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The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...

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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:12 pm

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I agree that Duchairn may have no choice regarding the acceptance of steam power. If he's smart, he would have to respond to any challenges to his decision by pointing out that this rapid industrialization has made serfdom and slavery superfluous and that he actually agrees with Charis on that particular issue. I can imagine a scene whereby a group of counter-reformation clerics confront Duchairn and his government on this and he flatly tells that if the Church rescinds the attestation for steam, there would be massive economic disruptions and that a reversion back to muscle power, wind and water would necessarily lead to a recreation of these institutions (that is unless Harchong and Desnair are willing to accept a Church ban on serfdom and slavery - which they won't). No doubt these vicars could make such promises and yet there is also the potential economic cost of reverting to a pre-steam power economy, one that the Church would have to bear (since I'm willing to bet that many of the nations still under its influence would scream bloody murder). And of course the military aspect cannot be ignored either. These counter-reformists might be willing to contemplate the expedience of allowing steam power for military purpose only (to protect the "true faith and its adherents" from further contamination by Charis) yet as Merlin pointed out, you can't really build steam powered ships without fully embracing these innovations.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:14 pm

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thanatos wrote:I agree that Duchairn may have no choice regarding the acceptance of steam power. If he's smart, he would have to respond to any challenges to his decision by pointing out that this rapid industrialization has made serfdom and slavery superfluous and that he actually agrees with Charis on that particular issue. I can imagine a scene whereby a group of counter-reformation clerics confront Duchairn and his government on this and he flatly tells that if the Church rescinds the attestation for steam, there would be massive economic disruptions and that a reversion back to muscle power, wind and water would necessarily lead to a recreation of these institutions (that is unless Harchong and Desnair are willing to accept a Church ban on serfdom and slavery - which they won't). No doubt these vicars could make such promises and yet there is also the potential economic cost of reverting to a pre-steam power economy, one that the Church would have to bear (since I'm willing to bet that many of the nations still under its influence would scream bloody murder). And of course the military aspect cannot be ignored either. These counter-reformists might be willing to contemplate the expedience of allowing steam power for military purpose only (to protect the "true faith and its adherents" from further contamination by Charis) yet as Merlin pointed out, you can't really build steam powered ships without fully embracing these innovations.


I guess, I believe he does have a choice. He either accepts that the CoGA is no longer a governing body and will function as a purely religious body or try to rebuild the CoGA as a central government. He can't do both.

Choosing the latter cedes the secular leadership of Safehold to Charis. Choosing the former cedes the moral/religious leadership/initiative to Charis. Either way he accepts a Charisian paradigm to guide absolutely critical decisions. In accepting steam, he accepts the Charisian interpretation of the Writ/Proscriptions. In rejecting steam, he accepts that the Church is primarily a religious body that instructs and persuades but does not primarily rule its congregants. The Church is separate from the secular leadership.

He has to decide and he can't have both. He might believe that later he can reign in Charisian excesses, but he can't. Accepting steam allows him to potentially coerce other nations to follow his decrees, but by accepting steam he grants the CoC parity in interpreting the Writ. He might retain the ability to coerce, but has established precedent that the CoC may well be more correct in its interpretation than the CoGA. that the CoGA does not own a monopoly on doctrinal interpretation. His rejection of steam pretty much cedes any future ability to coerce any other nation.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:10 pm

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PeterZ wrote:
I guess, I believe he does have a choice. He either accepts that the CoGA is no longer a governing body and will function as a purely religious body or try to rebuild the CoGA as a central government. He can't do both.

Choosing the latter cedes the secular leadership of Safehold to Charis. Choosing the former cedes the moral/religious leadership/initiative to Charis. Either way he accepts a Charisian paradigm to guide absolutely critical decisions. In accepting steam, he accepts the Charisian interpretation of the Writ/Proscriptions. In rejecting steam, he accepts that the Church is primarily a religious body that instructs and persuades but does not primarily rule its congregants. The Church is separate from the secular leadership.

