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Eurasia

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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Prologue : Enter The Warrior Princess​


History is said to be written by the victors. This is sometimes true. Facts are facts, be they written by the victors or the defeated. Those victors are not always scholars. Sometimes they are great military leaders who have crushed their foes and lifted their banners over the nations they had claimed for their own. Sometimes the holder of the pen were political movements who washed over the land like a flood, destroying and rebuilding all in its wake. Sometimes the writer of history was a dagger in the night or a poisoned goblet. Sometimes they are bitter old men complaining about past wrongs or young men dreaming about bringing about great change. Victory and defeat are both words that mean change. The change is just good or bad depending on what the ripples do to those living in the time period.

India's first RECORDED history could be traced as far back as 3300 BCE, when the Indus Valley Civilization came to being in the north-western part of the Indian sub-continent, which was the first major civilization in South Asia. Yet it was not till the appearance of the Iron Age Vedic Civilization that we started to see what was to become more familiar to us today such as the social stratification of the caste systems and also texts on Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

Soon Dynasty after Dynasty would appear as true Kingdoms would form, rise up, and fall. Sometimes the Kingdom would continue to exist but their rulers were just replaced. These Kingdoms would sometimes have to deal with bandits, famines, and even outside invaders such as Greeks and Arabs. And here our story begins.


Modern Artist Impression Of The Queen

She and her men came to the Kingdom of Kamarupa on the request of the peasants in late 768 A.D. with the promise of gold. The locales were sick of their current Ruler. The fight was brutal but the ruler, King Balavarman, while a brave man, was not a good fighter, and stepped down to be become the Prince of Kamarupa.


He decided his neck was more important to him than his title. Anyway, she was just a hired sword. Once she left he could easily take over again. He had ruled for 19 years since the death of his father. He would rule again.


But the woman did not leave. Once she had the money, and still had her armed men, she didn't feel the need to go. She changed her name to Arminestra of Dysnomia, declared herself a Buddhist and the NEW Queen of Kamarupa, even while she limped to the throne to sit on it. She was a dark haired Greek with a wound from the fighting still marring her otherwise pretty face. For her to declare herself Queen was shameless but nobody stopped her. They saw something in her eyes. Something...bad.

Most historians today still debate how much of this information is true or how much of it is just falsehoods to slur the first Queen of Kamarupa. Remember, many of the more famous histories of this period were written decades, if not centuries, afterwards. Many by authors who had their own reasons to color the history in a certain way. Their own axes to grind, if you take my meaning.

Yet, we can easily gleam some truth out of the many sources. There are letters, journals, palace records, warehouse inventories, and so on that help support many of the following details I will add to our otherwise, very thin, historical outline. I will endeavor to do my best to create a living picture of the events that created the Kingdom anew and explain, as best I can, how we know what we know.

Now, to say that the nobles were not pleased would be an understatement. And what she did next, if the records are correct, would have been even more upsetting to them and the Prince. She announced, while sitting on the throne still warm from the Ex-King's behind, that from now on only daughters would wear the Crown of the Kingdom.


The people of the court were shocked. From now on Absolute Cognatic Primogeniture would be how inheritance was handled within the NEW Royal Family. As many of the vassals in her Realm were either Hindu OR related to the old Royal Family, this was adding insult to injury.

Picture it. The shocked silence, the glances between the rich nobles as they tried to process what was happening, the nervous shifting of boots on the marble floor, the murmuring of the highborn crowd.

There she sat, this WOMAN, from the West. A female barbarian who sat on the throne of KINGS. Still covered in sweat and dirt from the battle that had ended just a few hours ago. Her sword notched and smeared with the blood of brave warriors. On top of that she had embraced the religion of the lower classes. Yet, they still did nothing. Many had seen or heard about her skill with the sword and they dared not lift a finger against her. Not openly, anyway. Not then.

Why didn’t they kill her right then and there? Why not rush her? Maybe it was the guards? Maybe it was that the gentlemen and ladies were not prepared for battle that day? Or maybe none wanted to die for the former King?

What happened next we know mainly because of the Queen’s own official history and those of her family. Plus we can make some guesses on her state of mind based on the actions she later made.

It is said she dismissed the court and her private guards secured the room. Maybe the new Queen then leaned back and felt the throbbing wound across the bridge of her nose. The local army had some good warriors. Not as good as her men, of course, but still skilled. She would need to see a surgeon or physician soon. Who knows what may happen to her nose if it is not taken care of soon?

Now she would have to take it slow and easy. Many of her NEW vassals outright hated her. She would have to work hard to find those who she could trust to put into power. But power could corrupt. Sometimes a barking dog, when you gave it a bone, would bark louder for more. And sometimes a barking dog could bite.

Greedy men, wishing for power, would not be brought to her side by the promise of more power. Giving drunkards more drinks did not sober them up. She would have to handle her court and her new subjects carefully. Some would want to claim her throne. Some would want to claim her wealth. And some would wish for her hand in marriage. She would need to use many skills - not just her skill with the sword.

"Well, " she said to herself, "I am a woman of many skills." She grinned, showing a perfect set of shiny white teeth that would have made any wolf proud, and enjoyed, for the moment, the peace and calm of her new throne room.

"Also it helps," she whispered to herself, "that I have the coin the commoners paid me.(1)"

Where the lowborn farmers, merchants, and peasants had been able to collect so much gold coins was beyond her. But once added to the treasury it came to a nice sum.

