A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 14

A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 14

“No. In fact, the Bishop Executor and Father Aidryan apparently managed to get out of Manchyr, despite the siege lines,” Baron Larchros answered for Storm Keep. “No one seems to know exactly how they did it, but the fact that they seem to’ve done it suggests ‘Emperor Cayleb’ isn’t quite as infallible as he’d like us to believe!”

“Then who –?”

“Bishop Klairmant. Or, I suppose, I should say ‘Archbishop Klairmant,'” Larchros said bitterly, and Yair blanched visibly.

Klairmant Gairlyng, the Bishop of Tartarian, one of the Princedom of Corisande’s most respected prelates, came from the Temple Lands themselves. To be sure, the Gairlyngs scarcely constituted one of the truly great Church dynasties. If they had, Klairmant would undoubtedly have ended up with a more prestigious bishopric. But he was still at least a distant cousin of several current vicars, which had always given him a great deal of moral authority within the ranks of Corisande’s clergy. Worse, he’d served his see for sixteen years now, without taking a single vacation trip back to Zion, and earned a reputation for unusual piety in the process. Having him acknowledge the primacy of the heretic Staynair constituted a serious blow to the Church’s authority, and one of Yair’s hands rose. It signed the scepter of Langhorne, and Baron Larchros barked a laugh which contained very little humor.

“I’m afraid the good bishop isn’t the only servant of Mother Church who’s turned his coat — or should I say his cassock? — Father,” he said flatly. “In fact, I think that may’ve been the most disturbing thing about this ‘Special Parliament’ of Cayleb’s, when you come down to it. Over a third – almost half, really – of the Princedom’s bishops were prepared to proclaim their loyalty to the ‘Church of Charis.'” His lips worked in disgust. “And where bishops led the way, is it any surprise the rest of the priesthood followed suit?”

“I can’t . . .” Yair shook his head. “I can’t believe –”

He broke off, and Storm Keep reached out to pat his knee with a comforting hand.

“It’s early days yet, Father,” he said quietly. “Yes, I’m afraid Gairlyng truly intends to . . . reach an accommodation, shall we say, with Cayleb and Staynair. I don’t pretend to know what all of his motives are. On the one hand, he’s known Tartarian for years, and as far as I know, they’ve always been on excellent terms. That might be part of it. And, to give Shan-wei her due, I suppose it’s possible he’s at least partly trying to head off any sort of pogrom here in Corisande. The Charisian version of the Inquisition is hardly likely to treat any open resistance by ‘Temple Loyalists’ gently, after all.”

Although, he admitted to himself a bit grudgingly, this “Viceroy General” Chermyn’s Marines have been a lot “gentler” than I would have expected . . . so far, at least. Musket butts and bayonets are bad enough, but bullets are worse, and he’s been mighty sparing with those, under the circumstances.

“And maybe Gairlyng, Anvil Rock, and Tartarian all see an opportunity to feather their own nests, and Shan-wei with heading off any ‘pogroms,'” Larchros said bitingly in response to the earl’s last observation.

“And maybe that, as well,” Storm Keep conceded.

“You said over a third of the bishops have accepted Staynair’s authority, My Lord,” Yair said to Larchros. “What’s happened to those who refused?”

“Most of them have gone into hiding like Bishop Amilain, I imagine,” the baron replied, and this time there was at least a hint of genuine humor in his thin smile.

Amilain Gahrnaht, the Bishop of Larchros, had ‘mysteriously disappeared’ before Larchros set out for Cherayth. The baron didn’t officially know exactly where Gahrnaht had taken himself off to, but he knew Father Airwain did. So did Storm Keep. That, in fact, was the main reason the earl was prepared to speak so frankly in front of a mere chaplain he scarcely knew personally.

“With the semaphore stations in the hands of Gairlyng’s sycophants,” the baron continued more somberly, “it’s hard to know what’s really going on, of course. A lot of bishops and upper-priests refused – like Bishop Amilain – to obey Cayleb’s summons at all. In the case of bishops who refused, he and Gairlyng appointed replacements before he left, and ‘Viceroy General’ Chermyn’s announced his intention to send troops along with each of those replacements. He says there will be no mass arrests or persecutions of ‘Temple Loyalists’ as long as they refrain from acts of ‘rebellion.'” Larchros snorted viciously. “I can just imagine how long that’s going to last!”

“But . . . but Cayleb and Staynair have been excommunicated!” Yair protested. “No oath to either of them can be binding in the eyes of God or man!”

“A point I bore in mind myself,” Larchros agreed with a grim smile.

