Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 12
Kingdom of Chisholm,
“Thank you for coming so promptly, Kynt,” Ruhsyl Thairis, the Duke of Eastshare and commander of the Imperial Charisian Army, said as his aide withdrew.
“Your message indicated it was important, Your Grace,” General Sir Kynt Clareyk, the Baron of Green Valley, replied. He grimaced down at the snow melting on his boots, then looked back up at his superior. “Under the circumstances, even a Charisian boy’s going to hustle out into the snow when he hears that.”
“So I see.” Eastshare smiled and pointed at one of the chairs in front of his desk.
Green Valley nodded his thanks and settled into the chair, watching Eastshare’s face intently. The duke’s expression seldom gave away much, and at the moment, Green Valley’s gave away even less. It would never do for Eastshare to realize the baron already knew exactly why he’d been summoned.
A cast-iron stove from Ehdwyrd Howsmyn’s foundries radiated welcome heat from a corner of the office — a heat that felt more welcome still as he rattling sleet battered its windows. It was going to turn to snow before much longer, Green Valley thought, but not before the sleet inserted a nasty sheet of ice between the layers of snow and made Maikelberg’s sidewalks and pavements even more interesting to walk upon. He’d decided he really, really disliked Chisholmian winters, and the fact that he was one of the handful of people who knew the truth about Merlin Athrawes and an artificial intelligence named Owl meant he got to watch far more detailed weather forecasts than anyone else in Maikelberg.
Which is how I know it’s going to be another howling blizzard by Thursday
, he thought glumly. Although, to be honest, the snowfall and high winds which would soon pummel Maikelberg would scarcely count as a “blizzard” someplace like Glacierheart or Hildermoss. It would be more than severe enough for him, however, and the nature of the weather currently battering Safehold’s northern hemisphere was going to have quite a bearing on the reason Eastshare had sent for him.
“I’ve received a dispatch,” Eastshare said abruptly. “One I have to take seriously, if it’s really from the man it claims to be from. And” — he grimaced — “it does have all the right code words and phrases. It’s just . . . hard to believe it could be accurate.”
“I beg your pardon?” Green Valley sat straighter, cocking his head, and Eastshare snorted.
“If it said anything but what it does, I’m sure I would’ve accepted it without turning a hair. But we haven’t heard a word about this from Their Majesties, and if it’s accurate, the entire strategic situation’s just changed out of all recognition.”
“I hope you’ll forgive me for saying this, Your Grace, but you’re making me nervous.”
Green Valley’s tone was just a bit tarter than most of Eastshare’s officers would have adopted, but Green Valley wasn’t just any officer. He was one of Cayleb and Sharleyan Ahrmahk’s trusted troubleshooters, not to mention the man who’d first worked out practical tactics for rifles and modern field artillery, and one of the very few Charisian ex-Marines who’d turned out to have far more to teach the Chisholmian Army than he had to learn from it. Over the last couple of years, he’d also become one of Eastshare’s favored sounding boards, and the two men had developed a personal friendship to go with their professional relationship.
“Sorry,” Eastshare said now. “It’s just that the courier who carried it for the last third of its trip was half dead when he got here, and even he couldn’t vouch for its accuracy. According to the dispatch, though, Clyntahn’s finally run completely mad.”
“With all respect, Your Grace, he did that quite some time ago.” Green Valley’s voice was suddenly harsh, and Eastshare nodded.
“Agreed, but this time he’s done something I wouldn’t’ve believed even he was stupid enough to do. He’s instigated an open revolt against Lord Protector Greyghor and tried to overthrow the entire Republic.”
“He’s what?!” Green Valley was rather proud of the genuine note of astonishment he managed to put into the question, and he stared at the duke in obvious consternation.
“That’s what the dispatch says.” Eastshare shrugged. “Bad enough to infuriate a kingdom half the world away like Charis, but this time they’ve pissed off a nation right across the Border States from the Temple Lands — and with the biggest, best disciplined army on the mainland, too boot! If Stohnar makes it through the winter . . . .”
“You do have a way with words,” Green Valley said as Eastshare let his voice trail off. “Does your dispatch indicate Stohnar’s likely to survive the winter?”
“It doesn’t offer an opinion either way.” Eastshare grimaced. “It only tells us what the man who sent it knew when he sent it off, although I have to admit he seems to’ve been fiendishly well informed. Assuming, of course, he’s telling us only things he knows to be true and not relying on rumor and hearsay. It doesn’t read like it’s from someone who’d do that, though, and it’s signed by someone named Ahbraim Zhevons. His name’s on the list of completely reliable agents, too, verified by Prince Nahrmahn, Baron Wave Thunder, and Sir Ahlber. And it does have the right code phrases to go with the name, so I have to take it seriously. But if he’s right, everything you and I have been talking about in terms of the Army for the next year just got stood on its head.”
“It certainly sounds that way so far,” Green Valley said slowly, sitting back in his chair once more.
