ient )a(a0h ornament he saw the b"l0! headless bod! o% the warrior. ?"st a bi' white *ertebrae st"/0 o"t %rom where his head on/e was with a brown s ot o% /on'ealed blood on it. ,wo in/hes awa! %rom the sti/0in' o"t *ertebrae la! the warrior;s well-0nown ma/e with a bl"e *el*et to and %rin'ed with otter. It was meant to indi/ate the la/e where the late man;s head made the em t! s a/e between them es e/iall! eer!. ,he 0han be'an to %eel %e*erish. ?an!be0 and )erei ob*io"sl! noti/ed his anFiet! b"t 0e t silent. .ll the time he was aware o% their starin' at him. Aot to show his dis/om%ort the 0han /ontin"ed eFaminin' the mo"rnin' !"rta;s interior. .bo*e the head o% the late man;s bed h"n' his iron helmet and armo"r whi/h /o"ld ha*e been so "se%"l to him in his last /ombat. Inside the ot-li0e helmet was added with thi/0 %elt. . little lower one /o"ld see the sable /oat the de/eased had been wearin' on s e/ial %esti*e o//asions and /res/ent-toed @r'en/h boots with /olo"red %elt sto/0in's. .t his %eet the! la/ed a nine-batman ma/e and a bi' bir/h bow no-one b"t its owner was able to draw. It a eared all those thin's were dis la!ed as i% to remind e*er! /omer: «9oo0, he was wearin' all this d"rin' the m"rder... $ho wo"ld ha*e debeated him i% he had been %"ll! armed and read! %or a %i'ht-» )han .b"l0hair realised that e*er!bod! s"s e/ted .0(hol-7i! was slain "naware. 2eath stole " to him li0e a /owardl! 3a/0al wo"ld to a hel less re!. ,he old )otan-Hh!ra" 0e t on sin'in' his wist%"l t"ne:
$h! did !o" +"arrel with )ara0i /ha0 )obland!,
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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m! son# I am alread! too old and %eeble, 'oin' on one h"ndred soon... ,o the sons o% Ao'ai land !o" were a '"idin' star$hat did the miserable eo le "t o"t !o"r li'ht %or#.. $h! did !o" +"arrel with )ara0i /ha0 )obland!, m! son#

It seemed there wo"ld be no end to this "nbearable and monotono"s son'. ,he 0ob!( went on /om lainin' so%tl! when the old )otan-Hh!ra" was short o% wind. .%ter a breether he be'an sin'in' a'ain... .t last )otan-Hh!ra" %ell silent as i% a bitter mo"ntain-s rin' had etered o"t. .nd immediatel! e*er!one heard the /lear /om%ortin' *oi/e o% der*ish-do/tor .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*ani who was readin' the )oran. 1e 0e t on readin' the meas"red rh!thmi/al lines "nh"rriedl! and with dee %eelin'. .s was the /"stom in the ste e )han .b"l0hair eF ressed his /ondolen/e in a ma3esti/ *oi/e and the moment he %inished his s ee/h there /ame o"t one o% the most in%l"en/ial )i /ha0 bi!s, the %amo"s sil*er-ton'"ed orator )"ba-7i!. — It is I who is to blame %or the death o% o"r distin'"ished son, m! %ellow/o"ntr!men- — said he.— I 0illed him in a %it o% ra'e and am now hardl! in a osition to loo0 in the e!es o% his bro0en-hearted relati*es. Des, I am a *i/tim o% him who er etrated this /rime. 1ere is m! head- I% !o" wish !o" are in !o"r ri'ht to /ho it o%%-.. I% !o" wish to dis erse m! ashes with the wind - here is m! bod!-.. I 'i*e " m! so"l %or !o" to im rison it %or 'ood... ,his is the sit"ation now and nothin' /an be done abo"t it. 7"t then, as o"r a'e-old /"stom 'oes, I /o"ld a! o%%. — Do" /ertainl! /o"ld, b"t will that ma0e o"r 'reat bi! rise %rom his death bed# — C"ltan )erei si'hed with a ained loo0. — In the %irst la/e we will /ommit o"r "n%or'ettable warrior to earth and a! d"e homa'e to him,— C"ltan ?an!be0 said +"ietl!.— .%ter that we will tal0 and see what;s what-.. )han .b"l0hair dete/ted a threat in the s"ltan;s words. .%ter he and his retin"e le%t the a"l, .b"l0hair was onderin' o*er the sit"ation all the wa! ba/0 home. It t"rned o"t not he b"t ?an!be0 and )erei were bene%ittin' %rom the m"rder. ,he "ndeser*ed death had m"lti l!ed man!%old the %ame o% the /hie% .r'!n bi!. C"/h thin's did ha en. ,hat wa! eo le eF ressed their s"b/ons/io"s rotest a'ainst in3"sti/e. ,he! be'an to attrib"te to an inno/ent *i/tim e*en the *irt"es whi/h he had ne*er had d"rin' his li%etime. ,he more dis'ra/ed those '"ilt! o% his death. Co man! saints were /reated that wa!-.. 1owe*er, worst o% all was the %a/t that the death o% .0(hol-7i! /o"ld not be/ome his alibi %or the m"rder o% ?an!be0 and )erei. ,he .r'!n s"ltans sensed a tra and were on the alert. ?"st on the /ontrar!, the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i! wo"ld a''ra*ate the sit"ation in the 0hanate and mi'ht res"lt in its r"ination. )han .b"l0hair had alwa!s been a sober-minded man and did not need sel%-/onsolation. «I will ha*e to bear it in mind-» — he said to himsel%. . wee0 a%ter the death o% .0(hol-7i! and the %irst %"neral re ast ?an!be0 and )erei bro"'ht all able-bodied warriors o% their 0in to 4rda-7a(ar. ,he! lined them " in battle %ormation and themsel*es /ame to the 0han %or 3"sti/e. <*er!thin' was done +"ietl! and a//ordin' to the lon'-established rit"al so that no-one /o"ld %ind %a"lt with an!thin'. ,he s"ltans "ttered not one eF/essi*e word nor in3"red someone;s ride. .s was the old ste e /"stom the! demanded d"e a!ment in blood %or the m"rdered one. — ,a0e the li*es o% three )i /ha0 warriors o% !o"r own /hoosin' and let;s /all the whole thin' o%%- — s"''ested )han .b"l0hair. — $e do not need the li*es o% inno/ent eo le,— the! said.— $e want the head o% )obland!Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,o this )han .b"l0hair /o"ld not a'ree and the s"ltans were aware o% it. ,he dis "te wo"ld ne*er be settled b! the 0han;s 'i*in' them the head o% )obland!-7at!r alone. .nd i% .b"l0hair lost )obland! he wo"ld lose the s" ort o% the )i /ha0s. — Ao, I will not 'i*e awa! )obland!-7at!r- — re lied the 0han. ?an!be0 and )erei rose %rom their /"shions witho"t as0in' the 0han;s ermission. — In that /ase we are lea*in'— ,he 0han did not dare to sho"t his ro!al «2on;t ma0e a mo*e-». 7e%ore the! /ame he had s ent +"ite a time wat/hin' %rom the tower o% his ala/e the %ormations o% his .r'!n riders in the ste e. ,he! had /rowded all the so"thern a roa/hes to 4rda-7a(ar and their shinin' armo"r e*iden/ed their war-li0e s irit and determination. ,his was wh! ?an!be0 and )erei le%t the ala/e %reel!. ,hat same ni'ht the o "lation o% most .r'!n, )i /ha0, Aaiman, )onrad and some other a"ls le%t %or =o'olistan. ,he! were headed b! ?an!be0 and )erei. . deta/hment o% %"ll! armed horsemen was /o*erin' their de art"re. 7! the neFt mornin' the %leein' a"l residents had alread! been %ar awa! %rom their nati*e arts. $hen the eo le in 4rda 7a(ar wo0e " the! saw that the ste e had been almost /om letel! deserted. )han .b"l0hair retended to be si/0 not to answer the n"mero"s +"estions o% his relati*es and retainers. )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r /o"ld not sta! aro"nd the 0han;s head+"arters either. >i*e tho"sand )i /ha0 !"rtas had tra*elled with him o%% to the ,"r'ai 5i*er. It ha ened a%ter a 'ro" o% im ortant )a(a0h bi!s and warriors o% di%%erent 0ins /ame to a! him a *isit... $hen the! arri*ed he was l!in' motioneless in his twel*e-win' !"rta. — &et " , warrior, hono"rable '"ests are here to see !o"- - his wi%e said. — 7"t the warrior did not e*en b"d'e. 1e seemed to be /ons"med with some stran'e %ire and wo"ld not rea/t to an!thin'. ,hen the esteemed .r'!n-7i! addressed him. — =! dear man, didn;t !o" eF e/t a resent %rom the 0han himsel% %o"r !o"r e*il deed# C"rel! !o" /annot re%"se to a//e t the d"e blood ransom %or the m"rder o% the son o% o"r 0in- Aat"rall!, i% we 'ather all o"r abs"rdities to'ether we /an ma0e " one /ra(! man no worse than !o"rsel%. 7"t that is not the reason wh! we /ame here, "nwise warrior. $e want to tal0 on the well-bein' o% o"r ste e and !o" ha*e t"rned awa! %rom "s and 0ee on 'roanin' and moanin' li0e a worthless +"arrelsome old man h"rt b! his da"'hters-in-law. Bome on, 'et " and s ea0 as be%its a tr"e man1earin' the a"thoritati*e *oi/e o% .r'!n-7i! )obland!-7at!r realised that the most distin'"ished re resentati*es o% the )a(a0h 0ins had /ome to see him. 1e had to 'et " and ta0e his la/e amon' them in a /ir/le. 1is wi%e told the ser*ants to sla"'hter a %attened mare and hersel% ret"rned to the !"rta, shoo0 a h"'e bla/0 ba' made %rom %i*e /olt s0ins and started o"rin' o"t %oam! /o"miss into lar'e wooden bowls. ,ired a%ter a lon' 3o"rne!, .r'!n-7i! downed a 'ood hal% o% his bowl o% /o"miss and be'an to s ea0. — 9isten, )i /ha0- — said he.— $e re resent a *er! lar'e /o"ntr!. In the west it borders on the Dedil, in the east on the 4r0hon and Irt!sh, in the so"th the Bhinese em erors ha*e mar0ed it with the &reat $all and its northern %rontiers are lost in the /old woods o% the ,obol and Ishim ri*ers. >rom time immemorial !o", )i /ha0, ha*e '"arded me with the .lsh!ns in the west, the Aaimans, )ereis and @a0s in the east, and the @is"ns, Hhalai!rs and 2"lats in the so"th. $hen the 1"ns were dri*in' awa! m! /a ti*e sons and da"'hters, we .r'!ns were %or/ed to retreat to the ban0s o% the 4r0hon and the 4non. ,here, in %orei'n arts a whole ri*er was 'i*en the name o% .r'"n in o"r behal%. $hen the 1"ns were 'one we ret"rned to these arts whi/h had been le%t to "s at the behest o% o"r %orbears, and a'ain dro*e o"r sta0e into the to o% o"r .r'!nat!. <*en the =on'ols /o"ld not %or/e "s o"t o% here. 4win' to man! /ent"ries o% o"r standin' the 'ro"nd the )a(a0h tribes and 0ins, and in arti/"lar, we, the .r'!ns, !o"r %lesh and blood, were able to 0ee inta/t here, in the middle o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e, all the 'reat thin's we ha*e in /ommon: o"r wisdom,
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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/"stoms, o"r nati*e ton'"e, m"si/, and written lan'"a'e. .ll this is o"rs, m! )a(a0h brothers and /hildren-.. Co what is destined to ha en here toda!#.. 9et "s onder it to'ether while we still ha*e time %or re%le/tions. ,omorrow ma! be alread! too late... )obland!-7at!r was abo"t to sa! somethin' b"t .r'!n-7i! 'est"red to him to 0ee silent. ,his !"rta belon's to !o", )obland!, and !o" will ha*e lent! o% time to tal0 to !o"r heart;s /ontent here. 9et him who mi'ht ne*er a'ain tres ass its threshold sa! his word... C ea0, )ara-1o3a-7at!r4% the re resentati*es o% the )erei 0in )ara-1o3a-7at!r was the oldest. >or his lar'e stat"re he was ni/0named «>i*e &irdles». 1e nodded and t"rned to )obland!-7at!r altho"'h he was addressin' all the bi!s and warriors in the !"rta. — $e all 0now how wise and tr"th%"l .r'!n-7i!;s words are. 7esides the! do not ha*e in them the tribal ha"'htiness /hara/teristi/ o% some o% "s here. .%ter all not onl! )i /ha0 mothers 'a*e birth to 'reat warriors. ,he! sa!, there were times when we were in%idels and idolised stones and trees. $ell, ma!be it;s tr"e. 7"t I do 0now that e*er sin/e )ereis be'an to be /alled )ereis we ha*e alwa!s been with !o", m! brothers @is"ns, 2"lats, .r'!ns, )i /ha0s, Aaimans, @a0s, .lsh!ns, Hhalai!rs and all the others, be the! lar'e or small in n"mber, ha ! or miserable, be/a"se we are all )a(a0hs=! eo le %o"'ht the blood! &en'hi( )han %or ten whole !ears and the best o% "s %ell b! his hand. $e 0now the meanin' o% %reedom and do not want &en'hi( )han;s !o0e an! more, .b"l0hair wo"ld li0e to "t the !o0e on o"r ne/0s b! hoo0 or b! /roo0— C ea0, )a ta'ai-7at!r— .r'!n-7i! let the %amed Aaiman warrior s ea0 onl! a%ter )ara-1o3a-7at!r be/a"se he was a little !o"n'er than the latter one. $ith the )a(a0hs seniorit! in a'e was hono"red %rom olden times. — I will /ontin"e the s ee/h o% )ara-1o3a-7at!r, - the head o% the Aaimans said. 4n/e, a%ter s"b3"'atin' the )erei 0in, &en'hi( )han be'an threatenin' o"r 0in. 2id we s"rrender witho"t 'i*in' battle then# ="/h to o"r mis%ort"ne we were betra!ed b! o"r trea/hero"s all! )hore(mshah ="0hammed and all the Aaiman riders %ell in the battle%ield to'ether with their head )han 2a!an. 1owe*er, e*en a%ter that the Aaimans did not 'i*e in. ,he son o% 2a!an-)han, 'lorio"s )"/hl"0-7at!r, %o"'ht a'ainst the =on'ols %or twent! !ears. .s an a/t o% re*en'e the! sla"'htered nearl! all the ad"lt o "lation o% o"r a"ls b"t those who ha ened to s"r*i*e be'an to b"ild their li%e anew li0e those s"r*i*in' the 2el"'e. .nd !o", )a(a0h 0ins and tribes, were the ones who hel ed them then... 7"t how /ome we /o"ld not de%end o"r land in time o% tro"ble# Do" will %ind the answer in o"r old le'ends and the son's o% (h!ra"s. $hile the Aaiman was 'ra(in' his herds b! the .ltai =o"ntains the )erei stood " a'ainst the enem!, "naided, on the 4r0hon. $e did not /ome to o%%er him timel! hel sin/e we were dis"nited then. .%terwards o"r land was in*aded b! the t"mens o% &en'hi( )han while !o", )i /ha0, was b"s! ma0in' raids on 5"s and 7!(anti"m. Do" wo"ldn;t hear o"r 'roans be/a"se !o" did not /onsider o"r eo les to be one and the same eo le. 7"t later !o"r t"rn /ame, )i /ha0... .nd wasn;t the sit"ation the same when 9ame ,im"r;s men were smashin' "s# 1e too itted o"r 0ins a'ainst one another and beat "s one b! one on a//o"nt o% his bein' related to "s# ,he *italit! o% o"r wir! eo le made it ossible %or it to s"r*i*e that massa/re too. 7"t what is the "se o% all this on/e we remain dis"nited as be%ore and 0ee obe!in' all 0ind o% masters: the 7l"e 1orde, the &olden 1orde, )a(an, .star0han, and the Brimea. $hat does it matter that all o% them are o"r relati*es# ,he 'reater the ain %rom their whi and the lon'er the healin' o% o"r in3"ries-.. 9isten to me, )a(a0h 0ins and tribes-.. I% we do not "nite toda! tomorrow will be late. It;s now or ne*er-.. Ban !o" hear me, )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r, who has m"rdered his brother# — C ea0, 23alair 7oribaiIlyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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— . warrior o% the Hhala!ir 0in, the stron' and sinew! 7oribai was a middle-a'ed man. 1e s o0e on behal% o% the Cemire/h!e and ,"r%an 0ins: — =an! o% !o" ha*e not seen what we ha*e been thro"'h... 7esides &en'hi( )han we %o"'ht a'ainst Bhinese em erors, )alm!0 /hie%s, and lon' be%ore that a'ainst the &ree0s. .%ter s"r*i*in' all that we /ame to !o", o"r brothers. Do" alone are o"r wa!/om anions... Co wh! ha*e !o", )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r, be/ome the mer/enar! /l"b o% .b"l0hair with whi/h he wants to /rash o"r heads# I am tellin' !o" this be/a"se the head o% .0(hol-7i! who was m"rdered b! !o" is one o"r heads— C ea0, )arab"ra-7at!r— ,he !o"n'est o% the warriors, the hot-tem ered )arab"ra o% ,ama, addressed dire/tl! )obland!. — <*en %ort! eo le will not o"t tal0 a b"ll-headed one. 2o not thin0 that we are tr!in' to ers"ade !o", )obland!. >ort! men are %ort! men and the! will ma0e an!one treat them with res e/t. I% !o" 3"st 0illed some one o% "s in a d"el !o" /o"ld sim l! a! a ransom the wa! o"r 'rand%athers did. I"arrels ha en e*en amon' brothers. 7"t !o" raised !o"r hand not onl! a'ainst one warrior. Do" raised it a'ainst o"r entire eo le, sin/e the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i! has le%t a dee mar0 and we all 0now it. Co did !o", )obland!. 5emember that !o"r mi'ht! arm will brea0 li0e a straw a'ainst "s-.. — .re !o" threatenin' me# — )obland!-7at!r s"ddenl! drew himsel% " and loo0ed at the *isitors with blood-shot e!es.— Aot on/e did )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r %a/e death and ne*er did the one bold eno"'h to threaten him remain ali*e— ,his is a warnin' to !o", warrior, or a threat, as !o" /all it,— .r'!n-7i! said /alml!.— Do" are wron' to ride !o"rsel% on the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i!. Cooner or later a horse ret"rns to its tether and we do not ad*ise !o" to %ind !o"rsel% too %ar %rom !o"r ost. 4% /o"rse, there is m"/h %odder in .b"l0hair;s stable b"t then onl! stran'e eo le will ride !o" there... Des, )obland!, there are man! o% "s and i% we /annot /r"sh .b"l0hair;s 1orde !et, still we ha*e eno"'h stren'th to "nish a t"rn/oat and m"rderer. $e %eel sorr! %or those o% !o"r 0in who will %ollow !o" to 3oin .b"l0hair. Do" alone, )obland!, will be res onsible %or their miserable lot. 5emember one more thin', "nwise )i /ha0- >ormerl! onl! ?an!be0 and )erei 'rie*ed abo"t .0(hol-7i! and demanded that !o" a! %or what !o" ha*e done. Aow we are tal0in' to !o" on behal% o% o"r 'reat )a(a0h ste e-.. Cho"ld o"r entire eo le demand a ransom %rom !o" %or the death o% .0(hol-7i! all !o"r wealth and blood or that o% !o"r 0in, howe*er bi' and ri/h, will not be eno"'h to a! !o"r debt— Co what is it !o" want %rom me, 7i!# — )obland!-7at!r as0ed in a *oi/e /onstrained with ra'e. — Do" are a er etrator, )obland!, and we /annot s"''est that !o" %ollow "s now. 7"t i% !o"r homeland is reall! dear to !o", s"mmon the eo le o% !o"r a"ls and lea*e with them %or the ban0s o% the ,"r'ai so that the enem! /o"ld not "se o"r swords. 2o not show a bad eFam le to the wea0-willed now that we be'in o"r sa/red str"''le %or inde enden/e. $at/h o"t i% !o" a/t otherwise. ,hen !o" will be damned b! !o"r eo le and its wrath will /r"sh !o"-.. — Do" are ri'ht, o"r 7i!— 9et him 'o to the ,"r'ai-.. — ,here is no other wa! o"t %or !o", )obland!... — .r'!n-7i! raised both his hands. — $e ha*e told !o" e*er!thin', )ara0i /ha0 )obland!... $hen, not waitin' %or dinner, the! all wal0ed o"t o% the !"rta, )obland!-7at!r 3"m ed to his %eet and too0 hold o% his %amo"s /"d'el. 1e %elt li0e r"nnin' a%ter them and startin' a %i'ht, /r"shin' eo le;s heads, tram lin' them down and roarin' with ra'e. 7"t then he tho"'ht better o% it. 1e re/alled the words abo"t the horse that had stra!ed too %ar %rom its herd. 4nl! s"/h i/t"res /o"ld set his mind to wor0... ,he *isitors had lon' disa eared be!ond the ste e hori(on b"t he was still sittin' and thin0in', enormo"s head restin' on his hair! arm. It was alread! too late to do somethin' to /han'e the sit"ation. .n "nheard-o% dis'ra/e had %allen on him and he
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had no time to strai'hten thin's o"t. 1e tho"'ht o% the trea/hero"s nat"re o% .b"l0hair who had "r'ed him to m"rder .0(hol-7i!. It o//"rred to him that the warriors had been ri'ht in ad*isin' him to lea*e %or the ,"r'ai... Ctill more and more a"ls were ta0in' o%% and %ollowin' ?an!be0 and )erei towards =o'olistan. ,hose not wishin' to o enl! 3oin the rebellio"s s"ltans were 'oin' o%% into the bo"ndless ste e to sta! o"t o% tro"ble. $hen almost all had deserted the ste e aro"nd 4rda-7a(ar a lonel! rider /ame in si'ht %rom the so"thern dire/tion. 1e was 'allo in' " at brea0-ne/0 s eed astride a h"'e horse and the ra/er;s lon' tail was streamin' in the wind. It was )obland!-7at!r. $hen he heard that most a"ls had tra*elled o%% %rom 0han;s head+"arters on a//o"nt o% the m"rder o% .0(hol-7i!, he 'ot on his horse and 'allo ed here. 1e rode one da! and one ni'ht ne*er 'ettin' o%% his ama(in' horse and on the wa! here he saw %or himsel% that all the a"ls had le%t these arts. 4nl! the smo"lderin' ashes o% /am %ires and horses; dro in's e*iden/ed that the da! be%ore this ste e had been densel! o "lated. )obland!-7at!r sto ed his horse b! 4rda 7a(ar and stood o*er the deserted *alle! %or a lon' time. C"ddenl! the warrior;s e!es /ame ali*e and his %a/e bri'htened. 1e noti/ed another rider on a hill and set s "rs to his horse. ,he warrior slowl! rode " to the hill, 'ot o%% his horse and a roa/hed the rider. It was a 'irl o% abo"t %i%teen. C"n ra!s were la!in' on her white %a/e, red li s ressed into a little heart and bla/0 e!es re%le/tin' )obland!-7at!r with his oddl! s read arms. — $hat do !o" want to tell me, warrior# — the 'irl as0ed. It was ob*io"s she was not too 'lad to see him. — I ha*e alread! told !o" e*er!thin', da"'hter o% the 0han- — )obland!-7at!r said. — $as it not %or !o" that I 0illed .0(hol-7i! in a d"el#.. .nd I want !o" to 0now I was also 'oin' to send Ca!an-7at!r to the eFe/"tion-blo/0 be/a"se witho"t !o" there is no li%e %or me-.. 9et the whole world /hallen'e me to a %i'ht I will not be s/ared i% it stands between me and !o"-.. ,he 'irl made an im atient 'est"re and the warrior bent his head. 1e stood so %or a lon' time and when at last he loo0ed at her there was no li%e in his e!es. — Aow... now m! lion;s heart has be/ome the si(e o% a /hild;s %ist. It is th"m in' in m! /hest li0e that o% a hare. =! lar'e ste e-li0e so"l /an now be la/ed on the alm o% !o"r tin! hand, 'irl. :lease sto s/o%%in' at me and tell me the bitter tr"th-.. ,he 'irl nodded with a determined air... — I did not intend to mo/0 !o", warrior. .nd what !o" said is all tr"e. =! mother reall! wanted me to be/ome .0(hol-7i!;s wi%e. 7"t was it his %a"lt# ,hat I lo*ed warrior Ca!an is also tr"e. Ban he be blamed %or it# =! mother lo*es me madl! and will sto at nothin' to ma0e me ha !. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im, too, did e*er!thin' to hel me. .nd m! ha iness is not with !o", re/0less old warrior. I will ne*er be !o"r wi%e-.. — ,he ro"d warrior tossed " his head. — $hat i% !o"r %ather 'i*es !o" to me# — ,hen I will ha*e to die...— ,he 'irl rod"/ed a small )horasan 0ni%e %rom "nder her dress and loo0ed at it tho"'ht%"ll!. ,his 0ni%e will to"/h m! bod! be%ore !o" do— .m I reall! so bad# — eF/laimed the warrior. — 9et it be o"r last meetin'- — the 'irl said %irml!. Che t"rned her horse and 'allo ed o%% witho"t loo0in' ba/0 at the motionless and 'rie*o"sl! "((led )obland!7at!r. 1e 0e t %ollowin' her with his e!es "ntil she entered the /it!. — Des, e*er!thin' has t"rned o"t to be %or nothin'- — he said with a si'h. 1e reall! loo0ed li0e a deadl! wo"nded lion now. ,he bea"ti%"l &"lba0hram, )han .b"l0hair;s !o"n'est da"'hter, %or whom he had er etrated so man! re/0less /rimes, had re3e/ted him. 3 ,he /loser his old a'e the more )han .b"l0hair be/ame /on*in/ed that the 3o!s o% this world are %leetin' and transient li0e a ni'ht dream. Des, his 'olden throne, ri/hes,
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lo*e and sorrows are nothin' b"t a del"sion. 2eath alone is real. 1is 'reat an/estor was ri'ht to belie*e onl! in death and nothin' else... 4ne %ine da! he too will sa! %arewell to this tawdr! brillian/e and ret"rn to earth, the /onstant re%"'e o% e*er!thin' that on/e li*ed, s"%%ered and re3oi/ed. 1owe*er, as lon' as he li*es he /annot 'i*e " earthl! /ares. $hile a man still tram les down this erishable earth his assions and desires ne*er lea*e him... ,he most im ortant o% them was to settle e*er!thin' /on/ernin' his n"mero"s sons and 'rowin' 'randsons in the best ossible wa!. In his mind he had lon' sin/e distrib"ted ower amon' them. Come were to be/ome emirs, some s"ltans or the r"lers o% lar'e /ities. ,he 1orde he had /reated m"st remain in his hands e*en a%ter his death-.. 1owe*er, this wish had not been %"l%illed, %ar %rom it. .nd that with some o% his sons bein' almost thirt! !ears o% a'e. ,r"e, some o% them had alread! be/ome emirs and r"lers b"t none had ta0en art in eFha"stin' /am ai'ns and wars, had not shown ersonal /o"ra'e and *alo"r, nor r"led inde endentl!, witho"t his hel . $hat wo"ld ha en when he died and there wo"ld be nobod! to '"ide their a/tions-.. . %ather is the best 3"d'e o% his sons; wea0 or stron' oints. )han .b"l0hair la/ed his bi''est ho e in his 'randsons ="0hammed-Cheibani and C"ltan-=a0hm"d and also in his son C"!"n/hi0. .ll three were ener'eti/ and /r"el. ,he! were li0e 'ood little sna0es and one /o"ld not ta0e them with bare hands. 1is 'randsons were almost the same a'e as C"!"n/hi0, onl! %i*e !ears their senior. In an! /ase he wo"ld ha*e to last till the! were 'rown and mat"re men. ,he main b"rden o% ower wo"ld ha*e to be sho"ldered b! his son C"!"n/hi0. ,his was wh! the 0han was 'lad to hear %rom Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a that he was read! to do e*er!thin' %or ower. ,he eF erien/ed *i(ier said: «In s ite o% his !o"n' a'e C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 has shown the %ortit"de and s irit o% a tr"e man. 1e ta0es e*er!thin' in his stride and is read! to ha*e his mother eFe/"ted %or the sa0e o% the 0hanate-» Des, m"/h de ends on the blood that %lows in a man;s *eins. In the *eins o% his son the blood o% the ,im"rides has mer'ed with that o% the &en'hi(ides. Is there an! nobler /ombination in the world# Is it not nat"ral that onl! s"/h a man is destined to r"le eo le# ,he da! be%ore that +"eer der*ish-do/tor .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*an! /ame to see him. In s ite o% his ado tion o% the tr"e %aith one /o"ld sense some innate wea0ness le%t him b! his %athers. 1e %o"nd some serio"s disease in C"ltan C"!"n/hi0. — 4 m! Co*erei'n )han, !o"r son is s"%%erin' %rom s"/h a terrible ailment that somethin' has to be done abo"t it immediatel!-.. ,he brown e!es o% the sla*e were %"ll o% terror. — $ell, what 0ind o% ailment# — the 0han as0ed /alml!. — It is not a /han/e disease. It o//"red be/a"se o% the inter%eren/e o% some dread%"l eo le, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. 1e is onl! thirteen !ears old and it ma! end " in bi' tro"ble... — C ea0— Desterda! I had a tal0 with him...— ,he oor /hi/0en-hearted h!si/ian wi ed the sweat o%% his brow and his short-si'hted e!es widened enormo"sl!.— 1e is obssessed with some %iFed idea, that is to as/end the 0han;s throne as soon as ossible-.. .b"l0hair /o"ld not hel noddin' his head /ontentedl!. ,he sooner an heir be'ins to as ire %or the throne the better. ,his %eelin' is a nat"ral-born one and the 'rown-" s m"st %oster and tirelessl! en/o"ra'e it. — Co what;s so bad abo"t it in !o"r o inion# — the 0han as0ed. — ,his is not all !et- — the healer went on eF/itedl! not a!in' attention to the +"estion.— 2a! in, da! o"t, in his ni'ht dreams and in realit! the bo! 0ee s on sa!in' that he wants to 0ill his mother. «Che is a /riminal woman... I will ha*e her thrown into the d"st and stoned to death %or her wishin' to see )"sh0in/hi0 on the throne-» 1owe*er leasant to his heart C"!"n/hi0;s as irations the 0han %elt somewhat dis'"sted with his son;s ea'erness to see him dead. 7esides, wh! these tho"'hts abo"t )"sh0in/hi0# $ho was en/o"ra'in' them# Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a ne*er told him an!thin' li0e that. .nd now this %orei'n-born healer with his reasonin'.
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— ,his oor bo! wants to stone his mother who has 'i*en him li%e and bro"'ht him " ,— said he.— .nd all that onl! be/a"se he s"s e/ts her o% her intendin' to 'i*e !o"r throne to his elder brother. $ho /an be s"re that tomorrow he will not o"n/e on !o"# I belie*e some /riminal and trea/hero"s hand is '"idin' him-.. ,hese words made the 0han 'i*e the sit"ation a 'ood tho"'ht. It was ob*io"s that his *i(ier had 'one too %ar and at the same time had not told him e*er!thin' in his re orts. 7esides he had been too +"i/0 in a/hie*in' s"//ess in this tri/0! b"siness. 1e m"st 0ee his e!es eeled with this li/0s ittle-.. ,wo or three da!s later 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im was to stand eo le;s trial. Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a had to ma0e "bli/ rono"n/ement on the woman;s /rimes and ass senten/e on her. .b"l0hair wo"ld need to see i% onl! one nod o% a ro*al on the art o% C"!"n/hi0. .//ordin' to the *i(ier there was no do"bt as to the latter;s determination to "nish his mother. $ell, s"/h thin's had alread! ha ened not on/e at the 0han;s /o"rt. .b"l0hair himsel% had re ared all that and re'retted nothin'. <F/e t %or what healer .bdra(a0 had told him... Co what-.. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im wo"ld ha*e to be eFe/"ted that *er! da!. ,his was what he m"st thin0 abo"t. I% tomorrow C"!"n/hi0 be/ame en*ol*ed in a /ons ira/! a'ainst his %ather he wo"ld %ollow his mother,hen, when the %"nn! healer %inished tal0in' he %ell s rawlin' his lon' bod! be%ore the 0han and m"ttered in a hoarse *oi/e: — I% the bo! re*iles his mother I will anno"n/e his insanit!... ,he words o% a si/0 /hild /annot be tr"sted. .nd there is no do"bt abo"t his si/0ness-.. ,he %amed .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*ani was well 0nown all o*er the 0hanate not onl! %or his art o% a healer b"t also d"e to his %"nn! eFtra*a'ant wa!s. Aow too he was inter%erin' in others; a%%airs. $hen he heard C"!"n/hi0; ra*in's he realised that some sna0e had ta0en ossession o% the bo! and i% nothin' was done abo"t it the sna0e wo"ld dri*e him mad. ,his was wh! he /onsidered it to be his d"t! to admonish the 0han o% it. 1e was *er! m"/h s"r rised seein' .b"l0hair;s "n ert"rbed rea/tion to his words. Aat"rall! the 0han /o"ld not sn"b him and tell the healer he had ordered Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a to in%l"en/e the heir. .nd not be/a"se the ri'hteo"sness o% .bdra(a0 /on%"sed him. 1e was sim l! a%raid o% bein' le%t witho"t a h!si/ian 0nowin' that then he wo"ld not li*e lon' with his terrible desease. . art %rom other 'ra*e ailments the 0han had lon' been s"%%erin' %rom asthma. 1e had tried a 'reat deal o% medi/ines, %rom Bhinese herbs to )ha(a0h /harms, b"t the! were o% little "se to him. .ll 0ind o% *ario"s %amo"s h!si/ians, shamans, ma'i had been /omin' to him %rom all o*er the world, %rom ,ibet, )horasan, C!ria, 5ome and India, and all %or nothin'. ,he 0han;s /ondition was 'rowin' a/"te and b! thirt!-%i*e it had be/ome /lear that he wo"ld s end the rest o% his li%e bein' /on%ined to bed. ,he %its ha ened more and more o%ten and he eF e/ted death an! da! now. @sed to doomin' a 'reat deal o% eo le to death, now the 0han s"ddenl! realised that li%e was reall! worth somethin'... ,hen all o% a s"dden his men bro"'ht to him a /a ti*e sla*e %rom =er*e, healer .bdra(a0, who had literall! set the 0han on his %eet "sin' most /ommon means. .b"l0hair had not %"ll! re/o*ered %rom asthma b"t now he /o"ld breathe %reel! and not %ear s"dden death. .bo"t ten !ears had assed sin/e then and the 0han, who was on/e so a%raid o% d!in', was still ali*e and thri*in'... .bdra(a0 had /"red the 0han %rom man! other less serio"s ailments whi/h had been tormentin' him o*er the ast !ears. ,his was wh! the 0han o%ten said that he wo"ld li*e as lon' as his h!si/ian was aro"nd who had been sent to him b! &od. 1e sin/erel! belie*ed that .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*ani was a 'i%t to him %rom &od 1imsel%. 7ein' aware o% the obstina/! o% his healer the 0han de/ided to dela! the eFe/"tion o% his %o"rth wi%e. It was not onl! the do/tor;s warnin' whi/h made him do that. ,he words o% his heir C"!"n/hi0 retold him b! the healer had "t him on his '"ard. I% 7a0ht!-1o3a was /on/ealin' somethin' %rom he 0han it was s"s i/io"s. <*er!thin' had to be /he/0ed o"t meti/"lo"sl! and witho"t aro"sin' the s"s i/ions o% the /le*er *i(ier...
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In the mean time Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a was ma0in' %inal re arations %or the on/omin' 3"d'ment. 1e aid most attention to instr"/tin' C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 sin/e the s"//ess o% the whole "nderta0in' de ended on the bo! alone. In order to brin' C"!"n/hi0 to the ne/essar! /ondition e*er! mornin' he seated the bo! on a s e/iall! made «'olden throne» in one o% the ala/e;s /hambers and ser*ed him li0e a *i(ier wo"ld a tr"e 0han. — . man who itied whome*er, and %irst o% all his relati*es, i% onl! on/e in his li%etime, /annot be 0han- — he wo"ld sa! and then %all to his 0nees and /rawl to the throne "ttin' o"t his hands. 7endin' his head to the *er! ear o% the /hild the *i(ier wo"ld be'in en"meratin' %or the h"ndredth time the terrible sins o% his mother. — $hat wo"ld !o" /ommand me to do with her, m! Co*erei'n )han# — he wo"ld as0 in /on/l"sion la/in' his hands h"mbl! on his /hest. — ,o /"t o%% her head- — C"!"n/hi0 s/reamed %ren(iedl!. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han,he *i(ier /rawled ba/0 and started all o*er a'ain. — Che has romised )"sh0in/hi0 the throne !o" are sittin' on, m! Co*erei'n )han... $hat will I do with )"sh0in/hi0# — 7ehead him- — C"!"n/hi0 wo"ld shrie0 his e!es 'leamin' with madness. =ost li0el! e*en a 'rown man wo"ld not be able to stand all that and C"!"n/hi0 was onl! thirteen !ears o% a'e. .t the same time his inborn mentalit! made the bo! *er! re/e ti*e to what Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a was tea/hin' him. 7oth in his ni'ht dreams and in realit! C"!"n/hi0 saw himsel% as 0han, the 'reater his %ier/e hatred %or all his relati*es and those /lose to him. In ea/h one o% them he saw an as irant %or his «'olden throne». ,he sill! little C"!"n/hi0 was not the %irst nor the last s"//essor to the throne who was raised that wa!. $ithin a %ew wee0s e*en the bo!;s a earan/e /han'ed *isibl!. 1e 'rew deathl! ale, /hee0s hollow and e!es ali'ht with dr! h"n'r! l"stre. ,he bo! 'a*e " 'ames and horse-ridin' he li0ed so m"/h be%ore and wo"ld not lea*e his «'olden throne» i% onl! %or a min"te. 1e wo"ld s/ream and /"rse an!one who tried to a roa/h him. ,he oor 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im also 'rew thin and h!si/all! eFha"sted d"rin' that time. Aot 0nowin' what to do with her son who was %ore*er s "rnin' an'ril! her motherl! %eelin's she t"rned %or ad*i/e to .bdra(a0 Aa0h/hi*ani. 2"rin' the ten !ears o% his li%e at the /o"rt the 'ood do/tor o%ten witnessed all 0ind o% "nderhand intri'"es. ,here%ore he made a +"i/0 dia'nosis and /o"ld not b"t tell the 0han abo"t his s"s i/ions. ,hat ni'ht )han .b"l0hair ordered Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a to wait a little with "ttin' 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im on trial... .lread! when warrior Ca!an es/a ed %rom rison .b"l0hair 'a*e an order to throw into a d"n'eon his eF-ad*iser 4s an-1o3a. 7"t ri'ht then that s/andalo"s a%%air with the rebellio"s .r'h!n s"ltans ha ened and .0(hol-7i! was m"rdered. Co the 0han /om letel! %or'ot abo"t his old %aith%"l ser*ant. In the mornin' his senior wi%e told him 4s an-1o3a;s words. ,he 0han did not tr! to %ind o"t how all that had been arran'ed. ,he eF-ad*iser as0ed him to hono"r the «!o" /an /"t o%% one;s head b"t not his ton'"e» r"le. 7esides, 4s an-1o3a alle'edl! said: «I 0now I will rot in earth. 1owe*er be%ore death I wo"ld li0e to do the last ser*i/e to m! Co*erei'n )han. 9et him /all me to his ala/e and not re%"se to hear me o"t-» )han .b"l0hair /o"ld not re%"se this law%"l re+"est to a man who had ser*ed him %aith%"ll! %or so man! !ears. 7esides he was interested to 0now what his eF-ad*iser /o"ld tell him. 1e ordered his men to brin' 4s an-1o3a to him and himsel% be'an re/allin' how man! times the eF-ad*iser had hel ed him o"t o% tro"ble... 4ne s"/h /ase ha ened lon' a'o, d"rin' the sei("re o% Camar0and. .t the time 4s an-1o3a was on the ser*i/e o% the <mir o% Camar0and and /o"ld not %or'et that ,im"r had on/e destro!ed his home and /a t"red his 'rand%ather. $hen .b"l0hair;s s/o"ts 'ot into the /it! 4s an-1o3a +"i/0l! /ame to terms with them. 4n/e, when .b"l0hair was %eastin' with his arm! in 4rda-7a(ar a%ter de%eatin' his rede/essor, a /o"rier arri*ed %rom Camara0and with a messa'e %rom 4s an-:asha. In
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it he in%ormed the 0han that the /it! was le%t witho"t an! de%en/e be/a"se =ir(a @l"'be0, ,im"r;s 'randson, had withdrawn the tro" s and led them to )horasan. Aotwithstandin' the %ati'"e the h"'e arm! o% .b"l0hair immediatel! le%t 4rda-7a(ar. $hen it a roa/hed Camar0and the /it!;s r"ler /ame o"t to meet them and 0neeled "ttin' his hands on his head as a si'n o% s"bmission. ,he troo s entered the /it! witho"t bloodshed, .b"l0hair 'ot a ri/h ransom and arran'ed %or a !earl! trib"te to him. Chortl! a%terwards 4s an-1o3a did the 0han another ri/eless ser*i/e. ,he assasination o% @l"'be0 or haned his %o"rteen-!ear-old da"'hter, a 'irl o% hea*enl! bea"t!. 7esides, a'ainst the lon'-established laws with re'ard to the women the 'reat @l"'be0-=ir(a sent his da"'hter to a madrassah when she was se*en where she st"died :ersian, ,"r0ish and .rabi/ and was bro"'ht " "nder the s" er*ision o% her %ather. In the 4rient she was one o% the most ed"/ated women o% the time. 4s an-1o3a said to .b"l0hair: «I% !o" want to ta0e with !o" Camar0and;s 'old the most re/io"s n"''et here is 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im-..» $hen .b"l0hair saw her he %elt "neas! and aw0ward %or the %irst time in his li%e. 2a! and ni'ht he seemed to see her bea"ti%"l e!es and %inall! she be/ame his %o"rth wi%e. ,he nobilit! o% Camar0and were seein' him o%% on a 'rand s/ale bein' %"ll! aware that the 'reat r"ler;s ra ro/hement with them wo"ld sooner or later ma0e him their all!. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im;s dowr! in/l"ded %ort! !o"n' male and %ort! bea"ti%"l %emale sla*es and in %ront there mar/hed a h"'e white ele hant with the bride sittin' on its ba/0 "nder a sil0 /ano !. ,o'ether with her 4s an-1o3a was lea*in' as the 0han;s new ad*iser... I"ite a %ew !ears had assed sin/e then and in all that time 4s an-1o3a had ne*er de/ei*ed the 0han in whate*er wa! and had alwa!s %"l%illed his orders. 1e sensed a threat to the 0han;s throne be%ore .b"l0hair himsel% did and alwa!s warned abo"t it in time. 9i0e a 'ood '"ardian-an'el sittin' in*isibl! on the 0han;s ri'ht sho"lder he 0e t .b"l0hair %rom ma0in' wron' de/isions. $itho"t a do"bt .b"l0hair owed 4s an-1o3a man! o% his s"//ess%"l "nderta0in's at that time. .s %or 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im she bore the 0han two stra in' bo!s and her intelli'en/e, 'ood breedin' and bea"t! made her his most lo*ed wi%e. In /ame .b"l0hair;s Bhie% Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a and made a low bow. — =! Co*erei'n )han, the! ha*e bro"'ht here that traitor 4s an-1o3a. .b"l0hair %rowned... «,hat traitor-.. 1ow does he 0now 4s an-1o3a e*er betra!ed someone# C"rel! he sees him thro"'h m! e!es and I do /onsider him a traitor... 7"t am I ri'ht# $as it worthwhile im risonin' s"/h a ser*ant be/a"se o% the es/a e o% a worthless warrior# $hat a %i/0le world-.. $hat i% somethin' li0e this e*er ha ens to me# Aow that their li%e is in m! hands the! dan/e attendan/e to me. 7"t when the! see me wea0 i% onl! %or a min"te e*er!one will r"n awa! %rom me li0e the! wo"ld %rom a le er and the last one o% them will brea0 m! ba/0 in no time- C"/h is li%e and nothin' /an be done abo"t it...» )han .b"l0hair nodded. — 7rin' him in,wo '"ards bro"'ht in the risoner s" ortin' him "nder his arms. 4s an-1o3a had alwa!s loo0ed eFtremel! s0inn!, hen/e his ni/0name «2ra'on%l!». 7"t howe*er "sed to his thinness the 0han started "nwittin'l! seein' him now. It was not a li*e man b"t onl! a shadow. ,he dr! s0in stret/hed o*er his s/"ll and /hee0-bones and the e!es were s"n0en so dee that the! were not seen at all. 4s an-1o3a started s ea0in' in a barel! a"dible *oi/e. — =! Co*erei'n )han-.. <*en i% !o" set me %ree ri'ht now I wo"ld not last lon'. ,here is not one r"ler on earth who /an o ose the will o% .llah and I will onl! li*e not lon'er than a wee0. Co I do not be' !o" to let me li*e altho"'h !o" rei'n o*er all o% "s... Do" ha*e no ower to rolon' m! li%e e*en %or one min"te. Cho"ld !o" wish to /"t it short I am not a%raid o% it either. I was 'oin' to tal0 with !o" abo"t somethin' alte'ether di%%erent, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. — $hat is it !o" want to as0 me abo"t# — I want !o" to hear e*er!thin' I am 'oin' to tell !o"...
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— C ea0 " — >irst o% all !o" m"st 0now wh! I ha*e ser*ed !o" %aith%"ll! and tr"l! all these !ears. 4nl! a madman wo"ld ha*e re%erred a h"man monster li0e !o", m! Co*erei'n )han, to the "re-hearted and noble @l"'be0-=ir(a. Co hear o"t the tr"e reason and thin0 nothin' else o% it. — .lri'ht... let;s hear !o"— <*er!one 0nows abo"t the ten 'enerations o% !o"r an/estors... I too ha*e ten 'enerations o% an/estors. .nd tho"'h their names are not reser*ed in eo le;s memor! I m"st 0now them li0e an! de/ent man... It is %ar %rom bein' m! intention to /om are m! %orbears with !o"rs, m! )han. Do" are masters while we are sla*es. I want to tell !o" somethin' di%%erent. Do" are all &en'hi(ides, b"t still there were h"man bein's amon'st !o" too. Do"r 'reat-'rand%ather in the se*enth 'eneration C"ltan Iis7"'hi was s"/h a man worth! o% this lo%t! word. 1e was not destined to be/ome 0han in his time !et he was a 'reat warrior and a 'allant /ammander. =! 'reat-'rand%ather in the se*enth 'eneration, )ara-Aar, was his sla*e. <*en so" lea*es s/ale on the bottom o% a ot. ,his was the /ase with )ara-Aar. .ltho"'h a /ommoner he too was %amo"s %or his deeds o% a warrior. 2"rin' one o% the battles a'ainst the )alm!0s, while attem tin' to res/"e C"ltan Iis-7"'hi he and se*eral other warriors were bro"'ht down %rom their horses and ta0en risoners. ,he %i'htin' o*er the! be'an to eF/han'e /a ti*es. ,he )alm!0s were ta0in' a ransom %or ea/h one o% them, a h"ndred horses %or a s"ltan and ten %or a lain horseman. ,r"e, there were amon' the /a ti*es warriors %or whom the )alm!0s were demandin' the amo"nt o% horses e+"allin' that %or three s"ltans ta0en to'ether. ,he! had done the )alm!0s too 'reat a dama'e in the battle. 4ne o% those three warriors %or whom the! /har'ed three h"ndred horses ea/h was m! 'reat-'rand%ather )ara-Aar... ,wo warriors des/endin' o% noble )a(a0h 0ins were immediatel! bo"'ht o"t b! their wealth! relati*es. .s %or m! 'reat-'rand%ather, no-one /o"ld /are less abo"t a lain 0han;s sla*e. 1e we t bitterl! then b"t the a"ls he belon'ed in had s"%%ered 'reatl! %rom the in*aders and /o"ld not /olle/t so man! horses. 1e was to die sin/e the )alm!0s immediatel! sli/ed o%% the heads o% those who had not been bo"'ht o"t in time. In the best /ase the! were "t in irons and dri*en awa! to Bhinese sla*e mar0ets to be sold to mine-owners. It was e*en worse than death... 7"t then, all o% a s"dden the noble C"ltan Iis-7"'hi /ame 3"st in time to a! the ransom %or him. $itho"t a sin'le word he /o"nted o"t three h"ndred it/h-bla/0 thoro"'hbred horses %rom his herd and bo"'ht o"t m! 'reat-'rand%ather. @ on /omin' ba/0 home to his %amil! )ara-Aar made an oath that the s"//eedin' se*en 'enerations o% his des/endants wo"ld ser*e de*otedl! and sel%lessl! se*en 'enerations o% !o"r %amil!, )han .b"l0hair. 1e le%t an oral will in whi/h he re+"ested "s not to harbo"r resentment a'ainst !o" e*en i% !o" were "n3"st. Do" and I, )han, are the ones d"rin' whose li%etime the led'e o% m! an/estor )ara-Aar shall be/ome in*alid... ,his was wh! I le%t the noble @l"'be0 and 3oined !o". .b"l0hair smiled wril!. — Cee how %ar ba/0 !o" ha*e tra*elled in time#.. 7esides !o"r %orbear;s will tells !o" not to harbo"r resentment a'ainst "s. .m I ri'ht# — Des, this testament has been assed %rom 0in to 0in... I will not %eel h"rt e*en i% !o" sla"'hter me li0e a shee — Do" see, it means that I ha*e do"ble ower o*er !o" and !o" ha*e been senten/ed to death b! !o"r an/estor... — It is "ndo"btedl! so. I% !o" 0ill me b! !o"r own hand witho"t an! '"ilt on m! art !o" will not be held answerable e*en to &od. 7"t the tr"th is I indeed ha*e done !o" wron', )han-.. — $hat is !o"r '"ilt# — It was I who arran'ed warrior Ca!an;s %li'ht— Do"-.. In that /ase I will order to dela! !o"r death %or one, na!, ten !ears-.. I will order to %eed !o" so that !o" wo"ld li*e in a ba' o% stone till !o" are a *er! old man and rono"n/e a /"rse a'ainst ten 'enerations o% !o"r own an/estors-..
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,he 0han;s ra'e rod"/ed no im ression on the risoner. 1e went on loo0in' somewhere thro"'h the wall o% the ala/e. — Do" want me to die ea/h da! o*er and o*er a'ain...— he said.— 9et it be so. I am not a%raid... I% the 0han;s will o*er owers &od;s redestination I will ha*e to resi'n m!sel% to it. 7"t that is not what I wanted to tal0 abo"t... — $hat abo"t then, old man# — $h! do !o" not as0 me, m! )han, what I arran'ed that warrior;s es/a e %or# — <*en &od;s an'el 'oes wron' when the 'litter o% 'old blinds his e!es— Ao, m! Co*erei'n )han- .n'els and sla*es do not need 'old. It is 0in's who need it. I hel ed warrior Ca!an %or an alto'ether di%%erent reason. .s a matter o% %a/t he is the !o"n'est son o% =ir(a @l"'be0 b! his .r'h!n /on/"bine, and the brother, on the aternal side, o% !o"r s o"se 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. 4nl! she and I 0new that... 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im bro"'ht here her ille'itimate brother to'ether with %ort! sla*es. ,he other heirs were not s" osed to 0now that he is the son o% @l"'be0. I thin0 there is no need to eF lain to !o", m! )han, that the! wo"ld not li0e to ha*e another as irant to the throne. 4n/e the! did not it! their %ather the! wo"ld not thin0 twi/e to sla"'hter the little 0id in his /radle. Censin' tro"ble, two !ears be%ore his death the 'reat =ir(a @l"'be0 /har'ed me with '"ardin' his belo*ed da"'hter 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im and the se*en-!ear-old nat"ral son li0e the a le o% m! e!e. I swore I;d do that. Aow !o" 0now that I am tr"e to oaths o% alle'ian/e, e*en to those o% m! 'reat-'rand%athers... Aow that !o" 0now m! '"ilt I %eel m"/h relie*ed in m! heart. Des, I arran'ed that es/a e and ad*i/ed 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im to lea*e the three ba! horses at home. .nd I too0 ?an!be0;s .r'h!n sentries be/a"se the! alone wo"ld ha*e a'reed to es/a e with a warrior related to their 0in... =! li%e is in !o"r hands, m! Co*erei'n )han. $hether I li*e or die ma0es no di%%eren/e to me now. =! /ons/ien/e is /lear %or in this transient world o% o"rs I ha*e %"l%illed the sa/red d"t! le%t to me b! m! an/estor )ara-Aar the same as I ha*e honestl! 0e t m! romise 'i*en to the best o% eo le, the s/holar @l"'be0-.. )han .b"l0hair was ta0en aba/0 with the /on%ession. 1e did not 0now whether to re3oi/e or %eel anno!ed. $hen he was 'oin' to ha*e 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im eFe/"ted he was not moti*ated b! 3ealo"s! alone. 1e was anFio"s to dis'ra/e "bli/l! all the ,im"rides whom he heartil! disli0ed. ,he reason %or it was the beha*io"r o% .bd"said, the 5"ler o% Camar0and and his son-in-law, whi/h aro"sed .b"l0hair;s 'rowin' dis leas"re with e*er! assin' da!. .b"l0hair hel ed him to /ome to the throne and .bd"said re/o'nised the 0han as his s" reme r"ler and e*en b"ilt " a ala/e in &erat in his behal%. 4ne hal% o% the taFes /olle/ted he wo"ld "n%ailin'l! send to 4rda-7a(ar %or whi/h the 0han;s troo s '"aranteed the se/"rit! o% Camar0and. 1owe*er, o*er the re/ent !ears e*er!thin' had /han'ed. @ on anneFin' a /onsiderable art o% Iran, in/l"din' %ab"lo"sl! ri/h northern )horasan, to the 7"0hara and Camar0and domains, <mir .bd"said sto ed /o"ntin' with the 0han and did e*er!thin' his own wa!. In addition .b"l0hair had %o"nd o"t that it was his da"'hter whom he had 'i*en in marria'e to the emir who was "r'in' her h"sband to show ins"bordination... 1is Camar0and son-in-law started a/tin' es e/iall! arro'antl! now that man! o% the )a(a0h 0ins headed b! ?an!be0 and )erei le%t him and his mi'ht was s"bstantiall! wea0ened. 1e e*en be'an threatenin' the 0han with his %ist, that brat, that s awn o% ,im"r- I% he is not ta"'ht a lesson now tomorrow all his s"ltans, emirs and be0s will a/t in the same wa! and his 0hanate will t"mble down li0e an old /la! o*en... Ao, he will not let it ha en. ,he shrewd and hi'hl! eF erien/ed .b"l0hair will still show them his iron /laws. .%ter all it was 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who did her best to se/"re the 0han;s assistan/e in hel in' .bd"said to as/end the throne. 9et her answer %or e*er!thin' then. .s %or .bd"said his t"rn will /ome later. It is a it! that %or the moment he does not ha*e eno"'h troo s to la! sie'e to Camar0and.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Des, he is 'rowin' wea0 and his enemies are 'ettin' stron'er with ea/h assin' da!. ?an!be0 and )erei, that .bd"said, and the r"ler o% =o'olistan Isa 7"'a within whose territor! man! o% the ste e a"ls ha*e settled. $ell, he has to ha*e atien/e... ,his was what )han .b"l0hair was onderin' o*er all these da!s. .nd then that /ase o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im t"rned " . It was sheer l"/0 whi/h made it ossible %or him to show his determination to all the ,im"rides and the other de endent r"lers. ,his was wh! he did not %eel ha ! hearin' his eF-ad*iser;s e*iden/e whi/h remo*ed all s"s i/ions %rom 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. 1owe*er, dee in his heart the 0han %elt somewhat relie*ed o% his 3ealo"s! whi/h sometimes stole into his so"l. 1e still lo*ed his not a'in' and bea"ti%"l wi%e and in his own wa! was ro"d o% her wits, ed"/ation and breedin'. 7"t wh! did she not tell him that Ca!an is her brother# ,he .r'h!n s"ltans seemed to be in the 0now while e*er!thin' was /on/ealed %rom him. $asn;t it roo% o% her se/ret ties with the .r'h!ns# $ho 0nows what 0ind o% /obweb had alread! been wo*en a'ainst him-.. ,he 0han;s %a/e /lo"ded a'ain... $hat more tormentin' than the "nderminin' %eelin' o% bein' ha"nted. It was 3"st the "nishment %or eo le li0e )han .b"l0hair. 1e saw enemies e*er!where. ,here was not one man in the world he /o"ld tr"st eF/e t himsel%. )nowin' that he was *er! s"s i/io"s b! nat"re it be/omes /lear what %ier/e sna0e was 'nawin' him all his li%e... «Ao... no... .ll o% them ha*e "nited to destro! m!sel% and m! 0hanate- —.b"l0hair tho"'ht.— In the %irst la/e I will ha*e to erase %rom the %a/e o% the earth that ser ent 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im-..M 4s an-1o3a saw what the 0han was thin0in' abo"t now. — It was %rom me that the .r'h!ns learned that Ca!an-7at!r /omes o% their 0in, - he "ttered so%tl!.— I told them that alread! %i*e !ears a'o... — $h! did !o" tell them that# — .n or han is li0e a boat in tro"bled waters. Cho"ld it be /on/ealed %rom him that he has some relati*es on earth#.. — 2idn;t he ha*e someone to rel! on besides the .r'h!ns# =! wi%e hersel%, his se/ret sister, /ared abo"t the osition o% altal!0 %or him. — 7"t !o" did not a'ree, m! Co*erei'n )han... «5i'ht, I did not,— the 0han tho"'ht to himsel%.— 7"t it wo"ldn;t ha*e been bad i% @l"'be0;s son had be/ome m! son;s sworn brother and li*ed with me. It wo"ld ha*e been a 'ood 0no"t o*er the ,im"rides; heads- <*er! mornin' the! wo"ld ha*e loo0ed ba/0 in m! dire/tion. =! "nishment %or the dastardl! .bd"said wo"ld ha*e been a//laimed b! the mob... 1owe*er m"/h land !o" ha*e, i% !o" do not lease the eo le !o"r 0hanate will resemble a dwar%;s robe "t on a 'iant. 4ne /l"ms! mo*ement and it will be'in to /ome a art at the seams...» .nd a'ain his tho"'hts were interr" ted b! 4s an-1o3a. - I% !o" had eFe/"ted the 'allant warrior Ca!an !o" wo"ld ha*e lost !o"r da"'hter &"lba0hram... — $h! is that# — 9i0e an! <*e;s da"'hter she has her %eelin's... Che lo*es warrior Ca!an. — $ho 0nows it eF/e t !o"# 4s an-1o3a realised at on/e that the 0han had his own reasons to as0 him that +"estion. 1e %ell to thin0in', then loo0ed " at the 0han and a"sed. — 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im... Che dreams abo"t their two lo*in' hearts 3oinin' to'ether. «$hi/h means that 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im is indeed the warrior;s sister,— .b"l0hair re%le/ted.— ,hen wh! has she been /on/ealin' it %rom me# I% I had %o"nd o"t e*er!thin' abo"t Ca!an in d"e time I wo"ld ha*e not a ointed him altal!0 to m! C"!"n/hi0. <*er!thin' wo"ld ha*e been settled then in the best ossible wa!-» — .t %irst 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im wanted to as0 !o" to ma0e Ca!an C"!"n/hi0;s sworn brother altho"'h in that /ase he had to 'i*e " &"lba0hram %ore*er sin/e b! the law o% =ahomet brother and sister /annot be man and wi%e. Co she onl! as0ed !o" to romote him to altal!0... >or some reason !o" wo"ldn;t do that, m! )han, and nobod! was bold eno"'h to dis/lose to !o" the se/ret o% warrior Ca!an 0nowin' !o"r dis osition. Bo"ld
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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!o" e*er 'i*e !o"r da"'hter in marria'e to some obs/"re tram when the main )ara0i /ha0 warrior was re/0onin' on her# 7esides, )obland!-7at!r is not the 0ind o% man to let someone ha*e his re!. .n!thin' /o"ld ha en then-.. «,o 'o*ern !o"r 0hanate !o" ha*e to learn to 'o*ern !o"r ho"sehold %irst-» ,his "tteran/e whi/h was attrib"ted to &en'hi( )han s"ddenl! /ame to .b"l0hair;s mind. 1ow /o"ld he let all those art%"l desi'ns /ome abo"t and wh! didn;t he 0now an!thin' abo"t it# 1e /onsidered himsel% to be the heart o% the 0hanate thro"'h whi/h all the blood %rom its n"mero"s *eins was streamin'. .nd now it t"rned o"t that his own heart was "nder se*en seals %or him-.. .b"l0hair did not rea/h %or his little bell b"t sim l! /la ed his hands. Immediatel! 7a0ht!-1o3a showed " in the doorwa! and %iFed his %ri'htened e!es on the 0han. — 7rin' in m! da"'hter &"lba0hram and tell warrior )obland! to /ome here immediatel!— I will 'i*e her to the old warrior ri'ht now- — de/ided the 0han.— ,hat will bind him and his militant 0in to me %ore*er. .t the same time I will re a! the .r'h!ns and their r"nawa! Ca!an. ,here is no 'reater dis'ra/e %or a !o"n' warrior-.. Ao matter whether Ca!an is '"ilt! or not it will be done and o*er with. 9et him blame himsel% %or not tellin' the tr"th in time. Aow he is one o% m! sworn enemies and nothin' /an be done abo"t it... .s %or 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im we;ll wait and see. Che is indeed inno/ent and still /a able o% 'i*in' m"/h 3o!...M — :ermit me, m! Co*erei'n )han, to 'i*e !o" another ie/e o% ad*i/e. Do" "sed to lend an attenti*e ear to m! o inion on/e... — C ea0— . 0han who has entr"sted his se/ret to his *i(ier resembles an entra ed beast. 1is %ate is alwa!s in the hands o% the *i(ier. I% he is a %riend he will hel !o" o"t o% tro"ble, i% not !o";d better beware o% him. In an! /ase it is not so eas! to 'et rid o% him... — $h! are !o" tellin' me this# — 7eware o% 7a0ht!-1o3a, m! )han. Aow the eo le %ear him more than the! do !o". It ha ens when the *i(ier has a %irm 'ri on his master... «,his /ada*er is ri'ht- — the terrible tho"'ht %lashed thro"'h .b"l0hair;s mind.— 7a0ht!-1o3a 0nows all m! se/rets, e*en the ones I am a%raid to entr"st to m!sel%. $hat i% this worthless worm tries to "se them a'ainst me# Comethin' li0e that mi'ht ha*e ha ened alread!. It is not %or nothin' that now when I see him I %eel as tho"'h a sna0e were /rawlin' into m! home-» .nd a'ain he was o*er/ome b! a %it o% %ren(ied s"s i/io"sness. . *i(ier who 0nows too m"/h m"st die.s i% %rom a%ar he heard these words o% his eF-ad*iser and nodded tho"'ht%"ll!. ,hat man;s entire li%e had been s ent in the ala/es o% *ario"s r"lers. :erha s he was ri'ht to harbo"r ersonal resentment a'ainst the resent *i(ier. ,he 0han himsel% o%ten tho"'ht o% it. ,he sl! 7a0ht!-1o3a 0new too m"/h to die a nat"ral death. 1e 'ot himsel% into bi' tro"ble de/idin' to be/ome a *i(ier and /o"ld not b"t realise what was in store %or him-.. In /ame one o% the ala/e attendants and bowed to the 0han. — =! Co*erei'n )han-.. Do"r most hono"rable senior wi%e /o"ld not brin' hersel% to tell !o" that startin' !esterda! the! ha*e been loo0in' all o*er %or !o"r %airest da"'hter &"lba0hram- Desterda! she s ent all da! trainin' two 'ra! .r'ama0 horses that were meant to ta0e art in the ra/es in the lower a"l. 7oth the ra/ers and !o"r da"'hter ha*e disa eared-.. @sed to all 0ind o% o//"ren/es in his home the 0han 'ri ed the bell with s"/h stren'th that his %in'ers whitened. — $hat abo"t )obland!-7at!r# — 4 Cire-..— ,here was %ear in the /o"rtier;s e!es.— )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r has ta0en o%% with his a"ls and is 'oin' towards the ,"r'ai... ,he 0han a"sed and then as0ed in a s"bd"ed *oi/e: — $h!#
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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— 1e didn;t sa! an!thin' to an!bod!. 1is horsmen are armed and do not let an!one /ome near the /ara*an. ,he! sa! he went in "rs"it o% &"lba0hram-:atshaim b"t /o"ld not o*erta0e her be/a"se she 'allo ed o%% towards =o'olistan where the .r'h!n a"ls had 'one. 7"t that;s nothin' b"t a a/0 o% lies. Aobod! 0nows an!thin'-.. — Ao, that is not lies- — .b"l0hair /len/hed his teeth.— Bommon eo le learn abo"t e*er!thin' be%ore I do... Co )obland!-7at!r indeed ho ed %or the hand o% m! da"'hter and she ran awa! %rom him and m!sel% to the .r'h!ns-.. ,hat )ara0i /ha0 is +"ite a %ellow-.. In 'ratit"de %or m! sa*in' him %rom the hands o% his enemies he lea*es me in the most /r"/ial moment... 7"t then there is no oint in blamin' him. It a ears e*er!thin' 4s an-1o3a was sa!in' is tr"e. )obland!-7at!r wanted to 0ill Ca!an be/a"se o% the 'irl. 1is hatred %or .0(hol-7i! has the same reason... $ell, the ban0s o% the ,"r'ai are still within m! domain. It is m! 'ood l"/0 that the warrior has not %ollowed ?an!be0 and )erei to %orei'n lands-» — 9oo0s li0e the )i /ha0 warrior is alread! not 'ood eno"'h to /at/h the na"'ht! 'irl- — )han .b"l0hair said with a sneer. 1e 0new that %i*e min"tes later these words with a mention o% his /alm sneer wo"ld be s read all o*er the ala/e. $ithin an ho"r the! wo"ld be re eated in the /it!. .nd a%ter three da!s the! wo"ld be 0nown thro"'ho"t the 0hanate as well as in =o'olistan, Camar0and, 7"0hara and )horasan. ,he whole world wo"ld learn that the de art"re o% some insi'ni%i/ant .r'h!ns and )i /ha0s was o% no im ortan/e %or his mi'ht. C"/h thin's ha ened man! times in the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. — Des, m! Co*erei'n )han- — said the /o"rtier with a bri'htened %a/e and mo*ed ba/0wards to the eFit. — )han .b"l0hair t"rned awa! and 'est"red *eFedl! towards 4s an-1o3a. 1e needed to be le%t alone. ,he 0han;s ser*ants 'rabbed hold o% the eF-ad*iser;s arms and dra''ed him o"t o% the room. — >arewell, m! Co*erei'n )han- — eF/laimed the miserable man b"t the 0han onl! 3er0ed his sho"lder im atientl!. >or the moment he /o"ldn;t /are less abo"t 3"sti/e and 'ood. Aormall! the r"lers %or'ot abo"t it and the *er! si'ht o% the eo le the! were indebted to eFas erated them. Indeed, what did the 0han o% the entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e /are abo"t some risoner who had on/e been his ad*iser# .b"l0hair made him his ad*iser and he wo"ld 'et rid o% him. $asn;t it 4s an-1o3a who 'a*e him 'ood ad*i/e on a//o"nt o% the ad*isers who 0new too m"/h# Des, he needed to be le%t alone at last to thin0 o"t the 'oin's-on. ,he moment the '"ardsmen /losed the door behind them )han .b"l0hair re/lined his head on the illow and stared at the wall-/ar et;s desi'n with "nseein' e!es. >rom time to time his hand wi ed o%% the sweat brea0in' o"t on his %orehead as a res"lt o% his tormentin' re%le/tions... ,h"s, ?an!be0 and )erei ha*e be/ome the 3"b3e/ts o% the des/endants o% ?a'atai in =o'olistan and )ara0i /ha0 )obland!-7at!r has ta0en his a"ls to the ,"r'ai. In =a*eranna0hr the base ,im"ride .bd"said is tr!in' to a/t on his own not /o"ntin' with him... 7"t that is not all. ,he other da! the! re orted to him that )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" ni/0named «5oo0 Ci(ed» had de/ided to 3oin ?an!be0 and )erei to'ether with se*eral )i /ha0 a"ls. 7e%ore lea*in' the small son'ster blessed the remainin' .l/hin and Hha as tribes with the %ollowin' *erse:
I% a /amel sits here in the ri*er-ban0 'rass Do" will ne*er %ind him. $hen a shoal o% %ish s eeds ast ,he horses will not sla0e their thirst-.. ,he /ries o% wild beasts in the ni'ht .nd the /heer%"l h"bb"b o% birds Ban awa0en e*en the dead7"t still I am lea*in' Do"r ban0s, Dedil.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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I 'i*e m! blessin's to those remainin' here .nd wish !o" ha iness >or a'es to /ome-..

