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CatKnight

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JDMS: Let's say we're going to find out how far out of its way the MM engine goes to put us in our place. :X

morningSIDEr: Virupaksha has some interesting ideas. They're not entirely bad. He could go down as one of Vijayanagara's greatest kings...or one of their worst.

Wolfhashat: It's affected more than that. :eek:

RGB: Unfortunately the spirit of the nation doesn't always get her way. :X I could be mistaken, but I believe many of the religious events are from the Dei Gratia mod (which is also a part of MM).

blsteen: Well..no...not Raichur...

Stuyvesant: I think the mechanized battle cattle will show up sooner or later. Perhaps to restore order. ;) Arboricide..hm..thanks for reminding me. Plenty of trees in most of India... ;)


COMMENT: Apologies for the lack of screenies in the next update. I took them....but apparently I was tired enough that I didn't save them. (Or I can't find them.) I opened a few save games to get you a few maps. Enjoy.
 
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CatKnight

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Vijayanagarflag.png

Chapter II: Virkupaksha I
Part 1: Blood on my Hands (1401-1406)


"But...you can't do that!" Peperna protested.

"I can do anything I want," the Vijayanagaran emperor replied. "You would do well to remember that."

"You will tear our faith apart if you do this."

"No,"
he replied serenely. "I will save it."
*******



I Have a Dream

Virkupaksha, Rajah of the city and empire of Vijayanagara, was twenty-four when he assumed the throne. As a youth he gained the reputation for being a bully, the result of relying a little too much on intimidation and birthright to get his way. By the time he finished his mandatory training as a warrior and scholar he'd grown irresolute and fond of drink and women. In one memorable scene in 1397 he nearly fought with a member of the royal house of Travanacore over a matter of honor.

Chanra Nistha (of Travanacore) said:
Forgive me, (Prime Minister Vijaya Jeoomal). It is hard to feel secure in your lord's hall when drunken monkeys are able to enter with such ease.

Harihara II quickly banished his son, who was indeed making a spectacle of himself, and smoothed over the insult. Virkupaksha never forgot, though the idea of vengeance never really made its way to the surface of his thoughts until Harihara's death.

The rajah claimed he had a vision. While modern scholars such as ourselves can smile at that justification, all sources agree that Vijayanagara's drunken, irresolute lord abruptly found his calling. He appeared energized and proclaimed his vision for a new India.

The Muslims, he said, were not the problem. They were a gift from Vishnu, a 'wake up call' to deal with his peoples' cultural and spiritual differences before a hostile force could divide and conquer them piecemeal. Hinduism, with its general tolerance and adaptability, could be the vehicle to cure the world's ills ... but only if they could get their house in order.

That meant Hindus needed to unify under one banner, and whose better than Vijayanagara's? (New Mission: Conquer Malabar in Travanacore)

The Kaavya Vijaya - 'Poems of Victory' maintained after Harihara's death by future chief secretaries and artists, is silent on the council's reaction to Virkupashka's vision. We do know that Mahapradhana Jeoomal found himself driven out of Vijayanagara and exiled.Perhaps Jeoomal protested, though it seems unlikely the normally very quiet, accomodating man would have done so publicly. His banishment served as an example for those who disagreed with their emperor's dream.

In his place Virkupashka appointed Verkata Chennavet (Level 1 Theologian), one of the priests at the now sacred shrine to the holy man who'd guided the last two generations of Vijayanagara, Vidayarana. Chennavet's first mission was to prepare a religious document adopting (and justifying) Virkupashka's goal of uniting Hindus.

One of his justifications would be the Marathi revolt of 1402. What started as a cultural misunderstanding in cosmopolitan Goa soon spread into the countryside. Marathi refused to work the city's docks while raiders intercepted a number of merchants bringing goods to Mysore and points south. Finally they unified under a local named Misari Muhammand Khan Latesh and declared Goa's independence. (Marathi Revolt: Suppress - 11 Patriot regiments rise up in Goa)

Misguided or not, Virkupashka was no coward. (F2 Sh0 M4 Sg1) He led five thousand men by ship around India's coast and landed six miles north of the city on February 20. Latesh met him with eleven thousand ill trained, but fanatical Marathi. Imperial war elephants proved ineffective in the rugged terrain, so for two days footsoldiers maneuvered and traded glancing blows. On the third day the Imperial army retreated to their ships having given and received about 1,700 casualties.

An equal bloodletting didn't serve Latesh's purposes. He'd already recruited almost anyone willing to risk life and limb for an independent kingdom, and loyalists continued to hold out in Goa itself. Virkupashka simply sailed home, picked up fresh troops recruited by his father, and returned in May. This time he trapped the Marathi on the western fringes of the Deccan plateau where his war elephants could thunder through their ranks. Four thousand Marathi died in a matter of hours. Latesh fled to Konkan where he found the Deccan sultans just as unwilling to live with a hostile army dreaming of a new nation.

In December 1402, with Vijayanagara's now bloodied and experienced army massing on the Travanacore border and their alliance formally dissolved, Chennavet released his masterwork.

