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    Default Let's Play Road of Queens - CKII India AAR

    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Prologue : Enter The Warrior Princess


    History is said to be written by the victors. This is sometimes true. Facts are facts, be they written by the victors or the defeated. Those victors are not always scholars. Sometimes they are great military leaders who have crushed their foes and lifted their banners over the nations they had claimed for their own. Sometimes the holder of the pen were political movements who washed over the land like a flood, destroying and rebuilding all in its wake. Sometimes the writer of history was a dagger in the night or a poisoned goblet. Sometimes they are bitter old men complaining about past wrongs or young men dreaming about bringing about great change. Victory and defeat are both words that mean change. The change is just good or bad depending on what the ripples do to those living in the time period.

    India's first RECORDED history could be traced as far back as 3300 BCE, when the Indus Valley Civilization came to being in the north-western part of the Indian sub-continent, which was the first major civilization in South Asia. Yet it was not till the appearance of the Iron Age Vedic Civilization that we started to see what was to become more familiar to us today such as the social stratification of the caste systems and also texts on Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.

    Soon Dynasty after Dynasty would appear as true Kingdoms would form, rise up, and fall. Sometimes the Kingdom would continue to exist but their rulers were just replaced. These Kingdoms would sometimes have to deal with bandits, famines, and even outside invaders such as Greeks and Arabs. And here our story begins.

    Spoiler: Strange New Queen
    Show


    Modern Artist Impression Of The Queen


    She and her men came to the Kingdom of Kamarupa on the request of the peasants in late 768 A.D. with the promise of gold. The locales were sick of their current Ruler. The fight was brutal but the ruler, King Balavarman, while a brave man, was not a good fighter, and stepped down to be become the Prince of Kamarupa.

    Spoiler: The Ex-King
    Show


    He decided his neck was more important to him than his title. Anyway, she was just a hired sword. Once she left he could easily take over again. He had ruled for 19 years since the death of his father. He would rule again.

    Spoiler: The New Queen
    Show



    But the woman did not leave. Once she had the money, and still had her armed men, she didn't feel the need to go. She changed her name to Arminestra of Dysnomia, declared herself a Buddhist and the NEW Queen of Kamarupa, even while she limped to the throne to sit on it. She was a dark haired Greek with a wound from the fighting still marring her otherwise pretty face. For her to declare herself Queen was shameless but nobody stopped her. They saw something in her eyes. Something...bad.

    Most historians today still debate how much of this information is true or how much of it is just falsehoods to slur the first Queen of Kamarupa. Remember, many of the more famous histories of this period were written decades, if not centuries, afterwards. Many by authors who had their own reasons to color the history in a certain way. Their own axes to grind, if you take my meaning.

    Yet, we can easily gleam some truth out of the many sources. There are letters, journals, palace records, warehouse inventories, and so on that help support many of the following details I will add to our otherwise, very thin, historical outline. I will endeavor to do my best to create a living picture of the events that created the Kingdom anew and explain, as best I can, how we know what we know.

    Now, to say that the nobles were not pleased would be an understatement. And what she did next, if the records are correct, would have been even more upsetting to them and the Prince. She announced, while sitting on the throne still warm from the Ex-King's behind, that from now on only daughters would wear the Crown of the Kingdom.

    Spoiler: Change In The Laws
    Show



    The people of the court were shocked. From now on Absolute Cognatic Primogeniture would be how inheritance was handled within the NEW Royal Family. As many of the vassals in her Realm were either Hindu OR related to the old Royal Family, this was adding insult to injury.

    Picture it. The shocked silence, the glances between the rich nobles as they tried to process what was happening, the nervous shifting of boots on the marble floor, the murmuring of the highborn crowd.

    There she sat, this WOMAN, from the West. A female barbarian who sat on the throne of KINGS. Still covered in sweat and dirt from the battle that had ended just a few hours ago. Her sword notched and smeared with the blood of brave warriors. On top of that she had embraced the religion of the lower classes. Yet, they still did nothing. Many had seen or heard about her skill with the sword and they dared not lift a finger against her. Not openly, anyway. Not then.

    Why didn’t they kill her right then and there? Why not rush her? Maybe it was the guards? Maybe it was that the gentlemen and ladies were not prepared for battle that day? Or maybe none wanted to die for the former King?

    What happened next we know mainly because of the Queen’s own official history and those of her family. Plus we can make some guesses on her state of mind based on the actions she later made.

    It is said she dismissed the court and her private guards secured the room. Maybe the new Queen then leaned back and felt the throbbing wound across the bridge of her nose. The local army had some good warriors. Not as good as her men, of course, but still skilled. She would need to see a surgeon or physician soon. Who knows what may happen to her nose if it is not taken care of soon?

    Now she would have to take it slow and easy. Many of her NEW vassals outright hated her. She would have to work hard to find those who she could trust to put into power. But power could corrupt. Sometimes a barking dog, when you gave it a bone, would bark louder for more. And sometimes a barking dog could bite.

    Greedy men, wishing for power, would not be brought to her side by the promise of more power. Giving drunkards more drinks did not sober them up. She would have to handle her court and her new subjects carefully. Some would want to claim her throne. Some would want to claim her wealth. And some would wish for her hand in marriage. She would need to use many skills - not just her skill with the sword.

    "Well, " she said to herself, "I am a woman of many skills." She grinned, showing a perfect set of shiny white teeth that would have made any wolf proud, and enjoyed, for the moment, the peace and calm of her new throne room.

    "Also it helps," she whispered to herself, "that I have the coin the commoners paid me.(1)"

    Where the lowborn farmers, merchants, and peasants had been able to collect so much gold coins was beyond her. But once added to the treasury it came to a nice sum.

    In fact many historians suggest she might have helped herself to more than was promised to her. And her men might have had some sticky fingers also.

    She looked at a nearby wall, where some artist long ago had been paid to make a map of the region and had done a pretty good job of it. The image was old and worn but presented a Kingdom that was well protected by the mountains and on the end of one of the greatest trade routes of all time. No doubt many an old Kings had studied it and bragged to members of their court about their rich holdings.(2)

    Spoiler: The Silk Road
    Show


    Wealth Came On The Trade Winds


    And there was a reason why the Kingdom were so rich. The Silk Road. Well, a maritime part of it linked this part of the Indian sub-continent to the rest of the world. The local provinces exported many types of fabrics, spices, semi-precious stones, dyes, and ivory. Such items as mangos, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon were all in high demand among the Europeans and the Chinese. In return India received glassware, new types of spices and herbs, metals, and ideas. Strange ideas. Wonderful ideas.

    The woman who now called herself Queen Arminestra cracked her knuckles and decided it was time to get to work. If she wanted to rule the Kingdom first she would need to build a proper foundation.

    "You don't build a house on sand," she said to herself. "And it is about time I settled down in a proper house." She glanced about her throne room and added, "Well, a proper palace."

    She leaned forward and became thoughtful. She eyes lost the madness they had shown a few minutes ago to the uncomfortable court. They became deeper and calmer.

    "I will need to marry," she whispered. "Somebody I can trust not to stab me in the back. And maybe have some education and some skills to offer."

    She looked around the empty room. "And I need to make sure the Council is either full of loyal members or made powerless. I can't rule all by my lonesome."

    She sat up and shouted to her guards, "Bring me the Council! NOW! And the court scribes. We have work to do! Bring tables, lamps and some wine. We will be working as long as needed."

    What she did next was amazingly swift and many researchers suggest that the following happened over a few weeks and NOT a few days, as many of the earlier accounts suggested.

    Her first goal, of course, was to keep the people from trying to kill her next. She needed to build a solid foundation. She realized that military operations, for now, were to be shelved.

    Spoiler: The Queen's Five Year Plan
    Show



    Second, she found a husband among the court who only slightly disliked her. Balavarman, a lowborn Buddhist with no relationship to the Royal Family that she could tell, was the next in line for the Throne. She decided to kill two birds with one stone by suggesting their marry. Of course all offspring would be of her line. He agreed and, by going so, she had one less person to worry about. Sadly, the records say he was VERY ugly and has no useful skills. But neither did he has any real faults.

    Spoiler: Her New Husband
    Show



    She had the wedding right there and then, among the grumbling nobles, confused scribes, and amused soldiers.

    Spoiler: A Cheap Wedding
    Show



    It is said that at the wedding she refused to collect Royal Aid Duty to pay for it. She was trying to regain some of the prestige for marrying such a man of common blood. The guards served the wedding 'guests' cheap wine and trail rations as a wedding feast. Her new husband would, in fact, prove to be useful.

    For next she had to reorganize her Council. It was a mess as the Military Position of the Protostrator (as she demanded Greek titles would be used in her presence) was empty and most of the members hated her.

    Spoiler: Change In Council Membership
    Show



    Her husband became Magistros (think Chancellor who primary job is diplomacy) . After his appointment he was also made the Designated Regent. As you can guess, his feelings towards the Queen just grew warmer.

    The new Protostrator, Harhapala, was also granted the title of Master of the Hunt after his appointment.

    The rest of the Council members were selected for their skills. Many still hated her. The Queen had long term plans to try to bring them about to her way if thinking. Though many historians debate about how much of her actions were planned out or just decided on the spot.

    The very next action she carried out, with the new members of her Council freshly appointed and with her guards still armed and ready, was to have them approve increasing the centralization of the Kingdom. Which gave her slightly more authority.

    Spoiler: MORE POWER!
    Show



    She found out, likely to her great dismay, that many of the lesser titles were still empty. One of which was that the court had no skilled physicians. Not a one! Mounted messengers were sent out right away to search the small Kingdom.

    Spoiler: Is There A Doctor In The Realm?
    Show



    Still, many of the Council pointed out that she held too many titles. Even a Queen was limited to how many holdings she could directly rule over. So after checking the maps, and tax information, she appointed her husband Count of Goalpara.

    Spoiler: Her Husband The Count
    Show




    “Enough for now! The sun has set and I still have important matters to attend to!” said the Queen as she led the embarrassed new King off to her new private chambers.

    Of course, nobody believes that she did so much in so little time. Those who understand the slow wheels of politics and court affairs will tell you that it is doubtful she was able to do this in one day or even one week.

    Others say that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. We will never know, most likely. And so, my readers, I put down my pen and close this short opening to what may be a amazing and yet confusingly long tale of a Greek Queen in a Indian Court. How long will she hold onto power? How long will she survive? We will see. We will see!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. Did she say this? And would she really say the words I will be putting down in this history? Well, the reports that her knowledge of many languages seem to be backed up by her own writings. She seemed to know some Sanskrit (which was THE languages of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and the language of high culture), and was also familiar with the Arabic language, the Persian language, and even some common phrases in Turkish! This was very useful, as in some regions of India Arabic had become the language of religion and of the law. But more importantly Persian was the language of the court. Turkish might be spoken in every day life but produced little in important literature. As all these languages have their own rules, their own syntax, it is not too hard to figure out how something was said or delivered. But we also must assume a Greek influence in her earlier exchanges with her vassals and subjects as much of her own writings was in Greek. Seemed that speaking a native language was not as easy as writing in it. This means that many of her public speeches and private discussions with her vassals, army commanders, and Council members may not have been as well polished as those in the upper-class of India were use to. So I assume she would have sounded somewhat rustic to her new subjects. So I can give you a good idea of what she said and how she said it. If she said it at all.

    2. This wall map still exists and is a wealth of material and historical details to those who can get access to it. The original artwork, sadly, had long since been retouched and repaired so many times we can only guess at the sight that greeted the Queen when she first looked at it. Yet, all who see it, even in its current state, praise it and the wealth it seemed to project.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 12:52 PM.
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    Let's Play -Road Of Queens - CKII India AAR

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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter One : New Blood


    Medicine In Medieval India

    The best place and time to start this chapter is the Queen's throne room the next morning after she had time to wash up and break her fast.

    It is said the first thing she did afterwards was demand up-to-date maps of the Silk Road within the Kingdom. The maps showed her, as they do us today, that the major centers of trade were in the provinces of Kamarupanagra, Haruppeswara, and Kundina.

    Spoiler: Silk Road
    Show


    The Spices Must Flow


    The next step was, therefore, plain to see. She would build a Trade Post in her demesne of Kamarupanagra. The amount of money spent on building it would slowly be returned to her coffers over time.

    She also decided to create a Castle Town around her castle in the province. Once completed such a town would draw people to it and help her province generate more income from taxes.

    Spoiler: Public Works
    Show



    After ordering the construction of the two new projects she started to examine dozen of scrolls the court’s scribes and librarians had brought to her. The scrolls had all the information that they could find on the neighboring Realms.

    First was Raja (King) Viradeva of Shantideva Raj to the south. He was a Hindu ruler who was not a very happy man. A lusty twenty-six year old man who wanted both the province of Dimapur and her husband’s province of Goalpara. She was not impressed by the King.

    Spoiler: The Neighbors
    Show


    But to the west was the Buddhist ruler Maharaja (Great King) Djarmapala of Pala Kingdom. Younger yet more impressive, with more experience and more troops than the Raja Viradeva. And a tad more friendly towards the new Queen.

    In five years she would want to be on the Pala Kingdom’s good side and be ready to start a war with the Shantideva Raj. After all, it had a province that she also wanted.

    But there was the problem of her Council. Her husband, the Magistros was already at work in Kamarupanagara, performing Statecraft. Many today would just call it public relations. But she needed all the help she could get in strengthening her position among the upper class.

    And the Protostrator Harshapala was organizing her army. She trusted him less than her husband but wanted her armed forces to have some training when she finally needed it.

    As for the others...

    She sent her Sakellarios (the Steward), the Mayor of Herombial, to do busy work Researching Economy Technology on the hopes that he would find out ways for her to get more income out of the people. Yet, she didn’t trust him at all.

    In fact the Mystikos was idle as she refused to give him any mission.

    “He will just back-stab me with any important information he finds,” she mumbled to herself as she sat on her throne, looking over the maps. “Anywhere I send him, will not be a safe distance, if he helps a plot go undiscovered.”

    Then there was the Upadhyaya (Court Chaplain), the Pujari Sthitavarman of Prithiminagar, who was in Kindina Hunting Apostates. She hadn’t told him to go do that - he was doing that when she took over the throne. She didn’t like the idea of him being in Kindina OR Hunting Apostates. A believer of Hinduism hunting Apostates within a Buddhist Kingdom?

    It seems that Queen Arminestra was not against torture and spilling blood but felt to do so over religion was uncalled for.(1)

    On the 3rd of January she was notified that the Court Chaplin had secluded himself and was unable to perform his tasks at the moment. As there was no reports of plaques or illnesses of any kind in the Kingdom (or all of India if our studies of the time period are correct) she assumed he was just being, as we say in modern terms, a jerk.

    As she worked at getting pregnant she planned her future carefully. She had plans on how to deal with the Council.

    On the 12th of January when the Baron Bhattamahabahu, her Mystikos, also announced he had secluded himself in Haruppeswara she decided it was time to do something about her Council.

    Spoiler: Really?
    Show



    But before she could put her plans into motion her Spy Master, a man locked up in his own home, notified her of a heretical sorcerer who seemed to be a healer. A sorcerer who was going to be executed. How her Mystikos knew about the sorcerer was a mystery to her but she realized she had to go and look for herself.

    Spoiler: Sorcerer?
    Show



    The "Sorcerer" in question was a Greek, and a Buddhist, and only twenty-eight years old. She decided to pardon him even though she wasn’t really sure making him her physician was a good idea. She knew trying to find anybody to fulfill the position of the Court Physician could take years so she hired him anyway.

    Spoiler: New Court Physician
    Show



    Still, she was also worried that he may be a assassin hired by her own Spy Master to kill her. Not that she could do anything about it. She needed to have a physician in the palace. She just wished the physician she had found LOOKED like he was a skilled physician and not some kind of wandering bard.

    After returning back to the palace, and studying the records on nearby towns, villages, and even the Royal courts in other realms, she sent out invitations to men she felt could easily replace her unwilling Council members. By the 24th of January they started to arrive at court. Sadly, none of them were skilled in the arts of healing.

    Spoiler: New Members Of The Court
    Show



    The first, Govindapala, was a Buddhist and was perfect for the position of Upadhayaya. This position was sweetened when the Queen also gave him the title of Seneschal (a purely honorary title that came with a small salary).

    The second newcomer to the Court was Hormoz who was given the position of the Mystikos and also the title of Court Musician to help him warm up to his new employer.

    She was on her way to meet the third newcomer, Prataparudra, when she bumped into a young man from her own Court. Kumarapala turned out to be a better fit for the position of Sakellarios. She also gave him the title of Royal Builder to, once again, sweeten the deal. Using honey to sweeten the pot always works better than impaling your employees alive on sharpened pikes. As a rule.

    By the middle of March her Council was mostly-loyal and actively working for the betterment of the Kingdom. She felt good about things. Her Council was stable, her coffers were filling up again (already back to 101 gold coins), and those who hated her were almost totally powerless to do anything to her.

    Spoiler: A Changed Council
    Show



    She was enjoying a sunny day sitting on one of the balconies of the palace on the 16th of March. She was just about to dig into the noon day meal when a soldier came up to her and reported that neighbors were mobilized near the border. At first she was somewhat alarmed till it became clear they were not at war with her.
    Spoiler: War?
    Show



    This woke her up to the fact that while she may be a big fish in her tiny Kingdom she was a tiny fish in the bigger pond that was India.

    She looked down at the platter of food, the still warm flatbread, the steaming rice, the yogurt, the vegetables, and the many dishes of different colored sauces. She sighed and waved a maid over to take the food away.

    “I still have a lot of work to do,” she announced to herself as she headed for the throne room. The soldier looked wishfully at the departing food and then followed his Queen.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. Some historians point out that records show the Queen seemed to be VERY open minded about freedom of religion. This is put forward as proof that she was either truly Buddhist or, if not Buddhist, a Humanist. But the majority of historians point out that such ideals would not be held by a warlord who just brutally took over a Kingdom with violence. The irony is that many humanist also point out the total lack of evidence among the records to show any such thing. I prefer to think of her as less of a Humanist and more of a Enlightened Ruler trying to keep the peace.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 12:59 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Two : The Military Powers


    Rush Hour In A Medieval City

    Now, let us, gentle readers, take a look at India and the known world. After all, how can I tell you the story of the Queen, and her line, without setting up the...well, the setting.

