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Thread: The Eternal Exile: A Nation Hopping AAR

  1. #201
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    blsteen: LOL! That happened quite by accident actually. For the second...the latter choice is the one you're looking for!

    -------

    INTERMISSION

    XXX

    8/7/1456

    Persia was in turmoil. As she and Imani had passed through the country she had seen the devastation caused by rebels and soldiers alike. Whole areas of the eastern territories needed to be garrisoned by thousands of soldiers.
    And yet, as she rode through it all, Talena couldn’t bring herself to care much. She was eighty seven years old, trapped in time and in the body of a thirty year old. She was tired of war, of fighting, of having to explain herself to people.
    And so, she had led them south instead of going directly back to Esfahan. When Imani had timidly questioned her about it Talena had brushed her question off.

    The port city of Gamrun lay on the shores of the Straits of Hormuz. It was a trading place, and ships were anchored while they were unloaded. The business reminded Talena of ants.
    “Mistress, can we stop?” Imani asked.
    Talena had been irritable and uncommunicative for most of their journey from the north, but now she looked around angrily. “Just leave if you don’t want to be here! I free you, now go away!”
    Imani didn’t move. “Mistress, I-“ she begun.
    “I am not your Mistress! You are not my slave! I hate slavery! And what does it even matter whether you’re tired now? In two days you won’t feel it, in two months you’ll have forgotten it, and in twenty years you’ll be dead!” Talena said. She trembled, either with anger or regret. “Don’t you understand? I’m older than anyone you have ever known, I have seen things that no one here can possibly imagine, and I am stuck here!”
    People were watching her, and Talena clenched her fists as she fought back her sudden, unexpected fury.
    Imani, for her part, looked terrified. She knew this woman her Master had sent her with was different, but just for a moment she looked as though she might lash out. Imani however was used to angry owners, and it was best to say nothing until they calmed down.
    This now happened. Talena dismounted heavily and walked over to Imani. “I’m sorry, dear. It’s not your fault. I...I don’t know. I don’t want to go back to Esfahan and watch some more pointless wars. I am through fighting. I just want to...want to be myself.”
    The slave dismounted and bowed her head. She hadn’t understood much of what Talena had said, but she tried to soothe anyway. “Mistress, you so not need to apologise. You are a great lady, and you are troubled by things I do not understand.”
    Talena sighed. “I guess we better go back to Esfahan. Your Master won’t be happy if I keep you away.”



    “Excuse me, my Lady,” a man said from behind Talena. She turned to see a young Indian nobleman, a Hindu most likely. He was dressed in white robes of very good quality. He had several servants and guards with him. He spoke good Persian, indicating that he had some experience of Persia.
    “Yes?” Talena asked.
    “Forgive me for interrupting, but are you the one known as Talena?”
    She sighed. “That’s me. Warrior woman for hire,” she added bitterly.
    “I was hoping that we might be able to talk. My father has a proposition for you.”
    “Where are you from?”
    “The Kingdom of Vijayanagar. My father is one of the members of the Great Council until our King comes of age and into his inheritance.”
    “So what is he doing here? Anyway, lead the way.”
    “My father is here to discuss trading concessions with the Ayatollah...but he has not arrived to meet us. We were planning to return home on the morning tide. Your slave should stay outside,” he warned.
    “She’s not mine, but she stays with me,” Talena insisted.
    “As you wish, Lady. My name is Amar. My father was Mahapradhana...Prime Minister...to the old King. However, His Majesty died leaving just his four year old son.”



