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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Midnite Duke

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The Poor Duchess! She likes ex, he loathes her. She loves her grandpa, grandpa hates her. All while watching a burning ring of fire, it is a wonder that she has not roasted a Vihara or two.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Seventy-Five : WAR!!!

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Siege Warfare!

This chapter opens in early September, of the year 923 AD, with the Declaration of War against the Realm of Orissa being sent. And in doing so the Basileus was BREAKING the Treaty and becoming known as a “Truce Breaker”.

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But the war was declared anyway. For the County of Viraja in the name of his granddaughter.

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Of course the Great King Netta was outraged at the breaking of the Truce. But he could do little about it. While he had over four thousand soldiers and over one thousand five hundred gold coins he was also involved in two other conflicts.

His soldiers couldn’t just focus on the Imperial forces. Not this time. And it was now well known China won’t lift a finger to help him. Or anybody else for that matter.

On top of the Imperial Army entering enemy territory the Levies were called forth. They numbered over four thousand total and were directed south.

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Then, as if planned, the Arahnat of the Buddhist Society asked the Basileus to go into seclusion. And he agreed to it. He picked a simple chamber and isolated himself from friends and family to explore the wonders of life, the universe, and pastries.

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But many people were alarmed by this. For after such a long and active life of following the orders of the Society the Basileus was looking very thin. Because of all the times he had secluded himself he was now suffering from Malnutrition.

In other words he wasn’t eating enough! Yes, he stuffed himself during parties and celebrations and feasts but when he was secluded he ate very little and what he ate was simple and not-very-interesting. And he had been secluded a lot lately.

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As he prayed and pondered and listened to his growling tummy he received a package from Xingg of the House Mori. It was filled with drawing of many rose species the Noblewoman was working with. Including some ideas of new ones. If the Basileus was willing to help. Of course, he was more than happy to help and replied such.

As he pondered the True Faith and wondered if Buddha approved of rose gardens the Levies continued to march south to join the Imperial Army already there.

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The Army of Doux Dionysios III was laying Siege to the Castle of Raibania. It had been surrounded and all roads blocked by barriers. And at least it wasn’t on fire.

Back at the Palace of the Basileus he was having problems with the text before him. It was October and he had become confused by a single paragraph. He read and reread the same words and yet they held no meaning for him. Maybe if he went and got help with it?

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In the end he decided to ask for help from his Upadhyaya. And the man DID help him understand the text.

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By late October the first reinforcements started to reach the Army. Soon it world be as big, if not bigger, than the enemy forces.

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By November the Army of the Doux had grown and was still expecting more reinforcements to arrive. And the defenders of the Castle were losing men to the Siege.

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By December nothing much had happened on the War Front but back at the Palace the Basileus had gained great insight. His awareness had expanded again.

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Later December the Basileus noticed that the Doux Shur IV of the Ghosha Raj, one of his Wards, needed some guidance. He decided to teach the boy about Patience.

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So the boy learned Patience at the cost of the Basileus losing his own. And then the Basileus received good news from the War Front.

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The Castle of Raibania had fallen. The Imperial forces reported no casualties while wiping out the defenders. And they started their march towards the next target.

So we close this chapter with a hungry Emperor and the first victory of another war.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Seventy-Six : First Battle

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Archery - King Of The Battlefield

This chapter opens in early January, of the year 924 AD, with the last of the Levies arriving to join the Army of the Doux.

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Which was laying Siege to the Temple Complex of Viraja. It shared the same name as the County. Though which came first, the County or the Temple Complex, was unknown.

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Later in the month it was noticed that an enemy army was heading towards Imperial territory. No doubt planning to start a siege of their own.

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Soon the enemy was laying siege to the Castle of Kodalaka inside the County of Kodalaka Mandala. But the Imperials were not worried. The Commanders knew their siege would end before the enemy’s.

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As this was happening the Courtiers brought the Basileus other news. Bad news. The Countess Simonis was planning on taking the Duchy away from her own Liege.

