How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 35

How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 35

          Those eyes widened, despite his best efforts to conceal his surprise, as he read. He turned the first page and examined the second just as carefully, and his surprise segued into something else. Something tinged with alarm.

          He read the third and final sheet, then folded them back together, laid them on the tabletop, and looked at her intently.

          “Those are . . . an extraordinary list of transactions, Madam Pahrsahn,” he observed, and she startled him with a silvery little chuckle.

          “I believe you’ll rise high in your house’s service, Master Qwentyn,” she told him. “What you’re really wondering is whether or not I’m out of my mind, although you’re far too much the gentleman to ever actually say so.”

          “Nonsense,” he replied. “Or, at least, I’d never go that far. I do wonder how carefully you’ve considered some of this, though.” He leaned forward to tap the folded instructions. “I’ve studied the records of all your investment moves since our House has represented you, Madam. If you’ll forgive my saying so, these instructions represent a significant change in your established approach. At the very least, they expose you to a much greater degree of financial risk.”

          “They also offer the potential for a very healthy return,” she pointed out.

          “Assuming they prosper,” he pointed out in response.

          “I believe they will,” she said confidently.

          He started to say something else, then paused, regarding her thoughtfully. Was it possible she knew something even he didn’t?

          “At the moment,” he said after a minute or two, “the shipping arrangements you’re proposing to invest in are being allowed by both the Republic and Mother Church. That’s subject to change from either side with little or no notice, you realize. And if that happens you’ll probably — no, almost certainly — lose your entire investment.”

          “I’m aware of that,” she said calmly. “The profit margin’s great enough to recoup my entire initial investment in no more than five months or so, however. Everything after that will be pure profit, even if the ‘arrangements’ should ultimately be disallowed. And my own read of the . . . decision-making process within the Temple, let us say, suggests no one’s going to be putting any pressure on the Republic to interfere with them. Not for quite some time, at any rate.”

          She’d very carefully not said anything about “the Group of Four,” Owain noticed. Given the fact that she clearly came from the Temple Lands herself, however, there was no doubt in his mind about what she was implying.

          “Do you have any idea how long ‘quite some time’ might be?” he asked.

          “Obviously, that’s bound to be something of a guessing game,” she replied in that same calm tone. “Consider this, however. At the moment, only the Republic and the Silkiahans are actually succeeding in paying their full tithes to Mother Church. If these ‘arrangements’ were to be terminated, that would no longer be the case.” She shrugged. “Given the obvious financial strain of the holy war, especially in light of that unfortunate business in the Markovian Sea, it seems most unlikely Vicar Rhobair and Vicar Zahmsyn are going to endanger their strongest revenue streams.”

          He frowned thoughtfully. Her analysis made a great deal of sense, although the financial and economic stupidity which could have decreed something like the embargo on Charisian trade in the first place didn’t argue for the Group of Four’s ability to recognize logic when it saw it. On the other hand, it fitted quite well with some of the things his grandfather Tymahn had said. Although . . . .

          “I think you’re probably right about that, Madam,” he said. “However, I’m a bit more leery about some of these other investments.”

          “Don’t be, Master Qwentyn,” she said firmly. “Foundries are always good investments in . . . times of uncertainty. And according to my sources, all three of these are experimenting with the new cannon-casting techniques. I realize they wouldn’t dream of putting the new guns into production without Mother Church’s approval, but I feel there’s an excellent chance that approval will be forthcoming, especially now that the Navy of God needs to replace so many ships.”

          Owain’s eyes narrowed. If there was one thing in the entire world of which he was totally certain it was that the Church of God Awaiting would never permit the Republic of Siddarmark to begin casting the new model artillery. Not when the Council of Vicars in its role as the Knights of the Temple Lands had been so anxious for so long over the potential threat the Republic posed to the Temple Lands’ eastern border. Only a fool, which no member of the House of Qwentyn was likely to be, could have missed the fact that Siddarmark’s foundries were the only ones in either Haven or Howard which had received no orders from the Navy of God’s ordnance officers. Foodstuffs and ship timbers, coal and coke and iron ore for other people’s foundries, even ironwork to build warships in other realms, yes; artillery, no.

          Yet Madam Pahrsahn seemed so serenely confident . . . .

          “Very well, Madam.” He bent his head in a courteous, seated bow. “If these are your desires, it will be my honor to carry them out for you.”

