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DaNES II: When the Stars Fall

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Dachs, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

    May 29, 2009
    To Sogdiana, Baktria
    From Tatan Qagnate

    Has our tribute been paid worthless dogs? Or shall my horde ravage your wives, mothers, and sisters once more?

    To Honqin
    From Tantan Qagnate

    I Tohoun Qagan Lord of the East and the West am here to claim my rightful tribute from you insolent worms who dared to defy me. I shall lay your land barren, burn your cities, and plunder your land. Pay or perish.
  2. Yui108

    Yui108 Deity

    Jun 16, 2007
    From: Baktria
    To: the Tantan

    Sogdiana has paid your tribute, heathen scum.
  3. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

    Jan 13, 2010
    Chapter Two of The History of Kleopatros of Hekatompylos: The Causes of Straton's Revolt

    While the proper part of this history shall begin from the Straton's revolt, it is clear that it is necessary to discuss the reasons for this revolt.

    The revolt followed many years of dischord in the Upper Satrapies, caused by the worship of the Seleukid monarchs. In the city of Alexandria Areion was the seat of the High Priest of Seleukos in the East, and his name was Xenobios the son of Pericles. In the 480th year, by their calendar, which I regret that I will use throughout my work, Xenobios's brother, who was married to Stratonike, Seleukos VI's sister, was assassinated by a masked man with a knife on the steps of the abandoned temple of Aphrodite in the city. This man was apprehended by the guard, and they took him to the High Priest. The High Priest, who had never been tremendously in touch with the locals, put the man before the city's assembly, trusting that someone or other would call out the name of the man in question.

    In the city of Alexandria Areion, in the age of the Sophist wars in the west, a great proportion of the population adhered to a mystery cult, and illegally worshipped Dionysios, pouring away huge amounts of wine at night, and drinking nearly as much. The reason for its illegality was not so much its clear heresy as the fact that the wine was mostly stolen from the cellar of the priesthood, and if the wine had not been stolen, it had been given at the expense of many of the wealthy citizens of the city: many of these citizens wanted to undermine the priesthood, because the priesthood was continually confiscating land from local landowners.

    Anyway, the assassin, as soon as he was put before the assembly, was seen by the populace, who immediately recognized him as Phrixos son of Lysandros. His father, Lysandros, was the self-professed “High Priest of Dionysios”. Upon seeing this honoured man under arrest, the crowd picked up stones, and stoned Xenobios to death along with all his guards.

    In the afternoon, the crowd moved towards the satrap’s palace, where the satrap, Lysandros son of Philon, was dining, with a considerable number of the city’s aristocracy. Lysandros had inherited the position from his father, and it was partly due to his father’s heroic death fighting the Karmanians, who had rebelled and been put down mostly through his competent leadership and heroism, that Lysandros was fairly popular with almost everyone in the city. Some, however, have said that the renovation of the old palaistra and stadion was a more important factor.

    One must not assume, however, that Lysandros son of Philon had inherited his father’s bravery or lust for glory. On the contrary, he had led no military campaigns, and was quite a voluptuary. His only experience was in politics, and he was a demagogue and skilled rhetorician. However, despite his high standing with the people, he had never had any real control over the city’s affairs, as these were all under the control of the High Priest.

    At any rate, Lysandros sent out his doorman into the crowd, to find out what they wanted, and the doorman came back with the response that the crowd was demanding a revolt, having murdered Xenobios the High Priest for trying to punish Phrixos son of Lysandros. When he heard this, and when the doorman had told him what people were in the crowd, Lysandros the satrap was at a loss, for he had no idea either why Xenobios would want to arrest Phrixos, as he had been entertaining guests since early in the morning, or why the crowd would want to save him: Lysandros had no knowledge of the worship of Dionysios in the city. When Lysandros heard this news, he spoke to his friends at the table, who were most of the wealthiest citizens in the city, as he made his decision.

    “My friends, why do you think that the street is full of rebelling citizens? Only this morning, I was strolling with you in the town baths, and we bumped into Phrixos, and said hello, and he seemed perfectly happy. In fact, I see no reason at all why Xenobios would want to do anything at all to him. At any rate, I doubt young Phrixos was expecting all this. Xenobios must have been quite mad. On the other hand, when did we last have a sane High Priest in Areia? Well, I suppose old Hieronymos was alright.

    Anyway, the fact is that the town appears to be full of rioters. Maybe we could send out the cavalry to send them away. Then they might just go away and leave us in peace. Xanthias! How many cavalry have we got and where are they?”

    “Twenty in the courtyard, three at the south entrance, and five hundred on campaign with the King, sire,” said the doorman.

    “That won’t work then. I’ll go and speak to them myself, and ask them to disperse.”

    At this, Sosibios, a rich merchant who was sitting beside him, spoke:

    “My good friend, why has such a throng of angry citizens gathered outside your palace? They say that they have killed Xenobios, and Xenobios is one of the best friends of our King. The situation is most dangerous for you. In theory, even if you only have twenty-three cavalrymen, you are supposed to defend Xenobios, and the crowd of citizens has just stoned him to death. Moreover, the crowd is angry, and no doubt they are not only angry with Xenobios but with the King too. You are, as they say, stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you try to preserve order, the citizens will storm your palace, but if you placate the crowd, the King will punish you anyway for failing to protect Xenobios. Therefore, unfortunate as this may be, your only available course of action, in my eyes, is to go along with whatever the crowd wants for the moment. You can do little else.”

    Thus they discussed for quite some time, until, at last, they reached the conclusion that there was no way out of their predicament but to rebel from the King.

    In Drangiane, at the time, positioned at Prophthasia, was the great general Straton son of Straton, whose army was guarding the eastern lands against the Baktrians. Straton was related distantly to a great Old Makedonian dynasty, and was descended from that matrilineal dynasty, known by some as the Telmai, that ruled Aigyptos for a long time. In any case, Straton was stationed at this place with a significant army, with plenty of good cavalrymen. He had been in command of this army for the best part of fifteen years, because the Seleukid Basileus knew well that it was only he that had the prestige to keep the Baktrians from raiding. This same prestige, however, combined by the buffoonery and drunkenness of Xenobios and the Seleukid priesthood, meant that the army was extremely loyal to him personally, and without any reason to love the Seleukids. In fact, almost no-one in the army worshipped Seleukos at all, and several chaplains had already been murdered by the angry soldiers. These crimes, in fact, had invariably gone unpunished, as the officers in the army were equally lacking in enthusiasm for the Seleukid dynasty.

    When Straton received Lysandros’s despatch, he was extremely surprised and impressed. He had always thought that Lysandros was little more than a fat aristocrat, but clearly he had a little more of his father in him than Straton had previously thought. It took him little time to ponder this, and to send back a reply to the effect that it was fine so long as he was in charge.

    The autumn faded into winter now, and the wind blew from the east in a ferocious storm almost continuously until the spring returned. The King in Babylon only learnt of the rebellion in midwinter, and it took two messengers, as the first one was attacked by bandits on the way, and there was no time for Seleukos to raise an army and march to Areia before the autumn was out.
  4. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

    May 29, 2009
    To Baktria
    From Tantan Qaganate

    So you should hope, lest we turn our great and terrible anger against you.
  5. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Jun 2, 2005
    In the desert
    Hoping for some word from Dachs soon. :(
  6. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

    May 29, 2009
    He'll update when you update.
  7. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

    Oct 31, 2005
    Just so no one is left in the dark...

    I've spoken to Dachs. His computer was broken by soccer players, and it's been in the shop since then. Since all of his daNES related stuff was on his laptop, he couldn't update elsewhere. His laptop (a mac) had its power source broken and the shop is waiting for a new battery pack, which should come next week. Once he gets his laptop back, he should be able to retouch on the update and post it.
  8. nutranurse

    nutranurse Unlikeliest of Slash Fics

    Jan 30, 2009
    Putting it out there that I am asking to assume control of the Ganga Empire!
  9. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

    Dec 29, 2005
    The lamps are going out all over Europe nesing; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

    I know Dachs doesn't like Lord Grey but the sentiments are apocalyptic enough to echo the sentiments of certain unnamed #nes chatters that were expressed in the absence of an update.
  10. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

    Dec 24, 2001
    Albuquerque, NM
    What great news!!:hatsoff:

    About his return, not about his computer.
  11. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    Update 4 – 616-620

    “I don’t want to spend the rest of my days
    Keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say.”
    -The Police, Invisible Sun

    International Events

    Somebody who would later be of extremely great consequence was born, somewhere in the world. Nobody knew who he or she was at the time, unfortunately for some of you.

