Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chapter 44: Durbar

Date: Nov. 9, 1899
Location: Kota-Ki-Bandahar Village
Durbar: A Conference Audience or Meeting
Narrative of Lt. Colonel James Lawford
My capture on the 16th ultimo and passage into captivity strained my being. Hopeful plans of escape made impossible by my captors gave way to thoughts of abandonment, desolation and worse, the deeper into the void we travelled. Why they wanted me I knew not. Where I was going was unknown to me. What men and fate planned was kept from me. A good thing. Had I known the improbable and singular events about to overtake me, I would never have believed them.

You may recall my arrival at Kota-Ki-Bandahar; the gallop into the village and arrival at  my newest prison within the imposing Watch Tower.

Three days later I was summoned to a durbar. The durwan (door-keeper) ushered me into a sparse chamber protected by a solitary guard where....

The Supreme Leader, Muljadhi, beckoned that I be seated before him. After some conversation he inquired about reinforcements expected to arrive at Fort Grant. Naturally I declined to answer. In truth I did not know.

Dissatisfaction with my answer brought a reprimand from a chap stepping from the wings, a Guru. "No Guru-ji," said I politely. "Even if I knew, I could not tell you."  For some reason he made no further inquiries. I was returned to my cell.

Days later I learned about a second audience where...

A Colonel Villainovitch, of the Romanov Army....

Called on The Supreme Leader and his Chancellor.
Muljadhi: "Welcome Colonel. We are pleased you accepted our invitation.
Villainovitch: "Da. The Tsar is equally pleased and -- I bring the news you want.

Guru: "Delighted. When will the item arrive?"
Villainovitch: "After the coming winter in time for your next campaign."
Guru: "Good. Very good."

Chancellor: "Meanwhile Colonel, we ask one more service."
Villainovitch: "Oh?"
Chancellor: "Order your associate to interrogate the prisoner Lawford. We need to know what new forces are en-route to Fort Grant. Your Tsar may find this useful too.
Villainovitch: "Da."

Lawford resumes his narration:
As mentioned, I learned about these shocking conversations days later amidst an astounding event I scarce believe even now. However, I've presented them here since this serves your needs best. -- A few days before revelation to me the durwan....

Led me to a courtyard nearby saying, "You are expected within. Go husoor (lord) and enjoy." A kind of parole I assumed. After all I had no idea where I was nor was there a providential means of suddenly mounting a stallion and galloping like mad to safety. My swift ending was more likely had I tried.

I entered the courtyard gateway. At the far end stood a lovely European woman apparently expecting me. Who was she?

Thoughts of imprisonment vanished. She was elegantly attired, slender, confident and affected a comfortable if slight imperious air. The red hair intrigued me of course. Conscious of my gaze, she stood still a moment longer and then suddenly....

The striking vision whirled to face me. My breathing stopped. I could only say, "Alexandra!"

Seating myself lest my legs give way, I stammered, You can't be -- here. Impossible. I -- must be dreaming.... "No darlink, I am here," said she.
1. Structures are from Miniature Building Authority.
2. Carpet: TJ Int'l Product.
3. The lady is from Old Glory's: GHR-2 Tszar Nicholas, Tsarina and 2 children.
4. Remarks always welcome. Leave them below at the word comments.


Anonymous said...

Once again we are left to ponder the twists and turns of your imaginative mind. Well done!


Bluebear Jeff said...

I like the "first person" narrative (which strikes me as appropriate to the period) . . .

But I think that you might wish to use some sort of technique to differentiate it from your normal style . . . use of italics comes to mind.

By the way, when Lawford resumes his narration, I think that you intended to type the word "scarce" instead of "scare" . . . you might want to check that.

-- Jeff

Der Alte Fritz said...

This was a totally unexpected turn of events (even for me, knowing a little bit about some of the figures that you have been painting). I am stunned by your creativity. This is one of the best chapters to the story yet and I really look forward to seeing how it plays out. I can't wait for the next chapter. Well done!

Fire at Will said...

An interesting development

Paul´s Bods said...

Villainovitch ! :-)
He looks a bit like captn´Haddock from TinTin...again great story and wonderfull set up :-)

Ross Mac said...

Capital! I love the Guru btw, I can almost hear the voice "Was Napoleon mad?" and then there is the beautiful Alexandra....Ahhhhhh. Capital!

-Ross Mac

Fitz-Badger said...

Great stuff, as usual! Like those great old movies from the 30's. :)

Gallia said...

Thank you Gentlemen,
for your very kind and prodigiously appreciated remarks. I am gratified and encouraged especially because the text is a departure from prior style.
PS Thank you Jeff. Your points are valid. I need to figure something out.

Anonymous said...

your work is always great and marvelous. The dream is present!

I also was thinking to Tintin and the Captain Haddock.


Dave said...

A most interesting read; but nothing compared to the camera and the sights it captures. Thanks

Bartender said...

This is like watching a movie! Brilliant!

Larry Stehle said...

A HA! Subject to the wiles of a pretty woman...Our hero is indeed in a pickle....