Khemer Reborne!

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Information

Foundation: 1665-1747Dead.gif
Capital: Angkor Wat in Khemer
Religion: Buddhist

By Rob Pierce

Description

The south-east Asian empire, subsequently becoming the Thai Empire after the assassination of the Khemer Emperor.

The History:

Still to be written.

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The Repopulation of Indo-China (1451-1463)

1451-1454 (T92)
China: The Chinese devoted their energies to the colonization of the Khemer wastelands, repopulating Korat, Dai Viet, Mison, and Champa.

Pandya: Good Hindus settled Burma (returning it to a 2/3) and Ava (to a 1/5).

1455-1458 (T93)
China: Shan and Phan Rang were colonized by the Chinese.

Pandya: The Indians, intending to prevent the Chinese from grabbing all of Indo-China, colonized Thaton and Mon up to their old levels (2/2 and 2/6 respectively). Indian armies wandered the new frontier, making sure that the Chinks didn't try anything. Ningtashivasoman, while on maneuvers with the troops, visited the ruins of Angkor Wat and the Tonle Sap. The Emperor was said to mount to the top of the Black Temple and look out upon the wilderness that had consumed the Khemer and laugh.

1459-1462 (T94)
China: The Chinese settled Khemer itself, returning it to (3/4) status.

India: On their part, the Hindus pressed their colonization efforts into SE Asia, picking up Siam, Daharavati, Malay, and Mallaca (the last only to a 1/4 level). With this completed, the land connection to the Indonesian colonies was complete. A Rajput army continues to maintain a watch on the Chinese in Khemer. Bhuddists in Assam were exterminated by main force.

1463-1466 (T95)
China: Laos and Preikuk were colonized by the Chinese, completing their colonization of the old Khemer areas.

India: The Indians matched the Chinese and colonized Pegu and Arakan, topping it off with the brand spanking new city of Rangoon in Pegu.

1483-1486 (T100)
Maori-Austral: Poniantar was converted to Polynesian. Following that particular display, the Khemer hill-tribes of central Borneo were once more subjected to invasion by a Maori army. The 1485 campaign was brutal and slow and bloody and the fighting had still not ended by the end of 1486. By that time the Maori invaders had suffered 11,000 casualties while killing 9,000 Khemer tribesmen.

1487-1490 (T101)
Maori-Austral: Fighting continued in the Bornese highlands, with the Maori army finally besting the Khemer hillmen and subduing the tribes there.

1491-1494 (T102)
China: A Chinese merchant carrying burial urns recovered from the ruins of the old Khemer city of Vijaya in Champa was more than a little surprised to find the Khemer villages in the Bornese highlands deserted and empty. After returning to Hong Kong with his strange tale, he vanished and was not seen again.

Khemer Reborne! (1739-1744)

1739-1740 (T205)
Khemer: Moldo's administration struggled to control the lands his generals had suddenly added to his domain, so the Emperor returned to Angkor and took charge himself. Despite his cruelties and religious fanatacism, he proved a more than able administrator. Much corruption and graft was immediately stamped out, and many men who had counted upon their government offices as a sinecure found themselves begging in the streets.

The vigorous prince also undertook various works in the countryside and erected an awe-inspiring ring of fortifications around Angkor, dwarfing even the ancient temples and the ruins of the palace of Bao Dai. Now all entry in the teeming city was through long, crooked tunnels, watched by gimlet eyed guards.

The Khemer generals in India were busy - mercenaries under Gemish Huorn were expected, more regular troopers - and a deal had been struck with the Afghanis. As a result, in late '39 Gemish arrived (though young Honshon had suffered a seizure and died while gathering his musketeers) in Rangoon. Despite religious trouble behind them, Satreya and Almandur decided to push ahead. As a result, Setreya invaded the Yasarid domain of Kalinga in the fall of '39 with 25,000 men.