$h! do the )a(a0h 0ins and tribes 0ee on 3oinin' ?an!be0 and )erei# Is it reall! that the 'reat 1orde the /reation o% whi/h too0 so m"/h e%%ort is on the brin0 o% disaster# 1e alread! has ten sons, %i%teen da"'hters and hal% a h"ndred 'randsons. Is it not s"%%i/ient to sto a lea0 in his boat# .lread! now some o% his sons are be'innin' to show their /laws. $hat will be/ome o% the 1orde when the! are on their own and do not ha*e to ta0e heed o% their %ather;s 0no"t# ,he! will "ll a art all the 0hanate bit b! bit- $hile it is not late he has to "t his home and the area ad3oin' its threshold in order and do that with an arm o% iron. In the %irst la/e he m"st ma0e =a*eranna0hr his %aith%"l all!. ,he ,im"rides ha*e si'ni%i/ant in%l"en/e there, so he he will ha*e to "se 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. ,he 'randda"'hter o% ,im"r himsel% and da"'hter o% their m"/h-lo*ed @l"'be0 m"st be 0e t in sa%et!, the more so that there are now no s"s i/ions whate*er as to her bein' %aith%"l to her h"sband. &en'hi( )han said that wars are ne/essar! %or /a t"rin' others; lands. $ho /o"ld be better than his own s"ltans and be0s to 'o*ern them# 9et these s"ltans and be0s /ome %rom his home. 9et his /hildren remain r"lers not in the "nstead! and /han'eable ste e where sometimes e*er!thin' de endes on the dis osition o% this or that warrior and his 0in b"t within the thi/0 stone walls o% the an/ient C!r 2ar!a /ities. Cooner or later he will ma0e one o% them his /a ital des ite all the ste e eo le who were lea*in' witho"t e*en warnin' him abo"t it$ell, later, when he is stron' eno"'h he will thin0 o% "ttin' thin's in order in the ste e. >irst o% all he will ha*e to start a lon'-/on/ei*ed /am ai'n a'ainst =o'olistan. ,he disobedient ones will a! dearl! %or their lea*in' him and will /rawl ba/0 on their bellies be''in' %or rote/tion. 1e will set a'ainst them all his nei'hbo"rs4s an-1o3a was ri'ht: «. *i(ier who 0nows too m"/h m"st die-» >irst o% all this line re%ers to his eF-ad*iser. .ltho"'h he is now lan'"ishin' in a dee it and his da!s are n"mbered it wo"ldn;t be ri'ht to rel! on &od in s"/h matters. ,he earth also has ears. ,oda! he re*ealed too man! se/rets and there are man! more o% them in his memor!... .s %or 7a0ht!-1o3a... >rom that da! on the! sto ed 'i*in' whate*er %ood to 4s an-1o3a who was 0e t risoner in a stone it. .t the same time the Bhie% Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a disa eared s"ddenl!. 1e le%t home with %o"r ersonal '"ards and ne*er /ame ba/0. ,he 0han;s /o"riers 'allo ed o%% in all %o"r dire/tions in "rs"it b"t he *anished into thin air. Chortl! a%ter that r"mo"rs be'an to be s read that 7a0ht!-1o3a had %led to =o'olistan. ,he sit"ation a''rie*ed the 0han and he wo"ld loo0 %"rti*el! at his retainers and those /lose to the r"nawa! *i(ier. .t %irst the! whis ered to one another abo"t the reasons behind their %ellow-/o"ntr!man;s disa earan/e and now the! themsel*es were a%raid o% the 0han;s re*en'e. 1owe*er, )han .b"l0hair restri/ted himsel% b! ma0in' the remainin' thirteen-!earold da"'hter o% the lost *i(ier his %i%th wi%e on whom he had set his si'hts m"/h earlier. .nd !et 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im was the 0han;s best lo*ed wi%e. 1e /ontin"ed dis/"ssin' with her man! o% his roblems. ,o her /redit she o%ten 'a*e the 0han 'ood ad*i/e. .b"l0hair;s %its o% s"s i/io"sness with re'ard to her were be/omin' less and less %re+"ent. 7a0ht!-1o3a 'one, she too0 " on hersel% some o% the *i(ier;s res onsibilities and e*en settled +"estions whi/h had little to do with women. Che inherited the shar wit o% her %ather and inter%ered in the li%e o% the 0hanate witho"t eF/essi*e %"ssiness, in a most di'ni%ied and in/ons i/"o"s manner... 7e%ore lon' 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im established hersel% as the main erson at the /o"rt o% her ro!al s o"se. 1e ne*er made an! more or less im ortant de/isions witho"t %irst listenin' to her ad*i/e. .nd she tried to be as "nobtr"si*e as ossible 0nowin' that when the 0han be'an to o*erl! de end on someone most o%ten that someone ended " in tro"ble. ,here had been +"ite a %ew s"/h /ases alread!...
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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7! that time news had /ome that @l"'be0;s 'randson ="0hammed-23o0i was arri*in' in 4rda-7a(ar. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im had 'i*en instr"/tions that he be met with 'reat /eremon! o"tside the /it! limits. 1e was es/orted b! a do(en horsemen. ,he! all dismo"nted b! 4rda-7a(ar;s 'ates and entered the /it! on %oot. 9ea*in' their wea ons at the entran/e to the ala/e the! made a low bow to )han .b"l0hair... .b"l0hair started and /l"t/hed his da''er. ="0hammed-23o0i was a s ittin' ima'e o% the r"nawa! warrior Ca!an. <*en his birthmar0 was li0e that o% Ca!an. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who was sittin' beside .b"l0hair, in/lined her head sli'htl!: — =! Co*erei'n )han, this is !o"r 3"nior brother-in-law ="0hammed-23o0i, the son o% =ir(a .bd"-9ati%Che t"rned to the '"est. — =! one and onl! ="0hammed-23o0i, was !o"r 3o"rne! here sa%e eno"'h#.. 1e nodded a%%irmati*el! and said the d"e words. — Do" are standin' be%ore !o"r brother-in-law, the most hono"rable man, as wise as the :ro het C"leiman and as %ormidable as Is0ander-H"l0arnain, be%ore the 0han o% the entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 land and a de*oted %riend o% =a*eranna0hr and )horasanChe stood " , /ame " to her ne hew and h"''ed him breast to breast. .nd a'ain .b"l0hair %elt somewhat 'idd!. $hen she led the ne hew to him the 0han e*en too0 one ste ba/0 and eFtended his hand in 'reetin'. .b"l0hair /o"ld not brin' himsel% to embra/e his '"est as be%itted a relati*e. .s i% s ellbo"nd, )han .b"l0hair /o"ld not ta0e his e!es o%% the %a/e o% his '"est. ,he same thi/0 e!ebrows 'rown to'ether, the same ier/in' e!es and the ale noble %a/e o% Ca!an. .nd the same %eline mo*ements o% a ti'er... .nFiet! ne*er le%t the 0han. It seemed to him somethin' was brewin' and it was the traitor Ca!an who had snea0ed " into his ala/e "nder the '"ise o% ="0hammed23o0i. .n! moment now he eF e/ted a stab in the ba/0 %rom him. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im realised at on/e what was botherin' him. Che smiled reass"rin'l! and la/ed her hand on his. — I ha*e %or'otten to tell !o", m! dear )han, that ="0hammed-23o0i loo0s li0e a /o ! o% warrior Ca!an- — he whis ered. Ceein' that the 0han %elt still worried she as0ed his ermission to lea*e with the '"est to whi/h the 0han a'reed with relie%. 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im too0 the '"est to her art o% the ala/e. Che ne*er intended to re roo% the inno/ent ="0hammed-23o0i on a//o"nt o% his %ather .bd"-9ati% who had 0illed her %ather @l"'be0. .bd"-9ati% did not li*e lon' a%ter the atri/ide and himsel% was sla"'htered on the same throne. It was onl! their enemies who ro%ited %rom all that. — ,he da"'hter o% @l"'be0 sho"ld not be at lo''erheads with the son o% .bd"-9ati% sin/e we are o% one blood,— she told him.— ,here is an old sa!in': «In battle siF +"arrellin' men 'i*e in to one darede*il.» 4% the li*in' des/endants o% @l"'be0 we are the /losest. Co let "s show a 'ood eFam le to o"r +"arrelsome 0ins%ol0. ,he des/endents o% 'reat /on+"erors m"st alwa!s as ire %or ea/e so that &od;s maledi/tion wo"ld ha*e nothin' to do with them too-.. It was not a//idental that 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im was so ni/e to ="0hammed-23o0i. ,he! had been 'rowin' to'ether in the ala/e o% @l"'be0 and the ne hew was onl! %i*e !ears !o"n'er than she. .s his older /o"sin she "sed to ta0e /are o% him when the! were /hildren. In s ite o% the sa*a'e /"stoms rei'nin' in the ala/e the! had lo*ed and been tr"l! atta/hed to one another. Aow their /loseness meant more to them than an!thin' that had on/e ha ened amon' their %athers and relati*es. ,he 0han;s %o"rth wi%e mar0ed ="0hammed-23o0i;s arri*al with a bi' %east. .'ain horsemen and wrestler- al*ans /om eted and swin's swa!ed in the 0han;s ar0 %rom mornin' till ni'ht. $hen the wee0 o% entertainments and am"sements in hono"r o% the '"est was o*er .b"l0hair re/ei*ed ="0hammed-23o0i. ,he '"est told the 0han o% the "r ose o% his lon' and eFha"stin' 3o"rne! and his lans. Ceein' that ="0hammed-23o0i /ame to him "narmed the 0han almost sto ed worr!in'. ,he tal0 t"rned o"t to be most sin/ere and
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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so"l%"l. 4% /o"rse, %irst o% all d"e to the resen/e o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. .b"l0hair was 'rad"all! 'ettin' "sed to the loo0s o% his relati*e and did not /l"t/h his 0ni%e an! more. .t the same time ="0hammed-23o0i was tellin' *er! interestin' thin's. 1e made it /lear that the eo le and the hono"rable bi!s were not ha ! with .bd"said;s 'o*ernment. )han .b"l0hair as0ed his '"est abo"t the n"mber and ma0e-" o% the troo s in Camar0and, 7"0hara and &erat. ="0hammed told the 0han e*er!thin' in 'reat detail and 'a*e an intelli'ible a raisal o% the 'eneral sit"ation in the arm!. ,hen, witho"t beatin' abo"t the b"sh, he as0ed %or .b"l0hair;s s" ort in the /omin' stri%e %or the throne o% the ,im"rides. — 4 'reat .b"l0hair-)han, this is wh! I /ame to !o"- — he said.— =! 'rand%ather @l"'be0 too0 the throne %rom ,im"r himsel%. Aow m! t"rn has /ome and m! ri'ht to 'rand%ather;s throne is indis "table-.. — 1ow are !o" 'oin' to brin' it abo"t# — )han .b"l0hair as0ed.— 4nl! he who has a stron' arm! behind him /an /laim this ri'ht... — I 0now, m! 0han... .bd"said is o%% /am ai'nin' to /om lete the /on+"est o% )horasan and 7al0h. ,hereb! he ho es to stren'then his ower and be/ome totall! inde endent. In =a*eranna0hr the eo le are 'rowin' dissatis%ied with the 'oin's-on sin/e the war im o*erishes them. I% !o" hel me to /a t"re Camar0and the! will t"rn their ba/0s on .bd"said. Aow is 3"st the time to a/t, otherwise s"/h an o ort"nit! ma! ne*er resent itsel%... .b"l0hair smiled ironi/all!. — $hen .bd"said wanted to rid .bdalla0h o% ower he said the same... — I am not .bd"said- — eF/laimed ="0hammed-23o0i.— I% I be/ome the r"ler o% Camar0and I will ne*er %or'et abo"t !o"r hel . I /an swear on the )oran that I will be the same as !o"r son to !o"- Is not m! dear 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im the /losest h"man bein' to me in this world o% o"rs# — I do not ha*e to ado t !o"...— .b"l0hair said tho"'ht%"ll!. - I ha*e eno"'h sons o% m! own. 7"t I wish to see !o" on the throne o% the ,im"rides as i% !o" were m! son— 1ere is the )oran and here is a ie/e o% bread on whi/h I 'i*e !o" an oath o% alle'ian/e. >rom now on m! li%e is in !o"r hands and !o" /an do an!thin' !o" li0e with me i% I brea0 m! oath-.. .b"l0hair a"sed thin0in' o"t ="0hammed-23o0i;s words. ,hen he loo0ed at him with an alto'ether di%%erent eF ression in his e!es. ,hose were the stern e!es o% a /ommander. — 1ow man! battle-%it ele hants do the! now ha*e in Camar0and# ,his +"estion alwa!s aro"sed the 'reat interst o% the ste e /ommanders when the! were be'innin' hostilities a'ainst =a*eranna0hr. <*er sin/e ,im"r /on+"ered a art o% India e*er! more or less im ortant r"ler in Bentral .sia had battle ele hants in his arm!. . /onsiderable amo"nt o% them was in the Camar0and and 7"0hara domains. It was the most e%%i/ient means a'ainst the nomads; /a*alr!. ,he hal%-wild ste e horses whi/h had ne*er seen them be%ore shied at the *er! si'ht o% these monsters and be/ame "nr"l!. ,he bra*e horsemen themsel*es were *er! rel"/tant to a roa/h the h"'e animals with shielded bowmen sittin' on to o% them and showerin' the atta/0ers with arrows. .s a r"le, 0han .b"l0hair assa"lted =a*eranna0hr when the ele hants were ta0en awa! to be "sed in some /am ai'n. 1is /a*alr! atta/0ed the "n'"arded /ities li0e a a/0 o% wol*es wo"ld a shee -%old in the ni'ht. .nd a%ter the /a t"re ele hants were alread! "seless. ,r"e, b! that time there had been %ew ele hants le%t in the domains o% =a*eranna0hr b"t .b"l0hair had some m!sti/ %ear o% them %rom !o"n'hood. 1e was twent!-%i*e when he a roa/hed the walls o% Camara0and %or the %irst time. ,he residents o% the /it! la"n/hed a'ainst him onl! three ele hants !et all the h"'e 0han;s /a*alr! s/attered in a 'reat ani/. $hen he himsel% saw a %earsome beast with its dan'ero"sl! wa*in' tr"n0 assa"ltin' him he too0 s"/h a %ri'ht that dro ed his s ear and ran %or his dear li%e abandonin' his horse. It was his 'ood l"/0 that the /"te horse %o"nd him in the mess and /arried him o"t o% the battle.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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>rom then on, be%ore settin' o"t to =a*eranna0hr )han .b"l0hair wo"ld alwa!s as0 abo"t the ele hants. ,he! sa! «the one bit b! a sna0e is a%raid to ste o*er a /olo"red /ord». — ,he same three ele hants in the whole o% =a*eranna0hr- — ="0hammed-23o0i reass"red him.— 7esides the! are too old and onl! 'ood %or /arr!in' harems. — Is it so di%%i/"lt to 'et other ele hants# — .b"l0hair as0ed mistr"st%"ll!. It;s not onl! the ele hants... ,he im ortant thin' is to tea/h them the art o% battle and "se %or militar! "r oses eF erien/ed ele hant men are needed. >ormerl! it was done b! /a ti*e sla*es %rom India. =an! o% them ha*e 'rown old and died and the rest ha*e %led to their homeland. ,went! ele hants remained witho"t minders and were oisoned b! .bdalla0h;s o onents... .b"l0ahir nodded /ontentedl!. — <F/ellent-.. 1e loo0ed " at the /eilin' where di%%erent di/ta were written in the .rabi/ li'at"re and read in an "ndertone: «I% ossible a/t witho"t bloodshed. I% not, ma! .llah be !o"r 3"d'e-» 7eneath that di/t"m there was han'in' a 'reat n"mber o% wea ons: a damas0 sword, a /"r*ed ste e sabre, a three-ed'ed do"ble- ointed s ear o% %lint-steel, a /"d'el with a im led /ast-iron head and a %ew bows... It was with this *er! sword that he had on/e sli/ed o%% the head o% his mentor and tea/her and this s ear had r"n thro"'h the heart o% )han ="sta ha... .b"l0hair 'rinned "nwittin'l!... «...i% not, ma! .lla0h be !o"r 3"d'e-» $as it reall! witho"t &od;s hel that I too0 " wea ons- Indeed- Is it %or the %"n o% it that &od has ro*ided %or s ears and swords in this world o% o"rs# Des, &od has alwa!s been with him, otherwise he wo"ld not ha*e been so l"/0! all his li%e. Aow too 1e let all =a*eranna0hr;s ele hants be oisoned. Is it not a si'n %rom abo*e %or him to ma0e an assa"lt on the /om la/ent /it! dwellers# ,he er3"rer .bd"said has onl! himsel% to blame- .llah /annot be with him sin/e he has bro0en his oath to the .lmi'ht!. .s %or him, )han .b"l0hair, &od has /hosen him to 3"d'e the a//"rsed traitor. 1e %iFed his e!es on ="0hammed-23o0i;s %a/e. — «4bli'e th! nei'hbo"r-» — the )oran sa!s and I am read! to hel !o". 7"t then I ha*e two /onditions... ="0hammed-23o0i in/lined his head. — .s %or the %irst one o% them... )han .b"l0hair loo0ed at 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im showin' that it had to do with hersel%.— <mir .bd"said married m! da"'hter in /on%irmation o% his oath o% alle'ian/e. 1ow shall I "nish the er3"rer who has mortall! ab"sed me in s ite o% his bein' m! relati*e# — 7ein' +"i/0 on the " ta0e his wi%e smiled and wa*ed her hand. — 4% /o"rse ret"rnin' a da"'hter to her %ather %rom the "n%aith%"l h"sband is not too se*ere a "nishment %or s"/h a delin+"en/!. ,o re a! and /onsolidate !o"r ower !o", 'reat )han, m"st ta0e to wi%e .bd"said;s thirteen-!ear-old da"'hter b! his %irst wi%e Ibadat. — .bsol"tel! ri'ht- — the 0han said a ro*in' her words and a'ain t"rned to his '"est.— ,h"s, the %irst sti "lation was rono"n/ed to !o" b! m! dear s o"se. Aow !o" m"st swear that this *ir'in roseb"d o% whose bea"t! the! tal0 so m"/h in =a*eranna0hr will 'ra/e m! *ase— I swear, 'reat )han— ,he se/ond one is not *er! di%%i/"lt... Aow !o" will ha*e to ma0e the oath bro0en b! .bd"said— I swear, m! Co*erei'n )hanCoon a ten-tho"sand-stron' arm! 'ot o%% %rom 4rda-7a(ar. In it were se*eral %amed warriors whose names were well-0nown in =a*eranna0hr. ="0hammed-23o0i also 3oined the arm! in order to win ba/0 the throne o% the ,im"rides he had the ri'ht to... )han .b"l0hair 0new that in absen/e o% <mir .bd"said it wo"ld not be di%%i/"lt to sei(e Camar0and. 1owe*er, as was his /"stom, a wee0 later he himsel% set o"t at the
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head o% a /hoi/e twent!-tho"sand-stron' arm!. Aow no-one /o"ld o in =a*eranna0hr.

