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Official HFQ Snippet #25

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Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:12 pm

First Space Lord

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Location: South Carolina

Okay, so I'm in Minneapolis for Mantycon this weekend and Sharon is making me take it very easy, so I decided to go ahead and post snippets before the convention starts Friday.

On the health front, things are looking pretty good. We will be returning from Minneapolis to Greenville on the 25th, and the pacemaker will be installed on the 27th. After that and a brief period of getting things adjusted I should be fine.

And now for the snippet!


“For one thing, there were a lot more of the ‘Fallen’ than the Writ suggests. According to Kohdy, they weren’t so much a faction of the command crew as they were the Navy and Marine personnel who’d served as the planetary police force under Commodore Pei once their warships had been discarded. He specifically refers to them as ‘the Angels who looked to Kau-yung before his Fall,’ at least. We can’t tell how many of them there were, but Owl and I both believe there were more than the Writ ever admitted.

“For another thing, they had more technological resources than we thought they had. There are all those references to ‘servitors’ in the Writ and The Testimonies, but it wasn’t until we started reading the diary that we realized the Fallen were actually building additional ‘servitors’ for much of the war. Obviously, that meant they’d possessed a deeper manufacturing base than we’d assumed; one they must’ve spent some time hiding away in the mountains, a lot like the Commodore and Shan-wei hid Nimue’s Cave.”

“Why didn’t the Commodore mention that in my — our — briefing?” Nimue asked.

“Probably because he didn’t know about it,” Nahrmahn said. “The Writ implies that the War Against the Fallen started immediately after the Alexandria strike — that the Fallen were found out by Schueler and Chihiro at the same time Kau-yung killed Langhorne and the others. In other words, the War Against the Fallen was essentially a seamless continuation of a conflict that began with the destruction of Alexandria. But according to Kohdy, it didn’t begin for at least two years after Armageddon Reef.”

“The Sisters have always known that.” Sandaria’s eyes were intent, her expression deeply interested. “Saint Kohdy told us that much before he shifted to Español.”

“Yes, he did.” Nahrmahn nodded. “But according to the ‘demon’ who kicked Kohdy’s arse without killing him, someone inside the command crew — someone Schueler and Chihiro trusted —diverted that capacity to the ‘Fallen’ from either the Zion Enclave or from Hamilcar itself only after the Alexandria strike.”

Cayleb’s lips pursed in a silent whistle, and Paityr Wylsynn’s hologram leaned forward in his chair.

“Did Kohdy have any idea who that someone was, Your Highness?”

“No. In fact, it could have been almost anyone. It’s clear from his diary that one thing the Writ didn’t exaggerate was the the extent of Chihiro’s authority after Langhorne and Bédard died, and he’d obviously put an iron lock on any advanced technology. But by the time the War Against the Fallen flared up, the people opposed to him had access to enough capability to build those servitors of theirs and keep on fighting for over six years. That suggests some of them, at least, must’ve gotten their hands on industrial modules almost as capable as Commodore Pei and Shan-wei left for Nimue, and they could have come from only one source.

“That came as a nasty surprise to Chihiro and his associates. In fact, sort of reading between the lines of Kohdy’s diary, it sounds as if the Fallen probably would’ve won if one of Chihiro’s supporters hadn’t stumbled across some sort of evidence that a storm was brewing before they were ready to strike. Kohdy —” Nahrmahn met Paityr’s eyes levelly “— was pretty sure it was Schueler.”

Father Paityr’s jaw tightened. No one said anything else for several seconds, then Nahrmahn cleared his nonexistent throat.

“Anyway, the references in the Writ — and in Kohdy’s diary — to ‘fastnesses in the Mountains of Desolation’ suggest the Fallen had been preparing for some time. Once the fighting began, however, any small industrial modules they’d managed to hide away in the mountains were enormously outclassed, because Hamilcar hadn’t yet been disposed of. According to the English portion of Kohdy’s diary, that was because Chihiro had been wise enough to be on the lookout for any of Shan-wei’s sympathizers who might’ve managed to hide among their unfallen fellows. According to the Spanish portion, however, Kohdy had started to suspect that Chihiro and his closest supporters had retained Hamilcar — although Kohdy didn’t know what Hamilcar truly was; he refers to it throughout as ‘the Dawn Star’ — out of his own ambition to replace and supplant Langhorne completely.”

