Chapter 2

Written by: Abhimanyu

Only the blaring accordion could be heard for the next few seconds, accentuated by screams of drunken revelries.


“Assassinate the King?” The fear was evident in Lord Stanley’s voice. 


“Do you really believe that this is my first attempt, Lord Stanley?” Castleroy’s stentorian voice echoed around the chamber, leaving everyone aghast. “You have been forewarned old friend. You raised your hand and now you know about the plan. No retreat henceforth.”


Although he wanted to, Lord Stanley couldn’t gather the courage to question Castleroy further.


“Not so long ago, a merchant selling a herbal aphrodisiac near the castle was taken into custody by the King’s guard,” Castleroy continued.


“On what grounds? Helping the old impuissant with tumescence?” Meredith sniggered and a few joined in.


“On grounds of possessing a horse that wasn’t endemic to our lands,” replied an unperturbed Castleroy. “He was my man, a sword for hire, and he was very close to executing the plan, or so I thought.” All heads turned towards Castleroy and all eyes screamed just one question. Only Drury gave that question a voice.


“Did he reveal anything? The assassin?” Drury received a dead stare from Castleroy instead. Abashed, he looked away.


“What about the innocents in the House? Many Catholics will die,” asked Stewart with a sceptical undertone.


“Collateral damage,” replied a resolute Castleroy. “Gentlemen, the task won’t be easy. It’s the Crown that we are fighting against. It is well equipped, well trained and their ears and eyes are everywhere. We need a foolproo…”


“Yes Lord Castleroy, we understand, a foolproof strategy. Recruit Catesby and his men, fund the gunpowder, plant it under the House of Lords and boom, we win the war. Easy, like taking a piss in the bush. Is there anything else?” asked Meredith as he feigned a yawn.


Castleroy calmly looked at this fearless young man. He knew Meredith extracted courage from his money and the clout it gave him and Castleroy was in need of both. “No young Meredith, that is all.” Castleroy smiled.


“Splendid!” Meredith started walking towards the door. “ Now if you gentlemen don’t mind, wine and women await Lord Meredith at the ball. There is enough for everyone.” 


Although hesitantly, the rest followed Meredith’s footsteps but as he was about to unlock the door, Castleroy’s voice echoed one more time. Everyone froze.


“I’m well aware that all of you are loyal to money and nothing else. If any one of you esteemed conniving gentlemen conspires against our cause, mark my words, I will hunt you down and when I do…”


Castleroy didn’t have to complete his sentence as four timid throats gulped fear. There was a reason why Augustus Castleroy was known as Wrath of God after the war.


“Now, drink, dance, make love to your woman. Tomorrow we meet Catesby and his men.”


This chapter captures the tone of the time perfectly. It's early days in this serial but the platform has ben set for a ripper of a story. Looking forward to it.
I love 'stentorian voice'. It captures the sound.