A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 23

A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 23

II
Archbishop’s Palace,
City of Manchyr,
Princedom of Corisande

“So, My Lord,” Archbishop Klairmant Gairlyng kept his tone rather lighter than he actually felt at this particular moment, “now that you’ve been here for a five-day, what do you think?”

“In what regard, Your Eminence?” Bishop Zherald Ahdymsyn responded blandly as the archbishop and his two guests stepped into Gairlyng’s study.

“Zherald . . .” Bishop Kaisi Mahkhynroh said, raising one chiding index finger, and Ahdymsyn chuckled. Then he looked back at Gairlyng.

“Forgive me, Your Eminence.” There was an edge of contrition in his voice. “I’m afraid my sense of humor sometimes betrays me into unbecoming levity. I think that’s at least partly a response to the fact that I used to take myself much too seriously. And, as the Writ says, God made Man to smile, as well as to weep.”

“That’s true enough, My Lord,” Gairlyng agreed. “And sometimes, laughter is the only way to avoid weeping, I think.” He walked around the desk to the comfortable swivel chair behind it, and a courteous sweep of his right hand indicated the even more comfortable armchairs facing it. “Please, My Lords. Make yourselves easy. May I offer you any refreshment?”

“Not for me, thank you, Your Eminence.” Ahdymsyn seated himself in one of the indicated chairs. “After we’ve finished our discussions here, I’m dining with Earl Anvil Rock and his son. I understand Earl Tartarian and at least one or two other members of the Regency Council will be joining us, as well.” He grimaced humorously. “As a bishop executor of Mother Church, I developed a remarkably hard head. Now, as a lowly bishop once more, and given to somewhat more abstemious habits, I don’t seem to have quite the capacity where alcohol is concerned before my jokes become a bit too loud and my judgment becomes somewhat less reliable than I think it is.” He frowned thoughtfully, rubbing one eyebrow. “Or that’s one possibility, at any rate. Another is that I never was quite as immune to its effects as I thought I was, but no one had the nerve to point it out to me.”

He smiled broadly, but then his expression sobered and he looked very levelly into Gairlyng’s eyes across the archbishop’s desk.

“Odd, isn’t it, how no one seems to want to challenge the judgment of Mother Church’s senior clergy?”

Silence hovered for a moment or two, and then Gairlyng looked up at the aide who had escorted him and his guests from Manchyr Cathedral to the Archbishop’s Palace.

“I think that will be all, Symyn,” he said. “If I need you, I’ll call.”

“Of course, Your Eminence.”

The dark-haired, dark-complexioned young under-priest’s brown cassock bore the Scepter of the Order of Langhorne, as did Gairlyng’s orange-trimmed white cassock, and there was a sort of familial resemblance about them, although the under-priest was obviously a nativeborn Corisandian. Had he been several years younger, or had Gairlyng been several years older, he might have been the archbishop’s son. As it was, Ahdymsyn was relatively certain it was simply a case of a young man modeling his own behavior and demeanor upon that of a superior whom he deeply respected.

And it would appear there’s quite a bit to respect about the Archbishop, Ahdymsyn thought. Rather more than there was to respect about me in the good old days, at any rate!

His lips twitched again, remembering certain conversations which had once passed between him and then-Bishop Maikel Staynair. It was, he reflected (for far from the first time), a very fortunate thing that Staynair’s sense of humor was as lively as his compassion was deep.

The door closed behind the departing aide, and Gairlyng returned his attention to his guests. He’d gotten to know Mahkhynroh surprisingly well over the past month or two. Or perhaps not surprisingly well, given how closely he’d been compelled to work with the other man since his own elevation to the primacy of Corisande and Mahkhynroh’s installation as the Bishop of Manchyr. He wouldn’t have gone quite so far as to describe the two of them as friends yet. “Colleagues” was undoubtedly a better term, at least this far. They shared a powerful sense of mutual respect, however, and he’d come to appreciate that Mahkhynroh had been chosen for his present position at least in part because he combined a truly formidable intellect with a deep faith and a remarkably deep well of empathy. Despite his installation by a “foreign, heretical, schismatic church,” he’d already demonstrated a powerful ability to listen to the priests — and laity — of his bishopric. Not simply to listen, but to convince them he was actually hearing what they said . . . and that he would not hold frank speaking against them. No one would ever accuse him of weakness or vacillation, but neither could any honest person accuse him of tyranny or intolerance.

