"Cayleb!" Irys more than half-hissed the name. The eyes which had been filled with tears moments before glittered with fury now, and Hektor shrugged.


            "Possibly. In fact, I'd have to say probably, under the circumstances. I'm reasonably confident it wasn't some spontaneous act of rebellion on the part of my subjects, at any rate. Beyond that, I'm not really sure of anything, though. For all I know, it could have been one of our own nobles. Someone who's afraid of what's going to happen and figures putting me out of the way might make it easier to placate Cayleb."


            "My Prince, you don't really –" Coris began.


            "No, I don't really think that's what happened," Hektor said, shaking his head. "I'm not quite that frightened of shadows yet, Phylyp! All I meant was that, as you yourself just said, we really don't know who it was."


            "It was Cayleb," Irys said coldly. "Who else would want you dead badly enough to try an assassination in the middle of your own capital in the middle of the day?"


            "My love," Hektor said, turning back to her with a crooked smile, "the list of people who would like to see me dead is a very lengthy one, I'm afraid. You know that. At this particular moment, Cayleb would be at the head of my own list of likely suspects. I'll admit that. But it could also have been Nahrmahn. Or Sharleyan — she's never made any secret of how she feels about me! For that matter, it could have been Zebediah or one of the Grand Duke's 'associates.' Or simply someone who hates me for a completely separate reason and figured suspicion would automatically focus on Cayleb instead of him. I've told you before. When something like this happens, you must never close your mind to any possibility until you have at least some firm pieces of evidence."


            "Yes, Father." Irys inhaled again, then nodded once, sharply. "I still say Cayleb's the most likely, but you're right. Until we have something more than automatic suspicion to base our thinking on, I'll try to keep an open mind about other possible suspects."


            "Good." Hektor reached out to cup the back of her head in his right palm for a moment, smiling at her. Then he turned back to Coris, Anvil Rock, and Tartarian, and his expression hardened.


            "I want to know who was really behind it," he told him flatly. "Use as many men and as much gold as it takes, but find out who was behind it."


            "My Prince, if mortal men can discover that, my investigators will. But, in all honesty, I have to warn you that the odds of success are problematical, at best. Generally, when something like this comes out of nowhere, the investigators either get a break in the first few hours or days, or else they never get one."


            "That's not acceptable, Phylyp," Irys said in a cold, hard voice.


            "I didn't say it was acceptable, Your Highness. I'm only warning you and your father that it's probably what's going to happen, despite the best efforts of everyone in this room. We know now that someone who wants the Prince dead is willing to try to bring that about. That's more than we knew this morning. I'm not saying it's enough, only that it's more. We'll keep trying to find out who was behind it, but in the meantime, all we can do is take precautions to make it harder for whoever it was. And, with all due respect, I think it might be wise to increase your own bodyguards, and your brothers', as well. I don't want to alarm either of you, but if it was Cayleb, then removing all of you might very well be what he has in mind."


            "Earl Coris is right, Your Highness," Anvil Rock said quietly. "We'll all do all we can, but for now, that really amounts to little more than increasing the security around your father — and you and your brothers, of course."


            "And what do we tell everyone else?" Irys' voice was still brisk, but it had lost that tang of old, cold iron. Coris' eyebrows rose, and she snorted. "Rumors must be all over the city, by now," she pointed out. "By this time tomorrow, they'll be across the Barcors and as far as Shreve or Noryst!"


            That was an exaggeration, Hektor thought. It would take the Church's semaphore to carry any sort of message — or rumor — six hundred miles in barely twenty-six hours. Still, she had a point.


            "There's enough uncertainty and anxiety swirling around without adding this to it," she continued. "Especially if all we can say is 'We don't know who it was' when someone asks."


            "She's right about that," Hektor said. The others looked at him, and he snorted. "Of course she is! Trust me, the rumors ignorance can come up with will be worse than any possible accurate answer could have been!"