“Tell her to stop,” remarked the Basuleus with a sigh. “I don’t need a Civil War right now. And the Doux is too well skilled at warfare to let him be killed by a dagger or a poison.”

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By February it was noticed the enemy was about to receive reinforcements. But that didn’t bother the Imperial Commanders. For the number of the enemy reinforcements was tiny. And the Imperial forces outnumbered the enemy forces at least two-to-one.

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A few days later the Temple Complexe of Viraja fell to the Empire. This time the Imperials lost 262, mostly Infantry, while the enemy defenders were all wiped out.

This news was welcomed by the isolated Basileus. But it did little to decrease his loneliness.

Then he heard voices outside the window, in the courtyard, of women. He peeked out the window and noticed Himadrija “The Ill-Tempered” chatting with some of her friends.

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He was torn. On one hand he was meant to be isolated. And she was named “The Ill-Tempered”. What comfort would he find talking to her? Yet….he starved for more than just food. He decided to sneak out and join the women in their social exchange.

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As he did this the Imperial Commanders were marching on the enemy forces next door. They were moving swiftly but not swiftly enough. For it looked like the main enemy Army was going to escape.

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Back in the Palace the Basileus had enjoyed his time with the women. But when he returned to his simple chamber he found it all the more harder to focus on the words of the Buddha. But at least he had made a new friend.

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And the staff brought him some good news with his next meal of bread, water, and a pinch of salt. The Temple Complex, named Takher, had been finished in the County of Kodalaka Mandala. Even while the Castle next door had been under siege.

Of course the Basileus now owned a Holding he shouldn’t and had to decide who to give it to.

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The Basileus decided to hand it over to the Doux Shur IV. It was his County after all. May as well give him the holding to decide on what to do with it.

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Back on the War Front the main enemy forces had fled south leaving behind their reinforcements. The small enemy army was taken totally by surprise. The Battle of Kodalaka started with the enemy forces collapsing and the Commanders sending in the Imperial Cavalry and War Elephants. There may, or may not, have been the “Traditional” exchange of missiles but as the enemy had only nineteen Archers it had likely been a very fast, and limited, exchange.

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The jungle wasn’t the best place for Cavalry tactics but the Imperials knocked out the enemy’s center and then focused on their left.

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A rider came in with news of victory. The Imperial forces had only lost two men while the enemy had lost all 229 of their soldiers. They had been wiped out. Their corpses had been looted by the local populace and later fed on by the crows and vultures.

So this chapter closes with more victories and a new friend, maybe, for the Emperor.
 
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A final conquest for his legacy. The Basileus is old, malnourished, and impatient, but even then, he's still expanding his empire and his understanding of the world. I do hope he gets to see this war through to the end as well. It's always a bit untidy when they die during a war, much better to hand over a peaceful empire so the successor can pick his/her direction for expansion.

It's not particularly surprising that his adulterous granddaughter got divorced by her husband. At least, her new partner is lustful himself, so that might reduce Eulalia's extramarital excursions.
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Seventy-Seven : Another Victory

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Another Massacre

It was late February, of the year 924 AD, and as the Imperial Army headed back to the County of Viraja the Basileus received some news from within the Empire.

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The old Baron of Numaligarh had died and his son, Brahmapala, had taken the title.

The problem was the man was Paranoid AND Possessed. Still, he seemed to have a HIGH opinion of the Emperor. And isn’t that all that really mattered in a new Baron?

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Reports suggested that the main enemy army was heading west. Either it was fleeing OR it was heading towards another conflict.

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Then in mid March a rider brought news of another victory. Seems a few dozen enemy soldiers had assembled in the County of Viraja and had been caught by surprise by the returning Imperials. All of them had been wiped out while the Doux’s Army lost not a soul.

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Afterwards the Army settled down for another siege. The Temple Complex of Mahavinayak was the target. With its defending Warrior Priests.

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Around the same time the Basileus’s awareness expanded again. He was learning so much about the True Faith.