Unlike Duke Eastshare, he knew exactly how that message had gotten here. Although he was a bit surprised it had arrived this quickly, given the state of the icy roads (if the term “road” could be applied to narrow, rocky tracks through dense forest and heavy woods) over which it had traveled. Merlin Athrawes, in his Zhevons personna, had personally launched it from Iron Cape, the westernmost headland of Raven’s Land, across the Passage of Storms from the Republic’s Rollings Province. An overland message could reach Chisholm much more quickly than the same word could come from Charis by sea, despite the atrocious winter going and the collapse of the Church’s semaphore chain across Raven’s Land since the beginning of the Jihad.
And, of course, the word would’ve had to officially
reach Charis before anyone could send a dispatch boat to Cherayth, he thought.
“Obviously, the message is several five-days old,” Eastshare continued, “but whoever this Zhevons is, he obviously knew the sorts of information we’d need. And there’s a note that he’s sending a copy of the same dispatch to Tellesberg, as well.”
“Did he say exactly why he sent it to you, Your Grace?”
“Not in so many words, but I think it’s pretty evident he thinks we’re going to be shifting our priorities in light of the new situation, and if he does, he’s damned well right. That’s why I wanted you in here this afternoon. You’re going to be point man on a lot of the planning, and you need to be brought into the loop as quickly as possible.”
“I appreciate that . . . I think, Your Grace,” Green Valley said wryly.
“You’ll get your own copy of the entire dispatch as soon as my clerks have finished copying it out for you.” Eastshare tipped back in his own chair, laying his forearms along the armrests. “For now, let me just hit the highlights. Then I want you to sit down with your own staff and start making a list of what we could send into Siddarmark if the Lord Protector requests assistance.”
“This Zhevons thinks he’s likely to go that far?” Green Valley raised both eyebrows, and Eastshare shrugged.
“I don’t think he’s going to have much choice, if this is accurate. It sounds as if Clyntahn did his level best to plant a dagger squarely in Stohnar’s back, and he damned near succeeded. I don’t know where else Stohnar and the Republic can look for an ally willing to stand up beside them against Mother Church and the Inquisition. Do you?”
“Not when you put it that way,” Green Valley admitted.
“Well, in that case I think we need to take it as a given that if he does manage to survive the winter, he’s going to want as much help as he can possibly get as early in the year as we can get it to him. From Zhevons’ note, he’s probably going to be more concerned with food shipments than troops for the next couple of months, but he’s got all that border with the Border States. And with Desnair and Dohlar, now that I think about it. By late spring — early summer, at the latest — his western provinces are going to be swarming with troops from the Temple Lands, from the Border States, from Desnair. Shan-wei! By late summer, he’ll probably have Harchongian troops closing in for a piece of him! I’d say the odds are against him pretty heavily at the moment, but if he can hang on, and if we can figure out a way to get worthwhile numbers of our own troops into the Republic, we’ve got at least a fighting chance of carving out the foothold we needed on the mainland. If Stohnar goes down, it’s going to be a disaster for any hope that anyone else on the mainland is going to be willing to defy Clyntahn. But if he doesn’t go down, if he manages to survive, we just may have found the ally we needed to go after the Group of Four on their own ground.”
There was nothing wrong with Eastshare’s strategic instincts, Green Valley thought. The duke couldn’t have had “Zhevons'” dispatch for more than an hour or two, but he’d already cut directly to the heart of the matter. And he was clearly prepared to begin planning for active intervention in the Republic even without any instructions from Cayleb or Sharleyan. That was exactly the initiative Cayleb and Merlin had hoped for when they’d sent the message, and Green Valley felt a glow of pride in his superior as he watched Eastshare responding to the challenge.
“All right,” the duke said, “according to Zhevons, the whole thing must’ve started months ago in Zion. Apparently, what Clyntahn did was to –”
Well, it looks to me like it’s setting up so a lot of people are right. And that this book is going to be about shifting the fight to the mainland. And you know, I get the feeling that having Daivyn getting back to Corrisande is going to be just in time to allow a pullout of most of the EoC forces from there…
And so it begins…
Interesting that they gave the ICA the heads up at the same time the news was “sent” to Tellesberg. So as soon as they get the Ok, and have the ships to carry them, the ICA will be off to help Siddarmark as we’ve all expected.
So will they sail west, or east? (East is MUCH more fun!) Bleek!
I wonder which province/dukedom of Chisholm Maikelberg is in?
The map: http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/images/safehold.jpg doesn’t really show.
@1 Nimitz13: East or West? AFAIK the distance from western Chisholm to Eastern Siddarmark (East Haven; going west) is less than half of that from western Chisholm even to the western Harchong Empire (West Haven; going east) and requires bypassing Trellheim. And going east you still have to deal with Harchong, Dohlar, the Temple Lands, and the Borderlands before reaching Siddarmark.
And despite the name and the nasty winter reputation Glacierheart is more central Siddarmark than the far north as some might think!! (again see map: http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/images/safehold.jpg )
So Superman (Kynt Clareyk; Baron Green Valley) is definately ‘inner circle’ and real world comm/info-lag is biting hard.
Duke Eastshare doesn’t even seem to be aware yet of Nahrmann’s demise (or of many other happenings the reader “knows”: Delferayk rescue, AB Cahnyr’s escape and rededication, etc.).