“And I,” Storm Keep said. “In fact, I imagine quite a few of Prince Daivyn’s nobles were thinking about that. For that matter, I’m quite certain Bishop Mailvyn was, as well.”

“Indeed?” Yair perked up noticeably. Mailvyn Nohrcross was the Bishop of Barcor. Unlike Gairlyng, he was a nativeborn Corisandian. In fact, he was a cousin of the Baron of Barcor, and his family wielded considerable influence both within the Church and in secular terms, as well.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve actually discussed it, you understand, Father,” Storm Keep said, “but from a couple of ‘chance remarks’ he managed to let fall in my presence, it’s my belief Bishop Mailvyn believes it will be wiser, for now, to pay lip service to this Church of Charis. At any rate, I feel reasonably confident he’ll do his best to . . . buffer the blows to those who remain privately loyal to Mother Church.”

“In fact,” Larchros looked at his chaplain rather pointedly, “if anyone were to have the opportunity to discuss it with Bishop Amilain, I suspect Bishop Mailvyn would be prepared to quietly extend his protection to a fellow prelate unjustly deprived of his office.”

Yair looked back at him for a moment, then nodded, and Storm Keep shrugged.

“The truth is, Father Airwain, that no one really knows what’s going to happen. My understanding is that Cayleb intends to leave affairs here in Corisande in the hands of the Regency Council . . . ‘advised’ by his Viceroy General Chermyn, of course. Apparently he cherishes the belief – or the hope, perhaps – that now that he’s taken himself off to Chisholm, people may forget he had Prince Hektor murdered. That’s the real reason we all spent so many five-days parked in Manchyr even after he sailed for Cherayth. Anvil Rock, Tartarian and the others were busy hammering all of us over the head with how deeply committed they are to doing their best to preserve the Princedom intact and defend its ancient prerogatives. They say Cayleb has promised them he’ll leave Corisande as much self-rule ‘as possible.’ I leave it to you to judge just how much ‘self’ there’s going to be in that ‘rule’!”

The priest’s nostrils flared with contempt, and the earl nodded.

“Precisely,” he said. “For now, at least, though, he’s left Anvil Rock and Tartarian to deal with maintaining order while he dumps the . . . thorny problem, shall we say, of settling the Church’s affairs into Gairlyng’s hands. There were rumors swirling around Manchyr that Staynair himself may be visiting us in a few months’ time. For now, two or three upper-priests from Charis are playing the part of Gairlyng’s intendants, and no doubt keeping an eye on him for Staynair’s version of the Inquisition. Unless I’m seriously mistaken, Cayleb figures his best chance is to at least pretend he plans to ride Corisande with a light rein, if only we’ll let him.”

“You think that’s why he’s agreed to accept Daivyn as Prince Hektor’s heir, My Lord?”

“I think that’s part of it, certainly.” Storm Keep waved one hand slowly, like a man trying to fan a way through fog. “To be honest, though, I don’t see what other option he had. He’s made it clear enough that whether we want it to or not, Corisande’s just become part of this ‘Charisian Empire’ of his. That would have been a hard enough pill to force down the Princedom’s throat under any circumstances; after Prince Hektor’s murder, it’s going to be even harder. If he’d set straight out to put one of his favorites in the Prince’s place, or claimed the crown directly in his own name, he knows the entire Princedom would have gone up in flames. This way, he and the ‘Regency Council’ can hide behind Daivyn’s legitimacy. He can even pretend he’s looking out for the boy’s best interests, since, after all, he never had anything to do with Prince Hektor’s assassination, now did he? Oh, no, of course he didn’t!”

The earl’s irony was withering.

“And then there’s the consideration that with Daivyn safely out of the Princedom, he’s neatly deprived any potential resistance of a rallying point here in Corisande,” Larchros pointed out. “Worse, Anvil Rock and Tartarian can claim they’re actually looking after Daivyn’s claim to the crown when they move to crush any resistance that does arise! Look at the cover it gives them! And if Daivyn is ever foolish enough to come back into Cayleb’s reach, he can always go the same way his father and older brother did, once Cayleb decides he doesn’t need him anymore. At which point we will get one of his damned favorites on the throne!”

