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ATST Snippet #1

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ATST Snippet #1
Post by runsforcelery   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:11 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2134
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Guys —

I know this is running very late, but that's because the book delivery ran very late. It has now been turned in, however, and I believe that Tor is still planning on the November release date. That's going to cause some problems for them from the production end, and it's going to cause some scheduling problems — I should probably say some additional scheduling problems — for me. I am currently involved in some final revisions to the next Ahnyr Hairyngtyn novel [:D ] and I'm not sure exactly how all of that is going to go together. Hopefully, that will be turned in within the five-day.

In the meantime, here is the first snippet. For a lot of reasons, I won't do snippets until the manuscript is completed, which is why this has come as late as it has. I'm not sure, given my work schedule, how regularly I'll be posting additional snippets, but I'll do the best I can. I probably won't be able to engage on any of the rest of the forums until I finish digging out of the hole I'm in.

Enjoy!
_______________________________________________________











October
Year of God 897



.I.
The Earl of Thirsk’s Townhouse,
City of Gorath,
Kingdom of Dohlar.


“Forgive me for intruding, My Lord, but you and I need to talk.”

The Earl of Thirsk stared at the black-haired, blue-eyed guardsman in his townhouse study. Sheer, disbelieving shock froze him in his chair — a shock deep enough to reach even through the agony of his dead family — because he knew that sapphire-eyed man, and that man couldn’t possibly be here. Not in the middle of the city of Gorath. That man was with his emperor in Siddar City, thirty-four hundred miles from this spot. Everyone knew that. And even if he hadn’t been, there was no conceivable way a man in the livery of the House of Ahrmahk could have traveled into the very heart of the Kingdom of Dohlar’s capital city without being spotted and accosted.

Yet there he stood, and Thirsk felt his good hand fumble at his belt, seeking the dagger that wasn’t there.

“I assure you I intend no harm to anyone under this roof,” Merlin Athrawes continued. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t raise a hue and cry, though.” He stroked one fierce mustachio with a quick smile. “That would get messy, and I’m afraid quite a lot of people would be harmed under those circumstances.”

Rain pelted against the study windows, gurgled in waterfalls from eaves and gutters, swirled down paved streets or cascaded into storm drains, and distant thunder rumbled somewhere beyond the thick clouds of midnight. Street lights in Gorath were both dim and few and far between, even on nights when pounding rain didn’t reduce visibility still further. Perhaps that might explain how he could have passed through those same streets unnoted. Yet even as the earl thought that, it only created its own preposterous questions, for Athrawes blackened chainmail and the black tunic beneath it were dry, and so was his raven-dark hair.

Of course they are , a voice said in the back of Thirsk’s brain. all, what’s a minor impossibility like that if he can be here at all?

That inner voice sounded preposterously clear, given how much whiskey he’d consumed that evening.

Athrawes closed the door behind him and crossed the study floor, and his gleaming dry boots were silent on the thick carpet. He stopped fifteen feet away, and Thirsk drew a deep breath as lamplight gleamed on the “revolvers” holstered at either hip and the curved blade sheathed across the seijin’s back. God alone knew how many men those weapons had killed, and a chill ran through him as he thought of how the Inquisition would explain how this man might have come to stand before him.

“Does that ‘no harm to anyone under this roof’ apply to me, too?” he heard himself ask, and his voice sounded almost as unnaturally calm as his . . . visitor’s. “I don’t imagine there’d be many more legitimate targets.”

“Oh, trust me, My Lord.” Athrawes’ smile was thinner this time. “I can think of dozens of targets more ‘legitimate’ than you. Which isn’t to say —” the smile disappeared “— that Charis doesn’t have a few bones to pick with you, too.”

“I imagine.” Thirsk settled back in his chair and his good hand rose to the fresh pain that stabbed through his healing shoulder as he moved. “I won’t blame Cayleb if he’s sent you to deliver the same sentence he’s passed on inquisitors taken in the field. And to be honest, I won’t really mind, either. Not anymore.” His lips twitched in a parody of a smile. “At least I could trust you to be quick, Master Seijin, ‘demon’ or no. That’s more than I could say for some ‘godly’ men I might mention. And it’s not as if you wouldn’t be doing me a favor.”