ose s"/h a %or/e

Ce*eral times d"rin' his 'o*ernment )han .b"l0hair made di%%erent /ities his /a ital. ,here was e*en a time when he was thin0in' o% mo*in' his /a ital to the Brimea, not %ar %rom the mo"ntain )ara-2a'. ,here, on the warm sea /oast was the mos+"e and ala/e o% his an/estor @l"'be0. 9ater he /on/ei*ed a lan to restore the /it! o% Carai on the 5i*er Dedil whi/h had been destro!ed b! ,im"r. 7"t that was not %ar %rom =a*eranna0hr whi/h was be/omin' more and more asso/iated with his oli/!. In the west new states were de*elo in' and 'ainin' stren'th and he realised that soon it wo"ld be be!ond his ower to /ontrol them. .s %or =a*eranna0hr, that « aradise o% earth» as the oets and s/holars /alled it, there he was alread! a m"/h needed all!. ,his was wh! e*er! time he ret"rned to 4rda-7a(ar not to lose /onta/t with =a*eranna0hr. 1owe*er, that small ste e townshi was sit"ated %ar %rom ma3or /ara*an ro"tes, had too %ew wor0sho s and nothin' was 'rowin' aro"nd it. .t the same time the h"'e 0hanate needed a real /a ital /it! and it was ne//essar! %or the 0han and his 'o*ernement to li*e as /lose to their main domains as ossible. 7esides, now that a /onsiderable art o% the ste e 0ins had le%t %or =o'olistan and the ,"r'ai, 4rda-7a(ar had lost almost all its %ormer si'ni%i/an/e... In a/t"al %a/t the 4rda-7a(ar area was 'rowin' more and more dan'ero"s %or mer/hants and 0han;s o%%i/ials. 4*er the re/ent !ears robber! and raids on the 0han;s herds had be/ome more %re+"ent. Eer! o%ten tal0s were heard o% a /ertain /hie%tainwarrior and rote/tor o% the eo le who had re/r"ited a team o% bra*e horsemen, 'a*e the easants the 0han;s shee and horses. ,he! said he was ridin' an eFtraordinar! ma'i/ horse and was a//om anied onl! b! bra*e and oor horse-herds. ,he 0han;s o"t osts indeed /hased him man! times in the sands b"t he and his horsemen *anished into thin air and it was im ossible to %ind e*en their tra/es... .s %or the «4ne-<!ed warrior», it was none other than the 0han;s eF-horse-herd 4ra0. .bo"t a !ear he had li*ed in a mo"ntain /a*e amon' the ma'i who had /"red him. 1is %a/e was /o*ered in terrible s/ars. 1e did not want .00o(! to see his maimed %a/e re%errin' to remain dead both %or her and the whole world. 4ra0-7at!r ass"med a di%%erent name and onl! %ew 0new his se/ret. It ne*er o//"rred to him that one o% the reasons %or )han .b"l0hair;s wish to trans%er his /a ital /loser to the 'reen oases o% =a*eranna0hr was his dare-de*il raids. .%ter lon' deliberation .b"l0hair de/ided to settle down in @r'hen/h whi/h was sit"ated on the 23e!0h"n, or .m"-2ar!a, as the! were now not in%re+"entl! /allin' this %"rio"s and /a ri/io"s ri*er, one o% the lar'est in the world. 5ather /lose to it, within the %ield o% *ision, was )hi*a. .ll aro"nd there were the deserted %ields o% an/ient )horasan whi/h was 'rad"all! re/o*erin' a%ter the terrible de*astation bro"'ht abo"t b! &en'hi( )han. @r'hen/h was a 'atewa! to the Bas ian Cea, =a*eranna0hr, )horasan and 7al0h. In the /lose roFimit! li*ed the related )ara0al a0s who resented no threat to the ower%"l 0hanate whereas the tro"blesome 2esht-and)i /ha0 ste e was be!ond the desert .ral Cea... It was %rom there, %rom @r'hen/h, that he will be'in /on+"erin' =o'olistan. ,he war o*er his 0hanate will be lar'er than all the 'reat owers o% anti+"it!. ,hen his %ame will e+"al that o% the &ree0 ,sar Is0ander, &en'hi( )han himsel% and the %ormidable ,im"rBan one dream o% somethin' 'reater than that on this earth# 1is name will be assed on %rom 'eneration to 'eneration and his ro'en! will r"le all eo les and be held in more esteem than all the others. $hat does he /are abo"t the wisdom o% all these (h!ra"s who ne'le/t militar! 'lor! %or the sa0e o% this disdain%"l world<*er!thin' is based on blood, and the more bloodshed the lo"der his name will re*erberate in a'es-.. Co, a%ter this /am ai'n )han .b"l0hair de/ided a'ainst ret"rnin' to 4rda-7a(ar. 1owe*er, so %ar all the n"mero"s a"ls o% his s"bordinate 0ins sta!ed in their re*io"s la/es. . wee0 later the arm! sto ed %or a rest b! the Cei0h"n-2ar!a 5i*er, not %ar
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%rom the r"ins o% the an/ient )a(a0h /it! o% 4trar whi/h was 0nown %or its heroi/ resistan/e to &en'hi( )han. D"rtas and tents were it/hed to rest the eo le and %eed " the horses. 2"rin' that time the other trains and the /ara*ans with /on/"bine-wi*es /a"'ht " with them. ,he arm! /o"ld start /rossin' the ri*er whi/h in those times was not eas! at all... 1ere the Cei0h"n-2ar!a was +"ite a storm! and wa!ward ri*er. Its ban0s were o*er'rown with tall reeds, wall-li0e thi/0ets o% t"'ai, 0ara'a/h and d3ida. ,he la/e abo"nded in birds and wild beasts and e*er! ni'ht alarmed ti'ers were snarlin' neFt to the *er! 0han;s /am . .lread! in &en'hi( )han;s time there was an ori'inal wa! to /ross wide ri*ers. <a/h warrior had a so%t dressed 'oat;s or /al%;s s0in on the ed'es o% whi/h a stron' horsehair /ord was assed thro"'h small holes. In it he "t wea ons and /lothes and then ti'htened the /ord and the s0in t"rned into a bi' hermeti/all! /losed leather ba' %illed with air. @s"all! warriors tied the ba's to the tails o% their /har'ers and swam beside holdin' on to them. 5aised on the ban0s o% the storm! 4r0hon, )er"len, Denisei and Irt!sh ri*ers the =on'ols o*er/ame easil! an! water barriers on their wa!. It was %rom them that some )a(a0hs ado ted this method. 1owe*er, most )a(a0hs and also the )i /ha0s had lon' sin/e "sed a di%%erent method. ,he! dro*e a whole herd o% "nloaded horses into the water with the most eF erien/ed and stron'est o% them swimmin' in %ront o% the rest. In the middle o% the herd /olts swam s"rro"nded b! their mothers. .s %or the eo le the! made ra%ts %rom bo"nd reeds and "r le willows and onl! %ew "sed blown-" b"lls; stoma/hs or dried "m 0ins. .%ter a da!;s rest .b"l0ahir ordered his horsemen to /"t reeds and bind ra%ts and himsel% went h"ntin' to the swam ed ri*erside area with se*eral o% his hen/hmen and retainers. In the s rin' the ri*er here wo"ld b"rst its ban0s and when the water re/eded there remained a 'reat n"mber o% small la0es and /hannels in its la/e. In dr! !ears the a"ls %rom the %arawa! )a(!0"rt mo"ntains "sed to /ome here to ass the s"mmer. In the sl"sh o% the area;s n"mero"s swam s one /o"ld di' " h"'e, h"mansi(ed sheat-%ish and b"rbots. $hen the a"ls did not tra*el here these arts remained the land o% wild beasts and birds. It abo"nded in es e/iall! *al"able dear and marals. ,here was hardl! a la/e with better ast"res %or them. .s "s"al )han .b"l0hair was on ba/0 his %a*o"rite ,arlan0o0 whi/h had been led riderless all the wa! " to the *er! 4trar. $hen the! rode " to a small /learin' ,arlan0o0 s"ddenl! 'a*e an alarmed snort and ri/0ed its ears. . whole herd o% s otted 7"0hara deer and a %ew marals darted o"t strai'ht to the /learin'. Ao sooner did the men ha*e time to %eel s"r rised than wol*es a eared on the 'lade immediatel! a%ter the deer and marals. ,hose were %"ll-'rown %ier/e redators /o"rse hair raised threatenin'l! on their ne/0s. )han .b"l0hair whoo ed and dashed a%ter them on his ,arlan0o0 lea*in' his es/ort %ar behind... In %ront a lane o ened with shr"bs o% meadow-sweet and 0"rai and %arther on the Cei0h"n-2ar!a showed bl"e. 5i'ht and le%t small swam ! la0es 'listened in the s"n. . whitish ha(e was s readin' o*er the earth blo/0in' one;s *iew o% e*er!thin' aro"nd. ,he deer in %ront resembled a disa earin' mira'e and onl! a brown wol% at the end o% the a/0 was r"nnin' almost "nder the *er! hoo*es o% ,arlan0o0. C"ddenl! it made a shar t"rn and %a/ed the 0han the beast;s 'lass-li0e e!es %lashin' %ier/el! and in that *er! moment the 0han;s arrow ier/ed its heart. ,he wol% t"rned o*er in the air and /rashed down while the 0han was alread! drawin' the bow r"nnin' down a se/ond one. Coon a se/ond, then a third wol% %ell hit b! the 0han;s arrows. $ithin min"tes )han .b"l0hair 0illed %o"r wol*es. ,here was onl! one arrow le%t in his +"i*er. Ce*eral more wol*es were r"nnin' in %ront and he wanted to o*erta0e the leader, a h"'e 're! beast headin' the a/0. ,arlan0o0 seemed to be %l!in' o*er the b"shes. 2rawin' the bow to the "nmost )han .b"l0hair hit the leader his arrow nearl! r"nnin' thro"'h the beast;s bod!. ,he wol*es immediatel! sto ed their "rs"it and instantl! s/attered. :a!in' no attention to them, .b"l0hair tossed the bow on his ba/0 and too0 o"t his 0ni%e. 1e de/ided to
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dri*e awa! %rom the herd and sla"'hter i% onl! one maral. 1owe*er, witho"t slowin' down the deer and the marals bro0e thro"'h the thi/0 wall o% reeds ahead o% them and also *anished %rom si'ht. .b"l0hair reined " his horse and rode slowl! alon' the br"shwood. C"ddenl! ,arlan0o0 reared " and nei'hed anFio"sl!. ,a0en "nawares the 0han nearl! %ell on the 'ro"nd and onl! the terror made him ta0e stron' hold o% the mane o% his %aith%"l horse. Come ten ste s o%%, near the bod! o% the 0illed maral .b"l0hair saw a h"'e ti'er read! to ma0e its last lea . ,he beasts;s e!es were ali'ht with *i/io"s %ire, its whis0ers mo*in' and the tail beatin' a'ainst the 'ro"nd. ,he moment ,arlan0o0;s %ront hoo*es to"/hed the 'ro"nd the ti'er made a hi'h 3"m in the air its white bell! sh"ttin' o%% hal% o% the s0!. ,he %earsome /lawed aw was alread! o*er .b"l0hair;s head when all o% a s"dden the ti'er /rashed down. ,he 0han o ened his s/rewed " e!es and saw the beast;s bod! s rawlin' on the 'ro"nd. Its bell! was twit/hin' %eebl! and a little /loser to the throat, ri'ht o*er the heart there st"/0 o"t the bla/0-%eathered sha%t o% an arrow. ,o sla! s"/h a bi' ti'er with a sin'le arrow one had to ha*e the stren'th o% a real athlete. $ho /o"ld ha*e done that, he wondered. .b"l0hair loo0ed aside and %ro(e. In the thi/0 br"shwood o% d3ida, o%% a/ross the *alle! he saw not less than a h"ndred riders while %i%t! ste s awa! %rom him two ba! horses stood +"ietl! whi/h had been resented b! him to 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im. 4n one o% them he saw warrior Ca!an who had on/e es/a ed %rom his rison and on the other his da"'hter &"lba0hram- Ceein' that warrior Ca!an;s bow had no arrow he immediatel! determined his sa*io"r. $hat was he s" osed to do# ,o bow to the !o"n' warrior and than0 him %or sa*in' him %rom imminent death or throw himsel% " on the ras/al /allin' his hen/hmen %or hel # .%ter all this man was a r"nawa! risoner who had abd"/ted his da"'hter in the bar'ain-.. $hile the 0han was standin' there not 0nowin' what to do his da"'hter too0 a shar s ade-headed arrow o"t o% her +"i*er, drew the bow-strin' and be'an +"ietl! ta0in' aim at him. ,he 0han saw her s/rewed " e!es. ,he! bore resemblan/e to his own. .b"l0hair;s heart missed a beat. 4nl! a %ew moments earlier the 0han tried to de%end himsel% a'ainst the enra'ed ti'er with he hel o% %ine damas0 steel and now he was standin' motionless. 1is bod! had 'rown hea*! as i% %illed with lead. >or a %ra/tion o% a se/ond he %elt it! %or himsel%, a !earnin' %or li%e and a bitter resentment %or his ha*in' 'one h"ntin' witho"t armo"r and ha"ber0... .b"l0hair sat motionless his e!es /losed. .%ter some time he heard the /latter o% horses; hoo*es and the *oi/e o% his da"'hter: — Do" sho"ldn;t ha*e held ba/0 m! hand... 1ad we been in his la/e he wo"ldn;t ha*e itied "s-.. — I wo"ld not s end e*en one ni'ht with the woman who 0illed her own %ather,he /ool /om os"re o% the man;s *oi/e told the 0han that it was "nmista0abl! warrior Ca!an. — In that /ase !o" m"st 0ill him !o"rsel%— $hat "re-hearted woman wo"ld /all the man who 0illed her %ather her h"sband#.b"l0hair o ened his e!es b"t there was no-one aro"nd. ,he .laman-robbers who were e*identl! headed b! the r"nawa! warrior had disa eared in the br"shwood. Comewhere in the distan/e the lo"d e/hoin' so"nd o% the 0han;s %al/on was heard. ,he worried /o"rtiers were loo0in' %or it. .//"stomed to the h"ntin'-horn ,arlan0o0 nei'hed lo"dl!... .%ter a while the 'reat warrior 7a0hti!ar and other warriors and hen/hmen /ame o"t on to the *alle!. Ceein' the 0illed wol*es and the b"l0! bod! o% the ti'er the! be'an raisin' to the s0ies the /o"ra'e and *alo"r o% the 0han. 1owe*er, .b"l0hair did not sa! a word in res onse. 1e seemed to ha*e 'rown etri%ied. >or the %irst time re enten/e stole into his heart and he tho"'ht that soon he wo"ld die... ,he! were ret"rnin' to the /am and )han .b"l0hair 0e t silent all the wa! ba/0. «Ban it be that d"rin' the thirt! !ears o% m! r"le I ha*e not learned to see thro"'h
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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eo le# — he tho"'ht.— Cho"ldn;t I ha*e tried to 0now this Ca!an-7at!r a little better# 1e wo"ld ha*e made a tr"e and lo!al ser*ant and /ommander. 7esides he wo"ld ha*e been li0e a sword raised o*er the ,im"rides. $hen !o" want to /on+"er the world it is s"/h eo le who are reall! needed, tr"e and strai'ht%orward ones-M ,he hen/hmen /arried on their ne/0s the s0ins o% the ti'er and wol*es. ,heir /lothes were all in blood and dro s o% blood %ell on the d"st! road. ,he! %elt /heer%"l a%ter the s"//ess%"l h"nt. 7"t the 0han still 0e t silent. 4nl! when the! a roa/hed the 0han;s tent he si'ned with his %in'er to 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r. — I% !o" ha en to /ome a/ross warrior Ca!an and m! da"'hter &"lba0hram witho"t me aro"nd let the warrior 'o with hono"rs...— he whis ered and loo0ed abo"t %or some reason.— 4nl! her head m"st be /"t o%%-.. >rom these %ew words the /le*er 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r, who had re/entl! s"bstit"ted the *i(ier, "nderstood that in all robabilit! it was warrior Ca!an who 0illed the ti'er. It was the more robable that the arrow that was ta0en o"t o% the ti'er;s bod! was not that o% the 0han. ,h"s, the s"dden a earan/e o% the warrior sa*ed the 0han;s li%e. $ell, all that /o"ld be "nderstood b"t the old /o"rtier /o"ld not see wh! the 0han ordered to t"rn the warrior %ree in /ase the latter was /a"'ht, besides with hono"rs. In the ast the 0han a/ted absol"tel! di%%erentl! in s"/h /ases. 9i0e all &en'hi(ides he /onsidered 'ratit"de to be a low %eelin' worth! onl! o% sla*es... «$hat i% the 'reat 0han senses his death#» — 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r s"ddenl! tho"'ht. $ith a /heer%"l air he ointed to the ti'er s0in s"rro"nded b! the /o"rtiers. — I;*e ne*er seen s"/h a bi' ti'er be%ore- — he eF/laimed.— I /an;t e*en thin0 o% what /o"ld ha*e ha ened i% !o"r hand had %altered, m! Co*erei'n )han. >ort"natel! death has assed b! and m! sa/ri%i/e has not been in *ain— $hat sa/ri%i/e# — as0ed the 0han. — ,he moment !o" 'allo ed o%% we immediatel! %ollowed !o". 7"t no horse /an o*erta0e !o"r ,arlan0o0. ,hen I be'an ra!in' to &od %or !o"r sa%et! o%%erin' 1im a white-headed ram... — 9et warrior Ca!an 'o i% !o" sei(e him- — .b"l0hair re eated so%tl! loo0in' the 'reat warrior strai'ht in the e!e to show that he 0new what 7a0hti!ar was dri*in' at. — .nd what i% we /at/h him a'ain# — ,hen !o" ma! /"t o%% his head too7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r smiled to himsel%. Aow it was er%e/tl! /lear to him that it was Ca!an-7at!r who sa*ed the 0han;s li%e. In 'ratit"de %or the res/"e he /onsiders it to be his d"t! to sa*e warrior Ca!an;s li%e onl! on/e. . head %or a head and then the! are +"its. .%terwards there /an be no %or'i*eness. It is +"ite ob*io"s that the 0han is not 'oin' to die at all. <*en this 0ind o% %a*o"r %rom him /an be a//o"nted %or as a min"te;s wea0ness-.. Ctill, %earin' to %ind himsel% in a similar sit"ation %or the se/ond time )han .b"l0hair sto ed h"ntin' in these arts. .nother wee0 later a h"'e arm! /rossed the Cei0h"n2ar!a on tho"sands o% li'ht ra%ts and ali'hted on the o osite ban0 o% the ri*er. ?"st at that time the! re orted to the 0han that three da!s be%ore their arri*al here se*eral )a(a0h a"ls had /rossed the ri*er ri'ht in this la/e and tra*elled on towards =o'olistan, to 3oin ?an!be0 and )erei. ,he 0han ordered to o*erta0e and 0ill ea/h one o% them, in/l"din' women and /hildren. 1e was abo"t to ta0e art in this brie% /am ai'n b"t ri'ht then a /ara*an arri*ed with 'i%ts %rom ="0hammed-23o0i who had 3"st sei(ed Camar0and. .%ter that ="0hammed-23o0i did not hold o"t lon' on the throne o% the ,im"rides. <mir .bd"said, who had /ome ba/0 %rom )horasan, a'ain too0 awa! his ower with the hel o% his allies. 1owe*er, in the mean time it seemed the ha ! ="0hammed-23o0i was sendin' )han .b"l0hair all the treas"res o% Camar0and. ,he most im ortant o% them was the thirteen-!ear-old Ibadat, .bd"said;s da"'hter b! his senior wi%e. ,he blase 0han at on/e s otted her amid the sil0s, 'oldware and the %amo"s Camar0and /ar ets s read be%ore him ri'ht on the red ri*erban0 sand... .b"l0hair strai'htwa! ost oned the lanned /am ai'n "ntil one da! later and sta!ed in the tent with this b"r'eonin' rose, her /harm all the more leasant that she was the da"'hter o% his enem!. 4n his li s he sensed the taste o% 'reenish a les while
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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her bi' %ri'htened bla/0 e!es dro*e him mad brin'in' ba/0 the da!s o% his !o"th. .bo*e him was the dar0-bl"e tent ro ed " b! sil*er oles and he *iewed himsel% as an ea'le ra a/io"sl! "llin' at its re!. ,he %ollowin' mornin' the 0han was abo"t to 'i*e his hen/hmen the order to ta0e the %ield b"t the s/o"ts had %o"nd o"t that it was alread! late. In all li0elihood someone had warned the )a(a0h a"ls whi/h were 'oin' down the Cei0h"n-2ar!a. ,he! had 'otten ba/0 a'ain, to the ri*er;s northern ban0, and were mo*in' somewhere towards )aratal. ,he ra%ts the 0han;s troo s had "sed earlier had been sent downstream the da! be%ore %or one /o"ld not lea*e behind the read! means o% /rossin' the enem! /o"ld ma0e "se o%. It wo"ld ta0e a whole wee0 to ma0e new ra%ts... «$ell, let them 'o to )aratal,— )han .b"l0hair tho"'ht.— .t least the! are not headin' %or =o'olistan, to 3oin ?an!be0 and )erei. $hen I am stron' eno"'h in @r'en/h and ha*e destro!ed =o'olistan, I will be'in settlin' the roblem o% the ste e. In an! /ase the! will not 'et awa! %rom me-..» It ne*er /rossed his mind that twent! !ears later his sons wo"ld a! dearl! %or their %ather;s *ol" t"o"sness. .s a matter o% %a/t the bi' /ara*an o% %"'iti*es he did not "rs"e was now bein' ta0en to )aratal b! )a(a0h )han )as!m, the son o% C"ltan ?an!be0. Cho"ld )han .b"l0hair ha*e o*erta0en it, who 0nows what the sit"ation wo"ld ha*e been li0e a%ter that. 7"t the !o"n' C"ltan )as!m was sa%e and so"nd and 'oin' %arther o%% a/ross the ste e with his /ara*an... Ce*eral da!s later .b"l0hair;s troo s /rossed the 5ed Cands and the saline land o% =e(hd"re/h!e and a roa/hed the 23ei0h"n-2ar!a. @ on 'oin' downstream the 0han saw on the o osite side n"mero"s minarets, walls and towers. In %ront o% him there s read one o% the /ities o% an/ient )hore(m... &ettin' o*er to that side he easil! entered @r'en/h, a /it! he ho ed to ma0e his /a ital. 1ere towered a 'iant mos+"e to ed with a bl"e /" ola and a /res/ent whi/h had been b"ilt man! !ears a'o. ,he /it! /o"ld boast ala/es whi/h were ere/ted b! the best ar/hite/ts bro"'ht %rom India, 5ome and Bhina. 1owe*er, /ontrar! to his lans .b"l0hair de/ided not to ma0e @r'en/h his /a ital and 0e t on tra*ellin' with his arm! in the lower rea/hes o% the two 'reat ri*ers. >rom time to time he mo*ed " the ri*ers; stream as %ar as =a*eranna0hr 'ettin' en'a'ed in the "ninterr" ted wars the n"mberless ,im"rides wa'ed a'ainst one another. .s be%ore the main aim o% his /am ai'n was the /on+"est o% =o'olistan where more and more ste e a"ls were 'oin' ea/h !ear. 1e %elt that it was there that a terrible threat to his 0hanate was mat"rin'. ,he 0han belie*ed his /a ital /o"ld be trans%erred to @r'en/h onl! a%ter the s"b3"'ation o% =o'olistan. Co %ar an/ient )hore(m was hel in' him to stren'then his arm! with its horsemen. 1owe*er, .b"l0hair /o"ld not hold lon' the "neF e/tedl! sei(ed @r'en/h. .lread! one !ear later he had to lea*e it and mo*e its troo s to C!'na0. >or da!s and months )han .b"l0hair was thin0in' o*er his lans be%ore startin' a new /am ai'n to /a t"re someone;s territor!. Ei/t"als were re ared and n"mero"s s/o"ts sent o"t. Aot one /ommoner was s" osed to 0now abo"t it. .nd then, on one o% the "s"al da!s the eo le wo"ld s"ddenl! see their 0han enra'ed on a//o"nt o% this or that 'o*ernor-nei'hbo"r. ,hat same da! the arm! wo"ld ta0e the %ield. ,he im ression was that the 0han;s ra'e was reason eno"'h to wi e the disobedient o%% the %a/e o% the earth. ,hat was what ha ened this time too. ,he 0han s"ddenl! be'an to r"n abo"t his C!'na0 ala/e li0e a wo"nded ti'er. ,he da! be%ore the «best eo le» o% the /it! had been in*ited to the ala/e %or all to see the 0han;s %"r!. ,he! were sittin' in all the assa'ewa!s and on n"mero"s /o"/hes, alon' with the /o"rtiers, listenin' timidl! to the 0han;s *oi/e. ,hose in the streets immediatel! +"ietened down, started tal0in' in a whis er and the eo le at the mar0et la/e be'an s/am erin' abo"t. — $here is 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r# — *oi/es th"ndered in the ala/e. — 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r-.. — 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r-..
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Barr!in' %rom erson to erson the /all rolled on be!ond the /it! 'ates as %ar as the tent o% the /o mmander o% the 0han;s troo s. $ithin a moment d"st %lew " in the air and whirled o%% to the ala/e. $itho"t slowin' down a 'iant dar0-%a/ed man with a bare /hest showin' %rom "nder his robe and a /"r*ed sword at his belt 3"m ed o%% his horse and ran to the ala/e. >or a earan/e;s sa0e, as was /"stomar! in the 0han;s inner /ir/le, he "shed aside the two '"ardsmen at the entran/e door. 5"nnin' thro"'h the ala/e;s assa'ewa!s and a'ain sho*in' aside the bod!'"ards he bar'ed into the re/e tion hall, made a low bow and, min/in' ste s, wal0ed " to his la/e, at the 0han;s ri'ht %oot. — ,ell me, 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r, has there e*er been a /ase d"rin' the li%etime o% o"r s"n-born an/estor &en'hi( )han when some 0in or tribe dared to es/a e %rom his mi'ht! arm# — he 0han as0ed sternl!. — ,here was s"/h a /ase, m! Co*erei'n )han— .nd what did the «Bon+"eror o% the @ni*erse» do then# — Do"r 'reat %orbearer sent a troo in "rs"it o% the %"'iti*es and it wi ed the "n'rate%"l ras/als o%% the %a/e o% the earth. <*en their name has not remained in eo le;s memor! %or the s"n-li0e &en'hi( )han %orbade it to be rono"n/ed. — Co wh! do we still tolerate these base rebels who dared to %lee to =o'olistan# $h! did the r"lers o% =o'olistan dare to 'i*e re%"'e to the disobedient ro'"es# 7a0hti!ar-7ahat"r bent his head. — Bommand, m! Co*erei'n )han-.. 5et"rnin' to the a"l with his horsemen, 4ra0-7at!r sho"ted to those s"r*i*in' the massa/re. — 1e!, 'ood eo le, all these horses o% the 0han;s blood! bod!'"ards are now !o"rs. &et on them and h"rr! to the Bh"h be%ore the 0han and his do's /ome ba/0 here,hose o% the 0han;s eF-hen/hmen who had atta/0ed the bod!'"ards %rom the rear %ollowed 4ra0. .s %or 4ra0-7at!r himsel%, he did not ride lon' with his deta/hment. C0irtin' the hill he t"rned his horse and 'allo ed o%% a/ross the ste e to 3oin the other deta/hments o% a*en'er-rebels who were now hidin' in the bo"ndless ste e... ,he s"n had alread! set be!ond the hori(on and the h"'e %rame o% 4ra0-7at!r astride his horse loo0ed a h"ndred times bi''er than it reall! was. ,o the res/"ed residents o% the a"l it seemed as i% a 'iant rider was s eedin' alon' in the s0!. <a/h bo"nd o% the warrior;s %ab"lo"s horse was a *erst-lon'. 7esides its ri'ht %lan0 was 're! and the le%t one bla/0. =an! !ears later the *illa'ers; 'rown /hildren told o% what the! had seen to their 'rand/hildren. .s it "sed to be in his !o"th the ni'ht be%ore settin' o"t with his arm! )han .b"l0hair dis'"ised himsel% as a lain hen/hman and, es/orted b! two %aith%"l bod!'"ards, wal0ed to the %ires aro"nd whi/h his warriors were sittin'. 1e had not done this %or man! !ears and now the 'arb o% a ran0-and-%ile horseman %elt too ti'ht and /oarse %or his sto"t bod! and deli/ate s0in. 1e well remembered the tal0s he had on/e o*erheard b! soldiers; bon%ires. 2"rin' his %irst *i/torio"s /am ai'ns to 2esht-and-)i /ha0 and =a*eranna0hr the soldiers b! the bon%ires wo"ld sin' and ha*e a 'ood time. ,he! wo"ld tal0 abo"t %ab"lo"s towns with mos+"es 'ra/ed b! bl"e domes, abo"t the deli/ate bea"ties in n"mberless mer/hants; harems and ri/h 'ains awaitin' them there. ,his time he was astonished with the wat/h%"l and mo"rn%"l silen/e b! the %ires. Ao-one was sin'in', dan/in' and ha*in' %"n. ,he warriors were tal0in' +"ietl!. ,he 0han e*en had to a roa/h one o% the %ires /losel! to hear what the! were tal0in' abo"t. — $ell, /am ai'n or no /am ai'n, to me it ma0es no di%%eren/e- — a !o"n' horseman with thi/0 e!e-brows and /lad in an old at/hed-" /a%tan seemed to be /on*in/in' himsel%.— .%ter all, there will s"rel! be somethin' in the /ar et-ba's and /o%%ers o% those who dared to es/a e %rom the hands o% o"r 0han. I will "t it 'ood "se, an!wa!. .nd then, i% l"/0 /omes o"r wa! we will 'et to =o'olistan-.. — 5i'ht. 7"t while !o" are awa! what will !o"r )arashash and her %o"r /hildren ha*e to eat# - a 're!-e!ed warrior abo"t %ort!-%i*e !ears o% a'e and with a s/ar all o*er his /hee0 as0ed sternl!.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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)han .b"l0hair had a remar0able memor! %or eo le;s %a/es. 1e re/o'ni(ed the warrior. 1is name was 4r!sbai. ,hat read-headed man too0 art in all his /am ai'ns and 'ot the s/ar %rom the sword o% an enem! twent!-%i*e !ears a'o when he sa*ed the 0han;s li%e on a battle%ield. — Des, )arashash... ,here was "n/ertaint! in the !o"n' warrior;s *oi/e. It seemed to the 0han that e*en the man;s militant-loo0in' mo"sta/he weas now droo in' des ondentl!. .n o ressi*e silen/e %ell b! the bon%ire. <a/h one remembered his %amil!, hole! !"rta and s0inn! "nder%ed li*esto/0. — ,here is little ro%it %or "s %rom these "ninterr" ted /am ai'ns...— 4r!sbai /ontin"ed.— I wo"ldn;t sa! an!thin' i% we %o"'ht a'ainst %orei'ners. 7"t now we are at war with o"r blood-brothers who no lon'er want to tolerate the 0han;s do's stri in' the %elt mats o%% their !"rtas... $hat did the! lea*e %or# — someone as0ed %rom the dar0.— 2o not ?an!be0 and )erei /ome %rom the same sto/0 as .b"l0hair himsel%# ,he! will be %lee/in' them li0e he does. 1as an!one e*er seen 0hans or s"ltans who are not willin' to rob "s# — $ell, !o" are ri'ht there, o% /o"rse. Ctill, !o"r master will s0in !o" ali*e onl! on/e while .b"l0hair;s wol*es will lea*e !o" nothin' b"t !o"r bones. ,hese 0ins; de/ision to lea*e to'ether with ?an!be0 and )erei was ri'ht. 9et !o"r own master %lee/e !o". .t least he mi'ht rote/t !o" %rom %orei'ners. ,he ste e has lon' be/ome a mother-inlaw to o"r so*erei'n 0han. ,he m"rm"rin' /hannels and the ra!ers in town;s mos+"es ha*e o"sted the memor! o% his homeland. In an! /ase one breathes m"/h %reer in the ste e. I% a s"ltan is at !o"r throat the ste e is lar'e eno"'h to hide !o". Do" are not at all /on%ined to !o"r /la! h"t and %ield. In the e*enin' !o" "t !o"r belon'in's on a /amel and in the mornin' not a so"l will 0now !o"r whereabo"ts. — 2o !o" reall! thin0 that ?an!be0 and )erei will not b"ild " their towns —the same *oi/e /ame %rom the dar0. — ,he! will in time,— 4r!sbai /on/eded. 7"t it will be their own towns, not those sei(ed %rom others. 9oo0 how man! towns .b"l0hair has /a t"red. ,he! sa! now he e*en dresses in a stran'e wa!. .s %or his /hildren the! will ne*er be/ome ste e eo le— In an! /ase ?an!be0 and )erei are the same sort o% wol*es as .b"l0hair himsel%— $ell, when the time /omes time eo le ma0e tra s %or wol*es- — 4r!sbai said loo0in' o*er those sittin'.— 2on;t we ha*e 'ood bla/0smiths in o"r ste e#.. 4n an im "lse )han .b"l0hair /l"t/hed his wea on. 1e had alread! drawn hal% the sword;s blade to sli/e o%% 4r!sbai;s head with one ower%"l stro0e b"t then tho"'ht better o% it. It too0 him +"ite an e%%ort to "n/las his hand. It was "nbe/omin' to a 0han to ersonall! "nish a worthless /ommoner. 7esides bad r"mo"r mi'ht s read in the troo s be%ore the *er! start o% the /am ai'n... 7"t he will not %or'et this ro'"e 4r!sbai, the same as all the men sittin' b! this %ire. 1e has eF erien/ed eo le to handle s"/h disobedient ra'am"%%ins. .b"l0hair ste ed ba/0 into the dar0. — .s %or me, I ha*e nothin' to lose ba/0 home b"t still I don;t want to ta0e art in this /am ai'n... )han .b"l0hair re/o'ni(ed in the man his ,"len'"t sla*e b! the name o% )o0"sh.— I ma! not be e+"al in blood to some others b"t I too had a %ather and a mother. Ao, this /am ai'n will not brin' "s ha iness. ,he bor(oi whi/h is %or/ed to /hase a %oF with a 0i/0 will ne*er o*erta0e it-.. ,here were man! s"/h bon%ires o"tside the %ortress wall b"t the 0han de/ided not to ma0e the ro"nd o% them. Bons"med with s ite%"l ra'e he was wal0in' in a ni'ht street %ollowed b! two lon' shadows. ,he 0han loo0ed ba/0. $hat i% these bod!'"ards thin0 li0e those b! the bon%ire# C"ddenl! the 0han remembered how he 'rabbed hold o% his 0ni%e. $h! did he do that# $asn;t it that red-headed 4r!sbai who started tal0in' o% a wol%;s tra %or ?an!be0 and )erei# Co wh! did he want to /"t o%% the man;s head#.. $ell, as a matter o% %a/t ?an!be0 and )erei are s"ltans, the so-/alled bl"e blood. $hate*er wars he mi'ht wa'e a'ainst them the! will alwa!s be /loser to him than some ra''ed sla*es witho"t 0ith or 0in-..
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,he 0osh, or tra*ellin' a"l, stret/hed o"t a whole *erst. Aot that it was reall! bi'. ,he horses and /amels were too s/rawn! and hal% the wret/hed 'oods and /hattels had %o"nd room on the bone! ba/0s o% a %ew oFen and /ows. =an! o% the men and women were 'oin' on %oot whi/h almost ne*er ha ened in ea/e%"l time. . small %lo/0 o% shee %ollowed behind raisin' /lo"ds o% d"st. .ll aro"nd there s read the s"n-s/or/hed bitter ste e... In %ront wal0ed a tall and 'a"nt old man with a lon' beard and a stern %a/e. 1is im osin' and ro"d loo0 did not s+"are with the shabb! miserable 0osh he was leadin'. It was none other than elder )on"rbai who had on/e /om lained to C"ltan ?an!be0 abo"t the "n3"st ra/ti/es o% )han .b"l0hair. @tterl! r"ined b! "nheard-o% re+"isitions the a"l was the last one to set o"t a%ter the 0ins whi/h had 'one with the rebellio"s s"ltans. ,he elder was eF e/tin' /amels %rom the ban0s o% the ri*er Bh"h where their 0insmen had alread! arri*ed. 1owe*er, the /amels had ne*er /ome and the a"l had to tra*el *irt"all! on %oot... ,hat was the last )han .b"l0ahir saw when he rode to the to o% a ste e hillo/0. 1e had with him a h"ndred /hoi/e bod!'"ards and twent! mo"nted hen/hmen. .mon' them there were the ones who the 0han had heard the ni'ht be%ore the settin' o"t. 1is bod!'"ards; +"i*ers had two do(en shar arrows s e/iall! re ared %or them. ,hose arrows were to hit the ba/0s o% the dis/ontent in the %irst %i'ht with the enem!. ,he lie"tenant o% the '"ards who was ridin' alon'side .b"l0hair, loo0ed ba/0, made a si'n and at on/e ten horsemen bro0e loose and 'allo ed towards the 0osh. ,he! made a /ir/le aro"nd it and 'allo ed ba/0 at %"ll s eed. — ,he! are %ollowin' ?an!be0 and )erei, m! Co*erei'n )han- — a '"ardsman /ried o"t 3"m in' o%% his horse and %allin' to one 0nee. — 7rin' them ba/0 here- — the 0han said in a low *oi/e ointin' to the %oot o% the hill. 1al% a h"ndred bod!'"ards r"shed o"t towards the 0osh. Coon, s/reams, wailin', lowin' and bleatin' ran' o"t in the ste e. 7e%ore lon' the entire a"l was dri*en to the little de ression o*er'rown with ri/0l! thistles. ,he eo le were loo0in' %ear%"ll! at the hillto where the motionless %rame o% )han .b"0hair was loomin'. 4nl! the old )on"rbai loo0ed ro"d and /alm and there was not a tra/e o% %ear in his %a/e. $hen the s/reams s"bsided the old )on"rbai slowl! went " and sto ed ri'ht be%ore the sno"t o% the 0han;s horse. 1e bent his head with a di'ni%ied air and said: — &reat Co*erei'n )han, the ninet!-!ear-old )on"rbai %rom the 0in o% 23aba'ail! in/lines his head be%ore !o"-.. — $here are !o" tra*ellin' to# — )han .b"l0hair as0ed in a so%t *oi/e witho"t so m"/h as res ondin' to the elder;s 'reetin'. — ,o the ri*er Bh"h, Co*erei'n )han... to where all o"r eo le ha*e 'one— $hat;s all that %or# — It is too dan'ero"s to li*e here, Co*erei'n )han. Do"r taF-'atherers are now li0e h"n'r! wol*es— $ill the! not 'ather the !asa0 where !o" are headin'# — ,he! /ertainl! will b"t we ho e it will be onl! one taF, while here, a art %rom those /olle/ted b! the 0ins; s"ltans !o" too ha*e !o"r share o% them. 7esides !o"r share is so bi' that e*er!thin' 'oes dar0 be%ore o"r eo le;s e!es— 7"t I am !o"r 0han. >rom time immemorial eo le ha*e been a!in' their 0han his d"e share. Ban it be that !o" ha*e %or'otten the /hie% behest o% o"r an/estors, old man# — Ao, I ha*e not. 7"t a//ordin' to that behest the 0han who has his share o% taFes m"st rote/t his s"b3e/ts %rom enemies and in3"sti/es. Do" do neither o% the two. Do" ha*e ta0en !o"r host to =e(hd"re/h!e lea*in' "s to the mer/! o% %ate. Aow we are absol"tel! de%en/eless. .s %or 3"sti/e... .s0 !o"r taF-'atherers what n"mber o% eo le and li*esto/0 was dri*en awa! %rom o"r a"ls last s rin'# Co, instead o% 'ettin' hel %rom !o" we ha*e to de%end o"rsel*es %rom !o"r robber-ser*ants,he old man was s ea0in' in an e*en assionless *oi/e and there was "n%lin/hin' %irmness in his e!es. >or a %ra/tion o% a se/ond .b"l0hair;s e!es lit " with !ellow %ire
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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whi/h almost immediatel! died o"t. 1e wa*ed his hand %eebl!. ,he lie"tenant nodded obedientl! his dar0 bl"e li s /"r*in' in a /r"el 'rin. — ,"rn and %a/e me, "n'rate%"l old man, so that !o" /o"ld see the death o% !o"r semen- — said he. ,he old man slowl! t"rned to his %ellow-*illa'ers. .t that same moment the 0han;s enra'ed bod!'"ards "nsheathed their swords and o"n/ed " on the "narmed and de%en/eless eo le. ,he li'ht-bl"e em t! s0ies reso"nded with a heart-rendin' howl o% des air. . ste e ea'le darted aside and %lew awa! %rom that horrible la/e. =an! 'rown men and !o"ths l"/0ed /l"bs and 0ni*es b"t what /o"ld the! do a'ainst the %"ll! armed !o"n' and stron' warriors# ,he women shielded their /hildren with their arms and bodies. ,he terri%ied /hildren tried to hide "nder the /ows; bellies b"t the 0han;s men 0i/0ed them o"t o% there. ,wo bod!'"ards were holdin' the old )on"rbai b! the arms. 1e loo0ed as /alm and ro"d as be%ore, and onl! two small tears in the /orners o% his old e!es betra!ed his %eelin's. .t the same time the e!es o% )han .b"l0hair were b"rnin' with im et"o"s !ellow %ire. 1"man blood, tears and *iolen/e alwa!s 'laddened his heart and made it beat %aster. . *i/io"s smile twisted his ar/hed %lesh! li s. — $hat are !o" m"mblin' there, old man# — he as0ed in a hoarse *oi/e. ,he elder;s li s indeed were mo*in' silentl!. .b"l0hair bent to his *er! ear to hear him better. — 4 .llah- I% !o" reall! eFist in e*er!thin' "nish this %ilth! 3a/0al... 4% all beasts onl! a sated 3a/0al /an tear with its teeth others; /"bsCeein' the eF ression on the 0han;s %a/e the lie"tenant "nderstood what the old man was sa!in'. 5isin' in his stirr" s he 'rabbed his whi and lashed the old man o*er the %a/e with all his mi'ht. ,he old man did not e*en b"d'e his li s 0ee in' on whis erin': — 4 .llah, i% !o" eFist "nish... ,he !ell o% a loo0o"t made e*er!bod! t"rn towards the east. .bo"t three or %o"r do(en riders were 'allo in' " %rom a/ross the ste e. In the li'ht o% the settin' s"n the! resembled %ier! dare-de*ils who had s"ddenl! a eared %rom nowhere. In %ront, s ear in hand, a one-e!ed 'iant was tearin' alon' astride a h"'e horse with a lon' mane. . bla/0 band /o*ered not onl! his e!e b"t a art o% his %ri'htenin' %a/e. — 4ra0-.. — 4ra0 the .*en'er-.. — ,he /ommoner-warrior-.. )han .b"l0hair /o"ld not hel loo0in' ba/0 where his enormo"s arm!;s /am was. 1owe*er, it wo"ld ta0e him hal% a da! to 'et there. ,he 0han had le%t the /am with his '"ards ahead o% the troo s be/a"se his s/o"ts had told him that within the %ollowin' three da!s he wo"ld see not one deta/hment in the ste e. Co where did his eFhorseherd 4ra0 s rin' %rom# Aot on/e did .b"l0hair;s men in%orm him o% 4ra0;s raids on the 0han;s /ara*ans and ea/h time that ras/al 'ot a 'ood trib"te %rom them and 'a*e e*er!thin' to the worthless mob. 1owe*er hard the! tried the 0han;s men were ne*er able to /at/h the o"tlaw. .b"l0hair 0new that the a//"rsed 4ra0 had sworn to /"t his throat, the throat o% the 0han himsel%4n the other hand, the one-e!ed had not so man! robbers with him. ,he 0han saw with relie% that his bod!'"ards sto ed the /arna'e, %ormed a battle arra! and, s ears atilt, waited %or the atta/0 o% the rebels. .t the *er! same time a lo"d /all ran' o"t %rom behind. ,he 0han started and "nwittin'l! bent to his horse;s withers. 9oo0in' ba/0 %rom "nder his arm he saw that two do(en horsemen, the ones whom he had heard tal0in' b! the %ire, were /har'in' the bod!'"ards %rom the rear. — 4ra0 the .*en'er, we are with !o"— 4ra0-.. 4ra0-.. ,he bod!'"ards; %ormation wa*ered and bro0e " . .ssa"ltin' the '"ards %rom both sides the horsemen o*err"n them and dro*e the 0han;s warriors in di%%erent dire/tions. 7"t )han .b"l0hair did not see that. ,o'ether with the lie"tenant and the /har'ehand o% his mo"nted bod!'"ards he was whirlin' awa! towards his /am and to the sa%et! o% his troo s.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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— .%ter me, a*en'ers- — 4ra0-7at!r /ried o"t in a th"nderin' *oi/e. — Bhase them— 4ra0-.. 4ra0-.. ,he horsemen r"shed o"t in "rs"it %ollowin' their leader. 4ne b! one the 0han;s men %ell o%% their horses str"/0 b! the "rs"ers; arrows. . lasso swished and witho"t e*en ha*in' time to 'i*e a s/ream the stran'led lie"tenent dra''ed alon' a%ter 4ra07at!r;s horse. ,he 0han es/a ed death onl! than0s to his horse ,arlan0o0. $ith ea/h bo"nd the ra/er /arried its master still %arther awa! %rom his "rs"ers and soon 4ra0-7at!r realised that their tired horses wo"ld not o*erta0e the 0han.'rand/hildren to their 'rand/hildren. ,his is wh! we now 0now this %ol0 le'end abo"t the 'lorio"s a*en'erwarrior. )han .b"l0hair /alled o%% his /am ai'n a'ainst =o'olistan "ntil the neFt !ear. 1owe*er, the %ollowin' !ear he did not ta0e the %ield, the same as one !ear later.

