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HFQ Official Snippet #2

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HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by runsforcelery   » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:29 pm

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Okay, here's the next snippet.

Now, don't get spoiled! :twisted: :lol:

________________________________________________

.II.
Charisian Embassy,
Siddar City,
Republic of Siddarmark.




“She said what?

It was getting on towards dawn — and much warmer — in Corisande. The eastern sky beyond the windows of Sharleyan Ahrmahk’s guest suite in Manchyr Palace was ever so slightly less black than it had beenm and she leaned back against piled pillows in a billow of sheets and filmy steel thistle silk nightgown. She’d actually been asleep for some hours before her husband’s urgent com call awakened her, yet her huge brown eyes were anything but sleepy.

“Apparently, Jeremiah Knowles wasn’t the only person who left a written record,” Merlin told her wryly. “Mind you, the perspective’s a lot different, according to what Aivah —” He paused, and the image of him projected on her contacts by Owl’s communications equipment snorted and shook his head. “Oh, the hell with it! I’m going to call her Nynian from now on. I swear, that woman’s the only person on Safehold with more identities to keep straight than I have!”

Someone laughed over the com net, despite the gravity of the moment. It sounded to Sharleyan like Domynyk Staynair, but it might have been Ehdwyrd Howsmyn.

“That does rather serve you right, Merlin,” Cayleb observed from where he sat with the seijin in the lamp-lit sitting room of his own suite in Siddar City. He wore a fleecy robe over his own pajamas — his preferred habit of sleeping nude was contraindicated in Siddar City in winter — but unlike his wife, he hadn’t quite dropped off to sleep before Merlin’s knock pulled him back out of bed. “What’s that cliché you used about that pain-in-the-arse Zhwaigair’s improvement on the Mahndrayn?” he continued. “‘Hoist by your own petard,’ wasn’t it?”

“Be fair, Cayleb,” Merlin protested. “I’ve only been doing this for seven years. As nearly as I can figure out, she’s been doing it since she was fifteen!

“And damned well, too, it sounds like,” Nimue Chwaeriau said soberly from her chair in Sharleyan’s bed chamber. “Without, I might add, all of your — well, our, I suppose — advantages, either.”

“I’ve always realized she was a remarkable woma,” Archbishop Maikel Staynair said softly from his bedroom in Archbishop Klairmant Gairlyng’s palace, across the square from Manchyr Palace. “I never imagined anything like this, though.”

“None of us did, Maikel,” Cayleb pointed out. “That’s rather the point of this little conference. What do we do about her now?”

“I agree we have to decide that quickly,” Rahzhyr Mahklyn put in from his Tellesberg study. The hour was later there than in Siddar City, though not nearly so late — or early, depending upon one’s perspective — as in Manchyr, and the head of the Royal College cupped his mug of hot chocolate in both hands, gazing down into its plume of steam with a troubled expression. “At the same time, we need to consider very carefully how much of the full truth we share with her.”

“I don’t know this is a moment for pussyfooting around, Rahzhyr,” High Admiral Rock Point replied.

The archbishop’s brother sat on the sternwalk of his flagship, gazing across the black mirror of Tellesberg Harbor towards the imperial capital’s gas-lit wharves. Unlike Mahklyn, he’d opted for a glass of whiskey. Now he rolled a deep sip slowly over his tongue, swallowed, and shook his head.

“We already knew how dangerously capable this woman is,” he continued. “Or we thought we did, anyway. What we didn’t know was that there was actually an organization that’s been around even longer than the Brethren and done just as good a job of keeping its existence a secret that entire time! Given this little bombshell of hers, I’m more convinced than ever that this is not someone you want deciding you can’t be trusted because you’re hiding things she needs — or obviously thinks she needs, at any rate — to know.”

“I’d have to agree with that,” Merlin said. “Both about her capability and how dangerous it could be to get on her wrong side. You might want to ask a dozen or so dead vicars in Zion about that. Or, for that matter, several thousand Temple Loyalist rioters — or another dozen dead assassins, for that matter — right here in Siddar City.”