Ahdymsyn, on the other hand, was so far a complete unknown. Gairlyng knew at least the bare bones of his official history, yet it was already obvious there were quite a lot of things that “official history” had left out. He knew Ahdymsyn had been Archbishop Erek Dynnys’ bishop executor in Charis before Dynnys’ fall from grace and eventual execution for heresy and treason. He knew Ahdymsyn came from a merely respectable Temple Lands family, with considerably fewer — and lower placed — connections than Gairlyng’s own family could boast. He knew Ahdymsyn, as bishop executor, had more than once reprimanded and disciplined Archbishop Maikel Staynair when Staynair had been simply the Bishop of Tellesberg, and that he had been imprisoned — or, at least, placed under “house arrest” — following the Kingdom of Charis’ decision to openly defy the Church of God Awaiting. And he knew that since that time, Ahdymsyn had become one of Staynair’s most trusted and valued “troubleshooters,” which explained his current presence in Corisande.

What Gairlyng did not know, and what it was becoming rapidly evident to him he’d been mistaken about, was how — and why — Zherald Ahdymsyn had made that transition. He thought about that for a few seconds, then decided forthrightness was probably the best policy.

“Forgive me, My Lord,” he said now, returning Ahdymsyn’s level regard, “but I’ve begun to suspect that my original assumptions about how you . . . come to hold your present position, shall we say, may have been somewhat in error.”

“Or, to put it another way,” Ahdymsyn said dryly, “your ‘original assumptions’ were that, having seen the way the wind was blowing in Charis, and realizing that, whatever defense I might present, the Grand Inquisitor and the Chancellor were unlikely to be overjoyed to see me again in the Temple or Zion, I decided to turn my coat — or would that be my cassock? — while the turning was good. Would that be about the size of it, Your Eminence?”

That, Gairlyng decided, was rather more forthrightness than he’d had in mind. Unfortunately . . .

“Well, yes, actually,” he confessed, reminding himself that however he’d become one, he was an archbishop while Ahdymsyn was merely a bishop. “As I say, I’ve begun to think I was wrong to believe that, but while I don’t believe I’d have phrased it quite that way, that was more or less my original assumption.”

“And, no doubt, exactly the way it was presented to you here in Corisande before the invasion,” Ahdymsyn suggested.

“Yes,” Gairlyng said slowly, his tone rather more thoughtful, and Ahdymsyn shrugged.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that the Group of Four’s presented things that way, whatever they truly think. But neither, in this case, do I doubt for a moment that that’s exactly what they think happened.” He grimaced once more. “Partly, I’m confident, because that’s precisely the way they would have been thinking under the same circumstances. But also, I’m very much afraid, because they’ve spoken with people who actually knew me. I hate to admit it, Your Eminence, but my own attitudes — the state of my own faith — at the time this all began ought to make that a very reasonable hypothesis for those who were well acquainted with me.”

“That’s a remarkably forthright admission, My Lord,” Gairlyng said quietly, his chair squeaking ever so softly as he leaned back in it. “One I doubt comes easily to someone who once sat as close to an archbishop’s chair as you did.”

“It comes more easily than you might think, Your Eminence,” Ahdymsyn replied. “I don’t say it was a pleasant truth to face when I first had to, you understand, but I’ve discovered the truth is the truth. We can hide from it, and we can deny it, but we can’t change it, and I’ve spent at least two thirds of my allotted span here on Safehold ignoring it. That doesn’t give me a great deal of time to work on balancing the ledger before I’m called to render my accounts before God. Under the circumstances, I don’t think I should waste any of it in pointless evasions.”

“I see,” Gairlyng said. And I’m beginning to think I see why Staynair trusted you enough to send you here in his name, the archbishop added silently. “But since you’ve been so frank, My Lord, may I ask what actually led you to ‘face the truth,’ as you put it, in the first place?”

“Quite a few things,” Ahdymsyn replied, sitting back in his own chair and crossing his legs. “One of them, to be honest, was the fact that I realized what sort of punishment I would face if I ever did return to the Temple Lands. Trust me, that was enough to give anyone pause . . . even before that butcher Clyntahn had Archbishop Erek tortured to death.” The ex-bishop executor’s face tightened for a moment. “I doubt any of us senior members of the priesthood ever actually gave much thought to having the Penalty of Schueler levied against us. That was a threat — a club — to hold over the heads of the laity in order to frighten them into doing God’s will. Which of course, had been revealed to us with perfect clarity.”

