How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 39

How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 39

Pruait snorted in understanding, and Rock Point reclaimed control of the conversation.

“Commander Mahndrayn’s here in his role as liaison between Baron Seamount and Master Howsmyn,” he said, “and Captain Sahlavahn was a member of Baron Seamount’s Ordnance Board. He’s been promoted to other duties since then — in fact, he’s assumed command of the Hairatha powder mill — but he’s still thoroughly familiar with most of our usual ordnance concerns, and he happens to have sailed down from Big Tirian for a conference with the Baron. So I thought I’d bring both of them along.”

“I see, Sir,” Pruait said with a nod. “And I’m glad to see them, because frankly, I’m not sure what our best solution is.”

Rock Point scowled in agreement.

In many ways, the problem came under the heading of “an embarrassment of riches,” he thought. The prize ships they’d captured carried literally thousands of artillery pieces, although a lot of those guns, especially the ones from Harchongian foundries, left a lot to be desired. The bronze pieces were probably acceptably safe; he wouldn’t have trusted a Harchongian iron gun with a full powder charge if his life had depended upon it.

The Temple Lands’ foundries had done a better job, and they’d also cast almost exclusively bronze guns. He wasn’t overly concerned about those guns from a safety standpoint, but none of them used the same shot as the standard Charisian pieces, which meant no Charisian ammunition would fit them. Their smaller bores also meant their shot were lighter and less destructive, of course, which was another consideration.

“For the moment, we’re going to leave you with your present gundeck guns,” the high admiral said. “I know it’s not an ideal solution, but in addition to all of the artillery pieces, we’ve captured several hundred thousand round shot for them. We’re not going to have the manpower to put all the prize ships into commission anytime soon, whatever we’d like to do, so what we’re going to do in the short term is to raid the shot lockers of the ships we can’t man for ammunition for the ships we can man — like yours, Captain Pruait.”

“I see, Sir.”

It would have been unfair to call Pruait’s tone unhappy, but he obviously wasn’t delirious with joy, either, Rock Point observed.

“I said that’s what we’re going to do in the short term, Captain,” he said, and smiled at Pruait’s expression. “Exactly what we decide to do in the long term is going to have to wait until Master Howsmyn, Baron Seamount, and Commander Mahndrayn have had the opportunity to kick the question around for a while. To be honest, we’ve captured enough guns that it might very well make sense to begin casting shot to fit them. On the other hand, Master Howsmyn’s production lines are all set up around our standard shot sizes. And then there’s the question of what we do about shells for nonstandard bore sizes. Do we manufacture shells for the captured guns, too?”

“How much of a problem would that present, High Admiral?” Pruait asked. Rock Point raised an eyebrow, and the captain shrugged. “I don’t really know very much about these new ‘shells,’ Sir,” he admitted. “I’ve talked about them with as many of the officers who were with you and High Admiral Lock Island in the Markovian Sea as I could, but that’s not the same thing as really understanding them or how they differ from solid shot in terms of manufacture.”

“I’m afraid you’re hardly alone in that,” Rock Point said wryly. “It was all very closely held before we were forced to commit the new weapons to action. Even Captain Sahlavahn and the Ordnance Board were left in the dark, as a matter of fact. Baron Seamount, the Experimental Board, and Master Howsmyn and a handful of his artisans did all the real work on them.

“And in answer to your question, Captain Pruait, I don’t have the foggiest notion how much of a problem it would be to manufacture shells to fit the captured guns. Commander Mahndrayn and I will be leaving shortly to go discuss that very point with Master Howsmyn. We’ll drop Captain Sahlavahn off at Big Tirian on our way, but I wanted to have his expertise available for our discussion here before we left.”

“I’m afraid it’s going to be mostly background expertise, Tym,” Sahlavahn said dryly. “As the High Admiral says, I actually know relatively little about the exploding shells even now. I understand” — his tone got even dryer — “that I’m going to be learning more shortly, though. Baron Seamount tells me we’re going to be filling quite a few shells, and the Hairatha Mill’s going to be called upon to provide the powder for most of them.”

