White Sail Bay,
Barony of Dairwyn,
League of Corisande

Fresh thunder rumbled and crashed, and a fresh wall of dirty-white smoke billowed up, shot through with flashes of flame, as the line of Charisian galleons sailed majestically past the floating batteries once more.

The rapid, disciplined bellowing of their guns was having its effect. Three of the anchored batteries had already been silenced, reduced to shattered ruin despite their heavy bulwarks. Wooden vessels were extraordinarily difficult to sink using solid shot, mainly because the holes those shot punched were relatively small and most tended to be above the waterline. It could still be done, however, and one of the big, stoutly constructed rafts was listing steeply, beginning to settle as water poured into it. Another was heavily aflame, and the third had simply been shot through and through. The other four were still in action, although their fire was beginning to falter, and bodies floated in the water around them, where they’d been pushed out of the gun ports to clear space for the surviving gun crews to serve their weapons.

From this distance, with the city of Dairos and the sparkling waters of White Sail Bay as a backdrop, it could almost have been a magnificent spectacle, a tournament arranged to entertain and enthrall. But only if the spectators hadn’t experienced the same things themselves, and Cayleb Ahrmahk had experienced those things. He knew what happened to the fragile bodies of men when round shot came crashing through heavy timber bulwarks in a cloud of lethal splinters. When the man standing beside you was turned into so much bloody gruel by a twenty or thirty-pound round shot. When the screams of the wounded cut even through the deafening thunder of your own guns. When the deck which had been sanded for traction before action was splashed and patterned and painted in human blood.

He knew what he was truly seeing, and he stood tight-mouthed as he watched the contest with his hands tightly folded behind him. He was unarmored, without even a sword at his side, and that was part of the reason his mouth was set in such a harsh line.

Unfortunately for what he truly wanted to be doing at this moment, his official advisers — and Merlin — had had a point. The contest against the city of Dairos’ defenses could have only one outcome. Gallant as the men behind the guns of those beleaguered rafts might be proving themselves, they couldn’t possibly stand off the firepower of Cayleb’s fleet for very much longer. For that matter, trying to employ the full galleon strength under Cayleb’s immediate command against them would have been foolish. The ships would only have gotten in one another’s way, and the possibility of crippling collisions between friendly units would have been very real under such crowded, smoke-choked conditions.

And, as Merlin had remorselessly pointed out, if it wasn’t practical to use all of his galleons, anyway, then there was no possible excuse for using Empress of Charis. It wasn’t as if Cayleb had anything to prove about his personal courage in order to motivate the men under his command. And “sharing the risk” when there was no pressing military necessity for him to do so — and when he and Sharleyan had yet to beget an heir — would have been not simply unnecessary but criminally reckless. One unlucky round shot could have catastrophic consequences, not simply for Cayleb, but for all the people he was obligated and pledged to defend.

The obligation argument, in Cayleb’s opinion, had been a particularly low blow, even for Merlin. Nonetheless, he’d been forced to concede the point, and so he’d been standing at Empress of Charis quarterdeck rail, watching from safely outside artillery range, for the last three hours as other ships took the brunt of combat.

It hadn’t been entirely one-sided. As Cayleb and his senior commanders had estimated (in no small part on the basis of Seijin Merlin’s “visions”), Hektor of Corisande had, indeed, gotten the new-style artillery into production. He still had nowhere near as many of the new guns as he undoubtedly would have wished, but he obviously did have his equivalent of Edwyrd Howsmyn. In addition to all of the brand new guns which had been emerging from his foundries, some infernally clever Corisandian busybody had figured out how to weld trunnions onto existing cannon, just as Howsmyn had done. He’d apparently been busily doing just that for months, too, which helped to explain why two of Cayleb’s galleons had been forced out of the battle line to make repairs and why the ships engaging those floating batteries had already suffered upwards of two hundred casualties of their own.

“Why can’t those idiots recognize the inevitable and strike their colors before any more people get killed . . . on either side?” he half-growled and half-snarled.

