Chapter 57:

Chapter LV – He that is without justification among us.

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

34th of Summer, 5859
Earlywatch Estate, Outskirts of Casamonu

Nominally, it was a quiet summer day outside of the Earlywatch estate. It was a quiet day in general for most of Gemeinplatz, like many other days in the rural areas. Some birds chirped, some grass rustled, and every human person got to work in order to fulfill their obligations to their lord. Whether it be the lowliest peasants walking to the fields in order to produce grain to pay their exorbitant taxes, servants waking up to serve the local lord or the local lord waking up to serve another lord above them. A pyramid, from top to bottom, where the bottom makes all and the top takes all. Like all pyramids however, or any Euclidian geometric shape for that matter, everything collapses if the bottom is removed, and the top part would be right to worry if they suddenly had their slaves planning to topple them down to the bottom (or the grave).

A group of people, belonging somewhere a bit further down from the bottom of the pyramid, were on their way to enact the orders of someone very high up on the pyramid. A couple of professional soldiers, a rare breed in Gemeinplatz, from Count Leon’s retinue were riding on their horses towards the Earlywatch estate.

Compared to the disorganized and ragtag nature of levied troops or hired adventurers, these men exuded an aura of know-how on how to fight. They were covered in full plate, mostly iron while some of the fancier gents could afford steel, shining bright like a humanoid disco ball. To increase the effectiveness of “awe” in their “shock-and-awe” tactics, these cavalrymen also had long skirts of the highest quality silk, those floating around as their horses trotted forwards to their destination. They hadn’t forgotten about their helmets either, all of them having some sort of plume that also showed off the count’s wealth. Most of them, like any good cavalryman, carried lances and shield into battle, while some of the more skilled ones hired from Eastern Gemeinplatz carried bows on horseback. These men could easily defeat if they were to somehow face every adventurer in Northern Gemeinplatz at once, except for the otherworlders whom oft had BS cheat-skills which could smite these poor (or wealthy) sods down.

Luckily, for the retainers at least, they’d be facing local Gemeinplatzers. If things went well, they wouldn’t have to face anyone at all. Having any sort of faceoff could lead to casualties, which meant a loss in lives, and a loss in lives meant a loss in material, and a loss in material wasn’t a thing that the count (or anyone else for that matter) liked. The leader of these men, one Sir Korvus Jr., son of Korvus Sr., would have also loved to report that he had managed to execute the operation flawlessly without any casualties. He had high hopes, and a scout returning to him could see Sir Korvus have a slight smile on his face. Unfortunately, the scout would have to wipe that smirk off his face as scouts tended to do to their superiors with their untimely reports. “Sir, the men of Earlywatch have already assembled at the gate of their estate. They seem ready to meet us in combat, sir.”

Sir Korvus looked up at the heavens, towards where the Divine would be supposedly watching over him. It seemed that they had been spotted already, not surprising that the Earlywatch family would also be exercising caution. They had most likely scouts of their own circling the area, looking for any sizable military formations like the one Sir Korvus was commanding. “The gate? We’re assaulting a minor estate; we should be able to simply jump over the fence and flank them easily.”

“I was talking about the gate of the estate’s mansion itself, sir. They’ve huddled inside the main building, and have troops overlooking from the windows.” The scout had to pause, unsure whether he should relay one last piece of information. “…one of my men were killed by a stray bolt of lightning that came from them.”

“The Earlywatch killed one of yours?” Killing one of the count’s men was a pretty open act of rebellion, even if it was done in self-defense. Now Baha had less of a chance to be given a lenient sentence, though he had already exhausted most of his chance by “collaborating” with the fugitives.

Sir Korvus hurried his men onwards, intending to apprehend Baha as soon as possible. He hoped that they’d to the reasonable thing and give up when faced with such overwhelming forces. The estate’s mansion slowly came into view, the fields around it appearing to have been stripped bare of anything lootable. No peasants were in sight, the poor souls having fled inside upon hearing rumors of a cavalry force approaching them. There were no people in sight except for the men of Sir Korvus, who now awkwardly stood outside the mansion while waiting for orders to be given.

