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ForzaA

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book



Traveling through empty land.
Clouds hazy, moon waning and chill.
Sky, frost-colored, cold to look at.
Wind piercing. Sudden terror.
A thousand trees roar in the sparse woodland:
A lonely monkey cries on a barren hill

He had travelled far and wide, through dense forests, sickening wastes, wading through rivers where there were no bridges, climbing hill and mountain, looking for a way to end his misery. He drank the strongest poisons, was sentenced to death a few times, only to be chased off after he rose up again. Year upon year he travelled, never ceasing in his attempts to end his curse.

That is, untill he met Iwang. Iwang was but a humble merchant from Tibet, but his ideas, his beliefs, and his views upon life were so simple, yet so sufficient to have him lead a happy life. Bistami found back atleast some joy in life from his travellings with Iwang, and most importantly, from their discussions.

A cause

Bistami was dieply grieved when Iwang died, but he didn't fall back to his life of misery. Instead, deeply influenced by Iwang's ideas, he went on a search again. This time, he was searching for a cause, a great cause, a cause that he could dedicate his life, and his powers, to. After a time, his travels brought him to the Deccan. The beliefs of these people were remarkably similar to those of Iwang, despite the large distance that separated Iwang's usual trading routes. Bistami decided to stay for a while, and try and find a scholar, or a group of scholars, to share his concerns with.

However, the relative peace that Bistami now enjoyed was shortlived, as the muslims living to the north attempted to impose their religion upon the people of the Deccan. Having little to lose, he joined the able-bodied men of his village, when they marched off to fight the Muslims. At Kammitadurga, the people of the Deccan decisively beat back the Muslims. Bistami's courage, most likely because of his immortality, attracted the notice of one of the captains of Harihara's army. In the following years, Bistami slowly rose in rank in the army.

Avatar of the Gods

However, by this time, his failure to age with his fellow soldiers and officers, had attracted some attention. Fortunately for him, his success in the various wars and skirmishes with the Muslims had earned him a great reputation, and the people hailed him as a saviour. In the end, he was declared an avatar of the gods, sent to earth to help the Hindus retain their culture and religion. He was placed in command of the entire army, and his advice was usually followed even in other matters. Eventually, for lack of a successor, Bistami was appointed to rule over the free Hindu people, united in the kingdom of Victory, Vijayanagar. By this time, most of the Deccan was a part of the kingdom of Victory, but Bistami realised that Vijayanagar could not hope to stand against the might of the Muslims forever. Therefore, he planned to unite, peacefully when possible, by force when necessary, all Hindu people he could find, and hopefully drive back the Muslims oppressors far enough to leave the kingdom of Victory to it's own faith.
 
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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book



The two men dismounted and stood there. Guards came out of the tent, drawing aside the flaps of the doorway and standing at attention ready with drawn bow.


A change of plans

The messenger entered the tent, looking most unhappy."what is it?" Bistami demanded.
"Mahmûd Shâh II has replied to your request, milord. He says that no man shall be allowed to leave his lands" The messenger seemed to shrink at every word.
"So, he will not let go of the Hindus in his domain? Very well then, a different way shall be found." Bistami turned to his generals, "And I suppose no news from Mysore, either?"
"It is as you say, however, if we act swiftly, we might still be able to unite the Deccan afterall."
"The plans are ready?"
"They are indeed, milord"
"Very well then, we march"

Looking over his troops Bistami was convinced these troops would suffice for the campaign he had in mind, however, they would not suffice forever, and he quickly ordered more troops to be armed and trained to support further campaigns. This campaign, and the events following it, would most likely determine much of the future of the faith he had chosen to champion.

It was there, overlooking his troops, that Bistami realised that his share of the treasure, that he had hidden so long ago, could prove very useful in the future. Vijayanagar was not poor, but extra funds would always come in handy, not to mention a certain artifact he had later recognised in a book, but for now, the treasure was out of reach. Nevertheless, it was something he would have to keep in mind.
 