And with Lock Island dead (in battle with the NoG), the primate’s brother seems Superman’s opposite number with the ICN (as Kynt now seems with the ICA).
Well at least they figured a viable/believable excuse to get the ICA on board with Siddarmark planning.
Hopefully we will also be seeing something getting the Kingdom of Tarot (now part of the Charisian Empire) in the mix as well as they are much closer than Old Charis or Emerald (and a whole lot closer than Chisholm, Zebediah, and Corisande; who are about a quarter of the globe or more away).
And help will arrive so many months before our beloved Grand Inquisitor believes possible. I do enjoy the fun scenes MWW gives us when bad news arrives at Zion. Here’s another one shaping up.
So- Ninitz- we’ve gotten quotes from “Bored” and Star Wars–can you work in something from Princess Bride?
Let the fun begin!
“Never get involved in a land war in Asia” was used in the Pricess Bride. :^)
Just curious, but if Irys learns when Ahbraim Zhevons sent a message to Chisholm, won’t she realize that he travelled the length of the continent in almost no time at all? Merlin has been very careful about that to date. So far, Irys and company, Ms. Parsons, and now the Duke of Eastshare know of his existence. It won’t be too much longer before he starts to have a more public reputation. Especially if he starts operating in Glacierheart.
— Bob G
Irys don’t know Ahbraim Zhevons. When Merlin went to the Royal Palace, it was in his own name.
But it does stand, Zhevons was last seen speaking with Coris on november 895, now it’s only march 896.
Four months is about 120 days. Assume your boat is managing 5 knots, that’s 120 nautical miles a day, or 14,400 nautical miles total, which will put you anywhere on the planet with a coast.
Averaging 5 knots for 120 days, day and night, is absurdly good, but then he is a senjin so people might not be shocked if anyone manages to figure out where he started and ended, and his presence at both ends is a secret known only to different groups at this point.
Why bother assuming that Zhevon’s is one person and not an allias used by the Seijin Network. They have remained secret for centuries after all. Their internal security is very tight. So, the second and third layers of the Empire’s leadership may assume that the network is using a name that is already widely known to pass messages.
@8 No December or January on Safehold, IIRC. And he had to deliver the message at Iron Cape, from which it may have taken more than a week to travel overland before reaching a working semaphore station.
@9 Maybe, but it will sound suspicious, when all Merlin had to do was add a new agent to his list.
— Bob G
@2 I already used “Never get involved in a land war in Siddarmark” many months ago when discussing HFaF, either on the Weber forums, or here when Madam Pahrsahn moved to Siddarmark. I should have used it again today of course, silly me, especially since I’m expecting the AoG to die of cold and lack of supplies next winter just outside of Siddar City.
@4 Irys hasn’t seen Ahbraim since a few days before/after Daivyn’s birthday – some weeks before Merlin showed up to rescue them. He’s had plenty of time to “sail” up the coast of East Howard to Siddarmark, “learn” of the situation after the SoS, then pass along the info that just arrived at Maikelberg.
What amazed me was the MWW saying “An overland message could reach Chisholm much more quickly than the same word could come from Charis by sea, despite the atrocious winter going and the collapse of the Churchâ€™s semaphore chain across Ravenâ€™s Land since the beginning of the Jihad.” I eyeballed the distance to Maikelberg as the wyvern flies from both Iron Cape and Tellesberg, and they seem to be roughly equal at over 5000 miles. I’m not sure if the semaphore system still works SOMEWHERE along that 5000+ mile journey, but if it doesn’t I’d wager on a ship sailing 26.5/5 making the 5000+ mile voyage from Charis arriving before a courier on horseback from Iron Cape. The courier needs to sleep at night, even if there are regular depots to swap horses. Since only three couriers were used, I expect there ARE such depots, or each courier may travel with a remount or three.
I realize the winds may sometimes be contrary and the waves are horrendous, as explained when Cayleb & co. returned to Tellesberg after the Battle of Tarot Gulf. But he was headed WEST at the same time of year, and it’s quite clear that the winds and storms that hit him were headed east, so he sailed against the wind practically the entire voyage.
A small schooner driven by the predominantly easterly winds described in HFaF should make considerably better time than a horseman on horrible roads “if the term â€œroadâ€ could be applied to narrow, rocky tracks through dense forest and heavy woods.” We’re undoubtedly lacking some crucial detail that the MWW hasn’t explained yet – like how much of the semaphore is still working.
Ah well, back to sleep. “If you haven’t got your health…” Bleek!
@10 He hadn’t done that yet and this came up rather quickly. So, yes, you are right he should have but I can understand the oversight. The need to get people moving so quickly snuck up on him and the other inner circle members.
@3 From AMF – “The city of Maikelberg had been built by Sharleyanâ€™s father, King Sailys. It lay just under a hundred and fifty miles north of Cherayth on the narrow neck of land between Lake Morgan and Cherry Bay.” It’s a military city where the ICA is based.
I say going East is much more fun because they’ll get to sink Thirsk and burn Gorath to the ground. Their escorts get to run wild in the Gulf of Dohlar sinking any ships the AoG is using to carry troops or supplies, and that takes South Harchong out of the war this year, depending on how good the canal network from there through Desnair and Silkiah is, of course, since otherwise they’ll be walking.
