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***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Trials

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by DMcCunney   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:46 am

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RFC mentioned the Testimony of Schueler at a con a while back, as well as letting slip that Merlin and Nynian would become an item. (I did wonder about Nimue, and if/how she might get paired up. Korvyn Gavrai was an appropriate match, once the emotional underbrush was cleared away.)

I read Trials By Fire wondering when we would see Schueler's Testimony, and of course, it was an ultimate cliffhanger ending. :p

According to David, the initial response of the Church of Charis once they get the news will be "We have no idea about this. We need more information before we can take a position.", but that would shift to "There might be something to this..."

I'll be fascinated to see the Temple's reaction to it, as one of the Archangels reappears, states another Archangel was lying, and that parts of the Writ itself are wrong, and leaves behind a book with his side of the story.

It appears from TextEv that what we actually "know" about the aftermath of Commodore Pei's strike and the later War Against the Fallen comes from the Book of Chihiro. His book seems to be the official history of the founding of Safehold that everyone draws from, with Shan-Wei painted as the devil incarnate. If the Book of Chihiro is a packet of lies, and Shan Wei *isn't* the devil incarnate, this will be the worst shock the Vicarate has ever had. The reaction of poor Father Samsyn to the event will be a pale shadow of the Vicarate's.

I understand why folks think this is Stage Two of the Narhman Plan, but I'm skeptical. One issue is the level of tech required to have the avatar of Schueler appear, 50 feet high, in the dome of the church, and then produce the book made with Federation tech to leave behind. The avatar would a holoogram, but how exactly would Charis install the tech to produce it? The same for the book. (Yes, that could have been produced by Owl and possibly smuggled in, if Owl and Nahrman actually wrote it.) I suspect the tech already existed and was built into the church, because the Archangels certainly had it. I see Charis hacking the tech to pull a fast one as even less likely than getting it in place to begin with.

Another question arises from what Schueler said. Merlin, and by extension, the Inner Circle, began with what Commodore Pei's downloads said. We know Langhorne did not order the strike on the Alexandria Enclave that produced Armageddon Reef. We also know the OBS was built aboard Hamilcar by Angels loyal to Chihiro, and deployed just before it was used to prevent Commodore Pei from doing anything to stop it. But while we know that, does the Inner Circle? They've gotten hints that Chihiro had been working to supplant Langhorne from things like Seijin Kohdy's diary, but I don't think they have anything like conclusive evidence that Chihiro was the villain of the piece and that he was the one who had the OBS built and pulled the trigger, let alone that his book was lies.

Another reason I doubt this is Narhman's work is that Charis and the Inner Circle have taken pains from the beginning to only say things that can be demonstrated to be true. They may suspect Chihiro was a bad guy, but I don't think they know enough to even speculate at this level, so anything they might write as the words of Schueler would have real potentials for causing problems if it proved to be wrong.

The Schuelerites believe the day sacred to them is the anniversary of when Schueler's mortal body died and his soul returned to God, and there's a crypt beneath the church where his remains are interred. I do wonder if analysis would confirm that was Schueler's body they interred.

If that was Schueler's avatar rather than a fast one by Nahrman, we then have the question of how Schueler knew about all of the stuff after his "death". My guess would be there's a VR unit under his church, and a recording of his personality was made and uploaded to it before he departed/died. If so, there might be a feed with updates on Safehold his virtual personality could access. (And for that matter, there may be other VR units with other Archangels tucked away in them.) The return of the Archangels doesn't require physical bodies to take place, as long as they can appear in a convincing manner to folks on Safehold. (Though I do wonder what happened to the Dawn Star [which we know to be Hamilcar] departing after the War. To where? I rather doubt it was simply dropped into the local sun like the rest of the colony fleet.)

And who the real Schueler was has been an underlying question for a while. The Schueler in the message Father Paityr has didn't seem like the kind of guy who would who would create the Punishment. And indeed, that portion of his book might have been inserted after the fact by Chihiro, since he controlled the master copy of the Holy Writ in the temple, and could have it edited as he pleased. My own suspicion is the Punishment was an after the fact addition by Chihiro, and the rest of his book was written by him.

