Clearly, Clyntahn didn’t want to do anything of the sort, and Trynair smiled thinly.
“I didn’t think you would.”

“And we avoid this precisely how?” Clyntahn demanded, his face still dark and his eyes more suspicious than ever.
“We hold our own inquiry, and we conclude that the Charisians were right,” Trynair said flatly.
Trynair didn’t even flinch. It wasn’t as if Clyntahn’s instant, explosive response were something he hadn’t anticipated all along.
“We don’t have any choice, Zhaspahr. Either we hold the inquiry, and at the end of it we condemn Graivyr’s actions, or else Wylsynn and the other waverers on the Council — not to mention secular rulers like Stohnar — realize we’re whitewashing them. We can’t afford that, Zhaspahr. Especially not in light of the evidence Cayleb and his Charisians are prepared to present. Besides, it’s not as if Graivyr was still alive, is it? He’s dead. Nothing we say or do is going to affect him in any way, and even if we end up condemning his actions, we won’t be obliged to punish him; Cayleb’s already taken care of that little chore for us. Besides, think of all the points we’ll get. Faced with proof of wrongdoing by those pledged to Mother Church, even if that proof came from heretics and apostates, we will have acted.”
Clyntahn frowned, but at least he wasn’t shouting anymore, and Trynair pressed his advantage.
“Let’s be clear on one thing here, Zhaspahr. I realize there were special circumstances in Ferayd’s case, but you realize as well as I do that priests actually guilty of the ‘crimes’ Charis has accused them of are subject under Church law to exactly the punishment they received. In fact, according to the Book of Schueler, they were liable to far worse punishment. I know, I know!” He waved his hands as Clinton’s started to fire back. “It should have been done through a proper Church tribunal, and the extenuating circumstances ought to have been taken into consideration. But the fact remains that, aside from the way in which Church law was profaned when a secular authority judged and executed ordained priests, what happened to Graivyr and the others is completely in accordance with charges framed the way Cayleb’s framed these charges. We couldn’t deny that even if we wanted to, and, frankly, we don’t want to. Not at this moment.”
From the look in Clyntahn’s eyes, he, for one, obviously didn’t agree with that last statement. Not deep inside, at any rate. But he clamped his jaw on any protests, and Trynair continued.
“We’re not going to be ready to take the war to Charis until our new fleet is built and manned,” he pointed out. “If we were to declare Holy War tomorrow, it wouldn’t bring the day we could actually begin operations even an hour nearer. But what we can do with that time is use it to improve our own position before the day we can declare Jihad. Convene a special commission to investigate what happened in Ferayd, Zhaspahr. Look at all of the evidence, including anything from Charis. And if your special commission should conclude that Graivyr did what Charis accuses him of doing — and what you and I both know he actually did — say so. Publicly acknowledge what happened, express contrition on behalf of of the Office of Inquisition, possibly even impose a public penance upon yourself — even upon me and the other two — for permitting it to happen. In the end, we’ll emerge with even more moral authority because we dared to admit wrongdoing within the Church at a time like this.”
“I don’t like it.” Clyntahn appeared to be oblivious to the fact that he was repeating something Trynair had already said several times. “I don’t like it a bit. This is a time for strength, not for weakness!”
“It’s a time for guile as well as for open confrontation,” Trynair countered.
“It will delay the final confrontation.”
“Not necessarily. Or, at least, not for long. Remember, we still need to build a navy before we can do anything effective against Charis, anyway.”
Clyntahn fumed silently for several seconds, then drew a deep breath.
“You really think this is necessary?”
“It may not be absolutely necessary,” Trynair acknowledged, “but it’s the best way I can think of to defuse Charis’ attack. For that matter, you know I’ve always thought it would be a mistake to declare Holy War any farther in advance of the ability to take that war to Charis than we can help. I know you and Allayn haven’t agreed with me entirely on that point. And I know Rhobair finds the entire notion of Holy War frightening. This is the best way I can think of to control when and where that declaration gets made. It leaves the initiative in our hands, and it allows us to stake out a claim to the moral high ground. After all, we’ll have shown the world we’re willing to consider genuine charges that servants of Mother Church — as individuals, Zhaspahr, not as Mother Church herself — are capable of criminal acts. And when we condemn Graivyr and the others, it will be one of those ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ affairs. In the end, we’ll actually be able to turn some of this at least partly to our own advantage.”
“If you can call that an ‘advantage,'” Clyntahn muttered. He sat silently for a well over a minute, gazing sightlessly at his own blotter, then shrugged.
“Very well, Zahmsyn,” he said. “We’ll try it your way. As you say,” he showed his teeth in a white smile that contained very little humor, “we’ll have proved our willingness to go the extra mile, to be sure of our ground before we make charges or allegations.”
“Exactly,” Trynair agreed, making no particular effort to hide his relief at Clyntahn’s agreement. “Trust me, if we can establish that, get it fixed in everyone’s mind, we’ll have an enormous advantage in the battle between our propagandists and theirs.”
“Well, in that case,” Clyntahn said, “I suppose it’s time I had Father Dahnyld start pulling copies of Graivyr’s reports. I’ll need them for the investigation, won’t I?”

