Chapter I - Edrington Manor (Prologe)
Lieutenant General Richard Venables is working in his office when he hears a knock on the door. "Come in," he looks up. "Richard Venables, Two years and still no gray hair!" Lord Crossbones exclaims. "Tyler! How are you? It's such a pleasure to see you again!" Richard says as he warmly shakes Crossbones hand and they go to walk in the garden. "So, Lord Crossbones, I know that you wouldn't come all the way from Manchester just to pay me a quick visit. So what is it that you seek with me?" Venables asks questionably. "Well there has been some good news..." Crossbones starts, "I have been promoted to Lord Governor of the African Colonies." Venables slaps him on the back, "Congratulations, old chap!" Then Crossbones pulls out a letter. "This is for Luther. Now, I am forming a regiment to halt attacks on the towns by the natives, and to guard the entire west and south african colonies. I've already talked with Admiral Ironshot, and he will be joining me and will Captain the Poseidon. He seemed quite taken by the offer, I assume that's because the Poseidon is a new first rate ship of the line that was constructed in Norway in 1745." Crossbones finishes. "Well what are you offering me?" asks Venables with a confused face. "I am asking you to lead the 47th Regiment of Foot under me Mr. Venables." Crossbones smiles. "Well that's quite an astounding offer, thank you! I'll pack my stuff!" Venables sends the letter via mail to Luther and packs for the trip to Sierra Leone.
1 week later....
Chapter II London - EITC Gentlemans Club
Venables sat in the EITC Lounge in Kingston looking out upon the Crowed Streets of London, as he quietly sipped his Brandy, he was appraoched by a young Soldier who gave him a letter, "General Venables, This is from the prime minister!" The Boy said as he saluted and walked off, Venables opened the letter as he watched the young boy walk off thinking on the sacrifice of the young in battle.
I have a small favour to ask you, in south africa there was an officer who was sent to find the tribal chieftain Zebula, but unfortuanantly he has disappeared without a trace i want you to find out what happened to him, and also find the tribal cheiftain Zebula who is some where north west of Sierra Leone, I entrust this mission to you and your faithful Richard Luther.
Sincerly Lord Johnathan Goldtimbers.
As Venables read the letter Johnathan Lawford walked up to him a smile on his young face, "I say Richard, Ol' Chap how've you been?" Lawford asked, "Oh Im well thank you John" He replied as he pocketed the letter. Lawford sat himself down to the table and ordered a glass of wine, "Bit strong for your young head, Mr Lawford!" Venables Laughed, Lawford went to reply but was cut short by a smashing of glass on the marble floors of the dining room next door to the lounge. "What the devil was that?" Lawford gasped, "I think Lord Mallace and Garland are having a Party in there" Venables commented, Suddenly though the doors to the lounge crashed open and there was Lieutenant Mackenzie of the 95th he was grasping his ribs, he slowly stumbled to the table crashing to Venables feet, "Get a Surgeon!" Venables Shouted, Mackenzie reached up to Venables and placed a piece of clothe in his hand, "Im....Sorry...Sir...I Failed....." Mackenzie said as he slowly died in the lounge. Venables Looked at the parchment which in rough ink was written "AFRICAN MILITIA" Venables suddenly realised 'this young Lieutenant had been bringing this to him and had been attacked on the way in by a....' Venables line of thought was halted there, then he slowly gulped, a Company Officer' he looked at the still body of the young Officer, "Well Lawford, I believe its time i went to my ship" Venables said as he marched off down the corridors, the other EITC Officer watching him leave, Venables walked out to the street and hailed his coach, which took him to the Tower of London, there he disembarked and walked up to the main entrance of the UNIT Base under the Tower where he was approached by a guard who saluted when he saw who it was. Venables arrived in the main HQ of UNIT tower and was greeted by Lord Crossbones and Sir Ironshot, "we heard about Mackenzie" Ironshot said grimly, "mmm he gave me a parchment with African Militia on it" Venables replied, "WHAT!" Crossbones gasped, "They were defeated years ago!" He said, "Well it looks like they are back and murdered a British Officer!" Venables said grimly, and with that they walked to the coach as they talked of the journey to Africa.
Chapter III - The Poseidon Sails
"Hoist the Colours!" Ironshot barks, giving orders from the Command deck. The HMS Poseidon had been refit and the newly formed 47th Regiment of Foot had been briefed and prepped for the journey. Crossbones and Venables walk up to the Forward deck and gaze at the oncoming fog. "We should get back up to the Command deck to see what this is," says Venables. Crossbones just nods grimly. "Admiral Ironshot! I do believe we should check the maps. There is quite a bit of fog up ahead!" Venables shouts from the Quarterdeck. Suddenly a large force hits the Poseidon. "We may have hit a reef! Sailor Klutz, go check it out!" Admiral Ironshot orders. The Austrian sailor goes and peeks over the edge of the quarterdeck. He falls off the boat and it lurches back. "I don't believe this is ANY type of reef," Crossbones spits out. Venables looks at Crossbones wide-eyed, "Weapons! 47th with me!" Venables hollers towards the panicked soldiers on the Main Deck. "Present! Fire!" yells a shaken Luther. The men fire and hit a fin which goes back into the sea. Suddenly, from the Front deck a sailor shouts "Shark!" The boat is formed with instant movement. The men of the 47th begin to fire were they see the shark until a 93 year old Ironshot picks up a harpoon which he throws right into the shark. As the sailors hoist the dead shark onto the deck, Crossbones examines it. "Seven years at Cambridge, and never a single picture of something this astonishing," he gasps."Aye, it is a beauty." Venables says as he looks over Crossbones shoulder. "It seems to be white on the bottom," says Luther. "Well then we shall name it, the Great White Shark!" Crossbones exclaims.
