Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

Lord Castleroy leaned forward, resting his clenched fists on a curled map of England. He surveyed the chart for several seconds before looking up to speak. His tone changed, a sharp bitterness in his voice.

“King James has gone too far. We must act. Our profits are dwindling away as he raises taxes. Now he is the King of England as well as Scotland, he intends to squash Catholicism completely by supporting the Anglican church. Many Catholics have been executed or hung.”

He paused and slammed the table.

“James Stuart, like his predecessors, believes God has given him a divine right to rule and that government should do his bidding. They argue over power amongst themselves but both want the end of Catholicism. We must have a new King and government.”

There was a chorus of agreement from around the table.

“I have lost a thousand guineas this year, and next year my loss will be double that,” shouted Lord Meredith, waving a hand in the air angrily. “We will also lose our lives if we are found to be Catholic.”

“Agreed,” said Lord Stanley. He hunched his shoulders, raised both arms and turned toward Castleroy. “If we are to have a new Monarch then we should be prepared to sacrifice our lives for him and our religion.”

Again there was a murmur of agreement.

“All those who wish to join me, raise your hand,” said Castleroy. “Those who do not will leave now with no stain on their character.”

“I am for this and will put finance before you but that is all I am prepared to do. I cannot sacrifice my bank. If a new King is the result of our success then my bank will play an important part in supporting him.” Lord Drury raised a hand as the others nodded agreement and raised their hands.

Castleroy smiled grimly. “In that case, gentlemen, I ask you to discuss an idea I have that may reward us with what we crave. It will take courage and good planning. Above all, we will have a few good men to carry out our plan. I already have a man who will lead them and two others. There will be others recruited.”

Meredith moved around the table to look at a new chart that Castleroy was unrolling.

“This is a drawing of the House of Lords. In two months the new parliament will have its State Opening by King James. This is our opportunity to strike.” Castleroy pointed to the map. “We need to find an empty storehouse in the market next to the House of Lords. That is where we begin our operation by breaking a hole in the wall and entering the undercroft below parliament.”

“And then what?” asked Drury.

“Then you, Sir, finance the making and transportation of thirty-five barrels of gunpowder that will be hidden in the undercroft.”

“Who are our trusted men?” asked Stewart.

Castleroy whispered. “Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, and Guy Fawkes.” 


Nice surprise end to the chapter. While you have pulled this off I would recommend that other writers aim at using less dialogue and more narrative to tell the story as it it so tricky to write convincing dialogue. Great to have you round off what has been a terrific year. Thanks!
My pleasure. I look forward to participating in the New Year with more chapters.