The Ocho: Part 3 - Notorious Y.A.O.

Author: mrtherussian
Published: 2017-01-30

Part of the campaign:

The Ocho

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Game: Europa Universalis IV

The Ocho: Part 2 - Not So Borengland After All

Images: 62, author: mrtherussian, published: 2017-01-30

Yao dawg, I heard you like West African Shiekdoms
Here's another set of things that are brand new to me.

-Sub-saharan West African country
-Islamic country
-No hope of westernizing when the Iberians show up

Yao is stuck between an uncolonizable province, some regional powers, and two hard wastelands. Should be fun. Obviously the only real option is to Go West, Young Yao!

Large Air and Kano border Yao directly with huge Songhai and Timbuktu empires just beyond. How will Yao deal with this?

Why, with the aid of their amazingly mediocre Malik, Gadai I!
Yao borders the beautiful lake Tchad, but today is not a day to lounge on the beach. The army is busy putting down a peasant revolt. At least they're winning, though apparently those 6 thousand men represent 13 brigades. Malik Gadai has had happier reports.
In the past 94 years, Yao has been busy pursuing advancement in... trade ideas. That can't be working out for them.

A quick look at income confirms this. The Yao merchants bring in 0.07 gold per month. Yao can't even play with the big boys one trade node over because it's beyond the reach of their merchants' influence.

Malik Gadai is tempted to ax the project immediately but decides to see how it plays out for now.
The diplomatic situation is far more encouraging. Yao is allied to both neighboring regional powers, the massive Songhai empire, and Katsina, so they aren't likely to immediately die in a fire. On the downside, this leaves only one very small route for expansion without pissing off our friends - tiny Kanem Borno.
Apparently the same thought has occurred to the people living in that one very small route for expansion. They are not very fond of the Yao people.
On the bright side, the people living in Kanem Borno happen to be of the Kanuri culture, an accepted culture in the same group as the Yao primary culture.

Interestingly, only Yao and Bagirmi provinces have the Yao primary culture. That means getting other accepted cultures will probably be a cinch. The Yao people can't afford to be too picky about this stuff.
Kanem Borno has wisely allied with Songhai. The Malik will have to choose his timing carefully. The Songhai are currently dealing with a massive uprising, their armies outnumbered 2:1.
Gadai sends agents to Borno to rustle up some legitimate looking papers. He instructs them to work with all speed. The papers won't need to hold up to scrutiny for very long.
Gadai I's son, Djili, is a far superior ruler. Hopefully Gadai will fall off of a horse or something. He likes to lead the troops personally so there is a chance.
He's bad at everything.
While Songhai is still distracted, Malik Gadai makes his move. With the help of warriors from Air, the sizable Kanem Borno army is forced to retreat.
While the Songhai army has either been destroyed or distracted, the Air army unfortunately gets caught by the frighteningly large host of Zazzau nationalists. This would be a bad time for the Songhai to show up.
The Yao people have heard of this "Western Europe" but where exactly is lies is a topic of hot debate. Many insist it doesn't even truly exist.

The imams say the influence of infidels on our technology would be a bad thing, but Malik Gadai is not known for his piety.
The war drags on and the treasury dips farther into the negative. Malik Gadai sues for peace. Air is given Azbin as thanks for their aid. Yao takes the target Borno as well as two strategic provinces that will cut Songhai in half and hopefully prevent their armies from stopping Zazzau from obtaining freedom.

Malik Gadai has plans for that newly freed Zazzau.
(At this point I remember to turn my graphical mods back on. They were off due to 1.9).

Western Africa is a mess. Very few countries here can claim to be directly connect to all of their possessions. Yao has just lost its membership to that club.

The Malik doesn't expect to hold on to his new Songhai possessions, but for now they serve as pretext for other battles.
For Songhai, things go from "worst" to "wait I thought you couldn't be worse off than worst".

Zazzau is very likely to be freed soon.
Since the alliance with Songhai is broken (and Songhai seems like a rather unstable partner anyway) the Malik reaches out to enormous Timbuktu for an alliance. Air and Kano have not yet gotten uppity, but neighbors have a way of making friction out of thin Air.
Naturally the very next month Timbuktu becomes useless.
Just three months later, Zazzau finally breaks free of Songhai. They have even been polite enough to use the same color as Yao, which will save money on dyes during their inevitable transition into Greater Yao.
Zazzau has not had time to make any diplomatic overtures and remains without allies. Malik Gadai strikes immediately, not risking the wait for proper paperwork.
So far there is no sign of an army, but the nationalists were 30,000 strong when last seen.
There they are. This may have been a mistake. They crushed Katsina's army and are still double the size of Yao's. The Malik orders mercenaries immediately.
Zazzau is hemorrhaging troops, thousands per month. Their budge must be completely incapable of supporting so many warriors.
Zazzau stabilizes at a mere 9,000 warriors. General Balkashe makes his move.
The enemy army is driven from the field and chased down to obliteration.
With debt piling up, Malik Gadai can't afford to be throwing his money away for things like "keeping the poor alive" and other nonsense. Things like this are probably why he isn't thought of as very Godly.
Timbuktu is a crap ally.
Hooray!

