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axzhang

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Speaking of which, I'm surprised mention of the Kama Sutra hasn't come up yet. Surely, Vijaya would have racked up enough carnal experiences, sexual adventures, and general tomfoolery to write his own compendium by now? What a legacy that would have been to the world.
 

Surt

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So it's 3/3/3 regency, followed by 3/3/4 heir! Well this doesn't bode well but promises an interesting story. :) The heir's MIL skill of 4 will be a tremendous improvement when he finally comes to the throne. :p

Make him a general and make him go in front ...
 

morningSIDEr

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A pity Vijaya has passed away, although he had a surprisingly long innings compared to your other rulers! At least he passed away doing what he loved, I merely hope Mallikarjuna is able to emulate his father's success.
 

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Vijaya was a great ruler (if not exactly a great human) and a wonderfully rich character. Watching him build an Empire while tearing apart his people was fascinating.

It's hard to get excited about his 'slow' son, but let's withhold judgment until his reign is actually chronicled. As RGB suggested, perhaps the lad will be easily influenced by the sagacity of Peperna. :)
 

CatKnight

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dinofs: 14 years isn't bad...but I really wish he stuck around. I need someone to make up for all these monarchs dying young, and I hope to heck it isn't young Mallikarjuna.

Chief Ragusa: I still have Assam. The PU is intact. :)

naggy: Yes, Assam is content for now. Whether that remains true... Hm. Our relations are about +130.

RGB: I've let Peperna take a back seat, but she might need to drive for a bit with Mallikarjuna around. :)

axzhang: I don't know if Mallikarjuna will fail or not. I'm playing/writing this as I go - However, with the way I'm playing him I will probably make all sorts of intentional mistakes - and from what I've heard MMU will be happy to fill in the rest.

RGB: Oh dear. I wasn't even thinking of that. I wanted something along the lines of the White Lotus Rebellion in China, and I found pictures of Vishnu on a pink one. Oh dear. :eek:o

axzhang: It did in a way. Vijaya's "Vijayte" was meant to be a book on tactics, but in the modern world people use it for advice on dating and seduction. I'm sure there are elements of his tactics that are quite graphic. :D

Enewald: Difficult. Though not out of the question. :)

gabor: I think this is going to hurt. A lot.

Surt: That's certainly an idea, though whether he wants to or not could be a big question.

morningSIDEr: Nice sentiment, but I doubt it.

blsteen: Not much.

Stuyvesant: Vijaya was fun to write for and fun to play. Mallikarjuna...could be a chore.

*******

COMMENT AND WARNING: As I write this, I'm downloading Victoria II. Assuming my system specs are good enough, I will probably spend a fair bit of time learning the game. I never really could get into Vic 1, so I have high hopes for this game bringing me into the fold.

Therefore if I'm quiet for awhile (or if I start writing over there) - Vijayanagara is not dead. I'm just trying to figure out how to bring a few biplanes back with me. ;)
 

CatKnight

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Vijayanagarflag.png

Chapter VI: Mallikarjuna II
Part 1: Regency! (1440-1446)


Squabbling Puppies

In August 1440 Vijaya, Rajah and Emperor of Vijayanagara, ascended. (or descended, or otherwise transmigrated.) He left behind a large number of irritated fathers and husbands, a generation of female 'admirers', an oft ignored and mostly powerless council, and an eight year old son.

Mallikarjuna II had yet to recover from his disappointment. Modern sociologists believe his childhood must have been a lonely one. While Vijaya's statements clearly support his son, his duties (and habits) kept him busy for weeks on end. Vijaya believed his son would overcome any temporary mental or emotional difficulties without making any effort to determine what ailed him or to find what little help fifteenth century medicine offered.

Mallikarjuna never met his mother and barely remembered her. His step-mother, Perundevi, proved cold and uninterested in caring for a child that wasn't hers - certainly not one she saw as clearly defective and unfit to rule. She all but abandoned him, leaving him alone with his inner demons and a long line of uncaring or baffled tutors.

Perundevi certainly cared for the regency however, as did any number of other people. Many of these men who stepped forward to lead sought to preserve or increase their own interest or that of their friends and allies. A small handful superseded local or cultural ties and wanted to keep Vijayanagara intact until Mallikarjuna reached his majority. None, however, had any but the vaguest idea how to run an empire of over two million people.

Simply put, this had never come up before. In the 104 years since Harihara I and Bukka first accepted oaths from local princes in Kondavidu, the Vijayanagaran Empire never didn't have an emperor. The Emperor appointed the regional governors and commanders. He appointed the Karyakartha (Chief Secretary) and Adhikan (Imperial Officers) who kept the bureaucracy from grinding to a stop. He appointed the advisory Pradhana council and the Mahapradhana, or Prime Minister. Over two million people depended on the vast Imperial government to keep armies supplied, roads maintained, and goods and luxuries available. The government depended on the Emperor. It was intentionally constructed to depend on him.

The Emperor was eight years old and widely considered 'unwell.'

Spontaneously men converged on the capital from across the empire: Governors and commanders, military and bureaucratic officers, merchant house master and holy man alike. They came to learn who was 'in charge' and giving orders. When it became apparent that particular honor was up for grabs, they stayed to help sort things out or stake their own claim.

