Where the chain of Emodus rises, the nations of India begin, which borders not only on the Eastern sea, but on the Southern as well, which we have already mentioned as being called the Indian Ocean. That part which faces the east runs in a straight line a distance of eighteen hundred and seventy-five miles until it comes to a bend, at which the Indian Ocean begins.In this country there are nations and cities which would be found to be quite innumerable, if a person should attempt to enumerate them. For it has been explored not only by the arms of Alexander the Great and of the kings who succeeded him, by Seleucus and Antiochus, who sailed round even to the Caspian and Hyrcanian Sea, and by Patrocles, the admiral of their fleet, but has been treated of by several other Greek writers who resided at the courts of Indian kings, such, for instance, as Megasthenes, and by Dionysius, who was sent thither by Philadelphus, expressly for the purpose: all of whom have enlarged upon the power and vast resources of these nations. Still, however, there is no possibility of being rigorously exact, so different are the accounts given, and often of a nature so incredible.The followers of Alexander the Great have stated in their writings, that there were no less than five thousand cities in that portion of India which they vanquished by force of arms, not one of which was smaller than that of Cos; that its nations were eight in number, that India forms one-third of the whole earth, and that its populations are innumerable—a thing which is certainly far from improbable, seeing that the Indians are nearly the only race of people who have never migrated from their own territories. From the time of Father Liber to that of Alexander the Great, one hundred and fifty-three kings of India are reckoned, extending over a period of six thousand four hundred and fifty-one years and three months.
>>3411384Seneca, one of our fellow-countrymen, who has written a treatise upon the subject of India, has given its rivers as sixty-five in number, and its nations as one hundred and eighteen. The difficulty too would be quite as great, if we were to attempt to enumerate its mountains. The chains of Emaüs, of Emodus, of Paropanisus, and of Caucasus, are all connected, the one with the other; and from their foot, the country of India runs down in the form of a vast plain, bearing a very considerable resemblance to that of Egypt.- Excerpts from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia, Book VI---[Welcome to the seventh chapter of the Commentarii. After last thread's kerfluffle, I have (as per our gentlemen's agreement) decided to drastically reduce god stuff - but that does not mean we won't be dabbling with mysticism here and there, so I'll be relying on you, the readers, to help me find the right balance. I would have updated earlier, but I was banned. You can read the previous archives here:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=CommentariiAnd now, on with the quest!]---
>>3411393To understand the past of the people is to know their heart of hearts. History is the transcript of that which has come before, a lense through which astute readers of men will realise that which is to be. Pay great attention to the writings of your seniors, O Lord of Man, you who would traipse through fields of corpses and rivers of blood to reach Seres for power immeasurable. Of India, much is spoken, little known. It is too vast a continent, interspersed with kilometres-long jungles and swamps and mountains and other geographic hazards that would hamper the curiosities of Man. Here, the names of cities change with a single decade, records of their trades and kings to be swallowed up by the unrelenting jungle that seeks to reclaim the tropical lands back into their bosoms. Lords of war make indecent acts against each other with the blood of clueless warriors, drawing and re-drawing borders that remain a metaphorical land in the sand - never to be enforced.Know, O Lord of Man, that you stand in a land of mercantile prosperity. With such wealth overflowing - gold of Egypt, silver of Rome; one hundred million sesterces pouring into the coffers of fat merchants - it is inevitable for conflict to arise among the powers that be who are never satisfied with what they already have.Three Crowned Kings rule this coast of gold, the Muventar, three kingdoms with three dynasties. At times defending each other from the incursion of the Northerners by virtue of their shared ethnicity, and at others warring against each other in hopes of scraping a greater portion of the coastlands to themselves, the relationship between the Three form a tenuous balance from within and without, proving an ancient maxim false; that in politics, the tripod is the most unstable of all structures.It is on the domain of one of the three kingdoms of the Muventar that you set foot. The port that the ship bearing the name of your mother has docked in is in truth no city, but a maritime bazaar, the loamy soil therein making for poor building-foundations to the annoyance of generations of kings. There you will only find tents, constructs of wood, and other short-term dwelling-places intended to cater to visitors of the west. Only further inland, away from the ocean coasts and up the river mouth will you find any residence of permanence; here is where you will find the palace of the Archer King, administrating his people within the fortified palace three generations in the making. And it is there, toward that spire of carved stone that you make your way on foot, your beasts of burden laden with royal gifts.
