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Images look very good. How old is the Basileus and heir?

I believe the Emperor is in his early 60s and the eldest daughter is mid-30s. She will be experienced and skilled by the time she takes the Imperial Throne.
 
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Images fine for me

I wonder how much longer Niphon will keep going. As you say, in his 60s he could pop his clogs any moment, or could conceivably keep going for another twenty years.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-One : Enforced Peace


And Raiders?

This chapter opens in July, of the year 917 AD, with Reinforced Peace keeping the Empire mostly silent. Which allowed the Basileus some progress in his search for peace and knowledge and understanding of the True Faith.


In fact the Basileus made some advancements in his studies which made him very happy.


Later that month the NEW Doux of Kasi had his Lords approve the passing of the Title Revocation Law. A good idea for a new Vassal to do - so the Basileus had no complaints so far about his grandson. Now if the young man would hurry up and knock up his wife.


In mid August the Courtiers alerted the Basileus of the Saua Dashi who had a Host traveling into the Empire’s territories. It was suggested that the Emperor had a choice to deal with the threat - ask what it would take to stop the Host from raiding the Empire.


“But he ISN’T raiding us,” pointed out the Basileus. “So I say ignore him. Just because his family has been trouble makers does not mean HE will be a trouble maker.” So no offer was sent.


Around the same time Basileus sent a letter to the Duke of Kalinga asking if he needed any help with his workload.


By the end of the month there came a reply. The Duke was pleased with the offer of help and even had questions for the Emperor as well.


The Basileus, once again, advanced on his knowledge of the True Faith as he gained new understanding of some of the passages he was studying. He was truly happy!


But near the end of September the Basileus heard some upsetting news. It seemed people were plotting to kill Eupraxia! The next Ruler of the Empire. Of course there may were reasons people may have wished her dead. There was the whole cheating on her husband and being an adulteress. Also it seemed she held certain sympathies for Pagan Religions. That, no doubt, upset some of the more Zealot Buddhist subjects under her rule.

So we close this chapter with a somewhat worried father wondering just how badly things could get.
 
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Things could get very bad. Niphon has had entirely too much good fortune of late.
 
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Oh no, not Eupraxia. She must not die, she was shaping up to be such an interesting ruler after Niphon's passing. Anyhow, I'm sure his subjects will appreciate just how peaceful he is making his realm. That said, expansion must never be off the table, at least as long as the Mongols keep expansion on the table. Maurya is doing well, and Niphon, besides a few difficult passages is becoming ever wiser. If only he could make his daughter more Buddhist.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Two : Why Can’t Raiders Behave?


Stop Looting My Holdings!

The chapter opened in early October, of the year 917 AD, with the Host under Saua Wenshunu raiding the County of the Tibetan Plateau.


“Darn it!” exclaimed the Basileus when he heard the news. “I thought he was going to behave. Well, send the Mauryan Army after them!”


As the soldiers marched north, after making sure to do warm up stretches and bounding up the ankles, the Basileus went back to his studies.

As he was not directing the Army directly he had lots of time for himself to ponder the mysteries of the True Faith. Like how suffering came from desire and what happens to the soul once it departed the body and did fish sleep?


In doing so he, once again, found many things becoming clearer to himself. While he carried out his studies he noticed that the Army only had Bhikkhu Eugenios as a flank Commander. While the Buddhist Warrior Monks were dangerous the Army still needed two Commanders in charge of the other parts.


So Bhikkhu Evangelos II of Para-Lauhitya was sent to command the center while Doux Artemios “The Ill-Ruler” was given the other flank of the Army.

By December the Basileus was starting to feel a tad….isolated. And when he heard one of his friends chatting in the courtyard he fought the impulse to run out and join in the discussion. Whatever it was!


But he fought the urge and soon found peace in the books open before him and found peace in the True Faith they contained.

Shortly afterwards he was brought news of a murder plot. Mehrang of the House Rajabhata wanted to kill a Rival of his. Polykarpos who was a Lowborn who just happened to be the Sakellarios of Yarlung.


“Tell Mehrang to stop,” said the Basileus with a frown. “Do you know how hard it is to find a good Sakellarios? I don’t care if they are Lowborn or not.”

Even while this was happening the Basileus became known throughout the lands for his zeal and religious beliefs.


By January, of the year 918 AD, the Raiders were fleeing westwards and about to enter Guge. And the Army was ordered to follow them!


So we close this chapter with the Basileus more enlightened and the Host being chased across the border.
 
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To be fair given the number of reports he has to deal with, Niphon does get plenty of human interaction (if not friendship)
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Three : Battle Of Gela


Host In Retreat

This chapter opens in January, of the year 918 AD, with the Basileus waiting for the Army to catch up with the Host. The Host seemed to be fleeing west and was likely going to try to hide within the Realm of Guge.


