A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 35

A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 35

February, Year of God 894

Duke of Kholman’s Office,
City of Iythria,
Gulf of Jahras,
Desnairian Empire


Daivyn Bairaht, the Duke of Kholman and Emperor Mahrys IV’s senior councilor for the Imperial Desnarian Navy, balled the sheet of paper into a crushed wad and hurled it at the trashcan. The improvised projectile’s aerodynamic qualities left a great deal to be desired, and it landed on his office carpet, bounced twice, and sailed under a bookcase.

“Shit,” the duke muttered in disgust, then slumped back in the chair behind his desk and glowered at the man sitting in the chair facing it.

His guest — Sir Urwyn Hahltar, Baron Jahras — was a short, compactly built man, brown hair going salt-and-pepper gray at the temples. A study in physical contrast with the taller, silver-haired Kholman, he had a full beard, rather than the duke’s neatly groomed mustache. He was also more than ten years younger, with a much more weathered-looking complexion.

And, not to his particular comfort at the moment, he was Admiral General of the Imperial Desnairian Navy. It was a magnificent sounding title. Unfortunately, it was also an office with which no Desnairian had any previous experience, since there’d never before been any need for it. The Desnairian Navy had never been particularly “Imperial” before the recent unpleasantness between the Kingdom of Charis and the Lords of the Temple Lands. In fact, it had never boasted more than forty ships at its largest. Worse, that somewhat less than towering level of power had been attained almost seventy years before; the navy’s strength as of the Battle of Darcos Sound had been only twelve ships, and all of them had been purchased somewhere else, rather than built in any Desnairian shipyard. Despite the magnificent harbors of the Gulf of Jahras, Desnair had never been a maritime power — especially over the past century and a half of or so of its competition with the equally land-oriented Republic of Siddarmark.

Baron Jahras, however, was something of an oddity for a Desnairian noble. He’d served — adequately, if not outstandingly — in the Imperial Army, as any senior aristocrat was expected to do, but his family had been far more active in trade than most wellborn Desnairians. In fact, they’d been even more active than they’d been prepared to admit to most of their noble relatives and peers. Jahras, in fact, had controlled the largest merchant house in the entire Desnairian Empire, and (however disreputable it might have been for a proper nobleman) that merchant house had owned a fleet of no less than thirty-one trading galleons.

Which was how he had come to find himself tapped to command Emperor Mahrys’ newborn navy.

Of course, he thought now from behind a carefully expressionless face, it would help if I’d ever commanded a naval warship before I found myself commanding the entire damned Navy! Or, for that matter, if there were a single Desnairian who had a clue how to organize a navy.

“His Majesty isn’t going to be happy about this, Urwyn,” Kholman said finally, in a calmer tone. And, Jahras reflected, with monumental understatement.

“I know,” the baron said out loud. Despite the vast gulf between their titles, Jahras, even though a mere baron, was very nearly as wealthy as Kholman. He was also married to Kholman’s first cousin, a combination which, thankfully, made it possible for him to speak frankly, which he now proceeded to do.

“On the other hand,” he continued, “I can hardly say I’m surprised.” He shrugged. “Wailahr was a good man, but he didn’t have any more experience commanding a galleon than any of the rest of our senior officers.”

Kholman snorted. He couldn’t disagree with that particular statement, although he could have added that none of their senior officers had any particular experience commanding galleys, either. Which, given the apparent differences between galleys and galleons, might not necessarily be a bad thing. He only wished that he, as the imperial councilor directly charged with building and running the emperor’s new navy, had some idea of exactly what those differences were.

“That may be true,” the duke said now. “But when His Majesty gets his copy of that,” he jabbed an index finger in the direction of the vanished ball of paper, “he’s going to hit the roof, and you know it. Worse, Bishop Executor Mhartyn’s going to do the same thing.”

“I do know it,” Jahras agreed, “but, frankly, they should have seen this — or something like it — coming when they decided to send the tithe by sea.” He shrugged unhappily. “I’ve had enough experience with what happened to my own merchant galleons to know what Charisian privateers and naval cruisers can do.”

“But according to that,” Kholman’s finger stabbed the air again, “one of their galleons just beat the shit out of two of ours. And ours were under the command of what you yourself just described as ‘a good man.’ In fact, one of our better men.”