>>3411404---"Make way! Make way, for the merchant prince from Numante!" The crier's thin and reedy voice is lost amidst the hubbub of the street. There must be thousands in this capital city, or maybe tens of thousands, many of them Greeks gone native. That was certainly the case with the Harkonni men here, established in the land of Muziris some three generations ago. Despite the obvious selective marriage that they practiced to keep most of the Greek physical traits passed down the bloodline, Petroclus Harkonnen (the head of this branch of the Harkonni mercantile dynasty) seemed very alien in his mannerism as well as accent. The lack of frequent contact with their Greek superiors must have contributed to this growing cultural rift.Three hours by river taxi, and five on foot have you journeyed, yet the scent of sea-salt in the air clings tenacious in the atmosphere, its briny aftertaste only strengthened by the masses of people under the sun. Their sweat-stench is overwhelmed only by the tang of spice that reverberate the air like physical blows against your sensitive nose. In Rome, only a handful of these spices would have been considered a gross luxury only for the most decadent, these peppers of black and white, cumin, cinnamon... Here, even the lowliest of beggars chew halfheartedly on those expensive plants, picking them up from the floor of the markets by the palmful."Make way!" the Indian crier, on loan from Petroclus' company, continues to drone on. Men and women shuffle around your group, more because of the heavily armed men of the Cohortes I than anything the crier shouts. Bright white eyes stare beneath shawls and turbans, accentuated by the dusky skin that surrounds them. It is an unnerving effect, not that you have the energy to spare thinking about it with the intolerable heat. We are almost to the gate, at least, you think to yourself. A sentiment shared among all in your group minus one.Veicht cooes excitedly at yet another foreign sight.
>>3411421"The first Scrivener to be this far east since Alchiminous the Lesser!" he mumbles cheerfully. His hand is ever moving over the tablet of wax that he writes on, recording the sights he's witnessed so far. "India is said to be the origin of half the world's spices. And no wonder, too - the climate here must be conducive to the rapid growth of such diverse botanical specimens...""Not so good for humans," Micah says tiredly as he sops his face with a length of cloth, long ago soaked to limits. "Every time I return here, I feel worse about this place.""Cheer up, old man," Hermann says. Even in this sweltering heat, he evinces little displeasure. He had opted to equip his maile of metal, even as he forwent the use of his mount to walk side by side with you. "Judaea is a desert, isn't it? You should be used to the heat.""A desert, yes, not a jungle," Micah retorts. "I can take heat. It is the humidity, the dreadful wetness in the air. At least the shades provide some comfort in the land of my fathers, but here? Here, the very air boils! But hush, mind your manners, now. The guards know Greek, likely as not; it is the unifying language in this marketplace of the world."And indeed you are finally arrived. A ceremonially dressed man, smart-looking in his cloth "armour" dyed red and ivory-white, steps forward to meet your tired-looking party. He looks down disdainfullly (a not insignificant feat, given his diminutive height) and utters two curt sentences."What did he say?" Hermann says. For all his poker face, the guarded wariness in his voice is unmistakable. "I thought you said they knew Greek.""He said, we are to hand over all weapons before we are to be let in," Veicht says. He adds a little hesitantly: "Then we will be allowed to prostrate ourselves before the Archer King." A multilingual scribe is worth his weight in gold. "Also, he definitely knows Greek. Look at the way his eye just twitched." A prudent one who knows when to be quiet, double that.The eyes of your men go to you, and you open your mouth to speak so that Veicht may relay your words in their native tongue.
