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This Troublesome Monk
Fulda, December 1632

"Maybe they should have held the battle of Luetzen last month after all," Wes Jenkins said. "Just have kept Gustavus Adolphus out of it. Up-time, it seems to have cleared a whole batch of people off the playing board that we could just as well have done without."

"Pappenheim?" Harlan Stull asked. He was sitting far back in his chair, so his burly chest didn't bump into the table. Before the Ring of Fire, he had been a miner and was the UMWA contact man for the New United States' administrative team in Fulda. He was also a nephew of Dennis Stull who was running the procurement office that the New United States had set up in Erfurt, where Gustavus Adolphus also had his main supply depot in Thuringia. All the rest of them figured that was something which would turn out to be real handy in the long run.

"Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg. The only thing that I love about him is his name. 'Barkeep from Pig Hill.' What a beautifully aristocratic name, once you translate that 'von' bit, no matter how many centuries the pigs have been sitting on top of their hill." Wes grinned. "Up-time, he was running around the battlefield, blessing the soldiers and calling for them to fight for the Catholic faith, when he ran into a squadron that wasn't friendly. They shot him neatly. Pistol to the head. So he was killed at Luetzen, just like Pappenheim. Their bodies were carried into the Pleissenburg together to be embalmed, which would be a great thing for them to be, if you ask me and good riddance to the two of them."

Wes got up and looked out the window. Grantville hadn't had much information to prepare the administrative staff of the New United States for the job they faced in Fulda. Encyclopedia articles and a few tourist brochures from Len Tanner. That was about it. The tourist brochures hadn't been of much use. Up-time, practically the whole town had been redeveloped between 1632 and the twentieth century, it seemed.

The building where they were sitting right now didn't have a picture in any of them. It would have been torn down in the eighteenth century and replaced. The big tan sandstone cathedral with its two tall curvy-topped towers wasn't here yet, either. Now, maybe, it never would be built. Instead, there was a church called the basilica. One of the monks had told him that it was eight hundred years old. That was now, 1632, not in the year 2000.

Wes was willing to believe it—that the basilica was eight hundred years old. There was another one too, one that had survived until the twentieth century. That one had a photo in the brochures. St. Michael's it was called. The oldness of St. Michael's church had practically seemed to press down on his shoulders when he went through it. It was a burial church. Eight hundred years of dead monks. Already, in 1632, eight hundred years of dead monks.

"What's the prince-abbot of Fulda done to you?" Andrea Hill looked at her boss with some worry. His thin face was dominated by a long nose. Wes had always been wiry, but since the Ring of Fire, he had gone down to skin and bones. He would just be annoyed if she acted like a substitute mom, though, so she was careful not to fuss at him about it. "He's been gone since before the king told us to take charge of Fulda."

"Where's he been?" Fred Pence, Andrea's son-in-law, had just arrived the week before, with the second group sent from Grantville.

"He ran off to the Habsburgs when Gustavus Adolphus and the Hessians came through and took 'Priests' Alley' here and along the Rhine River in the fall of 1631. Fulda gave up without a single shot. We haven't seen hide nor hair of him."

Wes came back from the window. "At least, with the abbot and chapter monks gone, most of the people seem to prefer us to the Hessians as an occupation force. Even the monks who are still around, at least since we promised to try to get their library back from our noble ally the landgrave of Hesse, who swiped it."

"Don't get their hopes up. When these brigands swipe stuff, they mostly swipe it for good. Our side just as much as their side." Roy Copenhaver, the economic liaison, was already thoroughly disillusioned by how little, between them, Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar for Gustavus Adolphus and the Hessian commander Albrecht Thilo von Uslar had left in Fulda in the way of resources for the Grantvillers to work with. Although, he had to admit, the monks who escaped to Cologne had supposedly taken most of the abbey's treasury with them, so he couldn't blame their own new Captain General or his Hessian allies for that.

Andrea stuck her pencil through her graying hair. "Not to mention that they stole their archives themselves. That is, the monks who ran off to Cologne took the records with them and aren't about to send them back. Anita in Würzburg and Janie in Bamberg at least have something to work with when they get these disputes about who has a right to what laid in front of them. I'm having to start from scratch."

Wes sat down again, looking at the letter in front of him. "We have a Christmas present. The abbot's coming back, Ed Piazza says. In all his full glory, waving the banner of the Counter Reformation and claiming that he has the right to do his thing under 'freedom of religion' and the constitution of the New United States."

"From Cologne?" Andrea asked hopefully. "With archives?"

"No, from Prague. He attached himself to Tilly and ran in a different direction, taking what little he had in the way of an army with him. He's been hanging around with Wallenstein since then. He must be fairly tough, though—he's been living like a common soldier. Duke John George of Saxony gave him a safe-conduct through Saxony to come back and an escort to the border of the New United States. They handed him over down by Halle." Wes sighed. "Good old Duke John George. With friends like that, we really don't need enemies."

"Is he bringing imperial troops disguised as his personal staff?" Harlan asked.

"God, I hope not. The landgrave of Hesse would be only too happy to send a batch of his troops back into Fulda in the guise of 'protecting' the king of Sweden's new allies, given how few of our own people Frank Jackson has been able to spare for us here." Derek Utt, the military administrator, spent as much of his time keeping a wary eye out for raiding "friendly" troops as he did for raiding "enemy" troops.

"How many military, exactly, do we have now?" Wes asked him.

"Besides me? A half-dozen up-timers. Seven, if you count Gus Szymanski, who is the emergency medical technician and nearly sixty years old. Aside from Gus, the most senior person is Mark Early, who's nearly thirty. He's doing most of my administrative stuff. Procurement, quarters, payroll. The next is Johnny Furbee, who is twenty-seven. I'm basically using him to help me train some military police from local town and village militias. The other four are kids. Good kids, and at least they all have high school diplomas, which Johnny doesn't, but they're still kids trying to teach what little they know about modern military procedures to a couple hundred of those ex-mercenary combat veterans that Gretchen picked out from the prisoners. The training that Johnny is giving the militias is ad hoc since he was never an MP himself and neither was I, but it's something, and at least they have a vested interest in keeping the ex-mercenaries from raping their wives and daughters. The kids and the new MPs do good to keep our people from relapsing into looting the locals, to tell the truth. That's it. I don't know whether to hope Frank sends us more down-timers or be glad that we don't have too many to control."

Wes looked at him, thinking that Derek himself had just turned thirty. But he was not only older in years than the younger men he called "kids." He was a lot older in experience. Derek was a Gulf War vet. He'd been a member of the active reserves; married, with a kid, just a baby. They were left up-time. Wes understood. His wife Lena had been left up-time too, although his two daughters were in Grantville, Chandra with two kids and Lenore finally going to get married next month, which he would have to miss. Not that he would have chosen Bryant Holloway for her if he had been doing the picking.

Derek had lived in Fairmont. He had just come over to Grantville the afternoon of the Ring of Fire to go to the sport shop with his sister Lisa's husband. He had volunteered for the army the afternoon that Mike Stearns called for people. Once Mike and Frank Jackson had gotten past their first stage of relying so heavily on the United Mine Workers, he had moved up fast in the army of the New United States.

Wes nodded his head. "If he tries to bring in troops disguised as staff, stop them at the border, but I really don't think that Ed and Frank would let him get that far with them. He's free to come back as an abbot. He can walk right in carrying his staff. Hell, he can even ride in, if he wants to. We'll even provide him with an escort from the Thuringian border to the gates of the abbey. But he's not a prince of the Holy Roman Empire any more and he might as well learn it right there as anywhere else. What route is he taking?"

The meeting got down to the nitty gritty.


Grantville, December 1632

"Because you are offering a salary."

Ed Piazza looked at the down-time woman who was sitting in a straight chair across from his desk. He knew that the chair was hard and remarkably uncomfortable. In his first job, a wise old teacher had showed him that by sawing a quarter of an inch off the front legs of a chair and sanding them, front and back, so they sat flush on the floor, it wasn't enough to notice but anyone using it was constantly sliding toward the front, in the direction of the floor, requiring him to brace his legs. It was remarkably useful for keeping parent-teacher conferences within their assigned time limits and Ed had taken his pair of wooden chairs with him from job to job, defying the advance of metal folding chairs. Even now, the people he motioned toward them rarely stayed in his office any longer than was absolutely necessary.

"How did you hear about the job?"

"Miss Susan Beattie told Mrs. Kortney Pence who told Mrs." She paused. "Schandra? Sandra? Tsandra? Prickett."

"Chandra," Ed said.

"Mrs. Prickett. Who told me, all at a meeting of the League of Women Voters. Miss Beattie thought of me because her father knows Mr. Birdie Newhouse who knows my brother Dietrich."

Ed sorted it out in his mind. From Orville Beattie's daughter to Andrea Hill's daughter who was married to Fred Pence to Wes Jenkins' daughter. All adult children of members of the NUS administration in Fulda. Grantville had been pretty a small town, after all, before the Ring of Fire.

"'Because you are offering a salary.' That is the most forthright reply I have had from anyone applying for this job. When I asked why he wanted it, I mean. Or she. Would you care to explain, Mrs. Stade?"

"My husband went bankrupt. Nobody can blame the Ring of Fire for that. He went bankrupt before it. He died in April 1631. Because of the bankruptcy, he didn't leave me any money to live on. He didn't leave a business for me to fight with the guilds about over whether or not a woman can run it. All of this was in Arnstadt, though he was born in Stadtilm. His father was born in Badenburg, which is how I came to meet him and marry him. I am from Badenburg. I married and went away from my family. Now I am a widow, childless, and do not want to go back and live on the charity of my brothers and sisters. I have used up my dowry. I want work, my own income."

She nodded emphatically. "I also consider myself qualified. My husband was a councilman before he failed in his business; my father is a councilman. I presume that one of my brothers will succeed him on the council. I know politics—more widely than most, since I have ties in three cities, and through my brother Dietrich and the problems with Herr Newhouse's land, have come to know a fourth, your own. I can also help the administration figure out where the disputes are between the Fulda city council and the abbey, I think. There are bound to be a lot of old grudges."

She paused and smiled, reaching through the slit in the side of her skirt for her pocket. "And I carry the constitution of the New United States with me, everywhere I go. I have learned it by heart. As well as anyone, I can tell your administrators in Fulda what the abbot can and cannot do, under the down-time law. I will be very happy to tell the abbot of Fulda what he can and cannot do under this constitution."

Ed got up, walked to the side of the room, and lifted an upholstered office chair from its place near the wall. "Have a more comfortable seat," he suggested.

* * *

Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg was not happy. He was nearly fifty years old and had never before heard of such a thing. He glared at Ed Piazza.

"It's 'take it or leave it,'" Ed said. "The condition of our permitting you to go back to Fulda is that you take along our appointee to serve as a liaison between you and the NUS administration there."

"It is wholly inappropriate," the abbot of Fulda said. "Utterly inappropriate."

"My name is Clara Bachmeierin," the woman said. "Widowed Stade. I am from Badenburg. I am Lutheran. We have dealt with the up-timers since they first arrived. You have not. You have been away, among the imperials. We have learned to understand their politics. You have not. Stop making a sour face at me. I have reached an age at which no one will consider my presence scandalous or shocking. I am thirty-six, no girl. I will share the quarters of Mrs. Hill. She has an apartment upstairs. Her son-in-law, Mr. Pence, has an apartment downstairs in the same building, which he shares with two other men. He thinks it is safer for Mrs. Hill to be upstairs."

"You are a Protestant."

"That's what I just said," she answered.

"A Protestant and a female. Not a suitable advisor for a Catholic ruler. Not a suitable advisor for an abbot."

"Listen, Schweinsberg, at least half of your former subjects were Protestant, when you became abbot in 1623 and began a stronger enforcement of the Counter Reformation." Ed Piazza interrupted them. "That is, half of them were still Protestant after the last three or four abbots had been using their authority over the past half-century to try to coerce them into becoming Catholic again, using differential tax rates, forbidding Protestants to hold public office, giving them the option of conversion or exile."

"It is our duty to bring people back into the fold of the church," Schweinsberg said. "It was our guilt that the Protestant revolt occurred in the first place, damning so many souls to hell. Since you are supposedly Catholic yourself, Herr Piazza, you should be doing the same."

Ed leaned forward. "You're going to be learning a lot of new lessons. The first one is about separation of church and state. If you want the people of Fulda to be Catholic, you will have to entice them. Persuade them of the rightness of your doctrines. Feed them barbecue at revival meetings, I don't care. But you may not force them to convert. You may not compel them to hear your missionaries. All carrots, no sticks."

Schweinsberg scowled.

"Remember. They are not your subjects." Ed paused between each of those words for emphasis. "You no longer exercise legal jurisdiction over them. You are the church; the NUS is the state. I am quite sure that Mrs. Stade will be happy to explain it to you. The two of you will have plenty of time for conversation between here and the border, so she can tell you how the system works."

Clara Bachmeierin, otherwise known as Mrs. Stade, smiled blandly.

Ed Piazza continued. "There are ways that you can take advantage of our system, no doubt, but only if you work within it. If you try to go around it or subvert it, somebody in authority is going to think about the appropriate penalties for collaborating with the enemy. When you leave here, you're going to be carrying a written notification to that effect, signed by President Stearns."


Game Board
Fulda, January 1633

"Why can't they all at least be happy Catholics together?" Harlan Stull asked plaintively. He was looking at a complaint from the Franciscan Order that some sixty years before, a former abbot of Fulda had given one of their buildings, which they had abandoned and were no longer using, to the Jesuits, who still had it and were using it for a school. The Franciscans wanted it back now. The Jesuits thought that possession was nine points of the law.

"Why," Wes Jenkins said, "is not up to us Methodist good old boys to figure out. 'Ours not to reason why.' Though I sort of wish that they had sent us a couple of Catholics from Grantville to help us understand it, instead of shipping them all down into Würzburg and Bamberg. But I don't think that this is a religious problem. They're all Catholics. I hereby declare officially that it's a land title problem. Put it into Andrea's in-box and let's move on to something else."

"But." Harlan was practically wailing. "Why does it make any difference to them that the abbot and these guys who are supposed to be monks here, the chapter, are Benedictines but they squabble with these other monks who are Franciscans and who say they aren't monks but friars and both of them are jealous of the Jesuits? Aren't they all in the same bathtub together?"

"They weren't up-time," Wes pointed out. "Ed Piazza and Tino Nobili were practically in a boxing match half the time about stuff that went on at Saint Vincent's, with Father Mazzare refereeing. Or trying to."

Andrea tried to think of something that would be helpful. "Think of the Middle Ages. Before the Reformation. They were all Catholics then, well except for the Jews and Saracens, and they fought each other all the time. Remember what Melissa Mailey said about the Norman Conquest?"

"I think it's this way," Fred Pence said. "The Yankees and the Dodgers and all those other teams all played baseball, but that didn't mean that they weren't in competition with one another. For one thing, baseball was the way they made their living, so they were competing for the same pot of dough and the same fans. Like these guys. They're all playing the same game, but that doesn't mean that they're all on the same team. Sometimes they hate each other more than they do the people who play football or basketball. That's how I'm laying it out, for voter registration. The Catholics are football; the Lutherans are baseball; the Calvinists up on the border by Hesse are basketball, and the occasional oddballs are soccer and ice hockey."

Harlan stared at him.

"Well, it works," Fred protested. "Hey, guys, I'm a Nondenominational Evangelical. Or I was, when there was a church for me to go to. We don't have one in Grantville, even. I've been having to make do with the Baptists. This is even weirder for me than it is for you Methodists. But I think that I'm starting to understand it."

"How?" Wes asked hopefully.

"I got the pewterer downtown to make some molds and pour me baseball and other players, like little Monopoly markers. Then I've got a big map of Fulda and all its little outliers that are mixed up with Isenburg and Hanau and imperial knights like the von Hutten family and whatever. Not a decent topo map. The places are just little six-sided pieces of paper, like a game board. And I got some paint for the players. So a Lutheran is a baseball player and if he's an independent imperial knight, he's got a blue bat instead of a green one. A Jesuit is a yellow football player; a Franciscan is a red one, and if she's a nun, she's pink. The Benedictines here at the abbey are orange. Stuff like that. And I've got them set down on the spots where they belong. It's all on a table in my office. You should come by and look at it some time. By the time we get around to holding elections, I should know which precinct is what and where the trouble spots will probably be. Andrea's putting her land title markers on it, too."

Andrea cleared her throat. "Speaking of land titles . . ."


"I've made one great discovery. The monks took the archives, but most of the local district administrators and provosts of the abbey's estates kept duplicate copies on the local level, because it would take all day for someone to run over to Fulda and look something up. So if the budget has money for me to hire some clerks, we can reconstitute a working administrative archive. Not the historical papal bulls that were five hundred years old and stuff like that, but land documents and surveys from the last half century or so."

"The budget," Harlan said, "is very tight."

"Consider it an investment." Andrea reached up and pulled out the pencil she had stuck in her hair earlier in the meeting. "If we don't figure out who owes us how much in the way of taxes and rents and dues, there won't be a budget at all."

"Anything else?" Wes asked.

"We have a petition from a convent of Franciscan nuns here in the town of Fulda itself, phrased in such a way that it appears to be presented on behalf of the women of the town in general, on the subject of women's property rights. It's rather interesting." She picked up a piece of paper and started to read. "A laywoman who was a member of their Third Order . . ." She looked up. "That's sort of like a lodge auxiliary, by the way. Or it would be, if they were Disciples of Christ, like me." She went back to reading, "made during her lifetime a contingent donation to them that was to take effect after her death. She has since died and her stepson, who does not deny that she had a right to make a gift while living, challenges her right to make a post mortem donation on the grounds that it is equivalent to a bequest . . ."

Harlan Stull's eyes started to glaze over. His definition of "interesting" rarely involved probate law.

"Andrea," Wes said. "Hire a lawyer. A local lawyer. Full time. That's an order."


Variant Visions
Grantville, January 1633

"We ought to give him some kind of a send-off," Linda Bartolli said, looking at the rest of Grantville's quondam Saint Vincent's and current Saint Mary's worship committee. "After all, he is an abbot and Fulda is really historical. I looked it up in the encyclopedia."

"It should be your call. You're the organist, so most of the extra work would fall on you," Denise Adducci said.

"Well, on Brian, too," Linda said. "And the choir."

"How's it going for Brian now? Is Tino still making trouble?" Noelle Murphy asked.

Linda sighed. When her brother agreed to take on directing the Saint Mary's choir after the Ring of Fire, its former director having been left up-time, Tino Nobili had made a great big fuss. Brian's wife Debra was Methodist, which in Tino's view disqualified him for exercising anything that might be considered a public office in the church. What with Tino's wife Vivian being the parish secretary and her and Brian's parents now being full-time parish volunteers, things could get a bit touchy now and then.

"Tino seems to have settled down some. It helped that the only other person who volunteered to be choir director was Danielle Kowach. He likes the Kowaches and Mahons even less than he likes us, and having Danielle would have meant that both the organist and director would have been women."

* * *

Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg assured himself that he supported the endeavors of the Jesuit Order and favored all its efforts in spreading the faith. The Jesuits were so—what was the English word?—dynamic. Not to mention incredibly numerous. They and the Capuchins—those two orders multiplied like rabbits, these days.

Nonetheless, he still found it somewhat disconcerting that the Jesuits seemed to have thrown themselves so very enthusiastically into the Grantville parish. Plus, of course . . . von Spee came from a respectable family, but . . . Athanasius Kircher was certainly an intelligent man—some people said that he was an outright genius—but by no means was his family upper class. Schweinsberg knew this perfectly well, since Kircher's father had been a minor civil bureaucrat from Geisa who worked for the abbots of Fulda and tried to support a large family on a small salary. Of course, the father had earned a doctorate, but the family's more distant ancestry consisted entirely of commoners. Quite ordinary ones.

"I would point out," Kircher was saying with some humor, "that it is also something of a stretch for men born into families of ordinary imperial knights to sit in the diet as princes of the empire. You and your predecessors have been there by virtue of your election as abbots, not by right of birth. The church provides this 'social mobility' for you, too."

"But the statutes of Fulda provide that none but men of noble birth may be accepted as members of the chapter."

