|1632 series |
POD: May, 1631
|Appearance(s):||Ring of Fire|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Affiliations:||Unity of the Brethren|
Deacon Jan Billek was a member of the Unity of the Brethren and a close friend of Bishop John Amos Comenius. Billek was forced to relocate to Poland after the Brethren were banished from Bohemia. After Albrecht von Wallenstein's army was routed at the Battle of Alte Veste by the Swedes and their Grantville allies, Billek learned that Grantville promoted religious tolerance. Billek reunited with Comenius in order to discuss Grantiville. Billek offered to act as an emissary to the town, with the goal of allying the Brethren with the Americans. Comenius agreed on the condition that Billek consider receiving his ordination and taking a congregation.
Thanks to Comenius' contacts with the Swedish court, Billek accompanied a Swedish supply column to traveling to Thuringia. Billek was appalled at the devastation inflicted by the Thirty Years' War on the Thuringian countryside. Due to the constant threat of brigands, he was forced to travel at night. Finally, Billek arrived at the outskirts of Grantville and joined a group of refugees. The group arrived at a checkpoint commanded by both Americans and their allies. He was confronted by Scots soldier Lieutenant McAuliffe who questioned him about his reason for coming to Grantville, and then directed Billek to American Marty Thornton.
Thornton informed Billek that the Unity of the Brethren became the "Moravian Church" back in the original timeline. When Billek presented his papers to see the town's "court", Thornton informed him that Grantville didn't have a court, nor was it ruled by an aristocracy, something which Billek had heard from the refugees and disbelieved. When Thornton pressed Billek as to why a diplomat would travel alone without an armed escort, Billek answered that it would both be a waste and also dangerous as the Brethren had very few allies and was widely persecuted in Europe.
Eventually, Billek was allowed into Grantville to meet its leaders. He was immediately amazed by the technological marvels within the town. He was taken by car to "National Security Adviser" Rebecca Abrabanel. After discussing his purpose, Abrabanel informed him that he would be granted the opportunity to address a meeting of the cabinet. Abrabanel warned him that Grantville's limited resources were already quite stretched, and the help it could provide the Brethren was small. Though troubled by this news, Billek nonetheless agreed to attend the meeting.
After leaving Abrabanel, Billek went to a tavern. Here he met and and befriended two Grantvillians: Skip and union organizer Red Sybolt. Sybolt had some Moravian neighbors back in the original timeline and sympathized with Billek's situation. Billek told the two men about the history and purpose of the Brethren. Sybolt offered his home to Billek for the night, and Billek accepted. Billek and Red conversed much about American society and democracy in general.
Billek met with the Cabinet in short order. He learned to his dismay that Grantville could not help the Brethren directly, but could only offer sanctuary to the Brethren in Grantville. As Billek was preparing to leave Grantville to relay the news to Bishop Comenius, he was contacted by Red, Skip, and Gretchen Richter who provided him another opportunity for the Brethren in the form of modern books. Sybolt also agreed to accompany Billek back to Poland.