In fact, by February, not only did the Host enter Guge but it started looting the County of Zhongba. The Army was ordered to march in to the “rescue” the local populace. How could the Great King of Guge be upset with the Empire if the Army came to HELP their citizens in danger from the Raiders?


The Basileus was a TAD worried. The numbers were a little too even for his tastes. He preferred to have at least three times the soldiers of the enemy. But he felt calling up the Imperial Levies JUST for one Host was overkill and, more importantly, a waste of coin.


While he waited for a report on the clash within his simple cell he was given some good news. The Arahnat Indranarayan notified the Basileus that the Society was pleased with his progress and that his mission had come to an end. The seclusion was no longer needed!


The Basileus was so happy and so full of energy that he decided to Convert his County of Bikrampur, which was Hindu, to Buddhism. With the help of the Savaka-Sangha of course.


And it worked! One more County was now on the Path of the True Faith. This did increase the chance of Revolt SLIGHTLY. But there was always going to be a few bad apples in the barrel. Nothing you could do about that.


Then, in late February, the Basileus was told some bad news. Seems a Commander had gone missing again. Not just any Commander, but Commander Eugenios, who had been in charge of one of the flanks of the Army! So a new Commander needed to be selected and also a Commander needed to be sent to command the flank! The man at the top of the list of available soldiers was Ioustinos, the Mayor of Reting, who was very skilled at the Arts of War. He was selected as a NEW Commander.


Then he was tossed onto a fast horse and sent to join the Army. He was escorted by Imperial Guard Cavalry and was given a fresh mount at the villages and castles along the way. It is said he made it to the marching Army on the very day he was handed his commission but that seems unlikely.


In March, as he waited for news from the war, the Basileus felt himself becoming a better Buddhist and becoming Content with his place in the world.

A few days later a rider came with a letter - the Army had finally caught up with the Host. The idiots had been too busy looting to flee. Or maybe they felt the mountains would give them an advantage?


Mountains, sadly for the Raiders, don’t protect you from arrows shot by Archers or spears thrown from horseback. The Host only had half the missile troops the Imperials did and NO Cavalry. First one of the Host’s flanks collapsed and then the other collapsed.


The center of the Host HAD been doing well but without the flanks it was encircled and outnumbered. Soon it collapsed and out came the Imperial Cavalry to give chase. Not the BEST tactic really, horses don’t do well in mountains or forests, but the enemy was already on the run at this point and were unlikely to put up a fight. In fact one part of the enemy Host had already fled the battlefield! Soon the other flank fled and only the center was left. And it was already falling apart.


Soon it too fled the battlefield and the Battle of Gela was declared a victory. Not a MAJOR victory as the numbers of casualties reported from both sides was a little too close. The Imperials had lost 206 men, mostly Archers, while the Host had lost 349 men, also mostly Archers.

“Hmmmm,” was all the Basileus said when reading the report. It was unlikely he was pleased with the final numbers. He wanted the Host defeated. But it looked like the Commanders on the field were going to have to play cat-and-mouse with this bunch.


So we end this chapter with a victory but not a major one and a Emperor worried about his Archers.
 
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To keep losing these commanders seems a little careless, no?
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Four : The Chase


Get Them Kitty!

This chapters opens in May, of the year 918 AD, with the Army chasing the Host. It had chased them out of Zhongba, through Purang, and was following them into Kurmanchal (which belonged to the Mongols).


The Basileus wasn’t very happy with this. His Army was running around, wasting money, and increasing the odds of insulting one of the other Realms with their very presence.


He did get some good news, which was also old news from April, in which the Nobles of Bengal approved the Tax Shifted Brugher Obligations Law. The City Vassals would love this - they prefer handing over coins than soldiers. A good choice of Laws by his daughter Exarchessa Eupraxia.


Back to the chase the Host was moving through Katehar and was about to enter Sambhal, which belonged to the Kingdom of Ayudha, with the Army close behind.


By mid June the Hose got into a fight with the Ayudha which the Army couldn’t get involved with for some reason.


Then the Host fled back north and into Doti! And the Army followed with their wrapped ankles.


While the Basileus waited for more information from the front he received some interesting news in July - even though it had happened in June. The Emperor decided he REALLY needed to check his in-box more. Seems Doux Artemios “The Ill-Ruler” of Lhasa had been given the power of the Ruler War Declaration Sovereignty Law by his Nobles. Always a good thing for a Ruler.


There was more news in July that happened IN July. The Realm of Kalinga was now at peace. Seems the Talakad Ganga war to make the Duke Jau a Tributary just failed.


As the Basileus pondered asking the Duke to become a Vassal he was told, by his Protostrator, that Commander Bhogishwar had become skilled at controlling the Flank of an Army. The Doux was already good with the sword to begin with so this addition to his skills was greatly welcomed.