    Talena followed him into a large trading hall which had been taken over by the Indian delegation. Soldiers and officials bowed to Amar, all except his father, a bearded middle aged man in elegant robes.
    “Lady Talena. I am Minister Jagdish Malini, Regent of the Empire of Vijayanagar.” He turned to his people and waved them away with words in a language Talena did not know. He turned back to her. “Please sit. It is a stroke of luck I have met you, as I have a proposal for you.”
    Talena was annoyed, and in a bad mood. “Look, Lord Malini, I am simply not in the mood for this. Please get to the point.”
    She was secretly annoyed that neither of them seemed angered by her rudeness.
    “Of course. The Empire of Vijayanagar is a great power, Lady Talena, stretching from the Madurai in the south to Nagpur in the north. The late King was a great man, but his son is not yet an adult. I know about you, you are famous. I don’t want you to fight, or anything like that. I have heard you know many things others don’t. I want to use your expertise.”
    Talena considered. What exactly did she have in Persia? She had the ear of the Ayatollah, but that was an uncertain asset. He was old and would die before another ten years passed she reckoned, and his councillors were less well disposed to her than he was. She had nothing to lose.
    “Very well. I accept. I do not want much, just a place to live in peace and to do whatever it is you want for me to do. I am tired of fighting, tired of war.” She turned of Imani. “What did you want to do? You can come with me to Vijayanagar as a free woman, or go back to Esfahan and your Master.”
    Imani didn’t pause long. “Free, Mistress?”
    “As a bird. I am emancipating you. Once we reach India you may go where you wish, though I will have use for you as a maid I guess. I’ll pay you of course. You don’t have any family or others in the Shah’s service?”
    “Thank you, Mistress! No, just me...my parents were sold when I was two...and I never saw them again,” she said sadly.
    Talena gave her a comforting smile. “Well, you will never be owned by anyone every again.” She turned to the Indians. “I accept your offer provided we leave tomorrow.
    “As you wish.”



    XXX

    Isma’il eventually died in 1464 after conquering more of the Qara Koyunlu lands. He left behind a war torn state which soon would become embroiled in a long conflict with the Ottoman Empire; a conflict which successors far greater then those who followed him would have struggled to win.
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  2. #202

  3. #203
    Major Chris Taylor's Avatar
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    Just started reading through this from the beginning... Haven't made it up to the most recent iteration yet, but I wanted to say that it's an interesting concept for an AAR, and you've done a good job in writing it.

    It reminds me of those old Journeyman Project games I used to love, back in the day.

  4. #204
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    Talena considered. What exactly did she have in Persia? She had the ear of the Ayatollah, but that was an uncertain asset. He was old and would die before another ten years passed she reckoned, and his councillors were less well disposed to her than he was. She had nothing to lose.
    My, my. Talena is getting rather cynical and calculating in her old age! About time too - next stop Empress of India.
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  5. #205
    Colonel Razgriz 2K9's Avatar
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    Only question though Dew...which Empress? Last I checked, there were more colors in India than there were in a 64-pack crayola Crayon pack. Or am i mistaken?
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  6. #206
    General Range's Avatar
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    Excellent tale...if there's one thing I've learned in reading your AAR...it's high time for me to change my style.

    Thank you.
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  7. #207
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    So if everyone with a two bit spy knows that there is an immortal hotty who is traversing the globe, I wouldn't think that she'd lack for job offers. Of course, with the swath that she seemingly cuts through all her opponents (even if she's got to spend a few years in a cage biding her time),
    a blind man with a blind guide dog should be able to find her.
    Which then begs the question. If she is not alone in this time traveling/parallel universe/???? then whoever else should be able to track her, determine what she knows and...
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  8. #208
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Boris: Thanks!
    Chris Taylor: Glad to see you're enjoying it! I like your AAR a lot as well, so we're in good company! If you have any suggestions do let me know.
    Dewirix: Yes indeed. The problem is that there are certain problems with living forever...and the biggest one IS living forever! I hope to show the progression over time so that by the end (whenever that is) she'll be a quite different person.
    Razgriz: Normally yes...but the AI actually did an astounding job with Vijay, though if I hadn't stepped in it would have collapsed within the decade I'm sure.
    Range: Aww that's so nice of you to say! Hope I live up to your expectations!
    blsteen: Exactly! But who else is there who is in this time...and what are their plans? We shall find out!

    Now, I have to confess that some of the next 7 are not my favourite works. Basically I stayed in India for 40 years to allow things to mature in the rest of the world, while also playing a peaceful (mostly) realm. So with that in mind...hope you like it!

    ----------

    RAMA I PART 1

    The Kingdom of Vijayanagar was, by 1460, the most powerful in all of south Asia. Indeed, only the Ottomans and Chinese could match the Kingdom for its power. From the south of Indian to the north they had ruled, buoyed by conquests under the previous King Sriranga. They now owned almost all the subcontinent, a feat almost impossible to imagine fifty years before, and furthermore there was no Muslim presence left in all India.



