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1.The Eutopia of Grand IndochinaInoffensive Centrist Democracy“From bloods and tears of many, this nation was built.”
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Kievan Tsardom

    April 1210
    Triumvirate

___

Royal Palace in Kiev
___

| The Tsar walked thoughtfully through the throne room, frowning and clasping his hands behind his back. In front of him, on the floor, was a large map of the entire known world from France to the Ural Mountains, from the deserts of Egypt to the snowy mountainous north of Norway. Numerous morning sunbeams, penetrating through the windows of the palace, illuminated a spacious room, the main part of which was the majestic throne of the Tsar, decorated with gold, made by the best craftsmen, and the gloomy face of the Tsar. Near the other edge of the map were the best men of the state: the chancellor, the treasurer, the military leaders. Daniel gathered them all in order to finally find a solution to the problem that has recently occupied the mind of the Monarch.

“Pope Bartholomew gathered a huge army, his goals have long been known and understood by everyone. And even though we once agreed on peace between our countries, I have no guarantees that the Bulgars will not enter our rich and fertile lands with the aim of plundering them. " pronounced Daniel Romanovich, "Today I received a letter sent by the new king of Norway, Haakon III, from which it clearly follows that in Norway they also fear the Bulgarian army, and offer us and Lietuva a pact to protect our countries. So I wanted to know your opinion on this matter."

The treasurer and Tsar's financial adviser, Yevgeny Stepanovich Myshin, a tall and thin middle-aged man with a wedge-shaped beard, who could be described as a scrupulous pedant, spoke up:

"My Tsar, I see no reason to worry about this. We just need to send envoy to Bulgha with confirmation of our neutrality. We have letters from Bartholomew himself, who in these letters assures us of peace between us. It makes no sense for us to waste money and soldiers on meaningless confrontations. "

Pavel Olegovich Drozdovsky, the old chancellor, a very experienced person in matters not only of politics, but also of military strategy, who was highly respected by everyone, including the Tsar, said:

"Not at all! The army, forgotten by God, essentially isolated from everyone, a piece of land was able to assemble an army equal to ours. This army will go a long way before reaching at least the Dnieper and Kiev. Just think how long it will take so many people to go, and How to supply such a crowd? What will these people eat? What they will find along the way. And certainly not in the wild fields belonging to the Polovtsy and Kypchaks. "

"And our troops alone won't be enough to stop them." said the military leader Alexander Olegovich Bondarenko, the most skillful commander and the first strongman in Kiev, "The help of the allied forces will not hurt us!"

"This is ridiculous! Orthodox, pagans and Catholics. Is this some bad anecdote?"

"Enough!" The Tsar said in a calm but imperious voice, which forced the speakers to stop the discussion and turn their gaze to the Monarch, "I listened to you and made a decision. Listen to my order!
Treasurer, immediately allocate the necessary amount to collect the army.
Commanders, start training troops. Even if we do not have to fight the Bulgars' army, we will prepare the army for the conquest of the lands of Rus.
Now go."

With a gesture the Tsar showed that they could go. Towards evening, two messengers with two letters left the Tsar's Palace, one went with a letter to Vilnius, the other to Oslo.

                        "To His Majesty, King Haakon III Sverresson of Norway, King of Norway, Liege of Sweden,
                        Rightful ruler of all lands in the North, and High-King of Scandinavia,

      I accept your proposal to create a tripartite defensive pact against the intervention of the Volga-Bulgarian Holy Empire.
      We are aware of the threat posed by a huge uncontrolled army in the vastness of Eastern Europe.
      In case of a threat from the outside, we are ready to come to your aid, and we hope that you will not leave us in difficult times.

      With great respect to you.

    Tsar of Kiev, Prince of Galicia-Volyn, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Grand Duke of Polotsk, Duke of Turov and Gorodna,
    Daniel Romanovich
    "

                              "To His Grace, Grand Duke Algimantas Palemonaičiai of Lietuva

      By the will of fate, you and I found ourselves in this difficult situation together.
      Our sovereign interests are threatened by the Bulgar army, a huge fanatical horde.
      I sincerely hope that we can forget the unpleasant moments of our neighborhood in this difficult world, like, for example, the raids that you and we made on each other.
      And together we will confront the threat that looms over Eastern Europe.