The other pain, infinitely worse than any physical hurt, roused to ravenous life as the anesthesia of shock began to fade, and the anguish of his family’s death ripped at him with claws of fire and ice.

“I can understand why you might feel that way.”

There was no anger in Athrawes’ tone. Indeed, there was . . . compassion, and that only made Thirsk’s pain worse. He didn’t deserve any Charisian’s sympathy, not after what he’d allowed to happen to the men who’d surrendered to his navy. He damned well knew that, and he remembered a passage from the Book of Bédard: “Do good to those who despise you and return kindness to those who smite you, and so you will heap coals of fire upon their heads.” He’d heard that scripture countless time in his life, yet until this very moment, he’d never truly understood what the Archangel had meant. But now — as he heard the simple compassion in Merlin Athrawes’ voice, received the gift of sympathy from someone he’d given so many reasons to hate him —his own sense of guilt, the knowledge of how much Athrawes ought to hate and despise him, crashed down upon his soul like Shan-wei’s hammer.

“I can understand it,” Merlin repeated, “but that might be premature. You still have things to do, My Lord.”

“I have nothing to do, Seijin!” Thirsk snapped with a sudden flare of fury spawned by grief . . . and guilt. “That bastard in Zion’s seen to that!”

“Maybe he hasn’t . . . quite,” Athrawes replied.

Thirsk stared at him. Athrawes had to know what had happened to his family — the entire world knew that! He opened his mouth to spit back a reply, his face dark with anger, but Merlin raised one hand.

“I’m not here tonight only for Cayleb and Sharleyan on, My Lord. I have a message for you from someone else, as well.”

“And who might that be?” Thirsk’s demand was harsh.

“Your daughters, My Lord,” Athrawes said very quietly.

“How dare you come into this house with that kind of —?!”

Thirsk got that far before words failed him entirely. He thrust himself up out of his chair, heedless of the pain in his mending shoulder, confronting the armed and armored seijin — a foot and more taller than he — with no other weapon than his rage.

“My Lord, your daughters are alive,” Athrawes told him unflinchingly. “So are your grandchildren and your sons-in-law. All of them.”

Lywys Gardynyr raised a clenched fist, prepared to assault the towering seijin physically as the Charisian mocked his pain. But Athrawes made no move to deflect the blow. He simply stood there, arms folded unthreateningly across his breastplate, and his unflinching eyes froze the earl’s fist in mid-strike.

They were very dark, those blue eyes, Thirsk thought, a sapphire so deep it was almost black in the lamplight, but they met his fiery gaze without flinching. That was what stopped him, for there was no lie in those eyes, no mockery . . . and no cruelty.

And yet Athrawes’ words were the cruelest trap of all, for they held the whisper of possibility, an invitation to breach the armor of acceptance, to open his heart once more, delude himself into hoping . . . .

“So are you going to tell me now that Charis can bring people back from the dead?” he demanded bitterly, grinding that deadly temptation under his heel. “Not even Langhorne could do that! But they do call Shan-wei Mother of Lies, don’t they?”

“Yes, they do. And I don’t blame you for a certain . . . skepticism, My Lord. But your family wasn’t aboard Saint Frydhelm when she blew up. They were aboard a schooner, with two of my . . . colleagues.”

Thirsk blinked. Then he stood there for a heartbeat or two before he shook his head like a weary, bewildered bear.

“What?”

The one-word question came out almost calmly — too calmly. It was the calm of shock and confusion too deep to express. And the calm of a man who dared not — would not — allow himself to believe what he’d just been told.

Merlin reached into his belt pouch. His hand came back out of it, and the earl sucked in a deep, shocked breath as gold glittered across a calloused swordsman’s palm. Disbelief and fear froze the earl and he stood as if struck to stone, listening to the pound of rain, the crackle of the hearth fire, eyes locked to the miniature he’d known he’d never see again. He couldn’t — for at least ten seconds, he literally couldn’t — make himself touch it. Yet then, finally, he held out a trembling hand and Athrawes turned his wrist, spilling the miniature and its fine golden chain into his cupped fingers.