“It’s what I’ve been trying to explain from the beginning, Daivyn,” Jahras said. “Sea battles aren’t like land battles, and we just aren’t trained for them. By the time a Desnairian nobleman’s eighteen, he has at least some notion about how to lead a cavalry charge, and the Army has a well-developed organization with at least some experience in how to supply cavalry and infantry in the field. We know how long it’s going to take to get from Point A to Point B, how many miles we can expect an army to advance over what sort of roads and in what kind of weather, how many horseshoes and nails we’re going to need, what kind of wagons, how many farriers and black smiths. We can make plans based on all of that. But how many casks of powder does a galleon need? How much spare cordage and canvas and spars? For that matter, how long will it take a galleon to sail from Geyra to Iythria? Well, that depends. It depends on how fast it is, how skilled its captain is, what the weather’s like — all sorts of things none of His Majesty’s officers really have any experience at all with.”

The baron shrugged again — not nonchalantly, but with a certain helplessness.

“When we think about taking Charis on at sea, we’re talking about fighting someone else’s kind of war,” he said. “I’d love the chance to face them on land, no matter what kind of ridiculous stories we’re hearing out of Corisande. But at sea, there’s no way we can match their experience and training any more than they could match ours in a cavalry melee. Until we’ve had a chance to build up some experience, it’s going to stay that way, too.”

Kholman managed not to swear again, although it wasn’t easy. On the other hand, one of the good things about Jahras (aside from the fact that he was family) was that he was willing to speak his mind plainly, at least to Kholman. And he had a point. To be honest, the duke had never been overly impressed with his cousin-in-law’s military prowess, but Jahras had one of the Desnairian Empire’s better brains when it came to managing anything which had to do with trade, shipping, or manufactories. Well, one of the better aristocratic brains when it came to dealing with such matters, but that was pretty much the same thing. It was, after all, unthinkable that anyone who wasn’t an aristocrat should be given the sort of authority the Admiral General of the Navy required.

It was a testimonial to Kholman’s inherent mental flexibility that he was even vaguely aware that there might have been a non-aristocrat somewhere in Desnair with more expertise in those matters than he or Jahras possessed. The very notion would never have occurred to the vast majority of his fellow nobles, and it never occurred even to Kholman that anyone except a nobleman should hold his or Jahras’ current offices. The sheer absurdity of such an idea would have been sufficient to keep it from crossing his brain in the first place. And if someone else had suggested it, he would have rejected it immediately, since it would have been impossible for that theoretical common born officer to exercise any effective authority over “subordinates” so much better born than he was.

But the fact that Jahras had what was probably the best brain available when it came to the problems involved in building a navy from scratch didn’t necessarily mean he was really up to the task. For that matter, in Kholman’s estimation, the Archangel Langhorne might not have been up to this task!

“I don’t disagree with anything you’ve just said, Urwyn,” the duke said after a moment. “Langhorne knows we’ve discussed it often enough, at any rate. And it’s not anything we haven’t warned His Majesty and the Bishop Executor about, either. But that’s still not going to solve our problem when the Emperor and Bishop Executor Mhartyn hear about this.”

Jahras nodded. The good news was that Emperor Mahrys and the bishop executor were in Geyer, thirteen hundred miles from Kholman’s Iythria office. There were times when that physical distance between Kholman’s headquarters and the imperial court worked against them, especially given the nasty infighting which so often marked Desnairian politics. Rivals had much easier and quicker access to the imperial ear, after all. On the other hand, most of those rivals had quickly realized that despite the enormous opportunities for graft inherent in building a navy from scratch, it was likely to prove a thankless task. However optimistically belligerent Emperor Mahrys and — especially — Bishop Executor Mhartyn might be, Jahras doubted that any Desnairian aristocrat ever born could possibly look forward to the notion of fighting the Charisian Navy at sea. No one who’d ever done that had enjoyed the experience . . . a point which had been rather emphatically underscored by what the Charisians had recently done to the combined fighting strength of five other navies.

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28 Responses to A Mighty Fortress – Snippet 35

  1. Rod says:

    okok the desnairians (maybe that’s spelled right, maybe not) just got there first lesson in how very much outclassed they are by the ICN, interesting. But nothing to predict where they will go from here. Oh the wait is killing me!