The official histories have Schueler assisting Chihiro in the War Against the Fallen. I suspect he didn't know about Chihiro's skullduggery, and supported him because he felt the War could threaten the ultimate existence of humanity on Safehold. If he discovered exactly what Chihiro had been up to after the fact, he'd be dismayed, but what could he actually do? Assuming the histories are accurate, the remaining Angels and Archangels deferred to Chihiro, and Schueler would be unsupported in any open opposition. An option might have been "Use a VR unit as a hole to crawl into and pull it in after him, then wait a long time to reappear and reveal the truth." Mother Church knows nothing about the tech - the mystic functions of the Temple are God's miracles - so they will have no choice but to treat this as real.
______
Dennis
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by TangoLima   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:34 am

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Makes me wonder if Chihiro might have conspired with, then
double-crossed Commodore Pei to get rid of Langhorne etc.
So that he could be top-dog.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:58 am

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I remain of the belief that the Visitation was truly at the very least a Schueler recording. Although it may indeed be Project Androcles, there are too many loose threads. The essential element for me is the Key. Schueler gave the Key to his descendants, NOT the Church hierarchy. The IC have concluded that the OBS and Temple technology are not working properly. Given the military grade security, that seems plausible.

I suspect that the Key is what is missing from the Temple system. Schueler extracted some essential feature from the Temple controls to allow Safehold to grow and mature during the necessary low tech period. Now that period has elapsed and telling the truth is the best way to begin unwinding the Proscriptions. I am not sure if Chihiro's digital personality is in there or not. I suspect whatever is in there agrees with Chihiro.

That's why releasing whatever is inside in the Temple is a one time shot and should only be done in direst need.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by Jeslis   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:28 pm

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SilverbladeTE wrote:Remember way back that it was mentioned that someone ELSE was looking for the Key of Schueler and part of the reason Paityr was sent to Charis...not only to get away from Clyntahn, but far from the mysterious searcher!


Sorry, can't recall which book that was in :/


Err, I've re-read the entire series at least 5 times (maybe 3 times including book 9).. and I don't recall this at all.

They mention wanting to get paityr away from the temple because of clyntan or other 'corruption' type issues where they believe the temple to be unsafe.. but not that the key is in danger. The key isn't mentioned at all.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by Bruno Behrends   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:00 pm

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DMcCunney wrote:
[snip]
The avatar would a holoogram, but how exactly would Charis install the tech to produce it?
[snip]


The same way all those pamphlets kept turning up on the walls all over Zion - by stealthy remote. Note that the scene does not take place inside the temple. Most likely the cathedral was selected instead in order to avoid the temple sensors.

DMcCunney wrote:[snip]
Another question arises from what Schueler said. [snip]
They've gotten hints that Chihiro had been working to supplant Langhorne from things like Seijin Kohdy's diary, but I don't think they have anything like conclusive evidence that Chihiro was the villain of the piece ... [snip]


That the 'archangels' are the villains of the piece is something Nimue has learned in her very first chapter of book 1. ;)
And they need to undermine Chihiro specifically because they know very well that he (and not another 'archangel') is the guy who proscribed electricity as has been explained in suspicious detail in Chapter 1 of the current book. What was or wasn't included in Seijin Kohdy's diary has nothing to do with it.

DMcCunney wrote:[snip]
Another reason I doubt this is Narhman's work is that Charis and the Inner Circle have taken pains from the beginning to only say things that can be demonstrated to be true.
[snip]


That's nearly but not quite correct: Their modus operandi is to not lie.

And what immediately jumped out of the page at me in the 'archangel apparition' scene is that the 'archangel' takes care to not tell a single lie. Every sentence is true. Very telling IMO.

In fact he does not even claim to be an archangel. He just lets the audience draw their own conclusions.Much like Merlin and the Sejin status ascribed to him that he himself never claims.

The 'archangel' also does not state who specifically destroyed Shan Wei. In fact he is careful with his wording: 'she was betrayed by the betrayer of the plan'. No name.

The one and only time a name falls - Chihiro - the apparition just says "... it was not Shan-wei who fell but Chihiro who lied."