Ahdymsyn’s biting tone could have chewed chunks out of the marble façade of Gairlyng’s palace, and his eyes were hard.

“So I hadn’t actually anticipated that I might be tortured to death on the very steps of the Temple,” he continued. “I’d accepted that my fate was going to be unpleasant, you understand, but it never crossed my mind to fear that. So I’d expected, at least initially, that I’d be incarcerated somewhere in Charis, probably until the legitimate forces of Mother Church managed to liberate me, at which point I would be disciplined and sent to rusticate in disgrace, milking goats and making cheese in some obscure monastic community up in the Mountains of Light. Trust me, at the time I expected that to be more than sufficient punishment for someone of my own exquisite epicurean tastes.”

He paused and looked down, and his eyes softened briefly, as if at some memory, as he stroked one sleeve of his remarkably plain cassock. Then he looked back up at Gairlyng, and the softness had vanished.

“But then we learned in Tellesberg what had happened to the Archbishop,” he said flatly. “More than that, I received a letter from him — one he managed to have smuggled out before his execution.” Gairlyng’s eyes widened, and Ahdymsyn nodded. “It was written on a blank page he’d taken from a copy of the Holy Writ, Your Eminence,” he said softly. “I found that remarkably symbolic, under the circumstances. And in it, he told me his arrest — his trial and his conviction — had brought him face-to-face with the truth . . . and that he hadn’t liked what he’d seen. It was a brief letter. He had only the single sheet of paper, and I think he was writing in haste, lest one of his guards surprise him at the task. But he told me — ordered me, as my ecclesiastic superior — not to return to Zion. He told me what his own sentence had been, and what mine would undoubtedly be if I fell into Clyntahn’s hands. And he told me Clyntahn’s inquisitors had promised him an easy death if he would condemn Staynair and the rest of the ‘Church of Charis” hierarchy for apostasy and heresy. If he would confirm the Group of Four’s version of the reason they’d chosen to lay waste to an innocent kingdom. But he refused to do that. I’m sure you’ve heard what he actually said, and I’m sure you’ve wondered if what you heard was the truth or some lie created by Charisian propagandists.” He smiled without any humor at all. “It would certainly have occurred to me to wonder about that, after all. But I assure you, it was no lie. From the very scaffold on which he was to die, he rejected the lies the Group of Four had demanded of him. He rejected the easy death they’d promised him because that truth he’d finally faced was more important to him, there at the very end of his life, than anything else.”

It was very quiet in Gairlyng’s study. The slow, measured ticking of the clock on one of the archbishop’s bookcases was almost thunderous in the stillness. Ahdymsyn let that silence linger for several moments, then shrugged.

“Your Eminence, I knew the reality of the highest levels of Mother Church’s hierarchy . . . just as I’m sure you’ve known them. I knew why Clyntahn had the Archbishop sentenced, why for the first time ever the Penalty of Schueler was applied to a senior member of the episcopate. And I knew that, whatever his faults — and Langhorne knows they were almost as legion as my own! — Erek Dynnys did not deserve to die that sort of death simply as a way for a hopelessly corrupt vicarate to prop up its own authority. I looked around me in Charis, and I saw men and women who believed in God, not in the corrupt power and ambition of men like Zhaspahr Clyntahn, and when I saw that, I saw something I wanted to be. I saw something that convinced me that, even at that late a date, I — even I — might have a true vocation. Langhorne knows, it took God a while to find a hammer big enough to pound that possibility through a skull as thick as mine, but He’d managed it in the end. And, in my own possibly long-winded way, that’s the answer to your question. It’s not the answer to all of my questions — not yet — I’m afraid, but it’s something just as important. It’s the start of all my questions, and I’ve discovered that, unlike the days when I was Mother Church’s consecrated vice regent for Charis, with all the pomp and power of that office, I’m eager to find answers to those questions.”

Ahdymsyn drew a deep breath, then he shrugged.

“I’m no longer a bishop executor, Your Eminence. The Church of Charis doesn’t have those, but even if it did, I wouldn’t be one again. Assuming anyone would trust me to be one after the outstanding job I did last time around!”

It was no smile, this time. It was a broad, flashing grin, well suited to any youngster explaining that fairies had just emptied the cookie jar. Then it faded again, but now the eyes were no longer hard, the voice no longer burdened with memories of anger and guilt. He looked at Gairlyng from a face of hard-won serenity, and his voice was equally serene.