      With great respect to you.

    Tsar of Kiev, Prince of Galicia-Volyn, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Grand Duke of Polotsk, Duke of Turov and Gorodna,
    Daniel Romanovich
    "

    1957
    Goloborod'ko V. A. "The origin of Dike Pole Cossacks. Part four: The first Cossak Rada"

4 years after his election as the Hetman of Zaporozian Army, Juri Patc decided to retire in the spring of 1206. His named successor, Dmitri Putiachich, ran for the post of Hetman the same day and won with an almost absolute majority. As the legend goes, Bogdan Glinski was furious about this. He served in the Izum Sich for four years as its protector and Koshevoi Ataman. The fact that anyone that lived outside of Zaporozie was not able to elect a new Hetman was enough to raise a host of at least two thousand Cuman horsemen and four thousand Sevruk(1) infantry. The host of Glinski had besieged Hortitsa island from both sides in early August.

Dmitri had arranged negotiations on one of the barkasses(2). We don't know much, but the verbal stories of the event description that two pretenders could not reach an agreement for three days, but neither wanted to draw a sword and kill a fellow cossack. Guests from Lithuania were present at a meeting, as well as retired Patc. The first hetman of the Army was the one who resolved the conflict. Patc had suggested a simple idea. One single representative from every single village arrives at the Sich and gives their vote for a candidate they like.

And so, the messengers were sent. The planned meeting happened in mid-September. With more than five hundred people, the vote began. Glinski won by a majority of a single vote, with four people giving their votes to the third, yet unknown, candidate- Senko Polozovich. This event is described in a famous book written by Panteleimon Kulish in 1845, called "First Council". As the name implies- this tradition continued. Every year the council gathered in Zaporozie for the entirety of spring to consult with the Hetman and bestow their wisdom on him.
(1)- Sevruki. North-eastern Slavic tribe with close ties to Cumans.
(2)- Barkass. Huge ship for troop transportation.

| The King of Kings of Lithuania, Algimantas Palemonaičiai would respond to both men. He would accept to the alliance but stress it wasn't permanent, that Norway and the Rus would be destroyed if it was a plot to decieve Lithuania. This would be a temporary agreement born out of necessity. |

                              "To His Majesty, King Haakon III Sverresson of Norway, King of Norway, Liege of Sweden,
                              Rightful ruler of all lands in the North, and High-King of Scandinavia."

      The Goddesses of fate have brought Lithuania together with Norway and the Rus against these Bolghars.
      I am no fanatic nor fool, I am capable of pragmatic action and so for now I shall forget about the slights your
      people have levelled against mine. One needs only to behold Mazovia to know
      what might happen if this were to be a deception born out of low cunning.

      With Regards.

    The Divine King of Kings Of All Lithuania, The Reborn King, Dispenser of Justice and The Holy Sword of the Baltic Sea. "

                              "To His Majesty, Tsar of Kiev, Prince of Galicia-Volyn, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Grand Duke of Polotsk, Duke of Turov and Gorodna,
                              Daniel Romanovich"

      I am willing to put aside the differences between our realms temporarily to deal with the larger issue of a Bolghar
      invasion, but do not misunderstand this as a permanent change. Once these Bolghars are defeated Lithuania will go
      back to regular slave raids. If this is a plot formed between Norway and the Rus, one needs only to behold the fate of
      the Duchy of Mazovia to see what the results of such a deception would be.

      With Regards.

