|Through Fiery Trials|
|Publication date||January 8, 2019|
|Published by||Tor Books|
| Preceded by|
At the Sign of Triumph
| Followed by|
Following the end of the Jihad and the execution of Zhaspahr Clyntahn (February, Year of God 899), a peace summit takes place in Siddar City, which concludes with the signing of a peace treaty and the formalization of the Schism between the Church of God Awaiting and the Church of Charis. Realizing that they only have 16 years until the first possible date for the return of the "Archangels" promised in the Stone of Schueler, the Inner Circle then launches the "Nahrmahn Plan" for the rapid industrialization of Safehold and the spread of modern technology and progressive social and scientific attitudes wherever possible. To that end, Charis eschews mercantilism for a broader policy of generously investing in local manufacturers and cultivating peaceful trade, even if it means giving up many of their technological advantages.
The plan hits a number of obstacles in the Republic of Siddarmark, where the collapse of the House of Qwentin coupled with the spread of land speculators in the western provinces has led to a recession and massive inflation. As a result, Lord Protector Greyghor Stohnar and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Henrai Maidyn are forced to establish a national bank to regulate the currency and credit, a move that proves highly divisive and which requires all too many political compromises. In addition, the western provinces of the Republic are experiencing social unrest as a result of the bitter enmity between the Siddar Loyalists and the returning Temple Loyalist refugees.
In the northern portion of the Harchong Empire, a massive rebellion of serfs breaks out as a result of the Empire's refusal to allow the return of 2 million former soldiers of the Mighty Host and the progressive social ideas they were exposed to while fighting for Mother Church. Instigated by a former sergeant in the Mighty Host, Tangwyn Syngpu, and many other former soldiers, the rebels manage to seize a major shipment of modern rifles to the capital, burn a forest around a column of the Emperor's Spears (the Harchongese secret police) and then head to the capital of Shang-mi, where they sack the city and manage to kill the Emperor Waisu VI himself and many of his ministers. His son, Zhyou-Zhwo, manages to escape to Yu Kwau in South Harchong, with the remaining nobles and ministers. Seeing the opportunity afforded him by the death of so many of his father's ministers and bureaucrats, Zhyou-Zhwo clearly intends to exercise direct authority over his empire rather than allow himself to be "managed" by those ministers and the bureaucracy. Yet despite Zhyou-Zhwo's bellicosity and desire to retake control of the northern lobe of the Empire, he is unable to do so due to the lack of sufficient modern weapons and the involvement of the Church and Charis in preventing him from shipping in troops by sea.
North Harchong is eventually split in three regions. In the eastern provinces bordering the Temple Land, are invaded by Earl Rainbow Waters with the Church's support, ostensibly for the sole purpose of reestablishing imperial authority and civil order. In the western provinces, several reform-minded nobles join forces with the local clergy and artisans to similarly reestablish order in the Emperor's name, while enjoying the economic and military support of Charis. The region in between descends into chaos and bloodshed, with minor nobles becoming warlords subjugating the peasants. However, the Chynduk Valley in the Chiang-wu Mountains, manages to remain independent for many years thanks to the military support of Syngpu's army of guerrillas.
The Empire of Charis continues to develop it's technology at a frenetic pace. They begin manufacturing, deploying and exporting railroads and steam locomotives throughout the Charis and the mainland, along with social reforms, environmental regulations and labor laws that are enthusiastically embraced by the Temple Lands (despite the conservatives' reservations regarding possible violations of the Proscriptions of Jwo-Jeng) and Dohlar, while Desnair and South Harchong are forced to follow suit while desperately attempting to avoid the social reforms and keep the current noble families in power. Charis also begins to develop a petroleum industry and zeppelins, establishing the planet's first air force. The imperial family expands, as Cayleb and Sharleyan have more children, along with Cayleb's nieces and nephews and with Hektor and Irys' children. Nimue Chwaeriau agrees to marry Coryn Gahrvai and the two are able to have children with the assistance of Terran Federation technology, while Merlin and Nynian marry and adopt Stefyny and Sebahstean Mahlard, after their father dies in a fire. The Inner Circle continues to grow, and it's capabilities are enhanced with Terran Federation implants developed by OWL and Nahrmahn.
Grand Vicar Rhobair II dies of a sudden heart attack in August 905, and is succeed by the Church's chancellor, Vicar Tymythy Symkyn, a former soldier in the Army of God during the Jihad. Archbiship Maikel Staynair is invited to Zion to attend his elevation, accompanied by a disguised Merlin, who is there to both guard Staynair and collect intelligence on the Temple's systems. The following year, Greyghor Stohnar also dies of a heart attack and is succeeded by Henrai Maidyn. However, Maidyn is assassinated shortly afterwards by an embittered Temple Loyalist, which triggers an additional round of rioting in the western provinces against the Temple Loyalists and the strengthening of criminal elements and reactionary politicians. He is succeeded by Klymynt Myllyr, who manages to win the following election by a narrow margin but is unable to accept a Charisian financial bailout plan until the economy has stabilized.
King Rahnyld V of Dohlar is invited to Tellisberg on a state visit along with one of his sisters and the Earl of Thirsk, where Charis impresses the young monarch with their technology. Soon after, the Earl of Thirsk dies, prompting Cayleb and Sharleyan to travel to Gorath for his funeral, where King Rahnyld proposes sending his sisters and several of Thirsk's grandchildren to Charis for their education. Cayleb and Sharleyan agree to this in order to further improve their relationships with the House of Bahrns and despite any reservations they have over it's impact on relations with Siddarmark.
