The Temple,


City of Zion,


The Temple Lands


            "Very well, Allayn," Zahmsyn Trynair's voice showed rather more irritation than he normally permitted it to as Rhobair Duchairn seated himself at the council table, "we're all here now. Now can you tell us what this is all about?"


            Allayn Maigwair might not have been Trynair's intellectual equal, but he had no difficulty recognizing the asperity in the Chancellor's tone, and his lips tightened briefly. Then he turned his head to look directly at Trynair.


            "I've just received additional dispatches about the situation in the Gulf of Dohlar, Zahmsyn." He permitted a trace of deliberate patience to color his own tone. "I thought you might be interested in what the Duke of Fern has to say about them. I assure you, they made . . . interesting reading. But, of course, if you're too pressed for time . . . ."


            One would have had to look carefully to notice the slightly heightened color in Trynair's cheeks, Duchairn noted. Even that, however, was a revelation of far more anger than he would ever have permitted himself to feel for such a childish provocation under normal circumstances. Then again, these circumstances were anything but normal, weren't they?


            "Of course we have time to listen to any information that seems pertinent and important, Allayn," the Church's treasurer heard his own voice saying. Both of the other vicars looked at him, and he smiled ever so faintly. "I'm sure you wouldn't have requested a meeting of all four of us unless you thought the dispatches you've received are both of those things," he continued. "On the other hand, all of us have sufficiently pressing commitments on our time to make us all a bit more . . . irritable then God would probably prefer."


            Magwair gazed at him for another second or two, then nodded, and Trynair's momentary anger seemed to fade.


            "Thank you, Rhobair," the Chancellor said. "As always, you make a very valid point. Allayn," Trynair moved his gaze back to Magwair, "if I sounded overly brisk, I apologize. Rhobair is right. We do all have far too many things which require our immediate attention, but that doesn't excuse any lack of courtesy on my part."


            "Don't worry about it." Magwair half-chuckled wryly. "To be honest, I've bitten off a few heads of my own in the last couple of months. It's hard to be patient when so many things are going wrong at once."


            "Then it's our job as God's stewards to make sure they go the right way again," Zhaspahr Clyntahn said. As usual, the Grand Inquisitor didn't seem particularly concerned with pouring any oil on troubled waters. "Which, I assume, your request for a meeting has something to do with?"


            "You might say that." Magwair sat back in his comfortable chair. "Or, you might say it has to do with identifying something else that's gone wrong."


            "Then tell us about it," Duchairn said before Clyntahn could open his mouth again.


            "I've had copies prepared for all of you, of course," Magwair said, indicating the sheafs of notes lying on his companions' blotters. "These arrived by messenger wyvern, not via the semaphore, so there's considerably more detail. And it's the details that concern me the most. Especially in conjunction with what we're hearing from other sources.


            "Basically, the situation is even worse than we'd originally thought. The Charisians are operating so-called 'privateers' on both coasts of Howard now, as well as the east coast of Haven as far north as the Passage of Storms. There must be hundreds of them, and it seems as if every one of them has the new-design artillery. So even though they may technically be calling themselves privateers, what they really are is cruisers of the Charisian Navy. And, not to put too fine a point on it, they're wreaking havoc."


            Duchairn frowned slightly. He'd found immense comfort in his renewed personal faith over the past months, which had given him a certain serenity in the face of all the calamities God seemed to be permitting to afflict His Church. Some of the other vicars — those who weren't clamoring for (or the far more numerous vicars who wished they had the courage to clamor for) the Group of Four's dismantlement — appeared to be withdrawing into a sort of insulated cocoon, where they could pretend their world wasn't in a state of violent upheaval. Duchairn's renewed reading of the Writ, however, had actually restored him to a far stronger awareness of his responsibility to meet those violent upheavals head-on. And of the entire Group of Four, he, as the Church's chief financial officer, was undoubtedly the best aware of the implications of the massive onslaught Charis had launched upon the commercial traffic of its enemies.