When the Basileus focused back on the Duke Jau and sent out feelers to see if he was willing to become a Vassal of the Empire it turned out the answer was still no. Maybe if the Capital of the Empire was moved south?


So we end this chapter with the Army still chasing the Host and the Baisleus starting to wonder if he would be able to enlarge the Empire before he died of old age.
 
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Well the last is perhaps a little more doubtful. He is getting on.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Five : More Chasing



And Another Mongol Revolt?
This chapter opens in late July, of the year 918 AD, with the Army chasing the Host into the County of Jumla.


The Basileus was somewhat disappointed. The Host was refusing to stop fleeing. It was almost like it didn’t WANT to fight. Why go raiding if you didn’t want to fight? It was almost like they wanted to loot and pillage and NOT face the consequences?


Exarchessa Eupraxia of Bengal came to the Emperor asking for gold to build a monument. She promised it would help the people notice what a great Ruler he was. She also said something about cultural status but he had already decided to hand over the coins after the “great Ruler”.


Then the Basileus received some news of a murder plot. Seems Nayandevi of the House Pala was planning to kill her own mother-in-law.

“Tell her not to kill her husband’s mother,” remarked the Basileus after seeing the report. “Brings bad luck or something like that. Even if it means your husband will inherit her titles. Which she does not have yet.”


By August the Army was chasing the Host which had left Jumla and was now entering the County of Mustang. Where the Host, once it arrived, start to loot!


The Basileus received some interesting news in late August. Another Revolt within the Mongol Empire had been crushed. Looks like the followers of Tengrism were upset about the new “Official” Religion of Hinduism.


Back to the chase the Host tried to dodge the Army as it would at first decided to march out of Mustang and then decided not to.


As the Army focused on those damn naughty raiders the Basileus decided to focus, once again, on Duke Jau Wenshunu “The Conqueror” of Kalinga. So, once again, he sent a nice letter offering help with running the Duke’s Realm.


The Basileus received a reply in early September. The Duke, once again, was pleased at the offer of help from the Emperor. They were getting along just fine.


In mid September the Non-Aggression Pact between the Doux of Bhutan and the Doux of the Shantideva Raj ceased to be. Could be because the Doux of Bhutan’s wife died. The Basileus was so focused on other things he didn’t try to match the poor Doux up with another wife.

Funny enough, on 12th of September, Bori was released by Khagan Jochi “The Hunter”. Why did the Mongol Emperor keep releasing the trouble makers? Why not just keep them in the dungeons?


But his thoughts were switched back to the chase as the Army reported they may, finally, have outrun the Host. It seems they were about to catch up with them. OR march past them?

So we end this chapter with the Emperor waiting for a report for another battle between his Army and the raiders.
 
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Basileus is the Everready Bunny. Still going strong. How often does AI Mongols convert to Hinduism? (I have it my present game also.) @Eurasia, thank you for writing and please be safe.
 
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Basileus is the Everready Bunny. Still going strong. How often does AI Mongols convert to Hinduism? (I have it my present game also.) @Eurasia, thank you for writing and please be safe.
From what I understand the Mongols are pretty open to change when it comes to Religion. I heard of one game where they became Jews. The Jewish Horde! But in another game I saw them become Sunni.
 

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I must confess as I read this I started to get the image in my head of Niphon going around and offering advice - like a North Korean leader, everyone else with notebooks at the ready.

And I mean - a monument to being a Great Leader as well.

:D
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Six : Battle Of Bhairahawa


Gotcha!

This chapter opens in late September, in the year 918 AD, with the Army about to enter the County of Lumbini. There the Host was trying to escape but the lay of the land allowed a fast entry from the north but a slow exit in any other direction.


A battle was sure to come. And in October a rider came with news of just such a battle. The Battle of Bhairahawa had begun! Of course there was the traditional welcome with the exchange of arrows, missiles, and throwing darts. The Host had a handicap here by having fewer Archers.


The enemy’s right flank gave out first. Then the Army’s center and the unopposed flank charged in with their Infantry against the Host’s center.


Soon the rest of the enemy line collapsed and the Imperial Cavalry was sent in. Once again not the best tactic when fighting in the mountains but the enemy was in no shape to fight off the mounted forces.

As the Basileus waited for news of another victory he received some bad news. The Doux Pantoleon of Yarlung was dead and his second son had taken his titles.


It was said to be a natural death. It was likely caused by old age. This worried the Basileus who was only slightly a few years younger than the now deceased Doux. As the old Doux HAD been a Commander this meant a NEW Imperial Commander had to be selected.


Kallistos, Doux of Nagchu, was the best man for the job and was selected. There was really no need to debate the issue. Back at the battle the Host was down to the left flank which was a mob commanded mostly by non commissioned officers, such as corporals and sergeants, who had experience but no real authority.