>>3411424>"Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion? We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as guests, but we will not bow." [DIGNITAS]>"If we wanted to storm in the palace, we would have brought more men and less gifts. Tell the gate-keeper that we will disarm, and thank him for informing us of the protocol." [COMITAS]>"Inform the keeper of the gate that he treads dangerously close to having his throat slit by ten of the most valiant soldiers of the renowned Five Hundred, whose number is now legion. It would do his own neck much good to behave in the presence of his superiors." [AVCTORITAS]>"I expect nothing less in the court of the Archer King. We thank you, keeper of the gate, and trust in your safe-keeping our weapons. Do you require us to remove our armour as well?" [PRVDENTIA]>"I would have thought a lord with such a name as the "Archer King" to pay proper attention to the defence of his gates. Speak, peon - where are your actual soldiers? I will speak to men of valour, by whose strength of arms the gate keeps out their ruffians, not some puffed-up functionary." [SEVERITAS]>Custom [Write-in]
Let’s destroy their equivalent of a stock market. I don’t know how but it would be funny for a random foreigner trading and utilizing his Jews to cause hyperinflation and an economic crisis in random countries.
>>3411428>"Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion? We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as guests, but we will not bow." [DIGNITAS]>"If we wanted to storm in the palace, we would have brought more men and less gifts. Tell the gate-keeper that we will disarm, and thank him for informing us of the protocol." [COMITAS]
>>3411432There are no stock markets yet; the concept of stock would only be invented in Europe, in the 1500s.
>>3411428>"I expect nothing less in the court of the Archer King. We thank you, keeper of the gate, and trust in your safe-keeping our weapons. Do you require us to remove our armour as well?"We'll only be here for at worst a few days. Let's not antagonize the local authorities.
>>3411428also, if I might ask, where do you get your artwork? I'm thinking of running my own historically inclined quest, and good art related to the time and place I have in mind is hard to come by.
>"Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion? We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as guests, but we will not bow." [DIGNITAS]>>3411445Dammit. That means we can’t take full advantage of having Jewish merchants on our side.Caesar bows to no one.
Good to be back after a week of hiatus. I do apologise to my few readers for the tardiness, there was some unpleasantness with 4chan banning my IP for some tech-related reason, namely "Proxy thingamajig". Thankfully the janitors were receptive to my ban plea, so I can run my humble quest once more.>>3411432>I don't know howI need more than that anon :< Also what >>3411445 said
>>3411453Assassin's Creed concept art from... I can't remember the site, probably artstation, maybe. The market scene was me just googling "indian market art" and picking what I thought appropriate.
>>3411454The Jewish Merchant stereotype only exists because, during the Middle Ages, Christians were forbidden from money lending while Jews were required to take up the profession. That hasn't happened yet. Plus I'm pretty sure none of the Jews we have with us (refugees) are qualified to be merchants. Greeks are the merchants at this point in time, iirc.
>>3411455>"Proxy thingamajig"Oh, you've got a dynamic IP? That would explain it. You got an IP that used to belong to a VPN or something, I guess
>>3411603The Jewish merchant stereotype has existed for as long as Jews have as a separate ethnic group. Read the Babylonian Talmud and the Sanhedrin.
>>3411384>I have (as per our gentlemen's agreement) decided to drastically reduce god stuffWell, that's the single most disappointing thing I've read in this quest. What was I, the only one in favor of keeping the divine element a significant part of the story?>>3411428>"Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion? We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as guests, but we will not bow." [DIGNITAS]
>>3411698I was in favor of having a bit more focus on worldly affairs, but I don't want the supernatural elements written out entirely either.
>>3411698Possibly. It just felt like too much too fast. One minute we’re just an unnaturally smart and strong kiddo, the next we’re summoning meteors andndestroying a city. Fighting Not!Poseidon and other shenanigans.
>>3411428>>"If we wanted to storm in the palace, we would have brought more men and less gifts. Tell the gate-keeper that we will disarm, and thank him for informing us of the protocol." [COMITAS]
>>3411428>"Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion? We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as guests, but we will not bow." [DIGNITAS]>>3411432Anon, modern finance and banking is nowhere near existing yet. Wait for Christianity to overtake yurop and force the Jews into their usurious business, and then we may talk.>>3411393>Less mysticismOkey doke. Time for more historical wankery inspired by your magnificent writing.
