This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8


He raised his eyebrows.

"Ten times nothing is nothing, Herr Hatfield. Simple mathematics."

Anse chuckled. "I like your arithmetic, Lieutenant. May I take it you are no more impressed with Captain von Dantz than I This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 am?"

Ivarsson shrugged. "An army makes do with what it has." He seemed on the verge of adding something, but didn't do so. Instead he changed the subject This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. "Since you are in charge of our little caravan, were you planning to stop in Badenburg or push on until nightfall?"

"I thought we'd only stop if we needed to adjust the loads This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. We have—what?—forty-five or fifty miles to Suhl? I was figuring three or four days."

"That sounds about right. I would recommend we keep a sharp watch when we camp for This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the night. Our horses will be tempting to any local thieves. I will stand a watch."

"Well, I wasn't planning on asking the captain. So with five of us This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 we can switch off every two hours. Or do you think we should double up?"

"Five? Oh, you want the older woman to stand a watch. She does seem competent, but I This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 think we should double up, as you say, once we get well into the Thueringerwald. There have been reports of bandits in the area between here and Suhl. Or it could simply This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 be disgruntled residents, acting like bandits. There were undoubtedly some people not too happy about turning into part of the New United States when you `slid' the Wettins' duchy out from under them."

Anse This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 chuckled. He liked that way of describing it. "What about tonight we split the watch five ways, and the next two nights you and Rau take the first watch This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 and Wili and I do the second?"

"Yes, that will work and we can let the lady rest. Oh, I was talking to Rau. Was he really a house breaker before he This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 became a soldier?"

Anse laughed. "Breaking into houses is the least of Jochen's skills. He's a better tracker than I am, and can sneak up on a cat. The man is amazing."

The This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 big lieutenant shook his head. "And you trained him to run that little thing, the locomotive. Seems a waste. He should be scouting for the army. Is that the right name This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, `locomotive,' the thing that pulls the carts on the rails?"

"Yes, that's what it's called. You'd be surprised what that little thing can pull."

The conversation soon meandered This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 into a technical discussion on the advantages of rail traffic over wagon transport, and how the railroad would make an army less dependent on foraging.

 

^ January 17, 1633

They stopped for the night This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 a few miles past Badenburg. There were no incidents, as Anse expected given their proximity to the town. The worst problem they faced was the bitter cold, with such a clear sky This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. The temperature was well below freezing. Fortunately, they'd all dressed properly for the climate.

Less than an hour after they started forward again the next morning, Noelle Murphy brought her horse alongside Anse's This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. He was pretty sure she'd timed her arrival so that Captain von Dantz was up ahead a ways, well out of hearing range.

^ May as well get started, Anse thought.

"Okay This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, Ms. Murphy. Since I gather you're my expert adviser, please advise."

Noelle winced. "Insofar as jury-rigged cram courses in `N.U.S. Constitution' and `Franconian affairs' make me This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 an expert—which they don't, not hardly. But I'll do the best I can."

She took a long, slow breath, exhaling a visible cloud of moisture into the clear, freezing This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 air.

"We might as well start by being honest about the situation, Mr. Hatfield. When Gustavus Adolphus reached a deal with Mike Stearns that the New United States would assume responsibility for the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 administration of Franconia, there wasn't anybody at all in Grantville who knew much about it. Truth be told, there weren't a half-dozen people in town who had ever even been This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to anyplace in Franconia, and those had mostly been there in the military and lived on American bases. Those people thought it was the northern part of Bavaria—Upper This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 Franconia, Middle Franconia, and Lower Franconia. Which it was, uptime. But which it is not, down-time. Bavaria hasn't expanded to include it yet. It wouldn't for a long time yet to come This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 in our original time line and may never in this universe. The rest of the Grantvillers had not even heard of Franconia. That includes me."

Anse grinned. "Me, too."

She gave This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 him a quick, flickering smile. "My training's as an accountant, not a combination historian-sociologist and, I guess, Superspy Juniorette."

That мейд Anse laugh. Up ahead, he saw Captain von Dantz This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 glance back at the sound.