The Avaghosanaa Anusthaana Vijaya is one of the most tolerant treatises on religion in the history of humanity. Amazingly progressive by medieval standards, there is very little in it that would alarm even a modern humanitarian. Some of the key components:

* The Gods have many names and there are many paths to worship them, seek enlightenment, and so fulfill your dharma (duty, destiny) (Accept all Gods as Brahmin: Missionaries -0.2, Tech Cost -2%, Heretic relations +1, Relations with Orissa -25)

* Since it should be obvious from the above that all serve the same gods, none shall be cast out, persecuted or made to suffer based solely on how they pursue enlightenment. (Accept Religious Sects: Missionaries -0.2, Heretic relations +1)

* For it is self evident that, just as there are powerful entities for good who seek to help us pursue our dharma, there are evil and malevolent forces who would seek to rob us of our chance to ascend (become enlightened, and therefore break the reincarnation cycle). (Support the Haridasa (Dualist) Movement: National Tax -4%, Stability -6%, Missionary Chance +2%)

The Avaghosanaa Anusthaana Vijaya was a powerful, well meaning document...enslaved to the whims of a driven, some say megalomanic zealot. It gave voice to his vision and so rang true in the hearts and minds of men who would soon be asked to make sacrifices for Imperial gain. (Stability +3)

The problem lay in that Virkupashka meant it. He agreed with the spirit, if not the exact wording, of the document. He didn't care if you were Muslim or Buddhist or Christian, so long as you came to Vijayanagara with peaceful intentions you were welcome. It wasn't your fault if your spirituality was flawed and your efforts at enlightenment were, at best, inefficient since you didn't know the proper names and rituals.

Hinduism didn't have that excuse. Indeed, Hindus had the existential burden to raise up their flawed brothers and sisters. That meant Hinduism had to unify - one pantheon, one set of rituals, one moral and religious code, one shining example to the rest of the world. If that meant suppressing other versions of Hinduism by force, so be it.

Vijayanagara's flag changed on that day. Unfortunately he wouldn't be the last man to pervert ancient symbols of peace.
Vijayflag2.png

(Yes, I know it's a recent symbol. If you can put up with talking cows, you can put up with some minor factual errors.)

And So it Begins

Virupaksha (I) said:
Why do I care what other men say? I answer only to the gods.

Call it zeal, mania or tawdry revenge. In the end all that mattered was that in May 1403 Vijayanagaran armies crossed the border into Travanacore. Mysore and Orissa declined to join in. Indeed, Orissa promised to defend their friend against 'a child's aggression.'

1403-Travanacore.jpg


There wasn't much room for strategic maneuvering. The northern army, more formidable in appearance yet less experienced, raided villages near Calicut to hopefully commit Ravi Kerald Varma Joardar and his army to the city's defense. Virkupasha took veterans from the Marathi campaign across the southern border, left a token force to reduce Malabar, then launched a joint attack on Joardar. A handful of men under local control rendezvoused on the Orissa border.

Aggression dismayed Virkupashka's people and his new Mahapradhana worked hard to justify the need for war. (Reconquest CB, but with good relations Stab fell to 2) For the most part he succeeded, but noblemen in Tiruchchirapalli, displeased by this and Muslim conversions in the area, voiced their concern. (Aristocrat faction forms. Local Defense +10)

Piracy off the Madurai coast spread there as well. Some say the local nobles sponsored these privateers to check their king. Others argued that Prime Minister Chennavet hired them to keep these same nobles in line. We will never know for sure, though it's probable these were just opportunists taking advantage of Imperial distraction. (Uncontrolled piracy. Also, Event to Sponsor Privateers: Decline)

On June 14, Virkupashka descended on Calicut with thirteen thousand men. The two armies were more or less identical in composition, with war elephants supported by lightly armored footsoldiers. Travancore held a slight advantage in that they'd begun the conversion to archers mounted on horseback. These archers lacked elephants' sheer mass and shock, but made up for it in maneuverability which proved useful as the two armies jockeyed for position along the Western Ghats.

The southern Imperial army moved through a pass to emerge on the west coast while the northern army converged from the north. Joardar abandoned his outer holdings and deployed in a rough crescent. Travancore archers succeeded in slowing and disrupting the Imperial attack, but failed to kill, injure or otherwise spook the elephants. Their mass on Joardar's flanks turned the tide and he withdrew into the city. Days later he snuck out by ship, redeployed south of Calicut, and marched to relieve Malabar.

The initial battle left 2,000 dead for Vijayanagar and perhaps 1,000 for Travancore. In a series of skirmishes up and down the coast Virkupashka harried his enemy. Finally on September 5, having been caught more or less in the open by a monsoon that left the remnants of his army sick, exhausted and injured, Joardar surrendered.

He may have surrendered, but a small detachment of Travancore soldiers refused. They attacked Kongu, Chennavet's home city, in hopes of forcing the prime minister to yield against his rajah's orders. Leaving about a third of his army behind to subdue the kingdom's towns and cities, Virkupashka descended on the nine hundred or so diehards with over six thousand men. The battle lasted about forty minutes as Imperial elephants charged and stormed through the heart of their formation.


Orissan Tragedies

While Virkupashka worked to subdue Travancore, a small army of three thousand men defended Vijayanagara against Orissan counterattack. They were led by an inexperienced commander whose name doesn't survive through history, a man who Orissan king Narasimhadeva IV successfully tricked into a rash attack into Orissan soil.

This commander learned of recruiting efforts in the border region of Telingana. Imperial warships mistakenly reported the heart of Narasimhadeva's army on the Bengali border several hundred miles away. He attacked to break up the recruits before they could train and mobilize ... and ran into the heart of Orissa's army.

