Prince Nahrmahn, Cayleb decided as he exchanged bows with Tohmas Symmyns, the Grand Duke of Zebediah, on Empress of Charis’ quarterdeck, had a pronounced gift for accurate thumbnail descriptions. If Zebediah could have been rendered down, his natural oil content could have lit every lamp in Tellesberg Palace for at least a year.

Which would probably be the best use to which he could possibly be put.
The grand duke was a man of average height and average build, with a prominent nose, thinning dark hair, and eyes which appeared to be only about a quarter of an inch deep. They met other people’s gazes with laudable steadiness, but there was an opacity, an armor, just under the surface, that reminded Cayleb of certain species of poisonous hedge lizards.
“It was most kind of you to come all this way to meet me, Your Grace,” Cayleb said, straightening from his own bow.
“You’re an emperor, Your Majesty,” Zebediah said, showing large, even, white teeth in a gracious smile. “Emperors, like kings, are entitled to their little quirks and foibles. And, to be completely honest,” he allowed his smile to fade into an expression of sobriety, “under the circumstances, I would have been astonished if your advisers had even considered allowing you to anchor your flagship within range of the harbor batteries of someone with whom your realm is still officially at war.”
“True enough.” Cayleb produced an expression which was almost a pout, and glanced sideways at the expressionless bodyguard towering at his shoulder in the livery of the House of Ahrmahk. Then the emperor returned his attention to the grand duke. “There are times when those ‘advisers’ of mine can be just a little . . . overprotective. It’s been even worse since Father’s death. There are times I think I’m never going to be allowed to do anything spontaneous again.”
“I’m afraid great rank and great responsibility bring with them their own limitations, Your Majesty,” Zebediah said sympathetically.
“I know.” Cayleb sighed, then drew a deep breath and straightened his shoulders.
“Forgive my manners, Your Grace,” he said. “Here I stand, keeping you talking on deck, rather than getting you into the shade and offering you some refreshment. Will you join me in my cabin?”
“I would be honored to,” Zebediah assured him.
* * * * * * * * * *
“Well, I thought that went rather well,” Cayleb remarked, some hours later as he stood on Empress of Charis’ quarterdeck once more, watching Zebediah’s ornate barge pull back towards the city.
“You did, did you?” a deep voice asked, and Cayleb smiled up at Merlin. The two of them stood by the rail, with one of the quarterdeck carronades between them and out of easy earshot of anyone else, as long as they kept their voices down.
“Of course I did,” the emperor replied, returning his attention to the departing barge. “Didn’t you?”
“I think Grand Duke Zebediah thinks you’re still a drooling teenager, at least when your ‘advisers’ aren’t around,” Merlin said.
“So do I,” Cayleb said with obvious satisfaction, and Merlin snorted.
“All well and good to be ‘underestimated,’ Cayleb. As long as someone like Zebediah doesn’t end up underestimating you so badly he does something stupid, that is. Something that gets a lot of people killed.”
“I agree.” Cayleb looked back at Merlin, his expression serious. “I think, though, in this case, that Nahrmahn was probably right. Zebediah knows he doesn’t have any choice but to give us the basing rights I demanded from him. And of course he showed more than a flicker of interest in the notion of his remaining as the first-ranking noble of Zebediah when we formally add the island to the Empire. And he fully intends to be my loyal and supportive ally and vassal right up until the first opportunity he sees to leave a dagger planted between my shoulder blades.”
“Which is precisely why it may not be a good thing for him to underestimate you too badly.”
“You’re missing my point, Merlin. It’s not a question of if he’ll see an opportunity to betray me; it’s only a question of when. And, that being the case, I’d really prefer for him to feel overconfident, rather than underconfident. I don’t want him to be so afraid of me that he actually ends up taking effective precautions. For that matter, I’d just as soon have him make his try before we’re directly engaged against the Church’s own forces. Better to have him hatch some sort of treason when we’re not distracted by a more serious threat, don’t you think?”
“You may well have a point,” Merlin said slowly. “I’m not sure I agree with your logic, but I have to admit that it is logical. It seems a bit . . . convoluted, though.”
“There are times, Merlin, when I find it easier than usual to believe you really did grow up in that ‘Terran Federation’ of yours.”
“I beg your pardon?” Merlin’s left eyebrow arched, and Cayleb chuckled harshly.
“In a more kindly and straightforward world — like the one you grew up in, at least where its politics were concerned — I’d just go ahead and quietly remove Zebediah. I’d ‘fire him’ as Grand Duke, and find someone else for the job. Preferably one of my Charisians who I know is loyal to me and deserves a proper reward for his services. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. Or, rather, I could, but only at the expense of making the next noble who might be tempted to reach an accommodation with me wonder if I plan on stripping him of his titles as a present for one of my favorites as soon as it’s convenient, as well.
“I didn’t greet Nahrmahn with open arms just because of his diplomatic contacts, or his undeniable value as an adviser, Merlin. And while it’s fortunate that he’s actually a rather likeable old bugger — when he’s not trying to assassinate me, of course — I planned on treating him as if I’d liked him even if he’d turned out to be an unmitigated pain in the arse. But I didn’t greet him so warmly or betroth Zhan to Mahrya on the basis of those things. I did it because it sent a message to other princes, other dukes and earls. And that message was that I was prepared to be reasonable and pragmatic, not to insist upon vengeance. And that so long as a man honors his promises to me, I’ll honor my promises to him . . . including the promise that he’ll be allowed to keep his titles, and to pass them on to his heirs in the fullness of time. Unless, of course, he does something which gives me legitimate grounds to attaint him for treason. If he does that — if he obviously breaks his oaths, obviously supports my enemies — then I’ll be totally justified in stripping him of his titles and crushing him like a bug. But I need him to give me that obvious justification if I don’t want others to regard me as capricious and untrustworthy.”
Merlin stroked his waxed mustachios, his expression thoughtful, then nodded slowly.
“You’re right, that aspect of it hadn’t occurred to me,” he admitted.
“That’s what I meant about believing you grew up somewhere else. It’s second nature to a dynast like me or Nahrmahn to think in those terms. Or, at least, it’s second nature to think that way if we’re reasonably intelligent dynasts. Which brings me back to my original point about the advantages of having Zebediah underestimate how smart I really am.”
“You know, Cayleb, it’s rather unsporting of you to challenge an unarmed man to a duel.”
“Oh? Is that what I’ve just done?”
“No, it isn’t. It’s just the closest analogy I can come up with . . . at least until I think of something even nastier.”

