Howsmyn looked as if he were tempted to spit on the polished marble floor, and Ironhill sighed.


            "I understand, and I was on your side, if you'll recall. But there truly was some point to the argument that yanking everyone under the age of fifteen out of the manufactories is going to cause a lot of dislocation. And whether you like it or not, Ehdwyrd, it's also true that a lot of households who depend in full or in part on the wages their children bring home are going to get hurt along the way."


            "I didn't say it would be easy, and neither Rhaiyan nor I ever argued that it would be painless. But it needs to be done, and Kairee is a prime example of why. Look at him — just look! Do you see a single shadow of concern on his face? And do you think for a moment that he's prepared to pay any sort of pension to those three youngsters' families for their deaths? Why should he? Until the child labor laws go into effect, there'll always be more where they came from."


            The cold, bitter hatred in Howsmyn's voice was stronger than poison, and Ironhill shifted a bit uncomfortably. He couldn't dispute anything Howsmyn had just said. For that matter, he agreed with Howsmyn's position in general, although he sometimes thought his friend might take it to something of an extreme, trying to move too far too quickly. And there were those in the Charisian business community who took a considerably more jaundiced view of Howsmyn's and Rhaiyan Mychail's crusade to improve working conditions in their manufactories than Ironhill did. "Bleeding heart" was one of the terms bandied about from time to time, and many a businessman had been heard to mutter about the disastrous effect the policies they advocated would inevitably have on the kingdom's economy.


            Which, given the fact that Ehdwyrd and Rhaiyan routinely show the greatest returns on their enterprises of anyone in Charis, is particularly stupid of them, the baron conceded to himself. Still . . . .


            "I didn't know about the accident," he said again, quietly. "I can see exactly why that would make you angry. For that matter, it makes me pretty damned angry, now that I know. But how does that tie in with the Temple Loyalists?"


            "You really ought to sit down and discuss that with Bynzhamyn Raice," Howsmyn told him. "I'm sure that by now Bynzhamyn must have quite a dossier on our good friend Traivyr."


            "Why?" Ironhill's eyes narrowed.


            "Because the same bastard who couldn't care less about workers getting themselves killed in his manufactories is outraged by the very notion of our 'godless apostasy' in daring to tell the Group of Four that we're disinclined to let them burn our homes over our heads. It turns out that we've damned every soul in Charis to an eternity with Shan-wei in Hell, to hear him to tell it. Amazing how much more concerned he is over his workers' souls than over their physical well-being. Do you suppose that has anything to do with the fact that he's not going to have to pick up the ticket for their admission to Heaven?"


            The bite in Howsmyn's voice could have peeled paint off a wall, and Ironhill frowned. Traivyr Kairee had always been very much a part of the religious establishment. Given his normal business practices and the way he treated his employees, however, Ironhill had always assumed his attachment to the Church stemmed from the amount of business and patronage it controlled rather than from any genuine sense of piety.


            "Just how openly has he been expressing his views?" the Keeper of the Purse asked.


            "Not quite as openly as he was," Howsmyn acknowledged. "Right after Cayleb arrested Ahdymsyn and named Maikel Archbishop, he was a lot more vociferous. Since then, he's pulled back a notch or two, especially since the assassination attempt. I don't think he's talking about it very much in public at all, anymore. Unfortunately, I can't quite avoid moving in the same circles he does — not entirely — and people who know both of us tend to talk. Believe me, he hasn't changed his position, Ahlvyno. He's just been cautious enough to go at least a little underground with it. I doubt he's fooling Bynzhamyn's investigators into thinking he's changed his mind, but just look at him smiling and nodding over there. I don't like the thought of letting someone with his sympathies into stabbing range of the King."


            "I doubt he's prepared to take it quite that far," Ironhill said slowly. "If nothing else, it would take more guts than I've ever seen him display."


            "Maybe not. But what he would damned well do is to run and tell his fellow Temple Loyalists anything he manages to pick up at Court — or anywhere else, for that matter."


            "Now that, I could see him doing," Ironhill admitted. He frowned across the ballroom at Kairee for several more seconds, then grimaced.


            "Before it slips my mind, Ehdwyrd, let me thank you for how thoroughly you've destroyed my limited enjoyment of the evening."


            "Think nothing of it," Howsmyn said solemnly. "After all, that's what friends are for."


            "And don't think I won't find a way to return the favor," Ironhill warned him. "On the other hand," he continued more gravely, "you've given me quite a bit to think about. Kairee is bidding on several of the Crown's current contracts. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, he's probably the low bidder on at least two of them . . . including one for five thousand of the new rifles. Under the circumstances, I think it might behoove me to consider whether or not I want someone with his attitude that deep inside what we're doing."


            "I think it might, indeed," Howsmyn agreed.


            "I don't know how the King is going to react to the notion," Ironhill warned him. "He's serious about this not penalizing anyone over matters of conscience as long as they haven't violated any laws."