Frowning disapprovingly, of course. As if there were any danger of drawing the attention of bandits this close to Badenburg! Anywhere within two days' ride of Grantville This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, for that matter. By now, bandits had learned to steer well clear of the Ring of Fire, where just a few months earlier a large expedition of Wallenstein's Croat This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 raiders had gotten torn to pieces.

Noelle continued. "I've seen some of the correspondence that's gone back and forth between Mr. Salatto and Mr. Piazza. The first headache Mr. Salatto and his This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 team faced, as soon as they got to Würzberg, was figuring out what `Franconia' meant in the first place. It turns out it's a loose and slippery geographical term—especially when This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 you have to factor in what the Swedes think about the issue. One of the first things Mr. Salatto and Mr. Piazza agreed on—President Stearns, too, I imagine—was This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 that from the context of the deal reached with Gustavus Adolphus it was pretty clear that the king of Sweden did not mean for Grantville to mess around in the territories This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 of his influential Protestant allies, even though they were clearly in Franconia, geographically speaking. That meant we had to steer clear of the imperial city of Nürnberg; the margraves of Ansbach and Bayreuth, et This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 cetera and so forth."

Anse grunted. "In short, what `Franconia' means to Gustavus Adolphus is really `the parts of Franconia that were ruled by Catholic church officials before I This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 conquered them.'"

"Exactly. What the king of Sweden wanted us to handle were the dioceses of Würzburg and Bamberg and the abbey of Fulda—even though, to a fussy geographer, Fulda is only sort This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 of marginally Franconian. But since it was definitely Catholic and sort of between Franconia and Hesse-Kassel, President Stearns decided that Gustavus Adolphus intended the N.U.S. to take over This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 there. So we did. By last November, the N.U.S. picked out its administrative teams, with Steve Salatto in overall charge, and President Stearns and Secretary of State Piazza sent them This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 on their way."

He sighed, took off his cap, and scratched his scalp. "This is going to be a mess, isn't it?"

"Sure is. Like I said, Mr. Piazza showed me some This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 of the reports Steve Salatto sent in. Our administration teams found out very soon that there weren't many people who had been living in Franconia during the winter of This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 1631-1632 who were likely to ever join a King Gustavus Adolphus fan club. It didn't seem to matter at all whether they were Catholic or Protestant, or whether they lived in the villages This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 or the big towns. At a rough guess, at least ninety percent of the population of Franconia hate the Swedes. They were every bit as rough on people when they This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 came through as any of Tilly or Wallenstein's armies."

Anse hissed. "Rough on people" was a euphemism for what, uptime, would be a roster of every major felony on the books, starting This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 with murder, rape and arson and working your way down. "That bad?"

Noelle started to reply but had to break off to calm down her horse. The beast had gotten a little jittery This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 about something. God knows what. Anse Hatfield wasn't really much more experienced with horses than the young Catholic woman.

"Well, I guess not quite," she said, finally, once the horse This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 settled down. "At least, so far as we know there were no major massacres. Certainly nothing on the scale of what Tilly's army did at Magdeburg. But it was plenty bad enough—and This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 nobody down there has forgotten, or stopped holding a grudge. Real, serious, personal grudges, too. Not just the usual `they мейд me convert to somebody else's religion' grudges. There were This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the `they burned my Ma as a witch' grudges; the `somebody's army stole all our horses' grudges; `the Swedes devastated our property when they passed through in 1631-1632 on their way This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to crossing the Lech' grudges."

"In Suhl, too? They're mostly Lutherans themselves, I thought. Just like the Swedes."

"Yes, they are. For that matter, you can argue till the cows This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 come home whether Suhl is really part of Franconia or Thuringia in the first place. But it doesn't matter, Mr. Hatfield."

"Call me Anse, please."

"Okay. Look, Anse, here's what I This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8've finally figured out about this so-called `war of religion.' Almost every army involved in this war is mostly мейд up of mercenaries, including Gustavus Adolphus' army. The truth is This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, you'll find plenty of Protestant soldiers serving in `Catholic' armies, and vice versa. As often as not, religion is just an excuse for a mercenary army to do what it would have done This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 anyway, once it enters territory it considers conquered from the enemy—and their definition of `enemy' is going to be just as sloppy as everything else. From what I can tell, most of This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 this war is just one plundering expedition after another. I think Gustavus Adolphus keeps a tighter rein on his soldiers than most commanders do. But that isn't saying much This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, and even that gets really frayed when he's just marching through a territory on his way somewhere else."