Chapter IV - Land Ho!
Venables sat in the Main Cabin, which had been spilt into three parts with foldable walls to house Ironshot, Crossbones, and himself, of the Poseidon, He sipped his tea and read the latest reports from Hawaii. Venables looked up as Lieutenant Stein entered the Cabin, "Beggin your pardon, Lord Venables but Admiral Ironshot wishes for you to join him" Stein said, "Alright thank you Lieutenant" Venables replied as he sipped his tea, he reached for his coat and hat, then with sword fixed to his sash he walked to the door and walked up the companionway to the quarter-deck, Venables looked as he came out onto the deck at the land that was off to the starboard bow, "Ahhh Richard, see that? Thats the African Sierre Leone coast line" Ironshot said grinning, Luther was standing at the capstan reaching to his pocket taking a small drought of whiskey, "Very nice Christopher" Venables replied. Crossbones walks out of his cabin, "Hello gentlemen," he looks over to the port of Sierra Leone, "And hello my new colony" Crossbones exclaims. They all file out of the boat, "47th on me!" Luther barks and the troops stamp to attention. Tyler, Richard, and Ironshot are greeted by the rich landlords and ambassadors. Crossbones wonders off with some friends and Ironshot starts chatting with an elderly man. Luther herds the marines to march to Camp Meerkat, which is the barracks. Venables walks over to Ironshot and the elderly man. "Aye those were quite good times - Ah Venables, may I introduce you to General Macintosh. He was the man that defeated the African Militia years ago!" Ironshot explains. "Ah Mr. Venables, such a honor to meet you. I have heard about your feats" says the elderly man in raspy voice. "Why thank you sir, it's a honor to meet you as well. You defeated the African Militia, that is quite a wonder!" Venables says. Venables goes back in the Poseidon as Ironshot and Macintosh finish their conversation. Eventually the trio meet up again at the docks. "Well, this is quite the welcoming party!" Crossbones grins and looks around. "Well gentlemen, I should head over to the Town Hall, my speech is soon." A few hours after the speech Venables is sleeping in his room when he hears a loud banging on his door. He grabs his pistol and opens it. "Good evening sir, I bring news." says the man. "What is it?" asks Venables grumpily. "Lord Crossbones has called for you and Admiral Ironshot to report to Town Hall immediately." The courier says. "What for?" asks Venables questionably. "General Macintosh was murdered a few hours ago."
Chapter V - The Expedition begins
"Damnation! I wish we knew who, Macintosh's murderer was!" Venables says vengefully, As he looks out of his Offices balcony on to the parade grounds of Camp Meerkat, Venables slowly pours himself a large glass of brandy and relaxs into a chair, "Well, We know that he was murdered sometime after dinner last night" Luther says, as he accepts a glass of brandy from Venables, Crossbones suddenly walks in to the office and pours himself a glass of scotch, "I say whats up ol' chap?" Luther asks, "Ironshot has been ordered to return to England for urgent business with the king!" Crossbones exclaimed miserably, "Damn lucky if you ask me!" Venables said sarcasticly as he mopped the sweet off his brow. "Venables I want you to begin tomorrow morning into the tribal lands" Crossbones says, "Damnation Man! Gimme a week to rest and get my self acclimatised!" Venables says Grumpily, "Venables we need to find that Officer and that bloody Chieftain!" Crossbones says as he sculls the last of the scotch, "And Im telling you that the 47th doesnt march till at least a week!" Venables says quietly, "Oh very well Venables, I'm just worried about the recent events that have happened. Mackenzie's death, The African Militia Logo, Macintosh's murder. It just doesn't add up!" Crossbones says sighing, Venables smiles and pours Crossbones another glass of Scotch, "Well Tyler, as an experianced soldier and diplomat, I'll say this, we will march in three days at dawn, make the most of the coolness of the morning!" Venables says, Luther suddenly jumps as a small meerkat scurries across the floor, Venables & Crossbones laugh!
"Present hut!" Sergeant Sharkhayes yells to the 47th. "Alright boys, we need to get moving, it's already 6:30." he continues. As they march into the Sahara, the citizens of Sierra Leone wave good luck cheers. Crossbones rides in at the end with Venables. "Alright old chap, your the best officer in the Royal Army. Make me proud. And just think, after all this is over, I'll take you on a cruise to the Gold Coast in the Nut!" Crossbones says grinning. "Well, wish me luck." Venables replies before heading out to join his troops. A few hours later, they stop and rest for a while. Suddenly Sharkhayes runs up, "General Venables! We have found some corpses. I would suggest you come see!" Venables urgently rushes to the spot. He sulks when he sees the sorry site. It was the officer and his platoon. Bloody and stripped bare. "Prepare to head back to Sierra Leone tomorrow, I need to get this information to Crossbones" Venables says solemly. During the night, they hear some strange sounds which, Venables explains to Shakrhayes, is a lions roar. "Bloody loud" he replies angrily.
