Chapter 4:

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.

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

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land can never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.
- John Brown’s last words, given to a jailor on his way to the gallows.

“…to stop these vile rebels, and their outrageous demands, we wish that Your Excellency does what they have to do as my liege…”

Baron Harper was dictating to his scribe who was jotting down the letter as if his life depended on it. Actually, his life did depend on it. If the city did not receive any supplies and the baron was overthrown then the scribe would be out of a job.

The baron was nervously marching around the room. Damn it, where did these people come from?! I’ve heard about estates being burnt in the countryside, but there’s no way a bunch of lowly thugs banded together to besiege a city! The lord slowly marched towards the window so that he could calm his nerves with some fresh air.

What he saw outside made his nerves riot instead.

The window looked towards the port, where he saw it burning down. He couldn’t believe his eyes, so he called over his scribe to make sure he wasn’t going hysterical. The scribe confirmed that the port was burning down, and is if the scribe wasn’t enough as a witness, a messenger from the garrison commander entered his room.

“My Lord, a couple of saboteurs torched the port!” screamed the messenger who was out of breath.

“I can see the port burning from up here, you imbecile! Have you captured the culprits?” asked the baron. He felt a sense of inevitable doom creeping up to him.

“No, my Lord. They escaped in the chaos.” replied the poor messenger.

“Okay just…” said the baron as he heaved a deep sigh. “Is the port of the castle safe?”

“Yes, my Lord. We have your private ferry still in the dock. Do you want it to be prepared?”

“Yes, I’m leaving. Tell the servants to fill it with whatever valuables they can find in the castle. I- We need to evacuate.” ordered the baron. This battle is lost, yet I can recuperate if I just escape and petition my liege.

“Okay, sir!”

Brown had been continuing to preach using the megaphone for the last hour. Ayomide was standing behind him, questioning if the old man had fully lost it.

Suddenly a murmur began travelling through the soldiers.

“What is that in the distance?”

“That’s… A whole lot of smoke.”

“Is something burning inside the town?”

“Why are we all suddenly commenting about smoke? Oh. That’s why.”

Nobody outside the walls could see what was exactly happening, but Brown (and Ayomide who had been watching him shout for the last hour) could guess that where there was smoke there was fire.

“This is the first time I’ve seen words come out of someone that is not a pyromancer, words that are so incendiary that they literally cause stuff to catch fire.” commented Ayomide “You are not secretly a pyromancer, are you Mr. Brown?”

“No, I’m a man of the Lord who stays away from magic. The Lord granted me words that are incendiary enough as they are.” replied Brown. He watched the smoke rise as his plan came to a success; the only thing left to do was deal the coup de grâce. A dozen or so troops had been pulled from the wall to ensure public order in the city, leaving the gates underdefended.

Most troops of the League had plenty of timber stored that they had acquired from raided estates and the forest they marched through. Captain Brown ordered the troops to begin preparing burning their timber and making makeshift torches. A few magicians in the party helped this become a reality with pyromancy.

In a few minutes, the League had hundreds of troops carrying an equal amount of burning torches.

Captain Brown could easily address all of the troops thanks to the megaphone. “Brave men of our League, this has been the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The moment we pass this gate shall be a turning moment in the cause of freedom and liberty in this land! Now, charge the gate, burn it down, and sever the wicked!”

The archers covered the rest of the army while they marched forward with shields on one hand and torches on the other to set the gates aflame. The garrison was in a state of chaos and fear. They were unable to do anything as the wooden gate went aflame.

After a minute or so, the gate came crashing down with a great thud. Behind the gate were men of the garrison, who had formed a wall of spears to meet the upcoming assault. A small clash occurred when the waves of men met each other.

The garrison had a defensive advantage, but their morale couldn’t match men motivated by a burning desire for freedom and liberty.

Captain Brown was continuing his campaign of psychological warfare while the lines met each other. “You are outmatched by men who shall not cease in their fight! Surrender now, you shall receive kind and respectable treatment as prisoners!”

The soldiers of the garrison had lost the will to resist being faced with overwhelming death itself, and a few men had already deserted. The garrison commander, seeing the hopeless situation, ordered them to surrender and lay down their arms.

Suddenly, the town was quiet again as the clash of weapons ceased, replaced with the clash of weapons hitting the stone floor. The town had just surrendered without many casualties being suffered by either side.

The League troops quickly apprehended the surrendered garrison members; their fates would be decided later by trial. The rest of the troops began marching the town streets, to secure order and also apprehend the some of the active garrison troops that were still in the town. The rest, under command of Captain Ayomide, marched to the port to put out the fire that had begun.

