As King Alfred travelled through North-east India heading south, agents of the British Empire quickly tried to follow him, on orders from the Liberal Government from London to catch up and make sure the King was brought into British oversight before another New England incident occurred. Despite the best efforts of British agents and officials though, Alfred managed to escape from their attentions, travelling further south through the subcontinent, aiming for the Princely States. One of his companions at this time started to notice that Alfred had a weakness for the women of the subcontinent, having to make sure he kept his hands to himself on more than one occasion…
In Argentina, the tattered remains of what had been the Revolutionary forces had been dormant for over a decade, first bloodied by the actual overthrow of the original Argentinean Government and then by Brazilian troops smashing them as they took over Argentina in the north. The remaining Revolutionaries had fled to Greater Peru, the only nation possible under the circumstances. It had taken years for the Revolutionaries to regroup and rebuild their strength to what it had previously been and with covert help from Greater Peru, they had succeeded.
With a proclamation on the 26th, calling all Argentina to arms, the Revolutionaries struck at several Brazilian outposts in the central region of the country, hoping to bring down the forced union of the two countries. The movement was concentrated largely in the north of the country and relied on the support of those who’d been involved in the Revolution, only to have their hopes crushed by the ensuing invasion and take over of their country. The call to arms was well received by large amount of Argentineans and by the end of the year; Brazilian outposts were being struck throughout their holdings in the country. It would be a bloody guerrilla War of attrition and when it started, it seemed that it was stopping Brazil’s movement to colonise Argentina in its tracks.
For King Alfred, his travels through India had been enlightening regarding every aspect of the native culture and the British rule in particular. His travels south down to the Princely states had certainly given him much to think about upon his return and his exploits had certainly increased his popularity within the colonies and Britain itself, his support for Federalism certainly bringing the issue to the forefront of politics. His travels through India had taken him to the Princely States where he was planning to tour through the friendliest states and greet the royalty within them.
The state which so fatefully decided the course of Alfred’s life and the fate of the Empire itself was the seemingly inconsequential Bhor, small and ruled by the Hindu Pantsachiv Raghunathrao Chimnajirao, a man of wit, pro-British views and the woman whom King Alfred fell in love with on sight. Her name was Lavanya, a name meaning beauty and according to all accounts, she lived up to it completely, having a beautiful face and terrific figure, a rather brilliant mind well versed in the Indian classics and some Western literature and history. She and Alfred met and found themselves to be very compatible although Alfred’s change to that of a doting lover was soon to become apparent.
The relationship between Alfred and Lavanya was and remained controversial up to this day, debates raging over how much the relationship was love and how much was cold, cynical calculation by Lavanya and her father. Certainly, rumours of Lavanya’s infidelity towards Alfred were long standing and enough circumstantial evidence existed to hint towards at least one affair during the two’s relationship. However, no clear evidence was ever produced and Alfred’s choice of an Indian as his love was enough to spur rumours that would last long after both had died. But by all accounts of those close to the couple, their relationship was strong and despite the occasional argument regarding politics, they remained faithful to each other.
By the second week of his visit Alfred had asked Lavanya’s father for his approval to their wedding, which, according to legend, caused the elder man to have a minor heart attack from sheer joy. Although Lavanya had to ‘officially’ convert to the Anglican Church (A procedure which was happily carried out by a quickly found Priest in the region), no other hiccups seemed to be in her way to marry Alfred, apart from the British Government of course. The following arguments between the King and representatives in India of Britain can be summoned like this:
“You can’t marry a bloody Indian!”
“Why not? There are no rules against it, she’s an Anglican now, you’ve got no reason to say no.”
“We’ve got enough trouble with the other colonies wanting this Federalism, what are we supposed to do if India wants it as well?”
“… That’s actually a really good idea. Let me go ask Chimnajirao and a few others about it.”
The two sides were standing firm, Alfred’s love and stubbornness on one side and British fear of completely overdoing things and more than slight twinges of racism on the other. The deadlock was broken when King Alfred said he was going to London, and bringing the glories of India with him “I shall bring India with me and when I am done, all of England shall be searching for an Indian spouse!” He vowed. Alfred started to make preparations to return to Britain but this time, with a small fleet in tow, bringing the treasures of the Subcontinent and all of its splendour with him. Animals, jewels, silks, art and everything that could be brought was organised to come to Britain. Alfred used his own personal finances as King to fund the return, determined to woo the British Government and people when he arrived.
The first Russian Orthodox Church was completed in Japan, established in Northern Honshu at a port open to Russian trade only. Although the Church was completed with only minor fanfare within Russia itself, it represented the growing domination of Japan by its Northern neighbour, the Russian bear sinking its fangs into Japan as it also started to establish its control over the Sakhalin Island, slowly but surely trying to make Japan abandon all claims it had on the Island completely, making minor provocations in order to force a conflict that it knew Japan couldn’t win. The Shogunate knew that to stand up to Russia was suicide and that it couldn’t turn to any other European powers as they were too weak in the region or in the case of Britain, too busy south.
The increase of Russian power in Asia didn’t go unnoticed as China found its territories being encroached upon and Britain saw its own influence diminish as Russia extended its power east with a Fleet and increasing amounts of troops in the region. The increasing rise of Russian influence in Japan was only a sign of things to come as the Shogunate found itself increasingly under the fear of Russian reprisals for any toeing of the lone. The Imperial Government, always behind the ideas of realpolitik, refused to recognise Russian influence and constantly demanded that the Shogunate and the people of Japan resist the hated foreigners. Despite the damage such proclamations did with foreign relations, it was these which appealed most to the Japanese people and would have consequences later on.
With all preparations complete and the miniature Fleet ready, King Alfred and his bride set off from Western India to arrive in Egypt, with special permission from Ibrahim Pasha who was more than happy to welcome the King of Britain as he searched for closer relations with most European nations. The journey would be sometime and for King Alfred, fairly agonising as he wanted his wife-to-be accepted by Britain. And if she wasn’t, abdication was always an option…