...

But... boo.

Djili II Mahamat is equal to the task of running Yao, however his son Djili III has turned out to be an even greater disappointment than his father. After watching the previous Malik bumble through everything from diplomatic negotiations to military staff meetings, Djili II is cannot rest easy.
He convinces his son that generalship is a worthy diversion for a man of stature such as himself. Yes of course it's dangerous but Allah will protect you. Yes, of course it works that way. Well your grandfather never got hurt, now did he? Now why don't you practice your swordplay with the lions.
Despite being an awful person, Djili III actually has some useful skill as a general. Malik Djili II will be sure to send his son to the front of any conflict.
With no choice left, Zazzau accepts vassalization under Yao, however so-called "freedom fighters" rise up immediately. They wander aimlessly through Zazzau since there is technically no foreign occupation to deal with. Djili II withdraws the troops; this is Zazzau's problem now.
What is left of the Songhai empire publicly denounces Yao. Malik Djili II is not the least bit concerned.
The fresh peace is disrupted by a number of very serious rebel uprisings.
Impossible! Somehow the rebels have beaten the invincible Yao army! How could this happen?
Well no wonder. They've gotten their hands on steel pikes, chainmail shirts, and helmets. The Yao warriors have not even discovered shirts.
The Kanem Borno patriots are dealt with but the situation in Zazzau is getting out of control.
It takes two additional years but the Yao armies finally get all of the rebellions under control. Malik Djili II even manages to hold onto the far-flung Songhai possessions, though they are still far beyond coring. Zazzau refuses to buy the provinces.

Neighboring Kano has been expanding southwards and generally growing threateningly large. Djili II will have to find a way to deal with it soon.
Timbuktu seems unlikely to ever recover from its issues, but the Mali empire is a rising star. Djili II extends an offer of alliance.
Vindication comes quickly after.
The loan sharks circle around Yao. The country has spent deeply to acquire its new holdings and keep them under control. Luckily some of this trading business has finally paid off. Djili has no interest in long term investments, he must first make sure the country still exists next week.
It is only enough for five loans, but it helps nonetheless.
Zazzau has been busy fabricating claims on Katsina. Malik Djili II decides to be nice and press them since Katsina is too weak to be of much use anyway, and it removes some of the borders between the homeland and the Songhai possessions.
Before Djili II can act, though, Kano calls Yao to war. Not wanting to anger the only land route connecting Yao's empire together, Djili II is forced to oblige. Perhaps some benefit can be derived from this war.
Allied attention is focused on Benin and Dagbon. Very well, in the interest of time Djili orders his son to take the warriors south.
Through a minor miracle and some deft maneuvers, Yao warriors lead the sieges on all three Benin provinces. Benin has some regional claims that it could press, if it had proper backing... Malik Djili thinks Kano will not be benefiting much from this war.
Benin is vassalized not a moment too soon as the rule of Malik Djili is suddenly under threat at home. Djili III races back with the troops.
The pretender's army was nearly through the castle walls when the shining armor... er, no... the glistening bare chests? of the Yao warriors appeared over the hills.

Luckily the Yao war cabinet has been working on some ideas to improve our warriors in combat and they are implemented just as the battle is joined.

A fierce fight leaves Malik Djili firmly in control of the country.
The alliance with Mali was a very good idea. Their warriors are busy ransacking the only ally of Katsina. Timbuktu still somehow clings to life.
The time is ripe and the Malik orders an attack on Katsina.
Before the war gets very far, Portugal launches an invasion of Mali. Djili II weighs his options. He does not want to lose this powerful ally, but the war is hopeless. Still... Yao is so far inland that it can afford to pay lip service to the alliance without actually being destroyed in the process.

Djili II assures Mali of Yao assistance.
Katsina is defeated and vassalized, but there is trouble in the south.

Malik Djili did not count on an invasion of his vassal Benin, situated on the coast and vulnerable to the superior European navy and army. Europeans are known for vicious annexations and Djili II does not want to lose his new coastal possession. He panics, scrambling for any peace that leaves the empire intact...
Luckily war reparations and a token sum of gold extricates Yao from the war entirely.

