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The city of Broi has always been the largest city of the Charyan empire, and the premier city, even though it wasn't the capital from 1012 to 1600. Founded several centuries before the great exodus, it is also the only surviving city of the old empire.
After the break-up of the empire following the Great Famine of 1600, many, many peoples from all over the empire flocked to the city of Broi and it surroundings. The population of Broi had dropped in the centuries following the demotion to second capital, even if it had always remained impressive.
But now the numbers swelled to previously-unheard numbers. The old granaries, on the Ghewaz promontory had been razed to the ground by a riotous mob during the Great Famine, and construction of five new granaries was begun in 1734, under the reign of Tuwindal Palodel Broi. These granaries were placed upon an easter mountain-side. The Lesha plain Broi had expanded onto was geologically unstable, marshy and prone to flooding, and therefore not suited to the building of granaries. They were completed four years later.
A great system of roads was constructed from the Old or Grain Harbour to the granaries. Two broad roads went from the harbour to the Grain Market. The first road was used to bring the daily grain ration to the city; the second to fill the granaries. From the Grain Market to the Granaries a second broad road was constructed. It followed a winding way up to the mountain side. That made it possible to limit the steepness of the slope. The granaries, the Grain Market and the Grain Harbour were guarded by regiments of the Imperial Guard.
The sacks of grain -- each a medium weight -- were loaded on sledges in the harbour, and pulled up by teams of porters. These porters were initially slaves, fed, clothed and housed by the government. After the death of Tuwindal Palodel Broi however, this benevolent system was abandoned, and the teams of porters were hired from the poor in Kulindir, who were paid very badly.
The granaries themselves were ingeniously designed: the large brick pyramid-form structures where divided in many compartments which werefilled from the top, and emptied from sluices at the bottom. Of course, as with any system of public grain stores, spillage was a real problem, and this was never satisfactorily solved. The Board of the Granaries also became a powerful institution, famous for taking the principles of graft to new heights, until it was subsumed by the eunuchs, like most profitable enterprises. It used to be that after a year, a certain amount of grain was doled out to the cities indigent, but it soon became custom to sell the old stock to foreign countries when the new harvest came it.
At the time the granaries were built, the Emperor's palace still was standing right at the sea-side. But the increased population of Broi and its hinterland meant that most of the protective vegetation that had covered the mountains and the valleys quickly disappeared. At an alarming rate, the harbour silted up and had to be moved to south time and again. A second grain market was built; and then a third, all in about a hundred years.
It thus became increasingly difficult to bring the grain to the granaries, and the eunuch-dominated string of weak, mad and increasingly irrelevant emperors did little to keep up the system. During the nineteenth century, several small famines and one larger famine occurred in the city. The middle class people who lived in quarters like Southway or Stairways, or the artisan quarters of East Broi did not suffer much; the poor in Kulindir or Holyvale, and the many people of other nationalities, like the Matraians of Tan Nestir, suffered badly.
Of the five granaries, only the two nearest the harbour were still in use during the reign of Emperor Rordal Sedom Chewir. When he sold the contents of those two granaries to Vustla in order to be able to buy a pearl necklace for his Vustlan concubine (and also to forge an alliance with her people), there were fears that the city would suffer another famine. These fears were exacerbated when the Easter Army entered Broi. The Eastern Army, under the leadership of Nothaz Gunamazi Waghdazyal, first tried to take Heaven, with the Imperial Palace, but was repelled when the traitorous plot of Yindar Yaltebi, general of the Hussars, was discovered. He retreated to the harbour, where he commandeered the grain barges to evacuate his army, thus blocking the supply of grain. And the granaries were empty...
The grain itself -- the Five Divine Gifts -- rice, wheat, maize, lentils and millet, is produced on the Eastern Plains and on the plains around Troi. However, the Eastern plains are constantly ravaged by war between Charya's Eastern Army and several neighbouring states, like the Kingdom of Kraloi, so almost all now comes from the emperors personal estates around Troi, and is brought down by barges over the Charya Laush. That means that in practice, only two grains are stored: wheat and millet.
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