The Rescue

The wound Binky suffered at the “Vulture Rock” is still very painful.  The bullet, luckily, was a home made slug and it destroyed his silver snuff box.  It deflected the shot and he has a long cut across his chest with an enormous bruise over the ribs.  Gerald reckons that he has cracked at least two ribs and should rest.  However, he has strapped you up and though you find the least exertion painful – especially Gerald’s and Adrian’s jokes - you have pressed on over the rolling landscape of rocks.  Worse is that the bullet hit your right forearm and has left a bruise there too.   This affects your shooting.  Hardly noticeable really.  Ramsden took a wickedly barbed arrow through the left arm and into the shoulder.  The arrow has been removed and is suffering from an occasional fever and when this takes hold lapses in and out of delirium.  The kitmaghar has rigged a seat for him on one of the mules and a bearer shades him with a parasol.   The wounded Askari is making a reasonable recovery and another has taken the place of the bugler as your bodyguard.  He has the bugle and though not talented makes up for this with his enthusiasm. 

After a day to recover, the last 2 days of the march has been over the usual stony desert with only the problem of the very deep donga that, had it been defended would have been a major impediment.  Last night you encamped on the rim of a great valley.  On the floor of the valley is a huge building.  It is about 7 or 8 miles away and much too large to be of the usual native architecture.  For once you have found a water hole and the animals are well watered and the water skins are full again.  You have occupied an old caravan serai and ordered the camp pitched inside it and the walls rebuilt to defend it.   All through the march since the actions you have been aware that your march is being closely observed.  Mauro still maintains that you are on course for Mophir and he would seem to be correct.   

The Arabs remain reliable and have asked for the Martini-Henry rifles that used to belong to the dead Askaris.  You need to decide whether to arm them with these weapons.   

The remaining porters and camp followers seem reliable enough. But then they have nowhere to run to.  They are looking after Ramsden, the wounded askaris. 

At a distance of about 2 miles to the northwest there is an old track or road that leads to the ruins.  Away off to the northeast on the horizon there are a several columns of smoke.  Maybe it is a camp or something like that?

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