“Probably because they know their duty when they see it, Your Majesty,” Merlin said quietly. Cayleb’s jaw muscles tightened, and his brown eyes flashed angrily at the infinitely respectful note of reproval in his chief bodyguard’s tone. But then the emperor’s nostrils flared as he inhaled a deep breath, and he nodded.

“You’re right,” he acknowledged. It wasn’t exactly an apology, but, then, it hadn’t exactly been a rebuke, either. He turned his head to give Merlin a crooked smile. “I just hate seeing so many men killed and wounded when it’s not going to change anything in the end.”

“In the ultimate sense, you’re probably right about that,” Merlin agreed. “On the other hand, they might get lucky. A shot in exactly the wrong place, a spark in a magazine, a smashed lantern somewhere below decks . . . as Earl Gray Harbor is fond of pointing out, the first rule of battle is that what can go wrong, will go wrong. And, as your father once pointed out to him, that’s true for both sides.”

“I know. But the fact that you’re right doesn’t make me like it any better.”

“Good.” The emperor’s eyebrows arched at Merlin’s reply, and the sapphire-eyed guardsman smiled a bit sadly at him. “An awful lot of people are going to get killed before this is all over, Cayleb. I know it’s going to be harder on you, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I say that the longer it takes for you to begin taking that for granted, the better man — and emperor — you’ll be.”

On Cayleb’s other side, Prince Nahrmahn’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully as he watched the emperor nod in grave agreement with the seijin’s observation. It wasn’t that Nahrmahn disagreed with Merlin’s observation. If the truth be told, Nahrmahn himself was perfectly capable of utter ruthlessness when necessity required, but he wasn’t naturally bloodthirsty. In fact, his ruthlessness was almost a reaction against the sort of bloodthirstiness some rulers — Hektor of Corisande came to mind — often displayed. He’d always had a tendency to focus his ruthlessness on narrowly defined targets, key individuals whose surgical elimination would most advance his plans, and wholesale mayhem offended him. It was messy. Worse, it was sloppy, because it usually indicated he’d failed to properly identify the critical individual or individuals whose removal was truly necessary. Which, among other things, meant he’d probably killed more people in the end than he’d had to.

It was also the reason why, even though he would infinitely prefer an emperor who was a bit more ruthless than he had to be to an emperor who wasn’t sufficiently ruthless, he had no quarrel with the seijin’s statement. There were other reasons, as well, though, and some of them had been rather unexpected. To his surprise, Nahrmahn had actually come to like Cayleb. He was a thoroughly decent young man, which was rare enough outside the ranks of heads of state, and Nahrmahn would prefer to keep him that way as long as possible, particularly since Cayleb was also going to be the brother-in-law of Nahrmhan’s daughter. But setting that personal consideration completely aside, the last thing Safehold needed was for the young man who had been regretfully prepared to sink the Earl of Thirsk’s entire fleet if his surrender terms had been rejected to turn into a young man who wouldn’t have regretted it at all.

Yet however much Nahrmahn might approve of Merlin’s statement, it wasn’t the sort of thing one’s bodyguards normally said to one. Especially not when one was an emperor. Nahrmahn had been prepared for a close relationship between Cayleb and the seijin. That kind of bond between an aristocrat and his most loyal and trusted servants was only to be expected, and Merlin had saved not only Cayleb’s life, but also those of Archbishop Maikel and the Earl of Gray Harbor, not to mention the seijin’s superhuman, already legendary effort to save King Harahld’s life at Darcoss Sound. What wasn’t to be expected was for that servant to be almost a . . . mentor to an emperor. “Mentor” wasn’t exactly the right word, as Nahrmahn was well aware, but it came close. Cayleb listened to Merlin, and he treasured the seijin’s views and opinions on an enormous range of decisions. Of course, unlike altogether too many rulers, Cayleb had the incredibly valuable (and unfortunately rare) ability to listen to his advisers. No one would ever mistake him for an indecisive man, but his very decisiveness gave him the confidence to seek the opinions of others whose judgment he trusted before he reached a decision. Still, there was something different about the way he listened to Merlin’s opinions.

