• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

fabiolundiense

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INTRODUCTION


Your Highnesses, Your Majesties, Your Graces, enemies and friends of all the above, greetings.

A long time has it been since I last did an AAR for CKII. A long time has it been since I’ve even played the game, having been seduced by EUIV. But now I’m back with a new game and a new story. Having acquired the India DLC since I last played CKII, I thought I would give it a go.

Welcome to Snowstorms and Ice : Legends of the Kayani Empire — SILKE.

A word about my choice of starting character. As is my wont, I looked for a challenge. After shopping around, I chose Azur Jamshid of Gilgit because :

— single county holder,
— Sogdian culture in a Punjabi county,
— Zoroastrian religion, Buddhist county, Buddhist wife, Vaishya caste — i.e. not the cast of warriors and kings but of merchants and craftsmen ; the ”wrong” caste as I discovered once into the game ; rulers of the ”right” caste won’t marry me, thus won’t ally me.

(N.B. Veteran players know that it is impossible in this game to marry outside one’s religion, so a Zoroastrian married to a Buddhist, I just had to have him.)

Also, when I googled Gilgit and saw what breathtaking landscapes and vistas it actually has, I fell in love with it at first sight.






As I unpause the game, I note the following goals : apart from the standard trio of survival + expansion-but-not-world-conquest + kingship, the long-term goal would be to form the Empire of Tibet. Before that can happen, I need to form the Kingdom of Kashmir. Gilgit is a mountain county, and I imagine a mountain kingdom at first, expanding down into the plains later. Also, I will need to get my dynasty into the Kshatriya caste — the one of warriors and kings. In order to build the most magnificent dynasty in India.

Starting date : 01.01.867

No mods. Default difficulty. Third-person narratives.

I wish you an enjoyable read.
 

fabiolundiense

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PROLOGUE



Legend had it that in a land far, far away, cresting high, high above the world in the Himalaya Mountains, a boy was born to an unremarkable immigrant family. This family was of mixed origins. Their union produced a boy who grew up in tents and hovels, and who would go on to become the forerunner of Maharajas. That land was known as Gilgit, a thousand leagues above the sea, a rugged, invigorating land of sweet-smelling forests, crystal-clear rivulets, unforgiving granite, and beneath the soil, rivers of stone : ruby, emerald and diamond.






The inhabitants of this land mostly followed the divine examples of the Buddha. But there were also followers of a mysterious sect conceived in a bygone era somewhere in Persia. These followers, of which our immigrant family was one, were called Zoroastrians.

In an age when men scraped a living from this harsh land, each pocket of fertile soil and life-giving water became an object of ferocious desire. It was the age of lawless warlords, which preceded the age of rajahs and emperors. Our immigrant family fought for and conquered the land called Gilgit. The boy, whom legend called Azur Jamshid, took over this land. His descendants then turned it into one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world. Until the whole world collapsed in a maelstrom of decadence and wickedness.






Legend recounted little about Azur Jamshid. The most oft-repeated tale was of his passion for a beautiful Buddhist maid whom he wooed for years, and whose unflinching devotion finally convinced the maid’s family to consent to her marrying him. They lived together for thirty years of uninterrupted bliss. This romantic tale was all that was known of Azur Jamshid until generations later when a group of European voyagers, fascinated with the tales and customs of the Himalayan peoples, discovered the ruins of a monument in stone, itself all but buried in a forgotten cove deep within a forest. This monument turned out to be the burial site of Azur Jamshid.