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Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,he r"ler o% =o'olistan )han Isa 7"'a %elt bored in his +"iet and /ool ala/e. Aeither the %ab"lo"s 'ardens o% the an/ient /it! o% .lamal!0 nor the ma'esti/ .lata" =o"ntains and the heart-warmin' %o"ntains whose /lear so"nd resembled !o"n' 'irls; la"'hter, nor the arti%i/ial water%alls in the streets o% his /a ital /o"ld /heer his satiated so"l. 1e did not /heer " e*en at the si'ht o% hal% a ba' o% 'old resented to him b! ros e/tors %rom the 0in o% 23alair who had bro"'ht it %rom the ban0s o% the %"ll-%lowin' ri*er .lt!n-Demel. ,o mar0 s"/h a (eal the 0han ordered to award ea/h *aloro"s ros e/tor with one te eh o% land on the ban0s o% that same ri*er. 9oo0in' thro"'h the window and seein' the ros e/tors 3"m in' %or 3o! on a//o"nt o% s"/h a 'enero"s 'i%t he smiled. 1owe*er, the neFt moment he was /on*"lsed with dis'"st as i% a /old and slime! 'rass-sna0e had /rawled in to his bosom. 1e remembered the news bro0en to him the da! be%ore... In the e*enin' he /o"ld hardl! wait till the end o% the 0han;s /o"n/il. ,he /o"n/il o*er he immediatel! went to admire the r"ins o% the an/ient /it! o% .lmal!0 whi/h on/e had been the /a ital /it! o% his an/estor ?a'atai, the se/ond son o% &en'hi( )han. ,hese r"ins were dear to the 0han;s heart. 1e 'rew, mat"red and learned the taste o% lo*e here. It was here that he saw %or the %irst time how his %ather ordered to 0ill a man... . lon' time a'o, when his %ather Ea!is-C"ltan was a !o"n' man, their "l"s inhabited the ri'ht ban0 o% the 23ei0h"n 2ar!a. 4n the o osite ban0 was the /it! o% =an'!t b"ilt d"rin' the r"le o% 9ame ,im"r. It was at a distan/e o% one da!;s 3o"rne! %rom @r'hen/h. ,he! li*ed on the 23ei0h"n 2ar!a;s ri'ht ban0 whi/h was nothin' b"t bo"ndless wilderness /o*ered in bro0en ro/0s and with no *e'etation eF/e t bitter wormwood. 4nl! their *assal )ara-)al a0s tra*elled there. ,here still stood on the ri*er-ban0 a lar'e /la! %ort!-sa(hen-hi'h %ortress s"rro"nded b! ten-sa(hen-thi/0 ram arts. Inside were se*eral 're!-bri/0 ala/es and ho"sehold str"/t"res. >or two /ent"ries the %ortress had belon'ed to the &en'hi(ide s"ltans o% ?a'atai;s sto/0 and later 'ot the name o% C"ltan-Ea!is-2a'... 2a! and ni'ht the t"rb"lent ri*er ra'ed o"tside the %ortress; walls, now and then b"rstin' its ban0s and %loodin' the not so man! /"lti*ated %ields and 'ardens the eo le had "t so m"/h wor0 into on this barren land that had been %re+"entl! tram led down b! the terrible hordes o% &en'hi( )han. ,he ne'le/ted b"rr-'rown /anals loo0ed +"ite "nsi'htl!. .%ter another %lood all this t"rned into wilderness a'ain... Isa-7"'a *a'"el! remembered these arts where his %ather had li*ed and %o"'ht. $hen his %ather was li%ted on a white %elt mat and ro/laimed the )han o% all =o'olistan the! mo*ed to .lmal!0 whi/h was sit"ated at the %oot o% the mo"ntain .lata". Bom ared to the s/or/hed ban0 o% the 23ei0h"n 2ar!a the /it! loo0ed li0e a *ision o% %ab"lo"s bea"t!. In the shad! or/hards and alon' the streets o% .lamal!0 'rew a le-, ear- and a ri/ot-trees and the ho"ses; walls were /o*ered in the twinin' *ines o% m"lti/olo"red 'ra es. ,he ar!0s were %"ll o% /r!stal-/lear, i/e-/old water whi/h made the heat not too de ressin'... Isa 7"'a had ne*er seen so man! eo le be%ore. In the mar0et la/e and the ad3oinin' streets and lanes one /o"ld 'row dea% %rom the sho"ts o% sellers o% water and sweets, the stri0es o% bla/0smiths; hammers, the !ellin' and hollerin' o% der*ishes and &od;s %ools. >or the %irst time in his li%e he entered a enormo"s bl"e-/" olaed mos+"e and said a ra!er as a %"ll-'rown man. 1ere, in .lmal!0, Isa 7"'a had learned that there were other reli'ions in the world besides Islam. 1ere is the stor! o% how it all ha ened. 1is %ather )han Ea!is was a *er! de*o"t man. 4n/e at dawn, a%ter the re- mornin' ra!er he awa0ened his sons Hh"n"s and Isa 7"'a and too0 them to the old town. ,he! were a//om anied b! the 0han;s hen/hmen-'"ards. .ll aro"nd were r"ined ho"ses, t"mble-down /la! wall-ben/hes and in the middle there towered a hi'h white b"ldin' with a 'reen dome to ed b! a 'litterin' /o er /ross. ,he ho"se was s"rro"nded b! an old 'arden in whi/h m"llahs, der*ishes, ishans and other eo le in white and 'reen tr"bans were s/"rr!in' abo"t. ./ross %rom the tem le o% 'iao"rs, a 'allows was ere/ted. 7elow a 're!-haired nobleIlyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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loo0in' old man with a lon' beard and bl"e e!es was standin' in eF e/tation o% an eFe/"tion. 1e was /lad in a lon' white linen shirt 'oin' down as %ar as the 0nees, his hands tied " behind his ba/0. ,he /hie% m"llah 'ot onto the wooden s/a%%old, whis ered a ra!er and t"rned to Ea!is-)han. — 4 de%ender o% the %aith%"l and rote/tor o% Islam, most hono"rable )han Ea!is:ermit "s to %"l%ill !o"r hi'h /ommand hall-mar0ed with the 'olden seal,he 0han nodded his head. — I ermitAow the tall and in0-/hee0ed /hie% m"llah t"rned to the tied-" old man. — 1a*e !o" heard, 'iao"r#-.. ,he 'reatest o% 'reat, as 3"st as the :ro het C"leiman, as %ormidable as )ha(ret-.li, Ea!is-)han has /onsidered !o"r sins. Do" are '"ilt! o% 0ee in' on o"r land an "n'odl! /h"r/h to whi/h b! lies and trea/her! !o" enti/ed o"r de*o"t moslems in order to a*ert them %rom the tr"e %aith. >or that, 'iao"r 2aniel, the )han o% all =o'olistan has senten/ed !o" to death b! han'in'... $hat will !o" lead with "s %or be%ore !o" die# ,he old man shoo0 his head de%iantl!. — I am not 'oin' to as0 the in%idels %or an!thin'. I as0 &od to %or'i*e me m! sins-.. =! ha iness is 'reat. I am 'oin' to s"%%er %or m! %aith. ,he m"llah loo0ed at the 0han a'ain and the latter made a si'n with his hand. ,he m"llah t"rned to the han'men standin' on both sides o% the tied-" old man. — C"/h is the dire/tion and the will o% the .lmi'ht!... In the name o% o"r mer/i%"l 0han I order to han' this Bhristian 2aniel b! the ne/0,he han'men immediatel! threw a lasso o*er the old man;s ne/0, '"shed the ro e o*er the 'ibbet;s /ross-beam and be'an to "ll it with all their mi'ht. ,he old man;s bod! stret/hed and sh"ddered when his %eet lost /onta/t with the 'ro"nd. ,he han'men swi%tl! %astened the lasso;s tail-end to a e' and bowed to the 0han. $hen that death rod"/ed no im ression on Isa 7"'a. 1e loo0ed on the eFe/"tion as a /hildren;s la!-'ame and e*en /la ed his hands when the old man;s bod! dan'led in the air. 1e %elt neither a it! nor %ear in his heart. 1e li0ed the solemn so"nd o% the m"llah;s *oi/e and the im ortant and im osin' air o% those ta0in' art in the eFe/"tion. ,he same /hie% m"llah t"rned to the 0han a'ain. — 4 the 'reatest o% 'reat and l"minar! o% o"r %aith-.. >or man! !ears this /h"r/h has been the seat o% the er*ersion o% the %aith%"l and a re%"'e %or all manner o% e*il and trea/her!. It is %rom here that hereti/ letters ha*e been s read all o*er the territor! o% !o"r *assal =o'olistan. Co ermit "s to r"in this nest o% *i/e,he 0han wa*ed his hand in a ro*al. Immediatel! all the ho3as, m"llahs, m"e((ins and m"rids 6no*i/es8 r"shed to the /h"r/h %rom all sides sin'in' and /"rsin' at the to o% their *oi/es. ,he! threw a lasso o*er the /o er /ross, "lled it down to the 'ro"nd and then be'an to destro! the /" ola. Blo"ds o% d"st o*er/ast the s0!. Ao sooner did the s"n rise in the s0! than the /h"r/h t"rned into a hea o% r"ins. It seemed "nbelie*able that in the mornin' there had been a bea"ti%"l white b"ildin' here whi/h was b"ilt b! anon!mo"s @i'"r and @is"n masters. 4 osite its r"ins the dead bod! o% the eFe/"ted old man was still dan'lin'... Isa 7"'a did not 0now then that this /h"r/h had been b"ilt b! lo/al residents art o% whom had been Aestorians %rom olden times. ,he 0hans and ha0ims who had 'o*erned .lmal!0 be%ore Ea!is-)han had ro%essed the "s"al =oslem reli'io"s toleran/e and aid no attention to the old /h"r/h in the an/ient /olla sin' area o% the /it!. 1owe*er, e*er!thin' /han'ed when Ea!is as/ended the 0han;s throne. ,he %anati/ Ea!is-)han de/ided to destro! the /h"r/h and did it with all the /r"elt! so /hara/teristi/ o% him. ,he !o"n' Isa 7"'a wo"ld ha*e /om letel! %or'otten abo"t so ordinar! an e*ent i% it hadn;t been %or some en/o"nter... ,he 0han;s /hildren o%ten la!ed in the lar'e 'arden s"rro"ndin' the r"ined /h"r/h. 4n/e, when Isa 7"'a ha ened to r"n to the heart o% the 'arden, he sto ed dead in his tra/0s. @nder a bi' bran/h! tree where re/entl! the han'ed 'iao"r had been b"ried
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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he saw a 'irl in a bla/0 dress who was standin' on her 0nees holdin' a b"n/h o% %lowers and /r!in' bitterl!. Che was abo"t twel*e or thirteen !ears o% a'e. «$ho ma! she be# — the bo! tho"'ht in wonderment.— 1ow did she ha en to 'et here#» 1e started stealin' " to her. C"ddenl! the 'irl rose to her %eet and Isa 7"'a sei(ed the 0ni%e han'in' on his belt. — 1old it- — he said in %ri'ht.— I 0now who !o" are... Do" are not a h"man bein' b"t the /reation o% an e*il s irit, the iblis7! that time he had read and heard a 'reat deal o% %air!-tales and /o"ld not ima'ine that so bea"ti%"l a /reat"re was born b! a mere mortal. ,he 'irl had 'olden hair and lar'e e!es, as bl"e and +"iet as the water in a mo"ntain la0e. 1e was d"mbstr"/0 b! her hair: laited in two lon' tresses it went down to her *er! %eet li0e shinin' s"nbeams. >ramed b! the breath-ta0in' 'olden 'litter her %a/e loo0ed es e/iall! /lean and white. «=a!be she is a mermaid- — he tho"'ht.— 4nl! mermaids ha*e s"/h white s0in and s"/h e!es-.. Des, she emer'ed %rom the %o"ntain to bewit/h me and dra' into the water... 7ismillah-.. 7ismillah-..» ,he 'irl made a ste towards him. — Cto - — a'ain in terror. Che sto ed. «I m"st not s ea0 to her, not %or an!thin' in the world- — Isa 7"'a whis ered to himsel% %e*erishl!.— I% I start s ea0in' I am as 'ood as dead... 4, it loo0s li0e she is /omin' here a'ain-.. Ao, no, when she /omes /lose to me I will throw m! 0ni%e at her. I m"stn;t let her to"/h me... .sta%irallah... .sta%irallah-..» 7"t the 'irl stood motionless and loo0ed at him with e!es whi/h were %"ll o% alarm and des air. — >or'i*e me, )han-4'l!, %or this /han/e en/o"nter,— the 'irl said bendin' her head res e/t%"ll!.— Do" ha*e ne*er la!ed in this la/e be%ore... — Do" see# Co !o" are a wit/h indeed- — Isa 7"'a said.— 4therwise !o" wo"ldn;t 0now who I am... 7ismillah-.. 7ismillah-.. — I am not a wit/h- — she said so%tl!. Che was li0e a bea"ti%"l re/io"s stone and he /o"ld not ta0e his e!es o%% her. Aeither /o"ld he tear himsel% awa! %rom this wondro"s *ision he had so "neF e/tedl! r"n into in the thi/0 o% the 'arden. 1owe*er, when she tried to wal0 ast him on the onl! narrow ath, Isa 7"'a s/reamed a'ain: — 2on;t /ome near me-.. Cta! there and tell me who !o" are, a h"man bein' or a 'enie# 4r ma!be !o" are a mermaid#.. ,he 'irl realised he was a%raid o% her and smiled thro"'h tears. — 2on;t be %ri'htened, I am 3"st a 'irl-.. — . 'irl,— he m"ttered in /on%"sion still 0ee in' his hand on the 0ni%e. — Aat"rall!- — Che smiled bitterl!.— Do"r %ather ordered to eFe/"te m! %ather and now !o" want to 0ill me. $h!# Ban an!bod! be reall! s"re whether one is '"ilt! or not#.. $hat are !o" waitin' %or# &o ahead and 0ill me-.. Aow Isa 7"'a remembered at on/e abo"t the han'in' o% the 'iao"r on the s+"are be%ore the /h"r/h. ,hat man was as bl"e-e!ed as this %air!. Co she indeed is a h"man bein' and not an e*il s irit. .n!wa!, he;s 'ot to be reall! s"re o% it. — I% !o" are tr"l! &od;s /reat"re sa! the s ell: «.llahih, billahih-.. =a! I, a %aith%"l one, be "nished b! &od i% I told lies-» ,he 'irl 0nitted her brow and re eated: — .llahih, billahih-.. I am a h"man bein' and not a s irit. =a! I be "nished b! &od i% I lied to !o". 7"t I /annot swear a =ohammedan oath. I am o% a di%%erent %aith... ,hat o% Bhrist... — Co !o" are a 'iao"r-'irl# — ,hat is what !o" belie*e "s to be. $e /onsider o"rsel*es to be adherents o% the tr"e %aith— ,han0 .llah, !o" are not an e*il s irit- — he said with relie%.— It wo"ld not be di%%i/"lt to /on*ert !o" to the tr"e %aith. $ell, we shall see abo"t it later-..
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Isa 7"'a %elt immediatel! he was read! to do an!thin' %or this 'olden-haired and bl"e-e!ed 'irl. .lla!in' his %ears and so%tl! re eatin' to himsel% «7ismillah-.. 7ismillah-..» he to"/hed her... Des, she was the da"'hter o% the in%idel who had been han'ed the !ear be%ore. .%ter the eFe/"tion o% her %ather she was sa*ed b! one o% the @i'"r easants who had been /on*erted to Bhristianit! b! him. ,he @i'"r had hidden the 'irl in his la/e and now the! were eF e/tin' the /ara*an with whi/h she she had to 'o to >loren/e where her %ather;s distant relati*es li*ed. <a/h wee0 she bro"'ht %lowers to her %ather;s 'ra*e and now met Isa 7"'a here. 1e was a tall and handsome !o"th. 7"t most im ortantl!, his e!es were not as stern and *i/io"s as those o% Ea!is-)han. ,he! shone with 0indliness and s!m ath!... <*er! da! the! be'an to meet b! the 'ra*e o% her %ather. Coon the! /o"ld no lon'er li*e witho"t one another. .s be%ore he wo"ld to"/h her hand with /a"tion b"t now it was be/a"se he was in awe o% her bea"t!... 4ne da! C"ltan Hh"n"s, the elder brother o% Isa 7"'a, s"s e/ted there was somethin' wron' there. 1e wondered wh! his !o"n'er brother had 'i*en " la!in' his "s"al 'ames and 0e t sta!in' awa! %rom e*er!bod! in the old 'arden. 4n/e Hh"n"s tra/0ed his brother and o*erheard him tal0in' with the 'irl. ,hat same da! he told %ather that Isa 7"'a was datin' the in%idel and wanted to marr! her... ,he news serio"sl! worried Ea!is-)han be/a"se a%ter his death the throne was to be inherited b! Isa 7"'a, the son o% the da"'hter o% a =on'ol 0han, and not b! Hh"n"s whose mother was a )i /ha0. Cho"ld Isa 7"'a marr! a Bhristian 'irl no-one /o"ld '"arantee that she wo"ld not tal0 him into ado tin' her %aith. ,he more so that the bo!;s heart was too 0ind %or a 0han. It mi'ht mean the be'innin' o% the end o% the ?a'atai 0in whose histor! Ea!is )han 0new and hono"red *er! m"/h. $omen had bro"'ht a lot o% tro"ble to that 0in. .nd not onl! to the 0in o% ?a'atai. >rom the *er! be'innin' women had been tr!in' to do a lot o% harm to the &en'hi(ides whi/h was e*identl! one o% the reasons %or the de/line o% the d!nast!-.. 1owe*er he, Ea!is-)han, was %irm eno"'h not to let his son ma0e the %atal error o% their an/estors and marr! a %orei'n 'irl-.. ,he neFt mornin' the "ns"s e/tin' Isa 7"'a was in*ited to the 0han;s /o"rt where two 'iant eFe/"tioners sla"'htered the 'olden-haired 'irl. Ea!is-)han loo0ed at his son and was satis%ied with what he saw. ,he son t"rned allid b"t did not "tter a sin'le word. <*er sin/e then the !o"th lost the "nbe%ittin' and "n0hanl! sensiti*it! and h"man blood be/ame to him 3"st a li+"id, the same as the water in the ri*er %lowin' a/ross the /it!... 7e%ore lon' Isa 7"'a ro*ed himsel% worth! o% the lesson. Ce*en !ears later he s"bstit"ted his %ather on the throne o% =o'olistan and immediatel! ordered to sei(e his brother Hh"n"s. «. stone has no *eins and a 0han has no blood ties-» an old sa!in' read. 1owe*er, Hh"n"s mana'ed to es/a e... Coon Isa 7"'a set " a memorial o*er the 'ra*e o% the 'iao"r 'irl and when he %elt bored and lonel! he wo"ld /ome here. In s"/h da!s his senten/es were most se*ere and he "nished both the inno/ent and the '"ilt!. ,he han'men 0new that and when the 0han ret"rned a%ter his *isits to the 'irl;s 'ra*e the! "sed their s0ills with s e/ial re%inement. ,hose were the same two eFe/"tioners who had on/e /"t her throat and the 0han wo"ldn;t /han'e them... ,hat da! Isa 7"'a had alread! a!ed a *isit to the 'irl;s 'ra*e, !et there was no desire in his heart to see someone;s blood. ,oo man! roblems had %allen on him o*er the last months. 5i*ers o% blood were %loodin' the borders o% =o'olistan... <s e/iall! alarmin' news /ame %rom his ne hew <mir Ce!itali, the &o*ernor&eneral o% )ash'aria. ,heir enem! sin/e earliest times had started hostilities a'ain. Inn"merable Bhinese hordes had /rossed the border and in*aded the territor! o% )"l3i and )ash'aria. ,he same in%ormation was in the messa'es o% .r0al!0-7at!r %rom the
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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@is"n 0in. ,he Bhinese soldiers were robbin' and illa'in' on the land o% the @is"ns and dri*in' their risoners awa! to the heart o% Bhina. 7oth men as0ed %or immediate hel . .lmost sim"ltaneo"sl! with this "n leasant news messen'ers %rom the Aorthern )a(a0h )erei and Aaiman 0ins arri*ed. 7e!ond the 7la/0 Irt!sh, e*identl! en/o"ra'ed b! the Bhinese, the 4irot r"lers be'an to stir a'ain. ,he! were reall! serio"s o onents. In an! /ase, %rom time immemorial the Bhinese <m erors had been /o*etin' the lands on this side o% the &obi. ,he! were re ared to ma0e an allian/e with their bitter enemies, e*en with the de*il himsel%, in order to /a t"re these lands=an! times )a(a0h *ol"nteer /or s, manned b! those %rom the @is"n, 2"lat and ?alair 0ins, stood " to de%end their lands and dro*e the 'reed! in*aders o"t o% their home /o"ntr!. 7"t e*er! new /ent"r! witnessed the same old stor! a'ain. ,he <m erors /o"ld not 'i*e " ho e to la! their hands on the 'reen *alle!s o% Cemire/h!e and were still dreamin' their "nendin' dream o% the 7l"e Cea, the 7al0hash,he desert was /o*ered in h"man bones b"t the <m erors /o"ldn;t /are less abo"t their s"b3e/ts. <a/h !ear the! mo*ed and mo*ed to the ?"n'ar &ates with the obstina/! o% ants. 7"t the moment the! rea/hed them the ste e /a*alr! beat all hell o"t o% their o onents and the in%antr! be'an to r"n %or li%e, besides so %ast that e*en the best ra/ers /o"ld not o*erta0e it. Ao, ne*er wo"ld the! o*er ower those li*in' on this land %rom olden times. It was sat"rated with the blood o% their an/estors. It was "nli0el! that )han Isa 7"'a itied his eo le. ,he roblem was that the "nendin' tension in the borderland was brin'in' dama'e to his treas"r!. Indeed, what ri'ht did the <m erors ha*e to /laim his lands# 7esides, e*er!thin' ointed to the %a/t that it was not a mere intimidation b"t the be'innin' o% a war. 9i0e beasts o% re! the Bhinese lords %ollowed /losel! the 'oin's-on in =o'olistan. ,he! /hose the ri'ht time when the dis/ord amon' the emirs o% <astern )ash'aria and the 0hans o% the ?a'atai "l"s had 'one to a head. ,he enem! is do"bl! dan'ero"s when there is no inner a'reement in the state. .t the same time there was a more serio"s /ir/"mstan/e whi/h dist"rbed the )han o% =o'olistan. 4*er the re/ent !ears in the $est there had stren'thened and stirred his old enemies, the ,im"rides. <*er sin/e .bd"said as/ended the throne o% Camar0and with the hel o% the %ier/e wol% .b"l0hair a war mi'ht brea0 o"t an! da! now. .%ter the *i/tories in )horasan that .bd"said be'an to /onsider himsel% the 'reatest o% 'reat. =ore and more o%ten his deta/hment atta/0ed the o"ts0irts o% =o'olistan. 1owe*er, Isa 7"'a had eno"'h determination to "nish them e*er! time the! made their raids and dro*e them o"t o% his /o"ntr!. Det o*er the re/ent !ears the <mir o% Camar0and 'rew insolent eno"'h not to /on/eal his lans with res e/t to =o'olistan. >irst o% all .bd"said in*ited %rom Iran, 'a*e re%"'e and showered with hono"rs the es/a ed Hh"n"s, Isa 7"'a;s brother. ,hat mornin' some lain-loo0in' man %rom Camar0and aid a *isit to Isa 7"'a. 1e s read be%ore the 0han a ie/e o% /loth /o*ered with drawin's and showed the ositions and n"mber o% the troo s .bd"said had "t Hh"n"s in /har'e o%. It a eared that an! da! Hh"n"s /o"ld ad*an/e them on .lmal!0. =ost li0el! these troo s wo"ld mo*e on the Bh"h and ,alas ri*ers %rom the /ities o% Dass! and Ca"ran. ,hat was where the main dan'er mi'ht /ome %rom. Des, when a %orei'n enem! atta/0s !o" it is eas! to /all on !o"r eo le to de%end their nati*e land. In s"/h /ases there is no need to tal0 too m"/h. ,hen the eo le are read! to s"%%er an! de ri*ations and a! an! taFes and their hands ne*er sha0e d"rin' the %i'ht. 1owe*er, when a %orei'n enem! threatens !o" thin's be/ome %ar more di%%i/"lt. Aormall! the /ommoners sta! awa! %rom the str"''le %or the throne and the rest 3"st wait and see whose side to ta0e. Aow it is almost the same to them whom to ser*e, Isa 7"'a or Hh"n"s. 2"rin' s"/h a str"''le one /an;t tr"st e*en his /losest relati*es... $hat is more dan'ero"s than a %ire in one;s own home- ,here was no do"bt that it /o"ld bla(e " an! other min"te. It mi'ht well be tr"e that he, Isa 7"'a, was not so
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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li0eable a r"ler. 7"t how to eF lain the eo le that the traitor and in%ormer Hh"n"s wo"ld be worse than the la'"e on the throne. ,o most o% his relati*es and s"b3e/ts he was 3"st a miserable eFile and a *i/tim o% the er%id! o% his own brother... ,he dan'er was reall! 'reat. <*er sin/e the des/endants o% 7at" had lost the throne o% the &olden 1orde the ste e )a(a0h 0ins be'an to be in/lined to the ?a'atai "l"s %or whi/h the! had their reasons. >irst o% all the ?a'atai-=on'ol 0hans not on/e 3oined " with )a(a0h 0ins to re el the a''ression o% the Bhinese <m erors and their s"bser*ient 4irot lords. Ce/ondl!, the =on'ol 0hans themsel*es were hal%-nomads their n"mero"s herds 'ra(in' side b! side with those o% the )a(a0hs. 7esides the! had man! interests in /ommon. .t the same time the a/tions o% .b"l0hair and the ,im"rides 0e t anta'oni(in' the )a(a0hs who had to tolerate +"ite a %ew in3"sti/es and restri/tions. In s ite o% their ne*er endin' dis/ord )han .b"l0hair and the ,im"rides "nited at on/e when there was an o ort"nit! to inter%ere in the a%%airs o% =o'olistan. <*er! da! Isa 7"'a was in%ormed on .b"l0hair;s s/o"ts who were sowin' dissension amon' his *assal o "lation. Aow that the ,im"rides de/ided to /ome o"t o enl! a'ainst Isa 7"'a )han .b"l0hair allowed their troo s to 'o thro"'h his lands. $ho 0nows, ma!be the /a*alr! o% .b"l0hair himsel% wo"ld 3oin them at the last moment. =o'olistan;s sworn enem! .b"said sto ed at nothin' to a/hie*e his 'oal. It loo0ed li0e he de/ided to marr! his son to the da"'hter o% Hh"n"s. .bd"said;s a/tions were "nderstandable. I% he did not ta0e all ne/essar! meas"res soon eno"'h there wo"ld remain onl! the memor! o% the ,im"rides; ossessions be/a"se .b"l0hair was too 'reed! and 'ras in'. Co what was )han Isa 7"'a s" osed to do# ?"st to ma0e s"re .b"l0hair and his ima'inar! all! <mir .bd"said b"tt ea/h other li0e two wild rams in heat. .s lon' as the! were at lo''erheads =o'olistan was in sa%et!. =o'olistan resembled an in3"red ti'er 'atherin' all his stren'th be%ore a 3"m and )han Isa 7"'a had a 'reat deal to thin0 abo"t... =o'olistan was one o% the most ower%"l states alread! hal% a /ent"r! be%ore the abo*e e*ents. It was the interne/ine stri%e amon' the 0hans whi/h had bro"'ht the state to the brin0 o% r"in... C ea0in' o% roblems, was it eas! %or Isa 7"'a to /ome to the 0han;s throne# ,he! sa! a nose is ne/essar! to re*ent the e!es %rom s/rat/hin' o"t ea/h other. $ho /o"ld la! the art o% s"/h a shieldin' nose between the two sons o% Ea!is-)han a%ter the latter;s death# ,he! str"''led %or the throne %or thirt! whole !ears. .ll the n"mero"s s"ltans and emirs o% =o'olistan were drawn into that war. ,he! hel ed Isa 7"'a to ta0e the throne awa! %rom Hh"n"s b"t the %ormer soon %or'ot abo"t it and be'an to restri/t in an! ossible wa! those *er! s"ltans and emirs who had bro"'ht him to the throne in s ite o% the senior heir;s interests. =an! emirs and s"ltans had le%t. Come had 3oined the 4irot lords, some .b"l0hair. ,hose remainin' in =o'olistan started %ormin' bands and ma0in' lots a'ainst the 0han. 2"rin' these !ears he re elled twi/e the a''ression o% Hh"n"s. 7"t this time his brother had 'athered too lar'e an arm!. 7esides, .bd"said was not the 0ind o% r"ler who /o"ld easil! 'i*e " his lans. It was not %or nothin' that the /ra%t! ,im"ride de/ided to be/ome related with Hh"n"s... Ao, in this /ase Isa b"'a /o"ld not do witho"t allies, no matter who the! were. 1is /hie% assistant )aste0-7i! /ame in and said that all those in*ited to the /o"n/il had 'athered. — 1as <mir Ceitali /ome too# — as0ed Isa 7"'a. — Des, we sent messen'ers to him the moment !o" 'a*e the order, m! )han. — $hat abo"t Chei0h-="hammed# — 1e arri*ed at the same time with himIlyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,he /hie% assistant loo0ed at the 0han er leFedl! not "nderstandin' wh! he was as0in' abo"t sel%-e*ident thin's. 7"t when Isa 7"'a heard abo"t the arri*al o% the emirs who had not on/e hel ed him o"t in his ho"r o% need he %elt more /on%ident. 1e "t on his s e/ial /rown-/a embroidered in 'old and ornamented with diamonds, too0 the hea*! 'old ma/e and headed %or the re/e tion hall where the /o"n/il was in session. 1e was %ollowed b! )aste0-7i! and the retainers who were waitin' b! the eFit. $hen he entered the hall the emirs, bi!s, s"ltans, be0s and ha0ims rose %rom their so%as and /"shions and made a low bow to the 0han. .s was the /"stom at his /o"rt Isa 7"'a sto ed in the doorwa! and wel/omed them with a swee in' 'est"re. — &reetin's, m! best and /hoi/e eo le— .re !o" in 'ood health, o"r &reat )han# — the /hoi/e eo le h"mmed in /hor"s. — <*er!thin' is in the hands o% .llah-..— ,he 0han wal0ed " to his la/e and t"rned to the '"ests.— &ood wel/ome, m! dear 0ins%ol0. :lease, be seated. It was onl! a%ter that 'reetin' that the members o% the /o"n/il strai'htened themsel*es " and too0 their seats. ,he )han o% =o'olistan san0 in the sil*er throne inlaid with 'old and re/io"s stones. 1e sat motionless and those in the hall also %ro(e in silen/e. 4nl! three /olo"rs redominated here: white, bl"e and 'olden. .ll the noble emirs, s"ltans and the other &en'hi(ide retainers were wearin' bl"e /a%tans and white t"rbans. ,he less distin'"ished ones who were nonetheless the r"lers o% /ities and settlements were dressed in white /lothes b"t had bl"e t"rbans on their heads. .s %or the /hie%s o% the )a(a0h 0ins their belts and stra s s an'led with 'old and heads were /o*ered in /a s lined with sable, marten and %oF. @nli0e that with the rest o% the Bentral .sian 0hans and emirs there were no s"/h ositions as the 0han;s «le%t» and «ri'ht» hand in the ?a'atai "l"s. Aearest to the 0han and se/ond in im ortan/e was onl! his /hie% assistant. ,he rest held the osts in a//ordan/e with their si'ni%i/an/e, /loser to the 0han were the 'o*ernors o% the ma3or emirates, the bi!s and militar! leaders o% the allied and *assal )a(a0h 0ins, then the ha0ims o% bi' /ities and the riests — s"%is, ishans and m"rids, or la! brothers. Isa 7"'a did not start tal0in' in detail on the s"b3e/t whi/h was well 0nown to e*er!bod! and onl! as0ed: — $hat in !o"r o inion has 'ot to be done, /hoi/e eo le# Cho"ld we 'ather in one %ist a "nited arm! or ma!be ea/h ha0im and s"ltan wo"ld %i'ht the enem! indi*id"all! on his territor!# .nd another thin'. Cho"ld we lea*e the 0han;s head+"arters in the ins"%%i/ientl! %orti%ied .lmal!0 or trans%er it to .0sa till the war is o*er# .ll those resent bent their heads and it seemed the b"rden o% the imminent e*ents la! hea*! on them. .ll were silent. .//"stomed to a"to/ra/! the! were thin0in' %e*erishl! what the! /o"ld bene%it %or themsel*es %rom the resent sit"ation. 9east o% all the! were /on/erned with the %"t"re o% =o'olistan as a whole and the 0han himsel%. «It is better to own a /al% than to ha*e an oF in /ommon.» It was in those !ears that this sa!in' was born. C"ddenl! Isa 7"'a remembered the will o% &en'hi( )han in whi/h the 'reat an/estor /alled on his des/endants to "t to death an!one who wo"ld e*en thin0 o% 'ainsa!in' his 0han. Isa 7"'a had 'i*en too m"/h %reedom to =o'olistan;s lords and now, in time o% tro"ble, the! were thin0in' onl! o% themsel*es... <mir Ceitali 0nitted his brows. 1e loo0ed o*er the de3e/ted %a/es o% the /o"n/il;s members and said in a lo"d *oi/e: — 4 m! )han-.. :lease %or'i*e "s, b"t !o"r "neF e/ted words /ame down on !o"r ser*ants li0e the ma/e o% .(rail. &i*e "s time to thin0 and e*er!one will answer !o" as he sees it. — It shall be so- — the 0han lowered his hand. . man with a ointed beard and sti/0in' o"t mo"sta/hes a eared in the hall. 1e made a low bow and the 0han nodded im atientl!. — =! )han-.. 9ast ni'ht a messen'er %rom the north arri*ed b"t the ni'ht '"ards did not allow him to enter the town— 9et him in. moment later a sto/0! bearded middle-a'ed man with a s"ntanned an weatherbeaten %a/e showed " in the doorwa!. 1e was wearin' a /amel;s hair /a%tan 'irdled with a broad belt with inlaid sil*er atterns and tra*ellin' boots with wide to s.
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&ri in' a massi*e laited whi with one hand he ressed the other one to his /hest as a si'n o% res e/t and sat down b! the door. — .ssala"mahalei0"m1is %a/e and /lothes were /o*ered in d"st. It was ob*io"s he had /ome %rom a%ar and had little rest on the wa! here. — $hat 0in and tribe do !o" /ome %rom, man# — the 0han as0ed the /"stomar! +"estion. — I /ome %rom the 2"lat 0in... I am here, m! )han, on a /ommission %rom the ha0im o% the /it! o% ?ant!, the hono"rable C"!"nd"0-=ir(a. — I ha*e no se/rets %rom m! %ellow-/o"ntr!men. C ea0, man. $hat did !o"r ha0im want !o" to tell me# 1a0im C"!"nd"0-=ir(a told me to /on*e! an "r'ent re ort to !o", &reat )han. . 'reat man! eo le headed b! C"ltan ?an!be0, the son o% 7ara0, and C"ltan )erei, the son o% 7"lat, are now within the lands 'o*erned b! m! ha0im. ,he eo le who /ame with them are %rom the .r'!n, )i /ha0, Aaiman, )erei and 4"a0 0ins, some are %rom the )onrat, .l/hin and se*eral other 0ins... ,he )han o% =o'olistan;s e!es lit " showin' his "n/on/ealed interest. — $hat do the! sa!# — ,he! /annot 'et on with )han .b"l0hair and as0 %or !o"r 'ra/e, territor! %or settlement and ast"res %or their li*esto/0. >or the time bein' the! remain on the o osite side o% the ,alas whereas s"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei are /omin' here ri'ht a/ross the mo"ntains with %i*e h"ndred hen/hmen. 2a! and ni'ht I was 'allo in' here alon' the b!wa!s to ha*e time to warn !o", m! )han— 1ow lon' will it ta0e the s"ltans to 'et here# — ,he! will be here not later than tomorrow mornin', m! )han. — 1ow man! eo le are on the o osite ban0 o% the ,alas# — Bo"ntless n"mbers, m! )han-.. ,hose in %ront had lon' "nloaded the /amels and were /oo0in' meals while %rom the ste e /ara*ans 0e t on /omin'. It ta0es hal% a da! to ass the territor! alon' the ban0 the! ha*e settled on. 7"t that is not all. >rom the mo"ntain I /o"ld see n"mero"s wa'ons mo*in' all a/ross the ste e towards "s. It seems the! be'an eatin' eo le ali*e in .b"l0hair;s 1ordeIsa 7"'a 0nitted his brows threatenin'l! and the 'arr"lo"s messen'er sh"t his mo"th at on/e. 1e realised he had ta0en a %alse ste and tho"'ht that «a ra*en will ne*er e/0 o"t another ra*en;s e!e». ,o be on the sa%e side he a'ain bent his head as i% as0in' ermission to /ontin"e. — C ea0- — said the 0han. — 4 m! )han-.. I onl! /on*e! the memori(ed words o% m! ha0im C"!"nd"0-=irsa;s messa'e. 1ere;s eFa/tl! what he ordered me to tell !o": «9et the 3"stest o% all earthl! r"lers and de%ender o% the entire eo le o% =o'olistan 0now that the reason %or the )a(a0hs; settlement on o"r lands is the restri/tions and /r"elt! o% )han .b"l0hair and the "ni*ersall! a/0nowled'ed %airness and 3"sti/e o% o"r mer/i%"l 0han-» Come o% those resent saw thro"'h the messen'er;s r"se and smiled to themsel*es. ,he 0han li0ed the messen'er;s words and /heered " . It was ob*io"s that the news o% the /omin' o% the )a(a0hs had in%l"en/ed the %"rther lans o% Isa 7"'a. 1e wa*ed his hand to the messen'er. — .lri'ht, 'o ha*e a rest and a 'ood slee . ,omorrow !o";ll hear o"r answer. Do" will ha*e to remember it and /on*e! it to !o"r ha0im5ealisin' that the a t words sa*ed his head %rom the sword o% the eFe/"tioner the messen'er eF/laimed: «Des, m! )han-» — and a moment later he disa eared behind the door. 4nl! when he %o"nd himsel% in the /o"rt!ard the messen'er si'hed with 'reat relie%. «1e who tal0s witho"t /a"tion will die witho"t bein' si/0- - he tho"'ht. - 4nl! a %ool shows o%% be%ore a 0han-» <*er!thin' the messen'er told the 0han was tr"e. ,he %a/t that /o"ntless n"mbers o% eo le had /ome to =o'olistan was not an eFa''eration either.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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4n the %o"rth da! o% their hast! de art"re ?an!be0 and )erei 'athered to'ether all the /hie%s, bi!s and 'reat warriors o% the a"ls whi/h had le%t with them. 7ein' more elo+"ent ?an!be0 was the %irst to start s ea0in'. — 2on;t thin0 that we are 'oin' to re/ei*e a heart! wel/ome- — C"ltan ?anibe0 said.— «,h! nei'hbo"r is not ha ! i% !o" are ri/h, b"t i% !o" are a a" er he will e*en 'r"d'e !o" %ood. I do not want to %oretell an!thin' bad b"t nobod! 0nows how we will be re/ei*ed in =o'olistan. ,his is wh! it is ne/essar! that we tra*el so lon' a wa! witho"t dama'in' o"r stren'th and health. $hen the! see that we are stron' the! will res e/t "s. 4n the other hand, i% we /ome eFha"sted the! will onl! be it!in' "s. =a!be the! will not 0i/0 "s o"t b"t in an! /ase there is no 3o! in bein' a oor relati*e-..» >rom that da! on, a%ter %indin' o"t that the 0han;s deta/hments were "rs"in' them, the! were mo*in' slower to ha*e time to %eed " their li*esto/0. . wee0 later ?an!be0 and )ere! in*ited their sons, 'randsons and n"mero"s elder and !o"n'er brothers to a %amil! /o"n/il. C"ltan ?an!be0 ordered one o% his horsemen to ma0e a shea% o% meadow-sweet;s stal0s as thi/0 as the handle o% a s/o"r'e. Come an/ient le'ends told o% s"/h a trial %or sons. >irst o% all he t"rned to his eldest son ?adi0 and )erei;s %irst-born 7"r"nd"0. — ,a0e a stal0, ea/h one o% !o",he! did, starin' attenti*el! at ?an!be0. — 7rea0 them in two,he 'reen stal0s sna ed in the stron' %in'ers o% the horsemen. — Aow ta0e two stal0s to'ether and brea0 them,he! had to ma0e +"ite an e%%ort to brea0 in two the do"bled stal0s. — ,a0e %o"r,he! mana'ed to brea0 the stal0s onl! with the hel o% their 0nees. — Aow siF stal0s- — ?an!be0 ordered. ?adi0 and 7"r"nd"0 too0 siF stal0s ea/h and started to bend and brea0 them with all 0ind o% /ontri*an/es. It too0 them +"ite an e%%ort to do that. — $hat abo"t ten# ,hin and wir! ?adi0 and sto/0! and lon'-armed 7"r"nd"0 set to wor0 a'ain. ,he! 0new ste e le'end and tried to do their "tmost %or their !o"n' brothers to %ollow their eFam le. 1owe*er hard the! tried nothin' /ame o% it. .t last the! threw o%% the stal0s. — $e /an;t brea0 them. >or some time C"ltan ?an!be0 sat in silen/e, then loo0ed aro"nd. <*en tho"'h the /hildren 0new the lesson he re eated it word %or word in the same wa! as other warriors and s"ltans had told it to their /hildren and as son'sters had been sin'in' abo"t it %rom /ent"r! to /ent"r!. — ,he same 'oes %or eo le too. It is eas! to sla! one man in the %ield. 7"t when eo le are "nited the! /an /o e with an! o onent. ,o'ether the! are able to o*er ower the sea. I% the )a(a0h 0ins sti/0 to'ether the! will be/ome a %ormidable %or/e. ,en 0ins are the same as ten %in'ers o% two hands. Co ma! the! ma0e two %ists7"r"nd"0 was older than an! o% the sons o% ?an!be0 and )erei, there%ore he s o0e on bahal% o% the rest. — Des, s"/h %ists will be 'ood... 7"t what will ha en to the 0ins whi/h are %ar awa! %rom "s# — I% the! wish to 3oin "s what does an! distan/e matter to a )a(a0h;s horse# — ,hat;s ri'ht,— 7"r"nd"0 said.— 7"t what are we s" osed to do now# — Bhewed %ood will do no 'ood to a lar'e-toothed wol%- - C"ltan ?an!be0 said sternl!.— @se !o"r brains— I don;t 0now...— 7"r"nd"0 lowered his e!es.— ,o raid and loot those not willin' to %ollow "s and ta0e awa! the rest)erei %elt somewhat /on%"sed be/a"se his son /o"ld not %ind the ri'ht sol"tion at so /r"/ial a moment. — I% we do as !o" sa!, m! son, we will terri%! eo le- — he said.— :eo le /annot be %or/ed into doin' somethin'... — 9et e*er!one sa! what he thin0s- — ?an!be0 s"''ested.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,hat was the wa! the )a(a0hs ta"'ht their sons %rom olden times. .ltho"'h that 0ind o% s/hoolin' was rather "n retentio"s, the a/+"ired 0nowled'e remained in their memor! %or the rest o% their li%e and later was assed in all its ob*io"sness on to the s"//eedin' 'enerations. ,he !o"n' m"stn;t s ea0 ahead o% the senior. ,his was wh! the se/ond son o% C"ltan ?an!be0, )as!m, 0e t %id'etin' ne*er ta0in' his e!es o%% his %ather. — .ll ri'ht, s ea0- — ?an!be0 ermitted. — $ith !o"r ermission, %ather, I wo"ld li0e to share m! o inion o% the sit"ation with m! brothers-.. — C ea0... s ea0-.. — In his own wa! 7"r"nd"0 was ri'ht sa!in' that the "nreasonable m"st be lead to the tr"th b! %or/e. It has alwa!s been and will alwa!s be so. 7"t the wise "n/le )ere0e has alread! noted that s"/h a s"''estion is "nrealisti/. 1ow /an we thin0 o% "sin' %or/e when we o"rsel*es 0ee loo0in' ba/0 %or %ear o% bein' o*erta0en b! the enem!# 7esides we m"st /ome to =o'olistan as a "nited and stron' eo le-.. — C ea0, )as!m- — C"ltan )erei said en/o"ra'in'l!. — 5i'ht, we will /ome to the borders o% =o'olistan and ,"r0estan not as se arate a"ls b"t as a "nited nation-..— )as!m said eF/itedl!.— 9et the des/endants o% ?a'atai and Cheibani realise and see that in the %"t"re the! will ha*e to /o"nt with "s and o"r lea*in' o"r nati*e land is onl! tem orar!. :eo le 'i*e !o" a resent willin'l! i% the! 0now that !o" /an ta0e it b! %or/e. ,here m"st be no do"bt on their art that i% the! do not 'i*e "s land and ast"res we will be able to ta0e them on o"r own-.. >or the time bein' I s"''est that the bra*est and most elo+"ent o% "s i/0 %i*e to ten lain horsemen ea/h and 'o to the ste e. $e m"st *isit e*er! a"l and /all on its residents to 3oin "s. $e m"st eF lain o"r intentions to all o"r eo le. .t %irst not all o% them mi'ht %ollow "s immediatel! b"t at least the! will start thin0in'. 4"r /all m"st be sim le and /lear to an! )a(a0h, no matter what 0in and tribe he is %rom, whether he is ri/h or oor, a noble or a /ommoner: «=a! the "nited $hite 1orde li*e %ore*er-» ?an!be0 and )erei nodded in "nison. — $ell done, )as!m-.. — $hat !o" said is ri'ht, m! son-.. .ll the brothers, /o"sins and other relati*es, in/l"din' the /hildren, wa*ed their hands in a ro*al. — Des, !o";*e 'ras ed the heart o% the matter- - said ?an!be0 who a ro*ed o% and en/o"ra'ed in e*er! wa! his sons; as iration %or sel%-relian/e. - 4"r *ent"re is not a//o"nted %or b! o"r resentment alone. 4"r main 'oal is to restore the )a(a0h 1orde whi/h was %o"nded a /ent"r! a'o b! o"r 'reat %orbear @r"s-)han... $e /o"ld hoist the banner o% @r"s-)han between the ri*ers Hhai0 and Dedil, on the r"ins o% the &olden 1orde. 1owe*er, that wo"ld be on the *er! ed'e o% o"r bo"ndless ste e. 7e!ond the Dedil is the land o% o"r enemies: the Ao'ai 1orde, the )a(an, Brimean and .star0han 0hanates. >arther on the %ree ste e ends and the land o% settled eo le be'ins, so there is no need to ha*e the head+"arters o% a nomad state there. .s was the /ase with .b"l0hair;s 1orde the /a ital o% the 0hanate will soon be drawn to the ower%"l /o"ntries with settled o "lation and will a"tomati/all! brea0 ties with its eo le who ha*e been tra*ellin' all o*er the ste e and li*in' that wa! %or se*eral tho"sand !ears... 1owe*er, there is a more a ro riate la/e where o"r %orbear on/e ere/ted his banner, that is the C!'na0. It is m"/h /loser to the main /am s o% most )a(a0h 0ins. Co %ar o"r C!'na0 is in the hands o% .b"l0hair b"t we will not 'o dee into =o'olistan %rom it-.. .%ter all o"r related 0ins @is"n, 2"lat and Hhalair also inhabit =o'olistan. .s %or now, let;s %"l%ill what m! son )as!m s"''ested. 1e will be the %irst to ta0e with him %i*e horsemen and 'allo %rom a"l to a"l. ,his is what the best o% !o" m"st do. ,he more a"ls !o" will brin' alon' with !o" the sooner the $hite 1orde will be restored. ,he assembl! oint is the Cei0h"ndar!a. I belie*e !o" 0now how to /ross ri*ers-.. ,he neFt mornin' the ad"lt sons o% ?an!be0 and )erei and also man! bi!s and warriors de arted to di%%erent arts o% the endless )a(a0h ste e to /all on a"ls to
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lea*e .b"l0hair;s 1orde. It was on the ban0s o% the Cei0h"ndar!a that the men o% )han .b"l0hair ha ened to /ome a/ross se*eral a"ls led b! !o"n' C"ltan )as!m. 7"t the 0han was s endin' his %irst ni'ht with a !o"n' wi%e and the "rs"ers were twent!-%o"r ho"rs late... Aow, %ollowin' the main /ara*an, more and more a"ls 0e t on mo*in' towards the ,alas. ,he $hite 1orde was be/omin' a state, b"t so %ar a state on /amels; ba/0s, witho"t its own territor! and /a ital. @ on disbandin' his /o"n/il the )han o% =o'olistan Isa-7"'a remained with his most tr"sted eo le. 1e did not ha*e to retend be%ore Chei0-="0hammed, Ce!itali and the /hie% o% /ler'! )aste0-7i!. ,he 0han;s heart was %"ll o% 3o!. . 'reat deal o% roblems /o"ld be sol*ed witho"t dela! with the /omin' o% the warli0e )a(a0h 0ins... ,he were dis/"ssin' the /"rrent sit"ation %or +"ite a time and in 'reat detail. ,he de/ision was to settle the )a(a0hs in =o'olistan;s area borderin' on the 7l"e 1orde and the ,im"rides, alon' the Bh", Car!s", ,alas and 7adam ri*ers and also to o%%er them the northern slo es o% the )o(!bas and )arata" mo"ntains. ,he! wo"ld ser*e as a battle shield a'ainst .b"l0hair and <mir .bd"said and be their most de*oted de%enders. 7"t that is not all. 7! wa! o% a!ment %or the 'ranted land and 'ra(in' 'ro"nds the )a(a0h 0ins wo"ld ro*ide %or %"ll! armed deta/hments %or another area, the one borderin' on Bhina and the 4irot )hanate, in /ase a war bro0e o"t there. Co %or =o'olistan it wo"ld be a do"ble bene%it. Bomin' to this /on/l"sion Isa 7"'a sent the noblest men to meet the )a(a0h s"ltans as tho"'h the! were his /lose relati*es. 1e wel/omed them with o en arms on the threshold o% his ala/e. ?an!be0, )erei and the bi!s and warriors who /ame with him s ent a whole month in /ontin"o"s %easts, eatin' and drin0in' %rom the same bowl with the )han o% =o'olistan. 1is terms were a//e ted b! the )a(a0h s"ltans witho"t ob3e/tions and soon the %irst tho"sand o% the bra*e '"est horsemen were sent to the most dan'ero"s stri o% the Bhinese border, the ?"n'ar &ates. ,he! were headed b! ?an!be0;s eldest son, C"ltan ?adi0. @ on arri*al he in/reased the n"mber o% his men " to %i*e tho"sand b! wa! o% enlistin' horsemen %rom the lo/al )a(a0h 0ins and +"i/0l! /hased o"t the Bhinese deta/hments that had in%iltrated thro"'h these «'ates». .%ter the /omin' o% another similar troo with ?an!be0;s other son, )ambar-7at!r, at the head the 4irot r"ler /o"ld not b"t ma0e ea/e with =o'olistan. ,he )a(a0h a"ls were settled all o*er the north-west border area o% =o'olistan so that the! /o"ld ha*e a *ol"nteer /a*alr! read! within a %ew da!s i% a raid was made b! those %rom .b"l0hair;s 1orde or =a*eranna0hr. :art o% the warriors and horsemen were /onstantl! on atrol. «$ell, the border area is also inhabited b! )a(a0hs, %rom di%%erent tribes tho"'h, — C"ltan ?an!be0 tho"'ht.— 9et them see %or themsel*es that the! will alwa!s /o"nt on "s as their de%enders. It will ma0e them 3oin "s m"/h sooner-.. .s %or the border se aratin' "s %rom .b"l0hair;s 1orde we ne*er wanted the se aration...» C"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei ersonall! too0 the tro"ble o% settlin' the a"ls and distrib"tin' amon' them lots o% land and 'ra(in' 'ro"nds. .ltho"'h, while doin' it the! were ta0in' into stri/t a//o"nt the n"mber o% new settlers, still the lion;s share o% land went as "s"al to the bi!s and the s"ltans; n"mero"s 0ins%ol0. In the mean time C"ltan Hh"n"s was *isited b! the son o% the r"ler o% <astern )ash'aria .bdrashid-C"ltan, who was also %rom the ?a'atai 0in. Aormall! Hh"n"s re/ei*ed s"/h noble relati*es +"ite willin'l!, /o"ntin' on their hel in the str"''le %or the throne o% =o'olistan. .%ter the s"dden emer'en/e o% )a(a0hs in the border area he sto ed re arations %or a militar! eF edition to the .lamal!0 and s ent time %eastin' and en3o!in' himsel% in the /om an! o% his '"est. 7"t as bad l"/0 wo"ld ha*e it .bdrashid on/e saw Hh"n"s; bea"ti%"l da"'hter C"ltan and %ell in lo*e with her. It so ha ened that the emir;s son .bd"said had set si'hts on her alread!, while Hh"n"s, who lo*ed her better than he did his other da"'hters, let the 'irl dis ose o% the sit"ation on her own. $hen C"ltan /ame to see the enamo"red )ash'arian she la"'hed in his %a/e. «It wo"ld ma0e me si/0 e*en to wal0 ast him, let alone l!in' in the same bed with
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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him-» — she anno"n/ed to her %ather and a%terwards re eated these words in the resen/e o% Hh"n"s; retainers. Cmall wonder .bdrashid %o"nd o"t abo"t what she had said. B"rsin' o"tra'eo"sl! the o%%ended '"est le%t %or his )ash'aria. .s %or C"ltan, she 0e t on la"'hin' at him amon' her 'irl-%riends "naware what 0ind o% 3o0es li%e mi'ht la! sometimes... Coon a%ter the )ash'arian;s de art"re <mir .bd"said in*ited C"ltan Hh"n"s to *isit him in 7"0hara where the %ormer was sta!in' at the time. .s soon as Hh"n"s started his tri ?an!be0;s son C"ltan )as!m, who had been instr"/ted b! =o'olistan;s r"ler, raided the eastern o"ts0irts o% the >er'ana oasis and stole three tho"sand horses belon'in' to Hh"n"s. ,here was not one horseman bra*e eno"'h to /hase the thie*es. 4nl! the %i%teen!ear-old C"ltan 'ot on her horse and, s ear in hand, r"shed in "rs"it. Che showed " be%ore the horsemen o% )as!m d"rin' their /rossin' the ,alas and, seein' the militant 'irl, the! nearl! %ell o%% their horses. Barried awa! with the eas! boot! the! be'an ma0in' %"n o% the men o% the Hh"n"s 0in who had hidden in their holes o"t o% %ear and sent one o% their da"'hters to /at/h the stolen horses. C"ltan )as!m himsel% immediatel! made " a *erse and san' it to her:
,ell me !o"r name, I be' !o"I% !o" don;t I;ll 0now nothin' abo"t !o"... 1ow st" id the leader-stallion ,hat let !o" stra! o%%. :lease, do tell me what herd !o" belon' in-..