Even as Moldo's armies advanced into India, the saffron-robed priests of the Pure Realm were not far behind - extensive missionary efforts plagued the (already religiously divided) citizens of Palas, Gaur, Assam, Samatata and Arakan. A fervered melting pot of repressed Hindus, angry Moslems and now newly devout Buddhists threatened to create even more chaos in fractured, bleeding India. Closer to home, things were already becoming troublesome... the Catholics of Mon and the Moslems of Samatata (pressed by gangs of Buddhist monks and priests) revolted outright. Efforts to preach the Way among the Arakan also yielded massacres and general fighting as the Moslems of the coastal forests took up sword, spear and musket to drive out the spiritual invaders.

Some brisk police business in Krungthep saw the seizure of a half-dozen PM&T merchantmen and the closure of their newly-opened offices there. Dashing Captain Hansajya refused to answer any questions, waving off reporters with a brusque "government business."

Yasarid: Scrambling to recover from yet another disaster, Abullah managed to muster up some more troops in Yathrib, and dispatched his daughter Tihana to gather up more fedyaheen from the south, where they were loitering about in garrison. He considered hiring the local mercenaries, then decided to conserve his gold. The war promised to drag on for another two, three generations...

Meanwhile, there was no rest of the weary Moslems. The Khemer armies loose in the Bengal had advanced through Nadavaria (taking control of the province from the Afghans, who were withdrawing back to their mountains), and into Kalinga with a strong army, reinforced by many mercenaries. Abdullah opposed them with a freshly mustered army and the unexpected, and welcome, assistance of Abu'la the Ghulam (who had escaped from his captivity in Und).

Abdullah's 17,000 Yasarids were everything he could scrape together, and Setreya's 25,000 Khemers were looking to put a little smacky action on the Moslem dogs. However, the Shah did have the advantage of freshly constructed fortifications and a certain grim sense of destiny. "If this is our last day," he thundered to his assembled troops, "then we will die worthy in the eyes of Allah!"

A flurry of assassinations followed, and the Chinese mercenaries the Khemers had imported promptly disappeared into the night, pockets filled with Yasarid gold. Only days later, the two armies clashed vigorously at Purancham and Setreya found himself severely out matched by Abu'la. The Khemer army was crushed in a pincer movement, then shattered by the perfectly directed charge of the Yasarid lancers, then driven in rout by the victorious Yasarids. Abullah exulted! Allah's favor was upon him!

Setreya did escape from the debacle, and fled back to Palas, where his fellow general Almandur was garrisoning the province.

Papacy: A small delegation arrived from distant Mon, in Khemer lands, and begged the Vicar to protect them from the attacks of the Buddhist thugs employed by the notorious prince Moldo. "All we wish to do," the Monese cried, "is worship in peace! Yet they set upon us with clubs and spiked whips, scourging us while we take mass. Or they burn down our churches, or..." Clement was troubled - the situation in the Far East was tending towards a collision between the two faiths.

1741-1742 (T206)
Pure Realm: Missionary work continued apace in Arakan, Mon, Kalinga, Vengi, Madurai and Chola. These activities again exacerbated the tension between Moslem and Buddhist, leading to rioting, murders, and general confusion in unrest in all six provinces. Despite the deaths of countless monks, the weight of the Realm's efforts began to tell...

New Annam: An army of Khemer-hired mercenaries had invaded [Annam] from Dai Viet. A second Ming army advanced out of Korat through the mountains.

Khemer: Diplomacy: Mon(hostile), Burma(hostile)
Somewhat begrudgingly, the Emperor agreed to allow the Ming to hire a motley and disreputable band of Viets and Indian mercenaries in Dai Viet - just so they could pillage the Javan territories in Annam. Bao Dai was displeased to see his realm used as the pawn of the scurrilous Ming, but the priests of the Realm begged and pleaded - and what was he to do? He was a pious man.

Indeed, his piety extended to the dispatch of armed bands of Buddhist monks into Arakan (where they fought fierce battles with the local Moslems, and most perished) as well as Mon (where they rioted with the Catholic priests, bickered with the Pure Realm priests, and still managed to convert some of the locals). A Khemer lord, Doldara, arrived soon afterwards - intending to offer the Catholic prince of Mon an alliance - but so bitter was the struggle in the province that he was seized and struck down, his body hewn to bits and left to lie by the roadside.

