His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)
…this place smells like shit. I thought that the Otherworld wouldn’t be so stinky.
Ayomide opened her eyes. She could only see the wide blue sky in this position; she felt as if she was floating. This illusion of floating disappeared when Ayomide noticed that she was still laying on the ground. She quickly raised her head up to see, much to her surprise, that she was still in the same spot as last night. The only difference was the she was now blanketed in fur that smelled… unpleasant, to be polite.
“Alright, what is going on here? Anyone?” The mountains seemed to be as abandoned as they normally are. This didn’t help explain how she was currently alive. Did some wandering mountain deity save me? She looked around again, no mountain deities or spirits to be found in her local area.
Everything was calm. Too calm, in fact. Ayomide felt a tad bit scared as the wind howled by.
“Good morning young lady I-”
Ayomide shrieked and jumped back in shock. She quickly turned her head around to find a wild man that towered over her. He was quite a scary sight with his messy hair flying around in the wind, with a face that hadn’t been washed in an entire month. She calculated that only an insane man would probably decide these mountains as his habitat and Ayomide mentally prepared herself accordingly for a wild encounter.
The old man was more nonplussed compared to Ayomide. He hadn’t expected to hear such a shriek. “Ex-excuse me for having startled you, I approached you silently as to not wake you up.” An awkward silence filled the air as both paused. “My name is John Brown, young lady, what is yours?”
“Right, Miss Ayomide, is it? Are you able to get up?” Brown extended his hand towards Ayomide. Struggle as she may, Ayomide found herself unable to get up even with Brown’s help. “Well, thank the Lord that you’re alive at the least. Just wait a minute, I’ll bring something to eat.” The old man then left the premises, running back to his cave.
The lord? These mountains don’t seem like a suitable place for any lord, thought Ayomide. Unless this man has gone crazy and thinks himself as lord of these mountains. Still, the old man seemed cordial enough.
Brown quickly returned with a crude clay bowl that was filled with solidified slime of some description, along with a clay cup filled with murky water. He had been spending some of his idle time making earthenware; eating out of some dead man’s helmet felt too macabre for Brown. Plus, he needed somewhere suitable for storing bear meat and earthenware pots were the best that he had for the job. It wasn’t too hard to find clay and fire it up in a pit. Someone inexperienced in pottery like Brown could learn how to make useful items with some experimentation.
“Sorry young lady, but our household currently lacks spoons. You’ll have to make do with eating using your bare hands.” said Brown as he handed the bowl and cup over to Ayomide. She blankly stared at the bowl for a second or two before realizing that it contained something that was edible. Ayomide also remembered that she hadn’t eaten anything proper for a week or two. These two realizations combined, she quickly chowed down the slimy goop in record time. The goop had mixed with the unglazed clay to create an awful wet mixture of earth and sugar; it felt like the best meal Ayomide ever had in her life. She was shedding tears of joy by the time she finished the bowl.
Brown was watching Ayomide in a concerned manner. “Are you okay, young lady? Are you in need of anything?”
“No- No, I’m fine sir. Thank you for saving my life.” said Ayomide as she wiped her tears.
The old man smiled warmly in response. “No need to thank me. Thank the merciful Holy Spirit for guiding you to safety, young lady.”
Ayomide tilted her head, confused due to Brown’s ramblings that seemed odd to her. “The holey spirit?” How would a being in charge of holes lead me to safety?
Brown shook his head and furrowed his brows. “No, no. The Holy Spirit.”
“The howlin’ spirit?” Something to do with wolves or dogs?
“No, I-” blurted John Brown. He heaved a deep sigh. This probably wasn’t the right time for evangelism, but Brown was a stubborn man. “So, there’s the Lord, right?”
Ayomide nodded her head. “Yeah, you were talking about him earlier. Haven’t seen him yet though. Is there really a lord in this mountain?”
“Think beyond the mountains, for the Lord is everywhere!” Brown pointed to a faraway point in the sky while making this point.
Ayomide followed where Brown had pointed in hopes of seeing this lord. She only saw a few clouds lazily gliding in the sky. “Everywhere? If this lord is everywhere then why isn’t he here?” Maybe he cast an invisibility spell?
Brown clung on to his patience. “No, don’t think of a simple lord! I’m talking about the Lord, the one who cannot be compared to any other mortal lords of this realm! King of Kings, our Maker!”
A lord that cannot be compared to another lord… Wait, it can’t be! “Are you talking about the emperor?”
“No I’m not… I don’t recognize any emperor, young lady.” Brown gave up on his impromptu catechism session. The people of this land seemed to lack understanding of such topics, or so he thought. “Christ almighty help us…”
“Kreist…” Brown’s mention of a certain carpenter intrigued Ayomide. “Right, I’ve heard of that name. That damnable proprietor would shout this Kreist’s name, something like ‘cheese us goddamn Kreist’, every time he got frustrated with something.” She looked happy to have finally understood something that came out of the old man’s mouth. “I still don’t get why he kept requesting cheese though…” And this old man is requesting help from Kreist. Wonder who he is.