Chapter VI - The African Militia Returns
"Welcome back, sir." Luther says as Venables strides into town. "Listen Luther, the officer and his platoon were all slaughtered. We need to protect the town. Get the garrison ready to make nightly patrols." Venables quickly orders. Inside Town Hall Crossbones and Venables meet. "So, what's the story?" Crossbones questions. "They were all killed sir. I ordered Luther and the Garrison to take patrols around the city 24/7 sir." Venables reports. Crossbones nods and looks at his maps, "Well, tomorrow I need you to head out and find Zebula. The 47th can pack up their stuff and prepare to move. I don't know what's going on, but I intend to find out!"he exclaims. "Aye sir." Venables replies before striding out of the office. As Venables is about to leave the office their is a loud bang, Venables takes out his pistol and signals a few guards to follow him. They swiftly break down the door and find it half destroyed. "What the bloody hell happened?" Venables shouts, "And where the hell is Crossbones?" He yells at the soldiers to search the place. "What the bloody hell is this - no, no..." Venables says as he picks up a piece of paper with the African Militia logo on it. He flips it around...
To the British occupants of Sierra Leone,
Your leader has been taken captive. His name is Tyler Crossbones. He will be executed in precisely 2 weeks. If you want him alive, you will prepare to leave Sierra Leone. Your presence here is unneeded. You have sparked a flare in the tribal lands. The chieftain, Zebula, will be recruited to our cause. If, I mean when, is recruited, he will attack your town. You have nothing. If you come for us, he will be executed. Prepare yourself, we leave no survivors.
- The African Militia
"This is terrible!" Luther says when he reads the note, Venables looked out the window at the town of Sierra Leone, suddenly Luther exclaimed in shock as Mr. Strax the Butler come Henchmen to Venables walked into the office of Crossbones, Venables said, "Strax go prepare my men for battle!" Strax smiled scarily, "right away SIR!" he said as he stomped out the room, "what the hell was that thing?" Luther asked amazed, "oh that, thats just Strax, my butler" Venables Replied as he looked out the window and sighed, Venables took out his telescope from his pocket, and looked through it at the desert.
Chapter VII - The Meeting
Later on Venables stands at the Barricades around the Town, as he looks out of the barrel of his telescope he smiles weakly, "Mr Luther, have a signal sent to the enemy, i wish to parley with their leader!" Venables ordered, as Luther went off to this task, Venables clicked his horse into motion and rode down the lines of redcoats who manned the barricades, as some troops saluted and others nodded, Venables could sense their fear of the battle to come, and why shouldnt they be worried? they were about to face an entirely new enemy with different tactics to the usual Europeon army tactics, But as he rode along the barricades he noticed one thing, on the horizon every now and again, he'd see a glimmer of glass and he knew the Militia were scouting out the British Defences, suddenly Luther arrived at his side, "SIR! Signal from the enemy sir, they have agreed to parley with us" Luther said, "Very Good Mr Luther, We Shall ride out now!" Venables replied, The two soldiers rode out to meet the leaders of the militia who were wildly dressed figures on horseback, Venables assessed them as he rode towards them, there were two men: one was tall, overweight, with a large beard and long dirty hair. The other was a shorter, thinner, and far more neat character but still with the same dirty beard, and long dirty hair drapped over his shoulders, their clothes were of the new afrikaana style, but were well worn and ripped in multiple places, As Venables and Luther finally arrived to talking distance with the enemy, they dismounted their horses as did the militia leaders, "Greetings Gentlemen" The taller man said, "Good Afternoon" Venables replied, as he tipped his hat to them, "My Name is Alexander Du'longe and this is Captain William Regora" The Shorter one said, "General Richard Venables and Colonal Richard Luther of the British Army" Venables said.
"You English seem to think everything belongs to you," said Du'longe. "That's what happens when you have an army 3x the size of any other," replied Luther. "Well that's not happening here. You can try all you want, but us natives shall never be annihilated." Captain Regora grunted. "I believe you are aware of our Ultimatum," De'longe says. Luther rides off to the troops, glaring. "So be it. Return him and we shall leave," Venables exclaims. "We know you English tricks. He won't be released until you are about to leave!" Du'longe says. "Very well then." Richard pulls out a pistol and shoots Regora in the chest. Du'longe pulls his sword but falls after Luther rides up shooting his horse. Sharkhayes and his british marines begin to run towards the scene, getting ready for battle. Du'longe stands and signals the African Militia hiding in the brush. A fierce battle ensues in which Sharkhayes is killed from an arrow to the throat.
Chapter VIII - The Aftermath
Venables sadly wept over the body of his esteemed right hand man. Luther walked over, "I'm sorry, sir." he said grimly. "He served under me for seven years, Luther. He was one of the best men I've ever commanded." Luther sighs, "I'm sorry sir, but we must go, Du'longe has escaped, but it seems there is a few wagons by about a mile out." says Luther. "Alright, prepare the men for marching," Richard orders. As the men uncover the wagons, a beaten up man is shown lain inside it.
Later on Venables stood there on the crest of a hill, his telescope with RV written on the brass barrel, he sighed and looked over at Luther who was interrogating a couple of dutch colonists, who the British had captured whilst marching for the African Militia's base in the north, Venables men had camped for the night and were enjoying a good feed and also getting a goodnights sleep, Venables and Luther stood in the cover of a large borra borra tree, "Tell me Luther, what did they say?" Venables asked, "Sir, they say that the African Militia are to the north in a territory known as Zebulalaland, and they say the Natives have also prepared a considerable defence network for us!" Luther Replies, Suddenly a large blast sounds above their heads and they are showered in blood, and then see the corpse of a dead minx, "Who the bloody hell took that shot!?" Venables roars! "Beggen ur pardon sir, twas getten' some grub for my supper sir!" Private Joseph Marsh says hurridly, Venables cracks up laughing at the sight of Luther drenched in blood from the minx, Luther stands there looking sick then sure enough he heeled over and vomited into the long grass near a brazier.