    Welcome to 769 AD and the known world was a strange place. With the Fall of the Western Roman Empire things had gone downhill. The Visigoths and Vandals and other barbarians had stomped through Europe and then settled down, taking over large regions. They tried to copy the Romans, becoming Kingdoms and starting their own political infighting and cultural wars.

    Spoiler: New Romans?
    Show


    Am I Roman Yet?


    They, in turn, had to deal with the total collapse of trade, the threat from the next generation of barbarians from the Russian steppes, and soon they also had to face the waves and waves of Islamic invaders coming out of the Middle East.

    Spoiler: Welcome To Europe
    Show

    World At War


    Soon Pagans fought Christians who fought other Christians who fought Muslims. But for now let us focus on India.

    The armies outside the Queen's Kingdom were fighting over a province called Nabadwipa. The Great King of Pala wanted it. Being a leader from a long line of leaders, a multi-generational product of decades of rulers, he was born and bred to led soldiers in combat.

    Spoiler: Fighting Neighbors
    Show



    The Raja on the other hand had gotten his position because the past King failed to leave an heir. He had no formal training at statecraft, leadership, or tactics. At this point of the war anybody betting he would be outsmarted and outfought would likely be winning their bet.

    Let us take a look outside of India, and ignore this tiny war for the moment, and see what the rest of the known world looks like. Who should we look at? Based on what? Let us base it on military force. The top military powers. Everybody respects power, right?

    The first power on the top of the list is the Arabian Empire. The current ruler Caliph Al-Mansur had thirty-four vassals, over ten thousand soldiers, and only one wife. Of course, just having one wife means less sons to fight over the Empire. Not a bad idea in hindsight. At the time he was engaged in only one war and had at least four tributaries.
    Spoiler: Arabian Empire
    Show



    The next one on our list was one of his neighbors, the Byzantine Empire led by Basileus Konstantinos the Fifth. A Emperor with forty-four vassals, just over nine thousand soldiers, one wife, and way too many sons for the Empire's own good. At the time in question he was dealing with ONLY one war and ONLY one revolt. So he was doing pretty well for a Byzantine Emperor.

    Spoiler: Byzantine Emperor
    Show



    Now to Anadlusia, almost known as the Umayyad Sultanate, under the Sultan Abd-al-Rahman. A ruler with thirty-one vassals, two wives, over four thousand soldiers, and he was at peace for the moment. Not much to see here - neither good nor bad. But the future may not be as calm and peaceful as he wished for. First off he had two wives and the four sons. Also one of his neighbors was on the list.

    Spoiler: Anadlusia (Spain)
    Show



    Next on our list of military powers within the known world was West Francia. Led by King Karl of the Karling Family, a ruler with twenty-eight vassals, just under four thousand soldiers, no wives, two kids, and a few claims on his mind. One of which was Middle Francia. Oh, the Karling Family, always worth a laugh. And being so close to Anadlusia suggested we might be seeing more of them in this history. But let us move on.

    Spoiler: West Francia
    Show



    The fifth military power on our list was the Kingdom of Africa. Ruled by the Sultan Umar who had twenty vassals, just under four thousand soldiers, only one wife, no kids, and was at war with Malzuzi. Victory would increase his power, wealth, and troops. Defeat would bring him shame and dishonor.

    Spoiler: Africa
    Show



    The next one the list was the greatest military power in India. The Kingdom Maharastra ruled by the Maharaja (Great King) Krishna of Rashtrakuta. A man with thirty-three vassals, one wife, two kids, just under three thousand soldiers, and a LOT of titles. Many images of him showed him to be a young looking man. When you take into account he was over sixty it means he either paid off a lot of starving artists to improve on his looks or he had very good genes passed down from his father and grandfather.

    Spoiler: Maharastra
    Show




    The last and most important power on our list, the seventh military power, was also in India. The Kingdom of Bengal. Also known to us as the Kingdom of Pala. The Great King Dharmapala of Pala had thirty-two vassals, around four thousand soldiers, no wife or kids, and was right next to the Kingdom of Kamarupa.

    You can see why Queen Arminestra of the Dysnomia was so slow to wield her sword and shield in the name of conquest. India had two of the most powerful armies of the known world. At least in the year 769 AD.

    So we close this chapter with the knowledge that the world was a horrible, smelly place full of death and ruin and lots of sobbing in the corner. Outside of the palaces of course. And we gain a little understanding of the times. Please take that into account when reading future chapters - these are NOT modern people. The Western Heritage most of Europe and the Americans share today, the ideals of freedom and equality, were not even born yet. This is 769 AD. Colds can kill, wolves come into the villages at night and steal children, and beer is healthier for you than water.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 01:04 PM.
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    Let's Play -Road Of Queens - CKII India AAR

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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Three : A Tiger Hunt And Other Pursuits


    Kitty!

    Peacetime can be peaceful and calming. Which is why it is called peacetime.

    For a warrior it can be depressing. The Queen found waiting for the projects to be finished was driving her nuts. Asking for reports each morning just frustrated her more at what seemed like the snail pace of progress. Of course, such things take time. But it didn’t help her temper to be told that again and again.

    And it didn't help the nerves of her attendants either. They took turns being the messengers of bad news. It was said that the words she used when upset could make even the hardened soldiers turn pale.

    She found the life of the palace was boring. The food was good, the beds soft, and the nights exhausting. She wanted, no, needed a baby and the need for a baby took all the fun out of the nightly copulation with her husband. Pregnancy was part of her long term plan to start a Royal Family.

    There were still things needed to be done. For example she ordered her court to send any information to her, no matter how small or meaningless it may seem to be, about the Great King Dharmapala and the "other one" battling each other just outside her realm.

    Spoiler: Two New Commanders
    Show



    There was also the military which reported to her that she needed to appoint two new Commanders. She selected one from within the court and invited a skilled Marshal from another court to take the second open position. After all, the Commanders should know what end of the sword to hold.

    Spoiler: Courtly Courtship
    Show


    Nothing Says Love As Much As An Arranged Marriage


    Then she decided that her Court Doctor needed a wife. And found one willing to come to her court. Tarma Amktsastkacer didn't like her but seemed to hate her current situation more. Of course, the couple had to get married matrilineally as Makarios was a lowborn courtier. The wedding was held on the 30th of March between the two.(1)

    Spoiler: A Small Marriage
    Show



    She still needed action. REAL action. And she found it.

    “A tiger hunt?” said her husband one morning as they shared a rare breakfast together in her private quarters. Normally he was shooed out by the maids so they could make the beds and wait on their Lady.

    “A tiger hunt,” the Queen replied with a nod.

    “Well, yes,” said the Count with a tilt of his head. “Not too late in the year to have a tiger hunt. But they can be dangerous...”

    He stopped himself as he noticed her glare which was directed at him. He decided that the Mango Lassi was truly the most wonderful yogurt drink in the world and used the very action of slurping it down to cut off his own sentence.

    So while war raged outside the border the bored Arminestra of Dysnomia, Queen of Kamarupa, went hunting for big cats.

    Spoiler: Are Those Tigers?
    Show

    Tiger Hunt Done By Artist With No Clue What A Tiger Hunt Looked Like


    So on the 26th of April the Hunt began! Five of the vassals, even four who disliked her, agreed to go on the hunt. Maybe they hoped to see her eaten by a tiger? Only two refused stating they had business they had to attend to.

    Spoiler: Invites To A tiger Hunt
    Show




    By the 8th of May the Queen and her entourage were settling into the hunting camp. Retainers made sure the living quarters were good enough for the her and her court while the hunters and soldiers prepared for the hunt. Soldiers checked their shields and spears while the hunters discussed among themselves the best parts of the land in which to hunt. The court feasted on many types of fruits and enjoyed a wide selection of wines.

    Spoiler: The Hunt Begins!
    Show



    It took over a week of searching and batting the brush before the tiger decided to show itself. On the 18th of May the party found its prey in one of the thick jungles that covered the realm.

    Spoiler: THAT Is A Tiger!
    Show



    When the Queen returned to the hunting camp she found a day old message from the palace waiting in her Royal tent. It seemed that the Spy Master had found out that the Court Chaplain was planning to kill him.

    “Oh by Zeus’s beard!” exclaimed Arminestra. She held her head in her hands for a few moments before writing out a quick note to her Upadhyaya to play nice. Then she joined the merriment outside as her court and soldiers enjoyed the joy of a hunt that ends well.

    Spoiler: Please Behave
    Show



    By the 1st of June she got a reply even while they were starting to pack.

    Spoiler: Glory And A Tiger Skin
    Show



    On the 8th of June she and her hunting party returned to her palace in glory and optimism.

    Back at home she found her good mood helped her for the next few days. On the 10th of June she sent off her Spy Master to study economy and economy related technology. Anything to help increase her income. Also she figured the members of her Council needed to be separated.

    Spoiler: A Visit To The Common People
    Show



    She, herself, went out to visit the elders and people of the land around her palace. She even gifted out a small amount of gold. She figured by focusing on Kamarupanagara she would help its prosperity. And increased prosperity meant increased income.

    Spoiler: Shiny
    Show


    Money Makes India Go Around


    But she still had a problem. Many of her Vassals disliked her so much that they refused to give up her rightful cut of their tax farming. In other words, when they taxed the people, they kept a larger potion of it than they might of if they LIKED their liege.

    Spoiler: Pujari Gopala
    Show



    She decided to do something about that. Looking over her the vassals of her court she selected Pujari Gopala of Hajo. He didn’t hate her as much as the others and he did pass on some of the money. But not as much as was truly due to her. She was only getting 2.71 gold coins out of the 15.05 he collected. About 18% of the cut. She wanted more. And she knew a way to do it without daggers or fire.

    On the 21st of July she started her plan to get what belonged to her. She would romance him!

    Spoiler: Tally-Ho?
    Show



    The Queen had to be careful not to leave any evidence of what she was about to do. She didn’t want to upset her husband and having an affair could make her position among the nobles even worse.

    Spoiler: Start With Some Rumors...
    Show



    After leaving hints and rumors about her interest the Queen got a response from her prey by August.(2)

    Spoiler: And A Letter...
    Show



    She did something dangerous and sent him a letter of love. Which he completely failed to react to. Yet she refused to give up so easily.

    In October she attended a festive in which Pujari Gopala was also attending. Along with most of the court. So she decided to flirt, slightly, not wishing to leave a note or try to get an ally. The fewer who knew what she was up to the better. She sensed he was starting to respond to her attentions.

    Spoiler: Some Alone Time...
    Show



    At a minor event held in November she recognized she had him. His goofy smile, his shining eyes, and his willingness to dance with her. There was no need to go any farther.(3)
    Spoiler: Then Dump him!
    Show



    Not only was he more friendly towards her but he promised her a larger yearly cut of the taxes raked in. Projections showed he could collect 14.60 gold coins and was willing to send her 4.51 gold coins out of the total. Which was around 30% of the income from the Demesne. And doubled what she had been getting before.

    Spoiler: The End Result
    Show



    It had just taken some time, which she had tons of, and she had not even had to bed him or spend money. The Queen was starting to show her many skills.

    With another four years to work ahead of her it just might be possible she could have the Kingdom firmly under her control and also have her own treasury full of coin by the time she wanted to start her first conquest.

    Now she NEEDED a child!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author’s End Notes:

    1. Many believe this is a sign that the Queen was truly bored. One historian went as far as to call her a “bored little housewife”.

    2. Many of the Ladies of the Court were jealous of the Queen. If the King found out about the rumors or gossip she could, truthfully, state that the other women were jealous of her. A note on the other hand is harder to refute.

    3. Having another man’s child would have caused a lot of problems.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-12-17 at 10:02 AM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Four : Future Profits And Plans


    Council Meetings - Did Anybody Bring The Gulab Jamun?

    On the 15th of November, in the year 769 AD, the Queen of Kamarupa called her Council to her private quarters for a meeting. She had been slightly out of touch with the Kingdom, and the outside world, during her adventures at being a seducer and felt the need to get a review of what was happening inside and outside her borders.

    She had selected one of the many dining rooms created for private events. There were a dozen chairs around a big, round, solid table made of marble. It was lovely to look at and was wide enough to make sure none of the members tried to kick each other under it.

    The first in was, of course, the Despot of Kamarupa, her husband the Magistros. He was the most cheerful of the Council. He was always happy to see her and more then willing to please her. He took a chair next to her, on her right, and greeted her with a smile.

    "Greetings my Queen," he stated as the next Councilor entered the room.

    Harshapala, Protostrator of the Kingdom, walked in with a certain pride. He, next to her husband, was one of the first members to be selected by the Queen. He felt a certain security in his position and felt she trusted in his skills as a leader.

    He gave her a silent nod and sat down in the chair to her left. Within his hands were a few scrolls and notes. She approved of that. She was very interested in how the war was going.

    The next in was Sakellarios, Kumarapala, the young man who had gotten the job because she almost ran into him. He seemed very pleased with himself about something and also had a bundle of scrolls in his hands as he sat down, next to her husband.

    He bowed slight to the Queen and said, “Your Highness.” He then nodded to the two other men before starting to untie the scrolls and placing them onto the table.

    The next two Councilors came into the room almost at the same time. Glaring at each other as they were forced to move near each other by the door frame.

    Govindapala, her Upadhyaya, bowed to the room in general and then took a seat next to Harshapala.

    Hormoz, the Mystikos (Spy Master), also bowed to the room but decided to take the nearest chair to the door. It was as if he didn’t trust anybody. Not even the Queen.

    The Queen found this amusing. She should really replace him but he was the most skilled of her Councilors and it was best to keep him close.

    Spoiler: The Council Of Late 769 AD
    Show


    “Welcome gentlemen,” said the Queen as she glanced about the room. “I would like a rundown of the state of the Kingdom. But first, my Protostrator, please educate us on the De Jure War over the province of Nabadwipa.”

    The Protostrator stood up, cleared his throat, and nodded towards the Queen. He then, turning slightly to include the rest of the table, started his report.

    “As you know the Maharaja Dharmapala of the Pala Kingdom is fighting a war with the Raja Viradeva of Shantideva Raj. It started in March and is going slowly. We have information that Nabadwipa is under siege but that the conflict hasn’t moved very quickly. I would say that the war could go on for another, oh, year and a half before it ends. Maybe shorter.”

    “Year and a half?” mumbled her husband. “Why is it taking so long?”

    “Well,” said the Protostrator, enjoying being the center of attention, “while the Great King has a larger pool of soldiers to draw from, many of them are in the siege. But not all of them. We assume the rest are engaged with fighting the enemy soldiers.”

    He bent down, picked up another note and glanced at it.

    “And from what we can tell,” he added after he placed the note back onto the table, “the Raja still has as many men as he started out with. I can only assume that, because of the men who are part of the siege, the Great King does not have enough men to win a quick victory on the battlefield.”

    “He IS Winning,” he continued with a smile, “but as I said it is slow going. A siege can not be rushed without more men.”

    “Anything else we should be alerted to?” asked the Queen. She could tell by his face he had more to say.

    “Oh yes, your Highness,” he said happily.

    He pulled out a map, freshly made no doubt by one of his own officers, and slid it onto the table.

    “It looks like the Rashtrakuta Kingdom is having a revolt.”

    The men looked at each other and Kumarapala even moved to the edge of his chair to get a better look at the map.

    Spoiler: The Rashtraiuta Revolt
    Show



    “Do we know who is winning?” asked Govindapala, who for the moment was so focused on the map that he had forgotten to glare at the Spy Master.

    “No,” said the Protostrator. “It seems to have just started. Nobody has the advantage as of yet.”

    “Thank you Protostrator Harshapala. Wonderful work.”

    “You are welcome your Highness,” the Protostrator replied and sat down with a smile.

    “Sakellarios Kumarapala,” stated the Queen. “I believe you have some information for me.”

    The young man stood up and nodded, “Oh yes your Highness.” He also cleared his throat and picked up a few of his notes.

    “First off, the Trade Post of Kamarupanagara should be finished by the end of the year. I have been told that it will be finished on the 2nd of January, 770.” He beamed to the men around the table as if he was the one building the Trade Post all by himself.

    “And the castle town?” said the Queen with a tilt of her head.

    “Oh yes,” said Kumarapala as he searched through his neatly piled notes. “Oh yes, here it is. The Castle town should be finished...on the 22nd of November. About seven days.”

    “Wonderful to hear,” she said with a smile. “And may I ask about the finances?”

    “Oh, yes your Highness,” said the Sakellarios. He answered without even needing to glance at the notes. “We have 100 gold coins in the coffers.”

    “Thank you,” she said. She waited for him to sit down again and added, “Does anybody have anything else to add?”

    Her husband the Magistros had nothing to report. But that was normal - he talked to her daily and rarely had anything to bring up in the Council meetings.

    Neither the Mystikos or the Upadhyaya had anything to add.

    “Gentlemen, before we end this meeting let me remind you of something.”

    She waited till she knew that she had their undivided attention before she continued.

    “We have four years. Four years to stabilize the Kingdom. Four years to prepare for our first military operation.”

    She pulled out a tiny map of a province and unfolded it onto the table. “This is our first conquest.”

    The men leaned forward and studied the small map.

    Spoiler: County Of Srihatta
    Show



    “This belongs to me,” she stated. “It belongs to the Duchy of Para-Lauhitya. It must be added to Goalpara and Dimapiut.”

    “I don’t want a long drawn out war,” she added as the men continued to examine the map. “I don’t want a slow, painful war. This will not be a war. This will not be a fight.”

    She seemed to growl as she pointed towards the map and added, “This will be a one-sided slaughter.”

    After letting that sink in she stood up and said, “This meeting is over.”
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-12-19 at 11:27 AM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Five : A Baron And A Blessing


    What Do You Mean He ISN’T Into Me?