As Vijaya's only wife, Perundevi earned support from the 'monarchists' who wanted to preserve Vijayanagara's strength until their emperor came of age. Her main advantages were an effective intelligent network and her place of birth. So long as she could protect her interests and those of her 'real' people, Assam would remain loyal to the crown.

Her chief competition came from Achyota Malini. Malini was Mahapradhana during the last years of Vijaya's life and strongly resented his rajah's efforts to limit the council's usage. A vicious, petty man, Malini became de facto leader of the Pink Lotus following Sri Vira Varma's death. Like his predecessor, he saw no value in trying to overthrow the emperor: A weak man-child on the throne was perfect for any opportunities he'd like to pursue.

The men gathered there quickly rallied around the five factions that controlled Imperial politics almost since its founding: Local aristocrats vs. monarchists, merchant houses, bureaucrats and holy men. During the first week all they could agree on is that this new Pradhana would act as a regency council until Mallikarjuna reached his majority. Slowly the civilian Adhikan returned to their offices while the swami and other holy men retired to their temples and hermitages. This left Malini's followers, Perundevi's, and a powerful commercial 'swing' faction.

1440 Regency Council said:
Aristocrat Faction: 20
* with Commercial and Bureaucrat
Monarchist Faction: 16
* with Religious


Baby Steps

The regency council wouldn't have been far out of place in modern politics, though naturally all the men attending were either appointed by Vijaya or themselves. The factions formed recognizable proto-parties with 'whips' ensuring bloc voting. Voting on anything the emperor would have normally decided upon became the only safety net against Malini or Perundevi grossly abusing their power. The Pradhana's rules of order would be foreign in Europe, but at least made some semblance of fair play for fear of alienating or angering the wrong people.

Still, in the spirit of self-interest which brought them to Vijayanagara in the first place, the council wasted its first whole month simply perpetuating its own existence. While no one outside of a few radical elements argued for the Pradhana to ever be more than an advisory body for their emperor, they did codify laws and precedents making it difficult for the emperor to simply dismiss or refuse to discuss matters with the council. Further, while the emperor would continue to choose regional governors and commanders, the governors would select who besides themselves would be on the Pradhana. (Decentralization +1 via slider)

Those who chose not to attend the Pradhana or returned to their duties too soon recognized a power play when they saw one. Mallikarjuna picked up a wide array of supporters for his uninterrupted and un'guided' rule simply by being too distracted to notice what his 'protectors' were about. Nearby rulers predicted the Empire's inevitable decline, while Orissan Rajah Ramchada Ganesha continued his realm's proud policy of needlessly antagonizing Vijayanagara by sending a gift 'To the Emperor' and making sure it was delivered to Perundevi. (Effect of slider move: Social Outrage: -1 Stab, -10 Prestige)

Others took an even more dim view of the regency's actions. While they cloaked their actions under the guise of protecting and serving the Empire, in truth this breakaway, radical faction of the Pink Lotus wanted nothing more than to destroy Mallikarjuna and replace him with someone worthy of the throne - preferably one of them. They rejected the Regency as a half-hearted effort diluted by the delusions and aspirations of other groups and sought the purity of conquest. (Minor Noble Opposition: +15 RR, +20% Stab Cost)

1440Oct-NobleRevolt.jpg


The rebel 'Lotuses' approached Senapaati (Marshal) Harihara Mayekar and offered him the throne in exchange for the army's support. Mayekar refused and summarily executed his 'recruiters.' They turned to commander Sadashivara Chatterji who didn't bother killing anyone but otherwise gave much the same answer. They then spoke with Immadi Jeoomal.

Jeoomal's ancestors were nobles in Madras who suffered under past emperors. He'd watched the regency's actions - and blatant disregard for the army's opinion on any of this - angrily, and he certainly believed he could do a better job of ruling than Mallikarjuna.

In October he led his army into Raichur. There they rendevoused with seven regiments of mercenaries led by 'Lotus' officers and their sons. Jeoomal's plans are uncertain, but if he'd carried out his plan to unify the two armies into a fifteen thousand man strike force in the heart of Imperial territory he might have successfully marched on Vijayanagara and forced the Regency to surrender.

Immadi was a good tactician and leader, and he'd led a number of his regimental commanders during the last Bahamanid War. They fought at Vijaya's behest, however, and still carried fond memories of their flamboyant (albeit immoral) rajah. Turning against his son felt too much like betrayal. At dawn when the armies assembled only one banner defected to the enemy. The others drew their weapons and charged.

All accounts of the Battle of Raichur are confused and contradictory, focusing more on the tense negotiations leading up to the mass melee than the battle itself. The armies arrayed in lines in the fields south of the city and quickly broke down into confused, swirling fighting that soon flowed through the streets. One account claims an entire village was flattened by a company of rebel elephant who in turn panicked and stampeded into a river where they drowned. Another account states that a triumphant Imam addressed hundreds within the city about the faithlessness of Hindus who would turn on each other as the armies fought three blocks away. By the end of that bloody day four thousand men lay dead or dying. Immadi's mercenaries vanished in the darkness while he went into self imposed exile.

Vijaya Jeoomal, Immadi's brother, stayed neutral through the conflict. This still appeared quite sinister compared to Mayekar and Chatterji, who having rejected their 'recruiters' mobilized their armies to crush the northern rebellion. The Regency Council offered Vijaya exile or death, and he too disappeared for a time.

