Chapter 3:

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (End of the Slave Empire)

All persons known to be of good character and of sound mind and suitable age, who are connected with this organization, whether male or female, shall be encouraged to carry arms openly.
- Article 43 of the Provisional Constitution and Ordinances (1858), prepared by John Brown.

Duke Robert of Nordallgemein had gathered his vassals for a regular meeting in a gaudily decorated hall of the ducal palace. The room was filled with getups that were equally as gaudy as the room they were in.

The atmosphere in the room was the tensest it had been since a dragon had ravaged the duke’s lands.

“My Lord, we have a grave situation in our hands…” began one of the petty lords seated at the round table. “Adventurers have been reporting an unusual number of dead bodies on the road for the last month. In addition, a knight of mine was murdered in cold blood and had their estate burnt down by unknown attackers.”

The rest of the lords reported similar events, sharing stories of dead adventurers, knights and burnt down estates.

“My Lord, these events are clearly too frequent and organized to be the just a coincidence.” said a count with a concerned expression “There must be some sort of organization behind this, one that we must unite and take immediate action against!”

A rich lord from a port on the fringes of the duchy began talking. “If you’re looking for organized thugs, then it’s definitely the work of the Anti-Adventurer’s League! We’ve captured a few of their men operating in my city, maybe they’ve gone for direct action?”

The duke had been silent for some time, listening to the bickering of his vassals. He finally decided to break his silence after having listened to each vassal. “Do any of you know where these thugs are based at?”

The lords became silent.

“Then, I do not have the time or budget to make my men chase around a ghost.” he said “It’s my duty to protect you as your liege, yes, but it’s not my duty to deal with some simple bandits that you cannot catch.”

The room was plunged into chaos as the lords tried to find a solution.

“Then we should send someone from the Adventurer’s Guild!”

“No, get your own troops and deal with it!”

“Isn’t it the job of the liege?”

“We should find where they live before we act!”

The bickering continued for another hour, yet, nobody could agree on a course of action.

It had been two months since Brown’s first big raid on an estate. The area around the headquarters, which began as a simple cave, had grown into a small town with around a thousand liberated slaves. The area was dotted with makeshift shacks, though some of those who were more skilled in construction had begun making huts of adobe and straw.

Spirits were as high as they could be despite the general poor conditions in this unnamed town.

With a diverse population working towards one goal, that of freedom and liberty, the small town had even begun developing its own cottage industry. Hemp, cotton and wool that had been acquired from raiding estates were used by those skilled in tailoring to produce goods for the people of the town.

Outside of industry, some labored to establish new farms in fertile land near the cave. The ones who had experience in the dungeons grinded items for their comrades to use. Everyone had found a way to help the cause of abolition, no matter what form this help came in.

Brown was back in his cave, observing the chalk map that he had drew. He had expanded it with the help of some scouting parties he had sent in the meantime. No matter how many estates were crossed out, new ones kept being added as the map got bigger and bigger. It seemed like there was no end.

“Mr. Brown, why are you so intently staring at the map?” asked Ayomide while she entered the cave. She had just returned from leading another raid.

“I think something is becoming very clear, young lady.” said Brown. He pointed in the general direction of the still operating estates. “To purge this land of its greatest sin, we’d have to burn all of these estates down, slowly, one by one if we are to keep exactly to how we are operating. We are working efficiently, quietly, yet we’re not working quickly.”

“Is that a problem, Mr. Brown? We’ve already saved hundreds of people.” replied Ayomide. Isn’t that all we can do?

“Yes, hundreds out of hundreds of thousands.” continued Brown “We could hide away in these forests, perhaps for a year or two. In the end, whoever rules this land will come with an even bigger force to wipe us out.”

Another visitor came to the cave before Ayomide could ask another question. He was a dark elf, two meters tall, with great white hair that rivaled even John Brown’s. The elf brought along with him a stack of parchment.

“Mister Nirmal, welcome.” said Brown shaking hands with his visitor. He quickly introduced Mister Nirmal to Ayomide, a former slave who John Brown had recruited as an interior minister of sorts.

Brown motioned Nirmal to leave the parchments on a desk that he had brought into the cave. “Now, young lady, you shall see how we’re going to defeat Goliath.”

On one of the parchments were the results of a census of the unnamed town’s population, divided into those who could or could not fight. On another was an inventory of all weapons acquired from dungeon and estate raids. Finally, on the third parchment, there was map of Gemeinplatz that came with notes about various settlements.

Observing the data John Brown was collecting, Ayomide asked, with a hint of fear and incredulity, “You’re not planning on sieging down a town, are you?”

“That’s exactly what I’m planning to do.” replied Brown. “David didn’t stand idle while Goliath fought him, we must be the ones to cast that first stone and be proactive.”

Who the hell is David, thought Ayomide. “Aren’t you putting everyone in jeopardy, Mr. Brown? What if we are defeated?”

“Yes, but we are already in greater jeopardy while we stay idle. One cannot be free without being in some jeopardy, young lady.” replied Brown. “We must be a beacon in a sea of darkness, not a small firefly hidden in the forest. Our target will be the town of Fahre, from what has been reported, it’s a town in the fringes with weak defenses and a high population of slaves.”

