April 1633

Ed Piazza squirmed as inconspicuously as possible on the hard bench of the University of Jena's anatomy amphitheater, as the debate on differing Lutheran views of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, both up-time and down-time, flew over and around his head in three different languages. Before he'd made the acquaintance of the different parties that existed among Grantville's new citizenry, he had just been naive in his assumption that only his own Roman Catholic church encompassed communicants with views as divergent as those of Francisco Franco and Dorothy Day.

The brightest idea that anyone—anyone at all—had had last winter had been Samantha Burka's suggestion that the growing tensions among the Lutherans of the United States could be dodged by taking advantage of political geography. Count Ludwig Guenther of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt had not only built St. Martin's in the Fields Lutheran Church, of currently uncertain orthodoxy, for the benefit of Grantville's huge influx of Lutheran citizens but had also built it on his own land. True, Rudolstadt was part of the new little United States; but, on the other hand, the United States was a confederation and that territory was not the responsibility of Grantville itself. Thus, the Grantville government could take the high road, virtuously declaring that it did not interfere in ecclesiastical disputes, and dump the whole squabble into the lap of the Rudolstadt administration.

Consequently the count, with the assistance of his chancellor and consistorial advisors, was presiding over this circus, while Ed was watching. In any station of life, a man can find something to be thankful for.

* * *

Somebody made another reference to the Formula of Concord. This, Ed had learned in his desperate pre-conference dash through the applicable chapters of the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, supplemented by a briefing book that the new Grantville Research Center had pulled together for him from the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, had been produced fifty years earlier as part of a major effort to get all the Lutheran theologians on the same wavelength. It still served as a sort of measuring-stick for orthodox Lutheran views in 1633—and had in the twentieth century as well.

Ed glanced down toward the floor as the conscientious young man at the chalkboard, using his one good arm, quickly wrote the page reference for the audience to follow along. Jonas Justinus Muselius had been in Grantville for almost the whole two years since the Ring of Fire and had a pretty swift head and hand when it came to getting around in three languages at once. He now taught at the new Lutheran grade school next to the controversial church just outside Grantville's borders.

In his own copy of the Concordia Triglotta, Ed leafed over to the proper page in English. The tome not only had the Formula of Concord, Latin and German on the left-hand page and English with a blank column on the right-hand page, but most of the major Reformation documents that had led up to it—the Lutheran catechisms, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, etc. Ed guessed that they were lucky that the Lambert kid was a devout Lutheran. He'd had that book, with the whole thing conveniently lined up in all three languages so the content matched on each pair of pages—all 1,285 of them, index included. Every participant in the Rudolstadt Colloquy now had one, included in the registration packet, which made for a hefty weight in the tote bags.

The publisher in Jena had been happy to get the order. He said cheerfully that if he had any copies left over after the conference, he'd just get someone to smuggle them into England and cause that half-Papist Laud some trouble.

Ed's pencil wiggled. A doodle bloomed on the upper left-hand corner of page 123 (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Art. IV. (II.), English version) and gradually expanded to become an illustrated border all the way around the scholastics, the good works, and the "many great and pernicious errors, which it would be tedious to enumerate." The speaker, clearly, had no problems with tedium. It looked like he was going to enumerate them all. The full sleeve of his gown snagged on a corner of the book; its skirt scrunched up under him, even though he had smoothed it out before he sat down.

* * *

"What is a colloquy?" Ed remembered asking that question when the project of having a colloquy in Rudolstadt to smooth over the differences among and between the various factions of Grantville's up-time and down-time Lutherans was first brought up. Innocence, blessed innocence! Now he knew. Colloquies were events whereby someone put dissenting parties of theologians and their adherents into a room with spectators and insisted that they keep talking until they reached some sort of a resolution on the controversial issues.

Colloquies did not have time clocks.

This colloquy involved the Flacians, orthodox Lutherans on the model of Matthaeus Flacius Illyricus, and the Philippists, slightly less stringently orthodox Lutherans on the model of Philip Melanchthon—from the 1633 here and now. The two factions had been disputing since Luther's death, and they were disputing still. In addition to these by-now classic components, it had as a plus factor those interesting up-time equivalents, the Missouri Synod, a largely German-heritage and theologically orthodox organization of Lutherans in the up-time USA, and the ELCA, or Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which appeared to Ed to be pretty much the outcome of a multi-stage amalgamation of the descendants of Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, and some portion of German Lutheran immigrant churches.