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book



it brought home to them yet again how insane their opponents were.
Ignorant fanatical disciples of a cruel desert cult, promised eternity
in a paradise where sexual orgasm with beautiful houris lasted
ten thousand years, no surprise they were so often suicidically brave,
happy to die, reckless in frenzied opiated ways that were hard to counter.


Uniting the Deccan.

And so it was that Vijayanagar found itself having to confront both Hyderabad and Mysore, for diplomacy had failed.
And so it would be, Bistami ordered the assault into Hyderabad almost immediately, and Hyderabad's cities swiftly fell to the well trained and motivated armies, led by Bistami himself.
All in all, it took under 10 months to occupy each and every city of importance ruled by Mahmûd Shâh II was occupied by Bistami's troops, and a treaty was signed.
In the meantime, after Hyderabad's main army had been routed, Bistami had moved south, taking with him the elite core of the army.
In Vijayanagar, several thousand fresh recruits joined the army as it moved south, into Mysore. The walls of Mysore proved to be but a nuisance to Bistami's troops, and soon all Mysoran cities were occupied aswell. However, the government proved elusive, angering Bistami to no end. In his anger, Bistami left north again, to subdue the last vestiges of Hyderabad's power. A small army was left behind Mysore to search for the hidden government.

Extra motivated due to Bistami's anger, his army swiftly struck into Hyderabad, and so it was that in october, 1493 *, Hyderabad would only live on in history, if it would be allowed to live on even there. Finally, almost a year later, the Mysoran government was finally apprehended, and was quickly forced to swear fealthy to Bistami although they still lost most of their land. Eventually, Bistami tired of their constant twisting and turning, and demoted them all, incorporating their lands into great Vijayanagar.

The Bengali War

And so all seemed well, but it wasn't, the Bengals, led by Bistami's brother Sui-cuf-noc, continued to antagonise Vijayanagar, first by attacking Odissa, the fair Hindu kingdom on the eastern coast, on the border between Deccan and the Ganges Plain, and secondly by building an outpost right on the border with Vijayanagar, claiming the land was theirs.
After hastened preparations, Bistami and a large force of the finest warriors of the Deccan crossed the border into Bengal. Bistami had contacted his brother Qutb in Delhi, in hopes that he too would attack Sui, but despites Qutb's promises, Bistami was wary. And rightly so, as when the Deccan army had occupied Patna, capital of Bengal, Delhi's troops flooded the border. In a giant pincer movement, Bistami and his crack troops, and an army of freshly recruited troops, led by a man of no particular interest, swept the Deccan clean of Delhi's troops, although Qutb got away with a small contigent. Qutb hastily withdrew, and signed peace.

Unfortunately, Sui had taken the opportunity to retake much of his territory, but Bistami, even more angered when he heard that Alesso had been supplying Sui, struck back, and an alliance was quickly signed with BrotherX, who now styles himself Gothmog, the Bringer of Peace. Although his intervention was shortlived due to Alesso again intervening in affairs he should keep out of, it occupied some Bengali troops for a few precious months. And so it was that Bistami found himself marching again on Patna. The city was yet again captured, but Qutb proved himself even more treacherous than he seemed, as he invaded again. This time, Bistami determined that the loss of a few border towns was not worth abandoning the campaign in Bengal, and so he surrendered these towns to Qutb. Eventually, even Sui could see that he would not be able to keep up the struggle, and he surrendered the contested territories.

The Aftermath

After proving itself a force to be reckoned with, diplomacy for Vijayanagar proved a lot easier. Isam Chin-Qun, Bistami's most trusted diplomat, was able to sign a treaty with Qutb, in which the disputed border region would be returned to Bistami, as soon as he could miss the needed garrison.
Isam Chin-Qun also managed to conclude a treaty Sui, but Sui treacherously came back on his word after consulting with his priests, and so it seems likely that Vijayanagar will have to march once again on Patna, despite Alesso once again siding with the oppressor Sui.

