A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 11

A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 11

Nimue’s Cave,
The Mountains of Light,
The Temple Lands.

Sharleyan knew she was gaping like a child witnessing a stage conjuror’s illusions for the first time, but she couldn’t help it. For that matter, she hadn’t particularly cared, either, as she’d watched in breathless, un-alloyed delight while Merlin brought the recon skimmer down into the thicker air and bright daylight of the Mountains of Light.

“Thicker air,” indeed! She snorted at her own thought. You’re still high enough you’d pass out almost instantly — not to mention freezing to death almost as quickly — if you weren’t locked up inside Merlin’s skimmer, you silly twit!

The mountain peaks reaching up toward them were crowned with thick, eternal blankets of snow. It was already high winter in these latitudes, but those mountains would have been snow-covered whatever the time of year, she thought, and adjusted the visual display, shivering inside as she gazed at their bleak, icy summits and the glaciers oozing ever so slowly down their flanks, and watched ice crystals blow on the thin winds, glittering in the bright sunlight.

It was the first time she’d ever been to the continent of East Haven. In fact, it was the first time she’d ever been to the mainland at all. She’d always intended to make the pilgrimage to Zion and the Temple, just as the Writ enjoined all of God’s children to make it, but there’d always been too many charges on her time, too many decisions to make. Too many political crises for the first true reigning queen in Chisholm’s history to deal with.

And the last thing I need is to be making any “pilgrimages” to the Temple now, isn’t it? She thought bitterly. Somehow, I don’t think I’d enjoy the Inquisition’s greetings. On the other hand, Vicar Zhaspahr, the day is coming when a lot of Charisians are going to be heading for Zion, whether the Inquisition wants to see us there or not.

“You’re sure no one’s going to see us, Merlin?” she asked, glancing at the secondary display that showed Merlin’s face.

“I’m sure, Your Majesty,” Merlin replied, smiling reassuringly back at her out of the same display. “Nobody really lives here, even in the summer, and the SNARCs have the entire area under observation. Trust me, there’s no one down there. And even if there were, I’ve got the skimmer in full stealth mode. We’d be invisible, as far as they were concerned.”

“I don’t mean to dither,” she said half-apologetically.

“Your Majesty — Sharleyan — you’re doing one hell of a lot better than I imagine I’d be doing if our positions were reversed,” he assured her.

“I doubt that, somehow,” she said dryly. “It’s probably just that I’ve learned to pretend better than you realize. I think it comes with being a queen. Mahrak always told me it was vital to convince people you were calm and in charge, no matter how scared you really were.”

“Father always told me the same thing,” Cayleb agreed in her ear, and she heard a sharper edge of envy in his voice. She knew he was watching the imagery relayed from the skimmer, but she also knew that wasn’t the same thing as actually being there.

And I’m probably the only person who wishes he were here more than he does!

She suppressed a nervous chuckle at the thought.

“Either way, it won’t be much longer,” Merlin assured her. “Watch.”

“Watch wh–?” Sharleyan began, then froze, her eyes wide, as Merlin flew straight into a sheer, vertical face of stone.

They weren’t actually moving all that quickly, a corner of her brain realized. Certainly not compared to the velocity of their flight here, at any rate! But they were going quite fast enough for her heart to leap up into her throat. She felt herself tensing uselessly for impact, then exhaled explosively as a portal literally snapped open in front of them.



There was genuine apology in the deep voice . . . but there was also an undeniable edge of amusement, and Sharleyan made a mental note to find out whether or not it was possible to throttle a PICA. And, for that matter, to throttle her insufferable lout of a husband, she thought as she listened to him laughing over the com.

“I suppose you think that was astonishingly funny, don’t you, Cayleb?” she inquired in a dangerously affable tone as the skimmer swept down the center of a huge, perfectly circular, brightly lit tunnel.

“Ah, no. No, not actually,” the emperor said instantly, once again demonstrating his acumen as a tactician.

“Good,” she told him. “As for you, Merlin Athrawes –!”

