“My Lords and Ladies,” Cayleb said after the Speaker’s fulsome, flowery introduction had finally ended, “I greet you in the name of Charis, and I bring you a message from your Queen and Empress.”

He paused for a moment, letting his eyes sweep over the assembled members of Parliament’s houses. Even those who undoubtedly least wanted to hear what he was about to say were listening attentively, and he smiled as he pitched his voice to carry to every one of those ears.
“Your Empress — my wife — bade me tell you that she wishes she could be here to speak to you in person. Unfortunately, the great challenges and tasks which our new Empire faces do not always let us do what we would like to do. Queen Sharleyan — Empress Sharleyan — remained behind in Tellesberg because she, and only she, has the power and authority to make binding decisions in both our names. While I take the field against our common enemies in Corisande, she has assumed the heavy burden of governing both our realms, and I need not tell you that those realms could not in better hands.”
He paused again, waiting while what he’d already said sank home. There was nothing new in it, not really. Yet this was the first time he had formally enunciated to Chisholm’s Parliament his acceptance of Sharleyan’s full equality as his coruler.
“At this time, as we face the Group of Four and the mainland realms under its sway across the Anvil and the Gulf of Tarot, Her Majesty finds herself confronting not simply political and financial decisions, but the military decisions required to defend our people against our enemies, as well. Even now, our forces will have completed their operations against Delferahk in punishment for the Ferayd Massacre, and it will be her responsibility to decide what other actions may be necessary. It is not a task anyone else could conceivably have undertaken, and it is one which I implicitly trust her to discharge successfully, but we must not delude ourselves that she will find it an easy one.
“My Lords and Ladies, the dangers which we face, the decisions we must undertake, the prices we must pay are unique.” His eyes swept slowly across the seated peers and the members of the House of Commons. “No one else in the history of Safehold has faced the enemy we face. No other realm, no other people, have found themselves at war with the Church which was meant to be mother to us all. We, the combined people of the Kingdoms of Charis and Chisholm, know our enemy. In Charis we were forced to defend ourselves against a totally unjustified — and unjustifiable — onslaught ordered by the corrupt men in Zion who have perverted everything Mother Church was ever meant to be. Thousands of my father’s subjects — and my father, himself — gave their lives stopping that attack, defending their homes and families and the belief that men and women are meant to worship God, not bow their heads at the feet of four corrupt, venal, arrogant, blasphemous men whose actions profane the vestments they wear and the very air they breathe.”
He paused again, for just a moment, then continued in a softer voice, clear and yet pitched low enough his audience was forced to listen very carefully to hear him.
“Oh, yes, My Lords and Ladies. Thousands of Charisians died. But so did thousands of Chisholmians. Chisholmians whose only ‘crime’ was that the Group of Four had ordered Queen Sharleyan to join her own kingdom’s worst enemy in an attack upon a friend who had never harmed Chisholm in any way. She had no choice. They spoke with the authority of God — or so they claimed — and all the coercive authority of the Inquisition and Mother Church. And so she was forced to bend to their will, and how many of your father, sons, husbands, and brothers died with my father because she had no choice?”
Dead silence reigned in Parliament Hall, and he let it linger. Then, slowly, he drew himself up to his full height.
“My Lords and Ladies, never doubt the courage your Queen showed when she accepted my proposal of marriage. It was not a decision she reached lightly, but it was the right decision. It was the decision of a queen who will not see her people’s lives sacrificed, thrown away as if they were no more important than deciding which shoes to wear today, at the whim of four corrupt and evil men. The decision of a queen who knew that if the Group of Four’s ambition was not checked, if their corruption of Mother Church was not cleansed, the Kingdom of Charis would have been but the first of many victims, and the keeper of men’s souls would have become the means of their destruction.
“I know there are those here in Chisholm, as in Charis, who fear the course upon which we have found ourselves forced to sail. Do not think your Queen and I don’t understand those fears. That we don’t share them. To set our own mortal wills, our own mortal hands, against the might and majesty of Mother Church? To set our understanding of God’s will against those who wear the orange? To set our defiance against those who grip eight in ten of all Safeholdians in the iron fist of their power? Of course we have tasted fear of our own. Of course we came to this moment in trembling, and only because those vile men in Zion left us no choice . . . and because the other men in Zion did not stop them. Only because we will live and die as men and women who worship God joyously, not as the cringing slaves of a corrupt clique who have set their own power, their own greed, in the place of God’s will. Make no mistake; we will never bow the knee to Zhaspahr Clyntahn and his cronies!”