“Oh, we’ll be filling a lot of them, all right, Captain,” Rock Point assured him with a hungry smile. “We’re going to have a use for them sometime soon now. And we’re counting on that efficiency of yours to help smooth out some of the bottlenecks to make sure we’ve got them when we need them.”

Sahlavahn nodded. Although he’d commanded a galley under King Haarahld at the Battle of Darcos Sound, he’d served strictly in shoreside appointments since. He was nowhere near the gifted technocrat his younger cousin, Mahndrayn, had proven to be, however. In fact, he was inclined in the opposite direction, with a conservative bent that was occasionally frustrating to his superiors. But if it was occasionally frustrating, it was far more often valuable, the sort of conservatism that had an irritating, maddening ability to point out the flaws in the latest and greatest brilliant inspiration of his more innovative fellows. Even more to the point, he was at least as gifted as an administrator as Mahndrayn was as an innovator. The commander would have been hopelessly ill suited for the task of commanding the Hairatha powder mill on Big Tirian Island. His mind worked in leaps and jumps, thriving on intuition and incessantly questioning the known and accepted in pursuit of the unknown and the unconventional. Sahlavahn, on the other hand, had already expedited three production bottlenecks in the Imperial Charisian Navy’s third-largest gunpowder production center by approaching them from his usual pragmatic, unflappable, conservative perspective.

“The main point,” Rock Point continued, striding aft towards Sword of God‘s poop deck as he spoke, “is to provide each of the ships with the most effective armament we can in the shortest time frame. At the moment, I’m thinking in terms of a work in progress in which we’ll go immediately to an effective ‘conventional’ armament without worrying about explosive shells. That’s what I meant about a short term solution, Captain Pruait.

“The next stage of the work in progress will be to provide all of you with appropriate carronades. At this point, probably the thirty-pounders, since that won’t require us to relocate gun ports. And we can provide them with the same explosive shells the long thirties fire, which will give you a shell-firing capability at shorter ranges. Eventually, though, we’re going to have to decide whether to melt down the captured guns and recast them as standard thirty-pounders so your entire armament can use the standardized shells, or to produce molds to cast shells to fit their existing bores.”

He reached the taffrail and leaned on it, bracing his arms against it while he gazed out across the harbor. He stood for a moment, breathing the salt air deep, then turned back to Pruait, Sahlavahn, Mahndrayn, and Erayksyn.

“Suppose we do this Navy fashion,” he said and turned a broad smile on Mahndrayn. “Since Styvyn doesn’t know any more about the technical aspects of this than I do, we’ll let him sit this one out. But that makes you the junior officer present with something to contribute, Commander Mahndrayn. Which means you get the opportunity to express your views first, before any of us crotchety seniors get out there and express something that might cause you to change your mind or not suggest something you think might piss one of us off. Of course, I’ve observed how . . . inhibited your imagination gets under these circumstances, but I believe you’ll manage to bear up under the strain.”

Pruait chuckled. Sahlavahn, on the other hand, laughed out loud, and Mahndrayn smiled back at the high admiral.

“I’ll do my best, Sir,” he said.

“I know you will, Commander.” Rock Point turned to brace the small of his back against the taffrail, folded his arms across his chest, and cocked his head. “And on that note, why don’t you begin?”

This entry was posted in Snippets, WeberSnippet. Bookmark the permalink.
Skip to top


50 Responses to How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 39

  1. KenJ says:

    And now we can move on to the next scene.

  2. tootall says:

    I note that Charis can’t crew all the prizes.

    When I was a kid my favorite military historian was Fletcher Pratt. He wrote a book titled Battles That Changed History in 1956.(-I still have my copy-torn and battered-thru 18 moves.)

