Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 08

Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 08

No, she’d never been safer in her father’s palace than here on this warship of a hostile, heretical empire, and that was the true reason for the lightness in her heart. For the first time in far, far too long, she knew she and, ever so much more importantly, her brother were safe. And the wiry young man beside her in the sky blue tunic and dark blue trousers of the Imperial Charisian Navy was one of the reasons she was.

She glanced up at him from the corner of one eye, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was watching Daivyn and grinning hugely. It made him look absurdly young, but then he was young, over two years younger even than she herself. Only that was hard to remember when she recalled his voice out of the darkness, leading his men in a charge against the Delferahkan dragoons who’d outnumbered them better than two-to-one to rescue her and her brother. When she recalled merciless brown eyes in the moonlight and the flash of the pistol as he put a bullet through the brain of the inquisitor who’d done his best to trick those dragoons into massacring her and Daivyn. When she remembered his competence and certainty on the long boat trip downriver to Sarmouth and safety. Or, for that matter, when she watched him and his easy assurance giving commands to men three times his own age here aboard Destiny.

He would never be a handsome man, she thought. Pleasant looking, perhaps, but not remarkably so. It was the energy that was so much a part of him, the quick decision and the agile brain, that struck any observer. And the confidence. She remembered that moonlit night again, then remembered the lecture Admiral Yairley had given him when they finally reached the Sarmouth and came aboard Destiny. She had a suspicion Yairley had lectured him more for her benefit than for his own, but she was a princess herself. She understood how the game was played, and she’d been grateful to the admiral for making it clear to her that Aplyn-Ahrmahk had proceeded entirely on his own to complete his mission — and just incidentally save her own life — when any reasonable man would have turned for home. She’d suspected that was the case from one or two remarks the seaman under his command had made during the trip down the river, but the lieutenant had simply brushed the entire notion aside. Now she knew better, and she wondered with a wisdom beyond her years, hard-earned as a prince’s daughter, how many young men his age, with that accomplishment to their credit, could have refrained from attempting to bask in a young woman’s admiration.

“That fish is going to have him into the water, safety harness or not!” she said now, as Daivyn was dragged bodily forward despite his braced feet.

“Nonsense!” Aplyn-Ahrmahk laughed. “He’s not strong enough to hang onto the rod if the safety line comes taut!”

“Easy for you to say!” she said accusingly.

“Your Highness, you see that fellow standing to His Highness’ right — the one with all the tattoos?” Irys glanced up at him and nodded. “That’s Zhorj Shairwyd. In addition to being one of the best petty officers in the ship, he’s also the squadron’s champion wrestler and one of the strongest, quickest men I know. If it even looks like your brother’s headed over the taffrail, Shairwyd will have him, the fishing rod, and whatever’s on the other end of it, dragged up onto this deck faster than a cat-lizard jumping on a spider rat. I didn’t — I mean, Captain Lathyk didn’t pick him at random to keep an eye on the His Highness.”

“I see.” Irys carefully took no note of his quick self-correction. Now that she thought about it, though, Aplyn-Ahrmahk always seemed to be in the vicinity when Daivyn was on deck, as well. It was obvious the prince liked him, and Aplyn-Ahrmahk had a much more comfortable, easy way with the boy than most of the other officers aboard Yairley’s flagship.

“Tell me, Lieutenant,” she said, “do you have brothers or sisters of your own?”

“Oh, Langhorne, yes!” He rolled his eyes. “I’m the middle one, actually — three older brothers, an older sister, a younger sister, and two younger brothers.” Irys’ eyes widened at the formidable list, and he chuckled. “Two of the older brothers and both of the younger ones are twins, Your Highness, so it’s not quite as bad as it might sound. Mother used to tell me she’d thought four would be quite enough, though she’d been willing to entertain the thought of five, but she never would’ve agreed to eight! Unfortunately, Father didn’t tell her twins run in his family. Or that’s her story, at any rate, and she’s sticking to it. Since they’ve known each other since they were children and Father has twin brothers, though, I’ve never really believed she didn’t know that perfectly well, you understand. Still, I have to admit it was a relief when they were able to pack me and two of my brothers off to sea.”