    (+ominous music)

    A Panorman Sophist mission, funded in part by traders who were intrigued by the rumors of Pretannia’s mineral wealth, has found the Cambrian Confederacy and the Rygi. Having had the sense to hire on with new ships after reaching the Pillars of Herakles, and after an odyssey of epic proportions dodging Walhic pirates, the Panormans fetched up on Rygi shores in 617 with large amounts of foreign currency and, more importantly, some pretty shiny and impressive-looking gifties. The chief leitor with the expedition, Petros Kampanes, was intelligent enough to emphasize the “cool” parts of Sophism to the unlettered Germans, which combined with the shiny gifts induced the Rygi to let them stay on for awhile. These Rygi were careful to avoid mention of their western neighbors lest silver be diverted to them, too… Petros himself headed the mission that was left in Pretannia, while a few other leitores accompanied the merchants (who had managed to acquire some white-skinned, albeit strong, slaves and a few quality swords but little else) back to the Mediterranean. While the merchants are somewhat disappointed by this effort, ierophantes Theodoros has excitedly been canvassing in Panormos for a more elaborate (and opulent) second voyage to convert the barbaroi of the north.

    (+one small Sophist mission in Rygia)

    With a real military success on their hands (finally) the Panormans successfully secured the legal ejection of Chaonia from Italy, conquering a sizable new territory and incorporating massive new revenues from the Megale Hellenic poleis, who all quickly agreed to various sovereignty-yielding treaties with the republic.

    (+3 Panorman Prestige, -2 Chaonian Prestige, -Megale Hellenic Poleis (Chaonia), -1 Megale Hellenic Poleis Confidence, +2 Megale Hellenic Poleis Strength, +2,850 talents to Panorman income, +710 talents to Panorman upkeep)

    Cognizant of the failure of Philippikos Mystakon’s ‘eastern policy’, Panormos backed out of the war with the Perseids, surrendering the hold on Crete in exchange for some nominal tariff concessions that would probably be ignored in a few years anyway, but which, of course, made the Panorman merchantry positively giddy, to the point where they didn’t really want to kill Mystakon anymore.

    (+1 Perseid Prestige, +1 Sikeliot Merchantry Confidence)

    Consider this fair warning: warfare along the Adriatic coast, the movements of peoples further north, the enrollment of mercenaries by many of the Mediterranean powers (and a concomitant, albeit low-grade, flight of silver and gold to the north) have resulted in a degree of political coalescence in the Alföld. Expect this to accelerate. There is nothing you can do about this. There is nothing wrong with your computer screen. Do not attempt to adjust the picture…

    (+even more ominous music)

    An entertaining bit of subterfuge went horrendously awry in Makedonia for the Perseids, who contacted Patroklos Bardanes with the message that he should turn traitor and offer the chief Mak army commander fake peace terms. Incredibly, after fighting the man for ten years, they were unaware that the chief Mak army commander was…Patroklos Bardanes. Anyway, everybody involved was thoroughly confused and embarrassed.

    (-1 Perseid Prestige)

    Eupator of Pantikapaion has paid a king’s ransom to the Antes, which Zeriuranis was more than willing to accept in exchange for leaving the Kimmerioi alone.

    (-2 Bosporan Prestige, +2 Gorgipeia Confidence, -1 Skythoi Confidence, +1 Skythoi Strength)

    Having spent a great deal of time and effort on organizing the whole thing, Andronikos I convoked the council of Antiocheia in 617, with a focus towards normalizing the various Sophist practices worldwide and stamping out the ‘Ghassanid heresy’ put forth in the Kitaab as-Siraar. In general, it was a big hit for the Perseids, who managed to get more or less everyone to attend, except for the Pantikapaian representative, who loudly proclaimed himself to be an ierophantes to anyone who would listen despite a total lack of legal foundation for such a claim. And even the Bosporans ended up tacitly accepting the mandate of the Council, which was, to all intents and purposes, unanimous: to anathematize the Ghassanids and burn all copies of the Kitaab as-Siraar found, and to donate monies to the Alodian and Qurayshi guardians of the faith against this heresy. Tacitly, the polytheism of the Ghassanids was accepted as a ‘misinterpretation’ of the concept of osioi – especially since the Panormans (who were just different, what with their ierophantes calling himself an axios, and with their general annoying snarkiness) tolerated similar beliefs in Aphrike, anyway. Though the event was quite expensive for the Perseids, diplomatically they have scored quite a coup.

    (+2 Perseid Prestige)

    Andronikos, megas basileus of the Perseids, lavished many gifts upon Abu Hamza ibn Affan, a powerful Sophist shaykh and head of the banu Ghatafan, and in 619 did declare him to be the strong right arm of his empire, bestowing upon him the Greek title of phylarchos. Abu Hamza was filled with zeal for the holy goddess Sophia, and in Her name he brought together many of the tribes of northern Arabia, to fight and trade and pray alongside him and his family.

    (+1 Perseid Prestige, +Banu Ghatafan)

    All participants seem to have recognized the situation as it is in the aftermath of the destruction of the Pisidian state, with Šābuhr of Kappadokia tentatively agreeing with the Perseids to a mutual-defense scheme against the Mysians.

    (+1 Mysian Prestige, +1 Perseid Prestige, +1 Kappadokian Prestige, +1 Ionian Strength)

    The Perseids backed out of their Aigyptian war with the Treaty of Kisamos, which gave the Perseids control over a large quantity of desert, Pelousion's demolished fortifications, and a sizable indemnity. Quickly realizing that, with no Perseids to wipe them out, the Aigyptians were now very much able to win a war against them, the Aksumites hurriedly agreed to a peace with Sophidosios, acquiring a sizable amount of desert and nothing of real value, as well as a significant sum of money. This was widely hailed by the Blemmyes, who now had extra territory in which to mess around and do their Blemmyian thing. Nobody back in Aigyptos really cared.

    (+1 Perseid Prestige, +1 Aksumite Prestige, +1 Blemmyes Confidence)

    Nikandros of Seleukeia, physically exhausted by the exertions which he was running in the name of saving his attenuated empire from the Areians, regretfully agreed to peace at Artemita after intense negotiations with the Areians and Armenians, during which his opponents slipped up several times to Seleukid advantage. Nevertheless, the treaty enshrined a very grievous defeat for the Seleukids, especially after the high hopes of the previous decades. Now all that is left to the Seleukids is to rebuild…

    (+2 Armenian Prestige, -1 Seleukid Prestige, +2 Areian Prestige, various infuriatingly confusing and highly involved stat changes for all involved)

    With the end of the abovementioned war, the end of Seleukid subsidies, and the end of Areian predation on commerce, the Hellenoarabic poleis returned to the much more congenial practice of making money hand over fist in the Indian Ocean carry trade.

    Sogdiane, having been pummeled to within an inch of its life, has given up the ghost, promising tribute to the Mazsakata and Tantan and formally entering the protective embrace of Baktria. Confusingly, both the Mazsakata and Tantan demanded land from Sogdiane, annexing weirdly specific plots of territory useless to the pastoralists that live in both hordes. The Tantan, who live on the wrong side of a major river (the Iaxartes) from their new possessions, are unsure as to what the mad qagan that rules them has gained by this treaty. The new territories ostensibly conquered by the steppe confederacy now is essentially a no-man’s land, with Sogdian administration gone but no Tantan substitute to replace it. As for the Mazsakata, well, they ignored the negotiations after awhile and refused to sign any treaty, which massively smoothed transitions in Sogdiane (see below).

    (-2 Sogdian Prestige, +2 Baktrian Prestige, +2/-1 Tantan Prestige, -3 Dayuan Confidence, -1 Chorasmian Confidence, -50 talents from Sogdian income)

    As if the war hadn’t been lost, or something, the Areians are at it again – peacefully, though. ‘At it again’ here having the meaning of ‘sponsoring Zoroastrian missionary efforts inside Old Areia and buying up unoccupied land there as well’. Technically, this stuff isn’t illegal or a violation of any of the treaties, but it sure seems underhanded! Just sayin’.