He has to decide and he can't have both. He might believe that later he can reign in Charisian excesses, but he can't. Accepting steam allows him to potentially coerce other nations to follow his decrees, but by accepting steam he grants the CoC parity in interpreting the Writ. He might retain the ability to coerce, but has established precedent that the CoC may well be more correct in its interpretation than the CoGA. that the CoGA does not own a monopoly on doctrinal interpretation. His rejection of steam pretty much cedes any future ability to coerce any other nation.


I think Duchairn is smart enough and sufficiently cognizant of reality to understand that the Jihad was a game changer that effective shredded to status quo ante. Back in BSRA, Nahrmahn comments on how badly the Church has screwed itself with its plans to eliminate Charis, made all the worse by its failure to do so. They lost the moral authority the moment they told every ruler on Safehold that if you piss off Clyntahn, he will seek to destroy you. This was further exacerbated by the Sword of Schueler and every other atrocity the Inquisition committed in name of God and the "Archangels" (but really in the name of Clyntahn). So at the end of ATSOT, Duchairn is doing everything in his power to distance the Church from Clyntahn's actions and make amends for them. He might hope for eventual reconciliation and reunification but as Stohnahr reflects, he is unlikely to get the latter.

So faced with this choice, between having religious authority or having secular power, I think Duchairn is more like to choose the religious over the secular, mostly because the Church no longer has the enforcement mechanisms it had prior to Jihad. The Inquisition has been decimated and its authority severely curtailed. The AOG might have the power but it answers to Magwair, who might take issue with enforcing a religious decree by going to war with another realm and using the AOG to wage it. Nor can the Church mobilize any secular realms the way it did before the Jihad - at least not against Charis or Siddarmark.

So if the moment of truth arrives, and Duchairn decides to anathematize steam power and Dohlar tells the Grand Vicar it cannot comply, what does he do? Order the Inquisition to arrest King Rahnyld V and an aged Earl Thirsk? Impose the interdict upon the Kingdom of Dohlar as a whole? Launch another full-scale war against a realm that could match it's land power and more than match its naval power? It's a truism of military training that one cannot give an order they know will be disobeyed and if Duchairn proscribes steam power, even with the backing of a large majority of the Council of Vicars, any kingdom that is already heavily invested in a steam-powered industrialized economy will not be able to comply. Even assuming that the CoGA has the money to compensate for such economic losses and to cover the cost of reverting to a labor-intensive, muscle, wind or water powered economy, that still leaves the threat of Charis and Siddarmark. So if steam power is proscribed and one or more of the realms tells the Church to take a hike, it will reveal the Church's weakness and inability to enforce it's decrees.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:16 pm

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That's the entire point, Thanatos. He embraces his persuasive authority and fully recognizes his inability to compel by anathematizing steam. There is an enormous amount of moral courage displayed in stating fully for the world to hear that as the head of the CoGA Duchairn decrees an anathema based on honest doctrinal interpretation. He will not coerce as Clyntahn has done, but he will follow God's Writ as he understands it though Shan-wei bars the way.

Other churches may disagree, but if a nation's citizens wish to be congregants in the CoGA, it had better not use steam. It can't enforce the edict or coerce its congregants, but the Grand Vicar will state truth as he understands it. He will guide his flock to God as he understands how God desires him doing so.

That sort of honest appeal is the best....nay, only chance of limiting steam from being used. I believe that option is available to Duchairn. The question is does he view Paityr's chopped logic persuasive? If he does, he is following the more humanist doctrine of Charis and the Brotherhood of Saint Zherneau and the Sisterhood of Seijin Khody. If he rejects the argument but accepts the CoC's interpretation without declaring the CoC heretical, he is accepting the CoC doctrine of separation of Church and State. He accepts the separation because he does not use the State's monopoly on coercion. If he rejects steam and declares the CoC heretical, he restarts the War and Charis is free to destroy the CoGA utterly just as they were prepared to do when Clyntahn ran the show. The latter scenario would pretty much prove the CoGA is fundamentally tyrannical and unworthy of obedience.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:34 pm

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PeterZ wrote:That's the entire point, Thanatos. He embraces his persuasive authority and fully recognizes his inability to compel by anathematizing steam. There is an enormous amount of moral courage displayed in stating fully for the world to hear that as the head of the CoGA Duchairn decrees an anathema based on honest doctrinal interpretation. He will not coerce as Clyntahn has done, but he will follow God's Writ as he understands it though Shan-wei bars the way.