About Eric Flint

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41 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — snippet 31

  1. E says:

    Best negotiations I never read.

  2. Alistair says:

    now on to Corisande!

  3. E says:

    Woo hoo! First D-Day on Safehold. Kudos to Charis for doing it single-handedly.

  4. Bret Hooper says:

    By sparing the reader all the boring intricacies of Cayleb’s negotiations with Zebediah, David Weber spared himself the tricky task of describing a credible process of negotiations that achieved Cayleb’s desired result. A happy outcome all around, is it not?


  5. Mike says:

    Hurray! I just blasted Weber in the last snippet for doing far too many off-stage scenes on stage. But in this one he kept it off-stage, and it worked fine. So I give credit where it is earned.

  6. Elim Garak says:

    IMHO this snippet makes Merlin out to be rather stupid. It is not that complicated a concept, and is rather obvious in fact. Basic political concepts – think about appearance and one step ahead. Not two or three or four – just one.

  7. Norph says:

    Considering Merlin or Nimue grew up in a world where humanity has been fighting for survival for over a generation, it understandable why he would not have much practical experience with politics. I think politics is set aside to do the best for humanity in a survival situation.

  8. Chuck S. says:

    Humans not practicing politics? Not in this universe, regardless of the compulsion. There’s always someone looking for an edge to make sure if anything survives he/she will control it.

  9. saladin says:

    look in some historybooks
    when things go dire – politics will even get dirtier

  10. RobertHuntingdon says:

    True, 7 & 8… when things are merely “dire”. And when they are completely hopeless the most amazing thing happens. Such toads who are visibly so are recognized for what they are and become properly despised and/or “dealt with” if they don’t shut up and go away.

    While the situation still has hope the political mud gets higher and deeper. Once it is completely gone they are properly despised and have to go VERY deep underground to try to continue their games. And either way the decent people (such as those in the military) who are too busy trying to survive and do the right thing can easily overlook the slime hiding under the rocks.


  11. Alejo says:

    Rh: Unless, of course, the military in question isn’t full of decent people trying to do the right thing. Don’t tell me there aren’t plenty of unscrupulous people in high military positions. And, lots of times, when the military is what rules instead of acting as the right arm of the ruler, life becomes very very miserable. All you have to do is look at Latin America for many examples of what happens when the politicians aren’t around to make the decisions and the military takes over. Lots of cases in the Middle East too. Libya and Iraq come to mind there.

