City of Ferayd,


Ferayd Sound,


Kingdom of Delfarahk


            "How may I help you, My Lord Bishop?" Sir Vyk Lakyr asked courteously as Bishop Ernyst Jynkyns was shown into his office near the Ferayd waterfront. Father Styvyn Graivyr, Bishop Ernyst's Intendant, followed on the bishop's heels, somber in the green cassock of an upper -priest bearing the sword and flame badge of the Order of Schueler.


            Lakyr felt more than a little uneasy over what might have brought Jynkyns to see him. He was neither the mayor of Ferayd, nor the governor of the district in which the port city lay, with either of whom the Bishop of Ferayd normally might be expected to have business. What he was was the senior officer of Ferayd's military garrison, which, given events elsewhere in the world of late, helped to explain his uneasiness.


            "I've already visited the Mayor, Sir Vyk," Jynkyns said. Lakyr's anxiety clicked up another a few notches, although he kept his expression merely politely attentive. "I'm sure you'll be hearing from him — and quite probably from the Governor, as well — shortly. Since, however, this matter directly concerns Mother Church, I thought it would be best if I came and discussed it with you in person, as well."


            "I see," Lakyr said. Then he paused and shook his head. "Actually, My Lord, I don't see. Not yet, at least."


            "That's honest, at any rate, Sir Vyk." Jynkyns smiled. It was a brief smile, and his face quickly sobered once again.


            "In point of fact, Sir Vyk," he said, "I'm here on the direct instructions of Chancellor Traynyr and Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn."


            Lakyr felt his facial muscles congeal, but he simply nodded.


            "The Office of Inquisition, and the Council of Vicars, have determined that the pernicious doctrines, misrepresentations, blasphemies, and lies being spread by the apostate heretics of Charis are even more poisonous and corrupting to all of God's people than was at first believed," Jynkyns said. Something in the bishop's tone sounded to Lakyr like a man who wasn't in complete agreement with what he was required to say, but the prelate went on unflinchingly.


            "Because of the corrosiveness of the blasphemous teachings of the so-called 'Church of Charis,' the Grand Inquisitor has determined that it is incumbent upon him to limit their spread by any means possible. And, since it has been well established that the merchant ships of the Kingdom of Charis carry its heretical teachings with them wherever they may go, as witness the copies of the apostate Staynair's falsehood-riddled 'letter' to His Holiness which have been so broadly distributed, Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn has resolved to close all ports of all God-fearing realms against their entry and the seduction of their lies. Accordingly, you are to take steps to close Ferayd to them in future . . . and to seize and intern any Charisian-flag vessels currently in the port. According to my own dispatches, the King is in agreement with the Chancellor and the Grand Inquisitor in this matter. Mother Church has made the semaphore available to him, and I believe you will be receiving confirmation of these instructions from him shortly."


            Lakyr felt as if someone had just punched him unexpectedly. For a moment, he could only stare at Jynkyns, unable to immediately comprehend what the bishop had said. Then his brain started working again, and he wondered why he'd felt surprised.


            Because this is going to effectively destroy Ferayd's economy, that's why, a stubborn voice said in the back of his brain. The city had grown wealthy and powerful because it was the major port of the Kingdom of Delfarahk . . . and because its relative proximity to Charis made it a natural transshipment point for cargoes from and to ports all over the west coast of  Howard, as well. It's like spanking a baby with an ax!


            "If those are my orders from King Zhames and from Mother Church, My Lord Bishop," he said, "I will, of course, carry them out to the best of my ability. However, I feel I should point out that there are at least twenty-five Charisian-flag vessels in the harbor at this very moment. For that matter, there are probably more than that; I haven't checked with the harbor master lately, but there have been more of them even than usual since . . . ah, since that business in Darcos Sound." He cleared his throat a bit nervously, then continued. "Not only that, but at least half of them are lying to anchor, waiting for dockside berths, not tied up alongside one of the wharves. That's going to make them rather difficult to seize if they realize what's happening and try to make sail."


            "You'll have the assistance of several galleys," Father Styvyn said rather abruptly. A flicker of annoyance flashed across Jynkyns' face and his lips pressed firmly together for perhaps a single heartbeat, but he didn't rebuke Graivyr for inserting himself into the conversation.


            Of course he didn't, Lakyr thought. Graivyr's not exactly noted for his humility and easy-going temperamentat the best of times. God only knows what he's likely to report to the Temple if he decides someone — even the Bishop — is obstructing the Grand Inquisitor's decrees. Which is a point I'd better bear in mind, as well.


            "That will undoubtedly help a great deal, Father," he said aloud. "It's still going to be tricky, though. We'll do the best we can, I assure you, but it's entirely possible that at least a few of them will evade us."


            "Then sink them if they try," Graivyr said coldly.


            "Sink them if there's no other way to stop them," Jynkyns corrected quietly. The look Graivyr gave him was not the sort Lakyr was accustomed to seeing a mere upper-priest give a bishop, but Jynkyns met it levelly.


            "Of course that's what I meant, My Lord," the Intendant said after a brief hesitation.


