Administrative division, in some countries, managed by local government
The Port of Vancouver USA Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the newly drawn district boundaries. https://bit.ly/3LM7piW #PortOfVancouverUSA #BoardOfCommissioners #RedistrictingMap #NewlyDrawnDistricts #PortsTaxingDistrict #DonOrange #EricLaBrant #JackBurkman #RedistrictingProcess #VancouverWa #ClarkCountyWa #ClarkCountyNews #ClarkCountyToday
The Nevada Department of Education has released standardized test scores from last year. Third through eighth grade students have shown modest improvements in their English and math skills.
Join Jim and Greg as they eagerly welcome a poll showing Republicans with a 21-point advantage in competitive House districts. They also shudder as more signs emerge of a worsening economy from - from energy to housing to hiring. And they discuss the left and the media branding incoming Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as a fascist. But since the left now tars anyone who disagrees with them as "fascist," the word has lost much of it's meaning.
Dan reviews the promising details of the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll which shows significant advantages for Republicans in the 2022 mid-term elections on several issues - like crime, inflation, the economy, and border security - and in all competitive swing districts, the GOP holds a commanding 21 point lead among independent and unaffiliated voters. Former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki confirms as much, saying if the upcoming is a referendum on the President - Democrats will lose.
What exactly is a District of Innovation (DOI), and what does it mean for an educator to work in such districts? Since 2015, Texas school districts have been able to adopt the DOI designation in order to exempt themselves from certain legal requirements of the Texas Education Code. DOIs purport that this additional flexibility and local control allow them to better serve their students and even staff. But DOIs have opened the door to questions regarding teacher contracts and certifications. What sort of protection do educators working in DOIs have from other exemptions that could affect their schedules, class size, leave, or even appraisals? In this episode of The ATPE Podcast, we ask ATPE Staff Attorney Lance Cain what the law requires of Districts of Innovation and how that designation can affect educators in those districts. The legal information provided here is accurate as of the date of publication. It is provided here for informative purposes only. Individual legal situations vary greatly, and readers needing individual legal advice should consult directly with an attorney. Please note: Rights based on the Texas Education Code may not apply to all. Many Texas Education Code provisions do not apply to public charter schools, and public school districts may have opted out of individual provisions through a District of Innovation plan. Eligible ATPE members may contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department.
Join Jim and Greg as they eagerly welcome a poll showing Republicans with a 21-point advantage in competitive House districts. They also shudder as more signs emerge of a worsening economy from – from energy to housing to hiring. And they discuss the left and the media branding incoming Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni as […]
State legislatures have traditionally controlled districting, with a decentralization of process and decision-making as to how they are drawn. And in recent years, technology has enabled a more complex system of gerrymandering that can challenge the principles of democracy. Indeed it could produce outcomes where the party with fewer votes has control of the democratic … Continue reading Scholars' Circle – Gerrymandering Districts based on Census Data and Inclusive Politics of Rank Choice Voting – September 25, 2022 →
Districts are responding to our 403(b) Plan Rating Project. We recently heard from two school districts asking us to upgrade their D-rated plans because of improvements they had made. School Districts Who Are Improving Their 403(b) Plans Learned by Being Burned Meridian Wealth Management 403bwise.org
Quote: “We shouldn't be fighting each other, we should be looking at how we can fix the system.”SummaryStarting a new season of Spanning The Need, Anthony Spano has invited Justin Jennings to the show to share his experience, challenges, and results as the newly elected Superintendent of Youngstown City Schools. Justin was a professional basketball player before an injury ended his career. Today, Justin shares with us the challenges that come with his new position and how he aims to change the mindset of the public in Youngstown and advance academic pursuits.Justin begins by sharing a little about his background and what surrounded his move to Youngstown. He speaks extensively on his new role as Superintendent and how this largely involves changing the mindset of the people. He talks about some challenges many don't realize and how he hopes to solve them to improve the academic standings of Youngstown City Schools. Justin touches on how trauma, mental issues, and security issues are being handled and how he plans to leave a legacy behind.Tune in to the show now to explore:Justin's background and how he became the CEO of Youngstown City SchoolsThe importance of changing the mindset of people about Youngstown and leadership in generalWhy strategic plans are important for development and advancementDismantling the stigma surrounding trauma and mental health issuesA fun Q&A session where Justin answers random questions about his professional and personal lifeMore at: spanningtheneed.com
This Day in Maine September 22, 2022
In this episode, we talk to three, long-time administrators who recently have moved to new roles or new districts. We are joined by Theresa Stager, Principal at Saline HS, Brad Robbins, Principal of Croswell-Lexington MS, and Todd Simmons, Principal of Cedar Springs HS. Topics discussed include what challenges and opportunities occurred as they made job changes, advice for others considering a change, and how previous administrator experience played a factor.
Elections always come down to a choice. Someone wins, someone loses, and Roll Call has long chronicled the path to Election Day by reporting on Congress' most vulnerable incumbents. It's an evolving cast, and with roughly a month-and-half to go, we take measure on Political Theater with our Politics Team, Herb Jackson, Kate Ackley and Mary Ellen McIntire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Elections always come down to a choice. Someone wins, someone loses, and Roll Call has long chronicled the path to Election Day by reporting on Congress' most vulnerable incumbents. It's an evolving cast, and with roughly a month-and-half to go, we take measure on Political Theater with our Politics Team, Herb Jackson, Kate Ackley and Mary Ellen McIntire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Host: Adam Sommer @Adam_Sommer85Guests: Jenna Roberson @JennaForMohttps://www.upballot.com/jenna-robersonEric Nowicki @ericpnowickihttps://nowickiforrep.com/ https://heartlandpod.com/Twitter: @TheHeartlandPOD"Change The Conversation"
The Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the County of Sacramento. There are five members of the Board and each represents one of five Districts. Board of Supervisor meetings are open to the public to attend. Meeting agendas are available at: www.sccob.saccounty.net
The Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the County of Sacramento. There are five members of the Board and each represents one of five Districts. Board of Supervisor meetings are open to the public to attend. Meeting agendas are available at: www.sccob.saccounty.net
The Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the County of Sacramento. There are five members of the Board and each represents one of five Districts. Board of Supervisor meetings are open to the public to attend. Meeting agendas are available at: www.sccob.saccounty.net
Even as pandemic disruptions have faded and most schools have returned to in-person instruction, permanent virtual classes are still being offered to protect vulnerable children. Districts in Texas, California, and New York are creating full-time remote learning programs for this school year. The virtual option may only be appropriate for a small percentage of students, but in an effort to fight declining enrollment and disruptions from families moving, virtual schools will remain part of the education system. Ben Chapman, education reporter at the WSJ, joins us for what to know. Next, the country has been grappling with a drug overdose crisis driven by opioids, most notably fentanyl. Early on, most of the fentanyl came from China, but now two Mexican drug cartels have dominated the supply coming to the U.S. The Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels have set up sophisticated operations handling the manufacturing, marketing, and delivery of the synthetic drug. For them, the formula is easy to replicate and inexpensive to make. Jon Kamp, reporter at the WSJ, joins us for how these cartels are controlling the U.S. fentanyl market.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Even as pandemic disruptions have faded and most schools have returned to in-person instruction, permanent virtual classes are still being offered to protect vulnerable children. Districts in Texas, California, and New York are creating full-time remote learning programs for this school year. The virtual option may only be appropriate for a small percentage of students, but in an effort to fight declining enrollment and disruptions from families moving, virtual schools will remain part of the education system. Ben Chapman, education reporter at the WSJ, joins us for what to know.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
From the Army to practicing law to local politics and finally spending 28 years in House of Representatives representing New York's 2nd and 3rd Districts, Representative King shares how as a “blue-collar conservative” he was able to consistently win re-election in a district that often voted against his party in other elections. From his upbringing in a working-class family to his long career in politics; Rep. King says he still “has to pinch himself” when powerful figures like the President and Vice President call.Support the show
STORYTELLING FOR SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS Getting the right message out to all stakeholders in the community consistently matters...with PR leader Amanda Holdsworth *** Everything we do is linked at the home website of The American Consortium for Equity in Education at ace-ed.org: 1.Teacher-Retention.com and Teaching Reset Professional Development 2. SELtoday.org 3The Excellence in Equity Awards Program 4.Our online journal 'Equity& Access PreK12 5.the last two years of Education Talk Radio podcasts
I've had the opportunity to sit with Rochelle Garza, candidate for TX Attorney General! It's a brief convo but we cover a bunch ranging from her experience as a new mother, why Ken Paxton is a bad fit for mothers and Texans in general, and the failed action attempted by Reps Annello and Rivera - struck down by Mayor Leeser and four council reps, and why it should have passed. Following this great convo we analyze the 18 candidates (including yours truly) who have thrown themselves into the race for 4 different City Council elections this November. Want to learn more about Rochelle Garza? Find her hereWebsite:https://www.rochellegarzafortexas.com/FB: https://www.facebook.com/rochellemgarza/Twitter:@RochelleMGarzaIG:@RochelleMGarzaYou want to reach me? You know how to do firstname.lastname@example.orgFacebook:https://www.facebook.com/TheElPasoBeatTwitter:@TheElPasoBeatInstagram: @TheElPasoBeat*Guest appearances are not considered endorsements
This episode is about the city the district of DongJakGu, in Seoul. #DongJakGu #동작구 #SouthKorea #남한 #Korea #한국 #서울 #Atlas #History This is a homemade, free podcast. It takes a lot of work and dedication. To support it, please visit: https://anchor.fm/nicholas-sheen/support --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nicholas-sheen/support
I interviewed Southeast Little League (Davenport, IA) head coach Dave McFate on Friday about his team's journey to the Little League World Series and the experience up until that point. Coach McFate walks us through the Little League season from the regular season to the selection of All-Stars, Districts, Regionals, and now the LLWS in Williamsport. He also explains how both he and his players stay focused while under the public spotlight. Of course, we recorded this after their first game, a heartbreaking loss (but HUGE comeback) against Indiana. Since then, they've won games against both Washington and Utah and are scheduled to play their next game on Tuesday. Thanks so much to Coach McFate for sharing the behind-the-scenes experience from the Little League World Series. Take a listen, you'll love his insight! Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review.
Back to school for many districts across Arkansas; North Little Rock students' standardized exam scores are improving; The cost of "squaring up" a Pulaski County high school campus is rising; The family of a man shot and killed in Little Rock in December say they're worried the case will go cold
:41 About GrassrootsLab1:39 Madrid and Korinke: The Odd Couple4:33 The political shift in local government6:44 Districts vs. At-Large9:06 The LA Mayoral race is poised to make history11:29 The Count12:07 Control of the House may come down to California15:02 The number one issue in LA?17:19 #WWCAWant to support the Capitol Weekly Podcast? Make your tax deductible donation here: capitolweekly.net/donations/Capitol Weekly Podcast theme is "Pickin' My Way" by Eddie Lang"#WorstWeekCA" Beat provided by freebeats.ioProduced by White Hot
Tens of thousands of teaching positions are vacant, and schools are trying unusual things to address the shortage. The Wall Street Journal takes a look. A key witness testified in the latest trial against convicted sex-offender R. Kelly. BuzzFeed News has the story. A conversation with the journalist who broke the story of R. Kelly’s abuses. CNN reports on how the American West’s historic drought is threatening the Hoover Dam’s ability to generate power for the region. The latest In Conversation looks at how uneven the share of housework still is for men and for women, and how to get to a better place.
