Guardian Angel-7 Gun Diplomacy, part 1 of 3

“I speak Swedish, Anglish, er, Englander and a little Netherlander,” Lars said.  He could not understand what he was being told, and it was very frustrating.  The man who bought him led him along with a rope tied in a noose around his neck, and he talked to his two fellows and ignored Lars but for the occasional tug.  Lars decided it was not yet time to resist since they were still too close to the guards in the slave market.  He figured the opportunity would either be forced on him or present itself in due course.

“Sveedish.”  Lars understood that much and the rest was gibberish, but the men knew what they were saying.

“I just know he is a sailor.  I would not be surprised if he guided the boat with his friends all of the way from the Old World.”  The captain spoke first.

“As you say, Captain.  You always did have a good eye for crew,” the first man said.

“Almost as good as for the ladies,” the second man said.

“Did you see that black-haired beauty?”  The first man’s eyes, hands and mouth all praised her.

“Only a glimpse,” the captain admitted.  “But I saw enough to know she is too much for the likes of you.  I am sure she will be some rich man’s first concubine soon enough.”

“I would guess a very rich man,” the second said, and they all agreed and laughed as they came to the port.  New Ark was not a very big place.

A small boat rested on the bank, one just big enough for two oarsmen and a couple of passengers.  It pointed at a much bigger boat in the kill, which had large lateen sails, but looked to be of a shallow draft, like a ship designed for coastal sailing.

Lars stopped walking when the men stopped, and he grabbed the rope to keep from being choked when they were ready to go.  He tried to think how he could get out of going any further.  The two men with the captain were getting that small boat ready, so Lars knew what was coming.  He would have balked at being taken aboard any ship for fear of losing his ticket home, but then he saw something that caused him to blink.  He shouted.


The girl stopped what she was doing, looked up and wrinkled her nose with a most curious expression.  “You know my name?”  She asked, but Lars did not understand a word of the language she spoke.  Lars responded to her quickly in Swedish but the girl shook her head.  She looked curious, though, as if she grasped something of what he said, because she kept squinting at him.

Lars felt a tug on his rope necktie.  The Captain, who had paused to see what captured the big man’s attention, looked ready to go.  The others held the boat and were prepared to shove off.  Lars tugged back hard enough to rip the rope free and fling the Captain to the ground.

“That’s my daughter.”  Lars spouted in Anglish, even if the Captain could not understand.

“Papa?”  The girl put down her netting and came close.  At least she spoke Englander.  “But Papa, you died ten years ago.  How can you be here?”

“Your mother, Angelica?”

Kirsten’s eyebrows went straight up.  “She died in Devon, back in England when I was taken and sold.”

At once Lars realized his mistake.  He remembered where he was and that this was not his daughter after all, but he marveled at the subtle changes that made the world what it was.  He also noticed the Captain fumbling for the rope and the two mates getting back out of the boat and sporting knives.  Lars began to run.  He had to find the others.  He had to get home, to his own Angelica and to his own Kirsten in his own world.

Guardian Angel-5 Intermission. part 3 of 3

“There are some blonds here.”  Lars pointed this out to Manomar as they looked down on the muddy streets from the roof.  The roof was flat and set up for sitting out on sunny days, and that day was one Ethan called an Indian summer day.

Ethan could only eavesdrop on the conversation, because Jill and Ali Pasha were engaged in a heated discussion in Ali Pasha’s native tongue.  Curiously, Ethan understood some of what they were saying, but not enough to follow along, so out of frustration he listened to what Manomar had to say.

“Slaves, workers, eunuchs come from all places,” Manomar explained.  “There are all together some five thousand people in this colony, and five times that many more across the river on the islands and the Long Island, but they are mostly on farms.  In many ways, and because of the good portage, New Ark has become the market town.  The port is why the people moved here across the river.  The slave market is here, and also the Examiners.”

Lars shook his big head.  “I do not condone slavery,” he said.  “It is one thing if a man contracts for service, for pay, or works to work off debts.  We understand obligations to King and Country and Community, but slavery is going too far where I come from.”

“I understand.”  Manomar nodded.  “But here, the Examiners have spies everywhere to insure the purity of the faith, to be sure that the name of the Holy Prophet is not abused or overthrown in favor of strange ideas.  If a man’s heritage is found wanting or his faith is suspect, he is not allowed the freedom to rule and corrupt others.  Slavery is only one option, but it is common.”

“Money talks here as everywhere,” Lars blustered.  “You can’t fool me.”

“Indeed it does.”  Manomar agreed with a slight bow of his head, accepting his correction gracefully.  “Thus, there are Christian communities all across the Old World which are allowed some room to live apart.”

“As long as they are not looted,” Lars said, grumpily, before he turned his eyes again to the crowds.  “But the blonds.”  He pointed again.

Manomar shrugged.  “My Master says that the way we are breeding, it will not be long before there are only two people in the world, lighter skinned Lords and the slightly darker skinned slaves, and the blonds will be swallowed up among the slaves.”

“Selective breeding and a poor man’s caste system,” Ethan mumbled, but by then it was time to go down into the house for evening prayers and supper.

The food was wonderful, and so was the conversation except for a couple of innocent comments by Ali Pasha.  “I do not mind eating with womens like many.  I have also breaked bread with Christians many times.”

“Some of my best friends are Christians.”  Ethan quipped.  Jill stepped on his toes and squished them into the tile floor.

“No Renaissance, no Enlightenment, no Industrial Revolution, no technological revolution,” she said.  “Still a late medieval world.  What did you expect?”

“No women’s lib?”

Jill removed her foot and kicked him in the shin, but gently.

“Stop it.”  Ethan turned to her.

“Stop what?”  Jill said, coyly.  Ethan did not answer in words.  He leaned over and kissed her on the lips, determined to taste the sweet honey of those lips again.  They had not kissed since Lars’ log house.  Jill did not resist him.  In fact, she had been asking for it.