            "Ah, that might be more easily said than done, I'm afraid, Father," Lakyr said delicately. Both clerics turned back to him, and he shrugged. "At the moment, none of the island batteries are manned. I have skeleton gun crews for the waterfront batteries, but not for the outer batteries. If they get out of the harbor proper, they'll have a free run through any of the main channels."


            "Then get them manned." Graivyr sounded as if he thought he were speaking to an idiot, and Lakyr felt his jaw muscles tighten.


            "It's not that simple, Father," he said, trying very hard to keep any emotion out of his voice. "I don't have the gunners for those batteries. We don't normally keep them manned during time of peace, you know."


            Which, he carefully did not say aloud, is because they're over a hundred frigging miles from the city, you . . . uninformed soul. 


            The large islands between Ferayd Sound and the Southern Ocean, and the extensive shoals around them, helped shelter the huge bay from the often fractious weather off the southern tip of Howard. The islands also offered handy places to put batteries to cover the shipping channels, but manning fortifications like those was expensive. . . . and Zhames II of Delfarahk had a well-deserved reputation for pinching marks until they squealed. Aside from what were little more than bare minimum caretaker detachments, the island batteries were never manned in peacetime.


            "It would take several days at a minimum — more probably the better part of two or three five-days, to be honest, even if you permitted me the use of Mother Church's semaphore — for me to request the necessary gun crews, get them here, and then get them transported all the way out to the islands," he continued in that same painfully neutral tone. "My impression was that you intend for me to close the port to Charis promptly. If that is, indeed, the case, there won't be sufficient time to get the gunners we need to man the channel forts."


            "I see." Graivyr looked as if he wanted to find fault with Lakyr's explanation and felt nothing but irritation when he couldn't.


            "You're correct about how quickly we need this done, Sir Vyk," Jynkyns said. "And," he glanced at Graivyr, "all God can ask of any man is that he do the best he can within the capabilities he has. I feel confident that you, as always, will do just that."


            "Thank you, Bishop." Lakyr gave him a slight but heartfelt bow.


            "In that case, we'll leave you to begin making your preparations," the bishop said. "Come, Styvyn."


            Graivyr looked briefly rebellious. Because, Lakyr realized, the intendant wanted to take personal command of the entire operation. Since he couldn't do that, the next best thing would have been to spend several hours telling Lakyr how he should go about doing it.


            And wouldn't that result in a fine mess, Lakyr thought sardonically from behind the careful shield of his eyes. Not that it isn't likely to wind up as exactly that, anyway. And just how do Clyntahn and the Chancellor expect Charis and King Cayleb to react to all this?


            He had no answer for his own question . . . yet.

About Eric Flint

Author and Editor
This entry was posted in Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top


23 Responses to BY SCHISM RENT ASUNDER — snippet 102

  1. Gil says:

    Well, well, well, the fecal mater has definately started to hit the rotary impeller…. as they say. It looks to me like the smuglers are about to make a killing….a la prohibition style…. This is really going to be fun to see what is going to happen a la keystone cop funny!!! :-)

    Everybody have a great day !!! :-)

  2. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Somehow I suspect that at least some of the Charisian vessels will escape. And this will end up hurting the Church worse than it will Charis.

  3. Tarl says:

    Somehow, I have to wonder if Lakyr is going to find a way to warn the Charisian captains, as a first act of rebellion. He didn’t sound enthused at the idea of killing his city, one wonders how far he’ll go in trying to salvage the situation.

  4. Mike says:

    That wouldn’t be very David Weberish. Lakyr seems to be the typical “competent Peep officer” stock character who nobly does what he is ordered even though the orders are stupid.

  5. Jon says:

    i’m thinking night escape by as many charis vessels as possible, with maybe the crews from the other ones when someone turns up with word, or the Charis ships have already been warned of the potential possibilities of this, and have plans of action.

  6. John says:

    I wonder if Merlin has a SNARC covering that city, and if so, does he and/or Charis have a method in place to warn the Charisian ships in the harbor of this.

    Doesn’t seem like he could do anything personally, except tell Caleb, but perhaps……

  7. Alistair says:

    In the big scheme of things these particular ships are small fry Charis is going to taker losses so some of these ships will be taken So i agree the question is now that church has put Charis in “Check” to use the chess term what will Charis’ response be.

    They won’t sit idly by while there economy is being garroted thats for sure

    Surely it will be a mixture of smuggling and coastal raids of some sort.

  8. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    The Church has checked Charis, yes, but in doing so they put their own pieces in a bad position. Checking is useful if you can keep it up

  9. JNees says:

    I forsee a boom in shallow draft seacraft. It is historically true that smugglers, privateers and pirates are often the same ships and crews, changing hats so to speak. Since the bulk of the ships afloat ate Carisian, one expects the bulk of the smugglers as well. One wonders how long before the church is unable to move about on land as well as sea.

    What this is going to do to law enforcement of the various countries is frightening to consider.


  10. Robert says:

    Ferayd seems to be an important harbor in Delfarahk but I do think Merlin has a snarc everywhere. There was not enough time to listen to the major aristocrates let alone minor officials. So unless the ships get wind of the round up before it happens the city will have a lot of hostages. With a Graivyr, it may turn into public displays of the inquisition’s power. Nothing like the smell of a burnt heretic in the morning. Ugh.

