Clyntahn's jowls darkened, and anger glowed behind his eyes.


            "Allayn's right," Duchairn said. "These privateers are clearly part of a coordinated Charisian strategy. Cayleb's total out-of-pocket expense is the artillery he's allowing them to purchase, and even that's only costing his navy time, since I'm quite certain the foundries casting those guns are showing a tidy profit in the process without any actual subsidies from the Crown. It's not only hurting his enemies and helping his own economy, but also freeing his navy to concentrate on Emerald and Corisande while forcing our allies to focus all of their limited remaining naval power on efforts to protect the commerce they have left. And simultaneously, as Allayn's just pointed out, giving officials of places like the Empire strong personal inducements to actively collaborate with him and pointing out to those rulers who aren't already on his list of active enemies that he can do the same thing to them, if he has to."


            "Then obviously we need a counter strategy, don't we?" Trynair said.


            "I'd say that was a reasonable observation, yes," Duchairn agreed just a bit ironically.


            "That's easy," Clyntahn growled. The other three looked at him, and he snorted.


            "You've just been pointing out how destroying our allies' merchant fleets is going to hurt them, Rhobair. It's not my area of expertise, but it is yours, and I'm fully prepared to accept your analysis. But if shipping is important to them, it's critical to the heretics in Charis. All their damned fleets and all their damned privateers have to be paid for somehow, and the leeches pay for them with the money they suck out of the mainland economies. Cut that income off, and you eliminate their ability to finance their opposition to God's will."


            "That's true enough," Duchairn acknowledged, watching Clyntahn through narrowed eyes.


            "Well, we don't need any 'privateer' fleet to do that," the Grand Inquisitor said harshly. "All we have to do is order all mainland ports closed to Charisian shipping. We don't have to sink or burn their ships to make them useless to Cayleb and his fellow apostates."


            Trynair frowned, his expression thoughtful. Maigwair appeared torn between agreement with Clyntahn and skepticism about his sweeping suggestion's apparent simplicity. Duchairn, on the other hand, shook his head.


            "It's not going to be that easy, Zhaspahr," he said almost gently. "There are too many people and too many livelihoods wrapped up in it. Even the best of men, faced with the need to provide for their own families, are going to find themselves sorely tempted to continue to deal covertly with Charis if it's a choice between that and financial ruin. And make no mistake about it, for a great many of the people involved in any successful exclusion of Charisian shipping from our ports, the consequence will be ruin."


            "If it is, it is." There was no flexibility at all in Clyntahn's voice or expression. "This is a struggle for the primacy of God Himself on His own world, Rhobair. Given that, the financial tribulations of a pack of merchants and shopkeepers is an insignificant price to pay if it weakens the hand of Shan-wei's foul get."


            "It may be," Duchairn responded. "But whether it is or not isn't really the point, Zhaspahr. The point is whether or not we can convince or compel those 'merchants and shopkeepers' of yours to do it in the first place. And, to be completely honest, even if we should succeed in that, the consequences for our own requirements if we intend to take the war to Charis could well be significant."


            "When grass is growing in the streets of Tellesberg because they have no one to buy their goods or charter their ships, we won't need to pay for any 'requirements' to topple Cayleb and his eternally damned advisers," Clyntahn shot back. "What will be an inconvenience for us — even a serious one, perhaps — will be fatal for Charis. How long do you think Cayleb will last once those money-worshiping Charisians of his realize their entire kingdom is going bankrupt, and them with it?" He grunted a hungry laugh. "And once they turn on one another like the rabble they are, how much military power will it take to sweep up the pieces?"


            "He has a point there, Rhobair," Trynair said quietly, and Duchairn was forced to nod.


            "Yes, he does. Assuming we could enforce such a policy."


            "All we have to do is give the order," Clyntahn said coldly.


