The Empress of India

TEoI 8 - Giving the slip to the lynching mob
Delhi, Reiko and Maritje, March 12th - 13th

The gathering clouds

Reiko waited for a reply from her spymaster Sean in Calcutta. She spent her time by the side of her “brother” Sojiro. Sojiro was pulling through of his sepsis after a last ditch intervention of Dr. Hensby. Luckily for the pair, his visit was on the eve of the Dr’s internment by the Shah along with the other Europeans.

Their host, Minister Amrj, had bad tidings for the trio: rebels has descended from Meerut and were roving the streets of Delhi in search of Europeans and christian Indians. Amjr assured them that they would be safe in his home until a way out could be found.

Angry mob

Call this irony, but a mere few hours later a mob of sepoy rebels were knocking at the door and demanding to be handed “the English girl”. They referred to Maritje of course. That she was in fact Dutch was non sequitur to them. The servants led Reiko, Sojiro and Maritje to the cellar in case the mob invaded the mansion.

After about 15 minutes of stalling, Damian met with the trio and offered to take Maritje away to a safe place. Damian was a shifty character, but dealing with the fake Welshman seemed increasingly better than dealing with the death squad arguing in the lobby overhead. Reiko instructed Sojiro to meet with them in three days at a set location outside the city walls and announced that she would accompany Maritje. Reiko has even more reasons to distrust Damian.


They dressed like the servant maids and slipped out of the mansion as the mob forced their way in. They took advantage of the dark, the confusion and the crowd to escape. Martije was difficult to masquerade as a dark-skinned servant, but they slipped out without drawing too much attention.

An unexpected destination

Damian took them through dark alley back into town. They avoided roving bands of rebels looking for troubles. To their surprise, they arrived in England House. The place had been taken over by Damian and other men which couldn’t be seen well in the poorly lit place.

Damian explained that he could take Maritje to a safe place, but that the would have to trust him blindly. Since Reiko suspected that Damian was a russian spy, and that he was on the side of Amrj whom she was tasked to execute, she concluded that Damian was anything but to be trusted.

They were shown two rooms on the second floor which they had occupied for a night on the previous week. Downstairs, they could hear loud men playing cards and drinking hard. Reiko recognized the intonations of russian speech. She slipped out of her room and sneaked to Maritje’s. Silently, she wrote on a piece of paper that they must escape as soon as possible.

The not-so great escape

In the dark of the embassy, they sneaked into Nathan’s bedroom to fetch bulky clothes. They dressed up with his flat old man suits. To escape, they rigged bedsheets to make a rope to climb down from the second floor.

Reiko made it down well enough, but Maritje slipped and fell like a sack on the pavement. She got winded and let out a high pitch wheeze. The sound was loud enough to draw the attention of the men in the kitchen.

Reiko helped Maritje to her feet and spotted the darkest alley around. They dashed for it just as the men rushed out of the embassy. In pitch dark, they stumbled. The steps of their pursuer was getting closer. They chose to hide rather than fly. Maritje meld into the shadows, but Reiko knocked a bunch of rubbish over.

The men ran passed Maritje, and started to squint in hope to find where Reiko was hidden.

…and thus ended Session 8.

TEoI 8 - The sharpshooting political crony
Calcutta to Allahabad, March 11th to 15th 1857

Devasheesh gets a promotion

Devasheesh had the opportunity to meet with the Governor of India in person or a second time on the morning of the 12th. They discussed about the hostage situation and concluded that a special envoy was to be sent immediately. Dev envisioned a military expedition, but Earl Canning instead peddled on him a single platoon of cavalry and an envoy: Mr. Stanford Cresford.

Cresford was cold and condescending and made clear that Devasheesh was merely a guide to navigate Delhi. Dev retaliated with a counter-proposal: he was to be made a political envoy as well, although of a lower rank than Cresford. He made convincing points and got the promotion directly from the Governor. Cresford was then offended. Devasheesh also convinced the Governor to release a company of cavalry to return to Delhi.

Travel to Delhi

Cresford made his very best to isolate Devasheesh from the men by playing the race card. Devasheesh tried his best to be one of the guys with the soldiers, but his effort fell flat. He resolved to keep on the lookout and react where needed to Cresford’s open hostility.

On the night of the 15th, about 1 hour before the planned arrival in Allahabad, the train suddenly stopped. Devasheesh proceeded to the engine to find out what was going on. He discovered that the army was to assault a strong position of mutinous soldiers in the AM and that the railroad was shutdown for the time being.

Cresford resolved to released the cavalry to support the assault. Devasheesh left the train with his effect and crossed Allahabad’s periphery in hope to find a carriage or a horse on the other side at one of the EITC’s office. To his disappointment, the office had been burnt to the ground earlier in the day. He accepted that he would have to wait for the assault to take its course.

