|Midst Toil and Tribulation|
|Published by||Tor Books|
How Firm A Foundation
Like A Mighty Army
The book was released on September 18, 2012.
Timeframe: March, Year of God 896 - July, Year of God 896
Plot[edit | edit source]
In the Year of God 896 on the world of Safehold, the Republic of Siddarmark is in chaos. As an unusally harsh winter prevails, the Siddarmark Civil War rages. Wracked with guilt and helplessness, Merlin Athrawes watches through his SNARC platforms as Temple Loyalist forces continue to wage total war on anyone and anything they consider to have ties to Lord Protector Greyghor Stohnar and his Reformist allies.
With the full blessing of the Temple, Loyalist atrocities against Siddarmark's people and integral resources have provoked Reformists (and innocent bystanders driven to arms to avenge their losses) to respond in kind. Merlin remorsefully recognizes that this is only the beginning of a full scale religious war, and that he has a key hand in fueling the conflict, the true nature of which was something previously known only to him.
Emperor Cayleb Ahrmahk and Empress Sharleyan devote as many resources as they can to food and material aid for Siddarmark, which they are able to organize quickly due to their knowledge of the conflict far in advance of anyone else in Charis. They also plan how to best send Ruhsyl Thairis, the Duke of Eastshare, and the Imperial Charisian Army to Siddarmark, settling on a route through Raven's Land and a short sea passage.
The Group of Four convene to address recent events. Vicar Zhaspahr Clyntahn has suffered a severe loss of face after the rescue of Prince Daivyn of Corisande and his sister Princess Irys, along with their guardian Phylyp Ahzgood, the Earl of Coris, from Delferahk. He also is revealed to have unleashed the Sword of Schueler, the uprising which started the Siddarmark Civil War, without the knowledge or input of his peers.
Clyntahn remains a hugely powerful figure within the Church, and despite his bitter hatred for the Grand Inquisitor, Vicar Rhobair Duchairn is unable to do anything other than gently criticize him and remind his fellows that the destruction of Siddarmark as a stable political entity has dealt additional harm to the Temple's revenue stream. Plans to deploy the new Army of God, with support from Dohlar and Desnair, into Siddarmark move forward.
The rescued Corisandians arrive in Tellesberg aboard HMS Destiny. Cayleb and Sharleyan warmly greet Prince Daivyn and recognize him as the legitimate Prince of Corisande. Irys and Daivyn are placed under the protection of Archbishop of Charis Maikel Staynair. Though they remain adherent Temple Loyalists, Irys begins to have serious doubts and, during a voyage to Chisholm with Sharleyan and Staynair, she joins the Reformist cause.
Father Paityr Wylsynn and the industrialist Ehdwyrd Howsmyn, inspired by their knowledge of humanity's true history, work to develop steam technology. After exhaustive preparations, a prototype steam engine is tested at Howsmyn's Delthak Works. This leads to the rapid development of steam-powered manufactories, river barges, and, eventually, revolutionary ironclads and railroad technology.
Merlin suddenly departs, refusing to say why. He flies to Nimue's Cave in the Mountains of Light, and there greets the "dead" Nahrmahn Baytz. Determined to not lose his dear friend, or the Emeraldian prince's keen intellect, Merlin explains to Nahrmahn that he committed a grave violation by the standards of Terran Federation: He had copied Nahrmahn's personality and memories to a "hyper-heuristic" virtual interface without his consent.
Because of his actions, Merlin tells Nahrmahn that it is his choice whether to remain alive, but trapped in a machine and unable to directly interact with the real world. Nahrmahn is uncertain, but eventually contacts his "widow" Ohlyvya, and with her approval, opts to live on. He also spends extensive time with Owl in time-compressed "hyper-heuristic" mode, resulting in the tactical computer's development of sentience.
Duke Eastshare and his army pass through Raven's Land after they supply a persuaive "indemnity" to the ruling Raven Lords for each of their soldiers. They are engaged in a race against time: Eastshare's second-in-command General Kynt Clareyk, Baron of Green Valley, knows through his access to the SNARCs that the Army of God, the Imperial Desnairian Army and the Royal Dohlaran Army are converging on Siddarmark.
The Army of God arrives in Siddarmark first and with the support of Temple Loyalist militias begins to make short work of the battered remnants of the Republic of Siddarmark Army that remain loyal to Stohnar, though the dedicated troops do not die easily. Emperor Cayleb arrives in Siddar City with a force of Marines and armed Imperial Charisian Navy personnell under the command of Hauwerd Breygart, Earl of Hanth.
Cayleb prepares to lead a detachment with Hanth to head off the Dohlarans, but Stohnar refuses to allow it, arguing that the Emperor should remain in Siddar City where he can provide strategic leadership in relative safety. Cayleb reluctantly agrees. Another detachment under Brigadier Mhartyn Taisyn lands on the Daivyn River several hundred miles to the west, setting up a naval-gun armed redoubt to delay the Army of God as long as possible.