    After dismissing her Council she pulled out some papers she had been reading. She had been selecting her next victim among her court. The Baron of Bhattamahabahu of Numaligarh looked like a good target. He collected, yearly, 6.02 gold coins but only passed on less than one gold coin to the Queen.(1)

    Spoiler: The Baron
    Show



    She did the math in her head and frowned. He was passing on less than 7% of the tax collected in the province!

    She decided the best choice was, of course, to seduce him. On the 16th of November she started her scheme to win him, and his funds, for herself.

    Spoiler: The Chase Begins
    Show



    The history records show it went...poorly.

    Spoiler: Start With Some Rumors...
    Show



    In December she started some rumors about her love for the Baron. And he returned her attention with his own “rumors” about the Queen and her love of a horse.

    But the Queen refused to give up. She sent him a wonderful sword as a New Year's gift to bring in 770. He sent her a dagger. She pretended to her maids that it was a wonderful gift for her. She was able to pull it off only because of her background as a warlord. And also the maids didn't feel it was right to correct their Lady.

    Spoiler: Add A Sword...
    Show



    She refused to give up. She sent him a scented letter in late February. That also failed though the details pasted down in the history books are fuzzy.

    Spoiler: And A Letter...
    Show



    Funny enough her private papers state that one of the guards took a fancy to her during this period and she refused his advancements. She wasn’t trying to have fun - this was not a game - to her seduction was all about gaining wealth and power. A lowly palace guard had neither.

    Spoiler: Maybe Another Sword...?
    Show



    She tried a sword again in the middle of April and got nothing in return. In fact, from what she could gather from her maids, he hated her more then ever.

    For a time she gave up. Her actions had driven him farther away from her grasp. Which meant she may as well kiss the income goodbye.

    Somebody must have noticed the Baron’s bad mood whenever he had to deal with the Queen. Also, at the time of the first attempt of seduction he was somewhat ill. Somebody decided this must have been the Queen's fault because by the 29th of April she had earned the title of “The Cruel”.

    At that point she decided to try again. From her journals we can only assume she was fueled by anger. A cooler head would have given up that track and tried a different one.

    Spoiler: Let's Try This Again...
    Show



    So after taking a short rest she, again, started the chase.

    Spoiler: Is It A Boy Or A Girl?
    Show



    Shortly after starting her second try at seducing the Baron one of her maids suggested that she may be with child. After being examined by a midwife it was decided that she was, indeed, heavy with her husband's child.

    The joy of finally getting pregnant just gave her renewed energy to plot and plan her chase of the Baron.

    Spoiler: ...And A Letter...
    Show



    She tried the love letter again and once again was rejected. Though, once again, the details on how it was rejected are lost in the mists of time.

    Spoiler: MY LOOM!
    Show



    In July she tried another sword and found it jammed into her favorite loom! Now, one must remember that many a lady of the court spent a large amount of time weaving and sewing. Such activities were felt to be perfect hobbies for gentle women of good families. Also the finished products could be sold to bring extra cash to the family. The family looms and handlooms were part of the soul of India. To find her loom damaged by the very gift she had given him was a huge insult.

    So at this point she gave up again. Her private papers suggested she was now mad at herself for making things worse. But she refused to think of herself as a quieter. The Baron just could not be seduced by her. It was like trying to talk to a wall and expecting it to answer back. You could not make a wall talk no matter how much you tried. So she started exploring two other choices.

    If the Baron died without an heir she would get the title. Now the Baron was a well liked man and it was unlikely anybody would agree to help killing him.

    But India was FULL of jealous women and there was a line of women willing to kill his wife. Of course, assassination was a dangerous business and she decided to shelf the idea for a less risky one.

    In trying to seduce him she had pushed him to the point of rage. He hated her with a passion. If he was pushed even more he might do something insulting or outright unlawful. In other words if she gave him enough rope she might be able to deal with him legally.

    So she decided to watch the Baron and his wife. And wait.

    Spoiler: The Daily Show
    Show


    Today In The News


    Along side the events of the failed “romance” and the Queen's pregnancy there were other events just as important happening within the Kingdom.

    The Castle Town was finished on the 22nd of November in Kamarupanagara. It would help bring in money - a income nobody but she could touch.

    On the 31st of December it was reported that the siege of Nabadwipa had been completed and the Great King was marching deeper into his enemy‘s territory.

    The Trade Post was finished on the 3rd of January and the Queen paid for an expansion to be made to it. A Silk Road Trade Post would take another 122 days and cost 97.8 gold coins BUT would increase both wealth and income for the province.

    On the 25th of March it looked like the war was more than half way done between the Maharaja and the Raja. The Great King was slowly but surely winning it.

    Spoiler: The Silk Road Trade Post
    Show



    The Silk Road Trade Post was finished in May. Now the Queen’s private, DIRECT, income would increase. A income not controlled by other nobles and local officials.

    Spoiler: Siege Of Karmanta
    Show



    On the 3rd of June it was reported that the Kingdom of Pala had troops in Karmanta. It was now under siege and the military assumed the war would likely end sooner than anybody had thought. On the other hand, many felt it had already lasted longer than it should help. Maybe the Great King was not so “Great” after all?

    Spoiler: He Never Offered ME a Cut!
    Show



    Then it was discovered that Govindapala was selling religious favors and pocketing the money for himself. The Queen realized that he had to be removed and even demanded he leave the court.(2)

    Spoiler: Nabadwipa Now Belonged To Pala Kingdom
    Show



    As she was deciding who to make the new Court Chaplain the war over Nabadwipa ended in late July. The Great King had won.

    She finally selected her Court Doctor and default Heir to the Kingdom as the new Upadhyaya of Kamarupa. It is said she could not see him and his bald head without chuckling. She sent him to research cultural ideas in the surrounding villages and towns of Kamarupanagara on the hopes of finding new ideas and ways of doing things.(3)

    Spoiler: New Upadhyaya IS Her Court Chaplain
    Show



    By now the Queen had decided that seduction was a tool best used against men of weaker stuff than such men as the Baron. After all, she was a woman of many skills and planned to use all of them to secure her position.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. This likely means he sent her copper or silver coins. Please remember that is it unlikely they are dealing only in gold coins. The gold coin were just the best way to describe the large sums used among the Kingdoms and Duchies of India and Europe at the time. As a dollar equals a hundred pennies a gold coin equaled a certain amount of silver or copper coins.

    2. He would have been upset about being fired and, if he was going to be angry at her, it was best he was forced to leave the court and be angry at a distance.

    3. The Queen seemed to call him either the Court Doctor or the Court Physician in her papers as if she had a problem picking which one truly fit him. It could have been she just didn't trust him. He was both the person who had to keep her healthy BUT was also her Heir to the Kingdom in case of her death. Even modern scholars have a hard time understanding how that happened.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 01:35 PM.
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    This is pretty delightful. Looking forward to seeing it continue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    This is pretty delightful. Looking forward to seeing it continue.
    Thanks! In fact the next chapter should be coming up right after I finish this post.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Six : Prepping For War


    Paperwork - The Foundation Of All Empires

    The Queen Arminestra the Cruel sat at her desk in her private chambers and thought. It is said when she was thinking the expression on her face became softer and less furious looking.

    Outside the palace the air was warm, the skies clear, and the birds were happy. The 30th of July was a slow day. A perfect day to think about her next steps in ruling her Kingdom.

    She had decided, for now, to put aside the issue of income to focus more on the military side of her Kingdom. She sighed and pulled out a small scroll and unrolled it. It was a short list of the Commanders available to direct her warriors. Many of her best Commanders were also the same men who would switch sides in battle. She needed to turn them into loyalists. Only Partap and Hippolytos liked her.

    Spoiler: Military Commanders
    Show



    As she glanced over the list she could not help but snicker. The Ex-King, Prince Balavarman, was one of her Commanders. And there was a reason he had failed to keep his throne. He was neither a master of individual combat nor a master of tactics.

    The Commander who interested her the most was Prataparudra. He was one of the best Commanders she had AND his dislike of her wasn't as great as many of the men in her court. After all, it wasn't like she had done anything BAD to him. She had invited him to her court and then hadn't give him a position on the Council.

    She pulled out some paper and used a small stone mortar to grind up some fresh ink. After a few minutes of work she gently dried the ink with a blotter and rolled up the two newly made scrolls carefully. She then sealed both with red ribbons. She rang a bell and gave the scrolls to the answering attendant.

    "Make sure these go to the right Commanders," she commanded. She smiled as the attendant took the two scrolls away.

    One scroll was the appointment of the Prince as her Seneschal. He was now the person responsible for feasts and entertainment. Most of the work was done by helpers but it was still a prestigious post none the less.

    The second scroll was for Prataparudra. He was now Master of the Royal Elephants. The Elephants were symbols of stability and strength. Therefore the position was a very important one.

    She also decided to authorize a small gift to be made to Prataparudra of 15 gold coins. She hated to bribe people but felt, in this case, it was justified.

    The results would be worth it.

    Spoiler: Somewhat-Happy Commanders
    Show



    Now that was over she could enjoy the sight of the tiger skin on the floor of her private quarters. It reminded her of good times. It also reminded her of the first war she was planning.

    Thakur Pusyamitra of Srihatta, the province she planned to take, was a lusty, warrior of the Hindu Faith. But she did care about him. What interested her more was one of his Commanders.

    Spoiler: Plans Of The Future
    Show



    Harjjaravarman was a Buddhist and his training would have likely made him a better scholar or monk than a soldier. And he LIKED the Queen more than his own liege.(1)

    As she looked over the information she decided that she needed to keep track of this man. He may end up being the new Count of the province and one of her newest vassals once the province was hers.

    "Now," she said as she rolled up the other scrolls, "to work on guarding my right flank."

    She placed the remaining scrolls into pigeonholes built into the desk. She then stood up and went to her dresser where she gently applied some perfume to her cleavage.

    Spoiler: Armed And Ready
    Show


    Perfume - Another Type Of Weapon


    The Queen rang the bell again and told the answering attendant, "Get my maids. I need to pack. And alert the guards. We are going on a short journey.”

    When her husband came to her to ask where she was going she explained that she was going on a diplomatic mission.

    “I am going to see the Maharaja Dharmapala. When we go to war I want him to be on our good side. Be a dear and keep at your work.”

    “But surely that is my job,” pointed out her husband.

    She smiled and patted him on his left cheek and replied, “But you're so busy right here helping with the politics and diplomacy of the Kingdom and court. I need you here.”

    As, from what the history books tell us, she had a very scary smile he protested no more.

    So on the 31st of July she headed off to seduce the seventeen year old Great King of the Kingdom of Pala.

    Spoiler: To Chase A Great King!
    Show



    The roads between the two Kingdoms were long but safe. And, of course, she had her own guards to protect her from any bandits, tigers, or crazy street vendors. She timed it to arrive right when the Pala Kingdom was holding a festive outing, a picnic, which was a somewhat crowded affair.

    Spoiler: Meet And Greet
    Show




    He seemed to enjoy her flirting. Maybe the King was into older women?

    Spoiler: Exchange Of Letters
    Show



    Next she sent a letter to him. He sent one back confessing his attraction for her. Her goal, of making him fall in love with her, was almost within reach.

    Then the Great King went to war. He declared it on a one-province piece of soil called Rajrappa. But a rich province.

    Spoiler: War Interruptus
    Show



    The Queen could not get to see him no matter how many times she went to seduce him. He was leading troops in battle and that was that. He still liked her but felt the business of the Kingdom came first.

    Spoiler: Busy? What Do YOU mean He Is Busy?
    Show



    By January of 771 she gave up trying to seduce him. But did not give up on trying to influence him.

    In fact she had decided to send him a concubine. She was in her office, trying to decide which of the women in her court hated her the most, when her water broke.

    On the 17th of January, in the year 771 AD, the Queen Arminestra the Cruel and Despot Balavarman of Kamarupa gave birth to a sickly male baby who was named Andronikos.

    Spoiler: A Baby Boy
    Show



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. The Court of Srihatta had a mixture of Hindus and Buddhists. For example, the Count's wife was Buddhist and she disliked her own husband while secretly approving of the Queen.
    Last edited by Valley; 2018-05-11 at 10:18 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Seven : Birth And Illness


    The Beauty of Motherhood

    Births could be difficult at the best of times. In the year 771 AD, in Medieval India, births could go very badly.

    Spoiler: I don't feel so well...
    Show



    Not only was the boy born sickly but something went wrong inside the Queen. The midwives had called for the Court Physician. Even while they waited for the Physician the Queen took the boy, looked him over, and then said, “I name you Andronikos. May you be worthy of it.”

    Historians today believe her following illnesses were caused by stress due to all the traveling she had been doing, the complications of childbirth, and the mixture of medical skills of the Court Physician Makarios Tarmid.

    Even while waiting for the Physician she could not be stopped from scheming. After some study she sent Devavati, one of her courtiers who was jealous of her, to become Maharaja Dharmapala’s concubine. He gladly accepted the Queen’s offer.

    Spoiler: So Nice To See HE Is Happy
    Show



    She also made her worried husband promise that their son would be educated in the way of duty. She figured if he ended up being the only child he should be trained to become the ruler. Even if he was male.

    After examining the Queen the Physician announced she had cancer. He then proceeded to wrap her in wet linens like she was a mummy.

    Spoiler: Mummy?
    Show



    When the Queen started vomiting the Physician announced she had food poisoning and forced her to jog around the palace.

    Spoiler: Now Sick AND Sweaty
    Show



    Funny enough, during all this, her old face wound healed. It left a scar that impressed quite a few people.

    Spoiler: Cool! Now If I Could Stop Puking
    Show



    All the jogging, on the other hand, gave the Queen the runs. The Physician announced that it was still food poisoning, no doubt caused her humors which were out of balance, and it could be cured with bloodletting.

    Spoiler: What now?
    Show



    According to many sources from within the palace the Queen swore to her husband that she would let the Physician’s blood out soon if she didn’t start feeling better soon.

    At this point, about the middle of March, the De Jure War over Rejrappa ended. Of course the Greet King won.

    Spoiler: Rejrappa
    Show



    She was so ill she was ready to die, if only to end the pain, but the Physician suggested one more cure. The Queen made her own suggestion. She suggested he use a treatment that was well tested. It is said in the stories passed down from generation to generation that she said it with a smile. Her well known smile. A scary smile.

    Spoiler: EWWWW!
    Show



    He covered her in cow dung and herbs. By early July she had recovered completely.

    Spoiler: Praise Buddha!
    Show



    Spoiler: I Will Build A Temple In Your Name! Some Day...
    Show

    Blessed Buddha


    She spent a few days enjoying life and it is said she even promised, aloud in public, to repay Buddha for her continued life. Afterwards she went to her private quarters and demanded as much information about current events and news as they could bring her.

    She found out that the Great King still felt some strong feelings towards her. And Dharmapala truly seemed to be happy with his new concubine. But the servant network told the Queen that the concubine was not happy with her new Lord. While Devavati had many good traits and could produce some wonderful offspring this could make her all the more dangerous if she felt her children were threatened.

    Spoiler: A Ticking Time Bomb
    Show



    That was the big problem with Harems. They could become tiny battlefields. If he married a wife or gained more concubines there was every chance that the women would try to kill each other. The women would do anything to protect their own children's future. And yes, that included murder.

    The Queen had placed a fox inside his henhouse and he didn't know it. He should have been more selective.

    Also, she noticed that there were foul rumors floating around about the Maharaja. No doubt started by an enemy or rival. No matter who started it the rumor was doing damage to his public image.

    Looking at her own "House", as it were, she noticed at least six of her eight vassals were sending her income. Not as much as they should of, in most cases, but still a nice bit of change.

    Spoiler: Her Vassals
    Show



    And in her private writings there WAS a promise made to Buddha that one day she, or one of her descendants, would build a temple to him.

    So my readers I set down my pen and blow out my lamp. As I close this chapter I leave you with this image of a older but wiser Queen, ruling a stronger Kingdom and giving birth to the future of said Kingdom.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 01:53 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Eight : Duchies And Buddhist Monks


    Eat, Buddha, Become Big And Strong

    The Queen stared at the map in front of her. She had to make a decision and she didn't want to. Ever since she had claimed the throne one of the complaints from her vassals was she had one too many Duchies. Kings or Queens could only have two. That was the way it was. That was the way it had always been. Tradition! Custom! What ever you called it the fact she had three Duchies was hurting her.

    Spoiler: The Three Duchies
    Show



    So if she give one away the vassals would be happier with her. And some might loosen their purse strings more than they have done already.

    Money. Oh, the need for money above all else. It was driving her like the devil. Not because she liked how the gold coins shined. But because of what it can pay for. It could help keep her warriors on the field, keeping them fed and supplied. It could help PAY for hired swords and also keep them in the field, allowing her the advantage in numbers.

    The problem was not knowing WHAT to do. She knew which Duchy to give up and who to give it to. She just wondered about the long term issues that might arise from such a decision.

    Spoiler: The Duchy Of Kamarupanagara
    Show



    The Duchy of Kamarupanagara held the Counties of Kamarupanagara and Kamatapur. Kamarupanagara held her Trade Post, her Silk Road Trade Post, and her Castle/Palace. As that County was her money-maker there was no way she could give up that Duchy.

    Spoiler: The Duchy Of Sutiya
    Show



    The Duchy of Sutiya held the Counties of Haruppeswara and Kundina. Both were on the Silk Road and were perfect places for future Trade Posts. To give them up would be to give up the future of the Kingdom. So there was no way for her to give up that Duchy.

    Spoiler: The Duchy Of Para-Lauhitya
    Show



    Then there was the Duchy of Para-Lauhitya. She owned the County of Dimapur while her husband held the County of Goalpara. Neither were part of the Silk Road and therefore were no where as valuable to her future and power.

    So the best Duchy to hand out was the Para-Lauhitya. And as her husband already had a County there he was the best one to get the title. The reason for this was, one, he was loyal and, two, the Duke of a Duchy needs to have land within the Duchy to have a capital.

    If she gave the Duchy to somebody else she would also have to hand over the County of Dimapur. She wanted to keep the county - she liked direct income.

