Trynair's thoughtful frown deepened, and so did Duchairn's. As much as he continued to fear and distrust the consequences of Clyntahn's temper, there was much to what he'd just said. The Charisians, at least, had never tried to pretend they hadn't defied Mother Church's authority. In fact, they'd printed up thousands of copies of the text of Staynair's defiant letter to the Grand Vicar and distributed them in every port city on Safehold. The Inquisition had seized every copy it could find, but Duchairn was positive there were still plenty of them circulating. And the fact that Staynair had couched his defiance in terms of challenging the Church's corruption rather than upon any doctrinal dispute — aside, of course, from the doctrine of the Grand Vicar's paramount authority — hadn't passed unnoticed.


            And coupled with Dynnys' statement, it's truly flicked Zhaspahr on the raw. But the mere fact that there's as much anger as logic driving his reasoning doesn't necessarily make it invalid. And neither does the fact that he's distorting the evidence.


            Staynair is right about one thing. I may hate admitting it — I do hate admitting it — but the Council of Vicars is corrupt. We're corrupt, and it's long past time we cleaned our own house. But however right he may be about that, first we have to preserve that house. We can't let someone destroy the unity of Mother Church which has existed from the very Creation, however justified his anger and his calls for reform may be. And if that's true, then we must openly confront the actual nature of the battle we face. And, he admitted unhappily, if that requires us to . . . misrepresent some of the particulars in order to preserve the whole, what choice to we truly have?


            "So what you're recommending is an open encyclical from the Grand Vicar?" Trynair asked. "Not just for distribution among the bishops, but for dissemination from the pulpit, as well?"


            "That's exactly what I'm recommending." Clyntahn shrugged. "I realize it will have to be carefully drafted, and that's going to take some time and thought. But I believe it's time we laid all of our cards on the table."


            "If we do as you suggest, Zhaspahr," Duchairn said aloud, "it will reduce the scope and flexibility of the strategies available to us. If we draw that line, openly, before all of God's children, then those children will rightly expect us to act. To act as boldly and as decisively as God requires of us. Yet as Allayn's just said, we won't have that capacity to act for months to come."


            "It'll take months for our message to spread and truly sink in, anyway," Zhaspahr retorted. "We can get our directives to the secular rulers involved and get our encyclical to every church on the mainland within five-days, using the semaphore. But even after we do, the common people are going to need time to absorb what we've told them. And Mother Church is going to need time to shape and direct their natural and inevitable sense of outrage."


            "If we declare Holy Crusade," Duchairn said in a carefully neutral tone, "there can be no going back. Any possibility that we might be able to convince the clergy of Charis, or its people, to return willingly and repentantly to the arms of Mother Church will be gone forever. The only appeal left will be to the sword, not to reason or remonstrance."


            "That decision's already been made," Clyntahn said grimly. "It was made when Cayleb and Staynair chose to dispatch their hellish letter and openly give their allegiance to Shan-wei."


            Duchairn winced inside, remembering another conversation, when Zhaspahr Clyntahn, over a bottle of wine, had almost casually brought them to the point of condemning an entire kingdom to fire and destruction without warning. There was no question in Duchairn's mind of their overriding responsibility to preserve the Church and her authority as the final mortal guarantor of the souls of all men, everywhere. Yet Clyntahn's statement bothered him deeply on several levels. First, because of what it implied about who had actually made the initial decision to resort to violence. Second, because it starkly underscored the chasm of death and devastation into which Clyntahn was prepared to cast anyone who stood in his path. And, third, because Clyntahn actually believed what he'd just said.


            That's the truly scary thing, isn't it Rhobair? he thought. This man is Mother Church's Grand Inquisitor, the keeper of the sanctity of her doctrines and the moral rectitude of her priests. Bad enough to think he's still prepared to make decisions at a time like this at least partially on the basis of cynical pragmatism. But if the keeper of God's doctrine is able to genuinely convince himself to believe whatever he needs to believe to suit his own purposes, preserve his own base of power within the Church, then where is the true guarantor of that doctrine?


            He had no answer to that question. Perhaps God would show him one in the end, but He clearly wasn't going to do it before the Group of Four made its decision in the name of the entire Church. And for all his doubts about the wisdom of Clyntahn's suggestion, or what had induced him to make it, Duchairn had no better answer to offer.


            "Zhaspahr's right," Maigwair said. "There hasn't been any going back since Staynair's letter arrived here at the Temple, Rhobair. You know that as well as the rest of us do."


