Chapter 66:

Chapter LXIV – Their plans are figured out.

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

48th of Summer, 5859
Libertycave, Mount Curry

There was some big news, so big that it had taken a while for it to walk up the mountain:

“Captain Brown, the county is at war!.. I think.”

John Brown, the captain in question, was sitting as he always did: in front of a desk with a map laid out on top of it. When the students were away, the cave returned to being the strategic command center of the League of Gileadites. It was always quite busy, with Brown in the center, Tubman sitting somewhere nearby and Ayomide standing next to them while trying her best to understand their odd conversations. Thankfully, the report as delivered above by Kyauta (who had barged into the room) was the sort of combination of sentences which Ayomide could easily understand. “At war?”

“Yes. I was making rounds Casamonu when I saw a big group of armed men march around the city.” The tired Kyauta found herself a seat, a newly manufactured wooden stool crafted with the finest copper nails Mount Curry could give. Ayomide quickly poured the tired woman a cup of tilia tea, which Kyauta obliged by drinking it all in one swing of the cup. “Thanks, Ayomide… As I was saying, armed men. Many of them were on horseback, and I saw them carrying many banners of various colors.”

“That’s definitely an army then.” replied Brown, thinking that the “many banners” must be military colors of some sort. In his youth (aged only 12, during the War of 1812) he had chanced upon a military camp and their many regimental banners. The experience had left the old man with a distaste for the military and its culture; a horde of drunken gamblers paid a regular salary to murder another horde of drunken gamblers… Or, more accurately, they were a group of man paid good money to kill their fellow man. A military wasn’t exactly the most Christian of organizations, as Brown had quickly noticed back then. He’d rather stay far away from organizing a professional army if he could, the Lord would surely lend victory to a force of well-organized militia fighting for Him.

“Whose army was it?” asked Tubman, a woman who had done much work as a scout and spy during the American Civil War. She knew that such banners were important in distinguishing regiments and other military units. “Anything that could help us identify?”

“Well… I retreated so quickly that I didn’t get to observe them much. I left as they began setting up a pair of big cannons around the walls. Such a large group of people are sure to have cavalry scouts, and it would have been bad if I was caught.” Kyauta paused a bit, before remembering a detail which seemed minor to her. “Oh! I remember that the men all wore yellow vests that looked like they were made out of silk. However, when I happened to get a closer look from on top of a tree, I noticed there was stitching clearly showing from these vests as if they had turned them inside out.”

“Yellow vests… Yellow vests…” Ayomide suddenly had a metaphorical flash of yellow light shine before her eyes. For others, however, they were flashed with actual light due to her accidentally releasing some light magic while thinking. “I remember! Didn’t the men at Casamonu wear those?”

Brown nodded as well, saying “Yes, I remember the men who raided us so rudely during our sleep wore those yellow vests too, and I believe those vests were made out of silk as pointed out by Miss Kyauta.”

“Then the vests must be a uniform of some sort for the count.” concluded Tubman, the others nodding to show their agreement. “But then, why’d they attack the count’s town? A mutiny? Rebellion? Civil war?”

“I don’t think there’s much ‘civil’ in that ‘war’ if it’s the count’s men.” Brown’s eyes shifted towards the map, particularly towards Casamonu. None of them were sure of what was exactly happening, but they were sure of one thing: “I presume that the count must be quite preoccupied with all the men swarming around his cozy seat of power.” He couldn’t help but let one chuckle out “O’, thank the Lord!”

“What is it, Captain?” Ayomide was wondering if the old man was finally going total bonkers “I don’t think there’s much that’s funny about this situation...”

“Ahem, excuse me…” Brown regained his usual composure, turning to address the small crowd around his desk. “Mine was a chuckle of relief, though I do agree it was rather unbecoming. You see, I think Providence has given a reward for our efforts through this auspicious event.”

“A reward…” murmured Tubman, thinking of what Brown may mean. “From what I can get, it seems that the count’s men turned on him. Men don’t turn each other unless they’re angry for some reason, so there must’ve been something that got them angry… Maybe it has something to with the fact the slaves who keep escaping in the middle of the night?”