    (-1 Baktrian Prestige)

    Pala and Chola seem to have made up their differences, at least temporarily. Both of those great states have managed to exhaust themselves, for remarkably little gain for anybody, as an irksomely face-saving uti possidetis peace was made. The only real change was a Chola indemnity, paid to the Pala, which destroyed what was left of the Chola treasury and sent their state into a nosedive (see below).

    (-1 Chola Prestige)

    In related news, the Pala have decided to raise tariffs by an undetermined amount on Patalan merchants. This has widely been condemned in Patalan circles as a rank betrayal of the long-standing “special relationship”. Although the economic consequences are mostly nominal, especially as regards the Pala budget, the political blowback has been severe. The chief beneficiary of all this seems to have been the Viceroy of Malwa, who now has increased opportunities for larceny.

    (-1 Patalan Prestige, -1 Barygazan Strength, -1 Surastrene Confidence, +1 Viceroy of Malwa Strength)

    The Yang have slipped out of their war with the Liang quite adeptly, having not been particularly interested in the fighting anyway. While Baojuan was somewhat indisposed, his advisers, recognizing that they were in deep trouble if they didn’t get rid of at least some of their enemies, hurriedly agreed to the peace, which returned both states to their pre-war borders and, by the usual neat diplomatic trickery, each avoided a recognition of the other’s claim to the Mandate of Heaven.

    Yunfen of Wu has elected to formally convert to Buddhism, sort of. The Emperor and his retinue announced that they were now accepting some Daoist-Buddhist syncretic mix clearly aimed at pleasing everybody and not fooling anybody in the process. In particular, the Nanyue, who offered quite a lot of gifts (while strenuously claiming that such gifts were essentially a bribe, not tribute as the Wu asserted) to the Wu court to convert, seem to have been left somewhat in the cold. This move also had consequences within Wu itself (see below), of course.

    (+2/-1 Nanyue Prestige, +1 Ying Clique Confidence)

    A much-touted expedition by the recently abdicated Zhao Wenming of Nanyue to Anuradhapura to visit the Tooth of the Buddha managed to limp back to Nanyue after having lost most of the ships in the small squadron to various meteorological catastrophes. Still, Wenming himself managed to survive, and has retired to a Buddhist monastery.

    (+1 Nanyue Prestige, -7 Nanyue ships)

    Buddhism continues to pick up strength in Jin-guk and Yamato.

    (+1 Buddhists Strength…wow I feel like a useful mod now)

    Domestic Events

    War exhaustion continues to impact the various warring states with increasingly negative…impacts…yeah.

    (+deleterious effects of a war-exhaustive nature for Walhia, Iberia, Chaonia, the Maks, Perseids, Baktria, Kaspeireia, Chola, Liang, and Wu)

    Several states have managed to institutionalize lessons learned from the past few decades’ worth of war; others, however, have lost key cadres to casualties, and have suffered for it.

    (+1 Walhic Army Quality, -1 Panorman Army Quality, +1 Makedonian Army Quality, -1 Seleukid Army Quality, -1 Areian Army Quality, +1 Baktrian Army Quality, +1 Pala Army Quality, +1 Ganga Army Quality, -1 Chola Army Quality)

    Aorsi efforts to rebuild Patikapatta are paying off to an extent; the place is still nothing like it used to be, but at least some recovery is happening.

    (Aorsi infrastructure to Bad)

    With the Panormans now totally at peace, Niketas Katanes became the last polemarchos, as the boule formally abolished the position. Philippikos Mystakon, who was on his way out as archon anyway, grandly talked about resurrecting the polemarchia in times of military need, but frankly the very name of the position is poison and nobody’s particularly interested in associating himself with the military fiascos of the Amyntid clique. That said, Niketas succeeded to a relatively uneventful archonship, spent reorganizing the military and recruiting fresh troops. The really important stuff occurred in Aphrike, when two decades of hand-wringing was finally resolved by an effective land reform that actually increased state revenues and relieved a great deal of the tension there. The only people who lost out from the whole deal were, of course, the landed gentry, but nobody likes them anyway.

    (+1 Panorman Prestige, +1 Sikeliot Merchantry Confidence, -2 Sikeliot Gentry Confidence, +1 Aphrikan Confidence, +400 talents to Panorman income)

    Due to certain uncongenial defeats in Makedonia (see below), the hyparchos of Istria, one Daochos, elected to declare his independence as archon of Istria in 618. He has applied, remarkably, to the Aorsi for protection from the retribution he fears as inevitable. Even more surprisingly, in late 620 several Illyrian poleis joined him following defeats of Chaonian arms in the civil war in the south (see below). Daochos is making himself a formidable force in the Adriatic, with a sizable fleet already constructed.

    (-1 Chaonian Prestige, +Istria)

    Fighting in Makedonia and the constant passage of various armies over the landscape has reduced the state of the roads in the area to something frightful. Perseid coastal raiding has not done any favors for Makedonian port facilities either.

    (Makedonian infrastructure to Improving)

    With the new peace in place in Anatolia, Mysia has been concentrating on integrating its new possessions into the larger state with significant success. The Perseids have not been so inclined. The good news is that there haven’t been any major Pisidian rebellions yet, probably because there aren’t a whole lot of Pisidians around to rebel.

    (Perseid infrastructure to Good)

    Many of the tribes of the eastern Perseid deserts, especially the people of Tadmur and the banu Salih, have asked to be allowed to join Abu Hamza. In addition, the creation of the satrapy of Nabataia has angered many of the tribes there, more than a few of which subscribe to the Ghassanid ‘heresy’ and who are showing little inclination to ‘convert’ despite the best efforts of the Nabataian satrap, Demetrios. The Perseid authorities have yet to respond.

    The vicious cycle turns and burns in many places in the world, but not in Aigyptos, the Seleukid Empire, or Areia! Economic and military recovery is proceeding apace in those formerly war-torn states, especially Areia, which disbursed massive sums for rebuilding efforts (and a coronation that was, if that’s even possible, more lavish than either the Armenian Wedding or the Baktrian Wedding of the previous few decades – a disturbing trend to say the least) and provided for administrative reorganization, along with a census to take into account the conquered lands and the territories lost to Baktria.

    (+1 Aigyptian Prestige, +1 Seleukid Prestige, +2 Areian Prestige, +7,500 talents to Aigyptian income, +4,850 talents to Seleukid income, +9,200 talents to Areian income)

    Having failed rather catastrophically to defend his state, Straton of Sogdiane grabbed as much of the treasury as he could and fled the country in 616. (Eventually, he ended up a guest of, weirdly enough, the Kaspeireian court, and by 620 had set himself up in a nice estate in Prasiane.) The power struggle that ensued was remarkably muted, though, as the imminent threat of the Mazsakata managed to enable the Greek general Nikias to rally most of the affected people around his own candidacy, and assumed the throne in the fall of 616. The Nikias government quickly confirmed the agreements Straton had made with everybody and immediately began screaming for help from the Baktrians.

    (+various insanely confusing amounts of governmental reshuffling for Sogdiane)

    Partly in response (it would seem, anyway, which means that it wasn’t actually like that but it’s historically convenient to say so) to the Areian missionary efforts and land purchases in Old Areia and Margiane, Diodotos of Baktria finally got around to rewarding his katoikiai by a general expansion of their land holdings over in that area. His failure to release them from their military obligations to do so has meant that the policy doesn’t actually mean anything, and in fact has made it easier for Areian squatters to take over land there. On the bright side, sometimes the Areians pay taxes.

    (+1/-1 Katoikiai Confidence (Baktria), +1/-1 Katoikiai Strength (Baktria), +200 talents to Baktrian income)

    Samraat Gopala II has decided that his state’s impressive naval power – har – needs to be augmented by the foundation of colonies to the east. Having not gotten the word, apparently, that the Pala have only slightly more of a naval tradition than the Qypchaq do, the samraat invested considerable funds in this venture, and was quite surprised when virtually nobody could be found to die on the Arakan coast. What few ships did set sail ended up being sunk by Kalingan raiders. The problem was supposed to have been fixed by the construction of large numbers of ships for the endeavor, but owing to the general lack of trained sailors all that resulted was a dilution of naval quality, which had disastrous results (see below)

    On the bright side, the Pala have demobilized, and their economy is starting to revive, albeit slowly.

