Archbishop's Palace,


City of Tellesberg,


Kingdom of Charis


            "Forgive me, Your Eminence."


            Maikel Staynair looked up from the latest stack of paperwork as Father Bryahn Ushyr opened his office door. Given the tumult and excitement of Queen Sharleyan's arrival this morning, the archbishop had managed to get very little done this day, and some of the documents on his desk simply had to be dealt with as expeditiously as possible. It hadn't been easy to carve the necessary couple of hours out of his schedule to deal with them, and Father Bryahn knew that as well as Staynair did. On the other hand, the under-priest hadn't been chosen lightly as the archbishop's personal secretary and aide. Staynair trusted his judgment implicitly, and, in normal circumstances, Ushyr was as unflappable as any archbishop might have asked. Yet there was something peculiar about his voice this afternoon. Something very peculiar.


            "Yes, Bryahn?"


            "I'm sorry to disturb you, Your Eminence. I know how busy you are. But . . . there's someone here I believe you should see."


            "'Someone'?" Staynair's eyebrows rose quizzically. "Would it happen that this someone has a name, Bryahn?"


            "Well, yes, Your Eminence. It's just that –" Ushyr paused most uncharacteristically, then shook his head. "I believe it might be better if I simply showed her in, if that's acceptable, Your Eminence."


            Staynair's curiosity was well and truly piqued. He couldn't imagine what could have flustered Ushyr this way. From what his secretary had just said, the visitor in question was obviously female, and Staynair couldn't think of a single woman in Charis — with the possible exception of Queen Sharleyan — who could have engendered that reaction in him. But he'd known the young priest long enough to accept his request, even if it wasn't exactly the normal protocol for visiting the primate of all Charis.


            "Very well, Bryahn. Give me a moment or two to tidy this up," he waved one hand at the report he'd been perusing, "and then show her in."


            "Yes, Your Eminence," Ushyr murmured, and the door closed quietly as he withdrew.


            Staynair gazed thoughtfully at that door for several heartbeats, then shrugged, inserted a slip of paper to mark his place, and began jogging the sheets of the report into order.


            Whatever might have caused his secretary's almost flustered reaction, it hadn't affected Ushyr's sense of timing, or his ability to estimate how long his archbishop needed. Staynair had exactly enough time to set the report aside, brush his desk into a semblance of neatness, and straighten himself alertly in his comfortable chair. Then the door opened, and Ushyr stepped back through it with a plainly dressed woman whose dark hair was lightly touched with silver, accompanied by two boys. The boys' features made it abundantly clear they were her sons, yet there was something else about them, as well. Something . . . familiar, although Staynair couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was. The older of them looked to be somewhere in his teens; the younger perhaps ten or eleven. That was the first thing that went through Staynair's mind, but another thought followed it almost instantly.


            They were terrified. Especially the boys, he thought. Their mother hid it better, but despite the strength of character in her face, there was fear in her eyes, as well. And something else. Something dark and passionate and ribbed with iron pride.


            "Your Eminence," Ushyr said quietly, "may I present Madame Adorai Dynnys."


            Staynair's eyes went wide, and he surged to his feet without even realizing he had. He was around the desk and across the office to her in three quick strides, and he held out his hand.


            "Madame Dynnys!" He heard the astonishment in his own voice, and it was as if he were listening to someone else. "This is most unexpected!"


            Her hand trembled slightly in his fingers, and he looked into those eyes, saw the exhaustion — and the desperation — behind the fear and the pride. How she could possibly have managed to travel all the way from the Temple Lands to Charis without being identified and taken by the Inquisition was more than he could begin to imagine.


            "Truly," he told her, squeezing her trembling hand gently as his own astonishment began to ebb at least a little, "God works His mysteries in ways beyond human understanding or prediction. You and your family have been in my prayers ever since Bishop Executor Zherald and Father Paityr received your husband's final letter, yet I never imagined that He would be gracious enough to allow you to reach Charis!"


            "Letter, Your Eminence?" she repeated. He heard the fatigue and tension in the depths of her voice, but her eyebrows rose and her eyes sharpened. "Erayk got letters out?"


            "Indeed, indeed he did," Staynair said. He extended his other hand, gripping both of hers, and shook his head. "At least one of them. I have no idea how he managed it, and I will not pretend Archbishop Erayk and I often failed to see eye-to-eye. Obviously, what's transpired here in Charis since his last visit is proof enough of that. But from the final letter he somehow arranged to have delivered to the Bishop Executor and Father Paityr, I can tell you that at the end of his life, your husband remembered the true touch of God." He shook his head again. "We've had no confirmation of his death here in Charis, but from the letter he sent — and from your own arrival here — I must assume the end he foresaw has indeed overtaken him."