The massacre of Allahabad

Devasheesh volunteered as a sniper in support of the assault. He distinguished himself very well during the operation although he shot from a fair range and was at no point in danger nor in a position to make much of a difference. His action were, however, noted by the men who assumed that he was nothing more than a disfigured political cronie.


By Mid-afternoon on the 15th, they were ready to leave for Delhi again as the rebels had been defeated and dealt with as per orders from Calcutta.

TEoI 8 - Tale of one piano
Delhi, Rafi Jahan III, March 11th to 14th 1857

Short on Cash

Rafi found himself in dire need of cash for the next opium deal. WIth the trade to Calcutta running dry because of the revolt, Rafi’s men fanned out to focus on their personal business. Rafi, still a kingpin, found himself in a place where he had to do the rounds to collect past due debts from around town.

His presence shook-up shop owners: he collected quite a bit of money this way. However, this was not enough to cover for the next shipment from Afghanistan. Rafi was aware that failing to pay would mean the end of his profitable relationship as a broker.

A letter from Ambassador Bell-Husdon

On the following morning, Rafi got a letter from the Palace. Gene concisely explained that the end was near for the Europeans held by the Shah, and that something must be done quickly. Rafi tried to rally his men again, without much luck.

He returned to some of his clients and offered them to clear their debts if they were willing to help him move a piece of furniture. Rafi went to his office and pulled some EITC stationaries that he swiped in the previous year. He filled a bill of transfer for the piano that was in England House. Forging the signature of the ambassador was simple, given the letter that he just got. The result was flawless.

The strange occupants of England House

Rafi was received by a shifty red-haired man that tried to get rid of him as fast as possible. Rafi presented the Bill of transfer, and the man let him in after consulting with at least another man on the other side of the door. They talked to each other in a strange language that he had never heard before.


Rafi saw the other Europeans scatter as the red-haired man let them in to fetch the piano. They got to the sitting room adjacent to the main hall, lifted the piano and walked out. Rafi knew for sure that the occupants weren’t EITC staff, let alone Englishmen.

Fencing a piano

It turned out that the piano was a harpsichord, which was much harder to fence than a piano. Rafi had to search far and wide in the city as European good were at the moment a dangerous thing to own. He managed to get about 300 rupees: much less than the 1000 that he hoped to get for this.

Good news: he’s got the cash for the opium and some to spare to grease the paw of his man on the inside of the Red fort.

TEoI 8 - Jailbirds in the Red Fort
Delhi - Lady Genevieve Bell-Hudson March 13th to 15th 1857


Gene was walking along with the other expats in a hallway leading to the outside. The ambiance was solemn. When she got into the light, she saw the stockades with nooses, and two firing squads readying their rifles.

She woke up, it was just a dream. However, she stayed up for hours rehashing recent events and couldn’t dispel her impression that dismissing the embassy guards had been a mistake*.

* It turned out that Gene’s reading of Lt. Wessenmoor’s loyalty had been cluttered by a critical fail. Also, and unfortunately, her intuition check also turned out to be a critical fail. What were the odds: 0.25%


Leadership behind bars

Gene noticed that the hostages in the Red Forts were unsettled. As a symptom, bickering over mundanities was on the rise. She was denied right of assembly, but not freedom of movement between the dwellings. She undertook a campaign to inform everyone of the gravity of the situation with a sober but reassuring speech that she delivered many times. As a result, the community became more settled and the morale improved.

Bad tidings

On the morning of March 13th 1857, Minister Arkhesh had an audience with her. The minister announced that Bahadur Shah II had accepted to be named Emperor of India at the request of the mutinous sepoys. Consequently, all of the Europeans in custody of the Shah were to be executed on the 20th.

Minister Arkhesh was grave and apologetic. He told Gene that he would see that communications of a personal nature be relayed to their recipient and that she should ensure that all of the hostages had time to also make arrangements before the day of their execution. Gene knew that this offer extended well beyond his duty to the Shah and that he was taking some level of risk doing this

Gene entrusted Arkhesh with a personal letter from her to Rafi Jahan III, whom she identified as a business associate. Arkhesh complied and relayed the letter. Gene then engaged the minister into a long discussion in hope to draw useful information on the situation outside of the Red Fort. Arkhesh humoured her for long enough to loosen his lips. Gene discovered that there were Europeans walking the streets in Delhi. These appeared to be walking freely despite multiple report of systematic beating and execution of other Europeans and christian Indans.

Deptir, Imperial astrologer

A few days later, as Gene was watching the clock tick away the last few days of her life, she met an elderly man from the Shah’s court named Deptir. Deptir seemed to have revolved around the hostage enclave since their arrival, but was never given a chance to speak. Gene engaged the man into another interrogation and found Deptir to be avidly interested to talk to her. She tried to get information about the Europeans still free outside the Palace. Deptir proposed to broker a meeting with the foreigner if she wanted.