            "Pouncing on a few merchant ships may be irritating, but it's scarcely likely to pose any sort of true danger," Clyntahn said dismissively, as if determined to illustrate that very point. "And whatever your reports may seem to indicate, not even heretics could put their accursed new weapons on 'hundreds' of privateers this quickly. No doubt people are panicking and exaggerating wildly."


            Magwair started to open his mouth, but Duchairn raised one hand in a courteous gesture and turned towards the Grand Inquisitor.


            "First, Zhaspahr," he said, "no one is saying all of the privateers have the new guns. Most Charisian merchant galleons have always carried at least a few guns, if only to discourage pirates, and it doesn't take a lot of firepower to force a merchant ship to heave-to and surrender. So the 'old style' artillery is probably all the vast majority of them need, and it's not as if old style guns are particularly hard for them to come by these days. God knows there're plenty of them lying around in Charis after Darcos Sound!"


            Clyntahn glowered at him, but Duchairn met his gaze calmly until, finally, the Grand Inquisitor gave a grumpy, irritated nod.


            "Secondly," he continued then, "if it were only 'a few merchant ships,' you might be right about how important the losses are. But it isn't 'a few,' and Allayn is perfectly correct to be concerned over the potential consequences."


            Clyntahn's face tightened, but Duchairn had emerged as the Group of Four's internal peacemaker, and the beefy Inquisitor made himself nod a second time, however little he wanted to.

About Eric Flint

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33 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 85

  1. Maria says:

    Well, now. I was wondering when we’d hear from these guys again. Personally I thought Duchairn’s crisis of faith would result in him becoming something of a mole with the Group of Four. Looks like the authors might be going for the exact opposite tact. Which might just be even more interesting than having one of the four turn on the other three, now that I think about it.

  2. Adam says:

    I’m betting the Group of Four disintegrates, and Duchairn ends up attempting a reform that furthers the Charisian schism by formally dividing the Temple vicars in two.

  3. kari says:

    hmm – I was looking forward to seeing Pine Hollow’s reaction to Merlin and if he said anything about Merlin foiling the assination attempt – but I bet that would not have been wise for him to bring that up.

  4. E says:

    Looks like my economic predictions are coming true. The Council of Four is about to learn that in war, there are many more rings than the military one; and that armies and navies are just the periphery of what war is about. Allayn’s mentioning of the Duke of Fern indicates that he may make the right decision and urge the council to rescind their prior order and order the building of galleons instead.

    As to Duchairn, his crisis of faith is driving him to think and show initiative. Such traits are important in innovation and it’s this kind of intelligence that erodes the bonds of (near-baseless) authority. Duchairn might very well become the Greenspan of the church by controlling the purse. His power and role as peacemaker may very well expand into the “Group of Five” or into his replacing one of the more errant members… (coughs something like “Clyntahn”)

  5. Alistair says:

    Yes I wonder if there will be some galleons put under construction maybe a “bob each way” some new some old style ships?

  6. They are about to rediscover an ancient military author, Alfred Thayer Mahan.

    Yes, I did read his core book, which remains relevant to America today.

  7. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    sigh. haven’t read him. please explain.

    If the church does reform, then he’ll probably by the one who starts it. hopefully by getting rid of the obnoxious guys first

  8. Paul Howard says:

    Alfred Thayer Mahan was the author of The Influence of Sea Power upon History

    Haven’t read it but I’ve heard enough about it to agree with George.

  9. Carlos says:

    Mahan’s theory’s which influence a lot of the naval buildups during the early 20th century.Mahan believed that control of seaborne commerce was critical to domination in war. If one combatant could manage to deny the use of the sea to the other, the others’ economy would inevitably collapse, leading to victory…

  10. John says:

    It seems we will have to wait a few snippets for more information on Emerald’s envoy.

    This snippet contains an interesting bit of information, however. I wonder what it will develop into as the story progresses.