          “Thank you, Master Qwentyn,” she said with another of those charming smiles. Then she set her cup and saucer back on the table and rose. “In that case, I’ll bid you good afternoon and get out of your way.”

          He stood with a smile of his own and escorted her back to the office door. A footman appeared with her heavy winter coat, and he saw an older woman, as plain as Madam Pahrsahn was lovely, waiting for her.

          Owain personally assisted her with her coat, then raised one of her slender hands — gloved, now — and kissed its back once more.

          “As always, a pleasure, Madam,” he murmured.

          “And for me, as well,” she assured him, and then she was gone.

* * * * * * * * * *

          “So what do you make of Madam Pahrsahn, Henrai?” Greyghor Stohnar asked as he stood with his back to a roaring fireplace, toasting his posterior.

“Madam Pahrsahn, My Lord?” Lord Henrai Maidyn, the Republic of Siddarmark’s Chancellor of the Exchequer sat in a window seat, nursing a tulip-shaped brandy glass as he leaned back against the paneled wall of the council chamber. Now he raised his eyebrows interrogatively, his expression innocent.

“Yes, you know, the mysterious Madam Pahrsahn.” The elected ruler of the Republic smiled thinly at him. “The one who appeared so suddenly and with so little warning? The one who floats gaily through the highest reaches of Society . . . and hobnobs with Reformist clergymen? Whose accounts are personally handled by Owain Qwentyn? Whose door is always open to poets, musicians, milliners, dressmakers . . . and a man who looks remarkably like the apostate heretic and blasphemer Zhasyn Cahnyr? That Madam Pahrsahn.”

“Oh, that Madam Pahrsahn!”

Maidyn smiled back at the Lord Protector. Here in the Republic of Siddarmark, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was also in charge of little matters like espionage.

“Yes, that one,” Stohnar said, his tone more serious, and Maidyn shrugged.

          “I’m afraid the jury’s still out, My Lord. Some of it’s obvious, but the rest is still sufficiently obscure to make her very interesting. She’s clearly from the Temple Lands, and I think it’s equally clear her sudden appearance here has something to do with Clyntahn’s decision to purge the vicarate. The question, of course, is precisely what it has to do with that decision.”

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48 Responses to How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 35

  1. Joseph says:

    Gentlemen Lords,
    I have a humble suggestion on the matter of the Madam(e) Pahrshan.

    Work with her or get the hell out of her way.

  2. Doubting Thomas says:

    Well, quite obviously her activities have come to someone’s attention, the question is, what are they going to do with it?

  3. tootall says:

    1) Any of you guys know where I can place a large amount of money that will recoup in 5 months? (Really could use that these days)
    2)She must be VERY confident that the church will never get their hands on these new guns.
    3) Our Angel IS pretty high profile, has to be on purpose, ’cause she could do all this financial (spy) stuff from a retreat. Why court danger?

  4. Nimitz13 says:

    1. Ninian is “on the grid!” Why?
    2. She’s possibly calling attention to herself so she’ll be invited to meet with Stohnar.
    3. Zhasyn Cahnyr had BETTER catch the next boat headed for Charis!
    4. Once Charis burns the Desnarian shipyards and foundries to the ground, Siddarmark is going into the cannon business!
    5. She has REALLY, REALLY good intelligence from inside Vicar Rhobair’s office.
    6. Investing in “leases” of Charisian merchant vessels can double your money in five months!

    You go girl!

  5. jfenton says:

    The purpose of these investments, it seems clear to me, is to encourage innovation. As for the reason that she has chosen to to them openly and with a high profile is so that it will be more noticeable what she is doing. If a lot of rich and intelligent (or at the very least rich) people see her making these kinds of investment and making a lot of money from them then the overall effect will be much greater than if it is just her (considerable) fortune.

  6. Nimitz13 says:

    And on a lighter note:

    Cannons can easily be modified into field artillery once the foundries have the technology.

    Siddarmark pikemen with rifled flintlocks, the latest in field artillery, and an axe to grind with the Knights of the Temple Lands…

    Think about it! ;)

  7. Consider what Clyntakn’s big killfest in Zion must have looked like from Siddarmark. (“Either half the Vicars are traitors — which we don’t believe for a minute — or the Inquisition has gone completely feral!”) Stohnar and Maidyn will be delighted to meet somebody with eyes and ears inside the Temple madhouse.