>>3411433Both>>3411449Prudence>>3411454>>3411698>>3412955Dignified>>3412803Good-naturedVote closed>>3411611Probably something like that, I don't really understand the internet all that well>>3411698>>3411708Not removing, reducing. The near back to back god-stuff soured a lot of anons it seems, which is mostly on me. It might have been better if I hadn't included a "dream" vote so soon after retaking the ship.
You take a good long look around you. The well-dressed keeper of the gate is an anomaly here, standing like a puffed-up peacock in front of a castle that was clearly carved out from the free-standing rock with defensive concerns in mind, not aesthetic ones. Quite unlike the works of art like the famous Nabataean Petra, there is not even a pretense of decoration in this rudely-stacked fortress of stone and wood. Ungainly parapets and added-on balustrades show where generations of petty kings augmented the preexisting edifice, the result being a patchwork of multicultural building styles carelessly (economically) clumped together over the dynastic generations. An effective castle in a siege, no doubt, but not exactly the kind of installation that screams "Hall of the King of Kings". Nothing here amazes you, not when you have seen the palatial temple-dwellings of Pharaohs, whose splendour, even in the times of their vassalage, is hard to rival. Little evidence of the Chera dynasty's affluence can be gleaned from their ancient castle."Is it the custom of the Archer King to greet his guests in such ignoble a fashion?" you speak, putting the full weight of the patrician contempt toward on who is so far below his station behind your words. "We will suffer disarmament to show goodwill as is proper for guests, but we will not bow. Not in this floor of sand and dust."The small man's face reddens angrily, comically matching the colour of his red-dyed sash, then speaks rapidly again in his native tongue without waiting for Scrivener to translate your words. Micah was right. The man definitely knew Greek and was intentionally snubbing you by not using it.Three gate guards, similarly crimson-sashed and ceremonially dressed in cloth of ivory-white like their interlocutor, begin to close in from their posts with spears clutched. Wordlessly, Hermann unhilts his dagger with a single casual motion, which the legionaries take as a cue to free their weapons. Scrivener makes a vain attempt in translating the red-faced man's words, but it is clear the keeper of the gate is no longer addressing him, and he is speaking too rapidly in any case to make translation coherent. The gate into the palace courtyard behind the guards suddenly opens backwards, revealing fifteen, maybe twenty soldiers, none of whom are red-sashed. Their armour of maile-and-leather (nothing like the ceremonial clothing of the gate guards) clang and sparkle under the heady Oriental sun, and you briefly wonder if you should have been more polite—
>>3415343"Landros!" the clean-shaven Indian officer leading the soldiers shouts with glee as his eyes locks on you. He runs forward suddenly, heedless of the red-sashed man who is bowled over onto the dusty floor (ruining his uniform) in his haste to... hug you? "Vishnu be praised!" the soldier-officer shouts in Greek as he knocks the air out of your lungs with his vigorous back-patting. Grabbing your shoulder, he suddenly holds you at an arm's length, studying your face. "Truly, the Preserver lives - look at you!" he says with unabashed delight. "You seem twenty, no, thirty years younger. So, your voyage to Cina was a success, did you bring any of that elixir for your old friend? Don't tell me you fed it all to your beautiful wife! In fact, don't tell me anything about your wife. My head aches from the volume of your praises regarding her from your last visit. The port-watchers told me of your big ugly ship coming into view when I returned from the hunt, you could have waited for me to officially welcome you in! Didn't you say you wanted to be paraded with elephants? How's your kid? He should be five years old now, halfway a man grown now. You should bring him here next time, though don't feed him the elixir yet! It would be dreadful to have to take care of an eternal child."The barrage of words and questions is almost too much for you to take in at once.