A federal judge reinstates North Carolina's 20-week abortion ban while South Carolina's Supreme Court stops a near-total abortion ban from going into effect. Charlotte F.C. decides on a headquarters location and the City Council moves closer to a possible social district. Mike Collins and local journalists break down these and other stories from the week's news.
With the first day of school approaching, districts are scrambling to find teachers and staff, and the Crosstown highway is going to be closed for a while longer. This is an evening update from MPR News, hosted by Tim Nelson. Music by Gary Meister.
How many times must voters be asked the same question before politicians get the message? Districts with Term Limits will ALWAYS say “NO!” when asked if they want their representatives to stay longer than their limit allows.But now that politicians know this, they've been getting creative with ways to trick the people into extending their limits. Catch up on the latest state developments in this episode…
In an episode focused on education, Community Impact senior editor Shawn Arrajj discusses Houston ISD's bid to attract more teachers by raising salaries while also dealing with a major budget deficit. Plus, reporter Mikah Boyd brings the perspective of Cy-Fair ISD, where discipline infractions are up 224% as students readjust to in-person schooling after the pandemic. The Houston Breakdown is a production of Community Impact Newspaper. This episode was produced by Olivia Aldridge with assistance from Connor McGovern and Sierra Rozen and editing by Marie Leonard. Weather and allergy reports are sourced from www.weather.com and AccuWeather.
Read the Previous Chapter hereChapter TwoA Tale in the DarkAfter the last of the hot scones were handed out, fresh from the ovens of Fatty, cups of sipping chocolate for the little'uns, boch of course for the olds, then the pipes were lit and hushes to be quiet administered, for the Telling of the Show was to begin. Malrond settled himself in a great tufted leather chair near the hearth, center stage within the main room, and for a long moment there was quiet. Then, with little to no fanfare he began at once.“I come none too late from the war in the south, my little friends…” began the old wizard. “To tell you the war that was coming, that we have felt in sky and stone, seen in omens and even bones… is over now. You may rest easy knowing this.”A hush deeper than the one that began the affair fell over the main room of the Last Friendly Inn as Malrond spoke this and all that could be heard in that solemn and stunning moment was the murmur-crackle and an occasional snap of the fire turning to grey ash within the grand hearth of the main room.The room was darker now. Only the struggling candles burned from behind Fatty McFarlane's perch at the end of the lovingly and oft-polished red oak bar and in the occasional sconce along the alcoves across the swollen room. Some later would remark that the dark seemed unnatural and was perhaps part of the showing. At the time this passed unnoticed, and the Littles collectively leaned forward at the beginning of the telling, willing themselves to miss nothing, knowing a great magic of the showing would soon begin as the wizard wove his quiet storytelling spell over the room, and them all in turn.The Littles, and others who were there that early spring night, in the back among the shadows, alone or keeping to their small traveling stranger clusters, all in the old pile of an inn were aware that war and death had been raging across the lands to the south around the great tower of Sirith Osildor itself and along the Black River that was the natural boundary for that southern region the Elves of Indolién referred to as The Undómë.The Twilight.Many travelers referred to those lost southern regions where the map seemed incomplete and even uncharted at times as… Ungondor.Lands of Cloud and Shadow.The quiet crowd in the normally merry old inn hovered over the old elven wizard's next words for surely there was more to this than what had been said already. Malrond took a deep draw from his long-stemmed clay pipe, held the smoke, his eyes watching them all, and then with a delicate movement of his old mouth sent the first smoke ring out and into the dark rafters above them all.“The crisis in the south… has been averted for now,” stated Malrond the Wise with a theatrical gravitas that bespoke a certain finality one must accept if the story were to go on.The Littles being great lovers of any travelling show that happened along the back roads agreed to the terms of the deal and accepted what the wizard had said with an acquiescent silence. Indicating old Malrond should go on with the rest of it, and already quick if you please.“The fell host of the Shadow Hordes has been turned back at the ancient Gates of Sirith Osildor itself. Just a few nights ago you may have seen lights of the terrible magics worked with much wroth in the crucial moments of that dire battle… just the other night in fact, a long night if you'll remember so, that is if there ever was one such as that one. A night in which those of us standing the watch against the coming shadow on the walls of the great tower guessed perhaps all was lost, and we had seen our last day. And even the last of all days to be seen by such as those who walk the Gentle Lands.”Yes, many of the Littles would later remark. The night had seeming restlessly long. There had been tossing and turning. Little'uns had nightmares and strange dreams that required attending and cold drinks of water to console. Some Littles even remarked that there had been the not unheard of, but not necessarily common, last meal of the several Littles generally consume per day.Second Creepies. A light comforting snack of catch as catch can from the larders to see out the last hours until dawn and Bacon.The wizard took a puff of his pipe, seemed to hold it for a moment as though wordlessly reciting a secret prayer, or a chant for good luck, good health, fair weather and a fast horse, and then finally let go with an almost melancholic exhale, sighing out the great weights that surely must rest on his narrow shoulders, the Littles assured themselves.Angelic blue smoke floated out from the wizard, its tendrils reaching among them, falling to the floor. Rising into rafters, seeking the shadows.The Littles breathed a sigh of relief and some even hoisted their mugs and took deeper draughts than unusual.This was, indeed, good news. The hordes of the Shadow defeated.“I was there…” announced the wizard to them all.No one had asked that. But in hindsight of the statement, it seemed the most natural of questions to be asked by ones not just seeking information but dying for its full reveal, and the tidbits and morsels must surely fall like so many crumbs of the Inn's famed Lavender Crumble Scones travelers from far and wide made detours just for. One of the younger little'uns, even more hot blooded and rash-tempered than quick with his fists Shane McFie, suddenly spoke from the dark floor where those of that age and stripe were gathered betwixt the main body and the old mage telling the show of what had happened there to the far and misty south.And even as this young one spoke up, rudely interrupting the proceeding with something about the elves and their swords, Malrond's continued smoke wafted through the room and over them all. Everywhere there were thin smoking tendrils like clever little garden snakes there in the stuffy atmosphere above the curly-haired Little heads who stared in rapture toward the wizard at the hearth, half lit by the simmering fire. Half in shadow by the darkness of the room.His face looked old now, they would all agree. Older than the last time they'd seen him come this way.And how long ago was that, some wondered.Time's a funny thing, answered others.Careworn and weather-beaten by many years on the road was the cause agreed on by all in the conversations and dissections that followed the days of the Showing of the Tell. As though some greater work than had been guessed at, was behind the old elf now. Though Malrond was clearly Andaari, noted by the long pointed ears, he seemed the opposite of that fair and noble race with their smooth features and almost almond eyes. Where he aged, they, other elves, did not. Where the bright sun did not touch them, it had carved deep lines in Malrond's long face, and brought bags to be under his baleful dark watching eyes. Time had bent the long nose that stared down upon them. Some old scar left barely visible ran down beneath one large eye. His eyes, they were dark. Dark like burning coals where the average Andaarian Elf tended toward blue and blue green eyes, and in this too he was different than those of his kind. And of course, his eyes were not like the royal green, burning like living fire in a fantastic jewel beyond price, reserved for those of the House of Eäron. Those Ancient Wayfaring Lords and founders of fair Indolién by the Sea. To have seen such eyes of the royal line, for a Little, even for a moment once in a lifetime, would have been considered a blessing to be noted and measured. A life event much talked about over field and farm and festival across the long years of the Littles which at best reached one hundred and thirty-seven. And even so special as to be noted when death came as it had been for Old Ori Farbanks, the former Mayor of Sheepshead who passed just five years back.Even the elves, merchants who seemed something more, had come out for that burying, staying just the day, and gone with the night and mist from off the coast.But those royal greens of the line of Eäron were not the eyes of Malrond the Wise. His were dark and glittering with tales, mischief, and yes jokes or at least funny stories for the most part. Sometimes they were sad and staring, seeing things only imagined when no one was watching him. Which was a mistake when in the company of Littles. Littles may be many things, silly, practical, laughing much, stuck in their ways constantly, angry about nothing just for the sake of it, faithful unto death, quiet like thieves when they meant to be, and occasionally mad, Littles were always watching. It was their nature to do so.The Littles knew the old elf as Malrond the Wise. But they also knew he was known by many names in other quarters even beyond the lands of Elves. Greystaff by the rock dwarves for the gnarled old ironwood he carried wherever he went about on his travels. Whisperer Tallhat by the strange and silent Children of Men far to the north. Gothminion some said in the ancient Elvish, older than Indarri, that was all but forgotten these days by most. But that was an unconfirmed [NC1] rumor that had only been heard and handed about and it seemed a strange one, a strange name for one such as he. And there were many other names suspected, and even hinted at.But as far as the Littles were concerned, Malrond was friendly when you thought about him and there was always a certain much needed excitement when he came about with his tales and spells and good talk.He remembered your business though you might not talk with him for a year, or even five in a stretch of seasons. He knew what you were about and what mattered to you and could speak and question at length regarding your affairs. And of course, he always came around at Harvest, and when there was great news afoot in the lands. The things said during his visits would keep the villages and hamlets of the Littles going for weeks at least.Malrond continued as the fire murmured and the smoke drifted heavy from his pipe though he had not puffed it and instead, wove it about with his long and crooked fingers, sparkling with many strange runic rings, and one… one that was uncommonly beautiful.“The hordes came out of the Ash south of the river… beyond the Forgotten Districts where much lies in ruin now, but those great wrecks still can be seen from the heights of the Sirith Osildor itself…”“Wot is the Ash?” some other impious young Little'un asked from the floor where the barefoot urchins had gathered with mugs of then[NC2] warm chocolate. The older Littles erupted with a hiss of shushes and explosions regarding the impetuousness of youth, the abundance of bad parenting, and common lack of manners these days when you took count and measure of the state of affairs and all.A look crossed the old wizard's face at this second interruption. Like some flashing brief summer storm coming across the waters when you liked it least. This was because Malrond did not like being interrupted when he was on about something. That was clear. But the look was queerly gone as soon as it had come and the wizard obliged the question from the floor, smiling briefly as he did so.Some would say… it was not a warm smile. But that may have been due to the subject matter. The Southern Waystes where the map was shadowy, and things left botheringly unsaid.