Chapter 8

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

A litter slowly came into view, illuminated by the dim light from a few windows. Two porters, one in the front and one at the back, carried the litter. The porters’ footsteps and the creaking of the rusted hinges cut through the deathly silence.

A link-boy, carrying a torch, walked behind the litter. Fawkes peeked from behind a barrel, trying to ascertain if it was a royal litter. He was intrigued. Any person connected with the plan would come on horse-back or in a horse carriage. A litter arriving at this hour was strange, because in King James’ court such litters were commonly used only by women.  

The porters carefully put the litter down and a frail man stepped   out wearing a peasant gown. He walked towards the barrels in quick steps. He softly called out for Fawkes.

Fawkes cautiously stepped out. 

“Is that you Percy? And why are you here dressed like this?”   

“Shhhhhh……come with me at once. I have reached here with great difficulty. This is a disguise. We need to escape right away.”

“But why? And what about tomorrow?” 

In reply Percy thrust a peasant gown into Fawkes’s hands, urging him to change at once.

“I will explain everything once we are safely in the litter. Hurry up!”


The litter trudged laboriously as the two conspirators talked in hushed whispers.  

Percy explained to Fawkes how he and Catesby had been informed by one of King James’s trusted gentleman-in-waiting about the counter plot devised by the King and Castleroy. The King had secretly issued summons to arrest the conspiring Lords and the three banished soldiers before daybreak.  

This gentleman was a childhood friend of Catesby and had overheard the King instruct Castleroy to arrest the conspirators before they could execute their plan the next day. 

The gentleman had immediately sent a messenger to Castleroy’s hunting lodge and alerted Catesby and Percy about this sudden development. He was the one who had arranged for the litter and the men as a cover-up for Fawkes and Percy.

“Catesby is waiting at the outskirts of the city with the horses. We need to move fast and as discreetly as possible. If we are caught, we might not live to see the day break.”

“Have you dispatched the soldiers to capture the traitors?” King James asked Castleroy.

“Yes, Your Majesty. The Lords have been arrested and will be held in the tower until the execution. The surprise capture at their homes was indeed a masterstroke.”

“And what about the three turncoats?”

“The soldiers will get them. Fawkes is in the dungeon; Catesby and Percy at my lodge. It won’t be difficult to apprehend them.”

King James looked satisfied. He marvelled at his own genius in thwarting his opponents. 

He smiled wryly. Lord Castleroy’s closeness to the Queen had been bothering the King for some time now. First the Queen, then maybe the Kingdom. Castleroy too would have to go.  

Adultery was also treason after all.





This creative chapter was action packed with colorful characters marching across the stage. It was pacey, energetic and a great read. Superb Hemali.
This is a challenging scenario, Hemali. We know what will happen eventually, just as we know that any story about the Titanic results in its sinking, regardless of who falls in love while it happens. Generations of English children have commemorated Fawkes's capture and hanging for treason - or martyrdom if you prefer - but how will we get there?
I look forward to reading how the last two writers creatively kill off our man.