He held its familiar, beloved weight, looking down at the face of a gray-eyed golden-haired woman — a very young woman. Then his stunned gaze rose again to Merlin Athrawes’ face, and the compassion which had edged the seijin’s tone filled his sapphire eyes, as well.

“I’m sure there are all sorts of ways that might’ve come into my possession, My Lord. And many of them would be little better than what you thought actually happened to Lady Mahkzwail. But I could hardly have obtained it if it had gone to the bottom of the Gulf of Dohlar, could I?”

Thirsk turned the miniature in his hand, seeing the intertwined initials engraved into its back. It was hard, with only one working hand, but he managed to wedge a thumbnail into the thin crack, and the back of the glass-fronted locket sprang open. He turned it to catch the light, and his own face — as young as his beloved Kahrmyncetah’s — looked back at him from the reverse of her portrait.

He stared at that image of a long-ago Lywys Gardynyr, then closed the locket and gripped it tightly enough to bruise his fingers. It was possible someone in Charis might have known his daughter Stefyny wore that miniature around her neck day and night. They might even have known about the initials on its back. But no mortal hand could have so perfectly forged its duplicate. So unless Cayleb and Sharleyan of Charis truly served demons . . . .

“How?” His legs collapsed abruptly, refusing to support him, and he thudded back down in his chair, scarcely noticing the white-hot stab from his shoulder. “How?!

“My Lord, Cayleb and Sharleyan have known for years how the Group of Four’s held your family’s lives over your head. It’s hardly surprising Clyntahn would do something so contemptible, and you’re scarcely the only one to whom he’s done it. If he understood how to inspire the Church’s children a tenth as well as he understands how to terrify them, perhaps the Temple wouldn’t be losing this jihad! But there’s a problem with terror; if the threat’s removed, it becomes useless. Is it really so hard to believe Cayleb and Sharleyan would strike that sort of weapon from Clyntahn’s hand if they could?”

“But . . . .”

“You may have noticed that our spies are very good.” For a moment, Athrawes’ smile turned almost impish. “We knew about Clyntahn’s plans to move your family to Zion even before you did, My Lord. It took longer to discover how he meant to transport them, but once we did, my companions intercepted Saint Frydhelm. The weather was on their side, and they managed to board undetected.”

Thirsk had suffered too many shocks in far too short a time, but he’d been a seaman for well over half a century. He knew exactly how preposterous that statement was, and Athrawes snorted as he saw the incredulity in his expression.

“My Lord, the world insists on calling me a seijin. That being the case, my fellows and I might as well act the part from time to time, don’t you think? And there is that little matter of Irys and Daivyn, you know. With all due modesty, this was no harder for Gwyliwr and Cleddyf than that was. It was certainly over sooner! And it seems to be becoming something of a specialty of ours. I’m thinking that after the jihad we seijins might go into the people-retrieving business. Just to keep our hands in, you understand.”

Thirsk blinked in incipient outrage that the seijin could find anything amusing at a moment like this! But then he drew another deep breath, instead.

“A point, Seijin Merlin. Definitely a point,” he conceded. “However, there was still the matter of a war galleon’s entire crew to deal with.”

“Which they did.” The amusement of an instant before vanished, and Athrawes’ face tightened. “Seijin Gwyliwr saw to your family’s transfer to their fishing boat — where, I might add, she says your sons-in-law and young Ahlyxzandyr and Gyffry made themselves very useful — while Seijin Cleddyf . . . prevented the crew from intervening.”

Thirsk looked at that grim expression for a long, silent moment, then nodded slowly. He’d heard the stories about the bloody path Merlin Athrawes had carved through the crews of no less than three Corisandian galleys. How he’d cut his way single-handed through a wall of swords and pikes, leaving no man alive behind him, as he’d raced to save Haarahld of Charis’s life. How he’d held Royal Charis’ quarterdeck alone against twice a hundred enemies while his mortally wounded king died behind him in a midshipman’s arms. They were incredible tales, whispered to close friends over tankards of beer or glasses of whiskey when there were no Inquisition ears to hear, and Thirsk had seen far too much of battle and death to believe the half of their wild exaggerations . . . until tonight.