Other churches may disagree, but if a nation's citizens wish to be congregants in the CoGA, it had better not use steam. It can't enforce the edict or coerce its congregants, but the Grand Vicar will state truth as he understands it. He will guide his flock to God as he understands how God desires him doing so.

That sort of honest appeal is the best....nay, only chance of limiting steam from being used. I believe that option is available to Duchairn. The question is does he view Paityr's chopped logic persuasive? If he does, he is following the more humanist doctrine of Charis and the Brotherhood of Saint Zherneau and the Sisterhood of Seijin Khody. If he rejects the argument but accepts the CoC's interpretation without declaring the CoC heretical, he is accepting the CoC doctrine of separation of Church and State. He accepts the separation because he does not use the State's monopoly on coercion. If he rejects steam and declares the CoC heretical, he restarts the War and Charis is free to destroy the CoGA utterly just as they were prepared to do when Clyntahn ran the show. The latter scenario would pretty much prove the CoGA is fundamentally tyrannical and unworthy of obedience.


A passive approach like this, whereby your nation's membership in the CoGA is contingent upon its government's rejection of steam power, is equally problematic. Again, the truism of command comes to play, i.e. never give an order you know will be ignored or disobeyed. For it to work, you would need to have a groundswell of passive support, whereby millions of a rebellious nation's subject/citizens are willing to turn on the government at every level because Grand Vicar Rhobair has ordered all the clergy within the nation to deny Church services to everyone in it until the government renounces all use of steam power and destroys any steam engine within its borders. This was the meaning of the interdict that had be imposed upon Charis, yet as Bishop Mylz Halcohm notes with some surprise and disdain, the Charisian clergy continued to administer services regardless. Indeed, the Temple Loyalist clergy should have continued to deny communion to their parishioners yet obviously didn't (probably because they knew they would eventually lose their congregants, whether to apathy or to the Church of Charis).

Moreover, that could only work in the pre-Jihad Safehold. In the post-Jihad Safehold, peoples' reactions would likely be different. In Dohlar for example, Charis' final assault on Gorath was carried out with minimal civilian casualties and its surrender terms were probably very generous. In the months that followed, the reformists (and possibly even the Church of Charis) got their foot in the door right along with Delthak's financial influence. So if Duchairn issues such a draconian edict regarding steam power, how many Dohlaran Temple Loyalists will be willing to turn on their government because their church is denying them communion? Not all that many given that maintaining friendly relations with Charis (and with Charisian business interests) would probably become crucial to many Dohlarans, who would owe their new jobs and newly found affluence to Charis and to steam power.

And it would be a wonderful way to show that while Mother Church has publicly rejected the tyranny of Clyntahn's methods, it is willing to influence its parishioners into doing violence. Everyone will still remember that the Sword of Schueler was instigated by Clyntahn and intended as a "popular uprising" against Stohnahr and his government. Even if Duchairn denounced any violence, espousing a Gandhi-esque approach of civil disobedience and peaceful protest, their will still be those who use violence, either because they think Duchairn is publicly constrained to denounce them or because they think that Duchairn's approach won't get the desired results (at least not in a timely fashion).