    (-1 Pala Prestige, -1 Pala Naval Quality, +1,500 talents to Pala income)

    The Xazarlar yabghu is reportedly pretty peeved about his qagan’s ADHD inability to concentrate on any one task, and the resultant abandonment of the war in the west. The sound that he made when informed that the qagan wanted him to send his hordesmen east to raid the Houqin was a weird combination of a giggle and a snort. In a somewhat related episode, the qagan has expended a princely sum to hire several men who purport to be siege engineers.

    (-2 Xazarlar Confidence, +40 talents to Tantan upkeep, -15,900 Tantan levy cavalry)

    Hunmo of the Houqin has ordered the total confiscation of all property of the ‘Han Chinese’ living inside Houqin territory. This, of course, kicked off a colossal rebellion (see below) at precisely the wrong time. In addition, vast recruitment of new cavalry has diluted the formerly exceptional quality of the army.

    (+pro-Yang rebels, -1 Houqin Army Quality)

    Speaking of those Yang fellows, they’ve started to compile a fresh law code, as Legalistically influenced dudes are wont to do. A Wu-like system of tests has been mooted, albeit with larger loopholes for the currently entrenched bureaucrats to retain their posts; this has met with some approval, though many of the bureaucrat-nobles are worried about their legacy and insist on ensuring spots for their progeny as well.

    (+1 Yang Prestige, -1 Royal Bureaucracy Confidence)

    Few were fooled by Yunfen of Wu’s ostentatious conversion to some bastard child religion of Daoism and Buddhism that he appears to have made up. After all, the only people who practiced that sort of conscious syncretism were peasants…right? Nevertheless, it isn’t a particularly big step one way or another for the Wu, who already incorporated Buddhist symbology into their court ceremonial and who patronized some Buddhist monasteries before this. Currently the general attitude seems to be of the ‘wait-and-see-and-plot-behind-the-emperor’s-back’ variety. They were even willing to tolerate a massive tax increase ‘for the war effort’, chiefly because victory has crowned Wu arms these last few years…

    (+1 Royal Bureaucracy Strength (Wu), +1/-2 Merchantry Confidence (Wu), +1/-2 Xie Clique Confidence, -1 Yuan Clique Confidence)

    The Nanyue join a long line of states who grew their armies too fast and diluted the quality troops in so doing, as they more than doubled the size of their land forces.

    In an unrelated note, by and large, the natives of Hainan seem to be acclimated to the Nanyue presence on their part of the island. It’s still basically useless for tax-purposes, though.

    (-1 Nanyue Army Quality)

    The Yamato failure to take advantage of Jin weakness and distraction has begun to grate on the shakers and movers of the Soga clan, as has Suiko-tennō’s quietly growing acceptance of Buddhism.

    (-2 Soga Clan Confidence)
  12. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    Military Events

    Warfare in Pretannia is entirely a different beast than warfare in, say, Italy, Arabia, or the North China Plain. It is fought between armies with only the barest means of keeping themselves in the field, armies which halt in late summer to bring in the harvest, and armies comprised of men who often as not fight unclothed. (That last really only applies to the Cambrians. Nut jobs.) Aethelric, dryhten of the Rygi, was well aware of these preconditions when he began to make war in 615. The problem that bedeviled so many of his contemporaries in the Mediterranean, the problem of dispersion of force, was a virtue here, for in undeveloped Pretannia one cannot keep one’s army in the field for very long unless one disperses it. The problem of taking and holding territory was irrelevant: fighting a decentralized foe, a better course would simply to be to terrify the individual parts of the whole into abstention from fighting.

    In 616 and 617 the aetheling Eadwin and Ammatas, the renegade Silenga leader, embarked on expeditions to the north, intent on overawing and terrorizing the locals. Elmet tried to put up resistance; in 616 the local warriors were crushed on the Trisentona River, and Elmet soon bowed out from the twin pressure of battlefield defeats and bribe money proffered by the Rygi. Eadwin and Ammatas wreaked havoc across the North during the early part of those years. By early 617, though, the Ceredigians had figured out what they were doing. The original plan, a major Celtic raid into Ronding territory, ended up failing to bring Aethelric and the local Rondings to battle, and the Cambrians that were still in the war were now quite aware that the main thrust of the Rygi military was aimed north, at pulling petty kingdoms out of the war and, by extension, at pulling their troops out of the Cambrian lineup. In 617 Ammatas’ army was surprised on the Derwent River in the territory of the Catuvellauni by a somewhat larger Cambrian force under the command of the king of Rheged, with the unsettling addition of Goidelic mercenaries. Though the army was somewhat mauled, Ammatas managed to extricate his troops and safely retreat. Eadwin’s army looked to be cut off from its base, but the aetheling managed to escape the Celtic net and flee south with his raiding force intact before the harvest ended operations.

    It was 619 before Eadwin and Ammatas could contrive a trap for the northern Cambrian army, which had spent the interim bullying Elmet et al. back into fighting. Or rather, it was 619 before they managed to lure the Cambrians into such a trap, and successfully spring it; attacking the Goidelic mercenaries’ baggage at Lindon, they managed to split those fearsome (and heavily armed) warriors from the rest of the Cambrians’ northern army. The result, of course, was a significant defeat for the Cambrian northern army, leaving the northern kingdoms vulnerable once more. By the end of 620 several of these had been forced out of the war altogether; reportedly they are pondering reunification in a sort of regional league of Gododdin with the failing remnants of Strathclyde.

    (+5,000 Rygi levy infantry)

    (-1 Cambrian Prestige, +2 Rygi Prestige, -Elmet, -Rheged, +2 Dyfnaint Confidence, -1 Ceredigion Strength, -1 Rondinga Confidence, -1 Rondinga Strength, +1 Silenga Strength, -1,450 Cambrian infantry, -8,300 Cambrian levy infantry, -750 Rygi infantry, -4,950 Rygi levy infantry)

    Gerold of Iberia sensibly decided that the Aorsi were the correct target on which to concentrate, and so diverted most of his army south, to try to fight the Aorsi on ground unsuitable for their horses. The horse-lords, who had planned on the Iberians doing more or less anything but concentrating against them, were therefore initially surprised by the large numbers that approached them, but elected to attack anyway. In 616 at Weri, the Iberians and Aorsi collided, and the Iranians were worsted, being forced to fall back significantly. The Iberians continued campaigning towards the east, and successfully drove the Aorsi back over the Rhodanos. Massalia was recaptured in 618. However, this concentration to the east permitted a Walhic advance. In 617 the Walhic army had captured Silakoufstat after a determined defense by its garrison. A large detachment of troops was sent to raid beyond the Pyrenees, but inconveniently the Iberians had seen to their defense: fortresses along the major passes prevented the Walhic troops from getting any further, and the advance was halted. Still, the main Walhic army was capturing other fortresses at a pretty good clip before the Iberians’ main army headed back north in late 619 and began an elaborate game of raid and counter-raid, with nobody really managing to make any headway after that. The Aorsi ended up raiding heavily west of the Rhodanos in 620, but the region was sufficiently devastated as to not provide enough fodder to keep their horse-armies in the field for very long.

    (+5,000 Iberian levy infantry)

    (+1 Walhic Prestige, +/-1 Iberian Prestige, -1 Aorsi Prestige, +1 Atmona Bastarna Strength, -1 Hatta Marcher-Lords Confidence, -1 Hatta Marcher-Lords Strength, -1 Sannic Aursa Strength, +10 talents to Walhic treasury, -1,356 Walhic infantry, -4,700 Walhic levy infantry, -130 Walhic cavalry, -1,500 Iberian infantry, -5,150 Iberian levy infantry, -650 Iberian cavalry, -2,300 Aorsi cavalry, -4,450 Aorsi levy cavalry)

    After rejecting peace terms from the Perseids and Chaonians and viciously attacking his political opponents, Archelaos III of Makedonia decided to go for a hat trick of foolishness by ordering the implementation of a scorched-earth policy in Thessalia. Patroklos Bardanes and several other generals, finally beyond the limits of their patience and loyalty, withdrew with the army to convene an assembly in the ancient manner and elect a real king. The summer of 616 was rife with tension and mutual suspicion, but the army commanders were deadlocked, none supporting the royal pretensions of the others, and all unsure about what to do with Archelaos III.