“The Ash is a low and broken land, burnt by great and terrible magics from the days of Inthol the Bright. But that was long ago when great monsters [NC3] heaved about the land and caused much trouble. Now the silent place is little but wretched blight where the low shadow hordes hunker, avoiding the light when they can, preferring to move with the night and the moon to seek their mischiefs and murders. Goblin tribes coming out to raid and strike fear into the hearts of good people everywhere if they can violate the waters of the River and the Watch at the Tower. My order has long kept an eye on these lands, and it was a year ago this time we first heard the war drums rumbling from the deep ruin there even though we dared not tread that far south into the southern Waystes often. Rumors and tales that a new war leader, Khahuz Ulghûl of the Black Feather Orcs, had come to power over that land and was looking to make trouble farther north for his sleeping master. Binding the boiling tribes beyond the river itself into their ancient hordes, this new foe called for great war against our peoples and dear Indolién itself if such folly can be imagined.”Now this was shocking, and the Littles gasped in horror at thought of what the wizard had just said. Orcs attacking Indolién.That would be the very definition of dark times indeed.For a long moment old Malrond mused over some matter just to himself, stoking his pipe with short breaths, smoothing his long grey beard with a long and gnarled old hand.Then he began once again, oblivious that the Littles had exercised so much patience during this interminable pause and not just interrupted into a chaotic chorus of questions hurled like summer ‘maters when there's too many to be had for anyone with sense.“Long did the council work to forestall Khahuz Ulghûl's efforts but it was soon clear enough what the black fiends' [NC4] intentions were. The tribes were coming north across the Black River come Unqualë or high water. It was clear their desire was to smash into the Sirith Osildor itself. If they were successful, then Indolién's southern port of trade toward the Lost Lands would be gone and he[NC5] who is not to be spoken of would grow even greater still in power as he slumbers. To lose the Tower would have been a mighty blow against the Emerald Throne itself, and, the doom of us all.”Unqualë or High Water is a common expression among the Littles. Unqualë is an ancient elven word for an agonizing death. Malrond's usage was in keeping with the Littles' usage of it as a flooded farm was just about as bad as an agonizing death to a Little. They could not abide waste unless it was August ‘maters. By that time, they were giving them away, making midnight raids to deposit bushels of them on other neighbors' steads, or ambushing small bands of rogue boys to ward them off the melons the rascals would cut the hearts out of to eat in the heat of the day, or the cool of the misty late nights when they went roving before it was time to marry and settle.Seeking adventures to be had. Knowing the time for such things was short.The Littles drew in a deep breath and all at once began to babble in fear as the wizard paused and surveyed the impact of his words on their terror-struck faces at the fact the Gentle Lands were in jeopardy.“Was this known?”“How did this happen?”“We were almost done fer!”And it was at this fearful moment, the Showing of the Tell… truly began.Suddenly and much to their amazement, above their curly heads there in the smoke hanging amid the rafters with the hams and other lanterns, drifting charcoal images of some vast horde of foul orcs and lesser scheming goblins could be seen marching through the mists the smoke of Malrond's pipe had created. Just barely as some light show of travelling players working in puppetry might, but this in an otherworldly ash, charcoal, and blackest dust, began to show the Littles and those in the inn that night, the ferocious anger as Orc and Gob carried torch and shield forward, silently chanting their marching songs and war cries. Axes and swords forward in battle, ready for mayhem and slaughter.There were other beasts of the nether, dark among their host as shown in the image of darkness and smoke up there, the candlelight making it all seem more real, more alive. Terrible troll lords with demonic eyes and savage strength, dark beings of such wrath and terror marching above that Littles, some and not a few, hid their faces. The troll's fiery glaring eyes alight with mischief and deviltry.[NC6] Ancient wraiths too, curst armored knights of the Old Age come back to slay once more, leading divisions of drum-beating, horn-blowing, snarling orcs as large as any savage north man and more. Powerfully built and wielding great cruel tree-cutting axes, or wide-bladed swords whose very metal seemed dirty and corrupted in evil. Broad and curved like the Corsairs of Ambar who sail far south beyond the Lost Lands into areas of myth and spice and tales beyond belief, or so some say.The overwhelmed Littles gawped in amazement at the sudden imagery forming and marching over their heads in the Inn's upper reaches of the main room. Muttering darkly, or even angrily at times, among themselves, for Littles hated orcs with a passion as they were the enemy of all growing, thriving things. Some averted their eyes, turning toward their simple prayers, mumbling words as if to sustain themselves in a swoon brought on by the relentless host above. In the smoke of the shadow show, the ghostly nether blue pipe rings of Malrond turned to a sea of black arrows filling the skies of the battle the shadow host was marching out to. Rising like some unclean squall of crows come from out of the east to pick the late summer fields clean of corn and ‘maters, as the Littles called tomatoes.An unlucky thing and curse if there ever was one.Then, as the Littles gasped in horror, the shadow arrows were falling now. Falling like flaming stars suddenly alight from the heavens above.But these arrows were not alight with flame, but surely with witch-magic. The flames were necrotic purple in ghost-light, seething and smoking as they fell through the rings of Malrond's smoke show and almost seemed to come down on the Littles themselves right there on the floor of the inn.Children, the little'uns, cried out or screamed with such sudden terror that the tiny, round Little Mothers threw themselves and their shawls over the children as if that could protect them from the storm of deadly flights falling and exploding among them. The Little farmers stood quickly as though hoping to stand between their young and the strike and the covering mothers. Other younger Littles like Shane McFie and those in his band, roared in anger, hoisting their mugs like small swords or clubs, and made ready to answer any violence in kind.In an instant the shadow arrows rained down on the mighty broken tower of Sirith Osildor itself, rising in image among the coals and torched logs of the hearth near the murmuring wizard. The Littles saw some of the smoke arrows, things of figment surely, smash into the floor of the inn after they'd fallen from the rafters, exploding on Fatty McFarlane's polished boards like wraiths of smoke and nightmare that never were. But by then the Littles were staring into the images within the hearth conjured by the wizard and his pipe for they were far more fascinating and as though viewing the living thing itself with one's own eyes.It was… mesmerizing.Few to none had ever seen the Tower. Sirith Osildor itself. An ancient place buried deep in the lore of the Andaar and some say… even far older into the Old Ages of long ago when things were different. Gleaming elven defenders were struck and fell from the high stone ramparts and crumbling parapets into the thronging masses of shadow invaders even now approaching the lower battlements with unquenchable flame and relentless spear. Around the main room of the inn, the thousand fires of the shadowy host seemed alive and more real than the candles that burned from their recesses. Shadow of imposing troll and goblin sneak marched like ghosts through the room toward the tower itself and if one could hear past the gasps and screams of the Littles, one might it seemed, hear terrible drums and ululating horns of war.The hellish hearth of the inn, a place of gathering and tales listened to and told of, cast its steady orange glow along one side of the old wizard's face, making him seem something stronger, stranger, older.Murmuring as though in a dream, the wizard continued his telling.[NC7] Within the hearth the flames leapt, the grey logs almost ash turning suddenly black, and a battle in minute detail broke out along the fabled Ivory Causeway within the consuming logs. The old, fabled road that once made itself over the Black River and into the districts of Sirith Osildor. The shadow of the host spread like a rot across summer's best fruits as they raced for the tower through the flames and the images revealed along the burning wood. Soon they were at the very gates of the old fortress that guarded the good lands and the Littles crowded, not close, but tippy toed, and pressed to see what the wizard was showing them with the hearth.The hoary face of a wraith, garbed in ancient almost translucent armor, appeared in a sudden burst of flames within the fire, and roared wordlessly in a sudden snap of a log and spray of flames, the thing's breath a hiss as the dead thing waved a runed sword, dented and old, forward, leading more of the shadow host into battle against the Tower. The orcs, tiny scrambling ashen figures threw themselves onto the tower walls, working their ashen bows and shooting down the defenders above with fiery arrows as they crawled like a pestilence among mighty battlements of Sirith Osildor.The crowd of Littles and others within the inn recoiled in horror at this spectacle of what seemed certain to be the sack of the mighty southern tower that defended the gateway to the Gentle Lands. Revealed within the images of the hearth and its flames were horrors and terrors never contemplated. Some began to whimper and cry, and parents who had brought their children, expecting some great wonder or reward from the travelling wizard, felt suddenly terrible at having arrived with their little'uns to such a tragedy witnessed in flame, fire, smoke, and shadow.The wizard, silent, and musing his beard and pipe[NC8] , watched them all as they remained helpless to tear their eyes away from what he was showing them in the telling.Then… he spoke. His voice old and creaking, and yet, something more. Words, some would say later, the words of Malrond were like the only things that existed in that moment.But that was what some said, and others said nothing on the subject.“All was lost in those first moments of the battle,” began Malrond once again and paused with such a sense of weight he seemed to have nothing more to add. That the loss of the defenders, the tower, and the certain arrival of the Shadow in the Gentle Lands was imminent. As though each Little should fly home at this very moment to their stead and take to the hills and mountains in the east with haste and everything on their back if only to save their lives right now.“But then came Adoras himself, Champion of the Emerald Throne, riding the field of battle to the aid of the defenders of Sirith Osildor. Bringing with him a host of the Elven Horse just in time out of the North Lands where they had been rumored to be but mere months ago. And you may think this is where everything will be alright and the day, or rather night, saved. But my Little friends, this was where the battle truly became its most terrible, and defeat was as close as it would come to snuffing out the light of us all had the tides not turned.”Silence fell over the whole inn.“At dawn, just when all seemed lost, like a bright shining scythe sweeping the late harvest of wheat, Adoras and the Horse came out of the east, crossing into the outskirts of southern Osildor and sweeping into the armies of the Shadow with the sun at their backs. Making their attack between the gate and the bridge. Now… the battle was begun in full and both forces descended into the madness of battle as it was joined.”Above their heads, the Littles and those in the inn gaped in amazement as the images of the Elven Horses, riders in armor shining like bright death itself, appeared with the weak grey dawn light and swept into the wide districts of that southern city beyond the tower. Districts buried under the forces of the shadow. Instantly great fights were begun within the streets. Orc and goblin carrying fire and spear were driven off the face of the mighty tower and slain as they fled back for the dark waters of the river and shadows of the south.