Shortly after, the Malik realizes that his newest vassal state Katsina has some cores which can be pressed.
Kano is *riddled* with Katsinan cores in the north, and Benin cores in the south. With everyone focusing on the European invasion that Yao tactically withdrew from, there will never be a better time to strike.
Kano's main army must have been obliterated fighting the Portuguese since no more than 2,000 warriors are ever seen.
After all of the battles Djili II sent his son directly into, he is finally killed at a summer fair? What a strange world. The Malik must conceal his relief with a show of grief, but this will be for Yao's best interests.
For some reason the death of his heir results in a larger drop in stability than anticipated, and the Malik cannot currently turn his administration to the task of repairing the damage. Dissension is on the rise.
Unfortunately Djili III was the Malik's only son and he is an old man at the edge of 6 decades. Though his dynasty is ending, control of Yao will happily remain with Yao noble families.
With his son gone, Yao needs a new general. Djili II tries his hand at it, but feels mediocre at best. He looks to the rank and file to find a suitable man, and one rises to the occasion. A brilliant strategist, Tscheroma will make Yao proud.
Kano is a bit too large to annex entirely. Instead, Yao hands control of all but the Kano capital over to Katsina and Benin and forces Kano to pay war reparations for the trouble they caused by not simply rolling over and dying.
Finally the Songhai possessions can be cored, and this comes with the benefit of their culture becoming accepted in Yao.

Yao does not stop for breath, however. Both Zazzau and Benin have claims and cores in Bonoman, and the Malik presses. The people there are animist infidels and Allah wills they be brought to their senses.
The noble council is shocked when the old Malik manages to father a new son. Baye Mortcho is more than a match for leading Yao, being something of a child prodigy. The current Malik can finally rest easy knowing that his country will not be eclipsed once he has passed.
The Sunni people in the province of Nupe pledge allegiance to Yao before the war is even properly started.
The Malik forces Bonoman's vassal out of the war and extracts needed gold in the process as well as forcing them to give up their claims in Benin.
Bonoman is forced to give Nupe to Yao, return ijebu to Benin, and relinquish all of its remaining eastern holdings to Oyo for good measure.
Somehow Timbuktu has not shattered into a million fragments despite continuous iternal issues. However, the alliance finally comes to a head when the advanced Moroccans decide to invade along with Mali.

Malik Djili II can see exactly where this war is going. Not wanting to lose an alliance with the powerful Mali for the sake of saving face, the Malik decides to cut ties instead.
War rages elsewhere in the Sahel, but Malik Djili wishes to consolidate his holdings during a time of peace for Yao. The process of annexing Zazzau and Katsina is begun.
Katsina is integrated and the Hausa people are welcomed with open arms.
Zazzau is integrated as well, bringing more Hausa to the empire. The Songhai are now a small minority within Yao and are relegated back to obscurity.
As Yao rises, Timbuktu finally shatters. Jolof wins its long fought freedom and Fulo has her cores returned. Songhai and Mali have taken the opportunity to bite away chunks of old Timbuktu as well.
With the most important lands incorporated, Malik Djili finally moves on from the world to join Allah in heaven. Unfortunately Malik Baye is still too young to take the throne and disgruntled elements of the nobility attempt to wrest control from his faction.
For another 7 long years Yao will not be declaring any wars. Worse, the regency council is only competent at administration duties.
At least the attempts to improve Yao troop quality have enjoyed great success.
Thankfully (Regency Council) is a benevolent ruler who sees the virtue in appeasing the masses, and Yao stability is on the rise.
Yatenga, a one province minor which recently gained independence from Songhai, has let it be known that they look to the Yao empire for protection. Vassalization is offered and accepted.
With war cut off as an option, the young Malik Baye suggests a radical new strategy for expansion. He proposes that Yao abandon its nearly useless merchant tradition for one of expansion and settlement instead. To the south and east Yao is surrounded by unclaimed lands that could hold untold riches.
The nobles resist at first, but the regency council crunches the numbers and sees that the young prodigy is absolutely right.

Yao has gone west, now it will go east too.
Malik Baye also pushes for the annexation of Benin. The animists there are an offense to Allah and must be converted as soon as possible. Diplomats are committed to the task, though progress is estimated to be slow due to Yao's other recent annexations and the fact that Benin shares neither culture nor religion with the main Yao empire.
Malik Baye finally comes of age and relieves (Regency Council). (Regency Council) received all the praise he deserved and a feast in his honor.

Also, the young Malik has been busy. Taking a shine to women early, he already has a young son of his own, one that shows great promise.
Shortly after Malik Baye rises to power, the year 1586 rolls around and our time with Yao is at an end. We met Yao as a poor 5-province country and have left it as a regional superpower with the ability to begin colonizing the unclaimed lands around her.
The biggest threat Yao is likely to face from now on comes from European colonization efforts. Portugal has established a strong presence in the Sahel, however Yao is allied with the next strongest power in the area, the Mali, as well as the remnants of Timbuktu. Expansion by European powers will not be a cakewalk.
While Yao was busy conquering its known world, a fierce religious battle was playing out in Europe. Surprisingly the Protestants won the 40 years war and the Holy Roman Empire is Catholic no longer. The Pope is not happy.
Contact with Portugal and Morocco eventually led to bits and pieces of world maps coming to Yao's court. In 1586 they are aware of a surprising amount of the Earth.

That's it for part 3! Next time the dice take us to the exotic Indian subcontinent where things immediately go horribly wrong and everyone dies painfully!

Next chapter:

Game: Europa Universalis IV

The Ocho: Part 4 - Of Curry and Babka

Images: 116, author: mrtherussian, published: 2017-01-30

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