The Praayanaa Atidrutam Orissa - the Orissan quick march, saw Narasimhadeva's army advance at approximately fifty miles per day. They paralleled the coast perhaps two or three miles inland to avoid easy detection. On July 20 they materialized as if by magic on the Vijayanagaran flank. Seven thousand Orissans, many of them lightly armored horsemen with bows and swords, thrust into the surprised and undertrained army destroying it. Narasimhadeva then crossed the border into Vijayanagara and advanced towards the City of Victory.

By now Virkupashka had left Kongu, visited Tiruchchirapalli long enough to ensure loyalty from the local hereditary nobles, and deal with complaints from local merchants. These men complained that Muslim merchant houses founded in the last years of his father's life undercut their prices and so drove them out of business.

Rajah Virkupashka cared little for their troubles, especially with a hostile army on his soil. He coldly replied that if local merchants, many patronized by or serving the very nobles he came to intimidate, couldn't make a profit then maybe Vijayanagara should withdraw its investment. (Merchants unhappy: -500 Trade Investment)

This silenced any complaints, yet the local merchant houses had a valid point. Since the war's onset, they'd found it harder and harder to deal with competitors in China and Malacca. It would take them three years to regain lost ground.

In early January 1404, Virkupashka met Naramsimhadeva along the Tungabhadra River east of Vijayanagara. This would be their first meeting and they deployed in a setpiece battle.

As was his style, Virkupashka deployed his elephants in mid formation with infantry flanking, while Orissa deployed its horsemen along the flank away from the river. The resulting clash was short and bloody, with little in the way of tactics. Horsemen sniped at the Imperial flank. Elephants thrashed the Orissan center. Lightly armored, but heavily armed infantry butchered each other. Neither ruler directly joined the bloodshed, instead leading from the rapidly thinning reserve.

It was a close run thing, but in the end Virkupashka held his army together slightly better than his enemy. Losses on both sides were heavy - three thousand Vijayanagarans and 2,500 Orissans, but it was Narasimhadeva who retreated across the border.

1404-Orissa.jpg


Virkupashka reasoned that if he could destroy the Orissan army he could dictate any terms he wanted, so he pursued the broken king across the border. In March they met at Telingala and both armies lost another 1,500 men. Vijayanagara could afford the bloodletting more than their cousins, so the emperor pursued them deeper inland.

Over the sweltering rainy season, with temperatures above 100 deg. Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) and humidity approaching 100 percent, the two armies marched and countermarched. Here Virkupashka's zeal betrayed him. He didn't notice, until it was far too late, his own sickening and exhausted army. A particularly nasty stomach virus spread through the Vijayanagaran army like a plague paralyzing them. Then, in August, Narasimhadeva appeared.

Narasimhadeva's army suffered almost as cruelly, but at least this was their home ground. They knew of streams where the water was reasonably pure, they had people in a score of villages willing to offer what support and comfort they could. For the first time both armies fought on nearly even terms, and this time it was Orissa who prevailed.

Virkupashka retreated. It's a testament to his mens' fighting spirit that, despite their illness and growing infirmity, they bloodied Narasimhadeva enough that he didn't dare pursue. The Imperials safely crossed the border in late September and spent the rest of the year recovering.

Holy men throughout Vijayanagara hailed his successful retreat as a miracle, claiming that other armies would have perished during the retreat. Surely, they argued, this was proof of Vishnu's blessing on their endeavor. They venerated Vishnu as the great preserver, standing alongside Brahma (the creator) and Shiva (the destroyer) at the head of the pantheon. They knew Vishnu stepped in when the world's balance was seriously compromised and awaited his ninth incarnation (of ten predicted) eagerly.

Perhaps, some whispered, Virkupashka was Vishnu's ninth incarnation.

These priests on the verge of deifying their king migrated to Madurai and spread their teachings. Chennavet distanced himself from their growing zeal. Rajah Virkupashka secretly approved. (Religious faction in Madurai. -5% Missionary cost, +2% Missionary chance)

Divine or not, as 1404 turned into 1405 other realms noticed his growing power. Gondwana felt it best to keep him close and so offered a military alliance that Virkupashka accepted. They then promptly declared war on Delhi (along with Manipur and Assam). He agreed to join the fighting, but noted his first priority had to be Orissa.

In March 1405, Narasimhadeva IV passed away and the Orissan throne entered a personal union with Vijayanagara's nominal ally, Manipur. In a gesture of good faith, Virkupashka offered peace in exchange for 'reasonable' indemnities. Manipur agreed. Orissan nobles retorted that, since Vijayanagara started the war, they were the ones who should pay.(For RP reasons I offered a white peace. Nope. Too bad for them.)

Virkupashka reacted furiously to their refusal and invaded Telingana later that month. His army of eleven thousand met five thousand under the Orissan marshal, Narashima Deva Vansa. Yet again losses were about equal, and again Virkupashka proved slightly better at holding his army together. Vansa retreated. The emperor pursused.

Last year's near defeat taught Virkupashka caution. He moved slower than before, husbanding his forces and ensuring adequate supplies before advancing against Vansa. This allowed the Orissans to mass their army in Palakmui, but this time the Vijayanagarans prevailed. A final battle in June crushed Orissan resistance, and by September all the kingdom's major towns and cities were under siege.


