19 February 1630
3 April 1680
Shivaji Raje Bhonsle (19 February 1630 - 3 April 1680) was a Maratha king, and the founder of the Maratha Empire. He was also one of the earliest known users of guerrilla warfare, which he called "ganimi kava".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Confrontation with the Bijapuri Templars
- 3 Clash with the Mughal Templars
- 4 Imprisonment and escape
- 5 Reconquest
- 6 Coronation
- 7 Studying the Lens
- 8 Death and Succession Crisis
- 9 Credits
Shivaji was born in the fort of Shivneri, to his parents Shahaji Raje Bhonsle and Jijabai, and named after the local deity, Shivai Devi. His father was the leader of a band of mercenaries that served the Deccan Sultanates of Bijapur, Ahmednagar, and Golconda. Shahaji was also the Mentor of the local guild of Assassins, owning a jagir (fiefdom) at Satara, and later one at Bangalore.
From an early age, Shivaji was trained to be an Assassin, mastering the arts of stealth, assassination and other skills passed down through the Order.
At some point, Shivaji found a set of armour that wouldn't break, regardless of the weapon that it was attacked with. Shivaji, unknowing of the Pieces of Eden, attributed this to the divine power of the Goddess Bhavani.
Confrontation with the Bijapuri Templars
In the year 1645, Shivaji manipulated a Bijapuri commander into handing over the Torna Fort to him. A fellow Assassin, Firangoji Narsala, who possessed the Chakan Fort, handed it over to Shivaji, while he bribed another commander to hand over the Kondana Fort.
As a result of these events, the ruler of Bijapur, Muhammad Adilshah, ordered Shahaji to be arrested. Later on, Shivaji sneaked into the prison where his father was being held and saw that the jailers were maltreating Shahaji. After dispatching them, Shivaji conversed with his father about Adilshah and realised that he was a Templar, and the Mughal Prince Aurangzeb, son of Emperor Shah Jahan, was also the Grand Master of the Indian Templars.
From there, Shivaji pledged loyalty to the Mughals, to secure the release of his father. Seeing Shivaji only as a Mughal vassal, and not as an Assassin, they pressurized Adilshah into releasing Shahaji.
Yet, after the release, Adilshah continued to attack the Marathi people. Along with the assault, a Templar agent deceitfully killed Sambhaji, Shivaji's brother, who was unaware of the conflict between the Assassins and Templars.
In the year 1658, the Templar Prince Aurangzeb killed all his siblings, taking the throne of the Mughal Empire for himself. His father Shah Jahan, unaware of the secret war, had been unknowingly helping the Assassins, and Aurangzeb imprisoned him in the Agra Fort.
A year later, Ali Adilsah, the successor to Muhammad, sent the veteran general and Templar Afzal Khan to kill Shivaji, who desecrated two Hindu temples in order to draw Shivaji out. In response, Shivaji sent an emissary asking for peace, and later met Afzal Khan personally, in his tent. The two of them were both armed with a sword and accompanied by ten bodyguards. Shivaji however, had at least two Assassins in his retinue, namely Jiva Mahala, and Sambhaji Kavji Kondhalkar.
Likewise, Afzal Khan had two Templars in his entourage, named Sayyed Banda and Krishnaji Bhaskar Kulkarni. To Shivaji's fortune, none of the Templars were aware of Shivaji's Assassin allegiance.
Both were armed for treachery however. Khan carried a hidden dagger, while Shivaji wore the Armour of Bhavani and the Maratha adaptation of the Hidden Blade, the Bagh Nakh (tiger claws). When they met, they embraced each other, to which Khan struck the first blow.
Naturally, the armour protected Shivaji, who then disemboweled Khan with his "claws" in retaliation, dealing a mortal wound, though Khan persisted and fled, clutching his abdomen.
With a slightly curved smile, resembling that of a tiger who had pounced and caught their prey, Shivaji then turned to the Templar Krishnaji as Khan ran, before rapidly slashing his neck with one strike of his sword and stabbing upwards into the man's abdomen to keep him in place, before he could even grasp his own weapon, the angle proving to be a makeshift hook.
