Tellesberg Harbor,


and Tellesberg Palace,


City of Tellesberg,


Kingdom of Charis


            No guns boomed in salute as the small, unarmed galleon made its way through the opening in the Tellesberg breakwater . . . but at least none of the batteries opened fire on it, either.


            Which, Trahvys Ohlsen reflected, was far better than things might have been.


            The Earl of Pine Hollow stood by the ship's rail, gazing out at the city of Tellesberg while gulls and wyverns cried and whistled overhead. Like most harbors, the water close to the docks was less than pristine, although the stern injunctions of the Archangel Pasquale where things like sewers and garbage were concerned kept things from getting too bad. Actually, the harbor smelled better than Eraystor Bay did, Pine Hollow reflected, despite the fact that Tellesberg was considerably larger than the city of Eraystor.


            In fact, it was the largest city Pine Hollow had ever seen, and its roofs stretched away from the incredibly busy waterfront, whose activity contrasted sharply with Eraystor's blockaded stillness, towards the mountains looming bluely to the south and southeast under their caps of eternal snow. The warehouse district was vast, with straight streets which had obviously been planned for the passage of heavy freight wagons and draft dragons. The housing clustered around the docks was modest-looking, for the most part. He could see no single family-sized houses, but the multi-story blocks of apartment houses and tenements looked well kept. Most of them appeared to be built of brick, and from where he stood at the moment, at least, there were no signs of slums. That was impressive, too, although he felt quite certain even Tellesberg under the notoriously enlightened rule of the Ahrmahks must have at least some of them.


            Beyond the docks — which extended as far up the Telles River as he could see — the city rose on modest hills where the more well-to-do lived. There were single-family homes as one got further away from the harbor district. Some of them were extremely imposing — obviously the townhouses of the noble or of wealthy merchants and manufactory owners (or, here in Charis, both at once, more probably) — but others were considerably more modest. To be honest, Pine Hollow found the existence of those modest homes much more impressive than the townhouses. In almost any other Safeholdian realm, it would have been unheard of for anyone but the rich and powerful to own his own home in a city as large and wealthy as Tellesberg.


            The Royal Palace was plainly visible as his galleon moved towards the wharf where it had been instructed to moor. The Palace was set well back, with the river washing the foot of its western curtain wall, although not so far that someone looking out of one of its tower windows didn't have an excellent view of Tellesberg Bay, and Pine Hollow gazed at the large banner flying from the top of the tallest of those towers. He couldn't make out the device it bore from here, but he didn't have to see the golden kraken on the black field or the crown royal which surmounted it. The fact that it flew from the top of that particular tower informed all the world that King Cayleb was in residence, and Pine Hollow felt his stomach muscles tighten at the thought.


            Don't be any stupider than you have to be, Trahvys, he told himself sternly. Meeting Cayleb face-to-face is the entire reason you're here, you idiot. Wishing he were somewhere else — anywhere else — is pretty damned ridiculous when you look at it in that light.


            Somehow, that thought didn't seem to make his stomach feel any better.


            A deepmouth wyvern sailed past him, barely twenty feet from the ship, and its lowered jaw hit the water in a flurry of white. The wyvern slowed under the braking effect of its dragging jaw, then rose once more, all four wings beating hard, as it lifted back into the air with its flexible jaw sack bulging with fishy prey. A pessimistic man, Pine Hollow decided, might be excused for seeing that as an uneasy omen of Emerald's probable fate, and he looked back at the trio of Royal Charisian Navy galleys hovering watchfully as his unarmed galleon eased her way towards the docks. He couldn't really blame them for watching him attentively, although exactly what a single galleon without so much as a matchlock musket aboard was going to do against the garrison and population of a city the size of Tellesberg eluded him. He'd decided to treat their presence as a mark of respect, and if he pretended very hard that he really believed that, he might be able to convince a particularly credulous three-year-old that he truly did.


            His mouth twitched in a reflexive smile, and he snorted a chuckle at the thought. Which, he discovered, had actually had at least some easing effect on his stomach muscles. It was undoubtedly temporary, but he decided to make the most of it while it lasted.



About Eric Flint

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31 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 82

  1. E says:

    A modest snippet, but the most descriptive one of Tellesberg harbor to date. The mention of middle and low class property ownership is noteworthy because it demonstrates Charis’ holdings to the whole “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” bit of the Declaration of Independence.

    I wonder if any Ships of the Line are in the works in Charis. They’d be overkill for use against Charis’ enemies’ current level of technology but they’d sure as hell would impress.

  2. Sawa says:

    Finally the shoe is about to drop concerning the fate of Nahrmann and Emerald.