"The statutes of Fulda," Kircher answered gently. "Not the statutes of Saint Benedict, if you would bother to read them, nor even the statutes as established by your founders. Not Saint Boniface; not Saint Sturmius; not Saint Lullus. That provision developed during later history, and can be changed. If you do not want to ossify and have Fulda cease to exist for a lack of recruits, it even should be changed. Even now, it is the conventus of commoners among your monks that serves the parishes of the Stift, not the noble chapter monks. How many parishes are there? Fifty?"

"About that many. Parishes, that is. But no one would dare to challenge the statutes. Why that might lead to a commoner being elected abbot some day."

"Banz did. That abbey also had these requirements from the middle ages that only nobles could be accepted in the chapter. When so much of Franconia became Protestant, there were no longer enough surplus sons of Catholic nobles to fill the slots. More than half a century ago, they obtained an exemption from the bishop of Würzburg that they could accept commoners, both as members of the chapter and students at the school."

"The bishops of Würzburg . . ." the abbot began.

"Yes, I am entirely aware of the conflict," Kircher said patiently. "After all, my father was working for Abbot Balthasar von Dernbach when Bishop Echter conspired with the knights and nobles of the Stift to expel him because of his efforts to impose Catholic reform. The commitment of Bishop Echter to Catholic reform was unquestionably genuine. However, if by getting rid of a reforming abbot, he might extend the authority of Würzburg over the abbey and its territories . . . with the full intent of reforming them himself, of course . . . Well, bishops are not angels. Echter was a great man, but he is not likely ever to be sainted, I suppose."

"I will never compromise Fulda's independence by asking the bishop of Würzburg to authorize a change in our statutes. Even if I could, as a practical matter, since Hatzfeld has opted to remain under the protection of the archbishop of Cologne rather than to return to his see and come to terms with these allies of the Swede."

"You could always just ask the pope himself," Kircher suggested. "That would not affect the legal independence of Fulda from Würzburg in any way. Presuming, of course, that you are willing to defy your fellow nobles and their desire to drop extra sons into sinecures with guaranteed incomes."

* * *

Brian Grady had given a fair amount of consideration to the music for the special service, had beaten the bushes for people who were willing to sing just this once and scheduled four extra rehearsals. They were using the good choir robes, too. And he had a right to do something Irish, he thought.

A couple of years before, he had gotten a copy of How the Irish Saved Civilization with a medieval-looking dust jacket for Christmas. He suspected that his sister had gotten it out of a discount bin at the grocery warehouse in Fairmont, but, hey, in a family the size of the Gradys, the motto had to be, "Affordable Christmas presents are where you find them." He'd read it. He agreed with every single word, so he had given it to the new national library. Other people ought to read it, too, and understand the importance of being Irish.

Besides, he didn't intend to read it again. It was sort of out of his field. When he wasn't directing the choir, he taught physical education.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Basically, he was using the version that appeared in most hymnals, set to the "Slane" melody, which he loved.

Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

He had thought that the abbot might like it, since he came from a family of knights and knights went around fighting in armor. Tournaments and jousts and stuff like that. He'd heard the story, of course, that the only reason that the guy was here in Grantville now, getting a special service, was that he hadn't been killed in the same battle when the king of Sweden was killed, up-time.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
Be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

So take that, Martin Luther, you blasted German, Brian thought. A good Catholic Irishman wrote a fine Irish Catholic version of "A Mighty Fortress" seven centuries before you were even born.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Be thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

So far, so good. The choir was on key. Brian threw a smile to his sister Linda at the organ, who pulled a few stops. Then for the final verse he broke the choir out into the other arrangement he had, not in the hymnal—John Leavitt's, the one set to "Thaxted" from the Jupiter movement of Gustav Holst's "The Planets."

Great God of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision O Ruler of all.
Great God of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!

* * *

"Outrageous, of course," Tino Nobili said to Schweinsberg after mass. "I'm sure that you agree with me. A woman as organist and women in the choir! Irish folk music and modern composers rather than plainsong. Trust me, sir, this is not the direction the entire church had gone, not even in the up-time world. I was a member of the Pope Pius X Society. I have their mailings. I will give you some of them to take with you, to read."

The abbot thanked him gravely. Personally, he had enjoyed the music and no one expected a parish in a small city to follow all of the liturgical prescriptions for the choir of the Sistine Chapel, of course. Or even those for the choir of the Abbey of Fulda.


Fulda, February 1633

"Do you prefer to be called Mrs. Stade or Miss Bachmeier?" Wes Jenkins asked.

Clara thought a moment. "I am a widow, so I am certainly not Mrs. Stade, even though Herr Piazza calls me that. Caspar has been dead for almost two years. How about Ms. Bachmeierin? I understand that Ms. covers every marital status for your people. And I do prefer the feminine form of my family name. I am a woman, after all—not a man. Being called Bachmeier sounds very odd to me."

"That'll do fine," Wes said, leaning an elbow on the mantel.

They were all standing up. The cleaning crew had taken the table and chairs out of the conference room so they could mop and wax the floor.

She was leaning against the window sill. The administration building had windows with sills. The immediately past abbot, a guy named von Schwalbach, had torn down some medieval monstrosity about twenty years ago and built a nice little renaissance-style palace with corridors and paved floors and big windows with clear glass panes.

The afternoon sun came in at an angle, making a bright narrow stripe across her hair and face. And body, above the waist. He found himself thinking that whatever she called herself, she was definitely a woman. A fine-looking woman. He hoped that the late Caspar had appreciated his good luck. Then he realized that he hadn't cared what a woman looked like since Lena was left up-time.

"If you don't mind," Andrea Hill said, "since we will be sharing an apartment, I will call you Clara. And call me Andrea, please."

She looked at Wes watch the German woman and thought, chaperone time? Lenore, Wes' older girl, wasn't much younger than her own daughter Kortney. She'd have to ask Kortney, next time she wrote, if Lenore and Chandra had their fingers in whatever pie led up to shipping Ms. Bachmeierin over to Fulda. She knew they had been worried about having their dad walking around like one of the living dead for so long.

Well, she couldn't blame Wes. She'd felt that way herself for quite a while after her husband Harry died back in 1997, but gradually the world had turned itself back right side up. She had felt it worse when her first husband left her in 1965. Harry, at least, had not wanted to go. But if Bob hadn't left, she wouldn't have gone back to school and gotten the A.A. degree that led her to this job, or married Harry, or had her two girls, so . . .

"When's the abbot due?" Harlan Stull asked.

"In about a half an hour. Maybe I should have asked you first, but I thought it was reasonable to agree when he wanted to go to the monastery first, before he came over to meet all of you. He's supposed to be in charge of it, after all," Clara answered.

"Supposed to be?"

"I'm not sure how much support he has. Neither is he, really. That's one thing he wants to find out."

"Brief me," Wes said, thinking he might as well find out sooner than later what caliber of person Ed had picked.

"Well, he was elected abbot in 1623. Three years later, he brought in some reformed Benedictines from someplace in Switzerland to help him reorganize the abbey. The year after that, that was in 1627, after he got their report, he talked the pope into sending the nuncio—that was Pietro Luigi Caraffa back then—as a papal visitor, a kind of inspector to conduct a visitation of the abbey. Caraffa issued a whole batch of reform decrees that pointed out that according to the rule of Saint Benedict, authority belonged to the abbot. They were pretty critical of the way the noble-born monks in the Fulda chapter had encroached on it. After Caraffa left—he couldn't very well stay here permanently—the provosts, the monks who administered the abbey's property, got up a rebellion against the changes."

She paused for breath.

"I can see," Fred Pence said, "that I'm going to end up with stripes and checks and spots on my orange helmets."

Clara looked at him, then ignored him. "The monks who are in Cologne now mostly belonged to the opposition party. The pope confirmed the changes, but it didn't make much impression on them. The chapter seemed to be absolutely dead set on keeping the privilege of only admitting nobles. I didn't get a very clear view from the abbot as to whether they object to praying in the same room as ordinary people or if they just object to sharing the abbey's income with them. If the latter, the New United States has probably solved one problem for him."

"From what I hear," Orville Beattie said, "the party of his monks that headed off to Cologne probably won't be too enthusiastic about the fact that he's reappeared. The leader of them, a guy named Johann Adolf von Hoheneck, would have been elected as abbot by now if Schweinsberg had gotten himself shot on schedule, so to speak. Hoheneck is feeling a bit deprived, they say. Just gossip, you understand."

Orville had been sent up from Würzburg by Johnnie F.—Johnnie Haun, that was—to run Steve Salatto's brainchild of a "Hearts and Minds" program in Fulda. Up-time, Orville had worked for the state and farmed part time, but he was in the military down-time. "Hearts and Minds" was a military program. Having another up-time military person in Fulda made Derek Utt feel better, even though Orville spent most of his time out of town. Although Orville was Presbyterian, which made the liaison guy from the landgrave of Hesse, a guy named Urban von Boyneburg, feel better about things too, he seemed to be finding his feet pretty fast in dealing with Catholics and Lutherans.

"Okay, Hoheneck in Cologne. Probably one of the bad guys." Harlan Stull made a note.

"That's where they took the archives," Andrea said. "Can Schweinsberg get them back?"

"I don't know," Clara answered honestly. "We can ask him to try. But Hoheneck is on very good terms with Ferdinand of Bavaria, who is the archbishop and elector of Cologne. Through him, of course, he can get support from Duke Maximilian of Bavaria and the Leaguists and the Imperials. That probably means that he isn't going to pay much attention to long-distance instructions from Schweinsberg here in Fulda, vow of obedience or no vow of obedience."

"You know," Orville was saying, down at the other end of the room where a different conversation had broken out, "one thing that we really ought to do, when we get a chance, is ask von Boyneburg to come in and give us a briefing about dealing with the imperial knights. Apparently, here in Fulda, they have a legal status that's different from the knights in Hesse. More like the ones in Franconia."

Harlan Stull sighed. "I'll try to fit it into the agenda one of these days."

* * *

"Well, if your supporters followed you when you went off with Tilly's army, and Hoheneck's bunch ran off to Cologne with him, carrying the archives, who were the monks we found at Fulda when we got here?" Wes Jenkins thought this was a reasonable question.

"The Saint Gall monks," the abbot answered. "In the abbey. The monks who belong to the conventus of commoners don't reside here permanently. They are parish pastors and only come to the abbey for meetings and special events. And, then, some lay brothers, who do things like caring for the gardens, are still here."

"That means? Saint Gall monks?" Wes wondered if Schweinsberg missed having the administration building as a palace. He was living over in the abbey dormitory these days.

"In 1626, I asked the Benedictine Abbey at Saint Gall, that's in Switzerland, to lend us some of their monks to reform us here at Fulda. That is, to show us how to conform more closely to the rule of Saint Benedict. They kindly sent us several, to serve as models for chanting the offices and following the church year, things like that. When the rest of us left for fear of the Swedes and Hessians, they stayed."

"Reform you?"

"Introduce the Tridentine reforms. The prescriptions of the Council of Trent. That was about, oh, seventy years ago. It went on for years. The council, I mean. The abbots have been trying to bring Fulda into conformity ever since, without a lot of luck. The noble families are thoroughly entrenched in the chapter. The younger sons they send us are usually fairly hard-working when it come to doing things like administering the abbey's estates. That's what nobles do, after all. But they rarely have much enthusiasm about performing specifically monastic duties."

"What's the problem?" Wes was genuinely curious.

"We've tried, goodness knows. The Jesuit school. The seminar for future priests. And we've made some progress. Getting rid of the concubines, for example."


"Wives, really. Instead of living in little monastic cells, seventy-five years ago the chapter monks mostly lived in their own houses in town with their wives and children. Not that it was legal for them to have wives, of course, which is why they were called concubines by the reformers."

"Didn't Catholics get a bit uptight about married monks?"

"The laity? No more than they did about married priests in general, really. Not as long as they did the rest of their work okay. It's the hierarchy that disapproves of clerical matrimony, mainly, not the people. At the time of Trent, even the dukes of Bavaria tried hard to get the pope and cardinals to accept married priests."

Wes shook his head.

* * *

"The part that is properly in Franconia is called the 'Rhön and Werra' canton of the imperial knights." Urban von Boyneburg looked at the up-timers and pointed to the wall map.

Derek Utt had made a blown-up map on a dozen pieces of paper taped together, from a little one in a down-time atlas. Ortelius, it was called. Ed Piazza had ordered a dozen copies of the atlas and distributed them around. It wasn't a very good map and the original had been made fifty years ago, so it was out of date, but it was better than any other map of Fulda that they had.

"That's basically over here. You do know what an imperial knight is? And where the Werra river runs?"

Wes Jenkins nodded.

Boyneburg continued. "Most of the Franconian imperial knights are Protestant-Lutheran, in fact. Their families accepted that confession almost a century ago and they have been able to maintain it in spite of pressure from the bishops. So are the ones here in the Fulda region, in what we called the Buchenland or, in Latin, Buchonia. Most of the abbot's own family is Protestant, for that matter."

"What's a 'Buchen,'" Fred Pence asked.

Boyneburg looked blank. He could point to a Buchen if they asked him to, but . . .

"A beech tree," Orville said in English. "This region is heavily wooded with beech trees."

Boyneburg resumed the lecture. "In October 1631, right after the battle of Breitenfeld, the imperial knights of the Fulda region had a meeting right here in the city and decided that they would like to join with the Franconian knights as the 'Buchen Quarter.' Since then, they have negotiated with the king of Sweden. He has been willing to recognize them as immediate, with no territorial lord standing between them and him, as long as they pay him tribute. Which is plenty, by the way. The Ebersburgs are expected to come up with twenty imperial Thaler monthly, the von Schlitz have to pay forty Thaler a month. Even the Buchenau family, which isn't very prominent or prosperous, is being assessed thirteen Thaler monthly by the Swedes, to support the Protestant cause."

"Where does Hesse-Kassel stand on this?" Derek Utt asked.

"Well, you must know that Hesse does not have any imperial knights within its lands. The lower nobility of Hesse, its Ritterschaft, is subject to the landgrave. Not reichsfrei. They are landsässig, vassals of the landgrave rather than of the emperor. Or of the king of Sweden, since he has now put himself in the emperor's place, for all practical purposes."

Wes Jenkins nodded.

Boyneburg went on. "I'm afraid that my lord the landgrave rather alienated the imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter last year, by moving to make them landsässig in Fulda. That was before your town's arrival of course, when he hoped to be able to attach Fulda as one of his permanent possessions. Of course, the abbot of Fulda would also like to make the knights within his territory his vassals. Any territorial ruler would, naturally. It's just that Hesse and Württemberg have been more successful at mediatizing them—well, at mediatizing us, since I am a member of the Hessian nobility—than most other principalities."

He paused. "The imperial knights of Buchen, ah, resist the idea of giving up their freedom and liberties to become the subjects of a territorial ruler very strongly."

"So, at the moment, they are still classified as free knights, but they are paying through the nose for the privilege. A lot more than their taxes would be if they were subjects of the abbot," Wes Jenkins summed up.

Boyneburg nodded his agreement.

"Clara, since the NUS is sitting in the former chair of the abbot as Fulda's head of state or civil government, where do you think we stand as far as our relations with these guys are concerned?"

"These knights in the Buchen are in a little different position than those in Hesse. They do, most of them, have some lands that are allods. That is, lands that they own in their own right and for which they do not owe any feudal dues. Just taxes to the emperor. Or, now, to King Gustavus Adolphus. But most of them also hold other lands as fiefs from Fulda. So the New United States is, I think, their feudal lord, their Lehensherr, for those lands, as well as being their Landesherr."

"We don't want to be anybody's f . . . never mind, feudal lord," Harlan Stull exploded.

"Well," Andrea Hill said, "until the New United States gets around to changing the land system, we are. Not as individuals, but the administration is. So we are, collectively, as representatives of the government. That's pretty clear from the land title stuff that I've collected."


Fulda, February 1633

"I'm it, I think," Mark Early said. "The whole Special Commission on the Establishment of Freedom of Religion in the Franconian Prince-Bishoprics and the Prince-Abbey of Fulda. At least as far as Fulda is concerned. That's what my orders say. It's what my wife Susan says, too, and since she's working directly for Mike Stearns, I guess it's for real."

"How do you intend to do it, on top of all the rest of your work?"

"If you want me to do it, Wes, Derek's just going to have to make someone else bookkeeper and paymaster. Either pull one of the kids into the job or use a down-timer."

"Derek, do you see any options to that?"

"No, to tell the truth. They say that they'll send Joel Matowski out to help Mark, but he can't be freed up until late summer or early fall, probably. And when he does get here, he'll have a steep learning curve."

"That's the down side. Is there an up side?"

"Fulda's a lot smaller than Würzburg or Bamberg, so maybe one guy can do it," Andrea offered.

"I don't think so," Wes said. "Even if we free up Mark, he's going to need help and it obviously isn't going to be an up-timer. Do we have any down-time staff who could lend a hand, at least with scheduling the hearings and taking the minutes. Filing the records. Stuff like that."

Harlan Stull shook his head.

"What about Clara?" Derek asked.


"Well, it looks to me like a lot of what this Special Commission is going to be doing is trying to get the Lutheran imperial knights and the Catholic abbot and chapter at the monastery to co-exist and leave the ordinary people who belong to each other's religion alone. She's already been working with the abbot, so she should have a head start, so to speak. Then if we can get someone local . . . Andrea, did you ever hire a lawyer full time?"

"I did. But the Special Commission can't have him. I'm not just paying him full time. I'm using him full time. Maybe he can recommend someone else."

"Oh, sure, they always can," Harlan said. A younger brother or a nephew or their cousin's brother-in-law."

Roy Copenhaver shook his head. "Aren't we supposed to avoid nepotism?"

"Hey, until we get an actual civil service, it works as well as any other hiring system. The trick is to make sure that we fire the incompetents who don't work out, and even with a civil service they didn't manage that, up-time. Neither West Virginia nor the feds."

"Are you a cynic?"

"I'm a realist. Okay, I'll ask Clara about it; see if she'd be willing to," Harlan said. In addition to his other duties, he was personnel manager.

* * *

"How about Herr von Boyneburg?" Clara asked.

"But he doesn't even work for us," Mark Early protested. "He works for the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel."

"But it would be a good idea for someone who works for the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel to learn about separation of church and state. Wouldn't it?"

"Yeah, I guess so. When you put it that way," Harlan answered. "Seems weird, though."

"They have their own problems," Clara said. "People in the border villages along the Werra who even now walk over into neighboring Lutheran territories to take communion, after all these years and in spite of the fact that they've made it illegal. Maybe they could learn just to let them do it in peace. Plus there's an occasional Calvinist imperial knight with lands well inside Fulda territory, so they could learn to make it a trade-off. The abbot stops hassling the Calvinists and Lutherans. The Calvinists stop hassling the Lutherans. Then the Lutherans could stop hassling the Calvinists, too, maybe. Or at least stop calling one another crypto-Calvinists."

She smiled. "Are you sending an observer to the Rudolstadt Colloquy?" she asked.

"H . . . that is, heck no!" Harlan answered.

* * *

"Do we need a pilgrimage church up on top of a hill?" Andrea asked.

Roy Copenhaver winced. "You know, sometimes I ask myself if this place is worth all the grief that it's causing us. There can't be more than fifty thousand people in the Stift and town of Fulda, combined. Total. If that many. Maybe forty thousand if you count out all the subjects of somebody else who are just living here."

"We did get Fulda as sort of an appendage to Würzburg and Bamberg, I think. An afterthought. It's nowhere near as big. Nowhere near as exciting. But if Mike hadn't taken it on, it would have gone to Hesse-Kassel, like Paderborn and Corvey did. And the landgrave would have done the same sort of stuff to the folks here as he's doing to the folks there, so maybe it's worthwhile," Andrea answered.

"What's he doing?"

"The longer he manages to hang on to them, the tighter he's squeezing the Catholics. He started out in 1631 just swiping valuable stuff, but being pretty generous about letting the ordinary people keep their religion. But as time goes on, first one church and then another gets handed over to the Protestants; first one and then another Catholic priest gets exiled, till there's just one little church in each town where he allows Catholic services. He fires the Catholic schoolteachers. Then the Jesuits have to go; then the Franciscans and Benedictines and the other religious orders. Then he introduces a religious test for holding public office. So far, he hasn't made it illegal to be Catholic, but it's definitely creeping Calvinism, now that he sees some prospect that Gustavus Adolphus will grant them to him as permanent possessions. SOP, pretty much, for seventeenth-century Germany when a ruler who has one religion takes over a territory that has another."