In Chisholm, Sharleyan addresses domestic affairs. Through SNARC surveillance and other resources, she has become aware of increased, though highly cautious, restiveness on the part of Chisholm's aristocracy. She fears that as the Empire has committed every fighting man it has to Siddarmark, her rivals may be "stupid" enough to attempt to exploit the situation. She also crafts policy to adapt Chisholm to the new Imperial economy.
Meanwhile, Sharleyan meets with Irys, Earl Coris and Daivyn. Though she reminds the Corisandians that the treaty of surrender signed by the Regency Council of Corisande remains in effect, she offers a new set of generous terms: Corisande, in the same fashion as Emerald and Tarot, will become as an Imperial constituent, with Daivyn as the fourth-ranking noble of the Empire of Charis. To seal the pact, Irys will marry Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmahk.
Back in Siddarmark, Earl Hanth's force uses tactical guile to corner the Dohlaran vanguard. Combined with new tactics developed to maximize the impact of the Mahndrayn breech-loading rifle, Hanth routs the Dohlarans with minimal casualties. He brings the Dohlaran advance to a halt after driving back the vanguard and besieging the first wave of their army. However, his force is too small to contain the entire Dohlaran force.
Simultaneously, the force under Brigadier Taisyn ambushes Army of God barges coming up their chokepoint on the Daivyn River. Taisyn's naval gunners destroy the barges and render the river temporarily inpassable. Taisyn and the Siddarmarkian Army leaders realize that unless their redoubt on the chokepoint is relieved soon by Duke Eastshare, they will be encircled by the massive Temple force, numbering more than 100,000.
Cayleb and Stohnar scramble to concoct some means to slow the Temple armies down so that Duke Eastshare's main force is able to reach the Republic before they can converge and become nigh-unstoppable. Merlin conceives of the idea of using new Charisian ironclad ships to sail up Siddarmark's extensive canal system and destroy the infrastructure necessary for the Temple forces to continue their advance.
The plan entails a significant amount of risk. If the Temple defenders on the canals recognize in time that their weapons are useless against the ironclads, they can destroy one of the canal locks themselves and strand the ships in a dry canal bed. To maintain surprise, Merlin himself must secretly travel to the semaphore posts along the canal system and kill all of the civilian workers there. This causes him significant mental anguish.
The vanguard of Eastshare's troops arrives under Green Valley's command, and use their advanced weapons to pause the Army of God's advance and destroy much of its artillery. Merlin destroys the semaphore posts as the ironclads systemically execute their mission. The destruction of the Army of God's supply line, Easthare's arrival, and the new Charisian tactics leave the Temple with no choice but to stop all offensive action for the year.
However, Taisyn's position cannot be reached in time. The Army of God takes more than 10,000 casualties, but they kill Taisyn and all of his men, who fight to the death knowing that surrender will only mean subjection to the Punishment of Schueler, as has been the practice of every Temple-aligned force during the war. The Mahndrayn rifles used by Taisyn's men are also captured, allowing the Temple to begin a hurried duplication effort.
The Group of Four convene, and Clytahn becomes furious with Vicar Allayn Magwair, the Army of God's Commander-in-Chief. However, Magwair finds the temerity to independently stand up to Clyntahn for the first time, and the Grand Inquisitor is briefly taken aback. Duchairn promises that the Church's new tax policies will allow for a slow recovery from their setbacks, while the Temple forces adjust to the new Charisian tactics.
In Siddar City, Merlin observes a thunderstorm, beset by a deep, silent depression over all the bloodshed that he has caused, convinced that he has become nothing more than a soulless killing machine. Nahrmahn reaches out to him, reminding Merlin that in the end, he has done his duty and created hope for victory in a war that was, in one way or another, inevitable. The PICA once known as Nimue Alban resolves to carry on.
