“What do you mean?” Clyntahn demanded after a moment, and Trynair smiled sardonically.
Fool yourself if you want to, Zhaspahr, he thought, but don’t expect me to do the same thing. You know exactly what I mean.

Of course, he couldn’t actually say that out loud.
“What I mean,” he said instead, “is that we’ve already seen Nahrmahn turn his coat and Sharleyan actually marry Cayleb. From all the reports I’ve seen, it seems likely Duke Zebediah is going to do exactly the same thing Nahrmahn did — and that even Hektor would, if he thought for a moment Cayleb would settle for anything short of his head. Now every other prince and king on the face of the world is going to look at what happened in Ferayd and realize that in Cayleb’s place, they would have done exactly the same thing.”
“The hell they would have!”
“I said they would realize that in Cayleb’s place they would have done the same thing,” Trynair said. “Although, to be fair, perhaps I should have said that they would have done exactly the same thing if they’d had the courage to. But the main point is this. Given the way Charis is going to present what happened, we don’t have a leg to stand on. No,” he raised his voice and jabbed the air with an index finger when Clyntahn tried to interrupt, “we don’t. Especially not after we’ve already been telling the entire world what you told the rest of us — that the Charisians started it. Well, they have the proof before them now that the Charisians didn’t start it, Zhaspahr. They’re going to be thinking about that if the Church suddenly declares Holy War and summons them to battle. You saw what happened when Chisholm was forced to fight a war it didn’t believe in. Do you want to see the same thing happen with say the Desnarian Empire? Do you want to hand Stohnar the pretext he can use, stand upon as ‘a matter of principle,’ to refuse to answer that summons? And before you tell me you don’t trust Stohnar not to do that anyway, let me point out to you that whatever the rest of the world may think, our resources aren’t actually unlimited. There’s a limit to the number of fronts we can afford to fight on simultaneously, Zhaspahr.”
“But it’s going to come to Holy War inevitably in the end, whatever we do,” Clyntahn pointed out. “It has to. Unless you actually believe there’s some way Cayleb might think he could patch things up with Mother Church after murdering her own priests?”
“‘In the end’ is not the same thing as right this minute,” Trynair replied, his voice as frosty as the winter snows outside the Temple. “Of course it’s going to come to Holy War sooner or later. The only one of us who doesn’t already understand that is Rhobair, and even he has to suspect that no other outcome is possible. And I agree with you that what Rock Point’s done only makes it more inevitable, ultimately. But we not only have to be aware of what other secular rulers may be thinking, Zhaspahr. We have to be aware of what other members of the vicarate are thinking.”
Clyntahn started to fire something back, then paused, his eyes narrowing in thought as he recognized what Trynair had actually said. What the Church could survive, and what the Group of Four could survive, wasn’t necessarily the same thing, after all.
“There might be fewer of those other vicars to worry about than you know, Zahmsyn,” he said after several moments, his eyes flickering with a slyness Trynair found more than a little disturbing. “Trust me. The number of our . . . critics could find itself rather drastically reduced.”
It was Trynair’s turn to look thoughtful, eyebrows furrowed. It was obvious he was running through a mental checklist of the Group of Four’s present and potential opponents, but then he shook his head.
“We can’t afford to get too far ahead of ourselves, Zhaspahr,” he said much more calmly. “This . . . situation in Ferayd is going to cause enough problems as it is. If we simultaneously convince the other vicars that we’re planning on purging our opponents, then those opponents are far more likely to be able to whip up some sort of opposition block on the Council. In fact, they’d probably use what happened in Ferayd as the public basis for their opposition to us.”
“We can’t afford to be too hesitant, either,” Clyntahn countered. “If those opponents you’re talking about decide we’re weak, or that we’re vacillating, it’s only going to embolden them.”
“Perhaps so.” Trynair’s nod acknowledged Clyntahn’s warning, but his expression never wavered. “The problem is that we can’t uncouple Ferayd from someone like the Wylsynns — not now that Charis is planning on exploding it all in our faces. We may be able to weather Ferayd, and we may be able to weather the Wylsynns, but the odds of our weathering both of them at once are far worse.”
“So what would you do?” Clyntahn challenged.
“You won’t like it.” There was a warning note in Trynair’s voice, and Clyntahn snorted.
“And you think I’ve liked anything else you’ve had to say this afternoon?”
“Probably not,” Trynair replied. “But, as I see it, we have no choice but to take the Charisians’ charges against Graivyr and the others seriously.”
“What?!” Clyntahn’s jowls darkened furiously.
“Zhaspahr, whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is that what happened in Ferayd is exactly what the Charisians say happened. How we got there, whether or not Graivyr and the others were justified, is really beside the point in most ways. It certainly doesn’t alter the physical facts of who attacked whom and who was at the head of the Delferahkan troops when it happened. The Charisians are going to say their subjects were set upon by what amounted to lynch mobs led by priests of the Office of Inquisition. They’re going to point out that many of the dead were women, and that many more were children, and that children that young can scarcely have chosen to be heretics. For that matter, Zhaspahr, you know as well as I do that at least some of those Charisians probably were no more heretics than you or I are! There are devout Charisians who are horrified by this entire schism, you know. It’s entirely likely that some of those killed in Ferayd would fall into that category, and don’t think for a minute people like Wylsynn aren’t going to point that out if we don’t.”
“If we don’t?” Clyntahn’s eyes glittered with sudden suspicion.
“I know you won’t like it — I told you wouldn’t — but it’s the only answer I see,” Trynair said stubbornly. “And it’s the only answer Rhobair is going to settle for, which isn’t a minor consideration in its own right. Unless, of course, you’d like to contemplate what would happen if Rhobair decided to join hands with the Wylsynns?”