Don’t do it, Nahrmahn, the prince told himself. That curiosity of yours is going to get you straight back into trouble yet, if you’re not careful. If Cayleb wanted you to know why he respects Seijin Merlin’s advice as much as he does, no doubt he’d already have told you. And, no, you don’t need to be wondering how much the seijin has to do with all of those remarkable intelligence sources Wave Thunder was very carefully not telling you about.

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44 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — Snippet 41

  1. AVD says:

    I knew Nahrmahn would catch on quickly. Lets see how the speculation runs next monday.

  2. NewAgeOfPower says:

    so, Nahrmahn is joining those in the know about the true side of the Church?

  3. Alistair says:

    Ahh has people have suspected on this snippets Nahmans twigged on to Merlin (at least to some extent)

    No surprise there I wonder where it will lead though?

  4. Bret Hooper says:

    & so @ last the battle is joined. No surprises; Cayleb is taking Dairos as expected. The next question: Will he sail on to Manchyr, or cross the mountains, or both?


  5. robert says:

    Uh oh. Somebody predicted this several snippets ago and good on you, whoever you are. Nahrmahn will be in on part of the secret before long whether anyone likes it or not. The part about the visions, at least. He is way too smart not to figure it out. But is he smart enough to keep mum about what he “knows” or will he want confirmation?

    Is it 5 days later than last snippet or not? Dairos is fighting, so apparently Zeb. did not prep the ground for surrender as was thought. And where did those floating cannon platforms come from? When did I miss that?

  6. Jerome says:

    The floating platforms were set up in the last book (BSR). If the floating platforms were this good, then the land based army might be tougher then anyone thinks. However the new artillery ought even things up a bit. Can’t wait until Monday. July 7 is going to be a Lonnnnng wiat.

  7. Karina says:

    Floating cannon platforms was invented by King Harhald in the 1st book near the end to defend they throat so he could ‘go out and play’ and distract the enemy fleet from Cayleb approaching from the rear.

    As for Narhman….I think that he will keep most of his observations to himself as he seems to me to be a secretive type of guy. Only will reveal what he guesses when it is to his advantage. May not want to be asking too many questions in fear of Cayleb getting rid of him cause he knows too much of the wrong stuff. Notice he warns himself about being too curious. However, he may somehow guess about the visions as it is a reported talent of seijin and he’s accepted that much about Merlin.

    Merlin & Cayleb will not reveal anything to Nahrman unless they have to due to trust issues. Narhman might be able to get himself back into the graces of the church if he reveals what he knows to them.

  8. Karina says:

    BTW, my favorite parts in these books are listening to the thoughts of others as they observe Merlins ‘oddities’ or think about the changes that are occuring.

  9. Karina says:

    If they ever do tell Narhman the full truth regarding the chruch, I would be most interested in reading a more detailed reaction. I’ve been somewhat dissapointed in the limited reaction that Weber had for Cayleb.

  10. Jojia says:


    yeah i agree, it was kinda anticlimatic when Cayleb found out. I’d been expecting and hoping for a long discussion and some more demonstrations of modern technology. He’d been hinting about telling Cayleb since book one and he just kinda… brushed by it in a page or so and then it was over. I’m still waiting for Cayleb to be taken to Merlin’s cave under the mountains of light.

  11. JN says:

    This little aside belabors the obvious a bit, but it is nice to see the pics being picked up and masticated.


  12. Maggie says:

    Is it just me getting my B-5 vibe, or do others here see the ghost of Michael Garibaldi in Nahrman? “There are things so classified that I don’t even let myself know about them.”