  8. Robert H. Woodman says:

    Very interesting snippet. I’m still digesting it. Ninian’s strategy is “hide in plain sight”, but that carries quite a few risks along with the rewards. More worrisome is that Zhasyn Cahnyr has been identified by the Republic’s spymaster and others. If the Inquisition has spies in Siddarmark (and they almost certainly do), they know what Cahnyr looks like, and they will have identified him also (or should have); therefore, his life is in danger. By extension, Ninian’s life is also in danger by the mere fact of associating with him, even if none of the Inquisition spies know who she is.

  9. KIMs says:

    I disagree. Without the initial disclosure of Adorai Dynnys we would know nothing of her. She is just another moneyed person trying to leave the troubled Temple Lands. Smarter and richer but nothing has pointed towards her role in intrigue. Just a ‘social butterfly’ who is a savy investor. That is what makes her ability to tap and understand what’s going on so important. She makes Nahrmahn look like an apprentice in the intelligence business.

    And isn’t it amazing we never hear of Charis’s spy network. Is there no one from any of the new parts of the Empire who could slip a ‘warm body’ into investigating the actual Temple building. It must need some maintenance or at least some janitor service.

  10. KimS says:

    I just had my ‘Duh’ moment with MWW spelling. Madame Pahrsahn is Madame or Mrs. Parson as in clergy. Wife of the clergy, a play on her business in Zion. Good one!

  11. Bewildered says:

    @2 I imagine there’s some Columbian ‘gentleman’ that might be able to help :)-

    Simple economics risk V reward.

    Maybe ‘Madam Pahrsahn’ figures that the Republic will need to spend on fortune on modern weapons in the near future, if solely to defend itself in case of oh Temple weaponry falling into bandit hands or miscommunication resulting in an incident between between Temple forces and Republican forces.

  12. KenJ says:


    “Associates with reformist clergy” implies that there IS reformist clergy in Siddarmark. Meaning that there is a strong anti-temple sentiment there and that the Church’s grip there is as weak as Clynthan and Trayner fear.

    The fact that Cahner is recognized and identified… and not arrested and turned over to the inquisition shows more flys in the ointment. Furthermore the fact that the Inquisition in Siddarmark hasn’t moved either is telling (although I agree that she is taking ENORMOUS risks, (personally, not financially.)

    The foundry investment says to me that she’ll be a driving factor behind the development of Siddarmarkian weaponry… which will likely end up being used against the church when the inevitable crackdown happens causing MORE headache for the G4.

    My fear/suspicion is that she’ll eventually become a “Joan of Arc” type martyr, taking a large amount of the Church’s power with her when she goes.

  13. KenJ says:

    Oh, and those shipping investments…..

    Great way to set up her own smuggling services: Refugees to Charis, Foundry techs to Siddarmark.

  14. Dave says:

    She is setting the stage for Siddarmark to break with the GOF. With the capability of making their own arms and artillery, probably better than what the GOF is making with the Siddarmark trademark efficiency and possibly a little design help from their Charisian employees.

    Mrs Parson just upped the stakes in a major way, and it seems that Greyghor realizes it. It is almost time for Cayleb and him to speak face to face. I wonder how much Greyghor likes to take a sail around Cape Langhorne, it’s nice in the spring I hear.

  15. tootall says:

    #8- KimS– Got the Parson- missed the clergy wife- “Duh” indeed. Thanks

  16. PeterZ says:

    Why is she on the grid, Nimitz13? Well. I suspect that KimS is correct. Ninian is a pratical spy whose skill soars beyond Nahrmahn’s even at his most sneaky. She thinks in terms of netwroks and processes that may be used later for many different ends. Nahrahm thinks of surgical strokes of a razor to achive his single desired end. A razor slash changes the field of conflict in one very specific way, while multipurpose networks continually shape the field of conflict.

    As she told Owain, Siddermark and Silkiah are the most significant revenue streams the church has. The most painful dagger thrust she could plant between Clyntahn’s ribs is to remove that revenue stream. So, she gets herself on the grid and noticed by Stonahr. She invests her own wealth through “the bankers to the Safehold wealthiest 100” in ways that will encourage the bankers other clients to follow suit. She further explains why her strategy is less risky than it appears in a way that ensures she will be listened to and her investments copied. A profit driven investor wouldn’t do that to ensure his/her investment had the greatest advanyage possible for as long as possible.