  2. jgnfld says:

    Lots of threads getting picked up… wonder how they’re going to come together? :-)

  3. KimS says:

    All of us love the military action but don’t forget, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Charis had always paid its tithe fully, meaning others didn’t. Take that away and then Chisholm, Emerald, and Corisande and it has to hurt. We haven’t heard the Church has decreased its spending. It’s just the opposite, more spending and much of that is going to the bottom of the seas. The Church will put its screws to all the other mainland kingdoms and demand their full tithe and more. The nobles will then take it from the workers who will continue to see the wealth of the church leaders, stoking more of the discontent we heard in the previous passage. It seems there is a smoldering fire in many of the local clergy and congregations just waiting to burst into conflagration. Burn Baby Burn!

  4. RobertHuntingdon says:

    I got spoiled by the extreme length of Friday’s snippet… :)

    Is it April 13th yet?


  5. dcchipper says:

    2 points that caught my attention as far as long term in storyline are concerned. 1. That the church is pushing Desnair to look outward to the sea at Charis and is weakening the focus on thier being a counterweight to Siddmark. If this is occuring in all countries then it may make it eaiser on Siddmark if the decide to go their own way. 2 They are talking about how they would like to face Charis on land. My guess is that they will get that oppertuinity and will not like it very much.
    @ 3 KimS Not only did they lose all of the mentioned countries tithes, but they were the most productive per capita in terms of tithes. They have also forgiven a huge amount of debt to obtain support form various countries and are apparantly burning through finacal reserves that have taken centuries to build. So while they may not have to start putting the screws down imeadatly you’re right that it won’t be long before they have to.

  6. pnance says:

    I can’t wait for April 13th either :)…It’s interesting how no one believes the stories about what Charis is doing to their enemies until they encounter it for themselves. I also like the emphasis put on Charis’ seamanship as a big part of their ability to go beyond the technology Merlin introduced

  7. Tootall says:

    I keep wondering how word of these things -(“no matter what kind of ridiculous stories we’re hearing out of Corisande”)(“one of their Galleons beat the shit out of two of ours”)- gets out.
    This sea battle, for example, points out that it might be a good thing to have some guns aft. And that they’d have been better off turning to fight together instead of getting “tricky”. Defeats are instructive lessons. And if no one comes to tell the tale- there’s no lesson.
    I guess one can’t have an info bit by the “powers that be” if there’s nothing to talk about.
    “Where are our ships?”
    “I don’t know.”

  8. Peter Z says:

    I just can’t see how the Desnairian navy gets to megaphone distance of the ICN. They don’t have the trained personell nor the expertise in their officer corp to build a competitive navy. Trying to build that experience will be expensive as all get out in human capital. Learning curves will only work for the survivors able to try again. Desnair is likely to lose an entire generation of competent aristocrats who cannot pass their experience on to the next generation. Will they realize this in time or rush to self destruction at Clyntahn’s urging? How many Safehold nations will canibalize themselves in this war? It all adds up to the G4 causing a heck of a lot more change by trying to destroy Charis than Charis ever could have left to its own devices.

    The Dannans of Homer’s “Illiad” experienced the same kind of thing in taking Troy and got swarmed under by the Doric invasion when they did not have many warriors left. It took more than a millenia to regain what civilization was lost. We saw this process happen to the Kranolta in the Prince Roger series and the Boman as well.

  9. John Driver says:

    @3, @5, Good points. The nations that comprise the Charisian Empire aren’t sending in tithes, and while they represent a minority of the people of Safehold, they are the most productive of the tithing population, so the net loss in income is fairly hefty. Not only is the church’s income down, but it’s making these massive outlays to build all these naval fleets, forgiving debts to encourage support of their military efforts, providing subsidies to “martyrs” to encourage people to believe they were in the right, providing financial incentives to impressed seamen to boost morale, and of course boosting the amount siphoned off by corrupt and greedy church officials. Let’s not forget the way the church is forcing nations to cripple their economies by banning Charisian ships from their harbors. On the other hand, these enormous outlays are providing a stimulating effect on the economies of some of those nations. But then again, Charisian privateers are siphoning off a great deal of that wealth. The net effect is probably something of a significant drag on the mainland economies, but the effect is not evenly distributed. A few may be coming out ahead, but most are losing. Some are devastated. My guess is that the devastated are powerless. Either because they are devastated, or they got devastated because their only power was their wealth and they didn’t have enough of it to start. Eventually, this may provide some destabilization of the church’s stranglehold on political and economic power, but not before the church’s new fleet gets smashed. Even then it’s possible that the church may evade the worst of the consequences by offering the Group of Four as scapegoats.