After consulting with his advisors, Bistami has also decided to build a few outposts along the coast and on the Island of Lanka, to ease the defense of the realm. He has sent out messages to the nearby kingdoms that builing an outpost on Lanka shall be treated like an invasion of the Deccan.



*in a calendar that Bistami calls Kris-ti'un, although noone seems to know why.
 

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


So many had died that those who had survived the past three years were like the Eight Immortals,
walking under a description, surviving day after day at a great distance from a world they
only heard about, only saw wrong way through the telescope.

The second Bengali War

Bistami quickly assembled the garrison to replace the muslims at Burhanpur. But then word arrived, again Bistami had been betrayed by one of his brothers. Despite his word, Qutb had decided not to honour the agreement. Bistami knew this could mean only one thing, and the army was quickly prepared to defend the Deccan.
But when the attack came, more brothers than Bistami had expected, fielded their armies against Vijayanagar. On the plains north of the Deccan, troops from Bengal, Delhi, and even the Mughal empire could be seen, preparing for the assault. Fortunately, Bistami's dearest brother, Gothmog, was prepared to send aid to the beleaguered kingdom. And while Bistami and his troops held out in the Deccan, Gothmogs troops quickly forced Bengal out of the war, and the tide of war soon turned in favour of Gothmog and Bistami. Soon, Qutb pleaded for peace, and Bistami in his mercy, granted him peace for but the contested province of Khandesh.

The third Bengali War

Yet, Bistami's mercy was not to help, as soon after, Sui and Qutb yet again invaded. This time, despite the best efforts of Bistami and the crack troops of the Deccan, the Deccan was slowly but surely overrun. However, even in defeat, Bistami stood firm, and thought clearly. Qutb's demands were met, and Khandesh and Bastar were given up. Then, Bistami and his troops marched on Bengal, to exact revenge. But, even now, Sui had the temerity to ask Alesso for his protection, and however reluctantly, Alesso promised his protection, and so Bistami had to return empty handed. However, the war had not been entirely in vain, as reports from spies soon reported that the Qutb had ruined his economy to continue the fight, and Sui's economy, too, was in worse shape than that of Vijayanagar.

The largest effect, though, was the Alesso eventually withdrew his pledge to defend Sui, for Sui seemed to be determined to call ruin upon himself and his nation. New plans were made, but noone knew yet what would happen.
 
Last edited:

ForzaA

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Isam Chin-Qun had been silent for a long time after the failed negotiations with Bistami's brothers Qutb and Sui. So quiet in fact, that Bistami had not bothered sending him on new diplomatic missions for quite a while. And so Isam sat in one of the many palaces of Vijayanagar, the foreign office had seldom be so silent.

All this changed when an envoy from Bengal arrived, bringing a message, nay, a request, from the rash brother Sui. It seemed that Sui had finally seen the error in his ways.

Sui practically begged Isam to talk to Bistami and convince him that both Vijayanagar and Bengal would benefit from Sui's proposal.

And indeed it seemed likely that Vijayanagar would benefit from the proposal ( Bistami did not care much for the benefit of Bengal ) as the proposal meant, in effect, that Sui surrendered to Bistami and that the Bengali's would henceforth serve the Hindu nation.

The treaty signed meant three things:


Firstly,
A third of Sui's power would be diverted to Bistami to be used at his discretion.​

Secondly,
Bengal would pay a yearly tribute to Vijayanagar.​

Thirdly,
So long as it meant no direct threat to Bengals survival, Bengali troops would fight where Bistami told them to fight. In return, Deccan troops would help protect Bengali holdings when necessary​



This was indeed an opportunity Bistami could not pass upon, even if it meant that other plans would likely not bear fruit.

And so, in the year 1575 of the Kris-ti'un calandar, that had spread through all of Vijayanagar, and indeed most of Asia, the treaty was finalised, and the brothers Sui and Bistami signed it.
 