  11. Is this the city that is about to be burned to the ground, with every Inquisitor hanged from a yardarm?

  12. Talen says:

    With that many ships in port what are the odds that their is 1 or 2 Privateers there. Considering that this city is on peace time footing I would expect that 2 Privateers could take the port at least briefly.

  13. karidrgn says:

    Don’t know the name of the city that’s burned. About Lakyr, I think that he’s the type of person who doesn’t like what’s happening but feels powerless to do anything but what he’s ordered to do. That all he can do is try to mitigate the excesses of someone like Graivyr – which will become harder and harder to do as the blockade fails. Which will lead to the slaughter of everyone aboard a Charis ship leading to the burning of a city.

  14. Grizzat says:

    Glad we are seeing some new places, but I think DW is slipping into some comfortable practices with the enemies of his main characters being buffoons and all being daft and silly. All his main characters are smart and all the opposition are stupid/fat/lazy. I would love for some of his enemies to have some intelligence or for Merlin to start having technical difficulties or more difficult issues. His usual manner is for a book to have a lot of buildup and then a battle at the end with one chapter for some followup and it appears to be the same here. I am hoping for some movement soon though. I would hope that the port tries to take the ships and the ships give them a surprise and take the port, not because they want to.. but because their hand has been forced. Surrender or fight back and take the port… then have to deal with what has happened.

  15. Mike says:

    Grizzat says: “I think DW is slipping into some comfortable practices with the enemies of his main characters being buffoons and all being daft and silly. All his main characters are smart and all the opposition are stupid/fat/lazy.”

    No offense, but you just now noticed this? It’s been the standard Weber cookie cutter for at least 15 years now.

    In fact, it’s not quite as bad (with the exception of Clyntyn) in this series as in some of his others.

  16. Paul Howard says:

    George, unless Joe made a mistake it is.

  17. Alistair says:

    Re: DWs incompetent enemies

    Yeah David weber can be a bit like at times however I thought personally he has been improving of late

    In the Honourverse: The “peep” officer core is quiet competent now and Mesa has managed to manipulate both the peeps and Manticore stacking up a 2 mill+ of the Manitcores and Havenites finest in “at all costs” for no losses of their own

    If thats not competent I don’t know what is.

    With them manipulating the Queen so well and her predjudices against the havenites I have found that the bad guys are getting to good and are hoping personally that DW will revert to type in his next few books getting revenge for the millions that have died pointlessly. While the real enemies (Mesa) have been sitting on the sidelines and playing off their incompetent Neobarb enemies against each other

  18. JNees says:

    Mesa did not start the war between Haven and Manticore, not even phase 2. However, that does not make them [i]incompetent.[/i] They certainly greased the rails, and profited from the situation. Incompetent enemies has indeed always been a criticism of DW’s work. See, for example, the commissioners on his Peep warships. However, there is some logic to the incompetence, since the people are chosen for qualities other than competence. In this case, the church is using thugs for diplomacy, since thugs are what Clyntyn understands (is there an intentional political comment in the choice of names here?).

    This could be the first major battle brewing. The port is close enough to Charis that they could land with some speed, and the city itself may be sympathetic. Once they take it, what do they do with it?


  19. Robert says:

    Cayleb could send the fleet to take Ferayd if the merchant ship did not take over Ferayd first, but this would be an invasion of a county not at war with Charis. I do not remember if Delfarahk was one of the countries that sent a navy to crush Charis. If so, it can be treated as a hostile nation. if not, an invasion would only prove the group of four’s original lie that Charis was a agressor nation looking to take over the world.

  20. karidrgn says:

    About ‘stupid’ enemies…if it wasn’t for DW’s explanation about why port closures wouldn’t work I would think it a mostly logical step. Also, about the foaming at the mouth folks who see the world in black and white and expect things will go their way because they say so or who believe that they know better than the experts on how to do something…I can point to plenty of people in the real world who fit that description right now. Oh perhaps they are slightly more complex than the characters in DW’s books, but they definetely espouse the view that if you don’t agree 100% with them and want to punish those who disagree then you are an enemy. One presidential candidate stated that the US constitution should be changed to fit biblical law.

  21. Chuck S. says:

    DW’s characters are realistic enough in most ways. History shows that exceptionally smart people are not political survivors. They think too much, wait too long for information and appear indecisive, thus vulnerable.

    Those who are decisive, ruthless and have a great “Gift for Gab” will always be at or near the top of the tree. In our system that means more character assasination than physical killing, the ability to see and provide what the press wants and the all important ability to distract, deceive or justify stupidity. I believe that if half of congress were to be replaced by professional used car salesmen the end results would be unchanged.

    Many of DW’s characters would make very successful Middle Eastern religious/political leaders. The weakness of his writing, which makes it so much fun to read, is that his GOOD guys are often unrealistic, not his bad guys.


  22. rafe says:

    umm ….what is this city that will be burned down with inquisitors hanging everywhere all about??. .i hav nvr heard of it b4 ..

  23. Aaron Van Dessel says:

    it has to do with the next book/end of this one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.