His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (End of the Slave Empire)
Ideological contradictions afflicted the slave system even before the war began. John Brown knew the masters secretly feared their slaves might revolt, even as they assured abolitionists that slaves really liked slavery. One reason his Harpers Ferry raid prompted such an outcry in the South was that slave owners feared their slaves might join him… After all, if Brown was truly dangerous, as slave owners claimed, then slavery was truly unjust. Happy slaves would never revolt.
- James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (2008)
A week after the Battle of Fahre Field the captive Duke of Nordallgemein, Robert, officially surrendered his territory to the Federal Republic of Gemeinplatz. He was found guilty of owning slaves and defending the institution of slavery, and was hanged for his vile crimes after the trial.
He’d be the last Duke of Nordallgemein.
The next few months were busy, the League of Gileadites travelled from settlement to settlement to ensure that this surrender was enforced. The last remaining noblemen tried to hold on to their territory, but it was too little too late for them.
Brown had sparked the fire of revolution, both figuratively and literally, that could not be put down by even the greatest of hydromancers.
Having ensured control in the duchy the provisional congress convened one last time in Fahre with additional representatives sent from all over the former duchy. A second constitutional convention was held, this time to decide on a more permanent constitution for the young republic. Again, noble titles (which there weren’t many left in the duchy after the battle) were rejected as all citizens were declared to be equal under the new law of the land.
Brown stepped down as commander-in-chief, the title was abolished and its responsibilities taken up by the presidency. His high rank had left him forced to sit behind a desk and deal with the bureaucracy of an army instead of being on the field. He’d continue his military career as Captain Brown, not in the League of Gileadites but in the newly established Army of Gemeinplatz.
After two weeks filled with many long debates and passionate speeches, some made by Brown himself, on the role of the president, congress, and the newly established states, the convention ended.
The provisional congress dissolved itself as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Gemeinplatz officially came into effect.
Unlike the first election where a small population that lived in two towns participated, the newly commenced election required a whole lot more work due to the expanded scope of it. Officials had to be recruited to count votes, rural populations had to be informed that there was an election, candidates had to campaign, etcetera.
The mechanism of the election had to be simple and a bit crude to fit the world it was taking place in. Since parchment was expensive, votes had to be expressed vocally to the officials who’d record the vote. Abandoned offices of the Adventurer’s Guild were used as polling stations. Voters were given a week to cast their votes.
Despite the difficulties, the elections managed to conclude without any outstanding incidents. Provisional President Ene was elected again to become President Ene of the Anti-Adventurer’s League, and the congress gained many new members as new states were added to the republic.
The Battle of Fahre Field had repercussions outside of the former duchy as well. The Army of Gemeinplatz, now two-thousand strong, expanded their estate raids to outside the borders of the duchy and began more frequently sieging and taking border towns and even cities. The Empire was in crisis – while the loss of a border region was not that dire of a situation, strikes on their more economically viable areas were slowly but surely bleeding the treasury dry.
The Empire couldn’t mobilize easily to respond due to being a large and vaguely feudal empire with many bickering lords. Only the few dukes in the Empire could match the coordinated Army of Gemeinplatz on the field, and try they did to no avail.
Slowly, but surely the forces of reaction crumbled under those motivated by a desire to march forward. Brown and Ayomide participated in countless raids, field battles, sieges…
A spark that jumped out of a cave had caused the greatest fire the continent had ever seen. This fire was fueled not by overpowered heroes, rich nobleman, or charismatic strongmen. Nay, this fire was maintained by thousands of ordinary men uniting behind fellow ordinary men to fight for the cause of liberty and freedom.
Observing the crumbling empire, President Ene ordered a grand campaign down south to capture the capital to bring an end to the Empire of Gemeinplatz. What had begun as a simple, divine mission to end slavery had ended was ending in the complete upending of the old order. Captain Brown and Captain Ayomide rode to battle for one last time as they joined the Army of Gemeinplatz in their march.
The First Infantry Division, compromised of five-thousand troops stood before the walls of Hauptstadt. Commanding it was General Ayomide, commanding one of its elite companies was Captain Brown.
The last year had been tough on the big old Empire. Having lost many of its territories, and existing territories already devastated, it could hardly survive. Yet, the defenders were still determined to do their best against the attackers, to defend against those who had brought its end. The ancient walls of Hauptstadt had never fallen to barbarians before; and they thought that this auspicious trend would continue.
Unfortunately for the defenders they were facing an army determined to finish things quickly, quietly, and efficiently.
“Men of the Union!” began Brown, addressing his troops. “Here we march on the lair of evil, wherein those who have benefited from your slavery lay. You have not given the tyrants a wink of sleep, now it is time for you to do them a favor and send them to eternal slumber!”
This time the army had a superweapon that was visually much more impressive compared to the famous megaphone of Fahre. A cure for the ancient walls had been found after a year of racking brains.
The men slowly dragged the weapon to battle, pointing it at the walls. The officers of the army observed the giant metal object be seated to an elevated position.
“Mr. Brown, is this your giant metal megaphone?” asked Ayomide in jest. She had helped develop it; she already knew what it was. “Do you intend to burn the whole city down with your incendiary words?”
“No, young lady.” replied Brown. “I intend to do some ‘geomancy’ as you call it.”
