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HFQ Official Snippet #14

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:32 pm

First Space Lord

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“Sandaria —” Aivah began, her tone edged with alarm, but Merlin raised one hand, palm foremost, and shook his head.

“It wasn’t all a lie, Sandaria. Nor was all of it evil. A lot of its consequences have been ‘evil,’ however you want to define the term, even judged solely by the Holy Wri t’s own internal commands and obligations. But there’s an enormous amount of good in the Writ, as well.

“I’ve read all of it, from end to end, and to be honest, one of the things I most hated about it, knowing what happened to Pei Shan-wei and all of my friends in the Alexandria Enclave, was that there was so much in it with which I completely and totally agreed. When someone like Sharleyan refers to the commands of the Writ today, when she says that God must weep to see us killing one another in His name, she’s not being dishonest and she’s not dissembling.

“I won’t pretend that everyone who’s learned the truth has simply gone merrily along still believing in God, because some of them haven’t.” Sandaria looked at him, her face showing how hard she found it to believe anyone could possibly think that way. “But the last thing I — or any other member of the inner circle — wants would be for you to stop believing in God simply because Langhorne and the others lied about Him. If you decide — if you decide — that God doesn’t exist, that’s your right, but do it on the basis of something besides the fact that Langhorne and Chihiro fabricated the story of what happened when human beings first came to Safehold. Make your decision based on your own reasoning, your own interpretation of the evidence and the universe, but don’t let your belief in Him be destroyed by the actions of men and women who were terrified that the threat they’d escaped might someday threaten to exterminate the entire human race once more . . . and succeed.”

“Merlin’s right, Sandaria,” Nimue said. “And I’m not saying that just because he and I used to be the same person!” She grinned impishly, then sobered. “But he and I both consider ourselves Christians. That’s a religion, a God, you’ve never heard of, yet a huge part of the Writ is borrowed directly from the central, most sacred teachings of Christianity, and there are other parts of it borrowed from a religion called Islam, and one called Judaism. In fact, there are parts of it from almost every way in which mankind ever attempted to know God.

“The way he and I see it, the God in whom we believe’s still there, Sandaria, still waiting for us to return to Him if we choose to. That’s what Maikel Staynair’s been saying from the very beginning. Like him, I believe God never walks away from anyone, but we have free will. That means anyone can choose to walk away from Him . . . and that anyone has the right to decide for herself that He doesn’t even exist. In my opinion, they’d be wrong, but that’s because of what I believe, and I have no right to require them to share my belief or to condemn them if they don’t. That’s really what this war is all about from the inner circle’s perspective, giving human beings back the right to choose.”

“But . . . but if it was all a fabrication, look at all the horrible things the Book of Schueler requires. How could God let them twist things that badly just to support a lie?!”

“When people have freedom of choice, some of them will make bad choices,” Nahrmahn’s hologram said quietly. “I speak from a certain personal experience. There are things I did before Cayleb and Sharleyan were kind enough to conquer Emerald that I look back upon with enormous regret. And I feel that regret now, Mistress Gotfryd, long after learning the truth about Langhorne and the other ‘Archangels.’ The truth is, I feel it because learning the truth about them made me re-examine what I truly believed. What I believed, not what I’d ingested unquestioningly from childhood through Mother Church’s teachings.

“Maikel believes that what we’re seeing now here on Safehold is God moving in the world to restore the true knowledge of Him which was lost when all the rest of the human race was destroyed, and perhaps he’s right. I think his brother, Baron Rock Point, is less certain God even exists, much less that He’s taking a personal interest in anything that happens here on Safehold. If the two of them — brothers who grew up together, who love each other deeply, who would die to protect one another — can fail to see eye-to-eye on every aspect of faith, God, and God’s will, certainly there’s plenty of room for the rest of us to seek our own best understanding. Some of us will make mistakes, and some of us will willfully turn away from what we secretly suspect is the right thing to do, and that, too, is our right. Our God-given right. As Maikel says, either He doesn’t exist at all, in which case whether or not we believe in Him is moot, or He’s great enough to understand us in all our fallibility. But if He does exist and He didn’t want us to exercise free will, He would never have given it to us in the first place.”