    Pratt’s take:
    He has a longish piece about The Red King of Epirus, aka Pyrrhus, who was a very good general.
    Epirus was in westernmost “Greece” including the eastern Adratic coast and parts of Macadonia. Phrrhus lived after Alexander, and although he had an army at least as good as Phillip’s, and on a par perhaps with that of Alexander (-AND he had elephants-)he had no place to go with it. The other Helenistic kingdoms were at least as well equipted and tended to ally againt potential internal threats.
    So when he got a request from the Greek city of Tarentum (in Italy’s heel) to assist them with some troublesome barbarian tribesmen from the north, he jumped at it. Therein lay his chance of conquest. He would go west and north as Alexander had gone south and east.

    Unfortunately for him, the barbarian tribesmen were the Romans.
    He beat them -badly actually- twice. And it cost him. But the Romans didn’t break, they just raised more legions.
    It was after the second ballte that Pyrrhus uttered his famous phrase- “One more such victory, and I am undone.”
    The third battle was at Beneventum -in south central Italy-. The Romans found an uncommonly ugly general named Manius Curius who was almost as good as Pyrrhus, and they crushed him.

    Seems to me that’s happening with Charis. They keep winning these epic sea battles and keep losing lots and lots of their best seamen. And make no mistake, at Dracos Sound, The Gulf of Dohlar and, Gulf of Tarot, they had their best commanders and their elite ships and crew. So where does MWW- ah- Cayleb, get more sailors? And how does Cayleb train them up?

  3. dave o says:

    Historical analogies are nice, but not to be trusted. The Church doesn’t look like Rome to me, in anything but idiot persistence. And they have to depend on allies who aren’t completely under their control, unlike the Latins. Then there’s Siddarmark. But I agree about Pratt. To bad most of his work is out of print.

  4. KenJ says:

    The comparative sizes of Charis and the Temple is the main reason that Charis cannot win this conflict MILITARILY. The best they can hope for that way is a stalemate. In order to win, they will need to win in the realm of Ideas and Ideology. Fortunately they have a WONDERFUL ally in that. His name is Clynthan.

    His Reign of Terror, while useful short-term and in cowing those directly under his heel is having the exact opposite effect on those away from him like in Siddarmark. People are disgusted, repulsed and, yes, fearful of him… but not terrorized. It is causing them to question the validity of “mother church’s” authority. The most distant (and intelligent) of those people have already changed sides. (Nahrman)

    If our beloved Grand Inquisitor were to truly realize the enormous damage he is causing himself and the inevitable consequences of his actions, the sadistic pervert would end up dieing of apoplexy!

  5. Matthew says:

    There is the problem of Charis vs. the Temple lands. They can occupy them but they shouldn’t. Charis is being written like it’s Britain and instead it’s behaving like Japan. Britain took India despite their own small numbers because they made themselves the deciding factor in any disputes between the local rulers. Had they all united, the British would have failed, but they stayed fragmented and it always came out that enough Indians would fight on the British side against other Indians to keep the Raj on top.

    Charis is not fighting the Temple Lands that way. They’re doing what Japan did in China. They are so sure of their overwhelming military superiority that they’re contemplating invading the mainland. It’s the same problem Japan had in China. In almost any battle, the Japanese could and did steamroll the Chinese army, but the area that they needed to garrison was so vast and the logistics so difficult that every time they won, they ended up weaker strategically. Chongqing, the wartime capital, was always super gung ho despite being under constant bombardment while the cities that the Japanese didn’t threaten grew weary of the crushing wartime taxes and conscription and inflation and corruption.

    The Charisians need to keep the local people on the mainland from having a dog in the fight. That means no invasions. Make it so that the person who’s taking the common people’s money, food, and children is always someone from the Church.

  6. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Matthew, where’s the text evidence that Charis is planning invasion of the mainland?

    I’ve seen evidence that Charis is fully aware that they have little chance of winning a “land war”.

  7. Mike S says:

    What Britain did for most of the 16th through 19th century was to find Continental allies that could provide land forces, often paid for by Britain, to engage its Continental enemy. Significant parts, often most of Marlborough’s army from 1702-1711 and Wellington’s army at Waterloo was made up of allies and paid troops from the Dutch, Belgians, Germans of vsarious types, even Danes. In fighting Louis XV, the French Republic and Napoleon, Prussia, Austria and Russia at different times provided the major ground forces. What we are looking at here is Charis holding out long enough to swing the Siddermark Republic to its side, giving it the ground forces necessary for directly engaging the Temple.