This, at least, was an area that Anse felt more familiar with. "Well This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, yeah, that's a given. Not a one of these armies has a `logistics train' that isn't мейд up of spit, baling wire and chewing gum. In fact, that's the problem This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 us TacRail people are trying to solve. To a point, anyway. Without a good logistics train, an army on the march has no choice but to do what they call `foraging.'"

Noelle's This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 expression got very tight, almost pinched. "What a fancy, antiseptic term."

"Ain't it?" replied Anse, grinning coldly. "Anybody uptime tried to engage in such-like `foraging' at home, they'd This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 be looking at a minimum twenty-year sentence at hard labor. A fair number would be on death row, if West Virginia still had a death penalty."

Noelle shook her This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 head. "I've always been glad West Virginia gave up the death penalty, back in 1976. But sometimes . . ."

Anse shrugged, being careful to keep the motion minimal. Truth be told, he wasn't any This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 too sure how good a control he had over his own horse, especially traveling across snow-covered dirt roads. "It's a moot point, here. I know Mike's just fighting right now This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to get all the down-timers in the N.U.S. to agree to restrict the death penalty to murder."

Noelle got that pinched look on her face again. At such times, Anse This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 didn't have any trouble at all picturing her as a nun. That might just be his own prejudices at work, though. Unlike most West Virginians, Anse didn't This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 belong to any church. But his background was old-time Protestant, and he tended to share the image of nuns as pale-faced, tight-lipped, mean-spirited old crones who disapproved of This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 anything and everything.

Which wasn't fair, certainly not applied to Noelle. She might have the goofiest mother in creation, by all accounts, but at least so far she'd struck Anse This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 as a pleasant and levelheaded young woman. She was rather pretty, too.

"Keep talking," he said softly. "This is a help."

"Well, the gist of what Mr. Salatto told Mr. Piazza in his reports was This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 that there doesn't appear to be any reason why the Franconians should like the Swedes any more than they do any of the other armies that have gone trampling This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 through Franconia during the past fifteen years. Fortunately, we—the uptimers, I mean—do have some legacy of goodwill in the Suhl area, because it was our people who defeated that expedition Wallenstein This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 sent into the area a while back. That doesn't extend into Franconia itself, however. So the N.U.S. administrators have to take this into account in their policies, which This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 they are doing. They don't talk about Gustavus Adolphus very much. Just sort of leave him on a back burner, so to speak."

Anse grimaced a little. "I can understand the logic, but This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 . . . That might backfire, you know. When you come right down to it, `guv'mint' means `we're the guys with the big guns' and the truth is the N.U.S This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. has hardly any guns at all down there in Franconia, big, small or medium-sized. If the crap hits the fan—pardon my language—we're going to have to call on This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 Gustavus Adolphus to bail us out."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that." Noelle shook her head. "It might, though. To make things worse, when the N.U This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8.S. took over the administration of Franconia, the economy was shot. Conditions were a lot worse than in southern Thuringia, where things were bad enough. The only industry that was still doing This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 well on the south slope of the Thuringenwald was munitions, in places like Suhl, Schmalkalden, and Schleusingen. Which aren't exactly Franconia, I remind you. And even there, although Suhl itself is This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 one of our states now, most of the arms manufacturers—maybe all of them—just don't see this as an `us against them' business. They'll sell to anyone who has the money to This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 buy, even if the guy is likely to use the stuff to invade the N.U.S. the next year. They seem to think that since somebody is probably This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 going to invade the region no matter what they do, and they can't really predict in advance which side it'll be, they might as well make as much as they can This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 from the war. Especially since it's pretty much the only good business going."

Again, she shook her head. "And that's not all. There are also a lot of people who This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 weren't in Franconia during the winter of 1631-1632. That is, there are those Protestants who had gone into exile, mostly into Ansbach or Bayreuth or Nürnberg, after the Bishop of Würzburg This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 started his re-Catholicization campaign, and who came tumbling back after the Swedes drove the bishop out. Some of them are demanding their own back—and some of them are This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 demanding not only their own, but more, as compensation for all the pain and suffering they experienced. It's sort of like letting all the Cuban exiles in Miami go home and then trying This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to manage all the property claims that pop up in Cuba.