The discovery of the Gilgit Monument by European voyagers



Beneath the monument were discovered layers of dust and bone encased within a wooden double casket. Lining the casket were tablets of thin clay. On these were etched columns of writing. When deciphered, they proved to be a chronicle of the accomplishments of Azur Jamshid, Lord of Gilgit.






~~~​









I. THE TABLETS OF GILGIT — PART ONE



The tablets do not go into much detail. They do however confirm the name Azur Jamshid and his Zoroastrian beliefs. They also record the name Kayani, which later rulers of Gilgit will turn into their dynastic name.

The first attribute recognised in Azur is his brilliance as a warlord in a world peopled by not much else besides other warlords. The second attribute is that he was exceedingly fond of the hunt.








The first act attributed to Azur — Marzoban Azur Jamshid in the tablets, one of the earliest known such documents found in the Himalaya region to use this Persian word — is to borrow money from Jewish merchants. This occurs in late summer in the first year of Azur’s lordship : this year is acknowledged by historians to be the year 867 A.D.

The money borrowed was immediately spent to hire a mercenary band. For in the first months of his lordship, Marzoban Azur goes to war.






The target is Tashkurgan, a land lying to the north, between Gilgit and an impassible mountain ridge, a natural border separating the Mongol East and the Indo-European West. In unequivocal terms, the clay tablets refer to this ruler’s ”mad” conquest scheme. For if the Marzoban of Tashkurgan is easily defeated — already by December 867 — he has allies that largely outnumber Azur’s warriors and their mercenary friends.

What happens next is what the tablets call the ”miracle” of Khargalik.



”Thousands of enemy warrior-men assembled to attack our Magnificent
Marzoban with his hundreds of archers and cavaliers. In spite of their
superior numbers, one look at our Mighty Ruler and the aura of invinci-
bility that radiated from him was enough to freeze the enemy’s blood
and inspire them to flee for their lives.”









The miracle does not stop there. According to the tablets, Azur succeeds in dividing the enemy and winning two battles. But a year and a half into the war, Azur’s money runs out, and Jewish merchants refuse to negotiate another loan. The mercenaries promptly abandon the war. Azur is now in hopeless straits. Yet, in December 869, the Marzoban of Tashkurgan, besieged by a warlord from neighbouring Diskit, surrenders. Azur emerges victorious, Marzoban of Gilgit and Tashkurgan.









Following this astounding success, Azur attempts to make friends with certain other warlords while sowing the seeds of discord amongst others. These political moves prove inconclusive. Azur is clearly not a diplomat.

The next significant act recorded in the tablets occurs in the early autumn of 874. Azur declares the traditional law of gavelkind succession defunct. He decrees succession by election. It is the earliest known use of such a succession law between the Bosporus and the Great Wall of China.

At the time, Azur had only one son, so the practical result was exactly the same as with gavelkind succession. It is also the first mention in the tablets of the child Garg, future warlord. Garg is referred to as our brother, which is taken as confirmation that Azur Jamshid raised his son not in his own but in the Buddhist faith, the faith of his mother, and that of the author of the tablets’ text. Descendants of Garg Kayani are also said to have been of the Vaishya caste — not the caste of warriors and kings but that of goatherds, merchants and caravan folk.










At this point, the text says that another character trait of Azur Jamshid’s which put him above other warlords was his talent for ”learning.” The word used in the tablets could also be translated as ”being in the right place at the right time” or, more prosaically, ”thievery.” The result of this trait was that Azur Jamshid and his men learned the secrets of siegecraft long before any other warlord in the region. This knowledge was put to use no later than the summer of 876.

All in all, the year 876 was an excellent one for Azur Jamshid.






It was the year that Azur’s son Garg went through the rites of passage separating childhood from manhood.

It was also the year that the neighbouring warlord of Utpala, referred to as a Maharajah, was despoiled of half his kingdom by pagan tribes from the East. Taking advantage of his neighbour’s vulnerability, and of the fact that the Maharajah’s remaining land was populated by pagans, Azur Jamshid declared a Zoroastrian Holy War.








It seems that Azur Jamshid’s Holy War cemented his reputation for hatching mad schemes. Although weakened considerably by pagan invaders, the Maharajah had one important ally : the lord of the land called Nandana. Together, the foe again outnumbered Azur Jamshid. And yet, by January 877, the Maharajah had conceded defeat. The chronicler states clearly that Azur Jamshid owed his victory to the speed with which his men laid siege to and felled the Maharajah’s guard tower in Skardu.

In ten years of rulership, Marzoban Azur Jamshid had conquered two adjacent lands. On the strength of his holdings, he promptly awarded himself a new title.












He was now Azur Jamshid, the Shah of Kashmir.

In a curious aside, the tablets say that the inhabitants of Gilgit, Tashkurgan and Skardu never took to using the titles Marzoban or Shah, which they considered foreign, and therefore contemptible. Neither did they call him Conqueror, or Great, nicknames which the author appears to believe he deserved. Instead, his people call him Azur the Just — although no examples of acts of justice figure in the text.