“They deserved better, those men,” Athrawes said now, harshly. “But the moment Clyntahn put your family aboard that ship, he signed their death warrants.”

You blew her up, didn’t you?” Thirsk said softly, and it wasn’t truly a question.

“We did.” Merlin’s nostrils flared, but he refused to look away. “We had no choice. If Clyntahn had suspected for a moment that your family was alive —far less that they might be in Charisian hands — you and I would never have had a chance for this conversation. You know that as well as I do.”

“Yes.” Thirsk’s voice was barely audible, but he nodded slowly. “Yes, I do.”

Silence fell, perfected by the backdrop pound of winter rain. It lingered for several seconds before Thirsk straightened in his chair, still clutching the miniature of his long-dead wife.

“And now you intend to hold them over my head,” he said. “I don’t suppose I can blame you. God knows your Emperor has reason enough to hate me! In his place, I’d be remembering the mercy he showed off Armageddon Reef and comparing it to what happened to his men when they fell into Dohlaran hands.”

“I think you can take it as a given that neither he nor Sharleyan – nor I, for that matter — are likely to forget that, My Lord,” Merlin said bleakly. “But you’ve met Cayleb. Do you really see him using your daughters and their children as weapons? He’d die before he became Zhaspahr Clyntahn!”

The blue eyes were fierce this time, and shame twisted in Lywys Gardynyr’s soul, because he had met Cayleb, knew the man who lived behind the Charisian Emperor’s larger-than-life legend. Yet he knew too much of the necessities and imperatives of war, as well.

Seijin Merlin, if I lived to twice my age, I could never express the gratitude I feel at this moment. You — and Cayleb — have given my family back their lives, and I genuinely believe you did it because it was the right thing to do.” He shook his head, faintly surprised to realize he truly meant that. “But Cayleb’s an emperor, and he’s at war with Mother Church. He can’t possibly fail to see the opportunity — the necessity — of compelling me to do his will. No ruler worthy of his crown could simply ignore that! And he wouldn’t have to threaten to harm them to accomplish that, either.”

“Of course not.” Athrawes nodded. “All he’d have to do is inform the world they’re alive and in Charisian hands. Clyntahn would no doubt deny that, given how it cuts against the narrative he’s constructed. But that wouldn’t keep him from recognizing that you’d just become a potentially deadly weapon in Charis’ hands, one he could no longer hope to control. At which point, his reaction would become a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately for that scenario, Cayleb and Sharleyan would really rather keep you alive and un-martyred.”

“Out of the goodness of their hearts, I’m sure,” Thirsk said dryly.

“Actually, there is quite a bit of goodness in those hearts. But, no, you’re right. They do have responsibilities of their own, and they’re as well aware of them as you are of yours. But they aren’t going to threaten your children, and they aren’t going to reveal the fact of their survival. I’m afraid they aren’t going to do what Lady Stefyny asked us to do, either, though.”

“What Stefyny —” Thirsk began, then stopped and shook his head. “Of course. She would ask you to ‘retrieve’ me, as well, wouldn’t she?”

“She loves you very much,” Athrawes replied, and the earl smiled at the seeming non sequitur.

“Unfortunately, though, that’s not why I’m here,” the seijin continued, and there was an edge of genuine regret in his deep voice. “I do have this for you,” he reached into his pouch once more and extracted a thick envelope, sealed with wax. “It’s briefer than I’m sure she would have liked it to be, because she knew the person who delivered it might not be able to spend a great deal of time in Gorath and she wanted time for you to write at least a brief reply. I’m afraid I do need to be gone before much longer, but I think I can give you a quarter hour or so in which to reply. And —” he held out the envelope “— I’ll also ask you to be sure you burn it afterward. Letting it fall into the Inquisition’s hands would probably be a bad idea.”

Thirsk glanced at the envelope, then almost snatched it from Athrawes’ hand as he recognized his daughter’s handwriting.