  10. robert says:

    This is an interesting snippet because of the great points that you all have raised about where it leads. And even more interesting are the points made that, um, point to the downfall of the planetary religion and, we can suppose, the resulting advances in technology and the sciences, goosed along by various versions of Nimue.
    The series is a 10-book commitment by Weber which, I believe is supposed to lead to the ability to return to space and the ability to fight, and defeat, the Gbaba. How many books will it take to get to where it is clear that the change discussed above by you all has occurred, and how many books will it take to advance humanity to the threshold of space? How many time jumps will be required and what new obstacles will be in the way? I think that in the course of time the religious problem will be a lesser one than problems still to be faced. Can’t wait to see how Weber handles all that.

  11. Also, some part of the tithes in the Charis empire now are not going off to Zion; they are staying at home, feeding the local economy. One might propose that Charis will fruitfully complete the conquest of the isolated lands, e.g., Fallos, Trellheim, the Barren lands, various miscellaneous islands, Tarot, and the decide what to do about the mainland. Merlin may very well urge sitting for a generation while the industrial revolution works through and he tries to find a solution to turning off the continental bombardment system, since he appears not to know that the control system is apparently already — see last book — in Charis.

  12. Peter Z says:

    @9 John, I think its too late for the CoGA right now. They have initiated this cycle of decline and upheval. The Church has not recognized their new more limited level of long term revenue. They are still spending “like its 1999” and the stock market is flying high and money is both easy and cheap. The amount of dislocation comming will be stagering as has been commented on. I don’t see how the CoGA escapes the blame for the troubles to come. Higher tithes now mean less investment in the broader economy later. All that spending is focused on defense and defense support sectors, all other sectors are being starved for investment. That’s a bunch-o-tone of capacity down the drain.

    Recovering even after beating Charis will take a generation, a generation that will view the CoGA heirarchy much like the Irish viewed British landlord in the 18th-19th centuries. Recovering after the CoGA gets its head handed to it by Charis will be like post WWI Germany, the US Great Depression and post WWII Japan all rolled into one. All these nations will have depleated treasuries, wrecked economies and social trumoil as severe as anything our world has ever seen.

  13. John Driver says:

    @12 Peter,
    When you say that you think it’s too late already for the Church of God Awaiting, if you are referring to the church as its currently constituted, then I agree with you. It occurs to me, however, that if Clyntahn is successful in destroying the circle, and if the church gets smashed in the coming confrontation, then Rhobair Duchairn may wind up on top and we may wind up with true reform in the CoGA, but with a continued emphasis on the primacy of the church. If so, then the church would lack the power to enforce its decrees, at least beyond the mainland. Those reforms, however, would remove an enormous burden on the mainland economy and help the mainland church survive.

    If the circle survives, then we may see the mainland church reforming somewhat along the lines of the Church of Charis. Right now, however, things look grim for the circle and that prospect. I couldn’t see Charis forcing the mainland church to adopt their own views; that would undermine the very principles that they are trying to uphold.

  14. Anthony says:

    Remember that the CoGA has been titing at a rate of 20%. Only in its wet dreams did the Catholic church ever approach ten. The money they have lying around is staggering, and is enough to build an incredible army and navy. The only thing they can’t do is gain the experience that Charis has (they won’t listen to Earl Thirsk). (I believe that’s the right name.)

    I hope Desnair gets a chance to meat the new Imperial Charisian Army in the field. They really won’t enjoy it. But I was struck by their ability to assume that the aristocrats are the smartest and most able, ignoring the ideas of all their subjects. That will cause more damage in the long run than any war, its just a lot subtler.

  15. Tom says:

    Anyone know when the next book in the series will come out?

    Book 3: July 2009
    Book 4: April 2010
    Book 5: ? (I hope it’s Nov/Dec of this year). Which mean snippet could start around around September.

  16. Govert says:

    Everything has it’s counterpart in these books, hero anti-hero, galleons against galleys, mother church vs church of charis, where/who is Merlin’s counterpart ?

  17. KimS says:

    You save money when you see the possibility of trouble. The Church never saw or thought of the possibility of a rival. They have been spending freely. They are the PRINCES! Look at how they live in Zion, and how the temples are decorated. I don’t believe there is much if any loose cash laying around.

  18. Virgil says:

    they have to be using their reserves to build their navies. Now way that revenues from tithes could be doing it with at least 2/5 of their tithes missing.
    When is the Church going to go to Holy War, its been talked about and talked about.