~~~​
 

stnylan

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So as Pontus draws to its inevitable finish you start a new project. Well, safe to say I will follow
 

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So as Pontus draws to its inevitable finish you start a new project. Well, safe to say I will follow
Hi, stnylan ! Thanks for hopping on board !
As said above, I'm discovering a new part of CKII, a new culture group with its non-European game options which are new to me. So, a voyage of discovery. I couldn't wait to start the new AAR :rolleyes: even though I've only played a few decades. Hopefully it won't end too ridiculously !
 

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Good luck, I'm watching!
 

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Ahhhh a @fabiolundiense CK2 AAR. A wonderful, warm and rich thing like an aromatherapy bath

I’m in!
 

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Intriguing.
Good luck, I'm watching!
A very interesting start, and an equally interesting character too. Count me in too.
That's quite a start, for sure.
Ahhhh a @fabiolundiense CK2 AAR. A wonderful, warm and rich thing like an aromatherapy bath
I’m in!
Thanks, all, for joining in ! :)
@Asantahene : LOL ! Hi, Asantahene, it's good to be bathing again in these medieval waters ! Discovered quite a few things that are different when playing in this part of the world instead of in Europe. Makes for a very interesting return :)
 

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I. THE TABLETS OF GILGIT — PART TWO




In the sketchy and, in comparison to modern-day custom, disorderly way of ancient writers, the precise actions of Shah Azur Jamshid over the next four years are unclear. Mention is made of advanced war techniques being ”learned” abroad. One may safely assume that the Shah himself did not travel anywhere outside his demesne, taking into account the unwritten but certain law of the time that a warlord who abandoned his territory was inviting usurpers. It follows then that Shah Azur sent trusted friends abroad, and that it was they who brought back to Kashmir the foreign techniques referred to.

One may also safely assume, in light of subsequent events, that a significant upheaval amongst the Shah’s neighbours prompted the mission to seek out new war techniques. In the year 880, the pagan kingdom which the tablets call Guge, splintered into two kingdoms. It was in fact the beginning of the end of this pagan entity, whose existence will be all but forgotten by future historians.

It appears that Shah Azur knew instinctively that the Kingdom of Guge was in irreversible decline. Not only does he seek to ensure his physical supremacy, he does not hesitate to displease warlords more powerful than he in order to realise his ambitions.

In the year 883, he publicises far and wide that he is wealthy enough to repay his Jewish creditors.










In January 884, he reneges on the betrothal of his son Garg to a daughter of the Maharaja of Pratihara. A new betrothal is announced : to the daughter of a lesser warlord, the Marzoban of Suoju.

By the spring of that same year, Guge is again torn in two by interior strife. Shah Azur Jamshid immediately declares war on the king of Guge and on his ally the Maharaja of Pala.










This time, the tablets refer not to a mad scheme but to a brave, brilliant offensive. Over the next four years, Shah Azur Jamshid repeatedly demonstrates his superior leadership in battle. Even the names of the leaders he slays in combat are consigned to the tablets.

In January 887, Shah Azur Jamshid again borrows from Jewish merchants. As before, the money goes to hiring the services of mercenaries.








Numbering even more than the Shah’s personal fighting force, the mercenaries proceed to hasten the end of Guge. Sixteen months after their arrival on the scene, the king of Guge is cornered in his last tower, defended by less than a hundred loyal subjects.

Shah Azur Jamshid is on hand to conclude a peace. He demands lordship over the land of Kashmir proper. The king of Guge submits.