About Eric Flint

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42 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — snippet 27

  1. Joedylan says:

    “I am shocked Shocked to find out the inquisition has been overstepping its boundarys”

  2. Chuck S. says:

    Signs of intelligent life in the temple!! This could get interesting.

  3. RobertHuntingdon says:

    I wouldn’t say intelligent life… just sufficiently cunning to recognize reality and be willing to be flexible in hopes of surviving it with his personal power intact.


  4. E says:

    Up til now the Chutch leadership hasn’t exactly decided to work very hard or intelligently. Clyntahn’s basically an attack hound and if the rest of the G4 can focus him on constantly attacking (anyone) then they stand a reasonable chance of becoming the true power behind the bloc.

  5. Maggie says:

    Just as I was beginning to have a grudging respect for Trynair’s serpentine intelligence….
    Talk about short sighted: In order to keep Rhobair on board let’s turn on our dead troops and at the same time show the priesthood at grass roots level that we won’t hesitate to throw them to the wolves for the sake of PR.
    History shows us that a leader who won’t back his troops and loses their confidence is going to have a short career. Let’s see, Duke of Warwick, Napoleon I, Tiberius I, Mussolini…Oh, wait!

    Hard for these guys to learn from history that ol’ Langhorne and Bedard saw to it they didn’t learn!

  6. wyrm says:

    Since even Clyntahn seems to accept this incident will become public knowledge, maybe we should start speculating on the reactions of the mainland monarchs to the news. If Trynair’s concerns are reasonable, then the mainland monarchs will be considering the situation. Certainly, weakening the inquisition, and reducing the number of Clyntahn’s agents (as far as plausible deniability allows) would increase the flexibility of response for the mainland monarchs. Who knows, perhaps inquisitors might suffer an epidemic of fatalities in bar-room brawls, muggings, “Charisian” raids, …

  7. Bryan says:

    Traynair may not end up alienating the troops. The vast majority of the priesthood and the layity had to be horrified by 1st Feryard. The fact that the church leaders accepted Cayleb’s punishment of the people responsible for the atrcocity isn’t going to break people’s loyalty unless they decide that the priests in Feryard were not the ones -responsible- for the atrocity.

    That view has something going for it, since everyone now knows that Clyntahn did know what happened, but the GO4 had not told anyone else. Frankly, Traynair could turn the propoganda around almost completely if he was willing to get rid of Clyntahn on the pretext that he concealed a crime by a member of the priesthood which he is supposed to police. That would go a long way toward clearing everyone else by ‘proving’ that the church had been reformed.