            "So what should we do about it, My Prince?" Tartarian asked after a moment, and Irys laughed. It was not an especially pleasant sound.


            "May I, Father?"


            "Go ahead," Hektor invited, settling back on his heels, and she smiled grimly at the other three men.


            "What matters most is that we put some sort of name or face on whoever it was," she told them. "That we kill any impression that it might have been some general act of defiance or rebellion from inside Corisande. And who have all of us just agreed is our most probable suspect?"


            "Cayleb," Tartarian replied. Like most men, he had a tendency to forget Princess Irys wasn't yet twenty at moments like this. In fact, she was so much her father's daughter that it could be frightening at times.


            "Exactly," she agreed. "Maybe it was Cayleb, and maybe it wasn't, but it obviously could have been him. And it's not as if we have any evidence that it wasn't him, either. Given the fact that we're at war with Charis, he'll strike most people as a reasonable suspect, and he's an outsider. The outsider, at the moment. Besides, assassination is exactly what you'd expect out of heretics. So announcing that we believe it was him will actually have a rallying effect."


            "She's right," Hektor said again, smiling at her. Then he looked back at the other three. "It doesn't really matter if it actually was Cayleb. We certainly don't have any reason to worry about his reputation, at any rate, so I'm not likely to lie awake at night worrying about whether or not we're blaming it all on an innocent man! And it will have exactly the effect Irys has just described. In fact, aside from the fact that it got a loyal man killed, this could turn out to be very useful to us."


            "As long as we don't close our own minds to the possibility that it wasn't Cayleb, My Prince," Coris said warningly.


            Hektor arched an eyebrow, and the earl shrugged.


            "Overall, I agree with you and Her Highness," he said. "Where the political consequences of this are concerned, especially. But even if this does turn out to be 'useful' in some ways, let's not forget that someone really did try to kill you this afternoon, My Prince. It's always possible they'll try again, and I don't want any of us — especially me and my investigators — to close our minds to any possible suspects or avenues of investigation until we know for certain who it was."


            "Of course, Phylyp," Hektor agreed. "Of course. But in the meantime," he smiled unpleasantly, "let's turn our minds to how we can most suitably blacken Cayleb's reputation over this, shall we?"




About Eric Flint

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28 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 91

  1. Alistair says:

    They know as much as we do it seems…

  2. Maria says:

    Can you say ‘devious’? Hektor and Irys, both. Especially if the previous speculation pans out and Irys herself is behind this. After this snippet, I certainly don’t put it past her.

  3. John says:


    Still no real info on who did it.

    I think it most likely is not Charis.

  4. Summercat says:

    Not Charis. Most definatly not Charis.


    Hear me out.

    G04 ‘convinces’ whats his name, dead Guard, to sacrifice his life for this. Sends in an assassin, signals the guard, the guard takes the shot for Hektor…

    And Corisande becomes a hotbed of anti-Charisian sentiment, motivated to fight the Charisholm Empire on the beaches…

  5. jarhead says:


    I will give you two suspects to begin with one is Zebediah or factions inside that realm or second the sweet little girl standing right next to him. After all, she can’t be queen unless her father is gone. Cayleb can’t profit from this attempt.

  6. Justin says:


    I don’t buy it. Its not like Corisande is neutral when it comes to Charis. I could see the Go4 trying that in say Siddmark but Corisande already has its head in the chopping block. Also if they wanted to point the blame on Charis they sure did not leave enought evidence pointing to that fact did they? Like a Charis manufactured arleblast or say the feathers used to fleach the bolt that did the killing coming from a bird that only can be found in Charis.

    Also I think you give the Go4 to much credit in trying to pull of this scheme. The Go4 has proved time and time again that they are arrogent and suffer from a top down mentality. They would not have gone for an act like this. Rather they would just have instructed the curch in Corisande to step up the demonizing speach against Charis and sent some arrogently worded letter to Hektor about how they where “concerned” about the lack of vigor that the people of Corisande where demonstrating in not holding nightly anti-Charis rallys and such.