One brave man from the mansion, his hands raised upwards and himself clearly unarmed, approached the mass of soldiers outside. A small group of mages surrounding Sir Korvus hit him with a few rounds of magic draining spells before he was allowed to approach further. “Good morning to you, good sirs.” The messenger took off his hat and bowed in respect to the noble men in front of him. “Sir Baha Earlywatch would like to know what or whom we owe your visit to?” He already actually had the answer to “who” considering the retainers bore the arms of the duke, but asking that was necessary for politeness’ sake.

“We’re here to apprehend Sir Baha Earlywatch on orders of His Excellency Count Leon Satō-Wang of Casamonu. He has committed against crimes against the commonwealth of this realm by colluding with fugitives, and committed an open act of rebellion against his liege by murdering one of his men in cold blood.” replied Sir Korvus to the messenger. “His Excellency has promised to show leniency to your liege if he is to come out without showing further resistance.”

Unfortunately, the messenger had already been given strict orders on how to respond, and he cared not for Sir Korvus’ promise of leniency. “We appreciate the count’s generosity in giving my liege leniency for what His Excellency claims is such a grave crime, but Sir Baha absolutely will not hand himself over on such misguided and false charges against him. My liege pleads for His Excellency to keep calm, consider his misguided notions, and remember his duties to his vassals as a liege.”

Even more unfortunately, Sir Korvus didn’t exactly have any choice on skirting around the strict orders given to him either. He cared not for the messenger’s seemingly amicable words. “No matter what Sir Baha believes, we’ve received an absolute order from His Excellency. My men are not to leave until we’ve fulfilled that order.”

“I understand, sir.” Everything had went as expected for both sides: a diplomatic stalemate formed from absolute orders. “Have a good day.” Both men saluted each other before the messenger made his way back to the mansion. It was a polite conversation after all, as polite as a conversation between two sides who were planning on murdering each other could reasonably be, though that’s par for the course for the upper-classes who’d stab each other in the back with a wide grin on their faces. Stabbing each other in the front required an even wider grin, and some flowery language to soften the impact.

With the messenger safely back in his mansion and negotiations concluded, Sir Korvus now had to consider what he had to do next. He had obviously expected for Sir Baha’s men to surrender immediately upon seeing the finest men of Count Leon, so his plans sort of ended right at apprehending Sir Baha and returning home. The commander took out his binoculars, sold to him by the company of a certain otherworlder named “Kim”, and zoomed in to the mansion which stood far away. He could see an armed soldier behind every window, and a wall of shields and spears behind the gate that served as the entrance to the mansion. Entering such a fortified position would be difficult, even for the finest men of the count. Korvus would have sufficed by threatening to burn the building down, if not for the fact that the mansion was made out of nonflammable brick. Either he had to commit to a deadly assault or…

“Men! Prepare for a siege.” He had enough to blockade the mansion, and such a small place would most likely not have an extensive stockpile of food or water to last them. The cavalrymen got into position around the mansion, getting off their horses and beginning to set up camp. Sir Baha’s men didn’t have any obvious means of viable counterattack, save for occasionally taking a potshot. Sir Korvus waited another hour while watching his men set simple earthen fortifications which’d surround the mansion. He expected that Sir Baha might surrender now that they had shown a willingness to siege him down, but that didn’t happen either.

The petty lord seemed to be stubborn in not letting go easily, which was quite the annoyance. Most lords would have turned themselves in hopes of getting lenience, which they’d almost always get. The execution of a nobleman was a pretty rare occurrence, Sir Korvus estimated that Baha might get exiled out of the county at worst if he had just surrendered. Something seemed fishy to the commander, about Sir Baha showing so much resistance, but he couldn’t exactly turn around from here and do his own thing.

The best Sir Korvus could do now was send a scout over to inform His Excellency Count Leon that they were laying siege to the estate, and ask him if he had any further orders. That he did, and as the scout disappeared into the sunset, Sir Korvus got off from his own horse and prepared for a short, simple siege.

Or, to be more accurate, something that should have been a short and simple siege…

Modern Crow