    I would guess that the reason Traynair is not willing to get rid of Clyntahn is that he would probably be replaced by Samael Wyslynn if the Vicarate had to vote on a new head of the inquisition right now.

  8. Bryan says:

    More dangerous is the fact the the world -knows- and can prove that the church lied to them at the highest levels, and the people doing the lying are getting off scot free.

  9. E says:

    “The great masses of the people are more likely to believe a big lie than a little one.”
    ~Adolf Hitler

  10. Peter Z says:

    @9 Only if all those in power have a vested interest in acting as if the lie were indeed true. 1st Feryard has neatly eliminated much of any such incentive. I think that was Trynair’s primary point. Besides, almost all the incidental characters we have been introduced to already believe the Church leadership is corrupt. Further lies trying to rehabilitiate the Church leadership can only work with the expenditure of huge political capital by all the pro Church nations. Capital that those nations don’t have to spend on an endeavour that carries significant incentives to avoid.

    I suspect that Trynair is correct. The correlation of events does not lend itself to fighting this turn of events. Ride it and shape it perhaps, fight it no.


  11. Ian Darley says:

    Short-term, confirming the validity of the those documents is probably their best option. Most of Safehold don’t want the Charisians to be right as it is very much upsetting the status quo. Those sitting on the fence will accept the mea culpa from the G4 and will then accept the “big Lie” when the G4 come out and say that while it is true the priests in Ferayd overstepped their orders, the Charisians are lying when they say the G4 ordered the attacks and mass murder of the ship crews.
    Long-term it is going to destroy the G4 as they come out of the shadows and show the rest of Safehold what the G4’s goals really are. From the sounds of this snippet Clyntahn is already planning the pruning of some “turbulent priests” and this combined with Ferayd and other incidents will become the nails used to seal the coffin on the G4.


  12. E says:

    Oh ye who betray the cloth, fear the expanding Coalition!

    If Cayleb doesn’t settle with Corisande in a peaceful manner then the Church might find an excuse there to go ahead and declare holy war on the grounds that Charis is conquering other nations to promote its schism and heresy (like anti-communism but worse). Weak grounds, but nothing an internal purge can’t get moved ahead. The sad thing is that the G4 doesn’t know about the Circle (maybe Clyntahn does?) already forming their “opposition block” so their purge is likely to fall flat on its face if they ever get it started at the one-or-two at a time level.

    If he does take Corisande without a fight, possibly including the grounds that Cayleb is “bewitching rulers he makes contact with” into surrendering without a fight would be a Church line that could be adopted, although they wouldn’t gain so much political capital. The acts required to pull this off (fake testimonies, etc) would probably be too complex for the Church to think of, much less arrange.

  13. Lars says:

    hmm “The sad thing is that the G4 doesn’t know about the Circle ”

    They know “the Wylsynns”.

    That may be enough for an internal bloodbath.

  14. Peter Z says:

    @11 As I recall Charis never claimed more than excessive exuberance in the execution of the G4 orders by the Ferayd priests after King James’ troops fire the first shot. The more the G4 wheedle and finesse the truth, the deeper the hole they dig. As I see it they 2 option now, they either straighten out and fly right or encourage more and more nations to ignore them.

    Either way Wylsynn’s counter reformation will gain more control. What he will control depends on how excessive Clyntahn and Trynair allow themselves to be. I suspect that Trynair is setting Clyntahn up for the fall as he tries to slow the avalanche they started. I also suspect that Clyntahn’s defensive response will be excessive indeed and Wylsynn will have very little to reform after he digs his church out from under the Clyntahn avalance.


  15. JN says:

    It is so nice to have intelligent enemies in a story.


  16. The Problem is, the Group of Four is stuck. Whatever they do, they lose this round. That’s what happens when you forget about the demon Murphy, and don’t have a fallback position if things go wrong. As it is, admitting at least part of the truth is probably their best option at the moment.

  17. lockswriter says:

    Meanwhile, the Inquisition now has a load of prisoners who can testify that they were forced to make confessions that even the Church admits are false.