    The Ruxsalannoi cut their Gordian knot. The Kalarauka, having been enticed with significant monies from interested parties, had planned a colossal raid into Makedonia and Chaonia. Brushing aside the small garrisons of Amphaxitis, the Ruxsalannoi smashed the ill-guarded fortifications of Pella and sacked the city, killing Archelaos and much of his family in the process. They then headed west to attack Chaonia. Neoptolemos Dodonaios, the general in charge of the main Chaonian army, was at the time besieging the Makedonian fort of Keletron. His men were outnumbered, tired, and ill-paid. The Ruxsalannoi made short work of them, dispersing the army and pushing on to Antipatreia, bypassing many of the Chaonian fortifications. Ruxsalannoi troops, faced with little resistance, stormed the defenses of Apollonia and Seleukeia-Epidamnia, looted the remains, and retreated the way they came.

    Perhaps the shell-shocked Chaonian army, which Neoptolemos Dodonaios was still attempting to pull together, would not have provided much opposition; the vengeful and still very much intact Makedonian army of Patroklos Bardanes, however, was. Makedonian troops trapped the returning Ruxsalannoi horde in a valley near Herakleia in Lynkos and annihilated it. The army recovered much of the loot seized from the sack of Pella and from the raids in Chaonia, refilling the Makedonian war chest. Patroklos Bardanes and his subordinates no longer had to bicker over the top job, either: a compromise solution was reached, whereby Archelaos’ young cousin Anastasia (who had been at the great temple to Sophia at Stratonikeia at the time of the sack of Pella) was made basilissa, with Patroklos Bardanes gaining the powers of regency and the office of strategos autokrator. Anastasia was crowned on a sour note, though: two days before, the Perseids captured Demetrias, the great port of Thessalia.

    Still, an expanded war chest (much of which went to hiring mercenaries, many of whom were formerly Chaonian soldiers dispersed in the wake of the Battle of Keletron), a central position, and unified leadership were excellent advantages for the new Makedonian regime. Patroklos Bardanes made the most of them. His forces outnumbered the Perseid army in Thessalia, and with the Chaonians dispersed, he made the most of his newfound advantage. At Meliboia in Magnesia in the spring of 617, the Makedonians managed to give the Perseids a bloody nose, but the Perseid commander, the able Nikephoros Anaktorios, withdrew before his army was too badly mauled. After storming the defenses of Demetrias and pushing the Perseids back into Phthiotis, the Makedonian army force-marched north to beat up a Chaonian army at Pelion – then back to Thessalia to relieve Demetrias, which was once again under siege. By the end of the year, the Maks had managed to recover Phthiotis and push Anaktorios back into the fortress of Lamia. In the north, the Chaonian army mutinied in fall 617 and joined up with Amphilochian and Aitolian rebels to cause general havoc in the south of the country. But in the east, Mysia had finally dragged itself into the conflict, with Alexandros Byzantios supervising the conquest of Perinthos before winter ended operations.

    Unable to come to grips with the Perseids, Patroklos Bardanes moved to attack the Mysians, despite the fact that this would leave Thessalia wide open to invasion. He reasoned that he would retain numerical superiority over the Perseids when he got back and would be able to reverse their gains later, after a decisive victory over the Mysians was gained. It seemed as though there was scope for such a victory. After Perinthos was sacked, much of the levy infantry that the Mysians brought along mutinied. Funny how people who’ve been away from their homes for a decade to fight against an ancestral enemy get pissed when they get thrown into an entirely new war in which they have precisely no interest whatsoever. That particular mutiny was put down, but unit cohesion was at best low when the Mysians met the Maks in battle at Kypsela in the early summer of 618. The Mysian army’s major discipline problems merely made their stand against a much larger army even more unwinnable; Patroklos Bardanes won a signal victory and dispersed most of the Mysian army. The remainder was easily trapped in Byzantion and monitored by an observation force. Bardanes then dashed back west, where the Perseids were held up in the siege of Pydna. They retreated upon the Mak arrival, and their enemies were too exhausted to pursue.

    In 619 Patroklos Bardanes scored some of his greatest victories. First, he moved south and forced the Perseids to retreat from Thessalia yet again or face annihilation. In Malis, he made contact with scattered Makedonian loyalists in Boiotia and Phokis, who surprised Anaktorios’ army at Trachis and mauled it yet again. Even Thermopylai was untenable – though in the face of fellow Greeks who used to control that territory, it would never have been held for long. At Tanagra in the early summer, the Makedonians managed to trap much of the Perseid army against the Asopos River and overwhelm it. Anaktorios did not survive, and was replaced by Hipparchos Helioupolites, who mustered troops to defend Athens. Patroklos Bardanes knew that he lacked the men and the time and the supplies and the popular support to besiege Athens; instead, he moved west. Aitolians and Amphilochians may have been revolting against Chaonian rule, but Akarnania remained loyal – intolerable! Makedonian regulars remedied that by breaking the back of Akarnanian resistance at Thyrreion. Having effectively rounded out Makedonia’s position in Greece, Patroklos Bardanes moved north and returned to Pella in the fall of 619.

    Yet all was not well within the higher Makedonian leadership. Though many levies had been demobilized in favor of professional troops, an increasingly fiscally conscious Bardanes was keeping many levies on, and gave them work to do in the winter at Pella, rebuilding and refortifying the city. Discontent was spreading in the officer corps as well. Anastasia I, as well, wanted to bring the government more fully under her control. So it was suspiciously serendipitous that Patroklos Bardanes, while out inspecting the Pella fortifications, was murdered by several disgruntled soldiers. Anastasia ordered that they be executed and Bardanes be given a state funeral, but that, of course, did not stop scurrilous rumor from claiming she only shed crocodile tears. Predictably, the Maks’ only real enemies by this point, the Perseids, saw an opening with the death of the most effective Mak general. In the spring and summer of 620 Hipparchos Helioupolites managed to relieve the besieged citadel of Thebai, recovering half of Boiotia in the process. But Anastasia’s general Epidateos Akropolites warded the Perseids off from the citadels of Koroneia and Kopai, and in the north Aristodemos Thraikikos conclusively defeated a halfhearted Ruxsalannoi raid and conquered much of Parauaia from the Chaonians.

    The naval theater was more decisively successful for the Perseids, since they faced little opposition by now; the nesiarchos, Theophylaktos Epiphaneus, busied himself by overwhelming the garrisons of the various islands remaining under Mak control. This mattered little to the Makedonians’ admiral, Bessas, who sensibly stayed put in the Thermaic Gulf where he could be at least moderately dangerous and very safe. He may have been powerless to prevent the conquest of most of the islands, but they didn’t seem to matter very much anyway.

    It seems apparent that this is about as far as anybody can go in Greece. The costs of offensive warfare are now unsustainable for all parties. Anastasia I, for one, is certainly open to peace feelers.

    (+15,000 Ruxsalannoi levy cavalry, +6,000 Makedonian infantry, +2,000 Makedonian cavalry)

    (+various insanely confusing amounts of governmental reshuffling for Makedonia)

    (-2 Chaonian Prestige, +1 Ruxsalannoi Prestige, +3 Makedonian Prestige, -1 Perseid Prestige, -1 Mysian Prestige, +Aitolia, +Amphilochia, -Ambrakia (Chaonia), -2 Epeirotai Confidence, -1 Thraikian Poleis Confidence, -2 Byzantine Confidence, -3 Peloponnesian Confidence, -2,950 talents from Chaonian income, -570 talents from Makedonian income, -75 talents from Mysian income, -400 talents from Chaonian treasury, +450 talents to Makedonian treasury, +35 talents to Mysian treasury, +50 talents to Perseid treasury, -9,650 Chaonian infantry, -12,300 Chaonian levy infantry, -750 Chaonian cavalry, -750 Ruxsalannoi cavalry, -7,900 Ruxsalannoi levy cavalry, -5,500 Makedonian infantry, -8,250 Makedonian levy infantry, -1,450 Makedonian cavalry, -1,900 Makedonian levy cavalry, -3,350 Mysian infantry, -9,800 Mysian levy infantry, -3,550 Mysian cavalry, -6,750 Perseid infantry, -4,600 Perseid levy infantry, -3,850 Perseid cavalry)

    Ariaric thiudans seems to have been somewhat indisposed these past few years, handing much of the fighting off to subordinates with rather vague instructions. A somewhat halfhearted attempt to bribe some of the Prusai and Nadruvai into joining up failed, and was followed up by military force, somewhat inexplicably as the Goths were faced with a rather more important fight further south. Beginning in late 616, the Goths were pushed back from their previously-strong position; Eupator himself led an army to relieve Olbia from a Gothic siege, and the other captured poleis were reconquered and refortified. By 618 Bosporan land was cleared, and the Goths soon were faced with the realization that they would have to go elsewhere to secure their booty.