“I expect so,” Irys murmured, trying to imagine what it would have been like to have seven siblings. Or, for that matter, any immediate family beyond Daivyn at this point. She envied the lieutenant, she realized. Envied him deeply. But that stack of brothers and sisters undoubtedly did help explain his comfortable approach to Daivyn. And so, she thought suddenly, must the peculiar circumstances of his ennoblement. He was a duke, a member — if only by adoption — of the House of Ahrmahk itself. She wasn’t as familiar with the Charisian peerage as she wished, especially in her current circumstances, yet she was fairly sure no more than a handful of the Empire’s nobles could take precedence over him. Yet he’d been born a commoner, one more child in a brawling, sprawling, obviously happy family who’d never dreamed of the heights to which one of their sons would rise. And so he was neither a commoner dealing with a prince, afraid of overstepping his place, nor a noble by birth, trained to understand that one simply couldn’t casually ruffle a young boy’s sun bleached hair if it should happen the young boy in question was the rightful ruler of an entire realm and must be safely fortified within the towering buttresses of the respect due his exalted birth.

It was all quite unacceptable, of course. Daivyn had no business dashing barefoot about a warship’s deck wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, watched over by common seamen and tattooed petty officers. He had no business shrieking with laughter as he fought whatever fish was at the other end of his line, or when he was allowed — in calm weather, under close supervision — swarming up to the maintop with half a dozen midshipmen, many of them no more than a year or so his elders. She should be horrified, should insist he be kept safely on deck — or, even better, below decks — where he would be sheltered from all threat or harm. And she certainly shouldn’t allow Lieutenant Aplyn-Ahrmahk to encourage him to run wild! She knew that, just as she knew the consequences if something did happen to Daivyn Daykyn while in Charisian custody could be catastrophic beyond imagining.

But it didn’t matter. Not to her, and not any longer. Daivyn was her Prince, her rightful ruler, a life far too important for anyone to risk, or to allow to risk itself. And that didn’t matter, either. Because he was also her baby brother, and he was alive when he wasn’t supposed to be, and he was happy for the first time she could remember since they’d fled Corisande. He’d rediscovered the boyhood Zhaspahr Clyntahn and the world had stolen from him far too early, and her heart rejoiced to watch him embrace it.

And none of it would have happened without the humbly-born duke standing at her side.

“Thank you,” she said suddenly.

“I beg your pardon, Your Highness?” He looked down quickly, and she smiled.

“That wasn’t meant just for you, Lieutenant,” she reassured him, wondering even as she did if she was being truthful. “It was for all of you — Destiny‘s entire crew. I haven’t seen Daivyn laughing like this in over two years. And no one’s allowed him to simply run wild and be a little boy again in all that time. So,” she patted him on the forearm again, her eyes misty, and her voice was just the slightest bit unreliable, “thank you all for giving him that. Giving me the chance to see him like that again.” She cleared her throat. “And, if it won’t embarrass an emperor’s officer such as yourself to pass that thanks along to Sir Dunkyn, I’d appreciate it.”

“I’ll try to bear up under the humiliation of passing on your message, Your Highness,” he told her with a slightly crooked smile. “I’m sure it will be hard, but I’ll try.”

 

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34 Responses to Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 08

  1. ET1swaw says:

    Irys is becoming a ‘True Believer’. who’d of thunk!!
    I mean intellectually she had accepted that Cayleb had not had her father and brother assassinated, but now she seems to really start believing it.
    And in seeing the noble Lt. in a whole new light, despite him being years younger (his ~15yo to her ~18yo; if I remember someone’s comment calculations correctly) at a time in both their lives when a year or two actually make a difference.

    And her internal monologue definately confirms for me (IMO) that offering her Daiyvan’s throne would be the worst mistake possible to make.

    She is also not as hooked on either Merlin or Coris as might be previously expected IMO.

    /Rob

  2. Nimitz13 says:

    Irys is actually surprising me here. We’ve all expected her to fall for the dashing lieutenant Aplyn-Ahrmahk, and vice versa, but it isn’t happening overnight. She’s categorizing all his favorable points, including not taking full credit for her rescue. Funny that as a princess she considers his refusal to “bask in her admiration” as a positive – I’d think most princesses would be a mite bit peeved if their gallant rescuer didn’t pay a great deal of attention to her. But it’s more than likely he spent the days on the river mostly chatting with Daivyn, which is the quickest way to Irys’ heart. Still I wonder how she’d treat him if his last name wasn’t Ahrmahk.