“I’m sure she’ll give you her own version of what happened that night, My Lord. Seijin Cleddyf promised her I’d deliver it unread, which I have, so I can’t be certain, but I doubt her account will differ much from the one he shared with me. Not that I expect it to be identical to his. She’ll have a rather different perspective, after all.” The seijin smiled again, briefly. But then the smile disappeared. “I’m afraid Cayleb’s asked me to deliver a rather different message to you, however.”

“What sort of message?”

“It’s a fairly simple one, actually. Just as you once sat across a table from Cayleb, he sat across that same table from you, and he’s almost frighteningly good at taking the measure of other men. He took yours, and he knows how little you’ve relished some of the actions the Church has demanded of you. Notice that I said the Church, not God. There’s a difference, and I think you know what it is.”

“I won’t pretend I don’t know what you mean. But the fact that Clyntahn’s vile and corrupt doesn’t automatically grant Cayleb and Maikel Staynair license to destroy Mother Church and defy God’s will.”

“And you don’t believe for a moment they are defying God’s will,” Athrawes countered. “I doubt you ever did. And even if you did once, you stopped believing it long ago.”

The seijin’s riposte lay between them, a steely challenge Thirsk declined to pick up. He only looked back at the other man steadily, refusing to admit the charge . . . or to deny it.

“My Lord, as I say, time is pressing, you have a letter to read and another to write, and I still have a long way to go tonight, so I’ll be brief. Cayleb and Sharleyan make no demands in return for your family’s safety. And they fully understand that not only were you raised a son of Mother Church but that you take your oaths to the Crown of Dohlar and your responsibilities to the navy you command seriously. A man of honor has no choice about that . . . unless an even greater duty, an even deeper responsibility, is used against him. That deeper responsibility’s been lifted from you now, yet neither Cayleb nor Sharleyan would expect you to act against what you believe are the best interests of your kingdom and your own soul. If they tried to force you to, they’d be no better than the Group of Four, and because they refuse to be that, they’ve sent me to give you the deadliest gift of all, instead.”

His level gaze held Thirsk’s in the lamplight.

“Freedom, My Lord. That’s Charis’ gift to you. The freedom to do what you think is right . . . whatever the consequences.”












November
Year of God 897


.I.
Sheryl-Seridahn Canal,
South March Province,
Republic of Siddarmark.


“Shit,” Lieutenant Klymynt Hahrlys said with great precision and feeling as he got his hands under himself and pushed up out of the knee-deep mud which had just pulled the boot off his right foot.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:37 am

PeterZ
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5705
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:11 pm
Location: Colorado

runsforcelery wrote:Guys —

I know this is running very late, but that's because the book delivery ran very late. It has now been turned in, however, and I believe that Tor is still planning on the November release date. That's going to cause some problems for them from the production end, and it's going to cause some scheduling problems — I should probably say some additional scheduling problems — for me. I am currently involved in some final revisions to the next Ahnyr Hairyngtyn novel [:D ] and I'm not sure exactly how all of that is going to go together. Hopefully, that will be turned in within the five-day.

In the meantime, here is the first snippet. For a lot of reasons, I won't do snippets until the manuscript is completed, which is why this has come as late as it has. I'm not sure, given my work schedule, how regularly I'll be posting additional snippets, but I'll do the best I can. I probably won't be able to engage on any of the rest of the forums until I finish digging out of the hole I'm in.

Enjoy!
_______________________________________________________
snip.


Thank you, David! Ah!, what a relief it is!


I and the no strings crowd were right.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by johnb   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:08 pm

johnb
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:08 pm
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Thank you kind sir, very much appreciated!
I rarely login and evern more rarely post here. But this deserves a really big thank you for finding the time to post snippetts.
Cannot wait for the book!!!!
kind regards
John
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by Kacey   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:14 pm

Kacey
Ensign

Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:15 pm

:)
Yay snippet
:) Freedom
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by phillies   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:31 pm

phillies
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1773
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:43 am
Location: Worcester, MA

Cleddyf is a sword, especially a falchion.