  13. Peter Z says:

    I think the Ahrmahk sneaky gene has truly mainfested in Cayleb. There all sorts of laudible reasons to bring Nahrmahn along on this venture and one rather personal reason. He can’t tell his wife about The Secret. He can “let slip” enough clues for Nahrmahn to figure much of this out. By let slip all he has to do is act naturally around his bodyguard and advisor. Nahrmahn likes Sharley more than Cayleb, I suspect. After piecing much of this together Nahrmahn will go to the Empress as she seems as out of the loop as he is. Cayleb will have met as many of his obligations as he in good conscience could and allowed his beloved wife to gain the information he is obligated not to share.

    Merlin’s got to be in on it or has a blind spot bigger than is needed to sail the Empress of Charis through. For anyone who claims this is all unintentional, please reread the prior snippets in Zebediah and recall his manipulation of the Earl of Thrisk. I believe DW has reversed the standard stereotypes with our Imperial dynamic duo. The Lady is the logical analytical thinker and the Gentleman has the intuitive understanding of people. Hurry up Cayleb, so we can return to your wife.


  14. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Maggie, I loved Garibaldi, but I don’t think that fits. That was trying to allow something he knew was really a good idea but wasn’t allowed. This is practically the exact reverse, trying instead to not allow something he knows he shouldn’t allow and isn’t sure its a good idea either.


  15. Karina says:

    I like to think that rather than Cayleb being sneaky it’s more a matter of it being harder and harder for Cayleb and Merlin to hide that Merlin is more than just a bodyguard to Cayleb especially in informal situations. Remember in the last book it took Sharley not even a day to note something different between the two.

  16. robert says:

    @15 Yes, Karina. But to make the intuitive jump from he-is-more-than-just-a-bodyguard to where-does-that-intel-come-from takes a mind that is rather different and also rather valuable.

    I did not mean where did the floating forts originate, but when were they constructed in White Sail Bay. Was all that done in 5 days? If so that is really biblical. Did they rest on the 6th day or do gunnery practice?

  17. Peter Z says:

    Just like GD Zebediah before you, Karina, that congenial exterior of his distracts from the deep, intuitive understanding he has of people and his ability to use that understanding in potentially ruthless ways. Although what you write is true enough, using that relationship with Merlin to get what he wants AND keep his promises requires a bit of sneakiness. If you don’t like sneaky, perhaps intuitive calculation or manipulation or button pushing? Any of those work because each denotes the use of his personal insights to advance his agenda.

    I happen to like Cayleb and find the reversal of stereotypes refreshing. Sharley is a young striking woman whose appearance would seem to be the primary lever she uses to affect changes in the people around her and Cayleb with his martial prowess and atheletic physique as his primary levers. In truth we actually have a woman with the sharpest stylus on Safehold hiding behind that pleasant and distracting exterior. In Cayleb we have a deep insight into humanity hiding behind that fiery young warrior facade. These counterbalancing characteristics are wonderful to read about.


  18. Alternatively, at some point perhaps next book Her Imperial Majesty the Empres Sharleyan, who has lots of experience seeing spies handled, will summon Baron Wave Thunder and Prince Nahrman and ask for a few explanations, explanations that they are unable to give. More amusingly, she will notice Merlin saying something, summon him, and order him to explain something he said. “Caleb, Dear, I understand he is your personal bodyguard, and I would not dream of interfering with how he protects you, but we are not discussing his duties to you, we are discussing how he can translate the code in question almost as fast as I can read the code symbols.”

  19. Peter Z says:

    George, you forgot to describe her toying with her pistols while addressing her Imperial Husband. :-)


  20. Peter Z says:

    @18. On a more serious note. You have touched upon why I find this dichotomy of personalities so entertaining. Which will find his/her way around this restriction first? Will Cayleb manouver others to ask the salient question thus forcing him to expose what he cannot do by choice? Does Sharley deduce enough holes in the cover story to force the question? I don’t have a clue about which will win out and eagerly look for clues to fuel my speculation.