    Now if Cayleb is watching this tender scene, he might just be calculating the desirability of marrying off his adopted sibling to the Princess of Corisande. That would poke a VERY sharp stick in Clyntahn’s eye and wouldn’t exactly hurt relations with Corisande either when she explains to her brother’s subjects that her husband just happens to be the dashing young lieutenant who saved them from the Inquisition’s murderers.

    How sad that this means the MWW undoubtedly has something else in mind.

    Irys has truly come around if she finally feels safe only under the protection of the heretical Charisians who supposedly murdered her father and older brother. Clyntahn is REALLY gonna hate this! Bleek!

  3. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @2 – Nimitz13

    “How sad that this means the MWW undoubtedly has something else in mind.”

    Perhaps. But then the MWW, having the devious sense of humor he has, undoubtedly knows that most of us are expecting the literary curve ball, so he will instead pitch slow and fast across the strike zone (in the literary sense, of course) and march Hector and Irys up the aise to the altar to be married, after which the curve balls, sliders, and inside strikes will come so fast we will be literarily dazed and confused.

    Comments? Criticisms? Witticisms?

  4. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @3 — “slow and fast across the strike zone”

    DOH! I messed up my own joke! I meant “slow and stright”! Oh, well. I hope you get the point.

    DUMB, DUMB, DUMB!

  5. Bob G says:

    I wonder if Hector is one of the characters that his wife won’t let him kill off?

    Otherwise I am concerned. Of course, we might be worrying about the wrong one of the two.

    — Bob G

  6. ET1swaw says:

    @2 Nimitz13 and @3 Robert H. Woodman: Well we can always remember that IIRC it was Corisandian forces (including their LH Admiral in person) that did their level best to kill Hector and did cause his most-beloved monarch to perish in his young arms that day at Darcos Sound (and what again is his Ducal title?).
    His rapt attention to Daivyn could just be attention to his duties!! (G) I mean he has been previously portrayed as such an inveterate schemer, hasn’t he! (SEG)

    /Rob

  7. Alistair says:

    @4 — “slow and fast across the strike zone”

    Given the MWW’s talents, I’m somehow sure he could manage that!

  8. PeterZ says:

    @3 RHW, let’s not use the baseball analogy, shall we? I just saw the Braves dismantle the Rockies yesterday and that sets altogether a bad precendent for this discussion. Beachy, the Brave’s pitcher, took 20 pitches to get out of the first inning but then owned the Rockies unitl the 7th. Kind of like us guessing close enough on Irys and Hektor and DW taking all that time for the Destiny marine-melodrama in HFaF. Suggesting of course that he will truly own us in this story. No, no, we shall endeavor to avoid that analogy.

    Let’s instead look at this as a tactical simulation. DW is honest in is creation of sims and plot crafting. So, it may be assumed that all the pieces are before us. All we need to do is put them together. Granted, I guessed about the love affair back in BSRA but absolutely missed the Daivyn component as played until the last snippet. I had guessed that he was damaged goods in the last book. It looks like I was right, but DW has done a wonderful job of letting him heal. What surprised me was the use of that healing to bring Irys closer to Hektor as well as highlighting how Hektor’s humbler origins allowed Daivyn to heal. Brilliant! subtle and devious as all get out!

    Now where will this go? Will Daivyn volunteer for the navy? Likely. If Cayleb accepts this service will Daivyn serve under Captain Yarley and Lt. Alpin-Ahrmahk? Undoubtedly. Will Hektor and Irys develop their relationship from affar? Also likely. Will DW keep the tactical option of eliminating either of Irys’ beloveds? Of course! I suspect that Daivyn volunteering in some way will pull the rest of Corisande into active support of either an attack on Dohlar or additional troops to send to Siddermark and freeing up the ICA to destroy Gorath and all the remaining Dohlaran ports.

    Corisande has had 3 years to rebuild its economy and shipping. I strongly doubt that they failed to rebuild some of that capacity. I also doubt that the mainland has been quite as off limits to Corisandian ships as Charisian ships. So, now that Corisande may become more integrated into the Empire, there are resources available that RFC may not have included as Charisian when he dropped that infamous “Raw Meat” info dump on his website. The timing of Irys’ rescue suggests that Corisande won’t be a player in the war until closer to the end of this year. Still the resources Corisande represents is enough to provide Cayleb and Merlin some flexibility in where they will strike on the mainland.