"Most of them hire lawyers. The lawyers have clerks. The clerks have apprentices. The N.U.S. administrators don This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8't have three dozen uptimers total, counting the military attachés. At that—being honest—we're pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel. Small towns of thirty-five hundred people like This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 Grantville just aren't prime material for all of a sudden running a government for nearly a million people, counting southern Thuringia as well as Franconia, especially when it wasn't even the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 county seat in the first place. And somebody has to stay home and keep things running there. Franconia is a sideshow, really. Anybody who takes a look at the comparative This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 budgets for running Thuringia and running Franconia can figure that out."

Anse nodded. "Yeah, same old story. All the members of the N.U.S. Congress are from Thuringia, and like politicians This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 anywhere, they think that their main job is to take care of their own constituents first. And, generally speaking, their constituents see eye-to-eye with them on the matter. Which means, until things This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 in Franconia can settle down enough to hold elections—and figure out how Franconia fits in terms of Thuringia—they'll keep getting the short end of the stick. So This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 how are Steve and his people handling it?"

"The first problem that Mr. Salatto and his teams have is to try to sort out which of the down-time Franconian administrators will be This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 willing to work with them. Not support them, necessarily, but at least carry out orders and not deliberately undermine what they are trying to accomplish. That takes time, and they're still working at This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 it. The main problem with finding local administrators to work with, of course, is that any Franconian official who does agree to work with them is in serious danger This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 of being denounced as a collaborator and taken out by his enemies if, in a couple more years, it turns out that Gustavus Adolphus can't hold on to his conquests in Germany This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 and the Habsburgs or Bavarians come back with a different slant on who should be running things."

"Can't really blame 'em, I guess," said Anse. "Self-preservation's about the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 most basic instinct there is. And it's not likely to be just them if things go pffftt! It'll be their wives and children, elderly parents." He sighed. "The way things seem to work This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 in this day and age, probably even their servants would suffer for the decisions they take, if it all goes sour."

"It's helped a lot that the other Thuringian This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 states that have joined the N.U.S. sent along a fair number of down-time lawyers and clerks to help out. It doesn't help at all that the Franconians consider Thuringians This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to be just as much `foreigners' as uptimers and Swedes and, overall, consider the N.U.S. to be just one more occupation force."

"Well, honest to God, what are we? Noelle, we This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 are just one more occupation force. We may have better intentions than the others, but that's what we are."

He broke off, watching Captain von Dantz trotting his This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 horse past them toward the front of the party. "Well. Some of us have better intentions."

The pinched look came back on Noelle's face. So strongly, in fact, that Anse involuntarily This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 looked down at her hands, holding the reins. He was a little surprised to see that they were the smooth-skinned, rather delicate hands of a slender and attractive young woman. He This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8'd been expecting to see heavy, gnarled fists. The sort that, arthritis be damned, hold and wield a great big ruler.

* * *

At noon, not far east of the town of Ilmenau, Anse called a This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 halt to rest and water the horses and to have a quick lunch. As everyone else loosened the tack on the horses, Wili passed out the rations: dried hard sausage This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, cheese and bread, with a small apple for dessert.

"Hey this sausage is good," Gaylynn said at her first bite. "Wili, I want the recipe. Will you ask Mrs. Schultz to send it to This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 me?"

"Ja, Dora loves it when people ask how she мейд food."

"You know that's mixed meat sausage, Gaylynn," Anse teased. "Bit of this and a bit of that This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. Venison, pork, beef—and horse, if I remember correctly."

"^ Nein, nicht beef. Und it is just a little horse."

"Well, whatever, it's good." Gaylynn answered. Anse noticed that the captain, however, put This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 down his portion and ate only the cheese.

"Herr Hatfield, how long are we going to wait here?" von Dantz demanded. "We should be moving."

"I thought we would rest the horses for an This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 hour." Anse pulled out his pocket watch. "We're about thirty minutes short of that."

"Remember, the general wants a report this year," said von Dantz sarcastically.

"Captain, the report This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 will be a lot later if we have to walk to Suhl because our horses gave out."

"You should have brought a change of horses for the wagon, or left the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 wagon."