“Excuse me?” Paityr sat back, his expression perplexed.

“We already knew from Aivah and Sandaria that the ‘demon’ who defeated Kohdy had suggested Langhorne might not’ve been the one who ordered the strike on Alexandria in the first place. There’s no way to tell whether that was true, and Kohdy’s diary doesn’t tell us everything that was passing through his own mind. He was clearly unwilling to record some of his thoughts and doubts even in Spanish, so it’s possible he’d actually found evidence one way or the other and simply not written it down. But from several of his comments, some oblique enough it took Owl’s analysis to tease them out of the underbrush, he’d come around — slowly and unwillingly — to the belief that Chihiro was . . . significantly modifying Langhorne’s original plan. That’s the reason he went to Schueler.”

“What did he expect Schueler to do about it?” Paityr Wylsynn’s voice was calm, but there was something in his eyes, something almost desperate. Nahrmahn Baytz recognized that something and shook his head sadly.

“He didn’t write that down, Paityr. All he said was ‘I must go to the one Archangel whose zeal has never faltered, who has always been in the forefront of the seijins fighting the Fallen. He has a will of iron, and I have served him faithfully from the beginning. He will not flinch before any test, and if I cannot trust him to tell me the truth, then I can trust no one.’”

“And he returned home from that meeting dead.” This time Paityr’s voice was harsh and flat. “So much for being able to trust him!”

“We don’t know what happened, Paityr,” Nimue said softly. He looked at her, his expression bleak, and she shrugged. “All we know is that he was killed. We don’t know how, or by whom. All we really know at this point, I think, is why. And the why is that he’d become a threat to Chihiro, whether he was right about Chihiro’s diversion from Langhorne’s original intentions or not.”

“That much definitely seems to be true,” Nahrmahn agreed, drawing Paityr’s attention back to him. “Another thing the diary does is explain how the struggle lasted as long as it did. For example, the Writ’s always admitted that many of the Adams and Eves went over to the side of the Fallen. From what Kohdy says, a smaller percentage of them joined the rebellion actively than the Writ suggests, but that was still a significant number, and even more seem to have been willing to lend it their passive support. That’s one of the Writ’s explanations for why the war lasted so long . . . and also one of the justifications for the way the Inquisition’s authority was increased afterward.

“In addition, the Fallen had apparently made hiding from Chihiro’s sensors a high priority, and from some of the actions Khody describes, they obviously had SNARC capability of their own. They must’ve had some way to block or jam — or evade, at least — the other side’s SNARCs, as well. They were very well hidden, and they only came out of hiding to launch guerrilla strikes against the ‘Archangels.’ Apparently the Adams and Eves who supported them hid them in the towns and villages between strikes, and their own industrial nodes were hellishly hard to find.

“Chihiro’s people knew which members of the command crew had disappeared and gone over to the other side, but just finding them was extremely difficult, and that was largely where the seijins came in. They were the mortal interface between the Archangels and the rest of Safehold, equipped with special abilities and powers — like Kohdy’s sword and the night vision gear which let a seijin see in complete darkness — and they served the faithful communities in a lot of ways. They were forest rangers, militia organizers, teachers, explorers, search and rescue personnel, policemen . . . It was a long list, and they did their jobs so well that their service won them those communities’ trust and loyalty. It also put them in the best position to do their real job — spot the Fallen hiding among the villagers and townsfolk and form strike forces once a group of the Fallen or their sympathizers had been located.

“That’s what Kohdy was doing when the ‘demon’ captured him and then let him go, and the experience shook him badly. The ‘demon’ in question was actually the mayor of the town in which he lived, and he had Kohdy dead to rights. More than that, Kohdy had known him for over two years. They’d been friends, and when his friend told him he was on the wrong side and provided evidence to support the allegation, it shook Kohdy’s faith. Badly.”

“Badly enough to send him to Schueler for an answer or reassurance,” Merlin murmured.

