Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 33
“And that’s why things have been so far from clear-cut for me. But clear-cut or not, we’re called to make decisions, and the Council’s decided. I can’t pretend I find myself in wholehearted agreement with that decision, yet neither can I ignore or deny the arguments of those who pushed for it . . . or that Bishop Trahvys ‘happened’ to find himself called away from Mairisahl Cathedral on urgent business the five-day he knew we’d be debating it.”
He touched his plate, with its half eaten omelet, and his expression was cold, his eyes as hard as Adym could remember ever having seen them.
“It can’t be God’s will for His servants to deliberately starve women and children in the middle of winter. Not children.” He looked up to meet his wife’s gaze, and those hard eyes were haunted now. “Not babes in arms, not children who never had the chance to choose. That much I do know, even if I know nothing else in the entire world.” His voice was deep, with the pain of a clan lord who’d seen malnutrition in his own lands in far too many winters. “And the instructions to destroy that food came from Zion itself. There are enough of our own people in the Republic for me to know Eastshare and the Charisians’ve told nothing but the truth about that, and whatever else may be true, Mother Church would never have given that order. It came from the Grand Inquisitor, and so, in the end, we have to choose — to decide — whether or not Zhasphar Clyntahn speaks for God as well as His Church.
“I don’t know what will happen to the Church in the fullness of time, and no matter what, I’ll never be able to draw my own sword against her. But if someone doesn’t prevent this from continuing, if someone doesn’t stop it, this schism can only become permanent. Mother Church will be broken forever, beyond any hope of healing, because the Reformists will have no choice but to break with Zion and the Grand Vicar completely and permanently. And whatever the Grand Inquisitor may think, he’ll never be able to crush the hatred he’s fanning.”
He shook his head sadly.
“I may not be the theologian he is, but I’ve spent fifty years watching human beings. We clansmen are stubborner than most, and we pride ourselves on it, yet we’re not all that different from others when it comes to it, and not even Vicar Zhaspahr can kill everyone who disagrees with him. He seems determined to try, though, and if he persists, if no one stops him, the wounds Mother Church has already suffered can only become eternal. Only Shan-wei can profit from that, and I fear, fear to the bottom of my heart and soul, that the only power on Safehold that can stop him now lies in Tellesberg . . . and that it can stop him only by the sword I can never draw against her myself. That . . . fills me with shame, in far too many ways, yet all of my grief and all of my shame can’t change the truth into something else.”
Adym Parkair looked at his father, hearing the pain and recognizing the honesty, and he reached across the table to touch Lord Shairncross’ forearm.
“I think you’re right, Father,” he said quietly. “I wish you weren’t, but I think you are.”
“Of course I am.” His father patted the hand on his arm gently as he tried to inject some lightness into his tone. He didn’t succeed in that, but he managed a smile, anyway. “Of course I am. I’m a wise and experienced student of men, aren’t I?”
“That’s what you’ve always told me, at any rate,” Adym responded in kind, and Lord Shairncross chuckled.
“You should always trust your father,” he assured his son, then straightened his shoulders and reached for his teacup once more.
“On a more pragmatic note,” he continued, “telling Duke Eastshare he couldn’t march through Raven’s Land would’ve been . . . ill advised, I think. Our clansmen are almost as stubborn and bloody-minded as they like to think they are, but there aren’t very many of us. Not enough to stop a Chisholmian army, much less a Charisian one, with all those newfangled weapons, from marching pretty much wherever it chooses. And the Charisian Navy doesn’t really need our permission to sail into places like Theralt Bay and land supplies for that army, either. That idiot Suwail discovered that a few years back, if I recall correctly.”
His smile was tart, but this time it held some real humor, Adym noted.
“We could make their march unpleasant, and we could slow them down, and we could bleed them, but in the process we’d take far heavier losses. And” — his expression hardened once more — “we’d turn Raven’s Land into what’s happening in places like Glacierheart and Shiloh Province, as well. I’m not surprised the Council’s declined to do that when we couldn’t stop them anyway. And whatever my own doubts about this ‘Church of Charis,’ I won’t be party to that, either.
“So,” he inhaled deeply, “if we can’t deny them passage, we might as well make the best terms we can and find a way to profit from it.”