Chapter IX - Arrival at the Fortress
Two days later, The first men of the British Army arrive to find the vast plain, covered in trenchs and fortications, the scene Venables and Luther witnessed when they arrive on the hill was that of ants, in a childs toy running about crazily, but Venables knew that the analogy was just that an anology not truth, this would be a desperate fight!
Two hours later, the Engineer Major Robert Ludlum of the Royal Engineers, was standing close to the edge of a step, rocky outcrop where he intended to place the large field guns Venables intended to bombard the Militia with, Venables stood at the top of the rocky outcrop his horse tied next to a large field tent which housed the Generals HQ, Luther had taken several scouts out to see the forward defences and had returned with only four of the scouts alive, "Mr Ludlum, how long till those artillery pieces are ready?" Venables called down to the old engineer. who replied in his deep scottish accent "About three hours ma Lord, then i'll have em' bastards runnin' fa cover!" Ludlum replied, Venables smiled, and walked slowly donw through the camp looking at his men preparing for the fight ahead, suddenly he felt himself falling to the ground his legs feeling like water and his head spinning wildly, his last memory being Luthe standing over him saying something intelligible...
When he awoke he was in lying in an extremely low light area, as he looked around he saw Luther slumped in chair snoring softly, and a medical officer at a desk fiddling with something, "Doctor?" he called out, The Medical officer looked around and smiled bleakly, "ahh the patient awakens" he said, Venables recognised the scarred old face of Surgeon Major Johnathon Wickham of Sussex, "Well John, what happened?" Venables asked him rising to sit up in the bed slowly, "Well Richard, your soup it appears was poisoned, someone doesnt want you getting to the fortress it seems" Wickham replied kindly, "tell me then, do you know what it was?" Venables asked, as he rubbed his forehead sorely, "Aye Richard, i'm afraid not, i nae seen anything like it before" the Surgeon said as he lit a cigar, with the overhead lamp spilling a small amount of oil onto Venables arm, "I must return back to duty Johnny, fetch my uniform jacket please" Venables said, as Luther awoke suddenly crying blue fire at invisible enemies, "Mr Luther, see that Major Ludlum begins his bombardment immediatly!" Venables ordered, Luther scurried off to obey his officers orders as Venables got dressed for the coming battle, "Orderly, my regards to Colonal McCoy, he shall prepare the men for battle!" Venables told the wide eyed young orderly, "My Thanks John, for your wonderous treatment, i'll mention you in my despatch of course" Venables said as he marched out into the sun light.
Chapter X - The Assault
The Next Morning, Venables stood at the front of the Kings 74th surrounded by a bunch of aides and other officers, "Gentlemen the time has come to free Lord Crossbones from these savage bastards, i expect everyman to do his duty and also to lead his men with valour and courage, now gentlemen to your posts and may god be with you all" He said to his officer in a brave speech, after that he ordered the 74ths regimental conductor to have the regimental pipe band play, and so as Scotland the Brave played on the pipes the 74th and 47th Regiments began to march towards the trenches of the African militia, Venables had drawn his sabre and stood next to Colonal Roderick Appleby, the regiments commanding officer, as the pipes began to play Auld Langs Syne, the militia opened fire upon the British Regulars, the British ranks were splayed with musket fire and one of the 74ths standard bearers fell to the fire, Venables himself grabbed the standard and screaming a gaelic battle cry ordered them to charge, this was when the militia first saw the Highlanders fierce and decisive fury on the battlefield, the roars of the kilted highlanders charging forward unnerved the militia and so they began to fire at will and the disipline with which their first volley had caused so much damage was lost and the Highlanders were upon them before they could fire a third volley, meanwhile the British Artillery was still pounding the trenches further back down the enemy lines and Venables and the 74th had begun brutal hand to hand combat with the militia who lacked mass bayonets and so many of the militia men were forced to use the butts of their muskets as clubs against the highlanders savage bayonets and broadswords, Venables himself having carved several African Soldiers into bloody corpses within 20 minutes of the fighting. Venables, the regimental standard in hand lifted up a mighty cheer and declared in a loud cry, "Ar aghaidh Lads! Chun bua!" which ment "Forwards lads to Victory!".
The Scottish Soldiers charged forward leaping out of the first trench after the fleeing militia who were trying to make the safety of the second trench line, meanwhile the 47th had captured the enemy artillery detachment which had been just behind the first trench line. Venables though had not noticed this as the blood was pouring through his head and battle rage had taken him over and he screamed forward in pursuit of his enemies his loyal men at his side. The second trench line began to fire upon the Scottish, who roared in anger as more of their brothers fell to these bastards, finally the regiment roaring their blood curdling cries, leaped down into the enemy trench, their bayonets dripping with the blood of their enemies, and now ripping into the flesh of even more enemies, Venables the standard in one hand, his sword in the other cried in anger as he saw a militia officer spear one of his own men to get through to the safety of his horse, Venables roared and dropped his sword and pulled out his pistol firing at the officer sending his brains across the battlefield, he discarded the discharged pistol and collected his sword to find the trench captured and the rest of the militia had surrendered, the 47th also had arrived in the trenches and were now cheering the standard of the 74th as their general stood their his scarlett uniform torn, burnt from musket fire and bloodstained from a cut of his arm, his hair plastered to his forehead with the blood from a sabre cut to the skull and a lop sided grin on his weary, but triumphant face!