  12. Bob G says:

    The treason might happen very quickly. It would make a lot of sense for Tohmas to send a message to either the Temple or Hektor (or both), telling them the situation and claiming he had “no choice” (which, to be fair, he didn’t). Of course, Merlin’s snarks would immediately discover such a message. If they could intercept it, they might not even have to leave Zebedian waters before dealing with it.

    I wonder if Owl can take an image from a snark and make a perfect copy, so they don’t even need to recover the original?

    Still, all in all, this entire chapter is probably a lot more overt and less subtle than would “really” happen, in order to give better understanding to the reader of what’s going on. Too much? Maybe.

  13. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Of course there are, Alejo, but your own answer is its own counterpoint. You said “high military positions” and talked about military rule, neither of which apply to the history that Nimue grew up in. And once again you speak of situations in which there is still hope. It’s foolishly unrealistic hope that will go unsatisfied, but those people still think they can win the games they are playing.

    I would point out for example the last days of WWII when Germany’s fall was inevitable (or Japan’s). Despite the obvious evil of their societies, decent people stepped forward to defend their homes to the last breath anyway for love of country, love of duty, love of family, or other reasons that were all decent and laudable. The political slime was still there, but it had run away and hidden in a bunker or under a rock somewhere and came out again only when it felt it was safe. Even in societies as screwed up as those there were decent people in their militaries just trying to defend their civilian friends. Many failed to realize they were lied to by their leaders, but that doesn’t mean they were not the decent people I describe them as.

    In Nimue’s world she had friends who were high ranking military but she herself was not. They never discussed on-camera why Halverson didn’t receive command of Operation Ark instead of the megalomaniac. She may well not have known, and likely didn’t bother to think it through. She was too busy trying to find a way to make sure its mission goals succeeded despite the odds against it. And in her society the military was not the ruling body, it followed the classic American model of a defender of the state rather than the head of state itself.

    So while in theory your idea is true, it’s obviously completely inapplicable to Nimue’s and Merlin’s situation.


  14. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @8 – Sure, there was politics even in Earth’s final days. Why else would someone like Langhorne have gotten a position like this?

  15. E says:

    @6 Merlin came from a society that networked power, it’s a very efficient form for actively promoting innovation and change. The hierarchies started by the Church, and even the monarchies, are meant to promote stability. Part of it is control over communication and decision making, but another part of it is education and resources. The people who have resources have the education to see the bigger picture and so the number of qualified leaders is few. The kings might network with kings, but at the end of the day it’s one beuracracy dealing with another. Merlin has been so busy encouraging the sort of side-ways communication in Charis that he probably hasn’t involved himself in political beuracracies apart from directing Charis on where to innovate, but even then he has direct access to the decision makers and doesn’t see the actual labor that goes into the products. The beuracracies actually help in this case because Cayleb can get things done faster, but later on some kindof network organization is going to have to get started in some business or warfare that will prove the flexibility of a communication system where power and ideas flow in every direction as opposed to up and down a chain. If Merlin seems “dumb” at this point it’s really more that he’s inexperienced with the sort of beuracracy that doesn’t encourage straitforward conduct.

  16. JVC says:

    E, It is “Bureaucracy” a word based on french “bureau” (which means office or desk), not “beuracracy”.

  17. Bret Hooper says:

    @7: “think politics is set aside to do the best for humanity in a survival situation.” Is this why now, as Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Constitution pointed out, the Republicans are more interested in finding a cudgel to attack President Obama than in saving the nation?

  18. robert says:

    @17 Oh, Bret, what have you done. Many writers and readers of science fiction are libertarians or very Republican. Not me–I am an old yellow dog liberal, but please try not to turn the snippet comments into a back-and-forth ideological place. I know it is hard not to when a dicussion of politics and human nature comes up.
    In any event, be prepared to be ganged up on.

    This is an area where DW is just making it up as he goes along because in this country, at this time in history, we have not the slightest idea of how politics was practiced back in the days of absolute monarchs. We read the history books and all we see is war and alliances by way of marriage. So that is all we know. I truly believe there was more to it: economics and trade, religion, technology, all must have played a role somehow. And I cannot believe that Nimue was so isolated in her military role that she had no idea about the practice of politics in her own time. And what was the political situation in her time, by the way? DW did not tell us in OAR.

