Frays in the Weave

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Intermezzo

Cardinal Garnhalt stared ahead of the bow. The entire papal fleet would assemble at Friedhafen. It would take months of course. Ships arriving one by one, some only half manned and not a single one carrying the soldiers who were the reason for this mission.

Not a single galley. Not one. Garnhalt couldn't believe their luck. Didn't either. He'd set up a network of spies the last few years just in preparation of this day. Well, this spring at least.

All reports did indicate that the western raiders had truly decimated Keen's fleet to nothing. The godless didn't have a single galley to send to the Narrow Sea. He doubted they even had enough for basic patrolling of their own western coast. For all he knew pirates based on the Ming peninsula controlled all of Liat Sea. A strange name. In the language of the godless it meant sea of snow, but those waters had never seen snow during his lifetime.

He would gather the fleet, get whatever letters were needed with proper seals. He would even make sure at least one royal fleet was paid if he could find no one with coffers to match his faith. The church didn't hold lands apart from dioceses, but even those were shared with the nobility. It must never be said the church didn't hold true to the ideals of poverty. Now, control, that's a different matter. Control was enough, especially with the eighth due to holy mother church collected by the landowning nobles.

Chach, it had to be Chach. A kingdom with three claimants for the throne and even more warlords who refused to bow to any crown.

Garnhalt sighed. The church was stronger than ever in the Midlands, but that was at the cost of all holdings along the northern shore. A hundred and fifty years ago Chach had been strong, solid and invincible. More an empire than a kingdom. But for Erkateren all of the Narrow Sea had belonged to Chach.

Well, all hadn't been well then. Chach had been too strong. Whenever the church bent its knee to the crown, any crown, things were wrong. Very wrong. Hubris saw Chach reduced to this. God's wrath.

This time he would make certain that whatever lands they conquered were awarded to those who deserved it, and not too much to any one faction.

Mintosa would still be a horn in his side, but he had plans for removing that obstacle as well. As long as the walled port feigned loyalty to Keen the godless would always have a southern port available.

The last time it had been used was only a season ago, and an entire raider fleet burned, and sunk. Trebuchets were not forgiving to anyone who braved that harbour Taking it was imperative for keeping any land they took, but he had plans.


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