Chapter XI - Inside the Lions den
Meanwhile, whilst Venables and his men did battle with the Main force of militia, Lord Crossbones stood in his cell within the fortress, "So Governor, your men are here to free you, how very foolish of them didnt they get my letter regarding your capture?" Spanish Colonal Romano De Iglasisa said jeeringly to Tyler, "You know though that you cant kill me Colonal, so why not surrender now, your men will be overrun of that you can be certain, but if you surrendered now your life would be spared!" Crossbones said, his face blackened by brutal tortured, "ah but Governor your allies cannot stop their doom, little do they know of my trap my men have prepared in the gateway of this fortress!" Colonal Iglasisa said laughing, as the sun set upon the plains of Zebulalaland and the 74th prepared for the bitter fight the next morning....
Chapter XII - The Second Assault
Early the next morning, Richard Venables stood sipping his tea in on of the abandoned trenches, looking out over the large rugged space, between himself and the enemy trench which lay around seven hundred yards to the north, the early morning due lay thick and heavy upon the remaining dry, grass that was scattered around.
Venables placed his mug down onto a small, rough table hewn out of a native wood, which was scarred by numerous blows and marks from bored soldiers carving their initials into the hard wood, as Venables looked around through the mass of troops in the trench he felt the ground pound, from hundreds of shells were sent flying over their heads into the enemy trenches, the imposing fortress behind the trenches was a mere silhouette against the dawn sky, Venables was approached by Luther, who was stripped down to shirt and breaches, his ridding boots filthy from the dust of the african plain, "Good Morning Sir, the 47th are ready for action! and might i ask, are we going for the fortress today?" Luther asked in a horse voice, Venables smiled at the thought of all the yelling Luther would have done yesterday and replied, "Well Luther, I think Major Ludlum has softened them up enough!" Luther grinned with a gap between his top row of teeth. "Father Sir, The enemy are fortifying the gateway to the fortress!" Ishamel said miserably, as he colapsed his telescope. Venables pulled out his telescope, and gave a loud laugh, "They are intending to try to blow us to kingdom come, Colonal Luther!" He said grinning, "well we'll have a suprise for them wont we?" Luther looked puzzled and Ishamel stood there looking at his father for some sort of direction. Venables Grinned and pointed to where Ensign Richard Venables Jnr. was standing with several men of the 74th uilding ladders out of pieces of wood from the back of the supply carts that had trailed behind the army, Luther grinned and figured out Venables dastardly plan, he recalled how back in India, Venables had led a forlorn hope against an Indian Fortress whilst Luther and his men had led a second main assault against the walls of the fortress palace, as the then Captain Venables had lost nearly two thirds of his men, he had bought Luther just enough time to get across the walls and out flank the enemy. "Just like in India, eh Luther?" Venables said snapping Luther back to reality, "Aye Sir, I remember well, it'll be an excellent chance to capture that bugger, but where do you want my men to scale the walls?" Luther said grinning in anticipation, "Over to the eastern walls with Ishamel's company of the 95th and the rest of the 47th, whilst I'll take the 74th and attack the front gates" Venables replied Smiling as he shook his sons hands, and then have Luther a friendly slap on the back, "Well Gentlemen, For the King!" Venables said, "For The King!" They all echoed heartily as they prepared for the coming battle.
The 74th stood at the trenchlines waiting, the standards had been unfurled and the 47th was slowly making its way to the eastern flank of the fortress, Venables and Colonal McCoy, as well as half a dozen other officer of the 74th were toasting the battle with a glass of scotch, whilst the men were each given a half pint of whiskey, the standard blew happily in the wind, and the pipers had begun to play, Highland Cathedral and the Regimental orderlies stood at the back of regiment ready to attend to the many casualities that were expected from the battle.
As Colonal Iglasisa looked out over the Fortress walls he smiled grimly as the British soldiers began to march slowly towards the gateway, and his special trap he'd set. "Colonal, the British are firing upon the gateway!" Private Carlos said worriedly, "Damnation! Shut up you stupid dolt, and get back to your station!" He roared angerily, The British were not going to get through his defences, he would prepare for his ultimate glory, and show the king that he could procure the diamonds for his king, and he would get his promotion he craved! and so the British ould die, at th gates of Fort Carlos de Santa Christopher!
Two hours later the British were thick in the fray, the Spanish had noticed Luthers attack and had diverted men to the wall where he attacked and failed to escalade the walls, Venables and the 74th were also caught in a fierce trap that was in fact a bottle-neck, the British caught in the gateway were fired upon with Rockets, Musket Fire and grenades. Venables stood there in the thick of the fray his lungs choking in the smoke and dust whipped about by the fierce desert winds, Colonal McCoy lay there unconcious, after recieving a spear in the shoulder, "Private Jammy, Get Colonal McCoy to the surgeon!" He ordered, "Right away sir!" Jammy replied tripping over the dead red coats that were piled upon the gateway floor, "Mr Stevens! form a platoon of men, to cover the retreat!" Venables ordered, Venables suddenly felt his vision darken, and then he realised why, he also felt the sharp pain as a carbine bullet hit his skull above his eye and the blood poured into his eyes, suddenly he was knocked over by a explosion, and felt the kindly arms of darkness wrap him as he sunk into a deep unconciousness. Meanwhile... Luther was forming the remains of the 47th into a skirmish line of infantry ready to retreat from the failed escalade, suddenly Coporal Finn, came up to him with a scared and blackened face, "Sir, Captain MacGregor has reported that the General and Colonal McCoy have fallen sir!" Finn Yelled to be heard over the din of battle. As Luther and his men struggled bitterly to get out of the trap they had so easily stepped into!
