City of Manchyr,


Princedom of Corisande


            The afternoon sunlight was not quite unpleasantly warm on Hektor Daykyn's shoulders. The jingle and squeak of armor, weapons harnesses, and saddle leather surrounded him along with his guardsmen, and his mind was busy as he rode through the streets of Manchyr.


            The day had started out better than he'd expected. The army's field maneuvers this morning had gone well, and he'd been pleased by the apparent cheerfulness of the troops. Of course, none of them were going to stand around looking despondent where he could see them, but there was a difference between men who were simply obeying orders, and men whose hearts were in their work.


            Hektor rather doubted that his soldiers — most of whom, after all, were fairly bluff, unimaginative sorts — suspected how much they and their maneuvers had done to enhearten their prince. Or, for that matter, quite how much he needed enheartening these days. It was hard to work up much in the way of exuberance when he contemplated the sledgehammer Cayleb Ahrmahk must be busily assembling to drop on his princedom. The fact that it hadn't landed yet was at least some comfort, however, and suggested he might have at least a couple of more months before it did. And, as his troops' attitude had just reminded him, every single day he could find for himself was one more day in which he could make Cayleb's task more difficult.


            Which is probably only going to be enough to give me a rather dubious — and posthumous — moral satisfaction, he admitted to himself. Still, that's better than nothing. And it's always possible — remotely, at least — that I can put myself in a position to make enough trouble for him that it would be worth his time to at least consider negotiating.


            He snorted at his own thoughts as he considered how he would have reacted — had planned on reacting, in fact — if the Group of Four's invasion plans had succeeded and their positions had been reversed. The old cliché about the drowning man and the straw came rather forcibly to mind, under the circumstances.


            At least it gives me something to do while I'm waiting!


            He glanced back over his left shoulder at the sturdy, rather stout gray-haired man riding half a horse length behind him. Sir Rysel Gahrvai, the Earl of Anvil Rock, was one of his distant cousins and his senior army commander, the land-going counterpart of Earl Tartarian. Traditionally, the army had far less prestige in Corisande than the navy. In that much, at least, Corisande and Charis were much alike — probably inevitably, given the fact that they were both essentially just very large islands. But unlike Charis, Corisande had at least possessed a standing army composed of regular, professional troops at the beginning of the current unpleasantness. Mostly, Hector was forced to admit, that was because he was rather less beloved by certain of his subjects (and several of his nobles), especially in Zebediah, than Haarahld of Charis had been by his. The existence of a standing army whose loyalty was to the prince who paid it and not to its own individual feudal lords had constituted a pointed suggestion to those unloving souls that they would be well advised to keep their unflattering opinions of Prince Hektor to themselves.


            On the other hand, no one — least of all Hektor — had ever truly anticipated that Anvil Rock's troops might find themselves faced with repelling someone else's invasion of Corisande. The assumption had always been that if they were going to be involved in any invasions, it would have been them invading someone else.


            But at least Anvil Rock didn't seem too downcast. In fact, his general attitude was as robust as Tartarian's, although Hector suspected it was for slightly different reasons. Sir Rysel had abruptly found himself one of the most important men in the entire League of Corisande after decades of playing second fiddle to the Navy, and despite the gravity of the situation, he found the unusual situation rather exhilarating. Hektor might not share his cousin's exhilaration, but he was perfectly content with Anvil Rock's attitude as long as the man kept pushing his own preparations as persistently and powerfully as he had up to this point.


            The prince caught the earl's eye and twitched his head, summoning Anvil Rock up beside him. The earl touched his horse with his heels, trotting a bit faster until he reached Hektor's side. Then he slowed again, riding stirrup-to-stirrup with him.


            "Yes, My Prince?"


            "I thought the maneuvers went well," Hector said. "Please pass my compliments on to the field commanders."


            "Of course, My Prince!" Anvil Rock's broad smile of appreciation was clearly genuine, and Hector reached out to touch him lightly on the shoulder.