“In a lot of ways, I don’t envy Cayleb the mouthful he’s bitten off here in Corisande,” Storm Keep said frankly. “Murdering the Prince and young Hektor was probably the stupidest thing he could have done, but Langhorne knows enough hate can make a man do stupid things. I can’t think of any two men who hated one another more than he and Prince Hektor hated each other, either, especially after Haarahld was killed at Darcos Sound. And let’s not even get started on how Sharleyan felt about the Prince! So maybe he simply figured the personal satisfaction of vengeance was going to be worth any political headaches it created. And if he didn’t know Daivyn was already out of the Princedom, he probably figured controlling a little boy would be easier than controlling someone young Hektor’s age, so killing the Crown Prince may have seemed sensible to him, too . . . at the time. For that matter, as you just pointed out, Rahzhyr, he could always have had Daivyn suffer one of those ‘childhood accidents’ that seem to happen to unwanted heirs from time to time.” The earl’s expression was grim, and he shrugged. “But now he doesn’t have Daivyn in his hands, after all, and that leaves the entire situation in a state of flux.”

“What do you think is going to happen, My Lord?” Yair asked quietly. “In the end, I mean.”

“At this point, I truly don’t know, Father,” the earl said. “If the Regency Council can keep a lid on things for the next several months, and if Gairlyng and the other Church traitors can cobble together some sort of smooth-seeming transition into this Church of Charis, he may actually make the conquest stand up. I think the odds are against that, and, to be honest,” he showed his teeth in a smile which contained absolutely no humor, “I intend to do everything I can to make them worse, but he might manage to pull it off. For a while, at least. But in the long run?”

He shrugged.

“In the long run, as long as Daivyn stays free, there’s going to be a secular rallying point for resistance. It may be located somewhere else, and any sort of direct contact between us and him may be all but impossible to maintain, but the symbol will still be there. It doesn’t matter if the ‘Regency Council’ claims to be acting in his name or not, either. As long as he’s outside the Princedom and ‘his’ council is obviously taking its orders from Cayleb, its legitimacy is going to be suspect, to say the very least. And the same thing is true for Bishop Executor Thomys, as well. As long as the true Church’s hierarchy remains, even if it’s driven underground, then any effort to replace it with the ‘Church of Charis’ is going to be built on sand. Eventually, Cayleb and his cat’s paws are going to find themselves face-to-face with a genuine popular uprising, Father. When that happens, I think they’ll find their authority runs a lot less deeply than they thought it did. And it’s the nature of that sort of thing that one uprising plants the seeds for the next one, whether it succeeds or not. So when the day comes that Cayleb is forced to pull his troops off of Corisandian soil, and recall his ships from Corisandian waters, to deal with threats closer to home, I think those of us who have been planning and working and waiting for that day will be in a position to give him a most unwelcome surprise.”

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35 Responses to A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 14

  1. WeberFanatic says:

    For all the people complaining about not being on the Merlin side of things, this is a wake up call!

    People, I’ve been reading Weber for almost all his career. He has a way of throwing characters out at you, building them their own worlds, and combining them in SPECTACULAR ways

    This may seem long, it may seem to be a recap, but what he’s doing here is setting the tone for the entire Resistance in Corisande here. Maybe Merlin will miss this as he did the attempt on Sherlyn? Maybe he knows but is preoccupied with the baby? Maybe he’s letting things play out?

    People just remember, this is NOT the whole book here! These are SNIPPETS! Meant to get us to WANT more!

    If things aren’t going exactly the way you want them too in the story and it makes you not want to buy, oh well, my copy comes a little faster that way then

  2. Corisande is on track to become the Ireland of the Charisian Empire.

  3. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Maybe. A lot of it is going to depend on how the Charisians act, especially under provocation. One of the reasons Ireland got so bloody is cause the English very firmly stood on them each time they tried to revolt – thus why an uprising tends to set the stage for future uprisings. If Charis manages to avoid going down that road (admittedly not the most likely of prospects), then things may work out reasonably well in the long run.

  4. Sawa says:

    Yes, Corisande may become an equivalent of Ireland, but there are at least 2 factors that may prevent that. The first is Merlins penetration of the resistance leadership. That allows for a far better counter resistance planing which in turn should allow for a much ‘gentler’ and ‘efficient’ Charisian reaction. And the second facto is Princess Iris who with the help of her fathers spymaster will sooner or leater find out who really killed her father and brother, and then will be (probably) willing to ally with the devil much less Calyeb to get her revenge. And having Daivyn back on the island, swearing fleaty to Cayleb will put a serious drawback in the work or the resistance leaders. After all they can’t be fighting in his name when he doesn’t want them to.

  5. Rekes says:

    Merlin’s going to have to toe a fine line if he wants to hold Corisande without it falling apart on him. Perhaps a ‘rescue’ operation for the exiled Prince is in order, if not an outright negotiation. The kingdom that Daivyn fled to might part with him in exchange for the withholding of Charis’ wrath. No telling with the princess though.

  6. Maggie says:

    Do we get to be flies on the wall when Storm Keep finds out who knocked off the Hektors??