“I know you’re going to make me pay for it,” he told her. “But . . . it was worth it.”

Cayleb laughed again, and this time, Sharleyan discovered she had no choice but to join him. Her pulse was decelerating towards normal once more, and she shook her head as the tunnel stretched on and on ahead of them. They were moving slowly enough now for her to see that the stone walls around them were smooth and polished, almost like mirrors, reflecting the impossibly bright glow of the endless line of overhead lights running down the center of its curved roof. There was room enough for at least half a dozen craft the skimmer’s size to have passed through it a breast, and she found herself feeling very small — almost tiny — as they drifted onward through it.

“How far down does this go?” she asked.

“Well, the cave is underneath Mount Olympus,” Merlin told her. “At the moment, we’re still about two miles from the mountain itself, coming in from the north. And when we get there, we’ll be just over twelve thousand meters — that’s about seven and a half miles — down.”

“Seven and a half miles?” Sharleyan repeated very carefully, and Merlin chuckled. There wasn’t a good deal of genuine humor in the sound, she noticed, and wondered why.

“Well, that’s seven and a half miles below the summit, not below sea level,” he pointed out before a reason for the pain shadowing his chuckle had occurred to her. “Still, I suppose it’s deep enough to be going on with.” She sensed his shrug. “Commodore Pei and Shan-wei wanted to make certain no one would stumble across me before I woke up.”

Sharleyan started to respond, then stopped herself as she suddenly grasped the reason for the pain in his voice. It was hard for her to remember, sometimes, that people who had been dead for the better part of a millennium, as far as she was concerned, had died only a handful of years ago, as far as the man who had once been Nimue Alban was concerned.

“Anyway,” Merlin went on after a moment, his tone deliberately brighter, “after they tucked me away, they filled the entire complex with an inert atmosphere. Which means there wasn’t really anything down here that a flesh and blood human being could have breathed. But Owl’s got the environmental plant up and running, so there’s going to be plenty of air when we get there.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” Sharleyan said dryly, wondering exactly what an “inert atmosphere” was.

“We strive to please, Your Majesty,” Merlin assured her. “And speaking of getting there . . . .”

Even as he spoke, the recon skimmer slid out of the tunnel into a far vaster chamber, and Sharleyan inhaled sharply as still more overhead lights came on, illuminating a stupendous cavern shaped like a flattened hemisphere. Its walls curved up and inward, smooth as the tunnel had been, to join an equally smooth, flat roof a good two hundred feet overhead. Yet tall as it was, it was much, much wider, and as the skimmer drifted out into it, she realized its vast, pavement-flat floor was crowded with dozens of devices and machines which looked at least as marvelous as the recon skimmer itself. The skimmer slid smoothly onward for another few moments, then floated smoothly into a landing beside a duplicate skimmer, nestled in the lee of another, far larger aircraft of some sort. They touched down under the sweep of an enormous wing that dwarfed their own vehicle, and as Sharleyan stared up at the chamber’s roof, she realized the cavern was at least a thousand yards across.

“My God,” she heard herself murmur.

“What is that thing, Merlin?” Cayleb asked over the com, and she heard the wonder in his voice, as well.

“Which ‘thing’?” Merlin asked.

“The one you just landed next to!”

“Oh.” Merlin shrugged. “That’s what we call an ‘assault shuttle,'” he said. “Think of it as one of the landing craft we took to Corisande, but designed to move troops from orbit down to a planetary surface.”

“How many troops?” Cayleb’s voice was suddenly more intent, more calculating, and Merlin’s and Sharleyan’s images looked at one another with matching smiles as the emperor’s military instincts engaged.

“Only a couple of hundred,” Merlin replied in a deliberately casual tone.

“‘Only’ a couple of hundred, is it?” Cayleb repeated dryly.

“More or less,” Merlin agreed, and Sharleyan straightened as the skimmer’s twin canopies opened.

Cool air, fresh-smelling but with just a whisper of a stone-edged tang, flowed about her, and Merlin climbed out onto the self-extending boarding ladder and held out a hand to her.

