Kochmak raiders (Emgen clan)
This refers to a band of raiders of the Emgen clan. It is unclear if they are related to one another, but it is possible that they might belong to one clan or tribe. They number at least 200. Virtually all are mounted, and are excellent riders. Some are dressed in silk shirts, and are lightly armed with spears and shields, while others are more heavily outfitted in lamellar armor, and wield sabres. Most carry, and appear proficient in composite bows. Early in the month of Krasen', they carried out an attack against the village of Vladykino, completely destroying it, and killing or capturing the entire population. The attack seems to have been entirely unprovoked, as the priests in Malinka were under the impression that the archbishop was in good standing with the Khan (and in any case, as a churchman, he owes them no tribute). The causes of the attack are thus unclear, though Yuri Barolov has speculated that the attack was for the benefit of Zbigniev Dragutinovich, the erstwhile miller of Vladykino. Zbigniev's mill, the village's most valuable property, was untouched in the raid, and Zbigniev himself was milling the bones of the Kochmaki's victims into coins at his magical mill. After sacking and looting Vladykino, the raiders headed south with their captives within a day. On the way down, they treated their prisoners harshly: two days after the raid, Yuri, who is hot on the raiders' tracks, discovers a child's corpse that has apparently been whipped to death. The following day, Yuri caught up with the Kochmaki, and tried to spy on them from a bluff overlooking their camp. Here, he again found Kochmak overseers at work with their whips, and heard the sounds of wailing from their captives. Unfortunately, he was spotted, and at least two of the riders pursued Yuri, and nearly killed him, though in the end, he was able to gallop away. He gave up the pursuit as a fool's errand at that point, and returned to Malinka to recruit more helpers. The raiders are not seen again until the companions arrive in Udyn, which seems to have been their destination. The party learns that most of them are still camped outside the city walls. The captives have been apparently been transferred to a warehouse on an island in the middle of the river, as Nikolai indicated. Yuri, along with Lokan and Anatoly Frolyn, paid a visit to the encapment, to see if they could learn about the reason for the raid, and the fate of the captives. Initially, they are surrounded and disarmed by several riders, who conduct them to the tent of Nygmet - a Kochmak elder. Anatoly, who grew up among the Kochmaki, knew that they prize physical prowess and games of chance. He was able to defeat a big raider named Aibek in a wrestling match. In exchange, Zhuldyz, the daughter of the clan's leader, Sholpan Bey, revealed to him that the young women of Vladykino were sold to a powerful lord named Yakub, who lives on the other side of the river. She confirmed the information given earlier by Berke Bolat that the rest of the prisoners who have not yet been sold are being warehoused in a caravansarai on the island in the Udena. The raiders later reappeared outside the village of Shatkal, where they took Anatoly prisoner, and then apparently planned to attack the rest of his party in the village at night. Because Zinovii ordered them to flee, they returned to the encampment outside of Udyn. The vizier rode in in the morning, and ordered them to execute Anatoly, which was apparently carried out by Zhuldyz. Augusta de Urbino, a traveling priestess visiting from the Land of the Friaziny, witnessed the first attempted execution, and helped prevent one of the raider guards from carrying it out. The raiders appear in Chapters 3, 10, 15, and 16.