            "Yes, I suppose I do," Duchairn sighed. "It's just the thought of how many people are going to die that makes me wish I didn't know it."


            "Death is better than any heretic deserves." Clyntahn's voice was cold, his fleshy face carved out of granite. "The sooner the lot of them join their dark mistress in Hell, the better for the entire body of God's faithful."


            And what about all the people who aren't heretics, Zhaspahr? Duchairn asked silently. What about the children who are going to be slaughtered along with their parents when you burn Charis' cities? Have those innocents had the opportunity to choose between heresy and the truth? And what about those Charisians who remain loyal to God and the Church and still get in the way of the holy armies you propose dispatching to slaughter their neighbors? And what about the reaction — and the reaction is coming, one of these days — when the rest of Charis realizes Staynair's accusations of corruption were completely justified? Are you going to reform the corruption? Renounce your own position of power and wealth? Begin approaching doctrine and matters of faith with a genuinely open and accepting mind?


            But despite his questions, it still came back to that single, unanswerable fact. To have any chance of restoring Mother Church to what she ought to be, what she must once more become, first Mother Church, whatever her present blemishes, had to be preserved.


            "I don't especially like it," Trynair said with what Duchairn recognized as massive understatement, "but I'm afraid you may be right, Zhaspahr. At any rate, we must take some sort of action against the effects of the Charisian privateers Rhobair and Allayn have analyzed for us. And, you are certainly right about Charis' dependency on its own merchant fleet. To be honest, I want to make no suggestion that Holy War is inevitable — not yet — but you're right that we have to do something."


            He looked around the conference table, his expression somber.


            "Under the circumstances, I believe we truly may not have another option."





About Eric Flint

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32 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 88

  1. John says:

    Holy Crusade, huh?

    Zhaspahr Clyntahn has major mental issues.

    Looks like he’s going to be a pain in the #%* for both sides. Although perhaps less for Charis.

    Must wait 3 days till next Snippet……

  2. Alistair says:

    Holy war soon… or now?

    Looks like they might hold on for a just a little longer… until they Know of Charis expansion anyway then i think they will move

  3. Kelar says:

    Concerning the “Crusade” I wonder about the meaning of the word “cross” in this
    Church’s theology … ;-)

  4. Summercat says:

    Looks like we have months until it’s written, then a few months until it’s declared, the another few months until dissemmination.

    I’d say about a year?

  5. Mataf says:

    “over a bottle of wine… … an entire kingdom to fire and destruction… …starkly underscored the chasm of death and destruction…”

    Any thoughts on if that passage is a hint that the Church is in direct control of the Orbital Bombardment System?

  6. kar says:

    Morons…. Holy Crusade… Fine that’ll be nice until Merlin plants an electronic signal in the middle of one of the Hamorian cities. It’ll be especially nice to see the church’s answer to why one of “it’s” cities was turned into a crater by the “holy ” kinetic bombardment system. I wish the author would get back to the Charis viewpoint soon. It feels like this week has been annoying.

  7. Maxim says:

    I don’t believe Merlin would cause to destroy any city this way, even if it were possible.
    But I like to read from Charis point of view more, too.

  8. Wyrm says:

    After Cayleb’s dealt with Hektor, his fleet might just pay a visit to Dohlar.

    A naval bombardment of the Dohlar’s capital and royal castle might perform wonders in discouraging reluctant members of the gang of four’s crusade.

  9. PalmerSperry says:

    I don’t see Merlin causing the destruction of a city in that way either … Still, it’s fun idly speculating about Clyntahn would explain the ‘holy KE bombardment’ of his home town? :-)

  10. Paul Howard says:

    According to a David Weber reading of the next book (mentioned in Snerkers Only on Baen’s Bar), the Charis fleet will be paying visits to ports where their merchants have major problems (as in bad cases of being dead). What’s ‘fun’ is that the Charis Admiral is ‘nice’ to the Secular Leaders but not so nice to the Inquisitors. [Evil Grin]

  11. laclongquan says:

    kar, are you really obsessed on using weapon of indiscrimate mass destruction that much? however directly or indirectly? a kinetic strike on a city is nothing to recommend lightly, with its power equal to one or many Hiroshima’s package.

    And dont tell me about the rightness of the end and all that grapp.

  12. Mike says:

    The whole point here is that eventually the people will discover the truth. It would not exactly be satisfactory in the end if the truth they discover is that both sides resorted to WMDs in order to fake “divine retribution”.