    By handing over the Duchy to her husband, her vassals will be happy to see her spreading out her power a tad, which should make them gave her more money and that would make her happy.

    But there were issues. Dukes had a habit of wanting to control ALL the Counties under their title. Her husband may want Dimapur for himself. Or he may even start a war with the Raja for the third County he believed was part of his traditional holdings.

    And there was also the problem of her son.

    If he became King he would inherit the Duchy and County his father held when the Despot died. Which he could then use himself, as the King, to reward good vassals.

    If, on the other hand, she had another child and it is a daughter, her son would inherit the titles from his father when he died, becoming a Duke (and Count). Which wasn't a bad thing if he was content with those holdings. And was okay with NOT being the King.

    But what of he wanted more? What if he decided he wished to be King? A powerful and will liked Duke could cause a lot of problems. That was the issue when giving out power. You never knew when it might be used against you.

    She had to decide and she decided to go through with it. She put her seal on the proper documents and made the announcement on the 8th of July, 771.

    Spoiler: The Duke of Para-Lauhitya
    Show



    Her Husband was VERY pleased at his new title of Doux Balavarman the Third of Para-Lauhitya. And he didn’t seem to have any problems with having only one County of his new holdings. Yet.

    Now, she knew that the Kingdom’s yearly income, or at least her share of the cut, had been 48.46 gold coins. So she decided to wait a little, let things settle down, then check with the accountants and see what the new yearly projections were and see what changed happened among her vassals.

    While waiting there were other events that drew her notice. First off the Great King started another war. This time wanting the province Kusinagara. This was part of a larger two-province holding. But this province was the capital and therefore the most developed of the two. A worthy prize.

    Spoiler: The Great King And Another War
    Show



    Her writings, and the writings of those close to her, suggested she was wondering how the Maharaja Dharmapala was handling all the new members joining his court and all the new vassals. Yes, he had a huge army, but he seemed to be growing a little too swiftly from her point of view. Just dealing with the vassals she had started out with seemed bad enough to her.

    Spoiler: Dimapir's Harvest Festivals
    Show



    On the 17th of August her husband alerted his wife about the peasants of Dimapur and a new tradition they had started. Really, it seemed like a reason to party but she realized that if she helped it along it could draw more people and more business to the region. So she willingly put forth some coins into the province to help the tradition along. She gained some prestige and the Harvest Festivals would increase the wealth in the province.

    That same day she called on her accountants to check to see if the projections of yearly income had changed. The yearly income had gone up to 51.06. But this increase had come from other sources than her vassals, for the holdings of Hajo was, in fact, giving her less money. It seemed like there was a change in ownership of the Hajo but she did not remember replacing anybody? Who in Hades’s name was Anatolios?

    Spoiler: Vassals Are Giving Me LESS Money?
    Show



    She was slightly disappointed in the lack of change among her vassals.

    It seemed the investment into the Harvest Festivals were the cause for the increase in her income. The accountants said that those events would help the province increase trade and business, for now, and help boast the Queen’s income. So much of a boast, in fact, as to cover the lose of the 1 gold coin. And then some.

    She decided to investigate the matter herself.

    Spoiler: Anatolios
    Show



    Bhikkhu Anatolios was an ordained male monastic. In plain terms that meant he was a Buddhist monk. He was VERY handsome, was fighting his biggest flaw (he REALLY loved his food), and he sucked as a Tax Farmer. He had no skills at stewardship AND he didn‘t like the Queen as much as the last Priest had. The Vihara of Hajo (the Buddhist Monastery) was making 8.03 gold coins yearly and sending her 3.44 gold coins of it. That was over 42%! Which was still pretty good.

    He must have replaced the old Pujari and that was all there was to it. No where were there records on what had happened to the old Priest in charge. Maybe he was traveling in a journey of self-improvement. Maybe he had died. Maybe he had married. Maybe being seduced by the Queen had opened his eyes to the world of love and making babies.(1)

    Nobody even explained to her how a Hindu Temple Priest, and Hindu temple, had been replaced by a Buddhist Monk, and a Buddhist Monastery, within just a couple of months.(2)

    She decided to let it slide. Better to keep the Buddhists happy then getting fussy over one gold coin. They seemed to like her and she could always use the Karma.

    Spoiler: Buddhist Monks Among Her Vassals
    Show



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. One author suggested that Pujari Gopala left the Kingdom, brokenhearted, and ended up a Hindu Temple Priest in Pushkar. The problems with this is the author could not explain how the Pujari Gopala had become older so fast (he was now in his forties), had changed his appearance, and changed his ethnicity.

    Spoiler: Who Is This Guy?
    Show



    Of course the book was on the New York Time's Bestseller List for five months.

    2. It could be a Buddhist Queen was drawing more Buddhists to the Kingdom, driving out those of the Hindu Faith, but there is really no evidence of this within the historical records.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 02:03 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Nine : Walk About The World (Again)


    Always Take A Map When On The Road

    My lovely readers, welcome back to the world of Queen Arminestra. Let us take another peek at the outside world. And once again what is the best way to examine the outside world, the known world, but to look at the military powers in August, 771 AD. Let us start!

    Spoiler: Arabian Empire
    Show



    First we fly to the Middle East, were we find the Caliph Al-Mansur of the Arabian Empire is still on top. With four wives, three sons, thirty-one vassals, and over eleven thousand warriors in his armies. He had gained three wives but lost three vassals. Must be nice to be the Caliph! Still, at his age he better be careful.

    Then we fly to Asia Minor where we find Basileus Konstantinos the Fifth of the Byzantine Empire. He still has the same wife, same amount of offspring, forty-seven vassals, and over five and a half thousand soldiers. Gained three more vassals it seems. And only in one war. Very nice.

    Spoiler: Byzantine Empire
    Show



    But he is also getting on in years. When he passes on will his son be strong enough and patent enough to handle such a Empire surrounded by enemies? And how about the enemies within his own family? Only the future will tell.

    Spoiler: Anadlusia (Spain)
    Show



    We fly to the west and slightly to the south, to Anadlusia, still known as the Umayyad Sultanate, still under the Abd-al-Rahman. Seems his first wife has passed away, being replaced by his second wife. He also wed three others wives, no doubt as backups. Looks like he has broad tastes in his women. He has two more children but they don't count - they're girls. He has thirty-one vassals and over four thousand soldiers. In two wars but I am sure he can handle it.

    Now we fly up to Hunoald of West Francian Revolt. Wait, you ask, what happened to West Francia? This Revolt kicked it down the list. This King, with his wife, one surviving son, twelve vassals, and just under three thousand soldiers is causing the King of West Francia some grief.

    Spoiler: West Fracian Revolt
    Show



    And yes, you are correct to point that out, the soldiers he can call out does not look like a lot of soldiers. If he was a well liked King and a well organized King he could call to war over four and a half thousand soldiers. That is why he and the Revolt is number four. Because of the possible numbers he could one day call forth. But at the age of fifty-four, with two wars on his hands, AND stressed I doubt we will be seeing him in future reports. Or maybe we will?

    Now we cross the Mediterranean to the Kingdom of Africa, who has won its war, and is still ruled by the Sultan Umar. He has added three more wives to his court, has twenty-two vassals (which means he added two new vassals), but still no children. He is also stressed.

    Spoiler: Africa
    Show



    Still, he has just over four thousand warriors, good military skills, and his youth. I assume he will do great things in the next few years.

    Now we fly back to India and to the Kingdom of Pala (Bengal). Wait, you say? What happened to the Rashtrakuta Kingdom? Well, remember that Revolt? It is still going on. In fact, the Rashtrakuta Revolt would be number eight if we bothered to make the list that long. Seems they have more troops available than the Rashtrakuta Kingdom even though the Revolt seems to be losing.

    Spoiler: Pala (Bengal)
    Show



    So we all know the Kingdom of Pala. The Maharaja Dharmapala of Pala. One concubine, no offspring, thirty-one vassals, and over three thousand warriors. He once had more but he IS in his third war - he barely gives his military time to recruit and train between conflicts! Of course, the rumors about him may also be hurting his vassals opinions of him.

    He seems young and strong but does have a habit of leading his men by example. In other words, he is right up front. Not a bad trait but maybe not the best idea if he wants to enjoy the glory his armies are giving him.

    Now, for number seven! For that we fly back to Western Europe! To Middle Francia! With the knocking out of the other two Kingdoms, King Karloman, of the Karling Family, also known as the Witch Hunter, has his moment to shine. With one wife, two sons, thirty-two vassals, and just under four thousand troops he looks like he may be near the top for future reports. Even at war with the Umayyad Sultanate. Of course among his claims is a claim on West Francia. Looks like he has big plans. Very big plans. One day he plans to rule France.

    Spoiler: Middle Francia
    Show



    This does not look good for West Francia.

    So the players have changed, slightly, as wars and fate bring them down or push them up. Once again my dear readers, let me clean my pen, put out the lamp, and carefully close the book on this chapter. Our next chapter will fly back to India, where we will focus our eyes on the Queen and the events surrounding her Kingdom. For is that not what this story is for? To follow the current main character, Queen Arminestra the Cruel, and see how she handles the stresses and tribulations of the future.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 02:09 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Ten : Dynasties And Greeks


    The Goal Of All Royal Families - To Be too Big To Fail

    The Queen looked over the reports from her son's nannies and personal maids. It seemed that while her boy was very sick he was showing himself to be a quick learner. Prince Andronikos was well liked by most of the people around him. He was even given some coins as gifts!

    Spoiler: Prince Andronikos Of Kamarupa
    Show



    Her own boy made her think about her neighbors. Their children today could be her enemies tomorrow. She ordered that her scribes and record keepers bring her anything they had on the next generation of the two Kingdoms next to her.

    When they arrived she took them to her private chambers, opened the bundles with a small knife, and gave them a look over.

    The first papers she looked over dealt with Shurapala Shantideva. Older than her son he wasn't much to look at yet. His father directed his early upbring and would likely educate him well into adulthood. He was an only child and his father had no other offspring so unless there was an accident he would become the next Raja.

    Spoiler: Shurapala Shantideva
    Show



    No surprises there.

    But the next bundle of paperwork was much more interesting to read. Rajkumar Vakapala was the Great King's younger brother. He disliked his older sibling and at the age of 14 was already talking about how he wanted to be the The Great King. His only really outstanding features was that he was fast learner and he was somewhat greedy. Also, she noticed the older brother was NOT the boy's Guardian and Teacher. Who knows what lessons the boy was learning? The Great King didn't know.

    Spoiler: Rajkumar Vakapala Of Pala Kingdom
    Show



    She placed the papers onto the desk and shook her head. In two years he would be old enough to plot and scheme and demand titles. All it would take is a marriage to a worthy woman and he could be dangerous. Anybody with half a brain would realize he could be trouble. But with big brother away at war all the time...

    After returning the bundles to her staff she spent the rest of her time waiting, plotting, scheming, and keeping track of the money dripping into the coffers. Weeks went by. And she made sure to keep track of every coin, every report, every hint of anything of import.

    Spoiler: Kusingara Belongs To Pala
    Show



    In April, of 772 AD, the De Jure War Over Kusingara ended. Of course the Great King won. Again.

    The information of the victory confused the Queen slightly and she went to her Council for some answers.

    "I thought the war was for the County of Sravasti," she stated, pointing out one of the maps.

    No, no," they explained. "The war was against Sravasti over the province of Kusinagara. See, on this map of Countries, Sravasti was also the name of the Thakur's holdings AND the name of the County, as you can see on this map of Counties."

    "So Thakur means Count?" she replied.

    "Oh yes, just as Raja is equal to a Duke or Doux," they stated.

    "But Raja means King," she commented, even more confused.

    "Well," said her husband, the only one brave enough to correct her, "a lot of independent rulers use Raja as a title."

    "So Maharaja is Great Duke?" responded the Queen looked even more confused.

    "Well, no," he said with a shrug. "It means Great King. Raja does translate to King but it has been used to describe a Duke or Doux under a more powerful liege or a independent liege who is not powerful enough to be a Maharaja. So Maharaja translates to Great King but means just King in most cases."

    It is said the Queen face palmed.

    Shortly after this a group of five Greeks showed up in the Court. They said they had traveled all the way from Greece to find the "Famous Queen Who Ruled In The East". Sadly they had no gifts.

    Spoiler: Unwelcomed Greeks
    Show



    The Queen didn't believe it for a second. From their dress and manners she knew they were from the Byzantine Empire. So they were telling part of the truth. But it was easy to see they were lowborn scum. They also seemed very uncomfortable in her throne room. She could tell they disliked her and seemed to dislike the Buddhist statues and symbols about her palace as well. (1)

    One day a in May the Protostrator brought to her attention a military talent called Romanos. Not only did he have some wonderful skills and was loyal BUT he was willing to serve as a Commander. And he was a Buddhist Greek to boot!(2)

    Spoiler: A New Commander To Replace An Old One
    Show




    When she compared him to one of her other Commanders there was no contest. Romanos replaced Ratnapala - luckily it seems nobody gets upset when removed from military duty so she didn't cause any more damage to the Ex-Commander's already low opinion of her.

    Spoiler: He Likes His Titles
    Show


    In late August the Maharaja Dharmapala of Pala Kingdom created the title Raj of Magadha (Duchy of Magadha) and in late October he started a Pala-Munda De Jure War over Munda. A County that belonged to Thakur (Count) Pasna. A County that produced 1.40 gold coins yearly.

    Spoiler: He Also Likes His Wars
    Show



    She pondered that. He was trying to take a County because of what? Not wealth. Surely a war would cost him more than 1.40 gold coins. Why then? Because it was on his border and, therefore, easy to invade? Because he could? Or did he feel that he SHOULD?

    She frowned and rubbed her forehead. If the Great King was so interested in expanding he might not care if he found her attractive or not. He might come for her Kingdom because it looked good on one of his maps. She put that away, safe and sound in the back of her mind, to worry about later.

    Spoiler: A Baby Vassal
    Show



    In November a son was born to Makarios Tarmid and Tarma Anktsastkacer named Anktsas Makariosoya. The couple asked for the Queen to decide his future education and she demanded they teach the boy about Buddha and Greek culture.

    As they took the baby away the Queen suddenly had an idea on what to do with all those Greek exiles hanging about her palace.

    Spoiler: First You Get The Women
    Show



    First she invited three young women to her court. Then she made three of the Greek slackers (Dionysios, Alexios, and Ioannikios) marry the women. None of the men were what we would call a catch and the couples did not seem to enjoy the idea of getting married to each other. But they obeyed their Queen.

    Spoiler: And Then Mass Marriages
    Show



    After the weddings her confused husband asked her why she had done that.

    Her reply was, "New blood."

    On the 1st of February, of the year 773 AD, the Queen was pondering her next move. She had less than a year before the five years of peace she had promised were up. And she wanted to start the war as soon as possible. The Kingdom had 153 gold coins and the warriors she could call up from her own holdings and her vassals numbered almost two thousand. She had earned respect and karma. Her largest and most powerful neighbor had a crush on her and would mostly likely not even notice if she started a war.

    Spoiler: The Queen In Early 773 AD
    Show



    But she wanted more. One more advantage. It was a dangerous gamble but if she pulled it off - and if she could do it without spending money - it would help greatly in the upcoming war.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. Many scholars believe the men were fleeing the Byzantine Empire which was being rocked by a Revolt against the current Iconoclast Emperor, Basileus Konstantinos the Fifth, whose nickname was now “Son of Satan”. The Revolt was NOT about religion as the Empire’s official religion was Iconoclast and both sides was Iconoclast.
    Iconoclasts believe religious images are a form of idolization and must not be allowed. This would explain why they felt uncomfortable within the Kingdom. Yet it could be they had no choice as the Queen’s Court was likely the only Greek Court outside of Greece that they could flee to.

    2. Or is it Greek Buddhist?
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 02:21 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Ten : The Way Of The Dagger


    A Queen's Dagger

    The Queen locked the door to her bedroom and approached her huge trunk placed at the foot of her huge bed. She opened it and looked down at her old armor. She had not seen it for almost five years. She kneed down and shifted it till she could pull out her old sword. She carefully pulled it from the sheath and examined it. Nicked and worn the sword was a warrior's sword. No gold or silver on this tool of war. It was created in the fires of a skilled weapon smith. Yet, it had seen better days. Still, there was nothing wrong with it that some oil and a day with a grinding stone could not correct.

    "Soon you will taste blood," she promised it.

    She sheathed the large blade and placed it back into the trunk. She then pulled out her dagger. She carefully pulled it out, as it had a habit of sticking, and smiled. It too was not one of those fancy pieces of art Nobles had on their belts. It was a Bhutanese dagger with a wooden handle and sheath. The kind of dagger traders and hunters carried. It could be used to slice cooked meat or to kill a bandit. It was perfect for close work and showed no signs of age. She had purchased it from a tiny old man in one of the nearby markets. He made the blades himself, right at a tiny forge, for all to see.

    She slid it back into the sheath with a snick and placed it back with the other pieces of her history. She closed the trunk and smiled to herself.

    Before the war started, before she used the "Sword" she would use the "Dagger". In other words before starting the overt military operation, such as assembling the warriors and marching on her enemy, she needed to carry out a covert operation against him.

    She planned to assassinate him. If she could. What she needed to do was send out feelers and find those near him who were willing to murder the Raja. A nation with a child as a ruler would be much easier to deal with.

    She sent out rumors, hints, feelers to the Raja court in Bikrampur. Not a bite. Nothing. Nobody was interested. Even the folks who preferred her to the Raja refused to get involve. As they say today, nobody wanted their fingerprints on this train wreck.

    To try to organize some kind of plot she even sent Hormoz to the enemy court to probe and poke and try to get something started. He was a highly skilled Spy Master yet there was still a slim chance he may be killed. On the other hand he was also starting to show his dislike for the Queen and his death would not have upset her as much as other deaths might.

    Spoiler: Expendable Councilors
    Show



    Also, wishing to increase her funds faster she send Kumarapala to Karmarupanagara to collect taxes. There was a slim chance that the peasants will likely kill him. A very slim chance. But he was starting to cool to the Queen also. So if the mobs killed him, well, he could be replaced.

