I was so anxious to get some information, I actually went and helped
Hackinthorpe go through his records. The lazy sod has no concept of
ordering his documents. Well, after about two hours we found the note
telling me the presumed location of the Wentworth family.
A small fort with a garrison of 50 men in the foothills 50 miles from
here. No problem for the Württemberg. However, we are in the
middle of a tropical storm, thick fog covers the ground and it will be
difficult to spot the fort from the air. We will have to fly really low
but we will do it. My time is running out. I have to return to Berlin
in two days.
We have located the fort.
When we arrived, the fort was about to be stormed by a crazed mob of
lunatics the likes of which I have never seen before. They had already
managed to scale the walls of the fort with ladders on one side and
were pressing the garrison hard in the fort proper. Several buildings
were already on fire and a fierce melee had broken out within the
We opened fire with our Zeiss guns and were able to disperse the
largest group of attackers, which gave the garrison time to
regroup and beat back the attack. I have also put our infantry on the
ground to swell the ranks of the garrison.
To my horror and dismay I have learned that Gwendolen along with
other British civilians who had sought refuge within the fort, has been
dragged away into the swamp.
The garrison is getting ready to launch a rescue mission,
a select few of my men will also participate and I will lead them. Dr.
Wentworth is besides himself with fear for his wife and child. I wish I
could offer some consoling words at this time but I am almost besides
myself as well. Hartmann has warned me this inner preassure combined
with the Indian climate and the fever rampant in the swamps could be my
doom if it is not a bullet or knife of one of the marauders we are
going to hunt now. Well, he will be there should I in deed collapse, he
was one of the first to volunteer for this rescue operation.
I have also æthergraphed to Kalkutta and asked the British
authorities to relay a message to the German ambassador. I may arrive
late in Berlin after all but the circumstances demand our assistance.
Should I not return in two days, Vogel is to fly the Württemberg
back to Berlin. Now I must go.
Gott mit uns!
We have pursuit the bandits into the swamps, the loyal sepois and
members of the Ghurka tribe, apparently a people renowned for their
valor and prowess in battle, have tracked them with ease for the last six miles
or so. It seems they were in such a rush to retreat into the swamp they
made no effort to hide their tracks. Than again, perhaps they do not
know how. They seem to be a rather degenerate bunch, a peolpe living in
the swamps and shunned by all the other folk around here.
One of the Ghurka scouts, a man by the name of Kulbir, just reported
finding something in the swamp half a mile from our current position,
he appears rather agitated about what he found.
We have accompolished our mission.
As I write these lines, Gwendolen is recovering in the sick bay of the
Württemberg under the watchful eyes of Dr. Wentworth and we are on
our way back to Berlin, but I cannot find sleep or rest now.
There are still deamons roaming the dark corners of the earth and it
shall be our duty to chase them out of the darkness and slay them in
the light, just as we did yesterday. Merciful gods, what we did
yesterday was a deed worthy of Hercules and Siegfried and the horrors
of hell hold no terror for me anymore.
What Kulbir found was an ancient fortifification, maybe it was a temple,
or both. It was overgrown with plants from the swamp, an abode of
snakes and spiders. Captain Taylor and I ordered our men to spread out,
surround the place, it was not very big, and approached cautiously,
ever weary of these bandits lurking in the undergrowth.
It was not long before the first band of those inbred scum assailed us.
I stood next to Matrose Teufel when he put three bullets into one of
them, but he kept comming. His face was a foaming, crazed mask of rage
and hate, his eyes nearly all black from the effect of some substance
he must have taken.
Finally, Teufel rose and stabbed the brute with his bayonet. That was
the moment poor Teufel lost it. He stabbed his assailant again and
again, screaming and cursing and I had to slap him to make him snap out
of it. He stayed behind with the wounded and a medic from the British
garrison. He was also not the only one thus affected, and as the night
wore on, there would be more.
We lost only four wounded, including Teufel, in this first skirmish and
pressed on. Another raider fell when he stormed out of what turned out
to be the entrance of this ancient site of darkness.
Behind the corpse of the slain guardian lay a corridor, illuminated
with few torches that led steeply downward. The corridor was narrow,
ideal to be defended by only one fighter against a whole army.
Seeing no point in advancing cautiously since by now those degenerates
would be well aware of our comming, Captain Taylor tossed a grenade
down this corridor, the screams that followed the explosion proved his
So we pressed on, down the corridor, bayonets in front and using another grenade but no further tribesman was lurking there.
At last we saw a dim glow and heard voices and more screams. Now
we advanced with more caution and crept up to the end of the corridor
which opened into a cave, the likes of which the fortunate will not
even see in their worst nightmares.
As in a feverish vision of something Bosch or Goya would have painted,
the walls of this cave are decorated with carvings and high reliefs of
The greatest horror however was the statue carved out of the stone of
the far wall, twice as big as a man and resembling a queer and
disturbing crossbreed between the Indian god Ganesha and a dragon.
At its feet was a pile of human remains which looked as if
the flesh had been torn away by animals and devoured, but I could see no
animals. Right next to this ghastly pyramid of carcasses stood the
captives, clinging together, sensless with fright, while around them
the marauders screamed, whailed and danced.