  18. robert says:

    Right you are , lockswriter. What are they going to do with them? Kill them and say they never existed/were killed in the fighting? Keep them locked away so no one knows of them? Or do other Temple members know of them by now? Or can they be sent home to tell of their torture? This is vaguely analogous to what is going on in a not-so-nameless prison right now. VAGUELY, I said! Stop shouting at me.

  19. E says:

    Recall that Erayk Dynnys was tried for his failures in regards to Charisian “heresy.” A similar fate would be meted out to the prisoners unless they confessed, but in their cases they’d be tortured first. Even the ones who don’t confess are likely to be granted the outright execution that Dynnys denied himself if only to prevent more edge of death denouncements. All the Church has to do is say they all confessed, repented and were executed before publishing the results of the “confessions.”

  20. Peter Z says:

    @19 Sorry E, but that won’t fly anymore, not after Ferayd. Erayk Dynnys was an exception at first, after Ferayd he became the first of a growing list of “heretics” tortured for the sake of political expediency. The Inquisition’s own records admit this. Trumpet these additional forced confessions and the Church will force every King, Mayor and local customs agent to wonder “could I be next?” Enough people wondering that, especially those who make decisions and the Church loses all effective control they once had. That kind of fear destroys initiative and fosters subversive behavior.

    That’s what Trynair is saying. Also, any further prevarication will cement that fear in those that the G4 can least afford to lose the active support of. They are stuck just like Stephen@16 wrote.


  21. E says:

    If they’re not going to execute or imprison them then what else can they do? Reeducate them? And what happens when more Charisians get detained in other nations? There are going to be plenty of people out there that just want an excuse to oppress someone and Charis has made its citizens abroad a prime target, and the way things are headed there will probably be Charisians abroad that will resist local government actions toward them out of sheer frustration over the circumstances. Siddarmark will sit on its hands in regards to whatever encouragement they recieve to find fault with Charisians, but what about Harchong or Desnair?

  22. Typos_R_us says:

    Is there a pool on which one of the gang of 4 is the PICA? I was leaning toward Clinton……whoopsie, Clyntahn but now I’m inclined to think it might be Trynair. There is no reason to think that Merlin is the only android around. It would explain the power sources.

  23. E says:

    I place 50,000,000 ISK on None of them.

    There are a hundred plausible explanations for the power sources, the most benign of which are the Temple’s air conditioning units and lighting. At worst, they are Angels in suspended animation or the control interface for the KE satellites. It’s not part of the story yet except to give the Church a bit of ability in running their own affairs without Merlin peeking in omnisciently.

  24. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Typos_R_us, the problem with the Archangel PICA idea is that if any of the Archangels had a PICA, then they could ‘play Archangel’ indefinitely. They would not ‘hide’ as Merlin/Nimue has. They would be openly ruling the Church as an Archangel. The question you should answer is ‘why would a PICA Archangel pretend to be human?’

    The power sources being ‘sleeping Archangels’ idea (which I like) is based on the idea that the command crew does age and would sleep until they are needed or periodicaly auto-awake.

  25. E says:

    For some reason I notice a lot of these “enemy PICA” theories popping up over the snippets since we were arguing over BSRA. I’d guess that at some level people are psychologically keyed to want to see a “fair fight” with Merlin but frankly I’m of the US philosophy in war that fair fights frankly suck. The Testemonies should already have given Merlin an idea of the technologies that his enemies will employ, and they will probably be human and not PICA, and it will probably be “fair” to some degree given the technology revealed in the Testimonies, but frankly if Merlin can find a cheap way to get rid of the Angels he should.

  26. Alan says:

    Langhorne was into overkill. If there were a sleeping archangel they would have woken in time to prevent Charis getting to where it is. The latest time they would have woken is once the Temple Knights’ War had ended in spectacular defeat. There may have been a plan for dormant archangels, but I suggest it failed as a result of the commodore’s actions.

  27. E says:

    Temple was built after Langhorne died.

  28. Alan says:

    The Temples was built after Langhorne, Bédard and most of their faction had been killed. Its builders still adhered to Langhorne’s plan and it would be a strange argument that the Temple exists to execute that plan but somehow does not comply with that plan.