    No I don’t buy the Go4 as setting up a failed attempt to kill Hektor just to “rally” Corisande to an anti-Charis mentality. I think it could be a Corisande noble who is trying to eliminate Hektor so as to stave off Charis or maybe Nahrmahn or Sharleyan. Nahrmahn in an attempt to get a better position with Cayleb by presenting him with the body of Hektor or Sharleyan who wants to give her future husband a unique wedding present.

  7. Gil says:

    You know I was just rereading OAR and lo and behold I found a passage there where Nahrame (sp?) prince of Emerald after recieving “instructions” from Hector mentioned he had not one but two people placed near Hector in case he needed to be removed…Given that we had two arbalest shots fired… given that the prince of Emerald is about to be allied with Cayleb, mabee these guys are right in a very circumspect kind of way….

    Just pure speculation, DW is having waaaaay toooo much fun!!!! :-)

    Have a great day !!!

    Gil :-)

  8. Cyane says:

    Since today is the bicenntenial of the Dos de Mayo (Spanish uprising in Madrid against the French), I am going to speculate that Clintahn (not the G4, just him) is somehow behind the assassination attempt. Hector’s not-so-promising heir will be much easier for the Church to influence/manipulate.

    Other League rulers are in danger. Clintahn is going to put “reliable” people on those thrones, just as Napoleon tried to secure his position in Europe by turning family members into kings. Clintahn has already reached the point where he will justify anything he does as “God’s will.”

  9. Maxim says:

    I like the way Irys is developing.

    I kind of doubt that Nahrmahn would try to kill Hector without a very good reason. He is without doubt able to such a deed, but I don’t see him go for it only to please Cayleb. And it is not given, that Cayleb would thank him for killing Hector, it would only remind him of the assasination attempt on himhelf.

  10. Summercat says:

    I admit it’s a bit of a stretch. But hey, I’m enjoying myself ;)

  11. Alan says:

    I can see the G4 or Clintahn doing it not to rally Corisande but to rally/intimidate other rulers and peoples. The attempt on Hektor may merely mean that the G4/Clintahn had assets in Corisande but not in Emerald. Actually, Clintahn is arrogant and stupid enough to do it merely so that he can show other members of the G4 that he can act independently of them in his role as grand inquisitor.

  12. karidrgn says:

    Gill – if you look closely it’s not Narhman that has 2 men it’s “Hahl has a man in place in Manchyr. In fact, he has two of them….” And that refers (I believe) to the ruler in Tarot. Narhman knows about it cause he was doing some secret negotiations w/ Tarot before the Go4 made their move.

  13. E says:

    I’d not be surprised if it were one of Nahrman’s men, either acting on his own initiative or on orders. Nahrman might be shooting in the dark, thinking that by assassinating the leadership in Corisande he can curry favor with Cayleb and improve his odds of survival (ironically not knowing that Merlin raises his odds of living considerably). I wouldn’t put it past Hektor to arrange a few more incidents in order to rile up the populous of Corisande into an anti-Charis maelstrom. If the people of Corisande are turned into extremists then it’s going to be hard for Cayleb to consolidate Corisande into the Empire short of executing and supplanting the entire population. Most likely, the other island will be more open to surrender and new management, but Hektor is setting the state for symptomatic insurgency that for all anyone can predict might take generations.

    Merlin, of course, being the wild card, can use more modern methods for age-old problems that are going to be born again on Safehold.

    Following on the heels of the Catholic church, it may be that Weber will have the Church of God Awaiting institute the idea of the the divine right of kings (to rule) as a means of consolidating a philosophy on the derivation of power (God -> Church -> Kings -> People) and keeping their rulers in check by creating a standoff situation where the first ruler to leave the arms of Mother Church gets shot by the other rulers who would have one gun aimed at Charis on the Church’s behalf and the other gun for each other. This is by no means a competent measure, since the Church has no noteworthy army and absolutely no navy, but it is the kindof half-baked benefit-only-consideration policy decision that would cause the shit (extremists and sycophants) to float to the top. The only problem with this philosophy would be the existence of democratic examples like Siddarmark but it’s likely that places like Harchong and the Desnarian Empire would be open to exploiting such an augmentation to their own corrupt practices.