What followed now was the most bizarre fight I pray I will ever be in and I also pray the memory will fade with time.
Our little force spread out quickly from the corridor but no
sooner had the first of us set foot into the cave that the first
tribal warriors turned to attack us.
Those beasts... I can write no more today, I shall go and see Hartmann.
Last night I only found sleep after a dose of morphine
administered by Hartmann. I fell into a black, heavy darkness,
blessedly devoid of dreams. Gwendolen seems to be recovering, too, but
she sleeps a lot and Dr. Wentworth is still worried about her psyche.
He will consult with a specialist as soon as we reach Berlin, propably
tomorrow evening. We are steaming full throttle and at least the
machines are working as they should be.
As to the events of two nights ago, I shall continue now, I will have
to report this to the Flottenkommando soon enough, so I better note it
down and do not forget.
As I wrote yesterday, we were able to spread out and get a good
number of or forces into this chamber before the first warriors turned
to attack us.
They were mostly armed with swords, a few had muskets or ancient
pistols, we felled most of them before in short order but those that
withstood our first barrage came screaming at us. Some came only with
hands an teeth and bit and scratched like rabid animals. There was one
brute who just
picked up a fallen comrade and started wielding him like a club,
bashing a way through our line and knocking several men down, then
Captain Taylor managed to put a bullet in his leg, which only slowed
him down slightly, he turned to Taylor which gave me the opprtunity to
lash out at him with my sabre. I almost severed his left arm at the
elbow but even this grevious wound did not give him pause. He turned
towards me and I shall never forget this gaze. There was nothing in his
eyes but a sick and raging fire, no mind, no intelligence. It was as if
this creature existed only to fight, maim and kill, without regard to
his own life, and than he jumped at me.
I remember his body hitting me and impaling himself on my sabre,
which thus became useless to me. I was knocked to the ground, blood from
this creatures cleaved arm drenched and blinded me while I felt his
other hand grab my throat. I tried to break his grip but to no avail. I
felt my life leave me when suddenly the grip relaxed and the brute
collapsed upon me. From this moment I remember nothing until I regained my senses outside the temple.
From what Taylor, who somehow managed to survive unscathed, told me,
the fight lasted only a little while after I lost consciousness.
Taylor was also quick to mention the exceeding valor and fearlessness the
Ghurkas showed in fighting these marauders. Even though the skills of
Ghurkas in battle are well known to the English in India, he did not
expect to see them fight like they did. In his oppinion, the ten Ghurka
warriors we had in the party could have easily won this battle alone.
He also told me that after the battle one of the Ghurkas told him of an
acient Ghurka tale. Apparently, an idol very much like the one in this
subterranean chamber was once worshipped by an evil tribe called the
Shosho which inhabited a valley close to the places the Ghurkas live.
The Ghurka warrior went on to say that those Shosho were cannibals and
performed horrific rites. Then, the Ghurkas and a fedeation of
other tribes drove them away, torched their villages and burned their
idols. Even now it is the sacred duty of every Ghurka to fight the
members of this Shosho tribe.
Judging from what I have seen, I do not doubt this tale in the least.
It was also a Ghurka who slew the brute that nearly strangled me and
thus saved my life. I am greatly dismayed that I cannot remember this
brave man's name, although Captain Taylor told me. I shall send Captain
Taylor a message and ask him to tell me again.
It is 3:12 in the morning. I cannot sleep and I do not want
to take another dose of morphine either. Whenever I lie down I feel the
weight of the brute's body on my chest. Well, with time this memory
shall fade and once we are back in Berlin I shall occupy myself with
I shall mention that from the men I took with me, we lost noone, but
several are just as disturbed as I am, some have suffered cuts and
Gustavson received a rather hard blow to the chest, Hartmann says some
ribs are broken but he will pull through.
As for our English comrades, one of the brave Ghurka fell and two
Bitish soldiers. We managed to save all but two of the abducted. The
garrison's cook's wife and a British official had their throats cut
before we could reach them through the horde of marauders.
From what my men have told me it was Matrose Zimmermann and Gustavson
together with two Ghurkas and a number of British soldiers who saved
the abductees amidst the still raging fight. Gustavson received his
wound blocking the attack of one of those lunatics. I will recommend
him and Zimmermann for a commendation or maybe even a medal.
As I write these lines I can still see those images when I close my
eyes, it is the desecreted corpses that have burned themselves on the
inside of my eyelids.
Dr. Wentworth told me he will take Gwendolen and her mother on an
extended holiday to Switzerland. An old friend of his is the director
of a sanatorium near Geneva, he thinks Gwendolen will need some time to
We are back in Berlin, I am preparing my report for the
Flottenkommando. I have already been informed of a telegram the British
Government sent to Berlin, commendig our actions and my bravery in
particular. Captain Taylor explicitely stated that my bold action in
attacking this brute saved his life and very likely also the lives of
many of his men. I presume the debriefing later today will not be too
difficult, it is also fortunate that none of my crew were killed and
the wounded will recover.
Here ends the account of Kapitän von Kober's personal errant.
Next: Steampunk Zepplin LZ-X1 Württemberg in Africa