            "Oh, yes," she half-whispered, chin trembling at last, tears sparkling in her eyes. "Oh, yes, Your Eminence. It has. And you're right. I believe he did feel God's finger, despite all that it cost him."


            "What do you mean?" Staynair asked gently, for there was something in her voice, in her manner, that said more than her words. She looked at him for a moment, then glanced at the two boys, who were watching her and the archbishop with wounded, anxious eyes.


            "Your Eminence," she said obliquely, "these are my sons, Tymythy Erayk and Styvyn." Tymythy, the older of the two, bobbed his head, his expression wary, as his mother introduced him, but Styvyn only stared at the archbishop. The younger boy's grief and tension cut Staynair like a knife, and he released one of Madame Dynnys' hands to reach out to the youngsters.


            "Tymythy," he said, and gripped the lad's hand in the clasp of an equal before he released it to lay that same hand lightly on the younger boy's head. "Styvyn. I know what's happened in your lives over the last few months has been frightening. I can't begin to imagine how your mother managed to get you to Charis. But know this, both of you. You're safe here, and so is she. No one will harm you, or threaten you, and I know I speak for King Cayleb when I tell you all three of you will be taken under his personal protection. And mine."


            Styvyn's lower lip quivered. Tymythy's expression was more guarded, more wary, but after a moment, he nodded again.


            "May you and I speak privately for a moment, Your Eminence?" Adorai requested. Her eyes darted once more briefly towards the boys, both of whom were still looking at Staynair, not her, and the archbishop nodded.


            "Of course." He stepped to the office door and opened it, looking out into Ushyr's office space. "Bryahn, would you please take Tymythy and Styvyn here down to the kitchen and see if Cook can't find them something to eat?" He looked back over his shoulder with a smile. "It's been quite a while since I was your age, boys, but I seem to recall that it was impossible to ever really keep me fed."


            The briefest of answering smiles flashed across Tymythy's face, then vanished. He looked anxiously at his mother for a moment, and she nodded.


            "Go with the Father," she said gently. "Don't worry about me. As the Archbishop says, we're safe now. I promise."


            "But –"


            "It's all right, Tym," she said more firmly. "I won't be long."


            "Yes, Ma'am," he said after one more moment of hesitation, and put his hand on his brother's shoulder. "Come on, Styv. I'll bet they've got hot chocolate, too."

About Eric Flint

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27 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 94

  1. Gil says:

    Well this had to happen, I had almost forgot about the Archbishops better half and sons, but I do believe they have a large part to play in the future of Safehold…. Yes I believe they do.

  2. RoadKillCAfe says:

    You know…I had forgotten about them too…this should be intresting!

  3. kari says:

    Hmm 3 major story lines coming together – How exciting! Don’t know which one I want to learn about more. Whonder if there will be a 4th and what that will be?

  4. Alistair says:

    Yeah I think it’s obvious that the arch bishop will learn of death be testimony and the effect that that has had on the mainland

    Now this is a punt but I also think (looking back at the the conversations at the brothel) that she is linked to a another secret cell that was planted shortly after creation. The cryptic comments that they talked about and the things that they wanted to tell the archbishop (her husband) but were afraid to say hint to me at some sort of agenda. also the unusual friendship she had with the boss of the brothel and her avoiding capture hint at something like this anyway.

    Thats my thoughts anyway

  5. Summercat says:

    Alistair –

    I think they didn’t want to tell the Archbishop that they knew about his so-called secret mistress…

  6. Maxim says:

    This could very well be that way, Alistair. I too had the impression something very important has been hinted on. But as I had read that capitel I thought that it could be the other way, that they knew one of Archangels, who has been hiding all this time.

  7. E says:

    Jeeze that’s a huge leap in plot. For now I think we can settle for the testimony of Dynny’s wife damaging the inquisition greatly and maybe some sort of speech out of Staynair at next mass. Merlin might have something to suggest as far as the boys, maybe a position training for the Royal Guard? If such a thing does happen, it could spell some trouble if one of the boys reaches the conclusion that their family deserved what happened to it and should summarily kill someone important (Cayleb, Sharleyan) to make up to God for it. Given their ages and recent trauma they may be susceptible to any indoctrination that provides stability in their lives. Let’s see what plans are made for the Dynnys family on Monday.

  8. kar says:

    The older son will make an excellant anti-church fanatic … maybe the first self-professed agnostic or true heretic (maybe)on Safehold. I can picture him assassinating inquisition priests.

  9. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    I think the boys will take a side play for now. She’s here to give his last words at the speech. Cayleb can proclaim exactly what happened to everyone to hear, how Charis’s own archbishop refused to abandoned Charis, even when facing torture. The church kills those who know the evil they have comitted, hoping that God and the Archangels won’t notice the growing corruption. yadda yadda yadda.