In November, Chatterji's army entered Telingana and engaged the last sizeable 'Lotus' mercenary army under Devaraya Desari. Desari failed to pierce the city's defenses so committed to battle on the foothills of the Deccan Plateau near the Gondwana border. Chatterji held a slight (7000 to 5000) advantage in manpower, and decisive advantages in both leadership and quality of troops. He used his infantry to pin Desari's in position while cavalry took a wide, round about route to come up from behind and so engage. Desari's army also ceased to exist.

Stabilizing

Throughout the crisis the inexperienced, badly divided Regency Council performed...surprisingly well. Much of their success during the rebellion belonged to Mayekar and Chatterji, who both acted decisively to contain the revolt before it could spread. Nonetheless the Council ensured they had the necessary resources and that, where possible, life went on as normal.

That isn't to say everything went smoothly. Support for mercantile endeavors wavered weekly, while the intelligence and research on available goods a more efficient bureaucracy could have provided the merchant houses evaporated. Debate prevented the council from making any kind of quick response, such as when China abruptly raised tariffs on foreign (including Indian) goods. (My 5 merchants in Malacca and Guangzhou slowly evaporate during this period to 2-3 per. Further, my Capable Government goes first to Inefficient, then Distracted via Event.)

Still, the Regency could have done far worse and when Perundevi's agents uncovered a large scale Muslim smuggling operation in Goa, the Imperials asked for a piece of the action to avoid an incident.

1440Oct-NobleRevolt.jpg


Through the spring of 1441 the 'Lotus' rebellion continued with a series of low key battles between local peacekeepers and garrisons and isolated bandits. A rash of incidents near Konkan obliged Harihara Mayekar to disperse much of his army to assist the governor in maintaining order.

He never realized he was the true target. In May 1441 assassins crept into his army encampment, snuck into his tent and beheaded him. At this stage in the rebellion his loss had only minimal tactical impact and one can only assume this was a revenge killing for his executing the 'recruiter' last year.

In Vijayanagara, the Regency Council slowly relaxed...which turned their efforts from inefficient but effective, to outright hostility and infighting. Malini pushed through subsidies for certain cottage industries his allies favored. The monarchists responded by commissioning tax assessors to make sure Vijayanagara was given everything it was due. Malini's faction replied in kind. (Workshop in Tiruchchirapalli. Population Censuses in Tiruchchirapalli (Aristocrats) and Bangalore (Monarchists)

Similarly, as the rebellion began dying down the Regency first advocated harsh punishments than leniency as one faction or the other gained the upper hand. (Event: Measures Against Nobility: Punish Traitors, +2 Prestige followed by...)

1441Nov-NobleSurrender.jpg


Jeoomal's exile and Desari's death soon after losing his army doomed the radical 'Lotus' rebellion. Newly appointed Senapaati Chatterji learned Mayekar's killers resided in Calicut. He sent a number of agents into the city who spent much of the autumn in an intense game of cat and mouse with their adversaries. In December guards found the Governor of Calicut and his oldest son beheaded.

Through 1442 the Regency Council slowly strengthened their control as resistance evaporated. (Minor Opposition ends. Event: Smooth Transition in Power.) In time they commissioned pardons for anyone who would swear fealty to Mallikarjuna and his council, and in 1444 the Jeoomal brothers finally resumed their posts in the Imperial army. For nearly a year events remained peaceful.

The Muslim Menace

In January 1443 word spread of atrocities in Sind west of Gujarat. There the Bey, Emir Janibeg Samna, sought to eliminate opposition to his heavy-handed rule by uniting people under one faith: His. He ordered Hindu temples pulled down to be replaced by Sunni mosques. Missionaries led forced conversions to Islam. Soldiers arrested, beat and sometimes executed those who publicly resisted, while others who might have simply taken their religion underground were encouraged by friend and foe alike to leave. When the first wave of persecutions didn't quite do the job, Janibeg ordered a second group in December. By 1446 Hinduism had faded from a substantial and vibrant minority to a hunted remnant making up perhaps one percent of the population.

Tempers flared in the Regency Council with a large minority calling for war while a slim majority insisted they couldn't jeopardize Mallikarjuna's birthright. What they could do, however, was increase ties with their Hindu neighbors. After a great deal of searching a match-maker found Mallikarjuna's mate. No one in nearby realms chose to saddle their daughter with a potential dullard, no matter how prestigious the title, so they went to distant Majapahit in the East Indies.

Farah was eight years old to Mallikarjuna's eleven and badly out of place at Vijayanagara's court. Perundevi seems to have taken a liking to her however, and with the help of her tutors and advisors helped the child settle in.

Refugees from Sind filtered across the Imperial border through the rest of 1443 settling mostly around the capital. They were a restive lot, native Sindhi who didn't understand Telegu or any of the other Imperial languages and cultural misunderstandings became commonplace.

In September Gujarati (Muslim) merchants asked to settle in Tiruchchirapalli. Though anti-Muslim sentiment continued to run high, local officials and merchant houses pushed hard for increased contact. Vijayanagaran traders continued to experience unprecedented trouble in both Malacca and Ming China and they saw Gujarati wares and markets as a possible alternative. This led to the regular tensions as younger, more impressionable (or simply more ambitious) men saw the vast wealth of the Middle East and converted.

