Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chapter XX: Alexandrapour Found


Date: 7-9 November 1900
Location: Lake Alexandrapour
Situation: Finding Alexandrapour And....
See Chapter XIX posted 14 July 2012 here:

Lost Ancient City Of Alexandrapour

The utter disappearance of the entire Romanov Expedition was a depressing shock. All personnel, weapons and animals vanished without a trace from their Lake Alexandrapour camp. Tentage and personal baggage remained strangely left behind reminiscent of a static museum exhibit. There was no accounting for it.

Terra Incognita had consumed four scientific parties; Ryder's and Sutherland's respectively in 1879 and 1892 and in recent days Grenville's and the Romanov's. Only my command, the fifth to explore these perilous and intoxicating lands remained. Not one of us now believed odds favoured our return to civilization without Romanov firepower added to ours.

Some counselled immediate retreat. Historically a wilderness retreat enlivens a foe's morale to such a height that he is emboldened with excitement and aggressive pursuit to bring down a fleeing and weakened animal similar to us. Losses to a retreating body such as ours could be severe.

Yet our mission to discover the importance attached to Alexandrapour, if indeed there was one, was prime; unchanged. There was also the duty to deduce what happened to the Romanovs and if possible, rescue survivors. Not trying would be a disgrace. We pressed on.

One survivor I hoped for with more than platonic interest was Countess Alexandra. Through the months of travel from Fort Grant to this lakeside camp I have not mentioned our shared past in St. Petersburg or the assistance she rendered in my escape from captivity two years ago. You will perhaps recall my haunting vision of her capture, wounds and abandonment severely disturbing my sleep the day before departing Fort Grant on this mission. Was it a mere nightmare or premonition?

Lawford: "Pragmatism, duty, honour and a singular private interest caused my order to occupy the Romanov camp. We commenced palm tree breastworks and would send reconnaissance parties in all directions. Captain Tumarkin joined me on the first of these to ascertain the fate of his countrymen and rescue any that might be alive."

Lawford: "Our first patrol split in two riding toward the edge of the jungle."

Lawford: "Our left-hand group penetrated the jungle edge and...."

Lawford: "Found another remarkable bloodstone marking the way to Alexandrapour. A prodigious ophidion was avoided."

Lawford: "They dismounted with readied weapons to scout the river bank."

Lawford: "Structures were observed in the near distance."

Lawford: "Crumbled walls, toppling columns and more were seen."

Lawford: "An unconcerned hippopotamus swam near the opposite bank. We knew it could become intemperate and cross if slightly provoked."

Lawford: "Meanwhile my right-hand group pierced the jungle...."

Lawford: "To the same stream."

Lawford: "Tumarkin's sole escort, Mikhail, had ridden ahead seeking a ford. He returned saying...."

Mikhail: "A very large animal is walking through the trees toward the river."

Tumarkin: "Astounding! Goat herders report these roaming the taiga north of Lake Baikal. Proving their existence in that forested, mountainous and remote region has been impossible. Now I see one of these extraordinary woolly creatures before my very eyes."

Mikhail: "He turns away Sir crashing through the trees and undergrowth."

Lawford: "Magnificent. Look! He struts off in haste shaking his enormous head. The exceptionally long curved tusks are truly formidable."

Lawford: "We dismounted to carefully observe the distant bank and beyond. Foliage limited our line of sight to a few yards. Knowing the other patrol was to our left, we turned in their direction to rendezvous."

Lawford: "We met at what appeared to be a convenient place to cross the stream."

Lawford: "We were able to cross in spite of impedimenta and the hippo. A lancer fired to scare it off rather than senselessly slaughter or maim it.

Lawford: "Inland from the stream more structures were discovered."

Lawford: "Through curiously spectacular trees one appeared to be massive."

Lawford: "It resembled a temple we had seen before."

Lawford: "Naturally our curiosity was aroused as we walked cautiously toward it."

Lawford: "One of the men discovered an overturned stone slab with the inscription Alexander The Great written in ancient Greek. Who had placed it there and when?"

Lawford: "Three stone statues nearby accelerated our interest."

Tumarkin: "See! A Macedonian officer points resolutely toward a general. It must be Alexander The Great. Surely we have reached his city, Alexandrapour."

Lawford: "Quite."

Tumarkin: "Regretfully our celebration is ruined by despair of finding none of my countrymen or Countess Alexandra alive. We've not even found disjecta membra if torn apart by great animals. Perhaps we started in the wrong direction to find them. Nothing could be worse."

Terrified Screams

Distant Voice: "AaHHhh! ПОМОЩЬ! (HELP)"

Lawford: "That's torn it. Everyone face left. Quick. LISTEN!"

More Terrified: "Aaaaa---HHHHH---hh---HHHHHHH!" 

