Binky and the Staring Skulls of sakati

The Rapids

The party has breakfasted, somewhat later than expected, after the action at the River Gate, and after a short rest has sailed on.  Not far down river a native canoe with two fishermen in it is encountered and they offer to sell fish to the party.  During the negotiations the Princess Gizitoomi is recognised by her royal medallion and the fishermen immediately fall face down expressing their undying loyalty.

They tell of the drums yesterday sending messages about the White Men in canoes coming across the swamp.  They say that they have heard nothing about the fighting where the river leaves the lake.  Though this is a bit hard to believe given how close they are to the battle!

The information offered is that the Sorcerer Zmellikarzi is not in Sakati though runners have passed through bearing messages to and from him.  So he cannot be far away.  From the direction of the Runners he is on the other side of the river from Sakati (which is on the right bank as you go down stream).   

Yesterday a group of warriors came to their village and took away the fit young men to work at the rapids.  They even took some women and provisions to feed them for a few days.  One of the warriors, a leader, was strange man, not white but not black, who was dressed in robes of fine white cloth and who spoke in a strange tongue. 

The mention of rapids caught the attention of Binky and Piet both of whom recognised the significance of shallow water and the danger of capsizing and losing men and stores.  The warriors taking workers there might have implications too.  When asked about the Festival of Whoppituppah, they said that everyone in the area would be heading Sakati tomorrow for the celebrations the following day and night and that Zmellikarzi himself will be present.

They have never seen the staring skulls for all who look upon them die unless they are blessed by the Sorcerer or his Priestess Beidgrabba.  All are terrified of them and they are carried with Zmellikarzi everywhere he goes. 

They have to take a canoe load of fish to the rapids (just an our or so downstream) by dusk. They have about 8 hours until then.  The town of Sakati is less than a whole day by canoe and slightly more by land.  Binky decided to include them in his plan.  By pretending to be fishermen he hid all the white men below the sides of the canoes with loaded guns and machine guns ready for use. 

As an insurance he landed a party on the shore to make a land approach in case the large number of canoes raised suspicion.  The canoes then headed for the rapids.

Binky, as usual took the lead and his canoe was almost through when it struck a rock and one of the rowers fell overboard.  He was relatively unharmed and took refuge on a rock until he gathered enough strength to swim ashore.

The Ruga Ruga defending the village and the crossing place saw them coming but assumed that they were the expected fishermen with their loads.

Modellers Note:  The river is card from cereal packets painted with silver (aluminium really) paint.  The rapids are little polished stones picked up in a market somewhere though little pebbles from the sea side would do just as well.  The trees are GW trees picked up cheap at a bring and buy sale.

Then disaster struck!  Gerald's canoe crashed mightily into one of the rocks turning upside down and spilling everyone and everything into the river. 

Gerald disappeared below the surface twice before being lost to sight in the flowing water.  The Nordenfelt sank without trace along with its ammunition and supplies.  Two of the rowers managed to cling to the upturned hull of the canoe and one was washed up on the river banks a way downstream.  All others were lost. 

The plan gone Binky and Adrian opened fire of the surprised Ruga Ruga driving many into cover.  As they returned fire an few skilfully placed sticks of dynamite sorted out their courage - they had never come across this devilish weapon before.  Bad juju - very bad juju!  And then came the rear attack from the shore party.  The Ruga Ruga broke and fled.

 

Clearing the river banks and searching the ruins was now a simple task.  Suddely Binky (rolling a "9") saw something in the water - Gerald!  He leapt into the water and together with Adrian's gun bearer Mahmoud rescued him.  It took some time to restore him for was very nearly drowned.  Gerald had sustained several minor wounds and blow to the head while under water.  He had been saved from serious injury by the cork inserts in his sun helmet keeping his head near the surface.  (He used 3 of his "Lucky stars" in his saving roll!)  He would be out of action for a while but looked like he would make a full recovery.

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