“Adoras' wrath was indeed terrible,” Malrond stated solemnly. “The Champion of the Emerald Throne, true and faithful as he is known to be, wrought much wrath and destruction as his final charge carried straight into the shadow army's line holding near the bridge. Even the trolls and wraiths who make their homes among the Broken Rock along the Forgotten Coast were carried away like so much flotsam in the spring flood that was Adoras' triumph on the field that day I have just come from.”Malrond made some gesture, suddenly with a deft movement tossing his drink into the fire, and the flames within the hearth exploded, sending showers of sparks and smoke rising into the inn. Within this choking miasma, a mighty demon of a troll rose up among the press of goblins in their leathers with bloody red silks and black masks of that command to stand against the charge. With their misshapen and ugly heads, twisted green creatures fled as the beautiful stallions and shining riders of the Horse came at them and the terrible rampaging troll. This foe, a tall and lean thing with long gangly arms ending in great dirty claws, turned to fight back the charge with the aid of an antique axe from the elder ages carried over one lumpen shoulder. The terrible scythe dripped with inky blood, notched and smoking along the charcoal blade. The ghost image of the troll's eyes were desperate but still malevolent enough, as a winged helmed elven warrior atop a white steed, the perfection of the fabled Elven Horse of Indolién, swooped in with bright and shining spear, a sword on the belt, to do single combat in the street with the abomination of the troll.This was a great spectacle to those gathered in the Inn for it surely seemed the valiant warrior was outmatched from the first by the towering height of the foe and the ferocity of its terrible rage. The bloody troll moved fast and swept the scythe of his vicious axe into the breast of the incoming mount of the rider, but the mount reared and the wounded horse, a beautiful and noble creature within the image of smoke in the Inn, cried out in sudden indignation and terror as it tried to back away, throwing its great hooves forward to attack the looming horror. In the same instant, the elven warrior fired his spear forward in a savage strike as though it was the merest shaft from off the meanest bow fired at ease. Except the power and speed with which it flew from the rider's powerful arm told that the blow was something far more potent than at first expected. Something from the tales of the Great Bow of Aeostir the Hunter himself.An unbelievable second later the spear landed amid the troll's gaunt chest, planting itself with all the stern refusal of something that could never be shaken or moved again. No mortal thing would have survived its piercing. But the spear's appearance within its body only seemed to outrage the beast even more. The troll dragged its axe over its devil's head, intending to smite the dying horse and warrior as once again both horse and rider went down in the street near the tower. But the elf was as all elves are, quick and agile, spritely in battle. Literally walking off his dying and noble mount, surging suddenly forward into the close quarters fray with the evil troll, the warrior drew his blade for a swift stroke.The shining warrior delivered the victorious slash against the guts of the troll with his quickly drawn blade. Green blood and pestilent ichor splashed out onto the wet stones of the ravaged street and the elf was at once wielding the blade against his foe again and again in angry fury. Striking wounds that would never heal for such is the fabled metal of the elven smiths of Indolién as everyone knows.They do not heal.In the smoke and fading ash within the hearth images, the Littles stared in amazement and horror at the battle revealed just for them as more of Malrond's smoke rings plied the airs among them yet again.“But the enemy was not finished yet,” crooned the wizard from the asides. “Within the hour of Adoras' great victory, the enemy played their last tricky hand, and a new foe was come to put paid to the matter…”The ground around the warrior began to shake all at once as more of Malrond's blue smoke seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere all at once across the Inn. For some, and they would discuss this later over all the meals the next day between Bacon and Creepies, it was hard to say whether you were in the Inn, or at the battle itself.“Troll and elf strove on in deadly battle even as the goblin horde streamed past in full pell mell retreat, certain the battle for the Tower was truly lost to them now, their captains dead. The view within the smoke about them all changed to a circling raven's eye view of the fields beneath the heights of the ancient tower itself. From those heights, those within the inn could see the individual melees taking place on the narrow and twisting streets below in and among the bright and glittering merchants' houses who made their homes there along the southern edges. It was amazing to witness and again, something much discussed over cold draghts in the afternoon and nuts and cheese before supper. One could see the masses of both sides, Shadow and Elven Horse, colliding into one another at no less than three points beyond the tower.“Within the tower, under the command of that fabled general who all the Gentle Lands trusted to never give up the southern watch, bowmen began to return fire and shoot down into the streets at the goblins and raging trolls to be found and targeted there for effective fire.Surely all was not lost as day became real and of course the news must be most wonderful, thought every watching Little as they paid witness to the images of smoke and magic the wizard had manifested for their knowing right there in the Inn.Then a great shadow cast itself across the battle and over every warrior on all sides. Even the Inn itself. Some looked around as though to see some great thing passing overhead through the rafters and curing meats there. The shadow come from the south was like some insect plague swarming a crust of cast bread. Warriors of both sides gazed skyward suddenly into the morning grey light to see the coming of the great dragon to the battle at Sirith Osildor.“Out of the ancient mists of time the enemy had found our oldest of foes…” spoke the wizard softly, almost reverently. “An ancient drake from the brood of Gathmar herself. In an instant the dragon fell among the warriors under Adoras and did much damage with tooth and claw, choking smoke and black fire, as dragons are wont to do.”Within the smoke of the images swallowing everyone within the Inn, the dragon settled into the thick of the battle before the old Port Gate on the west of the Citadel itself. Bright armored warriors of the Elven Horse and their mounts were scattered as the dragon swept its terrible claws across them all, sending shattered armor and broken weapons in shadowy smoke across the destruction of the orcs, even themselves fleeing from the terror of the beast. All was chaos and terror among those who'd fought for that street and not given an inch in the hours of deepest night and coming dawn that marked the battle.“It was into this destruction and impending peril and loss that Adoras rode Telemnar against the dragon.”If this was true, if the images the wizard conjured within the smoke were to be believed, then this was the stuff of tales and song and the Littles were seeing it here, above and among them. The mightiest of the elven scions of the Emerald Throne rode into the battle where it was thickest, as orcs, goblins, and even the troll rallied to protect the dragon's flanks even though they were clearly in stark terror of the terrible and mighty thing at their sides. It was here, cutting and slaying, Adoras drove impossibly forward and struck a mighty blow against the dragon with his fabled sword Norsus.“Long was this contest fought,” intoned Malrond solemnly as though in some trance. The smoke dragon reared high into the sky of the rafters and hams in the Inn's darker recesses, towering over the mighty houses that had been broken and sundered in that noble district of Sirith Osildor, breathing green fire across the foes confronting it.“The shields of Adoras' vanguard held and once more the elven Horse charged into the dragon, wounding the wyrm sorely as the fight grew desperate. But…” spoke Malrond softly. “…Twas not without cost.“All those who stood against the dragon save Adoras himself were felled by the piercing of the dragon's fangs, the rending of its claws, and great buffets from off its mighty wings.“Elves of greatness and renown fell in vain against its strength. The onslaught of the raging termagant was so awful even orcs and goblins were too afeared to draw near the wrath of its ancient evil, and instead withdrew into the wreckage and ruin to await the outcome of the contest between the champion and the dragon beneath the great tower.“But Adoras would not relent though sorely wounded himself,” continued Malron. “And so at the last he raised his mighty sword and struck the dragon in its black heart, bringing the great beast down in sudden thunder and blood all at once.”Within the Inn the image seen was incredible. All were filled with fear and wonder in the same instant. Light exploded, shadows reigned, and all that was seen was the silhouetted image of dragon and elf prince against the color of flame and ruin in the background. The mighty elf seemed slain to them and then, as if in final spite, he lashed out with the bite of the blade Norsus and found home, striking down and into the great and ancient wyrm.Little ‘un, lone traveling man, sand elf, and those others of the Littles who found themselves in the Inn that night, rejoiced and gasped in horror at the mighty spectacle of the sight of the slaying of the dragon.Indeed, it was a mighty thing to behold. A thing that made the tales of the Lost Ages seem trifles of the here, and the now. That what had just been witnessed was even something mightier and greater than any ever told round hearth or fire, or along the waysides where one passed nights with such wild fables and smoke.The inn erupted as the dragon heaved its last and died, collapsing into the river.And over this roar the voice of Malrond thundered for them all to hear once gain.“The Shadow Host was broken and driven back beyond the river!” cried the old wizard to them all. “Adoras triumphed over foe and fiend and in the name of the Emerald Throne for the cause is just, and it is right. The Gentle Lands, and all other homes that lie under the Sway of Indolién… are safe once more.”He paused as the smoke of the showing of the tell faded like dreams barely remembered… and for a moment the entire Inn was in darkness and not even the faintest glow of the hearth could be seen in its black emptiness.There were just the fading whispers of the wizard.Then Malrond added, “For now.”Suddenly the Littles were swarming the broad oaken bar of Fatty and demanding frothy pints of the finest, celebrating the victory of Adoras himself and at the same moment recounting what they had just seen as though they and they only had been there amid the smoke and flame of the battle and its recounting needed immediately.Those not engaged in such unmannerly drinking were swarming the legs of the wizard asking for more and other details, and to show them all once again the things of wonder they had seen within Malrond's smoke and showing.Malrond, who was known to be kind, and to have a special place within his heart for the Littles of the Gentle Lands, stayed for a while more, telling them more of how Adoras had put sword to the fell host and pursued them back to their caves and barrows beyond the river, and even to the very ruins of the Fallen Kingdom of Amnanor of the Old Age. A place of strange spirits many who went there never returned from. Malrond reminded the clustering Little farmers who seemed less inclined to wait for the next succulent detail that fell from the lips of the wizard, that all was safe now and some of the darker details were best left unsaid if one valued sleep. And there were sleepy-eyed little'uns about that needed carrying back to their beds.“Ave yer been there, Malrond?” asked one.“Tis true that time's gone daft beyond the Black Gate?” asked another.“Didja see any of the warewoofs of Lord Suth?”Littles are always going on and on about werewolves from the south and are as likely to blame the myth of such creatures for any of their ills more than anything else they can quite name.“I did accompany Adoras and the Bright Fist, his personal guard, into the south and there we fought at the very foundations of the Doom Gate, the Manarandon itself, forcing them to draw it closed once more and defend the unnamed one within. Then we turned back for needs must. Adoras is now to appear before the throne but bid me come and bring you this great news.”“Will'ee stay Malrond?”“Say more and we shall carry on and sing songs to dawn in celebration of the evil that almost befell our little farms and has been smashed now!”But Malrond would not stay among them long. There were other communities and holdings within the Gentle Lands that knew him by other names and to these he told the Littles he must depart at once to and show the telling of once again.Soon it was time for Malrond to be off, so with much sorrow, and not a few tears from the gathering Littles, Malrond made the old door of the aged inn and was gone just like that, off into the misty night as strangely as he'd appeared among them that morning.Outside the inn all was quiet dark, and misty night. A few stood with pipes, waving farewell to the tall striding figure in the night, watching as the mist took him, and soon he was unseen once more.Subscribe Now and get the Audio version of this and so much more… This is a public episode. If you'd like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit nickcole.substack.com/subscribe
Dennis M. Walcott is the Chair of the NYC Districting Commission where he serves with Josh Schneps, CEO, Schneps Media as one of the … Read More
Tourism Improvement Districts are a funding model for DMOs that has exploded in number. Our guest is John Lambeth, President & CEO of Civitas. discussing everything you always wanted to know about TIDs. Read The Travel Vertical Newsletter here! If you are interested in being a guest on the show, please contact Laurie at email@example.com The Travel Vertical Podcast is a part of the Destination Marketing Podcast Network. It is hosted by Adam Stoker and Laurie Farr and produced by the team at Relic. To learn more about the Destination Marketing Podcast network and to listen to our other shows, please visit https://thedmpn.com/. If you are interested in becoming a part of the network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The two Republicans and two Democrats on the districting and apportionment commission each presented their ideas for what the 100 state House of Representative and 50 state Senate districts should look like based on new population data.