  13. Wyrm says:

    Loosely, we can equate the current gang of four position as the reformation “Catholic” church, with Staynair’s church as the “Lutheran” position.

    The question I am beginning to wonder about is whether Duchairn will lead the Catholic counter-reformation, or whether he will end up founding another protestant group – against the church in Zion, but not in favour of Staynair’s church. A three-cornered religous fight could get very nasty.

  14. kar says:

    I’m not inclined to mass murder, but when “your” people are threatened by a crusade and economic sanction, I would seriously think about pulling the trigger. This is like Japan at the beginning of WWII when the US pulled a ton of economic sanctions on them. I didn’t agree with alot of Japan’s policies, but Pearl harbor and Japan’s aggression was a do or die in face of America’s capabilities. I’m sure Japan would have nuked Hawaii if it had a atom bomb at that time and the US didn’t. Think about the number of lives that will be lost by the end of this crusade whether it be in terms of military or civillian lives. Weber could pull off a “miracle” where only a few die, but reality wise I remember 100’s of thousdands if not a good millions of civillians dying in the crusades in real life. That doesn’t include the slave trade, famines,plagues, and the like that followed. I didn’t propose that idea lightly, but I figure to really break the church’s hold you need more than victories in battles and philosophical explanations. You need a “miracle” for reform. Having the kinetic bombarbment system take out a very pro-orthodox city would I think be that “miracle”. I rather see 100,000 people die in one day than a few million die over the course of a few years. Most people complain about how nuclear weapons are evil and all. Truth is, if we didn’t have them, most likely WWII would have happened by now. The result of that would have been more lives lost.

  15. Wyrm says:

    Following up on my earlier post (10), I was re-reading the earlier discussions of the gang of four, and we find Duchairn musing:

    “I have to think about this, spend time in prayer and meditation, pondering the Writ and The Commentaries. Perhaps the people like the Wylsynns have been right all along. Perhaps we have grown too arrogant, too enamored of our power as secular princes. The Charisians may not be the only ones whose mask God has decided to strip away. Perhaps this entire debacle is God’s mirror, held up to show us the potential consequences of our own sinful actions and overweening pride.”
    The church is lining up for a split on the mainland. Duchairn and some moderates leaving Zion, possibly with Duchairn taking the treasury with him) appears plausible.

  16. Brom says:

    Eric gave his OK, and Joe had done so earlier, so here goes …

    “David’s said he’s fine with giving a recap like this of an open reading, in this case from /By Heresies Distressed/.

    Having said that, he read from a selection which was carefully crafted to minimize plot-spoilage for /By Schism Rent Asunder /and tantalize us for the rest of the book.

    Remember that this is from a draft manuscript and is, of course, subject to change.

    He read from two chapters of /By Heresies Distressed/.

    One chapter revolved about Grand Inquisitor Zhaspyr Clyntahn and his hand-picked ‘Special Projects’-guy in the Inquisition [blanking on the name, might be Rayno]. They discussed the political ramifications of certain… /previous /events and how they can prepare for the fallout once the news of how badly things turned out.

    It seems that the Church, in order to strike back at Charis’ main engine of economic activity, decides to impound all Charisian merchantmen in all foreign ports. What should have been a pretty simple operation against unarmed or lightly-armed merchantmen met with wildly-varying degrees of success. In Siddarmark, for example, it just so happens that /every /Charisian-flagged ship simultaneously weighed anchor and bolted for the deep blue just before the local army and priests of the Inquisition could sweep in and seize the ships. The good Vicar and company speculate wildly on the convenience of the timing and the suggestion of unofficial interference Siddarmarkan officials and the limitations of the Inquisition to retaliate against the Lord Protector.

    In order to prepare for the release of the news, the Grand Inquisitor wants his man to take some of the successfully seized merchant sailors – who he was having quietly brought to Zion – to be… /prepared /by the Inquisition to readily testify about all the Dark & Evil things those horrid heretics are doing in Shan-Wei’s name.

    The other chapter was pretty interesting. This chapter concerned more fallout from the ship seizures. This time, in one of those places where things went decidedly wrong in another way.

    We see HMS /Destroyer/, I believe, and Admiral Rock Point in the major port city of [insert wild-assed guess at the ill-remembered and poorly-heard name of the realm… Delfarahk], where the army seized Charisian merchantmen and, at the vociferous goading of the accompanying priests of the Inquisition, they slaughtered many of the men, women and children aboard those ships.