“I’m something far more important than a ‘bishop executor,’ now, Your Eminence. I’m a priest. Perhaps for the first time in my entire life, really, I’m a priest.” He shook his head. “Frankly, that would be far too hard an act for any high episcopal office to follow.”

Gairlyng gazed back at him for a long, thoughtful moment, then looked at Mahkhynroh. None of that had been the answer he’d expected out of Zherald Ahdymsyn, yet somehow it never occurred to him for a moment to doubt the other man’s sincerity.

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34 Responses to A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 23

  1. reaper says:

    I have a feeling Zherald or the other priest who pretty much preached holy war is going to die. Probably shot by church loyalists on the steps of Corisande’s cathedral. There hasn’t been a martyr in this book like the previous ones.

  2. KenJ says:

    Nice to see more depth to Ahdymsyn’s character. I wonder how Patyr Wylson is doing or if he is beginning to have doubts.

  3. Stewart says:

    So the clergy in corisande is beginning to see the corruption of mother church. That may bode well for the empire. One thing that I would like to point out is that the primary battle here is spiritual, and the true magnitude of the change the church of Charis is going to bring has probably not been realized by the Clyntyn and the group of four. I would also like to know what happened to all the equipment Langhorne and crew used to pretend to be archangels went. Could it be in orbit? or did they have an HQ somewhere on safehold where they kept everything? If Merlin exists, could a different PICA exist that belonged to one of the archangels? If so, perhaps it knows what is really going on, and is either Clyntyn, or Clyntyn is in communication with it.

  4. Elim Garak says:

    Meh, still don’t care. Religion is the absolute last thing that I want to read about in my sci-fi. Hurry up and do something! At this rate I am wondering if I will pay for the ARC, or if I should just wait for the regular copy and save ten bucks.

  5. Tom says:

    When is the ARC coming out? and how much?

  6. Summercat says:

    @3,4:

    AFAIK, Tor doesn’t like doing E-ARCs, and thus there arn’t plans for releasing one of AMF.

    @3:

    I pity you.

  7. HdS says:

    Boring!
    Snippet 23 and waht had happened? The story has not advanced more then a blan k sheet of paper.

    In my opinion, Weber writing style ist getting more and more …defocused, he should remember the times when he had to put lots of story in small books, like on Basilisik Station.

  8. Kelar says:

    @3,6:
    Perhaps you should pick another author.
    For myself, I like Weber’s style and themes a lot.

  9. Anthony says:

    @ 3 I have wondered where the legends of sejin came from. After Merlin found it easy to become one, might that indicate that some pica is running around doing things? Maybe it was a fail safe left behind by Langhorne, or others, with a trusted personality to keep things “on track.” Or it could just be the natural embellishment any tale goes through as it is told. But I find it a bit suspicious.

    As for the other equipment I would guess that most of it was destroyed when Commodore Pei set of the nuke. The remainder is probably hidden in the temple somewhere, or had been destroyed after it was built.

  10. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Anthony, there’s been a suggestion that the “sejin” were created for some of the originial crew that didn’t want to be called angels.

    Of course, the “sejin” could have also been created ‘undercover’ use by the angels.

    Have a job to do but don’t want an angel to appear, send in a “sejin”.

  11. Michael says:

    @3;
    We’ve debated for years now on what awaits Our Heroes in the Temple. Merlin has noted on several occasions that there are significant ‘power sources’ there, and that he dare not investigate closer as temple defenses may be able to detect unknown Federation technology and take defensive measures. We’ve brought up cryo-stasis original crew (perhaps Chihiro, since IIRC he definitively survived the nuke and re-wrote the writ to account for it), another PICA, or the computer core of one of the original ships with a Chihiro personality matrix. There are flaws with all of them.

    Weber has set up an interesting situation. Merlin and Our Heroes have overwhelming advantages right now, including 100X the firepower needed to conquer the whole planet in the batcave. For any real tension they have to be presented with a foe capable of winning. There’s no real obvious answer as to what or who that might be. A Chihiro or equivalent, either present in the original, cryo-preserved flesh or as an AI imprint, would win instantly with a simple command to the orbital canons. Plus with an AI you’d have to wonder why The Voice of Langhorn hadn’t been governing a bit more… actively these past 800 years.

    No, something different is planned. It’ll be interesting to see what it is.

  12. KenJ says:

    Concerning another PICA tooling around.

    One big problem with the theory is the 10-day limit. The only reason that Merlin can exist is because the Conspiracy had on it one of the most creative hackers in existence. And even HE didn’t get it exactly right. The only other way to get around that is to have the “host” still around and in condition to make another personality template every 10 days… Something I am not sure can be done in cold sleep or not.