  19. Peter Z says:

    @14, Anthony, you are assuming most of those funds tithed reached and remained in the CoGA coffers. I do not. One way of another the crooked clerics will have those funds. So, yes, those funds are still in CoGA affiliated hands, just not in CoGA coffers. Somehow I doubt Clyntahn will bring himself to confiscating the clergys’ wealth. He may confiscate those belonging to the Circle, but even this opens a whole can of worms he would rather avoid.

    Do they have enough to pay for both an army and navy? Probably, but not enough to keep them in the field for very long. Certainly not long enough to crush a Siddermark army backed by the ICN. If these forces are conscripted and paid nothing, the economies will go down in flames even quicker. Recall one thing, the CoGA doesn’t have a history of borrowing, they operate on a cash basis and THEY lend money. When they run out of funds they will stress squeezing nations for their tithes not borrowing to repay later. BTW, who would willingly lend a Clyntahn led G4 enough money to pay for the largest army and navy on Safehold? What is the probability that these funds will be returned or even that interest will be collected? Not very high, I say.

    @15 KimS, I think you meant to say there isn’t as much as Anthony assumes. We have had many comments about the depth of the CoGA coffers. We have also had Duchairn comment that as deep as they are those coffers are not bottomless. How deep exactly, we shall see. I do agree that most of that wealth is listed on the CoGA balance sheet as assets;(definition) Princely Good Will, intangible assets required for the maintenance of massive egos, minute morals and short (planck length) vision.

  20. John says:

    Also, what happens when lands become bankrupt or near bankrupt and people start suffering? In comes covert Charisian aid, the people have been told the charisian are heretics but starving people can’t eat the holy writ. Charis provides aid, most will probably not take it because the nasty Charisians are heretics but some will. When that some that accept aid reaches critical mass, that’s game, set, match.

  21. Peter Z says:

    @16 Govert, Merlin represents the thesis that knwledge is the human birth right and its persuit a human responsibility. The antithesis, then is the CoGA who positis that knowledge is not these things. So far all Merlin has done is provide knowledge. Even his communicators are ways of disseminating knowledge more quickly. Our human heros provide all the action and decisions.

  22. John Driver says:

    @19 Peter,

    I agree with you. The text evidence is that the church coffers constitute an enormous reserve and we don’t know how big those coffers are. I might add, however, that even if those coffers were unlimited, that wealth would represent uncirculated wealth. For all practical purposes the economies of Safehold would have been functioning as though that wealth didn’t exist. The reintroduction of this wealth to the economy (if it is a significant fraction of the gross domestic product) would tend to deflate the value of the existing monies. This would represent a new disruption to the economy, one that would be considerably more difficult to control. There is no magic wand that the church can wave to get everybody working on the war effort. No matter what, a significant fraction of the gross domestic product is going to have to be devoted to feeding and clothing the populace and satisfying at least some of their desires.

    @14 Anthony,

    I agree with you that there is no quick and easy way for Desnair to get the experience that Charis has right now. They are listening at least a little bit to Thirsk now that the church has put him in charge of the church’s navy, but I agree that Emperor Mahrys and his top advisors appear to be not be making best use of Thirsk’s experience, assuming that Thirsk is even available for consultation. He’s probably in Dohlar right now and busy working up the church navy.

    I hope the Desnairian army gets a chance to meet the Charisian army too, but I expect it will be the Charisian army that meats the Desnarian army.

    The Desnairian nobles are not unique in their ability to automatically assume that they are smarter and better the common folk. They just seem to have refined it to a rarified level.

  23. Peter Z says:

    @22 John, I agree that inflation will run rampamt. I came to this conclusion when reading BSRA. Your analysis does not emphasize the effects of more aggressive tithe collection. Add that to the mix and you get some sort of Stagflation. Where prices rise and aggregate production either shrinks or remains stagnant. The Church has to recover its expenditures. It seems likely that it would target economic sectors low on its priotity list. The effect will be to stifle those areas of the economy for want of investment. I just don’t see anyway around this given the text DW has already written. So, regardless of the desires or needs of the populace, there may well not be enough non-defense/warmaking production to meet those needs. Think North Korea, where the general populace doesn’t have enough to eat and the army barely has enough, yet they have nukes and guns aplenty.