  8. Matthew says:

    You already know, but it seems like its heavily foreshadowed. My sense is that Harchong is going to be receiving some punitive raids soon. It’s not that Charis will start with the intent of a large scale invasion of the mainland, but then again neither did Japan. If the mainland doesn’t surrender than Charis will have to escalate and that means invading more territory. They’ve put themselves in a ratchet.

    Also, the behavior of the Charisian forces thus far have been exemplary. Too exemplary, Merlin and fighting for the right and all that is great, but the army is going to start having problems with the civilians soon.

    Everyone looks the same (or at least the racial mixture in all areas is the same) speaks the same language and the opportunities for guerilla action against the Charisians is going to cause soldiers to feel threatened and lash out at the civilian populace. This is a religious war with 17th century technology. The Charisian soldier does not know about the secret church conspiracy and instead will have a view somewhat similar to protestant rebels during the reformation. They’re are going to be some people, despite fighting for the good side, that are going to go out of their way to murder some folk.

    So far the Charisians have been preternaturally saintly, and I feel like there hasn’t been enough times where these good people have been put in bad situations.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Matthew, IMO you’re making too many assumptions.

    Oh, I doubt that Harchong will be a target in the near future.

  10. JeffM says:

    I’m guessing that Charis will first take their current advantage of “shells” and use it to eliminate Thirsk’s fleet–the only force that can pose an immediate threat at sea, or of invasion of Imperial Charisian territory.

    Wondering if the acquisition of Tarot is official yet, or if the ICN is just basing in the bay, as they were earlier.

  11. Userunfriendly says:

    To misquote:

    “Never fight a landwar in Harchong”

    General Douglas McMerlin.


  12. justdave says:

    @5&8 – to echo Drak, always dangerous!, Charis isn’t fighting a war of conquest, it’s fighting a defensive war of survival

    remember this is a long term ideological fight, to break the CoGA’s antitech stranglehold and all Merlin needs is for Clynthan not to win

  13. PeterZ says:

    Does this suggest a Buttercup?

    “Oh, we’ll be filling a lot of them, all right, Captain,” Rock Point assured him with a hungry smile. “We’re going to have a use for them sometime soon now. And we’re counting on that efficiency of yours to help smooth out some of the bottlenecks to make sure we’ve got them when we need them.”
    End Quote

    It looks like they are planning to use significant numbers of shells pretty soon, perhaps within the year. JeffM is in the camp of targeting Dohlar and I tend to agree. A close second would be Mathew’s guess at Harchong. I doubt that there would be a large land element but there may well be some. Enough to thoroughly destroy infrastructure, but not so large that the couldn’t leave quickly. I doubt they would target Desnair just yet. Why encourage them to be more aggresive?

    Cayleb vs. Thrisk round #2 would be the most exciting.

  14. PeterZ says:

    Now that I think about it, if Thrisk buys it in the engagement, that may signify the increased brutality Mathew sees comming. He seem the only one willing to reign in is troops to avoid attocities. If he dies, then Cayleb will have a real tough time holding back his own troops when the enemy is behaving like a rabid dog.

  15. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Yet, the Desnairian fleet & fleetworks are closer to Charian territory.

    While I don’t remember where the Harchong fleet was built, I don’t believe they are in easy striking range.

    Thrisk and his fleet are the most dangerious, but are also not in easy striking range.

    I would put Harchong third as they haven’t shown they are as dangerious as Thrisk and may not be as close as Desnair.

  16. Sigh says:

    I’ve said this before but no one takes me seriously, Harchong HAS to be ripe for an uprising. All Merlin has to do is seed some subversives throughout the Harchong Empire and funnel in supplies. Harchong has all the ingredients for revolution, oppressed and poor people, and corrupt and useless noble class. Yeah morale will be a problem, but all the people need is a hero to rally to…
    Yeah that probably wont work. The most it will do is distract the mainland armies for awhile. So yeah it’s an idea. Maybe an uprising in Harchong can distract the mainland armies from a united attack by Siddermark and Charis?