Anse restrained his temper. "And was the Swedish garrison in Grantville going to provide them? Look, my family has only three horses, these. Wili and I had to kill the former This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 owners to get them. You might be used to traveling on other people's money, but we ain't. And the wagon is going because I want to bring something back from Suhl."

The captain This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 got up and went to tend his horse, his shoulders stiff with anger.

 

That afternoon, traveling was much like it had been in the morning. The road wasn't up to the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 quality that was becoming standard around Grantville. But it was well marked, and the cold weather combined with plenty of travel close to Ilmenau had packed the snow into This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 a hard surface.

Captain von Dantz was continually riding ahead. Anse, who had walked point a few times in Vietnam, was happy to leave the scouting to him. So it came as no surprise, in This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the late afternoon, to find von Dantz waiting, when the little convoy rounded a curve. "Herr Hatfield, there is a small village up ahead. We will spend the night there This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8."

Anse studied the sky for a minute, then pulled out his watch. "Captain, I figure we still have a couple of hours traveling time. But if you don't want to sleep in a This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 tent, we can stop."

Clearly the captain was primed for an argument. "You think we should press on?"

"No, in this case I think you're right. We should stop and get This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the horses under shelter. I'm not all that good at judging the weather, but it sure looks like we're going to get some more snow tonight. A This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 barn to sleep in would be mighty welcome."

When they arrived at the village, though, Anse was surprised to find there were no separate barns. In a village of six houses, there was This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 only one that had two stories, with the lower floor being a stable. All the rest were one-story with an attached lean-to providing shelter for what few animals the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 owners had. While four of the one-story houses had smoke coming from their chimneys, one was obviously unoccupied.

Someone in the village must have been keeping watch. As the travelers stopped, the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 door of the largest house opened and a prosperous looking man came out.

"Ah, Amerikaner," he said, after seeing the rubber tires on the wagon. "Ich bin der Schultheiss des Dorfs This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, Horst Stoltz^ . Sie möchten die Nacht bleiben, ja."

Anse, whose German had improved under Wili's tutoring, realized this was the head man of the village and he was asking if they This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 needed a place to spend the night. A bit of bargaining and only mentioning the tents on the wagon twice got the party the use of the empty house for the night This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 in exchange for five old silver dimes.

After the seven horses were crowded into the lean-to and most of the supplies were transferred from the wagon to the house, Lieutenant Ivarsson This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 commented to Anse. "We actually мейд a good distance today, better than twenty of your miles, I think. I was impressed by the wheels on the wagon. They do make it travel better. How This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 does it work?"

"The tires are solid rubber and give a wider area on the ground. It makes them roll easier. The real secret is the bearings in the wheel This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 hubs."

Captain von Dantz called from the door of the house. "We need to get settled in for the night. If we cover as much ground tomorrow, we can be in Suhl before nightfall This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8."

As the captain vanished into the dark interior, Anse noticed Rau waving from the back of the house.

When Anse and Ivarsson joined him, Rau said softly: "I talked to the Schultheiss This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 like you asked. He says nothing unusual is going on to the south, but I noticed the villagers are keeping their animals closer than normal. Then I talked to the boy This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 who keeps the village pigs. He said that there have been a lot of people on the road. All traveling north—well, toward Grantville. That's actually east from where This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 we are now. And all carrying all they own."

Ivarsson looked thoughtful. "Now, that is odd. There have been no reports of any army moving down that way. What else could put people This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 on the road, this time of the year?"

"The pig boy didn't think it was an army. He just said people were moving. I did a run through the woods This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 close to the village. Just off the road to the south there are a couple of families camped. Three men, four women and eight Kinder. One of the boys is man tall. They are keeping This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 a sharp watch and a cold camp, no fire."

"They didn't see you, I take it?" Anse asked. Rau just grinned.

Anse thought a bit. It was not This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 likely at all that an army could have penetrated Franconia and reached as far as the Thuringenwald without news coming to Grantville. There was a radio in Suhl, after all. Besides, armies This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 rarely moved in the winter, here and now, unless they had to.

