Maritkje and the three horsemen
Maritje arrived from England to help her sister. The sister in question was awaiting trial for espionage. She had been framed by a fellow spy, whom died at the hands of two close friends, also russian spies unbeknownst to her. She had the best story in the world at the end of her nose, but didn’t know about it. Instead, she carefully documented the life and times of the European refugees in Alwar. This fall back story was pretty much certain to make her a household name in Britain upon her return.
Nine months in Alwar had made her a stronger, more self reliant person. She had taken up a small place in the European ghetto where she lived with Har and his Sikh friends. On the morning of January 13th, she was near the southern gate of the city when she heard the excited shouts of children as they rushed outside of its walls. In the distance, some 1000m down the valley, rode three horsemen in drab uniforms. They were russians, there could not be any mistakes about it.
She pleaded to the locals to be careful, that the horsemen weren’t friends. They didn’t seem to care as throngs of children rushed to meet the pasty men. Maritje returned uptown to warn Gene of the coming danger.
A thinning grip on things
Lady Bell-Hudson was the diplomatic envoy to Delhi. Her position became somewhat vague at the onset of the Sepoy revolt and the subsequent russian airborn invasion. The coronation of Queen Reiko shook her faith to its core. As she turned to the very tangible hindu mysticism, proper folks in the ghetto started to notice that she was “going native”. Gene did her very best to avoid being branded as such. However, in the privacy of her own home, a rift was widening with her Anglican husband, Lord Bell-Hudson. Around the corner, she noticed more people turning to Dr. Hensby for guidance and leadership. She didn’t like to be sidelined at all.
Maritje explained the sighting to Gene. Both we most concerned. Gene bounced to her feet. She used her privileged relationship with Minister Narayan to have Devasheesh included in the audience between himself and the visitor. Devasheesh wouldn’t stand out, and was one of the few capable to speak russian. His luck came through soon enough as Gene and Nathan ushered him to the palace for an official dinner function.
An audience with the minister
The three russian soldiers arrived at the gate of the Palace and demanded an audience. Reiko refused to meet with them. She was actually planning a retreat out of town (maybe even an escape) when these events unfolded. Minister Narayan met with the officers in an inner garden within the palace. Reiko kept her distances as she didn’t wanted to be seen nor identified by russian agents. She still had not sorted out why as a russian spy she had been tasked to eliminate other russian agents: she had no concept of who were good and who were bad russians.
The welcoming feast
Reiko returned to her room to seek counsel in meditation. She was contacted by Devasheesh, sent to her by Gene. The Queen devised a plan where talks between Minister Narayan and the russians would take place where others could keep an ear for details. She ordered that the russian visitors be welcomed as guests and prepare for a formal dinner on the same day. The russians accepted the offer without much reluctance.
The set was now staged for the showdown. The russians must be fooled into ignoring that there are no European refugees into the heart of the city. Even as a Queen, Reiko was unsure of the determination of the hindu population to protect those who were not so long ago a problem rather than a solution.