  19. erispope says:

    @17: Bah. Current situation in the US is not even close to hopeless. Dire, yes. Yawning cliffs of perdition in all directions, quite possible. But hopeless? Far from it. Survival of the US is assured – and so the game goes on.

    And I say this as a European who would like nothing better than the US getting knocked down a few pegs, withdraw their security forces from around the world so that the rest of the world had to get off its ass and do its own policing instead of complaining how the “horrid Americans” are doing it.

    The Republicans, for good or ill, don’t think that the system is at risk (I disagree, at least to the extent that the system *as they know it* is at risk). I think that they’d be far more successful becoming a “loyal opposition,” championing sunset clauses for new spending, limiting spending where possible and going after the “immoral businessmen” tongs and hammer (thereby pre-empting the Democrats doing the same). They, obviously, disagree (or don’t want to risk the transformation, which is understandable).

    Ahem. Sorry for the rant.

    Snippets make me long for my preordered book. Give me more, darn it!

  20. robert says:

    @19 Yes! Are the snippets getting shorter? Am I reading faster? It is nearing the end of snippeting and we are all getting hungry for STUFF TO HAPPEN!

  21. Summercat says:

    Speaking as myself…

    I think the reason Langhorne got the job instead of Halverson was a calculated move to increase the chances of preservation of Safehold – while putting in several people who would lay the seeds of an eventual technological civilization to arise.

    I don’t think they thought that Langhorne would go as far as he did, but… =/

  22. E says:

    @16 thank you for the spellcheck.
    @18 Plenty of military types go in for careers without wanting politics to be a factor, but as a LT. Commander Nimue should have had plenty of political type decisions relayed through her… since we don’t have her full background as far as military service, what she actually did might come up later to explain whenever she runs into something she has little to know experience with.

  23. Alejo @11:
            I think you overlook the obvious, which is always easy, of course.  Nimue grew up in a society where no one her age expected to live to a ripe old age.  She and everyone she knew expected to die fairly soon.  When she got picked for the Safehold project, she volunteered for certain death as an insurance against Langhorne’s ambition.  It’s no surprise to me that as Merlin, she should now be somewhat naive.  What would have been the point of politics, from her point of view: ‘When the G’Baba exterminate the species, I’ll be an admiral, instead of a lowly commander?’

  24. Typos_R_us says:

    “the Republicans are more interested in finding a cudgel to attack President Obama than in saving the nation?”

    Are they not one and the same?
    The Usurper has already shredded the Constitution by taking the oath when he KNEW he wasn’t qualified because of his birth in Kenya. So if you view the Constitution as being one and the same as ‘America’, then the greatest single danger to America is the Usurper. Islam and the terrorists they support are not a threat to America. They are a threat to Americans, but that is a different issue. So long as one human exists that holds to the Constitution, there will be an ‘America’.
    Nothing special about the dirt piled up between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. It is the same as the dirt piled up everywhere else. What makes ‘America’ America is the Constitution that underpins our society and way of life. To destroy America, you have to destroy that Constitution.
    Attacking the Usurper IS defending America. From it’s greatest enemy.

  25. “And in her society the military was not the ruling body, it followed the classic American model of a defender of the state rather than the head of state itself.”

    It does not occur to me that there is text evidence for this claim.

    As an alternative, the society might have been closer to the older Japanese model in which the military leadership was part of the ruling cabinet, in a way that seems to confuse some Americans. The Japanese, after all, continued to have parliamentary elections during the war, and in 1944 dumped their Prime Minister when he lost a vote of confidence for losing Guam.

    As another alternative, some core military decisions might have been made by non-governmental private groups.

  26. Karina says:

    It is so tempting to jump in with current politics to a statement such as “republicans going after the “immoral businessmen” tongs and hammer” when I’ve heard a senator say that the banks own the Senate and…lots of other things. But enough..

    As for Nimue’s naviete… Even if Federation politics got dirty, I doubt that anyone would die for ‘backstabbing’ someone, or that anyone would lose not only their job but their house and land. This is the kind of power that Caleb has. Caleb’s logic regarding not mistreating your enemy is the kind of logic that George Washington had when he forbade mistreatment of British soldiers and torture in retaliation for what they did to Amercans in their custody.