He turned and looked at the house they were using. "Okay, change of plans. We keep two people on watch This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 all night. Jochen, I want you to knock a couple of tiles loose on the roof to make a firing point in the loft on the side that overlooks the road. Lieutenant Ivarsson This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, I want you and Mrs. Reardon up there with your rifles, if anything happens. Jochen, you and me can cover the windows and door on the ground floor. Wili can cover the lean-to This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, through the door that connects it to the house. I don't think anyone is going to jump us, but it doesn't hurt to plan ahead."

"What about This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the captain?" Rau asked.

Anse shook his head. He didn't trust von Dantz to be an alert sentry, with his arrogant attitudes. "We'll let him sleep. Hopefully nothing will happen. If it does This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, he stays with us on the ground floor. Now go make that loophole. I'll bring Wili up to speed. Anything you want to add, Lieutenant Ivarsson?"

"No, your plan seems This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 good. But I think we need Corporal Rau mounted tomorrow. Can you ride?"

Rau nodded, but had a disgusted look on his face as he went toward the door. Anse This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 had to smile, because he knew Rau hated horses.

After a quick supper, cooked by Wili and Gaylynn at the fireplace, the party spread out their bed rolls. Gaylynn walked over to where Anse was This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 sitting near the door. "Which shift do you want me to take?"

"Well, Jochen and Nils are going to take the first watch and they'll wake Wili and me for This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the second. So you and the captain can have a full night's sleep. Speaking of which, if you want you and Noelle can have the loft to sleep in. That'll This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 give you a little privacy."

Gaylynn looked around the single room of the ground floor and nodded. "Thank you, but I don't want you thinking you have to look This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 out for me. I can take care of myself if it comes to a fight, so none of this `take care of the helpless woman business.' And tomorrow night I'll take a turn This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 on watch."

"Gaylynn, the loft is where I'd want you and your rifle anyway, if something goes down. You'll have a better field of fire, especially after Jochen This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 makes a firing point up there."

It was five hours later, by Anse's watch, when he was awakened by Jochen Rau shaking his shoulder. He looked around the room by the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 dim light thrown out by the fireplace and saw that everything seemed normal.

"Anything happen?"

"No one has come near the house, but there has been a lot of traffic on the road. People moving This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 quietly in the night, all heading to the north. Ivarsson is out by the wagon keeping watch, waiting for you. We have been taking turns outside."

"Fine, I'll go relieve him This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. You wake Wili and get some sleep."

When Anse went outside, he discovered he had been right in his weather prediction. There was a light snow falling, blanketing the area This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 with pleasant noiselessness.

He found Nils Ivarsson huddled near the wagon, wrapped in a blanket. "I got it. Go on in and get some sleep."

The Swedish officer rose to his This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 feet. "If Rau didn't tell you, there have been people on the road all night. A couple started to walk over to the wagon, but when they saw we were keeping This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 watch they went on. They were mostly family groups, as near as I can tell."

Ivarsson gathered his blanket about himself and headed for the house.

Anse stood there asking himself why This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 on earth people would be moving at night this far into the N.U.S. It was miles from the border. They hadn't even crossed the ridge of the Thuringenwald yet. Actually, they were This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 barely into the mountains. Tomorrow they would be traveling along the main trade route between Erfurt and Nürnburg, which had had quite a bit of ordinary commercial traffic This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8. There was just no obvious reason for people to be traveling by stealth here in Thuringia. Why weren't Rau and Ivarsson questioning what they saw? Or had they just become so inured This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 to moving refugees that they didn't ask any more?

He and Wili split the next few hours of standing watch, taking turns ducking into the house to warm up. An hour into their This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 watch, the snowfall ended and the sky cleared. There was now a half-moon in the sky to give them better visibility.

Three times, they saw parties passing on This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the road. None of them seemed hostile. Only once did it look like anyone took an interest in the village he was passing through, and that was one man walking alone leading an ox This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 cart. He looked over the wagon, but moved on when he saw the gleam of Anse and Wili's weapons in the moonlight.

 

^ January 18, 1633

Just before dawn, as he stood watching the road This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, Anse could hear the village waking up. The sounds of people preparing for the coming day were emanating from all the other houses. From the house the party had rented, he This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 could hear muffled conversation as the expedition members were starting to fix breakfast. When he heard the door open behind him, he glanced back and saw Captain von Dantz emerging into This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the winter morning.

