(From the records of the Sultanate of Delhi. 14th December)
These were the words of my Sultan as he approached me.
"Its a good day, isn't it?"
We were too stunned for words. We'd recieved no word of this. Sind was no mighty kingdom, but a small Sultanate on the edge of a far larger empire. Consternation began to spread; was this really a mission to occupy Sind? A fearful thought spread; are we really marching against the Timurids? I was about to protest, when the Sultan spoke again.
"What, afraid of your old Sultan and a few Sindi upstarts?"
Visible relief spread through the ranks at those words.
"You didn't think I would forget to lead my own armies into battle did you? I'm not that old... uh, who are we fighting again? Ah yes, the Sind..."
A few nervous laughs broke out at that, but the men were still uneased by this sudden, unexplained arrival rather than encouraged. What was going on?
"Well you don't seem very happy to see me."
I decided, at that point, to address our concerns.
"Has something changed, Sultan? What brings you here? We were told this was a simple expedition west."
The Sultan frowned.
"This is a simple expedition, in that the objectives are simple. We outnumber our foes more than two to one, and every soldier here is better than them. That doesn't change the fact that there are still over one thousand enemy infantry over the border... on our land
no less, and another thousand hiding somewhere further south in Sind itself. And besides, we're not going there just to defeat Sind."
The men gasped. This is what we feared.
"We're going there to occupy it."
A mixture of relief and consternation. One man spoke up.
"Sultan... isn't Sind Muslim?"
"And yet they still stand against us. What does that tell you?"
"Well I'll tell you what it tells me. It tells me that merely being of the same religion is not enough to guarantee our peace and security."
The Sultan suddenly exploded.
"DID ANY OF YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM TIMOR?!!"
And calmed down as suddenly as he started.
"Wake up, guardians of Delhi. Out there, over the border, are thousands of Timurid warriors. We can raise fourteen thousand
men at full capacity. Sound like a lot? Well how many do you suppose Timor can raise? Twenty thousand? Fifty thousand?
More? The Sind have already taken the decision to war against us in support of Deccan, an alliance that cannot possibly relate to the presence of the Hindus of the south given their position. This was made against us
, and I will not let that stand, not in the face of the evil standing just over the border! Timor is Sunni, did that stop him from slaying our armies and massacring our families? We have come back from the brink of destruction, and I will not
let some upstart Sultanate which by all rights should submit to our rule threaten my
people with invasion! So... we do what any sane man does in the face of a threat. He removes it. Permanently, and only a fool would do otherwise."
"The same applies to Deccan. Are you really naive enough to believe they'll stop at their old lands in South Orissa? Or even North Orissa, never theirs to begin with? Soon it will be Gondwana, and then our old lands in Bihar, until they are ready to attack Delhi itself! This isn't a war of religion, it is a war of survival. Our
survival, and their destruction, which it is my duty to ensure for my successors, whatever form those successors might take."
The Sultan hung back after this. The shock began to settle.
We were afraid. But fear began to turn into determination, as we realised the wisdom in what the Sultan was saying. Years of bitter experience began to trickle down into the ranks, hardening our hearts and giving us a feeling somewhere between actual confidence and grim resignation.
"I'm not saying it will be an easy task by any means. After we occupy Sind, we may well find that the Hindu states have got there before us to Deccan. Well all that means is we'll have them to fight as well. We'll have them to fight anyway; I do not intend to stop fighting, not until we reach the very ends of Vijayanagar and capture their navy in its port. Not until all our enemies are gone. And if I cannot make it that far, my successors will."
"This war will not end, not truly, until the mountains shield us to the north, and the sea to the south. It may be interrupted, but we will not stop, not slow down, for one second, not until the whole of this wretched land is under our sway. I have in my heart what is necessary to bring order, yes, and the will to make this plan happen. Now, the question is, do you?!"
There were subdued cheers. But even as we yelled our support, something bothered me, and the others as well, I think.
The mountains in the north, and the sea to the south? That entire, great landmass? Was that even possible? I felt that... some line was being crossed. A point of no return that we may soon regret crossing.
This man, this... conqueror, believes what he does to be necessary. I do not think he takes any great joy in it. There is a grimness about him.