In fact many historians suggest she might have helped herself to more than was promised to her. And her men might have had some sticky fingers also.

She looked at a nearby wall, where some artist long ago had been paid to make a map of the region and had done a pretty good job of it. The image was old and worn but presented a Kingdom that was well protected by the mountains and on the end of one of the greatest trade routes of all time. No doubt many an old Kings had studied it and bragged to members of their court about their rich holdings.(2)


Wealth Came On The Trade Winds

And there was a reason why the Kingdom were so rich. The Silk Road. Well, a maritime part of it linked this part of the Indian sub-continent to the rest of the world. The local provinces exported many types of fabrics, spices, semi-precious stones, dyes, and ivory. Such items as mangos, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon were all in high demand among the Europeans and the Chinese. In return India received glassware, new types of spices and herbs, metals, and ideas. Strange ideas. Wonderful ideas.

The woman who now called herself Queen Arminestra cracked her knuckles and decided it was time to get to work. If she wanted to rule the Kingdom first she would need to build a proper foundation.

"You don't build a house on sand," she said to herself. "And it is about time I settled down in a proper house." She glanced about her throne room and added, "Well, a proper palace."

She leaned forward and became thoughtful. She eyes lost the madness they had shown a few minutes ago to the uncomfortable court. They became deeper and calmer.

"I will need to marry," she whispered. "Somebody I can trust not to stab me in the back. And maybe have some education and some skills to offer."

She looked around the empty room. "And I need to make sure the Council is either full of loyal members or made powerless. I can't rule all by my lonesome."

She sat up and shouted to her guards, "Bring me the Council! NOW! And the court scribes. We have work to do! Bring tables, lamps and some wine. We will be working as long as needed."

What she did next was amazingly swift and many researchers suggest that the following happened over a few weeks and NOT a few days, as many of the earlier accounts suggested.

Her first goal, of course, was to keep the people from trying to kill her next. She needed to build a solid foundation. She realized that military operations, for now, were to be shelved.


Second, she found a husband among the court who only slightly disliked her. Balavarman, a lowborn Buddhist with no relationship to the Royal Family that she could tell, was the next in line for the Throne. She decided to kill two birds with one stone by suggesting their marry. Of course all offspring would be of her line. He agreed and, by going so, she had one less person to worry about. Sadly, the records say he was VERY ugly and has no useful skills. But neither did he has any real faults.


She had the wedding right there and then, among the grumbling nobles, confused scribes, and amused soldiers.


It is said that at the wedding she refused to collect Royal Aid Duty to pay for it. She was trying to regain some of the prestige for marrying such a man of common blood. The guards served the wedding 'guests' cheap wine and trail rations as a wedding feast. Her new husband would, in fact, prove to be useful.

For next she had to reorganize her Council. It was a mess as the Military Position of the Protostrator (as she demanded Greek titles would be used in her presence) was empty and most of the members hated her.


Her husband became Magistros (think Chancellor who primary job is diplomacy) . After his appointment he was also made the Designated Regent. As you can guess, his feelings towards the Queen just grew warmer.

The new Protostrator, Harhapala, was also granted the title of Master of the Hunt after his appointment.

The rest of the Council members were selected for their skills. Many still hated her. The Queen had long term plans to try to bring them about to her way if thinking. Though many historians debate about how much of her actions were planned out or just decided on the spot.

The very next action she carried out, with the new members of her Council freshly appointed and with her guards still armed and ready, was to have them approve increasing the centralization of the Kingdom. Which gave her slightly more authority.


She found out, likely to her great dismay, that many of the lesser titles were still empty. One of which was that the court had no skilled physicians. Not a one! Mounted messengers were sent out right away to search the small Kingdom.


Still, many of the Council pointed out that she held too many titles. Even a Queen was limited to how many holdings she could directly rule over. So after checking the maps, and tax information, she appointed her husband Count of Goalpara.


“Enough for now! The sun has set and I still have important matters to attend to!” said the Queen as she led the embarrassed new King off to her new private chambers.

Of course, nobody believes that she did so much in so little time. Those who understand the slow wheels of politics and court affairs will tell you that it is doubtful she was able to do this in one day or even one week.

Others say that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. We will never know, most likely. And so, my readers, I put down my pen and close this short opening to what may be a amazing and yet confusingly long tale of a Greek Queen in a Indian Court. How long will she hold onto power? How long will she survive? We will see. We will see!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author's End Notes:

1. Did she say this? And would she really say the words I will be putting down in this history? Well, the reports that her knowledge of many languages seem to be backed up by her own writings. She seemed to know some Sanskrit (which was THE languages of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and the language of high culture), and was also familiar with the Arabic language, the Persian language, and even some common phrases in Turkish! This was very useful, as in some regions of India Arabic had become the language of religion and of the law. But more importantly Persian was the language of the court. Turkish might be spoken in every day life but produced little in important literature. As all these languages have their own rules, their own syntax, it is not too hard to figure out how something was said or delivered. But we also must assume a Greek influence in her earlier exchanges with her vassals and subjects as much of her own writings was in Greek. Seemed that speaking a native language was not as easy as writing in it. This means that many of her public speeches and private discussions with her vassals, army commanders, and Council members may not have been as well polished as those in the upper-class of India were use to. So I assume she would have sounded somewhat rustic to her new subjects. So I can give you a good idea of what she said and how she said it. If she said it at all.