    In short she is redirecting Siddermarkian assets and industry to support a military buildup. Yes, the fruits may be purchased by the CoGA initially. That’s OK so long as they leave Siddermark in relative peace. If the CoGA gets feisty, the military industry can serve Siddermark just as well if not better. Who says that the best toys will have been sold to the CoGA? I suspect that she has anticipated that Charis needs more conduits to Siddermarkian industry.

    The more I think of it, the more she should have named this persona Arachna and not Avai. The strands of her web are fine and almost invisible but touch almost all the major players.

  17. Peter says:

    So many excellent analyses here today. Thank you all!

  18. Peter says:

    Stray thought. If Charis is coming to resemble Imperial Britain in some ways, then Siddarmark is comming to resemble Germany in others – but without the painful unification history (no 30 Year’s War). An effective economic alliance between germany and Britain could have swept the world in the first three decades of the 20th century (militarily & economically, assuming they both respected the independence of their joint child, America). I wonder if Weber is setting up C and S for that eventuality here? S to dominate and ultimately take the Temple Lands (which bear some resemblance to Russia, and Zion to St. Petersburg, dontcha think?), Charis to rule the seas.

  19. WP says:

    Ninian doesn’t strike me as the martyr type. She probably has an escape route arranged. I suspect that “Abe” has one she doesn’t know about. “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to do that. Just get in the rcon skimmer and I’ll explain.”

  20. KenJ says:

    Machiavelli’s Muse just struck: Another reason for Cahnner to be so visible in Siddarmark is so that he IS noticed by the Inquisition… Just before disappearing again to Charis.

    Result: Clyntahn thinks it is SIDDARMARK that has been in cahoots with his enemies all along, helped Cahnner and others escape and is now building Charisian weapons and importing Charisian tech-personel via the “Siddarmark” flagged schooners and Galleons.

    He’ll go off like a 100 year old cache of dynamite, order the arrest and execution of Stohner and co and end up jamming his personal pleasure apparatus directly into a meat grinder formed of re-trained and armed Siddarmark Pikemen-turned-riflemen.

  21. tokar says:

    Foundries will be needed not just for cannons but for the rails. The speedly transportation of troops and an increased amount of supplies can be pulled along a railed track using horses in all types of weather. This will set them up to be used for locomotives at a later date. Also give the unskilled population and pikemen work with all that excess money the government has from the trade the leased ships bring in. Railroad to the Temple lands?

  22. Maggie says:

    Dear Niniane/Ahnzheleyk! Dear, dear girl!

    Pray tell WHAT major self-directing investor troubles to justify her investment decisions to the broker? In such DETAIL as well!

    Consider the niceties involved: Siddarmark knows that “Madam Pahrson” is more than she seems (sad if they didn’t, considering how much trouble she has taken to spread the peacock’s tail of blandishment before Siddarmarkian society). She knows that they know. And they know she knows it. They become a very knowing crowd. So that if Madam wishes to cast some crumbs of up close and personal intel into the shell-like ear of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (money and intel SHOULD go together!), how better to do so then by way of a financial discussion?

    #20 I like it too! In confusion lies profit…

  23. robert says:

    @18 Peter
    Major Nit, if you don’t mind. The 30 Years’ War was in the first half of the 17th century and did not unify the Germanies. Not even a little bit. That was not done until Bismark accomplished it for the Kaiser in the late middle of the 19th century (about the same time that Italy was unified – if it ever really was). It is hard to remember, and Eric is a great writer, but it is fiction and it is alternate history, not real. But you know that.
    @20 KenJ
    Good one!

  24. Profit should be great enough…she’s buying something that will be sold for a profit in less than five months. That’s more likely than she thinks that she can buy a ship and come out ahead in five months.

  25. obelow says:

    One possible goal of this investments might be the opposite effect from someone saying a bank cannot pay out money anymore… with the bak many people suddenly rush to get their money out of the bank and with that making real what before was only a rumor… saying a little stone can cause a tidal wave sometimes… It might go like this:

    1. A clever young banker is shown a or some new, possible extremly profitable investment(s)
    2. Said banker might decide to “jump on the wagon” and take some big investors with him (everyone likes a big return on his investments after all…)
    3. Sudden strong investment in foundries will make the group of four even more afraid what Siddarmark might be up to. Added to that comes additional investment in trade with Charis… also not something to make the mood of the GoF happier…
    4. Probable reaction: The group of four decides to put more pressure on Siddarmark or worse, because they think about what goal the Siddarmarkians might have when they invest so strongly into foundries… maybe to build up potential to harm the GoF? They will not know after all, that exactly that reaction was counted on by the initiator of the foundry hype ;)…
    5. Possible result: Siddarmark might find it much safer to ally with Charis… and they have the foundries then to supply modern weapons for their big, disciplined army…
    Conclusion: BIG trouble for the Church and the Group of Four brewing…

    and even if it does not work out like that, controling the foundries controls the development process as well…

  26. Doug Lampert says:

    @23, she’s also in a position where she HAS to keep her bankers happy and satisfied.