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Then there was more news from the north. Seems two women, somewhat slow and one very ill, had been tossed in jail by “The Wolf”. Nobody knew if this was related to the uprisings or something completely different.

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Then he was brought good news in April. The Temple Complex of Mahavinayak had fallen. The Imperial forces had lost no one while the enemy had lost 519 defenders.

So we end this chapter with the County now under Imperial control and the Emperor wondering what was happening inside the Mongol Empire.
 
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Whenever you win a battle with no casualties, you know it's a good day! :cool:
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Seventy-Eight : Stupid Vassals

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Foolish Vassals

This chapter opens in mid April, of the year 924 AD, with the Army of Doux Dionysios III approaching the County of Khinjali Mandala.

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The County only had a few Holdings and should be easy to take. The Basileus was very pleased and this made the simple meals taste better.

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Then the Basileus received news from the Realm of Ashina. Seems his son, the Prince Dionysios of Maurya, had become a Commander. Weird, since his greatest skill seemed to be with coins and not blades.

Then the Basileus was given two pieces of information from the north.

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The first piece of information was that “The Wolf” had imprisoned a cowardly old woman.

“How brave,” murmured the Basileus with a shake of his head.

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The second piece of information was just as strange. “The Wolf” had taken one of his female prisoners as a Concubine.

“The stupid sick one?” asked the Basileus with a confused look.

“No,” replied one of the Courtiers. “The non-sick stupid one.”

“She may be slow but I bet she hates him and will stab him the first chance she has,” remarked the Basileus with a frown.

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By the end of April the staff brought him some confusing news. His Magistros had improved relations with the Great King of Orissa.

“Really?” was all the Basileus could say to this news before facepalming himself.

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In May despite all these events, or maybe because, the Basileus’s awareness expanded again and he was very happy.

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But less than a week later his happiness was crushed when the Despot Sonpal “The Ill-Ruler” of Nepal started a conflict with Doux Salasthamba “The Tenacious” of Nyingchi.

“Oh please!” exclaimed the Basileus with a sigh. “Why can’t my Vassals behave?!?!”

“There is one way to end it,” pointed out one of the Courtiers. “The Doux Salasthamba STILL thinks he owes you a Favor.”

“So…I could tell him to give up?”

“Yes, Sire,” replied the Courtier. “He would likely be defeated in the end anyway. He has neither the men, the coin, or the skill to carry out a war against the Despot. You would be doingh him a favor. HA! See what I did there?”

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So the Doux Salasthamba was sent a request to Surrender to Nepal. As he owed the Emperor a Favor, or at least he thought he did, it was a given he would agree.

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A letter came in reply to the request. He was a tad whiny but the Doux agreed to surrender to the Despot and that meant peace would be brought back to the lands. At least the lands INSIDE the Empire.

And so we close this chapter with the Basileus wondering if other Rulers has such problems with their vassals.
 
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Midnite Duke

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Isn't "foolish vassals" an oxymoron? How dangerous is it to have someone trying to stab you if they are moving in SLOW motion and you are moving at regular speed. Please eat better, my basileus. We are in no hurry to be ruled by a crazed super slut!
 
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Always handy to have vassals who believe they owe you a favour. Any ideas how this kind of belief can be spread far and wide?
 
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Always handy to have vassals who believe they owe you a favour. Any ideas how this kind of belief can be spread far and wide?
He did owe the Emperor a favor....but already paid it and it didn't disappear. I am not sure if it was a bug or maybe there are many types of favors? Maybe large favor or small favors? Maybe he owed the Emperor a huge favors and gave the Emperor two small favors? Math!?!?
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Seventy-Nine : Absolute Power

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Absolute Ruler

This chapter opens in mid May, of the year 924 AD, with the end of the Nepalese-Nyingchi De Jure War.

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And the Despot Sonpal “The Ill-Ruler” of Nepal owed the Basileus a Favor. After all the Basileus had given him victory without an arrow being let loose.