    However, this had come at a price. In order to pay its soldiers and sailors the Kings had been forced to raise vast amounts of income via additional taxation. Additional customs dues and tolls had also led to widespread discontent, and several dangerous rebellions. The currency was debased, the production inefficient, and the army divided.



    The Regents realised that something was needed to prevent the Kingdom simply disintegrating. The young King Rama, who came into his authority in 1460, showed a true passion and ability for new ideas and especially for diplomacy.


    XXX

    11/10/1456

    Talena looked at the mess in front of her. Even though she couldn’t read a word of it, she knew instinctively that these accounts did not bode well. Papers, clay and stone tablets were scattered over the table, along with a handful of coins of various sorts.
    When she had accepted the offer back in Persia, she hadn’t expected administration to be her biggest priority. The problem was that Vijayanagar had expanded quickly, and without any concerted effort to expand the government at the same time to handle it. Thus, the tax receipts were low, and made up for by ruthless taxation in the south and confiscation from the northern provinces.
    They had managed to find a clerk who spoke Arabic and Telegu, which was the official language of the Kingdom. Then had followed a long process where she struggled to make sense of things. This palace where the boy king lived had magnificent views of the sea, but they were not her main concern.



    “How is it going?” Amar asked from the doorway.
    Talena waved away the clerk so she could speak with him alone.
    “As well as possible. There wasn’t much effort to keep things organised in the past. Money came in and went out, and it’s all pretty much at random. I’m not sure what you want me to do. I’m not an accountant.”
    “But you are different. You are the only woman I have ever seen who is so...”
    “Independent?” Talena asked with a grin. “I know, I’ve been getting disapproving looks ever since I got here. I make my own future.”
    “Exactly...so what are you better at doing?”

    Talena considered matters. Growing up in a poorer area, her schooling had not been exactly classical, and mainly dedicated to practical matters. When she left school she’d joined the military at sixteen, first going to an Army College, then becoming a marine at age eighteen. Though she’d learned how to repair and assemble things, she’d only ever done so with pre-assembled components.
    What this meant was that she was intelligent, but an expert only with things from her era. She was no scientist or engineer, and no academic genius. Once, while in Constantinople with ZoŽ she had tried to create things to help the Empire, but had failed. There was simply too much time between the present and her origin, too many discoveries in the way.
    However, even so, there were some things that she could help with. It was screwing up history even more, but it was already pretty messed up.
    “I know what I can do. You need to get these figures organised, stop excessive minting and loans. Stabilise the country before you can go further. But I’m no good at that stuff. No, what I’m better at is practical things.”

    Eventually she gave several key ideas to the Malini family, and thus Vijayanagar. These included factors such as hygiene, military organisation and construction. She also introduced gunpowder weapons to full time use in the Kingdom for the first time. They were all basic things to her, but to the Indians they were unknown.

    16/5/1457

    “We have seen these weapons before,” Jagdish said. “But we have never created or used one.”
    Talena finished checking the small cannon over, and nodded. “This is only a small version, but it will give you great power against the walls of your enemies.”
    Jagdish’s eyes glowed with anticipation. “What did you call it?”
    “A bombard.” It was basically an iron tube with a hole at the top, mounted on a wooden pole which was set into the ground. It was primitive, but it was a good example of what had been a common weapon in Europe for a century.
    Carefully she poured out the measure of gunpowder that she had created. That was something she knew how to create, even if it had been hard to get hold of the ingredients. When she had been young she had made gunpowder using stolen components. It was a somewhat shameful memory.
    The carved stone ball came next after some wadding, and the weapon was ready.
    “Ready when you are,” she called.
    Jagdish and Amar were standing well back along with a crowd of others. Talena was the only one near the weapon.
    “Begin when you are ready,” Jagdish called.