  7. robert says:

    @5 Snarks on the wall?

  8. Jerry says:

    Or, might the Stone of Schueler make another appearance to help clarify what happened to Hektor?

  9. John says:

    Provided everyone that was involved in Hektor’s death isn’t dead. That’s what I’d do if I were Clytahn, have a team to take them out and pay a second team to kill the first. Tell the second team nothing just pay them to kill some people. Propaganda from Charis can be dismissed but the active Corisandan participants should be dead

  10. Summertime says:

    The opposition will melt when Irys and her brother learn the truth and join Cayleb’s team. Corisande will become a loyal part of the Charisian Empire with, of course, a few ineffectual grumblers and Loyalist plotters to give a semblance of opposition. Then, on to the other countries one by one until the final fall of the Temple Lands and the Church Elite. That will, of course, take several more books and numerous harrowing episodes to provide a satisfying story arc. After a suitable time, a new story arc will begin, with a modernised Safehold entering Space and off to find the Gbaba.and deal with them.

  11. Peter Z says:

    I think the comments are focussed on the wrong thing. Consider the importance these loyalists have given Archbishop Klairmant based on the Archbishop’s piety and clergical dynastic roots. This fact was dropped in and then bypassed, a bit like setting up future events. So, which church dynasty has the highest reputation for both depth of its roots and the piety of its members? That dynasty will be instrumental in the resolution of this schism and the rebellions stemming from the schism. I still can’t say exactly how, but the Wylsyn’s will drive the resolution.

  12. lethargo says:

    Wow. I hate this kind of stuff, where someone with good motives is trying to rule a conquest with a light, fair touch, but resistance may make that impossible, especially if (as?) people on the ground on both sides become more embittered.

    BUT, despite that I’m glad Weber is including this stuff. It would not be realistic without it. Hopefully time will heal wounds for many, though I doubt it will for Irys (I wonder if her emotions would let her believe that Cayleb was not responsible for murdering her father, even if some evidence does turn up?)

    Anyway, this is certainly not my favorite part of the story…too bad it is a necessary part.

  13. TimC says:

    Good point about Klairmant’s piety. Maybe he is a follower of the order of St Jerry Knowles (or whatever it has become corrupted to!).

  14. John says:

    It was stated that Irys loved her father, so she with a nudge from Coris could make an unholy alliance with Cayleb to bring down the church. That’s another element the story could use, a character whose motives are suspect; as it is right now, the good guys are all loyal, Irys would stir the pot.

  15. Peter Z says:

    Or perhaps the story could use a truly tragic figure. Have Irys follow the path of vengence and watch as she destroys her life in its persuit. The hope of Charis may be emphasized through the evaporation of hope as seen in Irys.

  16. JN says:

    @6 The fact that the church killed Hektor is critical. When that comes out, it is going to slit the throat of the resistence. Hence there is virtually no chance that Corisande becomes Ireland.

    @12 The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Rulers must rule, or they will be replaced. If you do not believe it, try arguing with the IRS.


  17. Anthony says:

    Under what circumstances does Irys find out the truth? Coris will be instrumental (probably), but will he survive it? If the G4 had any idea what Coris was thinking they would have him removed, and he is taking a little trip to the temple lands in winter.

    If the resistance discovers that the church killed both Hectors then it will turn collapse. Those driven by the desire to avenge their prince will begin to support Cayleb’s war (even if they don’t support Cayleb himself). But will they allow themselves to believe it, many people have ignored proof before their eyes and instead concocted unlikely or even downright insane theories to explain it away.

  18. Rekes says:

    Any chance of Corisandians forming a separate schism on the basis of some other means to reforming the Church apart from Charis’?

  19. Jared says:

    I imagine Irys will be a pain in the *** for Merlin and Cayleb/Sharleyan for quite a while to come. I doubt Irys and/or her brother will find out about the fact that The grand inquisitor called their father in this book, or the next for that matter. But the time will probably come. And when it does, there will be hell to pay.

    On the other hand, I wonder what place Cayleb will conquer next? Tarot or Dohlar i believe (i forget which one betrayed harald), the next island nation.

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Jared, it was Tarot that betrayed Harald. As was mentioned in the prior book, the plan is to convince the King of Tarot to join the new Empire.

  21. John says:

    Besides, they’re kicking Dohlar’s ass in the naval but unless Merlin’s intervenes directly with assault rifles or some tech, which he can’t, The Empire can’t face the mainland armies yet.