She took the hand and let him guide her down the ladder, though she was scarcely so old and feeble — or pregnant — that she needed the assistance. On the other hand, she realized, maybe she did need a little help. She was so busy gawking at all of the wonders around her that she didn’t realize she’d reached the bottom of the ladder until her questing toes jarred against solid ground instead of finding the next rung, and she stumbled, on the brink of falling, until that hand lifted her effortlessly back upright.

She gave herself a shake, then smiled at Merlin.

“I’m impressed,” she said.

“Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet,” he assured her.

* * * * * * * * * *

“– and this is the medical unit,” Merlin told Sharleyan the better part of an hour later.

They didn’t have an unlimited amount of time, but he’d deliberately taken long enough to let her settle down a bit. Her ability to cope with the wonders coming at her had both impressed and surprised him, although it probably shouldn’t have. He’d already known she was one of the smartest, toughest-minded people he’d ever met. Still, all of this had to be more than a minor shock to the system, however well-prepared she’d thought she was, and they had long enough to let her regain her mental balance before she faced the examination for which she’d come the next best thing to half way around the planet.

“I see,” she said now, tilting her head to one side to regard the gleaming curves of the diagnostic instruments above the comfortably padded, recliner-like couch. There might have been the very slightest edge of a tremor in the two words, but even with his PICA’s hearing, Merlin wouldn’t have sworn to it. She gazed at the unit for a few moments, arms crossed in front of her, palms rubbing her forearms gently, as if against a slight chill, then smiled crookedly at him.

“Somehow this doesn’t look like any healer’s office I’ve ever visited,” she observed.

“I know.” Merlin smiled sympathetically. “I promise the doctor is ‘in,’ though.” He raised his voice slightly. “Owl?”

“Yes, Lieutenant Commander Alban?”

Sharleyan recognized the voice of the AI — the “artificial intelligence” — Merlin had named “Owl.” She’d heard that voice quite often, now, over the earpiece of her com. She’d even discussed things with its owner . . . and discovered along the way that Merlin had a point about how literal-minded and unimaginative Owl was. He still seemed miraculous enough to Sharleyan, but he could be a little slow. Yet this was the first time she’d heard that voice speaking to her from the open air, and she looked around quickly. Almost, she thought a moment later, as if she expected to see some wizened little scholar pop out of a cupboard somewhere.

The thought made her smile, and she shook her head at Merlin.

“Hello, Owl,” she said out loud.

“Good morning, Your Majesty,” the computer replied. “Welcome.”

Sharleyan saw one of Merlin’s eyebrows rise at the last word and wondered why, but she had other things on her mind at the moment.

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41 Responses to A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 11

  1. john says:

    Ugghhhh…this is disappointing…

    I wonder how long this book is…

  2. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Hmm, looks like whomever was speculating all the extra “human input” would get OWL to start developing a bit may have hit the nail on the head.

    And I suspect Cayleb is thinking about how he’d love to use that assault shuttle to wreak some havoc in Zion.


  3. Mike says:

    Yeah, apparently Merlin is surprised that the AI has become polite.

  4. Jared says:

    Interesting…hehe Assualt Shuttle, hehe.

  5. gary says:

    I would guess OWL would have better chance to improve it’s human interactions skills dealing with Safeholdians than Merlin. Merlin being from a technological society would naturally treat OWL as a machine whereas people from Safehold probably treat and talk to OWL as a person.

  6. Grant says:

    Oh that’s just criminal! Come on!

    ” “Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet,” he assured her.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    “– and this is the medical unit,” Merlin told Sharleyan the better part of an hour later.”

    I’ve been looking forward to this for three freaking books, and the entire tour of the cave is encompassed by “* * * * * * * * * *”? What the hell? It’s like getting your hands on a long awaited declassified report and all the juicy bits you actually wanted to read are blacked out! GAAHHHHHHH!

    There better be a lot more detail coming on the wonders of modern gadgetry seen through the eyes of Sharleyan in the subsequent snippets before they walk out of here again.