"What about this pilgrimage church Andrea was talking about?" Fred Pence asked.

"According to Steve Salatto," Wes said, "the purpose of this exercise is to keep resources out of the hands of the CPE's opponents. So they can't use them to oppose the CPE. Are the pilgrimages compulsory?"

"Not by law, no," Andrea answered. "I suppose that if a priest sticks someone with a pilgrimage as a penance, it's sort of morally compulsory. But the constable or bailiff isn't going to make the guy go."

"Does it have income?"

"Just what the pilgrims donate. It doesn't have farms or estates or anything attached that support it with dues."

"I don't think we need it," Wes said. "If it's going to cost him money to keep it up, pay the priests and so on, give it back to the abbot, land title and all. Make that a rule. If it's going to cost the abbot money, give it back to him. Parochial schools, the seminary for boys who are studying to be priests, and stuff like that. If it's going to generate income, keep it."

He leaned back and yawned. "Solomon had nothing on me when it came to snap decisions."


Ways and Means
Fulda, April 1633

"Your administration has abolished the tithes," the abbot said.

"Yep." Roy Copenhaver took a drag on his clay pipe. He still missed cigarettes, but the region right around here was about the largest manufacturer of clay pipes in Europe, from cheapos to deluxe.

"Not just the tithes that the church actually collected itself, but the ones that other investors had bought up as well."

"So they can sue us. They probably will. It doesn't make any difference in the long run. Everybody's busy. Congress didn't get around to making a law. Mike Stearns didn't get around to issuing an executive order. Steve Salatto didn't get around to sending us any general edict. We had to do something. Whatever Wes decided to do about it, somebody would have sued us, so we just wiped the things out as far as Fulda is concerned. We're building legal fees into the budget request for the next fiscal year."

"As the secular government, you are now collecting the taxes."

"That's true, too."

"And you have confiscated the abbey's estates that produce income in the form of rents and dues."

"Ummn-hmmn. That's what you get for running off with Tilly and hanging out with Wallenstein, pardon my French."

"So how do you expect me to support all the things that you have so generously returned to the church? How do I pay for roofs for the schools and matrons for the orphanages and priests for the churches?"

"Pass the plate. That's how we did it up-time. If they really want the stuff, they'll cough up the money. Nobody says you can't lay a guilt trip on them, even. Try sermons. My wife Jen and I were Pentecostals, up-time. That's how our preachers did it."


"Are. But our church was outside the Ring of Fire. There's an old retired preacher, Reverend Chalker, who was caught in it. Must be eighty years old. He was visiting Lana Soper at the assisted living center when it hit, and he's been holding tent services. We should manage to get a temporary building up fairly soon, but there aren't very many of us."

Roy looked at the abbot. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You're in a lot better shape here in Fulda than we are back in Grantville. You saw Saint Mary's. Nice church building, right downtown. Bet you never got out into the Five Hollows to take a look at our little arrangement."

"I suppose there's something to be said for poverty," the abbot said. "Beyond the fact that it's in the Rule of St. Benedict. Which got more than a little stretched over the centuries, as you can tell."


"Without the income attached to the prebends, the only monks who are likely to come back to the abbey are the ones who are willing to live like monks. Which is what I've been trying to get them to do for a decade."

* * *

"I think that it might be a good idea for you to send them to Rome," Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg said, tapping the pile of pamphlets. That's why I brought them over."

The rector of Fulda's Jesuit collegium ran his fingers thoughtfully through his beard.

"I rather liked Father Mazzare, you understand. And Kircher has a lot of respect for him. But if the holy father is to come to an informed decision, then he should know that the views of the up-time Catholics were no more monolithic than ours are. I, ah, feel rather sure that Herr Agostino Nobili of Grantville would be happy to share all the rest of his piles of pamphlets with the magisterium."

"I will send them," the rector countered, "to Father General Vitelleschi."


"There is no sense in encouraging the more reactionary elements in the College of Cardinals."

"I suspect," the abbot said, "that they are perfectly capable of sending researchers to Grantville to look up the Modernist controversy in the encyclopedias for themselves. The Grantvillers will make no move to stop them. The up-timers are strange that way. Most of their leaders appear to be strongly committed to the belief that ideas should flow freely, even when they disagree with them."

"What did you make of Herr Piazza?" the rector asked. "In some ways, he may be more important for the church than Stearns himself, since he is Catholic and can be expected to understand our problems more clearly. Does he share that belief?"

"Almost certainly, since he is a strong supporter of the priest. It is as if they drink it in with their mother's milk. Father Mazzare played a piece of music for me on his 'phonograph.' Oddly, it contained German lines. 'Die Gedanken sind frei.' He said that it was folk music. I was not able to determine why they think that folk music and popular music are two different genres. After all, "Volk" and "populus" basically designate the same concept."

The conversation meandered on throughout dinner, adding the mystery of "country" as a designation for music. Why would "country" differ from "folk" or "popular," since certainly the great majority of the people lived in rural areas?


Fulda, May 1633

"It could have been a disaster," Derek Utt said, "but it wasn't. Figure that once more we've managed to squeak through by the skin of our teeth. No religious vigilante of any existing persuasion even shot at Willard Thornton, much less hit him."

"I must say," Wes answered, "that the last thing we needed at this juncture was an LDS missionary."

"So you sicced him on Würzburg and Bamberg? So Steve Salatto needs him? So Vince Marcantonio needs him?" Andrea Hill asked.

"They have more resources to deal with it. At least, Steve does. I'm not so sure about Vince. Bamberg is worse understaffed than we are."

"Hey," Roy Copenhaver interrupted, "Willard Thornton's not a bad guy. He's worked at the Home Center for years. I thought you said that people were just interested in his bicycle."

"I had the pewterer pour a new mold," Fred Pence said, "just in case. I'll be running out of sports pretty soon, but LDS is golf. I've still got tennis in reserve in case somebody wanders in making converts to something else."

"I haven't heard that he caused any problems," Orville Beattie added. "I don't think that he made any converts here in town, but he left a lot of pamphlets and flyers behind, so I'll keep an eye out."

"Here in town?"

Orville sighed. Derek Utt was getting pretty quick on the uptake.

"On his way out, pushing that bicycle, he stopped at Barracktown. Over there where you've planted the wives and not-exactly-wives of the down-time soldiers. Plus their kids and the usual crop of peddlers who sell them stuff that we won't issue. I haven't managed to get rid of those sutlers; throw one out and two more sprout up, it seems like. I think he made more of an impression there than he did in Fulda. Now maybe the women just wanted to wallpaper their cabins to keep out the drafts, but he must have left several pounds of printed paper behind him."

"What on earth about the Mormons would appeal to the wives of a bunch of mercenaries?" Harlan Stull asked.

"They seemed to find the emphasis that husbands should be sober, orderly, hard-working heads of their households and spend their free time going to church meetings . . . umm, an improvement on the status quo if they could get it?"

"I thought that Gretchen had vouched for these guys as okay," Harlan protested.

"Okay by the standards of seventeenth century mercenaries, which leaves quite a bit of leeway, so to speak. Once you get to know them," Derek answered.

"It's not as if any of the existing churches spend much time trying to improve conditions for those poor women and children," Andrea said. "There's sort of a vacuum there."

"And nature abhors one. Thanks, Orville. I guess. At least for letting me know," Derek said.

"By the way," Andrea asked, "what have we done about getting a grade school set up out there?"

They all looked at her.

"Well," she pointed out, "the people in Fulda won't let those kids go to the town schools."

"Prejudice," Derek said.

Everybody started to talk at once.

"Not in the district limits. There were rules about that up-time, too. We've made a little settlement where there wasn't one before."

"Can we make the town take them?"

"Not if we're serious about self-government."

"We're not in the school business."

"What about Ronnie Dreeson?"

"Maybe the abbot could set one up."

"Using what for money? We've swiped all his revenues. It would have to be a charity school of some kind."

"It's a peculiar religious mix out there at Barracktown," Derek said. "People who are supposed to be Catholic and a bunch of different kinds of Protestants, all tossed in together. Plus one Turk that I know of who has a Portuguese wife. And an Armenian."

"If we'd quartered the soldiers out in the villages, the kids could have gone to the village schools."

"We're not quartering soldiers on civilians, remember. That's why we have the barracks. And Barracktown."

"Anyway, the village schools around here are all Catholic and the Protestants wouldn't want to send their kids. There's no such thing as an irreligious school. Non-religious school. Nondenominational school. Whatever."

"Maybe Clara can think of something."

"H . . . I mean heck, Andrea. Why'd you have to bring up those kids?" Harlan stood up, gathering his papers together. "As if we didn't have enough on our plates."


This Troublesome Monk
Bonn, Archdiocese of Cologne, May 1633

"You could file a complaint of witchcraft against him," the man in the gray hood suggested. "It's much more likely to attract public attention than simple collaboration with the enemy."

"Against the abbot?"

Johann Adolf von Hoheneck would prefer to be abbot of Fulda himself, rather than just the ex-provost of the ecclesiastical estate of Petersberg, which had been confiscated by the New United States in any case, which made him just a chapter monk of Fulda now, much to his chagrin. Still, Schweinsberg was the abbot and he found the idea of bringing him down a little distasteful. Particularly in the way of setting precedents. A person had to think long-term.

"Isn't the abbot the only person we were talking about?" someone muttered under his breath.

Hoheneck looked at the Capuchin, shaking his head. "We don't have anyone on the ground there to file it, even if the rest of us agreed. The only monks who stayed were the ones from Saint Gall, who surely won't. Perhaps a few of Schweinsberg's supporters have come back, but not in any numbers, as far as I have heard. They wouldn't either, in any case."

"Maybe if we made it worth someone's while, one of them would." The archbishop's confessor was a tenacious man.

"Not in the chapter, then," Franz von Hatzfeld said. "But, surely, there must be someone in the town of Fulda? Someone among the city councilors and guildsmen?"

"Why not file the accusation against one of the up-timers?" Hoheneck was uneasy at the prospect of trying to bring down the abbot. The more he thought about it, the uneasier he got. The bishop of Würzburg wasn't the only high ecclesiastical official with a desire to expand his jurisdiction. He did not consider Cologne to be exempt from it-especially not when the archbishop was a Bavarian duke. How would it be to his advantage to bring down the abbot if the archbishop mediatized the abbey in the process?

"I don't think that is prudent right now," Hatzfeld said. "But you could include the down-time woman they sent to advise him in the accusation. That always allows for all sorts of sexual innuendoes."

"But the abbot . . . who's going to investigate the charge?" Hoheneck asked. "And how, since the up-timers have abolished witchcraft as a crime?"

"Why, the bishop of Würzburg, I presume," the man in the gray hood said smoothly. "Fulda does fall within his ecclesiastical jurisdiction, after all. Or so he contends, at least." He looked directly at Hatzfeld, who was, after all, the bishop of Würzburg. "The Holy Father has never ruled definitively in the matter."

"Sufficient unto the day . . ." someone muttered, just loudly enough to be heard.

"And it remains a crime under imperial law," Hatzfeld continued, "so when the ursurping Swede is expelled . . ."

"The bishop of Würzburg," Hoheneck bowed to Hatzfeld, "isn't there. Just his suffragan. The bishop of Würzburg is here, in Bonn."

He frowned. Hatzfeld was here in Bonn—under the archbishop's thumb. Hatzfeld's family was supporting him, so he wasn't living on the archbishop's charity the way most of the rest of the refugee Rheinland clerics were, but he still didn't like the way it looked.

"Why, I should think that is all to the good," the archbishop's confessor said, also bowing to Hatzfeld. "No problems stemming from delayed correspondence. No interceptions by the Jew Nasi and his agents. It should be possible for us to make our wishes clear to him directly. And he should be willing. Unless he is, like Schweinsberg, falling prey to the temptation to save whatever he can save."

"I have been quite consistent in my refusal to deal with the up-timers," the bishop of Würzburg said.

"So you will handle it—the investigation into the witchcraft allegations—from here?" The question came from the clerk who was taking the minutes.

"If we aren't all running away from the Swede by the time the investigation is ripe." That was the same unidentifiable under-the-breath muttering. Hoheneck wished that the men who had not been invited to the table were sitting across from him rather than behind him. He couldn't tell who it was.

"Hatzfeld can't very well go down to Fulda and hold hearings right under the up-timers' noses, much less use judicial torture while they are occupying the Stift lands," he said. "Who's going to take the depositions and keep the protocols?"

"Could we possibly get Hesse to file the complaint?" a Jesuit sitting next to Hatzfeld asked.

"Hesse? He's one of Gustavus Adolphus' strongest allies," the Capuchin said.

"Sure, but if he thought that he could bring the abbot down . . . not realizing that we have a candidate waiting in the wings to take his place." The Jesuit tapped his index finger on the table. "It wouldn't have to be Hesse himself. He's bound to have agents in Fulda."

"He has a regular liaison with the up-timers," Hatzfeld said. "One of the Boyneburgs."

"Too close. Too public," Hoheneck protested.

"Could we talk Neuhoff into going back?" the Jesuit asked. "Pretending to be reconciled to Schweinsberg? Then a couple of months later, horrified at what he has seen since his return, devastated with shock, appalled . . . you know the script . . . he files the allegations."

"It might work," Hoheneck answered. "Hermann has a pretty good reputation. And he's scholarly. He corresponds with Grotius, you know."

"Every literate person in Europe corresponds with Grotius, I think."

Hoheneck resisted turning his head to see where the sotto voce comments were coming from.

"That's no special distinction," whoever it was continued.

"Schweinsberg could hit back by accusing Neuhoff of Arminian sympathies," the Jesuit said. "That's why Grotius had to get out of the Netherlands. That would turn off the landgrave of Hesse pretty fast."

"Arminianism is a Calvinist fight—not a Catholic one." The Capuchin pushed back his hood.

"Hesse-Kassel is a Calvinist," Hoheneck pointed out.

"What difference does that make? If a slur works, use it."

Hoheneck shook his head with annoyance. It was the voice from behind him again.

"Where do we start?" That was Hatzfeld.

"Let's hire somebody to write a pamphlet," Hoheneck suggested. "Just to test the waters."

"Obscene illustrations?" the muttering voice behind him asked in a hopeful tone.

Hoheneck turned around and glared at the group of men. "If you pay for the woodcuts," he said. "Whoever you are."

"Lovely," the voice continued. It came from a little man wearing a flat hat. "The serpent's long, long tongue extending and . . ." He smiled.

"This is," the Capuchin said, "the archbishop's palace. Control your imagination, Gruyard."

* * *

"Hoheneck's getting cold feet," Archbishop Ferdinand's confessor said.

"They've never been warm," the archbishop answered. "He's a cold fish, overall. Your putting Gruyard to mutter behind him today got more of a rise out of him than I've ever seen before."

"How much practical assistance can we expect from your brothers?"

"Very little, this summer. As you know, Maximilian and Albrecht have more immediate concerns. The recent events in Bohemia have been very worrisome. Austria needs Bavaria's support."

He frowned at the Capuchin. "For that matter, we have more immediate concerns than Fulda, too. One of Gustavus Adolphus' generals with twenty-five thousand men looking at my eastern border is one of those thoughts that makes worries about the status of Fulda seem comparatively insignificant."

"Great oaks from little acorns grow," his confessor said piously. "Moreover, I doubt that there are more than ten thousand men looking at your eastern border. And those are mostly Hessians under von Uslar rather than Swedes."

The archbishop frowned his displeasure.

"Think of Fulda as the first domino in bringing down the CPE and unraveling? Something?"

"As a grand conspirator," the archbishop said, "you . . . never mind. And get Gruyard out of my palace. I don't care where you put him, except not in any other building that belongs to the archdiocese, but get him out. He makes my flesh crawl."

"He's good at what he does."

"That's the problem."


Where Are We and What Are We Doing Here?
Stift Fulda, June 1633

"Where are we?" Mark Early asked.

"This is Neuenberg," the abbot answered. "I served as provost here before I was elected abbot. Among several other places where I was provost. That's why I came along today, to introduce you to the people here."

"What does a provost do?"

The abbot started a long explanation.

"Middle management." Clara Bachmeierin inserted the English term into the conversation.

Mark nodded.

The breeze picked up. Clara grabbed for her files. She was acting as clerk today. Urban von Boyneburg's horse boy picked up a couple more rocks and gave them to her for paperweights.

"Why are we sitting under a tree instead of inside?" Mark asked.

"It's a linden tree," Boyneburg said.

"Why are we sitting under a linden tree?"

"People around here conduct important business under the village linden tree. Always have, as far as I know. Well, maybe not in the dead of winter or a pouring rain, but generally that's where the village council meets and anything else important gets done."

Mark sighed. "When in Rome." He put on his sunglasses.

"I'd take those off if I were you," Clara recommended. "There will be better times to introduce the peasants of Neuenberg to modern technology."

He put them back in his breast pocket and squinted into the sun. A bunch of people were coming out of the chapel.

"Bailiff," Mark said, "announce that the session of the Special Commission on the Establishment of Freedom of Religion in the Franconian Prince-Bishoprics and the Prince-Abbey of Fulda will come to order."

An elderly farmer looked at him. "The bailiff's sick. Something he ate, probably. You don't want him here."

"Do you have an under-bailiff?"


"A constable?"

"He's the bailiff."

"Somebody," Mark said, "announce that the session of the Special Commission on the Establishment of Freedom of Religion in the Franconian Prince-Bishoprics and the Prince-Abbey of Fulda will come to order."

None of the villagers moved.

Urban von Boyneburg got up and announced it.

"Pardon, Your Honor," the elderly farmer said, "but we would like to bring to Your Honor's attention that it's a good day for making hay, and we would just as soon be done with this business by the time the dew goes off."


Fulda, June 1633

"It's gross," Andrea Hill said. She was holding the pamphlet by one corner, between her thumb and her index finger, as far away from her body as she could get it. "And the town is plastered with them."

"Come on, Andrea," Wes Jenkins said placidly. "Whatever it is, it can't be that bad."

"Oh yes it can." She threw it onto the table in front of him. "Poor Clara. They put her name in the thing, in the caption to that hideous picture. And all of our soldiers I saw out on the street were looking at the placards that go with it and going 'har, har, har!" so you"—she stopped and pointed at Derek Utt— "can just get up and go out there and make them stop it."

Derek reached over and pulled the pamphlet out from in front of Wes. Thumbed through it once. Got up.

Orville Beattie came into the conference room, carrying another copy. Wes grabbed the first one from where Derek had dropped it. As he looked through it, his face went white and pinched.

"Clara I understand," Fred Pence said as he came in, "but who's Salome? The one in the Bible?"

Andrea glared at him. He realized that it was one of those mornings when it was just generally a bad thing to be a male human being, and a worse one to be a son-in-law.

"The prioress," Andrea said. "At the Benedictine convent here in town. You've surely walked past it. Ascension of Mary, it's called. There's a plaque by the door. She's been here since 1630. She and three others came from the abbey of Kühbach in the diocese of Augsburg to start it up. They've been through hard times, what with the Hessians and everything. And us, considering that we confiscated the estates that the abbot had assigned to support them. They're dirt poor. There are days when they're going hungry, until Clara or I take the rest of our supper over to them. This is just so . . . unfair. Her name is Salome. Salome von Pflaumern."

Harlan Stull raised an eyebrow. "Does that explain why your per diem has gone up, you and Clara. You're feeding six rather than two? Or ten rather than two? How many are there?"

"Well, we felt bad about it. If we hadn't taken away all of the abbot's income-producing property, the provosts on the abbey's farms would be sending them something to eat, at least. And they could fix the roof. It's leaking into the chapel."

"Why the hell do they name girls Salome, anyhow?" Orville Beattie asked. "It seems like a bad omen from the start."

"Not that one," Andrea said. "Not the one with the seven veils and John the Baptist's head. There's another one, who stood next to Mary at the cross. She's a saint. Girls get named for her."