2. This wall map still exists and is a wealth of material and historical details to those who can get access to it. The original artwork, sadly, had long since been retouched and repaired so many times we can only guess at the sight that greeted the Queen when she first looked at it. Yet, all who see it, even in its current state, praise it and the wealth it seemed to project.
 
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stnylan

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This whiffs more than a little of Bactria. I like it! :D
 
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Nikolai

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Nice start.:)
 
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Macke11

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An interesting kingdom, an interesting character! Let's see the great deeds of the Queen! :)
 
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Eurasia

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Subbed. Certainly intriguing.
This whiffs more than a little of Bactria. I like it! :D
Nice start.:)
An interesting kingdom, an interesting character! Let's see the great deeds of the Queen! :)
Thank you!

*Ahem* Welcome folks to my Third AAR! As the other two were for research (and fun) this AAR is totally for fun. Also, be warned, my knowledge of the history of India is not great, so I will be making mistakes and learning as I go. So, please, don't get upset if something is spelled wrong, historical dates are incorrect, and images may NOT be accurate. Think of it as a alternate Earth. :)

In other words, this going to be the candy cotton of AARs. Not a comedy - just something to enjoy. ;)

As you can see, I did use console code to set it up, so it isn't Iron Man but I plan to go where it goes. Also, the Queen's first name is a inside joke to Xena fans. ;)

If it goes on for a hundred years or so I will be pleased. If longer...my typing fingers will fall off. :rolleyes:

Due to the nature of it being a narrative/history format it will be text heavy. Sorry about that.

Enjoy!
 
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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Chapter One : New Blood​


Medicine In Medieval India

The best place and time to start this chapter is the Queen's throne room the next morning after she had time to wash up and break her fast.

It is said the first thing she did afterwards was demand up-to-date maps of the Silk Road within the Kingdom. The maps showed her, as they do us today, that the major centers of trade were in the provinces of Kamarupanagra, Haruppeswara, and Kundina.


The Spices Must Flow

The next step was, therefore, plain to see. She would build a Trade Post in her demesne of Kamarupanagra. The amount of money spent on building it would slowly be returned to her coffers over time.

She also decided to create a Castle Town around her castle in the province. Once completed such a town would draw people to it and help her province generate more income from taxes.


After ordering the construction of the two new projects she started to examine dozen of scrolls the court’s scribes and librarians had brought to her. The scrolls had all the information that they could find on the neighboring Realms.

First was Raja (King) Viradeva of Shantideva Raj to the south. He was a Hindu ruler who was not a very happy man. A lusty twenty-six year old man who wanted both the province of Dimapur and her husband’s province of Goalpara. She was not impressed by the King.


But to the west was the Buddhist ruler Maharaja (Great King) Djarmapala of Pala Kingdom. Younger yet more impressive, with more experience and more troops than the Raja Viradeva. And a tad more friendly towards the new Queen.

In five years she would want to be on the Pala Kingdom’s good side and be ready to start a war with the Shantideva Raj. After all, it had a province that she also wanted.

But there was the problem of her Council. Her husband, the Magistros was already at work in Kamarupanagara, performing Statecraft. Many today would just call it public relations. But she needed all the help she could get in strengthening her position among the upper class.

And the Protostrator Harshapala was organizing her army. She trusted him less than her husband but wanted her armed forces to have some training when she finally needed it.

As for the others...

She sent her Sakellarios (the Steward), the Mayor of Herombial, to do busy work Researching Economy Technology on the hopes that he would find out ways for her to get more income out of the people. Yet, she didn’t trust him at all.

In fact the Mystikos was idle as she refused to give him any mission.

“He will just back-stab me with any important information he finds,” she mumbled to herself as she sat on her throne, looking over the maps. “Anywhere I send him, will not be a safe distance, if he helps a plot go undiscovered.”

Then there was the Upadhyaya (Court Chaplain), the Pujari Sthitavarman of Prithiminagar, who was in Kindina Hunting Apostates. She hadn’t told him to go do that - he was doing that when she took over the throne. She didn’t like the idea of him being in Kindina OR Hunting Apostates. A believer of Hinduism hunting Apostates within a Buddhist Kingdom?

It seems that Queen Arminestra was not against torture and spilling blood but felt to do so over religion was uncalled for.(1)

On the 3rd of January she was notified that the Court Chaplin had secluded himself and was unable to perform his tasks at the moment. As there was no reports of plaques or illnesses of any kind in the Kingdom (or all of India if our studies of the time period are correct) she assumed he was just being, as we say in modern terms, a jerk.

As she worked at getting pregnant she planned her future carefully. She had plans on how to deal with the Council.

On the 12th of January when the Baron Bhattamahabahu, her Mystikos, also announced he had secluded himself in Haruppeswara she decided it was time to do something about her Council.


But before she could put her plans into motion her Spy Master, a man locked up in his own home, notified her of a heretical sorcerer who seemed to be a healer. A sorcerer who was going to be executed. How her Mystikos knew about the sorcerer was a mystery to her but she realized she had to go and look for herself.


The "Sorcerer" in question was a Greek, and a Buddhist, and only twenty-eight years old. She decided to pardon him even though she wasn’t really sure making him her physician was a good idea. She knew trying to find anybody to fulfill the position of the Court Physician could take years so she hired him anyway.