            "Ahlvyno, I respect Cayleb deeply. More than that, I'm ready to follow him anywhere he leads. But he's still a very young man, in very many ways. I understand his logic in refusing to adopt repressive measures, and I understand Maikel's position on the consciences of individuals. That doesn't mean I think they're right. Or it might be better to say I don't think they're entirely right. At some point, they're going to have to start making some precautionary decisions based on what amounts to suspicion. I'm not talking about arrests, or arbitrary imprisonments, and God knows I'm not talking about executions. But they've got to start protecting themselves against others like Kairee.


            "I'll be the first to admit that the intensity of my . . . dislike for him is driving my suspicions where he's concerned, to some extent, at least. And, like you, I don't think he's got the courage to risk dying for his beliefs. But there could be others who do have the courage . . . and who do a better job of hiding just how much they disagree with what we're doing here in Charis. Those are the ones that worry me, Ahlvyno."


            Ehdwyrd Howsmyn looked into his friend's eyes and shook his head, his eyes dark.


            "Those are the ones that worry me," he repeated.




About Eric Flint

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14 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 101

  1. Alistair says:

    Well the temple loyalists have quite foot hold in the establishment

    I wonder what the snarcs are picking up?
    Whether they are looking at all the key suspects and if merlin has enough time to look at the info?

  2. E says:

    Phew. I was concerned we weren’t going to get a snippet 101.

    My bet is that the corrupt bidders get undercut by the good guys to the point where the Empire gets its rifles and god knows what else cheaply (with profits lined by higher-priced sales on the side maybe?). Infiltrators at higher levels could cause problems for the Empire through perjury and industrial sabotage. Most likely the “moderate” Church supporters will secretly back the fanatics who will coincidentally burn down the competition.

  3. kari says:

    I would bet that Merlin is busy enough keeping track of oversees intrigue, leaving internal matters to Wave Thinder’s investigators unless there was someone that he couldn’t watch. But this is an interesting turn of events. Hmm…we also have the unhappy uncle nearby as well.

  4. Maxim says:

    I don’t think Merlin underestimates the danger from within. He won’t leave internal matters alone for Wave Thinder’s investigators.
    The plotters are in a big disadvantage because they cannot begin to suspect the range of Merlins capabilities. The unhappy uncle is more dangerous because of politics.

  5. Leonard says:

    Yeah, espionage is a probability in this situation though. Or he could be shifting gears and try to cause difficulty in bringing the two countries together- internal and external battles.
    Who knows, though I can’t wait to find out.

  6. E says:

    It’s not just whether Merlin can stop the Churchies at the top, it’s also whether he can stop their underlings. Given the amount of independence needed to run a cell-based terrorist organization, Merlin will have to juggle a lot of information to stay up with who is controlling who, and when it comes to the rapid stuff (i.e. Terrorist A tell everyone you know to attack the targets they have been monitoring [Book example: Attempted burning of Royal College]) Merlin will be hard pressed to respond to multiple attacks if they occur near-simultaneously. At some point, preemptive action on the part of the good guys against the people at the middle and bottom of the Church fanatics is going to be necessary. (Middle in my thoughts being people like Kairee and bottom being the common believer)

    I am acutely aware of the coming reprisal from the Church, the capturing of Charisian citizens and torturing them for false testimony, and the counter stroke to be issued very specifically against the Inquisition. I wonder how the exporting of so many Inquisition members to other nations will affect policy towards Charisian methods… Most likely the Church will attempt to consolidate authority by encouraging anti-Charisian fanaticism with the help of the Inquisition… still, the double edge to that sword is that it will polarize the situation to where no one will be neutral and some might even pick Charis’ side. The story thus far is 1/2 Protestant Reformation 1/4 Industrial Revolution and 1/4 Napoleonic Wars (Trafalgar specifically, and politically just as complex or more so).

    I wonder when Merlin will mix up some ancient recipes for people to enjoy… King Cayleb and Queen Sharleyan could be the first couple in almost a thousand years to have pizza.

  7. E says:

    Correction: *Successful burning of the Royal College.

  8. JNees says:

    I think it is fair to say that what is said to the local church authorities is said to Merlin. That applies to both the church and the anti-church. It would be difficult to plan an attack through either side of the church, without being caught by the snarcs. This leaves out what mundane security can accomplish.

    Take for example our country. Since the 9/11 attack, there have been only three terrorist attacks of significance against American inerests, and two were assassinations of a single indivual, which is the a far cry from the bombing of embassies, the Cole or the Marine barracks in Lebennon. This in spite of the fact that two of the candidates routinely say that we are no safer because of the heightened security. The point is that focussing on preventing an attack on home soil works.

    I suspect that DW is working up to an thwarted attempt, rather than a successful one. Furhter, the ones that thwart the attempt will not come into Merlin’s circle at any point. Rather, this will be handles at the “street” level.