That's the literal truth which Merlin has known since book 1. Nothing to do with Kohdy's diary.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by phillies   » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:30 pm

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An interesting challenge with the events on the last two pages being a Nahrman plan is that the good guys know that the Temple has many covert records. Clyntahn recognized the voice of at elast one of the Archangels. If you do not know exactly what data the Temple has, it becomes challenging to produce a Testimony that does not contradict data in the Temple, thus revealing the Testimony to be a sending of Shan-Wei.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by SilverbladeTE   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:57 am

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Jeslis wrote:
SilverbladeTE wrote:Remember way back that it was mentioned that someone ELSE was looking for the Key of Schueler and part of the reason Paityr was sent to Charis...not only to get away from Clyntahn, but far from the mysterious searcher!


Sorry, can't recall which book that was in :/


Err, I've re-read the entire series at least 5 times (maybe 3 times including book 9).. and I don't recall this at all.

They mention wanting to get paityr away from the temple because of clyntan or other 'corruption' type issues where they believe the temple to be unsafe.. but not that the key is in danger. The key isn't mentioned at all.


How Firm a Foundation
When Paityr talks to Merlin about the Key
Though I wasn't totally accurate but close enough ;)
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:32 am

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PeterZ wrote:I remain of the belief that the Visitation was truly at the very least a Schueler recording. Although it may indeed be Project Androcles, there are too many loose threads. The essential element for me is the Key. Schueler gave the Key to his descendants, NOT the Church hierarchy. The IC have concluded that the OBS and Temple technology are not working properly. Given the military grade security, that seems plausible.

I suspect that the Key is what is missing from the Temple system. Schueler extracted some essential feature from the Temple controls to allow Safehold to grow and mature during the necessary low tech period. Now that period has elapsed and telling the truth is the best way to begin unwinding the Proscriptions. I am not sure if Chihiro's digital personality is in there or not. I suspect whatever is in there agrees with Chihiro.

That's why releasing whatever is inside in the Temple is a one time shot and should only be done in direst need.


Agreed. We're obviously supposed to connect the dots with Project Androcles and think the Schueler Appearance is due to Nahrmahn. But it simply doesn't make sense that the Inner Circle would risk another religious war when they now think they have eighty years before the Return. They want things that create doubt, start to slowly chip away at the infallibility of the Writ. The Schueler Appearance doesn't so much chip away at the Writ as apply a pound of Lewisite. :)

In addition, Merlin is busy making plans for steam power shortly before the Appearance, which doesn't really sound like a direct attack on the prohibitions against electricity is coming any time soon. The Inner Circle knows something's gone with the OBS, but they still don't know if using electricity will result in a kinetic bombardment.

If Schueler knows Chihiro's Thing Under The Temple is due in the year 1000, he'd have scheduled his reappearance, attacking Chihiro, first. The point I note is that he seems to have died outside the Temple. Well outside the Temple. Considerably further outside the Temple than Merlin's safe zone for using Federation tech. Funny, that.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by JeffEngel   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:30 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote: We're obviously supposed to connect the dots with Project Androcles and think the Schueler Appearance is due to Nahrmahn. But it simply doesn't make sense that the Inner Circle would risk another religious war when they now think they have eighty years before the Return. They want things that create doubt, start to slowly chip away at the infallibility of the Writ. The Schueler Appearance doesn't so much chip away at the Writ as apply a pound of Lewisite. :)


Agreed. We just don't have the appropriate gravitas about Operation Androcles and the upcoming planned events on the Inner Circle's part suitable for flinging out an appearance by "Schueler" just prior to it happening. It's possible that they're all chill and matter-of-fact about posing as an Archangel by remote, but it would represent a bit of out-of-character behavior.

We've got three potential bases for the "Operation Androcles" name:
1 - This appearance by "Schueler".
2 - Something else to do with Androcles Schueler, like inserting Paityr for something under the Temple.
or 3 - Something based on Androcles and the Lion, as an extension of the Nahrmann Plan, presumably to do with gaining trust by relieving the pain of an otherwise dangerous/hostile party.

I don't think any of them are decisively ruled out or in at this point. Clearly we're invited to suspect (1); I just think we've got reasons to doubt it - character response to it, the deviation from policy, and the potential for it to blow up in their faces.