Then the ICA disembarks at CENSORED (SPOILER), then board transports waiting on the eastern coast of CENSORED to deliver them to Siddarmark. It’s an elegant, convoluted scheme that would undoubtedly fail spectacularly. But it WOULD take out Thirsk, gut the AoG’s supply lines by sea, and teach EVERYONE that YOU DO NOT GIVE POWs TO THE INQUISITION!!!!!
There are two other bright sides to this – the CoGA just got shafted and King Rahnyld of Dohlar no longer has to pay back his loans… Bleek!
Anyone wanna bet we skip to another pOV in the next snippet?
One would hope that Green Valley and the AUTHOR have read/researched T. J. Jackson’s Valley Campaign of 1862 and will use (has used) that to write his history of the ground war in the Republic. At least Green Valley’s recon will be better than Jackson’s although Jackson had often actually traveled the ground before (sometimes long before) his opponents.
@14 No bets. That was an almost classic ‘fade to black’ in that last line.
@16 Struck me as a fade to black set up too. So, we either have networked council of war with the inner circle or we visit Sharley and Cayleb.
My vote is on the council of war with Superman confirming that he has directed the good Duke to the appropriate conclusions.
@17 I agree with PeterZ – the subject the snippet covers isn’t finished yet, so ease Eastshare offstage and we’ll see a conversation amongst some of the inner-circle in the next part. (Cayleb, Sharley, Green Valley, and Merlin are my bets, along with whoever is running the navy these days, although anyone might drop in to chat.)
Will anyone suggest my “Go East young man” strategy? Anyone?…Anyone?… Byulyr?…Byulyr? Bleek!
@18 Well, Ferris, Cayleb will suggest it but the consensus will shelve it. Don’t have to decide immediately. They have some months to see how things shape up. The limiting factor will be shipping. Corisande will be mentioned as needing the extra manpower to garrison and Irys and Daivyn won’t arrive there for months yet. So, unless they find the shipping and can afford not to garrison Corisande, they wait on pulling the trigger on going east.
I’m wondering if Clyntahn will order Thersk’s forces to intercept shipping from the Charisian Empire to Siddarmark. He could potentially order them to proceed independently or as small squadrons. They would eventually be destroyed by EoC forces, but Clyntahn might be willing to make the sacrifice (someone else’s, of course) to slow down the relief effort.
That might be an interesting way to get them for a deep-water battle.
— Bob G
What if the relief force were to land at the Grand Duchy of Silkiah? Then do a Sherman headed Nortwest towards Gorath. They could strip bare the lands behind them. The AoG would have to turn to face them giving Siddarmark some breathing room. With Kynt having OWL data, he would know more or less where to turn from battle and when to force confrontation. Not knowing the layout of Gorath, It may be indefensible. No one needed city walls before because the CoGA controlled how much war could be waged. What would the the ICA do to a major city that mistreated the Navy POws?
@6. What makes you think that a military commander like Eastshare would mention to ANYONE (let alone Irys)the name of one of their agents?
I’m wonder where Hannibal(whoops I mean Hanbil) is. Giving someone that famous a name and then losing him would strike me as waste of character. Also where’s the rest of the empire?
You still get all those “volunteers” from the Border States, not to mention the Temple guard and the armies from Harchong later in the year. If they want to defend Siddarmark they have to put troops in the country itself, or the AoG forces will pin the ICA with one or two large forces, and then invade Siddarmark with others. Charis can’t possibly be every where it is needed to be in the upcoming battles, the numbers just don’t work out.
After the ICA crushes some of the larger contingents of the AoG they can spread their forces out some what. Trying to do to much invites defeat in detail. It would still be a horrendous cost for the AoG but they can win if that happens.
@24, I agree, when you have a substantially smaller and greatly superior in quality force your goal is the big decisive battle where the enemy will be unable to coordinate or concentrate his numbers properly and his superior numbers will have a chance to panic when they see what you’re doing to the engaged units. Your worst nightmare is getting tied down in penny packets all over the place trying to attack or garrison everything.
I don’t see how you attack AoG supply lines without risking defeat in detail and letting the AoG fight the ICA closer to AoG supply sources and in isolation from the only potential ICA ally with a big, experienced land army. This is bad.
Get Stohnar’s agreement, land the army at Siddar city with as many spare weapons and as much food as you can. Use the fleet to secure supply lines and attack enemy ports and shipping. For this year your goal is simply to HOLD your precious foothold on the mainland. This doesn’t need to be fancy, this needs a bunch of people in Siddemark SEEING ICA soldiers fighting on their behalf and winning.
Within broad limits time is on your side. Clynton needs to kill Stohnar, all Caleb needs to do is keep him and his army alive. The ICA + the Army of Siddmark should be able to hold on the defensive and once together can even think about attacking.
I’m wondering if Eastshare even takes the initiative to stage his troops forward pending instructions from Cayleb or Sharleyan…
@20 This would actually make sense, since Clynathn is tired of paying Thirsk’s sailors, and the hulls of Thirsk’s ships are getting fouler by the five-day. Thirsk has mentioned using his fleet for coastal raids in the past. Getting out of Dohlar before the ICN comes calling is a good idea.