ForzaA

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


"You have to understand," Khalid reminded Bahram on the way back to the compund, "there are men in that very
group around the khan who want to bring Nadir down. For them it doesn't matter how good our weapon is. The better the worse, in fact.
So it's not just a matter of them being utter simpletons"

The Fateful Years

With an alliance with Sui now firmly in place,Bistami could finally focus all his attention on his other enemy, his brother Qutb of Delhi. Preparations were made, plans were drawn.
And so, Vijayanagar once again was at war with Delhi, but this time, numbers were with the warriors of the Deccan for the first time. Or so it seemed....
For it took Amzad of the Mughals little time to renege on his pledges made so shortly before, and the Mughals, too, marched against Bistami and his elite troops. To make matters worse, word arrived from Sui, that Muhammed and Drake had decide to invade aswell. Fortunately, Gothmog, bringer of Peace, stepped in, and partly due to his presence, Drake and Muhammed soon accepted a mild peace.

The war with Delhi took longer though, and made the hatred between Sui and Qutb surface more and more. The tides of wars swept back and forth, but eventually, Deccan troops occupied quite some parts of Delhi. It was then that a welcome peace-offer was received. Delhi would give up the contested provinces, if Sui would agree to continue the war between their two nations. And so it happened, and Vijayanagar grew. Bistami's faith in Sui's abilites proved correct, as he, too, soon occupied most of Delhi. A peacetreaty was signed, granting Sui significant parts of Delhi.

The Great Betrayal

No sooner had the first messenger left after delivering his message, or the second arrived, claiming peace had been signed for five. Chaos ensued, with several more messengers arriving over the next few days, some claiming peace had been signed, others that there was no peace. But it became worse, few months later, word arrived that a local militia had decided to attack Delhi again, very much against Bistami's wishes, and also against the good of Vijayanagar. Qutb, no longer possessing the strength to resist even such an unorganised group of troops, withdrew from large eastern areas, leaving them to the militia. Bistami attempted to impose his control upon these areas, and he seemed succesful.

However, this was not the end of the chaos, as Sui took the actions of this militia as an insult, and cancelled all ties with Bistami. This, ofcourse, could not be accepted. Bistami quickly reassembled his army, this time to bring back Sui into the fold. Yet it was not to be. After a short campaign, both Alesso and Gothmog expressed their concern over Bistami's so-called "aggression", and Gothmog even sent troops to fight Bistami. But even this was not the end of it, the governor of the northern provinces, so recently gained after the actions of the militia, handed over the cities, fortresses, and command over the garrisons, to the priest-king of Tibet. But the conspiracy ran deeper, several of Bistami's most trusted advisors and commanders, too, were part of the conspiracy, and although it grieved him much, Bistami had to have them executed. Stability returned somewhat, but the campaign in Bengal had to be abandoned.

However, Bistami knew that these people would not have betrayed him for nothing, there had to be a deeper reason. As far as Bistami could tell, there were two possibilities. Firstly, it could be bribery, which could come from quite a few sources, really.It could be from Alesso or Alvaro, as they both seemed to have an interest in making the priest-king stronger. It could be Sui, afterall, he benefited from it, in that he would be free of paying tribute again. It could be someone else, aswell, although reasons for them would be more obscure. Secondly, it could be that these people had been influenced by signs of the gods, signifying, perhaps, that the gods were unhappy with Bistami championing their cause. The first option, while not a good sign, could be accepted. The second, however, would need Bistami's full attention. While it was not certain it WAS the gods, Bistami could not afford not to investigate this, but it would take some time.
 

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


All in the midst of a vast silence.
What made these gods so angry
with their people? What might they make
Of a solitary soul wandering by


The Great War
And so, yet again, Sui seemed to be without allies. Bistami knew that would be trouble, but this time, he did not intend to involve himself.
But the war did not start as Bistami had expected, no, it was Gothmog, the "bringer of Peace", who made the first move in a chain of events that would again engulf northern India in war.
Gothmog sailed his troops to Ganges, expelled the Mughal garrison, and occupied the province for himself. Or was it for Sui? Noone really seems to know. A short time later, Amzad and Alvaro, needing access to Ganges overland, demanded of Sui that he open his borders, or so Bistami's advisors told him. After Sui's refusal, Mughal and Chagatai troops invaded Bengal, only to be repulsed by Chinese and Vientianese troops. The stage was set for a great war, a war where finally the Deccan would be spared of conflict. And this was a good thing, as Bistami and his government had not recovered from the great betrayal just yet.