This enraged both major factions of the Regency Council. (Aristocrats: Furious, Monarchists: Disgruntled, Clergy: Disgruntled) In an unprecedented show of solidarity they unified against the powerful merchant houses who let the Muslims settle.

In a colossal case of bad timing, Sufi Missionaries took this opportunity to prosletyze in Goa. The Council shot back decisively, voting 26-10 to compel Senapaati Chatterji to go to Goa, restore order, and if necessary force the missionaries to leave.

1445Aug-Sufis.jpg


Chatterji took pity on his lonely sovereign and brought Mallikarjuna along under the guise of showing him how to command 'his' armies. The boy watched with little interest as Chatterji 'invaded' Goa. Local Muslims and others who thought a show of force by eight regiments excessive protested. One missionary, braver or more zealous than the rest, refused to yield and ended up writhing on an Imperial spear. That's when the killing began.

As Mallikarjuna watched from the 'reserve,' blood pounding in his ears and tense with excitement, soldier and citizen fought through the town's stone and dirt streets towards the harbor. In less than an hour the missionaries and a handful of diehards took refuge in a mosque, which Chatterji promptly blockaded and fired. Once the screams faded, the boy rajah asked Chatterji why he torched the building.

Sadashivara Chatterji said:
I beg your forgiveness if I've alarmed you, Rajah. However, after the last few years I have reached the conclusion that a little tyranny now can prevent the need for a greater tyranny later. Now there are less men who will dare oppose you.

Mallikarjuna II was not alarmed. He'd finally found a way to master the racing thoughts, doubts and worries that constantly fought for control.

Chatterji's attack did indeed silence all critics for a time. Then, in May 1446 messengers arrived from Rajputana. There Prince Mahdu Singh warred with Delhi.

Mahdu Singh said:
To My Brother Rajah and his Illustrious Regents, Greetings....

...For I have reasoned, and many wise and holy men agree, that the desecration of Mount Varanasi by the enemies of Brahma is a crime against the gods, we have no choice but to contest them by force of arms.... As your honorable and great father, Vijaya, once joined us in fighting the Gujarati, so we appeal for your common sense and spirituality to prevail .... Join us as we chastise our enemies and reclaim the holy place beloved of Shiva.

1446May-NIndia.jpg

(RAJPUTANA, Gondwana, Nepal, Vijayanagara vs. DELHI, Bengal, Sind)

The Council vote this time, seven months after Chatterji shattered the Sufi at Goa, was somewhat closer but still definitive. Vijayanagara would go to war...

...they just couldn't pay for it. The merchant houses flatly refused to 'sanction any action that would further ruin our trade.' This included warfare, even over holy ground.

Raghbir Koyande said:
By all means fight for what you believe in, but you will do so without our assistance or resources. Where will you get your supplies? How will you ensure there are enough horses and weapons in the field? How do you plan to pay these men, or pay their widows when they don't come home? No. We have stated that the way forward for Vijayanagara is to pursue peaceful relations with all our neighbors. You nearly shattered that last year, I will...

At that moment the great wooden doors to the Regency Council opened. In walked fourteen year old Mallikarjuna II flanked by two worried looking guards. He appeared to have been playing some child's game outside, for his clothes were worn and soiled. He looked about eagerly.

Mallikarjuna II said:
So...who do I have to kill to get something done around here?
 

unmerged(59077)

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That's a memorable first line of the first day on the job, indeed. But that's okay because Regency councils are awful.

Onwards to victory!
 

naggy

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As I write this, I'm downloading Victoria II. Assuming my system specs are good enough, I will probably spend a fair bit of time learning the game. I never really could get into Vic 1, so I have high hopes for this game bringing me into the fold.

I played the demo twice - it's MUCH more intuitive than Victoria 1. The integration of HTTT's CB's (war goals) and National Focii really make the game so much more enjoyable.
 

unmerged(58610)

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A war over Holy Ground: a new Rajah with a bent towards tyranny and religious intolerance.

Mallikajuna II's reign promises to be interesting.
 

Qorten

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That Mallikarjuna II seems rather eager to take the reins of state! Time to set that slider back to centralization?
 
Last edited:

morningSIDEr

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I'm liking Mallikarjuna's style. I get the feeling things are going to become rather...eventful.
 

Stuyvesant

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Mallikarjuna's way of dealing with the confusion in his head is bloodlust.

Uh. Oh.

I do not foresee happy times for the Empire. At best, someone trusted (perhaps Chatterji) might be able to direct his bloodlust outwards, to the Muslim enemy. At worst, we might be heading for the excesses of a Caligula, or a Nero.

It will probably be very different from the way things were under Vijaya...
 

unmerged(90806)

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I wish you this little mean, self-centered, half-wit tyrrant you're planning to make of Mallikarjuna, overstepped and overplayed pretty quickly. This, as in real life, would create some disgruntled force that would do away with him rather sooner than later and all the harm inflicted by him might be patched up. However, if, unfortunately, he proves clever enough to not misbehave and exceed some unwritten bounds, the Empire will suffer a long-term down-the-hill decline.

You got lucky it was just a 'minor noble opposition'. :)
 

CatKnight

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blsteen: At least.

RGB: Good thing he's in charge. Saying that to your boss could be self-defeating. :)

Enewald: I'm going to try again in a little bit. The first run was fun. :)

naggy: I agree - especially with making it so you can 'only' ask for the war goals. I think that'll help keep the world from going insane too quickly.