  11. E says:

    The implications so far is the general slowing in trade for Charis’ enemies and the complete loss of military reputation as far as capability and competence goes. The successes Charisian privateers will only contribute to the “lore” of Charis’ superiority and dominance of the sea.

    Charis has destroyed the military might of its enemies and is working on the economic and infrastructure rings of its enemies’ societies. Since the goal isn’t at this point to destroy their war production facilities or leadership, Charis maintains the advantage of keeping reliably incompetent enemies in power as it pushes on in its military expansion. Charis could relatively easily raid its enemies’ nobility and attack the leadership of its enemies but Merlin affords them the time to enjoy the fruits of peeling apart its enemies’ shipping.

    If the Church wants to react correctly, not that any measure they take will be effective given the Empire’s advantages, they should find ways to minimize the use and risk to their new navies. Given the Church’s choice to fund Harchong and Dohlar’s navies, a canal across the Northwatch Province would greatly reduce travel time to Charis and other similar projects (like grand roads, etc) are practically mandated if the Church wants to keep the economies of its nations afloat. Given Charis’ limits to seapower and sea trade, the Church really should consider playing the “don’t trade with Charis” card because even as they fund their nations, the Church is funding Charis by proxy.

  12. Maxim says:

    I don’t agree that Charis has destroyed the military might of his enemies, though you could they this about the military might on sea. And as for raiding its enemies nobility and atacking its leadership, I don’t see how it would be possible, because the true might is in the city of Zion where Merlin doesn’t dare to go, because of the energy sources.
    The “don’t trade with Charis” card has been explained in a former capitel. It is not easy possible, because very goods which Charis sells do not have other producers. Therefor they would be smuggled.
    But I agree with you, that the loss of the reputation of military invincibility has large implications for the thinking of other countries.

  13. Kim says:

    Most science fiction writers like to use proven history to influence their works. This could be another example. The initial ‘invasion’ likened to the Spanish Armada. Charis (England) defeating it. But England used privateers (pirates) to accomplish that. Here, in Safehome, he uses Nimue and her technologic knowledge. She also know what military innovation buttons to ‘propose’. I look forward to a few more one sided defeats then the low morale and inexperience of the other navies to further erode their confidence. Overall, the Royal Navy was unmatched for over 400 years.

  14. Brom says:

    Minor nit – “Overall, the Royal Navy was unmatched for over 400 years.”

    Not quite – maybe 150 years, say 1800 to WWII.

    I have respect for the RN, and yes, the Armada was the beginning of the fall of the Spanish Navy, but I wouldn’t say the RN was truly “Queen of the Seas” until the Battles of the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar … notable when Nelson and his proteges changed how sea battles were fought. Until then, several navies had on & off success against them. Don’t forget it was the French Royalist Navy which faced down the RN off Virginia Capes, giving Washington the opportunity for final victory at Yorktown. The downfall of the FN was from the Revolution; the loss of most of the officers was never truly recovered from. Napoleon’s success in elevating foot soldiers to generals was not duplicated at sea.


  15. E says:

    Major nit:
    How would an organization like the Church which has control of 2/3rds of the planet, 80-90% of the population, and indefinite resources go about invading the England of its day?

    If Siddarmark makes the choice to ally with Charis, then we may see a repeat of Napoleon’s blunder into Russia-like campaigns. Ironically enough, Siddarmark’s famous pikemen are now as obsolete as the galleys on the bottom of Darcos Sound, although they are still useful against Charis’ enemies since they will most likely engage in the old school of warfare.

  16. jmbm says:

    This chapter might lead to a “trade blockade” against Charis, similar to Napoleon’s against Britain. Or to a discussion between the Treasurer and the Inquisition guy on whether Charis technological advances needs to be matched. It’s weird that nobody amongst Charis’ enemies has ever asked why Charis’ technology has started to progress so suddenly now.

  17. John says:

    Regarding the now obsolete pikemen of Siddarmark, would it not be possible to re-train them in musket/rifle and bayonet warfare?