Gwyliwr is a watcher or viewer, in modern usage, especially of television. She seems to be a bit more active than the average couch potato, though.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by Kakai   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:07 pm

Kakai
Commander

Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:46 am

I'd just like to note that I actually did a happy dance upon seeing this snippet. :lol: Yay! Thank you so very much for this!

I'd just like to note that I love this first chapter, and not just because it's the first snippet, this dialogue between Merlin and Thrisk is just really great all on its own (also, I'm pretty sure this resolves the matters discussed back and forth on the forum for the last few months, too...).

phillies wrote:Cleddyf is a sword, especially a falchion.

Gwyliwr is a watcher or viewer, in modern usage, especially of television. She seems to be a bit more active than the average couch potato, though.


Thank you!
-----------
When in mortal danger, when beset by doubt,
Run in little circles, wave your arms and shout.

- Ciaphas Cain
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by McGuiness   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:32 pm

McGuiness
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Posts: 1193
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

THANK YOU RFC for the long snippet! Based on the explanation you gave that the snippets are likely to arrive on a rather... random schedule, I'll once again plead that you turn that task over to Drak, who has assured me that he's willing to take up the burden again.

You could tell him where to stop each snippet to create the cliffhangers you so enjoy inflicting upon your readers, although I'm sure he'd figure out ways to punish us himself! :lol:

It's nice to see that we were right in guessing that Merlin would deliver a letter, and that Cayleb and Sharley would offer Thirsk his freedom of conscience. It was was pretty obvious they'd do that based on how they treated Irys and Daivyn.

Since we didn't know about the locket, which was by far the best way to convince Thirsk that Merlin was telling the truth about Charis rescuing his family, I suppose we can be forgiven for not predicting it. (Although some discussion was given to producing family keepsakes that he'd recognize, so we didn't actually strike out completely!)

Merlin is either becoming more adroit at these sorts of conversations, or I ought to re-read some of his previous ones as an emissary of Cayleb and Sharley. This scene was particularly well written, poignant and realistic. I loved Merlin hinting that he had to hurry to enable his escape! Adding his daughter's account of their rescue and naming the two "other" seijins who boarded the ship and carried Thirsk's family to safety - priceless!

The thunderstorm was a nice touch too. ;)

As for the cliffhanger, I'd guess that a certain ironclad just steamed to within view of the Dohlaran troops dug in around Evrytyn... ouch!

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:37 pm

PeterZ
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Posts: 5705
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:11 pm
Location: Colorado

The conversation was had. Thirsk is given his freedom to pursue his conscience and duty. There is but one question. What will he do now?

I for one believe that he will work with Ahlverez to prepare for the inevitable ICN visit to Gorath. Between them I can see their recognizing the exposed position Dohlar holds and the likely avenues Charis has to take advantage of that exposure.

They have to know Silkiah is doomed and next to fall. Thirsk should suspect that Charis might well get seijin help in taking the canals intact. They are also expecting ocean going iron clads like those that visited Desnar. Given the quality of the armor on Dreadnought, those iron clads are as good as impervious to RDN naval guns. They know this too. Once thos iron clads take care of the rDN mobile units, the port cities become very big targets. Richtar is getting pushed back by marines with old fashioned cobbled artillery. Should properly equipped ICA troopers join the fun, Richtar is toast.

Given this knowledge, what will they do? Do they sue for peace or continue to fight? Do they launch a coupe? My guess is that they will prepare for the arrival of the ICN ironclads and the fall of Silkiah. Once Silkiah falls and the KH VIIs arrive, Thirsk and Ahlvarez will recommend surrender and use their control of the troops and sailors to prevent any official from getting squirrelly about surrendering.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by McGuiness   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:44 pm

McGuiness
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Posts: 1193
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:35 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA

So PeterZ, do you expect Thirsk to surrender his fleet in port, or will he obey the orders from Zion that I fully expect, to sally forth and stop the invading ICN fleet at all costs? If he refuses, which he'd have to do to be in Gorath to recommend surrender and use the fleet as a hammer against any officials who think he ought to be martyring the fleet at sea, he'd be committing mutiny.