    Also, using a PICA was Nimue’s idea, literally the night before takeoff. Another PICA would have shown up on the equipment lists when loading the colony ships. Nimue’s WAS on the list but believed lost with her when she transferred to the defense fleet command.

    Now, I have thought of another use for PICA technology; one we will probably never read about. What if, after Operation Arc left, the creators of the PICA’s came up with the plan of making a personality template of every remaining human on the planet, Stored them in a “Master brain” along with enough technological resources to begin manufacturing PICA “brains” and repair nanos and hid it powered down under stealth on, say, Venus with a time delay for activating? 1000 years later it wakes up and starts re-creating “Humans” as a race of Androids to take it back to the Gbaba.

  13. Peter Z says:

    @11 Merlin can’t win with force. If he pulls out the bat cave goodies, Charis loses. Instead of leading humanity into the future, Charis permanently becomes Mordor home of every evil, soul-destroying abomination. DW has forced our heros to persuade humanity to change not compell them to change.

    To have computers with a personality matrix of an Archangel, the CoGA wouyld have had that computer’s imput from the beginning. That did not happen. Also remember that Langhorne thought technology was responsible for humanity’s dire straights with the Gbaba. Whay would he trust technology to keep his low tech society going? Chihiro could have set up something after Cmdr Pei blew his pocket nuke, but it would have drawn from more limited resources in the aftermath of Pei’s destruction.

  14. Michael says:

    @13: DW has stated that the Bat Cave goodies are not a red herring. They’re there for a reason. We just don’t know what the reason is yet. I agree an AI core isn’t likely. What is the Key that Wilson carries, though? I’m very doubtful of the theories that it’s a targeting interface for the orbitals, but I could be wrong.

  15. Summercat says:

    @8 –

    Careful where you direct those barbs. I was pitying @3 for saying that this sucked. If I want non-stop combat I’ve got a huge library of that, but I like seeing how people react to changing environments.

  16. Peter Z says:

    @14 I’ve always viewed the bat cave as seed corn for a technological revolution aimed at the Gbaba, not as the arsenal for freeing Safehold from the CoGA and maintaining the Charisian way. In that sense it isn’t a red herring, it is a red herring for those readers expecting that arsenal to be the primary weapons in defeating the CoGA (besides the communicators).

    As for the Key, it depends if the Stone of Sheuler is part of the Key or if the Key is a separate device altogether. The elder Wyslsyn firmly stated that the Key is to be used against enemies of the Church and that it could only be used once. These clues lead me to believe that the Key is indeed some sort of trigger. Now if the stone and Key are one and the same, it makes sense to have a verrifier tied to that trigger. If they aren’t the same thing, then the Key may be an access device for some sort of AI. The AI can have precautionary programs built in to prevent misuse. I just don’t see what an AI could do to straighten out a catastrophy? In the end the AI would still hold as a trump card the Kenetic Bombardment System and so would act as a really fancy trigger anyway.

    One thing that an AI could do was to use a CoGA version of the bat cave. That plot device would open a whole new can of worms which will more likely than not spell the imminent demise of the CoGA as originally concieved. This just doesn’t smell right.

  17. Douglas says:

    “He knew Ahdymsyn had been Archbishop Erek Dynnys’ bishop executor in Charis before Dynnys’ fall from grace and eventual execution for heresy and treason…’Trust me, that was enough to give anyone pause . . . even before that butcher Clyntahn had Archbishop Erek tortured to death.’…’And I knew that, whatever his faults — and Langhorne knows they were almost as legion as my own! — Erek Dynnys did not deserve to die that sort of death simply as a way for a hopelessly corrupt vicarate to prop up its own authority.'” Didn’t the last three books spell the Archbishop’s first name “Erayk”? Are they changing it or what?
    Also, I’ve read in one of the previous books (Armageddon Reef, I think) that “Archangel” Langhorne had directed that the Temple should always be filled with song “to God’s praise” 24/7 (excuse me, I mean 24/5),and that there was a choir singing hymns in shifts so it never fell silent. Is there a sound being sung that he didn’t want heard, or does he have a self-destruct set to go off if it goes silent (in case of conquest by, oh…Charisians)?

  18. Summercat says:

    @17 – Or it could be part of his God-Complex.