    What I would like to know at this point is how much of all this interplay is getting back to Nahrman.


  9. karidrgn says:

    Jness – without going into detail which is outside the scope of this forum, you are comparing apples and oranges. And you are forgetting a couple of events like the successful attacks in London and Spain. But of course those weren’t “American Interests”.

    To me, the situation in Charis is closer to the 100 years war between Catholicsm and Protestants after Martin Luther.

  10. Wyrm says:

    I wonder whether Merlin & Cayleb are setting the scene, long-term, for the development of “His Majesty’s loyal opposition” ?

    If Cayleb cracks down on actual violence, while letting people complain all they want, this may have the benefits of
    1) reducing support and succour for the men of violence (if you harbour a terrorist, you are treated as a terrorist)
    2) allowing a debate that should allow political positions within the Empire to become less extreme
    3) make the Empire a place of refuge for merchants and politicians who suffer the gang of four’s displeasure. If Clyntahn’s blockade makes life unpleasant for “Temple Loyalist” businessmen on the mainland, then why not emigrate to the sunny empire, continue to practise your religion, and make money.
    3) and most importantly, fomenting a split in the Church “in Zion” – the civilised treatment of Wylsynn and Madame Dynnys, along with the Empire’s Temple Loyalists, could encourage a split of the church, with Wylsynn’s family and Madame Dynnsys friends being given the encouragement of a safe bolthole.

  11. karidrgn says:

    In a previous snippet Sharelyan and Caleb are laughing over enjoying some romances. I wonder if Merlin could release ‘stories’ with actual historical content. Put the stories “in a land far far away, a long time ago”. You can keep the original place names and even dates and start teaching history posed as fiction.

    Although I wonder if any of that is in the commentaries? You know the stuff that was written by the Adams & Eves after The Writ was wrote.

    The biggest questions that I hope that DW will answer over time is how much did Langhorne allow of Earth culture and history to be transmitted to the people of Safehold? And more detail on what exactly is forbidden?

  12. Mike says:

    That kind of stuff (details on what history is forbidden/forgotten) is exactly the kind of stuff Weber should NOT be including in the book. It has nothing to do with the story, which is already dragging on a bit due to the large scope.

    Basically, what you are talking about is fan service. Not in the tradition sense, really, but in the sense of many of Weber’s latest books. It’s the sort of thing that makes some people think Weber is wonderful and others think he is (or is becoming) a hack. IMO, he should buckle down and tell the story.

    It makes me think of “the good parts version” of the Princess Bride. Part of the charm of the book is the side comments about all the stupid things that “S. Morgenstern” supposedly included in the unabridged version of the story. The amusing part is that these are the same sort of things Weber does include in his books, and his fanbase seems to love it. (Since his fanbase is large and buys a lot of books, I’m not trying to say this is a bad decision by Weber. It’s making him rich and giving him sales numbers that many other authors who win more awards would love to have.)

  13. E says:

    I’d like to point out the real-life issues in Europe that contribute to their being targets of terrorism are pertinent to the kind of culture that exists there where immigrants become semi-permanent second/third class citizens. It may not look it, but there’s still racism across cultural lines in Europe against non-europeans. Couple with the fact that Arab immigrants out-breed the natives by about 3:1,the rising minority lends itself to highlighting the injustices committed against it. Europe is a well known hotspot for terrorist recruiting, and social issues such as racial preference and poverty only contribute to justifying extremism where the poorer immigrant populations are encouraged to become insular (Kindof like the issues involving the Triad mafias in insular Chinese-American communities). Ironically, the openness that allowed dedicated terrorists to infiltrate the US significantly lessens the ability to recruit terrorists from within the United States, our open society does not lend itself to extremism (except perhaps at the top… see: McCarthyism) because the nexus of so many ideologies forces people to decide for themselves what to believe in. For an extremist to be made, ideologies must be forced into the perspective that person maintains.
    Apples and oranges…

    If it ever gets to the point of addressing the ideological warfare that produces terrorism, then Charis is likely to become the sort of nation that Britain (albeit less bloody [hopefully]) became because of the Protestant reformation. Eventually Charisian openness will lend itself to a nation of somewhat educated, usually moderate citizens (USA! Will think about deciding for food!) where the extremist threat will be from outside the borders. I believe that once Safehold reaches a level of technical proficiency akin to the 1800s, then the scientific proofs will be sufficient to dispel the mythology of the Church and the extremists Churchies can be relegated to whatever reduced corner they might maintain.

    4 cheese, dragon-steak, ham, and onion pizza with barbecue dipping sauce.

  14. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    by that point, Merlin must have the satellites down, or else they won’t be able to advance much farther. so far their biggest advantage is the fact that they are more advanced. if they have to stop, then the rest will catch up.

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