Spines straightened throughout Parliament Hall, and Cayleb nodded to them slowly.

“That was the reason your Queen agreed to become my wife. The reason she agreed to merge our realms into a single greater whole. The reason she, too, has drawn the sword of resistance. This is not Charis’ war. It isn’t Chisholm’s war, or Cayleb’s war, or Sharleyan’s war. It is everyone’s war. It is the war of every child of God, of every man and woman who believes in justice. That is the war your Queen had the high courage to join when she might have tried to close her eyes to the truth and avoid that dreadful decision.”
Even some of the peers seemed to sit taller in their seats, eyes brighter, but it was in the eyes of the Commons that Cayleb saw the true fire.
“There is not a single soul in Tellesberg, or anywhere in the Kingdom of Charis, who does not recognize the decision Queen Sharleyan made,” he told those burning eyes quietly. “No one who fails to understand the danger she chose to face with her eyes wide and her head high. And that, My Lords and Ladies, is why the Kingdom of Charis has taken her to its heart. They, as you, have come to know her, and in knowing her, they have come to trust her. To love her. Perhaps the subjects of another realm might question whether or not they have. Might be unwilling — or unable — to believe anyone could win the heart of a strange and new kingdom so quickly. But you already know her, have watched the girl who was forced to take her father’s throne untimely grow under the challenges she has faced. Seen her grow from the sorrowing child into a queen who is Queen indeed, in the full power and majesty of her reign. You know what the people of Charis saw in her — what I see in her, every time I look at her — and because you know her, you know how she could have won her new subjects in Tellesberg so quickly.”
There was sober agreement and satisfaction in faces throughout Parliament Hall, and nods, and — here and there — smiles of memory and pride, as well. Cayleb saw them, and smiled back at them.
“We have not yet been granted the time to complete the arrangements, the reorganization, which was a part of the marriage agreement between Queen Sharleyan and myself — between Charis and Chisholm. The press of events, the threat of our enemies, has forced us to move more quickly even than we had expected. But those arrangements are too important, too fundamental, to be put aside, and so I charge you, My Lords and Ladies, to select from your number those who will represent you in our new, imperial parliament. You must choose them within the next month, and you must send them to Tellesberg, where they will sit with the men and women chosen by the Parliament of Charis, under Empress Sharleyan’s personal direction, and forge that new Imperial Parliament. I entrust this vital task to your hands, to the hands of Queen Mother Alahnah and Baron Green Mountain. I do not fear that you will fail me, or Her Majesty, in this essential duty.”
He saw astonishment in the faces of many members of his audience, and disbelief in not a few of them, as they realized what he was saying. When they grasped the fact that he would allow Sharleyan to create the new institutions of imperial government without even looking over her shoulder the entire time. That he truly trusted her that much.
“For at least the immediate future, My Lords and Ladies,” he told them with a crooked smile, “my own time bids fair to be more occupied with tasks of the sword than with tasks of the council chamber. I wish it were not so, but what I wish cannot change what is. Yet never doubt that whatever Empress Sharleyan does, whatever decision she makes, it will also be my decision, and if I cannot join her in the council chamber, I can — and will — support her outside it.”
His voice hardened, turned grim, almost harsh, with the final sentence, and his brown eyes were dark. He turned those eyes on the assembled peers of Chisholm, and no man or woman in Parliament Hall misunderstood his meaning . . . or his warning. Here and there one or two of Sharleyan’s nobles sought to meet his eye with defiance. They did not succeed.
“A mighty challenge and a daunting task lie before us, My Lords and Ladies,” he said quietly into the intense silence, “and I do not believe God sends great challenges to the unworthy, or that He chooses weaklings for the burdens He lays upon men and women. He expects us to meet those challenges, to straighten our backs under those burdens, and so we shall. We face the sternest test that any have ever faced since the days of the Archangels themselves, and we shall be worthy of the challenge He has sent us, of the trust He has shown in us. Here we stand. We can do no other, and we will not retreat or yield. We will prevail, however long the journey, however great the cost, so help us God.”

About Eric Flint

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20 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — snippet 21

  1. Bret Hooper says:

    Great speech. Now can he carry it out? On to Corisande!

  2. saladin says:

    “Here we stand. We can do no other, and we will not retreat or yield. We will prevail, however long the journey, however great the cost, so help us God.”
    unknown barfly
    waiting for the snippets
    waiting for the e-arc
    waiting for the book

  3. Alistair says:

    those who will represent you in our new, imperial parliament. You must choose them within the next month, and you must send them to Tellesberg, where they will sit with the men and women chosen by the Parliament of Charis,

    Will only Charis and Chisholm have MPs not Emerald?

    Any one have any thoughts about Emeralds lack of participation in the imperial parliament?

  4. Peter says:

    I suspect that Emerald will get seats too, but it is small compared to Chisholm and Charis. Also, I don’t think Caleb wants to spoil the drama of his speech with the messy details of his Empire’s amalgamation!

  5. obelow says:

    “Here we stand. We can do no other… so help us God”
    Great adaption of the famous quote from Martin Luther! Once more an example of David Webers great ability to recreate historic situations in different times and circumstances. I always greatly enjoy those delightfull parallels to history he uses. The question here might be if the parallel will run so far as another 30years-war as followed the european reformation in the aftermath of Martin Luther’s actions…

  6. KenJ says:

    @5 Hmmmm…..

    Wonder if Cayleb happened to read that at Zehranos…. Or perhaps had a body guard whisper in his ear.

  7. Drak Bibliophile says:

    I agree that Emerald will have seats and agree that Cayleb had no reason to mentioned it here.