  3. Jon says:

    SOTLs would be awesome, but i wouldnt expect them until someone produces a decent fleet of gun welding galleons/frigates.

  4. Summercat says:

    I figure that Charis would be building one or two ships of the line, for that specific reason – to impress.

    With that in mind, I’m thinking that Charis would be more on the development path to create a frigate fleet, similar to the early days of the US Navy. Charis has nearly all the disadvantages of the US in the war of 1812 (Smaller population base, smaller army, and technically a smaller and ‘outgunned’ navy), and has about the same advantages (Younger society, better artillery).

    Gun for Gun, the US Navy pwned the British navy. *shrug*

  5. Alistair says:

    These intros are needed and welcome (but sigh) now I have to wait till Monday for the real conversation to begin

    My guess is that Emerald will be allowed in with nobility and officer ranks being transferred into the new empire but not quite of the level of Chisholm so as a rough analogue it would be like another state joining the US. They will be able to be a voice at the table some seats in parliament etc but not a dominate voice as they are two small and because of the history between them.

    But if they do join the commodore will be a useful asset to the navy as well as the population will add even more critical mass.

    All in all with Emerald reaching a settlement they will be able to go after Corisande very soon with a far larger force than would otherwise be expected.

    Also the nothern island group will see the settlement that Emerald has reached and do the same (doesn’t Narman have a tentative friendship with that Grand duke? maybe he will broker a deal) leaving only the southern Island group left. I suspect Chrisholm will provide most of the army while Charis provides the Navy.

  6. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    I’m quite interested in Emerald’s fate. However, Cayleb and Merlin know everything thats been happening there, so this isn’t a suprise.

    My question is mostly concerned with Nahrham (sp?) fate. yes I know I spelled that wrong, but I’m lazy. He’s smart and knows that he has no real hope of taking Cayleb, which is why he sent this guy. Knowing this, what will Cayleb do with him. Merlin wants smart people who can throw off the church’s shackels to prosper, which makes me doubt the axe. Does that mean exile or just a lesser position? Interesting to know.

  7. Summercat says:

    Aaron –

    I’m guessing that Nahrman will be used by Cayleb, and rather willingly. The fact that Nahrman is willing to offer his life so that Emerald doesn’t get pwnt three ways to next Sunday will do a lot to make Cayleb feel less willing to have his head on a pike.

    Remember Merlin’s overall goal: The transformation of Safeholdian society into something that can fight and defeat the Gbaba. Killing the competent (Semi or otherwise) leaders of Safehold will only slow down the process.

    In the long run, I think that Merlin would turn to make certain that a Charisian Empire doesn’t actually hold that much power. Large empires tend to evolve slowly – less competition means less need to innovate. Part of the reason Charis was much more innovative than the rest of Safehold was due to it’s small size and population COMPARED to other realms…

  8. E says:

    Cayleb has already stated that Charis and Chisholm will be coequal partners, unified upon the deaths of he and Sharleyan.

    And im regards to Summercat, large empires in past history have histories of stagnating on development, but utilizing resource intensive solutions to their ills. Wars, however, spark innovation; the entire world with the exception of Trellheim and Ravensland seems to be at war right now and after some incompetence streaks are buffed out the larger nations will either start innovating or using highly resource intensive measures.

  9. Gil says:

    It occurs to me that Hector captured a couple of galleons, as well as Nahrman (sp?) Hector still thinks he can, with the help of the Church achieve his ambitions, Nahrman figured out that the Church, by its act of naked ?????? whatever had truly thrown away its moral authority. Nahrman knows he will be nothing but grist for the mill so to speak under the Church plan, and having a greater appreciation for the technological progression of Charis is throwing in his lot with Charis, for more nobel purposes than we would originally have attributed to him. Hector however is building galleons, despite the Dohlar galley building program. This bodes well for interesting conversation. I think Nahrman will get a better break from Charis than he believs possible and will make a fine and very loyal vassel. DW is having way too much fun.

  10. E says:

    If you recall, Corisande is using the authority of the Knights of the Temple Lands to print money as a means of supporting his naval expansion. He isn’t counting on aid from the Church at this point apart from using their authority. If Nahrman goes peacefully into Charis’ arms then Corisande is royally screwed with three separate infrastructures working to construct fleets and them being the next target after Emerald.

    Charis could of course string along Corisande long enough to let them build up their fleet so that the takeover of Corisande can come with a larger military resource capture. Cayleb seems to have done some of this with Emerald, knowing what he does about Nahrman’s thoughts through Merlin and with Emerald improvising their own advancements to compete with Charis.