A similar effort among the Burmese nearly ended with equal tragedy, but lord Honshon managed to run very quickly away from the angry mobs and escaped to Rangoon, where he felt safe.

The Emperor's court was stricken with grief in late '41, when Empress Jehemana attempted to bear Bao Dai a son (his second), but perished in the attempt. The chanting of the priests could do nothing to save her, and the Emperor wept to see her young body cold and still in the grip of death. The child also died, a withered gray husk. Only the still-living presence of Bao's other three children kept him from despair.

In the west, the commandery of the army in India (currently encamped in Palas) was ravaged by typhoid, with both lord Setreya and general Almandur succumbing to the dreadful disease. Luckily, the elderly lord Katai arrived soon afterwards with a fresh crop of recruits and restored order, morale and personal cleanliness among the Khemer forces.

Glorious news - handed from trader to traveler to tavern-keeper - made its slow, meandering way out of the hinterlands of Laos and down to the Khemer cities. Hunters searching for elephant tusk had stumbled across a temple deep in the Laotian forest, carved from the face of a mountain shouldering above the green canopy of the jungle, showing gleaming white marble to the sky. An enormous statue of the Bodhisattva looked out upon the land, and within the mountain, such marvelous caves!

But more of interest to the common people, to the priests, to the monks, to the merchants - inscriptions upon the walls of the caves (inscribed and carved and wraught with such beauty) spoke of prince Siddartha, of the Gautama Buddha, and they said he had walked upon the very stones, prayed in the very caves, slept upon a bed of stone therein!

In August of '41, a Danish fleet appeared off the coast of Mon, adding another blazing torch to the conflagration already burning there among the various religious elements. Admiral Schlechter's marines stormed ashore and found the old Danish trade city of Weisskastel in jungle-overgrown ruins. Wondering what had become of the citizens, Schlechter ordered the craftsmen and soldiers to rebuild the city - which they did by the end of '42.

In the meantime, a delegation from the surrounding province had presented itself to the admiral - he found it quite amusing, a clutch of Catholics with hat in hand - and begged for Imperial protection. "We are Christians," the barons pleaded, "and the Buddhists are slaughtering us. We fear the Khemer will invade and put us all to the sword."

Schlechter agreed to accept their taxes and hold them in his protection for the moment. Then he dispatched a letter to Venice, requesting instructions from the Regent or Empress.

Shi'a Imam: Well... peace threatened to break out all across India, and frankly Ayatollah Rhemini breathed a big, long sigh of relief about that. Enough trouble was brewing on his borders with the persistent encroachment of the Buddhists in Kalinga and the provinces of the Ganges delta. Despite this, the imams concentrated their efforts on establishing control over the mosques, schools and hermitages within Yasarid lands and to the south and west. Missionaries were sent into Pawar (which, under the treaty, now fell within Yasarid/Moslem purview.)

Efforts to reach the Moslem communities in the Ganges delta, where the Khemer and their Pure Realm thugs held sway, failed.

1743-1744 (T207)
Pure Realm: Undaunted by the political repercussions (or the constant bloodshed the effort engendered) the Pure Realm continued to flood the Bay of Bengal-area provinces of Arakan, Mon, Kalinga, Vengi, Madurai and Chola with priests fired up with missionary zeal. Thousands of martyrs resulted - particularly in Madurai, Arakan and Vengi where the Buddhists were outright slaughtered by local Moslem gangs.

Khemer: Diplomacy: Nam Pung(nt)
The Emperor continued to breed - finally gaining another son - and allowed the Ming to hire an army of mercenaries at Hafez in Dai Viet. Moldoraja was pleased to hear the fighting on his northeastern border had ended, for he was stirring up a great deal of trouble in the west. His priests (and those of the Realm) were very busy along the Indian frontier, constantly pressing and pressing, seeking more converts.

In the fall of '44 - amid good news from the Indian front - young prince Khejaraja vanished while on his way home from temple school. The bodies of most of his guardsmen and tutors were found soon afterwards, horribly disfigured and floating in a canal just off the Tonle Sap. Despite his aunt's pleading[1], the Emperor seemed unmoved, and pleased with his newer, younger son.