Last time we spoke, the Qing took Beijing and immediately set out a campaign to destroy the nemesis of the Ming and man who had broken them, Li Zicheng. The Qing smashed his Dashun army and caught the bandit leader ending his life. Yet as they did so a new threat emerged, that of the South Ming Regime. A few Ming princes took the Dragon Throne, each bickering with the next until the Qing smashed each one. Last left standing was Emperor Yongli, who promptly fled for his life at every sight of the Qing enemy. With the South Ming regime on the ropes, the Qing began to focus on quelling the hundreds of peasant uprisings against their new state. But the more they suppressed the peasants, the more the peasants fought on even harder. Now we will tell the horrifying tale, of a man who many of the peasants flocked to, and with that I actually think I will give the audience a graphic content warning. This episode is the holocaust of Zhang Xianzhong Welcome to the Fall and Rise of China Podcast, I am your dutiful host Craig Watson. But, before we start I want to also remind you this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Perhaps you want to learn more about the history of Asia? Kings and Generals have an assortment of episodes on world war two and much more so go give them a look over on Youtube. So please subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry for some more history related content, over on my channel, the Pacific War Channel where I cover the history of China and Japan from the 19th century until the end of the Pacific War. Before I start I would just like to make a little acknowledgement. To those listeners who learnt of the man I am about to talk about in the education system of mainland China, I apologize if my take on him does not mirror exactly what you might have learnt. I do not in anyway pretend what I am telling is the facts at all. I read 2 vastly differing accounts of Zhang Xianzhong and I mean vastttttly different. One portrays him as a peasant revolutionary who fought for the rights of the peasant class and was misconstrued later on by the Qing who placed blame upon him for crimes against humanity they performed during the unification period. That account was written by a Chinese historian of the PRC and I will just outright say it, it was written more so for political ideology than history in my opinion. Another source I read was by a renowned Historian of Chinese history and he states that Zhang was undeniably responsible for an unreal amount of crimes against humanity. The truth is probably a gray, I did my best to use both sources anyways on with the show. Ok so way back when many episodes back you might remember the name Zhang Xianzhong. He was basically the rival to Li Zicheng. Li Zicheng and his Dashun army managed to take Beijing, while Zhang Xianzhong and his Daxi army moved further southeast, fortunately for him considering the Qing blew the door open. Zhang Xianzhong's operations at the offset were brutal to say the least, he had a reputation for cruelty. He also acquired some of the best military bandit leaders under his banner. One was named Sun Kewang, a native of Yanchang, and although he had a peasant upbringing, he knew how to read and write which proved very valuable. There was also Li Dingguo who was a tall and sturdy man, kept himself clean at all times and was extremely gifted in leading armies. He ended up being one of Zhang Xianzhong's most trusted commanders who was able to restrain Zhang or his other colleagues when necessary. It is said while others raped and butchered cities after taking them, Li Dingguo prefered to avoid these activities and restrained his men. Then there was Liu Wenxiu and Ai Nengqi, each not as famous as the previous two, but equally were formidable commanders who earned the loyalty of their men. In the year 1643, Zhang Xianzhong entered a new phase of his career. He had gained valuable experience in both siege and naval warfare, moving beyond commanding just a mere bandit army. He led some 100,000 or so men and was regarded on an equal level to Li Zicheng, the de facto largest bandit army leader. Unlike Li Zicheng however, Zhang was not as successful at building a regime and tending to just pillage and move on. Now the last time we mentioned Zhang Xianzhong he was raping and pillaging Hunan province. He had a bit of a dilemma, he had plans to take Nanjing, the secondary capital of the Ming, but Li Zicheng and the Ming commander Zuo Liangyu made it impossible to get near Nanjing. Zhang's forces though enormous at this point, some estimates indicating possibly half a million were under him, were taking heavy casualties. With so many men, he was concerned primarily with how to feed his army and he began to speak to his commanders. They all spoke to him about “heaven's storehouse”, a name given to Sichuan province. Many of the commanders pointed out the geography of Sichuan and how it would prove a better base of operations against Li Zicheng's Dashun forces. Thus Zhang Xianzhong abandoned Changsha which he had been occupying for some time and moved with his army upon Sichuan province. And here is the horrifying story of what happened to the people of Sichuan. In 1644 Zhang camped in western Huguang capturing Xianyang and dozens of towns in its vicinity. Rumors spread in Sichuan that Zhang Xianzhong was leading an army 400,000 strong to sweep the province at any moment. The South Ming officials in Sichuan had completely ignored their own defenses. They lacked supplies because of a shortage of funds, corruption was rampant in all levels of government, they bickered amongst another and there were barely any disciplined troops to make much of a stand. As a result Chongqing was left with only 3000 troops to defend it. To make matters worse, like many cities in Sichuan, Chongqing had been infiltrated by bandit spies serving as the “eyes and ears” of Zhang's men. The defense of Sichuan's capital, Chengdu was commanded by Zeng Ying. Zeng Ying was a large imposing man with a huge mustache, greatly feared by his enemies for his spirit and conviction in battle. Zeng Ying and his Ming general colleagues fought many battles against Zhang's invading forces. Zeng won a significant battle at Zhongzhou killing over 1000 of Zhang's bandits and sinking 100 boats, but overall the Ming were simply outnumbered and out gunned in Sichuan. Over the course of quite a few battles it is estimated the Ming loyalist armies would lose up to 100,000 men. Zhang eventually dislodged Zeng armies from Fuzhou where Zeng was wounded by arrows. Ming fronts began to collapse and Zeng had to withdraw Wangjiang pass, killing many during his retreat. With Zeng gone, Chongqing was open for the taking. Zhang's vanguard was 100,000 strong backed by 200,000 in reserve. He began his attack on Chongqing with probes while he built floating bridges. Zhang was eager to take Chongqinq as by this point in time, he received word that Li Zicheng had captured Beijing, and in Zhang's mind it was only a matter of time before Li Zicheng turned his army upon Sichuan. Once he had constructed 100 boats his men sailed force with great yellow banners proclaiming dengqing Chuan yue” “quelling the disturbances in sichuan”. As told by Historian James Parsons “the rebels converged on Chongqing from 2 directions: 1 force continued the advance up the Yangtze, and another, under Zhang's personal command went overlord and approached the city from the west. The magistrate of Chongqing, Chen Shiqi, was undoubtedly demoralized by the fall of Beijing to Li Zicheng and the suicide of the Chongzhen empror. He made no attempt to defend the approaches to the city, apparently because he was afraid that his troops would flee if he allowed them outside the city walls. Thus, in July 1644, Chongqing was completely surrounded. The outcome of the content was apparent, for Zhangs forces outnumbered the defenders, and he had by now acquired great skill in attacking walled towns. But fighting continued for several days with both sides using cannon as well as the more conventional, and probably more effective, bows and arrows. Finally the rebels succeeded in digging a large hole in the wall and filling it with gunpowder, which was exploded by a means of a fire arrow. Thus they were able to gain entrance to the city and all resistance was overcome on July 25, 1644”. As the walls fell, the invaders swarme in like ants and the Ming defenders tried to repel them leading to blood street fighting, but all were cut down. The magistrate and commander of the defenses of Chongqing, Chen Shiqi was captured by Zhang who offered him the opportunity to surrender and join him. Chen spat “if a petty little official of the seventh grade doesn't fear death, how can I, who am still a court official of the second grade and a high frontier minister, submit to you a bandit?”. Zhang in fury tortured Chen before having him publically flayed. In the words of the Jesuit priest Gabriel de Magalhaens who heard the story secondhand “they begin the butchery with the toes until they complete it at the top of the head, cutting off small pieces of flesh, some smaller and some larger depending on the orders of the tyrant, which ranged ordinarily from 300, 500, 1000 and 10,000 pieces, a butchery so inhumane, prolonged from sunrise to sunset on one man”. The bloodbath of Chongqing is one of the most infamous moments of Zhang's rather dark career. Zhang began taunting Prince Rui asking if he was fiercer than Li Zicheng before telling him that heaven gave him a message in the form of lightning that he had to kill him an thus he executed him. Then it is said he ordered all the defenders of the city, 37,000 soldiers to have their sword arms severed off, though those who submitted peacefully “merely” had their ears, noses or hands cut off. Some accounts state Zhang severed the left arms of the women in the city so that couples would be matched sets, wow. Tales of people being strung up to walls and trees and used as target practice are told, countless thousand were butchered filling the rivers with blood. Its hard to gauge what's exaggeration or not in these tales, but one thing is for sure, Zhang killed a significant amount of people for both strategic and psychological purposes. As seen countless time in history, engaging in one great atrocity might well convince others to submit without fighting, thus preserving resources and allowing someone like Zhang to capture cities intact further down the road. But in the case of Zhang, this behavior seems to persist and more and more massacres will occur. It should be noted that Li Dingguo and Sun Kewang were said to try and curb Zhang's murderous side when possible. After Chongqing, Zhang's forces fanned out and attacked the localities, and in a short time 47 districts and prefectures fell to his men. Many independent bandit groups such as the Yao-Huang bandits would come to join his forces bolstering him by another 50,000 men. Then Zhang set his eyes upon Chengdu which he thought would make a perfect capital for his new regime. At Chengdu Prince Shu made the same mistake as his cousin, Prince Rui at Chongqing, he sat upon his treasure rather than spend it to bolster the cities defenses. The city's defenses were organized by Liu Jiachong and Yang Zhang who raised a force no larger than 10,000. They dug moats, repaired walls and trained the troops as best they could. Zhang's troops approached Chengdu from 3 directions. At this point, the official Shen Yunzuo, fed up with the greed and incompetence of Prince Shu, gave up trying to press the prince for funds and raised a funds from other officials instead acquiring enough to hire a mercenary force of 2000 troops. They would not make much of a difference. As with Chongqing, Zhang first offered the city a chance to submit sending envoys ahead, but the envoys were executed. Li Dingguo pushed Zhang to slip some spies into the city to learn of its defenses which proved very useful. Zhang's army hit the city from all 4 sides on the first day. The initial assault of ladders was repulsed by the commander Liu Zhibo. Soon Zhang's men set to the old strategy of finding weak points along the walls and setting sappers in to use gunpowder to blow them up. Always reminds me of the Scene in Peter Jackson's LOTR two towers, sorry had to say it. As the charges went off , several parts of the walls collapsed and the bandit soldiers clambered through the breaches. The Prince of Shu tried to escape but failed, so he drowned himself in an old well when he heard the rebels had entered the city. It is alleged Zhang Xianzhong began to systematically massacre the population of Chengdu for 3 days, though the numbers are disputed. Reports of bodies being tossed into the river or left on the streets to rot made for a horrific scene. But a lot of accounts also state that after the 3 days some sort of order was established. Some scholars argue Zhang's generals began to protest all the killing, such as Sun Kewang who said to Zhang “My king has fought battles for over a decade and has repeatedly slaughtered without acquiring an inch of territory to defend. Your generals and soldiers can no longer follow this way of thinking. Now we'd risk ten thousand deaths to see the completion of our king's enterprise. But if you kill the masses, who will be left to implement your plans? I beg my king to put up your sword and spare the common people from death.”