    (-1 Gothic Prestige, +1 Bosporan Prestige, -1 Maiza Gutans Strength, -1 Minniza Gutans Confidence, +2 Olbia Confidence, -1,150 Gothic infantry, -1,900 Gothic cavalry, -850 Bosporan infantry, -100 Bosporan levy infantry, -700 Bosporan cavalry, -150 Bosporan levy cavalry)

    The 616 defeats suffered by the forces of the Quraysh (see below) have seriously weakened their power in Makkah, and their opponents were quick to answer. An alliance of Jewish and Ghassanid tribes, led by ‘Ali ibn Hasan of the banu Makhzum and basing their power in Yathrib, attacked Abu Sufyan in Makkah in 617. The first assault was repulsed at the Battle of Yanbu, but the second, a siege which lasted most of the year of 618, succeeded. Many of the Quraysh were killed or scattered, and Abu Sufyan himself fled the only way he could – to the Perseid satrap of Nabataia, Demetrios. Andronikos I has yet to determine whether action should be taken against the banu Makhzum; Aksum appears to lack the resources to do anything.

    (-1 Aksumite Prestige, +Banu Makhzum, -Quraysh (Aksum), -1 Nabataian Confidence, -560 talents from Aksumite income, -1,550 Aksumite levy infantry, -800 Aksumite cavalry)

    Deciding to avoid compromise for fear of looking weak, Gersem of Aksum embarked on a campaign to totally destroy the power of the governor-cum-rebel in Qataban, Abraha. Having concluded peace with the shaky Sophidosian government in Alexandreia, Gersem ordered a massive levy, so large that it was difficult to lay hands on enough troops to make up the quota. These were dispatched to the north, to Abu Sufyan of the Quraysh, who would invade Qataban and attract the attention of Abraha’s army. Attempting a land offensive along the projected route, unfortunately for the Aksumites, was difficult in the extreme, due to the harsh desert of Ma’in being inconveniently in the way. Upon arrival, the weakened Qurayshi army, commanded by Imran ibn ‘Abd al Muttalib, was set upon by the full force of Abraha’s army near al Ukhdud and nearly destroyed.

    Along the coast, an already tiny force of Aksumite regulars was split into even more tiny groups by Gersem, who insisted that all of the beleaguered Aksumite ports needed to be relieved and that the enemy would be forced to divide his army to meet all of these pinpricks. Abraha, well aware of the foolishness of meeting strength with weakness and aware that none of these invading forces could do any harm on its own anyway, correctly opted to defeat each of these raiding forces in detail by concentrating his army in space. Qatabani forces annihilated two of these detachments outright, and nearly caught a third, commanded by the adept Wazeba; the Aksumite navy managed to extricate Wazeba’s army in 618, albeit with heavy casualties. After Wazeba’s defeat, Abraha led his army in besieging the remaining ports in Himyar loyal to Gersem; by 620 he had conquered them.

    (+10,000 Aksumite levy infantry, +7,000 Qatabani levy infantry)

    (-2 Aksumite Prestige, +1 Qatabani Prestige, +1 Qatabani Army Quality, -1 Qurayshi Strength, -1 Troglodytic Hellenes Confidence, -4,350 Aksumite infantry, -5,800 Aksumite levy infantry, -650 Aksumite cavalry, +300 Qatabani infantry, -2,250 Qatabani levy infantry, -1,100 Qatabani levy cavalry)
  13. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    Having pulled off the diplomatic coup of promising to sign a treaty and then cunningly not signing it, thoroughly annoying the mod in the process, the Mazsakata chose to lie in wait for the Sogdian detachments that were sure to move north to secure the territory the Mazsakata had ostensibly returned to them. They did not realize, apparently, that, having not signed the treaty, the Sogdians would not know that they were supposed to blunder into the Mazsakata trap. By the time the Mazsakata were aware that the joke was, in fact, on them, the Sogdian internal political struggle was, to all intents and purposes, over. Sogdian lack of money was less pressing than the Sogdian lack of troops, and these were duly recruited; though the force that was thus constituted could not hold a candle to the original Sogdian army, it didn’t really have to. These were solid Greek infantry, and they could more than match any Mazsakata opponent – if that opponent was on foot. The Mazsakata obligingly besieged Marakanda in 617, making full use of enslaved siege engineers and their dismounted cavalry. But in the climactic Mazsakata assault, the Sogdian infantry held the line against the comparatively poorly armed, trained, and disciplined steppe infantry, and the Mazsakata were forced to pull back. Having legitimized its political existence through military victory, the Nikias government now was able to catch its breath, its political security temporarily assured.

    Of course, this was problematic for the Mazsakata, who kind of needed victories. They had greater problems beginning in 618, though. Over the past few years, repeated bad weather conditions had ruined the livelihoods of a large number of Tungus and Turkic people, who fled south and west in search of better pasturage. By 618, a loose leader of these ‘Qypchaqs’ had emerged, one Bunaq; it was he who was in charge as the Qypchaqs moved into Mazsakata and Tantan territory. What eventually ensued was more or less full-scale war. The Mazsakata had been weakened somewhat by their failed siege of Marakanda; the Tantan were simply not there at all. In 619, the Qypchaqs crossed into Chorasmia, smashing a Mazsakata force on the Iaxartes in the process, and then, to avoid showing prejudice (more importantly, to gain more loot), mauled a Sogdian army that attempted to take advantage of the Mazsakata weakness. By 620, the Xazarlar yabghu had given up any hope of his qagan lending him any assistance and joined up with the Qypchaqs himself. The year before, the Ashina, too, had seen the writing on the wall and “defected” to the Qypchaq. These parvenus may be…well…parvenus, but they are now the most powerful military force in Central Asia.

    (+10,000 Mazsakata levy cavalry, +/-17,000 Tantan levy cavalry)

    (+the usual nonsense I spew when I need an excuse for not listing all of the stat changes in the update, this time for Sogdiane)

    (-3 Mazsakata Prestige, -2 Tantan Prestige, +Qypchaq, -Ashina Yabghu (Mazsakata), -Xazarlar Yabghu (Tantan), -1 Xaraosta Mazsakata Confidence, -1 Xaraosta Mazsakata Strength, -1 Mazsakata Azats Strength, -1 Alanna Yabghu Confidence, -6,250 Mazsakata cavalry, -2,400 Mazsakata levy cavalry)

    Having thoroughly exhausted both their patience and their economy, the Baktrians launched a grand Final Offensive geared toward capturing Taxila in 617. The Baktrians massed numerical superiority, but to counter it, the Kaspeireians were, frankly, better led. Still, that didn’t save the Kaspeireian army at the Battle of Philoxenoupolis that summer, though it must be said that they took a lot of their attackers with them. In 618 the Baktrians waltzed into Taxila and attempted to consolidate their position. Much to their surprise, the war was far from over. Archebios still ruled in Apollodoteia, and managed to win back a great deal of support after an ambush on a sizable Baktrian column at Boukephala in 619. In 620 Archebian loyalists captured Arigaion and began to heavily raid the Paropamisadai. Outside of Gandhara, the Baktrians control very little indeed.