Still, she was also worried that he may be a assassin hired by her own Spy Master to kill her. Not that she could do anything about it. She needed to have a physician in the palace. She just wished the physician she had found LOOKED like he was a skilled physician and not some kind of wandering bard.

After returning back to the palace, and studying the records on nearby towns, villages, and even the Royal courts in other realms, she sent out invitations to men she felt could easily replace her unwilling Council members. By the 24th of January they started to arrive at court. Sadly, none of them were skilled in the arts of healing.


The first, Govindapala, was a Buddhist and was perfect for the position of Upadhayaya. This position was sweetened when the Queen also gave him the title of Seneschal (a purely honorary title that came with a small salary).

The second newcomer to the Court was Hormoz who was given the position of the Mystikos and also the title of Court Musician to help him warm up to his new employer.

She was on her way to meet the third newcomer, Prataparudra, when she bumped into a young man from her own Court. Kumarapala turned out to be a better fit for the position of Sakellarios. She also gave him the title of Royal Builder to, once again, sweeten the deal. Using honey to sweeten the pot always works better than impaling your employees alive on sharpened pikes. As a rule.

By the middle of March her Council was mostly-loyal and actively working for the betterment of the Kingdom. She felt good about things. Her Council was stable, her coffers were filling up again (already back to 101 gold coins), and those who hated her were almost totally powerless to do anything to her.


She was enjoying a sunny day sitting on one of the balconies of the palace on the 16th of March. She was just about to dig into the noon day meal when a soldier came up to her and reported that neighbors were mobilized near the border. At first she was somewhat alarmed till it became clear they were not at war with her.


This woke her up to the fact that while she may be a big fish in her tiny Kingdom she was a tiny fish in the bigger pond that was India.

She looked down at the platter of food, the still warm flatbread, the steaming rice, the yogurt, the vegetables, and the many dishes of different colored sauces. She sighed and waved a maid over to take the food away.

“I still have a lot of work to do,” she announced to herself as she headed for the throne room. The soldier looked wishfully at the departing food and then followed his Queen.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author's End Notes:

1. Some historians point out that records show the Queen seemed to be VERY open minded about freedom of religion. This is put forward as proof that she was either truly Buddhist or, if not Buddhist, a Humanist. But the majority of historians point out that such ideals would not be held by a warlord who just brutally took over a Kingdom with violence. The irony is that many humanist also point out the total lack of evidence among the records to show any such thing. I prefer to think of her as less of a Humanist and more of a Enlightened Ruler trying to keep the peace.
 
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And so the stage is set, for the Queens long and glorious reign! May she grow to become the biggest fish in the pond! :)

It must have been harsh for her to have promised peace and prosperity to the people, and then see an excellent opportunity to strike at her warring neighbour....
 
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And so the stage is set, for the Queens long and glorious reign! May she grow to become the biggest fish in the pond! :)

It must have been harsh for her to have promised peace and prosperity to the people, and then see an excellent opportunity to strike at her warring neighbour....
Well, yes and no. She is a warrior and wants to feel the heat of battle. On the other hand, she needs to keep calm, settle down, have a few kids, and plan.

And she will want more money before she starts a war.

Best to let them beat each other up for now.
 
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Those are some fair points, let's instead see what she may plan to improve the realm in a peaceful way. Peace and prosperity must come between the conflicts, otherwise the realm won't grow to its full potential.
 
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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Chapter Two : The Military Powers


Rush Hour In A Medieval City

Now, let us, gentle readers, take a look at India and the known world. After all, how can I tell you the story of the Queen, and her line, without setting up the...well, the setting.

Welcome to 769 AD and the known world was a strange place. With the Fall of the Western Roman Empire things had gone downhill. The Visigoths and Vandals and other barbarians had stomped through Europe and then settled down, taking over large regions. They tried to copy the Romans, becoming Kingdoms and starting their own political infighting and cultural wars.


Am I Roman Yet?

They, in turn, had to deal with the total collapse of trade, the threat from the next generation of barbarians from the Russian steppes, and soon they also had to face the waves and waves of Islamic invaders coming out of the Middle East.


World At War

Soon Pagans fought Christians who fought other Christians who fought Muslims. But for now let us focus on India.

The armies outside the Queen's Kingdom were fighting over a province called Nabadwipa. The Great King of Pala wanted it. Being a leader from a long line of leaders, a multi-generational product of decades of rulers, he was born and bred to led soldiers in combat.


The Raja on the other hand had gotten his position because the past King failed to leave an heir. He had no formal training at statecraft, leadership, or tactics. At this point of the war anybody betting he would be outsmarted and outfought would likely be winning their bet.

Let us take a look outside of India, and ignore this tiny war for the moment, and see what the rest of the known world looks like. Who should we look at? Based on what? Let us base it on military force. The top military powers. Everybody respects power, right?

The first power on the top of the list is the Arabian Empire. The current ruler Caliph Al-Mansur had thirty-four vassals, over ten thousand soldiers, and only one wife. Of course, just having one wife means less sons to fight over the Empire. Not a bad idea in hindsight. At the time he was engaged in only one war and had at least four tributaries.


