His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)
Ayomide was walking in a circle around the forest, waiting for Brown to return. She couldn’t move much: she and the old man had agreed to meet up in this spot outside of Azdavay.
“May this holy spirit, the holy father, or holy whatever, that leads the old man bring him back safely.” It was getting late. Too late. The old man should have wrapped up his surveying and shopping by now.
Just as Ayomide began considering packing up and returning back to the cave, he heard a small crowd chittering and chattering while getting closer to her spot. She got one of her spears ready, in case she needed to make a last stand.
“Young lady? Are you here? For the sake of your Maker, please put down that spear for we need no further bloodshed today.” Brown hadn’t actually come into view of Ayomide; he had just made a correct guess.
One of the freemen, who had been subject to Brown’s grand speeches for the last few hours along with the rest of the group, sighed. “Geezer, who you talking to? Holy spirits, lords, and now young ladies? What screws loose in your mind?”
“I think he’s correct about this young lady.” Shinasi, who had followed the group outside, replied. He was greeted with a spear landing an inch off his foot, Ayomide following suit.
The voice of Shinasi had seemed familiar to Ayomide. “Alright, old man, what business does this lightskin, slave-hunting son of a donkey’s prick have with you? And…” She noticed her former colleagues from the maid café “…what’s with the sudden reunion?”
“Ahem! Firstly, those words about a donkey’s you-know-what is not a suitable word to be used by a young lady or any couth man.” Brown cleared his throat. “Secondly, I believe that Shinasi has seen the grace of the Almighty and had his steps directed in a more righteous direction. Lastly, young lady, we have had an unexpected exodus.”
Ayomide didn’t look too nonplussed by the mention of an exodus. “Right, and were there any suspicious hooded figures in this exodus of yours?”
“Indeed, young lady. How would you happen to know? Did- Did you happen to get a vision or revelation or-” Brown was still convinced that Ayomide might be blessed by the Almighty after her ‘miracle’ of healing Brown’s arm.
Ayomide was sure that she wasn’t blessed by anyone though, for her entire life looked far from blessed. “No, no! I had some hooded figure, named Kyauta, come visit me yesterday night. She said that ‘Moses’ was planning an exodus, and I told her that Moses should be at Kanein and not at Casamonu.”
“I’m happy that you are keeping up with your Bible study. ‘Have time for the Lord, and the Lord will have time for you’, young lady. I think the Almighty gave his time for us today.” She wasn’t keeping up with anything, the constant Biblical references made by Brown made it hard to not pick up something or another. “If there is another abolitionist society operating in this area, then I think it is of upmost importance that we meet them.”
While Brown and Ayomide were conversing, the freemen had divided the loot from Jacob’s establishment among themselves. After this dividing was done, seven of the freemen split from the group to continue on their merry way. Two of the freemen had already left the group, taking the hostage gentleman with them, while on the road. By the time Brown ended his conversation, he had only two (plus Shinasi and Ayomide) apostles left.
Brown decided to address the remaining two men. They hadn’t gotten the chance to properly converse to each other on the road. “Gentlemen, I’m happy to see that you have stayed around. My name is John Brown, of Connecticut. I’d be glad to have your names and occupations.”
The first to reply was a man that was equally as tall as Brown (somewhere around 6 feet / 1.82m tall). He still carried the axe he had used to chop off the plank that blocked the gate. “Hakim, sir.” He took of his hat in salute, revealing his hair, or lack thereof. “I used to be cooking in the kitchen, until your folks came around. I know the plants of this area well. Reckon I can give a hand in that.”
“Glad to have you.” Brown then turned around to a young man who was somewhere in his early teens. “And you, young man?”
“I… don’t have a name, but they call me ‘Tater’, ‘cause I carried taters. Guess I could carry anything, if need be.”
“You’re a young man Tater, you’ll learn anything quickly, God willing.” Brown seemed to be satisfied with the potential applicants. “Gentleman, I extend my invitation for you to join me in the fight for slavery. You are now free as the Almighty intended, and there’s nothing nobler to do with your freedom but fight for the freedom of one’s brothers and sisters!”
Hakim and Tater looked at each other, trying to gauge each other’s opinion. They didn’t exactly desire to be stuck in what sounded to be a long war against slavery, but they also didn’t know what else they’d be stuck with. Would it not be better to die fighting than live and then die running?
“I- I’d join, sir.” The first one to make up his mind was Hakim.
“I’m no sir, Mister Hakim. Call me captain, mister, Brown or anything else that is not discourteous, but don’t call me sir. There’s no one above you but the Lord now.” He extended his hand toward Hakim.
“Understood, captain.” Hakim shook hands with Brown, finalizing his membership.
Tater grabbed hold of Brown’s hand as well. “Captain, I’m in too!”
A surprise third hand entered this cluster of hands, this newcomer belonging to Shinasi. “Guess I already made this choice when I ran towards you back there.
Brown smiled at his new recruits. “May our Heavenly Father grant us victory!”