    The Divine King of Kings Of All Lithuania, The Reborn King, Dispenser of Justice and The Holy Sword of the Baltic Sea. "

Lux Lumen Kiewan Rus

LISTEN ON LOOP TO SET THE MOOD:
https://baltictribes.bandcamp.com/track/lustrum

    NOVEMBER 25TH, 1206
    LONG LIVE THE REBORN KING, THE KING OF KINGS OF ALL LITHUANIA

___

Kernavė, the Court of Karalių Karalius Algimantas Palemonaičiai
___

| Algimantas' return to Lithuania would be long and arduous, just to get out of Mazovia and back into Prussia. The Dievturyba Chronicles (the future religious text for all Baltic Paganism) state that the moment the Grand Duke stepped into his own lands again, he slipped from his horse, fell into the marsh and entered a catatonic trance. He was stiff as a board, his eyes looked vacant and empty and his skin grew white as bone. According to official legends he wasn't even breathing the entire time, he appeared dead. It would take a month to reach the capital with the Grand Duke being pulled by cart the entire time. Next to him would sit Antlers taken from deer nearby, Algimantas would be covered in flowers and branches woven together into bands, taken from the holy forests across the lands they entered. He did not exit from his trance the entire time they were travelling, however curiously he was speaking under his breath in a language no men knew the entire time they went, not even pausing for breath, it was not latin, polish, any baltic language or anything any interpreter could recognize. By the time they would reach the capital of Kernavė, it looked more a somber funeral procession than a victorious army returning from war. Algimantas was growing thin and pale like a dead man and indeed most of his soldiers assumed he was dead or dying and planned to burn his body in accordance with proper Baltic funeral customs. Grand Duke Algimantas' wife Kersta would be hysterical when she saw the sight of her seemingly dead husband. She was the deaf daughter of a Selonian duke, married to Algimantas for an alliance but the two quickly became very fond of one another after a year or two after the marriage was made. |

| However, despite what everyone believed, the Vaidila or Priest of Kernavė, named Rimas refused to believe he was dead. He knew better when he saw the Grand Duke's body. Rimas would reportedly say the Grand Duke was experiencing divine inspiration or "Įkvėpimas" and was not to be disturbed. He would be taken to a holy grove and given what would be described as a "potion of herbs" which likely contained extremely hallucinogenic mushrooms like Liberty Caps, Fly Agaric Mushrooms and other herbs. The Recipe was to be written down but its contents would be a sacred secret. Shortly after imbibing the drink the Grand Duke would stand up and was semi-conscious. He was able to communicate in Lithuanian what he was seeing but was still in the trance. He described seeing ghostly men and women that were not there from Rimas' perspective. Both would identify these as the multitudes of Gods, Goddesses and Ancestor spirits of the Baltic Religion. Once that had been revealed to the two the Grand Duke would only respond sparsely as he seemed to be in council with the Divine. Algimantas would write down extensively what he saw and said during this "Holy Council" in the Dievturyba Chronicles. |

| The Gods would tell the Grand Duke a great many things. The first thing he was reportedly told was that Syncretism was abhorrent in the eyes of the Gods. They were the only gods in existence and the act of accepting a foreign god into the faith was one of the gravest insults against them, any who accept foreign Gods alongside the true Immortal Gods would be put to death. The gods awarded and protected those that did great deeds, protected the holy forests, marshes and fields of Lithuania and Algimantas had done one of the greatest deeds a man could do. He made sure the true faith was secure and safe from Christians long enough to strengthen itself. Now the most important thing to be done was to mold the religion into its true form, the ones the Gods would surely smile at. The Gods said that the Grand Duke becoming the leader of the religion was indeed the right way to go about reforging the religion but it was not going far enough. The authority of the Gods would not be respected or feared that way, there needed to be a physical representative of the Gods on earth. Algimantas needed to take the title of the Divine King of Kings. The ability to see the Gods and hear their commands was a gift bestowed upon Algimantas and everyone that would share his blood. He was now a holy being himself, deserving of worship. Another thing to change was the nature of slavery. The Gods despised the enslavement of the Faithful and commanded Algimantas to end the enslavement of those that follow the true faith. A balance existed between the gods, an equality and such a thing needed to be present in the faithful on earth. All slaves that follow the true faith,are to be given freedom. All freed slaves are to be given land grants in the newly conquered land of Mazovia to colonize it with faithful balts. The Gods also smiled on those that gave up their material possessions and pleasures in dedication to them, from then on the religion would be an Ascetic one. After his return Algimantas will always be seen wearing a simple white cloth robe, and would take all the wealth in his personal treasury and melt it into golden statues of the gods at a new religious site, A stone circle that has been under construction for the better part of a decade. His wealth was considerable so there would be enough metal to create the numerous statues necessary. |