The next one on our list was one of his neighbors, the Byzantine Empire led by Basileus Konstantinos the Fifth. A Emperor with forty-four vassals, just over nine thousand soldiers, one wife, and way too many sons for the Empire's own good. At the time in question he was dealing with ONLY one war and ONLY one revolt. So he was doing pretty well for a Byzantine Emperor.


Now to Anadlusia, almost known as the Umayyad Sultanate, under the Sultan Abd-al-Rahman. A ruler with thirty-one vassals, two wives, over four thousand soldiers, and he was at peace for the moment. Not much to see here - neither good nor bad. But the future may not be as calm and peaceful as he wished for. First off he had two wives and the four sons. Also one of his neighbors was on the list.


Next on our list of military powers within the known world was West Francia. Led by King Karl of the Karling Family, a ruler with twenty-eight vassals, just under four thousand soldiers, no wives, two kids, and a few claims on his mind. One of which was Middle Francia. Oh, the Karling Family, always worth a laugh. And being so close to Anadlusia suggested we might be seeing more of them in this history. But let us move on.


The fifth military power on our list was the Kingdom of Africa. Ruled by the Sultan Umar who had twenty vassals, just under four thousand soldiers, only one wife, no kids, and was at war with Malzuzi. Victory would increase his power, wealth, and troops. Defeat would bring him shame and dishonor.


The next one the list was the greatest military power in India. The Kingdom Maharastra ruled by the Maharaja (Great King) Krishna of Rashtrakuta. A man with thirty-three vassals, one wife, two kids, just under three thousand soldiers, and a LOT of titles. Many images of him showed him to be a young looking man. When you take into account he was over sixty it means he either paid off a lot of starving artists to improve on his looks or he had very good genes passed down from his father and grandfather.


The last and most important power on our list, the seventh military power, was also in India. The Kingdom of Bengal. Also known to us as the Kingdom of Pala. The Great King Dharmapala of Pala had thirty-two vassals, around four thousand soldiers, no wife or kids, and was right next to the Kingdom of Kamarupa.

You can see why Queen Arminestra of the Dysnomia was so slow to wield her sword and shield in the name of conquest. India had two of the most powerful armies of the known world. At least in the year 769 AD.

So we close this chapter with the knowledge that the world was a horrible, smelly place full of death and ruin and lots of sobbing in the corner. Outside of the palaces of course. And we gain a little understanding of the times. Please take that into account when reading future chapters - these are NOT modern people. The Western Heritage most of Europe and the Americans share today, the ideals of freedom and equality, were not even born yet. This is 769 AD. Colds can kill, wolves come into the villages at night and steal children, and beer is healthier for you than water.
 
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The mass of Indian Lords must consider what has happened so far in that remote corner to be an amusing oddity, if they know of it all.

That will all surely change.
 
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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Chapter Three : A Tiger Hunt And Other Pursuits​


Kitty!

Peacetime can be peaceful and calming. Which is why it is called peacetime.

For a warrior it can be depressing. The Queen found waiting for the projects to be finished was driving her nuts. Asking for reports each morning just frustrated her more at what seemed like the snail pace of progress. Of course, such things take time. But it didn’t help her temper to be told that again and again.

And it didn't help the nerves of her attendants either. They took turns being the messengers of bad news. It was said that the words she used when upset could make even the hardened soldiers turn pale.

She found the life of the palace was boring. The food was good, the beds soft, and the nights exhausting. She wanted, no, needed a baby and the need for a baby took all the fun out of the nightly copulation with her husband. Pregnancy was part of her long term plan to start a Royal Family.

There were still things needed to be done. For example she ordered her court to send any information to her, no matter how small or meaningless it may seem to be, about the Great King Dharmapala and the "other one" battling each other just outside her realm.


There was also the military which reported to her that she needed to appoint two new Commanders. She selected one from within the court and invited a skilled Marshal from another court to take the second open position. After all, the Commanders should know what end of the sword to hold.


Nothing Says Love As Much As An Arranged Marriage

Then she decided that her Court Doctor needed a wife. And found one willing to come to her court. Tarma Amktsastkacer didn't like her but seemed to hate her current situation more. Of course, the couple had to get married matrilineally as Makarios was a lowborn courtier. The wedding was held on the 30th of March between the two.(1)


She still needed action. REAL action. And she found it.

“A tiger hunt?” said her husband one morning as they shared a rare breakfast together in her private quarters. Normally he was shooed out by the maids so they could make the beds and wait on their Lady.

“A tiger hunt,” the Queen replied with a nod.

“Well, yes,” said the Count with a tilt of his head. “Not too late in the year to have a tiger hunt. But they can be dangerous...”

He stopped himself as he noticed her glare which was directed at him. He decided that the Mango Lassi was truly the most wonderful yogurt drink in the world and used the very action of slurping it down to cut off his own sentence.

So while war raged outside the border the bored Arminestra of Dysnomia, Queen of Kamarupa, went hunting for big cats.


Tiger Hunt Done By Artist With No Clue What A Tiger Hunt Looked Like

So on the 26th of April the Hunt began! Five of the vassals, even four who disliked her, agreed to go on the hunt. Maybe they hoped to see her eaten by a tiger? Only two refused stating they had business they had to attend to.


By the 8th of May the Queen and her entourage were settling into the hunting camp. Retainers made sure the living quarters were good enough for the her and her court while the hunters and soldiers prepared for the hunt. Soldiers checked their shields and spears while the hunters discussed among themselves the best parts of the land in which to hunt. The court feasted on many types of fruits and enjoyed a wide selection of wines.