    Now she had to wait and wait and wait.

    Spoiler: Pala won Munda
    Show



    In April the Pala-Munda De Jure War over Munda was over. Of course Pala had won. Shortly afterwards she realized she was heavy with a child again. She did the math and was relieved when she realized she would give birth to it and be back in shape before the war started.

    Spoiler: Again?
    Show



    And then in May the Court received important news that the Defensive Pact opposing Rodislav Slovensky had come to an end.

    "Who now?" asked the Queen.

    The Council members shrugged their collective shoulders and called for their advisers to find out who the man in question was.

    Spoiler: Wha?
    Show



    He turned out to be some High Chief way off in the backwoods of Western Europe. Died at the age of 30. Sad, really. Of course, nobody in India cared.

    Maharaja Dharmapala declared another war on another tiny County.

    Spoiler: The Great King GOES To War...Again
    Show



    Then on the 10th of October news came of the death of Gandharavati. At the age of 20 the wife of her future enemy died frothing at the mouth. The Queen sent a message to her Spy Master, demanding to know what the heck he was doing but his reply said he was totally innocent. As far as he could tell it had been a natural death, related to a second child she had given birth to.

    The Queen was feeling a tad depressed by the middle of October. She was feeling her age and the growing belly did not help with her self-image.

    Spoiler: I'm Am Pretty, Oh So Pretty!
    Show



    But she fought the urge to become nasty towards other younger and more blessed than she. After all, she WAS the Queen.

    Spoiler: Pony Express
    Show



    Her Spy Master, even while in a distant court, had the time to remind her of actions and investments that could help the Kingdom. He sent a suggestion about helping Kundina set up a messenger system. She felt it would help the County, and therefore help her, so she sent the money.

    In November Romanos hinted to her that he would not turn down a Councilor position. As her Protostrator Harshapala had become cool towards her she filed that information away for after the war.

    That same month her second son was born.

    Spoiler: Basileios
    Show



    As she held him close and noticed how ugly he was she said, "I will name you Basileios. May you be worthy of the name." Deep inside she was wishing he had been a girl. But at least she had a back-up son now, just in case. And hopefully he would grow out of being ugly.

    She told her husband that Basileios would need to learn to compete and prove himself. "Train him with the other children of the court," she added as they took her second away. If the older bother was to be King the younger brother would need to learn to be tough so he could be a future soldier.

    Even while she was recovering from her birth news came from her Spy Master that Dharendranarayan, the newly born child and second son to the Raja, died. He had been a very sickly infant.

    The Queen felt a mixture of feelings. Mostly amazed that everybody in the Raja's family seemed to be dying but him! But also feeling relieved that Buddha had blessed her with two births and continued life.

    In early December the Great King Dharmapala won his war and took Jharkand.

    Spoiler: Pala...You Get The Idea...
    Show



    Later in December her husband announced he had improved relations with Baron Birapala of Nalrajar Garh.

    Spoiler: Why Do the Barons Hate Me So...Oh Yeah, Took Over The Kingdom
    Show



    Now the Baron wanted to kill her swiftly and not slowly as before.

    Spoiler: Achievement Unlocked
    Show



    On the 2nd of January of 774 AD the Kingdom was full of crowds, old and young, celebrating the five years of peace their Queen had brought.

    Even as people cheered and feasted and praised her name she ordered Hormoz to Srihatta to disrupt the operations of the province as much as he could.

    Spoiler: Stay On Target!
    Show



    Then she went to her bedroom, threw open the trunk, pulled out her sheathed sword and shouted out for her attendants. They swiftly entered the room and asked her what she wanted.

    She held out the sheathed sword and stated, “Clean it, sharpen it, and make sure it ready for battle.”

    As the attendants took the sword away to be prepared as she had ordered her husband rushed to her bedroom.

    “Is it to be war dear?” he asked, trapped between excitement and a certain sense of dread.

    “Yes,” she replied. “The dagger failed me. Now the sword must drink.”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OOC Note: That dagger is mine. I got it during the Washington DC Folklife Festival in 2008. Not only was there a tiny Bhutanese Buddhist Temple there but there was also a tiny old man sitting on the ground with a tiny forge making not-so-tiny daggers. He did it out in the open, no tent, just a circle of knee high ropes to keep people from bothering him. Or to keep idiots from getting burnt. It was amazing to watch.

    So I bought one at the Smithsonian outside gift shop. Then returned home quickly because now I had a weapon in DC! It is just as I described - a dagger like those used by travelers and herders in Bhutan. Used to cut down small trees, slice food, or fight off bandits. Simple, sharp, pointy, and cool as heck to own. If my condo is ever attacked by mountain bandits I'm ready!

    Spoiler: Tiny Temple
    Show

    Tiny Temple Is A Relative Term
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 02:33 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Eleven : A Terrible Swift Sword


    The Queen’s Serious Face

    The records say that when the Raja Viradeva Shantideva was brought the Queen’s missive declaring De Jure War over Srihatta, on the 16th of February, he was calm and gentle, speaking of meeting her in battle, in defeating ‘The Cruel’ Queen, and protecting his subjects against the threat to peace. No doubt a pre-prepared speech.

    Spoiler: WAR!
    Show



    He called for his military Commanders and his vassals to rise their levies.

    There was no record of his reaction when his informants within the Queen‘s Kingdom, via homing birds and other methods, told him of her doing the same. It was doubtful he was surprised.
    Spoiler: Levies Answering The Call To Arms
    Show



    And sadly there is also no record of his reactions when sources within his own Kingdom alerted him to the fact that there was a large army already marching into Srihatta. Was he shocked? Outraged? Confused?

    Spoiler: Surprise!
    Show



    The Queen had hired 1,440 sell-swords and started marching towards the Raja, well before the declaration of war. She had timed it so she would be crossing the border by the time the Raja was receiving her letter. She wanted her invasion to be all nice and proper.

    He and his court was caught by total surprise. And he was not the only one.

    The province which was the reason for this war was assembling 34 soldiers when the Queen’s army came down on them like a load of bricks.

    Spoiler: Battle Of Habiganj (First Battle OF Srihatta)
    Show



    The Battle of Habiganj (also known to some as the First Battle of Srihatta) didn’t last very long.(1)

    On the 25th of February The Great King declared a Pala-Ayudha De Jure War over Sasaram. But nobody in either Kingdoms cared. They were too busy with their own conflict.

    The Queen quickly moved her army south into Karmanta and in the Battle of Karmanta caught another group of soldiers who were in the middle of marching to join their Raja.

    Spoiler: First Battle Of Karmanta
    Show



    The poor soldiers were wiped out with only one of the Queen’s men killed.

    Many military historians point out the men were outnumbered, without proper commanders, and had no defense against the forty war elephants the band of mercenaries had brought with them.

    On the 10th of April her own loyal soldiers had finally assembled and had started to march into the enemy Kingdom. Their target was the province of Srihatta. The idea was to siege it while the first army kept the Raja’s men occupied.(2)

    Spoiler: Here Come The Levies
    Show


    Finally, on the 20th of April, at the Second Battle of Karmanta a large army of the Raja attacked the Queen’s hired company.

    Spoiler: Second Battle Of Karmanta
    Show



    The fighting was harsh and bitter but on the 2nd of May the enemy’s right flank finally broke and this allowed her left flank, led by Prataparudra, to shift his men to attacking the enemy’s center. Soon the enemy’s left flank collapsed under pressure from soldiers led by Romanos. Without the flanks the center started to crumble and soon the whole army started a general retreat. This retreat turned to a rout when the Queen’s army charged with the cavalry and elephants.(3)

    Spoiler: Second Battle Of Srihatta
    Show



    During this battle her second army in the Second Battle of Srihatta had murdered a single soldier answering the call of his liege.

    Spoiler: Prisoners Of War
    Show



    The Second Battle of Karmanta ended in a victory. The war may had continued if it were not for that fact that during the confusion of the massive “retreat” the Queen’s men captured Devabhuti, the Commander of the enemy’s Center, and the Raja himself!

    The Raja Viradeva had no choice. It was either give in to her demands or watch the war from one of her dungeon cells. So on the 15th of May he gave the Queen what she wanted. The Province of Srihatta.

    Spoiler: Victory!!!
    Show



    The hired soldiers were released from her service and her own levies were told to go home and end a siege they had barely started.

    She tried to ransom Commander Devanhuti back to the Raja but he refused to pay for the lowborn failure. Not wishing to pay for the man’s room and board she released him (much to his happiness).
    Spoiler: Save The Unbelievers
    Show



    The Queen then sent Makarios, her Court Chaplain, to Sirihatta to help the unbelievers find Buddha.

    Spoiler: The Queen
    Show


    The war had not gone badly for the Queen. She still had money in the treasury, she had gained much honor, and her army was largely intact. In fact it was bigger than when it had started. Of course she had gained another Count who disliked her but she was use to that.

    Spoiler: The Raja
    Show



    Poor Raja Viradeva, on the other hand, had lost his spouse, had lost one of his sons, and lost a war all within the time span of a year. He had been defeated and captured in battle by a woman warrior over ten years his senior. This SAME woman had also wiped out a part of his military. It had been too much for him to handle. All records, even from those who were friendly towards the man, showed he had become mentally unstable.

    True, his Kingdom was larger and richer, but he cared not. For his mind was gone. Maybe it was the elephants?


    Spoiler: Elephants!
    Show

    Fear The Elephants! Fear Them!


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author’s End Notes:

    1. Many battles may have more than one name depending on who is writing the history of the conflict. Look at the American Civil War. The First Battle of Bull Run is also known as the First Battle of Manassas.

    2. The Queen did NOT call on her vassal's levies. Their numbers were much lower than her own warriors and vassals had a habit of getting upset if their own warriors joined in a long war. While the Queen was planning for a short war she didn't want to chance it.

    3. No elephants were killed during the war. Just in case any of you readers were worried about them. Correction : Looks like one was killed in the last battle.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 03:52 PM.
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    This looks interesting. What game rules and expansions are you using? I'm pretty sure the Greeks don't normally get absolute cognatic. Also, don't you need to rule for 10 years and have happy vassals before you can change succession laws?

    One request: can you put spoilers in your posts? It made it very hard for me to find where I had left off. Also, I think you posted your second post again as the 4th post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    This looks interesting. What game rules and expansions are you using? I'm pretty sure the Greeks don't normally get absolute cognatic. Also, don't you need to rule for 10 years and have happy vassals before you can change succession laws?

    One request: can you put spoilers in your posts? It made it very hard for me to find where I had left off. Also, I think you posted your second post again as the 4th post.
    All the expansions as of now. I forgot the rules so many of the events will surprise even me. As for the absolute cognatic, I hacked that in at the start of the game. As for your last statement, no the 4th post is Chapter Three and the second is Chapter One. So not too sure what you mean.

    As for spoilers, do you mean you want me to put the game screenshots into spoilers? Or all the images into spoilers?

    Edit: Okay, what I have done was enclose all the images but the first one under the chapter title, so you can tell at a glance if you have read the chapter before or not. This also solved the problem of some of the images running off the screen (at least on my computer they were) and should make it a tad less confusing when scrolling down.
    Last edited by Valley; 2017-07-19 at 02:46 PM.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Twelve : Aftermath Of The De Jure War Over Srihatta


    Back To Business As Usual

    The Queen came back to her palace, among cheering crowds, and settled into her private rooms. She knew that there was still work to do. Commanders had to be rewarded and some of her Council members needed replacing. Also she realized, to her amusement, that she needed to call off the plot to assassinate the Raja. If the Hindu court wanted a loon for a liege they were welcome to him.

    Spoiler: End Of Plot
    Show



    Then she removed Harshapala as her Protostrator and also revoked his title of Master of the Hunt. While this left him very angry at her he was in the end a lowborn with no titles, with no land, with no troops, and with no allies. She would still have to watch him. If he joined a plot he would be dangerous but in the end he, alone, was powerless to hurt her.

    Spoiler: Disgruntled Employees
    Show



    Prataparudra, who had done so well in the war, wanted the seat of Protostrator but he was also somewhat cold towards her. And she knew that giving him the seat would work only so long to improve his opinion of her. He was, on paper, the best person for the position, but she knew he was not the most loyal.

    Romanos had been wounded in the war but had still carried out his duties in the last battle. He was also still loyal. His opinion of her only increased when he was given the position of her Protostrator and the title of Master of the Hunt.

    Spoiler: Phantom Of The Srihatta...What? Too Soon?
    Show



    She sent him to Srihatta, where there were rumors of revolt, to keep the peace.

    Spoiler: Warrior Monk!
    Show



    This left a Commander’s position open and the only person who she could find with skill and a good opinion of her was Pelagios - the Buddhist Monk in charge of Madan Kamdev. She found the idea of a Warrior Monk in her ranks somewhat pleasing. Also, his military skills were not that bad looking when compared to some of the other Commanders.

    She then told Kumarapala to stop trying to collect taxes and go back to his regular job of administering of the realm. He was still cold towards her but she felt he was the best for the position (for now)

    She decided to keep the Spy Master until she could get a proper replacement. It would be easy to find somebody more loyal. It would be hard to find somebody even CLOSE to his skills. And if she dismissed him and forced him to leave the court he might decide to work for somebody else. Some neighboring lunatic for example.(1)

    After those duties she decided to take a small break and started studying the local books and scrolls on warfare in India. By the 17th of May, 774 AD, she had developed a deep understanding on how to inspire men on the battlefield.(2)

    Spoiler: The Art Of War
    Show



    She returned to duty on the 20th of May with her attention focused on the Count of Shrihatta. Her network of informants and servants told her that he was not too happy with his new liege. Funny enough, his wife hated him more than the Queen. Due to the whole, his oldest daughter was a bastard from another woman and he had legitimized her, thing.

    Spoiler: As The Shrihatta Turns
    Show



    That kind of thing can piss a woman off. You know, the fooling around with another woman, thing. He didn’t like her right back. Maybe it was the fact that she had given birth to another daughter? Maybe it was because he was honest and she wasn’t? Maybe because he was Hindu and she was a Buddhist? The only vassal the Count had, a Mayor, was the only person who seemed to have a good opinion of the man. Sadly the Count did not feel the same for the Mayor.

    She could tell dealing with that Count and his province was going to be a barrel of laughs. The thing she found the most amusing about the Count was that he felt he should be on her Council.

    The next war would be in another five years. She was forced to agree to a truce when the Raja gave into her demands. That would give her just enough time to prepare for the next conflict with the Raj.

    She needed to increase her funds. She wanted to make sure there was no doubt in the next war when it came to her finances. She wanted a VERY, VERY, big war chest.

    Spoiler: The Queen's Chest
    Show

    The Queen Is Going To Need A Bigger Chest


    On the 30th of May, 774 AD, the Great King made himself another Duchy title. The Queen, wondering how he felt about her and her little war, collected all the information and latest reports she could find on him.

    HE HAD MARRIED!

    Spoiler: The Great King And His Great Queen
    Show



    The woman he had selected had good stewardship and was very scholarly for a lowborn. She even seemed to like the Queen. A little. To be honest the Queen was impressed - that was not a bad marriage. They even seemed to like each other. No doubt once she starts pumping out babies the Great King’s opinion of his wife would soar!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. From now on, in much of her private papers and messages to friends, she would address the Raja as “that loon”.

    2. She had strange ideas about taking a break.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valley View Post
    All the expansions as of now. I forgot the rules so many of the events will surprise even me. As for the absolute cognatic, I hacked that in at the start of the game. As for your last statement, no the 4th post is Chapter Three and the second is Chapter One. So not too sure what you mean.

    As for spoilers, do you mean you want me to put the game screenshots into spoilers? Or all the images into spoilers?

    Edit: Okay, what I have done was enclose all the images but the first one under the chapter title, so you can tell at a glance if you have read the chapter before or not. This also solved the problem of some of the images running off the screen (at least on my computer they were) and should make it a tad less confusing when scrolling down.
    I was thinking something more like the below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Valley View Post
    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter One : New Blood


    Medicine In Medieval India

    Spoiler
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    The best place and time to start this chapter is the Queen's throne room the next morning after she had time to wash up and break her fast.

    It is said the first thing she did afterwards was demand up-to-date maps of the Silk Road within the Kingdom. The maps showed her, as they do us today, that the major centers of trade were in the provinces of Kamarupanagra, Haruppeswara, and Kundina.

    Spoiler: Silk Road
    Show


    The Spices Must Flow


    The next step was, therefore, plain to see. She would build a Trade Post in her demesne of Kamarupanagra. The amount of money spent on building it would slowly be returned to her coffers over time.

    She also decided to create a Castle Town around her castle in the province. Once completed such a town would draw people to it and help her province generate more income from taxes.

    Spoiler: Public Works
    Show



    After ordering the construction of the two new projects she started to examine dozen of scrolls the court’s scribes and librarians had brought to her. The scrolls had all the information that they could find on the neighboring Realms.

    First was Raja (King) Viradeva of Shantideva Raj to the south. He was a Hindu ruler who was not a very happy man. A lusty twenty-six year old man who wanted both the province of Dimapur and her husband’s province of Goalpara. She was not impressed by the King.

    Spoiler: The Neighbors
    Show


    But to the west was the Buddhist ruler Maharaja (Great King) Djarmapala of Pala Kingdom. Younger yet more impressive, with more experience and more troops than the Raja Viradeva. And a tad more friendly towards the new Queen.

    In five years she would want to be on the Pala Kingdom’s good side and be ready to start a war with the Shantideva Raj. After all, it had a province that she also wanted.

    But there was the problem of her Council. Her husband, the Magistros was already at work in Kamarupanagara, performing Statecraft. Many today would just call it public relations. But she needed all the help she could get in strengthening her position among the upper class.

    And the Protostrator Harshapala was organizing her army. She trusted him less than her husband but wanted her armed forces to have some training when she finally needed it.

    As for the others...