  29. E says:

    @26/28 “If there were a sleeping archangel they would have woken in time to prevent Charis getting to where it is.”

    The Angels would have entered into suspended animation around the time they were last recorded, which might have been around the death of the final Adams and Eves. But as to why they would wake up, remember that they thought the theocratic matrix would hold the political and technological level of humanity back, so the only trigger that would wake them up would have to be mass energy seeing as Merlin has been able to fly around unscathed. They might have a schedule of millenial checkups, which I am inclined to believe, seeing as a thousand years would be just enough time for humanity to have significantly grown in number. The whole point of suspended animation is that you aren’t conscious at the time because it would be insane to wait out 900 years in a pod doing nothing. So the theory that angels could be actively monitoring the situation on Safehold isn’t sound considering how far Charis has gotten. If some Angel does wake up and take charge, it will probably be either Chihiro, who wrote the Writ’s final chapter, or someone not in the Writ that Nimue will have to look up and determine his motivations.

  30. RobertHuntingdon says:

    I don’t know if I buy the idea of “minor angels” in suspended animation, E. I could easily see Chihiro doing it, we know she was just as megalomaniaical (or however you spell it) as the rest of the “top echelon” that Langhorne et al belonged to. We don’t know that about the “staff”. While they obviously “played along” we don’t know how fully they were “on board” with everything. If Chihiro didn’t trust them explicitly she wouldn’t have frozen them. Herself, sure, the others, not likely.


  31. Peter Z says:

    @21 E, Desnair is probably third on the Clyntahn’s hit list. They have gold mines to coin all the money need without borrowing squat from the Church. They have a huge land army and are actively expanding with a land route to the Temple Lands. Regardless of any agreement or disagreement they might have with Charis’ actions, Desnair will see opportunities inherent in the politics of what Charis has managed to do.

    The Inquisitions actions in Ferayd and the Chartisian response support the idea that Charis isn’t a group of morally repugnant demon worshipers. That perhaps Charisians have a point about the corruption in the Church, especially in the Inquisition. Desnair could assert greater autonomy from the Church by citing Church failures to address that corruption. If they do, the Temple Lands have only Harchong left in their back pocket. They will face potential enemies on either side (Siddermark abd Desnair)AND no access to the sea. More and more of their supporters will become economic burdens draining their coffers, just like Dohlahr.

    So, seeing this potential, wouldn’t you think Desnair has a vested interest in seeing Charis hold off a bit longer? The longer Charis survives, the greater the leverage Desnair accrues. Best of all they accrue the most when they do nothing and let events progress while holding their potential support of either side for future consideration.


  32. E says:

    @31 Charis is going to move to the same economy that Corisande is about to “inspire” using a system of banknotes and floating currency based on the supply/demand for money and the economic ability of a country to equivocate that money to labor and product. Desnair and Harchong are the “firm” countries that support the Church, Charis doesn’t have to invade Desnair (to do so would make them the aggressor and be enough to sound that massive call for Jihad they’ve avoided) if they remove their dependency on gold as currency. Charis will have to back official government notes with gold at first, but eventually the notes themselves will be valuable and what’s more: Corisande is the originator of the idea and it very obviously doesn’t defy the proscriptions, so Charis gets off scott free on this innovation. Paper money as currency immensely boosts the progress of algebra and the need for people to learn math as a representation for their money, for which eventually people realise that math can represent almost everything in the universe.

    Meanwhile, by sitting pretty Desnair can actually accrue clout but it’s Dohlar that is going to claim the naval experience to deal with Charis. They already have something of a seafaring agenda, and with Charis’ pirates on their shores they’re basically training themselves against the Charisian military. If the Church decides to grant Dohlar the east coast they currently don’t have, then they can essentially create a midground launchpoint against Charisian opearations across the planet depending on if they can get east and west fleets built large enough and strong enough. Dohlar will probably be stripped bare of trees if the Church keeps ordering galleys, but the important thing is that Dohlar will at some point be the first to know what it’s doing as far as being a naval power goes. Charis has basically absorbed all the other seafaring nations and is about to absorb Corisande, and with the Church’s distrust of Tarot high it’s likely that Tarot won’t get the resources to do anything about their situation. The future development of Dohlar and the Church navies will, of course, rely on Charis not interfering with their construction programs, but since they don’t even know about coppering hulls the Church navies wouldn’t event stand against Charis in a contest of endurance. Let Charis sit for 5 years and every new ship the Church builds in this book is going to be fouled and slow.