“Profit?” Lady Zhain frowned distastefully, and he chuckled, this time with more than a little genuine amusement.
“Love, I realize we Highlanders have nothing but contempt for the soft, decadent luxuries that come with money, but even for us, money can be a useful thing to have. That’s certainly what someone like Suwail’s going to be thinking, at any rate. But there’s more than one sort of ‘profit,’ you know.”
“You’re thinking about Charisian goodwill, aren’t you, Father?”
“In a manner of speaking,” Parkair acknowledged, turning back to his son with an approving nod. “I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever else may happen, this Charisian Empire isn’t going away. And t if we align ourselves with the Charisians’ enemies, it would have to be tempting for them to simply occupy us, the same way they’ve occupied Zebediah and Corisande. I think they’d prefer not to, but there’s no point pretending it wouldn’t be a lot easier for them to seize control of Raven’s Land — especially when all they have to do is march right across The Fence to get to us — than it ever was for them to conquer a princedom as far away, across so much ocean, and with as many people and as much money as Corisande. They might find themselves faced with one revolt after another — clansmen being clansmen — but they could do it. Frankly, they’d be stupid not to do it, if we made ourselves their enemy, and one thing Sharleyan of Chisholm never was is stupid. I haven’t seen much evidence that this new husband of hers is any slower than she is, either.”
He paused, one eyebrow arched, and Adym nodded emphatically.
“So, given all that, it makes far more sense to welcome them in and do everything we can to speed them on their way, minimizing the opportunity for the sorts of unfortunate incidents marching armies frequently encounter, especially passing through hostile territory. And if in the process we get on their good side where things like trade opportunities are concerned while simultaneously staying off their bad side where things like invasions and occupations are concerned, I’ll not complain.”
He shrugged and sipped tea, looking back out the window.
“I wish it had never come to this, and I wish I’d never seen the day I had to help make this sort of decision,” he told his wife and his son. “But we don’t always get what we wish, and the Council knows that as well as I do. That’s why we’ve made the decision we’ve made, and I’m as close to ‘all right’ with it as I suppose anyone could ever be, Zhain. Not happy, not enthusiastic, but definitely ‘all right’ under the circumstances.”
His eyes dropped back to that half-eaten omelet, and he smiled sadly, eyes darkened by the specter of starving children in Siddarmark.
“All right,” he repeated again, softly. “All right.”
So the news is spreading regarding the intentional destruction of foodstuffs in Siddamark. That’s good because it is getting the rulers to think about where they stand and their loyalty…is it to Mother Church or the Grand Inquisitor? I can see Duchairn appealing to these disenchanted rulers…but that means Merlin’s job will be more difficult.
The problem for Duchairn is that he is tied to the four. People may recognize
the orders come from Zhasphar Clyntahn , but Duchairn is one of the four and tarred with the same brush. After all he has not stopped Clyntahn .
Do ‘the four’ really exist now? Clyntahn’s rabid and the other three seem to be juggling. If Duchairn pushes Clyntahn will kill him or any of the others for that matter.
Not just the intentional destruction of foodstuffs. When it becomes clear the Clyntahn deliberately caused civil genocide – war’s too civilised a term for the result, other rulers will have to get nervous. They’re only safe so long as they jump when and as Clyntahn tells them. Hmm wonder if a slave uprising on the other side of the Temple would see similar results? Not that Merlin would instigate it but others might, and it would cause a distraction. Don’t think Clyntahn would appreciate the irony of course.
In most peopleâ€™s eyes I would have to say yes. Maybe some of the people around Zion might no longer see it that way. But the group of four has held power for a long time and I think most will view it that way. After all did any for the other 3 try to stop anything of Mr. Bloodlust plans? No the only time we see that they are not in agreement is when Duchairn refuses to watch the PoWâ€™s be burned at the stake and he really did not speak out against to the masses. Just refused to watch so for most people on Safehold they are the same. Well that my take on it. (grin)
He opposes the madness but realizes that he can’t do much about it now. Maybe at the beginning, but as the Chancellor says, Clyntyn has the bit in his mouth and is running with it. He knows that Magwair will go along with Clyntyn and the Chancellor is scared to death and has Machiavellian tendencies. He doesn’t have the courage to stand up to Clyntyn or the Inquisition.