| According to legend, this holy council would be held for a week until Algimantas was commanded to return to his people. A final command by the gods was given. He was to take the Antlers laid next to him during his return to Kernave would be fashioned into a new crown to symbolize the new holy title he held It would have no finery on it, no gold nor gems, symbolizing the new anti-materialist Asceticism the religion would adopt. He would need to be coronated to officially become the King of Kings however, so messages would be send to all of his Vassals, so they can swear fealty to him individually. Most vassals would be confused by the meaning of this coronation, however once it began it became much more clear what was going on. It looked like a much more religious ceremony than before, with Vaidila everywhere. They already knew Algimantas' intentions to change the pagan faith of the baltic, but it was surprising it was going this far. The Crown of Antlers as it would come to be called was sitting on an altar at the end of the Throne Room, with his vassals sitting on benches on either side of the wall. Algimantas would walk into the room wearing a simple white wool robe with a belt holding it and leather shoes. He would walk up to the Crown, surrounded by Vaidila. Algimantas picked up the Crown and sat it on his head himself. The Vaidila would all shout in unison "Long Live The Divine King of Kings Of All Lithuania, The Reborn King, Dispenser of Justice and The Holy Sword of the Baltic Sea!" and his vassals would immediately shout the same, also in unison. Algimantas would explain in a long speech what happened to him, how he met the gods, how he himself is a god, and all the changes to the religion the gods themselves commanded him to make. His vassals wouldn't dare oppose him, most vassals would cautiously accept his new status, not fully believing his story. However it would be trivially easy to convince the common folk of Algimantas' new status as God King as they already revered Algimantas for his actions as the unifier of the Baltic. |

___________________

| "Lietuva tvirtai stos prieš netikinčius!" |
___________________

    AUGUST 1210 AD
    THE HOLY EMPIRE OF VOLGA-BULGARIA

The Antipapal Court of Bartholomew Svinos, The City of Bulgha, The Holy Empire of Volga-Bulgaria

The Crusade has begun. The armies of Volga-Bulgaria make a sound like thunder, 12 000 men marching in synchronised order. Short of what had been hoped for, but still a more than respectable amount. Each man had been trained hard, a few harsh months to bring them up to scratch and make them tougher, harder, more disciplined. They could wait longer, gather more troops than even the seemingly endless legions already trailing behind, but as they gathered men, so did their enemies. As they grew stronger, the enemy had more time for defence. The balance had to be perfected, and Pope Bartholomew believed that now was the time to strike. Of course, ultimately it would not matter how strong the enemy were, with God on his side the infidels stood no chance. Their sword was the sword of God, and the heretics would be struck down. But it was best to be certain. That was Bartholomew’s motto. It made him a good general, because he would always strike when it was certain of victory and not before. Where others gambled in battle, he preferred sure chance. And now, he felt the certainty of victory.

Into Kievan Rus the men marched. He dared not stop though, knowing that no mercy could be expected if he did. There was no avoiding a battle or two here, but he had to have an army when he reached Eastern Europe, and the only way he could achieve that was to avoid as much conflict as he could. He had given strict orders: loot and pillage only if we have nothing, when our supplies are down, and camp only when we can’t march any longer. Every night, before camping, a guard of a quarter of the total force would be set. The troops on guard duty would be on a rota, a different quarter each night. He had to reach Poland, and then Lithuania, and he had to have an army when he got there. He was Hannibal, the great Carthaginian leader who had led the men across the Alps. He was Alexander the Great, invader of the known world.

As he marched, he saw a flock of horsemen, light cavalry armed with long spears and bucklers galloping towards him. He had set them far out on the flanks to scout for any sign of the enemy, and by the speed at which they were riding, clearly something important had been found.
“Your holiness, we have found reports that the Tsar Daniel of Kievan Rus has increased their armed forces drastically ever since you sent the letter to him suggesting a military alliance. And worse, there are rumours tenfold flying around of... of a triple alliance between Norway, Lithuania and Kievan Rus. Your Holiness, if this is true —“
Pope Bartholomew cut him off.
“If it is true, it makes no difference. We will crush them all, alliance or not. Do you doubt our strength, the strength of heaven?” The man merely nodded resignedly, before giving an order to the other riders. They galloped back to their positions.