Lawford: "We ran in the direction of the screams with our weapons ready for anything. Anything that is, from the milder world beyond Terra Incognita. After several minutes we came into a clearing and saw...."

Lawford: "The source of the shrieks coming from a white female tied to sacrificial posts. Her head moved violently from side to side casting long red hair about her slender shoulders. A brutish creature gesticulated from a cave opening not far away." 

Lawford: Red hair! This could only mean we had found Countess Alexandra alive! One of the lancers surged ahead, knelt, levelled his carbine and snap fired. The beast yelped in pain and hesitated. We immediately raced forward as fast as we could run. There was only one chance to save her!"

Lawford: "She did not notice our arrival. Her entire being concentrated on the grisly creature exiting the cave as her screams continued. All that mattered was rescue. Would we be in time or would the monster charge, rip off her bindings and descend with her into the hellish subterranean depths of the cave? There was not a moment to lose!"

Alexandra: "Aahhh--HHHH--HHHHH--HHHHHH!"

Lawford: "Fortunately the wounded creature balked at our arrival. It vanished into the cave. We did not know the extent of it's wound."

Lawford: "Firing continued unabated encouraging its departure."

Lawford: "Fire discipline went to pot but Alexandra was saved. My Alexandra."


1) Chapter XX was to have been the last installment of Expedition To Alexandrapour. However, it is impossible to finish in twenty serial segments. Thus, one or two bonus chapters will appear soon to obtain the conclusion.

2) Chuck L. and Todd B. supplied most of the jungle terrain features making the vegetation encompassing Alexandrapour so spectacular. Chuck scratch-built all of the prehistoric-looking trees. Most other items came from the retail store Michaels or various aquarium departments in large pet stores. John B. loaned the remarkably realistic woolly mammoth he bought at Michaels. The table covering comes from The Terrain Guy.

3) Col. Lawford found a similar classical structure previously here:
and here:

4) Return for the story of Alexandra's capture in her own words plus more adventure, breathtaking vistas, incredible danger and suspense within the wild uncharted region of Terra Incognita.

4) Comments welcome if, you please, below.


abdul666 said...

Simply marvelous! THANKS!

Fire at Will said...

Excellent, great fun.

Anonymous said...

Quite spectacular! These tales are always great fun to read - well written and gorgeous setups. I hope my own colonials are half as good when I get enough to put them together.

What manufacturer makes the mounted and dismounted Lawford?

Gallia said...

Merci Jean-Louis, Fire at Will and Rob for your remarks and taknig the time to write.
See Perry Sudan SB1 British High Command on English Mounts and Foundry Darkest Africa DA 9/1 Clean Limbed British Officers And Adventurers.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Once again I enjoyed this latest chapter of your "cliffhanger". I remember watching cliffhangers as child . . . and now I get to have them again.

Also I should point out to readers who do not know, that you can see larger copies of the photos if you open them in separate tabs instead of just clicking on them.

-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Quite a story line. I'm glad you've extended the episodes, as I couldn't envision it winding up so quickly. This episode took me back to the adventure stories of my youth.

A J said...

Superb, sir, as always. I confess when I see a new posting by General Pettygree, I fall upon it like a famished wolf. It's a real treat to see and read.

Squibzy / Richard Hubbard said...

Pant, pant, splutter...! Oh my word, I'm utterly breathless from this last (?? oh no, not really!) episode in the story of the Countess. Great to see Bob Murch's marvellous "pulp fiction' figure (from PWM10 Cringing Captives) of the captive Countess tied between two stakes, screaming for help before the beast from the cave devours her!!
I know your readers are certainly waiting with baited breath for another - more - episodes, Colonel... so please don't disappoint us!! ;-)

Gallia said...

I am very appreciative about your kind remarks and interest in the story. The prodigious amount of scenery loaned by Chuck and Todd accentuated the story in a large, significant and positive way.
Almost all images are photographed for Chapter XXI. I am eager to present same for you around the 18th instant.
I am confident you can and will show us a very good yarn. I am eager to be a fan.

Reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle helps take me back to approximately1900 whether reading Sherlock Holmes or The Lost World. I've read the latter perhaps five times since the late 1960s. Another author is none other than Winston Churchill; The Story of the Malakand Field Force and The River War.
Thank you for the memo to enlarge the photos. I thought perhaps that option had disappeared for a while.
Earl, AJ and Richard,
Just when I thought comments had run their course, you gentlemen wrote additional ones. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just finished chapter XXI (of XX); surely, this cannot be the end! Can't wait for chapters XXII and XXIII!

miami lakes kia said...

You have made a best blog!
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Steven Page said...

Bill, you have hooked on this story! Can't wait for the new material. All the best,
-Steve P.