This approach would also collide with any pragmatic concerns regarding the huge military and economic advantage they would be handing Charis, Siddarmark and any other nation within their sphere of influence. Would Desnair be willing to live with suddenly becoming a second-tier power at best? Or live under the constant threat of Charisian power (regardless of any peace treaty that Mother Church can no longer enforce)? What about the border states vis-a-vis Siddarmark? In effect, Duchairn would be attempting to pit the individual citizens of those nations against their government by using their religious belief against them. And if the denial of communion is only applied to the leadership, so what? The Church would be denying them legitimacy in the eyes of the Temple Loyalists, yet absent the Church's previous universality and any enforcement mechanisms, this punishment would lack any sort of political consequences. The only consequence would be to said leaders' souls, which is entirely between them and God. They could therefore decide that if the CoGA is denying them communion over their refusal to commit national suicide, then they might as well embrace a reformist national church or the CoC. And if the population is evenly divided between loyalist and reformist/CoC, Duchairn might well spark a civil war.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:36 am

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Desnair looks to be an interesting set of contradictions. Their aristocracy is very anti-trade. Rather, anti-trade in anything besides raw material and agriculture. Those aristos own the land that produce raw materials and grow food. The same can be said for North Harchong. Changing from that economic base will disrupt Desnair's society. People with no aristocratic blood will begin to control enough wealth to seriously influence the nation's governance. The idea that a child born to ignorant stevedores may rise to the pinnacle of Desnair's society is obscene to these aristos. Yet, that's what liberalizing economic policy and accepting steam will encourage.

On the other hand, they would like the military toys that would allow Desnair to dictate terms to other nations. Given their access to gold mines, they may believe they can buy modern weapons from other, less refined nations. Heck, the Temple Lands may well be eager to sell them weapons and consumer goods in an effort to repay their war debts. Perhaps I should say the CoGA will sell the weapons. Purchasing weapons from reputable sources far removed from Desnair will offer those idiots a chance to stem the tide of change. That stemming that tide exposes their nation to economic peonage is too distant a possibility for most of Desnair's leadership.

I can see Desnair getting caught up in a war involving Harchong only to discover they need Siddermark's canals and railroads to keep them supplied with weapons. This after Harchong shuts down the Guld of Dohlar. By the time they realize they NEED to adopt a more liberal economy, it will be too late. So, Desnair may well adopt the product of steam power without incorporating steam thoroughly into their economy.

If enough nations opt for this tactic, steam may not be integrated enough into Safehold society to stave off rakurai attacks after The Return. Certainly if Duchairn anathematizes steam, this outcome becomes more likely. Again, I don't believe Duchairn can declare anathema on steam AND not continue the jihad. That is a true heresy the CoGA is charged to fight. If he can't persuade Charis to abandon it, he must resume the jihad. If he asserts Charis can follow its interpretation despite his disagreement, he is NOT declaring adopting steam heretical. He is simply declaring the CoGA's preference. Neither option is likely after the brutal war they just concluded.

What is likely is that Desnair and North Harchong will try to avoid fully embracing a steam powered economy without avoiding some of the products of that economy. The tensions stemming from that idiocy will be fodder for all sorts of interesting plot devices.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:44 am

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Social mobility in a feudal society is always limited and is only permitted when someone has patrons who are willing to shepherd his career or if one distinguishes himself in battle (without making someone senior look bad in the process). In this sense, any technologies that allow the economy to become less labor-intensive are a problem to slave- or serf-based economy. It's also what eventually makes slavery and serfdom uneconomic, as the revenues derived from the sale of raw goods (agricultural produce, raw materials, etc.) do not manage to cover the minimal costs of maintaining the workforce of slaves or serfs (all of whom need to be kept in good health and sufficiently well fed) as well as the state's various enforcement mechanisms (such as a slave capture force). And of course, there is the sense of superiority it affords those at the top.

But again, as Merlin points out, to construct even one King Haarahld-class battleship would require a nation to fully embrace all of the innovations Charis has embraced. If Desnair wants shipboard cannons that can hit opposing Charisian ships and penetrate their armor, they need to make similar advances in metallurgy and chemistry. If they want to be able to defend their borders from a potential SIddarmarkian attack, they would need to be able to move troops and supplies to wherever they're need faster than Siddarmark can amass its troops on it borders (which is hard to do without railroads). And if they want to be able to replace lost or damaged weapons and equipment or resupply their troops quickly, they can't ignore how quickly Charis and Siddarmark can resupply their troops (on land and by sea). Remember that Duchairn reflects that Charis had already won the battle on the manufactory floor by expanding their manufacturing capabilities, and not just at Delthak.