    She sent her Sakellarios (the Steward), the Mayor of Herombial, to do busy work Researching Economy Technology on the hopes that he would find out ways for her to get more income out of the people. Yet, she didn’t trust him at all.

    In fact the Mystikos was idle as she refused to give him any mission.

    “He will just back-stab me with any important information he finds,” she mumbled to herself as she sat on her throne, looking over the maps. “Anywhere I send him, will not be a safe distance, if he helps a plot go undiscovered.”

    Then there was the Upadhyaya (Court Chaplain), the Pujari Sthitavarman of Prithiminagar, who was in Kindina Hunting Apostates. She hadn’t told him to go do that - he was doing that when she took over the throne. She didn’t like the idea of him being in Kindina OR Hunting Apostates. A believer of Hinduism hunting Apostates within a Buddhist Kingdom?

    It seems that Queen Arminestra was not against torture and spilling blood but felt to do so over religion was uncalled for.(1)

    On the 3rd of January she was notified that the Court Chaplin had secluded himself and was unable to perform his tasks at the moment. As there was no reports of plaques or illnesses of any kind in the Kingdom (or all of India if our studies of the time period are correct) she assumed he was just being, as we say in modern terms, a jerk.

    As she worked at getting pregnant she planned her future carefully. She had plans on how to deal with the Council.

    On the 12th of January when the Baron Bhattamahabahu, her Mystikos, also announced he had secluded himself in Haruppeswara she decided it was time to do something about her Council.

    Spoiler: Really?
    Show



    But before she could put her plans into motion her Spy Master, a man locked up in his own home, notified her of a heretical sorcerer who seemed to be a healer. A sorcerer who was going to be executed. How her Mystikos knew about the sorcerer was a mystery to her but she realized she had to go and look for herself.

    Spoiler: Sorcerer?
    Show



    The "Sorcerer" in question was a Greek, and a Buddhist, and only twenty-eight years old. She decided to pardon him even though she wasn’t really sure making him her physician was a good idea. She knew trying to find anybody to fulfill the position of the Court Physician could take years so she hired him anyway.

    Spoiler: New Court Physician
    Show



    Still, she was also worried that he may be a assassin hired by her own Spy Master to kill her. Not that she could do anything about it. She needed to have a physician in the palace. She just wished the physician she had found LOOKED like he was a skilled physician and not some kind of wandering bard.

    After returning back to the palace, and studying the records on nearby towns, villages, and even the Royal courts in other realms, she sent out invitations to men she felt could easily replace her unwilling Council members. By the 24th of January they started to arrive at court. Sadly, none of them were skilled in the arts of healing.

    Spoiler: New Members Of The Court
    Show



    The first, Govindapala, was a Buddhist and was perfect for the position of Upadhayaya. This position was sweetened when the Queen also gave him the title of Seneschal (a purely honorary title that came with a small salary).

    The second newcomer to the Court was Hormoz who was given the position of the Mystikos and also the title of Court Musician to help him warm up to his new employer.

    She was on her way to meet the third newcomer, Prataparudra, when she bumped into a young man from her own Court. Kumarapala turned out to be a better fit for the position of Sakellarios. She also gave him the title of Royal Builder to, once again, sweeten the deal. Using honey to sweeten the pot always works better than impaling your employees alive on sharpened pikes. As a rule.

    By the middle of March her Council was mostly-loyal and actively working for the betterment of the Kingdom. She felt good about things. Her Council was stable, her coffers were filling up again (already back to 101 gold coins), and those who hated her were almost totally powerless to do anything to her.

    Spoiler: A Changed Council
    Show



    She was enjoying a sunny day sitting on one of the balconies of the palace on the 16th of March. She was just about to dig into the noon day meal when a soldier came up to her and reported that neighbors were mobilized near the border. At first she was somewhat alarmed till it became clear they were not at war with her.
    Spoiler: War?
    Show



    This woke her up to the fact that while she may be a big fish in her tiny Kingdom she was a tiny fish in the bigger pond that was India.

    She looked down at the platter of food, the still warm flatbread, the steaming rice, the yogurt, the vegetables, and the many dishes of different colored sauces. She sighed and waved a maid over to take the food away.

    “I still have a lot of work to do,” she announced to herself as she headed for the throne room. The soldier looked wishfully at the departing food and then followed his Queen.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. Some historians point out that records show the Queen seemed to be VERY open minded about freedom of religion. This is put forward as proof that she was either truly Buddhist or, if not Buddhist, a Humanist. But the majority of historians point out that such ideals would not be held by a warlord who just brutally took over a Kingdom with violence. The irony is that many humanist also point out the total lack of evidence among the records to show any such thing. I prefer to think of her as less of a Humanist and more of a Enlightened Ruler trying to keep the peace.
    However, it is not important. One benefit of spoilering all the images is that the page doesn't shift while loading.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Thirteen : Court Politics And International Affairs


    If Wishes Could Be Beheaded Enemies

    For the next 12 months the Queen ended up neck deep in secret dealings, court politics, and international affairs.

    The first major event was the Raja Nandivarman of Bana Raj offered her a non-aggression pact between them for the next ten years. The Raja was on the other side of the Pala Kingdom and no threat to her. So she said yes.

    Spoiler: A Non-Aggression Pact
    Show

    She wondered WHY he would offer her such a pact. He did seem to be a cheerful kind of liege, a man who enjoyed life and sharing that enjoyment with others.

    Spoiler: More Public Relations
    Show

    In November she visited the County of Kamarupanagara, chatted with the elders and passed out some gold coins. The Queen seemed to enjoy talking to the little people - gave her a excuse to take a look around the markets and the condition of the roads.

    On the 12th of November another son was born to Makarios Tarmid and Tarma Anktsadtkacer named Suddhodane. She suggested, once again, that he focus on Buddhism and the Greek heritage of his father.

    Spoiler: Good Blood And Bad Blood
    Show

    During late November she decided to check on all her enemies. She found the Baron Bhattamahabuhu now had a son. To be honest she had totally forgotten to keep an eye on the family and felt a tad embarrassed.

    On the other hand, the child could be slowly worked on to increase his opinion of her over the next few years. He might turn out better than the Father. Or...well, children were easier to kill than adults.

    The Queen's own sons were developing quickly. Prince Andronikos was no longer a sickly boy though his younger brother, Prince Basileios, was still ugly. Both of her sons were the same caste. Kshatriya, the caste of warriors and nobles, like their Mother. On the other hand both was following the Theravada path of Buddhism like their Father.(1)

    Spoiler: The Princes
    Show

    In late December she was told that Pusyamitra, the Count of Srihatta, was thought of as a threat by her own spies. She told her Spy Master to start building a spy network in the County. For she had decided it was time for the grumpy Count to die and a spy network would make such a thing easier.

    Spoiler: A Threat
    Show


    Out of the Queen’s Court two men were willing to jump right into the plot to kill the Count.

    The Doux of Para-Lauhitya, Magistros of Kamarupa, Designated Regent of Kamarupa, Despot of Kamarupa, Balavarnan the Just (in other words her husband) was willing to join.

    Spoiler: Plotters Got To Plot
    Show


    Also Bhikkhu Anatolios of Hajo (the Buddhist Monk) was willing to also join.

    Funny enough, Commander Madan Kamdev, her Warrior Monk, was only willing to join if she gave him a large purse of gold coins. So she didn’t invite him to join.

    On the 4th of February, 775 AD, the Count Pusyamitra suggested that the Queen GIVE him the County of Haruppeswara. Her reply was said to “disappoint“ the Count.(2)

    Spoiler: The Count's Request
    Show

    Later that month her Spy Master suggested that the Count could be stopped scheming against her with the proper leverage. The Count agreed to disband his faction that had been conspiring against her.

    Spoiler: Nothing Like A Little Pressure
    Show

    Then she received from the servant network news that the Count had a new lover. Not just any lover. But the pregnant Gayatri, wife to the Thakur Lokhanata of Karmanata. A Count within the Raja’s Court.

    The Count was sleeping with somebody’s wife within the enemy’s Court.

    It is said the Queen face palmed.

    On the 23rd of March, 775 AD, the Spy Master died from fever. The Queen replaced him with her Commander Prataparudra. Their were some who were better at the art of spying but they both hated her. At least her new Spy Master was happy to be the Councilor.

    Spoiler: A New Spy Master
    Show

    She sent him off to build a spy network in Srihatta. Maybe she could catch the idiot Count doing something else and arrest him. She cancelled the plot against him in the middle of May. He was no longer a threat - as much as she REALLY wanted to kill him. Still, her new Spy Master might find something on him.

    Spoiler: Oh Well...
    Show


    To cheer herself up she helped Commander Hippolytos on his understanding on how to inspire his men.

    Spoiler: Military Lessons
    Show


    By late June, 775 AD, the Queen had a question that she needed to answer. The question was which province would she take from the Raja next? The next few years she would be preparing her army and her nation for war. She might wish to know WHERE the goal of the war was.

    The County of Suvarnagram was under the Raja’s direct control and was right next door. It looked somewhat developed, had room to grow, was Buddhist, and had no Count to have to deal with when taken.

    Spoiler: County Of Suvarnagram
    Show


    She had found her next victim.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's End Notes:

    1. One of the differences between Theravada and other paths, or schools, of Buddhism was that the Theravada sect had tried to formalize the language of the “Sutra” to insure the correct interpretation of Buddha’s statements. It heavily leaned towards learning from elders and their advice WHILE also including one’s own insight that came from experience and practice. Only then could one find true Nirvana.

    2. Many historians believe that Count Pusyamitra didn’t understand politics OR didn’t understand how to deal with a female ruler.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Fourteen : A Spiritual Guide And Very Fine Print


    Small Buddhist Temple In India

    In late June, in the year 775 AD, the Queen Arminestra of Kamarupa was getting lectured by her husband.

    "You really need to think about your soul," he had said for the fourth time over their meal.

    She tried not to roll her eyes at the man. She didn't want the servants to start any nasty rumors about her and her husband. But she did feel the need to glare at him silently. He ignored her.

    "You need to get the advice of a proper Elder of Buddhism," he continued.

    "I need no advice for my path," she stated.

    "What is your path?" her husband asked as he picked up some more flatbread.

    "My path," she replied and tried a scary smile at him. It also failed.

    "You really NEED to think about your soul," he said for the fifth time. "And a good Guru would bring just not guidance but also great honor to the court."

    The Queen sighed to herself and said, "Alright. I'll think about it."

    But mostly she thought of war. On the 24th of June, Commander Huppolytos reported to her that he had absorbed her lessons fully and was now skilled at inspiration.

    One day, while talking to her Council members about the war they would be having in five years she received a horrible shock.

    “You mean nine years, my wife,” said her husband while the other members exchanged confused looks.

    “I meant five years. The treaty...”

    “Oh, no, no, no, the treaty is valid till the 15th of May, 784 AD,” he said. He then showed her the very, very small print that added four years to the five years stated in the main body of print for “emotional reasons”.

    “The advisers who drew up the terms of the treaty felt the Raja needed more time to recover from his wife’s death,” said her husband with as he smiled at her. “Nice of them, don’t you think?”

    At that point the Queen face palmed herself with both hands and screamed into them.

    In the end, after more pestering from her husband, and feeling she would need somebody to help keep her rage in check she sent messengers off with the news that she was looking for a Guru. Which cost her 50 gold coins.

    Spoiler: The Search For A Guru Begins
    Show


    "We could of had a two tiger hunts for that much gold," she wrote down in one of her many journals. “That was almost a year’s worth of income! A year‘s worth of INCOME!”

    On the 10th of August a Buddhist Guru presented himself to her by the name of Georgios. He was a fifty year old Greek with a wonderfully thick beard and stern eyes like most great Gurus. It was said he was a very learned man.

    Spoiler: Guru Found
    Show


    “Oh Great Queen I am here to help you fight you inner demons,” he said as he bowed to her.

    “I have no inner demons,” she replied.

    “Oh?” he said with a tilt of his head. “Are you not full of wroth? Are you not greedy? Do you not lust after men?”

    “Not all the time,” she responded. “And no to the last two.”

    “I see,” he said stroking his own beard in thought. “But do you envy other rulers? Are you proud or slothful?”

    “No,” she stated again. “No and no.”

    He smiled and said with great joy, “Wonderful! I have never meet such a sin free ruler! I will enjoy being in your court. But I must be honest, my skills are in helping one REMOVE one’s sins. I really can offer you nothing in return for making me your court Guru but my thanks.”

    Then it is said he turned to one of the nearby nobles and asked, “Does she always double face palm herself and scream into her own hands like that?”

    By the 15th of December the massive war between the Kingdom of Pala and the Kingdom of Ayudha finally came to an end with the Pala Kingdom winning. Same old stuff.

    Spoiler: Pala Steamrolls Another Nation
    Show

    Later that month she was told that the Great King had somebody burned at the stake. That was something NEW which she found somewhat distrubing. She was wondering what was happening in the Kingdom of Pala that a Buddhist Ruler was BURNING people at the stake.

    On the 11th of January, 776 AD, she gave Georgios the position of Magistros. She then had him go to Suvarnagram to study the local records and see if there were any loopholes to allow her to have a claim on the County.(1)

    Spoiler: The New Magistros Gets To Work
    Show


    In fact while her Guru helped plot the take over of another Ruler’s holding she, herself, ended up becoming the Guru to many of the members of her court. She was really starting to get annoyed by all the Greek freeholders.

    Spoiler: The Queen's New Job?
    Show

    On the 19th of April she was told that the County of Srihatta was fully Buddhist. The revolt risk had also gone down to suitable levels - the peasants had come to have a mostly positive opinion of the Queen.(2)

    She recalled her Upadhyaya to Kamarupanagara to improve the Kingdom’s relationship with the two high ranking Monks and also recalled her Protostrator so he could work on training her military.

    Another Commander improved in his skills much to her happiest. She was determined to have her war in five years and wanted everything to be perfect. Treaty be damned. She would take a hit in her honor if need be.

    Spoiler: Another Commander Learns A Lesson
    Show

    On the 26th of June she got a report that the Count of Srihatta finally had a male heir. From his own wife even!

    Spoiler: Horrible Families
    Show

    And in July the Raja remarried. A lovely couple - he was insane and she was paranoid.

    Later that month, during large scale military exercises, the Queen greatly improved in the use of Heavy Foot which made up a large potion of her levies. A very useful skill indeed.

    Spoiler: Heavy Infantry Improvement
    Show

    On the 19th of September she was informed that her husband could no longer continue to function as her Regent. It seems that the Doux believed somebody was out to get him so he had gone into hiding. (3)

    Spoiler: Just Because You're NOT Paranoid...
    Show

    The Queen just shrugged and selected Georgios as her new Regent. So many things had happened to her that at this point she was not allowing herself to be surprised. Also the Court Physician had told her that her face could not take any more face palming.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author’s End Notes:

    1. He was, on paper, the best for the job. Also some historians believe she was getting back at her husband for the 50 gold coins.

    2. In fact it was likely ALWAYS fully Buddhist. The idea that it was a Hindu-Buddhist mix was due to being under a Hindu Duke. Once freed of the influence of the Raja it was likely fully Buddhist before her Upadhyaya was even sent there. The members of her Council kept that to themselves so not to get glared at.

    3. As the records do not show him to be paranoid or unbalanced we can only assume that he had some evidence of a REAL plot against him.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Fifteen : Outside of India


    Eris Must Be Having A Ball

    Welcome readers. You have seen the tiny little local war that the Queen had and have read of some of the events happening in her Kingdom and her nearby neighbors afterwards. But I feel it is time, once again, to expand our stage and fly outwards, to view the rest of the realms. Once again let us visit the powerful nations of the known world, the top seven military powers as of the 19th of September 776 AD!

    Of course our first stop is the Middle East! The Arabian Empire is still on top with the Caliph Al-Mansur. Oh my, what's this? One son in another man's dungeon and another having DIED in a dungeon. Not good, not good at all. And look at that decadence!

    Spoiler: Arabian Empire
    Show


    Still, he seems to be open minded towards other religions and, like all good Muslim Rulers, is fighting a war with the Byzantine Empire. I am sure he will still be on top in the next few years. As long as he does not die from old age.

    Spoiler: Fighting With The Big Boys
    Show


    Byzantine Soldiers VS. Arabian Soldiers

    Spoiler: Byzantine Empire
    Show



    Now we head north to the Byzantine Empire in which the Baileus Konstantinos, having ended the Civil War for Gavelkind in a White Peace (a draw), is now fighting the Arabs. Looks like somebody has been leading his armies into battle. And he is only a little outnumbered by the Arabian Empire.

    Spoiler: Andalusia (Spain)
    Show



    As we leave the "Son of Satan" behind we fly to the next military power, which is Andalusia (also known as Umayyad). It looks like the Sultan has earned a nickname - "The Terrible". But what's this? Everybody is held up in their keeps? Oh, Slow Fever is in the Realm. Yes, that explains that.

    Spoiler: West Francia
    Show


    So, lovely readers, let us flee before we to get ill, and head over to West Francia. King Karl of the Karlngs is back on the list. Now look at that - he has three claims and is fighting over one of them with the Grand Chief Theoderic the Butcher over Saxony. Too bad for the King that it seems, at the moment, the Butcher is slightly winning.

    Spoiler: Pala (Bengal)
    Show


    Now we fly back to India and, look, it is our friend the Great King of the Kingdom of Pala (Bengal). With four wars under his belt, a lovely wife, and almost four thousand soldiers there is very few in India who can touch him now. On, but what is this? Headaches? Well, I am sure they are nothing. After all, he is being well looked after. At 23 years of age he has a long future of power, wealth, and pleasure to look forward to.

    We don't have to go far to find the sixth in our list of military powers. Behold, the Bhima of the Rashtrakuta Revolt. With just over three thousand soldiers he is, in fact, in TWO wars. One against the Rashtrakuta which he is winning. And one, funny enough, against a Peasant Revolt within his own Kingdom. A revolt within a revolt.

    Spoiler: Rashtrakuta Revolt
    Show



    Also, his Kingdom seems to be in two pieces. Wow, Southern India is a tough place to life. And now, for number seven. We must fly to Africa to the Kingdom of Africa.

