If you had to pick a word to describe the Byzantine Empire’s capital, Osgiliath, then the word would be: Miracle!
Several centuries ago, a famous poet from mainland had a revelation on his first visit to Osgiliath: when you stand before the city, you realise that all the words and fanciest adjectives in the world pale in comparison to the city! At this moment, I have the urge to fall to my knees and kiss the ground with utmost reverence and fear, to kiss this miracle city that man built!
The hillbilly’s first emotion when he saw the miracle city was astonishment.
Just pure shock! Like buckets of cold water emptied on his head! He felt like a surge of power had washed over him, agitating every nerve, making every hair stand. This passion would mysteriously give you the urge to fall to the ground and cheer for the miracle before your eyes.
That was basically what Shaar felt.
His mouth was wide enough to fit an egg, his eyes as large as saucers!
Osgiliath was located on the shores of the Byzantine Empire’s inland sea.
This piece of land was a gigantic peninsular that jutted into the waters as if when God made this world, he deliberately cut off the top of a mountain on this peninsular, making this protruding piece of land become something that resembled half a hill.
The entire Osgiliath was constructed under such special circumstances. As a peninsular extending into the sea, it was surrounded by water in three directions, though only the south side was a flat beach. The other two sides were mere cliff faces tens of metres tall! The combination of tides, year-long tumultuous waves, dangerous rocks and tall cliffs made for natural defense mechanisms in the north and east faces of the city… However, as if the rulers still did not feel secure enough, they built a gigantic city wall twenty metres tall, ten-metres thick on the cliffs! Watchtowers were built on the city walls, and there was one tower every several hundreds of metres containing long-range cannons and bows, as well as hidden soldiers.
The city wall was made of green-white stone shaped into rectangles, apparently weighing at least a few hundred kilogrammes per piece. The tallest point of the city wall was more than a hundred metres from the surface of the ocean at the bottom of the cliffs!
This was still not the most magnificent, intimidating part of the city.
On the west side of the peninsular that connected to the mainland sat what everyone agreed to be the most magnificent city wall on the mainland, clearly dividing the peninsular and mainland horizontally into two sections.
That was where Osgiliath’s main entrance was. The city walls were on average thirty metres tall, with its tallest point at fifty metres! This face of the city wall was miles long with twelve city gates. One of them was the famous Triumph City Gates, which was wide enough to fit at least ten carriages side-by-side!
All twelve city gates were shaped like round arches, designed in the Byzantium style. Beautifully intimidating carvings of famous Byzantium heroes were on every door like ancient warriors guarding this gigantic city.
There were even four pavilion towers situated around the city tower’s round roof, every tower at least ten metres in diameter enough to fit city guards guarding the gates.
Right now, Shaar was looking at the western portion of the city wall facing inland!
His first reaction: That’s not a city wall, that’s an endless mountain range! Shaar’s chin almost touched the floor as he looked at the walls so tall their magnificence made him sigh.
Scanning the walls, he could see all kinds of flags flapping on top while the green stone wall lay like a slumbering beast… Under the sunshine, this place felt sacred and demanded respect.
Shaar was in shock for a full fifteen minutes. When he snapped back to his senses, his eyes were still fixated on the mountain-like walls, muttering to himself, “Wow, how many years did Byzantium take to build such a gigantic city…”
“Forty years.” Gu Luo had somehow arrived by Shaar’s side on his horse. Along the way, Gu Luo had found out that Mr Shaar here was visiting Osgiliath for the first time, and knew that Shaar was not Byzantine.
The fat man looked at Osgiliath far away. Although it was not his first visit, the Lantis warriors were still amazed. He replied to Shaar in a low voice, “The Byzantine Empire took forty years to build this magnificent miracle city! And that was only for its earliest form. After completion, it took the city more than two hundred years to achieve its current state! After six dynasties and more than ten emperors, the city now looks like this.”
Shaar drew in a sharp inhale.
Two hundred and forty years…
“Let’s go! We’ll enter using the Triumph Gates. It’s your first time in Osgiliath, you’ll regret it forever if you don’t visit it!” Gu Luo snickered. “When I first entered through the Triumph Gates, my eyeballs almost fell out.”
They walked for half a day and finally reached the bottom of the city walls…
Before Shaar was yet another miracle!
A huge river! Or more accurately, it was a man-made river!
According to Gu Luo’s explanation, centuries ago, a Byzantine emperor ordered for the ground facing inland to be dug out! This became a man-made river about five kilometres long!
Huge boulders were placed on the riverbanks and the river bed was ten metres deep. It took them sixteen years to successfully dig out the entire canal so seawater could be directed through the mouths on both sides. This became the river that protected the city on the west side.
The narrowest part of this river was fifty metres wide while the width of the widest section was more than a hundred metres!
To connect both sides of the river, there were twelve stone bridges built in front of the twelve city gates! The thinnest stone bridge was ten metres wide while the widest bridge, also the bridge connecting to the Triumph Gates, was fifty metres wide!
Twelve giant stone bridges were tethers to the mainland.
This also meant… If all twelve bridges were broken, then Osgiliath would become practically an island surrounded by seawater!
Shaar and his party arrived at the bridge leading to Triumph gates. After several centuries, the head of the bridge had become a small settlement but even this small place was much busier than Primal Wildfire Town. They slowly passed through the town, observing the bustling crowds, tourists and businessmen in colourful clothing, then the patrolling Byzantine soldiers clad in shiny armour...