But another thought occurred to me recently, when I remembered something about the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty. That treaty specifically prohibits the governments of either party to engage in any activities that are prejudicial to the treaty, i.e. they cannot incite against the other. If Charis was smart, and knowing that Duchairn would be willing to give whatever concessions Charis demanded to end the Jihad, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the peace treaty between Charis and Church included such a provision. In other words, if the Church decrees an embargo of Charisian goods and the seizure of Charisian property (such as Charisian-owned factories and businesses), it would constitute an act of war. Individual nation might decide to boycott Charis but the Church cannot have any hand in it, lest Charis perceive it as an act of war. The same would apply to persecution of Reformists or adherents of the Church of Charis.

But this partial adoption of steam power is not likely to work either. After all, one of the key problems the Church and its allies had in the Jihad was that their economies were not able to keep ahead of the growing costs of an industrialized war. Charis and Siddarmark on the other hand were able to keep ahead and even expand their economies even at the height of the war (though Siddarmark was still hampered by the effects of the Sword of Schueler). So if Desnair or Harchong get into a war, even with one another (which is unlikely given the geography and the countries between them), how will they maintain the sort of economy that could finance a protracted war without steam power? The CoGA lasted all of 5 years (barely) from the moment they declared holy war. And does the Church supply both sides with weapons or only one side that has its favor? If Desnair or Harchong is up against Siddarmark or Charis, can it do so without restarting the Jihad? And what if one side is willing to buy weapons and equipment from Charis? There would need to be an agreement beforehand to keep such a war un-industrialized (and how likely is either party to adhere to such an agreement if violating it gives them a critical advantage?). Moreover, can they really motivate troops to give their all if they aren't paid properly (or worse, if they're slaves or serfs)?
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:46 am

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Harchong is another set of contradictions.

I suspect South Harchong's great trading houses will industrialize. They will manage to pay increased taxes to their aristocratic betters. They will produce goods and services for those betters' comfort and ease. They will produce the weapons of war to protect their Empire. North Harchong will provide the officers and reliable troops. South Harchong will supply the guns and bullets. All the socially turbulent changes will be restricted to the South, while the North enjoys the fruits of industry in their aristocratic leisure.

Desnair will fight Harchong. The South will supply the troops and material. The North supplies the officers and a reliable core. Desnair will buy from the CoGA, Dohlar and Silkiah. The fighting will be along the Harchong/Desnair border and along the Desnair coast of the Gulf of Dohlar. The cause could be North Harchong feeling their oats, factional disputes in Desnair boiling into civil war or South Harchong taking issue with slavery.

I doubt Desnair will get anything like naval guns. Short of them and modern warships, Dohlar will sell them anything. Magwair will want to test his new weapons as well, especially if someone else will pay for their development. I am sure there will be a faction in Desnair that will industrialize. The Duchy of Kohlman perhaps. I suspect the ex-Duke might help in that industrialization. I can see that industrialization allowing the Duchy to defend themselves effectively. I can also see Dellfahrahk industrializing and supplying their neighbors to the North in a multi-factional civil war. There really is enough potential chaos to fuel all sorts conflict in Desnair.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:50 pm

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PeterZ wrote:Harchong is another set of contradictions.

I suspect South Harchong's great trading houses will industrialize. They will manage to pay increased taxes to their aristocratic betters. They will produce goods and services for those betters' comfort and ease. They will produce the weapons of war to protect their Empire. North Harchong will provide the officers and reliable troops. South Harchong will supply the guns and bullets. All the socially turbulent changes will be restricted to the South, while the North enjoys the fruits of industry in their aristocratic leisure.

Desnair will fight Harchong. The South will supply the troops and material. The North supplies the officers and a reliable core. Desnair will buy from the CoGA, Dohlar and Silkiah. The fighting will be along the Harchong/Desnair border and along the Desnair coast of the Gulf of Dohlar. The cause could be North Harchong feeling their oats, factional disputes in Desnair boiling into civil war or South Harchong taking issue with slavery.

