The Empress of India

TEoI 13 - Leaving Delhi behind

The end of a chapter, the start of a new one.

The council of survivors

The escape from the Red fort had been almost too easy. All 80 europeans cowered in the basement of Dr. Hensby family home. There was enough to eat for maybe two days if everyone ate as little as possible. Outside, the roads were blacked out as no one was bothering lighting the lamps during wartime.

A select few assembled around Lady Bell-Hudson, former ambassador of the Company to the court of the Shah. They debated whether splitting the escapees over a number of homes, and how long to sit the storm before breaking out of Delhi. It was decided in the end to favour a quick escape on the following day, and to keep everyone together until then.

To her surprise, Reiko was received kindly by the europeans. This was in sharp contrast with the treatment that she had received in Calcutta. Maybe misery softened the english stiff upper lips. Sojiro was enlisted to travel across the city to find Rafi Jahan III and request his protection. Reiko obliged and released Sojiro for this tricky mission.

The return of the chess player

Rafi was surprised to see Sojiro and Jerome as well as three english youths deliver a letter from his friend, Lord Bell-Hudson. He understood that the europeans had managed the impossible and escaped the Shah’s palace. Nathan’s letter was moving in its pleas, and convinced him to help to his best abilities. He deployed his men to screen Dr. Hendby’s home, procured them with more food and located two carriages and a few riding horses.

In order to get enough horses, Rafi had to liquidate the Hensbys mobile assets. In the end, five saddle horses had been secured. Two carriages were readied to take the infants and elders out of Delhi.

The great escape

For some reasons (which we know was the defeat the day before to the hands of the Lancers), the gates of Delhi were not kept by the Russians, nor anyone for that matter. The carts and the pedestrians made it through the gates in the shadows of a moonlit night. They decided that the safest escape would be due south into the wooded areas of the Indian kingdoms. The way to Calcutta was deemed too dangerous, and the way to Punjab perilous.

Gene, Nathan, Sojiro, Reiko and Jerome the butler left ahead of the contingent in hope to secure a safe passage and shelter from one of the Indian princes. A day into the trip, Nathan fell from his horse and broke his arm. This left him to recover from a minor skull fracture as well as is arm. His health began to wane dangerously.

alwar.jpg

Some four days later, they arrived in Alwar. The shape of the Castle of the Prince of Alwar was towering over the town. Since the english weren’t most welcome in the land, it was decided that Reiko would make first contact. If anything, a beautiful japanese woman begging for help was likelier to get anything out of a Hindu Prince.

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