"More than enough room for confusion, if you ask me," Fred said. He was clearly going to be on Andrea's shit list today no matter what he did, so he figured he might as well earn it.

"Where did Mark and the rest of the Special Commission go today?" Wes Jenkins asked.

Andrea looked at his face and shivered.

"Neuenberg," Orville Beattie answered. "That's not far."

"Go get them. Bring them back. Take a dozen guards with you, at least. God, this is sick!"

Orville moved fast.

"Andrea," Wes spit out. "Get your tame lawyer in here this minute. And the mayor and the whole city council."

* * *

"We've let you keep your gate guards. Did somebody bring this smut in through one of the gates. If so, which one, and when?" Wes Jenkins glared.

The captain of Fulda's militia shook his head. "There has been no large shipment of printed matter for several weeks, sir. Not to the best of our knowledge. I do have confidence in my men."

"Are you interested in the other option, then?"

"Which other option?" Adam Landau asked rather hesitantly. He was the mayor. It was his job to speak for the others, no matter how dangerous an activity that currently appeared to be.

"That some sick creep brought a manuscript and the woodcuts into Fulda in his private baggage and it was printed here?"

The council members looked at one another. Then at the militia captain. Then back at one another. This possibility was even less pleasant.

The head of the clothmakers' guild cleared his throat. "Ah. Freedom of the press, sir?" Esaias Geyder said tentatively.

Wes blew up. "There are a few little things for you to think about. First, this is a military occupation force, when you come right down to it. Fulda has not adopted the constitution of the New United States. It hasn't even voted on whether or not to adopt it. And if your friendly local collection of imperial knights doesn't manage to get its act together, it's not likely that there will be a vote any time soon, because we won't be able to organize an election. Not that things here are any worse than they are in the rest of Franconia, but that's neither here nor there.

"Second." He looked at the head of the clothmakers' guild. "There are some things that I am simply not having happen in the name of freedom of the press. Andrea's lawyer here can write back to Grantville. He'll have somebody send the information, if you want to footnote me, but there really are court decisions about this stuff. Freedom of speech doesn't extend to yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater. 'Your right to swing your fist ends where it collides with someone else's nose.' That sort of stuff."

"What aren't you going to have happen here?" the militia captain asked.

"Witch hunts, first and foremost. How old are you, Captain Wiegand? Old enough to remember them?" Wes waved at the group. "You have to be old enough, Kaus. You're at least sixty, and they were only thirty years ago. What about you, Rabich? I've never heard that you suffer from memory loss when it comes to your property rights. You're here at city hall hassling Andrea every other day. Has 'burning alive' slipped your mind? Not a few cases, precisely. Somewhere between two hundred fifty and three hundred, from what we've been able to find out."

Otto Kaus swallowed nervously. Eberhard Rabich took a half-step back.

Wiegand stepped forward. "They're old enough, sir. So am I, for that matter. I was ten at the last burning, but for three years, Judge Nuss took the school to watch."

"Took the school," Andrea Hill gasped.

"It was a regular sort of thing, ma'am." He turned back to Wes Jenkins. "Herr Kaus is a bit nervous. Some of his relatives were burned. Some of Frau Rabich's relatives, too. It's hard for families to get away from the taint, somehow."

"Well, and shouldn't it be?" Lorenz Mangold, new head of the butcher's guild, pushed himself to the front. "Think about it. Anna Hahn, old Hans' widow, got away. And then had the gall to come back and live here after Judge Nuss was arrested and put in prison. But there's bound to have been some truth to the accusations, or the bishop of Bamberg wouldn't have burned her son as a witch a few years ago, would he? Not when he had risen as far as chancellor of the diocese. I say that where there's smoke, there's fire."

The other members of the Fulda city council appeared to have forgotten about the up-timers. They had all turned and were staring at Mangold.

Captain Wiegand backed inconspicuously out of the room. Derek Utt got up from the table and followed him. By mutual, unspoken, consent, Wiegand ran to summon his elite guard unit; Derek headed for the corridor where the MP office was.

The situation in the city hall conference room was deteriorating rapidly. Rabich pointed at Mangold, yelling that he was related to Judge Nuss' second wife. Mangold retorted that Mayor Landau was married to a cousin of the Kaus woman who, like Hans Hahn's wife, had escaped. Mangold raised accusations of witch-friendliness against the late Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel. Someone pointed out that the prince of Isenburg-Buedingen had also sheltered accused witches who escaped. This led to rancorous comments by Mangold about the role of the imperial cameral court, which had denied that Fulda could exercise jurisdiction over non-resident accused witches.

Derek Utt came back with two soldiers per council member. This crowded the room, but quieted things down quite a bit.

Wes Jenkins wasn't exactly happy, but he was feeling rather vindicated in his decision to push hard. It looked like this sort of thing was still a lot closer to the surface than anyone in the NUS administration had realized before.

With Lorenz Mangold, at least. The rest of them were looking at the man very unhappily, with sort of Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon expressions on their faces, Wes thought.

Wiegand came back.

"Mangold has had a man staying with him for several days," he reported. "He left first thing this morning. I've sent the guard company to try to track him."

"Description?" Derek Utt asked. "Do you have a sketch?"

"He was wearing a brown doublet with leather buttons."

"Half the men in Stift Fulda are wearing a brown doublet with leather buttons."

"Some people prefer bone buttons," Esaias Geyder said. He was wearing a brown doublet with bone buttons himself.

"How many people here have seen Mangold's guest?" Captain Wiegand asked.

Nobody admitted to having seen the man.

"How did you find out about him?" Derek Utt asked.

"Mangold's cook. She's been having to serve up an extra plate each night, but he didn't give her any extra market money."

"Is there anyone around you can take to her to and get a sketch from her description?"

"There's the painter who lives in the Saint Severi church," Rabich suggested nervously. "He's been there for four years, now, through imperials and Hessians, and the New United States. Sleeps in the sacristy and paints murals on the wall. They're not bad. The sexton brings food in for him and empties his slops. That's all he's asked the vestry board for—food and his paints."

"Go get him," Wes said to Captain Wiegand.

"Don't frighten him," Andrea added. "Tell him that he's not in trouble before you haul him over to the city hall. Even better, just take him to Herr Mangold's kitchen."

Wiegand shook his head. "I have the cook here."

"Then take her to the church."

"No, this has to be official. I'll bring him here. Nicely, ma'am."

* * *

"He really, really, did not want to come with me," Captain Wiegand said. "But it's just as well I brought him. Otherwise, he wouldn't have seen the placards."

"Are those still nailed up all over town?" Wes exploded.

"Nobody said to take them down."

"Well get somebody out to take them, then. Before Ms. Bachmeierin and the abbot get back. I'm not going to have Clara see that filth."

Derek Utt gestured. Two soldiers per council member became one soldier per council member.

"Why is it important that he saw the placards?" he asked.

"He says that he knows the artist," Wiegand said. "Recognizes him from his style. He says that it's as plain to an artist as a signature, if two men have ever worked in the same studio. Last time he heard of this woodcut maker, he was working in Cologne, in Bonn, really, since that is where the archbishop resides, for a Lorrainer named Felix Gruyard."

"Does that name ring a bell with anyone?"

Head shakes all around. Negative.

"Who's the printmaker?"

The artist himself answered. "Alain van Beekx. A Netherlander."

Head shakes again.

Wes looked at the artist. "This van Beekx. What does he do for a living?"

"He makes filthy pictures, sir."

"Well," Wes said, "I'm happy to meet you. One man today who tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

"That isn't the whole truth, sir," the artist said.

Wes waited.

Waited some more.

"He forges documents. That's how he makes most of his money. If someone needs 'evidence' and doesn't have any, van Beekx will come up with it. There's a lot of 'evidence' against me on file in Cologne. It looks very real. Any court would convict me on it. If he's involved in this, with Gruyard, there's probably a lot of 'evidence' against you tucked away somewhere, just waiting until some court asks for it. If you don't mind, I'd just as soon go back to the church, sir. It's been a very peaceful place for me these last few years."

"As soon as you make a deposition and sign it."

The artist's shoulders drooped. Andrea's lawyer, whose name Wes could never seem to remember, led him out.

Wes dismissed the city council. They left the conference room but kept milling around in the vestibule. Captain Wiegand closed the door from the outside.

"Okay," Andrea said, "tell me something." She picked up the pamphlet with which the morning had started, again between thumb and forefinger.


"Who from here went up to Cologne and described Clara to this van Beekx creep? The "Salome" doesn't look a thing like the prioress. It's just a sort of generic nun, and not even wearing the same kind of habit that the Benedictines do. But the "Clara," even if there wasn't a name to the picture, you could almost recognize."

Orville Beattie looked at it. "The abbot, too. Even when he's a snake."

"It's this van Beekx who's the snake," Wes spit out.

"Yeah," Fred Pence said. "Pretty good caricaturist, though."

"Or maybe someone sent them sketches. If that artist ever came out of the church and took a look at us, who would notice? He didn't look very happy about making a deposition. I've got an appointment, guys." Dropping that happy thought on the table, Orville left.

* * *

They delegated the delicate task of acquainting Clara with the existence of the placards, all of which had been pulled down before the Special Commission returned from Neuenberg, and the pamphlet, to Andrea.

"My goodness," Clara said. "How . . . unusual . . . to see my own face on a depiction of the Whore of Babylon. Because I speak with you foreigners, I suppose. The tower of Babel and all that. And the prioress is the Whore of Rome because she's a nun, I suppose."

She giggled. "But the idea of depicting the abbot as a snake with a forked tongue is really rather ingenious. Considering what he is doing with it."

"Aren't . . ." Andrea's voice quavered. "Aren't you even a little bit shocked?"

"Well, I don't like the witchcraft accusation," Clara said pragmatically. "Those can be dangerous, over here in Franconia. But I've seen woodcuts like that all my life. With this kind of iconography."


Clara looked at her with surprise. "Illustrating Lutheran pamphlets about the nature of the pope as the anti-Christ, of course. We read some of them in confirmation class."

Andrea started to make strangling noises.

"Fourteen-year-olds have a rather crude sense of humor, of course. Our favorite was one of the pope. You could tell it was the pope because he was wearing a triple tiara, but he had breasts that drooped down to here"—Clara gestured expressively—"and a big swollen belly covered with fish scales and was giving birth to the Leviathan, that's the great beast from Revelations, while the devil stood behind him and . . ."

"Stop," Andrea said. "I think I get the idea."

Clara thought a moment. "I expect that they, the Catholics, make that kind of picture about us, too. But I wonder why Catholic propagandists in Cologne, if you say that's where this came from, used the Whore of Rome image? That's ours, not theirs."

After she had thought for a couple of minutes, Andrea began to wonder about that herself.

* * *

"Mark," Andrea said the next morning. "I think there's something we need to talk about. About the Special Commission. There's something that came up when I was talking to Clara that made me think that, maybe, the road to getting seventeenth century Europeans to get to the point of religious live-and-let-live is several thousand miles longer than any of us ever dreamed."

"Maybe," Mark said after he had heard her out. "Maybe. But you're forgetting something."


"She is working with us on the Commission. And so is the abbot. Captain Wiegand is really pretty decent. No matter how much of this conditioning they got as kids."

* * *

July seemed to go by in a blur. Sitting in Würzburg, Steve Salatto got the latest mailbag from Fulda and wished that he had better communications. In Grantville, Ed Piazza pointed out to Arnold Bellamy that the folks in the field were pretty exposed and that he was planning to continue letting them function on a fairly long leash. No, he said. He really did not think that Wes went overboard. Under the circumstances. Maybe a little ballistic, but not overboard.

In Fulda, the news arrived that the CPE delegations were off to Paris and London to conduct negotiations. Everyone figured that getting ready for that must be why they hadn't been getting much in the way of instructions from the Department of International Affairs lately. The Special Commission held a bunch more sessions.

And ever since the affair of the placards, Wes kept hovering around Clara in a very overprotective manner, fretting every time the Special Commission went out of town until it was back safely. The rest of them thought it was funny, but he didn't even seem to realize that he was doing it.

Mark Early reported that they would finish up Fulda proper by the end of the month and start on the imperial knights the beginning of August. One at a time, he groaned. The imperial knights of Buchen Quarter were so jealous of their individual prerogatives that they hadn't been able to agree on a common time and place to hold even an introductory meeting so he could explain what the Special Commission's assignment was.

"Like hell they'll get away with that," Wes exploded.

* * *

The imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter were obviously not happy to be meeting in Fulda. Well, in a mown hay field outside Fulda. However, the combined visitation of the military administrator's regiment and the Fulda militia to each of their territories, individually, had been enough to persuade them of the prudence of agreeing.

Actually, Derek Utt thought, looking around the field, his soldiers weren't looking too bad these days. They had decent uniforms, finally. He wouldn't have chosen sickly orange himself—that was the best way he could describe the color—being more used to camouflage. But nobody expected them to be fighting in the field, so Frank Jackson hadn't sent them greeny-brown combat uniforms from Erfurt or Magdeburg. He hadn't sent them blue dress uniforms styled more or less after those used during the American Civil War, either—these being a product of what Melissa Mailey, in one of her more acerbic moments, called "reenactors' nostalgia" combined with the relative cheapness of cloth dyed with Erfurt woad. Dennis Stull, the civilian head of procurement, had just sent Derek a bank draft and a recommendation to do his best.

His best, when delegated to Harlan Stull's fiscal frugality, had turned out to be sickly orange. Good quality English fabric, Harlan said, but a bad dye lot. Or at least some Frankfurt merchant's bad guess as to whether or not the color would be popular. They'd paid the wives to make the uniforms up, which kept the money in the family as much as possible, so to speak.

They were even developing some esprit de corps. They were calling themselves the Fulda Barracks Regiment, these days. One of the sutlers had found them a set of regimental colors. Derek suspected that the banner had started life as some rich lady's party dress, but it had white and orange satin, so they were happy. And a logo. He couldn't make out what the logo was supposed to be—it looked to him like a lopsided blob—but it had one, and they had chipped in to pay for the flag themselves. Their weapons weren't as fancy as the ones carried by the imperial knights, but then his guys weren't planning on riding around in tournaments. They just planned on riding around looking mean. So far, he had been able to get horses for about half of them to ride at a time and was dual-training them as dragoons. Out in the boondocks like this, Derek had decided, flexibility came in ahead of doctrine any day. He didn't care what the army's organizational table called them. He just had a job to do. Horses were a convenience, frequently very handy in a pinch, even if your label said "infantry."

Of course, the horses had to be taken care of, but he was paying some of the older kids from Barracktown to do that.

Which reminded him that Andrea was still nagging about a school out there.

Plus, the regiment wanted an anthem.

He had learned that the Swedish custom was to sing Psalm 46—that was Ein feste Burg—and then start Psalm 67, starting to advance before the singing finished. That would not work for the Fulda Barracks Regiment. Too many of the men had been on the receiving end of those advances, so to speak. He'd have to think about an anthem. The first requirement was that it had to be something that neither the Catholics nor the Lutherans could claim. The second requirement was that it had to be something he was willing to hear them sing every day. And an anthem ought to be uplifting. Martial, militant, but not some dirty marching song.

* * *

Derek's eyes jerked back to the center of the field when Wes Jenkins yelled again.

One of the knights was waving around a copy of that obscene pamphlet with Clara Bachmeierin's name in it. Refusing to receive the Whore of Babylon as an envoy from the Special Commission.

Wes went on yelling. For a Methodist, he had picked up a colorful vocabulary.

The guy with the pamphlet was backing down.

"I don't see what you're screaming about," another one of them—Karl von Schlitz—was saying to Wes. "You had them all torn down before one person in ten saw them. And it cost enough to get van Beekx to . . ." His voice trailed off. "Add in the Whore of Rome too."

Wes had stopped yelling. He was smiling. "Just how, Herr von Schlitz," he asked, "do you happen to know how much it cost to do that?"

Derek moved his men in to form a double line, closer to the knights. Wiegand brought the city militia to replace them around the edges of the field.

This contributed a lot to the continuation of rational discussion. By the end of the afternoon, all of the imperial knights of the Fulda region were willing to swear upon their Bibles that Clara Bachmeierin was a desirable member of the Special Commission.

A couple of them even expressed the view that the Special Commission was desirable.

Not von Schlitz. Over some protest by his colleagues, he was "voluntarily" remaining in Fulda for meaningful discussions with the NUS administration about alleged treasonous contacts with the archbishop of Cologne.


Fulda, August 1633

August was a pretty good month. The NUS administration got news of the first flight of the Las Vegas Belle. Wes dipped into his own pockets and held a party for the whole town of Fulda. Barbequed mutton. As he said, his pay had mostly just been accumulating, since there really wasn't a lot in Fulda that a person could spend it on.

Harlan Stull wasn't sure how many of the guests really believed in airplanes, but the government wasn't paying for it, so it wasn't his problem.

Then the news of the second Battle of White Mountain arrived. The abbot asked Roy Copenhaver if he was pardoned for having been hanging out with Wallenstein. If he was, he suggested, it would be really nice to have some of that income-producing property back, because otherwise the clergy of Stift Fulda were going to have a pretty hungry winter. Most of the population hadn't really gotten into the swing of voluntary church contributions.

"Herr Piazza," he said, "says that if I am to save souls, I must use carrots rather than sticks."

"Sounds like Ed."

"So." The abbot smiled. He was missing more than a few teeth. "I need a supply of carrots. Please."

Roy didn't give him any property back, but the administration did agree to turn over the wine from two formerly monastic vineyards for him to sell. Mostly because Harlan didn't want to get into wine marketing, which seemed to involve international cartels and a lot of other really complicated stuff, but Schweinsberg seemed a lot happier after he had sold it.

And Johnny Furbee married his German girlfriend. She was from Barracktown, though, so it didn't gain them any brownie points with the citizens of Fulda.


Fulda, September 1633

What with the news of the Dutch defeat at Dunkirk, September was a downer. People started to ask questions like, "Are they ever going to remember to rotate us out of here?" About all that could be said for September was that the Special Commission wound up the hearings and hired a wagon to take the accumulated paper to Grantville. Joel Matowski turned up, too late to do the Special Commission any good, really, but by having him there, Derek Utt would be able to send his other up-timers, in rotation, for some R&R in Grantville.

Since the wagonload of paper was going anyway, Wes sent along Karl von Schlitz under guard. Mostly to counter the rumors that he had been torturing the man. Let the Nice Nellies see for themselves. Anyway, Derek and Wiegand hadn't managed to get much out of him. Mangold was Catholic, so it was easy enough to see why he might have linked himself up with the monks who had gone into exile in Cologne. But von Schlitz was Lutheran. It didn't seem to add up.

Well, it hadn't, until Andrea's drab little lawyer pointed out that a lot of Lutherans hated Calvinists even more than they did Catholics and von Schlitz was one of them. Combine that with the landgrave of Hesse's efforts to make the knights his vassals before the NUS showed up, and figure that the NUS was allied with the king of Sweden who was allied with the Hessians, who were Calvinists . . .

It made sense, in a warped sort of way. But now Ed Piazza could worry about it. And maybe Francisco Nasi could get more out of the guy.

Wes wrote a memo to Ed Piazza on the topic of needed legal reforms, with a courtesy copy to Steve Salatto. In the course of it, he mentioned that the administration in Fulda had made several arrests in connection with an outbreak of scurrilous pamphlets, commented that he had refused to authorize the use of judicial torture in the case, and added that, by the way, the pamphlets had been produced on a very ingenious down-time designed and manufactured duplicating machine marketed by a Herr Vignelli from Bozen. He sent this memo off in the same mail bag as his memo on the topic of needed improvements in the postal system, which was appended to his memo on rural transportation which accompanied his urgent memo in regard to cost overruns in the land titles department.


Fulda, October, 1633

As Harlan Stull said to Fred Pence, being in Fulda was sort of like being the little ball out on the far end of a stick that was just barely plugged in to some kid's Tinker Toy construction. What with the abysmal radio reception, if it hadn't had a post office on the mail route from Frankfurt to Eisenach, it could have been on the moon. They didn't learn about Wismar until two weeks after it had happened. They didn't learn that the CPE had turned into the USE with Mike Stearns as prime minister for a couple of weeks after that.