Shocked still after witnessing the brutal assault on Afzal, the third Templar Sayyed Banda was jolted back to reality after Krishnaji was killed and rooted to the spot, making an attack on the Assassin out of desperation with swords, while Shivaji was preoccupied, though Jiva interceded and cut off one of Sayyed's hands with a pata (sword-gauntlet) he dual-wielded, knocking him down, before impaling his lungs with both of them.
Bleeding headily and holding his intestines to his body, Afzal attempted to flee and send for help, but after realising Khan's intentions on hearing the fluttering of the tent flaps, Shivaji lifted his hand calmly to point to the running Templar, signalling one of his Assassins to chase him down.
With a curt nod of the head and a hand over his heart, Sambhaji pursued and beheaded Afzal, invertedly hooking a koiti (sickle) into the running man's windpipe with his right arm and spinning him around. Leaving a deep gash as the Assassin pulled his victim before him by their neck, Sambhaji cleanly decapitated the rest of his head with a koito (cleaver), the anti-clockwise strike leaving Khan's head spinning in the opposite direction to the rest of his body before it thumped to the ground.
After this encounter, Shivaji's army ambushed Afzal's forces near Pratapgarh and defeated them with ease, as they had the element of surprise favouring them.
Harrassing the Sultanate
Following his victory, Shivaji recruited his most trusted general Netaji Palkar into the Order. Together, Palkar and Shahaji planned an invasion of Bijapur to end the Templar threat in Maharashtra, but Shahaji fell ill.
Nonetheless, Palkar continued to harrass the Adilshahi forces, notably the Battle of Kolhapur, where joint action by Shivaji and Palkar led to a crushing defeat. In the midst of the battle, the Adilshahi general Musekhan ran away, only to be hunted down personally by Shivaji, who thought incorrectly that he was a Templar and killed him whilst his troops decimated what was left of the Adilshahi in Kolhapur.
Siege of Panhala
After the conflict, Sultan Ali Adilshah sent Siddi Jauhar, his most accomplished general and a very high ranking Templar, with 40,000 to Kolhapur. The fort of Panhala however was very well equipped and sallied forth several times to break the siege, only succeeding in delaying it. Determined to break through, Jauhar tightened the siege further and asked the British officer, Henry Revington for better, long range cannons. At Shivaji's command, Assassins Tryambak Bhaskar and Kondaji Farzand went to the camp and presented themselves as allies of the Mughals and British.
During their parley with Henry and other officers, they learned that they were Templars as well, and Henry attacked both the Assassins. However, Shivaji had forseen this, and had stationed himself nearby. Using his Bagh Nakh to injure Henry and kill another officer with his throwing knives, the Assassins escaped.
On the way, Shivaji threw a handheld bomb into the British gunpowder store, blowing up the cannons. Unfortunately for Henry, who had hidden himself near the cannons, he was killed in the explosion.
Yet the situation was dire, and Shivaji was in danger of losing. His barber, Shiva Kashid, was dressed up to look like Shivaji and left the fort along with a group of soldiers accompanying him. When Kashid was captured and sentenced to be executed, Jauhar discovered that he has fallen for a ruse. In the ensuing chaos, Shivaji and all the other soldiers escaped, and, knowing that Jauhar would kill him, Shiva Kashid engaged him in a conversation, buying him enough time to untie his hands and kill the guards around him. Now defenseless, Jauhar ran away, and Kashid escaped with his retinue.
Meanwhile, after tricking Jauhar, the Mughal forces were catching up to the real Shivaji. With this in mind, Shivaji sent his general Baji Prabhu Deshpande, along with 300 volunteers, to make a last stand in the Ghod Khind. As a result, they held off the soldiers long enough for Shivaji to reach Vishalgarh, but Deshpande was killed by the Adilshahi forces.
Shahaji, tired of the fighting and the losses, made a truce with Adilshah to end the fighting. He awarded the Fort of Panhala to Siddi Jauhar, in exchange for a peace treaty.
Until this point, Shivaji and Shahaji had kept their allegiance to the Assassin Order so secret, that no one except the higher ranking Assassins knew that they were involved. Even Adilshah and Aurangzeb were ignorant of this fact and lived blissfully unaware, thinking that the previous Templar Grand Master had purged the Assassins in the year 1600. They didn't even suspect that the "nuisance" in the Deccan was anything more than a local rebellion.