    On a somewhat darker note for the Baktrians, 620 also saw a large-scale revolt of katoikiai serving with the Gandharan army. Some thousands of these, after being informed that they would not receive monetary compensation for their years of service, attempted to march back home and had to be put down by Baktrian mercenaries in Kapisa. This did not prevent parties of katoikiai from fighting with the Arigaion-based Kaspeireian raiding parties in the Paropamisadai as well, but the overall Baktrian military response was severely hampered by the uprising and contributed significantly to the Kaspeireian success.

    (+2/-1 Baktrian Prestige, -1 Kaspeireian Prestige, -2 Paropamisan Confidence, -1 Katoikiai Confidence, -1 Army Assembly Confidence (Kaspeireia), -1 Hellenes Confidence (Kaspeireia), -150 talents from Baktrian income, -950 talents from Kaspeireian income, +250 talents to Baktrian treasury, -3,400 Baktrian infantry, -11,550 Baktrian levy infantry, -800 Baktrian cavalry, -1,750 Baktrian levy cavalry, -2,350 Kaspeireian infantry, -4,200 Kaspeireian levy infantry, -250 Kaspeireian cavalry, -900 Kaspeireian levy cavalry)

    Truce between the Pala and the Chola has not ended the subsidiary wars that both of them find themselves fighting. First, we turn to the Pala. Having decided that Kalinga is being “unduly influenced” by the Sophists – obviously a fig leaf, as there are exactly three Sophists in Kalinga, and none of them is the king – the Pala launched a general attack to try to crush the Kalingan field army. Gopala II believed he would be able to achieve strategic surprise, patent lunacy when going up against a state such as Kalinga. The Kalingans have had a long history of being sandwiched between two large, scary powers and were quite attuned to nearby troop movements. Pala efforts to catch the Kalingan field army in the open came to naught as well; Raja Srutayu was not nearly as stupid as his opponents seem to have believed, and instead chose to divide his forces and retreat into the countryside, waiting for supply problems to take their toll on the Pala armies; Pala cavalry was especially hard hit by this, as their fodder was much more easily depleted than was food for Pala infantry. He resorted to a pitched battle only once, in 617, when his forces engaged and defeated a slightly smaller Pala force at the Battle of Sabara. Otherwise, he elected to fight a small war, and in this way the Kalingans frustrated both the 618 and 619 Pala campaigns. In 620, though, the Pala managed to bull their way into Rajapura, suffering heavy losses in the assault. Since then, Srutayu has dominated the countryside – but at least the Pala have control of Rajapura.

    The Pala fleet has been incapable of dealing with that of the Kalingans over the course of the war; in 618 a major raid surprised much of the Pala navy in harbor and evened up the odds. Effects on commerce have been negligible.

    (+23,000 Kalingan levy infantry, +3,000 Kalingan levy cavalry)

    (+1 Pala Prestige, +1 Bengal Confidence, +200 talents to Pala treasury, -4,650 Pala infantry, -5,100 Pala cavalry, -34 Pala ships, -1,200 Kalingan infantry, -2,250 Kalingan levy infantry, -50 Kalingan cavalry, -200 Kalingan levy cavalry, -9 Kalingan ships)

    Further south, the Chola kept up their struggle against the Gangas. The 616 death of the previous Ganga raja, Polavira, allowed his son Narasimha to ascend to the throne. Narasimha cemented his authority by a surprise victory over the Cholas at Nrigunta later that year, managing to take advantage of the Cholas’ deficiency in numbers. Indeed, the Cholas’ initial plans for a final offensive were soon being scrapped. Demobilizing many of the levies from the Pala war may have been a sound decision economically, but militarily it was disastrous, as the Ganga weakness created by Polavira’s foolishness was soon erased by his son’s military victories. Chola problems were compounded by military revolts, as the state lacked the money to pay many of its soldiers and was slow to deliver arrears. The Chola military hero Aditya fell in battle against Narasimha’s armies at the Battle of Janasthana in 619, and by 620 the Chola were more or less cleared from Ganga soil. Militarily, the Chola are on their knees, with the sole real consolation being that they don’t have to pay so many soldiers anymore. Narasimha, well aware of both sides’ exhaustion, has offered an armistice to discuss terms.

    (+5,000 Ganga levy infantry)

    (+2 Ganga Prestige, -1 Chola Prestige, +1 Royal Court Strength (Gangas), +1 Alupas Confidence, +70 talents to Ganga treasury, -1,800 Ganga infantry, -4,500 Ganga levy infantry, -750 Ganga cavalry, -8,200 Chola infantry, -2,450 Chola levy infantry, -310 Chola cavalry, -50 Chola cavalry)

    The colossal war for the future of China – or at least northern China – is entering a decisive phase. With the Houqin fully on board with the alliance, Liang was well and truly surrounded, and Wu leaders had high hopes for the coming campaign. Of course, the campaign plan was so cunning that it practically begged for a monkey wrench to be thrown into the works. Obligingly, it received not one, but three:

    The first spanner came from the Houqin themselves, who as previously mentioned decided that they needed “contributions” from their Han subjects for the coming campaign – a rather inexplicable action when they were already flush and when attacking the Liang promised more booty. Instead of breaking open the Huang He dikes as planned, Hunmo’s Houqin spent most of 616 battling with local rebels who fought for unification with the properly Chinese Yang; they came out on top, eventually, but a year’s campaigning was wasted and most of the “contributions” were forgone (or destroyed).

    Yang supplied the second by bowing out of the war; throughout 616 Yang armies didn’t move at all, and the Liang obligingly ignored them – though the official agreement wasn’t to be signed until 617, that front was closed.

    While waiting for the third wrench, the Wu and Jin faced off against Liang armies alone – and the Liang were quite capable of dealing with those two opponents. While the Jin armies in the north essentially stood to opposite a more or less equal number of Liang troops, the Liang enterprisingly attacked the Wu army north of the Yangzi, which had chosen to conduct a limited withdrawal in the face of numerical inferiority – and wise of them to do so, too. Yet even the Wu, apparently so entranced by their cunning plan that they thought their army too large, committed an act of hubris, and disbanded many of their levies. They thought that the storm was supposed to break elsewhere; they were wrong. Throughout 616, as the Houqin savaged and were savaged by their own subjects, the tyro Liang general Sun Fangzhi advanced south of the Huai once again, using his superior number of cavalry to force an engagement with Yuan Rong at Huainan, where the Wu were certainly worsted but not badly.

    The third monkey wrench was the qagan of the Tantan, who, having secured some minor tribute and useless land from the Sogdians, looked on the turmoil-wracked Houqin as a vulnerable target. (Which they were.) In 617 the Tantan warlord Samur, of the Tiele, defeated a Houqin army at Dunhuang, traditionally China’s gateway to the west. All thought of fighting the Liang now had to be abandoned in favor of desperate self-defense; the Houqin could not break the Huang He levees. In the south, the Wu continued to bear the brunt of the Liang attacks; though Yuan Rong preserved the army, it suffered several defeats in its tenacious defense of Hefei.

    In 618, though, the Huang He dikes broke – of their own (or Nature’s, or whatever) accord. There had not been a flood in a generation, and the 618 overflow was…hell, forget the similes, it was just “pretty nasty”. Hundreds of thousands died, mostly from the famine and disease that followed the flooding. Peasant rebellions duly broke out in the latter part of the year, and Sun Fangzhi, who had been busily trading punches with the Wu, was forced to retire north to reestablish order. Now, finally, came Wu’s chance: Yuan Rong quickly rushed to occupy abandoned territory, and managed to cross the Huai. Successfully overawing several Liang garrisons, by the end of 620 the Wu had entered Huaibei.

    To the west, the Houqin were in dire straits; the Tantan invasion wrecked much of the western part of the country, and although there wasn’t that much to plunder, it was more than enough. Fortunately for the Houqin, the Xianbei opportunistically raided the Tarim Basin trade routes while the Tantan were away, giving them a bit of a respite in 619; this was not too much help, as the Liang raided the eastern Houqin territories heavily.

    And in Jin, mutually grinding and pointless attrition continued until the 618 flood, when the Liang army was drawn down to cope with peasant rebellions in the Huang He basin. A healthy advance was kept up until, in 619, Jin forces ran into a group of Xianbei raiders despoiling northern Liang territory; the Xianbei annihilated an entire wing of the Jin army, and forced them to pull back somewhat.