One thing they learned from a private courier who rode the route from Erfurt to Frankfurt regularly, two weeks before the letter from Grantville showed up, was that the guard on von Schlitz hadn't been heavy enough. A batch of riders, presumably from his personal guards and presumably led by his two oldest sons, had run down the wagon on a pretty deserted stretch of road, shot the two guards and the teamster, and taken him off it. He had disappeared. Gone to ground somewhere. He had kin all over the place.

The Fulda Barracks Regiment put up two memorial plaques. It had not occurred to the men to commemorate their fallen, but Derek had suggested it.

Nobody except their relatives told them anything about what was going on in Magdeburg. They had to read it in the newspaper. That was even how Wes found out that the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel had signed on to some grand railroad project. In the future tense, of course, but at some point people would be coming through to survey a railway route running through Hersfeld and then through Butzbach, down to Frankfurt am Main and then through to Mainz.

"Has Hessen-Darmstadt signed on?" Clara asked. "Butzbach belongs to an uncle of the landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt, not to Kassel. They'll have to go through quite a bit of Hesse-Homburg before they even get to Butzbach. That belongs to another uncle of the landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt."

Wes didn't know. The paper hadn't said anything.

"The line is supposed to run twenty miles north and then twenty miles west of here, more or less," Harlan Stull grunted. "It shouldn't affect us at all."

"Once they actually build the thing," Roy Copenhaver pointed out, "it will open up new markets. Even for farmers this far away."

"Yeah, but that will be years. Why didn't they bring it down this way, and then to Frankfurt along the Kinzig River valley?"

"To do that, they would have to go through Schlitz and the Reichsritter wouldn't cooperate. He's Lutheran, so Oxenstierna didn't want to piss him off."

"I remember that stuff. Schlitz beer. One thing about up-time that no one will miss. Horse's piss."

* * *

In Grantville, during the first week in October, Ed Piazza, while digging through the latest stack of usually worthwhile memoranda churned out by Wes Jenkins, found the three paragraphs that specifically addressed the production of scurrilous propaganda pamphlets by means of inexpensive down-time manufactured duplicating machines, yanked the page to the top, and radioed the essential data to Francisco Nasi in Magdeburg.


Fulda, November 1633

"So," Wes Jenkins announced, "it is now official. We are the United States of Europe—the USE—rather than the CPE. Mike Stearns is prime minister of the new nation—it's going to have a British-style parliamentary system rather than being modeled on the up-time USA. Ed Piazza's the president of the NUS now, but it's only a state—province, rather—in the new country."

It took the rest of the staff meeting to digest this information.

"Hey, Orville," Wes said on the way out, "Who the hell is Brillo?"

"You know, the cartoons. The stories. Contrary down-time ram. Some of them were published in the Grantville Times. Why?"

"Steve Salatto wants to know how he connects to the peasant revolt."

Fred Pence frowned. "What peasant revolt? I'm out in the precincts every week and I haven't heard anything about a peasant revolt."

"It hasn't happened yet," Orville said. "It may happen in Würzburg and Bamberg."

"I'll tell Steve that I never heard of the stupid ram." Wes paused. "Why are they having a peasant revolt?"

"I dunno."

* * *

Roy Copenhaver wandered into the "Hearts and Minds" office. "Orville?"


"Who's actually running these estates that the NUS confiscated from the Abbey of Fulda?"

"They aren't like plantations with overseers and things. Mostly, after we abolished the stuff connected with serfdom, we've just let the farmers get on with it. I guess the village councils are running them."

"Who's collecting the rents and taxes and stuff?"

"We're collecting the taxes, using the district administrators, the Amtmaenner. As for the rents and dues, the real estate stuff, ask Harlan or Andrea. That's their department. All I can tell you is that we haven't had any major complaints from the granges on my watch."

* * *

"Andrea, who's doing the actual collection of revenues from the estates the government holds?"

Roy looked around. Andrea's little domain was buzzing, with a half dozen clerks clustered around ledgers and box files. Harlan had complained a lot about the cost of reconstituting the records. It was way over budget. She had looked at him and answered, "Well, if the original estimates were realistic, nobody would ever authorize starting any project at all. You have to break it to them gradually."

The clerks were jabbering away in the standard means of communication, which was German with a bunch of English terms thrown in. Terms like "paper trail" and all sorts of acronyms. The up-timers did the same thing when they spoke English. There might have been English words for technical terms like landsässig and Stift that von Boyneburg had taught them, but it was certain that not a single one of the Grantvillers in Fulda knew what they were. Anyway, mostly, except when the Grantvillers were by themselves, they all spoke German. Or Gerglish. Or Amideutsch.

Andrea was wearing the down-time full skirts that went right to the floor. She said they were warmer. The one she had on today was a sort of dull gold color, like the shade that used to be in the crayon boxes. She was also wearing a gray knit sweat shirt with a hood and a wool up-time ladies' suit jacket. It was pink. Because she spent her days with pens, pencils, and dusty ledgers, she had added, in this world without dry cleaning, a set of down-time removable linen cuffs to keep the pink wool clean at the wrists. Roy couldn't have described this ensemble to his wife Jen in any detail if she had asked. He could and did stand there hoping, inarticulately but profoundly, that the ensemble did not represent the wave of the future as far as fashion was concerned.

Andrea shook her head. "Ask Harlan. We do the titles, not the collections. This office just figures out who owes us and sometimes how much. Not to mention how far the payments are in arrears."

* * *

"You don't mean it," Roy said.

"Well, it's not as if I have a budget for a property management staff," Harlan protested. "It was the only thing I could think of that made sense. So I contracted it out."

"The abbot's collecting them?"

"Straight percentage."

"Is he scamming? Skimming? Doing any of the other stuff with which West Virginia state employees are so familiar?"

"I don't think so, but how the h . . . heck should I know. It's not as if I have a staff of auditors at my disposal."

"Wes is going to have a cow."


A Bunch of Damned Anarchists
Fulda, December 1633

"I tell you," Wes proclaimed, "these imperial knights are a bunch of damned anarchists. I've never seen anything like it. Each and every one of them thinks that he's a little universe all to himself and not bound by anything that anyone else decides. Certainly not by a majority vote. Not even by a majority vote of their own organization that they set up themselves and voluntarily joined."

"That is," Clara said, "their definition of liberty, after all. That no one else can tell you what to do. Or, for the Reichsritter, liberties. Not to be subject to someone else. To determine one's own destiny freely."

"What have they done now to set you off?" Fred asked.

"I was over at the Buchen Quarter meeting. They're still trying to decide what they want to do about the election next spring. Some of them, like Ilten, are willing to take part in it. He was actually radical enough to say that he would accept a majority vote. Some of them, von der Tann right at the head of them, don't want anything to do with it. The Till von Berlepsch guy got up and talked for a good hour about how they defied the abbot back in 1576 and his ancestor was involved. Riedesel, over on the western border—he has lands at Eisenbach and Lauterbach—won't have a thing to do with anything that might put him under Fulda. His family has been fighting the abbots for centuries, it sounds like. Fighting as in armies and such. When his ancestor introduced the Reformation, it just gave them one more thing to fight about."

"It's not as if they ought to be worried that the NUS administration is going to try to make them Catholic again, just because we're working with the abbot on some stuff. Haven't we managed to make that clear?" Fred's frustration was plain in his voice.

Urban von Boyneburg, who was still in Fulda keeping an eye out for any possible advantages that might accrue to the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, started another mini-lecture. "It's clear to them that you won't. And that for as long as you are around, Schweinsberg won't. But even though they're anteing up a lot of money to Gustavus Adolphus, they're trying to hedge their bets in case he doesn't win the war—keeping a weather eye out on what the imperials and the Leaguists are doing and the possibility that this abbot could be tossed out and replaced. It's not as if there's no precedent, since they tossed one out themselves, back in grandpa's day. There are several of them who think that if there's another tilt and the emperor comes out on top, they could plead 'coercion' for making the tribute payments to Gustavus Adolphus and get off lightly, but not for formally voting themselves into the USE and State of Thuringia. Or even for letting themselves be voted in."

"So what did they do, finally?" Fred asked Wes.

"Tabled it and adjourned until after New Year's."


Fulda, January 1634

"Great party," Fred said. "Post-Christmas, pre-New-Year, whatever you want to call it. I'm really glad that Kortney and Jared could come over to Fulda for the holidays. It was nice of the nursing school to let her take a whole month off from her classes."

"Well, they're calling it an internship and they got an exchange," Andrea answered. "She's substituting here for Gus Szymanski so he and Theresa could go home and spend Christmas with his sister Garnet. She's had a lonely life. Gus will be talking to the EMT students about his experiences during a year of actual field practice."

"True. Kortney was up before I was this morning, heading out to the barracks to check on people."

"Where's Jared?"

"Clara took him with her over to the abbey. One of the novices is going to show him around, and he'll write a report for having done a field trip, since he's missing a couple of weeks of school."

"Did you watch Wes dancing with Clara?"

Fred grinned. "Cheek to cheek and all that, for all that they are still officially on 'last name' terms. They had so much trouble prying their hands apart that I suspected Jeffie Garand of daubing their palms with super glue at first. Do you suppose Wes thinks that nobody has noticed that he is the only one of us who doesn't call her by her first name. We ribbed him about it. He says that he's 'way too old' for her to be interested in him."

"Well," Andrea said. "I had fun at the party. Wes danced with Clara. Johnny danced with Antonia. Jeffie danced with Gertrud. You danced with Kortney. And I got to dance with all the other guys. I was the belle of the ball. Too bad it didn't happen forty years ago, when it would have been more exciting."

"Yeah." Fred got up. "Better get to work, I guess. It's too bad that Eden and Jen couldn't come for the holidays too, but at least Harlan and Roy get to go over to Grantville occasionally to deal with the budget people."

* * *

"That fruit candy was good. Nice change from the usual stuff," Harlan said.

"Where did it come from?"

"Andrea's lawyer ordered it from Frankfurt. He knows someone down there who imports it. The fruit is called currants."

"Wes didn't eat much."

"He was too busy dancing with Clara."

"Would you call that dancing?"

"Wes is like me." Harlan grinned. "Methodists of the generation who still suspect that dancing is sinful, but think that God won't really be offended if you just get out and the floor and walk around, without actually performing a dance step. And ignore the music. If you have no rhythm at all, you're practically not dancing."

"Clara looked good at the party," Roy said. "She dresses a lot sharper than Andrea."

Fred grinned. "According to Kortney, her mom doesn't have any fashion sense at all."

"That," Roy said, "is really a relief to hear."

"How long do you suppose it has been since Wes asked a girl for a date?" Derek asked.

"He started going steady with Lena in high school," Harlan answered. "And he's what? Fifty, maybe? Fifty-two? Enough older than me that we were never in school together."

* * *

"Do you think," Andrea asked, "that Wes would be 'way too old for you' to marry?"

Clara looked at her. "If Caspar were still alive, he would be several years older than Mr. Jenkins. Plus, he would be much sicker."

Andrea raised her eyebrows.

Clara shrugged. "Caspar was always having a physician in to bleed him or going to the apothecary for a dose of medicine. If a disease existed that was not fatal, Caspar had it. At least, he thought that he had it. After thirteen years of that, I was really rather surprised when he actually died. It was his mother's fault, I think. He was her only child who lived and she was always afraid that he would die."

Her eyes twinkled. "I am pretty sure that Mr. Jenkins is feeling quite healthy. He never takes time off work to be sick."

Her face became more serious. "I wish, though, that he was not always so angry. Not at people. To us, who work for him, he is kind. For all of the people in Fulda, he is anxious. Concerned. But angry at the world. At the things that happen."

"Wes didn't want this job. Ed Piazza twisted his arm to get him to take it. Grantville doesn't have that many people with degrees in public administration. I sat in on some of their arguments, before we came over here. Wes pointed out that he didn't handle this kind of thing. He was a manager, but he was deputy director of the Marion County parks department. The worst threats he faced on the average day were cracks in the asphalt on tennis courts or vandalism to the catchers' cages on the baseball diamonds. Anything worse than that, he called the sheriff's department and let them take care of it. He had a staff that worried about scheduling conflicts when more than one family reunion wanted to use the same shelter on a Sunday afternoon."

"But he does it wonderfully. This job. I admire him so very much."

"But he thinks that he's a fake, Clara. Every morning he gets up thinking that this will be the day that some Leaguist with a lot more regiments than he has figures out that he's just blowing smoke and moves into the spot on the map that he's responsible for, slaughtering and raping his way across it. That's why he's so uptight about everything. Because it's his duty to protect it now, and he's not at all sure that he can."

"Perhaps he can't. But he tries his best, every single day." Clara crossed her arms across her chest, shivering a little, as if she were cold. "That's one of the reasons that I certainly would not object . . . But he should not marry me, you know, because I am barren. He has daughters, but if he marries again, he should choose a woman who can give him sons."

"What's the other reason you would not object?" Andrea was genuinely curious.

"Oh, there are many. He has a good job, his social position is suitable, my family would not protest, all of those. But the main one . . ." Clara winked. "When I dance with him, I do not think that he is 'way too old' at all."

* * *

Andrea looked down at her daughter from her perch on the desk. "Why do you suppose?"

Kortney shrugged. "It doesn't make sense. It just is. Line up a couple of hundred men and let a woman take a look at them. In front of a hundred ninety-nine, every internal organ from her eardrums to her kidneys will get together and announce, 'I would rather kiss a toad.' Perfectly nice, reasonably good-looking, reasonably sober, reasonably hard-working guys, a lot of them. Not losers. No obvious way to tell them apart. Then there's the one for whom the same organs all stand up and shout 'Boing.'"

"Maybe it's an anti-promiscuity gene," Andrea said. "But I know what you mean. It's probably the reason that the ladies who eat lunch at Cora's back in Grantville repeat the sentence 'I just can't tell what she sees in him' as often as they do. Bunch of gossips."

"Well, that's true. Because if you take the hundred ninety-nine leftovers and let another gal look them over, she'll react to one that the first one ignored completely. Some girls miss out on it, of course. They're mostly the ones that we keep seeing at the clinic, over and over."

"Clara's never said a word against her husband. But you pick up things, rooming together as long as we have now. To use your word, I have a suspicion that he was a platter of deep-fried toad, served up by her family, and she just made the best of it. So she hasn't had much experience with these kinds of feelings. And, of course, she's handicapped by wanting what she thinks is best for Wes instead of just wanting what she wants."

"Which is Wes." Kortney giggled.

"And even though he was obviously going "wow" the first time he saw Clara, somewhere deep in his heart, Wes thinks that he's still married to Lena. And he's such an upright citizen."

"And you say the ladies at Cora's are gossips, Mom. We aren't?"

"Well, not malicious. Just trying to figure out a way to dig them out of this impasse."

Kortney frowned. "Did Clara ever have a gyne exam? That is, did the doctors or midwives or whatever have any idea why she never got pregnant?"

"You could ask her, I guess." Andrea folded her arms and stuck her chilly fingers up her sleeves. "That is, if you have the nerve."

"That's one thing you learn in nursing school, Mom. Not to be afraid to ask embarrassing questions. They really ought to make it a prerequisite for being admitted."

"Well, I don't think that she will be embarrassed. That's one thing that I've been learning this year. I guess I just assumed that since back in Victorian times, people were more prudish than we are, then a couple hundred years before, they would be even more prudish. It doesn't work that way. People in the seventeenth century haven't gotten to Victorianism at all yet. Honest to God, some of the things that Clara says just make me blush."

* * *

"Well," Kortney said, washing her hands, "I can't tell on the basis of a regular gyne exam that there's any reason at all why you didn't have children. All your organs are there, in the right place, healthy, no polyps, no obvious endometriosis, none of the stuff that we look for first. Maybe it was your husband's problem."

She launched into the next set of embarrassing questions.

"You've got to be kidding. On the average?" Kortney snorted her coffee. "Every three months?"

"Well, the first five years that we were married." Clara said. "After that, less often. You understand that Caspar was afraid that spilling his seed too often would weaken his vital humors and they were not strong to begin with. I know that one physician did tell him that it would improve his likelihood of begetting heirs if he increased the frequency to what was recommended in the Old Testament, but he changed doctors."

"I didn't even know that the Old Testament recommended anything."

"Twice a week, except during a woman's courses. At least, that was what the physician told us. Although he added that he himself, on the basis of experience, thought three times in the week was preferable for couples who desired offspring. Perhaps in these latter days men's vital forces are weaker than they were in biblical times. After all," she said seriously, "the Old Testament patriarchs lived much longer, too. It was not until much later that things became worse, so that today 'our years are seventy, or eighty if we have the strength.'"


Buchen Quarter, January 1634

"It's an interesting concept," Ruprecht von Ilten looked at the other imperial knights of the Fulda region. Unfortunately, the questions that they had tabled before Christmas could not remain tabled indefinitely, so they were having another meeting.

"Why do we all have copies of the constitution of the New United States?" Johann von der Tann was stomping around the room.

"Because Herr Wesley Jenkins sent them to us, to read before he makes his presentation."

"Are you trying to be deliberately naive, von Ilten?"

"Apparently, in the spring of 1632, when its representatives met with the king of Sweden, the ambassadress, the Abrabanel woman, made this point." Claus von Berlepsch was representing his brother.

"Which point?" Eberhard von Buchenau asked.

"That the purpose of the constitution was not to take away rights, but to establish them."

"Her name is Rebecca, the Abrabanel woman. Rebecca the deceiver, who misled Isaac into granting the blessing to the wrong son. They can't expect us to believe this," von der Tann protested.

"It's an interesting idea. If, of course, it is true." Von Ilten rather hoped that it was true.

"I'm not ready to commit myself to anything," von der Tann said.

Von Buchenau echoed him. "None of us are."

* * *

"This is quite true," Wes Jenkins said. "Under the constitution of the New United States, there are no 'subjects.' Only 'citizens.' Because we know that you have been seriously concerned that your status under the law might be diminished by such developments as the landgrave of Hesse's efforts to reduce you to the status of Landsassen within Stift Fulda, several members of the administration have cooperated to produce this special presentation. I assure you that we are sincerely grateful that the imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter are devoting so much of their valuable time to considering our modest efforts."

Wes continued his introductory remarks, thinking to himself, "drone on, Mr. Jenkins, drone on" to Woody Guthrie's tune. He loathed these apparently endless speeches, but had resigned himself to the fact that he now lived in a world in which brevity was equated to rudeness on formal occasions. At least he didn't have to write them. Andrea's lawyer, upon request, had dredged up a nephew who was willing to write his speeches, among such other duties as might from time to time be assigned.

* * *

"How could it possibly work? That we would be incorporated within this new state—the State of Thuringia—if this election decides that Franconia will join it, but not be mediatized?"

"The idea is really strange. But it seems to be true. I certainly was able to buy copies of the constitution of the original 'United States'—the one they came from—with no problem at all. Just ordered them from Frankfurt, the way I would any other book," von Ilten said.

"How did it work? Von Buchenau looked at his colleague. Von Ilten had a suspiciously scholarly bent, but on the other hand, it saved his friends a lot of work, because he read the books and explained things to the rest of them.

"Well, the national government was made up of a group of 'states' just as the Holy Roman Empire is constituted from the different states of the Germanies. And Bohemia, of course. But for the 'citizens' within each state, and they are very oddly named, I must say, I cannot pronounce some of these at all, the 'state' did not stand between them and the 'country.' They were directly citizens of the 'country' as well and had a vote in choosing delegates to the 'senate' and 'house of representatives' just as the members of the Bench of Imperial Knights chooses who will exercise their vote in the Reichstag. At least, if I understand it properly."

"This means that if we agreed to be incorporated into this State of Thuringia, we would still vote directly for our representative in the USE parliament, rather than being mediatized under the president of the state?"

"Yes, as I understand it. And, of course, we would also have a vote in choosing the president as well."

"How does that work?"

* * *

"Hmmn," Wes Jenkins said. "Around here, when someone says, 'A man's home is his castle,' I guess he really means it. This hall looks bigger every time I see it." He was standing with his back to the fireplace. Wearing an overcoat.

"It wasn't that hard to design the presentation," Clara said. Her breath made little patterns of steam in the air. She was wrapped up in three shawls.