Chief Ragusa: Interesting is one word for it.

Qorten: If he can get enough people to follow him when he re-centralizes.

morningSIDEr: Eventful's another good word for it.

Stuyvesant: I think Vijaya could relate. He would describe the next few years as going into a harem full of beautiful women determined to enjoy them all...until they all draw very sharp knives.

gabor: Wow. Tell me how you really feel. ;)
 

CatKnight

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Vijayanagarflag.png

Chapter VI: Mallikarjuna II
Part 2: Butcher (1446-1448)


Holy War

As we've discussed, it's hard to be certain just what ailed Mallikarjuna. What started as a stoic and dull disposition slowly morphed as he grew. Occasional bouts of hyperactivity took place as he hit puberty and seemed to escalate into unfocused manic episodes as he took the throne.

This is all conjecture however. Naturally there are no medical records, and anyway the proper testing and psychoanalysis was still centuries away. Further, Imperial records become very scattered and unreliable during this time. It's possible there was some purge of documentation, or simply that observers grew more hesitant to journal what they saw. We do know the Imperial government grew more strained holding it's fractitious elements together and threatened to dissolve entirely. (Distracted Government goes to Strained)

His sudden appearance at a meeting of the Regency Council in May 1446 effectively ended their rule. When he (rather) cheerfully asked why armies weren't marching to the border his step-mother, Perundevi, explained the situation. She correctly assessed his mood and described the merchants' reluctance to finance their campaign.

Mallikarjuna and Raghbir Koyande said:
- "Is this true?"

- "It is, rajah. There is nothing to be gained from this war. We should instead invest in..."

- "Investing sounds boring." (To his guards) "Kill him."

He then summoned Senapaati Chatterji to his throne room and informed him they would join the war. As for money to pay for it, he'd simply take it. (New Mission: Accumulate Money)

1446May-ThePlan.jpg


The plan, following a series of suggestions and reforms, saw Chatterji, Mallikarjuna and the western armies secure access through Gujarati territory and so punish the Sind for their anti-Hindu stance. Chatterji hoped this would take one of the smaller powers out of the war. Mallikarjuna saw an easy conquest.

The Jeoomal brothers would secure the east - better to keep at least one formerly disloyal commander away from the rajah, Chatterji reasoned. One would hold the Gondwana border against counterattack and possibly advance on Mount Varanasi, while the other would try to force Bengal out of the fight.

It wasn't a bad plan, but since Mallikarjuna was nominally in charge of the western armies there were plenty of naysayers. Chatterji did his best to shield his rajah from questions, but all Mallikarjuna had to do was open his mouth to betray his complete lack of military understanding. (Incompetent Military Leadership: -5 Discipline)

Upon arriving at the Gujarati border, Mallikarjuna summoned one of his officials. He was to go to Baroda and seek the Gujarati sultan. There he would demand access or 'watch his lands scorched, his people fed to the dogs, and his harem given to the soldiers.' He was to demand this in the name of the Vijaynagaran Emperor.

1446June-Ascension.jpg

(-1 Prestige, -1 Diplomat)

The official refused, reminding his rajah that the Gujarati were proud and more likely to respond to a few gentle words than an overt threat. Enraged, Mallikarjuna drew his own knife and thrust it into the diplomat's stomach. They started avoiding him after that.

On the eastern front, free from their rajah's overt interference, Vijaya Jeoomal set up garrisons along the Gondwana/Delhi border while their prince, Hirade Sahi III, marched towards Mount Varanasi. Vijaya's brother, Immadi, invaded Jharkand in western Bengal. There he fought the Bengali marshal Azam Mukashee and routed his army in July. He lacked the strength to follow up and requested his brother's help.

After leaving a small sieging force behind, the two headed towards the Bengali capital. In September they once more met Mukashee and the bulk of the Bengalese army and forced them east towards Assam. In both battles the Imperials lost more men (some 2,600 vs. 1,700). Further, the sweltering heat and a type of jungle fever killed or incapacitated hundreds more. After resting for several weeks the Jeoomal brothers marched towards what they expected to be a final battle.

During this time the western front remained stagnant. The Gujarati simply ignored the handful of advisors Mallikarjuna shoved across the border to negotiate. (No diplomats.) Only Chatterji's continued presence kept him from rashly throwing his armies into Gujarat.


The War Spreads

Despite his best efforts, Chatterji couldn't stop a Rajputana diplomat from visiting his sovereign. It seemed that the Muslims of Kashir, hoping to catch Rajputana while they were distracted elsewhere, declared war along with their 'foul brethren' which happened to include Gujarat. Mallikarjuna didn't even hesitate: He leapt to his feet, pointed his sword at the diplomat, and swore Vijayanagara's support. (KASHMIR, Chagatai, Gujarat, Bahmanids vs. VIJAYANAGAR, Rajputana,Gondwana, Nepal. We ended up being alliance leader.)

Strangely, Mallikarjuna lost all interest in the Gujarati (or Sind for that matter.) There were far closer, far easier people to kill.