He may sally the fleet himself, but he isn't going to force it to commit suicide once he's safely away from the Inquisition's forces on land. That's the course of action I expect, since it will get him safely out of the reach of the Inquisition and prevent them from replacing him as commander.

He could certainly surrender his fleet much more quickly in port, where his forces wouldn't be scattered than he could at sea. I don't think that's what will happen.

Unfortunately, a lot of Dohlaran sailors may have to die before Thirsk is allowed to strike, since the inquisitors aboard each ship will have to see a bunch of their fellow inquisitors blown to smithereens before they'll give permission to surrender. The NoG's wooden galleons and even their new armored galleys can't even get their cannons within range of the new Cities and especially the KH VIIs before they'd be destroyed, and they could barely dent them if they did!

Thirsk may issue quiet orders to his captains to strike their colors if they find themselves outranged and unable to close with any ICN ships they encounter, but if word of those orders got to the Inquisition, he'd be removed as fleet commander and recalled to Zion immediately! So any such orders would have to be issued after the fleet sailed.

I suspect a bunch of inquisitors may be thrown overboard or strung up on masts to show the ICN that the NoG is serious about surrendering! :lol:

One way or another, Thirsk's fleet will surrender, whether as an organized group, in penny-packets, or as survivors plucked from the wreckage of their former ships... :twisted:
PeterZ wrote:The conversation was had. Thirsk is given his freedom to pursue his conscience and duty. There is but one question. What will he do now?

I for one believe that he will work with Ahlverez to prepare for the inevitable ICN visit to Gorath. Between them I can see their recognizing the exposed position Dohlar holds and the likely avenues Charis has to take advantage of that exposure.

They have to know Silkiah is doomed and next to fall. Thirsk should suspect that Charis might well get seijin help in taking the canals intact. They are also expecting ocean going iron clads like those that visited Desnar. Given the quality of the armor on Dreadnought, those iron clads are as good as impervious to RDN naval guns. They know this too. Once thos iron clads take care of the rDN mobile units, the port cities become very big targets. Richtar is getting pushed back by marines with old fashioned cobbled artillery. Should properly equipped ICA troopers join the fun, Richtar is toast.

Given this knowledge, what will they do? Do they sue for peace or continue to fight? Do they launch a coupe? My guess is that they will prepare for the arrival of the ICN ironclads and the fall of Silkiah. Once Silkiah falls and the KH VIIs arrive, Thirsk and Ahlvarez will recommend surrender and use their control of the troops and sailors to prevent any official from getting squirrelly about surrendering.

"Oh bother", said Pooh as he glanced through the airlock window at the helmet he'd forgotten to wear.
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Re: ATST Snippet #1
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:16 pm

PeterZ
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McGuiness wrote:So PeterZ, do you expect Thirsk to surrender his fleet in port, or will he obey the orders from Zion that I fully expect, to sally forth and stop the invading ICN fleet at all costs? If he refuses, which he'd have to do to be in Gorath to recommend surrender and use the fleet as a hammer against any officials who think he ought to be martyring the fleet at sea, he'd be committing mutiny.

snip


Let's consider Thirsk's duty and his conscience. He has admitted he believes Clyntahn is wrong but still has lingering doubts that the damage of fostering schism will exceed the damage of Clyntahn's excesses. I believe he will come down on surrendering but not joining active operations against the CoGA. He will neither support Clyntahn nor the Allies.

With that in mind, Thirsk will definitely surrender as soon as he sees the King Haraald's. He might test the Cities with his screw galleys, but he isn't so stupid to test the KH VIIs. In addition everyone is Dohlar will recognize the inevitable when they see those Charisian monsters.

Will that be mutiny? Maybe, but who cares at this point? Thirsk and Ahvarez are looking to salvage something.....anything at all. They will surrender and try to keep the Inquisitors out of Charisian hands. They surrender and Charis refrains from flattening other port cities. I believe that Gorath will burn as a reprisal for the tortured POWs. Perhaps Gorath survives but the ICN gains a naval base real close to Gorath instead.

If in addition to those concession Charis allows commerce to continue with South Harchong and only South Harchong, I believe everyone in Dohlar will recognize just how generous Cayleb and Sharley are being.
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