Brown handed Nirmal a piece of parchment that had already been on the table. It contained drawings and orders for uniforms, flags, other textile goods along with orders for a chemical formula that didn’t make sense to Ayomide. “I’ve heard that the hardworking folks have already established their own workshops. We’ll need five-hundred uniforms for the campaign, tents, etcetera. Also, if you can find anyone who can gather materials for and make the substance on the reverse, then send them directly to me.”

John Brown finally gave him another stack of parchment that had been cut into small rectangle notes that had John Brown’s signature on them. “Since we currently are lacking in hard cash, you should pay them with these promissory notes. We should have enough to pay them back after liquidating the assets of the town’s nobility.”

“Understood, Mr. Brown.” said Nirmal as he left the cave to carry out his new mission. The only ones left were John Brown and Ayomide.

“You’re really doing this, huh.” said Ayomide. “Though, you’re the only person I know that is mad enough to attempt something like this.”

“I’ve said I am not all talk, but all action.” replied John Brown. He turned back towards Ayomide. “Now then, for this new army, the League of Gileadites as it should be named, I think you would make a suitable captain for one if its two companies.”

The month where the logistics for the reformed League of Gileadites proved to be a tough month. Provisions, carts to carry those provisions, people to make those carts, people to feed the people making the carts…

The town of Liberty Cave (a simple name that had become popular with its citizens) was abuzz as ploughshares were beaten into swords.

The town had somehow managed to cover the costs with a combination of promissory notes and voluntary work.

Those who were participating in the League as a soldier spent the month training: learning how to march, maintaining formation, and of course practicing using their weapons. Soldiers without any particular combat expertise were handed a pike, those who knew how to use bows and crossbows were handed what they already knew.

Brown felt right at home when he again took up the mantle of Captain Brown in this new army, commanding over ten times the men compared to his last raid on Earth. Joining him was Captain Ayomide, who had gained great experience in commanding men and women during her three-month career as a revolutionary catgirl wizard. Lastly, Nirmal was attached to Captain Brown’s army as a sort of aide-du-camp.

The League left the town with great jubilee from those who were left behind.

Many waved goodbye to their family, made of a kinship deeper than blood, for the last time as they marched forward to battle.

The army marched quickly, quietly and efficiently – just as Captain Brown liked it. They avoided open paths, traveled in forest as much as they could, and avoided settlements until they reached Fahre’s outskirts. The town was quite close by so they managed to reach it in three days and nights without a soul noticing the movement of five hundred soldiers.

Well, no soul noticed it until the League began their siege of Fahre.

The sapper teams quickly got to work, making makeshift fortifications while the rest of the army began setting up camp. The soldiers were already tired and disorganized from the day’s long march, the assault was put off for the next day.

The paths and gates leading out of the city were quickly cut off by the League. Their lines of communication and resupply were blocked off before the men of the town’s garrison could notice that they were being besieged.

Or, it would have been fully blocked if the town still didn’t have a fully functioning port along with some ferries. Still, having no land access was still a huge blow to the morale of the garrison of hundred that woke up to a whole besieging company or two on their doorsteps.

Upon seeing each other both sides skirmished outside of the city gate. Only a few were killed and injured in this initial skirmish. The garrison hid behind the stone walls of the town while the League hid behind a wall made out of pavises.

A messenger came out of the city gates after both sides were tired of pelting each other to no avail. He was carrying a white flag as he rode towards Brown on his steed (which was a giant bipedal lizard).

“Halt! You are intruding on the territory of Baron Harper of Fahre. Stop, disband, and he’ll forgive this grave crime that you’re committing against him. If you don’t, then he shall be forced to bring upon the might of this realm upon your puny rebel force.” related the messenger.

“Tell him, that he is the one who is rebelling, and that he should cease his rebellion.” replied Brown. The messenger was shocked at the attitude of the old man, who looked to be a commoner and commanded an inferior force. “If that baron does not stop his rebellion against the immutable laws of God, then we’ll be forced to put down his rebellion in His name. We ask of him to accept the fact that all men are created equal; he shall let the slaves of God’s domain be free lest he face a most righteous wrath.”

“That is not possible, and is definitely out of the question.” said the messenger. Who does this old, decrepit man think he is?!

“Then, unfortunately, we have no more room for peace and negotiations.” said Brown “The blood of the baron and his men shall have to water the tree of liberty.”

The messenger rode back in disappointment to inform his liege.

“So, Mr. Brown, what is your plan now? Are we going to siege them while they call up reinforcements?” asked Ayomide observing the messenger ride back. Brown was the kind of man who liked to practice secrecy with his plans, so she and the rest were left in the dark about the details.

“No, we won’t wait.” replied Brown. He took out a superweapon that he had been carrying around in his knapsack. He originally intended this weapon to be gunpowder to blow open the walls, but he had been unable to find someone who knew what gunpowder was.

Lacking gunpowder Brown had to approach warfare from a different perspective, that perspective being that of psychological warfare. His weapon for that was one that he had commonly seen on rallies: a simple megaphone.

The skirmish around the wall had completely ceased. The garrison didn’t bother shooting an unarmed man, so Brown was able to safely walk closer to the walls to unleash the weapon that’d win him the war.

“The enslaved folk of Fahre! We have come here to return to you your liberty and freedom. This beautiful country shall be yours, only if you decide to seize it from those who have stolen it from you! Bring down the port, and we’ll do the rest!”