  17. Maggie says:

    And the music shall be Sir Whilliym Whaltuhns’ “Spitfire” Suite….

  18. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Sigh, we don’t know when the last Harchong peasant uprising was. [Wink]

    The problem with peasant revolts is that they rarely accomplish anything but dead peasants.

    Like Europe, Harchong may have a history of peasant revolts that were quickly put down.

    Of course, the books (and discussions) are more involved with Charis’s battles against the Church forces.

    In time, we may see “interesting” times in places like Harchong but Merlin has his hands full assisting Charis.

    Of course, peasant revolts need more than one hero, they need peasants who know what they are doing on the battlefield.

  19. Maggie says:

    …or maybe Ehryk Chotz “Dam Busters” March?

    PeterZ, robert, Nimitz, you decide….

  20. Matthew says:


    And no army has ever committed a massacre in a “defensive war.” When Japan invaded China, the Nationalists cut the dykes on the yellow river to slow the Japanese advance. It worked brilliantly and the Japanese were stopped for three months. Unfortunately, it also killed over a million people and destroyed thousands of villages. Some shortcuts are going to be made for the sake of expediency.

    We have this odd perspective because the book is told from the point of view of people who are not really at the pointy end, the generals, kings, captains, and ministers. (and one lieutenant), most of whom know the truth. The vast majority of people on both sides fighting are religiously indoctrinated, medieval people with 17th century weapons. Not the most tolerant, forgiving, or accepting kind of people. The concept of “rules of engagement” hasn’t been invented. So far things have seemed sanitized because most of the combat’s been at sea with few civilians.

  21. robert says:

    @17 Maggie–I suppose it is very stirring if you are in the RAF, but to me it is pompous music. Now if you were talking about the band spitfire-suite, that’d be another story.

    Why is everyone so obsessed with Harchong? It is the most backward and least able to threaten Charis of any of its enemies, and totally ignorable for now. It is also impossible to bite off in a large gulp like Corisande was and a lot of small gulps will take too many resources. Heartburn results.

  22. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, I think it is mostly Matthew who’s obsessed with Harchong. [Frown}

    Matthew, Charis isn’t Japan and Harchong isn’t China.

    David Weber knows very well the dangers of a religious war.

    Charis has *no* economic/military/religious reasons for a major invasion of Harchong.

    David Weber also plays fair with his readers.

    We have yet to have a Harchongian point-of-view character in these books and David Weber has always provided a point-of-view character of the “enemy” long before combat is involved with the enemy and his good guys.

  23. Matthew says:

    It’s not the history so much. It’s that the war’s most terrible battles have been fought at sea and even during the invasion of that one island kingdom for which I no longer remember the name, there wasn’t a lot of time given to how devastating the casualties are and how much collateral damage will be caused. The 30 years war had 8 million casualties.

    All of the evil so far is evil with a capital “E.” Religious fanatics egged on by secret conspiracies, or inquisitors burning people at the stake. Most of the devastation of war is not this kind of premeditated evil. It’s victorious soldiers raping some townsfolk, or drunk soldiers setting fires. It’s weary soldiers in enemy lands taking out their feelings of anger or boredom on a civilian populace or minorities from the enemy country being massacred. The fighting so far has been heroic or tragic, but not senseless or ugly. It’s a war where the military casualties are going to outnumber the civilian ones 10 to 1 and that seems too clean.

    Also, the point about Charis/Japan is that Charis is vulnerable to mission creep.

    I do want a Harchongian point of view because they have not come across favorably so far.

  24. PeterZ says:

    I’m with robert, Maggie. The Spitfire Suite is much more to my liking. There are recurring themes in the Damn Busters that reminds me of vaudvillian pratfall music. I can see the Desnairian or Harchong Navy sailing to that piece, though.