“Having their slaves escape must be such a convenience which might be more than mild.” said Brown, mustering up his sarcasm. Not in excess however, for excess (even an excess of Brown-approved Christian-friendly purely pure puritan sarcasm) was a sin in and of itself as decreed by the Lord Himself. “I’ve seen, back in the United States and especially in Kansas, how slaveowners were quick to turn over and take up arms against any form of governance which failed to protect their interests.”

“Yes, I saw the greatest taking up in arms anyone’s ever seen.” Unlike Brown, Harriet had been on the front and backlines of (un)conventional mid-19th century warfare during the American Civil War. “A bit of paranoia, a sparkle of mistrust, and a whole keg of anxious gentleman…” She quickly separated her clenched hands, making a fitting “Pow!” noise with her mouth as if the metaphorical keg had exploded. Ayomide looked at the woman, trying to decipher what that movement had. Having never seen a powderkeg, despite having witnessed a powderkeg go off, she wasn’t exactly well-suited to get the obvious metaphor which Tubman was going for.

“And that, that was the reward I’m talking about for, praise the Lord above, I believe we are witnessing the powderkeg go up in flames.” Despite having fulfilled his objectives however, Brown wasn’t exactly looking too joyful for one obvious reason: “May God have mercy on the souls which will abruptly depart from this land. Let us not forget that the blood of men is being spilled here.”

“Amen.” replied Tubman and Kyauta, the cave going silent for a brief moment of prayer. It was liberation, yes, and Brown saw nothing wrong with what they were doing in terms of morals. One day in 1837 he had declared “I pledge myself, with God’s help, that I will devote my life to increasing hostility toward slavery”, and increase hostilities he had even after his passing, intending to “break the jaws of the wicked and pluck the spoil out of his teeth”. Even in his jail, having a last meal with his wife before execution… Brown remembered what he had said in response to his wife Mary worrying about their children:

“Tell them their father died without a single regret for the course he has pursued - that he is satisfied that he is right in the eye of God and of all just men.”

However, Brown still saw the use of force as undesirable, a last resort for when no other methods were available, which the United States and Gemeinplatz lacked any other methods for peacefully abolishing slavery. Back in his younger days Brown had wanted to be an entrepreneur of sorts, gathering funds to advance the cause of abolitionism through ballots and not bullets. His naivete had been crushed under the heels of the Southern gentlemen who had only grown more tyrannical to counteract more peaceful methods of abolitionism. When evil left the righteous no alternative way but to fight, then he’d wield his (metaphorical) sword towards justice, and lead others who’d follow him to do the same. Not for vengeance against the slavers, not for any personal reasons, only in the name of righting what was clearly wrong.

“So, what do we do?” asked Ayomide, who had been left out of the loop (especially in the theological department). “The big man’s busy slaying his own men. That means peace for us, right?”

Brown put a somewhat reassuring hand on Ayomide’s shoulder. Then he proceeded to do the opposite of reassurance. “Oh, young lady, that just means we are getting started.” If he was back in the United States, he would have continued with the freeing of slaves up in the mountains and force the government to abolition. But, as stated in his speech in chapter XXIII (23), he wasn’t content with abolition of chattel slavery in Gemeinplatz. “The Empire must fall, and it won’t fall without us giving it a push.” Far from it, Brown would only be content with the abolition of all types of slavery. Serfdom, vassalage, all of it. “With the help of our Father, we shall kick the whole rotten structure down, and I know where to start!”

The room was energized, and slightly anxious, upon observing the sheer fervor and energy exhibited by Brown. His voice was ringing on the walls twice, thrice, quadruply even. He took the hands of everyone in the room, Tubman on one end and Ayomide plus Kyauta on the other. “I swear to all of you, may the Lord be my witness, that we shall soon expand our operations, for the end of liberating each and every last person in bonds whom resides in this realm.” He looked out of the cave, the cave in which it had all began once more. “Henceforth, I declare to all of ye who are attending: Let us spring forth from these mountains, so that our grand gush forward shalt cleanse the sins of this land and make men free as the Lord hath made them in His image.”

“W-wait, where are we ‘gushing’ forward to?!” exclaimed Ayomide, who couldn’t help but be worried about the old man. He had a mad side to him; so mad was Brown that him dying hadn’t stopped him.

“To the closest town which we can liberate: Azdavay!”

Thus, the League of Gileadites was to launch a campaign of their own, unbeknownst to the lords bickering over Casamonu…