    She doesn’t directly own squat. The bank does, it has investment accounts, under multiple names, and those accounts own stuff. But the people listed as owning and controlling those accounts are mostly fictitious and the bank knows it. If they “lose their records” indicating that she owes all of that stuff, then at the cost of pissing off one foreigner they can grab all that money.

    Is she going to go into a Sidmarkian court and explain how she personally happens to be all those different people? And if she tries does she have any proof that will stand up if the bank claims that she’s not that person?

    Swiss banks, by reputation the safest in the world, “lost” many thousands of records of holocaust victims, we know this because when they ordered the records shreded a few years back when the legitimate heirs FINALLY fought through the Swiss banking laws one of the shredders blew the whistle. Sidmarkian banks probably don’t have more than a few copies of their records and probably don’t face anything like that level of government control. And one guy has physical control of those records. Much easier to disappear them and falsify replacements if he wants to.

    She needs to keep her banker/broker/agent convinced that she’s got legitimate access to all those accounts and that it’s in the bank’s interest to let her have that access. That the money is worth less than her continued status as a customer and the damage to their reputation from robbing her. This means if he thinks she’s making really large bad investments she does in fact need to convince him she’s not crazy.

    Robbing the crazy lady who CLAIMS to own a bunch of accounts isn’t nearly as bad as robbing a good and sane very rich customer. Also, the sane lady is more likely to be able to win in court. Now, she could have avoided this, using him for so many accounts and doing the new orders through him and letting him know all these accounts are hers rather than continuing to deal through private couriers was a choice. She probably let him know it’s all one person SPECIFICALLY to set up telling him about her new investments, but from now on she does in fact have to explain in detail to her broker.

  27. justdave says:

    Safehold’s 20 year war is coming, hopefully MWW will skip over that carnage in a long flash-forward after the Go4 is defeated

  28. Robert Krawitz says:

    What’s to say that she doesn’t have other assets squirreled away with other banks (possibly even in Charis)? Something tells me she’s not really all that trusting of any given individual.

  29. RandomThoughts says:

    Madam Pahrsahn’s candid conversation with Owain Qwentyn along with her high profile in society and close association with the ‘blasphemer’ Zhasyn Cahnyr appears to have accomplished exactly what she intended: she has come to the attention of the powers that be in Siddarmark. They are curious and want, indeed need, to know more. Sometimes, the best way to get answers about a person is to simply ask that person. Expect her to be approached for a more direct discussion.

    We don’t know what documents she has collected over the many years of her operation in Zion but the authorities in Siddarmark would undoubtedly find many of them to be very enlightening.

    A meeting with Greyghor Stohnar himself is likely in the not-too-distant future. The approach may be low key – perhaps a “chance” meeting at a society event.

    It isn’t just the nature of her investments that she is using to get the ball rolling in Siddarmark. She intends to curry favor and influence policy at the highest level of the Republic’s administration.

    One small kingdom has given the CoGA all that it can handle and more. She has correctly reasoned that a shift of alliances for a major power like Siddarmark is likely to be the death knell for the Go4.

  30. PeterZ says:

    @27 What you say is true if these particular funds were all she had. If she has funds elsewhere the banker doesn’t know jack about, he could get a truly rich person angry at him and his house. That is the death knell for any business that caters to the wealthy. Ninian knows this better than Owain. She probably had to teach some less than scrupulous bankers/agent this very lesson earlier in her career.

    All this visiblity does mean one thing for sure. Ninian is not going to headquarter in Siddermark. She may or may not headquarter in Charis. If she stays in the Empire, she will likely spend the most time in Tarrot. Telesberg is simply too far from her operating theatre. If she is to maintain her “network” it must appear that she keeps closer to her agents.