    Talena took a burning twig from a fire lit nearby, and applied it to the touch-hole. There was a bang, a cloud of smoke, and the proto-cannon exploded into fragments!
    The iron shrapnel went everywhere, but it had not hit any of the party, but Talena was down, blood pouring from a dozen wounds. A jagged piece of iron protruded from her stomach.
    “Talena!” Amar ran over and knelt down beside her. The explosion should have killed her, and he bowed his head.
    But then, to his utter surprise, Talena’s eyes opened, and she pulled the piece of metal out of her body and got unsteadily to her knees. “Some more work with the iron casting I think.” She was secretly delighted by the stunned looks she got. They were surprised, even afraid.
    “But...you’re hurt!” Amar insisted.
    Talena winced and pulled aside her sari to show the wounds were even now closing.
    “But...but how is this possible?”
    Jagdish came over and looked down on her. He didn’t look angry. On the contrary he seemed extremely interested, even pleased. “Does it give you any permanent injury?” he asked.
    “No. But you know, this is the first time that I have had something trapped inside me. But...I think it’s gone. The shrapnel is gone...dissolved I guess.”
    Amar hadn’t really understood, but he took her hand, even though it was covered in blood. “I’m glad you’re alright!”
    Talena smiled at him. “You knew I was different. Now you know why.”
    “I had heard of this skill of yours, and though I hoped I’d never see it in practice, I see that it was correct,” Jagdish said with a nod.
    “I’ll build you another bombard...one that won’t explode. It still hurts...even if I recover quickly!” she said.
    “Shall I have the blacksmith punished?”
    Talena smiled and shook her head. “Seeing me not full of holes is all the punishment he’ll need!”

    Two weeks later Talena created the first working cannon in Indian history....
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  9. #209

  10. #210
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    After all of the non-stop warring Talena deserves something of a break. Westernising Vijaynagar should prove interesting for the future. Hopefully Vijay will be able to expand further once Talena moves on, perhaps even beating a western power (okay, okay, there is little chance of the AI managing such a feat). Regardless its good to see Talena strengthening such a power.
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  11. #211
    Colonel Razgriz 2K9's Avatar
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    Hmm, Talena contributing to the Westernization of this Empire impressive...

    Though if history serves me right...I think the Mughals will screw over Vijayanagar.
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  12. #212
    General Range's Avatar
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    With Talena's knowledge and tutelage there's no stopping Vijayanagar. Nice read.
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  13. #213
    Lt. General Beowulf1990's Avatar
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    I was wondering when she'd do that, introduced new tech i mean.
    Vijayanagar, who else just copy-pasted that?
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  14. #214
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Boris: Yeah, but sadly I never had a chance to actually do it in game. The slider moves were too extreme to make - even in 40 years.
    morningSIDEr: Sadly you're right. Soon after I leave a pretty historical occurrence happens, and within a few decades India becomes a mass of small states.
    Razgriz: No Murghuls in this version; India is entirely Hindu even before I took over.
    Range: Thanks!
    Beowulf: It's not that hard once you've written it...30 times. Vi-jay-ana-gar. Of course, my spell check hates it.

    The AI had managed to get itself into a real self-made problem. 15% inflation, double the fleet and land force allowances. It was a mess, but it was fun to fix it all up.

    --------

    RAMA I PART 2

    In June of 1460, King Rama I was crowned and led in procession through his capital. Despite being only fifteen, he was an amazingly mature boy, and realised that swift action was needed. The Vijayanagar navy was one of the largest in the entire world, but on the advice of his ministers he decommissioned many of the old ships. Attention was also paid to rationalising taxes and disbanding mercenaries who were a major cost to the crown.

    Within a year the Kingdom was solvent again, and though burdened with bad currency inflation, the tax revenues started to flow in.