It took over a week of searching and batting the brush before the tiger decided to show itself. On the 18th of May the party found its prey in one of the thick jungles that covered the realm.


When the Queen returned to the hunting camp she found a day old message from the palace waiting in her Royal tent. It seemed that the Spy Master had found out that the Court Chaplain was planning to kill him.

“Oh by Zeus’s beard!” exclaimed Arminestra. She held her head in her hands for a few moments before writing out a quick note to her Upadhyaya to play nice. Then she joined the merriment outside as her court and soldiers enjoyed the joy of a hunt that ends well.


By the 1st of June she got a reply even while they were starting to pack.


On the 8th of June she and her hunting party returned to her palace in glory and optimism.

Back at home she found her good mood helped her for the next few days. On the 10th of June she sent off her Spy Master to study economy and economy related technology. Anything to help increase her income. Also she figured the members of her Council needed to be separated.


She, herself, went out to visit the elders and people of the land around her palace. She even gifted out a small amount of gold. She figured by focusing on Kamarupanagara she would help its prosperity. And increased prosperity meant increased income.


Money Makes India Go Around

But she still had a problem. Many of her Vassals disliked her so much that they refused to give up her rightful cut of their tax farming. In other words, when they taxed the people, they kept a larger potion of it than they might of if they LIKED their liege.


She decided to do something about that. Looking over her the vassals of her court she selected Pujari Gopala of Hajo. He didn’t hate her as much as the others and he did pass on some of the money. But not as much as was truly due to her. She was only getting 2.71 gold coins out of the 15.05 he collected. About 18% of the cut. She wanted more. And she knew a way to do it without daggers or fire.

On the 21st of July she started her plan to get what belonged to her. She would romance him!


The Queen had to be careful not to leave any evidence of what she was about to do. She didn’t want to upset her husband and having an affair could make her position among the nobles even worse.


After leaving hints and rumors about her interest the Queen got a response from her prey by August.(2)


She did something dangerous and sent him a letter of love. Which he completely failed to react to. Yet she refused to give up so easily.

In October she attended a festive in which Pujari Gopala was also attending. Along with most of the court. So she decided to flirt, slightly, not wishing to leave a note or try to get an ally. The fewer who knew what she was up to the better. She sensed he was starting to respond to her attentions.


At a minor event held in November she recognized she had him. His goofy smile, his shining eyes, and his willingness to dance with her. There was no need to go any farther.(3)


Not only was he more friendly towards her but he promised her a larger yearly cut of the taxes raked in. Projections showed he could collect 14.60 gold coins and was willing to send her 4.51 gold coins out of the total. Which was around 30% of the income from the Demesne. And doubled what she had been getting before.


It had just taken some time, which she had tons of, and she had not even had to bed him or spend money. The Queen was starting to show her many skills.

With another four years to work ahead of her it just might be possible she could have the Kingdom firmly under her control and also have her treasury full of coin by the time she wanted to start her first conquest.

Now she NEEDED a child!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author’s End Notes:

1. Many believe this is a sign that the Queen was truly bored. One historian went as far as to call her a “bored little housewife”.

2. Many of the Ladies of the Court were jealous of the Queen. If the King found out about the rumors or gossip she could, truthfully, state that the other women were jealous of her. A note on the other hand is harder to refute.

3. Having another man’s child would have caused a lot of problems.
 
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Certainly a creative method to increase your tax income. It worked even on a greedy vassal.
 
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Hah, poor guy.
 
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Certainly a creative method to increase your tax income. It worked even on a greedy vassal.
And it cost her nothing. I mean, if she was found out she would have lost her honor and likely have to watch out for her husband's anger. But you know, no MONEY was used. :rolleyes:

Hah, poor guy.
Yes, he is poorer. Now he is losing a few more coins per year. ;)
 
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She is a warrior true and through. A true warrior will use every weapon available, even if it is unorthodox, if it is what he/she has available. Why should ruling be any different?
 
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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Chapter Four : Future Profits And Plans


Council Meetings - Did Anybody Bring The Gulab Jamun?

On the 15th of November, in the year 769 AD, the Queen of Kamarupa called her Council to her private quarters for a meeting. She had been slightly out of touch with the Kingdom, and the outside world, during her adventures at being a seducer and felt the need to get a review of what was happening inside and outside her borders.

She had selected one of the many dining rooms created for private events. There were a dozen chairs around a big, round, solid table made of marble. It was lovely to look at and was wide enough to make sure none of the members tried to kick each other under it.

The first in was, of course, the Despot of Kamarupa, her husband the Magistros. He was the most cheerful of the Council. He was always happy to see her and more then willing to please her. He took a chair next to her, on her right, and greeted her with a smile.

"Greetings my Queen," he stated as the next Councilor entered the room.

Harshapala, Protostrator of the Kingdom, walked in with a certain pride. He, next to her husband, was one of the first members to be selected by the Queen. He felt a certain security in his position and felt she trusted in his skills as a leader.

He gave her a silent nod and sat down in the chair to her left. Within his hands were a few scrolls and notes. She approved of that. She was very interested in how the war was going.

The next in was Sakellarios, Kumarapala, the young man who had gotten the job because she almost ran into him. He seemed very pleased with himself about something and also had a bundle of scrolls in his hands as he sat down, next to her husband.