,he 'irl %lashed a 'lan/e at the tall and handsome s"ltan and san' in re l!:
Do"r elo+"ent words betra! a s"ltan in !o" Ca!in' !o" are a//"stomed to 'allo .stride an! mare a/ross the br"shwood7"t I am the /olt o% Hh"n"s and e*en in a dream 1a*e not seen a h"man load on m! ba/0Desterda! all o"r men ra/ed o%% on that one, 4therwise the o"tra'eo"s /rime wo"ld;*e %ailedBan a tr"e s"ltan be a low-down thie% ,o rob the hel less# 2o answer me, will !o"I 'allo ed here to be/ome a *i/tim %or m! %ather5et"rn o"r ro ert! %or the sa0e o% the Breator2o not ma0e C"ltan Hh"n"s a la"'hin'-sto/0 %or his enemies, 9a"'h at his da"'hter i% !o" are " to it-

— 4 sweet-smellin' %lower whi/h has not been l"/0ed %rom !o"r stal0 b! an!one- — C"ltan )as!m eF/laimed.— I am not able to den! !o"r o%%er and read! to admire !o" e*en at a ri/e o% three tho"sand horses&od alone 0nows what ha ened between them in the white tent )as!m ordered to it/h on the ban0 o% the ,alas. In an! /ase no-one saw 'irls /r!in' b"t instead the /lear-rin'in' trills o% a ha ! women;s la"'hter was o%ten heard at ni'ht. ,he neFt mornin' the 'enero"s !o"n' warrior ordered to dri*e ba/0 the three tho"sand-head herd. 2"rin' the artin' C"ltan was /r!in' bitterl! sittin' on her horse. ,he horsemen too loo0ed "nha ! bein' de*oid o% their ri/h boot!. Aot darin' to blame dire/tl! the s"ltan the! still made " a son' abo"t that e*ent whi/h li*ed lon' a%ter their death.
$itho"t %ire a %lintstone is 'ood %or nothin', . sl! she-'oat is 3"st a ain in the ne/0.
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)ase0e;s 'enerosit! is indeed "nlimited: ,hree tho"sand horses %or a 0iss, indeed4ne;s %ate is as de/eit%"l as a red %oF ,o "s who heard a ni'htin'ale;s son' last ni'ht. Ban the son'stress; womb be so sweet .s to ma0e the trills so ri/eless-

2"rin' a halt some li'ht-minded horseman /o"ld not hel sin'in' the son' to C"ltan )as!m. ,he s"ltan 3"st 'rinned b"t on the wa! ba/0 home he and his men /a t"red the nearb! herds o% the n"mero"s s"ltans o% the %rontier area, so his horsemen t"rned o"t to be none the worse %or it. )as!m be''ed them not to tell an!one abo"t what had ha ened to C"ltan sin/e a s"ltan;s da"'hter who had lost her *ir'init! be/ame no better than a mere mortal. ,he horsemen romised to 0ee m"m abo"t that b"t someone /o"ld not re%rain %rom tellin' the tr"th and the son' has li*ed till o"r time... Coon Hh"n"s de/ided to marr! his da"'hter o%% to .ndi(han;s <mir Chei0-4mar, the son o% .bd"said. .t that time 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im was *isitin' =a*eranna0hr with the ermission o% her h"sband )han .b"l0hair. Che /o"ld not hel inter%erin' in the mat/hma0in'. .//om anied b! a 'rand es/ort she le%t to Dass! %or the bride, too0 C"ltan and headed %or .ndi(han with her. $hen C"ltan ?an!be0 learned abo"t it he sent %or his son )as!m. — It is " to !o" to do somethin' abo"t Hh"n"s; da"'hter,— he said.— 7"t I;m a%raid she will steal !o"r own horses to a! %or the se/ond ni'ht. .s %or me, I want !o" to brin' me 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im sa%e and so"nd. ,hen we will tal0 to )han .b"l0hair in a di%%erent wa!. C"ltan )as!m and his men le%t to /a t"re the weddin' /ara*an and immediatel! /on%ronted the )ash'arian .bdrashid;s men who had laid an amb"sh with the same "r ose. ,he )ash'arians atta/0ed the /ara*an ahead o% him. C"ltan )as!m liberated both the women. .nd a'ain C"!ltan )as!m did not meet the re+"irements o% his %ather. .s a matter o% %a/t when he li*ed at the /o"rt o% )han .b"l0hair 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im treated him with a 0indness so /hara/teristi/ o% her. >eelin' 'reat res e/t %or her )as!m let her 'o with hono"rs riddin' her o% bla/0mail on the art o% his %ather C"ltan ?an!be0. 7esides hersel% C"ltan )as!m released the !o"n' and bea"ti%"l C"ltan b"t the old son's said she wo"ld not lea*e him. ,here was e*en a hint in them that she hersel% had sent a se/ret messen'er to ?an!be0 with re/ise in%ormation on when and whi/h ro"te the weddin' /ara*an wo"ld ta0e. .%terwards, bein' a married woman, C"ltan waited %or se*en !ears %or )as!m;s horsemen;s raid. .nd in the end she 'ot what she wanted... C"ltan )as!m wo"ld not 3"sti%! himsel% re ortin' to his %ather on the /a"se o% his %ail"re. — I did not want to be li0e a do' that /hases awa! another stra! do' to la others; le%to*ers- — he said.— .%ter all %reein' some other;s bride %rom C"ltan .bdrashid I /o"ld not a/t li0e him... — .nd wh! did !o" let 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im 'o# — 4"t o% res e/t %or the memor! o% the 'reat @l"'be0C"ltan ?an!be0 %rowned b"t innerl! he a ro*ed o% what his son had done. — It seems the older one;s a'e the 'reater his %ear that he will not ha*e time eno"'h to re a! all his enemies- — he said with a si'h.— Do" did ri'ht, m! son. =a!be I, too, am be'innin' to s"//"mb to this ailment. =! old a'e is near- $ell, as lon' as I li*e !o" /an a%%ord bein' 'enero"s. =a! &od let !o" ha*e these lo%t! %eelin's %or the rest o% !o"r li%e,he ni'ht was as silent and eer! as a bla/0 and still ool. .ltho"'h the s0! was o*er/ast with dar0 /lo"ds there was neither li'htnin' nor th"nder o*er the ste e. It seemed e*er!thin' had stood still in the world. <*en the snortin' o% horses and the
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"%%in' o% riders did not /arr! as %ar as "s"al, when the air in the ni'ht ste e is %resh and /lear... ,here were abo"t %i%t! o% them, lain horsemen witho"t 0ith or 0in who had their own !"rtas in one o% the ad3a/ent a"ls b"t when 4ra0 showed " the! saddled their horses in the dead o% ni'ht and 3oined his men %or a %ew da!s. In order not to be re/o'nised d"rin' one o% his raids on bai;s and 0han;s herds the! "t on the bla/0 bands o% a*en'ers on their %a/es. 4ra0-7at!r be'an a earin' in these arts a lon' time a'o, in the %lood-lands o% the ,ala0, Bh" and )aratala ri*ers. Aot lon' a'o the /ara*an o% ?an!be0 himsel% was robbed here. ,r"e, nobod! was 0illed or ta0en risoner b"t thirt! /amels loaded with tableware and /loth were dri*en o%% into the remote arts o% the ste e. — I% !o" are )a(a0hs, wh! do !o" illa'e !o"r s"ltan#- — the /ara*an;s head as0ed the one-e!ed rin'-leader. — >or this /loth and tableware !o"r s"ltan will s0in the /ommoners ali*e, - he said. — .s %or "s we will 3"stl! share it amon' o"rsel*es. I% !o"r s"ltan is tr"l! a 3"st one let him /ome and see %or himsel%.nd indeed, be%ore lon' these ie/es o% /loth and the tableware a eared in the oorest !"rtas o% the tra*ellin' a"ls, in arti/"lar in those o% ,"len'"t sla*es. ?an!be0 /o"ld not brin' himsel% to ta0e awa! the 'oods handed o"t b! the robbers. 1owe*er, he was determined to do awa! with 4ra0-7at!r. — $hen he illa'ed .b"l0hair;s /ara*ans it was 'ood %or "s, - C"ltan ?an!be0 said. — .t the same time I will not tolerate o"tlaws in m! 0hanate. ,he /ommoners m"st 0now their la/e4ne ni'ht the s"ltan sent %or 7"r"nd"0 and ordered him to destro! 4ra0-7at!r;s deta/hment. .//ordin' to him the one-e!ed warrior had to be somewhere in the lower rea/hes o% the ri*er Bh". — It is hi'h time we did awa! with this ra'am"%%in,— 7"r"nd"0 said 'l"ml!. — =a0e s"re !o" do e*er!thin' on the +"iet not to stir " tro"ble- — ?an!be0 warned him. 7"r"nd"0 3"st nodded in a'reement. 4ra0-7at!r, who was ridin' in %ront o% his silent horsemen loo0in' %rom time to time to the east where the narrow 're! stri e o% dawn had alread! a eared, was "naware o% all this. C"ddenl! he heard some noise %rom behind. ,he warrior loo0ed ba/0. — $hat;s ha ened# — ,he o/0-mar0ed ,en'eh;s 'one- — someone answered %rom the dar0. — $hat do !o" mean 'one# — 4nl! !esterda! he was with "s and now he;s nowhere to be seen. 1e said he;d 'o to the hollow to ta0e his hobbled horse b"t he ne*er /ame ba/0... — 4ra0 held ba/0 his horse. ,en'eh was not a lain oor horseman li0e the rest o% his /omrades. It seems 7"r"nd"0 had o%%ended ,en'eh in some wa! and the latter had 3oined the band o% a*en'ers. 4ra0-7at!r do"bted his lo!alt! %rom the *er! be'innin' 0ee in' in mind the sa!in': «. ra*en will ne*er e/0 o"t another ra*en;s e!e.» 1owe*er, ,en'eh had bro"'ht with him o*er a do(en 'ood horses and the warrior;s heart had mellowed. ,en'eh;s ineF li/able disa earan/e ri'ht be%ore the raid on the s"ltan;s herds alerted 4ra0. ,he warrior raised his hand. — $e;*e 'ot to h"rr!, men. I% ,en'eh is a traitor we will ha*e to ma0e it be%ore the herds are hea*il! '"arded,he! 'allo ed %orth li0e a whirlwind "naware o% what was in store %or them. ?"st a %ew da!s a'o 7"r"nd"0 had been in%ormed o% the a*en'ers; intentions and was now wa!la!in' them. ,en'eh had ointed o"t the eFa/t la/e to be atta/0ed b! 4ra07at!r;s band. 7"r"nd"0 had a h"ndred and %i%t! /hoi/e warriors with him and made an amb"sh on ea/h ste e ath. ,he wide hollow between two slo in' hills swam in earl! mornin';s mil0! %o'. 2ee down and on the hill;s slo es the s"ltans; best thoro"'hbred snow-white and ba! mares and their %oals were 'ra(in' la(il! or l!in' down. ,he stallions stood b! their
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herds li0e a troo ;s loo0o"ts. ,he! were alwa!s the %irst to sense dan'er and were now mo*in' their ears anFio"sl! listenin' to the ni'ht ste e. .ll o% a s"dden the! snorted to'ether and started wal0in' aro"nd their herds in lar'e /ir/les. ,he mares 3"m ed " , nei'hed anFio"sl! and be'an to b"n/h into 'ro" s. ,he %o' rose abo*e the *alle! and in the semi-dar0 o% dawn one /o"ld see a roa/hin' horsemen. ,he! 'allo ed in a stret/hed-o"t line s"rro"ndin' the nearest herd with a semi/ir/le. ,heir %a/es were /o*ered with bla/0 bashl!0-bands. 4nl! one o% them, 'i'anti/ 4ra0-7at!r, was easil! re/o'nisable. 1is %a/e was /o*ered not with a bashl!0 b"t with a leather band /on/ealin' his blind e!e. Ao sooner did the a*en'ers rea/h the s"ltan;s horses than the! saw other riders tearin' alon' %rom the hills to inter/e t them. — 7"r"nd"0-.. 7"r"nd"0-.. — ,he a*en'ers did not need to hear that heart-rendin' s/ream whi/h rolled alon' the whole len'th o% the hollow to immediatel! see who was a roa/hin' them. ,he s+"are-sha ed 7"r"nd"0 was sittin' on his ba! horse li0e an oa0 st"m and wa*in' his sword. — .n amb"sh— &o ba/0-.. 7"t it was too late. .t the entran/e into the hollow the! saw a lar'e deta/hment with ar/hers aimin' their bows %rom the hills. 4ra0-7at!r reined in his horse, waited a little as tho"'h thin0in' abo"t what to do neFt and ointed his "nsheathed sword to the wa! o"t %rom the hollow. Aow the a*en'ers were 'allo in' in the o osite dire/tion with 4ra0-7at!r rearin' them " . Aot less than a h"ndred horsemen were waitin' %or them there with 7"r"nd"0;s riders ressin' the o"tlaws %rom behind. >orward, a*en'ers- — 4ra0-7at!r sho"ted in a th"nderin' *oi/e. 1e 'allo ed %orth, o*ertoo0 his warriors and was the %irst to /"t into the %ormation o% the s"ltan;s horsemen. ,hrere is nothin' worse than a battle in the ste e when two /a*alr! a*alan/hes /lash with ea/h other. ,he nei'hin' o% /ra(ed horses, the wild s/reams o% eo le, the hea*! /"d'els raised in /lo"ds o% d"st, the shinin' swords and the ointed s ears stabbin' in all dire/tions. $ithin min"tes headless bodies t"mble down "nder the hoo*es o% enra'ed horses, wo"nded are tram led down into the earth and those stran'led b! lassoes are dra''ed alon' into the ste e b! horses. Ctill, nobod! 0new what that "ne+"al battle wo"ld end " in. .ltho"'h the a*en'ers were three times less in n"mber than the atta/0ers the! were the hardiest warriors. In that battle 7at!r alone sla!ed not less than a do(en horsemen o% the s"ltan. :erha s the s"r*i*in' a*en'ers /o"ld ha*e 'one awa! into the ste e b"t a new mi'ht! /all th"ndered in the *alle!: )as!m-.. )as!m-.. It t"rned o"t that !o"n' C"ltan )as!m arri*ed to hel o"t 7"r"nd"0. . h"ndredstron' deta/hment o% his horsemen dis osed o% the whole matter tram lin' "nder%oot the remainin' a*en'ers. ,he s"ltan himsel% did not r"sh %orward b"t de/ided to wait till the o"t/ome o% the battle on the hill. 1e de/ided that it was "nbe/omin' to the %"t"re 0han o% the )a(a0hs to ta0e art in s"/h an insi'ni%i/ant s/"%%le. 7esides )as!m "nderstood *er! well that his o onents were not mere robbers. 1e /o"ld not start with a +"arrel with the im ram, a /rowd o% /ommon eo le on whi/h his %ame de ended this or that wa!. ,he! were to be his %"t"re s"b3e/ts and their blood /o"ld be shed onl! when he had established himsel% %irml! on the throne. )as!m stood lonel! on the hill and e*en did not loo0 at where the battle was 'oin' on. $hen he 'lan/ed at it he saw that onl! the 'iant with a bla/0 banda'e o*er his e!e remained sittin' on the ba/0 o% his horse. 1e was wieldin' his enormo"s sword li0e a /ross-e!ed rea er and the s"ltan;s horsemen were a%raid to /ome near him. ,here remained %ew enemies between him and the o en ste e. 7"t s"ddenl! 7"r"nd"0 astride his b"l0! horse /"t them o%% %rom the onl! wa! o"t. Aow the one-e!ed warrior and C"ltan 7"r"nd"0 were slowl! a roa/hin' one another.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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)as!m had no time to %ind o"t what had ha ened. ,he swords /rossed and bo"n/ed ba/0 in o osite dire/tions. Immediatel! a hea*! /"d'el swirled in the air and the o*erwhelmed 7"r"nd"0 %ell o%% his saddle. In the mean time 4ra0-7at!r was alread! 'allo in' towards the ste e and there was not one horseman in his wa!. )as!m "nwittin'l! stret/hed his bow-strin'. ,he one-e!ed warrior was a abo"t h"ndred %ootste s below and the tem ered arrow-head /o"ld 'o ri'ht thro"'h his heart. <*er sin/e /hildhood )as!m had no e+"als in shootin' arrows %rom the stron' )a(a0h bow. — Bome on, shoot... Choot, !o" " !- — /ried 7"r"nd"0 who was alread! on his %eet. 7"t )as!m lowered his bow. Ao, his hand wo"ld not ha*e %altered and he wo"ld not ha*e itied the obs/"re warrior. 7"t be%ore his *er! e!es this warrior had "nseated the in*in/ible 7"r"nd"0 with one stro0e o% his /"d'el, the *er! 7"r"nd"0 who was to be )as!m;s ri*al in the str"''le %or the 0hanate. ,hen C"ltan )as!m wo"ld "t to 'ood "se the li0es o% this *indi/ti*e warrior... — =eanwhile warrior 4ra0 was alread! %ar awa!. Cwearin' and /"rsin' e*er!thin' in the world, 7"r"nd"0 r"shed in "rs"it with hal% a h"ndred horsemen b"t all in *ain. $hen he /ame ba/0 he said nothin' to his brother )as!m b"t 3"st loo0ed at him with la/0l"stre blood-shot e!es. ,he neFt mornin' the! too0 awa! the dead bodies and were *er! s"r rised to see %amiliar %a/es "nder the bla/0 bands. ,he dead were all ri%%-ra%%, lain and oor ,"len'"ts. 7"r"nd"0 ordered to set a%ire the abodes o% the '"ilt! and sla"'hter their %amilies. ,he deta/hments 'allo ed o%% in di%%erent dire/tions to %"l%ill his order. Det someone had warned the dead;s relati*es in ad*an/e and the! hastil! a/0ed " their 'oods and /hattels and went o%% into the ste e. $hole a"ls o% s"/h lain eo le had alread! been tra*ellin' all abo"t the )a(a0h ste e, so the %"'iti*es had someone to 3oin there... ,owards e*enin' C"ltan 7"r"nd"0 be/0oned to o/0-mar0ed ,en'eh to a roa/h him. — 1e! !o", bastard... 9ie down neFt to me. :erha s toni'ht the one-e!ed wol% wo"ld want to sla"'hter !o" in re*en'e. Co he will taste m! 0ni%e instead-.. — ,he traitor la! with his e!es o en and shoo0 li0e an a"t"mn lea%. $hen a lar'e shadow t"rned " in the moonlit doorwa! o% the s"ltan;s !"rta he /o"ldn;t ma0e a so"nd %or %ear. 1ow 4ra0-7at!r mana'ed to 'et to the *er! /entre o% the s"ltan;s /am remained an eternal m!ster! to o/0-mar0ed ,en'eh. ,he lon' 0ni%e o% a )a(a0h horseherd inned him to the %elt mat. In the mornin' C"ltan 7"r"nd"0 onl! hemmed seein' beside himsel% the dead bod! o% ,en'eh. It seemed 4ra0 was indeed a tr"e warrior not to stab 7"r"nd"0 in the bar'ain. 7! the law o% the ste e onl! a traitor /o"ld be 0illed li0e a do'... .s %or the horsemen who were on the loo0-o"t that ni'ht the! 0e t m"m and onl! eF/han'ed 'lan/es. Co, another three !ears had been s ent in the '"ardin' o% =o'olistan;s borders, raids and s0irmishes. ,he re%"'ees had ada ted themsel*es to li*in' alon' the ban0s o% the Bh" and Car!s" ri*ers. $hen the %o"rth s rin' /ame and the a"ls were re arin' to lea*e %or their s"mmer /am s, C"ltan ?an!be0 said to his son: — $o"ld !o" li0e to 'o with 7"r"nd"0 to the /it! o% 23an'! to see the %esti*e /om etition and *isit a most worth! and learned man# — .t s"/h a tro"bled time#- — )as!m as0ed in s"r rise. — Do" 0now that a//ordin' to an/ient law d"rin' %esti*al /om etitions hostilities and enmit! are to be sto ed,he /om etition to whi/h the noblest eo le %rom se*eral 0hanates and emirates were in*ited was arran'ed b! one o% the ri/hest men o% Bentral .sia and the 2eshtand-)i /ha0 ste e — mer/hant ="0hammed-)ha0im al-,ara(i. <a/h !ear he wo"ld send se*eral etFremel! lar'e trade /ara*ans to Bhina, =on'olia, India, ,ibet and also to 7!(anti"m, =os/ow and e*en &reat Ao*'orod. ,his man traded and had /onta/ts with the whole world. 7esides he ne*er 'r"d'ed mone! %or /om etitions be/a"se %esti*als stren'thened his osition and /ontrib"ted to the sa%et! o% his /ara*ans.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,his time the mer/hant had an im ortant reason %or the arran'ement o% a %esti*al. 1e had e*er!thin' one /o"ld dream o%: /hests %"ll o% 'old and 3ewels, n"mero"s %lo/0s o% shee , herds o% thoro"'hbred horses and a 'reat n"mber o% /amels. >or his 'old )han .b"l0hair awarded him with the title o% «ishi0ata», the head o% mer/hants. 1owe*er, the 9ord denied him the most treas"ro"s 'i%t- /hildren. .nd now, a%ter so man! !ears, his %"ll-breasted to0al, the 3"nior wi%e, 'a*e birth to an heir. ,r"e, as alwa!s there were some s ite%"l ton'"es who asserted that the bo! indeed loo0ed a ,ara(i b"t was the s ittin' ima'e o% the mer/hant;s rob"st brother =a0hm"d. $ell, whate*er the! said the toi 6%esti*al /om etition8 was 'oin' to be a reall! 'rand one. ,hree ma'ni%i/ent ri(es were established %or the winners. ,he! were /ast %rom "re 'old in the %orm o% bi' birds ea/h o% whi/h was so hea*! that an a*era'e horseman /o"ld hardl! li%t it %rom the 'ro"nd. .n!one /o"ld ta0e art in one o% the three /om etitions: a siF-%arsa0h 1 "nmo"nted ra/e, a ten-%arsa0h /amel;s ra/e and a twent!-%arsa0h horse ra/e. ,he %irst 0ind o% ra/e was ado ted %rom the 5"mians 67!(antians8, the se/ond %rom the .rabs and the third was a lo/al, ste e one. 7esides there were less im ortant ri(es %or those winnin' in other 0inds o% horse ra/es and wrestlin'. — I% !o" 'o there bear in mind that it is beneath a s"ltan to ta0e art in a edestrian ra/e- — ?an!be0 instr"/ted his son.— .t the same time the horse ra/es romise to be reall! interestin'. 5iders %rom the Brimea, Iran and )horasan will /ome to ta0e art in the ra/es and in their arts ar'ama0s are %aster than the wind-.. ?an!be0 ro*ed ri'ht. ,owards the be'innin' o% the toi *isitors %rom nearl! all o*er the world had 'athered in 23an'!. ,he! were la/ed in a h"ndred bi' white !"rtas on the 'reen ban0 o% the ,alas. ,ho"sands o% eo le /ame to see how the ser*ants were trainin' the eFtraordinaril! bea"ti%"l ra/ers re arin' them %or the /om etitions. In the mean time the warriors and s"ltans %rom di%%erent 0hanates and emirates who were %"ll o% hostile %eelin's to one another /om eted in 'enerosit!. ,he! were to arti/i ate in ra/es and 'ames and show darin' b"t this time witho"t sheddin' blood... ,he memor! o% that to! has remained in man! son's and le'ends. ,he! sa! in the edestrian ra/e %irst ri(e was won b! s/rawn! and lan0! <'! tian al-="l0 ibn-Harh"m. 1e had alread! t"rned thirt!-%i*e and all his re*io"s li%e he had been b"ildin' brid'es. . learned man he was disli0ed b! the emirs o% his /o"ntr! and had to %lee to ,"r0estan 3oinin' a trade /ara*an. 1ere too he be/ame %amo"s %or his learnin' and man! alread! loo0ed at him with an "n%a*orable e!e. — 4 noble ="0hammed-1a0im- — addressed he the host o% the %esti*al.— Do" ha*e warned "s that instead o% the 'old bird the winner /an as0 %or an!thin' whi/h is e+"al in ri/e to it. Co I, a worthless /reat"re, am as0in' !o" to 'i*e me means to b"ild a bea"ti%"l brid'e o*er the Cei0h"n 2ar!a. I did not ha*e time to b"ild s"/h a brid'e o*er the Aile and now m! dream /an /ome tr"e. :eo le will be able to *isit ea/h other and there will be no enmit! between them an!more. ,he more brid'es on earth the less wars-.. ,he man;s e!es were lit with assion when he was sa!in' these stri0in' words. 7"t %or some reason all the 0hans, emirs, shei0s and ha0ims immediatel! %rowned. ,he mer/hant too0 a +"i/0 loo0 at their %a/es and nodded. — .lri'ht, learned r"nner, I 0ee m! word. 7"t I m"st 0now how eF ensi*e this /onstr"/tion will be,he ha ! /onstr"/tor ran to the la/e where he intended to b"ild a brid'e and set to wor0 ma0in' /al/"lations on the ban0 o% the t"rbid Cei0h"n 2ar!a. 4n the %ollowin' mornin' he was %o"nd dead his s ine bro0en. Ce/ond ri(e went to C"ltan 7"r"nd"0 ridin' a tall bla/0 /amel. 7"t he, too, de/lined the 'old bird. — I;d rather !o" 'a*e me !o"r last wi%e who has borne !o" a reall! 'olden /hild- — he said tr"e to s i/! ste e 3o0es and hintin' at the 'ossi dis'ra/in' the mer/hant.
=ne )arsakh e>uals about si? kilo(etres.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,o his 'reat s"r rise the mer/hant a'reed and that *er! ni'ht sent his !o"n' wi%e to 7"r"nd"0;s tent. ,hird ri(e was 'i*en to %i%teen-!ear-old ="0hammed-Cheibani on the %ab"lo"s .0htan'ereh, the des/endant o% .b"l0hair;s %amed ,arlan0o0. 4nl! 0hans /an ha*e a 'old bird- - he said to the mer/hant.— I am 3"st a warrior in the host o% m! li*in' 'rand%ather .b"l0hair, ma! &od 'rant him a lon' li%e. ,he ri(e I as0 %or is to arm %or me %i*e h"ndred hen/hmen... ,he shrewd /onnoisse"r o% the h"man heart loo0ed %iFedl! in the !o"th;s e!es and nodded in a'reement. — I% !o" wish I am read! to arm a tho"sand warriors %or !o"- — he said in/linin' his head as tho"'h to the 0han himsel%. .ll .b"l0hair;s enemies immediatel! realised that it was not !et time to b"r! the 1orde. .b"l0hair had a worth! heir. ,owards e*enin' the be0s and s"ltans had arran'ed to send a man to 0ill ="0hammed-Cheibani. 7"r"nd"0 a'reed to it immediatel! b"t s"ddenl! C"ltan )as!m /ame o"t a'ainst it. — $e are all s"ltans and not ni'ht-time 0illers,— he said. C"//essors to the 0han;s throne /an be 0illed onl! in battle,hat *er! e*enin' C"ltan )as!m ad*ised !o"n' ="0hammed-Cheibani to be on the alert. 1ired assassin )"r!bai to whom the! had romised mo"ntains o% 'old, stole " to the *er! la/e where ="0hammed-Cheibani was slee in' and /r"mbled down /"t in two b! the !o"th;s sword... ,h"s, all three 'old birds remained with the /"nnin' mer/hant ="0hammed-1a0im. ,wo more e*ents o//"rred d"rin' that toi. ,he %esti*al was *isited b! 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im who was a//om anied b! her sons and widowed sister-in-law .00o(!. ,wo snow-white !"rtas were set " on risin' 'ro"nd %or them with a 'reat deal o% eo le thron'in' not %ar %rom the la/e. <*er!bod! was d!in' to see in detail the women;s 'or'eo"s /ost"mes and the 3ewel-st"dded harnesses o% their horses. .s soon as ="0hammed-Cheibani 'ot his ri(e and his %ame %lared " li0e a tor/h in the ni'ht the ambitio"s C"ltan C"!"n/hi0 who had memori(ed the lessons o% Ei(ier 7a0ht!-1o3a %or the rest o% his li%e, 'rew whiter than snow with 3ealo"s!. ,hen the wise 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im eF lained to him what mi'ht res"lt %rom their relati*es; /ontention %or the throne and 'lor!. Che told the bo! the stor! o% the assassination o% her %ather and how she had /on*in/ed her belo*ed son, who had nearl! senten/ed her to a dis'ra/e%"l death, to romise her that he wo"ld ne*er as ire %or the 0han;s throne. — . r"ler has onl! death and mis%ort"ne in store %or him- — said she.— In order to be ha ! one m"st e*er! time /r"sh the head o% the sna0e o% 3ealo"s! whi/h wa!la!s him in the most "neF e/ted la/es. I% !o" 'i*e it a %ree rein e*en %or a moment it will bite !o" at on/e. ,he wo"nds %rom its teeth are in/"rable. .s %or the se/ond e isode, no-one noti/ed it at all. .00o(!, the widowed sister-inlaw o% the 0han, was sittin' on a so%t %elt mat when all o% a s"dden a wide shadow %ell b! her %eet. 1er heart missed a beat when she saw the maimed %a/e o% a man standin' in the doorwa!... — 2on;t be %ri'htened... I am 4ra0... — 4ra0... 4ra0... - she re eated almost losin' /ons/io"sness. — Des, I am ali*e b"t loo0 more terrible than a /or se, as !o" /an see... Ctill standin' in the doorwa! he told her in a +"iet e*en *oi/e the stor! o% his res/"e. Che listened to him as i% in a dream. :eo le sa! !o" ha*e sworn on the )oran and bread ne*er to 'et married a'ain and I than0 !o" %or this memor! o% me, - he said. - <*en when bla/0 soil has ta0en m! remains I will not %or'et !o"r %aith%"lness. .nd now I 'i*e !o" %reedom %rom m!sel% and in the name o% o"r "re lo*e as0 !o" not to re3e/t the 3o!s 'i*en b! &od and marr! a worth! man. >rom now on !o"r oath will ha*e no %or/e. ,o !o" I am the same as dead b"t to m! o%%enders, all the 0hans, s"ltans, emirs and the rest o% those with r"thless hearts I will li*e %ore*er— $ait- — /ried .00os!.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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7"t he was alread! 'one. Che ran o"t o% the !"rta and saw there was not a so"l aro"nd. ,he neFt mornin' the whole la/e was in terrible alarm. ,he %amo"s nameless warrior ni/0named «4ne-<!ed» and %ort! horsemen had stolen a 'reat n"mber o% ar'ama0s belon'in' to mer/hant ="0hammed-1a0im al-,ara(i. ,he ins/ri tion he had le%t on a ste e ro/0 read: «In "nishment %or the death o% brid'e-ma0er ibn-Har0h"m, ma! his "re so"l re3oi/e in the 'ardens o% .llah-» ,hat same s"mmer the )han o% =o'olistan Isa-7"'a mo*ed his head+"arters to .0sa. — ,he )a(a0hs de%end "s %rom %orei'n enemies,— he said at the 0han;s /o"n/il.— I% the enemies brea0 thro"'h their /o*erin' %or/e let ea/h emir and ha0im arran'e their de%en/e on their own,he 0han tho"'ht his de/ision wo"ld a/i%! his e*er dis/ontent s"b3e/ts. 1e had neither the stren'th nor the will to withstand them an!more. ,he /omin' o% the )a(a0hs rid him o% the roblems on the western %rontiers. 1e tho"'ht that neither Hh"n"s nor .bd"said, nor .b"l0hair himsel% wo"ld now ris0 in*adin' the territor! o% =o'olistan sin/e be%ore that the! wo"ld ha*e to 'o thro"'h hostile )a(a0h /am s. In a wa! the =o'olistan;s r"ler was ri'ht. Hh"n"s and his atron .bd"said were indeed o*erwhelmed with the s"dden emer'en/e o% )a(a0h riders on their borders. ,he dire/t ro"te to .lmal!0 was now absol"tel! /losed to them. ,he! be'an see0in' other wa!s to =o'olistan and be%ore lon' %o"nd them. ,he trans%er o% the 0han;s head+"arters to .0sa t"rned o"t to be e*en %a*orable %or their lans. Ao sooner did the 0han and his /o"rt settle down there than he was told abo"t somethin' absol"tel! im robable: Hh"n"s;s riders and those o% his new asso/iate 4mar-Chei0-=ir(a had t"rned " at a distan/e o% three da!;s mar/h %rom .0sa. .s %or Hh"n"s he 3"st made a lar'e /ir/le 'oin' ro"nd )a(a0h territories. =o*in' north o% them a/ross arid desert his troo s /ame to the lower Ili and, ad*an/in' " stream, entered Dar0end. Ctill, the miserable Isa 7"'a;s ho"rs were n"mbered. 4ne month be%ore C"ltan Hh"n"s;s /omin' to Dar0end he %ell ill and too0 to bed. 1e /ontra/ted some stran'e desease. 1is ton'"e was swollen and there was dar0ness in his e!es. ,he 0ahn;s ast seemed to him to be nothin' b"t a %i'ment o% ima'ination and his dreams his 'en"ine li%e. 4nl! the 'olden-haired 'irl with e!es as bl"e as the s0! o*er the .lata" =o"ntain was admitted to his dreams. 1e dreamed abo"t his %inall! brea0in' o"t o% this dread%"l li%e and meetin' with her !o"n' sel% a%ter thirt! !ears. ,hose /lose to the 0han wished to hear whose name he wo"ld remember be%ore his death. ,he! bent to his bed and whis ered to one another in %ear: «.star'%irallah ... astar'%irallah-.. =a! the .lmi'ht! 0ee the li*in' %rom ma0in' the sins o% o"r 0han-» - ,heodosia-.. ,hat was the name o% the in%idel;s 'irl and that was the name Isa 7"'a;s li s were whis erin'. $hen C"ltan Hh"n"s heard o% his brother;s death he immediatel! t"rned his horses ba/0 in s ite o% the ob3e/tions o% his all! and brother-in-law 4mar-Chei0h-=ir(a. — Ae*er a'ain s"/h a %a*orable o ort"n"t! will resent itsel% to "s- — 4marChei0h-=ir(a insisted.— ,he! all %eel /on%"sed now and not read! %or a %i'ht. Do" onl! ha*e to eFtend !o"r hand to 'et the throne and !et !o" 0ee es/a in' the de/isi*e battle li0e a m"llah;s sha0in' " il %earin' the rod-.. — I /annot /ome to m! brother;s %"neral bearin' arms,— C"ltan Hh"n"s said in a +"iet *oi/e.— $hat will eo le sa!#-.. =a!be he too remembered then how he had told his %ather obo"t his brother;s lo*e %or a stran'e bl"e-e!ed 'irl. In an! /ase that same da! he went with his host ba/0 to ,"r0estan. :erha s, that was a most /le*er de/ision "nder the /ir/"mstan/es. $itho"t waitin' till the end o% the one-wee0 %"neral re ast %or Isa 7"'a his retainers "nanimo"sl! ro/laimed Hh"n"s )han o% =o'olistan.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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II 4*er'rown with *ario"s ri/0l! 'rasses, somewhere between .b"l0hair;s 1orde, =o'olistan and =a*erranna0hr there s read a bo"ndless 're! /o"ntr! whi/h had lon' been 0nown as ,"r0estan. 7orderin' on the Cei0h"ndar!a in the west and the )arata" mo"ntain rid'e in the east it t"rned into the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e in the north and bro0e o%% /omin' to the ri*ers 7adam and Bhir/hi0 in the so"th. 4nl! the desert and the la/0 o% water re*ented it %rom 'reed! nei'hbo"rs; raids. Cand hills alternated with saline and s"n-s/or/hed lains %rom whi/h small ro/0s bro0e o"t towards the s0! li0e molded sabres. ,he! seemed to warn one that be!ond the hori(on there wo"ld soon show " the mo"ntain-mass o% ,ien Chan, the .ltai :amirs and &ind"0"sh... In this arid ste e, on the ri*ers streamin' down %rom the ad3a/ent mo"ntains lied the an/ient /ities o% C!'na0, Ca"ran, Dass!, Cairam, .r0h"0 and the %amo"s 4trar on the Cei0h"ndar!a. ,he! had alwa!s been s"rro"nded b! small s"b"rban settlements inhabited b! ill-assorted eo le. ,hese /ities were the /"lt"ral, reli'io"s and trade /entres o% the 'reat )a(a0h ste e and /onne/ted it with all the /o"ntries o% the <ast. 5i'ht alon' the border line between ,"r0estan and the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e %lows one o% the bi''est )a(a0h ri*ers, the Bh". It be'ins in the /r!stal-/lear la0es o% ,ien Chan b"t a/t"all! its waters ori'inate e*en hi'her, in the 'la/iers o% ,ers0ei.lata". 7rea0in' o"t %rom .lata";s ra*ines the ri*er /arries its serene ma3esti/ waters a/ross the sands and down to the salt-marshes o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. ,here, in the o*er-salinated land, be'ins the /o"ntr! o% n"mero"s bra/0ish and %reshwater la0es lin0ed with one another b! streams and ri*er bran/hes. It is in one o% these la0es that the eFha"sted Bh" %inishes its r"n 3"st one mo"nted mar/h %rom the Cei0h"ndar!a. Aot %ar %rom the la/e there is one more la0e with another ste e ri*er, the Car!s", %lowin' %rom the north-east and %allin' into its waters. ,r"e, in dro"'hta%%li/ted !ears it wo"ld disa ear hal%wa! thro"'h the sands b"t eF erien/ed eo le /o"ld alwa!s %ind %resh water e*en in the dried-" /hannel o% the ri*er. .t a distan/e o% %i*e mo"nted mar/hes %rom the la/e where the Bh" ma0es it %inal t"rn to the west the 7l"e Cea, or 9a0e 7al0hash, is with %i*e lar'e ri*ers %allin' into it. ,h"s, the entire so"thern art o% the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e with all the ad3oinin' deserts *irt"all! ma0es a "nited /hain o% ri*ers and la0es alon' whi/h a /a*alr! /o"ld ass e*en in dr! seasons. In olden times there was e*en more water here. ,his was wh! the /ities C!'na0, ,ara( and 4trar %rom whi/h one /o"ld 'o b! water wa!s or alon'side them to the remotest arts o% the 'reat ste e thri*ed there on/e. )a(a0h tribes and 0ins who had /ome with ?an!be0 and )erei and settled alon' the ban0s o% the Bh", Car!s" and artl! the shore o% the 7l"e Cea be/ame the shield o% the territor!. In the !ear o% the remo*al, be%ore the /omin' o% a"t"mn /old o*er two h"ndred tho"sand re%"'ees had set " !"rtas alon' the ban0s in the wind rote/ted %oot hills. Come a"ls had 'one e*en %arther to the mo"ntains where the 'rass was 'reen e*en in the winter. C"ltan ?an!be0 and his a"l and ,"len'"ts went a/ross the i/e to the o osite side o% the 7l"e Cea and the mo"th o% the )aratal ri*er where the s"mmer /am s o% some o% the )a(a0h 0ins were sit"ated. ,here had been b"ilt " winter /am s %or eo le and /attle. C"ltan ?an!be0;s a"thorit! was +"ite 'reat amon' the lo/al )a(a0hs and all o% them ri*atel! /onsidered him to be their leader. It was a 'ood be'innin' and the %ormin' )a(a0h state a/t"all! o//" ied a h"'e territor! %rom 9a0e ,eli0ol " to ,arba'atai. Co, ha*in' enormo"s areas %or nomadi/ li%e the )a(a0hs 'ot eF/ellent territories %or winter /am s. ,r"e, in those times the wild areas alon' the ri*ers, es e/iall! the o*er'rown la0e shores abo"nded in beasts o% re!, arti/"larl! leo ards and ti'ers. ,he! had to 0ee their e!es o en %or their li%esto/0 b"t, bein' inborn h"nters and warriors, the )a(a0hs soon /hased the redators awa! %rom their /am s. 7"t still )han Isa 7"'a was not as 0ind as to 'rant the re%"'ees these eF/ellent territories %or their '"ardin' the %rontiers. It was not %or nothin' that the! said i% a ste e man 'a*e somethin' to his nei'hbo"r it was somehtin' most dear to him or
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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somethin' that 'a*e him no ea/e. Inasm"/h as the %lood-lands b! ri*ers and la0es were 'or'eo"s in the winter when the snow was not dee and made it ossible to dri*e the li*esto/0 to ast"res e*en in %ree(in' /old it was intolerable in the the s"mmer, when inn"merable mos+"itoes and all manner o% mid'es made the li%e o% eo le and animals nothin' b"t hell. ,his was wh! eo le ne*er settled there. $ith the %irst ra!s o% s rin' s"n the! had to lea*e their /am s and 'o where*er %ate wo"ld lead them. <a/h s rin' ?an!be0 and )erei had to thin0 abo"t where to %ind the most a ro riate la/e %or settlement. Aow the! had one h"ndred and twent! tho"sand !"rtas in their /har'e and all the )a(a0h ri/hes, their li*esto/0, de ended wholel! on s"itable ast"res... $ill!-nill!, e*er! s"mmer the )a(a0h a"ls whi/h had 'one with him to =o'olistan wo"ld ret"rn to the areas west o% the 7l"e Cea that still belon'ed to .b"l0hair;s 1orde. 1owe*er, the 0han;s arms were now too short to rea/h them and be%ore lon' these lands be'an to be /onsidered bro0en awa! %rom him. ,he lo/al )a(a0h 0ins also re/o'nised the s" rema/! o% C"ltans ?an!be0 and )erei. .ll these "nited 0ins headed b! determined and ener'eti/ men be/ame a %or/e to be /o"nted with. >i*e !ears a%ter a 'reat deal o% eo le le%t the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e the /o"n/il o% the bi!s and elders o% the 0ins and tribes "nder ?an!be0 and )erei /ame to an im ortant a'reement. <arl! in s rin' b! ri'ht o% seniorit! and at ?an!be0;s s"''estion C"ltan )erei was ro/laimed )han o% the $hite 1orde, the 1orde o% the )a(a0hs. ,his was alread! an o en /laim to the /reation o% a )a(a0h 0hanate. $hat mattered was not their %ormall! ro/laimin' their own 0han. ,hat same s rin' the! de/ided to mo*e the main a"ls to s"mmer /am s dee in the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e. — ,he ste e has belon'ed to "s %rom olden times,— the re resentati*es o% di%%erent 0ins and tribes said at the /o"n/il.— Eirt"all! )han .b"l0hair and his retainers ha*e le%t their nati*e arts whereas we are /omin' ba/0 home. Co i% .b"l0hair tries to stand in o"r wa! we will %i'ht him li0e we wo"ld a %orei'n in*ader-.. .nd the! %o"'ht indeed, b"t not a'ainst )han .b"l0hair. 1is head+"arters was on the a roa/hes to =a*erannna0hr, so now he /o"ld not s"b3"'ate the "ns"bd"ed 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e with one li'htnin' stro0e. ,his time he /o"ld onl! send there ten tho"sand lash0ars headed b! the awesome-loo0in' /ommander )ara/hin. Coon eno"'h the arm! rea/hed the slow-mo*in' )a(a0h a"ls b"t the! were not able to /arr! o"t .b"l0hair;s order, that is to dri*e them to the sands and 0ill them to the last man. ,he a"ls were %ollowed b! a thirt!-tho"sand-stron' arm! o% /hoi/e horsemen "nder the /ommand o% ?an!be0 himsel%. C"ltan ?an!be0 3"st retended not to see )ara/hin;s horsemen. ,he latter %ollowed the eFam le o% wat/h-do's trottin' at a sa%e distan/e %rom a %"ll-'rown wol%. ,he! %ollowed the a"ls %or a lon' time not darin' to atta/0 them. Aow and a'ain the ad*an/ed deta/hments shot arrows at those %allin' behind b"t the moment C"ltan ?an!be0;s riders slowed down the lash0ars immediatel! retreated. C"ddenl! all thirt! tho"sand )a(a0h riders t"rned their horses ba/0 and ra/ed towards the lash0ars li0e an all-/r"shin' a*alan/he s"rro"ndin' them with a loo . It was an old militar! tri/0 %or'otten b! )ara/hin. $hen the /ommander /ame to his senses it was alread! too late to retire. .ll aro"nd there was nothin' b"t the bo"ndless ste e with no la/e to hide in. ,he thirt! tho"sand horsemen drew their bows waitin' %or ?an!be0;s /ommand to immediatel! em t! their +"i*ers. Aot one lash0ar wo"ld ha*e remained ali*e a%ter that. <*en i% someone had he wo"ld not ha*e es/a ed the lasso. ,hen )ara/hin as0ed %or a tr"/e. ?an!be0 did not want to start his new relationshi with his %"t"re nei'hbo"rs with bloodshed, so he a'reed to that on the /ondition that those willin' to sta! with him wo"ld be set %ree b! )ara/hin. .mon' the lash0ars there were +"ite a %ew who wished to li*e in the ste e, so three tho"sand horsemen remained in the arm! o% ?an!be0. 1e released the rest lettin' them 'o on horseba/0, two men on one horse. <*en now one /an see the ste e ath whi/h is /alled «,wo on one horse»...
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,hree more !ears had assed and e*er!one 'ot a//"stomed to tra*ellin' ba/0 to his nati*e arts in the s"mmer. .%ter the de%eat o% )ara/hin the enra'ed .b"l0hair swore that he wo"ld "nish b! all means the )a(a0hs that had le%t his 1orde. 1e lanned to do that at one 'o d"rin' his in*asion o% =o'olistan. I% he s"//eeded all their winter /am s, whi/h were now in =o'olistan, wo"ld 'et into his hands and the )a(a0hs o% the $hite 1orde wo"ld ha*e nowhere to 'o... Coon the lon'-ailin' )erei died and ?an!be0 was ro/laimed the )han o% all )a(a0hs. $hen he was li%ted on a white %elt mat )a(a0h 0ins had alread! ta0en %irm ossession o% the entire territor! o% the *alle!s alon' the Bh", ,alas, Car!s" and aro"nd the 7l"e Cea in the so"th. In the s"mmer the! tra*elled northwards, to the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e, and as %ar as the Desil, A"ra and ,obol ri*ers. =ore and more o%ten the nei'hbo"rs be'an to /all the new 0hanate the $hite 1orde. 1owe*er, )han ?an!be0 realised *er! well that "nless the entire )a(a0h ste e "nited in the nearest %"t"re the re*i*ed $hite 1orde wo"ld not last lon'. ,he embittered .b"l0hair, %or one, wo"ld m"ster a h"'e arm! and stand in the wa! o% the tra*ellin' a"ls /"ttin' them o%% %rom their s"mmer 'ra(in' 'ro"nds. In that /ase the onl! wa! o"t %or them wo"ld be s"bmission or death. Ao, onl! the /reation o% a "nited and ower%"l )a(a0h state /o"ld sa*e the eo le %rom dis ersion and /om lete absor tion in other nations. 7ein' alread! +"ite a so histi/ated oliti/ian, ?an!be0 realised the di%%i/"lties that were to %a/e him, es e/iall! the roblem o% 0ee in' a re'"lar arm! and introd"/in' a "ni%ied taFation oli/! in a state whose s"b3e/ts led a nomadi/ li%e. C"/h a state was s" osed to ha*e /ities, b"t not ones li0e Camar0and, 7"0hara and =er*. Its /ities had to 'ra*itate towards the ste e and be an inte'ral e/onomi/ whole with it. Cometimes, lost in tho"'ht, ?an!be0 was /arried awa! b! his lon'-/herished dream o% an allian/e with 5"ssia and abo"t the /ities on the Eol'a and Hhai0 ri*ers. 7"t he immediatel! dis/arded these tho"'hts. 5"ssia was too %ar awa! %rom the new )a(a0h )hanate, let alone the %a/t that she hersel% resembled a not *er! stron' ea'let... ,h"s, he /o"ld onl! ma0e lans dealin' with the /ities sit"ated on the %rin'es o% the ste e and /onne/ted with it b! waterwa!s or /ara*an;s aths well s" lied with water. 7esides, these /ities were s" osed to border on the /o"ntries with whi/h the ste e had a/ti*e trade relations. ,he /ities o% Aorth ,"r0estan whi/h had on/e been b"ilt to eF/han'e 'oods with an/ient nomads met er%e/tl! all these re+"irements. 1owe*er, ,"r0estan belon'ed to .b"l0hair whose host was m"/h /loser to them than to the remote old aths... C!'na0, Cairam, Dass! and other old /ities o% ,"r0estan had on/e been swe t %rom the %a/e o% the earth b! =on'ol in*aders. It seemed the! wo"ld ne*er a'ain rise %rom ashes and r"ins b"t eo le had restored C!'na0 to li%e and ?an!be0;s %ore%ather @r"s)han had trans%ered the $hite 1orde;s head+"arters there. Aow the restorer o% the $hite 1orde, )han ?an!be0, had to win his an/estor;s /a ital /it! ba/0 %rom the ower%"l .b"l0hair... Des, ?an!be0 still had a lot to do. >irst o% all to b"ild a new "ni%ied state %rom disso/iated and e*er +"arrellin' )a(a0h 0ins and tribes whi/h 'ra*itated towards di%%erent states. In order not to be ni ed in the b"d b! the warli0e nei'hbo"rs it was ne/essar! to or'anise a "ni%ied and stron' arm!. 4% rimar! im ortan/e was restorin' to li%e the entire 2esht-and-)i /ha0 ste e and the art o% ,"r0estan whi/h had on/e been the domain o% the $hite 1orde and witho"t whi/h the state;s inde enden/e was absol"tel! "nthin0able. .t the same time the /a t"re o% ,"r0estan;s /ities s elled a lon' and blood! war a'ainst )han .b"l0hair and his ,im"ride allies. >or them the )a(a0h /ities o% ,"r0estan were the 0e! that had alwa!s o ened the 'atewa! to the ste e. I% the! lost ,"r0estan the! wo"ld ha*e to 'i*e " ho e to e*er /on+"er the territories in the north and east, let alone a /onstant threat %rom their %irml! established nei'hbo"r in the ste e. 7"t it was not onl! the militar! resen/e whi/h mattered. >or the settled o "lation o% all Bentral .sia meat, and abo*e all wool and s0ins, were as ne/essar! as the arti/les man"%a/t"red b! /it! /ra%tsmen were %or the nomads. .%ter all, the 'oods that were
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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rod"/ed in ab"ndan/e in the =iddle <ast %or the mar0ets o% Bhina, India and <"ro e, the bea"ti%"l )horasan, 7"0hara and )hi*a /ar ets, the world-%amo"s s0ins, wool and /loth, were mostl! deli*ered b! nomads. ,he li*esto/0 o% =a*eranna0hr and )hi*a was hardl! s"%%i/ient to meet the needs o% their lo/al and eFtremel! /on'ested o "lation. ,o man"%a/t"re 'oods it was ne/essar! to trade with the ste e whereas the ri/es were set b! those ownin' the /ities o% ,"r0estan. Cmall wonder the established ri/es were not in %a*o"r o% the main man"%a/t"rers. >or some )a(a0h 0ins ,"r0estan;s northern art, es e/iall! the C!rdar!a oasis, was im ortant not onl! on a//o"nt o% its /ities. It was one thin' to tra*el o%% to winter /am s in Cemire/hie, within remote =o'olistan, and +"ite another to %ind themsel*es a%ter a %ew da!s on the Cei0h"ndar!a, where the )a(a0hs had eF/ellent old winter /am s. 7esides there were /ities not %ar %rom them where the! /o"ld sell their s e/i%i/ 'oods witho"t an! 'o-betweens. )han ?an!be0 was slee in' and dreamin' abo"t his %"t"re /a ital C!'na0 and the newl! b"ilt and %orti%ied /ities o% Ca"ran, Co(a0, Dass! and Cairam. 9i0e an! other 0han he was least interested in the li%e and interests o% the lo/al o "lation. <*en when he was it was onl! %or the "r ose o% "sin' the eo le;s mood in the %"t"re war. It m"st be noted that in this res e/t he showed 'reat %oresi'ht. In all those ,"r0estan /ities s"rro"nded b! a broad belt o% %ields and 'ardens there toiled sla*es and easants who were almost the same as sla*es themsel*es. ,he! bore the b"rden o% "nheard-o% taFes b"t, worst o% all, the! s"%%ered %rom the eFtortions o% +"ite a n"mber o% /omin' and 'oin' ha0ims. ,hese /it! administrators, ha0ims and dar"'s, alon' with n"mberless bais and other a"thorities %lee/ed the easants and /ra%tsmen to the oint o% the latter ha*in' to sell their own /hildren into sla*er! to a! the so/alled «'ara(h-'ara(hat», that is the 0han;s taF. 7esides the ha0ims and dar"'s were wil%"l and /orr" t. $hene*er hostilities started the! wo"ld de/ide inde endentl! who to side with and wo"ld ele/t the stron'est one who, " on /a t"rin' a /it!, le%t ower in their hands. @s"all! a 0han or an emir made the man who was lo!al to him, most o%ten his relati*e, head o% the /it!. )han .b"l0hair abided b! the same r"le. 1is 0ins%ol0 r"led in Dassa, Ca"ran and Cairam. C"s i/io"s as he was, .b"l0hair was s"re that all these eo le wo"ld sooner die than s"rrender their /ities to the enem!. It was reall! so "ntil a enem! that was stron'er than .b"l0hair /ame " to the walls o% these /ities. It loo0ed li0e C"ltan ?an!be0 realised it better than an!bod! esle. 1e did e*er!thin' to re*ent his horsemen, who were not "sed to stormin' /ities, %rom /limbin' " hi'h /it! walls. ,he most im ortant thin' was to brin' to ,"r0estan an arm! whi/h wo"ld ma0e e*er!one realise his %"ll dominan/e o*er .b"l0hair. ,he /ities; 'o*ernors were read! to 'i*e in to his mi'ht notwithstandin' their bein' related to .b"l0hair and their one-time «alle'ian/e» to him... 1owe*er, now it was the most dan'ero"s eriod in the li%e o% the $hite 1orde. Inasm"/h as the )a(a0h 0ins had the same 'oal, that is to %ree themsel*es %rom the !o0e o% .b"l0hair, the interne/ine s/"%%les had almost sto ed. 7"t now that the! had 'ood 'ra(in' 'ro"nds, man! seemed to thin0 the! were able to li*e on their own, witho"t a /ommon state. >"ll o% their an/estral arro'an/e, ea/h bai and warrior /onsidered himsel% e+"al to ?an!be0 who had onl! re/entl! been 3"st a s"ltan. 7esides, the enemies had not tro"bled the )a(a0hs %or +"ite a time and man! %elt li0e 'oin' ba/0 to their homes. ?"st li0e other ordinar! eo le the! were anFio"s to 'ra(e ea/e%"l herds and en3o! themsel*es with son's and horse ra/es. It was di%%i/"lt %or them to "nderstand that the arm!, whi/h had onl! re/entl! been or'anised b! ?an!be0, re*ented their enemies %rom a sa*a'e re risal o*er the re/al/itrant nomads. .s %or )han .b"l0hair, he did not let 'rass 'row "nder his %eet either. 1is men wo"ld t"rn " amon' the dis/ontent, itted 0in a'ainst 0in and romise to o%%er s" ort in the interne/ine str"''le. ?an!be0 realised *er! well that i% that wo"ld 'o on all his e%%orts wo"ld be wasted. )han .b"l0hair had to be de%eated with his own wea on. .s %or .b"l0hair;s ste e oli/! the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s were his ri'ht and le%t hand. ?an!be0 de/ided on ta0in' in hand both the /"d'els. It was no time to stand
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on /eremon!. I% !o" /an;t tal0 one into doin' somethin' the onl! wa! o"t is to stri0e him o*er the head-.. It /ame time %or him to swit/h to an a/ti*e oli/!. ,o this end )han ?an!be0 mo*ed to'ether with his head+"arters and his lo!al a"ls ba/0 to the ban0s o% the )ara'hen'hir. ,here, in the middle o% the )a(a0h ste e, he /on*o/ated %or a /o"n/il the main bais and warriors o% the most ower%"l /om etin' 0ins, those o% the .r'!ns and )i /ha0s. >irst o% all son'sters and orators were in*ited, in arti/"lar )otan-Hhira" and the little «5oo0-Ci(e» )a(t"'an-Hhira". .nd a'ain e*er!bod! was waitin' with 'reat im atien/e %or the arri*al o% the eternal .san-)ai'!, or .ssan the :oor 2e*il. 1e had alread! li*ed %or o*er a h"ndrend !ears on this earth o% o"rs and the eo le /o"ld ne*er ima'ine he was 3"st as mortal as the! were... .n old sa'e, ro het and lo*er o% tr"th 'ot down %rom his %leet-%ooted /amel whi/h was well 0nown all o*er the ste e, and a lied his hand to his shar -si'hted !o"n' e!es to shield them %rom the s"n settin' be!ond the hills. ,he ordinar! ea/e%"l so"nds were heard in the warm ea/e%"l air: the bleatin' o% shee , the mooin' o% h"'e-horned and hea*!-"ddered /ows with their an/estors alle'edl! bein' the %ab"lo"s b"ll He'hi-7aba. ,here ran' o"t the nei'hin' o% lon'-maned ste e horses, she-/amels hooted /allin' %or their /"bs and a /lear woman;s *oi/e was /allin' tenderl! %or her 0id: «)o(!-(han... )o(!-(han-..» - =! sweet lamb... =! dear lamb-» ,he entire %lood-lands o% the )ara0en'ir o*er'rown in s"//"lent meadow 'rass and reed were all o*er in steam. 1"ndreds o% a"ls were sit"ated there and %rom a%ar the /l"sters o% !"rtas loo0ed li0e to!s. .ll aro"nd, on both sides o% the ri*er slow d"st! whirlwinds were risin' to the serene s0!. ,owards ni'ht%all eo le were dri*in' horses and shee /loser to their a"ls a hollow r"mble rea/hin' one;s ears as i% %rom "nder'ro"nd. C"ddenl! the /latter o% horses; hoo*es was heard nearb!. . !o"n' horseman with a lasso in his hand was 'allo in' astride an ar'ama0 in "rs"it o% an "ntrained white horse. ,he horse 0e t es/a in' the rider and old .san-)ai'! wat/hed the "rs"it %or a lon' time... $hen )han ?an!be0 heard o% .san-)ai'!;s arri*al he /ame o"t o% his !"rta to bid d"e wel/ome to the o "lar son'ster. ?an!be0 was %ollowed b! the earlier arri*als, bi!s, elders and (h!ra"s. 4n the threshold the 0han s"ddenl! sto ed and his awesome-loo0in' b"sh! e!ebrows mo*ed a art. Comethin' li0e a smile lit his anFio"s 'loom! %a/e and an in*ol"ntar! si'h es/a ed him... Aobod! /o"ld remain indi%%erent to the si'ht whi/h had o ened be%ore them. ,here was some "n"s"al serenit! abo"t it whi/h made one %or'et all his worries and /ares. — Do" ma! li*e a whole li%e and ne*er see this a'ain- — ?an!be0 said so%tl!. In the mean time the !o"n' rider /ontri*ed to throw the noose o% his 0"r"0 o*er the ne/0 o% the "rs"ed horse. ,he white ra/er dashed and ha"led the rider and his horse alon' the ri*er ban0. 1owe*er, the !o"th was not ta0en b! s"r rise. ,a0in' a %irm stand in the stirr" s he be'an slowl! reelin' the lasso;s ro e on the 0"r"0;s rod. ,he white horse 'rad"all! +"ietened down and sto ed "lled " to the *er! saddle o% the !o"n' rider;s horse. — .ttabo!- — said )han ?an!be0.— $hose son ma! this horseman be# .san-)ai'! himsel% saw his darin' toda!-.. 4ne o% the hen/hmen ran o%% to %ind o"t the darede*il;s name while ?an!be0 s"ddenl! t"rned ro"nd and wal0ed to .san-)ai'! with .r'!n )otan-Hh!ra" and )i /ha0 )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" alread! hel in' him to his %eet. >rom all sides eo le were streamin' to the 0noll on whi/h the 'reat old man was standin', and sto ed at its %oot in silent re*eren/e. ,his silen/e meant %ar more than an! nois! 'reetin's whi/h /o"ld easil! /on/eal the 'en"ine %eelin's. .nd then somethin' in/redible ha ened. ,he )han o% the $hite 1orde, ?an!be0, who was dreaded b! enemies, /ame " to the 0noll and bowed low to the son'ster as a son wo"ld to his a'ed %ather. ,he ste e had ne*er be%ore seen a 0han bow to a o "lar sin'er-.. 1e 'reeted the (h!ra" with sim le "n0hanl! words.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

