Notes: The Secret History of the Mongols IV

30 Dec 2021

Jamukha sends a message asking Altan and Kuchar why they started a rift between him and Temujin by making Temujin a Khan.

Later, Taichar, a younger kinsman of Jamukha’s, steals Jeachi Darmala’s herd. No one helps Jeachi, so he goes after Taichar himself. He ambushes Taichar, loosing an arrow that hits Taichar’s spine, and takes his horses back.

From this death, Jamukha rallies thirteen tribes who are connected in kinship and forms three tumens (units of ten thousand) and goes toward Genghis Khan.

Genghis gets three tumens in turn, and they meet in battle. Genghis retreats, and hides out in a gorge by a large river.

Jamukha has some people boiled alive and decapitated, and more of his men defect to Genghis. Jearchedei, Kuyuldar, and Monglik. So Lady Hoelun and Genghis celebrate with a feast.

As part of the feast, a pitcher of kumis (a yogurt drink like kefir, but made from mare’s milk) is poured on Genghis, Hoelun, Kasar, Sacha Beki and others. Then more kumis is poured on the women. The first of it was poured on Ebegei, who is Sacha Beki’s father’s second wife (the title for secondary wife is ‘little mother’). Two other women, Korijin and Kurchin, ask why the yogurt was poured on Ebegei first, and beat the steward Shikioor. He whines about it.

The feast was arranged by both Belgutei and Buri Boko of the Jurkins. One of the Kadagin men stole a tether from the horse tent and Belgutei caught the thief, but Buri Boko said the thief was under his protection. So they fought one-on-one about it. Belgutei typically takes his sleeve off his right arm to wrestle, and somehow Buri Boko sword cut his bare arm in the scramble. Belgutei didn’t say anything about it, but Genghis pointed it out. Belgutei told his older brother to leave it, because they needed all the kin they could get, and pressing the point might result in a split in their camp.

Genghis ignored Belgutei and he and his men got into a big brawl with the Jurkins. They took Korijin and Kurchin, but when the Jurkins asked for peace, they returned them.

It’s at this point that Genghis finds out that some guy they know (Ongging Chingsang) is going to attack the Tartars because his leader, Altan Khan, couldn’t get the Tartars to agree to something.

Genghis says come on, let’s get together and attack the Tartars, didn’t they fuck up our fathers and ancestors before? He sends word to his adopted father, Toril Khan, who agrees to attack the Tartars, and the same goes for the Jurkins led by Sacha Beki and Taichu.

On their approach, Megujin of the Tartars sets up a birch and pine stockade as a defense. Genghis and his crew use their defensive barricades to trap them, and capture them. They kill Megujin and Genghis gets his silver cradle and a blanket with pearls sewn into it.

Toril and Genghis catch up to Ongging and tell him they killed Megujin. He’s happy and calls Genghis a leader of hundreds, and Toril ‘Ong’, which basically means ‘King’. Ongging says he’ll tell Altan about this, and let Altan figure out if Genghis gets an even bigger title - ‘one with the mission of bringing peace’. So Ong and Genghis loot the Tartars, and split the booty amongst themselves.

When they were attacking the barricade, they also found a little boy with a golden nose ring and gold-stitched vest. They gave this boy to Lady Hoelun. She names him Shikiken Kuducu and adopts him as her sixth child.

While all this was happening, the Jurkin apparently stripped fifty men and killed ten of them at their base camp. Genghis figures this is cause for war, and attacks them. They plunger the Jurkin, and grab Sacha Beki and Taichu. They admit that they did not keep their agreement, and ask him to make them keep their word. So Genghis kills them.

Some of the Jurkin come to Genghis and ask for their sons to be his servants. One of these sons is Jebke, who also brings Hoelun another boy that was found while looting. His name is Boro’ul.

Hoelun gathers her four new boys (Gucu, Kokocu, Shikiken, Boro’ul) and says that she’ll raise them as eyes and ears for her older sons.

The Jurkin became The Jurkin because they formed around Sorkatu Jurki, who was a grandkid of Kabul Khan. They were chosen for their ferocity, but Genghis beat ‘em and made them a part of his tribe.

Genghis gets Buri Boko and Belgutei to wrestle. When Buri Boko was a Jurkin, he had a wrestling match with Belgutei where he successfully foot swept Belgutei and kept him on the bottom. Buri Boko is the strongest of the Jurkin.

This time, Buri Boko lets Belgutei mount his rear. Belgutei grabs Buri Boko’s collar, places a knee on Buri’s spine, and pulls until Buri’s spine breaks. Buri explains that he was scared of Genghis, and dies.

So a bunch of tribes get together, including the Tartars, and they decide to make Jamukha their Khan. They do it on a river plain. Words of this reaches Genghis where he’s staying in the mountains. Genghis lets Ong Khan know, and Ong Khan gets to Genghis as quickly as he can. Genghis and Ong send out a bunch of scouts and vanguards, some of them to set up observation posts, others for roving patrols.

The vanguard made of Altan, Kuchar, and Senggum gets a report from a forward observer of a patrol passing through. Instead of setting up camp, the vanguard goes to get info from this patrol. They find the patrol and find out that it’s Jamukha’s vanguard. It’s late, so they agree to fight the next day.

The men fight the next day. Some of Jamukha’s vanguard know how to summon rain, and they do, but the flash storm affects their men more, they slip and figure that they’re not on heaven’s side, so they run away. They split, some going along the major rivers, others toward the Altai mountains.

Jamukha plunders the people who elected him Khan, then retreats home.

Genghis & co fight the Tangut. Genghis gets injured in his neck, and Jelme attends to him. In the night when they’re camped close to the enemy camp, he sucks blood from Genghis wound and looks for yoghurt. He doesn’t find yoghurt, so he strips naked and runs to the enemy camp to pretend like he’s fleeing, but he’s just there to steal some yoghurt and bring it back to camp. Genghis drinks the yoghurt and is stabilized the next day.

As they’re routing the enemy a camp, a woman in a red coat calls to Temujin. She says she called on him to protect her husband but her husband is dead. He finds some people among the Tangut who served the Tangut but really wanted to be on his side. Some of them helped him when he was alone around the Burkan Khaldun. They seem relieved to be finally able to join him.

Genghis finds the man who wounded him. The man doesn’t hide his identity- and Genghis gives him a new name, Jebe (‘weapon’, or ‘arrow’) and brings him into the fold as a companion.