. Eventually the other generals joined in to convince Zhang to make Chengdu his new capital and stop killing its populace. Soon Zhang proclaimed himself emperor Da Shun. This of course was ironically the same title as Li Zicheng who was of course his former rival. His kingdom was called “Da Xiguo” the great western kingdom and Chengdu was renamed Xijing “western capital”. Zhang then appointed special titles for his 4 adopted sons as he called them. Sun Kewang was made “pingdong Jiangjun” generalissimo who pacifies the east in charge of conquering Shandong, Liaodong, the coast and Korea. Li Dinggou was generalissimo of the west in charge of conquering western Sichuan and Tibet. Liu Wenxiu was generalissimo of the south in charge of conquering Guizhou, Yunnan, Burma, Thailand and Southeast Asia. Last was Ai Nengqi generalissimo of the north in charge of conquering all northern provinces and Mongolia. Pretty ridiculous tasks, but the more you learn of Zhang Xianzhong, who might I add talked to himself in third person, heard and saw things no one else could, well it makes more sense. Zhang restricted his entire military into 120 camps and appointed countless commanders with 5 chief military commissions similar to the Ming Dynasty military structure. His force is loosely estimated to have grown at this point to 600,000 to a possible million strong. With such incredibly high numbers of mouths, a ton of feeding was required and this is the crux of a horrid story. Zhang soon had to form an intensively strict government designed specifically to maximize resource acquisition and find any semblance of sedition. Districts were organized into units which were expected to inform Zhang's authorities if there was any seditious talk or activity, failure to do so could result in execution of that person and or their entire families. Light punishments could be a good old flogging, for example if you enter the wrong door or face the wrong direction during certain events. Then if you were caught lets say hoarding anything, well you could expect a ear, nose, a hand or foot cut off, so a more moderate punishment? If you did something a bit worse than that, there was decapitation, even worse crimes met with slower deaths, dismemberment for example. If you did something really bad, Zhang's favorite was to flay someone alive. It is said the outer walls of Zhang's palace were decorated with flayed skins of offenders and piles of severed body parts, divided by type amassed in front of his residence…remember that last part because oh boy it comes around later. Zhang had secret police everywhere, strict curfews were enforced, people required travel passes and if anyone was caught messing about it was a quick execution. The populace could be arrested and questioned for anything. It is alleged from the year 1644 to 1647 the land of Sichuan was drenched in blood. Yet despite the horror, Zhang apparently had plans for a peaceful administration of Sichuan. Seals of office were used, government organs operated all the while the citizens were threatened with death if they fled or resisted. Zhang set his army to work, hunting any Ming royal family members or supporters who were to be brought back to Chengdu, for some gruesome endings I imagine. His army fanned out into the countryside scouring for resources, anything that could be eaten or traded for food. It was reported that all cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs and even rats if it's to be believed were scavenged by his armies. Commoners were forbidden to hoard livestock or valuables and you can imagine how many would die as a result. It is alleged that Zhang “deemed a day without killing a wasted day” and he began to refer to himself as “heaven's executioner” claiming he had a divine mission to kill. Now I want to make another point like I did at the beginning of this episode. Modern Chinese historians stress the positive aspects of Zhang's regim, after all if you read between the lines you see how he was redistributed wealth and …well…for the most part the higher classes were the ones being squeezed the most, cause the peasants could only offer so much. There were many aspects of his government that seemed like they worked, surely everyone was kept in line. Zhang was extremely paranoid, we are talking Stalin levels here, he tried to control everything. His army was enormous and their tasks were even larger than them, this required an incredible amount of resources, which shows an incredible amount of capability…however it was done in quite a horrifying and irresponsible way. Regardless many of these modern Chinese scholars argue the merit for Zhang's promotion of the peasant class, one could see great revolutionary here. But their arguments are laid out with endless excuses for what is a known fact, one of the most insane death tolls imaginable for the people of Sichuan. They say, it was the Qing invaders who eventually show up, other bandit groups, climate problems and drought, which might I add is true, the climate at this time is responsible for unbelievable famine and death. But why do we face so many sources telling of unbelievable atrocities performed by a man, who quite frantically is seen to be the harbinger of doom. Anyways I wanted to give some of their side in this, cause from here on, its going to heavily skew to the anti-Zhang side. A Jesuit priest who was with Zhang had this to say of his early reign and I find it a bit revealing “His wisdom and perceptiveness are vast and exceed that of most people. He is certainly capable of governing a state.” “He began to govern at first with such liberality, justice, and greatness that all were taken by him; however, this benignity did not endure, because little by little he began taking off his human disguise and showing his ugly countenance of cruelty.” “So immense was this man's ferociousness that from the beginning of the world right up to the present day there has never existed a tyrant so wild and so inhuman.”. Zhang made claims to those around him that he could see entities, ghosts or spirits if you were, because of his capacity as the Son of Heaven. At times these entities or better said heavenly spirits told him to commit slaughter. He would also go on to say the people he killed sometimes came back to speak to him and in his frustration he could not kill the entities. After only a month of establishing his new Kingdom, matters began to spiral out of control. This would lead to 2 years which would go down in the annals of Chinese history as some of the bloodiest and in Sichuan, Zhang would earn the moniker “the butcher”. Between 1646 and 1649, Sichuan which some called “heaven's storehouse” would become a charnel house. Zhang's forces lashed out all over Sichuan hunting anyone down who did not hand over food, funds or anything else necessary for the regime. Anyone who tried to flee Zhang proclaimed “would be regarded as a rebel in the eyes of the law”. He proclaimed to the countryside that he would punish bad officials and reassess land taxation for the peasants which did swing some of the peasants to him. Despite his best efforts to fleece the rich, there was such general chaos that tax collection or the conduct of official business was in quite disarray. Despite all of this his forces for at least the first month of the regime remained quite disciplined and many prohibitions were in place to stop looting, rape and pillage. But many historians argue this was the work of his subordinates trying to build local level support and not so much Zhang himself. Four different regimes were competing for Sichuan, Zhang's regime, Li Zichengs Dashun kingdom based at Xi'an, the Qing regime in Beijing and the Hongguang South Ming Regime in Nanjing. Zhang's northern forces managed to repel Li Zicheng's incursions on multiple occasions, the Qing were not yet this far south, but the South Ming regime remained a constant thorn. The South Ming loyalists were fighting back tooth and nail against the Zhang's Da Xi army on all frontiers. The Ming loyalist commander Yang Zhan soon established a base of operations in southern Sichuan. He inspired the locals to help resist Zhang Xianzhong's regime and harassed multiple cities under Zhang's control. Southern Sichuan soon became a hotbed for resistance against Zhang's rule furthering others to do the same. Another fire was the Ming commander Zeng Ying who also began raising forces in resistance and reclaiming some lost territory. Zeng Ying managed to recapture Chongqing and greatly bolstered its strength. To add to this injury, other bandit groups such as the Yao-Huang bandits within Sichuan began to rebel against Zhang in retaliation for his massacres upon the people. Some estimates suggest the Yao-Huang bandits numbers in Sichuan could had been up to 100,000, so this was no minor issue. Soon Xuzhou fell to the Ming loyalists and the more Zhang lost the more furious he became and unhinged. He soon sent his commanders with orders to indiscriminately kill, which was not a popular policy for them. Zhang had local militias rising up against him, Ming loyalist armies and soon the Qing would descend upon Sichuan. On March 8th of 1645 he suddenly began multiple campaigns in all directions as Zhang declared his intention to recover vast lost territory. His 4 great generals went off in their respective directions. Liu Wenxiu was sent to pacify Chongqing, Sun Kewang and Ma Yuanli were sent into the north and Ai Nengqi was sent into the south. It is said by the time their eradication campaigns had finished ““One could travel for a thousand li and see only red earth and in ten thousand homes there was no smoke [from cooking fires]. Travelers encountered no one living in Shu; there was land but no people, and the environment made it hard to stay there.” Ai Nengqi won a few battles in the vicinity of Yazhou, driving the Ming forces further south, but it was only temporary as they kept coming right back recapturing lost territory. Its said half the residents of Yazhou died at the hands of Ai Nengqi's army before the Ming retook the city. Liu Wenxiu with a force of 30,000 men hit Chongqing by land and water, but Zeng Ying sent 2 riverine units and land forces pincer attacking Liu's main force at Duogongcheng and smashed his army, apparently 3000 of Liu's men would survive. Zeng Ying was promoted vice commander and made an earl of Jinpingkou by Prince Fu for the great victory and his forces allegedly grew to 100,000. This was the first major defeat for Zhang Xianzhong in Sichuan. Xuzhou was captured soon by other Ming loyalists, taking the lives of 2000 Daxi soldiers. One of Zhangs commanders, Feng Shuangli retook Xuzhou only to lose it again to Yang Zhan who burnt Feng's boats not allowing him to retreat and killing most of his forces. Yang Zhan would follow this up by ambushing a force led by Zhang XianZhong's younger brother, capturing tons of men, money and supplies. With the booty in hand he soon hired 8000 more mercenaries and many spies to send into Zhang's armies to cause mayhem. Even Buddhist monasteries began joining the resistance against Zhang in Sichuan. Zhang was livid at the reports and sent more and more forces out to kill indiscriminately. Zhang began to form repeated conferences with his advisers and noted that Chongqing needed to be rid of the Ming so that Zhang could refocus his attention upon the Dashun army in the north and the Qing even further north of them. By this point Zhang only really controlled an area of 30 miles around Chengdu. As he faced more and more defeats, his fury grew and massacres mounted. Corpses piled outside the offices of the Ministry of War as Zhang vented his rage. He began to purge his eunuch cohort, killing 280 out of a possible 300, possibly because he suspected them of being spies for his enemies. The courtyards and grassy areas around the palace were said to be stained with blood and the stench of rotting flesh. Official appointments became death sentences. By the time Zhang's armies had finished their campaigns which can be better described as eradication campaigns all he had really done was create more and more resistance. As his enemies multiplied so did his paranoia. This is where you find a ton of sources talking about Zhang seeing and hearing things. In the early part of 1645 it is said he was seeing headless ghosts stalking the halls of his palace, he claimed at one point to one of his advisers that one of the ghosts stole food from his plate…perhaps a starving servant? He complained that he kept hearing the cries of those flayed outside his halls at night. It was around this time where Zhang became fixated with what he called his divine mission to slaughter. He claimed to receive directions from a “tianshu” “divine book” that only he could read and understand. He would rant “There are too many commoners in China, and their wickedness is unchecked. Therefore the Lord of Heaven has sent old Zhang to the world to kill people. . . . I want to fulfill the charge of Heaven, so my plan is to kill all the evil people in China.”