>"Any friend of my father's is a friend of mine. I am Alexander, son to the captain Landros. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." [PIETAS]>"I am Alexandros, son of Landros, son of Nicius. I have the pleasure of captaining the "big ugly ship", as you put it, with my father's demise. And you are?" [DIGNITAS]>[Pull him into your own bear hug and pat him on the back - an eye for an eye!] [COMITAS]>"Hold yourself in check, stranger. We are not even introduced." [SEVERITAS]>Custom [Write-in]
>>3415350>[Pull him into your own bear hug and pat him on the back - an eye for an eye!] [COMITAS]>"Any friend of my father's is a friend of mine. I am Alexander, son to the captain Landros. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." [PIETAS]
>>3415350>>"Hold yourself in check, stranger. We are not even introduced." [SEVERITAS]
>>3415350>"Any friend of my father's is a friend of mine. I am Alexander, son to the captain Landros. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." [PIETAS]>[Pull him into your own bear hug and pat him on the back - an eye for an eye!] [COMITAS]Greek mode ACTIVATED
Unhappy is the man who would respond to such gestures of friendship with a cold shoulder. You pull his arms and return his overly-familiar greeting, understanding the reason behind it. You would hardly admit this to yourself, but a measure of masculine pride also plays a part in your reciprocation of the act. Your thumps are decidedly stronger than his, and you chortle out loud from his surprised look."Any friend of my father's is a friend of mine," you announce with a crooked smile, giving the friendly stranger a moment to recover his breath. "Ah, but where are my manners? My name is Alexandros, son of Landros." Your smile falters appropriately. "My father is unfortunately unable to join us."Any joke that was at the tip of the man's tongue goes unsaid as he processes this unwelcome news, understanding more from your tone than your words. "Ah," he says at last. "Well, my sincerest condolences, young Alexandros, I... I don't know what to say. But you are older than I expected, especially with Rhea being—"An angry torrent of Indic words interrupt the sombre mood between you and and this man. The keeper of the gate, his face now a full purple (not unlike the bolts of Tyrian purple cloth you brought as customary tribute, you think with some amusement) begins to shout at your father's friend. From the way these two interact with each other, it is clear to you that they have some previous history together. You have the sneaking suspicion that the officer might have bowled over the gatekeeper with a little more intentionality than he let on."In the koine dialektos, Aruna," the Indian officer says with a grimace, as soon as he finds a pause in his tirade to interject in. "Look how puzzled our friend here is. Do mothers of the warrior caste not teach their children to be polite in front of their guests?""No guest of ours, dog," the keeper retorts in surprisingly fluent Greek, switching to the mode of speech without pause. "They have not disarmed. They refuse to bow. Is this not the realm of our Lord? Do we not live in Tamilakam? The strangers must follow our customs and our doings, or be expelled, as our sovereign decreed: "All palace matters must be done in Tamil instead of the babbling of foreigners." The attentive servants of our sovereign know this, and I do not doubt that you are a loyal subject of the sovereign. Or do you find yourself too busy hunting imaginary rebels in the mountains to attend to the words of our master, Captain Venkata?"All this while, the armoured soldiers and the red-sashed guards keep their distance from each other, the two groups paying little attention to the contubernium of your legionaries. There is an almost audible tension in the air, the red-sashed guards with their ceremonial turban-feathers and ornamental scabbards against the more modestly (but practically) armed soldiers.