The province of Mon - veritably besieged by Buddhist priests - finally converted to Buddhism, but they did not accept the possibility of Khemer rule. Instead, after petitioning the European expedition working in the ruins of Weisskastel, they placed themselves under Danish protection. This effectively stymied lord Sanjaya's mission to speak with them.

General Blajakay was dispatched to Palas to take command of the large Khemer army stationed in the midst of so many Moslems. He arrived by sea and immediately took to the field with 26,000 men. "Time to kick some Moslem bee-hind!" He declared. The emirate of Samatata (which had recently revolted) was the first objective. Despite spirited resistance, the Samatatans could not resist the relentless barrages of the Khemer guns and died in droves. After installing a new viceroy in the province, Blajakay returned to Palas.

His men blooded by the fighting in Samatata and their spirits high, Blajakay now instituted a vicious pogrom in Palas - the Moslem landowners would be stripped of their holdings and enslaved, and boatloads of Khemer colonists would be given their homes, estates and lands instead![2] As you might imagine, this provoke a vigorous response from the natives - not only in Palas, but in Gaur, Assam and Nadavaria as well. Everyone could see the writing on the wall...

The Khemer responded to the rebellion with an iron hand. While the garrisons of the outlying provinces fled towards Palas (helped by a passel of spare Khemer generals), Blajakay smashed the revolt in Palas itself and executed fifteen thousand rebels. The rest were enslaved and set to repairing the roads and irrigation canals. At the same time, Khemer colonists swarmed in to loot and steal and generally set up shop. (This made Palas a 2 / 6 region.)

The Moslem rebels from Assam, Gaur and Nadavaria barraged the Yasarid sultan for assistance, pleading for his army to intervene in their uprising. But there was no answer from Abdullah. Driven by desperation, the Assamese and Nadavarians marched on Gaur, hoping to join forces.

Blajakay - having crushed the Palans - let them gather and then pounced with his entire army. Among them the three provinces had managed to muster about nine thousand fighting men. The Khemers swept down upon them with 25,000 veterans. The Moslems were encircled, hammered with artillery and then the Khemer regulars hacked their way through the screaming fedyaheen, slaughtering them to a man. The bodies were left to lie in the fields of Gaur, though the skulls were taken as trophies and made into a great mound near the Palan border.

At the end of '44, both Assam and Nadavaria were in Moslem hands (and Nadavaria had reverted to Yasarid control), though no one expected them to be able to resist the Khemer, when Blajakay Red-Hand came knocking.

(1) Though Khejaraja is the crown-prince, his mother was Thy Lan, who is dead - leaving him without a voice or a patron in the snake-pit of the court. So - did the new queen, Jehemana, have something to do with the boys disappearance?
(2) Cool. Dave is so evil...

Yasarid: The Buddhists continued to make trouble in Kalinga, Vengi, Madurai and Chola - precipitating violent rioting and massacres by mobs of enraged Moslems (and those few Hussites still around). Hundreds of houses were burned, the newly-Buddhist inhabitants dragged into the street and hewn to bits with machetes and axes. The Yasarid governors turned a blind eye to these brutal scenes - "a good Buddhist is a dead one, roasting in the fires of hell."

After the annihilation of the Khemer garrison of Nadavaria, a small Yasarid army crept into the province and took over local governance.

1745–1746 T208
Khemer Empire: All of these matters – though Moldoraja had thought them quite important before – soon paled into insignificance. In late summer of ’45, while walking in the palace gardens, listening to a priest recite from the ‘Sutra of Shariputra’s Repentance’ the Emperor was gravely stricken by two assassins who burst from the baobab trees and cut down two of his guards and nearly Moldoraja himself before they were, themselves slain.

“At six times every day - morning, midday, dusk, early night, midnight, and cockcrow - one should bathe oneself, rinse one's mouth, put on the clothes in the right manner, worship the ten directions with joined hands and repent one's evils done, saying, 'I have committed transgressions and evils since innumerable kalpas ago and also committed offenses of sexual intercourse, anger and stupidity in this life....’” the priest continued to recite as the mangled bodies were carried away for examination.