. He told the populace of Sichuan to cleanse themselves lest he be forced to do it for them “His majesty is truly acting on behalf of Heaven. All of you, officials and commoners alike, must wash your hearts and cleanse your thoughts in order to avoid Heaven's wrath.”. It was after stating this to the Sichuan populace that we get that famous line he told his subordinate Wang Zhaolin about how “if a day went by and he did not kill somebody, then he was really unhappy”. How much of this is real and what is exaggerated or blemishing of character I leave up to you, but man does it make for a hell of a story. It's frowned upon to give psychology diagnosis for people too far back in history who we cant really know how they were like, secondary sources and all. Even myself with a degree in neuroscience, not sure if I ever mentioned that hear on the podcast, bit bizarre to hear, my first degree is neuroscience and my second is in history, don't ask long story there. Anyways Zhang's condition based on these sources indicates he was at minimum suffering from paranoid delusions if not full blown schizophrenia. His apparent delight in the torture and murder of so many also indicats typical behaviors of anti-social personality disorder aka psychopathy. Another account form the Portuguese Jesuit Gabriel De Magalhaens tells us “It seems that he ate and drank with greater gusto when people were being skinned alive or being cut up into pieces in his presence and at the same time that the pieces of human flesh were being cut off and dropping to the ground, he would be cutting up and eating the meat on his plate. And while the blood dripped, he drank his wine.”Things got so bad in Chengdu that Li Dingguo and Sun Kewang complained the capital had become a cemetery. Things got much worse when Zhang began the practice of having soldiers submit severed body parts for rewards and promotions. Apparently Zhang was enticed by this practice because of a subordinate under Sun Kewang who showed up with 1700 hands to show his work. Chengdu became a scene of horror as shipments of hands, ears, and noses started coming in and piling up around the city. As one could imagine, with so many body parts came scavengers and soon the city became filled with scavengers such as wolves, leopards and tigers. Now a lot of modern scholars point at Zhang's insanity leading to the desolation of Sichuan, but there is also another aspect I have mentioned. Zhang had an enormous army that required an enormous amount of food. Zhang was estimated to have a force of 600,000 to a possible million which required nearly twice what all of Sichuan's annual crop yields could manage. As the old saying goes, killing the chicken to get the eggs led to disaster. Zhang's men might have killed many on their own accord simply to acquire food and yes if you were wondering there were widespread reports of cannibalism. As seen with so many tyrants throughout history, the policy of killing to overawe reached a breaking point. Local bandits, Ming Loyalists and commoners were resisting all over in greater numbers. Da Xi soldiers and officials alike were being killed wherever they went. Zhang's armies would systematically come to places, “pacify” them and as soon as they left the areas were in the words of Li Dingguo “as soon as we leave these righteous armies spring up. The officials we appoint are killed one by one and after 3 or 4 months they are all dead. If the previous dynasty had not tried to do this to us, we never would have survived. So we must prioritize protecting the people”. What could make matters worse for Zhang you might imagine, how about the new enemy finally reaching the scene, the Qing. The Qing finally managed to kill Li Zicheng and his Dashun army, well most of them defected to the Ming loyalists. At the same time the Qing also defeated Zuo Liangyu who would defect to them. Zuo Liangyu's defection bolstered the Qing with 100,000 troops, 40,000 boats and soon Henan, Huguang and Jiangxi were looking like easy grabs for them. Yet in order to take these places it was viewed that Sichuan required pacification as Zhang Xianzhong was a major menace with his giant army. In 1645 the Dorgon sent emissaries to persuade Zhang Xianzhong to surrender proclaiming “everything Zhang Xianzhong's army had done during the Ming Dynasty was over, let bygones be bygones”. Provided Zhang Xianzhong and his army surrender, he would be appointed an official and his children would enjoy honor and wealth within the Qing dynasty. Well Zhang Xianzong chose to adopt a wait and see attitude, not surrendering, to no surprise the Qing were not too happy. Sun Kewang and some other generals began to complain to Zhang that the massacres of the population were creating more enemies and pushing them into the arms of the Ming and Qing. Zhang retorted simply that those who resisted must be slaughtered. In the beginning of 1646 the Qing sent an expedition against Zhang Xianzhong, but it never reached Sichuan as it got held up by various Ming loyalist armies along the way. Then the Qing sent a 2nd expedition led by the Prince of Suqin, Haoge and Wu Sangui to march south and attack the Daxi army in Sichuan. Now as bad as Zhang has been to the people of Sichuan thus far, it was at this point with the Qing coming to his doorstep where Zhang performed some of the most horrible atrocities against the people of Sichuan. Our portuguese man on the ground, Magalhaen claimed that Zhang's hatred for the people of Sichuan stemmed from his belief that their perfidy had undermined his campaign in Hanzhong the previous year. For whatever reason, Zhang resolved to kill all Sichuanese people. Specifics are hard to gauge, but it is estimated Zhang would kill 140,000 people in only 4 days. Just to showcase again the character that was Zhang during his regime in Sichuan, here is a little story. Zhang was known for his cruelty and horribly stories are attributed to him, such as Shu Bi's story about Zhang's “heavenly-candles”. The story goes that Zhang got sick and vowed that if he recovered from his illness he would offer 2 heavenly candles as a sacrifice. No one understood what he meant at the time, but when he recovered, he ordered the small bound feet of many women to be cut off and placed in 2 large piles. The feet of one of his favorite concubines were unusually small and he had them served and placed at the very top of each large pile. Oil was poured on the piles and they were ignited fulfilling his vow to offer 2 heavenly candles. Have to say I've read some gruesome things but this one was particularly gross. According to Shu Bi Well that was just 1 story, during Zhang's rule in Sichuan, now let us talk about how he quote “engaged in one of the most hair-raising genocides in imperial history”. When word came that the Qing were sending an army against him in Sichuan, Zhang ordered the massacre of all Sichuanese people. Zhang had people skinned alive, with their bodies stuffed with straw and sent ahead to their home villages to spread terror. People were killed for the slightest offenses, like not cutting weeds in their courtyards or miscopying characters in official documents. Some people were simply pulled off the streets and executed for allegedly using seditious words like “defeat” in public. Magalheans wrote this of the decaying situation “There was no exchange among friends, no one visited anyone; even though they were relatives there could be no conversation between two men under pain of being skinned alive immediately. When doors were shut for the night, so were mouths. If a door was left open or a fire kindled in one's house, if one word were spoken, punishment was swift, not just for the culprit, but for those living in the ten neighboring houses on both sides of the guilty one's house. Parents accused children and children their parents, and those who did this were highly praised by the Tyrant. If a large group of people were talking together even though there were the mandarins living in the royal palace, spies would immediately arrive on the scene, if they weren't already there, and ask what was being discussed. This caused such horror and fear that these men no longer resembled living men but mute statues and portraits of death itself.”. People were killed indiscriminately if seen outside their homes after dark. Women were being raped enmasse. If you had a lock on any of your doors, you died, if a Dr failed to cure any of Zhang's official, they died, if you failed to show travel papers you died, you get the picture. At one point someone lit a literary temple on fire and Zhang took this as an omen that he must kill all scholars in Chengdu…..cause of course. When Sun Kewang heard the order to kill all scholars he said “The intellectuals are scattered all over. How can we kill them all?”. Well here is a story of how Zhang figured out how to solve that problem. During 1 incident it is said he organized an imperial examination at the Qingyang Daoist Temple under the guise he was recruiting scholars for his regime's new administration, only to have the an estimated 5 to 23 thousand candidates butchered. Apparently they entered through the east gate of the temple and were “processed” out of the west gate. Bodies were tossed into the nearby river and their exam writings were “piled up like a mountain in front of the temple”. Zhang followed this up by inviting Buddhist monks for ordination ceremonies at temples only to kill them. People were tied to horses to be torn apart at the blast of a cannon. Zhang men went into the countryside to purge and at Qiongzhou alone, Liu Wenxiu reportedly killed 10,000 refugees and 1000 Buddhist and Daoist monks. It was said that for 50 miles around Qiongzhou “the plains were awash with flesh and blood”. Another incident alleged Zhang killed 4975 out of his 5000 corut eunuchs because 1 of them used his given name at a banquet, that one I have a hard time believing, but these are the stories I read. On january 8th of 1646 Zhang held a military conference and said that the massacre of the entire populace of Chengdu would commence the very next day “not a single person will be spared”. Accounts say the river of Chengdu was crimson red with blood and rose several feet up on the city walls. It got so bad, Zhang had to order his men to go in boats downriver from Chengdu to unclog it and the smell of decaying flesh filled the air for miles, imagine doing that job. Sun Kewang wrote of the massacres “This truncates our wishes. After all weren't our years of rebellion on behalf of the peasants? Now we're roaming back east and for what? If our fatherly king acts like this, then he's really not pondering things deeply. Our fatherly king should regard the peasants of Sichuan like his head, like the trunk of looting heaven's storehouse his body. Now if you've already cut off your hands and feet, how can the head survive? What kind of state has a king without subjects? Is this not only a king in name?”. After a couple of days of massacre, Zhang summoned all his court ministers, separating the Sichuanese from the rest and executed the Sichuanese ones. Chengdu was virtually empty by the end of the year and Zhang's armies fanned out into the countryside. All the while he proclaimed his forces were preparing to face against the Qing. Some have made comparisons to this moment to that of Hitler pursuing the holocaust while neglecting his military aims during the last years of WW2. Zhang was fixated on the extermination of the people of Sichuan over all other goals it seems. Some accounts go as far as to claim Zhang had fetuses ripped out of the womb and children rounded up for systematic executions. Mountains of hands and feet piled up outside Zhang's palace in Chengdu “like Mount Fenghuang”. Zhang is said to have been seen stalking his palace at night with his sword trying to kill ghosts. Zhang told advisors he was seeing disembodied hands stealing food from his plates, headless females playing instruments in rooms and all the while he heard the cries of the dead. Zhang began to believe Chengdu itself was haunted and had all his highest ranking officials flogged to break the curse. Zhang had begun a new military program where his soldiers could be promoted based on how many limbs they brought to him. Feet, hands, heads, ears and noses were stacked in separate piles and Zhang would supposedly gather the severed heads together for banquets. Promotions and ranks for his soldiers were based on the number submitted. 