Two reasons for that last that may not have come up yet (don't recall them from reading through quickly):
One: The timing - it's not quite out of the red zone for an early return of whatever lies behind the Wylsynn tradition. Throwing this out in the face of that would be too provocative.
Two: The contents of the Testimony of Schueler. This is going to be suitable for the IC's purposes only if the Testimony won't be disconfirmed by anything reliable in the Writ, Commentaries, Testimonies, etc. - where it contradicts them, if at all, it's got to present itself as clearly better evidenced to compete with the traditional, accepted narrative. And the IC simply does not have an account of those days from Schueler or his close associates adequate to that standard. Seijin Kohdy's account is in the very general neighborhood, granted, but there's too much he did not know to make up a Testimony of Schueler the IC can use without taking an unacceptable gamble.

I am inclined to think that whatever is behind the appearance is at least somewhat up on recent events - from 1000 years back, it could not count on misuse of the Punishment or Church corruption being particularly salient just then, as opposed to stuff they've suffered now and again for hundreds of years.

And speaking in terms of keeping the story interesting, I doubt we'd see the "game over" wrathful Archangel appearance now or starting up the next book - it would make for either an awful downer ending OR an anticlimactic and implausible good-guy triumph whichever way it could go.

What would keep things lively and would be a natural continuation of this appearance would be another faction that would like to fix/topple the CoGA like the IC, but comes at it with different perspectives, resources, and methods that may not mesh well with what the IC has going on - and may risk some response from the Thing in the Basement that the IC's avoided, because that other faction can, or thinks it can, or thinks it has no choice but to HOPE it can, handle the Thing.

What we'd be seeing would be a sort of gambit pileup story.
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Re: ***Major Spoiler*** The ending scene of Through Fiery Tr
Post by Whitecold   » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:16 pm

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Bruno Behrends wrote:
DMcCunney wrote:
[snip]
The avatar would a holoogram, but how exactly would Charis install the tech to produce it?
[snip]


The same way all those pamphlets kept turning up on the walls all over Zion - by stealthy remote. Note that the scene does not take place inside the temple. Most likely the cathedral was selected instead in order to avoid the temple sensors.

DMcCunney wrote:[snip]
Another question arises from what Schueler said. [snip]
They've gotten hints that Chihiro had been working to supplant Langhorne from things like Seijin Kohdy's diary, but I don't think they have anything like conclusive evidence that Chihiro was the villain of the piece ... [snip]


That the 'archangels' are the villains of the piece is something Nimue has learned in her very first chapter of book 1. ;)
And they need to undermine Chihiro specifically because they know very well that he (and not another 'archangel') is the guy who proscribed electricity as has been explained in suspicious detail in Chapter 1 of the current book. What was or wasn't included in Seijin Kohdy's diary has nothing to do with it.

DMcCunney wrote:[snip]
Another reason I doubt this is Narhman's work is that Charis and the Inner Circle have taken pains from the beginning to only say things that can be demonstrated to be true.
[snip]


That's nearly but not quite correct: Their modus operandi is to not lie.

And what immediately jumped out of the page at me in the 'archangel apparition' scene is that the 'archangel' takes care to not tell a single lie. Every sentence is true. Very telling IMO.

In fact he does not even claim to be an archangel. He just lets the audience draw their own conclusions.Much like Merlin and the Sejin status ascribed to him that he himself never claims.

The 'archangel' also does not state who specifically destroyed Shan Wei. In fact he is careful with his wording: 'she was betrayed by the betrayer of the plan'. No name.

The one and only time a name falls - Chihiro - the apparition just says "... it was not Shan-wei who fell but Chihiro who lied."

That's the literal truth which Merlin has known since book 1. Nothing to do with Kohdy's diary.


The betrayer already implies a singular betrayer, meaning Schueler is exonerated. The inner circle does not know how the split in the command team went.
Also the speech is not the only thing, the testimony is the real sticking point. That seems to be a significant document, and for this to have the impact whoever created them wanted, they need to have enough content, including naming 'the betrayer' as advertised.
If they contain indeed the records of Schueler, it is very unlikely that the Inner Circle could fake them without making things up or getting into conflict with secret records, since there is so little known to the IC about the War of the fallen besides the official, inaccurate church record.
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