Conquest - Chapter 124

 After walking out of the military headquarters, Green, Ruhr and Shaar embraced then got on their horses.
“You’re still staying in the city, right? Come have a drink with me anytime.” Green got on his horse, then grinned at Shaar. “Kid, you’re a good one. If you have the time, come look for me at the military academy. Drinks on me!”
When he finished, Green smiled and galloped off on his horse.
The fat man sighed as he watched Green leave, shaking his head, “It’s a pity.”
He turned to look at Shaar, “Do you know who he is?”
Before Shaar could answer, the fat man seemed to be muttering to himself. “He was ranked number one in our cohort at the academy, especially in terms of battle strategy. Even our teacher, Duke Minas, said he’s a genius. He fought in two wars against the Odins, the first time as an officer but led a team of three hundred people on a surprise ambush against an Odin supplies camp. In the second war, he was a cavalry centurion. He led more than a thousand soldiers in a battle formation designed to harass the enemy but it had almost been a suicide mission. They actually held up against Odin for fifteen days!
Then, he was transferred to the eastern region to fight against an alliance of more than ten nomadic tribes, standing in the frontlines with his army that was barely two thousand in some obscure town! No one knew how he did that! That small town’s walls were only three metres tall and did not have any defensive mechanisms! No catapults, no crossbows, they were even lacking food and arrows… in the end when reinforcements came, he was injured in sixteen places and was unconscious for twenty plus days.”
Shaar was shocked!
He had experienced war and could immediately feel the awe from these few sentences!
He had once sat on a well-equipped battlefield with thousands of men on horses to face ten thousand Odins, yet he still could barely hold for a day and was forced to challenge Hastings to a duel to drag time. 

Two thousand people in an obscure town, limited supplies… for a month?!

“Duke Minas once said… If attention is placed on Green’s talents, if he is allowed to lead an army and given trust and time, he will definitely be able to train iron soldiers that could defeat Hasting’s Odin Berserkers! It’s a pity…”

Ruhr shook his head with a bitter smile. “He’s got a temper, and although Duke Minas has defended him several times, he was still discharged. He was already the centurion of the Thirteenth Cavalry, yet never became general. Sigh…” 

Ruhr looked at him. “Out of all the generals within the Eagles, not even General Aldrick has really convinced me but as for Green, this is the only guy that has my absolute respect…”

Shaar could see the reverence in his eyes. They both got on their horses, then left with their escort guards towards the main street in front of the military headquarters. 

Along the way, the fat man seemed depressed so Shaar did not talk. It was only after half an hour when Shaar suddenly looked up and asked, “Uh, just now, you both saluted at the statue… who was that?”
The fat man was stunned and turned to look at him in surprise. “Eh? Kid, I thought you were inexperienced but not as ignorant as this! You don’t know who that is? Heavens! Since you can read Byzantine text, I’m sure you’ve read about the history of the empire!”
“… No, I haven’t.” Shaar shook his head truthfully.
“Then…” Ruhr furrowed his brows. “Then, do you know how this city, Osgiliath, got its name?”
Osgiliath… Shaar had a thought. “Uh, unless… is this name from the statue? Was that person’s name Osgiliath? Could he be the founding emperor of the Byzantine Empire?”
Ruhr smiled bitterly. “He’s not the emperor, of course. But although he wasn’t the emperor, they still had to name the capital after him! Even His Majesty the founding emperor had to give the honours to him… And everyone sincerely agreed with this decision! You can imagine how much this man contributed to the empire.”
After a sigh, Ruhr’s face filled with worship and nostalgia, “Osgiliath is one of the founders of the Byzantine Empire, the first marshal of the empire! The Marshal of the Army! He was the one who conquered the lands that our empire sits on! In the beginning, Byzantine was just a small kingdom on the southern coast but after Marshal Osgiliath led thirty years’ worth of battles, they finally expanded their territory to a giant empire. He is a true indomitable general, a heroic soldier! He is a military god that Byzantine soldiers would not dare forget! After the empire was built, Duke Osgiliath became our first marshal and received the duke title, the Osgiliath clan became a legendary bloodline that watched over the empire! For the next 400 years, almost every Osgiliath generation became the empire’s generals and marshals, all famously effective leaders! In these 400 years, this clan remained absolutely loyal to the empire. Even when we occasionally had one or two bad emperors in history,  who second-guessed the clan’s abilities, they never did anything to betray the kingdom and protected the empire for 400 years!
Shaar knitted his brows. “Four hundred years… You mean…”
“The Osgiliath clan no longer exists today.” Ruhr seemed to grieve this loss. “This legendary family seemed to be cursed from the beginning, for their descendants were not blessed with fertility. Every generation had only one male offspring, as if the gods blessed them with all the military talents in the world and took away their ability to reproduce. No matter how precarious the empire’s situation was, when the clan was around, a military hero from this family would be available to defend our nation. Finally, 400 years after the establishment of the empire, the last and only Duke Osgiliath died from an illness at just 39 years old. He had no son, only one daughter. Initially, the emperor commanded for the Duke’s daughter to produce a son to continue their glory but she could never produce a child… And that was the end of a glorious clan…”
But Ruhr suddenly smiled as he explained slowly, “There is a saying that the Osgiliath clan members were actually deities from the heavens sent to protect the Byzantine Empire. After 400 years, they had completed their mission and were therefore summoned by god back to the heavens, leaving this world for good. That is why there are no more Osgiliath descendants…”
Shaar could not help but shudder.
The fat man changed the topic abruptly, giving a kind smile. “I’m just shocked, how is it possible that you haven’t heard this story before? There must be someone in Primal Wildfire Town who knows about this… The name of Osgiliath has spread across the entire mainland for a thousand years…”
After a pause, he hit his head. “Ah! I know!” He grinned. “Duke Osgiliath once had a well-known nickname, legend has it that the first Duke Osgiliath’s favourite flower was the tulip… so after he was awarded the duke title, his clan’s sigil was set as a blooming tulip against burning flames. Then, the rest of the mainland called him Duke Tulip and they were also called the Tulip clan.
Shaar’s eyes brightened and he cried excitedly, “Ah! Duke Tulip, the Tulip clan! I haven’t heard of Osgiliath but I have heard of Tulip. I’ve heard about them from the wandering poets in Primal Wildfire Town! Legends say that Duke Tulip won every battle he fought and they say he’s Protector of the Empire!”
Shaar gave a ‘so-it’s-him’ expression. Despite being so far away from the headquarters, he could not help but turn to look far at the building with worship in his eyes.

The fat man had initially planned to send Shaar back to the quarters to wait but Shaar said he had matters to attend to. The fat man was worried. “It’s best you stay inside for now, I’m sure the emperor will summon you anytime soon…”
Shaar looked solemn when he shook his head. “I… really have something to do. I… want to go to Kevin’s house!”
Shaar looked like he was in grief.
He then whispered to the fat man, who understood immediately and looked into Shaar’s eyes, saying in a low voice, “Mm, this matter cannot be delayed! Alright, be quick! I’ll send guards to protect you. 

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