    @15 Maybe, Drak. I was thinking that the Charisian strike fleet is in Chisholm. The remaining fleet in Old Charis waters is not nearly ready to strike at Jaheras. They could probably defend against a Desnairian attack, but probably not attack a well defended port city. So in terms of targets within reach of the available units, either Harchong or Dohlar are the closest targets.

    As for the discussions of a Harchong rebellion, that’s a topic that David would want to lavish suitible attention. Slavery hitting on one of the key factors he writes about and all. I just don’t see him slap dashing such a topic to achieve a quick Charisian victory over the CoGA. That would kind of piss me off without development that is more than a chapter or 2.

  25. Stewart says:

    So far, I have noticed much of the discussion has revolved around attacking/invading the mainland. I would like to pose the question of whether or not Charis has to even invade. If the goal is to allow people to innovate and learn the truth about the COGA, Charis only has to survive and prosper. This does not mean they have to conquer the mainland and the COGA. Why invade when all you would have to do is maintain a deterrent (Ironclads with shells should function nicely for a while) to invasion? If Charis can force the church to give up on its Jihad, then over time the institution itself may moderate enough to allow the innovation needed (liberal interpretation of the proscriptions) to confront the Gbaba.

  26. Stewart says:

    At the very most all they would have to do is take out the ship yards and the associated industries that are within striking distance from the coast.

  27. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Matthew, IMO it is still too earlier in the game for the type of “religious war” that you’re thinking about.

    On the Charis side, even the common soldiers/sailors see this as a war against a corrupt leadership of the main Church instead of seeing the main Church as a “False Religion”.

    Even the majority of Corisandians saw the invasion by Charis as mostly political. Many of their own clergy have seen the Church of Charis as more against Corrupt leadership instead of a “new religion”. Remember, that the Church of Charis is not forcing “Temple Loyalists” to convert.

    For that matter, the Charisian forces in the invasion of Corisande were a more discipled fighting force than any forces involved in the Thirty Years war.

    I’m not saying that this will be a “clean war” since war rarely is, but the Church of Charis is attempting to focus any anger onto the Gang of Four not onto the Temple Loyalists.

    That’s unlike anything that happened in the Thirty Years War because the difference between the two sides was generational. IE they had generations for the religious differences to widen.

    As for the Harchongians, at least one of the Wylsynn Reform Circle was Harchongian.

  28. robert says:

    @19 Maggie. If it is all the same to you, and mutatis mutandis, let’s go with the theme from the Magnificent Seven. The American composers (in this case Elmer Bernstein) and the German composers who came to Hollywood were much more fun to listen to than the ultra lugubrious British WWII movie composers. Or we could go back to WWI and have the Col. Bogey March.

  29. robert says:

    @27 Drak, the “sides” (whatever they were, they were fluid) in the 30 Years War were as much about 17th century politics as they were about religion. Probably more politics than religion, in fact, given the monarchs of that era’s desires for real estate. From the very first book we knew that the war against Charis was a political war, fought because of power politics, and not a religious war. And it still is. So there is an element of 17th century goings on, besides the military technology, in this series.

    What fun!

  30. PeterZ says:

    @28 If you are going all creative on this, robert, how about Mumford and Sons with a bagpipe? That would fit right in with the instrument selection on Safehold and Charis especially.

  31. robert says:

    @30 Oh, yes. Add a bagpipe to that array of instruments, by all means. As long as you add a real singing voice, too.

  32. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Yeah Robert, I’m aware of that “dirty little secret” about the 30 Years War but didn’t want to get into an argument with Matthew about that. [Wink]

    Matthew seems to want a full scale “religious war” on Safehold. [Grin]

  33. Maggie says:

    “how about Mumford and Sons with a bagpipe?”

    Oh, Langhorne, I AM IN HELL!

    Honest, guys, I chose British music because Charis identifies with Britain. Fine. No more heroic British film scores.


    Okey-dokey, let’s try Falla’s “El Amor Bruja” shall we?? There’s the music for innovation!