Victory

Tranvanacore struck back at their foe one last time: Three warships - the entire Travanacore navy - slipped out of Calicut harbor in September. They were led by Marthanda Nishtha. Three heavy carracks and two lighter warships intercepted them south of the city.

The Imperial warships were larger, not as seaworthy as one might hope but also vulnerable to the choppy waters along the western coast. Further, Nistha was a reformed pirate. He hid his fleet in coves when the wind turned against him then, when the wind turned in his favor, he surged through the heart of the Vijayanagaran navy.

Even had either admiral had contact with Europe, this was really before the age of lines of battle. Neither fleet had gunpowder, and while the Imperial navy had what amounted to ballistae, the sea was too choppy and crew too inexperienced to use them. This turned their battle into a series of melees where the pirate excelled.

By the end of a week long campaign, the Vijayanagaran western fleet ceased to exist. Nishtha looted the ships of valuable cargo, 'recruited' anyone willing to switch sides, killed the rest and sunk the vessels. He took no losses.

Nishtha couldn't save his people however. Calicut fell in June 1405. Malabar followed in December 1406 under Virkupashka's new favorite general, Varupaksha Masllikarjun. Travanacore agreed to give up Calicut, their treasury, and abandon all relations with outside powers.

Orissa wouldn't even be allowed petty vengeance. In July 1406 their capital fell and the nobles finally valued peace. After intense negotiations brokered by their Manipuran overlords, Orissa too surrendered. They gave up Telingana and Palakmui.

1406-EndWar.jpg


By the end of 1406, Virupaksha's goal of unifying the Hindu people had begun in earnest. While still technically at war with Delhi, he had no intent of fighting the sultanate that troubled India for the last two hundred years.

This didn't mean a sudden desire for peace, much as his people began to more openly pray for it. (War Exhaustion is about 11 right now. Naturally by MMU standards my infamy is well into yellow range.)

No, as far as the Vijayanagaran Rajah was concerned, the war had barely begun.
 
Last edited:

dinofs

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Very nice! I suggest going for someone who's allied with Travancore to draw them into another war before the truce ends.
 

unmerged(59077)

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Interesting approach of (explanations in brackets).

Amazing conquests, but be careful with the BB. Framed! happening now would be awful.
 

JDMS

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Nice conquests. Are you going after Deccan next?
 

morningSIDEr

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Very good gains, Virupaksha certainly appears driven.

No, as far as the Vijayanagaran Rajah was concerned, the war had barely begun.

Always a good sign to my mind, plenty of action, be it good or bad.
 

Stuyvesant

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'Battle cattle', I like it. :)

As far as the update goes, I must say: the reasoning behind it all is very different from those of the Teutonic Hochmeisters, but the end result is pretty familiar: brutal war. :) Virupaksha would feel right at home with them, at least where it comes to methods.

So, how much influence can Peperna wield? Not much, it seems. I hope future monarchs will be more receptive to her counsel (although those same future monarchs might benefit greatly from Virupaksha's aggressiveness).

Finally, I wonder: did you intend for Virupaksha to sullen the good name/logo of Mercedes Benz, or rather the peace logo? ;)
 

CatKnight

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COMMENTS: Very long week. Hopefully I can do better than 1 wk = 3 game years going forward.

gabor: Virkupaksha doesn't strike me as the kind to wait while lowering relations. If a diplomat is handy, fine. If not...too bad. We only get something like 1.2 diplomats per year.

dinofs: I'm keeping an eye on Travanacore. If they form an alliance with someone Vir. wants to fight, then probably

blsteen: Thanks!

RGB: Yes, it would. Actually my infamy isn't as bad as it could be: Calicut was a core, so no infamy for taking it back.

JDMS: Why would I attack Deccan? It's not their fault they don't know how to properly worship the gods...

morningSIDEr: Yes...Vir. certainly promises plenty of action. Good or bad remains to be seen. So far he (and I) have been very lucky.

Stuyvesant: Yes, it's rather odd that I set this up to be a relatively peaceful 'We're Hindu and we tolerate everyone who leaves us alone' AAR, and on my second ruler in I'm already launching religious wars. I suspect this says something not entirely nice about me.

Peperna doesn't have any influence with Vir. They're too far apart. Perhaps future rulers will be more willing to accept her serene and gentle wisdom. That doesn't mean Peperna's out of tricks though.

And yes, you caught me and my evil plot to besmirch Mercedes Benz. ;)
 

CatKnight

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Vijayflag2.png

Chapter II: Virkupaksha I
Part 2: Rise of the God King (1407-1409)


"Rajah, I can guarantee you that no one has ever lost a battle using our war chariots!"

Virkupashka frowned at his guest: A disgustingly pale man with yellow hair who suffered in the heat. "I have no need for chariots."

"I would agree if you were any other man, but as I recall the gods themselves rode chariots into battle since the beginning of time. Why should you break with tradition?"


Virkupashka's eyes gleamed.


1407Benz.jpg

New for 1407: Benz War Chariot Mk1.
Now available in black and dark grey. Just add horses.



The Madness Spreads

History does not tell us whether Virkupashka truly believed himself divine. He never mentions it in letters or journals, perhaps to avoid angering the gods through presumption. People hinted at the possibility though, and whether he believed it or not it pleased the young rajah.