1446Oct-WarSpreads.jpg


This new campaign forced Chatterji to part company with Mallikarjuna. Fortunately he surrounded the rajah with men he could trust - and more importantly the men could trust. Those that survived the first tense weeks learned to placate their emperor, then discuss among themselves how to make his plans actually work. (Mallikarjuna (and staff): F2 Sh2 M0 Sg0)

As his army crossed into the Sultanate of Ahmandanagar, Mallikarjuna found not a Bahmanid army, but a handful of Delhi diplomats led by their senior statesman, Ishwari Singh. Singh went through the proper ritualistic greetings and spoke:

Ishwari Singh said:
...for indeed, dread emperor, we have heard of your many exploits even in distant Delhi. Because of this, my sultan asks for your forebearance in this current matter. As you must strike down those who would attack your friends, so we must respond to those who would attack us. We have no quarrel with you. Let us end this.

Delhi's motive was clear: Removing Vijayanagara from the war would free up Bengali troops and possibly turn the tide in the east where Gondwanan and Nepalese troops ran freely. As for Mallikarjuna, he'd lost all interest in Sind and agreed. (White Peace)

In distant Bengal, the Jeoomal brothers learned their campaign had been for naught. Angry and frustrated, they gathered their armies for the long march home... only to find their way blocked.


...And Spreads

Hirade Sahi III of Gondwana learned of Vijayanagar's withdrawal with disbelief and anger. Finally convinced (by the advance of Bengalese troops) that this wasn't a mistake or a joke, he wrote his 'brother' to the south.

Hirade Sahi III said:
One wonders how you can call yourself a rajah when you display a chital's (spotted deer) courage and a snake's honor. I have heard the gods deprived you of (common) sense or mind, but I did not know they tore away your backbone as well. Go, then. Crawl under your rock, twisted shadow of Lord Hanuman. (A Hindu monkey god renowned for courage, power and faith.) Hide and watch how men fight.
(Event: Diplomatic Insult)

Mallikarjuna literally choked on his wrath, so that no record of his reply exists. It is a sign of his distress that the messenger, fleeing for his life, made it back to Gondwana at all. Whatever his reply was, the two nations closed their borders to each other and Hirade commissioned another three regiments of foot soldiers. (I canceled Military Access.)

Meanwhile, in Ahmandanagar, Chatterji's army arrived and moved north to engage the Bahmanids under Ahmad Koduri. To Chatterji's surprise and dismay, his rajah forced him to wait several days. Mallikarjuna learned that Ahmad planned to destroy the Gondwanan army in Bastar and he wanted his new enemies to suffer.

1446Nov-Betrayal.jpg


Through the winter of 1446, Imperial armies sieged Ahmandanagar and the Bahmanid stronghold at Golconda. During this period Mallikarjuna's tactics - burning villages, taking what supplies his armies needed and destroying the rest - might be seen as harsh, but certainly not over-the-top or even unreasonable. Chatterji theorized that his 'advisors' helped keep the young rajah in check as he finally marched to Bastar to meet Koduri's army.

The Emperor's first real taste of combat came in January when locals formed a militia army of perhaps one thousand to try and break the siege of Golconda. These men were poorly trained and desperate, unarmored with what knives and implements they could find and poorly organized. Even the Rajah couldn't fail in the ensuing battle when his experienced foot soldiers easily broke their line while horsemen harassed their retreat. Over five hundred surrendered outright.

Mallikarjuna's growing bloodlust finally broke through. He ordered the prisoners bound to each other with a long line of rope and penned within sight of the city. He then ordered his archers to fire into the tethered mass. His foot soldiers recoiled at such an order. Certainly prisoners died in war, usually due to momentary bloodlust or necessity (an army on the move or with low supplies), but deliberate slaughter sickened many. It didn't help that one of the prisoners began leading a long, involved Muslim prayer so that a number of them chanted and swayed as they were butchered.

Word of this atrocity spread through the nearby Muslim world. Khandesh, the only Muslim nation in India either not actively fighting or in the midst of a truce with Vijayanagar, sent a stern warning which only put them squarely in the Emperor's sights behind Gondwana. (Warning not to go to war, etc.)

In Bastar an allied Hindu force of ten thousand under the command of Chatterji and Hirade Sahi III met Koduri's eight thousand. Gondwanan war elephants formed the center of the line with foot soldiers on either flank and Imperial cavalry in reserve, while Ahmad Koturi's Muslims deployed in two separate lines on either side of the elephants. There they rained arrows down as the allied army charged forward.

The war elephants managed to maintain formation but proved ineffectual as brawls between opposing footmen broke out on either side. After perhaps an hour Koduri's army retreated north having lost almost two thousand men to 750 Hindus.

Chatterji pursued him to Nagpur, but here fresh reinforcements from the countryside supported by Khandesh mercenaries frustrated him. He did manage to outflank another two Bahmanid regiments and force them to yield, but he lost 1,000 men in the exchange and retreated towards the relative safety of Bastar.

Unfortunately he would not find any friends there.


Nom nom nom

In April 1447 Gujarati officials, pointing out that other than occasional low-scale raids no one had actually crossed the border, suggested to their Imperial counterparts they call the whole thing off. (White Peace) The strained and frustrated government happily agreed.