            "I appreciate all your efforts, Rysel," he said. "And I realize you don't have a lot of time to make preparations. Is there anything else I can do to help you along?"


             Anvil Rock considered for a few seconds, puffing his bushy mustache, then shrugged.


            "Since you've asked, My Prince, there might be one thing."


            "Such as?"


            "I was over at the Royal Arsenal yesterday," Anvil Rock said just a bit obliquely. "Sir Taryl had invited me to watch the proof firing of the second lot of the new guns."


            "Really?" Hektor cocked his head to one side. "What did you think of them?"


            "I think they're very impressive. And I can certainly understand what happened to Black Water if all the Charisian ships, or even just their galleons, carried guns like them. Under the circumstances, I see why Tartarian wants as many of them as he can get, too."


            Anvil Rock finished speaking, and Hektor's eyebrow rose higher.




            "I beg your pardon, My Prince?"


            "I heard a 'but' rattling around in there somewhere, Rysel. Would you care to tell me why I did?"


            "I suppose you did," Anvil Rock admitted. "As to why . . . ."


            He gazed ahead down the broad avenue leading towards Hektor's palace for several thoughtful breaths, then shrugged again.


            "My Prince, I understand why the Navy needs the new guns. And I understand that we've got to rebuild the fleet as quickly as we can. But to be honest, I don't think there's any way we're going to be able to manage all of that rebuilding before Cayleb and the Royal Charisian Navy come calling. That means they're going to be able to land troops almost anywhere they want, with no real significant resistance from our own Navy. I'm not blaming Taryl — Earl Tartarian — for that. It's not his fault. In fact, it's not anyone's fault, but it still means it's going to be up to the Army — and me — to defeat any invasions, since the Navy can't stop them from happening in the first place."


            He paused, looking steadily at his prince, and Hektor nodded.


            "I think you're exactly correct about that," he agreed. "And?"


            "And under those circumstances, I think it might be a wiser use of our resources and the time available to us to produce cannon for the Army's use, not the Navy's. Or, at least, not exclusively for the Navy."




            Hektor frowned thoughtfully, considering what Anvil Rock had just said. And, as he did, he realized the earl had a point. A very good one, in fact.


            No one on Safehold had ever heard of "field artillery." Not in the sense in which the term had once been used on a planet called Earth, at any rate. Safeholdian guns had been too big, too massive, too slow-firing. On their clumsy, wheelless"carriages," they were virtually immobile. Once emplaced, moving them again wasn't something to be considered, especially in the presence of the enemy.


            But given the lightness and handiness of the new Charisian guns, that might not be true any longer. The sort of naval carriage the Charisians had developed — and which Tartarian's artisans and foundry workers had duplicated from Captain Myrgyn's sketches — wouldn't be very practical for field use, but surely something else could be worked out.

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31 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 89

  1. John says:

    I sense a coming land battle, or perhaps a battle to repel invaders from a shore. Although it sounds like the League of Corisande doesn’t have muskets yet, some nice feild artillery might come in handy.

  2. Alistair says:

    Well.. got to catch up on our old friend I wonder if he will be willing to negoatate after he learns of Charis’ expansion or weather her will go down in flames.

  3. John says:

    When are we going to get back to Charis??? I’ve learned enough about other countries, I want to know what that envoy thinks when he learns about the upcoming alliance between Charis and Chrisholm.

  4. Maxim says:

    I wonder whether there will be a battle, or if it is possible that there will be one crushing blow and then negotiations.

  5. Maxim says:

    The Charis has so big an advantage if you look at the new rifles, the field artilery, which will be much better than anything Anvil Rock can come up, and information, which the cyborg provides, that I think it won’t be much of a battle.