  31. PeterZ says:

    OK, quick poll. What persona will Ninian take on in Telesberg? She has a working persona in Siddermark. She doesn’t need to be nearly so visible in Telesberg.

    A recluse, a gadfly…what say y’all? I say a patron of the arts who starts all sorts of schools teaching young ladies professions.

  32. John Driver says:

    @27 – With all due respect, I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. First, a bank’s reputation is considerably more valuable than any one person’s assets. Remember Arthur Andersen. I realize they were an accounting firm and not a bank, but the same principle applies. Their conviction for their handling of the auditing of Enron was overturned by the Supreme Court, but it was a moot point because the firm had already gone bankrupt. Guilty or innocent, they had clearly lost the public trust. Even if somebody knew with certainty that they were innocent and that their audits were completely honest, the public at large was not willing to trust it and the whole reason for the audit was to instill trust.

    Second, hiding the embezzlement is much harder than you might think. You can’t just lose those one set of records. There’s also the records of the actual funds transfers both to and from other banks. There’s the audit records over the years that the accounts have been in existence. There’s all the people who may have seen and handled and audited those records over the years. It might be likened to photoediting a picture to remove someone from the scene. A skilled and careful person might do a good enough job to pass a casual inspection, but never a deep level forensics examination.

    Third, in reading the snippet, it was clear that the flow of power was the other direction. Owain clearly doubted the advisability of her investments, but was going to obey her instructions.

    Fourth, as someone has already pointed out, there’s no way that the accounts that Owain had before him represented the entirety of her wealth.

    Fifth, Owain clearly knew that however crazy she might be, she lots of powerful connections.

    Having said all that, I have to say that you have a point in your original contention that it is highly desirable to keep her banker happy, just not for the reason you gave.

    Also, one additional point. The Swiss banks have a reputation for keeping your banking information safe, not necessarily letting you have access to your money. Ironically, the latter is a necessary consequence of the former.

  33. Peter says:

    #24 Robert

    Yes, I knew all that. I’m not clear why you think it’s relevant to my point – that Weber might be having some fun with alternate parallells to real Earth cultures and potential events. We’ve seen nothing to indicate that Siddarmark is as scarred by its past 300 years as 1900 Germany was, but lots to indicate that Charis is following Britain’s path to dominion over the world oceans. I merely wonder what other parallels Weber may be planning to dish up.

  34. Sigh says:

    Safehold society seems less sexist than earth’s past, however I don’t think any patriarchal priests are going to believe anything less than direct evidence that Madam Pahrsahn is connected to the disappearances.

  35. Nimitz13 says:

    @16, 20, & 30 Yup! ;) The GoF demands ports closed, Siddamark complies and the church goes broke or refuses and the war is on! What luck their foundries have recently expanded and can produce modern cannon/field artillery! And those Charisian rifle techs came in handy too!

    @32 Unlike in Siddarmark, Ninian doesn’t have to set herself up as anybody in Telesberg. (Which doesn’t mean she won’t of course.) She has a direct conduit to the Archbishop whenever she wants through Adorai, while Merlin knows her personally, although she doesn’t know that. She saved Paityr Wylsynn’s mother, sisters, and brother.

    Caleb and Sharleyan know about her from Merlin (at least whatever he chose to share and whatever personal observations they’ve made) Wave Thunder is her biggest fan, and she’s got a huge bank balance and most likely a lot of investments as well.

    She can be completely incognito and still have direct access to the avenues of power. Charis will give her whatever help she needs or wants. Heck, she just bought a major part of a Charisian shipping company, she can smuggle refugees/spies/techs, military advisers, anyone she wants in or out. Look for her to ask for technicians to help Siddarmark’s foundries so those cannon become field artillery and the famed pikemen get modern flintlocks with bayonets.

    Clyntahn will go ballistic and the GoF will find themselves pressured to open the Holy War on a second front – one they simply aren’t prepared to fight facing modern flintlock rifles. Corisande was more advanced than the mainland and the Charisian MARINES kicked their butts. The professional Chisolmian army is going to be tougher still.

    But modernized Siddamark pikemen? They’ll tear through existing mainland armies like a hot knife through butter. And their worst enemies? The Temple Lands – who thanks to Clyntahn may soon declare war on them!

    Thanks Ninian!

  36. KenJ says:

    I am still curious about where the assault shuttle, assault rifles and millions or rounds of ammo come in… and when.