  19. AVD says:

    @ 17,18. both are actually valid arguments. We simply don’t know enough. I suspect that its probably the God complex, because any machine they had by that point wouldn’t make a noise, or if it did, they could alter it to make it sound like something appropriate/nonexistant. But its a good idea to continue to look at the traditions that were set up to see if anything might be hidden behind them.

    I personally want Charis to sail into Zion, hang the Go4 and leave. a tactical strike before its too well defended. Course, I know it won’t happpen, so instead I watch to see how they’ll take the next island nation.

  20. Rekes says:

    @17 It establishes a method of praise that is artful and expressive while simultaneously developing a population who can coast through life on the skill of singing. In other words, it’s the “holy” Langhorn’s make-work.

  21. robert says:

    @5 Any ARCs will appear on eBay. TOR ONLY does paper ARCs for reviewers and bookseller buyers to promote a book, and they are very expensive to produce being mostly hand collated, bound and mailed. They do sell eBooks, usually after the hardback comes out, or maybe when the paperback comes out. Go to the David Weber page on the McMillan website and click on any of the books shown to see if an eBook is available and the price–usually $14–and what Readers are supported.

    The chapters seem to be rather short. We are in Chapter 13 and it is snippet 23. At about 1500 words per snippet, we cannot be very far into what is a 700 page book. I admit that what I expected to read about in this book was all about the preparations and launching and defeat of the Church’s fleet. Clearly more than that is going to be going on here.

  22. Rekes says:

    Drak will Charis be on the defensive this war?

  23. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Rekes, my snerk collar has been upgraded so all I can say is “Tum, te, tum, te, tum . . . .” [Wink]

    Seriously Reyes, I don’t want to say much more about future events in this book that I know about.

    Don’t want to spoil things for other people.

  24. Peter Z says:

    @23 Good Dragon!, here’s your cookie. Gooooood Dragon. ;-)

  25. Peter S says:

    Does anyone know where on the planet Langhorne’s HQ really was – the place destroyed by Pei’s nuke? It clearly wasn’t the temple itself, but then where else would it be? The only place ever mentioned as being devastated is Armageddon Reef / Alexandria.

  26. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Peter S, from the early scene in OAR, I’d say that it was near the location of Zion.

    Pei’s nuke was described as a small nuke so ‘cleaning up after it’ would have been an easy job for anybody with the tech needed to create the Temple.

    I won’t be surprised if his HQ was exactly where the Temple is now.

    The mindset would have been Pei destroyed the old HQ so we’ll build the new HQ in same place only “bigger and better”.

  27. Anthony says:

    I like the idea of a temple “bat-cave” with all sorts of technological goodies to be used in defense of the church. But for that to work you would have to have something there to tell people how to use it all, I find the idea of a PICA like android to also be very interesting.

    It would create a foe very nearly Merlin’s equal, maybe even superior, that he would have to face, one with access to things like SNARCs, an air car, and possibly limited federation weaponry.

    An epic battle between two sejin; those who supposedly serve God fighting each other.

  28. KimS says:

    A PICA would have been an anathema to the anti-science founders. The closest I would venture is another AI similar to OWL with the ability to question those who call on it and then respond, once or more than once. OWL on the other hand is learning to think, or question, like a human. Self-awareness. Maybe a final confrontation will be a philosophical battle between two AIs with only one winner.

    The other possibility is one last surviving archangel. When revived, they would be at the same disadvantage as Merlin was initially. Gathering information, then acting, based on how the world looks now and what that survivor had hoped for. A sane survivor would not destroy humanity to save the Church. There is no one to return them to hibernation so that is why it is a one time call. But Merlin could put them back?! Interesting!

  29. justdave says:

    @25 & 26

    IIRC the HQ Pei nuked was in orbit

  30. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Justdave, reread the “Archangel” council scene at the start of OAR.

    It is definitely *on* Safehold on the shore of Lake Pei (where Zion is located).

    I doubt that Langhorne would have this council away from his HQ.

    So IMO his HQ was on the shore of Lake Lei.

    If you have text evidence otherwise, I’d like to see it.

  31. justdave says:

    darn it Drak! actually textev is cheating

    just another demonstration of how memory is so much like entropy, it always decreases

  32. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Nah Dave, that’s not cheating.

    Cheating would be pointing to textev that I’ve seen and you can’t have seen. [Wink]

  33. Summertime says:

    The nuke site was probably not at present Zion but nearby. It is possibly a park filled with monuments dedicated to the martyred holy ones.

  34. AVD says:

    doubt. the place where your gods died doesn’t fit with what we know so far.

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