Clash with the Mughal Templars
Shahaji and Shivaji, however, were very well aware of the threat posed by the Templars. Shahaji, now an old man, passed the mantle of leader to his son, transferring the responsibilty to him. After regrouping his armies, Shivaji prepared for another war.
Earlier, in 1657, his commanders had raided a Mughal camp. In retaliation, Aurangzeb sent the Templar, Shaista Khan to attack Shivaji. Shivaji ambushed a massive Mughal army at Umberkhind, only to find that the Templar he expected was not present. Instead, the army was commanded by Kartalab Khan, and Raibagan. He let them leave unharmed after the battle, as his intended target eluded him.
Shivaji let the Mughals have several early victories. However, in 1660, when they reached the fort of Chakan, they met fierce resistance. A group of 350 Marathi soldiers kept a 300,000 strong Mughal army at bay for over a month and a half. Later the commander, Firangoji Narsala, an Assassin, was captured, and the siege ended. Deftly though, he sneaked out of imprisonment and returned to Shivaji.
Attack on Shaista Khan
In 1660, Shaista captured the city of Pune and held it for almost a year, setting up residence at Lal Mahal, Shivaji's palace.
Unknown to Mughal forces, Shivaji's men had obtained special permission for a wedding procession to pass through the city. Part of the procession were Shivaji, Chimanji Deshpande (a childhood friend and Assassin), Netaji Palkar, and Babaji Deshpande (another Assassin). They made their move under the cover of night, attacking the palace silently, and dispatching guards one by one. On the way to Shaista, they met Siddi Jauhar. Shivaji quickly eliminated him with his Bagh Nakh and proceeded. Sensing danger, one of Shaista's wives turned off all the lights, flooding the palace with darkness.
On reaching Shaista, Shivaji and the Templar duelled with no light to help either of the two. It was here when Shivaji first recognised his gift, to be able to see and sense things which no one else could. He used this to his advantage to perceive Shaista's position and cut off his thumb and some of his fingers. With his hand injured and possessing less of a chance, Shaista ran away with his entire army. Shaista's son was captured by Shivaji, and killed upon revealing his alliegance to the Templars, proving as a warning to ward Shaista away from any retribution.
Treaty of Purandar
- "Son, you asked me what that gift was... the one that let you see Shaista. It was... was.. the very same that those two great Assassins.... Al... Altaïr... and Ezio had. Yes my son, you possess the same... gift."
- ―Shahaji, on his deathbed, telling his son about Eagle Vision.
In the year 1664, Shahaji was struck by an arrow while riding through a forest, and fell from his horse to knock his head against the ground. Taken home at once, Shahaji's condition worsened as time passed, and not long after he lay on his deathbed. With what little time he had left, Shahaji told his son more about Eagle Vision, and how the renowned Assassins Altaïr and Ezio possessed the skill too.
That same year, Aurangzeb sent Mirza Raja Jai Singh to attack Shivaji, who defeated Shivaji several times, as his confidence was weakened by his father's passing. Shivaji made peace with the Mughals, surrendering 23 forts, and paying a compensation of 400,000 rupees to Aurangzeb.
Imprisonment and escape
- "Palkar, you have served me well. Now do your duty to the Assassins. As a child I was told many stories by Father, about great Assassins, Eagle Vision, and "Pieces of Eden". I never believed most of them, but now I do. He told me of one Piece that lies with the Mughals. You are to find it. Pledge alliegance to Aurangzeb and search for it. After ten years, I will take you back under my command and you will hand over the Piece."
- ―Shivaji, assigning a mission to Palkar.
Aurangzeb then attacked the Adilshahi Sultanate to kill all the high-ranking Templars who had claim to the Mughal throne. With Aurangzeb's mission aligning with his own interests, Shivaji allied with him in this and fought alongside Jai Singh. Secretly though, Shivaji sent Netaji Palkar on an important mission, which was to find the location of a mysterious Piece of Eden, after fully realising his father's stories to be truths. Netaji then went to Auangzeb and pledged allegiance to him, where he was sent to Afghanistan to defeat the rebellious tribes there.
In the year 1666, Aurangzeb invited Shivaji to his court, and when he arrived, he was assigned to stand behind the other courtiers. Taking this as a sign of extreme disrespect, Shivaji stormed out of the court.