Moldoraja himself was badly hurt and quickly attended by many doctors. While he lay in his sick bed, the captain of his guardsmen brought him word – the assailants were Javan mercenaries lately seen loitering in the brothels and gambling dens of Angkor.

“Curse the shark-dogs!” The Emperor was quite upset. “They meddle in my realm now, as they did in China! I will not have it!”

Unfortunately for the Emperor, his troubles were not ended. Less than a month later, a wild-eyed courier arrived from the northeast, bearing strange news – Blajakay Red-Hand and his army were swiftly approaching on the highway from Thaton – and there were a great number of mercenaries among their number.

“Treachery?” Moldoraja could not believe this turn of events. “Yet I’ve prayed six times a day!” His priests nodded in agreement. Everyone knew the Emperor was a pious man. “Summon the army! A thousand monks will chant sutras from dawn to dusk, calling for our victory over this traitor!”

As it happened, Blajakay (a prince of the Thai people, actually) happened to be marching on the capital with 43,000 men (including a large number of Hmong and Arnori mercenaries) while Moldoraja could barely manage to field 14,000 soldiers (the Duke of Saigon did answer his call for assistance with three thousand Viet riflemen). The Emperor was forced to cower within the massive walls of Angkor, though his recovery from the wounds sustained in the garden was not helped by the appearance of little prince Khejaraja in Blajakay’s camp. The Red Hand declared the nine-year old boy “true Emperor of Khemer” and called on the nobility to support him.

Cursing vilely, Moldoraja refused to surrender, and Blajakay’s army encircle the capital and began digging siegeworks. After doing little during the rainy season, as soon as the weather cleared in ’46, Red Hand set about hammering Angkor Wat into rubble and rooting out the Emperor by the short hairs.

His already poor abilities hampered by his wounds, Moldoraja put up a ferocious resistance for six months. Day by day, though, the hammering of Red Hand’s army tore down the monumental fortifications and exhausted the defenders. At last, a sudden assault by the Arnor mercenaries carried one of the river gates and the Red Hand’s army poured into the city. The duke of Saigon was killed in the fray, rushing his riflemen to try and stanch the breach, while Moldoraja fled in a riverboat, disguised as a … monk.[1]

Within the week, Blajakay crowned little Khejaraja as Emperor of the Khemers and issued a series of edicts proclaiming Moldoraja an outcast and traitor (and accusing the refugee monarch of trying to have his son strangled). The Red Hand was acclaimed as Regent for the boy-Emperor and immediately won the love of the citizens by disbursing food, gifts and plain old silver[2] to the mob. The army was similarly rewarded, and hardly anyone noticed the ‘great general’ had abandoned the conquered territories of Palas, Gaur and Samatata.

Though Blajakay’s agents were searching high and low for the fugitive Emperor, Moldoraja – aided by the Pure Realm – escaped to Hafez in Dai Viet, where he declared a “restored” Empire in opposition to Blajakay’s Thai regime. The provinces of Dai Viet, Mison and Champa followed him, as did lord Sanjaya (who had been mucking about in the mountains of Laos, searching for the ‘city of the Golden Buddha.’

The Red Hand held the rest and prepared for a summer campaign in ’47 to crush the last of the Khemer resistance.

[1] A big stretch, I know…
[2] Oddly, most of the coin was not of Khemer minting, but rather came from Arnor and Java.

Thai-Khmer Empire: Well, the Red Hand was quite pleased with the way things were going so far! All of this Thai relatives immediately flooded into the splintered government, snatching up all the best ministries and offices. A rather cordial letter was dispatched to the rulers of Arnor and Yasarid India, thanking them for their ‘assistance’ in ‘restoring proper government’ to the Khmer Empire.

Emperors

  • Bao Dai "The Pious" Moldoraja 1739-1747

Players

  • T174-T208 (1675-1746) Dave Salter
  • T169-T173 (1665-1674) Colin Dunnigan

Last updated: 27 May 2003

© 2003 Robert Pierce

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