Brown approached the surrendered garrison commander. “Where is the baron that resides in this town?”

“The last news we got from him was that of his evacuation. He told us to resist until he could get in his ferry.” replied the garrison commander.

Brown quickly asked for the directions to the port of the palace. He sped there joined by Nirmal and a few troops, finding that the ferry had just left port.

Yet, Brown was not the type to surrender due to a large body of water being in the way.

He and the troops quickly jumped into the water, quickly swimming to catch Baron Harper’s ferry.

The ferry was lightly guarded, containing two personal guards, a few slave oarsmen and the Baron himself.

The Second Raid on Harper’s Ferry was quickly, efficiently, but not so quietly completed as the Baron was apprehended.

An entire day had to pass as a provisionary order was established in the city. Not knowing who this mysterious “Captain Brown” was, the citizens had no idea what to expect of their new rulers. Yesterday had been a day of worry and fear for Fahre.

Brown organized a speech in the town conference to inform the people.

It was a grand gathering, two thousand people plus five hundred troops had gathered to the town square. In the middle of the crowd was Brown holding a megaphone. Before leaving for campaign he had gathered the people of Liberty Cave to consult them and get their approval on the speech he’d give.

“People of Fahre, we understand your concerns having had your town be besieged and now ruled by strangers.” began Brown. “Yet, we are not here to be your new lords, for man should accept no master in human form.” The biggest change in his speech, and one that frustrated him greatly, was having to omit parts about ‘the Lord’. “We are here, to free you from your lords who rule you without volition, to free you from those who’d enslave their fellow men; we are here for freedom and liberty, to restore rule to the rightful rulers of this land, who are the citizens and not the lords!”

The reactions in the audience were mixed, but most of them were rightfully cynical of this stranger.

“At the end of this month all citizens are invited to gather in the lord’s manor to convene and vote on a provisional constitution. Everyone of mature age sound mind is invited to voice their petitions and concerns.”

Suddenly a group of voices rang from the crowd, led by a woman that seemed to be their leader. “Sir Brown, you stated that you’d free the enslaved of Fahre, yet you’ve told us that only the citizens of the town would be invited to this convention.”

Brown turned to the group of petitioners in the crowd. He asked for the name of their leader, and learned that the leader of the petitioners was one Miss Ene who was the leader of an organization called the Anti-Adventurer’s League.

“To answer your question Miss Ene, I’ll inform you that you need not to worry. For, as of this moment, there is no slave in the town of Fahre. Everyone, whoever they are, is now as free and equal to their fellow man as they righteously and by divine law should be. Anyone who goes against this truth and insists on clinging on to the vile institution of slavery shall have their property confiscated and themselves apprehended.” replied Brown as he concluded his speech. “Hence, when we invite the citizens, we invite everyone.”

This declaration was met by dread by those in the city who owned, or had owned, slaves. Yet, their dread was drowned out by the cheers of freed men who had never been this jubilant and free in their lives before.

The vassals of Duke Robert had gathered again, this time for an emergency meeting. They were listening to the report of a baron from the fringe of the territory that bordered Fahre.

“The situation is dire, Your Excellency. My spies have heard that Harper’s ferry was raided, where he was captured and hung by the thugs that besieged the city.”

The hanging of a nobleman caused uproar in the hall. The rules of chivalry dictated that noblemen were to ransomed when captured. What cruel brute would dare hang someone of high blood?

“Not only did the uncivilized band of thugs hang the baron, they have also confiscated the property of the rest of the petty nobility residing in the town. Beyond even that, they’ve declared that all slaves of the town are free and that they’ll harbor any slave that escapes to their town.”

The vassals were getting angrier and angrier as the report continued.

“Do those perfidious rebels have no concept of civilization?!”

“They are a band of demi-human slaves, of course they’d have no such concept.”

“Peh! These savages prove why they do not deserve to be free!”

The duke commanded the vassals to calm down and let the baron continue with the report.

“Their rebellious activities have spread outside of the city. Seigneurs in my territory have come to me, complaining how fugitive slaves have increased drastically. Barons that are my neighbors couldn’t come to this council today due to having to deal with rebellious elements that have begun organizing in their territory. I’ve heard reports from aforementioned barons that they keep finding more and more members of such organizations. That is all, Your Excellency.”

The council was a basket case as lords again argued what action to take. Finally, the duke intervened and shut down the needless discussion.

“Now that we know who and what they are, we shall gather the men and crush these rebels. Their malevolent acts must be stopped before their violent nonsense spreads out of this duchy.”