            "Not this time, Zhaspahr," Duchairn disagreed, facing the Grand Inquisitor's ire from the serenity of his own newly refound faith. "The Knights of the Temple Lands don't have the authority to simply issue orders like that and see them obeyed without question. Not when the temptation — the necessity, even — to disobey them is going to be so powerful."


            "Shan-wei with the 'Knights of the Temple Lands!'" Clyntahn snarled. "It's time we stopped dancing around in the shadows, anyway."


            Duchairn's expression stiffened. The Grand Inquisitor's anger had continued fermenting into fury, and the totally unexpected defiance Dynnys had shown, even in the face of his agonizing death, had goaded Clyntahn's always irascible temper into a white-hot blaze. Worse than that, in some ways, Dynnys' final statement, interrupted though it had been, had called the Group of Four's motivations into question. No one — no one outside the Council of Vicars, at least — was prepared to say so openly, but the fact that Charis' own archbishop had been prepared to indict not Charis, but the Church, from the very lip of unspeakable torment and death, had struck a totally unexpected blow against the Group of Four's authority. Indeed, much as Duchairn hated to admit it, it had struck a blow against the authority of Mother Church, herself.


            And it's also undermined Zahmsyn's strategy for differentiating between the Church and the Knights of the Temple Lands, he thought. Dynnys' didn't charge the Knights with attacking Charis; he charged us, the four of us and even Mother Church herself. And if anyone believed him when he proclaimed Charis' innocence before we attacked her, it's also undermined the argument that this is all the result of some long standing, heretical Charisian plot which has simply strayed into the open at last.


            "I have the authority to order it on the basis of the Inquisition's overriding authority to combat heresy and apostasy anywhere it emerges," Clyntahn continued.


            And since when has any Grand Inquisitor ever had that authority? Duchairn wondered. Within the Church, yes. And the power to summon the secular lords to support Mother Church against heresy in their own lands. But to arbitrarily order them to close their ports to another nation? To dictate the terms on which their subjects are allowed to make the livings needed to feed their own children? No Inquisitor has ever claimed that sort of power! On the other hand, when has any other Grand Inquisitor confronted the threat confronting us?


            "It would be a direct escalation," Trynair pointed out. "It would take the onus for the present situation off of Charis, to some extent at least, and place it upon Mother Church."


            "And," Duchairn added, "if we do that, it will also increase the pressure on us — on Mother Church — to take powerful military action against Charis, and we're scarcely in a position to do that, I'm afraid."


            "For the rest of this year, at least," Maigwair agreed. "Even after we get the ships built, it's going to take time to train crews for them. It's not as if we have the unlimited supply of seamen Charis seems to have."


            "Who cares if it's 'an escalation'?" Clyntahn demanded. "This is a war between God's Church and His enemies. Between the Light of Langhorne and Shan-wei's eternal Darkness. Instead of pretending it isn't, it's time we told all of the Faithful the truth about Charis' carefully planned and long prepared rebellion against the rightful authority of God and His stewards here in the world. My agents tell me there are already whispers in the taverns and the streets about Staynair's defiance and that bastard Dynnys' so-called 'deathbed statement'. It's time we openly admit the true nature of the struggle, time we openly call for all the Faithful to join in holy crusade against that nest of Shan-wei. Better to open the wound to the cleansing air and drain the poisons of doubt before they lead still more into the paths of corruption."

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25 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 87

  1. Alistair says:

    Yep looks like the blockade is going to a goer any one wanna bet on it’s success?

    Also looks like there is going to be a official “Jihad” war not the undeclared one so Stairnair was wrong in his view that the group of 4 would not be willing to step out and escalate it.

    Unless of course the other three hold down Clytahn for a little bit longer.

