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HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by runsforcelery   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 12:47 am

First Space Lord

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“In many ways, the Writ has what a Bedardist would call a split personality. I have a copy of it as it from before the ‘rakurai’ strike on Armageddon Reef, and you’re more than welcome to study it if you’d like to. But one thing you’ll discover is that it doesn’t have the Book of Schueler in it at all. In fact, much as I hated to admit it when Maikel pointed it out to me some time ago, if you read the Writ without the Book of Schueler and the Book of Chihiro, the God it speaks of is genuinely one of love and compassion. A God Whose plan for Safeholdians calls for them to love one another, to live in peace, to grow in experience and spirituality so that at the time of their mortal deaths they’re ready to meet Him face-to-face and take their places as angels and archangels themselves. They’re supposed to follow the rules set down in the Book of Langhorne and the Book of Jwo-Jeng because those rules are there for their own good and because they want to do what God wishes for them to do, want to live the lives He’s ordained for them.

“Is there mass deception in it? Yes, of course there is. And is there coercion built into even the original Writ? Yes, there is, and it explicitly establishes an authoritarian church to preserve and enforce its teachings for all time. But it’s not until after Armageddon Reef that the brutality, the iron-fist terror of the Book of Schueler, enters the Church canon. That wasn’t written by Langhorne, and so as much as I find myself hating him for the friends of mine who he killed, for taking it upon himself to create the situation in which this monstrosity ever came into being, I’ve been forced to admit that what we face today isn’t what he ever intended to bring into existence.

“Believe me, I’m about the farthest thing imaginable from an apologist for Eric Langhorne. The law of unintended consequences doesn’t absolve someone from responsibility for the results he brings about, regardless of his intentions, and I have my own suspicions about where Langhorne’s ended up. But the Church, the beliefs you and Aivah — you and Nynian — have given your lives to? Those are good things, Sandaria. No one’s asking you to turn your back on them. No one wants to come between you and God. We want — we need — your help in destroying the perversion Zhaspahr Clyntahn’s made not simply of the teachings of the God Nimue and I grew up believing in, but of the ones Langhorne wanted all of Safehold to believe in, as well.

“I don’t doubt for a moment that Langhorne would approve of the Inquisition’s effort to stamp out the ‘heretical’ knowledge and technology growing in Charis. But to do it this way? To torture and murder in God’s name? To starve millions of innocent Siddarmarkians to death? Maybe the man who was willing to steal eight million human beings’ lives, reprogram not simply their memories but their entire belief structure without their knowledge or consent, call down a kinetic strike on the Alexandria Enclave for daring to disagree with what he thought needed to be done — maybe he would agree no action was too extreme if it was the only way to prevent the emergence of the technology he dreaded so deeply. But the man who could approve the pre-Armageddon Reef Holy Writ would have seen that as a last resort, not a first resort. Would he have done it anyway in the end? Honestly, I can’t tell you what he might have done today, a thousand years after the Federation’s destruction. But much as I hate to admit it, I have to believe he would have tried everything else he could think of before resorting to the tactics Clyntahn embraced as his very first option.”

He stopped speaking, and silence fell in the carven stone halls of Nimue’s Cave. Sandaria Ghatfryd looked back and forth between Nimue and Merlin, as if studying the similarities between those two very different faces, looked deep into those identical sapphire eyes as if seeking the souls — or perhaps simply the soul — of a woman who’d died a thousand years before she herself was born. It was very quiet, and then, finally, she drew a deep, shuddering breath.

“I don’t know if I can live with that,” she said very, very softly. “I just don’t know. All my life, ever since the convent, I’ve been dedicated to preserving the truth, and now you want me to believe everything I thought was true is really only another layer of deception. Oh,” she waved one hand in a brushing away gesture, “I understand what you’re saying about the goodness buried inside the Writ. But the truth remains that you’re asking me to believe all of it, every single word — good or bad — is founded on falsehood. I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t even know if I want to be able to do that.”

She met the PICAs’ eyes levelly, fully aware of the consequences if she made herself a threat to the inner circle, and there was fear in her own eyes. But there was no hesitation, no readiness to lie, and Merlin looked back with equal steadiness. Then he smiled ever so slightly.

“People who abandon all they’ve believed in too easily make fragile allies, Sister Sandaria. Someone who forthrightly tells you they disagree with you is someone you can trust when they tell you anything else. There may come a time when they present a danger you have to neutralize, but they’re always people to respect.”

“Merlin,” Aivah said, “don’t do anything hastily.”

Her eyes had flared with anxiety at the words “a danger you have to neutralize,” and she reached out to grip Sandaria’s hand firmly.

“I —” she continued, but Merlin shook his head at her gently.

“Neither Nimue nor I have any intention of doing anything hasty, Nynian.” His tone was as gentle as his headshake. “There’s no reason to, and no need.” He returned his gaze to Sandaria. “No one will attempt to force you to believe or do anything that violates your own inner convictions. There’s a reason Cayleb and Sharleyan have guaranteed the religious freedom of even Temple Loyalists in the Empire, and if they can do that there, how could they — or I — justify not respecting your religious freedom?”