  10. E says:

    And thus making the Dynnys family the target of every rookie terrorist in Charis. Honestly the terrorists that burned down the college thus far seem so amateurish I half expect them to end up martyring someone who will turn all of Charis against the radicals.

  11. callen says:

    The priests seem to be freaking out in the tempal lands, i can only assume that they havent decided to use charises only weakness against them yet, (there lack of a field army(marines are the best, but not in an black powder slug fest) that charis could feild, the holy lands, and allies could feild thousands of ground troops anywhere charis makes its invasion (there will have to be one it they want to get there tech. back and kill the Gbaba) and overwhelm the forces there by shear numbers, espically the ones that practice outright slavery of troops (example of those armys is the persians), can throw the charisians back without noticing the losses that they will take. The only option charis has on a tactiacal level is to land trops using the scout ship that ‘Merlin’ posses. Which for obvious reasons wont work in the story line. If it did they could drop commandos on every King, Prince, Queen, Princess, Duke, EXT. they wanted and eleminate the entire planets political infustructor and leadership, leving charis the lone remaining power. (and subsiquintly able to land troops anywhere they wanted). at any rate the second the church relizes they can throw charisis landings back wherever they are they will take advantage of the situation and PUSH with there troops. Thank God for the PICO right! no matter how you look at it, charis needs a feild army, which they have no experiance with, ‘Merline’ probobly could make one, but then everyone whose anyone on the planet will know who to kill in charis to weaken charis. The technology to make a adequate feild army of the time would probobly be about Revolutionary war times (the first 20 years or so after they got rid of the venerable pike companys because of fast loading muskets) or better yet they could probobly get away with Civil war era wepons and tech. without the orbital array hitting them with M.A.C. rounds. The problem is the breach loader, technology is sorta like pandoras box, once you open your mind to it, or see it, or think it, make it, test it, ext. you cant make it go away. I.E. nuckler warheads, once merlin starts getting charis used to the new ideas and concepts and tech, he will need to arm them better to meet the demand, (M-14 obviously not going to happen) so a breach loader idea will come up, (skip the whole revolver thing), and obviously wont go away, higher rate of fire and all that. Another problem would be the artellery batteries, the current tech merlin has given charis has enabled them to have a basic recoil system on ship board, but charis dosnt have the capability to build on to make a recoil system on their feild cannons, which is going to slow the rate of fire, and give the pike companys of the enemy time to close to range of the musketers, (with rifled muskets theres no reason to arm your men with pikes, specially since the muskets have ring bayonetts on them), wich will create a slaghter. However they pull off the story is going to be interesting since im certain these facts are already at the minds of the authers.

  12. E says:

    Wow. *digging under wall of text*

    If you’re going to use acronyms please state what they mean. What is “M.A.C.?”

    I prefer to take things as Weber dispenses them via Merlin who has stated that he is also training the Charisians to innovate on their own. There is a psychological aspect to this which goes beyond the mere technological superiority that Merlin is bringing about. If the Charisians were to become too dependent on what they already have and don’t actively seek improvement then their society will stratify, kindof like the Church kingdoms and the Gbaba. Merlin’s initiatives sped up things for Charis but Charis will have to keep the ball rolling on its own before they become ready as a society to face the future fight against the Gbaba. Focusing on the fight that is not happening at this point in the story is simply out of synch with the current genre of the series. For all intents and purposes, Off Armageddon Reef, By Schisms Rent Asunder, and (possibly) By Heresies Distressed are all members of the fantasy genre (with only a tiny bit of sci-fi via Merlin) that focuses on the political. It’s one huge chess game in epic alliance formation. Thus, I reiterate, the decision to advance the technical side remains in Weber’s hands and whatever problems he chooses to address when he does, he will; the big picture (before the fight gets taken back to the Gbaba) is how to deal with the Church.

    Welcome back to the game of thrones. Let’s get political.

  13. Tabasco says:

    At callen:

    I’m assuming Magnetic Accelerator Cannon is what MAC is, but an expansion would’ve been nice I agree. Also remember that punctuation is your friend.

    It’s been said before, but it bears repeating. There’s no way we’re going to get a ‘Merlin Ex Machina’ in this story. Intelligence gathering, definately, already been done. Rapid transport of key figures during emergencies, sure. -Maybe- the odd pathfinder mission for an invasion fleet through an ‘impassable’ or ‘impossible’ landing site or stretch of sea. All out mass slaughter and waving his heretical techniques under the world’s nose, not a chance.

  14. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    If nessessary, he could do little stuff, but I doubt that as well. The only obvious super-human thing he’ll do is fight and slaughter those that come too close.

  15. Lee Parker says:

    We must remember that there are/were multiple strings to Shan Wei’s bow. I think Adorai represents yet another one. Guess we will have to wait and see.