    Reactions are appreciated as always.

  9. hank says:

    @2 “I think most Princesses would be…” OTOH, any inteeligent royal personage must, IMO, get *really* tired of flattery and suck-ups. Humility might be refreshing.

  10. Alan says:

    @6

    Try Duke of Darcos…

  11. JeffM says:

    I believe that you Hektor would be Cayleb’s adopted *son*, not “sibling”. After all, it was he who did the adopting, not his then-deceased father.

  12. Nimitz13 says:

    Icky, Cayleb a father at the ripe old age of 20 or so? To a 12 year-old midshipmen no less. (Safeholdian years of course, which makes it worse!)

    Still, good point, Cayleb is daddy not older bro. The whole concept of Cayleb as Hektor’s dad seems backwards because it was Hahraald who had a relationship with Hektor, and who died protecting him which was silly thing for the King of Charis to do but the right thing for a MAN to do.

    But the EoC wouldn’t be the same with Harhaald in charge, and he’d have to pretend to limp since Merlin would have dragged him off to Nimue’s cave and fixed his leg by now, which show’s I’ve given way too much thought to what might have been and the final battle scene of OAR which really WAS the coolest fighting Merlin’s ever been in, with his incredible leap over 25 feet of water between the boats, landing in the middle of hundreds of Corisandian soldiers and turning both swords into a blender set on high while blood flew around him like a red tornado, then when the rest of the Corisandians charged he didn’t even move, he just stood there and chopped them into a chunky red fog. Great stuff!!! (Big gasp as I come up for air…)

    I miss those days from an earlier, more innocent time… BLEEK!

  13. Richard H says:

    @12 “Still, good point, Cayleb is daddy not older bro. The whole concept of Cayleb as Hektor’s dad seems backwards because it was Hahraald who had a relationship with Hektor, and who died protecting him which was silly thing for the King of Charis to do but the right thing for a MAN to do.”

    To be fair, Hahraald knew he was wearing properly bulletproof armor at the time, and Merlin *was* coming. I’m not sure off the top of my head if he knew the latter fact, but he only needed to hold out for a little longer, and people *had* started firing guns. As such, interposing his impenetrable armor against those was the right choice for keeping as many of them alive as possible, even if there were still gaps someone could stick a blade through. (… which is what happened.)

  14. Drak Bibliophile says:

    IIRC Richard H, Merlin/Nimue *had not* told Hahraald that he had given Hahraald “special armor”.

    The only text evidence is that Merlin/Nimue replaced Hahraald’s armor without telling him.

    Of course, under the situation on Hahraald’s ship at the time, he likely didn’t know “how close” rescue actually was.

  15. Grant C says:

    Adoption into a royal line is not necessarily the same thing as regular old adoption… Hektor doesn’t have to be considered Caleb’s son, brother, or anything other regular familial classification. He’s been made a member of the House of Ahrmahk, but I’m fairly sure his original father would still be considered his father, not Cayleb.

  16. KenJ says:

    textev shows that Cayleb considers him a “son”… of sorts. With out question Hektor still considers his parents his parents and his siblings, siblings. It is technically a legal formality. It is actually the King, not necessarily Cayleb who adopted Hektor, and the king could be considered the ‘father’ of the whole country. In the end, it has become an “honor” or “award” similar to being knighted but on a larger scale. (IMHO)

  17. Nimitz13 says:

    @16 That makes a lot more sense. It is notable that Cayleb takes the relationship seriously, as he’s quoted in HFaF that he likes to check on how Hektor is doing every day (using OWL’s SNARCs). Since he said this not long after the “Destiny goes for a wild ride” chapter I had to wonder how Cayleb felt as Destiny fought for her life, and if Merlin would have been sent in the skimmer to ensure that Hektor washed up on a beach somewhere and was subsequently rescued.

    @14 Drak (Boy am I taking a risk here!) My guess is that had Merlin broken the Corisandian charge and killed Black Water during his slaughterfest on his way to the aftcastle where Harhaald was fighting for his life, he could have slapped a tourniquet on Harhaald’s leg and saved him. Merlin berated himself during the funeral mass, as he “Wished he himself had reached the aftercastle of Royal Charis even a minute earlier. Wished he’d realized how serious the king’s wound had been, or that he’d been able to somehow treat that wound while simultaneously holding the Corisandian boarders at bay. But none of those things had happened, and so the king he had come to admire and respect so deeply-had come, without even realizing it, to love—had died behind him in the arms of an eleven-year-old midshipman.
    It was a tragedy made even greater and far more painful because the victory had already been won.”

