Chapter 79: Ram Ram January, 1302 Age was catching up with him, Ramachandra could feel it in his bones. He knew sooner or later something would happen and that would be it. That would be his time. If he were being honest, he did not mind that too much, Simhana, his son and heir was a good man, and had sons to succeed him as well. The Empire was in good hands. But the issue was the outer areas of the Empire were under fire, or rather those lands not yet under his control were on fire, and they needed to be dealt with. “What news from Sindh?” He asked. Yuzvendra, his master of secrets who had come from Devagiri spoke then in the Sanskrit which he had made the language of the court. “It is a tumultuous situation, Sire. The governor writes that he is facing trouble from the current Muslim nobles who are trying to test him and the laws that we have instituted. However, my sources tell me that he is the one testing the laws, and is using the Muslims as an escape route.” Ramachandra raised an eyebrow. The way Yuzvendra was able to gather information like this was somewhat frightening. “What do you mean?” He asked. “He is issuing laws, the laws that Your Imperial Majesty asks him to, but then he is changing the wording slightly after the fact and then provoking the Muslim nobles into acting.” Yuzvendra said. “He is doing all of this deliberately.” Simhana spoke then. “Why would he do such a thing? What is trying to achieve?” “Chaos, Your Royal Highness.” Yuzvendra said. “He wants to provoke an uprising and act as the man who can protect Sindh from the outrages of the capital.” “Is he working with someone?” Simhana demanded. “No, Your Royal Highness.” Yuzvendra said. “But I would not be surprised if he started working with someone.” Ramachandra was silent then, it was at times like these that he missed Bhima, his former chief advisor. The man had died a few months ago, and his calm and measured tones were things that Ramachandra deeply wished he had now. Instead, he could feel a turmoil inside him, on the one hand he wanted to raise an army and march right for Sindh and take this governor and destroy him. on the other he knew how destructive such a thing would and could be. Instead, he focused on a middle way. “Very well, issue a fake order. Something that seems real but is actually not. Something that will provoke him and get him to reveal his hand.” Simhana, whose duty it was to write down the orders nodded. “I will get right to it Your Imperial Majesty.” Ramachandra raised a hand. “Not yet, speak with Yuzvendra, learn what you can about this man and then do it.” Simhana reluctantly put down his quill. Ramachandra then focused on Yuzvendra and asked. “And what of Bengal?” Bengal the richest region outside his empire and the one which he desperately wanted. “The civil war there has intensified, Sire.” Yuzvendra said. “It seems that neither claimant quite knows what they are fighting for anymore.” “Forget that,” Simhana said impatiently. “There are people fleeing Bengal in great numbers and they are coming into the Empire, and trying to find somewhere to stay. The Kings and Princes are writing in almost every day complaining about this.” Ramachandra looked at his son, he knew there was sense to the complaint but at the same time… “It is our sacred duty to help those in need. Be they Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist. We cannot turn them away.” “Then we must find some way of accommodating them or we must stop the fighting in Bengal.” Simhana said. This was where Ramachandra began feeling his age, and uncertainty. Before he would have had the answers ready right from the get go, now however, he did not know. “Who is the better candidate?” He asked. “That depends on what you’re defining as better, Sire.” Yuzvendra said. “Who will bring stability to the region?” Ramachandra asked. “Firoz Shah.” Yuzvendra said. “He has shown a willingness to work with us, and has also shown a tolerance that his predecessor lacks.” “Then provide the necessary financial aid to him.” Ramachandra said.