They just could not keep it together and the Imperial Army swept them off the field of battle and won another victory. The Imperials lost 90 while the Host lost 386. Truly a major victory.

So at lease the Emperor had some good news to cancel out the bad news. Kind of.
 
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At this rate two more battles will be necessary to finally root out the host. I foresee quite a bit more bandit-chasing to be done.

I'm disappointed that the Basileus neglected to select a new wife for the Doux of Bhutan.

With the level of churn in the commanders of Maurya's armed forces, up and coming military talents have little reason to complain they don't get opportunities for advancement. This is a good thing, as it keeps them in line through the fact that their clearest path forward is to wait for a veteran commander to die, retire, or simply disappear, and then apply for the job.

That monument is an intriguing proposition. I do find some issue with the fact that in a matrilineal empire, the first big monument to be built will be constructed for Basileus Niphon, and not for the mythical mother of Kamarupa, Aminestra. Then again, maybe the monument will honour both Aminestra, as the starting point of the Dinasty, and Niphon as the man who reshaped the whole thing into a beautiful empire. I'm still curious at the stylistic and architectural qualities of this monument. Surely, there will be a basis of Greek dimensions and likely some specific order, similar in proportion to ionic, but with a different capital. Then that would, of course, evolve in a similar way as seen in the pre-romanesque architecture of Southern Europe. Proportions remaining largely the same, but the capitals becoming story telling devices. In the case of Maurya, I imagine there are a few basic stories which are to be found in sculpture and in capitals: The founding myth of Kamarupa, the new founding myth of the empire of Maurya, and the journey to Nirvana, also likely some other Bhuddist themes. The techniques and positioning for these details would be local, but with a clear Southern-European influence, putting it apart from what is seen in other Bhuddist areas nearby. I wonder, however whether the basic propotions of the building will be closer to a Bhuddist temple, or whether Niphon wants to reaffirm his family's noble Greek roots by building something with Greek proportions. Closer to the Parthenon, or possibly a round temple like the one in Delphi.
 
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The audacity of the Doux to go dying of old age!
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Thirty-Seven : More Marching!


Great For Strengthening Those Ankles!

This chapter opens in late October, of the year 918 AD, with the Basileus smiling at the thought that the Host had finally been crushed. Only to find out it was still on the run.


“How many defeats will it take to gets to destroy this DAMN Host?” demanded the Emperor as he tried to enjoy his noon meal of fried fish, chicken curry, and wine.

“Not long, Sire,” said one of the staff as he refilled the Basileus’s wine goblet. “A Host only has so many soldiers and so many coins. After a few more battles it won’t have anything left.”

While the chase continued, in the middle of December, Doux Einarr of Qamdo turned 16 years of age and became a MAN! Sadly, while Brawny he also had the Great Pox which suggested something not right with his character. (1)


But a Arranged Marriage is not something to be broken just because the Husband-To-Be is a pervert and the Basileus sent off his Approval of the match.


While the Emperor waited for a reply he received some interesting news. Seems the New Doux of Yarlung had his Council pass the Slightly Tax Focused Burgher Obligations Law. In other words the City Vassals would give more money than levies to their Liege. Which was something they DIDN’T like. The Basileus wondered if the new Doux was trying to upset his own Vassals? Money was good but greed started Factions and Revolts. Also City Vassals who didn’t like you would not send you all the taxes due to you. It might result in LESS gold in one’s coffers!


Shortly afterwards the Basileus received a letter confirming the marriage between the Doux and his daughter Sibylla. There were some suggestions from the agents in the Doux’s Court that there might be some trouble with the marriage but it was a good match and the Basileus felt they would soon learn to love each other.


Then the was some interesting news. On the 1st of January, of the year 919, the Great King of Nepal made sure his Council passed Slightly Levy Focused Noble Obligations Law. This confused the Emperor. One, you would have thought the Great King would of passed such a Law much earlier in his Reign. And, two, why did he need the extra soldiers?

On the other hand he was on the Frontier linked to the Mongol Empire. And other Realms who seemed to be fighting all the time. And there were the Raiders running about this lands….


About a week later the Basileus got some more news. But it wasn’t from the Army. Just more news from WITHIN the Empire. Seems the Non-Aggression Pact from the Doux of Varendra and the Doux of Bhutan. Likely due to another marriage tie being dissolved.

“Just say somebody died,” said the Basileus with a sigh. “Dissolved. Dissolved. A marriage ended isn’t salt poured into the river.”


The Army finally sent in some news. But it was bad news. The Holdings the Host and the Army were marching through didn’t have the food or resources to support such large bodied of men. Both were suffering as men dropped like flies.

So the chapter ended with the Basileus in a somewhat bad mood.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author’s Notes:

1. How does a 16 year old get a STD? Ewwww….
 
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It looks like someone was an early developer...

Chasing that Host is a wee bit irritating.
 
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