  7. Bryan says:

    I agree with #6 in the storongest terms. Terms that arn’t fit to write down. What the $%^&*@#$ is * * * * * * * * * ?!?!?!?

  8. Of course, there were descriptions of most of the stuff in the Batcave in OAR, but… this is the one time we would actually like a recap, to see it through the eyes of Safeholdians. Instead, we get an asterisk belt.

    The worst part?

    “Somehow this doesn’t look like any healer’s office I’ve ever visited,”

    They’ve been wandering around the cave for the better part of an hour, and that’s still a surprise? Nothing in there should look anything like anything they’ve ever seen before in their entire lives.

  9. Elim Garak says:

    Agree with 6-8. We need more science fiction in our science fiction! And less fantasy. I am reading this because I like lasers and assault shuttles, not because I am interested in mundane hack and slash. Although a description of various ship designs in the previous book was neat.

  10. Karina says:

    Some of the comments after the last snippet were about the key activating the weapons platforms. My thought has been that the reason that the key can only be used one time is that if it’s the weapons platforms that it activates then the reason it can only be used once is that it is used for the targeting of the platforms. They zero in on the signal. My thought is that Shuler could only imagine that at some time, the church could be threatened by an army marching on it – no high tech needed. He could presume that only someone important and trusted enough to be in the temple would have such an important artifact as the key. Church under threat by ‘conventional’ army? Activate key using special code. Weapons platforms activates and bomb keys location – poof no more military threat. Even more would be if the temple is built tough enough to withstand a bombardment – a second miracle from God.

  11. Karina says:

    Here’s something that would be really cool to show Sharlyan and Cayleb, since Pei Wei transmitted all the records of the colony prior to taking revenge, shouldn’t some of those records be recordings of colony meetings discussing Langhorne’s plan with Shan Wei’s dissagreements? What better way of showing how human they truly were?

  12. Allen says:


    Thanks Eric. Looks good to me.

    Seems like Eric is doing a good job of setting up the reader for some Action.

    I wonder how he gets a couple 100 troops moved from one continent to another without Freaking them out?

    Sleepy gas?

    They’ll have to be told a gooood story too.

    Good fun.


  13. More or less a couple hundred…

    In full power armor.

    And their support weapons.

    Andtheir armored personel carriers.

    And the dedicated artillery battery.

    And the SNARCs.

    And the autonomous recce vehicles.

    “How many *Safehold* troops, Merlin?

  14. Rekes says:

    And now we reach a moment of alterity passing. The alien OWL is now more human. I attribute his previous malformative approach to personality as a result of Merlin being a PICA and therefor not usable as a reference in an AI designed to eventually take on human characteristics; a loophole in programming that would account for OWL’s development and allow for the fact that it wasn’t until recently, when it started having ‘real’ human contact that the AI chose to exert some personality.

    @13 Don’t forget the personal UAVs.

    *Continues reading Codex Alera*

  15. Tom says:

    On the other hand, Vicar Zhaspahr, the day is coming when a lot of Charisians are going to be heading for Zion, whether the Inquisition wants to see us there or not.

    —————–is that a hint of things to come? for the next or next next book? Invasion of Zion?

  16. Peter Z says:

    OK, I got OWL’s development in one. Still waiting for the ex- Earl of Hanth to get together with Irys. Still waiting for Merlin to spill the beans to Father Paitr and save Anzhelik and the other Circle dependents. Uncertain if the assault shuttle will be used to overthrow the G4 somehow (wishful thinking but doubtful). It is possible that the Wylsyns and Duchairn survive to lead the Church with Samyl privvy to the secret and acts as the inside man in the Inquisition to shape the Church properly going forward. Perhaps Samyl turns the Inquisition into a Jesuit like order fucused as much on education as well as policing doctrine.