The pyromancers around the weapon casted their spells as the beast spew out fire and smoke the likes of which had probably been seen before. Yet, it was still impressive performance to come out of something that wasn’t a slaver otherworlder with a cheat skill.
When charcoal was burnt by pyromancers quickly enough, it acted like a low explosive. With many trials and errors (mostly an error, the main inspiration for this came from a pyromancer blowing their house up when trying to start fire in their furnace) they had created an effect similar to exploding gunpowder without needing sulfur or saltpeter. A cannon was made by putting charcoal inside a cast metal tube, and that tube had contained a giant boulder that was heading for the walls of the city.
One rock wasn’t strong enough to bust down the walls. But, several cannons firing in succession eventually caused the ancient walls to quickly surrender to the forces of modernity. Smoke from the crumbling walls rose to the heavens, creating a wall of fog that left the surrounding area invisible for a few minutes.
While the garrison was in chaos, the men had already quietly entered the fog and breached the city. Already low morale had crumbled to dust just like the walls. The garrison surrendered en masse without a proper battle even beginning.
Yet, it was not over. The palace had walls of its own, though those were quickly taken care of by the giant metal megaphones. The elite guard put up more of a fight, yet their elite status matter not for they fought men who accepted no elites above them. Brown and Ayomide, who while being a high ranking general still preferred to get into the action herself, breached the palace followed by their most skilled troops.
The guards were put down one by one, until the party entered the throne room itself. Unsurprisingly, it was empty. The emperor had escaped long ago, yet he was as good as dead.
Ayomide approached the throne that sat at the end. It was showy, made of silk and gold.
She was born in some far away village and had dropped to the bottom of the ladder by being enslaved.
Now she sat on the throne of the emperor.
Only literally of course, she’d not live for long if she actually tried to claim emperorship. “It’s not as satisfying as I thought it’d be.”
“What enchants men is not the cushiony seats or the showy room, it’s the control and power they’d exert while sitting no that throne.” replied Brown. “That sort of throne is only fit for the Lord to sit on at the Pearly Gates, not for a mortal man to play the part of God.”
The big Lord git has escaped, and I don’t know any gates of pearl, thought Ayomide. She, and the other men, had gotten used to the failed evangelization attempts of old Brown.
Thus concluded the Siege of Hauptstadt.
The Empire of Gemeinplatz ended not in a bang, but a whimper.
The emperor was absent, so the one to officially accept the surrender of the empire was the mayor of the city who had organized their last defense. The remnants of the empire quickly dissolved when their capital was lost. Most of the unorganized rebel groups that had risen up in the chaos entered the republic as new states.
Gemeinplatz had, after a long year of war, entered a state of peace. Finally, swords would be beaten into plowshares and a grand era of reconstruction would truly begin.
The army was greatly demobilized so that troops could return to more productive enterprises. With the slaves being free, and everyone free of their noble oppressors, an era of prosperity could begin.
The Adventurer’s Guild, which had only slaid monsters and solved problems when given money, had taken a huge blow during the war and was already on its way out. Most states of the republic elected to establish special militias that’d do the same job without the exorbitant prices of the Guild, leading to an explosion in the population of rural areas which were now much safer.
Speaking of rural areas, the communal farms that had been established back in Fahre expanded to the rest of the republic, replacing the exploitative estates of old. Instead of demotivated and reluctant slaves being forced to work, the new farms where men would get a fair share proved efficient as the employees (who were also the owners) were far more motivated to work. This cooperative form of ownership slowly spread to other industries of the republic as well.
Prosperity, and an egalitarian environment ripe for free thought, also caused the realm to experience steady technological advancement. Enlisting the help of otherworlders, who still visited their world after being isekai’d, the people of Gemeinplatz began producing paper, using that paper in the printing press, and using the material printed to spread this technological renaissance.
Thousands had lost their lives during this revolution, yet the lives lost had provided the tree of liberty the sustenance it needed to finally bloom in Gemeinplatz. Millions now lay protected under the shade of the tree of liberty.
Was everything perfect? No. Due to the rapid expansion of the republic the newly added territories experienced corruption and mismanagement. There were reports of gerrymandering and tampering with the elections in those same territories, along with people attacking former slaves in retaliation. The constitution was a bit of a mess that needed amending and some of the population had problems accepting that they were equal to their fellow men.
Yet, now it was better than the empire of old. For most, that was all that mattered as they looked to live their lives and look forward, to the future and beyond.
Today was a beautiful day like any other in Gemeinplatz. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the catgirls were now free. You know, the usual.
Buried in a park near Liberty Cave was a relatively unnoticeable grave. One of its regular visitors was a particular demi-human.
The man buried there was a familiar figure to many in the republic, yes, but not many had been as familiar with this man as she was.
The woman in question was in her late thirties and she was wearing an old military uniform that she had not worn in service for twenty years.
She cleaned the epitaph on the grave, making sure no speck of dust was left on the gravestone.
I have fought a good fight.I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.Captain John Brown’s body lies mouldering here, in his grave.
She sat down next to the grave for a while, reminiscing about the good and bad old days. She left a yellow rose on the grave, before standing up to leave the park.
She passed many people in the park while leaving it. Nobody took notice of her demi-human features; she was just another person equal to them.
At that moment, she thought of a suitable conclusion to the epitaph on the man’s grave:
But his soul goes marching on.