  34. Matthew says:

    It’s not that I want a religious war, it’s that the Charisians are so enlightened. Yes, everyone is literate and sanitary. The problem arises when the church commits some atrocity, so Merlin and the prince have a talk. They lament the state of war, and the extremes that some fanatics will go in the service of a false church, but by the end of their conversation, they’ve reaffirmed they’re shared humanity with their enemies.

    This is fine.

    But apparently the tens of thousands of Charisian soldiers and sailors also have the same conversation. They’re going to seize the port, ask everyone to make a nice line, burn the docks, but be really apologetic while doing it, go to all the prisoners and say, “It’s ok, we know you were just following orders” before finally inviting everyone over for tea and a “meet the new administration party”.

    It’s not that I want a religious war, it’s that I think the common people are going to be less concerned with finer ecumenical distinctions. The Temple Lands have made it a religious war on their side. The Charisian soldiers are going to start getting pissed off and the split between them will keep getting wider and more bitter as the fighting goes on.

  35. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Matthew, you’re misunderstanding what happens after an atrocity caused by the Main Church.

    The good Archbishop tells the people that they are to trust Cayleb to use the sword of Justice against those commited the evil and that they are not to take action against Temple Loyalists who didn’t commit the evil.

    The Inquisition kills innocent Charisian seamen (and their families) and Cayleb’s fleet pays that port a visit. The Fleet destroys the port and executes the Inquisitors involved.

    Sorry Matthew, it isn’t that Cayleb is so “enlightened”.

    It’s that Cayleb is taking vengence against the real villains.

    Of course, how many soldiers actively involved in the killing of the innocent Charisian seamen died in the battle to take the port?

    Your Charisian soldiers will see that the real villains, the Inquisitors, are paying the price for their crimes.

    Your Charisian soldiers/sailors will see that a Kingdom that allows the actions of the Inquistion will be punished by the destruction of its shipping as well as the complete destruction of the port where the atrocity happened.

    No, what Cayleb and the good Archbishop are doing isn’t “phoney enlightenment” but telling their people that innocent Temple Loyalists aren’t the villains and showing their people that they will punish the real villains.

  36. PeterZ says:

    @31, Yeah! A true Irish Tenor, pick one I don’t care. That’s the ticket, robert!

    @33 Oh, nicely done Maggie! This captures the Webersque feminine mystique with a Safeholdian’s paternal bent quite nicely.

    For those interested follow the link.

  37. Peter says:

    Drak’s put his finger on the key in Charis’ psychological war with the Go4. Cayleb & merlin have from the start made it clear to any who cared to listen that their beef is with the Church leadership and they want to cleanse the instiution. Since many many people already dislike or despise the leadership as well, but _don’t_ dislike the Church itself as an institution, this approach keeps popular attention where Charis most benefits – on the excesses of the upper clergy. It also works on their own soldiers – the same message undercuts the temptation to wanton massacre by making it plain there is a non-wanton target they should be going after. Inquisitors all across Safehold should be nervous anytime they are near salt water – and thus near Charis’ fleets. Thus the psych war _reinforces_ the commander’s message about who to kill and who not to kill.

  38. Matthew says:

    But the church is going to use the loyalty of it’s own people to get them involved. Whipping up mobs of temple loyalists to make them do the massacres instead of inquisitors. It is well within the church’s power to get the civilian population to be hostile to Charis. Thus making the entire civilian population into a potential enemy for Charisian soldiers. To use another probably ill advised historical allusion, the Charisians are saying they can kill all the nazis without touching the Germans.

    What happens when the inquisition incites a mob of normal citizens to kill some innocent Charisian seamen? Yes, the Charisians can go and execute the inquisitor, but they also have 3000 people who watched and cheered as the Charisian was burned at the stake. Are all of them evil and get executed? Do some get executed while others go to prison? Are they all forgiven?

    So far the Charisians have been lucky in that the worst atrocities have only been carried out by the duly appointed and identifiable representatives of mother church, making it very easy to tell friend from foe.

  39. Drak Bibliophile says:



    There are ways that Charis can handle this with out killing all Temple Loyalists.

    You’ll see some methods later in this book.

