Thank God for Mr Nordenfelt!
The White Queen of Qarfur.
The rumours of a new and powerful Queen in Qarfur began to circulate not long after the fall of Khartoum. This led to speculation that she was an escaped European who had been adopted by and come to power in Qarfur. The few people coming out of Qarfur told of armies attacking tribes and killing those who resisted and taking the rest as slaves. One priest described what he saw:
“The Qarfuris attacked from out of the dawn mist from three sides of the village. The village men tried to fight back and many died in the shower of throwing spears. Despite their losses the survivors fought on because they knew that the Qarfuris would take no prisoners. The last of the warriors stood their ground in front of the large hut that was the refuge of the women. All the men were slain. Their stomachs slit open and their heads severed. The heads were placed on sharpened sticks and placed around the village. All the time the women were screaming and wailing.
The chief’s son was found seriously wounded but alive and he was impaled upon a sharpened stake and left to die.
All the women and children were stripped naked and taken away into slavery. They were made to carry the treasure of the village away with them.
Amongst the Qarfuri warriors were a number of young females, armed and equipped just like the men except that they did not carry shields. They ran about, nearly naked, throwing spears and insults at the defending warriors.
Stranger still were the white warriors led by a female warrior. She commanded the Qarfuris and they obeyed instantly and without question.”
Also there is an Italian rogue who claims that he is an explorer, one Mauro Impeccunio , who claims to have escaped from being a prisoner of the Qarfuris. His tale is strange and no doubt exaggerated.
“The Qarfuris came out of the mist in such silence that they looked as ghosts to the Askari sentries and struck them dumb in horror and surprise. We had no warning. We three Italians put up such a fight and only were overrun when our ammunition ran out. They did not try to kill us but rather they were desperate to take us alive. My employer and his young wife, the Count and Countess Peccadillo were also taken alive. We were stripped naked but not tied up as we expected. The count and I were made fast within a cage carried by four huge apes. The young countess was also, with no thought to common decency, stripped naked before the eyes of the blacks and taken to the Female Warrior where a soft leather collar was placed around her neck and chains from this fastened her to two female slaves.
All the black men who were not slain in the fight were tied up and tortured to death. Some had their heads severed, just to check the keenness of the hooked sword blades of the white warriors and for then to demonstrate their prowess in arms. They were strange people, these white men. Their skins were glowing white and dressed in native style. They were armed mainly with spears, some had short powerful bows and long curved swords. Some with shaven heads bore great axes.
The few native women with us were also stripped naked, taken as slaves and forced to carry such of our equipment as the Female Warrior dictated. All our guns and ammunition were broken and thrown away but all other metal goods were taken.
We marched for days across the grasslands deep into Qarfur, far beyond where the maps ended. Then in the distance, to the north, I saw a low mountain range shrouded in dust storms. I imagine we were somewhere between Kasoshi and the mountains of Abythopia but there were no mountains on any maps.
We stopped at a large village around an ancient temple. Here there was a trading post but the whites there had been made prisoner. We were thrown in with the men and the countess was taken to the temple. That was the last I saw of her for that very night I was able to escape when I went to collect the food for the prisoners. Apparently this was meant to be an insult for a man. Anyway I contrived to throw the hot food over the guard blinding him and jumped into the pool. I swam down and then was sucked into an underground channel. Eventually after many adventures I made it back here.
The other prisoners were Dutch jewel miners and dealers and some British traders.”
When Binky heard of all this he was quite easily persuaded to lead a rescue mission into Qarfur.
He decided to take a small army of loyal Askaris and 2 Nordefelt single barrel machine guns. As it was to turn out this was a very important decision. He led his party to Jizuz Noesware to replenish supplies. In the distance he hears firing and immediately sets out to investigate leaving Ramsden with some escorts to bring up the baggage.
On to the the action at Jizuz Noesware.
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