The Empress of India

TEoI 14 - Into the Maratha Kingdoms

The launch of the second chapter of The Empress of India

Taking down another giant

Devasheesh and Gubdan left the field of battle once that the outcome had been decided. The Russian infantry had thrown their weapons down under the pressure of the English lancers. The supporting airship got cold feet and avoided the battle altogether, which threw the morale of the invaders in the tank.

Devasheesh chased the second airship across the rural lanscape until they managed to place a few good shots. Devasheesh’s jezail punctured the gaz envoloppe a few times, but a lucky shot by Gubdan hit the armature and sparked the explosion that took the airship down.

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When they returned to the farm, Lt. Elwood was in the middle of an interrogation of the Russian Captain. The officer was shaken and offered no resistance. He explained in a broken English that they were the spearhead of a large-scale invasion. That the Russians were staging the invading forces near a lake high up in the Himalayas.

Devasheesh was then unaware that the English had escaped the Red fort and left for Delhi to improvise some kind of rescue. Meanwhile, the diplomatic envoy Cresford and a few messengers left for Calcutta while the rest of the English cared for the wounded. By coincidence, Lt. Elwood was made aware of the fleeing Europeans and managed to intercept Devasheesh before he entered Delhi.

After joining Dr. Hensby and the other Europeans on their way to the Kingdom of Alwar, they packed the crates of two wondrous engines, some 70 peoples including women and children, and headed into the unknown wilderness south of British India where they hoped to find enough compassion to escape mass execution.

The Kingdom of Alwar

The trip for the five scouts was difficult. Nathan, reeling from a skull fracture, fell from his horse and broke his arm. Reiko and Sojiro weren’t the equestrian type too much. Gene and Jerome the butler lead the way. They arrived in Alwar and found a local doctor to care for Nathan.

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It was decided that Reiko and Sojiro would seek an audience with the King of Alwar and request his protection against the Russians. Being English in the free Indian kingdoms was not expected to be the best way to make a first impression. Reiko and Sojiro had a hard time to get into the palace, but eventually got through. While expecting a cold reception, they got completely the opposite treatment.

In the main garden, there was some kind of reception. Reiko, dressed in a bright sari, was received like a dignitary. She was introduced to the prince of Alwar, a sulky teenager. The minister and royal advisor was most interested in Reiko. The sun was hot, she was feeling woozy from the journey and the heat. It appeared that there was some decorative and architectural elements in the palace that reminded her of home.

At the far end of the garden, there was a mausoleum. Reiko could see a bright jade orb inside. The minister smiled. It became clear that nobody could see inside the walled-in mausoleum but Reiko. The minister explained to her that the prophecy was that an Eastern princess was to arrive and claim the throne of Alwar to save the kingdom from certain destruction.

When Gene arrived in the Palace, she was assumed to be a member of Reiko’s retinue. Gene played along until she could talk to her. Gene is most interested on the reason why Reiko is treated like royalty. Reiko is increasingly confused as the heat stroke intensifies. Although she manages to avoid talking about her background as a russian spy, Gene can tell that the asian princess is hiding something sordid.

As they take Reiko to the shade where she will recover from the heat, Gene walks by a wall adorned with a Dragon similar to the scene of St-Georges and the Dragon. Intrigued, she asks why an iconic English creature is painted in a Maratha palace. The minister explain to her that the “Dragon” is called a “Drati”, and that they live in the forest around Alwar to this day.

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