He bowed slight to the Queen and said, “Your Highness.” He then nodded to the two other men before starting to untie the scrolls and placing them onto the table.

The next two Councilors came into the room almost at the same time. Glaring at each other as they were forced to move near each other by the door frame.

Govindapala, her Upadhyaya, bowed to the room in general and then took a seat next to Harshapala.

Hormoz, the Mystikos (Spy Master), also bowed to the room but decided to take the nearest chair to the door. It was as if he didn’t trust anybody. Not even the Queen.

The Queen found this amusing. She should really replace him but he was the most skilled of her Councilors and it was best to keep him close.


“Welcome gentlemen,” said the Queen as she glanced about the room. “I would like a rundown of the state of the Kingdom. But first, my Protostrator, please educate us on the De Jure War over the province of Nabadwipa.”

The Protostrator stood up, cleared his throat, and nodded towards the Queen. He then, turning slightly to include the rest of the table, started his report.

“As you know the Maharaja Dharmapala of the Pala Kingdom is fighting a war with the Raja Viradeva of Shantideva Raj. It started in March and is going slowly. We have information that Nabadwipa is under siege but that the conflict hasn’t moved very quickly. I would say that the war could go on for another, oh, year and a half before it ends. Maybe shorter.”

“Year and a half?” mumbled her husband. “Why is it taking so long?”

“Well,” said the Protostrator, enjoying being the center of attention, “while the Great King has a larger pool of soldiers to draw from, many of them are in the siege. But not all of them. We assume the rest are engaged with fighting the enemy soldiers.”

He bent down, picked up another note and glanced at it.

“And from what we can tell,” he added after he placed the note back onto the table, “the Raja still has as many men as he started out with. I can only assume that, because of the men who are part of the siege, the Great King does not have enough men to win a quick victory on the battlefield.”

“He IS Winning,” he continued with a smile, “but as I said it is slow going. A siege can not be rushed without more men.”

“Anything else we should be alerted to?” asked the Queen. She could tell by his face he had more to say.

“Oh yes, your Highness,” he said happily.

He pulled out a map, freshly made no doubt by one of his own officers, and slid it onto the table.

“It looks like the Rashtrakuta Kingdom is having a revolt.”

The men looked at each other and Kumarapala even moved to the edge of his chair to get a better look at the map.


“Do we know who is winning?” asked Govindapala, who for the moment was so focused on the map that he had forgotten to glare at the Spy Master.

“No,” said the Protostrator. “It seems to have just started. Nobody has the advantage as of yet.”

“Thank you Protostrator Harshapala. Wonderful work.”

“You are welcome your Highness,” the Protostrator replied and sat down with a smile.

“Sakellarios Kumarapala,” stated the Queen. “I believe you have some information for me.”

The young man stood up and nodded, “Oh yes your Highness.” He also cleared his throat and picked up a few of his notes.

“First off, the Trade Post of Kamarupanagara should be finished by the end of the year. I have been told that it will be finished on the 2nd of January, 770.” He beamed to the men around the table as if he was the one building the Trade Post all by himself.

“And the castle town?” said the Queen with a tilt of her head.

“Oh yes,” said Kumarapala as he searched through his neatly piled notes. “Oh yes, here it is. The Castle town should be finished...on the 22nd of November. About seven days.”

“Wonderful to hear,” she said with a smile. “And may I ask about the finances?”

“Oh, yes your Highness,” said the Sakellarios. He answered without even needing to glance at the notes. “We have 100 gold coins in the coffers.”

“Thank you,” she said. She waited for him to sit down again and added, “Does anybody have anything else to add?”

Her husband the Magistros had nothing to report. But that was normal - he talked to her daily and rarely had anything to bring up in the Council meetings.

Neither the Mystikos or the Upadhyaya had anything to add.

“Gentlemen, before we end this meeting let me remind you of something.”

She waited till she knew that she had their undivided attention before she continued.

“We have four years. Four years to stabilize the Kingdom. Four years to prepare for our first military operation.”

She pulled out a tiny map of a province and unfolded it onto the table. “This is our first conquest.”

The men leaned forward and studied the small map.


“This belongs to me,” she stated. “It belongs to the Duchy of Para-Lauhitya. It must be added to Goalpara and Dimapiut.”

“I don’t want a long drawn out war,” she added as the men continued to examine the map. “I don’t want a slow, painful war. This will not be a war. This will not be a fight.”

She seemed to growl as she pointed towards the map and added, “This will be a one-sided slaughter.”

After letting that sink in she stood up and said, “This meeting is over.”
 
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Well, plenty of time to prepare for that slaughter.
 
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Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
Chapter Five : A Baron And A Blessing


What Do You Mean He ISN’T Into Me?

After dismissing her Council she pulled out some papers she had been reading. She had been selecting her next victim among her court. The Baron of Bhattamahabahu of Numaligarh looked like a good target. He collected, yearly, 6.02 gold coins but only passed on less than one gold coin to the Queen.(1)


She did the math in her head and frowned. He was passing on less than 7% of the tax collected in the province!

She decided the best choice was, of course, to seduce him. On the 16th of November she started her scheme to win him, and his funds, for herself.


The history records show it went...poorly.


In December she started some rumors about her love for the Baron. And he returned her attention with his own “rumors” about the Queen and her love of a horse.