    As for the Key, Karina, I am still trying to figure out if the truth detector is part of it or separate. If they are part of one device, it may be that we have an AI waiting to be activated. The AI would have to verify some key information, hence the truth detector. The discussions with an AI will be interesting after being exposed to the truth of the Langhorne lie for Father Paitr. Once activated who knows what protocols will also be activated. It is possible that the same AI will attempt to actively take control of the Church as the “Spirit of Langhorne or Shueler” returned. The idea of s leeping archangel just doesn’t smell right somehow. My WAG is that the Key is never activated.

    Let’s see how far from the mark my guesses are by the end of this book.

  17. Virgil says:

    the size of this book is 720 pages in a hardback, that big.
    What I want to know is how many books are in this series. I think DW will really need to divide the series up. Part I books 1-?, Part II Books #-?, I mean look, This is the reformation of the church, Then we will have the bultiple succession wars, then we have the return to space part, then finally Alien Contact!
    I could see this series stretching over at least a hundred years.

    Does anyone know his plans?

  18. Peter Z says:

    I read somewhere that Mighty Fortress is 4 out of 10. One can hope this is only a conservative number and more actually get written.

  19. Michael says:

    @13 and @16: The assault shuttle and advanced weapons would never be used against current Safehold level troops. It would never work from a narrative point of view. A dozen decent shots with modern weapons, armor, and a good supply of ammo could conquer the current world. Everything else is massive, massive overkill. There’s something really significant in the storyline that we haven’t seen yet, or else the weapons cache isn’t going to come into play in the current story arc.

    @11: I agree completely, and think those meeting minutes would be a huge change agent once the current schism is solidified and we’ve had a generation or so to grow up with a looser interpretation of the proscriptions. On a more poignent note it would be neat for Charleyn to encounter a picture of Nimue.

  20. RobertHuntingdon says:


    Michael, I agree that the weapons of the assault shuttle can’t be used. That truly would be overkill. But that doesn’t mean the transport function of the assault shuttle couldn’t end up being used after all. Is it likely? Probably not. For it to happen the inner circle probably must be GREATLY expanded. But it is at least theoretically possible the “semi-modern” assault rifles could be given to an elite cadre that knows the truth (or at least enough of it) that they are willing and able to be an “emergency reaction force”. And in a dire emergency, they could load up on the assault shuttle, fly halfway around the world, and assault some key enemy stronghold to rescue somebody important / stop some catastrophe / etc.

    I suspect it won’t happen. But I also won’t say it’s impossible either. Because it’s not.

    Oh and I too would like to have Sharleyan run into some original imagery of Nimue in some fashion or another. And/or Cayleb too.


  21. Peter Z says:

    As much as I would like to see definitive proof (minutes from the colony planning/administrative meetings), I really doubt those will come into play. Again that just doesn’t smell right. If they exist, none of the characters will be tasked to use their judgement. The documentation will pretty much close the door on it. The book has had too much emphasis on personal judgements for such definitive proof to be consistent with waht has aready happened.

  22. KenJ says:

    @10 re Key as Targeting Beacon.

    I seriously doubt that is the case, or if it is that the Wylson’s know that’s what it does. After all, the Circle is trying to evacuate their dependents to Charis. I doubt they’d run that way if they expected it to be blown off the face of the earth.

  23. Michael says:

    @21 – You already have ‘definitive’ proof in the testimony of St. Jearnau and a whole cache of physical documents authored well before the date of creation. Adding in recorded meetings will just help convince those who would have been tempted by the existing evidence, and be further proof of the lies and distortions from the Father of Lies to those who wouldn’t believe under any circumstances.

    Faith is enormously powerful, hence why I believe no widespread use of advanced tech in any way, shape, or form will happen in the current story arc unless something game-changing comes out of Zion and the ‘power sources’. The populace you’d want to use it on won’t be ready for it, and those already in the know don’t need it.

  24. jgnfld says:

    @23 I suspect the “loyal” populace isn’t part of the equation about what comes up out of the Temple.

  25. Paul says:

    I think this is going to be a difficult series to resolve well…
    We have the high technology represented by Merlin and his toys and we have the SafeHold level of technology that is well below what we currently understand.