The Gods speak in Dreams

Most of Bistami's time was taken up by prayers to the Gods. He needed guidance, he had to know why the great betrayal had happened, and what he could do to repair the damage.
For days he prayed, for weeks, for years. Yet the Gods did not answer. He began to fear that the Gods might have abandoned Vijayanagar entirely.
Until, one night, Kartikeya, reveling in blood and gore*, appeared in Bistami's dream.
Bistami - servant of the Hindu hear my call.
You wish to honour me, you wish to extend the will of our people and see blessed India united?
Then build me a temple in the heart of India and I will reward you well and help you in your task.
You will know the place when you see it, go now, and defeat the enemies of Vijayanagar!


And so, after long hard years, Bistami, and with him the entire nation, had a purpose again. Bistami once again rode at the head of the armies of the Deccan, and they would know no mercy with their enemies. There was but one small problem, both sides in the great war, that still raged in northern India, held parts of India, and Vijayanagar itself was part of India, how was Bistami to know where to build the temple? Bistami had to make a decision, and fast. So he decided to send messengers to both sides, and ask them what they would give for Bistami's help, as for Vijayanagar, there was no real difference between the two, both could be holding the place where Kartikeya wanted his temple, or it could be in Vijayanagar itself. As Kartikeya had not been clear in his dream, little changed for Bistami, other than that he knew he had to do something.
In part, Bistami had hoped that the offers from both sides would perhaps be influenced by Kartikeya, to give him clearer directions, but that hope was in vain. Neither side offered anything really spectacular or significant, so Bistami decided to wait and see, perhaps someone else would come with some offer?


* Kartikeya, Hindu God of War.
 

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


War will come eventually, no matter what you do.
But the later it comes, the more you can prepare for it, and hope to win it.
[..] Certainly we must try, for all the generations that come after us!


In Pursuit of a Dream.
After Kartikeya's promise Bistami searched for years in his own lands, yet he did not feel any special sensation that would indicate that he had found the place Kartikeya named.
Then word came from brohter Reoyl. Gothmog had overextended his troops, and a combined attack from the Hindus of the Deccan and the Hindus of Mataram would surely defeat him now.

Yet, Bistami was not happy, as Vientiane surely was not in India, and a war there would mean that he could not search for the place foretold. However, Confusius once again attempted to thwart Bistami, and so the mighty warriors of the Deccan descended upon Bengal once more. Bengal was swiftly defeated, but alas, Bistami could not search thoroughly enough their lands.

Fearing an invasion from the west, Bistami and many soldiers had to remain on guard in the Deccan, yet Major Kuo was given ample reinforcements to carry the fight to Vientiane.
Time and again, the brave Major and his loyal troops held off vast hordes of Gothmogs troops. Seldom were they not outnumbered, yet they yielded not.
And so, after long years of bloody conflict, a favourable peace was signed, Reoyl would gain control of vital lands formerly Gothmogs.

The Frightening Border

After the long war in Vientiane, all troops could return to their garrisons, and it was there that they beheld a frightening sight. Ghosts patrolled the borders of both the Mughal Empire, and of Bengal. Any plans that Bistami might have had surely would be thwarted when trying to break through such an obstacle, and so, Bistami decided that a few years of peace might help Vijayanagar prepare for inevitable conflict.
 

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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


It was crazy, ofcourse. The boy was deluded. Nevertheless there was that look that came into his eye - inhuman, totemic, his nafs looking out at things- the sight of which gave Bold a chill down the chakra nerve right to the first center, ....