  21. robert says:

    @20 Remember how Cayleb was brought into the secret. First Merlin was brought to the monastery because the archbishop figured out that Merlin was Nimue and wanted confirmation. The old king already knew, but they figured from Cayleb’s comments he ought to be told. Especially since all his comments/hints were met with “I can’t tell you yet, but I will when the time comes” by Merlin.
    When is a secret no longer a secret? We have an emperor, a scholar, an archbishop and a spymaster who know some or all of the secret. I guess the “Merlin has visions” stuff is OK for a few more people to know, but the Nimue stuff is much too hot to spread around any more.

  22. @ 16 About the rafts, they could have taken an existing vessel — a barge, say, or one of those obsolete galleys — reinforced the walls, and loaded it with guns. The prospect of being invaded would bring out the MacGuyver in everybody.

    What I’d really like is the perspective of somebody on one of those rafts. Think about it — you can rotate in place using the springs on the anchor cables, but, unlike on a ship, you can’t maneuver. You have all the disadvantages of a land-based fort, without the advantages (bigger guns, thicker walls).

  23. Peter Z says:

    @22 Recall that Corisande primarily made carronades with Charisian innovations. The newly welded trunnions may have been the only modifications to the older guns, so they may not have had the new firing mechanisms. Those new carronades will have a range disadvantage compared to the older longer weapons. It makes sense to bring the faster firing but shorter ranged cannon up close to the enemy without replacing the long guns in the fort. The trade off would be protecting the newer guns in the fort but replacing the older models in doing so or adding to the protected older models using an alternate, less protected position.

    I am sure Hektor would have preferred to build new land fortifications but did not have time.


  24. Rick Bowen says:

    @16. I expect the floating batteries are present in all of the major port cities. The number mention would not be unreasonable for base level defenses for a major port during a time of war

  25. Maggie says:

    @21 When is a secret not a secret?

    “Confide in one, never in two; tell three and the whole world knows.”

    Did Nimue ever read the Lesser Edda?

  26. Peter Z says:

    @21 Agreed. Heck, even Merlin and Cayleb agree. Which brings me back to the point, Cayleb wants Sharley to know anyway. I suspect a part of him wants Nahrmahn to know as well. Depending on how they find out and what they do as they begin to suspect will tell him a lot about how they will handle the full truth. So, he doesn’t hide how he relates to Merlin, how he listens to him and clearly values his opinions. Should Sharley and Nahrmahn begin to see that Merlin is the source of some policy shaping opinion, might they not begin connecting the dots between some apparantly coincidental events that begin upon Merlin’s arrival?

    We will see what happens.


  27. E says:

    Do it Nahrman, search your feelings you know them to be true.

  28. robert says:

    @25 The concept must be in more places than the Icelandic Sagas.

    @26 Surely Sharly (say that fast) will find out. DW will get us back to her and we will see her turning things over in her mind. Then she will start asking questions (and people will start avoiding her) and then, Boy Oh Boy will she be p.o.’d at Cayleb and Merlin when she finally gets it.

  29. Robert Krawitz says:

    It doesn’t matter right now when Merlin’s away, but Sharleyan’s going to have to find out pretty fast just what’s going on once he returns. She needs to understand the source of the intelligence to properly evaluate it.

    My guess is that she figures out pretty quickly that Merlin really does have some funky source of information, just because his “visions” are entirely too specific and matter-of-fact. The problem is that without knowing “his” true capabilities she won’t be able to fully assess the information — how complete it is, whether she can ask for something, etc.

    Nahrman’s a different matter. It will probably take a bit longer to trust him.

  30. E says:

    I beg to differ on the amount of trust that can be placed in Nahrman. I believe that if he believes the real story of humanity on Safehold that he’ll be able to conceive of the true scale on which the conflict will be waged, even beyond his time, and backed into the proverbial corner. He can’t risk going to the Church with this information and probably won’t because of his low opinion of their leadership, besides they’ll execute him anyways. The thing that he’ll probably get piqued about will be the technology Merlin has as evidence of humanity’s former status as a Type 3 civilization (Type 1, 2, and 3 represent Planetary, Solar System, and Galactic control phases respectively; Humanity currently rates a class 0 with single generation potential for Type 1). If anything, Nahrman represents an opportunity to spread innovations around from new sources in Emerald, first by creating colleges and academies in Emerald then by planting ideas, methods, and items. A string of military academies can produce the future of modern weaponry while colleges work on more everyday items. Once Emerald and Chisholm are done playing catch up then they can play push ahead.