The rest of the delegation now appreciated her insistence on bringing along three folding screens to this meeting. When they were set up in a semi-circle around the fireplace, they not only cut down significantly on the drafts but also to some extent reflected the heat from the fire back on the group. Otherwise, it would have dissipated into the cavernous hall.

Andrea shivered. "Do you suppose that reasonable nobles like Count Ludwig Guenther deliberately build themselves modern houses? Or is it living in freezing Burgs like this one that makes the unreasonable nobles the way they are?"

After their first three days as guests of von Buchenau, they had all come to appreciate that one of the main advances in modern architecture—seventeenth-century modern German architecture—was the ceiling. In this old fashioned great hall, what little warmth the fireplaces produced just floated up and up and up until it went out an unglazed window. When they got back to Fulda, they would have to say something nice to the abbey's one-time construction foreman, now the NUS administration's construction foreman, about the ceilings in the administration building.

"Actually, I thought it went pretty well, this time," Wes said. "Some of them don't buy into it at all, of course. Von Schlitz is still in hiding somewhere and I'm sure that several of the others share his opinions. And some of the ones who were considering it at the meeting will relapse into their old ways of thinking before the election."

Clara got up and moved over toward the fireplace. "Of course, I left something out."

"Left something out?"

"As we have presented it to the knights, it is very strong in showing that they will become direct citizens of the United States of Europe if they accept the constitution of the New United States. Well, now, the State of Thuringia. It will be the same constitution, with just a few name changes."


"Ah. Haven't you noticed? I left out entirely that all of the people who are now their subjects will also become direct citizens of the United States of Europe, in all ways equal to them, and will have just as much right to vote for their representatives in congress and parliament and the president of the State of Thuringia as they do."

Wes stared at her. Now that he thought about it . . .

"Really, I just thought it was prudent to omit it." She looked at the rest of the delegation with an innocent expression on her face. "In some ways, it is very convenient that this is such an isolated backwater that the more extreme propaganda of the Committees of Correspondence has been slow to reach it. Possibly even von Ilten does not realize that if the election succeeds and Franconia becomes part of the State of Thuringia, all the little local legal jurisdictions will be abolished. It is in a subordinate clause, after all, in a subparagraph."

"Clara," Fred Pence started.

"If they aren't bright enough to figure out for themselves that although they will not be mediatized, neither will they any longer mediatize their tenants, was it our duty to stir up trouble by mentioning the matter?"


Fulda, February 1634

"It's a pretty complicated ballot," Fred pointed out. It has a lot of 'if, then' items on it.'

"What do you mean?" Roy asked.

"'If' the person votes in favor of incorporation into SoTF, 'then' there's a question about whether it will all be one county, Fulda and all the imperial knights together, or whether each little imperial knighthood will be its own county. Or county-equivalent, depending on what they decide to call it. Then a question for choosing the name. Of course, someone who votes against incorporation can still vote about the name, but it's hard to see why he'd want to. Or she. I've tried to make it as clear as possible. Do you think we ought to offer some kind of voter assistance, Orville?"

"We can't very well put someone in every single precinct to answer the voters' questions. We just don't have enough people."

"I've trained as many volunteers as I can, working from the voter registration lists. Picking a couple of people out of each precinct. It's been sort of trickle-down, but I've done it. It's not going to be perfect. Nothing is. But I've sent stuff with the directions out to the provosts and the Amtmaenner and the village mayors. They've been, or most of them have been, holding meetings to explain it to everyone. At least, I hope they have. In most cases, it's probably a bunch of guys sitting around in the village tavern and having a beer. If that. And the League of Women Voters has helped."

"What League of Women Voters? Since when do we have a League of Women Voters?" Wes Jenkins was frowning.

"The one in Barracktown," Derek answered. "The LDS in Grantville has kept sending them stuff, ever since Willard Thornton went through, way back when. You know Liz Carstairs, Wes—Howard's wife, works for Mike Stearns?"


"Well, she's one of them, you know. Willard's sister. She sent a lot of League of Women Voters stuff along with the LDS Ladies Relief Society stuff. So they organized one. That was, oh, months ago. I'm not sure it's real clear in their minds about which is which, but they have one."

Andrea clapped her hands. "That's great. What about poll watchers, Fred?"

"Derek is splitting up the soldiers from Fulda Barracks into small groups and sending a detachment to watch the polls in each of the Reichsritterschaften."

"Intimidation?" Harlan asked. "We don't want that."

"Anti-intimidation," Fred answered. "If they're not there, several of the knights will be standing around with their own guards 'guiding' the voters."

"What about the Stift territories proper?"

"We'll just have to spread ourselves pretty thin. Derek has arranged with Captain Wiegand for the members of the Fulda city militia to vote first thing in the morning and then be available to ride circuit with us, from one polling place to another."

* * *

"That reminds me," Andrea said. "Derek, did you ever get a school started out at Barracktown this winter?"

"Uh, yeah. Well, we don't have a building, but we have a teacher."


"Um, your lawyer's sister-in-law's nephew who needed to find a job to tide him over after the University of Tuebingen closed down because Horn and Bernhard have been marching all over the place down there in Swabia. He's only nineteen, but he works cheap, which is lucky. I wasn't authorized to hire a teacher, so I recruited him as a private, with a promise that I'd discharge him when the university opens up again. In writing. Notarized. He has a copy. His name's Biehr."


"Yes, Biehr. The sister-in-law's sister married a German."

"Andrea, isn't your lawyer German?" Roy Copenhaver asked. "If not, why not? I never can remember his name."

"If there's no building . . ." Andrea persisted.

"In the loft of Sergeant Hartke's house. His wife fixed it up, and we're paying them some rent."

Harlan frowned. "I don't remember that item in the budget."

"That's because the budget didn't have an item for renting space for a base school."

"Where's it coming from?"


"Textbooks? Supplies?" Harlan was adding up sums on his notepad.

"We didn't have any to start with. But Howard Carstairs shipped over a whole set of German translations of LDS Sunday School materials."

"Err, Derek . . ." Roy frowned. "Separation of church and state, remember."

"It was those books or no books. Which choice do you like better? They're perfectly alright for learning ah, bay, tsay, day, ay, eff, gay." Derek whistled the German alphabet to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." "Remember the budget and keep it holy. Anyway, Mary Kat says that she thinks it will get by."

Everybody grinned. Two weeks before, last man on the military rotation he had set up after Joel Matowski arrived, Derek had sneaked back to Grantville and, after a long courtship conducted almost entirely by letter, married Mary Kathryn Riddle. Since she was the daughter of the chief justice, first of the NUS and then of the newly-born State of Thuringia, not to mention a legal eagle herself, it probably would get by. This time.

"Any chance of more leave coming up?" Derek asked hopefully.

"For you?" Wes put a doleful expression on his face and shook his head.

"Well, Dave Frost married Mackenzie Ellis when he was back home in January, too. Lawson got married last November. Devoted new husbands and all that, you know." Dave and Lawson were two of Derek's four "kids," all of whom had done a lot of growing up. "Maybe if the others got back a little more often, they could get married, too."

"Isn't Jeffie going to marry Gertrud Hartke?"

Derek frowned. "He'd better."

"Where is the rent coming from?" Harlan was not easily diverted.

"The lawyer's relative is from Tuebingen?" Wes asked, thinking back to several sentences earlier. "That's Württemberg. I thought that I told you to hire a local lawyer, Andrea."

"Maybe the boy was just going to the university there. Etienne was living in Frankfurt as a refugee when we hired him. That's pretty close. And he was low bidder."


"There's no authorized FTE for a lawyer in my department. I had Harlan put out a RFP for a contractor."

"Life is so full of interesting surprises."

"Etienne says that he needs either another lawyer or two more clerks to handle the work load. Or another lawyer and two more clerks."

Harlan was still adding sums. "Derek, where are you getting the rent for the school loft?"

"Ah. When we built the barracks, some dope put in an item for landscaping. It seemed sort of a pity to let it go to waste. And we've put some potted plants in the school room. Didn't spend any money on them—the moms just cobbled together some pots from scrap wood, filled them with dirt, and dug up a few bushes. I'm hoping it's enough to get us in under the wire if auditors show up."

* * *

"Are we ready to certify the results?"

"Yes," Fred Pence said.

"First, in regard to the question of incorporation into the State of Thuringia."

The statistics were tedious, but the question passed.

Eleven of the territories of imperial knights voted to join both the State of Thuringia and the new consolidated subordinate administrative polity (aka SAP, which made Arnold Bellamy very unhappy). Seven voted to join the State of Thuringia but be subordinate administrative polities of their own and keep calling themselves Reichsritterschaften. Schlitz voted "the hell with it and a pox on you and both your political parties." Each of the seven separate Reichsritterschaften only had a few hundred residents apiece, but that was the will of the people.

Even the dissenting vote in Schlitz was technically the will of the people, though Fred Pence suspected that Karl von Schlitz's two oldest sons had made it fairly plain to the people what their will had better be. That pair would have done well in Chicago under Capone, except that the Mafia probably didn't take Lutherans.

The citizens of the new consolidated SAP voted to distinguish their secular government from that of the Abbey of Fulda. The name of the new polity would be Buchenland (Latin version Buchonia). This gesture on the part of the majority, residents of the former Stift, to the minority, residents of Buchen Quarter, was widely recognized as generous.

In a subsidiary question, the citizens of the new polity voted to establish an Ausschuss or Conventus whose duty would be to design an emblem and coat of arms for the new county.

Applause followed the formal certification.

So did a petition from several imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter, led by Friedrich von der Tann, who alleged that the soldiers of the Fulda Barracks Regiment had, in the course of carrying out their electoral duties, committed attacks, plundering, unjustified arrests, libels and slanders upon the honor of citizens, persecutions, demeaning statements, alienation of assets, and a variety of other crimes and delicts.

Wes told him to give it to the lawyers.

* * *

The following day, Derek Utt broke the news that he would now be conducting military musters throughout Buchenland, to establish a county-wide militia.

The imperial knights whose Ritterschaften had voted themselves into it discovered that they would no longer have their own private militias.

The rest of the imperial knights said, "I told you so. Don't say that I didn't warn you. Big government. Mediatization."

Captain Wiegand said that the Fulda city militia would be happy to provide training to the new local units.

Von Buchenau refused to allow the muster on his estates, saying that the ballot had not contained any provisions about military musters. Derek, with Wes' backing, arrested him.

His lawyer sent a petition to parliament and the emperor of the United States of Europe, pointing out that he had been paying a tax of thirteen Thaler per month to support the Protestant cause, contingent upon the agreement of the envoys of the king of Sweden that they would recognize the immediacy of his territory. He protested that one aspect of being independent was that a ruler could have his own army.

The effort that the von Buchenau militia made to spring him out of jail made it pretty clear that the knightly troops really could use the training that Captain Wiegand had offered, not to mention demonstrating that their equipment was more than a little obsolete.

Wes let the von Buchenau militia out on parole, since they were, when not being militia, the farmers who leased land from the knight and spring planting season was coming up.

After von Buchenau agreed to sign an Urfehde, Wes let him out on parole, too.

Schweinsberg told him that this was a really bad idea, and would be interpreted as a sign of weakness rather than as a sign of a generous spirit.

Wes said that the guy was just a nuisance.

Clara Bachmeierin agreed with the abbot.


Salmuenster, Buchenland, March 1634

Joel Matowski looked at the residents of Salmuenster. Thirty-four families. According to the duplicate records that the local administrator had kept, there had been a couple of hundred houses in the town before the war started. He was here to take their oaths of allegiance to the new constitution and run a military muster while he was about it. Salmuenster was about as far from Fulda as you could get and still be a part of the Stift—well, part of Buchenland.

The man raising all the objections was named Hans von Hutten.

He was, he said, an imperial knight.

He was, he said, a Franconian imperial knight proper and was not and had never been a member of the Buchen Quarter, so owed no obligation to any decisions that it might have taken.

"If you aren't," Joel asked, "then why are you here today?"

The answer, delivered by a lawyer carrying several boxes full of paper, involved a series of transactions by which the abbey of Fulda had pawned its outlying possessions in the Kinzig river valley to the von Hutten family, redeemed them, pawned them again, split them, redeemed them, and the like, for the past two and a half centuries.

Von Hutten's position was that he held a currently valid Pfandschaft arrangement with the Abbey of Fulda. If the New United States, and then the State of Thuringia-Franconia, had possession of the abbey's former estates, then by extension he held a currently valid Pfandschaft arrangement with it. The terms were that until such time as the governing entity, whoever it might be, paid him back the capital sum that his great-grandfather had advanced to the abbot and chapter of Fulda, these lands were damned well his and these people were damned well his and the administration in Fulda had no authority to have conducted an election here by which they illegally voted themselves into Buchenland.

Von Hutten added that he, personally, as a resident of the former prince-diocese of Würzburg, had voted against incorporation, and that even though the majority of the people in Würzburg voted in favor of it, he did not accept that a majority vote was binding upon him. In his view, nothing to which he personally did not agree was binding upon him, because if he accepted the decisions of others it would restrict his liberty.

"Look man," Joel protested, as he experienced a political epiphany vaguely related to his half-forgotten memories of Ms. Mailey's explanation of how representative government worked, "that's no way to run a railroad."

Von Hutten announced that he was appealing the election results to the emperor, to the imperial cameral court, to the other emperor, to the imperial supreme court, and to anyone else he could think of. He proposed to demand an imperial commission to investigate.

When Joel got back to Fulda, he reported that just because the election went well, this whole thing was not yet a done deal, by any means.

Andrea's lawyer pointed out that all those appeals would be very expensive, so that unless von Hutten had more money than he appeared to, or was calling on outside resources, his complaints would make haste very slowly.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to speculation on possible sources of outside funding.

Wes told Joel to write up a report. They would send it down to Steve Salatto. First to let Steve know that von Hutten was making a nuisance of himself, since he properly belonged to Würzburg. Second to ask for money to buy the pawned districts back from von Hutten, so they could go ahead and incorporate them into the administrative system they were setting up for Buchenland.

Not that Steve would be able to come up with that much money before the next fiscal year, at the earliest.


Who Will Rid Me?
Bonn, Archdiocese of Cologne, March 1634

Walter Butler was leaving it to his associates to work out the details. Overall, he thought, he was in a pretty good position for a Catholic Irishman and professional military enterpriser. Or, if one wished to be crude, a colonel of a mercenary regiment. At least, compared to the position he would have been in if Wallenstein had caught him, once the bastard found out that Butler had been one of the point men for Ferdinand II's generals in organizing his assassination in that other world.

Butler had left Bohemia a year before, high-tailing it through Tyrol and the Habsburg lands in Swabia, bringing Dennis MacDonald, Robert Geraldin, and Walter Deveroux with him. While passing through that heavily Leaguist territory, with a decent subsidy that Maximilian of Bavaria had arranged, they had recruited. With four regiments of dragoons, staffed almost to paper strength and well equipped, they had managed to negotiate an advantageous arrangement with the archbishop of Cologne.

Whose confessor was now sitting in the room with them. Along with Franz von Hatzfeldt, the bishop of Würzburg who had been driven from his lands by the Swedes. And von Hoheneck, one of the provosts of the abbey of Fulda. Both Würzburg and Fulda were now run by the "up-timers." That was, Butler presumed, why the others wanted to talk to them.

Since the others had initiated the contact, that meant that Butler and his colleagues had something they needed. Or, at least, that they wanted. Which meant that his negotiating position was good.

At the moment, Deveroux was telling the archbishop's confessor that he was out of his mind. Not a prudent thing to say, but true. Given the layout of the military map right now, there was no way they could take troops into Fulda. Not through Hesse. Not through Mainz and Frankfurt. Not through Württemberg and Franconia. Not. It was too far inside the borders of the USE. Unless the coming summer's campaign changed the way that the Swede's troops were deployed, a raiding party could only figure on being chewed up. No profit. No plunder. Where was the gain in that?

Surprisingly, the bishop of Würzburg was backing Deveroux up. "He's right, you know. It's not that easy to infiltrate any sizable group of men deep into Franconia. Dingolshausen was a disaster. Melchior's men got in, but not a dozen of the original two hundred got out again. Not to mention that it's caused a public relations problem."

Hoheneck interrupted. "They don't have to take men in."

What did he mean by that?

"If they go in themselves," Hoheneck waved in the direction of the four Irishmen, "there can be troops waiting for them. I have full assurances that not all of the imperial knights of the Buchen Quarter were satisfied with the outcome of last month's election. Particularly not now that they realize that although they have not lost their immediacy legally, every damned peasant on their estates has gained the same rights. There hasn't been time for the up-timers to complete the reorganization. The four of them can go in. It's easy for four men. Get a couple of companies together from von Berlepsch, from von der Tann. Von Schlitz will do the organization. I know where he's gone into hiding. Note that he has maintained sufficient influence over his subjects that they voted not to join the State of Thuringia. He'll have them ready for you when you get there."

Butler had intended to keep quiet, but he couldn't.

"What happens to our regiments while he's gone?"

The Capuchin cleared his throat. "If you leave them here, under the command of your lieutenant colonels, the archbishop is willing to continue paying you at the current rate. Plus the additional compensation for the work in Fulda, of course."

"Is there any hope that the imperial knights might let you take their men with you on the way out? It would be really nice," Hatzfeldt said wistfully, "to wreak a little destruction on the Hessians."

"Not a bit. If they strip themselves, the SoTF will just come in with troops from Thuringia and wipe them out."

"Even if they keep their couple hundred troops, the SoTF will just come in with troops from Thuringia and wipe them out."

"Not the same kind of situation as Jena or Badenburg or the Crapper. Not even the same as the Wartburg. A batch of different opponents, up in hilly country, who know the terrain. Even with just a couple of hundred men . . ."

"A couple of hundred men if they were decently equipped. But without . . ."

The archbishop's confessor got up from his chair. "Let me know what you decide." He left the room.

The professionals reverted to shop talk.

* * *

"The main objective, then, is to abduct the abbot." Archbishop Ferdinand's confessor nodded his head firmly.

"Yes," Hatzfeldt said. "That has to be the first goal. Get hold of Schweinsberg and get him to Bonn." He waved at the four Irishmen. "Any one of you can do that. We don't care which one. Decide it among yourselves."

"Why us? In particular?" Deveroux asked.

Butler had wondered about that, too.

"Because you speak English," Hatzfeldt said. "Schweinsberg is not the only target. We wish to interview the NUS administrators, which will better be done there. Take Felix Gruyard with you—he's good at what he does. Smuggling out one man is a different matter from smuggling out a half-dozen. These up-timers have learned German, of course. The administrators in Fulda, I mean. But still, it is not their first language. If we want to get the maximum amount of information from them, in a short period of time, it will be much better to have interrogators who can question them in their own language. So split up. One of you to each of the targets. Then, while you are doing that, we hope very much that by holding them the imperial knights will disrupt the administrative system of all of Franconia. The others, in Würzburg and Bamberg, will send their forces toward Fulda. Then, if Melchoir—my brother—can send a force through Saxony and Bayreuth . . ."

"Will send their forces to Fulda?" Butler asked. "Or do you just hope that they will send them?"

"It's hard to understand the up-timers. But from all we can learn about them, they are very protective of their own people. It's a calculated risk, of course. But, then, life is a calculated risk."

"Meanwhile, what will you be doing with the abbot?"

"Once he is here, the archbishop and I can persuade him to stop cooperating with these abominable up-timers. Persuade him to stop collaborating with the Protestant Swede. Or, if it comes to that, depose him. The emperor and pope would have to agree to that to make it permanent, but if we keep him in prison here while the haggling is going on, it will have the same effect. The archbishop can appoint me as interim administrator."

Hoheneck cleared his throat.

"You were thinking of some other candidate for administrator?" the archbishop's confessor asked.

"I was just going to point out that any administrator should be appointed by the archbishop of Mainz rather than the archbishop of Cologne," Hoheneck said.

"Casimir Wambold von Umstaedt is a refugee in Cologne also," the Capuchin answered. "He will allow himself to be guided by Archbishop Ferdinand's wisdom, I am sure."

Hoheneck was not so sure of that. After all, the archbishop of Mainz was close to Friedrich von Spee, who had been in Grantville and was now in Magdeburg. Overall, the archbishop of Mainz was closer to the Jesuits than to the Capuchins.

As, in fact, were the abbots of Fulda.