The colloquy was thus providing an excuse for half the academics on the continent, plus a few from the British Isles, to see the Americans for themselves while billing the trip to their employers. As a result, it had grown to the point that no place in Rudolstadt, a county seat that had a population of slightly over a thousand residents two years ago and only half again that many now, could cope with the attendance. Therefore, they were having the Rudolstadt Colloquy some twenty miles down the Saale River to the north, in the university town of Jena, whose permanent population regarded it as a great financial boon. A rousing theological colloquy was an event which attracted not only theologians, but politicians, visitors who came for the entertainment, souvenir salesmen, and food vendors. Outside, in Jena's market square, beverage booths were vying with street musicians, while booksellers displayed their wares next to pretzel bakers. Almost every house in the town was crammed to the rafters with temporary boarders.

Ed thought idly that if the debate should degenerate into a riot, anyone with a strong right arm and the three and a half pounds of the Concordia Triglotta in a tote bag could do a lot of damage to an opponent—though, luckily, it was a paperback. In the seventeenth century, book printing and book binding were separate trades, and anyone who wanted a cover on his book usually took it to a binder after he had bought it. True, Count Ludwig Guenther had assured him that any riot was more likely to take place outside in the streets rather than among the participants themselves, but half the people outside—farmers and artisans, students and merchants, journeymen and apprentices, male and female—had bought a copy of the book, too. It was by far the most popular souvenir for visitors to take home.

The man next to him shifted restlessly. Ed looked over and saw that his Latin text had acquired an even more elaborate decoration than his own, in pen rather than pencil. The thin-faced little man returned the glance, with a surreptitious grin, and penned a question in the margin of page 122.

You American?

Yes. Ed Piazza. Grantville.

Leopold Cavriani. Geneva. Beer when they stop?

* * *

The two men came out of the university grounds into what Ed still couldn't help thinking of as a picturesque, old-fashioned, German town that would delight any right-thinking tourist. It was, he reminded himself, a picturesque contemporary German town in which dozens of people who lived in what they considered to be modern times were standing around an old-time West Virginia fiddler. He was sitting on an upside-down keg that had once held imported Norwegian salted herring and playing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" A skinny teenaged German girl was selling the sheet music.

Ed chalked up one more "Benny sighting." Old Benny Pierce, a childless widower, had been 79 at the time of the Event. He must be 81 now, Ed thought. Benny kept wandering around south central Thuringia with the single-minded focus of preventing the legacy of Mother Maybelle Carter from being lost. Some people—especially his nephew's wife Doreen—worried that he was going to get himself into trouble. But, after all, even Doreen admitted, you couldn't keep a grown man pinned down. Still, Ed did sort of try to keep track of him. There was no predicting where, when, or if he might someday need to be bailed out, since the grandly-named Department of International Affairs was still doing double duty as the Consular Service.

The weather was nice: that is, it wasn't actively raining. Yet. Ed and Cavriani took their beers to an outdoor table behind the restaurant. "Ahh," Ed said, as he sat down.

"Do you prefer 'Signor' Cavriani?" The Italian that Ed had learned from his grandparents was rusty, but serviceable.

"Not for a long time," Cavriani replied in German. "My first language is French. Seventy years or so ago, my grandfather was a university student, thinking modern thoughts. Seventy years ago, those thoughts were about Protestantism, naturally, but he was in Naples. So he found it prudent to leave. Of course, it's much easier to leave Naples than to leave a lot of these inland places—he just took a boat to Marseilles and from there went over to Geneva. He wrote home, telling his family that if they would send him enough money to buy citizenship, he would open up a branch of the firm. They did, he did, and we're still there—Cavriani Frères de Genève. Neapolitan politics are fun, of course. I still keep my hand in, a bit. Just as a hobby, you know."

"And Cavriani Frères deals in . . . ?"

Cavriani waved his hand. "Oh, a little of this, a little of that. You could think of us as brokers, I suppose. I rather like your up-time word—facilitators. Smoothers of paths. Those who make the rougher places plain."

Ed's mouth quirked. "You're in road construction?"

"We can ensure that a road is constructed. Or that a boat is built and crewed. That an enterprise is financed. Or even, sometimes, that an idea is spread. As the fiddler whom you watched is ensuring that an idea is spread."

Ed cocked his head. "Would it be indiscreet to ask just whom, or what, you have been facilitating in or near Grantville?"