  6. Alistair says:

    Yeah all up they will be outnumbered with merger and out gunned… not Good for Corisande but the prince is very, very, smart and determined. Even in the last months of WW2 the Japanese were tough to beat despite being outnumbered and out gunned same will apply here outcome assured but the butchers bill could be nasty for Charisholm.

  7. Summercat says:

    The Church is undone. Charisholm won’t be invading (much) of Corisande, but the Church is undone.

    Even Charis’ enemies have begun innovating.

  8. JohnG says:

    Summercat sees the essential point here, I think. Though the other point is important. War is dynamic. Enemies adapt. The US Navy and other US air forces adapted to the Zero–a truly superior plane in almost all respects at the beginning of the war, for example. Charisian “shock and awe” can go quite a long way, but that’s not going to mean that other options aren’t available to an adaptive enemy to counter some of it.

  9. amphi levro says:

    But for the Zero, the Japanese stopped improving it, while I don’t think Charis will stop improving things. And even with improvements, if you look at Europe, with Hitler’s bumbling and all, the German Panther creamed Churchills and Shermans. A Mustang or Mosquito were good, but a Schwalbe was better. And Charis is the one with the American advantage of being a large island and lots of resources, and the German advantage of lots of innovation and self-righteous indignation, but without the German or Russsian disadvantage of a Spanish inquisition (SS, NKVD)…

  10. E says:

    Don’t forget, Merlin encouraged the adaptations in Corisande by allowing their spies to have information on practically everything but the new powder. Corisande modifying its industrial base makes it useful for Charis for when it gets conquered.

    If Charis wanted to be smart about things, they could always seize the major population centers and wait the army to death. So far as I know, Safehold doesn’t have the war history for insurgent warfare, so we might see some guerrilla warfare afield but not so much in the cities. Still, Corisande is just realizing to put cannons on wheels like the Charisians are probably already doing to the most advanced extent possible. When it comes down to it, Charis will already know how to build anti-cannon fortresses (via Merlin) so Corisande won’t be much of a threat even with land superiority (which would probably be in numbers).

  11. Justin says:

    I can see it now. Charis’ wedding gift to Chistholm is Corisande.

  12. Richard Young says:

    Don’t forget that Corisande consist of two major islands and the fact that Hektor is not particularly well “loved” by his subjects. Charis could invade the second island and take half of Corisande’s land area with almost no effort. Guerrilla warefare is not too likely. Hektor would have to arm his subjects. The general populace is more likely to welcome Charis and turn on Hektor’s army than to help them. Also what is the church on Corisande going to say about all of this inovation. Hektor is between a rock and a hard place. Also Sumercat is right – The church is undone.

  13. David Pritchard says:

    (responding to comment 11)

    You’re not being quite correct her. Hektor isn’t particularly beloved by the people of Zebediah, he isn’t particularly disliked there either. And he IS loved by the people of Corisande. Merlin himself mentions that in one of the earlier snippets, discussing that point. So while Charis might be able to take Zebediah fairly easily, Corisande itself would be a different proposition.

  14. Maxim says:

    I agree guerilla warefare is not likely to occure for the Hector, but it is possible, because of the Church. If there are many who believe they are on the side of God some of guerilla war could happen.

  15. Gil says:

    These guys are so pocked… I am going to venture a speculation here…DW – who is having waaaay too much fun, appears to be setting up the bad guys to the point that there will be little bloodshed, in the end…. A first for religeous conflicts!!! The Group of 4 will first step on their peckers as has been outlined in the last three snippets, and then the secular rulers will find a way to justify some way not to get blasted to smithereens by Charis, and still hang on economically… by getting rid of the group of 4 and doing a general housecleaning on the “Corrupt” Church Leadership. Remember there are “Powerfull” forces working against the group of 4 just “waiting” to pounce at the first indication of disunity et. et….

    Just a thought guys.

    Have a great Day !!!! :-)

  16. Paul Howard says:

    It appears that on his home island, Hektor is ‘popular’ but may be less popular elsewhere in the League.