  37. Drak Bibliophile says:

    KenJ, so am I. [Smile]

  38. PeterZ says:

    Why they will be used when David writes a dialogue between Nimue and Owl reminiscing on the early years of the struggle. How all that tech wasn’t needed after all. Both will chuckle.

  39. Maggie says:

    @30, @33:


  40. PeterZ says:

    In the ebb and flow of DW’s plot a couple of things keep repeating for the CoGA/GoF. They spend scads of money to build a fleet and have that fleet destroyed or taken over by their enemy. They need funds and must resort to taxing their previously exempt leadership. The only external sources of revenue they have that is even close to normal are Siddermark and Silkiah who just happen to be on their border.

    Scenario #1- Rhobair loses to Clyntahn. What are the odds that Clyntahn tries to buy his newly appointed Vicars with foreign lands in say….Sidermark or Silkiah? Perhaps as a compensation for taxing the vicarage he promises them additional lands to offset their lost revenue. That can lead to war with siddermark.

    Scenario #2- Rohbair wins. He cleans house and gives the reformists all they asked for; more local representation and local say in oversight. Counter-reformation but with a non-negotiable price: the CoC returns to the fold. The CoC refuses and Rohbair asks Siddermark and Silkiah to stop their trade with the unreasonable Charis. Might this lead to war? I suspect not.

    This book appears to be headed to either one of these ends and a variation on one of them. Unless Clyntahn forces Siddermark’s hand I don’t see them willingly fighting the CoGA. Short of an invastion Siddermark will remain neutral. There would have to be a much higher turnover of Vicars to intitiate something so very counter precidence as an invasion of a mainland realm by the Knights of the Temple Lands.

    I wonder what will spark the next wave of purges? Will the remaining vicars see their replacement comming and revolt ahead of time or will they simply resist Clyntahn’s attempt to continue the pruges?

    Am I missing something that suggests alternative directions?

  41. @41 As another alternative, Ninian is planning to build these cannon foundries that make no sense, and drop rumors into people who talk to Clyntahn, so that Clinton concludes that Siddermark is changing sides. After several stages incidents, Clynton decides to attack first.

  42. teej says:

    You really want to see the GoF have nightmares? I would point out that there is another thing that foundries make. Rails.. The worlds finest pikemen with mass production AND mass transport? Not a pretty picture if you happen to be a less than ftiendly neighbor…

  43. Drak Bibliophile says:

    George, agents provocateurs is an old game and likely has been “reinvented” on Safehold (likely by the Inquistition).

    Considering the tensions between Siddarmark and the Church, I’m sure that Greyghor Stohnar’s people are watching for agents provocateurs.

    While she’s not working on behalf of Clyntahn, they’d see the actions you’re suggesting as being those of an agent provocateur.

    If she tried something like that, she might end up dead or turned over to Clyntahn.

  44. DKCWong says:

    Nice set of comments/speculations from all. As we all know from the books, Merlin and Company has always known that Charis (even the newly growing Charisian Empire) doesn’t have a realistic chance of defeating the church with its own resources. They may have the technology, but they don’t have the population or continental presence to really threaten the Church’s power base quickly and decisively. A war of attrition is bad even if Charis wins in the end as it might create a level of resentment among the losing nations that will linger for generations and impede the formation of a unified global government that will lead to the formation of a Second Terran Federation. The Gbaba are still out there and likely slowly getting closer to finding this last colony of mankind. Every year spent fighting this ‘Holy War’ is a year wasted. Safehold needs perhaps two to three centuries of focused effort to re-build a space-faring industrial and technological base that would ensure a defeat of the Gbaba.

    One of the large mainland realms (Siddarmark) has to join Charis and as the snippets seem to be hinting at and the speculation of the vast majority of comments seem to generally agree that Madam Aivah Pahrsahn is the catalysis. Otherwise, I can’t see how Weber can wrap this up in a ten book series!

  45. tootall says:

    # 36- Nimitz13 – OK so I agree with all that –Where was the “bleek”?

    Merlin has been scarce so far.

  46. Doubting Thomas says:

    #45 – I’d like to point out that the Honor Harrington series was originally slated for 10 books, and is now up to what 20 and counting. The point of saying this is that Mr. Weber will keep writing until he has no more story to tell, and not a set amount of books.

  47. Nimitz13 says:

    #46 Bleek! (Sorry, forgot!)

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