The number of people who claimed he was an incarnation of Vishnu was never very great, but as his successes grew these people began achieving positions of power. Holy men gathered in Madurai to advocate this new variant on Hinduism. In time they overthrew the good intentions of Mahapradhana Verkata Chennavet, subverting his treatise on religous tolerance and acceptance into the need for all Hindus to believe as they did.

Despite these growing troubles, or perhaps as its root cause, 1407 was generally good to Vijayanagara. They'd absorbed much of Travanacore and Orissa with minimal problems, greatly expanding the empire's capabilities and establishing their dominance in the south. Further, these new citizens easily integrated themselves into Imperial culture starting with Calicut.

1407Jan-Culture.jpg

A bit of a surprise, since Calicut is the only province of this culture and it's relatively small.

The people of southern (now conquered) Orissa spoke Tamil, the language of much of Vijayanagara and the closest thing to an official tongue the nation possessed. Though there were some cultural differences, and for those who lost friends or loved ones in the fighting old loyalties died hard, by the spring of 1407 they were also well on the way to supporting their new emperor.

1407Jan-BridgesandConflicts.jpg


(For those unfamiliar with MM, provinces don't automatically core after xx years. It's carried out through a series of events with mean times dependent on such issues as culture, religion and competing cores. All of Travancore and Mysore starts off cored/claimed by Vijayanagara. The 'Building Bridges' event is the first step in coring Telingana. Parlakimidi followed one month later.)

As has been stated, 1407 was generally kind to Vijayangara. There were some issues: Some people grew tired of years of warfare and wondered when it would end. Traders faced increased difficulty making headway in the ancient Chinese marketplaces, but they came to dominate Malacca. Hindu and Muslim merchants from Madras and Tiruchchirapulli sent fleets through the Spice Islands (Indonesia) trading western wares for eastern. Pirate activity generally declined, especially once the nobles and merchants of the east coast took matters into their own hands and financed a local 'coast guard.' (My hand slipped, creating a Limited Anti-Piracy Plan in Tiruchchirapulli. Meanwhile, Orissa and Travanacore apparently had piracy problems because my taking those provinces solved their problem.)

By June of 1407, some of the holy priests of Goa decided it was time to prosletyze their vision of Vishnu reborn (and perhaps weaken the Madurai contingent in the bargain.) They organized a great gathering along the Mandovi River.

Bukka incorporated Goa into Vijayanagara in 1370. His son (and Virkupashka's father) fought a number of campaigns in the area to consolidate his hold and integrate it into the Empire despite its physical distance and isolation. During one of these actions in the late 1380s he brought his young son to give him a taste of war.

While here, the priests claimed, Virkupashka walked to the river one night alone and met Vishnu. The god blessed him and tasked him with saving the Hindu faith. There the boy humbly admitted his flaws and asked for guidance. Vishnu promised to always be there to help, for all intents and purposes possessed him, then rested dormant until he became king.

1407Jun-Goa.jpg


Hundreds flocked to this 'holy site,' much to the growing alarm of the neighboring Deccan sultanates and the Jainite and Christian minorities in Goa. This radical interpertation of recent events, only a few years after a major Marathi uprising, heightened tensions within the city and the provincial governor dealt with several 'incidents'. Virkupaksha did nothing to silence (or support) the priests: He was busy.


Another Holy War

We've suggested that the initial war with Travanacore was fought not to unify Hinduism, but out of vengeance for past slights. This may be true, but by 1407 the Vijayanagaran Emperor firmly believed in unifying his faith by force. The relative ease with which his new subjects adapted to Imperial ways only convinced him of the righteousness of his cause.

In January he sent an ultimatum to Yadu Raya, Rajah of Mysore: submit spiritually to Vijayanagara, or submit militarily. (Insult) Yadu Raya didn't reply: He pegged Virkupaksha as a bully and thought war inevitable. He was right.

1407Mar-StartMysore.jpg


In early March, Imperial forces crossed the Mysore border in the south and east.

Virkupaksha's plan was a simple variant on the one he used against Travanacore. This time he would be the anvil, agitating to pin the defenders in Bangalore, while the other army left a token siege at the Mysoran capital then launched a joint attack.

The other army was commanded by Varupaksha Mallikarjun, Senaapati (Commander) of the Vijayanagaran army. Varupaksha was an ambitious man, roughly the same age as his young king, and eager to reap the glory for this campaign. He force marched his army to Mysore in a week, let them rest for two days, and was about to launch his attack on Bangalore when messengers arrived to tell him not to bother.

Yadu Raya knew how the Travanacore campaign ended and took a desperate chance: He abandoned Bangalore and launched a counterattack towards Kongu.

Military historians and other armchair generals have argued about what seems like a foolish risk. To the untrained eye it seems absurd to abandon your homeland to attack a city and province of minimal importance to the Empire.

Foolish and absurd, perhaps. Desperate most certainly. The plan had some merit however. Yadu Raya might have been able to stay on the defensive and defeat the combined Imperial army, but Virkupaskha had proven himself an able commander able to overcome any disadvantages for fighting in the enemy's land,

Further, there were political reasons to hope it might succeed. Kongu was Mahapradhana Chennavet's home city, with power within the Imperial council and courts disproportionate to its overall importance. Losing Kongu would have been a serious blow to Imperial prestige as well as Virkupaksha's image as a blessed, if not divine ruler. The council might have revolted at that point and forced their rajah to quit the fight on favorable terms for Mysore. It didn't hurt that the route Yadu Raya used to attack Kongu passed close to the obvious one he might use to attack Madras. Madras was certainly too important to risk losing. Indeed, the 1995 alternate history novel "To Slay a God" speculates that if Yadu Raya had attacked Madras, and taken it before his own kingdom fell, the resulting political upheaval would have shattered the Empire.