    XXX

    9/6/1460

    The bands were striking up, and the people were celebrating as their King rode past on an elephant. The soldiers and nobles were resplendent in bright colours, with gold and silver armour and gems showing up.
    From an upper balcony Talena watched the procession with Amar. Jagdish rode in front of the elephant along with the other ministers of the court who had acted as regents.
    Talena turned away after the parade had passed, and Amar went with her.
    “Talena...can we speak in private?” he asked.
    “Sure, go ahead.”
    Amar looked uncertain for a few seconds, before looking at her. “Talena...I was hoping that you could...I mean that you would accompany me to Calcut.”
    Talena raised an eyebrow. “Are you asking me out for a date?”
    “A...what?” Amar asked, confused.
    “You want to get to know me better. You’ve been looking at me for a while, just out of the corner of your eye. Hey, I don’t mind...but there’s a few things you should know about me.”
    Amar looked even more flustered. “There is? I mean, I know about how you are a great warrior, about how you have powers of the spirit that are stronger then anyone else’s. I know that some people think you are some sort of jinn, but I do not.”
    “They do, do they?” Talena mused. “Well, that’s a bit beside the point. I think you’re a handsome guy, Amar, but I don’t think it’d work out. The other thing about me...well...I’m ninety years old...but I look thirty.”
    She felt a very small pang of unhappiness at the look of shock he gave. Talena felt very, very lonely. She walked back to the window, though there was nothing to see now. It wasn’t until now that she felt the years upon her, not physically of course, but mentally. The strain was slowly getting to her.
    Amar gently laid a hand on her arm. “It doesn’t worry me. My father is not troubled by it, nor my mother. You are...you are something special, Talena. Let me spend some more time with you.”
    Talena looked over at the young, nervous man, and nodded. “Alright. Let’s go then!”

    XXX

    It was when the domestic situation was cleared up that the Kingdom looked abroad. The province of Surat had long been claimed by Vijayanagar, but domestic problems had prevented the claim being pressed. Now, in March of 1462 war was declared, bringing much of the region into the war. In this conflict, the Kingdom’s troops drove the enemy from the field. The bordering state of Malwa was soon vassalised, for it had refused to accept Rama’s overlordship. In less than a year it was over, and the war was finished.
    Only Surat remained, besieged and ready to fall.


    XXX

    28/1/1463

    The city still held out. The Vijayanagar army that surrounded it was content to wait for the most part. They had no wish to destroy a city which they knew would soon be theirs, and there was no relief army coming to help.
    However, even patience could run thin. The city had resisted attempts for almost eight months to capture it, and now the King’s generals planned to force a conclusion.

    “The undermining is complete,” Jagdish said. “The barrels you requested are in place also. That powder...it is what fires the cannons, yes?”
    Talena nodded. “But it has other uses as well.” They were a hundred yards from the solid wall, and protected by a thick wooden screen covered in hides. Occasionally a defender would fire an arrow at them, to no avail. Talena picked up a thin length of rope which was greasy and slightly gritty. “You are sure this is firmly lodged into the centre barrel?”
    “Certain,” Jagdish replied with a nod. “My own guard captain braved the defenders to inspect it himself.”
    “Then watch, Lord Malini,” Talena said and took a brand from a small fire and touched it to the string. Instantly the oil and gunpowder soaked string ignited, and the fire raced along it, away from where they were, and away, away into the excavation beneath the walls.
    “Get down!” Talena ordered.

    At first there was nothing, but then there was a rumble, then a growing thunder, a crashing noise that rose to a crescendo which ended with a cataclysmic blast of flame, dust and smoke. The wooden barrier rocked and shook as the dust billowed around them, choking.
    While the others had hit the ground, Talena just watched on with a smile. When the dust cleared the defensive wall was gone, collapsed into a fiery pit. It would be hard to attack, but Talena knew that no attack was needed.
    “Lord Malini, the city is yours,” Talena announced proudly.





    Two hours later the city surrendered and accepted Vijayanagar as its ruler....

    XXX





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  15. #215
    Colonel Razgriz 2K9's Avatar
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    and so, India enters the Cannon Age.
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  16. #216
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    ooh firepowder. City walls will never be the same
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  17. #217
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    I'd have thought a cannon-armed Vijayanagar would have been able to withstand anything, but I guess the AI's not the safest pair of hands to leave things in. What was the inflation rate like when you took over?
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  18. #218
    Lt. General Beowulf1990's Avatar
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    Yeah, the AI tends to really mess up their economy. Never seem to run out of money tho.
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  19. #219
    General Range's Avatar
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    I like the march north...keeping the conquest orderly so to speak.
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  20. #220
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Good stuff. As ever Talena proves her martial prowess, this time courtesy of a large explosion.
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