  33. Peter Z says:

    E, Dolahr will be like Germany trying to develop a Navy pre WWII. They may do so only at the sufference of the Imperial Navy. After Dohlahr has denuded itself of trees, they will have to ship in seasoned lumber. Overland transport will not work with massive logs. Also consider that Dohlahr is located in a choice spot geographically. that means that it is one of the older settlements. Dollars to donuts, the supply of trees has dwindled considerably due to clearing the land and other lumber needs to date. These facts would argue against investing in a Navy or even a merchant marine. Private investors and lenders would look elsewhere. Even the Church would see the futility in pursuing that approach.

    All in all, Dohlahr is toast with about as much future in a Charisian dominated world as the dodo bird just before the last ice age.

    Your point about floating currencies is interesting. That idea depends on trust and predictibility of the issuing nation. Both of which Charis is forging with both rapidity and certainty. Depending on how much of the soon to be released Church gold they can garner, they may actually create an alternative source of funds and capital relatively soon (5-10 years). That would kill the Church’s remaining monopoly and guarantee their eventual impotence.


  34. David H says:

    I do not think PICA Archangles are possible unless their 10 day lifespan
    was hacked like Merlin’s.

  35. E says:

    @33 Overland transportation of lumber is not impossible. The nations that want to move wood will figure out that processing massive logs into planks at home will cut down immensely on the difficulties and reduce costs somewhat. The big issue is roads. Safehold has known what it looks like for so long they were able to navigate their shores easily and thus they grew dependent on sea transportation for goods like these, forsaking their highways. Merlin’s access to Earth history, particularily American history, should allow him to teach the strategic and cultural benefits of an interstate highway system to Charis as both a strategic neccessity and national improvement, but other nations like Dohlar are going to have to figure it out on their own eventually. Of the Big Four nations (The Empire of Charis, The Republic of Siddarmark, The Kingdom of Dohlar, and the Empire of Harchong) Harchong could easily produce such a highway system using slave labor and their customer Dohlar would recieve some benefit from this. And whatever arguments against making a navy exists, remember that as of BSRA they were ordered by the Church to produce a galley fleet.

  36. Peter Z says:

    So, after Dolahr contribute one more time to the Ocean’s supply of driftwood, where will they get the new lumber? From farther away than where they got the lumber for the prior fleet. Each time the supply will come from farther away. Each time they have to use more pack anaimals carrying enough food to feed not only themselves but also the animals carrying the lumber. At some distance the cost is prohibitive even with roads. Unless they can devise a Proscription approved engine that is fueled by something which stores more energy more efficiently than food, the Ocean or canals are the only way to ship mass quantities of bulky goods. King Rahnland’s learning curve is too flat to master the tricks of competing with Charis on the high seas before he runs out of lumber.


  37. Paul says:


    Well, if Merlin’s was (and I realize it was by one of the preeminent cyberneticists of the time) then I’m sure it could have been done by someone else (although perhaps with more drawbacks then Merlin’s lack of speed reading).

  38. E says:

    Peter, I believe the learning curve for any Church nation as this point is starting to resemble something of a sheer cliff where bodies are bulldozered off the top to serve as falling obstacles. The only need the Church nations would have for an “engine” would be speed, something they do not need since they can simply ship in bulk and once the caravans start arriving they’ll essentially be their own train of supplies. The Church substitutes strategy for mass, something we’ve seen in the naval war, but it is also likely something that will occur if they are forced into land based shipping. If they send out enough caravans then in places where there aren’t routes the best routes will be discovered and if they use enough soldiers there won’t be so much banditry to worry about.

