The Sword and Shield are Offered.
14th October, 1399
It is a Friday, as good a day as any to begin the task that is at hand. And it is a particularly good day, because I have finally finished retraining, and redrilling the Delhian army. When before the nobles of the land would snatch any old peasant capable of not dying or running away on the way to the battlefield (and sometimes they don't even manage that) the new army is assembled out of people who are at least of adequate strength, and physical training has been introduced on a state-wide level, meaning that these already competent souls are now physically stronger than the average foe and more likely to prevail in a melee. I can now, with some confidence, claim to have not just a quantitative edge on our nations foes within India, but also a qualitative one.
(Game effects: change from -1 to -2 on the quality/quantity slider, giving the effect of +4% discipline and +0.5 leader fire. For those who haven't played, that means my men are slightly more deadly in combat and are more effective at range.)
Unfortunately this means we cannot summon quite the same manpower reserves as before. Some of our would-be new recruits have been turned down on grounds of fitness; approximately 4000 of the 16,000 approximately ready for combat have been rejected. Its not a permanent issue, but it may hamper us if we suddenly find ourselves in dire need of recruits. Warfare, at least for the next six months, must go smoothly. I do not have men to throw away as the Timurids do.
These reforms alone are not enough however. Our army may be slightly more competent than the rabble that fled in the face of Timors horse archers, but it is still not at full strength, and warfare now with a large state could be disastrous. We currently only have 5000 warriors under banner, 4000 of these nearly worthless infantry plodders. We could, by my calculations, support a standing army of 15,000 without real expense, much of it cavalry. I have therefore taken the decision to travel to the mountain cities to the north, where I have found that the hardy folk we displaced upon coming to this land have a superior, if defensively oriented, cavalry tradition of their own. These hill fighters, equipped with doughty steeds quite capable of outpacing a horse archer under the right circumstances, and able to fight well even on the rough ground that usually puts cavalry off, will form the backbone of the new army, once it is assembled. It is with this in mind that I have set about recruiting as many as I can; 5000 of these horsemen will join our ranks in the coming months. Unfortunately we only have five provinces capable of fielding these proud soldiers, and my need is great. It is with this in mind that I have also recruited a further unit of our noble Indian archers from Delhi and Lucknow; better that these feckless nobles be out fighting (and hopefully dying) in our armies rather than kicking about the locals and conspiring against one another at home.
These reforms aren't coming cheap; already the treasury is exhausted for this year; 98 ducats of the 102 I started with are gone, and war hasn't even broken out! Truly, January, and the yearly levy from my vassals cannot come soon enough, though I doubt our army will reach full size for many years.
(Note; these are not literal vassals, and we have a despotic monarchy, not a feudal one. Regardless, societies in those days had some
kind of feudal structure, even if it wasn't formalised.)
There is far too much disorder and lack of authority in parts of our lands. How can we progress as a nation when a great deal of our countries income is going not into development or into the treasury, or even into paying the men who defend us, but into simply keeping the nation together. I have therefore resolved to get this over with now. Even now I am focussing what money does not go straight into the treasury or off to our armies to go to reforming the laws and customs of the land, and improving law and order across the state, so that the land is completely stable before we embark on any great reforms. It is inefficient to split our attentions into development of new ways when we haven't even mastered the current systems. We should start seeing progress in a year or two, unless, of course, things go to plan and we soon have new lands and problems to deal with.
(Game Effect: I've basically poured all the money I can find into stability. Once it reaches +3, rather than the +1 its at now, I don't have to spend money on stability and I get a tax bonus I can then focus towards paying for new technologies. The five technologies are in government, which gives you new governmental ideas at a considerable stability cost (stability maintainence is a constant battle between your financial efforts to maintain it and events that bring it down) and also gives you national ideas, which give huge bonuses, particularly the military ones; production technologies, which gives you a steady income bonus from your lands which lack of trade can't rob you of, and gives you buildings that you can build to get more
production, though I've yet to get that far, trade technology, which lets you trade better and farther, land technology, which makes your armies kick tremendous amounts of ass, particularly the infantry, and naval technology, which makes your navies kick tremendous amounts of ass.)
Now, to take a look at my borders.
I only have three diplomats at my disposal right now, with another coming in a months time. And our Sunni rivals are getting hungry. Orissa is the most vulnerable. It cuts Deccan off from the east coast and Deccan has a direct claim on half of Orissas lands; they will surely go for them first. Gondwana also shares a border with Deccan, but I'm more worried about tiny Nepal and our own lands in Bihar, which the Bengalis, yet another Sunni state, can claim via holy war. I have guaranteed Orissa, and expect war with Deccan within the month as a result. Guarantees have also gone out to Bihar and Nepal. Prayers go out to Gondwana; I only hope the Deccan aren't savvy enough to ignore Orissa and go after them first. If they annex Gondwana, my hopes of outright annexing Deccan in a war are slim; the best I will be able to do is take a bite out of their existing lands, and hopefully leave the Vijayanagar to the far south to finish them off (at which point it will be a case of declaring Jihad after Jihad on them until the whole of southern India is in my hands.)
There's also the matter of Khandesh and Rajputana. Khandesh is a tiny state screening Delhis southern borders with Deccan. Its Islamic, but it is so small any sane Deccan Sultan would surely want to either subjugate it or annex it. Rajputana, for its part, is surrounded by Delhi, but also borders the small Sultanates of Gujurat and Sind. Thankfully Rajputana is quite strong itself, and it annexing both of these mini-sultanates would do me a massive favour as I could then wrap up the entire western annex of India in the name of Allah. I must give Rajputana enough room (and, if necessary, military aid) to do my work for me.
To our west, as always, are the Timurids. The Kashmiri mountains are to the north, but I will only intervene there as a means of provoking other, more significant Sunni states. They can be annexed when the situation suits. The Timurids are in the west for now, but how long will they stay there? I get vague news of some great war with another Sultanate to the west; Allah protect and preserve them. This war can only go on for so long; the conqueror will come east again unless something stops him. When that happens, we must be prepared. I only hope that my actions in dividing India so completely in the name of unification do not see us simply rolled up instead. If that happens... our doom will be entirely on my shoulders, not just for Delhi, but for all the peoples to the south and east of us as well.
I have thrown down the sword and shield. It is a matter of time before someone else picks them up and challenges me with them.