During the days that had followed the unsuccesfull attack on the fortress, and under the complete cover of darkness, Christopher Ironshot, Returned to the British Column, an orderly was sent to wake Venables up. "Ironshot, you came at bad time." "I know, I know, but look outside." Venables looked outside, and there stood the 95th Rifles, and the 33rd Regiment of Foot, and lastly, the 42nd Foot, The Black Watch. "By god Ironshot, you knew what to bring!"
The next morning, Venables stood at the trench line with Ishamel, Luther and Ironshot by his side, "Well Gentlemen, with our new reinforcements, I intend to take the fortress by day break!" Venables said grinning, as Venables said this they heard a loud roar from the south and saw three kilted highlanders messing with a young lion, the poor, dumb beast looking bewildered by the rugged and stupidic Scotsmen.
At 9:55am exactly the British advanced, the pipers of the 74th and 42nd playing and the 95th formed in skirmish line and proceeded towards the fortress, closly followed by the 74th with Venables once more leading them into the fray, Luther had returned to the 95th and Colonal McCoy had stubbornly returned to the 74th, having knocked several medical orderlies to the ground! The first shots were fired by the 95th picking off as many officers on the forts ramparts as they could, Luther scored five hits with his baker rifle before they were forced to advance by the 74ths bulk of kilted warriors, the Scottish were proudly singing an old scottish folk lore song whilst the Irish in the 33rd were slowly crossing their chests and praying to god for deliverance from their many sins, before they died in battle.
Then the fray truely began! the fortress artillery pieces opened fire upon the Scottish soldiers who began to charge forward, the forlorn hope made up of men of the 75th and 47th, had a large amount of explosive 'packages' ready to blow the doors off the 'damn buggar of a fortress!' the forlorn hope charged forward in front of the 95th and under heavy fire and heavy casualties blew the massive doors open, sending great chunks of rock flying into the sky! then the 74th and 42nd charged into the fortress! the kilted fury once more screaming their battle cries! the 95th had made their way up to the ramparts and had engaged the fortress gunners up on the parapets, the 33rd had gone around to the rear gate of the fortress and Captain Donarchy of the 33rd Light Company captured Colonal Iglasisa trying to escape with Lord Crossbones, Captain Donarchy freed Crossbones and captured Colonal Iglasisa and returned them to General Venables who had been busy procurring a flag for the flagstaff, eventually Venables hoisted one of the Scarlett Jackets to the flagpole to singify the British victory. Later that Night at Dinner
Chapter XIV - That Night
"Well, Ironshot, it was a sheer stroke of luck that you came back", said Crossbones. "Indeed... King George called me back to give me command of a fleet containing the Monarch of India, Posideon, King George, Britanic, Brittainia, and Indifaticable, along with permission to take a few regiments down here to Africa." They all watched the Union Jack flying proudly. That night at dinner, Ironshot, Crossbones, Venables, and the Spainish commander, at the request of Ironshot, ate a fine meal of fish and chips, along with some roast pork. "Senor Ironshot, when did you join the Royal Navy?" asked the Spaniard. "I joined in 1667, as a steward on a ship called the HMS Hotspur. I have worked up the ranks since." Ironshot replied, quietly, and he returned to the fleet. "Senor Venables, Senor Crossbones, how did you take the fort so easily?" "We worked together with the men, with cover fire from the 5th Division, headed by Ironshot, who brought not but 1/50th of the army, sir.", replied Venables, "But now sir to business, i must ask why the Spanish are in British territory for a start!" Venables said Curtly, "Ahhh General, if i told you that i would be betraying a scared oath i took to my king" The Spaniard replied admirably, "Mr Luther take the Colonal back to his cell please, I shall talk to him tomorrow!" Venables ordered, as the night faded over the British army.
That night, the young soldier guarding Colonal Iglasisa was found dead, and the colonal gone, the 17 year old soldiers ghastly face was covered in tribal patterns and his eyes had been taken from his skull. And The Colonal and Zebula made their escape into the darkness....
Venables stood over the body of Private Joel Aitkins of the 74th, Crossbones turned and vomited into a slope bucket to the side, Luther had gone a pale grey and Venables was looking very hagged and stressed, "Alright Crossbones, What the devil is going on here?" Venables asked curtly, Crossbones wiped the remnant from his chin, and smiled weakly. "I'm afraid the spanish have discovered king solomons treasures!" He said weakly, "What a load of!" Luther said mockingly, Venables frowned at the curse in front of the corpse, "Sergeant Mitchel! have this mans corpse buried out the front of the gateway!" Venables ordered the startled and frightened young soldier who had become a Sergeant by field promotion to fill dead boots, he was only 18.