Brown, in opposite to Ayomide, was quite shocked at the casual blasphemy that Ayomide was relating. Putting ‘damn’ and ‘Christ` together was much more serious of an insult according to a devout 19th century man like Brown. “What an uncouth proprietor! How condemnable! That heathen!” He crossed his arms and shook his head in great disapproval.
Ayomide was surprised to see the overt reaction of Brown to what she thought was a weird interjection. “Being uncouth was the least bad thing about that man, believe you me. The whole locking us in some dark room every night…” She audibly shuddered. Everything felt surreal to her, as if her entire life up to now had been a bad dream.
Brown had been wondering up to now as to why he had found Ayomide up in the mountains; the conversation had finally shifted in a way that was suitable for him to ask such hard questions. “And I’m assuming that’s why you’ve made an escape and found yourself here?”
Thus, like water freeing itself from a broken dam, Ayomide’s emotions flowed free along a torrent of tears. She told Brown of her life that had begun in some cramped barrack, of her countless equally damnable owners, and of her life during her escape. She hadn’t been able to properly talk to someone else for years, by the end Ayomide felt greatly relieved as she had never done before. To see something other than contemn, pity or apathy; being treated as a person felt strange yet great. Liberty tasted thus to someone who had never even seen a glimpse of it.
“…now I don’t know what to do, old man. I can’t return to town and I don’t think I’ll be able to return to anywhere with other people. Being free is such a hard thing.” Ayomide was smiling while she said that. I know what to do. I’ll have some proper sleep, no more waking up in the morning for me!
“I’m not in the position to dictate what you’ll do, young lady. Nobody, other than the Lord, is in a position to dictate what someone else does. ‘A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.’, remember that young lady.” Brown had been waiting for the right time to ask Ayomide this question. “I will aid you to the fullest extent I can if you do decide to leave here and go on your own. But, if you wish to stay here, then I hope that you’ll assist me in my divine mission.”
A divine mission? This old man really likes to make over-the-top remarks. “What’d your mission be, old man? What has the, whatchamacallit, this holy spirit of yours inspired you to do?”
Brown stood up, and posed himself as if he was speaking to a crowd. He seemed excited at the prospect of getting to speak about his mission. “Our divinely ordained mission and obligation is to fight for the Lord and wipe out all that profanes His Creation.” Ayomide tilted her head, showing that she had no idea what Brown was talking about. Brown continued his speech with great fervor nonetheless. “That which is the greatest act of profanity against the laws of the Almighty is slavery, which throughout its entire existence has been none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of one portion of citizens against another portion, the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment and hopeless servitude, or absolute extermination.”
Ayomide could easily understand the second half of the speech. I can actually understand him when he’s not talking about spirits and whatnot… She had saved her own tail; many tails were left unsaved in this realm. She could hop on a boat and escape to a realm that didn’t practice slavery, but thinking that thousands of her brothers and sisters would lay in captivity disturbed Ayomide greatly. Fighting an entire system of slavery wasn’t safe, still, had Ayomide chased after liberty for the sake of a modicum of ‘safety’? People are going to be hunting me down no matter what, might as well go down fighting.
“I understand, old man.” Ayomide extended her left hand towards Brown. “This is how you make an agreement in Awmereighka, right? With a handshake and whatnot.” She had observed him throughout their conversation; the fact that he wasn’t from this world was clear as day, especially to someone who had interacted with many an otherworlder. He seems to not be a prick at the least, a surprising thing for an otherworlder.
Brown was left flabbergasted for a second. He smiled before extending his right hand in kind. “The Lord has given you an eye that is most keen, young lady.”
“You don’t need a keen eye to see the obvious, old man.” The pair shook hands, signaling the beginning of camaraderie that’d change Gemeinplatz forever.
As their hands separated, Ayomide noticed that Brown had winced in pain when they shook their hands. “Is your arm injured, old man?”
“Yes, young lady, a bear slashed my shoulder while I was fighting it.” He rolled up the sleeve of his coat to reveal his shoulder that had gotten discolored. The wound was oozing with substances that need not be mentioned.
“That looks awful… Wait a second, stand still.” Brown was surprised as Ayomide grabbed his arm and did her best to slide closer (she still couldn’t stand up) to Brown. “What was that word again… This- Disin… [Disinfect]!” Brown was beyond surprised, and left utterly speechless as all the aforementioned awful ooze and discoloration slowly disappeared. He stared at his arm eyes wide open and slack-jawed, left in disbelief. Ayomide collapsed as her muscles gave in; magically disinfecting such an infected wound wasn’t exactly easy on the body.
Incoherent noises came out of Brown’s mouth while he tried to process what had occurred before him. His ability to speak properly finally returned after a few minutes. “Ah… Wha… It’s… It’s a miracle from the Holy Spirit! Bless our Heavenly Father above, praise be to our lord and savior Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!” He continued showering praises upon God while prancing, tears rolling down his cheeks due to feeling overwhelmed with hallowed joy.
Ayomide was still collapsed on the ground; all of her energy had been drained in one spell. She felt the effects of ‘mana fatigue’ as it was commonly called. Her eyelids lazily closed themselves, begging her to fall asleep again.
Eh, I’ll let the old man think whatever he wants.