About Eric Flint

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20 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — snippet 20

  1. Hope your heart surgery went well, Eric.

  2. E says:

    The belittling cronyisms are a bit thick here, but it’s a nice reiteration of everything in BSRA. I suspect Monday we’ll get the William Wallace “Will you FIGHT!?” portion.

  3. Karina says:

    I think it’s a nice speech so far. Although, I’ve always thought that Lincolns “dogmas of the past” speach would be appropriate for this situation. But perhaps it would be too radical.

    “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

    Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. “

  4. Alan says:

    I want to meet the archbishop of Chisholm some time soon.

  5. HdS says:

    Will there be some fighting, oder only great speeches?
    A former comment said, on basilisk station was a better book, unfortunately i have to agree.

  6. E says:

    The focus on the Inquisition should keep the other Orders on their toes but out of the Empire’s way so long as Cayleb restricts his focus of attack to the Inquisition and G4.

  7. RobertHuntingdon says:

    The first part probably would have been too radical Karina, but the second paragraph might have fit with a few minor tweaks…


  8. Paul says:

    This is torture.
    Is the “release delayed til November” rumor true?

  9. Bryan says:

    Amazon still has the release at July 7. Maybe november will be the release of Torch of Freedom. The timing would be about right.

  10. Jerry says:

    As of now, states
    ” Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint (Hardcover – Nov 3, 2009)
    Buy new: $26.00 $17.16
    Available for Pre-order”
    ” By Heresies Distressed by David Weber (Hardcover – Jul 7, 2009)
    Buy new: $27.99 $18.47
    Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on Jul 7, 2009.”

  11. E says:

    Glad to see the space-time continuum is once more saved from arbitrary shifts in book-release dates. On that note, I am looking forward to the new Star Trek and hope that New Kirk pulls off a less campy performance than his old iteration.

    I’m thinking this speech should probably be finished Monday, if not off-stage withthe conclusion mentioned. I wonder, given Chisholm’s “backwater” politics, what will motivate their cooperation. If I were to compare apples and oranges, I’d say Charis is Athens and Chisholm is Sparta. One is more cosmopolitan and international than the other but each has unique historical strengths that compliment the other. That and, like Athens and Sparta, one has the best navy and the other the best army.

  12. Bryan says:

    @10 well, I’m glad that I guessed right about Torch.

    @11 I’m not sure I like the comparision with Athens and Sparta. It just doesn’t feel right somehow. I think I would compare Charis to G. Britain, the Netherlands, and the Denmark all rolled into one, and Chisholm to the Scandenavian countries. Emerald, Tarot, and Corisand would be Spain, Portugual, and France round about 1750.

  13. Bryan says:

    oops those should have been @12 and @13

  14. E says:

    @14 I was speaking militarily and in terms of “internationalism.” Charis has a strong navy and extensive trade network, much like Athens had. Sparta has a strong army but lacks significantly in providing trade. Besides, Charis has all the correct “philosophers” now… all they need is an Archimedes to build them a giant parabolic mirror that can set fire to ships out at sea.

  15. E says:

    Substitute Sparta with Chisholm.

  16. evilauthor says:

    16. Giant parabolic mirror to set fire to ships at sea? Isn’t it the CHURCH which controls the heliograph network?

  17. It is inobvious that Chisholme actually has a strong army, as opposed to an army that is better than an unpopular feudal levy.

    However, so soon as Charis invades Corisade, a piece of its navy can return to Chisholme and load up the Chisholm army to come help.

  18. E says:

    Chisholm’s army may not have reputation like Sparta and in this case Siddarmark has. It certainly doesn’t have mass, but it is an all-volunteer force which means that the Empire has its precedent for service expansion beyond the maritime(A sort of “If those Chisholmians volunteer then we can too” thing). No one seems to be looking to Emerald for support until they’ve concluded their naval refit. I wonder if the nations of Charis will eventially stratify themselves culturally around their strengths… Charis with the Navy, Chisholm with the Army, and Emerald with espionage/intelligence. It wasn’t uncommon that strong traits in rulers combined with already prevalent culture, especially with emergent middle-classes, would generate strong cultural affiliations for certain activities… Napolean made the French love war until WWII when they started to love surrendering. Meiji single-handedly shifted Japan to an industrial footing (but the Japanese are pretty much the only culture that is disciplined enough to change as a nation with almost no internal strife). Putin is single-handedly bringing back the Cold War.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that eventually the kingdoms in Charis are going to starting liking what they’re doing and it’ll be interesting to see how they celebrate whatever it is they settle on as iconic to their being.

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