  14. Brom says:

    It does not make any sense for Nahrman to try to have Hektor killed AT THIS TIME, if only that Nahrman thinks he needs the spectre of an alive and kicking Hektor on Corisande to give him (or Pine Hollow) leverage in the negotiations with Cayleb. A dead Hektor wipes out any leverage he might have ..

    Cayleb’s agents wouldn’t have used arbalasts …

  15. E says:

    Wrong. The only leverage Emerald has is to submit quietly and not be invaded, buying Charis time to deal with the mainland fleet that will be reconstituted to invade Charis and Corisande. If Nahrman offs Hektor, that means he can present his position, albeit weakly, as a “dedicated” ally of Charis. If Hektor is killed, Nahrman also gets an excuse to get cozy with the Church should they win (they won’t, but this chess game involves playing offense and defense simultaneously) by claiming fear of assassination by heretic on more justifiable grounds by propping up Hektor’s corpse as an example. The person with the most to gain would be whoever sees their self as in charge after Hektor’s death, which could be Irys. It would royally suck for Nahrman if the person that saved Hektor turned out to be Emerald’s assassin.

    All this political posturing is starting to get tedious. Can we get an explosion or something?

  16. E says:

    argh, I thought ahead of what I typed:

    “buying Charis time to deal with the mainland fleet that will be reconstituted to invade Charis and deal with Corisande”

  17. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    lol. Well, its not charis. Merlin wouldn’t bother to missand since he’s around Cayleb doesn’t really need any others. I don’t think Emerald has anything to do with it. he would have had to send the orders before Pine Hollow ever made it to Charis, which makes its bargening power null. a noble could be one of them. Chisholm would enjot it, but still I doubt it. why wait that long?

    heh heh, stupid, I know, but what if it was Coris’s little group of people who know the truth and support Cayleb? So highly unlikely that I feel foolish fo even think it, it still sounds kinda cool

  18. Virgil says:

    okay I don’t normally post here. But I got a suggestions. All these rulers seen from their own viewpoint are not really bad. Each seems to be doing what they think would be best for their nation. That said, Nahrman get my vote, he is looking at the invasion of his country with no hope of winning. He knows he has lost before the battle starts, he just taking out the one Person he blames for the whole mess. And he wants to make sure he not around to cause more problem for his people after he is gone. Nahrman at that time would have no expectation of living much longer so he trying to protect his people before he’s dead.

    In discussion I mention to people Hitler did not think he was an evil madman. But his effect on history says he was.

  19. Brian Busse says:

    I suspect internal adversaries. Nahrman has reason to do it, if for no other reason than to reduce Corisand by internal strife. Merlin has a quandary here, remember Charis is a tool, the goal it to break the grip that the church has on the populace. Granted, he wants Charisian style governance and enlightenment to replace it, but that’s a relative luxury while breaking the inquisition is a necessity. A weak Corisand becomes easy pickings for direct rule by the G4 if Charis doesn’t have the resources to grab it first. The church is on a path that is a threat to all other centers of power, whether they are allies of Charis or not. I see parallels with Drake/Flint’s Bellisarius storyline; take advantage the enemy’s internal divisions to turn some of them against the “real” enemy. Chisholm was first and became a true ally, Nahrman is second and will get a deck chair Chaisian ship of state; help keep it afloat or drown when it sinks. He will not be allowed the opportunity to survive a church victory. I see Hektor being maneuvered into seeing the inquisition as a greater threat than Charis, and thus becoming an ally of convenience.