  24. Danny KCW says:

    Since all the land powers think like the Desnairians, their armies are going to get reamed in the first few major land battles when they are introduced to Charisian rifles and infantry tactics. Matters will only be worst for them when they learn how effective and deadly mobile field artillery can be since the Charisian Imperial Army will be able to deliver rapid volleys of HE shells with great precision (for this level of tech). Siege warfare is about to experience a radical change.

    I won’t be surprised that when the ICN uses HE rounds in the upcoming naval battles, a lot of army types won’t believe Charis can do the same with land artillery. They’ll likely rationalize that naval cannons are larger (30-pound plus shells) and that you can’t (or they won’t believe) that you can pack explosives in the rounds of smaller field pieces. They might believe it if they saw siege guns, but nothing I’ve read suggest Charis is wasting time and effort producing them.

    On the bright side (for Bairaht) is that the Charisians didn’t get the ships after the gold was loaded aboard, otherwise I think he would soon be a head shorter. Still wish Weber had worked in that sub-plot/story-line.

    In regards to the various economic related discussions, I agree hard economic times will come as Church gold floods the marketplace and competes for food, goods and services to support the war against Charis. There will also be stress upon the available labor pool as the manpower requirement to crew the Church fleet and any invasion (or defensive army if Charis takes the offensive) is going to compete against demands for labor to build ships and other instruments of war. A very large proportion of current industries are highly labor intensive requiring both generally unskilled workers and skilled (but fewer) artisans not to mention the demands of agriculture.

    The civilian population is going to experience scarcity of daily necessities and rampant inflation. Weber spent quite a few words in the previous snippet (#34) detailing the lot of the people in the Province of Glacierheart and this is the Republic of Siddamark. Things certainly can’t be any better in nations like Harchong so Weber might be setting the stage for a general ‘peoples uprising’ against the Church and ruling aristocracies. This could cause the Church (GO4) to demand reigning monarchs and local churches to ‘clamp’ down (hard) on the populace. This will erode popular support for the Church and make the Church of Charis look all the more favorable.

  25. jgnfld says:

    @16…re. balancing Merlin: I can’t believe but what there aren’t several layers of defenses. Hell, no platoon commander would make that mistake and, in particular, no conspirators with the education, personal experience, and access to historical resources as that available to the command crew would fail to layer multiple “sleeping dragons” to be called out singly or in combination as necessary. We know about one, maybe two. There are more, or surely ought to be. I’m even awaiting seeing a late “surprise” even after modernism arises that might have the potential to take the world back to the Safehold stage. It might even involve the equivalent of Nimue’s Cave set up not on the sly and cheap but with access to a broad sheaf of full resources. If this isn’t available it really ought to be.

  26. robert says:

    The basic economic issue during wartime is the guns vs. butter idea. You cannot have guns (that is, the implements of war) and butter (i.e., peacetime consumer consumption). Private spending has to be curtailed by rationing, price controls, forced saving and whatever other means can be employed. Otherwise there will be rampant inflation with so much of the GNP going to the war effort and so little domestic product available. But the priesthood does not have any control over the national economies and macro economics seems to be a lost knowledge.

  27. John Driver says:

    @24, Danny,

    I should clarify my earlier comments. I said I hope to see the Desnairian army meet the Charisian army. I didn’t say I thought it was likely. Text evidence so far is that Cayleb is not even considering taking the war to the mainland for quite some time. Charis simply doesn’t have the manpower. Yeah, the Charisian army can pound the mainland armies at preposterous odds, but when it comes to occupying land, they will need to disperse their forces and that makes them much more vulnerable. Worse, with daily lessons on how superior the Charisian army is, the learning curve of the mainland forces will improve immensely. The slow pace to date favors the Charisians. It gives them time to annex new lands, consolidate their forces, improve their technology, and persuade lots of people that the church is both wrong and corrupt. In fact, Cayleb, Sharleyan, and Nahrman all clearly see that this isn’t primarily a war of conquest. I mean, yes, the church is trying to conquer Charis, and yes, there is a military component to the war, and yes, Charis does have to win it, but the war is primarily a war for the hearts, minds, and souls of the people of Safehold. That’s the real key to winning the war. The group of four is oblivious to this and making a bunch of stupid mistakes.

  28. I propose that the Church actually faces the opposite problem to currency, namely the metallic nature of the currency and the tax rate were both fixed by God, well, Langhorn. They have a certain income, and that’s it. They do recognize bearer payable notes, nut it is unclear that the Church — as opposed to various rulers borrowing from the Church — understands borrowing as opposed to lending as something you might do.

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