If it was true.... Pope Bartholomew highly doubted that there was any truth behind the rumour, but if there was, it was disturbing. Was he making a mistake in doing this? Too late to turn back now. Besides, those three hated each other with a passion. The very idea of them coming together was laughable. No, each would fight against him, for sure, but just as much as they fought each other. Behind him, the sunlight gleamed on a thousand steel helmets behind him, glinted off their polished weapons. He smiled. This is what he had been born to do. This was his purpose on earth. He would be remembered as the Saviour of Mankind. At last, the war was on.

Kievan Tsardom

    August 1210
    The enemy is at the gate

___

Neighborhoods of Kiev
___

| From the lands of Ryazan, merchants began to bring disturbing news, telling about an army that had come from the east, advancing westward day and night. The huge horde of Bulgars, led by the fanatical Bartholomew, according to various sources, numbered about twenty thousand people, but there was no more data either about the condition or the quality of the equipment of the soldiers.
This was a signal for Daniil Romanovich. For almost five months the tsarist army trained hard to repulse arrogant enemies. In Kiev, provisions were prepared, which would be enough for all the townspeople and the army, in case it was necessary to hide behind the city walls for several months.
|

| The Tsar's Council was again assembled, which was attended by Chancellor Pavel Olegovich, Treasurer Yevgeny Stepanovich, Voivode Yaroslav Kuznetsov and other military leaders. Tsar Daniel sat majestically on his golden throne, however, instead of the usual everyday royal attire, he was already wearing armor, chain mail, and with the family coat of arms on his chest, and only a marching helmet with gilded lines and a royal two-headed eagle, which symbolizes succession Rus over the extinct Byzantium, hung on the handle of the throne. All this testified to the complete readiness for war.

"My loyal subjects," Daniel began to say, "Bartholomew dared to an unheard-of insolence. Without receiving any permission from me, he entered my lands with his horde. You cannot close your eyes to such a thing, because it casts doubt on my authority over these lands. I am the sovereign of this country, and if someone considers himself right, not paying any attention to me, walking on them, then he should be punished!
How are things with my army, pan Voivode? "

"I wish to inform you, my Tsar, that the army, in the amount of fourteen thousand people, consisting of twelve thousand infantry and a thousand and a half cavalry, and half a thousand archers, is fully trained, equipped and stationed on the outskirts of Kiev, and is ready to go."

"Great! And what will pan Yevgeny Stepanovich say, how are things with the budget?" said Daniel, addressing the treasurer.

"Not everything is as good as we would like, Your Majesty. We were able to fully cover the costs of equipping the army and made large reserves of food and water, but our treasury is practically empty, and during the war it will be impossible to replenish it, so it will be impossible for us to buy mercenaries or somehow recruit other shelves. Besides, a long hike can deprive us of the last hryvnia."

"Well, that's depressing, but we're not going anywhere!" said the Tsar, not hiding pride from the plan, which he himself had come up with, "We have no place to go anywhere, we will stay in Kiev." said Daniel Romanovich to everyone's surprise, from which, it seems, the whole world came to a stupor at that moment.
"There are two reasons for this.
The first is that here we will await the arrival of the allied forces of Lietuva and Norway in order to destroy the aggressor together and capture Bulgha.
The second is the Dnieper. This river is very long and extremely wide, so Bartholomew will either have to go around it, which will stretch his campaign for several weeks, or try to break through in the narrowest place, that is, where Kiev stands, with its thick and high walls. And he will not take this city, we will do everything to make the Dnieper a grave for a thousand Bulgars.
We will do the following: my spies will drive around the entire Dnieper so that we know where the Bulgars will strike, and when they come to Kiev we will give them a battle, and in case of failure, we will close ourselves in the city until the allies arrive, thankfully we have a lot of supplies."

The councilors began to applaud in agreement and admiration for the plan. After they left, Daniel Romanovich sent letters to the allies.