"Ah," said Cavriani. "Not at all. My meetings with Count August von Sommersburg, if not public as to their specific content, have not been concealed. Nor has their general purpose, which is financing the expansion of his slate quarries southwest of Grantville. I assure you that my presence is known to your Saale Development Authority. I paid Mr. Bolender at the Department of Economic Resources a courtesy call as well."

Ed thought privately that if Count August was slick, his backer was likely to be even slicker. Nonetheless, Cavriani was a pleasant man to have as a new acquaintance. But "facilitators" usually were pleasant. Amiable. Courteous and easy to talk to. It was part of their stock in trade.

Cavriani was continuing. "If we could meet for dinner, I would be happy to explain the proposals we will be presenting."

But Ed had an out, at least temporarily. "Unfortunately, Monsieur Cavriani, I have a prior commitment." Ed dangled a tidbit of information to gauge Cavriani's reaction. "Margrave George of Baden-Durlach—who, as you know, is here as King Gustavus Adolphus' personal observer—has invited several gentlemen to a private supper this evening."

Ed was gratified to see Cavriani's eyes brighten, ever so slightly. He thought that, undoubtedly, the man would make it his business to find out just which among the "several gentlemen" in attendance at the colloquy would be meeting with the margrave, and equally undoubtedly would know the answer before the dinner even took place. And why not? Information would certainly be one of the major trade items purveyed by Cavriani Brothers of Geneva (not to mention by Cavriani cousins, current Cavriani in-laws, and potential husbands of Cavriani daughters, sisters, and nieces, wherever they might be found). It would be very surprising if the firm didn't have permanent correspondents at every major Imperial and CPE post office, picking up the news as fast as it came in.

Ed glanced down at his watch. "But our break is over. Back to the discussions."

They returned their beer mugs to the vendor. Ed noticed that, under the stern eye of Jena's new Public Health Security Force, the booth actually had a couple of pans of dishwater in the rear, and a boy who was washing the mugs before the owner re-used them. He refrained from commenting that the practice would be even more helpful if they occasionally changed the dishwater. One step at a time. Apparently the sanitation squad hadn't gotten to Chapter Two.

* * *

Knowing I'm on the street where you live . . .

Ed Piazza's attendance at the Rudolstadt Colloquy had not been uncontroversial within the Grantville administration. To quote Mike Stearns' explosion of the previous December: "Damn it, Ed. We've got six to a dozen major projects going and all of them need you more than we need to have you sitting in on an academic debate and listening to a bunch of guys argue about who's going to be the minister of one single Lutheran church."

Ed hadn't kept on top of every turn of the kaleidoscope for the past twenty years, watching Grantville High School's cliques and allegiances shift on the basis of both current interests and longstanding family feuds, for nothing. If any occupation could have prepared a resident of Grantville to conduct early modern diplomacy, it was experience as a social studies teacher and high school principal.

"Look, Mike," he said patiently, "we can't just do things according to our own priorities. We have to factor in the priorities of our allies. Yes, they're arguing about who's going to be minister at St. Martin's. Okay. Point One. Specifically, they're talking about whether the minister, whoever Count Ludwig Guenther's appointee turns out to be, will be a Matthaeus Flacius Illyricus-style Lutheran or a Philip Melanchthon-style Lutheran. Point Two. Even more important for us, they're arguing about whether, if he's a Flacian, he can exclude all of the followers of Philippist-style teachings who are now living in Grantville from taking communion. And, I suppose, vice versa. I'm still not sure on that one."

"That still doesn't mean that you can afford to spend a week listening to them. Much less two weeks. Or three. Or a month!"

Ed continued unperturbed. "Point Three. More generally, the result of this specific decision about this church just outside of Grantville is going to be a weather vane about the overall direction that the Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt consistory is going to take. If they do make an exception from strict Flacian orthodoxy for the church serving Grantville—or the churches, since Count Ludwig Guenther is building another one on the other side of town to take up some of the overflow—then he'll be getting requests for exemption from other congregations in the county, and he knows it. If the theology faculty at Jena swallows hard and accepts an exemption in this county, they know that similar requests will be coming in from every other little city, county, and dukedom in Thuringia. What's more . . . "

Mike groaned. "There can't be more."