Retaliating to Shivaji's actions, Aurangzeb placed him under house arrest. Knowing that Aurangzeb planned to kill him, Shivaji planned his escape. He feigned almost fatal sickness, and sent back most of his soldiers and commanders to Pune while he and his nine year old son, Sambhaji, remained in the house. He requested permission to send daily shipments of fruits and sweets to saints, fakirs, and temples, as an offering for him to get well. After a few weeks of the routine, he and his son sneaked out in two boxes of mangos, and when they reached their destination, they disguised themselves as saints and escaped.
- "Greetings Emperor. I trust I won't need to sign the letter this time, as you must be so familiar with my writing. Did you ever wonder why it was that out of the hundreds of commanders you sent against us, only certain ones were killed? Certain Templar generals? Yes, I hope you see it now. The Assassins are back. We were never gone actually, my father rebuilt the Brotherhood long ago. Hopefully, you finally see the threat we pose. Kind regards, Mentor of the Marathi."
- ―Shivaji's letter to Aurangzeb.
For some time, both sides maintained calm and peaceful, until Shivaji wrote a letter to Aurangzeb, revealing his Assassin allegiance. For the first time in over 60 years, the Templars were aware of the threat that the Assassins posed.
With this, hostilities broke out once more and the Marathi people retook the lands they had lost, little by little.
Revenge against an old enemy
In the year 1667, the Mughal general Jai Singh I was staying in Burhanpur. With this knowledge, Shivaji sent one of his Assassin apprentices, who sneaked into Singh's quarters and spiked his drink with a deadly poison. Shivaji then had letters with the Mughal Emperor's seal planted, containing death threats dated before the general's demise, serving to help defame Aurangzeb.
Suspecting that Aurangzeb held the Piece of Eden which his father Shahaji had spoken of, Shivaji sent a letter containing references to an ancient artifact, making sure to post a spy to observe Aurangzeb's reaction. On reading the letter, Aurangzeb immediately grasped the right armrest of his famous Peacock Throne. The spy reported his, and Shivaji knew where to look for the Piece.
- "Ever heard of the Bengal monitor? An interesting lizard, with a natually sticky substance secreted from its feet. Attach them to your hands, and you can climb the steepest of walls. Here are two thousand of them. Know what to do, right Tanaji?"
- ―Shivaji planning with Tanaji on how to attack Kondana.
The first major target on Shivaji's agenda was the fort of Kondana, which was well-equipped and well-manned. In 1670, Shivaji sent the Assassin Tanaji Malusare to attack the fort under the cover of night. As planned, Tanaji and 500 Marathi attached the Bengal monitor lizards to their hands and feet, whose sticky toes allowed the warriors to scale the walls with little difficulty. In total, these men killed 400 Mughals warriors and captured 4000, suffering only 50 Marathi losses, although Tanaji was amongst the deceased.
In honour of Malusare, Shivaji renamed the fort Sinhagah, meaning "Lion's Fort", a testament to Malusare's bravery.
Ending the Templar threat
Determined to not let Tanaji's death faze his campaign, Shivaji sent his Commander-in-Chief, Prataprao Gujar, to capture the Adilshahi Templar general, Bahlol Khan. He gave specific instructions not to release him, yet Prataprao, who was not an Assassin, disobeyed his direct orders and released Bahlol.
Shivaji was furious, and told Prataprao not to show his face again unless he captured Bahlol Khan. Motivated to not disappoint Shivaji again, Gujar regrouped his army and prepared for a counter-attack, and along with six other commanders, they charged to certain death to fulfil their promise, or pay the ultimate price.
Unfortunately, they were all killed however, and this greatly grieved Shivaji. Leading his army against Bahlol, Shivaji's forces captured him and Bahlol was brought to Pune, where he was personally killed by Shivaji.
In the year 1674, Shivaji was crowned Chhatrapati of the Maratha Kingdom. Invigorated by his new standing, he launched a wave of conquests in South and Central India, defeating the Templars at every battle.
Also, upon his coronation, Shivaji was gifted with a sacred thread named a Jaanva, and the Vedas, which was an ancient tome full of historic Sanskrit texts. Unknown to most historians however, Shivaji's father Shahaji had told him of the mystical powers that the Vedas possessed, which could record a whole person's lifetime in its pages when combined with the Jaanva of an individual who had soaked the thread with their blood, using the spiritual thread as an archive for their entire genetic memory, once utilised as a bookmark.