Chapter XV - The Explanations of Tyler Crossbones
Venables and Luther along with McCoy, Wickham, and Ludlum along with Ishamel and the other senior officers of the army, sat in what counted as a very makeshift dining room that had been furnished rather lavishly, the furniture clashing violently with the rough, unpainted walls of packed mud and stone. Crossbones stood before a makeshift fireplace preparing to give his explanations to Venables and the senior officers of what had been nicknamed the 'goddams' McCoy stood as he was still wearing his battle marked kilt and was not willing to have the embarrasment of sitting down, Ironshot was off somewhere shooting and generally making himself useful.
"Gentlemen..." Crossbones started, "In 1698 three British Explorers of some merit embarked on an epic journey of exploration into this dark continent, these men under the command of Sir Henry Lassen, were all former soldiers of good standing with the queen, for six month they toiled in the african wilderness looking for the fabled cities of gold that slavers from Holland told wild tales about, these three men were almost exhuasted and were being hunted by fierce natives, Zebulas ancestors, when one of the men, the youngest Captain Johnathan Drake fell into a deep pit in a hill, the other two men ran to help him and discovered he was still alive!" he explained, at this point Venables cut him off by offering McCoy another glass of Scotch, "Do Continue Governor!" Venables remarked, Crossbones continues, "Anyway these men found themselves inside a crypt of some size, according to their tales when they returned to England, they found a vast treasure which they left behind to protect from any other 'foreign' powers!"
Venables smiled, "Well Crossbones, why the sudden interest by the natives?" he asked, taking a bite out of a sandwhich, Venables suddenly frowned at Crossbones, "Mr Venables, Spain found out about the treasure in 1718 with a small army and founded the African Militia to help them fight the British, But General MacIntosh defeated them!" Tyler Said Sadly, "And Now the Dagos are after the treasure again!" Venables Exclaimed, Luther looked puzzled until Venables grinned and said "Luther, if the bastards get the treasure, then the whole Bloody war is screwed!" Luther gave a look of alarm at Venables, who merely and announced "Well Gentlemen, i just happen to have one of my best Tracker on the job, and we know they went east, deep into the desert and if we are to follow hich we shall, we cant take the Bloody army, Colonal McCoy can hold things together here whilst we take twelve men from the 74th with us and some camels into the sands" Venables Gulped down the last of his Scotch and said to Luther "Lets hope we dont cock this up eh?" as he smiled and poured another glass of Whiskey.
Chapter XVI - The Desert Rats
The Next Day Venables, Luther and Crossbones along with 12 of the best and hardiest men of the 74th, began their journey, the tracker known as Private William Ross, A Highlander from Argyll who had spent his early years as a game keeper on a Scottish estate lead them through the desert, the Highlanders complained about the dust and the heat, but Venables kept their spirits up with Scotch and prayers to God, on the sixth day Venables gorwled angrily to Crossbones "Damnation man, where the bloody hell do you think we are?" Venables growled over the winds, "Well Venables, Let me try to make a observation" as he pulled out his sextant, "Oh Fantastic, but if you haven't noticed its not midday!" Venables exclaimed in sheer Frustration, Suddenly Private Ross called out to Venables "Sir, Thar be a right smash'r of a Sand Storm a comin'" He Yelled, Venables growled and looked out over the sand dunes and saw a thick cloud of dust coming towards them, "We must stop here, we could get lost if we try to march in that bastard!" Venables Ordered, the Highlanders wrapped thick clothes around their heads and necks to protect them from the fierce winds, Whilst Venables and Crossbones did likewise and rest beside the camels, then the storm was upon them and Venables eyes and mouth and ears were filled with choking, thick dust, Then he passed out...
Three days later, Venables and his men awoke to find themselves nearly buried in Sand, the camels had taken it better then they had simply sitting there looking intently at the British Soldiers, "Alright lads according to Crossbones there should be an Oasis due north of here, thats where they are most likely headed!" Venables said the Highlanders looked ragged, tired and above all thirsty, and they gladly marched the next sixteen miles to get to the Oasis, when they arrived though they were greeted by a shock.
The whole place was filled with soldiers....
Chapter XVII - The Oasis of Treachery
Venables cursed under his breath and rolled onto his back the sand hot on his faded Red Jacket, Luther stood below sleeping under the little shade the Dunes provided, The Highlanders had spent the last hour cleaning their sand ridden weapons to no avail and Crossbones had disappeared somewhere....
Then Crossbones suddenly reappeared, and behind him were a whole platoon of Spanish soldiers, Crossbones smiled weakly, "they saw the glint of my telescope, and came up behind me!" Crossbones said gloomily, "Colonal Iglasisa i thought we might meet again" Venables said as the escaped Spaniard came up to him, "Major General Richard Venables, do i have your surrender your Lord, i would be terribly saddened if i had to kill the famous General Venables, the Hero of Calcutta!" Iglasisa said smiling, Venables rather touched by the mans flattery smiled, and said "I dont mind admitting when i've lost but you will allow the officers to keep their swords?" Venables smiled, "But of course, except i must have your word you will not try to escape!" Iglasisa still smiled wickedly, the glint of greed obvious in his eyes, Venables smiled and agreed to the Spaniards command, "Colonal i give you my mens word they will not try to escape" Venables said still smiling as the British were stripped of their weapons and taken into one of the few buildings around the oasis as night fell over the desert.