  11. E says:

    Also, gun for gun the US navy hadn’t fought the British navy since the war of 1812. The age of naval superiority belonged to Britain until WWII when Germany wiped the floor with them using submarines. US military superiority came about as a result of being able to research in security and because every other military was practically destroyed in WWII. Russia had the first advantage by paying for it with more lives and resources than a smarter nation might have but in the end the trade factor is what the military will depend upon. Charis currently holds the majority of Safehold’s trade because they are the only real fleet power left and in the long run, the internal economies of rival nations can’t hold out indefinitely without efficient trade. Russia made the mistake of aiming for self sufficiency and while the Church kingdoms aren’t on the same page they do have a disadvantage in trade because Charis has forced them into land-based shipping, essentially slowing down every rival economy on the planet. The Church might not realize this, but eventually the facts of where the money is heading will cause the military initiatives of the Church nations to collapse. Faced with this economic situation, the Church’s best solution would be to do what Corisande did and issue print currency to float their economies longer, but in the end the faster economy will probably win, and Charis is just getting started in that regard.

  12. John says:

    Monday should be quite interesting.

  13. Paul Howard says:

    I can’t see Cayleb allowing Nahrmann to remain Ruler Of Emerald nor allow Emerald to be independent. However, I do see Nahrmann’s daughter being ‘Grand Duchess’ of Emerald with Nahrmann having a position of advisor to Cayleb. Mind you, I suspect Nahrmann would ‘love’ that position. In that position, he could do more to aid in the down-fall of Hektor than he would as ‘Grand Duke’ of Emerald.

  14. Summercat says:

    E –

    You misunderstood my comment about US Navy vs British Navy. The American Navy at the time WAS much smaller – and was based on frigates. Which couldn’t go toe-to-toe with SoLs.

    However, American frigates were better run and fought than the British equivalent. American artillery was just generally superior to the Brits in terms of accuracy.

  15. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    all very isnteresting.

    Remember the trade situation could change dramatically. If the Church orders no trade with Charis, the Charis has to rely on Emerald, Chishom, and almost certainly the defeated Coris. So I don’t think the trade problem for Charis will arrive quickly, but if any of those three can’t supply the others, then they might have a problem.

    I think Emerald will stay under whatever-his-name-is’s command, with the knowledge that he’d better play it safe. especially with Merlin watching him

  16. laclongquan says:

    “If the Church orders no trade with Charis”? What happened with Napoleon when he command his navy to blockade England? What happened with various other goverments when they command something silly done to trade (alcohol, tobacco…)?

    They are lucky if people just ignore their commands.

  17. E says:

    Napoleon controlled Europe and had to wage war with Russia to try and cut England off. In this case the Church owns most of the planet AND the hearts and minds of almost all the population.

    There would of course be entrepreneurial souls out there who are willing to overlook the Church’s mandates in light of lower prices, but smuggling would greatly restrict the amount of product that Charis could trade unless a proxy country arrives on the scene to accept Charisian goods and then sell them off to others. At some point, a country might go Switzerland and declare neutrality to capitalize on this.

    As to Nahrman, I think he might have potential as far as being brought around to the truth about Safehold; it’s difficult to say right now, since he hasn’t really been deeply explored yet past the point of being smarter than he lets on and generally decent as far as rulership goes.

  18. Mike says:

    The US Navy may not have fought the British Navy after 1814, but they did fight themselves (in the Civil War), the Spanish (in the Spanish-American War), and many small battles all over the world. For a while they were definitely in the lead for naval technology, though maybe not for overall naval supremacy. However, after the Spanish-American War, there was nobody who really was willing to dare to openly fight against the US Navy until WW2.

  19. Daryl says:

    In what sequence will steel, breechloading, interrupted screw breeches, rifleing, smokeless (nitro) powder, centralised fire control, shells, turrets, and hydraulic recoil mechanisms evolve for the Charisian navy? I presume that the blind alleys of pneumatic dynamite guns and the like will be avoided.

  20. On the conquer list, Corisande should be after Gorath and Trellheim.

  21. Summercat says:

    Mike caught my point.

    In an all-out fight between the US and British Navies, then the Brits would win – they’d swamp the US.

    Ship for Ship, Gun for Gun, though… The American ships were better fought.

  22. Andy says:

    It should not be forgotten that 3 of the origina 6 US frigates (USS United States, USS Constitution and USS President) were 44 guns “Super Frigates” mounting 30 X 24 pounder long guns with a displacement above 1,500 tons. This is incomparison with the majority of the Royal Navy frigates which displaced between 900 tons to 1,200 tons and mounting 28 X 18 pounders. A lot of the superiority of the US Navy was due to the superior design and armaments of their ships. The Royal Navy realised their shortcomings and had ordered up additional ships of the Endymion class of 24 pounder frigates.