The EoC would LOVE to catch Thirsk at anchor in Gorath Bay and do an Iythria on Gorath – but burn the whole city this time to send a message about how NOT to treat POWs.
Scattering Thirsk’s fleets all around Siddarmark would require the ICN to chase them down, destroy the ports at Geyra and Desnar (and any other port where Thirsk can get resupplied,) and tie ships down with escort duty for the transports carrying food and troops to Siddarmark. Thirsk is in a “use it or lose it” situation, and he’ll have exploding shells soon. He could wreak a lot of havoc before the ICN finally destroys him. Let’s hope this doesn’t occur to the bad guys – and maybe the good guys will follow my Eastern strategy. (rolling eyes cause it’s a recipe for disaster!)
@21 Razing Gorath is the first goal of my Eastern strategy, where the ICN carrying the ICA sails EAST from Chisholm with enough of the fleet to take out Thirsk, burn Gorath with selected citizens still in it (King, Inquisitors, nobles, etc.), and THEN the ICA does a Sherman across northern Desnair to the Gulf of Jahras – 252 miles across the isthmus, or a negotiated passage through Silkiah. (Easier, but Silkiah is feeling the heat from the Go4) The western fleet then sinks all AoG shipping in the Gulf of Dohlar, burns every port, raids to its heart’s content, and there’s nobody to stop it.
Te ICA gets picked up on the eastern side of the isthmus and is ferried to where it is needed in Siddarmark. The EoC will need to coordinate two separate fleets, but with Owl that isn’t a problem.
Both our strategies have a HUGE major weakness – long supply lines and the difficulty of retreat if necessary. Getting the entire ICA killed around Gorath by the much larger Dohlaran army is a BAD idea. Getting them killed by the Desnarian army as they cross the isthmus is also a BAD idea. So as impatient as I am to see Thirsk’s fleet forming the base for a new artificial reef, I don’t think the ICN has the capacity to send fleets both directions – and getting the ICA trapped in Dohlar, hundreds of miles from the ships that dropped them off in an attempt to take out Gorath would be ill-advised when Siddarmark is fighting for its life.
We both want the same thing. But even if both our strategies worked to perfection, it wouldn’t help Siddar City much, and it needs immediate military help. After all, Siddarmark is ruled by a Stohnar! Bleek!
@27 Nimitz13, why do all that when it isn’t neccessary to accomplish the complete and total destruction of Gorath? Send the ICA to Siddermark for the most part and send a contingent of the ICA with the support from the Corisandian army to the Gulf of Dohlar. This assumes that Irys and Daivyn calm things down enough that this plan is possible. If Corisande doesn’t calm down, forget about it.
Corisande has been until recently an occupied nation and as such was not part of the mainland ban on importation. Recall that Ahbraim Zhevons used a Corisandian vessle’s name to get through Delfahrakian dignitaries when delivering Daivyn’s wyverns. I suspect that Corisande then has a tidy fleet built to take advantage of their immunity from Charisian privateers and the CoGA blockade against Charis. That merchant fleet will come in handy for either shipping food into Siddermark or sending troops into Dohlar.
The dohlaran campaign doesn’t need to involve an invasion with the majority of the ICA. All Charis needs to do is to take some of those islands off the coast of Dohlar and set up a base there. Use that base to raid all along that coast. Force Dohlar to spread themselves out to cover all those ports and coastal cities. Burn them one by one until Thirsk’s fleet comes out of Gorath. If he doesn’t, turn as much of the Dohlaran countryside along the coast as possible into a wasteland that cannot supply the AoG with food. If Thrisk is still kept anchored, then go in with the bombardment ships and just pound Gorath flat. Thirsk either goes out now or is shelled to destruction along with the city. Since, the ICN began stockpiling muzzle-loading rifled cannon and armoring ships in March 895, they should have enough with a suitibly large bore for their bombardment ships and several squadrons armored galleons. Those rifled cannon can pound a target the size of a city from half a mile to a mile out easily. The armored galleons can get up close and perosnal with Thirsk’s galleons and turn them into driftwood.
The land portion of the campaign doesn’t need the entire ICA. A core group of 10k-15k ICA troops along with 20k-30k Corisandian troops under Garvai would be sifficient. They could land on Dragon Island initially. Use that as their primary base of operations. Let their cavalry rest and regain their legs. Raid the coast with infantry until they are ready to level Gorath. Land a large troops some distance away from Gorath and have them march in. Use the navy to hammer Gorath and Thirsk flat and send the inhabitants of Gorath as refugees fleeing everywhere. Garvai approaches gorath and draws the Dohlaran army out. He encourages them to use their superior numbers to attack his fortified positions. Using rifled breach loaders and exploding shells from behind fieldworks he’ll massacre the initial mass advance. The cavalry does the rest to keep the broken formation broken. Since Garvai, Superman or whoever will be the leader will be smart, they will acdept prisoners and treat them well. That way they don’t have to chase the schmucks all over Dohalr. With the army defanged Rahnahld either surrenders or the rest of Dohlar is torched to a smoldering wreck. This forces the G4 to redirect their forces into dohlar or watch the most brutal example of what awaits their coalition partners if they ever piss off Charis as badly as Dohlar did.