— &ood da!, old .san-.. .ll were loo0in' at the 'reat son'ster waitin' %or his answer. — .re !o" in 'ood health, o"r leadin' li'ht#- — ,he sa'e seer, too, addressed a 0han with s"/h sim le and si'ni%i/ant words %or the %irst time in his lon' li%e... .//ordin' to a'e-old )a(a0h /"stom the! embra/ed three times, one "ttin' his arm o*er the other;s sho"lder, li0e ones doin' the same wor0. ,hen )han ?an!be0 ressed himsel% to )otan-Hh!ra" and dimin"ti*e )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" where" on all three headed %or a white woman;s !"rta that resembled a tall sailboat in the wide wind-swe t )a(a0h ste e... $al0in' inside the! settled on +"ilted sil0 blan0ets b! the !"rta;s ri'ht wall. .san)ai'! was seated hi'her than the rest, e*en than the 0han himsel%. In ste e hos italit! ea/h detail is o% 'reat im ortan/e, so e*er!bod! "nderstood the meanin' o% the wordless rit"al. $hen the attendin' warriors, not a /han/e detail either, bro"'ht so%t %eather /"shions and "t them "nder the (h!ra"s; elbows, .san-)ai'! and the other sin'ers did not lean on them and 0e t on sittin' with their le's /rossed in ste e %ashion o"t o% res e/t %or )han ?an!be0. )han ?an!be0 in/lined his head de%eren/iall! towards them and it was onl! a%ter that that the '"ests /han'ed their ost"res. — $el/ome ba/0 to !o"r /hildren, 'reat .san-)ai'!,— ?an!be0 said.— 1a*e !o" tra*elled %ar# — ,o m! /amel .0sira0 it is not %ar b"t to his old master it is not so near- — ,he old sin'er 'a*e a !o"n' smile and e*er!one smiled with him.—I ha*e been to an earthl! aradise where the trees blossom twi/e a !ear and ni'htin'ales sin' in the winter... I ha*e been in .lmal!0, b! 'reen .lata" =a"ntains, where m! 'reat-'randdad =ai0!-7i! had tra*eled on/e. Des, those arts are reall! the 'i%t o% &od.— .san-)ai'! shoo0 his head in wonderment.— <*en the 5"mians b"lt " a /h"r/h there a lon' time a'o, in /on%irmation o% what I ha*e 3"st said... ="/h blood will still be shed on that land, ?an!be0— Do"r ro he/! is +"ite essimisti/, (h!ra"— $ho;s to blame %or o"r an/estors; on/e ha*in' settled on all the wa!s o% the earth# 7"t the most horrible wind alwa!s blows %rom behind those mo"ntains, — .san)ai'! nodded towards the east, %rom where he had /ome.— It is %rom there that the main tro"ble will /ome to o"r a"ls and there is no la/e in the ste e to hide %rom it-.. — Co what do !o" ro ose to do# — Aot to shir0 dan'er b"t to wait %or it in Cemire/hie, b! the *er! .lata" =o"ntains, on o"r old lands. 9et o"r /ities and a"ls be there so that o"r enemies wo"ld 0now that the! wo"ld alwa!s 'et a heart! wel/ome %rom "s. I% we /lose " the eastern asses %ore*er the ste e will be/ome sa%er b! %ar— .nd how will the lo/al eo le meet "s there# — Cemire/hie is inhabited b! 7as!mels and @is!ns, the an/estors o% !o"r *assal 0ins. ,here the! had b"ild " their /a ital .lmal!0 as earl! as two h"ndred !ears a'o... @nite the )a(a0hs and str"''le %or the land o% !o"r %orbears. Cemire/hie is o"r romised land. I% it does not brin' ha iness to !o" it will to o"r des/endants... — $ill the 're! wol*es o% .b"l0hair;s 1orde let it ha en# — 9et them bare their teeth %or now. In time the! will %ind themsel*es in o"r sit"ation... — 7"t be%ore that the! will mana'e to 'et at o"r hides— ,he %"t"re /ent"ries ma! well be bri'hter b"t so %ar the stron' are at the wea0;s throats. Co !o";d better be stron', )han o% the $hite 1orde— 7"t the wol*es are stron' too-.. — Do" /annot /han'e a wol%;s nat"re... 4n m! wa! here I /alled at Dass! to sa! a ra!er in the mos+"e o% .0hmed-1o3a. =! heart bled when I saw what was ha enin' there. — $hat did !o" see there, (h!ra"# — )a(a0hs bro"'ht their li*esto/0 %or sale to Dass!. ,he /it!;s head ordered to ta0e awa! the /attle and /hase the )a(a0hs o"t to the sands. — Des, the! do this all the time.
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—,he dimin"ti*e )a(t"'an-Hh!ra" 3"m ed to his %eet. ,hen where are the )a(a0hs s" osed to b"! 0arbas /ali/o to /o*er their bodies and /oarse /ali/o to enwra their dead a%ter death# :erha s, the o"tb"rst o% the small sin'er;s indi'nation rod"/ed an im ression on )han ?an!be0. .lwa!s /alm and /om osed, now he 'ri ed the handle o% his s/o"r'e with whitened %in'ers. — $e will /a t"re all that in ,"r0estan... $e;ll do it on o"r own on/e the! don;t want to sell it to "s.san-)ai'! too0 a tho"'ht%"l loo0 at ?an!be0. — =! l"minar! ?an!be0... I see in !o" the wisdom o% !o"r worth! an/estor @r"s)han. >ormerl! I do"bted the realit! o% !o"r lans. I li0ed at on/e !o"r ha*in' le%t .b"l0hair. 7"t in m! heart I did not a ro*e o% !o"r lea*in' %or Cemire/hie. It is onl! now that I reall! a re/iate !o"r %oresi'ht... 4% /o"rse, we need the /ities @r"s-)han be+"eathed to his 1orde. $e do not need the 7"0hara 'ra es or the ,ash0ent dried a ri/ots howe*er tast! the! are. 7"t then, we /annot do witho"t o"r own /ities where we /o"ld sell o"r horses... — ,"r0estan is the land o% m! %ore%athers and I do not wish to shed the blood o% o"r brothers. 7"t what;s to be done i% .b"l0hair does not ret"rn o"r /ities# Co %ar we are not *er! stron' b"t neFt !ear, when rein%or/ements ha*e /ome, we will ha*e o"r sa!— <a/h "rs"it re+"ires its own wisdom,— )otan-Hh!ra" entered the /on*ersation. — 4"r eo le who ha*e been tired o% tra*ellin' %rom /am to /am /an now eat to their heart;s /ontent. 7"t when one is "sed to li*in' an eas! li%e it is neFt to im ossible to ma0e him ta0e o%% e*en with a s/o"r'e. — $hen the enem! s+"ee(es !o"r throat !o" /an;t b"t stand " and %i'ht. — )otan-Hh!ra" shoo0 his head tho"'ht%"ll!. — . sated one does not thin0 o% %ood-.. )han ?an!be0 listened lon' to the (h!ra"s eF/han'in' o inions on war and ea/e. ,he! /o"nted not the n"mber o% s ears and swords and not e*en the n"mber o% men in the arm! b"t somethin' immaterial !et the most im ortant. Aot on/e had he seen the stron' 'i*in' in to the wea0 in battle and a smaller %or/e de%eatin' an inn"merabl! 'reater one. It was a s/ien/e witho"t whi/h there /an be no tr"e /ommander and the (h!ra"s were the best eF erts in it. — ,han0 !o" %or the tho"'hts !o" ha*e *oi/ed here,— he said addressin' them. — ,he! ha*e made me %ar stron'er and I will ne*er %or'et !o"r wise words-.. ,he! set " a white !"rta %or ea/h (h!ra" the !"rta o% .san-)ai'! bein' almost le*el with that o% the 0han. 7"t did o "lar son'sters e*er lead a home li%e# ,he! wo"ld 'o %rom !"rta to !"rta, %rom a"l to a"l, and the da! the! *isited someone;s home remained %ore*er a %estal one %or their %amilies and 0ins. Coon the %i%teen-!ear-old Chal0ii(-Hh!ra", the ne hew o% .star0han;s r"ler ,emir-7i!, /ame to the a"ls o% )han ?an!be0;s head+"arters. In s ite o% his bein' onl! sweet %i%teen he had alread! been widel! 0nown all o*er the ste e %or his tr"th%"lness, reso"r/e%"lness and "tter boldness with re'ard to the stron' o% this world. .ll the ste e had bestowed on him this wei'ht! ost%iF — (h!ra"... ,he 0han;s 'reat /o"n/il ?an!be0 had s"mmoned this time was also held with the (h!ra"s ta0in' art in it. ,he! /on%erred abo"t the "ni%i/ation o% all )a(a0hs and de/ided on assemblin' in )arata"(-A"ra an eFtraordinar! meetin' o% the /hie%s and warriors o% all )a(a0h 0ins. It was the most s"itable la/e %or all to *isit. ,he! had three iss"es, or 3ar'h!s, to dis/"ss at that meetin'. ,he %irst 3ar'h! was the ne/essit! %or e*er! 0in and tribe to enter a "ni%ied 1orde. ,he se/ond 3ar'h!: /onsiderin' the remoteness o% the )a(a0h /am s %rom one another it was o% rimar! im ortan/e to establish three tribal /omm"nities, or (h"(as, a//ordin' to the o//" ied territor!, e/onomi/ interests, atrimonial "nits and solidarit!. ,he )a(a0hs had been dis/"ssin' the roblem o% s"/h an or'anisation alread! %or abo"t one h"ndred and %i%t! !ears b"t their "nendin' interne/ine stri%e re*ented them %rom /omin' to a m"t"all! a//e table sol"tion. Aow was 3"st the time to e%%e/t it into li%e. <a/h (h"(a was s" osed to ha*e its bi! or 'reat warrior with his head+"arters whi/h, howe*er, was to be s"bordinate to the $hite 1orde;s /hie% head+"arters. In man! res e/ts this 0ind o%
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or'anisation resembled &en'hi(-)han;s administrati*e di*ision into "l"ses or ,im"r;s *ila!ets, with the onl! di%%eren/e that it was intended not %or militar! /am ai'ns b"t %or their own se/"rit!... ,he third 3ar'h! res"lted %rom the two re/edin' ones. ,he "nited )a(a0h 0hanate wo"ld demand %rom .b"l0hair the s"rrender o% the /ities on the so"thern border o% the ste e. ,he latter;s disa'reement wo"ld mean an immediate war... ,he s"mmer had assed and when there were two wee0s le%t till the a ointed da! the 0han;s a"l with an es/ort o% n"mero"s relati*es, /lose %riends and ,"len'"ts tra*elled o%% to 9a0e Ca"mal-)ol. It too0 one hal% a da! to rea/h )arata"(-A"ra astride a %leet-%eeted ra/er. ,he onl! ath that led to the la/e was o*er'rown with ri/0l! b"rrs and dr! reeds. ,o both sides o% it there was nothin' b"t a stone-hard saline lain. 1ere e*er!thin' loo0ed somewhat sombre and m!sterio"s. ,he bla/0 ost %estooned with ie/es o% white /loth and the old h"man s/"lls s/or/hed b! the "nmer/i%"l s"n o% the ste e reminded one that in olden times these arts had been /onsidered sa/red and here sa/ri%i/es had been made to the stern 'ods o% the ste e. )han ?an!be0 sent a s e/ial /ara*an to )arata"( in 'ood time. >i%t! bi' !"rta( had been set " %or '"ests and new wells d"' o"t to brin' water in leather ba's. 9en'ths o% ro e had been drawn all alon' the '"ll! to %asten /olts to. . lar'e herd o% mares had been bro"'ht to the la/e to ha*e eno"'h 0o"miss %or the '"ests. ,he 0han himsel% was the %irst to arri*e with his sons ?adi0 and )as!m and the son o% the late )han )erei in order to wel/ome in erson re resentati*es o% 0ins and tribes. Coon )a(a0h bi!s, elders and 'reat warriors be'an 'atherin' at )arata"(. 4nl! the /hosen ones 0new abo"t the meetin'. .lmost all o% them were the /hie%s o% 0ins and tribes and some owned n"mberless herds o% horses and shee . <a/h one was es/orted b! deta/hments o% warriors and horsemen and ,"len'"t s+"adrons. .ll ower in the ste e was in their hands and their word meant m"/h to )han ?an!be0... ,he %i%teenth /ent"r! was a *er! se*ere one %or the )a(a0h eo le. It was in this /ent"r! that the disso/iated and o osin' )a(a0h 0ins and tribes, whi/h "ntil then had wa'ed "nendin' se*ere wars a'ainst ea/h other, %inall! realised the ne/essit! o% "ni%i/ation %or their s"r*i*al. ,he /hie%s o% 0ins were a"to/rati/-minded and ambitio"s. ,he! were o onents o% a "nited state b! nat"re. 7"t this time the 'eneral national im "lse was so 'reat that the! /o"ld not hel 'i*in' in to it. 7esides, the! /o"ld not dis/ard the 'rowin' si'ni%i/an/e o% )han ?an!be0 in the ste e. Ce*eral !ears later the mat"rin' Chal0ii(-Hh!ra" th"s san' o% those e*ents ridi/"lin' the .star0han 5"ler ,emir-7i!:
I am Chal0ii(, the son o% ,len/hi, .nd ,emir-7i! is m! s"n... 1e was so ower%"l, ,emir-7i! was, ,hat in his time m! horns to"/hed the /lo"dsCo it seemed to me, !et I was 3"st a lonel! wood e/0er, ,hat nearl! bro0e his horns, the st" id thin'...

Des, ,emir-7i!, the 'randson o% the le'endar! warrior Dedi'eh, whose name instilled the %ear o% &od into eo le, realised *er! well that i% he obe!ed )han ?an!be0 he wo"ld lose m"/h o% his "nrestri/ted ower. «I;d rather be a 'ander amon' 'anders than a 'ander amon' /rows,» he de/ided and redo"bled his e%%orts in stren'thenin' the alread! established ties with )a(an and the Brimea. ,hat same !ear he married his %i%teen-!ear-old da"'hter to the son o% the )han o% )a(an. In the %"t"re he intended to set " 'ood relations e*en with the %arawa! ,"r0ish s"ltans who be'an to a! more %re+"ent *isits to the Brimea and the .star0han ste e, altho"'h he lanned to do it not to ha*e 'ood-nei'hbo"rl! relations b"t to 'et s" ort in the interne/ine stri%e in the ste e. ,his was how the %rontier ste e lords a/ted ho in' to ha*e as m"/h ower le%t as ossible. 7! the wa!, at an! o ort"ne moment the! immediatel! %or'ot abo"t
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their romised /ommitments to the allies and made raids on them as the! wo"ld their sworn enemies... «Bome what ma!,— ,emir-7i! tho"'ht,— b"t a%ter the )a(a0hs le%t %or =o'olistan )han .b"l0hair has 'rown wea0, =os/ow 5"s is too distant and as %or )a(an, we will tr! to /ome to terms with it. 7etween the Dedil and the Hhai0 tra*el m! %aith%"l .l/hins and art o% the Ao'ailins. Co m! main dan'er is )han ?an!be0 who tal0s smoothl! b"t, I;m a%raid, not the one to rel! " on in time o% tro"ble-..» 1owe*er, as was /"stomar! in the ste e ,emir-7i! did not re%"se his s" ort either. ,oo 'reat was the whole eo le;s as iration %or "ni%i/ation. C"/h a re%"sal mi'ht be detrimental to a atrimonial /hie% e*en amon' his own eo le, the more so that it /on/erned a war with the hate%"l 1orde o% .b"l0hair whi/h had also bro"'ht too m"/h tro"ble to the .l/hins. — It;s 'ood the ste e eo le ha*e de/ided to be/ome "nited- — ,emir-7i! said at the be'innin' o% the meetin'.— $e sho"ld ha*e ta0en ,"r0estan awa! %rom .b"l0hair and ridden him o% his teeth a lon' time a'o. ,he .l/hins, Hha ases, Hha'albailins and the rest li*in' between the Dedil and Hhai0 ri*ers are re ared to s" l! %i*e battle t"mens to ?an!be0. 7"t will it be /on*enient %or "s to s"bmit to a 0han whose head+"arters is in %arawa! C!'na0# ,he @is"n )ara-4s an, who was the eldest here, b"rst o"t la"'hin' in a boomin' *oi/e. 2o !o" reall! thin0 that the horse o% )han ?an!be0 will not be able to easil! /o*er the distan/e 7i! ,emir;s ra/er has 3"st /o*ered# — 1ot-tem ered 7i!-,emir 'ot the meanin' o% the in%eren/e and b! old /"stom threw his twin-/ore whi with a meadow-sweet handle wo"nd ro"nd with %ine 'old wire on the %elt mat be%ore him as a si'n o% /onsent. — Aot e*er!where where one /an 'allo on horseba/0 e*er!thin' %alls as mowed 'rass... )han .b"l0hair, too, on/e had lon' horns and some o% his warriors e*en went be!ond the Dedil, as %ar as )a(an. Co what# ,he! went ba/0 to where the! /ame %rom with thin ra0e-li0e ne/0s brin'in' home %leas the si(e o% a s arrow-..ч Aow )ara-4s an threw his whi on the mat too. — I see !o" still ho e %or the s eed o% !o"r horse. 7etter ra/ers than !o"r one were lassoed in its time. $at/h o"t, ,emir-7i!, it ma! well be that ?an!be0;s 0"r"0 is lon'er than that o% .b"l0hair- It was the e/ho o% an old ar'"ment. .ltho"'h the .l/hins, Hha ases and Hha'albailins tra*ellin' between the Dedil and the Hhai0 were /onsidered to be )han .b"l0hair;s s"b3e/ts !et in realit! these warli0e 0ins ne*er %"ll! obe!ed him. .b"l0hair wo"ld re eatedl! send his troo s to s" ress them with the warrior )ara-4s an himsel% headin' one o% these "niti*e raids... .t that time ,emir-7i!;s %ather, old ,ensi0-7i!, was still ali*e. Aot bein' an o"tstandin' /ommander he was rather /"nnin' and reso"rse%"l. It was he who 'a*e 'ood ad*i/e to his son ,emir who b! that time had alread! be'"n ta0in' all ower in the ste e. «In an o en %i'ht !o" will not de%eat .b"l0hair;s %or/e,» - said he.— «=a0ebelie*e !o" ha*e no hostile intentions and are read! to s"bmit to him-» ,emir-7i! %ollowed the wise ad*i/e. .ll his *assal a"ls tra*elled o%% to the Brimea while he himsel% sta!ed with %i*e tho"sand warriors and the wa'on train. $hen )ara-4s an and his enormo"s %or/e a roa/hed the Dedil he saw on the o osite ban0 a m"ltit"de o% !"rtas and n"mberless smo0es 'oin' " to the s0!. It /o"ld onl! be the rebellio"s a"ls o% the .l/hins, Hha ases, and Hha'albailins he /ame to a/i%!. Aot 'i*in' e*en a moment;s rest to his eFha"sted host that same ni'ht )ara4s an be'an %ordin' the ri*er. ,owards mornin' the troo s had alread! been on the Dedil;s west ban0 b"t %o"nd no a"ls there. It be/ame /lear to )ara-4s an that that *er! ni'ht the! had /rossed the ri*er ba/0 to the east ban0 and were now 'oin' o%% into the ste e and on to the Hhai0. ,he enra'ed )ara-4s an immediatel! ordered his men to 'et ba/0 to the o osite ban0 and started a "rs"it. 7"t the "ns"bd"ed a"ls were retreatin' too %ast. ,r! as he did he /o"ld not /at/h " with them and it was onl! a%ter he had /o*ered a 'ood tho"sand 0ilometres and was in the sands o% Aar!n that he realised he was "rs"in' not the a"ls b"t ,emir-7i!;s arm!. ,he! were ridin' rested horses and were easil! es/a in' the "rs"ers. $inter was /omin' and it was alread!
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late to 'o ba/0 to the Brimea to "nish the reall! '"ilt! a"ls. Co the! had to ret"rn to .b"l0hair em t!-handed... It was that /am ai'n that ran/oro"s ,emir-7i! reminded now abo"t to )ara-4s an to whi/h the latter answered with a threat. ?an!be0;s 0"r"0 mi'ht indeed ro*e lon'er than .b"l0hair;s one. )han ?an!be0 was in %ar 'reater a"thorit! than an!one else and eo le hel ed him with %ar 'reater willin'ness than the! did .b"l0hair. 4ne /o"ld not b"t /o"nt with that. It loo0ed li0e the de*elo in' e*erlastin' inter-tribal ar'"ment was 'oin' to end " in an o en s/"%%le. «4b*io"sl! this ,emir-7i! does not want an! "ni%i/ation "nder m! ma/e,— )han ?an!be0 was thin0in' %e*erishl!. - ,he .l/hin and Hha as 0ins li*e on the o"ts0irts o% the ste e whi/h ma0es them sta! o"t o% all this. 1owe*er, all deseases are in%e/tio"s eF/e t a bone %ra/t"re. $hat i% the rest %ollow their eFam le#.. $e /annot let it ha en-» 1e tossed his head and %iFed his e!es on ,emir-7i!. — Do"r an/estor, Ded'eh-7at!r, was a broad-minded man while !o" /an onl! thin0 within the limits o% Ao'ailin territor!. $ill the .l/hins and Hha ases themsel*es a'ree with !o" in e*er!thin'# 9et the %"t"re show it. 7"t o"r /ommon enem! is .b"l0hair and it is him we m"st %i'ht. .%ter all he has sla"'htered his own 'rand%ather )a(!-7i!, the son o% Dedi'eh himsel%. I as0 !o" oint-blan0: will !o" deta/h twent! tho"sand warriors %or this war# — I will- — ,emir-7i! said %irml!. — Co %ar it is s"%%i/ient, and later we;ll see. ,emir-7i! slowl! i/0ed " his whi %rom the mat. «Do", ?an!be0, wish to rei'n o*er the whole ste e- — he tho"'ht to himsel%.— 7"t that will ne*er be. Do" want a bi' 0hanate while we will be satis%ied ha*in' rather a small one, li0e the one we ha*e now. ,here are man! ar'"ments and battles in store %or "s, )han ?an!be0-» C"ddenl! all t"rned their heads and drew themsel*es " . — .larm... .larm— ,he enem!. rider astride a %oam! horse was tearin' alon' %rom the east and strai'ht to the 0han;s o en !"rta where the meetin' was held. ,he horsemen aro"nd were ta0in' " his des erate s/ream and assin' it %arther on. It seemed the whole ste e was s/reamin'. 1e /o"ld hardl! mana'e to sto the s eedin' horse and rolled down. — $here;s the enem! /omin' %rom# — )han ?an!be0 as0ed. — $ho is the enem!#.. $ho# ,he stern-loo0in' bi!s and warriors were eFaminin' the /lear hori(on. ,he messen'er was a *er! !o"n' tall %ellow with barel! showin' mo"sta/hes. — =! Co*erei'n )han, the enem! is near- — he sho"ted.— ,he! are /omin' %rom )o0-2(hin'il. )han .b"l0hair sent them. ,he! are headed b! )han .b"l0hair;s eldest son, Chah-1aidar, and )ara/hin-7ahat"r. ,heir a0halte0eh and te0eh-(ha"m!t ra/ers are bi''er than o"r horses. ,he! are wearin' astra0han hats and armed with sabres and lan/es. $e will hardl! ha*e time to mil0 one mare be%ore the! t"rn " here-.. — 1ow man! are the!# — ?an!be0 as0ed with an o"twardl! /as"al air. Aeither his %a/e nor *oi/e betra!ed his anFiet!. — .bo"t a tho"sand— .nd where is o"r anti- ro%iteer deta/hment#.. )ereis and Aaimans are s" osed to stand '"ard o*er there-.. — ,he! ha*e assed b!, a/ross the ste e, witho"t /on%rontin' o"r men- Aow the )ereis and Aaimans are behind them... — 1a*e the! been in%ormed# — =! %ellow-messen'er is now on his wa! there)han .b"l0hair learned abo"t the all-)a(a0h meetin' at )arata"(-A"ra %rom his s/o"ts alread! tow wee0s a'o b"t retended not to 0now an!thin' abo"t it. 1owe*er,
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one ni'ht ten h"ndred de*il-ma!-/are /"tthroats i/0ed %rom Cel3"0 ,"r0men, =an'its and 7arlasses se/retl! le%t .b"l0hair;s head+"arters and too0 the %ield. $ith his son Chah-1aidar and )ara/hin-7ahat"r at the head, the! rode onl! at ni'httime and d"rin' the da! hid in the r"sh! ra*ines o% the ste e. ,heir tas0 was sim le: to raid and destro! ?an!be0;s head+"arters and blow its ashes to the wind. конец A4= 22 в русском варианте соответствует стр. 126 до слов ... а пра развеят! по ветру.