By besieging Kongu, Yadu Raya forced his enemy to take a risk of his own. He correctly deduced that Virkupaksha wasn't willing to risk losing Kongu. Rather than force him to the table, however, it instead forced him to strip Mallikarjun's army bare and launch a series of assaults on Bangalore's walls to take the city by force.

The Mysorean governor of Bangalore described the final assault.

Governor of Bangalore said:
Their rajah is a changed man. For days and weeks he hung back in that ridiculous looking chariot of his, letting his men surround the city and attempt to starve us out. Something has made him panic though, and this in turn has made him very angry. He now leads, on foot, from the front shouting obscenities at us and invectives to his own men. Thrice today he has tested our defenses in frontal assaults. At least one thousand of his men lie on the earth in front of our gates. Our losses are not nearly as great, but we cannot afford them....

....they are coming. (Virkupaksha) launched yet another assault on our gates. Our men rushed to its defense as the doors threatened to buckle, but we were too few to cover the entire city. It was but a diversion. A number of his men climbed the walls from the north and opened the gate. Perhaps a fourth of his men have broken into the marketplace. They are fighting for the southern gate to let in their comrades. Once that happens...

...It is over. He has let me and mine live, so long as I swear to serve him and accept his gods as my own. The former I can live with. The latter, as near as I can tell, was already true. I swear he is mad...but I cannot deny there is power in his madness.

With Bangalore secure, Virkupaksha rushed south to attack Yadu Raya. The Mysoreans left a covering force and moved to intercept.

The Battle of Kongu Nadu (near modern Salem) took place on August 14, 1407. Yadu Raya retired some miles north of the road to Bangalore to the Nagaramalai, a series of small hills with modest silver deposits. This gave him a small height advantage, and the broken terrain would impair Vijayanagaran elephant charges. He dismounted his horse archers and interspersed them with footsoldiers to rain arrows down on the approaching army.

He hoped to catch the Vijayanagarans by surprise and so take them in flank as they passed by, but scouts accurately reported the enemy's location. Virkupaksha deployed in a rough crescent perhaps half a mile away, with elephants deployed as a reserve in the center to exploit holes in the enemy line.

1407AugBattleofKongu.jpg


Archers engaged near the limits of their range as Virkupaksha advanced, with Mysore's slight height advantage working in their favor. The Imperial left hesitated, but not fatally as it merely allowed their companions to the right to 'catch up' and so straighten the crescent. Virkupaksha stayed in reserve with the elephants, abandoning his chariot due to the rough terrain, and sideslipped to the southeast towards a hill on the Mysorean left flank.

Yadu Raya ordered his men to charge at the last minute, dropping their bows and drawing curved sabres similar to Arab scimitars. His enemies followed suit leading to a violent melee at the base of the hills. Vijayanagar held the numerical advantage, and under a more able commander their left wing could have enveloped and destroyed the Mysorean right. Unfortunately the left wing commander was inexperienced, his men weary and shaken from arrow fire, and Virkupaksha was over two miles away with his elephants. The Imperials therefore wasted their advantage and the tide began to shift against them.

Conch horns sounded on the Imperial right as the elephants gained their hill on the now fully engaged Mysorean flank. Virkupaksha ordered a general charge. While not as devastating as it could have been due to the rough terrain, the sight and sound of charging elephants shattered the Mysorean left. They recoiled from battle and hundreds were trampled in their general flight.

This freed the Imperial right who now performed the enveloping flank their left wing brethren couldn't. The rest of the Mysorean infantry routed and fled into the hills. Vijayanagara suffered 1,800 wounded and killed, while Mysore lost 2,500.


Aftermath

As news of this victory spread, Hindu nations took a closer, far more wary look at their southern cousin. Word spread of Virkupaksha's 'divinity.' His neighbors certainly didn't believe it, but the idea that Vijayanagarans might made them very uneasy. Finally diplomats from Gondwana approached the Mahapradhana, advising him it would be best if the Imperials gave up such pretensions. (Friendly Warning: An MM event basically warning me that my infamy could be better and to watch it.)

Publicly, Virkupaksha took the 'advice' rather well. He'd planned on a few years of consolidation after conquering Bangalore anyway. Privately he thought differently as he addressed his prime minister.

Virkupaksha (I) said:
'Pretensions' is it? I would think pretension is when your kingdom fails to support its friend in a justified war, then preaches to its betters about taking care. All (Gondwana) has done is convince me that they're next.

With no hope of victory, Yadu Raya sent emissaries to his enemy to ask for terms. Said terms were harsh, but not unexpected.

1407Oct-PeaceMysore.jpg


By October 1407 the Empire had defeated Mysore, and convinced the Delhi Sultanates they wanted no part of the ongoing war that wrecked their hold on northern India. (White Peace) This left the Sultan of Gujarat, who inexplicably felt the need to defend Mysore. Imperial ships patrolled off of Goa in case of a surprise attack, but the Gujarati proved unwilling to fight. The war ended without incident in May 1409.