“Not to mention being someone whose principles are probably just a bit less flexible than Ehdwyrd’s best armor plate,” Nimue observed. “I don’t know her as well as you do, Merlin — or you, Cayleb — but I’d come to that conclusion even before she laid this vest pocket nuke on us.” The slender, red-haired woman who shared Merlin’s memories of Nimue Alban shook her head, blue eyes deep with wonder. “Now? This isn’t someone who’s likely to make any suicide runs, but she’s not going to flinch from paying whatever price she thinks is necessary, either. And I’d hate to think of the kind of damage she and her organization could do to us if she put her mind to it. The last thing we need is for her to decide we’re the enemy, too!”

Merlin nodded in sober agreement, and so did several of the others.

“You know,” Maikel Staynair said after a moment, “I’d always wondered how a child from her background — a girl whose adopted parents were forced to send her off to the convent when her father became Grand Vicar — not only escaped that convent but became the Temple Lands’ most successful courtesan! For that matter, I’d always wondered where she found the funds for it.”

“Personally, I’d assumed it was a sort of under-the-table payoff to keep her mouth shut,” Nahrmahn Baytz put in from his virtual reality in the computers of Nimue’s Cave. “Oh, I was sure the primary reason she chose that . . . vocation was to put her thumb into his eye, but I’d also assumed she’d cheerfully turned the screws on him to get the cash to set herself up properly in the first place.” He smiled puckishly. “It’s the sort of thing I’d’ve done, after all!”

“I’m afraid my logic followed yours, Nahrmahn,” Staynair acknowledged.

“All of us thought the same thing,” Rock Point pointed out. “And I’m pretty sure all of us thought more power to her, too!”

“Granted,” the archibishop agreed. “But I’m still trying to wrap my mind around just how wrong we were, and the more I think about it, the more likely it seems that she wanted anyone who figured out who she’d been born to think that. One thing is painfully obvious; this is a woman who not only plans decades — even lifetimes — in advance, but one who’s lived her entire life like a Harchongese nest doll! No matter how many of the people she’s been you take apart, there’s always another one hidden inside it.”

Staynair, Merlin thought, had a pronounced way with understatement upon occasion.

It had taken Aivah — Nynian — hours to tell her story, and he wasn’t foolish enough to think she’d even begun to share all of it even now. He certainly wouldn’t have, in her place. Not, at least, until he’d been certain the person he was telling it to was actually who and what she so obviously hoped Merlin Athrawes was.

“Owl has the entire conversation on record,” he said now. “All of us can peruse it at our leisure, and I don’t think Nynian really expects an immediate answer. She’s obviously aware this is going to throw us for a loop and she doesn’t know anything about SNARCs or coms, so she’s going to give Cayleb and me at least some time to talk it over and decide what to do. But Domynyk’s right about how dangerous it could be to give her any reason to distrust us.”

His mind ran back over that same conversation, and he felt a fresh flicker of astonishment even now.

* * * * * * * * * *


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by ksandgren   » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:49 pm

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Thanks RFC!

Its too late, I'm spoiled already. :twisted:
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by Frankjg   » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:11 pm

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Oh My Oh My! :o

Can't wait to find out what bombshell(s) she dropped on Merlin. Wonder what her reaction to Merlin's bombshell will be.

Should be very interesting either way.

I WANT THE BOOK NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by Ramhawkfan   » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:02 pm

Ramhawkfan
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This pretty much nukes the "Aivah is a pica" theory. But it still leaves a big question mark about what she actually believes, and whether she will ultimately be an ally or enemy.
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by pushmar   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:36 am

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Location: <Moscow, Idaho> Nope, back in Michigan.

Thanks, Mr. Weber.

See, this is an author who loves his fans.
Either that, or he loves torturing us. :lol:
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by Ensign Re-read   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:39 am

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pushmar wrote:Thanks, Mr. Weber.

See, this is an author who loves his fans.
Either that, or he loves torturing us. :lol:


ditto, and...
It's _BOTH_




.
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The Celestia "addon" for the Planet Safehold as well as the Kau-zhi and Manticore A-B star systems, are at URL:
http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/~seb/celestia/weber/.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/68506297@N ... 740128635/
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by lyonheart   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:56 am

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Hello RFC!

Thank you so very much, a snippet a week is far more than I'd hoped for!

Given how much fun we had arguing over the first official snippet, I was sure the next wouldn't be sequential, so I'm amazed and extra thankful again.

Will #3 also be sequential? ;)

Then we'll be getting a great look at the 'war of the fallen period' and its post war 'reconstruction' including rewrite by Chihiro etc.