    /Destroyer /lives up to her name, since she was in port with her squadron as part of a mighty successful Charisian punitive expedition against the realm for what their soldiers did. The port area – and anything within two miles of shore – was being systematically burned to the ground, once the defending naval units had been defeated and civilians given sufficient time to evacuate. [Insert comment here that the expedition orders given in Eric’s (sic … David’s) manuscript that may or may not be reached in snippets were modified in the final pass of the book.]

    The senior officer of the surrendered garrison is aboard /Destroyer /- seemingly expecting either his own execution or imprisonment by Charis – and is told that the results shown – the city’s still-smoldering ruins were visible out /Destroyer/’s Great Cabin’s windows – are at Emperor Cayleb’s /express /order.

    While their kingdom was being punished for what their forces did, the punitive expedition is simply a hit-an-run (more of a hit-and-run-/over/) punishment, not an outright bid for conquest.

    The true instigators of the atrocity would be punished. Damned by their own words – the inquisitor’s own captured reports to their superiors where they exulted in urging the soldiers to ‘kill all the heretics’ – the priests of the inquisition would no longer be protected by their traditional clerical inviolability. In a direct challenge to the /Church/, not just the Group of Four, the Inquisition would be made to pay for their deeds – and pay they do, from Charisian yardarms all along the waterfront.


  17. Michael says:

    I feel forced to reply to kar’s comments. Yes the Japanese would have used any weapon available to them at the start or end of WWII. But that is a spoiled analogy to this novel. Merlin does wish for the end of the corrupt “church”, but he would never resort to the deaths of thousands of innocents. And change does come without overwhelming violence. As one who lived in the 60’s it is important to remember that for every riot that occurred, the gains of at least three peaceful demonstrations were lost. And if change never occurred without massive fighting, someone forgot to tell people like MLK and Ghandi. More good was done by the legal exposing of Watergate than was ever done by all the radical bombs. One who just casually mentions that casulties are a cost of war has never had to hold a wounded comrade as he died, or bury the victims of a Liberation army.

  18. Lance says:

    Where I think we’re going with this book…speculation only.

    It’s obvious that BSRA is following roughly the same pattern as OAR – we’ve got massive machinations that will ultimately lead up to a battle royale.

    In the machinations yet to come…

    1. Cayleb needs to get married – that will take a few chapters as well as we may see the Go4’s reaction to such a heretical marriage. Or if not married, at least a whole lot more alliance talk. Given the snippets above from BHD, I tend to think the marriage a “go” – particularly as Cayleb is now being addressed as “Emperor” Cayleb.

    2. I suspect Pine Hollow does indeed get favorable terms. In fact, if I wanted to be a sneaky rat bastard, I’d give Emerald good terms and then let them play like they didn’t get them – at least for a while. Could be a good counter-intel op. So that when the Go4 orders stupid things, you’ve got an inside feed. Of course, you’ve still got the SNARCs.

    3. I suspect a few minor technical breakthroughs are yet to rear their head. There is also the fall-out from the monastary to work through as well.

    4. Then there is the big battle – care to bet it’s Hector getting his realm shorn? Maybe the next naval battle is all the surviving naval units in that part of the world fighting against a hopelessly superior but out-numbered Charisian force. I’d actually hate to see Thirsk on the wrong side as he’s been made out to be a good man serving awfully poor masters.

    5. As part of that battle, Charis is likely going to lose *something* valuable. Is it a major character? Is it Merlin in his current persona? Is it our little mid-shipman -Arhmack that we haven’t heard from in a while?

    Long-term, I see Charis and Siddimark teaming up. It’s been hinted out throughout both books and it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t happen in BHD.

    An even longer-term twist might be keeping the church around, but reformed. Much like the church as used in “The Excalibur Alternative”, which I thought was a neat little book. It’s possible that the church’s fanaticsm might be handy to help gird the people to get ready to fight the Gabba.

    Sigh…Monday, Monday…

  19. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    I see one other thing inserted into that list. The Go4’s plan bearing fruit. Brom told us that the opening chapters discuss how it went, and I suspect that we’ll be seeing some of it in this book

  20. Alistair says:

    Yes also what about remnants of the church in the future keeping to the doctrines even after Zion falls to a joint Siddarmark/Charisholm attack… say in the third or fourth book.