By the year 888, Shah Azur is building dungeons and towers in his lands that equal those of the most advanced regions of Europe. The sense of stability felt in his relatively compact demesne invites caravans and merchants from East and West. In the generation since his conquest of Tashkurgan, Azur’s first military exploit, the settlement of Sarikol — the largest village in that province — goes from a hand-to-mouth existence to that of tax-paying denizens.








The text then abruptly changes tone. The succinct remaining lines lead one to surmise that a different scribe takes over the chronicle, if only to finish it. This is the scribe whose prose inspires the legend remembered hundreds of years after the fact.

As winter draws to a close in the year 890, Shah Azur’s wife passes away. This hatcher of mad schemes of conquest, this builder of fortresses and defier of convention, falls apart in a grief as vast and untamed as the Himalaya itself.






The chronicler’s own words sum it up best.



”The lamentations of Azur the Just echoed in the mountains day and
night, so unworldly that many swore they were the groans of spirits.
Their unease increased when a monument in stone was erected, as if
for a deity and not a mere mortal. Even this extravagance brought no
solace. Azur the Just left this world six months later, tears of joy in
his eyes at the thought of going to join his bride.”



Instructions were left that his body be laid to rest beside that of his wife. Rumours abounded that Azur Jamshid’s last words were a curse on the entire populace, his son included, if his instructions were not carried out to the letter. The discovery of the monument and of the clay tablets beneath it proves that no one dared disobey the charismatic leader, in death just as in life.




~~~​
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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And thus are founding legends born
 

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a momentous reign-he will be remembered as the progenitor and founder. Loving the elegiac and portentous way that you are telling this tale sir
 

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And thus are founding legends born
A legend was what I was hoping to create, so thanks ! ;)


a momentous reign-he will be remembered as the progenitor and founder. Loving the elegiac and portentous way that you are telling this tale sir
Expect an entirely different narrative style in the next post. I've decided to let one of the Maharaja's vassals tell the story of Azur Jamshid's heir.
 

fabiolundiense

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II. THE PRISONER’S TALE — PART ONE




I, Kalyanamokse, Thakur of Tashkurgan and Aksu and Lord of Shadows, reverently kiss the dirt of my black, lightless, filthy and frozen demesne.

My cell. My palace ! My kingdom. Deep in the Himalaya Mountains, in the dungeons of the hybrid dog Garg, Usurper of Gilgit. May his soul wander forever, lost in insanity and despair.

This is my story, the story of a failure. And this is my warning : Death to the Kayani, or death to yourself.






Many have shaken their heads in wonder at my fate. In their view, every star in the heavens had aligned from birth in my favour. I was but a babe suckling on my mother’s milk when the Usurper seduced my father, Tohkem Tenaresoyä, persuading him to leave his homeland to be his right-hand man. My father, heir to lands far richer than frozen Gilgit, left his home to become Thakur of Tashkurgan. “I am is a thousand times better than I shall be,” he used to say. May he rot in the earth for eternity and an age !

The same enticement was dangled before Zhang Zhaodu, a strong, calculating warrior. He became an uncle to me — nay, a father in the true sense. The Usurper made him his primary henchman, and gave him lordship over the land of Skardu.

Two men in the prime of their lives. Two vassals. Two slaves to do his bidding.








As soon as he had buried his father, the Usurper began preparing for war. As Raja of Kashmir, it was his right and duty. But for all his talk — propaganda for docile sheep — he attacked no one but his own people for the first seventeen years of his rulership. At the time, the world lived in fear of an invasion from fanatics of a new sect born in the decadent desert lands of Mesopotamia. Skardu itself had an important population of godless heathens. The Usurper sent a slave to teach them the ways of Buddha. Most of them laughed in the face of the Usurper’s envoy. They would hear nothing of any Buddha.