Clytahn’s reply will probably involve mass murder regardless.
Lord Shairncross does seem remarkable sane.
It does seem that Clyntahn is losing support anywhere that the inquisition doesn’t immediately threaten people. But what is going on in Haven and Howard? Are there any glimmerings of resistance to his policies, or is everyone keeping their head and trying to avoid being noticed? What will happen when the inquisitor “political officers” start to deal with military losses?
Unfortunately, I don’t know very much about Russia during WW II, about how the troops dealt with their political officers. Early in the invasion of Russia, I seem to recall the Russian army was poorly led and ill equipped to stop German advances.
What a mess. I think that Duchairn will wait until most of the Sword of Schuler has been sent into the war before he attempts a coup. I think that by “God’s Day” in July, the costs of the war will be apparent, and what better time to act than when all the Vicars are in one place? I’m not saying that will be better for Charis, or even that Duchairn will be successful – what would be the result if Clyntahn escaped, but Duchairn controlled Zion, for example? If the council of Vicars then removed Clyntahn from office?
If Duchairn does attempt a coup on God’s Day, will he have better success than Operation Valkyrie, July 20, 1944?
I think Ducharin already is planning something – but I also believe it will be in his area of expertise, namely, finance and financing. What would Clyntahn do, for example, if Church funds suddenly disappear?
Frankly, Ducharin is smart enough to have contingencies that would activate as soon as he’s taken into custody, or held incommunicado.
I agree, Duchairn is up to something alright, he is conspiring with the captain of his personal guard, the one that killed the younger Hauwerd Wylsynn while attempting to arrest him. Remember, he got that letter which we do not know what the exact contents were…my bet is he knows a lot more about the underground than we know.
I disagree. I don’t think that Duchairn is up to anything. Text has made it quite clear how he feels his hands tied, and his only avenue of rebellion is to feed and house Zion’s poor.
However, that doesn’t mean that, much like a certain Archbishop of Glacierheart, the people AROUND him aren’t “up to something”.
I would say that the text we have shows that is the front he is presenting to others, and that he accepts it applies to him for the short term. I don’t think there’s any evidence he isn’t thinking about or making plans for medium/long term. Indeed, I think there’s evidence (eg, his conscious effort to put on exactly that front, his ‘innocent’ meetings with Zion’s charitable leaders etc) that he is planning something more ambitious.
Again, I don’t think that he is PLANNING anything. As in the sense that Madame Anjhelique was. He simply doesn’t have unsupervised contact with outsiders, or resources. On the other hand, when someone ENLISTS him, he will happily throw in whatever influence, resources he can provide.
I would have to be in favor of Duchairn doing somthing. First he sees Clytahn as evil and his renewed faith will want him to do more than limiting the damage.
Duchairn is a smart person, He will not go up against Clytahn since that would be suicidal. Therefore he will go around him and operate to his strengths and clytahn’s weaknesses. To me this would be economic warfare.
We already have some examples that support this. The taxing of the temple lords for the first time since the creation will earn the group of 4 a lot of hate even though they are too cowed right now to do anything.
At the same time Ducharn is cutting the leverage the church has over the secular governments by forgiving loans.
Now lets look at the money flow. The church is selling off its assets which account for a bit part of its income. At the same time the spending has risen astronomically. The church has spent an enormous fortune building 2 fleets, one of obsolete galleys and one of galleons that has already been gutted. They will have spend even more money on a third fleet and reequipping the army. Another expense is the welfare system he is going all out to set up. Just look the real world. Our welfare systems uses up a huge chunk of our GNP. It has pretty much done in Greece and now Spain is in a tight squeeze.
It is clear that Ducharn is doing something. I look forward to finding out to what end and why.
There might be the possibility that Ducairn might run. Doubtful yes, but possible. If he sees the writing on the wall and try’s to make a break for it he might make it.