“So… Who’s this heavenly father?”
After having greeted Brown, Hakim and Tater approached their former coworker, Ayomide. She had been standing in the corner, warming herself near a fire that she had started.
Hakim spoke when he was sure that he was in a safe distance from Brown. “Total bonkers, this old man of yours. Holy spirits, fathers, lords… And he referred to all us darkskin as ‘Mister’ and ‘Lady’, never seen any lightskin do that before.”
“When I’d hear you being called ‘young lady’, I thought we were going to be seeing some haughty, lightskinned noble, not the old waitress. You ain’t dead? Seems that you’se enjoying the lady life.”
“Course I ain’t dead.” Though, I almost was. “How’s the master after I ran? Hope he didn’t treat ya’ll too bad.”
“He was fine with yelling a bit, thankfully.” Shinasi did his best to imitate Jacob’s voice. “‘Damned harlot! She owes me two thousand libra for her worthless, dung-filled head!’ and stuff like that.”
“And now he dead, ain’t he? Wish we all had something to celebrate with…” Ayomide had been drinking water and slime for the last few months. She desperately needed something that tasted different.
“Well, I ain’t got bad news, ‘young lady’.” Tater had been part of the quartet that raided the kitchen. He had been carrying a pot, opening its lid he revealed the pot to be full of oranges and a filled wineskin. “Take whatever ya’ll be needing.”
“You’re too young to have that wine over yonder. Gimme that, boy.” Ayomide took the wineskin, and drank half of it. She handed over the rest to Hakim, and took some oranges with her freed hand.
“Young lady. We need you a new name, for the fancy new title you got.” Tater tried to think of something, and his eyes stumbled upon the oranges currently consumed by Ayomide. “What ‘bout ‘Lady Orange’?”
Hakim burst out with laughter at this ridiculous proposition. “Lady Orange? I think you’ve found the best name for our young lady.”
Ayomide stood up, and did her best to curtsy as if she was the long-lost daughter of the royal family. “Greetings, ye filthy peasantry, My name is Lady Orange, from the illustrious House of Crappingsburg-Scheissenstein. Umm… O-ho-hohoho!” She began playing with her hair, assuming the position that could rival the haughtiest of the haughtiest. “What d’ya’ll think?”
“You’re gonna steal the princess’ jobs if you keep this up.” The trio laughed in thought of princesses being left unemployed by Ayomide.
The conversation went deep into the night like so, Ayomide and her coworkers finally getting to bond with each other.
61st of Spring, 5859
Mount Curry, Azdavay / Casamonu
Tater groaned as the mountain path winded and winded further. “We there yet, Lady Orange?”
Ayomide sighed. It seemed that this silly nickname was going to stay. “We ain’t far. See, it’s there.”
Brown raised his hand, to signal to the group that they should halt. “Alright, up that cliff and our journey is going to be over for today.” The group followed him up the small cliff leading to the headquarters of the organization yet-to-be-named. “Welcome to our humble home. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.”
The group entered the cave, which was mostly empty aside from piles of soap and pottery. “As you can see, there are many things that can be improved, with your and God’s help of course.”
“That’s an understatement if I ever seen one…” Hakim wasn’t exactly sure where they’d even begin with. Nobody was exactly sure. Still, they held on to the vague hope that they things might work out fine.
“Now, if you’d please sit down and listen.” The group sat down on the cave floor, and Brown joined them. “I’d like to begin the First Session of the Provisional Council of… Curry. This cave is equally all our home, so I think of it best to choose our plan of action in a suitably democratic fashion.”
Hakim raised his hand. “Captain! What’s a ‘democratic’?”
“It means that we all get an equal say as to how things are going to be run around here. I am no king or lord, nor shall I aim to be a king or lord, nor shall ye accept any mortal kings or lords.”
Tater was the one who raised his hand this time. “Who decides stuff then?”
“As I said, we all have an equal say. We discuss with each other what we want to do, and then take a vote to decide whose suggestion we go with.”
“Ah! I heard of that. The big folk in the town meet in their town hall to do something like that. Though, of course, we ain’t gotten a chance to see any of that.” Hakim had heard of Jacob complain about meetings in the town hall.
“Yeah, I’ve visited one of those meetings once. Not as a participant, just as security. It seemed a bit boring, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.” replied Shinasi.
Ayomide nodded in agreement. “That seems reasonable to me. Never liked those lords anyways. Let’s not have one, for a change.”
“Alright, then let’s take a vote. Who agrees that we should all convene as a council to make decisions? Raise your hands if you agree, don’t if you don’t.” Everybody in the room raised their hands.
Thus, the Provisional Council of Curry was born. Everybody in the room then fell silent and idle, unsure of what to do. They weren’t exactly ready for this moment.
Shinasi broke the silence. “So, when do we meet again?”
“Uhm… Every day?”
“That too much, clearly. Every… ten days would be better.”
“Let’s go with a month?”
“No, that’s too sparse!”
A different idea sprouted from every head in the room. Thus, democracy was born.