During those two years, when Vijayanagara remained technically at war but not one soldier died in anger, the economy slowly recovered from years of war. The Imperial council, somewhat distracted during the fighting (and possible loss of Kongu), ably restored order and continued the process of integrating new territories into the Empire. (Through the course of the war my government level fell from Good to Competent then back to Capable.)

The wars that shook northern India continued. Bihar won some land from Delhi. Rajputana devastated them and emerged as the greatest Hindu nation in the region.(4 provinces, 30 prestige) The Mahapradhana tried to arrange marriages to bring the victorious kingdoms closer together: Bihar accepted. Rajputana scoffed at Virkupaksha's pretensions.

During this time Travancore and Mysore formed an anti-Imperial alliance, promising to defend one another against all aggressors. That, the Imperial rajah thought, would only make things easier. To make up for being unable to marry his niece into the Rajputana royal family, he instead opted for Sunda who seemed to be in the midst of a dynastic crisis.

After the Gujarat war officially ended in May 1409, Virkupaksha promised his neighbors and people a time of peace. Even as he promised this, however, he dreamt of finishing his conquests and/or punishing Gondwana. The latter, at least, wouldn't have to wait as the Deccan, Bengal and Shan sultanates woke up to attack the tiny state.
 
Last edited:

dinofs

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Excellent! Vijayanagara will soon unify Hinduism! Just don't forget Champa. ;)
 

JDMS

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Crush Deccan! (Sorry, I'm biased. I tried a game as them once and it ended in total failure. :D)
 

unmerged(59077)

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War Chariots - very Vedic, although perhaps too Aryan in this case.

Accepted culture - Kolkata must be high income; it's by base province income % of your total that cultures get accepted.
 

Stuyvesant

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Very good. Amongst all the things I like about your writing (not least the Mercedes Benz war chariot...), I want to particularly praise your ability to take almost any AI move and find a reasonable explanation for it (to wit, Mysore's attack into Kongu). :)
 

morningSIDEr

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Excellent update, Virkupashka is proving a hugely interesting and compelling character.
 

Milites

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I surely will pass by Hampi. Pictures are certainly guaranteed ;)
 

CatKnight

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dinofs: Champa might take awhile. We'll see what we can do :)

JDMS: I'm surprised: I would think Deccan and Vijayanagar, at least in Vanilla, would have fairly easy games.

RGB: Right you are. I thought it was based off of population. Learn something new every day :)

Stuyvesant: Mysore's counterattack was a complete surprise - it did serve to make me think fast though, especially as their siege was proceeding faster than mine!

gabor: Oh, my friend, there are plenty of better long term options than what I've done. For example, considering the high premium MM places on Infamy, I shouldn't have bothered with the Orissan provinces...while weakening my main rival (Bahamanids/Deccan) should have been one of my first priorities. Alas, my rulers felt differently. :)

morningSIDEr: Vir's convinced himself he can do no wrong. He's about to learn differently ;)

Milites: Great!
 

CatKnight

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Vijayflag2.png

Chapter II: Virkupashkha I
Part 3: On a Troubled Brow (1409-1411)


"Welcome, my friend. Thank you for coming. I know it's a long way." Peperna nodded.

Her guest spoke, a deep male voice: "I came as soon as I heard. It is hard to believe things are as bad as you say."

She sighed. "It's worse."



Calm Before the Storm

By the summer of 1409 Virkupashka approached the height of his power. He'd subdued Travancore, Orissa and Mysore in a series of rapid campaigns that left friends and enemies alike bewildered and concerned. Now, perhaps sensing he'd gone as far as his neighbors and people were going to allow, he promised a respite.

It's hard to tell if Virkupashka meant it. It was a well known secret he only awaited an opportunity to destroy Travancore and Orissa entirely, while relations with Gondwanda cooled considerably after they sent envoys suggesting Vijayanagara 'live in harmony with his neighbors and brothers in Hindu.'

Certainly the lower townsmen and traders believed him. (Stability stays at 3 throughout this post. We slowly improve to 5 merchants in Malacca and Guangzhou) True, as a general rule they tired of seeing friends and family go off to war with no promise of coming home again, but again in general they took him at his word.

The common man had no real opinion, or if they did it isn't recorded due to its insignificance. They rather liked their flamboyant king, and if (as many believed) Virkupashka really thought himself an incarnation of Vishnu, then it wasn't nearly as heretical a belief as it might be in Islam or Christianity. It might even be true.

The 'men of substance' - local hereditary nobles, merchant guildmasters, Imperial officers and revered holy men - worried. Virkupashka spent his time committed not to peace, but to a steady surge in the size of Vijayanagar's permanent army from perhaps 13,000 after the Mysoran campaign to over 25. He also ordered his officers to split this army into smaller garrisons throughout the nation. Obstensibly this was to improve defense and assist local peace officers, but many saw this as an attempt to curb dissent.

The Pradhana, the advisory council made up of the empire's senior officials, was a sorely divided body. During Harihara II's reign the noblemen of Madras rallied under Mahapradhana Vijaya Jeoomal to ably support their king.

Virkupashka's ascension and his appointing Verkata Chennavet to prime minister shifted the balance of power to Kongu. Unfortunately, Chennavet didn't have the political savvy to unite the body, so a sizeable Madras 'faction' served the role of 'opposition' with Madurai priests serving as mediators, peacemakers and tie-breakers. This reduced the body to near impotence, which is part of the reason Virkupashka was able to achieve so much without being reined in.