    I think as a member of the inner circle, Harhaald knew EXACTLY who Merlin was, and even though Haarhald didn’t want to die, his death would do more to break Safehold from Langhorne’s grip than anything else he could do. (And no, he didn’t know he was wearing bulletproof armor. Rats!)

    Merlin continues musing: “The SNARC he’d had monitoring Haarahld had recorded the king’s conversation with his flag captain, and he knew the king’s death had purchased exactly what Haarahld had flung his life into the scales to buy. The entire Kingdom of Charis knew King Haarahld could have avoided action. It knew he’d chosen to engage at odds of six-to-one rather than turn his back and let those ships escape, and that he’d done it because Charis needed far more in THIS war than mere victories.”

    “Charis knew as well as Merlin did that Haarahld hadn’t had to meet the enemy head on. That, in many respects, it had been the wrong decision for a king to make. But it had been the right decision for a MAN to make, and Charis knew that, too . . . just as it would always treasure the last words he had said to an eleven-year-old boy.”
    (Those words added here:) “I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” the bleeding young midshipman sobbed. “I’m sorry! You shouldn’t have pulled me out of the way!”
    “Nonsense,” the king said. His voice was weak as his life flowed out of him with the blood still pumping from the deep wound in his thigh. “It’s a king’s duty to die for his subjects, Master Aplyn.”
    “No!” Aplyn shook his head.
    “Yes,” he whispered, leaning forward until his forehead touched Aplyn’s. “Yes, it is. And it’s a subject’s duty to serve his new king, Hektor. Can you do that for me?”
    “Yes,” the boy whispered back through his tears. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
    “It’s been . . . an honor . . . Master Aplyn,” Haarahld Ahrmahk murmured, and then his eyes closed.

    “It would take some time, but Merlin could already hear the echoes of Henry VIII. Whether or not Cayleb would formally assume the position of the Church’s head in Charis remained to be seen, but the Charisian Church’s separation from the Temple was an accomplished fact which awaited only official ratification. . . The Safeholdian Reformation which Merlin had hoped to delay until Charis was ready for it was already a fact. There was nothing he could do to undo that, nor would the white-hot anger of Charis and its new monarch have permitted him to, even if he could have.”

    Great stuff, and by the end of OAR I was searching the house for that old sword I used to wear to those D&D parties in high school to chop off a few corrupt vicar’s heads! [G]

  18. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Nimitz, the “only nit” I might have is that while Harhaald strongly believed that Merlin was “Shan-wei’s second arrow”, I doubt anybody in the inner circle really knew what a PICA was.

    On the other hand, that was great writing. [Smile]

  19. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Oh Nimitz, it was fun rereading OAR after learning about the Inner Circle and Harhaald’s involvement in it.

    Some of the comments made by Harhaald about Bishop Maikel have so much deeper meaning after learning of the Inner Circle. [Smile]

  20. JeffM says:

    I just wonder how long it will be before Cayleb pulls Hector from military service. After all, before long the ICN will have swept the seas, and become of secondary import (until they take to the stars). And Cayleb can always use more poised, intelligent Dukes at his beck and call. First Councilor/Prime Minister, perhaps?

  21. Robert Krawitz says:

    @20, too young. Cayleb and Sharleyan are both quite young, but wise enough to know what they don’t know. They’d want someone older and more experienced in the ways of the world to be the prime minister. Merlin’s the unofficial PM, of course, but appearances need to be kept up.

    Besides, Hektor seems to enjoy life in the navy, and it sounds like he’s an excellent junior officer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to become Admiral Aplyn-Ahrmark in 20 years or so. Naval threats aren’t going to go away, and it’s evident that the Empire’s military strategy is navy-centric, even when land forces are involved. An admiral who happens to be an imperial duke would be very well placed to make decisions about conquered lands, and could speak for the emperors in a way that a commoner — or even a non-imperial noble — couldn’t.

  22. Nimitz13 says:

    I don’t expect the EoC to deal with Thirsk’s fleet in MTaT, so Hektor and the Destiny will be fighting at least into the next book. (Hence the long distance relationship with Irys that PeterZ suggested.)