  27. E says:

    Charis’ keeping the Church from declaring Holy War depends on keeping the moral high-ground. As soon as Charis loses enough face, the other nations will be more willing to follow the Church and actually go through with Charis’ destruction. But keeping the moral high-ground means that militarily, Charis can’t afford to invade anyone other than Corisande. They might aid an ally like Siddarmark, but unless conflict breaks out against Charis’ exporting of technology then for Charis to invade others by any other reason would turn them from a nation defending their right to exist into a conquerer taking the independence from other nations. If all the mainland empires actually unite and actively push an invasion to the shores of Charis, then Charis will lose in a battle of attrition. The fleets keep Charis safe, quality over quantity, and by joining with Chisholm and Emerald they essentially force the Church into either the waging of a war on three fronts or a long drawn-out conflict over three continents. My current bet on what will most likely happen is that the Church declares peace with or without accepting the schism as permanent, starts working the background to whip up fundamentalist movements, and waits for a weaker leader to emerge at the throne of Charis before pressing against her (which will take a few books at this pace…). If Charis maintains high-quality leadership (probably a given, with Merlin around) then the Church would definitely have to press on the fundamentalist front to generate their own network of spies and saboteurs in Charis to carry out their will.

  28. erispope says:

    @26: It is unlikely that the Church gives up before at least doing a token attempt (using the fleet of galleys it is building) – both for political and dramatical reasons (big naval battle ahoy). The Grand Inquisitor could probably not accept that – both personally and as

    Once its fleet has been crushed, powers other than Charis lacks the ability to project force against any part of the Charisian Empire – which means they declare peace and try to get some sort of merchant fleets up and going (to provide revenues and manpower for war fleets). It is doubtful that Charis will allow any other nation to build up enough warships to stand up to even part of their navy – which means we have an impotent Church leadership who got “elected” under the “Death to the Heretics” mantra without a way to follow through. That leadership can’t sit tight and go over to the “Peace and Puppies for Everyone” party, so they’ll have to go (violently or otherwise).

    The assumption that Charis won’t invade other mainland nations is not equivalent with leaving them in peace. Attempts to build war fleets may meet with swift retribution. Of course, over a sufficiently long period of time, having the monopoly on the seas may make Charis decadent, as has happened with other nations. Whether this will happen is of course another thing. Change the situation – allow mainland nations to build fleets capable of challenging Charis, for instance – and Charis can reasonably be kept on its toes.

    While Merlin probably *can* ensure high-quality leadership of Charis, that doesn’t mean that he/she will want to do what is required (killing off unsuitable elder siblings to the “right” successor). It’s more likely that in such a situation, Merlin would merely move out of Charis and into, say, Siddarmark (possibly bringing the preferred successor with him/her for seasoning). Whether this question ever becomes relevant is, of course, up to Weber – who have had a rather long history of allowing “good” monarchies reasonably competent successors. Still, in either case I’m sure I’ll be reading the books (or snippets)! Also, in a Weber universe, it is highly unlikely that the children of the current leaders of the Empire will be either too stupid or too evil to listen to the advice of Merlin, so this particular vein speculation is highly unlikely to become relevant (unless the current Empire leaders fail to spawn).

  29. erispope says:

    “The Grand Inquisitor could probably not accept that – both personally and as” should be “The Grand Inquisitor could probably not accept that – both personally and as representative of his office.”

    Back to the coal mines with me.

  30. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Typos_R_us, can it. This is not the place for current day politics. For what it is worth, I’m no fan of Obama.

  31. hank says:

    @27 *cough, cough*
    Can’t Charis invade Tarot? Please?

  32. robert says:

    Well Bret, I warned you. Comments like @24 are bound to ensue when we wander into “The Minefield.” Or is it “The Mindfield?”

    Article II, Section 1:
    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    Turns out that if either parent is a citizen and you are born in a foreign country (like, for example, Hawaii) you are a “natural born Citizen” and may hold dual citizenship and may declare single citizenship for either country upon reaching majority. Like US soldiers whose children were born in Germany to German wives, for example…rather than Hawaii, for example.
    That’s it! I quit now and await tomorrow’s snippet, may it be longer. Speaking of the Constitution, will we see one for the Empire? Cayleb did see the Declaration of Independence (“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”) in BSRA?

  33. KenJ says:

    @31 Invade Tarot? Of course. They can /invade/ anyone they want including Zion. As for actually succeeding in conquering that is a different matter.