    Heck, Emerald can become the “intel capital” by virtue of culture created around Nahrman’s status as head of espionage. The future could see an “Emerald Spy Network” on par with the infamy of the CIA or Bothan Spy Network (Star Wars) and a nice green eye as the logo.

  31. Jgnfld says:

    In an aside, I happened to read this morning that PICA is already a NASA acronym. It stands for Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator!!! It is the heat shield coating material for the Mars lander “Curiosity”!!!

  32. Robert Krawitz says:

    @30, *we* can see that, Merlin might be able to, but Cayleb, Sharleyan, etc. can’t see all of that.

  33. robert says:

    @32 I bet Cayleb can, and already has. Re-read the first 2 books and you will see.

  34. Peter Z says:

    @33 Don’t forget the monestary. These people have had ~500 years as agents of subversion. They wouldn’t have been successful if their plans weren’t focussed. Granted they probably weren’t directing their efforts beyond countering the teachings of the CoGA, but that means encouraging the adoption of a more flexible mindset. Charisians are already well along that path. After all 7 out of tha last 8 Charisian kings have been in on the secret.

    Chisholm and Emerald need to be persuaded yet. It helps that the heads of state and government in both places already have that mindset. Yet, will the people be persuaded in aggregate that the individual has the responsibility to make these moral decisions instead of the Church? Even if the are persuaded, how will that mindset is applied is still an open question. Will the nations be encouraged to specialize? Will the emphasis be on becomming jack-of-all-trades?

    So, whether Nahrmahn is let in or not, the process has to continue. It would be helpful if Nahrmahn were let in but not imperative. I happen to think he will figure things out pretty darn accurately without actually being told the truth. That will be the acid test for the Church of Charis. When Nahrmahn figures things out (or close enough), will Cayleb et al act in accordance with their principles or in some expedient fashion? Regardless of his reaction, will Nahrmahn be allowed to act in accordance with his beliefs? Will Sharley or Halbrook Hollow or Rahjys or anyone else who twigs to the truth prematurely?

    These questions will be the primary core conflicts in this story to me. The rest of the plot devices are simply a testament of DW’s imagination and creativity. Dealing with these core questions will make the story either satisfying or hollow.


  35. Peter Z says:

    There seems to be some doubt about the armament of the Charisian Marines. In the final scene of BSRA Cayleb mused that the delay allowed for the production of several thousand more rifles. So there will be a sigificant number of those available. I suspect at least 10% of the invasion force will be so armed, more likely 20%-30%. That number aught to be enough to both retain a covering force for their artillery and skirmishers to keep the Corisandian cavalry from acting too aggresively.

    I am curious about how aggresively Cayleb will deploy those rifles. Will he keep them concentrated as an anvil to tempt the Corisandian cavalry into suicide charges? Will he break those rifles up into smaller detachments to chew up the Corisandian supply lines? Does he have enough muskets to make a strong enough anchor around which his artillery cavalry can manouver? I couldn’t find any text ev to guide my speculation. I suspect that muzzle loading rifles don’t have the rate of fire to break a concerted effort by an army of 100k very motivated troops on their own. Those rifles have to work in concert with the rest of the army. Which means no fancy manouver and the use of the strategic offensive but remain tactically defensive. Cayleb will offer a tempting target for the Corisandians and do everything he can to appear as vulnerable as a newborn babe.

    Am I missing anything here?


  36. robert says:

    @35 Do you mean that the landing will be opposed? Taking Dairos may involve street fighting and there will be no real cavalry role there. Or do you mean after the armies meet…somewhere? If mountain fighting is involved I wonder about cavalry having any part to play. Have we even read anything about cavalry or any kind of mounted fighting force in any of the books or snippets thus far? How are cavalry deployed and what weapons do they use?