The final insult?
Bistami pondered, should he keep the realm at peace, or should he prevent others from gaining too much power. He knew that Vijayanagar could be lost if they remained quiet for too long, and let some brother gain too much strength. But whom to attack, Confusius, who grew ever more bold, and gave himself over to powers he could not hope to control. Or westward, towards the Mughal lands? Bistami decided to wait, and hope that he would see in time when a brother was acquiring too much strength. Yet then it happened, Confusius, in his latest fit of madness, insulted Vijayanagar gravely. And so, Bistami and his elite troops marched once again to Bengal. They were hailed as liberators, while not all was known about what happened in Bihar, or in Egypt, people were afraid of what Confucius would do next. Yet brother Amzad of the Mughals, deluded by dark sorcery, or perhaps simply too much trust in brother Confucius, claimed that he would defend Bengal. And so another long war was set to begin...

The Mughal War

Early on, the western garrisons easily held the Mughal forces at bay, whilst Bistami and his loyal servant, Major Kuo, made sure that the Bengali border was once again secure, before heading west, towards the Mughals. In a lightning campaign, they chased Amzad's troops fleeing across the Indus, and all Indian garrisons were expelled. Yet brother Amzad refused to honour Bistami's simple requests, a mere fraction of the Mughal lands east of the Indus. It seems, now, that brother Confucius is not the only one who cannot resist the temptation of dark sorcery, Bistami could feel that atleast Amzad and one other brother, too far away to tell who it was, or who it were, had called upon the dark to affect Vijayanagar. Garrisons were chased away by bloodthirsty monsters, and tales of various horrific creatures appearing to attack unwary travellers caused a scare amongst the populace. Aswell, dark flames appeared from walls and roofs, and any book, map or other written material useful in warfare was consumed by these very flames. And the very second the last papers were burned, these ethereal flames dissapeared again. However, all war efforts will likely be hampered due to this.
 
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I like books :)
This time, I quote and/or use ideas from "the Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson- hope I won't spoil anything for someone reading the book


The collisionary theories of Ibrahim al-Lanzhou, for instance. No doubt they're just they're just yin and yang again, but they make it seem pretty clear that much of what we call progress comes from the clash of two cultures.


The betrayal
Bistami was very frustrated, Lanka had been lost to Mataram, Quetta, formerly Mughal land, was Reoyl's now too, and he was yet again at war with Mataram, not to mention Alesso and Alvaro had chosen Amzad's side too..
Yet nowhere were there complete records on what did happen.. And so, he yet attempted to carry victory, but the enemies were too many even for the Deccan's valliant warriors. And so, Bistami had to accept the loss of Lanka..
And so, Bistami set to having Vijayanagar recover from this loss.

But, it seemed, Reoyl's betrayal was not just a betrayal, no it served a deeper, darker, purpose, as reports came seeping in of atrocities untold done to the good Hindus of Lanka...It seemed that Amzad faced a similar crisis in Quetta, and so the first, fragile understanding between Bistami and Amzad came to happen, who knows what might become of it..

The Zanj

Years later, a scholar arrived with some old notes regarding an Idol, which he believed was in the lands of the Zanj.. Bistami arranged for an expedition there, and indeed, a remarkable Idol was found.. Despite Bistami's best efforts, he was not able to understand fully what the Idol could mean, so he decided to leave it where it was, and in cooperation with local Shamen he made sure that the Idol would be well protected.

A God in panic?

'Where is the Temple? a voice cries in your mind, the voice of Kartikeya.
"Be warned my servant", the voice shouts, "others look to India now and search for the sacred site, other who do not follow the ways of my people. Do not fail me Bistami!"

"Gain yea the Heart of India without delay and dedicate the ancient site to my name before another desecrates it! Fail and I foresee great suffering for you and your people."'


But the voice didn't sound as confident, as clear as last time, could it be that Kartikeya, a God, could panic?
Bistami pondered what he should to fulfill Kartikeya's wish, for surely, for years without end he had tried to find the Heart, but Reoyl's betrayal had meant a major setback..

