EXPEDITION TO ALEXANDRAPOUR
Date: 29 September 1900
Location: Great Elk Meadow
Situation: No One Will Believe Us
See Chapter XI posted 4 March 2012 here:
Expedition To Alexandrapour
Colonel Lawford's Narrative Continues
"Scoffers thought our mission to follow the Romanov Expedition to the supposed lost ancient city of Alexandrapour chimerical. Yet, are not mysterious legends oft based upon forlorn beliefs and practices of aged scribes or indigenous peoples lost in time? A millennium or two do not necessarily render such stories invalid nor the storytellers uncreditable. Nor can incomplete facts disprove or prove a thing. Glimmers of them though can lead to suppositions upon which lives and fortunes may be staked in pursuit of glory, advantage or the advancement of knowledge. Such was the high stakes game we played."
"On the 29th of September the unknown lands through which we traversed yielded singularly unexpected and hopeful discoveries. Late in the afternoon 10th Hussar scouts reported finding a curiosity they insisted I see in person. As I rode with them across a verdant meadow to an overgrown jungle, I saw nothing unusual. Huge primeval deciduous trees blocked my view. Undergrowth on the edge and vines within further limited observation. Near the tree line we descended a few feet. The drop was just enough so that I could look below the lowest leaves struggling for sunlight to see something deeply within."
"Hidden within was a structure of some kind."
"Dismounting to inspect the building on foot surely would yield evidence of some kind. This would take considerable time which we did not have. A later return to obtain facts would be needed.
However, this was not the only remarkable find this day. Therefore, permit me to record other astounding discoveries I doubt few will believe as our expedition entered the meadow a few hours ago."
"After the shocking loss of one of our bhisties a week ago to an impossibly colossal reptile, our vigilance necessarily rose to a higher level. More flankers and vedettes were pushed out from the column and it took no special order for the men themselves to continuously cast about with their eyes in every direction. We doubted very much if another attack by animal or human could surprise us. On the 29th. I rode with the Advance Guard...."
"Through a narrow passage with several 10th Hussars and a section of Bedfords."
"Great Elk Meadow."
"The animals caught our scent or heard us, left their vegetarian luncheon and turned. The nearest lowered his antlers to threaten. The other soon followed. However...."
"The mighty beasts thought better of charging turning to casually walk away. Apparently we did not seriously intimidate them. An aire of near indifference permeated their sensible departure. Trooper Roland from Nova Scotia mentioned he had never heard of elk as singularly large as these back in Canada. It seemed this region is capable of breeding animals of great magnitude. Think back on the riverine reptile, if you please. What other surprises would we discover in the days ahead for which science would be appreciative to learn?"
"We would know soon enough because unknown to us...."
"We were continuously being observed by unseen and cautious local inhabitants."
"Two however, perhaps indignant over the cowardly departure of the great elk crept carefully closer to the edge of the verdure to balance the scales. To them we were mysterious and unwelcome strangers threatening their water source...."
"They charged intending to chase us away or cause our ruination! There was not a second to spare as I roared, 'Turn about. At the gallop. Ride for your lives.' It took no urging for the men to turn their horses but would our mounts get up to speed in time?"
"Kicking up considerable dust we rode as fast as our startled mounts allowed. The beasts were closing and were of one mind to catch us. Fortunately the Bedfords quickly formed line and...."
"Fired as the beasties closed the gap still more. The thunderclap and concussion...."
"Finally alarmed our pursuers. Whether any bullets scored hits or not, the brutes turned and raced away to the same rise of ground the great elk had used to exit the meadow."
"The woolly creatures turned there though to give us a final look of defiance. A great trumpeting of a kind reminiscent of the familiar Indian elephant sounded and then they were gone. We wondered at their strange anatomy. Certainly they were of an extraordinary species unknown to us. What were they?"
"Later when scouts convinced me there was no further imminent danger...."
"The column resumed the march into the meadow. We knew by this time there existed a picturesque lake with copious vegetation curiously including palm trees growing beside or in its waters. I did not intend to allow a camp to be made immediately beside the lovely but perhaps dangerous lake shore."
"Indeed it seemed best to form square for which the men were prodigiously thankful."
"As the Sikhs arrived the square was enlarged enough to allow our baggage to enter within its protective walls of bayonets and loaded rifles."
"My 9th. Bengal Lancers and the Naval Shore Party making up the Rear Guard arrived last."
"The sailors remained vigilant and at the ready for any kind of mischief. However, none could now predict what unknown form this might take after the two shocks perpetuated by disagreeable animal life in less than a fortnight. Yet nothing more happened which...."
"Allows me to return to the beginning of my narrative when scouts insisted I follow them to view an uncommon sight for these parts."
"One trooper pointed the way but as said earlier, I saw nothing at first."
"When we ventured closer, I beheld stone columns obscured by trees, shrubbery and vines. This needed to be seen at an even closer range. We dismounted and....."
"Walked through the dense vegetative mass to the shore ready for anything."
"I peered within the structure."
"My heart rate began to increase in intensity and pace as I contemplated next steps."
"Alternating pitch darkness, shadows and streaks of sun light revealed nothing as my eyesight struggled to adjust --- until...."
1) Acheson Creations manufactures prehistoric animals. See: http://achesoncreations.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=59&Itemid=1
2) Brigade Games offers two prehistoric animals from Rattrap Miniatures. See and scroll: http://www.brigadegames.com/Rattrap-Miniatures_c_120.html
3) Also see Pulp Miniatures for humans and animals here: http://www.pulpfigures.com/cat.php?range=Lost%20Tribes%20and%20Lost%20Worlds&catalog=PLT&custID=21643951341331577477
4) The elks are Irish Great Elks. The elephant-like animals are gomphotheriums.
5) Science names recent geologic history of the earth as the Cenozoic Era. The latter is sub-divided into the Quaternary and Tertiary Periods.
6) Of interest to us is the Quaternary Period divided into the Holocene and Pleistocene Epochs. The former relates to approximately the last 10,000 years since the last Ice Age. The latter stretches back perhaps another 1.8 million years.
7) The Pleistocene Era Ice Age found massive and thick ice sheets covering most of the northern hemisphere in several advances and retreats; perhaps four times. Some scientists think we may be in for another advance in the years ahead. A few Pleistocene animals included mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats/tigers, giant sloths and others plus mankind.
8) Prodigious thanks to John B. for the loan of the singularly interesting animals appearing in this chapter.
9) Chuck L. provided other animal life you may be able to find here and there. Take a look and let us know if and what you may or may not find.
10) April 1st is the target date for Chapter XIII where you will see some of the most exciting....
11) Thank you sincerely for your silent, written and vocal remarks provided in virtual space or in person. I always appreciate your kind remarks, helpful items and inspiration. Should you have a remark or two and I hope you do, please write these below at the word Comments."