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Around the same time the Imperial Army was laying Siege to the Castle of Khinjali. Over six thousand Attackers against under a thousand Defenders. The chances of the enemy holding off the Imperial soldiers was very slim.

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Later in the month the Count of Kamatapur died from Stress and his son, the 12 year old Antonios, became the Count. While related to the Emperor he wasn’t of the Dynasty and the Basileus didn’t really trust him. Even though the boy had a high opinion of the Basileus.

By June the Basileus realized that many of the Laws he wished to pass could not be passed unless he took power away from the Council. The Ruler needed Absolute Authority to pass the Laws and that meant turning the Council back into a harmless group of Advisors.

“But who will Enforce Realm Peace?” asked one of the Courtiers.

“Not them,” remarked the Basileus. “We’ve had wars even with the Council having power. And they failed to stop the infighting. The only REASON I gave them Power was to keep the PEACE and they FAILED!”

First he went to the Despot, who was on his Council, to demand he vote for the Basileus’s Proposal and, in return, the Basileus would cancel the Favor the Despot owed him.

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So when the Emperor created the Proposal the Despot was the second one to vote “Yes” on it. Funny enough a Powerless Council had no seats for extra Advisors. Which meant the Despot had just voted himself off the Council if the Proposal passed!

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Back in his own territories the Despot was still knee deep in politics. He transferred a vassal to another Noble. No doubt there was some wheeling-and-dealing going on that the Basileus didn’t know about.

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While the Basileus waited for his Council to decide which way to vote his awareness expanded again. His awareness was so large now and, it is said, he would show it off to people.

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Up North “The Wolf” released a Lowborn from his dungeons. A Pagan named Tylmache. Maybe the Khagan was getting soft? Or maybe his dungeons were becoming overcrowded?

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As this was happening the votes slowly came in. The Bhikku Evangelos II of Para-Lauhitya voted against the proposed Law while Bhikkhu Kyriakos of Durjaya voted for it.

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By July more had voted for the Law than rejected it. And it passed.

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This pleased the Basileus. What pleased him even more was how well he was getting along with his daughter, the Princess, Sibylla. He had visited her and written to her often which had improved their relationship.

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Maybe it was his new relationships with his family. Maybe it was his Absolute Power. Or maybe it was his massive awareness. But it is said he was no longer Humble. He proclaimed how great and wonderful he was whenever somebody brought him his simple meal or came to change the straw in his bed.

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A few days later the Basileus, while eating a simple fish curry dish, was told that the Castle of Khinjali had fallen to the Imperial Army. The Commanders had lost 144 soldiers while the enemy defenders lost 929 soldiers.

So the chapters closes with another victory and a pretty happy, but not humble, Emperor.
 
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Midnite Duke

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It is hard to be humble when you are perfect! If anyone disagrees, I am absolutely sure that the Basileus can find room in his dungeon. Sweet dreams, my Basileus!
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Eighty : Raiders!

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In Hiding

This chapter opens in late July, in the year 924 AD, with the Army laying Siege to the Temple Complex of Nilamadhav.

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Over five thousand soldiers attacking the walls of a castle defended by less than eight hundred.

But in August things became complex. On the 3rd of that month the Basileus was innocently eating a simple meal of curry rice and fried fish with a somewhat weak beer when a staff member entered his chamber with a look of alarm.

“My Liege!” the man said, with a touch of panic in his voice, “Kuntuvdi and his Host are outside the Castle walls!!! They are laying siege to us!”

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“Who? I don’t remember such a pretender to my throne,” remarked the Basileus as he stood up.

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“No, no,” responded the staff member. “He is not a pretender! He is a Raider! He has come to loot the Capital!!!”

“WHAT?” exclaimed the Basileus with shock.

But it was true. Outside the walls were over two thousand smelly, loud, and very rude Raiders. They entered homes without knocking, took candy from babies, and beat up little old ladies.

“Well,” remarked the Basileus as he looked down from the walls, “My Army may be occupied elsewhere. But I still have plenty of another resource. Gold.”

