thanatos wrote:PeterZ wrote:I tend to agree, Thanatos. Let's approach answering your final question.
Duchairn will incent those with true conviction to be promoted/advanced within the CoGA. That will inevitably lead to a much more honest and accurate interpretation of the Proscriptions within the CoGA. If the approach of those that hold this view within the CoGA is purely an argument promoting doctrine, the argument will sway clerics in Siddermark and Charis.
That success will lead to one of two likely outcomes. I believe there are many possible outcomes, of course, but the two most likely are 1) the argument stays a purely doctrinal argument within the branches of the Safehold churches or 2) The CoGA again launches an assault to enforce doctrinal unity.
If its 1, there will be proxy wars galore but the forces of the CoGA will not mobilize against Charis or Siddermark. The simmering proxy wars will continue until the Return.
If its 2, the war rages and likely is in full force when the Return happens. I believe this because Charis will cut through the mainland like poop through a goose and reach Zion in short order. Once there, the awakening happens whether the millennia is at hand or not. If Siddermark defends the mainland based on doctrinal principle, the war rages for quite some time and the millennia is reached.
I am not sure where my preference lies. In terms of plot, having Siddermark join the loyalists and perhaps Dohlar supporting the Charis in another Safehold wide war has some serious appeal. I would suggest that proxy wars would open up a much wider political menu of options and still maintain combat elements. Either way, RFC will tell this story well.
Duchairn has proven fairly adroit where politics are concerned, especially within the church. That said, the post-Jihad world will be quite different and the rules will be different. At this point in the story, Duchairn is succeeding in salvaging the Church by dealing with the corruption within the Church and the Inquisition. And we can bet that any lingering loyalty to Clyntahn or his warped vision of the Church will also be dealt with as part of this purge (though not as violently as Clyntahn's purge of Wylsynn and his Reformists). So he is in the position to truly impose his will and surround himself with loyalists.
Magwair is likely to be his staunchest supporter, along with the AOG that will continue to remain under Magwair's control (with no return to the Temple Guard). Duchairn will also have Phandis and his friends in the Temple Guard to personally protect him from any assassination attempts. And he will have the support of common Zionites who will continue to call him the Good Shepherd. But how long will all this good will continue to exist?
Duchairn would still need to maintain a good political relationship with Magwair, which would mean keeping the AOG happy. Magwair is a soldier at heart and his personality does not lend itself to the sort of convoluted plotting that the clergy previously engaged in. But maintaining a reasonable sized army and navy, along with weapons that have a chance of standing up to Charis, at least from a defensive posture, would be a bare minimum for Magwair.
More importantly, while Duchairn might succeed in restoring faith in the Church by delivering justice and purging it of corruption, its moral authority would still take years to restore. Before the Jihad, many rulers were still willing to follow the Church's lead because of that moral authority, their personal faith that the Church knew what it was doing and had the best interests of God's children at heart. But the Church lost that moral authority at Darcos Sound, when all but the dumbest of rulers realized that that was no longer the case and that their crowns were only safe so long as they remained pliant to the Clyntahn. That sort of trust is hard to reestablish, even with Duchairn's actions to date.
And finally there is the economic problem. The CoGA is up to its eyeballs in debt and while ending the Jihad and stopping the military expenditures will help it that regard, it still needs to repay its debts, the war bonds that it sold, compensate anyone who was stupid enough to buy up the Church's lands in the Empire of Charis (back in LAMA) and somehow rebuild its civilian economy after the Jihad (shifting to a peacetime economy). And that's before we even consider what Siddarmark would demand as compensation for the Sword of Schueler and the repayment of Church debts that were repudiated after it (if it still wishes to return Siddarmark into the fold).
All in all, Duchairn has his work cut out for him. However, unless the CoGA undergoes a fundamental change in its thinking, a sufficiently determined vicar with a real grasp on the military, economic and political realities, would be able to think about one option on how to deal with the "heretic" nations - Get them to fight each other with the hopes that they hurt each other enough for Mother Church to swoop in and clean up what's left or else to position it as a real power broker between them. He might even do it behind Ducharin's back in the belief that the external threat to the Church must be dealt with so that the Proscriptions can be reapplied internally. It's unlikely to work, especially with the Inner Circle keeping an eye on Siddarmark's leadership, but that doesn't mean they won't try.
Nice analysis guys. Very cogent.
IMHO, the Duchairn Church will be only a bit more liberal than before, and will do everything it can to preserve the Proscriptions. But we KNOW that (even if they're not there yet), Charis seeks to completely overturn them. Even the "Reformists" aren't there yet, so Charis has a HUGE change management problem coming up. Duchairn's problem is that the coercive power of the Inquisition has been significantly reduced.
But Charis has the benefit of being on the winning side in the war - the message being "Change got us where we needed to be... God smiled on us..."
The best way to implement significant change is to first "get management's buy in." But that's not a problem in this case. Not only is the entire Charisian Empire leadership part of the "inner circle" (or nearly so), but so are the most significant secular and temporal influencers. And history shows us time and time again that when the efficiency of production increases and frees people to think about other things, their natural inquisitiveness will invariably show through. Serfs who are bound to the land don't have that kind of time. Charisians and (to a lesser extent but I think it'll develop quickly) Siddarmarkans DO (or soon will) have that kind of time. I'm not saying it'll be quick or pain-free, but I WILL say that it's inevitable. And I think the rate of change will accelerate over time.
"Change begets change."
To shamelessly steal the real-life analogy of "Radio Free Europe," I can then envision "Galleon Free Harchong," and "Liberty Ship Free Dohlar." Basically Clyntahn's worst nightmare writ large. Every time something new and cool gets demonstrated or talked about in a Harchongese or Dohlaran port (or a port in the Temple Lands?), it'll be another cut. And the Church will inevitably die a death of a thousand cuts. Nay... Every time... EVERY SINGLE TIME an all-metal Charisian cargo vessel steams into a foreign port under its own power and into an adverse wind with a volume of cargo that far exceeds any possible galleon without being struck from above by a Rakurai strike it'll be the most compelling message of all.
In many ways, I really look forward to David's next book and the beginning of the next arc. If it's really 20 years into the future, I'm particularly interested in seeing how the other realms have responded to all those changes. Should be a wild ride!