“Obviously, we can’t allow someone to share what we’ve just revealed to you with the Group of Four,” he said more somberly, “but at this moment, you couldn’t do that even if you wanted to. You’re here, in the Cave, with no way to communicate with anyone outside it. Under those circumstances, we’re prepared to give you all the time you need to decide what you believe. In fact, that’s the main reason we brought you and Nynian here in the first place; so that our hands wouldn’ t be forced if either of you decided you couldn’t accept what we had to tell you.

“We’re willing to leave you here where you can discuss the true history of Safehold with Owl and Nahrmahn, if you wish. To allow you unfettered access to Owl’s libraries and the ability to discuss their contents with any other member of the inner circle — including Nynian — for however long you like. And if, in the end, you decide you can’t become a part of the inner circle, we’ll give you the choice between remaining what you might think of as a prisoner of state here in Nimue’s Cave, in comfort and physical safety, with all the companionship we can provide, or of being placed in the same sort of cryo-sleep in which the colonists originally traveled to Safehold. No subjective time would pass for you from the moment you fell asleep to the moment you were once again awakened. The only thing we’d take from you would be the the opportunity to actively oppose us, and that, I’m afraid, is a position at which, as Cayleb put it, ‘We can do no other.’”

Silence fell once more, and he let it linger while a half dozen slow, oozing minutes ticked into eternity. Then, still looking at her with that gentle smile, he said, “The choice is yours, Sandaria. We refuse to be one iota more ruthless than we have to, and this time, we have a choice, just as you do.”

The Seridahn River,
The South March,
Republic of Siddarmark.

“What the hell is that?”

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Frankjg   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:02 am

Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:01 pm
Location: Nanaimo British Columbia Canada

What A snippett!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very nice they found a second option then other then Kill someone shown the truth but unable or unwilling to accept it yet or at all. Will be interestig to see what decision she makes.

And what a way to end the snippett. I suspect it is an appearence of an Ironclad(s). (I Hope)
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Alistair   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:16 am

Rear Admiral

Posts: 1280
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:48 am

Thanks for the Christmas gift DW -I am sure I speak for all who visit this thread when we say we appreciate it-
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Dilandu   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:18 am


Posts: 2512
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

A new snippet! Thank you, RFC! And a very interesting one... ;)

P.S. Merry Christmas, all!

Oh well, if shortening the front is what the Germans crave,
Let's shorten it to very end - the length of Fuhrer's grave.

(Red Army lyrics from 1945)
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Down Under   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:20 am

Down Under
Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:54 am
Location: New Zealand

Thank you RFC,

for the Christmas Present
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by AirTech   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:07 am

Captain of the List

Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:37 am
Location: Deeeep South (Australia) (most of the time...)

And a merry Christmas to one and all...
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by pokermind   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:34 am

Fleet Admiral

Posts: 4002
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:58 am
Location: Jerome, Idaho, USA

Thanks for the Christmas Snippet, Merry Christmas! Hopeyou nd yours have a Happy Healthy New Year.
CPO Poker Mind Image and, Mangy Fur the Smart Alick Spacecat.

"Better to be hung for a hexapuma than a housecat," Com. Pang Yau-pau, ART.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Sharp Claw   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:47 am

Sharp Claw
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:26 pm

Frankjg wrote:What A snippett!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very nice they found a second option then other then Kill someone shown the truth but unable or unwilling to accept it yet or at all. Will be interestig to see what decision she makes.

And what a way to end the snippett. I suspect it is an appearence of an Ironclad(s). (I Hope)

Two other options actually, exile in Nimues Cave or Cryosleep. Many here were worried when Sandaria had some doubts about committing to the cause but this is the most detail David Weber has shown of the process of revealing the truth. Some others had similar doubts so I think Sandaria will come around as she learns more of pre-Safehold religions and has more time to think. David Weber may want to exercise his creativity by writing a case where a revelation doesn't go well but I doubt Sandaria will become an active enemy or betrayer.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Draken   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:45 am


Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:58 am

Thank you RFC and Merry Christmas.
Re: HFQ Official Snippet #15 Merry Christmas!
Post by Charybdis   » Thu Dec 25, 2014 7:06 am

Captain of the List

Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:53 am
Location: Gulf Coast Florida USA

Fun to see which of us are 'Holy' night owls, who are in different time and continents and those of us who are early risers! Given that the time mark on posts is the equivalent of GMT -4, I'm guessing that RFC, having finished the presents under the tree, decided to give us our midnight present before a very good night!

It is Christmas Day throughout the world (although I am uncertain about our Orthodox brethren) so I lift my cup of go-juice and salute the new day of Promise and echoing Dickens; "God Bless us, each and everyone!"

What say you, my peers?

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