                      To the Divine King of Kings Of All Lithuania, The Reborn King, Dispenser of Justice
                      and The Holy Sword of the Baltic Sea and to His Majesty, King Haakon III Sverresson of Norway, King of Norway, Liege of Sweden,
                      Rightful ruler of all lands in the North, and High-King of Scandinavia.

    Our common enemy, in the person of Bartholomew, invaded my possessions, moving towards Poland and Lithuania, wishing to establish their own order in all of Europe.
    Our army is strong and ready to repulse the aggressor, but a war with a fanatic is dangerous, because such people will fight to the last man and are unlikely to retreat, so I ask you to respect our agreements, and, as you promised, come to our aid.
    We will be able to gain time before the cold weather arrives, and there the Bulgars' army will begin to endure a great need for food and a place where they can survive the cold winter, losing their soldiers without a fight.

    With great respect to you.

Tsar of Kiev, Prince of Galicia-Volyn, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Grand Duke of Polotsk, Duke of Turov and Gorodna,
Daniel Romanovich
"

A Move to War

Baltics

| The King of Norway, Haakon III Sverresson of Norway has put his invasion of the Northern Scandinavia on hold while he sends forces to deal with the Volga-Bulgarian menace. He figured it would give more time for the missionaries to do their work. He then reallocated the forces so that the forces he was sending to was a full 10,000 soldiers strong. The forces now allocated were 1,000 Heavy Cavalry, 1,000 Light Cavalry, 2,000 Pikemen (Hoplite style), 5,000 Swordsmen (of various armor and types), and 1,000 Archers. He had a massive fleet of his ships guard the shis being used to transport the soldiers to the Baltics. A emissary from the fleet goes ahead of the fleet and asks for permission to land the soldiers and set up camp. The King sent a few of the nobility to lead his forces, while he was needed to deal with some issues on the mainland. The King of Norway had to deal with several headaches, the first being over the sheer amount of supplies needed to move a force of 10,000 soldiers into a foreign land to defend it. While willing to cooperate, he held little trust in the supply lines of his temporary allies. At the same time, he had to deal with the efforts to ensure Sweden was loyal, a great affair that was progressing very slowly, aided only by the fact that he was now their liege. The only other affair he had to deal with was the constant issues brought upon the nation of Norway for increasing its taxes so that the massive Castle of Oslo could be built. It also came to his embarrassment, when he realized that in all the planning for the Castle of Oslo, his father forgot to include the plans and location for the Basilica of Oslo, so he had to spend many hours trying to fix that problem before construction got too far along to just add it in. The King, while unable to directly lead the troops, wanted to ensure the defeat of Volga-Bulgaria. |

ပါဝါပြောင်းလဲမှုများ • CHANGES OF POWER

10th waxing of Tawthalin 573 ME | Bagan, Core Region, Bagan Empire

Upon the death of his father, heir apparent Zeya Theinkha Uzana, known officially throughout the realm as Htilominlo, ascended to the throne of the great Empire of the Bagan Dynasty. Unlike his father, Sithu II, the 36 year old Htilominlo couldn't be bothered with the stresses of great leadership. In the wake of his ascension to the throne of Bagan, His Excellency established privy councils headed by appointed senior ministers to address the everyday affairs of the Kingdom. A dedicated Buddhist and educated scholar, Htilominlo even relinquished command of the Royal Armed Forces leaving the helm of Commander-in-Chief to his most trusted  General, Agzawthawdamin, so that he might focus his energies on theology and temple construction, aiming to complete the majestic Gawdawpalin Temple begun in 565 ME (1203 AD) under Narapatisithu's edict.

As the new King lessened the haste of his responsibilities, the Hluttaw increased it's role and power, consolidating control over the military, political, and economic affairs of the Empire. Ultimately, the Chief Minister Ananda Thuriya, a man of valor who often hunts down bandits, presenting them alive to the king, and General Agzawthawdamin, a man bent on superceding his predecessor, Aung Zwa, in military victories and expansion, serving as Commander-in-Chief formed a shadow duumvirate alongside the Hluttaw with Htilominlo acting as figurehead, and the Royal Palace Guards as the central node of the Kyi (Army).