On the activation of the artifact, any ordinary individual reading the tome would see only the Sanskrit texts, as if they read any other book. For those with a strong enough amount of genes from the First Civilization however, they could see the events of the recorded person, and for those who gave up a drop of their blood and were deemed connected to their ancestor, they could view the experiences of them similarly to the Animus or Memory Seals.
Reuniting with Palkar
- "Maharaja, I have done as asked, and taken the Piece from the Peacock Throne. I replaced it with a duplicate, so well made that no one can see the difference, except Aurangzeb himself. Of course, he'll never know who took it."
- ―Netaji Palkar, upon reuniting with Shivaji.
In the year 1676, Shivaji sent a letter to Netaji Palkar, telling him the location of the Piece. Upon hearing the location of the artifact, Netaji asked Aurangzeb for a week-long leave, and came back to Delhi.
From there, he threw a bomb at the gates, killing the guards posted there, which served as a distraction to draw Aurangzeb out from his throne room. With Aurangzeb's absence to investigate the commotion, Netaji climbed in through the window and retrieved the Piece from the Throne, before deftly leaving.
Later that year, he reunited with Shivaji and helped him study the Piece of Eden, eventually surprised to discover that it was the fabled Lens of Eden.
Studying the Lens
- "The Kohinoor Diamond, never expected that this was the Piece. It is said to bring good luck to its possessors, but I see that only bad luck has befallen its previous owners."
- ―Shivaji upon seeing the Piece of Eden.
From that point, Shivaji and his elder son Sambhaji studied the Lens together. They learnt that it was created by the First Civilization, an ancient, yet technologically advanced race. It was a Lens, so perfectly carved, that its first human owners thought that it was a diamond, naming it the Kohinoor. It was said to bring good luck to its possessor, yet Shivaji knew that all its previous owners had only faced bad luck, and some died especially horrible deaths.
While Sambhaji expressed concern for his father, Shivaji kept hold of it nevertheless and studied it intensively, trying to learn its purpose, feeling that the previous owners did not use its powers properly.
He realised that being seen publicly with the Lens was dangerous, so he turned once again to his barber Shiva Kashid, the one who had impersonated him during the Siege of Panhala. Dressing Shiva in the garb of the Emporer, Shivaji told him to be take his responsibility in his stead, advising him to keep distance from everyone at all times, so as not to be discovered. Since Shiva knew nothing of administration, he was told to act on the advice of Netaji Palkar.
With these events set into motion, Shivaji, Sambhaji, and Shivaji's younger son, Rajaram, travelled all across India in secret.
The Ahom rebellion
- "It is so much easier to see the miserable plight of Aurangzeb's subjects from the eyes of a peasant. As a king, I never truly noticed the sorrows of war, but now I've witnessed it, it's all so clear to me."
- ―Shivaji in Assam.
In the North-Eastern states of Assam, Aurangzeb had conquered large portions of the region, leaving only a small part as a vassal state. Shivaji and his sons, disguised as beggars, had come to Assam for a peaceful respite. They believed that it was the only place which was not torn by constant wars, however Shivaji was mistaken, as Assam was a battleground, where thousands were killed everyday.
Prior to Shivaji's arrival, the king of Assam had stopped the eastward expansion of the Mughal, but he had failed to recover the territories that had already been conquered.
Meanwhile, Aurangzeb had appointed a cruel governor, who cared little about his subjects, provided he continued collecting revenue. As such, the Ahoms of Assam were constantly rebelling against this oppression, and were being slaughtered in large numbers by the military.
Forming a plan
- King: "Why have you come here, stranger? Why is it that you bother me this early in the morning?"
- Shivaji: "To liberate Lower Assam from the Mughals."
- King: "Impossible, they command a massive army!"
- Shivaji: "If you have heard of Shivaji, you should know that the Mughal army is not invincible. I will end their Governor and generals if you kill their soldiers. I assure you they won't put up a fight."
- —Shivaji to the Assamese king.