  22. Jerry says:

    Hmmm, Larchros stated that “Over a third – almost half, really – of the Princedom’s bishops were prepared to proclaim their loyalty to the ‘Church of Charis.’”. Might this be due to the Corisandian equivalent of St. Zhernou?? Some small number would likely have been in Charis, but they would be suspect and not the key ones.

  23. AVD says:

    @22 I read once that in any major decsision, 1/3rd will support the decision, 1/3rd will oppose it, and 1/3rd will be mostly ambivilent. Obviously, its a simplification, but the point stands that there could be many reasons for the priests to switch. By this point, the Church’s corruption has ben on everyone’s mind for quite a while. Some of the priests could join merely to put themselves on the side they see has right. Especially, because there is no major theological dispute. Church of Charis gives the same feel after all. Then again, many of them could be hust hiding. Until we see evidence that there is that underground group, there are too many reasons for the switch.

    I find it unlikely there would be Brethern that close together anyway. Possible, but I’d have put them on every island, or at least a couple of islands apart.

    I suspect we’re going to see Cayleb going after the Prince. He needs him too badly to ignore him. sides, he now has Chisholm to support his army, and they’re better than his. With those new mortars, he could force the city to surrender before anyone could build an army large enough to hurt him siginificantly. The suprise weapons won’t be enough to win it outright this time, but Cayleb could do it.

  24. KenJ says:

    I’ve noticed an interesting sub thread in the resistance snippets. I am sure Merlin and co. are following the leaders quite closely. However I noticed a few snippets back that one of the reasons Merlin didn’t take out the leadership of the resistances is that he HAS A USE FOR THEM. What that use is, I don’t know. It will be interesting to find out and it is also fun to speculate.

  25. Jimmy says:

    @24 Is it a use for them he has, or just the reasoning of better the devil you know and can keep track of?

  26. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Eyeing snerk collar, Merlin is looking to nab a bigger traitor.

  27. Peter Z says:

    @23 AVD, I was thinking that Cayleb and Sharley may just be grateful if Merlin and some commandos manage to sneak the young Prince and perhaps his sister back to Corisande. It would be tough to do but possible. Set up a team with horses outside, Merlin does the solo B&E and escapes with the yougster on his back/under his arm. Irys may discover the attempt but does not want to risk having his brother killed and simply chases after until she confronts the group preparing to leave the city. They include her and off they go.

    Ahhh that was satisfying. Engaging in wishful thinking first thing in the morning begins the day so nicely :-)

  28. Peter Z says:

    @26 Drak, one thinks that Merlin may wish to prove the Church’s culpability in Hektor’s murder. One further anticipates some degree of success.

  29. John says:

    @23 Don’t forget Emerald has an army too; it’s commander is Hannibal, sorry Hanbil.

  30. robert says:

    Just where are these guy’s loyalties? Are they to the church or to the Prince? When Merlin maneuvers the return of the Prince, with whoever the regent is, will they be loyal to him or to the Temple? They swore loyalty to Cayleb, but obviously that did not signify because he is excommunicate. Or are they all dead men walking?

  31. Peter Z says:

    @30 Robert, all those questions disapear for the most part should those really responsible for Hektor’s murder be exposed and the young Prince be returned safely to Corisande. Corisande is simply too far away from the Temple Lands for most of its citizens to be loyal to the church uber alles. Cloud the issue of who deserves loyalty and who deserves to be rejected and those questions of yours will get a sufficiently wide variety of answers that no consensus will ever form. Without anything to galvanize consensus into resistance, people will muddle through their lives only to discover (to their pleasant surprise) in the near future that their lives are quite prosperous and secure.

  32. hank says:

    Just a thought, the reason Coris is being called to Zion might be because someone has had a rush of brains to the head and realized that, as the late Prince Hectors spymaster, he would be able to give the best advice on who to approach back in Corisande for purposes of organizing the underground?

  33. robert says:

    @31 You are probably right, Peter. But anybody who can’t see which side the butter is on can act, um, peculiarly.

    To change the subject but not the author, this appeared on David Weber’s site today:
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010
    Mission of Honor Snippets

    …Will start on February 12th! Stop by the Forum’s “Snippet” section to check them out!
    I prefer to read them here, Drak. The folks who comment here are different than the tech weenies on David Weber’s site. And way nicer.
    Here, Drak, here!

  34. jgnfld says:

    @33 Just for your info, the e-ARC of MoH is out on the Baen site now.

  35. justdave says:

    I can see Nahrmahn being sic’ed on Tarot to bring then into the Empire

    as far as the Empire’s ‘foothold’ on the mainland it looks like Siddarma is primed (tum de dum???)

    looking with GREAT anticipation to friday!!!!

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