About Eric Flint

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26 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — snippet 28

  1. Alistair says:

    yes yes very clever

  2. E says:

    I wonder if Clyntahn will follow his orders to the letter or figure out some way to screw this up. If the investigation runs on the documents alone, he could have this done in a month or so. If there has to be people moving back and forth to Ferayd, then three or four.

  3. Scrib says:

    Well, Cyntahn could try to spread the blame, right? He could make it a matter of Ferayd being as responsible for what happened as the priests. Or maybe even more so — and call the king of Ferayd to account. After all, he’s got the personality to make an idiot move like that, doesn’t he?

  4. John says:

    I wonder if the declaration of a Holy War might be noticed by whatever AI/PICA’s potentially lurk under Zion.

  5. lockswriter says:

    Sabotaging the inquiry would be easier to pull off if he had a reputation for bureaucratic incompetence, but it seems like that’s one of the few sins Clyntahn has never been accused of.

    Trynair has made his intentions very plain here. Clyntahn either obeys him or we find out once and for all who really calls the shots.

  6. Paul says:

    Is it possible that the investigation will show Clyntahn actually ordered the actions that took place?

  7. Alan says:

    Is it possible that Trynair or the Circle will arrange unexpected evidence that shows Clintahn actually ordered the actions that took place?

  8. Brom says:

    “we’re willing to consider genuine charges that servants of Mother Church — as individuals, Zhaspahr, not as Mother Church herself — are capable of criminal acts.”

    Do they realize what a door they will be opening, for others in the church to use against the Go4?

  9. Chuck S. says:

    The people who field new weapons or techniques rarely take the extra step of considering how to defend themselves when their opponents get them. Historically, that is more often true of politicians than military people. The problem is no one on Safehold has any history except Niume/Merlin. He can see where things are going (or can be made to go) when others are moving into the unknown based on guesswork and faith.

  10. JVC says:

    “I know, I know!” He waved his hands as Clinton’s started to fire back.”

  11. JN says:

    War is often viewed as an extension of politics. The last couple of days shows why. As I said with the last snippet, it is nice to have intelligent opponents. It makes for better story lines. Also, we are reminded that these men acknowledge equals and near equals, and have experience in the use of guile and misdirection.


  12. Drak Bibliophile says:

    A quote from BSRA.


    “Trynair, at least, is likely to recognize exactly why you did it,” Staynair put in. “Clyntahn, on the other hand, is more problematical. He’s more than smart enough to understand. The question is whether or not his bigotry and prejudices will let him understand.”

    Staynair’s certainly right about that, Merlin reflected. It would be so much simpler if we knew which Clyntahn is going to turn up at any given moment. Is it likely to be the self-indulgent glutton? Or the undeniably brilliant thinker? Or the religious fanatic zealot Grand Inquisitor? Or the cynical schemer of the Group of Four?

    End Quote

    We’ve seen so much of ‘the religious fanatic zealot Grand Inquisitor’ that we may have forgotten ‘the cynical schemer of the Group of Four’.

    IMO Trynair’s words help ‘waken’ the cynical schemer within Clyntahn.

  13. E says:

    I hope to God this conversation is over Friday.

  14. Kenny says:

    Will the circle force its way into the investigation? One never quite knows where investigation might go when the crimes are so deeply laid.

  15. E says:

    Think he said Clyntahn is to lead the investigation himself. If the Circle gets in with their own Inquisition members then it’ll pretty much be to confirm how the G4 is acting and possibly determine if Clyntahn is covering anything up. As far as their efforts to remove the G4, they’d have to run their own investigation AND get the results out fast if they wanted to unseat them over Ferayd; but moving like that would expose some of their members and might focus the G4 on destroying the opposition bloc before they can be removed from power.