While it appeared that Hatzfeldt might have quite a lot in common with Echter. If the bishop of Würzburg was going to try to use this to pull Fulda under his authority and come out of it, once the imperials eventually won this war, with an expanded sphere of influence and Fulda nothing more than one mediatized monastery . . . what would be the point in becoming abbot of Fulda?

Privately, he was quite certain that Hatzfeldt was the wrong candidate for administrator.


Fulda, Buchenland, April 1634

"The 'Ram Rebellion' or 'Brillo Movement' does not appear to have spread significantly from Würzburg into Buchenland."

Wes finished up his monthly report.

He was profoundly glad that he had been able to write that last sentence.

Maybe there were some advantages to being in a spot that was such an economic backwater and political boondocks that nobody else cared about it. Not even revolutionaries.


Fulda, Buchenland, May 1634

"It's the surveyors," Orville Beattie said.

Roy Copenhaver turned a page in his notebook. "What surveyors?"

"The ones planning for pushing the railroad network out farther. It's a long way off, considering what a struggle it was to find supplies just for Halle-Stassfurt-Magdeburg. Iron by itself . . . But they're doing more surveys this summer. Gustavus Adolphus wants to see a line head out from Erfurt-Eisenach to Frankfurt am Main and Mainz. Tie his administration together. So they're laying out a route along the Fulda Gap. The landgrave of Hesse-Kassel signed onto the project and approved having it come through his lands way last fall. Howard Carstairs had some old topo maps he had squirreled away—he served with Third Armored—so they're making pretty good time, in spite of the changes."

"Why does this lead to a peasant revolt?" Wes Jenkins frowned. Surveyors in the north didn't seem to connect with the stuff he had been getting from Steve Salatto to the south.

"The landgrave doesn't seem to have explained it all very well," Orville said. "Not surprising, since he's been out in the field managing armies for Gustavus Adolphus, his wife has been in Magdeburg politicking, he got his brother appointed Secretary of State so he's in Magdeburg too, and they seem to have left a vacuum into which the rumors could come flying. The district administrators can't explain anything to the farmers and village councils because they don't know anything much themselves."

"Anything specific about the rumors?" Roy asked.

Orville wrinkled his nose. "This is what I've gotten from the granges. The leaseholders, the people who actually farm the land, have gotten the impression that they're going to be thrown off with no compensation. Apparently a few of the surveyors made some rather loose statements about using the power of eminent domain to take the right-of-way if owners didn't sell voluntarily. 'Owners' brought to mind landlords. The farmers got the impression that any payments that come out of this will be going to businessmen, or charitable institutions, or nobles, who hold the Lehen. Not to the guys on the spot, who will be left holding the short end of the stick and trying to get the value of the broken leases back from the owners. Who most likely won't be interested in making payouts."

"So?" Andrea pulled her pencil out of her hair and started twirling it around with her fingers, like a cheerleader's baton.

"So they're having a peasant revolt. Meetings, gatherings, marches, protests, broadsides, poems, pamphlets, guns pointed at local administrators." Orville put a bright and cheerful expression on his face. "All the regular amenities, as I understand how these things go."

"Brillo?" Wes asked with some trepidation.

"Not in Hesse. His fame does not yet seem to have reached such exciting spots on the map as Friedlos and Schrecksbach. I sort of hate to tell you, though . . ."

"What, Orville?"

"We're seeing more and more of the ram stuff here in Fulda. In Buchenland, that is. Especially to the south where it borders on Würzburg. The 'Hearts and Minds' people are circulating through the whole area, trying to talk things down. The best argument we have right now is that the railroad isn't coming through Fulda anyway."

"Economically," Roy Copenhaver pointed out, "it would be a good thing if it did. Open up markets and the like. If they're running it through Hersfeld, that's still twenty miles of bad road from most of the farms in Buchenland."

"What do you need from us?" Wes asked.

"If all of you, at least as many as can be spared off other jobs, could start spending more time in the field, backing up our efforts, it would be a real help." This time the bright expression on Orville's face was more genuine.


Buchenland, June 1634

"Damn it Derek." Wes Jenkins was yelling again. "Your cursed Fulda Barracks Regiment is more trouble than it's worth."

"They are just trying to demonstrate their loyalty to the government."

"Threatening to defect to Hans von Hutten on the grounds that he will let them shoot peasants is not a really outstanding declaration of loyalty. In fact it sounds more like mutiny to me."

"They feel that by not suppressing the revolt, they are failing in their duty."

"They are just itching because they haven't shot or plundered anybody for a year and a half. Especially plundered."

"Garrison duty is always difficult."

"Well, make it plain to them that they can't shoot any of the farmers or citizens of Buchenland unless I give them permission. Peasant revolt or no peasant revolt. And tell them that there is no way that I'm going to turn them over to von Hutten so he can shoot our citizens. Or Würzburg's citizens, for that matter. Lock them in the barracks, if you have to."

"Set their wives to guard them," Clara Bachmeierin suggested.

Wes stared at her.

"They have houses now, in Barracktown. Cabins with wood floors, a lot of them. Some even have fireplaces with stone chimneys and hearths. Windows with shutters and oiled paper. Doors with latches. A school for their children. Sergeant Hartke's oldest boy turned out to be so smart that Andrea's lawyer gave him money to go to the Latin school that the Jesuits run here in town. He would rather send the boy to a Calvinist school, but there isn't any. Hardly any of them want to go back to tramping around after a regiment on the march."

Wes looked at Derek, raising his eyebrows.

"I can try it. I really don't want to use Wiegand's Fulda militia to guard them, unless I absolutely have to. If this blows over, they'll need to work together again."

* * *

"You really mean that?" Deveroux looked at Karl von Schlitz with disbelief. "They are not holed up behind Fulda's walls, huddling together in the administration building?"

The imperial knight was looking a little pale, having spent quite a lot of time recently living in a rather small pantry off the main kitchen of his great-uncle's long-ago mistress' miniature castle.

"My sons assure me that it is true. Because of the unrest, the administrators, almost all of them, and the abbot as well, are riding the length and breadth of this newly invented Buchenland, trying to make the peasants happy."

"Why should peasants be happy?" Robert Geraldin asked with honest bewilderment.

Dennis MacDonald glared at him. "They shouldn't, of course. Their suffering in this life will be compensated in the next, like the beggar outside of the rich man's house."

"That," Deveroux said, "is beside the point. Do you have any way of getting their itineraries?"

"Yes. Fritz and Oswald can get them for you."

"Well, glory and hallelujah!"

"Not to mention," one of the von Schlitz sons said, "that they are very lightly guarded, if at all, only by members of the Fulda city militia, because their regiment tried to mutiny."

Deveroux jerked his head up.

"You mean this?"

The son—Friedrich, it was, Fritz von Schlitz—howled with laughter. "Because they won't let the soldiers shoot the peasants, would you believe it? So you will have a peasant revolt to blame any 'accidents' on and the Thuringian troops who pour into Fulda to avenge their administrators after you are long gone will be shooting their own innocent 'citizens.'"

Felix Gruyard smirked.

Walter Butler shook his head. It was enough to make a man believe in divine providence.


Bonn, Archdiocese of Cologne, July 1634

"The archbishop is not receiving callers this morning."

"But," the reporter said cheerfully, "I would like to obtain his comments upon the news that the pope has elevated the priest from Grantville to the dignity of cardinal of the Holy Roman Church and appointed him as cardinal-protector of the United States of Europe."

"Trust me," the doorman said, "you don't want to hear his comments."

"Oh," the reporter said, "but I do. Not to mention that I have a duty to my readers. What are the archbishop's comments?"

"No comment." The servant slammed the door.

* * *

Franz von Hatzfeldt looked rather anxiously at Johann Adolf von Hoheneck. "Is this appointment of a cardinal-protector for the USE something we should be taking into consideration in regard to Fulda?"

"There's nothing that we can do about it. It's too late to call the Irishmen and Gruyard back. We don't know exactly where they are. We have no way to communicate with them. And, in any case, we aren't paying them."


Schlitz, July 1634

"So I went into the town to get some news," Gruyard muttered. "I got it, didn't I? We can't sit walled up on top of this stupid hill forever. It isn't as if there's anyone in Fulda who might recognize me."

"It just goes to show," Karl von Schlitz orated, "that the demonic up-timers are in league with the Roman anti-Christ."

"Come down off it," Geraldin said. "Who do you think that you linked up with when you sent those feelers out to Hoheneck? Martin Luther?"

The two sons howled with laughter.

Gruyard smiled.

Walter Butler didn't think it was that funny.


Fulda, July 1634

"What do you suppose this means," Johann Bernhard von Schweinsberg asked. "Will Gustavus Adolphus allow the archbishop of Mainz to come back to his see? How does it affect the status of the Mainz possessions around Erfurt that voted themselves into the State of Thuringia-Franconia? Will there be a new appointment to the see of Bamberg? How will it change the status of the bishop of Würzburg? Does it mean that Thuringia-Franconia will be granted its own bishop. If so . . . that would be wonderful."

"Why?" Harlan Stull asked.

"Well, there would be someone who could ordain priests. And confirm children. None of that has been done in the Stift for three years. Unless the suffragan down in Würzburg has done confirmations in some of the southern parishes that the diocese claims are under its jurisdiction."

"Why don't you ask him?"

"If I asked him, he could interpret it that I was asking him for favors. He could perhaps even interpret it to mean that I was tacitly acknowledging that the abbey of Fulda is under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Würzburg."

"Look," Harlan said. "You don't have the property any more. All you've got are a bunch of parishes with people in them. How about cutting out the turf wars?"

Schweinsberg looked at him wearily.

"Herr Stull, I have come to like and respect all of you. But in the course of the history of the church, Grantville has been a factor for only a short, a very short, time. The abbey of Fulda has been here for eight hundred years. I hope that it will still be here in another eight hundred years, if the last judgment does not intervene. I cannot and will not unilaterally renounce its rights."

* * *

"The truth is, Schweinsberg," Wes Jenkins said, "that I quite honestly don't have the vaguest idea what this will really mean. I'll write to Ed Piazza. And I'll set up an appointment for you to meet with Henry Dreeson before he goes home. Once he gets here, that is."

"I took a bunch of newspapers out to the barracks," Derek Utt said. "It should give them something to talk about besides peasant revolts. Distract their minds, sort of. I'm having them practice their new anthem, too. Mary Kat's grandma picked it out. The kid teaching school in Sergeant Hartke's loft translated it into German poetry for me and he is assigning the parts. Biehr, his name is."


Dubious Saints
Fulda, August 1634

Andrea was feeling increasingly frazzled. She was the senior civilian administrator in Fulda. Someone else should have been back a couple of days ago. They couldn't all have been delayed. Or if they were, at least one of them should have sent in a message. Pushing her bangs out of her face, she started out into the hall.

The land claims lawyer was just coming in, followed by his relatives, the school teacher and the speech writer. And by the little artist who lived in St. Severi church and painted murals.

Andrea stopped and looked. They had an amazing resemblance to one another when they were lined up like that. All four of them, Etienne Baril, his nephew, the teacher, and the artist. No one could ever seem to remember their names. Maybe it was deliberate. Last night I met upon the stair, a little man who wasn't there, she thought to herself. These Calvinist refugees survived as a kind of professional migrant labor force, from France to Antwerp to Frankfurt, from Lucca to Geneva to Hamburg, from Scotland to Nuernburg to Hungary, making themselves inconspicuous as they worked away to make the bottom line come out even in the cracks and crannies of administrative back rooms all over the continent. Survival by invisibility.

"What is it?" she asked.

The lawyer nodded to the end of the line. "Paul says . . ."

The little artist spoke up. "Felix Gruyard is in town. Or was. I saw him. He came to services at Saint Severi. I don't go out in the congregation, of course. I watch from the sacristy, so he did not see me."

"Who is Felix Gruyard?" Andrea frowned. Something, right on the edge of her memory. Something to do with that obscene pamphlet. A Lorrainer.

The little artist lifted up his loose tunic. The school teacher pointed to his legs.

"He is the archbishop of Cologne's torturer," the speech writer said. "He is very good at what he does."

The artist dropped his tunic. He held out his hands and arms, unscarred. "He is very careful in his work. The archbishop still wanted me to be able to paint, you see. Even though I am a Calvinist."


Buchenland, August 1634

"That went pretty smoothly," Geraldin said. They had the abbot of Fulda neatly trussed up and loaded on a small hay cart. Pretty fair hay, too.

"What about the other one?" MacDonald asked.

"Leave him down there. He's not going to be moving. Get back to where you were supposed to meet the boss. Shots attract attention and you don't want blood all over your clothes if you pass other people between here and there. I'm on my way."

MacDonald shrugged and headed back to meet Butler and Deveroux at von Berlepsch's.

* * *

Wes Jenkins had finally dealt with the way he couldn't help worrying about Clara Bachmeierin whenever she was out in the field by assigning her to ride with him while they tried to pacify the farmers. That way, he figured, he would only have to worry about her when it was absolutely necessary. That would help him keep his mind on other things, such as the importance of believing that railroad surveyors are your friends.

Most of the farmers had a lot of trouble grasping even the basics of that idea. So did Wes, for that matter. He'd read a book once about some of those early railroad barons, back in American history. He expected that his spiel wasn't as convincing as it might have been.

There were getting to be a lot of Brillo pamphlets and poems and songs around. Clara thought they were funny. Wes didn't think they were particularly funny. Oh, a couple of them were cute enough, but not anything that you could compare to Peanuts. Peanuts had always been his favorite comic strip. Once, Reverend Jones, Mary Ellen, that was, had taken the adult Sunday school class through a book called The Gospel According to Peanuts. That had been pretty good. He wondered if Clara would like it.

About that time, someone jumped into the pony cart and hit him from behind, rather hard. The horse reared. Men started yelling. They pulled him out of the cart. Three of them were on him, tying up various pieces of his body to other pieces.

"Leave his legs free," someone said. "We have to move them." Two men sat on him, one on each leg.

Clara was yelling, too, until someone shoved a rag in her mouth.

A man behind him was trying to get a blindfold on his eyes. He kept tossing his head up and down. He kept thinking that von Schlitz's sons had tried to blame the attack on the wagon going to Grantville on bandits. If so, it had been the only batch of bandits on that road in the last year and a half. Like this one. This was a perfectly safe road. He wiggled his head away from the blindfold again. That was von Schlitz's son. The older one. Fritz.

"Hold still," someone said. "Hold still or I cut her."

Wes looked up. A couple of men were holding Clara's arms. Another man was holding a wicked-looking knife right against her cheek, smiling sweetly.

He let them put the blindfold on.

It was hard to tell how long it took to get where they were going. The path, if he could trust the feel of the horse under him, had more curves than the climb to Pike's Peak.

He'd gone to Pike's Peak with Lena and the girls, once. They had tried to hit all of the important national parks on family vacations. He wondered what Lena was doing now. Whatever it is, Lena, God bless you. He said goodbye to his wife.

Nobody was talking except the man who had smiled as he held the knife against Clara's cheek. He seemed to find it entertaining to describe the things he planned to do to them if they did not answer the questions they would be asked.

* * *

The sound behind them was probably a door closing. Wes thought that it made a depressingly solid sound. A well-built door, probably. Reinforced panels and a good latch. Where was planned obsolescence when you really needed it?

"They pulled out my gag," Clara was saying, "If you come over here and sit on the floor so that your head is about the height of my hands, I will try to untie your blindfold. That is the best place to start, I think. He put on yours before he put on mine. It is just rough hempcloth, so the knot can't be too tight. He didn't bother to dampen it."

Wes felt his way across toward Clara's voice and slid down.

"I'm really sorry about this, Ms. Bachmeierin," he started out. "I would have given anything to avoid exposing you to this mishandling."

"I'm sure," Clara mumbled under her breath as her fingers fished around for the ends of the knot. "There, it's coming," she said aloud. She kept pulling.

"It's called the terratio verborum," she said suddenly. "Terrorizing with words. That's what he was doing. Describing each instrument and its effect. It's the first stage of judicial torture. He's probably a professional, not having fun, just saving some time by talking while we rode."

Wes stood up and blinked his eyes clear. "It's not a dungeon," he said. "Stone floor and walls, but the window is at the regular height. It's after dark, but it's lighter out than it is in here and I can see the outline. It's barred."

"Untie my blindfold, would you?" Clara asked. "Then we can admire the scenery together."

"Oh," Wes said. "Sorry." She sat down on the floor. He untied it. She stood up again and he started picking at the knots fastening her hands. That was just a length of rag, too, not a rope. It came loose pretty easily. Somebody hadn't belonged to the Boy Scouts. Either the soldiers who tied them up weren't taking this very seriously or they intended to be back pretty soon. He preferred the first thought.

"It's a pantry. See the shelves, over there in back. Somebody's been living in here, I think," Clara commented after her eyes had adjusted.


"Because," Clara said, "there is a table. With a pitcher on it. She walked over and stuck her finger in it. Half full of water. She took a drink and handed it to Wes.

"A chair. And a bed. A cot, but a real, live, genuine, bed with ticking and a stuffed straw mattress."

"Fleas and bedbugs?"

"Probably those too." She stood there, looking at the bed. "After this kind of a day, I'll risk it."

"I'll sleep on the floor by the door, in case someone should . . ."

Clara had enough.

"No," she said. "You won't."

She started to take her clothes off.

"I am getting ready to finally get into that bed with you. Before that nasty little man cuts me up in all the pieces he spent the afternoon telling us about so meticulously. So there. Even if it is too dark for you to see my body before it gets sliced and diced, at least you can feel it. And I can feel yours while it is still all there, since he is threatening to pull your fingernails out, too. And other things."

"Ms. Bachmeierin . . ."

"The name," she said, "is Clara. And you are Wesley. Now . . ." She pulled him down to sit next to her on the bed.

"Clara," he said faintly. "We aren't married."

She sighed with exasperation.

"Here," she said. "Your left hand in my left hand. My right hand in your right hand. Now you say, in the present tense, 'I take you for my wedded wife.'"

He complied.

"Now. I take you for my wedded husband. That makes us married. Do you have anything that we can divide and share for a token. A coin or something. That makes it stronger."

"I'm not the kind of strongman who goes around bending coins with his bare hands." Wes felt around in his pocket. "Would two links from my watch chain do?"


He pulled them off. They solemnly exchanged them.

"Now," Clara said. "We are fully and completely married, to the entire satisfaction of ninety-five percent of the population of Europe." She kissed him again and kicked off her last petticoat. It was midsummer, after all, so she was only wearing three. All of them linen. And a pair of blue jeans under them, of course, since when she rode she now kilted her skirts and petticoats up around her waist.

Wes started to unlace his shoes.

"Ah, who are the other five percent of the population of Europe?"

"Lawyers and bureaucrats!" Clara exploded. Then. "Wesley, if you stop unlacing those shoes, I am going to be very, very, annoyed."

* * *

Joel Matowski started to wiggle his way out of the ditch and up onto the path, thinking that if he got out of this, he might just make a visit to the pilgrimage church up on top of a hill that Wes had handed back to the abbot. He hadn't always thought it was wonderful to have a mother who was a ballet teacher. If he got back to Grantville, he would apologize to his mom, ten times over, for all the occasions when he had been cranky about going to lessons or practicing. There were times in life when a lot of ballet training came in really useful. It turned a guy into something of a contortionist, not to mention developing stamina. Wiggle, hump, stretch. He fell back to the bottom twice, but kept pushing. The second night, it rained. He lay there on his back, his mouth open. Over three days after those guys had taken the abbot, by the time he had his legs onto the path and was making pretty good progress pushing the rest of himself upwards with his shoulders and elbows, a good Samaritan came along. Who happened to be a tenant of Ruprecht von Ilten.

* * *

"Berlepsch, I think. Tann, Schlitz, and Buchenau for sure. The ones who let the Irishmen use their soldiers. So those castles should be where you will find your various officials. Of course, some of them have more than one castle, and they might use storage barns or other buildings." Von Ilten was looking very anxious.

"None of the others?" the little lawyer asked.

"Not as far as I have been able to determine."

* * *

"Damn it, I'm not an invalid," Joel Matowski said. "Just a bit bunged up there and there. I'm riding out with the rest of them."