On the other hand, what could Bistami do if even the Gods panicked? Sure, he had some powers, but nothing compared to the powers of the Gods.. He yet hoped to fulfill Kartikeya's wish and grant him some confidence, some power.. But if he failed to find the Heart, what could save his people, if it wasn't the gods?


[hurrah! it's there]
 
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The Heart
Suddenly, one day, Bistami felt something.. it wasn't pain, nor pleasure.. it was an indescribable sensation. But somehow he knew it had to do with the Heart. He felt, clearly, the direction in which to go. And so, together with a small group of the best of the Deccan troops, he headed north. Like an arrow, Bistami headed through jungle, across river, along cliffs and passes. When he arrived at the Mughal border, , he still felt that he had to go north. A simple spell made sure no Mughals would see him. Except, ofcourse, if , in a twist of very bad fortunate, Amzad happened to be present. But fortunately, Amzad wasn't present, and Bistami and his guard moved farther north. And then, one they, they arrived at a construction unlike anything they had seen before. Instantly, Bistami knew that Amzad had found the Heart, and he assumed that this was some sort of Temple.

Bistami hoped that, whatever Amzad had planned for the Heart, that it was not yet complete, for that would surely mean disaster. Quickly, he and his guardsmen moved back south, across the border, and as soon as possible, Bistami sent out messengers to arrange the troops for war, for he feared that would be the only solution to prevent Amzad from completing his plans. All that was left to do now was keep the Mughals away from the site as much as possible, and hope, hope that it was not too late, hope that Kartikeya could still be honoured as he should, hope that all was not lost.
 

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Delhi
It had taken some effort, but finally, it seemed, Amzad had given up trying to disrupt the siege of Delhi, and the construction site. Major Kuo hoped they had been in time, and judging from the construction tools still lying around the site, they could well have been. It would take time to breach the walls of Delhi, but he was confident they would eventually succeed. Entrenchments had been built, and sappers had begun digging towards the walls. Supplies were on the way to construct siege engines on the spot.
But then one day, a panicked messenger arrived from the battalion guarding the construction site at the Heart. He looked haunted, and all he would say was “the wind, the wind”. Kuo didn’t hesitate and sent an extra battalion to the site. No more panicked messengers arrived, so he assumed the site had been secured. Then, one day, a high-pitched wind rose, slowly gathering in strength, but then faster, and faster. Until, after a few hours, the sound was deafening, and men had trouble standing up. Some men, admittedly the latest recruits, began to run away, away from the wind, away from Delhi. Yet, the same fear was in the eyes of the veterans, and Kuo was forced to call the retreat.

Ujjain

The campaign had been difficult and tiring, so Bistami slept whenever he can, as all the veterans did, aswell. Then again, there was hardly anyone in the army who could not been called a veteran, they had all faced the Mughals’ new rifles, and they yet lived…

Suddenly, a loud, anguished shriek woke Bistami. But, judging from the faces of his guards, he had been the only one to hear this shriek. That could mean only two things. Either another of his brothers had died despite their immortality, or he had been too late, and Amzad had completed the temple… Reaching out through the ether, he could not sense a brother missing, so it must’ve been Kartikeya’s shriek…
Perhaps, Bistami thought, perhaps I can undo some of the damage, if only I can take the temple. Even if not, Delhi was a magnificent city, and it would certainly grant significant income. Yet, first things first, if he was ever to take Delhi, Vijayanagar would need to acquire significant amounts of weaponry of the same quality as the Mughals, but that would take a while. Bistami could only hope the rifles would reach the army in time, for the Mughals had been relentless. However, Bistami was sure that, even if he would be able to convince Amzad, by force or otherwise, to give up Delhi and the Temple, he suspected that it would only be a small step to secure the future of Vijayanagar and the Hindu faith. He could not hope for help from Reoyl, for even if he was still Hindu in name, his actions were certainly not becoming of a Hindu, and they certainly did not help the Hindus. It was clear to Bistami, something stronger than the Heart, stronger than the Idol, would have to be found to really secure the future of the Hindus. The Throne of Heaven would certainly do, but Alesso guarded it well, Bistami would look elsewhere first, and so he set out to read every scrap of paper he could find that would, perhaps, hint to sources of power that would be strong enough.
 