200 pairs of hands and feet got a rank of squad commander, 1700 pairs could get you promoted from vice commander to commander. If 1 soldier killed hundreds in a single day, he could be promoted to supreme commander. According to Shun records for 4 months in 1646 alone, Sun Kewang, Liu Wenxiu, Ai Nengqi and Li Dingguo each killed around 10 million people, an exaggeration of course. Records state they razed up to 8 towns a day seeking grisly trophies. Anyone above the age of 3 was said to be subject to attack. Zhang would even kill disloyal soldiers, and it is said “that the trail of corpses extended for seventy li north and south of Chengdu and the “lands ran red with blood and bones piled up like mountains.”. Jesuits in Sichuan claim that Zhang left the city in the summer of 1646 for a military campaign and spent 40 days on a killing spree in the countryside before returning to Chengdu and killing 25 out of 30 of his high officials, including his minister of war. Civilians were rounded up and killed in the central park in Chengdu. Children were cut to pieces, and officials were flogged without reason. Zhang then ordered his soldiers to kill their own wives and daughters so they would be less encumbered by them in the upcoming campaign. To set an example he killed 23 of his 300 serving maids and concubines. People were killed for drinking tea, soldiers were flayed for trying to flee, mandarins were killed for sleeping at a banquet, and more servants were killed for smoking tobacco. Hoarding a single tael meant decapitation, hoarding ten meant death by flaying. Some were even cut open and their skin stretched to resemble bird's wings. The modern Chinese scholar Zheng Guanglu estimates that from 1.8 to 2 million people died in Sichuan between 1644 to 1645 out of a total population of around 3 to 3.6 million. He concluded that 1 million died as a result of direct military operation and the rest died from starvation, disease, marauding wildlife eeeek, and other factors. 40-50% of the Sichuanese population had been killed in just a few short years. Sichuan would see up to 75% of its population decline from death and people fleeing. It was a combination of the massacres and also drought and famine that led to the flight. This by the way occurred before and after Zhang, many Chinese scholars argue it may have been the Qing armies who performed many of the atrocities that may have been attributed to Zhang. For example in Chengdu a stele (stone carving) known as the Seven kill stele holds the inscription “Heaven brings forth innumerable things to nurture man. Man has nothing good with which to recompense Heaven. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.” In the summer of 1646, Zhang was receiving word of the military situation from Li Dingguo and Sun Kewang that both the Ming loyalists and the Qing were making significant inroads. Zhang had spent too much time and effort on his insane butchering of the people and not enough against the Ming loyalists. The Ming loyalists controlled south and east Sichuan now, the most fertile and productive areas. They drained Zhang's resources and drew the attention of the Qing towards Sichuan. They also controlled Chongqing which was the transport hub of the province especially by river. Zhang gathered his officials and proclaimed “I've been in Sichuan for two years, but the Sichuanese haven't accepted my kindness, nor do they dread my awesomeness. The more I pacify, the more they rebel. As I consider what I can do, I've decided to abandon Sichuan and go to Shaanxi [lit. leave Shu for Qin] so I can take Chang'an [Xi'an] and use it as a springboard for recovering the central plain. This was my base of origins before, and my generals and soldiers are all folk of Qin. I can rely on Qin as the place to strengthen my troops and war horses. So my master plan is to return to Shaanxi and then follow the river south into Huguang and then come back into Sichuan.”. Sun Kewang argued they should not so easily abandon Sichuan and that they should begin extending relief to its people, in his words “replace killing with kindness”. With that perhaps they could restore a new government, to throw away all they had done in Sichuan would be such a waste. Li Dingguo concurred with his colleague and this forced Zhang to think a bit more on his decision. However in the end Zhang concluded he would follow through with what he proclaimed. Thus Zhang prepared a sortie, spending months gathering all the treasure he could find or loot from all around stored on boats. He then ordered Chengdu burnt to the ground, which also allegedly took months. Zhang began to send out boats filled up with treasure and sent his 600,000 strong army forth by land and river southeast. Zhang made a rather bizarre strategic error and decided to attack Yang Zhang and seize his controlled territory, despite being hampered by his treasure and massive numbers of refugees. Well Yang Zhan who had countless spies amongst Zhang's forces found out about Zhangs plan and ambushed him by land and river at Jiangkou near Pengshan. Yang managed to cut Zhangs fleet off from the shore and set fires to his boats. The battle almost immediately turned into a rout with most of Zhang's navy being sunk to the bottom of the river. It is said Yang Zhan would spend months salvaging tens of thousands of taels worth of treasure and supplies from the bottom of the river. Yang would use all of his new found funds to pay his own army and help refugees in southern Sichuan. Yang pursued Zhangs forces all the way to Hanzhou, but upon seeing the scene of rotting corpses everywhere he apparently turned back in horror, who can blame him. Zhang then attempted to take back Chongqing but was defeated by Zeng Ying yet again. It was around this time, Zhang's commanders began to lose the stomach for his campaigning and many deserted. This also prompted as you can imagine, Zhang to kill those who seemed to be faltering. He had 13,000 of his followers executed and apparently Liu Wenxiu captured 6000 soldiers trying to desert and flayed them alive. Zhangs Da Xi army moved east, but he left many subordinate commanders to garrison key locals, but most were defeated by Ming loyalist armies. Zhang's army was so large and difficult to feed that he soon feared illness would spread amongst them and apparently he ordered his 4 great generals to kill anyone who looked sick. Allegedly this would see 4000 of his men butchered by their own commanders. Zhang reached Shunqing and besieged the city for 3 days before Zhang's cannons broke its walls and he burnt the city to the ground killing an estimated 100,000 people inside. When his army continued to march on, he sent forces into the mountains and forests to forage for food and any who came back without a required quota of food each day were executed. Zhang then made his way to Mount Fenghuang located outside the city of Xichong. He attacked a fortified mountain stockade which was garrisoned by 2000 troops. Once he took the mountain he began to construct defensive works and built boats to try and head southeast on Haguang. But then his massive army ran out of food and he sent them fanning out to plunder, starting a wide array of massacres. It is at this point we get a lot of accounts of cannibalism amongst the troops. It is alleged Zhang had more visions telling him to kill more people and that at some points he was killing 10 to 20 thousand per day, beginning with Sichuanese, but soon people from Huguang and then Shaanxi. Supposedly he is said to have killed half of his own men in under 2 months, which has to be exaggerated. It is reported some of his advisers would often find Zhang talking to himself saying things like “Heaven has instructed me to kill. I dare not avoid killing.”. Around the time Zhang and his army occupied Xizhou, Emperor Yongli took the throne at Zhaoqing and Emperor Shaowu at Guangzhou. Thus the Qing had plenty of work on their hands with the south east and soon appointed Prince Haoge to focus his attention on defeating Zhang Xianzhong. Prince Haoge soon captured Xi'an and continued to march south into Sichuan. The Qing began proclaiming to all the areas the occupied that no one was to be killed and that they would protect them. As you can imagine many of the populace fled into the arms of the Qing immediately. One of Zhang's commanders Liu Jinzhong had an army of mostly Sichuanese who for understandable reasons did not want to butcher Sichuanese people and he decided to defect to the Qing, most likely fearing for his life. Liu Jinzhong fled north and met with Prince Haoge telling him the exact location of Zhang. Liu told him “to save the people from fire and water” and that he would guide Prince Haoge and his men to Zhang personally. Thus Prince Haoge and Liu's armies marched together into northern Sichuan finding roads strewn with bones. This prompted Prine Haoge to ask Liu if all of Sichuan was like this and Liu sighed and replied “For years Sichuan has endured the local bandits Yao and Huang and been trampled underfoot and since been subjected to the massacres of my old lord Xianzhong.”. Haoge replied “As soon as we encounter Huang, Yao, and the Zhang bandits, we must extinguish them immediately so as to alleviate the people's suffering.”. In early January of 1647, Prince Haoge was led by Liu to Mount Fenghuang and Prince Haoege sent his most elite bannermen as a vanguard to find Zhang Xianzhong. Zhang got word of the incoming Qing force and initially disbelieved his own scouts, in fact he killed them. He then exclaimed “The Awe of the Eighth Great King encompasses the realm and my name resounds over the Four Seas. Who comes here to die? I will personally go forth to greet them.”. Then Zhang emerged from his tent, grabbed a spear, mounted his horse and went to investigate with only 10 men. They reached the Taiyang Creek and saw enemy troops on the other side of the creek. As Zhang galloped into view, Liu allegedly pointed him out to he Qing force, prompting a Qing archer to shoot Zhang through his torso with a single arrow killing him. Prince Haoge recovered the body and decapitated it, cut him up and burned all the pieces on the spot. It is alleged when they cut Zhang's body open he had a heart that was as black as ink and that he had no liver. Stories told of strange thorns growing in the spot of Zhang Xianzhongs deaths and that a black tiger guarded his gravesite. OhhhhhHHhhHHH. One of Zhang's men fled back to the army camp, relating what had happened. Upon hearing of Zhang's death, Zhang's surviving commanders immediately served under Sun Kewang who became the de-facto leader. They attacked Chongqing and managed to take this city this time and killed Zeng Ying. It seems Zeng Ying had finally made a tactical error and underestimated their force going out to fight them in the field and lost. Sun Kewang did not stay long in Chongqing, fearing the Qing pursuit and fled south taking Qijiang where Sun Kewang attempted to reorganize the Da Xi army and resurrect some form of government. They then marched on Zunyi and it is here, the former bandit army of Zhang Xianzhong had a change of heart. They began to join forces with the Ming loyalists, moving even further south to Guizhou. The Qing for their part had to abandon the pursuit rather quite owing to lack of supplies as Sichuan was a barren wasteland. They soon pulled up to Baoning where they butchered 10,000 of Zhang's former men. Meanwhile the hardship of Sichuan would go on for many years. Famine was rampant in Sichuan as a result of Zhang's chaos. It was said “women of good families offered their bodies in exchange for food but could find no takers”. The land of Sichuan was desolate, people resorted to cannibalism and allegedly human flesh was sold by vendors and that bandits were making “lamb stew” out of their victims. There were tales of people looting coffins of the recently deceased for flesh. One source lamented “because of the long period of disorder, the cattle were all gone, so people replaced cattle”. Disease and pestilence sprang up everywhere as a result of malnutrition. Recorded illnesses such as “big head boils, horse eye disease, horse trot disease” were reported. Apparently in Sichuan the number of tigers increased 100 fold as did packs of wolves and wild dogs…so yeah on top of everything else imagine being chased by a tiger while your family is starving? I would like to take this time to remind you all that this podcast is only made possible through the efforts of Kings and Generals over at Youtube. Please go subscribe to Kings and Generals over at Youtube and to continue helping us produce this content please check out www.patreon.com/kingsandgenerals. If you are still hungry after that, give my personal channel a look over at The Pacific War Channel at Youtube, it would mean a lot to me.