The Next Morning Venables awoke to the sound of drums beating in the heat of the morning sun, as he stood up and looked out of the barred window of the room, he saw that the spanish were drilling thier troops and had somehow the spanish were only half the strengh they had been, "Whats up sir?" Coporal McKay asked as he watched Venables frown, Venables turned to the Soldier "It seems the Spanish are on the move, Coporal and intend to leave us here" Venables said quietly, Luther was still asleep on the floor of the small room which was unfurnished except for a rather old grate and a large turkish rug on the floor the twelve men had been thrown into the room late in the evening, Then as Venables watched over the dunes the spanish disappeared ove the desert and Venables kicked the door of the house down and the British made their escape and began top pursue the Spanish battalion to theyre ultimate goal.
XVIII - King Solomans Mines
Three Days later the British arrived at their destination a remote area of the barbary coast roughly thirty miles west of Tunis according to Crossbones who had taken a reading with his sextant, Venables and his men had retrieved their weapons from the townsfolk back at the oasis, and had hired a small amount of mercenaries with the little gold they had, and so they numbered thirty men armed with muskets though only the British had bayonets but the arabian mercenaries had been trained by the local shiek to defend their homes and so knew how to present and fire in ranks like the british but also to be excellent skirmishers in the desert sands.
Venables and his men noticed a large ruined building in the middle of the desert plain, and through his telescope noticed Iglasisa and an unknown man of dark skin who he presumed was Zebula, and finally the bastard Du'longe who was followed by four soldiers.
Venables and his men devided into two groups the first led by Venables would attack the Spanish front on, the second led by Luther would attack their undefended rear, Venables Highlanders begun the march on of them boldly playing the pipes on the dune above the spanish camp, Whilst the rest of the men marched up the dune as well, the Scottish soldiers presented their weapons and fired whilst the Spanish came rushing forwards to deal with this small incursion of Infidel Scotsmen, Suddenly though the spanish were surrounded on both sides to their rear around twenty odd Arabian Raiders were pouring disciplined musket fire into the Spanish forces who began to panic and some ran to the south away from the carnage. Venables and his Highlanders had charged into the fray though and were cutting their way through the Spanish who began to retreat into the underground tunnels.
Venables and the Highlanders cheered as the last Spanish soldiers disappeared into the ground whilst some had meekly surrendered themselves to the british whilst the African Tribesmen still kept a rough fire upon the British but Luther and the Arabs took care of them quickly forcing them to retreat in a panicked mob of dark skin, sweet and blood.
Venables and Luther meet up at the middle of the battlefield and grinned as they both looked down to the entrance to the catacombs, "How many do you reckon escaped into the mines?" Luther asked Venables mopping the sweet off of his brow, "bout Twenty?" Venables said quizzingly, As a Scottish trooper threw a grenade down into the darkness, a satisfying scream came from below, and the Highlander grinned wickedly.
"Alright lads, we're going in to that mine and we're going to kill those dagos and take that treasure!" Venables said to the men happily, with a grin he drew his claymore and roared in Gaelic then charged into the darkness below, Venables was greeted by the sound of boots running and The Highlanders screams and then there was a brief pause before Iglasisa called out his surrender to the British, "Colonal Iglasisa, we meet again!" Crossbones said sourly as he punched him on the jaw, "Enough Crossbones" Venables said angrily, Luther had disappeared ahead and suddenly called out in suprise "Cor' Take a look at this Sir!", Venables and Crossbones rushed forward and looked down into the great cavern that glittered bright in the light of thier torches, "My God... " Luther said numbly as Venables smiled and said "Its over...."
Chapter XIX - Sierre Leone, Three months later
Venables and Luther stood on the docks of Sierre Leone, They had returned about two weeks previously from the desert expedition and had been tired, stressed and above all extremely dusty! "So Venables, we did it eh?" Crossbones said grinning, They had indeed "Done it" as Crossbones said, they had successfully captured the treausre and after a week of rest had returned with about a hundred hired hands to retrieve it, "Why did we have ta' blow it up though sir?" Luther asked Venables as he looked out into the sea, "Because the gold thats left, wont be available to the Spaniards!" Venables explained happily, and it was true the British had discovered such a great pile of treasue that even a hundred men and a hundred camels couldnt carry it all and so they were forced to leave a large ammount of it behind! "bloody jammy bugger you are Venables!" Crossbones said to him as Venables leaned on a hitching post, "All Aboard!" The ships captain cried, Venables and Luther looked at Crossbones, they'd shared some adventures with this man, and were saddened by the fact they wouldn't see him for a long time now, "Well Crossbones, it has been an honour, i wish i could stay but i'm afraid the heat and the dust never did agree with me, so i'll take my leave, Ishamel will take command of the 47th and i'm sure you'll find him satisfactory!" Venables said, Ishamel stood there looking thrilled then appalled at the same time! "Eh Thank you father..." He stammered off, Venables, Luther, and Crossbones laughed then shook each others hands and said their farewells, and so we must say farewell as well to this British heroes but Venables & Luther will march again, but this time a lot closer to home and surrounded by a devilish trap!
It is my wish as it was at the beginning of writing this book to have Venables & Luther become more of a serious historical novel then a Book Focused on the Fan-Fiction of POTCO like The Lost Chapters: A Venables & Luther Adventure or other such novels written by myself, this book was a part of it but it was not focused as much as The Lost Chapters was, and it is my hope that you have enjoyed reading this book as much as we have enjoyed writing it!
And so from the team at V&W Entertainment & Publishing!
Richard Venables-Editor in Chief-