    But I will say that if the mobs are inside Charis controlled territory, then the *mobs* will be punished along with the intergators of the mob action.

    Also, while there are not many innocent Charisian seamen outside of Charis controlled territory, Cayleb can make it clear that such actions are the responsibility of the secular governments to stop and they will be punished if such actions occur.

    Quite frankly, you have ignored what Cayleb and the Archbishop have been doing to avoid having their people wanting to kill the innocent.

    There are ways that intelligent people (on Merlin’s side) can prevent the hate from growing on the Charis side to the degree that you want to believe will happen.

    I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy but what you’re predicting can be lessened.

  40. tootall says:

    It’s great to have Drak’s comments. Thanks.

  41. ET1swaw says:

    @38 and @39: Think about the ‘Rules of War’ and retaliation. Charis, so far, has stayed well within boundaries. Even Clyntahn manufactured ‘fig leaves’ for his purge (that they were patently false was also readily apparent). As written IMO Charis is more restrained than might be the case in real life, but then again we were sidetracked from what happened in attacks against Temple Loyalists. In Delfarayk?sp? the attack force was under greatly increased discipline (requiring ‘kid gloves’ and BEST behaviour from all) and in Corisande it was greatly emphasized to all involved that to rise to the baiting was to fail their kingdom. Instances of ‘what prisoners? their wounded didn’t make it.’ haven’t been written, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

  42. Rod says:

    bottom line time, IMO this war is just bound to get uglier. But the question is what if anything can the Chariasians do to, take the war to the church, if you will. They can burn every port on the planet that doesn’t belong to them and still not seriously harm the church without outside help. Simply put, somewhere in the mainland, whether in Siddarmark or somewhere else, somethings gotta give, and I suspect it will start to happen in this book. What fun!!!

  43. justdave says:

    @11 good one!

    @24 not until Cayleb gets a s%$& load of shells

    @27 I’ll go w/Mag7, actually dated his daughter many, many years ago in college

    only Charisian ‘atrocity’ was burning Temple Loyalist church after the attempted assassination of Sharleyan

  44. Matthew says:


    I don’t doubt their intentions or their goals. Or that Charis is doing anything less than their best to prevent civilian casualties. But these things will happen regardless. King Cayleb (Canute :) and the upper echelons of the leadership are doing all that they can, but telling an army at war to not cause civilian casualties is a task akin to telling the tide to stop. War brings out the worst in people.

    Though if they keep it at sea, it becomes a moot point.

  45. robert says:

    @33 and @36
    The de Falla is good. Just heard it conducted by Frubeck de Burgos with the LA Phil and it would work very nicely.

    Finally, THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS WAR even if the Go4 is trying to pretend it is. It is all about power and political clout and money (who’da thunk it).

    Have a great Labor Day holiday everyone.

  46. B Taylor says:

    On the question of is this a religious war/does that make it similar or different from the 30 Years War – Charis is calling this, to anyone who will listen, a political war. Yes, the other side happens to be the Church of God Awaiting, but really the war is with the corrupt, power-hungry leadership of the Church, not the Church itself.

    In the 30 Years War, most parties were claiming religious grounds for their actions. Those actions included committing atrocities. The Church of Charis, on the other hand, is actively encouraging the troops to AVOID atrocities (I suspect to the point of informing them that they will go to hell if the commit atrocities).

  47. Sigh says:

    As far as atrocities go, you have to remember the Army of Charis is really just the Chisholmian Army with new uniforms. The Chisholmian Army has only really been used in a civil war and won’t have a tradition of those Earth army classics: rape and pillage. That’s not to say there won’t be any rape or murder, but if they come down hard on the perpetrators it shouldn’t get too bad.

    As for music how bout,
    It’s got religious AND English overtones.

  48. Bret Hooper says:

    @(much of the above): IMnsHO discussing whether this is a political war or a religious war is missing the point. This is a political AND religious AND economic war, as were most of the wars of at least the last three centuries or more on Earth.

  49. easycare says:

    I’ve read several excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you place to make this type of excellent informative website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.