The idea is to use a much smaller number of troops to draw a much larger number from those attacking Siddermark. Also, by taking Dragon Island the ICN has a foward base to control Gorath bay. From there they can raid the Bay’s entire coastline with Howard and Haven. That forces all the colaition members to leave troops home to cover that coastline ro have charis turn their most aggriculturally productive areas into smoking ruin. All of this may be done with a tithe of the ICA and a little help from Corisande.
@ 28 I’m not sure how much of the army the EoC can get away with not sending into Siddarmak. They will be massively outnumbered, with armies approaching from multiple directions and along any number of available paths. Furthermore temple loyalists will be sabotaging anything they can (think powder explosions, stolen/missing supplies), some might even be able to form into guerrilla units and use hit and run tactics (for a time, they’ll eventually get wiped out if they do that).
Sending even a small detachment away for your plan is a big gamble. And if it pays off it still might not help the situation in Siddarmark enough to make the difference.
Having said that sinking Thirsk’s fleet and destroying supply lines is a worthy goal, just not sure the ICA and ICN can do it, while supplying Siddarmark.
@29 Quite right, Anthony. However, recall that Corisande still requires a significant garrison. Whatever troops Charis sends to Siddermark will not include that garrison. We won’t know how Corisande will react to Daivyn and Irys’ return. We don’t even know if Daivyn and Irys will swear fealty. Charis can’t cut that garrison early. Those troops will be available later for redeployment. As for the ICN, they don’t have any serious threats outside of Gorath Bay. There may be lighter units being produced for commerce raiders against the Siddermark boat lift, but that really requires more light units and not the heavier galleons.
I agree that diverting merchies away from the boatlift is counter productive. I do think that there will be Corisandian merchie ships available to be used for the Dohlaran campaign.
@28 Sorry PeterZ. I’m afraid your wrong about a Corisandian immunity from the CoGA blockade. Merlin (in his Abraihms persona) poses as a smuggler delivering a gift to Daivyn. He mentions Zhoel Harys’ name as the person who took it on the first leg of its journey as this was the Corisandian navy captain who smuggled Daivyn to the mainland in the first place and dropping this name lent credibility to his tale and also implied the possibility that Anvil Rock was doing this behind the Charisian’s backs. SO there’s no evidence that Corisandian vessels are not subject to the blockade; I’m sure we would have heard about the Charisians takin advantage of it (as with Siddarmark and Silkiah) if it were the case and it would be rather ridiculous for the CoGA to do this. So no substantial Corisandian merchant marine :(
@28 Corisande is a CONQUERED entity of the EoC, and the only one so far. Even IF Daivyn and Irys return this year – which isn’t a given, as they’re currently headed to Tellesberg, where I presume Daivyn will swear fealty to Cayleb and Sharley, and after that he may spend some time around Cayleb & Sharley to teach him the “proper” attitudes and duties of a monarch. Since the EoC would like to settle things down in Corisande to REDUCE the troops needed to keep order there, Daivyn is likely to be returned fairly soon – which is not to say immediately.
Corisande is not an ally at the moment – it’s a conquered subject, with the resentments and scheming that always results when one falls from independence. The EoC has trod very lightly, and will give them back their proper prince eventually, but using Corisandian troops outside of Corisande may be years away.
The EoC would be happy if returning Daivyn allows them to draw down the garrison of the ICA they are forced to keep in Corisande. That’s the best they can hope for in the short run – unless there’s an invasion by the AoG to “liberate” Corisande, and with Thirsk and his soon-to-be-obsolete unarmored wooden hulls, I don’t see that being more than a pathetic diversion doomed to backfire. It would rally Corisande to defend Daivyn, who is VERY pro-EoC, and cement it into the empire.
Changing the subject, I’ve long advocated sending a sizable fleet to the Gulf of Dohlar this year, initially to sink the transports ferrying the troops of North & South Harchong and Desnair to the front, and to execute an “Iythria” on Thirsk and Gorath. A sizable contingent of the ICA will be needed for coastal raiding and whatever fighting is needed once the navy reduces Thirsk and the Gorath’s defenses to rubble. A few thousand would be dropped off on a suitable island to raise food and collect water, so the only resupply needed is ammo, powder, and replacement parts for repairs. This accomplishes quite a lot, and without putting those thousands of troops at risk.
Dragon Island may already have a native population or Dohlaran troops, and it’s too big to defend. Once Thirsk is eliminated and the shipbuilding facilities around Gorath Bay are burned, there’s no need to set up an ICN base nearby – unless it’s closer to resupply and I don’t want to add any spoilers here. An island closer to Harchong such as Trove Island might be better. (Weather?) It cuts off access to the Border States to the north, and puts the fleet much closer to Harchong for raiding purposes – and there’s a couple of Harchongese cities that need an Iythria done to them as well.