Publishing data[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Characters[edit | edit source]
Edwyrd Ahlbair • Rainos Ahlverez • Cayleb II Ahrmahk • Sharleyan Ahrmahk • Phylyp Ahzgood • Saimyn Airnhart • Nimue Alban • Chestyr Aplyn • Hektor Aplyn-Ahrmahk • Merlin Athrawes • Ahbail Bahrdailahn • Stywyrt Baiket • Pawal Baikyr • Haarahld Bradlai • Styvyn Brahnahr • Dynnys Braisyn • Haarahld Breygart • Hauwerd Breygart • Mairah Breygart • Styvyn Breygart • Trumyn Breygart • Zhadwail Brynygair • Zhasyn Cahnyr • Hahlys Cahrtair • Bairmon Chahlmair • Bairaht Charlsyn • Dahnel Chermyn • Hauwyl Chermyn • Zhaspahr Clyntahn • Charlz Dahnsyn • Daivyn Daykyn • Irys Daykyn • Charlz Doyal • Rayjhis Dragoner • Rhobair Duchairn • Shainsail Edwair • Crahmynd Fyrgyrsyn • Koryn Gahrvai • Rysel Gahrvai • Lywys Gardynyr • Gharth Gorjah • Sahmantha Gorjah • Frahnklyn Hainai • Shain Hauwyl • Ehdwyrd Howsmyn • Zosh Huntyr • Ahlfryd Hyndryk • Aizak Kahnklyn • Ahlvyn Khapahr • Hainree Klairynce • Eric Langhorne • Taryl Lektor • Bryahn Lock Island • Dahn Lywkys • Sahndrah Lywys • Wahlys Mahkhom • Mahlkaihy • Fhranklyn Mahldyn • Mathylda Mahldyn • Taigys Mahldyn • Urwyn Mahndrayn • Lywys Maiksyn • Spyncyr Mairyai • Gwylym Manthyr • Gorthyk Nybar • Dustyn Olyvyr • Zohannes Pahtkovair • Weslai Parkair • Pei Kau-yung • Allayn Powairs • Stahlman Praigyr • Barkah Rahskail • Rebkah Rahskail • Wahlys Rahskail • Ahldahs Rahzwail • Byrk Raimahn • Tobys Raimair • Zhames II Rayno • Wyllym Rayno • Zhordyn Rydach • Paiair Sahbrahan • Tompsyn Saigyl • Hairyet Saltair • Ghavyn Sahlys • Zhasyn Seafarer • Ellys Sebahstean • Chyntai Shaiow • Showail • Trahvys Shulmyn • Trumyn Sowthmyn • Domynyk Staynair • Maikel Staynair • Greyghor Stohnar • Trumyn Stohnar • Brahd Stylmyn • Zhorj Styvynsyn • Payt Stywyrt • Suchung • Frahnklyn Sumyr • Clyftyn Sumyrs • Barjwail Suwail • Tobys Suwyl • Nahrmahn Tidewater • Zhon Tompsyn • Zhon Trahlmyn • Sailys Trahskhat • Zahmsyn Trynair • Tyrnyr • Paityr Wylsynn • Dahnel Vyrnyr • Dunkyn Yairley • Aibram Zaivyair • Zhaksyn • Grovair Zhaksyn • Zhoel Zhanstyn • Ahlber Zhustyn • Zhwaigair
Vessels[edit | edit source]
- HMS Chihiro
- HMS Dawn Star, 58
- HMS Delthak
- HMS Destroyer, 54
- HMS Destiny, 54
- HMS Gwylym Manthyr
- HMS Hador
- HMS King Haarahld VII
- HMS Lainsair Svairsmahn
- HMS Saygin
- HMS Tellesberg
- HMS Volcano, 24
Places[edit | edit source]
Alyksberg • Ananasberg • The Anvil • Bedard Bay • Bess • Border States • Brahdwyn's Folly • Branath Canal • Empire of Charis • Cliff Peak Province • Princedom of Corisande • Kingdom of Delferahk • Delthak River • Delthak Works • Lake Erdan • Langhorne Canal • Glacierheart Province • Gorath Bay • Gray Wall Mountains • Green Cove Trace • Guarnak–Ice Ash Canal • Guarnak-Sylmahn Canal • Earldom of Hanth • Harchong Empire • Harystn • Hildermoss Canal • Hildermoss Province • Hildermoss River • Holy War on Charis • Jairth • Ice Ash River • King's Harbor • Lake Lymahn • Maikelberg • Rahzhyr Mahklyn • Malphyra Bay • Malitar Province • Marisahl • Moon Thorn • Mountaincross Province • New Northland • New Northland Canal • Nimue's Cave • North Bay • Northland Province • Old Province • Passage of Storms • Ramsgate Bay • Raven's Land • Rollings Province • Royal College of Charis • Saint Agtha's • Saiknyr High Road • Salthar Bay • Sarmouth Keep • Sea of Charis • Sea of Justice • Serabor • Shairncross House • Republic of Siddarmark • Siddar City • Siddar Cathedral • SNARC • Snow Barren Mountains • Southguard Province • South March • Sylmahn Gap • Sylmahn River • Tairmana Canal • Gulf of Tanshar • Tarikah Province • Kingdom of Tarot • Tellesberg • Temple Lands • Trokhanos Province • Western Crown Demesne • Westmark Province • Windmoor Province • Lake Zhym • Zion
Battles[edit | edit source]
Other[edit | edit source]
House of Ahrmahk • Archangels • Army of God • Book of Pasquale • Brethren of Saint Zherneau • Bureau of Engineering • Bureau of Navigation • Bureau of Ordnance • Bureau of Ships • Bureau of Supply • Church of God Awaiting • House of Daykyn • Duchy of Earnhart • Duchy of Eastshare • Dragon • forktail • Gbaba • Grand Inquisitor • Barony of Green Field • Group of Four • High Admiral • Imperial Charisian Army • Imperial Charisian Marine Corp • Imperial Charisian Navy • Knights of the Temple Lands • kraken • Lord Protector • Mahndrayn • Duchy of Margo • neartuna • Northern Conspiracy • Order of Chihiro • Owl • Pica • Proscriptions of Jwo-jeng • recon skimmer • Reformist • Royal Dohlaran Navy • Duchy of Salthar • seijin • Clan Shairncross • Siddar River • SNARC • snow lizard • Speaker of the Lords • stone wool • Sword of Schueler • Temple Loyalists • Terran Federation • Clan Theralt • whiskey
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