    Hektor is a character who we’ll see as part of the inner circle. His trust in the Ahrmahk family is absolute, and when Cayleb and Sharleyan break the truth to him I expect he’ll have less trouble than many accepting it, especially if Merlin tells him about Hahraald’s bullet-proof armor and the pager he wore to let him know when Cayleb and his fleet arrived. After all, accepting the truth is part of his final promise to a dying King Hahraald – to serve his new king.

    The shock Hektor is going to feel when he realizes that his king’s armor would have stopped the arbalest bolt that Hektor tried to shield with his own body, and that by knocking him aside Hahraald left himself open to the stabbing that killed him is going to be heartbreaking. But Hahraald didn’t KNOW the arbalest bolt wouldn’t kill him, while it would certainly have killed Hektor. In that moment, a young midshipman’s life was more important to him than his own. (Ok, the MWW might not be THAT cruel!)

    Hektor was willing to die for his king, and vice versa. Rest assured the MWW will see to it that Hahraald’s sacrifice was worth it. Hektor has an “interesting” future ahead, as in “May you live in interesting times.” Bleek!

  23. ET1swaw says:

    @21 Robert Krawitz: And it is definatively a requirement (IIRC) for a Charisian member of the Royal family to serve (at the very least as a midshipman (without any royal/noble priveledges)) in the Charisian Royal Navy/Marine Corps (IIRC the Traitor Duke served as a marine and both Cayleb and his father served in the Navy). It will soon be coming upon the time for Cayleb’s cousins (at the very least the inheriting Duke) and his little brother to serve as well. OTOH with the expansion to the EoC and the current hot-war with the CoGA they might lift/limit such service requirements.
    And IIRC Lock Island’s (the late LH Admiral) line/title started the same way as Hector’s is now!

  24. Karsten says:

    I wonder, if Irys will end as a member of the inner circle – and if so, if it will be happen in MTaT … After all, she would be one hell of an intelligence asset and could close the gap, Nahrmans death caused …

  25. Nimitz13 says:

    @23 Let’s not forget Nahrmahn intended to send his oldest son to serve as a midshipman until the unfortunate events of HFaF. Apparently it’s going to be tradition for the sons of all the rulers of the EoC’s realms to serve in the navy (or army) in the future.

    “We can only try, Cayleb,” Nahrmahn said. “That would be easier for me to say if Nahrmahn Gareyt weren’t getting close to the age when I’m going to have to think about sending him off to sea. But it’s true, and I suspect we wouldn’t be doing any of them—or any of our subjects—any favors if we tried to keep them safely at home. You already knew what naval service was like because your father sent you off to see it firsthand, and that’s been incredibly valuable to all of us over the last few years. For that matter, the tradition that privilege has to be earned by service is one any ruler ought to learn early … and one I’m ashamed to admit I learned at a rather later point in life than you did. There’s a lot to be said for that Charisian tradition of yours, when you come down to it. I don’t want to see my son traumatized the way Hektor was at Darcos Sound, but I do want him to understand the reality of what war costs and what it’s really all about. And if he turns into half the young man your Hektor is, I’ll be proud to be his father.”

    Sons who are ALREADY the acknowledged head of state (even with a regency council) won’t have this requirement, as evidenced by Nahrmahn Jr., whose father clearly intended him to serve a stint with the navy. Instead he was brought to Tellesberg immediately after his father’s death to swear fealty and take his father’s place as ruler of Emerald. So Daivyn will NOT have that requirement either, although I could see him volunteering – which would make Irys very unhappy with the EoC even if Hektor served on the same ship so he could watch over her dear little brother. (And wouldn’t THAT complicate life for our lovebirds?) Bleek!

  26. PeterZ says:

    @22 Nimitz13,

    Perhaps you are correct and Charis won’t take out Thirsk’s fleet. If they don’t then they concede control of the Gulf of Dohlar to the CoGA. That means the northern and western parts of Howard can be used to help supply the AoG. Take out Thirsks fleet and the supply respobnsibilities devolve to just Haven. More important, the mode of supply will then almost totally depend on overland and canal transport. In the end the AoG will ultimately depend on those canals anyway, but control of the Gulf will allow the AoG to slowly move their staging bases ever forward. If Charis controls the Gulf with bases located on Trove and Dragon islnads for ex., the AoG has to honor the Charisian threat all along the southern coast of Haven.