"Yes, there can be more. There is more. Point Four. Every Lutheran ruler in the CPE is sending a 'personal observer.' Which means that they're sending their chancellors. Gustavus Adolphus is sending a 'personal observer,' for Chrissakes! He's sending Margrave George of Baden-Durlach, and even if the man is old and getting very, very, tired, he's still been one of the most consistent defenders of the Protestant cause from the very beginning of this war. Don't count him out just because he lost a battle in 1622. He's never given up and he's taken exile rather than compromise with the Imperials."

Ed paused, then started again. "Listen, Mike. This colloquy is a big deal. Colloquies are academic debates, in a way, but they're academic debates on steroids. They're academic debates that affect the real world. If this war wasn't on, they wouldn't be sending 'personal observers.' They would be coming themselves: John George of Saxony, Wilhelm of Hessen-Kassel—even though he's a Calvinist himself—George of Hessen-Darmstadt, the Anhalt mini-princes, all of the Saxe-Whatever dukes. Reuss. Probably Brandenburg, even though the elector himself has turned Calvinist like Hessen-Kassel, because he's taken the unusual measure of not imposing his faith on anyone but the court personnel. Most of his subjects are Lutheran. Maybe even Prussia. The Prussian duke will be sending an observer if he has someone suitable on retainer who can get here in time. Count Anton Guenther of Oldenburg is coming in person, but there has to be something else behind that. If it weren't for the war, Gustavus Adolphus himself might have come. When the Reformation got started, the Holy Roman Emperor sat in on some of the religious debates."

Mike looked sour. "It didn't do the Holy Roman Emperor a lot of good, either. They've been having religious wars ever since."

Ed sighed. "Sometimes, a smaller scale can be more effective. The theologians will debate and discuss. The 'personal observers' will listen and report back. And, Point Five. At some point, while the public debate goes on and on, the 'personal observers' will get together and pool the collective wisdom of the 'patrons' of German Lutheranism about the way to go. If the 'way to go' turns out to be maintaining orthodox exclusionism, the different Lutheran parties will be back at each other's throats and the CPE will fall apart. If it turns out to be enforced mutual coexistence, no matter how much the theologians argue, we've maybe got the lever in place with which we can move the rest of Germany when it comes to religious tolerance. Capisce?"

"So the Lutheran princes will tell the Lutheran churches what to do." Mike pulled a sour face. He knew that he would have to live with the "established church" phenomenon, but he didn't have to like it.

"For the time being." Ed leaned back, touching his fingertips to one another in a reflective manner. "There really have been quite a lot of changes in the past century. Lay patrons still appoint ministers to the Lutheran churches—that's true enough. Connections still help in getting an appointment—that's true, too. But they can't appoint just any ne'er-do-well cousin who needs a sinecure. Not anymore. They pick off a list of church-approved candidates who've finished a theological course, sometimes at a university and sometimes at a seminary, and who have been examined and approved by their own church board for the principality—the consistory, it's called, mainly, or sometimes the general synod. There's no rule about what it's called. It works pretty much the same in the Calvinist principalities. Actually, a lot of it has rubbed off on us Catholics, as well. Compared to the middle ages, one thing that Europe has now is a clergy that's a lot more literate, a lot more educated, and a lot more committed to the job."

Ed grinned. "Of course, all of those things mean that as a general rule they spend a lot more time reading and arguing about fine theological points than back in the days when quite a few rural priests could barely stumble their way through the liturgy. Not to mention that the fashion for long sermons means that the parishioners hear a lot more about points of theological controversy, too. A fair number of homilies seem to encapsulate the major points that the local pastor intends to make in his next letter to a neighboring minister with whom he disagrees about the nature of the Real Presence or the significance of Christ's Descent into Hell."

Mike's eyebrows were still raised—high.

Ed persisted. "Shall I go over it again? We can't just do things according to our own priorities. We have to factor in the priorities of our allies. Mike, we're living on their street. They're our neighbors. They care about this. They really, really, do. Therefore, we care about this. Whether you want us to or not. And we will send a delegate of equal status to the chancellors of all those allied territories. That's me."

"So everything else gets dropped for a month?"

"No. I'll just make Arnold Bellamy 'acting.' He's perfectly capable of keeping everything else on track. If I die of the plague or get thrown off a damned horse and break my neck, he will be doing the job. That's why there's a Deputy Secretary of State."

* * *

Mike frowned a little, thinking that almost a year ago, when Grantville's delegates first met with Gustavus Adolphus, Ed hadn't been anything like this assertive. He had stood there looking very behind-the-scenes, very advice-but-not-policy, very subordinate-in-a-clear-hierarchy-of-authority. He'd had a lot of on-the-job experience as Secretary of State since then, of course, but still, how had he changed so much?