I do not think we are led by the same Sultan any more. We have lost a kind of man, and gained one of a very different nature.
The Sultan leads us out after that, out into the west... and towards the very first battle of what I can only presume is the unification of India.
From the account of (the part of the page where the name was has been damaged, to the point of being illegible.)
Gujurati on the move again. Moving their army up north to Udaipur. They'll have it under siege by the 28th I reckon... coincidentally, the same day I reckon we will arrive on the fields of Multan.
Sharqi has placed Nagpur under siege, as expected. Well that removes one more territory for the Vijayanagar to take. If I take Sind I will still, I reckon, be able to claim the lions share in this war.
Kashmir has engaged the particularists in Jammu. I hear their Sultan has failed to lead this army, even as it attacks a well entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. I don't have much hope for the loyalists.
Battle of Multan. 28th December to 7th of January.
- Delhi versus Sind.
- 1000 Cavalry and 4000 Infantry versus 1000 Infantry.
- Sultan Nusrat Shah Thugluqid versus Sultan 'Ali Sher Samma
- (Fire: 1 Shock: 2) Against (Fire: 3 Shock: 2)
- 1st Kohistani Infantry VS 1st Kutch Infantry
- 1st Multani Mounted Archery
- 1st Sutleji Infantry
- 1st Chandigarhi Infantry
- 1st Foot Regiment of Lahore
(Fire and shock reflect each generals skill at fighting in the different phases. Battles go through three days of fire, and three days of shock. For the moment, shock inflicts the majority of casualties.)
We have made it on time.
28th-30th (1st Fire Phase)
The first few days of the battle have been uneventful, but not encouraging. We have lost three of our horse archers to snipers from the other side of the river, and on the occasions I have attempted a crossing, the hills on the other side offer the Sindi army more than enough advantage to force a retreat. I cannot play around with Samma much longer.
31st-2nd. (1st Shock Phase)
We have clashed with the Sind for the first time, and although casualties have been about equal, my great numerical superiority means this is essentially a victory for me! The superior discipline of our soldiers paid off as our archers succeeded in outmaneuvering the Sind on the opposite bank on two occasions, peppering them one moment and disappearing off the next. Samma is a very good general, but he is not as good in command when battle closes as he is at skirmirshing. We still lost fifty archers though. Our horse archers counted about the same; we may have killed slightly more.
3rd-5th. (2nd Fire Phase)
A frustrating episode of maneuvering for position. No casualties but time is running short. I must break this army and drive it out of Multan so I can get on with subduing the rest of the blasted country.
6th-7th. (2nd Shock Phase)
On the 6th day, we definitely came off the worse. 16 of our men were shot down in a bungled shooting match against well prepared Sindi positions. We're still winning, but it is becoming costly for our cavalry. Rumours persist that the Sindi army is wavering and arguments are breaking out with the Sultan, but I'll believe it when I see them surrender. By this point we have crossed the river. I'm going to try an encirclement tomorrow to try and end this quickly.
(The next day)
It was during the evening that I recieved astonishing news. The Sindi army has surrendered, and their Sultan nowhere to be seen! The coward ran (or was forced to leave) some time during the day, and despite again taking the majority of the casualties, the remaining Sind have thrown down their weapons and have submitted to us. I was content to take their weapons off them and let them go on the promise that their lives were forfeit if they ever came at us again. I think the message got through.
Victory! Not a particularly spectacular one, but it will tide us over for the moment. The men are mourning their losses but ours were slight and the Sind have now lost half of their standing army. I will begin to lead our host south tomorrow after I have decided how large an invasion force can be supplied by... I will not beat around the bush... raiding and pillaging the enemy countryside. I wish there was another method of keeping the men supplied... the less men I have to lead down south the lower the level of devastation, but I will need at least 4000 men if I am to effectively besiege towns and defeat the remaining Sindi forces. Sind still has a thousand men left, and after that, we have three fortresses to besiege.
In other news, the treasury has come in, and I have recruited two units of Indian archers in Lucknow and Agra. Our army is almost at its capacity. I am keeping the rest of the money, about 44 ducats, behind as a financial reserve. One can never be too careful...