    Additionally with a such a small complement of ships, it is not unlikely that only the best officers in the US Navy were assigned to these ships.

    As for ship to ship superiority, don’t forge that HMS Shannon defeated a fresh and refitted USS Chesapeake. Both ships were almost equal but the Chesapeake mounted 20 X 32 pounds carronades vs the Shannon’s 14 X 32 pounds carronades.

  23. Brom says:

    Not sure of your historical source regarding “American ships were better fought”. We don’t often hear about the RN victories in 1812.

    Except for SHANNON-CHESAPEAKE and WASP-FROLIC, all of US naval victories in 1812-1814 were single ship battles between greatly mis-matched vessels. The US ships were predominantly larger, of newer construction and far more heavily gunned than their smaller and older RN opponents. These factors were sufficient to overcome the fact that most of the US crews were less well-trained than the RN crews. US ships of the time did not have a policy of permanent, standing crews assigned to each ship. It was the Captain’s responsibility to recruit a crew – for the duration of a voyage – and pay them off at voyage end. If he were a lucky or successful commander, he may have attracted a nucleus of men who were ready to ship out with him on his next ship/voyage, but even then, if he managed to attract a crew entirely of old salts, the crew would not be a truly combat-ready crew as they lacked much of the necessary crew coordination to function effectively in naval combat. This was a primary reason that the two navies had very different combat philosphies. The US tended to want to stand off, firing slower, hopefully more accurate broadsides, aiming for the masts and rigging, where if a ship had a few expert gunners, it could survive with less crew training. The RN wanted to get in close and batter the opponent with rapid broadsides. This required considerable crew gunnery training – but with speed of evolution more critical than accuracy of aim, as their targets were the hulls and the crews.

    Also a factor was that the RN focus was on France and Napoleon, and 90% of the RN was on European blockade duty. Suppressing the colonial rebellion in America was pretty much an afterthought, made up of those ships could be spared or which were not up to the rigors of blockade duty.

    SHANNON-CHESAPEAKE may have given us the ringing “Don’t give up the ship” as Lawrence’s final command, but his crew was simply outclassed by the highly trained crew of Captain Broke.

  24. Alistair says:

    As far as a trade blockade goes i suspect that the Republic will covertly oppose it the protector already knows that he is hated by the church and the intention to ignore him with the new naval production will just emphasize that even more.

    So why would he want to help the church when he can make stacks of money by allowing smuggling

    With him allowing products into the mainland they would then probably be picked up by all sorts of merchants from the empire and other mainland nations.

  25. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    None of th trade will be adressed for many many snippets. but in a few hours, however-you-spell-his-name’s might.

  26. Alistair says:

    Yes you are probably right… though Emerald fate might be “drip fed” to us over this whole week instead of just tomorrow though I hope we will find out tomorrow

  27. Wyrm says:

    I’m just waiting to hear Pine Hollow’s reaction to Cayleb’s marriage. His negotiating position disappears as they walk up the aisle.

    Emerald will have to accept whatever terms Cayleb offers, and will probably be surprised how restrained the terms are. This will probably solidly bind Emerald into the alliance.

  28. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    a good point. I hadn’t even thought about that. but it does make sense

  29. E says:

    Emerald will probably get a much better deal than they expect, and a lot of Charisian advancements to boot. The most solid binding I could think of would be to tell Nahrmahn the truth about the Church.

    Since we haven’t heard from the fanatics in a while, it might be likely that they will plan something to disrupt negotiations between Emerald and Charis. I’m certainly betting that the fanatics will do something in regards to Cayleb’s wedding.

  30. jmbm says:

    Short-term, the only real threat left for Charis would seem to be its own Church loyalists. We’ve seen them almost kill Archbishop Staynair and burn down the Royal College. Another possibility is a anti-Sharleyan coup in Chisholm. Does Merlin have enough spying devices or time to control what’s going on in the whole planet ?. Long-term, I guess the Church will try an economic blockade but that might push the Republic of Siddamark and even Trellheim in Charis’ side. The only serious threat would be a PICA left by Langhorne and its people as a sort of insurance if things start to go seriously wrong for their Church. Or a Gbaba scout ship discovering Safehold. We’ll see.

  31. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    loayists could disrupt the wedding, but why bother Emerald? hypothetically, they wouldn’t have enough time to plan anything at this stage, and that means that nothing will happen. and I’m certain there is a group in chisholm. rememember the snippet when she announced her intentions. Green Harbor. I think, was clearly disturbed

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