  18. JohnG says:

    A lot of Napoleonic thinking here. I think better analogies are to be found earlier as some others above have noted, particularly the 80 Years War. Interestingly, Spain was forced to declare bankruptcy at at 2 points in this war: 1575 and 1596. Also interestly, Spain did find ways to counter the English privateers by convoying and other techniques. I’d expect to see convoys soon enough from the Group of Four.

    Spain was also far richer to begin with, but its riches were squandered.

  19. Paul Howard says:

    It would be easy (relatively) to re-train Pikemen in Musket/rifle (with bayonets) warfare. Pikemen to work on the battlefield need the safe sort of discipline needed in musket/rifle warfare.

  20. Lance says:

    jmbm: Externally, I don’t think Charis tech changes are that hugely significant. For example, from the Go4’s perspective, you have a new sail plan or two – galleons were already present, just not armed. Putting gunpowder in a bag really isn’t a huge tech jump – just common sense and efficiency changes.

    Likewise, the carriage and pivot gun we just saw isn’t also that huge – they are still fundamentally canons.

    I tend to doubt the impact of the rifles has sunk home yet.

    Plus, Charis already has the rep of an innovator, so these changes coming in war shouldn’t seem out of character. Now if the next ship is an early steamship – then someone on the other side is going to start to wonder… And on that topic, I can’t help but think steam power is just around the corner.

  21. E says:

    Charis does not have the industrial base to produce more than a few steam ships at this point, and there seems to be no precedent for steam power that Charis can use as an excuse to actually use it. At the point where they attempt to get it past the Proscriptions is when father Paityr and his new role as patent minister has to be negotiated with. Frankly, I believe Charis will be able to stand on its own for some time at its current level of technology and rate of doctrinal advancement. Once the Royal College is back on its feet and rejuvenated with younger minds, there will be an increase in the societal acceptance of advanced learning (outside of the Church) and then the precedents can be set for complex technologies such as steam engines. The bit where making such technology is complex is that there will be a need for increased mechanization in society, machines to make machines and people to operate those machines.

    Seeing as much of Safehold shares the same culture, there won’t be so many issues as far as cultural consolidation withing the Empire as Charis , Chisholm, and Emerald merge; the biggest changes will most likely remain economic as the other nations acquire the same competitive edges that Charis currently monopolizes.

    I’d like to see some sort of commemorative monument go up in celebration of the creation of the Empire, I am pretty sure that something will appear along those lines and I can only anticipate what sort of Earth monument Weber might choose to rip off/imitate. Frankly, I imagine a tower of some sort as the centerpiece to a new grand palace.

  22. Alistair says:

    We could see tech go rocketing up relatively quickly if the senior members of the college are put into the circle and Merlin places a couple of stashes of selected books at hidden locations where they can have a look at them.

    Of course as mentioned already in the book Merlin would be reluctant to spoon fed everything to them as he wants them to “reinvent the wheel” themselves. But if the college faculty is placed in the circle then it would be a logical place to reestablish a new Alexandria library.

    And interestingly David Weber might want to keep some of the characters alive by antigenic (or whatever it is called) treatment once the proscriptions are broken all of the modern tech will in theory at least be available.

    He might want to keep them alive to fight the the Gbada (unlikley I’ll admit) but if with treatment people can live for 300 years than maybe people who are 30-60 with out treatment might get a certain boost by medical tech maybe a 100 year boost?. and 100 years out from here where will Safehold tech be?

    If he did keep the characters alive or at least there children it would be an elegant solution to his series rather than having to have effectively two series one on safe hold and one in the stars fighting the aliens with only Niume as the constant with all the other characters we know and love (or hate) dead and buried. He would be able to have some (the younger ones anyway) as much older characters when the war agaisnt the Gbada begins.

    What do you guys think??