"Morgen, Herr Hatfield. I see there was no trouble during the night. Your fears of attack seem to have been groundless."

The captain's tone practically oozed self This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8-satisfaction. "Tonight, though, if we don't reach Suhl, we will have to keep a better watch. We will be in the heart of the Thueringerwald."

Anse was tempted to just let it go This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, but von Dantz was really getting on his nerves. He pointed to the tracks in the snow. "It wasn't as quiet as you think. Quite a few people came by here This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 in the night. When they saw we were on the alert, they passed on."

"What? There were people on the road last night? Who were they? Soldiers? Bandits? Who?"

"Mostly they seemed to This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 be in family groups, and I didn't see a lot of weaponry. So my best guess is they were refugees."

The captain grunted. "That is no problem. There This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 are always people running away from war."

"Makes you wonder, though. Just what it is that they're running away from, Captain? What ever it is, we're heading straight for it This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8."

"Nonsense! There is no enemy army in this region. These peasants are fleeing phantoms and rumors. Or seeking fabled streets of gold in wonderful Grantville, perhaps." He snorted. "Still, it will not hurt to be This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 cautious until we get to Suhl. You should send your Corporal Rau to scout the road ahead, and I will stay closer to the wagon to help guard it."

"I agree This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8, Captain—but Rau needs a horse. I'll have to put him on one of your remounts."

"Ja, ja, he can use Lieutenant Ivarsson's spare horse. Now we should This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 get the others moving and load this wagon."

 

After breakfast, the party was once more on its way. Rau had left while they were still packing the final load on the wagon, and was This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 out of sight ahead. Anse took position beside the wagon, with von Dantz a dozen or so yards ahead and Ivarsson bringing up the rear.

Twenty minutes later, Anse saw the captain waving This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 for him to move up and join him. As he rode forward, the captain rode ahead about a hundred yards to where Rau had dismounted and was standing by his This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 horse waiting for them. When the two arrived Rau said in a low voice, "Just around the next curve there is a group of people. It looks like four families, men, women and This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 Kinder. I couldn't get close enough to get a good count, but there are at least twenty-five. Four ox carts, but I only saw three oxen. I saw a This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 couple of long guns and one spear, not a pike but a hunting spear. They had a man walking ahead and I was spotted before I saw them."

Anse could hear the real This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 disgust in his voice. Jochen was proud of his ability to go unnoticed.

Before Anse could speak the captain stated: "Herr Hatfield, we should ride down the road as a group This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 surrounding your wagon. It is not likely that a gaggle of farmers will attack armed soldiers. You and I will lead, riding ahead of the wagon. Corporal Rau, you will join Sergeant Ivarsson and This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 bring up the rear."

"I'll give the orders, Captain, if you don't mind," Anse said, mildly but firmly.

Von Dantz's jaws tightened, but he accepted the reproof without open This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 argument. Now that Anse had established his authority, he thought about the problem itself. He decided the captain's plan was as good as any.

"We'll do it This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 that way," he pronounced. "Everyone should have a weapon in хэнд, though. Nothing says a bandit doesn't have a wife and kids or these couldn't be stragglers from someone's army with camp This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 followers."

As they rounded the curve in the road and rode toward the unknown group it became clear enough that these were simply refugees. The three carts with oxen were being pulled This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 off the road. The people seemed to be trying to hide them in the trees that bordered the road, not that they had any chance of doing so in the time This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 given. The one remaining cart, apparently pulled by two men, was still on the road, but four men were unloading its contents. As the wagon approached the cart the men stopped, and This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 stood in silence around it.

Anse called softly, "Wili, you look the most like a farmer. Talk to them and find out what's going on."

Wili stopped the wagon This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 beside the cart and leaned over to talk to the men. Anse couldn't catch more than about one word in five, but he understood enough to know that Wili started with This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 comments on the weather and proceeded to ask about the road conditions to the south. It wasn't until the men started looking a bit relaxed that Wili asked them why they were on This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 the road in the first place.

After they finished, Wili passed them a bag, which Anse knew contained a couple of dozen apples from Henry Johnson's trees. He then snapped the This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincid - 8 reins and put the wagon in motion.

"Did I get that right, Wili? They are Franconians?
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