    As 21st century humans we will understand the steps that SafeHold is going through until it reaches our level of technology,
    I don’t think its really possible to write believable extensions that age well unless you jump right over our current tech level.
    How you do that and keep the story line working is going to be hard.

    Clearly Mr Weber has done similar jumps in the Mutineers Moon and Excalibur Alternative stories.

    The ********** doesn’t bother me at all as the goodies in the cave are really the wellspring for future
    plot devices that mix the two levels of technology in interesting ways. If we got a complete precise inventory of the cave it
    would really restrict what is available in the future books.

    This narrative still allows the cave to have magic devices…still to be discovered.

  26. Peter Z says:

    @23 Michael, there is a difference between words written on parchment/paper and high tech imagery of those meetings.
    Words written on paper could have been forged and so disregarded. How do you disregard high tech? How does one distinguish the divine from the demonic? How can Shan-Wei act so directly in creating these false images of Langhorne the Holy without either God or Lanhorne successfully countering? If they tried and failed what does that say about the power of God and/or Langhorne? So logic would dictate that if there is divine evidence (imagery) it must be accurate. Any assertion that Shan-Wei’s direct lies could overwhelm God and Langhorne’s truth would also prove that the CoGA was a lie in another way. Either way such imagery would doom the CoGA beyond resurection and take away from the importance of the characters’ choices.

    Because of this I seriously doubt that there will be any high tech proof of Langhorne’s lie. The will only be enough perponderance of evidence to support either position in faith.

  27. hank says:

    on the subject of The Key:
    might it’s eventual use in the plot be that to turn the bombardment system off?

  28. robert says:

    @1 720 pages

    @17 & @18
    Yes. DW seems to have a contract with TOR/McMillan for 10 Safehold books.

    Quick. Go to Amazon and see if the book is still in your Account and/or Cart after the dust up this weekend between McMillan and Amazon over ebook pricing, which was really a tussle between Amazon and Apple. Amazon de-listed all McMillan books. It looks like Amazon caved Sunday night, but is your order intact? Be prepared for Kindle price increases.

    @25 Agree. DW likes to keep his options open–which, by the way, is why a more definitive and complete map of Safehold is not available even though a new one was available in July.

  29. Michael says:

    I see what you’re saying, Peter, but I think you underestimate the ease with which spin can be used to counter even overwhelming evidence. People have been claiming evil visions from dark gods sent directly to their minds for eons… the Father of Lies would find moving pictures a trivial thing compared to many of his dark works. All born from tainted, proscribed technology to boot. Heck, I could write that copy. :-) Merlin noted this in book one when he told Cayleb he had plenty of proof, and that he wouldn’t believe any of it if his faith in the CoGA was strong enough.

    It’s the utter pervasiveness of the CoGA that’s the issue. The whole thing is a fascinating mental exercise, and from the history of our middle ages I’d have to think it’s an overwhelming obstacle right now. The people of Safehold have far, far stronger reasons to believe in their church than any medieval peasant, and they were pretty rabid about it.

    A mission poster would be pretty neat evidence, though mainly once again for poignancy. Something like the crew shots you see for Shuttle missions, with the crew standing in front of the mission poster. You’d have Langhorn, Bedard, et. all along with Pei all smiling for a group shot, though tinged with grimness befitting a mission fleeing from the certain death of everyone else.

  30. Peter Z says:

    We’ll see Michael. I hope that he handles it in his usually high degree of sneakiness and internal consistency.

  31. Earl Dry Gulch says:

    If we knew what ****************** was we might not want to buy the book.

    As far as belief goes, people will follow in their habitual channels in the face of incredible amounts of evidence. It’s proven every day.

  32. Greg L says:

    Here is something to ponder. why does Merlin not use the manufacturing facility in his cave to produce better weapons, nothing super advanced or anything , but a simple version of an automatic rifle. I am guessing since it is an advanced manufactory it would be capable of turning out a finished product fairly rapidly as well as the required amunition. It wouldn’t even have to be huge numbers of rifles, several hundred would change the face of any battleground, look at what happened to the rate of fire with the rifles they are currently using from local manufacture.