начало фа"ла $.55I45 618 соответствует в русском варианте стр. 1J2 со слов #ывезя обои наследников с поля боя... ,a0in' both o% the heirs %rom the battle%ield where Cha0h-)haidar had erished, )ara/hin-7a'at"r de/ided a'ainst 'oin' to Camar0and with them. ,he times were s"/h that the! /o"ld be 0illed b! enemies or ri*als at ea/h ste . )ara/hin-7a'at"r too0 the !o"ths b! se/ret roads %irst to .stra0han, and then to =a*eranna0hr. .lon' the wa! the! were 3oined b! se*eral s"ltans and warriors lo!al to the .b"l0hair 1orde and seein' their %"t"re in its re*i*al, and then b! the r"lers o% the ,"r0estan /ities o% Dass, 4trar, and 7"0har whi/h hadn;t !et been sei(ed b! 2(han!be0. .ll o% them de/ided to "t the names o% the 'randsons o% .b"l0hair on their banners in order to restore the a"thorit! o% the 7l"e 1orde. ,h"s, the ,im"rids, on the one hand, and some o% the =o'ol r"lers with the s" ort and assistan/e o% %ormer /omrades-in-arms o% .b"l0hair, on the other, "nited in %i'htin' what had be/ome a serio"s threat to the $hite 1orde. ,he! ro/laimed ="0hammed-Cheiban the 0han o% the 7l"e or the @(be0 1orde and %e*erishl! be'an re arin' %or a war. $hile C"ltan 7"r"nd"0 was 'oin' to *isit the )han 2(han!be0 on the shores o% the Hhai0, the !o"n' 0han ="0h0hamed-Cheiban swoo ed down on and sei(ed C!'na0 %rom him and be'an to /learl! threaten Hhiren/he-C"ltan who was near Dass. Coon Ca"ran also %ell and the bi!s and elders soon went o*er to ="0hammedCheiban;s side. ,his red"/ed the re/ent s"//esses o% 2(han!be0 in Aorthern ,"r0estan to almost (ero. ="0hammed-Cheiban didn;t !et dare to mo*e into the ste e o% 2eshtand-)i /ha0, b"t he soon wo"ld. It;s not hard to ima'ine how )han 2(han!be0 and his sons too0 all this news /omin' %rom ,"r0estan in ra id s"//ession. ,he $hite 1orde had 3"st be'"n to raise " its head when attem ts be'an to be made to destro! it. .nd it is not b! /han/e that the %irst atta/0 was in ,"r0estan where the interests o% se*eral 0hans /lashed at on/e. Des, Aorthern ,"r0estan remained an a le o% /ontention between %o"r states. ,he )a(a0h 0hans were 'oin' to remain in their /ities in order to rote/t their ste es and ha*e a door to world trade /enters. In other words, the! wo"ld %i'ht to reser*e their !o"n' 0hanate. ,he! /o"ld sim"ltaneo"sl! hold the sword o*er se*eral o% their enemies at on/e %rom there, i.e. %rom Aorthern ,"r0estan. ,he =o'ol 0hans wanted to r"le Aorthern ,"r0estan and th"s /ontrol and, i% the! 'ot the /han/e, dri*e the )a(a0hs o"t o% Cemire/hi!e and also awa! %rom their northwestern border. .%ter the death o% .b"l0hair and a//ession to the throne in .lmal!0 %irml! tied to the ,im"rids o% Hh"n"s-)han, the! no lon'er needed the )a(a0h shield on their border, the more so sin/e 2(han!be0 laid /laim to r"lin' o*er all )a(a0hs in/l"din' the =o'olistanis. ,he ,im"rids wanted to /ontrol Aorthern ,"r0estan as be%ore in order to dominate Bentral .siati/ trade with the ste e and restore the 'reat state o% the 9ame ,im"r.
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.nd the o%%s rin' o% .b"l0hair sim l! didn;t want to lose what "ntil re/entl! had belon'ed to them. Aorthern ,"r0estan was the 0e! to the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 whi/h )han .b"l0hair himsel% was %rom. $hat /o"ld )han 2(han!be0 do in this sit"ation# Bo"ld he /ontin"e to remain on the ea/e%"l and s a/io"s shores o% the Hhai0# 9osin' Aorthern ,"r0estan lowered the $hite 1orde to the osition o% a se/ond rate 0hanate witho"t a %"t"re, and no one who had an! %oresi'ht wo"ld a'ree to thatCo )han 2(han!be0, /ontrar! to the o inion o% man! o% those aro"nd him, de/ided to ret"rn to ,"r0estan and /ontin"e to %i'ht. 1e not onl! too0 an arm!, b"t also man! a"ls there with him. 1e "nderstood that Aorthern ,"r0etstan wo"ld be/ome totall! )a(a0h onl! when whole 'ro" s o% eo le settled on its lands... <*en the wise .san-)ai'! re roa/hed )han 2(han!be0 %or lea*in' s"/h a %ree and s a/io"s la/e:
,here, in the ste es, wild deer ra/e .nd a sil*er %ish la!s in the shallows o% the 'reat ri*er, >"ll 'amebirds r"stle the reeds alon' the shore, .nd the eo le don;t 0now h"n'er7"t !o" didn;t 'ather !o"r eo le on the ri*er Hhem, Do" /alled them ba/0 %rom there,he $eel was %ine and its water sweet: It was so /lear it /o"ld onl! be /om ared to tears o% 3o!7"t !o" didn;t 'ather !o"r eo le on the $eel either Do"r /alled them ba/0 %rom there-

,hose are the words .san-)ai'i san', b"t )han 2(han!be0 was not swa!ed. 1e made the )a(a0hs %rom a"ls on the shores o% the Bh" and Car!s ret"rn to them. .san)ai'i /om osed the %ollowin' h"moro"s /o" lets abo"t the Bh":
4n both sides o% the Bh"—salt-marshes .nd it is eno"'h 3"st to breathe the air to %all ill. ,he 0ni%e won;t /ome o"t o% the sheath, .nd the men there are owerless li0e 'eldin's, It 'oes witho"t sa!in' that the women there .re two-%a/ed wild bit/hes-

.nd )arata", where )han 2(han!be0 dis ersed some o% the a"ls, was also re*iled b! the bard:
Ao birds /an be heard there eF/e t %or the e*il /"/0oo, .nd not a blade o% 'reen 'rass is to be seen. ,he land is li0e rotten %r"it, ,he women ha*e a waist the si(e o% three, .nd the men;s bones /latter as the! wal0, Co the land, so the eo le<*en a 'ood horse t"rns into a wre/0 in %i*e !ears, .nd the e!es o% twent!-!ear-old horsemen tear li0e those o% old men, 4h land /"rsed b! &od-

Ao, 2(han!be0 was adament. 2ra''in' a tail o% /ara*ans behind himsel% stret/hin' o*er the whole ste e, he went east. ,he eo le were sad and dis irited. 7"t a erson b"ildin' a state m"stn;t thin0 onl! abo"t toda!... @ on arri*in', )han 2(han!be0 immediatl! be'an to re are to do battle with the re*i*ed .b"l0hair 1orde. .n arm! a'ain a roa/hed the /it! o% C!'na0. C"rro"nded b! horsemen o% Ca!an-7at!r, the 0han rode in the middle o% his $hite 1orde, not 0nowin' that his e!es were seein' the risin' s"n %or the last time. ,he armies o% 2(han!be0 and ="0hammed-Cheiban met on the wide lain between Ca"ran and Dass. ,his time there were no d"els. )han 2(han!be0 had his horsemen atta/0 ri'ht %rom a mar/h. ,he! rammed ri'ht thro"'h three lines o% las0ars .nd at that oint 2(han!be0 /o"ldn;t re%rain %rom 3oinin' in. >or'ettin' that he was alread! siFt!, he 3"m ed on his horse and r"shed into the battle. ,here was no better
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horse on the ste e than that o% the 0han: the horsemen o% Ca!an-7at!r /o"ld hardl! 0ee " with him, and soon 2(han!be0 had b"rst a 'ood two h"ndred a/es ahead. .t that moment las0ars o% the ersonal '"ard o% ="0hammed-Cheiban, who were /ommanded b! the mi'ht! .0so%-)hod(ha, r"shed %rom both sides on their ,"r0oman horses and inter/e ted him. ,he! a roa/hed )han 2(han!be0, who /ontin"ed to ra/e ahead, three times and three times their bodies, almost /"t in hal%, %ell to the side and their heads in their hi'h sha''! hats rolled. 7"t the %o"rth time .0so%-)hod(ha himsel% rode " and, while )han 2(han!be0 was wa*in' his sword to the le%t, he 'a*e him a terrible blow with a /"d'el %rom the ri'ht. ,he 0han o% the $hite 1orde %ell to the hard /ra/0ed 'ro"nd. .t that moment it was as i% a tornado had hit and swirled all aro"nd. It was the horsemen o% Ca!an-7at!r who had /a"'ht " with their 0han and /ame stormin' down on those /ir/lin' the bod! o% )han 2(han!be0. In an instant the las0ars had been /"t to ie/es and ="0hammed-Cheiban himsel%, who had 'allo ed " to see the dead enem!, barel! es/a ed bein' /a t"red. 1e was sa*ed b! .0so%-)hod(ha who r"shed ast and drew the 0han;s horse awa! with him. ,he )a(a0h warriors, in their dee sorrow, didn;t bother to "rs"e the retreatin' enem!. ,he! raised the bod! o% their 0han %rom the 'ro"nd and 'allo ed %ar into the ste e with him... ,he battle sto ed o% its own. ="0hammed-Cheiban lead awa! the thinned ran0s o% his arm! to the sa%et! o% the walls o% the %ortress in Dass, while the )a(a0hs remained in the ste e. 1a*in' wra ed the bod! o% their 0han in a white mat, the! "t it on a white /amel and set o"t %or the /it! o% Co(a0 whi/h was r"led b! the se/ond son o% 2(han!be0—=a0hm"d. ,he! ere/ted a masole"m %or 2(han!be0 neFt to the one %or .b"l0hair. ,he! were made identi/al. ,wo wol*es, whi/h the *ast ste e had been too small %or, now end"red their roFimit! in silen/e. .nd the eo le who /ame here to ra! soon aid homa'e to both... $hen the %ort! da!s o% mo"rnin' were o*er, the bi!s and leaders o% the $hite 1orde raised the bra*e and stern warrior 7"r!nd"0 on a white mat as a si'n o% ro/laimin' him to be the neFt 0han. It was his t"rn, b! seniorit!, to ta0e the throne... ,he! had hardl! /elebrated this e*ent when C"ltan-=a0hm"d, the !o"n'est brother o% ="0hammed-Cheiban, be'an ad*an/in' on the /it! o% Co(a0 at the head o% a h"'e arm! whose troo s had been 'athered %rom all /orners o% =a*eranna0hr, and also had been 'i*en b! =o'ol 0hans and ,im"rids. .nd bi' deta/hments %rom ,ash0ent, Dass and 4trar 3oined him as well. 7lood %lowed li0e a ri*er a'ain, b"t the belli/ose 'randson o% .b"l0hair had to retreat %rom Co(a0. .s a res"lt o% these battles the eo le o% the two hordes be/ame more and moe di*ided. C"ltan )as!m, who sooner or later sho"ld be/ome the 0han, be/ame 'l"m and more mat"re o*er these months. ,he death o% his mother, who had alwa!s shielded him, and then the death o% his %ather in battle had sha0en him. $hen C"ltan )as!m had 'one %ar into the ste e, he be/ame lost in re*erie. ,he bo"ndless eF anses /almed his hot head and the wind /arried awa! his hatred and an'er. Ao, he wo"ld ne*er brea0 the *ow he had 'i*en his mother, %or nothin' was more terrible %or a erson with a so"l«7"t that is not di%%i/"lt to do while I sim l! eFe/"te 7"r"nd"0;s orders,» he tho"'ht. «4ne %ine da! the!;ll "t me on the white mat. .nd who will /are abo"t m! *ow# ,he! will demand I do somethin'. 7"t isn;t the main enem! o% o"r 1orde now m! /o"sin ="0hammed-Cheiban#» ,hat !ear t"rned o"t to be a *er! di%%i/"lt one %or C"ltan )as!m. ,wo times he had to retreat in battles with the militar! leader ="0hammed-Cheiban. ,he not to smart 7"r"nd"0 had %or/ed him to enter into battle at a *er! disad*anta'eo"s moment. 7"r"nd"0 was one o% those %oolhard! ste e /ommanders who enter into battle as soon as the! see the enem!. ,he! don;t /are abo"t the /onse+"en/es, and the! r"n %rom the enem! with the same le*it! as the! atta/0 him. It was this nomad
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%oolhardiness that res"lted in their bein' de%eated. Ao, real 0han sho"ld /ond"/t himsel% li0e thatC"ltan )as!m was also tro"bled b! somethin' else. =ore and more o% the oor eo le and %"'iti*e warriors %rom all o*er the 2esht-and-)i /ha0 0e t 'oin' o*er to the deta/hment o% the 4ne-e!ed 4ra0 and he be'an to dri*e awa! the herds o% the ri/h and im ortant, not /arin' whi/h 1orde the! belon'ed to. ,his was how the ha*e-nots eF ressed their an'er at the ha*es. C"ltan )as!m saw the raids o% 4ra0 s linterin' the "nit! o% the new 0hanate and de/ided to atta/0 his deta/hment and destro! it on/e and %or all. )as!m so"'ht a /han/e to meet 4ra0, b"t no s"/h o//asion arose. 4ra0 didn;t tr"st the 0hans and s"ltans and was 'ood at hidin' %rom them. =oreo*er, the ill"si*e 4ne-e!ed warrior, who had de/lared war on all 0hans, be/ame es e/iall! /r"el a%ter the death o% his bride .00o(a. ,hat winter he dro*e awa! two bi' herds o% )as!m;s 'ra(in' on the shores o% the )aratal. ,he! said that 4ra07at!r 'a*e these horses to oor *illa'ers li*in' b! the .ral Cea. It was s"''ested to )as!m that he send a bi' deta/hment there and 'et them ba/0, b"t he de/ided not to. 1e 0new that he wo"ld be/ome a 0han and he sho"ldn;t start b! ma0in' a "niti*e raid on a"ls "nder his r"le. ,hat winter there was a moment o% 3o! in the !"rta o% C"ltan )as!m as well. ,he ste e s"ltans ne*er had to /om lain abo"t a la/0 o% /hildren, b"t %or some reason )as!m was es e/iall! ha ! when his son )ha0na(ar was born. =a!be he '"essed that this was the son who wo"ld ta0e " his li%e;s /a"se. In the meantime, ins ite o% the losses he had s"%%ered, C"ltan )as!m held a bi' %east at whi/h there were wrestlin' mat/hes and horse ra/es and eF ensi*e 'i%ts were 'i*en o"t to /elebrate his son;s birth. «,he warrior 4ra0 0new that s"/h a wonder%"l son wo"ld be born to me-» — C"ltan )as!m anno"n/ed la"'hin' at this %east.— «9et the horses he 'a*e awa! be m! 'i%t to the eo le %or the 'lor! o% )ha0na(ar... I3 .n old Basso/0 ro*erb was re eated a'ain and a'ain in the $hite 1orde: «Co that the e!es didn;t e/0 ea/h other, .lla "t a nose between them». $hen 7"r"nd"0 too0 the throne, C"ltan )as!m was made the /hie% /ommander. .nd %rom the *er! %irst da! the! were at odds. ,he! were too di%%erent. .nd no ea/ema0er who /ame between them so their di%%eren/es 'rew into animosit!. ,he main thin' that the! disa'reed on was the %"t"re o% the 0hanate. 7"r"nd"0 saw the %"t"re o% his eo le in in/essant wars. . short-si'hted warrior, he %elt that /on+"erin' the territories o% the nei'hbo"rin' 0hanates was the road to a mi'ht! state. 7"r"nd"0 had been in the saddle his whole li%e and demanded the same %rom e*e!one else, %or'ettin' that eo le needed to 'ra(e their /attle, s" ort their %amilies, rest and en3o! li%e... C"ltan )as!m %irml! de/ided to %ollow in 2(han!be0;s %ootste s. 1e tho"'ht the state sho"ld ha*e a re'"lar, well-armed, arm! /a able o% de%endin' the )a(a0h /attle breeders, not a *ol"nteer /or s li0e their distant an/esters. .nd war sho"ld not be the main wor0 o% the )a(a0hs be/a"se it lead to de'eneration. ,he warriors o% &en'hi()han were a 'ood eFam le o% this. Ao, the )a(a0hs had eno"'h land, &od hel them de%end what the! had«I wo"ld li0e to ma0e it so that lar0s ma0e nests on the ba/0s o% the shee in o"r /o"ntr!-» said )as!m. 7"t 7"r"nd"0 didn;t ta0e his ad*i/e, assertin' that in/essant war to"'hened the eo le, t"rnin' them into %earless wol*es ro*in' abo"t the ste e da! and ni'ht in sear/h o% worth! re!. C"/h eo le weren;t a%raid o% /old or h"n'er. .ll the wealth in the world wo"ld be bro"'ht to their tents. ,here wo"ldn;t be an!one ri/her than the )a(a0hs and all aro"nd wo"ld tremble 3"st at hearin' their nameC"ltan )as!m was in a bind. 1e himsel% was %or the absol"te r"le o% the 0han and there%ore he had to obe! 7"r"nd"0. 1e "n+"estionin'l! /arried o"t all his orders tho"'h "nderstandin' the harm the! did. =ore than on/e the )a(a0h arm! had
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s"%%ered de%eat be/a"se )han 7"r"nd"0 hadn;t bothered abo"t strate'!. 4nl! one time did he admit that he hadn;t re ared ro erl! nor armed his troo s s"%%i/ientl!. .nd 7"r"nd"0 was e*en less sa*! when it /ame to oliti/s. 1e saw onl! the «.b"l0hair leo ards», as he /alled ="0hammed-Cheiban and C"ltan-="0hm"d, as the main enemies o% the 0hanate. 1e tho"'ht that i% the! were done awa! with, the world wo"ld be his. 7"t C"ltan )as!m alread! "nderstood that his mother had made him ma0e that *ow not onl! be/a"se o% bein' related to .00osa. $ith her dee %eminine int"ition she had "nderstood that soon the time wo"ld /ome when ea/e between the 'reat related 0hanates wo"ld be ne/essar!. >or onl! th"s /o"ld the! be/ome stron' and res e/ted. )as!m didn;t do"bt that it was his mother who had s"''ested the *ow to his sister .00o(a. ,here were s"/h wise women in the man! /ent"r! histor! o% the ste e... Des, a oli/! o% ea/e %or man! !ears wo"ld be ad*anta'eo"s to both 0hanates. 7"t in no /ase sho"ld ="0hammed-Cheiban be let 0now abo"t this desire %or ea/e nor sho"ld his own interests be ne'le/ted, in/l"din' in the dis "te o*er the /ities o% Aorthern ,"r0estan. 9ea*e ="0hammed-Cheiban;s hands "n%ettered so he /o"ld %i'ht the ,im"rids who were also enemies o% the $hite 1orde. 9et the !o"n' and hot ="0hammed-Cheiban r"sh to the so"th-east where the belli'erent hordes o% Bentral .sia were alwa!s drawn. 9et the /enter o% 'ra*it! o% interests o% the .b"l0hair 1orde shi%t there, to India, Iran, and .%'anistan. $o"ldn;t the )a(a0h 0hanate stand to 'ain %rom that# 4*er time it wo"ld be/ome the main %or/e here in its an/ient /raddle. .nd what wo"ld 0illin' both the Lleo ardsM do besides immediatel! stren'thenin' the ,im"rids and 2(ha'atai and =o'ol 0hans# ,heir teeth were not onl! shar b"t also oisono"s. Ao, it;d be better to ha*e to deal with lea ards than sna0es-.. ,he /ra/0 that had a eared between )han 7"r"nd"0 and his /ommander 2as!m, +"i/0l! widened and t"rned into a /hasm. )han 7"r"nd"0 no lon'er /on/ealed his %ail"re to "nderstand )as!m;s li0in' %or a mortal enem!. 1e attrib"ted the de%eats s"%%ered to this. =eanwhile the L.b"l0hair leo ardsM, not 0nowin' it, hel ed sol*e the roblem. 1a*in' sei(ed the 0e! /ities in ,"r0estan—C!'na0, 4trar, .0hr"0 and @(0ent— ="0hammed-Cheiban de/ided to also ta0e Ca"ran. $hen the head o% the /it! %o"nd o"t abo"t it, he 'athered all the members o% his %amil! and all their relati*es and ran to Dass, and the elders, bi!s, mer/hants and other im ortant eo le in the town de/ided to t"rn it o*er to the !o"n'est brother o% ="0hammed-Cheiban, the wild warrior C"ltan =a0hm"d. 1e immediatel! res onded to their s"mmons and mar/hed into the /it!. ="0hammed-Cheiban /ame there as a '"est o% his brother. 7"t, when lea*in' the /it!, he said to C"ltan =a0hm"d: L,he /it! wasn;t t"rned o*er to !o" with 'ood intentions...2ri*e o"t or 0ill those who t"rned it o*er to !o".M 7"t C"ltan=a0hm"d did not heed his brother;s words and soon aid the ri/e... ,he 'lor! and ower o% ="0hammed-Cheiban 'rew with ea/h da!. ,he emirs, bi!s, mir(! and s"ltans, at a loss a%ter the de%eat o% the 7l"e 1orde, 'athered %rom all aro"nd "nder his banner. .nd ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han, the oldest o% the northern ,"r0estan 0ha0ims 6head o% a /it!8, was beside himsel% with %ear. 2e/idin' to es/a e %rom their dan'ero"s nei'hbo"rs b! 'oin' be!ond the ste es o% Camar0and, ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han %irst sent a /ara*an /arr!in' *al"ables there. .nd he had his %a*o"rite da"'hter, the %o"rteen-!ear-old Ibadat, 'o with that /ara*an. 7"t it so ha ened that one o% ="0hammed-Cheiban;s men %o"nd o"t abo"t the /ara*an. $ith a deta/hment o% horsemen he atta/0ed the /ara*an and sei(ed the 'oods, then bro"'ht it to ="0hammed-Cheiban. >rom all the *al"ables, the !o"n' 0han /hoose onl! the bea"ti%"l Ibalat and made her his %i%th wi%e. It was then that ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han t"rned to 7"r"nd"0 and as0ed him to be/ome his all!. ,hro"'h an emissar! he ro osed that the! atta/0 ="0hammedCheiban to'ether and dri*e him o"t o% ,"r0estan. 4ne wa! or another, b"t the oli/!
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o% wait-and-see whi/h 7"r"nd"0 had %ollowed latel! "nder the dire/t in%l"en/e o% C"ltan )as!m was bearin' its %irst %r"it. ,he 3oined %or/es o% the $hite 1orde and the main 0ha0im in Aorthern ,"r0estan s"rro"nded Ca"ran and C"ltan-=a0hm"d be'an to b"ild " his de%enses. >ollowin' C"ltan )as!m;s ad*i/e, ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han wrote a messa'e to the bi!s and elders o% Ca"ran remindin' them who the! were s"b3e/ts o% and s"''estin' that the! a*oid the s illin' o% blood b! 'i*in' " the /it! witho"t a %i'ht. ,he! tho"'ht it o*er and, at a se/ret /o"n/il, de/ided to do 3"st that. ,he! sent some eo le who sei(ed the "ns"s e/tin' L.b"l0hair leo ardM, C"ltan-=a0hm"d, and 'a*e him o*er to C"ltan )as!m as he entered the /it!... ,hat was the %inal straw in the ar'"ment between 7"r"nd"0 and )as!m. .%ter sei(in' the /it!, C"ltan )as!m and his all! ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han held a %east to /elebrate its bein' "nder the ae'is o% the $hite 1orde a'ain, somethin' whi/h the st"bborn main 0ha0im %inall! a'reed to. )han 7"r"nd"0, who had arri*ed in the /it!, was re/linin' on sil0 illows and blan0ets belon'in' to C"ltan-=a0hm"d and drin0in' /" a%ter /" o% thi/0 3"i/e. Aot e*en ha*in' tal0ed to his /ommander, he ordered: L7rin' that C"ltan-=a0hm"d here-M 7"t instead o% the 'randson o% .b"l0hair, C"ltan )as!m /ame. 1e made the /"stomar! bow to the 0han o% the $hite 1orde and sat down where indi/ated. LI was told that !o", m! so*erei'n, ordered the /a t"red warrior C"ltan="0ham"d be bro"'ht to !o",M he said +"ietl!.. L$hat do !o" want him %or ri'ht now#M LI was told that he is a bi' hero,M said )han 7"r"nd"0 who had be/ome 'l"m li0e a %all /lo"d. I want his head to be /"t o%% be%ore me. ,hen we;ll see i% he /ries o"t li0e a warrior or li0e a womanC"ltan )as!m /ontin"ed in the same low *oi/e: C"ltan-=a0hm"d isn;t a sla*e bo"'ht %or mone! or a warrior ta0en in battle. Co we don;t ha*e the ri'ht to deal with him witho"t a 'eneral /onsens"s. Ao matter what he has done, he is the 'randson o% a 0han and the onl! brother o% the 0han. ,o /"t o%% his head we need the /onsent o% at least the Cmall Bo"n/il, i% not the 7i' Bo"n/il. 7"r"nd"0;s ne/0, %a/e, and hands t"rned /rimson. 1e loo0ed li0e a bi' ba' o% eat amon' the sil0 illows. C"ddenl! he sat on his heels. 1is e!ebrows 0nit to'ether, and his e!es nearl! o ed o"t o% their so/0ets in an'er. LI will be the 7i' and Cmall Bo"n/ils %or .b"l0hair;s o%%s rin'-M he roared. L,hen I as0 !o",m! so*erei'n, not to %or'et another an/ient law...M C"ltan )as!m, as be%ore, tal0ed +"ietl!, not raisin' his *oi/e. LC"ltan-=a0hm"d is m! /a ti*e. =oreo*er he is m! /o"sin on m! mother;s side. ,here%ore I am his /losest relati*e here and re resent his interests. Aot e*en 7"r"nd"!0 dared to 'o a'ainst this an/ient law o% the ste e. 1e droo ed and m"ttered somethin' "nintelli'le with the inarti/"lateness inherent to him: L$hat do !o" want o% me#...&od 0nows how man! )a(a0h warriors that C"ltan=a0hm"d has 0illed- 2o !o" reall! want to let him 'o# C ea0-M C"ltan )as!m "nderstandin'l! shoo0 his head: Ao, I;m not as0in' !o" to let him 'o. 7"t a /o"n/il sho"ld be /on*ened to de/ide his %ate. $e;re not bri'ands, b"t a state and it;s not 'ood to set an eFam le o% lawlessness.M LDes,..!es,M 7"r"nd"0 a'reed. L7"t now isn;t the time to /on*ene the /o"n/il. =! men ha*e re orted that ="0hammed-Cheiban has ad*an/ed to Dass. 1e won;t be able to ta0e s"/h a %ortress ri'ht awa!. .nd we, not losin' an! time, sho"ld s"ddenl! sei(e 4trar,his ro osal was more to 7"r"nd"0;s li0in': L&o ahead,M he a'reed and sna ed: L7"t !o"r C"ltan-=a0hm"d will end " in the noose all the same-M L,hen it will be /lear-M 7"r"nd"0;s blood boiled a lon' time as he tho"'ht abo"t what had ha ened. 1e was li0e a /at whose %ish has been ta0en ri'ht %rom "nder his nose. )han 7"r"nd"0 rarel! too0 an!one;s ad*i/e, and he es e/iall! /o"ldn;t stand the ad*i/e o% C"ltan
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)as!m. 1e wo"ld ha*e 'one ahead and "nished the /a ti*e, b"t he was '"arded b! )as!m;s horsemen and 7"r"nd"0 /o"ldn;t 'et to him. $hen arri*in' home, C"ltan )as!m immediatel! s"mmoned Ca!an-7at!r. ,he honest and lo!al warrior had be/ome the /losest erson to )as!m. 1e alwa!s /arried o"t the most dan'ero"s missions dis la!in' remar0able sa*! and /o"ra'e in doin' so. LHhien-a'a, I want to as0 !o" to do somethin' *er! im ortant,M said C"ltan )as!m, addressin' him as i% he were someone older than himsel%. L,here hasn;t been a sin'le da! witho"t dan'er in m! li%e,M Ca!an-7at!r smiled. L$hat are m! orders#M C"ltan )as!m %ell silent thin0in'. L$ell, it;s this...It isn;t entirel! sa%e to lea*e o"r /a ti*e C"ltan-=a0hm"d here and I want !o" to se/retl! send him to Co(a0. Do" will ha*e to a//om an! him and remain there with him "ntil we ret"rn %rom 4trar. LDo";re ri'ht, that;s no eas! assi'nment !o";re 'i*in' me,M the warrior a'reed. L2oesn;t it seem to !o", m! s"ltan, that ta0in' C"ltan-=a0hm"d to Co(a0 is the same as a death senten/e. .%ter all !o"r brother and his namesa0e, the noseless =a0hm"d with a /"t li , r"le there. .nd it was o"r /a ti*e that did that to him. L=! brother won;t re*en'e an "narmed erson %or what ha ened in a d"el.M Ca!an-7at!r shoo0 his head: L. bodil! wo"nd +"i/0l! heals and sto s h"rtin'. 7"t h"rt %eelin's...M LIt;s ne/essar! to rote/t C"ltan-=a0hm"d no matter what. I *owed to m! mother that I wo"ldn;t harm .00o(i;s /hildren as lon' as the! didn;t raise a hand a'ainst me. L.ll ri'ht, I;ll do e*er!thin' I /an so that !o" will 0ee !o"r *ow. 7"t don;t eo le 0now that I am the brother o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im, the wi%e o% the late .b"l0hair# LAo, I didn;t 0now this. 7"t does that /han'e an!thin'#M LIsn;t C"!"n/hi0 the son o% 5abia-C"ltan-7e'im# .nd isn;t C"!"n/hi0, m! /o"sin, in ="0hammed-Cheiban;s arm!#M L,hat;s the la/e %or him...M LDes, b"t i% C"ltan-=a0hm"d s"ddenl! 'ot awa! %rom me, won;t I, li0e it or not, be !o"r %oe#M LI ha*e 'reat %aith in !o".M L7etter test me some other wa!,M the warrior insisted. LI as0 !o" a'ain, lease entr"st this to someone else.M L,here is no other man li0e !o".M C"ltan )as!m said %irml!. L7esides, C"ltan=a0hm"d e*identl! 0nows abo"t !o"r 0inshi to him and won;t resist 'oin'. $e m"st ret"rn him home ali*e and "nharmed.M LIn that /ase wh! don;t I 3"st let him 'o#M L)han 7"r"nd"0 wo"ld blame me then. Ao, let the /o"n/il o% 0hans de/ide his %ate. ,he ma3orit! will *ote as I do....M ,hen it is not ne/essar! to 'o to all this tro"ble %or the /a ti*e. $ho 0nows what the /o"nil o% 0hans ma! de/ide. .nd 7"r"nd"0 /o"ld s"ddenl! insist on ha*in' his wa!.M LDo"r d"t! is to '"ard and rote/t C"ltan-=a0hm"d "ntil o"r ret"rn %rom 4trar.M C"ltan )as!m s o0e e*enl! loo0in' the warrior strai'ht in the e!es. LI see...M Ca!an-7at!r smiled si'ni%i/antl!. LI;ll do e*er!thin' in m! ower, m! C"ltan.M LI;m settin' o"t toda!, while nothin' "n%oreseen has ha ened. :"t the /a ti*e in the sto/0s.M LDes, m! C"ltan.M ,hat *er! da! 7"r"nd"0, with )as!m at the head o% the arm! o% the $hite 1orde, set o"t %or 4trar. 7"t ="0hammed-Cheiban, as soon as his s/o"ts re orted this to him, immediatel! sto ed his sei'e on Dass be/a"se he did not want to lose his best %ortress in ,"r0estan. 1e will remembered the ste e sa!in' abo"t the 'oat whi/h
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as0ed &od %or horns b"t lost its ears. 7! the time the )a(a0h troo s were a roa/hin' 4trar, ="0hammed-Cheiban had alread! made it ba/0, not witho"t 'reat e%%ort, and ta0en /o*er behind its thi/0 walls. ,he walls were thi/0er and hi'her that those at Dass, and the towers had s e/ial slots %or ar/hers. ,he! were %ort! meas"res hi'h and the ba0ed 'ra! /la! whi/h the! were made o% was as stron' as 'ranite. ,he %ood in the /it! had been /olle/ted d"rin' raids o*er the !ear, and there was also lent! o% water and %"el. $hile the atta/0ers were on the barren ste es s/or/hed b! the s"n. >ood and %odder had to be bro"'ht %rom a%ar, the water in the irri'ation dit/hes was dirt! and the soldiers 'ot si/0 %rom it. .%ter a month;s sei'e all the eo le with an! /ommon sense were sa!in' that tr!in' to ta0e 4trara was senseless. 7"t the st"bborn 7"r"nd"0, as "s"al, wo"ldn;t !ield. 1e ordered the men to di' their wa! "nder the walls and im atientl! waited %or the da! when he wo"ld drin0 the %resh blood o% both the Lleo ardsM. 7"t one %ine da! d"st rose %rom the dire/tion o% ,ash0ent. ,he s/o"ts re orted that a bi' arm! was /omin' to hel ="0hammedCheiban. It no lon'er made an! sense to /ontin"e the sei'e and that *er! da! 7"r"nd"0 ordered his men to withdraw. )han 7"r"nd"0 himsel%, with a JKKK stron' deta/hment, 'allo ed ahead and the rest o% the troo s, with )as!m at their head, a roa/hed Co(a0 onl! a wee0 later. $hen the "ne*en walls o% Co(a0 were *isible %rom the distan/e the! saw a horseman r"shin' towards them. It was /lear that he was h"rr!in' to tell them somethin' im ortant. C"ltan )as!m and his /om anions 'rew anFio"s: an!thin' /o"ld be eF e/ted at s"/h a moment. Comeone /o"ld be la!in' in amb"sh behind ea/h hill. It was Hhadi0, one o% the !o"n'er brothers o% C"tlan )as!m. 1is horse was all lather!, li0e a%ter a three-da! ra/e, and he himsel% almost %ell %rom the saddle head %irst. L.ssala"mahalei0"m-M L@ahalai0"m assalam-M )as!m answered. LIs e*er!thin' all ri'ht in o"r *illa'es, Hhadi0#M LDesM 7"t there is some bad news-M L,ell me.M C"ltan-=a0hm"d has es/a ed %rom the d"n'eon and one o% the '"ards is with him...M: L.nd where was the warrior Ca!an#M L,he! /"t his throat.M .//ordin' to Hhadi0, this was what ha ened. 7esides the '"ards, Ca!an-7at!r himsel% sle t neFt to C"ltan-=a0hm"d, %earin' that eo le sent b! 7"r"nd"0 wo"ld 0ill him. <*identl!, in the absense o% the warrior, the /a ti*e %o"nd a /ommon lan'"a'e with the '"ard, a =an'it, romisin' him mo"ntains o% 'old. $hether that was so or not, the '"ard /"t Ca!an-7at!r;s throat while he was slee in'. .n "nder'ro"nd t"nnel had alread! been d"' "nder the wall o% the d"n'eon and both ran awa!. It was %o"nd o"t onl! in the mornin', b"t the! had disa eared into the ste e b! then. 1a*in' heard abo"t the death o% his /losest %riend, C"ltan )as!m e*en ro/0ed in the saddle in an'"ish. It was as i% it was all a bad dream. <*en when all the troo s h"rried to sa! a ra!er %or the late Ca!an-7at!r whom the! had all lo*ed, )as!m /o"ldn;t 3oin in. 1e %elt that he was to blame %or his %riend;s death... ,he troo s started 'oin' on towards the /it!, b"t he made a si'n to be le%t there where he had heard the terrible news. Coon C"ltan )as!m remained alone in the ste e. L4h Ca!an-7at!r-M he sho"ted. LI swear that I;ll re*en'e !o"r death-M ,hen the s"ltan 'ot on his 0nees and whis ered bitterl!: L2ear =ama- In tr!in' to 0ee m! *ow to !o" I ha*e lost m! %ather...=! brother =a0hm"d was made a /ri le b! the same hand....nd now I ha*e 0illed m! best %riend in the world. $hat shall I do, =ama#M ,he dr! 'rass r"stled in the wind and somewhere in the whitish s0ies o*er ,"r0estan an in*isible lar0 warbled. Ao one answered the s"ltan, and there was sad /on%"sion in his e!es.
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LI;m ta0in' ba/0 m! *ow to !o", =ama... I;ll re*en'e the death o% m! %ather and %riend....nd !o"r death be/a"se the sword %lew %rom them to !o". ,he li*in' m"st no lon'er be sa/ri%i/ed be/a"se o% a *ow to the dead.M .nd C"ltan )as!m had romised the /a ti*e C"ltan-=a0hm"d that he wo"ld let him 'o home ali*e and health!. 1e had as0ed him not to dis air and not to "nderta0e an!thin'. .nd C"ltan-=a0hm"d had romised...C"/h a man did not deser*e an! mer/!-M .lread! at the *er! 'ates to Co(a0, C"ltan )as!m /a"'ht " with his troo s. 1is brother Hhadi0 was brin'in' " the rear. LI %or'ot to tell !o" that ,emir-7i! has /ome to Co(a0 %rom Dedil!e,M said Hhadi0. L,he! sa! that he is *er! ill...M C"ltan )as!m re lied hollowl!. LDes...,he! sa! its %rom 'rie%...7"t he 'ets on and 3"m s down %rom his horse himsel%-M L,hat means he;ll li*e a while more...M L.nd I didn;t tell !o" that 7"r"nd"0, o"r so*erei'n, /onsiders Ca!an-7at!r to blame %or C"ltan-=a0hm"d;s es/a e. L7"t he was 0illed.M L.ll the same....nd to re*en'e Ca!an-7at!r, 7"r"nd"0 'a*e the warrior;s %ormer wi%e, &"lba0hram to ,emir-7i!, tearin' her awa! %rom her /hildren. 5emember, she is .b"l0hair;s da"'hter.M $h! ,emir-7i! is ill, and he;s " in !ears—almost the a'e o% a ro het. $hat will he do with &"lb0hram# LDes, he was a dodderin' old man when he /ame to "s,M Hhadi0 went on. L1e /o"ld barel! /limb down %rom his horse. 7"t, when he learned abo"t &"lba0hram, he immediiatel! /heered " and waddled li0e a !o"n' 'oose. :eo le sa! that he a'ed ahead o% time be/a"se he /o"ldn;t be/ome the %"ll master o% the lands o% theDedil!e and Hhai0... 7"t when he heard abo"t Ca!an-7at!r;s death he at %irst 'rie*ed and then be'an to sa! that his widow belon'ed to him. .nd as soon as the 0han ret"rned %rom 4trar, ,emir-7i! demanded that she be his. .nd the 0han tho"'ht that was %ittin'. 7"t when Ca!an;s %irstborn, the %i%teen-!ear-old .!an heard abo"t this, he r"shed at the old ,emir-7i! with a sword. 5i'ht now .!an is in the d"n'eon while the! re are the 'allows. Co I 'allo ed o"t to meet !o" be%ore it was too late-M Hhadi0 eered into his brother;s %a/e, b"t it was im enetrable. C"ltan )as!m to"/hed his horse sli'htl! and it ra/ed ahead /at/hin'in' " with the troo s. ,he news abo"t what had ha ened in Co(a0 had alread! s read amon' the warriors and the!, one a%ter another, silentl! 3oined )as!m. ,he dr! 'rass /r"n/hed "nder the hoo*es o% the horses and the d"st hea*il! settled on the 'ro"nd. 7e%ore ridin' all the wa! " , )as!m sele/ted se*eral warriors %rom those ridin' behind him and, with them and two horsemen %rom the ersonal '"ard whi/h Ca!an7at!r had %ormerl! /ommanded, he a roa/hed 7"r"nd"0;s ala/e. ,here was a /rowd on the s+"are. ,here was no room %or e*en an a le to dro . LCtand ba/0...Ctand ba/0-M ,he eo le sho"ted this ma0in' wa! %or C"ltan )as!m. Aot 'ettin' o%% his horse, he sto ed at the door o% the 0han;s ala/e. 4nl! then did he loo0 aro"nd and s"ddenl! saw 7"r"nd"0 be%ore him. 1e towered, a h"'e s+"are blo/0, in the doorwa! and a deta/hment stood on the read! to the side. .nd ,emir-7i! in a wo*en shirt o% mail and lamelar iron hood on his sho"lders was sittin' on a h"'e old horse in %ront o% him. 1e was stoo ed %rom a'e and loo0ed abs"rd in his battle 'ear. .nd at the *er! end o% the deta/hment, little &"lba0hram, the widow o% Ca!an7at!r, was seated ba/0ward on a horse as a si'n o% dis'ra/e. ,he da"'hter o% the terrible .b"l0hair had been 'i*en as a sla*e to ,emir-7i!. 1er hands were ti'htl! tied in %ront o% her and she had been 'a''ed so that her sobbin' /o"ldn;t be heard. 1er lon' bl"ish-bla/0 braids assed between the le's o% the sla*e horseman in %ront o% her and were %irml! tied to the brest stra o% the horse. ,hat was "s"all! done when 2(h"n'ars dro*e o"t )a(a0h 'irls ta0en /a ti*e
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C"ltan )as!m loo0ed the other wa! and in*ol"ntaril! sh"ddered. @nder the 'allows stood the horseman .!an, the ima'e o% his %ather, with a thin hair noose aro"nd his ne/0. ,he end o% the ro e whi/h assed o*er the /rossbar was held b! one o% the 0han;s eFe/"tioners—a bi' man who resembled 7"r"nd"0 himsel% in some wa!s. .!an wo"ld ha*e alread! been han'ed, b"t 7"r"nd"0 wanted it to be done be%ore his mother and &"lba0hram had resisted and it too0 a lon' time to tie her " . <*en ,emir-7i! as0ed )han 7"r"nd"0 not to "nish the horseman .!an, b"t 7"r"nd"0 was adament. 7"r"nd"0 wasn;t so d"mb—he 0new that when .!an 'rew " he wo"ld ta0e re*en'e %or what the! had done to his mother. .nd the old ,emir-7i!, ha*in' seen a tho"sand deaths and /r"el in3"sti/es in his time, did not ersist in tr!in' to ers"ade 7"r"nd"0. 1e onl! bowed be%ore 7"r"nd"0 and than0ed him %or &"lba0h!am whom he had wanted %or man! !ears. .s i% awaitin' 3"st a 'lan/e %rom C"ltan )as!m, the eFe/"tioner drew the ro e towards himsel%. L9et 'o o% it-M C"ltan )as!m said this +"ietl! b"t %irml! and the eFe/"tioner be/ame /on%"sed. 1e loosened b"t didn;t dro the ro e, loo0in' in %ri'ht at the /ommander whose name had alread! 'one %rom mo"th to mo"th in the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 and all the nei'hbo"rin' /o"ntries. 7"t then the eFe/"tioner t"rned to 7"r"nd!"0 and /ried o"t in a thin *oi/e: L.s o"r 0han has ordered-M L9et 'o o% it-M C"ltan )as!m ordered in an e*en so%ter *oi/e. .nd the eFe/"tioner tossed the end o% the ro e awa! %rom himsel% as i% it were a sna0e. C"/h a silen/e rei'ned on the s+"are that a bi' stri ed bee %rom the ste e /o"ld be heard b"((in' aro"nd .!an;s head. Clowl! t"rnin' red, )han 7"r"nd"0 too0 a hea*! sable o"t o% its sheath.1e ste ed towards his horse whi/h two hen/hmen held b! the bridle. 7"t he ne*er too0 the se/ond ste : a wall o% warriors was standin' behind C"ltan )as!m and the one on the %ar ri'ht barel! noti/eabl! shoo0 an iron bl"d'eon. 7"r"nd"0 'ot the messa'e Ni% he too0 another ste this bl"d'eon wo"ld o"nd his head into his stoma/h. 1e loo0ed at the warriors. . %ire b"rned in their e!es. L,a0e the woman down %rom the horse and brin' her to me-M )as!m ordered. ,he !o"n'est o% the warriors, 4nai, 3"m ed down %rom his horse and ran o*er to &"lba0hram and "ntied her braids. ,hen he tore the s/ar% %rom her mo"th and too0 o"t the 'a'. . heart-rendin' s/ream rolled a/ross the s+"are. Comeone /"t the ro e that tied .!an;s hands behind his ba/0. >reed %rom the noose, he ran to his mother. LI entr"st !o" with sa%e'"ardin' their li*es, 4nai-7at!r- said C"ltan )as!m. LDes, m! C"ltan-M ,he eo le /arried o"t all C"ltan )as!m;s /ommands not e*en loo0in' in 7"r"nd"0;s dire/tion. C"ddenl! ,emir-7i! an'ril! d"' his heels into his horses sides and rode " to the s"ltan. L,he %al/on 3"st ha*in' 'ot his %eathers is alread! l"/0in' the %eathers o% the old ea'le-M he sho"ted in a senile /ra/0in' *oi/e. LI% I were twent!-%i*e a'ain, I;d dra' !o" ali*e behind m! horse, C"ltan-M L2on;t lose !o"r hono"r, ,emir-7i!-M s"ltan )as!m said in a low *oi/e. 7"t ,emir-7i! /o"ld not be sto ed: LDo"r %ather 2(han!be0 /o"ldn;t 'et re*en'e on me %or 0ee in' the Dedil!e and Hhai0 )a(a0hs %rom "nitin' "nder his r"le, b"t now !o" ha*e done that ha*in' b"ried me ali*e-M he sho"ted t"rnin' to the /rowd %or s!m ath!, and s"ddenl! shar l! t"rned his horse aro"nd. L&ood-b!e, )han 7"r"nd"0...7eware not o% ="0hammed-Cheiban, b"t )as!m-C"ltan...=ar0 m! words-M 1e 'allo ed awa! with his deta/hment. L9on' li*e warrior )as!m.M ,hat sho"t b"rst %orth as i% %rom one sin'le breast and 7"r"nd"0 h"n' his head... .ll 7"r"nd"0;s merit was in his %earlessness and militar! *alo"r. 1e wasn;t terribl! smart, b"t e*en he /o"ld '"ess the si'ni%i/an/e o% what had ha ened. ,he
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)a(a0h warriors wo"ld now ba/0 )as!m, not him. 7"t he didn;t thin0 abo"t how to 'et ba/0 the eo le;s res e/t. ,he warriors; t"rnin' awa! %rom him onl! %illed him with an'er and he saw it as all the %a"lt o% )as!m;s intri'"es. ...7eware not o% ="0hammedCheiban, b"t o% )as!m-C"ltan-M ,hese words o% ,emir-bi! r"n' in 7"r"nd"0;s head and he 'nashed his teeth in ra'e. LI% !o" want to deal with a new enem!, ma0e %riends with an old one.M ,hese words %lamed in 7"r"nd"0;s head li0e a tor/h in the ni'ht and he be'an to 'o o*er all the enemies o% the $hite 1orde that he /o"ld re/all. ,he %irst o% them were both the .b"l0hair Lleo ardsM... C"ltan )as!m was thin0in' abo"t somethin' absol"tel! di%%erent that ni'ht. 1e "nderstood that the roblem was not his alter/ations with 7"r"nd"0, b"t that there was no "nit! and a//ord in the $hite 1orde as there was when it was "nder 2(han!be0 and )eree. .nd the reason there wasn;t was the short-si'hted oli/! o% 7"r"nd"0. 1e wanted to %or'e the eo le into a sin'le state b! %ear alone. >ear isn;t a *er! lon'lastin' 'l"e. .nd an iron %ist onl! bears %r"it when it 'oes hand in hand with 3"sti/e. ,he sli'htest tri/0er! or retreat %rom the tr"th and the /r"elt! o% the a"to/ra/! /omes o"t and and soon b"ries all "nder it. 2idn;t his an/estor &en'hi(-)han show that this was a dire/t ath to national de'eneration. Des, it wasn;t so m"/h 0han 7"r"nd"0;s a"thorit! that %ell to the d"st on the s+"are toda!, b"t the a"thorit! o% the whole $hite 1orde. .nd tomorrow it wo"ld be the tal0 o% the ba(aars o% .lmal!0, ,ash0ent and Camar0and. =a!be he sho"ldn;t ha*e o osed 7"r"nd"0 in %ront o% e*er!one. 7"t i% he had let s"/h an in3"sti/e ta0e la/e, it wo"ld ha*e s oiled the name o% the 0hanate %or a'es. $ho o% the warriors then wo"ld be s"re that wo"ldn;t ha en to his wi%e and /hildren a%ter his death. $as it worth %i'htin' %or a state where arbitrariness and lawlessness rei'ned#... It was the most in/on*enient moment ri'ht now %or dis/ord. $inter was /omin' and a lar'e art o% the troo s wo"ld ha*e to be let 'o home. .nd ="0hamed Cheiban, ta0in' ad*anta'e o% the s lit between the ,ash0ent and 4trar r"lers, wo"ld sei(e Dass. .nd then he wo"ld swallow ,ash0ent itsel%, and then restore the rei'n o% the %ormer .b"l0hair 1orde o*er all Bentral .sia. ,he ,im"rids, as "s"al, wo"ld be %i'htin' amon' themsel*es and not able to stand " to him lon'... .nd where wo"ld he send his horsemen then# ,o the so"th-west—to )harasan and Iran—or the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0# 4% /o"rse, there was no '"essin' now. 7"t no +"estion, it wo"ld be a land where there was no "nit! and solidarit! to reb"%% enem! atta/0s. ,hat had been so sin/e an/ient times and !esterda!s +"arrel mi'ht /ost the $hite 1orde dearl!. $hat wo"ld ="0hammed-Cheiban do i% he tho"'ht that the time had /ome to ta0e 2esht-and-)i /ha0 %rom the )a(a0hs# I% one /om ared the )a(a0h ste e to a tr"n0 %"ll o% treas"re, then the 0e! to it was, o% /o"rse, Co(a0 and @l!ta". .nd the 0e! to it was the dis/ord between 7"r"nd"0 and the troo s. In his t"rn, 7"r"nd"0 wanted to 'o a'ainst ="0hammed-Cheiban head-on and ta0e other /ities o% Aorthern ,"r0estan awa! %rom him. ,he setba/0 in the sei'e o% 4trar didn;t hase him. 7! s"/h rash a/tions he wo"ld robabl! a*ert the 'reed! tho"'hts o% ="0hammed-Cheiban %rom )horasan and Iran, and attra/t them to himsel%. .nd then a bi' war wo"ld be ine*itable. <*en i% the! were able to de%end themsel*es, wo"ld the )a(a0h 0hanate 'ain an!thin' %rom it# 7"r"nd"0 was read! ri'ht toda! to 'i*e the si'nal to atta/0. 7"t he was li0e the small sill! %ish whi/h /limbed into the mo"th o% the h"n'r! er/h itsel%. >irst the! needed to 'row o"t their s ines li0e a r"%%, and then the! /o"ld tal0 to the er/h. $hen the $hite 1orde wo"ld ha*e a re'"lar well-trained arm! the! /o"ld tal0 to ="0hammed-Cheiban di%%erentl!. 7"t %or now, ins ite o% the +"arrel, he wo"ld ha*e to eFtend his hand to )han 7"r"nd"0. ,he! /o"ldn;t a%%ord to 'i*e the enem! a reason to loo0 on the $hite 1orde as a rotten a le. .nd in the mornin' a messen'er o% the 0han;s /ame to C"ltan )as!m. M4"r so*erei'n s"mmons !o".M he said a%ter bowin'.