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And so the Basileus hired THREE mercenary groups, via carrier hawk, and ordered them to meet up on the other side of the River Brahamaputra. Even with the sell swords on the Imperial payroll the Empire was STILL making profit.

Later that month, as the Basileus watched the scum below burn buildings, and loot shrines, and steal from alcohol shops, the Society delivered a letter to the Palace.

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It seems they had decided that the Basileus’s mission, his seclusion, was complete.

“How nice of them to say so,” replied the Basileus as he quickly replaced his simple meal with a platter of meat pies and his weak beer with a deep red Greek wine.

That night, as the bandits roared and pillaged outside the walls, he slept in a soft bed for the first time in weeks.

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But near the latter part of the month the Basileus was given even more bad news. It seemed another group of Raiders was looting the County of Bome.

“When it rains it thunders,” remarked the Basileus. “But while it may be a wooden fort it has a heavier garrison than we do. They should be able to hold up long enough for us to send some reinforcements.”

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In the end his words came back to bite him as it turned out he was right. The garrison of his own Castle, in the end, was TOO small and fell. The 2,800 bandits who attacked the walls, and the inner Keep, had no casualties while the 112 Imperial soldiers defending the Capital Castle died to the last man.

But the Host completely failed to capture the Emperor, his family, or his Court, as they all fled to the natural caves and tunnels that dotted the surrounding lands. Like rabbits, the Basileus and his people escaped down into the caverns and went deep into the earth.

---

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It was September. In the caves the change of weather was not noticed. Weather, storms, night and day, none of these changes was noticed deep inside the earth.

The Basileus sat on the rock, which was his new throne, in the large chamber of natural rock, which was his new throne room. He was pouting. Pouting a lot.

He missed his soft bed and his large throne with the cushioned seat. And proper silverware. He missed forks.

He looked down at the warm oatmeal and the wooden spoon he was using to eat it. It was a wooden spoon in that it was made of wood and has a end which could be used to pick up the oatmeal without dropping too much of it back into the bowl.

“So, what is the news today?” he asked as a Courtier approached his rock.

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“News from the north, Sire,” said the Courtier with a scroll in his hands. He handed the scroll over to the Basileus as he added, “The Khagan has arrested a LOT of Christians. A LOT of them. Seems he won a siege or something against the Realm of Khazaria in Europe.”

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“In Europe?” remarked the Basileus with a frown as he played in his oatmeal with the thing that may, or may not, have been a spoon. “Seems the Mongols have focused on the west again. Still, Roman Catholic Horse Lords against the Mongols is a interesting conflict. Are they protecting Europe or are they just in the Khagan’s way?”

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Maybe it was the oatmeal. Or the rock hard flood which was now his bed. Maybe the cold water that was all he had to drink or the lack of milk baths. Maybe it was the long discussions with the dungeon rats, who had also escaped, but the Basileus found himself Humble again.

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But he received some GOOD NEWS. The Army to the south had taken the Temple Complex of Nilamadhav from the enemy.

And so this chapter closes with the Basileus and the Imperial Court hiding in caves in the Capital County while the war to the south continues and raiders run about the Empire.
 
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At least the Basileus did not have time to get used to soft beds and good food before fleeing to the caves. Niphon = Humble. Someone does not know him very well. The dampness of a cave can not be good for old bones. Stay dry, my Basileus!
 
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from the last few chapters:
The old Baron of Numaligarh had died and his son, Brahmapala, had taken the title.