In our time line, the Protestant revolt against the Catholic Church splintered into literally tens of thousands of different denominations over time. Luther’s idea that every man should interpret the Bible as the Holy Spirit guided him resulted (contrary to what Luther expected) in numerous different denominations in opposition to Rome and to each other — Calvinists, Arminians, Wesleyan (Holiness) Anabaptists, Baptists, and so forth and so on. Each man (and a few women as well) took his (or her) opinion of the text of the Bible as being inspired by God and on that basis formed a denomination. The Catholic Church remains the largest single Christian denomination, but it is now one of more than 30K denominations in Christianity.
I mentioned all of this because I wonder if that is where the religious situation in Safehold is headed. As Clyntahn continues to fracture the CoGA through application of his insane, hateful policies towards anybody who disagrees with him, I wonder if we will see myriad denominations of “the Church” spring up. For example, the Raven Lords seems to be ripe for that kind of split. Parkair notes that he is really unsure what he thinks of the Church of Charis, but he also notes that the CoGA under Clyntahn’s leadership is destroying the Church. Might the Raven Lords split the difference and break from the CoGA but decline to join the Church of Charis? They might even claim the mantle of “the True Church” by being “faithful adherents of the Writ” while eschewing the violence and mayhem that Zhaspar Clyntahn has unleashed on the world in the name of God.
Interesting thoughts. One thing we all do, I think, is to draw parallels to our own history. Natural enough given the myriad ways Mr. Weber has used historical references in this and other series. The idea of another church schism revealing itself in Ravens Land is further buttressed by Bishop Trahvys’ convenient departure during the debate. We’ve not heard directly from him, but I already like him.
Nevertheless, hidebound adherence to historical precedent might not be good for the story. As always, we’ll see how it plays out.
I think he removed himself so the Raven Lords could easily make up their minds without an official Church member at the meeting and by being gone shows that he supports the move
Well, yeah, that’s what you were supposed to think. That was his way of showing approval without officially showing approval. ;)
I’m reminded of a quote from Star Wars: A New Hope, the one where Leia tells Tarkin that the tighter his grip becomes, the more systems will slip through his grasp. The same thing is very likely to happen here as Clyntahn continues to tighten his grip on the polities he still dominates.
That’s true, but in the meantime, as Clyntahn’s grip tightens, lots of innocent people will be strangled to death.
Plagiarist!!!! I said the exact same thing several months ago! I guess deranged minds think alike. Bleek!
Nonetheless, it remains true. We see already that Stohnar appointed a new Archbishop for Siddarmark, but they don’t want to embrace the CoC, and will most likely go their own way.
Where men of good conscience are able to ACT, without the inquisition threatening them or their families, Clyntahn is driving them from the church and closer and closer to schism almost everywhere, although I suspect Harchong will be the last holdout. Perhaps the temple lands, but there those who work on the corrupt vicars cans SEE their corruption first-hand, so I suspect the amount of support the vicarate may have in its own back yard (and home) may be less than we assume.
Go Clyntahn! You really ARE doing God’s work!
By the way, anyone want to bet Suwail tries some sort of attack on either the troops or the supplies? My belief is that such an attack would be anticipated by the Empire and would not succeed, but that it might cause at least some damage.
I also believe that any response to such an attack would be applied with restraint, thus solidifying relations with the remainder of the Ravensland Lords. That may play out in this book, or might wind up being resolved only in the next book(s) in the series. I do like the way Sharleyan and Cayleb convert enemies to allies.
I’ve been expecting an attack from Suwail since he was first described in this chapter.
If I was one of the other Raven Lords, I’d be keeping a close eye on Suwail to make sure he goes along with the Council’s decision.
For that matter, Suwail might be smart enough to stay bribed and also smart enough to know that attacking the Imperial troops would get the other Raven Lords very upset with him.
I think it’s safe to say that everybody’s going to keep a close eye on Suwail and if he starts something, *everybody else* is going to finish it.
The other Raven Lords know that there’s very good reasons to let the troops though peacefully and aren’t going to let Suwail ruin things for them.
I would be more concerned about a TL cell doing a “lone wolf” attack. There are certainly members of the Inquisition in the Raven Lands as well as those fanatical enough to take ‘the heretics’ with them in an essentially suicidal attack or stupid enough to think that they could get away with it.