I doubt Desnair will get anything like naval guns. Short of them and modern warships, Dohlar will sell them anything. Magwair will want to test his new weapons as well, especially if someone else will pay for their development. I am sure there will be a faction in Desnair that will industrialize. The Duchy of Kohlman perhaps. I suspect the ex-Duke might help in that industrialization. I can see that industrialization allowing the Duchy to defend themselves effectively. I can also see Dellfahrahk industrializing and supplying their neighbors to the North in a multi-factional civil war. There really is enough potential chaos to fuel all sorts conflict in Desnair.


Much of this scenario depends on all too many assumptions that are not available in the textev. There is a clear difference between North and South Harchong, in that the latter was a relatively recent "acquisition" of the Empire and has never really been as heavily invested in a serf-based economy to begin with. Much like most of the ancient world, the greater the distance from the political and cultural centers, the weaker its influence (and they also have the Gulf of Dohlar in between). The final chapter of ATSOT indicates that South Harchongese nobles are far more pragmatic than their compatriots to the north and are therefore more likely to embrace innovation and industrialization. And if that's the case, the South might decide to break with the North if the latter disintegrates in a civil war or gets involved in a stupid foreign adventure in Desnair. And I find it equally unlikely that the South would provide suborn itself to the North's interests with no say in the matter.

You also assume that Dohlar and Silkiah would be willing to get involved in such a conflict, even peripherally. And while Magwair might want some way to test his weapons, why would he need to keep it secret? Would Charis impose such arms control provisions on the Church, especially when such R&D is exactly what the Inner Circle needs the Church to do? And don't forget that developing the weapons and equipment is merely the first step. Mass producing them in the necessary quantities and quality is just as important. If the Jihad taught the Church anything its that sending ill-equipped troops to face an enemy with superior weapons is a losing proposition. Then there's the question of the quality of the troops. Having troops who are discouraged from improvising or innovating was also a serious disadvantage against Charisian and Siddarmarkian troops. And if all you use the steam powered machines for is to create thousands of rifles and millions of bullets per day, you will be spending lots of money you don't have on something that only has one purpose. You really think that Duchairn, who knew that the Church was effectively bankrupt because of the huge military budget of the Jihad, would allow steam power to be used only for military purposes and not civilian purposes? Or that he permit Desnair and Harchong to do so as a "holy war expediency"? I don't think he can get away with that under the current circumstances.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:17 am

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Harchong has an interest in expansion. South Harchong has to see the resources and captive market potential of Desnair. North Harchong sees more land to distribute to younger sons of their aristocracy. With the current military disparity between Desnair and Harchong, I can see Northern aristos drooling over a "short, victorious war". I can see the bureaucrats killing two birds by sending the Mighty Host to do the conquering. I can see the Norther clergy having more than a residual animus against Desnair for weaseling out of the jihad. I can see Rainbow Waters using the MH as a way to keep his troops alive. If they disband and return home, they are dead. Those common troopers' only hope is to find a long term reason not to disband that satisfies all the factions.

Desnair will pay anything for weapons. Dohlar and the CoGA will see a golden opportunity to jump start their economy, just like Japan got a boost supplying vehicles to the UN in the Korean War. Fighting a war against a more industrial foe is a very powerful incentive for Desnair to industrialize. Kohlman and Jaras are perfect places to begin. Charis, Siddermark and Silkiah will gladly facilitate accommodation with those regions.

So, it is very possible that Harchong takes digestible segments of Desnair at regular interval over the next two decades. It is also possible that Kohlman and Jaras becomes an increasing more influential as well as secure part of Desnair over the next two decades. Those two outcome could very easily spark hostility within the Desnari court. Enough hostility to cause a civil war.

All this is rampant speculation. However, it does follow from how the jihad ended and the CoGA's loss of ability to forcibly compel other secular nations into any sort of international policy. I am sure there are other directions for the story to go. My speculation is but one.
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