Chapter 56:

Chapter LIV – He that is without a cause among you.

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

32th of Summer, 5859
Libertycave, Mount Curry

While going up Mount Curry, one might take notice of many wonderful sights. The grass ever wettened by the endless rain accompanied by the smell of wet earth, the endless forest of trees feeding off of the endless rain and, of course, an ever-growing band of abolitionists who live here in their secret natural habitat. Blocked by mountains, trees, and tree-filled mountains, they were perfectly hidden, not to be found by any soul walking on this not-Earth. Except for those who could fly, but they were pretty rare in Gemeinplatz.

Amongst the rare walking souls who knew of this location was Brown and co, who were on a mission of express delivery. Their cargo consisted of two new people that they had happened to meet along the way: an errant pair, an otherworlder and a doctor of some description. Rabanowicz had actually needed to clarify that she was not a “medical doctor”, whatever that was, and that she was a “student of natural philosophy”, whatever that was only Brown could understand. The others could only think of her as either insane, extremely alien, or extremely rich as to become the student of a thing they hadn’t heard about.

On the other hand, the old man had gotten very interested in her, having been speaking about various matters of “science” as Brown called it, and “natural philosophy” as Rabanowicz called it. It was a weird battle of semantics, Rabanowicz calling herself a “philosopher” while Brown insisted that a better title for her would be a “man of science” or a “scientist”. Coming from completely separate worlds with completely separate cultures and levels of scientific understanding didn’t help them reach very far in this semantic debate. What they could reach consensus on however was that: 1. Enslaving people was “cringe” (as Brown put it to appeal to the modern youngster Watanabe) and 2. They had been brought to Gemeinplatz for some sort of divine mission. The nature of the “divine” part of this “divine mission” was very much up to debate however, Brown unable to convince Rabanowicz to accept the Trinity no matter what. Her insistence on a non-capital-G god of one unified nature wasn’t fitting in well with Brown’s religious doctrine either. There was also the problem that she carried around a bible very different from the Bible, filled with the names of places that no one expect Rabanowicz had heard. Perhaps this was the biggest cultural shock to Brown: an entirely separate realm which had not heard a single word of the Good Book. He thought that Rabanowicz must have just been unlucky as to not encounter it back home.

Brown and co. noticed something odd when they scaled up to the cliffside containing their hidden encampment. The number of mud huts had increased twofold since their absence, so had the number of freemen in the camp. One could even begin calling this place a “village” rather than a “place with a bunch of huts in close proximity”, though the pedantic types might argue that those two are the same thing and that this place was a village from the beginning. Rather than pointlessly argue about more semantics however, Brown was more interested in investigating the sudden population boom. Thankfully Tubman was at work outdoors, and she quickly noticed the arrival of the people she had been waiting for. “Good morning, Captain Brown. I see that you’ve noticed our new members?” She watched as Brown and his company dragged along a cart full of textiles and dropped it in front of her. A group of freemen immediately descended upon the cart, taking the goods to fashion them into whatever they needed.

“It’s hard to not notice your work, General Tubman.” replied Brown “I’ve brought over some people of my own too.” Rabanowicz and Watanabe waved at Tubman, though their minds were busier with examining the sad state of Libertycave. Still, this seemed better than camping outside the city due to being unable to pay the toll. “Meet Doctor Rabanoich, and Mister Wah… Wahtel… Wa… err…”

“Watanabe, sir.”

“Yes, Mister Watanabe. We found them in quite the pinch and…” Brown quickly summarized his previous experiences with the errant pair “…they agreed to stay with us for a while.” Watanabe and Rabanowicz then proceeded on with a round of their self-introductions, a process that took a few minutes and didn’t relay any more information other than the fact that Watanabe carried around a saber with him (not that he knew how to fight with it) for saber-rattling purposes. It looked out of place when paired with his very ordinary business suit, though he did look very proud of himself when swinging it around like an amateur.

“I see. Thank the Lord for guiding them here.” Tubman called over a copperworker who worked with Bilal “You should be of great help to the copperworkers, make your way to Bilal and he’ll find something for you.” The doctor and the copperworker blended into the crowd and disappeared from sight. “As for you…” Tubman looked at Watanabe, who didn’t exert an air of any sort of confidence or ability. He was a thin, twig-like man who’d probably collapse if she made him do any sort of hard labor. “…you… You can join Shinasi in patrolling the outskirts.”

Watanabe raised his hand like a shy little school boy. “Umm, General Tubman?”


“What’s the pay for this job?”

Tubman couldn’t help but laugh at the question. “We give you food, a hut, and you’re free to do whatever you want for the rest of the day. This place is a settlement of the freest men in this realm, so I think helping maintain that is payment enough.”

