Adonis Diaries

Wild Goose Chase (fiction, continue 23)

Posted on: November 25, 2008

Settling accounts


The fat wholesale merchants had a win-win situation financially and politically.  The small retailers were hanging on since their job was to pass on the increase in prices to the consumers.  Inflation kept climbing and the banks had to buy more gold at higher prices to keep liquidity circulating normally.  The little people were feeling the crunch.  One new factor emboldened the common people: a centralized authority was emerging due to natural processes.  Frequent clashes with the Iskandaranian mafia flashed on a daily basis.  The notions of order and security were heard and demanded. 

Artax contracted State to State deals with the neighboring Maharajas.  Once Artax regains his legitimate throne then the Maharajas would enjoy preferred trade status with Persia.  Reluctantly, the fat merchant realized that they would have to take side and cover the expenses of military campaigns against their steady connections in the Iskandaranian mafias. The ever optimist fat merchants figured that once the mafias are weakened then the merchants will have higher leverage for setting prices.

Since Artax is a new comer to the region then the honor was bestowed to the maharajas to lead the military campaigns.  It was as good an offer since the fat merchants are paying the bill even if it was for the duration of only three months. Two maharajah men of war dusted off their heavy arsenal of siege and destruction that were rotting and dilapidated and new forests were cut down to make ready for the war machine.

            The Macedonian trained divisions and the Greek recruits have lost many of their effective in men due to business competition and were getting older; not so much in age as in fitness for sustained frontal assaults.  They were still a magnificent war machine if combined under a central command and it would not be by any long shot a quick and dirty enterprise to dislodge them from these inaccessible rocky regions; not by the army of Artax anyway who had not engaged any enemy for long time but still it was a disciplined army that was kept on the march and is environmentally “battle tried”.

Seleucus understood that he was to negotiate a reasonable deal with Artax since he would have to take the brunt of the war in the Pakistani side.  The other more important factor was that Seleucus got secret intelligence that Ptolemy was negotiating with “Khosro the Magnificent”.  The piece of intelligence was wrong but persistent rumors are potent weapons because you end up believing them.

Artax was determined to control the Khyber Pass at any cost: didn’t he promise his troops up north “I shall return” when he received the infamous news of the take over?

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November 2008

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