I suspect there will be SOME difficulty in the Charissan/Chissolmian army’s “March to the sea” but they will essentially get through intact.
I doubt there will be much inquisitors in the Raven lands. First they are not going to trust any outsider so that makes it hard for them to sneek them in. And last, if they get into Ravens land they would go into Chrisholm to wrek havoc there since they are at war with the empire and not Ravens land.
IMO there ARE Inquisitors in RavensLand, but they may not (as RavensLand is probably thought of as a punishment posting for the more political-corrupt-scheming of them) be totally inline with Clyntahn’s POV.
If nothing else remember that the Wyllsyns?sp? (both those executed (for leading ‘the Circle’ and almost defeating Clyntahn for the post of Grand Inquisitor (which election was monitored and run by Clyntahn’s now 2nd in command)) and the ones (one of which is in the EoC/Merlin ‘Inner Circle’) still surviving WERE Inquisitors!!
RavensLand has no Archbishop (their highest ranker is the Bishop that left the council to its deliberations) and a fairly small population, but they WILL have assigned Inquisition priests!
And as for their TL population/percentage, that is an unknown. And IMO many Ravenslanders will at best take the same middle ground expounded above. Two of the primary countries within the EoC are: one their hereditary enemy and the other the last kingdom to partially raze one of their few cities/ports (and within recent memory at that!).
And as for inserting rabid TL concentration points and/or Inquisitors; I don’t see RavensLanders limiting it or supporting heavily ATT. Yes newcomers would stand out, but I don’t see RavensLanders really caring. OTOH they would really stand out to EoC counterintelligence and most are possibly needed in Haven (IN: Siddarmark, the AoG, Dohlar/Desnair/Harchong/etc. contingents, etc.). And Clyntahn HAS TO have a limited number of FULLY INLINE people (look at the Inquisitor riding herd on Thirsk)!!
Sure, I’ll bet. Because as text says, Suwail will fuss for an extravagant “bribe”–and then be content with it.
That doesn’t mean someone else won’t try something stupid.
Besides, if Suwail took a bribe then attacked the Charisians, he knows full well he wouldn’t have a head to spend the bribe with afterwards anyway.
And besides, Merlin/Owl is almost certainly watching and listening to everything Suwail does.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
Eh… not quite that nice. More like:
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you
Could it be like this?
I’ve got my eyes on you, so best beware where you roam.
I’ve got my eyes on you, so don’t stray too far from home.
Incidentally, I’ve set my spies on you,
I’m checking all you do, from a to zee.
So, darling, just be wise, keep your eyes on me.
(old Cole Porter song made famous by Frank Sinatra)
Very good, indeed! Especially
— Bob G
Dear Drak: I humbly beg you to up this to three snippets a week, MWF, as you did on previous works. I gather that the arc issues have gone out to the reviewers (or are close to going).
I’ll be going to three a week the last week in August.
I’m happy with the current pace. I might even quite, just so I have more new material to read once I have the book in my hands.
Nah…not likely to happen. [G]
Excuse me, “quit”. LOL!
The interesting thing is that this is effectively a neutral, objective perspective–one that was brought to a head by charisian need to pass through Raven Lord’s territory. Eventually, of course, they will be incorporated, but for now, that’s irrelevant.
The next question is, how soon do the “squabbling Trellheim kinglets” (or whatever they were called) seek out the benefits of being associated with Charis?
The real question is when will the grand inquisitor make a move on the grand vicor and take full control of the church for himself? He wants complete unquestioned control of the church. In reality he wants to answer to nobody. He makes that move, consolidates his power, removes the remaining members of the group of four that oppose him (openly or not), and begins a complete planet wide purge of anyone who doesn’t toe the line. Becoming the defacto ruler of the world is his end game. He wants to be the next best thing to an archangel. That’s what he really wants. The question is when?
Frank, he doesn’t *need* to become Grand Vicar to be “all powerful” within the Church.
Remember that the current Grand Vicar is a puppet of the Chancellor so if the Grand Inquisitor removes the Chancellor, he could easily take control of the Grand Vicar.
Just as the Chancellor let the Grand Vicar have the “fancy throne and robes” and had the power so the Grand Inquisitor would take the power and leave the Grand Vicar the “fancy throne and robes”.