It is unclear where this would lead. But at this point, only 4 days were left before the day of the execution. Anything may help.

The Empress of India, seven sessions in
A summary of reports and rulings

Story arcs

The TEoI follow four main story arcs. There will be reward for progress in any of these fours arcs. What do you want to do today?

Session reports

  1. A Place in the World
  2. The Devil-woman
  3. The duel
  4. The Domino effect
  5. England House
  6. Targets
  7. TEoI 7
    1. TEoI7 Outbreak
    2. TEoI7 Confinement
  • Have a look at the rough draft of the Campaign Charter. This is work in progress (very much). A new version is in the making with a simplified character generation mechanics and a better organization.

Rulings and Mechanics

  1. Getting more out of a single-shot rifle
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TEoI 4 - The Domino effect

Leaving Calcutta

Reiko and Sojiro, recovering from the duel receive leaves from their duties for the East India Trade Company. While Sojiro is healing, Reiko managed to extend her leave of absence for a period of three months. This should be enough time to get to Delhi and carry out the assassination ordered by Mary. Meanwhile, Maritje gets her patron in Calcutta, Sir Hermiott, to pay her fare to Delhi so that she can interview her sister’s former love interest on the circumstances of her arrest. Unbeknownst to each other, their target is the same man: Amjampur Khan Amrj.

The three companions set out on the Calcutta-Allahabbad rail line in the following days. The trip is pleasant and plentiful in delicacies. A night before arriving to Allahabbad, Maritje spots the hulking shape of an airship flying very low over the treeline. She prompts her friends to look. Curious, they hop off the train while it is refuelling. They walk away from the train station and enter a pitch black jungle road leading to a small carrefour. There they find a few urdu speaker drinking tea and smoking tobacco on a terrace. They refuse to speak to Reiko. During an awkward silence, the loud sound of breaking branches and the drone of a propeller can be heard some 100m into the jungle.

Reiko, Maritje and Sojiro decide to turn back and return to the train before the situation develops into something that they can’t handle. Maritje knows enough about airship to suspect Russian trickery, but Reiko is simply perplexed by what she has seen.

February 20th 1857


In Delhi, Lady Bell-Hudson requests the service of Rafi Jahan to figure out how to get in touch with the former Minister Amjampur Khan Amrj. Jahan accepts to help for a fee and sends some of his goons to Amrj’s estate outside the city walls. The nightime excursion is unproductive and Jahan finds himself in need to return in person on the following day. Amrj’s home is protected by a number of hired local thugs, but these are no match for Jahan’s posses: they back down before anyone gets a bruise. The message is passed to Amrj’s servants at the door, despite the interference of a number of guards blocking the way.

Back in England house, a protest is brewing. The 12 Mughal soldiers are standing by fast in the courtyard to keep the mob away from the front gate. Devasheesh manages to reassure the soldiers that the situation would ease soon. But as the tension is stagnating, Lady Bell-Husdon order the flag of the company to be draped off the window above the front gate. This catalyzes jeers and soon rocks start to fly across the yard. Devasheesh spots a small number of wranglers managing the mob from the back. The lieutenant of the Mughal platoon is too preoccupied to worry about this. Lady Bell-Husdon walks out to address the mob, but her plea in broken Urdu falls in deaf ears. Gene gets bruised by a rock, witholding with the steadfastness of England with her face to the mob, Devasheesh lift the lady off her feet and ferry her into the embassy. Gene protests sharply, but makes it back inside where it is safer.

Lord and Lady Bell-Hudson decide that they will evacuate England house before the estate is encircled. They slip out by the back door with a few boxes of documents. and the four remaining clerks and 4 of the servants. Nathan (Lord Bell-Hudson) convinces the more passive crowd at the back to part and let them go. They head for the residence of the Hendersons where they find a safe haven.

Back at England house, Devasheesh is working hard to keep the Mughals from leaving their posts. He climbs to the second floor to see better the situation. There is a knock at the back door. Two asians and a western youths are requesting to enter. They realize too late that the situation is deteriorating at the front gate. Devasheesh sends Reiko, Maritje and Sojiro to the third floor of the building with order to barricade themselves.

When Devasheesh returns to the second level, the Mughal infantry is about to leave, he instructs them to enter the embassy, but this triggers their retreat (they were under strict order not to enter English soil). The crowd, carefully managed by a handful of wranglers, let the muslim soldiers walk away without obstruction. The situation appears to be hopeless as there is nothing left to defend the embassy but Devasheesh and a misconception by the mob that the house is defended.

On his way back from Amrj’s estate, Rafi runs into the protest and identify the wranglers easily. He chose to turn away and head back to his home since he considers this an English problem. He is met at his house by Lady Bell-Hudson’s secretary, an Irishmen named Henry, pleading for Jahan to intervene. Jahan turns down the plea and returns to his game of chess.

