The eternal snow atop the great mountains of the north watches over your land silently, as a reminder to you, Ark’ay; that you must be ever vigilant of your kingdom as well. The mountains protect us, as they protected our fathers, and our fathers’ fathers; from our enemies’ incessant quest to grab hold of what is rightfully yours. It has been decades since such a great kingdom as this one has prospered for so many generations, since the first days of Parkastan.
Yet, the age of the Parsikk’ is over, and the relative peace that we had enjoyed with them for many decades died along them. The sons of Selewkos emerged from the smoke of death that plagued the land after the fall of Parkastan. We give them tribute to keep their armies away, and we too ask Nane for their timely destruction. Your grandfather valiantly fought to defend his lands from the greed of the Yoynk’; but it was futile. The armies of Antiok’os the Elder, father of their current king, named alike; were far too great in number and easily outmatched our own, so it’s best for now that we give them coins and goods, so that they don’t demand our heads instead. It’s a constant war that is waged in silence, so be wary of your ancillaries, the Yoyn assassins are slippery.
However, the kingdom of Selewkos is not the only irritating neighbour we have. The northern frontier is shared with the Virk’, ruled by a decrepit man named P’arnavazi, a puppet of Antiok’os. His willingness to cooperate with the Yoyn king is something to be cautious about. His armies may be fighting the tribes to his east, yet his eyes are focused where his master’s eyes are too. He is eager to march on our lands and sit on your throne; he should be mindful, however; that fighting tribesmen is not the same as fighting a proper army of a great kingdom.
But the hills and mountains surround Hayastan as if they were enormous walls, gathering the lifeless bodies of those foolish enough to war against your realm. They protect the ample valleys that cover the fertile land of the Eraskh, blessed by Aramazd and Anahit. They provide with the wheat and barley and cereals for our breads and beers; such fields grow as far as the eye can see. And the mountains guard the foothills, where the plentiful cattle and flocks and steeds breed and multiply. The great city of Armavir, home of your family and the capital of Hayastan; it sits atop the bed of the Eraskh, bringer of life to the land of the sons of Hayastan.
And south of the valleys and hills of Pok’r Hayk’ and east of lake Van lies Tsop’k’, where commerce thrives on the streets of the cities across the mountains. The largest city, Karkatiokert; marks the spring of the Tigris, the life bringer of Mesopotamia, the city is built at the feet of a mountain, it is no less impenetrable than the mountain itself. The land is filled with trade posts and roads and brings forth great revenue from taxes collected from trading the produce of the royal lands and the transactions of merchants and common men.
And further to the east, in a place that is far from your home and your family; lies the land of Kommagene, land that belongs to the kingdom of Selewkos, and you Ark’ay; placed as its satrap. It is little more than a trade centre where caravans and merchants come to stop on their way to their destination. The men may be from Yoynastan and bow to Antiok’os before they bow to you, yet it is no less your land and your people to rule; as they were once your father’s. Should we be attacked, the mighty Vahagn will bestow your armies much courage, so they may be able to stand ground and defend the southernmost lands, even in such an untenable position.
Yet, our troubles with the Selewkyank’ are also our armies to blame. Our infantry is no match against theirs, with properly armed men being scarce, itself a problem; and those few being no match to the Yoyn phalangites. We have started adopting foreign equipment and tactics, so that we may stand a chance in battle. But our cavalry is unsurpassed by any other army. The Yoynk’ may have defeated the Parsik cavalry decades ago; but it was Alek’sandr who brought them victory. If they were to fight our cavalry with their own in equal footing, they will be mauled and routed. Our cavalry is the finest of the region.
The large land owners compose the elite forces in your armies. And, while small in numbers; they will outmatch any enemies that stands in their path; even the oldest veterans of the armies of Antiok’os would be forced into a bloody stalemate if caught on equal footing. These men are your best swordsmen and cavalrymen. A select few of these, handpicked personally by you, Ark’ay; form your T’iknapah, sworn protectors of the crown holder and his offspring; they wear the finest of armour and weapons in the region, so you will be safe when you ride to battle.
And while you are concerned with greater matters, the Zoravark’ tend to your kingdom’s borders. These generals, also chosen personally from your most trusted of acquaintances; are the owners of enormous lots filled with villages of peasants, from which they can even recruit a small army. In times of peace, they bring great amounts of tribute and it is said that they also greatly liven your feasts. In times of war they are charged with defending or delaying enemy invasions so that you can attack them on another front, or you may return in time to fend them off.
But while Antiok’os may be plotting against you with his servants, and with our armies unsuited to fight his, let alone have enough forces to fend off his allies in the north who will support his cause; today, in these times of peace and prosperity; tend to your lands, to your people, to your allies, to your family and to your friends. There will be time to have thoughts of war, and enemies, and armies, and battles. And when that time comes, I am certain that Nane will bless you with victories, so you may subdue the enemies of the Eruandunik’.
May Aramazd bless you, and your kingdom, Mets Ark’ay.