    I suspect that Sharleyan will have ‘fun’ managing the discussions about the new Imperial Parliament.

  8. Peter Z says:

    @5 If that is in the cards, Dohlahr seems to be the most likely setting. They are hemned in on all borders and Charis has taken away the sea. They can’t grow and their certain decline will draw Desnair and the Empire like moths to a flame. If the Vicarage decides to accept Charis’ scism at some point, Dohlahr would be a prime location for scismatic preaching. Their economy will be in disarray, their government shaken to its core after 2 defeats and every citizen trying to answer why it happened. Rather why God let it happen.

    So, I can see the scenario of the Empire playing Spain, Desnair France and Siddermark playing Sweden. Harchong fighting to sustain the traditional Church, Desnair looking to primarily expand and Siddermark defending scismatics while also looking to expand.


  9. JN says:

    Luther never said the words so often attributed to him. However, they so well summarized the events, it has become like “Play it again, Sam.”


  10. E says:

    Sounds like constitution time when the Imperial Parliament gets rolling.

  11. Mike says:

    You know, this is kind of a cheat by Cayleb. Under normal circumstances, he would have no way of knowing what is happening back home. Thus, his position here would be one of pretty much absolute trust. And the Parliment here sees it that way.

    But in reality he does know what is going on back home because Merlin knows. So he’s not really exhibiting the same total, blind trust that he is essentially claiming to be exhibiting.

    Now maybe he would have anyway, but maybe he wouldn’t have. When the day comes that people learn what was really going on, there are going to be some people who feel he was lying to them.

  12. KenJ says:

    @11 You have a point of sorts…

    However, I think that the chance is remote. Primarily that is because I really don’t think any one of these people are likely to find it out at all. They are not likely to be let in on “The Secret” any time soon and at such time as Merlin’s existence comes to light odds are that the proscriptions will be relics of the past, the church’s stranglehold broken and historians will have generations of material to show the level of trust and cooperation that truly exists between Sharleyan and Cayleb. My gut feeling is that the trust and co-equal partnership is written as genuine and History will so state.

  13. E says:

    There would be ships that can go very fast with only a couple of crew on board. He could always claim to have plenty of these nearby to the unready and place Merlin’s visions to the fore of those he thinks he can tell.

  14. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Or messenger wyverns, E, if they have enough range. For that matter, he should be using them anyway wherever he can. We know they exist because Narhmann had them. We don’t know how hard they are to train, but no matter how hard it is to train enough of them, they should be working hard to get as many as they can.

    With a sufficient supply of them Merlin could even continue to send back his visions (or at least the truly critical ones) in nearly real-time… granted Cayleb is probably the one who most critically needs the data, but that doesn’t mean whatshisface in Tellesberg doesn’t.


  15. @11

    He may know what is going on, but he can’t get messages back to do anything about it. Thus, his statement is true.

  16. erispope says:

    @15 Not necessarily true – he could send Merlin home. It would be hard to send “public” orders home, though.

    @14 Message wyverns – assuming they are similar to homing pigeons – would require a fixed location to return to. That *might* allow Cayleb to send home orders (unsure if they’d work well from boats). They would not, however, allow him to receive information at equal speed.
    Also, Merlin might be sending back some of the data as intelligence reports – anyone who knows his secret could serve as a conduit. A certain Archbishop could certainly pass off the intelligence as coming from his sources.

    The public limitations are therefore that (as far as we know), Cayleb is limited to ships (even fast ships) for receiving information and wyverns (or ships) to send it. The public delay is therefore significant enough that he can’t effectively control the situation (even if he is uncannily – perhaps even diabolically – correct in his “guesses” in those orders, which would be problematical). There are other, more important reasons for him not sending home orders, though, and that is to allow Sharleyan the actual mandate to get stuff done on her own terms, and make the Empire a reality.

  17. Paul says:


    The other thing to consider (playing Devil’s Advocate) is that when it comes out, how many are going to believe that he didn’t tell his wife? Therefore, I can see #11’s point.

  18. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Well, erispope, yeah, but I’m thinking mainly about him being able to send information back to somebody in the “semi-trusted” circle who knows that Merlin sees “visions” but don’t know the full details. And for that purpose the wyverns/pigeons/whatever would work pretty well I think. If he wants to allow others NOT in the know to send him information a bit faster then he’d need to have Sharleyan’s court training wyverns of their own to send back to Tellesberg.

    Not that such a thing is ideal at all. And I fully agree that the lack of them makes the trust (and appearance thereof) a LOT more genuine and convincing. Which is actually a good thing.

    But at some point if the Zherneau boys continue to be as stubborn as they’ve been then there are going to be situations where Cayleb and Sharleyan aren’t at the same physical location but they will need to be able to communicate quickly to make mutual decisions they don’t feel they should take the liberty of making on their own without at least discussing it with the other. Even if they fully have the power to do so as co-rulers, I can think of a few scenarios that could come up which might require this. Perhaps Cayleb just really wants to hear Sharleyan tell him one more time that he really should marry Zhanayt off to some potential Benedict Arnold / Quisling / etc. who will be the new ruler of Corisande. Or he wants to know which of two potential suitors she thinks is best to select for that role. Or perhaps Sharleyan finds out she’s pregnant and she wants to make sure he knows ASAP. (Yeah Merlin will know, but she won’t know that he’ll know.) Or half a dozen other scenarios are quite plausible…

    So I think they really should be either starting to use them now or preparing for their eventual use in the future.


  19. Richard says:

    9 weeks and counting untill book day. Only 27 snippets to go.

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