The Empress of India
Scene 1 – Spreading like wildfire
Gate watchers working for the company reported to the embassy that a rumor was circulating on the street of Delhi. According to this rumor, the ambassador had had and embassy assassin execute a kid in cold blood in a street in plain daylight. Gene had other gate watchers corroborate this rumor and determined that it was unlikely that such as story would propagate so efficiently across many neighbourhoods. She launched into a series of social calls to determine the extent of the rumor in the upper crust of Delhi. She had to conclude that the rumor was circulating only in the streets and was not propagated through print material.
Nathan had a audience with the Deputy minister of the interior later in the day, but his concerns were sumarily dismissed despite Nathan’s best attempt at a show of outrage. Clearly, the Shah’s staff didn’t know how to address Nathan’s concerns.
Scene 2 – The textile trader
Devasheesh left Peshawar as soon as the released from ambassador Bell-Husdon arrived. He made good time in a company carriage through Lahore and arrived at the gates of Delhi late in the afternoon of February 10th. To his surprise, he spotted in the crowd of people getting into the city the silhouette of Salim Akbar, the very object of his visit in the Mughal capital. Devasheeh, careful not to be spotted by the muslim man, follow Salim in the streets until the cart stopped in front of an inn. Salim recruited a street urchin to keep an eye on his inventory as he personally unloaded the bundles of textile and took them to his room. The odd shapes of the textile bundles caught Devasheesh’s eye. His suspicions were confirmed when the butt of a rifle flashes out of one of the bundles. Devasheesh kept a low profile until Salim finally completed his unloading, paid the kid an entered the inn for the night.
Scene 3 – The Devil-woman
Devasheesh fond his way to England house, the embassy in Delhi and the residence of his old friend Lord Bell-Hudson. Dev was taken to the upper level where he debriefed Nathan Bell-Husdon. Nathan, worried by the tidings, took the Sikh man to the office of his wife and mission leader in Delhi. Gene was not impressed by the disfigured man entering his office. However, his news were important. As they were discussing over tea and biscuits, the rumble of chants came through the window. About 20 muslim men were chanting for the English to go away. They called the “Devil-woman” a murderer of children.
Nathan got worried that the embassy didn’t have formal security in place. Devasheesh slipped through the back door and mingled with the crowds. He didn’t get much out of the crowd other than they were pretty angry. It didn’t look like this situation was to escalate, so Devasheesh returned inside and reported to Gene and Nathan.
Scene 4 – The word on the street
Devasheesh left the embassy on the following day with the intention to gather more information on the Devil-woman protest, and establish any connection with the presence of Salim Akbar in Delhi. The dynamics on the streets of Delhi were different than in Peshawar, but he found his bearing soon enough and managed to engage in chats with a number of Pashtun speakers (Finding them negated the chauvinism of the Urdu speakers and also avoided penalty to ask around in a language that he doesn’t speak very well). Devasheesh managed within the day to find out that the Devil-woman rumour was spread by soldiers from the Shah’s palace.
Satisfied to have substantiated a link between the Shah and the trouble at England House. Devasheesh returned to the embassy.
Scene 5 – An audience with the Shah
Gene managed to get an audience with the Shah very fast by writing an effective request, passing it to Nathan who got the right clerk at the Palace to process the request. By the end of day, the Shah had granted an audience on the following day.
Gene and Nathan worked a strategy to get the Shah to make a public show of support for the presence of an English embassy in Delhi. Before leaving, Devasheesh warned the pair that the troubles with the mobs may be originating from within the Palace.
The Shah was a diminished man. He met the ambassador (Gene) and her aide (Nathan) in a formal antechamber. A number of translators and other dignitaries were present. Gene laid out a strong case based on colonial law and politics that she prepared with the help of Nathan. She made open threat of reprisal if the embassy was to be threaten while under the protection of the Shah. Nathan, theatrically, stepped in to temper the ambassador’s strong words with a kinder approach. He slithered through protocols and niceties to bring forward a number of “concessions” that they could be willing to entertain against not reporting these troubles to Calcutta.
The case was compelling enough for the Shah to grant a guard of 30 sepoys around the clock for England House. He also agreed to have Salim Akbar flogged, and former Minister Amjampur Khan Amrj apologize for spreading such rumours. At least, he guaranteed that his staff would investigate on these two individuals and follow up to the embassy with their findings.
Lady and Lord Bell-Hudson were satisfied with this outcome. They thanked the Shah and returned to England House.