    Spoiler: Africa
    Show


    Poor Sultan Umar. Looks like he could not hold onto Malzuzi and now he has started a fight in the other direction for Fes. And on top of that they call him "The Evil". He seems to also be suffering from stress on top of being paranoid AND in debt to the Jews. Well, at least he has almost four thousand soldiers, is winning the war for Fes, and his family is clean of decadence.

    So my readers, we see just how the world is still in chaos. Large parts of it are rocked by never ending warfare, illnesses, and internal strife. Only here and there are there islands of peace and sanity.

    So I put down my pen, try to clean my fingers of the black stains of ink, and blew out the stub of my candle. It is time for this chapter to close. Next time we will watch the Queen and follow events closer to home.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Sixteen : A Feast And A Jester


    Rocking It Like It Is 776 AD

    We open this chapter on a scene of most import. The time was early October of the year 776 AD. The stage is the Council's Meeting Room with the large round marble table and comfortable chairs. The characters? The Queen is seated across from the door while her Magistros Georgios, who was visiting her in secret as most public records said he was still in Suvarnagram in dusty libraries and dark archives, paces.

    "My Queen," he said, "Please understand. The treaty is a most powerful piece of paper. It is a promise with your seal."

    "I will start the war when I am good and ready," The Queen Arminestra said with a calm but commanding voice.

    "My Queen," he said, stepping close to her. "I understand your need. You want to build a stronger Kingdom before handing over the throne to your son. To make it stronger and more rich. But there are ways to do so without a premature war."

    "I will not let a piece of paper hold me in check!" hissed the Queen. "Once I have enough money the treaty will be broken."

    "My Queen," he pleaded, "do not lose a Kingdom to win a war. If you break the treaty EVERY Ruler in INDIA will see you as a oath breaker."

    The Queen opened her mouth to respond. She stopped, thought for a few moments, leaned back and sighed.

    "It would give him time to recover," she pointed out.

    "Or to fall apart," said the older man, stroking his beard with a smile. He knew she was listening to him now. And she knew he was correct. "It will also give us time to do more than just build up the army. We need many things for the Kingdom. You don't wish to make a Kingdom on sand do you? Blood spilled from war will only hold it together for so long."

    She sighed and shook her head.

    There was a knock on the door. The Queen frowned and demanded, "What IS it?"

    "Your Highness," said a voice on the other side of the barred doors, "your husband had decided to come out of hiding."

    "Well," she said, looking over at her Magistros, "as we seem to have more time I don't have to be SUCH a miser. Maybe we should work a little on the vassals' opinion of me."

    Spoiler: Any Reason To Party
    Show


    On the 4th of October, 776 AD, the Queen announced a seasonal feast (which was also to celebrate her husbanding coming out of hiding). She invited all her vassals and only two refused.

    Spoiler: Party Poopers
    Show



    Her maids explained to her that it was traditional, during the autumn feasts, to offer a gift to her spouse. They suggested either a horse or a cape. She picked a rainproof cape as it was a lot cheaper than a horse.

    Spoiler: A Cape!
    Show


    Soon the Palace was ready and the guests started to arrive. Soon the feast had begun and the time to pass out the gifts had come. It is said that her husband was so genuine happy with his new cape that the couple truly fell in love that day.

    Spoiler: The PARTY!
    Show




    On the morning of the 15th of November, as the guests made their way back home, the Queen was truly pleased with herself and how well the feast had turned out.

    By early December she also noticed that the amount of money pouring into her coffers had increased, slightly. She checked the records and found that the Buddhists had converted another temple!

    Spoiler: The Nun
    Show


    Seems a new Buddhist Nun was now in charge of Prithiminagar, and like the rest of the Buddhist Priests, had a positive opinion about the Queen. Which also meant a slight increase in available warriors she could call up in time of war.(1)

    Out of the nine vassals she had four of them who liked her. And the rest were, grudgingly, giving her part of the income they were collecting. Maybe the party had helped.

    The Queen, remembering her how sick her first son had been at birth, decided to pour a large part of her wealth into something she felt would please Buddha and his followers greatly.

    Spoiler: The Hospital
    Show



    The hospital would take a long time to be completed but she felt it was worth it. Being on the Silk Road meant that more than just money would come her way. Illnesses sometimes followed the trade winds and having a hospital might help fight the ill winds.

    During the feast the Queen had noticed the, still, unmarried Greek freeloaders (in her papers she called them professional parasites) were more than happy to eat their fair share of the food and drink their fair share of the booze.(2)

    So she decided to make them work for their entertainment by getting the two hitched up.

    She invited two single women to the court (one of the women already had small daughter and was pregnant) and married the Greeks to them on the 13th of February, 777 AD.

    Spoiler: And You Get A Wife, And You Get A Wife!
    Show


    Her husband walked up to her after the twin weddings and said, “Didn’t one of those chaps already have a wife?”

    “Which one?” she asked, looking slightly confused.

    “That one called...Dionysis,” said the Despot, pointing at the bearded one.

    “I don’t care,” said the Queen. “Two wives, three, as long as he starts making Greek babies.”

    Spoiler: More Titles For The Great King
    Show

    On the 21st of February the Queen got a report that the Great King had created himself another title of Raja (Duke). In her papers the Queen was starting to ponder a theory that every time he created a title or promoted somebody or did anything with titles or his vassals that he was, in fact, about to start a war.

    Spoiler: Commander Balavarman - the Prince
    Show



    On the 31st of March she received a report that one of her Commanders, Balavarman, had improved in his skills with light infantry.

    Spoiler: Another Great War For A Great King
    Show


    Then of course the Great King started a war months AFTER creating the new title. There went her theory out the window.

    We close with another scene. The stage is her throne room. The time was the 31st of May in the year 777 AD. The characters on this stage was the Queen and a unknown lowly page delivering a letter from her Spy Master in Srihatta.

    The Queen took the letter and broke the seal. It said:

    Oh Great Queen,

    I fear I have very little useful news to pass on. The Count is, indeed, having a affair with the Countess in the Raja’s court. He also has a maid servant in his own court who is smart and shapely. She spies for him when they are not having private parties together. I am not sure if the wife knows about either lovers.

    Signed,

    Prataparuda


    She started to laugh. The histories say that she had come to find the Count so amusing that she finally decided to give him a title. Court Jester.

    Spoiler: The Court Jester
    Show



    He was less than pleased.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author’s End Notes:

    1. Also helped that all the Buddhist Priests seemed to be Greek.

    2. Professional Parasites is also a term used by historians to describe out-of-work poets and actors who cashed parties in ancient Rome and Greece. They always came with the largest napkins to take home any leftovers.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Seventeen : Hardship And Humor


    Medieval Hospital

    The Queen realized that sometimes, in life, you needed to bend like a young tree that bends to the storm’s blowing winds. As in this case, to the terms of the treaty, which was like a strong wind that pushed her back from her goal. The Councilor Georgios was correct. Why start a early war if even the victory of such a conflict would damage her honor and endanger her Kingdom? All for one County?

    So she decided to take the lemons she was given and make lemonade as we would say in modern days.

    The irony was that the treaty did not, in any way, keep the Raja in check. The loon Viradeva could start a war with the Queen if he wished without any problem whatsoever. But his mind, when it was clear enough, was on the Maharaja Dharmapala. There seemed to be a grudge there. It was focused on the County of Nabadwipa. The Raja wanted it back.

    The Maharaja Dharmapala was too busy with his own affairs to notice much outside expanding his Kingdom. His interest in the Queen had eroded once he had married and had his own Queen. His ambition at the moment was to groom an heir. How he planned to do that when always at war she had no idea.

    She decided, as she could not really do anything about either men, to focus on what she could do NOW.

    On the 5th of June she sent her Sakellarios, Kumarapala, to Haruppewara to research the local economy. If she needed to spend money in the future she would prefer to do so on another Trade Post.

    On the 19th of July the Queen was sitting in a secret chamber in the Castle/Palace that she has taken from the Ex-King. One of the walls was made out of stone with hundreds of holes. Each hole went all the way through the wall and was designed to allow sound pass through. A perfectly safe place to receive information from a person who wished to remain unknown to the listener.

    "Well," she said to the unknown messenger on the other side of the wall. "What does my Spy Master Prataparudra have to report?"

    A strange voice came from the other side of the wall, ageless and genderless, it was soft and without any accent.

    Spoiler: The Adulterer
    Show


    "He has many things to report," it said. "It seems the Count has a new lover. Even while my Master sent you his last letter the Count had dropped the woman in the Raja's court and is now meeting with Dionysios's new wife. And Dionysios knows it. In fact, everybody does."

    "Even Count Pusyamitra's own wife?"

    "Yes," said the voice. "He is now a known adulterer. The Greek was so mad at the Count that he has declared himself a rival to your vassal. And the Countess now sees herself a rival to the Greek's wife!"

    "Which wife?" asked the Queen.

    The voice replied, "The Greek's second wife. The first one died when some food...disagreed with her."

    The Queen laughed and slipped a tiny scroll into one of the holes. "This is approval for my Spy Master to pay you for your news."

    She returned to her throne room to find another messenger waiting for her. It seems Amritakala, the pregnant woman who she had married to one of the other Greeks, had given birth to a baby girl.

    Spoiler: A Female (Bastard) Baby
    Show


    The Queen suggested a education focused on faith for the first six years to make her a proper Buddhist. After that she could learn about Greek culture from one of educated Greeks.

    Spoiler: Commander Salambha
    Show



    On the 7th of September she was told that one of her Commanders, Salambha, had approved his skills at the use of heavily armored infantry in battle.

    Spoiler: The Lecher
    Show


    On the 5th of October news came to the Court that Count Pusyamitra was now known as “The Lecher”. Later that month news came from the Kingdom of Pala. Another person had burnt at the stake.

    In early November the Queen received news that her husband was out of hiding. Again. That same day she also received news that the Rajkumar, young brother of the Maharaja Dharmapala, had been made into a Commander in Pala’s armies.

    Spoiler: Husband Out Of Hiding (Again)
    Show


    She approved, to be honest, as the best way to learn how to lead troops was to LEAD troops.

    A few days after that she felt a gurgling in her tummy. Oh no, not again!

    Spoiler: SICK Again!
    Show


    Makarios Tarmid announced it food poisoning and made the Queen drink salty water to help induce vomiting. By the 15th of Novembers cramps had joined her other ailments. Then shivering and sweating.

    Spoiler: I Feel Worse!
    Show


    On the 15th of December a son was born to Ioannikio and Himu. The Queen ordered, from her sick bed, that the boy be taught about thrift. The boy was Greek and could be taught about Buddhism later, when he turned six.

    Spoiler: Another New Member Of The Court
    Show



    December 25th was the day the brand new hospital opened to the cheerful populace. It would have cheered her up too if she wasn’t in bed shivering, puking, with painful cramps.

    Spoiler: It Hurts When I Laugh!
    Show



    Still, she had a good laugh when a bastard daughter was born between Kakanvati and Count Pusyamitra. Of course she directed the child’s education to focus on faith. The Queen would educate her about Greek culture when she was older, like the rest of the kids.

    Spoiler: Must Rise Her Right
    Show


    The Court Physician had several different ideas to help cure the Queen’s sickness. She, once again, explained to him that she wanted him to use only the well known cures. He made her drink urine from a pregnant sow. Yes. Urine from a PREGNANT sow.

    Spoiler: You Want Me To Drink WHAT now?
    Show



    While she being treated she received news that Rajkumar had been removed from his position as a Commander in the Pala’s armies. Well, maybe he just wasn’t suited for a life in the military?

    By January of 778 AD she was feeling a little better if still ill. She was now fifty years old and her hair was no longer dark brown and her skin was starting to show her age. If her husband could read her mind he would be happy to know that she was thinking more and more about her soul as she watched her own body decay.

    Spoiler: Fifty Year Old Queen
    Show



    After much debating to herself she decided in March to become a Theravada Buddhist, like the rest of the family.

    Spoiler: Picking Her Path
    Show


    As she received the praise of her husband she pondered her next moves. She felt that her years were running out like sand from a broken hour-glass. If she lived just long enough to complete the second war AND see her oldest son become an adult she felt she would be truly blessed.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Eighteen : Royal Families And Religious Societies


    Buddhist Shrines And Temples Would Do Well Under The Queen

    As the Queen dealt with her embarrassing illness she was given the news that the County of Dimapur was prospering.

    Spoiler: County Of Dimapur
    Show


    On the 16th of April she had a very amusing exchange with her husband.

    It seemed Count Pusyamitra “The Lecher” was now thought of by many to be a Master Seducer.

    “How can be he be a Master Seducer,” exclaimed the Queen from inside the Royal privy, “if everybody knows he is fooling around?”

    Her husband, Despot and Doux, just shrugged as he sat outside the privy on a small stool. “That’s what the rumors say. Also, I have received information from my informant from within the court of Baron Bhattamahabahu. You do remember the Baron?”

    “How can I forget....uggghhh...excuse me. How could I forget. He has hated me since I first took the throne.”

    Spoiler: Baron Bhattamahabahu
    Show


    “Yes,” her husband responded as he glanced at a letter in his hands. “Well, now he suspects the Baroness Suvrata of being a adulterer.”

    “By Ze-er...I mean Buddha,” she said from behind the door, “can any of my vassals kept out of other people’s beds?”

    Later that month she woke up to find out she had recovered from the food poisoning to her great relief. It was about time. It was weird having meetings with her Councilors from inside the damn privy.

    Spoiler: The Queen FELT So Much Better
    Show


    So she was in a much better mood when on the 2nd of June she was brought the news that the Raja’s new wife was pregnant. As the Raja’s inheritance was Gavelkind this meant that if the new baby was a boy, the titles and wealth, would end up being split. This would be useful in future wars with the Shantideva Raj if future Rajas were not as powerful as the current one.

    Spoiler: Raja's Wife Pregnant!
    Show



    With everything going so well for her - her enemies trying to destroy themselves and her last illness finally going away - she decided to join the Savak-Sangha, a Buddhist Society. She wanted to do her best to learn the teachings of Buddha.(1)

    Spoiler: Savak-Sangha
    Show



    So on the 10th of June she did so.

    Spoiler: A New Friend
    Show


    In July, while attacking a dummy during sword practice, she realized that she would not improve her skills against an inanimate object. So she asked Harshapala, her husband’s Protostrator, to help her. And in doing so she gained a true Friend.

    Spoiler: More Mouths To Feed
    Show


    In late August two NEW Greek freeloaders appeared in her court. These two MAY have been fleeing Greece as it seemed they were both members of the East Orthodox Catholic Church. The current Emperor would have banished them or tossed them into a dungeon IF he was in a good mood. She took note to find wives for the poor fools.

    Spoiler: The Raja's Daughter
    Show


    The news spread throughout the Kingdom in November that the Raja had a new baby daughter. The Queen wasn’t too sure but she realized that it was unlikely the daughter would get anything if her father died. She would most likely, at best, be married off to form an alliance.

    Spoiler: Bhikkhu Anatolios
    Show


    At the same time her Upadhyaya reported that he had increased the opinion of Bhikkhu Anatolios of Hajo towards her. Which was good work on his part - she never really thought he would be successful at much of anything.

    Spoiler: A New Law
    Show


    In early 779 AD she decided to celebrate the new year by passing a law that would allow her to seize titles from traitors and unlawful subjects. This way, if a noble or vassal rebelled or tried something illegal, she could revoke their titles. She wanted to be prepared.

    Spoiler: Damianos's Early Education
    Show


    One of the earlier Greek Freeloaders, Ioannikios, and his wife, Himu, gave a birth to a son named Damianos. The kid was Greek and the Queen suggested he learn humility.

    Spoiler: Local Shrines Needed
    Show


    Soon it was brought to her attention that the folks in the County of Dimapur were spending a large amount of time on the road visiting the Buddhist Monks and, therefore, were not getting as much work done. If local shrines were created they could spend more time working and less time traveling. The Queen agreed because more work meant more trade and more trade meant more tax income.

    Spoiler: A Small Overview
    Show


    By the 31st of May the Queen was in tip-top shape, with over two thousand warriors in her levies and 157 gold coins in her coffers. At this rate she could have at least 250 gold coins, if she kept her spending down, by the time the next war started.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author’s End Notes:

    1. And likely get on the good side of all those Buddhist Monasteries.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Nineteen : Interesting Developments With The Great King


    Medieval Affairs

    In early August her Upadhyaya announced he had helped Bhikku Pekagios of Madan Kamdev see the Queen’s good side. As Makarios Tarmid was doing such a good job she decided to send him to Kundina to work on the third Buddhist leader in her kingdom - the Baroness Eusebia of Prithiminagar.

    Spoiler: Opinions Of The Buddhists
    Show


    A few months later the Queen's husband had asked to have a private meeting with her. He had promised her that the information was valuable and very important to the future of the Kingdom.

    Once the couple was locked away in one of the deepest, most well protected, chambers she sat down at one of the two chairs available in the room and asked, "What do you have for my love?" She gestured towards the second chair.

    The chamber only had two chairs, a small table, and a few candles. The smooth walls were thick as the was the iron bound door and the outside halls were filled with her most loyal guards. There was no way to listen in on what the Depot, her husband, had to say to her.

    Her husband sat down on the other chair, right across from her. "It is from the servant's network in the Pala Kingdom. Before I start may I say the information has been checked and double checked. It seems to be all in proper order and all verified. Do you understand my love?"

    "Of course," she said, leaning onto the small table between them. "Go on."

    "As you may know," he said, "The Great King is now called the Unchaste as his wife AND his concubine are now both pregnant."

    "Yes, yes," said the Queen. "What is wrong with that?"

    Spoiler: The Great Royal Couple
    Show


    "Well," said the Despot, "it seems we have evidence he is homosexual."

    "What? When? Who? He wasn't...uh... I mean, he has TWO pregnant women to show otherwise."

    Spoiler: The Other Three Women
    Show


    "Five women," said the Despot, blushing on behalf of the Great King. "It seems he also impregnated his Court Chaplain Bishwas Devi, and two married women. I assume one was found out as she is now called the Unfaithful. And from what I can tell both husbands know something is up.”