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So, Amzad had succeeded in harnessing the power of the Heart. But Bistami would not let him get away that easily. New regiments were quickly recruited, and the attack was swiftly continued. However, Alesso soon began to pressure Gothmog into ceasing his support, and to make matters worse, Alvaro seemed unable to keep up the pressure. However, the Deccan troops kept up the pressure, and the Mughal lines soon collapsed.

Delhi
However, when Bistami came to Delhi, the Heart was nowhere to be found, nor was the Temple Amzad had erected. Bistami searched and searched, but not so much of a glimpse of where the Heart might be, or might have gone.

Aftermath

The Deccan army ofcourse continued the fight, and kept up the pressure, but when Alvaro was forced to sign peace, there was little reason to continue, the Heart was gone, and Amzad had established himself effectively.

Thus Bistami had little more reason to fight the Mughals, and to secure his border against them, he eventually agreed to an alliance. But he could not help a tiny smile when the Mughal Empire, and Delhi in particular, were hit hard by dark sorcery.. That is, until he noticed where it came from, Gothmog, who had proclaimed himself as the bringer of peace, he too seemed to have succumbed to dark powers…

But there was still hope, Kartikeya, albeit seemingly faint and weak, once again urged Bistami to take Delhi, assuring him that he could find the Heart, if he would have the time.
 

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I'm quoting from the Wheel of Time again, some of you may recognise it :)

Fire

As was custom, Bistami received everyone who came to his court with a plea, but the man he now faced surely was one of the oddest, he looked like a simple monk, but Bistami sensed he wasn't.


I am... An emissary. In myself, a worthless being; I represent some of the Powers That Are In India, the spirits of the land, the small gods of field and hearth.


Only then did Bistami notice that one of the guards had not left the room yet, and he quickly motioned him to leave.

After hearing the man, Bistami judged it was probably for the best to accept his proposal
"Very well then, I shall seal the pact, would you please give me the knife so that I can make the cut?"
The man handed Bistami the knife, and performed a benediction.

Bistami quickly checked the knife for obvious signs of poisoning, as it seemed some of his brothers had been deceived even at such instants. Then, he made a small cut across his right palm.

The blood spills, it flows gently into the bowl in the bowl, the blood swirls, faster and faster. Then, a booming sound overwhelms Bistami, a thousand uneven voices chanting in unison,
YOUR OFFERING IS ACCEPTED! RISE, CHOSEN ONE! SON OF INDIA! RECEIVE OUR BLESSING
....A warm haze surrounds Bistami...It probes his body, it infiltrates his body and soul,and it is pleasant!
OUR WARDING IS UPON YOU, THAT YOU MAY FACE THE DARKNESS WITHOUT FEAR.NOW, GO FORTH AND CONQUER IN THE NAME OF INDIA, AND IN YOUR NAME, SON OF INDIA!

The blood catches fire.

The man returns the bowl to Bistami. "Keep this flame imperishable, that you may never forget this glorious day."
He says, And with those words, he fades out of existence, his duty done.

Blood and Earth

In all these long years, Major Kuo had learned to trust Bistami's judgement, so when he had ordered that every general, every soldier, every priest and scholar, everyone important to the state, to perform, at full moon a short ritual, he wondered why, but he would do it.

And now the moon was full, and it was time for this simple ritual, that would bind them stronger than words ever would. Kuo and his commanders stepped closer to each other, as soldiers were doing everywhere across the camp, and indeed, people were doing all over India. Kuo hissed as the knife went through his palm. In the distance, some of the soldiers laughed. His commanders cut their palms aswell, but it was as if they were removing a splinter. Four hands stretched out, grasped eachother, their hearts' blood mixed, dripped to the ground en sank into the dust. "We are one, until death" Kuo spoke, and his commanders with him, and people all around the country. Now they were bound through Blood and Earth.