  33. Mike says:

    A story that he did reasonably well in 1(!) book (and not even a very long book) back in his early days now takes 10(!) (or more) much longer books to redo.

    No, when some of us talk about Weber’s later writing being slow-paced and bloated we are not just being fooled by the snippet format.

  34. lethargo says:

    When I read speculations about what will happen in the future of the series (and maybe even when I speculate myself) I start worrying about hitting the nail on the head on something, and it not being as much fun when I actually read it, because the surprise were ruined.

    Therefore, to avoid the extremely unlikely case in which I would make a prediction that proves accurate, I’m trying to think of things Weber for sure won’t do…but that would be kind of funny if he would. Therefore…

    My prediction is that Irys will need a confidant or mentor now that her advisor is off to Zion. There will be no one around, so she will end up with a pen-pal…and the pen-pal is actually OWL, thus giving us a view of OWL’s sentience as it forms. OWL’s excuses for never meeting her in person will become increasingly convoluted and funny, but contrasted with OWL’s increasing moral sense that OWL should not share confidential correspondence with Merlin. In the end OWL and Irys both end up having crisis of conscience related to the other…Oh, and then they all die. The End.

    Yes, crazy, but at least I have satisfied my desire for a prediction which I KNOW will never come true!

  35. Paul says:

    I like the idea of OWL having pen pals. Who’s to say that it won’t happen as a course of OWL gaining sentience?

  36. Rekes says:

    Sentience is funny. The closer you get to objectivity, the less you can do. The closer you get to alterity, the less effective you want to be.

  37. Grant says:

    On the OWL question, it seems fairly obvious that he’s how R&D in the future is really going to be occuring at a highly accelerated pace once Merlin finally breaks through the religious taboos and the threat from the orbitals. By that time he’ll have developped in personality and capability to the point where he’s a huge multiplier in the process and will allow humanity to progress technologically at a pace sifficient for them to outstrip the Gbaba by a large enough margin to offset their numerical disadvntage.

    He’s basically this story’s version of “Merlin” from The Excalibur Alternative. That’s my take on it anyway.

  38. @32

    Your proposal would interfere with Merlin’s objectives.

  39. Paul says:

    @33 He gets paid by the book, not by the story. As long as his fans keep buying books the trend continues.

  40. Randy says:

    I wonder if the Shuttle might be used to get the circle out of Zion in the middle of the winter to escape the inquisition? Micheal was to be given a communicator in book 3, (though I don’t think we have seen him use it yet), so as soon as he feel he can morally reveal the circle’s existence to Cayleb and Merlin, I would assume he would let Merlin know about these potential allies and Merlin could watch them.

    Granted, the circle would need some prep work done before seeing the shuttle, (unless he gases them asleep first, and they wake up in Charis) but if Father Paitr is brought in on the secret as discussed before, he might be enough to convince his brother and the other circle members even after the shock of finding themselves in Charis that its not evil.

    What would the Go4 think if all of the circle just vanishes without a trace in the middle of winter

    Just random thoughts…

  41. Anthony says:

    @ 32 The books have only mentioned three pieces of technology given directly to the Charisians. The math he provided to doctor Mahklyn, the corned gunpowder recipe, and the sail plan for the schooner rig.

    The reason Being that Merlin wishes to create a mindset of creativity, innovation, and invention within Safehold as a whole.

    My Irys prediction is that luring Phylyp Ahzgood into a trip to the temple lands is a way for the G4 to get rid of him (or at least Clyntahn’s way). Once he is gone Prince Daivyn will now be bereft of protector’s and able to be molded/used as the G4 desires. They may even decide to get rid of him and “marry” Irys off to someone acceptable that they will then use to control corisand (after this immediate heresy is dealt with). After all Corisand is to far away to be properly controlled by the temple too.

    Of course this series of events would seriously underestimate Irys’ intelligence and ability.

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