Chapter 2 The Peasant
The Battles of the past and of the Byzantine Empire have come to a conclusion and after the battle of Menzikert the forces that have caused so much destruction have marched and they continued to advance and they would very much like to strike Constantinople the battles after Menzikert where important and they would contribute to permeant loss of certain parts of Anatolia and the loss of so much manpower would lead to the long term decline of the Byzantine army and the failure in leadership to the loss of so many talented officers.
The many officers lost would mean that the Easterners when they would intervene would have to basically help rebuild the Byzantine army and they would waste a lot of time trying to do it and many hours of politicking would interfere in the Easterner army trying to rebuild the Byzantine army the Easterner forces where to be commanded by Justinian a noble of Byzantine decent who's family migrated to the Easterner frontier 3 Generations ago before the loss and Menzikert but rumours of corruption and intermarriage between family members and interbreeding would damage his family's reputation.
The loss of face of one of their most famous generals would damage the Easterner court but luckily for the ruling monarch Sophia she didn't place him on the throne but her father did and he would lose his reputation even further placing the monarchy and the dynasty in serious danger the ruling dynasty the Lorilet dynasty had ruled the country since the beginning and they had ruled in relative peace and prosperity and the where considered a food family who ruled with the support of the people.
The family dynasty's reputation had declined in the last 50 years no with the loss of their ally and their 5000 Mercenaries and now having to rule with a female monarch had seriously damaged the stability of the state and many where wondering if the family could survive this next generation or if the next calamity would destroy the state from witch so much had been built and many where wondering if the army would accept a female monarch or if some jumped up army general would gain the troops support and overthrow the queen and start a new dynasty.
The defence of the empire would become impossible if the loyalty of the army came into question and the countries defence relied mainly on the series of eastern and western forts and banks of the Volga river would be become vital to the countries defence and the army would not come to the defence of a unpopular monarch and the monarch in turn would be very wise not to anger the army when they were the most important element in the countries defence and the way the winds were blowing proved that if the country entered a civil war the army would be either the cause or at least at the centre of the trouble the grave problems facing the army would require decades to fix.
The loss of face of the Byzantine army put pressure on the Easterner army to perform and many forces at work had to put a stop to that and they wanted a change in leadership and many forces at work could not work in the open but they would gladly put a dent in the leadership of their new queen and they were outraged at the prospect of a female monarch ruling the way she did it was not really her gender but her father's failures that they put onto her shoulders and he would scar her early reign for at least a decade she ascended the throne at the early of 23.
The battles leading up to her coronation would scar her and she had to fix a lot of damage to make sure her reign and dynasty would survive she observed the state the Easterner army was in after the battle of Menzikert granted the army was not in the battle but the tactics of the Byzantine army where not completely different from the tactics from the Easterner army and so she did the unpreceded thing of actually getting a limited military education completely out of the norms for the time even for Easterner society.
The military had changed the situation a bit and they couldn't remain the same and they had to change with times and they slowly adapted to the situation and they looked at the battle of Menzikert and had to move away from the Byzantine model that had worked for centuries the Easterners had two military strategies one for against nomads and one against more organised foes the military the combined doctrine was created after the battle of Menzikert and this changed the way future battles where to be fought.
The battles of the Easterners contained many Calvary manoeuvres and the horse archers moved fast and shot well and they devastated the dense columns of the sword infantry the columns of the sword infantry where 4ft deep and they were designed to fight western knights and they were hopeless against the light horse archers of the steppes the Holy Roman Empire where a completely different threat from the Cumans or the Volga Bulgar's the wars of the steppe changed the way the battles were fought.
The new strategy involved archers in the back 2 rows thick they were protected by 3 columns of pikemen and where protected by Calvary in the flanks or the same column the this radically changed the way they fought and the size of the armies changed from big armies of swordsmen and archers from a mix of Calvary archers and pikemen swordsmen were relegated to a reserve in case another had swordsmen in equal or greater numbers the new strategy would be used by the Europeans when gunpowder arrived The gunpowder revolution would come too late for the Easterners as they would be devastated by the Mongols
The battles of the Byzantines civil war would be watched by the Easterners with contempt and hatred and they were watching as the reaming Byzantine army decreased in size and quality and the officers where fighting for land and power the Byzantine officer core became a joke the information became worse and worse and they were losing respect for the Byzantine army.
The Queen watched while her King declined in health and she watched the Easterner army changed she secretly watched while her father slowly lost the will to live and she got a limited but valuable military education and she got this from her old uncle and when he died she sneaked out and watched military drills and how these strategies changed overtime from the age of 10 this education although limited was valuable and this would be very viable for the future when war was no longer a forgone conclusion.
The diplomatic situation was equally disastrous and they had to deal with a lot of danger with savage tribes to the east and the rise of the Turks and the expansion of the Holy Roman Empire all these threats paled in comparison to the threat of a civil war and the loss of major general in their army the internal threats are always worse than the external threats the many threats this new Queen faced became worse and worse and the mistreatment of her own court towards her had made her solid in her belief that might is right.
The court of her father became more and more worried and eventually entered denial as her father became sicker and sicker and the situation became worse and worse for the Byzantine Empire without the support of the Easterners the empire became stuck as the Turks eat them up the wars of succession and power plays of both the Byzantine and the Easterner courts the future queen Sophia was disgusted by these power plays and this would shape her decisions in the future.
The wars of succession would devastate the Byzantine army and would keep the them from defending against the Turkish invasion and they would take much longer than expected to form a proper response and they had to start negotiations with the Turkish Sultan and they would have to bide time for them to give territory while saving what's left of their army intact about 15000 men and they begged for Easterner support and they had to fight internal threats and petty nobles made the army smaller and smaller a mere fraction from the force that was mobilised for Menzikert.
The queen had gotten rid of her corrupt general and had decided to make a decision that would change the fate of the army she made a commoner a commander of the army and she had made this decision over a long period of time and she knew this person was outside the influence of the Easterner court and she made the commander of the army with the permission to kill Byzantine nobles who stop the march of the army through byzantine territory and she made a decision to go with the army and leave a trusted advisor in charge of the court an insane decision that could have easily backfired.
The Army marched from the capital at Sarastopl and marched from there to Volga where they went on boats and they followed to path to southern Russia where they marched from the Volga to around Kiev is the battles that followed would annoy and frustrate the army like nomads on the border regions that usually attacked and raided settlements along the western and eastern frontiers the raids on the steppes was the worst.
The army marched with a force of 30000 forces they 1800 men around Kiev to the cumin's and local nobles where not happy to give their rations to the huge army coming across their land and they refused at times until the queen had to show up in person to demand their foodstuffs arguing that 1 winter without food was better than 10 winters under enemy control and they would be compensated of course with Eastern Currency.
The Easterner kingdom at this point stretched most of modern day European Russia that borders other countries the featheriest east was the settlement around modern day Nizhny Novgorod that was constantly abandoned and resettled again thanks to Nomad invaders that came from Siberia and the steppe the wars here would never be fully resolved that wasted time and resources of the Easterners the army continued to march to the Crimea where the Easterner port city of Don was settled 20 years before and they waited 2 weeks for a fleet that would never arrive.
The army waited and waited but no help was not coming and very much ruined any chance of saving the Byzantines from further defeat and many forces loyal to the old Emperor decided to support a candidate that was not loyal to the Easterner cause even though the Byzantines where the old nation in the alliance they certainly no longer the strongest and they were loath to admit but they had no choice and the enemy was very much glad the stronger enemy was further away and less of threat.