  23. adis says:

    Hmm… steam power…
    – but we have cannons and bullets… so, rocketry should be a viable option for more weapons.
    – there should be windmills… so propellers should be a viable option for development… ofcourse powering them would be a problem…
    – there should be waterwheels… so paddlewheel ships should be viable. Since paddlewheel boats predate steamships by many centuries, they can power them with horses, oxen, or men…

  24. jmbm says:

    Merlin could easily keep introducing military innovations so that Charis can always stay a step ahead technologically: explosive shells, rifled artillery, revolvers, breechloading rifles and guns, use of wire, magazine fed rifles, hollow cast guns, smokeless powder, Gatling machine guns…. What is difficult to predict is how changes in ideas and technology will impact an almost feudal society like Charis.

  25. E says:

    If Charisian culture starts following the lines of Britain (like it seems to be) then there are going to be plenty of people with a penchant for understatement and nationalistic melancholy who are willing to say to themselves that they don’t really get what sort of thing is going on but they’ll just roll with it.
    You know, just like in real life.

    “New rifle? Looks bloody weird; fires twelve shots you say? That’s amazing! Let’s have a go.”

    Charis’ military power might spill over into its culture since there are going to be a lot more soldiers as the buildup continues and a lot of retired soldiers as the war gears down, although gearing down might be for the next generation. We don’t know what the Charisian policy is on personal ownership of firearms. I’d advocate an outright ban (making sword fighting useful for some time :) ) but I’ll roll with whatever Weber decides to do.

  26. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    As for ownership of firearms, I’m betting that its lenient, cause of the wildlife in the area. You want to engage a dragon with a sword when a rifle is nearby?

    As for those treatments, its possible. we know Merlin has a stash, and Owl could probably produce more.

  27. E says:

    If Merlin is going to extend lives beyond normal, such people had better have ways to “die” to avoid suspicion. How someone well known like Cayleb will do that, with his face on currency and all, will be a bit of a bother but that does not rule out operating in foreign nations.

  28. Summercat says:

    I don’t think Merlin will use the anti-gerone treatments, based on his actions and hesitations using just the anti-viral crud on Cayleb in OAR.

    As for Steam Power – not so soon. Although, it IS powered by water. Just, in a different state than liquid.

  29. E says:

    Back to the Church.

    The Council of Four seems to be getting serious. Perhaps we’re in for some hallway negotiations of the significant kind. If the Church were to schism within itself, say by having someone in the Go4 assassinated… the vectors are endless.

  30. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Let’s not forget that all of this discussion is effectively moot until Merlin figures out a way to destroy the kinetic bombardment satellites. And taking out those satellites is no easy task without the kind of tech base to produce them. Sure, he can get away with flying around in a skimmer and such since the satellites won’t care about existing technology, but he’s as much as admitted that he doesn’t have a good solution to that at the moment.

  31. E says:

    The issue probably isn’t taking out one satellite, but taking out all the satellites before they fire on whatever it is that took out one of them. Given the use of skimmers by Langhorne’s staff, I would assume that individual signatures aren’t fired upon, although it is likely that massed signatures such as those produced by electricity in cities would be. Maybe if Merlin were to fly beyond the KE system, he could use small motors to steer meteors into the backs of the satellites; but right now the risk seems pretty low that the KE Sats will attack at all, meaning that arguing over the KE satellites beyond speculation is pretty moot when compared to more pertinent matters such as how the war is being waged and the effects of Merlin’s influence.


  32. JNees says:

    Tech will ratchet up VERY quickly. DW has said as much, when he referred to the new artillery that was coming, which would make thick walls irrelevant.

    To the point of the snippet, every political move has an opposite reaction, but there is no conservation of energy. The Group of Four may fracture, or consolidate, but there WILL be a counter reformation, likely spearheaded but something like teh Jesuits. Duchairn has the look of a Father General of such an order.


  33. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    As dor the satilites, I’m betting theres a way to them. the archangels probably operated there at least sme of the time. so if they could fly up to, then all Merlin has to do is figure out the password/way-to-do-so-without-being-shot-down

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