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Written by Andrew Roberts These stories are based on characters and settings by Pinnacle Entertainment and Great White

Games.

Swiss Alps 1938

Buck Savage struggled against his bonds as the room temperature plummeted. He felt his hands going numb from the cold, and he was beginning to shiver. Half an hour passed. Sauvettre returned to the storeroom and closed the double doors leading into the courtyard. Maybe you could remember something. He said, trying to sound intimidating. What were you looking for? I wanted to find out about Delmar. Buck spat out incoherently, his lips numb from the cold. What did you see? Just some medieval relics. Liar! Maybe your memory needs more jogging. Sauvettre reopened the courtyard doors. The cold air filled the room once more as he left. Bucks hands remained numb, making his attempts to free his wrists painful. The ropes just didnt loosen. As he tried to focus on a way out, Buck noticed Virginia entering the room. She closed the doors, but the room remained cold. Thanks. He spluttered. Virginia began to untie him, when more footsteps were heard. Its Sauvettre! Buck hissed, Hes coming back! Get out of sight; I should be able to free my hands now. Virginia nodded in acknowledgement and crouched behind a wood pile. Sauvettre entered the room again, but noticed that the doors were closed. Where is your friend? he asked Buck, grabbing him by his collars. Who found you? Virginia whistled from behind the wood pile. Sauvettre drew his P38 and aimed it. Stand up and come out here! he demanded, And no tricks!

Buck had managed to get his hand loose as Sauvettre ordered Virginia out of her hiding place. Seeing a chance, he delivered a right hook to the Frenchman, knocking him out cold. That should keep him out of the way for a while. He remarked, picking up the discarded P38, Lets get the others and find a way out of here.

The pair ran from the room back to the great hall, where the other guests were gathered. Buck was almost relieved to be in a room with a roaring fire in the hearth. Danny was waiting for them. Buck? Virginia? Whats going on? he asked. That Frenchman has some questionable interview techniques. Buck explained. Wheres Doc? Hes looking around. Whats the problem? The problem is that were getting out of here before the police arrive. Theres something big happening in Bern. We need to get back there as soon as possible.

The group quickly ran through the castles hallways until they came to one of the vacant storerooms. Doc Gold was waiting for them. What is going on here Savage? he asked. Theres no time to explain. We have to get to Bern as soon as possible. I know that theres a blizzard, but it will stop them from alerting the police. Buck answered. Dont worry; Ive got a plan. Doc said reassuringly, Well be going sledging. Miss Dare warned me about the letter you found. He opened a wardrobe containing several bulky anoraks and directed them to a crudely built sledge hidden away near the window leading down the mountain slope. You built that in an hour? Danny asked. Of course I did. Doc replied, Its not like it shoots lightning, is it? As the others climbed onto the makeshift sled, a bullet ricocheted off the nearby wall. Two of the servants were firing at the group with pistols. As Buck fired a shot back with the stolen P38, Doc cut the sleds mooring with a hatchet, sending them speeding uncontrollably down the slope.

Sauvettre ran to the room, nursing the bruise on his head as he saw the group make their escape. He turned to the other men. Get after them! he ordered, Well use skis.

As the sled raced down the slow hills, a group of six men from the castle pursued Bucks team on skis. Although Buck couldnt perceive their distance through the poor visibility, he good guess that they were closing in fast, and that they were carrying rifles. I thought the Winter Olympics were in St. Moritz two years ago! he called to the others. What the bloody hell are you on about, Savage? Doc replied passively, his mind focused on steering the sled. Weve got company! Buck explained. The skiers opened fire on them with the rifles. Bullets flew past the heads of the group, embedding in the sledge or the nearby trees. Buck aimed the P38 and fired two shots at them. One of the men overbalanced and tumbled down the slope as a bullet entered his chest. Two other skiers manoeuvred widely towards the right side of the sled. Two more! Theyre trying to flank us! Danny yelled. Buck turned and fired another two shots, hitting both of them. As he was dealing with them, the fourth skier had managed to negotiate his way past a fallen tree and wind up in the sleds path. The sled ploughed into him, but he grabbed scrambled up and grabbed Doc by the collars. Doc attempted to maintain control of the sled, while Virginia was able to punch the would-be hijacker in the face. He tumbled down the slope, causing the last two skiers to swerve hard in order to avoid hitting him, only to plough into each other. Buck grinned as they hit each other. Itll take more than ski troops to try and stop us. He remarked.

The sled continued to race down the slope. At the same time, the blizzard was beginning to die down and visibility was improving. That wasnt so bad was it? Buck asked cockily.

Oh Shit! Doc cried out as he began to see further ahead: They were approaching a cliff. Were going too fast! Doc yelled urgently. As the others attempted to duck, the sled flew off the cliff and crashed through the roof of a barn.

Buck choked on the dust as he tried to stabilise himself. As he came to his senses, he discovered they had, thankfully, landed in a barn full of old hay. Ohshit. Doc said again as he tried to stand up. Not exactly the Queens English, is it? Buck commented as he helped him to his feet, Nice landing, by the way. Doc said nothing, simply giving Buck a hard scowl as they checked outside. Although it was much clearer, it was still bitterly cold. The pair noticed a small farmhouse a short walk away from the wrecked barn. Buck helped Virginia and Danny get to their feet and directed them to the farmhouse. Buck checked the door, and found it open. The place must have been abandoned. He said to the rest of the group.

The farmhouse was dark as the group entered. Buck lit a hanging oil lamp and examined the front room. The place looked like it had been deserted for some time. Cobwebs plastered the walls and aged plaster fell from the ceiling as Doc closed the door. Buck sat down at an old wooden table and tried to check the magazine in the P38. Three rounds left. He muttered to himself. A light came on in the corner of the room. Buck turned to see a man in winter clothing aiming a Nagant M1895 revolver at him. Youre a hit squad, arent you? The man asked with a Russian accent. Buck was confused by the mans question.

I know your secret. The man said, Youre working for Delmar. I dont work for Delmar. Buck replied, I just collect artefacts. I have given artefacts to him before, but thats gonna stop; Hes dead, and his security manager isnt one to screw with. The Russian lowered his revolver and pondered Bucks statement. Wait a minute, arent you Buck Savage? he asked. Buck nodded. Thats right. He answered, We just escaped from Delmars castle with some important information. We have to get to Bern. My name is Lazar Volkov. The Russian said. I had stolen an important artefact from Delmar; an artefact that my people once held dear. He produced an ornate horn from his pouch. Buck and Virginia examined it with awe. Youre one of the Don Cossacks. Virginia stated, But were not here to talk about this. We need to get back to Bern as soon as possible; we have linked Delmar to an order which nobody has seen for more than six hundred years, and they are planning something very big. It may involve a hand in the storm clouds gathering over Europe.

Volkov was now listening closely to the groups claims. As they contemplated, the door to the house swung open. Buck and Volkov rapidly span to aim their guns as Sauvettre entered the room accompanied by eleven armed thugs. Id drop those guns if I were you. He demanded as he walked in. The two men complied, kicking their guns towards Sauvettre and raising their hands. So youre all involved in Delmars murder. Sauvettre proclaimed, And Mr Volkov was with you too. No. He has nothing to do with us. Danny said in protest. Volkov gave him a murderous look. Is that so? Sauvettre asked, In that case, you arent needed any more, but you still know too much. Since the police couldnt find you at the castle, I might just take you outside and shoot you all in the backs. As for Volkov here; Im sure there are certain people who want to see him.

Buck stood back against the wall with the others. He knew that Danny was already scanning the room, contemplating a suitable escape plan. Was there something that could distract them? If only there was a way to distract the men

To be continued

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