  20. Chaddaï Fouché says:

    Nahrman has probably other preoccupations right now… Besides I don’t see Nahrman’s assassination failing like that, he said he had two men close to Hektor, not two anonymous guys that could get an arbalest and aim for Hektor from afar. No, a tentative of assassination coming from Nahrman would be a lot less crude and much more likely to succeed than this one.

    We can pretty much agree that it wasn’t an official Charis order (would have used better weapons, better timing (helped by Merlin), … and contrary to the moral stand of the main characters), so there remains only some possibilities : official tentative by a potential ally to Charis (unaware that Cayleb wouldn’t be pleased), unofficial tentative (much more likely IMO) or internal strife for power in Corisande (I place my bet on this one).


  21. Maxim says:

    Virgil, you bring an interesting point up. I think this explanation for the possibility of Nahrman behind the assasination attemt is the best of the written till now.

    As for Hitler, I find it regrettable, that people lay the whole fault for the mess which happend in the World War II to the feet of Hitler personally. I mean Hitler was a sick bastard, but he didn’t act alone in vacuum. Behind him and besides him where groups of people, interests of others. But you don’t get usually to see an understanding of such facts in the discussions or historical explanations.

    As for the others rulers in these books, I would not compare anybody of them to Hitler, with possible exception of the Grand Inquisitor of the Church in a way of fanaticism.

  22. E says:

    There’s something to think about. Clyntahn doesn’t strike me as a fanatic, he strikes me as a power wielder who uses the Church to his convenience. A more desperate situation would force someone of his personality into fanaticism, but his disposition is similar to Hitler in that he attributes internal problems to external sources.

    Hitler himself was an internally destructive person, he hated the Jewish part of himself to the degree expressed in his conducting of the Holocaust. If Clyntahn is being modeled after Hitler, than I wonder what manner of self hatred he would possess to permit future atrocities against Charis. He entered the Church into the destruction of Charis on a flippant note, but the situation now is much more than he can easily disregard. If his personality begins to fracture before he can be removed from his post he might be able to order some serious atrocities before the Church can disown him… and he might drag the Church beyond where it can do so and remain whole.

    Thus far his checklist seems thus:
    Embargo Charis (eventually the Empire once Cayleb’s marriage becomes public knowledge) [Hurray colonialism!]
    Capture Charisian Merchant vessels and merchants. (Charis will mount punitive expeditions)
    Torture Charisian prisoners for false confessions. (Merlin will… come up with something)
    Play like Corisande and blacken Cayleb (and the Empire) on the personal level. (Merlin)
    Build a second fleet and destroy Charis. (Epic fail)

  23. Mike says:

    Actually, it probably doesn’t matter much who it was, only who it wasn’t. This bit makes clear that the important thing is this is going to be made into propaganda.

    Weber likes to show his bad guys outsmarting themselves. Just like when Haven faked an execution of Honor because they thought there was no way to have it boomarang on them, only to find out they were wrong. Same thing is going to happen here, and Hektor is going to get trapped into making a bigger and bigger deal out of this, only for the evidence to finally come out that it wasn’t Cayleb. This decision to run with the propaganda is going to snap back and bite them. Like I said, it’s a Weber pattern.

    What that means is that of all the candidates, the only one I’m confident did not do it is Cayleb.

  24. E says:

    Well then, if that is the case then I sincerely hope Weber is reading these forums so that he can try doing something outside the pattern. I’d hate to have Weber lose some standing in my list of authors by watching him write the same books he wrote but with different characters.

  25. Summercat says:

    E –

    But I’ve been enjoying Heirs of Empir- er, Off Armageddon Reef…

  26. Maxim says:

    I do hope that David Weber reads thess forums and I’ve been enjoying reading nearly all of his works. The only books which I didn’t like were The Starfire books.(I can’t even explain why, it just didn’t connect)

  27. E says:

    If you’re looking for a connection, William Gibson writes some good books (when he writes at all).
    Check out “Neuromancer,” it’s where Gibson invented the term Cyberspace back in 1984.

  28. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    off Armegeddon Reef was the first Weber book I ever even picked up.

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