The problem was the man was Paranoid AND Possessed. Still, he seemed to have a HIGH opinion of the Emperor. And isn’t that all that really mattered in a new Baron?
Just because he’s paranoid, doesn’t mean that army of demon spawn isn’t out to get him! Or his enemies. ;)
And so we close this chapter with the Basileus wondering if other Rulers has such problems with their vassals.
A rhetorical wondering.
Maybe it was his new relationships with his family. Maybe it was his Absolute Power. Or maybe it was his massive awareness. But it is said he was no longer Humble. He proclaimed how great and wonderful he was whenever somebody brought him his simple meal or came to change the straw in his bed.
The eternal dichotomy of a dedicated holy Buddhist emperor who is also an absolutist used to getting his own way. “I’m humble, I’m humble not, I’m humble, ...”
“How nice of them to say so,” replied the Basileus as he quickly replaced his simple meal with a platter of meat pies and his weak beer with a deep red Greek wine.
At last! These frequent seclusions are a real imposition.
The 2,800 bandits who attacked the walls, and the inner Keep, had no casualties while the 112 Imperial soldiers defending the Capital Castle died to the last man.
That’s a very small garrison: with all the spending on buildings, have the capital‘s fortifications been neglected? Niphon never thought an enemy would get that far?
But the Host completely failed to capture the Emperor, his family, or his Court, as they all fled to the natural caves and tunnels that dotted the surrounding lands.
That’s something - he might have been killed where he stood.
Maybe it was the oatmeal. Or the rock hard flood which was now his bed. Maybe the cold water that was all he had to drink or the lack of milk baths. Maybe it was the long discussions with the dungeon rats, who had also escaped, but the Basileus found himself Humble again.
Just not believable - the Emperor will never be truly humble in his heart. :D
 
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Chapter Seven Hundred-Eighty-One : Preparing For Battle

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Three Enemies

This chapter opens in mid September, of the year 924 AD, with the Basileus getting news from the south.

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The Army of Doux Dionysiois III was laying Siege to the City of Nayagarh. It was unlikely the City, with its homemade barriers and lightly armed farmers, would hold out very long.

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That same day, as the Basileus was having his noon meal of moss soup, cave water, and fried grubs, he received some news from the north.

Seems “The Wolf” had imprisoned Chval Konradic of House Tyvercy. The staff could not tell the Basileus WHY the man had been put in the dungeons. Was he in a uprising or in one of the wars? Nobody knew.

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Then the Basileus was told, later in the month, about a murder plot. Seems Doux Einarr of Qamdo was planning to kill Herakleios Dionysiosson of the House Narbiotes.

“Tell the Doux to stop,” grumbled the Basileus. “I don’t need one In-Law trying to kill a member of my bloodline.”

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In early October the three groups of sell swords, finally forming into one mass, started their deployment to cross the river and march on the Capital.

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As the Basileus waited for action he was told that, up north, the Defenders of the Castle of Nyingchi launched an raid against the Raiders. Sadly it failed and took heavy losses. Why they did this was unknown.

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Then there was good news from the south. Victory! The City of Nayagarh had fallen to the Imperial forces. The Commanders had lost 48 soldiers while the enemy Defenders had been wiped out. 370 farmers, Town Guards, and store owners had been killed trying to protect their city.

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With the county now under Imperial control the Army moved north to try to attack a small enemy army that was trying to free the other county.

Then the Basileus was brought some interesting news. It seems FOUR companies of sell swords had been hired by accident. And the fourth was coming from the north. And happened to be passing the OTHER Host. So it was ordered to swing west and attack the second group of Raiders.

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But it only had one commander, the Captain of the hired soldiers, so two other Imperial Commanders were sent to help him control his flanks.

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By late October the Basileus was somewhat pleased. There were now three Imperial Armies closing in on their targets.

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Then there was more news from the Mongol Empire. Seems a baby had been put in jail. The Basileus was less than impressed with the Khagan Usun and his actions.

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Down south the Army of Doux Dionysios III noticed the enemy had moved too quickly and they decided to swing east to head them off.

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Then, in November, the Basileus received news on another murder plot. The Countess of Tamralipti was planning on killing Kang of the House Banbarid. Who happened to be a Concubine of the Count.

“Come on,” he complained. “We live in caves. Can’t my people behave for one second. Tell her to stop! I understand her reasoning but we need to be civil about such things.”

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So we close this chapter with Armies marching towards combat. Three Imperial Armies about to engage the enemy.
 
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