“The truth is,” Merlin said slowly, “as much as I hate to admit Langhorne might not have been a completely and totally vile human being, no one can read the Writ with an open mind and not see all of the good things it was also trying to accomplish.”

Sandaria looked at him with manifest surprise, and he grimaced.

“Don’t think it was easy for me to accept that. I knew the people — most of the people — the Writ demonizes. I know what happened to them, and I see all the lies incorporated into it. And despite that, there are whole chapters of the Book of Bédard and even the Book of Langhorne with which I find myself in complete agreement. Not just because they make internal sense, but because they represent exactly what I’ve always believed God wants of His children. Langhorne wanted to create a system, a structure, which would prevent humanity from ever developing the technology which might lead to a second encounter with the Gbaba. He was willing to do anything to accomplish that, and in the process, he robbed generation after generation of knowledge which might have prevented disease, prevented starvation, taken millions of Harchongese and Desnairian serfs out of the worst sort of bondage. I can’t even begin to describe all the things he stole from every single person ever born on Safehold. The recon skimmers that brought you here, all the things you’ve seen in the Cave — all of that is only a tiny part of what was denied to you, to your parents, to your grandparents and great-grandparents. To every generation ever born on this planet.

“Yet even as he did that, he tried to build a society in which men and women loved other men and women. In which they were supposed to treat one another as true brothers and sisters. In which the strong were to protect the weak, not prey upon them. The societies which grew up in places like Harchong and Desnair developed despite the teachings of the Writ, not because of them. When I first met King Haarahld, I asked him why his great-grandfather had abolished serfdom in Charis, and he replied ‘Because it’s what he believed God wanted of us.’ I pointed out that serfdom and even slavery existed in other realms and that the Church tolerated it, and I asked how he could believe God didn’t agree with serfdom if some men and women were bound to the land even in the Temple Lands, and he said ‘The Writ teaches that God created every Adam and every Eve in the same instant, the same exercise of His will through the Archangel Langhorne. He didn’t create kings first, or nobles, or wealthy merchants. He breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of all men and all women. Surely that means all men and all women are brothers and sisters.’”

Merlin paused, his expression touched with the grief he still felt over Haarahld’s death. Then his sapphire eyes refocused on Sandaria’s face.

“I didn’t know then that he’d already read the Journal of Saint Zherneau. But the thing was that even though he had, everything he’d said about what the Writ taught was completely accurate. That was what it taught.

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by Darman   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:44 pm


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Thank you!
My battleship sim of choice: Navalism

Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by Keith_w   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:53 pm


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Location: Ontario, Canada

Thank you RFC! :D
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by Down Under   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:14 pm

Down Under
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Location: New Zealand

Thanks RFC
I makes it easier to catch new snippets early, when one is 8 hours behind and a day ahead of the USA, East Coast.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by EdThomas   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:31 pm

Captain of the List

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Location: Rhode Island USA

Thank you, RFC, for a most timely snippet. My best wishes to you and the family for a happy and wonderful Christmas season.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by 6L6   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:32 pm


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Location: Sourthern Md. USA

Thanks RFC, may you and yours have a great new year.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by TN4994   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:38 pm

Captain of the List

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Down Under wrote:Thanks RFC
I makes it easier to catch new snippets early, when one is 8 hours behind and a day ahead of the USA, East Coast.

8:00AM DST Tuesday / Auckland = 2:00PM EST Monday / New York = 12:00 Noon Arizona Time.
That puts New Zealand 18 hours ahead of New York, and 20 hours ahead of me. :geek:
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by RHWoodman   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:42 pm

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Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Thanks, RFC!

I wish you and yours Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thank you for the countless hours of enjoyment your works have brought me over the years.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:12 pm


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Location: East Central Illinois

Thank You, Oh Majestic Wizard Weber!!!! :) :) :) :)
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #14
Post by Henry Brown   » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:24 pm

Henry Brown

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Thanks RFC. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

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