At once, Shivaji went to see the King of Assam. As he approached the palace, the stationed guards saw him as a mere beggar and denied him entry. Shivaji, angered by this treatment, immediately disarmed both the guards and strolled inside to see the king.
When Shivaji requested that the king be allowed to talk to him alone, the monarch replied by asking the guards to throw him out once more. Yet again, however, Shivaji disarmed all of the guards and kicked them away, before repeating his request to the king. Frustrated by Shivaji's impertinence, at least in his eyes, the Assamese king told the entire Palace Guard to attack Shivaji.
Using the weapon that he had pulled from one of the guard's hands to defend himself, Shivaji tried not to kill anyone. When it was clear that he was about to be overwhelmed though, Sambhaji intervened, throwing two smoke bombs into the crowd. Using this distraction to his advantage, Shivaji activated his Eagle Vision to locate the guards in the fog and promptly disarmed all of them.
Once the smoke had cleared, and slightly surprised that the unknown man before him still stood, the King now acquiesced to Shivaji's request and they met alone in his chambers.
Sitting down with him, Shivaji proposed a plan to the King to free the Ahoms from Mughal oppression. He told the king that he could get rid of the enemy's generals and their governor, allowing the King to march on an army without a leader, hence winning him an easy victory.
Intrigued, the King agreed to the plan, but he mentioned that his army was technologically inferior, and could not fight the Mughals who possessed far superior weaponry. Mulling over this possibility, Shivaji promised to hand over Mughal weaponry to the King, which would even the odds.
The First commander
- "Son, Muzaffar Khan is passing through the forest tomorrow. As he rides, we'll end his life with this tripwire bomb."
- ―Shivaji to his son Sambhaji.
As it was established, each of the Mughal commanders were responsible for handling one of the three districts of the city of Dispur.
After learning this, Shivaji prepared to kill the first Mughal commander, Muzaffar Khan. On his request, his younger son Rajaram had spied on Muzaffar, and discovered that he would be travelling through a forest the next day.
Setting their deadly trap, Shivaji and his sons chose several spots along the road through the forest, of which they attached one end of an elastic cord to an object on one side of the road, and the other end at the other side. In theory, once anything disturbed the cords with enough weight to dislodge them, the ends would snap back together. Knowing this, Shivaji set up two bombs in all of the crevices at each side, so that the cords would recoil and explode the bombs on impact.
The next day, Muzaffar passed with a group of six men. Moments later, the sound of detonations filled the air, and in all, the explosions killed three men and injured the rest. Unfortunately however, Muzaffar got away with minor injuries.
Determined to not let this chance slip through his fingers, Rajaram appeared in front of the commander and duelled him, cutting off his fingers in the battle. After a brief fight, he finished the duel with a vicious slash through the commander's neck, causing Muzaffar to fall. As his victim lay struggling on the ground, Rajaram stabbed Muzaffar through the heart, ending his life in one fell swoop.
Death by the noose
- "Father, you just make him come my way, I'll do the rest."
- ―Sambhaji telling Shivaji the plan.
The second commander was Arpit Verma, a skilled duelist, who would certainly have been able to defeat Sambhaji and Rajaram in a fair fight. Despite this, Sambhaji formulated a brilliant plan, of which he enlisted his father's help.
On schedule, Shivaji encouraged the civilians to riot in the streets of Verma's district. With his attention grabbed by the commotion, Verma repeatedly sent his soldiers to suppress the rioters, though Shivaji and Rajaram picked off the elites with arrows. One by one, the guard captains fell, and the others ran away once they had no one to guide them.
With his leadership failing him, Verma himself entered the scene and saw his men dying by a seemingly invisible force. Following Sambhaji's orders, the two Assassins made sure to not kill Verma however, allowing him to run away.
According to plan, the rioters had been positioned in such a way that Verma could only flee towards Sambhaji's ambush. Lying in wait, Sambhaji threw a noose around Arpit's neck as he passed, with the other end tied to a heavy weight that was suspended at a height.
Right on cue, he let the weight fall, causing Verma to suddenly lurch upwards toward the platform on which Sambhaji was standing as the heavy block dropped. Dangling in the air, Arpit Verma choked to death in this state, as the noose wound tightly around his neck stole his oxygen supply.
The subtle sting
- Rajaram: "Viper venom. It paralyzes a individual, while causing their organs to decay. Slowly, and painfully... he will die. I'm sure of it."