It's interesting to note that while Mallikarjuna fought his enemies and slowly yielded to madness, life within the Empire during this period remained relatively peaceful. A discerning eye would have noted that bureaucrats and other tax officials showed in the outlying provinces less often, and when they did they seemed disorganized and confused. They would have seen a generation of young men training in the fields and heard rumors about how many men the Imperials lost to attrition, but there were no desperate riots nor starvation. Goods continued to flow to and from the Orient. In some ways the Imperial government yielded to a dozen regional groups who made up for their lack of coordination with a greater understanding of what each state or province needed. (Monarchists and Religious Factions from Disgruntled to Neutral)

All this began to change in May when Mallikarjuna proudly declared war on Gondwana.

First there were the Jeoomal brothers. Finding the Gondwana border closed to them, their army settled in camp cities along the border and lived through raiding and banditry. They simply had no choice other than starvation, and that's just what some of them did. Disease and desertion answered for far more. In May the Jeoomals 'invaded' Gondwana with no intention of doing anything but going home to regroup and rebuild. Of the fourteen thousand men who marched into Bengal, perhaps three thousand would make it home.

Second, Senapaati Chatterji retreated to Bastar expecting to find friends. Instead he found a token Gondwanan force blocking the road to Telingana. Chatterji rode forward to demand an explanation.

Here the histories get confused. The most likely scenario is the Gondwanan commander, an inexperienced general named Pukha, ordered his archers to kill the commander. They managed to wound him and he fell off his horse. Chatterji's men, enraged, charged forward, engulfed and destroyed the smaller army. By now word of the Golconda massacre reached their ears, and seeing Chatterji lying on the ground a number of them decided their king might have the right idea after all. Not one Gondwanan would make it home.

Once more reports vary, but following this scenario Chatterji was overcome with grief at the declaration of war and what his men had done. He refused to be moved (Some say one of the arrows paralyzed him) and begged the universe to allow him to transmigrate and make up for his failure. He died that night.

Now no one could stop Mallikarjuna, whose madness only deepened when he learned of his mentor's death. He gathered his military 'advisors' and pointed east towards Golconda.

Mallikarjuna II said:
Kill them all.

It was Golconda's ill luck to fall the next day. Mallikarjuna himself led a bloody swath through the streets of the Bahmanid stronghold butchering the handful of people on the streets followed by the handful of supplicants begging for mercy. His men took their own liberties and Mallikarjuna did nothing to stop them. Rape, murder and theft became the order of the day and for three full weeks Golconda writhed. It might have gone longer, but Ahmad Koduri had gathered the last of his men and were marching to break the siege at Ahmadanagar.

By now Mallikarjuna's men had devolved from an organized, disciplined army into a mob of debauched killers. Nonetheless they were debauched killers who followed willingly. Their rajah had no sense of what it took to control an army and his more professional 'advisors' were quietly leaving for home. His men approved of Mallikarjuna's apparent lenience: He couldn't effectively lead them, and they no longer wanted to be led.

In June, Mallikarjuna arrived to find Ahmadanagar in Imperial hands and Koduri closing rapidly. Koduri's army consisted of four thousand cavalry and some eighteen hundred infantry. The Imperial mob didn't bother with tactics and mere slammed into Ahmad's center. Sniping fire from the flanking horsemen couldn't save Koduri from the sheer ferocity of the Imperial attack and he recoiled having lost over 1,100 men.

Days later a rider returned begging for peace.

1447Aug-Bahmanids.jpg



Chaos

Up to now the Gondwanan war consisted of the Jeoomals fleeing to Parlakimidi to recruit what men they could while Chatterji's successors did the same in Telingana. The strains of ongoing warfare started to show as over ten thousand men left their homes for an uncertain future. A Biharan envoy meanwhile located the rajah in Ahmandanagar and begged:

1447Sep-ForeignEnvoy.jpg


Bihar Envoy and Mallikarjuna II said:
- Surely you realize the Gondwanans were and our are best hope for recovering Mount Varanasi. I beg you, cease this despicable oppression of your fellow Hindus. I must beg you...no, I must insist. The lands of Varanasi are holy. You must allow the Gondwanans to continue their quest. Vishnu commands it!
- You don't look like Vishnu

And so the envoy lost his tongue and watched as it was thrown into a flame.

Hirade Sahi III meanwhile hoped to force Vijayanagar to surrender by a sharp counterattack against the Imperial capital itself. Mallikarjuna learned of this, gathered his 'mob' and marched across the subcontinent to relieve the anticipated siege.

Neither man expected the remnants of Chatterji's army to be recuperating in Telingana. In late September 1447 they threw themselves in Hirade's path. It was a hopeless contest: The Imperial army wasn't much smaller (5,000 vs. 6,000), but months of hard fighting left them exhausted and disorganized. Hirade's men were better rested and organized and he was a much better commander. He 'retreated' into the hills to nullify the Imperial cavalry advantage. There would be no classic set piece battle, but rather a series of grueling, grinding slugfests across the countryside. By the time the Imperials had to retreat towards the capital, they'd lost 4,000 men but took over 2,600 with them.

Mallikarjuna returned home to the cautious cheers of those who'd heard of the terrible things he and his men had done, but saw him as their best hope to preserve the capital. Mallikarjuna allowed his men one week to rest and recoup - a week during which the city of Vijayanagara trembled in fear as law and order threatened to collapse entirely - before marching into the surrounding foothills to wait. And wait.