The Tatmadaw Kyi was organised into a small standing army of a few thousand, two companies inner and outer, keeping watch in ranks one behind the other which defend the capital and the palace, though fields a much larger conscript-based wartime army. The Palace Guards, a trained, professional force, ultimately form the nucleus which the mass levy assemble around during war time under the kyundaw conscription system, similar to the feudal military structures present in Europe. Most of the field levy serve in the infantry but the men for the elephantry, cavalry, and naval corps are drawn from specific hereditary villages, each taik-thugyi responsible for recruiting experienced soldiers that specialize in respective military skills within their local garrisons.

Under the command of General Agzawthawdamin however, the Royal Palace Guards and the Tatmadaw as a whole was set on course to be expanded, and as a direct result, would begin a gradual integration campaign bringing the local garrisons of the naingngans, or tributaries of the Empire's peripheral regions, into the standing army. Additionally, this meant the arduous process of integrating the tributaries into the Empire's Core region, a mighty task but necessary nonetheless as tax-free religious holdings expanded and initiated the growing calamity of reduced tax revenues. Tributes from the naingngans would have to be doubled to make up for the plummeting defecit, though only force could ensure that they fall in line and pay. The autonomy enjoyed by the tributaries and lands outside the Core region was now coming to an abrupt end with the new leadership envisioning a united Bagan Empire claiming suzerainty from the mountain passages of Assam to the shores of the Malay Peninsula. Prior to Htilominlo, 150 miles from the Core regions were considered beyond the direct control of Bagan with these regions subsequently enjoying a fair range of autonomy, such as the freedom to appoint local governors, which was soon about to change. Within the course of a few months, the hereditary rulers of Tenasserim, Lower Burma, and Upper Burma were systematically replaced by court governors, appointing senior princes of the Royal family in governorships especially along the Tenasserim coast to closely supervise revenues at several key ports such as Prome, Bassein, and Dala.

Far off and further flung naingngans including Arakan, Chin Hills, Kachin Hills, and Shan Hills, tributary lands the Kingdom has only held in largely ritual or nominal sovereignty in recent history, would now be forced to accept the imposition of the Crown's will and adhere to it's laws, while retaining their ethnic identities. This did not come with out it's promises of benefit, however, as almost two-thirds of all arable land in the Empire belonged to tax free religious holdings, stumping any possibilities of agricultural expansion or land zoning for appanage grants, the promises of territorial expansion to come out of the endeavor are uniquely promising and economically auspicious, even in the face of integration and centralization.

    SEPTEMBER 1210 AD
    THE HOLY EMPIRE OF VOLGA-BULGARIA

Kievan Rus, the River Dnieper

The men of Volga-Bulgaria have finally reached the River Dnieper, blocking the advance. The last month has been a gruelling march, day on day, to try and get across to Eastern Europe. Hundreds of men dropped out from exhaustion, left behind, or just unable to carry on, but others took their places, adventurous young men, with no loyalty to the throne, or simply just thinking it would be fun. Raids by local lords and their men have lead to a constant state of hyper vigilance, guards and sentries constantly on the lookout for trouble. Now they have come to a river blocking their path, too deep to wade across, and too far to swim, even if any of the men could swim. The only bridges are in cities, Kiev the nearest of them.

It was a problem, but Bartholomew soon hit on the solution. Taking Kiev was obviously too difficult, and crossing the mountains too risky. Instead, the men would build massive rafts from wood in the nearby forest, in the valley nearby. While some, about a quarter stood guard with weapons, the rest would build the makeshift boats, some large enough to even carry the cavalry horses. Any boats owned by fishermen were, of course, commandeered for the operation. Although this endeavour would add about a week onto the time taken to get to Poland and Lithuania, it was unavoidable.

Bartholomew was restless. He knew the longer he waited, the bigger and better defended and trained his enemy would be. They had to get moving soon. It was too long, he thought, always too long, too slow. He watched the men at work, using their sharp blades to hack wood for the rafts and sighed. Smiling encouragingly to the workers, he set about trying to rally their spirits, whilst hiding a grimace inside. They had to work faster. By rote, he reassured himself. God was on their side. They would win in the end. They had to. God was on their side.

Can somebody just give me the server invite every time I try it say’s it was old

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