The Usurper dissimulated this defeat. He was too busy seeing to his own pleasures. He took to wife a girl half his age, and then taxed his people to pay for his orgies. Yet it took him five years to sire a child. This embarrassment he could not hide. To distract attention from his failures in the bedroom, he crowed about the towers his slaves built for him.










He had men who scoured the earth, stealing the secrets of warfare from anyone foolish enough to let their knowledge be pried from them. Thus did he build a band of warriors deserving of respect.

My Uncle Zhang of Skardu saw the signs first. “The day will come when the Raja will be tempted to turn this band against us,” he whispered. My father refused to believe it. He could not however disbelieve the persistent warring of the pagans in the east. The Zhangzhung, who had used to be a tiny enclave within a kingdom stretching as far as the horizon, was succeeding in substituting themselves for their masters. To safeguard against a pagan aggression from the east, the two vassals agreed to protect each other.

The Usurper was not pleased.







But by the year of my coming of age, the former masters in the east had become the slaves. The Zhangzhung were now the masters. This situation absorbed all the Usurper’s attention. For he coveted greatly the mountain peaks of Kangra. The Thakur of Kangra had made a pact with the pagans. The Usurper was unimpressed. “That unholy alliance will not live long,” he predicted.

He had the gift that only demonic powers can give : the foresight of bloodshed. In the seventeenth year of the Usurper’s reign, the Thakur of Kangra died unexpectedly. The pact with the pagans was broken. The Usurper wasted not a moment. He, my father, my uncle and their men attacked the villagers of Kangra. It was over in two blinks of an eye. After hacking all the villagers to pieces, the Usurper’s band assaulted the guard towers. The Usurper did indeed possess a formidable band of warriors and powerful techniques. Kangra had no choice but to submit. Before an enormous crowd, myself included, the lord of Kangra fell to his knees before the Usurper and pledged him his land, his fealty and his life.













With that, the Usurper seemed sated with blood. For the time being. There were still pagans in Skardu. Some of the mountain villages of Kangra were home to pagans. A decree of religious tolerance was issued.

Nobody paid much attention. But the Usurper used it to draw other warlords closer to himself. He persuaded a Raja in the east to promise one of his daughters to his son. And he repeated his ploy of seducing young men to his Court, their sole merit being that they were heirs to tracts of water-rich valleys and plains.












When he had been married for twenty years, his child bride conceived for the second time. A second son was born. The embarrassment of being unable to sire a child every year obliged him not to boast too loudly of this event. Shortly afterwards, his first-born came of age. But even that significant moment in any man’s life he refused to dignify with the customary festivities and games. To me, it was as obvious as the sun in the sky.

“Your father loathes you,” I said to the boy one evening. “He prefers the young men he has brought to his Court. They carry with them the prospect of more territory. You carry only the prospect of taking that territory from him.”

Pheru Kayani stared at me. If looks could kill, I would have been ripped to shreds by screaming devils in an instant. He called me a liar, but his voice lacked conviction.








The following year, the Usurper wedded his heir to the daughter of an Eastern Raj. The two parents promptly swore friendship and brotherhood in arms. This was the second alliance the Usurper weaseled out of his friends — the first was with the Marzoban of Suoju, the brother of his woman.

The road was now paved for another war of conquest. He approached my father.

“My friend,” he says to my father, ”you have suffered your humiliation with exemplary patience and forbearance. But the heavenly tides have moved. Earthly destinies must follow. Your destiny, my friend.”

All this sweet talk to highlight my father’s shame. For his former overlord had given the land of Aksu to a courtier. Aksu : my family’s rightful inheritance. Now, together with one of his compliant friends, the Usurper promised to take that land, and give it to its rightful owner.









“You see,” says my father to Uncle Zhang, “your fears are unfounded. There is no more noble lord than the great Garg of Kashmir ! He deserves our undivided fealty.”

Thus did the Usurper sow the seeds of envy in my uncle’s soul, and drive wedges into the friendship between his henchman and his right-hand man.


~~~​
 

stnylan

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This seems to presage some sort of future conflict.