  17. Maxim says:

    Which powerfull forces do you mean?

  18. Maxim says:

    Gil, are you there?

    I didn’t get what you meant with ““Powerfull” forces working against the group of 4 just “waiting” to pounce at the first indication of disunity”.

    I wish you a great Day too.

  19. Gil says:

    The “powerfull” forces have been referred to in the snippets and in the first book. The hold on power by the group of 4 is not absolute.

  20. Jeff Ehlers says:

    He means within the Church itself. I imagine there are a number of high-level church officials who would just love to take over from the Group of Four.

  21. Peter says:

    Note that a change in G of 4 membership doesn’t necessarily mean any change in Church tactics; most of the rest of the hierarchy is just as corrupt and blinkered as they are.

  22. Ken Valentine says:

    I don’t remember–does Charis have Minie balls and rifled muskets? If so, Corisande will lose a lot of gun crews in the first land battle, because they’ll be unlimbering at ranges which are “safe” from arquebus or even musket fire, but well within the range of conical bullets. This is part of why the Union lost First Manassas–the artillery’s previous combat experience had been during the Mexican War, and the Mexican army had been using smoothbore muskets with ball ammo rather than conicals. At First Manassas, Union artillery unlimbered at 300 yards from Confederate positions (well beyond smoothbore musket range) and Confederate infantry promptly decrewed the pieces.

  23. Maxim says:

    Thanks for clarification Gil, Jeff.

    Yes I think Charis does have rifled muskets. And they are much faster as well if I remember correctly.

  24. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    I remember that as well. I doubt that we’ll see any major sea battles this book. It has to be a land fight here, and leads to the question of waht type of battle.

    Will the enemy bunker down in the capital and try to defend that? Undoubtably once they’re defeated we’ll see some fighting around Hecktor.

    Engage on the plains? Possibly.

    try to catch them at the landing sight? I highly doubt that. Merlin’s good enough to undue that attempt.

  25. jmbm says:

    As I see it, there are two possible outcomes at the end of the book. One might be an invasion of Corisande and a “last battle” with Hektor. The other an internal rebellion in Chisholm against the “heretics” when Cayleb shows up there for the wedding.

    Yes, Charis has rifled muskets, similar to Civil War ones. They decided in OAR to start producing smoothbore muskets because its cheaper and faster but one of the snippets from BSRA shows a Marine regiment practicing with rifled muskets and one of the characters saying rifled muskets outrange smoothbore cannons (when firing canister). Exactly like in 1861-1865.

  26. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    another 150 years and they’ll match us. oh wait, merlin speeds the process up a little, factored against the fact they have no electricity, factored into the fact that those platforms have to come down soon…

    a couple more books

  27. Jerry says:

    Don’t forget the July discussion between Seamount and Lock Island of rifled artillery and cannon-fired grenades.

  28. Summercat says:

    Charisholm isn’t going to be absorbing Corisande. NOt the main island. They WILL force Hektor to change a lot of his ways, but in the end he’ll sucessfully fight them off his home island…

    …while becoming more like them, and Corisande slowly becoming more sympathetic to Charis.

  29. Brian Busse says:

    With the G4 digging out their hole card and going all in, I wonder if we’re going to see more direct use of Merlin/OWL’s overt capabilities. The accidental armory fire, some nasty impurities introduced into iron production, etc…. Merlin’s provided good intel, but we haven’t seen any introduction of false intel into enemy/church communications. Yet.

  30. karidrgn says:

    False intel in regards to new tech could also be useful in forcing people to think and analyse things. That important question of ‘why’ and how to test your ideas and record the results.

  31. JNees says:

    There will be a battle, but not with Charis. The Army is being prepared, all unaware, to be used in an invasion of the mainland. The group of Four may be undone, but they dont accept it yet.

    The coming alliance with Corisande will provide the manpower for the Army, while Charis provides the navy and marines.


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