The sultan was busy on Asian war front, so Vlad did not suffer immediate consequences for refusing to pay tribute in 1459. But in early 1461, the sultan could focus onWallachia.
Fearing it would not take long until he would have to face him on the front and knowing Vlad`s temper, at first Mahomed tried to lure him to his court, using the same trick his father used on Vlad Dracul .
Hoping that history would repeat itself, Thomas Katabolenos was sent to bring Vlad to Constantinople [later renamed Istanbul]. He put his faith in the Greek`s diplomatic talent and planned for one of his subjects [Hamza, who ruled the territory near the border with Wallachia] to meet Vlad while they would cross the Danube.
Katabolenos was supposed to collect 10,000 gold coins – three years tribute plus interest.
Vlad pretended to obey the sultan and left Targoviste with only a few men, leaving personal instructions to his personal army that they were to follow remaining on the inner roads known only to them [forests covering half or more of the country as I stated in a previous article].
He did not hesitate to massacre the men sent to capture him and launched a campaign on the Turkish bank of the Danube. He burned all the settlements he found in his way and killed all the pagans [including women, elders and children].
Following an ingenious strategy, a group was dressed in Turkish robes and simulated a withdrawal to the [fortified] city of Giurgiu. When defenders of the city opened, the group turned against them and the rest of Vlad’s army took advantage of the confusion General and slaughtered the enemy troops without suffering many casualties.
Vlad took a lot of victims and ordered the lifting of the famous Forest of the Impaled, reserving a silver stake for Hamza [the prince that was supposed to capture him and take him to the sultan], so that he could ‘admire’ his subjects freely.
Contrary to urban legend, the forest was not built palace near Targoviste, but on a nearby road.
Some say that the count of 20,000 stakes is probably exaggerated in pamphlets, but even Vlad gives us the number of corpses in a letter to Matthias Corvinus in early 1462 – he counted 23,884. So the forest that stretched nearly 3km and and was about 1km wide is in fact a historical reality!