    “So...at least three are going to be his offspring,” said the Queen after recovering. “Oh, his younger brother will not be pleased. And...if he claims the other children from the two married women that makes five. Or six.. Or seven. Depends on how many they have all together!”

    “There is going to be a lot of political fighting over the throne even before he dies,” said the Despot with a nod, showing her all the letters. “The evidence is all from people I trust. Even the Great Queen thinks of the two married women as her rivals.”

    The Queen stared in shock at the papers. “But...the Pala Kingdom will implode if they start killing each other‘s children!”

    “Yes,” said the Despot. “No really a bad thing. He had been gobbling up his neighbors like a pig. Let us hope something happens to slow him down soon. After all, sooner or later, he would be trying to gobble us up.”

    As the Despot left the chamber the Queen made sure to burn each letter, one by one, to keep the knowledge from spreading. Knowledge was power, after all, and she needed every last drop of it.

    Before the Queen opened the door to leave she looked at the ashes on the floor and said, “May the worst woman win.”

    It was as if the Great King’s affairs had reminded her of her past activities and made her drive into her religious studies all the more deeply. She started to attend the prayer meetings of the Society as much as the court‘s business would allow. At one point, in mid-December, she even helped a Brother keep from embarrassing himself when he fell asleep during one of the meetings.

    Spoiler: Helping A Brother Out
    Show


    In late December the head of the society suggested she seclude herself to think about the universe and ponder her place within it. She accepted his suggestion and started her meditation. She needed the time to clear her head and flee the stress of being a ruler. Even if it was just for a few months.

    Spoiler: The Queen's Meditation
    Show

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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Twenty : Secluded Meditation And The Next Generation


    A Child To Rule Them

    Meditation is not a simple thing. One does not just lock yourself into a room and come out a few months later, suddenly enlightened. It takes time to understand the words and lessons of Buddha and the Queen knew she had plenty of time to spend.

    Spoiler: Must NOT Nap
    Show



    She entered the year of 780 AD in her private chambers. And she would stay there till the end of the year. And beyond.

    Spoiler: Becoming Humble
    Show


    It was a struggle and she had to fight boredom and stay focused. It helped her feel humble.

    Spoiler: A Kind Parent
    Show


    Her husband who kept guard on the rooms, bringing her simple meals, and keeping the vassals and nobles away failed to keep her eldest son out. Andronikos was upset that his mother was no longer available to play with and had found a way in. She took him and set him on her lap. In the end, when he left, he felt a stronger bond with his mother then he ever had before. He felt she was a kind parent.

    Spoiler: Well, I Don't Like You Either!
    Show

    In June she found herself stumped and asked for help from her Upadhyaya. Sadly it seemed Makarios was in a bad mood and they both ended up angry with each other.

    Spoiler: Back On Track
    Show


    By August she was back on track expanding her awareness of herself. And was making good progress.

    But while locked away in her chambers many important events happened during the year that her husband kept from her. Some events were VERY important to her future plans. But her husband kept them to himself so as not to ruin her meditation.

    So, dear readers, let us rewind the year, and start from the beginning of the year of 780 AD to show you what messages and news her husband compiled till she was to end her meditation. Let us look at what was happening outside her chambers.

    Spoiler: The Great King A Murderer?
    Show


    In January the Great King Dharmapala inherited Thikana of Midnapore from Thakur Kamalnarayan. The reason this is an important event was the Thakur died under suspicious circumstances. It could be the Great King had him killed. Or maybe not. Even the Council members dared not make a guess.

    Spoiler: Another Future Greek Buddhist
    Show


    A baby boy was born to the Greek Alexios and his wife Hamide called Belisarios in February. The Despot suggested the boy be taught how to be thrifty.

    In March it was rumored that the Great King had dropped the Buddhist Nun for another. His new lover was Bishwas Devi. She was a concubine of another man!

    Spoiler: Poor Raja
    Show


    In April it was reported that the Raja Viradeva was INCAPABLE! He was bedridden and it was doubtful he would be with the living for very long. His wife was now his regent.

    Spoiler: Another Great War - But A Short One
    Show



    In late April the Great King started a war on some poor Duke. The war ended in December with the Pala Kingdom winning.

    Spoiler: County of Kundina
    Show



    In May it was reported that the County of Kundina was prospering.

    Spoiler: Like Father Like Son
    Show


    In June it was rumored that Anktas Bharuka, one of the Queen's Courtiers, was becoming a proper Greek like his father.

    Spoiler: A New Raja
    Show



    Then in late June there was news that rocked the Kingdom. The Raja Viradeva of Shantideva Raj had died! In the privy. Of course, his ten year old son now ruled his realm.

    But more importantly the treaty was now null and void. The Queen could declare war whenever she wanted. She just needed to wait for her Magistros to find some legal point to allow her to claim the County of Suvarnagram as her own.

    In September the Great King had five children. As a Buddhist Ruler he could decide which of those who fit the requirements would replace him - just as the Queen COULD pick her younger son as the next King if she needed to. This gave him three males to pick to be the next Great King (his two sons and his younger brother).

    Spoiler: Future Great King
    Show


    He selected Rajkumar Gopala, the offspring of him and his wife, to be his heir.

    Spoiler: A Failed Plot Against A Great King
    Show



    The Queen, realizing he could change his mind at any moment in favor of one of the other males, decided to try to kill her husband. The idea was, if he was dead, he couldn't change his mind. She even was able to have another member of the Pala's Court join her in the plot before being found out in December. Now they hated each others’ guts and there was much debate about what would happen to the Great Queen. If her husband was to kill her the son would HATE his father - which would just make things even more complex.

    Spoiler: The Great Iconoclast Victory
    Show


    At the start of the new year, 781 AD, the Court received news from the west. The Iconoclast Faith had crushed the Orthodox. There was many glances at the Greek Freeloaders. Would they start their own Holy War between themselves? Would the Orthodox convert to Buddhism? Would the Iconoclast go back home?

    So now, my readers, I close the chapter having given you information that the Queen herself had not yet heard due to being isolated. But when she came out of her chambers and received the news - oh what will happen then?
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Twenty-One : Great King Vs. Young Raja


    Let's Get Ready To Rumble!

    Welcome my readers. As we last left our Queen she was drinking deep from the well of wisdom that was the Buddhavacana. She was learning new lessons every day.

    Spoiler: Expanding Her Mind
    Show


    So much progress had been made, in fact, that she was told she could end her seclusion. Her mission was complete and her fellow Buddhists within the society were pleased.

    Spoiler: All Done
    Show


    As she stepped back into the gritty secular world of wars and taxes her husband and many attendants helped her review all the events of the last year. They brought her to her private quarters, served her a platter of her favorite foods, and started to fill her in on the events of this year.

    The husband looked her over as she ate slowly. She seemed to enjoy each mouth full. He gave her some time to adjust to the good food, to the chilled drinks, and rich furnishings, before starting the long briefing. While she seemed slimmer and somewhat calmer there was still a strength in her that suggested iron.

    He went over the events, slowly, allowing her to absorb the old reports from 780 AD before continuing on to the current year.

    "This year is becoming...interesting." He grave the paperwork on events of the last year to a servant and pulled a smaller bundle onto the table. He undid the ribbons and pulled out the top sheet which he carefully unfolded and smoothed out.

    Spoiler: War Between Neighbors
    Show


    He handed her the first detailed report. "The Great King and the new Raja went to war in January." He now had her full attention.

    The Queen put the platter of food to one side and took the sheet, looking it over. "They are fighting over the County of Kumara Mandala. On the Pala Kingdom's side of the river. The Great King wishes to make his border look pretty."

    "Yes," said her husband, "most likely. Or he sensed weakness. With his four thousand plus warriors against the young boy's just over one thousand he is likely to win either way. Being older, with more skills and more experience, he will win a swift victory. He HAS won FIVE wars and this is his sixth."

    The Queen nodded and handed him the report back. "And we still don't have a claim yet?"

    "No," said the Despot with a shake of his head.

    Spoiler: The Baron Must Be VERY Unhappy
    Show


    He pulled out another piece of paper and handed it over to her adding, "And Baron Bhattamahabahu's wife died. From what we could tell, it was related to illness and not murder."

    "I see," said the Queen. "I am sure he will be paranoid enough to see it as murder."

    Spoiler: Coming Out Again
    Show


    The Depot returned the second piece of paper back to the bundle and added, "And...well...I came out of hiding again. I SWEAR my wife, I hear rumors that somebody is out to get me."

    The Queen sighed and placed a calming hand on her nearest arm. "Stay calm my husband."

    "Anything else I should know?" she asked as she felt his arm relax under her touch.

    "No my wife," he said, shaking his head. "You are up to date now."

    Spoiler: A Better Queen?
    Show


    By April the Queen had dived back into the court politics and dealings of state.

    Spoiler: Commander Partap
    Show


    As the war continued on their border her Protostrator reported that another Commander had gained another skill. Commander Partap had become a better leader of heavy infantry.

    In August the Regent of the young Raja, Rameshwar, had been captured and imprisoned by the Kingdom of Pala. The young ruler was assigned a new Regent (his third since he started his rule).

    Spoiler: Off To The Dungeons!
    Show



    It was also reported that the Raja only had about 800 soldiers to his name by late August, 781 AD, and the County of Kumara Mandala was, mostly, occupied by the Kingdom of Pala.

    In October her Magistros reported a battle happening in Suvarnagram which the Kingdom of Pala won. The losing army ended up retreating into the Queen's holdings much to her annoyance.

    Spoiler: Battle Of Suvarnagram
    Show


    In December news leaked over the border from the Kingdom of Pala that the Great King had burnt somebody at the stake again. This was the third victim to be burned. Did he have a problem with witches or something?

    Spoiler: Did He Weigh The Same As A Duck?
    Show


    Later that month an army of the Pala King started to siege the County of Suvamagram.

    Spoiler: Siege Of Suvamagram
    Show


    The Queen was not pleased. "They are doing damage to the County I want," she grumbled from the throne.

    Still, the Queen knew the Raja was doomed to be defeated and made much weaker. While she became more and more powerful with every year she waited. And there was more than one way to skin a cat. Or make a claim on a County.

    So wonderful readers we close this chapter as I put out the lamp and clean my pens. Let us see what plans the Queen has for the young Raja. We can only assume it will not be to his liking.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Twenty-Two : My Kingdom For A Claim!


    Medieval Archive

    The Queen entered the dusty archives and held back a sneeze. The shelves were said to hold the records of the Kingdom and the neighboring realms as far back as history had been recorded. And what, my dear readers, was the Queen doing here?

    She was looking for anybody who had a claimant on the County of Suvarnagram. A member of the last Royal Family to rule the Raj or maybe a offspring of an old Count. Anybody who she could get to join her court, make a vassal, and then could give her a reason to take the County from the young ruler.

    After a few hours bent over crumbling tomes, faded family histories, and web covered tax records she had found nobody alive with a claim on the county. All past Royal Families of the Raj had died out. There was NOBODY in the known world who had a legal claim on the county.

    Well, the Great KING did. But she doubted he would be helpful in this matter.

    "So I must wait for my Magistros to do his thing," she said as she pulled the spider webs out of her hair. She gently closed the last book she had been reading and placed it back onto the shelf.

    Spoiler: Lost Little Army
    Show



    The war was still going when the new year, 782 AD, came into existence. The Raja's army who had retreated into her holdings had fled all the way to the County of Kundina. Near the end of January it finally got its act together and was now marching back to the theatre of war.

    In February the Baron Bhattamahabahu of Numaligarh, the man who she had tried to seduce, the man whose wife had died, the man who was paranoid about everyone and everything, died in an accident. His son, Salasthamba, was now the next Baron.

    Spoiler: The NEW Baron
    Show


    He had no regent but he was smart enough to refuse any Guardian that would change his culture or religion. In the end he did agree to allowing Prince Balavarman to become his Guardian who the boy felt was a acceptable teacher.

    In March the Pala-Shantideva De Jure War over Kumara Mandala was over. Of course the Great King had won.

    Spoiler: The De Jure War Over Kumara Mandala Comes To An End
    Show


    On the 20th of March, after letting things settle down, the Queen compared her Kingdom to the Raja's and found his realm wanting. He has less men, less coin, and no military skills.

    Spoiler: Sizing Up The Future Enemy
    Show



    "Now I just need to wait till I have a legal right to press my claim," she grumbled. "I could crush him right now!"

    Spoiler: Stake Burning Is SPREADING?!?!?
    Show


    In June she received news that now the Raja was burning people at the stake. What was going on?

    In August her youngest son asked her how to whistle. She tried to encourage him but he not only couldn't whistle but began to brood because of his failure to whistle. The Queen was secretly happy this complaining, ugly, little boy was not to be the one to sit on her throne when she passed away.

    Spoiler: He Is Now Ugly AND Brooding
    Show


    In September the Queen ordered her Mystikos, Prataparuda, to return to Kamarupanagara to scheme against her enemies and keep an eye on her court. She was wondered more about her own court than those outside the palace.

    Spoiler: Ashes To Ashes
    Show


    Later that month news of a fourth person being burnt at the stake in Pala was received by the court. The whole thing about burning people at the stake was starting to confuse the Queen. Was it a religious issue or a form of punishment?

    Spoiler: Commander Pelagios
    Show


    By December her Protostrator told her that one of her Commanders, Pelagios, had improved in the art of war. This was the SECOND Time she had received a report about her Warrior Monk that year. It seemed that Pelagios may have enjoyed the military training more than he should of.

    As the new year came and went the Queen still did not have a claim. But she was also more powerful. And after so many years of peace she was looking forward to some real action again.
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    Crusader Kings 2 - The Road of Queens
    Chapter Twenty-Three : Death In The Family


    Under The Tree

    It was announced on the 22nd of January, in the year 783 AD, that Prince Andronikos was now twelve years of age. He was no longer a toddler nor was he yet an adult. But his education had to continue and his mother, the Queen of Kamarupa, had to decide what the classes would be and who would be his new main teacher.

    Spoiler: Prince Andronikos's Continued Education
    Show


    The Queen complained at first. She thought he would start a formal education at age six. But she had been wrong. In the end she decided the best education for the future King was stewardship. It may sound boring, learning about bookkeeping and administration, but it was the perfect skills to hone for a future ruler. And the perfect Guardian for the Prince was, was of course, Georgios.

    Spoiler: The Queen's Continued Education
    Show



    The year was going slowly when in April the Society suggested SHE needed to continue her own education and focus on theology. She agreed as such a move would also help with some of her vassals and their opinion of her. And of course, by agreeing to such a suggestion, her Brothers and Sisters were very happy with her.

    Spoiler: Studies In Theology
    Show



    In June she decided to go on a pilgrimage to one of the sites Holy to the Buddhist Faith. But Which site was it to be?

    Spoiler: The Great King's Seventh War
    Show


    While the Queen was trying to decide the Great King started another war. His seventh.

    Spoiler: Road Trip!
    Show


    By July the Queen had decided to journey to the sacred Bodhi Tree where Buddha, himself, found enlightenment. Surely that would be the best place to go? If it was good enough for Buddha it was good enough for her. She packed what little she needed and was off.

    Now, at this point the histories become confused. Because it seems the Queen was off to visit the Bodhi Tree AND yet still at home, dealing with her courtiers. For it is written she was attacked by one of the children of the court.

    Spoiler: Time Travel?
    Show



    Yet almost at the same time, during her travels, it is said she was learning about how other realms handled themselves. In August she was either fighting her own cruelty or arriving at the Holy Site.

    Spoiler: Evil Twin Sister?
    Show


    She stayed there till 30th of September when it is recorded she was back in Court. We know this because the Regency ended when Georgios stepped down. She selected her husband, Despot Balavarman “The Just”, to be the new Regent.

    Spoiler: Home Sweet Home
    Show



    In October the Maharaja Dharmapala uncovered a plot led by a Buddhist Monk by the name of Khadgodyama to, well, kill him. Before being found out the Monk had been able to recruit two Mayors AND the Great Queen to join his plot.

    Spoiler: Another Plot Uncovered
    Show


    The Queen realized that, sooner or later, one of those plots might not be uncovered in time. So many people wanted Dhamapala dead - how could he watch them all?

    Spoiler: A Duel
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    In November the Count Pusyamitra requested to be allowed to duel his rival. As his rival was Dionysios, one of the Greek Freeloaders (whose wife the Count was fooling around with), the Queen agreed without a second thought. It was, when it came to it, a win-win for her. Sadly, she heard nothing about it afterwards so she could only assume nobody got hurt.

    Spoiler: Another Proper Little Greek
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    In December she was made aware of the fact that Suddhodane, the second son of her Upadhyaya, was becoming a proper little Greek. Which was good news. Sadly, bad news would soon follow.

    On the 21st of December, 783 AD, the Despot of the Kingdom, Doux Balavarman the Third of Para-Lauhitya, the Count of Goalpara, nicknamed “The Just”, had died.

    Spoiler: The NEW Doux
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    Which meant her older son inherited the title of Doux, moved to his own court in Goalpara, and left her direct control. True, he still had a good Guardian and he loved his mother. But now he could....make his own decisions! With his Regent’s approval, of course, but who knew what bad influence he might receive when away from her court. And when he became a full adult he may, or may not, listen to her suggestions of the best woman to make his wife.

    Spoiler: The New Power Couple
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    The Queen had lost a man she had truly come to love while watching her eldest son gain a man's position in life. But she had to move on and she also needed a new regent. She selected Georgios as the new Regent. After a decent amount of time passed she also made him her husband. They were both Greeks, both Buddhists, and both respected each other. It was the best she was going to do thousands of miles away from her homeland in Greece.
    Avatar crafted by the Great and All Knowing Mr_Saturn

    HEY! Nobody kills that many of my followers in one round except ME! Or maybe the goblin!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    If I thought I could have slipped laser-headed sharks through the WOTC editing staff, I would have.
    Spoiler
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    Let's Play -Road Of Queens - CKII India AAR

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