    I suspect we will be dealing with infantry and artillery only.

  37. E says:

    Cayleb is probably going to rely on outmaneuvering Hektor so that Hektor, who will have the advantage of cavalry and draft animals, will be forced to abandon a defensive position that favors him to one that doesn’t offer him so much advantage. The mountain warfare will probably consist of deciding which pass to hold, so if Hektor puts all his eggs in one pass thinking Cayleb will go for it then he risks getting outmaneuvered and having Cayleb wind up behind him or in his core cities. So Hektor’s probably best off leaving most of his army in a position to move between passes so that he can hold Cayleb in place while he brings up a bigger force. Since he’ll have native cavalry ready he’d have the speed advatage over Cayleb if Cayleb only has a few draft animals. Cayleb’s got around 50k troops, of which we do not know how many are logistics, medical, and support. If he goes along the coast he’s best off since he’ll have the advantages of ship and land artillery in support of infantry, assuming he’s got mortar ships for bombardment. But if he’s going the mainland route, he can have marine forces on his ships to disembark and capture key points or sabotage key objectives much like force recon paratroopers, SEALs, etc. The issue he’ll run into will deal with mass more than anything else, since Hektor is on his home turf and has more bodies to throw. So Cayleb is unfortunately forced to keep almost all of his army in one body so as to have as much mass as possible to counter what Hektor might try.

    Cayleb could have his navy sieze smaller port towns as a distraction to Hektor, forcing him to send troops elsewhere, but if Hektor is as smart as he’s been made out to be, he’ll ignore the displeasure of his coastal subjects and focus on Cayleb’s army.

    If he’s got an advantage in artillery range, Cayleb should borrow from Union tactics in the Civil War and order concentrated fire on one battery at a time until Hektor’s cannon is reduced in number. Given the relative inexperience with land based cannon on both sides, I half expect one side or the other to fall into the mistake of letting their artillery spread focus on seperate targets like the Confederacy did often. The problem with spreading focus is that without a significant explosive power one doesn’t end up damaging enemy positions overly much unless one is very lucky or has the rangefinding equations to hit precisely on target, of which Hektor does not seem to have either.

  38. Daryl says:

    In OAR special mention is made that Nimue has a stock of assault rifles. These are presumably low enough tech (eg:M16 or AK47 equiv)to avoid any trigger but in the hands of about 20 specially trained commandos would make an enormous difference and the results would raise the morale of the army significantly.

  39. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Daryl, while David Weber has stated that those assault rifles will be used, I doubt they will be used at this time.

    First, Nimue called them ‘assault rifles’ so they are likely the type of weapons used in her time not anything our current day military would consider ‘assault rifles’.

    Second, even M16s or AK47s would raise questions that Merlin doesn’t want to answer at this time. Worse, it would set up Merlin as an Angel/Demon type. It is one thing to give info or hints but another thing to openly give ‘magical’ weapons.

    Finally, David Weber has established that there are mysterious power sources hidden within the Temple. I suspect the assault rifles are involved with a counter to what those power sources are for.

  40. Paul says:

    16 days and 7 snippets til its released…..

    Any word on the schedule for Book 4… to Book n?

  41. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Paul, snippets will continue until July 15.

  42. E says:

    @39 The “modern” definition of assault rifle for Nimue’s time is probably something that can take out our modern day tanks. If it’s modern like the US Army hopes to update to, there would also be cameras, laser sights, and other modifications on the rifles that would interface with other technologies. Merlin could probably figure out some UAV that could be constructed to help out with battles if the fabricator he has can make vehicles capable of cloaking.

  43. Drak Bibliophile says:

    E, remember Merlin’s thoughts on killing Hektor by having those ‘bugs’ explode inside Hektor’s ear channel. Charis can’t afford something that looks like ‘black magic’.

  44. Daryl says:

    I was just playing devil’s advocate in a what if fashion to stir up debate. Agree with the comments in response.

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