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2onnin' his 2amas0 sword, whi/h "s"all! h"n' on the belt o% his /oat, )as!m tied it "nder the his /oat. Bon*in/ed that the sword didn;t sti/0 o"t %rom "nder his /lothes, he set o"t to meet the 0han. 7"r"nd"0 held o"t his hand: L5eal warriors onl! be/ome stron'er %riends a%ter a +"arrel. $hat do !o" re/ommend, m! C"ltan—to %i'ht or /on/l"de ea/e with ="0hammed-Cheiban#M )as!m 'rinned: LCometimes warriors be/ome %riends witho"t +"arrelin'. 9i0e ="0hammed=a(it-,ar0han and ="0hammed-Cheiban %or instan/e. 7est !o" as0 the head o% 4trar himsel% i% m"/h 'ood /omes %rom s"/h a %riendshi . .n!wa!, ="0hammed-=a(it is ="0hammed-=a(it, and )han 7"r"nd"0 is )han 7"r"nd"0-M )as!m now o enl! la"'hed loo0in' strai'ht in )han 7"r"nd"0;s e!es. >or he reall! was %"nn! in his sel% -/on/eit. Aothin' /o"ld be done, L<a/h master *al"es his 'oat more than another;sM. $ho doesn;t /onsider himsel% smarter than e*er!one elseL7"t what a one this 7"r"nd"0 is,M tho"'ht C"ltan )as!m. L1e wants me to start /allin' %or /on/ilitaion with ="0hammed-Cheiban. ,hen he /an a//"se me o% enterin' into a a/t with the enemies. .nd there are twent! witnesses here-M L,he wa! !o" /ame to the de%ense o% the Lleo ardM C"ltan-=a0hm"d, I de/ided that !o" wo"ld not be a'ainst be%riendin' ="0hammed-Cheiban,M 7"r"nd"0 /o"ld not resist sa!in'. L=! Co*erei'n, it;s two di%%erent thin's to ro ose ea/e to the de%eated and to the *i/torio"s, said C"ltan )as!m. L>irst there m"st be *i/tor!, and I;m read! to set o"t ri'ht toda!. ?"st sa! whi/h /it!-M LI;ll ha*e to thin0 it o*er,M m"ttered 7"r"nd"0, ta0en aba/0. LDo" m"st thin0 %ast-M L$h!#M L$hile we are here ="0hammed-Cheiban is roababl! la!in' sei'e to Dass. I% we atta/0 some /it!, he will retreat %rom Dass, 3"st li0e what ha ened with 4trar. .nd while all this will be 'oin' on, ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han will 'et other 0ha0ims to a'ree to 3oin to'ether in %i'htin' ="0hammed-Cheiban... L LDes, that;s worth thin0in' abo"t.M >rom the *er! be'innin' C"ltan )as!m s"s e/ted %o"l la!, and now 7"r"nd"0 'a*e himsel% awa!. $hen s"/h eo le be'in to la! tri/0s, it;s not *er! di%%i/"lt to '"ess what the! are " to. .nd soon a ea/e treat! was /on/l"ded with ="0hammedCheiban, onl! it was at 7"r"nd"0;s initiati*e, )as!m onl! s" orted his o inion. ,r"e not all went smoothl! this time. 7"r"nd"0 se/retl! romised ="0hammed-Cheiban to betra! his all! ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han. 7"t C"ltan )as!m warned the ill-%ated 0ha0im abo"t it and he mana'ed to 'et awa!... 7"t when did a ea/e /on/l"ded between 0hans mean at that time# Aot e*en a month had assed when the d"st o% horses rose o*er the ea/e%"l settlements alon' the roads o% ,"r0estan and blood %lowed in ri*ers. .ll ha ened 3"st as C"ltan )as!m had %oretold. ="0hammed-Cheiban a'ain was ad*an/in' on Dass. 7"t on the wa! he re/ei*ed news that his brother C"ltan-=a0hm"d, who had es/a ed %rom 7"r"nd"0, was in )han-,a'. 1e t"rned his whole arm! in the dire/tion o% )han-,a' and soon the two Lleo ardM brothers met. .%ter that ="0hammed-Cheiban made a li'htnin' raid and sei(ed C"ran and metted o"t a /r"el "nishment to those who o ened the 'ates to C"ltan )as!m and handed o*er C"ltan =a0hm"d. =an! lost their /atlle and belon'in's, and their wi*es and /hildren were sold as sla*es. 4nl! a%ter that did the brothers a'ain la! sei'e to Dass. ,his time the /it! %ell and ="0hammed-Cheiban %inall! 'ot to his %ather-in-law, ="0hammed-=a(it-,ar0han.. 1owe*er, sin/e he was 0in, the ill-%ated 0ha0im was not "nished, b"t onl! "t in sto/0s and sent to 4trar. 9i0e wol*es %rom di%%erent a/0s, the 0hans, emirs and 0ha0ims b"rstin' %rom all aro"nd into one herd, 'rowled, loo0ed ro"nd and wat/hed ea/h other. ,he r"ler o% ,ash0ent s"ddenl! "nderstood with horror that it was his t"rn. ="0hammed-Cheiban was loo0in' in the dire/tion o% ,ash0ent with /lear intentions. Its r"ler %e*erishl! be'an tr!in' to %ind allies amon' his relati*es, the =o'ol emirs. .nd, ha*in' /ons"lted amon'
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themsel*es, the =o'ol emirs de/ided to as0 the hel o% the )a(a0h 0han. 7"r"nd"0 was o*er3o!ed when he re/ei*ed their messa'e. 1e s it into his alm and eF/laimed: L$ell, now we;ll %i'ht-M 9ater, a%ter raisin' the )oran o*er their heads and holdin' the other hand on their /hests, the! *owed eternal %riendshi and lo!alt! to ea/h other. 7"t C"ltan )as!m was sad. ,his war didn;t harbo"r an!thin' 'ood %or the )a(a0hs... ,o'ether with the =o'ol 0hans the! had to %i'ht %or the ,"r0estan *ila!et whi/h almost entirel! belon'ed to ="0hammed-Cheiban. >irst the! wanted to sei(e Dass, b"t ="0hammed-Cheiban was there with a h"'e arm! and so the! t"rned to 4trar. ,he war was senseless and /ond"/ted disorderl!. ,he! %ailed to sei(e 4trar too. ,he !o"n'est son o% .b"l0hair was there. 1a*in' 'rown " in a litter o% wol*es, he had learned the wa!s o% a wol% with an! s e/ial e%%ort. 1e /r"ell! dealt with those who e*en 3"st s o0e o% s"rrenderin' the /it! and held it. ,he 3oint arm! then ad*an/ed on Cairam in order to 3"sti%! the war in some wa!. ,he road be'an b! robbin', ra in' and dri*in' awa! the /attle o% the ea/e%"l o "lation. In his t"rn, ="0hammed-Cheiban sent deta/hments in to the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 whi/h be'an to rob and massa/re the )a(a0h a"ls. 7"s! with the sei'e o% Cairam, the arm! /o"ldn;t de%end the whole /o"ntr!... 7lood %lowed li0e a ri*er on both sides and miFed with tears. 1"ndreds o% /ities, settlements and *illa'es were b"rned and tho"sands o% !o"ths and 'irls were sold into sla*er!. .t the sla*e mar0ets all o*er the <ast one /o"ld see the sha*ed heads o% )a(a0hs. .nd it ha ened that neFt to them sla*es /a t"red b! 7"r"nd"0 in ,"r0estan.were bein' sold.. ,he )a(a0h ste e t"rned into a blood! hell. .nd then a war-/r! rolled o*er it %rom one end to the other and all %rom small to 'reat 'ot on their horses. ,he tribal and %amil! %e"ds were %or'otton. ,he eo le were lead b! n"mero"s "n0nown warriors. 4ne o% them was the %amo"s 4ne-e!ed warrior whom a son' had been /om osed abo"t. ,he deta/hments o% eo le;s *ol"nteer /or s be/ame a threat %or robbers and in*aders. ,he eo le %o"'ht %or their eFistan/e li0e a wo"nded ti'er. >inall! the eo le "nderstood what onl! %arsi'hted leaders and soothsa!ers had "nderstood earlier. $itho"t a ston' "nited state the )a(a0hs wo"ld not remain on this earth. .nd s"ddenl! the bad news s read a/ross the ste e that )han 7"r"nd"0 had made ea/e with ="0hammed-Cheiban. ,he! wanted ea/e, b"t not now when the eo le had risen " to %i'ht %or their eFisten/e. ,here was not a man in the ste e who didn;t 0now that ="0hammed-Cheiban 3"st wanted a res ite in order to re'ro" his %or/es and then atta/0 the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0.<Fa/tl! now, when the eo le were all ro"sed was it ossible to on/e and %or all blo/0 the road to the ste e to the .b"l0hair Lleo ardsM. 7"t 7"r"nd"0 /o"ldn;t ha*e /ared less abo"t the eo le. 1a*in' been res onsible %or this war in man! wa!s, he s"ddenl! re%erred to ma0e ea/e with the trea/hero"s enem!. ,he d"ll-witted 7"r"nd"0 be'an to /onsider himsel% the 'reatest 0han in histor!. 7etter minds do"bted this. 7"t there was no resistin' a sim le ste e s"ltan, s"ddenl! made the 0han o% a h"'e ste e state b! the will o% %ate. .nd he /onsidered ="0hammed-Cheiban his e+"al. In his o inion, two s"/h r"lers were /loser to ea/h other than an! eo le there. ,he masses were nothin' /om ared to a 0han-... .nd ="0hammed -Cheiban went abo"t restorin' the .b"l0hair 1orde with renewed ener'!. .ll "nderstood that as soon as he reali(ed his dream the )a(a0hs were in %or it. 9ead b! the om o"s 7"r"nd"0, the white 1orde /o"ld not stand " to the stren'thened ="0hammed-Cheiban.... )han 7"r"nd"0;s /ond"/t was not onl! the res"lt o% bein' blinded b! ower. 2ee down he "nderstood that the )a(a0h leaders and warriors, not to mention the sim le nomads, more and more loo0ed to C"ltan )as!m. ,he ro heti/ words o% ,emir-7ei /ontin"ed to e/ho in his ears. L=! %riendshi with ="0hammed-Cheiban will +"i/0l! sh"t the dis/ontent " -M he tho"'ht. LAow the! will be a%raid to /ross o*er to )as!m and will irre roa/habl!
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/arr! o"t m! orders. I% there is the sli'htest resistan/e, ="0hammed-Cheiban;s horsemen will /ome to m! aid. Des and m! horsemen will alwa!s hel him deal with his nation. .nd in order to stren'then o"r %riendshi , I;ll r"b sho"lders with the .b"l0hair Lleo ardM and be/ome his mat/hma0er. .nd 7"r"nd"0 did 3"st that. 1e 'a*e the rettiest o% his da"'hters, &"lbarsh!n, awa! in marria'e to the Lleo ardM C"ltan-=a0hm"d whom he had not lon' be%ore ta0en as a /a ti*e and wanted to "nish, b"t who had es/a ed at the ri/e o% Ca!an7at!r;s li%e. 1e 'a*e another da"'hter, Hha"0har, awa! in marria'e to the !o"n'est son o% .b"l0hair, the r"ler o% Ca"ran. ,he merr!ma0in' in the 0han;s ala/e went on %or %ort! da!s and then 7"r"nd"0 sent one o% his da"'hters to 4trar, and the other to Ca"ran. Aow s ies o% 7"r"nd"0;s wat/hed ea/h ste o% C"ltan )as!m. 1a*in' re/0lessl! embra/ed a mortal enem!, 7"r"nd"0 /ontin"ed to se/retl! a//"se )as!m o% betra!al. 1e was im li/ated in hel in' C"ltan-=a0hm"d es/a e and then there was his s ee/h abo"t the ne/essit! o% ea/e with the nei'hbo"rs. 1e was blamed %or all the de%eats s"%%ered and the "ns"//ess%"l sei'es o% ,"r0estan /ities. ,hat was nothin' new in the oliti/s o% the 0hans o% those times and in the times to /ome. C"ltan )as!m %illed with indi'nation b"t learned to 0ee his sel% /ontrol e*en better. &ra! hair a eared at his tem les and he be'an to loo0 eFa/tl! li0e his %ather 2(han!be0. ,hat drew the eo le to him e*en more, %or the! had learned b! bitter eF erien/e what )han 2(han!be0 had done %or the )a(a0hs. 4ne da! )a ta'ai-7at!r and the !o"n' 4nar-7at!r a eared in s"ltan )as!m;s !"rt. ,he! had /ome on behal% o% all the leadin' warriors o% the $hite 1orde. . 'atherin' o% the warriors at C"ltan )as!m;s wo"ld ha*e aro"sed the s"s i/ions o% the 0han;s men in s ite o% the %a/t that C"ltan )as!m, as be%ore, was the /ommander o% the 1orde. L,he a/ts o% )han 7"r"nd"0 ha*e o*er%illed the /" o% atien/e o% the )a(a0h 0ins,M said )a ta'ai-7at!r. LAow he has 'one so %ar as to be/ome related to o"r mortal enemies be%ore ha*in' washed )a(a0h blood %rom his hands. $e ha*e /ome to !o", m! C"ltan, to sa! that the 0han m"st brin' his da"'hters ba/0 home or lea*e "s-M L.re !o" a'ainst the marrai'e o% the 0han;s da"'hters or the ea/e with ="0hammed-Cheiban#M C"ltan )as!m as0ed them. L$e don;t need either. ,he 0han is the %a/e o% the eo le. Co, his da"'hters don;t belon' to him alone. .nd i% he wants ea/e with ="0hammed-Cheiban, then ha*e him ret"rn all o"r sons and da"'hters sold into sla*er! and brin' ba/0 to li%e o"r dead %athers and mothers. I% )han 7"r"nd"0 /an;t ma0e his new %riend do this, then he sho"ld "ntie o"r hands.M L2o !o" want to 'o ba/0 to war#M LDes-M LDo" ha*en;t %or'otton how to hold lan/es !et, ha*e !o"#M L2on;t we %i'ht %rom the da! we;re born#M It t"rns o"t that all o"r sa/ri%i/es ha*e been made so that !o"n'est born /hildren o% .b"l0hair /o"ld en3o! the da"'hters o% the )a(a0h 0han- 7lood ties between "s and the .b"l0hair 1orde. $e well remember .b"l0hair himsel% and don;t wish to ser*e his o%%s rin'. 7"r"nd"0 wants to %all ba/0 on the %an's o% the .b"l0hair Lleo ardsM in order to brea0 the ba/0 o% his own eo le.M L,he 0han doesn;t /are abo"t !o"r o inion.M L,hen we don;t need him. 9et him 'o awa!.M L$here#M L$h!, to his relati*es.M L$ell, warriors... I;*e been eF e/tin' !o" and I;ll answer with the same dire/tness. $e m"stn;t tram le the name o% the $hite 1orde into the m"d. 9et the 0han ma0e a mista0e, b"t not the 0hanate. I% we dri*e o"t 7"r"nd"0 ri'ht now %or 'i*in' his da"'hters in marria'e to the enem!, then we will be/ome a la"'hin' sto/0. .nd we will a'ain be blamed %or the neFt war. 7"t we are not so stron' that we /an disre'ard other;s o inion o% "s. $e m"st ma0e it so that the .b"l0hair Lleo ardsM themse*les ro*o0e a war with them. $e won;t ha*e to wait lon'. ="0hammedIlyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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Cheiban sees that we are wea0 and s lintered. ,he ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 seems li0e a ri e a le to him. It onl! remains to sha0e the a le and he will tr! to do that an! da! now. L L7"t we ne*ertheless thin0.... h"'e /hasm has /ome between "s and the .b"l0hair 1orde—it be/ame the widest when .b"l0hair was ali*e. $h! doesn;t the 0han "nderstand this# =a!be he doesn;t want to#M L:erha s,M C"ltan )as!m a'reed /alml!. L 7"t he isn;t as sim le-minded as he seems at %irst 'lan/e. .nd he well 0nows !o"r mood. ,he 0han is ho in' that i% !o" are not a%raid o% him alone, then, to'ether with his new relati*es, he will %or s"re deal with !o".M L$hat shall we do#M L$ait and re are %or the /omin' war. ,he better we are re ared %or it, the more /han/e we ha*e o% a*oidin' it.M L.nd what abo"t 7"r"nd"0#M LCooner or later he will be o"t o% the 'ame whi/h he be'an. ,he e*ents themse*les will %or/e him o"t. It wo"ld be best i% he, not waitin' %or these e*ents, 'oes awa! somewhere.M L$hat i% he doesn;t want to 'o awa!#M C"ltan )as!m onl! smiled in answer and the warriors didn;t as0 him an! more +"estions. ,wo da!s later a 'ro" o% the main )a(a0h warriors with C"ltan )as!m at their head arri*ed at the *illa'e where 7"r"nd"0 had 'one to rest %rom the in/essant merr!ma0in'. ,he warriors didn;t want to wait an! lon'er and /ate'ori/all! told C"ltan )as!m to 'o with them. 7"r"nd"0 'rew %"rio"s when he heard the demands o% the warriors. .t %irst he wanted to sho"t to his hen/hmen, 'ather the arm! and destro! )as!m;s *illa'e and those o% other rebels. 7"t almost all the )a(a0h warriors were standin' be%ore him and he 'a*e in. Ao one in the ste e dared to 'o a'ainst them... ,he deta/hments o% C"ltan )as!m loomed on the o"ts0irts o% the *illa'e o% the 0han while 7"r"nd"0 'ot read! to de art. In two wee0s a h"'e /ara*an in whi/h the 0han;s se*en wi*es with the eo le %rom ea/h o% their se*en a"ls and %i*e h"ndred hen/hmen slowl! set o"t toward the north-west to Carai/hi0 on th Hhai0... 7"r"nd"0, his %a/e bla/0 with an'er, was in the middle o% the /ara*an. >rom time to time he 'lan/ed at a h"'e sa/0 whi/h was bein' /arried b! a se arate /amel, and when he did his e!es lit in tri"m h. .t least he had a/hie*ed one thin'... ,he matter was that the !ear be%ore the warrior 4ne-e!e had /on/entrated all his hatred on )han 7"r"nd"0 alone. .nd when r"mo"rs s read a/ross the ste e abo"t the 0han /han'in' sides all the time, the horsemen o% 4ra0-7at!r 0ill and dro*e awa! a bi' art o% the 0han;s herds in the /o"rse o% se*eral ni'hts. .mon' them abo"t %i*e tho"sand head o% "rebred 'ra! .r'ama0s, horses whi/h were %amo"s all o*er the ste e, were sei(ed. .ll the horses were 'i*en to the inhabitants o% the a"ls whi/h had s"%%ered the most %rom the raids o% the new relati*e o% ="0hammed-Cheiban,. .ll the oor o% the ste e ra!ed %or the health o% the noble warrior, and met the 0hans who /ame %or the horses with mo/0er!. ,hen 7"r"nd"0;s *i(iers s"''ested a tried and tr"e method to him and one ni'ht two traitors %rom 4ra0-7at!r;s deta/hment bro"'ht the ste e leader whom the! had sei(ed and tied in his slee to )han 7"r"nd"0. Aow 7"r"nd"0 was ta0in' him alon' in order to ma0e short shi%t o% him o"t o% si'ht. 1orsemen %rom amon' the sim le eo le were sear/hin' all o*er %or their leader and so the 0han had ordered the sha0led 4ra07at!r be "t in a leather sa/0. ,he sons o% 2(han!be0 had lon' be'"n to dissaso/iate themsel*es %rom 7"r"nd"0. ,his was the reason the! had remained on the shores o% the Bh" three !ears earlier, and b! %all mo*ed on to their old %ather;s /am on the )aratal. ,hat is where s"ltan )as!m went and /on*ened a meetin' o% all the )a(a0h leaders and warriors.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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$hat C"ltan )as!m had %oreseen ha ened. In a short time ="0hammedCheiban bro"'ht the ,im"rids o% =a*eranna0hr into line a'ain, /on+"ered .ndi(han and )hore(m, and s"bbordinated ,ash0ent. ,he ho"r o% the $hite 1orde had /ome. .//ordin' to the in%ormation that )as!m had, the .b"l0hair Lleo ardM had 'athered a JK,KKK stron' arm! and was re arin' %or a /am ai'n on Co(a0 and @l!ta" to %irst de ri*e the $hite 1orde o% all its ties with the o"tside world, in an! /ase %rom this side. 7"r"nd"0, li*in' in Carai/hi0, was onl! %ormall! the 0han, all was now de/ided b! C"ltan )as!m. It was /lear that ="0hammed-Cheiban was tr!in' to ta0e ad*anta'e o% the dis/ord between the 0han and his /ommander. 1a*in' ret"rned to the shores o% the Bh" in the s rin', C"ltan )as!m 'a*e the si'nal to /all " the eo le;s *ol"nteer /or s. 1e sent messen'ers to all ends o% the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 as0in' all to 3oin "nder the banner o% the $hite 1orde. ,he messen'ers onl! said one hrase in ea/h a"l: LI% we don;t de%end Co(a0 and @l!ta", the )a(a0hs will be wi ed o%% the %a/e o% the earth-M =ore and more new deta/hments /ame to C"ltan )as!m with warriors leadin' them. ,he dis/ord, o%%enses and s+"abblin' was %or'otton. It was a matter o% li%e and death... 7"t ="0hammed-Cheiban was so s"re that the $hie 1orde had totall! /olla sed that he de/ided to %i'ht in the north and the so"th at the same time. =oreo*er, he onl! sent two se arate armies a'ainst the $hite 1orde while he, with his JK,KKK stron' arm!, ad*an/ed on )horasan and Iran. ,he new r"ler o% ,ash0ent, C"!"n/hi0, a son o% .b"l0hair;s, ad*an/ed dee into the ste toward @l!ta" with 2K,KKK las0ars, while his brother, )"sh0in/hi0, who was the head o% the ,"r0estan *ila!et, la! sei'e to Co(a0 with a GK,KKK stron' arm!. ,he a earan/e o% the h"'e arm! o% the $hite 1orde headed b! C"ltan )as!m and his brother )ambar-7at!r /ame as a /om lete s"r rise to both sons o% .b"l0hair. .nd tho"'h this arm! wasn;t s"%%i/ientl! trained !et, a re'"lar arm! made " o% the eF erien/ed and tem ered in battles lash0ars ran %rom its %irst onsla"'ht. ,hat *er! same da! two /ommanders o% ="0hammed-Cheiban were "tterl! de%eated and more than hal% o% the troo s la! at the *er! a roa/hes to the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0. ,hose remainin' amon' the li*in' %led and se arate deta/hments o% them %inall! 3oined " at the *er! la/e where the! had set o"t on the /am ai'n. ,he /a*alr! o% the $hite 1orde "rs"ed them thro"'h the arid desert and salt marshes. . tho"sand bodies rotted and de/om osed "nder the s"n o*er ,"r0estan. >ew o% the atta/0in' arm! made it to ,ash0ent. C"ltan )a!m had to hold ba/0 the warriors wishin' to r"sh into ,ash0ent and =a*eranna0hr. It seemed to them that their *i/tor! de/ided all. 7"t as C"ltan )as!m saw it, the lon'er ="0hammed-Cheiban remained in )horasan and Iran, the better, %or he 0new the $hite 1orde wasn;t read! %or the de/isi*e battle !et. Coon a%ter these e*ents 7"r"nd"0 debar0ed %rom the Hhai0 with all his 'oods and /hattels with the ermission o% the all )a(a0h /o"n/il. .nd mis%ort"ne seemed to /ome with him. .n "nheard o% la'"e hit the /attle on the ste e, es e/iall! in the )a(a0 and )ir'i( /am s in :rit!anshani!a. $inter t"rned o"t to be "n"s"all! /old and man! a"ls %o"nd themsel*es in a disastro"s sit"ation. Come o% the a"ls o% the 2"lat 0in /o"ldn;t, as in other !ears, 'o to the Bh" and Hh"an-ar!0. ,he /attle were ema/iated and all the men /a able o% sittin' in a saddle and /arr!in' a wea on were standin' "nder the banner o% the $hite 1orde on the ,"r0estan border. It also wasn;t /lear whether ="0hammed-Cheiban wo"ld /ontin"e to %i'ht in the so"th-west or wo"ld ret"rn and all his mi'ht wo"ld /ome down on the ste e o% 2esht-and )i /ha0... In the meanwhile the remainin' 2"lats sta!ed on *a/ant land alon' the ri*er ,alas. 7"t one "n%ort"nate da! the ea/e%"l de%enseless a"ls awo0e to the th"ndero"s /r!: )erei- 7"r"nd"0- ,he horsemen, who had /ome o"t o% the bl"e, lashed to the le%t and ri'ht with their whi s, 0no/0in' eo le down and tram lin' them as the! rode b! on their horses. D"rtas b"rned and wild /ries, 'roans, wailin' and /r!in' miFed in a terrible s!m hon! well 0nown to the ste e.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,hat was 7"r"nd"0 ha*in' ret"rned. $hen he %o"nd o"t that other a"ls had settled on his %ormer lands, he was ha ! that he /o"ld in some wa! to 'et e*en with the )a(a0h 0ins who had not wanted him to r"le them. ,he 2(hail!a" had %or /ent"ries been /onsidered as belon'in' to /ertain 0ins, a"ls and %amilies. Ao one dared to /han'e that, not e*en a 0han. Co C"ltan )as!m /o"ld do nothin' to de%end the 2"lats. .nd 7"r"nd"0, at the head o% a hal%-tho"sand stron' arm! o% ,"len'"ts with bl"d'eons and whi s in their hands, 'loated as the! atta/0ed the de%enseless a"ls. LI;ll show !o" how to b"rst into another Os *illa'e-M he !elled towerin' o*er the /r!in' women and /hildren on his bi' horse. L2irt! do's- $ho ermitted !o" to settle on m! land# ,hie*es- 7ra(en ri%%-ra%%-M L7"t we are !o" s"b3e/ts, )a(a0hs-M entreated a 'ra! bearded old man. L.t least wait "ntil mornin' and don;t destro! o"r !"rtas. .t da!brea0 we;ll lea*e o"rsel*es. L&o now or I;ll dra' !o" all behind o"r horses-M sho"ted 7"r"nd"0 and be'an lashin' the old men. ,he ,"len'"ts did li0ewise. =an! elders were beaten "ntil the! were hal% dead. It was a real leas"re %or 7"r"nd"0, who hadn;t smelled blood on the battle%ield %or a lon' time. 1e 'allo ed abo"t the ill-%ated a"ls all ni'ht, li0e a ma'ai/ian who had lost his 'enies. 9on' be%ore dawn all the inhabitants had been dri*en into the o en ste e and their !"rtas l"ndered and b"rned. ,he eo le went as i% a%ter an enem! atta/0, /arr!in' their dead relati*es, whi/h the! hadn;t e*en been allowed to b"r!, on their sho"lders. 1a*in' heard abo"t the eF/esses, the 2"lat warriors, in a %it o% an'er, de/ided to destro! all the 0han;s a"ls. ,he! as0ed the horsemen %rom other 0ins who had %o"'ht the arm! o% the .b"l0hair 1orde sho"lder to sho"lder with them to hel . 4nl! the head o% the 2"lat 0in dissa"ded them %rom doin' that: L$e li*e in a 0hanate, tho"'h o"r 0han is "nworth!. 7"t we won;t re eat the lawlessness be/a"se then there will be no end in si'ht. 9et;s in%orm s"ltan )as!m abo"t all that has ha ened.M 7"t C"ltan )as!m himsel% rode into the 0han;s lands to %ind o"t what had ha ened there. 4nl! a %ew warriors a//om anied him. .s i% ha*in' learned abo"t his arri*al be%orehand, 7"r"nd"0 met the s"ltan at the o"ts0irts o% his *illa'e. ,he 0han was sittin' li0e a 'ranite blo/0 on a 'iant bla/0 stallion. 7ehind him %o"r o% the 0han;s sons were on horseba/0 . ,he! loo0ed li0e %i'"rines aro"nd a stone idol. .ll o% them were in armo"r %rom head to toe—an armo"r late /o*ered their /hests and their hands and le's were wra ed in /hain mail. 7l"d'eons with iron ti s h"n' at their sides, and shar lan/es st"/0 " o*er their headsP ,he! met the a roa/hin' warriors in an omino"s silent line. 7"r"nd"0, who str"/0 %ear into the heart e*en on ordinar! da!s, now loo0ed reall! terri%!in'. 1e hadn;t sha*ed %or a lon' time—the st"bble st"/0 o"t li0e that o% an old boar, and his e!es were red. ,he warriors sto ed at a distan/e. L.ssala"mahalei0"m, )han 7"r"nd"0-M the! 'reeted him, not 'ettin' down %rom their horses. ,he sons sli'htl! mo*ed their li s, b"t 7"r"nd"0 didn;t ret"rn the 'reetin'. LBome here, C"ltan )as!m, L he 'rowled wa*in' his /l"b. LI ha*e somethin' to sa! to !o".M ,hose who had /ome to 0now 7"r"nd"0;s bl"d'eon rarel! remained amon' the li*in'. .nd an!thin' /o"ld be eF e/ted %rom him. 1e wo"ld 'o to an! len'ths, e*en /ommittin' a most heino"s /rime, in order to /arr! o"t his lans. Aow he loo0ed li0e a tarant"la d!in' %rom its own bite. .nd the )a(a0h warriors in*ol"ntaril! mo*ed %orward shieldin' C"ltan )as!m with their bodies. L4"t o% the wa!, !o" rotten s/"m-M sho"ted 7"r"nd"0, sha0in' his bl"d'eon. ,here /an;t be intermediaries between 0hans. 4nl! !o" /ome, )as!m-M ,he warriors were ta0en aba/0 at s"/h an ins"lt.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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L7a/0 o%%, I;ll s ea0 with him m!sel%,M C"ltan )as!m ordered in a /alm *oi/e and, artin' the warriors, rode " to 7"r"nd"0. C"ddenl! )as!m lowered his hands in /onsternation. ,ears the si(e o% a ha(eln"t were rollin' %rom 7"r"nd"0;s e!es. ,he! ran down his dar0ened %a/e and %ell into the d"st. )as!m re/alled how on/e in /hildhood he had seen a bla/0 /amel /r!in' in an'er. 1e %elt a shi*er r"n down his s ine and shran0 ba/0. 7"t 7"r"nd"0 didn;t a! an! attention to that. Aot at all ashamed o% his tears and not e*en botherin' to wi e them awa!, he a roa/hed )as!m. LIt t"rns o"t that the title o% 0han onl! ains and torments a man i% the eo le t"rn awa! %rom him,M he said in a /ra/0ed and hoarse *oi/e that was not his own. L$h! didn;t !o" tell me abo"t that earlier#M L,hat;s not somethin' that /an be eF lained with words,M C"ltan )as!m said +"ietl!. LI wanted to o"r o"t m! an'er on someone and so I atta/0ed ea/e%"l a"ls,M 7"r"nd"0 went on. L.nd don;t thin0 that I will e*er %all to the %eet o% that s/"m and a/0nowled'e m! '"ilt. Do" 0now that better than the others, )as!m. ,here is no medi/ine %or m! illness, sin/e m! nati*e land no lon'er needs me. I deser*e death %or what I did to those eo le. 7"t what is death %or me# I ha*e ne*er been a%raid o% it, nor am I now. I ha*e /hosen the most terrible "nishment %or m!sel%. I ha*e no other /hoi/e. ,omorrow I will lea*e m! nati*e ste e %ore*erP 1e %ell silent. Ao one s o0e, "nderstandin' what terrible retrib"tion be%ell this man who had been their 0han %or a lon' time. LDes, that;s what I;ll do-M 7"r"nd"0 bitterl! si'hed. LDo" didn;t win, and I;m not de%eated. I will 'o to Camar0and to m! son-in-law ="0hammed-,emir-C"ltan. Instead o% ha*in' him /ome to me as an ado ted son, I will 'o to him as a homeless %ather-inlawP .nd that is )han 7"r"nd"0-. ,hat is how he will 'o to the 1orde o% his enem! .b"l0hair. Ban !o" thin0 o% a 'reater tort"re %or a man- L 9et;s tal0 no more, )as!m. &o ba/0 with !o"r warriors and don;t ta0e it into !o"r head to 'i*e an! ad*i/e, or !o" won;t ha*e an! brains le%t a%ter !o" lose them to'ether with !o"r head. 5emember me 0indl!, m! brother )as!m-M 1a*in' shar l! t"rned his horse, 7"r"nd"0 'allo ed to his *illa'e. )as!m sadl! wat/hed him 'o. 1e had the same blood and "nderstood 7"r"nd"0;s stateP .ll in the ste e tal0ed abo"t 7"r"nd"0;s /omin' de art"re to Camar0and. :eo le shoo0 their heads. Come raised him %or his de/ision, some re ora/hed him, b"t none were 'rie*ed b! his de art"re. .ll "nderstood that the 0han had o"tli*ed himsel%. 1owe*er 7"r"nd"0 /ommitted one more atro/it!. In the dar0 o% the ni'ht his hen/hmen b"rned down a /it! whi/h he had ordered b"ilt and whi/h was /alled 7"r"nd"0 a%ter him. L9et there be nothin' le%t to remember me b! on earth-M he said. .%ter that 7"r"nd"0 %inall! set o"t. 7"t the /rowd o% eo le /omin' %rom all aro"nd didn;t let his hen/hmen ta0e a sin'le ste . ,he /rowd o% eo le on the ste e stret/hed to the *er! hori(on, and a terrible roar rolled %rom end to end o% this a'itated /rowd. L,he 4ne-e!ed warrior has been %o"nd-M L7"r"nd"0 has been 0ee in' him on a /hain in his ho"se and %eedin' him o"t the same dish as the wol*esPM L)han, %ree o"r 4ra0-7at!r or !o"r bones will remain here-M Ceein' the )a(a0hs in s"/h a state, C"ltan )as!m didn;t belie*e his own e!es. ,he eo le were not bein' lead b! the bi!s or elders, as "s"al, b"t b! some "n0nown leaders %rom the mob. ,he! demanded that the 0han himsel% a!. ,hat had ne*er ha ened be%ore in the ste eP )as!m, his horse in a lather, r"shed to 7"r"nd"0;s a"l. LDo"r a"l is s"rro"nded b! eo le, 7"r"nd"0,M he said. 2on;t be st"bborn.M LI see a b"n/h o% dirt! sha''! stra!s wishin' to taste wol% meat.M 7"r"nd"0 answered. LI% !o" don;t want to /r"n/h between their teeth, let 4ra0-7at!r 'o ri'ht now.M L.nd i% I don;t let him 'o#M
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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LAot onl! !o"r d"st, b"t that o% those near to !o" will be tossed to the wind. 7elie*e me, there;s no wa! I /an hel !o" this time.M 7"r"nd"0 'nashed his teeth and wa*ed his hand. 1is hen/hmen threw ba/0 the /"rtains o% a bla/0 'rim! !"rta standin' b! itsel%. C"ltan )as!m in*ol"ntaril! sh"ddered. . h"'e man with a terribl! m"tilated %a/e la! /hained neFt to a h"'e wol%ho"nd o% the 0hans—the 0ind whi/h ti'ers were "s"all! h"nted with. ,here was a bowl —3"st one %or the two o% them—on the 'ro"nd near them, and 'nawed bones la! s/attered aro"nd. ,his was the one-e!ed warrior, the de%ender o% the eo le %amo"s all o*er the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 and %ar be!ond its bo"ndaries. It was he who had /a"sed the las0ars o% ="0hammed-Cheiban to s"%%er the bi''est losses when he atta/0ed them on/e. 1e had %reed tho"sands o% eo le %rom /a ti*it! and sa*ed man! *illa'es %rom d!in' o% star*ation. L9ea*e-M C"ltan )as!m hollowl! told 7"r"nd"0, and this time said nothin' moreP 9ess than a month had assed when the leaders and elders o% the )a(a0h 0ins raised s"ltan )as!m on the white mat. .s was the /"stom, the! washed him in the mil0 o% %ort! snow-white hor/es and ro/laimed him their 0hanP C rin' o% the neFt !ear was a roa/hin' and )han )as!m was re arin' his a"ls %or the mo*e to the /om etitions in the @lta" when a 'ro" o% inhabitants o% Cairam headed b! a messen'er o% the head o% the /it! /ame to him. ,he! as0ed to be/ome s"b3e/ts be/a"se the! /o"ldn;t de%end their /it! alone a'ainst all those wishin' to l"nder it in those tro"bled times. Cin/e the /it! had belon'ed to the $hite 1orde %rom time immemorial and a ma3orit! o% its inhabitants were tied b! blood to the ste e, the /iti(ens de/ided to ret"rn "nder the win' o% )as!m-)han. ,he! said that the! didn;t do that earlier o"t o% %ear o% 7"r"nd"0. Coon )as!m-)han entered Cairam with a h"'e arm! and the /it! a//e ted him as their r"ler. )as!m /ontin"ed ad*an/in' into Aorth ,"r0estan in the dire/tion o% ,ash0ent. 1e remembered the re/e t o% his %ather 2(han!be0: the )a(a0h state /an;t eFist witho"t its so"thern /ities. . lon' and /r"el war la! ahead, b"t there was no other /hoi/eP >irst o% all, the new 0han established 'ood relations with the nei'hbo"rin' =o'olistan. <*en in 2(han!be0;s time his %amil! had be/ome related to the 0han o% =o'olistan, Hh"n"s. 4ne o% 2(han!be0;s sons married a da"'hter o% Hh"n"s;s. Che was that *er! %oolhard! C"ltan who had sa*ed the three tho"sand "rebred horses o% her %ather and was bro"'ht to C"ltan )as!m;s !"rt. $hen her h"sband died, she, a//ordin' to )a(a0h law, mo*ed into the ho"se o% his brother, C"ltan )as!m. >inall! her dream /ame tr"e—she be/ame )as!m;s wi%e. 7"t the bea"ti%"l C"ltan didn;t 0now that %i%teen !ears later )han )as!m wo"ld be dead and she wo"ld 'o to her 0in in =o'olistan and soon be married a'ain—this time to the r"ler o% )ash'ar whom she had hated sin/e /hildhood and whom she had /r"ell! la"'hed at %or bein' "'l!. ,he 0ins /am in' alon' the Bh" and ,alas a/0nowled'ed )han )as!m %or the time bein'. .nd, as his %ather, he be'an tr!in' to restore a "nited $hite 1orde. .'ain messen'ers rode aro"nd to all )a(a0h 0ins /allin' %or them to "nite. In those times thin's too0 their own /o"rse. <*er!thin' ha ended li0e 2(han!be0 %oretold. 1a*in' /on+"ered all Bentral .sia, and, as be%ore, not seein' m"/h a'ression %rom the $hite 1orde, ="0hammed-Cheiban "t o%% /on+"erin' the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 and /on/entrated on Iran and the /o"ntries neFt to it. L$hen a erson is l"/0!, the stone thrown b! him rolls down the mo"ntainM. ,he same ha ened with ="0hammed-Cheiban. 1e won one battle a%ter another %inall! ta0in' )horasan and &erat %rom Iran. 7"t not e*en that was eno"'h, he /ontin"ed to test his l"/0. ="0hammed-Cheibn t"rned his arm! to :amir, thin0in' it wo"ld be eas! to /on+"er the oorl! armed mo"ntain tribes. 7"t the mo"ntain inhabitants, 0nowin' all the aths li0e the ba/0 o% their hands, t"rned o"t to be too ill"si*e %or the re'"lar arm!. @n"sed to the di((!in' hei'hts and narrow aths, the las0ars %ell to their death on the h"'e bo"lders below. .ll the /hasms were littered with bones a%ter that.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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,he troo s onl! made their wa! o"t o% the tho"sands o% /an!ons b! %all. =ore than hal% o% them remained in the mo"ntains and not a sin'le las0ar had a horse an!more. ,o ma0e thin's worse, it be'an to rain and man! o% those le%t drowned in the o*er%lowin' ri*ers. ="0hammed-Cheiban, hal%-ali*e a%ter ha*in' malaria, barel! made it to )harasan with the remainder o% his arm!P Ao, this was no lon'er the %ormidable arm! whi/h all Bentral .sia had trembled be%ore onl! re/entl!. ,he iti%"l wal0in' s0eletins, swa!in' in the wind, %inall! /ame to =ar*. ,he las0ars, whose name alone was eno"'h to /a"se /hildren to sto /r!in', had t"rned into a hel less 'ro" o% ra'am"%%ins. ,he! had e*en thrown their wea ons awa! b! the road and now a %ew women with o0ers /o"ld ha*e dri*en awa! this arm!. @nderstandin' that these troo s were not o% m"/h "se, ="0hammed-Cheiban allowed them to 'o home and re'ain their health. ,he las0ars bro0e " into man! little bands and ro*ed all o*er Bentral .sia, l"nderin', 0illin' and sowin' tro"bleP .t that moment, not witho"t a ti %rom )han )as!m, Chah Ismail a eared b! the walls o% =er*. ="0hammed-Cheiban had no /hoi/e b"t to %i'ht. ,his is what historians had to sa! abo"t this: L1e who %or/es another to drin0 a /" o% oison brin'in' on an a'oni(in' death will drin0 that same oison himsel%.M 1is /" o% oison o*er%lowed and the bird o% ha iness %lew %rom the /rown o% his head, and his sword 'rew d"ll losin' its %ormer shar ness. 1e had to drin0 as m"/h as all the others he had %or/ed to drin0 %rom the /" o% death, =eanwhil )han )as!m /ontin"ed to "ni%! the )asa0h 0ins into one state and /reate a re'"lar arm!. .nd tho"'h he had to %i'ht his share o% wars, he stren'thened his 0hanate and in/reased his in%l"en/e in Bentral .sia not b! wars, b"t thro"'h the oli/! o% wait-and-see. Barr!in' on his %ather;s wor0, he slowl!, b"t s"rel! /on+"ered the /ities in northern ,"r0estan. 4n the *er! e*e o% his death, ="0hammed-Cheiban ordered the nomads on the ste e o% 2esht-and-)i /ha0 not be allowed in the ba(aars o% ,"r0estan. :"nishment, ri'ht " to bein' de ri*ed i% one;s li%e, awaited an!one who sold them somethin'. It /o"ldn;t 'o on an!more li0e that. ,he time had /ome,he da! t"rned o"t to be bri'ht and s"nn!. . li'ht %all wind r"stled the !ellowed 'rass. )as!m-)han, s"rro"nded b! the leadin' )a(a0h warriors o% all 0ins and (h"(es, was standin' on the or/h o% his ala/e in Co(a0. . three-h"ndred tho"sand stron' /a*alr!, one third o% them re'"lars, awaited the si'n %rom the 0han to atta/0 the enemies whi/h had a'ain a eared on the borders o% the )ha(a0h 0hanate: the arm! o% the Bhinese 7ord!0hans, 4irots, )ontai/his and ,im"rids %rom the east and so"thQ and deta/hments o% the Brimean, Ao'ailin and other s"ltans %rom the west. )han )as!m slowl! too0 in the arm! all in %ormation. It seemed that the %ro(en s+"ares o% /a*alr! read! to 'o be%ore the 0han, e*en rows o% steel lan/es shinnin' in the s"n and /ast shields on the ba/0s o% the warriors stret/hed %rom one end o% the ste e to the other. .nd s"ddenl!, brea0in' all the r"les, a small deta/hment /ame r"shin' %rom somewhere on the bl"e ste e. . h"'e warrior in a bla/0 /oat o% armo"r 'allo ed in %ront o% it. . hood /o*ered his %a/e and onl! a narrow slit %or his e!es remained o en. ,he 0han re/o'ni(ed the horseman at on/e and a smile %a/e lit " his %a/e. L4ra0-7at!r-M L,he one-e!ed warrior-M ,he %amiliar name was "ttered %rom one end o% the arm! to the other. LI% 4ra07at!r wants to ta0e art in the /am ai'n, that is a 'ood omen,M tho"'ht )as!m. L,hat means the eo le s" ort m! /a"se.M ,h"s 4ra0-7at!r o ened the militar! ro/ession, and tho"'h his deta/hmant went ast in a not *er! e*en %ormation, )han )as!m and all the warriors and /ommanders standin' with him sal"ted P .%ter him the s+"ares o% re'"lar /a*alr! ra/ed b!. )han )as!m;s e!es in*ol"ntaril! be/ame %iFed on a !o"n' warrior in a shinnin' /oat-o%-armo"r on a mil0white horse at the head o% one o% the tho"sands o% s+"ares.
Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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L$ho is that#M he as0ed a warrior standin' neFt to him. ,he warrior smiled. L1as it been so lon' sin/e !o";*e seen !o"r son#M )han )as!m didn;t "tter a word, b"t a barel! er/e tible li'ht bla(ed in his e!es. It was as i% he saw the %"t"re. ,he )a(a0h 0hans had %o"'ht %or the /ities o% Aorthern ,"r0estan %or ei'ht! !ears. .nd the !o"th who had 3"st 'allo ed ast—the %"t"re )han )ha0na(ar—wo"ld /om letel! %ree the northern ,"r0estan *ila!et and shi%t his head+"arters to Dass. @nder him the %inal demar/ation o% the )a(a0h ste e into three (h"(es and their "ni%i/ation into a sin'le 0hanate with the )ir'i( wo"ld /ome abo"t. L&ood l"/0, m! son-M )han )as!m whis ered and loo0ed aro"nd to see i% an!one had heard the words whi/h had in*ol"ntaril! b"rst %rom him. ,he tho"sands o% %ormidable /a*alr! "nits, whi/h on /ommand drew their sables %rom their sheaths and wa*ed them, went and went ast him on their horses, and )han )as!m tho"'ht abo"t the %ate o% the )a(a0h ste e. $hat hadn;t it seen, what " sets hadn;t it eF erien/ed in its man! /ent"r! lon' histor!. It seemed that there was no /on+"erer on earth who hadn;t 'one a/ross it with %ire and sword. 7"t, 3"st li0e the 'rass tram led b! the horses; hoo*es, the eo le a'ain re*i*ed. Des, the roots /o"ldn;t be "lled o"t o% their nati*e soil nor tram led. ,he! /ame ba/0 to li%e a'ain and a'ain)han )as!m t"rned to 4nai-7at!r. L$hat do those eo le remind !o" o%#M he as0ed ointin' at the horsemen %l!in' b!. 1a*in' ti ed their s ears, the! r"shed b! li0e a storm and h"ndreds o% tho"sands o% hoo*es shoo0 the earth "nder their %eet. L. ma'i/ swordP5emember that sword whi/h is stron'er than diamonds#M L$hoe*er ossessed the sword be/ame the *i/tor,M answered 4nai-7at!r +"otin' an an/ient sa!in' and his e!es shone. L,he se/ret was how to 0ee it. .nd also a'ainst whom the diamond sword wo"ld be ta0en o"t o% its sheathP )as!m nodded: LDo";re ri'htPIt hard, *er! hard to %i'ht with s"/h a sword in one;s hand. I% !o" 0ee hittin' stone, e*en it will 'et d"ll. 4ne m"stn;t ta0e it o"t o% the sheath all the time o"t o% bad blood or it will be'in to /"t down the 'ood and the bad in blindness. Des, this sword is not %or e*er!one. 7"t he who /an ossess it honestl! /an stand " a'ainst an! enem!.L

Ilyas Yesenberlin «The Charmed Sword» (the Nomads – 1) © «Ilyas Yesenberlin Foundation», 2004. www.kazakhstanets.narod.ru

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