Keep in mind even though the ICA is MUCH better armed, the mainland armies DWARF them in size. The MWW gave us the numbers in one of the spoiler threads. I won’t cite them here, but there are literally MILLIONS of AoG troops, and the ICA has a few hundred thousand. Siddarmark might retain a third of its prior forces, but they are scattered and relatively poorly armed. They outnumber the ICA a bit, but even combined the defensive force are terribly outnumbered. BUT – the AoG isn’t going to arrive all at once, and eliminating AoG shipping in the Gulf of Dohlar would slow the arrival of enemy troops considerably. The EoC and AoS have a reasonable chance to defeat the arriving forces in detail, but it won’t be easy.
MWW told us this is a war of LOGISTICS. The EoC’s supply train is thousands of miles long, reaching back to Tellesberg for arms, parts, and supplies, Chisholm for troops, and (at best) Tarot for food.
Once they arrive in Siddarmark and set up some relatively large supply depots, their supply lines are actually shorter, as the AoG has to invade across the entire width of Siddarmark, with the difficulty of keeping the troops fed and moving growing with every mile. Commando raids to burn their supplies, explode their powder, and especially to kill their draft animals could reduce many branches of the invading forces to a crawl. That cuts both ways, as TL forces will try to do the same to the AoS and ICA.
Siddarmark is starving, so living off the land – doing a “Sherman” won’t be possible for the AoG. At best they’ll find fodder for their animals, but food will have to come from the Border States, the Temple Lands, Dohlar, Desnair, etc.
I’m afraid the EoC is going to have throw all their shipping at Siddarmark, first to ship in food and arms, then troops from Chisholm, then convoys of food, arms, supplies from Tarot, Charis, even Zebediah. Thirsk may move his fleet around Howard to harass the EoC convoys, so the warships would be assigned convoy duty. (So kill Thirsk NOW!)
Thirsk and Gorath may survive until at least the next book. Don’t forget, the MWW likes to play with his boats, and eliminating Thirsk and all shipping in the Gulf of Dohlar would end that for the rest of the series. No more fleet battles, since the EoC rules the seas – all of them. That probably won’t happen as soon as we’d like.
The Corisandians are settling down, but still aren’t a bunch of happy campers, while armies of ravaging locusts are moving to exterminate the EoC’s only likely ally on the mainland. At the moment things look . . . bleak. (HA!)
@31 Jim, they’ve had 3 years to rebuild there merchant marine. I may have no textev on this but the logic is consistent. Besides, Capt Harys was working out of Tarot prior to tarot’s inclusion in the Empire. I recall a Zhevon’s comment about Harys fleeing after the inclusion was logical to the Delfahrakan big wig (name?).
Inferential evidence suggests I was right. No proof, but if DW was setting up a bit of a surprise, he wouldn’t make it too obvious. We could wager a virtual beverage of choice on the Corisandian merchant marine, if you are interested.
@32 Nimitz13, I know DW likes his ships. Destroying the current floating targets is the best way to force the CoGA into building more modern ships. Without those more modern ships, DW will not have any interesting navals battles at all going forward.
Sending the ICA into Siddermark through Silkiah simply takes too much sea lift they could devote to helping ship in more food. Merchies to ship the ICA to the Gulf and more merchies to ferry them out of Silkiah. A bit wasteful.
@33, its certainly possible that the Corisandian marine has recovered a little. But it won’t have exploded due to being able to bypass the embargo. We get told enough about the Siddarmarkian and Silkhian vessels skrtin it that I’m sure we would have heard if Corisande was doing the same. And i don’t see why corisande would be able to – its been conquered and is being incorporated into the EoC. the CoGA doesn’t recognise the legitimacy of the regency council.
And I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any comment about Harys fleeing after Tarot was absorbed. What made sense was to him was the possibility that Harys thought it would be more discreet to send it on from tarot with someone else.
@35 As I said no proof. Won’t argue that there is. I am willing to assert that Corisande does have sufficient merchies to flesh out enough troop transports for sending troops towards Dohlar. That since the Empire conquored them, they have built up their merchie fleet. The logic suggests that there was more than enough incentive for investments in those merchie ships.
There were bits after the conquest about mark loving Charisian investors. Rebuilding a merchant marine would have had appeal.
@ 37, but wouldn’t it just have been a growth of the Charisian merchant marine? There may be growing intra-empire trade with Corisande with its increasing stability. But its hardly going to be a separate marine.
I am a bit surprised that any of you think the distance from Siddar City to the Chisholm army is anywhere near as long as the distance to Tellesberg. Safehold is a _planet_ and so the surface is curved. The map is flat and therefore progressively distorted as one moves pole-ward. For every ten degrees north of the 30th parallel, I suggest we shave off a hundred miles or more for east-west travel to approximate rough distances (actual number will vary, of course). That would give a better estimate of distances.
Isn’t the Royal Chisholmian Army still available for use abroad? As I recall from the previous books, it was not used in the invasion or occupation of Corisande. If so, that would considerably increase the number of troops available to the ICA and multiply strategic options. They are seasoned troops and should have been reequipped and retrained to Charisian standards by this time, so they should be very effective.
@39 Actually, if you’ve got a calculator that does trig functions, just type in the degree north, hit “cos” and multiply that by the east-west distance on the flat map.
Speaking of traveling from Chisholm to Siddarmark, which nation owns Hammer Island? It’s just sitting there in the middle of the ocean saying “please please use me as a logistical support base.”