  16. Ian Darley says:

    They better hope Charis doesn’t have a couple of the priests in a prison in anticipation of the G4 doing just this. It would be rather damaging if they were able to present an un-tortured voice from the Order of Scheuler who was at Ferayd and can confirm the orders came directly from the Grand inquisitor.


  17. E says:

    Pretty sure they hanged all the ones at Ferayd. Not sure about the Inquisition in Charis.

  18. Ian Darley says:

    Maybe they did, but it would come as a nasty surprise to the G4 if after they walk out on the branch with this “more in sorrow than in anger” bit they then get shown up as blatant hypocrites and liars with a tame priest denying full responsibility for the massacre.
    It would have to be one of the priests who signed the reports so this would exclude any of the Inquisition in Charis.


  19. Mike says:

    The church did not directly order those killings. That’s what plausible deniability is all about. You tell the lower ranking people you want a certain thing to happen, and they make it happen. Even if you know an atrocity is going to occur, you don’t order the atrocity.

    And in fact, as far as I can remember there was no deliberate intention for an atrocity. They were aware that a few were likely to happen, but that was just sort of in the “breaking eggs for the omlet” catagory.

    So I doubt there are any explicit “kill them all” orders that ever existed. Therefore, the church is in no danger of such orders being discovered.

  20. E says:

    Wonder what kindof “public pennance” Clyntahn would impose on himself… a diet would certainly help him out but then again his suffering an aneurism would help Safehold out more.

  21. Drak Bibliophile says:

    “I hope to God this conversation is over Friday.”

    E, the conversation is finished. Friday starts a new chapter in a different location.

  22. E says:

    What should happen is that I get what I hope and you get to be absolutely right. But someone has to employ the irony fairies and I’d hate for them to get paid on this ocassion.

  23. Peter Z says:

    By proclaiming Mea Culpa for Ferayd, isn’t the G4 admitting the Charisian arguement is correct? Charis has been arguing that the Church is not infallible and indeed corrupt. Corruption in the sense that the power of the Church has been severed from the guiding moral compass of the Writ. The G4 lied in their initial portrayal of the Ferayd massacre. They acted through political channels, not spiritual ones, in their attempt to destroy Charis. So in admitting they indeed lied about one of their actions now, they are saying Charis was if not right all along, then at least not completely wrong in their actions. The G4 at least in part provoked this schism and bears part of the blame.

    Who will bear the blame for this misguidance of the Chruch that the G4 has freely admitted? This is why I say Clyntahn is being set up as the scapegoat.


  24. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Hmm, PZ, that’s a possibility I suppose. I would say that it’s more of a “potential” scapegoat, though. Trynair is most concerned with his own skin so I’m sure he’s looking for potential scapegoats right and left, but he also knows that for now at least he needs Clyntahn just as much as Clyntahn needs him. So I doubt he wants to actually use that out… but I think you may be right in that he’s intending to create it “just in case”…

    Of course, Clyntahn is likely having the exact same thoughts… :)


  25. Peter Z says:

    RH, indeed they both are setting up eachother as potential scapegoats. However, unless the corruption taint is removed the Church will be relagated to merely a powerful secular state not the moral authority of Safehold. I don’t see Clyntahn remaining in power AND removing that taint. So after Clyntahn does the Mea Culpa, he has validated the secular argument against Church authority while at the same time retaining spiritual reverence for the CoGA. The Vicarage must eliminate him at some point after that or never regain what little of their moral authority remains.

    He must see that and so he must be plotting something beyond creating scapegoat scenarios. I see a coupe comming with Magwair’s aide. Its success may well depend on how much Duchairn is willing to sacrifice to retain the Church’s paramount authority.


  26. robert says:

    Remember that the Church exists for one purpose only: to inhibit, or rather, prohibit the use of technology that would allow discovery of humanity by the Gbaba. The use of the Church for other (political, economic, social) ends is a natural outgrowth of that purpose, especially given the nature of human beings. If the Church is destroyed, or even reformed into a purely religious organization, with or without rival religions, and technology is allowed to evolve, well…boy oh boy, does Nimue the PICA have a job of work on her hands allowing humanity to progress while avoiding getting Gbaba’d.

    I begin to wish that DW had just written a sequel for Alicia DeVries instead of what is potentially turning into a many, many volume series with an immortal heroine.

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