I love how wonderfully biased our narrator is here.
 

fabiolundiense

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This seems to presage some sort of future conflict.
I love how wonderfully biased our narrator is here.
One of the things I love about CKII is that many people in your own Court have adventures at least as interesting as your own, without your having to interfere in any way :)
This character had one which, though not uncommon, made him the perfect candidate for a narrator.
 

fabiolundiense

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II. THE PRISONER’S TALE — PART TWO




Under cover of wind-driven snow and ice to which he was born, the Usurper led his warriors through narrow mountain passes down to the hillsides of Kashgar. Momentum abetting, they overran the local population, capturing Kashgar’s stronghold in mere weeks.

Emboldened by the fall of the stronghold, rebellion erupted against the Shah of Shule in another part of his territory. The Usurper immediately turned this development to his advantage. The Shah’s warriors, forced out by rebels, were forced back into Kashgar where Uncle Zhang and his men ambushed them. The Shah retreated to the hinterlands of his demesne.










With the enemy warriors in hiding, it took time to ferret them out and force them to submit. In the meantime, an adventurous band of warriors, their hunger for conquests to call their own ignited by the Usurper’s progress, suddenly raised a new banner. Having gathered to themselves a motley mix of mercenaries, exiles and other dreamers, they marched away from Kashmir, intent on conquering lands far to the east.

Their departure appeared not to affect the Usurper. After two years of battles and sieges, he captured the Shah’s personal stronghold in Yopurga. A remnant of loyal fighting men appeared out of the plains in an attempt to take back some of their own land, but the Shah pre-empted with a surrender.

As thick clouds over the mountains appeared, heralding the end of another summer, the Usurper solemnly placed around my father’s neck a necklace of silver and bone, declaring him Lord Tohkem, Thakur of Tashkurgan and Aksu.










That victory swelled my father’s head with fantasy. Suddenly he was not only the right-hand man of the Usurper, he was practically a law unto himself. At least in his own eyes. He believed he had achieved the highest station amongst men — to be feared by all. That he was loved by none utterly escaped his notice.

The Usurper’s fighting men returned home. As winter engulfed the realm, Kashmir was allowed days and months of festivity : the Usurper’s woman had given him a daughter. A few days after her arrival, her eldest brother Pheru received the insignia of heir to the realm — not, however, in virtue of his status of first-born.








“The heir to my kingdom must be elected !” declared his cruel father.

“You see ?” I said to the boy, who was stunned at the proclamation. “It is as I told you : your father hates you.”

The festivities redoubled when the pagan inhabitants of Kangra renounced their gods to follow the Buddha. It was also at this time that my father, may his spirit be tormented for eternity, negotiated a bride for me. She was the most beautiful maid I had ever seen. Our own celebrations never ceased, even when the Usurper began to move us near to the land of Kahlon. Nine months after our union, she gave me a son.

When the days had begun to lengthen again, the Usurper used the wealth he had looted from the war against Shule to fortify Gilgit. The walls were made thicker and higher. Guards were given rooms to sleep in in place of their tents.

The reason for the move to Kahlon became clear in the spring. A vassal of the Raja of Katyuri had rebelled against his overlord for the sake of a piece of land. The rebel was stronger than his overlord ; the rebel thus took the land of his one-time master.

The war left both sides weak. Foreseeing this, the Usurper intended to oust the rebel and take his land.






The recollection of that minor incident pierces my heart, though the subsequent events made me stronger and decided my fate. In my lover’s euphoria, I had brought my wife to be with me during the up-coming campaign. One afternoon, coming back from a routine scouting mission, I discovered my father in my tent. Drunk with liquor and lust, he was attempting to force himself on my wife.

I threw myself on the old man. I was in a frenzy of bloodlust. He was strong, but I was stronger. My companions eventually separated us.

“I will kill you !” I shouted as my father, his nose bleeding, his clothes torn, held his head up high even as he retreated. “I will kill you, I swear it !”

Of course, the Usurper was immediately informed of my threats against my father — against his right-hand man. That evening, he stared silently at me from across the campfire. A stare at once proud and aloof. As if daring me to hurt his friend. Daring me to try. Threatening me if I acted.