In the closing moments of the session, Reiko and Maritje (fire pick in hand) are looking for a way out in the cellar of the house while Sojiro is on the third floor, pistol at the ready. Devasheesh manages a near miss in the dark against one of the wrangler with his jezail. The crowd temporarily disperses when it realizes that the English defenders are willing to fire back if pushed too far.

The first shot in anger came from a window of England house. This is a blow to the wrangler and an unexpected twist for the crowd, mostly made of uncommitted bystanders happy to gripe against England. I’m preparing a detailed layout of England house for the next session…

The Byzantine Archive

This scene is a continuation of the previous scene A friend on the other side, with some reference to Looking for Kate.

The closed door of room 78

Reiko resumed her regular grind-life, trying to find a new excuse to get Leon to take her to the archive room. However, no matter how much she approached it, she felt that Leon would get suspicious if she pushed it further.

Leon, seeing that Reiko was interested in the gossips about the Odessa trial, confided that he has met the sister of Agent Odessa, a woman named Maritje. He told Reiko that he knew that Agent Odessa was living as a houseguest to a respected family in Calcutta. Reiko managed to get Maritje’s contact information.

Cloak and daggers

Reiko filed just the right paperwork in just the right order to convince someone in the Colonial Court office that some of her previous translation needed to be cross-referenced for a possible mistake. Late in the afternoon, while most of the staff was out on the lawn for games and refreshments, she went to the archive room to look for the Odessa file.

She proceeded to the East Asia section and spotted the current case files. When the archive was empty, she dashed to the right section and started to rifle for the Odessa file. She tried her best, but the approaching footsteps dragged her back to where she was supposed to be [We used the research rules.]. The clerk entered the archive, noticed an open drawer and shut, muttering to himself.

Reiko didn’t get a chance to get back to the cabinet. She walked away as her eye caught the O-drawer for the current criminal cases which she had disregarded the two last times that she tried to find the file.

A request in confidence from the Governor of India

This story is a continuation of two stories about to merge: The boy assassin. and Tea in Peshawar.

Aftermath of the assassination attempt

After the assassination attempt, Gene decided to work mainly from the embassy. She poured over documents, looking for evidence that could have predicted this act of terror. Of course, none were found. However, she found that the watchers at the gates of Delhi had noticed an increase in traffic from foreigner coming and going from the Shah’s palace.

She also received a letter from the new Governor of India. The letter, sent in a highest confidence, explained to Gene that the Odessa trial had been suspended on the suspicion that Chief Prosecutor Wood has orchestrated the travel of Agent Odessa to Delhi. Earl Canning, requested Genevieve to seek Amjampur Khan Amjr, a Mughal Minister and alledgedly Agent Odessa’s love interest, to try to gather evidences confirming or negating the implications of Wood in the sensitive case.

Gene sent Nathan, her husband, to the Shah’s court to seek Amjr. Nathan found out that shortly before Kate Levenstein‘s arrest, Amjr committed a faux-pas and withdrew from the court temporarily. He has been living since in an estate in the North end of Delhi, having minimal contact with Mughal’s politics.

Gene made a note to have an interview with the man.

A request from Peshawar

Lord Nathan Bell-Hudson received a letter from an old friend in Peshawar. The letter was from Devasheesh Naem Pavan, a good man and a former captain in the Sikh army. The two men knew each other from the days after the Second Anglo-Sikh war when Lord Bell-Hudson was tasked to find native men of influence to help administrate Punjab.

Devasheesh wrote to him to let him know that he was privy to information that was too sensitive to be passed on by mail. He requested an official invitation to travel to Delhi to circumvent his gruelling schedule as a civil administrator in the frontiers.

Nathan bounced the idea by his wife, vouched for Devasheesh, and prepared an invitation letter that the ambassador signed. “May the man brings something useful to the Empire, she thought to herself. However, she expected that the man was simply looking for an EITC-paid vacation in the city.”

The textile merchant
Devasheesh's interview with Salim Akbar

This story is a continuation of the previous scene Tea in Peshawar. Devasheesh has made contact with an odd fellow that was feeling out for support for Bahadur Shah II leadership in a possible future rebellion.

The machine

While Devasheesh was waiting for an invitation from Delhi, he paid a visit to Salim Akbar in an attempt to find more about what the man was going after on their first chat.

The textile store was a musty place. There was, however, a lot more inventory than people around. The two men chatted for the best of an hour. Devasheesh found out that Salim believed that the Mughal emperor was the least capable of ruling without a coalition once that the English were expelled from Punjab. When the men parted, Salim shook Dev’s hand.

“Remember friend, we are all small cogs inside a large machine.”

Salim has a good reaction with Devasheesh.