But the Queen refused to give up. She sent him a wonderful sword as a New Year's gift to bring in 770. He sent her a dagger. She pretended to her maids that it was a wonderful gift for her. She was able to pull it off only because of her background as a warlord. And also the maids didn't feel it was right to correct their Lady.


She refused to give up. She sent him a scented letter in late February. That also failed though the details pasted down in the history books are fuzzy.


Funny enough her private papers state that one of the guards took a fancy to her during this period and she refused his advancements. She wasn’t trying to have fun - this was not a game - to her seduction was all about gaining wealth and power. A lowly palace guard had neither.


She tried a sword again in the middle of April and got nothing in return. In fact, from what she could gather from her maids, he hated her more then ever.

For a time she gave up. Her actions had driven him farther away from her grasp. Which meant she may as well kiss the income goodbye.

Somebody must have noticed the Baron’s bad mood whenever he had to deal with the Queen. Also, at the time of the first attempt at seduction he was somewhat ill. Somebody decided this must have been the Queen's fault because by the 29th of April she had earned the title of “The Cruel”.

At that point she decided to try again. From her journals we can only assume she was fueled by anger. A cooler head would have given up that track and tried a different one.


So after taking a short rest she, again, started the chase.


Shortly after starting her second try at seducing the Baron one of her maids suggested that she may be with child. After being examined by a midwife it was decided that she was, indeed, heavy with her husband's child.

The joy of finally getting pregnant just gave her renewed energy to plot and plan her chase of the Baron.


She tried the love letter again and once again was rejected. Though, once again, the details on how it was rejected are lost in the mists of time.


In July she tried another sword and found it jammed into her favorite loom! Now, one must remember that many a lady of the court spent a large amount of time weaving and sewing. Such activities were felt to be perfect hobbies for gentle women of good families. Also the finished products could be sold to bring extra cash to the family. The family looms and handlooms were part of the soul of India. To find her loom damaged by the very gift she had given him was a huge insult.

So at this point she gave up again. Her private papers suggested she was now mad at herself for making things worse. But she refused to think of herself as a quieter. The Baron just could not be seduced by her. It was like trying to talk to a wall and expecting it to answer back. You could not make a wall talk no matter how much you tried. So she started exploring two other choices.

If the Baron died without an heir she would get the title. Now the Baron was a well liked man and it was unlikely anybody would agree to help killing him.

But India was FULL of jealous women and there was a line of women willing to kill his wife. Of course, assassination was a dangerous business and she decided to shelf the idea for a less risky one.

In trying to seduce him she had pushed him to the point of rage. He hated her with a passion. If he was pushed even more he might do something insulting or outright unlawful. In other words if she gave him enough rope she might be able to deal with him legally.

So she decided to watch the Baron and his wife. And wait.


Today In The News

Along side the events of the failed “romance” and the Queen's pregnancy there were other events just as important happening within the Kingdom.

The Castle Town was finished on the 22nd of November in Kamarupanagara. It would help bring in money - a income nobody but she could touch.

On the 31st of December it was reported that the siege of Nabadwipa had been completed and the Great King was marching deeper into his enemy‘s territory.

The Trade Post was finished on the 3rd of January and the Queen paid for an expansion to be made to it. A Silk Road Trade Post would take another 122 days and cost 97.8 gold coins BUT would increase both wealth and income for the province.

On the 25th of March it looked like the war was more than half way done between the Maharaja and the Raja. The Great King was slowly but surely winning it.


The Silk Road Trade Post was finished in May. Now the Queen’s private, DIRECT, income would increase. A income not controlled by other nobles and local officials.


On the 3rd of June it was reported that the Kingdom of Pala had troops in Karmanta. It was now under siege and the military assumed the war would likely end sooner than anybody had thought. On the other hand, many felt it had already lasted longer than it should help. Maybe the Great King was not so “Great” after all?


Then it was discovered that Govindapala was selling religious favors and pocketing the money for himself. The Queen realized that he had to be removed and even demanded he leave the court.(2)


As she was deciding who to make the new Court Chaplain the war over Nabadwipa ended in late July. The Great King had won.

She finally selected her Court Doctor and default Heir to the Kingdom as the new Upadhyaya of Kamarupa. It is said she could not see him and his bald head without chuckling. She sent him to research cultural ideas in the surrounding villages and towns of Kamarupanagara on the hopes of finding new ideas and ways of doing things.(3)


By now the Queen had decided that seduction was a tool best used against men of weaker stuff than such men as the Baron. After all, she was a woman of many skills and planned to use all of them to secure her position.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author's End Notes:

1. This likely means he sent her copper or silver coins. Please remember that is it unlikely they are dealing only in gold coins. The gold coin were just the best way to describe the large sums used among the Kingdoms and Duchies of India and Europe at the time. As a dollar equals a hundred pennies a gold coin equaled a certain amount of silver or copper coins.

2. He would have been upset about being fired and, if he was going to be angry at her, it was best he was forced to leave the court and be angry at a distance.

3. The Queen seemed to call him either the Court Doctor or the Court Physician in her papers as if she had a problem picking which one truly fit him. It could have been she just didn't trust him. He was both the person who had to keep her healthy BUT was also her Heir to the Kingdom in case of her death. Even modern scholars have a hard time understanding how that happened.
 
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