In Northern Harchong, Charis sends Coryn Gahrvai to train the troops of the United Provinces, in order to facilitate its expansion eastward. In the central region, Baron Spring Flower manages to beat most of his surrounding warlords and is elevated to Grand Duke by the court in Yu-Kwau, although the Chynduk Valley continues to hold out against his efforts to conquer it thanks to Syngpu's efforts. In the eastern quarter of North Harchong, the Church urges Rainbow Waters to proclaim East Harchong's independence from Yu-Kwau and establish a new realm with a liberal constitution and with Rainbow Waters as it's leader. His nephew, Baron Wind Song, inherits the position 3 years later when Rainbow Waters dies.
In Charis, a hunting trip attended by the Emperor, Princess Alahnah, Lywys Whytmyn, Styfyny Athrawes and several of their retainers turns deadly, as a pair of Mountain Dragons assault the party. Alahnah only manages to survive because of Lywys deliberately draws the attention of one of the beasts by shooting at it and by Merlin, whose miraculous arrival and killing of the Dragon causes both of them to wonder how he did it. They are brought to the Archbishop's palace in Tellisberg, where the truth is revealed to them and which they are able to accept. Alahnah and Lywys grow even closer to one another as a result, and knowing about the impending return of the Archangels, Alahnah reveals her true feelings to Lywys and asks him to marry her. The wedding is done in secret due to political concerns over how such a marriage might impact Charis' relationship with Siddarmark.
In June of 913, the Chynduk Valley's fortunes take a turn for the worse, with Spring Flower's forces being equipped with more modern rifles from Yu-Kwau, which would enable him to overwhelm the Valley with numbers. The Valley's leaders and Syngpu are then approached by Merlin, who offers them Charisian assistance via airships that have been developed. The Chynduk Valley's defenders are resupplied with cutting edge Charisian military equipment, allowing to surprise and defeat Spring Flower's forces. In the following year, a delegation from the Valley is sent by airship to Zhynkau, where they officially petition to join the United Provinces, which is now able to expand it's reach all the way to the valley thanks to the railroad and airships Charis has made available. In South Harchong, Zhyou-Zhwo refuses to accept Harchong's diminishing power yet his ministers begin to realize that there is no way to truly salvage the imperial authority in the North, and launch plans to try and build a large enough navy to deter Charis from attacking them in the south.
Many events transpire in Year of God 915, the year that the Inner Circle fears would see the promised return of the "Archangels". Prince Daivyn Daikyn of Corisande weds Frahncheska Chermyn, the niece of Hauwyl Chermyn, Grand Duke of Zebediah, thus laying to rest much of the lingering animosity between the two realms within the Charisian Empire. With his health deteriorating, Hauwyl Chermyn abdicates his title and transfers it to his eldest son Rahz during the God's Day celebrations in Cherayth. In Siddarmark, rampant corruption and the machinations of powerful interest groups lead to the collapse of the barely recovered economy. The collapse also leads to Myllyr's resounding defeat in the election and his replacement with the reactionary Zhermo Hygyns, who uses his large majority in the Chamber of Delegates to push through a legislative package that all but guarantees a major depression and termination of Siddarmark's cordial relationship with Charis. Yet by God's Day of 916, no "Archangels" have returned to Safehold, and Cayleb authorizes Nahrmahn to proceed with the final phase of his plan, dubbed Operation Androcles.
In the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Schueler, where the "earthly" remains of Schueler are interred, the ceremonies for the Feast of Schueler (commemorating his "return to God") are interrupted by as burst of light that reveals a huge apparition of Schueler himself. The shocked parishioners and clerics are told by Schueler "that it was not Shan-wei who Fell, but Chihiro who lied" and are left with a clearly "divine" book containing the Testimony of Schueler as proof that he appeared before them.
Alahnah Ahrmahk • Cayleb II Ahrmahk • Haarahld VII Ahrmahk • Nimue Alban • Merlin Athrawes • Nahrmahn II Baytz • Maruyama Chihiro • Dzhungnan Chyang • Kynt Clareyk • Zhaspahr Clyntahn • Rhobair Duchairn • Giaupan • Waisu VI Hantai • Zhouhan Husan • Jeremiah Knowles • Eric Langhorne • Ruwahn Nyangzhi • Owl • Dauzhi Pauzho • Pei Kau-yung • Kaihwei Pyangzhow • Nynian Rychtair • Lyangbau Saiyang • Androcles Schueler • Domynyk Staynair • Maikel Staynair • Mangzhin Pau • Pei Shan-wei • Pauyin Syngpu • Tangwyn Syngpu • Allayn Tahlbaht • Sharleyan Tayt Ahrmahk • Ruhsyl Thairis • Tugpang • Byrtrym Waistyn • Zhakleen Wylsynn • Hangdau Yungdan • Sywangwan Zhu-chi
Armageddon Reef • Kingdom of Charis • Empire of Charis • Cherayth • Kingdom of Chisholm • Harchong Empire • Maddox Province • Maikelberg • Mountains of Light • Nimue's Cave • Safehold • Shang-mi • Show-wan Hills • Republic of Siddarmark • Stene Province • Tellesberg • Tellesberg Palace • Temple Lands • Thomas Province • Tiegelkamp Province • Zion
Adams and Eves • Archangels • Archangel Schueler • Church of Charis • Church of God Awaiting • Earldom of Crimson Sky • Day of Creation • Emperor's Spears • Gbaba • Holy Writ • Imperial Harchongese Army • Key of Schueler • The Life of Merlin Athrawes • Merlin's Inner Circle • Mighty Host of God and the Archangels • Monastery of Saint Zherneau • PICA • Proscriptions of Jwo-jeng • Earldom of Rainbow Waters • Rakurai • Saint Kylmahn • seijin • The Testimonies • War Against the Fallen • Barony of White Tree • Earldom of Winter Glory