In late 1409, after much discussion, the Pradhana advised their emperor that, while they preferred peace, if he must go to war with his growing army then they would much rather he turned it against Vijayanagara's real enemies.

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Virkupashka listened to their counsel and came to the following conclusions:

1. There was no indication, other than some isolated complaints from lower castes, that Konkan's Hindus were in any danger whatsoever.

2. He didn't care if they were. Unifying his faith meant silencing those voices who might have other ideas about what it meant to be a Hindu. The Deccan Sultanates didn't get a vote, nor did a handful of troublemakers in Konkan.

3. How dare the Pradhana advise him? Didn't they know who they were dealing with?


Virkupashka Oversteps

For several months he nursed his private grudge, summoning and relying on his council less and less. Nerves strained and tensions rose. Then, in July 1410, he struck by arresting and summarily executing Abheri Keshaw, Karyakartha (Chief Secretary) of the Empire and de facto leader of the Madras faction, for treason.

His writings suggest he expected the Pradhana to come to heel and unify behind him. He was half right. It took the Pradhana two hours to prepare a general condemnation and 'strongly urge' reparations.

Virkupashka responded by disbanding the council and forcing Chennavet to resign. The Vijayanagaran Empire erupted.

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Law and order collapsed in Madras as thousands rose in open revolt under Abheri's brother, Krishnadevaraya. After two weeks of increasingly bold raids rallied some six thousand men to his cause, he shattered regional peace forces under the Dandanayaka (regional commander).

Virkupashka appointed friends and imperial officers to the local armies and formed a ring around Keshaw's army. In early September he closed the net with some ten thousand men. Keshaw ordered one banner (regiment) to engage a weak point in the emperor's circle, and withdrew with the greater part of his army in the ensuing chaos.

It was a short respite, for Virkupashka merely gathered even more local armies and pursued.

Keshaw fled south. He hoped to be joined by the powerful nobles of Tiruchchirapalli who had already found ways to express their extreme displeasure. (Aristocrat faction disgruntled. So are the priests in Madurai and bureaucrats in Kondavidu.) Unfortunately most men there knew better than to risk an open battle against their enraged Rajah, so Keshaw received little more than supplies and token support. In October Virkupashka, now in commnad of fourteen thousand men, shattered Keshaw's army. The rebel fled by ship commissioned by noble 'friends.'

During the campaign the Empire lost perhaps 2200 men.

As Virkupashka fought to subdue Madras, Telegu rebels rose up in Telingana seeking either repatriation with Orissa or independence. Their leader, a converted Muslim named Amir Cheran, sought support from the Sultan of Golconda. As Golconda currently supported the other sultans of the Deccan plateau against Gondwana, he refused.

Days after Virkupashka shattered the Madras rebellion, Senaapati Varupaksha Mallikarjun engaged Cheran in a more or less even battle with four thousand men apiece. Nonetheless, Mallikarjun had several advantages: Discipline, training, and a large contingent of war elephants. He pinned Cheran to the shore and broke his army. Scattered remnants fled towards Vijayanagara and ran into the emperor's returning army with predictable results.

Cheran's rebellion had the opposite of the intended effect. Vijayanagara's apparent willingness to hold Telingana at all costs woG him the support of local Hindus worried about Muslim rule and made it easier for the empire's neighbors to tactily accept the border change.(Tentative Acquiesence: The next step in Coring) The sultanates had nothing to say on the matter: It wouldn't be until March 1411 that they defeated Gondwana and established a new sultan in Bastar.

In June of 1411, with thunderous rainstorms pounding western India, Virkupashka travelled to the Mandovi River near Goa where, local priests claimed, he met Vishnu. He sheltered with the local governor and planned a great gathering when the rains abated. His intentions are clear from his writings:

Virkupashka said:
The people want a god to walk among them? I will fill that role.

And why not? He'd crushed the Pradhana. His enemies still muttered behind his back, but they were as impotent as the fallen council. Perhaps not this year, but certainly in the next he'd once more take the initiative. Nothing rallied a people behind their god king quite like a war...

"Peperna." The rains had finally stopped, so Virkupashka walked along 'his' river preparing for tomorrow's speech.

"My lord Rajah," the cow replied. "Or is it Vishnu now?"

"I told you what would happen if you returned. Keema served with curry and pimento?"

"It shows how far you've fallen that you would even suggest eating beef. I have come to end your tyranny."

"You? What do you plan to do? Milk me to death? And then there is the vow...."

"It is true, I have vowed never to kill,"
Peperna answered quietly. A figure stepped from out of the shadows with a metallic snap.

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"This is my friend, General Mooski. He's made no such vow."


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*******

Vijayanagara Empire said:
Population: 1,884,000
Largest City: Madras (67,700)
Religion: Hindu (91%), Sunni (8%), Other (1%)
Culture: Tamil (62%), Telugu (28%), Kannada (7%), Other (3%)

Tech: Gov 3, Pro 3, Trd 3, Lnd 3, Nvy 3
Prestige 48, MP 12,306, Gold 12, Stab 3, Infamy 8.3, Inflation 3.7, Legitimacy 100
Army: 18 Footsoldier, 5 War Elephant
Navy: 3 Carracks, 2 Pinnaces, 5 Cogs
 
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