“…right.” Watanabe didn’t look to bummed. He was a simple man, content as long as he was not forced to work in an office 24/7 from Monday to Sunday again. With a gaillard gait he marched with Shinasi so that he could be trained in the ancient art of “standing around and marching around a particular set of points”.

Tubman watched the new recruits disappear into the crowd before turning back to her old comrade. “Back to you, Captain Brown. I think you have some questions to ask me?”

“I don’t have some, I have many questions to ask of you General Tubman.” Brown groaned a bit while supporting his back with his arms “However, I’d like to do so while resting my tired legs.”

Tubman gladly accepted Brown’s invitation to sit down and have a chat, telling him of her excursions to various locales around Casamonu. John Brown was most pleased to hear of her adventures, and they ended their conversation with a brief prayer session that lasted an hour. Unbeknownst to them however, Tubman had ended up accidentally kicking the first domino in a long chain which’d lead to big changes in the county…

33th of Summer, 5859
Castle Casamonu, Casamonu

Things had slowly calmed down, for a while anyways. Count Leon had spent a whole lot of time writing letters, shaking hands and licking boots to make sure that trade would return. The Copperworkers’ Guild was close to open revolt by the time he had managed to convince merchants that it was safe to engage in the copper trade again. The United Guild of Textile Manufacturers & Winemakers was even grumpier until he had managed to get one of his close family associates to send a caravan over to buy their goods (the count had made a tidy profit from this deal of course). Things were slowly returning to a new normal, and Count Leon was counting the days until the whole mass hysteria about the slave revolt would wash over and he could go back to counting his money again like a good count could be counted on to do. Those savages had probably eaten each other in the mountains by now, what was there to worry about?

Of course, it had turned out that the count couldn’t count on what he had expected to count on.

“Your Excellency, the landed gentry of Casamonu have come together with a common petition.” Poor Hilmi, his personal servant, had to be the one delivering the very thick and full envelope to him. “They’re askin-”

“I can read the letter on my own. You’re dismissed.” said Leon, dismissing the servant further with a motion of his hands. Having been doubly dismissed, Hilmi bowed and exited the room to leave his master to his own frustration.

Count Leon ripped open the letter quickly, scraps of torn paper flying around the room. He could instinctively sense that the contents wouldn’t be anything pleasant. He was surprised, not at the contents being unpleasant, but the degree of unpleasantness the content contained. The count was expecting something more typical, there were a couple of his annoying vassals who tried to lower their obligations by calling a favor here and there. Leon would promptly ignore them of course, but seeing their impudence would still annoy him to no end. Not to mention having to write them a long-winded letter about the obligations of a vassal, and then replying to their further pitiful letters… This however, this was a completely different situation that was uncalled for.

“Your Excellency, we have grave news to inform you of. We have had the slave quarters of three plantations burnt down this week. These likely won’t be the last. Please, we beg of you to…” The rest was a long request for help, filled with flower words and prose to lighten the impact. In short however, the landed gentry wished for the count to investigate the situation and assign patrols to protect their land. There was one problem however: countless plantations operated in Casamonu alone, and it was not like Leon was made out of money. Just protecting a few of them would cause his vassals to suspect that he might be playing favorites, while protecting all equally was impossible without him going bankrupt himself. Investigating the situation was possible, but finding anything useful out of a vague description of “someone is burning the slave quarters” wasn’t going to be possible if the perpetrators weren’t caught.

That’s when Leon realized a big problem. He had assumed that this ruckus had been caused by the fugitives, but upon closer examination, he realized that the burnt down buildings in question were slave quarters with the corpses of the slaves being found under them. Would they really kill their own? It did seem like a way of fighting slavery, but… not a way that made any sense even to Leon. He did give enough credit to the savages to think that they wouldn’t burn their own for fun. There must have been someone else at play here… or so thought Count Leon. Perhaps it was someone trying to destabilize his rule, a pretender, a traitor amongst our midst… Who among us could it be?

Leon’s head was aching now. He didn’t like it when it ached, so he threw the letter away from himself. The count needed relief, somehow or someway. Things would have been much easier if the slaves hadn’t escaped from the mine… Wait, how had they managed to escape in the first place? To lay such a perfect ambush, to, to… Leon’s mind was a mess, but he did arrive at a clear conclusion. Somebody must have ratted his men out, and getting this rat out of his hole would definitely give him relief. He knew that only one person had gotten in direct communication with the slaves, and clearly, that person would be the traitor.

“Hilmi! Come back. I need you to gather my retainers!”

Paranoia. Fear. Betrayal. The opposite of Leon’s usual diplomatic approach, a drastic shift in policy which would cause a great shift in the realm.

Shift was about to go down.

Modern Crow