    Actually, I can see them more likely obtaining a treaty and cease fire from Tarot after thumping on Hector and company. I can also envision a nice raid in force of Dohlar to collect what’s-his-bucket’s head (King Rahnald?) Or perhaps to rescue Admiral Fisk and his family before they are taken out by the inquisition or Malakai’s brother-in-law. (in a book or two…)

  34. Once the grand Fleet of the Inquisition has been crushed, it will be time to build a second one, only three times as big.

  35. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Well KenJ, conquering Tarot would be easier than conquering Zion. With Charis having control of the seas, Tarot couldn’t receive assistance.

    Now Tarot is the next logical addition to the Empire. The only question is will Tarot join willingly or not.

    Now, I suspect raids will be the likely military actions against the mainland and the mainland will learn not to take those raids lightly.

    Oh George, while in theory you are correct that the Safehold Church might build a new fleet, the question will be could they afford to and will Charis allow it to be built. Almost any place the Church could use to build a fleet is a place that Charis could raid. In addition, where is the Church going to find the skilled people to sail and fight the fleet. It takes time to train sailors and what happens when the first time the ships leaves harbor they are attacked by Charis’s trained fleet? The Church’s sailors will have only a short time to learn their trade before they’re attacked.

  36. This is Weber fiction. Depend on it; the ‘good guys’ will win for sure. Eventually, everyone will drop the Church, once it is proved to be bogus. The ‘bad guys’ will put up a terrific struggle, but lose and get trashed.The planet will be united under an empire, federation, confederation or some form of world government. In a reasonable period of time, maybe a gheneration or so, they will be industrialized, go into space, and go looking for the Gbaba. Depending on how far Weber takes it, we may read about the confrontation, or we may not. Safehold will prevail; never doubt!

  37. If Charis could do successful raids on the next fleet being attacked, they could also raid the current fleet being built, which you note they are not doing. Raids against a prepared opponent have a significant possibility of ending up like Dieppe: Attrition warfare against the raider. Also, the most effective way to wreck that fleet may be to bring it out to see, where it can be sunk with the soon-available explosive shells.

    At some point Charis will also absorb, in some order, the empty land, various islands, Trellheim, and Tarot, and then perhaps ruin Dohlar’s day, not to mention the unfortunate place that was blasted from orbit. That gives it a good part of the total land area, and welcoming immigrants based on ‘here you are allowed to get rich’ will allow it to depopulate in part some of these other places. Harchong if it ever has serf revolts comes immediately to mind.

  38. Bret Hooper says:

    @18 Robert: You are right that a lively discussion ensued, for which I am not really sorry. What a boring world it would be absent different opinions! And I am not exactly a fan of President Obama, but as an American I HOPE he succeeds in saving the country.

    @19 erispope: I did not say the situation was hopeless; if it were, I could not reasonably even HOPE for Obama’s success in saving the nation. And had McCain been elected, I would be hoping for HIS success in the same enterprise. At the same time, I find much in your comment to agree with. As you say, the country is ‘at risk’ I hope it will be saved.

    @24 Typos: I agree with your last statement, that “Attacking the Usurper IS defending America. From it’s greatest enemy.” But you seem to be a bit confused as to the identity of the Usurper, who was Obama’s immediate predecessor, appointed to the Presidency by a corrupt Supreme Court which set aside the candidate duly elected by the people, and enabled the Usurper to nearly destroy our country. Barack Obama’s mother was a natural-born citizen, which legally qualified him to be the same, and thus to seek, and having been elected, to take the office of President. He would not have been my first choice, but the people have spoken clearly, and I certainly hope he will act in such a way as to earn my vote in 2012.

  39. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Bret, the next time I see any more modern day politics here, I’ll be contacting Eric’s web-master. Not a threat, a promise.

  40. Drak Bibliophile says:

    George, point taken about raids on ship yards. However, there are other things Charis can do to prevent the fleet/fleets from being built.

  41. erispope says:

    @37: Perhaps burning Ferayd down to the ground (well, the two miles closest to the harbour at least) and invading Hektorland is putting a wee bit of strain on even the Charisian Navy. Besides, the Church is building galleys – why blow them up before they’re stocked with meat (read: sailors and soldiers)?

    That would also preclude another naval battle, which is a no-no. I suspect we’ll be a bit tired of reading about army movements and be ready for some gung-ho, all gunports blazing action quite soon!

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