“Exactly.” Nahrmahn nodded heavily. “There’s a lot more detail in here than I’ve summarized. I wish he’d been a little more specific about some of the evidence that convinced him his friend the mayor might have told him the truth, but that’s the basic thrust of it. Owl’s translated the entire Spanish section into English, and we’ve got hard copies of it for those poor souls among us who can’t read the electronic version directly.”

Merlin surprised himself with a chuckle as Nahrmahn elevated his nose with an audible sniff, and the atmosphere around the table lightened perceptibly. Then Nahrmahn looked directly at Sandaria.

“I think you should read it,” he said quietly, almost gently. “Kohdy never knew the full truth, but this is the diary of a good man, someone who truly believed in what he was doing and only wanted to help other people. You might see some of your own journey in his, and I think you owe it to him, as well as to yourself, to fully meet the man behind the stories.”

Sandaria looked back at him for a moment, then inhaled deeply.

“I think you’re right, Your Highness,” she said, equally quietly.

Esthyr’s Abbey,
Northland Gap,
Northland Province,
Republic of Siddarmark.

It was warmer than it had been for the last couple of days. In fact, the temperature was barely ten degrees below freezing.

"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by jlrice54   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:39 pm

Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

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Thanks RFC. Wishing you all the best in your health issues. Can't wait for the next snippet!
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by John Prigent   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:42 pm

John Prigent
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And again, thank you!


Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by Michael Everett   » Wed May 20, 2015 4:58 pm

Michael Everett

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Location: Bristol, England

Thanks for the snippet and may I also wish you the best of fortune with regaining your health.

Also, cliffhanger? Grrrr.
Now I know how all my readers feel when I do it to them...
(won't stop me, though)

I can't write anywhere near as well as Weber
But I try nonetheless, And even do my own artwork.

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Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by Undercover Fat Kid   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

Undercover Fat Kid

Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:20 pm

Excellent. I'm glad to hear that your health is improving. Thank you for the snippet!
Death is as a feather,
Duty is as a mountain
This life is a dream
From which we all
Must wake
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by SCC   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:28 pm


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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:04 am

I wonder if any of those industrial modules still exist
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by isaac_newton   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:32 pm

Rear Admiral

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Have a great time!
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by ericth   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:37 pm


Posts: 223
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: USA

I just had a nasty suspicion dawn on me. What if Commodore Pei's "undisclosed military hardware" wasnt a nuke, but something like a pistol. Something that he could kill Langhorne and friends with, but leave himself alive to attempt to wrest control back. In this scenario the nuke could have come from Chichiro, as a way to clear things for his own ascendance to power, and it was a conicidence that the commodore (who was also on a target of that nuke) planned his own action at that same meeting.
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by Keith_w   » Wed May 20, 2015 5:59 pm


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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:10 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

ericth wrote:I just had a nasty suspicion dawn on me. What if Commodore Pei's "undisclosed military hardware" wasnt a nuke, but something like a pistol. Something that he could kill Langhorne and friends with, but leave himself alive to attempt to wrest control back. In this scenario the nuke could have come from Chichiro, as a way to clear things for his own ascendance to power, and it was a conicidence that the commodore (who was also on a target of that nuke) planned his own action at that same meeting.

Thank you for the Snippet RFC, glad to hear that you are well enough to attend a con.

I think the Textev in OAR during the Commodore's talk to Nimue is pretty clear that he had no expectation of surviving the experience which pretty much indicates, to my mind anyway, the use of nuclear devices by the Commodore.
Last edited by Keith_w on Wed May 20, 2015 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
Re: Official HFQ Snippet #25
Post by Isilith   » Wed May 20, 2015 7:24 pm

Captain (Junior Grade)

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1) RFC, do what your doctors and wife tell you to do. We want you with us for a long, long, long time to come.

2) This makes me to even more strongly lean towards something I have long suspected, that the Hamilcar is still out there and able to be recalled.

3) This also makes me wonder if there are other tech/manufacturing bases still hidden ON Safehold.

Thanks for the snippet, RFC. Can't wait for this book to come out. :D

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