  2. E says:

    The embargo, a blockade requires an actual fleet, will probably work in most cases. My bet is that the Church might lose more gold, however, propping up the incomes they destroy should they do the merciful thing and fund those whose trade depends on Charis. Coming out into the open means that the Church will indeed take on a burden of responsibility in the moral fight, and in the long run, every educated and most semi-educated people will be able to recognize the Church’s corruption whilst those at the bottom, the under educated worshipers might grow more fanatical. Given the fact that every precedent of unjustifiable genocide has been erased from the memory of humanity, there is likely to be too little recognition of exactly what the Church will do in its war and coupled with fanaticism, this could spell a lot of trouble for Charis in the future as Anti-Charisian sentiments bleed into the everyday thinking of individuals.

  3. Summercat says:

    I think the Grand High Lord Inquisitor has gotten a little too full of himself, and would be needing replacing.

    So sayeth the reactions of the three others.

  4. adis says:

    I think the order to close all ports will ensure that anything not on the mainland will defect to neutrality or ally with Charis.

  5. Alan says:

    Napoleon was a lot more rational and capable than the G4. The Continental System closing his ports to English trade were almost entirely ineffective and served only to ensure England’s continuing dominance at sea while undercutting Napoleon’s popularity with anyone who depended on trade for a living.

  6. Wyrm says:

    “Close the ports” – easy to say, impossible to achieve.

  7. JohnG says:

    Well, I guess I was wrong about this being 80 Years War rather than Napoleonic! (Though technologically I still think it is to some degree.) Convoys it _isn’t_, and Continental System it is.

    H’mmmm…Napoleonic then… I wonder who gets to play Russia? Prussia?

    In any case, we’ll see a big Go4 convoy, I predict, as it’s going to be necessary for some reason at some point!

  8. Aaron Van Dessel says:


    However, I’m not certain it won’t hurt the Charisians at least a little. There will be smuggling. The privateers will still do their job. But if they can’t access the port, then they can’t sell their goods as efficantly. Trying to sell them in a Church port will undoubtably mean at least some type of fight. No good can come out of that.

    However, if the Church’s authority is weakened by this, then it will eventually crumble, which is Merlin’s overall plan. So from Merlin’s perspective, this is bad in the short term, but maybe good in the long term.

    As for removing the High Inquisitor, I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

  9. JNees says:

    Predictable. As noted, Napolean tried it with little success. Even leaving aside the openly defiant states, of which there will soon be three, trade has a tendancy to seep through, and around, barriers. Emerald is going to be in the enviable position of go between.

    As to who play Russia, I would think that obvious. What is the largest nation not solidly under the G4 thumb. Hint: thin “Empire.”


  10. Justin says:


    Wrong I think you are thinking of the Republic of Sidmark and not the Harchong Empire.

  11. Paul Howard says:

    J, I think you meant “Think Republic”. While the Empires aren’t “solidly under the G4 thumb”, the Empire of Harchong strongly support the Safehold Church. It’s the Siddarmark Republic that the G4 is worried about.

    Oh, IMO Emerald is unlikely to be an independent Nation much longer. It’ll be part of Charis.

  12. James says:

    Hmmm this will be as strong as the Spanish closing the ports in the new world to all outsiders.

    What happened then was that trade went on with the mayors telling the governers that “Ohh yes, no trade with the Dutch or English has happened…”. Towns that did try to enforce it were left with no trade whatsoever…

  13. E says:

    The Church does not realize at this point that Chisholm will unify with Charis and possibly Emerald. The production of a new internal economy for the new Empire will stimulate trade and progress beyond the lives of the current group of four. Additionally, there are still lands to be colonized and exploited for resources like Ravensland and Silverlode. Colony economies depend inherently on the kinds of barter as they start out, since cash isn’t useful where there’s nothing to buy. By switching economic dependency from trade to colonization, the Empire (of Good Guys) can effectively offset the losses in trade AND contribute to the Church’s frustrations by being able to continue raiding. If Charisian trade tapers off, “corrupt” government officials will start to close their open harbors, and at that point Charis should be able to effectively seize small islands and establish colonial bases, just like what happened in the Caribbean.