    In other words the ideas and concepts that have been ingrained into the populous over a 1000 years are not just dispersed at inconvenient little things such as “facts” but they live on even after the true history gets out and the orbital platforms are taken out.

    So even when they are in space colonising etc there is still a small underground “fifth column” sort of like a “flat earth society” but nastier. Sort of like fufulling the same roll as Masada Church of humanity unchained (defiant) in the Honourverse. So that in latter books instead of just having all humans being “good” verse aliens who are all “evil” the plot could be a bit more complex.

  21. Virgil says:

    Well you could test to see if you have access to the weapon system. Just smuggle a small battery operated radio north into empty non inhabited land with a mechanical timer, turn and get the heck out.
    If it gets bombarded then you know, yes we could use their system!

  22. Maxim says:

    Yet such a test could be dangerous in an other way, because the alians are still out there. And we don’t know what other nasty surprises could be hinding behind the energy sources under Zion. Such a test could wake an Archangel up( if one is still there waiting)

  23. Maxim says:

    You bring some interessting thoughts Alistar, I think something in such a way we’ll get to see, yet it depends on the timetable of the third and forth books, it could be thousand years in the future. Indeed at least a couple of hundert years are inevitalbe, to bring the technological stand of humanity to a level where it could beginn to meet the alians eye to eye.

  24. Maxim says:

    It is even more likely that the third and forth books will deal with the issues of the developement of such a technological cultur and so on. And the confrontation with the aliens will need another cycle of books.

  25. It is interesting to note that Zion is close to a seacoast and potentially subject–if the ice melts up there–to an amphibious invasion from the north.

  26. Summercat says:

    Re 21:

    When the water isn’t frozen over.

  27. Alistair says:

    Do remember though that the “angels” had hover cars and other tech which did not set off the platforms DW said that they made more of a signature than the destroyed Libary.

    So possibly you would need to build a big power plant with no led sheilding or anything to set off the trigger, that was/is Merlins guess mentioned in the first book anyway. one that I concur with.

    I see the possibility of building an underground city of sorts which can be sheilded from censors and there they build tech that breaks the proscriptions.

    Tech needed to take out the platforms as merlin as no tricks in his bag of goodies that can do it by himself so he will need help from some home grown stuff, yet how can they build it if the platforms are seeing everyting sensors possibily connected to the power sources under the temple stuff that merlins does not want to “wake up” answer as said build underground maybe they will do it in merlins cave under that huge mountain north of Zion (not the small transit base in Charis) or somewhere in charis maybe.

    Waiting for the next snippet is so hard!

  28. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    I’m betting the cave. OWL has a small replicator there, so they can produce parts of whatever they need. If destroying it is the only option.

    I’m still convinced that the platforms won’t be destroyed. if the power things in Zion are more than just warming, then I’m betting one of them is something that can get to the platforms, or at least control it from a distance

  29. Alistair says:

    Yes Aaron you are possibily right about them taking the command and control as a good option also the replicator could build the parts needed as a possibility.

    My only reason for doubting that is that when Merlin asked OWL for a way to take out the platform he stated that there was nothing available, was he meaning in “stock” so to speak or was he also including the replicator and what it could build?

    With OWL limited abilities to think laterally it might be just the stuff in stock.

    Also thinking about it I don’t know if I would want to launch an attack on the temple which is more armored than some of the Terran defense bunkers (according to Merlin) without some high tech and any attack with old or new tech could set the platforms off.

    If I were an angel I would not just look for tech but also maybe an attack upon the temple as well because if the temple fell there nice little religion they set up would be in serious trouble.

    This of course is just a guess and like many of my guesses will probably be way way way off the mark :)

  30. E says:

    Apologies for the leave of absence. I turned twenty today but it was not lost upon my friends and family to celebrate early and shanghai ourselves amongst the mountains. Rest assured, I shall endeavor to present my usual wall of text upon the next snippet.


  31. Lance says:

    Remember, it’s been implied time and time again that OWL is rather limited as an AI goes. I’m not sure I’d take as the final answer that “nothing’s available”.

  32. Chuck S. says:

    DW went to a lot of effort to show that “Merlin” is not omnipotent in OAR. Showing that his “cultural blind spot” prevented him from considering that OWL’s statement about destroying the OB system could have been in error would re-enforce this. A major difficulty in writing this type of book is creating a near superman and then finding realistic challenges for him. At least it drives me bonkers! Of course I’m not in DW’s league by many long shots.

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