“He wants complete unquestioned control of the church. In reality he wants to answer to nobody.”
Psst…Frank, he already HAS that–without all of the niggling administrative details. Duchairn is the lone holdout, and he’s ignorable.
he’s ignorable … or is that just what he wants you to think?
IMO that’s what he wants the Grand Inquisitor to think. [Wink]
I agree. From what we have seen so far, Duchairn appears to be engaging in classic misdirection.
“Don’t mind me. I’m just an ignorable, mousy little accountant. Oh, and pay no attention to the sledgehammer in my hand.”
It’s certainly what he wants the Grand Inquisitor to think. That’s what almost anyone who’s not suicidal in the temple wants.
But him wanting the Grand Visor to think that doesn’t make it untrue.
And him wanting to think that he’s just fooling the Grand Visor and is up to something deeper in the long term is meaningless unless at some point he (or someone else) pulls the trigger. I’m not sure Clynton is wrong to think that Ducharn’s plots are inconsequencial as he’ll never pull the trigger.
Part of Duchairn’s problem is that Clyntahn (based on the word of Weber) has plenty of willing supporters within the Inquisition and has moved them into positions of power within the Inquisition. If Clyntahn “just drops dead”, somebody like Rayno would take his place.
For Ducharn, it’s not just a matter of “taking Clyntahn” but a matter of taking out his power base as well.
Of course, there’s a saying about shooting the King that ends “better not miss”.
A failed attempt by Ducharn against Clyntahn will result in Ducharn’s painful death along with the deaths of all of Ducharn’s friends and relatives.
Will Ducharn pull the trigger?
I think he will but only David Weber knows when and what will happen when he does.
But do we want him to succeed? This is a war for the survival of the human race, not to preserve, or WORSE to reform the CoGA.
It has to be ripped apart, discredited as the fraud that it is, and utterly destroyed.
Excactly what I meant–ignorable from Clyntahn’s perspective. Who is doubtless probably still covering his bases–or thinks that he is. [G]
And thus Duchairn is hiding in plain sight. A bishop [wink] in a game of chess just waiting to be called into play.
Yeah. Except in real-life a bishop can check his own king. :)
No, you don’t get it. He wants the big chair and with the council of vicors cowed, he will get it. Who can stop him? Except a bullet in his skull?
I’m not sure he particularlu does want it. My perspective on him is that Clyntahn is more concerned about holding and wielding real power, not reveling in its trappings. In all liklihood, becoming Grand Vicar might actually undercut his own powerbase – he would almost certainly have toi appoint a new Grand Inquisitor. And although he might pick someone loyal to him, he would still be dependant onthat loyalty.
Oh yes…the other point that I’d make is that he (Shairncross) is just arriving at the point that his heir had already reached.
JeffM on the “He simply doesnâ€™t have unsupervised contact with outsiders, or resources”.
If the Captain of his guards is plotting with him, the Captain could arrange “unsupervised contacts” with outsiders assuming that Duchairn see the need to involve outsiders.
Heck, Duchairn could have meetings that Clyntahn “knows” about but the Captain reports something completely innocent. [Evil Grin]
I thought we’d already got a hint of that when Duchairn met with leaders of charities in Zion. Everything appeared ‘innocent’, but I definitely (perhaps wrongly) detected a subtext.
I think that a conduit for communications for the Guard opposed to Clyntahn (and presumably helping Duchairn) might be through those same soup kitchens and charities. Clyntahn might think of those who help them as weak-minded, but it seems unlikely to be a trigger for suspicion. And it is rather doubtful that those helping are likely to favor the inquisitor.
Still, security would have to be at the “ultimate paranoid” setting.
There will come a time when being ‘just’ the grand inquisitor will not be enough. He wants to reshape the entire world into his twisted vision. Until he is grand vicor he can’t do that.
I wouldn’y say Clynathn has a grand vision. Not in a particularly ideological sense anyway. Clyntahn’s vision, such as it is, is him being all powerful. So long as he is all powerful and no-one resists him, he’ll be happy. And he’s better placed to achieve and maintain that ‘vision’ as Grand Inquisitor than he ever yould be as Grand Vicar.