>>3417720It is a familiar scene to those intimate with military politics. The better-dressed but hopelessly impractically armoured palace guards probably serving as some kind of an "elite" unit, receiving better wage and treatment and even prestige, all the while enjoying what could only be the cushiest job in the kingdom. Meanwhile, soldiers - real soldiers - plodding about in disputed lands, suffering constant, nerve-wracking defensive campaigns with no end in the desolate boundaries of the country... when the two meet, violence often follows.Almost as if on cue, one of the palace guards spits at the man his opposite. Swords are drawn, hasty words exchanged. It seems like you are about to witness a blood-bath after only being in the country for a day. "Enough!" the captain shouts, immediately putting the soldiers back in line. The palace guards are not so disciplined, or graceful in their "victory"; they smirk and make what you assume to be the rude gestures of the local culture to the stoic soldiers standing still, the meaning behind their dextrous digits as obvious as the childishness of the insults. If there is one thing tying humanity together, it is our tendency to make pantomimes of their own reproductive organs in lieu of airing our grievances in a more constructive fashion."That's right, captain. You better keep your wolves in check with a tight leash," mocks the keeper of the gate. "It is a rabid dog that bites the hand that feeds, and a street rat like you would have died in some gods-forsaken hole where those of your caste should be without the benevolent hand of our Lord. Do not abuse his hospitality.""I have served Lord Uthiyan most faithfully, and my service records will attest to that," Captain Venkata replies stiffly. "Lord Uthiyan is dead, as you should be," Keeper Aruna says smugly. "Lord Nedum rules now, blessings be on his triumph over the seven crowns! Unlike his father, our new Lord is one of wisdom and penetrating insight, with the utmost piety to the traditions and customs of our people. He will bring the country back to rights, removing the grubby presence of your caste back in the ditch where it belongs, and return the warrior class to its former glory." Turning to your group, he thumps the end of his staff-spear thrice against the ground. "Our Lord will not admit you into his presence, rat-friend. Begone from our premises! Leave the silk behind in replayment to our suffrance of your foreigner-stench."
>>3417722>"You must be joking, my little man. Your tiny kingdom flourishes thanks to its foreign merchants, even you must see that." [COMITAS]>"Stand aside, guard dog, and make way for Alexandros. I seek to speak with the lord of this house, not his yapping pet." [AVCTORITAS]>"I traveled all this way to see your king, and that is exactly what I will be doing. " [FIRMITAS]>"My good man, it seems we have gotten off the wrong foot. It must be tiring work to stand in front of this dusty old gate all day without a single drop to drink. Here... for your trouble, and understanding." [Give Aisling's fig-wine to Keeper]>"So be it. Do not expect us to return to this kingdom with as much friendliness next time." [DIGNITAS]>Custom [write-in]
>>3417723>"My good man, it seems we have gotten off the wrong foot. It must be tiring work to stand in front of this dusty old gate all day without a single drop to drink. Here... for your trouble, and understanding." [Give Aisling's fig-wine to Keeper]What's this do again?
>>3417733> This thing is literally poison. You can feel your stomach rebelling at the thought of taking more of this... sludge, but your tongue is still parched. Five hours until the ship arrives at Muziris! Merciful Oceanus, why didn't you make all water drinkable? And the heat!From the last thread, near the end
>>3417735Then I stick by my vote. Let's give him a stomach-churning night.
>>3417723>"Stand aside, guard dog, and make way for Alexandros. I seek to speak with the lord of this house, not his yapping pet." [AVCTORITAS]This is why I wanted to come with the kataphraktoi.
>>3417723>"My good man, it seems we have gotten off the wrong foot. It must be tiring work to stand in front of this dusty old gate all day without a single drop to drink. Here... for your trouble, and understanding."
Fortuna has abandoned us
>>3422239My internet had abandoned me. It's so distressing that this chapter died in its infancy. I had zero problem browsing 4chan for two years, and suddenly all these things pile up when I start QMing.My sincerest apologies to the readers. Please know that I always make notifications on planned hiatus, if it doesn't appear, it means that I am banned (2x times so far), no internet (until this evening), or dead (hasn't happened yet).I will do a redo of this quest and begin a new thread this Saturday, if I don't get hit by another curse in the meantime.Again, I am so, so sorry. I've had QMs flake on me before, so I know how irritating that is. I plan to see this quest through its conclusion, as long as there is at least one reader who continues reading this humble writings of mine.(If anyone's religious, go burn an incense for your terribly unlucky QM)
>>3425129gl dude, keep truckin'
>>3425129>do a redo of this questNot from the beginning, I hope!
>>3425129>redo of this questAfter we've come so far
>>3425129The curse is real
>>3425379>>3425937No no no, just this thread
New thread here >>3429568