The Imperial sacrifice had lasted long enough. Hirade may have been a fine commander, but even he couldn't replenish his armies instantly. His army numbered some three thousand by this point. Meanwhile the Jeoomal brothers had replenished their battered force to some four thousand. They caught Hirade's men foraging in the countryside and forced a sharp battle. The Gondwanans fled towards Indravati.

News reached Mallikarjuna in December just as representatives of the Pradhana came to him complaining of continued excesses by some of the rajah's men. The emperor flew into a rage.

Mallikarjuna II said:
These are the men who are protecting you, and you want to chain them with your rules? I spit on them as I spit on you! Vijayanagara is not a place where one man is beholden to another's will because a piece of paper says so! Tell your alleged victim that she lies, and that if she thinks she can fare better with the Gondwanas she is welcome to try!

He then marched half a regiment into Vijayanagara, seized the Imperial library and ordered it burned to the ground 'in the name of freedom.' Deprived of five generations of records and legal precedent, the proud Imperial bureaucracy teetered and folded in on itself. The Pradhana dispersed simply because there was nothing left to rule. For all intents and purposes, except for a few diehards, the Vijayanagaran Empire ceased to exist.

1447Dec-GovernmentPolicies.jpg


Which did nothing to stop Mallikarjuna from issuing a stern warning to the Jeoomal brothers:

Mallikarjuna II said:
I know you: A viper with two heads, each more poisonous than the next. You wanted to embarrass me by defeating (Gondwana) and taking the glory for yourself. You have failed! Your armies are broken and wasted through your own incompetence. You camped in Parlakimdi to rest? Fine. Stay there unless sent for - which I won't. I will finish Gondwana on my own. The day either of you set foot on their soil is the last day of your life.


End Game

This infuriated the Jeoomals but they obeyed, more to watch their Emperor fall on his face than from any fear of retaliation. Mallikarjuna took their silence as compliance and marched his mob into Indravati. He ordered the remnants of Chatterji's army - now reinforced to 3,000 - to come and secure the city as he pursued Hirade Sahi to the Gond capital.

And lost.

On May 5, 1448 Mallikarjuna attacked the Gond army in a frontal assault. There were no lines or other signs of unit cohesion. They simply charged across the field into a withering display of Gond firepower. Mallikarjuna's horsemen simply found excuses to retire from the field as four thousand Imperials slammed into seven thousand Gonds. Ferocity and a certain elan - a belief in their invincibility - answered and Hirade Sahi's center buckled backwards. Vijayanagaran foot soldiers pursued only to find themselves surrounded as Hirade enveloped their flanks.

The Imperials lost over 3,300 infantry in three hours with detached company strength units, gangs loyal to each other, routing westward. Hirade lost about 1,500 men.

On the home front Imperial recruiters hoping to replenish the Jeoomals' battered forces attempted to conscript men and boys from the villages around Madurai. When one man refused they killed him sparking a riot that soon engulfed the countryside. Within two weeks protests reached Madurai and the frightened governor closed the city gates. Soon he found himself under siege by his own people, people demanding freedom from Vijayanagaran oppression and eternal warfare. (Maduraian Nationalists revolt)

Still the Jeoomals did nothing, obstinately obeying their orders to stand by. In fact they stayed until late July when word reached the pair that Hirade Sahi was marching north to destroy the sieging army at Indravati.

By now the brothers led an army numbering eleven thousand. They discussed their options - attack or continue to 'stand by' - and reasoned that good men shouldn't die because their Rajah was a fool. They invaded Gondwana.

Mallikarjuna had not been idle however. Bloodied by his loss and now quite insane, he spread terror along the Gond/Bahmanid border putting several villages to the torch and massacring hundreds. Finally he rallied those men he could and chased Hirade southward.

Immadi reached the Gond army first and deployed for battle about six miles away. Hirade's men marched stubbornly onward: Immadi Jeoomal's men outnumbered the Gonds, but they were determined to protect their homeland as well as put some distance between themselves and the madman in their wake.

Mallikarjuna's army appeared on the Gond flank perhaps three miles away. Rather than coordinate a joint strike however, the furious Rajah confronted Immadi in front of his commanders.

Mallikarjuna II said:
I now have proof of your treason! You have proven it! You were ordered to wait and yet here you are. Traitor! Fool! How dare you disobey the word of your prince? This is the end of your games and the end of you!

Here he turned to Vijaya Jeoomal.

Mallikarjuna II said:
You! Kill him. Kill him and scatter the body so his soul cannot find release. Let it stagnate there, trapped and alone until the end of days. Well? What are you waiting for? Do you want to share his fate? Strike! Strike now!

Vijaya Jeoomal struck.

For 112 years the Sangama dynasty ruled Vijayanagara beginning with grim determination and ending with the ravings of a madman. It was time to let someone else try.

Vijayanagara Empire said:
Population: 2,671,000
Largest City: Madras (71,000)
Religion: Hindu (91%), Sunni (7%), Shiite (1%) Other (1%)
Culture: Tamil (48%), Telegu (23%), Kannada (15%), Other (14%)

Tech: Gov 4, Pro 4, Trd 3, Lnd 4, Nvy 4
Prestige 16, MP 595, Gold 83, Stab 0, Infamy 8.4, Inflation 14.4, Legitimacy 30
Army: 23 Foot soldier, 7 Horse Archer
Navy: 3 Carracks, 1 Cog
 
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