    The naval war was unspeakably boring, consisting chiefly of a series of raids on fairly unimportant port facilities that had already been heavily raided anyway by the Jin and Wu fleets. Intelligently, the Liang decided not to contest Wu domination of the seas and waste even more of their ships.

    (+25,000 Tantan levy cavalry, +10,000 Liang levy infantry, +various fluctuations in Wu levy strength over the course of the turn, damn you Kraz)

    (+1 Tantan Prestige, -2 Houqin Prestige, +2/-1 Liang Prestige, +2 Wu Prestige, -pro-Yang rebels, +1 Tiele Confidence, +2 Jiankun Confidence, -1 Xiao Yuezhi Confidence, -1 Murong Xianbei Confidence, -2 Tuqi of the Right Strength, -2 Tuqi of the Left Strength, -1 Sun Clique Confidence, -1 Sun Clique Strength, +1 Yuan Clique Strength, +1 Buqu Strength (Wu), -2,510 talents from Houqin income, -22,300 talents from Liang income, +25 talents to Tantan treasury, +65 talents to Liang treasury, +410 talents to Wu treasury, -6,550 Tantan cavalry, -4,600 Tantan levy cavalry, -3,050 Xianbei cavalry, -4,200 Houqin cavalry, -8,750 Houqin levy cavalry, -8,950 Liang infantry, -12,100 Liang levy infantry, -4,300 Liang cavalry, -5,450 Liang levy cavalry, -3 Liang ships, -7,250 Wu infantry, -9,900 Wu levy infantry, -3,600 Wu cavalry, -4,350 Wu levy cavalry, -3,450 Jin infantry, -4,700 Jin levy infantry, -1,150 Jin cavalry, -900 Jin levy cavalry)

    Funan has turned into a colossal mess, as the Nanyue army of occupation recognized. Their palliative measures, however, were insufficient. Attempting to halt the remilitarization of their new protectorate from unemployed retainers and migrating Thai, the Nanyue occupying forces remitted a portion of the taxes due to them in an effort to buy off the major regional notables. This portion was altogether insufficient for the purposes for which it was intended, though. In 617 the Funanese notable Sarvabhauma joined forces with several other local magnates and even some Thai warbands, kicking off a rebellion against the occupying Nanyue. Anguo Mo was suddenly outnumbered, forced to fall back to the coast, where the Nanyue fleet still ruled. In 619, internal dissension broke out in Sarvabhauma’s camp; though his internal opponents were duly crushed, this gave Nanyue loyalists some breathing space. Still, things look somewhat dim for the Nanyue adventure in Funan.

    (-1 Nanyue Prestige, +Chenla, -2 Funanese Confidence, -2,340 talents from Nanyue income, -3,550 Nanyue infantry)

    The Yamato have continued their activity against the Hayato of the southern islands, attempting to organize a concerted military effort by all the clans. Large-scale search-and-destroy missions, however, have proved fruitless, as the Hayato simply ignore them and reoccupy lost ground when the mutli-clan armies leave. Tired of the lack of glory and conquest, most clans left the fighting to the Gamō by 619, who resumed their sounder policy of fortress-construction. Some gains were made, but by and large the main effect seems to have been the formation of a loose alliance of the Hayato tribes.

    (+1 Gamō Clan Strength, -70 Yamato infantry)
  14. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    Special Bonuses:

    Most Entertaining Story: Republic of Panormos (+50 talents to Panorman income)

    Best Military Doctrine: Seleukid Empire (+1 Seleukid Army Quality)

    -Sorry this is so late; I had some problems that resulted in the loss of my laptop for weeks. Flippin’ disastrous. And what’s worse is that I have papers and exams to work on over the next three weeks. Some of these delayed the update even after I got my laptop back. There’s no way in hell I’ll be able to do systematic work on this NES until after the semester is over. I’ll announce an orders deadline after I get my academic life back together. I apologize for this failure as a moderator. The onset of summer ought to help the NES in terms of tempo – the schedule of updates will be reworked, though – and on a black humor level one could note that this NES hasn’t yet gotten to the outrageous slowness of certain other NESes yet. Dammit, I promised ten plus updates and I’m going to turn out ten plus updates. With an option on more ITs.
    -On a related note, I have slowly begun to realize how cockeyed the “barbarians” in this NES are working out. A lack of PCs (partly my own fault) and more importantly a failure to effectively mimic the actual instability in these territories in a non-Roman world are the chief culprits as far as I can tell. Blame Guy Halsall et al. I may use the downtime from NES-running to rework the European barbarians somewhat. Stay tuned.
    -There is a strong chance that, in the creation of the update and the rewrite that ensued, some player actions were lost in the shuffle. If this occurred, be sure to let me know. For some of you, it’s probably better that you don’t draw attention to overlooked actions; some of the ones I noticed were incredibly harebrained and damaging.
    -The Yellow River has slightly changed course as a result of the recent flood, but it wasn’t all that much. Doesn’t need to be noted on the map.
    -I feel that a specific and more drawn-out explanation of the Qypchaq is necessary, outside of a desire to punish Kentharu for switching his country around when I’d already warned him not to and for attempting a simulacrum of a betrayal. I have stated earlier that the junk north of the Tantan and the Mazsakata wasn’t really worth bothering about (though Espoir did recruit from the Turkic and Tungusic peoples up there to a degree). This held true until two things happened: Kentharu weakened himself in the war and silver abruptly shifted focus and left the Khazars Xazarlar out to dry. For their part, the Ashina chiefly switched sides because of location despite their previously high “confidence” stat – they were the ones taking the brunt of Qypchaq migration, so they decided to buy into the Bunaq war-machine when the Mazsakata didn’t quash the Qypchaq early on, as they would’ve done without a war in the south. You may also have noticed that confidence ratings tend to be more mutable in the steppe confederacies. Kind of. Anyway, suddenly there wasn’t much of anything in the way of a Qypchaq migration – and combined with the Xazarlar and Ashina changing allegiances, boom there you have a major steppe power. Climate factors were incidental. Anyway, the Qypchaq are not unkillable, but people are going to have to start making fewer mistakes if they want the Qypchaq to die.
    -It may be safely assumed that virtually every party in every war that’s currently being waged is ready to negotiate. I may initiate some of these negotiations, dependent on whether the NES subforum is able to seduce me away from Chamberlainite Tory tariff reform long enough.

    World Map 620

    Spoiler World Map 620 :
  15. foolish icarus

    foolish icarus Shipwreck

    Jan 31, 2004
    Too close to the sea
    This upstart strategos would look with interest and gratitude on anything one would care to mention (or links to historical papers/books that hold true for this timeline), at one's leisure, about the status of certain overland Asian trade routes potentially pertinent to a doughy little Transoxanian rump state.
    Am I to presume the short summary is, and has been for some time, that "They're boned"?

    edit turns out they've made the whole series freely available in pdf
  16. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    UNESCO has a great history series on Central Asia that takes forever to deliver from France/Belgium. :D
  17. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

    Sep 28, 2005
    Land of the Successor
    From: Sun Zheng, High Chancellor of the Son of Heaven our Chakravartin Lord
    To: Liang

    You have lost favor from Heaven and it rages against you with the force of great water. Will you not recognize the farce that is your rule until the great fire come? Bow before the rightful Son of Heaven, falsest of kings, lest Heaven unleash its torrents until your very memory is lost from this Earth and vanquished to Hell.
  18. Kentharu

    Kentharu Zebra Commander

    Apr 16, 2005
    Place with things
    Dachs. It is absurd that I should get punished because I switched nations. People have done it before. I would use other words to describe it.

    The fact that I saw this coming makes me not so surprised so good update.
  19. conehead234

    conehead234 Braves on the Warpath

    Jan 24, 2003
    I think you forgot my orders...
  20. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Feb 23, 2005
    @conehead: Yeah, it appears as though India got skipped. Like, entirely. I'll fix it by the weekend...

    @Kentharu: Well, after Espoir switched the Goths and Antes invaded, and after silver switched he...got screwed by the same thing that's hurting you. Soooooo...don't try the victim card? Anyway, it's obviously more complex than that; there was a damned good reason for there to be a bunch of Qypchaqs there entirely apart from the fact that musical chairs NESing annoys me.

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