Then Mike reconsidered, and decided that it was last April that was the aberration. Ed's whole career track had been aimed at being a principal: not a vice-principal or a deputy principal. He'd run the high school with a fair amount of input—there was a faculty senate and a student council. He'd run it with good cheer, common sense, and an even temperament. But somehow no one, neither teachers nor kids nor even the county superintendent of schools, had doubted that the hand that directed Grantville High School belonged to Ed Piazza. Before the RoF, after the mine had closed, Ed had managed the single largest enterprise in Grantville, from the standpoint of budget and personnel, and he'd never been afraid to make a decision once he had the data on which to base it.

"What if I directly order you not to go?" he asked.

"If you directly order me not to go, I will stay here. But I will continue to think that you are wrong." Ed leaned forward in his chair. "Don't just take it from me. Ask the rest of the cabinet, if you want to. Bring it up for debate. But I should go. From beginning to end. That's where I stand."

* * *

They also serve who only sit and sit.

Ed had only brought the essentials for this stay in Jena. In his view, the essentials included an old aluminum Drip-o-lator and a thermos bottle with the kind of top that nested six different sizes of plastic cup. He could remind himself a thousand times that this was not a quaint Renaissance Faire staffed by costumed reenactors but rather the modern world—insofar as there was a modern world. Nonetheless, the thought of beer for breakfast turned his stomach. His wife Annabelle had concocted some reusable filters out of an ancient roll of gauze she had turned up somewhere. Turkish coffee arrived in beans rather than pre-ground, but he'd managed to modify a peppermill to deal with that problem. He stood in the public room of the Black Bear Inn the next morning, brewing coffee with a dramatic flourish for the benefit of his entourage.

Since the secretary of state's support staff in Jena consisted entirely of kids who had gone to high school since he joined the staff, they expected the flourish—even early in the morning. They would have been disappointed not to have it. Before he became principal, Mr. P.'s "extracurricular" had been directing all the school plays—usually teaching by doing. Ed could drop into any role. His students never quite understood how, when a demonstration was called for, a burly man of about five and a half feet, wearing a yellow polo shirt, could turn into an imaginary six-foot-tall rabbit (Harvey), a psychopathic killer (Night Must Fall), a Russian empress (Anastasia), or a ditzy spinster (Arsenic and Old Lace)—without even putting on a costume. When he became principal, his first addition to the staff had been Amber Higham as a full-time drama teacher, but he had still dropped in on the rehearsals whenever he could find a minute.

But they all knew his favorite role. "Hey, Mr. Piazza," said Tanya the radio operator, as Ed poured boiling water into the Drip-o-lator, "Give us the serenade."

The serenade was Ed's glory. Six times, during his life, he had been called to this acme of thespian desires—in high school already; in college; while he was in the army, during an R&R in Guam; three times for community theaters. He had met Annabelle during the first community theater version. It was never enough. There couldn't be too many productions. So as Leopold Cavriani came in, hoping to extract data about the previous evening's conclave of chancellors, he found the odor of coffee, six apprentice diplomats (only one of whom officially worked for the Department of International Affairs) sitting around their breakfast table wearing borrowed St. Mary's second-best choir robes that they tried to pretend were seventeenth century academic gowns, enthusiastic applause, and the secretary of state, garbed in a matching choir robe, throwing himself into a glorious basso rendition of "Some Enchanted Evening" as the sun rose.

That was another thing that Ed had learned about colloquies. They started early. The participants were not inclined to waste daylight.

* * *

"Ah, M'sieu Cavriani, good morning. Do join us. My staff—Tanya Newcomb, our tech. She's based in Grantville, in my department. I've borrowed two of them from our administrative delegations assigned to the cities of the U.S., just for the conference, to broaden their perspective a bit. Peter Chehab, Suhl; Joel Matowski, Fulda. Zack Carroll—he's in the army and will be sent to Erfurt in the fall. By the way, his sister Sara just graduated from our high school this spring and joined the army, too. Jamie Lee Swisher—she's been working as a page at our National Library, but she did such a good job getting stuff together for this conference that I've borrowed her—and if I can, I'll steal her for my permanent staff. Staci Matowski—she's taking teacher training and we hope to have her in the social studies department at the high school in a few more years. Right now, her folks said that she could come along because she's Joel's sister and he could keep an eye on her."

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