So this chapter (113) is about 6.3k characters long, which I am also going to split into 3 parts (considering that I don’t think I can comfortably do it in 2). This chapter is a bit short, but I hope you guys enjoy.
Although winter had already passed, the weather suddenly changed, a sudden snowstorm in the northern part of the Byzantine Empire set in, lasting an entire three days. The snow blocked the road and closed off many bridges. Goods had a very hard time traveling around the empire, causing the prices for food to soar, and adding a great deal of pressure on the common citizens.
In contrast, these problems seemed very far away for the majority of the Empire’s nobility. When the snow arrived, many of the nobles were busy holding various different activities, such as lavish banquets, horseback hunting during the snow, enjoying the winter scenery, and the ladies and lords were happily showing off the latest styles of fur clothes in fashion.
Shaar and his companions, and the rest of the caravan was obstructed by the sudden road blockages, and were forced to stay in the provincial capital of Armenia, Malika City.
Armenia County was already considerably close to the Empire’s capital, Osgiliath. Despite its’ proximity, however, it does not belong within the jurisdiction of the central government but is rather a Themata militarized region (TN: This author uses quite some technical terms from history, you can click here if you were wondering what this term actually is), comprised of the county capital Malika, the surrounding six smaller cities, and dozens of other villages and towns, with a population of over half a million people. Moreover, in regards to geography, the distance from Armenia county to the Empire capital, Osgiliath, is the closest, and Malika City is also the empire’s third largest city. From a military viewpoint, Armenia Military Zone is also top three in terms of military strength, out of a total of forty-six.
The Armenian Military Region is also the very first since the establishment of the current military order, and the current superintendent of the military region, General Hughes, is a member of the military faction. When the seat of power fell into his family’s hands seventy years ago, they have never turned the power over to another and has already passed the position down for three generations.
After seventy years of operation, like most other military regions within the Byzantine Empire, the Armenian Military Region seems more like a country within a country. The Superintendent General Hughes not only has a force of over fifty thousand citizen-soldiers registered on paper, he has also developed another standing army of twenty thousand strong. Of course, this army did not exist on the official records of the Empire and is still classified under “farmer-soldier”, which many other military regions similarly did.
Looking at it from this perspective, if we consider all of the military regions within the borders of the Byzantine Empire, the one that causes a headache for the Emperor the most would undoubtedly be the Armenian Military Region!
It is because it is too close to the administrative zone of the Imperial Capital, Osgiliath!!
The Imperial Administrative Zone is comprised of Osgiliath at the very center, surrounded by six other urban zones along with another approximately one thousand square kilometers of land surrounding it. And setting off from Malika City under normal circumstance, in accordance with the speed of a marching army would only take three days to reach the Imperial Capital Osgiliath!
Under with the Themata Military System, these various warlords and superintendents of these military zones were only loyal to the central government superficially. With the situation like this, how could the emperor rest easy?
The Armenian military region has an area that produces high-quality iron ore which was found sixty years ago. The direct aftermath of this discovery led to the immediate prosperity of General Hughes’s family. The possession of such a wealthy land with an enormous population, coupled with the discovery of iron ore led to the strength of the Armenian military region to be more than doubled! A saying even arose from this discovery, that the armor the Armenian military infantry possesses is of an even higher quality than that of the standing Imperial Army!
This region produces the Byzantine Empire’s best armor and weaponry, and the output to is very shocking! Because of such an advantage, the Armenian military region’s governing family could be considered a major power within the empire’s ring of military families. As the Armenian military region often exports weapons and armor to other military regions, it has become the core player within the military faction.
The current Governor Hughes, even when considering the area of the entire empire, could be considered in the top ten list of people with the most power, and as such, naturally, would not personally come and meet Shaar whose standing was far beneath his.
Although Shaar had arrived at Malika City for only one day, the Hughes family had already received word of this new up- and- coming star’s arrival due to their impermeable information networks which have been put in place after three generations of rule. Right when he entered the city, Shaar had already exposed his identity when he showed the guard proof of his identity.
However, when the news was passed up the line of command, Hughes did not have any intention to suck up to this “Hero of the Empire” at all. However, he did pass down a command: “Don’t provoke or obstruct that guy. Let him pass through.”
Unfortunately, due to the roads being blocked in by the snow, Shaar had no choice but to live in the city for a few more days.
A short chapter, as I was looking for a decent place to cut this section off. There were some technical stuff that I had some trouble translating, but it ended up daijoubu.