Thank you ahead of time.

I meant to ask on the first snippet thread who Merlin alerted first?

That is, primarily between OWL/Nahrmahn and Nimue?

I now think OWL and Nahrmahn, if only by a few milliseconds since they're closer, then Corisande being the eastern most, ie Nimue, Sharleyan and Maikel, then Tellesberg followed by Cayleb, assuming Nynian had spent all night with Merlin.

If a second group managed to hide like St Zherneau, could a third? :lol:

However this one managed to hide in plain sight in the temple lands, using at least one convent and probably a monastery or two, as some had suggested :D , so any intel tracking it was caught doing could be excused as the same thing other such orders were doing.

So Seijin Kohdy had his own version of the layers of the onion. :lol:

Then I wonder if their involvement in smuggling etc was merely to keep an eye on the other side of the coin, ie to check to see what criminal connections the vicarate had, and became very good at it without becoming obsessed by all the money they made. 8-)

So in part because they weren't greedy, they were less likely to get caught by the inquisition or regular cops, of whom they had inside information from in the first place.

Very devious, very dedicated; looking forward to some fascinating revelations!

L


ksandgren wrote:Thanks RFC!

Its too late, I'm spoiled already. :twisted:
Any snippet or post from RFC is good if not great!
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:37 am

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Very Good Oh Great and Mighty Wizard Weber!!!!! :D :D :D
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by Alistair   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:52 am

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DrakBibliophile wrote:Very Good Oh Great and Mighty Wizard Weber!!!!! :D :D :D


Amen
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Re: HFQ Official Snippet #2
Post by thanatos   » Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:26 am

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Well it seems we have confirmation of a second scion of Shan-wei's sleepers and that apparently Seijin Kohdy somehow has a part in it. This of course reopens the previous conversation on this topic as to A) How did they survive the war against the fallen, B) Last this long, C) Who is in it's version of the "inner circle" (call it their command staff who is privy to all the most sensitive information), D) How does the Wylsyns' Circle of Reformers (and the key) fit into to all this, and E) How much does this group know as a whole?

We know that there were some 200+ of the original colonists who were reprogrammed and that Jeremy Knowles, Evelyn Knowles, Caleb Sarmac and Jennifer Sarmac were four of them. We also know that these four, who were out in the boonies in Charis, decided that maintaining their knowledge in perpetuity was extremely dangerous and therefore chose to leave this information in a time capsule while setting out to create a society in Charis that was more open and tolerant of new ideas and concepts. And we also know that Knowles knew about the backup plan that was Nimue Alban (though he kept much of this knowledge to himself and did not include it in his journal or his cover letter. Finally, we've also discovered that Cayleb Ahrmahk is descended from the Sarmac side of that quadumvirate which is either a really strange yet fortuitous coincidence or part of the original plan. I'm thinking the latter obviously ;).

It therefore seems obvious that while Jeremy and Evelyn Knowles worked on the church side of things - creating a more tolerant branch of the church in distant (from the temple) Charis - while Caleb and Jennifer Sarmac worked on achieving financial success and attaining political power (eventually). There was a point Cayleb mentioned in OAR - that house Ahrmahk was in power only because his family was the most successful pirates in the Howard Bay - which means they were pretty cutthroat about obtaining power at some point. And Haarahld Ahrmahk was the seventh of that name so that means it happened quite a while ago.

We therefore need to consider how another such organization could pull off what is in effect a multi-generational plan to topple the church while maintaining what it did know about the truth for longer than the 400 years or so that the Brethren of Saint Zhernau. Also, as this snippet indicates, the question of funding is also important. Sarmac's descendants sought the financial and political power they knew they would need in the future. So what did Nynian's ancestors (or those of her recruiters) do for funding?

It also stands to reason that those of the Shan-wei's sleeper agents who either did not participate in the War of the Fallen (on the losing side), did not die or get captured and reprogrammed (if that was even an option for the surviving Langhorne loyalists) and were still determined to try to fulfill their missions, would need to develop the necessary skills to create a genuine resistance movement at the same time. Without prior knowledge of Shan-wei's "second arrow of truth" (a distinct possibility) or of the existence of other such sleeper cells around the world (or contact from any of them), they would be on their own and plan accordingly.
Last edited by thanatos on Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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