Waiting for them as they arrive in Bihar is a Sikh messenger from SirHenryCreswickeRawlinson who passes on a set of sealed military orders to GladstoneArchiboldThynne. Gladstone reads them and is pleased to learn that the reports of the events in the Chogyan's fort have been made ( by LeiutenantJamesOutram ) who has heaped praise upon the party for their effective (!) resolution of the affair in Dorje-ling.
Also accompanying the letter are orders for Gladstone 'and his company' to travel to the court of MarhariniLakshmi and to make contact with James Outram there on a matter of utmost urgency and discretion. Gladstone discusses this with the party and they are keen to set off on further adventures. Hamilton discovers that the 'quickest' way to her lands (Nepal) is through a pass owned by the tribe whoes' leader was the 'first to go' in a terrible tea-chest accident. (see DeathOfAPrincess ). So he and his uncle raise an 'army' of about 50 local tribesmen to 'take the pass' and secure it for the party (!)
The tiny army soon marches up into the foothils of the himalaya and into the valley of their enemy tribe, finding the first village defended by a motley group of tribesmen armed to the teeth with assorted rifles and knives. Wallace, knowing Lady macbeth is watching, follows the lead troops as they make their way up the steep hillside to the village while Gladstone readies the cavalry (19 of them, 4 lancers, 12 mounted tribesmen and himself) to make the approach up the very open road which has multiple swithcbacks before the village would be reached.
Lady Elsbeth keeps a steady roll of sharp-shooting from a vantage point across the valley, keeping the defenders on their toes and greatly assisting the troops advancing directly up the hill, and the moment fighting starts in the village she grabs her horse and charges up the slope.
Wallace fights with 'conspicuous' bravely with the first wave of the attack, and soon finds half a dozen or so sticking with him... which is fortunate when he notices a well manned barricade across the end of the village main street, which some of the other tribesmen are studiously ignoring while they loot the closer huts. He takes his men and approaches the barricade from the side just as Gladstone leads the cavalry charge against it.. leaping the barricade as his horse is shot from under him, in a magnificent display of horsemanship. With only a few lancers and Wallaces' half dozen men across the barricades the fight is going against the party as they are outnumbered by locals. However the rather surprising arrival of both Elsbeth AND her ladies maid,with Elsbeth blasting left and right with shotguns, distracts and set's back the villagers. The arrival of the 'ladies' inspires a wounded Wallace to throw himself at the villagers before they can unhorse Ms Macbeth. He rages against the villagers, and his men follow enough to carry the day as Hamilton arives and orders his looting troops back into the fray. The villagers rout and the first of the three villages in the valley is won.
Hamilton rides up the path to join 'his' troops, tacitly allowing them to loot the village. Lady Elsbeth, backed up by Wallace ensures that the honor of some of the village ladies is maintained, even if it means discharging a shotgun or two into the roof above some of the tribesmen's heads to get the message across.