    How many troops will protecting that coast demand? How much will it cost to garrison those troops? The ICA deployed in the Gulf can raid and burn down selected port cities around the Gulf at their leasure. Once done they can regroup at their base(s). Rinse and repeat. How long can the mainland nations afford to provide the invading troops with that kind of threat in their rear?

    Charis can’t do all of this in MTaT, but they can get started and take Thrisk out before the current year is out. Unless Charis does take Thrisk, the G4 will simply move massive supply depots ever closer to Siddar City and reduce their dependancy on the long supply routes. If they eliminate that weakness, they will be tough to beat in the long term. The longer the G4 occupy portions of Siddermark the more of Siddermark they will consolidate back into their fold. Thrisk has to go ASAP.

  27. Robert Krawitz says:

    @25, I don’t think Irys will be unhappy once she understands that this is the Empire’s way and why it is the case, that Daivyn isn’t being singled out for anything, and that Daivyn’s being put in a position to succeed (he isn’t being set up for failure or an early death). She already knows Hektor’s relationship to Cayleb, and that Yairley is an excellent commander and a fair person. If Daivyn dies in action, there’s a very good chance Cayleb’s adopted son, and one of the best admirals, will do so too.

    And I’m sure Cayleb and Sharleyan understand this dynamic, too, and will put Daivyn in a position where he can succeed (not necessarily very easily, though!)

  28. Drak Bibliophile says:

    IMO Daivyn will not become a midshipman. Right now the situation between Corisande and Charis is such that Daivyn can’t be risked. Remember that Cayleb had a younger brother and sister when he was sent to sea. Besides Irys, there is nobody else to take the throne of Corisande. Especially one who the people & nobles of Corisande would accept.

    Mind you, if Charis had a land-based Navy Academy, Daivyn might attend it and might have limited sea based training. But IMO he won’t a standard midshipman who can be risked.

  29. PeterZ says:

    @28 Ah! but will he be a coddled prince that never sees the price his subjects pay for his policies? Will he be like his older brother visiting that damaged ship returning from Dracos Sound with narry a concern for those sailors? So, maybe not a standard midshipman, but some sort of apprentice warrior/naval officer accompanying the fleet to destroy Thrisk.

    Don’t bother answering, Drak. This will risk your snerk collar triggering too closely one way or the other.

  30. Drak Bibliophile says:

    PeterZ, there’s much that I can’t talk about but IMO this isn’t part of it. [Wink]

    IMO there’s plenty of “room” for his guardians (including his sister) to work on preventing him from being a “coddled prince” without putting him on an Imperial Warship as a midshipman.

    Just remember that Sharleyan never served as a “midshipwoman” and she’s far from being “coddled”.

  31. PeterZ says:

    Ok then, back to the drawing board it is.

  32. Robert Krawitz says:

    @28, that makes sense. It’s also very dangerous if it’s known that he’s serving on a ship on active duty.

    But there are other home territory jobs in the military where he wouldn’t be in the line of fire…maybe not as many as IRL…

  33. JeffM says:

    How hard is it to figure out that Daivyn is going to have his hands full learning to be a PRINCE–a job that he has never been groomed for, and for which he no longer has his father around to mentor him in?

    Fortunately, his Regency Council includes both Army and Navy commanders to acquaint him with necessities.

  34. Nimitz13 says:

    @26, PeterZ I’ve argued many times both here and on the Weber Forums that the EoC SHOULD take out Thirsk this year, before he gets explosive shells, and to harass, sink, and destroy the shipping that Harchong and Desnair are depending upon to get their troops and supplies to the front.

    But that would – as was pointed out to me and why I don’t think the Thirsk problem will be solved in MTaT (though I wish it would be), that the MWW likes to play with his boats, and if he eliminates the only large, organized naval force resisting the EoC now, that leaves him much less to write about in the future – and makes the series mostly land-bound hereafter.

    All your arguments make sense, and I’ve made them myself – even expanded them considerably at times. But it’s the MWW sandbox, and we just get invited to watch. He builds the sandcastles and knocks them down, and we don’t get any say. (Though we WISH we did!) I’ll settle for just being right about a guess here and there of where the plot is going. I’d love to be wrong about this, but I’m afraid I might not be.

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