  14. Jerry says:

    The post on Baen’s Bar from Vol 3 makes it clear that the embargo did not work. Why else would it become necessary to capture the Charisian ships?

  15. Alistair says:

    Quite right E, I used the wrong word should of said “embargo”

    My guess I tend to think Aaron’s comment will prove accurate, Charis will suffer some losses in the short term but will profit in the long term.

    Also I think Clytahn underestimates the impact it will have on trade it will be worse than a mere “inconvenience” as it will drive Siddarmark to closer (covert) union with Charis. maybe have some secret coves where stuff can be bought and sold unofficially while they officially say that are keeping the embargo. Just as James implied.

    And I don’t think it will work 100% even in loyal places such as the empire as DW as stated previously that the civil service while “efficient” is also “corrupt” corrupt people tend to think of themselves first.

    Anyway theres my 2 cents worth.

  16. Jeff Ehlers says:

    This is a pretty typical response of someone who is clearly losing his head in the rational sense. It’s very easy to give orders…but any competent military commander knows not to give orders that won’t be obeyed. It’s the quickest way to lose the obedience of the people you putatively rule.

    Too bad civilians like the Grand Inquisitor don’t know that. Well, too bad for him and the Group of Four, anyway. This will help Charis in the long run a lot more than any short-term economic damage from not being able to dispose of captured prizes quickly.

  17. E says:

    If the Go4 wanted to make the orders stick, they’d build up to them using a systematic doctrine of propaganda promoting hatred against Charisians BEFORE they outright ban Charis from the Church-Ruled world. It might take them some years -it took Hitler almost a decade WITH radios- given their technology, but they can do it fast enough since they already have a foot in the door as far as religion goes.

    Assuming the embargo outright fails, then the capture of Charisian ships will be primary in the Church’s efforts to match Charisian advancements. It doesn’t matter that Corisande already has the designs, they can’t contact the Church, but it does matter that Charis has better powder and better internal/external plans for ships, something that the Church can best duplicate by capture, since such advancements took centuries of trial and error on Earth, and the Church’s leaders don’t have centuries. I still believe that any competent nation would build up their internal infrastructure by bettering roads and securing transportation routes in light of the shipping halt, regardless of direction by the Church.

  18. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    and who says they won’t? these ship building plans are being funded by the church. this leaves a little extra money for anything else, including roads.

    and the proganda idea will work, if they can start it correctly. if they proclaim them to be demons, then someone will ask why aren’t we getting help from teh archangels

  19. kari says:

    What post on Baen’s Bar about Vol3?

  20. Jerry says:

    Brom describes how to find the post in his comment 36 to snippet 86.

  21. Comment 36 to snippet 86 seems to think that you can register as ‘guest’ which appears not to work, unless there is a secret password and handshake.

  22. Jerry says:

    As a member of Baen’s Bar, I’ve never tried to login as a “guest”. The new bar software may not have such an account. Once registered and logged in, search the Snerker’s Folder for Charisian. There are also LOTS of comments in the Honorverse folder.

  23. Brom says:

    My apologies. I access the Bar by nntp, and had not realized the new Bar eliminated that capability. Permission from Joe Buckley and Eric has been requested to post it here …

  24. Alan says:

    I only mentioned Napoleon as an example of someone more capable and rational than the G4. Habsburg Spain, with its ban on all colonial trade except with Spain, is probably closer to what the authors have in mind.

    I had one thought reading this chapter and thinking about the orbital platforms. Both authors have a habit of restoring ceremonial monarchs to real power (Protector of Grayson, Queen of Manticore). We’ve been assuming that if anyone has a magic prayer to call down hell on the church’s enemies it will be the G4.

    What if it’s not and they actually need to go through someone like the Grand Vicar at a time when the G4’s political authority is failing because they are losing the war against Charis?

  25. jmbm says:

    Complete off-topic but an advance reading copy of BSRA has been sold today in eBay for 240 dollars. Another one was sold last month for 280 $. Amazing!.

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