    Besides, they haven’t lost all sea trade. Sicne Charis has had to recall some of its privateers for use in the actual war the shipping lanes are somewhat safer, if not by very much. If the Church could field enough guns, they could set up coastal outpost chains that can basically provide shelter for merchantsand help with overland as well. This would work for Harchong to Dohlar, and cost much time and money, and especially because the thing about privateers is they’re equipped for capture, not destruction, which means fewer guns. Even with Charis’ innovations they’d be hard pressed to attack a fortified position that has more artillery unless they gang up.

  39. RobertHuntingdon says:

    OK, E, sure… I’ll snap my fingers like Q and build a few thousand forts stringing along the coasts… and a few hundred thousand guns… and train up a few million soldiers to man them… and it will all happen instantly.

    Oops, wrong sci-fi series.

    Short of the “archangels” returning and doing that for them, however, the coastal outpost idea is going to fly about as well as a lead balloon. As in not at all. (For that matter, even if they did it wouldn’t be a good idea.) Those forts would take years (or maybe decades) to build… IF they could even manage to get the materials to build the forts in the first place (which they couldn’t because those TOO would have to come by sea or caravan and neither is a viable option). The guns to arm them and the men to man them wouldn’t be that much shorter prep-time. And the expense would likely beggar the church before they finished. Even if it didn’t, what you’d gain would be a half-mile to a mile of water that was safe to sail around in. Unfortunately cargo ships wouldn’t be able to use it because they have this minor problem. Their keels are too deep for the average first half-mile by the coast. So even if they managed to accomplish everything you said all they’d gain would be the ability to use coastal rafts (which can’t carry much cargo) or “cargo-galleys” (almost as bad) with relative impunity on SLOW trips that hugged the coast of the mainland.

    Better than overland? Maybe slightly. But not enough to remotely begin to justify the cost. To say nothing of the fact that this war would likely be over before the forts could be completed in the first place!

    As for caravans being their own train of supplies? Sure they are… sort of… but that TRIPLES the cost of shipping the item you actually wanted to send in the first place. Food is BULKY. It’s not something you just pack a month’s supply worth for 50 men on the back of a donkey and set out on your trip with. For every two animals you want to send on a month-long journey you likely need another to carry the food for the three of them. Or maybe even worse. This increases the size of the caravan. Which increases the size of the guard force needed. Which increases again the need for supplies further. It’s an outright nightmare. With a good road system that would change, but the expense of trying to create that would likely make the forts idea look simple.

    And while they haven’t lost ALL sea trade, they’ve lost MORE than enough to cause MAJOR problems. If they hadn’t, Ferayd and the other seizures would never have happened in the first place! And now (until the Siddarmark sleight-of-hand picks up steam) without the Charisian bottoms hauling cargo things are even worse yet! Which is why this is fast becoming such a nightmare for the Go4. Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you…


  40. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Oops… sub week-long for month-long in the animal fodder section and it’d be more accurate…

  41. E says:

    As far as cost, that’s what the Church is for. The other nations can present their bills or get their debts forgiven or whatever they need to subsidize their expansions, which will eventually force the Church to draw the line. I presented the idea of forts on the coast as an alternative to roads, and it’s nice to see you are enthusiastic in your rebuttal, but frankly you need not come off as hostile. Now, if the forts were built five days travel apart, as the galley sails, then they’d offer safe haven for galleys going their routes but wouldn’t have the capability to be reactive towards attacks. They’d really be relays for identifying where Charisians are sailing so that traps like what Dohlar pulled can be laid. The point of the outposts would change over years, and yes it’d take probably two decades to build up everything if they started on the logistics for every one of them simultaneously, but it’s a long-term solution just like better roads. And as far as building better roads go, remember that the US built its highway system using labor provided by prisoners and labor provided by Depression Era unemployed. Safehold is probably in the grips of its first depression given the slowdown in trade, so there will be plenty of workers available out of the middle classes in addition to serfs… not to mention slaves in certain coutries.

  42. Alan says:

    It could actually be fun if an archangel was frozen before the Shan-Wei/Langhorne war. Archangels cannot afford to lose battles. Sooner or later they need to perform to expectation. On the other hand, a revived archangel with access to the orbital platforms leads to the rather grim Chapter Z. ‘The empire of Charis ceased to exist in a matter of seconds. Several centuries later the Gbaba arrived over Safehold…

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