- Sambhaji: "How would we administer it?"
- Rajaram: "We wait for the right moment, and then we strike. Just as the viper would."
- —Rajaram's plan to kill the final commander.
Shivaji, now trusting in the growth of his two sons' skills, decided to leave the third and final commander to them. Manish Singh, the man in question, was very scared by the events that saw the demise of his fellow brethren, and tried to never leave his villa as a result. One day however, he was summoned to the office of the Governor, and had to leave his quarters, as he feared more for what would happen if he did not attend, more than that of the mysterious deaths of his comrades.
Deviously, Rajaram decided to make an example of him. Preparing for the moment, he caught a wild viper and carefully broke its teeth, so that he could extract the venom from within. At once, Rajaram coated a thorn with the poison, and carefully carried it to Manish's villa, knowing the dire consequences that would befall the one who cut himself with it.
Working to mask his brother's approach, Sambhaji let loose the viper without fangs near the gates, causing panic and chaos, while ensuring that no one could get hurt. Meanwhile, Rajaram sneaked into Manish's bedchamber, and placed the thorn on his bed, hidden by a crease in the sheets.
That night, as Manish slept, a nightmare stirred in his mind. Playing to their advantage, said nightmare caused the commander to stir about while he dreamt of unpleasant things, leading him to be pricked by the thorn, which caused him to start screaming horribly as the toxin invaded his bloodstream. Said to be compared to the stabbing of many needles, the viper's venom made sure that he died very painfully.
On hearing Manish's blood-curdling wails, all of the villa's guards began to think that they had been cursed by God for their cruelty, and they immediately abandoned their positions and ran away from the city as fast as their feet could take them.
- "My sons, we'll finish the Governor in the most vicious fashion, as penance for the lives he has ruined. All I will need is a few haystacks and torches, so that he succumbs to his justly deserved wrath."
- ―Shivaji to his sons.
Syed Firoz Khan, the Governor of Dispur, was a bold and defiant man, though with the brutal murders of his commanders, even he was concerned for his life. Inflicted with deep-rooted fear for his well-being, Syed never left his palace, and even as he resided inside, he made sure to surround himself with at least twenty guards.
Such was his insanity that every entrance to the Palace was guarded by his Elites. Amongst this, he had only allowed his most trusted guards to stay near him, whilst all of the others had been sent to patrol the grounds. Concerned for their safety as well, he made sure that his family had been sent away.
All of this suited Shivaji's aims however, as he knew that no innocent lives would be taken in his assault. As he would have it, his sons silently knocked out the patrolling guards, though not killing anyone. From there, Shivaji and his sons wheeled the five haystacks they had obtained around the house, positioning them at key points. With this step reached, they lit the material alight, causing the house to catch fire.
While they let the soldiers guarding the entrance flee for their lives, the three sealed the entrances of the palace and left, trapping Firoz and his men inside. In all, with no escape for them, the Govenor and all of his elites were burnt to a cinder, perishing amongst the roar of the flames.
After this event had passed, Shivaji tutored a number of recruits from the local populace and set up an Assassins Guild there, where his students began to harass the remaining Guard Captains on his command, killing a total of nine.
Seeing as the tide had turned so rapidly against them, it was apparant in the minds of the soldiers that they truly believed themselves to be cursed, promptly abandoning the town to prevent anyone from being the next unfortunate target.
And so, the King of Assam entered the town and liberated it quite easily, taking Mughal equipment for himself while Shivaji left with his sons to Bengal. Yet, it wasn't until 1682 that Lower Assam was completely liberated from the Mughals, proving that many battles still needed to be faced.
Death and Succession Crisis
In the year 1680, Shivaji died of age, and name Sambhaji as his successor. Yet after his death. Yet Rajaram chose to defy his father's wishes and fought with Sambhaji. This gave Aurangzeb some much needed time to rebuild the Templar Brotherhood.
Ultimately however the Assassins defeated the Mughal Empire after a long war of 27 years, ending with Aurangzeb's death. His successors were inefficient and careless Emperors, most of whom were vassals to either the Marathas, the Afghans, or the British.
Special Thanks (corrected grammar, and added descriptions for most of the story): Slate Vesper