Posted this elsewhere–but I thought you guys would enjoy it too.
A “dispatch boat to Cherayth”?
Okay, so this snippet brings out something that I’ve been wondering about. Why send a dispatch boat to Cherayth? It even admits here that overland–where the semaphore has collapsed–is faster than by sea. So, looking at the map, why not: Tellesburg semaphore to Crown Point. Boat across to Triton Head on Emerald Island. Semaphore from there to, say, Fallow Bay. Then, dispatch boat from Fallow Bay not to Cherayth, but to Rock Coast Keep. Then semaphore from Rock Coast Keep to Cherayth/Maiklinberg. That HAS to be faster than the six weeks a dispatch boat would take the entire way.
For that matter, while I understand the Naval Base having been established at Port Royal in reponse to the rivalry with Corisande, it no longer makes sense for it to be there. For that matter, it makes less sense for the Army to be training in Maiklinberg–IIIRC, in East Share. With the island/continent of Trellheim between Chisholm and Harchong, it appears to me that it’s Corisande that would be more likely to see an attack across the Great Western Ocean. A threat substantially reduced with all armies marching towards Siddarmark.
Indeed, I’m not sure why the Army hasn’t been training somewhere ear Rock Coast Keep all along. It would have kept them much more convenient both to the mainland, and to orders from Tellesburg.
As far as the collapse of the Church’s semaphores across “The Lands of the Raven Lords”, I can think of several reasons. One, with the seas interdicted, the Church has no way to supply the semaphore stations. Two, for the same reason, they have no way to PAY the people who staff the semaphore stations. And third and most importantly–with Chisholm in the hands of Charis, there is no one for the Church to send messages TO.
The Royal Chisholmian Army (along with Emerald’s Army, portions of the Royal Charisian Marine Corps, and selected portions of Corisande’s demobilized forces) was subsumed into the newly formed ICA.
The taking of Corisande was accomplished by an upgraded Royal Charisian Marine Corps prior to the true formation of the ICA.
And AFAIK the preponderance of garrison troops in Corisande, etc. are still Royal (now Imperial) Marines not ICA. The EoC has three active branches: ICA, ICN, and ICMC; and has territorial forces (limited by design) both under individual sub-rulers (which includes the Regency Council of Corisande) and (even more limited) under specific nobles/councils (i.e. Earl of Hanth, individual nobles in the EoC).
#38 Well, IM (most humble)O, I thought that the “mark loving” Investors were investing in local businesses. HOWEVER, I have no proof. It would make fewer waves to invest in “Corisande Marine Transport”, than to open a new branch of “Charis Marine Freight”.
@44. It doesn’t matter what you name it–they would all be sailing under the Imperial Charisian flag. Well, aside from any that might have been “bought” by Siddarmark.
@45 I doubt that Emerald has given up its flag and likely neither has Tarot. They are still separate nations but subject to the Empire of Charis. Heck, Old Charis is a separate nation than Chisholm but both are in the Empire. Investors may acvtually find a better return for their money if they invest in Corisandian built ships flying the flag of Corisande. The Corisande shipyards are less swamped than those in Old Charis and the Corisandian flag may be more easily tolerated abroad. So “mark loving” Charisian investors may indeed invest in Corisandian shipping.
I think they’ll all be flying the imperial flag. Even if they aren’t however, I see no reason why any would be exempt from the embargo.
Jim, I somewhat agree about the merchant ships flying the Imperial Flag but it is possible that there will be versions of the Imperial Flag that denote which “member states” they belong to.
@44-@48: Depends IMO on whether they use the British Commonwealth Model or the UK.
(AFAIK/IIRC) Commonwealth countries (Australia, New Zealand, UK Members, etc.) have their own flags and with few exceptions (mostly UK members/dependencies) their own separate armed forces.
(AFAIK/IIRC) The UK member countries (England, Scotland, Isle of Mann, Jersey, Guernsey, etc.) each as their own flags but unified armed forces.
And AFAIK/IIRC merchant flagging is just that: registration/identification with a specific countries flag irrespective of the nationality of ship’s or cargoes owners’ nationality similat to auto registration to varying states in the US. (look at all the modern coorporation ships flying the Liberian flag)
On Safehold Silkiah and Siddarmark not only changed the flagging of the vessels they got from Charisian sources, but their owners of record to get around Clyntahn’s embargo. And IIRC it is an embargo on Charisian products as well as Charisian-owned/Charisian-crewed vessels. And it was known at the beginning to only be a short term resolution of the problem!!!
I am pretty sure Clyntahn has expanded the embargo (as he expanded the excommunication/etc.) to the other member states of the EoC (Chisholm and Emerald have textev for joining Charis on the “shit-list” IIRC).
And with Charisian owners/investors on record they would fall under the original embargo anyway!!
Correction to @49:
And AFAIK/IIRC merchant flagging is just that: registration/identification with a specific country’s flag irrespective of the nationality of shipâ€™s or cargo-ownersâ€™ nationality (similar to auto registration to varying states in the US). (Look at all the modern corporation ships flying the Liberian flag!!)