"How about," Gus Szymanski suggested, "that before you ride out you make a little tour giving speeches to the different groups. First Fulda Barracks. Then the "Hearts and Minds" team. Then the militia. They'll fan out and cover the villages."

Joel gave a pretty dramatic speech. Ballet didn't require words, but it was really heavy on interpretive gestures.

Shortly after Joel finished the third repeat, he fainted. The Barracktown school teacher held him on his horse, took him to St. Severi's and put him in the sacristy for the little artist to look after. It was either that or the nuns, since the up-timers' "EMT" was going to accompany the other soldiers, and Biehr didn't think that nuns would be a good idea. Not that he had ever met one, but Calvinists had their doubts about nuns just on general principles.

Then he hurried back to the barracks. The regiment would be marching out and he needed to be there to direct the anthem. When the men rode or marched, they would just sing the melody, but for when they were in barracks, he had set it up as a chorale and divided them into tenors, baritones, and basses.

Sergeant Hartke had not gone along with Biehr's suggestion that he should reassign the men to the different companies on the basis of which part they sang, although it would make scheduling rehearsals easier. In fact, Sergeant Hartke's answer had been unreasonably brusque. Biehr thought with frustration that sometimes he just needed to work with them on one part. He saw no obvious reason that all the tenors should not be musketeers and all the baritones pikemen.

He was vaguely dissatisfied, but he had done his best with the translation. Major Utt, of course, had as usual been overly busy. The only guidance he had given was, "Leave out the line about 'we feebly struggle; they in glory shine.' It projects the wrong image."

* * *

Butler, Deveroux, and MacDonald interviewed Fred Pence and Johnny Furbee at Berlepsch's. They had planned to put the next three days to good use, riding from one castle to another and interviewing the captives the other parties had picked up. All of a sudden, though, every country road and cow path in Fulda was crawling with people. Soldiers, militiamen, farmers, kids, and a terrifying squadron of women. People who were, clearly, looking for other people.

By mutual consent, they picked up Gruyard from Schlitz's and headed back toward Bonn. They were, after all, practical men, in this for money rather than glory.


Fulda, August 1634

"No, I am not too proud to ask for help. I am also not too stupid to ask for help. I do not care whether some galloping Rambo thinks I am a wimp because I ask for help. Somebody go down to Würzburg with this letter and get us some help. Now."

Andrea had been on her feet for almost twenty-four hours for the second time in three days. Her hair, which usually got a half-hour of attention every morning before she let it appear in public, had gone limp. She had tried to pull it back into a pony tail. It was too short. Exasperated, she had parted it and put it into two pigtails, one behind each ear, tied with pink ribbons. There were three pencils and a pen stuck into various parts of it.

Wes' speech writer-cum-gofer looked at her. The hairdo's effect was remarkable. The closest classical analogy that came to his mind was Medusa.

"I will take it myself," he said. "I don't know anybody else who knows the road and is still in town. They're all out looking for the others."


Würzburg, August 1634

Steve Salatto frowned. "Has Andrea gone off her rocker?"

He meant it as a rhetorical question.

Louis Baril, which was the speech-writer's name if anyone had ever been able to remember it, took it as serious. "It is quite true," he said. "All of it. At least, to the best of our knowledge in Fulda."

"If I send a half dozen people up to Fulda, who's going to be available to help Anita in Bamberg?"

Louis realized that the second question was rhetorical. He shrugged.

"By the time I can get anyone up there, they will probably have already straightened things out. But I guess that the onus is on my shoulders."

He looked at the man. Not much more than a boy, really. "The day's half gone. Are you prepared to start back this evening, or do you need to wait for morning."

"This evening. The daylight is still long."

"Fine," Steve said. "Weckherlin, find him something to eat and drink and a place to sleep, while I pull together a team to send."


Fulda, September 1634

"Who do you have back?" Saunders Wendell asked. He was Würzburg's UMWA man. Steve had sent him up as head of the emergency assistance team. "Is that supposed to be whom do you have back?"

"Who cares? About who and whom, I mean. We have Harlan and Roy. They were a team. Von Ilten and his men found them walking back from von Buchenau's. It sounds like when the interviewer didn't show up, von Buchenau started to get cold feet. You tell them." Andrea waved at a down-timer.

He introduced himself. "I'm Ruprecht von Ilten. Buchenau was expecting an Irishman to do the interviewing. When no one had shown up two days after someone was supposed to, Buchenau fed them and let them loose. We gave them mounts and an escort back to Fulda. By the time we got up to the castle, Buchenau was gone."

Wendell shuffled through his notes. "Any idea where?"

"Not according to his wife."

"Any recommendations?"

"She's a second wife. The first one was childless. About seven months gone with her first child. Set her father in to manage the place, I would say."

Andrea pulled herself up straight again. "Only if all of you guarantee to back the kid's succession if it's a girl against more distant claims in the male line."

Von Ilten blinked first.

Wendell looked back at Andrea. "Go on."

"Fred and Johnny. They were a team, too. Our friends here had to buckle a bit more swash to get them out of Berlepsch's hands. Dramatic armed confrontations and all that. Gus Szymanski has the casualty list. Johnny's quite a bit the worse for wear. According to Fred, he put up a good fight. Gus has splinted, salved, set bones, and the like. He should be okay, but he's not going to be on his feet for quite a while. Once it won't hurt him too much to ride in a wagon, I want to send him back to Grantville to recover. He married Antonia Kruger from Barracktown and their first baby was born and died earlier this year. I expect he'd like to take her to see his folks. His parents were left up-time, but he has a sister. Simon Jones is his uncle. Just get away from Fulda for a while."

"I don't see any problems with that," Wendell concurred.

"Joel you know about. He was with the abbot."

"Yeah. You haven't found the abbot?"

"No. But Joel says that the men who grabbed him were speaking English to one another. Three of them, speaking English with an Irish accent. How many Irishmen can there be on the loose in Fulda? I've been here for close to two years now and there's never been one here before. Not that I know of. And we haven't found Orville and Mark." Andrea caught a sob. "Or Wes and Clara. I'm sorry."

"Who's out hunting now?"

"Mostly the Fulda Barracks Regiment. They've apologized for you know what."

Wendell frowned. "No, I don't know what."

"Derek can explain it to you when they get back. It's just too complicated, and I'm too tired. He has Lawson and Denver with him. Dave Frost is with Captain Wiegand and the Fulda militia. They've combined and split up. Does that make sense? Some of each group are beating their way systematically through every nook and cranny of the von Schlitz properties. Jeffie Garand is with Ruprecht von Ilten's people, heading for Tann. They're all still looking. Everybody's been out. The granges. Even the League of Women Voters."

Wendell rolled his eyes heavenward. "We have one of those down our way, too. With a sheep named Ewegenia as a logo. She's a caricature of Veleda Riddle."

Andrea stared at him. "Please don't tell Sergeant Hartke's wife."


Last Visions
Bonn, Archdiocese of Cologne, September 1634

"Where is everybody?"

The servant at the boarding house where Walter Butler kept rooms looked at the roaring man as if he were a ghost.

"Fighting, if they are fighting men. Fled, if they had someplace to go. Waiting, if they are the rest of us."

"Do I have any messages? And get me something to eat."

Deveroux came in. "There's no place safe. Looters are out in the town, already. I left MacDonald watching the horses."

Butler turned to the servant. "Pack up all the food that isn't perishable for us." Back to Deveroux. "I'll read these while we're riding."

* * *

"Damn," Butler said. "Triple damn."


"The archbishop of Mainz went back. The up-timer who is now supposed to be the cardinal-protector of the USE got the Swede to give him a salva guardia."

"No way would Gustavus Adolphus give him a safe conduct."

"According to Hatzfeldt, he did." Butler handed the paper to Deveroux. "We may have to reconsider our options."

"We need to catch up with our regiments. Or whatever may be left of them by now. What good is a colonel without a regiment?"

"Hatzfeldt didn't write what he was going to do himself. That's sort of odd."

"Maybe he didn't know himself," MacDonald said. "Maybe he was waiting for something to happen when he had the time to leave you the note."

"Anything else interesting?"

"No. The rest was just bills."

The three of them had their first good laugh of the day.

Gruyard smiled, but did not laugh. He never laughed.

They caught up with the retreating army.

* * *

Geraldin had left Fulda before the other three Irishmen and Gruyard. Because of the donkey and the hay cart, he approached Bonn after them.

In some ways, a single man driving a hay cart could get more answers than riders who clearly fell into the category of "armed and dangerous." He didn't even try to go into the city. There wasn't any point. Swinging around it, he headed west, hoping that he was in front of von Uslar's Hessians rather than behind them.

He was, so he kept going. Once he caught up with the army, he turned over the prisoner to the custody of the archbishop's confessor and went on to catch up with Butler and the others. There was a war on and he needed to join his regiment.


Field Headquarters of the Archbishop of Cologne, September 1634

Johann Bernhard Schenk von Schweinsberg thought that this was the fifth interview since he had arrived. Possibly the sixth. He was losing track.

The first two had been fairly polite. The next one had been rather intense. Since then . . .

The interviewer had a copy of the pamphlet. The one with the witchcraft allegations. Clara and Salome.

He would have laughed, if his mouth had not been so painful. He was going to miss his teeth, if he lived through this. He had been rather fond of his remaining teeth. They were so useful for chewing things. Especially when he had been eating the hard bread of a common soldier with Wallenstein's army.

Or carrots. He laughed a little any way.

The clerk who was keeping the protocol of the interview scowled.

Who was here? Schweinsberg took stock of his eyes. The left one hurt less. He opened it.

"Where's Hatzfeldt," he managed to enunciate.

"Gone to Mainz," a voice answered.

"Shut up, Hoheneck" someone said. "You're here to witness, not to chat."

The interviewer posed the next question.

Schweinsberg opened his mouth carefully. He had to answer. Get as much of the answer out as possible as if it were a reply to the question. Then the end of it, before Gruyard cut his lips again.

"Someone," he said. "Someone is going to have to go to Fulda to . . ." He gasped.

"To take the nuns into custody for the abominable crime of witchcraft?" The questioner offered him an answer.

"To take up the care of the abbey."

His mind drifted back to the abbey church and the plainsong of the reformed monks he had brought from Saint Gall. Then to Saint Mary's in Grantville.

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Great God of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!

He sagged down.

Gruyard looked at him consideringly.

A man in black robes, who had been standing inconspicuously in the rear of the room, started forward, the oils in his hand.

"Too late," Gruyard said.

"Is he faking?" the interviewer asked.

"No. He wasn't in very good shape when Geraldin brought him in, I'm afraid. I've done the best I can."

"Too bad," the interviewer said. "He never did confess. A trial would have been very useful. Pamphlets just don't have the same effect. Not in the long run." He turned to the priest. "There's nothing for you to do here. He died an unrepentant, unconfessed, sinner, incapable of receiving the last rites."

Someone knocked on the door. "You're going to have to finish up in there. The camp is moving."

The interviewer nodded, then realized that he could not be seen through the door. "We'll be right out."

Hoheneck lingered behind the others. There was nothing he could do for the abbot, but . . . He noticed that the priest was also still in the room. "Administer the rites," he directed. "Mark the burial site, if you possibly can. At the very least, make a record of it."

The priest nodded.

* * *

Johann Adolf von Hoheneck was glad for the bustle of the breaking camp. Saddling his horse, he moved out. He wasn't going with the army. Neuhoff was still in Cologne. He would try to protect the archives and treasury from plunderers. He had to go to Mainz, himself. Get a salva guardia. Then to Fulda. To take care of the abbey. He assessed himself without illusions. He might not be much of a monk, he might be an ambitious noble, an unwilling and ungrateful Benedictine, but insofar as God had chosen to make him a monk, he was a monk of Fulda and he would defend its interests. As prince and abbot.


Buchenland, September 1634

"Through here," the young man said.

"This is quite a track." The hunting parties had recombined and divided once more. Captain Wiegand looked down rather than ahead, careful where he was placing his feet. A half dozen picked men were following him. The rest of the group was heading for Tann openly and frontally.

"Well, as my grandfather said, it's not as if we don't owe him."


"The man from the Special Commission. The one you're looking for. Irli his name is, I think. He kept the meeting short and snappy when Grandpa reminded him about the hay. They got in the whole winter's supply at Neuenberg that day, before that thunderstorm and hail hit in the night. It would all have been ruined if he'd held them up."

He stopped a minute, then slid between two rocks. Wiegand suddenly understood why his picked men were all very thin men.

"Down this way. They took them out of the castle and into the cave two days ago."

"How did you ever find this?"

"I, ah, I've got a girlfriend who grew up here. On the von der Tann estate."

* * *

Orville Beattie and Mark Early were fine. A bit shopworn after two weeks as von der Tann's "guests," but fine.

Actually, they told Andrea after they got back to Fulda, the man had been pretty considerate.

She decided to hand this one off to Saunders Wendell. He could buck it up the chain to Steve Salatto to decide what to do about it. Especially since the rest of the men had seemed a bit uneasy about this call. She wished Gus would let Harlan out of the infirmary. He was Wes' deputy. She wasn't. But Gus was fussing about Harlan's blood pressure.

* * *

"Where do you suppose he went?" Clara asked.


"The man who was going to torture us."

"I don't know. But I really prefer not to make a closer acquaintance with him, so to speak," Wes said. "If I have the choice."

"Do you think we're going to get out of here? There hasn't been anybody around. No one at all."

"We'll get out if we ever manage to pry the hinges off this door. Presuming that we manage it before we starve."

"We won't starve for a while yet," Clara said cheerfully. "Consider our good fortune. They locked us in a pantry. Even though we're out of water, we still have a half keg of beer. It even has a slop jar. And a window to throw the slops through, so we don't have to live with them."

Wes put down the garden spade that he was using as a crowbar, sat on the bed, and laughed.

* * *

Karl von Schlitz was protesting bitterly against his rearrest. His lawyer had tried to argue double jeopardy. Andrea's lawyer had rebutted.

Von Schlitz's lawyer protested even more strongly in regard to the arrest of the two sons. There was nothing but suspicion against them, he insisted. At the very least, the government should allow them to sign Urfehden. The administration had no reason not to release them on bond.

"The hell of it," Derek Utt said to Saunders Wendell, "is that we really don't have anything on them except suspicion. And I swear that we have looked through every building on their estates from cellar to attic, more than once. Being sure to make plenty of noise, so that if Wes and Clara were in some kind of priest's hole, they would hear us and yell. If they can, of course."

Wendell looked grim. "I can't stay much longer. We've got to get back to Steve. They're running a crisis over in Bamberg, too."

* * *

"Let's put out placards," Andrea said. "All over Fulda. Not asking about Wes and Clara. Asking if anybody knows anything about some other building that von Schlitz has. List the ones we've looked at. Offer a reward for information about any others. Von Schlitz has to have been hiding somewhere between when they took him off the wagon and when he surfaced again."

"All right," her lawyer said. "I'll take care of it. Give me the list and I'll take it to the printer."

"I have it here," Captain Wiegand said. "You can make a copy off this one."

The lawyer took it. Looked down it. Shook his head. "It's not complete."

"Yes it is."

"No." The lawyer turned to Andrea. "Have Louis bring in those duplicate Urbare that we had from the provost over that way."

She frowned. Who was Louis? Oh, the gofer. She sent him.

The duplicate ledger landed on the table with a thunk. The lawyer started leafing through it.

"Here, this page. They've omitted everything on it. It has to do with a small estate that the current owner's great-uncle purchased for the use of his mistress."

* * *

"Someone's coming," Clara said. She listened for a while. "A lot of someones, with horses."

"We'd better get back as far as possible, until we figure out who it is. Why don't you get onto that pantry shelf that we've emptied."

"While you peek out the window? No way!"


"Either both in the back of the pantry or both peeking out the window. Andrea has told me all about equal rights for women. That's in the constitution, too."

"It doesn't mean," Wes said with some frustration, "that a man can't take care of his own wife."

"It means he can't keep her from having any of the fun. Anyway, I can hear the Fulda Barracks Regiment anthem. No one else sings it." She came up to the window. "Look, I can see the banner too. Orange and white. They've finally figured out where we are."

"Well," Wes said, "that's more than I've managed to do. I was wondering, all the while we were working on those hinges, how we would find our way back. It's nice to have the cavalry come to the rescue. Or the mounted infantry, I suppose, if you want to be technical about it."

You were their rock, their fortress and their might,
You, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight.

Wes frowned. "Derek really shouldn't have let Veleda Riddle pick out an anthem for the regiment, even if she is Mary Kat's grandmother. Why did the only kamikaze Episcopalian in the United States of America have to live in Grantville? They're usually pretty sedate and uptight, but if Veleda has her way, Fred will have to use his reserved tennis figurines for Episcopalians on his map."

Clara leaned her head against his shoulder. "Once we tell them that we married each other, we will have to fill out a lot of paper work, you know."

He cleared his throat. "Maybe we should just tell them that we're going to get married when we have a chance and then do it properly."

"If you think that I am going to move back in with Andrea while her little lawyer spends six weeks or three months drawing up a proper betrothal agreement and marriage contract, you are crazy, Wesley. There isn't even a Lutheran church in Fulda to read the banns."

"But . . . Clara, I'm the administrator. I should be setting a good example, and all that. And I don't want anyone to think that I am treating you with less than complete respect."

"You think they will consider it to be more respectable that I have been in this pantry with you for so many days and we don't tell them that we have married each other?" She turned around.

After the way she kissed him, he agreed that he would be a crazy idea to even suggest such a thing as having her move back in with Andrea. But.

Oh may your soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who boldly fought of old.
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.

The horses disappeared behind a hill on the curving road. The singing faded. Pretty soon, the lead horses were in view again.

"Maybe we could have a church ceremony later? I'd really feel a lot better if we had a marriage license from Grantville and Reverend Jones said the words. Even after the fact."

That much, she conceded, could happen. Whenever they went back to Grantville. It would make the lawyers and bureaucrats happier. The main reason they hated do-it-yourself marriage was that it did not leave a record and caused all sorts of subsequent arguments if it turned out that one partner was already married to someone else, or if one or the other party tried to back out. "Not that either of us ever would."

She was still facing him, her arms around his neck. She kissed him again. He agreed it seemed unlikely that either of them would ever try to undo their marriage.

They listened.

And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again and arms are strong.

The strains of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sine nomine rang through the Reichsritterschaft of Schlitz.

The golden evening brightens in the west.
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest.

Wes picked up the garden spade. As soon as they got close enough, if the Fulda Barracks Regiment ever stopped howling out their anthem long enough that they could hear him, he would start banging on the bars to save them time in figuring out where he and Clara were in the building.

He shook his head. That blasted song really stayed with a person. He'd heard it before, he was sure, but couldn't remember what the name was. He'd have to ask what it was called.

* * *

"I've had enough."

Wes told the whole staff at once, at the regular morning meeting. "Now that Harlan has agreed to cover Andrea's cost overruns in the land titles department, which I fully agree turned out to be worth it in the long run, I've asked Ed Piazza to relieve me, and he's agreed. I'm going back to Grantville to take over the consular service. Our people still manage to get in enough trouble that the State of Thuringia-Franconia needs its own consular service. With Clara, since her job as liaison has sort of been ended by circumstances."

"You're looking pretty happy," Andrea said. "Aren't you going to miss dear old Fulda?"

"Not the town. And Mel Springer will do fine here in the interim, until we get an elected board of commissioners in the spring and can transfer authority. I have full confidence that all of you will back him up."

The strains of the Fulda Barracks Regiment singing its anthem came up from the square in front of the administration building. Wes got up and walked to the window, looking down, then over at St. Michael's church.

"But. I never thought I'd say it, when he first showed up. But honest to goodness, I'm going to sort of miss Schweinsberg."

He looked up, toward the Vogelsberg, out over the hills that surrounded the town. "The guy was more of a politician than a monk, I guess, but still, I'm sorry that the search parties never found him. There are a lot of places he could be, out there. If we had found his body, at least, we could have brought it back so the abbey could give him a decent burial with all the others. He was the abbot. He belongs there."

The Fulda Barracks Regiment down below redoubled its efforts.

Wes glanced back at the table. "Derek, what is that song called in English?"

Derek Utt looked at him. "For All the Saints."


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