  16. E says:

    Right now, Merlin is trying to score a victory for Charis nee The Empire under their own power. I think he’d be perfectly alright to buy them extra time by sowing misinformation amongst Charis’ enemies, but essentially the people of The Empire will have to come to victory on their own efforts if the proper cultural setting is to be established for the eventual unification of the world and return to space.

    I was trying to explain Merlin to someone and (apart from the questions concerning Nimue) the interesting thing that was stated was that Merlin “sounds like Batman.”
    Dunno if this is relvant, but I thought I’d add it.

  17. Summercat says:

    So what sort of symbol would the Merlin-signal send? And could it be modified to work on a clear night?

  18. Duncan Macdonald says:

    In Merlin’s cave there was 200 assault rifles with 2 million rounds of ammo. That would be enough to equip a force that could rip straight through anything that the Church could field.

  19. Paul Howard says:

    I suspect that those Assault Rifles are for “Bigger Game” than the Church (like some “Archangels”).

    Oh, David Weber has said they’re there for a reason and he did talk about a book in this series titled “The Saints Their Watch Are Keeping”. [Wink]

  20. E says:

    Well now… sounds like secret societies in Safehold will factor into a title like that.

    Also sounds like a few angels will awaken. Wonder how many recon skimmers those bastards managed to stow away.

  21. kari says:

    In a previous post someone mentioned the importance humans place on round figures say 1,000 years. That would be a good time for any ‘angels’ to awaken in order to make sure no changes have occured and put people back on the straight and narrow. I also got that the head of the brothel had a deep secret in her past and I think that may pop up again. It also doesn’t have to be just from Shan-wei’s bow. We don’t know the name of the person who went with Kai to kill Langhorne who supposedly was the last person to know about Nimue.

    On another note – a few things questions that I have are about the culture on Safehold. What Earth art, music and liturature did Langhorne and Bedard allow the colonists to keep from from the past? As for new art, I’m guessing that they might have tried to say that anything that didn’t glorify God or the church was to be frowned upon. At least put a snob factor against anything secular. Only mention was that Merlin liked Charis because it had music and other things showing it’s creativity and independence from strict doctrine.

    final note – besides punctuation, I suggest working on spelling.

  22. “In a previous post someone mentioned the importance humans place on round figures say 1,000 years.”

    That really does not happen with Roman numerals, does it? My understanding was that millenniarism was really not the issue in 1000 that it was in 2000, though sources differ. “Round figures”, a reference to the zero that Safeholders lacked, are less appealing as interesting dates when DccccLxxxxViiii (Roman, not medieval, numbering) becomes M.

    As a practical matter, there should have been a reasonable estimate as to when Gbaba scouts might have arrived, and having someone wake up 20 years early to take notes and if need be activate the orbital moral rectification system would have been a(n) (in)sane precaution. Leaving people asleep with one or two at a time to be awake at any given moment, might also have been a precaution, though apparently one that Langhorne might have been sure was not needed.

  23. Brom says:

    Minor nit. Wouldn’t that be CMXCIX … that becomes M? Also, 1000 was a significant number to the Romans, and they created a shortcut to many thousands, by putting a bar over the number, so that a “bar IV” (bar over IV) was 4000, “bar X” was 10,000, “bar C” was 100,000, … to “bar M” as one million …


  24. David says:

    No it would not necessarily be CMXCIX. The subtractive system of Roman numerals became universal in the modern period. The Romans in the classical period would have used IIII not IV, VIIII, not IX etc. While the subtractive system makes sense given that eighteen in Latin is literally two from twenty, the subtraction has become more popular after Rome, in the medieval and successive periods.

    David the Lettered Wolf

  25. kari says:

    From my understanding Europeans approaching the year 1,000 were convinced that the return of Jesus and the end of the world was comming – just as many religious folks were when approaching 2,000.

  26. CMXCIX Is the medieval form of Roman numerals, in which IX is 9 because I to the left of x denotes subtraction. The original Romans, or so I was taught, were a little less sophisticated, and said VIIII. My students notwithstanding, I do not refer to Ancient Rome as ‘recently, a new system of writing numbers has been invented in Italy’

    The Roman form makes multiplication and long division significantly easier, though recall the letter from Oxford, soon after founding, to an English Lord, saying ‘if your son only wants to learn addition and subtraction, he can come to us, and need not go to France, because we can teach them, but if he truly wishes to master the arcane art of long division, then he must go to Italy, for the French mathematicians don’t understand it any better than we do.

    When I was in 7th grade we were taught Roman numeral multiplication, and shown Roman numeral long division.

  27. JNees says:

    MAJOR move on the chess board. Madame Dynnys is just a minor piece, say like a knight, but she has just been posted in a very forward position. she is blocking the advance of an enemy pawn, and threatening all sorts of possibilities, while just sitting there. This is a very significant development.


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