I stared back at him. Without speaking a word, I let him understand that I despised him.

Three nights later, while the warriors were still celebrating the victory over the Thakur of Kahlon, I cut through the fabric of my father’s tent and awoke my sleeping father before burying my knife in his throat.






The next day, the Usurper declared a month of mourning. Then, without a world, he placed around my neck the necklace of silver and bone previously given to my father. I was now Lord Kalyanamokse, Thakur of Tashkurgan and Aksu. I was twenty-eight years old.

During the following days, many followed the Usurper’s example and pretended that nothing momentous had happened. Men remained reticent in my presence. Pheru sneaked rare glances in my direction. I like to believe he was envious of my deed.

But the moment for war soon sounded. Honouring Kayani custom, the Usurper waited until the time when the nights were longest and the days covered in sunless mist. Only then did he give the order to march on the enemy, to pounce upon them like monsters out of the snow. His ally the raja of Magadha had promised to rendez-vous in time.

The enemy was caught thoroughly by surprise. Instead of hiding in the crags and crevices of home, they foolishly fled to the plains. The Usurper howled with delight. From Gilgit he swooped down upon them. They were completely at his mercy.












But all was not yet won. Enough enemy warriors had had the sense to flee into the mountains. In the summer, they regrouped and slipped between the Usurper’s fingers. While we were busy dismantling their fortress, they set up camp in Kasmira and began to lay siege to Srinagara. They took our fort, but exhausted themselves in the process. The Usurper’s ally, during this time, was laying siege to the enemy’s capital.

As expected, victory was ours in the end. The snow was thick on the ground again when the Usurper announced to the Hindustani population that he was their new overlord.

For us, his Punjabi brothers, he had a different announcement.

With the conquest of new land — the province of Kurmanchal — the Usurper awarded himself even higher honours. It no longer sufficed that he was the Raja of Kashmir. The title Raja of Uttaranchal was appended to his other titles. And to top it all off, he declared himself king : the Maharaja of Kashmir.


















His ambition and vainglory knew no bounds. His declarations flew in the face of decency and moderation. The kingdom of Kashmir was a patchwork of different peoples. Not all its subjects revered the Buddha. But men are so easily impressed by names and titles.

The Maharaja of Bengal and Bihar was such a man. He had agreed to give one of his daughters to the Usurper’s second-born son even before the creation of the title Maharaja of Kashmir. And before the nuptials were even celebrated, the foolish Bengali made a vow of alliance with the Usurper.






“It is not right to deprive one’s sons of their rightful inheritance.” Thus spake the elders of Gilgit one day to the face of their Maharaja. “Our people have always followed this custom. From the poorest farmer to the richest cavalier. No son should inherit only thin air.”

And thus, in the blink of an eye, was the law of Elective Succession incontrovertibly abolished.






The Usurper discovered that a Maharaja does not rule in splendid isolation. He required servants, and servants for his servants. His projects became subjects for debate and ponderation. Each servant had his opinion ; each endeavoured to incline the master to his point of view. And he learned the hard way what price he had to pay for having appointed servants wiser and more level-headed than himself.

Praise be to Paradise ! Less than four years after declaring himself Maharaja, the Usurper succumbed to his own voracious greed. May his depraved soul wander forever, lost in insanity and despair !








~~~​
 

CaptainHandsome

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I love how you do your pictures, they use space wonderfully while telling the story efficiently.

I also like the biased narration, the in-world narration is a really cool tool to use, and you do an excellent job. Love the description of people's behavior around the narrator following the murder of his father. Really neat, subtle thing there. CK2 never fails to give AAR writers plenty of melodrama to work with, right? I like how you use that to build the legend around what happens in game, supplement the story with imagination, but based entirely on the game. It's very well done.

I especially love those pictures.
 

Prominences

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What a rapid ascent to power for our friend Maharaja Garg, and an equally rapid descent! Why do I get the feeling that the torments suffered by our imprisoned narrator have only just begun?